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She just wanted to kiss him. She'd had a healthy glass of wine and she just wanted to taste him. Just a little bit. In fact, she was owed this. She felt her eyes widen slightly at the thought and realized she'd been lost in the shine on his lips. He'd just run his tongue across his bottom lip again and fuck . Was she leaning in? She jerked herself back into reality and felt her cheeks flush when she met his eyes. He raised an eyebrow and she rolled hers involuntarily. Fuck him and his tongue. Not in that way. 

"Can I come in?" He smirked down at her. She was really getting tired of finding herself in situations that put her this much shorter.

"What are you doing here?" He smiled wider at her irritation. She hated the way he looked at her like he was the only one who ever truly knew her. She had to turn away from it and that was the only reason she let him in. She'd tell herself that as many times as it took. He locked the door behind them and followed her to the kitchen. 

"I was in the neighborhood." 

"Oh?" Her eyebrow quirked up at that. They were already starting with half truths this evening. "Want something to drink?" She settled her hip against the counter. He hadn't wiped the smug grin off his face yet and she cursed herself again for feeding his ego. 

"Have a glass of wine with me?" He had to stop smiling at her like that. She either wanted to slap him or fuck him. And there was no in between. But that was nothing new. 

"Sure." She nodded and tried to keep her nonchalance but the forces were working against her. She lingered too long in his eyes before remembering where she was again. His eyes followed her movements around the island and she thanked her lucky stars for her pajama decision earlier. They ran up and down her body before he realized she'd stopped to face him. The look he gave her made her stomach drop. 

She had to remember that she was still angry. She was angry she still felt his phantom hands covering hers and her weapon after she shot that man in the head. And she was reminded once again about everything she'd lost. Everything that happened. Every time he wasn't there. 

"Liv." She startled and his brows furrowed. He moved to get closer and she couldn't have that. She poured him a glass and slid it to the edge of the island where he stood. 

"Cheers." She tilted her glass to him before bringing it to her lips. Their eyes were stuck in the usual magnetic force field she couldn't claw herself out of. There was a reason he was here. She saw it in his eyes. In the way his fist was closed in his pocket and pushing into his thigh. But she wouldn't pry it out of him. However, she was drinking her wine too quickly. And historically the more she drank, the more desperate for him she became. She needed to make this quick and get him the fuck out of her place. 

"I wasn't just in the neighborhood." He looked nervous and it made her anxious. 

"I'm shocked." She bit off the words and shook her head. "What do you need, Elliot? It's late." She resigned herself to believing he must need something from her. Even though he'd called or texted her at least a few times a day since The Get Together. He'd brought coffee to her when she'd needed it most. He'd sent her favorite takeout for dinner. 

"I wanted to check in. I heard about what happened and I wanted to make sure you're okay." She narrowed her brows. This couldn't possibly be why he was all white knuckles and tension. 

"I'm fine. Nothing I can't handle." She said it dismissively but the truth was she still had the shakes from over 24 hours ago and the longer he stood in front of her the more he'd notice. 

"Olivia." He said it like it was his. Like her name belonged to him and she fucking hated it. "You shot-" 

"No, you know what?" She cut him off physically with her hands too close to his chest. "I'm not doing this. You need to leave." He smiled at that and she felt her anger grow. 

"Stop." His voice was too low and he was too close. She'd forgotten to withdraw her hand and he caught her wrist to pull her around the corner of the island. She melted into him. Her eyes closed on their own. She felt her anger dissipate and her heart rate settle. She stood there, breathing him in. She didn't know how to get clean of him. And she didn't know if she wanted to or if she needed to. Or if she was going to let him break her again. He tangled his hand in her hair and she felt his fingers spread over her scalp. For the first time in 8 years she didn't panic. "Let me be here for you." He was whispering now and she'd listen to him all night if he just kept talking to her in that tone. "Tell me what you need." 

She nodded because it's all she could do. She felt her throat closing up against the emotions that threatened to spill out of her. She tried to swallow it down but it was useless now. She fisted his stupid henley in her hands under his coat. Why did he have to wear these damn shirts that were too tight and looked too good on his body? "I hate your new clothes." She lied and then doubled down. "You dress like you're 35." Lies again. He looked better now than when he was 35 but it made him smile against her hair. 

"Yeah?" She heard the smile still in his voice. "Pretty sure Jet has a very similar leather jacket as the one on that coat rack." She scoffed. "Tell me what you need, Liv." 

"This." Her voice would only whisper and she felt his arms tighten around her. Fuck . When had she last felt this safe? She felt like she could sleep for 15 hours standing right here. She turned her face into his neck and he smelled like coffee and mint and it was overwhelming. She must have whispered aloud the next fuck that came to mind because he laughed lightly. It should have pissed her off but she was too busy trying not to move her lips against his neck. 

"It always feels..." He kept his voice low and too soft. And now she felt his throat jump with the vibration of his words. "Like a relief." The hand that wasn't slightly rubbing her scalp traced fingers up and down her back. "Or like we're both home. Finally." He wasn't wrong about any of it. That's exactly how it felt. "I can't wait to kiss you." She stiffened immediately and he laughed like he knew she'd do that. "Not tonight." 

He expected her to relax after he specified but she remained tense in his arms. He didn’t mean to say it, probably. Although he really couldn't wait. She smelled like coconut and she was so pretty in her giant sweater and bike shorts. And fuzzy wool socks. God she was a gorgeous woman. Dark and moody and rough around the edges. 

"Maybe tonight." She whispered and it was his turn to tense and hers to laugh. She stepped out of his arms and grabbed her wine, her eyes locking with his over the rim of the glass. He wanted to do so many things to her and he tried to keep them out of his mind in fear that he would start in on the list. She needed his support and comfort. But he saw the challenge in her eyes and it was about to set him off. 

He laughed and tore his eyes away from hers, running a hand down his face. "Careful, Captain." 

She cocked her head to the side the way she used to when he said something ridiculous. "Of what, Detective?" Only this time she was playing along. 

He took a heavy drink of wine and licked his lips because he couldn't stop doing that around her. He stepped into her personal space and tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear. Her pulse picked up and he noticed her breathing a little more shallow. He just wanted a taste. He could feel his chest flush in anticipation. 

"You're not ready." They both weren't ready. His hands settled on each side of her neck and his eyes wouldn't leave her lips. "When I kiss you, you're going to tell me not to stop." He forced his eyes up to hers and he really shouldn't have. Those chocolate pools were black and he should put some space between them. They were too close. But he couldn’t stop his fucking mouth. "And I won't. I've wanted this too long and too much to be gentle." Her eyes widened and her lips turned up a smirk. 

"You think that's what I need?" He felt her hands travel up his stomach to his chest. "And here I thought you knew me." Her voice was like a hazy drip of honey sliding down his throat and he couldn't breathe. His thumb traveled up her neck to her jaw. He knew he was digging in a little too forcefully but he couldn't help it. Maybe if he just touched her lip it would alleviate some of the tension in his hands. So he did it. He pulled his thumb across her bottom lip and it wasn't enough. In fact, it made it worse. 

"Tell me to leave." His voice was too quiet and he didn't know if it was because he didn't really want her to hear him. Or if he couldn't possibly move his tone above gravel. 

She should tell him to leave. She really should. But she'd never heard his bedroom voice before and she didn't want to break the spell yet. "I thought you wanted to give me what I need." She was playing with matches in the middle of a forest that hadn't seen rain in years. She just needed to control her mouth. But she couldn't reel it in. "And you should know better than anyone that I don't need kid gloves." 

His thumb was resting on her chin and he tugged her mouth open as he dragged it down to the front of her neck. His hands were rough and she was reaching desperation. She heard herself breathing too loudly. "I can't, Olivia." Fuck her name on his lips. It was too much. "I know you're not ready." He was right. They weren't ready for this. "You're not ready for your last first kiss." His thumb dug into her throat and his teeth scraped his bottom lip. When did he turn into this person? She'd wanted him for longer than she cared to admit but was he always this way? This sexy? He was teetering on the edge of his control and if she could just keep him going, he would snap. The war waged on in her mind. "And you're definitely not ready to beg me to let you come." Jesus Christ . Maybe she was ready. She could do that. She could beg him. 

His eyes wouldn't leave hers. They were tethered together as this hurricane swirled around them. She couldn't speak. She didn't have the right words because what was threatening to spill out was not what she should say. She feared her eyes were betraying her though because he shook his head slightly. He wasn't ready. And she wouldn't do this to him. "It's late." She whispered and she saw the relief in his eyes. They stood there for several minutes longer letting the tension subside before he stepped back. 

"What are you and Noah doing Friday?" His fingers caught hers as he stepped back and he laced them together. 

"The usual. Eating too much junk food until Noah passes out before the ball drop." Her son could never stay up until then. 

"My mom and the kids and I are getting take out from Manetta's. Come over. Eat with us." She couldn't help but reflect his smile. "Maybe Noah will stay up with the kids." 

She shook her head and looked away. It was deja vu of the Christmas invitation and this time she didn't have to think about it. "Okay. I'll make sure it's good with him." 

He pulled her hand up to his lips and brushed it across his open mouth. And just like that her heart rate was back up. She felt his breath exhale on the back of her hand and he just held it there. "Bring something to sleep in, in case I talk you into staying the night this time." She laughed and rolled her eyes. He'd tried his best last time but they ended up only staying a few hours before she got panicky and texted Fin to call her with a case. She was shocked he'd actually done what she asked but her threats were sharp. "Unless you want to sleep in my clothes." She felt his smile on her hand as he twisted her palm around. 

"Elliot." It sounded too much like a whimper and his eyes shot to hers. But she couldn't stop. His slow kisses on her palm and fingers caused her mind to run wild. "You're not ready for me either." He nodded but didn't stop. 

"I can't fucking stop, Liv." He mumbled against her skin. "Why does your wrist smell so good?" She smiled and pulled her arm away from him. 

"You have to. Or I'll never let you leave." His eyes widened. She was laying it all out apparently. Fuck a half truth. 

She caught his hand when she walked past him and pulled him to the door. 

"Wait." He stopped her before she opened the front door. He needed more. "One more hug." He pulled her into him and it made his breath catch every single time. His arms wrapped around her and he felt hers wrap around his shoulders. Jesus . He would kneel before her and beg for her atonement the rest of his life if she kept letting him hold her like this. It was holy. "You okay?" He'd done nothing but worry about her since yesterday and that truly was why he was here. 

"Better now." He smiled. She was so good . And she deserved for him to get his shit together without wanting to eat her alive. 

"I'm gonna call you when I get home. And we're gonna talk until you fall asleep." She laughed into his chest and brought her arms around to push him away. He couldn't keep the grin off his face as she opened the door and waved him out. She leaned on the door frame and she looked too pretty not to touch her again. He leaned in and kissed her temple before walking backwards to the elevator. "Close the door, Liv. I'm not leaving til I hear the lock." 

She closed and locked the door behind her. And kept the silly grin on her face all the way to her bedroom.