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Fall Again

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Chris was back.

Elliot was back.

He came back to her.

Those were the words that would replay in Chris’s head on days like today. It was a reminder of the vow he made to redeem himself for making the biggest mistake of his life – leaving her.

On days like these, he needed this reminder when he questioned if he made the right decision in returning, even though he’d already had some of his happiest days being back.

Today was different. Today was an exception. Today was a breaking point.

Ever since Chris’s driver dropped him off at set, he felt irritable, frustrated, and overwhelmingly anxious. He was in the middle of shooting an episode of the new season of OC and could barely get through a scene without breaking character. He also lost count how many times they had to stop shooting so he could find his line or be coached on how to better emote for the scene.

This wasn’t him.

For decades in the industry, Chris had a reputation of being completely devoted to his craft and taking his work almost too seriously. Usually, he was incredibly focused and a seasoned leader, setting the show’s vision to guide the rest of the cast. The way he was acting today, it was clear that neither his heart nor his mind were in it.

Chris tried everything to regain his focus and finish the day - from stretching, to doing push-ups, to even dancing around to music on the street. Nothing he did helped focus his attention away from the plaguing distraction eating at him. It was the same sinking and terrifying feeling he felt years ago that continued to haunt him.

He sighed deeply knowing the cause of his bittersweet demise, as it was the same reason every time.

Her.

His ‘her’.

It was always her.

It’s been weeks since he’d seen Mariska due to the lack of crossover scenes and their dueling busy schedules. For the past two days, he couldn’t even get her to answer or return his calls. He hated the feeling of being cut off from her and never could find his grounding when he couldn’t feel her presence.

She was his balance; his stability; his rock. Without her, he reverted back to the scattered and weakened version of himself he couldn’t tolerate.

After an unsuccessful morning of shooting on location in Queens, the director not so gracefully told Chris to take an extended lunch break to clear his head and come back more focused. Before Chris could protest, the harsh look on the director’s face assured him this wasn’t up for debate.

Begrudgingly, Chris took off towards his trailer, while still stopping to take selfies with fans even though he felt like he was slowly breaking down inside. It wasn’t the fans’ faults that the woman they also loved was the cause of his turmoil today.

Once he reached his trailer, he asked his team if he could have some time alone. They already heard the buzz that something seemed very off with him, which was also apparent by his rigid demeanor during makeup, so they didn’t hesitant giving him his space.

Chris ran his hands roughly across his jaw knowing they’d never finish shooting with him in this state. Even though they were in their second season, this was still relatively a new job where he wanted to make a good impression. It wasn’t professional to forget so many lines in front of his cast or become so visibly frustrated in front of his crew. He felt like he was having an outer body experience and couldn’t shake the heavy feeling suffocating him.

He just needed her.

Truthfully since Chris came back, his relationship with Mariska had been a rollercoaster of emotions. He probably underestimated the complexity that he, and especially she, would feel about his return as both Elliot on the show and Chris as a constant again in her life.

Most days, it felt like a dream being back together. One of those surreal dreams you hope you remember well enough so you can replay every detail of when you wake up. It was finally their second chance to continue and finish their story the way they wanted to tell it.

Chris promised not only himself, but also Mariska, a long time ago that he’d find a way to come back to her. He still had so much more to prove, but it was finally their time to make it right again – for Mariska and for Olivia.

It was almost jarring how easily they fell right back into their familiar dance once they started working together again. It felt the same in some ways, but now had a different sense of intensity to it. Maybe it was because they knew how painful it felt being without each other now or how rare it was to have a relationship like theirs.

Their type of bond was like a glimpse of heaven you’re only granted once in a lifetime so you can recognize what perfection actually is.

One of Chris’s favorite things to do was to watch her as if she was a complex subject he was told to study. He loved looking at her doing simple things - like putting her glasses on to read a script because she was as blind as he was, trying to mimic his stretches because she had to work on her balance, eating with her mouth open because she couldn’t stop talking to him for a few minutes, and perhaps his most favorite, looking over at him like she’s happier than she’d ever been - because she was.

Happy.

So happy.

So fucking happy.

It was the kind of happiness that made you question the validity of your own. The kind of happiness that was contagious to be around and almost overwhelming to witness. Their smiles were wider, their laughs were deeper, their hugs were tighter, their stares were longer, and their touches were constant.

During the first season of OC, Mariska made it a priority to film with him as much as possible. Chris believed she even negotiated a lower salary to be on several OC episodes just to make sure it was successful. On those days, he didn’t have any doubts that she would do anything for him - and for them.

When they’d film together, she couldn’t stop staring or touching him to reassure herself that he was really there with her again. It shocked him sometimes how reckless she allowed herself to be in front of other people, but it was hard to fight their chemistry in person. Their bodies in the same physical space just wouldn’t allow them not to be magnetically close.

And the sex.

The sex.

The sex also had a new element of extreme intimacy that only comes with experience and complete trust in your partner. Over the years, they shared an on and off sexual relationship, with the exception of the first few years after he left. Sex was something that always burned underneath the surface of them, but now, it evolved into a whole new level.

Chris didn't even remember their earliest days being this obsessive. In the beginning of their relationship, they were young, energetic, and just wanted to have fun before life became too complicated. During his decade away, they’d scratch their never-ending itch when they were able to reconnect, but it wasn’t as often as it used to be.

Now that Chris was back, they reverted almost instantly to their younger selves, trying to make up for lost time. Their bodies may have changed and don’t have the stamina or energy they used to, but they were proof that sex only gets better with age. They knew what they wanted, how their bodies wanted it, and weren’t held back by childish insecurities to ask, or most times, demand it.

Chris didn’t know if it was the nostalgia of being back playing Elliot Stabler, but his mind was completely consumed by all the things he wanted to do to her. He’d never have enough time to finish everything on his list, but was happy to die trying. He didn’t just want her - he needed her; craved her - all the time and it was a constant distraction.

The visible, youthful glow on Mariska’s face since he’d been back only signaled to him that she equally enjoyed his favorite pastime. Her radiant glow was also something Chris was smugly proud of.

To him, that was his best work; his mark; his craftsmanship.

Those were some of their better times when she actually allowed herself to let go and be happy with him again. Unfortunately, this wasn’t always the case.

Other days, like the last few in particular, she was completely cold and distant. She wouldn’t reach out or take his calls. She sided with the SVU writers of why her schedule wouldn’t allow her to film or the storyline didn’t make sense for her to be in it as much this season.

She even became influenced by some of friends, who never fully understood her relationship with Chris, warning her to be more cautious around him this time. Her friends were the ones there for her to pick up the pieces after he left, so Chris didn’t blame them for being skeptical. However, it still hurt how they viewed him as a disruptive presence in her life, when really he was the one who anchored her, despite their ups and downs.

Chris and Mariska’s personal struggles also spilled into their characters, which kept shifting the direction that Mariska, in particular, wanted the show to go. She continued to say they were trying to figure things out, but really, she was terrified for herself and her character to be all the way back in. Between her mixed emotions and the lack of long-term plans for both of their shows, there was constant confusion on where their relationship was going.

Chris, unfortunately, related to this all too well. It was clear that she was scared of losing herself so deeply in him and felt she had to put up walls in self-protection for fear he’d leave her again. The ball was in her court, but it still didn’t make it any easier for Chris knowing she felt this way.

He also knew a part of her would never truly forgive him for leaving. She’d still make little resentful comments about not watching his show because he didn’t watch her after he left. She’d talk about her natural chemistry with other actors or how great she would’ve been with John Slattery if he filled the role. She said it more than once to not have some level of truth to it or not want it to purposefully sting him. Chris played it off like he was jokingly jealous and it didn’t bother him, but her words cut him deeper than he’d admit.

For the past ten years, Mariska learned how to live, work, and exist in this universe without him. Chris never had to. When he started a new life and career in LA, he didn’t have to grieve the loss of her professionally because every new project never included her to miss.

He left her.

She was the one who had to endure the pain of no longer having him there. She was the one who felt that loss everyday for years in everything she did. She was the one who had to carry their show on alone with essentially a whole new team.

If the emptiness and anxiety Chris felt in the last few days was just a small dose of what she felt like back then, he was pretty confident he wouldn’t survive it.

Chris began to sweat through his shirt wondering if another panic attack was coming on. He clenched the pen along with the script he was holding until his knuckles turned white. The paranoia of never being close to her again was becoming overwhelming. The thought of not holding her, kissing her, touching her soon made him ready to explode.

He missed everything about her.

He missed the dark look in her eyes telling him she wanted him without saying a word. He missed the excuses she’d make to drag him back to his trailer before it was time for a break. He missed the way she would bite her lip to suppress a scream if too many people were around. He missed the peaceful look on her face when she’d fall asleep afterward and the groan she’d make when he’d wake her to get back to set.

He missed it all. Her voice. Her laugh. Her smile. Her skin. Her hair. Her mouth. Her eyes. Her neck. Her breasts. Her hands. Her ass. Her thighs. Her legs. Her smell. Her taste. Everything.

Chris slowly dropped the pen out of his now shaking hands. He was sure his life had become more of a slow death if he couldn’t be with her again soon.

The long separations in between filming together was not what he signed up for and the very opposite of why he came back. He felt the sudden urge to lash out at his lawyer, manager, and just about anyone involved in his deal for not including a clause to ensure he worked with her more frequently.

He paced around the trailer grabbing the back of his neck to relieve some tension, but he knew his own hands weren’t going to give him the release he’d been craving. The script he was reading now joined the spot on the floor next to his pen. It was no use in trying.

He couldn’t concentrate on anything other than his need for her.

Chris grabbed the phone out of his back pocket to make sure he didn’t have a missed call or text back from her. He sat back down feeling completely pathetic as he scrolled through all his sent texts to which went unanswered.

“Hey workin late tonight?”

“Too busy for me?”

“I know you’ve checked your phone in the last few days. Answer.”

“If you’re looking to get a reaction out of me…it’s working.”

He moved through his call history seeing the two unanswered FaceTime calls today and decided not even to look back on how many were missed yesterday. He wasn’t seriously worried about her, but this was getting ridiculous now. His feeling of hopeless need was now turning into a burning rage.

Chris tried FaceTiming her once more, but as expected, it went unanswered. That was it. He leapt up from the couch and swung the trailer door open so hard he thought it would break off. There was a show producer talking to some crew members outside looking up at him, startled by the sudden burst of the door.

“Hey, can someone please find me Mariska?” Chris asked urgently.

“Mariska?” the producer asked, confused as he knew she wasn’t on their set today.

“Yes, Mariska. Do you know more than one?” he spat back, easily showing his growing frustration which he rarely targeted at his crew.

“Let me see what I can do,” he replied, sensing Chris’s impatience.

“Thanks and as quickly as possible, please,” he requested breathlessly.

Chris wasn’t used to Mariska not being on set when he wanted her. During SVU, he spent about ten hours and sometimes six days a week with her. It wasn’t as if she was always available for him, but he at least felt more at peace knowing she was near.

It quickly became apparent that he didn’t know how to be Elliot Stabler without her. If he was being honest, he didn’t know how to be Chris Meloni without her either.

He inhaled sharply, praying someone would be able to reach her for him soon. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to scream, cry, or devour her first. No one could affect him in all the ways she could and right now, he hated it.

Five minutes later, the producer knocked on the door and popped his head in.

“Hey Chris, the SVU crew confirmed they’re filming today on location on the Upper East Side, including Mariska.”

“Where? Actually no, get her on the phone for me please,” Chris ordered.

“I think they’re filming though now, Chris, it might be pretty difficult to pull her out,” the producer cautiously replied.

The Italian New Yorker in Chris quickly took over as he began waving his hands in the air dramatically, trying to get his point across.

“I don’t care if someone has to drag her ass off set in the middle of shooting an Emmy winning performance! Get her on the fucking phone now,” he barked.

“On it,” the producer said, hurrying out of the trailer.

The more and more Chris thought of the situation, the angrier he got, whether it was rational or not. They were supposed to be doing this again together - as partners. She knew very well he only came back for her and she couldn’t just keep turning it on and off whenever she felt like it. More importantly, if she felt this conflicted about his return, he wished she’d at least be honest with him about it like they always used to be.

It also wasn’t lost on him that as his impatience grew, so did his arousal for her. He unconsciously bit his lip thinking back to one of the better times they shared together since he came back, wishing it could always be that way.

 

__________

 

Mariska was throwing a wrap party at her Manhattan home for SVU’s 22nd season and insisted that Chris be there. Contrary to the current circumstance, it was usually Mariska that initiated them being together. She was adamant he attended even though he felt incredibly out of place with a cast who barely knew him and writers who cursed the day he signed his new contract.

Chris also didn’t want to steal an ounce of Mariska’s shine or take away from the hard work any of them put in all season. SVU was no longer his house and he didn’t feel right about celebrating the close of a season he was only mildly a part of.

When he tried to politely decline her invitation over a late night call, he could still hear her screaming back in the phone.

“You’re coming! Don’t you dare say no! You’re coming and that’s the end of it,” she yelled.

“Come on,” he calmly responded, “I’m not crashing your party. It should be private with just you and your cast. We can celebrate together another time.”

“No, and you’re not crashing it if I’m inviting you! We built this thing together and now you’re finally back. Just…let me have this moment. Please,” she trailed off in a softer tone.

Who was he kidding? He never could resist when she begged him for something.

“Fine, but I’m only stopping by to congratulate everyone and then leaving to let you do your SVU thing. Okay?” Chris asked cautiously.

“Sure,” she responded, knowing full well she’d never let him leave.

When Chris arrived at the party, he was a little nervous over how he’d be received, but knew this was important to her. He made his way up to her rooftop terrace to have a quick drink before they started their dinner. There weren’t too many people there and he felt relieved that she kept it to an intimate setting. However, it also made him question even more so what right he had to be there.

Unsurprisingly, he heard her before he saw her. Guests were crowded around her as she told a story enthusiastically with her hands and a laugh he could recognize with his eyes closed.

A member of the cast quickly spotted him as he walked through the door and yelled, “Chris! I didn’t know you were coming!”

Mariska whipped her head around and practically ran straight towards him before he could take another step inside the door.

“You’re here,” she beamed, kissing the corner of his mouth and wrapping her arms tightly around him, “and you smell good too.”

Chris always missed the feeling of her wrapping her arms around him, like he was reattaching a missing limb back to his body. It’s something that never got old, even decades later.

“Well it didn’t sound like I had much of a choice,” he chuckled, breathing in the scent of her hair and tapping her back a few times affectionately. He didn’t know when they started tapping each other when they hugged, but they automatically tapped in total rhythm now.

He leaned away realizing he didn’t get a chance to properly look at her yet. Her hair was beautifully blown out with curled waves framing her face. Her makeup was softly done with lips a perfect shade of pink he desperately wished he could kiss, but knew by now their limits.

“Hi, Baby” he said softly, wanting to relive greeting again her as if he hadn’t recently seen her.

She tucked her hair almost shyly behind her ear and grinned, “Hi.”

Chris ran his large hands up and down her arms noticing the thin material of her black top with feathered ends and matching black pants. He tried not to stare too noticeably down the V-neck and was already fantasizing how amazing her ass and thighs would look in the thin material when she walked away from him.

Mariska crinkled her nose watching him shamelessly eye her up until he got the full picture. She always loved how desired he made her feel whenever he looked at her.

“Wait... are these…are you wearing pajamas?” He asked in shock.

She laughed back at his amused face, “Expensive pajamas, thank you! I wanted to wear pajamas to my own dinner party so I did.”

“You look incredible, but had I known, I would’ve worn mine too,” he smiled, still rubbing her arms.

Mariska crooked her eyebrow up at him more flirtatious than intended, but couldn’t help it.

“You don’t wear pajamas,” she slowly said.

“Exactly,” he smirked back.

As she began feeling the flush rise in her cheeks, she quickly remembered they had a group of guests probably staring at them waiting to greet Chris too. They couldn’t help but to naturally fall into their own world whenever they were together.

Mariska forced herself to walk away from him, but not before giving a subtle wiggle of her ass to kick off the wicked games they played with each other.

She always knew what she was doing.

Chris took his time to speak to all her guests, congratulating them on a great season. He was charming and personable, making sure he got to know all the people in her life a little better. These were the people that he assumed filled the void after he left. He almost wanted to thank them for being there when he couldn’t, but felt that might be too awkward.

He caught Mariska’s eye a few times staring over at him as he captivated her guests. She had a big, proud smile on knowing everyone would love him just as much as she did. The genuine look of happiness on her face made all of this worth it.

Chris made sure to take selfies with her and the rest of the group to post for fans that always went wild over seeing them together. They were still so pleasantly surprised that after all these years, the fans still cared enough to show up for them so passionately.

After a curt greeting from the SVU writers, Chris finished his drink and was ready to leave before everyone started dinner. When he began to say his goodbyes, he felt Mariska automatically next to him, taking his hand.

“Before you go, can I show you the dinner table set up? I designed it myself.” She asked sweetly.

“Of course,” he grinned back, tightening his grip.

Chris said his final goodbyes as Mariska led their joined hands to the elevator, taking them down to the dining room on her first floor. He was blown away by the numerous staff making final touches on the long dining table filled with beautiful pink flowers and intricate blue and gold plates. She pointed giddily to her place setting at the SVU cookies and NYPD chocolates. The personalized details she put into everything didn’t surprise him, but still made him smile.

“Looks amazing,” he said, giving her hand a squeeze, “I should go though and let you get back to your guests. Thanks for including me.”

Mariska smirked coyly and pulled his hand to the other end of the table, pointing down to the place card at the head seat opposite hers.

He squinted down to read it without his glasses, “Chris Meloni”.

He instantly felt a fluttering in his chest ready to protest that he doesn’t deserve that kind of importance, but she stopped him immediately. His place would always be alongside her - as her equal; her other half; her partner.

She placed her hands on each side of his face and sternly said so he knew she meant it, “Wherever I am is where you belong.”

He was speechless as he turned his head to kiss her palm that was cupping his cheek, trying not to become emotional.

“And it would be rude to abandon your guests as co-host of this dinner party now. So…you’ll stay?” She asked innocently, knowing very well he’d never say no to her looking at him like that.

He narrowed his eyes unable to hide his grin at how she can expertly disguise manipulation for a sweet gesture.

“Well played, Kid. Well played,” he laughed, pulling her into a tight hug and wishing there weren’t any other guests there to entertain tonight.

Mariska knew they had to be careful with numerous staff around them. While the full extent of their relationship wasn’t a secret to those closest to them, it wasn’t publicized outside of their tightest circle. Still, she couldn’t resist being in his arms, so she discreetly stole a quick kiss on his neck, swiping her tongue out lightly to taste him. He gripped her hips instinctively, but she quickly pulled away.

“Let me go back and get the others. Take off your blazer! It’s going to be a fun night,” she exclaimed with a twinkle in her eye.

Chris shook his head in amusement watching her happily run off on a bad knee in her party pajamas now that she got her way. As if it was ever possible that she wouldn’t.

A while later, the dinner was turning into an amazing night filled with great food, too much wine, and stories from the SVU set Chris loved hearing, but also tugged at him for missing so much time with her. Everyone was also interested in hearing Chris’s stories of the earlier days on SVU and they couldn’t believe how different it was.

At the other side of the table, everyone was equally engrossed in conversation with Mariska. As the room filled with her vibrant energy, deep down Chris felt his jealousy rising as he watched all the guests fawning all over her. He had no right to complain, but irrationally just wanted her all to himself.

By the frequent dark looks she was throwing him from the other end of the table, he was sure she felt the same way as she sat sulking at everyone stretching their way over to talk to him.

They only ever wanted each other.

After the first course, someone suggested they take a group photo. Mariska immediately got up from her seat and sauntered over to his end of the table. Truthfully, she was thankful to finally have an excuse to go over to him without making a scene.

Mariska stood behind Chris’s chair, placing her arms firmly on his shoulders ready to take the picture. She wanted everyone who looked at it to know that this party was theirs and he was hers. Chris had every right to sit at the head of her table no matter what anyone else’s opinion was, including some of the guests at this table.

Before going back to her seat, she wrapped her arms tighter around his shoulders and bent down to whisper in his ear, “You’re too far away from me.”

“Didn’t you make the seating arrangements?” Chris asked, smiling and thinking the same thing.

She brushed her lips closer to his neck and sighed, “Yes, but I wasn’t prepared for you to look like the sexy king of the table.”

“Rish…” he warned, surveying the table to check if anyone was watching them. Luckily, the majority of people were already refocused on their own conversations.

“And stop giving everyone else so much attention. You’re barely noticing me,” she pouted, after already having her fair share of wine.

Chris couldn’t hold in his amused laughter over her complaining about a situation she created. He secretly loved when she got a little possessive, needy, and occasionally bratty. He felt her sneak her fingertips in the opening of his black button down shirt, lightly scratching his chest. His jaw automatically clenched by her touch.

He moved his mouth closer to her ear and whispered, “If I was able to give you the attention I want, I would’ve already thrown you on top of this table in front of all your guests. Now go back to your seat before I do.”

Mariska froze at his words as she released her arms around him and prayed the sudden shake in her legs wouldn’t prevent her from nonchalantly walking back to her seat.

She sat back down with a thud, forcing herself back into the mundane conversation with the writers next to her. She could feel the heat already between her legs as her mind continued to replay his words. She took a sip of wine and glanced back over at him at the other end of the table.

There were still people talking around him, but he continued to stare only at her with a deep, lustful look in his eyes she’d see many times before. Taking a larger gulp of her wine, she tore her eyes away from his, knowing this wasn’t the time or place for any of that.

After they finished dessert, more of Mariska’s guests arrived. They were her Broadway friends who also had roles on SVU. By the instruments they brought, they’d also be providing some after dinner entertainment. Mariska jolted up from the table ushering everyone into her living room. At this point, she already kicked off her shoes and pulled her hair up in a top knot bun after complaining she was getting too warm.

As Chris grabbed his blazer to leave before another level of chaos presumed, he instantly felt Mariska’s eyes boring into him. He glanced up and correctly predicted her threatening eyes glaring at him if he made one more move to leave. He raised his hands up in innocence and she nodded back firmly like a professor scolding a bold student.

Before the music began, Mariska brought her nervous friends over to meet Chris. Apparently, they were huge fans of his and had wanted to meet him for years. Chris happily obliged their selfie request while Mariska rolled her eyes at them stroking his ego, but secretly melted over how her worlds were colliding.

“Babe, point the camera up like I taught you when taking selfies,” Mariska yelled, rushing them along.

Chris did as he was told knowing she got extra bossy after a few drinks and knew everyone was in for a show. However, he didn’t expect that she also planned to be part of the act, as he watched her put another chair out for herself next to the Broadway stars.

Once the music started playing and drinks continued to flow, everyone began to dance and sing poorly along with actual singers who luckily drowned the rest of them out.

Even in a crowded room, Chris couldn’t take his eyes off the woman in black party pajamas singing off key and dancing off beat on a fractured knee without a brace in sight. Her makeup began to run from the sweat beading on her forehead and her messy hair bun bobbed around carelessly. Chris just smiled and swore he’d never seen anyone look more perfect.

Mariska spotted him watching her from across the room surrounded by her friends holding onto his every word. This time; however, she didn’t look away from his unabashed stare.

She held his gaze as her eyes began to travel down his body, noticing a few more buttons on his shirt were undone. She figured he must also be getting too warm by the little droplets of sweat running down his red chest now heaving up and down. She continued moving her eyes down to his jeans, straining to see if he was starting to show a glimpse of the tension she’d been feeling all night.

Chris quickly caught her staring at his groin and daringly moved his palm over his now semi-hard dick through his jeans, flicking his fingers to touch it without drawing too much attention. He knew she saw him when her mouth fell slightly open and suddenly stopped singing for the first time all night. She raised her eyes back to his in shock as he arrogantly smirked at her darkened expression.

Once she came to her senses, she decided two can play this game. Mariska whispered in her friend’s ear and suddenly the music they were playing became a bit sexier and slower. Mariska began moving her hips and arms more sensually to the music. Every time she moved, her shirt raised higher exposing more skin. She playfully pulled a friend off of his chair to dance with her. Not taking her eyes off Chris, she started enjoying the feeling, a bit too much, of a body sliding against hers while imagining it was Chris’s body on her instead.

Even though Chris knew Mariska was only dancing with a friend, watching another man put his hands on her still drove him crazy. He started to feel like they were taking this too far as he felt the blood rush to his head, and other areas, just by watching her body move in slow circles. He’d give anything for her to be moving on top of him like that.

Mariska must’ve forgotten that she was tempting a man who wasn’t afraid to dance to anything, anywhere, or in front of anyone. When Chris began approaching her with his infamous New York City sea urchin walk, Mariska froze in anticipation. She didn’t trust either of them at this point and as he got closer, she contemplated either running away or risking it all in front of everyone.

Chris pretended to playfully step in for the man she was dancing with, but he was actually serious in wanting him away from her. He didn’t care who it was - he became an even more possessive ass after a few drinks.

“I’ve got this one,” he said, narrowing his eyes at the audacity of her for dancing so sexily in front of him.

“The dance or Mariska?” Her friend asked jokingly, but was too drunk to notice the intensity in Chris’s eyes.

“Both,” he responded, grabbing Mariska’s bicep to pull her off to the side so they could talk without a full audience.

Chris practically dragged her by the arm into a corner before she could even speak. Luckily, the remaining guests were too wrapped up in their own conversations to notice when she put her hands on his chest, digging her nails harder into his body as he moved closer.

“Chris…what are you doing?” She asked nervously.

He breathed in the lingering scent of her perfume and the natural scent of her body sweat that drove him even more crazy.

“Seriously? Moving like that in front of me and expecting me not to touch you,” he grumbled in her ear.

Mariska bit down on her lip relishing the feeling of his body so close to hers, but knew she was playing with fire tonight. At this point, she could blame her words and actions on the wine later.

“I want you so badly,” she blurted out more easily than she even expected.

Chris raised his eyebrows in smug satisfaction. He appreciated as they got older that it took them less time to admit what they wanted. He took the opportunity to stare directly down her luscious cleavage that he was dying to bury his face in all night.

“Baby…please,” he hotly warned, his lips coming closer to the spot under her ear.

He wasn’t sure if he was begging her to stop because he knew they couldn’t or begging her to kick every one of the guests out immediately. He was sure it was the latter.

“I saw you before…touching yourself,” she breathed, as her eyes became hazy with the wine and the nearness of him, “How dare you do that here and in front of our guests.”

“I wanted you to see me,” he whispered roughly, “And you wanted it to be your hands on me, didn’t you?”

She quickly realized she’d awoken a sleeping bear, but couldn’t stop either of them now.

“God yes…” she sighed deeply, licking her lips and staring at his.

He continued shamelessly eye fucking her and groaned, “Or maybe you’d rather your mouth on me instead?”

Mariska gasped at his brass words and quickly checked to make sure everyone was still preoccupied. While she considered these people her friends, she didn’t feel comfortable with them knowing anything further about her relationship with Chris.

He sensed her anxiety and decided to give her a break tonight, abruptly pulling away from her.

“Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m gonna get going,” he said as responsibly as he could. He knew one of them had to stop and by the heaviness in her eyelids, it wasn’t going to be her.

Mariska started to panic at the thought of him leaving, even if just for the night. She sometimes still felt separation anxiety from him, especially after a few drinks.

“But you’re a co-host! You need to stay and help me clean up,” she begged.

Chris glanced at the multiple staff members around the living room busily scrubbing down tables and floors. He knew she wasn’t going to lift a finger tonight, but still admired her for trying.

“Something tells me you’ll be okay,” he laughed.

Mariska couldn’t help herself from caressing his face not caring who saw them anymore. She really wanted to melt right into his body, but tried to find some form of self-restraint.

“But I have been drinking…don’t you want to make sure I’m safe and get to bed okay?” She asked, knowing she wasn’t making any sense.

Chris smiled, “One, you’re already safely at home. Two, you’re already in your pajamas. And three, there’s other people waiting upstairs to get you to bed.”

Mariska scoffed in frustration, “For starters, these are not pajamas that I sleep in! These are my party pajamas.”

He always admired at how she can go from sexy to adorable in a matter of minutes. Mariska felt her window of opportunity closing in and started to become desperate.

“And I don’t care about anyone else - I just want you,” she pleaded, with her voice starting to break, “I only ever want you.”

Chris immediately stopped his amused laughter as those words hit him hard in the chest. His blue eyes turned softer looking into her now teary brown ones, as they so often did when he looked at her. His heart began aching inside of him; wishing things didn’t have to be so complicated.

God, he missed her. Even with her standing right in front of him - he still missed her.

Delicately, he touched her chin and nodded back in unspoken understanding. He only ever wanted her too.

“Walk me out?” He asked, sighing heavily.

Mariska dropped her head in defeat and took his hand to lead him out. By that point, everyone was already too drunk for goodbyes so Chris grabbed his blazer and headed towards the door.

He tightly pressed his lips together trying to be strong, but still couldn’t tear his eyes away from the sight of her ass bouncing in the thin material as she walked him through her house.

He could tell she was sweating by the damp hair at the base of her neck and her black top sticking to the back of her. He thought of how wet her bra must feel and how pungent her underwear must smell after the long night. Chris knew he was an animal about these little things, but he loved her natural taste and smell, especially like this.

Mariska glanced back and smirked at the painful look on his face. She had to admire his determination in trying to behave tonight, but wasn’t confident he’d actually make it to the door.

To add one more fun obstacle for him, Mariska pretended to notice something on the floor and slowly bent down to pick it up, nudging her ass into him.

“Oops, thought I saw the earring I was looking for, but it wasn’t,” she said lowly.

Chris audibly moaned watching her bend over, making sure to also give him a view down her shirt as she picked her body back up.

She took his hand again to continue walking him out, but he pulled it roughly away.

“Actually, I forgot I wore a hat here too. I might’ve left it up on the terrace,” he said, challenging her right back.

She raised her eyebrow testing him, “Did you? We should probably go to the roof and check then.”

“We probably should,” he said, grabbing her arm and pulling her towards the small elevator in her house. In times like these, he was happy he knew her house so well.

The elevator doors barely closed before they were on each other - clinging and panting and crushing their sweaty bodies together.

Chris easily picked her up with one arm and smashed her body up against the elevator walls, barely letting her come up for air. She was more than happy to suffocate like this and figured he could breathe for both of them.

“Where?” He asked desperately, pulling at the drawstring of her pants, “Tell me where to go.”

“Rooftop. Can’t go to the second floor,” she mumbled against his mouth, “And has to be quick.”

Mariska prayed no one was up there and couldn’t promise how long they’d have alone together. The house was still full of people and someone surely would be looking for her after a few minutes.

The elevator doors opened as they momentarily parted from each other’s grasp. Chris quickly surveyed the terrace like a feral beast ready to stake his claim, and thankfully, they were the only ones up there. Her impressive rooftop garden was dimly lit displaying colorful flowers and green ivy along the walls. All of this typically would be romantic, but that wasn’t what brought them up here tonight.

They had other business to attend to.

Chris spotted a darker, more discreet area blocked by higher plants overlooking the city lights. The iron railing along the ledge gave him an idea of just how he wanted her.

Mariska saw him eyeing the spot and pushed his chest back towards it with a devilish grin.

“Cameras don’t reach over there either,” she said, beginning to tug at his belt.

“Guess you’ve done this before,” Chris huffed, failing to hide his jealousy over her.

She continued unbuckling his belt and ripped it quickly off in one swipe.

“Don't start,” she ordered, “Just need you.”

Chris expertly unbuttoned her top with his large fingers within seconds and left it open. He knew they couldn’t get completely undressed, but still wanted to take what he could.

He pulled her tightly to him kissing her neck and licking the sweat he wanted to taste all night running down her full breasts. The stubble of his growing beard rubbed against her skin, sending chills up her spine.

“Just need me for what?” He asked, firmly pulling down her bra so he could suck on her erect nipples.

The high she was already experiencing from the dancing and wine made her even more inhibited. She pulled his head up from her chest and kissed him hard, nipping at his lips with her teeth.

“To fuck me,” she breathed, “I just need you to fuck me.”

By now, she’d already opened his shirt and pulled his jeans down just below his plump, firm ass. He knew they were in a hurry so he couldn’t do all the things he wanted, but he still was determined to make her feel good.

He licked his fingers and reached down into her lace underwear to test how ready she was, sticking one of them inside as she gasped at the sudden contact. He added a second and moved deeply in and out trying to stretch her quickly. He was dying to taste her to bring her to a wetness that was better for both of them, but time wasn’t on his side.

He still got a quick hit of his favorite drug just from sucking each of his fingers that were inside her, grunting as the taste reached his tongue.

Mariska sneakily snuck a hand down his already damp underwear, grabbing onto his throbbing erection and tugging on his balls harder than she would if she was sober.

He hissed into her mouth and pulled back from her touch. He wanted her so badly all night that he was afraid he wouldn’t even make it inside of her.

“Babe, we don’t have a lot of time,” she groaned, pulling his dick back towards her not caring if it hurt him.

Chris felt his breath start to leave his body over her forcefulness, but couldn’t stop kissing and touching her. His fingers continued applying pressure and drawing circles around her clit, but he still wasn’t satisfied.

“Not yet,” he gnawed on her neck, “It’ll hurt.”

She squeezed his dick a little tighter in her hands causing him to jump at the sensation. God, she was in a rough mood tonight, even for her. Clearly she was less concerned about hurting him.

“I can handle it,” she whined, “just put it inside, Baby.”

Chris couldn’t wait anymore even if he tried. He forcefully turned her around and pushed her pants down to her knees, pulling her ass towards him.

“Grab onto the railing, Rish,” he ordered, dragging the tip of his dick along her ass and clit.

They didn’t have any more time for foreplay so Chris spit into his hand and rubbed her down as best he could. She moaned at the contact and could’ve just been satisfied with his hand for how turned on she felt.

Chris spread her legs wider and tightly held onto her hips as he thrust all the way into her in one motion.

“Fuck…Chris,” she gasped, slamming and gripping the railing tighter.

Given the size and force of him, she knew he was right in that she’ll be sore tomorrow, but none of it mattered.

“Too much?” He asked, already breathless from the initial feeling of being inside her.

Instead of using her words, she used the railing as leverage to push back into him, nudging him to do it again.

He quickly got the message and pulled all the way out and thrust hard back inside. They easily found their rhythm, with him keeping one hand around the back of her neck and the other firmly on her hip rocking furiously into her.

If they weren’t in a hurry, he would’ve been embarrassed by how fast he felt himself coming undone. By her increased breathing and body shaking underneath him, he knew she was close too. He reached around her to massage her clit, finishing her off as his thrusts became sloppier closer to his climax.

“God…right there,” she panted, throwing her head back over her shoulder. He knew she liked to be kissed when she was close so he was happy to oblige. He wanted to watch her anyway as she went over the edge, which was more difficult in this position.

Pulling her face to him, he stuck his tongue roughly down her throat, swallowing her frenzied moans. It was over for him when he felt her body clench tightly around him as she reached her peak, throwing her arm back around his neck to hold her up.

“Yes…oh God…yes,” she gasped for air, digging her nails into his neck hard enough to draw blood that she’d lick off once he was done with her.

His body shivered frantically as he soon followed her, finishing deep inside.

“Jesus…Baby…holy shit,” he grunted, with his forehead resting on her back.

“I know…every time,” she breathed removing her clenched hands from the railing.

After a few moments of catching his breath, he wiped down her ass and thighs as best he could with his shirt and pulled her pants back up. She quickly started to button her top as he tucked himself back into his pants. The last thing they wanted was to end this night in disaster.

For the first time since they’d been on the roof, Chris took notice of how beautiful the city lights appeared they were overlooking. He tightened his arms around her waist and kissed her cheek sweetly; swaying their bodies in a slow dance only they knew the steps to.

“Look at our city, our New York,” he smiled, pointing towards the lights, “She’s shining bright tonight.”

Mariska closed her eyes still coming down from her high and wanted to savor this rare, quiet moment with him.

“Because she knows you’re home,” she exhaled peacefully.

Chris turned her around to face him and tenderly tucked the hair that had fallen on her face behind her ear.

“I fucking love you,” he softly whispered, only for her and their city to hear.

He kissed her lips and looked back at the illuminated skyline that he missed so much, knowing their time tonight was nearly over.

“Insanely,” she sighed back contently, as he pulled her in closer to his chest.

He breathed in the scent of her hair, cherishing the euphoric feeling he wasn’t sure he’d ever have again.

Home.

His home.

He really was home again.

 

__________

 

Chris started to loosen his tie that now felt like it was strangling him. Just the thought of her was literally starting to take his breath away. The imbalance his body naturally felt of not being with her, around her, or able to reach her was simply breathtaking.

After what felt like an eternity, the producer knocked back on the door and decided to wait until Chris opened it unsure of what state he’d find him in. Chris barged towards the door to find the producer holding out a cell phone.

“She’s on,” he murmured, visibly stressed and exhausted.

Chris nodded in appreciation and grabbed the phone out of his hand, slamming the door shut.

Finally.

“You fucking kidding me right now?” He immediately barked through the phone, not bothering with a cordial greeting. There was no time for pleasantries.

“Chris? They said there’s an emergency. What is it? What happened?” Mariska asked, sounding breathless.

He tried to block out the nagging feeling of guilt for worrying her and the peaceful relief her voice always brought him. Instead, he focused on the crazed panic and paranoia he’d felt for the last few days.

“Where the hell have you been?” He asked, nearly shouting.

Chris knew deep down he was probably being unreasonable, but didn’t care at the moment.

Mariska, now picking up on his accusatory tone, grew more defensive.

“Excuse me?” She asked, “We’ve been shooting since early this morning in a locked down church - closed set and no phones. What is the problem?”

“And all day yesterday? How about last night? Were you also filming then and couldn’t answer or call me back?” He questioned, swinging his arms around as if she could see him through the phone.

He wasn’t going to let up any time soon.

Before she could even get a word in he continued, “If there’s a problem here, you come talk to me about it. You don’t just shut me out like a child. That fucking hurts you know.”

Mariska quickly felt herself triggered by his tone and hypocritical words as she reached her own high level of irritation.

“Oh, does it? Does it hurt when somebody’s not there when you need them? Yes, actually I do know what that fucking feels like,” she harshly replied.

The crew around her began to raise their eyebrows in alarm after overhearing the shift go from concern to anger.

Chris continued pacing angrily through his trailer and pressed on, “So that’s what this is about? Some sort of revenge you felt like having on me this week?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she spat, quickly disregarding his accusation.

Chris scoffed, “Like hell you don’t!”

When she didn’t immediately respond, Chris suddenly panicked that he might have went too far and this conversation would have the opposite effect of his intention. All that mattered was being with her again.

He continued, now in a softer tone, “Look, you’re scared. I get it. If you need me to say it now and every day until you believe me, I will - I’m not leaving you again.”

Mariska felt the tears welling up in her eyes and cursed herself for being so easily emotional. She’d never admit it, but ignoring him might’ve been harder on her than it had been on him in the last few days.

“You don’t know that for sure,” she said quieter, still trying not to break, “and I’m not scared.”

Chris lowered his voice and whispered, “Baby, you are. You know it and I know it because I know you…better than anyone and -“

Mariska became triggered all over again by the nerve he unintentionally hit.

“No! No, that’s the thing - you don’t and you can’t just waltz back into our lives and act like nothing’s changed,” she screamed again, cutting off the words she couldn’t stand hearing.

Our lives?” he questioned, already knowing how they impulsively blurred the lines between themselves and their characters.

Mariska glanced around at the crew now fully staring at her and realized this was not the place for this conversation.

“I’m not doing this with you right now,” she said firmly, “I’m going to ask you again, are you okay or not? We are in the middle of shooting here!”

“Actually, no - I am not okay. I need to see you,” he said commandingly.

Mariska realized she couldn’t complete the rest of the conversation in front of her crew so she briskly walked to a small back room of the church they were shooting in as her blood continued to boil. The crew immediately made a pathway to let her pass as they knew by the sudden stop in production and the tone of this phone call to not to get in the way of whatever was going on.

Even Ice, who she was filming with today, just shrugged his shoulders as he stepped out to take advantage of the sudden break. Knowing the two of them for so many years and seeing the fierce look on her face, he figured this could take awhile.

Mariska slammed the door shut behind her ready to tear into him.

“Are you fucking serious? For your sake, I actually hope there’s something wrong,” she said forcefully.

“There is. I said I need to see you,” he responded, tapping on the wall tensely.

“You really had three assistants running around the set in a panic to stop filming and pull me to a phone just because you need to see me?” She yelled, becoming louder and louder at the audacity of him.

She was sure some of the crew must’ve heard her as the sounds echoed off the vacant church walls.

“Yes, I did,” he simply answered, much more calmly this time without an ounce of humor. He was just stating the facts.

Mariska sighed inwardly and couldn’t help but soften at his arrogance and directness. Those were some of the qualities she annoyingly found the sexiest about him.

“You’re an asshole sometimes, you know that?” She asked, trying her hardest not to let him hear her smile through the phone.

“As are you,” he replied matter-of-factly, also cracking a grin for the first time in days.

Mariska checked her watch, aware of how many scenes they still needed to shoot.

“Look, I only have a few minutes considering production had to stop because of you. Now what is it that you need to see me about that you can’t tell me over the phone?” She asked, still trying to calm down.

“Well, I can tell you over the phone, but it’s much better if I show you in person what I need,” Chris purred slowly into the phone.

“Hold on…is this…are you...” she slowly breathed, as she began putting the pieces together.

“Baby…come on. What is it, six weeks now? I’m dying here without you…let me see you,” he admitted, fully pulling at the rest of his now loosened tie.

“You horny son of a bitch…” she drawled quietly into the phone, now becoming extremely conscious of anyone overhearing their conversation. God could forgive her later for using this kind of language in a church.

“Oh, spare me your innocent surprise! As if you don’t know what you’re doing? I’ve seen some of the pictures and videos you’ve posted lately. Barefaced, tousled hair…you know what that does to me, Rish,” he pleaded with her now.

Mariska tried to keep her voice steady and warned, “Like I’ve said before, I am filming in a church today of all places. I can’t talk about this right now.”

That statement alone was like giving a starving dog a bone.

Chris’s voice turned huskier and groaned, “Every prayer in the world can’t save you from the sins we’re going to commit when I see you again.”

He could hear her swallow hard through the phone as her voice became more ragged.

“Chris…don’t, please. I have to go and I’m sure you need to get back to work too.”

“No, wait! I just need to see you. How about later tonight? Tomorrow morning? I can’t focus on anything else. I…I miss you,” he now begged her.

“I know baby, but I gotta go. Don’t you have your own show to film now?” She asked, now playfully toying with him.

The truth was nothing made her feel more alive, more sexy, more everything, than when he expressed just how much he needed her.

“Sorry, maybe I’m not making myself clear. I’m serious when I say that I need you. All of you. Now,” Chris demanded, with his mouth pressed tightly to the phone.

Mariska put her hand against the back of the door to steady herself as she felt dizzy at the thought of him putting his hands on her again. The truth was she missed and needed him just as much, but was too stubborn to admit it. A soft moan escaped her lips, but she was still unwilling to give in completely. He’d have to work harder for it.

“Please don’t tempt me with something I can’t have, but I promise it’ll be worth the wait,” she teased.

Mariska’s deeper voice was now fully torturing him and Chris began to unravel even more as he protested, “The wait? I said I’m not -“

She quickly cut off his pleading, “Sure you’ll figure something out.”

Suddenly the phone was filled with empty silence on the other end.

Did she just? No. She couldn’t. She wouldn’t.

“Hello? Hello?” Chris asked back in shock.

She could, she would, and she did.

Chris tightened his grip on the phone, tapping it to his forehead a few times as he thought of how emboldened she just acted, especially after ignoring him for days and after he begged to see her.

He tried to slow down his breathing as he adjusted his now tightened pants which had become almost painful from how hard he’d gotten just from hearing her voice, and even harder at the nerve of her for playing with him like this.

“Fuck…” Chris breathed out, as he found the energy to stand grabbing his coat to hold it in front of him to avoid any embarrassing onlookers. There was no other option for him other than to fall into her trap just like he knew she wanted and needed him to.

He found his keys and wallet before making his way towards the trailer door. The producer and crew were still outside pretending to be in deep conversation.

Chris handed the producer back the phone and abruptly asked, “When are we wrapping?”

“They’re finalizing the shots to make sure we got everything this morning. Probably another two or three hours,” he responded.

“Another two or three hours? No…no, sorry. Not today. Tell them the shots are fine. I’m leaving,” he said, shaking his head repeatedly.

The anxiety of the producer began to rise and said nervously, “Chris, I don’t think-“

Cutting off the producer, he asked, “Where’s my driver? I gotta get out of here.”

Chris was now mentally checked out and unwilling to hear any objection to his plan. He walked a little up the sidewalk praying no fans were lingering around his trailer. Finally, he spotted the black suburban and his driver, who acted more like his therapist today.

“Hey! Take me to the Upper East Side, please,” Chris requested urgently.

“Yes, Sir. Do you have an address?” The driver asked.

The producer caught up with him and dodged in front of the car door hoping to make one last attempt and pleaded, “Chris, let’s just wait until -“

“Jesus Christ, if one more person tells me to wait today - I am done waiting,” Chris said exasperated, “Where’s the church SVU is shooting in?”

The producer looked visibly shocked asking, “You’re…you’re going to the SVU set?”

Chris didn’t flinch and ordered, “Address. Now.”

“It’s 73rd and 1st, but SVU has a closed set today,” the producer pointed out, trying to remedy the potential mess of a situation.

Chris let out a loud laugh as he opened the car door turning back to the producer.

“Closed set, huh? I’m Elliot fucking Stabler. Let them try to keep me out. Now let’s go – church on 73rd and 1st,” he tapped on the dashboard of the suburban.

“But…what are you going there for?” The producer asked through the window, still confused and wondering how to explain this to the rest of the crew.

“Well it’s a church so…I guess to worship my God,” Chris smirked, climbing into the passenger seat.

“How long until we get there?” he asked his driver, closing the passenger door.

“I can get you there in about thirty minutes,” he replied, already punching the address into the GPS.

“Make it twenty. I’m in desperate need of saving,” Chris grinned devilishly, still firmly holding onto the coat covering the situation in his lap.

“You got it, Sir,” the driver nodded, slamming on the gas pedal.

Chris laughed to himself looking out of the window at their city, thinking of all the crazy things she’d get him to do for her over the years. The games they played only have gotten more heated, more intense, and more unhinged since he came back.

There was no stopping it now.

Mariska knew exactly how to trigger him and knew he would do absolutely anything to get to her when he’s in this state, or any time for that matter.

She was the queen - his queen - and she had him just where she wanted him. She was daring him to challenge her and testing how far he’d take it, hoping he’d still show up for her like he used to.

Chris tapped anxiously on the car window, counting down the minutes until he could finally be with her again. How he ever went years without her, was still a mystery to him. He knew they still had a lot of long-standing issues to work through, but was willing to put in the work to get his best friend back. He was done accepting their hot and cold behavior and needed her in his life more consistently and knew she wanted the same.

He was determined to be her safety net again and if he had to walk, run, or drive a thousand miles to prove to her that he was here to stay, he’d do it every day until she felt safe enough to jump.

And he’d be there.

Arms wide open to catch her and ready to fall back right along with her.

Fall back in love, fall back in trust, and fall back in partnership.

They owed it to themselves, and maybe even more so to Elliot and Olivia, to find their way back to each other again.

“About ten more minutes, Sir,” the driver assured him, noticing Chris continually checking his watch.

Chris nodded, “Thanks. Appreciate everything today.”

Chris felt like a love-struck teenager on his way to throw rocks at his girlfriend’s window and stand outside with a stereo above his head proclaiming his relentless admiration for her.

Time may have taken its toll in so many ways, but Chris knew that he and Mariska were still those young, wild, and free loving spirits that needed each other to survive.

On days like today, maybe they just need to be reminded of the only thing that ever really mattered since the beginning- the insane love they had for each other.

After all, they still got it.