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Love You Still

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Mornings in the Benson-Stabler household had never been the quietest of moments. In fact, they'd always been somewhat of a noisy, rarmbunctious affair with lots of arguing over bathrooms, the water temperature, whether or not someone remembered to pack the lunches, who was picking whom up from school or other activities. Then, there was the coordinating schedules, making sure that everyone got where they needed to be while the other people in the house were where they had to be as well. Parties, playdates, everything was always written down, scheduled, and kept track of. It was the one place where the family could thrive. 

"Allie!" Olivia Benson called up the stairs, standing with her hand on the railing. She loved this house, and was surprised when they'd found it that it was in a quiet neighborhood, within easy transit to the city, but still felt like a suburban house. "You have five minutes to get down here before I leave and you're stranded." 

Noah was already situated at the kitchen table, eating the last of his cereal next to the two youngest kids. Which, oddly enough, were almost like Irish Twins to Noah. She remembered the surprising moment when  she found out they were coming along. It had been a rough year, and they'd been fostering Noah for about three months when she started feeling extremely fatigued, run-down, and just...well, she wasn't doing very well at all. So, she'd made an appointment with her GP and received the shock of her life that afternoon. 

She smiles, remembering the way she went home, was sitting casually on the couch when Elliot walked through the door that afternoon and she just  looked up at him, holding Noah on her lap and motioned to the box on the table in front of her. Part of her brain was still in shock...there she was,forty-three years old and pregnant. She would've been happy  to just  have Allie and Noah along with the four kids from his marriage to Kathy. She remembers watching him as he reached for the small box and her hand landed on his arm, tears in her eyes when she looked up at his face. 

"Promise you'll still love me?" 

"I could never stop, Olivia." He meant every word. 

Or, that's what she thought. 

Now, as she stares up the stairs, she waits on their oldest daughter to come down. It scares her shitless that  Allie is fifteen years old and one year away from getting her license. Allie is all the best parts of both of her parents and has absolutely none of their bad traits. She's athletic, tall, smart...and beautiful (that's the part that scares Olivia shitless, because Elliot's been through this with three daughters before Allie, hell, three before Allie and Serena). 

"Look Mom, I'm wearing something that covers my stomach, are you happy now?" Allie's sarcasm, that's maybe the thing that is a negative she got from her parents. Olivia sighs, shaking her head. "I'm going to go grab a pop tart for breakfast." 

"Okay." She walks into the kitchen, bending down over Fin and Serena to make sure they actually ate their cereal. Finley Joseph hates breakfast, and Serena? Serena would rather skip all meals except for dinner. Elliot seems to think it's normal, but Olivia? She's not so sure about that. The twins have their own language sometimes, and it drives her nuts. "C'mon kids, we're going to be late. I'm going to go out and wait for you all. Noah, here are the keys to the house, lock up after the twins come out."

"Okay Mom."

"Allie, sooner rather than later." Olivia points at her while she clips her gun to her belt, straightening her Captain badge on her waist as well. 

The moment she steps out onto the front porch, she looks around at  the yard. It could probably do with a little bit of trimming. She'll have to get to it this weekend. At least there's more than a 2x2 square of grass. In fact, she has the most beautiful flowers growing. It's her little bit of pretty  that Elliot planted. 

"LIV!" Her neighbor calls across the street. She almost smacks herself in the face when she glances over and sees him there, standing. He's wearing a pair of star-spangled boxers, his chest bare and the blue robe that Fin and Serena had gotten him for Father's day is just hanging open. She takes a deep breath, feeling the ache in her chest beginning again. "Good morning, neighbor!" 

"Elliot." She hisses. 

It's this moment when Allie decides to venture out the front door, "Mom, do you know - " Elliot's voice travels back across the street. 

"Allie-bug!" She immediately looks up, rolling and then narrowing her blue eyes as she sees her father, standing there, on his front porch, half-naked waving with a blue coffee mug in his hand. "Morning sweetheart!"

"Mom." She whispers, "Make him stop. I'm getting in the truck." She huffs as she quickly jumps down the three steps to the ground, practically sprinting into the black SUV. Olivia runs her hand through her hair as she glances around to see if anyone is paying any attention. It's just  her luck that Jessica Jones, the neighborhood bored housewife that likes to stare at all the men in the  neighborhood just so happens to be doing her morning jog. Elliot's standing there, waving as Jessica almost trips and falls over a crack in the sidewalk while she's staring at Elliot's toned stomach, and the small smattering of hair that trails down underneath the line of his boxers. 

"Jesus Christ." Olivia whispers. It's this moment that Noah walks through the front door, slamming it behind him because his dance bag got caught on the screen. 

"Mom, remember I have dance until five and dad's going to - " His eyes travel from his mother over across the street. "Seriously?" 

"Noah, just...lock up the house when the twins come out." She places her hand on her son's shoulder, sighing as she moves forward, through the white gate and across the street, up  the sidewalk of the house across from hers. DIRECTLY across from hers. "Elliot, would you put some fucking clothes on? Our fifteen year old doesn't want to see her father half-fucking-naked on his front porch and Jessica Jones' husband probably won't appreciate it much either."

"You don't like me half naked?"

"Seriously?" She shakes her head. Meanwhile, their fifteen year old is beeping the horn of the black SUV in the driveway. "Elliot. Put some clothes on."

"Funny, that's  not what you were saying three weeks ago." He smirks at her, she feels her cheeks redden. "C'mon, Liv. Let me come home."

"This is your home, Elliot. We're divorced."

"That what you want?" He asks, and she huffs, shaking her head. "Olivia?"

"Elliot, just...tie your robe." She mumbles. "Before I have to arrest you for indecent exposure."

"You used to love me being indecently exposed." He winks at her, taking another sip of his coffee. 

"Elliot." 

"Why did we get divorced, I'm a little fuzzy on the details."

"I'm sure if you thought about it hard enough, you'd come up with the reason. I have to go, the kids are going to be late for school and I'm going to be late for work." She sighs, stepping back off the small steps in front  of his porch. 

"Get dressed."

"You can't tell me what to do. Let me take the kids to school, Liv."

"No. I've got it." She calls out as she walks back over to the truck, opening the door as Allie whines that she is going to miss first period English. Olivia shakes her head while never breaking eye contact with her ex-husband. 

How the hell did they end up here?