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Where Were You When I Needed You?

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After enjoying a nice dinner together, both Elliot and Olivia were feeling more in sync than they had felt since Elliot had returned to New York.

As they were preparing to to leave the restaurant, Olivia suggested,

"Hey El, why don't you come back to my place with me. It's not too late. It's time you met Noah. We could watch a movie after he goes to sleep."

Elliot hesitated before asking, "You sure?"

Olivia drew a deep breath. This was a huge step.

Then she nodded. "Yeah. I-I told him about you. He really wants to meet you."

"Really?" Elliot questioned in surprise. 

Olivia smiled. "Yes. Really. Will you come?"

"Sounds great. Eli's still at Maureen's. I don't really feel like going back to an empty apartment," Elliot admitted.

Olivia gave him a sympathetic look and encouraged, "Come on then."

The two of them got in her car and headed back to her apartment. 

On the way, they talked some more.

"So you really dated Tucker?" Elliot  inquired,incredulously.

Olivia rolled her eyes in exasperation. "He changed, El. It is possible for people to change, you know. He was a good man when we got together. "

"Not that guy. He always had it in for us. He perp paraded you out in front of the entire precinct," Elliot reminded the SVU captain.

Olivia sighed. "He left IAB. Said he hated what it had done to him. He saved my life and once risked his own career to save mine. He was wonderful with Noah."

"What happened? How was your career at risk?" Elliot wanted to know.

Olivia told him about the case with the sex slaves and the judges.

"Ed's cousin was implicated and someone leaked our relationship to save their own damn ass. Ed  risked everything to make sure I kept my job," Olivia explained.

"So why did you two end things?" Elliot asked her.

Olivia shrugged. "We wanted different things out of life. He wanted me to give up my job and move away from New York. I wasn't ready for that. He later married someone else."

"Where is he now?" Elliot inquired.

Olivia got very quiet. After a few moments Elliot started to apologize for prying, but suddenly his former partner spoke up.

"I guess you haven't heard."

"Heard what?" Elliot asked in concern.

Olivia's eyes met his and she informed him, "Ed Tucker died last year."

Elliot looked back in shock. "What? How?"

Olivia drew a shaky breath. "He,um...he had brain cancer. He wanted to… end it on his own terms.  He ate his gun a few days after his friend's retirement party.

"My g*d. Liv, I didn't know," Elliot breathed out.

"It happened around the same time Simon was killed," Olivia softly stated.

"I'm so sorry,Liv," Elliot uttered.

Swallowing hard against the lump in her throat,Olivia confessed, "It was just a lot to happen at once."

Elliot simply nodded, but a few moments later commented,

"I've started seeing a shrink. I didn't want to get into that at the diner."

"That's good,El. I'm glad you're getting help," Olivia praised her friend. 

After another pause, Elliot found the courage to ask, "Liv, the way you talked to me about PTSD, you sounded like you knew what you were talking about. Like it was personal. Did something happen to you?"

At first, Olivia didn't answer, but finally she replied, "Alot has happened to me since you left,Elliot."

Elliot didn't respond. He just waited for his former partner to elaborate, which she did.

"We got a case involved this psychopath. He became...he became obsessed with me. He was first released on a technicality and he came after me. The team found me and the perp went to prison."

Elliot had a feeling there was more to it than that,but by then they had reached her apartment and the look on her face told him it would be best not to push her.

"Good," was the man's only reply.

Olivia parked the car and they headed in to the building. When Olivia and Elliot entered the apartment they were greeted by a pajama clad young boy.

"Hey,Mom!"

"Hey, Sweet Boy. I missed you today," Olivia responded, giving her son a tight hug.

"Missed you,too," mumbled Noah, his voice muffled by his mom's shirt.

After they had pulled apart, Noah turned to Elliot and held out his hand.

"Hi. I'm Noah. Are you my mom's old partner?"

Elliot grinned as he shook the boy's hand.

"That's me. You can call me Elliot. You must be Noah. You're mom's told me alot about you."

Olivia smiled as her son answered, "She told me about you,too. You went away but now you're back. She really missed you alot." The last part brought a blush to Olivia's cheeks, but Elliot looked directly at her as he confessed to Noah,

"Well,Buddy, I missed her alot, too. I'm here now,though and I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon."

Noah scrutinized the man before ordering, "Good. Mom's happy you're back and I like you so far. I don't want my mom to be sad again.Don't blow it."

Lucy and Elliot chuckled as Olivia admonished, "Noah Benson!"

"It's fine,Liv. I deserved that. I see your son is just as protective of you as I was," Elliot observed.

"Well at least he doesn't drink my orange juice," Olivia retorted.

Elliot gave her a silent smirk.

Olivia then introduced him to Lucy before paying her sitter. Lucy thanked her before saying goodbye and leaving. 

"Can we have icecream,Mom?"

"I don't see why not. But after that you need to brush your teeth and go to bed,"Olivia commanded.

"Ok," Noah agreed. Olivia got out the icecream along with three bowls and spoons. Noah and Elliot bonded over a video game as they ate, but twenty minutes later Noah was in bed.

"How 'bout a movie?" Olivia suggested after Noah had been tucked in.

"Sure," came the immediate reply. They found a comedy on Netflix and settled down to watch.

About halfway through the movie, Elliot noticed Olivia had fallen asleep. He covered her with a blanket and was about to quietly head out when he heard her crying softly in her sleep. He hesitated and the cries became louder. When she began murmuring, "No! Don't hurt me! Please! I don't want any whiskey! Stop! I can't breathe!" Elliot's eyes widened at that. Was Olivia dreaming about her abduction? What the hell had she been through? That didn't matter now. He knew he had to bring her out of whatever horror she was reliving. 

He gently took her hands to prevent her from hurting herself or him before quietly calling her name. She continued to thrash around,so Elliot called her name a but louder. When that didn't work he gently patted her cheek. At that, she jolted up with a loud gasp. 

"Liv. It's me! It's El. You're safe."

Instead of responding verbally, Olivia suddenly shoved him away and jumped up, making a mad dash for the bathroom. There, she collapsed on her knees in front of the toilet and violently threw up. Elliot winced at the sound and felt rather guilty for asking her about her PTSD earlier. After Olivia was finished, she shakily stood and flushed the toilet. Then she rinsed out her mouth and returned to the sofa.

She breathed deeply to calm herself before noticing her company.

"You're still here."

"You fell asleep during the movie. You had a nightmare and I wanted to make sure you were ok. I can go now," Elliot explained.

Olivia was still shaking as she looked at him. A few seconds later, without warning, and certainly without thinking about it, she threw herself into her former partner's arms and sobbed. 

Though surprised at first, Elliot quickly recovered and pulled the woman tightly into his arms.

"I've got you. I've got you,Liv. You're safe. Shhh. It's ok. I'm here."

After several moments Olivia pulled away. 

"You WEREN'T there! I called your name when I was chained to that bed! You never came! William Lewis put me through hell! He taunted me about you. I told him you'd have killed him if you were there. He laughed at me! Elliot he burned me, force fed me alchol, beat me. He cut me and talked about how he was going to have fun with me. He forced me to witness a murder. He did everything short of actually r-raping me, and after the team got me back, he chose to defend himself in court and interrogated me on the stand. I had beat him with what little strength I had left and I had...I had really done significant damage. He tried to turn the whole thing around on me. He was still given a guilty verdict but only for kidnapping and murder. Not for the rest. Elliot, where WERE you THEN?!"

Elliot was now staring at her in horror.

"I'm sorry," he rasped out,"He's still in prison?"

Olivia shook her head. "He escaped and came after me again. I went with him to protect a little girl he had kidnapped. He forced me to publicly apologize to him on live tv for using excessive force. Then he killed himself after forcing me into a game of Russian Roulette. The little girl was ok. Elliot he had the radios on until that last part of the game and I was tried for murder! I was found innocent thanks to Rita, but I think there are some who still doubt me. El, It was the most horrific thing I had ever been through. I really never thought I would survive." Elliot was crying by now, and Olivia had started again as well. 

Pulling his former partner close ,Elliot let the tears fall as he rocked his best friend back and forth.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry! Liv, I never should have left. If I had been there Lewis never would've gotten to you! I would have never forgiven myself if you had died at his hands. I didn't know or I would have come back in a heartbeat. I wasn't there when you needed me the most. I promised you; partners for life. And I broke that promise in the worst possible way. Liv, you're my best friend and you mean everything to me. I let you down,and I'm so sorry."

"I forgive you,El. I'm so glad you're here now," Olivia choked out as she continued to cling to him. The two stayed that way for awhile.Then Olivia reluctantly pulled back.

"I need to check on Noah and then try to get some sleep."

"I should go, then," Elliot answered, starting to stand.

"No. It's late,El. My couch is pretty comfortable. Stay," Olivia insisted.

"Ok. I'm pretty tired. Thanks," Elliot said gratefully.

Olivia smiled in acknowledgment before heading to Noah's room. She was relieved to find that her son was, miraculously,sleeping soundly. After kissing the boy's head, Olivia quietly left the room and got a pillow for Elliot. As she handed it to him, she tentatively requested, "El, I'm still a little shaken up over the dream. Could you maybe…"

Though she had trailed off, Elliot somehow knew what Olivia needed.

He walked with her back to her bedroom and tucked her in then he sat down on the bed beside her and gently took her hand.

Kissing her on the forehead he whispered, "I'm here, Liv. Go to sleep." 

Olivia closed her eyes as her prodigal friend gently stroked her hair.

Trusting Elliot to keep her safe, she soon drifted off into a peaceful slumber.

When he was sure his best friend was sleeping soundly, Elliot went back out to the living room and got himself settled on the couch, quickly falling fast asleep.