Okay, so. I have been dying to write a little story on how I, if I was writing for SVU, would bring Elliot back. Finally, I could take it no longer and decided to put my hopeless daydreams to paper and share with y'all. I haven't written a fanfic in a LONG time (about 7 years) so you can only imagine the growing itch I have had to write something/anything! Writing this, I have become more aware of just how much of a visual person I am and how difficult it is to transform the pictures in my head into words. Given this, please bear with me and try to imagine this story in the context of an actual episode and I will hopefully help you do so as well. Also, I do have some rough drafts of sequential chapters that I can definitely edit and post, given people enjoy this chapter. Actually, I'll probably just edit and post the other chapters anyways because...I can. :)

Obvi, I don't own the show or the characters (much love/hate for Dick Wolf). Thanks and enjoy!


Chapter 1

Monday

Olivia passes through the precinct greeting her detectives as she unlocks her office door. She had been running a little late today because Noah had broken her heart when she dropped him off at daycare. She just couldn't help but to stand outside the door for 20 minutes to make sure he was going to be okay! Monday funday, she sarcastically thought to herself while reaching for a large pile of paperwork. This was her life, now. And, for the most part, she loved it. She was comfortable; she had a great job and now had a family. Sure, the business side of being lieutenant wasn't fun and being a single mom was difficult and certainly not glamorous. Still, she found comfort in knowing that she had authority and stability both at home and at work and reveled in the love she had for her team and her son. Thus, this was her life and she loved it.

The better half of everyone's morning was spent doing paperwork until "lunch hour" (around noon but closer to 10:30 on most days) came. Carisi and Rollins had already agreed to meet Fin at a small bistro for lunch. With most of the other detectives in the precinct at lunch, that left Olivia. She had gotten used to eating lunch at her desk so that's what she did, until a few minutes had passed and she jumped, noting the time.

She had forgotten about her meeting with a prospective sponsor and he was expected to be there any minute. So, she began tidying her office up by arranging the piles of papers into neat stacks and hanging her jacket and bag on the appropriate hooks and even drew the blinds up on the window so the light creeped in. Settling back into her chair, she idled her time with some paperwork and waited for her appointment to arrive.

"Lieutenant. There's uh, this guy here. Says he's looking for you." The young officer who informed her held the door open for the man. Olivia had swung her chair around while looking in her filing cabinet so she could not directly see her guest. She quickly filed the folder and stood to face and greet the sponsor.

"Mr. Be-" However, the man standing in front of her desk was not Mr. Beckert, the prospective sponsor she had been expecting. The sight of Elliot Stabler standing before her made her temporarily speechless. She could feel her knees weaken under his gazing blue eyes but could also feel the heat of anger traveling to her head.

Elliot wore jeans and a gray t-shirt under his black jacket and looked pretty rough as he hadn't shaven in a couple of days. He no longer stood tall and strong but looked defeated and broken. It was then that she realized that she had gotten the meeting times mixed up and thought how ironic and fateful life was. Her gaze softened as she noticed all of this and part of her ached to ask and tell him so many things: How had he been? What was wrong? What's new in his life? How are the kids? I've missed you. The other part of her was not coping so well and wanted to just yell and fight.

He could tell she was fighting herself on whether to yell or cry and this made him want to comfort her. He knew how much he had hurt her and has regretted it ever since and before today, he had been fighting battles himself. He had stayed away for so long because he was afraid of what he might say or do to potentially hurt her or anyone that got caught in the line of fire. Elliot figured he'd avoid the topic for as long as possible so he broke his gaze with her and nervously walked around her office.

"Nice place. Lieutenant fits you." She is thankful that he has decided to tiptoe on the line of conversation because that gives her the extra 7 seconds to gather herself.

"Pretty soon you'll be keeping a bottle of booze under your desk and giving detectives rips, like Cragan." He jokes and gives her a half-smile that she returns. God, how they both missed those days.

"Yeah, well I'm half-way there." She flashes the bottle of red wine that she keeps for special occasions and they both share a weak laugh. As his smile lingers, hers disappears and she makes the first dance move in this very somber and fragile tango.

"What happened, Elliot?" She is gentle with her words for she knows that neither of them would be able to handle an argument right now. As he sighs and paces, she walks in front of her desk and motions for him to take a seat in the chair, which he does and she sits on the edge of her desk, waiting for him.

"Its uh," His voice strains and he struggles to find the right words.

"Its been a rough couple of…years, Liv. I…" His words stop and start again as he battles the waves of emotion and tears that build inside him. "I've had to really stop and…and do an evaluation on, on myself and my life and my family and everyone and everything…After that day…" His words were slow and careful, as if he were walking on a thin sheet of ice and one wrong step would end his life. Tears brimmed the edges of his eyes and he tried to think of everything his therapist had said on not suppressing emotions and how it was alright to communicate with others. He was never good at just talking, at least not with anyone that wasn't Olivia. After the incident, he shut himself off completely and wouldn't talk to anyone until he realized that he had lost everything.

"I just couldn't understand this world anymore. I was supposed to protect the innocent and I ended up taking the life of a child. The guilt was too much…" Olivia saw his tears and her heart ached all over again for him and for her old life. She hopped off her desk and crouched down before him so she was looking him directly in the eyes, even though he looked away. He missed her so much and wanted to hold her, feel her, just to know that it was real, but he was afraid of breaking what little progress they had made.

"You are not to blame for anything that happened that day, Elliot." He had heard that statement a million times before-his therapist, his ex-wife, his therapist again-but he never believed the words as much as when she spoke them. He looked into her eyes and she grabbed his hands reassuringly, sending a surge of raw feeling through his body.

"Olivia. I never meant to hurt you. I didn't want to end it like that and I didn't want to abandon you like I did. But…" She squeezed his hands in hers and nodded, knowingly.

"But you did." She said bluntly, with a half-smile that told him it was over. She took a deep breath before standing up, him following her actions. "I forgive you, Elliot. I know how you felt and I can tell how much you have been working on yourself and this makes me so proud and so happy for you." Tears now threatened to stain her cheeks but she fights them by swallowing hard.

"You will always be my partner and my best friend…and so much more…but I've moved on." The cold heart that she had been left to perfect was now gracing the conversation with its presence. Of course she didn't really move on, not completely, and of course she didn't want to be so harsh but she needed to be resilient. It was no longer just her emotions she needed to guard; she had Noah and others who looked to her for guidance. If she let Elliot into her life so quickly, he would take advantage of her emotionally, like he had before, and she would be left in pieces.

Unfortunately, Olivia failed to realize that Elliot had genuinely changed for the better. He winced at her words but knew that he deserved them and that she was not to blame for thinking he would use her. She tried to remain heartless and composed but when she saw him crack under her harsh words, she knew she had misjudged him. What was she supposed to say, though? He had taken her loyalty and love for granted for so many years. She had been by his side through it all and she was willing to stick by his side after the Jenna incident. Sure, he had been there for her through the years but she was beginning to think that all of the times she thought he was appreciating/loving/etc. her, she had read into it too much.

After he left, she had convinced herself that he was a married man who was dedicated to his job and if he had showed any emotion towards her, it was coming from a place of friendship at best. Not to mention the fact that when he decided to give up, he left her with no explanation and a shitty goodbye that she also read into too much. Was she supposed to cry with him and confess her undying love and devotion while he promises to leave his family and settle down with her? That's what imagination and dreams are for and this was reality. Tears were freely streaming down both of their faces.

Elliot, hurt and stunned, raised his hand, fighting the urge to touch her and hold her. His hand hovered so close to the side of her face and he gently stroked the air as if it were her skin, which still sent shivers down Olivia's body as she closed her eyes, pretending it was real. He retracted his hand and left the room, defeated. Once the door closed behind him, she sunk to the floor and sobbed as she grieves for him, for her and for what they could have been. She wants him to return, she wants to run after him, she wants to be close to him but she knows she can't. She reaches for the necklace that is hidden out of sight that she wears every day. The pin is small enough to hang on the chain and stays nestled close to her heart every day. It is his Semper Fidelis pin. She brings the pin to her cheek and imagines it was him.