A/N: LAST chapter Fanficers (I don't tend to write long ones since my attention span is super short)! Thanks for reading and reviewing. It makes me very happy to spread a little joy where I can. Sorry that I took so long to update. :-)
"LIV! WAIT!" El called out.
She quickened her pace as she heard him running up behind her. Liv couldn't go through this again, and she was a fool to think she could control her emotions. El had a way of making her fold by simply looking at her. He was dangerous and if she let him, he was going to kill her.
Liv had Noah to think about now, she couldn't afford for him to come along and take another crack at her heart. It would not survive a second time, not with El.
He grabbed her arm and pulled her to a stop. "Damn it, Liv! Hold on a second!"
Liv pulled her arm free. Finn was right El was her kryptonite. "I can't do this with you! Do you understand, El? I can't let you destroy me."
Her words hit him hard. "I don't want to destroy you. I wanna..."
El reached out and grabbed her arm again, and she shook him off. "Don't. I don't have the strength to go through this again. I barely survived it the first time, and I hate myself for it."
"For what?" he frowned. He obviously didn't understand.
"For not being able to put myself back together. Noah saved me." And she was so grateful to him for that, and for a thousand other reasons.
"I'm sorry I hurt you," he sighed.
"Are you? Or did you just replace me?"
"I didn't- she's not..."
"She is, El."
El shook his head. "I don't see her the way I see you. At first, maybe I thought she looked like you a little bit, but when I got to know her she was... she's not loyal like you, or smart like you, or strong like you. She talks too much. She doesn't pull me up on my crap, not the way you did. I don't see you when I look at her. I see you every time I close my eyes."
Liv's heart started beating in her chest. "What are you saying?"
"I tried to get over you and I couldn't," he shrugged. "I left my job, but I couldn't leave you. I'm not happy, Liv. I haven't been happy since the minute I shot that kid. I don't want to make you sad anymore. I would kill myself before I caused you anymore pain. I don't want to come between you and Noah or break you up, I- that's not what I want."
"So what do you want?"
"You. It's always been you. Kathy knew it. I knew it. I'm convinced you knew it too."
"Why now? You had twelve years to say something, to do something."
"I guess I had to be without you to know what I was missing. I always had you, and I just assumed you'd always be there. I know it was my fault, I was the one you left and I could have called you. I just figured it would eventually pass. Withdrawal symptoms or whatever."
"And what did you learn while we were apart?' she smiled, enjoying the way he shifted awkwardly on his feet. He was uncomfortable with this conversation, but El never had been good at expressing his feelings, unless it was to a wall or someone's face.
"I love you now as much as I did the first time I saw you. I feel like I knew you for a lifetime before that and I get that same feeling now. I love you. I always have. I want to be in your life again, whatever that means for you."
"And mini me? What about her?"
"It's over. The minute she saw you she knew. I guess I talk in my sleep..." he blushed.
Liv tried to supress her smile, but the thought made her giddy.
"If you have moved on and you don't see me that way or-"
Liv bridged the gap between them and pressed a kiss to his mouth. Instantly, he responded, drawing her up against his chest and folding her into his arms. Liv melted against him. It was a fairy tale ending she had given up a long time ago, a life she was certain she had left behind.
It was obvious by the way she was exploring his tongue that she hadn't.
He trailed kisses across her face. Liv had never wanted a man so much in her life, it was hard to believe that anyone could desire a man as strongly as she did in this moment. Liv drew away. "I think we should get off the streets," she smiled.
"Yeah," he laughed. "We don't want to be arrested for indecent exposure. Your place or mine?"
"Mine. You have to meet Noah."
El pulled back. "Seriously?"
"I can't see you if you don't get along with Noah. He is in my life and he always will be. He's become too important to me. He keeps grounded and sane and-"
El frowned. "Is he a dog?"
"No. He's a man... sort of."
"A cardboard cut-out?" he probed.
Liv grinned and took his hand leading him towards a taxi. Liv knew she was crazy to jump into this with both feet, and it was certainly out of character considering what he had put her through. Unfortunately when love was involved, it all came out in moron.
"What if he doesn't like me?" he asked worriedly.
"He will. Noah will be happy as long as I'm happy."
El smiled. "How old is Noah?"
Liv just laughed.
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