Disclaimer:  Not mine, gee, there's a shocker.  Belong to Dick Wolf, etc.

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Wrath (season 2)

Category: Olivia/Elliot friendship, Angst (gotta love angst)

Author: Traci

Feedback welcome at traci_ann@yahoo.com

Summary:  Picks up right where Wrath left off…literally – same scene and all.  Wrath would be the ep where a guy was after Olivia and killed 3 or 4 people in the process… anymore would be considered spoilers – that blurb was in the TV Guide hehe.

Special thanks to Tracy for being betaing for me – I know it's a great sacrifice on your part hehe.

Aftermath of Wrath

Elliot reached the elevator and slowly pushed the down button.  Why couldn't she see he had done it for her own safety?  Why couldn't she see he had done it out of concern?  Running his hand over his face, he sighed as the elevator doors opened.  What had he done?

When he arrived home, his wife, Kathy, immediately sensed something was wrong, as did their oldest daughter, Maureen who took her younger siblings into another room.

"Elliot?" Kathy asked, rubbing his shoulders after he sat at the kitchen table.

He merely shook his head.

"You did what you had to.  You did what she would have done for you," she told him.

"Then why does it hurt like hell?"

Kneeling beside him, she turned his head so that he was looking at her through his tears.  "Because you care."  She paused.  "I will never understand the bond between partners and I will never understand the bond you and Olivia have and yes, it does bother me sometimes, but the point is that you two do share a bond that runs deep."  Kathy gently rubbed her thumb over his cheek.  "She's a strong, independent woman.  That creep threatened that.  You going behind her back to protect her didn't help, not that it was the wrong thing to do.  Give her time, Elliot.  She understands."

He smiled at her.  "Thank you," he said, holding her tightly.

*********************

Olivia Benson had lost track of how long her tears had kept flowing.  As if being terrorized by some psycho hadn't been bad enough.  As if being indirectly responsible for the death of four people hadn't been bad enough… Elliot.  Her own partner.  Her best friend.  The person she trusted more than herself at times.  He had betrayed her.  He had undermined her decision to take care of herself.  He had… Olivia sighed.  He had cared.  He had been just as frightened for her safety and had done something about it.  He had done it for her and she had gotten angry with him.  Yet it wasn't he who she was angry with. It was herself.  It was the fact that she had been forced to realize she was not always able to take care of herself, that sometimes she did need help.

Her eyes burned from the tears.  She checked her answering machine to hear if Elliot had left a message when he had called her hours earlier from outside her door.  Nothing.  Without bothering to change her clothes, she crawled into her bed and cried herself to sleep.

************************

Captain Cragen called Elliot into his office the second he walked into the office the following morning.  "Care to tell me what's going on?" he asked as he closed his office door.

"About what?" 

Cragen stared at him.  "Olivia called out today."  He sat behind his desk.

"Captain, she…"  Elliot stopped before he said anything he'd regret.

Cragen looked upon him with sympathetic eyes.  "You hurt her.  You betrayed her trust in you."

Elliot opened his mouth ready to argue but was quickly stopped by Cragen continuing.

"I would have done the same thing.  Truth be known, I had picked up the phone to get her detail when I saw you had done it already."

"Why didn't you say anything?" he quietly asked.

"There was no time.  I'm giving you the day off, no arguments.  Go.  Talk to her.  Make her talk to you."  A small smile played on his lips.  "Good luck with that."

"Yeah.  I think I'll need more than luck."

"Elliot, she would have done the same for you.  She would have taken the same risk in your friendship that you did."

"Doesn't help," he admitted walking out of the office.

**********************

"Liv, I know you're in there."  Elliot shifted his weight to his left foot and waited.  He had been knocking on her door for a full ten minute already and would wait ten hours if that would be what it took.  "Please, Liv, open the door."

It was another five minutes before he heard movement from behind the door.  His heart pounded against his chest upon hearing the click of the dead bolt.  Was she going to yell at him and push him away again or would she let him in?

Red, tear-swollen eyes met his.  "Not now."

He cringed at the hoarseness of her voice.  "Liv, I…"  Handing her a bunch of pink carnations, he said, "I'm going to wait no matter how long it takes.  You mean too much to me to just walk away from what we have."

Shaking hands took the flowers from him.  "Elliot, I just can't right now."

Elliot nodded sadly.  "When you are ready I'm a phone call away."  With that he turned and began walking towards the elevator.

Olivia stood in her doorway holding the flowers he had just given her.  New tears filled her eyes as she watched him leave.  "Elliot," she whispered but her voice was too soft for him to hear.  Her heart ached when he stepped inside the elevator and the doors closed.  She looked at the flowers.

************************

Elliot's heart was heavy when he emerged from the elevator.  Every man who had ever been a part of his partners' life had hurt her and now he was no different from them.  The only difference was that she had trusted him with her life.  She had trusted him unconditionally, not an easy task for Olivia Benson and he knew it yet he had betrayed that very trust.

Slowly he opened the large, wooden doors of her apartment building and stepped out into the chilled air.  Maybe it was time to quit the force.  Maybe…

"Elliot."

Swiftly he turned around to see Olivia standing outside the doorway. 

Their eyes met.

He ran up the three steps and pulled her close, holding her tightly.

She held him just as tight.

"I am so sorry, Liv.  I never meant to hurt you," he cried softly to her.

"I know.  I'm sorry too."  She pulled back to look at him.  "I know you were only looking out for me."

He just stared at her, unsure what to say.

"Why don't we go back upstairs and work this out?" she offered.

*********************

She handed him a glass of water and sat beside him.

"How are you doing?" he asked.

"Been better," she admitted.  "Elliot…"

His hand covered hers and she her eyes met his.

"Don't," he told her with a small smile.  "I shouldn't have done that without your consent.  You had every right to be angry with me and you have no need to apologize for anything.  I am the one who owes you an apology though, to tell you the truth, if I had to do it all over again I would still have made the same choice."

Olivia swallowed hard.  "I know and I'm glad you would."  She smiled at him for the first time in days.  "So why don't we call it even and put it all behind us?"

Squeezing her hand, he nodded.  "I'd like that."  He glanced down at their hands.  "Liv, what about… can you…"

"I still trust you, El.  I never really stopped."

His blue eyes looked deep into hers.  "Are you sure?"

Nodding, Olivia slid her hand from his and hugged him.  "It was bad enough for him to take away my sense of security, I couldn't let him take my best friend away.  I was hurt.  I was scared, but deep down I never once stopped trusting you."

Elliot held her.   After a few moments, he released her.  "Could I interest you in lunch?"  Looking at his watch, he added, "Or dinner?  'Cause if you've been going through what I've been with what happened between us, I'm guessing you haven't been eating either."

She laughed.  "Dinner would be great."

As she locked the door behind them, she stole a glance at her partner who was holding the elevator door for them.  She had almost lost one of the best things that had ever happened to her.  Yet something told her that what they had just gone through would not hurt them, it would only make their friendship that much stronger.

He turned towards her from the elevator with a smile.

Smiling back, she joined him. 

"Anything in particular you're in the mood for?" Elliot asked as the elevator doors closed.

Olivia thought for a moment.  "McGreevie's?"

"We go there all the time."  Realization quickly set in.  She wanted to go somewhere where she was comfortable.  Where she felt safe.  "Though I have been craving their greasy burgers."

She lightly nudged him with her elbow but grinned.  "Thank you."

The elevator doors opened and they stepped out not noticing the doorman smiling at them.

"You have no idea how many people will be happy to hear we worked this all out," Elliot told her as they walked along the sidewalk.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, Kathy told me not to come home till we sorted this out.  Cragen told me not to come back to work…  Apparently I moped around a lot," he said with a grin.

"See, there are some advantages to being single.  When I mope there's no one around to care or to annoy."

Without a thought, Elliot slid his arm around her shoulder and pulled her to him.  "I will always care," he said softly.

Allowing her head to rest on his shoulder, she whispered, "I know."

A few steps later found the physical contact gone and the partners walked and talked and joked as the friends that they were.

The End