Title: Shaken Up (1/1)

Author: kukrae

Disclaimer: Simply put, Dick Wolf's, not mine.

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Shaken

Feedback: kukrae03@netscape.net

Author's Notes: Anyone else upset that it wasn't Olivia that Elliot spoke to in the bar? Yeah, thought so...so was I. Let's try to fix that, shall we? To Kat and Jessi-the best friends, cheerleaders and betas a new writer could have :-)


The light on the side table glowed softly as Olivia sat curled up on the couch engrossed in a novel. The ringing of the telephone broke her attention and she reached to pick up the phone. "Benson."

"Olivia," came Cragen's tired voice through the phone.

"Cap? What's wrong?"

"Noth...Well, not really nothing...but.... Maybe I shouldn't say...."

"Is it Elliot?" she asked, an involuntary catch in her voice.


"Is he okay? Where..." she interrupted, panic beginning to creep into her voice.

"Wait. Olivia, I'm sorry, let me start over. Yes. Elliot is fine. I dropped him at home and caught a cab. Calling you was just...well, just what I thought I should do. You know how this case affected him."

Sitting back and bringing a knee up to her chest, Olivia wrapped her free arm around it and relaxed as her anxiety left at hearing that Elliot was alright. "Yeah. I wasn't around much, but I could see it. I wish I *could* have been around more. Cap? You said you took him home. Was he at O'Malley's?"

Cragen started suddenly. Maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't have to say much. "Yes."

Forehead wrinkling softly as she thought, "Hmm. This hit him harder than I first thought. How many?"

"How many?"

"How many whiskeys did he put back?"

"Three. Olivia..."

"It's okay, Captain. Three is pretty much it for Elliot...even on a bad tear." Relief filled her as she said that.

"Olivia. It wasn't just the drinks. He was staring at a picture of his oldest daughter."

Her foot slipped off the couch as she sat up in shock. "Maureen? What does this have to do with her?" A strange sense of dread began to pool in the pit of her stomach.

"That's why I wanted to talk to you. The aftermath of this case is really eating him up. I don't feel I can tell you directly what he told me, but Olivia...you need to talk with him."

"Cap...is he okay?" Worry once again creeps back into her tone.

"He will be, but I really think you two need to take some time and talk. Let's just say that something happened when Maureen was very young and this case brought it home all at once."

"Oh my God, you don't mean..."

"See if he'll talk with you...that's all I'm going to say. To be honest, Olivia, I thought you would have been at O'Malley's with him."

"I...I had a date, Cap. I'd talked to him earlier in the day after the court session. It's been a bit much lately so I made plans to meet up with a friend for dinner."

"Um, did Elliot know this?"

"Yeah. He'd called and asked if I wanted to grab a drink. That's when I told him my plans."

"Okay, that explains some things."

"Captain, why can't you tell me what he said?" asked Olivia with confusion coloring her voice.

"Because it's not my story to tell, Olivia. And because *you* are the one he was supposed to be talking to. I know the bartender, Mike, he called me and said Elliot was there by himself and well on his way for the evening. He thought it odd that you weren't there."

"We're partners, not joined at the hip, Cap. He doesn't need me giving him grief, there's enough of that at home. And, we needed a break. I didn't tell him who I was meeting because I swear it's like having an older brother sometimes."

Cragen chuckled, "I understand. We're *all* protective of those we care about."

"Sir," A series of quiet knocks interrupts her. "Hang on, sir, someone's at my door," she said as she rose from the couch, pulling her robe around herself and walking to the door. Looking through the peephole, she took note of the person on the other side.

"Everything okay?" she heard Cragen's voice through the phone she still held to her ear.

"To be honest, sir, I should probably lie and tell you it's my neighbor. But, that's not fair as you've shown your trust by calling me about Elliot."


Amusement crept into her voice, "Cap, did you actually *see* Elliot go in the house?"

"Um, no. We sat on the stoop while waiting for my cab. Why?"

"Well, Speedy Gonzales escaped your custody and is looking pretty hung over outside my door," she said as a giggle escaped.

Cragen chuckled. "God, I hope he didn't drive. I'll let you go, Olivia. Good luck and you both try to get some rest. Not much is pressing tomorrow, so for right now, come in by 11. Okay?"

"Thanks, Cap. Talk with you later." Olivia hung up as the knocking began again. She set down the phone and moved to open the door.

Swinging the door open and pasting a serious look back on her face, she saw her partner beginning to walk back down the hall. "After all that ruckus you're just going to leave? What the hell is going on, Elliot? Get your ass in here."

Looking at her sheepishly, he said as he walked into the room, "You weren't answering and then I remembered that you had a date. Figured you were otherwise occupied or still out."

"As if you couldn't see my lights on from the street," she grinned. "Hand me your coat. You didn't drive, did you?"

"Why wouldn't I?" asked Elliot, purposefully not looking at her.

"You, my friend, have been totally busted by Dad," said Olivia as one eyebrow arched and she crossed her arms across her chest. "I just received a call from Cragen that he had driven you home from O'Malley's after reaching your limit."


"Oh, is right. Have a seat, El." Moving towards the kitchen, she asked, "Want coffee, or water and aspirin?"

"Um, both?" Elliot sat back on the couch and ran a hand down over his face while he toed off his shoes and propped his stocking feet up on the coffee table.

Olivia walked back in with a large glass of water, handed it and the aspirin to Elliot. Then reached to loosen and remove his tie. "If you're going to get comfortable, you might as well lose this," she said at the confused look on his face.

"A couple of things: one, if you drove here, you're not driving home; two, it's going to be really late by the time you get whatever you need to off your chest so you might as well plan on staying. Just do what you normally do when you're here and tell Kathy that you stayed in the crib. And three, Cragen knows you're here and we don't report until 11 tomorrow. I'm sorry I didn't meet you at O'Malley's, Elliot. If you'd just told me on the phone that something was up, you know I would have canceled. It was only dinner because we've been driving each other nuts lately. But you didn't give me that option. Now, what's going on?."

"Liv, you had plans. I depend on you for so much that I didn't think it was right to interfere with you having a good time. Maybe even attempting to get a life."

"Life? Hey partner, I'm pretty happy with my life. You're a good portion of that life and that means being there for each other. Other than Lucy's case in general, what is bugging you? Cragen's worried."

A sad, far away look appeared on Elliot's face as he asked, "How much did he tell you?"

"Only that you had three whiskeys, shouldn't drive and that you had a picture of Maureen with you at the bar. You told me the outcome of the trial so I'm assuming that Lucy's life support was discontinued this evening." Seeing the morose expression pull his face tighter, she asked, "Elliot, that's what you fought for. I know it's still a sad moment, but you won peace for that little girl. What does this have to do with Maureen? I can guess, but what my mind comes up with scares me, so could you please fill me?"

Olivia is shocked to see tears well up in Elliot's eyes. Taking the hand closest to her into both of hers, she exclaimed, "Oh my God, El...please..."

His throat tight with long-held pain, "As long as we've been friends and with as much as I know of your past, I realize that I've never told you much about mine, have I?"

"Not really...well, other than the fact that you picked a college based on its ranking by Playboy," said Olivia as she rubbed her thumb across the top of the hand she held.

A watery chuckle escaped as Elliot rubbed his eyes. "Yeah. The really important stuff. Liv, I had just gotten out of the Corps, still unemployed as I hadn't signed for Queens College yet. Maureen was just a bit younger than Lucy was and Kathy was pregnant with Kathleen. Kathy was on a girls' night out so it was actually one of the first nights that I had Maureen by myself. I know we played and I had given her some grape juice. This was before the time of the all-purpose sippy cup and, well, she spilled it. And that spill was a big spot on the brand new carpet that we'd just installed and could barely afford. Hell, I'd barely been able to qualify for the house because I left the service after only a three year hitch."

Elliot stopped to lean forward and pick up the water glass to take a swallow. Placing it back on the table and taking a deep breath, he continued in a thick voice, "Maureen started crying because she knew that spilling the juice was a big mistake, and Liv, I swear to God I don't know why, but it set me off. Next thing I knew, I had grabbed her arm to spank her, but she pulled away." As he said this, he cast his eyes downward so he couldn't see the disgust that he was sure he'd find on Olivia's face. Knowing what she had gone through as a child broke his heart enough that he couldn't bear the thought of her disappointment in him over something that he did to his own child.

Her own heart breaking, Olivia watched her partner try to get through his story. Knowing that this wasn't the first time he'd thought of this memory, she knew that by telling Cragen and herself he was opening up his own past for them to understand. But, she was also smart enough to know that if not for the suffering of that little girl, Lucy, he would not have told a soul. She felt honored to help him, as she was sure did their boss.

Shifting backwards so that she sat with her shoulder turned into the couch back, she turned her hand to entwine their fingers and then looked up at him. She said gently, "What happened next, Elliot?"

Looking down, he tightened his grasp on her hand and then looked up straight into her eyes. Surprised to see support and love in the depths of that chocolate gaze, he took a deep breath and continued, "All I was going to do was spank her, I swear. My hand was already moving, but when she pulled out of my grasp, my hand hit her right in the face. Liv, my God, I hit my baby." The tears that had been at the edge all night now broke free. "I hit my little girl," he sobbed. "I even raised my hand to strike her again, but this voice inside told me to stop. I picked her up and she was completely limp in my arms...all over some fucking carpet. How could I do that? I was no better than the bastards that we put away. I'm sorry, Livia...I'm so sorry."

"Shhh. You've got it out now, Elliot. That's where it needs to be to deal with it. Come here," Olivia tugged on his hand and pulled him into a tight hug. Both her heart and her eyes wept for him. She couldn't believe that he'd kept this locked inside all these years. She shuddered at the thought of how many more years he'd have lived with the burden, had the captain not been there tonight. What if Elliot had left without ever telling her this cumbersome secret of his? She hugged him to her tightly. Elliot's head landed on her shoulder and he moved it slightly so when he took a deep breath he could smell the remainder of her perfume. Relaxing into her embrace yet still crying softly, he felt her arms wrap around him and one hand began to stroke his hair.

Taking a moment to gather her thoughts, Olivia allowed the soothing motion to comfort both of them. Tears came to her eyes as she thought of this strong man carrying that event inside for so long. Honored to be one that held his trust, she was pretty sure that not even Kathy had heard this story...and needless to say, Maureen wouldn't even remember.

"Elliot, I want you to listen to me...and listen well. You are, without a doubt, one of the most wonderful and honorable men I have ever known. There is no doubt in my mind that that horrible incident was the culmination of many stresses. Not that that is an excuse, but considering how long you have held that story inside, I think you've punished yourself enough for it. You didn't continue to raise a hand to Maureen. You are a wonderful father to your children and they adore you more than you could possibly know."


"No. No buts. It's been almost 18 years, Elliot. All this time this has been stored up there in your head. I'm surprised it hasn't come up during any of our other cases. Lucy's is not the first case of shaken infant that you've dealt with."

Elliot's voice is muffled against her shoulder as he replies, "But it's the first time you weren't there with me." Guilt stabbed sharply at her stomach. Turning his head slightly, his lips grazed softly across the pulse point in her neck.

Olivia shivered as she felt the slight caress. "Oh, Elliot, I'm sorry."

"S'alright..." Taking a deep breath, his arms tightened around her, "I'm tired, Liv."

"I know," said Olivia. Taking a moment to think, she then leaned back against the pillow that sat at the arm of the couch. C'mere," she said as she pulled Elliot along as she lay back. "Let's just grab some sleep. Unless, are you hungry?"

"No, just tired," said Elliot in an unintentionally sexy tone that sent shivers racing across Olivia's skin where she could feel his breath. "I should go home. Kathy's gonna be mad enough, but I just don't wanna deal with it tonight. I don't wanna tell her...I'm too close to the edge right now." Elliot tightened his arms around Olivia and shifted them both so she lay slightly on top of him but with her back still against the back of the couch. "You're so warm," he said drowsily, one hand fisted loosely in the material of her robe. "Wake me up early so I get home to change, will ya, Livvy?"

Olivia smiled gently and reached up to pull his head down to place a gentle kiss on his chin. "Won't need to, El. There's still a suit in the closet, remember? You asked me to grab your dry cleaning the other day when I had the sedan. Plus your bag is in the closet. Just go to sleep and rest. I've got you."

She looked up when no response came and saw that he was now sound asleep. She reached up over the back of the sofa and pulled the blanket down over the both of them. Snuggling down against his chest, she inhaled deeply and smiled softly as the soft beat of his heart lulled her to sleep. "Damn these cases," she thought as she nodded off. "Someday they're going to get the best of us...but at least we can watch out for each other."