It was late one night, or rather early in the morning. 2 o'clock to be exact. The SVU precinct had just closed the rape case that they had been working hard on for the past month. Olivia had gone back through the evidence thousands of times; and had finally found their missing link. She and Elliot had arrested the victim's poolboy that afternoon, and had charged him with the rape and murder of the girl. The detectives hadn't gotten very much sleep in that time period; and they had barely left the station, except to go talk to people and gather evidence.
The detectives gathered up their things and left the precinct together. Munch and Fin took a left after exiting the building, and Olivia and Elliot took a right. They talked and laughed for the first time in a month as Elliot waited with her for her cab.
As her cab pulled up, Elliot gave Olivia a hug, and whispered in her ear, "Congratulations Liv. You did good."
Olivia smiled. "Thanks Elliot," she said as she got into the cab, "I couldn't have done it without you. See you in a few hours."
Elliot waved to her as the cab pulled off into the night. He walked over to his own car, got in and drove home. By the time he entered his house, it was already 3 o'clock, and he found his wife sitting at the kitchen table waiting for him.
"I heard you caught the guy," she said, not making eye contact with him, but looking in his general direction.
Elliot nodded. "Liv caught him," he corrected her.
Kathy waved her hand in front of her face, signifying that she didn't care. "Whatever. It doesn't matter," she replied.
Elliot put his hands on the table and looked her in the eyes. "Yes, it does matter Kathy. Liv is a good cop. She deserves credit for getting this bastard off the streets. If it wasn't for her; he'd still be wandering out there, waiting to make his next move," Elliot shot back frostily.
Kathy glared at him and started to walk up the stairs. "Goodnight," she said with an air of finality.
Elliot rubbed his face and sighed. He walked into the guest bedroom, which he had been sleeping in for the past few months. Things between him and Kathy hadn't been going very smooth lately. After they got this last case; he had been coming home later and later. Kathy would wait up for him every night, questioning him on where he had been. She accused him of sleeping with hookers, going out for beers after work; anything except coming home. He tried to tell her about this case, and how hard it was. He tried to tell her that he was faithful to her, which he was. She wouldn't listen to him. So they had agreed to disagree, for the children's sake, and Kathy kicked him out of the bedroom.
The children knew something wasn't right, but never mentioned it to their parents. Of course they heard the shouting at night. Of course they knew that Elliot wasn't sleeping with hookers or going out for beers after work. They knew how important his job was to him, and to the community. They were just happy that he stayed safe, and kept others safe too.
Elliot settled into the bed and began to think. He thought about the case, about his children, about his wife, about Olivia. She knew something was wrong with him, but she didn't push him to tell her. He didn't want to burden her with his troubles on top of her own. He sighed. How could things go so wrong, but yet go so right?
Olivia paced around her house, not able to sleep. She was glad she had found the killer, but blamed herself for not being able to stop all of the other crimes that were going to be committed the next day; the next month; the next year. She walked over to her refrigerator and took out a beer. She sat down on her bed and drank it. One of her weaknesses was using liquor as a tourniquet; trying to drown all of her pain. She thought about Elliot. She knew he was hurting; that something was bothering him, but he wouldn't tell her what it was. And she didn't want to push him; to make him hurt more. She felt so helpless. She couldn't help the victims whose cases she investigated, and she couldn't help Elliot. She sighed, and finished her third beer. She knew she would regret this tomorrow, but she didn't care. She clumsily put the bottle on her bedside table, and fell asleep, drunk.