Elliot couldn't think of a thing to say as he slowly slipped into the vest. Olivia, as forthcoming as she always was, remained silent. Finally Elliot couldn't stand it anymore and said, "I am sure that he was just saying that to rile you." Olivia nodded without responding, spending a great deal of time adjusting the straps on her life vest. "Olivia…"
"Ya… I bet you're right." Olivia answered shakily, smiling weakly at him.
Elliot stood rooted to his spot. "What are you not telling me?" When she remained silent again, he exclaimed, "You did sleep with him!"
"Look… it was just once… it wasn't supposed to happen!"
"That was the one thing you two so staunchly maintained! The one thing you swore never happened!" Elliot exclaimed, unable to keep his temper from rising.
Olivia bit her lip and then muttered, "I know."
"What was your plan then? To blame Darby the rest of your life and let your best friend get off?"
"No. I still don't know. I always thought that Darby was the father because I was two weeks late when... but Darby never contested being Daeman's father, so I didn't think that the matter needed further investigation."
"But I didn't need to know about it then."
"Elliot, its not…"
"Olivia…. I know you love him. Wouldn't it make it easier for all of us if you two just acknowledged that?" Elliot snapped, gripping the side of the rocking boat.
"No! Elliot, it was a one time, stupid thing we did, nothing more. I didn't tell you because I do love him, as my best friend strictly, and thought that if you knew you wouldn't trust me to be around him anymore." Olivia said, her voice sincere.
Elliot didn't respond and so Olivia walked over to the radio, eying the equipment to see if there was anyway of salvaging it to make a distress call. When she was certain there wasn't, she turned back to him. "This probably isn't the best time or place to discuss this."
Dominic staggered back across the dock, suddenly eying the boat across from him. He ran over to the door, banging heavily. The girl who had been lounging in front of the TV stood and ambled over, gazing through the glass door. Her eyes widened as she flung it open. "Hi. I need to borrow the boat." Dom said simply. The girl turned brilliantly red and reached over to the counter, grabbing the keys labeled Victoria's Secret. "Thanks." Dom said, hurrying inside. The girl just stared at him. "Could you get the dock lines?"
Olivia never saw it coming. With a violent pitch, the waves sent the already partially capsized boat over onto its side. She slammed against the water with painful intensity. Gasping from the cold and from the surprise, Olivia glanced around for Elliot. "Elliot!" she exclaimed, kicking hard away from the boat. Her eyes widened as she saw him floating rather limply nearby. Swimming over, Olivia seized his vest, pulling him back so that his head rested against her collarbone. "Elliot… it's going to be okay. I can get us out of here." Olivia murmured, gently touching above the gash on his forehead. He didn't respond, obviously knocked out cold.
Biting her lip thoughtfully, Olivia swam carefully backwards, dragging Elliot by the life vest. It was quite a lot harder than she had predicted. The buoy wasn't that far off, but through the choppy water it was proving close to impossible. She felt a brief surge of panic as the bow light of their boat disappeared under the water, the sinking of the boat an utterly eerie thing to watch.
Dominic shifted his grip on the steering wheel nervously, jamming on the throttle as soon as he had the boat backed out. Alexandria came running upstairs and asked, "Do you need anymore help?"
"Just help me look for signs like flares or something. I know the general area they are in, but its kind of broad."
"Okay sounds good. Just let me turn this off." She said, reaching over to the entertainment system control panel. But instead of switching the radio off, it turned on the TV. "Oh… oops." She said, and Dom turned to look at it.
"You watching Buffy? Hey, this is the episode where she…" Dom abruptly stopped, turning away quickly. Alexandria gazed at him in even greater admiration.
"Ya! I was wondering, did you get the part where…" Alexandria asked him, though she was careful to keep scanning the horizon.
Dominic felt the pounding of his heart slow slightly as Alex coaxed him into a conversation, effectively diverting some of his attention away from what he had done. She was in the middle of a quite passionate speech about Angel when suddenly she exclaimed, "Dom! A red flare!"
Olivia reached out a shaking hand and seized the side of the buoy. With her other hand she held Elliot tight to her, who still hadn't given any indication of waking up. Her breathing came in ragged gasps and her whole body shook from the exertion. She couldn't believe how horribly this whole thing had ended up.
Suddenly, Elliot mumbled something. Olivia pulled him closer and said, "Elliot… you okay? I need you to stay awake for me, alright?"
"Liv… what happened?"
"The boat sank. I think you got knocked out by something."
"No… I mean with Dominic." Elliot muttered, closing his eyes again.
Olivia sighed. "I don't know. It wasn't our brightest moment."
"So you never really loved me?"
"Elliot… I love you. I just don't know how it would work out."
"You're right." Elliot said, rubbing the back of his head lightly. "So… is this it then?"
"This thing we had, it's over."
Olivia stared at him for a second before slowly nodding. He looked sadly back at her, swimming slightly to grab the buoy.
"So, did you two want to be rescued, or am I interrupting?"
Olivia whipped around, turning to see Dom leaning over the edge of a red trimmed boat. She forced a smile and replied, "Nope. It's getting kind of chilly in here. Help Elliot first."
Dom nodded, throwing out a little buoy. Elliot seized it and allowed Dom to pull him over to the boat. He clamored onto the back deck and flopped with his back resting against the side. Alex trotted over to him, kneeling and gently helping take off his life vest. Elliot gratefully shed the sopping wet article and pulled the towel she offered tightly around himself. He stood a little unsteadily and began to make his way to the cabin. Pausing just before he went inside, Elliot turned to see Dominic kneeling on the deck with Olivia held tightly in his embrace. She was telling him something and he was looking quite stunned. However, the genuine concern he had for her had never been more evident than in that moment. Elliot looked away and quietly slipped into the cabin.
He was met by a very confused looking Mr. and Mrs. Woods. "Oh, hi Elliot." Rich said, rubbing his eyes lightly.
The door clicked quietly as Dom and Olivia made their way inside, Dom quite obviously struggling to make one step after another. Alex smiled broadly at him and turned to her dad. "Could you drive us back to the marina?"
Rich nodded slowly before asking, "What exactly is going on?"
"Long story." Alex said, "But we can tell you it later." With that she waltzed back over to Dom, handing him an icepack she had snatched from the refrigerator.
Olivia watched as Dom gingerly took it, laying it lightly on his knee. "What happened?"
Dom bit his lip before slowly pulling up the corner of his hoodie. Olivia gasped as she saw his shirt underneath was stained with blood. He quickly jerked it back down, focusing his attention on the ice pack. After a moment he said, "I came because I heard Briscoe was investigating Darby. I knew he was one of the only people who knew about you two, so I had to make sure you were okay. But when I got here, the station was a mess. I went in and… and… it was just like when I found my mom." He stopped abruptly, biting his lip harder.
Olivia put her hand on his shoulder gently, looking up as Elliot came in. "Elliot, could you come here please?"
"Sure. Thanks Dominic, we owe you one."
"It's not a problem. I wasn't about to let you two drown." Dom said, looking up. Elliot was surprised to see that his eyes were remarkably distant. He glanced over at Olivia, who shook her head.
"Dominic, what happened?"
He looked up, his eyes watery. After a long pause he slowly told what he had seen.
Rich guided the boat easily into the docks, eying the vast number of ambulances and police cars that all had their sirens flashing. He shook his head to clear it, marveling at how strange the night had been. His wife carefully tiptoed across the deck, glancing downstairs. It was quite a sight. The coast guard was dozing in Olivia's lap, his head resting against her shoulder. Elliot sat close by, looking at Olivia in concern. Alex was adjusting the ice pack on Dom's knee and talking quietly.
Immediately upon their arrival, Briscoe and two other uniforms jumped on board, dragging a very upset looking Darby behind them. "That's him! I swear, I saw him kill her! He always has been so unbalanced." he shrieked upon sight of Dom.
"Good, glad you acknowledge that you know him. I am sure now you will be more easily able to understand why you are being charged with his attempted murder." Briscoe said easily, shoving Darby back into the hands of the uniforms. Then he stepped forward and knelt beside Dominic. "You don't seem to be doing well. Do you want to tell me what happened?"
Dominic nodded slowly, and Olivia squeezed his shoulder reassuringly before carefully standing and heading over to Elliot. Another officer came running in, asking breathlessly if they were okay. They nodded slowly before jumping onto the docks.
Olivia bit her lip as she stepped around the mess of papers on the ground, her gaze finding Gianna lying as if she were resting. Mark lay nearby, his arms raked with scratch marks and his face bruised. "We didn't do a thing to prevent this." Olivia muttered sadly, not taking her eyes off the dead girl.
"We can't save them all." Elliot replied, resting a hand very briefly on the small of her back.
"That doesn't make it okay." Olivia answered simply, turning to face him.
"No it doesn't. But you did some good work out there. I have got myself a gutsy partner, it appears." Elliot said, "You go take care of yourself. I'll see you at work."
Two Weeks Later
The downpour of rain hadn't let up for hours, causing the evening to be a rather chilly one. Olivia looked out the window and watched her breath mist over the slick glass. Wrapping her arms around herself, Olivia pressed her head up against it and shut her eyes. It had been quite the month. Darby had been convicted, both on Dominic's attempted murder and her attempted rape, but there was insufficient evidence to tie him to the drugs. Still, 25 years was nothing to sneeze at. Dominic had won his self defense case, getting only a few months probation. And the paternity test had come back, proving the Dominic was in fact Daeman's father.
This had had numerous repercussions in and of itself, namely that Dom's wedding was called off.
A cool hand on her shoulder made her jump. "Dominic…" she said with a sigh, turning and facing him with a suppressed smile.
He managed a smile back, gently adjusting the sleeping baby in his arms. "Sorry. He fell asleep so I thought you'd want to put him in his crib."
Olivia nodded and picked up Daeman, laying him down in the crib next to her bed. Dom leaned up against the wall, carefully easing weight off his knee. She noticed and hurried over to help him. "Thanks… I feel like such a kid. Can't walk on my own, drive anywhere, and I have a curfew."
"I imagine when you were a kid you could walk." Olivia said with a smile as they sat down on the bed.
"True. But still, the curfew thing takes some getting used to." Dom replied with a sigh.
Olivia playfully cuffed his shoulder. "I am sure it does. But you are lucky you only got probation. Briscoe certainly helped out in making your self defense case."
Dom nodded slowly, rubbing his hands together, paying particular attention to the bare spot where his ring used to be. "You know… sometimes I wish that he had just killed me."
"Dom! Don't say that! You're going to be okay." Olivia exclaimed, drawing his chin up.
"Does it ever stop hurting? Because right now..." He muttered, putting his face in his hands.
Olivia leaned her head up against his shoulder, a tear dripping down her cheek as she whispered so softly that he couldn't hear, "No, I don't think it does."
Almost instantaneously, Daeman let out a tiny cry and a soft knocking came at the door. Olivia stood, taking a step towards her baby before Dom laid a hand on her knee. "I got him."
She trotted over to the door and felt her heart jolt as she opened it. "Elliot… what are you doing here?" she said, trying to keep her voice calm.
"I just thought I'd come by and see how you were. I missed you at work today."
"Ya, I just had to take Dom to the doctors. But I will be there the rest of the week, partner." Olivia said, a smile dancing across her features.
"Okay. See you then." Elliot replied after a moment, slightly taken back by the finality in her tone. Olivia nodded, watching him retreat back down the steps.
She clipped the door shut, turning to see Dom limping a few steps while carrying Daeman before saying, "Well that was pathetic."
"What was I supposed to say?" Olivia exclaimed, running a hand through her hair.
"I dunno… maybe invite him in? Something along those lines?" Dom said, his tone amused but flustered.
"I know… its just…" Olivia began, her voice trailing as she looked at her friend.
"Come on Olivia. What the hell are you standing there for? Go after him!"
Olivia grinned and quickly ducked out the door, leaping down the staircase. She darted out into the downpour of cold rain, glancing up and down for a sign of where he had gone. "Elliot!" she exclaimed, shoving a wet piece of hair from her eyes. "Elliot!" But no one answered. She dropped to her knees, feeling an awful sinking in her gut. For a few moments, Olivia didn't move, until she finally pushed her hand against the sidewalk to try to stand.
"Did you need something?" asked a quiet voice just in front of her. Olivia stood up so fast she would have fallen over had it not been for him steadying her.
"Elliot… I just wanted to say… even though it never would have worked out, it was still the most amazing time of my life." Olivia said quickly, holding his forearms gently.
Elliot smiled and reached up to take her face in his hands. "Mine too, Olivia Benson, mine too." She shut her eyes as he kissed her forehead lightly, and then threw her arms around his neck.
"I'm so sorry for everything, Elliot. It's just with work…"
"I know. It's not your fault." He replied, "You know what Dominic said about you being the reason he got better?" Olivia looked up at him. "Well, lets just say I know exactly what he meant."
Olivia smiled; glad that he couldn't see the tear leaking down her rain soaked face. He squeezed her shoulder gently before beginning to step away. Olivia seized his hand and said softly, "One last time."
She wrapped her arms around his neck, kissing him with unrestrained fervor. Elliot held her tightly against him, slipping one hand underneath her shirt to rest on her back. Olivia ran her hand down his jaw, leaning her head back as he kissed her neck. As he slowly drew back up to her lips, he took her face in his hands and murmured, "I am so glad that I met you, Olivia."
"Me too." Olivia replied before he kissed her again.
Olivia stood for quite a while in the rain after he left, gazing out into the distance. Finally she turned quite painfully back towards her apartment. She hurried up the steps and slipped inside to find Dominic eagerly awaiting her arrival. "So how'd it go?"
"It's over. It's over." Olivia said softly, looking at him with bright eyes.
"Olivia… you don't know that for sure."
"It would never have worked, Dominic."
"You never know Olivia. Someday you could look back on this little conversation and wonder what you were talking about."
Olivia smiled slightly. "I guess so."
"No, I know so."
Six Months Later
"I told you Olivia. Isn't it great to get out every once in a while? Particularly this time of year." Dominic said, bouncing happily over to the pool table. Olivia rolled her eyes as he went about setting up. "I can't wait until you meet my new team!"
Olivia looked at him in amusement. "What, since they made you captain you've been cutting people?"
"Hell no. Mike had to quit, so I just added one guy. After all Olivia, it's just supposed to be fun." Dominic said matter of factly.
Olivia just laughed in response, loosening her scarf from around her neck. The sports bar was particularly crowded that night, and it didn't take long for Dominic's teammates started to show up. She sighed and watched as her best friend played, a wash of memories flooding over her. Turning away Olivia ran a hand through her hair. This was not one of those times she wanted to get all nostalgic. The events of the past year were quite overwhelming at times- she was an SVU detective, a mom, living with her best friend, and working with the one person who…
"Olivia?" She jerked her head up, pulled out of her reverie. "Just wanted you to meet our newest member." Dominic said, and her eyes widened.
Elliot grinned back at her. "Dominic said he wanted someone to fill in, so I figured, why not?"
She just stared for a long while until he gave her arm a squeeze and sauntered back over to the pool table. Olivia turned fiercely to Dominic. "I see him at work everyday, Dom. Don't you think if we were going to get back together we'd have done it already?"
"No." Dom said simply, a wide grin lighting up his features. "You both are too stubborn to see what's right in front of your face."
Olivia indignantly stood, but he had already turned and was walking away. "Dominic!" He waved at her and kept walking.
She sighed in frustration, her gaze shifting to Elliot, who didn't notice. And then suddenly he looked back at her, his blue eyes glittering as he smiled. Olivia felt an odd surge of joy as she gazed over at him. She smiled back. Maybe in the end, things would work out. Maybe everything really did happen for a reason.