Disclaimer: Olivia, Elliot and the gang do not belong to me; I can only take credit for the bad guys and the story/situation you are reading. Dick Wolfe – you rock!
Rating is for naughty language, because real cops have filthy mouths. Oh, and a small helping of smut (half a scoop).
Reviews: Please. You bring such joy into my life!
A/N: So I know this took forever and a day. Deepest apologies. I had a death in the family, and then that little plot bunny Broken for You (not to mention my recent foray into CSI fan fic). It's been nuts, and I hope to get back to writing/finishing this thing. Next several chapters are mostly case, and there are two big plot twists ahead.
The warmth of the air was strange, since she usually kept her bedroom cool. There was also the subtle awareness that she was still wearing clothes; most of the time she slept nude, a habit she had developed out of convenience more than anything else. But neither of these sensations tugged Olivia from the haze of sleep more than the feeling of foreign flesh under her hand, and the distinctly masculine smell of the other occupant of her bed. Elliot.
Last night came back to her in a sweet, heady rush of memory. Kissing, cleaning her guns together in amicable silence, sleeping in such a heavenly embrace and of course, the talk they had in the bathroom. She had shared with him something deep, a part of her soul that left her intimately vulnerable to him.
Without opening her eyes, she could tell by the hardness and contour of flesh that she was still resting under his arm, her cheek against his chest. There was a small, almost rattling type of sound whenever he would take a breath, his chest expanding with the movement. Under that, she could hear the faint but steady thrum of his heart, the same rhythm she knew had lulled her back to sleep earlier that morning.
When the warm sensation of bare skin against her palm made its way through her sleep-fogged mind, her eyelids fluttered open, the simple task almost sluggish. Though her vision was still blurred, there was no mistaking the position of her hand on his exposed stomach between the stark white of the rib belt around his upper torso, and waistband of his sweatpants.
Her body stiffened, the unexpected visual and following stab of unfettered lust causing her to swallow back an involuntary gasp. Her hand was flush against the taut skin of his lower stomach, his narrow hips and a trail of light brown hair made visible by the low proximity of his pants. The fabric must have shifted in his sleep, revealing more of him then she had ever seen before. Absently, she wondered if he usually slept in the nude as well.
She moved her head slowly, careful not to jerk him awake as she turned to look up at his face.
It brought back memories of the first time she had seen him after surgery. Doctor Carroll had led both her and Cragen back to the ICU, and Cragen, after hearing the doctor tell them there was little chance Elliot would wake, had left her alone with him to call Munch.
He had been sleeping, as he was now, but he had been frail, his skin pale, his face relaxed. He still held that certain peace to his handsome features that he did that day, something that was missing when he was awake and alert. It was if, when asleep, the demons of their job granted him leave, gave him a small pardon to actually pretend evil didn't exist.
He really was a beautiful man. She couldn't help but stare, her dark gaze tracing his face, from the small bandage at his forehead, his strong, stubbled jaw, to rest at his mouth. His thin lips were parted a fraction against his breathing, and she felt a familiar ache twist its way through her body, a yearning that had grown more intense over the years, and had nearly spun out of control since the shooting.
She wanted him. It was exhilarating and painful, and almost frightening. All this time, she had managed to keep her feelings in check. After all, while she wasn't fool enough for the self-deception to think there was nothing between them, she was smart enough to know it couldn't develop into anything more than friendship. Even in his current single status, he was off limits to her. How many times had they discussed the foolhardiness of cops in relationships?
But he decided to change the playing field. From the moment he had uttered words of love to her, lying then in that pool of blood on the concrete, he had made it explicitly clear that the game was set, and there was no other option but to move forward.
Last night was the boldest move yet. Olivia still felt the taste of his tongue in her mouth, the pleasing pressure of his hand on her breast, the way his thigh had slid between hers and rubbed erotically against her heat.
She closed her eyes, biting back a groan as the memory seared through her torso in anticipation. It was the most intense desire she had ever felt, and she wanted to fall into it, reveal in it with him regardless of the consequences.
Elliot had somehow convinced her to let him in, to freely expose to him her vulnerability. He found the woman beneath the controlled, detective persona she held onto as her security against the world. It terrified her; at the same time it made her love him all the more.
She opened her eyes again, her gaze drifting from his face to his chest. She paused a moment to admire the beauty of his exposed flesh, made hard by visits to the gym and aggressive police work. Under his sternum the rib belt was wrapped securely around his torso; her eyes turned thoughtful as she looked at the stiff, white material.
Olivia knew he had probably changed his bandages under the rib belt last night when he had used the bathroom before coming to bed. She supposed he had probably taken a pain pill at that time as well. As hard assed as he was, she knew the kind of pain associated with his injury would be unbearable without some sort of medication. He had no other option but to take what was prescribed to him, even with any side affects it created on the job.
She glanced over at the alarm clock in the dim room, reading the green, digitalized time of 5:15. The sun was just starting to rise, and cast a hazy, pink tinged light into the room from the lone window.
They should be getting up. She could easily sleep for another couple of hours like this, as she was sure Elliot would enjoy as well, but the investigation couldn't wait. That, and she was uncertain how often he had to take his meds. The last thing she wanted was for him to be in pain.
She shifted slightly, the warm sensation of flesh under her palm reminding her where her hand was. Olivia bit her lower lip, looking down to the exposed skin under the stark rib belt, overwhelmed with emotion. It was too much for her. The visual pushed all practical thoughts out of her head and once again she was just a woman in bed with the man she desired.
Olivia slid her hand softly against his lower stomach, lifting her palm a fraction so only her fingertips grazed his flesh. Goosebumps rose at the gentle contact, smattering across his exposed skin. Under the worn fabric of his sweatpants, she saw him stir, his body wakening to her touch.
She was suddenly breathless by his unconscious reaction, wanting to explore further than the soft, innocent teasing of her fingertips on his stomach. She traced a line down his left hip, smoothing against the waistband of his pants. It was heaven to touch him like this, and she couldn't help the small moan at the wonderful sensations it was causing in her own body.
The hushed sound slid through the blackness, calling to him. He felt weighed down with the last traces of deep sleep. The pain weaved its way through the dense slumber, a dull ache throughout his entire left side, gradually increasing in intensity as his body came into consciousness. But that feeling suddenly became secondary to the gentle touch low against his stomach, fingertips dangerously close to his growing erection.
Still only half conscious, he was stunned, trying to gauge the situation, to remember. But then the faint balmy smell of jasmine caressed his senses, reminding him in sudden stark clarity who was lying under his arm, stroking him with those long, elegant fingers of hers. His partner, warm and curvy and inviting, was pressed up against him, teasing him awake. His Olivia.
He opened his eyes slowly, taking in the image. Her dark head of hair was resting against his shoulder, her breasts pressed against the uninjured side of his chest, her right hand caressing his belly. She made some soft, erotic little noise in the back of her throat, and he had the abrupt thought that maybe she was already as aroused as he obviously was at her ministrations.
He grabbed her hand, his fingers encircling her wrist. The quick movement caused her to gasp, and she looked up at him, her brown eyes wide with surprise.
"Don't," he spoke, his tone rough from sleep and desire. She blinked, and he relaxed his grip on her wrist, his thumb sliding into her palm.
"El?" She questioned. Holding her gaze, he moved his thumb in a tiny caress against her damp skin, pulling her closer to him with his free hand. He saw her pupils dilate with the movement and drew in a shuddery breath at her unconscious reaction.
Throwing the certain consequence of pain to the wind, he pushed up on his elbows, moving with the speed of intent. He was over her before she had a second to comprehend the blur of movement, both of her hands over her head, bound together at the wrist by his right hand, his hips between her thighs.
His face was hot at her throat as he worked a trail of moist kisses against her skin. His free hand was at her hip, holding her secure as he pressed up against her. He was all but throbbing with the intensity of his need, and he knew she could feel it as he pushed against her heat, separated as they were only by his sweatpants and those blue boxer shorts of hers.
She was shaking uncontrollably, instinctively fighting to get her hands free from his hold so she could pull him harder against her. She rocked back against his hips, her eyes suddenly wet with intense desire, and she realized vaguely she was pleading with him, begging him.
"Liv." His voice was low, the hand at her hip tightening as he slowed his movement between her thighs. "Liv, I need you."
She moaned her response, arching herself back up against his erection. He cursed low as the action nearly broke his control. Elliot pressed her down into the mattress, holding her still under him as he tried to even out his erratic breathing.
"But I need you too much," he whispered shakily. He rose up slightly so he could look down at her. She stared back, desire causing her already dark eyes to look almost black, her cheeks flushed. She moistened her bottom lip with her tongue, and he bit back a groan.
He lowered his face down to hers, hesitantly touching her mouth in their second true kiss. The gentle kiss deepened as the minutes ticked on and the room became lighter as the sun rose higher in the sky.
Olivia lost track of how long they had been kissing. At some point, he had released the hand on her wrists, and she had run her fingers through his close-cropped hair, careful of his bandage as she held his head. He had relaxed against her, and somewhere along the way, the intense, overwhelming lust had simmered into tenderness.
Eventually, he broke the kiss, pulling back to look at her. His ice blue gaze, warmed with the emotions he felt for her, traced across the features of her face, trying to memorize her as she was now. Picture perfect, and he wanted to keep this visual so that it would comfort him in all of the dark times ahead.
Elliot moved to push up, his wounded lung once again making it known as pain ricocheted through his side. With the desire waning, there was no other sensation to take his mind off of the ache in his ribs.
"Are you okay?" Olivia asked, sitting up as he moved to a standing position in front of her. She eyed him worriedly, seeing the grimace that marred his features.
"I think I might have overdone it for a moment there," he grunted, stretching his back and adjusting the low waistband of his sweatpants.
"No regrets, Liv," he cut her off. He bent down to kiss her again, biting back the grunt of pain the action caused him. He needed a pain pill. Damn his stupid lung to hell.
"I'm going to take a shower and change this bandage, okay?" He continued before she had a chance to question him again. Elliot walked over to the nightstand and picked up his Beretta before making his way to the doorway. He turned back to her, giving her a smile. "I promise not to use up all the hot water."
"That's not what I'm worried about, Stabler," she admonished him, still sitting on the edge of her bed. "Are you going to be okay by yourself?"
The heat in his gaze nearly caused her to turn away; she could feel the flush of her face in response to the look he was giving her.
"You got lucky once this morning, sweetheart. If you were to join me in the shower…," his voice trailed off; he watched her fidget, knowing she was imaging them just like he was. His lips pulled in a slow, meaningful smile, and she blinked before turning away, still not used to the fact that he was looking at her with that expression, his ice blue eyes darkening with emotion.
He had disappeared through the door before she had a chance to say anything, though she had no idea what kind of conversation she could have engaged in at that exact moment.
She sighed, falling back on the bed. Her sheets smelled like him, and she stared up at her bedroom ceiling, utterly overwhelmed. In little over a week, her life had been tilted upside down and tossed around, bouncing between the hands of a psychotic killer and those of her beloved partner, who had chosen possibly the worst time to reveal to her that he thought of her more than just a friend.
Elliot Stabler had been in her bed. They had kissed, he had touched her. God, had he touched her...
Laughter bubbled out of her. God, what the hell was wrong with her? She was going to blame him. It was his fault that he had her acting like some giddy girl with a serious crush.
The laughter faded into a soft smile, and she stared at the smooth white ceiling for several minutes, playing over his words in her head, the sound of his voice mixing with the visual memory of this morning and last night. Hearing the faint sound of water running in the bathroom sink, she sighed again, pushing up into a sitting position. She couldn't daydream all morning.
She frowned, reality sobering her, banishing all of the pleasantries. There was one, possible two pedophile serial killers out there, on the loose. Other than the obvious vendetta they had against her, there was no telling when they would find their next victim. She had no time to feel anything but utter determination for justice.
Olivia picked up her Glock and cell phone from her bedside table and walked out of her bedroom. Pausing only briefly at the closed door of the bathroom, she strode down the hallway to the kitchen.
She set her gun and phone down on the counter, taking a moment to wash her hands in the metal basin sink. She padded bare-foot across the cool tiles of her kitchen to her small pantry, scanning the different foil bags of coffee before deciding on the Blue Mountain. They were the best coffee beans she had at the moment, and considering the start of her morning, she thought it a good choice.
She yawned, stretching to the cabinet above her sink to retrieve the coffee grinder. Olivia set the small appliance down on the counter, plugging it in next to the coffee maker. She poured double the amount of beans she thought she needed into the machine, closed the top, and proceeded grinding the aromatic beans in short bursts until they looked suitable for her purpose.
Olivia prepped the coffee maker with the freshly ground beans and water, adjusting it to the appropriate setting to start the brewing process. She watched it for a moment, the familiar ticking, and then gurgling sound resonating through the quiet kitchen. Satisfied, she picked up her Glock, leaving her cell phone on the counter, and walked back down the hall to her bedroom to pick out some clothes for the day.
In the bathroom, Elliot was standing in front of the mirror, unhooking the fasteners on his rib belt. The first thing he had done after locking himself in the small room was to take round one of the day's meds, which consisted of pain pills and antibiotics among others. That was the easy part of his morning routine; now came the part that gave him the most trouble.
He folded the stiff fabric of the wide belt, resting it on the side of the white tiled sink. Hesitantly, he pulled at the edge of the thin gauze covering the bullet hole on his left side, ignoring the pain throughout his torso as he gently rolled back the bandage. He tossed the gauze into the small wastebasket to the right of the sink before turning back to his reflection in the mirror.
Even after all of the times he had seen the wound, it still never ceased to amaze him. The large bruise that had covered his fractured ribs had since faded from angry purple to yellow and the actual bullet wound had stopped draining nearly two days ago, except when he coughed. He had been shot before, but never so seriously.
Elliot would always remember the first words Doctor Carroll had said to him when he gained consciousness after surgery. "Two inches further up, or two inches further over, and you would have died, Detective. You're extremely lucky."
Lucky. Not that he thought any of this was due to luck, but then again, he wasn't a man that gave any credit to chance. No, he had survived for a reason. God had given him a second chance, whether it was for his children, the job, or for her.
Her face had been so pale. He had never before seen her hands shake like that when she had pulled his coat from his bleeding body. It was scary, and oddly reassuring to glimpse the vulnerable woman underneath her usual controlled exterior. Her reaction gave him another reason to fight, to pray for his life in that expanding pool of blood on the cold, dirty concrete. Because there was a possibility that she could actual feel for him what he felt for her.
Elliot sighed, pushing the vivid memories back as he worked on the bandage on his temple. He was pleased to see the improvement of his second, much less significant bullet wound. The area of skin the doctors had hastily shaved during surgery was thankfully past the stubble stage; his dark hair was filling in nicely around what one day would be just a thin scar. He could still clearly see the stitches, but in another week or so, his hair would be long enough to cover the majority of the wound.
He showered hurriedly, careful of the wounds as he bathed. As always, he tried to keep his mind on the task, a testament to his control whenever he showered at Olivia's. He was no stranger to the mix of feminine products in a bathroom; he had lived many years with four women, two of them who had quite the penchant for numerous, expensive lotions and shampoos. But this was different. Here it was her things that surrounded him, in a place she stood soapy and naked…
Elliot groaned. It wouldn't do. He rinsed the remaining shampoo from his short hair and turned off the tap with a hard twist. Opening the curtain, he reached out for one of the surprisingly soft towels on the closest rung, drying off before stepping back out into the bathroom to finish the task of redressing his wounds and slipping into the clothes hanging on the back of door, set there to steam out wrinkles.
When he emerged from the bathroom, he was completely dressed save the tie hanging loosely on his right shoulder and his bare feet. He had his toothbrush with a dab of toothpaste in one hand and his Beretta in the other.
Olivia smiled at him from the bedroom doorway, her posture mirroring his. "Feel okay?"
"Never better," he answered her with a smile. One of his eyebrows quirked and he tilted his head slightly, his nostrils flaring as the seductive aroma of great coffee caught him. Olivia laughed at his expression.
"I thought it would be nice to start the day off with something other than Munch's finest," she said, her eyes twinkling with amusement.
"You're too good to me."
In the dark hallway, he watched as her gaze drifted from his eyes to his mouth, lingering there for a moment.
"I wouldn't say that, El," she spoke softly, her eyes once again meeting his. He stared, his breathing suddenly a little fast as she walked towards him, coming to stop in front of him in the bathroom doorway. She reached up to touch his face, her palm against the stubble at his jaw. "I wouldn't say that at all."
He swallowed, the overwhelming desire to forget everything and just take her back to bed making him nearly dizzy. "Liv…"
She pressed a long finger against his lips, shaking her head slightly with a small, secretive smile. Olivia reached up, her lips brushing his cheek softly. Without another word, she turned and walked into the bathroom, closing the door behind her.
Elliot stood for a moment in the dark hallway, lips parted in silent surprise. She had totally thrown him off balance. He couldn't even remember the last time someone had been able to do that to him. Hell.
He shook his head, sighing. Tucking the Beretta into his back waistband, he walked down the hallway into the kitchen, trying to recall exactly when everything had started to change, when he had fallen helplessly, totally in love with Olivia Benson.
Elliot was at the kitchen sink, finishing up the task of brushing his teeth when there was a knock at the front door. A quick glance at his watch confirmed that it was too early for the seven o'clock rotation of Olivia's detail.
Elliot dabbed his mouth dry with a paper towel, depositing it in the trash at the same time he pulled his gun from his pants, making his way to the door.
Looking through the peephole, he felt his wonderful mood turn south, his mouth pulling out into a thin line as he identified the man on the other side of the door to Olivia's apartment.
Elliot tucked his Beretta back into his waistband, opening the door to the tall black-haired man in a heavy coat, his hair and the shoulders of his coat damp with what Elliot assumed was rain. The older man was carrying a bag with the logo of popular delicatessen on the front, the white paper bottom nearly translucent from the greasiness of whatever pastries he had purchased on his way here.
"Logan. What are you doing here?" Elliot asked, his tone low. The older man's black eyebrows had risen slightly in surprise as his dark gaze took in the early morning appearance of the younger man.
"I could ask you the same thing," Logan replied, just as quietly. A slow smile tugged at his lips, creasing his attractive face when he noticed Elliot's bare feet.
"I'm her partner." Elliot was frowning now. It was aggravating; he was torn between which bothered him most – the fact that Logan was drawing conclusions between him and Olivia or that he was even here at Olivia's doorstep, at almost six in the morning.
"Likewise." Logan's aggravating smirk seemed to increase as the younger man's scowl deepened. The two men stared at each other in a silence that had become deafening, both trying to read the other, even though as seasoned detectives that task was nearly impossible.
Logan scratched at his jaw absently, shifting slightly so he could glance into the apartment behind Elliot before looking back at the unfriendly man in front of him. There was coldness to his blue eyes that Logan found interesting; Logan had always been the aggressive cop, the fighter in all of his partnerships. His attitude nearly had him fired from the job several times, and had been the main cause of his transfer out of Manhattan Homicide over a decade ago. He had to work like hell to mend his reputation and get back into the good graces of the NYPD.
In a way, Logan surmised they were a lot alike. There was a faint hostility to the younger detective that Logan sensed right under the surface, something he could relate to. Cragen had discussed with him several times over the years Elliot's successful cases, and with some hesitation, Cragen had also mentioned the man's desire for justice for the victims, Elliot's investigations nearly crossing the line several times. Logan had no doubt that Elliot was fiercely protective of those he loved, and next to his children, Logan knew that he felt the same way about his beautiful partner.
"So, you gonna invite me in, Stabler?" Logan asked quietly. He titled his head, hearing the distant sound of a shower running. One dark eyebrow rose up as his smirk deepened. "Or is this not a good time?"
The irrational thought of hitting the older man skittered across his mind. Knock him out, close the door, and continue on with getting ready. The line of reasoning was so unexpected and damn near ludicrous that Elliot had to bite back the laughter that burned in his throat. He couldn't go around punching every man that looked at Olivia too long, or said something off color to her. In their job, his knuckles would be bruised by the first day, not to mention Olivia wouldn't appreciate being viewed as some sort of helpless possession. She obviously wasn't that sort of woman, and it was just one of the many reasons he found himself enamored with her.
Elliot sighed, standing to the side of the doorway to let Logan walk past him into the apartment. "Don't you believe in calling first?"
"Didn't think I'd have to. Last night at dinner, I told her I'd pick her up," Logan answered flippantly, even though he suspected Olivia hadn't mentioned their time at the diner in the West Village to Elliot. "I guess she was distracted and forgot…"
His voice trailed off as he walked into her modern, but cozy apartment, Elliot close behind him as Logan dropped the pastry bag on the table of the dinette set before heading into the kitchen.
"Hell, Stabler, that smells awesome. You mind?" Logan asked, only glancing at Elliot for a fraction before turning back to the coffee simmering aromatically from the machine.
"Mugs are to the right of the sink," Elliot answered absently, his thoughts still on the fact that Olivia and Logan had shared dinner last night. Why Olivia would spend any more time with the older detective than she had to bothered him.
Logan reminded him of one of the characters from the romance novels Kathy had kept tucked under the couch cushions and read on lazy Saturday evenings or on those many nights Elliot had been late coming home from the job. He was tall, dark, and if Elliot had to grudgingly admit, handsome, though in a rather rough around the edges, street weary sort of way. He had to be in his late forties to early fifties, if the lines on his face and his near two decades of associating with Cragen were any indication. He would consider that too old for Olivia, except her past dating history held a majority of older men; it was something she even admitted stemmed from a lack of a solid father figure in her life.
"This is fucking fantastic," Logan broke through his thoughts, his voice tinged with obvious disbelief. His dark eyes were wide as he glanced over the edge of the blue coffee mug, taking another long sip. "Christ, Stabler, you make one hella cup a joe."
"Liv made it."
Logan whistled low. "A woman after my own heart."
Olivia's phone started ringing, still sitting on the counter top where she had left it. Both men turned to look at cell, both instinctively knowing it was related to the case. At this time in the morning, in the middle of such a gruesome, media heavy case, there was nearly an absolute certainty that the caller had something important to discuss or share with Olivia.
Elliot's fingers twitched with the desire to pick up her phone to check the caller ID. He glanced over at Logan; the older man's mouth was pulled out into a grim line as he stared at the phone and Elliot knew he had the same thought and was also holding back either for Olivia's privacy, or the fact that Elliot was standing next to him.
On the fourth ring it cut off, the call rolling into voice mail. Logan looked back over to Elliot, his lips still compressed. They stared at each other silently with unspoken tension. If it were urgent, the caller would try another detective.
Elliot remembered faintly that his cell phone was still in his leather coat, draped over Olivia's couch from where he left it last night. He gave a moment's thought on if he should go get it, when Logan's phone rang from inside his coat.
Logan set his coffee mug down to reach into his coat to pull out the small cell and flip it open. "Logan. Oh, morning, Don…no, been up since four…yeah…"
Elliot turned around at the honeyed sound of her voice. Olivia was standing in the far doorway of her kitchen, fully dressed in a light orange shell with a dark beige button down dress shirt, dark brown slacks and loafers. She was tightening her shoulder holster, her brown gaze shifting from Elliot to Logan and then back again as her long fingers worked on the leather straps.
"Hey," Elliot repeated her small greeting, smiling softly.
"What's Logan doing here?" Olivia asked quietly, securing her Glock in the holster against her ribcage.
"Other than drinking your coffee, he's your ride to the precinct."
Olivia blinked. Her lips parted, and then pulled into an awkward half smile as embarrassment tinged her expression. "I can't believe I forgot."
Elliot chuckled, ignoring Logan's side of the case related conversation to focus for a moment on his partner. "Perhaps you were…distracted."
Olivia's smile grew, becoming more genuine in response to his hushed statement. "Perhaps." She pulled the striped tie from his right shoulder and proceeded to loop it around his neck, working it into a graceful knot at his throat. She folded his collar over the silk and smoothed her hand down the front of the tie a gesture that mirror yesterday morning back in the crib.
"Did you know it's snowing?" Olivia asked, glancing from his tie up to his ice blue eyes. His eyebrows quirked in surprise. "Big flakes. They're starting to gather on the ledge of my bedroom window."
"Damn." He shook his head, sighing. That would explain Logan's somewhat damp appearance. "I heard from Fin that it snowed for a couple of hours the day they found the latest victim, but I thought we'd at least get a reprieve until November."
"Remember when snow meant days off school and snow ball fights with the other kids in the neighborhood?" Olivia reminisced quietly, pondering one of the few delightful memories from her childhood.
"Yeah, now it's just a pain in the ass. I hope it doesn't stick."
Elliot and Olivia turned back towards Logan. He was tucking his phone back inside his coat, regarding them both with a thoughtful, if somewhat hesitantly elated expression.
"What's going on, Logan?" Elliot asked before Logan could greet his partner. Even if Logan wasn't interested in Olivia, he knew the older detective would probably choose to engage her in some sort of banal conversation before discussing his phone call. But this wasn't the time.
"That was Cragen. Doctor Warner just got a hit back from the FBI lab," Logan relayed, his voice even.
"A hit from what?" Elliot asked, his stomach tightening with hope even as he was struck clueless. He didn't know of any evidence they had cleared from the scenes had been sent to the FBI.
"I had to ask that too. Seems Olivia had the idea of a possible match in the nail polish the perp used on the victims. Your doc sent the nail clippings of three of the vics to the lab a couple of days ago. The Feds found a match."
Olivia frowned at the stare both her partner and Logan were giving her. "Look, it's not like I was withholding information…"
"Because it's not like you don't have track record of keeping important shit like this from me," Logan cut her off, scowling.
"I asked Warner about this on the scene, before we were partnered, Logan. And honestly, with all of the other evidence that has come to light, this took a back burner."
"Well, it's back in front. The doc's at the station right now with Cragen."
"What are we waiting for?" Elliot asked, breaking the tension between Olivia and Logan. "You brought a car, right?"
"Yeah," Logan replied, rubbing the back of his neck as the pressure of the situation eased a fraction. He glanced from Elliot to Olivia, frowning when he noticed Olivia was still nearly bristling with anger. "Do you have a canister or some sort of travel mug?"
"For the coffee. It's the best damn shit I've ever tasted. I'd like to bring it with us."
Olivia lips parted in surprise, before pulling out into a small, uncertain smile. "Uh, yeah. Second cabinet to your left."
She watched him for a moment as he pulled out the large, cylindrical travel mug, setting it on the counter before reaching for the coffee pot.
"I'm going to get a coat, and then I'll be ready." Without a backwards glance, she headed out of the kitchen to her bedroom.
"I suggest you find some shoes, Stabler," Logan spoke low, his attention on the task in front of him as he poured the dark coffee into the canister. Elliot glanced from the empty doorway to Logan. "What? I'm just saving you embarrassment."
"Don't be an asshole, Logan," Elliot grunted. Logan laughed in response.
"But that's what I'm best at, Stabler."
Elliot shook his head and walked out of the kitchen. He had a bad feeling about the day ahead of them. Something was building, and he had an eerie suspicion the case was at its breaking point.