CHAPTER 82

Olivia sat nervously as the jury filed back into the courtroom. In a matter of minutes she would know if going through with the trial was worth it. She folded her hands over her stomach, a motion she'd consistently performed. Elliot found it curious even a little sexy at how protective she had become of the baby. It was a definite change from the terror he saw on her face when she'd told him she was pregnant.

While Elliot would never have told her he had been scared when she'd told him she was going to abort, he knew that he had been terrified and in fact, he'd cried holding her as she slept. He was nervous the first couple months of the pregnancy, the reaccurring dream of her coming home no longer pregnant plagued him. It wasn't until she started showing that Elliot felt completely at peace that she would keep the baby.

It had taken, literally, years for her to go out with him. He patiently waited until she was ready to make love to him and he enjoyed countless nights where he simply sat and watched her sleep. Elliot took her hand into his resting it in his lap and covering it with his other hand. He leaned close to her and whispered softly. "Whatever happens today Olivia, I love you and were gonna make it together!" he kissed her softly on the cheek and waited to hear the jury's decision, would they believe Oliver's attorney who made Olivia into something less than the honorable woman she was or did Casey and Alex expose the defenses' lies. They would soon find out.

"Has the Jury reached a verdict?" The judge asked leaning forward.

"We have Your Honor." A young man, perhaps only in his early twenties stood as the foreman. Olivia searched his face and read his body language for anything that may give her an inside track into their decision, yet he telegraphed no movements.

"Very well, bailiff please take the verdict." The judge straightened a form on the bench as the bailiff handed her the folded piece of paper as if it were a simple letter. The judge unfolded it and read it carefully offering no hint to what was written. She simply made a few quick notations on the forms she'd previously straightened and handed the paper back to the bailiff.

"Will the defendant please rise." The Judge instructed Oliver, who now had three bailiffs behind him in case of another outburst. As Oliver rose he turned to look at Olivia and was turned back around with a sharp warning from the oldest of the three bailiffs. Olivia would have to remember to thank him for his kindness.

"Before, the jury reads the verdict I want to remind the defense that you may wish to have the recommendation of sentencing read today or you may wish to have it done at sentencing, what would your client like Ms. Chimera?" The judge asked poised to write.

"If it pleases The People, we would like the recommendation today Your Honor…not that we'll need one." She smiled at Alex who rolled her eyes.

"Very well," She spoke before turning back to the jury. "Mr. Foreman, you may read the verdict."

The young man made no effort to look at anyone in the courtroom but read the verdict out loud.

"We The Jury in the of the above entitled matter of The People vs. Oliver Lias, A.K.A Oliver Benson, A.K.A Victor Lias Jr. Do find the defendant guilty…"

Olivia sat nauseated as the young man read guilty verdicts for the rape victims all of which were present in the courtroom weeping into the arms of their families and friends. She was beginning to think they'd forgotten about her particular charge of attempted murder when they pronounced a guilty verdict for the family of the murdered victim. "Come on already." She mumbled out loud as Elliot kept hold of her.

"Regarding the charge under penalty code 149.27, the attempted murder of Olivia Benson, we the jury find the defendant…"

Deafening silence ensued in the fraction of a second it took the foreman to draw a breath. "Guilty."

Olivia closed her eyes relief washed over her body as she leaned into Elliot and sobbed. It would be the first time Olivia had sobbed openly in public since the day he had met her.

"Very well, what is the Jury's recommendation?" The judge asked.

"Your Honor, due to particular circumstances of the cases, the violence and unrepentfull nature of the defendant…the jury recommends the death penalty."

"Very well, sentencing hearing will be held next Monday. I'm ordering the defendant assigned to the department of corrections…"

Olivia was vaguely aware of what the judge was saying but she chose to remain in the safety of Elliot's arms; a lifetime of hurt finally breaking through and falling from her eyes.

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"Ms. Novak!" Renee Chimera called out in the hallway of the courthouse. Casey turned forcing Paul to stop and turn with her. Not knowing what to expect Casey put on her fight face.

"It's Mrs. Novak and what do you need?" Paul smiled at Casey's correction, surely she had aquired a taste for Olivia's wit.

"What is it with the salutations?" Chimera raised her hands in surrender.

"What do you want Renee?" Casey asked sternly.

"Is Olivia going to be okay?" Chimera's voice was compassionate.

"Excuse me?" Casey folded her arms. "What the hell do you care? You drug her through the mud for no reason, who cared if she'd had sex with one person or a hundred people, she was a victim Renee!" Casey hissed in a stern whisper so passerby's couldn't hear.

"Casey, before you take my head off ask yourself if it wasn't a little too easy to beat me." Her voice was suddenly friendly. "I've never lost a case Casey, and I could have mopped the floor with you had I wanted too."

"Paul, will you excuse us?" Casey asked him careful to modify her tone.

"Sure, I'll have a cab wait for us." He kissed her on the cheek and left.

"What are you telling me?" Casey furrowed her brow.

"I see every piece of evidence you do Casey; I read her personnel file, I saw the picture in her medical file. When I confronted Lias with it he confessed to me." Chimera lowered her head.

"But it's protected under privilege." Casey followed the woman's logic.

"Exactly." She stepped closer to Casey speaking even softer. "I've never taken a case I couldn't win…I could have won this one Casey…" she stopped hoping she wouldn't have to spell it out for Casey.

" But you made sure you didn't." Casey completed Chimera's thought. "You could be disbarred." Casey reminded her.

"I trust your not saying anything Mrs. Novak." Renee smiled and turned, disappearing into the crowd.

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Olivia entered the comfort of her home exhausted. "El, I'm gonna lay down, is that okay?"

"Absolutley, I have some stuff to do around the house." He smiled and kissed her softly. "It's all over now Liv." He held her by her waist, as large as she was he found it surprising he could still hold her. Olivia stared intently at him, making him slightly nervous.

"What?" he blushed. Olivia remained silent placing her hands about his face and drawing him into a soft kiss. There was something different, something entirely submissive about Olivia. She wasn't fighting, the constant clashing of her heart and mind seemed to finally cease. She simply enjoyed him. She pulled back slowly, keeping her eyes closed she leaned against his forehead. "I'm gonna take a nap," She smiled. "See you at dinner." She broke his embrace and returned to the bedroom to sleep.

Elliot opened the back door allowing 'Team CrackerJack', who were now the two fattest beagles imaginable access to the house. "Keep the noise down, your mom's sleeping." He rubbed their bellies quickly and retreated to the office to try and catch up on the mounds of paper work that had accumulated since the trial began.

As he sifted through the paperwork he heard the shrill of Cracker's bark. He knew it wasn't Jack, he was the good dog. Cracker on the other hand seemed to prefer the evil twin routine. Elliot moved quickly not wanting the barking to wake Olivia.

"Cracker, quiet." He commanded as he walked down the hall. The barking continued drawing Elliot into the bedroom where Olivia should have been but the bed was empty, in fact it looked as though she never laid down at all. Her sleep attire was still at the foot of the bed. Cracker continued his barking fiasco as the hair on Elliot's neck stood on end. He walked slowly to the master bathroom.

Elliot found Cracker frantically barking at the threshold of the door. He furrowed his brows and walked into the restroom where Jack was whimpering next to an unconscious Olivia who was laying on the bathroom floor.

"CrackerJack, Out!" Elliot yelled forcing the puppies to flee. He knelt quickly taking her head into his hands. "Liv? Liv?" he shook her cautiously. Her breathing was shallow, her pulse almost impossible to find. "Liv?" He tried to get her attention again as he frantically retrieved her cell phone from her pocket.

"This is Detective Stabler, badge number six, three, seven, four, I need a bus." Elliot gave the address and description of his wife to the dispatcher. He placed the phone on the counter and picked Olivia up with one hand under her neck and the other at her thighs. "Let's go sweetheart." He spoke to her still trying to bring her to.

Elliot placed her gently on the bed speaking to her in hopes of her awakening. "Honey, the bus is coming." He said moving her slightly on the bed. Elliot's heart sunk when he noticed the red stain that soiled the white comforter. He looked at his hands. The one that held Olivia at her thighs was stained red. Olivia was hemoraging.

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Elliot found himself anxiously awaiting Casey and the rest of the crew, in the emergency room's waiting area. He kicked himself and chastised himself for his stupidity for not forcing Olivia to see a doctor when she was experiencing the pain.

"Elliot!" Casey moved quickly to him, Paul hot on her heels. "Where is she? How's the baby?"

Elliot shook his head. "They havn't told me anything. They're trying to stabilize her right now."

"What can we do for you Elliot?" Paul offered his help in anyway he could. He hadn't known Elliot or Olivia for a long time but they had saved his marriage and he owed them anything they wanted or needed.

Elliot blinked back tears as Casey sat next to him. "Olivia is way to stubborn Elliot, she's gonna be fine." Casey soothed him.

"I can't loose them." Elliot spoke referring to both Olivia and the baby. Something within Elliot knew if the baby died, Olivia would too, perhaps not physically but defiantly emotionally. It seemed the world was a special kind of cruel when it came to Olivia.

"Mr. Stabler?" A doctor walked quickly to him. A sure sign things weren't going well. His stomach knotted up and he wondered if that was close to the same pain Olivia experienced. Perhaps she thought she was simply nervous because of the case.

"That's me, how is she?" He asked impatiently.

"Sir, we're having trouble getting her stabilized…the baby's heart rate is off the charts we have to do a C-section now." The doctor's voice was tense perhaps unconsciously matching the situation.

"Do it!" Elliot barked wondering why the doctor was wasting precious time.

"Sign this giving us the consent." The doctor thrust a pen and paper to him. He took it and scribbled lines that were unreadable.

Elliot sat down again, crying as Captain Cragen walked into the waiting area.

"I came as soon as I heard, how is she?" he asked and then exhaled deeply seeing Elliot weep.

Casey filled the Captain in offering her seat next to Elliot. Cragen sat slowly and wrapped his fatherly arms around Elliot. "You know that Olivia isn't just gonna give up. She's too damn stubborn." He held the man he considered to be his son tightly fighting back his own tears as he thought about loosing the woman he considered his daughter, and he precious life he'd already knew to be his grandchild.

Nearly an hour later no one had come to inform Elliot of Olivia's status or the baby's.

"What's taking so long?" Elliot snapped as he paced in the waiting room.

"Elliot, they'll come when they can." Casey tried to sooth his ache, but from experience she knew it would be impossible.

"Mr. Stabler?" The doctor entered shaking his head.

Elliot tried to keep his balance as the room spun. "I want to see my wife." He asked. It was his only way of asking if she were alive. He could bare to ask if she were dead.

"Sir, your wife is in the recovery room she's doing exceptionally well although she's tired. As soon as we got her stabilized with the right medication we performed the operation. You have a stubborn wife Mr. Stabler." The doctor offered him a light at the end of the tunnel but Elliot was looking for the train. "She's already trying to wake up, she's asking for you."

"My baby?" Elliot asked.

"The Baby, is having some test done right now…there were some things hat bothered us." The doctor was honest.

"What do you mean?" Elliot clenched his jaw.

"The baby's heart stopped beating for about forty-eight seconds, it's not abnormal, but it's not normal either. We're just assessing the entire situation…which brings me to something else."

"What!" Elliot growled.

"I'm not sure how your gonna feel about this sir,"

"Say it damnit." Elliot's anxiety was through the roof.

"The date she had on her abdomen…"

"What about it?"

"Anytime you do an emergency surgery things can go wrong. Whatever that date signified to her it won't be there when she sees it."

"What?" Elliot was confused but happily so, perhaps God was smiling down on Olivia after all.

"The incision to get to the baby was made directly over a large portion of the scar. When we sewed the excess skin we had to trim things up and the date was what went, a plastic surgeon will have to reconstruct the design if she wants it again." The doctor spoke unaware of the meaning behind the scar.

"I hope that's not your sexual preference when she's pregnant Mr. Stabler." The doctor misspoke but Elliot offered him grace…something Olivia had taught him.

"Where is she?" Elliot spoke with the need to see her.

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Nearly one hour later Elliot walked into Olivia's hospital room. She lay sleeping peacefully in the bed with a white blanket over her legs. It looked as though she had pushed the covers off of her stomach. Perhaps the weight irritated her incision. Elliot took her hand softly and kissed it. The extreme bulge that was once her stomach had been reduced to nothing more than a puff. He kissed her softly on the mouth allowing her to stir in his presence.

"Hey," She smiled faintly, her voice tired and groggy. He was certain the anesthesia had something to do with that.

"Hey." He smiled as his eyes pooled.

Olivia looked at him and was alarmed at his expression. "Elliot…where's our baby?" She asked

"Shh, don't worry they'll bring the baby in when it's time." He brushed her hair behind her ear.

"You scared me Olivia." His face was contorted in pain.

"I'm sorry…I needed to take the Ipod off of the baby and when I walked into the restroom everything went black." She struggled to sit up.

"Ipod? What are you talking about?" He asked wondering just what kind of meds they'd given her.

"Remember in the courtroom when Victor shot himself and I asked if you thought the baby could hear it?" She refreshed his mind before exposing her motive.

"I was reading a book that said babies could hear at that level…I didn't want our baby to hear about Oliver, I knew they would try and make me look like a whore." She shook her head. "I taped the ear buds to my belly so the baby couldn't hear what was happening in the court. Classical music for babies." She smiled. " I know it sounds stupid but it was the only thing I could think of to protect our baby Elliot."

"I don't think it's stupid." He whispered. "I think that by remembering something as tiny as that, you've proven that your gonna be a great mom Liv."

Olivia took Elliot by the tie and pulled him close to her kissing him softly. He responded equally as gentle knowing she'd been through entirely to much. He didn't want to accidentally hurt her.

"I love you." She whispered softly.

"I love you." He smiled back at her.

"Excuse me?" A nurse peeked into the room.

"Yes?" Olivia asked as Elliot sat in the chair next to her bed.

"Would you like to see your baby?" The nurse smiled bringing the plastic crib into the room. The baby was wrapped in a white blanket.

"Boy or girl?" Olivia asked with a smile, gesturing the nurse to hurry and bring the baby to her.

The nurse picked the baby up gently and transferred the little life to Olivia's loving arms. "A healthy baby boy." The nurse winked at Olivia. "He's hungry, have you thought of nursing or the bottle?"

"Nursing." Olivia smiled at her little boy. The nurse explained to her the technique used while breast-feeding and excused herself. "I'll be back shortly."

Olivia pushed the top of her gown down exposing her breast. She brought her baby close and allowed him to latch on. Elliot watch his wife feed they're son for the first time. She smiled watching his little mouth moving quickly to fill his tiny tummy.

"He's precious." She smiled smoothing his hark hair.

"Yep, just like his mom, but we can't call him Precious Stabler, they'll kill him in school." He grinned.

"Do you have anything in mind?" She smiled. "Isabelle isn't gonna work either."

"Well, as a matter of fact I do have something in mind." He looked at her as their son continued to suckle. "I know you wanted a strong name, so I did some research."

Olivia smiled at the fact that he was completely serious. "And what did you come up with?"

"Issac Regan Stabler." He offered.

"Can you justify naming our son that?" she smiled.

"The inherent meaning of Issac is laughter or gift from God. Regan means Ruler with spiritual strength."

Olivia smiled and returned her gaze to her son. "Hi, Issac." She spoke softly. "Welcome to the fold. Your dad's a little nutty but you and I will do just fine." She laughed softly.

Elliot kissed her gently on her lips. "Were all going to be just fine."

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Two weeks after Olivia and Elliot brought their son home, Issac lay asleep in his crib while Elliot and Olivia slept in one another's arms. Olivia was startled awake by the sound of her son's cries. She moved sleepily and pulled herself from his grasp.

"Hey, little man." She spoke soothingly as she approached the crib. She picked him up gently. "Is my little guy hungry again?" She asked already knowing that he was. In fact Issac was punctual, every two hours he demanded to be fed and Olivia happily agreed.

She exposed herself in the darkness of the room and let Issac latch on. She lowered herself on the rocking chair and silently prayed thanking the Lord for the gifts of her son and husband. Olivia recounted the last year of her life. It had been excruciatingly painful but here she was with the greatest reward imaginable.

Olivia shifted Issac over her shoulder and stood patting his tiny back. Looking out of the nursey window she waited for him to burp but was equally satisfied to feel Elliot standing behind her, Issac burped causing a gentle laugh from his parents. "He's asleep Liv." He said placing his hand on her shoulder and wrapping the other around her waist.

Elliot stood holding his wife in their son's nursery. Their only source of light, the moonlight from the window. "Marrying you was the best decision I ever made." Olivia spoke softly in order to not startle Issac.

Elliot squeezed her gently, "Loving you was the best decision I ever made."

Olivia stayed in his embrace allowing him to hold them both. She'd spent a lifetime running from the prospect of being or receiving love but here she was standing with her husband and newborn son not just receiving love but freely returning it.

THE END LOOK FOR THE SEQUEL "When I lay my baby down."