A/N: Come on...please?
A/N: Yes, this is a lot earlier than I usually update, but be happy, people! Thanks to my wonderful reviewers KaydenceRei, onetreefan, Arion-Rose, Lawandordersvu1, unstoppablecheer16, Soaringmunkymuffins, SVU101, bensenfanatic, Unconscious-Regret, ..., Kelly of the midnight dawn, AbbyCarter, Cookie-ER, and solciss1 who make my day!
And all will be well, even after all the promises you've broken to yourself. All will be well, you can ask me how, but only time will tell. - All Will be Well, Gabe Dixon Band
Elliot lay on the uncomfortable hospital bed in the early light of dawn. Across the room, in a chair equally uncomfortable, Olivia sat sleeping. Her mouth was slightly open, her head resting gently on her palm. Elliot though she looked beautiful.
The ring of her cell phone interrupted the tranquility of the morning. Olivia jumped when she heard the noise. She opened her eyes blearily, blinking to clear her head. Elliot quickly pretended to be asleep so Olivia wouldn't think he'd been staring at her.
"Benson," she said quietly. She noticed Elliot was "asleep," so she left the room quickly so as to not wake him.
"Olivia, it's Cragen," came the captain's voice from the other end of the line. Olivia closed the door behind her as she stepped into the busy hallway of County General. "How're things in Chicago?"
"Settling down," she said truthfully, as she walked towards an exit to get better reception. Cragen, of course, was already well informed of the hostage situation and the aftermath, Olivia having described it to him the day before. "It seems everyone will recover just fine."
"And Carter's awake?"
"Yes, he is," said Olivia, nodding.
"Good, good," said Cragen approvingly. He paused. "Well, I guess it's time you and Stabler returned to New York."
Olivia nodded. "I guess so."
She hung up her phone and stowed it into her leather jacket pocket. She sighed, inhaling the chilly Chicago air. The ambulance bay where she was standing was pretty quiet at the moment, given the time. She enjoyed the moment to step back and take in the events of the past days slowly. Things moved so quickly here, she noticed. It seemed like only yesterday they'd received the undercover assignment…and now they were returning to New York.
An ambulance pulled into the bay, sirens blazing. Olivia reentered the building, and went back to Elliot's room to tell him the news. When she got there, she was surprised to find him awake, examining his arm.
"Morning, Elliot," she said as she entered. He smiled at her as she entered. "Cragen called."
Elliot nodded. "What did he want?"
Olivia shrugged. "He said it was time for us to return to the Big Apple."
"I see," said Elliot. He released his injured arm. "Too bad; the vacation was nice."
"Hardly a vacation," said Olivia, chuckling.
Elliot laughed. "Yeah, I say the next assignment goes to Munch and Fin."
"I'm going to go and try to find some halfway decent coffee somewhere," said Olivia. Elliot nodded.
"Thanks," he said gratefully. Olivia started walking towards the door. "Wait…" said Elliot suddenly.
Olivia turned. "What?"
Elliot opened his mouth, but then closed it. He shook his head; he just couldn't put it into words. "Uh, nothing…never mind. I'm – I'm just glad you're okay, that's all," he finished rather lamely.
Olivia smiled at him, but still thought there was something he wasn't telling her. "I'm glad you're okay too, Elliot. I'd be lost without you."
"So when are you leaving?"
Olivia looked up from the paperwork she was trying to finish. It was the blond doctor – Susan. Olivia smiled at her from the desk. "I'm not quite sure. Soon, I think."
Susan nodded. "Too bad. You make a good secretary." Olivia laughed. "No, really," she continued. "Look what you're doing now. I see some paperwork there, Detective."
"Just taking the chance to catch up on some of my old paperwork before I catch more cases back in New York," justified Olivia.
Susan shook her head. "It's all the same to me." She sat down next to Olivia on the other side of the desk. "So, tell me, Detective Benson; what's with your partner?"
"What do you mean?" asked Olivia slightly defensively.
Susan laughed. "You guys dating or what?"
Olivia burst out laughing. "Dating?" she asked incredulously.
"Well…yeah," said Susan. She frowned at the look on Olivia's face. "You mean I lost $20 on this?" she exclaimed.
"You bet on it?"
"It seemed like a good shot at the time," said Susan, shaking her head. "I just can't believe this. Pratt was right for once. Imagine that! Pratt – right!"
"What's so funny?" asked Pratt as he strode towards the two women. 'Did I hear my name mentioned?"
Susan was laughing too hard to answer, so Olivia did. "Yeah. Dr. Lewis was just telling me about the bet you two made about me and my partner."
"Oh really?" said Pratt, rubbing his hands together eagerly. "So who's right?"
"You were," said Olivia, smiling at him.
"I was?" Even Pratt sounded slightly surprised. "Hm, maybe I should make these risky gambles more often…"
Olivia frowned at the two doctors. They thought Elliot and I were…together? The idea still seemed laughable.
"Well, pay up," said Pratt, extending his hand to Susan. She dug around in her pocket and extracted the bills. Pratt strutted away happily with his money.
Susan waited until her was out of ear shot before turning back to Olivia. "So…were you ever dating?"
Olivia shook her head. "Nope, never. What gave you the idea we were?"
"Oh, I don't know," said Susan lightly. "You two just seem so perfect for each other. Maybe it was because Michael was Jennifer's boyfriend…but when I found out you were cops, I was wondered if you two were actually together in reality. He really cares about you, you know. He kept asking us over and over where you were…you would make a nice couple, you know."
Olivia chuckled. "I don't think it'll help you get that money back, though."
"No, probably not," said Susan. "Pratt would never give it up. Still…do me a favor?"
"What?' asked Olivia curiously.
"Think about it. Seriously. I know a match made in heaven when I see one."
He found her on the roof, where he knew she'd be. Her golden brown hair was fluttering slightly in the breeze, as she stood with her back to him, facing the skyscrapers. He walked up slowly behind her, and wrapped his arms gently around her waist.
He felt her body stiffen at his touch. "Relax, Abby, it's just me," he said softly.
She turned around to face him. "Carter…what are you doing here?" she asked, hastily wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.
Carter took his thumb and gently wiped the tear on her cheek. "Hey," he said softly, "hey, it's okay, Abby. It's over now; he can't hurt you anymore."
Abby smiled slightly and sighed "I know. It's not that…it's…"
Abby nodded. "And Eric. I mean, I barely saw them, right? If Maggie hadn't called the cops before she killed herself…it makes me wonder…it I'd even know right now."
Carter rubbed her shoulder gently. "I know. It hurts to lose someone."
"Why does it hurt so much?" asked Abby, crying again now. "I haven't seen her recently. Or Eric. It's not even like I knew them that well. I just tried to get away, distance myself. It's my fault Maggie died."
Carter shook his head. "No, Abby," he said firmly. "It's not. Don't ever blame yourself for that. She was sick for a long time, she was off her meds. There was nothing you could have done."
"I could have picked up the phone," Abby whispered.
Abby drew back from him. Her cheeks were streaked with tears, her eyes full of guilt. "It was 1:00 in the morning. She called – I even saw it was her – and I…ignored it."
Carter hugged her. "How could you have known?" Abby didn't answer, but Carter kept talking anyway. "Gamma called me you know…the day before she died," Carter said softly. Abby looked up at him. "I didn't pick up the phone, either."
"Carter, I'm really sorry about your grandmother," said Abby suddenly.
Carter looked at her, surprised. "Abby, that was almost two years ago. You don't have to-"
"Yes, I do," Abby interrupted him. "I was never really there for you after she died."
Carter furrowed his brow. "That's not your fault. I mean, they found your brother…how could you ignore that?'
Abby shook her head. "He could have waited. I'm so sorry, John. I was selfish. I didn't help you the way you would help me…the way you're helping me now. It makes me wonder…" Carter nodded, urging her to continue. "It makes me wonder if maybe that's why you ended it."
Carter sighed, feeling as though a heavy weight had settled in his stomach. "Abby," he said. She met his gaze. "Breaking up with you has got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever done." He sighed. "I ran away – to Africa. Instead of actually facing the problem, I ran from it."
"It's okay," Abby whispered.
"No," said Carter, his voice breaking. "No, it's not…Because I hurt you, and that's the last thing I ever wanted to do. I love you Abby. It just took me a year away from you to realize that." He kissed her.
"Hey, Abby?" asked Carter.
"Mm," she murmured against his lips.
Carter pulled back from her. "Do you think we could…start over? Well – not exactly start over, but more pick up where we left off?"
Abby grinned at him. "I'd love to. Where might that be?"
Carter smiled knowingly. "I think I know."
The door opened behind them. Carter and Abby turned around. The two detectives were immerging from it, the man with his arm in a sling. They walked towards to two doctors.
"Olivia, Elliot," Carter said, nodding to them. He caught the confused expression on Abby's face. "It turns out Michael and Jennifer fooled us. They're two undercover cops from New York."
Abby nodded. "I thought it might be something like that." She gestured at Olivia. "I talked to you on the phone, didn't I?'
Olivia nodded. "Yes."
"You leaving now?" asked Carter.
"We came to say good-bye," said Elliot. "Cragen wants us back in New York." He extended his uninjured arm towards Carter. "Sorry," he said apologetically. "Your left, if you don't mind." Carter smiled at him.
"Good-bye, Olivia," said Abby, shaking hands with the detective. "Thanks for…everything."
"Look us up in New York sometime if you're ever there," Olivia said. "Detectives Benson and Stabler, Manhattan Special Victims."
Abby nodded, smiling. "I will."
Olivia and Elliot turned to leave, but Carter stopped them.
They turned around. "You can't leave quite yet. There's…something else," said Carter."
Elliot gave a tiny nod and a knowing smile to Carter.
"Abby," said Carter, turning towards her. "I remember where we left off. Exactly where we left off." He took a deep breath. "At the time, breaking up with you seemed to be the easiest thing to do – for both of us. Things seemed clearer to me in Africa, but now – being here with you – I realize that it was all an illusion. This past year I've felt something missing. No matter how complete my life seemed to be, I always seemed one piece away from happiness. I realize now that the missing piece…was you."
Abby smiled softly at him. Was he thinking…? "When Kem left me, I thought it was the worst thing that could've happened. Now that I look back on it, I see it's actually been the best, because if I hadn't I would never have been able to say this." He took her hand and knelt down on one knee. Abby gasped, and put her hands over her mouth. "Abby, I love you. Would you make me the happiest man alive…and marry me?"
A huge grin unfurled on Abby's face. She pulled Carter to his feet and kissed him again.
"I guess that means yes," said Elliot to Olivia.
Olivia nodded, smiling. After all the hardships Abby had endured, she could see her life would quickly come back together. As she watched her slip the ring on her finger, Olivia could see that no matter how much life throws at you, if you pull through it all, in the end, indeed, all will be well.
A/N: Well, folks, we've reached the end. I had so much fun writing this and talking to all of you. Your reviews and comments have meant the world to me. Thanks to 0Kay, Kelly, Cilla, and Alice who kept in touch in between chapter. You guys rock! Look for the sequels Or Just Look LIke One (SVU) and If I Never Knew You (ER) coming soon. They will make your head spin!
P.S.: 0Kay, Kelly, onetreefan, and anyone else looking for the EOness...it is coming. Second chapter of the sequel. I promise. :)