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"Elliot…"

"El…"

"What's wrong?"

Elliot was brought out of his reverie, at the sound of Olivia's voice.

"Hum, oh it's nothing Liv. I'm okay."

He saw the concern and worry on her face, he'd always appreciate that look.

Trying to convince her, he smiled as he said, "Really, I'm fine."

Olivia finally returned his smile, "Good, you just kind of seemed a little distracted. I lost you for a moment. What were you thinking of, El?"

Caught off-guard by her question, Elliot answered honestly, "You."

"Me?" Olivia softly, teasingly questioned.

Trying to cover himself he replied, "Uh, yeah. I was just thinking…. You've been through a lot this week."

Olivia nodded her head, "You know that's true. Nearly breaking Michael Thatcher a part, and thinking my innocent brother was not only guilty of rape but trying to kill me…"

"You just live for the thrill don't you?" Elliot teased a little trying to lighten her mood.

Olivia rolled her eyes a bit and replied, "Yep, that's me… the daredevil. Pushing limits, defying boundaries of normalcy."

Elliot shrugged for effect, "What's 'normal' anyway?"

Olivia turned slightly from the direct path of his eyes as she said, "Normal would be doing my job without getting too 'involved' in some way or another. It would be, being able to hold onto things that matter to me without losing them or feeling them slip away. It would be not being lonely because I have people who are close to me that I know care no matter what, a 'family.' I don't know if Simon will ever forgive me."

"Liv, look at me," Elliot directed, "I know he doesn't blame you. I know he forgives you. And Liv, you've never been alone. I'm right here." Elliot stated with a point of his finger to his chest.

Olivia looked up, a flash of gratefulness echoed through her eyes before disappearing as she said, "Thanks for the sentiment, but you have Kathy and the kids Elliot, they're your family. I'm not."

Elliot shocked replied, "Olivia, you've always been just as important to me as they are. You should know it after all this time."

"Do you really mean that?" Olivia asked unsure.

Elliot smirked as he said, "Hey, eight years have just got to count for something, right?"

Olivia seemingly nonchalant, teasingly replied, "I suppose..."

"Oh you suppose huh?" Elliot asked stifling laughter.

Olivia teased, "Well, a woman can never be too sure about these kinds of things. And since I don't seem to have the 'best' track record when it comes to commitment …
I could just feel the whim to change departments or find a job with the feds one day, leaving you high and dry… something might happen where you might never see me again…"

Elliot grabbed her shoulders and said, "Liv, don't joke about that. Not about that. It's not funny."

Olivia toned down, "Well I didn't think it was funny at the time either El, I missed you, so much sometimes it'd hurt. More than I can say. Leaving was never something I 'wanted' to do."

Elliot replied, "You never told me."

Olivia sighed, "I didn't think I could."

"We can tell each other anything, Olivia. I mean it. We're partners, we're best friends."

"Elliot it's just that, sometimes it's like you're all I know, like you're the only one in my life, and it scares me… to feel so close to someone… like I'm not sure who I am without you anymore. I can't explain why I…"

Elliot moved to hold her close as he said, 'Sssh, it's okay. You don't have to explain."

He felt soft tears on his shirt as she started to say, "But, Elliot…"

"No buts, all you need to know is I'm still here. No matter what. I trusted you, trust me."

Olivia softly replied, "I do."

Elliot continued to hold her, just wanting to assure her, and ease any doubts she might have. Even though they were outside the house after their little showdown, and even though there were a few cops still lingering around… he didn't care who saw them.
She needed this, and right now so did he.