A/N: Okay so this picks up with Olivia in the woods and I decided to do that thing that I talked about at the end of last chapter and included a flashback in this chapter because it's hard for me to keep going back and forth. Hope you enjoy.
Olivia would have liked to have the luxury of time to be able to get her bearings and figure out exactly where she was but she had barely caught her breath when she heard the voices of all three bodyguards calling to each other through the woods and approaching fast.
"Screw what Ortega said!" one of them said angrily "I'll make her talk! Five minutes and that bitch will be begging me to kill her!"
Olivia pushed branches out of her way and pressed forward as fast as she could go. The woods were dark and she had no idea where she was going but she knew that stopping was not an option. She could hear them coming closer by the second. She pushed herself harder, running as fast as she'd ever run in her life. Suddenly, she tripped and twisted her ankle. She heard a nasty popping sound as pain shot through her.
She gritted her teeth and tried to go on. She was moving much slower now; every step sending shockwaves of agony through her. She didn't see the ditch ahead of her until she had fallen into it. She lay there, terrified, no doubt in her mind that they would find her at any minute. She held her breath and listened.
"Where the fuck is she?!" one of the bodyguards demanded furiously.
"I thought I saw something over this way!" another one called.
Olivia felt her heart leep into her throat. She looked up and thought she saw the beam of an approaching flashlight illuminating the branches above her. The sound of someone landing only a few feet away from her nearly made her heart stop. The beam swept the ground and finally fell across her.
"Well, well, well," Denison smiled, reaching out towards her "Look what I've found."
Olivia shrank away from him, trying to scramble to her feet. But it was useless; she knew she'd never be able to outrun him with a busted ankle. She picked up a nearby branch and held it in front of her "Stay away from me," she commanded in a low voice.
Denison laughed at her "You've got guts girly," he stepped closer to her and tried to knock the tree branch out of her hand but she whacked him across the face with it "You bitch," he seethed.
"Stay away from me," she repeated, bringing the tree branch to crash down on him once again. The small twigs at the ends of the branch sliced across his face and drew blood.
Denison was furious. He launched himself at her, tackling her to the ground, his flashlight flying out of his hand as he went "You wanna play games with me sweetheart?" he asked venomously. He grabbed her arm and began to twist it "How's this for a game?" he grinned.
Olivia gasped and gritted her teeth. With her free hand she felt around the ground, searching for something to defend herself.
"I'm going to kill you," Denison promised "I'm going to kill you slowly. I'll show you levels of pain you never knew existed."
Olivia's fingers closed around something; it was the flashlight. She took hold of it and used it to hit Denison in the face. His nose began to gush blood and he was so taken by surprise that his hands flew to his face, allowing Olivia to gain the upper hand. She rolled out from underneath him and delivered another blow to his head with the flashlight. He fell unconscious to the ground and Olivia crawled away, not daring to stand up again, hoping that the undergrowth would keep her from being noticed by the other two.
As she crawled she could hear Denison's companions calling out to him; they still hadn't found him yet which meant that she had a chance, a slim chance but a chance nonetheless. She had to figure out where she was and find someone who could help her. If she was lucky, Elliot and Dean would still be at the hotel and she could join up with them. After she'd been crawling for about an hour and a half she saw lights in the distance. She had to be near the edge of the woods. The pain in her ankle was growing more intense by the second. She took a deep breath and kept going.
"What the hell?!" Elliot said in frustration, pounding his fist into the pavement of the parking lot. Their best chance of getting Olivia back had just sped off.
Dean sank down as well, his head in his hands "I'm such an idiot," he whispered. "I never should have dragged her into this. I should have listened and just left this alone."
"What do you mean?" Elliot asked, turning to face the other man.
Dean looked down "You should have let me call the main office when this happened," he moaned "They would have taken my badge, thrown me in jail and that would be the end of it," his face sank into an expression of absolute desolation "It's what I deserve for letting this happen."
"Wait a minute," Elliot said in realization "Are you telling me that…"
"I disobeyed a direct order by going after Ortega," Dean said quietly.
"And you dragged Olivia into this mess with you?!" Elliot seethed, trying with all his might not to strangle the FBI brat "Why in the hell would you even ask her in the first place?!"
Dean's silence spoke volumes.
"You moron!" Elliot screamed "What the hell were you thinking using a dangerous undercover assignment as a chance to get some alone time with her?! You stupid prick!" tears of fury poured down his cheeks and he tackled Dean to the parking lot.
"Don't you think I know that?!" Dean hissed "Don't you think this is the last thing I wanted to happen?!"
"I don't know what to think about you anymore," Elliot said in defeat as he stood up. He was about to head back inside the hotel when something caught his eye. At the edge of the parking lot, there was a large wooded area. Elliot thought he saw something moving. He turned around and started walking towards it.
From a distance, it just looked like a gray shapeless something, moving slowly but as he got closer, he realized that it was a person; a person he knew very well. He gasped and fell to the ground beside her "Olivia?" he whispered as he touched her shoulder gently.
"El…?" she turned her head to face him.
He gathered her into his arms "Yeah, it's me," he smiled softly.
Olivia sighed in relief and closed her eyes. She was safe now. While she had been crawling through the woods, she had done everything to keep going, fear pushing her forward, not allowing her to pass out. Now, she couldn't fight unconsciousness any longer.
"Liv…?" Elliot called softly but desperately as Dean came up beside him.
"What happened to her?" Dean inquired as he knelt down beside them.
"She passed out," Elliot explained "We've gotta get her to a hospital."
"No," Dean shook his head sorrowfully "They'll be looking for her. We can't risk staying around here. You take her to the car," he tossed Elliot the keys "I'll go grab what I can from the hotel room," he rose to his feet "If they show up before I come out, get out of here. You get her as far away from here as you can and make sure she's safe."
Elliot nodded and lifted Olivia into his arms. Dean was trying to make up for his initial idiocy. Elliot only hoped, as he carried Olivia to the car, that it wasn't too little, too late.
He propped Olivia up in the back seat and buckled her in. He bent down and kissed her softly "I'm gonna protect you," he promised. He climbed into the driver's seat and waited for Dean.
Dean appeared only five minutes after going up to the room. He jumped in the passenger's side seat "I think we'd better get a move on," he said hurriedly, tossing the small bag of things he had managed to pack into the backseat.
"What happened?" Elliot asked, noticing that Dean looked pale. He turned the keys in the ignition and sped out of the parking lot, having no idea where he was going.
"Someone's been in the hotel room since we left," he explained "One of the hotel staff probably. Ortega's got so many people under his thumb it's unbelievable," he was breathing heavily "They took my lap top and everything else we had on Ortega. I grabbed whatever I could find and got out of there."
"Tell me you got the first aid kit," Elliot demanded hopefully as he spun the wheel and turned a sharp corner, looking back every few seconds to make sure they weren't being followed.
"Of course," Dean assured him "We'll have to find someplace we can stop and get a good look at what her injuries are."
Elliot nodded "When we find this someplace safe, what happens then?"
"I call the FBI and turn myself in," Dean said simply "You and Olivia will get back to New York safely and we'll all live happily ever after," he slumped forward in his seat "I wish I could have brought him down."
"I wish you hadn't dragged us into this mess," Elliot countered.
"Nobody asked you to come," Dean shot back "We would have been just fine without you."
"Yeah," Elliot said with an edge of sarcasm.
"Well, I certainly didn't need you complicating things the way you did," Dean told him.
Elliot nodded. He had messed things up. The whole reason he and Dean had been fighting in the hotel room earlier that evening had been entirely his fault.
Olivia had finished putting on her dress and stepped out of the bathroom to find Elliot sitting on one of the beds. He looked up and smiled at her "You look nice," he told her softly.
She walked over and sat down beside him "Thanks," she murmured, looking down at the skirt of her dress. "This is the big night," she sighed.
Elliot nodded. At the party, Ortega would be offering the Starlings a contract for running weapons from Texas to New York. It was the final piece of evidence that Dean said they needed. Elliot turned and placed a finger under her chin "You nervous?" he asked.
Olivia exhaled "Maybe a little," she admitted.
"It's almost over," Elliot reassured her "Then we can go home."
Olivia looked up at him "What happens when we get back to New York?" she asked.
"What do you mean?" Elliot countered gently.
"I mean," she paused and stared out the hotel room window at the darkening sky "What happens with us?"
"I guess we just see what happens," he said quietly.
"Yeah," Olivia shrugged "We'll see what happens."
Elliot watched her for a long time. When she turned her head and they were staring into each other's eyes, he couldn't hold back anymore. He leaned forward, his lips drawing closer and closer to hers until they met in a tender kiss.
At that moment, the door of the hotel room opened and Dean cleared his throat "I'm back," he announced his presence.
Elliot and Olivia separated instantly and awkwardly. Olivia cleared her throat and stood up "We should probably get going," she said quickly "We don't want to be late for the party. With that she left the room.
"I'd better go catch up with her," Elliot said, standing up and attempting to leave but Dean blocked his path.
"What do you think you're doing Stabler?" he asked and it was clear that he was pissed off.
Elliot had indeed been complicating things since day one but he couldn't let Olivia disappear from his life again. He turned the car down a dark country road and took a quick peek in the backseat at Olivia. She made a small moan and opened her eyes a crack.
"What's going on?" she asked hoarsely, pulling her injured ankle up off the floor and propping it up on the seat beside her.
"It's a long story," Elliot told her with a soft smile.
Dean nodded in agreement "The important thing now is that you're safe."
A/N: Dean did a bad thing but at least he realizes it. I'll try and update again soon. To xXBlissfulCursesXx, all the sucking up helped a lot LOL and to obsessedwithstabler, thanks for all the wonderful presence but Chris can keep his underwear… actually someone else can keep it because I'll gladly take him without it… YUM!