I don't own Law & Order: SVU or any of its characters. Sorry this update has taken so long, I've wanted to continue this story and some others very badly, just my time has not been my own. Thank you for reading, and for the reviews and supporting this story. If there hadn't been interest, this would have only been a one shot, I wouldn't have continued but the way it's shaping out. I am so glad that I did. I hope you'll enjoy.
"Olivia, I'm not trying to make anything difficult for you. It's just when you go through what I did, being blind, you start to see things differently. I don't want to live my life anymore like the people who matter to me don't. It shouldn't always be about me. I have some time to make up for. I was scared of the darkness; of being closed off in a world of my own that I couldn't share with anyone. I don't want to be afraid of that."
Olivia closed her eyes as she said his name with tenderness and understanding, "El…"
Elliot rubbed her wrists with his thumb, "Liv," the use of her name drew back her attention as he said, "Don't live with your eyes closed. You can say anything to me. I can handle it; whatever it is. Please, tell me. "
His words gave her the courage she needed to go on, and she knew in this moment, when they were like this together; she couldn't lie or hide anything from him.
Her tone was soft as she started, "Okay, El. I'll you the truth. After an interesting conversation with Casey about what happened with you and how I reacted;
I've come to realize that there's something you should know. Something I want, need you to know."
"Alright, now we're getting somewhere. Go on." Elliot stated with an encouraging smile.
Olivia smirked at his response and said, "Besides, it's not like you haven't always been able to see right through me. I try to put up walls; I hardly let anyone in thinking there's no real room, no safe place in my life. But then there's you, I could never really be that way with you Elliot Stabler. I just don't have the heart to shut you out."
"I know, same here Olivia."
"El, you're my partner, my best friend, all the family I've really known. That means I trust you more than anyone else in the world. Because I had to, but mostly because I just wanted to; I couldn't help myself. And to keep something from you tears me a part."
"I understand all of that Liv, believe me I do. That's why you can ask anything of me."
"The favor I'll ask for Elliot; what I need from you is just to keep doing what you have been. I need you to listen. I need you to just let me say what I have to. I need you to know before I go any further that, I don't expect anything at all. Because while I've been avoiding a real life, letting what I do be who I am, more so than I should. You didn't; you made a life for yourself, you have a family, kids, things I dream about but that's all they seem to be right now, dreams. I don't need anything to change; all I want is for you to hear me out. I just want to be honest with you."
"I can accept that honesty Liv; nothing you could ever do or say for that matter would make me ever think less of you." He said with confidence.
"I've wondered if that was true, I guess we'll see."
"Olivia, just trust me like you say you do and give me the chance to prove it to you."
"Okay, here it goes… there's something I've always known when it comes to you Elliot. Something so simple, but it complicates everything with you. How we work together, our friendship. And I should have seen it, but my eyes have only recently been opened to the affect of it on me..." Olivia paused hesitating to continue
He was intrigued, "Please, don't stop now."
"Elliot, I love you." Olivia looked in Elliot's eyes, bravely fighting the urge to look away.
Elliot held her gaze with him, and squeezed her hand, "It's okay Olivia, I know. And I hoped you would know by now that I love you too."
She beamed, "Wow, we've never really even just said that before… it's beyond nice to know."
"Yeah, it is." Elliot said simply with a big grin.
Olivia took a breath, almost sighing then said, "But here's the impossible thing Elliot, I don't know how, I don't remember when, but somewhere in our time together… I crossed the line from just loving you. And I've felt horrible and yet strangely happy about it. Even though it's just lately, something I've been able to accept because I had to face it. I should have seen it coming on ever so gradually, the warning signs of me getting deeper and deeper… that incident with Gitano, going to Computer Crimes, going undercover with the Feds, coming back and seeing you with another partner, and now when you were hurt, blinded by Saul Picard. These things all hit me so hard; it was obvious that I couldn't hide or run away from the truth anymore."
"Elliot, I don't need you to say anything. It's probably better if you don't right now. If you want to talk about this later we can, but tonight I just wanted you to know. And I want to thank you because you have taught me so much about myself. Without you, I might not ever have known that I was capable of loving someone so much. You are an amazing man Mr. Stabler. I would have been blind not to see that."
She rose to leave and smiled as she said,
"I am in love with you Elliot Stabler. It changes nothing, but I am."