Crumbling Armor

Crumbling Armor

Chapter 1: In His Arms

Disclaimer: Don't own SVU or Elliot or Olivia or anything worth owning accept a really awesome DVD collection that includes SVU seasons one through six.

A/N: Okay, this is my first new story back. Nothing like a new episode, especially such an intense one that somehow lacked in EOness, to get the creative juices flowing. I hope you enjoy it. By the way, I'm usually good at remembering the perp's name but this time I was to distracted by Mariska Hargitay's incredibly ability to scare the crap out of me that I never caught it. Someone told me his last name was Harris but if anyone can give me his full name, that would be great.

"Want a ride home?" Elliot asked as he followed Olivia down the hall. He was concerned about her, more concerned about her than he had been when she'd been involved in that hostage situation with Simon. He knew she had lied to him when she told him that nothing had happened in that basement, he could see it in her eyes.

Olivia stopped walking and just stood there. She'd been warn down by the entire prison experience in general but the basement had shaken her, nearly broken her and in those moments when she was alone with her thoughts she felt broken. She tried not to let herself fall into that bottomless pit but it was so hard to put up a fight. Her subconscious mind must have known what was best for her however because, even though she didn't turn to face him, she softly let out the words "Sure, thanks," instead of putting up the usual defence about Kathy or the kids or how he should be home.

Elliot took a step closer to her. He surprised her when he reached down and took her hand in his. He lead her to the car and stood by the passenger door with her for a long time. Slowly, he lifted his arms and wrapped them around her in a loving hug. He rested his head on her shoulder "I told you that you'd get him," he whispered and she could hear tears in his voice.

"El…?" she whispered, wrapping her arms around him as well. She could feel her own eyes welling. She felt safe with him. She was afraid, even after Fin showed up, when her tough exterior resurfaced, she was still afraid and she was afraid now. But at least with Elliot, she felt safe.

He pulled away from her and opened the car door for her. He watched as she lowered herself into the seat, more carefully than he had ever seen her sit before. There were areas of her body that she was being careful not to bump too much. He reached out and touched her cheek "Didn't you go to the hospital after…" he trailed off.

"No," she replied, pulling her legs inside the car quickly and letting out a noise that Elliot had never heard come from her mouth before. It was a cross between a gasp and a horrified whimper.

He sank to his knees beside the open car door. The only thing going through his head at that moment was her. What had that sick freak done to her? He wanted nothing more than to pull her into his arms and beg her to tell him the truth. Not knowing was killing him inside. Instead, he rose to his feet and closed the car door, walking around to the other side and getting in.

"Are you all right?" she asked after he had fastened his seatbelt.

He looked up into her face, so full of pain that she couldn't hide it anymore "How can you think of everyone else right now?" he thought out loud without meaning too.

"Excuse me?" she asked, sounding defensive and confused all at once. She tried to focus on what Elliot was saying but the longer she sat there, the more she realized that she was more severely injured than she had at first thought. Though, she still believed that it wasn't anything that Ibuprofen and a water bottle couldn't fix. She was just trying to remember where she kept the hot water bottle when Elliot spoke again.

"Please tell me what happened?" he asked quietly.

She turned her gaze towards the window "He tried," she answered in a small voice "But he didn't. That's all you need to know."

He reached out and put his hand on her shoulder "You knew about the mole," he whispered in realization. He didn't know why it had taken him so long to put two and two together.

She nodded "Please take me home Elliot," she whispered, turning her gaze towards her lap.

They drove in silence to her apartment building. When Elliot glanced in her direction, he noticed tears coming down her face. He wanted desperately to hold her. He couldn't think about Kathy or his kids at that moment. There was only Olivia and all he wanted to do for the rest of his life was protect her and love her. He forgot that thought far too soon however when his phone rang. He took it out and looked at the caller ID. It was Kathy. He flipped it open and began to speak "Hey Kath," his voice held little if any emotion towards his wife as his eyes remained on Olivia who didn't even glance up at him.

"When are you coming home tonight?" Kathy asked with the slightest twinge of irritation in her voice.

Then Elliot did something he never thought he'd ever do… He lied to Kathy "We caught a case. It's a bad one. Looks like I'll be home late if at all."

It was then that Olivia looked up at him. She wiped her eyes hurriedly and stared at him in utter confusion. "El, what are you-" he held up a finger to silence her.

"Oh," Kathy murmured on the other end of the line "Oh well. I'll see you tomorrow."

"I hope so," Elliot said with a bit of an exhausted sigh "I don't know how long this will take. Give Eli a kiss for me. Bye."

Olivia continued to stare at him as he hung up the phone and "You lied to her," she stated plainly "Why?"

Elliot shrugged "I don't know," he got out of the car and came around to Olivia's side. She had already opened the door and was attempting to stand but finding it difficult. Elliot reached down and lent her a hand. As soon as she was standing, she collapsed into his arms. "Don't worry," Elliot said calmingly "I got you." He supported her in his arms and walked towards the door of the building "Maybe we should go to the hospital," he suggested.

"I'm all right," she tried to convince him as she shakily pulled away and unlocked the door for him to follow her "I just need a good night's sleep." She was aware that Elliot was following close behind her, watching her with a hawk like resolution. She didn't care. She didn't even really care that he had lied to Kathy. She needed the company of someone she trusted.

Elliot scratched his head "I think that this is something more than simple fatigue," he expressed his opinion in a hushed whisper as he walked beside her down the hall of doors on the way to her apartment; he didn't want to wake anyone up.

Olivia bumped against Elliot's side for the fourth time during the short journey and found herself leaning there for support a second too long. But Elliot didn't seem to mind though he continued to watch her with concern filling his blue eyes to the brim.

Olivia managed to get to the couch where she collapsed into a sitting position. Elliot joined her and they both sat in silence, staring ahead at the blank TV. It was Elliot who broke the silence first by turning and enveloping Olivia in a tight embrace. He loosened his embrace when he felt her flinch "I was so worried about you," he whispered and the tears returned to his voice. His free hand went to her hair and began to stroke it "Please, look me in the eye and tell me he didn't hurt you?" he begged.

Olivia began to cry too. "If Fin hadn't showed up when he did," she whispered, tightening her grip on Elliot "Harris would have killed me."

"Oh God," Elliot whispered, trying to resist the urge to hug her much tighter. Inside, he became angry and decided he would have to kill Harris if a jury didn't send him away forever.

Olivia sniffled and buried her face in Elliot's shoulder "I've never felt so scared," she confessed as she shook like a leaf "I ran from him but I couldn't get away. He was too strong."

"It's all right," Elliot assured her "I promise you that you're safe now."

"I know that," Olivia wiped her eyes with the back of her hand to no avail "But somehow it doesn't seem that way. I don't like feeling so vulnerable," she stated "But that's all I feel lately. I'm scared," she finished in a tiny whisper.

Elliot pulled closer gently "He'll never hurt you or any other woman again," he reassured her.

"I know," she said softly as she wiped her eyes again "Somehow it doesn't make me any less afraid." She nuzzled as close to him as she could when suddenly it dawned on her. Elliot was holding her, Elliot was comforting her and it felt right. She lifted her head ever so slightly "Thanks." She whispered.

"Anytime," Elliot smiled. He bent his head and placed a kiss on her lips.

The two of them jumped back in surprise. A long and awkward pause was followed by a chorus of 'uhs" from the both of them.

Elliot stood up "Maybe I should go," he said hesitantly.

"Please don't," Olivia whispered. She reached her hand out tentatively "Stay please?" she looked up at him.

Elliot had seen that look once on a family camping trip when he was young. He and his brother had been hiking and had found and injured doe in the forest. The creature had watched them with a look of sheer terror. Elliot and his brother had kept the deer a secret from the rest of the family and had done there best to care for it but it had died.

He sat down again beside her and wrapped his arms around her again "Of course," he whispered.

Not long after that, Olivia went to bed. Elliot lay on the couch with the pillow and blanket Olivia had brought him. He stared at the patterns on the ceiling, created by the soft glow of street lamps that drifted through the windows punctuated by the occasional passing car.

He began to think. He should have objected to this undercover idea with every fiber of his being. But then again his protests would have done no good. When Olivia was set on something there was never anyway to change her mind. He wished that Harris had contracted that drug resistant virus and died long before Olivia had ever had the idea. He wished that he could have gotten away with murdering Harris on the way to be booked. Most of all he wished he could somehow protect his partner no matter how many miles or bars separated them.

His thoughts were interrupted around two in the morning by the most terrified screams that chilled him to the bone. He leapt up and ran into Olivia's room to watch her twist and turn in her sheets. He knelt beside the bed and took her hand, holding it gently "Liv," he called softly.

Her eyes snapped open and immediately landed on him. She burst into tears and rolled away from his gaze. "How could I let him do this to me?" she asked softly through her tears.

Elliot cautiously climbed onto the bed with her. He gently reached out to her and pulled her close. He simply held her, finding himself at a loss for words. He sat there, holding her tight, trying to protect her from the pain she was feeling but feeling completely helpless.

"I was so scared," she whispered "He was hurting me so much. I knew he was gonna kill me. I just wanted him to stop."

"I know," he whispered, moving a hand up to stroke her hair.

"You don't understand," she said, trying to pull away from him, knowing that she wasn't deserving of his comforting touch. She succeeded and curled up against the headboard "I begged him to stop. I begged him. He was too strong for me and I was afraid so I begged him. I knew he wasn't gonna stop and I begged him to anyway."

Elliot reached out to her again. She neither retreated or came towards him "Liv…" he began but she turned her gaze towards the window.

Tears continued to flow "I've never felt so vulnerable," she whispered. "I'm weak," she said bitterly.

"Don't say that," Elliot told her firmly, moving closer to her on the bed "You're the strongest person I know. You are not weak. You did what you had to do to put a dangerous man in jail." He attempted to wrap his arm around her shoulder and was glad when she didn't move away.

She let her head fall back against the headboard "I was terrified," she said quietly "He flung me around like a rag doll and I knew I was gonna die."

Elliot pulled her into his arms "I should have been there," he whispered.

Olivia sniffled as she let her head fall to Elliot's chest "It's not your fault," she reassured him.

"And it's not yours either," he replied, gently running his hand up and down her back. He sat there with her for a long time in silence as her breathing evened out and her tears slowly dried up. He held her close and thanked God for the opportunity. If she'd been killed, he didn't know what he would have done.

He'd thought she had fallen asleep and was about to doze off himself when her soft voice caught his attention "Why are you here?" she asked him straightforwardly.

He inhaled deeply. He wasn't ready to admit the truth to himself let alone to her. He began to speak, choosing his words carefully "Because, I was worried about you." There was so much more to it than that. He was worried about her and wanted to make sure she was okay but there was so much more to it than that. His feelings for her went far deeper than he could ever express. And with Kathy and his children waiting for him at home, he wasn't sure it was the right time to try to put those feelings into words.

He held Olivia close as she slept. He could have lost her. He'd almost lost her so many times. How could he not tell her? It wasn't fair to Kathy to pretend that he loved her when his heart belonged to someone else, he realized that now. He carefully bent his head and stared into Olivia's sleeping face "I love you," he whispered, brushing his lips gently across hers. She murmured something incoherent but it didn't appear that she had woken up. One day, he would tell her when she was awake and hope that she felt the same way.


"You made bail," the guard, a guard he didn't know, told him gruffly as the cell door clanged open. He walked out to find his lawyer waiting there.

"Told you I'd get the money together," his lawyer told him.

"Yeah, good job," Harris replied, walking right past the man. He had to get home and make sure the cops hadn't already searched his place yet. He had to collect his tools. His life had been ruined by that bitch. He had nothing to lose. He was lucky to even have been granted bail in the first place.

Why be charged with only the attempted murder of a cop when he could spend whatever time he had left knowing that he had snuffed her life out completely. It was time to finish what he started.