Anyone who reads my fanfic on a regular basis knows I'm not a shipper, and I almost never read E/O fics because I've never found one that I actually like. This fic is going to be my first, and probably last, E/O fic. It's going to be full a drama and suspense, at least I hope. It's going to take some time for the E/Oness to develop and it's not going to be the usual, gushy love story. This is how I think it should happen in the show, if it happens at all, and this is my opinion of what Elliot and Olivia will really be thinking about while it happens. Hope you enjoy!

Elliot's arm flew throught the air and came down hard on his alarm clock. When the noise continued, he opened his eyes blearily to find that it was still night, and his cell phone was making the noise that had awoken him. The screen glowed brightly in the dark and was about to vibrate off the table. He picked it up and flipped it open. "Stabler," he said, his voice heavy with sleep.
"El, it's Liv. Sorry to wake you but we have a high-profile kidnapping case and Cragen wants everyone on it."

"Yeah, I'll be there soon." He snapped the phone shut, wishing for more sleep but used to running on very little, and hurried to get dressed.

"Elliot, what's going on? Where are you going?" Kathy asked, woken up by the sound of him banging his knee on the corner of the bed and stifling a loud curse.

"That was Liv. I gotta go," he said, cradling his knee for a moment before heading to his dresser and pulling out a pair of jeans.

"Of course you do." Kathy's tone was normal, but there was a bitter edge in it.

Elliot turned to face her, struggling to keep his balance while he put on his jeans, still groggy from being woken up so early. "What's that supposed to mean?" She didn't answer, and he couldn't see her expression in the dark, but he knew the answer anyway. "It's my job, Kathy."

"It never used to be this way, Elliot."

"Spending all hours at work? Getting called in for cases in the middle of the night? You're right, things used to be different, but I'm not a cop anymore, Kath, I'm a detective. You knew it was going to be like this when I got my badge. You used to be supportive of my job."

"I didn't know it was going to be like this," she said miserably.

"You knew what my job was gonna be like, don't give me that bullshit. But you're not talking about my job at all, that's just your excuse. Stop it, Kathy, and just say it, say what you really mean. You think I'm sleeping with her."

"Are you?" Elliot knew Kathy suspected him, at least he thought he did, but her question still hurt.

It was an old fight between them. Kathy complained about his job constantly, and it seemed like a valid excuse, but Elliot knew that's all it was. Things had been going downhill in their relationship for a long time. Eli had brought them back together for a while, and it had seemed Kathy's view of Olivia had changed after the accident, but it hadn't taken long for the fights to start again. Elliot was sick of them.

"Does it even matter what I say? You're not gonna believe me anyway." Elliot zipped his jeans and pulled on a t-shirt. He had an extra suit at work that he would put on later if he needed it, but it was too early for a suit. He walked over to the closet and searched for his favourite sweatshirt, knowing it would be freezing outside. "I don't have time for this."

"Yeah. Go to work." Elliot shook his head, ignoring her comment. He grabbed his gun and badge from the top shelf of his closet and headed out to his car, trying to let his fight with Kathy go, but knowing he couldn't.

He wasn't sleeping with Olivia, of course, and he never had. Not that he'd never thought about it, he cared about her a lot and she was certainly attractive, but he felt no sexual tension between them, no irresistible urge to be with her. He had Kathy and he loved her, loved is kids and he didn't want to hurt his family. But it was hard to deny that is relationship with Kathy was over. If Eli hadn't been born they would have been divorced long ago, and he knew it. It was also hard to deny that he spent more time with Olivia than he did with Kathy, and they probably knew each other better, too. Maybe that was as good as cheating. Still, it hurt Elliot when Kathy accused him of such betrayal.

Pulling up to the precinct, Elliot wanted nothing more than to go back to sleep so he could silence his miserable thoughts. But he was wide awake, and he had an important case to work, so he headed up to the SVU squadroom. "Welcome to the land of the walking dead. Coffee?" Munch offered Elliot a cup and he took it gratefully.

"So what makes this case so high-profile," Elliot asked, taking a mouthful of coffee and regretting it as it burned his throat.

"Rich guy's kid," Munch replied with obvious contempt. Elliot knew how Munch felt about rich people taking advantage of their positions and didn't press the issue any further.

"Great, you're here. Olivia's sifting through a mountain of evidence and I could use you in there to give her a hand," Cragen said, not stopping to hear Elliot's reply, speeding off instead towards another group of detectives.

With a heavy sigh, Elliot headed towards the back room Cragen had pointed to. He hated sifting through paperwork and written statements, and with all that had happened that morning he wasn't sure he really wanted to be alone with Olivia, but he was happy to at least be away from the chaos in the squadroom. When he stepped into the room he saw Olivia sitting at a table with large stacks of paper around her. She looked exhausted and didn't notice Elliot at first because she was yawning. "Oh, hey," she said, looking up at him with a tired attempt at a smile.

"Wow, do I looked that tired?" He said, sitting down across from her, shifting a stack of papers so they could see each other.

"I haven't slept for 2 days. I was considering taking a sick day when Cragen called. I don't know how many more sleepless nights I can take." She yawned again and stretched her arms high over her head.

Elliot pulled took some papers off the closest stack and set them down infront of him. He didn't have to ask which papers Olivia had already gone through, they had been partners long enough for him to know how she organized her paperwork. They had spent too many hours sitting across from each other with piles of evidence infront of them for him not to notice. Useless evidence to the right, closer to her because there was always more useless evidence than anything and it would be tiring to stretch towards it. Useful evidence she either kept in her lap if the table was small, or right infront of her. She always kept the papers she was looking at in her hands rather than setting them down, and Elliot had once marvelled at how she kept multiple sheets organized in her fingers.

Elliot didn't see any papers right infront of her, so he stood slightly to see if there were any in her lap. When he saw nothing, he sat back down. Olivia was looking at him curiously. "Looking for something?"

"Just wondering if you found anything yet," he said, looking back at his own papers.

Olivia nodded. She knew she had a distinct way of organizing her paperwork, and she knew Elliot knew that system well. She knew his, too. Useless papers in the left corner closest to him, useful papers in the right corner, and a stack of papers infront of him to sift through. He didn't hold them in his hands like Olivia did, and sometimes he would arrange them infront of him if he was looking for a particular pattern or group of evidence that went together. His expression never changed, even when he found something really useful, but sometimes she could see his jaw muscles working when he was concentrating hard on something.

Olivia filled Elliot in on the case a little more. A young girl had been seen being pulled into the back of a van by a strange man. It was nothing new or strange for the SVU detectives, but the girl's father owned several companies and gave generously to the community, especially law enforcement. He paid for a lot of new equipment for the various squads and was especially supportive of SVU, because his own sister had been raped as a teenager. That gave him special privileges, and so the case was top priority.

The paperwork they were sifting through included some e-mails to and from the girl, Kelsi, but mostly employment records of her father's employees for the last three years. There were also a bunch of old e-mails sent to and from the employee computers. There were so many papers that Elliot and Olivia had to keep moving useless files off the table and replacing them with new paperwork to search through. It would take them hours.

"I hate paperwork, I'd rather be out there actually doing something." Elliot sighed.

"I'd actually rather be in here. I don't have the energy or the patience for crying parents today."

"It's really not the crying that's the problem," Elliot says.

"No, it's their stupidity. Doesn't anyone understand that we have to investigate the parents in every case? What do they want us to do, turn a blind eye and say 'oh, you're the parents, it can't possibly be you'? And then some parents will turn out to be the murderers or the kidnappers and then what? Everyone will be jumping down our throats because we didn't investigate them, especially other parents. By them not co-operating, we have to waste time and energy trying to get answers without their help, which is just a waste and ends up letting the real perp get even farther away!" Elliot knew all of this and agreed, but he let Olivia rant anyway. She almost never ranted like that, only talked over her opinions with Elliot, but even Olivia got grumpy if you took away enough of her sleep.

"When you're worrying about your child it's hard to be rational about those things. And being accused of hurting your child, even if the police are just doing their job, it's not an easy thing."

"They let their own anger blind them to the best interests of their child." Elliot could hear that little edge in her voice, knew it was a shot at him, but he decided not to rise to the bait. It wasn't like Olivia to provoke him, and she was probably just too tired to think about what she was saying. Still, he was tired too, and it was hard to just keep his mouth shut.

"When someone accuses you of doing something like hurting your own child, it doesn't matter if they have good reason for it. It's human nature to defend yourself against something so unthinkable. I agree, it just lets the perp get farther away, but I can understand why they do it. Maybe you just have to be a parent to understand."

"Good to know. I have no family, but at least I've managed to keep my rationality." Olivia stood up and left the room before either of them could say anything else. She knew her temper was rising and she couldn't control it. She didn't mean to lash out at Elliot, but her self-control seemed to drop with her energy level. The last person she should have lashed out at was Elliot, knowing how explosive his anger could be, so she left before either of them could say something really hurtful.

Elliot hadn't meant to say anything hurtful, she knew that, but somehow she still felt hurt. Talking about his family always made her feel that way. It hadn't always been that way, she used to love hearing about his kids, but lately she had been feeling more lonely than ever. She had found her brother Simon, but they almost never spoke, and they had been apart for too long to really call themselves family. She had had countless boyfriends, if you could really call them that, but she always had to cancel dates, and the ones she actually managed to go out with were scared off by her job. There were a few who had lasted after finding out about her job, but they inevitably saw her at some point after a really bad case, and her misery was just too much for them on top of everything else. After being turned down by the adoption agency, Olivia had pretty much given up on having any kind of life outside of SVU. As a result, she was miserable and losing night after night of sleep. If she wasn't careful, she might push Elliot away, too.