Chapter 13

"You talk to IAB yet?" Olivia asked when she saw Elliot standing in the doorway. She was sitting at her desk infront of her computer, as usual.

"Yeah.They're pretty pissed. Cap says I gotta take some time off. Looks like I'm not losing my job anytime soon, though."

"Good." Olivia didn't even take her eyes off the screen.

"I'm sorry."

Now she looked up, hands crossed over her chest. "For what, exactly?"

"Not talking to you. I should have come to you. I just thought, after what happened, it wasn't appropriate."

"And you think this is?" Elliot just stared at her blankly. "You're apologizing for not talking to me? Elliot, you shot me! I don't put much stalk in psychiatry but that's probably not a sign of good mental health."

"You know I didn't mean that."

"And what if you'd killed me? What if I was lying in the hospital waiting for an organ transplant because you blew out by liver, would you still be saying 'I'm sorry, I didn't mean it'?"

"What am I supposed to say? What do you want me to do?"

"Not shooting me in the first place would have been nice."

"Liv, please, don't do this. I was wound up, I didn't have any control over what I was doing."

"So I'm supposed to just let it go, is that what you're saying?"

"Nothing I can do is gonna change what you think, is it?" Olivia didn't reply, but Elliot knew he was right. "I'm sorry, Olivia. I guess you're lucky I'm a lousy shot." He stood up and left the room.

"Elliot! Elliot!" He turned around just as he was about to open his car door. He barely had time to register Olivia flying down the stairs before she crashed into him and wrapped her arms around him. He hugged her tightly, the delicious scent of her shampoo and her perfume and whatever else she was wearing filling his nostrils.

"What's this for?" He said when they finally broke apart.

"It's not your fault. I abandoned you completely. I wasn't worried about breaking up your marriage; I just didn't want anyone calling me a home wrecker or the other woman. And all that was just an excuse."


"No, let me finish. I talked to Kathy and she told me everything. And all I could think was that suddenly I was out of excuses and that terrified me. We've been partners forever and I never looked at you as anything else and then suddenly everything was complicated and confusing and I didn't want things to change." Olivia was talking very fast now and Elliot had to struggle to keep up. Even Olivia was starting to trip over her thoughts in her haste. "I always just assumed you'd be there, I expected you to save me, it was simple. You were the only thing about the job I could ever rely on, the only thing that made sense, and..."

"Liv, Liv! Stop. I get it." Elliot laced his fingers behind her head and pulled her gently forward, their lips touching gently at first and then the kiss deepening.

Olivia pulled away, resting her forehead on Elliot's shoulder. She felt his muscles stiffen suddenly and looked up at him. His eyes were staring straight ahead. She twisted in his arms to see Munch, Fin, and Cragen standing at the foot of the stairs, probably going out for coffee. The two groups stared at each other.

Finally Cragen shrugged. "Well, it's about time." He continued walking down the street and Munch and Fin followed.

"Did he just say what I think he just said?" Olivia asked, still watching them go.

Elliot laughed. "Maybe we didn't see it, but I guess they did." He kissed her forehead and they stood together next to the car until the cold wind forced them inside and back to Olivia's apartment.


"Olivia." A quiet whisper. "Olivia." A little louder. "Olivia!" The harsh whisper finally snapped Olivia awake and she opened her eyes to see a little boy standing next to her bed.

"Ben, what are you doing awake? It's the middle of the night."

"I had a bad dream." His voice was tiny and he averted his eyes as if in shame as he spoke. Tears filled his eyes and made them glisten, but Olivia knew he would never let them fall. At least not until he learned to trust more in his freedom.

"Do you wanna sleep in her tonight?" Ben shrugged, his eyes still lowered. Olivia slid back and adjusted the pillow so Ben could rest his head on it, too. Then she pulled back the covers and Ben climbed shyly onto the bed. Olivia covered him up and draped her arm over him, stroking his hair gently. She closed her eyes, but opened them again when she heard a barely audible gasp from Ben. "What's wrong, sweetheart?"

"Nothing," he said sadly, but his tiny fingers fiddled nervously with the blanket and Olivia knew he was lying.

"It's alright, you can tell me."

Ben looked up at her sadly, then lowered his gaze agian as he said, "I forgot Bunny."

"Would you like me to go get him for you?" Bunny was Ben's favourite stuffed animal, and he slept with it every night. He couldn't sleep without it, in fact.

"No, that's okay."

"Come on," Olvia said, sliding out of bed and holding out her hand to Ben. He took it and she led him back to his room. Bunny was sitting on the bed, partially covered by Ben's blanket. Olivia picked it up and handed it to Ben, who took it gratefully and hugged it so tightly Olivia thought the stuffing might burst out.

With Bunny in hand, Olivia led Ben back to her bedroom and the two climbed back into bed. Again Olivia closed her eyes as she stroked Ben's hair. "Olivia?" She heard him whisper.

"Yes sweetheart?" She didn't open her eyes.

"My mom wasn't very nice, was she?"

Now Olivia opened her eyes and looked down at Ben. She looked at him for a long time before saying, "No, hun, she wasn't."

"She didn't love me, did she?"

Again Olivia hesitated before aying, "I don't really know. But you deserve so much more love than she could give you."

Ben fell silent again and Olivia closed her eyes. "Olivia?" Holding back a smile, she opened her eyes again and simply looked down at Ben, waiting for him to say what was on his mind. "The foster lady," His social worker, "she said my mom wasn't really my mom. What did she mean?"

"I guess she meant your mom didn't really act like a mom should. She didn't care about you the way a mom is supposed to." Ben nodded, accepting the answer, and feel silent.

Yet again Olivia closed her eyes, and yet again she heard Ben's voice quietly calling her name. She wondered idly if she would ever get any sleep. Far from annoying, though, she had to fight back laughter. "Yes?"

"My mommy never let me call her mommy. She made me call her Muffy. I hate that name." The look of exaggerated angry concentration on his face made Olivia laugh, unable to hold it in any longer. "What's so funny."

"Nothing. We can talk more about this in the morning if you still want to, but right now it's time to go to sleep." She kissed the top of his brilliantly blond head and shifted a little to get comfortable.

"Olivia?" Olivia sighed and opened her eyes.

"Nevermind," he said, looking away. Olivia readjusted her expression, which must have looked slightly annoyed, and reassured him she was listening intently.

"Please tell me, sweetheart. I'm sorry if I looked upset."

"I like the name Olivia."

"Thanks. So do I."

"But...can I call you mommy instead?" Olivia couldn't help the tears that filled her eyes. "I'm sorry," Ben said quickly, looking scared.

"No, sweety, no, it's alright." Olivia wrapped her arms tightly around the little boy. "I would love for you to call me that."

She held him until she felt him relax and she started drifting off. "Can I call Elliot daddy?"

"Of course," she said, barely awake.

"Goodnight, mommy," Ben said, his voice heavy with sleep.

"Goodnight, sweetheart."