AN: So! I'm back from my X month hiatus. Lots of stuff lately, just finished finals so I figured it's about time to type something up. I know this isn't great, it's another random 2 AM endeavor. Soo….

Slightly AU, Kathy and Elliot are divorced. Missing scene from Smut.

"Are you ok?" Elliot had asked. Of course I'm not ok, why the hell would I be ok? What part of any of this is ok?

Sitting in my apartment wasn't helping either. After Lutz called his ex-fiancée, Cragen ordered me home to sleep "or else". I'd scoffed until he told me "or else" means that he wouldn't let me meet the fiancée when she came in the next morning. I was home in 20 minutes.

I glanced at my reflection in the turned off TV. My cheek was still red, but the imprint of Laurel's hand was gone. I ran my hand over the skin absently and it took my a few seconds to realize the tapping wasn't my headache, but someone at the door. Considering the fact that it was one AM, I figured it had something to do with a case. I checked the peephole and saw Elliot. No surprise there. He is my only frequent one AM visitor. Funny how whenever either of us need to talk it's always around one AM.

I pushed open the door and walked back into my living room, figuring he knows how to close a door. I didn't hear a click so I turned around, only to find myself inches from Elliot. I almost stumbled taking a step back but he reached out and grasped my arm. He pulled me gently until I was closer than I had been originally.

"Are you ok?" he asked. His voice was softer than I expected. I was still pretty emotionally numb though, and not much was computing. I tried to look anywhere but his eyes but it wasn't easy. It was like a gravitational pull. Every time he turned those blue eyes to me I just had to look back. Unconscious on his part. Probably.

"No," I said flatly, finally finding my voice. "That's still a 'no'." Elliot sighed and plopped onto my couch. I sat next to him, looking at my wall.

"She should've come at me, not you," he said.

"No, I was the one who convinced her to testify," I said shaking my head. He always tried to take my weights onto his own shoulders. He does it so I can get to sleep at night, but he shouldn't. I need to learn what happens when I make a mistake.

"You convincing her was my idea, Liv."

I was quiet for a few minutes. "No," I eventually said. "You were right. You were right from the start. I just couldn't see it."

We said nothing for a few minutes, just stared ahead. But it wasn't uncomfortable anymore. We'd said what we'd wanted to say and the tension was gone, it was the companionship we've always had. Out of the blue, Elliot starts speaking quietly.

"I was wrong about something else," he started. "I didn't think you would need me to help you get over what happened to you. I see that you're in pain but I don't know what to do. We see the raw victims, we don't guide them through the healing process." I became very still as he spoke. "I didn't think you would want my help, but I don't care anymore."

I looked at him and didn't know what to say. He was right, I didn't want his help. But I think I needed it. I flashed to the memory of the night in the prison and nearly fell off the couch with the shock. I moved to the other side of the couch, shaking and unable to meet his eyes. Elliot moved until he was squatting in front of me and looking up at me. He put his hands out, palms up, to show me that he didn't mean any harm, but I wasn't really seeing him.

"Liv, Liv it's ok, it's me, I'm here," he said. My name dragged me back to reality. I saw Elliot's face a foot from mine and did what I've been dying to do since I met him. I threw myself onto him, flinging my arms around his neck. He wrapped his arms around my back and just held me. I was shaking again and realized that the sobbing sound I heard was coming from me. Elliot pulled us up until I was standing in the circle of his arms. He stroked my hair, whispering my name and that everything will be fine. Lies, but I didn't care.

It took me tend minutes to calm down to a manageable level. He held me the whole time.

"I hate this, I hate weak and this pathetic," I mumbled.

"You are the strongest person I know, Liv. The only reason I worry is because I care, not because I don't think you can handle anything," he answered.

"I can't sleep, El," I said, the sound muffled by his shoulder. I pulled away. "I don't feel safe anywhere. I don't feel safe alone, I don't feel safe when I'm alone. I don't feel safe when I'm around other people. So if I can't be alone and I can't be around people, what's left?" I become conscious of the fact that I was pacing and stopped mid-step. Elliot said nothing, just looked at me. I could tell he was trying to think of something to say.

"Except for now."

"What do you mean, 'except for now'?" Elliot asked.

"Right now I feel safe," I said, shocked to grasp that it was true. "Whenever it's us, I know that I'm safe." I looked away. "I know that sounds corny but – " my words were cut off as Elliot pulled me to him. Again. He held my face in his hands.

"Liv, I can't promise nothing bad will ever happen," Elliot said. I closed my eyes. He rubbed my cheek with his thumb. "I can promise that I will keep you as safe as humanly possible. I know you never want protection from anyone, but like I said, I. Do. Not. Care."

"I know," I said. "But I know I'm as safe as I can possibly be when I'm with you." Elliot pulled me to him again, this time he wrapped his arms around my back and held tight, as if I would disappear like smoke. I closed my eyes and felt myself drifting. Feeling as if nothing could hurt me, my newfound insomnia was put on hold. Elliot noticed.

"I put you to sleep?" he teased. "Liv, how long has it been since you slept?"

"Way too long," I mumbled, eyes still closed. I hadn't realized how exhausted I was until I felt safe enough to sleep.

"Come on," Elliot muttered. I felt him move his arms, one to my upper back and one behind my knees. He scooped me up but instead of feeling alarm at the sensation of my feet leaving the ground, I felt secure. I knew the layout of my apartment well enough to know I had just been carried into my bedroom.

My back touched the mattress and I was almost asleep when I felt more than heard Elliot near the door. I shot up into the sitting position.

"No!" I said a little loudly. Elliot turned looking shocked. I lowered my voice. "Please, don't go. I don't think I can be here alone and sleep." Elliot knew how much it killed me to say that, so he said nothing, just nodded. He took his shoes off next to my bed and sat down. I lay back down slowly. I knew that if he said he would stay, he'd stay. I was just feeling insecure tonight, which is horrible and not normal for me. Elliot tentatively started rubbing my back. When I didn't jerk away he continued and I easily drifted to sleep.

I woke up four hours later with that unavoidable bathroom urge. I groaned, about to get up when I noticed an unfamiliar weight at my waist. I glanced down at the arm over my hips. I immediately recognized it as Elliot's, even before I saw the tattoo decorating his arm. I looked over my shoulder and saw his sleeping face mere inches from mine. I smiled. I admit, I'd thought about this before but I didn't think it would feel this right. It was as if we'd slept next to each other for years.

I moved his arm slowly off of me and slid out of bed. Elliot stirred slightly but didn't wake up. When I came back, I padded softly to the bed. I climbed back in and settled, facing Elliot. He snaked his arm back around me and pulled me closer until I was pressed against the front of his body, chin resting on top of my head. He kissed my hair.

"I'm sorry, I didn't know I woke you up," I said quietly, voice muffled. I didn't know what else to say, I was slightly in shock. I felt him smile, and that alone made me relax into him.

"I always know when you're gone. Asleep or not, it doesn't matter," he said. He pulled me closed, which I hadn't thought was possible. I felt my eyes fluttering shut again. Elliot rubbed my back. "Go to sleep, Liv. You have to be well rested for Lutz's ex. Just sleep. I'll be here in the morning, I'm not going anywhere."

I let myself fall back to sleep in his arms, knowing that what he said was true. He'd be there, just like he always has been.