A/N: Some things are unavoidable. Uncontrollable. Falling in love, well, that's one of them. AU: Ages, everyone is younger. El: Thirty, Liv: Twenty-eight, Maureen: 13, Kathleen: 12, Twins: 10 Takes place beginning the third year of their partnership and works up from there. Elliot is getting a divorce.
DISCLAIMER: SVU and its Characters belong to Dick Wolf. Storyline and dialogue, and original characters, belong to TStabler©
Olivia Benson hadn't gotten much sleep last night, or the night before, or the night before that, and she was terrified to admit why. She stopped for coffee on her way to work, picking up two Extra-Venti Mocha Whipped whatever-the-fucks that her partner loved so much, and trotted off, yawning, to the 16th Precinct. She almost fell asleep in the elevator, but the ding woke her up. She stepped out of the metallic lift and into the bullpen of the Special Victims Unit, dropped one of the coffees on her partners desk and plopped into her chair, trying unsuccessfully to rub the sleep out of her eyes.
Ever since she had that dream, that very vivid dream of her and her partner up against the wall in the locker room, she was afraid to close her eyes. God, just thinking about it made her weak. Weak and wet.
"You look like hell."
Her head snapped up at the sound of his voice and she flushed at the sight of him. He was so damn gorgeous it was a sin, and his stunning blue eyes drove her mad with desire. "You really know how to sweet talk a lady, Stabler," she said, hoping sarcasm would cover the arousal in her voice. She took a sip of her coffee.
"That's what they tell me." Elliot sat in his desk and did the same. "Damn, Liv. I love that you know how I like my coffee. Thanks," he said with a smile. "Seriously, though. You okay? You really look...not like yourself." He was going to say "beautiful despite the bags under your eyes" but he was afraid she'd punch him, so he settled for "not like yourself."
"I'm fine. Just...tired. Unbelievably tired. Of everything." She dropped her head to her hands and squeezed the bridge of her nose. "Just, forget it, okay?"
Elliot looked at her with great concern. "Liv, listen. Go up to the cribs and catch a few winks. I'll come get you if we get a call or something, okay?"
"It's not going to help, I'm not going to be able to sleep because I'm just gonna think about..." she stopped, realizing that she was about to say something terribly embarrassing. "Stuff. I'll think about stuff, and it will keep me awake."
"Okay," Elliot said, sipping his coffee.
Olivia started typing up a DD5 from yesterday's case as she spoke. "How are things with you? How's Kathy, the kids?" Not that she liked or cared about Kathy, at all, but it was friendly conversation.
Elliot almost choked on his drink. "The kids are fabulous."
Olivia looked up, a small smirk playing at her lips. "Uh-oh, Kathy's not fabulous?"
"No, Liv. Kathy is about the most unfabulous person in the world right now. She's, um, accusing me of having an affair. Again."
Olivia picked up her coffee and sipped as she said, "That's insane, you would never do that to her."
"She thinks I'm having an affair with you," he said, looking intently at her, waiting for her reaction.
The coffee came flying out of her mouth and sprayed in an even splatter all over her paperwork and computer. She was coughing, hard. "Excuse me? Did you, uh, deny it? Of course you denied it, because we're not. We are so not having an...a...thing."
Laughing, Elliot got up to get paper towels. He walked over to her desk and wiped up the coffee at the same time, patting and rubbing her back trying to ease her cough and steady her breathing. "Yeah, Liv, I denied it. She didn't believe me. Told me denying it only proved I was guilty."
"And admitting it would have made you look innocent?" she raised an eyebrow. "I'm sorry, Stabler, but you married a crazy woman."
"Yeah, and I'm divorcing one, too." He rose from his spot on the floor and threw out the paper towels. He returned to his seat and caught Olivia staring at him with a look of pure shock on her face. "Okay, what, Benson?"
"Well, El, that's a pretty big bomb you just dropped. Are you okay? Do you wanna talk about it?" she asked. She didn't want to hear him gush about how he loved her and didn't want to go through with it, but she needed to support him. She loved him.
Elliot frowned a bit. "Nah. Nothing to talk about, Liv. We had a good ten years, it just...fizzled. I'm fine, really."
Olivia squinted at him. "You've been married for thirteen years." She raised an eyebrow at him. "Forget how to count, did you?"
Elliot laughed. "God, Liv. No. I said we had a good ten years. We also had a pretty shitty three years to go with them," he said as he looked at Olivia with a small smirk. "The last three."
"That's how long we've been part...woah, so now you're blaming me?" she said, hurt and slightly offended. "Ya know, I think I am gonna go take that nap." Olivia rose to her feet and headed for the cribs.
Elliot stood up catching her at the stairs. "Liv, no! That...that isn't what I meant. She blames you, I..."
"You what, Elliot?" she asked. "How, exactly, do you feel about how the last three years have changed your life? Because, I could tell you some pretty interesting things about the way they've affected mine." She must have gotten pretty upset, on top of being over-tired, because she got very dizzy. Her hand shot up to her head and she wobbled, falling down the two steps she'd climbed and into Elliot's arms.
"Liv? Honey, no! Liv?" He gently slapped her face a bit, and when she didn't respond, he picked her up and carried her up the rest of the stairs, placing her gently in one of the beds in the bunkroom. He dropped to his knees next to her and gripped her hand, waiting for her to move. Her head rolled from side to side for a bit, before her eyes blinked and fluttered open. "Liv!" Elliot cried, running his hand over her hair. "Welcome back, baby," he said, looking into her foggy brown eyes.
She shook her head and blinked. Did he just call her 'baby'? "What happened?" she asked, looking down at his hand squeezing hers.
"You, uh, passed out. You haven't been sleeping, right? This was just your body's way of telling you to fuck off, I guess." He laughed, hoping to lighten the mood a bit. She smiled at him, so maybe it worked. "Liv, you gotta know, I don't blame you for my marriage falling apart, not one bit. I blame Kathy. The only thing I blame you for is making me realize that I never loved Kathy in the first place. Not really," he said quickly, babbling, still running his hand over her Olivia's face and hair.
"Okay, Stabler. I'm the one suffering from sleep deprivation, but I think you're the one with brain damage," Olivia muttered, shooting up to a sitting position. It made her woozy. "Woah."
"Easy, Liv," Elliot said, rubbing her back. "Easy."
She brushed him off. His touch was driving her insane. "El, I'm okay. Seriously, you can let go of me, Florence Nightengale."
Elliot laughed. "Okay." He let go of her hand and stood up. "Maybe you should tell Cragen you need the day off. Go home and get some rest," he suggested.
Olivia shook her head. "Bad idea. Well, staying here is a worse idea, but...it's fine, El. Uh, thanks for, um, this," she said, waving a hand around the cribs.
"Liv, when it comes to you, there's nothing I wouldn't do." Elliot winked at her, smiled and left, leaving Olivia to sit in silence as she fell in love with him a little bit more.
A/N: Oh, next chappy will be one of those late night dinners that ends a bit differently... reviews??