A/N: Had this written for a while, decided to post it. Different than my usual, and I'd like some response. I had a great birthday, thanks for the wishes! Mildly AU as Elliot's separated from Kathy (with the papers signed on his end), there is no Eli, and it takes place in year five of their partnership.
DISCLAIMER: Dick Wolf owns SVU and its characters. Storyline, dialogue, narrative and originality belong to TStabler©
The precinct was empty and quiet, except for the drip of the coffee pot and the pulse pounding in Olivia's ears. Munch and Fin were sleeping in the cribs, Cragen was out in the field with a few uniforms, following the only promising lead they had in twelve hours. Elliot and Olivia were at their joined desks, taking calls, which were now coming few and far between, and reading the messages that had been taken since the sketch of the suspect had been released.
The pounding in her head got worse by the minute. It didn't help that her partner wouldn't shut the fuck up. She had stopped listening twenty minutes ago and now all she heard was, "Blah, blah, blah, rape kit. Blah, blah, blah, murder weapon." His voice was really starting to sound grating and she wanted nothing more than to slap the shit out of him. She had her head in her hands, rubbing her temples, and she was glaring at him so hard, trying to make his head explode with her mind.
He stopped talking and looked up at her. "Yeah?"
There was a moment of silence. "Do you hear that?" She narrowed her eyes and flattened her smile.
He listened, intently. "No, Liv, I don't hear anything. It's quiet."
"Exactly," she snapped. "Keep it that way." She squeezed the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger, and her eyes slid shut.
Elliot dropped the file he'd been reading and got out of his seat. He turned out the bright overhead lights, leaving the desk lamp on, then ran to the side of the room, poured her a cup of strong coffee, and walked it back to her, digging two white pills out of his pocket and handing them to her as well. "Here," he said softly.
"Huh?" she opened one eye, and tried to smirk, but her face was not playing nice today. It looked more like a bitter scowl.
He knelt down next to her. "I didn't know you had headache," he said, whisper-quiet. He put the aspirin into her hand, put the cup down on her desk, and took her head in his hands. He rubbed her temples, slowly, gently, and as good as it felt, this was the reason she had the damn headache in the first place. He swiped his thumbs over her forehead, applying slight pressure over her eyebrows, and said, softly, "Go up to the cribs. Take a nap. Sleep it off."
She looked him in the eyes, popped the pills into her mouth, chugged the coffee and threw her head back, swallowing the painkillers. "No," she said. "I'm good."
Elliot sighed and pushed himself up. "Okay," he said. "I just wanted to take care of you." He ran his head over her head, as if petting her.
"That's the problem," she said under her breath.
He turned back to her. "What was that?"
"Nothing." She squinted her yes and tried to read the suspect-sighting report, one of about seventy, on her desk.
"Liv, what is going on with you, huh? You have been snappy and irritable and, don't hit me, bitchy for the last week. Did I do something?" He looked at her with sad, worried eyes.
"El, we have a serial rapist-slash-killer out there and five-hundred of these stupid, white papers to read, can we talk about this later?" She flipped the report over into the "useless shit" pile and picked up another one.
Elliot ripped it out of her hand and forced her to look at him. "No, we can't. I've lost my wife, not that I mind, and probably my kids, Liv. I'm not losing the only person that means anything to me, too. Not if I can help it. Just tell me what I did!"
Olivia was taken aback, and she melted when she heard the words fly out of his mouth. "El, what? Losing...you're not losing me, I just...only person?"
"You just what, Liv?" Elliot had tears in his eyes. Olivia had never seen him cry. Ever. He was on the brink of divorce, on the verge of possibly being a part-time daddy, and he hadn't shed a single tear. This was painful for her to watch.
"What exactly do I mean to you?" she asked quietly, turning away from him, the throbbing in her heart now matching the one in her head.
Elliot balked. "I don't know how to answer that," he said.
"Am I your partner, your friend, your best friend, all of the above, none of the above or what?" It came out scared, nervous, and a little harsh.
"Liv, what are you...where is this coming from?" He took a step closer, his heart in his throat, and he loosened his tie. "All of the above. And you forgot something."
Olivia grabbed the sides of her head, it suddenly felt like someone had her skull in a vice. "Oh, fuck, this hurts."
Elliot ran to her and just as he grazed her shoulder she jumped away. "Please, don't touch me. You have no idea what you do to me when you touch me."
"Liv, we're talking in circles here." He threw his hands up and shrugged.
"Well, I'm thinking in circles, Elliot." She turned around to face him, she caught sight of those eyes of his and her breath hitched. She spoke calmly, but her heart was a speeding train. "I had it all under control for so long. To the point where I could ignore it, suppress it, kill it, ya know? And then a month ago you come into work and it's 'Hey, Liv. Kathy left me.' and my brain thinks it's finally allowed to think the things that it's not allowed to think and my heart fucking grows wings." She rubbed her forehead and let out a nervous laugh. "Do you know what it's like arguing with yourself in the middle of the night about what you're feeling? Convincing yourself to not feel it? Realizing you've been feeling it for so long, you've gotten used to it?"
Elliot's eyes widened. "You're saying..."
"And then, since she's been out of the picture, every time you looked at me, every time our hands accidentally touched when you handed me a file or a cup of coffee, every time you spoke I wanted to bat my eyes and giggle! I don't giggle! I couldn't stand it, El! The way you drove me crazy started to piss me off. You made me such a...girl. Then, every little thing you did turned me on so much it got on my goddamn nerves, so, for the past week, I tried to push you away just to make the pain stop, but it only got worse." She shrugged lightly and wrapped her arms around herself, biting her lip. "Jesus, I'm wound up tighter than a fucking two-dollar watch, and I have had a killer headache for three goddamn days, since you signed your divorce papers, because I can't convince my stupid subconscious that you and I are never gonna happen!" Olivia had said that last part to the coffee pot, because she couldn't face him, and when she was finished the pain in her head was astonishing. "Shit," she muttered, fumbling to her desk and collapsing into her chair. "Do you know why I'm constantly canceling dates and breaking up with boyfriends?"
"Well, uh," he licked his lips, processing her previous, slow ramble. "I think it's the same reason I'm getting a divorce," he said, meaning it deeply, trying to tell her he loved her, too. He, however, was a big chicken. "Certain people just can't handle what we do for a living, and you and I chose the job over them."
"I didn't choose the job over them, Elliot," she said as she struggled to her feet and grabbed her jacket. "I chose you over them." She looked at him, saw the dumbfounded expression on his face, shook her head in pity and laughed in sorrow. "I shouldn't have told you that," she said, and she stormed off toward the bullpen doors.
"Liv!" Elliot yelled, but she was already gone. He ran out after her, catching her before she got into the elevator. "Liv," he said and he grabbed her arm, spinning her around. "You can't say all of that and just walk away."
"Walking away is the only thing I can do, El," she said, the tears from her painful headache and heartache finally spilling over. "On top of being incredibly embarrassed right now, I don't really want to hear you tell me to stop acting like a teenager with a crush and get over it, El. I'm trying to get over it. I've been trying to get over it for four and half years. I know I can't feel like this, but you make it really hard not to love you," Olivia said as her eyes squinted shut. She turned around and, instead of waiting for the elevator, which would only prolong her agony, she pushed open the door to the stairwell and, despite her pounding headache, ran like the wind.
It took Elliot a few seconds to get over the initial shock of hearing her say she loved him, but once it sunk in, a slow smile spread across his face. When he realized she was getting away, though, the smile turned into a wide-eyed, panicked expression and he bolted down the stairs after her, praying he would be able to tell her how he felt and bring her back, happy and pain-free, before Munch and Fin woke up.
A/N: Part two? Yes? Reviews please!