A/N: The final chapter...after too damn long. I finally was hit with a way to end this, so here you go.
DISCLAIMER: SVU and characters belong to Dick Wolf. This story belongs to TStabler©
The night was amazing, dinner was fabulous, they danced their cares away. But when they got back to their hotel, it all crashed to the floor. The scene was still chaotic, reporters shot picture after picture, and when the elevator doors closed behind them, it was a relief.
Tension rose yet again when they walked toward their room.
"Mom," she gasped, seeing the woman, in one of the hotel's bathrobes, smoking a cigarette as she talked to Cragen and two other officers.
Elliot pulled her backward. "Liv, I..."
"It doesn't matter." She walked toward them, saying a polite, "Excuse me," and tried to get passed them.
Cragen looked at her. "Olivia, I know this is...we need to talk."
Olivia narrowed her eyes. "No, we don't," she said.
"Yes," Cragen said, grabbing her wrist. "We do."
Elliot walked up defensively, shaking his head. "Is she a suspect?"
"No, but she needs to hear something. You both do." Cragen opened the door to the room next to theirs and ushered them in, Serena following them. This must have been her room, meaning she had probably heard them moaning, reaming, fucking.
Olivia looked around, folded her arms, and leaned against the wall. "Talk," she said, looking at Cragen.
"Your mother," Cragen began, gesturing, "Has something she wants to tell you."
Serena put the cigarette in her hand out, then looked at the daughter she hadn't seen or talked to in a long while. "Ed Tucker...Olivia, he was the man...he was..."
"No," Olivia said, shaking her head.
Serena nodded. "That's why I wanted you to change your mind about transferring to that precinct, I wanted you to work in Jersey where he'd never find you. Olivia, he knew who you were the minute you graduated from the academy, and then he..." She pulled another cigarette out of the pack with a shaky hand. "He promised to hurt you, like he hurt me, prove he could break you just as easily as he made you."
"He's my...he was my..." She blinked and her face drained of all color. "Son of a bitch."
"When you got involved with your partner, he called me, telling me how easy it would be to destroy you now," Serena said, remembering the phone call she'd received. "He told me that if I wanted to keep that from happening I had to meet him here. Be with him again, this time willingly."
"Mom," Olivia whispered. "Mom, you didn't..."
"I went up to his room," Serena interrupted. "I took one look at him, and I knew what I had to do. We had sex, and I hated every second of it, it felt like it did the first time and as soon as he was done with me...I hurled toward him and pushed him off the balcony." She let her head fall into her hands. "I'm so sorry, Olivia. I know I...I'm so sorry."
Cragen bit his bottom lip. He had figured it all out when Tucker started hounding him about Olivia. He had kept it from them, hoping he was wrong. When Serena's prints came up in the room, he knew he'd been right, and could have done something about it. "I have to take her back to New York," he said, sighing. "This is gonna..."
"We'll go pack," Olivia interjected.
"No," Cragen said, shaking his head. "You two are still on vacation, and you have some things you have to work through now. I promise, I will keep you notified on everything that..."
Olivia shot up and headed for the door. "I have to get out of here," she shouted over her shoulder. She flew down the hall to the door of their room. She swiped the card key and pushed it open hard, then looked around for her suitcase.
She lifted it and threw it on the bed, unzipping it and throwing everything that was hers into it. As she did, she cursed under her breath. She regretted it all now, regretted transferring into the unit, regretted letting the temptation of her Sex-God partner do her in, regretted letting the words "I love you" fly from her lips so easily.
"Fucking stupid apple," she hissed, slamming things into the luggage now. If she hadn't been so easily swayed, she would have left the unit, she would have never had to deal with her emotions, a family she'd grown attached to, and her mother would have never felt the need to save her job and life by confronting her rapist and killing him.
"I like apples," his voice said, hesitantly, from the doorway.
She dropped the robe in her hands into her suitcase and looked at him. Tears were streaming down her face, but she didn't care. "I...I need to..."
He went to her, wrapping him up in his arms, and he whispered, "Don't do this, baby. I know you're scared, and hurt, and shocked and mad, but...don't throw everything else away like this. Don't...don't leave me, and please, don't regret this."
She stopped breathing. She hadn't been thinking at all, she'd been speaking. Talking to herself, out loud, voicing her fears and regrets. She looked into his eyes, saw how full of fear and pain they were, and she said, "You don't regret it?" She sniffled and looked away from him. "How can you not, El. You almost lost everything because of me. I told you, I'm damaged, and she only proves that. That's what I come from, Elliot, an emotionally unstable drunk...who had to relive her worst experience to prove she really did love me and save my fucking job, and life, because of us. Because of me."
"I don't regret anything," he said, his voice losing all softness. "I know you're hurting, baby, and you were just talking. But if you can look me in the eyes and tell me that you really do, then I will let you finish packing. If that's what you really want, but you have to look at me. Look at me and say it."
She turned her head, slowly blinking away tears, and her eyes widened when she looked at him. "What is..."
"If you regret me, us, this," he said, his hands shaking but his voice firm, "Then this wouldn't scare you like that. I was gonna give this to you tonight."
She lost feeling in her legs. "El, what are you...it's beautiful."
"Tempting, isn't it?" he asked, moving the box toward her a bit. He watched as her finger tapped the stone, making sure it was really there. "Look at me. Look me in the eyes and tell me you wanna leave, you wanna walk away."
She swallowed and looked up, meeting his heavenly blue eyes. "I can't...I can't."
"Because you don't wanna leave, or because you don't wanna hurt me?" he asked.
"I don't want to do either," she said, stepping closer to him. "I was...I was just babbling, El, you're the only thing in my life I don't regret. It was just easier to say it all because I don't know what I'm feeling right now, about anything, and this...this is the worst possible time to be doing this."
He smirked. "Our timing has been shitty from the beginning," he cracked. "So, what do you say, Eve. Bite my apple?" He wiggled the black box, reached for her hand, and looked into her eyes.
She laughed. She cried, and she laughed, and she looked at him. "You really know how to tempt a girl into doing things she shouldn't do." She gave his hand a squeeze, blinked once, and said, "Walking sin or not, I'm wearing white."
He exhaled harshly, and he crashed his lips into hers. They weren't perfect, and they never would be. Life had changed drastically that day, for everyone. Olivia's past had caught up with her, Elliot's choice to never get married again had completely dissolved, and they were taking a huge step, one step closer to Paradise.
They were faced with finding a solid bond in the midst of a tragedy, finding comfort in the only thing that had ever truly been comfortable, and moving on with their lives. It was all too tempting to turn down.
A/N: The End. Leave a review...if you're tempted.