A/N: Who was it that saw them and wasn't happy? Who's trying to worm their way back into their lives? Who's gonna get told off…by a twelve year old?
DISCLAIMER: SVU and characters belong to Dick Wolf and Wolf Films. This story, and everything included, belongs to TStabler©
Olivia and Elliot had been so lost in each other, laughing, kissing, looking into each other's eyes, that they hardly noticed someone following them home from the restaurant. They were almost home, halfway up the steps, when Elliot stopped. He pulled Olivia down and into his arms, the heel of her shoe causing her to stumble. He caught her with a chuckle, and looked into her eyes.
"Sorry about that," he said, brushing her hair back. "You're really gonna marry me, right? You're not gonna change your mind, or run, or try to shoot me?"
Olivia snickered. "El," she said, looking back at him, here brown eyes dancing with his sapphire ones, "I'd only shoot you if you hurt me or the kids. I'm not gonna run, not from you. In fact, the last time I ran from a relationship it was to you. I'm not going to change my mind, baby. I'm really going to marry you." She rubbed her nose against his, ignoring the searing pain in her foot that the damn heel dragging against the stair had caused, and caught his lips in a tender, emotional, kiss.
"If you do that," a female voice said from the pavement before them, "You'd be making a very big mistake, Detective Benson."
Elliot and Olivia broke apart, and turned to the woman. Elliot's eyes widened and then narrowed. His heart breaking only slightly. "Val," he said, almost a gasp. "What are you doing here?"
"I was on a date, Elliot. I had no idea I'd be witnessing my big brother throwing his life away! Do you have any idea what you're doing?" Valerie, Elliot's younger sister, asked, putting her hands on her hips.
Elliot didn't loosen his grip on Olivia. He pulled her closer and said, "I know exactly what I'm doing, Val. You know, you can't just walk back into my life and…"
"Aunt Val?" Dickie asked, opening the front door.
"Dickie," Olivia said, turning around. "Go back inside, sweetie. It's late, it's cold, and it's…"
Dickie stepped out, further, ignoring Olivia, and interrupted her. "No, Mom," he said.
"Woah," Valerie said, taken aback. "Mom?"
"Yeah, Aunt Val. Mom. You weren't around to watch her be the one who took care of us when Kathy refused to. See, she was the one who came to all of our games and she was the one that held us if we cried or were hurt or just needed to be held. Did you know that Kathy burned down our house? That she was on drugs? Did you know she used to hit Maureen? That she hated me because I looked so much like Dad?" Dickie took another step down and folded his arms, narrowing his eyes, proving that he did, in fact, look exactly like Elliot. "Aunt Val, Mom, Olivia, and this is something Dad doesn't even know, almost died last year. She got shot for him, because of him. He was here, arguing with Kathy, and she went after some lunatic who had a grudge against Dad. He had threatened to come after us, and, well, she just wasn't gonna let that happen. She took him down but not before he got a good shot in."
Elliot looked at Olivia, stunned, and asked, "That's what happened? You told me it was…"
"I know what I told you," Olivia said, biting her lip.
Elliot closed his eyes, dropping his forehead to hers. "Baby," he whispered, his grip on her tightening. "God, baby."
"Dickie," Valerie said. "Are you telling me, really telling me, that your father being with her rather than your mother…"
"Olivia is my mother," Dickie broke in. "Go look up the definition of the word 'mother,' Aunt Val. She may not have given birth to me, which is why she's still got that killer body, but in every other sense of the word she is our mother. And, if you couldn't tell, Dad's nuts about her."
Valerie's eyes drifted from the boy to her brother. "But…Catholic…sin…divorce," she sputtered, unable to put together a sentence that made sense.
"God understands, Aunt Val," Dickie said, sounding more like a grown up than a boy who'd be only thirteen in a week. "Kathy went cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, and God gave us Olivia to save us. She wasn't a temptation, or a sin, Aunt Val. She was a Saving Grace. An Angel. How could God be mad at Dad for accepting the gift He so willingly and generously gave?"
Elliot, tears slowly running down his cheeks, sniffled as he looked at his son. "When the hell did you grow up?"
"When you did," Dickie said, giving his father a signature Stabler smirk.
Valerie sniffled as well, unaware that she'd even been crying. "I can not believe I have just been put in my place by a twelve year old."
"Thirteen," Olivia said, wiping her eyes as he pulled her soon-to-be-step-son into her arms.
Dickie returned the hug eagerly and said, "I love you, Mom."
"I love you, too, Dickie," Olivia whispered. It wasn't that she didn't want to shout it out loud, her voice just wasn't cooperating.
Kathleen, in her pajamas and a pair of fuzzy slippers that Olivia immediately recognized as her own, stepped out into the New York night, rubbing her eyes and yawning. "What is going on out…Aunt Val? Did someone die?"
"No, honey," Elliot said, chuckling at the look of horror plastered on his daughter's face, and the smirk on Olivia's. Those were her favorite bunny slippers. He gave them to her as a gag gift on Easter, three years ago, knowing she wasn't Catholic, and she adored them, to his surprise.
"Why is Aunt Val here, and why is everyone crying?" Kathleen asked, folding her arms. Apparently, it was a Stabler thing.
Olivia tilted her head. "Dickie is too grown up for his own good, and he just said something really…nice," she said, still sniffling. "And Val was just leaving. She just came by to congratulate us."
"On what?" Kathleen asked, suddenly perking up, looking hopeful.
Dickie, realizing what had just happened, looked at Olivia's left hand and smiled. He turned around to his sister and said, "Dad gave her that thing that was in his sock drawer!"
Kathleen squealed, jumped and clapped. "Oh, my God! Really?" she yelped. "That's totally…sweet!"
Olivia chuckled, resting her head on Elliot's shoulder as she felt Dickie wrap his arms around her again. "Hey, Katie, it is totally sweet," she said. "And my first act as your stepmother is reclaiming my bunnies!"
Kathleen looked down at her feet guiltily, then looked up and simpered at Olivia. "Goodnight, Mom! 'Night, Daddy!" she screeched, then bolted back inside.
"I'm sorry," Valerie said, chuckling herself. "I guess I really didn't know what was going in your life, Elliot. You don't really call any of us, and at Christmas you all seemed so normal."
Elliot looked at his sister as his left hand ran itself through Olivia's hair. "Val, we were putting on a show, trying to keep it together for the sake of the kids. We weren't gonna air our dirty laundry in front of the whole family."
Valerie nodded, and looked her brother in the eyes. "Don't keep things like this from your family, Elliot. I mean, you know we'd like Olivia more than we liked Kathy! We just didn't know the…how you two happened. We were all very concerned for your…"
"Soul?" Elliot questioned. "I know. Charlie's a priest," he said, nodding. "He probably thought this was some kind of affair, huh?"
Elliot smirked. He didn't plan on confessing all of his sins. Especially not to his brother. "Goodnight, Val," he said, still smirking, as he led Olivia and Dickie into the house.
Valerie sighed, watching them go, as she slowly walked away from the building. She could, at least, ease her family's concern. They all knew, deep down, that Olivia was best for Elliot and the kids. She also knew, deep down, that something had started before things with Kathy had ended. Charlie didn't need to know that, though.
Olivia walked into the bullpen, surprised she could walk at all after the way Elliot had ravaged her the night before, his way of celebrating their engagement, and headed straight for the coffee pot. She had just picked it up when she head a clearing throat behind her.
"That shit'll kill you," the voice said.
She turned, and stood face-to-face with Ed Tucker, king of the Rat Squad. IAB's leader stared at her and reached for her hand, looking down at the ring. "Nice," he said. His free hand held out a cup of coffee to her.
"Thanks," Olivia said, confused, referring both to the compliment and the beverage. "What the hell are you doing here?"
Tucker grinned smugly. "Your partner-slash-fiancée is in the captain's office. We were all having a nice chat. Didn't you wonder why he left early? Without you?"
"Not really," Olivia said, sipping the surprisingly good coffee, "No."
"You thought I was on your ass before," Tucker said, glaring at her, "Well now I'm your worst case of Hemorrhoids, Benson. You two just got into a big pile of shit, and your damn lucky your captain knew how to dig you out."
Olivia furrowed her brow. "What are you talking about, Tucker?"
"We were fine with the dating, but this," Tucker spat, holding up her bejeweled hand, "If this goes wrong, or gets in the way, Benson, if this causes any problems, one of you is out. And we both know who it's gonna be."
Olivia set her coffe down and looked at Tucker, endearingly. "It won't…"
"I know," Tucker said, his smugness fading, replaced by, was it warmth? "I know that, Olivia. I've always known that. It's my job to warn you, though. I have to do my job, do you understand that? I can't get personal, I never could. That's the difference between me and Stabler, Benson."
"I'm not quite following you, Tucker," Olivia said, sighing. "Elliot's always done his job, and you…"
"Olivia," Tucker said, using her first name, for the first time, her hand still held in his, "He had the balls to get personal. I never did. He had the guts to throw the damn rule book out the fucking window and go after what he want…what he needed, despite the fact that it could cost him his family, and his job. I could never be that guy, Olivia."
"Is that why you hate him?" Olivia asked, furrowing her brow. "Because he has a selfish streak?"
Tucker chuckled, and it was then that Olivia felt him stoking the side of her hand with his thumb, and she gasped, realizing what he was saying to her. "No, Olivia. I hate him, because what he wanted, what he needed, what he had the balls to go after, and get, was the same fucking thing that I could never bring myself to even consider asking for." He looked into her eyes, a sad happiness glinting in his. "I know you love him, Benson. I know you're happy with him. If he fucks this up, if he hurts you, if he screws with you and damages you in any way, not only is he out on his ass, but I'll fucking kill him," he said, clenching his jaw and clearing his throat.
"I won't," Elliot said, standing behind him with a confused tone in his voice. "I would never…"
"Like I said," Tucker interrupted, turning around with a sigh, "I know that. I'm just…doing my job." He shook Elliot's hand, a silent succession to the winner of a fight that was never really fought, and he walked out of the squadroom.
"What the hell was that all about?" Elliot asked, looking at the dumbfounded, slightly amused, expression on Olivia's face.
Olivia picked up her coffee, pausing to look at it before it reached her lips. "Uh, I think Tucker just told me he was in love with me." She sipped, now knowing that the years of hatred and tension were caused by his jealousy and unrequited love. "He hates you because I love you."
Elliot folded his arms and smirked. "And here I thought he hated me because I'm bigger, stronger, smarter, better looking…"
"And clearly more humble," Olivia chuckled.
"Oh, clearly," Elliot said, screwing up his face and nodding. "So, it seems, everyone knows about us now. Cragen thought he needed to do damage control," he said, moving closer to Olivia. "Not that I'm about to start throwing you up against the precinct wall just because we don't have to sneak around, but a kiss now and then would…"
"No," Olivia chuckled, shaking her head. "At work, El, this is just a partnership. You heard Tucker. He has no problem nailing our asses to the wall if we can't…"
"You have the will power of a Goddess, don't you?" Elliot asked, cutting her off.
"Are you kidding?" Olivia joked. "This is gonna be ridiculously difficult. But, El, just think about what it's gonna be like when we get home." She winked at him, sipped her coffee, and headed to her desk.
Elliot sighed, smiled, and followed her to their corner of the squadroom. They waited patiently for their day to begin, knowing that as long as they had each other, they had all they would ever need.
A/N: Fini! Fini? Perhaps. Reviews will let me know if it's not…