A/N: The last chapter. An epilogue of sorts. How is this story gonna end?
DISCLAIMER: Dick Wolf, genius, owns SVU and its characters. TStabler©, fan of genius, owns this story, the narrative, the dialogue, and everything but the characters.
Olivia, exhausted and weaker than she'd ever been in her life, felt someone brushing her hair back, kissing her forehead and eyelids. She fluttered her eyes open, and when Elliot came into view, she smiled. "Hey," she whispered.
"Hey," Elliot whispered back with a warm, loving, smile.
"Where is he?" Olivia asked, her throat dry. "God, he's loud!" she laughed.
Elliot held a glass of water to her, and she sipped through a straw as he said, "They're cleaning him up. He's so beautiful, baby." He sniffed, looking into her eyes.
The nurse came over with a little bundle in a blue blanket, and said, "Here is your son, Mister and Misses Stabler." She placed the boy gently into Olivia's tired arms, and her eyes welled with tears just like Elliot's had done. "Congratulations," the nurse said, smiling down at them.
Elliot had one arms wrapped around Olivia and the other digging through the blue blanket. "Look at him," he whispered, silent happy tears running down his face. He and Olivia both examined every inch of the tiny boy, and laughed when he squirmed and swatted at their hands. "Ten little fingers, and ten little toes," Elliot said, kissing Olivia. "He's perfect."
Olivia gasped when he opened his little eyes, squinting at the bright lights. His little lips quivered and the wailing sound of a newborn baby filled the room once more. "Oh, my sweet boy," Olivia said, brushing a finger over his head and down his tiny cheek. "You had a rough day. It's okay to cry," she whispered, crying herself. She sniffled and chuckled at the same time, and said, "El, he has your eyes."
"He's a Stabler," Elliot said proudly. "Ya know, that means blue eyes have to run in your family. Maybe your father had blue eyes," he said. He kissed her again, then traced the outline of his still-crying son's face. "We made one beautiful boy, baby," he said, a whisper, pulling both of them closer.
"Oh, we certainly did." Olivia moved slightly in her bed, then shifted the position of the baby. Now more comfortable, safely wrapped in his parents' arms, he quieted. His little eyes blinked and his tiny mouth formed a surprised "o" as he let out a tiny yawn. "Hi, Eli," Olivia whispered. "I'm your mommy."
"Elliot James Stabler," Elliot said, beaming down at his new son. "Our little Rookie." He rested his head against Olivia's, and the pair watched in amazement as their son fell asleep in their intertwined arms.
They held him for a few more minutes, enjoying just watching him, loving that he was really here, then they reluctantly gave him back to the nurse so he could be thoroughly checked out and fed. "How are you feeling, Mommy?" Elliot whispered to his wife.
Olivia looked up at him, with tired but happy eyes, and said, "Just fine, Daddy," she whispered back. "I am the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. And also the most exhausted. Being up for seventy-two hours on a case? Easy, compared to this," she said as she softly chuckled.
"Well, honey, you just gave birth," Elliot laughed. "Every muscle in your body just worked for ten straight hours, and was pushed to its absolute limit." He kissed her, slowly, lovingly. He pulled away and nuzzled her nose. "Rest," he whispered. "I'll be right back."
"Where are you going?" Olivia asked, her eyes already closed.
"To tell everyone he's here, and he's perfect," Elliot said. He brushed her still damp hair back and kissed her forehead, then walked out of her room. He couldn't wipe the wide smile off of his face as he walked down the fluorescent light littered corridor, a clear swagger in his step as he walked. The minute he stepped into the waiting room he was met with his four older children, his very pregnant ex-wife and her new husband, his captain, his colleagues, and his brothers and sister. He looked at all of them and felt new tears forming. He choked them back and nodded. "Boy," was the only word he could say.
Cheers, almost as loud as thunder, erupted from the room. "What's his name?" Kathy asked, rubbing her own baby bump.
"Elliot," Elliot answered with a scoff and a shrug. "Can you believe it? Elliot James Stabler," he said with a sniffle. He rubbed a hand down his face, trying to keep from crying too hard.
"How much does he weigh?" Alex asked, her arms tightly wrapped around Trevor.
Elliot smirked. "Nine pounds, four ounces," he said. "He's a big boy. A big, beautiful, healthy baby boy," he told them, his chuckles finally turning into happy sobs. "He's so beautiful," he cried, falling into his mother's open arms.
Everyone, it seemed at once, huddled around him to hug him, to share in his joy. "How's Mom?" Kathleen asked, knowing her actual mother, standing behind her, was cringing.
"Liv's perfect," Elliot sniffled. "She's half asleep. God love her, she was in there, and the whole time she was just as tough as she is at work. She didn't stop till she got the job done," he laughed.
"She wouldn't be Benson if she didn't," Munch said, slapping Elliot's shoulder.
"Munch," Elliot said, rolling his eyes, "It's Stabler."
Munch raised an eyebrow, peering over his glasses. "I know who you are," he said.
The large group shared a laugh, then Fin, his hand linked with Melinda's, said, "Hey, Munch, man, you owe me a hundred bucks."
"What?" Munch asked, turning around. "Why?"
Fin smirked. "Back in Vegas," he said, "I bet you a hundred bucks that the case would end with Benson making Stabler cry. Technically, this all happened as a result of the op, right? He's crying and it's her fault."
More laughs, and a few annoyed groans, were shared. "Hey," Elliot said. "How much have you all won by betting on me and Liv?" he asked, gesturing between Fin and Munch.
"Well," Fin said, "I won eighty because I had the date right in the birthday pool. Thanks for scaring her into labor a week early, man," he laughed.
Elliot rolled his eyes. "He's actually a week late, thanks for paying attention."
Munch raised a hand. "I am proud to say I won almost three hundred off the two of you. I won the bet about you getting together in the first place, and that you'd get married fast."
Cragen, off to the side and grinning madly, said, "And I won five hundred. I told everyone that it would be a boy, what you'd name him, and I, uh, joined in the bet that you'd come back from Vegas married."
Elliot narrowed his eyes. "Cap," he said, "I'm not even gonna comment on that."
The group chuckled, and then Dickie, the proud big brother who was thankful that he was no longer the only boy, said, "Can we see Mom and the baby?"
His question was followed by a few dozen, "Yeah, can we?"s and "When can we see them?"s.
Elliot held up his hands and laughed. "Guys! Guys, hold on, calm down," he said. "I can only take immediate family in the room, so that's you guys," he said, pointing to his smiling kids. "My mom, and you." He pointed to Cragen. "You're her uncle, and the closest thing to a father she has." He caught his captain's eyes, then glanced idly at his mother before saying, "That we both have." He and Cragen shared a look and a moment, then the kids, his mother, and Cragen followed him into the hallway toward Olivia's room.
Watching them go, Munch turned to the rest of the group and said, "Ya know, only Benson and Stabler could pull this off."
"Pull what off?" Melinda asked, twirling the diamond ring Fin had given her the night before around her finger. She would wait to share her news, though, as she didn't want to steal Olivia, Elliot, and Eli's thunder.
Munch sat in one of the seats, then sat with his elbows on his knees, readying to explain one of his theories. "They fought off their feelings for years, choosing to be with people who they didn't really love the way they loved each other. No offense Kathy," he said, glancing toward the pregnant blonde.
"None taken," Kathy said, smirking.
"Then, one night, in the middle of a rehearsed and planned argument during an undercover gig, Stabler says the one thing he knew would set Benson off," Munch explained. "That led to Olivia storming off to the bar, and Elliot following her, of course," he said. "Elliot took the time to explain his feelings about his failed marriage and about Olivia, but kept buying drinks, getting thoroughly plastered before making a real move."
Fin narrowed his eyes. "You got a point, you scrawny ass, mother..."
"I do," Munch said, interrupting the insult. "So they get shitfaced, yet both are able to walk down the strip and navigate a city to which they've never been. They found their way into a casino, a jewelry store, and a chapel, where they signed a license and a marriage certificate in perfectly even handwriting." He paused for a moment. "I don't know about you all, but if I have two strong drinks, I can't read shit, let alone sign anything legibly. They were knocking 'em back hard, and did it."
Trevor scoffed. "You are not telling us what I think you're telling us," he said with an eye-roll.
Munch smirked and held up a finger. "They woke up the next morning, saw the rings on their fingers, and panicked of course, but only for a moment. They've told us about that conversation, and it seems a bit fishy that they both decided to stay together without having a real, long discussion about it. Olivia Benson, who runs away before a third date, agrees to stay married? Red flag, anyone? So they come home married, and the first thing they do, instead of telling us, is move in together and buy new furniture. First thing I would do if I woke up married in Vegas is find a lawyer and arrange for a post-nuptial agreement."
Alex narrowed her eyes. "Munch, are you now, or have you ever been, on acid?"
Munch rolled his eyes. "Can I finish, please?" he asked, annoyed. "So they keep it a secret, but the whole time, they're planning a real wedding and making a happy home for Stabler's kids, together. Barely a year later, they're here, with a new baby boy, who we all know was a planned baby. He wasn't a surprise, or an accident. Hell, we put the damn nursery together ourselves because the kids 'had a feeling' Olivia would come home knocked up." He sat back in his seat, looked around, and sighed. "Wake up, people!" he shouted. "We've been played like acoustic guitars!"
Melinda thought about it for a moment. "Olivia was eating an awful lot of chicken and spinach when she came back from Vegas. Standard pre-natal diet," she informed her friends.
"No," Alex said. "I refuse to believe that this was all planned. I'm not going to sit here and entertain Munch's stupid conspiracy theory. Why would they have pretended to get drunk and..."
"Because they knew Cragen was watching them," Munch said. "They eloped, guys. They were afraid to admit to us that they gave in. And were afraid to admit to each other that it was the right time, so they both..."
"Munch," Elliot said, leaning up against the wall in his scrubs with his arms folded. "That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard you say, and I've listened to your radioactive pineapple theory." He chuckled and said, "Liv and I did not plan any of this. Were we trying to have a baby? Yes. But Eli came along a lot sooner than we thought he would. He was a complete surprise. If you paid closer attention, which as a detective you should, you would have noticed that Olivia and I have both ordered the same lunch from the same place every Thursday. Chicken florentine, and I was certainly not trying to get pregnant. Besides, the only meat she'll eat, anywhere, is chicken. Unless I cook it, because she doesn't trust meat or fish in the city." He took a step forward and smirked at the conspiracy theorist. "And why, for the love of all that is good and Holy, would I not only get plastered on purpose in front of my boss, while on duty, but willingly sexually assault my partner in front of him? That's like asking to get fired, which I'm fucking surprised as shit we didn't."
Munch looked up at Elliot, sighed in defeat, and said, "Yeah. What was I thinking?"
"You were just being you, Munch," Elliot said. He slapped his friend on the shoulder, then turned. He walked back toward his wife's room, toward his newborn son, with a wicked smirk on his face. He knew that he had planned it all, but it went so much better than he could have imagined. Olivia wasn't in on it, but she hadn't fought him on any of it. The rest of the world didn't need to be let in on that secret. He pushed the door to her room open, then walked over to her, sat on the bed beside her, and kissed her as he let one hand linger on his new son's tiny tummy. They shared a long look as he pulled away from Olivia. The bright, shining love in her eyes, the gleam he saw every moment of every day since he woke up with her in Vegas, was brighter than it had ever been.
"This feels like a dream," Olivia whispered to him as her family looked on. "A wonderful, beautiful dream."
Elliot kissed her again and said, "Olivia Stabler, you and I are both wide awake." He rested her head against hers again and looked down at their sleeping baby. "This is what we got for waking up in Vegas," he said to her.
"A happy ending," Olivia said back to him.
Elliot chuckled. "Oh, no, baby," he said with a smile. "This is only the beginning."
A/N: Well, if that's what you get for waking up in Vegas, then who wants to be on the next flight out with me? =D Hope you've all enjoyed the story, and I'm sad to see it end but I have new ideas laying dormant in my head and it's time to let them "wake up." Final reviews are welcome. Here or on Twitter: TMG212