A/N: So it was Cragen! What did he do for them? They reach New York…and the end of the trip. It's been a great journey.
DISCLAIMER: SVU and characters belong to Dick Wolf. Story belongs to TStabler© Read it? Love it? Review it!
Elliot looked over at Olivia, sleeping soundly in the passenger seat. She'd been discharged from the hospital after two days, after a psychologist examined her. Her memory had straightened itself out after being really awake for a few hours. He smiled as she rolled her head. "Almost there, baby," he whispered.
"Hmmm?" Olivia moaned, her eyes opening slowly. "Where are we?" she asked, looking around at the road.
"Driving through Stroudsburg," Elliot said. "Still on Route 80, heading toward our new life in New York."
Olivia smiled at him. "It's really over, isn't it?" she asked, sitting up straighter. "The nightmare we're leaving behind, it's over."
"Yeah," Elliot said with a smile and a nod. "It is. My father's gonna leave us alone, your mother...she won't be bothering us anymore. We've got nothing to worry about now."
Olivia put her sunglasses on, running a hand lightly over her stomach. "Well, nothing life-threatening anyway," she said with a scoff.
"What do you mean?" Elliot asked, trying to keep his eyes on the road.
Olivia sighed. "School, getting jobs, being out there all by ourselves, finding a place off campus so we can be together," she listed.
Elliot chuckled. "Liv, I didn't tell you, uh, that guy? My father's friend? He got us a place. High security apartment, right in Manhattan. Down the street from a police station."
"We're not gonna be able to afford a place in Midtown," Olivia said, her eyes narrowing.
"We don't have to," Elliot said. "Apparently it's a co-op, and it's been paid for."
Olivia raised an eyebrow. "Your college fund," she said.
"Probably," Elliot laughed. "I knew he'd find a way to give it to me. School, that's nothing to worry about. It's college, it's gonna be great. We are gonna be great, baby."
Olivia looked at him, smirking. "What about work? Do you know how hard it is to find..."
"Two openings in the same place," Elliot said with a wicked grin. "Liv, how would feel about working in a police station?"
"Doing what?" Olivia gasped.
"Small stuff, ya know," Elliot said with a shrug. "Paperwork, filing, getting coffee. This guy, his name's Don, he's a cop. He offered...because he knows we're both going to school for this, so..."
"Wow," Olivia said, interrupting. "So, we really have nothing to worry about?"
Elliot shook his head. "Just each other," he said, reaching over to turn on the radio. "How are you feeling, by the way?"
"Good," Olivia said. "At least the first time I get shot in the line of duty, the pain won't come as a shock," she said with a laugh.
"Don't even joke," Elliot said, raising his eyebrows.
"Sorry," Olivia said, softer. "Just trying to keep a sense of humor about this, ya know? I feel okay. It's kind of like a cramp, not so much real pain." She reached over to raise the volume. "I love this song," she said.
Elliot chuckled. "You would," he said. "I bet you know all of the..."
"I think that I'm in love with you," Olivia sang, dancing like a goon, making Elliot laugh. "I've been doin' silly things when it comes to you. Oh, I think that I'm in love with you, ya got me tellin' all my friends what I feel for you." She noticed him chuckling and said, "I told you, I like this song."
Elliot laughed and said, "You know the track is from..."
"Jack and Diane," Olivia said, leaning closer. "John Mellencamp," she said. "I know. See, I'm just as good at this as you are."
Elliot shook his head, grinning. "You are, huh?" he teased. He pulled the car over to the side of the road.
"What are you doing?" Olivia asked, furrowing her brow.
"There's no rush now, baby," Elliot said, hitting the button to lift up the top of the car. "We don't have to speed, there's no one after us now." He took her hand and pulled gently, leaning over to meet her in a searing kiss. He was careful as he pulled her onto him, wrapping her gently around him, not breaking their kiss. The lyrics to the song playing in the background made his heart swell because he really was in love.
Olivia softly groaned in slight pain and pulled away from him. "We can't..."
"I know," Elliot said. He looked into her eyes, brushed the hair out of her face, and said, "I just want to hold you here for a little while. Kiss you. Relax a little, now that we can."
Olivia bent over, smiling, to kiss him again.
Elliot sat up straighter to make her more comfortable, and they kissed, holding each other close, in the front seat of the car that saved their lives. New York had waited this long, it could wait a little longer.
They turned off the final exit, excited and a bit nervous. Elliot flicked the blinker, taking the turn off for the bridge, and they could see the skyline of New York City coming into view. "There it is," Elliot whispered.
"I can't believe we made it," Olivia chuckled. "I thought this wouldn't really happen."
"It almost didn't," Elliot said, seriously. "But it did. It is. Look."
Olivia looked out of the window, watching the skyscrapers and bright lights moving closer as they crossed the bridge, and when they passed the sign, officially welcoming them to New York, she let out a relieved sigh and took a breath. A deep one. For the first time in a long time.
Elliot reached into his pocket and pulled out a slip of paper, looked at the address, then tried to navigate his way through the city. "This place is ridiculous," he said. "It's so easy to lose your focus, get lost."
Olivia laughed. "Especially since neither of us has ever been here before." She looked out her window and asked, "What street are we looking for?"
"Fifty-Third," Elliot said.
"Well, the streets are going up, so...there it is!" Olivia said excitedly. "It's a one-way, you have to go around this block here to get..."
Elliot laughed, interrupting. "I know, baby," he said. "I'm thrilled to finally be here, too, but calm down and let me drive."
They finally made it down the street, pulled into a space in front of the building the man named Don had told Elliot about, and they looked at the apartment complex with wide eyes.
"This is it?" Olivia asked, looking at him.
"This is it," Elliot said, nodding. He got out of the car, watching the top slide up, and he popped the trunk. Once he grabbed everything out of it, he turned to Olivia. "Look around," he said. "This place is nothing like home."
Olivia scoffed, grabbing a bag out of Elliot's hands. "Avery wasn't home," she said. "You aren't supposed to want to leave your home," she said with bitterness in her voice. She looked up at him as they walked into the lobby of the building, nodding at the doorman, and said, "You, though. Wherever you are, that's home."
Elliot dropped the things in his arms as they reached the front desk, then turned to her. "Ditto, Benson," he whispered, kissing her. He turned when he heard a throat clear, gave a sheepish grin to the man at the desk, then gave him his name. He was handed back an envelope, and told to head up to apartment Four-B.
Elliot pushed open the door, stepped in, dropped the bags he was carrying, and flicked on the light. "Holy shit," he said, looking around. "This is..."
"Incredible," Olivia said. She stepped into the living room of the apartment and looked around, her eyes wide. "We live here?"
"This is the place," Elliot said, dangling the keys. "Pretty swanky for a couple of college kids, huh?"
"I'll say," Olivia said with a nod. "We have to stop at the registrar's office, by the way. Classes start on Monday."
"Yeah," Elliot said, finding his way into the bedroom. "Liv," he called. "Come in here a minute," he said.
Olivia walked in, stood next to Elliot and she gasped. "We have to be in the wrong apartment," she whispered.
"This was the address Don gave me, and the guy at the desk said he expected us," Elliot told her. "I think we need to thank him," he whispered.
"We will," Olivia said. She turned to leave the bedroom, but was stopped by Elliot's voice.
"Liv," Elliot said, grabbing her hand, "We're here. Really here. Come here." He pulled her toward the large picture window, held her close, and said, "Welcome home."
Olivia looked out at their view of the city, at the sparkling lights and the busy streets. It was so vastly different from Avery, California, and part of her was anxious, wondering if this was really the right decision to make. She turned, looked at Elliot, and knew that it was. "Home," she whispered.
Elliot gazed into her eyes for a moment, remembering all they'd been through, all that led them up to this moment, to this place. "Yeah, baby," he whispered, his lips brushing over hers, "Home." He kissed her deeply, in front of their bedroom window, and felt the weight of the world that he'd carried across the country left off of his shoulders.
Olivia breathed into the kiss, melting into Elliot, feeling, for the first time in her life, that she truly was home. Home is a place no one should ever want to leave, and that held true for her. For in Elliot's arms, far away from the life she left behind, was where she wanted to stay.
A/N: Thanks for riding across the country with me! There will be more journeys for these two characters coming soon. Thanks for reading, and your reviews! ~TStabler