DISCLAIMER: I own nothing!
A/N: ...Wow. I haven't been on here in forever. Sorry guys! But I watched Annihilated and the look in Elliot's eyes when he was talking to Malcom Royce about "another woman"... So I had to write something. Tell me what you think! Enjoy!
"Then you meet another woman who makes you feel so alive. She doesn't nag you, it's just easy..." He gazed off into the distance for a moment, his mind wandering off into his own life. He'd been talking about his home life, with his wife and family, to a perp he was trying to crack: Malcom Royce. So, of course he kept talking about his life. And he did meet another woman. A beautiful, wonderful, amazing woman. A woman he'd fallen in love with long ago. She was his best friend... and partner. Elliot Stabler thought that Olivia Benson was the single most amazing woman he'd ever met. And not just woman, but human being. It wasn't long after they were partnered together that he'd fallen in love with her. And every day, he fell deeper and deeper.
He had never said anything. Not to her, or to any of his friends, or to anyone. But he didn't need to. The look in his eyes whenever he looked at her was enough. When she looked back at him, he knew she could see it. And he saw that she loved him back. He was sure that it was obvious to everyone else around them, too. Except maybe Kathy, his wife. He couldn't have been more wrong...
It didn't matter, though. They were partners and it was impossible for them to ever be together, even if he weren't married. So they had to suffice with glances, smiles, and secret "accidental" hand brushes. For years, and probably forever. But they were willing to get by on just that because they knew they could never be together, and they both knew they wanted the other in their life no matter what. They couldn't live without each other.
As soon as Royce had cracked, Elliot stormed out of the room and down the hall, never stopping to answer anyone's questions. Olivia was just getting off the elevator. "Hey, El," she said with a smile. He didn't stop to look at her because he knew he would have done something he regretted. "You okay?" she said as he passed, confused at his behavior.
He was too furious and upset to talk to anyone right now. Especially somebody he was trying to convince himself he couldn't love. He had too much on his mind...
When Elliot was sitting alone in his car, he finally released the tension held in his body and leaned back, sighing heavily. He loved his family, and he missed them. And this case had especially brought that out. He'd even gone to see his kids in the middle of the night. With Kathy's permission, of course. And she'd convinced him to stay with her for the night... He'd given in. Because he missed her.
But he sat there in his thoughts for a while. And he finally realized something. Or maybe he always knew it, but never wanted to admit it. He had been in love with Kathy once, and he'd loved her for a long time. She was the mother of his children, whom he loved with everything he had... how could he not love her? And he loved her still, but it had been a very long time since he had been in love with her. But how could he be in love with his partner? His best friend? He wasn't allowed to love her, so he'd stayed with Kathy – the one woman he'd ever been with. And he still couldn't have Olivia – the one woman he wanted...
A knock on his window made him jump, pulling him abruptly out of his thoughts. He looked up to see who it was. The familiar face smiled down and him and waved coyly. He rolled down his window and Olivia leaned on the door. "Cragen told me what happened," she began slowly. She looked at him for a moment, searching his eyes. He averted his gaze quickly, still being unable to look at her. "You okay?" She touched his shoulder gently, trying to make a move to comfort him.
Elliot grabbed his chin quickly and rubbed it, feeling the stubble. He was only trying to keep himself from kissing her. He glanced up at her, seeing that sad look in those chocolate orbs he loved so much. He nodded. "I'm okay."
She rubbed his shoulder gently, nodding. She could tell he was lying, but she let him lie. "Okay..." She pulled her hand away from his shoulder and he immediately wanted her to put it back. He wanted to feel her hand in his hand, her body against his body, her skin against his skin. Even in just small portions like that, for that was how they had to suffer. "Let's go out for a drink tonight, okay? You could use a break."
Elliot nodded in compliance. Olivia nodded. "Good," she said. "Now you go catch some shut eye, you've been up all night." Elliot just nodded again. Olivia could tell he was being bothered by something. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, though. It was something more than just what this case had done to him, but she didn't know what. She simply smiled weakly at him again and went back upstairs to get some work done.
Elliot watched her go, longing her to say. He loved her, he'd loved her in silence for so many years and it was finally eating him up inside. He sighed heavily, finally starting his car.
Olivia had come and picked Elliot up later that evening from the small apartment he'd been staying in since he'd been separated from Kathy. She'd taken him out to their usual bar. It was busier tonight than it usually was, and the constant chatter and laughter filled the room, making it hard to hear yourself think. And after a few drinks, the noise was simply making Elliot and Olivia's heads hurt. They got another beer and went out to the parking lot for a little more quiet.
They sat on a bench next to the door, leaning against the wall. "Something's bothering you," Olivia finally said. She rolled her head over to look at him.
He shook his head. "Just that case... Made me think about my kids..."
"Stop lying." Elliot looked over at her, his brow drawing in out of anger. "There's something else. Something more. Something on top of that... What's bothering you, El?"
His harsh, angry brow softened again... How did she know? She was Olivia, that's how. She knew him too well to know there wasn't something else. But how could he tell her something like this? Especially when they knew they couldn't ever be together? How was he expected to tell her that?
"It's nothing," he sighed.
"You're the worst liar I know, Elliot Stabler." She grinned and punched him lightly, playfully. "Now come on... What's really going on?"
Elliot looked at her. She was so beautiful sitting there in the dark with yellow lamps lighting her from behind. That quirky little grin on her face. That smiling look in her eyes. Those eyes... Those eyes that had caught Elliot's attention years ago. The minute she looked at him. That confidence she held in them... She had the most beautiful eyes in the world.
He only realized that he'd said it the moment it fell out of his mouth. And by then, it was too late. "I love you, Olivia." Oh crap... What did I just do? His eyes widened when he realized what he'd just said. His mouth fell open to try to say something to correct himself, to take it back, to erase what had just happened... His throat was dry.
Olivia's playful little, half-drunk grin melted off her face. She sat up a little more erect. She sat there looking at him, completely stunned. She didn't know what to say... Had she heard him correctly? Was she hallucinating? Was she dreaming? "What did you say...?" she whispered.
He paused, looking at her. "I said I love you, Olivia Benson. I've loved you all along." What are you doing? You're suppose to fix this, not make it worse! He couldn't stop himself, though. There was something pushing him forward though. That feeling that had been eating at his gut for almost a decade. That's what was pushing him forward. That's what was making him tell her this.
Olivia dropped her gaze, shaking her head slightly. What was she suppose to say to that? How was she suppose to respond? She loved him, too. She loved him from the moment she laid her eyes on him so many years ago. She'd always loved him. She was aware that he knew, but to admit it to him? Out loud? She wasn't sure she could do that... "I don't know what to say, Elliot..."
He leaned forward, closer to her, and took her hand in both of his, grasping it firmly. "Just say... say it's okay," he whispered over the noise pouring out of the bar.
Her eyes shot up to his, looking at him with a furrowed brow and confused look. She shook her head slowly. "I can't," she wispered back. Then, without thinking, she gently lifted her hands to his face, cupping his jaw in a tender grasp. She searched his eyes throughly, looking at him with a pleadingly sorry look. She leaned in slowly. She nuzzled his nose, then suddenly pressed her lips against his and held them there. She pulled away slowly. "I love you, too," she whispered, her face still only inches away from his. "But I can't say it's okay... I can't yet," she whispered, pulling away more.
Elliot stayed frozen in that same position – his eyes lingering shut, his lips slightly parted, his back bent... She'd kissed him. She'd really just kissed him. Nothing in all the world felt any better than her lips against his. His heart skipped a beat and he still needed to catch his breath. She made the whole world melt away, and he didn't want to come back. Finally, he slowly opened his eyes.
Olivia had turned away from him and had the bottle of beer to her lips. He looked at the back of her head for a moment. "Okay," he whispered. And that was all he whispered.
A/N: D: I know. It's not exactly good... but I had to write something. My brain was itching. So that's that... Please R&R and tell me what you thought of it!