A/N: "Only someone who has, once, truly been lonely will know when they're completely fulfilled."
DISCLAIMER: SVU and characters? Dick Wolf. This story? TStabler©
The phone call with her doctor hadn't been what she expected. It hadn't been anything like what she expected. She thought she would somehow feel lighter after speaking to him, but when she hung up, her entire body went numb. It was as if a dark cloud had moved over hear head, enveloping her in a thick bubble of fear and anxiety.
She lurched forward, heaving a bit, then bolted toward the bathroom, dropping her phone to the ground.
Elliot stood, stunned and worried, as he watched the case fly off and the battery sail across the squad room floor. He raised an eyebrow at Munch, who rose to his feet to put Olivia's phone back together, and then he went after Olivia.
He pounded on the door, concern dripping from every pore of his body. "Liv? Come on, open the door."
Olivia reached up, from her position on the ground, and flushed the toilet. She shook her head, wondering how this was all happening, how it was nothing like what she'd imagined. "It's...it's not locked," she said, her eyes closing.
Elliot turned the knob and barreled into the small room, looked around, then gasped a bit when he spotted her on the floor. "What happened?" he asked, worried. He scooped her into his arms, rocking her. "What did he say?"
She shook her head, burying herself in his chest. She couldn't tell him. Not like this. Not on the floor of the department bathroom.
"Something has you all worked up," he told her, kissing her forehead. "Tell me what he said. Are you all right? Is something wrong with..."
"Everything's wrong," she said without thinking. "I...I'm..."
He stopped her, pressing a finger to her lips. He looked at her and his eyes gleamed, he smiled softly and said, "I know."
She shook her head, pressing her lips together, shaking his finger away. "No, El, you don't." She pulled away from him and got to her feet, trying to calm down.
He sighed and got up, walking toward her. He wrapped her in his arms, letting his hands fall to her hips. He moaned quietly as his palms spread and centered themselves over her flat stomach. "Yes," he said, looking at her reflection in the mirror before them. "I do."
She met his hazy expression, she furrowed her brow, and she asked, "How could you possibly..."
"I know you," he whispered, holding the eyes of her image strongly. "I know your routines, I know your body. I knew before you even called...well, I had a feeling, and when Kathleen called you 'Mom' I knew it was her way of telling you what the doctor wanted." He smiled, a big, bright, beautiful smile. "You're pregnant. Aren't you?"
She slid her arms down, rested her hands on top of his, and nodded. Her tears fell, her lip quivered, her breathing quickened.
"Why are you upset?" he asked, his heart breaking. "Liv, baby, this is what you wanted, right? What we both..." he tilted his head. "You think I don't want this?"
She took a breath and though her voice cracked and wavered, she said, "We talked about it, but I know you wanted the wedding first, the..."
"Honey," he interrupted. "It's a piece of paper. It's a big party and piece of paper, one we could have any time, but this...this is a baby. Our baby. If this would have happened right after we slept together for the first time, I would have welcomed it." He kissed the back of her head, and he turned her around to face him. "I love you, so much, and this baby...that only proves it. Doesn't it?"
She gave a cry-choked laugh as she nodded, and she sniffled. "With everything going on, Kathleen coming home, Kathy taking off, us taking care of Char...Charlotte...I didn't think you'd want..."
"With you," he said, cutting her off, "I will take whatever we are given, whenever it happens." He kissed her lips and looked into her eyes. "You're happy about this, right? You want this?"
"Oh, God, El," she breathed, letting herself smile. "More than anything. I'm happy. Happier than..."
He kissed her, silencing her. He pulled away slowly, exhaling as he did, and he whispered, "The wedding can wait. You're not going anywhere, neither am I, and we've got a baby to get ready for." He laughed and said, "And I want you to be able to drink. Champagne at the reception, wine on our honeymoon, we can wait, baby. Our family is more important."
She had to remind herself to breath as she heard those words. He had, once again, shown her that he was nothing like Dean. He had said the one thing she had longed to hear, and it hit her right in the heart. "Our family," she whispered, smiling at him.
He nodded. "You, me, this baby, and our kids at home. Our family."
"El," she said, blinking at him, her tears now dry.
He nuzzled her nose, moaning softly again. "Yeah, baby?" he asked, his voice taking on a new quality.
"We can still name her Charlie, ya know," she offered, biting her lip. "If it's a girl. If it's what you really want."
He stilled. He popped his head up, her offer hitting him hard. "You...you wouldn't mind that..."
"It's an adorable name, El," she said, shrugging. "It's what you want, and there a thousand other people with that name in the world, so it's not like we're protecting the sanctity of Fin's daughter's..."
"You're amazing," he said, tears springing to his eyes once again. "Every day, you show me just how amazing you are, over and over again." He kissed her, wrapping her tightly in his arms, and he whispered, "I love you, Liv. Nothing is ever going to change that."
She closed her eyes, letting the fear roll away, and she whispered, "Ditto." She hoped he would remember, she hoped he would get it.
He squeezed her tighter and chuckled. "God, Benson," he said, nodding into her neck. He was brought back to the early days of their partnership, when they tried like hell to keep a respectable distance from each other. When things got emotional after a hard case, when they came close to losing each other, one would be the brave partner and vocalize what they felt. The other, afraid of repercussions, would simply say, "Ditto."
She chuckled, and she sighed. "I love you, El," she whispered, her hands twisting into his hair.
He kissed her again, deep and slow, then pulled away and grabbed her hands. "We should...we can't spend the whole day in the bathroom." He shrugged and chuckled.
She sighed and nodded, walking out with him, back into the bullpen, back to work, feeling lighter and happier than she could ever remember.
The months passed, things both calmed down and grew more hectic. Elliot had spent every free moment trying to put together baby furniture, but the hammer wound up making more holes in the walls because of his temper than anything else. He gave up and took Olivia out to buy pieces that were already put together, which saved a lot of time, and a lot of spackle.
He and Dickie painted the spare bedroom a light shade of pink as soon as they found out they were having a girl. Fin, having patched things up with Kathy and, surprisingly, Elliot, came over to help move the furniture into the room.
Olivia read every book about childbirth and parenting she could get her hands on, and was in the middle of a chapter about epidurals and other numbing agents when her first real contraction hit.
Elliot, who was sitting right beside her when it happened, shot up and executed his perfectly planned and timed maneuver, getting her up and to the car, grabbing a few bags on the way, and getting her to the hospital in under five minutes.
They came home without a baby, the first three times. False alarms. But on the fourth, and final, trip down to Mercy General, Olivia pushed and breathed her way through ten hours and fifteen minutes of pure hell, with Elliot holding her hand and supporting her for every second of it, bringing Charlotte Olivia Stabler into the world.
Olivia had protested for months, arguing over the middle name, but Elliot stood his ground. He had named her before he even knew about her, before he even thought about having a child with his partner. It was the name he'd chosen for his next child, seven years ago, and he was blessed to be able to give it to the daughter he now had with Olivia.
Looking at her now, as they laid together in the hospital bed, it was clear that it was the name she was meant to have. "Charlie," Elliot whispered, grazing her cheek lightly with the back of his finger. "My Charlie." He bent down and kissed her forehead. "You're gonna be just like Mommy," he told the sleeping baby.
Olivia laughed and asked, "You really want her to be like me?"
"Liv, I have dreamed about having a little girl, so I could raise her to be like you, since the moment I met you." He kissed her lips and nuzzled her nose, and he said, "The beauty of this is now you get to help me do it. Show her how to be like you, be her example, her role model." He kissed her again and said, "Her mother."
She dropped her head to his shoulder, exhausted, and looked around the room. The older kids were scattered around the floor and furniture, sound asleep. The baby in her arms was sleeping peacefully, warn out from her long and trying journey. She yawned, realizing that she was pretty tired, too, and these people had the right idea.
She nudged Elliot, handing him the baby. "Maybe we should get some sleep," she said with another yawn.
"I got her," he whispered, getting off of the bed to lay the baby in the plastic baby-bed on wheels beside him. He smiled down at her and kissed her softly again, then made his way back over to Olivia. He got into the bed with her, wrapped her in his arms, and said, "We did good, baby."
"Yeah," she said, yawning one more time. "She's perfect."
"Our whole family is perfect," he said, his eyes closing as his lips found hers.
As she kissed him, she sighed, content. She let her eyes close, and her last thought before falling into a much-needed sleep was that she had finally accepted it. She had finally realized that she was home, and she was bound to a real family, stable and solid, for the rest of her life.
She knew there were a lot of lonely people in the world, and every day there were at least two more, but she would never again be one of them.
A/N: I would like to wish everyone reading this, whether you are a mother, father, or child, a very happy Mother's Day. Share your love with the people around you today, and thank them for keeping you from being lonely. Thank you for reading, and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Review here, or on Twitter: TMG212