A/N: A new one. I dreamed about it. Hope you enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: SVU and related characters/ideas belong to Dick Wolf. Original plot and dialogue belong to TStabler©
"That's the fourth guy that's come in here, Cap," Fin said, rubbing his eyes. "If you don't keep kickin' em out, we're gonna be in trouble."
Cragen shook his head. "No one compares...no one measures up to her," he said with a shrug.
"You're never gonna find another Olivia Benson," Elliot said, speaking from experience. "As long as I don't have to work with the new hump you hire, I'm fine."
"Hey," Munch said. "You got me now, Stabler," he said, folding his arms.
Fin sighed. "Now I get stuck with the rookie," he said. "Stabler, you okay?" he asked, narrowing his eyes. "You haven't cried yet today, haven't yelled at anyone in about an hour, haven't..."
"I'm good," Elliot said, nodding. He took a deep breath and said, "We all have out own way of grieving. I got it out of my system this morning."
"Yeah," Fin said. "I'm sure McVaiden's arm wishes you weren't so pissed off. It snapped like a fuckin' twig."
Elliot shook his head. "Everyone who comes in, Fin, I...I think it's him, and..." he squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head. "I got the confession, didn't I?" he asked, his eyes still closed.
Munch hung his head and sighed at that moment. "It's not the same around here without her. She lit up the place, ya know?"
Elliot opened his eyes and smiled, a small, sad, smile. "Yeah, Munch," he said. "I know."
"Elliot," Cragen said, tilting his head, "You're having trouble, kid. You got divorced, then Olivia...well, we don't know what happened, but she's gone. You're the only one that hasn't been evaluated, and you need it the most. Go talk to Huang, I can..."
"I don't need therapy, Cap," Elliot interrupted, snapping. "I told you, I'm fine. I'm handling this, and I'm fine!" He took another deep breath and said, "Once we catch the son of a bitch, I'll be even better."
"We all will," Fin said. "It's messed up, man," he said. "No body, no evidence of her at all...no closure...I can't...I don't know about you guys but I fuckin' need answers, and I'm not restin' until I get 'em."
Elliot furrowed his brow. "You think I am?" he asked, angry now. "Shit, Fin, I haven't slept since it happened, I keep looking for her in stupid places, and...forget it," he hissed, not trying to explain, afraid something would slip. He looked down at his watch and said, "I, uh...I gotta cut outta here. Nine-thirty, my kids are expecting..."
"Go," Cragen said. "It's better you're not here for the next one, anyway. She's a tall brunette," he told the squad with a wary look on his face.
"Right," Elliot said, rising. "I'll see you guys," he said, grabbing his jacket.
"Oh, hey, Elliot!" Cragen called, stopping him. "You have to be in Tucker's office tomorrow morning. He's writing you up for that accident in the interrogation room this morning, unless you go see Huang."
Elliot rolled his eyes and grunted, grabbing his keys. He walked out of the squad room, down the stairs, out of the building and toward his new place. It was within walking distance, and he enjoyed the trip. It gave him time to himself, time to think, and time to look at the people around him. Anyone who might be following him, especially.
He turned the corner, seeing his new townhouse in the distance. When he bought it, he was asked too many questions about why he needed such a big place, since now it was just him. His excuse was the kids, he got them two weekends a month, but the real reason was a secret, and needed to remain one.
He walked up the stairs, looking over his shoulder and in both directions. He slowly turned the key and stepped inside, then closed the door behind him, locking it. There were six locks on the door, so it took him a while, but then he turned and looked toward the window. "Hey," he said, hanging his jacket on the hook on the door.
"What was it like?" the woman asked, not turning to look at him. "Being out there? Working?"
Elliot shrugged as he walked over to her. "Depressing, to be honest. Everyone's a mess, Cragen can't hire a new partner for Fin, because he feels like he's betraying...you." He sighed and wrapped her in his arms. "And Munch pissed me off about seven times today," he said. "I broke a guy's arm, because Munch can't talk me down. I just...I can't work right, I can't think straight with anyone else."
She leaned back into his embrace and said, "At least you got to go outside today. You got fresh air, you got to see people..."
"Hey," he said, turning her around. "You're gonna get your life back, just..."
"How do you know that?" she asked, her eyes gray, not white. "Fuck, Elliot, I've been locked in here for six weeks, and no one is any closer to finding this asshole."
He smirked and looked down at her. "Being here isn't all that bad," he said, trailing his fingers up and down her arms. "You're catching up on your reading, you're getting more sleep than you ever have, you've got an incredible guy waiting on you hand and foot," he explained, his smile growing. "And your sex life is pretty damn amazing," he said, smirking.
She gave him a small, closed-eyed smile. "I'll give ya that," she said. "I just...I hate that they're all clueless. I hate that they think you need psychiatric help because you have these horrible mood swings, they don't know why, and I hate that I'm in here when I should be out there, chasing the fucker who tried to kill me," she said, emotion building. "I hate that I haven't even gone outside to get the mail, that all of my friends think I'm dead, and that you and your kids are the only people I am allowed to see, to talk to, El, it's..."
"Protective custody," he interrupted. "I had to fight the feds tooth and nail to get them to let me be your detail. Do you know what I would have done? I mean, shit, if Porter hadn't come to me I would have thought you were dead, too, and then I'd..."
"I don't wanna go there," she said, dropping her head into his chest. "Just tell me how close you are to finding him, and how much does Cragen know?"
Elliot sighed and kissed her forehead. "Porter's got a few suspects. I've got a few of my own."
"Who?" she asked, her eyes widening,
He sighed and closed his eyes. "I can't tell you that," he said. "You know I can't. Cragen...baby, Cragen doesn't know anything. No one does. I can't say shit to them, you know that. I'd put your life in even more danger, because..."
"You think one of them is involved?" she asked, tilting her head. "El, is that why I can't go back to work?"
Elliot ignored her question. "This is not a Special Victims case," he said, changing the subject, "So they don't need to know anything, and we don't know who they'd talk to if they knew."
"You think one of them did this, don't you?" she asked, her eyes narrowing.
His eyes rolled and he looked at her, a serious expression on his face. "I'm not saying yes, I'm not saying no. But it would make a lot of sense, wouldn't it?"
She nodded and sighed, too. "Yeah," she said. "First he stalks me, sends me things at work, it all had to go through security, then he jeopardizes cases by hacking into the system, then blows up my apartment," she said. "I was almost through the door...I would have been...God, I can't help thinking about what would have happened if you dropped me off any earlier. I can't..."
"I'm working the case, baby," he said, cutting her off. "I know the details. And this guy...he's been following you for almost a year. He knew your schedule, knew about me and my divorce, knew that we were involved when no one else did. He sent sick, little notes after he thought he killed you, they were so fucking detailed. He was trying to get to me, too."
"You won't let me read them," she said, looking up at him. "Why not? You think I'll get scared, or..."
"No, I just don't want you to jump to conclusions, or get any more pissed off than you are now," he said, kissing her again.
"Maybe there's something in there that will tell me who it is," she said, pleading with him.
He brushed her hair back and shook his head. "I would have found it, babe. Trust me, the only clues there are generic, Liv. He knew details of cases you worked, details of...well, us...he was probably watching us for a while, too. The only thing that says is it's either a cop or a perp out for revenge. Why do you think I'm being so fucking careful out there?"
"I can't stay cooped up like this, El," she whined, pulling out of his arms and walking into the kitchen. She opened the fridge, grabbed a mineral water, and said, "I need to do something, soon, or I'm gonna snap. I feel so fucking helpless in here." She blinked and sighed, running a hand through her freshly cut and dyed hair, rolling her eyes. "And Porter brought over that woman again, look at me! I feel like..."
"You look hot," he said, interrupting her with a grin and a chuckle. "Baby, they could shave your head and cover you in tattoos, and you'd be fucking gorgeous. Just take a deep breath, calm down, I'll order us some food, we'll watch a movie, and we'll take a bath. A nice relaxing night together, huh?"
Another pass of her fingers through her new strawberry blonde do, another sigh, and she nodded. "Sounds wonderful," she said. "I could help you with..."
Elliot walked over to her and kissed her, shutting her up. He said, "I would talk to you about it if I could, baby." He brushed his lips over her forehead softly as he said, "Any case but this, and I'm an open book, but until we have a real viable suspect, I can't risk..."
"Shh," she said, holding up a hand. "Do you hear that?" she whispered.
Elliot waited, silent for a moment. "No," he said in a whisper. "What?"
"The sound of not talking about it anymore," she said, turning around and kissing him.
"Oh, funny," he murmured against her lips.
"I am funny," she said, running her hands down his chest as they kissed.
"Absolutely hysterical," he moaned, feeling her hand travel lower, cupping his growing erection though his jeans. "Damn, baby," he seethed.
They were broken apart when the doorbell rang. They froze, both staring at the door as they reached for their guns. She wasn't on duty anymore, but she was still a cop, with a badge and gun at her hip where they belonged. No wonder they were never recovered in the rubble of her building, she kept them.
"Stay here," Elliot whispered, kissing her. He moved toward the door, slowly, holding his gun out. He looked through the peep-hole, then turned back to Olivia. "Bedroom," he said. "Now," he hissed.
Olivia rolled her eyes, hating the rules of her new life, and padded away. She knew she could convince him to let her go back to work, somehow, and she would start in on him as soon as their visitor left.
Elliot watched her move, making sure the door closed behind her, then he turned and slowly opened the door. One of his prime suspects was waiting on the other side.
A/N: Worth continuing? Chapter two gets juicy, if you think so. Review here or on Twitter: TMG212