A/N: An answer. A conflict. A resolution.
DISCLAIMER: SVU and characters belong to Dick Wolf. The story you are about to read belongs to Tstabler©
Cragen was brught in, led to the interrogation room, and went quiet. He refused to open his mouth, refused to say anything to anyone. He just sat there, silent, in the interrogation room, ignoring Munch and Fin as they threw questions at him. he loked up, wondering how Olivia was handling all of this.
Olivia was pacing back and forth in the cribs; Elliot sat on a bed watching her. "Stop it," he said, his hands balling into fists. "Liv, please? Stop."
She kept walking, back and forth, wearing a thin path into the carpet. She shook her head and folded her arms.
"Damn it, Liv," he yelled, standing and grabbing her, stopping her. "Calm down!"
She looked into his eyes. "Calm down? El, I just found out the only man I've ever really trusted, besides you, has been lying to me! Keeping this life-altering secret from me! Jesus, El, do you have any idea what I'm going through right now?"
"Not really," he said, his eyes narrow. "You're walking around here like a zombie instead of talking to me, so how could I?"
She sighed as her eyes closed. "I don't know what to do, here, El," she admitted softly. "He won't tell them anything, I don't know if he's…"
"Shh," he hushed, wrapping her in his arms. "Just breathe. You've survived this long without knowing. Cragen's going down for murder anyway, he'll talk. He doesn't have a choice. But right now, just breathe."
"You quit," she mumbled into his chest. "You fucking quit. How am I supposed to come back without you…"
"I talked to Porter," Elliot interrupted. "While you were in the bathroom, I talked to him. He knows why I did it, he called Tucker and told him that I was taking a few days unpaid leave to deal with you being home and things with Cragen. I get my badge back on Monday."
She looked up at him curiously. "What?"
He nodded. "I guess he felt bad about keeping this case open and keeping people from working it just because he didn't want to lose you for good." He kissed her forehead and whispered, "I don't blame him. I wouldn't let you go that easily either."
"You wouldn't," she laughed. She blinked once again, her mind wandering to the goings on downstairs. "I don't know what I'm gonna do if he's the man who raped my mother, and it's been covered up by the whole fucking unit all these years."
"You're gonna be fine," he told her, rubbing her back soothingly. "You're gonna realize that Cragen isn't who you really thought he was, but that the man you did know did his best to treat you like his daughter. You're gonna know you don't come from a monster, but from a man who probably got just as trashed as your mother did that night, they were both alcoholics, you know that. This could have been a horrible mistake made because he was wasted, and so was she. Maybe it wasn't rape at all, your mother just couldn't live with the fact that she let herself get so drunk she slept with a man she hardly knew."
"You're trying," she said with a soft smile. "You're trying so hard, and I love you for it."
He grinned, kissing her, and said, "I'm gonna try even harder. Stay here."
She raised an eyebrow, not letting him go. "Don't," she warned.
He looked back at her, tugged his arm free from her grip, and kissed her passionately, trying to keep the heat down and the emotion up. "I'll be right back."
"Famous last words," she whispered, a tear rolling down her cheek. "Don't do anything you're gonna regret."
He smirked as his eyes narrowed. "I won't regret a damned thing, baby." He nodded once at her, then left, taking the stair two at a time and barging into the interrogation room. "Excuse us, Fin," he said.
"Elliot, man, you're not allowed to…"
"This isn't an official interrogation," Elliot interrupted. "Just two men talking. Privately. And shut the blinds, would you?"
Fin eyed him suspiciously, nodded, and gave Cragen a hard look as he left the room. He shut the blinds, but he kept the monitor volume turned up. He stood beside Ed Tucker and Dean Porter, listening to Cragen speak.
"Elliot," the man said, "I never meant for any of this to…"
"Save it," Elliot said. "Just answer a few questions for me." He leaned over, looking the captain in his eyes. "Did you know Olivia was home when you pushed that button?"
"No," Cragen said, shaking his head.
Elliot got out of his seat, the men listening heard the legs of the chair scrape against the floor. "Did you feel anything, anything at all, when Dean and I told you she was dead?"
Cragen coughed. "Guilt. Fear. Regret. Pain. I felt it all, but it was all masked by…relief."
"Relief?" Elliot asked. "Because it meant you would never have to tell her you were her father? You'd never have to see the look on her face when she found out you raped her mother?"
Cragen shouted, "I didn't! I don't…I don't remember that night too clearly, but I know she was willing. She wanted it as much as I did, but we were drunk, Elliot. Very drunk, and very….very stupid."
"Is that what made you quit drinking?" Elliot asked, walking toward the window of the room. "You heard her reporting a rape. You listened to her recount the attack, over and over again, and you couldn't remember if you were the man that did it." He turned to Cragen. "The case went cold, good news for you, and a few months later you found out Serena had a kid, you knew it was yours, and you stopped drinking, hoping to remember what happened. Hoping to remember whether or not you raped her or if you didn't.
Cragen made a small noise, but said nothing.
Elliot smirked. "And then the plane crash, you lost your wife, and you had nothing. You got your memory back, or your version of it anyway, and you went to find Serena. You wanted that baby." He folded his arms. "She had no idea who you were, she didn't recognize you at all, you left empty handed. Then, twenty-four years later, Olivia walks into your squad-room. Some coincidence," he said.
"Don't do this, Elliot. Haven't I been through enough? Go take care of Olivia," Cragen pled.
Elliot stepped toward him. "You know, when she walked into this place, I knew my life was over. Nothing mattered. Nothing except her. I ran every search I could, trying to find out everything I could about her. And ya know what I found when I pulled up her records from the academy?"
"Elliot, stop it. That's an order," Cragen said, his voice loud.
Elliot grinned. "No one told you? I'm not on duty, right now. I don't have to take orders from you, or anyone else, until Monday." He walked toward the door, and he turned the bolt, locking it.
"Stabler," Cragen said through a clenched jaw, "Olivia needs you."
"And you needed her," Elliot said. "That's why you requested that she be sent to the One-Six. You knew who she was, and you all but demanded that she be sent to the same precinct you were in, but you lucked out when she waltzed into your department."
Cragen sighed. "Does she know?" he asked.
Elliot shook his head. "I always assumed you'd tell her," he said. "I thought you were waiting for an appropriate moment, but then this all happened, and you're never gonna get the chance." He took a step toward the table. "You…she trusted you," he said, his voice darkening.
"Elliot," Cragen said, a warning, as he backed his chair away.
"You hurt her," Elliot said, reaching for Cragen's throat. He grabbed, pulled, and lifted the man to his feet. "You hurt her, and now it's my job to hurt you."
There were knocks on the door, frantic turning of handles and the jingling of keys. Fin's voice begged him not to do it, Porter warned that Olivia could hear everything, and Tucker shouted for him not to risk everything, Cragen wasn't worth it.
Elliot just smirked and squeezed, ignoring the man clawing at his hands. "You destroyed her life, our lives. You let her spend years searching for a man that didn't exist because you were too chicken to tell her, you didn't wanna risk finding out if you were a rapist. If you were one of the assholes that we put away. Afraid that the only two people in the world who knew about it would talk if you didn't do them a favor, if you didn't risk your own daughter's life for your partner's son's silence."
Cragen made a wheezing noise, but Elliot squeezed harder.
"You still afraid?" Elliot asked.
The door flew open. Fin and Olivia ran over to him and pulled him away from Cragen. The disgraced captain dropped to the floor as Olivia turned Elliot around roughly.
They stared at each other, just looking into each other's eyes. Olivia moved first, gripping the sides of his face as she crashed her lips into his.
He moaned in relief as he wrapped his arms around her, squeezing her tight, ignoring Porter and Tucker in the doorway, watching, panting, and calming down. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "I'm so sorry."
Olivia nodded and kissed him again. She ran her hands over his face, through his hair, and she said, "I know you are."
He kissed her again, trying to let the angry and resentment slip away, and he whispered, "I'm sorry I never told you he…"
"I would have hated you," she interrupted. "It's okay. I get why you didn't." She pressed her lips to his again.
Fin lifted Cragen up, and brought him over to Tucker and Porter. "Olivia," he called. "I'm really so sorry about everything. And I…I can't tell you what happened between your mother and me, I wish I could. All I know is…you're mine."
Elliot shook his head. "You're wrong," he said. "I'm the one who stood up for her, protected her, and has never lied to her. I'm the one who was ready to die for her, and still am. She's not yours, Cragen. She's mine."
Olivia looked at him, a small smile shining through her tearful face. "I love you," she whispered.
Elliot kissed her. "I love you, too, honey." He linked their hands, not even watching them take Cragen away. "We make one hell of a team."
"Especially when we're on our own," she laughed. "We get more accomplished when we don't have to listen to anyone but each other."
"All the time," he chuckled. "We tend to ignore the rules and orders anyway." He nuzzled her nose, kissed her lips, and said, "We have a wedding to plan."
She nodded as she kissed him once more. Their tender moment was interrupted when a short, stocky man with a badge walked in and cleared his throat.
"Excuse me," he said, "But no one's been able to answer me. Do I still have a job here?"
Elliot looked over at Jack McCann, and he smiled. "Yeah," he said. "Just not as my partner, not in that desk. I need you out and across the room by Monday."
McCann looked confused. "Who the hell died and made you captain?"
Elliot chuckled again, and he kissed Olivia one more time. Things were gonna be all right, he knew it. He felt her smile against his lips and he tugged her toward the door. "Let's go get the kids. We have to explain a few things to Kathy," he said, wrapping his arm around her shoulders.
They chatted as they left, kissing and holding each other the whole way toward the elevator. McCann smiled, walked out of the interrogation room and into Cragen's office. He closed the door behind him, picked up the phone, and dialed a number.
He waited for someone to pick up, and when he heard the voice on the other end, he said, "Everything went as planned, Chief. She knows everything, we got Cragen in custody, and they're gonna be fine. Porter's finalizing the report and we're all heading out of here in the morning. I don't know, Sir. Maybe he thought it would be easier this way, if they found out like this. Easier if they hated him for this, ya know? So you don't owe anyone else anymore favors, do you?"
He laughed, listening to the chief's answer, and thought about the last few days. The rogue in the plot was Cragen, and he'd mapped out each step of this horrendous scheme to get the truth out and get rid of the men who were blackmailing him and hurting his family. It was his way, the only way he could do it and feel okay about it. Now that it was all over, life could move on, and Olivia and Elliot could have the happiness they deserved, the happiness he'd taken from them for so long.
He'd made things right, and they'd stay that way. He had faith in them. And he knew the only things they had faith in were God and each other, and that was all that ever really mattered.
A/N: The END…For now…