A/N: Love and Marriage are eternal. This story is not.
DISCLAIMER: SVU and characters belong to Dick Wolf. Story belongs to TStabler
Elliot looked at his captain with wide eyes as he pushed Olivia into the office and closed the door. "What do you...how do you..."
Cragen folded his arms. "I was a cop before you were even a twinkle in your mother's eye, Stabler. Ten years on the force, fifteen as a detective...I think I know how to tell what's going on with my team."
Olivia looked up, then, and shook her head slightly. "But we only just found out, so how could you possibly..."
"You two are brilliant detectives," the captain interrupted. "You're also the most sickeningly sweet couple I have ever met. I knew before you left that you would come back with...news."
"So what are you gonna do?" Elliot asked, stiffening up a bit as his left hand reached out for Olivia's right. He squeezed.
Cragen tilted his head. "What do you think I should do?" He held up a hand as Elliot's mouth opened. "Think about it from a professional standpoint. Put personal feelings and relationships aside, and you're me, okay? You find out that two of your detectives, for whom you have already broken a hundred rules and codes, walk into your office and tell you they're having a baby."
"I'm you," Elliot said. "But no way in hell am I imagining that you and Liv..."
"Shut up and listen!" Cragen snapped with a small chuckle. "These two detectives are partners, can't work too well with others, would pissed the fuck off if they were split up. Yet you know that in her condition it's not smart to let her run loose around the city with a gun and chase after people who have almost killed her before." He looked pointedly at Elliot, as if trying to make him truly understand. "It's not just her life at stake anymore. It's the life of a tiny child, a new life that has not yet had the chance to breathe, or see, or meet its wonderful family."
A tear rolled down Elliot's cheek as he stared open-eyed at Cragen.
"You're choice, Captain," Cragen said, half-serious. "Do you keep them together for the sake of their professionalism, or do you do what you know you have to do for the sake of their child?"
Elliot sniffled. He turned his head and saw the same slow tears running down Olivia's cheek. He nodded and said, "I guess we...I guess we don't have a choice now."
Olivia shook her head and dropped her face into his shoulder.
Cragen took a breath. "So it's settled. Until this kid is born, happy and healthy, Benson's behind a desk. Administrative duties, to be performed in and for the next six months, then you're taking off, I assume?"
Olivia lifted her head and nodded. "What kind of administrative...I'm a secretary now?"
Cragen laughed. "Hardly," he said with a small scoff. "You'll be filing claims and investigating open cases within the..."
"Hold on," Elliot interrupted. "You've got her working with IAB? You know Tucker is a piece of..."
"Now you really think I would leave her alone with Tucker for more than seven seconds? You don't know me at all, do you, Stabler?" He cocked an eyebrow. "What good is keeping the mother and child safe if the father's out there risking his ass?"
Elliot's eyes narrowed, and he looked at Olivia, who was staring at him looking just as confused. "So you're saying..."
The door creaked open behind them, and their heads turned. Their mouths dropped.
"Don't say I never did you any favors," the man in the doorway sniped. Then he smiled. "Congratulations on the kid," he said. "I hope, for your sake, it doesn't take after its father."
"Thanks," Elliot scoffed bitterly.
"Hey," the man said, coming in and sitting down. "I'm stepping down for you so you two can play Good-Cop-Bad-Cop with the big boys upstairs, I'm entitled to one or two digs, ain't I?"
Elliot gave a soft chuckle, squeezed Olivia's hand again, and said, "Yeah, Ed. I guess you are."
Cragen looked on as the two men, sworn enemies, shook hands for the first time in years. He smiled and folded his arms. This was going to be good for everyone. Everyone, he thought, except him. He'd miss them very much, but hoped, as things like this usually were, that it was just temporary.
"So that means no more midnight cases?" Lizzie asked, taking the bowl of mashed potatoes from Olivia.
"Not unless there's an officer involved crime going down in the middle of the night," Elliot answered, handing his son the plate of chicken.
Maureen looked up. "So you'll be home? Every night?"
"Like your father said, unless there's a case we need to be involved with, we'll be..."
"And you're both okay with that?" Kathy asked, at the other end of the table, sitting beside a grumbly looking Brian Cassidy. "You two are born workaholics. Getting Elliot to take a night off was usually like pulling teeth. This is gonna be okay?"
Elliot nodded as his fork slipped between his lips. "We're gonna need the rest, the sleep...this is Olivia's first child, so she's gonna need me here with her in the middle of the night when she gets sick or..."
"Okay, we don't need any strong visuals," Cassidy interjected, jabbing his fork into his chicken. "Gotta be honest, I honestly thought you'd come back from your honeymoon hating each other, begging for a divorce."
"Why?" Olivia asked, mildly offended.
As Cassidy chewed, he shrugged. "You two have grating personalities, you get on each others nerves, you fight like rabid wolves, I thought two weeks alone together would drive you both nuts."
Elliot laughed. "She bugs the crap outta me sometimes, but I wouldn't want anyone else annoying me. We used to really push each others buttons, but that was just tension. Now, we're...we're just...happy."
Olivia smiled when Elliot leaned over to wrap an arm around her. She moaned ever-so-softly when he kissed her.
"Okay, we're eating. I'd like to keep my food down," Dickie barked, rolling his eyes.
Elliot and Olivia chuckled, then Olivia turned to Kathy. "Thank you for the crib, by the way. It's beautiful."
Kathy shrugged. "I know it's got a lot of sentimental meaning for Elliot. His first child spent her first night home in that thing, and I knew he would want to have his first...his first child with you..." She stopped as her bottom lip trembled. "He'd want that baby to do the same."
Brian looked at her as if she had five heads, but Olivia and Elliot gave her soft smiles. "Thank you," Elliot said, nodding at her.
Kathy sniffled and nodded back. "Family," she said. "That's what family does."
Olivia's heart melted a bit, and she felt her nose burning. She got up from the table fast and bolted to the bathroom, leaving everyone stunned.
"Um, I guess...I'll go..." Elliot mumbled as he pointed in her direction and got out of his seat. He walked down the hall and didn't bother knocking before walking into the bathroom. "Baby, what just happened?"
She turned, meeting his blue eyes with her red and puffy ones. "She just said...I thought she still..."
"She never hated you," he whispered. "She was jealous, pissed off, wanted to punch you in the face, but she never hated you." He kissed her forehead. "She knows you had nothing to do with our divorce. Well, almost nothing, I mean we never did anything while..."
"I know, thanks," she interrupted. "I was there."
He laughed and kissed her tears away. "See, it's moments like this that make me realize why I loved her. And moments like this that remind me, in the most powerful of ways, why I love you."
She smiled at him and leaned closer. "Why?"
"You have the biggest heart in the world, you are touched so deeply by the smallest of things, and you've got the most amazing ass I have ever seen in my life."
She laughed harder and he squeezed her tighter, and they kissed right there in the middle of the bathroom. Long, slow strokes of touching tongues, lips pressing firmly together before pulling gently apart, and two hearts tightening the knot that had already bound them together.
She pulled back a bit and looked up at him, seeing a gleam in his eyes. She tilted her head and smirked. "Really?"
"Oh, yeah," he said, his voice low. "Just be quiet," he teased in whisper, running a hand up the hem of her shirt. He popped the button on her black pants, and he chuckled softly.
"Your ex-wife is out there," she whispered, sucking in a breath as he lowered the zipper on her slacks.
"So's your ex-boyfriend," he countered. "And our kids." His lips dropped to her neck as he lowered her pants, and he heard a thud.
Her head hitting the back of the tiled wall. "They're gonna wonder..."
"No they're not," he said softly, nipping at her skin as he slid down her panties. "They know that when you cry, baby, it's like flood gates have opened."
She chuckled as he began working on his own pants, and she took a deep breath and let her eyes close. She was in her bathroom, in her house, with her husband, pregnant with her first child. The first of many she was sure.
It all seemed to hit her so fast. Everything she had ever wanted, hoped, or prayed for was in her grateful hands, and she would hold on tightly forever. "El?" she whispered as he lined himself up with her, against the wall.
He stilled. He looked at her. "What, honey?"
"I love you," she said, all that needed to be said now, and ever, to make the world around her brighter.
He smiled as he moved, slowly inching into her. As he slid her right leg around his body he whispered, "I love you, too, baby."
He kept it slow, deep, and never let his eyes wander from hers. He had wanted her for years, and now, here she was, loving him so passionately and safely entombing his child.
It took a long time to reach this place, and they were both thankful that all it took was a little bit of marriage.
And a whole lot of love.
A/N: End. Look out for another update, and possibly a new long-form story, coming soon. Thank you for reading and all of your support.