A/N: A one-shot. Done and done.

DISCLAIMER: SVU and characters? Dick Wolf. This story? TStabler©

He doesn't know what happened. He doesn't know how he managed to get in the car, drive over the fucking bridge and into fucking midtown in the middle of the goddamned night. He doesn't know how he turned off at the exit, turned down her street, parked. He doesn't know how he ended up in the hallway in front of her door.

All he knows is he needs to knock. He could use the key she gave him, but it's two in the morning, she'll think he's breaking in and she'll shoot him. He places his hand over his heart to try to calm his breathing, and it's then that he feels how strong and fast it's beating. It's then he realizes how fucked he truly is.

He lifts his hand and he brings it down on the paint-peeling wooden door. He makes a mental note to offer to paint it for her. He takes another breath and he runs a hand down his face. He can hear her footsteps drawing closer, and he can hear her unlocking the door.

When she opens it, he doesn't have to worry about his heart pounding so hard anymore because he's dead. She has just killed him. She's standing before him in low-slung sweatpants, his, and an old tee shirt that hangs off of one shoulder. Also his. Why, he wonders, does she look better in his clothes than he does?

"What are you doing here?" she asks, her voice groggy and raspy, and his dick twitches because he knows that's the way her voice sounds after waking up in the morning after being thoroughly fucked.

"I, uh, I need to paint your door," he says stupidly, its being the only thought in his head that makes any sense.

She furrows her brow at him and she folds her arms, which sparks another cock-twitch because her breasts are shoved up higher and that makes him want her. "You have to do it right now?" she asks, her snide cattiness in place, even at an ungodly hour.

"Uh, no," he says, shaking his head. "I just...I was reminding myself." He takes another deep breath and he holds up his other hand, the one that didn't knock on the door or run over his face. The one with the small duffle bag tightly gripped in it.

"What the hell did you do this time?" she asks, moving away from the door, leaving it open so he can walk in.

He does, and he closes it behind him. "I, uh...well, it's...it's nothing too terrible."

"Wanna beer?" she mumbles, though she is already standing in front of the fridge with her hand on the handle. She knows he wants a beer because this has become routine. He fucks something up with his wife, comes to her place, has a beer, then seeks comfort from her the only way a man like him can.

He fucks her into oblivion, then goes home to make things right with his wife.

"Yeah," he finally says, his eyes on her body as it moves back toward him. He takes the beer from her, and he unscrews the cap. He takes a long sip, downing half of it at once, and he lets out a refreshed sigh.

"You gonna tell me what you did?" she asks, dropping with an annoyed thud into the couch beside him. "Or do I have to guess?"

He shakes his head. He doesn't want her to guess because whatever she says is bound to be downright saintly compared to what actually happened. "I was in bed with her..." He pauses to look at her and he holds up a hand. "Not like that," he declares defensively. "We were really just laying there, in the bed, fully clothed." He takes another sip of his beer, trying to get some horrible taste out of his mouth.

"So, you, what, hotboxed her and she kicked you out?" she teases, trying to make light of the situation. "You've farted in my bed before, and it's not enough to make me throw you out."

He laughs, loving the way she minimizes his problems. "We were talking," he says, trying to get to the point. "I was almost asleep, and she said something, I don't even remember what. But I...I said...God, this is messed up."

"Did you tell her?" she asks, the look in her eyes a mix of panic and hope. She sits up a bit straighter, her mouth goes dry, and she cracks her knuckles.

He shakes his head, and he finishes off his beer. "I said, 'I love you, too, Liv," he says, looking straight at the peephole on the closed front door. "I had my eyes closed, and she told me she loved me, and I said it back, but I called her...I said your name." He lifts his beer, but finds the bottle is empty. He sighs and says, "That's worse than telling her I've been fucking you for the last six months."

She blinks at him. She bites her lip and she sits up. "Shit," she says. "Well, that wasn't supposed to happen." She shakes her head, unsure of what she's feeling. "Did you...I mean, do you...what I wanna know is..."

"In my head, I was with you," he says, turning his head to look at her. He meets her worried eyes, her scared face, and he says, "In my mind, I was saying it to you. So I guess so, yeah."

She runs her hand through her hair, and he bites the inside of his cheek to keep from moving to kiss her, and she says, "You're a fucking idiot."

He chuckles and nods. "I am," he says. "I am a fucking idiot for thinking we could keep this a purely physical thing. For thinking anything with you would be just sex. Just comfort."

She licks her lips, and she doesn't realize the fire she ignites in him with that one small move. She heaves a deep sigh and she says, "You don't...you don't think the feelings were there...before?"

"Before..." he repeats, trying to fill in the blank. Before he took her to a bar to forget a hard case, six months ago. Before he took her home because she was too drunk to drive. Before he asked to crash on her couch because he was too drunk to drive, too. Before the couch became the bed, before the bed became her body, before her body became his playground.

Before he fucked her hard and fast and all night long, before they woke up in the morning and didn't regret it, before they promised each other to be their only option when one of them needed comfort, sex, to forget. Anything.

"Before," he says again. "Yeah, Liv. I think the feelings were there before. That's why we let it happen, isn't it? It was easier to treat it like something meaningless than to admit we were falling in love." He looks at her and he swears he can see the weight of the world fly off of her shoulders.

She bites her lip again and she looks at him, her eyes narrow. "We?" she says, a statement and a question. "Where is this 'we' coming from?"

He sits back and he shifts his weight, moving closer to her. He turns his head and he looks her dead in the eyes and he says, "There is not a single fucking thing you can say that will convince me you're not in love with me." He moves closer, and when she doesn't back away he says, "If you don't love me, you won't kiss me right now. You won't take me into your bedroom, into your arms, into you. If you don't love me, you'll tell me to get up and get out."

She stops breathing as his words hit her, and she moves a bit closer to him. "Just remember, I didn't say it first," she says, as if that somehow proves that her fear of commitment is real and not in her head, that he had to be the one to make it real because she never would.

He nods and captures her lips in a soft kiss, holding her face gently in his hands. He sweeps his tongue over her lips and he pushes it into her mouth when she lets him. He moves his body closer to her, he pulls her closer to him.

She moans as the kiss sends chills down her spine and heat down the rest of her body. She wraps her arms around his neck and she pulls away from him, her breath is coming in short spurts and she can't see straight. "El," she whispers. "You told your wife, now tell me."

He pants a bit, nuzzles her nose, and he says, "I love you, Liv."

She stifles a whimper and takes his hands off of her face, then she gets up and pulls him to his feet. She leads him toward her bedroom, where she'll take him into her bed, and into her. And she will roll over to face him just before she falls asleep.

She will smile as he holds her against his naked body and she will say, "I love you, El." She thinks her plan through as she sits him on her mattress, and she watches his eyes light up as she pulls her tee shirt over her head.

He reaches for her and he pulls her into his lap and he says, "I don't wanna fuck you, tonight."

She grins and she says, "You have never, except for the first time, fucked me." She kisses him and she whispers, "I know the difference between fucking and making love. Now, I do."

He chuckles and says, "Well, I guess some things don't need to be said."

"But they're nice to hear," she tells him as she leans into him, kissing him. She lets him turn her over, she knows he likes to be on top, and she closes her eyes. She silently thanks a God that she doesn't believe in for Elliot's serious error in judgment.

He moans as he kisses her neck and pulls her sweatpants down, over her hips, and he whispers, ever so softly, "I love you, Liv," knowing that he should have just said it.

Before.

A/N: Reviews are welcome. Here, or on Twitter: TMG212