A/N: A word. Suggested by the beautiful IceGem.

DISCLAIMER: SVU and characters belong to Dick Wolf. This story belongs to Tstabler©

"Hold still," she says, holding the cotton ball drenched in peroxide to the arch of his left eye.

He grunts and moves away from her, but her grip on his chin is tight and he slumps over, giving in. He is stunned how the woman shot a man, killed someone, mere hours ago and is being so nurturing at this moment. As much as it hurts, he loves every minute.

"Pout all you want," she says, smirking at him as his lower lip juts out and his eyes turn up in frustration. "This is happening."

"It hurts," he mumbles, sounding like a whining child. "I'm a grown ass man, Liv, you really don't have to do this."

She chuckles, rolling her eyes. "A grown ass man who took a pot-shot to the face and didn't complain, but is seething in pain because of a little antiseptic," she teases. "Mature, El." She looks at him and his eyes aren't sad anymore, they're glimmering, reflecting the dim light-bulb hanging over his head. She stops dabbing at his cut and she tilts her head. "What?" she asks, wondering why he's staring at her like that.

"You love me," he says, sighing. He reaches up and grabs her wrist, and he turns it over and places a soft kiss to the thin underside, just above the clasp to her watch.

The action touches her, somewhere deep, somewhere no one has ever been able to reach before. She clears her throat and she pulls her hand away from his, returning to tend to his bleeding eye. "We're at work," she whispers, pressing the wet cotton to his eye.

"So?" he asks, shrugging. "No one's here, Liv. We're the only ones left. Cragen's in his office, and you're out here with me playing Florence Nightingale. We're alone."

She blows lightly on the cut to ease the sting, and she whispers, "Still. Work."

He grabs her wrist again and he looks into her eyes. "I love you, too, ya know," he says softly. He watches her eyes narrow a bit and he smirks. "More than anything."

She smiles at him, pulls her hand away from his again, and she tosses the cotton ball into the trash bin in the corner. She pulls a plastic bandage out of the tin kit on the desk, and she peels the paper off of it slowly. She presses the adhesive strip to his forehead, and she taps his nose lightly. "All better," she says.

"No," he tells her, folding his arms. "You have to kiss it, and make it better." He knows he's getting on her nerves, he knows she hates when he pushes their personal life on her at work, but he doesn't care. After the events of the day, he needs her now. "Kiss me."

She eyes him, her lips pursed, and she shakes her head. "Not here," she says, shoving the first aid kit into the open drawer of her desk. She slams it shut and gives him a soft look, and she knows he knows she wants to kiss him. Needs to kiss him. "Not now," she whispers, telling herself more than him.

"Right here," he says, standing up straight. He takes a step closer to her and he whispers, "Right now." He takes her hands and laces their fingers together. He looks into her eyes. "Kiss me, Liv."

She bites her lip and she looks away from him, eyeing the captain's office door. When she's sure Cragen isn't going to open it anytime soon, she leans forward and gives his Band-Aid a quick kiss. "There ya go," she says cheekily, trying to back away.

He cups her cheeks before she can pull away completely, and he brings her face to his. He presses his lips to hers and holds her there for a moment, then pulls back and smiles. "Much better, now," he says with a smile. "Thanks, Doctor Benson."

She shakes her head and laughs, but the butterflies he has just given her all start flapping their wings at the same moment. She gets a little queasy but she likes it. She gets a little scared but she doesn't mind. She gets a little emotional, but she pushes it all back. "You're lucky," she says, looking away from him. "He could have really hurt you, killed you." She blinks hard and swallows, not wanting to think about it. "You walked away with a little…"

"You shot him," he says, cutting her off. He links their fingers together again and sits on the edge of her desk. "That's why I…I know we're not supposed to be like this at work, I know that, but I almost lost you today." He pulls her closer to him and his free hand trails down her back, grazing the curve of her ass. "We almost lost each other, Liv, and I need to feel…"

"Benson. Stabler," Cragen's voice yells through the air as the office door bursts open.

Elliot drops Olivia's hand, pulls his palm away from her ass, and stands up. He shoves his hands in his pockets, clears his throat, and watches his captain moving toward him. "Yeah?"

Cragen raises an eyebrow, but he doesn't let on that he has seen anything. He looks at Olivia and hands her gun back to her, nodding. "You were cleared," he says. "It was a necessary shot." He looks back at Elliot and says, "Go home. Both of you. I can't expect you two to work after…" he pauses and clears his throat. "After what…" he clears his throat again.

Olivia tilts her head, wondering briefly why men always clear their throats when they get uncomfortable. "Yeah," she says. "We all had a rough day."

"It was a clean shot, Olivia," Cragen says, nodding at her. "One you needed to take. Don't feel bad about this."

"I don't," she says firmly. She flinches as a brief image of Elliot with a gun to his head flashes across her mind. "I don't feel bad at all." She looks away and grabs her keys off of her desk. "I would do it again in a heartbeat."

Cragen sighs, knowing she would, and knowing why. He arches an eyebrow as she leaves, then turns to Elliot. He smirks as he watches Elliot attempt to give the impression he isn't rushing out after Olivia.

Elliot takes his time finding his keys, aware that they both came in Olivia's car and he doesn't have them. "Oh, got 'em," he says, slapping his pocket and pretending to have his keys. "Goodnight, Cap," he shouts as he turns for the door. He walks out of the squad room, and he runs toward the elevator.

The ride down is long and painful, and when the doors open he sees her waiting for him. He heaves a relieved sigh and falls into her arms, holding her tight. "Shit," he curses, shaking a bit as he squeezes her for dear life.

"Okay, El," she says, closing her eyes, pretending she isn't on the verge of tears. "It's okay." She lets her head drop against his chest, and before she knows she's doing it, she kisses the small bit of bare skin peeking out of his unbuttoned collar. "You're okay," she whispers.

"I told you to leave," he says to her, backing up and looking into her eyes. "I made the trade, he took me and let you go. You should have gone. I told you I would be fine, baby."

She shakes her head. "You know I would never leave you like that." She pulls away from him and the unshed tears in her eyes seem to evaporate, as if they never formed at all. "Never," she repeats.

He brushes the back of his hand along her cheek, and he smiles at her before dropping a hand to hers, clasping it and leading her out of the building toward her car. He is fascinated by her, by the complete conundrum that she is.

He has seen both sides of her today, and he still sees both sides of her now as she builds up the brick wall that almost caved in right in front of him. She is apathetic and she's sensitive, she's bold and she's timid, she's cold and she's emotional, she's leather and she's lace and she's the only woman in the world for him.

She's soft and sensual, sexy and fiery, the sweetest woman in the universe who wears a coat of armor when she needs to. She's tough as nails and loud as thunder at work, and she's someone else entirely when he gets her alone, and today he managed to get bits of both amazing women at once. He opens the car door for her, and he watches her get in.

She looks up at him with a crooked eyebrow, but she doesn't protest. He can drive if he wants.

He walks around to the driver's side, knowing she's in no condition to drive, her hands are shaking and her heart is still pounding. He knows because his hands are still shaking, his heart is still pounding, but he can control it all better than she can.

He looks at her when he's settled in the driver's seat and tilts his head. "I love you," he says as he reaches for her. He fingers the silver charm on the chain around her neck, realizing that the word engraved on it is describing her exactly. He lets his gaze and his hand drop, and he runs his fingertips over the small scar on her neck, a reminder of the only other time they'd ever come this close to losing each other. The only other time he has ever had a gun to his head. He remembers how she was too scared to take the shot last time, he remembers the look in her eyes, and he remembers holdiing her as she cried for hours afterward.

She knows what he's thinking and she licks her lips. "I took the shot this time because I…because from where I was standing I couldn't see you. He didn't know I was aiming for him. It was easier to…"

"I know," he says, smiling at her. He lets his fingers dip lower, under the collar of her stiff, black, button-down shirt, pushing it aside and he catches sight of the bra she'd chosen to wear today. "Lace," he whispers, chuckling at the appropriateness of it, frilly and sweet beneath rugged and hard. "I love you in that, you know that?"

"You're the only one who gets to see the lace," she says with a shrug, not realizing how true that statement was.

A/N: Review here, or on Twitter: TMG212, and I'm taking one-word-one-shot suggestions again. If you want them, that is.