OK, I know you guys are freaking out, because that cliffhanger was very….cliffy…but hang on there!

HERE IT IS!

THE SIXTH CHAPTER! (AND THE FINALE!)


3:43 a.m.

In those heart racing, mind boggling moments, everything seemed to fly by in a whirl of inconceivable velocity, while also morphing into the dreamlike aura of a heartless, deliberate time warp.

In the seconds before the gunshot, Olivia gasped and shut her eyes, a subconscious impulse to her capture's final words. If she was going to die, she didn't want to know when it hit her.

At the sound of the shot, Elliot held his breath and closed his own eyes. He didn't want to believe that he, Elliot Stabler, had let his partner down. He hadn't saved her. It was too late. Everything was his fault. Olivia, his partner, was dead.

Dead. Because of him.

Both detectives anxiously awaited their undeniable, unquestionable fate, when a sudden sense of disbelief and hope manifested within them.

Olivia heard a cry of pain from Lyles as he released his hold on her arm. She was sure the air should have escaped from her own lungs, but it didn't. She could hear her healthy, rhythmic heartbeat as blood rushed through her body. This wasn't right. It couldn't be real.

Elliot opened his eyes just in time to see Lyles collapse to the floor. His heart leapt when he saw Olivia standing there, unscathed, untouched, and safe. He wanted to jump for joy and sing at the top of his lungs, but he stood stone still where he was. The shock of what happened routed him to the floor. Through the hazy fog of his blurred vision, he could barely notice the rush of officers entering the room. His focus was concentrated on Olivia. She was the only person he could see; the only person he wanted to see.

"Elliot!" A voice pierced through Elliot's confused state of uncertain astonishment.

It was as if a chord snapped.

His body seemed to wake up, and within seconds, Elliot had crossed the room, and was holding Olivia in his arms.

"It's alright, Liv," He said as reassuringly as he could. He was still shocked by the truth: that she had lived. That she hadn't been killed.

"Elliot?" Olivia was frozen, and didn't move. All laws of reason told her that this wasn't possible.

"You're safe…You're safe…Dear God, I thought I lost you…" Elliot whispered as he held her closer to him.

As her fear subsided, Olivia slowly began to melt. She cautiously wrapped her arms around Elliot and returned his embrace.

I'm not dead…Elliot's here…Everything's alright…She thought to herself. As she stood in Elliot's arms Olivia felt safe; safer then she'd ever been in her entire life. She clung to him and didn't want to let go. She wanted to stay that way forever, surrounded by the warmth of an emotion so clear, so obvious, yet impossible to bring into light. She couldn't hold back the surge of tears and she buried her face into Elliot's shoulder as she tried to suppress her sobs.

Elliot heard her crying, and he wanted to take everything back. Everything they went through that night was his fault. He had questioned their partnership, and ended up destroying their friendship in the process. He had tortured Olivia, and that alone was enough to ruin everything they had. Just for a moment, they lost what they needed to survive. They had lost that edge. The edge that made them who they were: partners.

As the impending chaos of officers and EMS personnel infringed on their silent moment, Elliot and Olivia were forced into the world they didn't want to remember. They began to look around the room, and saw Lyles being carried out on a stretcher. He was obviously dead.

"Elliot! Olivia!" Cragen yelled from across the room. He made his way through the hoard of people, "Thank God you're alright. What the hell happened?"

"Captain, I can explain…" Elliot began.

"No, I don't think you can," Cragen said, slightly annoyed, but also concerned, "Where in the world were you two?"

"We were here the entire time, Captain," Elliot said, confused by Cragen's question.

"Well, you might have been here physically, but your minds were elsewhere," Cragen snapped, "I don't know what to do with you two anymore. How can you expect me to trust you to do your jobs after something like this happens?"

"Everything happened so fast, Captain, I just…We…I guess we zoned out."Olivia admitted.

Cragen nodded his head in understanding, but was still disappointed, "There is never a reason to 'zone out,' and you know that. I'm thankful that you're alright, but if Lyles hadn't shot himself-"

Olivia and Elliot looked up in shock.

"Wait, what?" Elliot asked. He was sure he'd heard wrong.

"How is that possible?" Olivia argued, "I thought our backup got him."

Cragen held up his hands to calm them, "Please, it's really quite simple. He shot himself."

Olivia shook her head, "No… but Lyles was going to kill me. He said he was going to kill me! Why in the world would he kill himself? Surely someone else shot him. That's got to be it, right?"

After a moment of brief thought, Elliot spoke, "He had no intention of killing you."

Olivia pushed her hair out of her face and took a deep breath, "He played us. He wanted to see us suffer."

"He knew I wouldn't shot him. He knew I wouldn't risk losing you," Elliot added, realizing his own weakness, "He knew I'd find some way to save you, even if it meant letting a perp go free."

Cragen nodded, "But Lyles' knew he wouldn't get away with it. He knew if he walked out that door there'd be a dozen armed officers waiting for him," He explained, "but he also knew that if he killed you, Olivia," Cragen said, turning to look at her, "he'd never see the light of day again," He motioned to Elliot, knowingly, "because Elliot wouldn't have let that son of a bitch walk out of here alive."

"So he did the only thing that could guaranty his freedom. He took the only life that was his to take," Elliot said, as he put an arm around Olivia's shoulders.

"His own," Olivia stated, looking at Elliot and searching in his eyes.

Cragen was called out of the room by a techie, and the two detectives were left alone. Elliot still held Olivia to his side, and she slowly brought her head to rest on his shoulder.

After a moment of silence, Elliot let his arm drop, but turned to face Olivia straight on.

"Liv, I…" He started to speak, but he just couldn't, "I…I'm sorry-"

"Please, don't-"Olivia interrupted.

"Elliot, Olivia," Munch called to them as he entered the room. He stopped, suddenly, when he realized his inopportune timing, "Oh, I'm sorry, guys, I'll be going now-"

"No, Munch, it's alright. We're done here," Olivia said stepping forward to meet Munch near the open doorway.

"Yeah, we're ready to go," Elliot said, as he took his place beside Olivia.

Munch nodded slowly, trying to decide if they were telling the truth. Had they really recuperated that quickly?

"Well, I need to take you two down to the bus. They want to check you out," Fin said.

"We're fine, Fin," Elliot shrugged off the request.

"Seriously, we're fine," Olivia said, rolling her eyes.

"Are you?" Munch asked, wanting to make sure they weren't just being stubborn.

Olivia looked at Elliot, "Are we?"

Elliot nodded, "Yeah. We're fine."

"Right...Well, you will need to give your statements, and I just know IAB will have a field day with this, so you'd better be as 'fine' as you say you are." Munch said, still concerned.

Both Olivia and Elliot let out an exasperated sigh, "We're fine, Munch!" They shouted.

"Alright, I give up!" He shrugged, defeated, and turned to exit the room with a swarm of techies and officers.

The apartment was practically empty now. The pain and distress of the night had settled in the foreground of their minds, but as the bustle of people began to subside, both detectives were left to the mercy of their silence.

They couldn't help but shudder at the thought of all they'd been through.

"We're fine…" Elliot whispered softly as he slowly reached down to grasp Olivia's hand.

"We're fine…" Olivia repeated to herself, taking a shaky deep breath.

They each stared off into nothingness, as the scene before them slowly faded into oblivion.

The End


HOW DO YOU LIKE IT?

In an effort to receive more reviews and to make the reviewing process a bit easier, I have devised a rating system for you to use.

So, what's going to happen is, you will give 3, count 'em, THREE number ratings.

These rating numbers will apply to the entire story, as a whole.

The first number will rate me on my overall writing style. Did the scenes flow? Was the pacing alright? Was the phrasing and vocabulary up to par? Be honest.

The second number will rate the story's development and ability to captivate an audience. Did it make you want to continue reading? Or where you bored five sentences into it?

The final number will rate character believability. Where the characters true to themselves? Did their thoughts and actions reflect what the actual characters would do in the actual show?

The RATINGS:

1. Horrible! This should be put through the paper shredder and set on fire, it's so wrong!

2. What strange delusional planet are you from?

3. It was just bad…REALLY bad

4. Needs a lot of work. I repeat, A LOT of work.

5. Pretty Good-ish, could use some work

6. It was Ok, I liked it.

7. Nicely done, minor improvements needed, but nobody's perfect!

8. Practically perfect in every way! (keyword: practically)

9. More like a 9.8. (Because there's always room for improvement)

10. THE BEST THING EVER!

So, just type these THREE numbers, along with your regular review! (example: 6-7-5)

This will help me figure out what I need to work on, and what is good just the way it is.

THANK YOU! And stay tuned for more fanfic written by yours truly!