A/N: Okay so does anyone else feel like their E/O heart broke just a little bit last night with the premiere? Ugh, I was almost not going to post this today because of the Olivia sadness overload, but the end of this chap is happy, so I decided it shouldn't depress anyone too much! LOL Anyway, hope you like what you read and let me know what you think :)
Olivia rolled her eyes and headed for her bedroom as her mother stumbled into the apartment with Joan, a colleague and sometime drinking buddy. Olivia had had a bad day at school, overhearing some classmates talking about her behind her back and was looking forward to spending a quiet night alone since her mother hadn't yet come home from work despite the late hour. She was nearly past the point of caring when Serena had called her around six o'clock to make sure she got home from school safely. Her mother had sounded drunk even then, so she could only imagine how bad she would be now, over two hours later.
"Olivia! I haven't seen you ages, honey. Jesus, Serena, she's gotten so big!" Joan walked over to Olivia, taking her hand and twirling her around. "Turning into a pretty little thing too!"
"Thanks Mrs. Bailey, I turn twelve in three months." Olivia smiled shyly at the woman despite herself, not used to hearing compliments.
"Getting too big, too fast, if you ask me," Serena grumbled as she headed for the kitchen to pour drinks.
Letting go of Joan's hand, Olivia's smile faded at her mother's tone. She could tell she was going to be in one of her darker moods and wanted no part of it after the day she'd already had. "Mom, I'll be in my room if you need me. Your clean laundry is folded on your bed and I laid out the bills we got today on your dresser so you remember to pay them this month…"
"I'm not the child here, Olivia. Go on, then. I'll be in to say goodnight later."
"Yeah right," Olivia muttered under her breath as she headed to solace of her bedroom.
"She's turning into such a little smart ass. Also, looking more and more like him with each passing day." Serena took a long sip from her glass as she handed the other to her friend.
Joan took the glass and swayed a bit before taking a drink. "Does she know about everything that happened, Serena?"
"She knows that man is a disgusting monster, but she doesn't know why. She doesn't know about the night he snuck up from behind me, pushed me down, and forced his way into my body with his filth. She doesn't know how I screamed and begged for him to stop and he just laughed and told me shut up and take it. And she sure as hell doesn't know how I struggled after I found out his child was growing inside of me or that the only reason I kept her was because I found out too late that I was pregnant. I was in such denial then, but now…she reminds me, Joan. She reminds me every single day of my life…"
Joan wrapped her arms around her friend as her shoulders shook and tears streamed down her face, not knowing anything else to do, but hoping against hope that Olivia hadn't heard any of it.
Down the hallway, the eleven year old sat in her bedroom doorway, her arms wrapped around her legs and head buried in her knees. Nobody heard her sobs. Nobody gave her comfort.
Her fist smashed against his jaw with a sickening crack right before Elliot was able to wrap his arms around her waist to pull her away.
"Liv, what the hell are you doing?" He whispered harshly in her ear as the perp slammed back against the double sided window and slid to the floor. "Cragen is right outside…"
The door to the interrogation room flew open to reveal a furious Cragen. "Benson, my office. Now!"
Olivia wrenched herself from Elliot's grip and followed the captain, trying to calm her anger with each step she took. Once they were in the office, Cragen shut the door and stared at her. "Cap, I-"
"Shut up! What you did out there was completely unacceptable and beyond just a rookie mistake. Are you trying to get the department sued for excessive force? We don't even know if that man is our guy…"
"He raped those girls, Cap…"
"You're suspended for the rest of this week as of this second and there will be a write up in your jacket. I suggest you use the time to get your act together by Monday morning or your time in this unit will be coming to an end."
Swallowing hard, her eyes and nose burned with the effort of holding back her tears. She simply gave a quick nod and walked out of the office, gathered her things, and left the precinct.
Nearly twenty minutes later, she entered her apartment, shedding her suit jacket, shoes and socks as she made her way into the kitchen. As she reached into the refrigerator for a cold beer, she mentally chastised herself. She knew she fucked up at work and now she had her first write up since she'd been a cop. What the hell was she thinking? Twisting the cap off the bottle, she brought the cool glass to her lips and took a long drink. The fact that she had gone straight for a beer was a thought pushed to the back of her mind as she eyed her bedroom door. Maybe she could go to sleep and when she woke up, this will all have been a bad dream.
Sighing she ran her fingers through her hair and headed into the bathroom to start a hot shower. A beer or two, a hot shower, and a long nap, she thought, was exactly what she was in the mood for. Pulling her phone out of her pocket, she silenced the ringer, knowing work wouldn't call for the next few days. She would call her mother later to check in, but for now, she just wanted to be alone. Taking another long gulp from the bottle, she leaned in to turn the faucet on and waited for the water to heat up.
As she slipped out of her clothes and drained the rest of the beer, her mind wandered over to what Elliot must now think of her. Would he still even want her as a partner since she flew off the handle so easily? Why did she let that asshole perp get to her so much today? She stepped into the tub and eased her body under the hot spray, letting the water pressure and heat soothe her sore muscles. She'd have plenty of time to analyze everything later, for now she just needed to escape. She closed her eyes and tilted her head back into the stream, allowing her stress to slide down the drain along with the water.
Elliot shoved the cell phone back into his jacket pocket after the third time trying to reach his partner with no answer. As he stepped onto the elevator heading up to her apartment, he wondered if she'd even let him in, both literally and figuratively. He'd watched her in that interrogation room as her expression changed from professional to wild once their potential perp laughed about the rapes. She'd lost her cool and took out her frustrations on the man, but Elliot was confused as to why this particular case got to her so much.
Stepping out of the elevator, he made his way down the hall to her apartment and knocked softly. After a moment without response, he knocked again, this time loudly and persistently.
Olivia grumbled as she wrapped a thick towel around her wet body and padded to the door. Irritated that her shower was interrupted, she quickly looked through the peephole, then flung the door open without thinking.
Standing with his fist poised to knock on the door again, Elliot's jaw dropped at the sight she made before him. "Liv…" His eyes lowered to caress the bare skin of her shoulders and followed the droplets of water that ran down from the ends of her hair to recede into her towel.
"El, I appreciate you checking on me, but I really-" She drew in a sharp breath when she watched his eyes cloud over and felt his warm fingers run across her damp collarbone. "Um, El…"
His fingers trailed up the column of her neck, then his hand gripped her nape. "What happened back there…in interrogation."
Blinking rapidly, Olivia expelled the breath she was holding and took a step back, causing Elliot's hand to slide away from her neck. "Let me…um, I'm a bit underdressed here, El. I'm gonna just…"
"I think you look beautiful…"
She drew her bottom lip in between her teeth as their eyes remained connected. "I'll be right back." As she headed for her bedroom, she looked at him over her shoulder and gave a crooked smile. "There's beer in the fridge, so help yourself."
Drinking in her body as she walked to her room, Elliot groaned was getting increasingly difficult to keep his hands to himself when it came to his partner, but he had to remember that he was there to get her to talk about what happened at work, not to try to seduce her. Throwing one last longing glance at her now closed bedroom door, he sighed and headed for the kitchen, opening beers for both of them.
Moments later, Olivia walked into the living room dressed in a white tank and grey sweatpants. "All right, Stabler, come sit down and give me that beer. Explain yourself…"
"Explain my- Liv, you punched a guy in the face and then got suspended. You're my partner and I …care about you."
Smiling despite herself, she took the beer from his hand and settled into the couch, patting the cushion beside her, then clinked her bottle to his as he sat down. "Thank you, but I can take care of myself, you know?"
"I know. So, you gonna tell me what that was all about? I've never seen you lose it like that, you broke that asshole's nose," he said proudly, smirking then taking a sip from his beer. "Was kinda hot…"
Feeling her cheeks color, Olivia took another long drink before placing the bottle down on the wooden coffee table. Curling a leg under her body, she turned to face him fully. "That guy, Lopez, laughed at me when I described those rapes…"
Placing his beer on the table, Elliot lightly took her hand in his, lacing his fingers loosely. "Liv, that wouldn't have gotten to you before. What was it about this particular perp?"
Running a hand through her damp hair, she held his eyes as she spoke. "Lopez raped those women while they were walking home from class at night. My mother was raped walking home from a night class too. She was buzzed during class -she drank too much even then- and got attacked from behind when she was halfway home." Swallowing thickly, Olivia looked down at their joined hands and squeezed tightly.
"I'm sorry, Liv. Lopez must have really triggered you, but you have to figure out how to leave that stuff behind when you do the job."
She moved to stand, but Elliot gripped her hand tighter. "I'm not saying this to be hurtful. I know you are strong, probably one of the strongest women I know, but we both need to leave our personal baggage behind at work. I sure as hell struggle with it sometimes whenever a kid reminds me of one of my own."
"I know, it's just…I'll work on it, I will." She gave him a small smile and closed her eyes when he reached his hand up to run over the contours of her face.
"I know you will. Are you going to see your mother during your time off at all?"
She nodded and leaned into his palm that was now warm against her cheek. "Yeah…"
"Do you want to talk about it more?" Elliot leaned forward to press a kiss to her temple.
"No," she whispered and tilted her head up towards his face. "Not tonight…thank you, El."
"For what?" He closed his eyes and breathed her in as her lips made gentle contact, rubbing slightly against his and setting his body on fire.
"Just being you…being here for me," she murmured against his mouth, then whimpered as he pulled her flush against him and melted into the kiss.