A/N: A new one, marking my 100th SVU story! Hope it's epic enough to do it justice.
DISCLAIMER: Dick Wolf owns SVU and its characters. TStabler© owns the narrative, dialogue and plot of this story
She answers the phone, her usual response is blurted out robotically. "Benson."
"What are you wearing?"
She smirks, then leans back in her rolling chair. "You saw me before I left the house," she says. "I haven't changed."
She can hear the light slapping sounds that seem distant, yet too close. She lowers her voice. "What are you doing?"
"Thinking about you."
She bites her lip. "Yeah?" She chuckles to herself as she thinks. In the last few months, everything she had already loved about him shifted and changed a bit, pulling her down deeper into the dark spiral of her obsession with him.
"I'm always thinking about you when I'm not with you."
His words make her wet, she shifts in her seat. "You know you shouldn't have called me at work, right?" she asks, looking around at the busy people within earshot. She tries not to moan as she realizes what's happening. It took years for them to get here, something always stood in their way. She finally took his bait, let him hook her, and now, when he's with her, he acts more like a teenager than a man barreling toward fifty. She loves it.
"I needed to hear your voice."
She lets his words land, it's a gravelly confession, and there's a hidden grunt in his voice. "Why?" she asks. She knows him well, and she is aware that just thinking about her can have him blowing his gasket in mere minutes, if he focuses. She's witnessed it before, and will again, and she laughs. "What do you want me to say?"
"Just...tell me you love me. Once."
She knows what he's doing now, and she wishes that, like him, she was at home instead of at work. She wishes she was in front of him, watching, helping, feeling, tasting. She looks across her desk at her oblivious partner, lowers her voice, and her eyes narrow with the lustful thought of what is about to happen. "I love you," she says.
"Oh, fuck, yes!"
She hears a harsher grunt and a low long moan, and she grins as she leans back in her chair. "Was that for me?" she asks, her tone more seductive than she planned. It makes the man in the desk before her look up and raise an eyebrow, but she shakes her head at him.
"Always. When are you coming home?"
She looks around and says, "I should be home by..." But the slam of Cragen's door shuts her up. "Shit," she spits, sitting up. "You know that sound. I gotta go. I'll...I'll call you later." She can't help but smile when his last words hit her ear through the phone. "I love you, too, El," she whispers. She hangs up the phone and turns around, clicking her pen incessantly. "Problem, Cap?"
"No one goes anywhere," Cragen orders. "No one does anything, no one leaves this room without my say-so." He points a finger. "Benson! Go down to Warner, get the envelope from her. Don't open it, don't ask questions, don't say anything to her, just get the envelope and bring it back up here!"
Fin raises both eyebrows as he fold his arms. "We're on lock-down? For what?"
Cragen doesn't answer, and instead he points to Olivia again. "Move it, Benson!"
Olivia stands, her heart pounding now. "Who?"
Cragen shakes his head. "Not now, Benson. Just do what you're told." He runs a hand over his face as he kicks the wall to his right. "And for fuck's sake, tell me one of you can still get in touch with Stabler!"
"What?" Nick Amaro rises to his feet. "Why?"
Cragen seems to snarl at Nick. "You know why," he sneers. "Stabler is the only one who can work this case."
Olivia's stomach flips as she takes a look around the room, and she realizes. "Oh, my God," she gasps. "Rollins? How? When?"
"Morgue, Benson!" Cragen yells. "Now!"
Jumping, Olivia moves. She walks out of the squad room, and she knows that shit is gonna hit the fan. Needing to warn him, she pulls her cell phone out of her pocket, and she dials as she hits the call-button for the elevator. "Hey, it's me. No! Keep your pants on, baby. I'm calling because...I know the house phone is ringing. I'm trying to tell you...Cragen is gonna...El?" She huffs as she walks onto the lift and she punches the button for the ground level. "Shit."
She redials his number, and he answers it with a short curse. "I tried to tell you," she says rolling her eyes. "It's okay. No, I...I can't. Cragen put us all on lock-down. Someone in the unit." She hears him shifting and she hears the jingle of keys. "I guess I...I will see you in a few minutes. Oh, and El? No one here knows, like I promised." She closes her eyes as she hears him say, for the last time in what could be days, the words she's grown so used to hearing. "I love you, too."
Melinda Warner gives Olivia a grim look as the doors slide open further. "Michael?" she asks.
"Yeah," Olivia says, a lie, but one she's been telling for months. "This is gonna be a long one, huh?" She presses her lips together for a moment, then asks, "It's you and me, Mel. How did it happen?"
Warner squints and leads Olivia into an exam room. "You know, then?"
"I figured it out," Olivia shrugs. "Was she..."
"If she wasn't, they would have called in Homicide," Melinda interrupts. "I can't tell you the details, and I can't show you the body." She hands Olivia a brown envelope. "Your unit's on lock-down, tenfold. I heard they're bringing in feds for this one."
Olivia slaps the brown paper against her other hand lightly, nervously. "So the prime suspect has to be someone else in the..."
"I can't tell you," Melinda repeats. She gets a little closer and lowers her gaze to her hand. She makes a fist and waves it up and down a bit, earning a gasp from Olivia. "I didn't tell you anything."
"Of course, not," Olivia returns. She grips the envelope tighter and walks out of the room, heading toward the elevator again, as her mind churns. She goes through the day's events, and she tries to remember who went where, if she saw anyone leave alone, or with Rollins. She bites her lip so hard she draws blood, but she doesn't care. She doesn't even feel it.
She barely hears the ding as the lift stops, and she walks off of it robotically. She bypasses the hallway full of jabbering cops, and she turns into the squad room, heading undeterred toward Cragen's office. She knocks, and is startled when the door flies open while her hand is still in the air.
"In," Cragen snaps. "Sit."
"Please?" Her attempt at lightening the mood fails, and she clears her throat as she slips into a chair. "Cap, I know we're not allowed to..."
"You were the only one who wasn't with her at all," Cragen says, folding his arms. "Not in the last two days. I know you had nothing to do with this, but I can't legally let you work this, so please, don't ask me."
She licks her lips, the metallic taste of the blood left on them makes her cringe. "Did you...did you get in touch with...him?"
Cragen eyes her for a moment. "You can say his name, Olivia. Elliot. Yes, I did, and he's on his way. I can't let you work this with him. I'm sorry."
"Did I ask you to?" she asks, narrowing her eyes.
"You want to, I know you," Cragen says, and he shakes his head. "I know what you're thinking."
"Are you psychic now?" she quips. "I have a mountain of paperwork on my desk. He can hack away at this with the cast of The Jersey Shore, for all I care, Cap. He's not my partner anymore." She sits back, then she smirks. "You want me to work it with him, don't you?"
Cragen takes a breath, and instead of answering, he holds his hand out. "Envelope?"
"You do, don't you?" she questions, slapping the envelope into her captain's hand. "If you talk to Tucker or Chief..."
"Paperwork," Cragen says, nodding toward the door. "You...you shouldn't be in here when I open this."
Olivia blinks, then stands. "I'd be objective, Cap," she defends. "I didn't know her that well. I tried...very hard to keep things..."
"I know," Cragen says sadly. "You kept her at arm's length. You kept Amaro even further away from you. For once...it looks like that was smart."
She shakes her head and turns the doorknob, and she leaves him alone in his office. As she heads toward her desk, she zeroes in on the faces of the men in the room. She tries to discern guilt, anxiety, but all she sees written on every expression is concern and anger.
She sighs as she sits at her desk, and she picks up a gold pen and a file folder. Flipping it open, she sits back, and as she reads it, she begins to click the pen, over and over again.
"That's really fucking annoying, Benson," a voice behind her says. It sounds playful, though, and it makes her turn with wide eyes.
Munch, Fin, several uniformed officers, and Nick Amaro all stare, and they wait.
She tosses her file down on the desk. "Do something about it, Stabler," she quips, standing.
And because it's expected, because they know it's what everyone is waiting for, they close the gap between them, and they hug. "I missed you," she whispers, the tears in her eyes very real despite the charade. It's been so long since she's seen him in the squad room, and knowing that he will be working a case on her turf without her hurts.
He inhales deeply as he buries his head in her neck, and he squeezes a bit a tighter. "God, I missed you, too," he says, loud enough for everyone to hear. Then he whispers, "I love you."
She pulls away from him, knowing the hug is lingering and people will ask questions she isn't ready to answer. She folds her arms and steps back, watching as the crew he left behind steps up to him, shakes his hand, and welcomes him home. She gnaws on the inside of her cheek, wondering how long it will be until someone notices the ring on his left hand is different, until someone notices the kick in his step, until someone notices that when Elliot's around, she doesn't call 'Michael' or even talk about him, until someone notices the truth.
Amaro interrupts her worries, though. "So, that's him?"
She nods. "That's Elliot Stabler," she says. And she turns to face him. "That's the guy that's gonna make the asshole who did this regret the day he was born. El's been known to make grown men cry. Usually it's because he's broken their arms or..."
"I get it," Amaro says, rolling his shoulders. "When did he go fed?"
"A while ago," she says, proud. "Someone made him an offer he couldn't refuse."
"Cute," Amaro snorts. "Is he really...what everyone around here says he is?"
"He's worse," she returns as she raises an eyebrow, and she thinks she sees the barest flash of fear cross over his face. She turns to Elliot, and she smiles at him.
He winks at her, then heads for Cragen's office. "Cap?" he calls, knocking and pushing the door open. "You called?"
Cragen sighs in relief as he stands and shakes Elliot's hand. "Thanks for coming down here. How have you been?"
"Can't complain," he says, sitting. "Things kinda fell apart around here, though, huh?"
"Don't start with me," Cragen warns, then he hands him the envelope. "Read it. And...if you can...get Olivia alone. Tell her everything."
Elliot raises an eyebrow. "What? Why? I thought you guys were on lock..."
"I can't tell her anything," Cragen interrupts. "I can't put her on the case. But she needs to know about this. About all of it."
Elliot bites his lip, then scratches his head. His new job gives him the authority to fill her in, but it also gives him more rules and harsher penalties for breaking them. "Only if, when she's away from the squad room, you consider her a Marsh..."
"Done," Cragen says, nodding. "Whatever you need. Just...I know you didn't know her, Elliot, but for the last six months, Amanda Rollins was one of us. She was a part of this family."
"And you think the son of a bitch who raped and killed her is, too?" Elliot asks, scanning the document in his hands. He looks up to ask a question, but he stops. It's then that he sees the real fear in Cragen's eyes. "What? What's that look for?"
"Don't let Olivia out of your sight," Cragen says firmly. "If this prick is someone in the unit...he might go after..."
"Liv," Elliot whispers, his eyes trying to bore a hole through the door. "I won't leave her alone. Not for a second. I promise." He doesn't look back at Cragen as he leaves the room, and he heads toward Olivia with fire in his eyes and power in his steps. "You," he snaps, "Are coming with me."
She raises both eyebrows and says, "Yes, Sir." She grabs her jacket and follows him, knowing everyone's already wondering about them. She only hopes she can come up with convincing answers before the truth comes out.
A/N: What is Elliot's new job? What are Olivia and Elliot hiding? Who killed Rollins? IF YOU ARE READING THIS, THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME THE SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT TO WRITE. MY 100th FIC IS DEDICATED TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!