A/N: A new one…perhaps…

DISCLAIMER: Dick Wolf owns SVU and all related characters. TStabler owns the following story.

"Can I ask you something?" Alex questioned, a Bloody Mary in her hand. She stirred the drink with a celery stalk and tilted her head.

Olivia downed another shot of whiskey. "You just did," she said, her voice breathy.

"Funny," Alex quipped. "Seriously. I've been meaning to ask you for a long time, I just...didn't know how."

Olivia nodded as she signaled the waiter for another shot. "Go ahead," she sighed.

"When you and Kathy were in that crash…" Alex took a breath and tried to form the question on her tongue. "Why did you…you went through a lot of trouble to…"

"Are you honestly asking me why I saved her life?" Olivia fumed. "She's my partner's wife!"

"She was until today," Alex told her. "And yes." She took a sip of her drink, then eyed Olivia. "You know it would have been a lot easier for you if…"

Olivia snapped, then. "Alex!" she yelled. "She was Elliot's wife! Carrying his child! He's my best friend! Of course I was going to do everything I could to save her!

Alex grinned. "You saved her life because you love him. You did it for him, not her. Am I right?"

Olivia froze, then cleared her throat. "I don't know why you think…"

"You're in love with him, Olivia," Alex interrupted. "Aren't you?" She took another long sip of her drink and scoffed. "Of course. You are, you always have been, and I just think…maybe if she didn't exactly pull through…"

"You think her death would have meant my chance to be with him?" Olivia narrowed her eyes and snorted.

Alex stared at Olivia for a long moment. "Something like that."

Olivia paled. "He would have been devastated! The last thing he would have done is hop into bed with me, Alex!" she said. She nodded as the waiter put two full shot glasses down in front of her. She lifted one to her lips and swallowed hard. "It's bad enough I have to stay away from him now. If he had to deal with her death back then…knowing I was there and could have stopped it…he would have hated me…I couldn't handle…"

"Why do you have to stay away from him?" Alex butted in, chomping down on the celery from her drink. "You don't think he needs you now, more than he ever has?"

Olivia closed her eyes and sighed. "His wife just left him, Alex. He's trying to make sense of things, deal with it, and he doesn't need me there forcing him to talk about it."

"You already tried to talk to him about it, didn't you?" Alex asked, her face coming to a firm point as her lips pursed.

Nodding, Olivia choked back her last shot. She made a face and shook her head as she swallowed. "Shit, that one was strong," she mumbled, then she looked up at Alex. "He's hurting, Al. It's bad, I mean...I just…I asked him if he needed anything and he told me…he yelled at me. He said to stay out of it, that it was none of my business, and then he left. Walked away."

Alex reached across the table for her friend's hand, and flinched in hurt when Olivia pulled away. "He just left you to handle the case by yourself?"

Olivia bit her lip and shoved her hands in her pockets. "Yeah," she whispered. "He…he blames me for this. He does, I know it. I'm an idiot, Al. If I would have stayed out of it the first time, let Kathy walk away five years ago, he wouldn't have to…"

"Get up," Alex spat. "Come on, get up. We're leaving."

Olivia's eyes widened. "What? Can I get a cup of coffee first? I don't think I'm in any…I can't drive, Alex," she grumbled as she rubbed her eyes. "There's two of you."

"I'm driving," the blonde hissed, pulling Olivia up by the arm. "Your car will be fine here for a few hours. He can drive you back for it in the…"

"He?" Olivia shook her head. "Oh, no, Alex. No way. He doesn't want me there, he told me…"

"He said things he didn't mean," Alex noted, dragging Olivia across the bar floor to the door. "You both did. Now, let's go."

Olivia yanked her arm away from Alex. "He meant it!" she yelled. "God, why can't you leave this alone?"

"You're miserable without him," Alex said softly. "And I'm miserable when you're miserable."

Rolling her eyes, Olivia said, "I'm not miserable without…"

"He was gone for months dealing with what happened last year, Olivia," Alex barked. "You were self-destructive the whole time. You were worrying about him every minute, wondering if he was okay, and you were fucking miserable. Don't tell me you weren't." She brushed her blonde hair back. "He's home, he's with you again at work, back in your life, and you're smiling again. You're just getting around to being yourself again, because he's back, and now this happened, and… I'm not letting him push you away again because you lose yourself without him, and I can't lose you again."

"Alex?" Olivia's face screwed up in confusion. "What the hell are you talking about?"

Alex shook her head, grabbed Olivia's wrist, and pulled her through the bar's front doors.


She turned at the sound of the front door creaking behind her. She looked up at him, held his gaze for a moment, then turned back to face the street. "I'll leave when I can remember which way I have to go," she said to him. "And...what street I live on."

"Liv," Elliot said softly, closing the door and sitting beside her, "What are you doing here?"

"I don't really remember," she said, blinking.

He squinted. "How long have you been out here?"

She looked down at her watch, narrowed her eyes, then said, "Half an hour. Or three days. I'm not exactly…sure…"

"Why didn't you come in?" he asked, resting his elbows on his knees. "You have a key. Alex called and told me you were…"

Olivia snorted. "Alex. Good old Alex. She needs to learn to keep her ten thousand dollar nose out of things that don't concern her," she complained.

"Are you…on honey, you're shitfaced," he said, trying to hide the chuckle.

She nodded and flattened her smile. She shrugged and said, "Alex took me to O'Malley's after work, and I guess…well you know what they say about whiskey sours. You can't have just one."

"That's potato chips." He brushed her hair back and pulled her a bit closer. "Why did she bring you here?"

She shivered and pulled away from him, feeling herself start to react to his touch and the fact he had called her "honey." She cleared her throat and said, "She thought I needed to talk to you, and I guess she thinks if I'm drunk enough I'll be totally honest with you. I told her you hated me and it was stupid, but…"

"Hate you?" he snapped. "Liv, why would…oh. Oh, my God, Liv." He wrapped his hand around hers. "Before…I'm sorry, I…when you asked I…I just got off the phone Kathy. She's keeping the kids with her, at her mother's, until this is all finalized. I had plans with them this weekend, and I was pissed off and I…" he stopped, he closed his eyes. "I don't hate you. I could never hate you."

She sniffled, her bottom lip shook, and she began to bounce slightly on the stoop. "This is my fault, El," she whispered. "All of it. She's gone because of me, isn't she?"

"Kathy left me, Liv, how is that your fault?" He moved closer to her, pulling her to him again, and this time she didn't pull away.

She couldn't answer him, she just held on as she began to cry, her head buried in his chest. She curled her fingers around his shirt and twisted, unable to control how badly she needed him.

"Liv, come on, tell me the truth. What's…" but he didn't get to finish his question.

The blast pushed them off of the stoop, sending them both flying across the street. The flames engulfed the door, the awning, the rails, and they were reaching out of the front windows. The smoke filled the air and filtered up to the purpling night sky.

He groaned as he rolled over, coughing and trying to lift himself up. "Liv…" he whispered, a moan, blinking his eyes open. He turned his head slowly, letting out another cough, and saw her lying next to him, her hands still twisted in the side of his shirt. "Liv?"

She wheezed as she tried to sit up, shuffling the brick and mortar around as she moved. "I'm okay," she said with a nod, looking up at him.

He brushed the dust and dirt off of her shoulders and arms, his fingers shaking as he grew closer to her chest, her stomach. "Oh, my God," he breathed.

Her hands unfurled and grazed over his chest, her eyes wandered over him in a fast panic. "Oh, my God," she gasped, repeating him, looking for any sign of injury.

"I'm fine," he told her, pulling her into his arms. "I'm fine." His chest pressed against hers, he felt both of their hearts pounding hard and fast. He held her for a moment, relieved, then pushed her away. He cupped her face and looked into her eyes. "Are you sure you're…"

She nodded. "I'm okay. I'm sure it'll hurt in the morning, but…"

He cut her off, his lips on hers. His hands wound in her hair, he dragged them through her locks, he moaned softly every time his mouth moved against hers. He drank her in, consumed her, possessed her. He wanted everything from her, he took it, and then released her.

She searched his eyes, confused and shocked, but she said nothing. She simply nodded again, then turned her head to look at the burning house across the street. "El?"

He pressed her head down against his chest and held her tight. His eyes closed as he tried to breathe. The sirens blaring in the distance weren't a comfort to him, but her being in his arms was. "I don't know, Liv," he said, an answer to the question she had tried to ask. He kept her tight against his heaving chest, knowing that life had changed in every possible way in one night.

In the blink of an eye.

A/N: Hmmm?