Chapter 11

Olivia returned to her apartment to find Brian lying on her couch. Her eyes were still bloodshot, and Brian instantly noticed something was wrong.

"What's wrong, Liv? You look like you've been crying."

Brian immediately sat and motioned for her to join him. Olivia hung her jacket on the chair and joined her fiancé on the couch. She didn't say a word; she just fell into Brian's chest. Brian wrapped his arms around Olivia, cradling her tight.

"Liv, tell me what's wrong," he whispered after some time of holding her. "What did Elliot do to you? If he hurt you, I'll kill him." He slowly rubbed her back in a circular motion.

"Elliot did nothing to me," she mouthed dryly. She started to cry harder. How could Brian say such horrible words? Then she reminded herself, he didn't know. It wasn't his fault.

"Babe, what is it? Why are you so upset? I can only assume it has something to do with Elliot. He's who you told me you were going to see. If he didn't hurt you, then what happened?" He stroked her hair. She knew that he was only trying to help, but she just was having a hard time forming the words to explain what had happened. By saying it out loud, would only make the situation more real.

She wiped away her tears and looked into Brian Cassidy's handsome eyes.

"Brian, Elliot's dying. He has leukemia. He wanted to see me to say goodbye…and he made me promise not to ever come looking for him again, or to tell anyone…his wife and kids don't know yet, either; and he made me promise not to tell them because he doesn't want them to see him suffer." It was a mouthful. Now that she had said it out loud for the first time, suddenly it had become a living reality. She coughed and phlegm sat in the back of her throat. She swallowed.

"That's horrible!" Brian reacted with complete shock.

"I don't know what to do," Olivia released an exasperating sigh. "I can't just let him die. That's not right. I feel like I need to do something."

Brian continued to comfort her, rubbing her shoulders.

"You can't save everyone, honey. If Elliot doesn't want you to tell his family, then you've got to respect his wishes. It's the right thing to do."

"Then why does it feel so wrong?" she shot back. "How is it the right thing to just sit here and let my former partner, my best friend, die? He can get treatment and live! I can't do this, Brian. I can't live with myself!"

Brian took her hand and placed his hand on her cheek. His hands were so warm. Her body had lost all its heat as the moisture exited her eyes.

He pecked her forehead and said, "Sweetheart, you can't play God. I know you want to, but it's out of your control. Elliot seems to have made up his mind, and there's nothing you can do."

"I can call his wife or his daughter," Olivia insisted.

"You could," Brian said and continued, "but then Elliot might never forgive you. Do you want that? And even if he does receive treatment, what if he doesn't make it through? Leukemia is serious business, and even those who do receive treatment don't always survive. Oftentimes the treatments are more painful than the disease itself. Besides, talking to his wife or his daughter isn't necessarily going to convince him to get treatment. It's just going to cause his family more stress."

Olivia knew Brian had a point, but she knew that if she told Kathleen or Kathy about Elliot's condition, the chances were they'd confront him. He'd realize that he had a family worth fighting for. Then, he'd decide to get treatment. At least, that's what she'd hope the outcome would be.

"You speak like you're talking from personal experience," Olivia whispered, acknowledging Brian's apparent insight of the disease.

He nodded. "That's because I do. My mother has battled the disease for eleven years now. I found out a year after I left SVU. She's been through so many treatments."

"And she's still alive," Olivia said in shock. She'd had no idea about Cassidy's mother.

"She is. She's been in remission for five years now. It wasn't an easy battle for her, and she always lives in fear of relapsing. Plus, when she was taking the treatments, she made several friends who were also getting the same treatments. Some didn't make it."

Olivia understood where Brian was coming from. Even if Elliot could be convinced to take the treatments, he might not survive. They might just prolong his pain. Nonetheless, it would give him a chance to see his son grow up. Eli would get a chance to know his father. Maureen would speak to him again, and Elliot could meet his grandchild when he or she is born. Olivia just couldn't see herself sitting this one out.

"Brian, I know you have a point, but your mother…she's a success story and Elliot's quite a bit younger than your mother."

"That he may be, but none of it matters. This is Elliot's life, and I know you were partners and good friends. Liv, you've got to let him go. It's just not right for you to go against his wishes."

She knew that Brian was right. If she did break her promise, Elliot would resent her. Elliot's whole purpose of finding her again was to make things right between the former partners. She needed to respect that and leave it at that. She wanted her final encounter with Elliot Stabler to be a good one, not one where he resented her. What if Olivia called Kathy, and she convinced Elliot to take treatment. Elliot took the treatment, and it was more painful than the actual disease. He would hate Olivia, and that's the last thing she wanted.

"You're right," she mouthed. "I…I'll let him go."

She knew this was going to be the hardest thing she'd ever had to do in her life.

"Liv, sweetie, I know this isn't going to be easy, but I'm here for you…I love you."

"I love you too," she whispered and kissed him on the forehead. She realized that was the first time she had officially told Brian Cassidy that she loved him.

They shared a kiss on the lips.

"So, you're still set on wanting to wait until marriage?" he whispered in her ear.

She slapped him playfully across the face. She said with a smile, "You horny bastard." She kissed him on the cheek where she had slapped him.

"That didn't answer my question," he moaned. "And I'm sorry I'm so horny, but it's not every day I get to be around such a beautiful woman who keeps denying me of all sexual favors. I can't help but wonder if she doesn't find me attractive anymore because of my wounds."

"Well, that's certainly not true," she said. She stroked his chin. "If that were the case, I certainly wouldn't have agreed to marry you."

"I don't know…"

"In fact," she continued, seductively, "I happen to find you sexier with bandages."

She ran her hands under his shirt, gently hovering over his bandages. Their lips met and it wasn't long before they were in the bedroom.

That night was the first time either of them had made unprotected love.