Olivia paced in her office thinking about her conversation with Tucker. Elliot did it. Of course he did it. That's what he does. That's what he always does. He gets mad about something and attacks before thinking. Now not only will it land him in legal trouble, jeopardize his job but it has the possibility of jeopardizing hers. This is the part of him that has always been hard for her. She admires his passion for those he cares about. It's one of the things that she loves most about him, that he has been her knight and shining armor and always made her feel so safe. But she hates the way he goes about it. That passion quickly turns into violence or an outburst that she finds herself having to clean up. She worked hard for her promotions and position in SVU and he's only been back in her life for two months and it's already causing problems for her professionally.
He calls her throughout the day but she dodges the phone calls unable to speak to him yet. She is afraid of what she might say and she doesn't want to get into a screaming match with him while she's at work. The other side of her is a bit confused about how to handle this now. They used to hurl some pretty hurtful words at each other when they were partners and she doesn't want to do that now that they are in a relationship.
"Hey Liv, I came as soon as I got your call," Barba says shutting the door.
"Thanks for coming," she said fidgeting.
"It's about Elliot?"
"You heard already?"
"Yeah it came to my office pretty quick. Have you talked to Elliot? Has he admitted doing it?"
"He's been calling but I haven't picked up. I just need to know how bad it is first before I call him."
"I don't know yet. It really all depends on Brian," he leveled with her.
Olivia headed back to her desk and put her head in her hands. She took a deep breath trying to steady herself. "I shouldn't have said anything. I know how he gets and I shouldn't have said anything."
"Wanna tell me what happened?" Barba asked sitting on the edge of her desk.
"Brian and I had words because he is pissed that Elliot and I are together," she explained as Barba nodded his head in acknowledgment. "We all worked together at one point back when I first started. Apparently Brian has been harboring some feelings about what Lewis said at trial about me having romantic fantasies about Elliot. I guess he felt like it was a slap in the face since he had been there for me when everything happened and Elliot wasn't."
"Hmm," he said simply.
"So I told Elliot what he said this morning in passing and here we are."
"How did the Elliot situation come up? You still talk to Brian regularly?" he asked trying to put everything together.
"No Brian and I don't talk at all actually since we broke up. He came here to ask me about an issue that came across IAB's desk regarding Hank Voight and saw Elliot's daughters here and put two and two together."
Barba remained quiet and she could see his wheels spinning. Her and Barba had always worked together well because they had both become masters at turning situations around to work out in their favor in the courtroom. She was hoping they could work the same magic with her personal life.
"So he came here about a professional police matter and ended up talking to you about who you are sleeping with?" he asked giving her a look she knew all too well.
"You're going to use it," she said knowingly.
"Damn right. You know just as well as I do that Brian's jacket isn't the cleanest. You have more credibility than he does and it's he said, she said about what he said to you in here. It's assault on Elliot's part no doubt but if I can talk to Brian and let him know that it probably wouldn't look good that he took advantage of an official police investigation to attack your personal life, I think he will back down."
"You are as always a genius."
"I got your back Liv. Watch me work," he winked and was out the door in an instant.
She leaned back in her chair and silently prayed that Barba could work his magic one more time before the warrant was officially issued.
Elliot was full of nervous energy because Olivia wasn't answering his calls. He nursed his knuckles with ice thinking back to how they connected with Brian's jaw and eye. He figured she knew because she was avoiding him and thought about how pissed she probably was. Figures Brian would go back and rat him out, he said to himself. He thought about going to her apartment and waiting for her to get home but he didn't want to risk an argument by pushing her before she was ready to talk so he picked up his phone and sent her a simple text.
I love you.
He couldn't think of anything else. Nothing in her mind would justify his actions but in his mind it was all motivated by his deep love and need to protect her. It was also from feelings inside of him he felt bubbling up again. He was better now. He kept telling himself that he was better than the man he used to be but old habits die hard. Here he was once again reacting with violence when he was really suppressing a deeper feeling that was going on inside of him. He refused to go back to who he once was so he picked up the phone and made an appointment for that afternoon with his therapist. He needed to talk about his last few weeks away before it ate away at him and he made any more dumb decisions. He didn't want to risk ruining his relationship with Olivia.
The next day Olivia waited to hear back from Barba about the warrant and if he got through to Brian. She still hadn't spoken to Elliot except for when she replied to his text message yesterday.
I love you too.
It had only been a day since she had seen him and she missed him so much. She had just gone a month and was able to get through it but now the physical need she had to be near him made her bones ache. It was different when he was undercover and unavailable but now knowing that he was a few miles away at his apartment was almost too much for her to handle.
Her phone then rang and she immediately answered. It was Barba.
It was about 7 in the evening and Elliot decided to walk to the store around the corner from his apartment to have some time to think. He was feeling better after his appointment with his therapist but he still hadn't talked to Olivia and he was starting to get scared. He knew that Olivia was quick to bail on relationships in the past and he just hoped she wouldn't throw him away too.
He slowly approached his apartment and saw her silhouette at his door. They locked eyes and Elliot didn't remember walking up the stairs but just focused on her to make sure that she wasn't a figment of his imagination.
"Hey," she said nervously.
He wanted to hug her but he didn't want to risk that she would retreat in any way.
"Umm can we go inside?"
"Oh yeah. Sorry," he said. She took one of his bags while he used the key to open the door.
He put the bags in the kitchen while she lingered around his living room. She paced around with her arms folded and from her defensive posture he knew he was in for an argument.
He didn't know what to say so he made for small talk instead.
"Do you want something to drink?"
She locked eyes with him and once again their non-verbal communication was in full force. She was pleading with him to explain himself. To say anything that would make the situation better and mend this wall that was suddenly between them.
"I'm sorry," he started. "I went to see Brian yesterday after we talked to ask him what he said to you about Lewis. One thing led to another and I hit him a few times and told him to stay away from you and your squad."
"Hmm," she said as she moved away from him and closer to the window. She needed to create some space between the two of them because as angry as she was she couldn't deny the effect that his physical proximity had on her, has always had on her.
"So you feel that was the right thing to do?" she asked.
"No that's why I apologized," he replied in a clipped tone.
"So why did you do it?"
"I was angry that he threw Lewis in your face. After what he di—after what he put you through. That was a shitty thing to do. How could he claim that he loved you and say something like that?" He was getting angry all over again.
"You're right. It was a shitty thing to do. But I said what I had to say to him and I was done with it. Elliot you can't go around beating up every person that mentions Lewis or says something crazy to me. You think Brian is the first person that has thrown Lewis in my face?" she yelled.
"No but he was there. He knows better than anyone else, better than me what you went through. For him of all people to say it…it's just wrong," he choked out.
"Yeah it is but what you did was reckless and stupid. He works for IAB Elliot! Do you know how much trouble your stunt got me in?"
He popped up from the couch and moved over to her.
"You got in trouble?" he asked.
"Of course I did!" she yelled. "And so did you. Tucker tried to issue a warrant for your arrest!"
He furrowed his brow trying to understand.
"Yeah. Barba was able to stop it from going through. Apparently Brian wasn't the one who was pushing for the arrest, Tucker was. He asked Brian how he got the bruises and after pulling it out of him he admitted it was you. But he refuses to press charges and since there weren't any witnesses, Barba was able to stop the warrant and you won't be charged," she explained.
"Oh?! Elliot. Tucker came to see me and told me that I need to take the Lieutenant's exam but my promotion could be frowned upon at 1PP once word got out that my past and present lovers were duking it out in the parking lot. You can't do this Elliot! You told me you were working on your anger," she screamed.
"I am, I swear to God I am," he said pleadingly.
"Then work faster because I am not interested in building a life with Throwback Stabler. He was sometimes hard to work with and I can only imagine what he was like to live with. It's not what I want around me or my son."
She was breathing fast and trying to calm herself down. She hadn't planned to yell at him but the more she talked the more pissed she got.
"You're right. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry Liv," he said. He moved closer to her and carefully reached out to pull her in his arms. She kept her arms by her side initially but once she felt herself against his solid frame, smelled him and saw the sincerity in his eyes she soon wrapped her arms around him. They melted into each other and she felt her anger start to fade and be replaced with forgiveness.
"I went to see my therapist yesterday after the altercation with Brian," he said while still hugging her. She pulled back and looked him in the eyes waiting for more. He recognized her surprise and continued. "I told you I really am trying to do better Liv. He allowed me to see that what I did to Brian wasn't just about what he said but was more about some things that happened recently."
She took his hand and led him over to the couch so they could sit and talk. She wanted to hear about his Undercover assignment and was a little disappointed in herself that she didn't push the issue yesterday when it was obvious that he didn't want to talk about it.
"What happened?" she asked calmly.
He squeezed her hand and began to rub back and forth.
"The undercover assignment took longer than we thought because there were some issues with getting the guy to trust us. The night that we made the final sting, Munez's 18 year old daughter was there. None of us knew. It wasn't in the plans or anything."
Olivia closed her eyes knowing where this story was going.
"When the shots broke out she grabbed a gun and started shooting too. Johnson was right next to me. I hesitated for a brief second and he took the shot. He killed her."
"It made you think about Jenna?" she asked.
He didn't answer but kept going with the story. "Once the dust settled we all huddled up together and noticed that Simmons was missing. With all the gunfire going back and forth we didn't know he got hit…..he died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital."
Olivia gasped and leaned in to lay her head on his shoulder.
"I took care of the notifications. Notified Simmons' wife. He had two kids. 12 and 14. Then I went to notify the mom of Munez's daughter. They weren't together anymore and she was trying to get her daughter away from her father's dangerous lifestyle but she didn't listen. She was in love with the money and the perks apparently. When we told her she broke down. I told her I knew it must be hard. She asked me how could I possibly know what she's going through and that I've never lost a child. I didn't answer her. Just let her continue to cry."
"El I'm sorry. I know that had to be hard for you considering what happened with Kathleen."
"Yeah it was. Simmons was my friend. Johnson took it pretty hard too. Then the reminder of Kathleen. It was just a lot and I guess I didn't deal with it as well as I thought I did," he said leaning his forehead against hers on his shoulder. "I'm sorry baby I'm going to get it together I promise," he whispered.
"El. You know how I know what you and I have is different from anything I've ever experienced before?"
He was taken aback at the sudden change of pace.
"Casey told me that my instinct when things get bad is to run. And she's right. I run away the second something doesn't feel right or seems too hard. But with you," she raised her head up and looked right into his ice blue eyes "I ran to you. Not away from you. Don't rush yourself or feel like you have to be something you are not. I love the fact that you protect me because no one else has. It's the reason I feel so safe with you and trust you with my life and the life of everyone important to me including my son. I just need you to find a way to do it in an orderly fashion," she added with a smile.
He smiled back and pressed his lips to hers softly.
"You see why I didn't come back to you sooner? I was worried that I would do something stupid like this because I wasn't ready yet."
"Yeah but Elliot those triggers aren't going to go away especially not with what we do for a living. We just have to work on your reactions to them." She rubbed his ear and the back of his neck as he relaxed into her touch with his forehead still leaned against hers.
"I'll apologize to Brian. Make it right."
"Well I wouldn't go that far. He is still a dick." They both laughed. "But I'm glad he wouldn't press charges. Made it a lot easier. I think you owe Barba a steak dinner though."
"Consider it done."
"I'm sorry about Simmons, the girl, all of it. I'm sorry you had to go through that."
"Thanks and thank you for forgiving me."
They sat a few more moments lying on the couch stealing a few kisses here and there.
"Hey. I mentioned to Eric a few weeks ago that he and his fiancé should come down to New York and we could go on a double date. We didn't know when he would have the chance to do it but with losing Simmons and all I guess he's ready to take some time away now more than ever."
She smiled at the mention of Eric and appreciated their friendship. She took notice of how he called him Eric when discussing something personal and Johnson when they talked about work. It was a cop trait they all adopted subconsciously.
"I think that's a great idea. Let me know when."
"His fiancé has been having a tough time getting acclimated to the long hours and him being away. He's worried they won't make it. I told him we were well versed in the trials and tribulations of cop relationships so we would help them out," he said jokingly.
"Trials and tribulations hunh?" she laughed.
"After his help with my infamous surprise I owe him. So anything he needs. He's a good guy and I appreciate him looking out for you. It's a tough job. The man deserves a medal," she teased.
"Haha. So ummm not to state the obvious but we just had our first fight," he said leaning in to her kissing her neck.
"Not to state the more obvious but we've had hundreds of fights over the years," she countered but moved her neck to give him better access.
"Well this is our first fight since we've been in a relationship."
"Ahh good point. It was."
"So you know what that means right?" he asked taking her shirt out of her jeans and placing his hands underneath to touch her warm skin. She moaned at his touch.
"We've made up. So now it's time for make up sex."
"Well I am still a little mad at you," she said removing her shirt with a gleam in her eye to let him know she was just joking.
He gently pushed her back down on the couch and laid on top of her.
"Don't worry baby. Ill make it up to you."