Just Like Old Times
Olivia paced back and forth in her apartment the next morning instead of getting dressed for work. She had three different outfits chosen and was disgusted that all of a sudden her wardrobe meant so much to her. She knew why, it was because of Elliot. They were supposed to be staking out Jesse Minor today after there were some red flags that came up in his background check. She was supposed to be at the station in 30 minutes and she wasn't even dressed yet.
"Unbelievable," she mumbled to herself when she looked at herself in the mirror. Noah was drinking a bottle sitting on her bed and stopped every now and then to laugh at his mom. Olivia finally settled on an outfit and took Noah to the living room to wait for Lucy who was running a little late. After texting Fin to tell him she may be a little late for their morning meeting before the stakeout she proceeded to clean up a little while she waited for her.
When there was a knock on the door, Olivia ran to open it without looking in the peephole assuming it was Lucy. She was surprised to find Elliot at her door with two coffees.
"What are you doing here?"
"I came by to pick you up. Here, I assume you still like coffee," he said handing her the cup.
"Can I come in?"
"Uhh..," Olivia hesitated. She didn't want Elliot meeting Noah and she thought being inside her house was just a bit too intimate for where they were in their dealings right now.
"Hey Olivia, sorry I'm running late," Lucy said rushing down the hall and into the apartment. Her timing was perfect.
"No worries. Ill see you later," Olivia said as she ushered Elliot to the elevator.
In the elevator she didn't say anything and stayed on the opposite side from him. Her mind was going a mile a minute. He almost saw Noah and she didn't know what if anything she wanted him to know about her life. She also couldn't believe he just showed up like everything was back to normal. She agreed to let him work on the case because he made a good point that even after everything they had gone through she still trusted him with her life.
Elliot just stared at Olivia as they rode down in the elevator willing her to make eye contact with him. He felt that familiar magnetic charge between them and he shook his head trying to reset himself. He wondered if she felt it too. He was shocked to see he felt the attraction to her stronger than he ever did before. It was like they hadn't missed a beat.
As they finally made it to the first floor Elliot motioned for Olivia to head out of the door first.
"Ill drive," he stated matter of factly.
"No thanks, we are doing the stakeout in my car so I may as well drive or you can take your car too."
"Does it make sense for both of us to drive to the same destination?"
"I don't feel like arguing with you. We are already running late, either get in my car or drive your own."
"Yes boss," he said as he opened the door to the passenger seat.
The drive over was very quiet and he kept taking peeks in her direction to see if she would spark up a conversation but he could tell she was deep in thought. It was just ten minutes to the station and it seemed that for once there wasn't crazy traffic so they were there in no time.
Walking into the squadroom the team was already waiting for Olivia to get there to brief them on everything. Elliot walked a few steps behind her but almost everyone was paying attention to the body language between the two of them. Elliot stayed back with the rest of the officers while Olivia stood front and center. Barba walked in just as she was getting started.
"Ok everybody sorry I'm a little late. Let's get to it. Jesse Minor, 28 years old works as a janitor at a popular burger place right off campus. We checked his background and he has prior arrests for attempted rape and one prior conviction for aggravated assault. Fin?" Olivia handed it over to Fin as he went into more detail about Jesse's home life and his possible connection to the victims. She kept her eyes squarely on Fin as he talked. She was too scared to steal a glance at Elliot but had a feeling he was watching her.
Once Fin wrapped up, Amaro took over and gave details into possible motives and psychological issues.
"Today we will sit on the suspect and see what we can find out. Hopefully we will have this guy within the next 48 hours. All the evidence right now is circumstantial and I'm sure our esteemed ADA would like a little more to go on," she stated as she and Barba exchanged a small smile. "Everyone assigned to keeping an eye on the campus make sure you are in touch with the other officers and switching out shifts appropriately. I don't want there to be one minute that we don't have a strong presence on that campus. Thanks guys."
As the meeting adjourned Elliot followed Olivia as she went in her office to collect a few more things before they headed out. Barba met them both inside.
"I don't think we've met before. Rafael Barba, ADA."
"Elliot Stabler," he reached out and shook his hand.
"Ahh Stabler. Your reputation precedes you."
"Oh well don't believe everything you hear," Elliot said a little concerned at what Barba may have heard.
"All good things. The legendary Benson and Stabler was the talk of the District Attorney's office when I came on board. Glad to see you will be helping us out with this one. Sorry to hear about your daughter."
Elliot stopped in his tracks. "Umm. Thank you."
"I know it's got to be tough to lose a friend in such a manner but Olivia said she's a tough cookie."
He realized then that Barba was talking about Lizzie and not Kathleen and tried to recover.
"Oh yeah Lizzie. She is. She's doing much better than I would be under the circumstances."
Olivia caught that he seemed to be a little rattled at Barba's line of questioning but couldn't figure out why.
"We are on our way out Barba. Ill call you if we have anything.""Sounds good to me," he responded noticing the tension between the two.
The car ride to Minor's apartment building was more of the same awkward silence. Once parked in front, they both fidgeted and Olivia looked everywhere but at Elliot in the passenger side. She tried very hard to focus on the apartment building and nothing else but there wasn't much movement. She texted Fin and Amaro to verify that he hadn't gone to work or left and went somewhere else. They assured her that he was still inside.
"This is odd that he hasn't left yet," Olivia said looking at her watch.
"Liv, we've only been sitting out here ten minutes."
"I know that but he has to be at work soon. I just thought he would've left by now."
"He will be out soon enough. So….just like old times hunh?"
"Yeah I guess," she said not offering up much more.
They passed a few more minutes not saying much to each other. Elliot decided to call Lizzie and check on her.
"Hey honey you ok?"
"I'm fine dad. I'm staying at the apartment, the detail is outside, everything is fine," Lizzie responded annoyed.
"Ok just checking. I love you."
"I love you too."
The call between Lizzie and Elliot softened Olivia a little bit and pushed her to finally make conversation.
"She sounds like she's getting a bit irritated."
"A bit? That's an understatement."
"I can't wait to hurry and catch this guy so she can go back to her life. I know that has to be tough not knowing what's next and not being able to close that chapter."
"Yes. I'm sure you do," he responded looking right into her eyes.
She immediately shut down and went back to looking forward. She knew that he was talking about Lewis and she refused to talk about with him…at least not yet.
"I'm sorry," Elliot apologized.
"Well right now for bringing that up but overall just for everything. Not being there."
"Not right now El."
"I know. Just promise me soon. Please."
She was still looking straight ahead and it was killing him.
"Liv? Can you look at me?" he asked almost whispering and taking her hand that was firmly planted on the center console. She flinched a little at the contact. She was taken aback that him touching her was having such an effect on her and took a deep breath silently praying that her heart would stop beating so fast.
"We are supposed to be watching the apartment building."
"I know. Just for a second."
She slowly turned to look him in the eye and it took everything in her not to start crying. Those intense blue eyes were staring at her for the first time in a long time and now it was her turn to make observations. They were softer than she had seen in years. She saw how sorry he was and a myriad of other emotions that she couldn't quite put her finger on.
"I told you when this case is over you and I will talk. Nothing's changed."
"Ok. Just wanted to make sure. I don't want to pressure you Liv. I owe you an explanation and I—."
"You don't owe me anything El," she said moving her hand and turning her attention back to the building.
"Yes I do. I just hope that once I explain everything that you will still want me in your life. I don't want to go another four years without talking to you."
"Well you didn't have to go four years the first time. Your decision," she said simply as she took a sip of coffee.
"Not quite," he said turning back in his seat and looking at the building as well.
She wasn't sure what he meant by that but she couldn't think of anything that would have kept her away from him that long. However, looking in his eyes she knew that he was sincerely sorry but she needed answers. What had he been doing all this time? How long had he been divorced? Did he know everything about Lewis? Why didn't he come for her? And one question that just popped in her head.
"How did you know where I lived?" she asked looking at him.
He froze for a minute before he said, "Look he's on the move."
Minor was leaving his apartment and looked really antsy. He didn't get into a car and was walking looking around him very paranoid.
"I'm going to follow him on foot. You take the car," Olivia said as she got out of the car.
He was apprehensive about her following the suspect on foot alone but he remembered she was the one in charge. As she took off behind him, Elliot trailed slowly behind in the car. Suddenly he took off running and was throwing pedestrians aside trying to get away.
Olivia ran behind him and Elliot got frustrated when his car got stuck in traffic so he decided to pull the car over and took off running behind the suspect as well.
"I'm going to go behind the alley, you take that way. We can cut him off," Olivia yelled at Elliot as they split up. Once they were near the store, the suspect jumped from behind the trash cans and had his gun pointed at Olivia. They were pointing at each other as Jesse walked closer to him. Elliot was behind one of the carts trying to get closer without drawing attention to himself.
"Put the gun down Jesse."
"Put your gun down now or I will shoot you in the head!" he screamed waving his gun frantically.
"I can't do that Jesse. Let's just calm down and talk."
"No! No! Don't come close to me. I don't want to talk. You think I didn't know you guys were on my trail. Talking to people around campus and showing that sketch to everyone! I didn't mean to kill her. She wouldn't shut up. If she would've just laid there and took it.."
"I know you didn't mean to do it Jesse. You're a good guy. Just put the gun down and let's talk. Come on," Olivia said trying to get closer to him.
As she got closer to him he backed up and was getting closer to Elliot without realizing it. As soon as he was in striking distance, he lunged at Jesse and knocked him over knocking the gun out of his hand. Olivia secured the gun and ran over to Jesse as Elliot cuffed him.
"You ok?" Elliot asked concerned.
"Yeah," she said as she flashed him a small smile. She was happy that he was there in that moment. Despite everything they had always worked well together and were always in sync.
"Jesse Minor you are under the arrest for the rape and murder of Katarina Vickers," Olivia said as they walked him back to the car to put him in the back seat.
A few hours later…
"Good job. Both of you," Chief Dodds said as he shook Elliot and Olivia's hand.
"It was all Sergeant Benson. She cornered the perp and got him to confess in interrogation," Elliot responded while smiling at her.
"Well thanks. Both of you. I'm just glad all of this is over."
"Indeed. We will talk more particulars later. In the meantime, get home and get some rest. You deserve it," Dodds added as he walked out of the squad room.
"Thanks El. For everything today. It really did feel just like old times out there like you said."
"It was all you. I was just along for the ride."
"Yeah. Feels like I couldn't have done it without you though. Thanks."
"You are welcome."
As he got ready to walk out of her office, Barba, Fin, Amaro and Rollins came in to congratulate them as well.
"We got a clean confession. Everything was done by the book. I think it's going to be a slam dunk in trial," Barba said confidently.
"This fool should just plead guilty and save everyone the time. And then at least Lizzie wouldn't have to testify," Fin added.
"Yeah that would be great if she didn't have to but I know she's ready to either way," Elliot said.
"Well I'm ordering everyone home for some sleep. Everything else is pretty slow around here and you all look worn out. Go home, that's an order," Olivia said smiling at her team.
"You got it boss," Fin said.
"See ya," Amanda said as she and Nick walked out.
"It was nice to meet you Agent Stabler," Barba said.
"Please call me Elliot."
"Elliot. Tell your daughter I'm going to push to put this to bed as quick as I can and hopefully she won't have to testify. Ill be in touch."
When Barba left, Elliot waited as Olivia gathered all of her things.
"Do you mind if I walk you out?" he asked.
"No. Let's go."
When they reached her car he opened the door for her as she stayed between the door and car before getting in.
"You know you never answered my question," she said.
"What question was that?"
"How did you know where I live?"
"I'm a federal agent," he responded joking.
"I know you have a lot of questions Liv. I will answer every question you have when we talk. Not right now because you are exhausted and need to go home and rest. But whenever you are ready. Call me. We will set up a time to talk..in person," he said as he gently touched her hand.
"Ok," she said simply.
She got in the car and started it up as he tapped the hood twice and walked off. She watched him walk away and unlike last time she knew it wouldn't be long before she saw him again.