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        “So that’s it, huh?”

Elliot closed his eyes, his jaw slack, his arms slightly spread in front of him in a helpless gesture.

“Your voicemails. You said we could talk, I-”

“Just answer the damn question, Elliot,” Olivia’s fingers squeezed the doorknob apartment door, her knuckles were white. “Cragen said you put in your papers. So‘s that it?”

“Liv-”

“I wasn’t gonna talk you out of it, wasn’t even gonna reproach you, I just have one question, and I need you to answer it. Are you done?”

“You already know, Olivia,” Elliot scratched his nape with frustration.

“I need you to say it, Elliot.” Her stubbornness was brazen against the regret, the guilt in his eyes, and they gazed at each other, because there was no point in denying that that was exactly what they were doing. Gazing . For twelve fucking years, gazing .

“Why, Liv? Why’s it so important that I say it if you already have the answer? Just let me come in, let’s talk.”

“Because if you say it you won’t take it back, and I won’t regret what I’m about to do.” Olivia watched his eyes flicker from her own, down to her chest, were her breasts were rising and falling with each inhale and exhale, hard enough that he could feel her breaths on his chin.

She read the confusion in his eyes, the unvoiced question, saw his adam’s apple bob.

“Get inside, Elliot.”

Elliot shifted again, and Olivia’s expression changed, the anger melding with something familiar, something that always ended in screams and whispered cursing for the sake of their partnership, ending in the only way they could release the burning tension that stretched them taut, just so they could stay together to push each other to the brink all over again. Something that made Elliot start to comply and he took a step forward, intent on finding the culmination of this fight in private.

Satisfied, Olivia stepped aside, stretching her arm to hold the door open for him. She watched as his darkened blue eyes widened slightly in realization. One that Olivia had already confronted days ago, alone in a fucking interview room, when the pain of finding out he was leaving had her stifling sobs. This wouldn’t end in screams and whispered cursing.

Not in the way it usually did. And now he knew it, too.

And he stopped moving.

“Liv…”

“So help me God, Elliot…”

“Let me talk to you-”

“Oh,” Olivia’s chuckle was suddenly bitter, angry. “You suddenly feel like talking, huh?”

His blue eyes welled with anger, and he took another step forward, and Olivia stood her ground, the large hand that grasped her bicep was unnecessary.

“You’re out of your fucking mind, Olivia.”

“Am I?” Another bitter chuckle. “How many times was I the one to put on the breaks, huh? Just admit it.”

“I don’t have a damn thing to admit, and you need to calm yourself down, Benson,” Elliot released her arm.

“Benson.” A corner of Olivia’s lips curled up in a snarl, her eyes fixated on his, her head tilting delicately to the side. “Benson? You quit and you want to- what? Be platonic partners? You wanna call me up for a beer now and then? Catch up? Tell me all about how you should have fought, fucking, harder to keep your damn job? Talk about your kids starting college?” She laughed bitterly. “And then what? I’ll talk to you about empty nest and pretend you made the right decision?”

“What the hell is wrong with you, Olivia?” Elliot took another step forward, fully expecting her to back away, but she didn’t, a few days retired and he was already rusty because he never saw her arm as it wrapped around his neck, pulling him against her, her mouth sealing over his lips, their teeth clashing until she tilted her head and took his bottom lip in her mouth.

“Christ, Liv!” Elliot pushed her away, large hands at her shoulders, pressing her into the wall. “Can’t talk about Kathy like that.”

Olivia moistened her lips, her eyes at half mast as she gazed at his lips like prey. “But you would, wouldn’t you? You’d bring her up. You always bring her up. You’re always divorcing her. You’re always not divorcing her. But don’t worry, I’d still have that instinct to protect you, so I would be sweet to you. In five or ten years, I would have found a way. I’d tell you everything will be fine. You and Kathy can finally have more time for yourselves. I’d tell you to travel, to see the world. I’d tell you the big apple’s not that big. And then you would ask me about my regrets,” She raised her hands to his chest, stroking the hard mass. “Your eyes would be soft, and afraid, and you might have a bit of a beard. And I’d tell you my biggest regret, and you wouldn’t be able to handle it.”

“Try me, Olivia,” Elliot’s voice was a harsh whisper against her cheek.

“Get out,” Olivia’s smirk was dark, her eyes darker.

Elliot’s fist hit the wall some inches away from her head, but Olivia didn’t flinch.

“Oh, what’s that? You wanna snap me out of whatever you think is going on, Elliot? El ?” Olivia snorted, his nickname a mock. “I already know all about your empty threats.”

“Tell me your regret,” Elliot glared, his voice dangerously low.

Their heads snapped to the open doorway as a scrawny man appeared at the other side of it. Elliot’s hand was embedded into the wall, Olivia pressed flush against it, their bodies less than an inch apart now.

“Olivia, are you okay?” The intruder asked.

Elliot felt Olivia shift, press her full front against him, as one of her legs stuck out, a hip brushing the large bulge at the front of his pants and she kicked the door.

It hadn’t even slammed shut when his mouth was on hers again, her hand sliding to his nape, pulling him closer, a grunt escaping him when she hooked that leg against the back of his thigh, crushing his hips against hers.

She moaned when his tongue slid into her mouth, her fingers dug into his scalp, her leg unhooked and she lunged forward, pressing him against the opposite wall of the small hallway, her hands working his shirt.

“Liv, talk to m- ah ,” Elliot ducked his head to the side, forcing her to release his lip from the harsh clasp of her teeth.

“My biggest regret,” She said, her hands spreading his shirt open, her mouth at the skin of his chest, pressing kisses that were too soft, too dangerous. “Is the same now,” Another kiss, and a bite to one of his nipples, “As it will be,” A suck at the juncture of his neck and shoulder. “In ten years,” She felt the scrape from his five o’clock shadow on her tongue as she passed it along his jawline. “In twenty…” her fingers worked his belt. “In thirty.”

“Jesus, Olivia,” Elliot’s head tilted forward, his lips at her hairline, his hands fisting her hair, pulling back so he could see her face, her eyes. “Not like this, Liv.”

Not like this , Elliot,” Olivia glared at him. “Not without talking to me first. Not without telling me what you were going to do. Not making me pack up your fucking desk and put it in a box along with our partnership and send it to your fucking address in Queens.”

“Liv, fuck,” She felt Elliot grasp her hair, could feel his desperation as he released her tresses and clasped her upper arms, pulling her closer, his arms around her then, hugging her tight, cradling her.

“I’m sorry, Olivia. I’m so fucking sorry.”

“You’re not, Elliot,” Olivia shoved him away, walked further into the apartment, and he followed her like a damn puppet, whose strings were all tangled with hers. “You know what I believe?”

“What?” She felt his gaze at her back, felt the goosebumps on her skin as she reached for the wine bottle and poured herself a healthy glass.

“I believe what I see in your eyes,” Olivia said, noting the way he’d chosen to stand on the other side of the breakfast bar. “And do you know what I see there?”

“Everything,” Elliot said, “I know you see everything.”

“Yeah,” Olivia had a sip. “I see everything, Elliot. I see the remorse, the guilt, the regret. I see the tiredness, the hundreds of victims we’ve interviewed, I see Kathy, I see your kids. I see that stupid fucking tattoo you have on your fucking perfect arm. I see you , Elliot. I know you’re not sorry.”

“Well,” Elliot rubbed his chin, his eyes lighting up with anger again. “I see you too, Olivia.”

“Tell me what you see, Elliot,” She raised her chin in defiance. “Let’s hear it.”

“All these years, Olivia. All these years and you never fucking learned to hide it, all that pain you carry around, all that stupid willingness to sacrifice every part of yourself for people you owe nothing to. Every fucking day. And for what? So you can redeem a woman who was too ill to give a shit about you? Meanwhile, you push aside the people who do give a shit, you push me aside.”

“You wanna talk about pushing aside, Elliot? You asked me to fucking kill you! Gitano ring a bell? You wanted me to shoot you through the fucking skull, and it didn’t even make sense, Elliot.”

“You know why I di-”

“And then you had the fucking audacity to tell me that we couldn’t be partners, you son of a bitch! Because you wanted me too much, you asshole! You left me sitting in that hospital hallway alone after I’d held a gun to your head, because you were too much of a pussy to face this shit with me.”

“A little boy fucking died, Olivia! Because I was too focused on you, because I chose to save you.”

“Funny,” Olivia looked at him, “That’s all you’ve ever fucking done, Elliot. Tried to be my savior. Did it ever occur to you that I don’t need saving?”

“Then what the hell did you need from me, Olivia?” He stepped around the bar and grasped her arms again, apparently the only safe spot to touch her he could find tonight.

“What I needed from you was a good, long, hard fuck, Elliot,” Olivia glared at him, “After Gitano, all I wanted was to pin you down and ride the hell out of you,” Her fingertips clawed his cheek, her thumb hooked on his jaw. “So I could know you were alive. So I knew I hadn’t shot you.”

His mouth sealed hers again, their tongues battling for dominance, angry and decadent and she grasped his head. He picked her up and set her on the counter, hoisted her legs around his torso and she immediately shifted forward, removing the space between them.

“That’s all you wanted from me, huh?” He said between sucks of her lips. “Just a good, long, hard fuck. Fuck everything else we meant to each other.”

“Shut up, Elliot,” Olivia broke the kiss, her mouth at his neck, but a hand at her hair forced her neck back and his tongue trailed the column of her throat, sucking, placing quick, harsh nips, and she hated the response of her body, pliant and flexible and at his mercy.

But he was hard against her, and the sudden press of his hardness against her apex had her reeling, head tilted back, fingers pushing the shirt off his shoulders until it was on the floor, and then she felt the expanse of his back with slow, shaking fingers, from his shoulder blades all the way down to his ass and she tugged him tight against her, the groan ripping from his throat making her head spin.

Elliot’s hands sprawled over her ribcage, gathering the fabric of her oversized silk button up and they were suddenly in synch again, her arms up until the top was off and on the floor, her ankles locked behind him, his arms around her waist, her hands clasping his nape, one above the other. Their hips grinding together, their lips brushing as they breathed against each other’s mouths.

“Fuck…” Olivia whimpered, the unfastened buckle of his belt scraping her naked stomach, cold against her skin, and her hips bucked.

“Take it slow…” Elliot breathed out, rubbing his cock against her core, the friction too good to do anything against the constricting fabric.

“El…” Olivia’s eyes found his, her eyebrows knit, her lips parted as she shifted her hips closer to the edge, and the slow drag of his hips had her digging her nails into the back of his neck.

“Liv…” Elliot captured her swollen bottom lip between his, soothing the angry bites from earlier, and her back curved in response, her bra-clad breasts pressing against his naked chest, the soft hair there tickling her skin.

She thought that’s where they would stay, in that delicious cocoon of soft friction and hot skin and wet kisses, but it didn’t last, not when he broke the kiss and his mouth trailed her neck, nipping, sucking, finding every sensitive spot like he had a map and his fingers slid to her back, a quick flick and her bra was on the floor, her breath caught in her throat.

And just when she was there again, with his mouth closed around her nipple like he could suck honey out of her, when she was compliant and willing and taking over the pace of their rubbing sexes, just when she had started to let those heavy breaths turn into moans, Elliot removed his mouth from her and started to say words she couldn’t comprehend.

Not when she could see the trail of saliva glistening with the amber light of the living room lamp connecting his mouth to her hardened, aching nipple.

“Liv?”

“What?” Her eyes snapped up to his in confusion, her tongue passing over her dry lips.

“What empty threats?” Elliot asked, and when Olivia didn’t respond at first, her eyebrows furrowing further in confusion, he continued. “You said you knew all about my empty threats. What empty threats?”

Olivia could have cried. She wanted his mouth on her again, so he pulled his head close, but he placed his hands at her hips, attempting to back away, but her legs were a match for his strength and they stayed locked, pulling and pushing away, and both moaned in unison, Elliot’s forehead knocking Olivia’s gently. “Just tell me…” His voice was thick with arousal. “So I can fuck you. Tell me.”

“Your threats to leave me,” Olivia’s hands moved down between them, undoing the button of his pants, his hands tentatively working hers, their fingers brushing in their efforts because both refused to disconnect their lower halves. “To end our partnerships.”

“I wouldn’t’ve done it, Liv,” Elliot breathed against her neck, kissed the sensitive, flushed skin, sucked her earlobe. “I couldn’t have left you.”

“But you did…” Olivia pushed his pants down along with his boxers and they pooled around his ankles, and then braced herself on his shoulders, her hips tightening around his thighs and he pulled hers down, her bare ass back on the counter as he spread her legs, forcing her to remove the lock of her ankles behind his ass, and he had her pants and panties on the floor next to his feet.

Even now they were resisting each other, the fucking ugly habit that had developed between them for the past twelve years, because as much as they wanted to discover the unexplored territory, they kept their eyes on each other’s.

“I’m here,” Elliot said against her ear, traced kisses to her chin, to her lips. “I’m here .” His bare flesh pressed against her wetness and they inhaled a broken breath from each other’s lips.

“El…” Olivia moaned, kissing him hard, trying to grasp the last ounce of anger in her body, and he picked her up, Olivia barely registering the movement until she felt plush beneath her knees, her weight being deposited on his thighs, and she broke their kiss.

Her eyes locked on his again, suddenly unsure, suddenly wondering if she was also trying to grasp at the last ounce of whatever the hell could remain between them now.

But his hands slid over her hips, grasping her ass and he tugged her against him, his hard cock sliding between her folds and she moaned, grasped his shoulders, her fingers digging into his skin. They were already a collection of marks, and bites and sucks and they hadn’t even fucked yet. The thought was both terrifying and exhilarating.

“And your regret?” Elliot asked then, and Olivia could not understand how the man could still be anywhere near conscious thought right now, when she was doing everything in her power to take it slow, because he’d asked her to. But her mind was already fucked to hell, and all she needed was for her body to reach the same state.

She pressed two fingers of one hand against his lips, silencing him, making his eyes locked on hers, and that’s exactly where she wanted them, as she raised her hips and reached between him, her own gaze almost faltering when she wrapped her fingers around his length, thick and hard, and she stroked her thumb over it, almost affectionately.

She licked her lips, leaving them wet, his eyes flickering to them.

“Look at my eyes,” Olivia said, her voice had dropped an entire octave and Elliot complied with the whispered command.

Olivia sucked in a breath, towered over him as she accommodated and raised her hips further to line up their sexes, the tip of his cock grazing her entrance. His eyes slipped closed.

“El…” Olivia’s voice sounded like a plead. “Elliot…”

And she caught his eyes, long chocolate locks creating a curtain around their faces. His arms cradled her back, and her eyebrows knit as she took him in, painstakingly slow, felt him spread her walls, her hardened nipples raking his chest as she moved lower, and lower, his hands gripping her skin.

“E-Elliot-” Olivia’s breath hitched and he cradled her head with a hand, grasping her.

“Jesus, Liv…” Elliot exhaled, their bodies quivering, their foreheads pressed together, their lips brushing.

“El- I-” Olivia moaned, grasped his lips in a quick kiss, and then bit her lip.

It was baffling, the way his hands had suddenly made themselves at home with her body, with her hair, trailing over her back, her ass, her thighs, her breasts, fingers squeezing, tugging her nipples, his mouth at her neck, his hips still, and she still hadn’t dared to shift so she could take him in all the way. She wasn’t sure she could.

“Liv- Liv, breathe…” Elliot kissed her cheek, trailed kisses along her jawline, and Olivia did, slid her arms around his neck and pushed them forward, until he was reclined against the backrest of the couch, and then he was all the way inside her, throbbing against her tightening walls.

“Oh my god,” Olivia moaned, teeth clasping his chin, his lips again, opening them for him and he slid his tongue in her mouth, knocking hers, and she tasted him, now that he was inside her, all the way inside her, pressing against her cervix, she could have the rest.

Her hands were everywhere at once, at his neck, his cheeks, tilting his head so she could slide her tongue over his teeth, the roof of his mouth, tracing an L on it, Liv , this was hers now. Her territory. She touched those rock hard, fucking heavenly defined abs. Made a mental note to trace those lines with her tongue later. She grasped his biceps.

“All these years later,” Olivia said against his mouth, her voice shaking. “And some days all I can think about is tracing this vein with my tongue…” She slid trembling fingertips against that bulging vein at his bicep, “Sucking on your skin…”

“Fuck,” Elliot grasped her ass harder, “Do it, Liv.”

Olivia broke the kiss, bumped his nose with her own, and she thought it was a miracle he recognized her, she couldn’t even recognize herself.

She shifted on his lap, moaned at the sensation when a couple of inches of his cock slid out of her, but he sealed himself back in, and Olivia’s eyes slipped closed.

“Fuck…” She let out a shaky breath, dipped her head and kissed his shoulder, nibbled a patch of skin there, her mouth trailing lower, leaving wet kisses and then she reached that vein, the one that taunted her any time her wore short sleeves.

She trailed the tip of her tongue over it, and her walls tightened around his length out of sheer satisfaction. He groaned, a possessive arm draped over her back. She caught the tiny, elusive thing between her lips, bit softly at his skin, and then dragged her tongue up the full length of it.

It was snug inside her, and she felt his cock twitch, and her attention returned to his face. He’d been watching her, his eyes fixated on her mouth.

“You’re fucking gorgeous, Liv,” Elliot brushed back a strand of her loose, unkempt wavy hair.

Olivia raised her hips, sliding him partway out, her eyes flickering down and she had his length in her palm again, fisting it, taking him all the way out them, her eyes hungry, curious. “I always knew you’d be beautiful…”

He expelled a sigh and fingered her folds, earning a shaky breath from her when his fingers brushed her clit, and there was a moment of crackling silence, ecstatic and alluring.

Olivia wasn’t sure if she was the one, or if it was him, but they were joined again in the next second, and he felt even bigger, even more possessing of her body, she of his, their mouths melded together and their hips thrust in perfect synchronicity. His cock filling her, and she was a vice on every in stroke.

“Elliot-”

“Liv!” He grasped her hips, pushed forward, his mouth closing around a nipple and she cradled his head with an arm, the other grasping his shoulders as she rode him.

“El-liot, I’m- fuck !” Olivia cried out, and Elliot was suddenly above her, her body nestled into the couch, her legs locked behind him, heels digging into his ass.

Harder ,” Olivia moaned, her teeth digging into his shoulder, and he shifted her hips, manipulated her body, and the new angle, fuck , the new angle, the pressure of his unyielding cock against her tightening walls had her tipping over the edge, the sound that ripped from her throat raw and unbridled.

“Liv,” His voice was a warning, and cold air slammed her breasts, her stomach, when he started to pulled away.

Olivia locked her arms and legs around him, meeting him thrust for thrust, brought his face against her neck, lips pressed to his ear. “Come inside me, El…”

Come inside me, El.

His arms slipped under her back, raising her upper body, , crushing her body against his, his thrusts slower, deeper, harder, and she felt his body tense, his fingertips digging into her back, his parted mouth against her neck, making her shiver.

“Liv!” His voice was strained, and she held him tight, swallowing every one of his breaths, silencing her own in a renewed kiss, one full of languid satisfaction.

He slumped against her body, buried his face in her neck, and she closed her eyes, expelling a last quick breath, her fingers tightening on his back when he slid out of her throbbing walls.

“I love you, Olivia.”

“Jesus, Elliot…” She sighed, but her voice was mellow, and her fingernails raked his scalp.

“I know you’re thinking about Kathy-”

“Elliot, don’t,” Olivia shifted, trying to get out from under him, but he trapped her, tightening his arms under her back, and finally settled under his arms again, her eyes trained on the ceiling. “It’s not about Kathy.”

“It’s about that regret thing,” He nipped her neck softly and then raised his head, looking at her. It felt too comfortable, too good, to be trapped under all that weight, under his body, and she encouraged it with soft strokes of her hand on his back, her eyes fixed on his.

“Yeah,” Olivia admitted, nipped his lower lip, because she could, right now she could.

“What is it?”

“My regret,” Olivia closed her eyes, but he cupped her cheek, a gesture so soft, so gentle, that her eyes slipped back open. “My regret is not having done this before.”

Elliot’s confusion was clear in his blue eyes, and Olivia moistened her lips.

“I thought if I could just find a way to stay away, you…”

“I what, Liv?” Elliot asked, his eyes keen.

“You would stay,” Olivia’s smile was faint, sad. “But I was wrong. I could have gotten this out of my system a decade ago and moved on.”

“You don’t mean that,” Elliot called her bluff, “You’re just angry, and I get that, but Liv, what- what just happened, what we just did, it wasn’t just getting it out of your system .”

“It was, Elliot. What the hell else do you think it was? You think I’m some lovesick girl?” Olivia said, shifting again and this time he let her, so she slid out from under his embrace, watched his hurt, confused expression out of the corner of her eyes as she went to the kitchen.

She came back wearing that oversized silk thing that barely managed to cover the tops of her thighs, offered him his clothes. Elliot took them, and she watched him get dressed, observed his pensive eyes.

“I love you, Olivia,” Elliot repeated, and she finally looked away, shaking her head. “I wouldn’t change anything.”

“Not even Kathy,” Olivia regretted it the moment she said it, and Elliot looked down.

“Olivia, I left Kathy a month ago,” Elliot smiled sadly, and Olivia felt her heart slamming against her ribcage. “I moved out. That’s what I came here to tell you.”

“What?"

“But you’re not some lovesick girl, huh? You just wanted to get it out of your system.”

“Elliot-”

“Don’t, Liv,” He had barely managed to put his pants back on, sliding on his shirt, buttoning it up on his way to the kitchen to find his shoes.

“Elliot, I thought-”

“Save it.”

“Shit,” Olivia went after him, placing a hand on his arm in a feeble attempt to get him to turn to face her, but if she’d learned anything tonight, it was that the way she’d ever be able to get that wall of muscles to comply with her was not with physical efforts. “Elliot, look at me.”

“Screw you, Olivia.”

She placed a shaky hand over her mouth.

“You wanna know what I regret?” Elliot asked, finally turning to look at her, his eyes pinning hers, and she nodded, wide brown eyes on his.

“Thinking this shit could work out.” She watched the anger simmer in his eyes, in the way his jaw set. “If I just admitted that my marriage was over, admitted that the job with you wasn’t enough anymore. Thinking that I could move on with you. That’s my regret.”

“El…” Olivia clasped his biceps, but he took a couple of steps away.

“Thinking that if I could ride out all the anger you felt tonight, eventually you’d listen to what I had to tell you.” Elliot shook his head, gave a bitter chuckle.

“God, Elliot… I didn’t know .” Olivia tried to reach out for him again, if she could just, if she could just make him see what she was doing. If she could just make him see that she was trying to rip him off of her like a band-aid, but the pain in his eyes rendered her speechless.

So she let him walk away, out of her apartment, out of her life.

             A few days later, Olivia sat at her desk when she received a yellow envelope. She opened it, producing a small card and flipped it open.

Semper Fi.

Her thumb stroked the miniature badge. Air left her lungs and she refused to breathe, not until she knew she wouldn’t sob out loud with relief.

It wasn't over.