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Two Days

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He slams the door so hard when he walks out of his chief’s office he hears something fall off his wall.

“Good.” He thinks offhandedly as he heads for the stairs to pound his way down them, hoping that it will distract him from the anger he feels overtaking his entire being. When he finally bursts out of the building, he stands on the sidewalk for a moment, rubbing his hands back and forth over the top of his head. He tries to take a steadying breath, but he can’t the rage filling his chest.

He’s pissed. God, he’s furious

“Elliot, we’ve gotta put you under.” Elliot stared at his chief, and chuckled a little bit.

“I know you’re not talkin’ about me.” He says and when his chief gives him the “of course I’m talking about you” look, he feels his stomach drop.

“Chief, all due respect, I’m not necessarily in the place to go undercover right now.” Eli flashes to the front of his mind and he can’t do this to him right now, not after he just moved back in with him.

“I recognize that Elliot but no one else fits the description.” Elliot shakes his head and runs a hand over his shorn hair.

“And no offence Chief, but I’m the single parent to a teenager who just lost his mother a couple months ago and was forced out of the only place he’s known.” His Chief has the good grace to look down.

“I know Elliot, but it won’t be long. Two days at the most. Just a quick in and out.” Elliot looks up at the ceiling.

“And you and I both know that most undercover ops start out small and then suddenly it’s a month past your expected time and you’re still deep under.”

The Chief sighs. “I realize that Elliot, and I hate to tell you, but it’s part of the job.”

With that, he sees red. 

“I know it’s part of the job, but you know Chief, I didn’t fully expect to lose my wife and disrupt my son’s life all because of this fucking job either.” It falls deadly silent in the office and Elliot feels an apology rise up his throat but quickly swallows it down because he knows he isn’t wrong.

“You’ve got four hours Elliot. I’m sorry that Washburn will stick out like a sore thumb if he were the one going under, but we have no other options. Meet back here at 19:00 and we’ll debrief before we send you out.”

He understands why he’s the one that has to go. The older cop that is bitter against the NYPD, looking for a way out to sweeten his retirement. His background and just... everything fits better than Washburn. 

Doesn’t make him any less angry about it though.

He drives back to his squad room on autopilot. When he storms upstairs, he paces back and forth, causing even Jet to eye him carefully.

He doesn’t know how long they all sit in silence as he goes back and forth. Ayanna just sits on her desk and looks at him, knowing that he’s about to burst. She doesn’t even try to calm him down, knows that he needs to have whatever outburst is coming and let him explode.

“I’ve just gotten Eli back!” He yells suddenly, causing Jet to jump slightly in her chair. He gives her an apologetic look before looking back at Ayanna.

“Eli just moved back in two weeks ago and things are finally going good and this is... this is just going to fuck things up all over again!” He hasn’t stopped moving and he sees Jet giving him a sympathetic look out of the corner of his eye and he sees that even Ayanna has softened.

Ayanna stands up then and sets a hand on his arm. 

“We’ll take care of Eli. You make sure to give Maureen my number.” She looks down for a second. “Have you told Liv yet?” She says quietly and he blanches, feeling all the blood drain out of his face.

He feels despair creep inside him for a second before the red hot anger climbs up him again.

“God fucking damn it.” He spits out and starts pacing again as Ayanna drifts back to her desk. Jet is looking at her, debating if she should do anything and Ayanna gives her a look and then cocks her head towards the exit, signaling her to take a walk. Jet quietly slinks down, hesitating for a second behind Elliot, raising a hand slightly towards him before shaking her head and heading out of the squad room. He paces back and forth for a solid ten minutes before finally letting out a breath and knowing he needs to go take care of things.

He has three hours before he goes under, something that makes him even more infuriated because they’ve sprung this on him so suddenly, so as he walks out of the squad room, he calls Maureen. He misses the fact that Ayanna pulls out her own phone as he walks out to make her own warnings.

Maureen is disappointed at first and he’s right alongside her. In the drive from the squad room to his apartment, he contemplates retirement four different times. But he knows that he needs this job, needs to support him and Eli and that the longer he can hold out, the easier his actual retirement will finally be. And he’s finally found another second family, and he’s not about to let that go again.

When he pulls up to the apartment, he lets out a long sigh before dragging himself up the stairs. Eli stands in the living room, staring at the door with his arms crossed, as if waiting for him.

“Are you serious?” He asks and Elliot looks down at the ground, knowing that Maureen has called him.


“No dad.” He interrupts. “Are you serious? You couldn’t tell them no? Tell them that you have a kid at home?” Elliot feels his heart shred in his chest.

“Eli, of course I tried to tell them no-”

“It sure seems that way dad. That’s why I’m going to Maureen’s.” Elliot resigns himself to the fact that Eli’s anger isn’t going to go away before he drops him off and sighs once again. When he really looks at Eli, his eyes are dark and stormy and all he wants to do is hold him tight against him and remind him that this is all temporary. 

But he doesn’t have time for that so he walks across the room and sets his hands on his shoulders and looks him straight in the eye.

“Eli, you have to know that I love you, and that this is the absolute last thing I want to do right now. I told them it wasn’t fair to you but I didn't make the final call.” Eli looks at him for a minute before he shrugs his hands off his shoulders and storms to his bedroom. He knows that Eli doesn’t believe a word of it and he doesn’t blame him one bit. He’s only been back with him for not even two weeks and he prays that this op really is only two days because if he stays under longer, he thinks Eli will never trust him again.

After about ten minutes, Eli storms out of his room, duffel bag in hand, and stares at Elliot from the front door. They head downstairs to the SUV and Eli throws his stuff in the backseat before throwing himself into the passenger seat.

As they drive to Maureen’s, Elliot takes a deep breath.

“I just want to prepare you. They say right now it will only be two days. But undercover operations can be unpredictable.” He looks over at Eli who still stares out the window.

“It could turn into a week or even longer, and I won’t be able to contact you guys to let you know one way or the other.” The only reason he knows Eli hears him and understands what he’s saying is that he crosses his arms across his chest.

Elliot sighs and scrubs his face. “I’ll make sure to leave you Sergeant Bell and Olivia’s phone numbers. That way if you really need something they can help.” Eli finally gives him a quick nod and he looks back to the road.

The longer the silence fills the car, the more he wants to punch something. The more he talks with Maureen and Eli, and god he should really call Kathleen, Dickie, and Lizzie before he goes under too, to take away some of the responsibility of Maureen, the more furious he gets at being forced under.

They pull up to Maureen’s house not long after that and Eli is out of the car the second it’s in park and he practically runs into her house. Elliot sighs before heading upstairs, Maureen appearing at the door.

“Hi Mo.” She leans against the door frame. 

“Hi dad.” He scrubs his hand over his face.

“Do you wanna go grab your phone for me real quick? I wanna make sure you have Ayanna and Liv’s phone numbers.” He misses her gently rolling her eyes, knowing that she has the numbers already saved but she goes to grab it anyway to appease him in his agitated state.

When she shows him both contacts, that yes that is Liv’s correct phone number and not the one from when they were partners, he relaxes slightly.

“Hopefully it won’t be long, it’s only two days they say. But these things are unpredictable-”

“Could be two days, could be four, could even turn into weeks and months and we won’t be able to find out.” She shrugs. “It’s not new dad. I know what comes with all this. Eli may not, but I do. We’ll watch out for you.” He leans forward to kiss Maureen’s forehead then.

“I love you, love you both.” He puts his hands on her shoulders. “Will you just... remind Eli that this is nowhere near a permanent thing. I’m just as pissed as he is Mo but he needs to know I’ll be back.” Maureen’s eyes fill with tears.

“I know. I’ll remind him dad.” She sniffles. “Do I need to call Kathleen, Lizzie, and Dickie?” She asks as she wipes away a tear.

“No. No, you’ve done enough. I’ll call them on my way to my debrief.” Elliot looks up the stairs.

“Eli bud, I’m leaving.” He calls. He waits a few seconds but doesn’t hear any noise from upstairs. He doesn’t come down to say goodbye and Elliot wants to be angry, but sighs in acceptance. 

Maureen’s eyes fill with tears once again and he kisses her forehead one more time. “I’ll hopefully be back by Thursday. Remember, call Liv or Ayanna if you need anything okay?” She nods and he squeezes her shoulder before walking out of her house.

When he gets back to his car, he realizes that he has one more hour before he has to report and decides to take a detour to SVU. He calls Kathleen, Lizzie, and Dickie on his drive there. He gets to talk to Kathleen and Lizzie ever so briefly, remind them to check in with Maureen and Eli, make sure Eli is handling the whole thing okay and tells them he loves them both. Dickie doesn’t answer but he leaves him a voicemail.

After getting a chance to finally touch base with each of his kids, his mind finally wanders to Olivia. On top of Eli just coming home, he’d finally felt like he and Liv were back on solid ground. He no longer feels like one of them is off step just a little, one of them always a little ahead or behind the other, just trying to bring the other to stand next to them. But sometime in the past month, they’ve finally managed to end up back in sync and heading... somewhere that he’s almost too afraid to name in fear of running her off. And now here he is, fucking everything up once again.

When he finally arrives at the 16th, he takes the elevator up to SVU, and starts pacing once he starts making the ascent there.

When the elevator doors open, he storms straight towards her office door. He registers that Amanda and Fin are the only ones there and he sees Amanda start to say something to him when Fin puts a hand on her arm to stop her. Fin knows the look on Elliot’s face, knows that there is a storm brewing inside him and that Liv will be the only one who can calm it.

Luckily, the door is open and he almost stops dead in his tracks when he sees Olivia in her glasses. It’s a minor derailment from the rage he’s felt for the past two hours, but it’s a welcome one.

She looks up at him and he quietly closes the door behind him before starting to pace back and forth in front of her desk.

“Ayanna told me.” She says quietly and he turns to look at her suddenly, his eyes ablaze. As quickly as the anger lights his eyes, they go out and turn to despair.

“Liv, I can’t fucking do this right now.” He says as he sits down on her couch and buries his head into his hands.

“I just got Eli back home with me. He’s gonna hate me more than he already does.” At this, Olivia rises from her desk, sliding her glasses off her face and setting them down before sitting down next to him.

“Eli doesn’t hate you.” She whispers, setting a hand on his knee.

“If he doesn’t it’s a fucking miracle.” He takes a deep breath and holds it for a second before letting it out slowly through his nose, running his hands back and forth over his shorn head. 

Finally, he stops and looks at Olivia and his breath catches in his throat when their eyes meet.

Her eyes are somber, but also understanding and she’s looking at him like she’s trying to memorize every last detail about him. It just about knocks the breath out of him.

“I’ll be back.” He whispers and she nods, squeezing his knee.

“I know. Deep down I know.” She gives him a watery smile. “Just… still a little hard is all.”

The rage builds in him once more, knows the path of destruction he is leaving in his wake from this decision and to see how even Olivia is distressed by it all? It damn well destroys the little piece of him that was left after dropping off Eli.

He stands back up to pace again, needing something to do with the angry energy that builds inside him.

“What if this takes longer than two days, Liv? I’ve never seen an op that short.” He starts wringing his hands together. “It’s like they lied to me because they knew the longer I would be under, the more likely I would be to turn it down.” The cogs are turning in his head and she starts to stand as he starts waving his hands.

“If this turns into a month op, I’m going to be ruined. They’re gonna leave me in there as long as they need to and they aren’t gonna give a damn about Eli.” He turns towards Liv and his eyes are wild. They both hear the rest of the sentence, floating unsaid around them. Won't give a damn about us. She reaches out to him and sets a hand on his arm.

“And we’ll handle it. I’m assuming Maureen has Eli.” He nods, scrubbing his face with his hand.

Olivia grabs both of his hands then, and his head falls with the weight of everything.

“It’s only two days. Maureen and Eli can handle two days.” She lets go of one of his hands to set a hand underneath his chin to pick it up enough so she can meet his eyes.

“We can handle two days.” He nods and leans forward to rest his forehead against hers and they stand there in silence for a couple minutes. They both keep their eyes closed, their fingers intertwined between them and Elliot feels himself start to settle, the roller coaster of the day finally starting to level out.

Elliot is the one to pull away first, knowing that he has to get going but he kisses her forehead, letting his lips sit there for a moment before fully pulling away.

He looks at her and she has a small, content smile on her face, her eyes still closed. Their fingers are still interlocked and he feels a small smile grace his own face as he looks at her.

He glances over her shoulder to see that it’s 18:30 and he knows that he should really get going, as his Chief is probably already pissed enough at him and he doesn’t want him to think he’s gone AWOL.

“Liv.” He whispers. She hums at him in response and it makes his smile grow a little more.

“Liv, I’ve gotta get going.” She shakes her head slightly.

“See when you say things like that, it ruins it.” She finally opens her eyes and gives him a melancholy smile that he mirrors.

“Two days.” He says and he squeezes her hands. She squeezes them back and rises on her toes to plant a brief kiss to his cheek.

“Two days.” They continue to stand there and look at each other, and he feels the words bubble up in his chest, “I love you”, and he swallows them back down. He can’t do that to her again. Especially not before an undercover op. The only plus side at this point is that his kids wouldn’t be here to hear him say it.

Finally he’s the one to let go first and they slowly start to separate.

“Maureen has my number right?” She asks, leaning back against her desk as he leans against her door.

He gives her a small smile. “Of course she does. I told her to call in case she or Eli needed anything. They’ve got you and Ayanna.” She nods and he opens the door.

“Two days.” She says and he gives her a small smile before walking out of her office.

“Two days.” He repeats in return and as he walks out of SVU, Fin watching him with a smirk on his face, it is the most at peace he’s felt all afternoon.