So here is the sequel to "1000 Times"! If you have not read that may not understand much of what is happening here. So you will probably want to check that out before trying out this story. There will be story lines that overlap. You can find it by going to my profile!

I wasn't going to post it yet...but it's Mother's day and it seemed fitting. So take that as you will hahaha! Will update later next week. This is the next chapter in the life of our favorite Detectives Elliot and Olivia and his four kids. Now that they have found their way together, moved in and are living as a family...can they take the jump and make it work forever?

There will be curveballs and drama along the way but also plenty of love and sweet moments too. Remember I'm always E/O endgame. As it should be ;)

Based on "I Choose You" by Sara Barellies. The lyrics to the song can give you plenty of hints as to how this will play out hahaha!

Disclaimer - I OWN NOTHING. Just enjoy these characters. Definitely A/U but having fun with this story line. Rated T for now but may change later on...

3 months after "1000 Times"

Elliot rolled over in bed and glanced at the clock. He had worked the last three days straight and he felt it. It was well past noon but he hadn't gotten home until almost four in the morning and had needed sleep. Yawning, he rubbed his eyes and sat up listening for the sounds of his usually chaotic household. He smiled when he heard laughter and chatter coming from downstairs. Today was Saturday and the kids had different activities and plans. Olivia had taken the reigns to ensure that everything went smoothly and as usual, he had no worries. He smiled harder thinking that in a week from now...hopefully things would feel that much more permanent if their plan went off without a hitch.

Pulling himself off the bed, he stretched his limbs, felt his joints crack and his muscles ache. Walking over to his dresser, he grabbed a t-shirt and slipped it over his bare chest. He opened the door to their bedroom, walked down the hall and followed the voices of his family. When he got to the kitchen, he saw Olivia dishing out grilled cheese sandwiches to the kids who were huddled around the counter.

"Dad's up!" Richie yelled from his spot at the counter, "Dad! My team won!"

Elliot leaned down and pressed a kiss to Richie's head, "That's great buddy! I'm sorry I missed it."

"Olivia took lots of pictures and videos." Richie said through a mouthful of food.

Elliot looked over at Olivia and smiled, "Of course she did."

Saying hi to all the kids and checking in, his eye never left Olivia for more than a few minutes. She was moving around the kitchen with ease like she had always been there. His heart fluttered thinking about having this forever. When the kids went back to eating and talking, he walked up behind Olivia and nuzzled her neck as his hands gripped her hips, "Hi."

She smiled and leaned back against him, "Hi. You were a zombie this morning. You okay?"

He sighed and turned her around to face him, "I'm okay. Just wiped out."

Reaching a hand out to touch his stubbly cheek she smiled, "If you need some more sleep...go up. We're good here."

Nodding, he sighed and shrugged, "I know. But...I hate that I miss things. I just wanted to see them."

"El, they understand." She whispered, wrapping her arms around his waist, "You never miss the big stuff. Everyone is okay."

Elliot leaned down and pressed a kiss to her lips, "Maybe...I'll try and sleep for another hour or so. Can I snag your phone though? I want to see the videos of the game."

Smiling, she slipped the phone from her pocket and handed it to him, "Of course. I'll come check on you in awhile. Are you hungry?"

"I'm good. Come get me if you need me." He said kissing her again, "Thanks for being so good to my kids."

"They make it easy." She said nuzzling him, "Plus it helps that their Dad is pretty damn handsome...rumor has it I'd do anything for him."

Elliot chuckled and kissed her forehead, "Good to know."

Talking to the kids for another quick minute, Elliot turned and went back upstairs. He threw Olivia's phone down on the bed and then walked over to his dresser again. Leaning down, he opened the last drawer and pulled it open, reaching all the way into the back he felt around for what he was looking for. His hands closed around the small velvet box, his heart jumped in his chest thinking about what he was going to do soon. Popping open the top, he let the diamond sparkle up at him. He took a few minutes to think through his plan again, then closed it and made sure to hide it again. Then he curled up on the bed, took out her phone and started watching the videos of the kids soccer games and felt a sense of pride wash over him. He was one lucky man...she just had to say yes to make it complete.

An hour later, Olivia was sitting on the floor with Richie and Lizzie playing a board game. Kathleen and Maureen were on the couch reading. For a moment, she was quiet and took it all in. If you asked her a year ago if this would be her life, she would have never imagined it would be possible. But now she was fully moved in and everything felt so comfortable, so right. It felt like she had been here all her life. Like she hadn't missed anything in these children's lives. Hopefully for her, she wouldn't miss anything ever again.

"Livvie?" Lizzie asked from her spot beside her.

Turning her head towards the girl, she smiled, "Yeah?"

"I like that you live here." She said with a big smile, "That you're here everyday with us."

Olivia's face softened and she reached for her, "I like it to kiddo. In fact I love it."

"You know…" Maureen said from her spot on the couch, "Olivia's birthday is next week…"

Olivia tensed slightly, birthday's had never been her thing. At least not hers. "Really?" Richie asked, "Hold old are you turning?"

Olivia smirked and reached out to tickle him, "That's my secret. You'll never know."

"Well what do you want for your birthday?" Kathleen asked from beside her sister.

Olivia held Lizzie closer, "I don't need anything kiddo. Everything I need is right here…"

Maureen and Kathleen exchanged looks thinking about what was to come in the next week. Her answer made them hopeful. A minute passed and Olivia's phone rang from in the kitchen. Excusing herself, she lifted Lizzie up and placed her down before walking into the kitchen.

Kathleen looked at her sister, "Think this is going to work?"

Maureen swallowed the nervous lump in her throat, "Yeah...I think it will."

Olivia walked back into the room and smiled at the kids, "Hey guys...I hate to say it but Cragen needs me down at the office. I'm going to go wake up your Dad and let him know. You okay?"

"We're good Liv." Maureen said, "Don't worry about us."

Olivia smiled and then turned to walk upstairs towards their bedroom. Pushing the door open, she saw Eliot still fast asleep on the bed. She hated to wake him up but she didn't want to leave the kids without someone in the house awake. She also didn't want to leave without saying goodbye to him. That was something they always tried to make sure never happened.

Sitting down on the end of the bed, she reached out and pressed a hand to his chest, "El…"

He shifted slightly and mumbled, "Mmm…"

"Elliot." Leaning forward, she kissed his cheek, "I'm sorry but I need you to wake up."

Yawning, his head turned towards her and he blinked away the sleep, "Liv?"

She offered him a small smile and kissed him again, "I have to go in to work. Cragen needs me."

He sighed and rubbed his eyes, "Okay."

"I know you're exhausted." She said as she watched him sit up, "The kids are fine downstairs. Maureen can keep an eye on them if you need more rest but-"

"No. No I'm good." He said rolling his neck back and forth, "I'm awake."

Her hand tangled with his and she squeezed, "Hopefully I can just go in for a few hours and then come home." He looked up at her and she shrugged, "I feel like I haven't seen you in days."

"I know." He whispered, "Even when we were at work we've been all over the place."

Sighing, she kissed him softly, "Alright...I should go. Otherwise I'm dragging you down on the bed again and Cragen will have my badge."

He tugged at her arms and chuckled, "It would be worth it."

She smirked, kissing him again and pulled away, "We'll try and have a date night this week. Okay?"

"Yeah." He said falling back on the bed as he watched her start to get ready for work, "You know...your birthday is next weekend."

She stopped short, and stood in front of her dresser, "You and the kids have good memories."

Elliot studied her body language, trying to figure out if he was doing the right thing, "They are kids who love a good birthday. And they want to celebrate you. You mean the world to them Liv."

Turning towards him, her face softened and she smiled, "I know."

"We won't do anything...if you say you don't want to. I'll talk to them about it. But they would like to have a big family dinner. If you're up for it." He said gently.

Olivia took a deep breath and thought about what he was saying. She had never celebrated her birthday much. Occasionally with her friends in college but even then she shied away from it. Something about what it represented stirred up old feelings. Those feelings of not belonging, not being worth celebrating. But now, she had a family. She had this man, this handsome, kind, charismatic, loving man who wanted to give her the world. She had his four children, who made her laugh, filled her days with joy and gave her a new perspective on life and made her want to be better.

Life was different. She was different. And maybe it was time to start celebrating the positive things in her life…

Glancing at him she lifted her shoulder, "We could do that."

Instantly, she saw him smile and pull himself off the bed before enveloping her in his arms, "It will be great. I promise." He felt her laugh at his enthusiasm and he pressed soft kisses against her face, "You are worth celebrating babe."

She pinched his sides playfully, "There you go again calling me babe…"

Cradling her face in his hands he beamed down at her, "I can't help it. You know I can't. I have a feeling...this will be your best birthday yet."

Looking up at him, she realized for the first time in her life she wasn't dreading that day, "I might be right." Leaning up on her tiptoes she kissed the corner of his mouth, "Go back to sleep Stabler. If I get home early enough...I plan on practicing for my birthday night."

His eyebrows wiggled suggestively, "Will this involve nothing but your birthday suit?"

"You got it." She shoved him back and smirked, "So rest up."

Elliot walked back towards the bed and fell on it with a happy thud. As he watched her move around the room again he couldn't help but think...the best was yet to come.

On Wednesday, Olivia and Elliot were at work but wrapping up their day. It was a slow day and they were both looking forward to having dinner at home with the kids. Elliot was going to pick up the twins at daycare and Olivia was going to take a cab to the girls school and get them. The plan was that Elliot would meet them at the park, the kids could play for a while and they would all drive back home together before dinner.

Olivia snapped her computer shut and looked up at Elliot, "Okay. I'm going to get out of here. " She studied him carefully, "You almost done?"

He nodded, "Yeah. Just need to finish this last page and then I'll be good." He turned to her and smiled, "You'll probably make it to the park first. Just text me to let me know where you guys are."

"Okay." She said reaching for her coat and bag, she turned to Fin, "See you tomorrow Fin."

Fin gave her a small smile, "Yeah. Have a good night."

She waved at both of them, turned and walked out of the squad room, saying goodbye to John as he passed. John walked up to his desk, sat down and stretched, " that the wife is gone. How are things going?"

Elliot smirked but shook his head, "Wife? We're not there yet...but things are good. Things are really good."

John looked over at Fin, "He said yet...meaning it's definitely happening."

Fin nodded slowly, "Apparently so. The question is...will she say yes?"

Elliot's heart flip flopped in his chest and shot straight down to his stomach at the mere thought of her saying no. "Hm…"

"Relax Elliot." John said from his spot, "She's going to say. Of course she is going to say yes. She's in this. I mean we all know that Olivia is guarded but she's let you in. She moved in...she's taking care of your kids with you. She's in this."

A slow smile spread on his lips and he nodded, "I hope so." Glancing behind him, he saw Cragen in his office, "I need to talk to Cap real quick."

Standing up, he walked towards his bosses office feeling his heart pounding away in his chest. He had been considering this for a while but after hearing his coworkers comments, it ignited something in him. He wanted to do this right. When he knocked on the door, it was only a moment later before he heard his boss telling him to enter. Pushing the door open, he walked in, closed it behind him and walked up to the desk, waiting to be addressed.

"Elliot. What's up?" Cragen asked curiously, "Heading out soon?""Yes. But I was wondering...if I could talk to you about something quickly? It won't take long." He said with a shake of his head.

Judging by his body language, Cragen could tell that whatever this was was something important. Nodding his head, he gestured towards the chair across from his desk, "Sit." Elliot sat down and Cragen shifted in his seat, "What's on your mind?"

Elliot fidgeted for a moment, reached up behind him and rubbed the back of his neck nervously, "I...I wanted to tell you that-" He paused and then smiled, "No...I guess I wanted to ask you something." He laughed nervously and leaned forward trying to wrap his mind around what he was about to say.

Cragen watched him carefully, noting that the usually stoic, put together and professional Elliot was clearly nervous, "Elliot, is everything okay?" Elliot didn't respond, "Is something going on at home? Is it the kids? Olivia?"

At the mention of her name, his head snapped up and a slow smile spread across his face, "You...mean a lot to Olivia. More than I think you realize."

Cragen's eyes narrowed at him and he nodded, "Well...she means a lot to me too. I shouldn't say it...but out of all of you she's my favorite."

Elliot snorted and sat up again, "Trust me Cap...we all know that. And we don't blame you."

Cragen laughed and pressed his hands into the desk, "I never had children of my own...but I feel protective of Olivia. As if she was my daughter. I'll be honest and say that I was always a bit skeptical about whatever this was between the two of you. I felt the need to...keep an eye out for her. But you've proved since you got together that you care deeply for her. You both seem happy."

Elliot swallowed hard and sat up as straight as possible, "Thank you Cap. That means a lot to me to hear. I hope you know that I will spend every day ensuring that she is protected, that she is loved." His face flushed, "Which...brings me to why I came to talk to you." Cragen raised an eyebrow, waiting for him to speak again, "You said she is like a daughter to you...and because of that...I'd like to ask your permission to ask her to marry me."

Elliot watched as the emotions washed over his boss. He had known him for many years. Known that he was always professional. Kept his emotions close to his chest. After losing his own wife and battling with alcoholism, Crane didn't share his feelings. It was something both men had in common. But in this moment, Elliot could see the emotions playing across his face. The unshed tears. The pride. The happiness.

"You're asking my permission?" Cragen asked with a deep voice.

Elliot smiled, his cheeks flushed but he held his ground, "You are like a Father to her. To me too really. We both respect you so much and value your opinion...and your approval."

Cragen cleared his throat and thought for a moment, trying to formulate a response. Smiling, he pushed himself off away from his desk, stood up and walked around the desk. Standing in front of Elliot, he looked at him for another moment before reaching out his hand. Elliot looked down at it, trying to read the situation. "Of course you have my permission. I am very happy for you."

Elliot let out a little sigh of relief, extended his hand and shook Cragen's, "Thank you Captain."

Clasping a second hand over both of theirs he smiled, "Treat her right or you deal with me."

Elliot smiled softly, "I promise. I'm not going to screw this one up."

Cragen reached out and smacked his arm, "I believe that. Now...get out of here."

Elliot nodded and started to turn, "I...don't want anyone else to know. Not just yet. Not until it's official."

Cragen smiled, "Sure. I understand. I won't say a word." He could sense the nervousness in Elliot's demeanor, "But Elliot?"

Elliot took a deep breath by the door and knew his boss could read his mind, "Yes Cap?"

"She's going to say yes." He said softly, immediately Elliot relaxed, "She will definitely say yes.""I hope so." He answered, his voice laced with hope and just a tinge of anxiety.

After picking the girls up, the three of them were walking down the sidewalk together. Olivia was in the middle and both girls were holding her hands and as they walked. They were telling her about their day, not leaving a moment out. Olivia felt so content, so happy to be sharing this with them. She was so focussed on what they were saying, she hadn't been paying much attention to anything else around them.

A moment later, both girls stopped walking and Olivia stumbled slightly, "What's wrong?"

She glanced first at Kathleen and saw shock on her face, she turned to Maureen and saw anger. Trying to figure out how they had gone from talking about their day to both of them completely frozen she looked forward. And suddenly it made sense.

Standing only a few feet from them was a woman putting bags into the back of a car. But the blonde hair, the build of her body was unmistakable.


Olivia's heart fell to her stomach and she wished more than anything that Elliot was here. In some ways...she knew he would react negatively. But she also knew that he would probably know the right thing to say to the girls. She couldn't tell if Kathy had seen them. Her mind was reeling and she knew she had to do something. Say something. At least to the girls.

Wrapping a protective arm around both of them she cleared her throat, "Girls-"

"Kathleen?" That familiar voice said, "Maureen?" Olivia cringed and felt the girls stiffen beside her, "'re so big."

Olivia looked up then, and their eyes met, "Kathy…"

Kathy stood up a little straighter and tugged at her coat, "Olivia." She paused and then smiled, "I should have known…"

She felt both girls move closer to Olivia at their Mother's words, "Mom…" Kathleen was the first to address her, "What...what are you doing here?"

Kathy looked back at the car behind her, "Oh...I was just in town visiting some friends."

Maureen snorted and gripped the back of Olivia's coat, her hands shaking as she spoke, "Visiting friends but you couldn't come visit your kids."

Kathleen curled further into Olivia, turning her face away from her Mother, "Liv…"

Squeezing her close, she tried to reassure her before turning back to Kathy, "Kathy, I think-"

"How long did it take for you to hop into bed with Elliot after I left?" She said with a smirk.

Olivia's eyes narrowed at the woman in front of her. There were many things she wanted to say, many, many things. But she also knew that she had to choose her words carefully. Especially in front of the girls. As much as they were hurt, Kathy was still biologically their Mother.

"Kathy...I'm not going to get into this with you right now." She said, shaking her head, "If you have something you'd like to say to me, we can talk someplace else. Some other time. Not in front of the girls."

Kathy looked at Olivia, then her eyes scanned between the girls, "Where is Elliot? Where are the twins?"

Olivia swallowed hard, trying to keep calm, "Elliot is picking them up from daycare."

Her eyes roamed up and down Olivia, "So...are you two together?"

"Not that it is any of your business. But yes." Olivia said confidently, "We are."

Kathy laughed and shook her head, "See don't need me."

Before Olivia had time to respond, Maureen started yelling louder than Olivia thought was possible. Years of pent up frustration clearly bubbling over. "You left! You left us! Kathleen cried every night for almost a year. Lizzie and Richie were just babies and Dad had to do it all alone. Olivia was so helpful. She was there everyday when we needed her without even needing to be asked."

Olivia tried to pull her back away from Kathy, "Mo...honey relax. It's okay. You don't need to-"

Maureen shrugged her off and kept shouting, "She took care of us. She put us to bed. She made sure we were fed and got to school. She nursed us when we were sick, held us when we cried. She was and is a better Mother than you ever were or could be!"

Kathy didn't blink, didn't even show that what Maureen had said bothered her. She just took a deep breath and nodded once, "Okay."

Maureen's emotions heightened at her Mother's lack of response, "Okay? Okay? That's all you have to say! Do you care at all? Did you ever care?"

Olivia could feel Kathleen crying behind her, she squeezed her arm and turned to Maureen, "Mo, let's go-"

"No!" Maureen yelled sternly, tears streaming down her cheeks, "What is wrong with you? Why did you even have us? If you didn't want to be a Mother, then what was the point?"

Kathy still showed no emotion, just shrugged her shoulders and said, "Maureen...I'm not sure what you want me to say. Looks like you are doing just fine." Turning towards her car behind her, "I should go. I have a plane to catch."

Kathleen peeked out behind Olivia, her mouth hung open, "You're just going to leave again? What about us? Don't you want to see Lizzie and Richie?"

Kathy shook her head and started to back away, "You can tell them I said hello. Okay? It was...nice to see you."

She turned to walk away and Olivia felt Kathleen pull away from her, "I hate you!"

Everyone froze as the words tumbled from the young girl's mouth, "Kathleen…"

"I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!" She screamed again as her body trembled, "I wish you were never my Mom!"

Before anyone could react, Kathleen took off down the sidewalk. Kathy turned and walked to her car and Olivia looked at Maureen who was just standing there in shock. She felt torn between the girls but when she saw Kathleen picking up speed she yelled to Maureen to stay and took off. Her boots slammed against the pavement and her eyes stayed trained on the back of Kathleen's head. Her heart was pounding in her chest and with every step she took her anxiety grew.

She couldn't seem to catch up no matter how hard she ran and every possible scenario ran through her mind. Maureen was still behind them and the further away she got the more her heart broke in two. These girls were her responsibility. Elliot trusted her with them. Kathy had abandoned them and broken them more than anyone may have realized. And now, Kathleen was on foot running through the most dangerous city and Maureen was somewhere behind her reeling from seeing her Mother after 4 years.

And then then suddenly, Kathleen jerked to the side and stepped out onto the busy New York City Street. Olivia pushed forward, urging her legs to move faster as she screamed at the top of her lungs. "Kathleen! No!"

Grabbing Kathleen quickly, she turned them both and shoved the young girl to the side. Kathleen fell forward onto the pavement and Olivia felt something smash into her hip. She gasped and saw the cab coming to a halt. She was out of breath and grabbed her heart, trying to calm herself. Her hip was aching and she reached down at it but felt no other damage. She could hear the cab driver talking frantically but she ignored him, instead turning to Kathleen who was huddled on the sidewalk clutching her knee, blood pouring from the rip in her was there with her arms wrapped protectively around her sister, whispering words of comfort to her.

Stumbling forward, Olivia fell to her knees in front of both girls, "Are-are you okay?"

Maureen held her sister closer as Kathleen continued to cry, "She didn't even wait to see if Kathleen would be okay. What kind of Mother does that?"

Olivia sighed and pulled them both against her chest, needing to feel them in her arms to know they were okay, "I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry."

Kathleen clung to Olivia's shirt, "Please don't leave us Olivia. Please."

"I'm right here Kathleen. I'm not going anywhere. Ever. I promise." She pressed a kiss to her head and wished she could erase all of their pain.

Elliot had picked up the twins at daycare and was going back towards the park when he realized he left his wallet back at the office. He told the kids he'd swing back to the Precinct before going to the park. They didn't mind because they loved visiting where Elliot and Olivia worked. He smiled when they both ran directly to Munch and climbed up on top of him.

"Attack of the four year olds!" John yelled, covering his face, "Someone help!"

Fin laughed as they pretended to clobber John, "Hit him hard kids!"

Elliot chuckled and lifted Richie off of John, "Easy there guys. Uncle John isn't as young as he once was. We don't want to break any bones. He's Daddy's partner now."

John laughed and lifted Lizzie up and down onto the floor, "Man...what are Olivia and your Dad feeding you? You two are growing like weeds!"

"Olivia says I eat quicker than she can shop for." Richie said puffing out his chest, "I'm going to be big like Daddy!"

Elliot ruffled his hair and started to look around his desk, "That you are buddy." He frowned, "Anyone seen my wallet?"

"I've got it Daddy." Lizzie said reaching for it and holding it out to him.

Elliot smiled and took it from her, "I thought I had more years before you tried to steal money from me kiddo…" She gave him a strange look and he laughed as his phone rang, "Give me a sec guys and then we can head out. This is probably Olivia asking where we are." Pressing the phone to his ear he said, "Stabler."

"Hey…" Olivia's voice said, he heard her sniffle and his heart dropped to his stomach, "El...I-"

"What's wrong?" He asked quickly, "Liv...what happened?"

"Everyone is okay. But...Kathleen is getting some stitches in her knee." He could hear Maureen's voice in the background, "But she's okay."

"Stitches?" He asked nervously, "What? How? Where are you?"

"We're at Mercy…" She paused and then frowned, "El...we saw Kathy. didn't go well. Kathleen took off...I'm so, so sorry. I couldn't get to her in time."

Elliot's head was spinning and the twins were looking at him nervously, "Kathy?"

"Look...I know you're upset. But can you just get here? Please? The Doctor wants to talk to you and the girls are upset. And I…" Her voice cracked again and his heart ached for her, "I'm just, I'm so sorry. This is my fault."

"No. It isn't. This is not your fault. I'll be right there. Just hang tight." He said quickly, "I'll be there as soon as I can."

Hanging up the phone he turned to Fin and John who were standing beside him, "What happened?"

"I don't know." He said angrily, "Kathy...they saw Kathy. Kathleen got upset and she ran...she needs stitches in her knee. I get to Mercy."

Fin looked over at the twins, "Do you want us to take the twins?"

Elliot frowned, he wanted to say goodbye to them but knew at the moment it was probably for the best, " mind?"

"Daddy?" Richie asked, pulling at his Dad's arm, "Daddy, what's wrong? Are we going to the park?"

Fin looked at John, "We'll take them to the house. We can get them dinner or whatever they need. Don't rush. Do whatever you need to do."

Elliot took a deep breath, "Thank you. I…" He shook his head, "Thank you." Kneeling down he reached for Lizzie who scooted closer to him, "Hey guys...change in plans."

Lizzie's lip trembled, "I thought we were all going to the park together?"

"I know baby. We were. But...Kathleen had a little accident." He saw the worry in their eyes and he touched her cheek affectionately, "She's going to be just fine. I'm going to go get her and Olivia and then we'll be home as soon as we can. Okay? We'll take a rain check on the park."

Lizzie walked over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck, "Will you hug Kathleen for me? To make her feel better?"

Squeezing his eyes tight, he held her and pressed a kiss to the side of her face, "I will. And it will make her feel so much better. I know it will." He turned to his son and tugged gently on his hand, "You okay buddy?"

Richie nodded slowly, "Kathleen is okay?"

"She will be. Just a bit of a cut but the Doctor's are taking care of it right now." He looked back at John and Fin, "You two listen to Uncle John and Uncle Fin, okay? Be good." They both looked nervous still, "I love you...everything is going to be okay. I promise."

They both hugged him again, then turned back to Fin and John again. Elliot gave them instructions, gave them his keys so they would have the car seats and then took John's keys. Turning, he tried to walk calmly out of the precinct so he wouldn't worry Richie and Lizzie more. As soon as he got in the elevator though, he started to unravel. Kathleen was getting stitches. Kathy had showed up. What the hell had happened? He wanted to scream. And until he laid eyes on all three of them, he wasn't going to calm down.

At the hospital, Maureen and Olivia stood in the small room as the attendant was stitching up Kathleen's knee. Both girls were still crying, overwhelmed and exhausted by the events of the afternoon. Olivia could feel her hip aching but she had refused to leave the girls sides or get any medical treatment until she was sure they were both okay. She had insisted on x-rays on Kathleen to make sure there were no broken bones and the Doctors had told her multiple times that aside from the split knee, she was perfectly healthy.

The nurse looked over at Olivia who kept shifting her weight and wincing as Maureen clung to her, "Ms. Benson...I really think you should get checked. You said in your statement the cab hit you and-"

"I'm fine." She said, still not taking her eyes off of Kathleen, "It was just a tap."

Maureen looked up at Olivia, "But Liv what if-"

"I'm not going anywhere." Olivai said, giving her a squeeze, "I'm staying right here."

Kathleen and Maureen looked at each other, both worried but knowing that there was no use fighting it. Olivia was never going to leave them alone in the hospital. After the run in with their Mom, it felt good to know they had someone who loved them enough to worry. The door to the room burst open, and Elliot was standing before them out of breath.

"Daddy." Kathleen said from her spot on the bed, relieved to see him.

Elliot looked at Maureen whose eyes instantly filled with tears, he crossed the room and went to Kathleen, "Hey okay?"

Kathleen clung to him and nodded, "Yeah...they said just my knee is hurt. No other injuries."

Elliot looked down as the attendant stitched her up, "How many stitches?"

"She'll need about 15. But she's been a trooper." The Doctor said, "It looks more gruesome than it is. Getting a cut on your knee can be tough because of the way the knee bends. She'll need to stay off it for a few days...let it rest. She'll come back in a week to get checked out and hopefully we can remove them."

Elliot brushed back the hair from her face, "Are you in pain?"

Kathleen shook her head, "They put some ointment on kind feels tingly now."

Elliot smiled and pressed a kiss to her cheek, "Good. I'm glad." He turned to Maureen and Olivia and walked over to them, he looked Maureen up and down, "Are you okay?"

Maureen nodded slowly, but her lip was trembling, "I...I…"

Without warning, she collapsed against his chest and started crying, a deep painful cry that settled in Elliot's chest, "Hey...honey it's okay. It's okay. Kathleen is okay. Are you in pain? Do you need a Doctor-"

"No." She said clinging to him, "No. I hate her. I hate her so much."

Elliot didn't need to ask who she was referring too, "I know. I know...I'm so sorry."

The Doctor finished the last stitch and then slid his stool back, knowing that the family clearly needed a moment, "I'm all done here. I'll give you a minute but I'll be up front if you have any questions. I'll write up a plan for treatment…"

Olivia looked over at him and nodded, she went to step forward and she winced again and reached for her hip. Something that didn't go unnoticed by Elliot, "Thank you."

The Doctor nodded, gave Kathleen a little smile and then slipped out of the room. Once he was gone, Olivia sighed and shifted her weight again, leaning against the wall behind her. Elliot continued to hold Maureen but watched as Olivia tried to hide her discomfort. "What happened?" He asked.

Before Olivia could talk, Kathleen and Maureen both started launching into the tale and he was trying to keep up. From what he could understand, they were walking towards the park when they both saw Kathy. She was in town visiting someone which had upset the girls. They had some words...Kathy showed little to no interest and when she went to leave Kathleen ran off.

Elliot turned to Kathleen, "Kathleen...I know you were upset. But you know running off like that was wrong. Right? You could have gotten really hurt."

Kathleen looked down at her lap, her cheeks flushed and her eyes wide with unshed tears, "I'm sorry. I just...I needed to get away from her. I was so mad." She looked over at Olivia, "I'm sorry Livvie. I'm sorry. It's my fault the cab hit you."

Elliot turned to Olivia quickly, his heart pounding in his chest, "What? What do you mean a cab hit you?"

She sighed and tried to move again but the pain shot to her hip again and she grimaced, "El. I'm fine. It wasn't a big deal. It just...just hit me slightly. But it stopped in time."

"Olivia grabbed me and pushed me aside so it didn't hit me." Kathleen explained. "She saved me."

Elliot looked at Olivia and saw her gripping her hip again, "Liv…"

"Yeah...I grabbed you and threw you to the side. It's my fault your knee split on the pavement. I'm sorry Kathleen. I shouldn't have been so rough. I scared." She whispered, her voice cracked as she spoke.

Elliot shook his head, "Liv...if you hadn't pushed her out of the way it could have been so much worse. She's saved her."

She shifted again and this time fell forward slightly, gasping for breath, "Ow. Crap…"

Maureen clung to her Dad, and spoke firmly so he would hear her, "She refused to go see the Doctor..."

Olivia shot her a look and shook her head, "I wasn't going to leave you girls. I'm fine. Seriously...I'm fi-"

"You are not." Elliot answered quickly, frustration bubbling through his chest "I can see it in your face. You're in pain." She shook her head again and he sighed, "Liv...come with me. Right now."

He pulled away from Maureen and Olivia instantly protested, "Elliot...the girls need you."

"Olivia, we're okay." Maureen said, "I have no injuries and I can stay with Kathleen. The worst is over for her. Please...please go get looked at."

Olivia looked between the three of them, saw the worry on their faces and felt a rush of emotion fill her body. She felt overwhelmed and suddenly couldn't breathe. Turning quickly, she limped out of the room having no intention of asking for help from a Doctor but needing some air. The door barely closed behind her before it was opened again and Elliot was standing beside her.

She leaned forward, trying to catch her breath, "Elliot...go back inside."

He reached for her but she yanked her arm away, "Olivia...look at me."

He watched her eyes shut, and the way she bit her lip before mumbling, "I-I'm fine."

"You're not fine." He said angrily, "Damn it Olivia. I thought we talked about this after the need to take care of yourself."

Her head snapped up and she glared at him, feeling her failure and worries erupt from her chest, "Elliot this is my fault." She pressed a hand to her chest, "Kathleen is lying in a hospital bed because I couldn't protect her. That was my responsibility. I swore to keep them safe and they-"

"Olivia." He whispered softly reaching for her again, this time she didn't pull away and he was grateful, "This was NOT your fault. If anyone is to blame it's my bitch of an ex-wife. I'd love to find her and-"

She huffed and turned away from him groaning again as the pain shot through her side, "She didn't even stay to see if they were okay. God I wanted to slap her...she was so emotionless. Like it meant nothing seeing her own flesh and blood after all these years. Both the girls were so upset...they yelled. They poured their hearts out to her and she didn't care. can she be so heartless? How could she do that to them? How could a Mother care so little for her own children?"

Stepping all the way up to her, he pressed her head into his chest and felt her body shaking as she cried, "Liv...breathe."

"I have never in my life been as scared as when Kathleen ran. I didn't know what to do. Maureen was just standing there...and I had to leave her side. Anything could have happened to either one of them. What if...oh God...what if-" She was desperately clinging to him, feeling the world coming down around her.

Elliot tangled his hands in her hair, " got to Kathleen in time. Maureen was right behind you. You couldn't control this. It's okay."

"How can you say it's okay?" She said pulling away from him and slamming into the wall, "How can you trust me with them? How can you…" She leaned forward again, "I could have lost them. Elliot...I feel like someone ripped my heart out of my chest. I love those girls so much and everything happened so fast. I didn't...I didn't know what to do. I'm so sorry. I'm so damn sorry." She pressed her face into her hands and cried harder.

He let her take a moment to absorb her emotions, to calm herself down before he talked closer to her again, "There is no one in this world that I trust with my children more than you. No one could have predicted all the times I envisioned seeing Kathy again it wasn't like this. If I had been there…" He huffed and turned away from her, "No you know what...I'm glad I wasn't there. Because it wouldn't have turned out so well for anyone."

She bit her lip and reached for them, "I wanted to kill her. But I was keep it calm. I didn't want to say anything wrong in front of the girls...she's their Mother no matter what."

Elliot shook his head and touched her face, "Liv...she forfeited that right when she left and she proved it even more today. took care of my girls. You took an incredibly difficult situation and saved Kathleen. It could have been so much worse and I can't tell you how much I love you for that. But…" Her eyes looked up to him, wide and concerned, "Right now...I need you to go get looked at."

She cringed and grasped onto his forearms, "El...those kids are my life. If anything...anything had happened-"

"But it didn't." He whispered, cradling her face and wiping away her tears, "It didn't because you were there. When you called...I was terrified. But deep down I knew that you would protect them like you always do and I was right. So now...let me protect you." She tried to pull away and again she winced, "Stop being the hero...remember what I said. We need you Liv. You're in pain."

Olivia looked back at the door behind her, "Okay but...stay with the girls. They...they need to talk to you. I'm fine."

He looked like he wanted to protest but he knew that she wouldn't get checked if he tried to go with her. The kids always came first and he loved her more than anything for that. It made his choice for this weekend all that more clearer…

"Okay." He whispered, "But...I'm telling the Doctor to come to me as soon as you're done. Okay?"

She smiled, leaned up and pressed a kiss to his lips, "Okay."

Resting his forehead against hers he sighed, breathed her in and for what felt like the millionth time in the last year thanked God for this woman in front of him, "I love you. So much…"

"I love you too." She whispered, offered him a smile and then pulled away and pointed towards the door behind them, "Go. They need you. I'm okay."

Elliot watched her walk towards the desk at the end of the hall and could see she was still limping. He was torn between going after her and turning to check on the girls. Olivia was stubborn; he knew that more than anything. Knowing if she needed x-rays he wouldn't be allowed in anyway, he decided to turn to check on the girls. When the door opened, he saw Maureen sitting up on the bed beside her sister, her arm wrapped around her protectively. He tried to smile, but he could see the worry and the pain in their eyes.

"Is Olivia okay?" Kathleen asked in the smallest voice, " she hurt? I'm so sorry Daddy…"

Elliot walked over to them and sat at the end of the bed, he reached for them both and each girl took one of his hands, "She's going to get checked out. But I am sure she is going to be okay. You know she's tough...nothing can take her down."

Kathleen looked down anxiously, " was my fault. I ran away."

Elliot squeezed her hand in his, "You shouldn't have done that…" Her lip trembled and he tugged on her hand encouraging her to look at him, "Do you want to tell me what happened?"

Kathleen leaned against her sister, "Mom hates us…"

Elliot sighed and moved closer to him, "Girls...I'm sorry that this happened today. I wish I could say something to make you both feel better. But I don't think there is anything I can say."

"She was so close to us...and she didn't even try to come see us. What if she's here all the time? What did we do wrong?" Kathleen asked. "I asked if she wanted to see Lizzie and Richie and she told me to tell them hi. That's all."

Elliot felt his heart pounding hard in his chest, "I don't know. I know I'm the Dad I'm supposed to have the answers but this is one I don't have the answers too. I will never understand how your Mom could walk away. I love you two...and Richie and Lizzie. I could never walk away. I don't know how she did that or why…"

"Olivia would never leave us." Kathleen said softly, "Even...even if you two weren't together. She loves us."

Elliot's heart soared and he nodded, "She does. Very much…"

"I really want her to be our Mom." Kathleen whispered, "I really hope she says yes…"

Elliot leaned forward and placed a kiss on each of their foreheads, "I do too baby. I do too."

"She's going to say yes." Maureen said confidently, "I know she will."

Elliot caught her eye and saw the sparkle there, the light that he had been missing since Kathy had left. Out of all of his children, she had carried the most weight from the betrayal. She understood it, saw it all unfolding. Felt it the deepest. Her relationship with Olivia was solid and was part of the reason that Elliot had fallen so hard for Olivia. She was great with aloof his children, but her connection to Maureen, the way she understood her meant the world to him. He knew as she grew older she would need a Mother in her life. As much as he prided himself on being the only parent his children would need, he knew it wasn't true. And if they had the opportunity to have someone as wonderful as Olivia, then there was no way he was going to let that slip by.

Turning to look at Kathleen he smiled, "I'm going to check in with the Doctor. See what we can do to make sure you heal up quick. You okay here with your sister?"

Kathleen nodded, "Yes. Will you come let us know when Olivia is done? I'm worried."

"I will. But I promise honey...even if she has an injury she can handle it. No one is tougher than Olivia." She gave him an anxious look, "And don't you for a second...not one second think this is your fault. Olivia loves you more than anything and she would have protected you no matter what."

Kathleen nodded slowly and leaned forward to hug him, "Okay."

He kissed the side of her face, "Stay here, okay? Try to keep your knee still as much as you can. I'll be back in a minute."

Forty-five minutes later, Olivia was sitting in a hospital bed of her own waiting for the Doctor to return with results from her x-rays. She wasn't surprised when the door pushed open and Elliot was walking in with the Doctor.

Immediately she gave him a look but he shook his head, "My Mom came. She's with the girls. They're fine. Besides...they insisted I hear the full report so you don't try and pretend nothing is wrong."

She rolled her eyes and leaned against the pillow behind her, "They are so much like you…"

"Yup. Sure are. And you love everything about us." He said crossing his arms over his chest, "So no arguing." He turned towards the Doctor and smiled, "What's the verdict Doc?"

Doctor Chen took out the x rays and slid them onto the light board in front of him, "We ran a full scan. There are no full broken bones…" He said slowly, "But you did chip the bone in your left hip. That's why you're feeling pain there."

Olivia sighed, she had been hoping that nothing was wrong but the pain she was feeling was more prominent and she had been anticipating something, "So...what does that exactly mean?"

"It's not anything we would cast or need surgery for. But you are going to be uncomfortable and need to let yourself heal. I'd recommend at least three days of bed rest. And then after that...still a few weeks of rest when possible. I'd like you to keep your weight off it as best you can. I can offer you some crutches just to be on the safe side but you should be able to get around without them as long as you take breaks." He said.

Olivia groaned, "So back to desk duty at work…"

Elliot shot her a quick look, "Absolutely desk duty at work. I'm calling Cragen when we leave here so you can't get out of it."

She rolled her eyes but couldn't help but smile, she couldn't deny that having someone worrying about her did feel pretty good, "Of course you are."

The Doctor smiled, "I'll give you some pain medication. Take it as needed. Don't be too proud to take it. An injury like this does come with some serious pain. You're going to bruise tonight and it will be quite tender. But I see no reason for you to not make a full recovery within the next few weeks. I'd like to see you in five days though just to check in."

Olivia nodded slowly, "Okay. No other injuries?"

"Nope. Other than that you're just fine." He said taking the x-ray off the board, "Do you have any other questions?"

Olivia shook her head, "No. I think I'm okay. As long as I can go home today."

He nodded again, "Absolutely. I'll go get the prescription for you and we can make an appointment. Then you'll be out of here. I'll have someone grab crutches for you as well." Olivia made a grimace and he smiled, "Unless-"

"She'll take them." Elliot said matter-of-factly from his spot at the far end of the room. "And I'll make sure she uses them as much as possible. Thank you Doctor Chen."

When he left the room, Olivia sighed, "I hate this."

"I know." He said walking over to her, "But today you saved my daughter's you're going to suck it up and take the rest. I could have lost you humor me. Would you? We talked about how scary that is. The possibility of losing one another. So...let me take care of you." She gave him a look and he smiled, "Liv if we are going to spend forever together...we're going to be doing this from time to time. Don't you agree?"

Her cheeks flushed and she smiled, "Hopefully not as much as we think…"

Elliot chuckled and lifted her hand, pressing it to his lips, "I agree. I'd like to keep it to the bare minimum."

She was quiet for a moment but he could tell that she was thinking hard. He watched the way she bit her lip and stared down at their hands in her lap. She moved and he saw the pain it caused. But she brushed it aside and looked up at him, her mouth opened to say something but she quickly shut it.

Cocking his head to the side, he traced his hand along the inside of her palm, "What are you thinking?"

Leaning back against the pillows, she slowly lifted her eyes to meet his and she whispered, "I was just...thinking that I should probably tell you…"

His heart jumped slightly and he whispered, "Tell me what?"

The smile grew on her lips, "Today...seeing Kathy I wanted to scream. And I-" Her voice cracked and she shook her head, "I will never try and be something they don't want from me. But they felt like my girls...

mydaughters. Even in front of their real Mother. She might not want them, but I do." She saw him smiling at her and she pushed on, "El there is nothing I want more than to be in their life forever. In your your wife." Her heart pounded against her chest, "I'm...just letting you know that I'm ready. think it might be right. I'm ready."

Biting his lip he nodded slowly, "No doubts?"

"Not one." She whispered in a sincere voice, "I want this El."

He couldn't keep the smile off his face as he leaned towards her, grateful that she was saying this. Little did she know what was coming in just a few days. He had felt confident before, but now he was certain. This was exactly what he was supposed to do. It was time. Not just for him. Not just for Olivia. But his children and as terrifying as today had proved it.

"I'm really glad to hear that." He whispered before pressing a kiss to her lips.

Squeezing his hand she smiled, "So…"

He shook his head and laughed, "Oh no. I told you to tell me when you were ready...the rest is up to me. I'll give nothing away."

She pouted softly, "So now I have to wait?" He gave her a look and she rolled his eyes, "Fine. But...maybe don't make me wait too long?"

Elliot almost blurted out that she had only a few more days to wait but the surprise was everything to him. So instead, he leaned in, kissed her twice and whispered, "Patience is a virtue."

After what had been a stressful day for all, he was pretty sure it was leading them right where they needed to be…

Let the bough break, let it come down crashing

Let the sun fade out to a dark sky

I can't say I'd even notice it was absent

Cause I could live by the light in your eyes

I'll unfold before you

Would have strung together

The very first words

Of a lifelong love letter

Tell the world that we finally got it all right

I choose you...

I will become yours and you will become mine

I choose you...

I choose... you

(Yeah...) oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

There was a time when I would have believed them

If they told me you could not come true

Just love's illusion

But then you found me and everything changed

And I believe in something again

My whole heart

Will be yours forever

This is a beautiful start

To a lifelong love letter

Tell the world that we finally got it all right

I choose you

I will become yours and you will become mine

I choose you

I choose... you

We are not perfect

We'll learn from our mistakes

And as long as it takes

I will prove my love to you

I am not scared of the elements

I am under-prepared, but I am willing

And even better

I get to be the other half of you

Tell the world that we finally got it all right

I choose you...

I will become yours and you will become mine

I choose you

I choose you

I choose you