A/N: Another idea I had. Let me know if should continue!

Red.

Her face when she saw him for the first time in 10 years. Kathy's blood scattered at the scene. His eyes from crying over the death of his wife of 30 years. His kid's cheeks as they stood In the freezing cold at their mother's funeral. Her wine.

God she needed this wine. In fact, she'd never needed wine more than she did at the present moment.

It'd been a hell of a month and a half. The Stablers. Their case load on top of it. Her kids.

Her kids. She'd barely seen her kids in the last two weeks. She felt horrible. Worse than usual due to the man she'd sacrificed her time with them for.

She sat on her couch with a huff, tucking a leg under herself and closing her eyes tight. It didn't matter what she did, she couldn't get those baby blues to leave her mind.

Not that she ever could. She saw them every day.

But his were different. Older. Full of knowing. Knowing about the world and the horrors it held. Full of memories and experiences. Regret, pain, excitement, love, sincerity.

A stark contrast from her daily dose of blue.

Those ones were young; full of life and innocence and excitement. Eyes that lit up when she saw her mom and squinted when her little brother did something obnoxious.

A squint that mirrored his whenever she wouldn't let up on something.

She sighed, but smiled when she heard soft footsteps. They were too gentle and slow to be Noah's. They were careful, but confident. She was a mini version of her mom.

Except the eyes.

Liv opened hers and blue met brown. She smiled and got one back that mirrored hers.

"Hi baby…" she whispered, "what are you doing awake?"

"I heard you and thought we could hang out," said the young girl as she climbed up next to her, cuddling in.

Liv smiled small and set her wine glass down. "Emma Bernadette," she said as she wrapped her arms around her oldest. "It is 1am," she laughed kissing her head.

"I knoooow but tomorrow is Saturday and we can sleep in and cuddle and eat breakfast in bed." She asked hopefully.

Emma was 9 going on 19. She grinned up at Liv and squinted her eyes waiting for an answer. Liv got lost in that squint.

She kissed her head. "You can stay up and sleep in my bed, but you have to answer to your brother in the morning," she teased.

Emma grinned and hugged her tightly, staying quiet a moment.

"Momma I heard you crying last night… tough week?"

Liv couldn't help but chuckle. "You know baby… it was. But I'm ok. It's over now."

The little girl nodded and lounged against her, obviously fighting sleep.

"I love you baby… so much."

"Forever and ever?"

She smiled and pressed several kisses to her head. "Forever and ever and ever."

She was asleep in minutes. Liv slowly lifted her to carry her into her bed. She was getting heavier and her eyes welled up as she made the walk down the hall to her room.

It'd be so much easier if she had Elliot. Elliot, carrying his daughter to her room. Carrying their daughter.

Fuck.

She hadn't had those thoughts in 9 years. Not since the medal came. Not since Cragen told Fin and Munch the truth and the three of them forced her to listen until she believed in her own strength.

She tucked her daughter on the other side of her bed and kissed her cheek before curling up on her side and checking her phone a final time.

Chief: Stay home with your kids this weekend. That's an order.

Munch: If you have to work tomorrow let me know and I'll take the kids sledding

Elliot: Thank you. So much for everything. You're incredible- still. I don't deserve you. Can we have lunch?

She groaned and deleted his message, texting John back.

L: I'm off and that was the plan, but we would love for you to join us!

M: I'm too old for that kind of cold, but would have taken one for my two favorite Bensons. :)

L: Ouch! But fair.

She put her phone down and tried to relax, praying that sleep would come and that Noah wouldn't wake up at 7am.


Noah was in her room by 7:30am, whining about not being invited to the sleep over.

"Dude go back to sleep!" Emma groaned and Liv laughed.

"Hey… what did I say last night?" Emma giggled and yawned.

Liv rolled over and pulled Noah close into her. "Mommy needs another hour of sleep if you want to go sledding today!"

Both kids rolled to look at her and grinned huge. She laughed. "Sleep!" She said with a yawn, falling back again.

The next time she woke up, both kids were dressed and eating egos in her bed. She looked at her clock. 9am. A record.

She smiled over at them. They could be twins. Noah could be hers. How did she get so damn lucky?

She smiled and sat up slowly grabbing her phone, immediately groaning at the text.

Elliot: Havent heard from you. Just want to make sure you're ok.

She took a deep breath, holding it for a while before releasing and responding

Liv: I'm fine, Elliot. I appreciate your concern but I've been taking care of myself and 2 kids for the better part of 10 years.

E: I know… I know I'm sorry.

L: It's fine… thank you

E: I missed you. Can I see you? I have something for you.

She groaned.

L: You can meet us in central. But you can't stay long. I haven't really seen them since you've been back.

E: Yes, Captain.

She sighed and put her best happy mom face back on. "Let me eat and then we'll go!"


They spent the morning sledding and laughing together. The freshly fallen snow made for perfect sledding conditions, and her two littles were flying.

She stood at the top of the small hill watching when she felt him. She took a deep breath and turned to look back at him.

"Stabler."

He smiled small. "Hey Liv…"

She sighed looking up at him. They made painful eye contact for several moments before his trailed over to the two kids now watching them from the bottom of the hill.

"Twins?" he asked thoughtfully.

She couldn't help but breathe out a chuckle. "Uh no… Emma is 9 and Noah is 7. But they could pass. I get that a lot."

He nodded and tilted his head looking back at them. His eye's locked on the young girl's, something stirring within his heart.

"9?" He asked softly.

She ripped her eyes from where her two children stood, back up to him. "You have something for me?" She asked, not trying to hide her warning in her tone of voice.

He nodded and gently pulled out an envelope with "Liv" scribbled on the front. He handed it to her and she took it.

"I'm not good at words and stuff… so I wasn't going to give a speech at your ceremony but I wanted to give you this. It explains a lot and…" he trailed off sighing. "Read it… or don't.. but I hope you do."

She nodded and tucked it in her pocket, turning back when she heard her kids footsteps behind her.

"Mom you coming?" Emma asked smiling.

Liv nodded and smiled back. "Be there in one second baby… go ahead and do a few more runs!"

They knew her tone wasn't to be trifled with and ran off. She looked back at Elliot who was holding his breath.

She felt like she was going to throw up.

"So…" he asked softly, returning to his previous line of questioning. "You're married?"

She glared at him. "No. It's just the three of us. Not that that's any of your business."

He let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding and she turned to watch her kids.

"So shes 10…" he asked again, pausing for what felt like forever. "She looks like Elizabeth…" he said, just above a whisper.

Her blood boiled and she turned to look at him.

"Why don't you worry more about your 5 children who just buried their mother and less about my 2 that you don't even know."

She took a step back and held up her hands. "I'm sorry… Liv I'm sorry…"

She took a deep breath. "It's fine." She said walking away from him and towards her kids.


The three Benson's went home and cuddled on the couch for some hot chocolate.

When Noah ended up falling asleep midway through the film, Emma hit pause and looked up at her mom.

"Who was that man?" She asked softly.

Liv looked down at her, taken aback. "Uh… just an old friend baby."

"How do you know him?"

Liv smiled small. She jokingly called her kids little detectives, and they both owned that title with passion.

It made Liv beam with pride. Except during moments like this when she wanted them to just be kids.

She took a deep breath. "Well baby… we were partners for a lot of years… but he left and came back for my award but… there was an accident and his wife passed away."

She nodded thoughtfully. "That's sad… is he ok? Does he have kids?"

Liv squeezed her girl a little tighter. "Well… I think he's ok as he can be. And yes… he's got 5 kids."

Emma's eyes widened. "That's a lot of kids! We should have them over for dinner."

Liv sighed shaking her head. "I don't know baby… it's complicated."

"Why?" She asked looking up at her.

Because he's your father and you don't know and he doesn't know and his kids don't need to know at this time.

"Because baby… it just is." She gave her a look to end the conversation.

Emma was quiet for a moment before she slouched back against her. "Noah and I have seen your picture with him before… you seem happier with him. I think he should come over…"

Liv ignored her hitting play on their movie and holding her a little tighter.


She got the kids to bed later that night and sat on her couch with her glass of wine.

She still needed it. She didn't get to have it the day before. She took a sip and savored in the bitterness.

Bitterness. It was starting again in her heart. Seeing her daughter and Elliot so close. The letter. That stupid fucking letter. Of course she was gonna read it. And she did. In the bathroom, before she showered.

And she cried. Got mad. Thought about the last time they were together. After Jenna. Emotional. Primal. Passionate.

"I'm still on the pill," she'd whispered against his mouth as he yanked her leggings down.

They'd always been extra careful when he and Kathy were separated and they started their friends with benefits agreement that ended with more strings that either of them could imagine.

Condoms, pulling out, birth control. They took no chances.

But that night they didn't care. They were a mess. They needed to feel each other. Every part of each other. Figures, of all people they'd be the .01% where birth control failed.

She pushed it out of her mind and snuggled in under her blankets, turning on her favorite show.

She'd just started to relax when she heard a knock at the door. She knew it was him and walked over slowly to open the door. He stood with a bottle of wine.

She sighed. She was going to give in. She knew it. He knew it. Fin knew it and gave her several "big bro I'll kill him" level talks. Everyone knew it.

She looked up at him and sighed, her eyes welling up. "My kids are sleeping," she said just above a whisper.

He nodded and reached his free hand out to grasp hers. His own tears started to fall and they squeezed each others hands.

"Liv is she mine?" He asked breathlessly. Her tears fell and she nodded slowly, starting to sniffle. He pulled her in a tight hug and she wrapped her arms around his middle.

"I'm so sorry Olivia… for so many things." He choked out. "I'm so sorry…" he whispered again and they stood in her doorway, crying and holding each other, just like night so many years ago.