A/N: Some set up for future chapters. I've had some writers block so this isn't exactly where I wanted this to be, but I hope you enjoy regardless!


The family's vacation, and their summer, came and went quicker than any of them would have liked.

Elliot and Olivia were back to their usual and hectic work schedule, and school was a few days shy of beginning for the younger Stablers, including Teddy who'd be going to 2-year-old school three times a week.

Eli was headed back to college the same day the kids went back, and would be busy with soccer until September, so the plan was to celebrate Finley's first birthday two weeks early at her Baptism celebration that weekend.

The young parents had embraced their new coparenting relationship, finally, and though they were both dreading Eli's leaving, for the first time they seemed hopeful for their future.

Emma and Jake had been on-again, off-again all summer, but were once again back-on and inseparable.

Noah had spent most of his summer with his nose in his phone, and Olivia had spent the same amount of time telling Elliot not to pry.

"Riley… is Riley a girl or a boy?"

"Does it matter, Elliot?"

"I just want him to be comfortable with me!"

"In time. He will in time."

Liz was due at the beginning of October, and she and Peter were planning on getting married a few days before thanksgiving.

"You're sure it's okay we do it this close to the twins birthday?" Liz had asked her little brother for the 100th time.

"Elizabeth!" He'd exclaimed, laughing. "They're two. Yes, I promise."

Things were quite for Kathleen and Maureen, both busy with their daughters and slowly getting to know their biological mother again, always with Olivia present.

"Aren't you sick of hanging with my ex wife," Elliot had grumbled to her one night in July when she came home from drinks with her and the girls.

"A little," she shrugged, sinking to her knees in front of him after kicking off her high heeled sandals. "But it makes our girls happy."

"Hmph," he said, sinking back onto the couch as she teased his waist band.

"Plus… I get to come home to this," she winked.

The Williamson's firm was bustling with business, which kept Sam busy at work with their new attorney, Ben.

The pair had gotten increasingly close, and everyone was thankful that Eli had absolutely no clue, especially Dickie, who was up to his eyeballs in work, his daughters, and his wife's baby fever.

The Friday before school resumed and Finneys celebrations came in a flash, and Elliot and Olivia were already downstairs and drinking coffee when Eli hustled down the stairs with Joey in his arms.

"Hey guys," he smiled.

"Morning," they said in tandem, looking up from their respective phones, shocked to see one twin on a mom-sleepover night.

"Well hello little girl," Liv smiled over her glasses, setting her phone down.

"Hi Cap, Bud sick," the almost two year old explained with a pout.

"He is?" She exclaimed with a big frown. "That why you and daddy had a sleep over?"

"Mhm," she nodded. "Dadee my haiw," she smiled proudly, turning to show her French braid.

"Oh my goodness," Liv and El oohed and ahhed.

"You have the best daddy!" El exclaimed. "I could never ever do your auntie's hair!"

Joey smiled, snuggling into Eli who kissed her head repeatedly.

Eli's phone buzzed in his free hand, and he groaned lightly.

"Shoot… okay, boy is having a meltdown for me, gotta go."

"She need to be dropped at Mo's?" Liv asked, pecking her granddaughter's cheek as the duo rushed to the front door.

"Sam's gonna take her," he called. "But thank you! Say bye Cap, bye papa! See you tonight!"

"Bye cap, bye papa!" Joey echoed, waving quickly.

"Love you guys," Eli added.

"Wuh yew!" Joey cried as they raced out the door.

"Morningggggg," Noah sang, sliding down the railing from the second floor at the same time the front door shut, earning a stern look from his parents.

"Son, so help me," El warned with a laugh.

"You guys okay with the babies till Sarah gets here?" Liv asked.

"Yup!" Noah nodded, walking over to pour himself coffee.

"Son," Elliot chuckled. "You don't need coffee."

"I do if I'm gonna be in charge of Teddy," he groaned playfully.

"Emma up?" Liv asked, wrapping her arms around her not-so-little-anymore baby boy.

"She's awake, are the babies still asleep?"

"Uh huh. They both are cutting teeth at the same time, so you might actually have a tired and snuggly Teddy today," she explained, taking the mug from his hands and setting it aside. "And daddy is right. No coffee."

"Thank god," he nodded. "I'm getting old!"

Both parents laughed as Teddy's monitor lit up with his little voice.


"That's my que," El laughed, pushing away from the table and moving to kiss both of their heads before heading upstairs to retrieve his youngest son.

Liv looked down at Noah and raised a brow.

"Not yet," he muttered, shaking his head.

"He loves you."

"I know. But he's pushing."

"I'll talk to him but.."

"I know, mom," he sighed, embarrassed.

"Then whenever you're ready," she nodded, brushing his short but still unruly curls away from his forehead. "But don't forget how much he loves you."

"Hi baby girl," Sam smiled, meeting Eli at the door and taking Joey.

"Hi mama," she smiled, giggling when Sam pressed several kisses to her cheek. "He's in my bed."

"On it," Eli nodded. "He eat?"

"Few crackers and managed to keep them down. Said he was hungry after he threw up around 3am. Hoping it's just a 24 hour thing and that he's on the tail end."

"Alright I'll try to get him to eat more. Have a good day at work," he nodded, absentmindedly leaning forward for a kiss before saving himself and shaking his head.

They both laughed, and she blushed, spinning on her heel.

"Text me later!"

"I will, have a good day!" He called over his shoulder, stepping through the front door.

"Dadee!" Joey exclaimed, and Eli turned, brows raised.

"My kiss!" She smiled, pointing to her cheek.

He laughed, doubling back from the front door to Sam's apartment and giving his daughter several quick smooches before running in to meet his boy.

"How's EJ?" Ben asked, coming out of his office when Sam walked in.

"So pathetic," she sighed, leaning against her desk. "Eli is home with him now but it was a long, long night."

"Why didn't you have Eli stay with him last night since he didn't have to work?" He frowned, reaching out for her hand.

She linked their fingers and shrugged.

"He wanted mommy and I didn't wanna get the entire Stabler household sick."

"Poor thing. Joey is okay?"

"Oh yeah, she literally never gets sick, either, knock on wood," she chuckled.

"Which one gave you the biggest scare again when they were born?" He teased with a smile.

"Both!" She exclaimed, and he chuckled, leaning in for a quick peck.

"Miss you," he murmured against her lips.

"Miss you too," she sighed. "Gonna be harder when Eli leaves, you know?"

"We'll make it work, I'm not worried. And if I have to just see you at work I just see you at work," he nodded.

She smiled shyly and leaned into his chest.

"Thank you for respecting my boundaries."

"Hey? This is new, and I'd never wanna make you, or him, feel uncomfortable by being around the kids too soon. I get it, no need for thanks, okay?"

She nodded and melted into his embrace.

"Dreading eventually telling him."

"He can't be that bad," Ben laughed, looking down to see the look she was shooting him.

"You're optimistic."

"Can't fault a guy for loving his kids."

"What about loving your…"

"My girlfriend?" He winked, and she blushed again.

"Something like that."

"We'll cross that bridge."

They broke apart when the front door opened, and he winked at her.

"Morning," he called to Kathleen.

"Morning, love birds," she sang. "We have a new client coming in at noon, it's all hands on deck," she called as she walked down to her office.

"Late night?" Sam asked.

"Probably," Beau grumbled, trailing in behind her.

"Let me call Eli," she nodded, rounding her desk and taking a seat.

"EJ still sick?"

"We'll see how he's feeling at the end of the day and he can get Bea too if needed."

"Life saver," Kathleen sang.

"I'm really not convinced you actually work," Liv cracked, leaning back in her chair when her husband walked into her office.

"Here on official business," he said, voice deep and serious, though his eyes shimmered with mischief.

"But you had time for coffee?"

"I always have time to take care of my girl," he winked, rounding her desk and handing over her mug.

She reached up for a kiss which he gladly gave her, and then sat back.


"My boss will explain more when she gets here," he said, forcing live to cock an eye brow.

Jet bustled in not seconds later, giving him an eye roll.

"And here she is."

"Ah, tech stuff, I see," Liv cracked.

"You know Stabler, it's his specialty," Jet snickered.

"I wouldn't do the explanation justice," El shrugged.

"And notice how he didn't get me a coffee, I'll remember that."

They way he's him freeze, nod slowly, and then stand up from her desk.

"I'm gonna go talk to Fin," he nodded, leaving the pair alone with their laughter.

"So?" Liv asked, looking over to Jet.

"It's a big one," she warned. "And it'll be a long one."

"As long as nothing happens Sunday for Finley's parties, then so be it. Hit me," she said, putting on her readers and diving into the case with Jet.

"Howdy," Eli called, walking in through the front door of the law office with Joey in his arms later that afternoon.

The team was stood at Sam's desk, discussing their new client and taking a much needed break.

"Hi mama," Joey said sweetly.

"Hi baby," Sam cooed, reaching out for her. "What are you doing here? Where's bud?"

"Bud wif No," she smiled, going into her mom's arms.

"He's doing so much better," Eli smiled. "Sleepy and resting, but back to his normal self. Which is worked out because Teddy is cutting molars and Finley is teething and the weather is stinky so they're having a movie day."

"Oh man if we knew that we would have just left you there!" Sam chuckled.

"Nah, she loves her Mo, huh?"

"Yup!" Joey smiled, reaching back for her daddy. "Det bee, mama."

"Yeah, you're gonna go get Ms. Bee!" She smiled, kissing her cheek and handing her back to Eli.

"Easier to trade cars or just get her seat?"

"Just the seat, EJ is on a third row kick so he's back there," he laughed.

"Perfect. I'll walk out with you, and help you get it," Beau nodded. "I need a breather anyways," he chuckled.

"Rough case?"

"You sure you wanna be a lawyer?" He asked dryly.

"You're in law school?" Ben spoke up, finally.

"Oh shoot, sorry I'm Eli," he smiled, sticking his hand out to the new face. "But yes, well, pre-law and psychology."

"Ben," he smiled warmly. "That's great… Princeton right?"

"Princeton," he affirmed, smiling when his daughter wrapped her tiny arms around his neck and hugged.

"My dada," she smiled.

"I know," Ben exclaimed sweetly, as Sam watched on his interaction with her baby girl. "You look just like him, you know."

"You think?" Eli chuckled. "I don't see it."

"The eyes and smile," he said fondly.

"Well, she's mostly pretty like her mommy, thankfully!"

"You should see EJ, it's like Eli spit him out," Katie chuckled.

"Bud," Joey nodded.

"Say EJ," Eli prompted her, but she crinkled her nose and shook her head.

"My Bud."

"He is your Bud," Eli smiled proudly. "Alright, let's go and get Bea's car seat and then head back to Cap and Papa's for movies?"

"Yeah! See Bud!"

"Yes, and see Bud," he chuckled. "Okay, say bye-bye mommy."

"Bye mama," she grinned, leaning out of her dad's arms to kiss her mom's cheek.

"And bye bye, Katie."

"Bye bye," she giggled moving to Katie next.

"And bye bye Ben."

"Bye bye!" She grinned, reaching out her hand for a high-five.

He gladly gave her one, and Eli waved to Sam before heading out with Beau.

Katie winked at Sam and Ben before walking back into the conference room.

"She's precious," Ben whispered, putting a hand over his heart.

"She's the best, and her brother is just as amazing."

"He seems nice, Sam," Ben smiled small, reaching for her hand and tangling their fingers.

"He's a good dad," she nodded, blinking quickly.

Leaning forward, he pressed a soft kiss to her temple before joining Katie.

"'Bout ready, momma?" El asked, walking into Liv's office around 10:30pm.

"Yeah, who's on night? Jet and Joe?"

"Yeah… they could be cute together, you know."

"Oh no.. that's Muncy's man."

"How's she doing by the way?" He asked, helping her get things packed up.

"She likes it," Liv shrugged. "I miss her though, wish she'd come back."

"Eh, she'll get sick of it eventually. Everyone does," he chuckled, taking her hand and walking out with her, hand in hand.

"I think half our grandkids are at our house," she sighed softly once they got to the garage.

"Oh yeah?"

"That's what Eli and Emma said. Twins and Bea, at least. I'm sure they some how convinced Sarah to drop off AK."

"Teddy is obsessed with her right now!" El laughed.

"Oh my god right? She's like a little mommy to him."

"Hey, you tired?" He asked, stopping in his tracked and turning to look at her.

"Not really… you?"

"No… you wanna go get drinks at that swanky place you like?"

A smile broke across her face and she nodded.

"That sounds amazing, baby."

At the house, Emma had gone up to her room to talk to Jake, all of the babies were in bed, with Anna Kate and Teddy having a sleepover on an air mattress in Noah's room, and Noah and Eli were downstairs watching baseball.

"What's on your mind?" Eli asked.

"What's on yours?" Noah challenged.

"Stressed about going back to school," he admitted. "Your turn."

"Lame. We all know that. Something better."

Eli laughed and nodded.

"Touché. Uh… okay," he nodded. "I think Sam's seeing that new attorney."

"Whaaat," Noah drawled, jaw on the floor as he looked to his brother. "No way? What makes you think that?"

"Just a feeling," he shrugged. "He was really interested in Joey so, he's either creepy or dating her momma."

"Shit," Noah mumbled, warning a look of warning from his brother.

"Alright… your turn."

"I'm bi," Noah blurted out, holding his breath and staring at the tv in anxious wait for his brother's response.

"Okay," Eli shrugged.

"Okay?" Noah asked, looking over at him in slight shock

"I mean… always kinda knew but," he shrugged, "doesn't change anything. Love you, brother, thanks for telling me," he said, nudging him.

Noah's eyes filled up and he nodded slowly, leaning back into his brother who wrapped an arm around him.

"Love you too, brother," he whispered.

"Mom and dad know?"

"Mom… and Emma."

"You should tell dad."

"He's gonna be ashamed…"

Eli leaned over, looking down at him.

"You kidding me?"

"I mean," Noah sighed. "Maybe…"

"I had twins at barely 18 years old, Noah. My life was absolutely fucked. You're fine."

"I really hope you're right," Noah sighed.

"Big brother is always right," Eli chuckled, and Noah laughed a little, too.

"Well… most of the time."

"99 percent of the time," Eli clarified.

"Whatever helps you sleep at night, bro," Noah laughed.