A/N: This has been requested by Laura, has been living in my mind since that very second, and is largely inspired by the obscenely stupid/adorable/asinine hat choices of Mariska and Chris. PLZ 4 THE LOVE OF GOD listen to Elephant Gun by Beirut and/or Into My Arms by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (and don't even touch me about that song and EO) and/or 10,000 Weight in Gold by The Head And The Heart while reading. Gracias. Hold on to your hats.

"Hey," he says, and she looks up at him and grins.

Oh, he's an idiot. And oh, how she loves it.

"You look like a monkey." Her eyebrows are raised when she says it, coffee cup hovering by her lips. He likes the way she still looks flushed, maybe from the hot shower she (read: they) took this morning or maybe from the cold or maybe just from seeing him, dressed ridiculously in his snow boots and long coat and scarf and beanie.

"Yeah?" he asks, and she nods.

"Yeah. With your ears all covered like that."

He uncovers them, lets them stick out from underneath the black thread as he goes to hang his coat up. She laughs. "Now you just look like Fievel."

He's surprised that she can so readily reference the childrens' character, but then again, this is Olivia Benson, and she can readily reference anything. He's caught her muttering Dorothy Parker in a fit of rage—"Some men," she'd whisper, harshly biting off the words. "Some men."—and has caught her lyrically reciting Shakespeare into the mirror— "With sighs of fire, Olivia,"—as if it's something her mother used to say. It probably was.

How does he love me?

With adoration, with fertile tears, with groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire.

He's since made her skim over a part of Twelfth Night for him on the sofa; she's sexy when she reads, sexy when she's boastfully smart, boastfully more intellectual than he'll ever be. "I love you," he'll whisper, to which she will respond, "I have knocked a man unconscious with this book before." He'll slide the Complete Works to the far end of the coffee table and pull her into her room. Their room. Whatever it is, or whatever they're calling it that day—this is still something that's new and weird, but for some reason, it never feels foreign when he touches her.

He takes the beanie off and sits down, and doesn't put it back on until lunchtime.

"You wanna go grab a sandwich or something?" she asks. It's a quiet day, and she's bored as hell. It is also snowing and he knows she's secretly obsessed with the way the flakes look against all the New York grey. She probably wants to see everything when it's still pristine and white, before it turns to blackish taxi-cab slush, and the thought of her eyes lighting up about it is so fucking adorable that he agrees to go despite the temperature outside or lack thereof.

He puts the beanie back on.

"You still look ridiculous," she tells him as they walk, and she's got this mischievous sideways grin that makes him feel like she's as excited about being next to him as she is about the snow. He bumps her shoulder with his.

"Yeah, well you're cute."

She wrinkles her eyebrows. "Ew, Elliot. Don't."

"Don't what? I can't call you cute?" She is. She really is, with the way she's all bundled in her scarf and that horrible black parka. She looks like an Eskimo. The Michelin man. Something.

"You can't." She's completely serious.

He stops walking, makes her stop too by hooking his hand around her elbow before she can continue. He spins her back to face him and steps closer, too close for being in public and Not Dating. "Elliot," she draws, like they're about to get caught, like they're doing something that's gonna get them in trouble. He kisses her quickly and she smacks his arm. "Elliot! What the fuck?"

He shrugs. "You're my girlfriend."

She heaves a sigh that is almost argumentative, but she doesn't deny it. She is absolutely his girlfriend. "El... just because you—because we share my bed, or spend all of our time together, and say..." she knits her brows together because she doesn't want to enumerate something as terrifying as the fact that they openly, actually love each other. "... stuff," she continues finally, and with dignity, "does not mean that you can walk around and act like—and say things like that I'm your girlfriend. And kiss me."

He's looking at her from underneath that beanie of his though, that stupid, stupid hat—she'd never pegged Elliot Stabler as a hat man, but he is, he really really is—and she realizes that that's exactly what she wants him to be doing. Kissing her.

"Oh?" he probes, stepping closer if possible, gloved hands coming to rest on her hips. She can't feel his touch from under her coat, but maybe that's a good thing, because she probably wouldn't be able to resist it if she could. She swats his hands away and he laughs, "Oh, come on," before meeting her eyes again.

"Yeah," she says. "Yeah, 'Oh, come on.' You absolutely cannot kiss me."

"I beg to differ, Benson."

"You may not kiss me."

He pulls a face, the beanie slips down a little lower over his forehead. He looks ridiculous, he looks a doofis, and he's impossible, and she's in love with him. So, so overwhelmingly and terrifyingly in love with him. Especially here, in the middle of the street. In the middle of the city, two blocks from the precinct. She can't stand it the way she loves him, the way it washes over her at the strangest times, such as every minute of every day. She can't stand it that whatever this is refuses to be confined to the safety and privacy of her apartment, refuses to limit itself to just sex. It's so much more. And that makes it so, so scary.

"You may not kiss me here," she amends, quietly. But as she says it her hands stray to his biceps and start running over them, up and down, up and down, and her breath gets heavier. He doesn't let up. He doesn't back away, doesn't stop invading her space.

"Yeah?" he breathes, and it's not even a whisper, she might not even hear it, she might just be reading his lips and feeling the air of his silent words against her face.

"Yeah," she answers. Kiss me, she thinks. Kiss me kiss me kiss me. He's going to. "'Specially not in that beanie," she adds, right in the second before his lips brush over hers.

She's so lost with him. She's so not Olivia Benson with him, or maybe she is Olivia Benson, but just this new, special, loved version that she's never gotten to meet before. Maybe that's it. Maybe that's why she finds herself excited about snow, up in arms about his beautiful stupid hat and mostly his beautiful stupid face, and making out in the middle of the fucking sidewalk. Where everyone can see.

"Everyone can see us." It falls between their lips, falls into his mouth.

"Let 'em," he offers, and doesn't pull away, just tugs her as close as he can given all the layers of her coat. She almost bounces off him and they both laugh. "God," he mutters, pulling away. The beginning of his sentence is lost to the traffic noises—someone is honking wildly—but she makes out the last of his words, the "... hate that jacket" part.

"If you hate it so much," she exhales, admonishing the dark look in his eyes and realizing that the flush on his cheeks has nothing to do with the cold, "why don't you take it off?"

She thinks he chokes. She leans closer, whispers in his ear. "I want you to take it off me."

He's died. He's died and gone to heaven. "God, woman," he whispers. "I can't—" I can't wait. We need to go home right now.

She laughs, steps away, shakes her head. Tugs on his hand. "Not right now."

He stares at her emptily, blankly, confused as to where the heck she thinks she's going when he needs this much, when he's as filled up with everything everything everything as he is right this second.

"Still need my sandwich, Elliot," she calls over her shoulder, because their arms are straightening and their hands are locking together almost a full wingspan between their bodies now. "And there's no way I'm fucking you in that hat."

There's no way I'm fucking you in that hat.

She does though, hours later. New York City is black outside when she rolls off of him, and somewhere an ambulance speeds by, sirens loud. She does not care, is too busy trying to catch her breath, is too busy trying not to laugh. "I can't believe you wore it... the whole fucking time," she breathes. "Bastard."

He kisses her. He doesn't plan on stopping.

Two days later, she wakes up with a pink beanie and a note on her pillow.

Munch called me in, said not to wake the princess. The amount of shit he knows it terrifying, but—couldn't have you getting cold in my absence. It's snowing again. Love you. Elliot.

It makes her shiver, right there in bed, and she's never felt so girlish in her life.

She wears it to work. Doesn't look at him as she slips out of her parka, out of her scarf. When she finally meets his gaze across their desks, she purposely pulls the hat so that her ears stick out.

He laughs. "Hey Fievel."


Love you, he mouths.

She rolls her eyes, but this time is different. She checks over her shoulders to see if anyone is looking and then, just for a second, she gives up: You too.

His grin is brighter than the entirety of Manhattan. Possibly brighter than all five boroughs put together, or the continent she lives on. God.

It's worth the hat hair.