Author's note: Please don't hate me. I've had mucho work and edumacatin' to get done.

Disclaimer: In all the time I've been not posting, I still couldn't manage to procure the rights to anything worthwhile. That would include SVU and its characters.

"I hate taking the subway."

"Quit whining, Elliot, it's unbecoming," his partner said breezily.

"Liv, we could have easily borrowed a car from Homicide," he countered.

"El, with rush hour traffic, it's faster to take the subway. We'll get a ride back with Fin and Munch."

"I still don't like it," he said stubbornly, standing resolutely at the top of the steps leading down to the underground platform. Olivia grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled him forward, forcing him to follow her below the street.

As Olivia stopped to study the railway map, Elliot leaned up against the nearby wall.

"Do you have any idea," he began, "what people do on subways?"

Without turning to look at her partner, Olivia replied, "Yes. Do you have any idea how many people have had sex against that wall?"

Elliot immediately jumped forward away from the wall. Olivia chuckled in self-satisfaction, then said, "C'mon, the next train should be ours."

Even as she spoke, they could hear the distinctive rumbling, and felt the accompanying gusts of air.

Everyone started pushing forward on the platform. Afraid that they'd be separated by the crowd, Elliot grasped Olivia's arm and pulled her back. He slid his hand down her wrist and let his fingers intertwine themselves with hers.

She gripped his hand tightly while in the other she held the case file. When the doors opened, they were pushed forward with the rest of the people. Once on the train they quickly scanned for open seats or handrails. One seat stood empty nearby, and they reached it before it was claimed.

"You go ahead and sit, Liv. I'll stand right here,"he indicated the pole in front of the seat.

She shook her head. "Thanks, but I don't feel like sitting. You take it."

Without further prompting, Elliot occupied the empty seat and Olivia took up stance directly in front of him, her back against the pole.

A man in a dull grey business suit was trying to get past the detectives to reach the other side of the train.

"Liv," Elliot said, reaching forward and tugging her arm to get her to move forward out of the guy's way.

She stepped towards her partner, but an umbrella lying hap hazardously on the floor caused her to stumble. He put a steadying hand on her hip, then pulled her down so that she sat on the seat between his legs while the businessman passed.

A woman and her six-year-old son made their way over to the empty handrail in front of the detectives' seat. Elliot pushed Olivia up and he followed, gesturing to the seat for the woman.

She smiled sweetly at Elliot and took the offered seat, pulling her child onto her lap and wrapping her arms around him instinctively. He protested at the limited movement, but settled when she pulled out a worn-out Spiderman toy from her purse.

Olivia and Elliot now stood facing each other, holding onto the same vertical handrail. She clutched the file to her chest as though it were a book on loan from her school library. The corner of Elliot's mouth twitched at the thought of a miniature Liv in pigtails carrying her schoolbooks.

"What's funny?" she asked, spying his attempt to hide the grin.

"Nothin'," he answered quickly, then changed the subject by asking, "Have you read through the file yet?"

She opened her mouth to reply, but at that moment two high school boys got into a shoving match and one pushed the other into Olivia, who stumbled forward.

Elliot caught her by the waist. His hand slid naturally around to the small of her back as he leaned forward and addressed the boys, "Hey, you wanna be a little considerate here? It's too crowded for you to be messing around."

The boy nearest to him rolled his eyes and said, "Yeah, sure. Sorry."

"Thank you," Elliot replied, ignoring the kid's sarcasm and turning his attention back to his partner. "You alright?"

"Yeah," she said dismissively.

He nodded and dropped his hand from where he had let it rest unconsciously on her hip.

She hooked her arm around the pole and struggled to open the file without losing any of the loose papers.

Elliot watched in amusement as she held the folder awkwardly. "Having problems?" he asked teasingly.

Her only reply was to stick her tongue out at him.

"You'd better be careful where you stick that tongue," he warned.

She raised an eyebrow suggestively and said, "Where would be a safe place for it?"

He moved so that his face was mere inches from hers. "That's not an appropriate conversation to be had in public."

She mirrored his mischievous grin as he moved back a safer distance.

She turned so that he was looking at her back, and leaned against him so that she could handle the file more easily while still remaining upright on the jolting subway car.

Elliot wrapped his arm across her collarbone. To keep her steady, of course, he told himself. Either way, she didn't object to the contact, but instead seemed to relax against him more.

Bored, Elliot read the file over her shoulder. At least, he tried to. He was distracted, however, by the scent of her hair. He turned his face towards it and breathed in.

"What are you doing, Elliot?" she asked.

"Is that a new shampoo?"

She laughed at the seemingly random nature of his question. "Yes," she answered with a chuckle. "Why?"

He breathed in again before answering, "Just wondering." He paused to take another breath. "Smells good."

She turned her face towards his so that their noses were almost touching. She grinned indulgently and said, "Thank you."

He grinned back and answered, "You're welcome."

She rolled her eyes and turned back to the file, nudging him playfully as she resumed her reading.

Certain that her shampoo must be laced with a highly addictive drug, Elliot willed himself to stop breathing it in. He instead occupied his attention by looking around at all the other passengers.

They felt the train start to slow as they approached a station. When the cars were lined up properly with the platform, the engine jerked to a halt. Elliot tightened his arm across Olivia's chest to keep her steady, and she closed the file and clutched it to herself in preparation for the inevitable rush of people. This was not their stop.

The doors opened, and Olivia turned in Elliot's grip to face him. He lowered his arm to let his hand splay across her lower back. Her eyes traveled over his tie and coat, both slightly skewed by her turning around. She placed the file folder into his hand that gripped the pole and then brought both her hands to adjust his coat and straighten his tie.

While she was fixing his appearance, he studied her face. She smoothed her hands over his chest when she was done straightening and looked up into his face. He locked onto her gaze and grinned sheepishly at being caught staring. People started pushing past them, and Elliot pulled Olivia closer to him, bringing his hand still holding the file around to join the other on her back. She draped her arms around his neck, and they eliminated the space between them.

Elliot turned them so that Olivia's back was against the pole. He took his hands from where they had rested and tucked the file into his waistband underneath the back of his coat, then grabbed the pole behind her to continue to keep them steady.

Olivia took advantage of their proximity by laying her head on his shoulder, her face turned in towards his neck. She inhaled his unique scent. He dipped his head and began to breathe in her smell again.

"You know what," Elliot began, speaking into her hair.

Olivia leaned back to look at him. "What?"

"Taking the subway isn't all that bad."

She just smiled and resumed her previous place in the crook of his neck, kissing it softly.

"Told you."


I know you still remember the've already got step one for the review:)