The Ante

By: Lizzie B

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Author's Note: You ever wonder what Elliot and Olivia were doing while John and Fin were making all these bets? Well, now you know! Companion piece to my fic The Bet, The Ante shows just want was going on between Elliot and Olivia. More romance, a little less humor, but still fun!

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"What do you think they're talking about?" Olivia Benson asked, watching the tan sedan parked at the other end of the block.

"JFK," Elliot Stabler replied, "Or black helicopters."

"How long do you think he'll last?"

Elliot thought about it for a moment. Odafin Tutuola was a good detective from what he'd heard, but Narcotics was a very different unit. "He's got to start thinking about them as victims, he still doesn't get that yet," Elliot shrugged, "He's still a Narc."

"But he did get that junkie to give us Hall's name. He knows how to talk to them." Elliot glanced at her, "I think he'll be here a while." Again, Elliot shrugged and went back to silently staring out the windshield of the sedan. He hated stake outs. The monotony and stillness made him itch for some action. There had to be a better way to find a guy then just sitting in a parked car and staring at an apartment building.

And he hated spending so much time stuck with Olivia. He liked Olivia, she was a good cop and a smart woman, but a small space, hours on end to just talk and nothing more entertaining than the occasional street bum walking by amplified all the things he noticed about his partner that he shouldn't.

When they were working and he had the case to focus on it was easier to ignore, but trapped in the car he ran out of things to think about. There were only so many times he could wonder what his kids would be doing at this hour. It was then his mind wandered to her and how easy it was to just sit with her. It shouldn't be so comfortable to sit with another woman, and it shouldn't make him feel guilty. But it did, because just sitting with her he'd notice things he rarely noticed with Kathy. Like he'd notice that she'd changed her hair again, or she was wearing a new shirt or that she sometimes chewed on her bottom lip when she was thinking.

And the little space just amplified the electricity in the air. Damn it, he couldn't notice things like that, shouldn't notice them. Keep talking Stabler, focus on the conversation.

"I thought we might get another woman actually," Elliot said, breaking the lull in conversation, "You know, balance out the squad."

"A woman?" Olivia frowned. She'd never thought about another woman stepping in. She had been the only woman in a boy's club for so long the idea of having another woman there felt like an invasion. "That…that would be weird, don't you think?" Elliot shrugged and Olivia sighed. They went back to comfortable silence.

She hated stake outs. Her butt had fallen asleep about thirty minutes ago, her neck was getting sore and her foot was falling asleep. When the hell was their suspect going to show up so they could do something? She glanced at Elliot when he shifted in his seat. Well, stake out weren't all bad, she thought. It gave her time to just be with Elliot.

Yeah, it was shallow and sad, but she'd loved moments of just being with Elliot. Something about his presence settled her. It was easier to sit for hours on end in a car with him because he relaxed her. Their easy conversations, their silent acceptance of each other's presence, all of it just made things easier.

There was only one dark spot on the whole thing, the tension. She wasn't an idiot. Elliot was an attractive man, of course she felt attracted to him, but she worried sometimes that it was more than just simple attraction. She wondered sometimes if she'd crossed the line from just being attracted to needing.

"You think they'll get along?" Olivia asked, switching her brain back to safer ground.

"I think if anyone can handle a nut like John, it'll be someone who's used to working with strung out junkies," Elliot said, smiling, "Fin can handle it."

"Yeah, but can John?" And they laughed, until she spotted Hall, "He's here." Instantly it was all about the job and they were just partners.

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Author's Note: So, there it is, folks, the first chapter of The Ante. Please, read and review and make sure to keep reading The Bet. They're companion stories after all.