Cheers
Jezyk
Spoilers: Anything's fair game through Paternity
Disclaimer: No one would listen if I said they were mine anyhow.

Chapter One

December 31st
11:32 AM

Olivia folded her phone and slipped it back into her pocket. Glancing at her partner across her desk, she decided Elliot was in a good enough mood. "Hey, El, you have plans tonight?"

He looked up from the papers he'd been sorting and shrugged. "No, probably just going home and not getting any sleep." With a baby just over a month old, the normally handsome man had been looking a little more tired and unhappy everyday. He'd actually arrived at work more than once without having shaved, not even realizing his mistake until his partner prodded him.

She shook her head, feeling bad that the man seemed to have forgotten the holiday. "Casey wants to go out. Want to come along?"

"I'd probably be a wet blanket considering that I haven't slept in a month."

"You're coming." She turned away, not wanting to see the surprise in his eyes when she continued. "It's New Year's Eve and if anyone has ever needed to get completely trashed, it's you."

It took him a long time to respond, which Olivia was sure could be blamed on him checking at least three sources to verify the date. "I'm not much of a drinker, you know."

She winked at him, unable to hold back her playfulness at the idea of getting drunk with the gorgeous man who starred in more of her dreams than she cared to admit. "And you call yourself an Irishman."

Rolling his eyes, a smile spread across his features. "Who else is going?"

"At the moment?" Her eyes darted across the aisle, seeing that Fin was pretending not to be listening in while Lake was legitimately occupied with a phone call. "Hey, Fin, you up for going out tonight?"

He nodded eagerly. "Where to?"

"I haven't gotten that far yet." She shrugged, keeping a careful eye on Lake. "Does it matter?"

"No, not really. I'm in." As his partner disconnected the call, he smiled at Olivia. "Thanks for the heads up on that case."

It took everything in her not to turn to her own partner and say 'so there.' She didn't like Lake. Fin didn't like Lake. Elliot kept wanting everyone to give him a chance. As long as she and Fin stayed on the same side, she could continue trying to convince Elliot that he was wrong.

Instead she looked at Elliot, lowering her voice so as not to interest Lake. "Me, Fin, Casey, and you."

Lake was interested anyway, eavesdropping as always on things that he knew weren't meant to involve him. "Making plans for tonight or for a double date?"

Olivia faked a friendly smile. "Double date."

Disbelieving, Lake looked at Elliot for the truth. But Elliot knew better than to contradict his partner in public, even more so where the interloper, as Olivia and Fin had tagged him, was concerned, so he nodded guiltily.

"Aren't you married?"

Elliot immediately turned to Olivia, figuring it was her lie and therefore her responsibility to explain herself.

She smiled. "He's a Mormon, you know, polygamy and all that." At her words, Fin started to snicker and Elliot's face turned bright red.

Lake looked even less convinced. "He said he was Catholic."

Olivia rolled her eyes and smiled sweetly at her partner. "El, how many times have I told you that you don't need to lie. We all accept your beliefs. You don't have to be ashamed."

After another round of looking at his coworkers' faces, Lake went back to work.

Elliot stood up, grabbing a cup of coffee and stopping by Olivia's desk to whisper in an effort to keep Lake out of it entirely. "You should be ashamed of yourself."

Olivia smiled, thinking of a certain shirt she had every intention of wearing. She'd actually worn the shirt the last time she'd played hooker as it was the perfect chance to wear the tight, low-cut, fire-engine red shirt. It was the only occasion she'd had so far to wear it, but she'd been desperate for another since Eliot had barely been able to peel his eyes off her chest. "How about you do my penance and I'll buy you a drink?"

He rolled his eyes. "I'd agree, but you'll probably stick me with the tab."

"Only because I don't bring money when I go out to get drunk." She shrugged once Elliot was back at his desk. "It's too dangerous."

"Expensive too."

December 31st
1:17 PM

"Where do you want to go for lunch?" Elliot was staring at a pile of menus by the coffee pot, repeatedly picking through the pile as though one of the six different menus from various Chinese restaurants would suddenly jump out at him.

She shook her head. "Some place with a salad bar. I'm not that hungry."

"I'm not dragging your drunk, puking ass home from a bar to start off my new year. Eat something." Elliot took away the deli menu, the only place that had salads.

Leaning close enough to distract him entirely from the conversation, she snagged the deli menu from behind his back. "If I each a big lunch, I won't eat dinner, and then I'll be drunk on one beer."

Elliot was quiet, at first glance he seemed to be considering her statement. But Olivia knew him better and she knew that her proximity had him totally off balance, which was exactly why she paid a couple hundred dollars for each bottle of her perfume. Winding Elliot around her finger more with every moment she was near him was so worth it. She enjoyed the moment, the way his mouth hung slightly open, the way his eyes lowered to her lips, the way his quickening pulse was obvious from the veins that stood out suddenly from his neck.

Her eyes reflected her smile, which she hoped looked more like friendship than victory. "El?" She held back a giggle as she put her hand on his arm, leaning in once again and faking concern to anyone who looked while allowing her voice to drop to a sultry tone for Elliot's ears only. "Still hungry?"

He swallowed hard enough for her to hear it. "Huh?" His eyes were still locked on her lips.

Faking irritation, she put her index finger under his chin. "My face is up here."

"I wasn't- I didn't- I would never-" A blush colored his face as he tried to beg for mercy.

She continued to pretend that she'd misinterpreted his stare because it was easier. He could hold onto his masculinity by defending himself against a charge of being a prick better than he could feign having any control in their relationship if she pointed out that her perfume rendered him putty in her hands.

"Promise to buy me a drink and I'll forgive you."

"Deal." He glanced at her, guilty red still staining his cheeks. "I swear, Liv, I wasn't-" And then his eyes narrowed. "So now we're even and you don't have to buy me a drink for not turning you in for lying like a rug."

She shrugged and handed the menu for the deli to him. "You weren't going to do my penance anyway."

"You got me there." He began dialing the number for the deli. "There's no point in trying to change your evil ways now."

"You love it." She bumped her hip against his as she stepped past him, turning back to wink at his stunned expression. "And we both know it."

December 31st
2:08 PM

Olivia and Elliot were eating their lunch when Lake leaned on Olivia's desk. She looked up at him, not even trying to hide her dismay. "Can I help you?"

"Where are you going tonight?" Lake's hopeful smile irked Olivia even more than his dopey smile.

Olivia went with playing stupid and stared at him. "Tonight? What makes you think I'm going anywhere?" It wasn't a good idea to deny anything, just in case Fin had asked his partner out of guilt.

"I was just wondering what you're doing for New Year's." His hopeful smile flashed at her again and Olivia realized that his hopeful smile was exactly the same as his dopey smile, but somehow simultaneously more irritating. "Because you are far too beautiful to not have plans tonight."

"Are you hitting on me?" She knew he wasn't, she knew he was just trying to find someone to latch onto for the evening, but she knew how Elliot would react if she pretended that she was being harassed in some way. Plus, when it came down to it, she felt kind of shitty about dodging the guy and she didn't want to have to lie to him again.

Elliot's eyes lifted from his sandwich, narrowing in anger at Olivia's words. By the time Lake was in the process of denying that he was saying anything inappropriate, Elliot was already on his way around the back-to-back desks. By the time Olivia realized that the way she'd flirted with Elliot only a bit earlier had left him upset and frustrated with no way to resolve it in the meantime, Elliot had shoved Lake into the wall. By the time Fin crossed the room and pulled Elliot away from Lake, there was already a huge red welt on the shorter man's throat from Elliot's forearm.

"What the hell is going on out here?" The captain's angry voice filled the air, silencing the whole room and drawing the attention of anyone who'd managed to miss the fireworks.

Olivia stabbed a piece of lettuce with her fork and pretended her heart wasn't racing from the protective, possessive display Elliot had just put on. "Chester was asking about one of the old cases. Fin and Elliot were demonstrating how the perp overpowered his victims."

The older man took a moment, probably mentally cataloging their old cases to figure out if it was possible. Finally, he nodded. "Ok, good. As long as there's no trouble." Ever since his temporary bump sideways, Cragen had been particularly sensitive to anyone acting in a way that would make it look like he didn't have complete control over his unit.

The four detectives immediately returned to their work, putting off any sort of resolution. The captain wanted to think everyone was getting along and when the captain got what he wanted, he was a happy captain. And happy captains didn't try to exact revenge on his detectives.

December 31st
3:00 PM

Olivia was staring at Elliot while he worked. She loved it when he pushed up his sleeves. There was just something about the muscles rippling in his arms at even the lightest work of moving a pen that made her insides gooey.

He looked up, caught her eye, and smiled.

She thought about the way he'd jumped to her defense, threatening a man he was friends with simply because she'd pretended to be uncomfortable. Guilt or not, a shiver ran through her.

She thought about his muscular arms, which she got to see on a regular basis. She thought about his ripped torso, which she got to see on occasion. She thought about what he would look like naked, his bulky muscles undoubtedly dwarfed by the impressive package she imagined would be there, which she also imagined would be at full attention.

And then something else ran through her and she shifted miserably in her freshly damp panties.

December 31st
5:56 PM

Olivia leaned her head back against the tub, inhaling the relaxing vanilla aroma of her bath salts. She rarely took the time to have a leisurely soak in the tub, but she felt allowing herself the feminine indulgence every now and then kept her from getting too tense. Besides, she thought with a giggle, she'd read somewhere that the scent vanilla was rated by men as being the biggest turn on among perfumes. Toying with Elliot had become her second job since he'd returned to his wife. She didn't think he deserved the slightest bit of mercy since he was hardly a saint when he'd been single.

In fact, it was after running into yet another person they both knew from work who'd been privy to parts of Elliot that Olivia herself had never gotten a chance at. The idea that he'd been running through their mutual acquaintance mental rolodex on his lothario quest pissed her off.

Irritated, she clenched her jaw and pulled the stopper from the tub. Oh yeah, she decided, he deserved anything she could dish out.