Author: SilentG

Title: Better Late Than Never

Fandom: LO:CI

Pairing: B/A (don't be fooled!), minute B/O

Words: 1500

Rating: G

Archive: Anywhere – no need to ask – just attribute, and let me know if possible

Disclaimer: Not mine

A/N: First, hi to all my old Harry Potter fandom readers – I'm back after a long sabbatical. I have no beta, and I don't even know if I still have any writing chops! Concrit always welcome – I will probably be editing and re-posting this fic once it cures.

Second, about LO:CI – there are a lot of non-shippers out there who say there's no evidence of shippiness at all in Canon, and I just have to say that even when I didn't watch the show – heck, even when I HATED the show – I saw shippiness. I thought way back when I would have rather drilled holes in my own teeth than watch VDO as Goren that those two (Goren and Eames) had long since metaphorically hitched their wagons, whether they knew it or not.

This fic takes place in the near future, as I expect all my LO:CI fics will (unless what I half expect to happen happens, and one day Eames just shows up at her desk with that engagement ring on her finger.) IMO if any G/E action ever happens in Canon, that's how it will happen – no gossip, no discussion, no PDAs, just that ring on her finger, that shippers will KNOW is his mother's ring, and the non-shippers can just delude themselves that it's from some other guy.

Better Late Than Never

Olivia Benson couldn't help it – when the black SUV pull up smoothly to the curb just outside the yellow tape and the two Major Case detectives hopped out, she paused to watch, her belly and spine suffusing with pleasant, womanly anticipation. She and Elliot had crossed paths with Eames and Goren a few times professionally in the years they'd all been active, but the most recent time she'd actually seen them was in the paper – twice, actually.

Once when they were commended by the State Department for rescuing a British diplomat's daughter from sex slavery, and once after the bank robbery Eames had been caught in where she'd punked two of the perps from the inside, leaving one to be taken out by the ERT (the C of Ds made sure she was the only one of the two to get any credit, but the word from her – off the record – and from the ERT grunts was that Goren, accurately predicting Eames' actions, thwarted the aggressive instincts of the ERT team leader and allowed the incident to be resolved with no serious injuries).

He'd looked good in those pictures. Relaxed, fit. She was looking forward to seeing him again in person.

-----

The sound of doors slamming brought Elliot Stabler's gaze up from the burnt remains of the garbage can he was inspecting and he felt his forehead and neck tighten, the familiar response to any situation he knew was outside his control. He watched as Goren bent to exchange a few quiet words with his partner, before briefly touching the small of her back and trudging – if someone with that much energy could be said to trudge – towards the body. Elliot disapproved of the way Goren seemed to dangle his petite better half in front of every peeping tom, dickwad and dirty harry around (in the name of solving the case of course), but there was no questioning his loyalty and devotion. That, at least, Elliot could understand.

No, Goren wasn't the problem – not really – Elliot, unlike some, didn't have anything particular against the big man he saw lumbering towards them with deceptive awkwardness. Yes, he hated having to share a case, but they'd worked with the two detectives from 1PP before, and it had worked out OK.

The problem was Olivia. She didn't hide – or manage, since there was no reason to hide – her attraction to the big kook as well as she thought she did, and… well, she knew Elliot's opinion about dating cops (bad idea, doomed), and his opinion of this particular cop (damaged, too smart for his own or anyone else's good, a danger (by proxy proven, directly not yet demonstrated) to anyone who got close to him), which was probably the reason she tried to hide in the first place.

Elliot didn't know what exactly had gone on between the two of them, but Elliot hoped it was firmly in the past.

-----

Olivia watched as Goren lifted the tape for Eames to shuffle under, then slipped under himself. They paused for a moment then parted ways, Eames making her way over to get filled in by Elliot, while Goren glided over to the body. He was so graceful – he made the simplest interactions with his partner look like a dance.

The first time they'd crossed paths was over six years ago, when SVU and Major Case had shared a crime scene – two different crimes. She'd been bowled over by his combination of gentleness and masculine energy, and encouraged by his disinterest in – and ability to function separate from – his partner. At that time, Elliot had seemed to be clinging to her like a leech, and the sight of a man who wasn't tied to his partner's apron strings was refreshing.

When Olivia had caught word of their case being wrapped up, she'd called Goren and boldly asked him out. They'd spent a pleasant – and promising – evening together dining and dancing when he'd been called away, and by the time they'd managed to get back in touch with each other it wasn't a good time for her any more.

She'd called him a few months later, but he'd been seeing someone at 1PP, and the next time they'd run into each other he'd been sick and distracted, almost a different person. Olivia heard through the grapevine a bit about his troubles, and wondered how he was doing.

By all appearances, he was doing very well. His back was turned to her as he snapped on a pair of gloves, and the body that squatted low next to the corpse was firmer and more energetic than the last time she'd seen him. There was a new quietness – not fatigue – in his body that belied the tremendous power coursing through him, and when he turned towards Eames and Elliot, she saw that his face had a heavy-lidded, sensual quality she'd never seen before.

Goren raised his eyebrows at his partner and she ambled over to him, thanking Elliot while she donned her own gloves. As she watched Goren's body language become more animated as he murmered to Eames, Olivia felt Elliot's eyes on her and knew she couldn't afford to stand there on the sidelines watching much longer.

-----

Elliot remembered the day the two teams had first encountered each other at a crime scene. Goren and Eames were already well on their way to perfecting the art of silent communication, something he'd eventually developed with Olivia (after several years of her saying "what?" with exasperation whenever he looked at her). He remembered noticing their unique ebb and flow – not nearly as graceful as it was now of course – but there, nonetheless. They moved like the pairs skaters his daughters loved to watch – not always in contact but always aware. They'd part, then Goren would silently draw Eames near with his purposeful movement towards some point of interest, or Goren would stand watching her out of the corner of his eye as she conversed with someone, zigging and zagging to her side like a sidewinder or a hermit crab looking for a shell.

While Elliot was filling Eames in on the particulars of the crime scene, suddenly she and Goren looked at each other at exactly the same second, as if they'd heard a dog whistle or something. Eames' expression, always somewhat aloof and challenging, morphed into a wry grin and Goren's soft, almost wistful look of inquiry broke into a smile before he looked bashfully away. There was something about his face – Elliot couldn't be sure, but it didn't bode well for –

-----

"Elliot, what's up? Anything interesting go down with Eames?" Elliot could see that Olivia wanted to follow Eames to where she had eased herself down next to her partner.

"Goren's working an angle, she didn't say much about it, mostly listened." Elliot looked thoughtfully at them. He hoped his intuition was right, and he hoped his words would have the intended effect. "Looks like he's getting laid."

"What?" Olivia's face snapped up to his with a look of shock. "What on earth would make you think that? Did Eames say something?"

Elliot raised an eyebrow at her. "C'mon, that guy's always wound as tight as a mooring line after a hurricane. Look at him – he's really relaxed. His face is – I don't know, kind of soft. Don't tell me you didn't notice?"

Her expression told him she had. Just then the two Major Case detectives stood up as one and turned towards Elliot and Olivia, pulling their gloves off as they strode towards them. Both SVU detectives noticed at the same instant the ring that glinted on his left hand, and Olivia blurted to Goren as she looked at him with dismay, "You're married!"

Goren grinned down at her and said proudly, "Yeah, just six weeks ago," while Eames rolled her eyes.

"Christ Goren, get over yourself! It's not World Peace!"

"I beg to differ," he murmured with a smile, and turning abruptly to his partner he held his hand out to her. Eames' cool façade faltered, and Olivia and Elliot saw her blush and lock eyes with Goren and reach, almost unconsciously, towards him. He took her discarded gloves and stuffed them hastily in his pocket, then gently straightened the old-fashioned diamond ring on her finger. "I'm surprised you didn't hear about it – it's the latest gossip," he said, speaking to them but looking only at Eames, who snatched her hand back with a scowl. He crossed his arms and laughed, turning back to the SVU partners with something akin to glee.

1740