A/N: Yep, Another AU-ish type fic, with another impossible situation, but it's my imagination, and isn't that what fiction is about? I like re-writing history. =)
DISCLAIMER: Characters are courtesy of Dick Wolf, everything else you see in black and white, the words and the emotion, the passion and the pain, that's all mine, baby. Tstabler©
It was one of those nights where everything seemed wrong with the world. They'd lost a vic, the suspect was going to get away with it, and he was going back to his wife, for the third time, because, surprise, she was having a baby. He wasn't even happy about it and he was going back home to her, to that vile woman. Not one to drown her sorrows, but thinking that these were extenuating circumstances, Olivia stepped into O'Rielly's Pub and sat at the bar.
"Rough night, Detective B?"
"Oh, Charlie, you have no idea. Give me a double, straight up, on the rocks."
"One extra large cherry soda, heavy on the ice, coming right up," the young man said as he scooted down the counter. He game back with her soda and a shot of a brown liquid. "I know you don't drink, but this is a special shot. You tell me what happened, make a wish, take a shot with me, and you'll wake up tomorrow and your problems will all be gone."
She laughed, then stilled, twirling the shot glass on the counter, not spilling a drop. "Have you ever just wanted to take a mulligan, Chuck?"
"A what?" Charlie poured himself a shot and sat on his stool.
"A mulligan. It's a retaken shot, in golf, because you fucked up irrevocably the first time. Like a do-over." Olivia took the shot glass between her fingers and lifted it, peered through the amber liquid and told Charlie, "I would kill for a big-ass mulligan right now. I want a do-over."
"Why, Detective B? You have an awesome life. You're hot, you're successful and you get to save the world," he said with a smirk.
"Oh, I would still be hot," she said laughing. "I'd still be a cop, I'd still be with SVU, I'd want to go back just far enough to," she paused and took a breath, realizing she was going to say this out loud. "Just far enough to make my move before it was too late. Make him fall for me the way I've fallen for him, take some chances, lose a little inhibitions and maybe, just for one goddamn moment, grab life by the balls and make myself happy."
"Okay," Charlie said. He raised his shot glass, tapped it gently against hers, and said "I hope you get your mulligan, Detective B. Here's to second chances."
"What the hell," she said as she raised the shot to her lips and swallowed the bitter beverage back without flinching. It burned, but it was so good. She spent the next half hour drinking her soda and chatting with Charlie. At half past two in the morning, she decided it was time to go. Bidding him a farewell, she paid Charlie for the soda, the shot and left a large tip.
Once she got home, she took a quick shower, threw on some old NYPD sweats and a tank-top and curled into bed. Just as she was drifting off to dreamland, the alarm buzzed loudly in her ear and she swatted at it, her eyes still closed. What the fuck? Hadn't she just fallen asleep? It couldn't be five already...could it? She ran a hand through her hair and her eyes shot open. She could have sworn her hair was longer yesterday. Maybe yesterday was such shit that she just didn't pay attention to her own locks.
She rolled out of the bed and padded into the bathroom, running the water to brush her teeth. She put the paste on the brush, shoved it in her mouth and started brushing rapidly when she looked up, and when she saw her reflection in the mirror she almost choked. Maybe she was too distracted to notice her hair length, but she was certain that it wasn't this color yesterday. In fact, it hadn't been this light in years.
She shook her head, thinking she was being silly, finished brushing her teeth and started to dress for work. She spent twenty minutes going through her closet, stunned to find things that she could have sworn she'd given to Goodwill. Finally, fearing she'd be late, she threw on black slacks, a blue sweater over a white tee-shirt and her leather jacket. She grabbed her keys, gun and badge and ran out the door. She was terribly confused.
She walked into the bullpen carrying two cups of hot coffee, placing one on Elliot's desk and one on hers before hanging up her jacket and checking her e-mail. She turned on her computer, logged into the NYPD Database and had a mild heart-attack at the date flashing at the top of the screen. If memory served, this was the day that filled her heart with regret. This was the day she wanted to go back to. For today was the first time Elliot came in to the sqaud room, too early for him, walked right up to her, and told her...
"Kathy left me, Liv," he whispered softly as he stood behind her chair. "She just left. She didn't even say goodbye to the kids. Who does that?"
Olivia turned, her eyes opened wide and watery. The first time this happened, she held him, comforting him, and convinced him to find her and work things out. She would be damned if she was going to do that again.
"Oh, God, El," she cried as she rose from her seat and threw her arms around him. He pulled her to him so tightly she was worried about possibly cracking a rib. She pushed away a bit, easing out of his vice-like grip. "I am so sorry. Do you..." she stopped as she looked at him. The pain in his eyes, the sorrow oozing from every pore. She could almost hear his heart breaking. She couldn't possibly be this selfish. This was a horrible idea, she was putting him through hell all over again because she wanted him. Way to go, Benson. She had to make it right again. "Do you want me to talk to her? Do you want her back?"
It came out better that way. She didn't ask what he wanted the first time, she had been so pushy, practically forcing them back together. Maybe, if it was his choice, she'd feel less guilty about this.
"Honestly? No," he said. He took off his jacket and hung it up, next to hers, and walked over to his side of their joined desks. "Thanks, anyway, Liv. I think this is good. I mean, the Catholic in me thinks I'm going to burn in hell for getting divorced, but it also knows that if I don't, I'm gonna burn in hell for adultery sooner or later."
"What?" she asked in a yell, shocked and a bit amused. He didn't say that the first time this happened. "You would never cheat on Kathy, El. That isn't you."
"Wanna bet, Liv? You have no idea how hard it has been to control myself around, uh, this one chick, woman," he paused and cleared his throat, "for the past five years. I was two seconds away from saying 'fuck it' and taking the girl out anyway, but now that Kathy's up and left me, I don't have to be the bad guy here. She kind of, did me a favor, really."
Oh, shit. That's why Elliot was so horrified when she had pushed so strongly for a reconciliation. There was someone else he'd already wanted. But who? Who else was Bad-Ass Benson gonna have to kill?
"Um, five years is a long time to want something you weren't allowed to have, El." She was speaking from personal experience. "If you tell me who it is, I might be able to put in a good word for you."
Elliot chuckled as he sipped his coffee. "Huang would have to come in and evaluate you, Liv. They usually commit people who talk to themselves."
"Well, fine, if you don't want my help just say, you don't have to laugh at...wait...what?" Before he could reply, her cell phone went off and she was surprised to see an unrecognizable number on her caller ID. "Benson."
"How's your mulligan going, Detective B? Ya sink a hole in one this time?"
"Charlie! You beautiful, marvelous man! I could kiss you! Well, I mean, if you weren't only nineteen right now."
"Hey, Detective B, it's a mulligan. You get one shot. One do-over. Everything goes back to normal tomorrow, but things that change today stick, so make it happen." He hung up and Olivia looked back at Elliot, who was confused and slightly hurt. "Oh, um, that was a friend's, um, son. He did me the world's biggest favor." He nodded, smirked and sipped his coffee.
"El, look. Why don't we tell Cragen what happened with you and Kathy. He'll let you go, and I'll tell him I need to be with you for emotional support. I just, um, wanna spend the day with you. No work, no perps, no vics, just you and me."
"That is the best idea you have had in a very long time."
They were walking down the street, arms full of stuffed animals and cotton candy, yet still managing to hold hands. "I can not believe you took me to the circus, El. You know I hate clowns!"
"Yeah, well, I protected you from the evil things, didn't I? Besides, I've always wanted to take a girl on a date to the circus. Kathy looked at me like I was nuts every time I mentioned it, but I knew you'd dive in head first, Liv. You're fearless."
"Yeah, I think I proved how fearless I am when we went to the top of the Empire State Building and I squealed like a little girl. I'm real brave," she said sarcastically.
He stopped and pulled on her hand, causing her to stop, too. He let go of her hand and took hold of her chin, forcing her to look him in the eyes. "Bravest woman I know. To see things you see, and deal with things the way you do, I mean, guys like me and Munch and Fin, we're built to handle it. You, you're not, you have to make yourself handle it. You are so brave, Liv, and I am amazed by you."
Stunned, she blinked, caught her breath and said a quick, "Thanks, El." She brought her free hand up to where his was resting under her chin and clutched it again, linking their fingers. "I had an amazing day, El. I mean it, if this it, if this was my one day with you, then I'm happy."
"What are you on about, Liv? One day?" His brow furrowed. he looked at her with a mix of shock and amusement in his eyes.
"I can't explain it, El. Please, don't ask me to, but, I have this horrible feeling that I'm going to wake up tomorrow and you're going to decide you belong with Kathy, and that's great if that's really what you want. I just wanted to let you know that this was an amazing day."
"Okay, you nutjob, I will not decide that I belong with Kathy tomorrow. I haven't belonged with her in years. And I agree, this has been an amazing day. A day that I've been looking forward to for five years, Liv." He laughed as her eyes widened. "Yeah, I was talking about you. You were the product of many a late-night fantasy, oh partner of mine."
Olivia decided. If this was it, if she only had until tomorrow, then what did tonight really mean? What did it matter? If his true feelings didn't change by morning, he would be back with Kathy with no memory of this day ever happening. This was her mulligan, and goddamn it she was gonna milk it for all it was worth. "El, you know, if we're being honest here, I've been in love with you since the moment we met, too. And I don't know what you're feeling, or what you want, but just because the sun is setting doesn't mean this has to end." She looked into his beautiful blue eyes. "Come home with me, Elliot."
A/N: So does he go home with her? What will happen in the morning? Who the hell is Charlie? On to chapter two, or would you care to review? (Oh, that rhymed!)