Truth or Dare (or Why Elliot and Olivia Try Not to Get Drunk Together)
Spoilers: Any eps through Anchors, but I don't know specifics because it's not done yet.
Warning: Born out of sheer desperation during the long car trip home from yet another week in Maine. I can't be held responsible for anything.
Disclaimer: These characters aren't mine. No, really.
Dedication (aka Blame): JessicaR so started this. If all for her or because of her or on her head, however you decide you feel about it.
It was just shy of seven in the evening when Captain Cragen more or less threw them out of the precinct. They'd been working fruitlessly on a case for just under twenty hours when their bickering earned them the boss' stern admonishment to go home until they could act like grown ups.
They weren't even angry at one another, Olivia knew. She was simply tired, having caught three infuriating cases in a row. Elliot's irritation stemmed mostly from the fact that his seventeen-year-old son had been sitting, waiting impatiently, at the chair adjacent to his desk for the better part of an hour, anticipating a ride somewhere, tapping his foot, sighing dejectedly, and just generally making a nuisance of himself in that special way that only bored seventeen-year-olds can.
The bad moods that resulted in the stupid, pointless picking at one another which in turn had given them the relatively early night off evaporated immediately as they walked together to the locker room to collect their things to leave. They made small talk as the collected their jackets and lapsed into a comfortable silence on the trip back down to the bullpen. With an unspoken nod of goodbye, Olivia shortened her steps, falling a few feet behind Elliot and allowing Dickie to take over her place at his father's side.
She was only two steps behind them, her mind wandering about dinner and errands and the case and other random things, when she reached the door. Those two steps were suddenly erased as she pushed through the heavy steel door, discovering the pair hadn't made it far. The reason for their lack of progress was immediately clear – torrential rain was pouring down, instinct giving them pause about walking out into it.
"You boys forget your umbrellas?" Her teasing was delivered into her bag as she fished for her own umbrella.
Elliot rolled his eyes at her. "I was going to be nice and offer you a ride because of the rain, but if you're going to be a bitch about it-"
"Dad! I'm already late!" Dickie's nonexistent patience had already worn thin, teenage wisdom more concerned with his friends than with appearing rude to his father's partner.
"I'm ok, El. Don't worry about it." She adjusted her bag on her back, hoping to keep it under her umbrella as she started down the steps. The moment she reached the last step, however, lightening flashed, accompanied by a loud clap of thunder and a dramatic increase in the rain's fury. She glanced up at Elliot with a sheepish smile. "That ride still on the table?"
Elliot opened his mouth, only to be interrupted by Dickie's whine. "Dad!"
Cuffing his son on the shoulder with a stern glare, he looked back toward Olivia. "As long as you don't mind dropping Dickie off first."
It was a little less than thirty minutes later when Elliot stopped the car two blocks short of the movie theater, where Dickie insisted was the closest he be seen with adults. Not having had the experience of raising her own children, Olivia was able to understand, or at least remember, that the appearance of independence was extremely important to kids. Having long since forgotten that he'd ever been young and stupid and embarrassed by things like needing a ride from dad, Elliot was irritated by Dickie's insinuation that he wasn't good enough of a father to be seen with his son.
His displeasure with the circumstances sounded through in his voice. "You have a ride home, right?"
"Yeah." Dickie had the back door standing open, itching to get away, unconcerned with the rain pelting the seat.
"I don't want you on the subway alone at night."
Olivia could see Dickie's reflection in the side mirror, watching as he rolled his eyes at his father. She grinned, tucking her chin down so Elliot wouldn't see her smile. Elliot didn't often act like a dad around her and she was amused by the juxtaposition of overprotective dad Elliot and hotheaded cop Elliot.
Dickie sighed, then responded with a slightly whiny edge to his voice. "Mom said she'd be here at eleven."
As usual, the mention of his ex-wife caused Elliot's jaw to clench momentarily. He shook it off quickly. "And you're going to be right where you guys agreed on at eleven so she doesn't have to worry that you're missing, right?"
Dickie's silence gave away the fact that there was a hole in his argument, though it wasn't until he spoke that the specific hole was identifiable. "I don't have a watch."
Olivia looked back at the boy, annoyed herself that she still wasn't home yet. "Don't you have a phone?"
Dickie shrugged, his cheeks coloring red. "I forgot it."
Elliot shook his head, muttering about how he'd thought the damn thing was surgically attached to Dickie's hand as he unhooked the watch from his own wrist. "Here, take mine." He reached back over the seat, the watch Olivia had never seen Elliot without dangling from his fingers.
"Kay, thanks, Dad. Bye, Olivia." Dickie scooted toward the door as Elliot's hands returned to the steering wheel.
Olivia expected that Dickie would jump out of the car at that first opportunity. Instead, she was pushed to the side as Dickie leaned forward over the front seat, grabbing at his father's arm. Confused, she looked over, seeing the way Dickie was inspecting the top of Elliot's left wrist.
"When did you get this?" Any desperation to run off with his friends appeared gone, Dickie was instead transfixed by the small tattoo that Olivia, and apparently Dickie himself, had never seen.
A ghost of a smile crossed Elliot's face. "A long time ago."
Dickie's face wrinkled in thought. "I've never seen it before."
Fighting the smile, Elliot shrugged. "It's usually under my watch, but it's been there since you were little."
"What's it mean?" Dickie's voice was soft and curious, breathing life into the words in Olivia's brain.
The smile vanished, Elliot's face instead tightening in discomfort as he fixed his gaze out the windshield. "It's my captain's badge number. He's been like a father to me since before you were born, Dickie."
Dickie's interest faded. "Oh," he said in a flat tone.
"I'm going to call the house at quarter after eleven and if you're not home, you're grounded for a month, got it?"
"Got it. Bye." And then Dickie was gone, disappearing into the crowd of people racing to get where they were headed in the rain storm.
Once he was out of sight, Olivia's attention turned back to her partner. Elliot was glancing over his shoulder as he pulled the car into traffic. A moment later, they were on the road and his face turned to hers as he flashed her a smile.
"Sorry that took so long. I didn't think it would be this late."
Shrugging, Olivia turned back to stare out the window. "It's ok. I didn't really want to walk in the rain." They rode for a minute in silence, until Olivia turned to start at his profile.
He noticed in no time at all, his eyes darting over to her. "What's up?"
She cocked her head to the side. "Can I ask you a question?"
"I reserve the right not to answer."
She waited, until Elliot pulled to a stop at a traffic light. "Why'd you lie to Dickie?"
Utter confusion reflected on his face as he looked at her. "What?"
She nodded at his hand where it rested on the wheel. "That's not Cragen's badge number."
Normally, when Olivia challenged him, Elliot would hold her eyes and refuse to back down. But rather than holding her stare, his eyes were riveted to the five tattooed digits on his wrist. There was a twinkle in his eyes when he finally looked back at her.
And instead of an answer, she only received a smile.