A/N: Another new one-shot, because I'm a writer by profession and have too many damned ideas! =) AU - No Eli, year three of their partnership. What I imagine would be a perfect scenario...if only.
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©
The restaurant was elegant, classy, the prefect place to begin a marriage. Or end one. Whatever the occasion, this would be the place to celebrate. The table Dean had brought Olivia over to was lit with white candles, a single rose at her place, lain over her plate. It was sheer romance. It made Olivia nauseous. There was only one man she'd wanted this kind of attention from, and since she couldn't be with him, not really, not yet, she settled for Dean. She'd been settling for months now, and she just couldn't, no matter how much she tried, fall in love with him and out of love with the other man. He was also at the restaurant that night. Olivia had seen him, before she saw Dean, actually. She couldn't get through dinner without watching him, sitting a few tables behind them. She was watching over Dean's shoulder, looking beyond Dean to him. He was with her, the blonde bitch, and they weren't fighting the way they always did. They were talking, laughing, and then she said something that made him sad. That was twenty minutes ago. Dean was saying something, but she wasn't sure what it was. She'd been staring at the table on the other end of the restaurant. She was watching the man she really loved, the man she wanted. She was watching Elliot.
Elliot had brought his wife to the nicest place he could find. He made sure it was a public, elegant place so she wouldn't make a scene. He told them to forget the candles, he didn't want a rose over her plate, he wasn't here to reconcile. He made it clear what he wanted when he asked her to dinner. They had talked about old times, laughed about how stupid they were to get married so young, and when they agreed that it was really over, they ran out of things to talk about. Then he saw her, with him, and his face fell. For the last twenty minutes, he'd been trying not to stare. She looked so beautiful, and he hated that she had made herself beautiful for someone who'd never deserve her. Kathy had been trying to talk, saying something about Dickie's football team, but he wasn't listening. He was desperately avoiding the way Dean was holding her hand, and the way he was smiling at her, the way he was reaching into his pocket.
"Olivia," Dean said, holding out a black box. "These past few months with you have been amazing. I hope you feel the same way."
"Hmmm," Olivia said, blinking in the direction of Dean, but looking passed him, at Elliot. Dean said something else. She heard a click. Elliot had looked up. He was looking right at her. He looked terrified. He shook his head, mouthing something. "What?" she asked, her attention back to the present. She squinted at Elliot. "What did you say?"
"I asked you, Olivia, to marry me," Dean said, holding out the ring.
"Oh, my God!" Elliot cried.
"What?" Kathy asked, concerned.
Elliot caught Olivia's eyes for the first time that night. "No," he said shaking his head.
"No, what? Elliot?" Kathy blinked, trying to understand, but Elliot wasn't paying attention to her.
"Don't marry him!" Elliot said, praying Olivia could read lips.
"Olivia!" Dean shouted.
Olivia finally broke out of her Elliot-induced trance and looked down. She looked at the ring. It was beautiful. She looked at Dean. He was nice enough, she supposed. She looked back at Elliot.
"God, no, don't do it, Liv." He shook his head, vigorously, and stood up, throwing his napkin down on the table. "Please, don't say yes."
Kathy huffed. "Okay, Elliot. What the hell is going on?"
"I can't..."Olivia began. "I can't hear you!"
Dean laughed. "Will...you...marry...me," he said loudly and deliberately, thinking Olivia was playing games with him.
"I heard you, Dean." She looked at the ring again, then back up. Dean was grinning, but twitching. He was nervous. Olivia was looking over his shoulder, at Elliot.
"Damn it, woman," Elliot said. He made sure she saw what he was doing. He raised his left hand, his gold band glittering in the light of the restaurant, and he yanked the ring off of his finger. He nodded at Olivia, smirked, and tossed the ring to Kathy. Then he sighed, dropped his head, and walked away.
Olivia gasped at what she'd just seen, smiled, and tears welled up in her eyes.
Dean smiled. "Is that a..."
"No," she said. "Dean, I can't marry you."
Dean's jaw dropped, his face paled and he shrugged. "Why...why not, Olivia?"
"That's why," she said, pointing at him, unaware that soft footsteps could be heard at her side. "Because, you call me 'Olivia'. You don't know how I like my coffee, and you've never even asked. You don't know why I can't sleep with the windows open, but I open them first thing when I wake up, or why peanut butter makes me laugh. You don't know my favorite song, or the crazy lyrics that I sing to it. You don't know what the phrase "Chasing Zebras" means and if I explained it to you, you'd think I was crazy. You don't know how many hours without sleep it takes before I get bitchy, or how many before I get silly, or how many before I pass out. You don't know why the color orange pisses me off but the color blue makes me go weak in the knees. We've been together for four months and you've never been spontaneous, irritable, violent, crazy, funny or any other emotion besides "Porter," which I think is synonymous with numb."
Dean's eyes were wide. So were the eye's of the man standing behind Olivia. "Olivia," Dean said with a shrug. "How the hell could anyone know all of that? You don't talk about..."
"I call you 'Liv.' Unless it's flavored, you like lots of cream and two packets of whatever the pink shit is. You can't go to sleep cold and the noise drives you crazy, but you wake up hot with the silence bugging the crap out of you. We got locked in the storage closet, last year, everyone was gone, the only thing we could find to eat was a jar of peanut butter. Don't make me tell him how we had to eat it, or what else we did with it. You're favorite song is 'Bad Moon Rising' by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and during the chorus, you swear to God they're saying 'There's a bathroom on the right.' If you hear hooves in Central Park, you shouldn't go looking for a zebra. The obvious answer is a horse, and it's rule number one in detective work, go with what's logical. Thirty, forty-eight, seventy-two. In that order. The color orange pisses you off because your mother used to make you wear a hideous orange dress every time you had to go with her to see one of her 'special friends'. You claim you looked awful, but I think you probably looked adorable. The color blue makes you go weak in the knees for the same reason I can't look at the color brown without getting giddy. My eyes. Your eyes. I can cover spontaneous, irritable, violent, crazy and funny in a span of ten minutes. So, do I win?"
Olivia turned around, slowly, tears stinging at her eyes. She nodded, slowly, pressing her lips together in a flat smile. Dean looked rather confused. Elliot had a nervous smile on his face. Olivia got out of her chair and looked at Elliot, a knowing, glowing look. She turned to Dean, said, "I'm sorry," and walked out of the restaurant, with Elliot right behind her. They stopped at the curb and Elliot stepped closer to Olivia. "Please, tell me you were never going to marry him, " he whispered to her. "I need to hear you say it."
"I was never going to marry him," Olivia said. "I can't marry someone who doesn't know all of that about me. And there's only one man who does."
Elliot chuckled. "That's me, right?"
Olivia nodded and laughed. "You. It's always been you. From the moment we met."
There eyes met, and he pulled her closer. Blue met brown and the world stopped right along with their hearts. "Well, I can't promise it's gonna be peanut-buttery this time, but I can promise it's gonna be good," he said as he tilted her head back, slightly, and pressed his lips to hers. She moaned against his mouth and deepened the kiss, feeling slightly confused as to why he was suddenly making an odd buzzing sound.
Olivia groaned. Her eyes fluttered open and she groggily slammed a hand down on the clock, silencing it. She kicked her way out of the bed, rubbing her eyes, and padded over to her bedroom window, lifting it open and taking a deep breath as she listened to the air pollution seeping in. Car horns, sirens, yelling and yes, that was a gunshot. She was officially awake. She looked down at her left hand, saw the ring sparkling on her finger and sighed.
"Olivia," the manly voice from her bed mumbled. "Just open the damn window and get back in the bed. It's Saturday."
She smirked, walked back to the bed and crawled on top of him. "Oh, forgive me, Elliot, but the alarm went off, I had to get up" She kissed him and watched his eyes open as his smile grew. "There you are," she said, her smile beaming.
"You woke up happy, Liv. Good dream?" he asked, wrapping his arms around her.
She nodded. "I was just remembering the night you left Kathy for good."
"Oh, the night you finally dumped Porter's sorry ass?" he laughed, then he grew serious and pulled her tighter. "I'll never get over that, Liv. I was horrified. I saw him pull out that ring and I thought you were gonna give up on me, right then and there. Shaved ten years off my life, easy."
"Oh, El. He never stood a chance. Even if you didn't throw your ring at Kathy and then run over to me, I wasn't going to marry him."
"I know, but I never asked why. Why?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
She smirked. "Olivia Porter? Sounds like a brand of furniture. 'Oh, my gosh, I love your couch.' 'Oh, thanks! It's an Olivia Porter.' Really? Besides, the poor bastard was too stupid to realize that I wasn't sleeping with him because I was sleeping with you. I couldn't be with anyone who was that dense. He had an hour long conversation with himself that night. Idiot."
"Okay, I'm glad I finally know," he said, laughing. He looked at her and ran his hands through her hairf. "So, what does Olivia Stabler sound like?"
"Heaven," she said, placing a soft gentle kiss to his lips. "Olivia Stabler sounds like a wife, a mother, a bad-ass cop and a woman who is madly in love with the man whose last name she's taking."
Elliot rolled them over, kissed her again and nuzzled her nose. "I love you, Liv."
"I love you, too, El." Olivia was about to say something else when Dickie's voice carried up the stairs.
"Hey, Dad? Olivia? Someone? Do we have any peanut butter?" the boy cried. "I want to put it on my pancakes!" Olivia and Elliot laughed as he reached down to the floor and picked up the half-empty jar. He looked at it, turning it over in his hands. He shot Olivia a seductive glance and chuckled as he yelled back, "No, Dickie! We don't."
A/N: A happy little one-shot. Hope you enjoyed!