A/N: A new one. Yep. Sometimes relationships start from the end and work backwards. What happens if you propose before you're even sure you're in love?
DISCLAIMER: SVU and related characters belong to Dick Wolf. Story, dialogue, narrative and plot belong to TStabler©
"You're not gonna tell me what happened with you and Cassidy, are you?" Elliot asked, handing Olivia a cup of coffee from the cart outside the station house.
Olivia smirked as she gratefully took the cup and sipped. "You're not gonna tell me why you've been sleeping on my couch for the past two days," she said with a shrug.
Elliot chuckled. "Point taken," he said. He watched Olivia turn for the steps and he stopped her. "Liv, can we wait? Just for a second?"
Olivia nodded. She knew why he asked. They both cherished these moments when they got to be Olivia and Elliot. Liv and El. When they walked through those doors, they would be Benson and Stabler, and they'd probably end up hating each other for a few hours. She stepped back down to him and tilted her head. "I'll show you mine if you show me yours," she said, nudging him in the arm.
Elliot chuckled and sighed. "Kathy, she, uh, she thinks I spend too much time with you."
"You do," Olivia laughed, sipping her coffee.
"True," Elliot said with a chuckle, "But she thinks I would rather be with you than her, so she told me to get out until I missed her enough to come home," he explained. He didn't tell her that Kathy was right, though.
Olivia sipped and shrugged. "There's only so many times you can tell her that we're only working, El. If she doesn't believe you then maybe..."
"Okay," he interrupted, eager to change the subject, "I showed you mine." He winked at her and tossed his now-empty cup in the trashcan.
Olivia smirked and shook her head. "Ass," she quipped. "He wanted more out of it than I did."
"And what exactly did he want out of it?" Elliot asked, sounding like a jealous boyfriend.
"He wanted a relationship," Olivia said, "I wanted one night. One drunken, mistake-filled night."
Elliot absentmindedly set his hand on her left hip. "You got what you wanted, right?"
Olivia rolled her eyes, smirking, and said, "Yeah. I got it." She tossed her cup and then added, "And it was actually really bad."
"I doubt that, Liv. He left because of you," Elliot said "It couldn't have been bad if he couldn't even stand to be in the same department as you anymore when he realized he wasn't gonna get it again."
"Oh, it wasn't bad for him," she said, "I did my job, El. He just, uh, didn't do his."
Elliot smirked and narrowed his eyes. "Oh, I'll bet you did your job," he said. "Very well."
She shot him a smoldering look, raised her eyebrow, and then turned to walk into the precinct. Elliot swallowed hard as he followed Olivia into the building. What was he doing? He wasn't supposed to be thinking about having sex with Olivia, she was his partner, and he was married. He shook his head, hoping to shake those dirty thoughts out of it, too, as they made their way through the doors.
"Benson, Stabler," Cragen, their captain, called to them as they walked into the bullpen. "This is Detective Odafin Tutuola. He's taking Jeffries' spot. He'll be working with Munch."
"Hi," Elliot said, holding out his hand. "I'm Elliot."
"Yeah," the new detective said. "I've heard all about you, Stabler. You can call me Fin. And you must be Olivia Benson." He held out his hand to her.
"I must be," Olivia said, shaking his hand. "Hey, Cap, then who's replacing Cassidy?"
Cragen shook his head. "No one. We're holding down the fort with four of you from now on. Budget cuts. You two, now that you're here, have a DB on Forty-Fifth. Looks like a rape-homicide. Take Fin with you and show him the ropes." With that, the captain walked back into his office and slammed the door.
"Is he always like that?" Fin asked, looking at Olivia and gesturing to Cragen's closed door.
"No," Olivia said, shaking her head. "Sometimes he's in a bad mood." She winked at Fin, making him blush a little, then tugged on Elliot's sleeve, leading the boys back out of the squadroom.
"What's it look like, Liv?" Elliot asked, standing behind her as she knelt next to the body.
Olivia ran a gloved hand over a few wounds, looked over at Melinda Warner, the Medical Examiner, and smirked. She winked at her, then looked up at Elliot. "It looks like a dead girl, El."
"Ha, ha, ha. You're a real comedian," he said, sarcastically. "Anything else, Jeanine Garofalo?"
Olivia chuckled. "Yeah, by the cuts and stab wounds all over her body, I'd say she was killed with a BFK."
Fin tilted his head. "BFK?"
"Big fucking knife," Elliot and Olivia said, together. They looked at each other and laughed.
"Okay," Fin said. "You two have some kind of creepy, sixth-sense thing going on, don't ya? What, are you two, like, a thing?"
"A thing?" Olivia asked, scoffing. "In his dreams," she joked.
Elliot let out a hearty laugh. "My dreams? Please, you know you want me, Liv." He straightened his tie and gave her a cocky grin.
Olivia rolled her eyes. "He's married," Olivia said to Fin. "And my standards are way too high."
"Standards? Uh, two words. Brian Cassidy," Elliot said, folding his arms.
Olivia, not missing a beat, threw back, "Unless I'm drunk, in which case, I apparently have no standards at all."
Fin laughed, hard, and shook his head. "Are you two always like this?"
"No," Elliot said. But at the same time, Olivia nodded and said, "Yes." They looked at each other, then Olivia said "No," while Elliot replied, "Yes."
"Well, which is it?" Fin asked, still chuckling.
Olivia and Elliot laughed and shrugged. Melinda popped her head up and said, "I've got fluids here. Enough for a good, solid, sample. Hopefully, the bastard's in the system. I'll run this as soon as I get back to the lab. And, Detective Tutuola, the answer is yes, they are always like this. Mark my words. One day, they'll end up married." She smiled at Olivia and Elliot, then signaled for her assistants to bag the body.
"Yeah, Mel," Olivia said. "Someday, when they pass out popsicles in hell, and when unicorns come walking over the rainbow followed by that herd of cattle finally coming home."
Elliot hummed in agreement. "When pigs fly. When the fat lady sings. When worms have ears," he listed, dryly. "Right, Liv?"
"So, like, tomorrow?" Melinda asked with a smile.
Olivia raised an eyebrow. "Actually, we eloped. It's only legal in Uzbekistan." She increased the volume of her voice and emphasized, "Since he's already married!"
Melinda lowered her voice and got serious, leaning closer to her. "For how much longer, Olivia? You and I both know his marriage is on its last legs. You and I both know that he loves you just as much as you love him, you're both too afraid to admit it. And you and I both know that when you, Olivia Benson, want something, you just take it."
"Mel," Olivia said, taken aback. "What are you..."
"I'm tired of watching you suffer in silence, Olivia. Take the bull by the horns! Or in this case, take the Stabler by the pants, and take control of your life. Don't just sit back and watch him go back to Kathy this time. Make a move and make yourself happy," Melinda encouraged. She nodded briskly, once, then walked toward the van to take the vic back to the lab.
Olivia pressed her lips together and turned her head toward Elliot. He was engrossed in a conversation with Fin, and he looked so damn hot in that suit. Maybe Melinda was right. Maybe it was time to make a move. Maybe it was time to tell him. Her heart thudded at the very thought and then she decided, maybe Melinda had simply been out in the sun too long.
"So, did Benson and Stabler demonstrate their impeccable crime scene skills?" Munch asked Fin as the three of them strode back into the sqaudroom.
Fin nodded. "Are we gonna be that good?"
"Probably not," Munch said, honestly.
"Are we gonna bicker and banter that much?" Fin asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Again," Munch said, gesticulating, "Probably not. Those two have a very powerful thing going on. They're like Batman and..."
Fin finished, "Robin."
Munch shook his head. "No, see, Robin was a sidekick. Benson and Stabler are like Batman and Batwoman. Equals, they compliment each other, and they are practically the same person, only one's got boobs and looks better in a bikini."
"You've never seen either one of us in a bikini," Olivia said, folding her arms and raising an eyebrow. "How could you make that judgment?"
"Oh," Munch said, smirking. "I have, too. In my mind, and trust me, Benson. You win that war."
Elliot narrowed his eyes. "I hereby revoke your right to imagine Liv in anything remotely resembling under...ya know what? You are not allowed to picture her in anything less than a three-piece suit. No, a snowsuit! In your mind, Munch, Liv is a fucking Eskimo," he spat.
"Uh, sure, Stabler," Munch said, a little skeptical. "And in your mind, she's wearing what exactly?"
Elliot stopped talking. He stopped moving. He simply looked down and plopped behind his desk, immediately picking up a file and asked, "Where's Warner with the DNA results?"
"That's what I thought," Munch said, chuckling.
Olivia just looked at the both of them and shook her head. "I would actually appreciate it if neither one of you would think about me, at all, at least, not now that I know you do," she said with a shiver. "A bikini? Munch, really?"
"You do realize you're the only woman, besides Jeffries, that has worked in this unit in years, don't you?" Munch asked, peering over his sunglasses. There were a few laughs as the group settled into their desks to get started on the paperwork that had piled up while they waited for Warner's reports.
"What a day, huh?" Elliot said, settling into Olivia's couch. He had a cold beer in one hand an egg roll in the other.
Olivia nodded as she sipped her beer. "Yeah," she said.
Elliot looked over at her, and he smiled. She looked so beautiful when she relaxed like that. Her hair was down in loose waves, her work attire had been replaced by sweats and a tank top and she was completely at ease. She wasn't 'Benson'. She was 'Liv'. He needed to tell her, now, if he was ever going to get to sleep tonight. "Hey, uh, what I said to Munch, I didn't mean..."
"I know, El. You were just being protective, like always," she interrupted, biting into her egg roll.
"Well, yeah, but it was also...I don't know why, but I felt jealous," he admitted.
"Jealous?" Olivia asked. "Of Munch? Are you serious?"
Elliot nodded, chomping into his spare ribs. "I was jealous of Cassidy, too. And every other guy you've dated. I know I don't have any right to be, but...I just thought you should know. That's why I always act the way I do. That's why I get so, uh..."
"Bitchy," Olivia said, seriously.
"Yeah," Elliot laughed. "We'll call it bitchy. I get bitchy when you're with...even when you talk about other guys. By the way, why, when Mel said it this morning, was it so hard to imagine us getting married? Do you really think being married to me would be that horrible?"
Olivia's eyes widened. She wasn't expecting that. "El, in case you've forgotten, you're already married. I never said it would be awful, I just said it would be impossible."
"So, say it was possible, Liv. Just, hypothetically, for shits and giggles. If I was single, and I asked you to marry me, what would you say?" Elliot asked, looking at her.
"I'd say you'd have to at least buy me dinner first," she said, joking, with a laugh.
Elliot chuckled and shook his head. "Hey, I bought you dinner tonight. Stop deflecting, Livvy. I'm being serious." He turned his body and put his food down. He cupped her face and held it steady, looking into her eyes. "Pretend I'm not married to Kathy. What would you say if the next words out of my mouth were, 'Olivia Benson, will you marry me?'"
Her heart stopped. She couldn't breathe. Something in his eyes, and in his voice, made that question seem incredibly real to her. "Uh, wh-what would, um," she stuttered. Then finally she blinked and looked into his blue eyes. "Yes," she said.
Elliot smiled. He trailed his fingers softly down her cheeks and chuckled lightly. "Really, just like that?" he asked.
"Yeah," Olivia said, still in a state of shock. "But, that was just hypothetical. You are married to Kathy. You're not single. You did not just ask me to marry you. Right?"
"Yeah. Right," Elliot said, dismissively. He picked up his food and turned back to the television, and, when Olivia wasn't looking, he slipped the gold band off of his finger and tossed it across the room, into his open duffle bag.
But, Olivia was looking. She was looking and she was shocked. She had never seen a bigger smile on his face, and she knew that if he looked at her right now, he'd be able to say the same thing about the one slowly pulling at her own lips.
A/N: Say what? Continue? Shall I?