Author's Notes: A little bit of Olivia angst and a lot of E/O fluff. We can either say that this takes place when Kathy and Elliot were separated, or we could just pretend Kathy never existed in the first place. Whatever floats your boat.

Disclaimer: SVU isn't mine.

Celebrating You

May 8th was just another day to Olivia Benson. It was her birthday, but she never celebrated it. When the morning of the day she was born rolled around once again, she went about her normal routine: shower, clothes, make up, hair. As usual, she grabbed a cup of coffee on her way out. She had this down to a tee.

She arrived at the precinct and sat down at her desk. She wondered what new cases the day would bring. The trial for the Kelley Donnalley rape was ending today, and Olivia hoped that the perp got what he deserved: prison. He had beaten that poor girl so badly, and Olivia frowned sadly at the memory.

"Morning, Liv," Elliot said as he sat down across from her a few moments later.

"Hey El," she greeted her partner.

Munch entered the room, muttering about conspiracies and government fraud. Fin shook his head at his partner. Then Cragen called the four detectives into his office and told them about a new case. It was another typical day in the Special Victims Unit.

Olivia's mind wandered to birthdays past. There had been the time when she was four and her mother had flat out refused to do anything with her – you're not worth celebrating, Olivia, she had said in a drunken fit brought on by Jack Daniels and Merlot and god-knows-what- else. Or when she was seven, and her mother had been missing for the majority of the day, leaving Olivia alone in their sad, shabby apartment. When she was nine, Olivia's mother had promised the week before that they would go out and celebrate on her birthday, and Liv had cursed herself for being surprised when her mother had later forgotten her promise.

The rest of the squad hadn't said anything today, and for this she was grateful. By now they knew not to. She liked it that way. She knew that her mother had been drunk and cruel, but part of Olivia couldn't help wonder if her words had been true. You're not worth celebrating, Olivia. A small part of Olivia had always worried that her mother had been right. Maybe she just wasn't worth it.

This on her mind, she couldn't help but look down at her hands sadly as she and Elliot drove in the Sedan, on their way to court. Her partner glanced at her from the driver's seat.

"You ok, Liv?"

"I'm fine."

"You sure?"

"I said I was fine, Elliot."

At the end of the day, Elliot and Olivia sat at their desks, finishing up some last minute paperwork. They were the last ones in the precinct, as the others had already gone home. Finally, they finished. Olivia turned her computer off as Elliot put on his jacket.

"Hey Liv, do you want to go out for coffee?"

"Actually, I think I'll just go home tonight, El."

"Come on, Olivia."




Moments later, they were sitting in the Sedan. Elliot began to drive.

"Hey," Olivia said a little bit later, "This isn't the direction of our usual place."

Elliot smiled, "Maybe I lied."

"What?" Olivia looked startled.

"Maybe I lied," Elliot repeated, still smiling.

"No, I heard you the first time. Why would you lie to me, Elliot?"

He didn't answer her question, "We may or may not be on our way to Chez Maurice."

"What? El!"

"No objections," Elliot smiled again, "I made reservations."

"Elliot Stabler, you did not," she looked at her partner in disbelief.

"Don't argue with me, Olivia."

They had been sitting at their table for about five minutes. Elliot sat on one side and Olivia on the other. A candle sat in the center of their table, separating them.

"You going to ignore me the whole night, Liv?"

"Whole night? Exactly what else do you have planned, Stabler?"

"You'll see."

She sighed, "I'm hardly dressed appropriately for this restaurant."

"You look beautiful."

She looked slightly taken aback, "Thanks. You don't look half bad yourself. Are you ever going to tell me what else is happening tonight?"

"Wait and see, Liv. Wait and see."

She half pouted, half smiled at him, "You know I hate being in suspense, Stabler."

He grinned at her, "They say ignorance is bliss. Don't you feel blissful?"

"No, I do not."

"Well, then. Maybe we'll have to change that."

"I think we should. Enlighten me, will you?"

"Well, dinner here, obviously. And then I was thinking we could go get some gelato nearby. Sound like a plan?"

She smiled, "You stubborn son of a bitch, you won't take no for an answer, will you?"

"Well, you've got a point there, Liv."

She laughed, and then they were quiet for a few moments. Their food arrived.

"Elliot, all of this…why?"

"You know why."

"I know what the occasion is, but why go through all of this trouble?"

"Because you're worth it, Livia. You're my best friend, and you deserve to be celebrated not just today, but every day."

She looked down at her wine.

"Damn you," she said softly, "You're going to make me cry."

He took her hand in his. His fingers were large and rough, and hers were small and dainty. They stayed like that for awhile, hand in hand, eyes on one another, ignoring their now empty plates.

After stopping for gelato, they went to Elliot's apartment. Olivia sat on the coach as Elliot made his way into the kitchen.

"Coffee?" he asked.

"Yeah, thanks."

"Well, I figure it would be only right to offer you some," he said as he joined her on the couch, "Since I did lure you out tonight on the premise that we would be going out for coffee."

She laughed, "You're always true to your word, I'll give you that, Stabler."

He smiled.

She grew serious, "Thanks for everything tonight, El."

"You're welcome, Liv."

"Before tonight, I never…well, you know how I feel about this day," she continued, "But tonight was fun."

"I'm glad. Really, you deserve it."

"Thank you."

"Just being honest."

"I know…but, you know how my mother was. I'm pretty sure she hated today."

"Oh, Liv…"

"No, and I almost don't blame her. I mean, think of how I was conceived, El."

"I know it was hard on her. But when I see you, Liv, I never think of you as something bad, or something horrible. You're such a good person. You're such a great thing that came out of a terrible act. But you're not terrible, Liv."

"Do you really mean that?"

"Of course I do. I meant single word. You don't believe it?"

"Sometimes I forget it."

"Hey, look at me," she did as he said, and he touched her face with his hand, "Always remember that you're good. Always, Livia."

By the way they were looking at one another, they knew that their partnership would never be the same again. They had crossed some line, some level of intimacy that they had never reached before. Gradually, the space between their faces got smaller and smaller until they were kissing.

"I love this day," he said when they had finished and as she took his hands in hers, "Because without it, I would never have met the woman that I love so much. Happy birthday, Livia."