A/N: A requested fic, that I'm just now posting. Post-Burned. Again, it starts immediately after we see the credits roll, because we all know something happened that night. AU after the quoted bit from the show.
DISCLAIMER: Dick Wolf owns SVU and related characters and places. TStabler© owns this story.
"Like you said, you're the longest relationship I've ever had with a man," Olivia Benson, lead detective with Manhattan's Special Victims Unit said to her partner. She'd just handed him coffee, and agreed to let him argue with her once in a while. As that realization hit her, she smirked. She scoffed and asked, "Who else would put up with me?" She laughed at her own pathetic life, feeling the cold stone of her partner's front step beneath her. She drummed her fingers over the top of her cup of tea, waiting for a reaction, a word from him.
Elliot Stabler, her partner and friend, just laughed and sipped his coffee.
Olivia looked at him and bit her bottom lip lightly. She shouldn't ask the question plaguing her, not in her current frame of mind, not when she knew he was almost available. She took a breath and asked it anyway. "You hungry?" she questioned, her voice light despite the nerves rushing through her body.
Elliot gave a pout and a shrug. "I could go for a bite. Who's buying?" He looked at Olivia, grinning, knowing her answer.
Olivia sighed a bit, looking toward him, but not at him. "Well," she said, "You are going through a divorce, and you do have four children, so I guess…you are."
Elliot laughed, shaking his head. "That's what I thought," he said. He put his coffee down on the step beside him. Then rose to his feet, holding a hand out and down to Olivia.
"Oh," Olivia said, surprised at the gesture. "When did you grow manners?" she asked with a chuckle, slipping her hand in his, letting him pull her to her feet.
"Funny," Elliot said sarcastically. He bent over to get his coffee, then looked back up at Olivia. "Where to?" he asked her, taking a step down.
Olivia, who'd left her tea on the step, pulled her sleeves down, toying with the cuffs of her sweatshirt in her hands. "Wherever," she said with a shrug. She pointed one finger and brushed her freshly cut bangs out of her eyes.
"I don't know if I told you," Elliot began, looking at her, "I like your hair like that. Just..." he paused and lifted his hand, brushing the bangs a little further to the right. "I have this thing, uh, I need to see your eyes if...just, uh, keep it out of your eyes."
"Okay," Olivia almost whispered. He just touched her, more intimately than he ever had before. She noticed he was walking, so she took a breath and followed him. "So, uh, how are you?" she asked, at a loss for words, unsure of how to act around him at the moment. She felt like a girl on her first date.
"Fine," Elliot said. "I know what you want, Liv. You want me to talk about my feelings, cry, get it all out. Truth is...I'm not that upset." He turned to look at Olivia and asked, "What does that mean?"
Olivia scoffed, again, and rolled her eyes. "I am the absolute last person you should be asking about relationships, El. Mine never last longer than..."
"Eight years?" Elliot said, smirking.
"You know what I meant," Olivia said, nudging him lightly with a small laugh. "The men in my life, El, they never make it past a second date, so asking me why you're not upset that your marriage failed...I couldn't tell ya."
Elliot led Olivia into a small diner, heading toward a booth off to the side. He sat, watched her slide in across from her, and said, "I could. I mean, at least, I think I could." He cleared his throat, averting his eyes from her for a moment. "Do you know why you don't get that third date?"
The waiter came over, placing two glasses of water down in front of them. Olivia was grateful, as her mouth was suddenly dry. "Yeah," she said, swallowing her water. "I do."
"Care to share?" Elliot asked, sipping from his own glass. "Because I've always wondered why you couldn't find someone."
Olivia shrugged and gave a downhearted smirk. "I'm already married, El. To my job, to my partner, to my life. Not a lot of men could handle what I do for a living. They would never understand why I couldn't talk about work, why I had to leave in the middle of the night, why it's so hard to get to that...to that next level."
"Intimacy," Elliot said softly. "Not sex. Intimacy. Where you feel like you can let that person into your life, into your heart, give them every part of yourself you have. Get close. Trust them and be trusted. Love them."
Olivia took a shallow breath and blinked. "Yeah," she whispered. She cleared her throat and said, "Yeah, but you had all of that and..."
"No, I didn't," Elliot said with a bitter laugh. "Liv, my marriage was your third date. A third date that never ended. Just beyond sex, but no real intimacy. I never told Kathy anything...never let her in. I kept parts of myself from her, parts I didn't think she'd understand or really love because...I didn't trust her. Not the way I trust...not the way I trust you." He looked at Olivia, watching her reaction.
"You have to trust me," Olivia said, rolling her eyes, tugging on her sleeves. "We're partners. If you didn't..."
"Liv, we're more than that," Elliot said. "I'm the longest relationship you've ever had with a man, and you're the most intimate relationship I've ever had with a woman." He looked at her stunned face and he leaned forward. "Shit, do you know what it feels like, going to bed next to someone who doesn't really know you, thinking about how you're the one to blame for the destruction of the life you made together, feeling like you've been having an eight year long affair?"
Olivia was stunned. "Uh, no," she said, shaking her head.
"I do," Elliot said. He bit his lip, then held up a hand to get the waiter. "Liv, I know we've never acted...well, I've never acted on my feelings, but I might as well have. I was emotionally gone for years. Kathy knew it, I knew it, it wasn't fair to keep trying to deny it."
The waiter came over, Elliot ordered two burgers and two beers. When the waiter was gone, Olivia exhaled sharply. "There was someone else, the whole time," she said, trying to grasp what he just said. "Are you telling me...Elliot, are you..."
"Yeah, I think I am," Elliot interrupted. "There's only one way to find out, I just...I don't wanna get punched or shot. I know how you get when people hit on you."
Olivia bit her bottom lip as she chuckled slightly. She used two fingers to brush her bangs out of her eyes, saying, "I'm not gonna punch you. And I'm not gonna shoot you." She pulled on her sleeves again, and that's when Elliot moved.
"Okay," Elliot said, grasping both of her hands. "You've been yanking these fuckers down all night. It's not that..." He stopped speaking when he pushed up Olivia's left sleeve. "Where's your watch?" he asked, still staring at the freshly inked patch of skin in his hand.
Olivia raised an eyebrow. "All of the questions you could ask," she said with a sigh. "It's on my dresser at home. When I realized I wasn't wearing it, that's when I started pulling the sleeve down."
"You're not Irish," Elliot said, his finger tracing the crowned heart on her wrist.
Olivia tensed and relaxed her fingers as she said, "You are."
Elliot hummed. He brushed his finger lightly over the two hands holding the heart, and he tilted his head. "Who's the guy?"
"You are," Olivia said again. "I, uh, I got it...for you. It's you. Everything you said about intimacy...El, my life is completely intertwined with yours, and there's not a damn thing I can do about that. You know me better than anyone, you have never and will never hurt me, and I trust you with my life. I know I can tell you any...uh, almost anything, and you won't turn your back on me. No matter how hard I push you, you just won't go away. I finally accepted it. Embraced it. I put my life, and my heart, in your hands. Literally." She saw the look in his eyes as he lifted his head to meet her gaze and she said, "That's as close as I'm ever gonna get, right? But that's real intimacy."
Elliot got out of his seat and Olivia's head fell slightly. She closed her eyes. She'd done it, scared him off, made him leave. When she felt the seat next to her buckle, she opened her eyes. Elliot was sitting right beside her, looking at her, seriousness and something she'd never seen before in his eyes. "That is real intimacy," he whispered to her, moving closer. "But, Liv, it's not as close as you're gonna get."
"El," Olivia said, backing away slightly, "Think about this for a..."
"I'm not on the rebound, and I'm not really concerned with what Cragen's gonna do," Elliot said, cutting her off. "I have thought about this. A lot." He took her hand in his again, linking their fingers, his thumb brushing over her tattoo. "I want this," he said to her. As he leaned in to kiss her, he stopped himself. He looked into her eyes, and asked, "What do you want, Liv?"
Olivia swallowed hard, trying to control her nerves and her emotions. "Intimacy," she said, a whisper. She moved a half an inch toward him and whispered, "You."
"That tattoo," Elliot said, brushing his lips over hers, "You know what it means, right? Irish tradition...the claddagh..."
"I know what it means," Olivia whispered. "That's why I got it."
Elliot smiled, his first real smile in months, and moved that final centimeter, kissing her. He pecked her lips twice, then licked her bottom lip slowly, asking her for permission to go further, and she gave it to him. The kiss was long, slow, deep, filled with emotion and new realizations, the most intimate kiss of their lives. When he pulled away, out of the corner of his eye he noticed their food had arrived and was getting cold. It didn't matter. "Liv," he said softly, giving her nose a light nudge with his, "I love you, too."
Olivia smiled and laughed softly, dropping her head to his chest. Elliot reached an arm out pulling his burger over from the other side. He wrapped his other arm around Olivia and picked up his burger, looking at her once before taking a bite. "You gonna eat?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
Olivia laughed, picking up one of her fries and nodding. "Just trying to adjust here, El. That was one hell of a kiss."
Elliot pulled her closer, taking a gulp of his beer, and said, "Yeah. The first of many." He kissed her forehead, and they shared a laugh before they shared one of the most intimate meals of their lives. They'd finally gotten what they wanted, come to an understanding, and truly solidified their relationship, bringing it to heights neither had experienced before. They couldn't wait to get home, to really start living their new life, with it's new level of intimacy.
A/N: A one-shot request. Hope you enjoyed it. =) TMG212 on Twitter.