It's been a while, fellow EO shippers. This came out of nowhere, literally. But it's a cute fluff piece. I think you'll enjoy. No spoilers.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, only purple elephant.
The detectives stood next to each other, leaning against the unmarked vehicle they've shared for the past twelve years. Together they shivered, arms crossed and ears blood red from the crisp, chill air. It was an ordinary December night in the city of New York; unpredictable yet methodical.
It was simply regular.
The cold nipped at the lips of Elliot Stabler, reminding him that it was time to invest in some Chap Stick. Beside him, his partner sniffled, and he chuckled softly as she attempted to hold back a sneeze.
"Just let it out."
The detective stubbornly shook her head, "Never."
Elliot watched as she wrinkled her nose in hopes of preventing another outburst. She'd been sneezing throughout the day, and at one point, it was so bad Cragen almost sent her home. Of course, Olivia had insisted she was fine, and since then, she decided that trying to hold the sneezes back showed she was feeling better.
It was quite amusing, actually.
A brisk wind hit Elliot and he grunted, hugging himself tighter.
"You shouldn't have given me your jacket, El."
"Too bad," he answered with a shrug.
Elliot would never admit that despite the grey sweater he was wearing, he was freezing. Olivia needed his jacket more. Besides, he happened to think she wore it better.
"But you're-" the detective was cut off as her lungs suddenly inhaled, "Achoo!" Olivia's sneeze echoed through the streets.
She sniffled and eyed her partner. He was beaming at her.
"Bless you," he said with a grin.
"You should try purple elephant next time."
Olivia turned to her partner with a confused look, "Did you just say purple elephant?"
Elliot nodded, "Next time you feel a sneeze coming, just say purple elephant. Works every time."
"I don't lie."
"Liar," she repeated with a smirk.
The detective narrowed his eyes, "Seriously."
Olivia pursed her lips and leaned back into the car, "I don't believe you."
Elliot turned to her, determined, "Just try it next time."
His partner sent him a smile before looking the other way. He watched her as she admired the streets of New York.
It was becoming a habit, really. Watching her. He wasn't sure when he started, but it becoming routine.
He was okay with routine.
"You know there's always that one thing you can't have."
Elliot coughed, "What?" he asked, sending his partner a puzzled look.
"I've just been thinking lately."
Elliot pushed himself off the car, facing his partner, "What are you thinking about?"
Olivia pulled the sides of her partner's jacket closer, resisting the urge to curl into a tight ball, "Well, right now I'm wondering why you haven't gone home yet."
"You want me to leave?" The detective hung his head, frowning at his partner.
Olivia shook her head, laughing at his attempt to look sad.
"That's what I thought."
Elliot's gaze met his partners, and he grinned. She really did wear his coat well. He watched as she pushed up the sleeves, only to have them fall down again.
"What?" she asked.
Elliot replied quickly, "Nothing."
"No-" Olivia scrunched her face, holding back another sneeze. She recovered quickly and poked a finger into her partner's chest, "No fair," she said, "You didn't tell me what you were thinking!"
"You don't want to know what I'm thinking, Liv," the detective attempted to laugh, but choked on his breath when Olivia jabbed him in the chest again.
"Liv," he whined, stepping away from her.
He watched as his partner hugged herself tighter, obviously affected by the frosty air.
"We could go back into the precinct, you know."
"No way," Olivia said, "One wrong move and Cragen will send me home for the week."
"Maybe you should take a few days off, Liv."
"You're so stubborn," he grumbled, knowing he wouldn't change her mind.
Olivia never takes any leave. Ever. Elliot can remember one time, maybe two years ago. And he's pretty sure it was Cragen's order. Elliot shook his head when Olivia sneezed yet again. If only she would try purple elephant…
Another gust of wind blew, and suddenly Elliot stepped forward, brushing the strands of hair out of his partner's face. Once he realized what he had done, he awkwardly stepped back, surprised with his action.
Only a faint car horn cracked the silence around them. Elliot had just crossed a line. He didn't mind though, and from the looks of it, neither did Olivia. She kept eye contact with him, a questioning expression laced across her face. She smiled lightly, her way of saying thanks.
Elliot knows his partner. He really knows her. He wouldn't have given her his coat if he thought she couldn't pull off wearing it. He wouldn't have moved those strands of hair from her face if he thought she would have a problem with it. He wouldn't be outside, in the freezing winter night, if he didn't think she could handle it. He was here because she wanted him here.
Olivia sneezed again, bringing Elliot out of his current train of thought.
"I want to know what you're thinking," she declared with a slight sniffle.
"Only if you promise to use purple elephant next time."
Olivia rolled her eyes, chuckling at the idea of saying such a thing, "Fine," she said, "I promise."
Elliot grinned, "You won't be disappointed."
His partner scoffed, and he bobbed his head toward her, "You'll see," he motioned to her nose, "Those words will work magic with your sneeze."
The statement was followed with another eye roll from Olivia. He simply shrugged.
"Alright, share your thoughts, El."
The detective stepped forward, brushing his hand along Olivia's cheek. He removed another strand of hair from her face, tucking it flawlessly behind her ear.
"I was thinking…" he started, "That you look really good in my jacket."
Olivia immediately went flush in the face, "You're just saying that," she replied, "You-"
"Do you trust me?"
"Of course," Olivia answered without hesitation, slightly offended with the question.
"Then know that I would never lie to you," he explained, "Believe me when I say purple elephant works, and believe me when I tell you you're beautiful."
Olivia reached for her partner's hand, "Thank you," she told him, a bright smile on her face.
"You're beautiful, Liv. I've always-"
Elliot stopped when Olivia suddenly dropped his hand. She covered her nose, shaking her head slightly.
"Say it, Olivia."
"Aaaa-" she managed to stop the first sneeze, but another was right behind it, "Aaa-aa-Purple elephant! Purple-"
And just like that, she was fine. She blinked roughly, "Whoa."
Olivia looked up to see her partner smiling, brightly wearing his 'I told you so,' expression.
"Huh," Olivia chuckled, "It worked."
"Mhm," Elliot beamed, nodding his head, "Can I say it?" he asked.
"Go ahead," she replied, knowing he was going to say it either way.
"I told you so."
So, you like? Want more? Did the line, "There's always that one thing you can't have," get you thinking? If so, let me know in a review. Who knows, maybe we'll see a chapter that answers that very question.