A/N: It's December 1st! I was supposed to start a new long-fic, but it's time for the holiday series. This first one is long, possible two-shot. Enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: SVU and related characters/ideas belong to Dick Wolf. Original plot and dialogue belong to TStabler©
Elliot stood in the hallway of Trinity Prep, his kids' school, adjusting his son's red and green striped tie. "You're gonna be fine, kid," he said. "Just remember this is just one night for a bunch of people who won't even remember who you were in ten years."
"Gee, thanks," Dickie scoffed.
"That was supposed to make you feel better," Elliot said, smirking.
Dickie rolled his eyes. "Now I'm nervous and depressed," he said. "Where's Liv?" he asked.
Kathy tensed up immediately. "Why would she be here?" she asked, glancing questioningly at Elliot.
Elliot sighed and looked at the blonde who was still, legally, his wife. "Because Dickie invited her, Kathy. Christ, the kid's known her since he was six years old, he might like her or something."
"Love," Dickie corrected, eying his dad cautiously. "And I'm not the only one. Look, I gotta go. Save a seat for Liv. I know she's coming. She's gotta come. Right?"
"She wouldn't miss this, bud," Elliot said with a smile. "Tell your sister to stay calm. You know her voice does that creepy, high, annoying thing when she's nervous."
Dickie chuckled. "It's an improvement," he said. "I should tell her Steven Spielberg is in the audience and make her really freak out." He gave his dad a high-five, then kissed his mother on the cheek before he ran for the stage entrance.
"He wanted your partner to be here?" Kathy snapped the second Dickie couldn't hear her. "The Christmas Eve pageant at our children's school, a traditional family night, and she's coming?" She widened her eyes as they walked back toward the auditorium doors. "Jesus, Elliot, you don't know when enough is enough, do you?"
"Eight years!" Elliot hissed. "Eight fucking years, Kathy! Knowing someone, especially someone like Olivia for that long, you're bound to fall in love with them!"
Kathy scoffed, folded her arms, and smirked. "Oh, really? I've known her that long and I can't stand her."
"Because you don't really know her," he said to her, walking toward his seat. "You never gave her a damned chance, you just wrote her off because you were so fucking threatened by her." He sat, and heard a voice from the seat beside him.
"Who's being threatened?" the woman asked.
Elliot turned, sighed, and smiled. "Hey, Liv," he said, moving toward her. Then stopping. He furrowed his brow. Did he really just try to kiss her? "No one," he said, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.
"Hi, Kathy," Olivia said, giving her partner's wife a sweet smile. She got a grunt in return. "I see the Grinch is as charming as ever," she mumbled under her breath, settling back into her seat. She heard Elliot chuckle and snicker, and she laughed softly as she rolled her eyes. She leaned into him and whispered, "Most men would be a little annoyed if I insulted their wives."
He looked into her eyes, conveying the true meaning of his words, and said, "I'm not like most men."
She swallowed, hard. "No," she said with a small shake of her head. "No, you're not." She turned back to face the stage and asked, "So what parts are they playing?"
"Dickie is the head elf, he asked me to ask you to please not laugh at his pointy ears or curly shoes, and Lizzie is the new elf who can't get her shoes or ears until she does something nice…or something…she was talking so fast I really didn't get it."
Olivia chuckled as the lights dimmed, and the unlikely trio turned their attention to the stage. Dickie walked out, nearly tripping over his shoes, and proclaimed loudly, "Okay, Rookies! Tonight is a big night for you! Hear in Santaland, we pride ourselves on making the people of New York City remember the true meaning of Christmas, while, of course, littering the place with decorations and presents."
The audience chuckled, and Olivia and Elliot glanced at each other, smiling. Kathy noticed, and she grimaced as she sunk further into her seat. She wouldn't be minding so much if she hadn't made a stupid decision that morning, making it near impossible to stop them. She looked back toward her son with a sigh.
On stage, Dickie paced back and forth with folded arms, looking at the row of younger elves before him. "Tonight, the night before Christmas, you must earn the right and privilege to call yourself an elf! To call yourself Santa's little helper! Each of you must find one poor soul in the audience...er...uh…city…who needs a little help to remember what Christmas is all about. If you can bring them joy, peace, and love before midnight, then you will be the primary team of toymakers next year, working directly alongside the big guy himself! Are you ready?"
Seven young elves cheered, "Yeah!" while one was noticeably silent and still. Lizzie.
"You don't have much time," Dickie the Elf said. He lifted a whistle from around his neck to his lips, and he said, "On your mark, get set." He blew the whistle and seven elves took off running, while Lizzie's sad looking elf stayed behind.
Olivia glanced at Elliot again, pouting. "Poor thing," she said with a chuckle.
Elliot unconsciously leaned into her and nodded, then looked back toward the stage with a sigh. He knew what he really wanted for Christmas, but he thought it might be too late to get it. Or too soon, depending on how you looked at it.
Dickie took a step toward Lizzie. "What's the problem, young one?" he asked, tilting his head. One of his pointed ears fell off, the audience laughed, and he simply pulled his red and green felt hat over that ear. "The rest of your group is going to be back with…"
"I can't do this, Sir," Lizzie declared, interrupting, her voice higher than normal.
Elliot heard Olivia chuckle, and he knew she caught Lizzie's nervous habit. "She'll be okay," he heard her whisper as he felt her hand on his knee. He took a sharp breath, looked at her hand, took a glance at Kathy, and realized it didn't matter anymore. He placed his hand over Olivia's and looked back up at the stage, oblivious to the smile growing on his face.
"You can't do what, young one?" Dickie asked, stepping closer to Lizzie again.
Lizzie shook her head. "I can't help anyone. I wouldn't even know where to start." She shrugged and said, "I always make more of a mess of things than fix them." She kicked one of the styrofoam snowballs and said, "Besides, how am I supposed to know who needs my help and who doesn't?"
"Look, kid," Dickie said with a smirk, making Olivia, Elliot, and even Kathy chuckle. He was definitely channeling his father. "I don't normally do this, but I'm gonna help you." He put his arm around her and said, "I'll help you find someone who needs a little help, but you have to help them on your own. How's that sound?"
Lizzie nodded and let Dickie lead her down the stairs into the audience. "What about that guy?" she asked, pointing to someone sitting in the second row.
Dickie shook his head. "He's perfectly happy," he said. "Try again, kid."
Lizzie tapped the side of her cheek, looking around and thinking. "Her?" she questioned, pointing to someone in the back.
"Unfortunately," Dickie said, "She's beyond our help, kid. Look for someone you believe is missing something. Something that Christmas just…wouldn't be Christmas without."
Lizzie looked around, then spotted her father and Olivia. "Them!" she yelled, pointing.
"Oh, no," Olivia grumbled, sinking down in her seat.
"They didn't say anything about audience participation," Elliot whispered to her. They watched, worried, as Lizzie and Dickie, followed by a spotlight, ran over to their row, stood beside Kathy's chair, and folded their arms.
"All right, kid," Dickie said with a smirk, "What's the trouble with these fine looking people. They seem happy enough to me."
Lizzie shook her head and said, "They're not." She looked at Dickie and said, "I can feel it, Sir. They're missing something that makes Christmas truly special."
"What's that?" Dickie asked, folding his arms.
Lizzie giggled. "Christmas is about love, right? It's about sharing the values of friendship and trust and faith and family with someone you truly love," she said, grabbing Olivia's hand.
"Lizzie," Olivia whispered. "What are you doing?" she hissed as the girl pulled her out of her seat and forced her out of the row into the aisle, into the light.
"This woman," Lizzie said, tugging on Olivia's shirt, "And this man," she added, holding her hand out to her father, "Are clearly missing the point."
Elliot raised his eyebrows, looked at Kathy, who seemed annoyed but amused, and slipped his hand into his daughter's. He glanced at Olivia as he stood up and let Lizzie pull him to the middle of the aisle and push him into Olivia.
Dickie held in a laugh as he asked, "And how do you plan on changing all of that before midnight, kid?"
Lizzie looked at him. She thought for a second, and then she ran back up onto the stage. "I got it!"
"Hey, kid! Where are you going?" Dickie yelled.
"I'll be right back!" Lizzie yelled, running off stage. She reappeared a moment later, carrying a small green and red plant and a very large candy cane in her hands. The spotlight followed her back to Dickie, Elliot, and Olivia. "Mistletoe. I hope this works," she said, tying the plant to the hook end of the cane. She brushed her hair back and the audience gasped and laughed, as one of her ears was now pointed.
"I think it's working already, kid," Dickie chuckled.
Lizzie lifted the candy cane, with the mistletoe dangling from the hook, over her father's head. "Um..." she hummed, looking pleadingly at her father.
Elliot looked up, then looked at Olivia, and then looked at Lizzie with an annoyed expression. Nothing else happened.
"Kiss her!" Dickie whispered harshly, but the audience laughed, hearing him since he was wearing a microphone.
Elliot looked at his son, rolled his eyes, then looked back at Olivia. He took a breath and let it out, moved closer to her, and looked into her eyes, almost apologetically. He rested his hands on her arms, holding her still, and moved in further, letting his lips press softly to hers.
The audience cheered and clapped, and then the sound of bells ringing filled the room. A loud, "Ho, ho, ho," was heard, and a kid dressed as Santa walked out onto the stage.
Olivia and Elliot broke apart, but didn't turn to look at the child dressed in red. They were still staring at each other.
"Young elfling," Santa said, stepping down and toward Lizzie, "You have given two people the gift of love on this Christmas Eve. Something very special, something very selfless, and something that God himself has bestowed upon us all. You have truly earned these, young one." He held out a pair of green shoes with curled toes and bells on the end. "Are you looking forward to being my executive elf next year?
"Oh, boy!" Lizzie cried, jumping into the air as she took the shoes from Santa.
The audience roared in applause as Dickie and Lizzie followed Santa back onto the stage. The rest of the elves came back out onto the stage, they joined hands, and took a bow, but Olivia and Elliot were still staring at each other.
Suddenly, they both spoke. "That was…" "I guess they thought we…"
"You first," Olivia said, nodding.
Elliot cleared his throat. "I guess they thought we wouldn't mind. It was just a part of the show. Wasn't it?"
Olivia nodded. "Guess so," she said, dropping her gaze from his eyes to his lips. She wanted to kiss him again. Once wasn't enough, and she was so close to getting what she really wanted for Christmas. "That was…"
"That was fun," Kathy interrupted, appearing next to them. "I'm gonna go get the kids," she snapped, looking at Elliot. "They have a lot of explaining to do."
Elliot looked at her for a moment. "Right," he said, letting her leave without saying anything else, without letting go of Olivia. He looked back at Olivia and said, "Before you say anything about Kathy…this morning…she, uh, she handed me a stack of papers and said, 'Merry Christmas.' I'm not moving back home. It's over. My present from her is a div…"
"Oh," Olivia said, backing up. "I'm sorry, I…I didn't know…"
He gripped her, pulling her back toward him. "I'm telling you now, and there's nothing to be sorry about. You heard that wonderful little elf, we were obviously missing the point." He brushed her hair back behind her ear and looked into her eyes. "Could we try that again? Without the audience?"
She blinked and smirked. She nodded at him, then very hesitantly and jerkily moved toward him. Their lips met and it felt like a Christmas miracle wrapped in a dream and topped with a shooting star. Every wish she'd ever made came true when he pulled her closer, held her tighter, and ran his tongue over her lower lip. She opened her mouth just enough for him to poke his tongue in and deepen the kiss.
"Hey, guys?" a voice behind them said, breaking them apart. "The show's over. You can stop that now."
Elliot pulled his lips away from Olivia's, but rested his forehead against hers. He nodded. He ignored Kathy and looked at Dickie. "Thanks, kid," he said to his son.
Dickie grinned. "See, Dad?" he said. "I told you I wasn't the only one who..."
Kathy looked at her son, hurt and irritated. "You planned this?" she asked, interrupting and squinting at him.
Lizzie smiled. "It wasn't him, Mom," she said. "We had to pick two people and make them kiss. We just thought they wouldn't mind being involved. But you heard Santa. There was a much higher power at work here tonight. This was obviously meant to happen."
Olivia chuckled and looked over at the kids. She saw the looks of pure joy on their faces before she glanced at Kathy, who looked beyond pissed. Her smiled faded then.
Elliot saw this and gave her a reassuring squeeze.
"Maureen and Kathleen are on their way to your apartment, Elliot," Kathy said through gritted teeth. "We should go. Family traditions, remember? Family," she spat. She glared at Olivia, making it clear that she was not considered family.
Elliot nodded. "It's Christmas Eve," he said. "So we all get to open one present when we get home. The first one to the car gets the first gift."
Dickie and Lizzie yelled and laughed as they shoved each other and took off running. Kathy sighed, giving him a sorrowful shake of her head, and then followed her kids. Elliot looked back at Olivia and said, "You're coming."
She shook her head. "El, I can't…"
"It wasn't a question, Liv," he said, pulling her with him as he walked. "How can I open my present if my present isn't even there?"
She furrowed her brow, then one eyebrow shot into the air and smirked slowly. "Oh, really, Stabler?"
He chuckled. "Merry Christmas," he said, kissing her again as they left the auditorium. When they walked out into the snowy evening, he looked up and smiled. He said a silent thank you, and he took hold of Olivia's hand. He didn't know why his kids did it, but he was certainly grateful they did. They just gave him the best gift ever, and he chuckled as he thought about how much he couldn't wait to open it.
A/N: Part two: He opens his present. ;) Gotta love Holiday fluff.