A/N: A true holiday beginning, of course, begins on Black Friday.
DISCLAIMER: Dick Wolf owns SVU and the characters; TStabler© owns the story you're about to read.
"I can't believe we spent two hours in line for this," she complains, waving a small pink and white striped bag in the air.
He smirks at her. "It was a present," he says. "To myself. One I am going to thoroughly enjoy unwrapping," he says through gritted teeth, with wagging eyebrows.
She rolls her eyes and swats the bag at him. "Keep it up, and I'll return this barely-there, see-through, piece of dental floss."
He gasps. "You wouldn't!"
"Did we get everything?" she asks, laughing again and looking at him. She wiggles her fingers, the ones he has been holding for the last four hours, and she smiles.
"I think so," he says, running his thumb along the side of her hand. "Got the tree, new ornaments, lights, everything on the kids' lists, that slinky red thing you looked so fucking amazing in," he bites his lip and pulls her closer to him.
"So, we got everything," she chuckles. "We can finally go home. What time is it, anyway?"
He turns his wrist, and subsequently hers, and looks at his watch. "It is…four thirty-seven in the morning," he tells her. "We have officially survived Black Friday in Manhattan."
"I feel kinda bad for Munch and Fin, though," she sighs. "Stuck at work while we're out shopping and watching all the holiday lights go up around the city."
"Funny," he chuckles. "I don't feel bad about it at all." He kisses her and growls a bit. "And you thought this wasn't gonna be fun."
She laughs, and she shakes her head at the bright look in his eyes. "Only you," she says with a sigh.
"Hmm?" he questions.
"I would only stay awake this late when I don't have to just to go shopping, if it's with you," she explains. "I'm doing a lot of things I wouldn't normally do because of you."
He grins. "Like cooking the turkey all by yourself yesterday?"
"I had a little help from Paula Dean and Rachael Ray," she chuckles. "You might wanna go through the DVR when we get home."
"Oh, we're not heading home yet," he tells her, pulling her closer to him. He kisses her forehead and wraps his arm around her, still clutching her hand tightly. "I've got a surprise for you."
She stifles a yawn. "How? I've been with you for the last forty-eight hours, non-stop. You haven't been out of my sight!"
"When I took the tree home," he reminds her, "You stayed at Saks." He winks at her and leads her into the iron gate of Central Park. "Think of it as a very late 'thank-you-for-moving-in-with-me present."
As they move further into the park, white flurries begin to fall around them, and Olivia looks up with surprised eyes. "You made it snow for me?" she teases.
"Yeah," he laughs. "Me and God, baby, we're that close." He rolls his eyes. "I guess we can do this in the snow," he mumbles. "Over here, Liv."
She follows his lead, and she gasps when she sees a thick woolen blanket settled between two trees, a picnic basket, and a man in a police uniform.
"Thanks for watching it, Frank," Elliot says to the young cop.
"Anytime, Elliot," the young man says with a tilt of his hat. "Nice to see you, Detective Benson."
She waves, and watches him leave, then allows Elliot to ease her down onto the blanket. "What is all this?" she asks, seeing him open the basket.
With a smug smile, he takes out a bottle of champagne and pops the cork.
They share a laugh as the foam runs over the bottle and into their laps, and she takes a glass from him. She clinks it against his, though she doesn't know what they've just toasted. "El? Your reason, here?"
He puts down his glass and reaches back into the basket, lifting out a small pink box and a fork. "Yesterday, you cooked a meal for fifteen people. My kids, my mother, my brother and his wife, my sister's whole family," he rattles off. "It was our first Thanksgiving in the new house, only our second as a couple, and you went above and beyond…" he swallows. "And then you come out on the craziest night of the year to pick out a tree with me, meaning you're actually helping me decorate for Christmas this year."
"I told you," she shrugs, "I'm a different woman with you, El."
"No," he smiles. "You're just yourself with me, because you can be. Just like I am more of myself with you. You're not different at all, baby. You're just happier, more comfortable, and less afraid."
She smiles at him. "This is true," she says with a small nod.
"Anyway, I did this to…I guess since we were with a thousand people yesterday, I just wanted some time alone with you," he shrugs. "I wanted to be spontaneous and romantic."
"At four in the morning?" she chuckles.
"Four fifty, to be exact," He opens the box and he laughs when he sees her eyes twinkle. "You want this, don't you?"
"Oh, hell yes," she chuckles, opening her mouth as he holds a forkful of the sinful, chocolate cupcake out to her. She moans, her eyes close, and she licks her lips. "You know exactly how to make me happy," she garbles as she chews.
He laughs again, then pauses, taking in the sight of her at the moment. How cute she looks with rosy cheeks, how beautiful her eyes are when they crinkle a bit as she laughs. "You got a little…" he lifts his thumb to the corner of her mouth and swipes away some stray icing. He sucks it off of his fingertip, looking into her eyes.
She knows he's moving closer, and it only makes her smile wider. She kisses him back with just as much power and feeling as he is giving her, and her gloved hands wrap around his neck. She moans, though, as he pulls away from her.
He gets to his feet and holds his hands out to her, looking down. "Dance with me?"
"You're suffering from severe exhaustion, aren't you?" she chides, giving him an odd look, but letting him pull her up.
He chuckles as he shakes his head. "No, I just really wanna dance with you right now. It's snowing, it's just the two of us, and I think we need to dance."
"To what music?" she asks.
He pulls her close to him, sways her, and begins to sing softly, into her ear. "Christmas time is so special when you're kissing me under the mistletoe…"
"N'Sync, El? Couldn't come up with anything better?" she jokes.
"Exchanging love and gifts, sitting in front of the tree," he continues, moving his head a bit, then gazing at her as he serenades, and moves them slowly around the blanket, their dance-floor. "Me holding you and you holding me…"
She laughs, but she loves it. Something about him singing to her, dancing with her, in the park in the snow in the middle of the night, warms her heart and her body. Lost in him, she hasn't noticed that he's taken something out of his pocket.
"I've prayed," he sings a bit softer, "To be loved on Christmas…" and then he stops. He slips his other hand from around her waist, then slips the chain that's been dangling from his fingers around her neck. "Liv," he whispers, getting her attention.
"What is…what is this?" she asks, fingering the shiny pendant she's only just noticed.
He smiles at her. "Wouldn't be a full Black Friday experience if I didn't get something for my girl, would it?"
"Your girl?" she says with a raised eyebrow, but the smile on her face proves she doesn't mind.
He reaches for the necklace, for her neck, and after he straightens the diamond a bit, he links his hands behind her. "My girl," he whispers, his lips just brushing against hers. "This is all I really wanted for Christmas, you know that, don't you?"
She squints, she has to since snowflakes have fallen into her eyes and are caught in her lashes. Her breath hitches as he kisses them away, and returns his gaze to her. "What?"
"You," he tells her. "You and me, no more secrets, no more lying. You and me, together, not caring who knows it or who sees it. You and me, under the same roof, with the kids and…I know I'm a mess. I know I'm hard to deal with, I can be thick-headed and stubborn and I have anger issues, but you…you look past all that and you love me more than I ever dreamed you would." He kisses her lips tenderly. "Christmas is gonna be perfect this year."
"Perfect?" she repeats, a question, moving toward him for another kiss.
He nods and kisses her again. "Well, it'll be even more perfect if you wear that slinky, red thing I…"
She silences him with a deep kiss, one they smile and laugh into, and she yelps against his lips as he lifts her into the air and swings her around. Once her feet touch the ground again, she sighs. "Black Friday," she mutters. "Ain't nothin' 'black' about it."
"Not at all," he says, and his lips touch hers once more. As the sun rises, a ray of light peeking through the trees in the park hits them, and he can feel the warmth on his skin. He credits the woman in his arms, though, and holds her tighter.
He really can't wait until Christmas.
A/N: Next – a one shot. Olivia meets Santa Claus, and she proves that she has been very…very…naughty.