Caught in the Rain

"Night, Cap." Olivia called behind her as she pulled on her coat. It was forecasted to rain later, and she didn't want to get stuck outside in the storm.

"Hold up, I'll head out with you." Elliot said, right behind her. Olivia smiled as she waited by the elevator for her partner. "How you getting home?" he asked as they stepped in.

"I was just planning on walking," she said, "Just hope I don't get caught in the rain."

"I have my car today, you want a lift?" he offered.

"Yeah sure, that'd be nice."

As the two detectives walked out of the elevator, they bid goodnight to the associates they passed in the lobby. Approaching his car, Elliot walked up to the passenger side door and opened it for her. Olivia smiled up at him in thanks as she slid into the seat. He'd grown increasingly attentive in the past six months since his divorce. At first, Olivia didn't what to make of it, but lately she'd grown to enjoy his little gestures of kindness. While she couldn't imagine that they were tending toward anything of a more serious nature, she reveled in all the little things he did for her all the same. For all the tough cop routines he pulled at work, he really could be very sweet when he wanted to be.

The drive was occupied with light conversation, mostly about case details and paperwork. As he pulled up to her apartment building, he shifted to the car into park. Olivia un-buckled her seat belt, noticing Elliot did the same.

"Thanks for the ride, El," she said, opening the car door. Before she could slide out however, he caught her wrist, causing her to look back him. A light smile graced his lips.

"I don't really feel like going home yet, you want to take a walk with me?" He nodded in the direction of Central Park, a few blocks away. Olivia hesitated, glancing up toward a quickly greying sky.

"Don't worry about the rain; a little water never hurt anyone," Elliot assured her, giving her hand a quick squeeze. "Come on." Olivia chewed her bottom lip, contemplating for a moment. It was an unusual request, but not an unwelcome one. She didn't have much to look forward to other than dinner alone in an empty apartment.

"Alright, sounds good." She flashed him a quick smile before sliding out the other side of the car. They walked together towards the park, close, but only just not touching. Each had their hands stuffed in their pockets, not noticing or minding when their elbows occasionally brushed against each other.

There were very few other people wandering the various park walks. Olivia attributed the unusual lack of early evening traffic to the rapidly approaching storm clouds. She observed them casually, not really worried now that she had Elliot to distract her.

"So how are the kids?" she asked.

"They're good. The older ones are all off at college and Eli's staying with Kathy. I see him on the weekends," he said simply.

"Oh, that's nice; and the new apartment?" Olivia offered, searching for a good conversation topic.

Elliot shrugged. "It's not bad. Pretty comfortable, just gets a little lonely, at night especially." There was a beat of silence; Olivia chanced a sideways glace at him.

"Oh, so I take it you aren't seeing anyone then?" she asked with what she hoped was a casual voice.

"No, haven't seen anyone since the divorce," Elliot replied in the same nonchalant tone, "You?"

"When I have you? Never." Olivia shot back jokingly, with a glowing smile. Elliot replied with a signature Stabler grin of his own. Entering a more secluded area of the park, they heard soft music from somewhere in the distance. The slow melody of "Over the Rainbow," drifted over them. Olivia smiled gently; this was one of her favorite songs.

"I wonder where that's coming from?" she asked.

"They do outdoor movie screenings in the summer," Elliot said, "I guess they're showing The Wizard of Oz tonight."

"I like to take Eli to see them sometimes," he offered as an explanation when she gave him a questioning look. "Ah, I see," Olivia said, nodding. They were now walking in an open grassy area surrounded by trees and flower gardens. There wasn't another soul to be seen.

"You want to dance?" Elliot asked, stopping as he extended an open hand.

"Oh," Olivia paused, hands pushing deeper into her jeans pockets, "You know, El, I'm really not a dancer…"

"Oh come on, it's just one dance. It'll be fun." He took a step closer, still offering his hand. Olivia hesitated, then slowly withdrew one hand from her pocket and placed it lightly in his.

"That's my girl," he said affectionately. He took her hand and spun her lightly before pulling her in closer and placing another hand on her lower back. Olivia's hand found its way to his upper arm as they began to sway. Elliot gently turned them, keeping a slow and steady rhythm. Olivia could feel his hand on her back, softly guiding her. She found that her steps easily fell in line with his and that their bodies moved together, perfectly in sync.

"Who says you're not a dancer?" Elliot asked quietly, smiling, "You're a natural."

"Thanks, El. I've never really slow danced before," she said, with a hint of laughter in her voice. Elliot was looking right into her eyes; she was mesmerized by his stunning blues.

She sighed lightly, "You know, this was always the song I imagined dancing to at my wedding." My wedding to you, she added silently. "I always wanted to know what this would feel like."

"I can see it you know," Elliot said. "You in a beautiful white gown, surrounded by family and friends watching you dance with the perfect guy."

"Hmmm, okay, I can see the gown and the people," she mused smiling, "but tell me more about this perfect guy." Elliot pretended to contemplate for a moment.

"Well, he's tall and strong, with dashing good looks of course," he started, "tough, but he knows how to be gentle. He loves your strength, your kindness, and your beauty. He could look into those amazing brown eyes of yours forever, and he would do anything just to hear you laugh."

Not sure how to react, Olivia let out an embarrassed laugh. "Thanks, El. I like the sound of this guy."

"Not to mention of course he has these killer blue eyes, a great ass which I know you check out on a regular basis, and he's one of New York's finest; probably the finest, except for you, of course." Olivia's eyes widened slightly in surprise and a blush flared across her cheeks. She masked her shock quickly with a wide grin.

"So…you're saying that you think you're my perfect guy?" she asked teasingly, although her heart was now pounding rapidly in her chest.

"Who said I was talking about me?" he quipped back, Olivia's face fell. He pulled her closer, his hand sliding further along her waist. He leaned forward, "But yes, I am," he whispered into her ear.

Olivia smiled again, "Pretentious, aren't we, Detective Stabler? Not only do you presume you know my perfect guy, but you think you're him." Couldn't be closer to the truth, she thought.

"Well, Detective Benson," he replied, with his own grin and a quirk of an eyebrow, "I only presume to know your perfect guy because I know it's me." He paused, "I happen to disagree though."

Olivia tensed, "Is that so?" She tried to keep the wounded edge from her voice.

"I think your perfect guy should be infinitely times better than me. You deserve so much more, Liv," he said, all joking traces gone from his voice. He looked at her steadily, trying to gauge her reaction.

"Oh," she said quietly, dropping her graze. The first drops of rain had started to fall, but neither of them noticed. "You're right about one thing," she said after a moment.

"And what might that be?"

"My perfect guy is infinitely times better than you described," she said softly, eyes still on the ground.

"Oh, I see," Elliot said, audibly crestfallen.

"But…" Olivia paused.

"But?" Elliot pushed, not sure he wanted to hear the rest.

"But, I never said he still wasn't you," she offered quietly, glancing up at him.

Elliot was momentarily speechless, but then broke into a brilliant smile. He pulled her even closer, his arm wrapping completely around her waist as they danced. Their chests were pressed together and he held her hand to his chest. His cheek came to rest against hers. The rain was falling steadily now, individual drops tracing their way down their faces. They were getting soaked, but neither one cared. The music played on in the background.

"Guess I was right after all," Elliot said.

"It's been known to happen on occasion," Olivia said. Elliot could hear the smile in her voice. She pressed up closer to him, breathing in his light scent. It was intoxicating.

They stayed like that for a while, swaying to the music, silently absorbing everything they'd just said. Elliot was the first to break the silence.

"Kathy and I never danced at our wedding."

Confused as to why he was bringing up Kathy at a moment like this, Olivia waited for him to continue.

"She was pregnant with Maureen, and she didn't want to dance. I always wondered what it would have been like." Elliot paused, Olivia was still confused.

"Now I know."

"Know what, El?" She didn't see how their dancing in the rain correlated to his wedding dance.

"Now I know what it's like to dance with the woman I love."

Olivia stopped and looked at Elliot with wide eyes. He was staring at her intently, trying to figure out what she was thinking. They were standing perfectly still, chest to chest; with his arm wrapped around her as the rain fell around them. The final notes of the song had long since faded away.

Slowly, Olivia lifted her chin, and pressed her lips gently to his. The hand that had been resting against his chest slid around his neck as she pulled him closer. Elliot's lips moved softly against hers as he traced his tongue lightly against her lower lip. She opened her mouth to him, and suddenly their tongues were caressing each other, lips searching for more of each other to feel and explore. Elliot's hand entwined itself in her hair, gently holding her head to his as his mouth claimed her. Both of their eyes closed as they took in the sensations of the kiss they'd been imagining for twelve years.

Olivia pulled back, but only far enough to lean her forehead against Elliot's. Their noses were touching.

"I love you too, El."

"I know." He grinned, pulling her into another embrace. As their lips met in another soft kiss, thunder rolled above them.

"Let's get you out of the rain shall we?" El asked, taking Olivia's hand.

She grinned, "Yes let's." Giving him one last quick kiss, they walked back together, hand-in-hand, strolling through the rain.

Please R&R! Comments would be lovely...