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Baby Carrots

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Olivia never thought this day would come.

She'd dreamt about it, sure; she'd wanted it, more than anything - prove to herself (maybe, more like, prove to her mother) that she was more than the circumstances of her birth. 

She'd spent her life's work proving that, time and again. And she'd even managed to find love in her line of work - she cast a smile to herself, thinking of Elliot. Maybe falling in love with her (at the time, anyway) married partner hadn't been ideal, but things had a funny way of working themselves out for the better, eventually. 

And she was happy, in ways she never would have dreamed. She could come home from a long day and know that he was waiting for her, takeout in hand; they'd begun to take cooking classes together on the weekends (Maureen's idea; she'd been horrified at the number of discarded takeout boxes in their trash), and Elliot had really taken to it. Or, she could be waiting for him, like she was tonight. And she'd gotten used to falling asleep next to him every night and waking up next to him every morning, catching the first rays of a morning sun as they reflected in his eyes, and wondering how they finally managed to end up where they were. Happy.

She knew the case he was working with Fin was difficult; they'd had a hard time getting their witnesses to cooperate, and their lead suspect was in the wind. 

She knew, and that was why her night had ended up like it had; her skin was tingling with unfulfilled anticipation and whispers of anxiety.

Patience had never been one of her strongest suits, but she was having to practice it in spades. She poured herself a glass of orange juice and sipped nervously at it. 

Her phone dinged, alerting her to a new text message. Nothing more we can do tonight, coming homeLove you.

With a slight smile, she tapped out a response. Hurry home. Love you. She didn't expect a response, not when he'd be driving home. 

Life was short, and she never wanted the last words she said to Elliot - (or his last to her, heaven forbid) - to be something said of anger or upset, but instead, of the strong affection they held each other in. And especially in their line of work, she saw the value of each day in stark technicolor each and every day that she strapped on her badge and sidepiece and made her way to work.

She'd never found saying those three words easy. But somehow, being happy made it easy.

(Of course, he'd said them first, and of course he hadn't expected her to say it back, not right away; it didn't take long after that for her to realize that the strange, unfamiliar feeling that lurked in her chest was love, in a form she'd never seen before: true and lasting.)

In the stillness of their lowly-lit apartment, she heard his key turn in the lock, and she turned to face the door, one long leg perched over the other. "Hey there," she said, "glad to see you finally made it out of the precinct."

"Hello, beautiful," he said, as he crossed the room and leaned over to brush his lips against hers in a tender, welcoming kiss. "What's all this?" He motioned to the table, as he sat down in the chair next to her.

"Oh, just a little surprise I put together," she said, a mischievous glint twinkling in her eyes.

"You got a picture of me as a kid. When I was a carrot in the school Thanksgiving pageant." He picked up the small framed photo and cocked his head, looking at his younger self. "I haven't seen this picture in years."

"Your mom got me a copy. She knew how much I liked that picture of you." She wasn't sure if he realized the full impact of the conversation she'd had with Bernie Stabler a while back regarding Kathleen - long before her and Elliot were ever officially a couple - but it wasn't about Kathleen. 

Elliot's eyes wandered over the table. "Baby carrots and orange juice?" he asked. "Liv, what's going on? I can't remember the last time I saw you eat a carrot that wasn't part of a cake."

It was then that she pulled out a thin white stick and a small black and white photograph and slid them across the table to him. "I might not be able to give you a whole Thanksgiving cornucopia, but we can at least have our own baby carrot." She rested her hands on her stomach (still flat, for now) and smiled at him.

"You mean - youus - we're going to -" He looked between her, the thin white stick that proudly proclaimed pregnant in tiny digital lettering, and the sonogram showing what was clearly a healthy baby in the early stages of development, a broad grin beginning to creep across his features as he soaked in the implications. "How long?"

"I found out a day or two ago, but I didn't want to tell you while you still had the Ivins case, but you know how it turned into something longer and Dr. Bellmont was able to squeeze me in today, and -" she took a breath, her eyes shining as she looked at Elliot. Knowing that she had a little life inside her that was half him, and half her, made her see him through a reflection of something more. "Well, I couldn't wait any longer to tell you. Seven weeks, the doctor thinks."

"Seven - oh, Olivia." He pulled her out of the chair and crushed her against his chest, holding her in a tight embrace as he kissed her again, his hand resting on the small of her back as he pulled her closely to him. "We're going to be parents, and our baby carrot is going to be the luckiest little one in the world to have you as their mom."

Our. She could get used to that thought, she realized, before the motion of his lips dragging across her flushed skin made everything else except for them fade into a distinct blur. 

(Part of her already has.)

-fini-