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From This Moment

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Liv stands by the water, her black floral gown rustling in the wind, watching her squad celebrate Fin and Phoebe's non-wedding. All are enjoying the rare opportunity to be social outside of the 1-6. She’s deep in thought with a small smile on her face when Elliot walks back over with her coat in hand.

“Here you go.” 

His words shake her from her trance. Turning around, she lets him drape the coat over her shoulders and tries not to read into the extra squeeze his hand gives her arm before he steps back.

Liv reaches for the second glass of wine. “And I got this for you.”

Again, she tries (and fails) not to notice how his hands grip the glass around hers.

“Thank you.”

Olivia watches Elliot looking around the party as she had just done, his eyes landing on Fin and Phoebe. “They’re a good looking couple. How’d they meet?”

Liv sucks in a knowing breath. “She’s a cop. His first partner.”

Elliot turns back around to face Liv and they share a pointed stare, a small smirk present on her face. Ever in sync, their focus shifts away from the party and out toward the river as they clink glasses.

“To partners,” she says. They share another look and a soft smile and sip their wine, each knowing what the other is thinking. They were each other’s first partners. The rumors had followed them during the entirety of their 12-year partnership, but with Elliot being married (and a devout Catholic) and Liv’s desire to keep her work and private lives separate, they never crossed that line. Even after Elliot’s decade-long absence, their chemistry is still as palpable as ever to themselves and to everyone who encounters them.

Everyone is still milling around the party, enjoying the music (and the free booze). Rollins and Carisi are huddled together on one side of the terrace, Kat and her girlfriend on the other speaking with Chief Garland. The DJ’s voice comes over the speakers and asks Fin and Phoebe to take to the dance floor for a special non-first-dance celebrating their non-wedding. As soon as the first bars of the song begin to play, Liv immediately feels choked up with emotion.

I do swear

That I'll always be there

I'd give anything and everything

And I will always care

Through weakness and strength

Happiness and sorrow

For better, for worse

I will love you

With every beat of my heart

The song is Shania Twain’s “From This Moment On,” a popular wedding song since it was released in May of 1998, the same month Olivia and Elliot first became parters at Manhattan SVU. Liv first heard the song on the radio in the squad car with Elliot. They were on a stakeout, their first one as partners, waiting to see if a suspect would show. Both she and Elliot were tired, a comfortable silence between them filled only by the radio, minds wandering. Listening to the lyrics, Liv realized it was a love song but that it almost pertained to her and Elliot’s relationship as well. Everyone said a partnership was a lot like a marriage, and he always told her “I’m your partner, for better or worse.” Theirs was a partnership of immediate respect and trust, which allowed both Olivia and Elliot to excel at their jobs. Though they weren’t involved romantically, from that night Liv always associated the song with Elliot and the memory of their first stakeout.

From this moment

Life has begun

From this moment

You are the one

Right beside you

Is where I belong

From this moment on

As she watches Fin and Phoebe gently swaying to the music, Liv thinks back to that first stakeout and realizes that the lyrics might pertain to her and Elliot more than she originally realized. It truly was when she felt her life had begun, working at the Special Victims Unit and using the circumstances surrounding her existence to provide justice and support to those that needed it most. Her partnership with Elliot is the longest relationship she’s ever had with a man, and working alongside him is where she felt she belonged for 12 years.

Elliot takes her wine glass, fingers brushing against hers yet again, and sets it on the railing alongside his own. Her heart jumps into her throat because she knows what’s coming. As the song goes on, more couples join Fin and Phoebe on the dance floor. Elliot eases her jacket off, takes her hand, and pulls her close so she stays warm. Liv holds her breath. He looks down at her and slides his hands around her waist, coming to rest at the small of her back. Olivia tentatively runs her hands up his arms, across his broad shoulders, and crosses them behind his neck, trying to calm her racing heart.

From this moment

I have been blessed

I live only

For your happiness

And for your love

I'd give my last breath

From this moment on

Listening to the lyrics for the millionth time, Liv thinks to herself that they might be in the midst of making a new moment. They sway close together, bodies closer than they’ve ever been, save for a few hugs following traumatic moments with a wedding band in between them. Feeling overwhelmed, she has her head on Elliot’s shoulder, face turned away from his to try to hide her few tears. Because he can read her better than anyone, Elliot knows what she's hiding and squeezes her hips. “Olivia,” he whispers, trying to get her to look at him, his breath on her neck giving her goosebumps.

I give my hand to you with all my heart

I can't wait to live my life with you

I can't wait to start

You and I will never be apart

My dreams came true because of you

She looks up and what she sees takes her breath away. His eyes are shining with unshed tears, making them somehow look even more blue than usual. She sees sorrow and guilt for the way he left her, for the way he didn’t choose her, for everything he missed while he was away, both good and bad. But she also sees love, warmth, hope, and promise, with an undercurrent of want and heat that makes her heart race. It's as if he is repeating the lyrics to her without saying a word.

Quietly, but strongly, he says to her, "It’s you, Liv. It’s always been you."

From this moment

As long as I live

I will love you

I promise you this

There is nothing

I wouldn't give

From this moment on

Olivia lets everything go and decides in the moment to finally take what she wants and choose happiness. Standing up on her tiptoes, they both lean in at the same time, lips finally meeting after twenty-three years of buildup and tension. Elliot’s hand slides up her back to cup the side of her face, deepening the kiss, causing Olivia to whimper. They both see fireworks as their mouths open, tongues dueling and exploring each other for the first time. Olivia’s hand tightens at the back of Elliot’s neck as if to remind herself that he’s really here, kissing her, while dancing to a love song at her best friend’s non-wedding. They both reluctantly pull away when breathing becomes a necessity, resting their foreheads together while still swaying to the music.

You're the reason I believe in love

And you're the answer to my prayers from up above

All we need is just the two of us

My dreams came true because of you

Elliot leans back and speaks first, slightly out of breath from their activities. He looks directly into her beautiful brown eyes and takes both her hands in his, paying no mind to the party going on around him. “Olivia, you may not remember this, but the first time I heard this song was during our first stakeout as partners.” Her breath catches. “It was quiet and we were tired, and to be honest I was a little bored, so I paid attention to the radio to pass the time. The song came on, and when listening to the lyrics I should’ve been thinking about my wife, but I wasn’t. I was thinking about you. From the moment I met you, I felt a magnetic pull toward you that has never gone away, and only seems to get stronger as time goes on. I tried to ignore it, tried to pretend that we were just partners, that seeing you in other relationships didn’t absolutely kill me. I tried so hard that I ran away to Europe, thinking that putting an ocean between us would help save my marriage and propel you forward into a career that you deserved without me holding you back. I will never forgive myself for missing those ten years of your life and not being there for you when you needed it most — seeing you become a mother, protecting you from monsters — but I promise to spend the next eternity making it up to you. One day soon I would like to ask you to marry me, and for us to dance to this song, our song, at our wedding, in front of our closest family and friends. I love you, Olivia. Always have, always will. You’re it for me, my partner and my soulmate, the one true love of my life, and I’m tired of pretending otherwise.”

From this moment

As long as I live

I will love you

I promise you this

There is nothing I wouldn't give

From this moment

Silent tears are streaming down Olivia’s face, surprised and moved by the intensity of his declaration. Though Elliot had told her he loved her once before, she attributed it to his fragile state and never let herself believe it could be true.

Liv strokes his cheek with her hand, her chocolate orbs finding his blue ones. “Oh Elliot, this song has always reminded me of that night with you. At first it spoke to me as describing our partnership, but as time went on and despite trying not to, somewhere along the way I fell in love with you. As you know, you were, and are, the single most important person in my life, aside from Noah. I never allowed myself to believe that you might feel the same way. Though we need to work through our past, I very much look forward to our future.”

Leaning up, she kisses him again, and whispers into his ear, “When you ask, I will say yes. I love you too, El.”

I will love you, as long as I live

From this moment on