[ 2 Months Later ]
"I was thinking," she begins, twirling the piece of spaghetti around her fork as they sit across from one another in their favorite Italian Restaurant, "that maybe we could discuss our - marriage."
"I thought you said we were doing well working with what we have going on, right now?" He takes a bite of his dinner, reaching for the glass of wine between the two of them next to the bowl of breadsticks.
"It is good, what we have now... ever since you moved home after our trip to the lake." She nods, breaking a breadstick in half and tossing one half onto his plate, dipping it in her sauce, "But... I mean, I think in the eyes of the law - since we've been doing so well... maybe we should get remarried? On paper?"
"You still wear your wedding bands, and so do I. Does the paperwork really mean all that much to you, Olivia?" He asks, trying to verify that she's serious, "I mean, we're partners no matter what. We're husband and wife in every way that counts, we're going through counseling, we're talking to one another, we're being open and honest... do we have to mess it up with logistics?"
She sighs, "I just think it'd be less confusing for the kids."
"It would've been less confusing if we hadn't of gotten divorced in the first place." He smiles, reaching for her wine glass and taking a sip, "I don't think they are confused about anything, Liv. I think they know we love one another, they know we're working on our relationship, they know I moved back home, they like having both of us there - so I don't think that it makes much of a difference to them if we're legally divorced or married or dating or whatever."
She rolls her eyes. "Maybe you're right."
"You're still Olivia Benson-Stabler. You never changed that." He takes a bite of his bread, looking at her thoughtfully. "Baby, I just want whatever you want."
"Not to call me baby in public, Stabler." She kicks his leg underneath the table, before she smiles. She doesn't know why she's being so insistent that they get re-married legally. It was, as he said, working out between them the way things were. He'd even had the nerve to mention a couple of weeks ago that maybe they shouldn't have gotten married in the first place to begin with, maybe they should've just lived in sin all those years, married to one another through their partnership. But she'd wanted it. She'd wanted to be his wife. She'd wanted his children to have both parents in a legally binding marriage and not be bastards in the eyes of his church, because it meant that much to her that he have that piece of himself still intact.
She runs her foot up his leg, smirking as she tips the wine glass back to take a gulp, her hand reaching for his on the table, "I want that legally binding document saying I'm yours and you're mine again."
"Olivia Benson-Stabler, what are you doing?"
She giggles. It's time to go home. Home, where their children are currently probably downstairs huddled on the couch watching a movie together like they tended to do every Saturday evening when Kathleen would offer to come over so Elliot and Olivia could go out and get reacquainted. She loves their life, and looking back at all the bad things that had happened to them and to their marriage, it seems so stupid, so reckless, so ridiculous that some days she wants to kick her own ass for it all. It hasn't been easy, and it took him a while to get under her skin, but he'd never really left, honestly. For all those afternoons while they'd been officially separated and divorced, before she'd really allowed him back in - for all those times he'd taken control of her bluetooth speaker, making her go over to yell at him just so he could press her up against the wall and kiss her, and she would react - because that's how they were - they'd arrived back here.
It wasn't meant to end. It was never meant to end in the first place, and both of them knew it.
They were meant to be a couple, to be a family, to be together.
They'd made it through worse things in their lives, as long as they focused on communicating, on their family, on the truth, they were going to be okay. Not everyone was as lucky as the two of them. Not everyone had an overabundance of love in their lives. Their families had merged years and years ago to make one solid unit, and when a piece of that was fractured, it had thrown everyone a little off kilter... but here they were again, patching it up, looking out for one another, having each other's backs.
He smiles across the table at her, his partner, the mother of his children, and he can't help but think he's lucky that she's got one of the biggest hearts he's ever seen. He's lucky that he's her one weakness out of all the strengths, and he's damn lucky that she's his achilles heel... he couldn't give her up even if he tried. She'd tried to push him away, to push him out - and all the times they'd given into one another had been proof enough for him that it was never meant to end in the first place.
They were magnetic.
One solid truth remained about the two of them, hands held tightly together on the table top.
Love had the power to heal everything, to bring broken pieces back together, and as long as you loved one another still - in the end, that's all that matters.
"Let's go home, Olivia."
They'd have time to talk more about this possible legal paperwork tomorrow. Tonight, he was going to show her just how much he still loved her, and always will.