~One Thing~ by Soreress Queen

Disclaimer: I don't own `Liv, El, George, Donnie, Munch, Fin…I have nothing! Nothing, I tell you! cries

Elliot Stabler whistled as he jogged up the stairs to his apartment, his arms laden with grocery bags. The day had been good, or at least as good as it could be for a sex crimes detective. There was a victim, of course; a pretty college student with big brown eyes, knees hugged tightly against her sweatshirt-clad chest as she related how her date hadn't stopped when she asked him to. How a lighthearted makeout session had become something terrifying, painful, and humiliating beyond comprehension. There had been an investigation, albeit a short one. Between the semen and hair samples from the rape kit and the girl's obvious devastation, the case was in the bag. Elliot hammered the final nail in the coffin by manipulating a tearful confession from the suspect with the sheer intensity of his righteous anger and contempt. Novak and the boy's lawyer plea-bargained right there in the interrogation room.

So the perp was in jail, the victim had some peace of mind, and Elliot *wasn't* being reprimanded for using excessive force. Yup, it was as good a day as he could come to expect. 'Well,' he thought. 'There's that one thing that could make it a little better.' Mentally shaking his head, he resumed his whistling. That "one thing" wasn't going to be home for another day or two. Still, Elliot was looking forward to changing into sweats and watching TV on the couch. He shifted the groceries to his left arm and fished in his pocket for his keys as he approached his apartment. However, just as he was about to slide the key into the lock, the door opened. Elliot froze in position, only his eyes moving up to see who was standing in his doorway. He had a pretty good idea, anyway.

George Huang stood with his hand on the doorknob, wearing pajama bottoms and a snug gray t-shirt. His hair was mussed, like he'd just gotten out of bed. He smiled at Elliot. "Hey," he said softly.

Elliot blinked a few times before letting his hand fall smoothly to his side. "Hey." George stood aside as Elliot came in. "Wasn't expecting you back until tomorrow. When'd you get home?" His tone was casual, but his hearbeat had quickened ever so slightly.

The psychiatrist was adept at reading expressions, however, especially on the faces of people he happened to be sleeping with. His eyes twinkled in amusement at the subdued relief in Elliot's voice. "A few hours ago. One of the speakers was called away on a family emergency, and they couldn't find someone to replace him on such short notice, so the conference ended early. I was going to call and let you know, but I fell asleep while unpacking." He leaned back against the couch and watched Elliot rest the groceries on the center island in the kitchen. After a moment of hesitation, he began to put them away.

The doctor didn't mind. He knew Elliot simply needed a few moments to re-adjust to him and to gather his nerves. This kind of relationship was still fairly new territory for Elliot. After all, he had been with Kathy since they were kids. He'd never had another lover, let alone a male one. Actually, George was secretly surprised at how well he was handling it. The divorce had been finalized for nearly a year before Elliot had consciously realized he had feelings for his co-worker. He'd had the obligatory freaking out period where he alternately snarled at George and looked for excuses to spend time with him. Then, when he finally relaxed enough to give the relationship a serious try, he'd had to work through his macho bullshit. Casual touching, gestures of affection, post-sex snuggling, control of the remote.....Elliot had to re-define all of it. It was a long while before he was truly comfortable with the other man.

George, for his part, had waited patiently for Elliot to settle in to their new life together. He'd gotten used to the reality of being with another guy a long time ago, and knew how confusing and frustrating it was at first. Sure, he'd lost his temper a few times and yelled at Elliot to grow the hell up and stop acting like a testosterone-obsessed neanderthal. The man was downright infuriating sometimes, and could test the limits of even an experienced psychiatrist and FBI agent. But he was well worth it.

Elliot put the last of the cold cuts in their compartment and shut the fridge. He took a deep breath and released it, then strolled back into the living room. He hesitated only a moment before pulling George into his arms and kissing him deeply.

The smaller man melted into the kiss, his hands planted firmly on Elliot's sides, reveling in the solid warmth beneath his palms. He felt a small thrill as the detective relaxed in his embrace. They stayed that way for a while, kissing leisurely, silently expressing their relief at being together again.

When the need for oxygen became pressing, they pulled away, both breathing heavily. Elliot rested his forehead against George's. "Missed you," he said, his voice low and husky.

George brought up a hand to rest on the back of his lover's neck. "I missed you too, Elliot." He smiled. "The conference definitely wasn't worth a week away."

Elliot chuckled. "Yeah, well, you'd better have learned *something*. The shrink they replaced you with at work was this smug old bastard who thought were were all complete morons. 'Liv came pretty close to smacking him when he accused her of 'coddling' the vics. Hate to think we went through that for nothing..."

George shook his head in disgust. "*Coddling* the victims? Where exactly did he get his psychology degree? A box of cheerios? I wouldn't mind watching Olivia smack him."

Elliot laughed. "Yeah, well, now we can flip him off and go back to only you and me wanting to smack each other at work."

"I'm sensing some hostility, detective," George said jokingly. "We'll have to work on that." Brushing his lips against the taller man's one more time, he stepped back. "Ok, you go get changed. I'll call for some take-out, and then you can catch me up on your cases."

Elliot raised an eyebrow. "You just get back after a week, and you wanna talk about work?" he asked in mild disbelief.

Pausing, George considered this. "You're right. I guess I'm still in full psychiatrist mode from the conference. It's all I've thought about for the past week." He smiled suggestively. "Of course, now there are other, far more...*interesting* things to concentrate on."

Elliot's mouth curved in to a half-smile. It was similar to the predatory, satisfied smile that appeared when he knew a suspect was about to break in interrogation. This one, though, was tempered with affection. "Oh yeah?"

George nodded. "*After* dinner, though. I haven't eaten since breakfast."

Elliot chuckled. "It's a deal." He turned and headed for the bedroom. He unknotted his tie and stripped off his navy blue suit. Resisting the urge to throw it in a heap in the corner and flip it off, he hung it up in his side of the closet. Having a neat freak for a lover was both a blessing and a curse. Rummaging through the laundry basket in search of a clean pair of sweatpants, he could hear said lover on the phone, ordering take-out in fluent Chinese. Elliot was unable to stop a smile from flitting across his face. He'd caught the bad guy, brought peace to the victim's big brown eyes, managed *not* to go caveman on anyone, and now he got to spend the evening with the man he loved. Not bad. Not bad at all...

Life wasn't perfect. He'd never make the mistake of thinking it was. There would always be devastated victims and brutal perps and callous psychologists. There would always be serious relationship headaches, sometimes to the point where he wanted to strangle the other man. But even with all that stacked against him, Elliot knew that there were some days when the good would outweigh the bad, and he could find peace and contentment. Today was one of those days.

Pulling on a pair of sweatpants, Elliot left the bedroom to be with the one thing that pushed today beyond the best a sex crimes detective could expect, and into what a sex crimes detective could *hope* for.