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stabler + novak, in vino veritas

Fic: "Sauvignon Blanc" (1/13 of "In Vino Veritas")

Posted on 2007.01.02 at 22:56
Affectus (State of Mind): satisfiedsatisfied
Camena (Music): "Self Control" - Laura Branigan
Tags: ,

Title:  Sauvignon Blanc
Series:  In Vino Veritas
Author:  Green Owl
Rating:  PG-13 – both Stabler and Novak swear a little bit.
Summary:  'Twas four nights after Christmas, and the SVU has a present for their ADA, delivered courtesy of Detective Stabler.
Word Count:  1,306

December 29

"What kind of loser spends New Year’s Eve cleaning the office pantry?" Casey Novak muttered to herself as she ripped another garbage bag off the roll and started dumping the contents of the communal refrigerator into it.

"Talkin’ to yourself again, Novak? They’re gonna put you in for a psych eval, you keeping doin’ that."

She squeaked and experienced a mild myoclonic twitch before she realized who had spoken to her.

"Holy guacamole, Stabler, you scared me!"

He grinned. "Too bad it’s not Halloween. I could have worn fangs and a cape and then me an’ Munch would’ve had to peel you off the ceiling."

Casey stood up straight, sighed, and leaned against the counter. "Can I help you, Detective? Or are you just here to make sure I don’t toss the three-week-old pizza from the Christmas party you’ve been jonesing for?"

"I thought you Yale grads didn’t end sentences with prepositions." He pulled out a chair from the cafe table, flipped it and mounted it, settling his arms on the back.

"That’s Harvard…asshole." She arched an eyebrow and smiled.

"Touché, ADA. Just came by to drop off a file for a case me and Benson got yesterday. Perp’s a sick, twisted piece of garbage that’s been pimping out his pre-teenage foster children for smack."

God, there were sometimes she wished she had a stronger stomach.

"Is he in custody?"

"Not yet, but we’ve got Munch and Fin on his tail. They’ll nab him by midnight. Speaking of that, why aren’t you home or at some party, suckin’ face with your man?"

"Because he’s out 'sucking face' with his new girlfriend. Hence, my newfound interest in cleaning." She pushed a hank of hair off her forehead before turning around to root through the fridge once more.

Stabler let out a long whistle. "Damn, that sucks."

"Elliot Stabler, King of the Understatement."

"Want me to find this dirtbrain and beat the crap outta him?"

She blindly tossed a Tupperware container of rancid pasta and red sauce into the garbage. "That’s sweet, but then I’d have to testify against you in court and as much as I’d love to see George in a full body cast, you’re more valuable to me taking sex offenders out of the gene pool."

Stabler’s eyes widened. "George? You dated a 'George'?"

"It is a common enough name. Born proudly by at least six British kings. Do you have anything against people named 'George'? Wait, I know! It’s the name of the teenage punk who stole your first girlfriend, right?"

"No, that was Vinny Francone. Sorry, Novak. I just pictured you with a 'Mike' or a 'Tommy' or a 'Jack'. You know, someone with enough juice to keep up with you."

"What's that supposed to mean?" she asked, looking over her shoulder.

He grimaced before shrugging his shoulders and answering her. "I dunno. You’re like this classy broad and you got a lotta guts. You need a guy that ain’t afraid of your brains or your mouth."

Casey paused for a moment before turning around.

"Detective Stabler, did you just pay me a compliment?"

He assumed a façade of gravity. "Why, yes, Assistant District Attorney Novak, I did. I hope that you will not take it as a form of sexual harassment, but accept it in the spirit in which it was given: one professional to another."

She laughed. She couldn’t help herself. He looked so stern and somber, poker face in place, shoulders squared as if readying himself to take the stand.

"At ease, Officer," she said, inclining her head. "It’s just been awhile since I’ve been called a 'broad'."

"Hey, just so we’re clear, I wasn’t referring to your ass, okay? It’s not too bad, and it sure ain’t 'broad'."

Casey rolled her eyes. "Why aren’t you trying these lines out on Mrs. Stabler? Pair them up with those killer baby blues and dimples - you’re sure to get laid tonight."

Stabler stood up and stretched, flexing his muscles. "Yeah, it’s dirty work, but someone’s gotta be Manhattan’s only certified wife-aholic."

"Then go get her, tiger!" Casey said, spinning him around and pushing him towards the door.

She found herself stopped short as he spread his arms, grabbing the doorframe as Casey crashed into his back. For a moment she was caught off-guard by the blend of sensations – the feel of the cool black leather of his jacket under her cheek, the smell of his deodorant mixed with laundry detergent and fabric softener, the solid mass of his broad back and shoulders pushing against her chest. And the sting on her bottom lip where her upper teeth sank into them.

"Sorry!" he said, quickly turning around to catch her. "You okay?"

She worked her jaw, tested her bottom lip with her tongue. "Yeah, fine. All my parts, still in working order."

"I almost forgot to give you this," he said, before he bent down to pick up a package from outside the kitchen door and held it out to her.

"Stabler…what in the world? Did I miss the day we picked Secret Santas?"

He smiled, ducked his head a bit. "Naw, just somethin' the Unit chipped in to get ya. Kind of a thank-you for making sure our collars turned into convictions."

"Can I open it?"

"If you like. Your present, after all."

Casey grinned and felt the tension sluice from her body as she took the red velveteen gift bag from him. It was some form of alcohol, judging from the oblong box-like shape. “Let me guess, Olivia wrapped this?”

He shook his head. “Actually, Fin and Munch almost had a fight picking out the bag and Cragen pulled rank so he could fluff the paper.”

She pushed the tissue paper to the side and pulled out a bottle of 2003 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. She felt her eyes grow moist as she handled the gift. "Stabler…I-I don’t know what to say."

"That’s a first, eh?" Once side of his mouth cocked up as he gave her a lopsided smile. "I picked out the wine; Benson picked the year."

"How did you know I love Penfolds?" she asked in a low tone, impressed with his excellent taste.

"I didn’t," he said softly. "It just seemed right for you."

Their eyes met for a brief moment, and Casey felt something shift in the vicinity of her ribcage. It made her lungs constrict and her throat get tight for all the wrong reasons.

Not good, not even close. Don’t go there, Novak. Don’t look at the exit ramp. Don’t Mapquest the destination. Don’t remember that place even exists. Cut. It. Out.

She took a step back.

"Thank you. I will definitely enjoy this."

"You’re welcome," he replied. "See you later."

"Crime never sleeps," she quipped with a nervous laugh, inwardly cringing at the stupidity of the statement.

"You know it."

"Give my best to Mrs. S."

Stabler grinned as he crossed to the elevator and pushed the call button. "Yeah, but first I gotta give her my best, if you know what I mean?"

"Good night, Stabler," she said. "And thank you, once again, for the wine."

"Good night, Novak," he replied as the elevator doors parted. He stepped in, turned around and pushed the button for the ground floor. Before the doors closed, he braced them open with his hands and called out to her, "Hey, what’s that saying, 'in vino veritas'?"

"'Wine brings out the truth'," she translated.

"Truth is that George fellow is a fuckin' idiot to let you get away. You remember that before you go drinking that whole bottle in one sitting, cryin' over his sorry ass, okay?"

Casey nodded, lifting her chin to keep it from trembling. "Drive home safely."

He grinned at her, flashing dimples and teeth.  "Happy New Year's, Casey."

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