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Sonny was never an avid watcher of local news. He remembers his mother watching it every morning when she woke up, and every night as she fell asleep. He never paid attention, none of the words made much sense to him back then anyway. When he became a cop, the news finally meant something, so he watched it every night with dinner.

At SVU, defense attorneys loved to talk to the press. Every few cases would be all over the news, it caused Sonny to roll his eyes. The facts were almost never correct, or even existent.

It’s 3 days into a gruelling trial when Sonny flips on the TV to see the defense attorney of the current suspect blabbing off about the people’s case. Sonny groans. “Hey, you should come see this.” He calls out into his apartment to the person in his bedroom, who is no doubt, changing into something more comfortable. Probably out of Sonny’s own closet.

It takes a minute, but sure enough, out walks his clothes thief. “Why do you have 27 Henley's?” the thief asks as he walks around and plops himself next to Sonny on the couch.

“You always gotta make fun of me, Raf?” Sonny smiles.

“Only when you deserve it.” Rafael teases. “What’s happening?” he asks, attention turning to the TV.

“Buchanan’s runnin’ his mouth about you again.” Sonny grumbles.

Rafael smiles. “I think I’ll live.” he says, wrapping his arm around Sonny’s shoulders, changing the channel to the movie channel they watch together.

Chapter Text

Rafael always put in 100% when working on cases. He ate too rarely, slept too little, worked too much. He always put his work before himself. The case deserved it, the detectives deserved it, the victims deserved it. However, there were some cases he couldn’t for a multitude of reasons.

He was at his desk by dawn, had already had multiple cups of coffee by the time Liv comes strolling into his office at half past eight. “Got a new case for you, Barba.” She announces, letting the case file fall onto the desk separating them. “Clean arrest, no legalities. Even Carisi said so.”

Rafael reads over the case file and sees something that makes him have to decline. “I can’t take this case, Liv.” he says, quietly, he knows she’ll be upset

“You can’t take the ca- what? Why?”

“I just can’t. I’ll give it to the next best ADA, but I can’t take it.”

“Rafael-”

“I’m sorry.” is all he says. Liv storms out, Rafael is left with an empty office to fear what might happen next.


It’s after lunch, or after lunchtime, because Rafael has yet to eat, when Olivia comes storming back into his office.

“Conflict of interest? Seriously?” she almost shouts, she’s upset, more so than before. Barba stays silent. “Please tell me you are not sleeping with one of my detectives.” her voice has gotten almost eerily quiet. Barba continues to hold his innocence, and his mouth.

It’s a while before Liv speaks. “It’s Carisi.” she says, voice barely above a whisper. He hears her loud and clear. “Isn’t it.” He was lead on the case, it wasn't a hard guess.

Barba is silent. Liv knows the answer.

Chapter Text

Sonny felt all his emotions at the fullest. Rafael knew that. He loved with all his heart, Rafael always told him he had his heart on his sleeve, and he did. As much as he loved, he was pained. Certain cases affect Sonny hard. He’ll spend days recovering, his mind caught up in all the details.

Rafael finds him in one of his spirals in the precinct break room. Sonny usually turned it off at work, this one was bad. Rafael hates seeing him upset. He takes a quiet seat next to his detective and places his hand on top of Sonny’s large one. He rubs his thumb across the knuckles of the man across from him.

Sonny meets his eyes and gives a small smile. It’ll be alright.

Chapter Text

INT. FORLINI’S - Day One

CARISI is seen at a dinner table. He is dressed nicely, eating and talking to the person across from him about anything, everything. He is smiling wide, maybe laughing at what his date said.

Suddenly, a phone rings in CARISI’S pocket. He answers and listens. His face visibly changes to disappointment.

CARISI (disappointed)

Hey, I have to go, Liv just got a new case.

 

Camera cuts to BARBA, sitting across from CARISI. BARBA smiles.

 

BARBA (forgivingly)

It’s okay, Sonny. There will be more dates.

 

Camera back to CARISI. He smiles. He gets up reluctantly. He is upset, but he knows BARBA will be called in an hour later for details on the case. BARBA watches CARISI leave, a smile on his face.

Chapter Text

Sonny wishes he could wake up to birds chirping and enough time to get to work and not be late. Instead he wakes up to his phone ringing and a grumble behind him, telling him to turn it off, before turning around and going back to sleep.

He grabs his phone, nearly ripping it off the charger, and answers, if only to make the ringing stop. The voice on the other end is his boss calling him in, which he should’ve expected. It’s an emergency, so he says he’ll be there as soon as possible. He rips himself from bed and gets started.

Rafael wishes he could wake up to the sun rising over his naked back and the smell of coffee filling the air. Instead he wakes up to his boyfriend flopping around the bedroom, getting himself dressed. He sits up and watches his lover nearly fall on his face.

“I gotta go in, Liv called.” Sonny tells him, after successfully getting his pants on.

“I figured.” Rafael answers. “C’mere.” Sonny trails over to Rafael’s side of the bed. Rafael gets on his knees and fixes a hair that’s hanging down into Sonny’s face. “See you later.”

Sonny walks out the door with a smile on his face.

 

Chapter Text

The squad had a post case meal after almost every verdict. Everyone always trickles out of the chosen bar by 11, going to see their children, or just to get some rest. That leaves Sonny and Barba. They sit together at the otherwise abandoned table, talking about nothing or not talking at all. The later it gets, Sonny finds it harder to keep his praise in his head.

“You know… you’ve helped me a lot, Counselor.” Sonny speaks up, taking a sip from his half full beer bottle.

“Flattery will get you nowhere, Detective.”

Sonny rolls his eyes. “I’m serious. I only passed the Bar because I worked with you.”

“That’s not-”

“You’ve helped me a lot, alright?” Sonny cuts Barba off, getting to the point. “Inside… and outside the courtroom.” Sonny stops talking and looks at Barba. Barba is looking at him in a way no one else ever has. Sonny feels drawn to him.

He doesn’t know he’s leaning in until he sees Barba’s eyes flickering from his eyes to his mouth. Suddenly, all Sonny can see is Barba’s green eyes looking at him, and all he can hear is his own heart pounding in his chest, and all he can feel is Barba’s breath on his lips.

He shouldn’t, he knows that. Barba must know it too and he’s not stopping. He should stop, he knows that. But Barba is so close to him and maybe he’s had a crush on him since he saw him and maybe he’s dreamt of this moment.

So he leans in. Barba leans in. They meet in the middle. Everything falls into place.