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It's a PI kind of thing

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Ren marched up the stairs of the station, she had a determined look on her face and her phone was clenched in her right hand while her handbag dangled over her left shoulder; she had tried to convince herself that she would never again set foot over that station but after Olivia had texted her that she needed help finding some information, the young PI had reluctantly agreed to drop by the station and talk to her and the team. The only thing she was hoping was that the team consisted only of Olivia, Finn and Elliot, who had recently returned to SVU.

As she climbed the stairs, Ren felt her heart starting to pound madly in her chest with anticipation, she grabbed the handrail with her free hand and forced herself to continue up the stairs; she had promised Olivia that she would help and she couldn’t just turn around and run back to her apartment, her word meant a lot and she had to be a professional.

Ren walked into the huge room full of desks and officers walking around and for a moment her body relaxed as she looked around, failing to find any known faces.

“Ren” said a smooth and hoarse voice, Ren turned to her left to find Elliot Stabler walking towards her, his kind smile made her smile back and she could see why Olivia had feelings for him.

“Elliot, hey” she answered as he approached her “I came as soon as I got the text from Liv” she waved her phone “She said it was important”

“Well, since you are a consultant for the police I think you should come over and see what we are dealing with” explained Elliot, he motioned Ren to follow him and soon she was walking behind him towards a conference room.

Elliot pushed the door open and walked inside, Ren followed and found Finn and Amaro and Olivia inside the room, looking at a board with pictures of the missing girls; Ren recognized one immediately.

“Jenn Holt” she whispered, Ren closed the door behind herself and walked towards the board, the greetings could wait a little longer, she pulled the picture out and turned to Olivia “I saw her a few weeks ago”

“So we can assume she is still alive” said Nick.

“Yes” whispered Ren, she turned to Nick and then to Olivia “But she wasn’t there when I went last week, they might have moved her”

“Ok, so I talked to the… a voice erupted in the room and Ren felt every nerve in her body freeze, she slowly turned around and her eyes meet Rafael’s clear ones as he stood on the doorway. “What is she doing here?” he asked, and Finn could have sworn he saw a blush roll over his face and disappear a second later.

“I came to help Ra… Barba” she said, Nick frowned and turned to look at Ren.

“Do we need her help?” asked Barba, he turned to look at Olivia.

“We do” Elliot answered “She saw one of the girls a few weeks ago, that might tell us she is still alive”

Barba looked at Elliot and then turned to look at Ren, his stern look was back but Finn was sure he had seen surprise in his eyes when he saw Ren in the middle of the room.

“Fine” Barba finally agrees, “Ok then, where are the others?”

You have got to be joking!” barked Ren in her mind, she shots Barba a glare that went unnoticed to all but Finn.

“Checking on a tip we got today” answered Olivia, Ren handed the picture back to Olivia and pulled her phone out.

Please wait 4 me at the station.

Need 2 talk

She read the text and had to suppress a sigh as she shoved her phone back in her jeans, this was about to get worse than it already was and Ren had no idea how to get out of the station without creating a fuss.

The instructions from Olivia don’t take long and Ren was grateful for that, the young PI scribbled down everything Olivia wanted her to investigate and with that Ren turned around and walked out of the conference room.

“She seems to be in a hurry” said Nick, he stood up and as he stretched he noticed Ren had left her planner “She left this” he grabbed the planner and looked around the group.

“I’ll give it to her” said Barba, he extended his hand to Amaro and the detective passed him the planner “I have to talk to her anyway”

Finn raised his left eyebrow as Elliot watched Barba with questioning eyes, Nick turned to Olivia but their boss didn’t seem to notice; Barba turned to the door and walked out, Elliot had the impression he wanted to rush out after Ren but was making an effort to control himself.

Barba reached Ren as she waited for the elevator, she didn’t want to take the stairs down and she knew why; she had her eyes locked over the floor numbers and was surprised when Barba spoke her name.

“What the hell?!” she hissed, she looked around “What do you want?”

“You forgot your planner” he explained with his usual casual and stern tone, Ren looked down at his hand and snatched the planner out of his hand.

“I didn’t know you were going to be here” she spoke, she looked around the room.

“I didn’t know they had called you in” he explained “Opposite to what you think, I don’t want to make things worse”

Ren looked at Barba and for a moment she felt dizzy, she cleared her throat after realizing that she had been staring at him and looked down at her planner.

“I know” she finally said “I just - the other night…

“It got out of control” he added.

“You think?” she chuckled, she looked at Barba and he gave her a gentle smile back.

“If you are worried about me telling…

“I’m not” she interrupted, she shoved her planner into her handbag and turned to look at Barba, a smile stretched over her face “I have to go, I have to go get that info Liv wants” she sighed, and Barba saw the strained look on her face “This club Olivia wants me to check out, is far from my house and we both know I have to go change and all that shit”

Barba chuckled and looked over his shoulder, but the team seemed oblivious to his absence “Be careful”

“What, are you worried about me now?” snorted Ren, Rafael turned to look at her and she smiled before she pressed the elevator button “I’m gonna be fine, Barba, I always am”

“You know this is different” Barba explained as he shoved his hands in his pant pocket “This guy could be facing human trafficking”

The elevator beeped open and Ren walked into the metal box, Barba stopped the door and looked at her, the young woman pushed her blond hair away from her shoulders and rolled her eyes.

“I’m gonna be fine, Rafi, chill”

And for a moment the nickname froze both of them at either side of the door and then slowly Barba let go of the door that closed and Ren was gone.

Ren walked out of the station, the wind had started to get colder, the young woman pulled her sweater tighter and hurried down the street; she couldn’t wait to get as far from the station as she could, her heart racing and her mouth went dry and for a moment she had a flashback of a time when she had been incredibly happy.

She had no idea how that all was about to change.

Chapter Text

Ren hurried up the stairs of the SVU station, it was early in the afternoon and Ren was surprised to see that the station was not swarming with criminals or witnesses or suspects; she knew Olivia was understaffed with the number of detectives she had in the station, even though there were ten detectives working there currently that was not even near enough to cover for all the cases that came into the station on a daily basis.

Ren walked further into the office space and looked around, she pushed a strand of hair behind her ear as she tried to get a glimpse of Olivia, she had met the Lieutenant through Munch after she had helped the retired detective and now she was practically a consultant for the SVU department.

“Can I help you?” asked a smooth voice, Ren turned to her left and found a young man with dark hair and piercing eyes looking at her.

“I’m looking for Olivia Benson” explained Ren “She’s expecting me”

“And you are?” he asked, his hands in his pockets, Ren narrowed her eyes as she scanned him.

“Who are you?”

“Sergeant Dodds” he answered.

“Well, Sergeants Dodds, I’m here to speak to Lieutenant Benson, so if you would be kind enough to guide me to her, I would appreciate it”

“There you are!” spoke a voice Ren knew, she smiled and turned from Dodds to Elliot, who had recently returned to the team. “We were waiting for you”

“I know” smiled Ren, Elliot looked at Dodds.

“I see you met Dodds”

“Lovely” answered Ren, Dodds rolled his eyes.

“Follow me then” said Elliot, he glanced at Mike who gave him a shrug and followed after Ren as Elliot led them towards the meeting room.

Dodds walked behind Ren and Elliot, his hands in his pockets and a stern look over his face, he hadn’t heard of anyone coming over to the station and to be honest he didn’t like Olivia inviting a person from the outside to take a look at their cases and less of all someone who looks so young.

“Liv told me some of the owners of the clubs know you” explained Elliot.

“Well, they know someone I pretend to be, yeah” smiled Ren, Elliot pushed the door of the conference room and Ren walked in as he held the door for her “Thank you”

“Sure” said Elliot, he walked towards an empty chair near where Olivia was standing and Ren had to make an effort not to smile; she had meet Elliot just about the same time she had meet Olivia and she could tell there were some sparks going on there.

“Oh Ren you made it!” smiled Olivia, she walked around Elliot’s chair and towards Ren, a blonde woman and a Latin man looked at her with confused eyes.

“And who are you?” asked the blond woman.

“This is Ren Alvarez” explained Olivia “She’s a PI”

“And why exactly is she here for?” asked Dodds, he had stayed by the door, his arms over his chest and an unwelcoming glare in his eyes.

Olivia glared at Mike and then rapidly proceeded to introduce Ren to Amaro and Rollins “She’s here to help us with the missing girl from Utah that was seen here a month ago”

“You know where she is?” asked Dodds.

“I do” said Ren, she pulled her messenger bag over her head and dropped it over the table, the young PI grabbed a chair and sat down as she opened the bag; all eyes on her.

“Where did you meet her?” asked Amaro, he glanced from Ren to Olivia.

“I’m friends with John Munch” she answered as she pulled a file from her bag and looked up at Amaro, she smiled at him “Here you go”

Amaro took the file Ren was handing him and slowly opened it and pulled out a couple of pictures that he handed to Rollins and then a set of notes that he split with Elliot.

“This is Sophia” whispered Rollins, she looked up at Ren “You saw her?”

“Yeah” said Ren, she leaned over the table “Her parents contacted me a few weeks ago and I found her last week” she smiled “Since you guys are looking for her, I thought it would be better if I handed this to the police instead to contact her parents right away”

“We’ll go in today” said Olivia, she turned to look at Ren “You talked to the owner right?”

“Yeah” said Ren, she looked at Olivia “He’ll be expecting Florez, he thinks he’s a pimp I work with” Ren turned to look at Amaro and then at Olivia and then back at Amaro “It’s gonna be him, right?”

“Who are you?” spoked a voice behind everyone, the group turned to the door, Mike had moved away and a middle aged man with green eyes was staring at her with a deep frown “And why is she looking at the evidence”

“It’s my evidence actually” spoke Ren, she frowned too “Who are you?”

“ADA Rafael Barba” he answered, he turned to look at Olivia “Why is she here?”

“I was asking myself the same question” said Dodds, Ren glared at him and turned to Olivia.

“She’s a consultant for the station”

“Since when?” asked Barba “And why didn’t I know about this?”

“I’ve been working here since before you did” explained Ren, she turned to Olivia.

“She gave us the location of the girl we are looking for” explained Olivia, she pushed her hands in her jean pockets “Her name is Ren Alvarez”

“Nice to meet you” said Ren, Barba ignored her.

“I’d like a word after this, Olivia”

“Sure” shrugged Olivia at Barba’s request, she had nothing to hide and to be honest, Ren’s work was one of the best she had seen when working with PIs.

“I’m gonna go” said Ren, she turned to Amaro “Keep those, I have a copy” she grabbed her messenger bag “And try having a Latin accent when you talk to the people at the club”

“I’ll walk you” said Rollins.

Ren stood up, and for a moment as Barba and Mike watched her gather her things, she felt like a five year old; she grabbed her things rapidly and turned to the door, Rollins was already on her feet and waiting for the young PI next to Barba and Mike.

“I’ll talk to you later” said Ren as she turned to Olivia “Good luck”

“Thank you” said Olivia and Elliot at the same time before Rollins and Ren walked out of the room, leaving Barba with a lot of question to ask Olivia.

Rollins and Ren walked out of the office, Ren wondering how on earth everyone on the station seemed nice except Dodds and Barba.

“Don’t worry about Barba” explained Rollins, she crossed her arms over her chest “He’s like that to everyone”

“The other guy is just as charming” pointed out Ren “Dodds”

“He’s new here”

“Hey, Rollins, where’s Liv?”

Rollins and Ren looked up just as Fin walked up to them with Carisi strolling a few feet behind him, he looked at Ren and then at Rollins.

“This is a consultant” said Rollins, she turned to Ren “Her name is Ren Alvarez” Fin smiled at Ren “And this is Fin Tutuola”

“Nice to meet you” smiled Ren, she extended her hand to Fin.

“Nice to meet you too” said Fin, “Were you the one who helped Munch?”

“Yes!” smiled Ren, she glanced from Rollins to Fin “Yes! I helped him a couple of years ago! You’re his partner, aren’t you?”

“I was” smiled Fin, and Rollins noticed how much it meant to him to talk about Munch, someone who had been his best friend for a long time. “Got a nice home now that he’s retired”

“Yeah” smiled Ren “His girlfriend is nice too”

Fin laughed loudly, Munch had always been a ladies man “He knows how to get them”

“He does” she chuckled, and the horrible feeling that had engulfed her when Barba and Mike had glared at her finally dissipated from her.

“Hey” spoke a voice with a distinctive accent, Ren looked over Fin’s shoulder as a tall blond man walked up to them

“Hey” said Ren, Fin turned around and nodded at Carisi.

“I’ll see you later” said Fin, Ren nodded and Fin walked away towards the conference room.

“I’m Ren Alvarez, the consultant”

“Dominick Carisi, but everyone calls me Sonny”

“No one calls you that” she turned to Ren “Nobody calls him that, Carisi is fine”

“Ok” she laughed, she turned to Carisi “Nice to meet you, but I have to go now before they chase me out” she turned to Rollins “It was nice to meet you”

Rollins nodded, Ren turned to Carisi and nodded at him with a smile before she walked away from them and towards the stairs, she had another person she had to look into and she knew it would take up most of her day.

“Who is gonna chase her out?” asked Carisi as he turned to look at Rollins with a small frown over his face.

“Guess who?” sighed Rollins.

“Barba?”

“And Dodds” Rollins rolled her eyes “But she seems nice” she shrugged “She mentioned she has worked here since before Barba, so we’ll see how that works out”

Carisi looked over his shoulder but Ren had already disappeared “She might bump heads with Barba”

“Everyone bumps heads with Barba”

Carisi chuckled as he turned to look at Rollins.

Chapter Text

Ren walked down the street, her sunglasses on and her messenger bag dangling across her chest, the camera bouncing comfortably against her hip; the sun was up high and Ren had just gotten the finishing details of her last case and now she was looking for a food truck to celebrate.

“Maybe some tacos” she thought as she looked around, but she was having trouble finding it. “Why don’t they park on the same place always?” she whined in her mind, she was tired and she had done some running after losing the girl she had to follow.

Ren had successfully closed her case about the missing girl from Utah after Olivia and her team had rescued her from the club; but they had found no evidence about the involvement of the owner of the club in her case since the girl had never seen him anywhere else but the club and none of the girls knew anything about the human trafficking.

Of course they didn’t know anything.

Ren smiled as she saw the red and orange truck parked at the end of the park, her stomach was already grumbling and she wasn’t feeling like walking around the park anymore; her body felt strained and the sleep deprivation from the last month was something that was starting to take a toll on her body.

As Ren finally reached the Mexican food truck, she groaned internally as she noticed the long line of people; but she knew the wait was worth it and as she pushed her sunglasses over her head she noticed a handsome, blond and tall man she had seen at the station a few weeks ago.

“Hey” said Ren, she walked up towards the detective.

Carisi turned lazily to his right, not completely sure if they had been talking to him; he looked at the young woman standing next to him and for a moment he couldn’t remember where he had met her.

“Hi” he answered, a smile over his face.

“Ren Alvarez, we met at the station”

“Oh!” he chuckled “The PI”

“Yeah” she smiled “You’re Carisi, right?”

“Yeah, Dominick but you can call me Sonny”

“Right, Sonny” she smiled as she remembered Rollins telling her that no one ever called him that. “What are you doing so far from the station?”

“We had to look into some anonymous tips” explained Carisi, he crossed his arms over his chest “What about you?”

“Oh, I finished my last job a few hours ago and I remembered they had this awesome Mexican food truck around” she shrugged and they stepped forward down the line. “You don’t have a partner?”

“Mike Dodds”

“Awesome” Ren faked a smile, she had disliked Mike from the first moment, he hadn’t been very friendly to her.

“He’s not always as bad as the day you met him” Carisi tried to defend his partner “But he has his moods”

“I saw” she checked out the detective as he looked around the park, she had to admit that he had a lot going on for him on the physical department.

“He must be here somewhere” shrugged Carisi “I don’t know” he turned to Ren “So, you’re like Jessica Jones or what?”

Ren looked at Carisi for a moment, a dumbfounded look over her face before she smiled “You know who Jessica Jones is?”

“Yes” Carisi laughed, only two people in front of them before it was their turn “I’ve read comic books”

“You don’t look like the guys who read comic books in my school” pointed out Ren, she turned to look straight forward as Carisi turned to look at her.

“How do they look?” he asked, a smirk over his lips.

“Not like you that’s for sure” she smiled.

“Well, girls in my school didn’t read comics that I knew about” he shrugged, his eyes still over the young PI, he noticed a small scar over her cheek “Probably didn’t look like you either”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Ren joked, she turned to look at him and a small smile stretched over her lips.

“You know what I mean” he smiled and turned to look up front as their turn came.

Ren smiled but said nothing else as they ordered what they wanted and then waited patiently in a comfortable silence next to each other.

“Is Dodds coming to join you?” asked Ren as she took her order.

Carisi turned to look at her “Don’t think so,” he shrugged “Why don’t you join me?”

“Perfect” she smiled.

Carisi lead the way towards a bench under the shade of a tree, a soft breeze had started blowing, messing Ren’s hair and pushing it over her face.

“Oh shit, can you hold this?” she barked, she handed Carisi her order and rapidly pulled her hair into a ponytail, huffing away the hairs that were too small to pull back “God, that’s better”

“Long hair problems, huh?” smiled Carisi as he handed Ren her food back and they sat down over the bench.

“You have no idea”

The pair sat side by side and started to eat, it was a nice warm day and Ren was actually glad she had ran into Carisi, he was nice and charming and although most of his jokes sucked, he was great company.

“So what exactly do you do?” asked Carisi, he made a ball out of his napkin and placed his empty plate next to himself. “You follow people around?”

“Yeah” laughed Ren “I actually do a lot of following around, and other things” she crossed her arms over her chest “But that’s confidential”

“Interesting work choice” Carisi pointed out “Why did you choose that?”

“I was actually studying psychology, but I dropped out when I couldn’t cover the fees and I ended up doing this” she shrugged “It wasn’t supposed to be something permanent, but I actually enjoy it, despite what some people think”

“As long as you like it” he smiled.

“Yeah” she whispered, she looked down at her lap and then turned to look at him “So you are a Staten Island guy, huh? Nice”

“Where are you from?”

“Vermont” she answered “My parents moved here for work when I was seventeen and here I am”

“Well” smiled Carisi, “I have to go, but I had a nice time talking to you”

Ren smiled “I had a nice time too”

“You’d like me to drive you somewhere?”

“Oh no” she smiled “I like to walk and I like to take the sub too”

“Ok” Carisi pushed himself up and took both empty plates and walked towards a garbage can, Ren followed him in silence.

“Have a nice day” smiled Ren “And thank you for letting me jump in the line with you”

Carisi laughed and shoved his hands in the pockets of his pants, “Thanks for the company, I’ll see you around”

“Sure”

Ren pushed her hand in her messenger bag and for a moment as she pushed around her wallet and her camera and everything else she had ever shoved into that bag; Carisi watched her with a slight amused frown as she bit her tongue and finally pulled out something from her bag.

“God, I need to clean that” whispered Ren, she turned to Carisi and handed him the small white card she had pulled out from her bag. “I’m sorry it’s wrinkled” she blushed softly “But just in case you need to follow someone”

Carisi chuckled and took the card gently from her fingers and looked down at it; her name was over the card, a landline and a cell number; he looked up at her.

“I did a work for Munch once” she shrugged “Maybe you’ll need my services one day”

“I’ll keep it in mind”

“Perfect!” she cheered.

“See you later then, Jessica Jones”

“See you later Sonny” she smiled, she turned on her heels and walked away; Carisi watched her as she got smaller and smaller and smiled as he looked down at the card and then shoved it into his pants before he pulled his phone out and called Dodds.

Chapter Text

Rollins glanced at Fin for the fifth time in the last ten minutes, Fin looked at her by the corner of his eyes and turned his attention to Carisi, the young detective was frowning as he looked down at his phone, he sighed and put the phone down and started to write something down on one of the files that they had to hand to Olivia later that day.

“You ok?” asked Rollins, she had been pressing her lips thin to avoid laughing at the strange faces Carisi had been making at his phone since he had sat down ten minutes ago.

“What?” asked Carisi, he looked up and turned to Rollins, who was sitting on one of the desks in front of him, with Fin sitting next to her.

“Are you ok?” asked Fin “You seem…distracted”

“Is something bothering you?” Rollins asked.

“No” he answered, but Rollins and Fin could see something was working him up.

“Carisi, don’t lie” smiled Rollins, she leaned over her desk as Fin crossed his arms over his chest with an amused smile.

“I’m not lying”

“You are” said Fin, “We’ve known each other for a while, we can tell when you lie”

“Ok” said Carisi, he leaned over his desk on his elbows and turned to Rollins “So, I texted this girl and she’s not texting back, how bad is that?”

“When did you text her?” asked Rollins, she felt her heart warm up as Carisi looked at her with a soft blush on his face.

“Ten minutes ago” he answered.

Fin chuckled and Carisi’s blush intensified, he knew girls, he had sisters for the love of god, he was supposed to understand this, right?

“Don’t text her again, you don’t want to look desperate” Fin said.

“I know that” said Carisi as he looked at Fin “I thought we had hit it off”

“For how long have you met this girl?” asked Rollins, suddenly feeling protective of her friend.

“We’ve seen each other twice”

“Is she pretty?” chuckled Fin, Rollins rolled her eyes and smacked Fin’s arm.

“That’s not what’s important here” she barked, she turned to Carisi “She’s probably busy, I’m sure she’ll text you when she can”

“I can go with him!” whined a voice from the stairs of the station, Rollins and Fin looked over Carisi as the blond detective turned around partially.

Olivia was coming down the hall, she was holding her phone with one hand and the other inside the pocket of her pants.

“I don’t think Barba will be happy to hear that” she answered back.

“Talk to him” said Ren, she was trotting behind Olivia, her messenger bag dangling dangerously as she pulled it over her head to get something out. “You know it has to be me!”

“Ren” said Olivia, she stopped and turned around “Look, I don’t like putting civilians in danger and I don’t think you going to that bar is a good idea”

“I’m gonna go without your blessing anyway” Ren said, she dropped her bag over Amaro’s desk next to Carisi and pulled out her phone “Shit” she threw the phone back in the bag as she realized it had ran out of batteries “Liv, let me help you! I can do this! He already thinks I’m a hooker, I’ll be fine”

Olivia closed her eyes for a moment while Rollins, Fin and Carisi watched in silence, Olivia rubbed her eyes with the hand not holding the phone and took a deep breath.

“Ok” said Olivia “But under my rules”

“Yes!” smiled Ren “Yes, perfect, whatever you tell me to do”

“I’ll talk with Barba and set everything up and I’ll get back to you ok?”

“You are the best!” smiled Ren, she threw her arms around Liv’s neck and pulled her into a tight hug, Olivia chuckled and hugged Ren back before the PI pulled away. “I promise, I will do anything I can to get the evidence you need to get Ivan, I swear”

Ren had no idea how much she would end up doing to help the SVU.

“Relax, Ren” said Olivia “Go home, go out with your boyfriend to get something to eat, get some sleep, relax a bit”

Ren laughed as she scooped up her messenger bag and hugged it to her chest “I will” she turned to Rollins and Fin and Carisi. “Fin, Amanda, Sonny, hey”

“Hey” they answered at the same time.

Olivia looked at her detectives and nodded before she headed to her office, she liked Ren’s helpful spirit, but she couldn’t just put the girl in a situation of danger and Ivan’s clubs were the most dangerous situations Ren was asking to be thrown into.

“Great” she turned to the sitting detectives with a smile over her face “Have a nice day”

She turned on her heels and walked towards the elevators, grabbing her bag from the strap and passing it over her head; she pushed her hair behind her shoulders and pulled her jeans a bit up as she reached the elevators.

“I’m gonna go get some water” said Carisi, he pushed his chair back and walked towards the vending machines and the water fountain that sat near the elevators.

“Oh no” Fin tried not to laugh.

Carisi disappeared behind the corner were the water fountain was and casually walked towards Ren as she waited for the elevator.

“Hey” he spoke, pushing his hands into his pants.

Ren turned to look at him “Hey” she smiled “How are you doing?”

“Slow day” Carisi answered truthfully “Um, how’s your day?”

“Agitated, but I’m looking forward to going home”

“And going out for dinner” he pointed.

“Take out” she laughed, she looked at him turned to the elevator when it beeped and the doors opened “It was nice seeing you again Sonny”

She walked into the elevator and pressed the first floor button, the elevator beeped and just as the doors were closing Carisi stopped them and they opened back. Ren looked at him and a questioning smile appeared over her face.

“What?” she asked.

“Did you get my text?”

Ren looked at Carisi with shock, she looked down at her bag and then up at the handsome detective “No, I – I ran out of batteries” she cleared her throat in an attempt to stop the blush from spreading over her face. “Why do you ask?”

“Never mind” he said, he let go of the door and as it closed once more Ren opened it again; Carisi looked at her and he regretted everything he had said.

“You texted me?” she asked, a small smile over her face.

“Don’t worry about it” he answered, pushing his hands into his pant pockets, she stepped out of the elevator and the doors closed behind her.

“Why?” she smiled “I worry about it” Carisi laughed.

“I was just wondering if you wanted to go out and grab something to eat tonight” he shrugged “It’s Friday and all, but I don’t know how your boyfriend will take that”

“I don’t have a boyfriend” she answered “And yes, I’d love to go out and grab something to eat with you, Sonny”

Carisi smiled and nodded and pressed the button to call the elevator once more, Ren smiled at him and looked away; her intention when she gave Carisi her card wasn’t to get a dinner invitation but she wasn’t against going out with a young and handsome detective.

“What time should I pick you up?” she chuckled, she turned to look at him.

“I get off at seven”

“Seven it is” she laughed as the elevator beeped open, she stepped inside and turned to look at him “Have a nice day”

“You too, Ren” and with that the doors closed and Ren was gone. “Ok” he smiled, he turned on his heels and headed back towards his desk.

Carisi made his way towards his desk, Rollins and Fin whispering to each other and as he walked up to the desk they slowly stopped talking and turned to look at him as he pulled his chair out and sat down.

“What?” asked Carisi as looked at Rollins, a frown forming over his face “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“You texted the PI?” asked Rollins, Fin pressed his lips into a thin line to avoid cracking up; Carisi blushed and turned from Rollins to Fin.

“I – no “he answered, Fin started to laugh “Ok, fine I did text the PI”

“I knew it!” laughed Fin, he turned to Rollins “You owe me twenty”

“I was almost sure too” chuckled Rollins, she pulled one of the drawers open and pulled out her wallet and rapidly handed Fin a twenty dollar bill “But I was almost sure”

“Not sure enough”

“Stop betting on me” said Carisi, he rolled his eyes “I had lunch with her the other day and she seemed nice”

“You had lunch with her?” smiled Rollins “Does Sonny have a crush?”

“What? No!” he barked.

“Carisi has a crush?” asked Amaro as he and Elliot walked up towards them.

“No!” said Carisi as he turned to look at them.

“Yes!” laughed Fin and Amanda at the same time.

Elliot laughed as he turned to Carisi “Who’s the lucky lady?”

“I do not have a crush on her, I just think she’s nice” barked Carisi and with that he turned his attention to the file he had to finish.

“He has a crush on the PI” explained Amanda.

Amaro turned from his girlfriend to Carisi “Oh man, Liv’s friend?”

“You have a crush on Ren?” asked Elliot, he was red from laughter.

“Stop!” said Carisi, and hid his face between his hands as the group laughed once more.

“Did you ask her out?” asked Amanda.

“Who asked who out?” asked Olivia’s voice.

“Oh god” groaned Carisi “There goes my privacy”

Chapter Text

Olivia walked down the stairs of the station as she headed to get a coffee from the coffee shop down the street when Ren appeared at the bottom of the stairs to head up. Olivia smiled as she walked down towards her friend and by the way her lips were making an effort not to chuckle, Ren could tell Carisi had told her about their dinner.

“Hey” smiled Olivia.

“Hi Liv” smiled Ren “You heading out already?”

“No” sighed Olivia, “I have to go through some files before I go, but I’m almost done”

“Give Noah a kiss for me” smiled Ren, Olivia nodded and for a moment none of the two knew what else to say.

“So you two are going out for dinner, huh?” Olivia finally said, she crossed her arms over her chest, an amused smile over her face.

Ren laughed but felt her face grow red “It’s not like that Olivia,” she rolled her eyes “It’s just something to eat”

“I didn’t say anything” chuckled Olivia “Just get him home safe and sound”

Ren laughed and her face grew brighter red “Are you giving me the mom speech?”

“I am” laughed Olivia “I’m the mother to all of them”

“You are not” laughed Ren “And anyway, shouldn’t you be giving him that speech? He is the guy”

“Yeah, but you came to pick him up, did you bring him flowers?”

Ren laughed loudly and Olivia chuckled “Yeah, I brought him flowers, come on”

Olivia chuckled “I’m starting to like you”

“Stop, you liked me already” laughed Ren, she shifted her weight from one foot to the other “Anyway, say hi to Noah and kiss him for me”

“I will” smiled Olivia “Have fun at your date”

“It’s not a date” said Ren, she said her last goodbye to Olivia and walked up the stairs as Olivia walked towards the door of the station.

Mike and Fin where the first to notice when Ren walked into the second floor, Fin smiled and Mike sighed, he wasn’t sure how he felt about that girl but he might as well learn to tolerate her since Carisi seemed to have a crush on her.

“Hey!” cheered a voice, Ren turned around to catch Amanda and Amaro walking out of the elevator, Amaro pressing his lips into a thin line. “You look pretty”

“Do all of you know?”

“Yeah” giggled Amaro, “We do”

“Oh my god” whispered Ren, she blushed and turned to look at Fin and Mike who were looking at her “How did that happen?”

“Carisi told us after Fin questioned him” explained Amanda, she shrugged and her hand landed over Ren’s shoulder “Come, let’s go sit down”

Amanda and Amaro lead Ren towards their desks and they all sat down, Fin not taking his eyes from Ren and Mike already concentrating on his last file; he couldn’t wait to go home to be honest.

“Where’s Elliot?” asked Ren, she looked around but couldn’t get a hold of him.

“He had to go” explained Amanda “His youngest kid had a minor accident on the playground and had to get some stitches”

“Oh wow, is he ok?”

“Yeah, he’s fine” shrugged Fin “Minor thing”

“Ok” whispered Ren.

Amaro looked at Amanda who glanced rapidly at Fin before she spoke “So,” Ren looked up at Amanda and raised her left eyebrow slowly “Where are you guys going?”

“I don’t know” shrugged Ren “I guess we’ll figure it out whenever Carisi shows up”

“You just get him home safe and sound” said Fin, Ren turned to look at him.

“Did Olivia tell you to tell me that? Because she used the exact same words”

“Nah” said Fin with a smile “We rehearsed it before you go here”

“You did not”

“They might have” Mike jumped in, a small smile over his face, Ren looked at him and noticed how nice his eyes were before she turned to Fin.

“Are you guys serious?”

Fin shrugged “You’ll never know” he laughed.

“Oh my god!” gasped Ren, her face turning bright red.

“You take good care of our boy, ok?” said Amaro “He’s a nice guy”

“It’s not a date, could you all calm down”

“Are you sure it’s not a date?” asked Amanda.

“Yes”

“Does he know?” asked Fin.

“Yes! If you guys are trying to give me the ‘You – Better – Get – Him – Home – By – Midnight talk, you are failing’” pointed out Ren, trying to avoid smiling.

“Are we?” asked Amaro.

“Jesus Christ are you seriously giving me that talk?”

“We are” smiled Fin.

“He’s our friend” explained Amaro, he shrugged “And I’m pretty sure if Munch was here, he would be giving Carisi this same talk”

“Nah” smiled Fin “He wouldn’t let him near her”

Ren smiled and blushed, she had become good friends with Munch after she had worked for him and to be honest she did enjoy his company a lot.

“Hey!” Carisi’s voice spoke from the stairs, the group turned around, Mike included, as Carisi walked up to the group.

“Hi” smiled Ren, she pushed herself up from her chair.

“Ready to go?” he asked.

“Yeah” she smiled.

“Take care of him” said Amanda as Carisi grabbed his coat.

“Bring him home before midnight!” called Fin as they walked away.

“Stop!” laughed Ren as she waved goodbye and walked towards the elevator with Carisi next to her.

Ren stopped in silence next to Carisi as they waited for the elevator, he pulled his coat on and glanced at Ren; immediately regretting not being able to change clothes before they went out to eat, she had changed her washed out jeans for a pair of black ones and was wearing dark flats and from under her coat, Carisi could make out red fabric.

Shit” he told himself, she had changed and everything and he was still wearing his working clothes.

“How was your day?” asked Ren, she turned to Carisi as soon as the doors of the elevator open.

“A lot of desk work” he answered, they got into the elevator and he pressed the first floor button “Yours?”

“Well, after we saw each other, I went home, slept a bit, did some work, took a shower, changed and here I am”

Carisi smiled and looked down at his feet as she watched the numbers changed.

“I was gonna bring you flowers but then I decided against it” joked Ren, she turned to look at him as she smiled.

Carisi turned to look at her with a confused face “You were gonna bring me flowers?”

“Well” started Ren, trying her best to keep her serious face “I am the one picking you up and since I am also the one getting all the mom talks I thought I ought to bring you flowers next time”

“What do you mean mom talks?” gasped Carisi, the doors of the elevator open and Ren walked out first.

“Yeah, you know, bring him home before midnight and make sure he gets home safe and sound” she laughed, she turned to look at him just in time to catch a blush spreading through his face. “Protective team you got there”

“I am going to kill them” he mumbled.

“But after I get you home safe and sound”

“Stop” he laughed.

Chapter Text

 

“How cold can this city get?” barked Ren as Carisi and her walked down the street, they had decided to get Peruvian food after Carisi continued to mumble that he could cook better than the Italian restaurant Ren had showed him.

The street was swarmed with people heading off to parties or their homes, but Carisi and Ren didn’t seem bothered by the amount of people they had walked by as Carisi insisted on walking Ren back to her apartment.

“I think it’s fine” shrugged Carisi, he looked around but pulled his hands out of the pockets of his long coat and unwrapped the scarf from his neck and turned to Ren “Here, take it”

“No its fine” she smiled, she looked at him but Carisi raised his left eyebrow at her “I’m fine, Sonny”

“I know you’re not” he gently placed it around her neck and for a moment as they stopped for Carisi to wrap the scarf around her neck, the two new friends found each other incredibly close to each other and Ren thanked the dim lights so Carisi couldn’t watch her blush “There you go”

“Thank you” she whispered, was she the only one getting all flushed up? Maybe it had been the wine she had ordered.

“Of course” smiled Carisi, he pushed his hands back in his pockets and they started to walk once more, turning on a corner as Ren lead the way towards her apartment “Did you choose this place because it was close to you house? In case you were having an awful time you could just escape?”

Ren turned to look at him, a confused frown over her face “No!” she laughed “Who does that?”

“One of my sisters did it once” shrugged Carisi.

“No!” laughed Ren, she gave Carisi a soft push with her shoulder and rolled her eyes “I had a great time, just for the record”

“Did you?” he asked, his voice lowering a tone and before Ren could pull away from him completely, Carisi passed his arm over her shoulders and kept her near him.

“I did” she answered, her body welcoming the weight of his arm “Did you?”

“Great food, great weather, great company, of course I did”

“I wouldn’t agree with the great weather, but I do agree with the rest”

Carisi chuckled and Ren felt as he gave her shoulder a soft squeeze as they continued down the street, she looked at him by the corner of her eyes and rapidly turned forward before he caught her staring at him.

“I like lilies” Carisi said after a few moments of silence.

“What?” asked Ren, she turned to look at him “What are you talking about?”

“You said you were going to bring me flowers next time, I’m letting you know I like lilies” he laughed, Ren laughed and gave him another shove with her shoulder as her apartment building came into view.

“Shut up” she chuckled.

Carisi laughed and pulled her closer to him and Ren bit the inside of her cheek as they walked towards her apartment, she wasn’t really good at determining how people felt towards her, she was good at perceiving others but when she wasn’t in the equation.

Chill Alvarez” she barked at herself “Just chill, for Christ’s sake”

“You want to call a cab?” asked Ren as they reached her building, she gently pushed away from Carisi and looked at him.

“Nah, I’ll take the sub”

“Are you sure?” she asked “It’s a little bit late, we can call a cab”

“Don’t worry about it”

“I worry” she said, her voice soft.

Carisi looked at her for a moment, his hands in the pockets of his long light brown coat, she was standing over the first step of the buildings short stairs, her hair dancing softly around her as the breeze blew around them.

“Ok, yeah, let’s call a cab” he finally found himself saying, not really wanting the night to be over.

“Great” she smiled, “Come on in, then”

She walked up the stairs with Carisi behind her as she pulled the keys from her handbag and after a couple of seconds she pushed the door open and the pair walked into the warm lobby.

Ren walked in silence up the stairs with Carisi behind her, her apartment was on the fourth floor and she rarely ever used the elevator; she fished for her house keys as they reached the fourth floor and walked down the corridor.

“You know all your neighbors?” asked Carisi as he waited for Ren to open the door.

“No” she answered, she shoved the door open and stepped into her cozy apartment “Ta-da!”

“Nice” smiled Carisi, he stepped further into the apartment with Ren leading the way as she pulled his scarf off her neck and then wiggled out of her coat. “Nice place you got, Jessica Jones”

“Thank you” smiled Ren, she walked towards the living room and grabbed the landline to call the taxi for Carisi “Sit down if you want”

“Thanks” whispered Carisi, he eyed Ren by the corner of his eyes, red was definitely a color that suited her, he watched her carefully as she walked around the living room with the phone against her ear as she talked to someone on the other line; her hair was messy but her flushed cheeks by the cold were something Carisi liked instantly, that and the way she smiled as she turned to look at him and winked as she continued to talk.

Carisi smiled and looked away, feeling his cheeks burn and deciding he didn’t want her to see him blush, he wasn’t sure if she liked him back though; it was after all the first time they talked properly but there was something about the way she joked and laughed around him that made him feel comfortable.

Maybe she’s just friendly like that” he thought, he walked towards one of the windows and looked out, the night was still vibrating with life; he turned around to find himself face to face with Ren holding a phone on her hand.

“Oh Jesus Christ” she laughed as she stepped back, obviously not expecting Carisi to turn around that fast.

“Sorry” he smiled.

“Its fine” she smiled “Your cab is on its way, mister”

“Great”

“Let me know when you get home, ok? Text me or something”

“Last time I texted you, you didn’t get the text”

“My phone had died” she smiled, and Carisi was sure he saw her blush “But, it’s working now, so you better text me, or you will be the one bringing the flowers next time”

“So there is a next time” Carisi blurt out almost without a thought.

Ren looked at him, the phone between both her hands and in front of her chest, Carisi looked at her and the way her lower lip quivered before she answered caught his attention.

“Yeah” she answered “Well, if you want to, of course”

“Yeah, I had a nice time”

“Yeah, I had a nice time too” she answered, but Carisi detected a hint of disappointment in her voice, had he said the wrong thing?

“Look, I…

But his words were cut short as a buzz and a loud ring echoed through the apartment and Ren shrieked and jolted back in surprise.

“Fuck” she gasped as she turned around, her chest rising as she crossed the living room and towards the intercom “Yes?”

“Taxi” said a rough voice.

“Yes, of course, give me a sec” she whispered.

Slowly Ren turned to look at Carisi, he had walked towards the door and a twinge of frustration spread through her; she walked towards Carisi and smiled.

“Let me know when you get home”

“I will” he smiled, she was tall but he still towered over her by a half a head.

“Ok” she whispered, she grabbed the door knob and pulled the door open, she allowed Carisi out and then stood against the door frame “I had a great time, Sonny”

“I had a great time too, Ren”

“Awesome” she whispered, Carisi so close to her, she could almost smell the mixture of wine and mint on his breath.

Should I kiss her?” he asked himself, he noticed her rosy lips were parted slightly and he felt an urge to kiss her goodbye but he wasn’t sure if she wanted that.

Ren looked at Carisi, her eyes landing over his lips before she looked at him in the eyes and smiled, he smiled back at her and stepped away from her; Ren sighed internally with disappointment.

“Goodnight” he said before he turned on his heels and walked down the corridor.

“Goodnight” Ren whispered, Carisi made it to the middle of the hallway before he turned to look at her over his shoulder and was greeted with her welcoming smile from her place at the door.

Shit” barked Carisi in his mind as he walked down the stairs, he reached the first floor rapidly and shoved the door open, cursing in his mind not having leaned in and kissed her; he nodded at the cab driver and got inside as he pulled his phone out.

Ren leaned against the closed door of her apartment and huffed with discontent, she really had thought their dinner had gone great and to be honest she had wanted Carisi to kiss her goodbye, and now she felt displeased and sighed as she pushed herself away from the door and headed to the living room were she noticed his scarf over the sofa.

I really thought he liked me” she sighed as she pulled her phone out.

Chapter Text

Barba walked down the street towards the station, his briefcase held tight with his left hand but there was a furious glare over his face as he marched down the sidewalk; he was still two blocks away from the station when someone called out his name.

“Rafael Barba!”

Barba stopped and turned around on his heels rapidly to find Olivia’s friend trotting up to him, her usual messenger bag dangling next to her.

“Are you here to bring me more trouble?” barked Barba, still he waited for her to reach his side before he started to walk once more; he dislikes the PI but he wasn’t about to run away from her when she had indeed handed them very useful information.

“I’ve never brought you trouble” pointed out Ren, she adjusted her bag and smiled.

“Not even you believe that” growled Rafael, he glanced at Ren as she opened her jacket and pulled her scarf off and shoved it into her bag.

“Oh come on” she glanced at him, since they had meet the first time, Ren had talked to Barba a few times and had once meet him at his office to hand him some information but he had never warmed up to her and she was starting to think he never would.

“What do you want, Alvarez?” he asked, they took a turn and the station appeared down the block.

“Liv asked me to come, you know about the undercover thing”

“Right” snapped Barba “The thing that’s giving me headaches more than usual”

“He already knows me, so everything is going to be fine, I promise”

“You can’t promise that” said Rafael, he pushed the door of the station open and held it for Ren to walk in first; he didn’t like her but his mother had taught him to be a gentleman.

“Thank you” smiled Ren as she walked in; together they walked towards the elevators.

Barba pressed the button and they stepped inside, Barba turned to snap at her but Ren was typing on her phone so he waited.

The doors of the elevator opened and she stepped out first but stopped when Barba barked “Look” he marched towards her and the few cops and detectives turned to look at them “You need to understand that this is not a game, this isn’t fun for anyone and beyond all that, that if something happens to you, my head will be rolling” 

“Ok, first of all” snapped Ren back, her smile fading from her face “This is my job to, ok? So, no, this isn’t a joke for me” she started to walk but stopped and turned to Barba “And no one said this was a joke, get over yourself and realize that I am the greatest asset you got of getting Ivan on human trafficking this week or a year from now, he trusts me. ME, not you”

Barba flared with rage, he had come across bratty young women before but this PI was something different, his chest rose with anger and before he could bark back at Ren, Elliot stepped in.

“Ok, let’s not do this here “

One of his hands landing over Barba’s shoulder and the other falling over Ren’s, he turned from Ren to Barba, who glared at Ren before he walked away from Elliot and Ren and made his way towards the conference room.

“I’m sorry” said Ren, she looked at Elliot.

“Don’t worry” said Elliot, he smiled and lead Ren towards the conference room, walking past the sitting detectives who watched as she disappeared into the conference room.

“That was awkward” whispered Amanda, she turned to Carisi “Does Barba know you went out with her?”

“What? Why would he know?” asked Carisi.

“She’s coming for the next undercover operation,” shrugged Amanda “I thought maybe Liv or Elliot had told him”

“No” whispered Carisi “I hope not”

“It’s just Monday, and she’s already in the station” sighed Mike “Is she going to be here every day, every week?”

“Why don’t you like her?” asked Amaro, he turned to look at Mike “She’s nice if you talk to her”

“She shouldn’t be here and you all know that” explained Mike “What if she gets hurt on the undercover?”

“She wont” smiled Amaro “I’m going in with her, remember?”

“Well, she still shouldn’t be here” Mike turned to Amaro “PI’s try to do our job and most of the times end up messing everything up”

“Well, she certainly messed up with Carisi’s head” laughed Fin.

“Stop” whined Carisi, he had been hearing none stop jokes about his disastrous goodnight tactic with Ren after he had mentioned he hadn’t kissed her “Wasn’t it enough you guys bet on me kissing her?”

“We have bets on other things” explained Amanda “We lost on where you were having dinner if that makes you feel better”

“It doesn’t”

Amanda shrug with a small smile over her face that had Amaro’s heart racing as he looked at her over the file he had opened in front of him.

“Too bad” laughed Fin, Carisi rolled his eyes and leaned his head over the desk for a moment, he had texted with Ren during the weekend but nothing had been said about when they were, if they ever were, going to go out again.

The team worked in almost complete silence for about ten minutes before the door of the conference room was pushed open and Barba stormed out; his face expressionless but by the quick way he reached the stairs and rushed down, everyone could tell he was beyond the word angry. After him came Elliot, Olivia and Ren, the PI seemed in a better mood that when she had arrived and was pushing a folder into her bag.

“I’ll memorize this before tomorrow” she said to Olivia.

“Great” smiled Olivia “I’ll call you later”

“Perfect” smiled Ren, she turned to Elliot “See you guys later”

She walked across the floor and stopped in front of the desks where the detectives were sitting at, she turned to look at them with a gentle smile over her face; only Carisi and Fin looking at her.

“Sonny, I brought you something”

Everyone turned to look at her.

“You – you did?” he asked, he stood up and glanced at Olivia and Elliot before he walked towards Ren; the PI struggled to pull something from her bag.

“Probably should have left the camera home” she mumbled and with one last tug, Carisi’s scarf was able to make it out of the bag “Here” she turned to look at him “I thought you might want it back” she extended her hand to Carisi as his coworkers stared at them.

Elliot crossed his arms over his broad chest and pressed him lips into a thin line to avoid a chuckle, Olivia turned to look at him and hit him gently on the shoulder, he looked at her.

“Don’t be like that” she whispered, but Elliot could tell she was making an effort not to laugh at the way Carisi was looking at her.

“Look at him” smiled Elliot, he stepped closer to Olivia “He looks like a teen”

“Thank you” smiled Carisi, he took the scarf and looked down at it for a moment, playing with it before he looked up at Ren.

Ren smiled and for a moment as her eyes locked over Carisi’s she forgot that almost everyone in the station was looking at them.

I think he likes me” she thought, she looked down at her hands and then up at Carisi “Well, I have to go, but it was nice seeing you, Sonny”

“Yeah, it was great seeing you too” he smiled.

Amanda glanced at Amaro, her eyes shining with hope that Carisi would do what she had told him, Amaro had his eyes over the pair as Fin covered his mouth for a second to avoid a chuckle and Mike turned his attention to his files while Olivia and Elliot watched from afar as the adults that worked with them suddenly seemed to be acting like group of teenagers.

“Ok then” smiled Ren, she clear her throat gently and then before Carisi could say anything she quickly leaned forward and gave Carisi a gentle kiss over his parted lips; the tint of her cherry gloss lingering over his lips as she pushed away and smiled “See you later” and rapidly walked away with her heart hammering in her chest.

Carisi followed her with his sight, his scarf between his hands and the gloss transfer from her lips making him unconsciously bite gently his lower lip.

She likes me” he told himself before a voice broke into the scene.

“Give me my ten dollars”

Carisi’s head snapped towards the desks as Mike extended his hand towards Amanda and Fin, Amaro finally chuckling like a ten year old.

“What?” asked Carisi, not really understanding what was going on “I thought the bet was between Rollins and Fin”

“It was” said Mike as Fin handed him ten dollars and then Amanda handed him another ten dollar bill “Until you said you hadn’t kissed her and I realized they were all betting on the wrong person”

“You don’t even like her” barked Carisi as he sat down.

“But I like to win” smiled Dodds as he slipped the bills into his wallet.

Chapter Text

Carisi straightened his coat as he climbed the stairs of the building and turned to the intercom, his eyes landing rapidly over the last name he was looking for, he cleared his throat before he pressed the button and waited for an answer.

“Hello” sang Ren’s voice, Carisi smiled.

“Hey” he said as he pressed the button once more.

“Detective, hey!” she said “Come in!”

“Thank you”

“You remember the apartment right?”

“Yeah” he laughed, he heard Ren chuckle before her voice disappeared.

The door buzzed and Carisi turned to it, he pushed it open and stepped into the warmth of the building, the door closing behind him gently as he started to make his way towards the stairs. His right hand landed over the stair rail and he started to walk up, after Rollins had told him to take flowers to later being told by Olivia to not take flowers but something else; Carisi had turned to ask his male friends for advice and that had been the way he had ended up with a bottle of wine under his arm and regrets for not bringing the flowers.

Should have listened to Rollins” he thought as he marched down the hallway towards the door, he stopped in front of the white door and pressed the doorbell once.

He heard rapid footsteps approaching and then the door swung open and Ren appeared behind the door in a pair of jeans and a white tank top and bare feet.

“Detective, come in” she smiled, she kissed him on the cheek and moved away from the door, Carisi stepped inside and pulled the bottle of wine from under his arm and turned to look at her just as she closed the door. “Give me your coat” she said.

“I brought you something”

Ren turned to him and smiled as he handed her the wine bottle, she took it and looked up at Carisi “Thank you, come on in”

After putting his coat on the coat rack she lead him into the apartment he had been in once, the lights in the living room where on. “Dinner is about to be ready, don’t worry”

“What?” Carisi turned to look at her “I thought we were ordering takeout”

“We were” she laughed, she turned and walked towards the kitchen “But I thought it would be better if I cooked something, my mom has a great recipe”

“Oh ok, then” he smiled, he stood in the middle of the living room but watched as Ren moved something on a pan and then stirred something on a pot, she had placed his wine over the small kitchen island.

“You can sit down” she said as she looked over her shoulder to find him still standing.

“I’ll open the wine, what do you say?” he walked towards the kitchen and took the bottle, Ren pulled open a drawer and pulled out a corkscrew, she handed it to him and sat down at the kitchen island.

“Twenty minutes before we can eat” smiled Ren “Give it or take”

“No hurry” smiled Carisi, his eyes over the bottle as he opened it and placed the corkscrew over the kitchen island.

“Oh glasses, yes” Ren said, she pushed herself up and walked towards the corner of the kitchen and crouched, she opened a cabinet and pulled out a pair of wine glasses and stood up, she kicked the cabinet closed and returned to her spot in front of Carisi.

“I hope you like it”

“I hope you like what I made” she smiled as she took the glass Carisi was handing her.

 

___________//____________

 

“What? You’re joking right?” laughed Ren from her place on the sofa, she was holding her wine glass and had her legs up to her chest as she looked at Carisi at the other end of the sofa.

“No,” he laughed “I’m actually not joking”

Behind them, the dishwasher was cleaning the dishes of the homemade dinner Ren had prepared and that Carisi had enjoyed genuinely. The detective leaned forward and placed his empty glass of wine over the coffee table as Ren watched him closely.

“Did you like dinner?” she asked as he sat back, he turned to look at her.

“Yeah” he smiled “I did, thanks”

She smiled and nodded and Carisi noticed a soft blush over her cheeks but he wasn’t sure if she was blushing because of the wine or because of him.

“I’ll cook for you next time” he added, Ren looked up at him and nodded “You’ll find out I’m a world class cook”

“Shut up” she laughed, she gave Carisi a soft kick with her leg and before she could pull it back to her chest, his hand landed over her knee and he looked down at it; Ren watched as he looked down at his lap and before he could speak she pulled herself closer to him instead of pulling her leg back to her chest. "Better than Gordon Ramsey?”

Carisi looked at her “He learned from me, ok?” Ren laughed and rolled her eyes.

“You’re so full of it” she mocked, Carisi eyed her.

“Don’t I get points for making you laugh?”

“Didn’t I get points for cooking dinner?” she asked back.

“You got all the points” he accepted, and she noticed how his voice had dropped to almost a whisper.

And for a moment the pair sat over her sofa in silence as they looked at each other, his hand still over her lap, Ren looked into his clear eyes and the noise outside the apartment seemed to vanish as he looked back at her. And before she knew it, Ren had pushed herself closer to him, her leg finding a spot across and over his lap and his hand had let go of her knee to take the glass of wine from her hand and place it gently over the floor just before he leaned forward and his lips landed over hers.

Ren closed her eyes as the tint of wine in Carisi’s lips mixed with hers and she wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer to her. Carisi’s left hand found a place on the small of her back as his right hand landed between her shoulder blades, her weight pulling him down over the sofa as she lay over it and continued to kiss him. He leaned over her gently as one of her hands released his neck and landed over his cheek, the leg he had been holding wrapped around his waist as she caressed his face and for split second Carisi’s older brother mode set in as he wondered if they should be going that fast.

“Sonny” her voice snapping Carisi out of his thoughts as she pushed him gently away from herself.

“What?” he asked “Are you ok? Is this too fast bec….

“Your phone”

“What?”

Ren smiled sweetly and Carisi felt himself melt under her smile “Your phone is ringing, Sonny”

“What?” he turned to the coffee table but his phone wasn’t there, he frowned and before he could say a word, Ren chuckled; he turned to look at her.

“Here” she whispered, she pushed herself up over her left elbow, she leaned forward and with her right hand she pulled Carisi’s phone out of the back pocket of his jeans. The young woman handed the phone to Carisi, he took it but wasn’t able to look away from Ren as she dropped back under him and smirked at him. “Aren’t you going to answer?” she asked.

“Should I?” he asked.

“You tell me” she said, her voice dropping dangerously.

Carisi leaned down and pressed his lips over Ren’s, his phone stopped ringing as he dropped it over the floor and both of his hands found a place on either of Ren’s cheeks; the young woman smiled into the kiss and pulled him closer to her and just when she was about to wrap her legs around his waist once more, Carisi’s phone roared back to live.

The sound of his phone scared Ren, she pushed Carisi away as she turned to look at the floor where the phone was ringing.

“Shit” barked Carisi, he pushed himself away from Ren and grabbed his phone before he sat down and answered “Hello”

“Carisi” it was Amanda’s voice.

“Yeah” he answered, his left hand messing with his hair as he saw Ren sit down by the rear of his eyes “What’s up?”

“We got a case, we need you down at the station” explained Amanda’s voice.

“Ok” mumbled Carisi, he closed his eyes and before Amanda could speak, he did “I’ll be there in ten”

“Perfect” and with that the call ended.

“Duty calls” smiled Ren, Carisi opened his eyes and looked at her, she had her legs extended towards him and flushed cheeks was a look Carisi was starting to like on Ren.

“Yeah” he growled “I have to go”

“It’s fine” she said, giving him a soft push with her left foot, Carisi smiled and looked down at her foot before he looked up at her. “Let me know when you get to the station”

“I will” he sighed and pushed himself up from the sofa, his body screaming with anger as he turned to look at Ren and the girl pushed herself up too; the night had been going perfectly and now he had to leave.

The pair walked in silence towards the coat rack and Ren pulled his coat out and handed it to him, she bit her lower lip as she thought of something to say before he left.

“Rain check?” she whispered from behind Carisi as he pulled his coat on.

Carisi turned to look at her and smiled, she smiled shyly back at him “Of course, I promised to cook, remember?”

“You’re better than Gordon Ramsey” she smiled.

“Friday?” he asked as he wrapped his scarf around his neck “My place?”

“Sounds great” she smiled, Carisi buttoned up his coat and Ren lead the way towards the door, greatly displeased that Carisi had to leave; but she understood that duty called.

“Be careful” she whispered as she pulled the door open and allowed Carisi to walk out of the apartment.

The detective turned around to look at her and gently took her hand and pulled her closer to him, he looked down at her and smiled.

“I’ll text you when I get there” he whispered

“You better” she whispered back, she pushed herself up and planted a kiss over his lips; the mix of her cherry gloss and the wine turning into Carisi’s favorite flavor of the night; he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her back before she pulled away. “See you later detective”

“See you later Jessica Jones” and with that he forced himself to walk away from the door before he had an urge to kiss her again.

Carisi pushed the door of the building open and walked down the stairs and into the street, as he was about to walk away from the building, he stopped and turned to look up at the window he knew belonged to Ren’s apartment. And he smiled as he noticed the young woman waving at him from the window, her body just a dark silhouette, but that was enough to make his heart jump as he waved back at her and then walked down the street rapidly.

 

Chapter Text

It was noon and lunch and the SVU group found themselves sitting around a table in one of the conference rooms with Chinese take out sitting in the middle of the table; the occasions in which the group was able to sit down and have lunch all together were rare and most of the times one or two members of the squad were missing.

This time Carisi and Olivia were the ones absent.

“Could you hand me one of the eggrolls?” asked Amanda, she extended her plastic plate towards the box that she knew had the eggrolls.

Elliot took the plate from her hand and took the box almost at the same time, with the chopsticks he rolled out one of the eggrolls and then handed Amanda her plate back.

“Thanks” she smiled.

“I was starving” said Fin, he took a sip from his water bottle and looked around the table. “What’s taking Carisi and Liv so long?”

Elliot shrugged and looked down at his phone, if things had gotten complicated Olivia would have texted him or called him “I’m sure they’re fine”

“Hey, its Liv we are talking about” smiled Amaro as he looked down at his plate “She’s fine”

The group chuckled and continued eating as they chatted animatedly about their plans for the weekend, and daily things before Amanda brought up Carisi’s romantic life to the table.

“You think Barba should know about the Carisi and Ren situation?” she pushed her empty plate away and looked around the table.

“Is there even a Carisi and Ren situation?” asked Mike, he looked up at Amanda and the blond detective raised her left eyebrow at him; clearly disapproving.

“He likes her” said Amanda “They’ve been on dates”

“They’ve gone out twice” said Mike “For all we know this could just be a casual thing”

“You think it’s a casual thing?” asked Elliot, he crossed his arms over his chest and turned to look at Mike; he liked Ren but Mike was bringing up very good points.

“They’ve gone out twice” explained Mike, he turned to Elliot “I’m not saying its bad if its casual, she’s pretty; but if it’s casual I don’t think Barba should know”

“I agree” said Fin, he leaned over the table “If its casual, Barba shouldn’t really know” Fin shrugged “I mean, she isn’t part of the squad, so she isn’t here that much, I don’t see why Barba would find out unless someone tells him”

“You guys think this is casual?” barked Amanda, Amaro turned to look at his girlfriend, he had been the only one not to speak because he knew how Amanda felt about this growing relationship. “He likes her a lot”

“But does she like him that much too?” asked Elliot and the table fell silent. “Look Amanda, I get it, Carisi is incredibly obvious at how he feels, but we don’t really know how she feels about him and honestly its not much of our business”

“I can tell you right now, this isn’t something casual, at least not for Carisi”

“Ok” said Amaro, finally jumping in “Why did all of our conversations suddenly seem to be revolving around Carisi?”

“Because we are all gonna get hell from Barba when he finds out Carisi has been dating the PI giving us information about Ivan” pointed out Mike “So, do you have a suggestion as how that wont happen?”

“Yeah” said Elliot, he pushed his plate away from him and everyone turned to look at him “We don’t tell Barba”

Mike rolled his eyes “This is not going to end well”

“I already made 50 bucks, I’d say its going pretty well” laughed Fin; Elliot chuckling as he noticed Mike’s annoyed face.

“Hey” laughed Elliot, his heavy hand landing over Mike’s shoulder “If it makes you feel any better, I’m pretty sure Olivia is talking to Carisi about this right now”

 

___________//____________

 

And Elliot had been right, as Carisi drove the car back to the station, Olivia glanced at him and decided it was time to speak to the young detective about his growing relationship and that he would have to tell Barba sooner or later.

“Carisi” she spoke, Dominick glanced at her rapidly before he turned back to the road.

“What’s up boss?” he asked.

“I know this might seem inappropriate” she started as she took turned to face straight forward “But as your Lieutenant, I have to talk to you about Ren”

Carisi looked at her and frowned before he turned back to the road, he moved his hands down the wheel as he tried to anticipate when Olivia wanted to talk about.

“Go ahead” he said.

“I don’t know how serious you are with her, but I do believe that there will come a point in this dynamic you two have that you will have to tell Barba about it” she explained “And since she has given us information on the case we are working on, I do think that if things get serious Barba should know”

Carisi sat silently for a few seconds as he took a curve, Olivia waited with her eyes out the window, she knew better than to push for an answer.

“You’re right” said Carisi after a few seconds, Olivia turned to look at him, he glanced at her and smiled before he remembered he was the one driving. “It could get messing when we go to trial”

“Exactly” said Olivia “I just wanted you to keep in mind that if you do want to pursue a relationship with Ren, it would be appropriate to let Barba know before hand and not when the evidence is brought up in court”

“I get you” smiled Carisi, Olivia smiled and nodded although she wasn’t sure if he had noticed her nod. “Thank you for taking your time to talk to me”

“Hey” smiled Olivia “You’re part of the team, we take care of each other”

“Thanks” he chuckled “I’ll talk to Barba I promise”

“I know you will”

And as they continued down the street towards the station Carisi wondered if what he saw with Ren was the same thing she saw with him.

Chapter Text

Rollins sat inside the surveillance van with Carisi and Fin, the night had gotten colder and Rollins was only grateful that she hadn’t gotten to be outside like Elliot, Dodds and Olivia had. The blond woman rubbed her hands together and looked at one of the screens that showed the street bench were Amaro was now sitting at; waiting for Ren.

“Where is she?” asked Fin, he looked at his screen but there was still no sign of the PI. “Have you talked to her?” he looked over his shoulder at Carisi.

“Last time she texted me was around four” answered the Junior Detective, he turned to look at Fin “I’m sure she’s coming”

“Amaro has his mic where?” asked Fin.

“Its in his watch” answered Amanda.

“Someone is walking up the street” Elliot’s voice cracked into the van, Amanda turned to one of the screens and noticed as the figure of a woman walked up the street.

“Is it Ren?” asked Amanda.

“Can’t really tell” said Elliot.

“I think its her” said Dodds’ voice, he walked past Amaro and across the street trying to look like a casual guy looking for a call girl.

The figure walked up to Amaro and stopped in front of the young handsome detective, from the cameras, Fin, Carisi and Rollins noticed she was wearing a furry coat and an incredibly short dress.

“Hola papi” spoke the figure and Carisi felt a goose bump rush over his body as he recognized Ren’s voice, although he had never heard her speak in Spanish.

“It’s her” said Carisi.

“Yeah, we noticed hot shot” laughed Fin, Carisi kept his eyes over the screen as a blush spread over his face.

“Hola mami” spoke Amaro as he stood up “Thought you would leave me here all night”

“Always fashionably late” chuckled the girl, throwing her hair behind her shoulder “Let’s go then, Ivan said he wanted talk to us”

“Did he?” smirked Amaro.

“Yeah” Ren locked her arm around Amaro’s and lead him up the street towards the bar Amaro had already been into.

“She’s a natural” pointed out Fin, he glanced at Amanda.

“They’re going in” said Olivia voice, the three detectives in the van focused on the cameras and mics they had in the van as Ren knocked on a side door at the other side of the bar and waited patiently next to Amaro for someone to open the door.

The door in front of them was pulled open and a middle aged woman appeared behind it, she frowned instantly as she looked at Ren, scanning her from her to toes and then seemed to soften up as she noticed Amaro’s handsome presence.

“Valentina” said the woman “You are back”

“I’m always back” shrugged Ren “I’m here to see Ivan”

“I’m sure you are” snorted the woman, she turned her attention to Amaro “And who would you be, handsome?”

“Julian Florez” he answered, his Spanish accent getting thicker “I work with Valentina”

The woman glanced at Ren and then turned to look at Amaro “Give me a second, I’ll be back”

“Don’t take too long, we have things to do” Amaro jumped in, he glanced at Ren “This better be worth our time, mami”

“It will” chuckled Ren, her all seductive voice back and Carisi had a brief flashback as to when she had been laying under him at her apartment.

The door closed and Ren leaned against Amaro, her hands around his arm and her head against his shoulder as they waited for the woman to come back; Ren looked down at her shoes and just as she looked up the door was pulled open once more but this time a man appeared at the other side.

“Sweet, sweet Valentina” he spoke.

“Hank” she laughed, leaning in to kiss his cheek “I’m back”

“Looking wonderful” smiled Hank, he turned to look at Amaro “Florez, you decided to come back after all”

“I did” said Amaro “It’s hard to say no to this one”

“I can imagine so” smiled Hank “Come on in, Ivan had to leave for a trip up to Chicago, but I’ll talk to you and we can set a meeting for when he returns”

“Well, lets just see how this meeting goes, ok?” said Amaro, he looked down at his watch “We don’t have a lot of time, mi vida”

“That’s true” said Ren as she turned to Hank “We have to solve some issues with a few girls”

“I get you” smiled Hank “You guys are just trying to get your business under control”

“Exactly” said Amaro, “Let’s talk then”

“Come on in” smiled Hank, he allowed Ren and Amaro inside and checked out the young woman as she walked next to Amaro, her hold on Amaro lose and relaxed. “This way”

The group walked into a sound proof office and Hank closed the door behind himself, he motioned Ren and Amaro to sit down as he grabbed a whiskey bottle and three glasses.

“Let’s talk then” said Amaro “I’m sure we could benefit from each other”

“I’m sure we could” Hank sat down and poured whiskey for the three of them “If all your girls look like Valentina, we’d love to have a few of them come and work for us”

“Yeah, what do I get by giving you my best girls?” asked Amaro, he crossed his arms over his chest “And the thing is, I don’t know how comfortable I am at making business with you”

“Papi” whispered Valentina.

“No, no” said Amaro “I would be willing to let you come work part time up here, but I’m only making this kind of deals with Ivan, I came all the way here and Ivan isn’t here, how am I supposed to take this seriously?”

“Ok, let’s not get carried away” said Hank, he knew how much Ivan was infatuated with Valentina and if he let her walk away and loose a deal in which she could come work with them, Hank was certain Ivan would get him killed.

“Look Hank” started Ren, she leaned forward and her skirt pulled up, revealing even more of her fish nets and her toned legs “You are asking us to give too much from ourselves and we don’t think Ivan is as compromised as we are in this business”

“No” said Hank “He is willing to cut a deal with you guys, but let me tell you something, he went up to Chicago to get more girls to come over”

Amaro and Ren looked at each other and then Amaro turned to Hank.

“I’m listening”

“What if we sort out the girls we get from Chicago and trade some with you?”

“I’d like Valentina to be here when you sort out those girls” said Amaro “Wouldn’t want to get the dark side of the lot”

“You don’t trust me?”

“Do you trust me?”

“Good point” said Hank, he turned to Valentina “I know Ivan would love to have your opinion”

“Perfect” smiled Ren “When will he be back?”

“Two to three weeks” answered Hank.

“Good” said Amaro, he stood up “Tell Ivan that Valentina will be in touch to come see the girls” he turned to Ren and extended his hand to the girl and helped her up “No tricks or we cut all communications” he turned to Ren “O no, mami?”

“Yes papi” she smiled.

“Don’t worry” smiled Hank as he stood up, he knew better than to chase Ren away from Ivan. “I’ll lead you out”

“We know the way” said Amaro, he took Ren’s hand and walked towards the door, he pushed it open and walked out of the office and the music in the club blasted into their ears as Ren pretended to sway with the music as they made their way towards the door.

Amaro pushed the door open and as they exited, Ren noticed Hank and the woman that had talked to them at the begging looking at them from the door; she tugged at Amaro’s hand and as he turned to look at her she planted a kiss over his lips.

Ren pushed away from him and turned around, she waved at Hank and then pulled Amaro after her as she made her way down the street, pulling Amaro closer to her; she had after all told Hank and Ivan that she had a boyfriend that worked with her and the girls they managed, she had to at least sell the boyfriend idea to Hank.

“That went well” whispered Ren as they continued down the block, they had agreed to get in a car parked five blocks away from the club and head back to the station and regroup with the rest of the squad.

“Julian and Valentina” laughed Amaro “Good job”

Amaro pulled the door of the car open and Ren stepped in, he closed the door and walked around the car and towards the driver’s door; he got inside and soon the pair was driving back towards the station as did the rest of the group.

 

___________//____________

 

“Good job” said Olivia, she rubbed her eyes and turned to Amaro and Ren “You guys did a good job”

“Thank you” smiled Ren, she was sitting at Amaro’s desk as Olivia, Dodds Elliot, Ren and Amaro waited for the rest of the group to arrive.

“Didn’t know you could speak Spanish” said Dodds, he crossed his arms over his chest and Ren decided that she liked the way Dodds looked in jeans and a simple shirt more than when he wore pants and tie.

“My dad is Colombian” she explained “Ta-da”

“Nice” smiled Dodds, and Ren could tell he was starting to warm up to her.

One down, one to go” she told herself as she realized that only Barba still hated her.

“Finally made it back” Fin’s voice echoed into the station, Ren turned over her shoulder just as Fin, Amanda and Carisi walked towards them; she hadn’t seen Carisi since they had made out in her apartment and as he looked at her, she felt a wave of butterflies crash against her stomach.

“Almost left without you guys” joked Elliot.

“Shut up” laughed Fin, he turned to Amaro and Ren “Good job with that Hank guy”

“He seems to like you” said Amanda as she turned to Ren.

“He doesn’t like me, he just knows Ivan likes me” she shrugged and stood up, she was feeling tired “I’ll let you know if Ivan calls me”

“Aren’t you freezing?” asked Amanda.

Ren laughed as she looked down at her clothes and turned to Amanda “You get used to it”

Dodds and Elliot shared a quick look as Carisi checked Ren out, her outfit was a true disaster but it worked wonders when you were trying to pretend you were a prostitute and it did highlight Ren’s best assents; her long and tone legs.

“Let’s get you home” said Olivia.

“I’ll drive you” said Carisi.

“Of course you will” laughed Fin, Carisi turned to his friend with a soft blush.

“Stop” mouthed Olivia, but Elliot knew she wanted to laugh.

“Thank you” smiled Ren “I’ll see you guys later”

“Bye” smiled Amanda “Make sure to get her home safe”

“I will” frowned Carisi, he pulled his long overcoat off as the pair walked towards the elevators and handed it to Ren “Here”

“Thank you” said Ren as she took the coat, she pulled it on and hugged herself, it didn’t really matter to her that people saw her dressed like that but she wasn’t sure how she felt about Carisi seeing her like that.

“Good job” he smiled as they walked into the elevator.

“Thank you” she said once more, she leaned against the wall and silence fell over the metal box.

The elevator beeped and they walked out into the cold night, Carisi pulling the keys of the car out of his pants; he opened the door for Ren and as he walked around the car to get to the driver’s door he wondered if he should ask Ren if they were still going to see each other that Friday.

“Are we still up for Friday?” asked Carisi after driving in silence for a couple of minutes, Ren turned to look at him.

“Yeah,” he glanced at her and smiled “At your place right?”

“Yeah” he said, Ren smiled and gently placed her hand over his lap, he looked down at it and then up front and thanked the darkness in the car because she couldn’t see him blush lightly. “Do you want me to pick you up?”

“No, it’s fine,” she answered “Just give me the address and I’ll get there”

“Sure?”

“Yes” she laughed, Carisi took a turn and the apartment building came into view “Don’t worry”

“I worry” he said, just like she had said a few times before to him.

He pulled over and turned to look at her “So would that be our third date?” Ren asked slowly, pulling her hand away from his lap.

“Do you want to call it our third date or our first one?” he asked, he frowned gently.

“What do you want to call it?” she asked, she frowned too “Or was dinner at the Peruvian place, just us hanging out?”

“Isn’t hanging out the same as dating?”

“I don’t know” whispered Ren, she frowned deeper and then shrugged “Just never mind”

“No, no” said Carisi, he reached to her and took her hand, she looked at him.

“No what?” she asked.

“Would you like to go on a date with me on Friday?” he asked, Ren smiled.

“Yes, I’d like to go on a date with you, Detective Carisi”

“Perfect” he smiled, she leaned forward and gave him a soft kiss on the lips before she turned to the door, her hand gently slipping away from his.

“Text me when you get home”

She pushed the door open and stepped out as he answered “Don’t worry”

“I worry” she laughed as she closed the door behind herself and turned to wave at him before she rushed towards the building, hugging herself tighter into Carisi’s long overcoat.

Chapter Text

Ren shoved the door of the club open, chaos exploding around her, a few girls pushed past her and Ren crashed onto her knees over the cold floor; she panted and looked around before she pushed herself up her feet, pain shooting up her right knee.

The music from the club still blasting into the night as the colorful flashing lights of the dancefloor filtered out into the street, decorating the chaos and panic with beautiful and electric colors; and as Ren knelt over the floor it seemed to be a very twisted Christmas nightmare.

“RUN!” she screamed in her mind, but the words seemed to come in Amaro’s voice, just as he had screamed at her to run a few seconds ago. “RUN REN!” she cried at herself, but she was petrified, she stumbled forward and another girl pushed here away and that violent and brief moment of contact started the adrenaline in Ren’s body and she threw herself forward and started to run down the street as people swarmed out of the club and the sirens of the patrol cars started to invade the air and the night.

Her high heels clicked and clacked over the pavement as she ran down the street, her chest rising and falling as she panted; unable to look over her shoulder to see if someone was after her, not even to check if Amaro was behind her.

He told you to run” she barked at herself as her left foot slipped over a puddle of water and Ren skidded over the pavement before she fell over her knees painfully. “Fuck” she cried not as loud as she thought she had, she crawled forward and this time she did look over her shoulder.

A figure was running down the street towards her, tall and slender and well-built and for a split second her heart leaped with electrifying hope as she thought that maybe, just maybe, it was Carisi rushing to her aid.

But the figure screamed and Ren felt soul born panic spreading through her blood.

“VALENTINA!”

“NO!” shouted Ren, she looked down and fought to get her high heels off, almost ripping a nail completely off her finger “NO!” she screamed again, she kicked her heels away, scrapping her ankle against the harsh pavement before she crawled forward and pushed herself up to her feet.

Ren discarded the shoes and started to run, her knees aching and her feet freezing as she pumped her legs to get as far away from the figure behind her as she could; she took a turn at an unknown street and the night engulfed her.

 

___________//____________

 

Carisi pushed his way into the club, his heart beating madly in his chest as his eyes darted around the place, the music had stopped but the colorful lights still danced around the walls as the police officers rushed into the club to help the working girls and apprehend Ivan and his coworkers.

Where is she?!” he screamed in his mind, he pushed past an officer and ran deeper into the club, girls sitting here and there, crying and screaming for help as Amanda and Olivia tried to cover all the girls while Fin and Elliot together with Dodds shoved the detained men out of the club. “RENATA!” he found himself screaming.

But no one answered.

“No, no, no” he said.

“Amaro!” barked Olivia into a radio, “Where are you?”

“I’m down the street” panted Amaro’s voice “I’m chasing after Ivan”

“Elliot!” called Olivia, Elliot looked over the heads of a few girls and just by the look on her face he understood what she wanted “He’s down the street”

And Elliot Stabler ran out of the club and down the street, his middle aged body in incredible shape as he rushed out.

“Amanda” called Carisi, Amanda, who was sitting with a black girl looked up at Carisi and shook her head. “No, no, no” Carisi turned on his heels, suddenly the world spinning around him as he tried to get the air into his lungs but failing just as much as he was failing to find the girl he loved.

And then the words hit him like a truck, making him gasp for air as he doubled over his knees, words spoken by Dodds a few months before Ren and Carisi broke up.

Ivan seems to have a crush on Valentina”

“Carisi” the words seemed coming from afar even though Olivia was standing next to him. “Carisi, we’ll find her”

Carisi gasped and pushed himself up, he turned to Olivia and she saw panic over his gentle eyes, she reached to place her hand over his shoulder but before she could make contact Dominick Carisi Jr. bolted towards the door of the club; his heart desperate to get to Ren.

“CARISI!” cried Olivia, she raised her radio “All units, we are looking for a blond young woman wearing an animal print dress and a bright red furry coat” she turned to Amanda “Shit” she whispered, she couldn’t believe she had lost her friend.

“We are gonna find her Liv” said Amanda, she too urging to get up and rush to find Ren but she knew she had to stay, these women needed help too.

“Yeah, but in what state?” asked Olivia, she turned around to the door Carisi had rushed out and prayed that Ren wasn’t running away from Ivan.

 

___________//____________

 

She could hear the panting almost as if it belonged to someone else, deep and harsh and next to her as she ran down an alley, passing a group of street walkers that scattered away as soon as they saw Ren; they knew that if a girl was running away like that in those clothes it was probably because her Pimp was chasing and they weren’t about to be in the middle of that fight.

Ren pushed down a few plastic garbage bags and dashed around a corner, her soles ached terribly and she was sure she had cuts everywhere around her feet; she could barely feel her toes anymore but what was scaring her most was the fact that she could feel her legs about to give up on her.

Oh god no” she told herself “Please Sonny, don’t let me die here” she felt the tears running down her face and as she ran directly into an alley she came to the realization that she had never in her life been so terrified.

And then she realized she was wrong.

She realized she was wrong as she slammed herself against a brick wall and her heart skipped a beat, she fell over her butt but scrambled up as fast as she could; panting and crying and shivering. She patted the wall with disbelief, a sob slipped her lips as she tried to look for a way out, a fire escape, a garbage can she could use to climb over the wall.

But she found nothing.

And as she heard someone panting heavily a few feet behind and Ren blinked, tears rolling down her face; she realized she had never been as scared as she was in that instant.

Ren trembled as she slowly turned around, Ivan was standing just a few feet away from her and she could see the rage boiling in him.

“Oh Valentina” he smirked “You’ve been a very, very bad girl”

Ren felt her whole body shake violently but she stood firm, she pressed her back against the brick wall and gulped.

Scream your lungs out” she thought as Ivan started to walk towards her.

“You’ve been very, very bad”

And Ren opened her mouth, but no sound came out.

 

___________//____________

 

As Amaro slowed down and looked around the streets looking for Ivan, whom he had lost sight of, Elliot reached his side, panting and sweating slightly despite the chilly breeze around them. As they trotted down the streets, Elliot pointed at a group of street walkers talking and walking around a corner they were standing on.

“Hey” said Amaro, as he approached them rapidly.

“Hey sweetheart” smiled a red headed one “What you looking for?”

“A girl in a red furry coat running” said Elliot.

“We didn’t see no girl in a furry coat” barked a second girl wearing a tight neon bright green dress “We did see a girl in animal print running”

“Where did she go?” asked Amaro.

“Honey, she’s a few blocks down but I wouldn’t go there if I were you”

“But you aren’t us” said Elliot and with that Elliot and Amaro started to run down the street.

And as Elliot reached Amaro down the street, Carisi stumbled over something that froze his soul, he looked down and saw the pair of black heels that Ren had complained about every time she had to wear them, saying they were a mess to tie on and tie off.

“Oh no, babe” he whispered, he looked up the street and started to run, his heart beating madly and a dreadful weight over his heart as no one seemed to be able to find Ren.

He ran down the street fast, as fast as his long legs could take him and a up ahead of him he recognized two other running small figures that belonged to Amaro and Elliot and then as he looked around the street a bone chilling shriek was heard.

Chapter Text

“Should we really be doing this?” asked Elliot, his strong arms crossed over his broad chest as he leaned against the wall in the conference room.

Amanda rolled her eyes and turned to look at him from her place sitting over one of the chairs, Elliot looked at her and raised his left eyebrow.

“Are you going to keep complaining or are you going to chime in?” she barked, Amaro smiled from his place near Elliot, who turned to look at him.

“You got a tough one”

“I did” smiled Amaro.

“Fine” said Elliot, he turned back to Amanda, he walked towards his teammate and looked down at the piece of paper she had over the table. “I’m on her for the second one”

“Great” smiled Amanda, she leaned down over the table and scribbled his name “You are the only one”

“Wish me luck” mocked Elliot, he rolled his eyes but Fin could see he was actually enjoying this. “We are not telling Liv about this right?” he looked up at Fin.

“Not if you tell her” he answered.

“I wont”

“Good” smiled Amaro “Because Dodds already agreed not to tell her”

“Perfect, because we could get in a lot of trouble for this”

“Elliot relax” smiled Amanda, she folded the paper and shoved it into her pants just as the door of the conference room was pushed open and Olivia’s head popped in.

“What are you guys all doing here?” she asked “I need you outside, come on”

She disappeared almost as fast as she had come in and the group looked around, a silent promise of not telling what was going on falling over all of them as Amanda and Fin stood up.

Amanda sat down rapidly just as Carisi and Dodds walked up the stairs and towards their desks, they had been out checking on a lead on a case that had ran cold a few months ago; and by the looks on their faces Amanda and Fin could tell things hadn’t gone that well.

Carisi pulled his chair out and sat down, Rollins could see he was tired and probably disappointed, she gave him a soft smile that he tried to return as he pulled his phone out and grunted before he leaned his elbows over the desk and hid his face in his hands.

“Carisi, are you ok?” asked Fin.

“Yeah” he mumbled.

“What’s wrong?” asked Amanda, she leaned forward and her gentle hand landed over his arm.

“Nothing” answered Carisi, but the truth was that his shift was almost over and Ren had cancelled on their date because was stuck with work and he had been looking forward all that terrible week to see her.

“Ren cancelled on their date” explained Dodds, he put down a bottle of water and turned to look at Amanda “Maybe its for the best”

Fin turned to look at Amanda as the blond shot Dodds swords with her eyes and mouthed at him “Shut up” before she turned her attention back to Carisi.

“Why did she cancel?”

“She was drowning in work” explained Carisi, he uncovered his face “She’s doing sort of a stake out tonight”

“I’m sorry” said Amanda, she glanced at Amaro, who gave her shrug, because he was bad at that sort of thing and he wasn’t sure what to tell Amanda or Carisi. Amanda turned to Carisi and took her hand away from his arm as he uncovered his face and gave his friend a soft smile.

Carisi’s phone beeped and he turned to it, he unlocked it and leaned back on his chair and then a smile appeared on his face as his eyes remained over the screen and Amanda and Fin watched him; he had moments during the day when he talked to Ren that gave Fin the impression that he was staring at a high school sick love teen instead of a grown man.

“You ok?” asked Amanda, Carisi looked at her.

“Yeah, I’m fine” and his smile seemed more genuine this time.

 

___________//____________

 

Ren dragged herself out of the elevator, the messenger bag with her camera seemed to be weighing a ton as she stepped out and the elevator closed behind her. She felt her nose ice cold and had wrapped herself tightly in a sweater as she had been making her way home; her stake out had been a success but the cost had been something she hadn’t expected.

Not only had she been force to miss her date with Sonny, but she had been punched on the face by accident when a drunk guy ducked the fist from another drunk guy and she had gotten the punch.

“God, I just need my bed” she mumbled as she walked down the corridor towards her door, she pushed her hand into her bag and looked for the keys, her phone had died a few hours ago and other than a shower and her bed, she wanted to talk with Sonny.

She really did like him.

Ren pulled her keys just as she came to a sudden stop in front of her door, her eyes wide open and her heart starting to race madly in her chest as the sleepiness and the tiredness seemed to be pushed to a second base.

A bouquet of poppies sat over her welcome mat.

The smell of the flowers was just as intense as their color and Ren smiled as she knelt down and picked up the bright red flowers; a note sticking between them. She closed her eyes as she took in a deep breath and her soul brightened with the sweet smell of the poppies. She pulled the note out and read it.

Didn’t know which flowers you liked, so I picked up the brightest ones I found.

Hope to see you soon.

Sonny Carisi.

Ren smiled, her day had been terrible and the flowers had indeed brightened her day just as much as Carisi had wanted them too; slowly she opened her door and stepped inside, closing the door with her foot she marched towards the kitchen to get a vase.

She placed the vase over the coffee table and dropped her messenger bag over the sofa before she kicked her shoes off and marched towards her room; she was going to take a very deserved nap and then she would get a shower and call Sonny; everything in her screaming at her to call him now but it was four in the morning and if she called now he would instantly assume something bad had happened and she wasn’t going to risk that.

Not after the beautiful red poppies he had brought her home.

Chapter Text

Ren walked into the station slowly, her body was still whining about the stake out of the night before but she had forced herself out of her bed and to the station to see Sonny; she owed him that much after she had cancelled their date and he had left those wonderful flowers at her house.

She pushed her hands into her coat and walked from the elevators towards the desks, a few officers walked by and stared at her, Ren frowned and looked around, why was everyone looking at her like that? She shook the thoughts out of her mind and walked towards the group of desks that made up the place where the team usually sat down at.

As she walked towards them a few other officers stared at her and Ren found herself shaking of her coat as an internal heat started to spread all through her body with self-consciousness. She held her coat against her chest and walked towards the desk.

“Hey guys” she smiled, Amanda and Dodds turning to look at her; they were the only ones sitting there.

“Jesus Christ” gasped Dodds, a surprised expression over his face.

“Oh my god, are you ok?” asked Amanda, she pushed her chair back and stood up.

“What?” asked Ren “What are you talking about?” she frowned and looked at Dodds and then at Amanda.

Amanda didn’t answer but gently touched Ren’s face, and she knew immediately what everyone had been looking at; the bruise she had gotten after being punched by the drunken guy the night before.

“What happened?” asked Dodds, worry in his voice and Ren smiled internally, he couldn’t dislike her that much.

“I got punched last night by accident” shrugged Ren “When I was heading back home from the stake out”

“Who punched you?” asked Amanda, she pushed a strand of hair behind Ren’s face; the girl was younger than she was but there was something about her that made Amanda want to take care of her like an older sister would.

“A drunken guy trying to punch another drunken guy” chuckled Ren “He ducked and punched me instead”

“It looks like it hurts a lot” whispered Dodds, “Do you want something to put against that?”

“It doesn’t hurt anymore, it did when he punched me, though” she smiled kindly at Dodds “Thank you for worrying”

Dodds looked at her and smiled, it wasn’t that he hated her, he just thought that she could bring trouble for the squad if things didn’t go with the rules; he nodded at her, he knew what it felt to not be liked by others and maybe he could be kinder to her.

“Hey, Alvarez” Amaro’s voice startled her, Ren turned around to face Amaro, Elliot and Fin.

“What the hell happened to you?” gasped Elliot.

“Does it look that bad?” whined Ren, she turned to Amanda.

“Not really” she tried to help.

“It looks terrible” said Fin, he walked towards his desk.

“Fin!” barked Amanda “A little help”

“What happened to you?” asked Amaro.

“A drunken guy hit me while trying to hit someone else” shrugged Ren “I thought it wouldn’t show that much”

“It’s purple” said Elliot “It shows a lot”

“Great” growled Ren, she turned to Amanda as Amaro and Elliot walked towards their desks “I’ll try to soften it with make up tomorrow”

“Carisi is gonna flip” laughed Fin, Amanda shot him a glare as Ren sighed.

“It’s not that bad” said Amaro, “Right, Rollins?” he turned to his girlfriend but Amanda just rolled her eyes, his help had come too late.

“Ren!” cheered a voice behind her, Ren glanced at Amanda and she heard Elliot snort a laugh before she turned around to look at Carisi.

“Sonny, hi” she smiled.

Carisi stopped in his tracks, his blue eyes darkened and his jaw stiffened, Ren flashed him a smile trying to ignore the way all the group was looking at her; she wondered were Olivia was.

“What happened?” he asked, his voice dropping as he stepped towards her, his right hand caressed her bruised face gently; his fingers feathering over her purple cheekbone “Who did this?”

“It’s fine Sonny” she smiled, she shrugged “It was an accident”

“Who did this?” he asked again, his eyes landed over hers.

“I don’t know” she sighed “It was an accident; the punch wasn’t even intended to hit me”

“What? When did this happen?”

“Last night” she smiled shyly “But Amanda says its not that bad”

Carisi looked over Ren and at Amanda, who gave him a soft smile but he could tell that she had just said that to make Ren feel better.

Sonny glanced at Ren and then at Elliot, Dodds might be Sergeant but everyone knew that Olivia’s right hand were Elliot and Fin, who was currently on the phone with someone. Elliot looked at Carisi and rolled his eyes but nodded.

“Why don’t you take a coffee break Carisi?” he said “Take Ren for a cup of coffee”

“Thank you” said Carisi, he turned to Ren “Let’s go”

“See you guys later” smiled Ren as she turned to look at them, the group nodded with smiles and Ren and Carisi walked away.

Ren held her coat against her chest; she was still feeling self-conscious with all the strange looks she was getting from the officers in the station. She pulled her hair gently from behind her ear in an attempt to try and make the bruise less noticeable but she still felt like she should have put some make up on before she left home.

The young PI was so absorbed in her thoughts that she hadn’t noticed that Carisi was talking to her, until she turned to look at him and saw his lips moving.

“What?” she asked, he turned to look at her. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”

“Where do you want to go?” he asked, he looked at her.

“Thank you for the flowers, Sonny” she whispered, she smiled and pressed the button for the elevator.

“I didn’t know if you liked poppies” he shrugged and they got into the elevator.

“I do” she smiled “I like all flowers”

The pair walked into the elevator, Carisi turned to look at her “Where do you want to go?”

“Anywhere” she answered “Preferably home to get this thing covered”

“You look fine”

“Yeah, like I got a fine beating”

Carisi laughed and took her hand as they walked out of the station, he still hadn’t talked to Barba about the fact that he was going out with Ren so he didn’t want to risk him finding out by accident.

They walked down the street towards a Starbucks in silence, and as they walked in side once more, Ren felt the eyes of everyone staring at her, Ren squeezed Carisi’s hand harder, she hated people looking at her like she was some kind of weirdo and even more when she noticed that people glared at her and then turned to Carisi; the last thing she wanted was for people to think that Sonny had been the one giving her the bruise.

“I want to go” she whispered, she looked over her shoulder and a group of women were looking at her and shaking their heads. “I need to go” she released Carisi’s hand as she felt herself starting to pant; she hated being watched like that.

“Ren” he whispered, but Ren was already pushing the door of the coffee store open and dashing out, it had been a while since she felt that kind of anxious. “Shit” he whispered and followed after her.

“Ren” he called, he rushed after her as she walked rapidly down the street, her coat pressed hard against her chest despite the cold wind. “Ren!” he called harder, he trotted towards her and took her arm gently, she turned around to look at him; her chest rising and falling rapidly “What’s wrong?”

“I just- I just can’t do that” she whispered, she pointed towards the store “They looked at you like you were the one who hit me and I – I can’t do that”

“Hey, hey look at me” he smiled, his hands over her arms “It’s fine, we both know I didn’t do this to you and that’s all that counts”

She looked at him and smiled softly, she nodded and her hair flew around her face with the wind, Carisi smiled and pulled Ren towards him, wrapping his strong arms around her frame; Ren closed her arms and gripped at Carisi’s coat with strength as she took a deep breath.

“You ok?” he asked softly after a few seconds.

He felt her head nod against his chest and he smiled, pulling away from Ren and looking down at her; she looked at him and huffed her hair away.

“I’m sorry about that” she said, “I got a little bit nervous”

“It’s fine” he smiled “My shift doesn’t end for a while, but would you like to come over and I’ll cook?”

“Better than Gordon Ramsey?”

“Much better” she smiled and nodded.

“Yeah, I’d like that”

Chapter Text

The group sat around the pushed together desks of the detectives, rarely enough the day was being kind of slow and Olivia and Fin had just returned from court and were now talking with the rest of the group around the desks with Chinese food in front of them.

“Ok, so you are talking to Barba when?” asked Olivia as she turned to look at Carisi.

“Tomorrow when he comes over” he answered “I mean I was going to tell him today but he didn’t show” he shrugged.

“Good” smiled Olivia “Because it’s been three months”

“This relationship is gonna make me rich” laughed Fin.

Carisi turned to look at him and rolled his eyes “I can’t believe you guys had so many bets on our relationship”

Amanda glanced at Amaro and Elliot at Dodds with a secretive stare, Carisi had caught them on a few bets and they had assured him that they were done but the thing was the team had made a list of scenarios in which they could bet each other and to say the truth, they were all having a blast about it.

Oliva smiled at Carisi and he nodded at her, things had been getting better with the trafficking case on Ivan; Ren had managed to get another date with him to meet with Amaro’s undercover persona and Barba had been in a good mood; but as Olivia leaned over one of the desks, her eyes over Elliot, a cry erupted into the almost empty station and the group turned around with surprise.

 

___________//____________

 

Barba’s secretary showed Ren the way to his office, she had always seen Barba down at the station but had been forced to go over to his office after he had asked her to bring him some of the original copies of the photos she had taken when she had been at Ivan’s club. Ren pushed the door open and walked inside, her usual messenger bag dangling next to her as she stepped in and closed the door behind herself.

“Señor Barba” she said, from his place behind his desk, Ren saw Barba roll his eyes.

“Alvarez” he answered back “You brought what I asked you?” he looked up at her and Ren nodded, she walked up towards his desk and sat down across from him; she pulled her messenger bag over her head and opened it.

“I did” she said “You seemed in a hurry to get them”

“I am” he said, Ren pulled out a brown envelope from her bag and handed it to Barba.

Barba took the envelope from her hands and opened it, he pulled out the photos and looked at them rapidly before he looked up at her.

“Thank you” he had softened a little after she had screamed at him at the station a few months ago but he still seemed to dislike her a lot. “Are you planning on going back there any time soon?”

“Not really” she shrugged “Ivan hasn’t said a word yet and Olivia doesn’t want me going without Amaro”

“Good” said Barba, he pushed the photos back into the envelope and looked at Olivia, his green eyes scanning her as she looked around the office.

“Nice office”

“Thank you”

She turned to look at him and nodded “Would you need anything else?”

“Not right now” said Barba, he passed a hand over his face “But if you could get me a page with your texts with them, that would help”

“I’ll get it” she smiled, she pushed herself up “Nice seeing your work place Mr. Barba”

“You can call me Barba” he sighed “Or Rafael” he shrugged “Apparently we will be working together for a while longer”

“Yes, well” she said as she pulled her messenger bag strap over her head “You’re still calling me Alvarez, so”

“I’ll walk you” said Barba “I’m going to go a coffee break”

“Sure” she whispered.

Barba stood up and grabbed his coat before heading to the door with Ren next to him, he opened the door to her and they stepped out.

“I’ll be back in ten” said Barba to his secretary.

“Of course” she smiled and Barba led Ren out and down a long corridor.

“Ren” he whispered “That can’t be your real name, is it?”

Ren glanced at him as they stopped in front of the elevators with a frown over her face “Of course it can”

“Is it?” he asked without looking at her.

“No” she answered, Barba glanced at her with an intrigued look over his face, she shrugged “It’s short for Renata” she answered and a memory from her date with Sonny the night before popped into her mind; his reaction to when she had told him the story of the nickname “Carisi asked me the story about that nickname last night” she chuckled.

Barba frowned as he looked at the number count of the elevator and slowly turned to look at Ren “Carisi? Dominick Carisi?”

“Yes” she answered.

“Elliot said he was on a date last night”

And Ren’s face fell, she opened her mouth but no words came out as Barba’s eyes grew in disbelief and then anger.

“No” he said.

“Shit” she whispered.

And the elevator opened up in front of them.

“Barba” she said, but Barba rushed into the elevator and Ren knew he wasn’t going to get coffee “Please, listen to me”

“This is unbelievable” he growled at her

And the doors of the elevator closed and Ren had an internal debate of whether she should get on the other elevator or rush to call the station; her mind chose the second choice.

Ren turned on the ball of her feet and dashed back through the corridor she had come through with Barba and pushed the crystal doors of the massive office open, startling the secretary.

“You need to lend me your phone” gasped Ren.

“Is everything alright?”

“No”

The woman pushed the landline towards Ren and she dialed rapidly to Carisi’s cellphone, she had left hers at her apartment; she pressed the phone against her ear but there was no answer.

“Oh, Sonny come on” she whimpered “Come on, babe” but her call was sent to voicemail. “Shit” she barked as she slammed the phone down on the receiver. She looked down the hall that lead to the elevators, Barba had at least ten minutes over her but Ren was almost certain she could make it to the station before he did.

Without answering the question Barba’s secretary was asking her, Ren dashed down the hall just as the elevator beeped open and a middle aged woman stepped out; Ren jumped into the elevator and pressed the main floor button and slammed her finger madly against the close button repeatedly.

No, no, no”

The elevator doors opened and Ren rushed out, and never in her life had she ran that fast as she exited the building and ran down the street to get to the subway; she had never ran that fast before, not when one of the people she was investigating had chased after her with a knife, not when she thought she was going to get evicted, not ever.

 

___________//____________

 

Ren rushed up the street, she knew Barba wouldn’t risk his classy self and run to the doors so when she made eye contact with him coming from the other end of the street, Ren took a deep breath and ran up to the doors of the station; she knew her body would be screaming at her later for all the desperate running she had done, but if she could at least warn Sonny before Hurricane Barba walked in, she would be pleased.

On her way up the stairs, Ren pushed an officer away softly “Sorry!” she panted as she trotted up, not looking back to see if he had heard her.

Ren doubled over, her stomach threatening to throw up everything she had eaten since the beginning of the day if she didn’t stop running; she gasped for air, sweat drops rolled down her forehead but with one last huff she straighten up and called out.

“CARISI!”

“OLIVIA!” barked a voice a feet behind her.

Ren turned around and over her shoulder she saw Barba approaching her, he was panting and it gave her satisfaction to know that he had tried to out run her but had failed.

“Barba please” she said.

“Alvarez,” he hissed, his green eyes shooting daggers.

“What in the world?” asked Fin.

“Olivia” said Barba “A word, now” he turned to Carisi “And you too Detective”

Carisi turned to look at Olivia, she pushed herself up and guessed rapidly what had happened as she walked towards her office; Carisi glanced at Ren but before she could even mutter a word Barba snapped at him.

“Get in the office”

The office door was slammed close and Ren felt like collapsing on the floor of the station and having someone drag her back home; but instead she walked towards Carisi’s desk and sat down.

“What fresh hell is this?” asked Fin, everyone turned to look at her.

“I- I” she panted and signaled Fin to give her a second before she got her breath back “I might have accidentally let Barba know about me and Sonny”

“Oh shit” chuckled Fin “Oh shit, Ren”

“I know” she whispered, she leaned over Carisi’s desk “I fucked up so bad”

“Hey, its fine” said Elliot “Liv will talk to him”

“She’s gonna get in trouble because of me”

“No she won’t” smiled Fin, “You can talk to her once Barba leaves”

Ren looked up when she heard Amanda pulling a drawer open, she looked at her as the blond detective pulled out a piece of paper from her daily planner, Ren frowned as she watched Amanda reading down a chart with different colors.

“What is that?” she whispered, but Amanda didn’t hear her.

“I think I’m the only one on that one” chuckled Elliot, Ren turned to look at him with a confused expression, what was going on?

“You are” sighed Amanda, she turned to the others “It’s fifteen dollars each”

“Yeah” smiled Elliot “Pay up”

The table grumbled and they pulled out their wallets as Ren watched with confusion “What’s going on?”

“Elliot won” explained Amaro as he handed Elliot his fifteen dollars.

“Won what?”

“The bet” said Fin, Ren turned to look at him with a deadpan expression.

“What bet?” she asked.

“That you would be the one telling Barba about you guys” explained Dodds, “Didn’t Carisi tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“We have bets on you guys” laughed Fin.

“What? Why?!” she gasped.

“Because it’s fun and gets Carisi all nervous” laughed Elliot, and despite her shock about the bet and her horror about what she had done to Olivia, Ren smiled.

Chapter Text

Ren sat outside the station, she had found a bench from where she could look at the doors in case someone came out; she had been sitting there when Barba had walked out. He looked at her and walked down the street towards her bench, he was angry that they had all hidden this from him because it was important to know but now that he had calmed down he walked towards her.

“Alvarez” he said as he sat down next to her.

“Barba” she whispered, not looking at him.

“Waiting for Carisi?” he asked.

Ren snapped her head towards the lawyer “Yes, I am” she barked.

“Look, I understand you might be upset” she squinted at him “But shouldn’t have lied to me” he glanced at her “This could be used against us when we go to trial”

“I know that” she explained “But I don’t think you running away from your office to get here was handling thing right, either”

“I might have overreacted” he shrugged.

“Solo un poco” she whispered, he smirked and looked down at his hands.

“No one is in trouble” he explained “You’re still in the case”

“You don’t have a case without me” she said, turning to look at the station “At least you are smart enough to know that”

“Gracias” he said sarcastically, he pushed himself up from the bench. “And despite to what you might think, you don’t bother me that much anymore”

Ren turned to look at him, his green eyes looking down at her “Good to know” and she turned from him, Barba rolled his eyes and walked away from her.

Ren covered her face with both hands when she thought Barba was already far enough and leaned over her knees; she couldn’t believe she had let it slip that she had been seeing Carisi behind Barba’s back and now she had gotten the whole squad in trouble and she had no idea how to make it up to Olivia and Sonny that she had been a big mouth.

“Shit” she whispered into her hands and uncovered her face. “Ok breath” she forced herself to take a deep breath and Carisi walked out of the station; looking around for her.

“Ren!” he called, he trotted up to her, his coat back at the station and the hard wind pushing his white shirt tightly against his chest.

She looked at him and gave him a shy smile as he walked up towards her, he sat down where Barba had been sitting a few minutes ago and silence fell between the pair.

“I’m so sorry” she finally spoke, she turned to look at him “It slipped that I had seen you last night and Elliot had told him you were going on a date and he put two and two together and god damn it he questioned me and I froze”

“It’s fine, Olivia talked to him and he calmed down” he explained “I told him everything he wanted to know and it’s all good”

Ren looked at him, his clear eyes looking down at her and his dimples appearing as he smiled down at her, he winked and took her hand, giving it a soft squeeze.

“I tried calling you” she sighed “I tried to out run him, and I almost beat him”

“Hey” he laughed “No one has ever tried to out run a lawyer for me”

Ren laughed and leaned against Carisi, he passed his arm around her and kissed the top of her head, she sighed and closed her eyes for a moment.

“Elliot won like sixty bucks” she whispered.

“Seventy five” he corrected “Olivia was in it too”

Ren pushed herself away from him and rolled her eyes playfully “Do you want to come over tonight?” she asked.

He looked at her and nodded, they usually didn’t spend much time at her apartment but being alone with her was something Carisi wasn’t going to decline.

Ren smiled and winked back before she stood up, she cleared her throat and decided it was time to take a step forward; they had been dating for three months and although there had been a lot of heavy petting involved none of them had ever stayed the night at each other’s house.

“Maybe you could stay the night?” she asked, her voice firm; Carisi looked up at her and raised his left eyebrow at her with s gentle smirk over his eyes. “Is that a yes?” she asked, rising her eyebrow back at him.

“I’ll be there by nine” he answered.

“Good,” she smirked “I’ll wait up” and she turned around and walked away down the street.

 

___________//____________

 

Carisi looked around the living room he now knew by heart while Ren pushed the dished into the dishwasher, this was the first time they would actually spend the whole night together and he couldn’t simply deny that he was nervous. He’d had girlfriends before and he knew she had had boyfriends before him but he still couldn’t help but feel his stomach about to drop a thousand feet.

“The kitchen is set” she laughed as she walked into the living room and dropped herself next to Carisi, she turned to look at him. “Why are you being all quiet?”

“It’s nothing” he smiled, he took her hand gently and pulled her closer to him, Ren leaned against his shoulder, her hand entwined with his and his thumb rubbing circles over her hand; her free hand landed over his chest and her fingers played around with his tie as they leaned against each other comfortably.

Should I wait for him to kiss me?” Ren asked herself she frowned gently as she felt Carisi’s hand leave hers and travel up her arm. “Or should I wait?” she pushed the debate away and pushed herself away from Carisi.

“Hey, Sonny would you like…

And as he turned to look at her with his bright eyes, her words died in her mouth and she sat looking at him speechless; she leaned forward a little bit and his hand over her arm dropped to her hip and he pulled her closer to him. Her hand over his chest gently curled around the tie he had loosened up but had not taken off and she pulled him towards her, their lips an inch away from each other; with her eyes still over his, she brushed his lips with her own and Carisi wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her over his lap.

Ren let out a soft giggle as she straddled him, one of her hands still holding his tie and the other caressing his neck as she leaned down over him, her hair cascading around them like a golden curtain. She smiled down at him and he smiled up at her,

She leaned down and pressed her lips hard against Sonny’s, his hands tightening around her hips as she pressed her legs harder against his. And soon both of her hands are cupping his face and pulling him closer to her, her chest rising and falling madly; Carisi griped at her hips and leaned over against her, she leaned back but her hands let go of his face and search desperately for a way of getting his shirt off.

His hands traveled down from her hips to her butt and as he pulled her closer, a moan slipped from her lips to his and Carisi smiled; she pulled away a few of the buttons and pulled away from his kiss, she panted but didn’t lose time, she leaned down and planted a trail of kisses from his jaw down to his neck and his now partially exposed chest; his hands gripping at her as he threw his head back and closed his eyes.

Her hands and her lips over his skin felt perfect, like something he had never known he was missing but now that he knew the feeling, he couldn’t get enough. Ren felt him getting hard under her and she smiled as she opened the shirt completely and looked up at him, she smiled at his closed eyes and pulled the tie off his neck; he opened his eyes and looked at her, his eyes darkening and his lips partially opened.

She smirked and slowly slipped off from his lap and knelt in the space between his legs and her hands played with his belt, Sonny pushed himself forward and she looked up at him, her lips raw from kissing him and her eyes bright.

“Ren” he whispered, his shirt falling around him.

“Sonny” she whispered back, her voice low and dark and Carisi felt the effect of it on his body.

She tugged at the belt and slowly unbuckled it, Carisi’s breathing speeding up as she looked down and unbuttoned the first button of his pants. He leaned down and gave her a kiss over the lips, she smiled under the kiss and trapped his lower lip with her lips as her hands started to unbutton the rest of his pants.

Ren pushed away from the kiss and grabbed the hem of her green tank top, she pulled it over her head and dropped it behind her; taking his pants by the belt hoops, she tugged them down and he raised his hips and the pants slipped down to his ankles without effort; leaving him with an opened shirt and his dark boxers. She leaned forward and up towards Carisi, making all the effort to rub her chest and the lace of her bra against his boxers before her lips met with his and she wiggled out of her jeans.

Sonny grabbed her face and pulled her harder towards him, everything in his body begging at him to erase the space between them; she straddled him once more and grinded gently against him, the tent in his boxers getting tighter and taller, Ren smiled against his lip and moved to his earlobe, Carisi’s hands traveling from her face down to her chest and around to her back to unclasp her bra, she arched forward and after a few seconds of trying, her bra slipped down her arms and Carisi tossed it away before cupping her breasts and getting a soft yelp from her lips before she kissed his neck.

She grinded harder against him and despite the underwear they were both still wearing, he could feel her light blue panties getting damp; he pressed his hips harder against hers and turned his face to kiss her neck, his hands rubbing over her breasts. Ren’s hands traveled down his chest and to the hem of his boxers, one hand traveling over it as she raised her hips and her delicate hand rubbed over his erection; getting the desired half grunt half moan from Carisi that she had heard almost a week ago at his apartment.

“Do you – you have condoms?” he whispered into her ear, sending shivers down her spine; his voice was hoarse and thick.

“Yes” she whispered, she pulled from his neck.

“Where?” he looked at her, and the flush over her cheeks melted him.

She smirked and leaned over his ear “You should check the night stand, Detective” the last word stretching and her voice dropping to a purr as she spoke it.

She didn’t have to tell Carisi twice, the man’s hands let go of her breasts and as a protest whimper escaped her lips, he grabbed her hips and pushed himself up from the sofa. Ren giggled loudly and wrapped her legs around his hips, grinding against him as Carisi tried to focus on getting away from the sofa and towards the room; the way their skins felt against each other was intoxicating. Her arms wrapped around his neck happily, pulling her closer to him and he could feel her nipples hardening against him and making him grunt with desire. Her hair danced around them as she pressed her mouth over his neck and licked a soft trail up to his ear.

“You should really hurry, Detective” she purred to him.

“Shit” he moaned “Do you have any idea how much I adore you?” he growled as he pushed the door of the room open with his foot.

She pulled away from his neck and leaned back a bit, Carisi’s hold on her tightened as she threatened to let go of his neck.

“No” she said, Carisi kicked the door close, he turned his eyes to her and the way she looked at him sent him over board “But I’m hoping you can show me, Detective Carisi”

Chapter Text

Ren rolled to her side, her eyes still closed but her bladder demanding she get up and go to the bathroom; she grunted softly and opened her eyes partially, the recently washed sheets feeling like clouds against her naked body. The young woman pushed herself up to a sitting position and turned to her left, Carisi lay with his back to her and the covers tangled around his legs and waist.

The young woman pulled the covers off her and swung her legs over the edge of the bed and stood up; she tiptoed towards the bathroom and closed the door as gently as she could. She pushed the door open softly a few minutes later and walked towards her closet, she grabbed the first pair of panties she found and pulled them up as she heard Carisi move over the bed.

“You’re getting dressed?” his hoarse voice spoke, scaring Ren.

She closed the closet and looked at him, he was propped over his elbows and was looking at her from his place on her bed. Ren smiled and shrugged, she pulled her hair up into a messy ponytail and walked towards his side of the bed, scooping up his white shirt before she sat down next to him.

“I thought you were asleep” she shrugged, putting on his shirt, he looked at her as she rolled up the long sleeves but left the shirt unbuttoned.

“I woke up like two hours ago, went to the bathroom and then back here” he patted the bed “But I didn’t get dressed”

“What a shame” she laughed, she pushed herself up from the bed before Carisi could pull her towards him and walked around the bed as she buttoned up the shirt.

Carisi followed her with her sight as she crawled back on her side of the bed and grabbed her phone, she looked down at it and rolled her eyes.

“Jesus Christ, it’s five in the morning”

“So?” he asked, he pushed himself to a sitting position.

“Why the hell are we awake at five?” she asked, she dropped her phone over the night stand and looked at him “It’s your day off, isn’t it?”

“Yes” he answered, he rubbed his left eye and then moved his body to face her “Why?”

“Well, after Barba yelled at you and Liv yesterday, I thought you wouldn’t get the day off”

“I only got yelled at because someone couldn’t keep their mouth closed” he pointed out.

“You didn’t seem very bothered about that last night” and the light blush over his face made Ren smirk.

She crawled closer to Carisi and gave him a soft kiss on the lips, he smiled and dropped back over the pillows, the blackouts making sure the light from the early morning couldn’t filter into the room. The detective passed his arms behind his head and glanced at Ren, who was sitting next to him and was looking at him, a few strands of hair falling to her face from her poorly made ponytail.

“Next time we’ll stay at your house” she smiled, she pushed the hair behind her ear.

“You can stay at my place any time” he smiled back, his dimples marking his face.

“So nice of you” she laughed, she rapidly passed one of her legs over him and sat down over his lap, he stretched his legs down the bed as he looked up at her. “Good morning by the way” she leaned down and gave him a gentle kiss on the lips as she pressed her hands over his chest.

“Good morning, Jessica Jones” he mumbled back.

Ren pushed back but her hands danced around his chest, both of them in silence as the city outside started coming to life as they hid in her apartment not caring about anything or anyone else. Carisi watched her as she focused her eyes over her fingers tracing patterns on his bare chest; her hair was a tangled golden mess that was coming undone from her ponytail, her eyes were bright and big and her lips looked raw from all the kissing yet she looked stunning as she cocked her head to the left and the hair flopped with the movement. His wondering eyes traveled down to her neck and to his shirt that she hadn’t buttoned up right and there was just a glow around her that made his heart speed up.

He really did like her.

“So,” she smiled as she looked at him, but no other words followed, her hands slipped up to his neck and then she pulled them to herself and placed them over each of her knees.

“What?” he asked, his voice hoarse.

“Well” she sighed, she looked down at her hands “It’s five in the morning,” she pulled away one of the buttons of the shirt, her eyes down over the white fabric “It’s too early to be awake” she pulled another and Carisi shifted under her light weight, getting a smirk from her “I’m sleepy” she added, she raised her eyebrow as she concentrated on getting the next button off, she grinded very gently against him and he felt his face heat up “I’m hungry” she continued and said nothing until she had two buttons left.

Carisi’s hands gently landed over her knees and rolled up to her hips, she kept looking down at the last two buttons holding the shirt from opening completely to her bare chest.

“And?” he whispered.

“And nothing else” she smiled, her fingers danced over the last two buttons and then she looked up at him.

“Nothing?” he whispered, his hands snaking up her stomach.

“No” she said, she sucked in some air as his hands moved near her breasts.

“You know, you shouldn’t lie to the police like that” he explained, his hands came out from under the shirt and he slowly undid the remaining two buttons, as Ren looked at him carefully with an amused smile over her face.

“Really, detective?” she asked, she grabbed his wrists and placed his hands back over her hips.

“Really” he whispered.

Ren smiled and leaned down to kiss him, her hands landing over his neck as she pulled him closer to herself; it was his day off, there was no hurry to do anything, they might as well do what they hadn’t been doing for the last three months.

 

___________//____________

 

It’s not even six am when the ringtone of a phone started blasting through the apartment, Ren had her right arm over her head and her palm pressed hard against the bed headboard, her left hand over Carisi’s neck. She gasped loudly as she looked up at him, his blond hair falling over his face, his lips partially parted, he looked down at his girlfriend as she pressed his hips further to her with her legs wrapped around his waist.

And then she heard the phone.

“That’s not my phone” she panted as Carisi thrusted one more time, her mind having trouble concentrating in something that wasn’t Carisi over and in her. “Sonny” she whispered, her voice shaking and her grip around his neck tightening.

Ren closed her eyes for a second, a wave of pleasure shooting up her body and her heels digging into his skin. The ringing continued and Ren opened her eyes, she turned to closed door, Sonny rarely got calls and when he did they were important.

“No puede ser” she said, her voice coming out in a purr, Carisi turned to look at her; she had figured out her Spanish had a certain effect on him the night before when he had carried her into the room. “Sonny” she whispered.

“Babe” he grunted, the veins in his arms making wonderful looking trails; he was almost there.

“Your phone” she gasped, followed by a yelp and her right hand left the headboard and she passed around his arms to his back; she pulled him down to her and bit his shoulder lightly as she closed her eyes.

“What?” he panted.

“Your phone is ringing” she moan rather loudly, Carisi slowed down and turned to the door, a whimper of protest coming from Ren.

“Let it ring” he growled as she pressed her hips up against him, she licked the curve of his neck and he sped up, gently crashing down on her and curling his arms around her slender frame; this bodies begging to get closer.

“Are you sure?” she whispered against his skin.

“You want me to stop?” he asked, he kissed her neck.

“No!” she desperation in her voice making him smile and thrust harder.

The ringing stopped but Ren had stopped hearing a few seconds ago.

“Ya casi” she purred into his ear, he grunted as her words rushed into his system and with one last deep thrust, he felt her tense up under him; her nails dug for an instant into his back and she held her breath before she relaxed in his arms, the simplicity of having that effect on her making him come as he held her tight against his chest.

The pair lay over Ren’s bed panting, the young woman had her eyes closed but was tracing lines over Carisi’s back with her fingers; Carisi lay still for a few seconds before he grunted and pushed himself up and climbed of the bed.

Ren followed him with her sight as he walked into the bathroom, she figured he was pulling the condom off since he walked back into the room seconds later; he climbed on the bed and lay down next to her, the young woman curled around him, with her leg over his and her head over his chest. Carisi caressed her shoulder gently as they took a few seconds to get their breaths back.

“Well, that was great” she mumbled before she planted a gentle kiss over his pecks.

“You tell me” he laughed “I think you might have to teach me a few words in Spanish”

Ren laughed loudly and sat down, she looked at him “I might lose my magic touch if I do” she shrugged but smirked.

“Just a few”

“Bueno, amor” she teased, he looked at her and smiled. “Anyway” she turned away from him and climbed of the bed “I’ll get your phone” he watched as she walked around the bed and towards the door of the room, a light sheet of sweat covered her body, and her ponytail had disappeared yet her tangled hair gave her a tough look that Carisi liked, she pulled the door open and dashed out into the living room.

Ren grabbed the phone Carisi had left over the coffee table and hurried back to the room, they had let the curtains up and the last thing she wanted was for the people in the building in front of hers saw her naked. She rushed into the room and slammed the door close behind her, she walked to Carisi and handed him the phone.

“Here you go, Detective, its Amanda”

“Thank you” he took the phone but glanced at her as she walked towards the bathroom “What are you doing?” he asked just as she was about to close the door behind herself.

She turned to look at him and leaned against the frame of the door, her hand on the hip she had popped away from the wood.

“I’m gonna get a shower, you are gonna call back, then you are gonna shower and then we can figure out what we can do” she explained.

“Its almost six thirty, there isn’t much we can do” he explained as he sat down.

“We can sleep a bit and then go for food”

“And then we can stay in bed” he suggested.

“If we keep going like this, I will be feeling this all week” she explained.

“And what’s wrong with that?” he joked, she laughed.

“Shut up” she chuckled and pushed herself away from the door frame, she stepped into the bathroom but let the door open as she looked at her hair in the mirror, Carisi watched from his place in the bed; he loved how confident she was with her body and how she didn’t seemed bothered that despite this being the first time they had sex, he saw her naked.

“Hey, I have an idea” he called.

She turned to look at him and smiled, “What?”

“I saw this nice Mexican place when I was coming over last night” he explained, he swung his legs over the edge of the bed. “The first time we talked properly was over Mexican food, this is our first time” he signaled at his naked body and looked at hers “Maybe we could go for Mexican”

Ren smiled and felt her heart melt, he looked so serious as he talked about the Mexican place that it was useless trying to resist.

“I’d love that, Sonny”

“Great” he made an attempt to stand up.

“No” she said as she pointed at him and then grabbed the doorknob of the bathroom door “Call Amanda back while I shower” she started to close the door “See you in a few”

“Fine” he laughed as he unlocked his phone and dialed Amanda.

Chapter Text

“I can’t believe we haven’t met this guy yet” growled Alex from the other side of the changing room “You guys have been dating for four months and we’ve barely seen a picture of him”

“Are you embarrassed of us?” asked Nat, the door of the changing room swung open and Ren walked out, she looked at the mirror as she answered.

“No, god, why do you guys have to be so dramatic?” she turned to Nat “I told you I would introduce you, he just works a lot”

“Yes, you’ve mentioned he´s a detective” sighed Alex “Are you taking him to my birthday party?”

“You’re birthday?” said Ren, she turned to her friend “Alex, your birthday is like two months away from today”

“Yeah” she barked “But at this pace we’re going to meet him the day you marry him”

“Dios mio” laughed Ren, she checked herself out in the mirror.

“Don’t dios mio, me” barked Alex “I’m serious”

“I don’t think I like this dress” sighed Ren “Can we go elsewhere?”

“Where?” asked Alex “I don’t like that dress either”

“I don’t know, let’s look around”

“You guys, I need to go get some lingerie” Nat said softly, Alex and Ren turned to look at their friend with surprised expressions.

“What?” whispered Alex, a smirk forming over her lips “For Donovan?”

“No, for Ren, of course for Donovan” Nat rolled her eyes “It’s our anniversary in a few days and I’d like something nice to wear”

“Bitch, say no more” laughed Alex, she turned to Ren “Get changed, we are going lingerie shopping” she shoved Ren into her changing room and then rushed to her own; Nat wasn’t usually the kind to buy frisky things for her sexual life so Ren understood why Alex was so excited.

Soon the three best friends were rushing out of the store and down the corridors of the mall in search for the perfect lingerie for Nat to wear on her anniversary. Ren walked down the aisle towards the Victoria’s Secret shop with Nat and Alex behind her, she had a few nice items from VS, so they might as well see if they could get Nat to like something from the store.

“We can surely find something here” said Alex, excitement rushing through her, surely shopping for lingerie was more exciting than shopping for anything else.

Nat and Ren walked together towards a few items, Nat looked down at them, her fingers brushing gently over the soft fabrics as Ren looked around with curiosity; it had been a while since she had bought lingerie but she smirked as she came across a few teddy outfits.

“Oh, what about this?” asked Ren, she picked up a light green lace teddy and showed it to Nat.

“No, I don’t think so” whispered Nat, she bit her lower lip.

“Ok, what are you looking for?” asked Alex, “A teddy, babydoll, garters?”

“I think I’ll look into the babydolls” whispered Nat.

“Fine” laughed Ren “I’m sticking to the teddy for now”

Nat smiled and walked around with Alex, Ren picked up one in pink and smirked, she was without a doubt taking that one home.

Ok, lets take a quick look what else I can take home” she smiled and walked around, she had just gotten paid for her last job and to be honest, she couldn’t think of something better to spend her money on; lingerie made the effect of making you feel beautiful and desired and there was nothing better to get a guy’s heart to start racing than that.

The trio walked around the store for about half an hour, and after showing each other what they wanted to buy, they walked up towards the register. Nat had ended up buying a cute black babydoll, Alex picked a black piece that the girl at the register had called strappy garter slip and Ren had gotten a dark pink teddy and a lace halter corset.

“Are you sure your boyfriend won’t have a heart attack when you wear those?” asked Alex as they walked out “It should be a crime to show so much skin”

“Shut up” Ren laughed as she rolled her eyes.

“Take a joke” laughed Alex.

“So what now?” asked Nat.

“We should go get something to eat” said Ren “I’m starving”

“I agree” said Alex, “Let’s get some food”

 

___________//____________

 

Carisi yawned as he finished up with his desk work, night had fallen outside the station but Amaro, Amanda and Carisi were still there together with Olivia. Barba had been at the station that day, and although he was being his usual self with everyone, he was still pissed at both Olivia and Carisi.

Next to his left hand that Carisi was using to prop his head up, his phone vibrated twice and the screen lit up, he glanced at it as Amanda kept on scribbling down on her own paper work. He could see it was a text from Ren but the sooner he finished this, the sooner he would be able to go home and call her.

“So, how is Ren?” asked Amaro, he stretched as he closed his file and looked at Carisi, Carisi looked up at him.

“She’s fine, she went shopping with her friends today” he answered “Something about a birthday party next week”

“Are you going?” asked Amanda without looking at her friend.

“Yeah, I’m meeting her friends that day”

“Sounds exciting” smiled Amanda, Amaro chuckled.

“Are you guys betting on that too?” Carisi rolled his eyes.

“Nah” laughed Amaro “We have interesting bets, nothing like that”

Carisi sighed and shook his head, he had given up on trying to stop the bets after Amaro had won eighty dollars three weeks ago; he looked down at his phone as it vibrated with another text. Carisi leaned back on his chair as Amaro stood up to go to the bathroom, he took the phone and opened the first text she had sent him.

Babe, r u still at work?

He smiled and when he had failed to answer, she had sent another one.

I’m assuming ur not.

He started typing when a photo came through.

Carisi felt his face burn up as a blush rushed through his cheeks, his eyes widened and his grip around the phone tightened as he looked down at the photo Ren had sent him; she had taken it with her back to the full body mirror in her closet and her hair pulled into a ponytail, one hand holding the phone to take the picture, her head partially tilted to look over her shoulder and the other hand over her hip.

Amanda coughed as she continued to write and Carisi forced himself to breath, he looked around the room and then down at the picture of Ren wearing something he had never see her wear, all he could tell was that it barely covered her back and that the dark pink of the piece was Ren's color without doubt.

I’m still at work! He typed to her.

Ups. She answered and Carisi was almost certain she was laughing. I bought that today, wait till u see the front.

Carisi gulped and typed back. Still at work, babe!

He propped his head over his hand on the armrest and looked down at his phone waiting for an answer.

Can’t hear u! Getting undressed.

Carisi had to suppress a chuckle as he read her text, Ren had a way of mixing sex and silly and making it adorable.

I hate u. He sent her.

Ur gonna love me when u c me in this thing, Detective Carisi.

He was about to type back but she did first.

Or out of it.

He smiled and rolled his eyes, the blush still all over his face as he pictured his girlfriend wearing that.

I’ll call u later. He said as he decided to con concentrate on his paper work and get it done fast.

Text me when u get home. She texted in the end.

Chapter Text

“But nothing is broke right?” asked Ren, she looked at the doctor, her shirt lying behind her in a curled ball together with her jacket.

“No, nothing’s broke” answered the doctor, he turned to look at her and gave her a kind smile “The bruises might get a little bit darker later today and there might be some pain but with a few pills I’m going to give you, everything will be fine”

“Great” smiled Ren, she pushed herself off the hospital bed and looked at the man. “So, I can go now?”

“Yes” he answered, he turned to her and handed her a paper slip with the pills that he recommended for the pain “Take this and when the swelling is gone, so will the pain, this pills will help with the swelling too”

“Thank you” she took the paper and then man walked out of the room, Ren turned to the bed and took her shirt; she pulled it over her head and then grabbed her jacket. “Ok, then” she smiled “Let’s go home”

After getting her jacket on, Ren walked out of the room and walked down the aisle of the hospital in silence, she could hear patients coughing and telling doctors what was hurting them; but Ren had all the intentions in the world to head to the pharmacy and get the pills the doctor had prescribed her. Ren walked down the stairs that lead to the first floor, she knew the pharmacy was just outside the hospital.

The day outside had turned grey and the threat of rain hung heavily over the city, Ren turned to her left and the windows of the pharmacy came into view; she pulled out the paper from the pocket in her jacket and looked down at it as she stopped in front of the pharmacy door, her dark red beanie hat avoiding her hair from flying around.

“Excuse me” said a hoarse voice, she looked up just as an arm pushed the door open.

“Thank you” she whispered, she walked into the pharmacy and towards the counter, the person who had opened the door for her walked behind her; Ren looked over her shoulder and frowned “Barba?”

The man turned to look at her, his eyes lazy and his eyebrows up “Alvarez” he said, the beanie hat had stopped him from recognizing her when he had opened the door for her. “Didn’t recognize you back there”

“I almost didn’t recognize you with something that’s not a suit” Ren smiled, she looked at Barba from head to toes; he had changed his suit for a pair of jeans and a button up shirt with a sweater on.

“It’s my day off”

“Huh” she smiled “Nice, what are you doing here? Are you sick?”

“No” he answered “I’m here to get some meds for my mother”

“Aw, that’s nice” she smiled and they walked together towards the counter where the pharmacist was watching them.

“Why are you here?” he asked, Ren passed her prescription to the pharmacist and so did Barba before she answered.

“I need some painkillers” she explained.

“Why?”

“I was shoved into a handrail” she shrugged “A guy trying to get my camera away from me”

“Someone you were following?” asked Barba, he turned to the pharmacist.

“Yep” answered Ren, “He got a little bit violent after the shock passed”

Barba turned to look at her, his eyebrow up “Are you going to press charges?”

“What?” she frowned as she looked at him “No” she chuckled “I’ve never pressed charges on people who react like that”

“Why not?” asked Barba, he paid his medicine and turned to look at her as she paid her painkillers.

“Because they are seeing their lives crumble” she shrugged “They shouldn’t have done what they do, but the last thing they need is charges on them as well”

“Do you get attacked a lot?” he asked, they walked side by side towards the door, Ren shoving her meds into her crossbody handbag.

“Well, depends on what you consider a lot to be” she answered, she pushed the door of the pharmacy open.

“Out of ten cases how many times do you get attacked?”

“Probably four or five” she laughed “I don’t know, don’t ask me this” she stopped and turned to look at him “I’m used to it, it’s fine”

“How fine is Carisi with you getting punched?” laughed Barba.

Ren laughed and rolled her eyes “Are you still upset we lied?”

“I am” said Barba “But I can’t do anything about this” he shrugged “As long as this doesn’t get in the way of the investigation and the case, I’m fine”

“Good” smiled Ren “That means you don’t hate me that much anymore”

“Don’t push it” said Barba.

“Well, it was nice seeing you, but I’m going the other way” she said, Barba nodded “See you later”

“Get better” called Barba before he turned around and they walked away in different directions.

 

___________//____________

 

Ren winced as her fingers feathered over the right side of her rib cage, the doctor had been right, the bruise had gone from dark purple to a mixture of black and blue with a purple halo around the whole thing. Ren sighed and turned to her side, the mirror showing her that the bruise not had only gotten darker but it gave Ren the impression that it had also gotten bigger.

“Oh shit” she whispered, “I’m surely not wearing the teddy with this shit”

Ren turned on her heels and walked towards her bed, she grabbed the shirt she had pulled out of the closet and pulled it over her head; the dark color of the shirt would hide the bruise better than the light green one she had been wearing when she ran into Barba that afternoon.

“Now, let’s just keep Sonny’s hands on himself and everything will be fine” she smiled, of course that was easier said than done since the pair liked hugging and kissing as they cooked and chatted.

The doorbell rang and Ren hurried out of the room and towards the front door, she had given Carisi a key to the door of the building since it was easier for him to let himself in and then ring her doorbell than having Ren running around the apartment answering the intercom and then the door.

“Coming!” cried Ren, she suppressed a moan of pain as she rushed towards the door, the stretching of her muscles screaming in discomfort. “Fuck” she thought.

Ren pulled the door open as she looked over her shoulder to see if she could get a look of where she had left her bottle of pills.

“Hey babe” said Carisi, Ren turned to look at him “You ok?”

“Hey, yeah perfect come in”

She stepped away from the door and failed to notice as Carisi frowned, she had an urgency to find the pills before Carisi did; Carisi pushed the door closed and Ren hurried further into the apartment.

“Babe, what’s going on?” asked Carisi, he shrugged his coat off and placed it over the coat rack as he followed her with his sight.

“Nothing” she answered, her eyes landed over the small plastic bottle over the TV in the living room, she hurried towards the TV and growl escaped her lips as she grabbed the bottle but her body barked.

Carisi frowned as he looked at her back, she shoved something into her pockets and then turned to look at him, she smiled and walked up to him “How was your day?” she asked.

“Pretty good, yours?”

“Good” she smiled “I’m good”

“What are you not telling me?” he asked as they walked towards the kitchen.

“Nothing” she laughed “I’m fine”

Ren pulled out a pot and handed it to Carisi, he took it and smiled at her, he liked the way they seemed to turn into one when they cooked together, she seemed to be always a step ahead of what he needed and she would hand it to him without him having to ask; that and the delicious way she sometimes cursed or hummed in Spanish.

“Didn’t know you loved pasta so much” he laughed as he started to pour water into the pot.

“I love the pasta you cook” she laughed, she hit her left hip against his “And there’s always something irresistible of watching a man cook”

Carisi laughed and walked around the kitchen, grabbing everything he needed as Ren pulled out some lemons to make lemonade; Carisi had discovered his girlfriend was addicted to lemonade.

“Hey babe” he spoke as he chopped a tomato.

“Yeah?” she asked, she was sitting at the island cutting lemons in half.

“About the picture you send me last week” Ren smirked as she noticed how his voice seemed to drop to a whisper.

“What about it?” she asked.

“When am I going to get to see that?” he glanced at her.

Ren looked up at him and smiled “I was gonna wear it today but after…. Her words died out as she realized what she was going to answer.

Carisi lowered the knife and leaned over the island shifting his weight from one hip to the other “But after what?” he asked, he could see there was something she wasn’t telling him.

“But after I started feeling under the weather I decided that it would be better a day I wasn’t feeling sick”

“Oh babe” he smiled, he dropped the knife and walked around the table towards Ren, the girl smiled at him and looked down at the lemons; Carisi walked around her and slowly his arms snaked around her body and as he pulled her back towards him a moan of pain escaped her lips and she threw her body forward in an attempt to escape his arms and hit the island in front of her; Ren seemed to freeze under the pain that shot through her body before she opened her mouth to suck some air in.

“Babe” whispered Carisi, his voice full of worry.

“I’m fine” she whispered, her body was shaking lightly, she turned around on her seat and looked at Carisi “I’m fine, Sonny”

“What was that?” he asked, and for a moment she saw a hurt expression in his beautiful eyes.

“I had an accident at work today”

“What kind of accident?”

Carisi pulled his arms away from Ren as she jumped off the chair and grabbed the hem of her shirt; she took a deep breath and pulled her shirt up to her chin and turned so Carisi could take a look at her black bruise.

His eyes grew in size and his hands reached forward to her body but stopped as he tried to figure out what to do; his fingers feathered over her bruise, his cold fingers sending shivers up her spine.

“How did this happen?” he asked, he looked at her “Babe why didn’t you tell me?”

“The guy I was following saw me and then he tried to take the camera and we struggled and he shoved me against the handrail of the bridge and ta-da” she explained, she dropped the shirt and Carisi pulled his hands back to himself.

“Renata, how is this possible?” he asked, his voice harsh “How did he see you? Are you pressing charges? You get hurt more than I do, and I’m a cop”

“Ok, stop” sighed Ren “I get it ok? No, I’m not pressing charges, second I don’t know how he saw me and I didn’t tell you because you are over reacting”

“Over reacting?” gasped Carisi. “You have a bruise the size of my head on your body!”

“Yes, well I’ve been getting hurt since before I met you” she hissed “It happened, I can’t do anything about it anymore” she pushed her hair away from her face and her shoulders, she had had this conversation with Carisi before, the last time she had gotten hurt; the day after the drunken guy had punched her on the face. And the thing was, it really bothered her to have to defend her job, she had been doing this before she met him and it wasn’t like she was getting hurt on purpose.

Carisi looked down at her, her body had stopped shaking but he could see she was upset; upset with him. He sighed and gently took her hand in his, he knew how much she actually loved her job and he knew that she didn’t do this on purpose, but she just couldn’t understand how much it hurt him and bothered him to see her all banged up.

“I’m sorry” he whispered, he tugged at her hand softly and she stepped towards him.

Carefully, Carisi wrapped his arms around her neck and she wrapped her own around his waist, he didn’t want her to be upset with him and now a new energy had been born in his soul to make dinner even better. Anything that would make her feel better.

“It’s ok” she whispered into his chest, she kissed him over the shirt a few times “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you”

“As long as you are fine, I’m fine” he whispered, his breath tickling her hair “Have you gone to the doctor?”

“Yep” she chuckled and her laugh was like fresh air “He said nothing is broken, so don’t worry”

“I worry” he whispered “I always do”

Her grip around him tightened and she closed her eyes against his chest “Thank you, Sonny”

He kissed the top of her head and leaned his head over her for a moment, his chest wanting to say something else to her; something that he wasn’t sure she wanted to hear just yet, something he wasn’t sure if it was too soon to say but still he wanted to say it.

“Now lets get back to cooking, guapo” she giggled, she pushed away from Carisi “And once my skin is back to its normal color, I might consider letting you see that teddy I bought”

Carisi laughed as she sat back behind the island and started cutting lemons once more.

Chapter Text

The camera in Carisi’s fake glasses watched as Ren laughed and threw her head back, next to her Ivan was gently placing his right hand over her knee as Amaro and Ivan continued to talk. It was a hard conversation, Ivan knew how to talk without giving away anything that would tell Amaro or Ren that he actually did traffic women, but there were a few things here and there that were giving him away slowly.

It was just a matter of time before Amaro and Ren got something on Ivan.

Dodds and Carisi had been able to get in the club pretending that they were looking for a good time, around them girls danced on poles and a few others walked around the place serving drinks; currently Carisi was sitting on a chair with a tanned girl giving him a lap dance but he couldn’t get his eyes off Ren sitting in the table a few feet in front of him.

The blond detective watched as the hand over Ren’s knee started to travel up her leg, the skirt of her dress barely covered her legs when she was standing up, it covered even less when she was sitting down. Ren didn’t seem bothered by the traveling hand and Carisi had to look away and focus on the girl dancing or he would end up exploding from all the touching Ivan had been doing on Ren.

“Better stop that hand,” said Amaro, he looked down at Ivan’s hand “Can’t just surrender my best girl to you”

Ivan chuckled and his hand stopped traveling up her leg but didn’t return to her knee, Ren giggled and Ivan felt he melted under her laugh.

“So, we have a deal?” asked Ivan “Valentina will come over and check the girls out?”

Amaro looked at Ivan and then at Ren.

“What do you say, mami?” he asked.

Ren smiled and pushed herself up, Ivan’s hand dropping from her body, she swayed towards Amaro and sat over his lap, she crossed her legs as Amaro wrapped his arm around her waist.

“It’s up to you papi” she shrugged “Whatever you think is best for business”

“I’ll send her over when your girls get here” explained Amaro, “Before we choose or anything I’ll let Valentina pop a few days here” he turned to Ren “¿Qué dices, mami?”

“Yes, I’d love to come over” she smiled at Amaro and then turned to look at Ivan, she winked at him and the club owner could feel the blood in him rushing down to his pants; this girl had something in her that the animal in him needed to breath and if losing a few girls would mean she would come and be around the club, then he was willing to do that.

“Well then” smirked Amaro, he squeezed Ren’s hip and she pushed herself up; Amaro pushed himself up and Ivan followed. “It’s been a pleasure doing business” he extended his hand to Ivan and shook it “We’ll be in touch”

“Perfect” he smiled.

“Vamos” said Amaro, he tugged at Ren, she smiled at Ivan and blew him a kiss before she followed Amaro towards the door; Ivan loving the way she pouted as she had blown the kiss.

Carisi and Dodds left the club a few minutes after Amaro and Ren had left, Dodds could tell Carisi was bothered just by the way he stomped as they walked down the busy streets to get to the car they had left behind.

“Ivan seems to be liking the way this is going” shrugged Dodds, he opened the driver’s door.

“He likes to see Ren”

“Yeah” said Dodds, he started the car “That’s an understatement”

“I don’t like her coming here” Carisi sighed.

“I get you” said Dodds “But we just need to do this and without her, we lose everything”

“I know” whispered Carisi, but he just hated seeing Ren fraternizing with such a dangerous man; the last thing he wanted was to put her in any kind of danger and there was something in the way Ivan looked at Ren that scared him.

It scared him more than anything ever had.

 

___________//____________

 

Carisi walked up the stairs and finally reached the fourth floor, he had flowers in one hand and a takeout bag in the other; he had had a terribly long week and had been unable to see Ren, the team had been pulling extra hours but in the end they had been able to close a case and help ease the pain of a family.

He walked down the corridor towards the door of Ren’s apartment, he could feel his stomach filling up with butterflies just by thinking of seeing Ren; her friend’s birthday party was a week from now and he was sure she would be spending most of the weekend with the girls so he had to make his time with her count.

He reached the door and as he prepared to ring the doorbell, he noticed the door was cracked open just slightly, he frowned instantly and pushed the door open as slowly as he could; the apartment was dark and the curtains were drawn, something they rarely were. Cautiously, Carisi made his way into the house, closing the door as soundlessly as he could; automatically he made his way towards the kitchen, in the dark he found the kitchen island and placed the flowers and the take out over it just as the lights in the living room came to life.

Carisi jumped, his heart hammering in his chest and his senses in their peek and just as he thought he was going to get jumped by an intruder, he found his girlfriend standing next to the wall and the light switch with her left hand over her hip, heels on and…

And the Teddy she had bought for him on.

“Oh shit” he whispered, the fright from thinking something bad had happened to his girl dissipating almost instantly.

“Well” said Ren, a frown over her face “Didn’t you know that trespassing is a crime, Mr. Carisi?”

Her golden hair cascaded down her shoulders but the lace fabric and the deep cleavage of her outfit had Carisi’s full attention.

“I’m sorry miss” he explained, clearing his voice “I saw the door open and I thought you were in trouble”

“Huh” she whispered, she walked away from the wall and Carisi gulped as she made her way oh so casually towards him. “Well, how heroic of you then”

“Just doing my job” he said.

Ren walked up to him and looked up at his flushed face, her gentle hands reached for his shoulders and she softly pushed down his coat; Carisi didn’t fight it as his brown coat dropped down to the floor. The young woman wrapped her hand around his tie and pulled him towards her in a soft motion; her lips brushed up against his.

Carisi placed his hands over her hips, never imagining that a piece of fabric could feel like angel feathers under his hands, he pressed her against his chest; with the heels she just as tall as he was. Her soft hands trailed up to his neck and she pulled his lips against her, she pressed her chest against his and opened her mouth to his tongue.

As she kissed him as his hands traveled down to her butt, Ren started to work on the buttons of his dark shirt; her fingers agile as his hands trailed up her waist and to her chest, landing over her breasts but not making any attempt to slip under the teddy. She moaned into his mouth and Carisi circled his thumbs over her nipples; he felt as she tugged his shirt off his pants but she didn’t dare push it away from his body, that would mean having to push his hands away from her and she wasn’t going to do that.

Ren’s hands worked on Carisi’s belt so fast he barely felt them there until she pulled the fly of his pants down; her hands slipping into his now opened pants and rubbing up against him. This time it was Carisi the one who growled with pleasure, one of his hands flying around her head and landing behind her neck and pulling her into a deep and hungry kiss.

Ren pulled away from the kiss but turned her head so Carisi could kiss her neck, he licked her rapidly as her hands worked over the fabric of his boxers; he was already panting heavily and they were still not naked.

“Take your shoes off” she whispered to him, but Carisi had already stepped out of his working shoes. The PI pushed his pants down and slipped her hands into his boxers, her hands now familiar with how he felt against her.

“Oh yes” he whispered into her neck, thrusting his hip gently against her hands.

“Follow me” she whispered to him, her hand slipping away from his boxers; Carisi whimpered as she pushed herself away from him and turned on her heels, her legs looking like masterpieces as she swayed towards the living room.

Carisi shrugged his shirt off and pulled his socks before he raced after Renata, he hurried around the sofa and as he placed his hands over her hips she turned around and pushed him away from her; she pushed him further until the back of his knees hit the sofa and he crashed down over it.

“Have a seat, detective” she said, her voice husky and working magic on him.

Carisi watched as she stepped back and just then he noticed she had pushed back the coffee table, she turned her back to him and even without the music, the young woman started to sway her hips gently, her arms over her head and her head thrown back gently as she danced to the music only Carisi and her could hear.

“Oh babe” he smiled, he was loving every second of his girlfriend in the VS outfit and her toned legs in the nude high heels and the way she moved her hips before her right hand landed over her left shoulder and she gently pushed off the strap of her shoulder. He felt himself grow harder as he spread his arms over the back of the sofa.

Ren spin around gracefully, her hair flying around her face and Carisi had an urge to stand up and pull her against him but didn’t dare to move; she winked at him and pushed the strap of her other shoulder off, gently pinching the fabric of the cleavage as she started to pull down the lace teddy from her body.

Carisi watched as the teddy slipped from her body with the same care his hands always seemed to have when he trailed ghost shapes over her skin; without thinking it and with the naked form of Ren sinking into his brain, Carisi raised his hip and pushed his boxers off his body, kicking them away just as Ren stepped away from the teddy and seemed to bent down.

“No!” he found himself gasping, Ren looked at him, an amused expression over her face “Keep the shoes on, miss”

Ren looked at him and a smirk appeared over her preciously painted lips as she raised her left eyebrow and walked up towards him. She stood in front of him and bent down, trying her best not to bend any of her knees as she did, her hands landed over his shoulders and her lips pressed up against his; his left hand landed on the back of her neck and he pulled her down to his lips, really needing her to get closer to him than she was.

She pulled away from the kiss but her hands remained over his shoulders and she slowly sat down over his lap, legs at each of his side and her knees over the sofa; instantly Carisi’s hands landed over her breasts, she arched her back and pressed herself further against his touch.

A quivering moan escaped her lips as she closed her eyes and Carisi’s fingers worked gently over her nipples; he loved those sounds slipping out of her lips but there was one he liked more and he hadn’t heard it so far.

Ren slipped her hands from his shoulders to his hips and down to his erection, earning a soft thrust from her detective and his eyes fluttered closed; he hated just as much as he loved when she teased him and stretched foreplay. She leaned forward and he released her breasts and his hands landed over her hips, one of her hands let go of him and dived under one of the pillows only to come back out once more but with a condom square in her fingers.

She’d been controlling the game for a little too long, she looked down at the condom and knitted her eyebrows together as she tried to open in; Carisi smirking and slipping one of his hands between her legs, a yelp in the form of “Sonny” escaped her lips and her eyes shot up to him as she opened the condom, he winked at her as he felt her tense up under his hand.

Her breath hitched and her cheeks flushed even more, she tore her eyes away from his and looked down at his penis, she shook her head in an attempt to get her thoughts under control and slipped the condom on; Sonny growling pleasantly as she did.

She raised herself and Sonny’s hand slipped away from her before she leaned forward and then slowly and painfully teasingly slipped him into her; her fingers playing around his neck and his back and his shoulders digging in deliciously as she started to pick up the pace.

“Oh shit” he whispered, his hands snaking up her back, down her chest, around her breasts and under her hair; his eyes closed and his forehead pressed against her shoulder as his body met with a thrust every time she pulled her body up.

She bit his ear gently as she panted and huffed against him, a few yelps here and there; hands against skin and lips crashing into each other as they went faster. Her chest rubbing up against his and his fingers digging into her hips as he pressed his raw lips against hers.

“I’m-“ he panted against her mouth, their lips brushing against each other “I’m going to need you – need you to go faster, miss”

A mixture between a giggle and a moan escaped her lips and she did as she was asked, her arms wrapped around his neck, his left hand over the small of her back and his right one between her shoulder blades. She spread her legs a bit further down the sofa and Carisi’s fingers dug further into her skin.

“Yes” he huffed against her salty skin.

After a few moans slipped out, Ren finally purred out his name and Sonny groaned at the sound, and then the purr grew louder and her Spanish rushed out her throat even if Sonny couldn’t understand any of it.

“Si, si, ya casi!”

And then a few minutes later, she tensed around him and growled out his name and he came after she did; the pair sat over the sofa, panting against each other in a tangled mess, one of Carisi’s hands under her hair. Ren kissed Carisi’s temple and pushed herself up and dropped next to him, he leaned his head back but turned to look at her, she smiled and looked down at his lap.

“I’ll take that” she whispered, in a quick move she pulled the condom off and tied it as she stood up, she grabbed the teddy and swung it over her shoulder as she walked towards the room. Carisi closed his eyes for a few minutes before Ren came back from the room, she had pulled on a pair of green panties and a pink bra and had left the heels and the teddy back in the room aftr disposing of the condom, she walked towards the kitchen and scooped up Sonny’s shirt, she pulled it on and walked towards him, she loved his shirts and his cologne on her skin. When she walked around the sofa, Sonny had already pulled on his boxers, she sat down next to him and he leaned his head over her shoulder.

“Didn’t know you liked high heels during sex, detective” she whispered, her voice husky.

“Neither did I” he chuckled, Ren chuckled and he closed his eyes “But you looked great in those and dancing around”

“Thank you” she whispered, her heart going back to its normal rate “That’s the teddy from the photo I sent you”

“I love it” he laughed, she smiled “Just as much as I love you”

His eyes popped open, he hadn’t intended on words coming out like that the first time he said them, he had been feeling like that for a few weeks but that had not been the moment he had been waiting for.  Ren’s hand landed over his shoulder and she gently traced figures over it as she kissed his head and messed up hair.

“I love you too, Sonny”

Chapter Text

“Oh Valentina, you’ve been a very, very bad girl” said Ivan, his eyes locked over Ren. The young woman panted as she tried to push herself further against the wall, she could feel her heart hammering against her chest painfully as she looked back at him. He kept erasing the distance between them as Ren panted, she knew him too much to know he has going to kill her.


He could and he would overpower her, there was no doubt in her mind about that, but at least if he was going to kill her, she would put up the fight of her life and maybe, just maybe she could save herself. He closed his hands into fists, they looked at each other and Ivan started to run towards her, Ren took a deep breath and forced herself to push herself away from the wall.


Ren felt Ivan's arms wrap around her waist with strength, she sucked in all the air she could and as he lifted her off the ground, Ren forced her body to turn and pressed her back against his chest at the dame time the soles of her feet found the brick wall and she pushed herself from it. Ivan growled as he stumbled back, falling over his back on the floor with his arms refusing to let go of Ren's waist as the young woman tried to struggle out of his grip.


“If you stop fighting this would be so much easier for both of us” he threw her to the left, her arm and her bare legs scrapping painfully over the cold and rough cement; Ren rolled over her back, trying her best to keep her tender and opened skin from making contact with the pavement. Ivan pushed himself over his knees and pressed his hands flat over her shoulders to pin the young woman down, her legs instantly started thrashing around in a desperate attempt to hit Ivan and get a chance to get his hands off her body.


“You sick fuck!” she barked, his left hand slipped from her shoulder and just as Ren saw a chance to escape, his hand curled into a fist and he punched her on the face. Ren opened her mouth to scream in pain but the gushing blood of her nose slipped down her lips and down her throat and all she could do was cough violently as her eyes watered, tears rolling down her face.


“I was really hoping you weren’t the snitch” he panted, Ren closed her eyes for a split second before she felt Ivan's weight over her as he straddled her. Ivan grabbed her free wrist and pulled it over her head as he kept her other shoulder pinned down.


Under him, Ivan felt Ren squirming and thrashing her legs trying to get Ivan off her but gaining nothing but more pressure over her hips, her shoulder and her wrist. Ivan's hand slithered from her shoulder to her wrist and he pulled her arm over her head and held it with the hand he already had holding the wrist up. He leaned his face down to hers and licked the rolling tears from her cheeks, Ren grunted and pulled her face away from his; disgust rushing through every fiber in her body.


Ren felt his free hand pull up her dress and she started to squirm even more, despite the pain shooting up her waist as he pressed his legs against her hips. His hand pulled away from her dress and he tugged out something from his pocket that from Ren's position she couldn’t see; until he shoved a handkerchief into her mouth roughly.


His hands traveled down her body and to her exposed hips, the fabric of her dress brushing uncomfortably against her hips. Ren gagged against the handkerchief as she tried to cry out for help or spit and try to bite Ivan as his hand pushed away her underwear.


“I never thought this would be how it would go between us” he whispered into her ear, his hand moving from her underwear to his jeans. “What a waste”


Pain shot up her body from her thighs, she shot her eyes closed with pain and tried to gasp air through her mouth but the gag made her choke. She tried to clench her legs together as much as she could but his thrust hurt her legs and her thighs and everything in her; she curled her hands above her head in fists.


She wanted to scream, to jerk and squirm and collapse her lungs screaming like a banshee but not only was the gag keeping hey from doing it, her body seemed to be frozen in a perpetual wave of shattering pain.


Ren forced herself to think despite the pain swarming her body, she pushed the gag with her tongue up to the front of her mouth, Ivan over her was thrusting and pressing her wrists down so hard she could barely feel her fingers anymore. The young PI looked away, throwing her face with force to the left and the gag slowly slipped from her mouth with the help of her tongue; she gasped for air, her lungs burning as the air rushed into her body.


Get him off you!” she cried in her mind, she turned her face to him, he had his eyes closed and sweat drops were starting to form over his forehead. Ren sucked in air as he grunted and she yanked her right numb hand from his grip; his eyes popped open and she scratched his face, her nail-less finger burning with pain but she managed to make the corner of his eye bleed.


Ivan roared and the back of his free hand hit get across the face, Ren started to squirm and throw her hand around, Ivan let go of her other wrist and Ren started to scratch and hiss and squirm. Ivan’s right hand disappeared behind his back as he fought to get control over Ren once more.


Ren had once heard that pain could snap someone out of paralyzing fear but she didn’t know if it was true or something someone had just made up; but as pain was born and spread through her midsection, the blonde young woman felt her body snap and a shriek erupted from her throat like a banshee sensing death nearby.


“Oh,” laughed Ivan “I always knew you were a screamer”


She screamed even though her lungs were threatening to collapse, she screamed as the veins in her neck felt like they would burst, she screamed because her life depended on it, she screamed as she felt hot liquid pour down, she screamed as Ivan stabbed her a second time.


_____________\\_____________


Amaro and Elliot rushed down the street, the blood curling scream leading their way towards the place where their lost friend was. Amaro's quick feet pushed him further beyond Elliot, he panted as he pumped his legs further with Elliot just a few feet behind him. He took a curve and he felt his heart shatter and push his way out of his chest as he saw Ivan over Ren, her head back and back arched as she finally stopped screaming and fell limp over the wet pavement.


He roared with rage and threw himself forward, Ivan looked up but Amaro was already grabbing him by the back of the shirt and yanking him out and off Ren. Elliot rushed into the alley as Ivan slammed himself over the floor, he looked down at Ren and rushed to Amaro and pulled Ivan up and pressed him against a dumpster as Amaro turned his attention to Ren who wasn’t moving on the floor.


Ren didn’t hear Amaro roar, she wasn’t aware that she couldn’t feel her feet or the throbbing pain in her thighs, she could no longer feel the blood gushing out her midsection or the semen dripping out of her; she was barely aware that her lungs were burning; she could only hear her heart beating madly in her ears and she was aware her vision had started to get blurry and things started to spin around.


Her head had dropped to her right as Elliot held Ivan and started to read him his rights, Ivan’s nose was bleeding by a punch Elliot had given him as Amaro cried into a radio that he had found Ren and that he needed an ambulance and a patrol car for Ivan. In the numbness around her, the only thing Ren felt was the soft touch of Amaro's fingers over her hand, she didn’t even hear as Amaro screamed at Carisi to go for Olivia and an ambulance.


Carisi felt the world spin around him as he ran into the alley, Elliot was putting handcuffs on Ivan, who was bleeding and Amaro was kneeling next to Ren, who to his terror, had her dress up to her midsection that was bleeding and she wasn’t moving.


“Carisi!” cried Amaro, he was now pressing over Ren’s wound to try and control the bleeding. “Call the ambulance again, get Liv here!”


But Sonny couldn’t move, his legs felt like lead as he stepped forward towards Amaro, his hands shaking. “Ren” he whispered, his tone agonizing.


He took another step forward but was stopped by Elliot's strong hand pressed against his chest, he had shoved Ivan away. “Carisi, if you want to help her, you need to wait for the ambulance on the street” Carisi looked at Elliot slowly, his heart shattering as he looked away from Ren “Go” said Elliot, he pushed Carisi back and with heavy breathing Sonny did what he was told.


“Ren” whispered Amaro, but despite what he thought, she looked at him not because she had heard his words but because she had felt him pressing over her would that no longer hurt; she looked at him and their eyes locked, she blinked with a shaky smile and her eyes fluttered closed. “No, no, no!” cried Amaro just as the paramedics rushed towards them and Olivia and Fin appeared in the alley.


_____________\\_____________


The ambulance drove off with Ren and Olivia in it, Elliot and Fin had escorted Ivan back to the station while Amanda, Nick and Dodds had to help get the girls to the safe house and then they would all meet at the hospital and finally Carisi had gotten in his car and drove like a mad man behind the ambulance; his heart screaming desperately in his chest as he tried to blink away the tears.


“I’m so sorry” he whispered as he parked the car “Babe, please” he slammed the door closed and dashed towards the hospital doors.

Chapter Text

“Hello” sang Ren, she held her phone between her shoulder and her ear while she pulled a chip out of the now half empty bag; she was sitting at the fire escape of an old unused building, her camera sat next to her as did her messenger bag.

“Hey dummy” said Nat’s voice, Ren could hear someone giggling in the back and was almost sure it was Alex.

“What’s up?” asked Ren, her eyes firm over the woman she had been paid to follow.

“Are you at work?” asked Nat.

“Yes, of course I am, I’m finishing my last assignment” Ren rolled her eyes but pulled up her camera “Am I on speaker? Where are you guys?” Ren put the camera down and looked down at her watch, it was too late for them to be at their lunch break; she wondered if they ever got tired of spending all their days together.

“We are at work” answered Nat “And yes, of course you are on speaker”

“I hardly doubt you guys are working” Ren joked.

Alex and Nat had a nice pastry shop near Ren’s apartment and although they were without a doubt Ren’s best friend, she wondered how they managed to spend all their days together and not feel overwhelmed at times.

“It’s been a slow day” sighed Alex dramatically. “You are still coming tomorrow, right?” they giggled as Ren decided to call it a day and head back home. “With NYPD’s finest”

“Yes, we’ll be there” laughed Ren “Don’t worry”

“Are you almost done? Want to come over?” Nat asked.

“No, I’ll be here a while longer” Ren lied, she loved Alex and Nat to death but there were times when she just wanted to stay at home and have herself as her own company; she liked her own space and her own time, and that had been the reason why she had declined to move in with Nat and Alex when they had decided to look for an apartment together. In the end, the two girls had moved in together and Ren had gotten an apartment thirty minutes away from her friends.

“But, I’ll see you tomorrow with Sonny”

“He better be here, or I’ll start to think that you are making him up” laughed Alex.

“Dios, you guys have seen pictures of him!” chuckled Ren as she started to pack her things.

“That doesn’t count” pointed out Nat and Ren was sure she could hear Alex nodding in agreement.

“Stop” laughed Ren “I’ll call you guys later”

Ren hung up and shoved her phone into the pocket of her jacket and stood up; her legs whined as she did, she had been sitting for so long that it burned as she stretched and got ready to leave. Carefully, she climbed down the stairs with her messenger bag dangling gently against her body, the feeling so familiar Ren couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t felt the bag against her; she had enough evidence to hand to the person who had hired her to follow that woman, all she had to do now was organize the information and hand it in.

She walked down the street wondering what she would wear for Alex’s birthday, she would head to Alex’s apartment at around five to eat some cake and gossip before they got ready to leave to party; Carisi would get there at around ten and her friends would finally get to know him and get off her back about Ren making Carisi up.

Maybe the romper” she thought as she walked down the street “Or the black dress” she shrugged, she would take all her options to Alex’s house and they would all choose together what to wear and take pictures and laugh.

Ren was looking forward to getting together with her friends and get their make-up done together and choose what to wear together; she had been swimming in loads of work and hadn’t been able to see her friends as much as she wanted too.

 

___________//____________

 

Carisi walked back to the desks with two cups of coffee, Amaro and Elliot had left to talk to a possible victim while Fin and Olivia were checking on a few things outside the station about their case with Barba; leaving Dodds, Amanda and Carisi together at the station.

“Here you go” smiled Carisi, he handed Amanda one of the cups.

“Thank you” smiled Amanda, she took the cup and leaned back on her chair as Dodds propped himself over the desk. “Are you excited about tomorrow?”

Dodds frowned slightly and turned from Amanda to Carisi and then back at Amanda “Excited about what?”

“He’s meeting Ren’s friends tomorrow” explained Amanda, a smile over her face.

“Oh” smirked Dodds, he turned to look at Carisi. “You guys have been dating for like six months, and you still don’t know her friends?”

Carisi shrugged, he had sisters, he knew that introducing a boyfriend to the group of friends was just as important as meeting the parents; Alex and Nat were Ren’s biggest support system, above all because her parents had moved back to Vermont, and Carisi knew it was important to her that he meet her friends.

“It’s a big deal for her” explained Carisi.

“Or she’s hiding you”

“Shut up” barked Amanda as she turned to Dodds “I thought you liked her already”

“I do” laughed Dodds “Just making sure”

Amanda rolled her eyes and turned to Carisi “What are you wearing?”

“Jeans” he shrugged “A dark red shirt and that’s all”

“They are gonna love you” smiled Amanda, Carisi smiled at her. “Trust me”

“I do” smiled Carisi “I just really hope they do, they are like sisters to her”

“We’ll get a background check on them” chuckled Dodds.

Carisi laughed loudly and Dodds snorted a laugh as Amanda smacked him over the shoulder.

Chapter Text

The bar/club was packed, Carisi remembered Ren telling him that Alex’s older brother had booked the whole place for the birthday; and he had seen the seven new Instagram photos Ren had uploaded with her two best friends. He looked around, trying his best to get a glimpse of his girlfriend but he wasn’t having much luck, he could see people dancing and laughing and people at the bar asking for drinks; a couple here and there making out and other people already drunk, when a soft yet firm hand grabbed his arm.

“Sonny!” he turned around, to find himself face to face with his girl; she had a wide smile over her face and a drink on her free hand “You finally made it!”

“Ren” he smiled, he took in the sight of his girlfriend in her party clothes, he was used to seeing her in jeans and leggings and a few skirts here and there and natural makeup but seeing her with her hair done and stronger makeup, was something he didn’t know he liked so much; it was a different her but still her. “You look beautiful”

“Thank you” she smiled and gave him a peck, her grip over his arm tightening as he passed his free arm around her waist and pulled her closer to him; the kiss heating up. Ren pushed away from him and winked an eye at him “I’m excited” she whispered, their bodies close to each other “I can’t wait for you to meet them”

“I can’t wait either” he smiled, the taste of her drink still over his lips; she smiled wider and gulped down the rest of her drink, she scrunched up her face at the bitter taste and then grabbed Carisi’s hand.

“Let’s go!” she cheered, Carisi had seen Ren tipsy before a few times, but never like this; she was beaming happiness and he was melting under her excitement.

Ren pulled Carisi after her, she pushed a few people away from her as she made her way towards the table she had been sitting at with Alex and Nat before she caught a glimpse of Carisi walking into the bar. Carisi eyed her long exposed legs, he remembered why he loved how much the red color looked against her pale skin, she had pulled her blond hair into an intricate braid and her high heels made her taller than he was.

“ALEX!” cried Ren, she gave Carisi a tug and he almost crashed against her, not that his body seemed to care.

Alex looked up at Ren, she was talking with a girl that had been trying to flirt with her and her jaw dropped as Nat turned to look at Ren too.

“He’s here!” smiled Ren.

“HE’S HERE!” cried Alex, she was already a step away from drunk.

Alex jumped to her feet, Nat following closely, leaving her boyfriend in the middle of a sentence; Carisi pressed his lips into a thin line to avoid laughing as the girls rushed towards him.

“NYPD’s finest” smiled Alex, “I’m Alex Dixon,”

“Dominick Carisi” he smiled “Happy birthday”

“I’m Natalia Allen”

“Nice to meet you”

“I told you he was real”

“And he really is NYPD’s finest” said Alex as she turned to look at Ren “He’s hot”

“He can hear you too” pointed out Ren, she smiled.

“Do you have a partner?” asked Alex, she turned to Carisi.

“No!” laughed Ren “He’s not introducing you to anyone!”

“Why?” asked Alex and Carisi at the same time.

“Don’t encourage her” explained Nat with a shy smile, she shrugged, Carisi smiled at her and had the impression that out of the three friends, she was the one who had had less to drink.

“You want a drink?” asked Alex, she turned to the table and grabbed a bottle of vodka and handed it to Carisi.

“Sure” whispered Carisi, he took the bottle with doubt but when Alex kept looking at him with huge eyes he had to take a drink from it.

“Don’t worry” whispered Ren to his ear “Only Alex and I have had to drink from that one”

“We kind of thought she was making you up” explained Alex, she took the bottle and took a long drink from it.

“When she says we, she actually means her” explained Nat “We had seen pictures of you”

“I’ve seen pictures of you too” smiled Carisi.

“You guys have fun but Ren” Alex turned to Ren “I better see you here in” she looked down at her phone but Nat answered.

“An hour and a half”

“Exactly” smiled Alex. “We have to keep tradition!”

And with that Alex grabbed Nat’s hand and dragged her off to dance and take a few pictures, Donovan smiled as he watched Nat sway away and started to talk to Alex’s brother, who happened to be his best friend.

“What tradition?” asked Carisi as he turned to look at Ren.

“She’s turning 27 today, so we have 27 shots at midnight” smiled Ren.

“Oh” he chuckled, “Nice”

Ren smiled and looked around, she scratched the exposed skin of her cleavage before she turned around back to Carisi.

“Let’s dance” she whispered.

“Of course”

Carisi took her hand and gently tugged her away from the table, he could see the way other guys around looked at Ren, she was a force to be reckoned with, her beauty, the way she made everyone feel comfortable with themselves and the way she seemed to exude light from every pore in her body were something that attracted people the second she stepped into a room.

The pair walked hand in hand towards a small clearing and Ren turned to look at her boyfriend, she smiled, her cheeks flushed by the alcohol and her eyes big and dreamy and in love and Carisi felt himself bubble up with love. She turned her face to her left and smiled and nodded at a pair of girls walking past and holding up their glasses to her, she wiggled her fingers as a wave at a young black guy before she turned to Carisi and her smile brightened.

He took her hand and pulled her closer to him, their cheeks touching as he closed his eyes and gently kissed her scared cheek; the small scar he had noticed the first time they had properly talked over tacos and Jessica Jones and her work as a PI, the scar he knew by memory, the scar he claimed his as he kissed her cheek once more and she closed her eyes and wrapped her arms gently around his neck.

Carisi’s hands landed over her hips as they started to sway, the music too loud and to fast but they danced to their own tune as he felt her gentle fingers ghost on the back of his neck and then the tips disappeared under his hair. She rested her head over his shoulder and he kissed the crook of his neck as he pulled her closer to him; their chests pressed against each other so close that Carisi could feel the edges of her necklace poking at him uncomfortably but he could also feel the warmth coming from her exposed cleavage and he wasn’t going to let go.

Ren opened her eyes, a blur of people danced around her and Sonny, his arms around her waist as she held to his neck; his arms strong and protective but he knew how strong she really was, how capable she was of taking over the world by her own while remaining incomparably beautiful to his eyes. Her heart beating rapidly against her chest and the alcohol rush she had been having seemed to slow down just by the way his hands touched her skin and her body and she felt her heart jump as she pulled him closer to herself in a desperate attempt to assure herself that he was real and that he was there with her and that she had never felt this way before.

“You ok?” he whispered, his words soft yet louder than the music blasting around them.

“Yes” she whispered back, she rested her chin over his shoulder for a moment before she pushed herself away just a few inches to look at him; his light eyes staring back at her darker ones.

His fingers dug a little bit harder against her hips as her hands traveled to each side of his neck and her thumbs caressed his face; his skin smooth and delicate from the aftershave she had grown to love in the last six months. Ren could feel her heart beating madly in her chest, because it was real, everything was real about him; she didn’t need the high of the orgasm to know how much she loved him, how much her skin needed to just be close to him, to know how easy it was for her body to fill the spaces of his when they lay at night over the bed.

“I love you” she whispered, the words dragged away by the Remix of a Sia song.

Sonny smiled as she looked at him, her eyes a little bit glossy from the drinks she had had before he had arrived after he had run late; small blond hairs sticking out of the braid that was tightly holding strong despite the agitated night. Her skin against his felt like nothing he had felt before, soft and smooth and delicate, yet he knew how strong it really was; how it could bear with the darkest bruises and the painful scratches she got almost on a daily basis.

And as they swayed with a tune only they could hear, and her thumbs caressed his face and his heart raced up, he knew how much this girl meant to him; how much he looked forward to seeing her every time he could, how much the tone of her voice could make his heart race. He didn’t need her to breath but he wanted her with him at every waking moment reminding him that he wanted to breath to see her, to touch her and kiss her and get intoxicated with the way her skin smelled and her hair felt against his face and his chest when he held her against him at night.

“I love you too” he whispered back, she smiled and leaned her forehead over his.

The smell of her perfume and the salty scent of her sweat and the trace of the odor of the alcohol were making his world spin as she closed her eyes and her arms slipped around his neck and she pressed herself harder against him; her nails digging harder against his neck.

Carisi pressed his lips against her thin ones, her mouth instantly opening up to his, her tongue tasted of vodka and her lips had a tint of the usual cherry Chapstick she wore under every lipstick she used. He pulled her closer to him, his chest racing and demanding he pulled her closer to him, that there shouldn’t be any space between them; a small whimper escaped her lips as he felt her chest rising and falling rapidly against his.

Ren pulled away first, her lungs contracting painfully as she panted for air and looked at Carisi, he smiled at her, his lips swollen but his grip around her steady and firm and promising. She smiled and gave him a soft peck on the lips, he hugged her tight as the music changed and Alex came screaming for Ren.

Midnight shots required the three best friends.

“I’m sorry” whispered Ren, she pulled away from Carisi as Alex’s iron grip on her wrist pulled her towards the table, Carisi chuckled and took her free hand and followed the two girls.

“What do we have?!” cried Alex with excitement.

“Vodka” laughed Nat, she had gotten almost drunk when Carisi had been dancing with Ren “Tequila, Rum and more Vodka!”

“Let’s do this!”

Ren turned to Carisi “We’ll leave after this”

“Are you sure?” he chuckled.

“I’ll be drunk by the third shot” she laughed, she turned to look at her shots and looked at Alex and Nat “Ok then!”

“Here we go!” laughed Nat, the three girls grabbed the first shot and drank up.

 

___________//____________

 

“Give me the keys” Carisi whispered to Ren as they stumbled down the corridor towards her apartment, the lights were off and even if he didn’t know what time it was he was sure it was pretty late. Ren turned to look at him and dangled the keys in front of him before she dashed down the hallways towards her door, Carisi giggled and rushed after her, her grabbed her by the waist and made her turn around just as they reached the door. “Give me the keys” he said, his voice husky.

“Make me” she whispered back, she gave him a rapidly peck as she pressed her body against his, his fingers tightening around her.

Carisi had ended up helping Ren drink down her shots and after that they had had a few more, so to say he was feeling light headed was an understatement.

“Ma’am” he whispered as he pressed her against the door “I’m a law enforcer, and I’m gonna need you to give me the keys”

“Then, I’d like to see some identification, sir” she purred.

Carisi chuckled and his hands drifted down to her butt, he pulled her up without effort and she wrapped her legs around his waist as he pressed her harder against the wall; a gasp slipping out of her lips as he did.

“Ma’am” he whispered, his lips brushing up against hers “The keys please, you wouldn’t like to get on the bad side of the law”

Ren passed her arms around his neck and grinded gently up against him “I wouldn’t?” she whispered against his lips.

“You wouldn’t” he whispered, he tried to get her lower lip but Ren pulled her head away from his and he groaned as she grinded once more. “But if you give me the keys, we’ll be good”

“Fine then” she laughed, she slipped one of her hands away from his neck and into the pocket of her romper and pulled out the keys, she handed them to Carisi and he pulled away from the door; Ren pushed herself down from him and he opened the door of the house for them.

Ren was grabbing at his neck the second he stumbled into the house, his hands fumbling around the fabric of her romper as he kicked the door close and dropped the keys on the floor. He unbuttoned his shirt as she cling to the sides of it, he stepped out of his shoes as his hands desperately tried to get the romper off her.

“How do you get this thing of?” he barked as their lips parted for a second to get air.

Ren growled and tugged her arms out of the straps and wiggled out of it, the romper pooling around her legs before she kicked it away and Carisi was grabbing her by the waist and pressing her against his chest, her nipples hard against him as his hands passed over her thin underwear and traveled between her legs.

She gasped loudly as she grabbed his shoulders and her head dropped back for a second, Carisi leaned forward and kissed her exposed neck, the way she smelled like alcohol and perfume send him overboard; he pulled her closer to him as she seemed to come undone with his hand between her legs. She turned her head and kissed Sonny hungrily, the alcohol in her veins fueling her, he kissed her back and felt as her hands let go of his shoulders and started to undo his belt and the buttons of his jeans. His breathing sped up, her hands were pushing his jeans down and then trailing back up to slip under his boxers and everything seemed like a mess of hands and skin against skin, and chests against chests and their hands holding and touching each other in a way they hadn’t done before and in all the intoxication from the vodka and tequila and rum, Carisi hadn’t felt more sober.

Carisi stumbled forward, he could hear Ren’s heels clicking and clacking as she backed with him, their hands still over each other. Almost blindly, Sonny lead them to the room, his body already breaking into a sweat and every inch of his desperate to have her as she purred into his lips and her legs seemed to tighten around him.

The back of Ren’s knees hit the edge of the bed and she flopped down over it unceremoniously, Carisi dropped over his knees and Ren sat down, even with him kneeling over the floor while she sat over the bed, he towered a bit over her. The young PI cupped his face and kissed him hard, his hands over her knees pulled her towards the edge of the bed and he kissed back; his right hand traveling once more between her legs, he loved the way it felt when she gasped when he still had her lips trapped between his.

Ren pushed herself of the bed and knelt in front of him, she pulled away from his mouth and Carisi leaned forward, trailing kisses down her neck to her chest and her breasts as Ren pulled open the firs drawer of the night stand and pulled out a condom; a rather loud yelp escaped her lips as he moved his fingers faster and his other hand tugged her underwear down.

And before she knew it, Carisi had taken his boxers off and had turned them over and she was lying flat over the floor as he slipped the condom on; she kicked her shoes off and grabbed the collar of his opened shirt and pulled him down for a kiss. One of his hands pulled her hips closer to him as he leaned down and the other played over her chest as he thrusted into her in a frenzy of alcohol and lust and the sight of the girl he loved on the floor wanting him.

Ren wrapped her legs around his waist as he thrusted, hands traveling down skin and shoulders and hips as he grunted and panted; her teeth nibbling at his earlobe as her purrs grew faster and higher and her fingers dug into his skin.

“Shit” he huffed, he could feel himself over the edge, he couldn’t say this was his best time record but he had the alcohol and the neediness to blame; he pressed his fingers against her skin and Ren would find a small purple mark over her waist from that moment the morning after. “Oh babe,” he bit her shoulder as she closed her eyes “I’m almost there”

“No importa” she moaned, her head thrown back as she pressed her legs around his waist harder to feel him deeper “Me too”

And in a frantic moment of moans and sweat and skin against skin and sloppy kisses, Carisi came and Ren followed a few thrusts after; he wiggled his shirt off before he crashed gently over her, his chest rising and falling rapidly and her hands stroking his back tenderly as she kissed the side of his head as he buried his face against her shoulder.

“Why are we on the floor?” she gasped after a few moments, suddenly realizing they weren’t over the bed.

“What?” he mumbled, his voice husky. He pulled his head away from her shoulder and pulled out of her, he sat down and she looked at him from her place lying on the floor. “Huh” he frowned, not realizing before that they had been on the floor.

“Oh well” she chuckled, she pushed herself over her elbows.

“I’ll be right back” he pushed himself up and stumbled towards the bathroom, in the dark he pulled the condom off and threw it into the trashcan.

Carisi walked out of the bathroom and saw movement over the bed, he smiled and hurried towards it, the breeze from an open window sending chills down his back. He crawled into the bed and found Ren lying over her back, he lay on his side and pulled her closer to him, she turned and pressed her back against his chest, her body fit against his like two unique puzzle pieces. The young detective kissed her naked shoulder, tasting the salt of the thin sheet of sweat over her, she entwined her fingers with his hand and cuddled against him as Carisi tugged the covers closer to them.

“Te amo” he whispered to her.

Ren chuckled at the few Spanish words he had learned from her “You también te amo” she whispered back.

And he loved her with every inch of his body even if she was rough at the edges at times, even if she came home with bruises and cuts, even if she cursed as few times, even if she had told Barba about them by mistake; he loved her because she was all that and much, much more.

“Because she’s strong” he thought.

The thing was yet to find out Carisi how strong she was.

Chapter Text

Ren walked out of Carisi’s room, she had changed her jeans for a nice dark green dress that danced just around her knees as she made her way towards the kitchen were Carisi was stirring something inside a pot; she walked around the island and eyed hungrily the pastries that Carisi had made a few hours ago.

As slowly as she could, Ren’s fingers played over one of the chocolate balls, she picked it up gently and brought it up to her mouth just as Carisi, as if reading her mind, turned around to look at her.

“Hey!” he said, he pointed at her with the wooden spoon. “Put that down!”

“Why, though?” she asked, her lips dangerously close to the ball, she raised her eyebrow at him.

“Put it down!” he said “You’re gonna eat all of them!”

“Are you calling me fat?” she joked, Carisi looked at her with a dumbfound expression.

“No, never” he whispered, Ren smiled and pushed the ball into her mouth. “No!”

“Too late darling” she laughed after she swallowed “Death by chocolate”

Carisi rolled his eyes playfully, a smirk threatening to appear over his lips “You are not gonna leave anything for the rest”

“Oh, relax!” she laughed, she pulled the spoon out of his hand and placed it over the island, she turned to him and wrapped her hands around his waist “There are like twenty more”

“You are gonna get chocolate all over yourself” he sighed, his hands snaking around her waist.

“You didn’t seem bothered by that last night” she raised her eyebrow teasingly as a furious blush spread over his face.

“Babe” he gasped, Ren had a tendency to bring up the naughtiest things they did when he wasn’t even thinking about it.

“Sonny” she smiled, she hugged him tight and pressed her face against his chest “Everything is gonna be fine, it’s not like you are having all of the squad here” he chuckled “You’d need a huge dinner table for that”

Ren pushed herself away from Carisi and looked into the pot he had been stirring, the smell made her mouth water, she placed the lid over the pot and turned to look at Carisi; he was leaning against the island with his arms crossed over his chest.

“Are you excited?” she asked.

“Yeah, this is nice” he smiled.

“This is officially the first dinner we host together” she smiled, she spin around and her dress danced around her; Carisi smiled as she thrilled around for a second time, he saw horrible things on a daily basis and being able to go home and just have a conversation with the girl that got joy just from making her dress fly around her was something that he treasured deeply.

“Hey, can I get another one?” she said rapidly as she tried to sneak past him and grab another ball.

“No!” cried Carisi, he acted quickly and took Ren’s hand and spun her towards him; she laughed loudly as she tried to protest but Carisi held her tight against him as he started to walk out of the kitchen “You are no longer allowed in the kitchen, miss”

“Ow” she faked hurt and pouted as she looked up at him, her lips painted in a faint pink color. “Please!” she begged, she pushed Carisi back towards the kitchen “Last one, I promise!”

“No” laughed Carisi, he stopped and Ren wasn’t able to push him further into the kitchen “You are gonna eat everything!”

“I love eating” she laughed.

“I know”

“Please”

“Nope” he laughed, he placed his hands over her hips and turned her around and gave her a soft kiss on the exposed part of her neck “Go get the wine, babe” he gave her a soft and playful shove and spanked her as she walked away towards the place Carisi kept his wine.

“You are no fun” she called out as she looked for a wine bottle.

“I’m a lot of fun” he laughed.

“Said no one ever”

Carisi’s laugh was interrupted by a doorbell, he turned to Ren, who was already marching towards the door.

“I’ll get it!” she said, she walked towards the door and pulled it open to find Amanda and Amaro smiling at the other side. “Hey”

“Hey” smiled Amanda, Ren stepped away and they walked into the apartment “Oh my god, it smells like heaven here”

“I know” smiled Ren, “Come in”

“Thank you” smiled Amaro “We brought you guys something”

He handed Ren a bottle of wine and Ren smiled, at least she wouldn’t have to look for one now that Nick and Amanda had brought a bottle.

 

___________//____________

 

Amanda watched as Ren walked into the kitchen and pulled out a small crystal plate and started to put chocolate balls over it, she smiled and then turned to her boyfriend before Carisi could return from the bathroom.

“Do you think he’s gonna ask her to move in with him?”

“What? Amor, they’ve been dating for like eight months, no” smiled Amaro.

“Really?” squinted Amanda “I think he might”

“I know that” he gave her a small kiss on the lips “You bet on him for that, remember?”

“We owe Liv twenty bucks, by the way” said Amanda.

“Liv and Dodds, right?” asked Amaro.

“Nope, he changed to her list last minute” shrugged Amanda “I guess we just made Olivia fifty bucks richer”

“I told you we should have bet on Carisi” laughed Amaro, Amanda rolled her eyes and elbowed Nick as Ren returned to the living room.

“It’s fine I won’t tell Sonny” she smiled as she placed the plate with the chocolate balls over the coffee table “He doesn’t need to know Liv is in this too, what’s the bet for though?”

“Thanks” chuckled Amaro, he grabbed a ball as Carisi returned to the room. “Where would the first couple event be” he whispered rapidly.

“So, how’s everything?” asked Carisi, he walked around the coffee table and sat over one of the arm chairs while Ren sat over the other one.

“Perfect” smiled Amanda “But we should get going”

Amaro looked down at his watch and nodded, the group stood up.

“Hey, what do you guys say we do this again but at our place?” asked Amaro, he turned to look at Amanda and then at Carisi and Ren.

“Yeah” smiled Carisi, he passed his arm around Ren’s waist “That would be nice”

“It would be great”

“Perfect” smiled Amaro “We’ll tell Carisi and he’ll let you know”

“Great”

Ren and Carisi walked Amaro and Amanda to the door and said their goodbyes, Amaro reminded Ren that Olivia wanted to see her to settle a few things for the next reunion with Ivan in which he wouldn’t be present and then Amanda and Amaro left.

“That was a great night” smiled Ren, she turned to Carisi “Don’t you think?”

“Hey babe?” he whispered, Ren raised her eyebrow.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing” he smiled “It’s just that I have the next weekend off and I wanted to ask you something” he cleared his throat.

“Go ahead” she turned from the door and started to make her way towards Carisi’s room with him following her closely.

“Would you like to go my parents’ house?” he asked, just as Ren reached the bed.

The young woman froze for a second and then turned to look at him, Carisi noticed the tension on her shoulders as she stared at him.

“You mean like going over there?” she asked “Like meeting your parents kind of thing?”

“Yeah” he nodded, he shrugged trying not to look nervous and pushed his hands into the pockets of his jeans; he had taken girls to his house to meet his parents before, but with Ren it was different, he really wanted them to see her, to know how great she was, how happy she made him.

Ren looked at Carisi, it wasn’t that she didn’t want to meet his parents, she was just nervous; Carisi was part of a conservative family and she wasn’t, she couldn’t even remember when the last time she had been to mass, she had a job that some people considered not only strange but that it violated peoples private lives and she really didn’t want them to not like her.

“Yeah” she answered after a long silence “Ok”

“Babe” he smiled and walked towards her “You don’t have to go if you don’t want too”

“I do want to” she answered, Carisi reached for her but Ren dodged his hands and walked rapidly towards the closet to pull out an old shirt from Carisi that she could sleep in; she could feel her heart slamming against her ribs.

“Then what’s wrong?” he asked, he frowned as Ren turned to look at him; she gave him a weak smile and shook her head.

“Nothing” and with that she hurried towards the bathroom and closed the door behind herself.

“Ok” whispered Carisi, he watched the closed door for a few seconds and then turned to the closet as well, he unbuttoned his shirt and undid his belt and the buttons of his jeans and squirmed out of them.

His clothes pooled around him as he pulled on a pair of new boxers and closed the closet door; he glanced at the bathroom but the door was still closed.

Maybe its too soon” he thought “Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything, shit” he scooped up his clothes and placed them over a chair he had in the room and walked towards the bed, he sat down over the edge and leaned his elbows over his knees and closed his eyes as he dropped his head forward “Fuck” he barked at himself, he had been thinking about telling Ren all the week and now that he had, he was wishing he hadn’t “I shouldn’t have said a word” he could feel a cold breeze from the cracked window slithering over his naked torso.

As he cursed at himself in his mind, he didn’t notice as the door of the bathroom opened up and Ren stepped out, she was wearing his oversized shirt, a pair of light pink boyshorts that matched her sleeping bra. She barked at herself internally as she watched Carisi leaning over his knees with his back to her, she had obviously hurt his feelings with her prolonged silence.

As gently as she could, she climbed over the bed and crawled to him, gently placing her hands over his shoulders as she sat down with her legs around his body; she leaned in and kissed his left shoulder blade.

“I didn’t mean it for it to sound like I didn’t want to go” she whispered, Carisi opened his eyes and smiled softly even if she couldn’t see him “I’m just – I don’t have the most common life style, Sonny; I follow people around, I can’t remember when the last time I went to mass was, and weddings don’t count, I get hit and punched and I just….

Her voice trailed away, Carisi looked over his shoulder and she looked at him, even with shadows washing over her face, she still looked beautiful.

“Babe” he smiled “That doesn’t matter, that doesn’t make you a better or a worse person”

Carisi turned to his left and crawled over the bed, Ren sat Indian style as he laid his head over her lap; she looked down at him and played with his hair.

“If you don’t feel comfortable, we’ll leave” he smiled “What do you say?”

“Fine” she smiled, she found his dimples and his sweet smile hard to resist, she leaned down and gave him a soft kiss on the lips; her hair falling around them like a curtain.

“And anyway, they want to meet you” he smiled, Ren’s eyebrow rose “I’ve told them about your job and they’ve seen pictures”

“You’ve showed your parents pictures of me?” she chuckled.

“Of course” he laughed, “We have a ton of picture together”

“I know that” she laughed “I just didn’t think you’d show your parents”

“And my sisters”

“Oh, wow” she chuckled “And what did they say?”

“That they all want to meet you”

“Fine!” she laughed “I’d love to meet them too, trust me”

“I trust you” he knew she did want to meet them, it was just that he could tell how nervous this made her. “Hey, haven’t your parents seen pictures of me?” he frowned and pushed himself up to a sitting position right in front of her.

“Of course they have!” laughed Ren, she winked at him and leaned forward and planted a kiss over his lips.

“And what did they say?” asked Carisi, he grabbed Ren’s butt and pulled her further towards him; he dropped back and she fell over him, her legs at the sides of his body.

“That you look like a nice guy” she mumbled as she kissed his face, her arms wrapped around his neck “And that they’d like to meet you eventually”

“Great” smiled Carisi, his hands traveled up to her back and under the shirt “I’m great with parents” he arched against her when she tugged at his lower lip.

“You’re good at everything” she whispered before she kissed him.

Carisi chuckled against her mouth and wrapped his arms around her, hugging her harder against him as she giggled and kissed his neck.

Chapter Text

“Hey!” barked Ren, Carisi closed his eyes for a second in agonizing pain as he rubbed his face with his left hand; he hated being in the van when Ren was inside Ivan’s club all by herself and the only thing he had was audio on what was going on “I told you not to touch me” he felt his blood boil, he opened his eyes and turned to look at Fin.

Fin glanced at Carisi and gave him an understanding half smile before he looked down at the visual he had thanks to the camera Dodds had in his glasses.

Ren slapped away the hand of the man that had been trying to touch her all night, it wasn’t the first time she was at the club without the team; she had done that a dozen times before, but she was sure there had never been a time when a costumer had been so persistent in trying to touch her.

The man looked at her and raised his left eyebrow in amusement at the hot blond with the fishnets and flimsy shorts and crop top; he had been eyeing her for a few weeks now and he had to confess that maybe she didn’t have the best body in the club but there was something about her that he wanted and now that he had spotted her without her Latino pimp, this was his chance.

“Come on babe” he snorted “I could make it worth your time”

“I’m not your babe” she barked, Ren rolled her eyes and turned on her heels, she took a step forward and just as was about to walk away to tell Ivan she was leaving, a hand grabbed her.

His fingers wrapped around her wrist tightly, and the man pulled at her with strength; Ren’s left feet backed towards him in an attempt to hold her balance but her ankle curved inward and pain shot up her leg as she tripped backwards. The young woman felt her legs fly from under her as she slipped back and crashed painfully next to the feet of the guy who had been harassing her, her ankle throbbing in pain and her right arm above her head as the man continued to hold her tight.

“What the fuck?!” she barked, she pulled at her arm but he didn’t let go; instead he yanked her back up to her feet and Ren felt like a rag doll as her body was pulled up and she forced herself to get back on her feet despite the pain in her ankle.

“Listen to me bitch” spat the man, he tried to pull Ren closer to him but the young woman was putting all her strength in keeping herself as far away from him as she could.

“Hey, what’s this shit?” a voice barked behind Ren, the man looked up and smirked.

“You’re little bitch… but before he could even finish, Ren saw a fist rush past her and slam itself against the face of the man; the force sending him back, his hand releasing Ren’s wrist and the young woman stumbled back before a hand held her hip and pulled her towards a strong body.

The young woman had her eyes focused on the man as a pair of guys from security, that during the day beat people up for Ivan, pulled the man up; she slowly turned to look at the owner of the hand around her waist and found Ivan glaring at the man.

“Are you ok?” asked Ivan without looking at her.

“Yes, I’m fine” she answered “Just hurt my ankle a bit”

Ivan looked at one of the guys holding the guy up and Ren saw a flash of rage cross his eyes, he released Ren and stepped towards the man and hit him once more, this time his nose started to bleed.

“NO!” cried Ren, she launched forward and grabbed Ivan’s arm, she pulled him towards her and he turned to look at her with anger flashing through him “Don’t hurt him” she said, even if the look on his face was sending chills down her spine. “Please, por favor”

Ivan looked at her, he hated people arguing with him in front of his workers but the way Valentina was looking at him was something she had never done before and her Spanish always drove him crazy.

“Por favor” she whispered once more.

“Fine, just get him out of here”

“Gracias” she smiled, she tried not to sigh, the last thing she wanted was to get a man killed.

“Anything for you” he whispered, he took her hand and tugged her towards his body, his free hand cupped her face and he gave her a kiss on the temple. “Are you sure you are ok?”

Dodds had turned his attention to the fight just like everyone, when Ivan had marched in to defend Ren, but his camera streamed into the van as Ivan pulled her against him and whispered against her ear and Carisi had to make an effort now to throw a fit.

Ren smiled as Ivan pulled away from her, he looked down at her and she nodded “I’m fine” his face was so close to her that Ren wasn’t really sure what to do; this was the closest she had ever been with Ivan and to say that her body wasn’t screaming danger was an understatement. “I was just about to leave anyway”

“You’re leaving?” he asked, his eyebrows shooting up in surprise.

“I have things to handle tomorrow” she explained “But I’ll be back” she forced her hand up to cup the side of his face and she stroked her thumb gently over his cheek; her body felt like acid being poured over it as their skins touched. “Get out of here!” she screamed at herself.

“Soon?” he asked.

“Of course” she winked and pulled away from him, she turned and started to walk away from him and towards the door, the rest of the club forgetting about the fight; fights were something usual at the club.

The young woman could feel her heart slamming against her chest as she put on her coat on and her leg was screaming louder as she walked casually to the door and then stepped out; she turned on the street and started to walk away. She was panting when she reached the corner, she clutched at the chest of her coat as she tried to breath, she had sensed so many wrong things with the way Ivan had touched her and it wasn’t just the fact that he was a pimp and human trafficker; it was the way his skin had seemed to heat up just as they touched, and the way his eyes darkened and she couldn’t breath as she reached the corner two streets down.

She knelt down next to a street lamp to get her breath back, a pair of streetwalkers passed her and glanced at her but decided not to say a thing as they walked away; Ren pulled the sleeve of her coat up and looked down at her wrist, it ached were the man had grabbed her, she closed her eyes and leaned her head against the lamp post and took a deep breath.

Great, now I’ll have bruises when we go up to meet Sonny’s parents”

She opened her eyes just as she heard footfalls, she forced herself up and turned around just to catch Carisi hurrying towards her; the hood of his sweater on and his hands in the pockets; he was worried about her but if he ruined the operation Olivia would kill him.

“Ren” he gasped.

“Don’t” she whispered, she shoved her hands into the pockets of her coat and shook her head “Don’t say anything”

“Renata” he said, he pulled his hands out of his sweater “Did he hurt you?”

“No” she answered.

“You said your ankle hurt, come on let’s take you home”

“I’m fine Sonny” she lied, her ankle actually was killing her. “I was nothing”

“It didn’t look like anything” he found himself barking, Ren looked at him shocked and he regretted it instantly “I’m sorry, I’m just worried”

“It’s fine” she whispered “I just want to go home”

They started walking down the street to were Ren usually left the car for the undercovers, Carisi as close to her as he could.

“Are you sure your ankle is fine?”

“Stop” she whispered, as they stopped in front of the car “Don’t do that Sonny, please, don’t”

Carisi looked at her with worried eyes, he pressed his lips into a thin line but nodded as she unlocked the car and he walked around the hood to get in the passenger seat.

“I’m sorry” he whispered as he closed the door “I’m just worried”

“I know” she answered as she started the car “Let’s just get to the station and go home”

Carisi looked at Ren as they passed a few street lights, the shadows licking her face made her face look harsher than it really was but still beautiful; her eyes were focused on the road and while he thought she was upset with him and everything that had happened at the club, Ren was terrified with what she had seen in Ivan.

If he finds out its me, he’ll kill me” she thought as she took a curve.

Chapter Text

“And this will be your room for the weekend” smiled Bella as she pushed the door of the room open, she stepped inside with Ren and Carisi walking behind her; Carisi carrying the bags. He grunted softly as Ren looked around the room that used to belong to him before he moved out of the house.

“Bella, are you serious?” sighed Carisi “I can’t believe mom is doing this”

“It’s fine” smiled Ren as she turned to Bella “Really”

“Don’t worry” winked Bella, she turned to Carisi “Behave will you? You know the rules”

“Then how come you and Tommy get to sleep in the same room?” asked Carisi.

“We live together, Sonny” explained Bella “Stop whining, your room is down the hall”

“Yes, I know”

Bella chuckled at his annoyed expression and walked out of the room as Ren looked around, she walked towards a standing bookshelf and looked at the books, her eyes drifting towards a picture of Carisi on his prom day.

“You look adorable” she chuckled as she picked up the picture frame.

“Oh come on” grunted Carisi, as he watched Ren looking down at the photo “Why is that still here?”

Ren turned to look at him and smiled, “Because you look adorable, babe”

“Shut up” he chuckled, he dropped the bags and walked towards her, wrapping his arms around her waist as she pressed the picture frame against her chest “I’ll talk to my mom about the sleeping arrangements” he whispered.

“No” she chuckled “It’s fine, Sonny, this is her house”

“I wasn’t counting on this”

“Hey” she laughed “For a weekend that you keep your hands to yourself won’t hurt anyone”

“It’s gonna hurt me” he chuckled. “You know you love my hands on you”

“I can manage with my own”

A blush shot up Carisi’s neck and all over his face as he looked down at the young woman, she winked and pushed herself away from Carisi and placed the photo back where it belonged, when she turned to Sonny he was still staring at her with a malicious grin over his face.

“Seriously?” he asked.

“Of course not” she laughed “That’s not happening here”

“Why not?” he asked.

“Sonny shut up” she said “Someone could hear us”

“Come on, that would be the biggest turn on ever”

“Shhh!” whispered Ren, she hurried towards Sonny and pressed her hand over his mouth “Stop talking about sex and masturbation”

“You brought it up” he pointed out, his words muffled against her hand.

“Yes, as a joke” she continued, her hand still pressed against his mouth.

Carisi winked at her and she felt the tip to his tongue slide against the palm of her hand, she pulled her hand away and raised her eyebrow at him.

“Come on” he whispered, his hands landed over her hips “The girl you love doing that on your childhood bed? I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who would be into that”

“Stop talking about that” she whispered, but the blush over her face made Carisi smirk.

“Fine” he kissed the tip of her nose “We’ll talk about it later”

He took her hand and led her out of the room and down the corridor of the house, the pair could hear Bella, Carisi’s other sister and mother talking on the first floor; his father would come back to the house later that afternoon.

The house was breathtaking, it rested outside the city where fresh air could be felt and almost touched and where everything seemed greener; it reminded Ren of the house she had lived in before they had moved to New York and as they made their way down the stairs, Ren wondered if Carisi would ever be up to going with her to Vermont.

The blond detective led her down the stairs and towards the kitchen, he could hear his sisters laughing and was almost sure that they were baking something. He pushed the door of the kitchen open and stepped inside with Ren next to him, the conversation stopped and the three women turned to look at them.

“It smells wonderful” smiled Ren.

“Here, help us mix this” smiled Leah, Carisi’s younger sister.

Ren slipped her hand away from Carisi’s and walked towards Leah, she was sitting at the kitchen island mixing things into a bowl; Carisi smiled and walked towards the fridge to get water, it had been a long drive.

“So, did you like the room?” asked Julia.

Ren looked at Carisi’s mother “Yes, its perfect, thank you”

“Thank you for joining us” smiled Julia “We’ve heard a lot about you”

“We’ve seen pictures too” smiled Bella.

Ren smiled but blushed as she looked down at the mixing bowl and started to mix, Leah watched her closely; Carisi had been right, she was pretty, with long golden hair and big eyes, Leah noticed the scar Carisi hadn’t dared ask how she had gotten and smiled; she knew how Carisi felt for the blond and she was only hoping she loved her brother the same way.

“What happened?” asked Bella’s voice, snapping Leah out of her thoughts.

Everyone turned to look at Bella.

“What?” asked Leah.

“To your hand, Ren, what happened?”

Ren looked down at her wrist and noticed the dark marks she had gotten from the undercover operation just a few day ago; she gulped and looked up at Bella, the last thing she was going to do was tell everyone that she had gotten manhandled when pretending to be a prostitute.

“Someone tried to rob me” she answered instead.

“Jesus Christ” said Bella “Did they hurt you?”

“No, I’m fine” she smiled “I’m kind of used to it”

“Getting robbed?” asked Leah.

“Getting bruises” she answered, she looked at the three women before they looked at each other, Ren could feel Carisi close to her.

Her body always knew when he was close to her.

“How do you get used to that?” Julia dared to ask.

“It’s part of the job” answered Ren, Carisi noticed the way she was holding the wooden spoon and he could tell she was getting nervous “Sometimes people notice me, other times a few costumers get aggressive, it’s fine”

“What are we having for lunch?” Carisi jumped in, his right hand landing over the small of her back, he looked at his mother and then glanced at Bella and mouthed “Stop it”

“Gnocchi” answered Leah.

“Great, sounds delicious” smiled Carisi.

“Yeah, mom makes the best” smiled Bella as she looked at Ren “You’ll see”

“I can’t wait to try them” she smiled.

“Sonny” smiled Bella as she turned to her brother “A little help setting the table?”

“Sure” answered Carisi, he let go of Ren’s hip after giving her a gentle squeeze and followed his sister out of the kitchen to the dining room to set the table for lunch.

“It’s been a while, you know” Bella started as she pulled out a flowery table cloth and turned to Carisi who pulling out plates from nice furniture shelf, he turned to look at Bella.

“A while? What do you mean?”

“Since you brought a girl home” she explained, she extended the table cloth over the table and looked up at him with a gentle smile “She seems nice”

“She is” he answered, he walked towards the table and placed the plates over it before he went to look for the silverware.

“Is she different?”

Carisi turned to look at her, with a fork in his hand and a frown over his face “Of course she is”

“You know what I mean” shrugged Bella, she started setting the plates where they belonged.

“We haven’t talked about that” he answered.

“But you want too” she smiled, she looked up at him “Don’t you? You want her to move in with you, dot you?”

Carisi stood silent as he looked at his sister, she smiled at him as she waited for answer, it was refreshing to see him just in jeans and a simple button shirt, he looked relaxed and fresh; but Bella knew her brother, she knew being in love had taken a weight off his shoulders.

“Yes” he finally answered.

“And when are you gonna ask her?” asked Bella, she chuckled and shook her head, her short blond hair waving around her gently.

“I don’t know if she wants too” he explained, Bella looked up at him, he looked like a teen having a nervous attack about asking a girl to prom.

“Well, you won’t know if you don’t ask her, right?”

“And if she says no?” he asked.

“Then she says no” smiled Bella “Relax, Sonny” she walked around the table towards him “I’m pretty sure she wants you to ask her”

But Sonny wouldn’t get the chance to do so.

A burst of laughter erupted from the kitchen and Bella and Carisi turned to look at the closed door before they heard Ren’s voice.

“Almost, but listen” Carisi heard his sister chuckle “Estamos haciendo galletas”

Carisi smiled, he loved to hear Ren speak Spanish, he couldn’t get half the things she said but he loved the way it sounded when she spoke.

“Right” laughed Bella “She’s Latin, right?”

“Her dad is Colombian” answered Carisi, he turned to Bella “She’s taught me a few words”

“I bet you suck at Spanish” laughed Bella.

“I do not” he smirked.

“Let’s hear it then” smirked Bella, she placed her left hand over her hip.

Carisi rolled his eyes “I know, te amo, te ves hermosa, tu casa o la mia and vamos por algo de comer”

“Wow” laughed Bella “What does all that mean?”

Carisi chuckled “I love you, you look beautiful, your house or mine and lets go get something to eat”

“Of course you had to learn something sexual in Spanish”

“What? Nothing is sexual”

“Your house or mine?” laughed Bella.

“Shut up” chuckled Carisi as a blush spread over his face.

“That’s why you don’t get to sleep with her in the same room”

Carisi rolled his eyes as he turned back to getting the silverware.  

Chapter Text

It never occurred to Ren that dying felt the way she was feeling right now as the stretcher was pushed down the hall; Olivia was asked to stay behind in the waiting room as Ren was taken away and the Lieutenant watched with horror and an icy hand holding her heart as Ren was taken away and then disappeared from her view.

Ren felt nothing at all as the doctor shoved open a door and they pushed her inside, her body felt like it wasn’t there at all and her mind was barely processing everything happening around her; she was barely conscious of what had happened with Ivan, all she knew was that she felt numb and weightless and sleepy.

“She’s losing a lot of blood” said a nurse, a hand held Ren’s face and opened her right eye, a light she was barely aware of was flashed over it and then the darkness returned.

“She’s going to need stitches and someone get me two bags of blood, she’s gonna need them!” cried the doctor as she helped a nurse cut off Ren’s dress.

The doctor looked down at the two knife wounds, blood gushing out of them profusely, she could tell they were two separate stabs wounds but they had been so close to the other that the wound had merged into a long strip that went from her hip bone and straight up.

“Dear god” whispered the doctor, she had seen worse things, but it always got to her when people so young would be rushed in with so sever wounds.

Ren’s eyes fluttered open and her head dropped to the side, she could see blurs of white and grey and figures of people moving but she couldn’t tell how many there where; she opened her mouth and a nurse appeared in front of her.

“Miss, can you hear me?” she asked; Ren looked at her and nodded gently. “Your blood type”

“A+” she slurred out, she wasn’t even aware she was understanding the words much less being able to answer them “I can’t feel” she mumbled as her eyes threatened to close again.

“What can’t you feel?”

“Anything”

And she passed out.

 

___________//____________

 

Carisi rushed into the waiting room like a bull in a crystal shop, he panted as he looked around and found Olivia sitting with her back to him at the end of the waiting room; she was leaning over her knees and her head dropped forward.

“Lieutenant” he gasped as he reached her side.

Olivia looked up at Carisi and just the look in his eyes was enough to break her heart once more; Ren and Carisi had broken up three months ago and even though she had barely seen them together since then, she knew they still had feelings for each other.

“She’s with the doctor right now”

“Is she ok?” asked Carisi, his voice shaking.

“She’s lost a lot of blood” explained Olivia.

“But she’s going to be ok, right?”

Olivia watched as Carisi passed his right hand through his hair, he was a nervous wreck, his hands shaking and his eyes darting around the room.

“Right?”

“They don’t know yet” Olivia answered, she cared about Carisi, and that was why he deserved to hear the truth; she didn’t know if Ren would be ok.

“Oh god” he whispered as he crashed over the chair next to Olivia’s; he leaned forward and covered his face with both his hands. “No, no”

Olivia turned to look at him, her gentle hand reached over and she placed it over his shoulder as his body started to spasm, he was breathing hard and his mind was racing with all the things he was now blaming himself with; and then Olivia heard him sob gently and the tears rolled down his face and slipped down his hands and down to his knees and the floor.

“She’s in great hands” whispered Olivia.

But Carisi couldn’t hear anything she was saying, he uncovered his face but covered his eyes with his right hand as he grabbed Olivia’s free hand with his left one and squeezed it hard as the tears came harder now.

He could hear her voice loud and clear in his mind, laughing and giggling; he held Olivia’s hand tighter when the words slammed into his mind and he felt like he couldn’t breathe.

“You don’t look like the guys who read comic books in my school”

He opened his mouth to gasp for air.

“But I’m hoping you can show me, Detective Carisi”

He shut his eyes tighter even if that meant seeing strange colors behind his eyelids.

“You didn’t seem bothered by that last night”

He felt Olivia pull him in to a side hug without letting go of his hand.

“Estamos haciendo galletas”

The words came with a vision of Ren on the floor, bleeding and unmoving.

I love you”

He remembered the walk in the park where he had planned on telling her to move in with him but had gotten cold feet at the last minute.

What does that mean Sonny?”

And he saw the look on her face once more the day he had broken up with her and he hated himself more than he had that day.

I’ll be fine Detective, don’t worry”

Had been the last words she had spoken to him and he had felt like screaming and telling her how sorry he had been about everything and had decided to do it after they had arrested Ivan; but things had taken a twisted turn.

Carisi leaned into Olivia’s hug with his eyes still covered and the spasms and the tears still coming heavily when a nurse walked up towards them.

Chapter Text

Carisi opened the door of his childhood room as gently as he could and squeezed himself through the small opening he had made; Ren glanced at him from her place over the bed, a book in her hands and an amused smiled over her lips.

“What are you doing?” she giggled.

“I came to check on you” he smiled, he was wearing a pair of sweatpants and a red shirt; he closed the door and walked towards the bed.

“How are you doing?” he asked.

“Good” she chuckled. “You are gonna get in trouble if your mom finds you here”

“Don’t worry” he sat down and placed his hand over her exposed ankle “She won’t check”

Ren closed her book and placed it over the nightstand, it had been a long day at the Carisi home but Ren was glad that she had decided to come and meet Sonny’s family.

“So,” he started, his fingers caressing her ankle gently “I know you said no fooling around”

“Aha” she smirked as she looked at him, if she knew him well, and Ren was sure she did, she could tell the man was up to something.

“But…

“Sonny” she sighed, her smile not leaving her lips.

“No, no, listen” he tugged at her ankle and she pushed herself towards him. “But I’m sure you’ve noticed there’s a tub in my bathroom”

“I have”

“What about a nice bath before going to bed?” Ren raised an eyebrow at him. “An innocent bath, I promise”

“Fine” she nodded with a smile.

“Perfect” he jumped to his feet and pulled Ren’s ankle towards him.

“No!” she giggled as loud as she dared as Carisi pulled her leg out of the bed.

“Can’t hear you” he chuckled and scooped Ren up; instinctively, she wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck.

Carisi held her tight towards him as he stepped towards the door at the end of the room, and pulled a hand away from her body as he opened the door and they stepped inside; it was a blessing that he was the only boy in the house and that was why he had been given the room with its own bathroom.

He stepped inside and Ren untangled her arms and legs from his body and stood up as Carisi closed the door behind them. Carisi stepped around his girlfriend and turned the water on, it had been a while since he had used the tub and he couldn’t think of a better way to start using it again that didn’t involve Ren.

Behind him, Ren stripped down and placed her clothes over the sink and waited for the steam to cover the mirror and for Carisi to place his clothes with hers before she spoke.

“I like your bathroom”

Carisi turned around to look at her and made an epic effort not to let his eyes wonder around her body and an even larger effort to not reach out and touch her.

“I like you” he smiled and gave her a peck on the lips. “I think it’s warm enough” he smiled and turned to the tub and stepped inside; the warm water feeling like heaven as he sat down.

“It better be boiling hot because it’s turning into a very cold night”

“Get in babe” he chuckled.

Ren stepped inside and sighed with pleasure as she sat down and the warm water covered her body. The young woman leaned her back against Carisi’s strong chest and smiled as he wrapped his arms around her with his legs poking out of the water.

“This is a big tub” she pointed out as she looked down at her extended legs that were submerged in the water and she moved the water around gently with her hands.

“Not enough” answered Carisi, he extended his legs but he was too tall to extend them fully, he pulled them back up and kissed her shoulder. “Did you have fun today?” he asked after a few minutes of comfortable silence.

“I did” she answered “And your mom should be considered a world class Chef”

Carisi chuckled “She should” he made a pause “My sisters really liked you”

Ren looked over her shoulder “Really?”

“Yeah” he kissed her gently over the lips and pulled her body closer to his.

Ren caressed his right knee and poured water over it as they sat in silence, silence had never felt so good with anyone else before Carisi; she kissed his knee and squirmed further down the water, she sighed delightfully and closed her eyes for a moment.

“Hey babe” whispered Carisi, his breath against her ear.

“Yeah?” she whispered back, not really sure why they were whispering but it didn’t bother her.

“Turn around”

“No” she giggled.

“Come on” he kissed her shoulder “Turn around”

Ren chuckled but pushed herself away from his back and shifted carefully to not kick Carisi, he squirmed towards her and she passed her legs over his and around his waist as he pulled her closer to him; he leaned his forehead down over hers and smiled.

“I’m glad you came” he whispered to her and pulled his forehead away from hers.

“I’m glad a came too” she cupped some water with both her hands and poured it over his right shoulder gently; the warm water rolling down his skin deliciously. The young woman looked down at the water and did the same thing with his left shoulder, all while he kept his eyes over her. Ren dipped her hands in the water and then pressed her hands over his cheeks and smiled at him, she leaned over him and kissed his lips gently.

Carisi poured water over her shoulders and then his hands trailed down to the small on her back and he pulled her towards him as close as he could have her; Ren passed her arms around his neck and smiled.

“Should we get out now?” she asked.

“Do you want to get out?”

“No” she smiled “But I don’t want you to get in trouble with your mom”

“I’m not” he smiled, “Trust me”

He leaned in and kissed her, his fingers digging into her skin softly as she tightened her arms around his neck and pulled herself closer; their skins burning for each other like a wildfire. And suddenly the room seemed to heat up more than it already was, with the water waving gently around them as the pair held to each other; Ren pushed away and gasped for air as she looked at Carisi.

“We can’t” she whispered.

“We won’t” he smiled “I promised”

Ren smiled “I’m sorry” she gave him half a smile.

“About what?” he smiled, he leaned in and gave her a soft kiss over her lips “I’m in my childhood tub with the woman I love, what are you sorry for?”

 

___________//____________

 

“Hey” smiled Leah as she reached the second floor and headed towards her room, Carisi turned to look at her and smiled.

“Hey”

“What were you doing?” she smirked as she crossed her arms over her chest and stopped to look at her brother.

“Nothing” he shrugged “What are you talking about?”

“You were wearing a red shirt when I said goodnight to you” pointed out Leah “That one is blue”

Carisi blushed softly and looked down at his shirt, he had given Ren the red one to sleep with and he had been sure no one would notice because he had been hoping not to cross paths with anyone on his way back to his room.

“I was saying goodnight to Ren” explained Carisi.

“Is that so?” smirked Leah.

“Not like that Leah” he rolled his eyes “Nothing happened”

“You expect me to believe nothing happened with your cute girl but you are wearing another shirt?” snorted Leah.

“She didn’t want to” he sighed “It’s mom’s house and she didn’t want to do anything in her house”

“Oh” smiled Leah, “Really?”

“Yeah”

“I like her” smiled Leah “She’s nice and pretty and respectful”

“I like her too”

“Sonny” she whispered.

“What?” he asked, he turned to look at his sister, his eyebrows up; Leah looked down at her crossed arms and then up at her brother.

“I’m really happy for you” Carisi looked at her with a confused expression “She really likes you and if she makes you happy, then you should ask her to move in with you”

“Bella told you” he sighed.

“Of course she did” chuckled Leah “We are your sisters and we really like her”

Carisi nodded with a smile and then walked past her towards his room, Leah uncrossed her arms and walked towards her own room, she stepped inside her room and smiled as she closed the door behind herself.

As the protective sisters that she and Bella were, they were both incredibly happy that Carisi had found someone like Ren, it had been a while since he had had a long term partner and to be honest they had never seen him as happy and himself as now that he was with Ren.

“She might be the one” smiled Leah as she walked towards her bed.

Chapter Text

“Turn it like this” Eli’s voice said softly as his gentle hand took the Transformer toy from Noah’s hand, Noah turned to look at Eli as the slightly older boy turned its arm around and started to turn the toy from a robot to a car; Noah watched fascinated.

Elliot watched with a soft smile over his face as the two boys sat over the floor with toys around the, Eli showing Noah how to transform a few of them and Noah placing them in row for something that appeared to be a race but Elliot couldn’t be sure.

“Here you go” said Olivia’s voice, Elliot turned to look at her as she sat down over the sofa and next to him; he took the soda can she was handing him and glanced at the boys before he turned to look at Olivia.

“They seem to be having fun”

“They always have fun” smiled Olivia, her eyes turning to her son and Elliot’s younger kid.

“Oh, hey I forgot to ask you” he turned to look at Olivia.

“What?” she asked, her eyebrow raising as she looked at him.

“Come on, its nothing bad” he chuckled, he leaned down towards the coffee table and placed his soda over a piece of paper. “Lizzie wanted to talk to you for this project she’s doing for college”

“Oh” smiled Olivia “Sure, what’s it about?”

“I don’t know” sighed Elliot “She asked me to talk to you like three days ago, but we’ve had so many things going on at the station that I forgot”

“Yeah, of course” chuckled Olivia, she gave Elliot a playful shove on the shoulder before she glanced at Noah and Eli “Tell her to call me”

“If she asks, tell her I told you a few days ago” laughed Elliot.

Olivia glanced at him and rolled her eyes playfully at Elliot, he shrugged and leaned back to get his soda can; it was different now that the kids had left the house except for Eli who had just turned 5, the pressure to try and make the marriage work had been lifted off both Kathy’s and his shoulders and to be honest, they had both agreed that divorce was the best option for them.

She had been right.

It wasn’t that Elliot didn’t feel anything for Kathy anymore, she would always be his high school sweetheart, the woman who had given him a beautiful family and with whom he had great memories, but sometimes things finished their cycle and it was best to leave it there than to try and force things to happen and staining or ripping the beautiful memories they already had.

It hadn’t been a surprise for the kids and Eli didn’t seemed bothered that his father didn’t live at home, they both enjoyed their weekends together and Eli had bonded with Noah so fast that Elliot had wondered why he hadn’t introduced the kids before.

“Are you ok?” asked Olivia, she knew Elliot wasn’t much into talking about feelings but she still asked away.

“Yeah” he turned to look at her.

It was different he had to admit, it was different to see Olivia being a mother, not that he had never imagined it, it was just different; she was the same Olivia he had always known, yet she seemed better, happier, more like the Olivia he had always wanted to see.

Different in a good way.

“Hey, did you hear about Carisi?” asked Elliot.

Olivia frowned and took a sip from her water bottle “What are you talking about?” she asked, she pulled her legs up on the sofa and slipped them under her as she shifted her body to face Elliot.

“He might ask Ren to move in with him”

“When did this happen?” asked Olivia, she put the cap on her bottle and placed it gently between herself and Elliot.

“Amanda and Fin where talking about it”

“Talking or betting?” asked Olivia, she raised her eyebrow.

“Both” laughed Elliot “Fin says he might chicken out”

“You guys cannot give him a break, can you?” sighed Olivia, she smiled but rolled her eyes “Poor Carisi has the whole station betting on his love life”

“Come on Liv” chuckled Elliot “You got to admit it’s fun to see him squirm with that kind of thing, he looks like a teenager every time she comes to the station, and don’t get me started on the times she shows up dressed as Valentina”

Olivia laughed “Give him a break, he’s in love”

“Hey, I’m not judging him for being in love” Elliot smiled and placed his big hand over Olivia’s knee “But its fun”

“At least tell me you bet in his favor” smirked Olivia, she glanced down at his hand over her leg. “You did right?” she glanced at him.

“Can’t tell you I did” he laughed.

“Elliot” laughed Olivia “A little support wouldn’t hurt”

“He has a fan club with Amanda and Amaro, he doesn’t need me”

“You guys are horrible” chuckled Olivia, she gently placed her hand over Elliot’s and looked up at him, the pair looked at each other silently for a few seconds; the soft giggles and car noises coming from Noah and Eli not enough to make them tear their eyes away from each other.

They had touched before, they had even kissed a few times during undercover assignments, but this was different, it felt different; the spark rushing through their skins was there, vibrant and more alive than ever, Olivia smiled and Elliot smiled softly back.

It was different because this time it was possible.

Chapter Text

With a slow end of the week for Ren, the young woman had decided to make plans with a dear friend whom she hadn’t been able to see in a few weeks; and that had been how the young private detective had ended up in Alex and Nat’s pastry shop with John Munch sitting across from her.

“I always loved the coffee here” smiled John as he put down his mug and looked at the young woman sitting in front of him.

“They have the best” Ren nodded “So, why haven’t I seen you lately? Does your girlfriend not like me?”

John chuckled and shook his head “Where have I been?” he gasped “Where have you been is more like it, is Carisi now taking up all your time?”

“We were up at his parents’ house at the beginning of the month” said Ren, she looked up at Munch as she took a bite from her cinnamon roll.

“Yeah, you told me” nodded John “Have you thought about what we talked?”

“We haven’t even been dating for a year, John” sighed Ren.

“I moved in with my fourth wife six months after we started dating” said Munch as he rolled his eyes at her.

Ren laughed and tried her best not to choke on her cinnamon roll as she looked at John, her parents were living back at Vermont and sometimes she felt alone, but John was someone who could brighten her day with just his presence; and John really looked forward to talking and walking around the city with his young friend, almost like a daughter to him.

“Yeah well” snorted Ren “I might talk to him about that in a few months”

“How long have you guys been dating?”

“Almost ten months now” she nodded.

“Well, you ask him and if he says no then I’ll go beat him up”

“You are gonna beat him up?”

“I’ll take Fin with me” chuckled John.

“You and Fin are gonna gang up against Sonny?”

“We’ll take Elliot too” shrugged John casually “Elliot beats him up while Fin threatens him and I let him know we’ll come back”

“That’s horrible” laughed Ren.

“Don’t piss me off, Alvarez”

“I’ll keep that in mind” she shook her head gently with a smile over her face.

“I’m gonna go to the bathroom and I’ll ask Nat to give us two new cups of the special coffee they got back there”

“You do that”

John nodded at Ren and pushed his chair back, he had meet Nat and Alex through Ren and he had liked the girls instantly, they were nice and owned a nice shop but the best thing was that John always got free sweets when he went over so that was always a plus in his life.

Ren watched as John walked towards the bathrooms and then looked down at her almost gone cinnamon roll, the shop had a few other regular costumers sitting around but Ren turned her attention to the phone in her hands; her fingers rapidly texting Carisi. She heard the small bell over the door ring as a new costumer walked into the shop, the young PI sent her text and placed the phone back over the table before she heard Alex speaking to someone about one of their cheesecakes.

Lazily, as she waited for Munch to talk to Nat to get them more coffee which she knew would take a few long couple of minutes, Ren turned to the exhibit of the cakes and cupcakes to find Alex pointing down at one of the pies, a man in a pair of jeans and black coat looked down at the pie she was pointing with his back to Ren.

“Yeah, this one looks good” he spoke and Ren’s lips twitched into a smile.

“Barba?”

The man looked up from the exhibit as Alex did and as her friend looked up at her, the man turned on his heels to find Ren looking at him from her table just a couple of feet away from him.

“Alvarez” he spoke, he raised his eyebrow.

“You guys know each other?” asked Alex, she glanced at the man and then back at her friend.

“He works with Sonny” smiled Ren, she pushed her chair back and walked towards Barba.

“You work with NYPD’s finest?” Alex smiled, and Barba, as the smart man he was, smirked as he realized that was the nickname they had for Sonny.

“Wow” he said as he looked at Ren “Really original Alvarez”

“They were the ones with lack of inspiration” Ren rolled her eyes “What are you doing here?”

“Buying a cake” explained Barba, he looked at the young woman for a few seconds before he turned to look at Alex “I’ll take the one you said”

“Perfect, I’ll pack it up and I’ll be back”

Barba nodded and Alex pulled out the cake before she disappeared to the back of the store to put the cake in a nice box; Barba waited until she was gone before he turned to look at Ren.

“First the pharmacy, now the pastry shop” smiled Ren “Are you following me?” she joked.

“You are the one who follows people for a living” pointed out Barba “And actually I’m here because my mother loves the cupcakes your friend sells”

“They are the best” shrugged Ren “Mamá Barba has a good taste”

Barba looked around the shop “No Carisi?”

“I’m actually here with John Munch”

“Ah”

John walked out from the back of the store with a pair of mugs in his hands and walked towards the table without noticing Barba, he sat down and frowned when he noticed Ren wasn’t there; the retired detective looked up and found the young woman talking to Barba.

“A piece of advice?” asked Ren.

“No” answered Barba.

“I’m going to give it to you anyway” she laughed.

“Of course you are”

She leaned a bit closer to him and he looked at her with question in his eyes “Ponle miel”

She pulled back and nodded, he looked at her “Seriously?” he asked “That’s the advice? Pour honey over the cheesecake?”

“Shh” she hissed “Don’t say it out loud, they don’t like me saying that it tastes better with it, but it does”

Barba raised his eyebrow amused and nodded just as Alex returned with the cake neatly packed in a light pink box.

“Here you go Sir”

“Alex, this is Rafael Barba” said Ren as Barba turned to Alex to pay for the cake “Barba this is Alex Dixon”

“Nice to meet you” nodded Barba, he handed her the money “My mother recommends your place to everyone she can”

“Really?” smiled Alex “Tell her I’ll give her a discount next time she comes”

“I will” nodded Barba, he took the cake and as Alex gave him his change.

“I hope you like it” smiled Alex.

“I’ll let you know” he nodded he turned to Ren “Alvarez, I’ll see you later”

“Let me know how it goes” she smiled at him.

Barba shook his head “Esta bien” and with that he turned on his heels and walked towards the door and out of the shop.

“He is cute”

Ren rolled her eyes and turned to look at her friend with an amused expression over her face “Are you serious?”

“You don’t think he’s cute?”

“He’s ok” shrugged Ren, she glanced at the door and then back at Alex.

“I hope he comes back”

“I’m gonna go back to my table now” laughed Ren, Alex laughed behind her.

Ren dropped back over her chair and smiled at John “Sorry, that was Barba”

“I know” chuckled Munch “I recognized him”

“So, are you planning on asking your girl to move in?”

John laughed “You ask Carisi to move in with you and then we can talk about me”

Chapter Text

Barba rushed into the waiting room behind Amaro and Amanda, he had been in the station waiting for news about the raid when Dodds called him to let him know that they had Ivan but that Ren had been injured severely and had been rushed to the hospital.

Amaro and Amanda hurried towards Carisi and Olivia, who were sitting down at the back of the room, Barba slowed down and walked after the two detectives; his heart was beating fast and he was certain that worry was starting to show on his face but this was the last place and time Barba wanted to allow himself to lose control.

He walked towards the group of detectives, Olivia had tear marks down her face and Carisi had his eyes red and puffy and a few tears kept rolling down as Nick sat at the other side of him and placed a reassuring hand over his shoulder. Olivia looked up and gave Barba a smile that came out weak and broken and pushed herself up to her feet and Amanda took her place next to Carisi.

“Is she ok?” asked Barba, thanking god that his voice came out stronger than he thought it would.

“Surgery will finish in a couple of minutes, maybe twenty” explained Olivia, her voice raspy and thick “Someone will come out and talk to us then”

“Has someone spoken to her parents?”

“No” answered Olivia, she passed a hand through her hair and sighed heavily, she looked at Barba and tears threatened to come back “I shouldn’t have let her do that, she shouldn’t have gotten herself involved in this”

“She was our best shot” explained Barba “Nothing would have stopped her, you know that better than anyone else”

Olivia looked up to the ceiling in an attempt to stop the tears and then looked at Barba, she pressed her lips into a thin line “John and the others are on their way after they process Ivan and the others we found”

There was a silence between them and then Barba spoke.

“We have to include this in the list of charges” he didn’t want to be that kind of person right now but he had to, Olivia looked at him “The attempt murder on Alvarez”

“She was raped too” Olivia spoke, her words dry and her eyes as expressive as Barba had ever seen them.

“What?” he whispered, his voice leaving behind the lawyer in him, he took a step forward towards Olivia.

“He raped her before he tried to kill her, that’s what Nick and Elliot told me” whispered Olivia, she glanced over her shoulder and met Amanda’s eyes “Not all of them know” she added as she turned to Barba.

“Carisi?” and Barba felt horrible to be thinking about what Carisi felt just now.

“He knows”

“Jesus Christ” whispered Barba, he passed a hand through his face and took a deep breath “Has the hospital talked to her emergency contact?”

“Yes” nodded Olivia “Its one of her friends, Natalia”

Shit” thought Barba “And she’s on her way?”

“Yeah” Olivia hugged herself and shifted her weight from one hip to the other.

“Ok” nodded Barba, forcing himself to think like the lawyer he was “No one talks to her before us,” he looked at Olivia and she nodded. “You and Amanda talk to her when she regains consciousness” he looked over Olivia’s shoulder to Carisi and then back at Olivia “Don’t let him in there before that”

“Barba” started Olivia.

“You know I’m right, Olivia” said Barba “He can’t talk to her before you, he’s too personally involved in this” Olivia took a deep breath “Yeah, like you aren’t” he barked at himself.

“Fine, I’ll make sure Amanda and I are there when she wakes up”

“Thank you”

Olivia nodded and turned away from Barba, she took a seat next to Nick and leaned over her knees as Barba sat down in front of Amanda; he had no idea how this had turned into such an epic disaster but he was really hoping things wouldn’t get worse.

The door of the waiting room was shoved open violently, the group of detectives looked up and Barba looked over his shoulder to catch Alex and Nat rushing into the room; heavy coats on with beanies and horrified expressions over their faces.

Carisi instantly pushed himself up to his feet, the girls turned to him and without a thought hurried to cross the space between them and Carisi; and it was enough to look at his face to know that things were really bad right now.

“Sonny” gasped Nat “What the hell happened? They said she was in surgery”

“She is” he answered, his accent thicker and his eyes red from tears.

“What happened?” said Alex, she grabbed his hand rapidly with both of hers and looked up at him; yes, Ren and Carisi had broken up three months ago but that didn’t matter right now.

“She was stabbed” explained Sonny “After the raid, she got stabbed”

A horrified cry escaped Alex, Nat looked at Carisi with her eyes huge and terror showering her face but she knew she had to stay strong because Alex would be crying any second now.

“Is she gonna be ok?” asked Alex, tears streaming down her face.

Carisi looked down at her and squeezed her hand, his face falling apart as a few tears rolled down his cheeks “They don’t know yet”

Alex’s lips quivered and Carisi pulled her into a hug as he closed his eyes, Alex held to Carisi’s coat like it was dear life as tears rolled down her face like cascades; she had told her a million times not to do this, to let the police handle it, that she was putting herself in danger and now one of her best friends, one of the two girls she considered her sisters, was on a surgery table because some crazy pyscho had stabbed her.

Nat took a step back from Carisi and Alex, she gulped and glanced at the detectives, Amanda gave her an understanding and sad smile which Nat tried to reciprocate while Nick was on the phone with someone that Nat was hoping would be John Munch while Olivia pushed herself up to her feet to greet someone named Elliot.

In what appeared to be slow motion to the young woman, she glanced around to see who Olivia was greeting and from the rear of her eyes she caught sight of another figure, she glanced at a man sitting down a few feet from where she was standing and they stared at each other for a few seconds.

Barba looked up at Nat, the young woman was looking down at him and even if they had crossed just a few words a few times before it still buzzed between them that strange and uncomfortable energy of being the ones holding a secret. Nat took a step towards Barba and then another and another and then she sat down on the chair next to him, she tore her eyes away from him and watched as a man with broad shoulders and beautiful eyes sat down next to Olivia holding her hand tight; she realized she hadn’t noticed that Alex and Carisi had sat down once more.

Nat looked at the growing group sitting in front of her, her heart was slamming against her chest and she could hear her breathing loud and clear, she wondered if that was happening to them too; to the group sitting across from Barba and her, and a strange thought crossed her mind as she looked at Barba.

They sit together and I sit with him” her mind whispered, because they didn’t know and she did, because the secret was only theirs, because Nat knew what the detectives and Alex didn’t.

“She’s gonna be fine” explained Elliot, he patted Carisi over the back as he held Olivia’s hand with his free hand “She’s strong like that”

Nat’s eyes darted from one speaker to the other, she examined their faces and the way pain and fear affected them differently and she felt a lump in her throat starting to form because she couldn’t bare to think that something bad could happen to Ren, to her best friend, to her sister; because Nat had always thought of Alex and Ren as her soulmates and she didn’t know what could happen to a heart and a soul if they lost a soulmate.

Her head snapped to Barba as the tears started to roll down her face, she didn’t want Alex to see her cry like that, Barba was looking down at his hands but when he sensed her looking at him, he looked up at her and his intense eyes pierced through her. He shifted his body and pulled out a handkerchief and handed it to Nat, the young woman gently took it and cleaned her tears with it, holding it tight in her hands.

Barba wanted to say something that would help with the pain and anguish but he didn’t know what to say, he hadn’t been able to say anything to Olivia, whom he knew from a while back, and he obviously wouldn’t say anything to Carisi because that would be hypocritical from him but when Nat and Alex had walked in, he had hoped to have something to say.

Nat wanted reassuring words to flow through her, but her mind was only set in the secret she shared with Barba and that was the only thing she found herself able to utter.

“I know” she looked at him, her words smooth and soft.

“I know” he nodded to her.

Chapter Text

Carisi stepped out of the car with Dodds, they had been called to a scene were a jogger had found the body of a woman and to say that this was not the way Carisi had expected his day to go was an understatement; just an hour ago he had been at the park with Ren and the spare key of his apartment that lay in the pockets of his coat was a reminder that he had been unable to gather the courage to ask her to move in with him.

“What do we have?” asked Carisi, not so far from their car two officers were talking to the jogger who had found the body and from where Carisi was, he could tell the man was visibly distressed.

“The guy found her behind the garbage bags” explained Dodds “Cause of death won’t be certain until Warner gets a look at her but they are saying it was strangulation”

“Jesus” whispered Carisi.

Dodds and Carisi walked around the forensic team and walked towards the place the body had been found; this wasn’t his first time at a scene but there was always a bit of rush of adrenaline that pumped through his veins when he got to one, it was a sensation you never got used to.

Dodds knelt down next to the body of the woman, Carisi took a quick look around, a young man in a forensics uniform was bagging up something and to be honest the only thing Carisi was grateful was that there was no public around them.

Mike pushed a strand of hair away from the face of the woman, her hair was dark but Dodds could make out blood sticking to the hair; with his pen he pushed away the strand of hair and a frown was instantly formed over his face, he glanced at Carisi and then turned back to the woman.

“Carisi” he called.

Carisi turned to look at Mike and knelt down next to him, Mike lowering the hair over the face of the woman.

“What?” asked Carisi, there was a troublesome expression on Mike’s face.

“Does she look familiar to you?” asked Dodds, he looked at Carisi for a couple of seconds before he turned to the woman and pushed away the strand of hair once more.

Carisi looked at the woman, her glossy eyes stared back at him but the life had long been drained out of her, over her forehead Carisi could see dry blood and her lip was cracked and her chin scrapped and dirty and through her parted lips he could tell she was missing one of her front tooth.

“Shit” whispered Carisi.

Dodds dropped the strand of hair and turned to look at Carisi, his worried expression had intensified and Carisi’s facial expression was starting to match his.

“We need to call Olivia now” said Dodds “Make sure Amaro doesn’t come near the scene just in case”

“I’ll call her” whispered Carisi, but there was something else burning in his mind even if he wasn’t going to voice it out.

The blond detective pushed himself up to his feet and turned his back to Dodds as Mike pushed himself up and walked towards one of the forensic guys; Carisi pulled out his phone and rapidly dialed Olivia.

“Benson”

“It’s Carisi”

“I know” she sighed “Are you guys at the scene?”

“We are” Carisi looked over his shoulder to the dead woman on the floor “But we have a situation Lieutenant”

“What is it?”

“It’s the woman from the club” he explained.

“What woman?”

“The one that opened the door for Amaro and Ren when they went over the first time”

There was pause from the other side of the conversation.

“Theresa?” Olivia finally asked.

“Yeah” whispered Carisi.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes” answered Carisi “I remember her from the photos Ren took to the station, she said this woman was in charge of the girls they brought in”

“I’ll call Amaro and ask him to come back to the station” sighed Olivia, instant worry started to settle in her heart as her brain started to work as fast as it could to find a way to keep her team safe. “Come back as soon as you can”

“We will”

Carisi pushed his phone back into his coat and turned to look at the dead woman, this woman had helped a man with his human trafficking ring that they were investigating, that HIS girlfriend was going undercover in, and now she was dead.

And Carisi felt something horrible in the pit of his stomach.

 

___________//____________

 

“Ok” said Elliot as he pushed himself up to his feet and walked over towards the chart they had made up for the murder of Theresa “Let’s just think for a moment that she might not have been killed by one of Ivan’s men”

“But she could have” pointed out Amanda, Elliot glanced at her and then turned to the chart. “I mean, she was in charge of the girls and as soon as we start to make progress, she shows up dead, I don’t think this is a coincidence”

“I agree” said Olivia “Maybe he suspects there’s a snitch in his people”

“Yes” sighed Carisi “That happen to be Amaro and Ren”

“He doesn’t know that” said Barba, he turned to Carisi.

“Not yet you mean” hissed Carisi, he had been awake for about 22 hours since they had found the body of Theresa and to say that his nerves were on edge was the understatement of the century.

“Maybe we need to pull her out of this” said Fin.

“I agree” said Carisi.

Barba made an epic attempt not to roll his eyes “Without her we have nothing, Ivan doesn’t trust Julian, he likes Valentina”

“If he finds out he will kill her” barked Carisi, Barba raised his eyebrow at the detective.

“I am aware of that, Carisi” he said “But so far all he wants if for her to like him back and if we pull her out of this, we lose all the work we have done and we lose Ivan” he made a pause and glanced at Olivia “Maybe forever”

“And if he finds out Ren is in this, we lose her” hissed Carisi.

“Carisi” said Olivia, her voice hard and stern, he turned to look at her “I think you should go home, get some sleep and the come back”

Carisi looked at Olivia, she could see the worry in his eyes because she was equally worried, he tightened his jaw and pushed himself up from his seat, everyone turned to look at him; Amanda tried to give him a reassuring smile but Carisi glanced at Barba and Rafael saw anger in his eyes but he didn’t back down, he knew this was the best option they had.

“We won’t let anything happen to her” spoke Fin, and they all agreed.

And they were all wrong.

Chapter Text

“Ok” whispered Ren, she looked down at the photo that Olivia had handed her, it was of Theresa down in the morgue; Melinda had recently told Olivia that the woman had been raped and then choked to death, the bruises over her face had been given to her just a few hours before she had been killed “So you guys think Ivan had Theresa killed?” she looked up at Olivia.

“We do” answered Barba, Ren glanced at him and she wished there was someone else in the room with them.

“And what is this supposed to mean exactly?” she asked, she pushed away the photo and looked at Olivia “We are almost there”

“Almost there could also get you killed” explained Olivia, she sat down next to Ren “If we are going to move forward with this investigation, you need to be aware of all the risks”

“I am”

“Not like this” said Barba, he walked around the room with his hands in his pockets “In all this time not a single person he trusted had been killed and now the woman who looked after the girls is dead, he could be looking for a snitch”

Ren looked up at Barba, his green eyes staring back at her and even if she couldn’t read him, she could tell there was something behind his eyes that he was trying to hide; she looked down at the picture and then turned to Olivia.

“If you pull me out, you think we could still get Ivan?”

“No” answered Barba, Ren shot him a glare and then turned to Olivia.

“No” she answered.

“Ok then” smiled Ren, but Olivia could see she was trying her best not to look terrified about the information they had just showed her “Then there isn’t anything to think about”

“Ren” whispered Olivia, she reached out and placed her hand gently over Ren’s.

“There is no other way, Olivia” she smiled “We are almost there, just a few months right? I’ll be fine”

Barba crossed his arms over his chest and looked at her, Ren looked at him and gave him a weak smile before she shrugged “I’m still in”

“Then there are a few things I need you to sign” said Barba, “I’ll bring them over tomorrow”

“Of course” smiled Ren.

Barba looked at her, her eyes had turned steady and hard and even if he wasn’t a friend of the young PI he knew he would always be in debt with her if she helped them catch Ivan; putting a civilian in such a situation was something he wasn’t comfortable doing but it was something that had to be done and if Ren was brave enough to say yes, then she had Barba’s respect and he would back her up if she ever needed in the future.

Barba nodded and walked out of the conference room, all the detectives watched him walk by, leaving Olivia and Ren alone.

“Don’t worry” smiled Ren “Everything will be fine, I mean he doesn’t suspect of Valentina”

“We don’t know that” said Olivia “You are not just a civilian, Ren, you are a friend and I just need you to know that we will protect you every step of the way until this is all done”

“I know” smiled Ren, she took Olivia’s hand “We need to do this, he’ll go down I assure you that, Liv”

“Let’s just concentrate on keeping his suspicions away from you”

“Of course” nodded Ren, she looked down at the table “I’ll be careful, I promise”

“There’s something else” whispered Olivia, she really didn’t want to do this but since there had been a heated discussion right before Ren arrived, Olivia knew she had to go there. “Carisi”

“I’ll handle Carisi” answered Ren almost immediately “Don’t worry about him, I’ll talk to him”

Olivia looked at Ren and nodded but she said nothing else, she knew it was easier said than done but she still allowed Ren to have this, if she noticed things got complicated she would pull Carisi out of the case until they were done with Ivan and his group.

Ren smiled at Olivia and pushed herself up, she had to deliver a file to one of her clients and then she had to start a new investigation, so the sooner she got started with all of it, the better. The young woman grabbed her messenger bag and in a rapid motion passed the strap over her head before walking out of the conference room with Olivia behind her.

The blond stopped and turned to look at Olivia, the older woman smiled at her kindly and Ren smiled back.

“I’ll come back tomorrow to see the papers Barba needed me to sign”

“Sure”

“Bye” and with that she turned on her heels, she gave the group of detectives a wave with her right hand and walked towards the elevators as Carisi stepped out of the break room and intercepted her just as she pushed the button.

“Ren”

Ren swallowed down the sigh and turned to look at her boyfriend “Sonny”

“What happened?” he asked instantly, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Nothing” she shrugged “Olivia showed me the photos of Theresa and Barba said he would be bringing a few papers for me to sign tomorrow, but everything is the same”

“What do you mean the same?” he asked, a frown decorating his beautiful face.

“I’m still on the case” she answered and she saw his face fall and she wished he wasn’t making this more complicated than it already was.

“What?” he whispered. “Ren, no, no, you can’t do this, you saw what they did to her” in a quick movement he took her hands “I can’t put you in that situation, expose you like that”

“You are not putting me in any kind of situation, babe” she pulled her right hand out of his grasp and gently cupped his face, her skin electrifying like it did every time they touched. “I’ll be fine, Sonny, trust me”

“I trust you” he whispered “I don’t trust Ivan, they cant put you out there”

“They aren’t” she sighed “It’s my decision, and it’s the right one” she smiled at him and gave him a soft kiss over his lips, the taste of her chapstick sticking to his lips deliciously. “I’ll text you later”

“Be careful” he whispered.

“I will” she smiled “I love you” and with that she walked into the elevator.

Carisi watched as the young woman that had gone from being just a pretty girl to be the love of his life walked into the elevator, she winked at him with a small smile as she pressed another button and Carisi smiled back at her, even if inside he was screaming painfully.

Carisi walked back to his desk with his heart aching and his mind racing in million different directions as he tried to figure out how this operation could work without Ren, he dropped himself over his chair and leaned over the table.

“What did she say?” asked Amanda’s gentle voice.

Without looking at her Carisi mumbled “She’s not stepping back”

“I told you she wasn’t” spoke Elliot, Carisi looked at him.

“I can’t let her go out there” he spoke “If Ivan finds out, he will kill her”

“He’s not gonna find out” said Fin “We’ll be taking care of her”

“I don’t know what to do”

“You can’t do anything” said Elliot, he crossed his arms over his chest “Liv will pull you out of this if you try anything and I don’t think being away from the case is what you want at the moment”

“If she gets hurt… he allowed his words to die out, but the group felt the same way, maybe they didn’t love Ren like Carisi did, but they cared about her and the last thing they all wanted was for Ren to get hurt during the operation.

But we don’t always get what we want.

 

___________//____________

 

“This is bullshit” hissed Ren as she looked at herself in the mirror, her shirt and jeans discarded on the floor next to her bare feet as she examined the bruise she had that covered part of her hip and her stomach.

She passed a hand through her hair and took a deep breath, she didn’t remember falling down the stairs could give you such a bruise, but then again the last time she had fallen down a stair case had been a few years ago. Gently, she touched the bruise, it wasn’t dark purple, it just had a light purplish color mixed with green and yellow and it didn’t hurt as much as other bruises had before.

With a sigh, Re scooped up her clothes from the floor and marched towards the bed, she dropped the items over it and dropped over her back on the bed; exhaustion was creeping over her body in a painful manner and for the moment the only thing keeping her from sleeping two days straight was the fact that Carisi would be arriving any second now and they would head out to get something to eat together.

She closed her eyes for a moment, they needed this, they needed time alone, time to be together, time to recharge each other; after she had talked to Olivia and Barba, there had been tensions between them and Ren understood, he was worried and he didn’t want her to be in any kind of trouble, but she wasn’t changing her mind. The last few days had been better, Sonny had relaxed and they had seemingly returned to their usual selves, they laughed and kissed and touched like they had before Theresa had showed up dead and Ren had to make sure they had a great time today because in two nights she would be going as Valentina to the club and she was sure Carisi wouldn’t be on board with that.

The young woman heard the door of her apartment swing open and a smile crept over her lips, she pushed herself over her elbows and turned to look at the door of the room just as the door of the apartment was closed.

“Babe?” his husky voice called.

“The room, babe” she called out.

Carisi walked in the room, he had his work clothes on but God did he look ravishing, his hair a bit messy by the wind but he looked wonderful; Ren smiled at him from the bed and he smiled back at her.

“Hey” she smiled, she pushed herself up “How was work?”

“Great,” he smiled, he took in the semi naked form of her body and his hands itched to touch her until “Babe I was going…

His eyes stopped over the bruise, and his stomach dropped to the center of the earth and his mind was filled with the bruises he had seen covering Theresa when he had gone to talk to Melinda with Dodds; and he knew, he knew this bruise that covered the body he loved to touch and kiss and smell, was nothing compared to what Ivan would do to Ren if he found out she was working with the police and he felt panic rush through his veins and he couldn’t breathe or think or be there.

“Babe?” whispered Ren, she took a step towards Carisi, her hand reached out to him and as soon as her fingers touched his hand he snapped out of his thoughts and looked at her.

“I came to tell you that I don’t think I can go out for lunch today” he blurt out, the words coming out so fast he barely had time to register what he had just said.

And Renata could tell that was the biggest lie in the world, she pressed her lips into a thin line and Carisi could tell that she knew he was lying and that she wasn’t mad, she was just hurt.

“Why?” she asked.

“I was just a block away when they called from the station” he sighed, he passed his hand through his hair and he knew that with each word he spoke he was digging a deeper grave.

Making the cracks deeper.

“Huh” she whispered, she pulled her hand away from him and crossed her arms over her chest, she looked down at her toes and then looked back up at Carisi and the way her eyes seemed to reflect all the emotions her face wasn’t showing broke his heart. “Well, then you should get going”

“I’m sorry”

“So am I” she spoke, her words hard.

“I’ll text you, ok?” he smiled sweetly “Raincheck?”

“Aha” she nodded, she passed her right hand through her hair and sighed, she looked at him “We’ll talk later”

Carisi looked at her, but he didn’t know how to tell her, how to make her see that every time he saw her hurt all he could think about was Theresa and how the last thing he wanted was for her to show up dead in a dumpster.

“I’ll call you when I get home”

“Sure”

Carisi looked down at his feet and turned around, he walked out of the room and headed towards the door, his heart was slamming itself against his chest painfully and there was lump in his throat; he stopped with his hand over the door knob and turned to look at the room door, wanting her to be there looking at him, maybe with a small smile, but she wasn’t there, she was still in the room and Carisi walked out of the house.

Chapter Text

Ren looked up at the floor count, her mind trying not to think about the fact that Carisi should be here with her, that this was his day off and yet he was still at the station like he had been the past days, barely answering her texts and barely talking to her after her meeting with Ivan. With a sigh she leaned against the wall of the elevator and crossed her arms over her chest, she understood, he was worried about her, but the meeting with Ivan had gone perfect, he was still drooling for Valentina and despite having making up an absurd story about Theresa leaving, she was still clear from all suspicion; still Carisi tried his best not to be with her for too long.

She was hurting so much more than he was worrying.

The doors of the elevator opened up for her and she walked out, the fancy corridor made her smile, she had imagined this place just like it was now; fancy like he was. She rolled her eyes amused at her own assumption and walked down the corridor towards one of the doors at the very end.

She rang the bell and waited silently in the corridor, she looked around, it was nice with just two apartments per floor; she turned to the door as soon as she heard footfalls, she took a step back from the door just as she heard a lock being unlocked and then the door swung open.

“Good afternoon” she smiled.

“Alvarez, good afternoon” he took a step away from the door “Come in”

“Thank you”

She walked into the massive apartment and again it was just like she had imagined it would be, Barba led her towards the living room, the place was minimalistic with dashes of color here and there and elegance dripping from everything.

“Nice place” she turned to look at him.

“Thank you” and she could tell he was really proud of this place.

“So” she looked down at her messenger bag, “I brought the papers you left for me the other day at the station and I brought the photos and phone logs too”

“Perfect”

She pulled out the papers and handed them to Barba, he took them and looked down at them as Ren looked around the place, the windows went from the floor to the ceiling and had a fantastic view of the city below, she walked towards one of them and her hand feathered over the glass just before she pulled away and turned to look at Barba.

“Great view”

“That’s what got me to buy this place” he explained, and that so much more he had ever told her about himself since they had meet.

“I wouldn’t doubt it” she chuckled, and a smirk spread over his lips before he looked down at the papers once more.

“I thought you would be coming with Carisi” he said, his eyes still down “Didn’t know you knew where I lived”

“I follow people for a living” she pointed out, Barba looked up at her and raised his eyebrow “But it was actually Mike the one who gave me your address, chill I didn’t follow you”

“Good to know” he closed the file she had handed him.

“Carisi was busy” she said, Barba raised him eyebrow at her.

“I thought it was his day off”

“It is” she nodded “But he decided to stay at the station”

“Huh”

“Is there anything you need, now that I’m here?”

“Actually yes” he sighed, he shifted his weight from one leg to the other “Now that Carisi isn’t here,” and Ren knew what he wanted even before he said it. “I want to add the murder of Theresa to his list of charges, but I need evidence about that”

Ren looked at him, the conversation she had had with Ivan hadn’t given much away about that, he had simply told her that Theresa had left and so far no one knew where she was; well, Ren knew where she was, she was lying on a morgue table.

“Ok” she answered with a nod “I think I could manage”

“Don’t antagonize him directly”

“Of course not” sighed Ren a bit offended “I’ll think of something,” she shrugged “I’ll be seeing some of the new girls, maybe they know something”

“Perfect”

He walked Ren to the door and opened it for her, she walked out and turned to look at him.

“I’ll let you know”

“Thank you” said Barba “Be careful”

“Always” she laughed and walked down the corridor back to the elevator.

 

___________//____________

 

“No” hissed Carisi, they were currently at the station getting ready for the stake out that night, the night Ren would be speaking to the girls to see which ones she wanted to buy from Ivan and take to her own business.

“You really have no say in this” barked Ren, she yanked her arm away from Carisi’s grip and shot him a glare, how dare he tell her what to do when he had been trying his god damn best to ignore her the last week or so.

“What are you talking about, your my girlfriend, you think I want to see you putting yourself in that kind of danger?!” barked Carisi, they were arguing in the middle of one of the meeting rooms but Amanda and Elliot could see everything from their places outside.

“They need our help Sonny!” she said, exhaustion in her voice. “We need to get them out of there, all of them”

“Yes but asking about Theresa I only going to get you killed” he whined, and the pain in his voice was evident and it broke Ren’s heart.

“I’m gonna be fine, everyone is going to be there, you’ll be there Sonny” she walked towards him and cupped his face with both her hands, electricity dashing madly through them, she caressed his cheeks with her thumbs. “I have to do this”

“Please” he whispered, holding her hips “Please don’t do this, Ren, I can’t stand knowing you are out there doing this”

“I need to do it, Sonny” she sighed, “I was doing this before I met you, I need to do it with out by my side because they need us,” she gave him a quick kiss “I need to know you are in with me when I do this”

“I am” he whispered “I’m always with you”

“Good” she smiled and looked at him “Then we have to get ready because we have to get that evidence to Barba”

Carisi looked at her, pain written all over his face, he wish he could turn back time because he knew Barba wouldn’t have asked Ren to talk to the girls about Theresa if he had been there; but he hadn’t because he was trying his best to not think about his girl in danger without knowing that he had allowed Barba to put Ren in a position that Ren wouldn’t refuse.

“Let’s do this then” she pressed her lips against his and Carisi felt his whole soul react to her, it had been so long since they had had a moment for themselves, and even it if was mostly his fault, he really wished he could just take her home and get her away from all their problems.

Chapter Text

The last thing Carisi ever thought when Olivia told him to go with Elliot to question a witness was that the squad had actually chosen Elliot as the right person to talk to Carisi about his now strained relationship with Ren. The pair of detectives were on their way back to the station from the questioning when Carisi noticed that something was up; they were already far from the station and now Elliot had taken the longer way back.

“So” started Elliot, he lowered the volume of the music they had been listening to, he glanced at Carisi “What’s going on with you?”

“What are you talking about?” asked Carisi, he glanced at Elliot but the older man was already looking at the road, his body posture relaxed.

“You know what I’m talking about” answered Elliot, he had kids, and not just two to know pretty well when someone was trying to play dumb with him.

“Nothing is going on” Carisi shrugged.

“Look” started Elliot, he was wiser now than when he had started to work at the station, “You can’t keep pretending nothing is going on because that will only make things worse”

Carisi turned to look at Elliot, his heart was beating madly in his chest “Did she ask you to talk to me?”

“No” answered Elliot, because Ren was the only person who didn’t know this conversation was going to take place “But if you think no one has noticed the tension between the two of you, you are way off” he glanced at Carisi for a moment “Even Barba has noticed and he barely hangs around the station these days”

Carisi looked away and out the window, of course he knew things were getting tense between himself and Ren, but what was he supposed to do? Tell her that every time he looked at her, he saw her dead where they had found Theresa? Tell her that all he could think about were the bruises on her body? Tell her that he wanted her to be selfish and not do this anymore?

“We’ll figure it out” he sighed “Once we get done with this case”

“So if this case stretches for three more months, you’ll be tense with her until then?” asked Elliot, “You are young Sonny” he started and Carisi felt his breath being punched out of him, Elliot rarely called him by his nickname “I’ve been through this” there was a hint of pain in his voice “I put Kathy through some tough times, I hurt her and I wish I had handled things better, you know?” he glanced at Carisi “I know it’s hard to not take your work home, but you got a girl that understands this frustration, you have a girl that wants to make this work but if you keep burying yourself in work and you keep trying to push her away, she’ll walk away, Sonny”

Carisi felt his heart ache, he looked down at his hands as Elliot kept talking.

“It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you” he sighed “We all know she does, but when you are the only one fighting to save a relationship, you feel like you are giving and getting nothing back; I can a sure you, the last thing you want is for her to feel like you don’t love her and right now, you aren’t showing her much, are you?”

“She knows I love her” Carisi defended himself, but right now all he was feeling was an urge to jump out of the car.

“Yeah?” asked Elliot, his words soft but serious “Are you showing her that when you work on your days off? Or when you dismiss her when she goes to the station to invite you for lunch? Or when you are only telling her that she shouldn’t be doing this?”

Carisi felt his throat dry up instantly and he glanced at Elliot as they drove down the street he knew would lead them to the station; Elliot’s words were hitting too close to home, he knew everything he was saying was true, he had seen the hurt in Ren’s eyes but he couldn’t find the strength in him to pour out his emotions when all he could think about was losing the girl that was without a doubt the love of his life.

Elliot took a deep breath, he had put Kathy trough a lot when they had been married and he wished he could take away all the pain he had seen in her eyes throughout those years; and now that they had finally let go, he knew that it was for the best, the thing was that he knew Carisi could make things better with Ren. Ren and Kathy were not the same, Ren had a bit more knowledge of what it was to work with SVU, and if Carisi tried he could fix things with his girl, but if he didn’t try, Ren would find herself thinking she was only doing the wrong things.

“Talk to her before she thinks that all she does is wrong” whispered Elliot “You guys can still fix this, but it has to be the two of you, Sonny”

And Carisi felt an urge to cry.

Chapter Text

The fight had escalated rapidly, it had started as a simple argument and then the comment had slipped out of his lips, the comment about her work and the dangers she put herself in and the recklessness she sometimes acted on and the fight had exploded; just not the way Carisi would have preferred it.

He would have taken screams and shouting and crying, flying plates and glasses, he would have taken Ren trying to claw at his face or pulling at his hair, screaming curses and hurtful words at him; he would have taken all of it instead of what he got. Her tone had lowered from the agitated one she had been using at the beginning of the argument, her voice had steadied, hardened and turned cold, her eyes had flared up, like a wildfire was raging in her, her jaw had tightened and her body had stiffened as she took a step back and away from him.

“Enough” she hissed, she had had enough, enough of trying to understand, enough of Sonny’s remarks about how dangerous this was, enough of the cold way he was treating her.

“No” barked Carisi “It’s not enough, Renata” he passed a hand over his face “Do you not understand? With each passing day it gets dangerous and it doesn’t make things better when I know you are running around with a camera, chasing people and all that Jessica Jones shit!”

“Stop!” she snapped, she pointed at him “I’ve been doing this before I met you, and you can’t expect me to stop my work just because we are investigating Ivan, do you have any idea what that would do to the girls he has in the club?”

“If someone that works for Ivan sees you running around, how do you think this will end up?”

“Sonny, stop it already!” she snapped, she slipped the fingers of both her hands into her hair, she wanted to pull at it and make him reason “I’m not stopping this! Not now, we need to finish this, for those girls, for their families, we need to help them! I can help them!”

“Not if you end up dead in a dumpster!” he barked “Do you not understand?” he closed his eyes for a second “Every time you are out I can’t help but picture you dead, or hurt and not to mention that you come back home with different bruises more often than not and it kills me to see you like that, to see you purple and green”

“Why is it that I have to do all the understanding?” she asked, she placed her left hand over the counter and looked at Sonny, her eyes no longer pleading but hard “When are you going to try and understand me?” her right hand landed over her chest “When will you try to see things from my perspective?”

“I don’t want you to get hurt” he pleaded “Can’t you be selfish for once?” he signaled a one with his index “For one time Ren, that’s all I’m asking!”

“You get to ask nothing out of me!” fire rose in her eyes, her cheeks blushing with anger “How many times have I asked you to talk to me? Huh? To explain to me what we can do to compromise and make this better?” Carisi’s heart broke and he wished he had taken Elliot’s advice two weeks ago “How many times did I ask you to take a day off and we could spend it together? How many times did you ask me to leave the station because you were busy?!” she looked at him but he said nothing “It’s not that fun when it’s the other way around, isn’t it?”

“Ren, I was trying to figure everything out, how to keep you safe, how to fix everything, how to make it up to you” he took a step towards her but she stepped back. “Please”

“I need you on my side, Sonny” she said “I need you to be with me while I do this…

“This is harder than you think” he took a deep breath “I’ve hurt you and it’s the last thing I ever wanted to do”

The kitchen looked darker than it was, even with the curtains from the living room up and all the light flooding into the apartment, but Ren had the impression that it wasn’t a light trick, it was just that the mood had turned painful and dark and somber.

“I need you to help me do this” she finally sighed “Help me with the Ivan case, we are so close to having him, I need you to leave that behind at work and come as Sonny when you step through that door!” her eyes darted around his face, the fire in her eyes dying out “I need you to understand me too, just like I’ve done my best to understand your attitudes for the last weeks”

And the words came out wrong because he saw the look on her face, she was taken aback, she furrowed her brow and looked at him with narrowed eyes.

“I can’t do this”

“What does that mean, Sonny?”

“I need time” he whispered and the air turned thick and painful “I can’t do this Ivan job and come here and pretend you didn’t just knock on the devil’s door Ren, I can’t do both”

She looked at him and pressed her lips into a thin line, a soft nod that almost went unseen by Carisi; he took a step forward but she raised her hand to her chest, her palm out to him in a signal to tell him to stop moving.

“You came to talk” she whispered, and the way her words slipped out hurt more than anything he could have said to her “You came to talk things out but you already had the solution at hand”

 He wanted to tell her something, to stop the way she was looking at him, the way a blush started to creep up her neck and to her face; she nodded at him, softly and then she pressed her lips into a thin line.

“I think you should go,” she finally said “We have nothing else to talk about”

“Renata please” he whispered, he didn’t want to break up, he wanted just some time to end this case, to stop his heart from stopping every time she went over to see Ivan “We just need time, please”

“Take all the time you want” she said, her eyes shutting him out instantly “I think you should go, I have things to do Dominick”

And the way her name slipped out of her lips hurt like a punch to the face, he felt his heart being stabbed with a thousand needles, he took a step back, horrified of what was happening; he watched her cross her arms over her chest, her chest was rising and falling rapidly but she didn’t move, her eyes locked over him and her mouth pressed into a thin line.

“Ren” he whispered, his heart hammering in his chest “I love you, I just…

“I’ll pick up my things later this week”

And with that she tore her eyes away from him and locked them over the door, Carisi closed his eyes for a second and then turned around, his feet were moving faster than his brain was, faster than anything in his body was; he was pulling the door open with his coat in his hands before he knew it.

Ren watched Carisi leave, his feet rushing him out the door, she flinched as the door swung close behind him and as soon as the door had closed him out, her lower lip started to tremble, she unfolded her arms and grabbed the island with her right hand; her fingers pressing against the marble as hard as she could as her breath came out in heaves.

She covered her eyes with her left hand, her nails making half-moons in her skin as the tears started to flow down her cheeks; she cried for everything, for Carisi, for how much she loved him, for all the fear that flowed through her every time she met with Ivan, she cried for the girls she was trying to help; she dropped on her knees next to the island as she sobbed and cried, especially for him, because she wanted him to understand, she hadn’t expected those words, even if she had felt like this was coming.

Carisi shoved the door of the apartment building open, his chest was burning and he could barely breath, he clutched the coat; he stumbled down the street and stopped, a flashback of one of his first visits to Ren’s house hitting him hard.

And he turned to look at the window that she always used to look out and wave at him, he needed her to be there, even if it was just looking at her, he needed her there, because it would make all the difference if she was; even if he had been the one to start the break up.

But she wasn’t there and Carisi felt his heart dissolve in his chest.

Chapter Text

Ren stretched her legs along the red couch, placing her ankles over Alex’s lap as Nat placed a plate with cookies over the coffee table in the living room; heavy rain was falling outside the shared apartment of Alex and Nat but the three friends didn’t seem to notice.

“So” started Alex, she leaned forward, Ren’s toes pressing into her stomach as Alex took one of the cookies and then leaned back against the couch.

“What?” asked Nat, she looked up from her phone and her new place sitting on the floor facing Alex and Ren.

“Lucas is having a party for his birthday” smiled Alex, she munched on the cookie, she looked at Nat and then turned to look at Ren; the blond private investigator had one hand in the pocket of her hoodie and her eyebrow arched as she looked at Alex.

“So?” asked Ren, she nudged Alex’s lap with her left foot “You barely speak to him anymore”

“Doesn’t mean we didn’t get invited” smiled Alex, she wiggled her eyebrows at her friend.

“Huh” whispered Nat, she passed a hand through her curly hair “That could be fun” she glanced at Ren and then turned to Alex; Alex smiled, her eyes shining.

“I know, right?” she turned to Ren “What about you? Are you in?”

Ren shrugged and pushed her other hand into the pocket of the hoodie, she looked at Alex and then turned to look at Nat, who raised both of her eyebrows at Ren.

“I don’t know” Ren finally answered, she curled her toes and looked down at her lap. “I don’t know if I feel like partying”

“Oh Ren” whispered Alex, she placed her hand over Ren’s ankle “Come on, it’s not like this party is next week”

“When is this party?” asked Nat.

“Like a month from now”

“What is it with you and inviting us to parties months from now?” laughed Ren, she hit Alex with her foot, Nat laughed as Alex shrugged but smiled at her friends.

“You can still think about it, maybe you’ll feel better by then” said Alex.

“Yeah, maybe” whispered Ren, she took a deep breath and turned her attention to the window, the rain was falling heavily outside, the drops drumming wonderfully against the window and Ren took a deep breath as Nat spoke.

“Have you talked to him?”

“No” answered Ren, she took her eyes away from the window and turned to Nat “I saw him at the station but in a quick passing” she gave Nat a sad smile.

There was a silence between the friends, both Nat and Alex knew how hard it had been for Ren the days that had followed the breakup with Carisi; she had insisted on going alone to pick her things from Carisi’s apartment two weeks after the breakup, she had texted Carisi one last time just a week ago but things had remained the same.

“Do you think maybe when you finish this case you could talk to him?” Alex ventured to ask, Nat’s head snapped to Alex “That maybe you guys can fix things?”

“I don’t know” whispered Ren, she smiled as Alex gave her a squeeze on the ankle “For all I know this case could take six months, so, I don’t know Alex”

“All the more reason you should come to the party” smiled Alex, she could feel Nat drilling holes on her skull “You can have a few drinks, dance, I don’t know Ren” she shrugged “Come on!” Alex turned to look at Nat “Help me!”

Nat laughed and rolled her eyes “We still have a month to talk her into this” Ren laughed and grunted as she pushed herself over her elbows.

“Shut up and hand me a cookie” laughed Ren, “I’ll promise to think about it”

“Yes, we’ll go shopping for a nice dress and you will look fantastic” smiled Alex, she took a cookie and handed it to Ren, “Kiss someone, drink, meet people!”

“You are acting like I am the most antisocial person ever” mumbled Ren before she took a bite from the cookie.

“Fine, don’t meet anyone” shrugged Alex “But you are not staying here”

 

___________//____________

 

Carisi reread the words he had already memorized, the words that he had read almost daily for the last few weeks; across from him, Amanda looked up from her paperwork and her heart dropped, it hadn’t been a secret for everyone in the station, Barba included, to know that Carisi and Ren had broken up almost two months ago.

The team could see how the breakup had affected Carisi, if he had spent half his day at the station before the breakup, he now practically lived there; Nick had talked to him and Carisi had told him how terrible he felt for not taking Elliot’s advice. From Dodds, Amanda had learned that Carisi wanted to make things better with Ren but he was waiting for things to settle with the case, and Amanda wanted desperately to tell him that he shouldn’t waste more time.

“Have you talked to her?” Amanda finally asked, Carisi felt his throat clench.

“No” he answered, he locked his phone and turned to Amanda “Just that one time she came over, and we didn’t really say much more than hello”

He didn’t mention that he had tried not to even read her texts because he was still horrified by the way she had looked at him; she had seemed so…

Disappointed.

“I think she doesn’t want to talk anymore” and the words hurt more because she had tried talking to him after she had taken the things from his house and he had been unable to do what his heart wanted; his mind kept showing her dead in the alley, stabbed sometimes, and other times shot, strangled and disfigured and his heart had clenched every single time and in the end his mind had forced him to remain with his decision to wait until the case was over.

He had broken her heart and his heart in the process.

Chapter Text

Ren glanced around the street, her eyes darting around the different faces of the people walking by; the wind was blowing softly and her hair was waving around her as she turned to look at Nat and Alex, Alex typing on her phone rapidly.

“Are you sure she said she would meet us here?” asked Nat, Ren focused her eyes over Alex, she looked wonderful, actually both her friends looked beautiful, with their nice dresses and their painted lips; Ren herself felt wonderful as well, she had bought a nice black dress and her lips were deep purple and to be honest, ever since her breakup she hadn’t felt that pretty.

“Yes” sighed Alex, they would be meeting up for a few drinks with the girl Alex was dating before they headed to Lucas’ party.

“Ok” said Ren, she took a step towards her friend, her heels clicking over the sidewalk “What do you say we go to a bar I know down the street and you tell her to meet us there?”

Alex looked at Ren and then glanced at Nat for an instant before she turned back to Ren, “Yeah, of course good idea” she looked down at her phone and typed before she shoved the phone back into the pocket of her coat.

“Lead the way” smiled Alex.

Ren nodded and started to walk down the street, she knew the bar because she had gone to it with the squad a few times when she had still being dating Carisi. The blond young woman walked down the street with her hands in the pockets of her knee high coat, she had agreed to go to the party even if she knew both of her friends would be going with their special someone but she had to admit that she felt beautiful in the outfit she had chosen and that was a boost that her ego needed.

“How do you know this place?” asked Nat as she pushed the door of the bar open and they stepped inside.

“I’ve been here a couple of times” shrugged Ren, Nat and Alex shared a knowing look but they said nothing.

The place was nice, the lights a bit dim and round tables here and there and people sitting at the bar as well; Ren looked around and near the bar she spotted a round table that was empty, she smiled and started to walk towards it with Nat and Alex trailing behind her. Ren remembered the last time she had been there with the squad, it had been a few weeks before Theresa’s body had been found, they had all been laughing and drinking beers, she smiled sadly as she pulled out one of the chairs and sat down as Nat and Alex did the same.

“This place is nice” smiled Alex “I had seen it before but never come in here”

“Yeah, it’s pretty nice” smiled Ren, “Well, what are we going to order?” she shrugged her coat off and it dropped against the back of the chair.

“Beers” laughed Alex.

“Vodka” smiled Nat.

“Vodka it is!” chuckled Ren, she shoved the chair back and stood up and headed towards the bar, the last time she had been there had been with Carisi but now she was with her friends and she wasn’t going to let her breakup ruin this night.

A few minutes later she returned to the table with a couple of shot glasses and a small bottle of vodka, she placed the things over the table and sat down, smiling at the group. Alex took the vodka bottle and opened it, pouring the clear liquid into the glasses and then placed the bottle back on the middle of the table.

“For us!” laughed Alex.

“For us!” laughed Nat and Ren.

 

___________//____________

 

Ren walked out of the bathroom, her friends plus Alex’s date, Leah, were ready to leave the bar and head to Lucas’ party; the young PI pushed a strand of her hair behind her ear and walked towards the table. She grabbed her coat and rapidly put it on, her friends all waiting for her as she buttoned her coat up and smiled at them as she pulled her hair out from the coat.

“Let’s go”

“Great” smiled Nat.

Alex and Leah lead the way towards the door, talking and giggling and Ren felt a warmth of love to see her best friend so happy; Nat’s boyfriend was already making his way to the party so he would already be there when they arrived.

Alex pushed the door open and Ren glanced over her shoulder when she saw him, sitting at the bar by himself, the tie around his shoulders and the coat out of sight; the young woman glanced at Nat who was holding the door of her and then turned back to look at him.

“What’s wrong?” asked Nat, she looked over Ren’s shoulder and scanned the bar before she turned to look at her.

“Nothing, give me a second, I’ll be out in a few”

“Sure” frowned Nat but she walked out of the bar as Ren spin over her heels expertly and walked towards the bar.

Her heels clicked rhythmically as she walked towards him, as she got closer she noticed he was holding a glass of something that looked like whiskey on his right hand; she pulled her hands out of the pockets of her coat and spoke.

“Hey” she leaned over the bar, her elbows over the table and her ankles crossing behind her and her hair rolling over her shoulders.

He turned to look at her and his eyebrow jumped up instantly, he shifted his body partially so it would face the young woman.

“Alvarez”

“Rough case?” she asked without hesitation, she could see in his body language that he was probably boiling with stress and anger.

“You could say so” he answered and raised the glass to his lips “What are you doing here?”

“I was getting a few drinks with my friends” explained Ren, he nodded at her and took a drink from the glass, he looked tired and the way he usually held himself was gone and Ren sighed internally, she couldn’t help but feel a bit bad for him; he was obviously having a bad day. “Want some company?”

“What about your friends?” asked Barba.

“I’ll have a drink with you and then I’ll be gone” she smiled “I promise”

“Sit down then” he nodded the stool next to his, Ren took her coat off and pulled her phone out of the pocket of the coat and texted rapidly.

“I’ll let them know I’ll be late” she explained, she looked up just as the bartender walked up to her, she smiled at him “Can I get whatever he is having?”

“Of course” nodded the bartender and walked away to get her drink with a soft smile.

Ren laughed as Barba took a sip from his fifth drink, the pair had been talking for the last two and a half hours and it had only been after the third drink that Barba had warmed up to Ren and had started to tell stories rather than just listen to her talk; the conversation was a rapid flow between English words followed by Spanish sentences and a few laughs here and there.

“You are not as bad as I thought, Alvarez, I’ll give you that”

“Why, thank you Barba” she snorted, dramatically placing her hand over her chest. “You are much nicer than I thought”

“So, were you here with your pastry friends?”

“Yes,” nodded Ren, she had forgotten she was supposed to meet with them a few hours ago.

“I took your advice, by the way” he glanced at her and then gulped down the last of his drink.

“What are you talking about?” she raised her eyebrow, she didn’t remember giving Barba any kind of advice.

“The honey advice” he explained “When we ran into each other at the pastry shop”

“Oh” she smiled, her eyes glossy from the alcohol “What did you think?”

“You were right” he pushed his glass away and the bartender handed him another. “It does work better with honey!”

“I told you!” she cheered, her hand landing over his arm, she squeezed it triumphantly and pulled it away.

“Si” he nodded and took a drink, swallowing half the drink.

Ren drank down the rest of her drink, the burning sensation on her throat had disappeared long ago; she turned to her coat and grabbed it before she turned back to Barba.

“Well, Barba I’m gonna go now” she smiled “But it’s been really nice talking to you, you know, when you are not angry at me, or barking or that kind of thing”

Barba chuckled and turned to look at her “I bark at everyone”

“No you don’t” she laughed, she pushed herself off the stool and the alcohol shot through all her body, her head feeling instantly even more dizzy and lightheaded than before; she closed her eyes for a second and she stumbled as she took a step forward.

Maybe mixing vodka and whiskey had not been the best idea.

“Cuidado” he spoke, his hand wrapping firmly around her forearm.

Ren opened her eyes and turned to look at him “I’m fine”

“Of course” he snorted, he released her arm but pushed himself off the stool, he turned to his glass and gulped down the last remains of his drink; he tightened his jaw as the alcohol rushed through his veins, he had had a rough day and drinking had pushed away the thoughts of the case but it wasn’t often that he drank so much.

“Let’s get you a cab” Ren heard Barba speak as she pushed her arms into her coat and felt in the pockets for her wallet and her phone.

Barba pulled his on coat on and walked behind Ren as the young woman led the way towards the door, just in case she stumbled again. She pulled the door of the bar open and stepped outside, the air was blowing harder than when she had arrived and it was colder than Ren had expected, the cold not really helping with their alcohol infused veins.

Barba walked up to Ren and stood next to her as he signaled for a cab, Ren hoovered next to him, balancing herself dangerously on her heels as she looked around; a cab stopped a few feet ahead of where they were standing and Ren turned to it, marching happily towards the yellow car. She reached out, stepping towards the car to grab the handle and her ankle bent painfully under her, she stumbled twice and before she could crash face first against the car, Barba grabbed her arm and pulled her back rapidly and with strength.

“Jesus Christ, you are gonna break your ankle” he barked, Ren grunted as she stumbled against him and turned to look at the lawyer.

“See, you are always barking”

He looked at her, her hand was pressed flat against his chest, her eyes glossy staring back at him and she smiled gently at him and gave a nod of thanks for not letting her crash against the “See” she whispered, her alcohol breath mixing with the smell of her perfume, he arched an eyebrow as he looked at her, his eyes going from her glossy eyes to her purple painted lips “You are always barking”

“No” he spoke, his voice in a whisper, his hand still wrapped around her arm.

“No” the word came out in that strange mixture of a snort and a chuckle that always seemed to come out of Ren’s throat and he cracked.

Chapter Text

It could have been the rough case he had lost earlier that day, or the alcohol burning like wildfire through his veins, or the fact that she had been so eager to stay with him and talk nonsense for a while, or maybe it had been the way she had smelled and how different she looked or perhaps it had been the way she had looked at him as she spoke but in the end it didn’t make a difference because before he knew it, the doors of the elevator were beeping open and he stumbled out into the corridor that lead to the door of his apartment.

His hands were around her waist, fingers digging into her hips, chest against chest while one of her hands was clutching to his suspenders and the other was wrapped around the back of his neck and their lips were pressed hard against each other. He pushed her back down the hall towards the door of his apartment, his left hand leaving her body to search for the keys in his pants, his other hand rapidly snaking behind her and landing on the small of her back and he pulled her closer to him; groaning into her mouth as she wrapped both of her arms around his neck and pressed herself closer to him.

Barba forced himself to pull his face away from Ren’s as soon as he pressed her against the wall next to his door, the keys to the apartment in his hands; her lips trailed kisses down his cheeks and to his neck and he sucked in his breath as she bit him gently over the neck, one of her hands working on the buttons of his shirt as he tried to open the door.

The door swung open just as Ren rubber her hips against his and Barba tightened his grip around her, he turned to the young woman and pressed his lips against hers; the hand that had been working on opening the door flew down and grabbed the hem of her dress, pulling it up to her hips.

“Vamos” he whispered against her lips, the sting of vodka and whiskey mixing intoxicatingly over his lips.

Barba took her hand and dragged her into the apartment, his skin burning like a thousand suns as she let go of his hand and he turned to the door to close it; Ren shimmied out of her coat, dropping it around her feet as she kicked her shoes off. Rafael turned to look at her, his hands pushing off his coat as his hungry eyes eyed the spectacular young woman standing in front of him.

She dove into his arms like a starving woman, pushing the suspenders off his shoulders and throwing the tie behind her as his hands rushed down to get under her dress; his hands landed over the warm skin of her legs and hips and he felt as her lips started to move harder against his and how her hips buckled towards him.

He stepped out of his shoes as he held her against him, her hands getting his shirt off as their lips kissed hungrily and their skins burned for less clothes, less space between bodies, less distractions and more hands on skin.

They stumbled across the room, reaching the bedroom with Barba just in his pants and Ren still fully dressed; the lawyer’s hands roamed up to her shoulders as they stepped into the room, his fingers trying to push down the dress, but the fabric that so deliciously hugged her body wasn’t going down without a bit of a fight.

Barba pushed Ren away from him, her hands working on his belt as he looked at her; her hair was sticking out in every direction, her chest was rising and falling rapidly but her raw kissed lips were the best thing of it all.

“The dress” he spoke, his hoarse voice sending shivers down her spine.

“On the back” she answered, she turned around, closing the door before she felt his hands again.

He pushed her against the door of the room before his hand took the zipper of the dress and tugged it down, she squirmed out of it but before she could move, he pressed his chest against her back; his eyes closed, his hands over her hips and his lips kissing the back of her neck. Ren groaned lustfully as her hand tightened around the doorknob and Barba shimmied out of his pants, his hands traveling down to her hips.

One of his hands snaked around her, dropping from her hips to slip under the panties as she exhaled invitingly, pushing her butt against his hip; he kissed the back of her neck as she pressed her forehead against the door, his hand under her making her pant as he pressed his hips against her butt.

With his free hand he expertly unclasped her bra that rolled down her arms, he cupped her breast and her breath hitched; every inch of her body feeling wonderfully warm, his hard on rubbed against her and Ren purred just before she turned around, his hands falling around her body, she threw the bra off and then pushed her panties off.

She looked breathtaking, her skin hot, her eyes big, her hair wild and as she stood there, naked in front of him and as she tugged his briefs down, she had to be one of the most beautiful women he had ever taken home; she wasn’t the PI he worked with, she wasn’t the ex-girlfriend of a man he knew, she was the gorgeous Spanish speaking woman he had kissed before getting in the cab, the pretty woman who had purred dirty things to him during the cab ride and the woman that had his senses going overboard just by looking at her.

“Condoms?” she panted.

“Nightstand, second drawer” he answered, she pushed away from him and hurried to the nightstand, pulling the drawer open so fast she almost pulled it out of its hinges.

Ren ripped the wrapper open and turned to him, his hands taking the opened wrapped from her hands before she dropped over his bed; he watched her as he pushed the condom on, her legs spread as she pushed herself up over her elbows and she looked at him; blond long hair falling over her left breast before Barba climbed over the bed.

It was messy, and loud and she held to his shoulders hard, her nails drawing lines over his back as he thrusted and grunted; a mess under her touch. And Ren wrapped her legs around his hip, her toes curling and her lips pressing around his shoulders and lips and neck.

And the Spanish flowing from her mouth was dirty and hot and loud and he had to admit it pushed him to the edge, grabbing at her hips as he pushed further into her; wanting the scent of her salty skin, the taste of vodka in her lips, the way every inch of her skin felt. And he came, between her legs and under her nails, with his lips tugging at her lower lip and feeling as she clenched around him and watching as she threw her head back and closed her eyes and her chest rose and fell and she was a sight that he had never imagined.

And she wasn’t the PI he worked with, she wasn’t Carisi’s ex-girlfriend, she was the beautiful mess coming undone on his bed.

Chapter Text

He knew what to expect when he opened the door, he just wasn’t really looking forward to it, in fact he had been wishing against it; but there she was, sitting over the bed, her hands over her lap and her straight, blond hair was rolling down her shoulders and falling over her naked chest, the light from the bathroom allowed him to see that she was wearing her panties but the rest of the clothes were still scattered around the room, just like his.

“Good morning” she spoke, her voice hoarse and Barba swallowed down a groan; her voice actually did sound better the morning after than it had the night before.

“Good morning” he answered, he clicked the light of the room off but didn’t move.

“How are you feeling?” she asked, cocking her head to the left, her hair sway over her skin, exposing partially one of her breasts and Barba had to make an effort not to look.

“Just a slight headache” he answered, pushing his hands into the pockets of the sweatpants he was wearing. “How about you?”

“Same” she nodded and pushed herself up to her feet.

“My grandmother used to make this bacon thing that she claimed could cure any hangover” he explained, she looked at him “Are you up for breakfast?”

Ren looked at Barba for a few seconds, he stood by the bathroom completely dressed in a pair of sweatpants and a white shirt and she stood next to the unmade bed, just wearing her panties and with her hair rolling down her shoulders; what a change from last night when they had reached the room and she had been the one fully dressed.

Barba looked back at her, her lips were raw and her hair was still a bit messy and her skin looked like porcelain with a few dark lines from the tattoos she had but she was nothing like he had ever imagined her; Ren in her casual jeans and skater skirts, he had never denied she was pretty, but right now she looked even better than last night.

“Sure” she nodded, a smile drawing over her face “Of course”

“Ok, then” he nodded and turned to the door “I’ll be at the kitchen”

“I’ll see you in a second” she nodded “When I find my things”

Barba blessed the blackout curtains that she couldn’t see the rapid blush that spread through his face and disappeared almost instantly; he walked towards the door and pulled it open, walking out fast but leaving it cracked as he heard her moving around the room.

This wasn’t the ideal situation, he knew that, he usually didn’t keep his one night stands around for breakfast, and they usually left after they woke up; but then again not many of said one night stands had him panting and whispering in Spanish while having them pinned against the elevator wall.

Barba was pulling out a couple of plates when Ren walked out of the room, she was fully dressed and her hair had been pulled up into a high ponytail; in long strides she reached the kitchen island to find her coat folded over it with her heels on the floor next to the island.

“It smells really good” she nodded, Barba looked up at her and nodded back; his serious character back on again.

He placed a sandwich over the plate and handed it to Ren, she took it and sat down just as he did; she propped her head over her hand and looked down at the sandwich, she picked it up and took a bite as Barba looked down at his phone.

The silence was soothing, Barba wasn’t really sure if he should talk to the about the night before, or about work or even about Carisi; this had never happened before, he had always maintained his professional life apart from his personal one and now here he was, having breakfast with the girl he had kissed and touched raw last night.

Maybe she doesn’t want to talk about last night, either” he thought, and that was somehow a relief.

“Do you have marks?”

Barba looked up from his phone, his eyebrow up, she looked away from her half eaten sandwich and smirked at him.

“What?”

“Marks, do you have marks from last night?”

Ok, so we are talking about last night” he put the phone down “A few”

“Sorry” she nodded, a soft blush spreading over her face, she looked down at her sandwich and took a bite.

“Don’t be” he answered, she looked up at him from under her lashes “They aren’t that bad”

“Good to know” she nodded.

“Didn’t take you for a tattoo girl” he pointed out, this time it was her eyebrow that shot up to her hair as she smirked.

“Well, you can’t really see them until I take my shirt off” she shrugged, “Or in this case, dress”

They eat silently, no awkward tension falling between them, just comfortable silence in each other’s company until Ren pushed her chair back and Barba looked at her.

“Well, Barba” she smiled, she scooped her coat from the island and slipped her feet into the high heels “Thanks for breakfast, but I better get going”

“Of course” he nodded, he walked towards the door with the young PI following him closely, he pulled the door open and moved away so she could walk out, they looked at each other and Barba had to bite his tongue from wanting to ask Ren not to tell anyone about last night, but he was sure it would sound incredibly rude.

“Bye”

“Bye”

He watched her go, walking down the corridor that had witnessed the sloppy kisses and heavy touches, she pressed the elevator button and Barba had a flashback of pushing her against the mirror when they had entered the elevator the night before and her hands were all over his chest and whimpers were escaping her lips; and he had to step into the apartment before he got another hard on just from thinking about everything that had happened the instant that followed the first kiss he had given her.

“Mierda” he whispered into the empty apartment, of all the women he could have taken home, he had taken Renata Alvarez, the woman he worked with.

Barba dropped himself over the stool of the kitchen island and grabbed his phone, he typed the password rapidly and dropped the phone over the table before he covered his face with both hands as the text from Carisi looked back at him.

New lead on hotel case it read, but it didn’t matter at the moment, right now all he could think about when he had read Carisi’s name on his phone was the way Ren had worked wonders with her mouth and her hands and how royally he had fucked up.

Chapter Text

Olivia gathered the files around the table, placing the photos carefully inside a separate file as Ren pushed her own things into her bag; it had been a successful meeting to go through the evidence they had gathered so far and Ren was incredibly grateful that Carisi wasn’t in the station that morning while she was there.

“Hey Ren” spoke Olivia, Ren looked up at Olivia as the woman pushed herself up to her feet.

“What’s up?” asked Ren, she closed her bag and pushed herself to her feet.

“What are you doing tonight?”

“Um, nothing” shrugged Ren, she crossed the strap of the messenger bag over her head and walked around the table to stand in front of Olivia “Why?”

“Do you like opera?”

Ren frowned slightly as she looked at the woman in front of her, she shifted her weight from one leg to the other but nodded as she answered.

“Yeah, I’ve been to a few with my parents when they lived here and with John”

“Would you like to attend tonight?”

“Why?” asked Ren, she wasn’t sure if this was some trick from the squad to get her to talk to Carisi, because Amanda had tried to get them to talk but she wanted to make sure before she agreed to the Opera.

“I have a ticket for tonight, but Noah has been feeling under the weather lately and I don’t want to leave him alone” explained Olivia, she hugged the files to her chest “So, I was wondering maybe you wanted to go, I understand why you have been a bit under the radar lately but I thought maybe you would like to do something different”

Ren smiled, Olivia really did have the heart of gold everyone said she had, she always tried her best to make people feel better; Olivia smiled back at Ren as she waited for an answer.

“Ok, yeah, I’d like that”

“Perfect” nodded Olivia, she turned on her heels and started to walk towards the door of the conference room, Ren following her silently “Just let me get my phone from my office” Olivia started to talk once more as the couple of women made their way towards Olivia’s office. “I’ll just let Barba know”

“What?” hissed Ren, Olivia grabbed the doorknob of her office and pulled it open as she glanced at Ren from over her shoulder.

“Barba, he invited me but I told him I couldn’t go but that I would find someone to go in my place” explained Olivia as she walked into the office.

Ren stood under the frame, staring as Olivia with wide eyes, this could not be happening she told herself, she had just agreed to go to the opera with a man she had had loud and hot sex with just a week ago.

“You mean – you mean I have to go with Barba?” asked Ren, making an effort to mask the way her voice had hitched up a bit.

Olivia turned from her desk, her phone in her hands and a raised eyebrow as she looked at Ren, she had seen that from the last few months Barba and Ren had started to take along so she didn’t think it would be a problem for Ren to go with Barba; yes, Olivia knew Ren had been dating Carisi, but that didn’t mean that Ren couldn’t make a friend in Barba.

If only Olivia knew.

“Yeah, you’d be going with Barba” answered Olivia, she looked down at her phone and started to type.

“Um, I… Ren started as she stepped into the office, but just as the rest of the words started to form in her throat, Fin rushed into the office.

“Liv, we gotta go, something came up with the hotel case” he turned to Ren “Hi” and with that he dashed out again, Ren turned on her heels just to watch as Fin grabbed his jacket and hurried towards the elevators.

“I have to go, but he will meet you at the theater” said Olivia, her business voice back on.

Mierda” thought Ren as she walked out of the office and Olivia hurried out to follow after Fin.

Chapter Text

She was standing outside the theater with her clutch bag in her hands, people walking by her in nice suits and dresses, the night was chilly and the air was blowing when she spotted him walking up towards her; his hands inside the pockets of the pants of his tux.

“Alvarez” he spoke, his voice controlled and steady unlike the voice she had heard when they had been rolling around his bed.

“Barba” she smiled as she looked at him.

“I was almost sure you won’t come” he stood next to her, their shoulders near but not enough to touch as they watched people walk around them.

“Free tickets to the opera” she shrugged “And having to answer to Liv as to why I didn’t come were two things I had to think about before saying no”

“Huh” he said.

For a few minutes they stood next to each other, the wind blowing Ren’s hair gently, people walked around them, not paying attention to the pair just standing there; after almost everyone had finished getting into the theater, the lawyer turned to look at her and pulled his hands out of his pockets.

“Well, you are here now” he shrugged “Let’s go in” he extended his arm to her.

“Might as well” she shrugged, placing her hand around his arm and allowing him to lead her into the theater.

They walked down the hall, her heels muted by the carpet under their feet, Ren knew this wasn’t an ideal situation, but she had managed to play cool with other one night stands before so there was no reason to believe that acting as if nothing had happened with Barba wouldn’t work.

So she allowed him to lead her to the theater, she took his indication when he told her where they were seated and she even smiled and talked to the people that sat next to them just before the show started; there was no reason to be mean or disrespectful just because they had seen each other naked just a week ago, at least she had gotten a free ticket to the opera.

“So, all those people we talked to” started Ren, she glanced at Barba “You know them?”

“Most of them” nodded the lawyer, he lead Ren down the hall as the break before the last half started.

“Huh” she whispered as they stopped walking, she pulled her hand away from his arm and looked at him “Interesting”

“And what exactly is that supposed to mean?” he asked, his eyebrow raised but his voice not as serious as it had been almost all night.

“Never really thought you would know so many influential people” she explained.

“Its part of the job” he shrugged casually.

“What about the woman sitting diagonally from us?”

Barba raised an eyebrow as he looked at her, pushing his hands into the pockets of his pants, Ren rolled her eyes playfully.

“You know who I am talking about” she smirked “She kept glancing at you when we first sat down, you must know her”

“We went out a few times” Barba shrugged off, he wasn’t sure how he felt about telling Ren about his personal life; a woman that had had him panting and gasping just a week ago.

“Aha” she snorted cheerfully, “That explains the looks”

“Por dios” he whispered as he shook his head, “Where you even paying attention to the actors or where you focusing on the people around us?”

“Both” she smiled “It’s my job to focus on people, I couldn’t help but notice the way she was looking at you, come on”

“Jealous?” he blurt out.

“Ah Barba” she looked at him as she shook her head “Not when she sees the marks on your back” Barba closed his eyes and pressed his lips into a thin line as he shook his head at her comment; by God, this woman could go from talking politics with the people he knew to remembering their one night stand a week ago.

A bell rang across the place, Barba tore his eyes away from Ren and glanced down the hall, people were walking back to the theater, he turned to Ren “I think we should get going”

“Lead the way” she said, not lacing her hand over his arm this time as he started to walk back the way they had come; she couldn’t deny that it had turned out to be a very pleasant night.

The final part of the show was just as delightful as the first, Ren and Barba walked out the theater with the wave of people around them; a few of Barba’s friends had talked to them as they all walked towards the door but they were already starting to scatter around to head back home; it was just the beginning of the weekend so most of the people were not in a rush. Barba maneuvered Ren towards the door as expertly as he could, it was obvious he attended the opera frequently.

“Do you come to these things with Olivia a lot?” asked Ren as she walked out the door.

“She comes with me to a few” nodded Barba “She knows how to talk to people and it helps her relax” Ren smiled at him.

“That’s nice” she nodded, she had learned more about Barba that night and a week ago than she had since she had meet him almost a year ago.

The tall redhead in the beautiful cream dress walked out the door they had used and shot Ren and Barba a glare; Ren looked at her, the woman without a doubt was gorgeous and it was also obvious that she either still had feelings for Barba or things had ended badly between them because it really did bother her to see Barba in Ren’s company.

Maybe she glares when she sees him with Liv” Ren chuckled in her mind, the young PI nudged Barba gently and he looked at her.

“What?” he asked, she pointed forward with her chin and he glanced to where she was pointing just to get a glimpse of the redhead, Julia, looking away from them. “Seriously?” he hissed as he turned to look at Ren, but his lips were trying their best not to curve into a smile.

“She is pissed” chuckled Ren, Barba shook his head but couldn’t avoid the chuckle that erupted from his throat.

“She always looks pissed” explained Barba “Come on, let’s go”

“Hey, are you hungry?” she asked as they started to head to the street to get a cab.

“I’m not especially hungry but I could eat, what about you?”

“A bit hungry”

“Fine, let’s go” he shook his head, the remains of the chuckle still over him.

As he tried to get a cab, Barba realized that once they put aside the fact that they had slept together, he actually had enjoyed the company of the young PI; they had talked, she had shared opinions with people he knew, the awkwardness of the day after sex had disappeared and the night had turned into a very enjoyable to be honest.

“Oh my God, there she comes” giggled Ren, like a schoolgirl, her hand reached out to Barba’s and she squeezed it happily; it was obvious she was having a blast from the way Julia was shooting glances at her.

“No es chistoso” he chuckled, trying his best to let her know that it wasn’t funny, but he couldn’t really match his voice with his thoughts.

“Just a bit, you know it is” she squeezed his hand once more and smiled before she pulled away from him.

Barba looked at her, she smiled as the wind played with her hair and she hugged herself, the coat protecting her from the wind, she looked down the street as Barba gave her another quick and secretive glance; her elegant jumpsuit looked great on her, not glued to her body like a few others he had seen on other women back in the theater, but it fit her just right and Barba had to look away when his mind started to wonder if the zipper of the outfit was on the back

Chapter Text

A soft drizzle had started to fall outside the dinner, inside the place just a few people sat here and there, with only one table laughing loudly; most of the laughter coming out from the lips of a young blond PI wearing an elegant black jumpsuit with an empty waffle plate in front of her.

Ren laughed, she covered her mouth with the back of her hand as she tried her best not laugh loudly, Barba rolled his eyes amused and looked down at his plate of waffles and shook his head as Ren let out that strange mix of laughter and snort.

“How is that even possible?” she chuckled, Barba looked up at her and shrugged “You are kind of an asshole, you know that, right?”

“Excuse me?” he gasped, making an effort to look offended “I take you to the opera, bring you here at… he looked down at his watch “Almost twelve thirty to get waffles and you insult me?”

“Ok” laughed Ren “You did not take me to the opera, Olivia bailed on you and I came to cover up for her, so you’re welcome that you didn’t have to sit alone and that you didn’t have to bare Julia’s glares by yourself all night”

Barba looked at her and chuckled loudly, dropping the fork and covering his eyes with the hand he had propped over the table on its elbow; he laughed for a few more seconds before he looked up at her once more.

“I’m mean to everyone if that makes you feel better”

“That is so not true” she laughed, she cupped her hands around her mug of coffee and lifted it up to her lips “I’ve never seen you being mean to Olivia, or Elliot or Fin to be honest”

“They haven’t done anything to deserve it” pointed out Barba, Ren gasped as she faked offense, her right hand landing over her chest.

“And I have?”

“You have” he nodded “You know that”

“You were barking orders even when you were drunk a week ago” pointed out Ren, she placed the mug down and raised an eyebrow at him.

“Because you almost broke your ankle” he attacked back “You should be thanking me that we didn’t end in the ER with you and a broken ankle”

“Please dude, I had everything under control” she laughed as she pushed her chair back “I’ll go pay, I’ll be back”

“What? No” he pushed his chair back and stood up too “I’m buying”

“You already paid for the taxi and you gave Liv the ticket to the opera” she shrugged as she started to walk towards the register “I can handle this” she pulled her money out of her clutch bag.

Barba agreed reluctantly and waited next to her as she paid, he glanced at the night, the drizzle was starting to fall a bit harder and he didn’t have an umbrella; he turned to Ren as she smiled at the cashier.

“I’m gonna go try and get a taxi” he explained, he turned on his heels and walked towards the door, arranging his scarf around his neck tighter; he pulled the door open and the cold air hit him hard, he tightened his jaw but still stepped out into the falling rain.

This was not the way things were supposed to be going, he didn’t dislike Ren, he had stopped disliking her a long time ago but the fact that his skin burned to touch her again was something he didn’t like; he didn’t like not having control of what he wanted and desired and right now his mind was telling him to stay away from her and his skin was telling him to stay.

Ren trotted out of the dinner and stopped next to Barba, the water wasn’t falling heavily but it added to the cold of the wind; the lawyer pushed one of his hands into the pockets of his coat and turned to look at her, she glanced at him and smiled softly.

“You could have stayed inside” he pointed out.

She shrugged “I won’t melt” she smiled.

“I’ll drive with you to your apartment, make sure you make it home”

“Aw” she laughed “So nice of you”

He rolled his eyes as her but the smirk on his lips gave him away, she smiled and bumped her shoulder against his; she had to admit she liked Barba’s company, it wasn’t and it never would be like Sonny’s because she was in love with Detective Carisi, she just felt comfortable around Barba.

“Or are you up for a drink?” he asked, he turned to look at her, his light eyes staring back at her darker ones.

Ren raised both her eyebrows at him and then shrugged “Yeah, sounds good” she watched as a cab drove up towards them “Where do you have in mind?”

Barba pulled the door of the taxi open and Ren squirmed into the seat, Barba following and closing the door, thanking god that he was finally away from the rain; the car started to move just as Barba asked the man to take them to the bar where he had bumped with Ren just a week ago.

 

___________//____________

 

An hour and a half after they arrived to the bar, the pair walked out of it, Ren had her arm around Barba’s as he led the way out of the place; he had to make sure Ren didn’t stumble and broke her ankle.

“Let’s get a cab” he said, he was feeling a bit lightheaded but nothing like a week ago.

Ren unhooked her arm from his and handed Barba her clutch bag “Hold my purse” she spoke, Barba looked down at the purse but took it slowly as she arched back and pulled her hair into a high ponytail.

He watched her for a moment, her head thrown back, her fingers running through her hair as she pulled it back, her back arched and her coat falling around her because she had failed to button it up before they left the bar; and yes, he wanted her, he really did, she was nice to talk to but she was equally nice to touch.

Barba cleared his throat and turned to the road, he waved at a cab and the driver flashed his lights as a signal that he would stop for Barba, he turned to Ren and the girl was already next to him; very close to him.

“Thank you” she smiled as she took the purse from his hand, her hands brushed and his skin felt like a fire rushing through him.

“Alvarez” he asked.

“Hum?” she asked as she looked down at her purse to check her phone.

“Do you want to go back to the apartment?”

Ren’s head snapped up at him rapidly, Barba’s eyes intense just as the cab stopped next to them, the green in his eyes dark and his face partially covered with shadows but he looked just as handsome as he did when he was under the lights.

And the few seconds she remained in silence, made his heart beat faster as he thought he had just made a fool of himself; he dug his nails into the palms of his hands as he curled them into fists in his pockets, a mannerism he had when he was nervous.

“Yeah” she nodded and smiled back at him.

Barba nodded and turned to cab, he pulled the door open for the young woman and she slid into the backseat with Barba following her closely. He closed the door and gave the driver the address before he turned to the gorgeous PI next to him and she pressed her lips against his; the mix of honey and whiskey shooting fire through his veins as he placed his hand over her tight and kissed her back.

Chapter Text

Barba had always been a visual kind of man, he liked to see the contrasts between skin and underwear, he liked to see the way Ren’s back arched under him and the way her eyes closed and her lips gaped partially; he liked to watch her undress and for crying out loud he adored watching her come undone in his bed but with Ren he had realized there was something he enjoyed more than watching her in front of him.

He felt a wildfire start in the core of his soul when he heard her groan and hiss and whisper to him; her voice still a bit high pitched but there was a tinge of hoarse in it that drove Barba crazy and it was that same voice whimpering, with her head thrown back as he watched her over her lap, that was pushing him to the edge of the orgasm.

He was sitting on the edge of the bed, his feet pressed hard over the floor, one of his hands was pressed partially behind his back over the bed, he had sat down just a few seconds ago and Ren had snaked her arms around his neck; hands that just a few minutes ago had been pressed against his chest as he lay down and he looked up at her. He liked control when it came to his personal life but there was nothing he liked more than to see a woman he liked taking control of the situation in bed, of showing him what she liked, what she wanted and how she wanted.

And the moment she had pushed him back against the bed and had yanked his underwear down, he knew that he just wanted her over him, doing what she wanted, what she needed and now their chests were pressed against each other and her moans were coming faster and he really just needed to hear her come so he could do the same.

Her nails were digging into his skin as she pressed harder against him, with a swift movement, Barba lay down, pulling her with him over his chest and his hands traveled down to her butt, he gave her a soft push and her moan caught in her throat and her nails dug deeper and his finger pressed harder against her skin.

“Mierda” he hissed against her ear, his breath with a heavy whiskey scent.

“Yes” she groaned into his neck, pressing her lips against him as her hands tightened around his neck and his hands roamed over her back and her butt because he couldn’t get enough of the way her skin seemed to be on fire and because he simply didn’t want to stop touching her.

In a move he had only pulled once, with a girl that couldn’t understand one word of Spanish, Rafael found himself groaning in his mother language he told her he wanted her to come and he felt the vibration of her chest as she chuckled against his skin.

“Ay Rafael” she whispered in a mix of a laugh and a groan and Rafael closed his eyes and gripped at her skin and he came hard and first and with a strong groan against her skin and then she followed.

The smooth pant that had escaped her lips the first time they had had sex returned and slipped out of her raw kissed mouth and Rafael held her harder against his chest as she contracted around him and her nails dug into his skin.

They lay there for a few seconds before Ren pushed herself up and swung her leg over Barba and sat over the bed, she pushed her hair behind her shoulder and then in a rapid hand movement, she pulled her hair back and up in a messy ponytail. Barba pushed himself on his elbows and they looked at each other, she smirked and raised an eyebrow

“I’ll use the guest’s bathroom” she spoke, her voice hoarse and dry.

The young woman pushed herself up from the bed and scooped her panties up before she hurried out of the room, Barba watching the way her ponytail moved and the way her skin seemed to shine with the thin sheet of sweat over it.

He pushed himself up and tugged the condom off, tying it up, he walked towards his underwear and picked it up before walking towards the bathroom in his room, he closed the door partially and turned on the light, disposing of the condom and then using the bathroom; only to come out again with underwear to find Ren grabbing her jumpsuit from the floor.

“It’s really late” he spoke, his voice a bit rough.

She looked at him and it sent a shudder down his spine, her lips were puffy and red, her hair even in the ponytail was wild and her cheeks were flushed and she looked like every girl would want to look after hot, loud sex.

“I know” she smirked.

“Do you want to stay?” he turned off the lights of the bathroom.

 They looked at each other in the darkness, she shifted her weight from one leg to the other, only her panties on and strands of her hair falling over her shoulders barely touching her breasts.

“Do you want me to stay?” she asked, holding her jumpsuit carelessly with one hand.

“Yes” he nodded “It’s late, something bad could happen”

Ren laughed and the small tension building inside Barba vanished “You just want to morning sex”

Barba shook his head amused, but his lips quirked into a smile as he answered “You say that like it’s a bad thing”

“Ah” she smiled “I’m not sure your back could handle more of my nails”

“Let me be the judge of that” he chuckled as he walked towards the bed and the young woman.

“Uuh Barba” she raised her eyebrow, the remains of calling him by his first name for almost the first time already gone “Are you talking dirty to me?”

“Corazón” he smirked “Don’t get me started”

Chapter Text

The rain kept on falling like it had since the afternoon, the room barely illuminated from the light filtering through the open curtains; even with the windows closed the chill of the night crept into the room slowly, chasing away the warm sensation that had filled the room just a couple of minutes ago.

His slow hands trailed up the sides of her torso up to her chest as she lay over the bed, one of her knees up and pointing to the roof while he lay between her legs with his head just a few inches above her bellybutton, his eyes focused over the rain slamming over the window.

One of her hands left from behind her head and landed gently over his head, her fingers massaging his scalp as he closed his eyes under the sensation and his hands rolled back down away from her chest. They didn’t do the cuddling part, it had been an unspoken agreement between them, but that didn’t mean he didn’t like to be close to her body after they had been groaning and rolling around over the bed; he liked the way her skin felt as it cooled down, the way her breathing evened down.

He could feel the lacy fabric of her panties against his chest as he lay over her, his eyes closed and her hand still played through his hair; he opened his eyes and placed his hands over her stomach just as he turned away from the window and rested his chin over his laced hands. He looked at her, her eyes focused over the ceiling and one of her arms under her head as she moved her free hand over his hair, slowly she looked down at him and raised her eyebrow at him.

“Let’s get something to eat” he said.

“What do you have in mind?” she asked.

“Thai?”

“Sounds good” she answered, her fingers feathered over his scalp before he pushed himself back and sat down, his hands landing over her hips.

“I’ll get dressed and make the call” he nodded, his thumbs making circles over her skin gently, he looked down at her, the hand she had been using to massage his head lay carelessly over her stomach as the other continued to rest behind her head. “Ok” he smiled before he pulled his hands away from her and stood up, Ren pushed herself over her elbows and watched as he walked towards his closet.

Barba opened the doors and pulled out a pair of briefs, rapidly pulling them up before he grabbed a shirt and a pair of sweatpants; he turned to look at Ren just to catch the young woman scooping her bra from the floor, she looked up at him and smiled as she put it on and expertly clasped it back.

“Do you want a sweater?” he asked, she looked at him.

“Do you even have sweaters?” she asked “Like hoodies I mean?”

Barba rolled his eyes but smirked before he turned back to the closet and pulled out something from the back, he turned to Ren and threw her something red that she grabbed in midair.

“Of course I do” he sighed as he closed the doors of the closet, the sweatpants and the shirt hanging over his shoulder.

“Really?” she mocked “Because I think I have never seen you wear casual things”

“The day at the pharmacy and I’m pretty sure the day at the bakery” he pointed out, he walked towards the bed as Ren tugged his hoodie on.

“Wouldn’t bet my life on it” she shrugged, a giggle escaping her lips as he pulled his sweatpants on and turned to look at her.

“I have the feeling you like making fun of me” he chuckled.

“I think that’s why you keep me around” she winked before she walked around him and towards the bathroom.

Barba watched her walk towards the bathroom, the red hoodie barely covering below her butt but he wasn’t complaining, he liked her legs; he looked away just as she turned to close the door and decided he should go make the call for their take out.

Ren dangled her legs from her place over the kitchen island, Barba was sitting over one of the tall chairs as she laughed and shook her head, outside the rain was falling harder as they waited for the take out they had ordered.

“I love the windows in this apartment” she said after a few minutes in silence “I really like the view you have here”

“I knew there was a reason I couldn’t get you out of here”

Ren burst up, she threw her head back and dangled her legs faster as her laugh echoed across the apartment, she swung one of her legs and smacked Barba on the knee before she turned to look down at him.

“Yeah, the windows are definitely why I’m still coming back here”

“Mierda, I knew it” he faked hissed, she rolled her eyes at him and then he pushed himself up. “I’m gonna go get my wallet”

Barba walked off towards his room, the only lights really on were the one on his night table and the lamps on the living room; and just as Barba walked into the room, the doorbell rang and Ren smiled as she turned to the door.

“I’ll get that!” she cried out, pushing herself up from her place on the kitchen island.

“Alvarez!” cried Barba as he hurried out of the room “You don’t even have pants on!” he growled, but the blond was already pulling the door of the apartment open and smiling at the delivery guy.

“Hi” she smiled, taking the box he was holding out to her “Thank you” she turned on her heels just as Barba walked towards them.

“Here you go” hissed Barba, the man tore his eyes away from Ren’s legs and looked at Barba and then down at the money, he took it and looked up at Barba just as the lawyer raised an eyebrow at him and shot his daggers “You can go now”

“Of course, thank you” nodded the young man, he turned on the ball of his heels and walked down the corridor, before Barba closed the door and walked towards the kitchen were Ren had already turned on the lights.

The pair sat silently at the kitchen island eating, Ren placed her fork down and looked at Barba before she spoke.

“One of my friends knows”

He looked up at her “Knows what?”

“About this” she signaled between them “Whatever this is”

“How did she find out?” asked Barba, he frowned, it didn’t bother him that people knew, he just wasn’t sure if these people would tell Carisi and he wasn’t really up to finding out what the detective thought about this at the moment.

“She read your text” nodded Ren “The one you sent me today”

“Huh” he whispered, he looked down at his food and then back up at her “What did she say?”

“Not much” she shrugged “She just wanted to know if we were fuck buddies”

“Dios mio” he whispered as he shook his head with a small smile over his lips “What did you tell her?”

“Are we?” she asked, propping her head over her hand.

Barba shrugged and took the beer in front of him, he wasn’t really sure what they were but whatever it was, was going really fast and to be honest he was liking everything about it.

“I suppose” he nodded after taking a sip from the beer.

“Well, you know her” she nodded “Natalia, from the pastry shop”

“Yeah, I remember her”

“Do you?” laughed Ren “You are such a liar”

Barba laughed “I’m not lying!”

“You are!” she laughed, she pushed herself back and scooped her plate from the kitchen island “I’ll get the plates”

“You can do that later” he said, his voice closer to her, she looked over her shoulder and he was standing just a few feet away from her, she placed the plate in the sink and turned around “Let’s do nothing for a while”

“Would you mind if I stayed over?” she asked, she walked towards him.

“I was counting on it”

She smiled and cocked her head to the right, her hair falling behind her like a golden curtain and he couldn’t help but smile back as she made her way towards him and then started to walk towards the room; he liked doing nothing with her, even if he rarely liked doing nothing.

And as he followed her towards the room and he pushed his hands into the pockets of his pants, Barba wasn’t so sure they were just as casual as fuck buddies were; and he wasn’t sure that bothered him at all.

Maybe she wasn’t Carisi’s girl anymore.

Chapter Text

Barba looked down at his phone, the meeting with the detectives was almost over and they were going over things he already knew, so he allowed himself a bit of enjoyment as he looked down at the screen of his expensive phone and clicked on the new message he had just received.

When do u get off?

He propped his head over his left hand, his ring and pinky finger pressing against his mouth as he typed rapidly with his right hand.

Usually when you are at the apartment.

The answer came through almost instantly.

I know that, meant work.

He smirked and had to force himself not to roll his eyes as he typed back just as his name was called out.

“Barba”

His head snapped up at Olivia, the woman was staring down at him from her place standing next to the white board of the things they had on the Ivan case they were so close to getting done.

“What?” he asked.

“Are you listening?” Olivia had to refrain herself from growling.

“Of course I am” he nodded, his eyebrow up and his usual know – it – all smug face on, Olivia rolled her eyes and turned back to the board just as Barba glanced at Carisi, the detective was pulling his phone out of his pants and after checking it quickly he sighed and turned back to Olivia.

Barba frowned as Carisi pushed his phone back into his pants, and the fact that he was frowning at Carisi made his want to face palm himself; he was the one sleeping with a woman he shouldn’t be doing anything with and here he was wondering if Carisi and Ren were still texting each other despite their break up.

“If we play our cards right, we could be taking Ivan down on Saturday” Olivia finally said.

“We need Ren for that raid” Nick spoke, he glanced at Carisi.

 The blond detective looked at Nick, it had been three months since he had broken up with Ren but that didn’t really mean anything, he had texted her that he wanted, needed, to talk to her, that he had so many things to explain, so many things he wanted to tell her, he needed to tell her how much he missed her, he missed them and everything they used to do. And now all he got was the team announcing they would be needing the girl he loved to go on a raid to a club that only screamed danger and Carisi needed to talk to her even more.

“Yes” answered Elliot.

“Has anyone talked to her?” asked Amanda, she looked at Olivia.

Fin watched as Barba glanced at Carisi, slowly Fin turned to Carisi as well, he liked the blond detective and he could tell expertly how much he was hurting over the break up, hiding out in the office, barely speaking to anyone, the cheerful mood he always had was gone and to make things worse, Dodds had told Fin and Elliot he had found a picture of Carisi and Ren in Carisi’s desk and to be honest the team was starting to worry that if Carisi didn’t get to speak to the young PI again, he would drop dead from all the extra hours he was pulling as a weak attempt to not think about her.

“I have” said Olivia “But for now let’s concentrate on getting all the evidence we need before the raid”

 

___________//____________

 

She knew it had been a bad idea just by the fact that she hadn’t hung up immediately, but know she was just confirming the fact that she was just being an idiot and that more than just a bad idea, this had to be the worst idea she had ever had; considering the fact where she was made it even worse.

“Hello” she spoke, her heart hammering in her chest.

“Ren” the voice at the other end of the line seemed relieved.

The young woman closed her eyes and looked at the closed elevator doors in front of her, her finger hoovering over the up button before she pulled her hand away and sighed.

“Hey, Sonny” she said.

“How are you?”

Please don’t do this” she screamed in her mind, this was such a bad idea, her heart was slamming against her chest. “What’s going on?” she decided to ask back, she wasn’t going to answer that question considering that she was just about to get in an elevator go meet Barba up at his apartment.

“I need to talk to you” and his voice still sounded so smooth and mellow and everything nice that always went with it despite the fact that she hadn’t heard it in months.

“Don’t do this, Sonny” she whispered “Not right now” she closed her eyes “This is all your fault, you shouldn’t have answered the fucking phone”

“Ren please” he sighed “I need to see you, before the raid, I need to talk to you” he propped his head over his hand on the island of his apartment “I screwed up so badly, I just….

“You did what you thought was best” she sighed, she really shouldn’t have answered. “But I can’t do this right now, Sonny”

“I love you”

I love you too” she sighed in her mind “But that doesn’t solve what happened” she turned to the elevator button and pressed it “Look Sonny, I really have to go”

There was a silence from the other end of the line and Ren pressed the phone harder against her ear to make sure she could hear something before his voice came back into the line; god she still did love him, of course she did, this was the man who had changed her life, but that didn’t mean that she would just run back into his arms not when she was kind of seeing Barba or something, she wasn’t really sure she wanted to keep on calling it fuck buddies.

“There are just so many things I need to tell you”

Ren closed her eyes just as the elevator arrived, he had hurt her, when he had broken up with her, but she knew why he had done it, he was scared and stressed and those things didn’t mix well, and she still had a soft spot for him.

“Maybe we could talk after the raid” she finally agreed, she wasn’t going to feel bad about going to talk to Carisi, she wasn’t going to talk to him to get back together, she wasn’t in a serious thing with Barba, she could do whatever she wanted.

“Ok” Carisi’s voice sounded relieved.

“I have to go now,”

“Bye, Ren”

“Bye” and she hung up just as she stepped into the elevator.

She pressed the floor button and the doors closed in front of her, how had things turned out to be so complicated? When had all of this come tumbling do on her? But as the doors beeped open, Ren took a deep breath and forced Carisi out of her mind, maybe she was just Barba’s fuck buddy but that didn’t mean she wanted to have Carisi in her mind when she stepped into the apartment.

 

___________//____________

 

Silence settled in the room, the curtains were open and the light outside casted away a few shadows in the living room with the help of the light that had remained turned on in the kitchen; Barba was sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine in his hands, he had traded his expensive suit for a pair of black sweatpants and a grey shirt. Over his lap, Ren rested her head as she stared at the window, her legs extended down the sofa, the soft fabric of the furniture feeling great against her exposed skin.

He wanted to ask, he really did, he had wanted to ask her the moment she walked into the apartment, but she had kissed him on the lips before walking in and he had forgotten about the way Carisi had been looking down at his phone and he forgot about the way Dodds and Amanda had turned to look at Carisi when Ren’s name had been mentioned in the meeting. And now the question was bubbling up again in his chest, he took a sip from the wine and decided he should just go for it and ask when she turned around and looked up at him from her place on his lap.

“So,” she spoke.

“What?” asked Barba, he looked down at her, placing the wine glass on the small table next to the sofa.

“Someone got a bit excited over texts this afternoon” she smirked as she looked up at him, she raised her knees to point to the ceiling.

“Did it bother you?” he asked, his hand lowering down to her chest and snaking under her chest through the neck of the shirt he had thrown off her just a couple of hours ago.

“Not at all” she cocked her head to the right slightly as his hand rested over her breast.

When did she take her bra off?” he had been entirely certain that he had seen her putting her bra on again before they went to the kitchen to get something to eat.

“Well, do you remember the first text I sent you today?” she asked as his hand massaged her breast, this time the poor light didn’t mask away the blush spreading from her neck to her face.

“Yes” he nodded, the text that had gotten him barked at by Olivia.

“Well” she whispered, slowly shifting her body until she was laying on her chest, he had pulled his hand out of the shirt as she placed her hand over his leg and propped her chin over it “I was thinking I could help you out with that” she looked up at him and shot him her most innocent look, making his blood start to run instantly.

“What do you have in mind?” he asked, his voice not as steady as he would have liked.

“I have a lot of things in mind” she growled “But let’s just stick to one for the time being”

And with a swift movement she had pushed herself up on her elbows and slowly pulled her body back to the other side of the sofa and all Barba could think was that that had to be some kind of Yoga - Catwoman movement he would like to see again.

“And what would that be?”

Ren smiled and pushed herself of the sofa and stood up, she walked towards him and stood between his legs, grabbing the hem of her shirt and pulling it off; her hair flopping around her in a golden mess.

“When did you take your bra off?” he asked as he looked up at her.

“When you weren’t looking” she answered casually, she leaned forward and placed her hands over his knees before she dropped to her own knees and her hands rolled up to his hips; her fingers toyed around with the elastic of his sweatpants as he kept looking down at her.

The question about Carisi, forgotten ages ago.

“Can you imagine” her voice continued, thick and smooth, her hands curled around the elastic and she started to tug down his pants; Barba arched his hips up a bit as she pulled them down a bit more, but not enough “If the people from the other building could see us?”

“What?” he whispered, he was really not paying that much attention to what she was saying.

“Can you imagine what that show would be like?” she whispered, her hands tugged down his pants but her eyes kept focused on him.

Barba raised his eyebrow, this wasn’t the first time they had fooled around his living room with the curtains open, and he was sure no one from the other building could see them, they weren’t that close, but for the sakes of all that was happening at the moment he went along with her.

“Are you up for that kind of show?” he asked.

“Always” she smirked, his pants were tugged down to his ankles and with a rapid movement he kicked them away.

Her hands traveled up his calves, over his knees and down his thighs and Barba let out a hiss as she wrapped her hand around him; this girl was a box of surprises, one moment she had been telling him about her favorite movie and the next she was taking her shirt off and was settling herself between his legs and there was no way this would just stop there.

“Well,” he panted as she moved her hand up and down “Let’s see what you’ve got”

Ren smirked, that smirk of hers that Carisi had seen for the first time when he had set her over the kitchen island of his apartment, her skirt up and his pants down and that Barba had decided he really liked the day they had showered together when she had opened the door for the delivery guy with no pants on.

And he wanted to throw his head back against the sofa as he gripped the armrest, his hand flying to her hair, he didn’t pull or tug, he just allowed it to move with her head, but he couldn’t drop his head back, not when she was looking at him from under her lashes; her eyes big and dark and shooting him everything that was about to go down that night.

He panted loudly into the apartment, his legs tensing and his grip around the armrest and her hair tightening, and before anything else, he pulled back slightly; the young woman pulled back completely and looked at him, a confused look over her face.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, her voice came out raspy and panted.

“Nothing” he hissed, his hand still around her hair “We can do that later”

His hand traveled rapidly down to the back of her neck and he pulled her towards him as he leaned down to meet her lips; she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him back with her until she was flat against the floor, his chest pressed against hers and his hard on poking at her thigh.

With his free hand Barba pushed down her panties, helped by her squirming legs that pulled them down all the way until she could kick them away from her ankles; his hand around her neck traveled down to her breasts as he kissed her and she wrapped her arms around his harder, raising one of her knees to point to the roof as she felt his hand travel between her legs.

“We might have to go the room” he whispered against her skin, not really wanting to do it, but knowing they had too.

“No condoms in the living room?” she asked, a mix of a pant and a chuckle.

“Exacto” he growled.

“You go get them, Mr. Barba” she suggested before she bit his shoulder gently “I’ll wait here, all flushed and ready”

“Mierda” he growled at her, but still pushed himself up from the floor and crossed the living room as fast as his dignity would allow him; he returned a few seconds later, already pushing the condom down to find Ren, still over the rug just like she had said.

He leaned down and kissed her, one of his hands hurrying down between her legs as he pressed his chest against hers and she buckled her hips against his in an attempt to tell him she wasn’t really up for teasing.

“You are gonna give me a rug burn” she panted against his ear.

“You can’t complain, you have given me so much worse than that” he chuckled against the skin of her neck; Ren giggled loudly, pressing her head against his shoulder.

Chapter Text

Carisi leaned back against the chair as he passed his right hand through his already messy hair, it felt like he had been sitting there for hours, waiting for someone to come talk to them and still no one came; he sighed and turned his stinging eyes towards Nat, the young woman was sitting next to Barba, with her phone on her lap and her eyes focused on her dark purple Converse.

The worst part of a nightmare is when you realize you aren’t sleeping, you are awake and this is really happening; for a moment as he had rushed into the alley after Elliot and Amaro, he had really wished that this was a nightmare, a horrible and twisted one and that he would wake up to find Ren sleeping soundly next to him. But then Elliot had shoved him back, screamed about the ambulance and Carisi’s blood had turned to ice and his veins had roared in pain as he realized this wasn’t a nightmare, this was real life and this was really happening.

“Oh god” he whispered as he glanced up at the ceiling, his eyes were stinging painfully with the new tears forming in his eyes, but still he made an effort to swallow them back. Next to him, Amanda squeezed his hand silently, trying her best to let him know that he wasn’t alone, they were there, they were all worried and no one was going anywhere.

“Natalia Allen?” called out a female voice, hints of tiredness drifting with it.

The whole group snapped their heads towards the voice, Carisi and Nat holding their breaths as they all focused their attention on a tall doctor.

“Me, I’m Natalia” Nat answered as she stood up, her phone dropping to the floor, but she didn’t notice.

The woman looked at the whole group as they all pushed themselves up to their feet, part of her heart warmed up despite what had happened to the young woman because she could see the concern and love in the faces of all these people; she gave a weak and tired smile to Natalia.

“She’s out of surgery” she spoke, Alex held her breath and Carisi took a step forward towards Nat. “The stab wound wasn’t very deep as it was long, but we were able to stitch it up” she glanced around the group, her eyes lingering over Carisi’s puffy eyes before she continued “She’s still asleep and we’ll keep her under observation for the night, but I’m positive she will be fine”

“Thank you” smiled Nat, her eyes full of pain and fear and relief “Thank you”

“Of course” nodded the woman.

“Can we see her?” asked Alex, her hands clutching to the phone as hard as she could.

“I’d rather not” sighed the doctor “But I will let you know the moment she wakes up and we’ll keep you posted about her status all through the night”

“Thank you” nodded Olivia, she stepped forward, glancing at her group before she walked towards the doctor, she wanted to ask a few questions, not as Ren’s friend but as the Lieutenant of SVU that she was.

There was a collective sigh of relief, Nat felt her heart return to her body and despite the horrible circumstances she smiled at the thought that her friend would be waking up. She felt her eyes prickle with tears and without a thought, she spin on her heels and threw her arms around Barba’s neck; pulling him tight against her and burying her face over his shoulder.

“She’s gonna be fine” she whispered against the fabric of his expensive suit and for a moment those words were enough, even if Nat knew it wasn’t that simple.

“Yes she will” Barba whispered back to the young woman, trying as hard as he could to remain composed as he could; he didn’t want them to see how he felt, not here, not with Carisi here.

Elliot glanced at Nat and Barba, the lawyer seemed stiff but still he hugged the young woman gently, he looked at them a bit longer before he looked away; the tension had dissipated partially now that they all knew that Ren was out of danger and a bit of relief was pushing its way into all of them.

Olivia looked at Carisi, the way his eyes were red and puffy were enough to melt a heart, his blond hair was sticking out and Olivia found herself sighing heavily; she glanced at Barba and then turned to look at Carisi who had approached her a few seconds before the doctor walked away.

“You have to promise not to go inside” Olivia explained “Barba wants Amanda and me to talk to her when she wakes up” he frowned but she continued “You know he’s right”

Of course Olivia didn’t know that Barba too had a personal attachment to the young PI.

“I promise, please, I just need to see her” he spoke, his voice raspy and hoarse.

“She’s down the hall in room 612” Olivia finally gave in, she trusted Carisi, but mostly it was that she knew how helpless he felt, how broken because not only was he thinking that he couldn’t help her but because he had also walked into the alley to find the girl he wanted to marry, bleeding on the floor.

“Thank you” he nodded.

Carisi glanced at the group, Alex and Nat where now sitting together, Elliot was talking to Barba, Amanda was standing next to Fin as he talked on the phone with someone who Carisi guesses was Munch and Dodds and Nick had vanished probably to get coffee for the group. He turned to Olivia and gave her a weak smile before he hurried to make his way down the hallway.

The white walls of the hospital seemed colder and more uninviting than usual, he heard coughs and TV noises but nothing was louder than the way his heart was beating; it was slamming against his chest rapidly and rhythmically.

He reached the end of the hall with his heart threatening to explode and panting, he slowed down and carefully walked towards the window of the room and there she was.

The blinds were down but he could still see her, lying over the bed with the covers up to her chest and a machine plugged into her, one of her hands had a white bandage around it and even from the distance he could see the scratches and bruises over her face and his heart dropped, his stomach turned and his throat closed on itself.

Sonny took a deep breath and his gentle fingers reached out to touch the glass, he felt an urge to burst into the room and hold her hand and tell her that he was there and that he was not going to leave her side, but right now it wasn’t about him or doing what was best for him, it was about Ren and what was best for her.

“I’m here babe” he whispered.

He pulled his hand back and crossed his arms over his chest, his eyes not leaving the young woman as she lay over the bed with the glass separating them. He should have been there, he should have found her and then all of this wouldn’t have happened and she would probably be filling the station with her high pitched laugh and it all would have been a successful night.

But instead they had all gotten this nightmare.

A gentle hand landed over his shoulder and yanked Sonny out of his thoughts, he jolted and turned to his right to find John Munch standing next to him, his face was stern and serious but Carisi could see worry in his eyes and somehow he looked older as both detectives looked at each other.

And Carisi wanted to say something, anything, because he knew that John loved her too, he just loved her in a different way, not like Alex and Nat and not like Carisi, he loved her like a daughter, but instead all Carisi could do was take a deep breath before John pulled him into a hug.

Chapter Text

He walked out of the courtroom, the room had felt suffocating yet the energy had been buzzing and thrilling, and when he had seen the look on that woman’s face when she had finally broken out of her made up character, pretending to be the victim, he knew he had won; and his body was vibrating with the adrenaline of the win and all the hard work it had taken to get to this.

Elliot was walking next to him, long strides and a smirk over his lips as they made their way towards the elevator with Rollins and Olivia behind them; after the squad had been asked to wait one more week before the raid, Barba had thought he would be walking under a dark cloud until then, that was until he had won the case and now all he was feeling was confidence.

“That was intense” pointed out Rollins once the group came to a stop in front of the elevator “I really thought she was going to jump at you”

“That would have helped our case” smirked Barba as he turned to look at the blond detective.

“Don’t even say it” sighed Olivia, she passed a hand through her hair, Elliot smiled at her before he crossed his arms over his chest.

“Who wants to grab a drink?” asked Elliot “I think we all deserve it”

“Count me in” nodded Rollins as she pushed her hands into the pockets of her coat “I was starting to think this case would never end”

Barba shook his head with a smile over his face, the verdict had taken less than he had expected and he had to agree that the squad did deserve a beer, they had been working overtime to get Ivan, not to mention the other cases they still had; of course he also thought he deserved a beer, he just had other things in mind.

Rollins pulled her phone out of her coat to text Nick when Barba’s phone started to ring, Elliot glanced at him as Barba frowned and pulled his phone out of the pocket of his pant, he turned back to Olivia just as she was telling Elliot that she would be joining them for a drink but would have to leave early to go to Noah.

“Hello” said Barba, the unknown number making him frown as he answered.

“Is this ADA Rafael Barba?” spoke the voice at the other side, he hesitated for a moment before he answered.

“Yes, who is this?” he glanced at Olivia as the woman looked at him, he looked away and stepped away from the group.

“I was calling to remind you that you have an appointment today at six at your office” explained the voice, and by god that he had heard that voice before he just didn’t know where.

“Who is this?” he asked again.

The voice hesitated at the other side of the line for a second before it spoke once more “The personal assistant of someone interested in your knowledge about law”

What the fuck is this?” he thought as he pulled the phone away from his ear and looked down at the caller ID once more.

“I’m sorry, I believe you have the wrong number”

“I don’t” the confidence at the other end of the phone was palpable “Please don’t be late”

And before he could argue or even before he could get irritated, the person at the other end of the line hung up.

Barba pulled the phone away from his ear and raised his left eyebrow, he was sure his secretary hadn’t mentioned anything about an appointment at six, there obviously had to be a mistake.

“Barba?” called Olivia, Barba slowly turned to look at her. “Is everything alright?”

“Yes” he nodded “Just, I forgot I had an appointment at six”

Elliot raised an eyebrow and glanced at Rollins, in all the time he had known Barba, the man had never forgotten about an appointment, then again he had picked up a few strange behaviors in Barba in the last few weeks.

“So, you won’t be joining us?” asked Rollins “Nick, Carisi, Fin and Dodds already confirmed they would be going”

“Maybe next time” said Barba as he shoved his phone into the pocket of his coat “Or I’ll catch up later at the bar”

“Sure” smiled Rollins.

The elevator beeped and the doors opened up for the group, Elliot held the door as the rest walked in, he walked after Olivia and the doors closed just as Barba pressed the first floor button; now that the irritated sensation had vanished from his body, he felt curiosity to know who wanted to talk to him and as the doors of the elevator opened up for them, he remembered he had agreed to meet with Ren after the trail.

Mierda” he thought, he sighed and pulled out his phone as they walked out of the building, as much as he wanted to see the young PI he had to head back to the office.

He held his briefcase tight with one hand as he typed with the other, hoping that Ren hadn’t left her apartment just yet to head to his own.

Can’t meet today.

The response came almost instantly as they walked down the stairs, just not in the way he had wished, his phone started ringing and Barba almost dropped the phone before he could answer.

“Hello” he said.

“I was just about to leave”

“No, I won’t be able to look at that today” he spoke as he glanced at Elliot, the detective looked at him for a brief second; there was a pause from the other side.

“Why?”

“I have a meeting” he explained.

“Oh” he heard a door closing from Ren’s side of the line “Ok, well let me know if you get off early, you know so I can get you off”

“Jesus Christ” he hissed into the phone.

“Sorry” she laughed “But do let me know, I might go out for drinks with the girls but I can drop by”

“I’ll call you”

“Great” she laughed and she hung up.

“So” said Rollins as the group came to a stop next to the street “You sure you don’t want to join us?”

“I can’t” he said again “But have a drink in my name”

“We will” smiled Olivia “Have a good day, Barba”

“You too” he nodded before he started to walk down the street and away from the group.

 

___________//____________

 

Barba walked down the hall, he had taken off his coat in the elevator and was now really hoping despite his initially curiosity that his appointment wouldn’t show or would cancel so he could head off to his apartment and maybe have a chance to call Ren, if she hadn’t left to get drinks with her friends.

His secretary was sitting behind her desk, typing rapidly on the computer, her agile eyes darting from one page to the other; Barba would always have to admit that that woman was one of the most efficient and hard working women he had ever met.

“Alice” he nodded as he walked into the receiver.

“Mr. Barba” she smiled as she looked up from the computer “How was your day?”

“Good” he nodded, he headed towards the door when Alice spoke.

“Sir, you have an appointment at six”

Barba turned to look at Alice, her short hair making her look younger than she really was; he glanced down at his watch, it was just 5:40, and if Alice was letting him know about the appointment it meant that it wouldn’t be cancelled.

“Did they give you a name?”

“A woman called… Alice looked down at a Post-It she had on the desk “Alexa Allen”

Barba looked at Alice for a few seconds, the name said nothing to him, Alice was looking at him with her intense eyes before Barba glanced at the door and then back at Alice.

“Thank you Alice”

“Of course”

His day was only getting weirder and weirder, he grabbed the doorknob and pushed the door open, stepping into the office before he caught a glimpse of the woman waiting inside; her back was too him as she looked at the bookshelf at the back of the office, a knee long navy blue coat on and a handbag in the same color was sitting over one of the arm chairs.

Barba closed the door with a frown over his face and placed his coat on the hanger before he clear his throat, yet the woman didn’t turn to look at him.

“Miss?” he called out, placing his briefcase over the floor.

“You have a nice set of books here, Barba” she answered before she turned around.

“Alvarez” he reached to the door and locked it “What are you doing here? Alice didn’t mention anyone was here”

“I sneaked in when she went to the bathroom” explained Ren, she shrugged and pushed her hands in the pockets of the coat “But don’t tell her that, I don’t want her getting in trouble, she seems nice”

“I have an appointment at six” he pointed out as he walked towards the desk “Besides, I thought you were going out with your friends”

Ren followed him with her sight before she made her way towards the desk as well, it wasn’t that Barba didn’t want her there, of course he did, it just was that if she didn’t leave soon enough, he would have to force himself not to leave with her.

“Yes, I know, the appointment” she pulled her right hand out of the coat and traced her fingers over the desk as Barba sat down. “I heard you won today”

“Who told you that?” he asked as he looked down at a few papers he had over the desk, he could feel her eyes over him and it was starting to get to him.

“Olivia” His head snapped up to her, he raised an eyebrow and she smiled down at him “I texted her about something to do with Noah and she mentioned you won”

“We did”

“Congratulations”

“Thank you” he nodded, a small smile over his face “Do you want to sit down?”

She nodded but walked towards the bookshelf behind Barba, her heels muffled by the carpet, he glanced at her by the rear of his eyes as she pulled out a book and flipped through the pages before pushing it back in its place.

He took a deep breath and turned to look at the files he had over his desk, his eyes reading the labels but his brain not really knowing what to do, he could smell that soft perfume she wore often, the way it mixed with her shampoo and the way it all seemed to mix perfectly when she was panting and gasping and sweating and…

She needs to leave!” he barked at himself “She needs to leave before my appointment gets here”

It was then that he felt her hands slipping over his shoulder, gently and carefully, a few strands of her hair falling gracefully and feathering against the back of his head and neck; her fingers spread as she lowered her hands from his shoulders to his chest.

“Alvarez” he whispered painfully.

“Barba” she purred to him.

“Don’t do this” he forced himself to answer, he looked up at her and she smirked at him before pulling her hands away from him and walking from behind his chair. “I have an appointment arriving in less than ten minutes”

She walked towards the desk and leaned her butt against the edge of the desk, she crossed her arms as her eyes focused over the bookshelf, her ankles crossed one over the other in front of her.

“Yes, your appointment with Alexa Allen”

“What?” he hissed as he turned to look at her “Did you go through Alice’s notes?”

“Of course not” answered Ren seriously, her eyes not leaving the bookshelf “I told you I don’t want her to get in trouble” she looked down at his watch.

“Then how do….

But before he could finish his sentence, Ren pushed herself away from the desk and turned her body to face Barba, he looked up at her, and frowned just before she extended her hand out to Barba.

“Alexa Allen, nice to meet you”

Barba looked at her for a few seconds, slowly he looked down at his watch to find it had just turned six, he looked up at her and he wasn’t sure if he should feel tricked or surprised or a bit more turned on than what he already was.

“You have got to be kidding me”

“I’m not” Ren cocked her head to the left “I thought my assistant had let you know that I did need to talk to you”

“Are you serious?” he asked.

“Do I look like I’m not, Mr. Barba?” she asked as she pulled her hand away from him and turned, her coat swaying around her as she moved.

“Ok then” he nodded “What exactly would you like me to help you with, Miss Allen?”

She walked to the front of the desk, she stepped gracefully between the two armchairs and positioned herself in front of the desk as perfectly centered as she could to face him; she cocked her head to the left and her hands landed gently over the first button of her coat.

“I’d like to know how fast can you get Alice to leave”

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Alice looked down at the papers she had over the desk, her agile fingers typing rapidly over the keyboard while she read the last sentence of the page; the last few months had been a bit chaotic in the office, but Alice managed, she liked her job and Barba was a good boss. Without stopping to type, Alice glanced at the clock on the computer screen, it was already six and Barba’s appointment wasn’t there, she frowned, she knew that Barba didn’t like people who were late.

“Alice” the voice broke into the silence of the office, pulling Alice out of her trance; her head snapped towards the door of Barba’s office.

“Mr. Barba” nodded Alice, she shoved a strand of hair away from her face as she looked at her boss “Your appointment is not here yet”

“No, don’t worry about that” he shook his head, he stepped out of the office partially “I was called directly, Ms. Allen can’t make it”

“Oh” whispered Alice “Um, then would you like me to schedule another appointment with her?” her fingers hovered over the keyboard.

“No, don’t worry about it for now” Barba cleared his throat “I’m going to finish up here and I’ll be heading out in about ten minutes, you could head out as soon as you are done with that file”

“Oh” Alice smiled, she hadn’t been expecting to leave early, that meant she could go out with her husband or maybe stay in to watch a movie. “Yes, thank you”

“Great, good night Alice, I’ll see you tomorrow”

“Good night” Alice nodded.

Barba stepped back into the office, he closed the door and leaned his back against it as he turned to look at his desk, Ren was there, she had sat down over the desk, her legs apart and the coat still on, her toned legs moving gently as she smirked at him.

“That was fast”

“You wanted to see how fast I could do it” he pointed out, he pressed one of his hands over his tie and smoothed it as he pushed himself away from the door and walked towards the young woman as she looked at him. “What did you want to talk about?”

She extended her right leg towards him, her knee bending a bit before his hand wrapped around her ankle gently and he raised an eyebrow at her, she smiled and leaned back over her hands on the desk, his free hand roamed up her ankle to her calf; his eyes not leaving hers as she pouted her lips slightly.

The energy in the office changing drastically as his hand traveled over her knee, he stepped closer to her, holding her leg with his hands as his fingers caressed her skin; Barba could feel her eyes over him, calculating and watching his every move, her job as a PI making her an expert in catching even the slightest move. He raised an eyebrow and glanced at her by the rear of his eyes, her eyes were already on him, her pouted lips curved slightly into a smile, inviting Barba to move towards her.

“So,” his fingers digging gently into her skin as he turned to look at her “To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?”

She pulled her leg towards her and Barba moved to the space between her legs, holding her right one by the curve of the knee, the leg dangly softly behind him; Barba reached out and placed his other hand over the knee of her left leg and looked down at it before he glanced at her sideways and from under his lashes.

“Well, you see” she started, her voice dropping dangerously as she raised an eyebrow at him “I found something that I thought I’d share with you” she shifted her weight from one hand to the other.

“And what would that be?” the hand he had over her knee traveled up her leg and just a few inches below that coat she was wearing.

Her eyes dropped from his face to his chest, Ren pushed herself forward, her hands appearing from behind her and landing over his chest, her palms pressed against it as he caressed her legs; gently her fingers curled around his suspenders, pulling him a bit closer to her before she looked up at him and smiled as sweetly as the situation allowed it.

Ren’s left hand uncurled from the suspender and landed softly over his own hand, the fabric of the coat pushing up a bit with her hand before she moved both of their hands up her leg; the coat rushing up to her hip. He raised his eyebrow, his eyes not leaving hers, even after her hand moved his hand sideways and he felt the soft fabric of lace, suddenly the coat falling over his wrist felt harsh and stiff.

“How much of a lace fan are you” she explained, her hand returning to his suspenders.

The young woman cocked her head to the left and her blond hair flopped as she did, the leg he was holding up, slowly curled around his hip, pushing him closer to her; this wasn’t the best kind of idea, he knew that, he had had heated make out sessions in the office before, but this was taking a very different direction, the way the soft lace felt against his fingers as he move his hand away from her leg and between her legs was too much, or the way she was looking at him with her eyes big and expecting and then it hit him.

“Depends on how it looks” he answered, he frowned gently as he took a quick look at her “Mind if you let me see?”

“I thought you’d never ask” she smirked.

His lips twitched into a devilish smirk before he stepped back, away from her, he pulled his hand away from between her legs, and gently released the leg he had been holding up; giving her just enough space to step off the desk while still being as close to her as he could.

Barba looked at her, her coat was pulled up to her waist, her legs spread apart dangled just above the floor as her hands landed slowly over the second button of her coat; and Barba knew that he was a lot more flushed up than she was, how had the tables turned like this? He could still remember the first time he had kissed her and the way she had allowed him to push her up against the mirror of the elevator, the way she had purred and groaned as his hands roamed around her, and now here she was, teasing him in his own office.

Her legs closed rapidly just before she unbutton the second button of the coat, she looked down at her coat, counting rapidly how many buttons she had left before she looked up at Barba through her lashes and bit her lower lip just as she slid off the desk and stood in front of him; again standing taller than he did thanks to her beautiful heels.

“Let’s see it” he spoke, his voice raspy, making Ren smirk as she turned to look down at her coat and undid the remaining buttons.

The coat slowly started to open up to him, her hands still working over it but he could get glimpses of what was under it; her pale skin slowly exposing itself to him, a few dark lines from the tattoos he already knew by memory, but for a moment he found himself mesmerized by the way Ren’s eyebrows knitted together as she took of the buttons, the way her lips pouted, an almost undetectable mannerism. His eyes flicked up to her eyes as soon as she reached the last button and she looked at him, her eyes big and shiny, he took a step back, if she had come all the way here pretending to be someone else, then there was no way he wasn’t going to admire whatever she had under the dark coat.

She grabbed the sides of the coat and opened it, her arms stretching at her sides before she shrugged off the coat that pooled around her feet; she wasn’t ashamed of, she had never been ashamed of what she wanted and Barba had never been one to keep quiet about what he liked and what he didn’t.

His eyebrows shot up as his eyes snapped down to her body, his brain not even registering that the coat had dropped to the floor; she stood in front of him, her arms next to her body, standing perfectly straight and still as his eyes traveled down to her legs and back up.

The little amount of lace didn’t do much to cover up anything, yet it looked great, the fabric hugging her body almost like a second skin; its pale color matching perfectly with hers. Her breasts looked incredible against the lace, her nipples just a bit darker than the fabric; Barba took a step forward just as Ren kicked the coat under the desk.

“So” she spoke, her voice snapping his eyes up at her as he felt his blood rush down “How much of a lace fan are you?”

He cleared his throat, feeling like a confused teenager, not really sure if he could think and talk and feel all at the same time in that exact moment; a soft giggle escaped her lips and Barba thanked that all his blood was rushing down because at least he didn’t have to blush.

“I wouldn’t be able to give you a straight answer” explained Barba, he forced himself to get a grip as he reached out to her, his hand landing just below her hip.

“Why not?” she asked.

He didn’t answer, his hand just traveling up to her hip, his fingers pushing under the black string of the underwear; he smirked internally as a soft blush spread over her face. He moved his hand to where it had been before, between her legs, just this time under the underwear as he took the last step he had to erase the distance between them.

“One last question before I answer yours” he whispered, her breath hitched as he moved his hand between her legs.

“What?” she asked, her voice imitating his.

“Did you come all the way here dressed like that?” he asked, “Just the coat and the lace?”

“Yes” she purred, her hands falling over his shoulders before they slid down pushing the suspenders off him “Just the coat and the lace”

“Shit” he thought, her apartment wasn’t close to his office and just the image of her coming all the way up here dressed like that was working wonders with his body.

“You’re joking, right?” he whispered as he looked down at her chest, the blush had spread down her neck.

“No”

His head snapped up, her lips partially gapped, his free hand flew up and pulled her head down to him; the kiss was sloppy but Ren was just as into it as she was into everything that was happening right there, teeth clashed against teeth as his hand traveled down the back of her neck, he passed his hand under her arm as she started working on the buttons of his shirt.

She parted her legs a bit more, her fingers already more than halfway through with his shirt as Barba’s free hand passed from behind her to her chest, pushing the lace away and cupping around her breast just as his other hand curled two fingers in her and a yelp from Ren drowned in his mouth; and he really hoped Alice had left already because this wasn’t going to stop any time soon.

Before he knew it, she was pushing his shirt off, her body heating up dangerously over his touch, the soft sounds slipping from her lips getting louder and a coming faster; he pushed her back gently, until her butt was pressed against the edge of the desk, her arms wrapped around his neck, her breathing hitching up as she leaned against the desk and opened her legs further for him and Barba felt intoxicated, because the way her skin is burning up today is different, it’s new, its like wildfire, its perfect.

 “Sit on the desk” he whispered, his voice soft but still loud enough for her to hear him.

Ren opened her eyes and glanced over her shoulder, pulling her hands away from his neck, she groaned softly as he pulled his hand away from inside her to place both of his hands over her hips just as she sat on the edge of the desk and squirmed gently back over the surface. Barba stepped between her legs just as he heard her heels drop to the floor, he didn’t really care, all he wanted was to have his hands over her, to be in her, to be with her.

She leaned forward as Barba pushed the straps of the outfit down her shoulder, his hips buckling forward instinctively as he felt her hands over the fly of his pants; she pushed his pants down, followed closely by his boxer briefs, a throaty groan slipping out of him as her hand wrapped around him.

“We really shouldn’t be doing this here” his hand grabbed the edge of the desk, his head falling over her shoulder as she moved her hand up and down; Ren kissed his ear, her lips hot.

“I’ll stop if you ask me too” she whispered.

He moved his hand over her breast, his thumb circling over her nipple and she moved towards the edge of the desk, her back arched as her kissed her hot skin, his eyes closed as her left hand joined the right one around him, one of her thumbs rolling over the head of his penis, pushing down the pre-cum to help with the friction.

This was not the way he had expected the night to go at all, he wasn’t disappointed in any way, he was just realizing how undone he came around her, how much of a control she had over his body, but mostly how submissive he had become with her, it had been around the third time they had been together that he had started to surrender the reins of control to her and even if all his body was begging for her to go faster, or to get on her knees, he decided to get a bit to the reins back on his side of the field.

“Espera”

“What?” she asked, one of his hands wrapped around her wrist and he pulled her hand away from him, his skin screaming from the lack of touch.

In a quick move, he stepped off his shoes and shocks, he kicked away his pants that had pooled around his ankles and grabbed her legs from under her knees; she looked up at him, her eyebrow raised at him, he smirked before his hands traveled up her legs and grabbed the dark straps of her underwear and he pulled, she raised her hips and the fabric rolled down to her knees without any problem.

He dropped down and kissed her left calf before he pulled the underwear down, dropping it next to him, he looked up at her and a small smile stretched over his face as he noticed her blush had gotten deeper.

“Barba” she whispered, the ball was definitely on his side of the field.

“Alvarez” he said back, her hands held the edge of the desk “It’s not like we haven’t done this before” he pointed out.

His kisses trailed up her legs, beyond her knees and he felt her tense up for a few seconds, he looked at her, his lips against her leg.

“Barba” she said again, this time her voice came lower.

“I’ll stop if you ask me too” he said, she rolled her eyes playfully as he used her own words against him; she tore one of her hands away from the edge and leaned over it.

“You know I won’t” she said.

“Then don’t worry about it”

He kissed her so close to home that Ren closed her eyes and dropped her head back, her breathing hitched and her stomach contracted just before his cool tongue came in touch with her warm skin; a purr rolled out of her lips as one of her legs spread further apart, his hand falling over her thighs to keep them away.

The hand behind her curled as his thumb touched just over her clit, her free hand rushed through his hair as her gasps came faster, her back arching forward and her hips buckling towards him because everything about his mouth felt perfect against her and she could feel her body getting hotter and her muscles contracting.

He felt her contract around him, the way everything about her got higher, the temperature of her body, the breathing, the sounds coming from her mouth, just when she was about to come, and yet, even if he really wanted to have her come undone right there and now, he didn’t want it this way.

“Barba!” she gasped as he pulled away from her.

“Corazón” he said back, pushing himself up without effort.

“What are you doing?” she gasped, a thin sheet of sweat covering her and by the way her lower lip had turned puffy and red, he knew she had been biting down on it.

“Condom” he said, she looked at him for a moment, before she turned rapidly to her left, she had placed the condom there before taking her coat off; she turned to him and slammed the square over his extended hand.

“Hurry” she purred, and the way it came out in a plea was so wonderful Barba didn’t know when he had pushed down the condom and when his lips were pressed against hers.

Her hands were at each side of his face as he grabbed her hips and pulled her towards the edge of the desk as far as he could; her lips were pressed hard against his as her legs wrapped around his waist, she could taste herself in and over him and that only fueled her to want him more. Her left hand traveled to the back of his neck, her right one going between them, she pushed her legs as far as she could and wrapped her hand around his hard on, she rocked her hips against him, the head of his hard on barely rushing over her, she gasped against his lips and he purred back; she pushed him further in her, one of his hand pulling her closer to him as he felt her whole body shift around him, the way she tightened just before relaxing and folding around him.

He thrusted in and she gasped loudly, pulling away from his lips, throwing her head back as hypersensitivity spread through her body, her nails were on his back again and Barba pressed his lips over her nipple as he thrusted harder; he bit down on her gently and the words were slipping out her mouth, the words she had been so eager to share with him in the cab the first time they had been together, dirty and hot and loud and all he wanted was to hear more of them.

His arms wrapped around her, pushing harder into her and she was moaning and gasping in Spanish, her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist because she couldn’t get him deeper in her.

“Ya casi” she gasped against his ear, she bit his neck gently before pressing her forehead against his shoulder, one of his hands traveling down to her butt, he grabbed her harder and she felt him about to come.

She felt the way his chest rose and fell harder, and the way his fingers dug into her skin, his head pressed to the side of hers and she turned to look at him just before his mouth was on her, sloppy and all, he bit her lower lip before she was kissing him as hard as she could; the hand he had over her butt rushed between them, his thumb circling over her clit and she gasped loudly, her nails digging into him and her body closing around him just as she felt everything about to come crashing down.

He pulled his lips away from her, pressing his forehead over hers “Mirame” he whispered, her eyes were shut close and he was so close, he could feel his hard on throbbing in her with the anticipation of the release and the fast thrusts and her loud sounds were only getting him there faster “Renata” her eyes popped open “Look at me” he whispered, she looked at him, one of her hands appearing over his cheek before she came with a loud gasp and his name rolling out of her mouth a few seconds before he came in her, his hands around her tight and papers falling off the desk.

And he had never wanted more a woman than Ren, with their messy and loud and dirty sex,  because she did things to him that he hadn’t felt in a long time.

“My place” he panted against her, he closed his eyes for a second before he pulled out of her.

“For round 2?” she asked.

“And three” he added.

 

Chapter Text

Elliot passed a hand through his hair as he walked down the hallway of the hospital, the night seemed endless, everyone was running on fumes, barely hanging on, with tears rolling down here and there and so far things didn’t seem about to get better; he walked into the cafeteria, he had offered to get coffee for Olivia and Munch.

The cafeteria had a few people here and there, not as much as Elliot would have expected, he strolled towards the counter; the night was taking its toll over the man, Ren had become part of the team, she was nice and respectful and smart and he had been unable to help her just like he had promised both Carisi and Ren.

“Hello” the woman at the other side smiled at Elliot.

“Hey” he nodded, “Could I get two strong coffees please?” he glanced at the pastries they had over the counter “And this brownie” he added as he pointed at it.

“Of course” said the woman, she could see he was tired and the way his eyes seemed distant told the woman that he was there for someone dear to him; she walked away from Elliot to get the coffees, while Elliot turned around and scanned the faces in the cafeteria.

The place vibrated with different voices, different stories and different pains, Elliot leaned against the counter as he waited for the woman to come back, he crossed his arms over his chest as he looked at the people around the place; something to get his mind off the fact that a friend was upstairs incredibly hurt.

A woman was sitting alone, nursing a cup of coffee, her hair falling around her face; near her a man and a woman were talking close to each other, whispering and holding hands while a man at the back of the room was talking on his phone rapidly, his hand spreading through his hair as he looked around the room. Elliot sighed and turned to the other side of the room, a woman was drinking something as a small child played with a car over the table, a few empty tables back he noticed a young woman with a man who had his back to Elliot.

He recognized Nat after a few seconds.

She leaned over the table as she talked, her eyebrows furrowed, a cup of what Elliot was guessing was coffee, had been forgotten near her; she cleaned a tear from her face rapidly before she scratched her neck and looked at the man. Elliot frowned as he watched, both Nat and him waiting for the man to answer her question, instead the man pushed himself back from the table rapidly, the chair screeching loudly, eyes turning to him as he hurried out of the cafeteria and Nat turned on her chair to follow him with his sight.

It was just as he hurried out the door that Elliot recognized him.

“Barba?” he whispered.

“Sir?” Elliot jumped slightly and turned around, the woman was handing him the coffees and the brownie.

“Thank you” said Elliot, he pulled his wallet out and handed the woman a bill, he grabbed the items and before he could wait for his change, Elliot was hurrying towards the door of the cafeteria.

The detective peaked down the hall, wherever Barba had gone he couldn’t tell, he hadn’t seen the counselor leaving the waiting area, in fact he had been sure that everyone had remained on the sixth floor. He had seen some of his friends go to the bathroom but that was it, of course, he had obviously been wrong since Barba had made a trip to the cafeteria with Nat.

Elliot walked back to the elevators, he wanted to give Olivia the coffee as soon as he could, he could see the worry dripping out of her, not only in a professional way but because she had been the one to know Ren better than the rest of the squad. The elevator doors open up for him and Elliot walked out, his feet taking his without thought back towards the waiting room, Olivia was sitting right where he had left her, her hands over her lap as she looked down at them.

“Hey” spoke Elliot, she looked up at him and gave him a weak and sad smile.

“Hi” she sighed, taking the coffee from his hands, Elliot sat down next to her.

“Any news?”

“Nope” she answered, she took a sip from the coffee, relieved to find out that it didn’t taste as bad as she had expected. “Still waiting”

“How’s Noah?”

“He’s fine” nodded Olivia, she looked at him “Rosie is with him, she said she could stay with him until tomorrow evening”

“You can go home in the morning, Liv” he spoke “I’ll stay here”

“I have to stay”

“I’ll stay until you come back” he placed his hand over the one she had over her lap, his fingers curling around it; Olivia looked down at their hands and smiled softly before she squeezed his hand, Elliot would always have an effect on her that no else had; he could reassure her with a touch, help her breath with just a hug, make things not so dark just by being there.

“Thank you” she answered.

“I’ll be here when you come back” he smiled at her.

“Not just for that” she added as she looked up at him.

“I know” he gave her a small smile before he pulled his hand away from hers and took the small paper bag where the brownie was “Eat, I’ll give this to Munch” and he handed her the brownie before he stood up.

Olivia looked down at the bag, she placed the coffee between her knees and opened the paper bag, her heart skipping a beat as she saw the brownie; she looked up to search for Elliot, who was now handing the coffee to Munch, she watched him as he gave John a pat on the shoulder, Elliot who was always so willing to be the rock to everyone who needed it, Elliot the man who knew she loved chocolate, Elliot the person who knew her better than she knew herself.

Elliot was about to return to his place next to Olivia when Fin intercepted him, the older detective had a frown over his face, he glanced over his shoulder before he spoke to Elliot.

“Can we talk?”

“Sure” shrugged Elliot, he glanced at Olivia and then followed Fin towards the far end of the waiting room where no one was sitting at. “What’s up?”

“I found something I think you should see” explained Fin.

“Should Liv be here?”

“I don’t know” explained Fin “I don’t think so, but I think you should take a look at it”

“Why?”

“Because I’m sure you have noticed too” Fin pulled out his phone from his pocket “You just haven’t connected the dots” he handed the phone to Elliot.

Elliot took the phone and clicked it, realizing the phone wasn’t Fin’s at all, he frowned and looked up at Fin.

“Where did you get this?”

“Nick gave it to Dodds to keep” Fin shrugged “Dodds gave it to me when he was on his way to the bathroom, said he thought we should give it to John, but he doesn’t really know him so he thought I should give it to Munch” Fin made a pause “I wasn’t sure if we should tell her parents, but a message from her mother came through, apparently she didn’t know anything about the raid because she thought Ren was at a party today” he glanced back over his shoulder “I thought it would be best not to tell them, and when I went back to leave the texts, I saw something”

He leaned over the phone and clicked on the texts before he stepped back so Elliot could see, the detective frowned as he read the last text on the log with someone she had saved under the name of B.

“See you tonight” read Elliot “That was last night” he looked at Fin “Ok, so apparently there’s someone especial in her life now” how were they supposed to tell this to Carisi?

“Not someone” Fin crossed his arms over his chest “Check the contact info”

Elliot frowned and looked down at the phone again, his heart was beating fast, he felt like a child going through a phone that didn’t belong to him, but still he did as Fin asked him to; he looked down at the number and raised an eyebrow as he looked at Fin.

“Seems familiar”

“Because it is” said Fin, his voice dropping, he uncrossed his arms and shoved his hand in his jacket before he pulled out his phone; the clicking of it was the only sound of the detectives before Fin turned the screen to Elliot. “It’s Barba’s”

 

___________//____________

 

Nat looked at Barba from across the table, they had managed to walk out of the waiting room without being seen by Alex; Nat being the only one who knew about Barba and Ren, made her the only one he could talk to at the moment without having to put up his lawyer persona. At the moment the pair was sitting in silence in front of each other in the cafeteria, her coffee half way gone and his had vanished as soon as they had sat down.

“So what happens now?” asked Nat after a few minutes in silence “When she wakes up, what happens then?”

“Olivia and Amanda will talk to her” answered Barba “Get her statement”

“Can we see her after that?”

“Yes” he nodded, he looked down at his phone, opened in the texts: her last text.

“You know, the last time I actually saw her, she asked me to call you” Barba looked up at the young woman, she had been trying her best to keep the tears at bay but some of her makeup had run down her face when they had been waiting for answers.

“Excuse me?”

“I called you” she gave him a soft smile “To remind you of an appointment with Alexa Allen”

“That’s why the voice sounded familiar” he thought as he looked at Nat, he gave her a weak smile. “Her assistant”

“Yeah” Nat nodded, she wanted to think of anything but what was happening right now on the sixth floor “The name was a mashup between Alex’s and mine”

“Oh” he whispered, not really sure what else he was supposed to say.

“I think she really likes you” she finally added when he said nothing else, he looked down at his phone and tightened his teeth. “And you know what?” he didn’t look up at her, Nat not noticing as Elliot walked into the cafeteria “I think you really must like her too because you didn’t have to come all the way up here with the rest of the team”

He really wanted to say that she was wrong, that he was just a worried friend, that they were just fuck buddies, like Nat had labeled them, that it was just to make sure things were done by the book; but how much of that was actually the truth? How much of that was the real reason why he was there? Had it nothing to do with the fact that they texted and talked every day? That she already knew almost by memory were the things in his kitchen where? Or that he really liked the way his shirts looked on her?

And yet here he was, in the eyes of everyone he was still just the ADA in charge of the case and nothing else to do with her.

Barba closed his eyes for a second, his throat closing in itself and he felt like he couldn’t breathe, like his heart was going too fast and his mind was thinking too much and he wanted to leave, just get up and rush home.

“Rafael” spoke Nat, but Barba couldn’t hear her.

Barba opened his mouth to speak but instead he pushed himself back, his fight or flight reflect acting before anything else; the chair cried against the floor as he pushed himself up from it, he snatched his phone from the table and hurried towards the door of the cafeteria. Nat jolted back the second the chair hissed against the floor, the coffee threatening to spill when Barba grabbed his phone, the young woman turned to look at him, her eyes following his rapid moves as he made it towards the door of the cafeteria; leaving her alone.

Rafael pushed the door of the cafeteria open and turned to look to the left, he had seen the bathroom signs when he had been walking with Nat towards the cafeteria; his steps are quick and calculated, a nurse gave him a strange look just as he passed her and takes a curve to get to the bathroom.

Barba pushed the door of the bathroom opened and hurried towards the first stall, slamming the door close before he dropped over the toilet seat and closed his eyes; he opened his mouth to breath and forced his mind to stop racing; he groaned and leaned down over his knees, his stomach threatening to turn and vomit.

“Oh god” he whispered, pressing his left hand over his forehead “Oh god” he pressed his eyes shut even tighter.

He opened his eyes and pushed himself away from his knees, the hand over his forehead traveling down and landing over his mouth as he looked at the walls of the stall; his eyes wondering over it, but he wasn’t really looking at it as much as trying to calm his mind.

His right hand unlocked the phone and he looked down at it, his left hand still over his mouth, and just as Carisi is going through the pictures he has with Ren and Fin and Elliot discovered who was the mystery man in Ren’s life, Barba looked at the texts from the night before; the only thing he actually had of her.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Barba walked out of his room, the night had finally set and the lights in the living room and the kitchen were on, but what surprised him the most was the Birdy song playing form Ren’s phone as he walked towards the kitchen; the pair had made their way from his office to his apartment as soon as they had gotten dressed and now the young woman had insisted on making something to eat while he took his turn on the shower.

The smell of bacon hit him hard and his stomach growled, he hadn’t realized how hungry he was, in fact he couldn’t remember if he had had lunch; which probably meant he hadn’t had anything to eat since before the trial and the meeting with Alexa Allen.

“Smells nice” he spoke loudly over the music.

“Of course it does!” she laughed “Its bacon!” she swayed her hips to the music, her back still to Barba.

He pushed his hands in the pockets of his sweatpants and walked towards the young woman, watching the way his work shirt hung around her body, the way her part of it had rolled over her hip exposing her lace panties; he noticed how her wet hair had damped the shoulders of the shirt. He stopped with the kitchen island behind him and leaned against it as Ren continued to flip the bacon and the pancakes she had made.

“I hope you’re hungry because I think I made the measures wrong” she shrugged, not glancing to look at him “But that just means you’ll have pancakes for breakfast”

“You mean we” he raised an eyebrow as he looked at her.

“Are you asking me to stay the night, Rafael?” her Spanish flowing out with his name.

“I thought you were”

“I like to be asked to stay” she joked “I want to know if you want me to stay”

“You know I do”

“Unlike the first time” she laughed, this time she looked over her shoulder and winked at him before she turned back to the stove, he rolled his eyes and pulled his hands out of the pockets and crossed his arms over his chest.

“I was drunk”

“And horny”

“As were you”

“Well of course I was” she moved her hips faster “Have you seen yourself in a mirror?”

“Dios” he shook his head with a smirk over his lips “You are terrible”

Ren laughed loudly, putting down the spatula she was using for the bacon and scooping her phone up, Barba watched as she turned the music off and set the phone down once more; still she swayed her hips to no music.

It was strange to have someone else know where the things in his apartment where, but it didn’t bother him, it didn’t bother him to watch her walk in to the kitchen and know where the bread was or the oranges or where the containers for the leftovers sat, it didn’t bother him that she knew where he liked to put the clothes before they went to bed, it didn’t bother him that she had silently claimed the left side of his bed for her own.

In fact he liked all those things a lot; even more than he was willing to admit, because part of him knew that outside the apartment their relationship would probably not work.

He worked with her ex-boyfriend on a daily basis, he had even helped Carisi with his classes a few times, he knew that all the squad had been invested in their relationship, he knew that there was no way he would be the good guy at the end of this tale because he was the one who had decided to get involved with a girl he had disliked at the beginning, a girl who had been dating a man he knew, a girl he was working with.

Don’t think about that” he forced his mind, as he focused back over Ren.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, glancing over her shoulder as she pushed a piece of bacon in her mouth, her eyes big as she looked at him.

“Nothing” he shrugged “Just thinking about tomorrow”

“Huh” she whispered, accepting his answer even if she was sure it was a lie; she turned back to the stove as she wondered if Barba ever thought about Carisi and her, when he saw Carisi at the office of when they talked about her PI work; she wondered if Carisi ever crossed his mind or if he didn’t really care about that.

But Barba cared, he cared about the fact that he didn’t know if they still texted, about the fact that he wasn’t sure how this thing between Ren and himself worked; he cared about a lot of things that he simply decided not to think about.

He pushed himself away from the kitchen island and walked towards the young woman as she turned off the stove, uncrossing his arms and setting his hands over her hips, her skin felt cool despite being so close to the stove.

“You smell nice” she whispered.

Barba slipped his hands under the shirt she was wearing, his shirt, passing his hands to her stomach, pulling her closer to his body until they were back against chest; he heard the young woman hum in response to his touch as she served the bacon over the plates she had taken out of the cupboards while Barba had been showering.

“No, but seriously” he whispered against the back of her neck, his breath moving the strands of hair that had dried out already “Are you staying tonight?”

Ren smiled as she looked down at the plate she was pushing the last bacon on, she placed the spatula down over the plate and turned around, moving softly in Barba’s arm, he looked at her and his hands slid down to her butt. The young woman smiled and placed her index finger over his lip, Barba opened his mouth and bit her finger gently as she looked at him.

“Si Rafael” she answered, her voice dropping into a whisper.

“Good” he smiled as she pulled her finger away from him.

“Left side of the bed is mine” she winked, her lips parted seductively as she did.

“It always is” he pointed out as he pulled his arms away from her, she snorted and turned around, grabbing the plates rapidly before she slid away from Barba and headed towards the kitchen island.

“Get the forks, Barba and the glasses”

 

___________//____________

 

Barba was placing the plates inside the dishwasher when he heard a phone starting to ring in the room, the tone was light and muffled by the distance, but it was enough to cut Ren’s train of speech; she glanced towards the door of the room and rapidly jumped off the high chair from the kitchen island and hurried down the corridor to get to the room.

“Hello” she sang into it, dropping over the bed.

“Hi babe” the voice answered.

Ren rolled her eyes but smiled, crossing her legs “What do you want?”

“Are you busy tonight?”

“Yes” she nodded “I’m not at home”

“Jesus, are you ever at home these days?” growled the voice at the other side of the line “What have you been up to? And where and with whom? I want all the details”

“You get nothing!” laughed Ren loudly, Barba closed the dishwasher and slowly made his way towards the room “Again, what do you want?”

“I wanted to know if you had plans for tonight” the statement came with a huff.

“It’s a weekday”

“I know that, still not answering my question”

“Yes” she giggled as Barba walked into the room “I am busy”

“Ugh” Ren smiled at Barba as she held the phone against her ear, “Fine, never mind”

“Don’t be mad, babe” she mimicked, Barba trying his best not to snap his head to her “Just call Nat, you live with her!”

“She’s out with her boyfriend”

“Where’s your girlfriend?”

“At her parents’ house” huffed Alex.

“I can’t help you today” Ren dropped back over the bed “But I promise we’ll do something during the weekend”

“Great!” Alex cheered “I have you all for myself! Talk to you later, dumbass” and she hung up.

“Goodnight to you too Alex” she laughed as she pulled the phone away from her ear.

Ren rolled over her stomach when she felt the mattress shift under Barba’s weight, she squirmed further over the bed and placed her hands over his legs as he looked down at her; his shirt rolling up to her stomach as she squirmed towards him.

“Turn around” he said, his voice soft but firm.

“Why?” she asked.

“I saw the way you were pressing on your lower back when we were at the kitchen” he explained “When we were cleaning the kitchen” he scratched his jaw “Your back is hurting”

She smiled as she looked at him, her eyebrow raising before she pushed herself to a sitting positon, her feet under her; she grabbed the hem of Barba’s shirt and pulled it over her head, dropping the fabric over the bed and next to her, her yellow bra not matching the panties she had been wearing at his office.

“Vamos” he chuckled before she lay down over the dreamy bed, Barba got on his knees and passed one of his legs over her before he settled just below her butt; his hands flying to the clasp of her bra.

Without effort, Barba unclasped her bra and Ren pulled it off rapidly before settling comfortably, his hands rolled down the sides of her body, his thumbs hooking around the elastic of her panties before he pulled them down.

“You just wanted to get me naked” she mumbled as she closed her eyes, Barba chuckled but raised himself until her panties were at her ankles as he pulled them off.

“Have you seen yourself naked in a mirror?” he asked as he started to apply pressure over her back with his thumbs.

“Yes” she answered truthfully, the pressure over her back feeling incredible “A few times here with you”

He snorted and his hands rushed down the sides of her body, she moan delightfully as he concentrated on helping her back relax.

“Then you understand why I like to see you naked”

She chuckled, her body moving under him as she opened her eyes and glanced back at him, he looked at her and winked.

“You are a pervert” she joked as she closed her eyes again.

“You are the kinky one” he shrugged.

“That I am” she wiggled under him “But you like it”

“I will admit that” he leaned down and pressed harder between her shoulder blades, he pressed his lips over her shoulder and Ren hummed as she moved her shoulder closer to him.

“I like this, your massages” she whispered “Your hands and your lips, we should do this all the time” she paused for a moment “I’ll do you next time”

“You always do me”

She laughed loudly, opening her eyes and glancing at him before she shook her head “Does everything with you have to be dirty?”

“Don’t act like you don’t like it, Alvarez” his lips close to her shoulder as he spoke “Te encanta”

“Yes,” she chuckled “I do like” she shrugged “I like talking to you”

“I like talking to you too” he nodded, he pressed his fingers deeper into her skin, rapidly deciding to change the topic that could get serious really fast with things he wasn’t sure he wanted to discuss at the moment “How’s your back?”

“You are great at this, Barba” she answered “If you ever get tired of the law, this could be your plan B”

Barba chuckled, circling his fingers over the delicate skin of the girl he was seeing, his right thumb rushing over one of the tattoos she had over her ribs; Ren hummed longer as she smiled, her back melting under his hands.

Chapter Text

Maybe this hadn’t been the best idea, now that she thought about it, but in her defense she had actually been thinking they would be just going out for a few drinks, after all it was Wednesday; the last thing she had expected was that her few drinks turned into getting tipsy. The young woman shoved her hair out of her face as she looked down at her phone, the time marked eleven thirty and her head was already buzzing.

Ren bit down on her lower lip as her fingers drummed over the phone, she huffed and looked around the place, it was a bar that Ren and her two best friends visited often; Alex was pouring down more vodka on the glasses as her girlfriend laughed loudly next to her, Nat was swaying softly with the music, her boyfriend had his hands over her hips; Michael, a friend of Nat’s and Ale’s was glancing at Ren like he had all night, Ren looked away and down back at her phone before she decided to stand up.

“Where are you going?” his voice slithered softly but just loud enough for her to hear it and turn around to look at Michael.

“For some air” smiled Ren, she pushed the chair away and started to walk away from the table, her chunky high heel boots threatening to slip from under her as she walked around a dancing pair that Alex knew; Michael’s hand appeared on the low of her back to steady her and lead her out to the door.

“Thank you” Ren said, even if it was almost certain that he hadn’t heard her over the music.

Michael circled his arm around her waist and opened the door of the bar, Ren walked out, the fresh air hitting her hard but she wasn’t going to go back inside for her coat, she shoved her phone on the back of her high waist black jeans and passed both of her hands through her hair before she turned to look at Michael.

“You ok?” he asked.

“Yeah” she nodded, a small smile over her lips “I just needed some air, I wasn’t counting on going out on a Wednesday, you know?”

“I think no one was counting on that” he smirked, pushing his hands in the pockets of his jeans “But you know Alex”

“Yeah, tell me about it” she snorted and shook her head, still that one thought was still drilling into her brain.

“You sure you’re ok?” he asked again, walking closer to her “You look pale”

“Maybe it has something to do with me not having anything to eat before we came here” sighed Ren “Or because its freezing out here”

“You want to go grab something to eat?” he shrugged, he looked over his shoulder as Ren looked at him, his dark hair waving gently with the soft breeze, he was taller than she remembered and he had definitely been going to the gym since the last time she had seen him; Michael was without a doubt a great looking guy.

“No” she shook her head, Michael turned to look at her “I’ll have some water inside and I’ll be fine” she looked around the street “And anyway, I think I’ll be heading out soon, its Wednesday”

“I was thinking the same”

Ren smiled at him, Michael smiled back, he had always thought Ren was nice, she was funny and cheerful and smart and not to mention that she was beautiful; and as far as he knew, she was no longer dating the guy from the NYPD.

“How long were you guys here?” she asked after a few minutes of silence, “You guys were already here when we arrived”

“Like an hour” answered Michael, he nodded.

“Oh” she whispered, white puff of air slipping out of her lips, she shoved her hair behind her shoulders and pulled her phone out of her pocket, she looked down at it as Michael drilled holes on her head watching her.

“Waiting for someone?” he asked.

“Hm?” she asked, she looked up at him, he signaled her phone with his chin “Oh, no” she shook her head and pushed her phone back away in her pocket “Just checking the time”

“Want to go back inside?” he asked.

“Yeah” she nodded, her hair dancing around her and by god did Michael want to kiss her.

Ren turned to the door and walked towards it, she pushed the door open and Michael’s hand landed once more over her, this time she could feel his fingers against the skin between her jeans and her sleeveless turtleneck crop top; he walked next to her, his side pressed against hers as they made their way back to the table.

“Ren!” smiled Alex “Where were you?”

“Outside” answered Ren, she dropped herself over one of the empty chairs, Michael remained standing up.

“I’m gonna get you water” he explained, Ren turned to look at him.

“Thank you” she nodded, she watched the young man walking away towards the bar when she felt a hand landing over her wrist; Ren’s head snapped towards Alex, her friend was smiling widely as she looked at Ren.

“Are you gonna take him home?” asked Alex, Leah, Alex’s girlfriend glanced at Ren and then back at Alex.

“What?” whispered Ren “No” she shook her head.

“Why not?” asked Alex “He is obviously very into you”

“He always has” pointed out Leah.

“You see!” smiled Alex.

“No” Ren smiled as she shook her head “I’m not taking him home”

“Is he taking you to his place?”

“Alex stop” chuckled Ren “I’m not going with him either”

“Why? You don’t like him?”

“He’s hot, and nice, but he’s just my friend and I don’t want to sleep with anyone”

Alex huffed but nodded and shrugged “Well, in case you change your mind, he has the hots for you, babe”

“Thanks” Ren rolled her eyes with a smile just as Michael returned to the table.

“Here you go” he smiled as he handed Ren a water bottle.

“Thank you” smiled Ren, she took it and after taking off the cap, practically drowned down the whole thing.

The music changed as Ren placed her water bottle over the table and Alex cheered happily, she turned to Leah and pulled the girl up to her feet, Ren watched her with amusement as the couple walked around the table to dance.

“Wanna dance?” asked Michael, Ren turned to look at him, she hesitated for a few second but nodded as she pushed her chair back and took his hand.

Michael lead her to a spot near Alex and Leah and placed his hands over her hips, Ren hooked her arms around his neck as Alex and Leah jumped around them dancing and laughing; Ren turned to look around, her phone was still in her pocket and the thought was still piercing into her brain.

The young gorgeous man she was dancing with pulled her closer to him, his hands snaking around her waist, his fingers feathering over her exposed skin as she continued to move with the music, she turned to look at him, his face close to hers; Ren shot him a soft smile before closing her eyes and moving faster with the music, his fingers digging further into her.

She moved her head but her eyes remained closed as they moved, his body pressed against hers, the smell of his cologne filling her lungs; the alcohol running wild through her veins as she rested her forehead for a few brief seconds over his shoulder. The young woman felt his head move, his nose brushing against her hair and one of his hands moved up to the space between her shoulder blades, his head moved against hers.

A new song started and Ren and Michael kept dancing, Nat and her boyfriend Donovan had joined the dancing group, Donovan had a bottle of vodka that he handed to Michael, the young man detached his hand from Ren’s body and took the bottle; Ren turned to look at them and Michael took a sip from the bottle before handing it to Ren, again the young woman hesitated but shrugged before she accepted the bottle and took a gulp, the liquid no longer burning her throat as it rolled down.

Michael hooked his thumb around her belt loop and Ren’s head snapped towards him, his face was incredibly close to hers; the young woman took a step back, but his hand remained over her and she opened her mouth just as he leaned a bit closer and that was the instant she felt it.

Chapter Text

With his hands over her waist and the alcohol rolling down her veins and the way Michael was looking at her, Ren almost didn’t feel the way her phone was buzzing in her jeans; the young woman tore her eyes away from Michael and turned to pull her phone out, the hand she had wrapped around the vodka bottle gripping it harder as she tugged her phone out, but too late to answer the call.

Her eye stared down at the sign of the missed call for a few seconds before she started to move.

The young woman lifted the bottle up to her lips and then pushed her way between Alex and Nat, her phone pressed against her chest with her right hand and the bottle dangling next to her hip as she walked through the crowd of people; Michael watched her go.

“Where is she going?” asked Nat, she turned to look at her friend.

“I don’t know” he said, lifting his shoulders, watching Ren’s golden hair bouncing behind her as she made her way towards the door of the bar.

Two young men were walking out of the bar just as Ren reached the door, one of them glanced at her and held the door open; the young woman hurried out and smiled at the guy and whispered a thank you before she walked a few feet away from the entrance, she looked down at her phone and called back.

The air had turned colder than it had when she had been out with Michael, a puff of white air escaped her lips as she looked around and turned her eyes to the bar; the two guys that had walked out were smoking not far from where she was.

“Hey” the voice came through the phone slow and thick.

“Um, hi?” she shifted her weight from one leg to the other, her knuckles around the bottle turning white.

“I just saw you text” sleepiness all over the voice.

“Oh” she cleared her throat, her eye glancing down at the bottle she had. “Yeah, sorry about that, in my defense it was a lot earlier when I texted you” she shrugged and looked down at her gorgeous high heel chunky boots. “And I was drunk”

“Don’t worry about it” a yawn followed and Ren felt even wore for the text, she bit her lower lip and glanced once more at the door “Where are you?”

“At a bar with my friends” she explained, she raised the vodka to her lips and took a gulp from the liquid and even if it no longer burned her throat she knew the effect it was having on her body was strong because her body started to warm up.

She heard movement at the other side of the call, a small grunt, she closed her eyes and rubbed her left one with the knuckles of the hand holding the bottle.

“This was a really bad idea,” she whispered, mostly to herself but it was heard at the other side of the phone.

“Where are you?” he asked again.

“I already told you” she sighed “At a bar with my friends” she turned to look at the street “It’s called Norse Meade”

“Oh” he rubbed his eyes as he sat on the edge of the bed. “Yeah I know the place”

“I really wanted to see you, but you are already asleep, and I am sorry” she bit her lower lip, something inside him lighting up as he heard her first sentence “Yeah, ok, I’m gonna go and this is never going to be mentioned again” she sighed.

“No, wait” his accent getting thicker by the fact that he was just waking up.

“Ren!” another voice called.

Ren glanced around over her shoulder, lowering her phone a bit as her eyes landed over Michael walking up towards her, the door of the bar closing gently behind her.

“Hey” she nodded at Michael. “What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to make sure you were ok” he explained.

“Yeah, I’m fine” she nodded, “Just give me a second” she turned to the phone “Yeah, I’m gonna go”

“Wait” he grumbled into the phone.

“You want me to take you home?” asked Michael.

“Who is that?” he growled from the other side of the line, he frowned and pushed himself off the bed.

“What?” she turned to the phone “Wait,” she turned to Michael “What?”

“Do you want me to take you home?” asked Michael, he looked down at his watch “It’s already midnight and it is…

“Wednesday” Ren chuckled, she shook her head “But no don’t worry, I’ll stay a bit longer” Michael smiled but still waited for her to come back to the bar; Ren turned to the phone “Right, so let’s not talk about this again, alright?”

He cleared his throat, passing a hand over his face and walking across his room “You want to come over?”

Ren fell silent for a few seconds, she glanced at Michael by the rear of her eyes “Um, yeah, yeah, I could get a cab”

“No” he said, his voice had turned serious the second he had heard Michael oh so kindly offering to take Ren home “I’ll pick you up”

“You don’t have to do that” she said.

“I’ll call you as soon as I’m outside, ok?”

“Sure” she smiled “Ok, good” and she hung up.

Ren turned around and smiled at Michael, she raised the vodka bottle towards him and he looked at it “A shot?” she asked.

“Sure” he took the bottle and gulped down the liquid before handing it back to Ren “Only fair if you toast with me”

“True” she laughed, taking another long gulp from the bottle, she closed her eyes for a few seconds before she started to walk back to the bar; once more Michael’s hand landed over her as he opened the door and they went inside.

Ok, so maybe coming to terms with the fact that being tipsy on a Wednesday had not been enough to stop Ren from continuing the path of questionable behavior; she drank down the rest of the vodka and before she knew it, she was again dancing, this time altering between Michael and Logan, another friend from the group.

She had her arms above her head, her eyes closed and Michael’s hands were over her hips as she danced in front of Nat; the two friends had smiles over their faces as they swayed to the music, Ren’s back to Michael. It had been a while since she had danced this much, and her legs were burning even if she couldn’t feel them at the moment; she felt like a teen that had just been allowed out of the house for the first time.

“Your phone is buzzing” his breath tickled her ear and moved her hair, she glanced over her shoulder to Michael as she opened her eyes; his face once more dangerously close to hers.

“What?” she whispered, a small frown over her face.

“Your phone is buzzing, Ren” he whispered.

Ren’s hand flew to the back of her jeans and she pulled her phone out of her jeans, she stood still in the middle of the dancing bodies as she looked down at the phone and found a missed call followed by a text.

I’m outside.

She smiled and pushed her way towards the table were Alex and Leah were sitting at with Donovan and a few others; she grabbed her coat and Alex frowned.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m heading out” explained Ren “It’s Wednesday and I have to work tomorrow”

“Ugh, such a Debbie Downer” Alex joked as she winked at her friend “Text me when you get home to know you made it safely, please”

“Of course” nodded Ren.

She turned around, hanging the coat over her arm and with one deep breath she pushed past the dancing bodies; she rushed past Nat, who was dancing with a few of their friends, she didn’t notice as Ren walked by. She waved a goodbye at Logan and kept making her way towards the door, when she felt a hand over her exposed skin, his fingers caressing her skin as they made their way towards the door; she didn’t need to look to know it was Michael.

Michael pushed the door open and Ren walked out, his hand still around her, she glanced around the street before she turned to look at her friend.

“I had a really nice time with you guys”

“So did I, haven’t seen you in a while” he smiled.

“I know” she shrugged “I have to go, but I’ll text you guys when I get home”

“I think I’ll be leaving soon too”

“Yeah you do that because its…

“Wednesday” he laughed.

Ren laughed loudly, throwing her head back and her hair danced around her “Ok, text me if you do to know you made it safe” she nodded, she always asked her friends to text her when they left a party; she worked with the NYPD, she knew bad things could happen.

“I promise”

“Great, goodnight Mike” she winked and leaned forward, pressing her lips against his cheek before she pulled away and gave his hand a squeeze and she turned around.

The moment her eyes landed over his, Michael was making his way back inside the bar, a smile stretched over her lips as the cold wind hit her exposed arms; he stood down the street with his hands inside the pockets of a long coat, his eyes over her but he wasn’t returning her smile, she trotted down the street, her high heels holding her up by pure magic.

 

___________//____________

 

The car came to a stop just a few feet away from the entrance of Norse Meade, a very soft drizzle had started to fall down but the people on the streets didn’t seem to notice; he leaned forward and pulled his phone out of his jeans and dialed Ren’s number.

The call went unanswered and he couldn’t really help but feel a tinge of jealously spread over his chest; Michael’s offer still resonating in his head as he hung up and texted rapidly with a frown over his face.

“Can you wait for me here?” he asked, the cab driver turned to look at him and shrugged.

“Sure, I’ll wait”

“Thank you” he turned to the door and pushed it open, stepping outside into the cold wind, he shuddered and closed the coat around him, the wind was playing with his hair as he looked around the street.

“Shit” he whispered, seeing that Ren wasn’t either calling him back or texting, he pushed his hands into the pockets of his coat and just when he was about to make his way up to the door of the bar, it was pushed open.

His eyebrow shot up as he watched Ren walk out, her black coat over her arm and a young man holding her close to himself as they walked out; his hands on her lower back and his eyes not leaving her. He clenched his jaw as he watched her talking to him, a smile over her face and his hands still over her, she nodded rapidly at something he had told her and then she looked down at her phone and he nodded back at her when she looked at him.

Ren threw her head back and laughed loudly, her hair shifting around her before she turned to look at her friend and planted a kiss on his face before turning around; he rolled his eyes, terribly annoyed and figuring out that the guy had to be Michael.

When he glanced back at the young woman, she was looking at him with a smile over her face, he looked back at her but didn’t smile back; he shifted his weight from one leg to the other and cursed himself for feeling like this because it made him feel like a teenager and not like a grown man, but then again it had been his fault for letting his feelings just bubble up for her like this.

Ren hurried down the street towards him, her coat flying next to her and her hair rushing behind her like a golden curtain before she reached him and his anger was almost gone; she didn’t stop to talk, she raised her free hand and cupped his face and pulled him into a kiss and he could taste her lipstick and the vodka in her lips and he loved the way it tasted.

“Sorry” she whispered, her lips an inch away from his “I almost didn’t hear the phone”

“It’s fine” he whispered back, she gave him a small kiss before he pulled his hand out of the coat “Come on” he took her hand and lead her towards the cab that was waiting for them.

He opened the door for her and Ren climbed inside, she smiled at the cab driver as he stepped inside behind Ren.

“Thank you for waiting” smiled Ren at the cab driver.

“Not a problem” he smiled back as he started the engine once more “Where to?”

“Back to where you picked me up”

“Sure”

Ren set her coat over her lap but swung one of her legs over his lap, he turned to look at her, she smiled and leaned forward, placing another kiss over his lips; he opened his mouth to her, her hands landing at each side of his face to pull him closer, his hand reached out and held her hip as she kissed him with her eyes closed and her taste of vodka.

“I might have had a lot to drink” she whispered as she broke the kiss.

“I can see that” he whispered back, he pulled her closer to him.

“Thank you for picking me up” she smiled, her eyes shinned and he really hoped it wasn’t just because of the alcohol in her system.

“Of course” he nodded, her hands slipped from his face and landed over the neck of his coat, she pushed it down and kissed his neck, she could taste the remains of cologne over his skin; he gripped her hip harder as she nipped at his neck, moving his head to give her more access.

The drive back to his apartment felt like it took a second, her hands over his own hands, over his neck and face and he had nothing to drink yet he felt a bit intoxicated by the way her hands felt so gentle, so soft, so intimate for him.

Her arm wrapped around his neck as they made it towards the elevator, his own arm around her waist, his hand inside the back pocket of her jeans as she pushed the button to call the elevator and his free hand holding her coat.

Ren shoved her hair away from her face and pulled her phone out of the front pocket of her jean, she unlocked it and he glanced at her as soon as her fingers started to type rapidly a text message, she pouted softly before she turned to look at him.

“I had to text my friends when I got home” she explained “So they could know I made it home safe,” she shrugged and turned to the elevator.

“I know” he nodded “You mentioned it in the cab”

The elevator opened up for them and Ren walked in, he followed her closely and turned to the buttons, pressing his floor just before she wrapped her arms around his waist and hid her face in the curve of his neck, he leaned his head against her head and wrapped his arms around her. He felt her lips against his neck and he glanced by the rear of his eyes at the number count.

“I really wanted to see you” she whispered as the doors of the elevator opened up and he had to push her away from him gently to get out of the elevator, her fingers laced with him as he pulled the keys out of his coat.

They stepped inside and Ren pulled her hand away from his and headed directly towards the kitchen, she stopped at the entrance and covered her face with both hands, the alcohol settling already in her body now that she wasn’t jumping around or drinking more; she took a deep breath through her mouth before she uncovered her face, his hands landing instantly over her hips.

“Are you ok?” he asked, his chin over her shoulder.

“I might be a bit drunk” she whispered and closed her eyes.

He chuckled and let go of her, in the darkness he walked towards one of the cupboards and pulled out a glass, Ren waited where she was standing as he filled the glass with water and then turned to her; and just like she had at the club, she drank down almost all of it.

“Careful” he laughed, pulling the glass away, he set it over the kitchen island next to her coat and pushed off his own “Come on, let’s get you to bed”

He lead her towards the bedroom, his hand holding hers, and making sure there was nothing in the way that she could trip with and probably land face first against the floor; he kicked away one of the shoes he had wore that day and sat Ren over the bed. He stepped off his shoes as Ren doubled over to pull her own shoes away, she grunted and pulled at one of her boots.

“You have to untie them” he rolled his eyes and knelt next to her, the young drunk woman dropped back over the delicious bed as he helped her with her shoes and then her socks. “There you go”

With her eyes closed, her hands landed over the button and the zipper of her jeans and she undid them, still laying over the bed, she raised her hips and pushed the jeans down a bit before his hands grabbed the hem of the jeans and pulled them down her smooth legs. His fingers brushed against her skin, soft and smooth and he finally pulled the jeans off, he dropped them over the night stand and when he turned to her, Ren was sitting down and pulling the shirt over her head; and unlike a lot of other things that bothered him incredibly of the drunk one night stands he had had, it didn’t bother him at all to be helping the young PI get undressed.

“Here” she handed him the shirt.

“Thank you” he laughed and placed it over her jeans.

He pushed down his own jeans and sat down next to her before he pulled his shirt over his head and dropped it over the floor; she turned to him and her hands landed over his face, she pressed her lips against his and he held her waist, the young woman swung her leg over and sat over his lap as she continued to kiss him.

His hands traveled up and around her back, pulling her closer to him as her arms wrapped around his neck, she smiled against his lips as his fingers undid the claps of her bra and then he pulled away from the kiss.

“No” she pouted.

“No what?” she asked.

“We are not doing this, you are going to sleep” a small smile over his lips.

“Fine” she pulled her bra off and threw it behind herself and swung her leg over him and sat down next to him “Give me your hand” she whispered.

“Why?”

“Just do it”

He stretched his hand out to her and she took it by the wrist, she pulled it and placed it palm first over her right breast and looked at him.

“You might not get this tomorrow” and with that she dropped his hand and crawled towards the left side of the bed that she had claimed; he laughed and grabbed the covers of the bed that he had left undone when he had left to pick her up and covered both of them.

He laid over his back, one of his hands behind his head as he looked at the ceiling, feeling as the mattress shifted as Ren moved to over her side, her back to him; a few seconds later, his eyes started to close as he drifted into sleep when he felt her shift again, this time her body incredibly close to him.

“Rafi” she whispered into the darkness of the room.

“Corazón” he whispered back as he opened his eyes, he turned to look at her, she was on her side and looking at him with one of her arms over the covers and her eyes open and big and looking at him. He frowned and turned his body to face hers, suddenly not really sure if she was going to tell him something bad or that she wasn’t going to throw up.

The hand she had over the covers reached out and snaked behind his neck and she pulled herself closer to him, her naked chest pressing against his; the hand Barba had behind his head wrapped around her waist and she pressed her lips against his.

“Are you ok?”

“Yeah, I’m fine” she answered, her hand appeared from behind his neck and her fingers trailed down his face, her thumb tugging gently at his lower lip before she dropped her hand over the space between them and her index finger started to trace figures over his skin.

“Alvarez… but she cut right through the sentence.

“I really like you, Rafi” she looked at him and smiled, her hand stopped and she pulled it back as Rafael looked at her. “Goodnight” and with that she turned around, her back to him and she curled her legs up and fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Barba walked into the room, two coffee mugs in his hands, just as Ren rolled over the bed to lay over her chest and groaned, the sheets tangling around her hips and legs; her left hand reached out and she grabbed one of the pillows, dragging it towards herself before she lifted her head and dropped it over the white pillow.

“Good morning” smirked Barba, raising one of the mugs up to his lips and drinking the hot liquid as he stood next to the bed in sweatpants and looking down at Ren.

“Good morning” she mumbled back before she pushed herself up over her elbows and looked up at him; her hair was wild around her face.

“Coffee?” he asked, lowering the other mug he was holding.

“In a second” she nodded before she dropped back over the pillow, Barba shrugged and placed the mug over his night stand and sat down over the edge of the bed. “What time is it?”

“5:30 am” answered Barba.

“Don’t you have to be at work like in half an hour?” she mumbled against the pillow, her words distorted.

“I called in like half an hour ago, said I had a situation and would be getting there later”

Ren raised her head and turned to look at him, once more propping herself over her elbows, she raised her eyebrow as he raised the mug to his lips once more.

“By a situation you mean a hungover woman in your bed?”

“Yes” he laughed.

She smiled and rolled over her back towards Barba, the sheets pooling and tangling around her waist, she wiggled closer to him until her head was next to his lap, she turned to her side and propped her head over her hand before she planted a kiss over his leg.

“I’ll leave as soon as I shower, I promise”

“Don’t worry” he smiled “Coffee?”

“Yes, please” she nodded.

Barba reached for the mug as Ren tugged the sheets away from her hips and legs and sat down, her tangled hair falling over her naked chest as Barba handed her the mug; the young woman curled her hands around the mug and pulled her legs up to her chest before she pressed her knees against his side and started to drink the coffee. Barba looked at her for a moment before he placed his forearm over her knees and started to drink his own coffee, the silence in the room a total different scenario from the night before when he had thought the young woman might throw up over his bed.

“I really shouldn’t go out drinking on Wednesdays” she finally sighed as she lowered her mug, pressing the warm ceramic against her chest as she looked up at him.

“Maybe not the best choice” he agreed. “Are you feeling ok?”

“Yeah” she nodded, she pursed her lips out for a moment but smiled at him “Thank you for picking me up”

“Anytime” he raised an eyebrow at her, wondering when on earth had they dropped the sarcasm and bitter comments and had settled into this.

Ren closed her eyes and groaned softly as she made circular movements with her shoulders, trying to push away the stiffness she was feeling from all the drinking; the mug pressed against her chest and her hair dancing around in a tangled mess, her lips partially gapped. Barba watched her by the rear of his eyes, the way her body flexed with the movement, the way her nose scrunched up for a second and the way the warm mug was turning the skin next to her left breast bright pink from the heat of the porcelain.

Her right hand reached out and she scratched the back of her neck, dropping her head forward, her eyes still closed; her words from the night before resonating in his brain harder with each second, the way she had said she wanted to see him, that she liked him, and he had been unable to say anything back, even if she had seemed unbothered by it.

He leaned past her and placed his coffee mug over the nightstand, Ren shifted and before he pulled back, she placed her lips against his shoulder and hid her forehead against the crock of his neck; Barba pressed his body closer to her and blindly reached for the mug, their fingers brushing before he took the mug away and placed it over the coffee table.

Ren passed her arms around him and dropped back over the bed, pulling him over her, the taste of coffee strong on both their lips; she raised her leg and smiled as he kissed her softly, one of her hands messing up his hair as the other traced soft figures over his shoulder.

“Good morning Mr. Barba” she purred when he pulled away.

“Good morning Miss Alvarez” he whispered against her clavicle.

She gave his shoulder a kiss and passed her hands around his neck, he looked down at her and she smiled, her hair draping around her like a golden curtain.

“Too bad you have to go to work” she wiggled her eyebrows. “Because I’m not up to for something quick”

He chuckled but raised his left eyebrow “I’ll be back at about ten”

“Is that an invitation?” she teased, her fingers running over his hair gently.

“Yes” he smiled down at her, because part of him was regretting not answering to her statement the night before and part of him was kind of worried that she would start thinking about the fact that he had just stared at her.

“Good” she reached up and gave him a soft kiss on the lips before he pushed away and she sat down “Now a shower” she laughed and scrambled out of the bed and towards the bathroom; a bathroom that she already knew by memory, just like she already knew the rest of the apartment, just like she knew by memory Carisi’s apartment, just like she knew Carisi’s kitchen and bathroom and room and skin.

When Barba returned from the kitchen, Ren was pulling her jeans up, her shirt draped over her shoulder as she buttoned her jeans up; she glanced at him before grabbing the shirt and frowning.

“God this thing smells way too much to cologne” Barba raised his eyebrows as she shook her head and turned to look at him “Do you have a shirt or sweater you can lend me? I’ll bring it back tonight”

“Yeah, sure” he nodded, she smiled and watched as he walked away from the doorframe towards the closet, part of him wanting to ask about why she thought the shirt smelled like cologne, but then again the last thing he wanted was to sound petty.

He pulled the closet open and fished for the hoodie she had worn several times when she didn’t want to get dressed around the apartment, his fingers curled around it and he pulled it out, turning around to find her a few feet away from him.

He watched her pull the hoodie over her head, and in silence he watched as she gathered her things and got ready to leave; her heels making her taller than he was as they walked towards the door of the apartment.

“Whose Michael?” he finally blurt out, mentally slamming his face against the wall when Ren turned to look at him.

“Oh” she narrowed her eyes for a second as she remembered the way Michael had been holding her the night before “He’s a friend, well” she shrugged “More like a friend of a friend, but he’s nice” her eyebrow shot up “Why?”

“Just asking, I heard him over the phone last night”

“Oh yeah” she nodded, again the events from last night piecing up in her mind “He wanted to take me home”

“I heard”

And her lips quirked into a smirk as her eyebrow shot up once more “Are you jealous?” she teased, he rolled his eyes but answered anyway.

“Should I be?”

“Who did I come home with anyway?” she shrugged, turning around to open the door, she stepped out and turned to look at him “I’ll see you tonight” she winked and started to walk down the hallway towards the elevator, her head was pounding but she still had work to do and despite wanting to stay with Barba in the apartment, she knew he had work to do too.

Barba leaned against the doorframe, his arms crossed over his chest as he watched the young woman in high heels and tight jeans with his big hoodie waiting for the elevator; she turned to look at him just as the elevator dinged and opened up, her index and her thumb where tugging at her lower lip, she cocked her head to the left and spoke just before she walked into the elevator.

“I did mean it when I said I liked you a lot”

And the doors closed leaving him standing there, he smirked and shook his head as he looked down at his bare feet.

“Well, I like you too” he whispered before he turned to go back into the apartment to get ready to go to work.

Chapter Text

Elliot pressed his lips into a thin line and shifted his weight from one leg to the other before he looked up from the phone to Fin; the other detective locked the phone and pushed it in his coat before he crossed his arms over his chest.

“Should we tell Liv about this?” asked Elliot.

Fin glanced at Olivia, their Lieutenant and friend was sitting next to Rollins and Alex, the three of them looked tired and consumed by worry and Fin knew that Olivia was being eaten alive with all the possible things that could have been done to prevent this.

“I don’t think we should tell her” Fin finally said “At least not right now”

Elliot glanced at Olivia, Fin was right, the moment to drop a bomb like this was definitely not now, not when the whole team had been affected personally with what had happened to Ren and mostly because once it was out there, it would have to be dealt with too.

“Shit” whispered Elliot.

“Tell me about it” sighed Fin, the two detectives looked at each other and Elliot looked down at his feet for a moment before Fin spoke again “I think it’s safe to say that so far we are the only ones who know about this, maybe we should keep it like that for now”

Elliot narrowed his eyes and his head snapped towards the entrance of the waiting room, a nurse was walking in and heading towards the front desk but Elliot’s mind was racing already and it was finally tying up the last lose ends in all he had seen the last few days and the last few hours they had been in the hospital.

“She knows” he pointed out.

Fin turned to the entrance and frowned “Who knows?”

“Ren’s friend” he turned to Fin “Nat, she was downstairs with Barba and ever since we all got here she has barely left his side, she knows”

“Well, as far as no one else knows, we are good” he sighed and shook his head, his neck was throbbing, the events from the night starting to weight over him.

Elliot took a deep breath “Let’s keep it between us” he agreed “The last thing we need is Carisi finding out about this today and here, of all places”

“Agreed”

A small silence settled between Fin and Elliot, things had gotten a bit more complicated now, the information the pair of detectives had just found out about was something they weren’t sure should be known by others but that didn’t mean it was less important.

“We need to tell Liv, when we can” said Elliot “This personal attachment that might be going on with Barba and Ren, could complicate things in trail”

“You’re right” sighed Fin, the weight of the night was starting to crush on him “Let’s at least wait until she wakes up and Liv gets some rest”

“Of course” nodded Elliot, he took a deep breath through his mouth just as the doctor walked towards Olivia, Rollins and Alex.

 

___________//____________

 

The door was pushed open gently and Rollins walked in, her clear eyes scanning rapidly the room before they landed over Ren, her hand slowly letting go of the doorknob as she stepped further into the room; Olivia appeared behind her, her warm eyes meeting Ren’s instantly before she closed the door behind herself and the three women were submerged in silence.

Ren glanced at Rollins, her hair was pulled back in a ponytail and her eyes were clear and tired and the young PI could see pain behind them, still Rollins offered Ren her sweetest smile, the kind of smile that only the people Rollins cared about got to see, the kind of smile she used with Nick’s kids and the smile that embraced Amanda’s true self, the part that was soft and gentle and willing to care about everyone.

She smiled back but turned to Olivia as soon as the brunet started to move towards the bed, her usual long coat was missing and her eyes screamed she was tired and hurt and worried, she leaned against the edge of the bed as Ren looked at her and Olivia smiled at her, it was that motherly smile that Elliot had fallen in love with again, it was the way she transmitted so much love with just curving her lips, it was the way Olivia wanted to take all the pain, all the worries away from everyone and make them her own so no one she cared about would suffer.

And Ren knew it then and there, she knew something she hadn’t realized before; she was sharing the room with two of the strongest women she would ever meet.

“Hey” Olivia’s soft voice finally broke the silence.

“Hi” Ren answered back, her throat felt dry, almost as if she had swallowed a handful of sand.

“How are you feeling?” Amanda asked, it could have sounded dumb or even too much to ask, but it was something Amanda knew was important to address.

“A bit numb” answered Ren, she nodded and looked down at her hands, one of them was covered in bandages, she looked up at Amanda “Probably from the meds”

Amanda and Olivia looked at each other, this was always hard, talking about this things, asking these questions; but now it was harder, there was more pain involved, this was their friend, a girl they cared about and yet here they were, having to do their job.

“We got him” Amanda said, tearing her eyes away from Olivia and looking at Ren.

Ren looked up, a strand of hair falling close to her eye, she scanned Amanda and a weak smile stretched over her lips; at least the raid and the bandages on her body had gotten Ivan caught.

“And the girls?” she asked, she shifted her body over the bed and thanks to the meds she couldn’t really feel the pulling of the stitches on her torso.

“They are at the station” nodded Olivia.

“Good” whispered Ren, she looked down at her hands once more, she turned her bandaged hand and examined it as Olivia took a deep breath, this had to be done, it had to be addressed, it had to be.

“Ren” whispered Olivia, yet her words seemed to echo loudly in the room, Ren tensed her jaw as her eyes kept focusing over her hands. “I need to know what happened”

“I know” nodded Ren, she looked up at Olivia from under her lashes “I know” she whispered again, yet she knew that talking about it would make everything real, it would make it something she had to deal with instantly and she wasn’t sure she wanted to do that.

“If you don’t want to talk about it right now” Amanda added “We can talk about it later”

Ren pressed on the side of her nose with her uncovered hand and closed her eyes for a few seconds, her brain was going so fast she was having trouble concentrating on anything; she could see the street as she ran down, her feet bare and her lungs aching, she could see the anger flaring behind his eyes when he had cornered her in the alley. She pressed her lips into a thin line as her body shivered with the way she had known, she had just known what he had wanted out of her and yet, she couldn’t really remember much of what had happened after he had slammed her against the pavement and she had hit the side of her head and face painfully.

Still, she knew what had happened.

She rubbed the side of her face that had been unharmed from the pavement, taking a deep breath before she dropped her hand over her lap and looked at Amanda.

“Ok” she glanced at Olivia, the way her warm eyes looked worn out “Ok”

 

___________//____________

 

Alex took a deep breath, the tears were gone but her eyes were puffy and irritated and her heart was still a step away from bursting out of her chest; she looked down at her hands, her phone resting over her lap, next to her, Carisi gently took her hand and gave her a squeeze.

She turned to look at him and gave him a weak smile, his eyes irritated and puffy and his hair was messy and his coat had been discarded over another chair a few hours ago; she didn’t know the details of what had happened, yet she could tell just by looking at him that it had been horrible and even if part of her wanted to ask, she knew better.

“At least she’s awake now” whispered Alex, Carisi nodded but said nothing, there wasn’t much he could or wanted to say, his soul was trying to get back together, his mind replaying everything that had happened and at least he wasn’t aware that Ren had been thinking about him when Ivan had been chasing her, because that would have broken him all over again.

He let go of her hand and passed it over his face, this had been all the things he had ever worried about and worse, the girl he had pictured a life with was in a room talking to his boss and his coworker and he felt like he couldn’t breathe; he had always known Ren was strong and she didn’t need to be saved, but right now all he could think about was wanting to take all the pain she was feeling.

“I’m gonna go to get coffee” he whispered, pushing himself up because he couldn’t bare be there anymore, not knowing what was happening in that room was shattering him.

“Carisi” called Dodds as Carisi rushed past him, he could see the agitated way he was breathing and to say he was worried about his partner was an understatement.

But Carisi didn’t stop, he couldn’t even hear Dodds, because all he could hear was the scream that had echoed down the street when he had been looking for Ren and all he could breathe was the smell of the damp streets as he had been running to find her; he opened his mouth and took a deep breath as he stepped into the elevator to head to the cafeteria, suddenly his body needed to be in movement, he had to do something else than sit and wait because it was eating him alive.

He stormed out of the elevator as soon as the doors opened, his chest felt constricted and his heart felt like it was going miles per hour, his stomach turned and he arched forward, his feet racing down the hall towards the bathroom, he covered his mouth with his right hand and shoved the door of the bathroom open with his left one and stumbled towards the first stall he saw, his stomach turning once more.

He crashed on his knees and uncovered his mouth, he closed his eyes and one of his hands pressed itself against the wall of the bathroom as all the amount of coffee he had had that night rushed out of his body and he felt like he couldn’t breathe yet he couldn’t stop throwing up.

He heaved when it was finally over, dropping back over his butt and covering his eyes with his hand as he felt the tears streaming down his face; he had really wanted to be strong but how could he? How was he supposed to be strong when he felt so much like this was part his fault? He uncovered his face and cleaned his eyes as he opened them, with trembling knees he pushed himself up and flushed the toilet before he turned around and hurried towards the sinks.

The cold water felt great against his skin, the drops rolling down gently as he cupped his hands once more under the flowing water, he leaned down and zipped the water into his mouth and rapidly rinsed his mouth from the thrown up coffee and he was just grateful that he was done spitting it out before someone else emerged from the bathroom stall and spoke.

“Detective” his voice had that tinge of accent that wasn’t normally there, yet Carisi turned to look at Barba.

“Barba” he nodded, he turned the water off and dried his hands against his pants as he looked at the lawyer in front of him.

How bad would it be though? If he asked how he was holding up? How bad would it be if he asked when he could plainly see that Carisi was barely hanging?

Just do it” he whispered to himself. “How are you holding up?” he asked.

Carisi glanced at the stall where he had just thrown up everything he had had to eat that day and then turned to the lawyer.

“Not that great” he nodded, and he felt the sting of tears behind his eyes again.

“Has the doctor said anything?”

“She woke up” his voice was shaky and Barba had to make an attempt not to gasp at the new set of information, and god being there with Carisi only made him feel worse, if only Carisi knew.

“She did?”

“Olivia and Amanda are talking to her now” Carisi added, he passed one of his hands over his face “I just couldn’t be up there anymore, you know?”

I do” he thought but just nodded.

“It’s too much to bare” he took a deep breath through his mouth and Barba just pried that Carisi wouldn’t break into tears because giving him a shoulder to cry on would only serve as the ultimate betrayal.

“He’s going to be charged for this” was all Barba could say.

“I know” answered Carisi, he covered his face with both hands for a few seconds and Barba pressed his lips into a thin line before Carisi uncovered his face and took another deep breath through his mouth. “I have to go” he whispered and without a second thought he turned on his heels and pulled the door open, rushing out of it as fast as he could.

Carisi rushed past Nat, walking past the cafeteria because he couldn’t bear to get anything to eat, not now; his long legs took him down the hallway just as the elevator opened up and Dodds stepped out, getting a glimpse of Carisi disappearing behind a curve.

Dodds took a deep breath and marched as fast as he could without running behind Carisi, he had left his long coat behind with Nick and Munch after he had left to look for Carisi, the look on his face was something that had worried Dodds beyond reason.

Mike took the curve rapidly and was about to speed up his pace when his foot crashed into something and he looked down and his heart broke; Carisi was sitting on the floor, his back against the wall, his knees pointing up and his right elbow over his knee as he covered his eyes with that hand and by the way he had his mouth gapped open and his chest was rising and falling, Dodds knew he was crying.

Circling around him, Mike slowly sat down next to his partner and friend, their shoulders brushing before Mike shifted himself gently to face Carisi a bit, his hand landed over the blonde’s shoulder and Carisi covered his face with both hands and started crying a bit louder.

“She’s going to be ok” whispered Mike, even if he had no idea if that was true, Carisi shifted his body without uncovering his face and Mike took a deep breath through his mouth to avoid the tears that were threatening his own eyes and pulled Carisi into a hug.

The blond detective pressed his covered face against his shoulder as Mike wrapped his arms around his shoulders and the sobs from Carisi’s lips slipped out into the empty hallway; Carisi felt his chest burning and he had to uncover his face to get air yet he couldn’t dare pull away from Mike because he needed it, he needed someone to cry on.

“She’s gonna be fine” Mike whispered, this was one of his closest friends, even with the rough start he had had in the squad, he had managed to get close to them and he cared for his team not only because they were the people he worked with.

And he held Carisi as he cried, as his tears damped his shirt because Carisi was like a brother and he couldn’t imagine how it felt to be in his position, because even if Ren had warmed her way into his heart, he didn’t love her like Carisi did, so he let Carisi cry because Ren was the love of his life and she had been through something horrible, he let Carisi cried because Carisi needed this, because even if he had cried upstairs it had been nothing like this.

And Carisi cried because maybe he had to break before he managed to be strong.

 

___________//____________

 

Nat watched as Carisi rushed past her, the bathroom door closing behind him, she snapped her neck to watch him go and part of her wanted to rush after him yet another part of her urged her to continue with her searching; she bit her lower lip but glanced away from Carisi and hurried towards the bathroom, she glanced down the hallway and without a thought she pushed the door of the bathroom open and stepped inside to find Barba standing next to the sinks.

Oh shit” she thought, she opened her mouth to speak but closed it again, not really sure what to do with all that was happening, she felt like all her strings were being pulled in different directions and there was nothing she could do to stop it from happening.

One of his hands reached out and he grabbed the side of the sink, slumping his body against it as his other hand flew up and he covered his mouth, because having to pretend not care was proving too much even for someone as skilled a he was.

Nat took a step forward, unsure of what to do, this was a man he had seen just a few times and yet she felt like he was crumbling inside unlike the rest of them; they had all been allowed to cry and crash and burn but Barba had remained with his façade and she was sure that the wildfire inside him was consuming him painfully even if she knew that whatever was going on with Ren was probably just a physical thing.

“Rafael?” she whispered, her voice sounding a lot louder than she had meant, in the empty bathroom.

He closed his eyes and frowned, the sting of tears threatening behind his eyelids because he wasn’t sure how on earth this was happening; it was supposed to be no strings attached and he felt like he was attached to just about everything.

Nat closed her eyes for a few seconds, a couple of tears rolled down her face, she took a deep breath, she wanted to scream and cry but she wasn’t about to leave this man to cry alone in a hospital bathroom, that was one thing she had very clear in her mind.

She closed the space between them just as the first tear rushed down Rafael’s face, she noticed the way his fingers were digging into his skin as he covered his mouth and his eyes were so tightly shut that she was sure he was seeing shapes, but still she took a deep breath and did the only thing she could think off, because nothing she could say would make this better.

And Nat passed her arms around his neck and pulled Barba into a hug just as Mike rushed into Carisi.

She pulled him into her embrace because she knew he needed it, he needed to let it out, holding it in was only making his suffer more, was only making him crash and burn harder than anyone because he couldn’t share it with anyone.

“It’s ok” she cooed, and he let go of the sink and held to Nat like she was dear life, his hand still pressing into his mouth as he tried to gather himself up “It’s ok” she whispered again and he uncovered his mouth and wrapped his arm around her and gasped for air as the tears crashed down his face.

“Mierda” he whispered in a raspy voice, and Nat knew what that meant because she heard it on a daily basis from Ren. “Oh god” he gasped and Nat held him tighter because someone had to, because no one deserved to suffer alone and if she was the only one who knew about him and Ren, she would be dammed if she let this man cry alone in a bathroom.

His fingers curled around the fabric of her shirt and he pressed his forehead against her shoulder and Nat closed her eyes and tears rushed down as he gasped for air and broke apart before he had to collect himself again and step out of the bathroom.

“It’s ok”

Chapter Text

He knew the second she walked in that something was up, her posture was nothing like it had been that morning when she had left wearing his sweater and her jeans and those heels that made her legs look wonderful. A smile was over her face, her handbag dangling from her shoulder and she was holding a bag of take out, Barba stepped away from the door and she walked in, she had his hoodie on with a pair of black jeans and white Converse.

“Hey” she smiled.

“Hi” he said back, closing the door and narrowing his eyes as he watched her walk towards the kitchen rapidly.

“How was your day?” she asked, she placed the takeout over the kitchen island and proceeded to do the same with her hand bag before she turned around to look at him and popped her hip to the right, leaning her left hand over the island and looking at him.

“Hectic” he answered, Ren looked at him and the way his shoulders seemed tense, just like the first day they had hooked up.

“You wanna talk about it?” she asked, pushing herself away from the kitchen island.

“No, it’s fine” he shook his head “How was yours?”

Ren looked at him, not really sure if she should push a bit for him to say something more, but finally decided against it and gave him a soft smile.

“It was fine” she nodded, he raised an eyebrow at her and she rolled her eyes “Fine, not that fine” she admitted.

“What happened?”

“A client got a bit rough but I handled it” she shrugged, Barba’s eyebrows shot up and he took a step towards her.

“What do you mean rough?”

“Rough” she answered “You know, she yelled, threw stuff, shoved me, stuff like that”

“Are you ok?”

“I’m fine”

“Alvarez” he said.

“Barba”

“Don’t lie” he said softly, she huffed playfully and erased the space between them and slipped her arms around his neck.

“I’m fine, my back hurts but that’s fine” she whispered before she pressed a kiss over his forehead “On the other hand, I’m hungry as fuck”

“You’re always hungry” he pointed out, he stepped away from her.

“That is true” she chuckled.

Barba walked around the young woman and took the takeout bag, Ren swayed towards the elegant living room and pulled the hoodie off; dropping it over the sofa before she ruffled her hair, a silence wince escaping her lips as she pulled her jeans up and the waist bag landed over her bruised back.

“Can I take my shoes off?” she asked, Barba frowned and turned to look at her over his shoulder.

“Si, of course you can” he said “Why are you asking me this?”

“I don’t know” she shrugged “Maybe because I woke you up yesterday while I was drunk asking you to pick me up, you were late to work too”

She slipped her feet out of her shoes as Barba concentrated on placing the food in bowls, she looked at him and walked towards the kitchen slowly; the lights of the kitchen illuminating the rest of the apartment.

“I told you not to worry about that” Barba said softly “I didn’t mind”

“I know that” she sighed, Barba stopped moving and looked down at the food, he put down the spoon and turned around to look at her. “I don’t know, I felt really bad about it”

“Don’t” he shrugged and crossed his arms over his chest “I like having you here, even if you are drunk”

She smiled and leaned over the kitchen island, he smiled back at her, watching the way her blond hair rolled down her shoulder; he had been thinking about how their not so vocal arrangement had shifted so fast and had turned into something completely different, how she had been spending almost every day in his house and how much he liked having her in his apartment, making fun of the things he said, and navigating the place like she lived there.

“Can we eat?” she asked, she pushed herself away from the kitchen island and walked towards one of the cupboards where he kept the plates.

“Get the glasses too” he said as he turned around and grabbed the bowl with the food inside.

“On it” she said, swaying around the kitchen expertly, grabbing all they needed without effort.

Barba sat down at the kitchen island as Ren walked up to him, she placed a glass in front of him, pulling the silver wear out of the pocket of her jeans and placing it next to his hand before she placed the plate.

“You’re gonna cut yourself doing that” he said, mentioning how she stashed the forks and knives in her pockets to carry them to the island.

“No I’m not” she chuckled, she gave him a soft kiss over his head and walked around the island to get to her usual placed.

The conversation flowed naturally and none stop like it did with them, the apartment filling up with her chuckles as she heard him talk and he liked the way her eyes shined every time she laughed and shook her head; and he felt his stomach twist at the thought that maybe he should say something about what she had told him that morning.

“Corazón” his voice broke right into her sentence.

Ren looked up from her plate to Barba, her eyebrows knitted together at the nickname he had only used a couple of times.

“Barba” she said back, none of them ever using first name terms.

“I want to talk about the raid” he said bluntly, Ren nodded as she chewed and looked at him, a small frown over her face as she waited for him to continue. “I know Olivia will talk about it with you, I just want to make sure we are all on the same page”

“We talked about this on the phone” she pointed out “I know every detail from beginning to end and the other way around” she sighed and gave Barba a soft smile “You don’t have to worry”

“I worry” he shrugged “I worry about all the team all the time this things are going to happen” he pushed his plate away “And I obviously worry about you” she smirked and raised both eyebrows.

“You obviously worry about me?” she asked, a bit of mockery in her voice.

“Don’t” he growled but there was no anger in his voice, and less of all as his lips quirked into a small smile “I just don’t want you to get hurt, Alvarez”

“I’m not going to” she smiled and leaned over the island, she cocked her head to the left and Barba looked at her, she looked soft and sweet and so unlike the way she had looked that morning, with her messy hair and her tired eyes and her tense shoulders.

“Just be careful, ok?” he said “I like you and I don’t want you to get hurt”

Ren’s eyebrows shot up in surprise as she looked at Barba, the words having slipped from his lips without intention; the lawyer looked equally surprised as he looked back at her. Slowly, her lips quirked into a smile, and one of her eyebrows remained up as she kept looking at him.

“I’m not saying it just because you said it last night or this morning” he explained, having the feeling that he had to let her know that he wasn’t just saying it because she had said it to him. “I do like you Alvarez, I like your company and I like talking to you” he frowned as she looked at him, he cleared his throat and he felt his heart going faster, nervousness rising in him as he continued to talk “I just don’t know how that fits with us and with what we first labeled this” he signaled between the two of them “You know?”

“By label,” she whispered after a few seconds of heavy silence in which Barba’s mind screamed at him that he should have said nothing “You mean being fuck buddies?”

“Yes” he answered and his voice was raspy and sandy and he hated it, he felt vulnerable and there was nothing he hated the most.

“Meaning you don’t want to be fuck buddies?” she asked; this was nothing like it had been with Carisi, were things had flowed between them so easily, so naturally while with Rafael, it had been complicated and awkward at the beginning and then things had slowly fallen into place between them.

Barba looked at her, the way her eyes narrowed as she looked at him, her eyes intense as the day he had meet her, so full of emotions and the eyes he like seeing in his apartment every day.

“Yes” he answered, smacking himself in the face mentally at his lack of other words.

“Oh” she whispered, she looked at him, and Barba wished none of this was happening, the way her eyes seemed to be full of so many things, yet she was saying nothing.

Mierda” he barked in his mind as they looked at each other “Why did you have to say that?!” he hissed at himself with anger.

“I’m all in for that” she nodded, a sweet smile appearing over her face, and Barba let out the breath he had been holding “I think we should total try that” she reached across the island and her fingers graced his hand “I’d really like to go out with you” she nodded, and an incredible energy buzzed between them “I mean I’m already here almost every day, we could go out” she shrugged “Get something to eat, I don’t know”

He smiled and turned his hand to lace his fingers with hers “Great” he nodded “Sounds great”

Ren smiled wider “Will figure it along the way” she laughed, she pulled her hand away from his and pushed the chair back before she stood up “But for now, let’s figure out who does the dishes”

“Leave the dishes, we can do those later” he said, his Spanish accent getting heavier as his eyes got darker.

Ren smirked and popped her hip as she placed her left hand over her hip, her eyebrow up in amusement “You have something in mind, Mr. Barba?”

“I have a lot of things in mind, corazón”

“Great” she laughed, she turned on her heels to head to the room, her hands reached for the hem of her shirt and she tugged it over her head, without stopping her walk to the room “Then let’s figure out what to do with all those clothes you have on”

Barba chuckled as he watched her go towards the room, her hands flying to the claps of her bra and expertly she unclasped it and dropped it behind her as Barba pushed himself up from the island; because there were a lot of things they had to figure out if they were going to date, especially since he worked with her ex-boyfriend, but right now all that mattered was that both of them were on the same page of what was happening between them and with each passing day he liked her more and he looked forward to having her in his apartment more often and not just at night, because things between them where only getting better.

He had no idea how everything was about to change.

Chapter Text

The steam from the hot running water had fogged the rectangular mirror in the bathroom, the crystal door of the shower had fogged up too and the water falling against the floor of the shower drowned Ren’s hums as she combed her hair; she was leaning against the sink by her left hip, the door of the bathroom closed, her long hair draped over her shoulder as she combed part of it.

The young woman had showered before Barba, the towel she had used was neatly folded over the toilet and now she stood naked in the middle of the bathroom combing her hair, humming and mentally setting up a schedule of what to do with her day.

“You know?” said Barba, his voice a bit muffled by the water rolling directly over his head. “The raid in a few days, I think Olivia might want to talk to you about that”

“I’m sure she will” said Ren, she set down the hair comb and glanced at the shower, she bit her lower lip and sighed “Are you worried about what she might ask me to do?” she asked “Or are you worried about Sonny being there?”

She waited for his answer as her mind started to think about the way they should address the Carisi subject, it was something that would have to be addressed eventually if they wanted to start going out and it made things a bit harder that Barba and Carisi worked together.

“I trust her” Barba answered.

“So do I” smiled Ren, she pushed her hair behind her shoulders, water drops rolling down her back and smooth skin. “You are the only guy I know that takes so long to shower” Barba wiped the crystal from the fog to look at her and rolled his eyes.

“I didn’t complain about you taking your time in the shower” he answered back, he looked away from her and turned off the shower.

“Because I was giving you BJ in my time in the shower”

“Oh” he chuckled loudly “Now it’s my fault?” he asked, he walked towards the door of the shower, he pulled the door and poked his head out.

“Yes” she chuckled, the young woman reached forward and took the towel that was hanging from the wall and stepped towards the man as he stepped out of the shower; she handed him the towel and he took it gently. “You were the one with the hard on”

Barba laughed and ruffled his hair with the towel before he dried off his chest and wrapped the towel around his waist, he walked towards Ren and stood next to her and turned to the mirror; the young woman leaned forward and leaned over the sink, her right hand reaching out and she wiped a bit of the fog away from the mirror.

“You smell nice” he whispered, pressing his lips over her shoulder blade before she stood up straight and next to him again.

“Thank you” she smiled, looking at him, resting her chin over her shoulder “It’s your soap and shampoo”

He smirked and turned to look at the mirror, she turned around, pressing her butt against the sink and crossed her arms over her chest, cocking her head to the left and looking at him; the way a few grey hairs poked from under the nice hair he liked getting tugged, the way his clear eyes glanced at her by the rear to look at her and the way his lips quirked into a soft smile before he turned to look at the mirror again, he was a few years older than she was, but by God was the lawyer next to her incredibly good looking.

Barba picked up the comb she had been using and passed it through his hair as Ren watched him next to him, he passed the comb to his other hand and his right one reached out to her, landing over her crossed arms. The young woman gave him a short smile and turned around, his hand falling away from her and she leaned once more over the sink, she knew he was stalling, she had seen him get ready before and he was quick as he was elegant, yet here they were today, a new energy about him making her curious.

She leaned over the sink once more, her back stretching and she pushed herself up on her toes, even if she knew it was unnecessary, she just really liked the way his eyes seemed to be lingering over her that day more than usual; her right hand wiped away fog before she dropped back over her feet and she felt his hand over her hip.

“I was thinking” he whispered, moving his body to set himself behind her, both of his hands over her hips. “Maybe we could go to this Peruvian place I know”

“Peruvian” she whispered, popping her hip to the left and looking at Barba through the mirror. “Peruvian sounds amazing” she smiled.

He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer to him, he had dropped the towel off when she had leaned to wipe the mirror; he pressed his lips against her hair and she leaned her head against him, her eyes still over the mirror, Barba glanced up at her and looked at her reflection.

His fingers dug harder into her hips and he turned her around, she allowed him to maneuver her easily and looked at him, her arms lacing around his neck; he leaned forward and gave her a small kiss on the lips, her chest pressing harder against his, his hands traveled down her hips and over her butt, her right leg rose up, her knee against his hip as a soft moan slipped from her lips to his.

One of Barba’s hands pulled away and grabbed her knee, her leg wrapping around his waist before he pulled away from her lips, she was panting against his lips as he smirked and looked down at her; his other hand pulled away from her butt and traveled towards her leg.

“Come on” he whispered, his lips against hers.

She leaned back a bit, arching her chest towards him and Barba curled his fingers around her second knee before he pulled her up over the sink and she sat over the edge of it, her legs wrapping neatly around his waist. Her smooth hands rolled down over his shoulders, scratching over his chest with her nails as slightly as she could and then down towards his new hard on.

Ren pushed herself closer to the edge of the sink and pulled her hands away after a few strokes, leaning over her hands before Barba placed his hands over her hips and thrusted in; and as the bathroom heated up, with her arms around his neck and the moaning and grunting and the flowing Spanish that he loved to her from her an important piece of evidence that would change the squad forever was being handed to Carisi.

 

___________//____________

 

Olivia looked at the photos in front of her, the pictures she had just received and her mind was rushing violently; the plans they had set, now seemed too far away as she looked at the picture of the young woman being ushered into the club, Olivia sighed and looked up at Elliot and Carisi, the later detective had been the one to deliver the pictures.

“We have to call Barba” she finally said, she ruffled her hair and took a deep breath “This can’t wait any longer” she looked at the pictures “He’s getting more girls by the second and we are ready to move in”

“I’ll call him” said Elliot.

“Call him” she nodded and stood up “Tell the rest of the team that we are moving in today, this can’t wait any longer”

“On it” said Elliot, he pushed his chair back and looked at Olivia, the way her eyes were full of concern and fire were just the tip of the iceberg of why he loved her; she looked at him and with a short nod from Elliot’s side, he turned around and left the office to inform the rest that the raid had been moved to the night.

“Are you going to call Ren?” asked Carisi, his heart threatening to stop because this was the last thing he wanted Ren to do, he loved her, he cared about her and he wanted her as far from danger as she could get.

“Yes” nodded Olivia “As soon as the rest of the team is informed about the changes” she took a deep breath “I need to you take Dodds with you and go check the last whereabouts we had about Jean Holt” explained Olivia “Ren didn’t see her last week, so we need to know if any other girl has been moved”

“On it” whispered Carisi, he pushed himself up and turned around, the sooner he left from the station the sooner he could returned and maybe he could get a chance to talk to Ren.

And as Elliot informed the rest of the squad what the changes were, and Carisi walked towards Dodds, Olivia pulled her phone out and texted Ren rapidly just as the young woman was arriving to her apartment with the hoodie that belonged to Barba; because there was no time to waste, they had to help this girls, save them from torture, if only they had all known what lay ahead of them that night.

Chapter Text

Ren sat in the room, her arms crossed over her chest and her eyes focused over Olivia as the woman spoke, signaling the board behind her, the night outside had already fallen and the energy in the station was buzzing dangerously; that morning Ren had been called into the station and informed that the raid would be moved to that night, and now here she was hearing the last details as the adrenaline rushed through her body.

She crossed her legs as she looked down at her lap, her phone was over it and her small purse was over the table, she glanced by the rear of her eyes to the left, Carisi was sitting with his arms crossed over his chest, his eyes narrowed and part of his lower lip trapped between his teeth; she had felt her heart skip a beat when she had seen him walking into the conference room, she had known he would be present during the last details just before they all went to the raid, but still she hadn’t been ready to see him. He had changed his suit for a pair of jeans, a more casual look to look like a John at the club, his hair was still styled the same but his eyes looked tired and when he had glanced at her, her stomach had twisted and his eyes had shined and she had held her breath without knowing it.

Barba hadn’t been able to make it to the station for the last details but he had called Ren, telling her that he would be there when they returned to the station with Ivan, he had also wished her luck and that he was looking forward to going out for dinner with her; and she had smiled, just before Carisi walked into the room and she felt her stomach twist.

“Ren” started Olivia, Ren’s eyes snapped to the beautiful woman, she felt Carisi’s intense gaze over her “Try to stay close to Amaro all you can, ok?”

“Of course” nodded Ren, her throat feeling like she was swallowing glass shards. “Don’t worry about me”

“All the exist will be covered, we’ll try to make this as smooth as possible, he doesn’t know we are coming for him, so we have the upper hand here” Olivia started to close the meeting “As long as he doesn’t suspect we are there, nothing can go wrong”

Elliot nodded and pushed himself up to his feet, they had to get there as soon as they could, make sure they could slip in as many undercover agents as they could into the club before it was time to put a stop to the reign of terror that Ivan was leading down there.

The rest of the group stood up and the ones that had been standing by the door, walked out, leaving the detectives inside the room alone.

“Ren, you drive there with Amaro” Olivia added, Ren turned to Amaro and smiled at him, Nick winked.

“Mami” he spoke.

“Papi” she laughed, despite her breakup with Carisi, her relation with the rest of the detectives had been untouched and she was grateful for that.

Amanda took Nick’s hand and gave him a reassuring squeeze before she turned to Fin, she knew this wasn’t Nick’s first undercover mission, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t worried about him, she worried about all that could go wrong and Nick knew it; he gave her fingers a gentle tug before she pulled her hand away and Amanda looked at him; his eyes shined and she felt a small blush over her face, Nick was the kind of man that could transmit so much with his eyes, and even if he didn’t say the words, she knew he loved her.

“Are you ready?” asked Amaro.

“Yeah” she nodded, one of her hands running over the furry coat she was wearing for her alter ego of the raid.

By her peripheral vision she noticed movement, and she didn’t have to turn to know who it was, the color of the shirt was enough to let her know that it was Carisi approaching them and she felt like she needed to leave the room as fast as she could.

Don’t do this!” she screamed in her mind.

“Ren” he spoke, and his voice was so soft, the way it always was with her and she felt her heart constrict before she slowly turned to look at the man she couldn’t deny she still had feelings for.

“Detective” she answered, keeping it professional was what she was going for now that she had decided to give her thing with Barba a chance.

“Can I talk to you?” he asked, pushing his hands inside the pockets of his jeans, he glanced at Nick and Nick turned to look at Ren.

“I’ll wait for you outside” he said, he glanced at Carisi one last time before he walked around Ren and headed towards the door, Elliot and Dodds were already outside.

Ren glanced at Nick as he walked away from them and then turned to look at Carisi, he was looking down at her and wearing the scarf he had given her the night they had gone out for dinner the first time.

“So” she spoke first “This is finally happening, the raid we’ve all been waiting for”

“Yeah” he whispered, his heart was beating madly in his chest as he looked at her, her make up a bit exaggerated for her Valentina part, but she still looked beautiful. “Are you ready?”

“I don’t know if anyone is ever ready for a raid, but I think I am” she shrugged “It’s just another undercover right?”

Carisi gave her a soft smile “We’ll all be there” his eyes scanned her hair before they returned to her face “Everything we have been working on, we can do this”

“Yeah we can” she nodded, she looked down at her phone clock “I have to go, we told Ivan we would be there at nine thirty”

“Of course” said Carisi, he nodded and turned his body to the door before she started to walk “Ren,” he added just as they reached the door.

Ren pressed her lips into a thin line, she hated that sad tone in his voice, she turned to look at him, waiting for him to continue.

“Can we talk?” he finally asked.

Sonny, no” she thought, but she knew she had to talk to him, maybe not before she talked to Barba and asked him what he thought about telling Carisi about them; maybe she could tell him they should talk later. “Now?” she asked.

“No” he shook his head “After the raid, when we come back to the station?”

She looked at him, his clear eyes looking down at her like she was full of surprises and beautiful things and she felt her heart racing.

“Of course Detective” she nodded, and he winced internally at the name.

“Be careful” he finally added before she started to walk again.

“I’ll be fine Detective, don’t worry” she said with a short nod.

“I always worry” he said, and she stopped for a moment before looking at him and then turning away completely to walk up to Amaro.

 

___________//____________

 

Amaro had stayed behind a few feet as he talked to Fin and Elliot about something as Ren made her way out of the station to wait for Amaro in the car, the night was chilly and the wind was blowing hard and even with the adrenaline rushing through her body, she felt anxious; she had been working for almost a year on this case, and now it was about to come to an end and she needed everything to go as planned.

She was reaching the car when her phone vibrated in her hands, the young woman looked down at het phone and a small smile crept over her lips as she looked at the caller ID that read B.

“Hi” she answered, glancing over her shoulder to check that Amaro wasn’t close to her.

“Hey” said Barba “Are you at the station?”

“I’m outside, I’m waiting for Nick so we can head to the club”

“Right” whispered Barba, she heard him moving things and she guessed he was at the office getting everything ready for the arrests. “Are you ready?”

“As ready as I can be” she answered, her eyes over the door of the station. “Are you ready?”

“Yeah” he answered, somehow he seemed distant.

“Is everything ok?” she asked, her thumb landing between her teeth.

“Everything’s fine” he answered, even if what he really meant was to know if she had seen Carisi at the station, which he was guessing she had since he was part of the raid. “I’m just a bit concerned, that’s all”

“Everything will be fine, Barba” she chuckled “Trust me”

“I trust you” he nodded, even if she couldn’t see him. “Still, I can’t help it”

“I’ll be fine” she added.

“Be careful” he sighed, he sat down and covered his face with his free hand “Be careful Alvarez”

“I will” she nodded and shuddered at the breeze as Amaro walked out of the station. “I’ll see you when we get back, right?” every part of her screaming that she should tell him that Carisi wanted to talk to her.

“Of course, corazón” he answered, his tone changing and making her smile. “I’ll see you when you get back”

“Wish me luck!” she chuckled as Amaro walked up to her.

“Good luck, Alvarez” he whispered.

And she hung up just as Nick walked up to her, he smiled as he pushed his hands inside the pockets of his leather jacket.

“Ready?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she nodded “Just letting my friends know that I’m fine and that I’ll be out of reach for a few hours”

“Sounds good” nodded Nick, he looked up at the sky, the wind was getting heavy and he was sure it was about to rain, he sighed and looked down at her. “Follow my lead ok?”

“Always” she nodded.

“We’re friends” he continued almost as if he hadn’t heard her “Maybe you and Carisi broke up, but you are still my friend, Ren” she nodded as she looked at him, “I don’t want you to get hurt, and I will make everything in my power to avoid that, ok?”

“Yes” she answered.

“So, if I say run, you run” he nodded and pulled his hands out of his jacket, the car keys in his left hand but he reached to her and pulled her into a hug “And run as fast as you can”

Ren hugged him back, something about Nick always seemed to comfort her when they went to the club, she wasn’t sure if it were his gentle words, or the way he always stood next to her ready to protect her, or the way he smiled at her reassuringly, whatever it was, she wouldn’t have wished for another partner in this undercover mission.

“Everything will be fine” she smiled as she pulled away from him.

“I know” he smiled back.

But he didn’t know, and everything was not going to be fine.

Chapter Text

Barba returned to the waiting room, his mind replaying all that had happened, all that he had done after he had hung up with Ren, his mind was flooded with her voice, with the way her voice sounded; he had gathered the paper work for the arrests, he had placed them in his suitcase and he had said goodbye to his secretary, he had talked to his mother and he had made his way towards the station, it had been just before the elevator opened up for him that he had received the call.

“Barba” Dodds’ voice had said.

“Dodds” answered Barba, he frowned because there was something in the way Dodds’ voice sounded that had set alarms in Barba’s mind.

“Something happened” and Barba’s heart had sank to the bottom of his stomach “You need to come to the hospital”

Barba had raced to the hospital, and every fiber in his body was hoping that Ivan was the one that had gotten shot or something but as soon as he rushed in and he saw the looks on their faces he had known; he had felt the air fail him, yet he had forced himself to remain calm because he was the lawyer, he had to stay in control.

He pushed the thoughts of that away from his mind and made his way towards Olivia, the woman was standing next to Elliot and Alex and Nat were nowhere to be seen.

“Olivia” he said as he reached her side.

“Barba” she turned to look at him, a tired look over her face and he was really hoping that the traces of his tears were gone.

“I’m heading down to the station” he explained “To check on Ivan” Olivia nodded and Elliot narrowed his eyes as he looked at Barba “Let me know if anything changes with Alvarez, anything we can include in the case against Ivan”

He didn’t mean to just sound like he was worried about her because she made his case stronger, but there was no way he could say anything else, even if everything in his body was aching because how had this happened? They had been making plans just the night before, he had been with her that morning, he had heard her laugh echo down the hallway of his apartment before she disappeared into the elevator and now everything had gone to hell.

“Of course” nodded Olivia, “We’ll let you know”

Barba looked at her and nodded, he glanced at Elliot, the detective had his eyes over Barba and there was an intensity in them that Barba wasn’t sure what it meant, but still Elliot gave him a short smile before Barba turned on his heels and walked away; he had to get out of there now, he had to get out of there before he cracked in front of everyone, because his small chat with Carisi had hurt him, because Carisi still cared so much for Ren and Barba’s feelings for the young PI had been intensifying with each passing day.

The cold air hit his face when he stepped out of the hospital, he walked out towards the street, a few cabs parked here and a there waiting for someone to ask for a ride; he walked towards one of the cars without giving it much thought and climbed inside, the driver glanced at him and Barba closed the door before he gave his home address.

There was no way in hell he was going back to the station because he knew Ivan was there and he was already on the edge of a breakdown.

The drive home was long, at least in Barba’s mind it was, the driver kept shooting glances at Barba but said nothing, just the look on his face was enough to keep him from asking anything; the night was heavy, rain threatening to fall at any second. The car pulled over and Barba handed the man more than was necessary, he stepped out of the car and walked rapidly towards the building, the sky ready to burst with all the water it was holding.

His body felt like it weighted a hundred tons, his feet were moving mindlessly, his heart was still racing and his chest was still rising and falling rapidly; how horrid, every single thing that had happened in the last few hours, the girl he liked, the girl he thought about every day had been brutally attacked and he had been forced to pretend it wasn’t breaking him, and to make things worse, he had seen Carisi breaking and crying and he had heard him throwing up and that had only reassured Barba that the last thing he wanted was to hurt Carisi.

The elevator doors opened up for him and Barba stepped out, his right hand reaching into his coat to get his keys from his coat, part of his heart wanted to get in the house so he could drop over the bed and cry and scream and curse before he had to gather himself to head out to the station and deal with everything, yet another part of him wanted to be anywhere but his house.

He pushed the door open and his body and mind screamed at him, roared and cursed at him because this was the reason he should have gone to a hotel to gather himself up.

The apartment smelled of Ren more than it smelled like him, he stepped inside and he could almost still hear her laughs and moans; he dropped his suitcase next to the door and kicked the door closed, the darkness engulfing him as he stood with his back to the door inside an apartment that smelled of a girl no one knew he cared about.

Rafael walked in the darkness of the apartment towards the kitchen, his hands were trembling, his coat was boiling him inside; he shrugged the coat of with violence, grunting and panting as the material slipped off, he grabbed his tie and tugged it dangerously before throwing it down to the floor, the coat still hanging from one of his arms, he had to get everything off himself now.

I really like you, Rafi” her voice roared in his mind and he started to pant harder.

RAFI.

The way his name sounded so perfect coming out of her mouth had him crying out with anger, he swung his arm, the one still trapped in the coat, and the fabric swushed with violence over the kitchen island; the coat crashed against the glasses that he had left there with Ren and the crystals were sent flying across the kitchen.

He pulled his arm to him and tugged the coat off his body; this wasn’t happening, this couldn’t be happening, how had this happened, was all he could think about.

“Oh god no” he whimpered and stumbled towards the island, his right hand landing over his eyes as he closed them; his fingers were digging into his skin as he took deep and uneven breaths through his mouth. “Corazón, I’m so sorry” he gasped, because he should have pulled her out of the case when Theresa had showed up dead in the alley.

I’ll be fine” she had said to him.

And yet she was at the hospital, beaten and abused and hurt.

His left hand was clutching to the edge of the island before his knees gave up on him and he crashed down, because right now was the time he had to break down, to scream and cry and curse, because even if he didn’t want to, he would have to head to the shower, get changed and then head to the station.

He had a job to do and right now part of that job demanded that his relationship with Ren remained a secret, and that meant that his feelings and his ripping soul would have to be kept inside the apartment for when he could lose control and crumble in the darkness; in the darkness of an apartment that smelled like Ren and echoed with her laugh.

Chapter Text

The first rays of light washed into the apartment, the light grey and blue of the sky not scaring away all the shadows in the place; but Barba was already awake and sitting over the edge of his bed, his head between his hands and his elbows propped over his knees, his body feeling like it weighted infinitely.

“Shit” he whispered before he uncovered his face and glanced around the room.

His clothes had been dropped over the other end of the bed carelessly, his shirt mostly lying over the floor; the covers of his bed remained mostly untouched at its left side and the carelessly drawn curtains of his room were allowing the now yellowing light to filter faster into the room.

Over his nightstand, his phone had finished charging and he was sure that the alarm would start ringing at any second now, he reached for the phone and tugged it towards himself, the charging cord dropping to the floor as Barba pulled the phone to himself. He stared down at the screen and then rapidly proceeded to turn off the alarm before he forced himself up to his feet.

It didn’t really matter how he felt, not in this job at least, he had to push down the gut wrenching feeling he had and make his way through the day; of course he knew there were conflict of interests going on here, but right now he couldn’t drop off the case and expect someone else to take over, he knew all that had to be known about Ivan and what he was doing down at the club, and he had the arrests and charges ready, he had to do it.

He had to.

After a quick shower and grabbing one of his suits from his closet, Barba was ready to head out in less than forty – five minutes; he just really couldn’t bare to be there anymore and in the other hand, he had to get everything down to the station to start the process with the people they had arrested at the club raid.

The day outside was cold, Barba buttoned up his long coat, his scarf pressing up against his chin as he made his way down the street, his mind running with all the things he had to do; he had been tempted to call Olivia before he had left his apartment but had decided against it and instead had agreed with himself that he would text the woman later after he had arrived at the station.

Of course he had no idea the kind of day that was waiting ahead of him.

The chattering at the station when he arrived only served to remind him that life outside the hospital was still going forward without them, without stopping to see the damage cause to the squad; he climbed the stairs rapidly, his free hand over the handrail as he tried to force his body in to a better mood, he was almost certain that someone from the squad would be there and the last thing he needed was to be flooded with questions about his own behavior.

“Barba” the voice started him out of his thoughts, the lawyer looked up and his eyes landed over Dodds, as the Sergeant walked up to him; Barba couldn’t help but notice that he was still wearing the clothes from the night before.

“Dodds” nodded Barba.

“I expected you to be here later today” Dodds continued, his clear eyes looked tired and there were dark bags under his eyes.

“Yeah” Barba agreed “But after what happened, I thought it would be better to start as soon as possible”

“You’re right” Dodds sighed, he passed a hand through his hair. “Fin and Amanda are here too”

“Is the rest of the squad down at the hospital?”

“No” Dodds shook his head as both of them started to walk towards the desks, Barba could see Fin sitting at his but he couldn’t see Amanda anywhere near. “Olivia went back to her apartment to get changed and come back here” he explained “Elliot is still there with Nick”

“Carisi is still there?” asked Barba, the last time he had seen the blond detective, he had been devastated and he wasn’t sure how that would work if he continued to stay there.

“Yeah” nodded Dodds “I think Elliot is going to send him home, but we’ll see”

“Ok” Barba placed his briefcase over the desks and Fin looked up at him “Detective”

“Barba” Fin said back “You ready to start?”

“Yes” said Barba “That’s why I’m here early, has anyone talked to any of the detainees?”

Fin and Dodds looked at each other before Fin sighed and shook his head “No, but Ivan’s lawyer is already here”

“That fast?” Barba sounded shocked.

“Go figure” Fin passed a hand over his face and leaned back against the chair, he looked up at the lawyer, he could still remember the text he had showed Elliot and just as he had felt terrible for Carisi, he couldn’t imagine how Barba was feeling. “You want to talk to him first?”

“Yeah, we should start with him”

Barba pulled his scarf off, setting over the desk and then unbuttoned his coat rapidly, he shrugged it off and placed it over the chair closest to him and he grabbed his briefcase; the evidence was strong, there was no way Ivan could argue with it, not after they had also gathered information from the Chicago unit.

Still Barba was very aware that they would have to address what had happened to Ren, what he had done to Ren.

His heart was hammering wildly against his chest as he walked down the hallway towards the questioning room, Fin was walking next to him, his hands in the pockets of his jeans and his eyes set forward, yet he could feel the way Barba’s body tensed and he wondered if he should say anything, if maybe he should reach out.

“You know” said Fin as they reached the door of the room, he stopped and turned to look at Barba “We are gonna need the statements from Amaro and Elliot”

“Carisi was there too” Barba added “When they found her”

“Not as long as Nick and Elliot” pointed out Fin “I’ll make sure we get those when they get to the station today”

“Sounds good” Barba nodded, he frowned and cleared his throat, he glanced at the door and then to Fin “Do me a favor, don’t let Carisi talk to Ivan, you know what I mean”

“Sure” nodded Fin, “Maybe you should take your own advice”

“Ok” Barba turned away from Fin and grabbed the handle of the door, he pushed it open and stepped inside, a woman glancing up at him, as Ivan stared at the wall directly in front of him. “Mrs. Ross” nodded Barba.

“Mr. Barba” said the woman, she pushed her chair back and stood up, and extending her hand out to Barba, Barba shook it but there was an internal wince spreading through his body as Fin walked around him to take a seat at the table.

Ross cleared her throat and stepped away from Barba to sit back down next to her client, Barba frowned and took a seat next to Fin, his heart now felt like a sledge hammer against his chest as he looked up at Ivan, the man tore his eyes away from the wall and stared at Barba.

“I’m sure you are aware of why you client is here” said Barba, he leaned his forearms over the table and forced his eyes to settle over Ross.

“I am” nodded the woman, Barba could feel Ivan’s eyes over him.

“To the original charges we will be adding attempt of murder” explained Barba, the rest of the sentence burning in his system before he was able to voice it. “And sexual assault”

“I didn’t rape anyone” said Ivan as he crossed his arms over his chest.

“Mr. Sanchez” whispered Ross as she turned to look at him “I recommend you don’t say anything”

“He has his facts wrong” Ivan explained, the way his voice sounded so steady and casual made Fin’s blood boil because he had heard what Elliot and Nick had seen.

“That’s not what the evidence says” Barba forced himself to say, but Fin could hear the venom in his voice, or maybe he was just imagining it because he knew what Ren meant to Barba.

“The evidence… started Ross but Ivan jumped in.

“I didn’t rape her” Ross turned to him.

“Mr. Sanchez,” she said.

“Let’s me talk” hissed Ivan, he glanced at her and then turned to Barba “I’ll admit to the things that went down in the club” he shrugged, he knew he was already deep in all the trouble, he knew he was going down for a long time. “Not to the sexual assault”

“You don’t have to agree to it” shrugged Fin “Still doesn’t mean it didn’t happen”

“She wanted me” Ivan said, his voice slithering into the room, Ross’ eyes snapped to him, but he was looking at Fin with a steal expression, Barba and Fin staring at him, but Fin doing a much better young at hiding his anger.

“And that’s why you stabbed her, right?” said Fin.

Ivan leaned forward on the table, his eyes set over Fin, Fin glared down at him because in all his time in the force, he had seen horrible people and he wasn’t about to allow this monster to scare him off.

“You think I don’t know the way she looked at me?” his eyes shined “The way she touched me”

Barba’s hand curled harder around the handle of his briefcase as he looked at the man, Mrs. Ross cleared her throat but Ivan didn’t even care about her anymore; if he was going down hard, the least he could do was get a reaction from these people.

“This is not helping the case of your client” Barba hissed as he turned to look at Ross.

“Mr. Sanchez” said the woman.

“I know her kind, I didn’t have to rape her”

“Her kind?” said Barba, his blood turning into acid.

Ivan’s head turned slightly so he could look at Barba, he was a monster, he had always been that, his mother had surely repeated enough, but he hadn’t gotten to where he was without learning a thing or two, and one of those things was reading people; yes he had failed to read Valentina, but this man was reeking anger and anxiousness like no one Ivan had meet.

“I’m sure she likes it rough” he smirked “Give a little fight because she enjoys it”

Barba could feel his breathing hitching as he looked at Ivan, Fin’s eyes had narrowed but he was sure he would have to get Barba out of there before the lawyer decided to hit the pimp.

“God that girl is a sight isn’t she?” he leaned further down the table “Those endless legs and the way she talks” he could see the darkness taking over Barba’s eyes. “I knew the second I saw her, I knew it was in her blood”

“What are you talking about?” barked Barba.

“I knew she was a screamer” he snorted “You should have heard her sing, Jesus Christ strike me dead if that wasn’t one of the best sounds I’ve heard” he licked his lips as his eyes shined with intensity. “She’s better than any of the whores in the club”

“ENOUGH!” Barba’s voice roared into the room as he slammed his hand against the surface of the table, startling Ross and Fin, he made Ivan flinch but the man continued to stare at Barba. “This is not getting you anywhere, and I will not sit here to hear you trash talk one of the consultants”

“Oh no” chuckled Ivan “This is getting me somewhere, Mr. Barba” he glanced at Fin and then turned to Rafael. “I knew I’d make her mine sooner or later” he shrugged, “She’s the kind of girl you enjoy completely, the way she smells, the way she feels around you and under you, that look in her eyes” Barba was heaving as he glared at Ivan, his hand flat against the table and his other one curled around the handle of the briefcase with force and pain “The way her lips feel” Ivan licked his lips “The way she screams at how good it is”

“We’re done here” said Fin, he pushed the chair back but Barba wasn’t moving as he looked at Ivan, “Come on, Barba” he reached to touch Barba’s shoulder but Ivan spoke.

“That little bitch could put all the whores in New York to shame with that little mouth of hers”

The chair was thrown back violently, part of it hitting Fin’s knees, the briefcase tumbled to the floor as Barba jumped to his feet and pressed both of his hands over the table, leaning towards Ivan with his face flushed and his chest rising and falling and his heart threatening to stop.

“Enough” he hissed.

“Mr. Barba!” barked Ross as she stood up “Step away from my client”

“I will make sure you rot in prison” Barba hissed, Ivan looked up at him and he could see it all, he could see the source of the anger, just like he had seen it in the eyes of the blond detective when he was being handcuffed down at the alley.

“I’m sure of that” nodded Ivan “Just as I know your little whore enjoyed every bit of me inside her”

And Fin barely had time to grab Barba and pull him away from the table, “We’re done here” said Fin, he glared at Ross and pulled Barba towards the door, grabbing the briefcase in their way towards it.

“Ask her how it felt!” Ivan chuckled. “Ask her how much she screamed for it! Because by god was she amazing! Imagine if I had had more time!” he laughed.

Fin kicked the door close and released Barba, the lawyer was heaving, his face was flushed and his eyes wild, he passed a hand through his hair, messing it up as he paced around the hall and Fin made sure to keep an eye on him.

“Barba” he finally spoke, but Rafael seemed oblivious. “Barba” he said louder, this time the lawyer stopped and looked at him.

“What?” he barked.

“You can’t let him get to you like that” said Fin, he took a step forward, Barba’s briefcase in his left hand. “This will only make things harder”

“You think I don’t know that?”

“You aren’t thinking straight” Fin continued “I think you should go get coffee, take a break”

“I can’t take a break”

“You’re right, but you need one” said Fin “This is the reason you don’t want Carisi talking to Ivan, then I suggest that until you get yourself under control, you follow your own advice”

“I’m under control”

“Did that look like someone who was under control?” asked Fin. “We all care about her, but this reactions are not going to help her” Barba glared at him and Fin took a deep breath “I know why you are feeling like this, and Ivan can see it all over you, that’s why he’s saying those things”

“What the hell are you talking about?” snapped Barba.

Fin took a deep breath and gave Barba a soft look “I know about you and Ren, Barba”

Chapter Text

His voice was soft, but powerful enough to be heard by Barba the instant they left his lips, the lawyer frowned instantly and held his breath for a second before his lips twisted into a scowl and he glared at the detective who was looking at him with an expectant face.

“Excuse me?” hissed Barba, Fin raised his eyebrow.

“I know about you and Ren” Fin repeated himself, he glanced down the hallway before he turned back to look at Barba.

“There’s nothing going on with Alvarez” said Barba, and his offended face almost looked a hundred percent genuine.

“I read the text in her phone” said Fin, he sighed but continued before Barba could interrupt him “Didn’t do it on purpose, it just happened, I was answering a text from her mother” he shrugged “I know everyone’s number by memory, so I knew it was your number saved under B, when I saw the last text she had received”

Barba looked at him, his frown was still in place but his heart was beating madly in his chest, still he held his ground as he looked at Fin; the detective’s face softened.

“I didn’t tell anyone, if that’s what’s got you worried” Fin offered, deciding to overlook the fact that he had told Elliot about it. “Not even Liv, I thought it was something you should do when you get the chance” he shifted his weight from one leg to the other “Obviously I’m not telling Carisi, but that’s why I’m telling you that you should go get a breath, a coffee, and then get back here, the last thing we need is more trouble”

Of course Fin hadn’t expected Barba to lose his cool in the middle of an interrogation with one of the arrested men in the station.

“It didn’t mean anything” he spoke, self-defense mode setting in even if he felt horrified at how easily the sentence slipped out of his mouth without a second thought, Fin narrowed his eyes but then slowly raised an eyebrow at Barba. “The thing with Alvarez, it meant nothing”

“And you got worked up like that because it didn’t mean anything?”

“She’s part of the squad” he shrugged “A friend, somehow” and he could see Fin wasn’t buying it entirely. “We were drunk” he rolled his eyes “She was still hung over Carisi, it only happened once” and the thought that he didn’t really know if Carisi had been on her mind all the times they had been together made his body cringe internally.

“No need to explain” Fin sighed “Just get yourself back together” he turned to the interrogation room “He knows he’s going away, let’s just keep the casualties as they are”

“You’re right” nodded Barba, “I’m going for a coffee, I’ll be back in ten”

“Sure” nodded Fin, he extended the suitcase towards Barba and the man took it “I’ll let you know if something changes while you’re out”

“Thank you” Barba said shortly before he turned on the ball of his feet and walked away and down the hallway, his pace was steady even when he felt out of breath; but Fin was right, he needed to get his shit together if he wanted to do this the right way, and as he reached the stairs he forced his mind to compartmentalize his emotions because he had a job to do.

 

___________//____________

 

Elliot looked at Nick, the younger detective had his face buried in his hands, because now that the rest of the squad was gone, he had allowed himself to breath and all he could think about was how he had promised to keep her safe, to keep her unharmed and he had failed and now she was wounded and beaten and he needed to stay there until they got answers.

Elliot pinched the bridge of his nose, all of this was too much, at the other end of the waiting room, Alex and Nat had huddled together and the two young woman had fallen asleep rather quickly; Carisi was pacing down the hallways, his hair a mess, his coat lost and his tie nowhere to be seen, Elliot sighed.

“You got to send him home” said Munch, his arms crossed over his chest as he slowly turned to look at Elliot. “He’s not going to get a chance to see her and I’m sure he’s a step away from collapsing in the hallway”

“I know” sighed Elliot, he glanced at Nick and then turned to Munch. “Talk to him, will you John”

“Sure”

And with that Elliot grunted and pushed himself up to his feet, he had offered to stay while Olivia went to her apartment and the others left to go to the station; it was true that they were all hurting and worried, but they had to go on with the arrests because at the end of the day, life wasn’t stopping for any of them.

It never had.

John watched him go towards the corridor before he turned to Nick, the detective seemed unaware that Elliot had stood up.

“Nick” said Munch, but there was no answer, slowly the older man reached out and set his hand over Nick’s shoulder; the young man jolted and turned to look at him.

“I thought you had gone home” said Nick, a small frown over his face.

“No” he shook his head “I’ll stay a bit longer” he gave him a squeeze “I think you should go home, though”

“I’m not leaving” said Nick, his eyes hard but his voice a whisper.

“This isn’t your fault” said John, Nick swallowed hard “I can see it all over your face, the way you are letting it eat you alive”

“I had to take care of her” Nick whispered “It was my job and I failed”

“Your job was also to get those girls out of there” said John “And you did that”

“Ren is hurt”

“I know that” nodded John “I’m very aware of it” he frowned for a moment and looked down at his lap before looking back at Nick. “You need to go home, get rest and go to the station”

“I can’t leave”

“You have to” said John “You aren’t much help here, sitting and waiting” Nick frowned, his guilt mixing with anger “You want to help her? You go to the station and get those men arrested, start the process, be sure everything is air tight” he shifted his body to face Nick better “Make sure there isn’t anything that can put holes in the case, that’s how you keep her safe, that’s how you help her, that’s what you have to do”

Nick looked at him and he knew that John was right, he sighed and looked down at his hands, John gave him another squeeze on the shoulder and he turned to look at John.

“Ok” Nick agreed “You’re right”

“Elliot will keep all of you posted” nodded John with a soft smile, because it hurt him too, but he knew that Nick would only feel worse if he stayed sitting in that waiting room.

 

___________//____________

 

Elliot walked out into the corridor, somehow the pristine white color of the walls made him uncomfortable and edgy, making the situation even worse; Carisi was looking down at his phone just a few feet away from Elliot.

The blond detective looked up from his phone as soon as Elliot focused his attention on him, he looked up and froze for a split second as he looked at Elliot, he shoved his phone in a quick movement into his pocket and hurried towards Elliot.

“Did something happen?”

“No” Elliot shook his head. “But I need to talk to you, Sonny”

“Elliot, please” whispered Carisi, his eyes puffy and Elliot wasn’t really sure how much more Carisi could cry and throw up for the day.

“It’s for the best, Sonny” said Elliot, he felt horrible, the way Carisi looked like a mess and he didn’t even know about Barba and Ren. “You wont be able to see her and you know that” he sighed “We need you down at the station, making sure nothing is out of order, that all of this can be pressed against Ivan”

“I cant leave her” he whispered and he looked down at his hands “Not again”

“She wont be alone” said Elliot “I’m gonna be here” he cleared his throat and Carisi looked up at her “I know it’s hard, to leave someone you love, but you can help her down at the station, I’m telling you this as a friend”

“But if she is released…

“John or the girls will take her home” explained Elliot “Look” he sighed, he knew he had to compromise to something “If she asks for you or about you, I will make sure to call you instantly, ok? But go home”

Carisi looked at him and Elliot saw anger and hurt and he accepted all of those feelings, he accepted it all, he would rather have Carisi angry at him but working than pleased with him and surely collapsing here in the hospital.

“Fine” he hissed, and without another word he walked back towards the waiting room to get his coat and head back home; he would get changed and head to the station.

 

___________//____________

 

Her eyes flicked down to her lap as soon as the nurse closed the door behind her, her shoes squeaking gently against the floor as she walked away from the room; Ren’s bandaged hand shook for a few seconds as she moved her fingers, she wasn’t really sure if she felt no pain through her hand because of the meds or because there wasn’t any pain to feel.

She frowned and focused on the white sheets that covered her lap, her injured hand reached to the covers and she pulled them to the side, her long legs stretching down the bed appeared into her view and she cringed as she saw all the bruises that covered her legs.

“Shit” she whispered, she sucked in air and pulled her leg up as gently as she could, the nurse had told her that she had to be careful with her stitches.

A black bruise covered almost all of her knee and went down a few inches, her fingers feathered over the mark and the lack of pain told her that her body was still under the effects of the meds and she was thankful for it. Her toes had small bandages around them, covering scratches from when she had been running down the street barefoot, her fingers graced down her leg as she turned her attention to her other leg.

A bandage covered most of her thigh from when she had been slammed against the floor by Ivan that had been when she had hit the cement with her head; she sighed as she looked at the part of the bandage she could see from under her robes.

She was looking down at her bruised legs, the way her skin looked like a destroyed canvas, dark and red lines stretching around her; her eyes swelled up with tears, as she gaped her lips to breathe through her mouth when the door of the room was pushed open.

Her head snapped up instantly and her leg slammed down back to the bed as she saw the doctor closing the door and looking at her; the woman had kind eyes.

“Hello” said the doctor.

“Hey” said Ren, her voice harsh almost as if she had swallowed a handful of glass shards.

“I’m Dr. Kahn” she explained as she walked towards Ren, the young woman following her steps. “I came to see how you were doing”

“I’m fine” she answered rapidly, her bandaged hand reached out to clean a tear before she flashed the woman a small smile.

But was she?

The doctor looked at her, she gave her a small smile back and then glanced down at her bare legs, Ren looking down as well.

“Those are a lot of bruises” Ren whispered.

“Indeed” answered the woman, she gently reached down and took part of the cover, being careful with her movements because this was not her first rape victim and she knew sudden movements usually started panic attacks; Ren’s breathing hitched as she watched the woman cover her legs again but she said nothing.

“You are going to stay here for observation for a few more days” explained the doctor, she looked up at Ren. “The cut didn’t touch any organs but it did considerable damage” Ren nodded “We want to make sure everything is fine before you go home, to avoid complications”

“Of course” Ren answered, was this normal? The way she was feeling right now?

“I will come back in a few hours to check on your stitches” she explained “Please be careful with any movements you make” Ren’s hand instinctively reached out to the place she knew were her stitches, her fingers feathered over the spot for a moment before she placed her hand over the covered wound. “Anything you need, you can press the button and the nurses will come” she gave Ren a soft smile, because the girl looked so young and sweet and now she was bruised and hurt, not to mention that it was still a bit of a shocker to see an eye with so many small veins popped. “We are here to help you”

“Thank you” nodded Ren, “I’ll be careful, don’t worry”

“Try not to stand up without help” said Dr. Kahn, “Especially when getting out of the bed, ok?”

“Go it” Ren assured her, this all felt surreal, like it wasn’t happening to her, like she would wake up and this would all be gone, that she would wake up in her room and everything would be fine.

“Get some rest” said the woman before she turned on her heels and walked out of the room, Ren followed her with her sight and then her eyes darted down to the covers again; her uninjured hand touched the fabric, rolling it between her thumb and her index and she really wanted to believe this was a dream because this was not the way her covers felt, this was not the way her room smelled, this was not the way her legs looked.

This couldn’t be real.

This couldn’t be happening.

Chapter Text

Ren sat over her bed, the sheets covering her legs and her hands resting over her lap, her first trip to the bathroom had not been as bad as she had imagined, but she had the feeling that it had something to do with the anesthesia rushing through her system more than anything else; she had kept her eyes over her feet at all times and the nurse had waited by the door with her back to the young woman.

It had been only after the nurse helped her back over the bed that she had mentioned that there were people outside, people she was pretty sure wanted to see Ren.

The young woman had hesitated as she heard the nurse speak, her uninjured had wrapping around the sheets unwillingly as she thought about who she meant.

“Who is out there?” Ren finally asked, her eyes had been locked over the bathroom door, she turned towards the woman, a strand of hair falling down towards her face.

“Two young women” answered the nurse “Your emergency contact and another girl”

“Huh” whispered Ren, she cocked her head to the left as the nurse looked at her, her eyes were kind, clear but tired, Ren wondered how many hours she worked there a week.

“Would you like to talk to them?” she asked.

She didn’t really know.

Was this the way it was supposed to be? Was she supposed to feel like this? Feel like people were walking on eggshells around her? Feel the way she did when people looked at her?

Did she want that from Nat and Alex?

“Do you think they want to talk to me?” asked Ren, her voice soft and smooth, unlike her body.

“Yes, of course” nodded the nurse, she had seen the red eyes from the both girls, the worried pacing, the constant questioning, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t up to them whether they got to talk to Ren or not.

“Ok” she answered, a soft smile stretching over her face, but Irene, the nurse, had seen enough strained smiles to know that this one wanted to hide the uneasy feeling of not knowing what to feel or do.

“I’ll let them know” Irene smiled, her kind eyes warm as she looked at her, hoping that they could convey all the positive energy she was wishing upon the girl after such a tragic event.

“Thank you”

Irene turned away slowly and made her way towards the door, she had seen nasty things in her years in the hospital, and she knew when she saw someone in denial, in shock, this young girl sitting over the bed, was not done assuming what had happened to her.

But who would want to acknowledge those events?” she pointed out in her head, her hand reached out to the door when Ren’s voice echoed in the room.

“Irene”

The nurse turned around to look at her. “Yes?”

“How bad is it?” Ren asked, the tone in her voice flat and steady, unnerving Irene.

“What dear?” asked the woman.

“My eye” answered Ren, her uninjured hand reached out to grace the side of her face that belonged to her injured eye.

The nurse looked at her, her eye was almost completely red, small veins had popped when she had been slammed against the concrete and it was a miracle that her cheekbone hadn’t burst into pieces under the impact.

“It’s a bit of an initial shock” explained Irene, she wasn’t going to lie.

“So, it’s really bad” smiled Ren at her, Irene gave her a short smile but nodded softly.

“Yes”

Ren nodded and looked down at her hands for a moment before she looked up at her again “Tell them to come in”

Irene closed the door and hesitated as she walked towards the waiting room, part of her wasn’t sure if visiting was a good idea, but then again that wasn’t her decision, and she was really hoping that she was wrong, she was really hoping that seeing people she loved could help the young woman heal.

She really did hope.

“There she is” gasped a voice, Irene looked up just in time to see both Alex and Nat hurrying towards her.

Irene stopped in her tracks and looked at both young women as they approached her, they had left their jackets behind with an older man sitting at the back of the waiting room and one of them was holding a phone like it was dear life.

“Hey” spoke Nat as she looked at Irene, “How is she?”

“She conscious” explained Irene, she wasn’t really sure how else to answer that question “Talking and very responsive” she glanced at the other girl, the one who had asked her to see if they could talk to Ren.

“Did you ask her? Is she able to get visits?”

“Alex” whispered Nat, she turned to look at her “Breath”

“She said you could go in and talk to her” she nodded “But don’t take long, she does need some rest”  

And Irene, who had worked at the hospital for more than ten years, had seen very few faces light up the way Alex and Nat did; their puffy and red eyes shined with the news, Nat’s grip around the phone tightened and Alex let out a breath she didn’t even know she was holding.

This is what love looks like” thought Irene, and she wished them luck in her mind before she decided to give them a heads up. “Her eye”

“What’s wrong with it?” asked Alex instantly.

“It’s a bit of a shock when you first look at her” explained Irene “A few veins popped and its really bloodshot, there is nothing wrong with it, but it will be the first thing that will draw your attention”

Alex frowned but nodded softly “Thank you, really, thank you”

“It’s ok” smiled Irene, “I really think seeing you could help her” not adding her worrying thoughts “Let’s really hope it does,” she also decided not to mention that there was an unnerving sense about the way Ren’s voice sounded.

Nat and Alex gave Iren one last smile and walked towards the door, their hearts hammering against their chests as Nat reached for the doorknob.

“Wait” whispered Alex, Nat turned to look at her roommate “Wait” she could hear the breaking line in her voice.

“Alex” whispered Nat, Alex looked down at her feet, her jaw shaking “Look at me” Nat’s voice was as soothing as it always was but Alex didn’t budge. Nat reached out, her left hand cupping her friend’s face and slowly making her look at her; a thin string of tears was rolling down her face.

“I’m sorry” whispered Alex, “I just… she looked away, her face still pressed against Nat’s hand. “This is Ren” she pointed out “Our Ren,” Nat felt a knot in her throat, “I just need a minute”

Alex closed her eyes for a moment, opening her mouth to take a deep breath, she felt Nat’s right hand reach out to her face, her thumbs gracing her cheeks, cleaning her tears as Alex took a deep breath.

“OK” whispered Alex, she opened her eyes and looked at Nat “Ok,”

“Ready?”

“Yes” she nodded, even if the answer was no, even if she felt panicked, they had been sticking together through thick and thin, through break ups and heartaches, to unwanted pregnancy and parents dying, they had been through it all and they would continue to be there for each other because that’s what friends do.

No, that’s what soulmates do.

Nat pushed the door open as gently as she could, she could feel her heartbeat in her ears, and as the door swung open, she felt a pressure on her chest, the air being squeezed out as a small sofa came into view, followed by a plastic table and then, finally, the bed.

Her eyes snapped up, searching for the face that had helped her through nightmares, the face that had celebrated dreams with her, and there she was; her eyes over Nat as she stepped into the room, and Irene had been right, her eye was shocking.

Alex moved behind Nat, a horrible mix between adrenaline and anxiety shooting up her veins as Nat stepped away from the door and Ren’s eyes snapped away from Nat and landed over Alex; Alex stared at the girl who had gone through hell and back with her, the girl who would bring down heaven to make Alex happy and she pulled her lips into a small smile as Alex stared at her; and Irene had been right, the eye was an impact.

“Hey” Nat was surprised that Alex had managed to be the first one to speak, she on the other side, had felt her throat close on her.

“Hi” Ren answered, her voice sounded strained, even when Irene hadn’t noticed, there were little things that Ren couldn't hide from Nat and Alex. ”What are you guys still doing here?” asked Ren as they walked closer to the bed “I thought you’d be at home, getting rest and some decent food”

Nat smiled, a sparkle in her eyes as she placed her hand over the bed “Are you kidding me?” she answered “We are not leaving until you get to come with us”

Ren smiled and shook her head, her hair was pulled back into a strange looking ponytail “You don’t have to stay here all that time”

“We want to” shrugged Alex, “Besides, we have good news”

“And what would that be?” asked Ren, the three of them trying to figure out if the elephant in the room should be addressed now or later.

“Dr. Khan thinks you could be able to leave in about two days” explained Nat “She told me like two hours ago”

“That would be amazing” Ren nodded, she looked at Nat and Alex scanned her rapidly, her eye was a shocker, but after examining the rest of her, Alex could only feel her heart being squeezed even harder.

“I have your phone” Nat continued, she showed Ren the phone she was holding in her hand “I answered a text from your mother”

Tense silence fell in the room, Alex glanced at Nat.

“I didn’t tell her anything” she explained, she shifted her weight from one leg to the other “Just made up an excuse as to why you weren’t answering the phone”

“Thank you” answered Ren, the last thing she wanted was her parents knowing all the things that had just gone down.

“Here you go” Nat extended her hand towards Ren gently, the young woman looked down at her phone and swiftly she picked it up with her bandaged hand; she bit down a wince that threatened to escape her lips as she curled her injured fingers around the item.

“Of course” answered Nat “We are going to be outside” she continued “But, anything, please text us” she looked down at Ren’s phone “The nurse said we couldn’t be here long, but that doesn’t mean we cant come back in if you want us too”

“I’ll let you know if I need anything” nodded Ren, the best thing for now was to pretend everything was fine, until she had to come face to face with reality.

“If you need anything from home, we’ll go get that too” Alex added.

“Thank you” Ren turned to her and smiled, her fingers holding her phone “Is anyone else out there?”

“John” answered Alex and Nat at the same time.

“Elliot left like half an hour ago, said he would be back in about two hours” explained Alex.

“Great”

Nat turned to the door first, her heart hammering and her chest feeling like she couldn’t breath, she reached for the door but stopped, Alex stopped behind her and they turned to Ren.

“We love you” said Alex, Nat nodding.

“I love you too” smiled Ren, and Nat pulled the door open because she couldn’t be there right now, she felt like she was dying and she had to gather herself before she could stand strong and tall for her friend, before Ren needed her and Alex to be her rocks.

Ren watched the door close behind her sisters, the door clicked shut and still she held the phone tight in her hands, she gapped her lips and took a deep breath; her mind was racing and she could hardly focus on anything, she felt the room spinning and she wasn’t sure why.

She just knew she had to make it stop, she had to make everything stop.

The young woman closed her eyes and dropped her head back, opening her mouth a bit more and sucking in air, forcing her mind to clear itself.

I’m fine” she whispered in her head “Everything will be fine” she exhaled “Just breathe, it will be fine”

And as Ren opened her eyes and a single tear rushed down her face, Olivia was at her desk, thinking and chewing on her lower lip.

She had seen trauma express itself in various different way, she had seen people hide away the secret of painful experiences and deal with it in the darkness of their privacy, healing slowly and by themselves; she had also seen people hide away and self-destruct, unable to figure a way to heal, a way to reconnect with others, unable to ask for help.

Olivia had also seen people voice their pain, fight against what hurt them and she had seen people come out victorious from trauma, she could see it in Rollins, the way she had thrived and evolved into an even stronger woman; she also had her personal experience, she had managed to survive, to turn her pain into help to others, she had fought against it.

Olivia Benson knew that trauma expressed itself in various different ways, some sooner than later, some harder than others, some in a much more destructive way than a few others; she just wanted to know how she could help her friend.

Realization to trauma came in different shapes, but Olivia knew for certain that it eventually came to everyone; she just didn’t know that for Ren it would come in the form of a tensing arm, a painful scream and a shattered crystal.

Because in the end, realization pays everyone a visit; doesn’t matter if you’re ready or not.

Chapter Text

Barba walked down the corridor towards the office, his head was aching and he had gotten no sleep the night before, his mind had been rushing with different thoughts, he had been restless, his body aching to text Ren, to call her

But then the morning had rolled in and he had pushed himself up and had forced his mind to gather itself, because he had to go to work, he promised himself as he walked out of his building that he would call the young PI that night.

Even if he was dreading it and wanting to do it, at the same time.

Olivia was on the phone, Barba could see her arguing with the person at the other end of the line and he was almost certain that it had something to do with the case and probably with what had happened to Ren.

He winced internally but still reached the door quickly.

Rafael knocked on the door, he could feel a tingling rushing through his veins, it felt like a crawling under his skin, another ache to add to all he was already feeling. Olivia turned to looked over her shoulder, the landline still pressed to her ear, her eyes landed over Barba’s, the lawyer gave her a small smile, and he felt like his face was cracking with all the pretending and how fake it felt, she nodded at him and turned back around, Barba pushed the door open.

He stepped inside, pushing the door close behind him gently, Olivia had her back to him but he could see the tension on her shoulders, the same one everyone else in the team had been carrying since Ren had been attacked.

“Yeah” Olivia nodded, her free hand rushing through her hair as Barba looked around the office, he knew what he had to do. “It’s being handled, yes, Tucker trust me” Barba looked at her, wondering how Olivia managed to carry the weight of everyone else on her shoulders.

Just tell her” he whispered in his mind “Fin is right, you have to do this, she has to know”

“Fine” Olivia sighed “I’ll call you back as soon as I know”

And with that she hung up, she closed her eyes for a moment, trying her best to breath, to collect her thoughts, to be brave; she passed both her hands through her hair and then exhaled as she turned around to look at Barba, her hands dropping next to her.

“Barba” she nodded as she looked at him, leaning back against the desk.

“Olivia” he answered back, not sure if he should sit down or what he should do now that he was there.

“What’s up?” she asked “How are we with the process? Everything else?”

“Yes” Barba nodded, he pushed his hands in his pockets, wishing he had brought his phone into the office, he had been looking at the texts with Ren the night before and somehow, he wished he could have that one last time, one last time before he had to tell the others. “Everything is going accordingly, what did Tucker want?”

“He’s just anxious about all of this” explained Olivia, “Like all of us, its complicated”

It’s about to get worse” he said to himself.

“The Chicago situation is under control” Olivia continued “But Tucker is worried about Ren,” she looked like she hadn’t slept in years “She’s going home today and all of this…

“What?” said Barba, the words hitting him like a train. “What did you just say?”

“About Chicago?” asked Olivia, she frowned as she looked at him.

“Alvarez is leaving the hospital today?”

“Yes”

Barba frowned and took a step closer, his left hand coming out of his pocket “Why wasn’t I told about this?”

“John called me about ten minutes ago” Olivia explained “She’s being released at around five or six” she shrugged “I know you need to talk to her, but I thought we’d give her at least two more days before she has to talk about what happened”

“Did she tell you what happened?” he asked “What the hell are you asking?!” he screamed in his mind “DON’T DO THIS! TELL HER WHAT YOU HAVE TO TELL HER, YOUIDIOT!”

“Yeah” nodded Olivia “She told me and Rollins” she crossed her arms over her chest. “Are you here to talk about that?”

“No,” he answered even when he felt everything in his body telling him that he should just shut up and leave, that he had to text her, that he had to call her, that he had to be brave and contact her, he had to know how she was.

“Ok” Olivia said “I’m all ears, what’s going on?”

Barba opened his mouth, the words rambling out as he tried to get to the point, his heart starting to race and his body heat increasing, but he had to do this, he had been scared before, he had been terrified so many other times, but today he had to do this, he had been scared at the hospital and this wasn’t going to be worse than that.

It wasn’t going to be worse than knowing the things that had happened to the girl he….

The screech of a moving desk, a bark and a chair crashing to the floor, interrupted Barba’s rant before Olivia could even begin to understand what on earth the man was trying to tell her.

Barba spun around on his heels as Olivia pushed herself away from the desk, adrenaline shooting up her body as she crossed the room to get to the closed door, as the rest of the team gathered around the argument.

 

___________//____________

 

She couldn’t just expect him to stay away from the station forever, had been in his apartment for almost 24 hours and being there had burned like acid, sitting on the sofa where he had watched countless movies with Ren, sleeping on the bed that had been THEIRS had ripped into his soul like nothing else ever had.

So Carisi had showered and changed and had decided to head to the station to see what he could do to help; he would take anything over being alone in a house that he didn’t want to be in, not without her.

He climbed up the stairs, a few passing officers looked at him as he walked up, he knew what they were thinking but it didn’t matter, he didn’t care; he clutched his phone in his hand, he had spent the most of the night stating at the photos he had never deleted from his phone.

His heart was racing, he knew Ivan was still in the station, he knew he couldn’t really talk to him, but that didn’t matter, he could still feel all the emotions rushing through his system, pushing to come out, pushing to break him.

Of course, the last thing he expected was what he walked right into.

He walked through the desks, he wasn’t sure if all the team was there but he was hoping they were, at least someone could tell him what he could help with and that way he wouldn’t have to go back to the apartment that had turned into a chamber of torture.

He took a turn to the left, avoiding a group of cops that had gathered around a desk, he wasn’t in the mood for questions and he knew that one of the cops had been at the raid.

Then again, maybe he should have just walked past them instead of taking that turn.

By his peripheral vision he noticed someone walking down the hallway towards him, towards the main floor, and it wasn’t someone, it was a small group of people; Carisi glanced towards the hallway, the hallway that lead to the interrogation rooms, and he froze, his legs cemented themselves to the floor and his lungs felt like they had been squeezed out of all the air they had, his heart started speeding as he looked down the hallway.

As he noticed Mrs. Ross walking next to a cop and next to him Ivan was walking towards him.

Ivan was glancing at his lawyer, nodding at something she was saying but Carisi couldn’t hear, there was a ringing in his ears than only seemed to intensify, a ringing that was making his head hurt, a ringing that was sending a buzz through his body, a ringing that was clouding everything that wasn’t Ivan.

He could see it, he could see it as clear as daylight.

The street, the drizzle, he could hear HER scream through the night, he could remember how it had felt when he had rushed into the alley to find them there; to find HER hurt.

Ivan was already passing in front of him when their eyes met, Carisi’s body screaming for air as he held it back.

Ivan looked away from his lawyer, he didn’t have to be a genius to know that he was in deep with everything they had on him, then again he had always known that he couldn’t do what he did forever, he had never been stupid, in fact, he had been one of the smartest kids in his school, he knew there was no way they could win the trail, but that was fine, he had been in jail before, but there was no way he was gonna go down without dragging all those fuckers down with him.

Especially her.

He looked at Carisi, he had seen the blond man at the club several times, wearing a pair of stupid glasses, but now he looked so different, so serious; the first person belonging to the squad that Ivan had seen since he had talked to Fin and Barba.

And then he remembered where he had also seen Carisi.

He was there” thought Ivan “At the alley when they found her”

“Detective” nodded the cop next to Ross and Ivan, Carisi couldn’t even see him.

“You mother fucker” hissed Carisi, his voice was a low growl but it made the small group stop, a smile over Ivan’s face.

“Detective” barked Ross.

“Would you look at that” snorted Ivan, he took a step forward but the cop grabbed his arm and pulled him back. “I remember you”

“You son of a bitch!” snapped Carisi, his hands flying straight up, he grabbed Ivan by the collar of his shirt and pulled him towards himself.

Ross screamed in shock and fear, the cop stumbled forward to grab Ivan as the man threw himself forward, a smirk over his face at the sight of a detective losing his mind over a single young woman; Carisi stumbled back against a desk, pushing it back and the chair crashed on the floor loudly.

“Detective!” snapped the cop, he grabbed Ivan’s shoulders and pulled back, but Carisi was grabbing him hard.

“What a fabulous fuck she was” hissed Ivan “The lungs of a Banshee, I’ll remember that sound all my fucking life”

“You piece of shit” hissed Carisi, their faces close together “You won’t get away with this, I’d rather die than see you get off from what you did to her”

“She’ll remember me all her life” smirked Ivan “When you fuck her in her bed, her mind will be thinking of me, you’ll never give it to her like I did, DETECTIVE”

“ENOUGH!” roared Carisi, he shook Ivan with force as Elliot threw away a chair and pushed away a cop to get to Carisi, Olivia and Barba were rushing out of the office and Fin and Rollins were hurrying towards the group as soon as the elevator door had opened.

“Carisi!” barked Olivia.

“You will pay for this” Carisi said.

“Oh!” chuckled Ivan “First the lawyer and now you” a confused expression passed through Carisi’s face “I’ll be waiting for it”

“Carisi!” Elliot’s hands landed over Carisi’s shoulders and he pulled the detective back just as the cop pulled Ivan away; Ross was howling about lawsuits, about police brutality but Carisi couldn’t hear her, all he could hear was the ringing in his ears and all he could see was Ivan as they dragged him away.

Ivan looked over his shoulder and smirked at Carisi as Elliot forced him to turn around and look at him.

“Are you insane?!” barked Olivia as she reached them.

Dodds and Nick had just walked up the stairs, following the screams and all.

“Control yourself” said Elliot, Carisi looked at him, almost as if this was the first time he ever saw Elliot Stabler.

“Carisi” said Olivia as Elliot let him go, Carisi looked at Olivia “My office, now”

The woman spin on her heels and walked towards the office, Elliot gave Carisi a small push and the blond detective started to walk was the whole station looked at him, Barba who had stayed behind glanced at Olivia.

“Give me a minute” said Olivia as she looked at Barba.

“Don’t worry about it” said Barba “We can talk later, it’s not that important” he lied.

Olivia marched towards her office, she already had a hundred things to worry about and now she had to keep an eye on her detective, whom she knew was broken hearted and hurt and angry; she kind of understood, even if she wished she didn’t.

Carisi walked past Barba, Rollins and Fin had joined him, but he stopped and frowned and turned to look at Barba.

“What did you do to him?”

“What?” asked Barba, he looked at Carisi.

“He said first the lawyer and now you” answered Sonny “What is that supposed to mean?”

Olivia looked at Carisi and then turned to look at Barba.

“Nothing” said Fin, he shrugged and stepped forward “I was the one who screamed”

“What?” said Olivia, she frowned deep.

“I lost my cool when we interrogated him” explained Fin as he looked at his boss.

“Why didn’t you tell me this?”

“Nothing serious happened, Barba didn’t think it was important” explained Fin, Olivia glanced at Barba and then at her friend.

“Fine, we’ll talk about that later”

Olivia took a deep breath and walked into her office, Carisi looked at Fin for a moment before he followed her, Elliot walking in after him and closing the door.

Carisi found his way to the brown sofa in the office and dropped himself over it, Olivia glanced at Elliot with worry but walked towards her team member; she sat down next to him as Carisi covered his face, her hand landed over his shoulder.

“Carisi” she whispered, Elliot crossed his arms over his chest and made a mental note to ask Fin about what happened when they had questioned Ivan. “I know you’re angry” he uncovered his face and looked at her.

“I’m sorry” he spoke, his voice thick.

“I know” she nodded “And I know you’re angry and hurt” she took a deep breath “But I need to know that I count on you, this can’t happen again, if it does I wont be able to have you here, I’ll have to ask you to leave and I know you don’t want that”

“I don’t” he nodded “You’re right”

“Can I count on you then?” she asked “We need to do this as a team, as… her voice got caught in her throat, she felt horrible, she felt like screaming and crying. “We need to do this as family, for her”

“I know” he whispered, and the tears were there in his eyes and Olivia wished she could take away all that pain. “I just… he passed his hand through his hair as he tried to find the words, but how was he supposed to put in words how he felt, it was impossible.

“It’s hard, I know” she nodded “But we need you here, we need you on your best potential”

“I promise” he whispered “I promise it won’t happen again”

Olivia looked up at Elliot, the man was looking at her, his eyes intense and beautiful and like hundreds of times before, as she looked at him, she felt like she could do anything, like she could overcome every obstacle because Elliot would be next to her to help her, to push her forward when she felt like giving up.

She squeezed his shoulder as Elliot gave her a soft smile, he knew this was hard and Carisi was also going through a hard time, they had to be there to help each other; Carisi took in a deep breath, a few tears rushing down his face as he tried to get himself together.

For Ren” he whispered to himself, the tears rushed down his face “Do it for her, always for her” he took a deep breath through his mouth.

As Elliot and Olivia talked to Carisi, the group outside had dispersed, everyone going back to work because the station was swarmed with it; Fin pushed his hands into his pockets and looked around, he saw Barba stepping into the conference room where they were keeping everything related to the case.

Fin looked at the rest of the team, they were looking at evidence over Rollins’ desk, so Fin decided to go check on their lawyer.

When he stepped into the room, Barba had his back towards him, he was looking down at the table where the evidence was, Fin closed the door gently but the click of it made Barba turned around to look at Fin.

“You still wanna say it didn’t mean anything?” asked Fin, he pushed his hands in his pockets.

“Yeah” whispered Barba, he clean a tear away from his face with his hand.

“Right” whispered Fin “Are you holding up?”

“I’m fine” nodded Barba “I just needed a break” he cleared his throat, he didn’t want his team to see him cry; and now more than ever he couldn’t tell Olivia about Ren. “You didn’t have to do that”

“I know” said Fin, he shrugged “But Olivia already has enough on her plate” he looked around over his shoulder to make sure no one was coming, he turned to Rafael “Carisi doesn’t need to find out, and less of all like this”

“I agree” nodded Barba.

“And you don’t need to be put on the spot like that either”

“Thank you” said Barba.

“Hey, that’s what friends are for, right?”

Barba looked at him, a weak smile forming over his face “Yeah” he agreed, because it felt nice to have someone that had your back, and Fin nodded back at him.

There were times for everything, and right now wasn’t the time for confessions about love, loss and betrayal.

Not now” thought Fin “Maybe it can wait”

But things come, sooner or later, and sometimes timing is a bitch.

Chapter Text

Ren’s hand shook as she pushed the key of her house into the doorknob, her fingers were pressed around the key with force, the rest of the keychain rattling softly as she turned the key and the door unlocked itself; behind her, Nat and Alex shared a worried look, none of them sure of what to say or do.

This wasn’t something they had ever come across, Ren had said several times that she was fine, that she felt alright, she had taken the prescription for the pain meds and she had smiled at them and she had even made small talk; but there was the look in her eyes, the way they drifted off, the way they had looked down the street.

There was something in her eyes that gave her away.

Ren pushed the door of the apartment open, she pulled the keys out of the door and stepped inside, her heart was beating madly in her chest, her lungs constricting rapidly as the beating of her heart echoed horribly in her ears.

Her fingers raced to unbutton her coat, her skin felt like fire, the smell of the apartment was wrong, the temperature wasn’t right, she hadn’t left her apartment like this when she had left to go to the station.

“Something is wrong” she whispered, but neither of her friends heard her as Alex closed the door of the apartment behind them and Ren continued to walk towards the living room.

Her eyes darted towards the door of the room, she shrugged the coat off, dropping it over the floor behind her, Nat turned to look at her as she set her bag over the kitchen island; all the red flags rising in her as she looked down at the coat and then back up at Ren’s back.

Nat reached out and grabbed Alex’s hand, Alex turned to Nat and then followed her line of sight, both of them watching as Ren walked around the sofa.

“I’ll get her water” whispered Alex, Nat released her and Alex hurried to get water for her friend, her heart was racing and her mind was rushing, trying to figure out what they could do next.

“Something is wrong” whispered Ren, she reached out and touched the sofa as her eyes scanned the coffee table in front of the sofa. “Something is not right”

But it wasn’t something, it was someone.

Her.

Her right hand shot up, her fingers curled around her shirt, the fabric felt heavy and rough against her skin, her skin that felt like it was being set on fire, sweat started to form over her forehead, despite the cold weather outside; she tugged at the collar of her shirt, the oppressiveness of the room only getting worse.

She heard the screams for the first time, resonating loudly in her head as she closed her eyes with horror; her own screams as she felt Ivan’s hands around her waist before he had thrown her down to the floor, before he had hit her, before her mind had turned hazy.

Ren started to pant, she closed her eyes harder, she tugged harder at her shirt, the back hurting the back of her neck as she pulled harder.

You’ve been a very bad girl” the words were loud in her head, louder than anything else.

“Ren?” whispered Nat, whatever was happening she had no idea how to help, how to stop it; they had never seen anything like this, they had never been in this kind of situation.

Nat and Alex walked around the sofa, making an effort not to touch her as they stopped in front of the young woman, anything to avoid startling her; Nat reached out and grabbed Alex’s hand, Ren was heaving, pulling at her shirt, her eyes closed and her legs trembling.

“Ren?” whispered Alex this time.

She remembered hoping in her heart that Sonny had been rushing down the street to help her, she opened her mouth to suck in air because how was this happening? She was fine! She was alright, nothing was going on, why was she feeling like this.

She opened her mouth and sucked in as much air as she could, the action making her heart slow down, she took in another breath and slowly forced her hand away from her shirt, opening her eyes and gasping softly as she noticed Alex and Nat in front of her.

“Hi” whispered Nat, “Deep breaths”

Ren looked at her, the words came in elongated waves but the words were clear, she glanced at Alex; she nodded and looked down at her hands, they were shaking but still she forced a smile over her face.

“It’s fine” whispered Ren, she looked up at her friends “It’s fine”

Alex knew it wasn’t fine, she could see it all over Ren’s face, the way her eyes looked wild, the way her hands were shaking and the way her chest was rising and falling.

“I’m ok” nodded Ren, her eyes darted from one to the other, and Nat forced a smile over her own face, trying to calm Ren down, because how do you react to this?

How do you help with this?

“Do you want something to drink?” asked Alex, her mind really wishing she could find something to do that would help he friend, but right now all she had to offer was the glass of water she had in her hand.

“Yeah” nodded Ren, her skin still felt like it had been set on fire.

And timing is a bitch.

Alex extended her hand out to Ren and Ren reached out to grab the glass, her fingers gracing Alex’s abruptly and Ren gasped, pulling her hand back in horror and the glass slipped from her hand and crashed to the floor; Ren’s arm tensed painfully and she stumbled back, the back of her knees hitting the sofa suddenly and she screamed as she turned around to look at the sofa.

Realization came sooner or later.

The room was spinning around her, her heartbeat was echoing in her ears, her skin felt like not only it had been set on fire but like it didn’t belong to her, she was heaving and her eyes filled up with tears as she turned around to look back at Alex and Nat.

“I’m so sorry” whispered Ren as she looked at Alex.

“It’s ok” whispered Alex, she took a step towards her friend, Ren’s fingers tangled around each other as she held her hands up to her chest.

“I’m so sorry!” she gasped, the tears rushing down her face “Alex, I didn’t mean it!”

“Ren!” gasped Alex, she stepped towards her, showing her hands, in an attempt to let her know that she wasn’t going to hurt her “Don’t be sorry about anything, it’s ok, we are here”

“I lied” she sobbed, her lower lip trembled, Alex frowned and Nat glanced at Alex and then at Ren. “I’m not ok!”

She covered her face, the bandage around her injured hand roughed up the scratches on her face; her knees wobbled and she crashed down, Nat stumbled forward, stepping over the glass that had shattered on the floor, her hand grabbing Ren’s elbows in an attempt to soften the blow from landing on the floor.

Alex crashed to the floor as well, all of them kneeling on the floor, Ren was sobbing loudly against her hands, her fingers digging into her scalp as her body convulsed and the tears streamed down her face, pooling at the base of her hands as she pressed her palms harder against her face.

“I’m sorry” she mumbled through the sobs, the words distorted and mixed with tears and saliva and pain “I’m sorry” she kept on muttering, a mantra, words she had no idea she was mouthing. “I’m sorry”

“Ren” said Nat, giving her friend a squeeze on the elbow she was still holding.

Ren uncovered her face violently, twisting her arm and grabbing Nat’s wrist painfully, her eyes were red, the tears coming none stop; the words cut short in her mouth before she pulled Nat forward and wrapped her arm around her neck.

“It’s ok” whispered Nat as Ren buried her face against the crock of her neck “We’re here”

Ren’s free hand reached out and Alex laced her fingers with hers, crawling towards her and Nat, slowly she wrapped her arm around Ren’s back as Ren continued to cry loudly, her tears flushing down Nat’s shirt and skin.

“I’m sorry” whispered Ren “I’m sorry”

“There’s nothing to be sorry about” whispered Alex, her breath feathering against Ren’s hair. “You don’t have to be sorry”

And the sobs filled the room, Alex trying to keep her own sobs down, Nat’s tears streaming down her face, Ren’s fingers were digging hard into her friends’ clothes and skin. Her abdomen was constricting painfully, the stitches on her skin were being pulled at, but Ren didn’t even notice the pain in her skin, all she could tell was that apartment smelled wrong, that her lungs were not big enough to stop her drowning feeling, all she could hear was the screaming in her ears.

“I’m sorry” was all she could say.

Chapter Text

Ren kicked the door of the bathroom closed, after crying for ten minutes in the living room of her house, she had managed to calm herself and had pushed herself up, Nat and Alex were the best thing she could have ever asked for; they were perfect, they had insisted she go rest for a while, that they would take care of the broken glass and the splattered water everywhere.

She pressed her back against the door for a few seconds, her heart was rushing madly in her chest, she closed her eyes for a short while, opening her mouth to take deep breathes because she couldn´t just collapse in the bathroom and scream and cry.

Right?

Right.

She pushed herself up and with her eyes still closed, she turned around, her back to the mirror, her fingers curled around the hem of her shirt and she pulled it over her head, dropping it behind her without care; she opened her eyes and her right hand reached out to touch the bandage over her abdomen.

Please be careful with the stitches” the doctor had said “Any uncomfortable feeling or pain, please call me, or come in as soon as you can, ok?” she had given Ren her number and Ren had simply smiled and nodded.

The young woman unhooked her bra and then proceeded to pull down her leggings and her panties, she had showered at the hospital but her skin, her body, was screaming for another shower, screaming for soap and water: BOILING WATER.

She exhaled softly, her heart was racing and her lungs were aching, but still she turned to her side and walked towards the shower, she pulled the door open and reached in to turn the knob; she stretched towards the knob, her skin around the stitches tugged but Ren still turned the knob and retreated back out of the shower to wait for the water to heat up to what she wanted.

Ren closed her eyes and shook her hands briefly, her mother had taught her several relaxation techniques, and she was really trying her best to use one of them but it was hard, and it was even harder because she would have to call her mother and her father at some point and she would have to pretend everything was alright.

She couldn’t just tell them what had happened.

I can’t do that to them” she whispered in her mind as she finally did the one thing she had been dreading.

She turned around, her closed eyes facing the mirror; she pressed her eye shut tighter and then she finally opened them up.

Ren sucked in a short breath, her chest constricting painfully because this was not her; she took a step back and her brain screamed a hundred screams at the same time.

Her right hand rose up to her lip, they were gaped but her eyes were glued to her reflection, her fingertips trembled against her lower lip, her eyes filling up with tears, her chest aching and this was not her.

“Oh god no” she whispered.

This was not her.

She took a step forward, her right hand leaving her lips and reaching out to the mirror, but she couldn’t touch it, she was too far away and she pulled her hand back, curling it over her naked chest as the steam from the water started to fill up the room.

And this was not her.

Her shoulder was scrapped, and a bruise lay just below her armpit, her hand drifted down to her bruised skin, the purple and the blacks and blues, they didn’t belong to her skin, not this way; she was used to them, she had gotten bruises before, but not like this, not with ripped skin and certainly not with the way her bloodshot eye looked.

Her right hand dropped, ignoring the bandage around her torso, covering up the stab wounds that had, with her eyes glued over the mirror, Ren lead her hand down to her thighs; down to the sea of pitch blacks and blues.

Ren’s fingers fathered over her thigh, her fingers were just a pinch away from her thigh but she could already feel the pain; she blinked and the tears rushed down her face, her bruised face. Ren’s lower lip trembled and the fog started to cover up the mirror, she couldn’t see this, but she couldn’t look away.

This was not her.

“No” she whispered, she curled her fingers away from her leg and opened her mouth to breath, the fog on the mirror was clouding her vision and with one final breath, she turned away from the mirror; she couldn’t take it right now.

Because that was not her.

She glanced at the fogged up mirror and then back at the shower, both of her hands reaching up to clean the tears from her face, she opened her mouth and stepped into the shower just as the buzzer from her house rang loudly in the living room.

 

___________//____________

Nat walked into the room, holding Ren’s coat and her handbag, she could hear the water running and she wasn’t sure how she felt, she felt useless, like she couldn’t do anything that would help Ren and that was killing her inside; this was her best friend and she had no idea how to help her.

Alex pushed the water pitcher inside the fridge, her eyes scanning rapidly to the items inside it to figure out if she could cook something with it or if she should get some takeout; she wanted to think about something that Ren would like, but right now all she feared was that she would do something that could bother Ren in anyway.

Of course, her worries were shoved away from her mind when the buzzer of the apartment ringed into the living room and kitchen.

Alex frowned, she turned away from the fridge and closed the door, she stepped towards the buzzer, she passed her right hand through her hair and her left hand reached out, her index pressing into the buzzer button.

“Hello?” she sighed into it.

“Hi” the words came in and Alex froze in place “Can I come in?”

Alex opened her mouth, ready to answer but instead her left hand pressed into the open button, she pressed her lips into a thin line just as Nat walked out of the room.

“What was that?” Alex turned around to look at Nat. “Alex, what’s wrong?” Nat frowned as she stepped towards her friend.

“Carisi is here” whispered Alex. “He’s coming up”

Nat opened her mouth to speak, but her head turned to the bathroom and she was really hoping that Carisi didn’t take long and that Ren, for once, took a long shower.

 

___________//____________

 

Carisi knew he had overreacted and he had realized that if he wanted to stay and help at the station, he would have to behave, he would have to control himself and not be a burden; he had to find a way to help, a way to make things somehow better, he had to focus on Ren.

It was like this that Carisi had ended out of the station, Elliot had suggested he go out and get coffee, something to eat, clear his head and then return, the last thing they needed was more problems and Carisi had agreed.

And with an apology to Olivia, Carisi had grabbed his coat and had left the station, he had walked past Fin and Rollins, partially hearing that Barba had left the station and wouldn’t be back until later that day.

Dominick had gotten his coffee and a pair of those overly sweet cinnamon rolls that Ren liked and he had left, he had walked off, clearing his mind and finally, when he had decided to return to the station a better idea had popped into his mind; Olivia had mentioned that Ren was out of the hospital and he just knew he needed to see how she was doing.

That had been how Dominick Carisi Jr. had ended up pressing the buzzer at Ren’s apartment, his heart was racing, his palms sweating and felt like he was boiling up under his coat; he tugged at the collar of his shirt, loosening the tie as he waited for an answer to come; hoping that someone was home.

“Hello?” said a voice he knew.

“Hi” he answered, he took a deep breath and looked down at his shoes, remembering the first time he had been at her apartment, the first time when he had been so nervous to kiss her because he wasn’t sure if she liked him like that. “Can I come in?”

The buzzer of the door rang and Carisi felt like a relief, he pushed the door open and stepped inside, the cold breeze from the outside being replaced with the warmth of the inside building; the door swung close behind him and he made his way towards the stairs, he knew the building by memory, he knew that the fifth step creaked when someone stepped on its left side, he knew the building and the apartment by memory and even if he hadn’t been there in such a long time, he felt like it had just been yesterday when he had been there the last time.

He found himself racing to get to the door, his feet quick and steady, while his heart was marching faster than it ever had.

Carisi reached out to ring the doorbell but before he could press it, the door swung open and Nat was there, Alex hovering behind her friend.

“Hi” smiled Nat, and her heart broke because he looked tired and hurt and worse of all, he looked guilt ridden.

“Hi” he answered back, his voice thick. “How is she?”

Nat glanced over her shoulder to Alex, this was not the way she had thought the day would spin, it had been hard enough when the glass had broken, but now, now it was just getting a lot more hurtful.

Especially because Nat knew that Carisi was not the only one feeling guilty.

“She’s…

“She’s figuring it out” Alex answered, because there was nothing else that could be said.

“What did the doctors say?”

“They gave her pain meds” answered Nat as she turned to Carisi “Creams and stuff, for her stitches”

Carisi frowned and looked down at his hands, the package of the cinnamons in his hands, he wasn’t sure what he expected, but this wasn’t it, he looked up at Nat.

“I’d love to tell you to come in” she whispered, “But I don’t think that’s the best idea”

“I know” he nodded, his eyes darting to Alex. “I just… I just had to come, you know?”

“It’s ok” Nat smiled softly. “It’s just that it might not be the right time, it’s too soon”

“I understand” he sighed and he really did. “Um, could you tell her I was here?” he asked “Please? I just need her to know that she can count on me, that I care”

“Of course” Nat smiled at him, she could see it all over him, that he care about her. “Of course I’ll tell her you came over”

“I brought these too” he added, he lifted the bag up to Nat, the young woman looked down at it and took the bag gently, she could see by the logo that it was from Ren’s favorite pastry shop; she smiled painfully and then looked up at Carisi. “She loves cinnamons, we used to get them a lot”

“Yes she does” Nat sighed, “I’ll make sure she gets them”

“Thank you Nat, you too Alex”

“No, Sonny” Alex shook her head “Thank you”

The trio looked at each other for a few seconds before Carisi turned on his heels and walked away, he understood that Ren needed time, and he would give it all the space she wanted, he would wait and he would help her and he would be there if she needed him; even if it was one cinnamon roll at the time.

 

___________//____________

 

Barba stopped in his tracks, he had been making his way up the street with a steady pace, he had left the station a few hours ago with the excuse that he was heading out to his office and would be returning later that day; of course he was in fact going to go to the office, but that was after he had passed by Ren’s apartment.

What was he even doing?

He was going up the street, her apartment building in sight, his hands in the pockets of his coat and his mind set on going up and asking about Ren, when he saw him; the tall blond detective making his way up the other end of the street and Barba came to a sudden stop.

His heart started to race and his stomach turned just like it had when he had heard Michael asking Ren if she needed a ride home, just like it had when he had seen Ren with Michael and now he felt his blood freeze because Carisi was making his way to the building and Barba would have to wait.

He watched as Carisi reached the buzzer, watched as the detective pressed it and he wasn’t sure what to do, it felt horrible, like a betrayal he had induced on himself, because he should have been out on the street and checking if she was fine the second he heard she was being released from the hospital; he shouldn’t have been scared of the others finding out, but how was he supposed to know what to do when at the very second he was trying his best to deny the way he felt about Ren.

Carisi pushed the door open and Barba took a step forward, he watched as the door swung close and he winced, he pressed his lips into a thin line and then looked around, his eyes landing over a bench under a tree and he stumbled towards it.

He wasn’t stupid enough to not know what he had been, he had been the revenge fuck for Ren, at least he had been the first few times, and he had been her secret; and he had been so against anyone finding out that she had turned into his secret, a secret he longed to go home too, and all those unresolved, untold feelings, they were now taking its toll on Rafael Barba as he sat down and wondered what Carisi was saying upstairs.

“Mierda” he whispered, his voice a faint whisper. “Puta vida”

He leaned forward and looked down at his hands, he remembered the way she had kissed the back of his hands when he had gotten home stressed to the maximum level, the way she had been up for the rough, stress reliving sex and then she had kissed his hands and had made him tea and maybe that had been when his feelings had changed.

When he had wanted to go home because he knew she would meet him there, because he knew his apartment smelled like her more than it smelled like him; because she made his pretty apartment a gorgeous one just by being there.

And now, now he couldn’t go up there because Carisi was there and he couldn’t put more strain over Ren, he couldn’t do that to her, Fin was right there had to be a time for everything; he glanced at the apartment, now he had to wait, he had to gather his thoughts and make a decision.

Just not now, not outside her house, not when Carisi was there.

Rafael pushed himself up, a feeling he hadn’t experienced in a while washed over him, he felt helpless, he felt like his life and his emotions were slipping out of his control and he hated it; he hated it because he didn’t know how to stop it, and he hated it because the only thing he could think off was rushing up those stairs to see Ren and he couldn’t blurt out their secret like that, not with Carisi there.

He couldn’t do that to her.

Not to the girl he liked, because that was all he felt, he had feelings, he liked her; but that was all he felt, right?

Right?

Right….

And so, Rafael Barba pushed himself up, still making a universal effort to turn the blind side to his feelings, he hurried down the path he had come, thinking that Carisi would be there long and feeling jealous and angry, not noticing how the door of the building opened up and Carisi came out, walking away on Barba’s opposite direction.

Because who ever said it would be easy? 

Chapter Text

Ren ventured out of the room almost half an hour later, she had changed into a pair of baggy sweatpants and long sleeved shirt, slipping her feet into fuzzy socks that she had gotten as a matching pair with Nat and Alex; her hair was combed back and she had applied a bit of the cream over the scratches over her face.

She had heard Alex and Nat talking and walking around the house and for a moment it had felt like nothing had changed, like they were just getting ready for a sleepover, or to go out; like they were still the same.

She crossed her arms over her chest and Alex looked up from her phone, she looked at Ren and gave her a soft smile, Ren smiled back at her.

“I thought you were asleep” she said, Nat propped her head over her hand and looked at Ren.

“No” Ren shook her head, “I was just getting this cream thing everywhere I had too”

“How was the shower?” asked Nat.

“Fine” nodded Ren, and by fine she meant she had cried on the floor of the shower for ten minutes before she had finally pushed herself up.

“Are you hungry?”

“Um, yeah I could eat” she answered, even if she wasn’t sure that was true, she just wouldn’t know until she had food in front of herself.

“We could order Chinese from down the block” shrugged Alex “They have the best eggrolls”

“Sounds good” nodded Nat, she turned to Alex “You have the number or should I go down and bring the food over?”

“Yeah, I have the number don’t worry” Alex answered, she looked down at her phone as Ren walked towards the kitchen counter, both of her friends trying their best to pretend they were not watching her every move through their peripheral.

Alex pressed her phone against her ear and tapped her fingers lightly over the kitchen island, her eyes over Ren’s phone as it charged next to the microwave.

“What is this?” Ren’s voice came out soft but loud enough, Nat turned on her chair to see what Ren was talking about and her stomach twisted.

The young private investigator was holding the small paper bag that Carisi had brought, in their rush to fix the house, both of them had forgotten to put away the cinnamon rolls. Ren glanced from the bag to Nat and Alex, Alex holding the phone loosely in her hand as she looked back at Ren.

“You guys went out for pastries?” asked Ren.

“No” whispered Nat, she looked at the bag and then back at her friend. “We didn’t buy those”

Ren looked down at the bag and opened it slowly, her eyes landing instantly over the cinnamon rolls inside, the double sugar cinnamon rolls, the white sugar shined back at Ren, beautiful and smooth. She had been eating hospital food for two days and now she was staring down at the best pastry in town and just by realizing that it had double sugar she knew that none of her friends had bought it.

“Who did, then?” she asked, she glanced at Nat and Alex.

“Carisi” answered Nat, she wasn’t going to lie to Ren, not now and not ever and she had also promised Carisi that she would tell Ren what he had asked her to tell her.

“Sonny was here?” she whispered, she felt her throat twist and tangle under her skin.

“Yes” answered Alex “When you were in the shower”

“He came all the way here just to bring pastries?” she asked, trying to soften the mood.

“Your favorite pastries” Alex added “He wanted to do something nice for you”

“He wanted you to know that anything you need, you can count on him” Nat finished, Ren looked at her for a moment before she looked back down at the bag, this time her eyes caught something at the left side of the paper bag.

“Oh” was all she could utter, she turned her back to her friends, Nat looked down at her lap and then turned her chair back to face Alex; there wasn’t a manual about what to do when your best friend went through trauma, but they both knew that they had to give her space and eventually they would have to head back home as well.

Ren set the package over the counter and her right hand fished in softly, her fingertips gracing against the smooth icing of the cinnamon rolls; Carisi wasn’t there, yet he could make her heart race just with a bag of sweets.

Her fingers grasped the small piece of paper and she pulled it out, it was a small paper square, with fingers full of sugar, Ren unfolded the note and looked down at the familiar handwriting over it; she sucked her lower lip between her teeth as her eyes read it again.

For Jessica Jones

She bit down on her lip as she gently folded the note back, her right hand curling around it softly, she lifted her hand up to her chest and held it there, close to her heart and against her warm skin; she swallowed hard as her eyes kept looking down at the paper bag.

See you later then, Jessica Jones” he had said the first time they had had lunch together, the first time she had thought he was nice and smooth and smart, the first day he had ever called her Jessica Jones.

Jessica Jones.

She closed her eyes tightly and forced her nose to take in as much air as she could, she needed the tears to stop, she had cried enough already, she couldn’t bear to do it again, her eyes prickled but she held her ground.

Don’t cry” she told herself “Not now, please, not now”

She opened her eyes and looked up, swallowing back the tears before she turned on her heels and walked around the kitchen island and towards the sofa, her pace as normal as she could make it as Alex started to talk to the woman from the Chinese restaurant.

Ren sat over the sofa and softly she lay down, curling her legs up to her chest as she looked out the window, the sky was turning dark with the upcoming storm, she pulled her hand away from her chest and her fingers caressed the paper of the small note.

Sonny Carisi and Jessica Jones” she had laughed one day as they walked down the street, his hand tangled with hers and his scarf wrapped around her neck.

Nah” he shook his head as she glanced at him “Sonny Carisi and Ren Alvarez” she laughed and she had shoved him on the ribs before declaring that Jessica Jones was one of her favorite superheroes, Carisi had talked about Miles Morales and Kamala Khan and that had been the day Ren had known she loved him.

“Jessica Jones” she whispered as Alex hung the call.

“It will be here in thirty” she announced.

“Great” Ren answered, her eyes locked over the window but she wasn’t looking at it, she lay over the sofa where she had laid hundreds of times, her damp hair against one of the pillows and her body curled into a ball; and it almost felt like they were getting ready for a sleepover, ready to gossip and laugh and eat.

But this time there was rain, this time everything had changed.  

 

___________//____________

 

Barba looked down at the phone, his fingers had been tapping over it in a gentle rhythm as he tried to make up his mind, he had returned to the station after he had seen Carisi at her apartment; he wasn’t sure how he felt, he felt so many things and most of them were things he knew he shouldn’t be feeling, yet he couldn’t help but feel inadequate, like he didn’t know what to do and Carisi did, like he should know what to say and yet he was just freezing when he came close to her and Carisi just flowed naturally.

It was complicated with him, like it had been between Ren and him, everything so complicated at the beginning before it started to make sense, and with Carisi he had heard a thousand times that things had just flowed naturally between them.

He felt jealous and he hated himself because of it.

He hated that Carisi had a whole team to help him figure out how to help her, that Carisi had Olivia and Rollins, women who had experienced what Ren was going through, women who were going to help him, and Barba, Barba had Fin keeping his secret and that was all.

He opened his mouth and took a deep breath, getting his shit together was a lot easier said than done, and he could feel the cracks of the pressure starting to deepen in his soul.

He flipped the phone and unlocked it swiftly, Ren had once mocked him about how fast he could unlock his phone and type.

Do you unlock it that fast when you see it’s my text?” she had laughed as she pushed herself up over the kitchen island on his house, she had been wearing his work shirt and her hair was tied on a side ponytail.

He had laughed and had shaken his head, he hadn’t answered even when he knew that he didn’t lose a second when she was texting him.

He frowned as he looked at the screen, he clicked on the phone button and he dialed down the number he knew by memory; he glanced over his shoulder to the window of the conference room, he could see the squad out in the main room.

Barba took a deep breath and pressed dial as he turned away from the window and adjusted himself over his chair, his free hand reaching out to loosen his tie as the phone rang against his right ear.

“Hello” her voice sang into the phone and Barba felt a knot in his throat and an urge to burst into tears because he needed someone to help him pick himself up.

“Mamá” he whispered into the phone.

“Rafi, what’s wrong mijo?” she asked, the nervousness in her voice was enough to make his voice break partially.

“Mamá something bad has happened” he whispered, he looked up at the ceiling, trying to swallow down the tears. “With one of the cases”

“Are you ok?” she asked.

“No” he answered. “No, I’m not ok”

And he was far from ok.

Chapter Text

The night had set and Ren had forced herself to eat at least half the food she had been served, her stomach had closed on itself but she still pushed the food down; she knew they would worry, she could feel it in the way they were looking at her and she couldn’t blame them; the three of them had been like sisters from the moment they had met, and that same worry had been the one on Nat and Ren after Alex’s unwanted pregnancy and even if she felt like a sheep caught in headlights, she wasn’t about to tell them she wanted them to leave.

She didn’t want them to leave.

The pair of friends had set up the living room and had accommodated themselves like they usually did when they were on sleepovers and they had set movies at the TV; that and the fact that they wanted Ren to get some rest.

Ren sat with her back against the headboard of the bed, her left knee pointing up and her right leg stretched forward as she looked down at the phone in her hands; the screen was locked but she kept on tapping it gently, her jaw tightened, her heart hammering but her mind, her mind was telling her what she had to do.

Just call” she whispered to herself “You have to call, you have to do it”

And she knew she had too, if she took too long to call, her parents would worry and she couldn’t do that, she couldn’t drag them down into this, she couldn’t tell them what had happened; she wasn’t going tell them what had happened.

Just pretend everything is fine” she whispered in her mind, because that was the only thing to do, she had to protect them, she couldn’t hurt them like that.

And after almost an hour of debating it in her mind, Ren unlocked her phone and her fingers mechanically found the contact name and she pressed it down to call.

The young woman closed her eyes and pressed the phone up to her ear, her heart was hammering in her chest and she was hoping to universe that no one would answer because she could just leave a message and that would be so much easier than having to hear her mother’s voice.

“Sweetie!” her father picked up and Ren felt her throat twist on itself “We were just about to call you, Ren”

“Hi” she forced her voice, the sound coming out strained “What a coincidence”

“How is everything?” he asked, and she could tell he was frowning, she could tell that he knew something was up “Are you ok?”

“I’m fine dad” she cleared her throat and opened her eyes “I’ve just been super busy with work and all that”

“How’s work?” she heard her mother asking in the back “Ask her, how’s work”

“How’s work?”

“Work has been hectic, a few rough costumers, that’s why I haven’t been calling lately” and she wondered why it wasn’t easy to lie when she had been playing pretend as Valentina for so long. “Is should be easy” she thought as her father continued to talk.

“How’s mom?” asked Ren after a few minutes.

“Here, you talk to her” he chuckled “She wants to put me on a diet, the nerve of that woman I tell you!” he snorted a fake insult and Ren chuckled bitterly because this were the things she should be enjoying, talking to her parents and hearing her father rant about things and hearing her mother tell her about the new recipe.

“You need to diet, the doctor agrees with me” sighed her mother as she took the phone.

“Lies!” cried her father in the back, Ren smiled and bit down at her lip.

“How are you mom?” she asked, she had learned a tactic a long time ago, always drop the first question, deflect the question asked to you and you’ll have an advantage.

“I’m good, sweetie, how are you?”

“Busy” she nodded “But I’ll work around it” she glanced at the door “I have a lot of work for the next few weeks”

“That’s always good to hear” her mother answered “You sound tired” she said, and Ren knew she meant you sound weird, but she was thankful that her mother wasn’t asking more “You want me to call you tomorrow?”

“Yeah” answered Ren “I’m going to bed soon, you should too”

“I will” there was a pause “Te amo, Renata”

“I love you too mom” she whispered before she pulled the phone away from her ear and hung up, she pressed her lips as she looked down at the phone, the darkening screen looking back at her.

Her jaw trembled as her eyes filled up with tears and she wasn’t even sure why she was crying, she gapped her lips to get a deep breath, her nose unable to get enough air into her body; she closed her eyes and the first tears streamed down her face and she hated the way her face felt, she hated that it was puffy and that the tears were all she could feel.

“I’m fine” she whispered into the empty room “I’m fine” the tears turning into thin streams “I’m fine, I can do this” she dropped the phone next to her lap and opened her eyes, she cleaned the tears away from her face with both hands and turned to look to the nightstand; her medicine sat there with a short nod she reached out to grab it.

She grabbed one of the small orange tubes and opened it, dropping one of the pills on her hand before she closed it again and grabbed the water bottle she had taken to her room when she had said goodnight to her friends; she swallowed the pill and it felt like her stomach was turning, like she was about to throw up everything she had eaten in the last few days.

She set the item back over the table and her eyes landed over the small white piece of paper that she had found inside the pastry bag; she sighed and reached out to it, she had read it a hundred times, yet somehow she couldn’t get enough of reading it.

With the paper in her hands, she lay down over the bed and pulled her legs up to her chest as she looked at the paper.

For Jessica Jones.

“Sonny Carisi” she whispered before she sighed and set the paper back over the night stand, she turned on her back and looked up at the ceiling. “Sonny Carisi” and part of her felt weightless as she thought that he had come all the way to bring her something to lift her spirits.

Her mind on Sonny Carisi as she tried not to think about where was Rafi Barba.

 

___________//____________

 

Nat lay over her back, Alex had fallen asleep next to her, her soft snores filling the dark room, Alex had cried herself to sleep, Nat had curled next to her and had held the young woman in her arms as Alex whispered all the fears and self-doubts she had; trying to find an answer in the night about how they were going to do this.

And all Nat had been able to answer before Alex fell asleep was.

“Together”

She sighed and turned to her side, her phone was lying next to her, she was hoping that the pastries from Carisi had brightened at least in a way, Ren’s heart; she knew Ren loved those cinnamon rolls, but she was really hoping that the message behind them had been clear.

He was there for her no matter what.

Nat had never doubted that Carisi still had feelings for Ren, just one look at him in the hospital had been enough for her to know that; but she had to be honest with herself, she had been expecting someone else to make the first move, someone to step up, she had been proven wrong.

She turned on her side and grabbed the phone, she wasn’t going to blame anyone, she knew this was hard and she knew it was only going to get worse; yet she felt like she had to check on it.

Natalia unlocked the phone and her fingers found the text icon, her fingers were quick and precise, the message was short but to the point; she just had to figure out what was going on because at the hospital it had been so hard and now he had just vanished from the surface of the earth and if Nat was getting confusing signals, she didn’t want to know what Ren was thinking.

With a deep breath, she clicked the send button and hoped for the best as she tugged the cover up to her chin; a light rain falling outside.

 

___________//____________

 

Lucia looked at her son, he had walked into the apartment just a few minutes ago, tugging the coat off his body almost as if it was on fire, he had dropped his suitcase carelessly on the floor and after he had managed to get the coat off, he had struggled with his tie; Lucia had followed him in to the living room as he passed a hand over his face and then dropped over the sofa.

She had walked to the single arm chair in front of the sofa and had sat down, she looked at him, his phone call had scared her, the way his voice had been on the verge of breaking, the way he had told her that he wasn’t fine; something really bad must have happened because the last few times she had seen her son, he had radiant and chatty and there had been a twinkle in his eyes that she hadn’t seen in a long time.

“Rafael” she spoke, her voice was soft and caring and Barba winced as he looked down at his lap. “What’s wrong?”

He pressed his lips into a thin line and leaned forward, setting his elbows over his knees, he looked at his mother.

“Something really bad happened” he explained “With one of the cases”

Lucia could tell it was more than that, but she allowed him to continue, she was here to listen, not to force him to talk about things he wasn’t ready to.

“It was an undercover job” he whispered, he looked down at his hands “I shouldn’t have allowed it” he swallowed hard, he had really disliked Ren the first time they had talked about pulling her out of the case. “I thought everything would be under control, mama” he looked up at her “The girl who was helping us, she got hurt really bad”

“What’s her name?” Lucia asked softly.

“Renata Alvarez” he answered, his voice dropping a bit.

“Is she ok?”

“I don’t know” he frowned “She was just released from the hospital and… he stopped, he dropped his gaze because he could feel the sting of tears forming in his eyes.

Lucia looked at him, her heart clenching, she stood up and walked towards the sofa, she took a seat next to her son and her gentle and loving hand landed over his shoulder; he closed his eyes and opened his mouth to suck air before he turned to look at her.

“Is she someone important?” she asked.

“Yes, she helped figure out where a girl… he stopped as Lucia’s other hand reached out and landed over one of his hands, he looked down at their hands as she gave him a squeeze and then he turned to look at her.

“Not the case, mijo” she shook her head “Is she important to you, is what I mean”

He wasn’t used to this, to talk about what he felt, about people who were important to him, and it had been a long time since he had talked to his mother about a girl, and now he was here, talking to Lucia about a girl that was hurt, who was younger than he was, and for whom Barba was still trying to deny his true feelings for.

“I don’t know” he answered, and she could tell that it wasn’t entirely true.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“She is friends with Olivia” he explained “And she was helping us with the case, and… he frowned and turned to look at the small coffee table “We got involved, it was a mistake” he turned to her “I shouldn’t have allowed that to happen either”

Lucia’s eyes softened even more than they were already, she could tell he was setting all the blame on himself, and if he could, Lucia knew that he would continue to do it until it killed him inside.

“You think it was a mistake?”

He cocked his head to the left and shrugged, a bitter smile over his face as he looked at her “Yes, of course, I shouldn’t have allowed work and my personal life to mix, it makes everything harder and I just… he took a deep breath “And I feel like I’ve lost control of everything”

“Rafi” she whispered, her heart clenched in her chest.

“She used to date one of the detectives” he blurt out, he gave his mother a sad smile “They dated for almost a year and we’ve only been intimate for a few months”

“But its more than that, right?” asked Lucia, because she could see it over his face.

“Yes” he answered.

“So, she is important to you” she gave him a soft smile.

“She’s important to Carisi too” he sighed, he blinked back the tears.

“Is that why you haven’t talked to her?” asked Lucia “Because Carisi still likes her?”

“He already talked to her, mamá, I saw him at her apartment earlier today” he swallowed hard “He knows what to do with these situations, I barely know what to do with all of this”

“He knows what to do with these situations, that doesn’t mean he knows what to do when the situations is upon someone he cares about” explained Lucia “I’m sure he’s scared too Rafael” she squeezed his hand “And I know you are scared too, about what to do and what you are feeling, but you need to talk to her if she is important to you”

“Mamá” he whispered.

“No” she shook her head “Listen to me, you are scared, but can you imagine how scared she is? It might sound cliché, but she needs to know that she has someone she can count on, you can’t just assume she knows, because right now, right now Rafael, that girl’s world has been turned upside down and she needs to hear it” she took a deep breath as she looked at her son, the last time she had seen Rafael distressed about a woman, it hadn’t been under such harsh circumstances and Lucia had known all along that that woman was trouble; this time, the look in his eyes was different, because she could tell he felt different for Renata Alvarez than he had for Yelina Muñoz. “Of course you are scared, this is hard, and it won’t be easy, but you are a strong man, you’re smart and you know what you have to do”

He looked at her, he sighed and passed his hands over his face before he passed them through his hair, his mother was right; he looked at her and just as he opened his mouth to speak, his phone buzzed in his pants.

“Give me a second” he whispered and Lucia nodded.

Lucia watched as Barba pulled the phone out of his pants and unlocked it, his fingers quick, he clicked on the message that he had just received and he felt the air being punched out of his lungs, he felt his heart twist and his mother saw the color drain from his face.

It was a message from Natalia.

Where are you, Barba? What are you doing?

And somehow, he knew he had fucked up.

Chapter Text

Two days.

That’s how much it had taken Ren to convince her friends that they could leave the house and go to work, that she was good enough to stay by herself at the apartment; that’s how long it had been since she had received the note from Carisi, that’s how long Barba had remained absent.

The young woman paced towards the door of the apartment, her handbag dangling over her shoulder and her coat over her arm, yet this was the third time she had walked up to the door and had backed away before she had even reached for the doorknob; on her torso, her stitches were pulling at her skin as she turned around rapidly, hissing with pain as she tried to tattoo in her brain the idea that she had to leave the house.

Ren rubbed her hands over her jeans, her chest was rising and falling and her heart was beating madly, she arched forward a bit and closed her eyes for a second; she knew there was no rush, that she didn’t NEED to leave the house just yet, but then again there was this oppressive thought in her mind telling her that she needed to leave the house even if it was for a few minutes.

That she needed to prove to herself that she could leave the house.

Ok” she nodded at herself, she pushed herself up straight and turned around, the stitches burning against her skin, but she tried to ignore it, like she had been trying to ignore the fact that she had taken 3 showers since she had woken up, like she was trying to ignore the fact that her skin felt like it belonged to someone else, like she had been trying to ignore that she took showers with boiling water just to feel like it could burn her skin off.

She reached out and wrapped her hand around the doorknob, her heart seemed to jump forward faster than it had been going before, but still Ren turned the knob and pulled the door open; the hallway opened up to her, it was empty like it usually was and despite the anxiety rushing through her veins like wildfire, she felt certain comfort as she stepped out of the apartment.

The blond curled her hand around the strap of her handbag and clutched it hard as she closed the door behind herself and started to walk down the hallway; her knuckles turned white, and her chest was hurting but she needed this, she needed to win something.

Her heart had slowed down when she reached the main door, but her hand was starting to ache as she held the strap of her handbag, still Ren pulled the door open and stepped out; there was a soft breeze playing with the leaves and the hair of the people, and the smell gave Ren a sense of peace, she took another step and looked down the street, a couple was walking ahead of her, talking to each other and holding hands and painfully, the young woman felt her stomach twist and her heart sink.

She’s taken endless walks with Carisi down that same street, holding hands and laughing and whispering to each other, she looked away from the couple, setting her eyes over her shoes as she started to walk, her hands curled around the strap of the purse hard as she tried to concentrate on anything that would keep her mind away from the way her heart was beating.

The wind ruffled her hair, her head down to avoid unwanted looks from the scratches she had over her face, and she had left the bandage of her hand at home; wrapping her injured finger with a small piece of the bandage before leaving; all she could to avoid calling attention to herself.

Ren stepped around a pair of young men talking, her grip around the bag tightening as she felt them turning to look at her and an urge grew in her chest, screaming at her to turn back to the apartment building and run back there and hide in the shower.

You can do this” she whispered to herself as she took a curve “It’s just going to the store, you’re fine remember? You’re perfectly fine” she uncurled her right hand from the handbag and it reached out mindlessly to the pocket of her jeans, she had covered her tights with bandages to be able to put on the jeans without pain and yet still she continued to remind herself that she was fine; her fingers graced the piece of paper that Carisi had left for her in the pastry bag and she felt relieve wash over her as she reached the street of the store “You’re fine”

Was she though?

She pulled her hand out of her jeans and looked around the street, the store sat directly at the other side of it, the sun was out and there were a couple of people out there everything looked right, looked normal, everything looked fine.

Ren took a deep breath and stepped off the curve, ready to walk across the street, her blond hair swaying around her damaged face like a golden frame on a painful painting and just as she was about to cross, a silver car rolled up the curve, slow and easily.

Ren took a step back, startled, her eyes jumping from the store to the car, the windows were tinted but there was a small flag sticker over the door that called her attention as she watched the car drive away.

She stood in the street a few seconds after the car was gone, a strand of hair hitting her lower lip before she started to move, her brain finding things to busy itself, started to think about what country could the flag be.

 

___________//____________

 

Ren made her way up the street, a small bag of groceries in her hand and a small victory in her heart, she had managed to buy the things she needed, she had been able to interact with others and she had been able to do all of it without breaking into a sweat or an anxiety attack; so of course she counted that as a victory.

She was halfway to getting to her building, her mind going through the things she should be doing at the apartment when a ray of sun reflected against a car and made Ren squint painfully, she turned her head to the left and shook her head, turning to look over her shoulder to see a silver car driving down the street.

The young woman shook her head and turned back to her apartment, her steps going a bit faster when she saw the door; she pushed the door open as she wondered for the hundredth time what happened now? Now that Ivan was out of the streets and the girls were safe, what happened now? What should she do now?

But at the moment, her mind had only one thing blurting and rising above everything else, so as Ren pushed the door of her apartment open, she dropped her handbag over the floor, kicking the door close and heading to the kitchen, she placed the bag over the island and carelessly set her coat next to it; her feet agile as she kicked her shoes off, her hands burning to get the shirt off her body, to get her pants off her legs.

And with a trail of clothes and bandages that she ripped off her legs, Ren made her way towards the shower, her skin screaming at her for a shower, screaming at her for the scalding water, pleading for the way it almost felt like she could get a new skin if she stayed under the water long enough.

 

___________//____________

 

It had taken Barba two days after the text from Nat to get his priorities set, he had to get things right with the station, let Olivia know about the thing going on with Ren and himself and once he had told her about that, then he would head off to Ren’s apartment, he had to let her know that he cared about her, that he cared more than he wanted to admit, more than she had thought and that he was sorry that it had taken him so long to stop being scared.

But if timing was a bitch, Barba was about to figure out what life wanted to fuck him over, and this was just the start.

He knocked on Olivia’s door, glancing over his shoulder to the desks of the detectives, Dodds was with Fin and Carisi was by himself; his eyes rested over Carisi for a few seconds, and all the unwanted thoughts he always had returned, the way Carisi was closer to age to Ren, the way Carisi had been able to go to her house, the way Carisi and Ren flowed without problem.

The door swung open and Barba turned to look at Olivia, she was starting back at him, her eyes tired and dark bags under them, she stepped away from the door and turned back to the desk, Barba stepped inside and gently closed the door.

“Hey” she said, crossing her arms over her chest and leaning against the edge of the desk.

“Hey” he said back “How are you holding up?”

“I’m managing” she shrugged “You know its been hectic, but it has to be done” she turned over her shoulder to look at a file over her desk “I have Ren’s statement”

Barba gritted his teeth “Right, yes, I’m gonna need that”

“I know” Olivia turned back to Barba “So, what’s going on?”

“I wanted to talk to you about something” he explained “Something I think is very important that you know”

“Is something wrong?” she asked, her eyebrow knitting together and her heart racing.

“No, I don’t know how to put it” he shrugged “Just, I just need you to listen to me” he dropped his shoulders “It’s about Alvarez”

Olivia tensed up instantly “Is this going to affect the case?”

“It might” he answered truthfully, “That’s why I need you to listen carefully”

“I’m all ears”

Barba nodded and took a deep breath, this wasn’t easy, he wanted to agree with Ren when it was appropriate to tell Olivia about whatever it was that they had, but right now Ren wasn’t there and the knowledge of their relationship had to be set free before it came back to bite them in the ass.

And just as the words were about to slip out of his lips, Olivia’s phone started to ring, the woman groaned and glanced over her shoulder before she turned around rapidly and her hands reached out to the cellphone, answering the phone like her life depended on it.

“Ren?” she gasped into the phone, and Barba felt like he had been slapped on the face with a chair. “What? Listen to me, calm down, I don’t understand what you’re telling me”

Barba took a step forward, panic shooting up his system as he watched the way Olivia looked concerned.

“Where are you?” asked Olivia, she glanced at Barba “I’m on my way, get away from the window, close the curtains”

And with that she ended the call, turning to Barba.

“What’s going on?” and the way his eyes looked and his voice sounded made Olivia stare at him a bit longer before she answered.

 

___________//____________

 

Ren walked out of the bathroom, her skin hot and burning and pained, but she didn’t really care, a pair of grey sweatpants hung over her hips and a long sleeved shirt rolled down her arms, almost covering her fingers; her damp hair over her shoulders and for a moment, just like it happened after every shower, she felt at peace, almost as if the burning sensation on her skin meant that she was someone new.

That was, until the burning sensation was gone.

The sun was filtering bright and powerful into the room, she walked towards the small window seat in the room and sat down over it, it had always been her favorite place, the one thing she had told Barba that his apartment had been missing, with a view like the one he had, she would have never left the window seat if there had been one.

She raised her legs up to her chest, her stitches winced but she ignored them, if she pretended she didn’t have them, then everything would go back to normal faster.

Her right hand reached out to the curtain, she moved it gently and just enough to look out and scan the street, the way life went on as she showered seven times a day, the way people laughed and dogs barked and the wind ruffled the leaves of the trees; and for a moment she could pretend she was looking into a movie, give people new lives and names, her eyes jumped away from a girl with a small dog and towards a woman stepping out of a red car.

And it was then that she saw it.

Again.

She frowned as her fingers curled around the curtain, a silver car was parked in front of her building, a small colorful sticker that resembled a flag sat over the door and Ren recoiled off the window seat so fast that her torso screamed in pain as a stitch snapped and she stumbled around, hitting her hip with the wall before she hurried towards her bed to get her phone.

Her mind was spinning, her heart was racing and her lungs felt like they were going to burst.

Her fingers dialed rapidly, she knew the number by memory and before she knew it, she was pulling at her wet hair when the voice came through.

“Ren?”

“Its there again!” she gasped “I saw it today, I was going to the store and there it was and… and then again when I was coming back…. And its out there!” she swung her legs off the bed and scrambled towards the window “It’s there again, I know it! Its that stupid flag! It’s a Lithuanian flag I think! I swear to god its something like that!

“What? Listen to me, calm down, I don’t understand what you’re telling me”

“Someone is following me, Liv!” she cried to the phone, tears streaming down her face “They are outside my house! It’s a silver car with a sticker flag!”

“Where are you?” asked Olivia, “I’m on my way, get away from the window, and close the curtains”

Chapter Text

Olivia wouldn’t know until a few months later how much drama she had saved herself and her young friend when she had asked Fin to accompany her to Ren’s apartment, her voice had been stern and the way her eyes had looked had told Carisi that there was no way he could try and challenge Olivia; not after he had been given a chance to remain working on the case after what he had done with Ivan.

Barba had also stayed at the station, Olivia had barely glanced at him when they had left, but Fin had given him a long glance, he had seen the way the lawyer looked like he had been drained from every color in him, Fin gave him a short nod and he turned away, wondering how no one else had figured out what had been going on with Barba and Ren.

The drive up to Ren’s apartment seemed to last less than a second, Olivia pressed her phone against her ear as she pushed the door of the car open; the call ringed twice before Ren’s frantic voice erupted into the line.

“Liv!” she gasped.

“I’m down stairs, open up, please”

Fin was trotting around the car and towards the door of the building when it buzzed loudly and the lock unclicked, Olivia pushed the door open rapidly and soon enough, both detectives were hurrying up the stairs; Olivia could feel her heart slamming in her chest and she felt like she was being pulled at her edges, like she was just a step away from cracking and burning down in flames.

Fin pressed the doorbell and both of them heard as footfalls rushed towards the door, something was kicked out of the way before the door swung open and Ren appeared at the other side of it looking like she had seen a ghost; the young woman looked at Olivia and then at Fin, her mouth opened for a moment before she stepped away from the door and allowed them inside.

“I thought you weren’t coming” she mumbled as Fin closed the door as gently as he could, Ren was tugging at her fingers as she followed Olivia into the room, her eyes were big and puffy by the tears and he noticed with pain that there was a small stain of blood on her torso.

“I told you I was” Olivia said softly “Now, I need you to tell me what happened, all you said on the phone, please, I need to hear it again, ok?”

Ren looked at her and tugged at her fingers harder, her gaze jumping towards the window for a split second before she turned to look at Olivia and nodded frantically, her hair flopping around her face and over her shoulders.

Olivia glanced at Fin for a moment before she lead the young woman towards the kitchen island, they sat down and Fin slowly strolled towards the living room; Olivia had told him what Ren had said about being watched and followed, so he casually walked towards the window, he had seen the silver car when he had pulled over at the street, and now as he looked out, he noticed the car was gone.

“Ok, tell me everything” said Olivia, her words kind and her eyes were warm and as she looked at Ren she felt her heart break, she wanted to take the pain in her eyes away, she wanted to take away the bruises on her face, she wanted to take away the snapped stitch that had made her bleed for a few minutes.

She wanted to take everything away, because she should have done a better job, she should have done what she had sworn to do.

She should have protected Ren, and instead she had failed the young woman and it was destroying her inside.

The words came out rushed and followed by deep breaths and a few lonely tears that strolled down Ren’ face, tears that the young woman couldn’t even feel, she was tugging at her fingers, her wounded one was screaming with pain, but she couldn’t find it in her to stop.

As long as the pain shot up her hand then she wouldn’t have to think about everything else, she wouldn’t have to think about the pastries and the note she had now placed over her nightstand, she wouldn’t have to think about the fact that Barba had left and about the fact that someone was following her and that she had to be fine, she just HAD to.

“You are sure it was the same car?” asked Olivia, not doubting in Ren, just having to confirm the story of the horrified young woman.

“Yes” she whispered, the tears coming down none stop now, “You have to believe me, Liv, I swear I’m not making it up” her lower lips trembled as her hands untangled and she reached out to grab Olivia’s hand “Please, you have to trust me, you are the only one that can help me, please”

“Look at me” whispered Olivia, the young woman was looking down at their hands, Ren’s jaw was shaking as she looked up at Olivia, her eyes puffy, her face marked and bruised and the tears running down her face, and Olivia had to make sure that Ren believed her. “I believe you, Ren, and I’m not going to let anybody hurt you” her eyes softened and Olivia was sure part of her heart was being set on fire “I trust you, and I need you to trust me”

“I trust you” she blurt out without a second thought, because there was no way she would ever stop trusting Olivia.

Olivia looked at her for a moment before she looked over her shoulder, Fin was by the window but as soon as she turned around, Fin turned to look at her, he shook his head, before turning back to the window and Olivia turned back to Ren.

“This is what we are going to do, ok?” Ren nodded at Olivia’s words. “I’m gonna get a car to be stationed out here, they’ll be staking out the building, alright?” Ren pressed her lips into a thin line “No one is going to hurt you, I need you to trust me, Ren, and everything will be fine”

“Everything will be fine” whispered Ren, and somehow, the way Ren said those words didn’t make Olivia feel any better; because it would take Olivia a few months to figure everything out and one of the things she would come across was that Ren would be trying to pretend everything was fine until she had to come face to face with the facts.

 

___________//____________

 

Olivia sighed, passing her left hand through her hair as she walked out of Noah’s room, she was grateful that the small boy had decided to go to bed without much of a fuss, she was tired, her mind was a mess and her heart was broken; she had seen the way Ren had acted, the way she scurried away from the windows almost as if they would explode if she came too close, the way her fingers had been injured and before they left, Fin had called in a medic team to take a look at her stitches, and the way Ren had seemed so confused when they had mentioned her stitches were broken had only made Olivia feel worse.

This was on her.

If she had done her job properly then her friend wouldn’t be hurt, she should have taken Ren out of the case the instant they found out that Theresa was dead, Carisi had been right and they had simply decided to go with it because they all felt confident enough that nothing could go wrong, and that had been their biggest mistake.

Olivia knew by fact and not just Rollins, that Nick was having a hard time dealing with what had happened, he had bonded with Ren from the start, their Latin roots giving them common ground before they became friends and now he was also blaming himself; Rollins had mentioned that he had trouble sleeping and that he had troubling thoughts about all the things he could have done that he hadn’t and finally, what haunted Nick the most, just like it happened to Olivia, was that he had promised her he would protect her, that he wouldn’t let anything happened to her.

And he had failed.

She walked down the hallway of her apartment when the doorbell rang, Olivia stopped in her tracks and turned to look at the door, a small frown over her face, she wasn’t expecting anyone, but with steady feet, she started to walk towards the door, the sooner she got everything done with, the better.

She grabbed the doorknob and turned it, pulling the door open and her heart skipped a beat instantly, as her eyes met with Elliot’s as he stood in the hallway, his hands inside the pockets of his coat.

“Elliot” she said, her voice trying its best to maintain steady.

“Hey” he nodded at her “Can I come in?”

“Of course” she answered, Olivia stepped away from the door and Elliot walked inside, she closed the door and turned to look at him. “What are you doing here?”

“Dodds told me you guys had gone to Ren’s apartment today, that she’s being followed” he answered, his eyes over Olivia, her posture was tense “I wanted to see how you were holding up”

“I… the words choked in her mouth because she could only pretend for so long, Elliot stepped towards her, slightly opening his arms and without a second thought, Olivia dove to his arms and wrapped her own around him as he pulled her into a hug and she hid her face against his shoulder.

He held her tight as the tears started to stream down her face, he leaned his face against her head, one of his hands rubbing her back.

“It’s ok” he whispered to her gently “We can do this” Olivia clutched his coat hard as she tried to get a hold of herself “We will do this, it’s ok”

He held her for a few minutes, because he had never left her before and he wasn’t about to leave her now, Olivia and Elliot had a relationship that went beyond words, he had simply known he had to go see her after Dodds told him about Ren’s apartment, he didn’t have to ponder on it, had had simply made his way to her house because it was what felt right, it felt right to be with her, to be her rock when she felt like she was falling apart.

Because if Olivia wanted to take Ren’s pain and make it her own, Elliot wanted to do the same with Olivia, and if he couldn’t take her pain away, then he would share it with her, he would take part of the burden so it wouldn’t crush her, he would stand by her side because that’s what they were, they were friends, they were partners, they were soulmates.

Olivia pulled away gently and cleaned her tears rapidly, breathing through her mouth as Elliot shook his coat off, and silently they made their way towards the living room.

“She is falling apart” whispered Olivia as she dropped herself over the sofa, pulling her legs up to her chest. “And I don’t know how to help her”

Elliot sat down next to her, shifting his body to face hers as she pressed her fingers up against her lip.

“You are helping her, we are doing all we can and you know we wont stop until we have this bastard rotting in jail”

“I failed her, Elliot” she said, her eyes over her knees before she looked at her “I should have protected her, I should have kept her safe, not only because she’s my friend, but because it is my job and I failed her”

“Liv” he started, but Olivia closed her eyes and tears rushed down before she interrupted him.

“Listen to me” she said “I failed her, Elliot, we all know that”

“Ok” he nodded as he looked at her, she cleaned her tears “You failed her, we all did, we had to protect her and we didn’t, she’s hurt because we were not doing our job right” she looked at him “You’re right, but that only means we have to make this right, we have to help those girls, we have to get that piece of shit out of the streets, make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else, we do that for her, we do it for Ren and for those girls” he took a deep breath and reached out to Olivia, taking her hand away from her lips “We do it for her because that is also our job, and you know what, Liv? We are good at what we do, and she needs us”

Olivia looked at him and part of her wondered how she had ended up with someone like Elliot by her side, because even in her darkest days, Elliot had remained by her side, maybe he wasn’t in love with her demons, but he knew how to look past them, how to remind her that she wasn’t damaged, that she was only human.

And that’s why she loved him.

And that why he loved her.

Chapter Text

She sat in the car, her hands over her lap, her fingers laced with each other as she gently tugged at them, her eyes staring straight forward, in her chest her heart was beating like a sledgehammer but her mind, her mind was doing the most damage out of everything.

I’m fine” she whispered to herself, like a mantra she had learned to recite everyday “This is going to be fine, you are just doing your job, you are fine, the sooner I do this, the sooner I can go back to normal”

Outside a soft drizzle was falling, the streets were not as crowded as they could be and a gentle wind ruffled the leaves of the trees as Rollins and Ren sat in the car, parked outside of the station, Rollins looked at Ren, the young woman was biting part of her lower lip mindlessly, her eyes were the same color she remembered but there was something behind them that she couldn’t read.

Olivia had asked Rollins to bring Ren down to the station, make sure they had her statement about the car incident that had occurred the day before, the police car that had been looking over Ren had scared away the silver car but the young woman had been unable to sleep a lot, she had stared at the ceiling and her mind had drifted to things she didn’t want to think about.

She had thought about the pastries Carisi had brought her, she had read his note again, and she had forced herself not to think about why Barba was gone, why he had simply left.

“Ok” whispered Ren, she turned to look at Rollins and gave her a gentle smile, like everything about her “Let’s go”

“I’ll drive you back to the apartment when we are done” explained Rollins, even she had already told her this.

“Thank you” Ren nodded, she unbuckled her seatbelt and turned to the door, Rollins looked at her, the way her movements looked so normal and yet there was that strain in them, that premeditated thought about almost everything; Rollins knew what the felt like, like your body wasn’t ready to face the day but your mind was trying its best to make the rest of you believe that everything was fine, that nothing had changed, that everything was normal.

The blond detective stepped out of the car after Ren, she walked around the hood, holding her coat closer to her and hunching her head to cover herself a bit from the drizzle as both women hurried towards the door of the station.

The warm feeling of the station wrapped Ren and Rollins as they stepped inside, the voices, the ringing phones, the hurried footsteps, it almost made Ren feel at home; she could still remember perfectly the first time she had been at the station, the way everything had seemed like a scene from a book, the way it looked even better than Munch had described and now, now it still looked like a scene from a book, she just wasn’t sure what kind of book anymore.

“This way” Rollins’ voice was soft, and her smile was kind when Ren turned to look at her, she signaled the staircase, doing her best to avoid touching Ren.

Ren walked up the stairs before Rollins, the detective close enough behind her, both of them silent and just as they were about to reach the top floor, Ren stopped and turned around to look at Rollins, the woman looked at her with a puzzled expression and Ren swallowed hard.

“What’s wrong?” asked Rollins, her eyebrow knitting together.

“I… she looked down at her hands as she laced her fingers back together, the question screaming to erupt from her throat, she took a deep breath and  looked up at Rollins “Is Sonny here?”

Rollins looked at her and her heart broke, the way her eyes seemed bigger than they were and the way her lips pressed into a thin line; she shifted her weight from one leg to the other and shook her head.

“No” she answered, and she was sure she saw a weight being lifted form her body “Olivia sent him and Dodds to check on something from another case” she explained “Because you were coming”

“Ok” nodded Ren, she smiled and nodded again “Ok, yes, good” she looked down at her hands and turned around, climbing up the stairs rapidly once more, Sonny wasn’t there but the note he had left for her in the pastry bag was safely kept inside the case phone of her cell.

Rollins lead Ren towards one of the meeting rooms, glaring and shooting daggers to anyone who dared to look twice at the young PI, she was the only member of the team on the station at the moment and that made things easier, there was no way this couldn’t go smoothly, as smoothly as it could at least.

But then again, Rollins didn’t know the whole truth.

So that meant that the last thing Ren expected when she pushed the door of the meeting room open was to find ADA Rafael Barba sitting at the table, drinking from a mug; she stopped dead on her tracks, stepping back and hitting Amanda with her elbow as her eyes grew in size and her lungs closed on themselves and her heart seemed to stop.

He turned to look at her as soon as the door went open and he choked on the liquid he was drinking, when Amanda had told him she wanted him to see Ren’s statement he had never in a hundred years expected Ren to actually be there; his grip around the mug tightened and he pushed himself up to his feet as Ren took another step back and pressed her back against Rollins’ chest.

He watched in horror as she opened her mouth, words choking in her throat before Rollins spoke first.

“Olivia thought it would be better if Barba was here to listen to your statement” explained Rollins, she set her hand over Ren’s shoulder gently, and the young PI didn’t even feel her touch, didn’t even hear her words as she looked at Barba and then, then her shock transformed into something else.

“Yes” he spoke, and his word sounded so simple, so stupid.

“Ok” she answered, because it was the only thing she could actually speak.

She stepped away from Rollins, making sure she walked as far as she could from Barba and towards one of the chairs as Rollins walked next to her, she looked down at her hands, her bandage already had a few blood spots but she kept on tugging as Barba looked at her, his eyes darting down to her hands and he winced internally because what had he done.

The trio sat down and Barba turned to look at Rollins, she leaned over the table and looked at Barba, “We think it would be better if you got a full statement to include in the case, make sure everything is documented and make sure that it all gets sorted out” she made a pause “Even if it may or may not be him doing this, its better to keep it on record”

“I agree” said Barba, he cleared his throat and turned to look at Ren, the young woman had her eyes locked out the window, she watched the rain fall, the bruise at the side of her face was no longer black but it was dark purple, she blinked and kept looking out and Barba couldn’t help but remember all the times she had told him how much she loved the rain.

Does she still love it?” he thought as he turned to Rollins.

“Where do you wanna begin?” asked Barba to Rollins.

“The events from yesterday sound good” said Rollins, she turned to Ren “What do you think?”

“Yeah” she answered, her eyes away from them because she couldn’t bare look at him, she twisted her fingers painfully over her lap, away from their eyes and her skin hissed in pain. “Yesterday” she turned to look at Rollins. “From the beginning?”

“Yes” nodded Rollins “From the instant you left the apartment”

“Right” she nodded, she licked her lips, savoring the minty Chapstick before she looked down at the table and then turned to look at Barba. “From the beginning”

Ren made an effort to keep her injured hand away from their eyes, she took a deep breath as she finished her statement and then silence fell over the room, Barba wasn’t sure if anyone could hear his heart but he was sure he was a second away from passing out; he was trying not to heave, not to sweat, not to fidget but he couldn’t stop himself.

“Amanda” she spoke, her words soft, Rollins turned to look at Ren “Can I get coffee?”

“Of course” said Amanda, she turned to Barba “I’ll be right back” she pushed her chair back and stood up and Barba had an urge to call her back, to tell her that he would bring the coffee, that she couldn’t leave the room.

That she couldn’t leave because he was scared.

The door swung shut behind Amanda and Barba’s head snapped towards Ren, the young woman had turned back to looking out the window, her hair rolled down her shoulders nicely and despite the injuries around her face, she looked beautiful.

He opened his mouth to speak, he had to say something, he had done nothing and now Karma was back for him.

“Where were you?” she spoke first, her eyes over the window before she blinked and turned to look at him, he looked at her.

“I…

“Yeah, you” she cut into his sentence “Where were you, Rafael?”

And his name sounded like it had been dripped in acid, he winced and leaned over the table, glancing once to the door before he looked at her.

“Alvarez” and her lower lip trembled at the way her name sounded coming out of his lips, she blinked and a tear rolled down her left eye “I’m sorry” and the way his eyes pleaded with her, the way he looked, she wanted to believe him “I’m so sorry, corazón, I went to your apartment but I just couldn’t, I was….

“I was, what?” she nodded at him, and she realized that her shock from seeing him there had changed into anger and hurt “Too busy?”

“No” he shook his head, “Corazón por favor” he whispered “Please”

“Are we done here?” she asked, she frowned and cleared her throat “Because obviously I am the last person you wanted to talk to” she looked up at him, both her hands coming up from her lap to clean her tearful face “So clearly, I have nothing else to tell you Mr. Barba”

“Renata please” he whispered.

“It’s Ms. Alvarez” she snapped as she looked at him, her eyes hurt, “Let me know with Amanda or Olivia if there is anything else I can do, since you clearly don’t know my number anymore” she pushed her chair back just as Amanda walked into the room.

“Is everything ok?” asked Amanda, she frowned as she looked at Ren and then at Barba.

“I just want to go home” she explained, she looked down at her hands “I just want to get some sleep” she noticed there was more blood on her hands “And get these things changed”

Barba looked down at her hands, his heart broke and he pushed his chair back, standing up too, he wanted to scream, to cry.

“Yeah, I’ll take you home” Rollins looked down at the coffee, Ren looked at the cup.

“Can I still have the coffee?”

“Of course” nodded Rollins she handed the cup towards her and Ren barely even thought about how hot it could be before she had swallowed half the liquid, burning down her throat but at least she would now have something to blame her tears on.

She blinked painfully and almost choked but held herself before she handed the cup back to Rollins, Rollins took it and looked at Barba, there was something about the way the ADA was looking that told her that something had gone down when she had been gone, she just didn’t know what that had been.

“I’ll be back in half an hour” said Rollins as she looked at Barba.

“Ok” he answered and he couldn’t say more because his voice would break, he looked at Ren.

“Thanks for your help, Mr. Barba” and with that she turned to door and walked out.

And Barba closed his eyes as soon as Ren and Rollins were out of the door because he could feel his heart clenching in his chest, and he knew this was on him, he had caused that look on her face, that tone in her voice; and his heart broke, because he couldn’t understand how he had been able to do that to the girl he liked.

Because that was all he felt for her, right? He just liked her

Right?

Right…

And Ren walked out the station feeling like her heart was breaking, she just didn’t know that destiny had other plans for her, and that meant finding out yet another hurtful truth about ADA Rafael Barba.

The man she liked.

Because that was all she felt for him right?

That’s why her soul hurt that much, because she only liked him, right?

Right?

Right…

Chapter Text

It was fate.

When the phone rang and there were only two people there who would dare pick it up and answer the call, that was what some would call fate.

Or maybe it was Karma.

Fate or Karma.

The difference lay over who you asked about it, at the end of the day everything is a matter of perception, and so was this.

Fate or Karma

Karma or Fate.

Nothing more, nothing less.

But maybe, that too depended on who you asked.

The phone was on its frantic third ring when the receiver of the office was pulled up, lifted to the left ear and the lips formed the words.

“Lieutenant Olivia Benson’s Office”

There was a soft gasp at the other end of the line, almost as if the person had been caught off guard, but the shock was rapidly replaced by rushed words.

“The silver car is back” the way her voice sounded made it clear that there were tears rushing down her face, gasps choking in her throat.

“Get away from the windows” he answered “I’m on my way”

There was no answer at the other end of the line before the call was abruptly ended, he pulled the receiver away from his ear and rapidly set it down and turned to the door, in long strides Dodds was pushing Olivia’s door open and his eyes landed over the only person in the station that would stay there while he went to Ren’s place.

And he knew there was no way in hell, Carisi would be staying put at that desk while Dodds left.

Carisi looked up from his files, he had been looking over some of the paper work that they had found at Ivan’s club, his eyes fell over Dodds, and a small frown appeared over his face as Dodds looked back at him.

“Mike, what’s going on?” he asked, he set down his pen.

“I’m heading out to Ren’s place” he answered, there were no lies between them, not after all they had been through, not after Dodds had seen Carisi break like no one ever had “The silver car following her is back and she’s really scared”

Carisi pushed his chair back and scrambled to his feet, his left hand grabbed the coat that lay over the back of his chair, Dodds tightened his jaw, there would have to be some explaining to do to Olivia but right now there wasn’t much he could do in his power to stop Carisi from going with him; especially because Mike Dodds had the impression that this could not be a terrible thing.

Fate or Karma, it depended on who you asked.

“Come on” said Carisi, and Dodds decided then and there that he would take the heat from Olivia when the time came.

The two detectives made their way down the stairs of the station, the day outside was turning grey and there was a threat of rain hanging over the city; Dodds glanced at Carisi as they crossed the street to get to the car, the blond detective had a determined look on his face that had replaced the disturbed look he had had since they had taken Ren away on the ambulance.

Dodds pulled the keys out of his coat, thankful that at least he had the keys and not Carisi, they stepped into the car and Dodds started the engine, Carisi slammed the door close and without turning to look at him, Dodds spoke first.

“I’ll handle Olivia”

Carisi looked at him as the car rolled down the street “Thank you” he whispered.

The drive up to Ren’s building seemed to last an eternity, Carisi kept drumming his fingers over his lips with anxiety, his mind racing with questions about calling Ren to see how she was doing but he didn’t want to push; he wasn’t going to push.

The car pulled over in front of the building and Carisi was pushing the door open before Dodds turned the car off, he slammed the door close just as Mike opened his door and stepped out, the blond detective was reaching the buzzer board, he pressed Ren’s name, his heart was racing, racing because he was going to hear her voice for the first time since the attack.

But without much anticipation, the buzzer of the door went on and Carisi’s head snapped towards it, his hand reaching out to push it just as Dodds reached his side; Carisi stepped in and Dodds followed, however this was going to go, Mike was going to be there for two specific reasons.

Ren needed help and Carisi was one of his best friends.

In silence but in a hurried pace, Dodds followed after Carisi as the blond detective hurried towards the stairs, he had never been at Ren’s apartment and somehow he was glad that Carisi was there, feeling like there was something he could do to help the woman he loved.

Carisi reached out to the doorbell, and just as he was about to press it, Mike grabbed his arm and pulled him back, Carisi turned to look at him, his eyes flaming.

“I’ll do it” said Mike “I talked to her, she hasn’t seen you in days, you don’t know if she wants you here”

And even if Mike’s words were harsh, they were true.

Reluctantly Carisi stepped back and Mike rang the doorbell, he glanced at Carisi and the blond detective took a few more steps back, his heart pounding in his chest and he felt like he couldn’t breathe; since everything had gone to shit, he hadn’t seen Ren, hadn’t talked to her, but most importantly, she hadn’t talked to him, which meant that he didn’t know how she would react if she saw him there with Mike.

The pair heard rapid footfalls and Carisi’s heart seemed to skip a beat when he heard the familiar click of the lock, because if Ren knew the way Barba’s front door sounded, Carisi knew every detail of her apartment.

And the door swung open.

“Mike!” she gasped as soon as she saw him, her hand holding the doorknob tight “I swear he was here!”

“Ok” Mike stepped forward, her face had fading bruises and her eye was not bloodshot like it had been when she had been released from the hospital, but still it pained him to see her like this, even if they hadn’t had the best start, he didn’t dislike her anymore. “I believe you”

She glanced over her shoulder back into the apartment before she turned back to Mike “Come in” and she stepped away from the door.

Mike walked towards it, he stepped inside the unknown room and just as Ren was about to close the door, her eyes met his for the first time since she had been attacked.

Her grip around the doorknob weakened, her lips gapped and her breath was caught in her throat as his clear eyes looked at her; he was standing in the hallway, his hair a bit messy and his hands in the pockets of his coat, but his eyes were over her and they looked kind and loving like they always had, and just as he opened his mouth to say something, Ren looked away and turned on her heels to step further into the apartment.

Her heart was racing, starting to give her a pain in the chest, her lungs were burning and an urge to scratch at her neck started to grow in her, but she forced her mind to concentrate on Mike, just as she had been forcing herself to believe that everything was fine, that she was fine.

“I saw the car through my room window” she spoke, her voice was raspy and her face puffy “I called Olivia’s cell but she didn’t answer” she pressed her lips into a thin line as she looked at Mike “Then I called her office”

“She’s at Barba’s office” explained Mike, he looked at her and Ren looked down at her bare feet, of course he was busy, he had been busy with everything else but her, and she had to bite her inner cheek to avoid the tears that she knew would come if she allowed herself to think too much about Barba.

It was supposed to be different” she had thought when she had left her reunion with Barba and Rollins “It felt different”

But she had been wrong, and at least, despite the pain, she now knew how wrong she had been.

“I believe you” Mike continued, she looked up at him, how had Mike turned from hating her, into giving her this look that meant that he was going to do everything in his power to protect her? “And I’m here to help you, Renata” she nodded “I’m gonna go downstairs ok? Ask the patrol car what they saw and see if there is any video we can get, Fin mentioned a few cameras when we talked, ok?”

“You’re coming back, right?” she whispered, her eyes a bit teary, he looked at her and gave her a soft smile.

“Of course I am, I give you my word”

“Ok” she nodded as she looked at him, “Ok”

Mike looked at her for a few seconds before he turned around and walked towards the opened door, he glanced at Carisi and then signaled the door, at least Carisi could look out after her from there; and then he was hurrying down the hallway as he pulled his phone out, he had to call Olivia and he had to see what evidence he could get.

Ren stood with her back to the door, her eyes closed as she tried to get herself under control, she opened her mouth to take a deep breath, her fingers were entwined and she was tugging at them, her injured hand getting even worse with that.

Carisi watched her, her golden hair rolled down her back and the light green sweatpants hung loosely from her hips just like he remembered, her old shirt didn’t match with the green, but he couldn’t stop looking at her, his mind racing with all the things he wanted to tell her, that he wanted her to know.

Slowly Ren turned around on her heels, pulling her hands away from each other before she drew blood like she had done when she had been with Barba and Rollins; she stopped and they looked at each other, dark meeting clear.

This was not the way she had wanted to see Carisi again, but maybe it was fate or maybe Karma, either way, they were here now and there was nothing they could do about it; her heart was racing and her mind started to scream a very personal mantra.

For Jessica Jones.

She took a step forward and so did Carisi, she opened her mouth, but it was his voice the one that broke the silence.

“I can wait downstairs if you want to”

She looked at him, pressing her lips into a thin line, how tired he looked with his dark bags under his eyes and his dis-shelved hair, how beautiful he was, and her feelings for Carisi twisted inside of her like they had done the night of the raid when they had talked before she left, and unconsciously she wondered if he would ever know that she had thought about him when she had thought about being saved from Ivan.

“No” she answered, and his heart jumped in his chest “Can you stay here?” he nodded without answering, not being able to utter words “Can you wait inside with me?”

And Carisi walked inside the apartment in silence, neither breaking the eye contact as he closed the door behind himself.

Chapter Text

This was only getting worse and more complicated by the second, Olivia was sure that she could count with both hands the cases that had transformed into the apocalypse; and now as she walked back up the stairs of Ren’s apartment building, her mind tried to figure out how to contain this, how to avoid all the damage that was being done, how to help Ren.

Olivia sighed as she walked down the hallway, the door of Ren’s apartment was open and Fin was stepping out of the place, he looked up at her and she could see how tired he was, and she wondered if that’s the way they all looked, the way they all felt.

“Hey” said Fin as they walked up to each other “Find anything?”

“No one seems to care about a silver car parked down the street” Olivia sighed “But Dodds talked to one of the other buildings and asked for the security tapes” he rubbed her hands together “Let’s hope we get something because this is getting out of control”

“I know” Fin looked over his shoulder and back to the opened apartment door. “This man continues to terrorize Ren even locked up” he turned back to Olivia “I talked to her, she doesn’t want to go to her friends’ house, says they would rather not go to work and stay with her and she doesn’t want to be a burden” he made a pause “She wants to stay here, that if the car is following her, she doesn’t want them to know where the people she loves live”

“I understand” said Olivia “What does she want?”

“To stay here, she agreed on John coming over as soon as he gets back from his trip”

“Ok, we’ll keep the car outside,” she rolled her shoulders “This is a nightmare”

“To say the least” whispered Fin “And you still don’t know half of it” he thought as he wondered how long Barba was going to take to tell Olivia about the affair.

And just as Olivia fought to find the remaining strength in her to continue with what was left of the day, Carisi walked out of the apartment, his coat was off, his tie was a little lose and his sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, and there was a determined look in his face that Olivia wasn’t sure if she loved or hated.

“Lieutenant” said Carisi, his hands landing over his hips as he came to a stop next to Fin.

“Carisi” sighed Olivia, she shifted her weight from one leg to the other. “Has she said anything?”

“No” he shook his head “Nothing she hasn’t said before” he shrugged “She’s not talking much, but its more than anything”

Not to mention that Carisi had felt his heart racing at his maximum speed as soon as he set eyes over her again, his palms had started to sweat and all he wanted to do was comfort her, make her understand that he was there to help her, even if he couldn’t reach out to touch her hand, even if she tried to avoid eye contact with him.

“Yeah” Olivia said “John will be here in two, three days tops” she glanced at Fin, and the man nodded, she turned to Carisi “He’ll come stay here a few days, until she feels safer, or decides to stay with her friends or we solve this”

“I know” said Carisi “Fin mentioned it to Ren” he pressed his lips into a thin line before he spoke the words that Olivia knew were coming “I think I should stay here until then”

“Carisi” she whispered painfully, “Look, I know this is hard and that this is the first time you have seen her since the assault…

“I don’t have to stay in the apartment” he cut into her sentence “I’ll stay down at the cruiser, with the officer” he glanced at Fin, asking for a bit of support with his eyes before he turned to his superior “I can do this, I promised I would help, that I wouldn’t interfere, and I can do this, I know the neighborhood better than anyone, and she knows me, maybe she’ll feel better knowing that one of us is near”

“You don’t know that” said Olivia.

“She agreed to it” said Fin, he pushed his hands into the pockets of his jeans as Olivia and Carisi turned to look at him.

“Excuse me?” said Olivia, resignation in her voice.

“Dodds talked to her about it” said Fin “When you were out” he shrugged, he wasn’t a fan of this but he had seen the way Ren had light up when the idea of one of them staying was brought up, and he couldn’t say that it was a terrible idea “She seemed relieve to know that someone she knows is staying around”

Olivia closed her eyes for a few seconds before she exhaled and looked up at both men she trusted “Ok, you can stay” she sighed “But,” she added as Carisi’s face changed, her right hand rising gently in a signal that she wasn’t finished with what she had to say “Tomorrow night someone else takes your place, I don’t want this to create more trouble at court or with the case, am I being clear?”

“I’ll come tomorrow” said Fin, his voice casual “Don’t worry about it”

“Thank you” said Carisi, he nodded at her and without much thought, he turned on his heels and headed back to the apartment to talk to Ren, to let her know the news.

Olivia followed him with her eyesight before she turned to Fin, “I’m gonna get going, get the tapes and all to the station, let me know anything,”

“Of course” nodded Fin, he looked down at his feet, he had to do this, he just had to “Liv,” she looked at him “There’s something important you need to know”

“What is it?” she asked.

“You need to talk to Barba”

Because despite the fact that Fin had told Barba that he had to tell Olivia, apparently he had to give Barba a push, Olivia was already being torn at the seams and the later she found out about the affair the worse it would be, the harder it would be to do damage control, and right now they had to keep the chaos as controlled as they could.

So like it or not, Fin had decided that Barba needed to man up.

 

___________//____________

 

Olivia was sitting behind her desk, her elbows propped over it and her hands covering her face, each day was getting harder and harder, she had cases swarming the station, she had barely seen Noah or gotten any sleep, she felt a horrible pressure of guilt on her shoulders and all she saw was her friend hurting and crying.

And it was about to get worse.

The door of the office was pushed open, slowly the door was closed once more and she heard the footsteps approaching the desk.

“Olivia” his voice was gentle and taking a deep breath, Olivia uncovered her face and looked up at Rafael Barba standing in front of the desk.

“Barba” she sighed, she could hear Fin’s words loud and clear in her mind.

“How was it?” he asked, his heart was racing and pounding but his mind was made, after what had happened during the interview with Ren, he had decided that this couldn’t wait.

“Horrible” she answered “This is getting out of hand, as soon as she starts to feel safe, then something happens and everything is ruined, and I can’t find a way to stop this, to help her”

Barba looked down at his hand that rested over the desk, his lips in a thin line “We need to talk, Olivia”

She nodded and pushed her chair back, she stood up and rolled her shoulders, she couldn’t find a position in which to feel comfortable, but she had the feeling that that didn’t have to do with the position she had been sitting in, but more with the fact that her soul was just not feeling comfortable anywhere at the time being.

“I’m all ears, Rafael” she said, she pressed her hand flat over the desk and he looked up at her.

“Something has happened that will complicate the case, or could complicate it” he explained. “I guess that depends”

“What?” she frowned “What is it?”

When Dodds had called her to let her know that the silver car had returned to Ren’s apartment, she had really thought that nothing could get worse, that this was it, that the terrorizing and the hunting of Renata Alvarez was the peak of all the horrors they had experimented so far; well, now here was Barba to prove her wrong.

When would this come to an end?

There had to be a point in which it all became too much, a point before people broke down.

But where was that point?

And who would be the first to break?

“I made a faulty decision” he explained, he pushed his hands in the pockets of his pants and shifted his weight from one leg to the other.

“What are you talking about?” asked Olivia “Barba, whatever this is, I’m sure we can find a way to fix this, let’s just hear it”

He pressed his lips into a thin line, part of him wanted to explain to Olivia what had happened and why it had happened, but his rational side knew that it would be better if he simply told her the problem.

“I had an affair with Alvarez” he blurt out, his eyes over Olivia.

The words went right through Olivia’s head, she wasn’t even sure she had heard correctly, she stared back at him, her lips gapping and a light frown forming over her face, she pressed her hand harder over the surface of the desk.

“I beg your pardon?” she asked.

“We had a sexual relationship” Barba explained, and even as his face remained calm, his heart was beating madly in his chest.

“You can’t be serious” Olivia gasped, the frown over her face getting deeper. “Barba, you cannot be serious with what you are telling me”

“I am” Barba shrugged “I told you, I made a faulty choice, I wasn’t thinking straight when it happened”

“And you decided to tell me about this, just now?!” Olivia couldn’t believe this, if she had been thinking that Carisi’s involvement was going to be troublesome, things were about to get worse.

“I tried to tell you”

“Not hard enough” she hissed, she pulled her hand away from the desk and pressed it over her mouth for a few moments before she uncovered it. “This is unbelievable” her eyes hardened “You were the first person to give Carisi a hard time when you found about him and Ren and now you are telling me that you got involved with her?” she took a step back “Are you listening to yourself?”

“I know what I said, and you are right, that’s why I needed you to know”

“Who else knows?” she asked, but she already knew her answer.

“Fin” Barba answered, because he still didn’t know that Elliot too was aware of what had happened between himself and Ren.

“This is unbelievable” she whispered, she closed her eyes for a moment “This is too much” she whispered to herself, because it was, it was too much, and she knew it would turn into hell for everyone involved if news got out. “Carisi,” she started.

“He doesn’t know”

“Let’s keep it like that” she tightened her jaw, “Not for his sake, nor for yours, but because that girl doesn’t need more trouble, she doesn’t need more stress than she already has”

“I agree” said Barba, he gave her a nod “I should have told you before”

“Yeah, you should have” she said as they looked at each other.

This was too much.

Chapter Text

The TV was on, creating background noise inside the bedroom, the night had fallen swiftly for those who had been preoccupied with their lives, but Renata Alvarez had seen the darkness flooding into the apartment and she had turned on the lights in her room just as soon as she had noticed; the young woman was standing next to the bed, her wet hair was dampening her dark sweater, she had a pair of leggings over the bed and the roll of bandages next to it.

She had just changed the bandages on her stitches, applying some cream and then covering it up with a piece of the bandage; she had perfected the act of applying the cream over the wound without having to look at it, the less she looked, the less real it would be.

The young woman looked down at the leggings and picked them up, jeans had proven a bit painful to pull up considering that the scraps and scratches and the bruises on her legs hissed every time they came into contact with the rough material; which meant that she had turned her attention to the few leggings in her closet and the sweatpants she could find, except the only pair of sweatpants in her closet that she had never returned to Carisi.

Carefully she pulled the leggings up, she had the same care with the way she pulled her pants on that she had when she put on her bra, the scraps on her back made it hard but she had started to get used to the stinging of the skin.

Olivia and the rest of them had left a few hours ago and with the knowledge that they had looked around the neighborhood and that Carisi was down with the other officer, Ren had managed to get some sleep; now the young woman walked around the bed and towards the widow, her delicate fingers, from her unwounded hand, took the side of the curtain and pulled it gently to the side and she looked down.

She could see the undercover car, parked near a few others, she couldn’t see the figures inside but she knew that Carisi and the other officer where probably there; she shifted her weight from one leg to the other and winced as the fabric rubbed against her bruise.

This will be over soon and everything will be back to normal” she thought as she pulled her hand away from the curtain and turned to look at the bed.

Ren walked around the bed and towards her closet, she pulled it open and held herself from the side of one of the doors and with her left foot she kicked out a pair of flats, she slipped her feet inside the shoes and closed the doors; she walked out the room, her mind forcing herself to try and continue with routines to try and make everything slowly go back to normal.

A lamp was on in the living room and she had no trouble finding the light switch in the kitchen, when she had woken up from her nap she had set a pot on the coffee maker and had left to take her fourth shower of the day, she counted it as a victory because at least they had gone from seven showers to four.

“Small victories” Alex had called them, and Ren couldn’t have agreed more.

She pulled the pot out of the machine and turned to the thermos she had over the counter, she had pulled it out before going to the shower, and slowly poured coffee into the thermos; and with that, the young woman walked towards the door, grabbing her keys and holding the thermos in the same hand, she opened the door with her injured hand and walked out into the hallway.

Seeing Carisi again after all that had happened had been a shock, she hadn’t expected him to be there, but she should have guessed he would, after all she had talked to Dodds when she had called Olivia’s office; she had felt her heart leap in her chest and her skin had crawled with horror because this was not the way she had wanted him to see her, with the scratches and the injuries and the bandages, and yet he had sat down on the sofa and they had waited in silence for Dodds to return and the silence had been everything but awkward and oppressive, and she would be lying if she said that she hadn’t felt relieved when Carisi had decided to stay downstairs.

She pushed the door of the apartment building open and stepped out, the wind was blowing and it was cold but she it didn’t bother her; a couple of young woman walked in front of her, Ren stepped back and waited until they were gone before she turned her attention to the car.

Carisi was watching a man and a dog walking across the street when he noticed movement coming from Ren’s apartment, his head snapped back towards it in time to catch Ren stepping away from a pair of young women as they walked down the street in front of her apartment building.

He turned to the door and pushed it open, stepping out of the car as Ren walked up towards him, the officer at the driver’s seat, Poe, glanced at him and then set his eyes over Ren as the young woman reached the car.

“Hey” said Carisi, pushing his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Is everything alright?”

“Yeah, everything is fine” she nodded, she looked down at the thermos in her hand “I thought maybe you guys would like something to drink” she extended the thermos to Carisi.

“Thank you” he nodded, he reached for the thermos, making sure his fingers were not close to touching hers. “Did you get anything to eat?”

“Yes” she nodded, balling her hands around the sleeves of her sweater, pulling her hands up to her chest as she looked at Carisi “Before I took a nap”

“Good, good” Carisi smiled, he wrapped both of his hands around the thermos, the warmth spreading through his hands.

“What about you guys?”

“No, not yet” Carisi shook his head “We’ll get something later, don’t worry”

“I always worry” the words slipped out of her mouth without hesitation.

Carisi looked at her, his heart racing at the words that had turned into something specifically theirs, she gave him a short smile.

“Maybe I can bring down something for you guys to eat” she shrugged “I don’t know”

“Its ok, you don’t have too” said Carisi “Poe can go get something down the street”

“Um, I’ll bring down something anyway, its cold and it’s a long night and um… um this is not how you should be spending your night” she continued, she uncurled one of her hands and pushed her damp hair behind her shoulder.

“Maybe you’re right, but this is how I want to spend it” he shrugged “You didn’t have to come down, you could have called us”

“Oh no” she shook her head “I don’t mind, I needed a bit of air anyway” she rubbed her arms up and down “I’m gonna go back up, I’ll be down in a few to bring some food”

“Thank you” he nodded, a small smile over his face.

“Of course” she turned partially to go back to the apartment but stopped and glanced at Carisi one more time “Thank you for the cinnamon rolls, by the way”

“Any time”

She nodded and finally did turn around and walked back towards the building, she pushed the door open as Carisi watched, making sure she was in the building before he returned to the car, the door swung shot behind her and he couldn’t help but smile softly as he looked down at the thermos.

“Is she ok?” asked Poe as Carisi sat back into the car.

“She wanted to bring us coffee” explained Carisi, he showed Poe the thermos.

“Perfect” Poe nodded before he took the thermos from his hand.

 

___________//____________

 

Ren was in the kitchen making from sandwiches for Poe and Carisi when the intercom rang into the apartment, she jolted, her heart racing and the knife in her hand dropping over the island before she turned to the intercom; the young woman pushed her chair back and stood up, she walked towards it and pressed the button, her hand a bit shaky.

“Hello?” she whispered.

“Ms. Alvarez” said the voice at the other side “It’s Officer Poe”

“Oh, hey” she nodded “What can I do for you?”

“We have a delivery man down here with takeout food, with a note that says its from your friends Nat and Alex” he made a short pause “Not sure if that’s right”

“Um, well I’m guessing it could be” she shrugged, “I haven’t talked to them”

“We checked the package, its safe but we want to make sure with you”

“Oh, yeah then send him up” she nodded even if Poe couldn’t see it “If you guys think it’s safe, then send him up”

“Ok then”

“I’ll be down in a few minutes with food”

“Thank you ma’am” he said.

“It’s Ren” and with that she ended the conversation and turned to the island, her phone was there, she reached for it and started to type a text for Nat when the bell rang.

“Coming” she said, she set the phone down and walked towards the door, grabbing her wallet on the way there.

The blond grabbed the doorknob and pulled it open, revealing the young man at the other side, he had the package in his hands but what surprised her the most was the name of the restaurant on his uniform.

“Hello” he said.

“Um, hey” she said, she frowned “I didn’t know you guys had delivery to this side of town”

“We don’t” he shrugged “It’s a special delivery,” he handed her the package “It’s already been paid for”

She took the package from his hands, Poe had said that it was from Nat and Alex, but this restaurant was not close to their apartment, it was further away, in fact she knew exactly which apartment was close to it.

“They also gave me this” he pushed his hand into the pocket of his pants and pulled out a small envelope “Here you go”

“Thank you” whispered Ren, she took the envelope, her hand shaking gently as she held the paper.

“Have a good night ma’am”

“You too”

The young man turned on his heels and walked back down the hallway, Ren watched him go before she closed the door and hurried towards the island, her heart beating madly in her chest, she set the food down and turned her attention to the envelope.

Ren’s fingers ripped the envelope open and she pulled out the letter inside, she scrambled to open it, panting without knowing it as the words came into view.

 

Corazón,

You always did like Mongolian food best.

I am a coward, and I am sorry.

If I hurt you, please believe me, it was not what I wanted.

Por siempre tuyo,

Rafael.

 

Ren pressed her lips into a thin line and closed her eyes for a moment, the last words echoing in her mind, in both Spanish and English.

Por siempre tuyo.

Forever yours.

“Shit” she whispered as a single tear rushed down her face, and her pone vibrated with a text from Nat answering the question that Ren had texted her a few minutes ago.

Chapter Text

Olivia sat behind her desk, swarmed with paperwork, her computer was running and her body was one coffee away from collapsing, but right now, with the case about to be taken to court, the last thing she was going to do, was take a break.

Do it for her” she had promised herself “She deserves justice, they all deserve justice”

And so, Olivia had pushed forward, despite the headaches and the pressure and the guilt, Olivia did what she did best, she focused on helping others before helping herself, that was simply who she was and who she would always be.

She sighed as the door of her office was gently opened, she turned the page of a file as the door closed and the footsteps approached her desk, the news that Barba had delivered to her, had been a blow to everything in her mind and now she was trying her best to keep it a secret as long as it was possible.

And she would be dammed if she didn’t try it to be forever.

“Here you go” his voice was soft and caring, yet Olivia jolted softly and looked up, Elliot was setting down a small paper bag over her desk, a bottle of water being held in his other hand.

“I’m not hungry” she answered, but her throat felt like a desert.

“Being busy and not hungry are not the same thing, Liv” he shrugged “You’ve been here since yesterday, you need to eat”

“Elliot” she sighed.

“No, Liv” he shook his head “You know no one works at their best when they are hungry, so I brought you something before lunch”

She sighed “There’s no way of getting out of this, is it?”

“No” he shook his head.

“Fine” she reached for the bag, and as she opened it, her stomach growled, she was actually starving.

Elliot sat down across from her and crossed his arms over his broad chest “Fin told me that Barba had talked to you”

Olivia looked at him and dropped her shoulders “How many people know about this?” she asked.

“Just Fin, you and me” he shrugged “We found out by accident”

“How did that happen?” she asked, she took a bite from the sandwich.

“On her phone, when she was at the hospital, she got a text from her mother, Fin showed me another text, it came from Barba’s phone”

“And why am I just learning about this?”

“Barba had to be the one to tell you” he explained “If he hadn’t done it that day, then one of us would have”

“This is gonna be a mess, Elliot, you know that”

“If you mean Carisi finding out, there’s no reason for him to find out”

“We already have to deal with the fact that the PI we hired and one of our detectives were dating, and now this, this cannot be known by Ivan’s lawyer”

“It wont” said Elliot “Liv, I know you’re worried, but you also need to know that that guy has no way of getting away with all the shit he did, he’s going to die in prison, you know that just as well as I do, and he knows it too”

“I don’t want him to hurt her more than he already has” explained Olivia, she took the water bottle “She’s already been through too much, through things that she shouldn’t have experienced”

“You’re right” he nodded “What happened to her, that’s on us, it will always be on us, but we are also trying to help her, to keep her safe now that we can, and that also has to count for something, Liv”

“Does it?” she whispered “Because it feels like this has all just spin out of control and I don’t know how to stop it”

“We’ll figure it out together” he shrugged, he gave her a kind smile “We are a team remember?”

“Yeah” she smiled at him, he nodded and unfolded his arms, reaching out to take her hand across the desk, he looked down at her hand, giving it a small squeeze as his thumb rubbed over her skin, they had always been a team, and it wasn’t going to stop now. “We are a team”

“That’s how we are gonna figure it out, Liv” he looked up at her. “She’s not alone, she’s never gonna be a lone, but neither will you” and Olivia felt an urge to cry, to cry all the tears she had been holding back, to finally break like she felt she was going to “You’ll never be alone, I give you my word about all that”

“Well” she whispered, because she felt unable to go any higher “You’ve always been a man of your word, Elliot” she turned her hand and wrapped her fingers around his thumb, she looked down at their hands “Together” she whispered.

“Together” he nodded as he looked at her, watching the way her lips gapped and her eyes examined their holding hands.

Always together.

___________//____________

Barba looked down at his paperwork, his pen tapping mindlessly over the desk, his mind a million miles away, his heart heavy and his soul troubled; he bit his lower lip and finally he threw the pen across the desk, the item bounced and rolled but didn’t drop off the surface. Rafael raised both of his hands and covered his face with them before he passed them through his hair, di-shelving it, not that he already didn’t look like a mess.

It had been two days since he had sent takeout food for Ren, Nat had let him know that she had received it but other than that there had been radio silence from Ren’s side, and he knew he deserved every bit of it.

Emotions as strong as these were something he wasn’t used to, things he didn’t know how to react to, and very much so would be the case of that dreaded morning.

He knew how to deal with cases and law and abusers, he just didn’t know the first thing about how to deal with the victims on such a personal level, especially when the victim was a girl he liked, a girl who had left his hoodies and a few sweatpants smelling of her shampoo and her perfume, a girl who had made his apartment feel like home.

Because it had been forever since he had actually imagined coming home to a house that wasn’t just his, and he had pictured something like that with her; coming from work late to see the small lap in his living room on, with her curled on the sofa reading a book, like she had done a few times when he was making dinner.

It would have been a pleasure to come back to an apartment that had fuzzy socks in the washer, or lipsticks sitting on his nightstand.

It would have been a pleasure to go home to her.

“Dios” he whispered into the office, how the hell had he become so sappy? All of this was supposed to be a no strings attached and now all he could think about was the way her pillow smelled and he hated feeling that way.

He hated it most because there was something in his mind that he couldn’t push away, and the worst part was he didn’t even know what that was.

He’d find out later that day.

Barba pushed himself up to his feet, the chair sliding back without effort, he grabbed his phone from the desk and headed towards the coat rack; he couldn’t stay in that office any longer, he felt all over the place and maybe he could find a way to fix this.

Maybe.

He grabbed his coat, and pushed the door of the office open, he stepped out and Alice looked up from her desk to him.

“Alice, I’m going out for a few hours, don’t transfer the calls to my phone unless its from the station,” he said as he shoved his hands into his coat.

“Of course Mr. Barba” she nodded “You have an appointment at three”

“I’ll be back by then” he nodded.

“Perfect” she said, she watched him for a moment, the dark bags under his eyes had gotten darker and heavier, he looked paler and there was edginess about him that had not been there the last few months.

“I’ll see you in a while” and with that he marched away from the office and headed down the hallway towards the elevator.

The weather outside was windy, and he didn’t have to look up to know that rain would be pouring down at any time; still he did look up, to the clouds that had always made his apartment warmer when she was there, laying topless over his bed, watching the rain fall against the windows she loved so much, Barba’s lead over her stomach, her hand through his hair, his hands toying mindlessly with the elastic of her panties.

That’s what he would have been pleased to return home to.

Maybe someday.

He walked out towards the street, his body already knowing what to do as he tried his best to think straight, his heart was pounding, it took him a few minutes but finally the cab stopped next to him, he could remember the way she had curled up against him when he had picked her up at the bar, the way she had rushed down the street to kiss him and he couldn’t remember the last time he had felt like he was above the ground, the last time someone had made him feel that kind of special.

The special that gives you a calm sensation, the special that warms you up like nothing before, the special that you find in every daily thing.

She had.

The drive seemed endless, he looked out the window, the cars passing by, the people running around, living their lives as he felt like he had ruined his, like he had crushed a butterfly in his hands, like he had allowed flowers to wither and die; his heart contracted in his chest and he pressed his lips into a thin line, for a man who liked things under control, he on a downhill spiral that he was sure as hell he had no way of controlling.

He had the urge of asking the taxi driver to wait for him, but that would only mean that he had to hurry back down, so he paid and stepped out of the car, pushing his hands into the pockets of his coat as he looked up at the building and took a deep breath; he’d been there before, not for long, but he had seen the apartment as Ren threw some things into a bag and then they had left to his place, somehow it had been an unspoken arrangement that his place would be the one with the imprints of their love affair.

And he wondered as he looked up at the building if feelings could get tattooed to places as well, because if they could, then his apartment would always have the memory of her, her voice, her laugh, her smell, her everything.

Her.

He glanced around the street and the walked up towards the door, and just as he was about to press the buzzer, the door went open and an officer walked out, he was holding the door when he saw Barba.

“Mr. Barba” said Poe.

“Officer” said Barba, he narrowed his eyes “What are you doing here?”

“Oh, we are just watching over the building and Ms. Alvarez” explained Poe “You’re going up?”

“Yeah” he whispered, Poe nodded and held the door as Barba walked inside, a small frown over his face, he knew they needed a bit of leverage on getting this trail started and even so more now that he knew that Alvarez was still being followed.

He walked up the stairs, his pace hurried, his heart pounding, his strides towards her door were just as quick as they had been the first time she had been at night in his apartment; he came to a stop in front of the door and wondered what Olivia would say if she saw him there, he took a deep breath and pressed the doorbell.

He heard movement inside the apartment, and he really wished he had called to check that Olivia was still in the station, he took a step back and the door swung open.

And his heart skipped at least three beats, then froze and then his emotions washed over him.

“Barba”

He was snapped out of his shock.

“Detective” said Barba as he looked at Carisi, the younger man was fixing his watch around his wrist, his sleeves rolled up to his elbows and Barba felt himself breathing harder. “What are you doing here?”

“I’ve been here for two days” he explained “I’m looking over the building, with Officer Poe”

Barba looked at him with intensity, how on earth had this happened? He swallowed hard as Carisi kept looking at him.

“You ok?” asked Carisi.

“Perfecto” he hissed unwillingly, Carisi seemed surprised by his reaction but stepped away from the door, he glanced over his shoulder and called out

“Ren, they need you at the door”

“Thank you” her voice sounded small “You can refill the thermos with the coffee, Poe has the sandwiches” her voice sounded closer as she spoke and then she came into view.

Her jaw dropped as Carisi walked around her, Barba noticed he made an effort not to touch her was he walked back to the kitchen; Barba’s eyes snapped towards Ren, she walked towards the door, her hand reaching out for the knob, but her eyes didn’t leave his.

“Barba” she whispered.

“Alvarez” he greeted her, silence fell between them, a strange kind of silence, a painful one. “I wanted to see how you were doing”

“Do you wanna come in?” she asked, and something in her seemed to brighten up.

“No” he answered, he glanced at the direction that Carisi had left “I don’t think this is the right time, I didn’t know you had the police stationed outside”

“Don’t do that” she said, cutting right into his bullshit “You mean you didn’t know Sonny was here”

Because for the first time since whatever they had had started, they were addressing the elephant in the room: Sonny Carisi.

Barba looked down at his hands for a moment before he looked up at her “I just wanted to see how you were doing, let you know that I’m trying to get the trail to quicken up”

“You’re lying” she whispered “Olivia could have told me that, you didn’t come all the way here just to say that” she tensed her shoulders “Don’t do this”

“I have to go” he nodded.

And despite the anger she was feeling towards the world in general, Ren’s hand shot out to him the instant she saw him ready to turn on his heels, her fingers wrapped around his wrist and that was the first time she sought out to touch anyone since the attack.

Barba froze and looked down at her hand before he looked up at her.

“Don’t go” she said “Please, just come in and we’ll talk” she swallowed hard “We owe each other that”

He knew she was right.

“I cant come in right now” he explained, she knew what he meant “I can come back later”

“Please stay” she whispered.

“You don’t deserve this” he whispered to her, her fingers loosened around his wrist “Not what I’ve done to you” he glanced at the inside of the apartment “I really am so sorry, Corazón”

“Rafi,” she whispered and his nickname burned into his heart.

“I have to go” he nodded “I come back later”

She squeezed his wrist briefly and then she dropped her hand and stepped back, she pulled her hand up to her chest and looked at him, and he hated himself.

Carisi’s girl

He remembered thinking the first night, and he thought about it as he swallowed hard and turned around, he could hear things moving in her apartment, he could hear Carisi moving things in her apartment.

His lower lip trembled so he pressed them into a thin line as Ren blinked and tears rushed down her face, she watched him walking away, her heart felt heavy because she was losing everything, she had lost everything, and a thought so powerful that it felt like a tidal wave hit her.

Nothing will go back to normal” she thought as she closed the door and turned to head to the kitchen “Because everything has changed”

“Everything ok?” asked Carisi.

“Yeah” she answered “I’m just going to lay down, I feel a bit tired”

He looked up at her, she offered him a small smile that he knew wasn’t much comfort “Call us if you need anything”

And she knew what he meant “Call me if you need anything, and I do mean anything”

“Thank you, Sonny” she nodded at him “For everything” and she tore her eyes away from him and walked towards her room.

For Jessica Jones

Forever yours.

She repeated in her mind as she closed the door and dropped herself carelessly over the bed.

Barba pulled the door open and rushed out of the building, he turned left and hurried down the street, his heart was pounding and his mind was screaming as his hand reached out to ask for a cab on the street.

He had done this to himself, he had ruined everything with her and now Carisi, who knew how to deal with this, was here to save the day.

He feel bitter and angry and sad and confused as the cab stopped next to him, he climbed in as he pulled his phone out, he blurt out his office address and looked down at the phone; a single tear rushed down his face and his left hand violently cleaned it away.

“Puta vida” he hissed as he looked through his contacts, more tears swelling up in his eyes, the lawyer pinched the bridge of his nose with his hand and closed his eyes, silent tears rushed down his face as he pressed the phone against his ear and waited for an answered.

“Hello” the voice rang into his brain, a voice he hadn’t heard in a long time.

“Hi” he said back, there was a short silence before he continued “I need to talk to you”

Chapter Text

Three days after his visit to Ren, the preparations for the trail started, the squad was rushing to get things ready, all hands on deck as they prepared everything; Olivia, despite several things from the past, was incredibly grateful that Barba had managed to get the trail to speed up, this was after all a very dangerous man who had hurt a lot of people.

This was the first step into making this right, empowering the people who had been hurt.

Alone, this was the furthest she had gotten since the attack, she had wrapped her legs with bandages to avoid the contact between the bruised and tender skin with the jean fabric, and the stitches on her torso had been covered as well before she pulled on a white thin sweater, a light brown, long coat sat next to her and her bag as she drove in her cab towards the building, her hair had been pulled back into a braid and she had made her best to cover up her vanishing bruises.

The car pulled over and Ren took a deep breath, her heart was beating madly in her chest and she felt like she was about to break into a sweat, the police car that had been looking after her for the last two days, had followed her to the building but the officers would wait outside as she went in, and Ren had the impression that the two new officers were a bit uncomfortable around her.

Maybe it was the way her face still looked bruised up and her eyes still looked too red.

Maybe it was because she used to date Carisi.

Maybe it was because she was a rape victim and no one ever really knows what is appropriate to say or do around victims.

Ren walked out of the car, the officers were already waiting for her, she gave them a short smile that felt like it would crack her face before she walked towards the building and they followed behind her.

“We’ll wait here, ma’am” said the taller one, Kendrick.

“Thank you” nodded Ren “I wont be long”

“Don’t worry about it” nodded Kendrick.

She exhaled softly and walked inside, she had been there a few times, and from all she had heard about the building, she knew what time was the best, what time had the less amount of people around; she made her way towards the elevator and pressed the button.

In and out” she told herself “You can do this, of course you can” she said, the elevator beeped and then the doors opened up for her, the young woman stepped inside and turned to the control panel, clicking her floor and waiting to be taken there.

All the while hoping that no one else would step inside the elevator, because she was sure she would have to get off it and make her way up the stairs; she just couldn’t bare to be in such a closed space with someone that she didn’t know.

And for the first time since she had ever been there, the ride on the elevator was unbearable; the young woman pulled up the sleeves of her sweater and took a deep breath as she looked down at her hands, she no longer wrapped her hands with bandages but the scraps and the red flesh was still there as she looked down at it.

She had become a walking nightmare, her skin didn’t feel like her own, her mind was always on the edge of a collapse and she still insisted on saying that things were fine.

That she was fine.

But how long can you lie to yourself?

Her bag felt almost empty without the camera inside, the weight was something she had grown familiar with and now that she was taking a break from work, her bag felt empty and unnecessary.

The doors opened up and Ren walked out into the familiar hallway, she took a deep breath and started to walk, somehow, even as she felt at her weakest, like she making a universal effort to get out of her bed and even more out of the burning water of her shower, she had managed to gather the strength to decided she had to do this; someone had too.

And it would be her.

Of course not everything goes according to plan.

She walked into the receiver but was surprised to see that Alice wasn’t sitting behind her desk like she usually was, at the shock that Alice wasn’t there, Ren stopped and hesitated as she glanced at the door that lead to the office, her hands tightening around the fabric of her long coat before she started to move once more.

Maybe she should have just gone home, it would have been easier.

“I came as soon as you called” said the voice that rocked Ren with force as she wrapped her hand around the doorknob of the office “You know that right? There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you, Rafael”

“Thank you” he said “It really means a lot” and his voice sounded like it hadn’t with her in the past few days.

She hesitated, her ear alert, her heart beating rapidly, but her mind was already swarming up with something else.

Anger.

And without much to think, she pushed the door open and walked into the office.

The heads snapped instantly towards her, Ren’s face unamused as she looked at him for a moment, Barba pushed himself up from the chair, his hands over the desk and shock written all over his face and then there was the other person.

Then there was her.

“Ren” said Barba, the woman’s head turned to him and she realized so much more than she would let him know at the moment.

“Mr. Barba” said Ren, she stepped further into the office, her hand dropping from the doorknob “I’m sorry to interrupt, but Alice wasn’t outside”

“You are not interrupting” he said, he walked around the desk towards her as the woman, the beautiful woman pushed herself up from her chair.

She was all curves and beautiful red dress that hugged her like it had been made especially for her, her hair dropped perfectly and her make-up was expertly applied; she crossed her arms over her chest and offered Ren a smile and a nod.

“Um,” Ren looked at the woman “Good morning” she stepped towards her “Renata Alvarez”

“Yelina Muñoz” she said, she stretched her hand out to Renata but the young woman took a step back instinctively; it was just one of those things her body did now.

“Yelina” whispered Barba, Yelina’s eyes seemed to flash with something behind them and she pulled her hand back.

“Nice to meet you” she said instead.

“I’m sorry” Ren said, everyone knowing she was referring to the handshake “It’s just… I…

“It’s ok” said Yelina, “No need to explain”

Ren looked at Yelina for a moment, and she felt out of place, wearing jeans and a sweater while everyone there was wearing lovely dresses and suits and perfect make up and she was just there, with her bruised face and her blood shot eye and she needed to leave now.

“Right, um” she turned to look at Barba “I just wanted to know how the prep for the trial was going” she explained, and she really didn’t want to talk about anything related to that with Yelina standing there with them “But, um… yeah, ok… I’ll come back later, sounds good?” Barba opened his mouth to speak but she answered her own question “Ok, sounds good”

Ren turned on her heels and hurried towards the door, her chest was pressing against her and she felt like she couldn’t breathe, she reached for the door as he name was called out.

“Alvarez, please” she turned to look at Yelina and Barba, stepping over her own foot, she tripped over herself and turned around rapidly to grab herself from the door, just for the side of the wooden door smacked her on the side of her head and the doorknob jammed itself against her bruised side. “Ren!” he gasped.

But Ren threw the door away from her and raced out of the room, her head was throbbing and her torso felt on fire as she crossed the receiver and towards the elevator.

I need to get out of here” her mind kept screaming. “Oh god she knows” she gasped with horror in her mind “Everyone knows what happened, everyone knows what happened to me”

She threw herself over the buttons of the elevator, pressing her front to the wall, her finger pressing into the button as her eyes looked up to the number count. “Please, please, please”

She could hear his rapid footfalls behind her and her breath raced, her finger pushing harder against the button.

“Please” she whispered. “Please”

The doors beeped open and she stumbled inside, not realizing what she had left behind against the wall of the control buttons, she turned to the close button and pressed it just as Rafael pressed his hand against the door to keep it open.

“Ren” he whispered, his eyes wide and desperation written all over them, why had they turned into this?

“Let go” she whispered her eyes over him “Let go, Mr. Barba”

“Please, don’t go” he whispered “Let’s talk, talk to me”

She looked at him and she wanted to cry but she wanted to scream at him so bad, she wanted to scream at everyone.

“Let go” she whispered “Please, let go”

A first lonely tear rushed down her left eye as they looked at each other.

“Corazón”

She closed her eyes for a few seconds with a rush of pain bursting in her chest, she couldn’t look at him, she couldn’t talk to him, she needed to leave.

“I can see it now” she whispered, and the tears in her eyes were breaking his heart “I can see how little it all meant to you”

“No” he answered, his words imprinting themselves into the room they were standing in. “No”

“Yes” she nodded, she took a deep breath through her mouth, she looked down at her hands, one of her fingers would always have that scar over it, she frowned gently before she looked up at him. “I’m gonna go home now”

“Don’t leave, please” his accent getting a bit thicker as he took a step forward, but she took a step back, almost up against the mirror of the elevator.

“I clearly have nothing to stay for” she said, her eyes hurt and her voice angry.

“Don’t do that, I’m asking you to stay”

“You left when I asked you to stay” she spat back “You left and the first thing you did was call her” she pointed behind his shoulder and back to the office, and by the rear of her eyes she could see the red color of Yelina’s dress as she stood at the receiver. “Let go of the fucking door”

“This is not what you think”

“It’s not?” she asked “You couldn’t talk to me, but you called her for help” she narrowed her eyes with anger “I needed help too, you know?” she took a deep breath “I really wanted to be with you” she whispered, the anger still there “I wanted you” she tensed her jaw but her words didn’t shake “You want to talk now?” she hissed “Not when I asked you, not when I asked you to stay, to talk to me when you were the one who left me behind,” she took a step forward even if she was flooding with pain “NO” she answered harshly. “I don’t want to talk to you right now, I don’t want to talk to you, you don’t even know what you want” she looked down at his hand “Let go of the door, Barba”

“I want you” he whispered, his eyes over her “I’ve never lied about that”

“It’s not about what you’ve said” she whispered “It’s about what you’ve done” she glanced over his shoulder and her eyes landed over Yelina for a moment before she turned back to him. “I can’t do this right now” she said “I need you to let go of the door now”

Barba looked at her and dropped his hand from the door, nothing would come out of an argument where everyone was running on fumes and anger and pain; he knew that, she knew that, things had to settle at least for a moment before they could have a rational conversation.

The doors closed and she was gone, he stared at the doors for a few seconds and just as he was about to turn around and head back to the office, he saw it.

What Ren had left behind against the control of the elevator when she had pressed herself against the wall.

Blood.

His eyes shot open as wide as they could, and without a second thought, Barba turned on his heels and dashed towards the emergency stairs as Yelina stepped out of the receiver to see what was wrong.

The elevator doors opened up and Ren stormed out of it, her heart hammering as she crossed the lobby and jogged out of the building, the two officers were out there waiting for her.

“Ms. Alvarez” spoke one of them, she turned around to look at him and he saw the blood stain on her sweater, his mouth gapped as he looked down at the blood at then at her. “Ms. Alvarez” he said again, but Ren was no longer there.

Her grip around her long coat was gone, and the fabric dropped to the floor before her left hand shot to her shoulder and she yanked the dangling bag from it and dropped it to the floor; she gasped for air painfully, both hands reaching out to her head, her fingers threading with her golden hair as she tugged it and opened her mouth to breath, all eyes on her.

“Oh god” she mumbled “Oh god”

She pulled at the roots of her hair before she let go and Barba emerged from the building, panting and worried, and Ren’s mind went blank and only one thought popped into her mind.

A place where she had always felt safe.

“Ren!” called out Barba “Ren!”

But she couldn’t hear him, and without her bag or her coat, and with the wind getting colder and sharper and the rain threatening to fall, Ren broke into a sprint and then her wounded legs pumped harder and she was on a full run down the street, Barba crying after her, Kendrick running after her as the second officer hurried to the patrol car.

Everyone watching as the young woman with the golden hair and bloody sweater dashed out to the street in a reckless run and an unknown destination.

Maybe she should have stayed home.

Chapter Text

Olivia was sitting behind her desk, her left hand pressed harshly over her forehead as she held the phone against her ear, her eyes were close and she was a step away from having a panic attack or a mental breakdown; she swallowed hard before she spoke, her voice feeling harsh and her throat sandy.

“Let me know if anything comes up”

And with that she set the receiver down and covered her face with both hands, her heart was racing and her mind was going as fast as it could to figure out how everything had ended up the way it had, and how had they managed to make everything worse instead of better.

“Shit” she whispered, uncovering her face and pushing her chair back before she stood up, her agile hand scooped up her cellphone and she walked around the desk, she walked towards the blinds of her office and peaked out and into the rest of the station; everyone was running around, making calls, taking calls, helping the people who walked in and her team was trying to fix this.

The Lieutenant looked down at her phone, it had been two hours since the squad taking care of Ren had lost track of the young woman, they had searched for her down the blocks, they had returned to her apartment, they had driven by Nat’s and Alex’s business, but everything had been in vain; and here they were, with still no answers about her whereabouts and it was killing Olivia.

She tore her eyes away from the phone and back to the craziness outside her office when her phone started to vibrate and ring, Olivia jolted and looked down at the screen, instantly frowning as she saw Barba’s name appearing over her screen.

“Barba” she answered, her fingers gripping the phone hard as she stepped away from the window and turned to face her desk. “What the hell happened?”

“I’ve been looking for her since she sprinted away from the building” he explained, he was panting and she was sure that he was out on the street with the amount of background noise she was hearing. “I have her coat and her purse” he took a deep breath “Have you gotten any news from her?”

“No” she answered dryly “I don’t know what happened at your office, but you at least owe me an explanation about why she was bleeding when she reached the officers that were going to take her home, Barba” she passed her hand through her hair, ruffling it and feeling the anger grown inside her.

“She tripped and hit the door” explained Barba “She was about to leave the office, she was upset and I don’t know how it happened, I … she was really upset and … I don’t know…”

“I don’t care” she sighed finally “Bring her stuff to the station, as soon as we get a hold of her, I’ll return them to her”

“Olivia” he whispered “I didn’t mean for this to happen”

Olivia closed her eyes and took a deep breath, she opened them and looked down at her shoes “I know, Barba, I know”

“Please, if you find her, let me know” he made a pause, and she didn’t know it, but he came to a stop as he reached his building once more. “I need to know if she’s ok”

“Of course I’ll let you know” she answered, before she hung up, not noticing that Fin was making his way towards the office.

His pace was quick, his phone was in his hand and he made no intention in taking a detour towards his desk, instead, he reached out to the door, grabbing the doorknob and pushing it open, there was no time to waste on knocking, and with that he stepped in.

“Liv,” he said, she glanced over her shoulder and turned on the ball of her feet to look at him, her eyebrow up in a questioning look. “I found her”

“Oh god, are you serious?” she gasped, she took a step forward, Fin waved his phone briefly.

“Yeah, just got a call, she’s safe, and she’s already seen a doctor, a nurse, about the bleeding that Kendrick and Barba reported” Fin explained, he walked further inside the office, dropping his hand from the doorknob.

“Where is she? Who called you? Kendrick?”

“John” answered Fin “John called me” he nodded “And she’s at his apartment, I think that’s why there was no way of finding her, she raced all over the city to get there, and she knows a lot of roads through her work”

“What else did he say?” asked Olivia.

“She’s calmed down” Fin continued “She talked to him about what happened, he didn’t get into specifics about that one,” he rubbed the back of his neck. “He got Irene to check the wound, he’s gonna ask her to spend the night there, give you a call” he looked at Olivia “I don’t think she wants to talk to anyone, other than John I mean”

“I get it” said Olivia “Did you tell anyone about this?” she glanced out the window.

“You mean Carisi? No” he answered.

“Ok” she nodded “I need to go pick some things up for Noah, please tell John if anything happens to give me a call”

“Of course” said Fin “Say hi to Noah for me”

“I always do” smiled Olivia, because despite the chaos in the station, her son always gave warmed up her heart and her soul.

Olivia walked towards the coat rack and pulled her long coat off as well as her bag, she would get Noah’s things and check on him at the apartment for a few hours before she went back to the station, trial would start in three days and there was no time to waste.

Fin walked out of the office first and Olivia followed after him, pushing her arms into her coat before she arranged the bag over her shoulder, with a tired stride, she walked towards the desks of her team and looked at them, Rollins was just hanging up the phone and looked up at her.

“What’s up, boss? Any news?”

“Yes actually” Olivia answered her question.

“You know where she is?” asked Nick.

“Yeah” she nodded “She’s at John’s place”

“Lieutenant, I really… Carisi started as he pushed himself up.

“Sit down Carisi” she said, her voice was steady but it wasn’t rough “I need you to stay here and have everything for trial ready”

“But I could station outside Munch’s apartment like I did with…

“No” said Olivia, she shook her head “Fin is sending another pair of officers, you need to stay here, she’ll be with John for the night, and I really need her to calm down and feel safe, and if she went to his place, its because that’s where she feels that way” she explained “We are laying back until its necessary, I need to trust that you can do your job without having to be with her”

Carisi looked at her but nodded, at the end of the day, he knew Olivia was right, and with that, she nodded at him and turned to Fin as she started to walk towards the elevator, the man walking next to her.

“Do me a favor, call Barba, let him know we found her” she looked at him, Fin raised an eyebrow at her. “Don’t look at me like that” she sighed as they reached the elevator “He’s worried and he is also handling the case, give him a call please, or text him”

“I’ll call him” Fin sighed.

“Thank you, you are the best”

“I know” he chuckled, Olivia smiled and shook her head before she pressed the button to call for the elevator.

 

___________//____________

 

Munch set his phone down over the kitchen island and took the mug that he had set over it, the aroma of the tea he had made was filling his lungs as he turned to the window seat of his living room and started to walk towards it. Ren was sitting over it, her right leg up and stretched over the window seat, her hands crossed over her chest and her hair on a messy and tangled bun; she had changed her sweater and taken off her shoes but she hadn’t combed her hair before tying it up.

When Ren had rang the buzzer of his apartment and he had seen her bloody sweater, John hadn’t hesitated on calling Irene, she had been retired from being a nurse for years, but she had been skilled when patching Ren up, her voice had been soothing and her hands had ben delicate, her words encouraging and John had felt his heart warm up as he had left both women alone in the room so Irene could get a look on the wound.

Irene had left a few bandages and had asked John to call her if there was any pain or bleeding, she had kissed him goodbye and had left, and that’s how he had been so sure he loved her.

“Hey there kiddo” said John, his voice was soft and loving.

She turned to look at him, her eyes were puffy from the crying, and her cheeks were sunburnt from all the running she had done, but a small smile appeared over her face as she looked down at the mug that John was offering her.

“It smells amazing” she whispered, her throat felt soar.

“All for you” he smiled, he gently handed it over to her, holding it from the loop as Ren wrapped her hand around it, both of them aware that skin to skin contact was the last thing Ren wanted.

“Thank you” she said “For everything, John”

“Hey, I’m here for anything you need”

“You didn’t have to call Irene” she added, pulling the mug up to her chest “Tell her, that I’ll have her sweater clean and I’ll drop it by here next week, ok? I don’t want to get blood or anything on it, you know?”

“Don’t worry about it” said John, he glanced at the bottom of the window seat and pulled the small bucket seat towards himself and sat down; he never really used it, he had it as decoration and his hissing knees reminded him of it, but he wasn’t about to complain in front of someone who needed his support.

“I freaked out, John” she whispered “When I realized she knew what had happened to me” she pressed her lips into a thin line “Something in me just clicked, you know? And I couldn’t think straight and I felt like a crazy person” she looked down at the mug and took a sip from the delicious liquid “I’ve been feeling like that a lot” she added without looking at John “I think I’ve been acting crazy too” she said, her voice faint “At least I did today”

“You’re not crazy, kid” he said, leaning his elbows over his knees “I don’t know how you feel” he continued, because it wasn’t a lie “But I know you, and you’re not crazy” she raised her eyes and looked at him “You are far from that, you are going through a hard time, there’s a difference”

“I don’t know what to do anymore” she said, a single tear rushed down her face as she spoke what she hadn’t told anyone before “The showers helped at first, but as soon as the burning sensation was gone, I felt it again” she gripped the mug “That my skin wasn’t my own, I cant talk to my friends without thinking that I don’t want them too close, I barely sleep and she knew what happened to me”

“Sweetheart” said John, she looked at him, trying to hold the tears away “You don’t have to do this alone, ok?” he looked down at his hands before he looked up at her again “I hope I’m not overstepping here, but I know someone that could help you”

She looked at him questioningly, so John continued.

“She specializes on assault that happens on the work field” he gave her a short smile “She’s helped a lot people, I could give you her number, drive with you if you don’t want to go alone”

“You think she’s good?”

“The best”

Ren nodded and looked down at her mug “I don’t think I can afford that” she whispered.

“Don’t worry about that, ok?” she bit her inner lip but didn’t look at him “You can think about it, and let me know later”

“You know” she whispered “You must be amazing with kids” she felt the warmth of the mug spreading through her hands. “You told me your second wife couldn’t have them, you could have adopted”

“The kindest thing I could ever do for a kid, is not adopt him” he explained, Ren chuckled softly and turned to look at him, her eyes shining and pure and he hated that this could happen to anyone, specially to her.

“You would have been an amazing father” she whispered “I’m sure of that”

He smiled at her, and she smiled back sweetly because maybe she would never tell her parents about what had happened to her, but John had become a second father to her, and as long as she had him in her life, things could be a bit bearable; she didn’t have to destroy her parents with anguish and pain, she could hold all that to herself and she could always call John’s apartment her safe place.

“Thank you” he nodded.

“I love your apartment” she whispered “The view here is amazing”

“You can stay as long as you like” he explained “You are always welcome, Kid”

“I hope you don’t mean that because I might make myself comfortable here” she joked, even if she felt her voice wasn’t selling it.

“Hey, you’ve always known that the spare room is practically yours” he smiled, “You just have to say you want to stay”

She looked at him, he was older than her father, but his eyes just as kind and despite everything she felt like she was home, she gave him a short smile and looked down at her mug.

“Can I stay tonight? I really feel at home here”

“Stay as long as you’d like”

She turned to look out the window, her hands wrapped around the half empty mug, John looked at her for a moment before he looked out as well; Ren was the child he had never had, and if for a moment he could make her feel safe, feel unharmed and better, then he would do everything in his power for that.

Chapter Text

Nick sat inside his car, his hands over his lap and his eyes straight forward, the sidewalk next to him had a few people walking up and down, dogs barking in the distance, cars rolling past him; the city and its people continuing with their lives while they were all struggling to find a way to continue with their own.

He had called the station before coming over, he had to make sure Olivia was ok with what he was doing, he rubbed his palms over his lap, Amanda’s encouraging words echoing in his mind on repeat, the way her gentle eyes had stared into his, the way her soft hands had cupped his face, and as he sat in his car and he thought about the moment he had left his apartment, he could remember perfectly the moment when he had fallen in love with Amanda Rollins.

And after the night he had fallen in love with her, her voice had been the only one to shine bright enough to bring him from the darkness that sometimes took over him; the darkness of his nightmares, that he had fought so hard to protect Zara from.

You can do it” her voice soft and pure and the first time she had told him she loved him, Nick had known he would always be hers.

“OK” he whispered into the empty car, he turned his attention to the door, his hand reaching for the handle and he pushed the door open, his heart beating madly in his chest as he stepped out of the car, the wind hitting his face, he squinted as he looked up to the window that he knew belonged to Ren’s apartment.

Nick closed the door of the car and started to walk towards the outer door of the apartment building, he took a deep breath and pressed his index finger over the buzzer with Ren’s last name, he took a step back and waited for a few seconds until the static disappeared.

“Hello?” said a male voice that Nick identified as John’s instantly.

“John, hi” said Nick, he swallowed hard “It’s Nick, I’m here to pick you guys up”

“Oh of course” he said “Come on up, she’s getting ready”

Nick let go of the button and turned to the door just as it buzzed, he pushed it open and stepped inside, allowing the door to close behind himself, he looked at the stairs and the elevator, he curled his hands into a fist and relaxed them a few times before he started to walk; his heart only going faster as he tried not to think that he was going to see Ren face to face.

It took him just a couple of minutes to reach the door, and when he did, John had already opened it up to him, the older man was standing at the other side, his hand on the doorknob as he greeted Nick with a small smile.

“Good morning” said John.

“Hey” nodded Nick “How are you?”

“Good, come in” John stepped away from the door and walked towards the living room, Nick closed the door behind himself and followed after John. “She’s getting ready”

“Is she ready?” asked Nick, John sitting down over the sofa.

“As ready as she can be” he shrugged “I don’t think there’s a way to prepare anyone for what’s to come” Nick sat down and John looked at him “Barba and Olivia will be there when we arrive, but other than that, who knows what will unfold”

“Does she know I’m going to drive you?”

“Yes” John nodded, “I told her last night, I don’t think it’s the time for surprises”

“I agree” Nick said, he rubbed his hands over his lap, John watched him before he looked up at Nick.

“You ok?” asked John.

“Yes, of course I am” he nodded, but his hands were still being rubbed harshly over his lap.

“Really?” John’s eyebrow shot up as he looked at Nick.

“I’m sorry” Nick stopped moving his hands and trapped them between his knees. “I just… he shook his head and looked down at his lap.

“You didn’t do this” said John, because he could see it all over Nick’s face, because John knew that Nick had been the one inside the club with Ren, because he knew perfectly well that Nick was feeling guilty.

Nick looked up at him “I should have stayed by her side, run after her, I don’t know” he sighed “I just think I could have done more, and I didn’t, I promised I would protect her, and I didn’t”

“Again, this isn’t your fault” said John “What that man did, he did because he’s a monster, not because you did this” John looked at him “You’re her friend, and right now, I really do think that she needs that more than anything else” Nick nodded “And when the time is right, you talk to her”

“Thank you” nodded Nick, because if anyone knew Ren better than anyone else, that was John Munch.

And before any of them could say another word, the door of the room swung open and Ren stepped out, she was wearing a pair of slightly lose fitting dressing pants, and to match the dark color, she had a silk grey shirt and an elegant and thin white sweater over her shoulders, she had left behind high heels and was wearing nice flats; her hair hanging behind her tied on a braid.

“Hi” she said, the marks and bruises were slowly vanishing but there were still ghost traces over her skin.

“Hi” said Nick, he pushed himself up to his feet and offered her a soft smile.

“How are you?” she asked, walking slowly towards the living room.

“I’ve been better” he answered, and she gave him a kind but strained smile, because this was Nick and Nick didn’t deserve to look so beaten down.

“Me too” she said with a shrug, “But I’ll hang in there, if you do”

“I will” he said, John pushed himself up to his feet and looked down at his watch.

“We still have some time, but I think we could get going” he said, he didn’t want to interrupt the reunion but trial was waiting.

“Let’s go then” said Ren, she turned to look at him “Let’s get this over with”

But John could see the terror in her eyes, the way her cheek dented inwards as she bit down on it, the way her shoulders were tensing; and he wanted her to know that he would be there no matter what, he wanted her to know that he wouldn’t leave her alone for a second.

He wanted her to know that she would never have to feel like this again.

 

___________//____________

 

The courthouse was just as packed as it was every other day, and for that Rafael was currently waiting outside, he was standing outside over the stairs with Olivia next to him, her hands inside the pockets of her coat and her hair swaying with the wind; both of them staring out to the street, waiting for Nick, John and Ren to arrive.

“This is not going to be easy” she said.

“We are not gonna lose” said Rafael, he turned to look at her but Olivia wasn’t looking at him, he knew that she was still upset that he hadn’t mentioned the affair with Ren.

“Is Yelina going to be here?” she asked, because despite what they had gone through with her husband a few years back, Olivia couldn’t deny that Yelina had been of great help when it had come to this trial, it had been her after all the one to speed up the process, she still had a few good and important friends were it mattered.

“I suppose she will” said Rafael, “She said she might drop by”

“Of course” whispered Olivia, she wasn’t a fan of Yelina there was just something about her that rubbed Olivia the wrong way. “There’s Nick”

And she started moving before Rafael could even see Nick, she hurried down the stairs, Nick walking a few steps ahead of John and Ren and the two officers that Olivia had stationed outside her house were walking behind Joh and the young woman.

Ren looked up to the stairs, Olivia was walking towards them, the wind playing with her hair and her coat, Rafael coming down not far from Olivia; her eyes darted towards him and she felt a deep blush creep over her face as she remembered how crazy she had acted the last time she had seen him.

Rafael’s eyes landed over Ren’s the bruising on her face had started to vanish, but he could still see a few lines here and there, her face was after all something he had learned by memory, his fingers could trace every line and curve and he could tell with his eyes close that she had a group of three freckles just next to her eye that were usually covered with eyeliner.

“You guys are here early” said John.

“We had to make sure everything was right” said Olivia, she turned to Ren “Hi”

“Hi” she smiled tightly at Olivia, feeling Rafael’s eyes over her. “Um,” she frowned “Is he going to be here?”

“No” Rafael answered “He wont be here today, schedule conflicts with the Chicago courthouse, he’s on an online hearing with them”

“Oh” she answered, her eyes slowly moving towards him “Ok, good,”

Had his eyes always been so light?

“Let’s go inside” said Olivia, she turned around and started to walk, Nick walking next to her and John and Ren following them, the officers after the young woman and Rafael fell behind and started to walk next to John.

The courthouse was packed, and Rafael saw instantly the way Ren seemed to curl into herself, walking next to John but making an effort not to come close to anyone, close enough that even their clothing could graze her, her hands digging into her small bag and her shoulders tense.

John stepped forward towards Nick and Olivia and mentioned something that Rafael wasn’t paying attention too, Olivia glanced at John and answered back, Ren walking a pair of steps behind John and the officers behind her, she glanced at Olivia when by the rear of her eyes she saw the movement way too close to her.

She shrunk away from the person, his bag almost smacking her hip and she tensed her jaw as she tried to settle her nerves, Barba glanced at the officers behind her, both of them a few steps too far away from her, he turned to her, but Ren was making an effort not to look at anyone and just follow after Olivia and Nick.

He frown and slowly took a step to the side, making sure that at least her other side was covered, she glanced at him and their eyes met, a lot had changed between them, but the way his eyes shined when he looked at her hadn’t, and the color of her eyes seemed just as breath taking as they had the first time he had heard her laugh inside his apartment.

She offered him half a smile before she turned to watch her steps and just as she did, a woman carrying a bag too big for anyone’s safety hurried past them, she was looking inside the bag for something, and her elbow and side of her bag almost hit Ren on her shoulder before she gasped and twisted her whole body to the side, missing the elbow by an inch and almost hitting Barba with her own elbow, if he hadn’t stepped away from her; anger blazing in his chest as Ren pushed a few strands of hair away from her face.

Barba turned on his heels and with the grace that only the lawyer had, his right hand stretched out and his palm was pressed with force over the chest of one of the officers.

“If none of you can do your job and keep people away from her, then go find something useful to do away from my case and my courthouse”

Both officers looked at him, his eyes blazing with anger before he pulled his hand away from the man’s chest and turned on his heels once more, returning to his spot next to Ren.

“Thank you” she whispered, her eyes straight forward.

“Always” he answered, and she remembered the note he had left with the food he had ordered for her, she bit her inner cheek and softly said.

“I’m sorry about the other day”

“Don’t be” he answered, he turned to look at her, she looked at him sideways and then looked away. “Are you ok? When you left, that’s all that I had in mind”

“I was” she lied, “I went to John’s place”

“Oh” he nodded, she glanced at him again.

“This is going to work out, right?”

He looked at her “Of course it will” and his eyes softened “I give you my word, Alvarez”

She gave him a soft smile, her eyes softening as well and he couldn’t have asked for more right there and then, more than not having her look at him like he was the worst thing to ever happen to her life.

“Thank you”

“You don’t have to thank me” he whispered, his voice dropping so only she could hear it “You know that Corazon” she looked down at her feet, but the small smile wasn’t entirely gone, because she really wanted to believe that something had not changed, and even if she had seen her in the office, if she had known that Barba had told her about what had happened to Ren, something in the way his eyes shined seemed real, seemed unchanged in a world where everything she had had crumbled and burned.

Something to stay the same.

A pair of eyes watching in the distance as the pretty blond with the bruised face whispered a thank you to Barba, before they reached a bench in front of the courtroom that had been assigned to them, they watched as Barba took a step away from the group to answer a text and then the pair of eyes started to move.

“Hi” his head snapped up to the greeting.

“Yelina” he answered, a bit surprised to see her there “You came”

“I told you I would” she said, she looked over Barba’s shoulder and gave Olivia a short smile that Olivia answered with a nod and Nick with a tense nod, John talking to Ren, both of them sitting down.

“I didn’t think you’d take time to come here” he explained “You made it clear you were busy”

“I always am, Rafael” she shrugged “But this seemed important”

Rafael knew he would end up paying high for calling in this favor with Yelina.

“Thank you” he nodded.

“She’s pretty” her words were inappropriate like so many other things like Rafael had heard her say over the course of the time they had known each other, he shook his head as he looked at her.

 “Really, Yelina?” he whispered, she was looking at Ren before she turned to Barba.

“Is she your friend?”

“I told you she was” he answered, even if he knew exactly what she was asking.

“No you didn’t” she shrugged, “But I can see why this is so important to you”

“Stop” said Rafael “This is not the time or place”

“I’m not suggesting anything” she said, her eyes sharp as always “But we haven’t spoken in months and then all of a sudden you just call, this really does have to mean a lot to you Rafael, I can tell by that look in your eyes”

Rafael looked at her, and part of him hated deeply that she knew him so well, not the way Ren knew him, with his soft spots and laughs, but in a way not a lot of people knew him.

“I never said it wasn’t” he pointed out, and he wanted to glance over his shoulder and look at Ren.

“Right” she said, she looked at Rafael, “Well, I have to make a call but I’ll see you inside, Rafael”

“Sure” he nodded, because he would always be grateful that she had helped him, but he couldn’t forget all those times she had used his feelings for her to benefit herself from something he could give her.

“I’ll go with you, if you want” said Olivia’s voice, snapping Barba towards the group.

“No, its fine” Ren shook her head “I’ll be back in a second”

Olivia looked at her but nodded ultimately, she couldn’t shadow the young woman at every step she took, Ren nodded and turned on her heels, she gave Nick a raise of her eyebrows before she walked away from the group a few feet and reached the bathroom door.

One of the officers looked at Barba and walked slowly towards the door, to be close enough in case he was needed the last thing he needed was the lawyer to put a complaint against him.

Ren opened the faucet and allowed the water to damp her hands before she closed it and gently tapped her face with her cool hands, no one would ever understand how the water made her skin feel, like it wasn’t hers, like she was clean and beautiful again.

She looked down at her hands, turning them over, the dark bruises were gone, she could barely see them and for that she was happy, at least part of her was slowly returning to its old self.

“Hello” the words echoed in the bathroom sternly, Ren’s eyes jumped to the mirror before she turned to look at the person greeting her.

“Hello” said Ren back, part of her being able to hold at bay the tension that was trying to show on her body.

Chapter Text

The bathroom fell silent after the greetings, the words ghosting in the room as both women looked at each other, water drops gently slipping down Ren’s fingers and landing soundlessly on the pristine floor; and as they looked at each other, Ren wasn’t sure if the encounter was just plain awkward or it was just the fact that every social interaction had turned into an awkward one since all of this had begun.

“Yelina Muñoz” she said, Ren remembered her, she looked just as beautiful as she had the first time they had met.

“Yeah, I know” nodded Ren “We’ve met”

“I know” Yelina answered, she looked at Ren, straight in the eyes, how young she looked, how intense her eyes were, how golden her hair was, she was a broken porcelain doll, but that didn’t make her less beautiful. “I just wanted to introduce myself properly” she explained “Last time was rather… awkward”

“I’m sorry about that” said Ren, she really was, and a soft blush spread over her face “I’m on edge, that’s all”

“I understand”

“No, actually you don’t” Ren shook her head, a few lose hairs decorating her face, she pressed her palms against the sides of her pants to dry them off completely.

Yelina cocked her head to the left gently, her hair moving perfectly with it, she could see that under the bruised up face and the clearing scratches was a feisty young woman, Yelina crossed her arms over her chest but remained steady, even if those couple of words echoed loud in her mind.

“You’re right” she said instead “I don’t” she glanced at the door and then turned to Ren. “I wanted to introduce myself properly” she repeated “And let you know that I’m here to help”

“Help who?” asked Ren instinctively.

Surprise dashed over Yelina’s eyes for a split second before she forced control over her body once more. “The squad” she answered. “I know you mean a lot to them”

“Good to know” said Ren, “Yes, they are my friends”

Yelina nodded “Well, I’m here to help” she dropped her arms to the sides of her body “In any way I can,”

“Right” Ren answered with a lazy nod “I have to go,” she turned to look at the bathroom door and then turned to Yelina, her braid brushing her back. “Thanks for the introduction” and with that she started to move towards the door.

“Of course” Yelina offered her a short smile, the words to describe Ren still echoing in her mind. “Do let me know if there is anything I can do to help”

“Yeah” said Ren as she reached the door “I’ll ask Barba to let you know” and with that she pushed the door open and walked out.

Yelina watched the blond walk out of the bathroom, the door swinging behind her and leaving Yelina alone in the bathroom of a courthouse that she had no interest in being in; she pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes softly before she turned her attention to the mirror, her reflection staring back at her.

It was a strange feeling being back here, back to talking to Rafael, back to a place that had cost her her husband, but somehow it felt like the right place to be; her tumultuous past with Rafael had left marks on both of them, she had just been better at hiding them than he had, and when they had met again years later, there had been a spark that had ignited instantly between them and it had been impossible to resist.

It had always felt like they were being pulled towards each other, and it hadn’t been long before he had become a secret she had kept from her husband.

His voice had sounded strained, in pain, when he had called her, and she couldn’t deny that something in her had tightened and lifted at the same time when she had heard his voice, and that same pulling sensation had been the one that had made her assure Rafael that she would do her best to help him; her ex-husband had fallen into disgrace, but she still had several influential friends and that had been how she had made a few calls and had gotten the trial to speed up.

There had been no need for Rafael to say anything about Ren, she had seen it all over his eyes when Ren had walked into the office, she had heard it all over his voice when he had blurt out her name; he didn’t have to say that she was someone special, because Yelina could read Rafael like an open book and she had seen it perfectly.

And it had hurt her, it had burned in her system like few things ever had, this had hit her in the ego like nothing had, because she had become accustomed to the fact that Rafael and her would never be together, but she had never fandom the fact that he would be able to completely move on from her.

They had been doing this on and off for so many years that the possibility had never crossed her mind.

And now here was Renata Alvarez, the golden Latin Private Investigator, who was beautiful and intense.

But especially she was so young.

 

___________//____________

 

Barba watched as John and Nick walked away with Ren, Nick would be driving them back to her apartment, and he had been so pulled to talk to her, but he knew there was a time and place for everything, which meant that he’d take a detour to her house later that week to talk to her; after all trial started that Friday, there was no time for mistakes.

Olivia was talking on the phone when Yelina approached Barba.

“You did a good job” she said, he still watched as Ren walked away, her golden hair popping out in a city of greys.

“Thank you” he answered.

“I saw her in the bathroom” that got a reaction from him, he turned to look at her.

“You did?” he asked.

“I introduced myself” she explained “Last time was a bit chaotic, and I just wanted her to know that I’m here to help”

“Everything has been chaotic” he said, he shifted his briefcase from one hand to the other “But I am thankful with the calls you put in to get this to speed up”

“Don’t worry about it, Rafael” she explained “You know I’d do anything to help you”

Barba looked at her, a face he’d fallen in love so long ago, her eyes were still the eyes he had dreamed of at night, her voice was still the sound he had hoped would always be with him; Yelina was still the beautiful woman he had fallen in love with, a woman he had pictured a future with, the first woman who had shattered his heart, the only woman he had given that power too.

And here she was, after a few years and she looked so different, yet the same woman he had loved, but if their history had ever told him anything, it was that Yelina would always be Yelina.

“Thank you” he nodded as he looked at her, Yelina was still Yelina and he would always feel something when he saw her, but Yelina wasn’t the woman he dreamed off anymore. “You’ve done a lot to help”

And Yelina understood a painful truth, she was losing Rafael, the only man that had probably ever loved her for who she really was.

“She’s beautiful”

“Yelina please” he said again, “This is not the time for that”

“And fierce” she continued, she turned to look at the street, Nick, John and Ren were already gone. “She’s a strong one, Rafael”

“Yes, I know that” he answered, exasperation in his voice

“What is all that supposed to mean?” she asked as she turned to look at him, a small but acid smile was over her face. “I knew it the second she walked into your office, Rafael”

“You knew what exactly?” he asked, his eyebrow up.

“I saw it in your eyes, mi cielo” she shrugged “I heard it in your voice” this time she was the one who raised an eyebrow. “You like her” he gave her a surprised look “You have feelings for her,”

“This is not the time, and certainly not the place for this rant, Yelina” he sighed, but there was an undertone in his voice that she wasn’t certain about just yet.

“Do they know?” she asked, obviously not caring what he was saying because Yelina was still Yelina.

“There is nothing for them to know” he explained, and a pang hit him hard, because it was true what Ren had said in the elevator, and it was burning in the back of his mind.

You don’t even know what you want” she had said, and she was right, he had been so scared of what the squad finding out that he had forced himself to hid what he really felt for Ren.

“Really?” asked Yelina.

“What do you want me to say, Yelina?” he asked “Olivia knows” he shrugged “I don’t need the world to know how I feel”

“You are good at this” she said “Keeping secrets, keeping her a secret would make anyone wonder”

“Wonder what?” he hissed.

“How you really feel about her” she pointed out.

“Well, you would know about that, wouldn’t you?” he attacked back, and he knew he hit a nerve as soon as her eyes darkened. “How many times was I your secret?” he shrugged “I like my privacy, and I don’t need everyone knowing my business and who I do it with”

“That’s your excuse?” she asked “You want privacy? I know you, Rafael, when it was us, you weren’t afraid to say what you felt, how you felt it, what you liked and disliked,” she shrugged back at him, God had he loved her hard and fast, her stubborn nature, the way she said things so easily just as she could riddle her way into you.

“This isn’t you and I” he said. “This is me and her, and it’s different from anything we ever had”

“So there was a you and her” she said, her eyebrows shooting up, because she hadn’t been sure if there had been something between them, she had needed confirmation, and now that she had it, now the pain was much more real.

Rafael looked at her, screaming internally at himself because he had walked right into her game, but he remained calm.

“What if there was?” he shrugged “It has nothing to do with you, and I will not allow you to use this against me”

“I wouldn’t do that to you, mi cielo” she looked offended now “What we had was real, what we have is real, and you know it, because unlike this midlife crisis you are having with the so cliché younger girl, you could utter it in words, and here you are stumbling around them like a child, Rafael”

He looked at her with anger rising in his eyes, and he remembered all the fights and the arguments, how the space they shared for their secret meetings had turned heavy and dark and oppressive, because Yelina always liked to have the upper hand, even when dealing with her lovers, with the only man she had really loved.

“Enough” he said “If you are here to berate me, then you can go, Yelina, I am grateful for your help but I am not doing this again” she opened her mouth to strike back but he continued “I loved you, I accepted the leftovers of your love because I loved you, because I thought you loved me, because I thought we could eventually happen, with Alvarez, with her its different, with her… I… I have strong feelings for her and you…

“Strong feelings that you can’t even put into words because you don’t know what you want” she said, and he almost had to take a step back and away from her.

“You and I cannot do this forever, Yelina” he sighed “And what I feel for her, is not for you to be the first to hear” he said as he looked at her, and then he turned to the stairs of the courthouse and started to walk down, her eyes over him as he walked away from her.

Because Yelina was not the woman who rocked his world anymore.

Chapter Text

Ren spread her fingers through her hair, her fingernails raking against her scalp as she walked into her room, just forty five minutes ago, Nick and John had left her at her apartment, the squad car that looked out after her, had parked outside and she had walked in alone; Nick had to go see Zara and John had a doctor appointment, and even if Nat and Alex had called saying they would come over at night, Ren felt a longing to be alone at the apartment at least for a few hours.

She ruffled her hair with both hands and then dropped them to the sides of her body, she walked towards the bed and carefully sat at the edge of it, she slipped her feet of her shoes and doubled over to pick them up, her stomach contracting quickly and she felt the last of her stitches pulling at her skin.

The young woman pushed herself up to her feet, she winced but pushed the thought away, she was hyperaware of the way her skin felt against clothes, even the way it felt against the rest of her skin, so as she tried to get her mind around this horror, she was trying her best not to think about it, she was trying to only think about when her doctor appointment would be to get her stitches removed from her abdomen.

Ren held her shoes with her left hand as she made her way towards the closet, grabbing the handle with her right hand, she opened one of the doors, and dropped the shoes inside, the items fell with a hoarse thud, one landing over the other; Ren looked at them for a few seconds and then kicked the shoes away from the other, closing the door before she walked towards the bathroom.

Over the sink she found a pair of black leggings and a grey light sweater that fell below her hips, she sighed and started to take off her shirt and then carefully slipped out of her pants, even if her abdomen was the one with the stitches, her legs were the ones she was the most careful with; in her underwear, she picked up her pants and folded them, setting them aside before she turned to look at herself in the mirror.

Look at that” she thought, but the voice in her mind didn’t sound like her own, she centered her gaze on everything that appeared below her neck; she had only really dared to look at her face when she was already dressed, when she was sitting down to do her makeup, she just couldn’t find it in her to stare at her eyes when she was undressed, when her bruises were exposed, when her skin was everything but hers. “Look at all that”

She tore her eyes away from the mirror, the bruise on her chest, from where Ivan had held her down, was the one disappearing the fastest and she was only hoping that the ones around her thighs would be gone just as fast.

She dressed up in a beat, the soft fabric of the leggings had become almost the only thing her thighs were able to resist for a long time, everything hurt her and made her wince, that wasn’t even counting when she went to the bathroom; lucky her that she hadn’t had an urge to pee when she had run into Yelina that day, the last thing she needed was for the strange new woman to see the pain and panic in her eyes.

Ren turned on the ball of her feet and headed back out into the room, she padded gently towards the bed when her phone roared to life, the young woman yelped loudly, taking a small jump back and her left hand shooting up to the base of her neck as her head turned to look for the sound; her eyes landed over the phone on the night stand and even if her heart was racing, she felt her shoulders relax.

She hurried towards the item, scooping it up and frowning as she looked down at the unknown number, she pursed her lips for a few seconds as she debated on answering but finally she sighed and swiped to the green button and answered.

“Hello” she said, pressing the item to her ear and turning to look at her bed, she stepped towards it and sat down on the edge.

“Hello” said a voice at the other side of the line, it was a man. “Um… Ren frowned as the voice hesitated and she pushed herself further on the bed until her back was against the pillows. “Is this Renata Alvarez’s number?”

Ren looked down at her lap and hesitation washed over her this time, her right hand reached up and she tugged at her lower lip with her index and thumb.

“Yeah” she answered softly.

“Oh, great” and she was sure she could hear relief in his voice “May I speak to her please?”

“This is she” she answered once more. “Who is this?”

“Ms. Alvarez,” there was a long exhale “This is Malcolm Hopper, um… I got your card from a friend of mine”

“Ok”

“I was wondering if you have availability on your schedule” he continued “I was hoping you could help me with an issue my wife and I have been having with my sister” he took a deep breath and Ren really wished she hadn’t answered because she already knew what she was going to answer to his petition. “Things have been complicated and you have great references and we can certainly pay for everything you need and I just… he sighed, she could tell he was tired, probably even exhausted. “We are desperate, Ms. Alvarez, I need your help”

Oh god” she whispered in her mind. “Look Mr. Hopper,” she started, she released her lower lip but passed her hand through her hair. “I’m gonna have to be really honest with you” and she hated herself more than she already did.

“If you are unavailable, I understand” he spoke, and his voice had dropped, she closed her eyes and pressed her lips into a thin line.

“I’m not available” she said.

“I understand” he said “But thank you for listening”

“I can give you the name of someone else who could help you” she continued, her fingers gripping at her hair, her eyes still closed “If you could give me five minutes, I’ll send you the contact info of three other people that could help you”

“Thank you” said Malcolm “Thank you”

“Of course” said Ren, she opened her eyes and pulled her hand away from her hair and ended the call, she looked down at her phone, cupped in her hand and she sighed.

Since the accident, this was the first call from an unknown number that she had answered, Nat and Alex had answered her work mails, giving the contact information of other three Private Eyes that could help; and now, she had decided to answer this call and she felt horrible.

She tensed her jaw, her teeth clashing, she set her phone over her lap and covered her face with both hands before she pulled her knees up to her chest, Ren opened her mouth and took a deep breath, still covering her eyes with her hands.

She had said no because she winced every time she doubled over, her abdomen screamed, because she had been unable to leave her house for a few days, because she wanted to melt her skin off her body, because she had no idea how to help herself.

That doesn’t mean you don’t know how to help others” the voice in her mind returned “You’ve done it before, take care of others when you couldn’t help yourself,” she pressed her palms harder against her face “What about the tone in his voice?” she pulled her hands away from her face and looked down at her knees, “He’s desperate” she whispered into the room, she knew a lot about that feeling.

She took the phone, her fingers agile as she called back, the phone rang twice before Malcolm’s voice appeared at the other end.

“Ms. Alvarez” said the man “I have pen and paper”

“You know, Mr. Hopper” her free hand reached up and pinched the bridge of her nose “Recently some events have cleared up my agenda and I think I can help you out”

“Oh my god!” he gasped “Really?”

“Yes” she answered, and a small smile spread over her face “Maybe we could meet up on Monday, you can give me your email and I’ll send you all the information I’m going to need, the fees I work with and you can add any questions or information you find relevant, yes?”

“Sounds prefect” he said, and he sounded so relieved. “Of course, I can text you my email right away and I’ll get everything you need”

“Great, yes” she nodded even if he couldn’t see her “Ok then Mr. Hopper, I’ll be waiting then”

“Thank you, Ms. Alvarez, you have no idea how grateful I am”

And he ended the call with that.

Ren pulled the phone away from her ear and looked down at it, a small smile over her lips, she had lost control over the way her body felt, over most of her thoughts, of the things that scared her, over her tears, but this, this was something that was still hers; and she was going to hold on to it, she was going to make this work, she was going to pull herself out of her drowning pool by holding on to her work, the only thing she could still control.

 

___________//____________

 

Friday arrived horribly soon, Nick and Rollins had picked up Ren at her apartment, John had been there with her and Rollins was only thankful that Ren was getting all the support she could, she knew by a fact that both Alex and Nat would be at the court that day, but since Ren had to be there before hand, she had apparently asked Nat and Alex to meet her there later, just a few minutes before the trial started.

Nick and John walked side by side next to Ren, Amanda falling behind the group a few steps but it felt perfect, Ren could feel their strength embracing her, their love and their support only making her feel stronger, feel capable of walking into that room and facing the man that had almost killed her in the middle of an alley in the darkness of the night.

They walked towards the small group of people that had gathered around one of the benches, Ren took a deep breath but she still moved forward, she could do this, she could do this if they were all here, because at the end of the day, in their own way, she knew they cared about her.

“Hey” said Nick, Olivia turned to look at them.

“Hey” said Olivia, she offered them a smile “You are here early”

“Traffic was a blessing” Nick shrugged “Who would have guessed, right?”

Ren smiled as she looked at Nick, Barba and Carisi looking at her, one unaware of the way the other was looking, Amanda walked around John and sat down next to Fin, Dodds Elliot, the only ones who were sitting down.

“So,” Ren started, she turned to look at Barba, her heart racing as his green eyes settled over her “How long do you think this is going to take?”

Barba looked at her, the bruises on her face were almost completely gone, he wanted this to go as smoothly as it could, to make her feel the less amount of pain and anguish and hurt, but still he had to be honest; she deserved that and so much more.

“It depends” he shrugged “On a few different things,” he glanced at John and then turned back to her “You don’t have to be present through the whole thing”

“Oh, no” she said without missing a beat “I’ll be here through the whole thing” she ruffled her hair and glanced around the group. “Thank you for coming over, you didn’t have to all be here”

“Yeah we did” said Dodds, and Ren was surprised as her eyes jumped to him, he pushed himself up, and she could remember how much he had disliked her for so long “We are a team, remember? All of us”

“All of us” she smiled shyly at him, the way he had rushed to help her when she had called Olivia’s office, the way he had had no doubts about what to do, Dodds who hated her, Dodds how now thought of her as a part of the team. “Nat and Alex will be here in about half an hour”

“Great” nodded Amanda, not all of them would be able to stay through the whole thing, but they had set up a plan, a way in which at least one of them would be at all times with Ren; they all had to work, including Alex and Nat, but they were all in this to support Ren.

At the end of the hallway something crashed loudly, Ren felt her shoulders shrink before she turned to look at what it was, voices were rising and people were walking away to give room for a group of four that was making its way down the hallway.

Two penitentiary officers walking beside a woman and a man, the woman had her head slightly turned to the man, she was talking softly to him and the man was nodding, Ren blinked as she looked at them, the nice clothes as the woman’s eyes fell over her and for a moment she stopped talking, the man stopped briefly before he turned to follow the sight of the woman and their eyes met.

They looked at each other for the first time in a while.

For the first time since that horrible night.

His clubbing clothes were gone, replaced by a nice suit, his hair back, his tattoos covered by his long sleeve shirt and he looked nothing like the man who had been infatuated with Valentina, he looked decent, he looked like the kind of man you took home to mother.

But even with the nice dark suit, with the tattoos out of sight, with his hair combed back, still looking like he could be one of the lawyers walking around, nothing could replace the look in his eyes; something in them shined as they looked at each other and his lips curved slightly as he looked at her with that predatory glare he had used when he had cornered her in the alley.

Oh Valentina, you’ve been a very, very bad girl” the words slammed into her brain like a sledgehammer, she felt her breath being caught in her throat and instinctively she took a step back.

“Ren” whispered John, or was it Elliot?

She wasn’t even sure she could recognize her own mother’s voice right now, she opened her mouth and his smile grew before he tore his eyes away from her and he disappeared with his lawyer and the two agents into a small room.

“Ren” was that Fin?

She took a step to the side, almost as if she was about to turn around and look at them, but she couldn’t, her eyes jumped to the sign she had seen when she had been walking with John, Nick and Amanda and before she could even understand what she was doing, her legs were moving.

“Ren!” that had to be Dodds.

Her long legs were hurrying down the hallway towards the bathroom door, a sting shooting up her left thigh but she had covered her legs with a soft bandage before putting on pants.

“Wait” said Olivia, she reached and took Dodds’ wrist “Let me go talk to her”

“What was he doing here?!” gasped Carisi, he turned to look at Barba “He isn’t supposed to be up here”

“I know” Barba narrowed his eyes, his sight over the bathroom that Ren had just rushed into, his heart was racing. “Shit” he whispered, he turned to Elliot “I’ll be back in a few minutes, I’m going to figure out what’s happening”

With that Barba was hurrying away to who knew where as Olivia was trying to turn the knob of the bathroom in the courtroom, but it was locked from inside.

“Ren” she called out softly “It’s me, Olivia” she could hear movement but no one was answering her call. “Can you please open up? Please” she didn’t want to have to call for someone to open the door for her.

“Are you alone?”

“Yes”

There was a click from the other side of the door and then Olivia was able to turn the knob and walked inside, she closed the door and pushed the lock, this wasn’t the time to be interrupted.

The blond woman was standing there, she was pulling at the fingers of her left hand, her eyes over Olivia but they were watery, and nervous and screaming panic and horror and pain, she opened her mouth to speak but no words came out, she closed it again and Olivia waited a few seconds before Ren finally spoke.

“I can’t do this”

“Oh Valentina, you’ve been a very, very bad girl”

She shook her head, trying to get the words out of her mind, Olivia took a step forward.

“Ren” she spoke, her voice was soft and beautiful and untainted by all the horrible things she had lived through.

All the things she had survived.

“I can’t do this, why was he there?”

All the strength she had gather through the days, through her team, that was all washing away.

If you stop fighting this would be so much easier for both of us”

“Yes, you can” Olivia spoke, even with Ivan’s words slamming onto Ren’s brain. “I know this isn’t easy, it’s never been and frankly, it wont be easy for a while”

She took another step towards Ren, and softly reached to take her hands, Ren looked down at Olivia’s hands but she found herself reaching out to hold Olivia, she needed to feel someone else there, to make sure she wasn’t about to lose her mind, she needed to anchor herself before she lost herself in all of this.

Ren squeezed her hands tightly, but Olivia didn’t seem to mind, she didn’t show that it was hurting her hands.

“Why was he there?” asked Ren. “I need to go, I can’t do this, I can’t stay here”

“I don’t know why he was there” said Olivia, she took a last step towards Ren, holding both her hands “You can do this, I know you can”

“What if I cant?”

I always knew you were a screamer

“You can” Olivia continued “I know you can, look at all you’ve accomplished, Ren, those girls from the bar, you saved them, you decided to help them, and you did” she searched for something in Ren’s eyes, something other than horror and pain “You were scared every time you went in there, and you managed to get through that because that’s how strong you are, this, what he did to you, don’t let it control you” Ren’s lower lip trembled “It wont be easy, but you can do this, you can fight it, you can show him that he has no power over you, that despite what happened, he cannot and he will not continue to terrorize you”

Ren looked at her “Very, very bad girl” she thought, and she frowned as she looked at her friend. “I didn’t do anything wrong”

“No, you didn’t do anything wrong, and you are here to show him that, that he lost, that you won, that you saved all those girls, that you are powerful, and fierce and a survivor”

She held to Olivia’s hands even tighter.

“You’re a fighter. Look at everything you’ve overcomer. Don’t give up now. Not now, Ren, not after all you’ve done, after all the difference you’ve made in the lives of those girls, don’t give up”

She looked at Olivia and took a deep breath through her mouth “Don’t let him win”

“Exactly” Olivia smiled at her “Show him what I already know, what we all see, show him the fighter you are” Ren swallowed hard “You are not alone here, and you’ll never be alone”

Ren looked at Olivia, the woman who had been there through it all with Ren, she had been there when Ren had woken up, she had told Ren about her own attack, and with every word that had come out of Olivia’s mouth, Ren had felt more empowered; a small quirk of her lips made Olivia smile as she looked at Ren.

And Ren did the one thing she had been unable to do with anyone since this had happened, she pulled her hands away from Olivia’s and then pulled her into a hug; the first full body contact she had had since the attack, and it was all she had needed, she could feel the love as Olivia hugged her back, she could feel the support.

“We are a team” Olivia whispered to Ren as Ren held her tight. “And you are a fighter, Ren, you’ve always been and he can’t take that away from you”

“No” Ren agreed “He cant”

Because even if her skin didn’t feel her own, even if she carved for a shower every half an hour, even if she would always have a nasty scar in her stomach, even if she was still trying to get her mind around all of this, one thing was clear, she was a survivor, and she couldn’t let him take that away from her.