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breaking the stones in my wall

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The Bronx in 1985 was messy and dirty and volatile. Rafael dodged his way through it with his sights set on the beyond, on something that fit his skin better than that place. There were pitfalls along the way, cuts and scrapes and bruises, literal and otherwise. It wasn't exactly easy, but he supposes, looking back on it later, that it could've been much worse.

Sometimes, though, when people like Amaro remind him, he thinks about what would've happened if he hadn't made it out, and it makes him sick, a gut-swooping nausea of nightmarish vertigo.

It always takes a moment before he can breathe in and remember that he did, and it gave him callouses that never really wore off, and for that he'll always be grateful.

You need that toughness, that thick skin, being a scholarship kid at Harvard, being an ADA.

Home is probably where it started, he thinks, is what really shaped him into the specific way he interacts with the world. His father. Rafael's outside is almost all him-- not a mirror but a product, the sum of Rafael's own inherent quirks and their ugly relationship.

He's not sure when he figured out his father didn't like him, but he guesses it was probably pretty early. Kids are perceptive like that, he's learned. It likely started unintentionally, the things he said and the reactions he got, just a father not liking what his kid had to say, but it was someone important already trying to change everything Rafael was, and it stuck, the unfairness of it, and somewhere along the line he started doing it on purpose. Crafting it. He could've gone either way, he supposes. Please him or piss him off. Rafael's never been the kind of person who aims to please. He's always had things to say. Those parts of him are almost definitely inherent. The borderline asshole way he tends to go about it, the sweet clench of victory whenever he sees his sharper words hit home-- those he learned, cultivated, perfected over time.

His father wasn't really wrong when he called clueless, six year-old Rafael a mouthy little shit, but the bone-deep dislike in the way he said it was the part that punched hard, like knuckles dug into the same bit of flesh over and over, until the bruise just stopped fading.

Until it became as much a part of him as anything else.

It takes him a long time to get used to the ache, to learn to live with that part of his life.

He's okay with it now, even if he can't think about the man without giving himself a tension-headache from biting down on the anger, because his father was an asshole, yeah, but he reaffirmed Rafael's making of himself. He would have done it anyway, of course, but his father made it harder, and still he shook off everything he ever said to Rafael, the put-downs and the doubts and the insults, he turned it to his own advantage, and got himself exactly where he wanted to go. He waded out of that mess and came out on top, and he's proud of it.


"Counsellor," Carisi calls, jogging after him to the elevators. Rafael looks up. He's yet to speak to Carisi outside of the obligatory briefings with SVU, and he can't say he's been looking to, either.

"Can I help you, Carisi?" says Rafael, pointedly checking his watch.

"Just wanted to, you know, say hey again, now it looks like I'm on the squad for good," says Carisi. "Hey, is it true you got a defendant to strangle you in court to prove your point?"

"Been reading up on me, detective?" Rafael raises his eyebrows.

"Not reading," says Carisi. "What can I say, this team likes to talk. And I guess you've done a lot of things worth talking about. The Sarge said you argued that a gay man married to another gay man hated gays? Never come across that one before, and I read plenty of cases, let me tell you."

"The law is fun, Carisi," says Rafael, shrugging. "It can do anything you want it to if you push it hard enough. If you know it well enough. Boring lawyers are just incompetent lawyers."

He's expecting a scoff or an eyeroll in response, something befitting a crass, overconfident young detective who thinks he owns any squad room he walks into and knows more than anyone else, District Attorneys included. What he gets instead is a thoughtful tilt of the head, a slow nod, like Carisi is processing, filing away. Rafael is surprised. Even less terribly-moustachioed detectives tend to wave off anything he says that isn't related to their case, if they don't argue just for the sake of it. He's a superior asshole and he knows it-- owns it. He's also dismissive and detached on top of it, and usually overworked, never in a great mood, keeps his sense of fun to himself and to the courtroom-- not the most inviting candidate for casual conversation. He likes it just fine that way. Carisi, though-- well, for a second, it almost looks like he wants to keep talking. Wants Rafael to keep talking.

Rafael steps into the elevator before Carisi can ask.


"Man, that was great," says Carisi, falling into step beside Rafael outside the courtroom, beaming a smile and vibrating energy. "You're pretty good with those redirects, huh?"

Rafael shrugs. "I was always good with the smartass comebacks," he says.

"Yeah, I bet you were," says Carisi, laughing. He shoves his hands into his pockets and sobers, shaking his head. "I'm just glad we won this one, you know? I mean, yeah, we come across so many people doing so many messed up things, and that's bad enough, but this time, on top of that, what, does no one care? Those witnesses, they're just as bad as the perps who did it."

"Well, look on the bright side, Carisi," says Rafael dryly. "If there were no bad people there would be no good lawyers."

Carisi squints at him. "Was that you trying to cheer me up?" he says. "'Cause that was terrible."

"Actually, that was me quoting Dickens," says Rafael, sniffing. "And also pointing out that I have it better than you, clearly."

"Clearly," echoes Carisi, tilting his head. Rafael's not sure what decision he comes to, eventually, but it makes Carisi smile, whatever it is, sudden and amused, eyes creasing up.

"Do I even want to know?" asks Rafael flatly as they head onto the courthouse steps.

"Dunno," says Carisi. "Guess I'm just thinking maybe you're right, you know. It's not so bad. We get these guys, you do your good lawyer thing and put 'em away."

"Of course I'm right," says Rafael. "Are you done with your existential crisis, Carisi? I'd like to get home sometime tonight and I need to walk back to my office first."

"Sure, I'm done," says Carisi. "I'll walk you."

"Oh, great," says Rafael.

Carisi snorts.

He regales Rafael with anecdotes about the less promising of his Fordham classmates the entire way back. Rafael listens but pretends he's not, and by the time they make it to his office he's not sure whether he's jonesing for a drink out of some kind of messed up empathy or simply because he's annoyed. Possibly both.

"Good God, Carisi," he says. "I already alerted the Bar Association about you, but I'm starting to think I'll have to make calls about your entire graduating class."

Carisi looks a combination of surprised and pleased, which is odd until Rafael realises belatedly that he wasn't supposed to be listening to his terrible wannabe-college stories. Fuck everything.

It's been a long day.

"In the interest of defending my profession, of course," he adds, hating a little that he's making excuses. He never makes excuses. It's why he's a prosecutor and not a defence attorney.

Carisi smirks. "Of course," he echoes, smug.

"Get out of my office, detective," snaps Rafael.

"Sure thing," says Carisi, insufferably cheerful. Rafael glares him to the door, at which point Carisi turns back, hands resting lightly on either side of the frame, and says, "I like you, Barba."

"Oh, God," says Rafael. "What could I possibly have done to deserve such an honour? Please, tell me so I don't do it again."

Carisi grins and says, "You didn't do anything."

"Enlightening," says Rafael dryly.

Carisi just shrugs as he drops his arms and says, "You're you."

Rafael blinks at the empty doorway, paused for a long moment before he shakes himself out of it.


Rafael stops by the SVU squad room on his way home, one midweek evening, to drop off some statements that haven't been signed. It's late, far past normal working hours, and he's not expecting anyone to still be there. Leaving them on someone's desk with a note is all he's looking to do. There are more lights on than an empty bullpen requires, however, and when he slips inside he sees that Carisi is still there, hunched over his tablet lying flat on the the desk, going over security footage, it looks like. He looks up and rubs his eyes when Rafael enters.

"What're you doing here?" he mumbles, yawning. "'S late."

"I could say the same for you," says Rafael. "I'm returning some statements your squad forgot to sign. It's a little worrying, such allegedly competent detectives missing such straightforward details."

Carisi laughs. "We like the casework, counsellor, not the paperwork." He holds out his hand for the statements. "I'll get them signed and back to you tomorrow morning."

"Good," says Rafael. He looks around the empty room pointedly. "Pulled the rookie short straw again?"

"Nah," says Carisi. "I volunteered. The faster we get through these the faster we can either toss 'em or bring in whoever pops up. Would've stayed up this late studying anyway. No difference."

Rafael hums. Carisi looks tired, in the dim light of the otherwise empty squad room, shadows worn under his eyes and hair mussed. It might be what makes him say what he says next. "It's admirable, what you're doing. Full time detective and night school law student."

Carisi grins incredulously and leans forward, says, "Hang on a minute. You're saying something I'm doing is admirable?"

"Enjoy the moment, Carisi, it won't last," says Rafael snippily.

Carisi slumps back in his chair, laughing quietly, and says, "Well, thanks, counsellor. I appreciate that."

Rafael shrugs. "I get it," he says. "Doing it tough for something you want."

Carisi snorts and says, "You make fun of Fordham Law all the time. You went to Harvard."

"I grew up in the Bronx, Carisi, how do you think I got there?" snaps Rafael.

Carisi tilts his head. "Scholarship," he says, not quite a question, like he's coming to some conclusion, some understanding, in an interview with a witness or perp. "Well," he adds after a moment, "That totally puts you one up on all the rich kids who paid their way in, am I right? You got a scholarship to Harvard, then you actually went to Harvard."

"I'm aware," says Rafael dryly.

It makes Carisi laugh, easy and almost affectionate. "So I'm right, we're agreed on that?" he says with a smirk.

"Sure, Carisi. You told me something I've known for twenty years. Well done."

"You knowing it and other people knowing it is different," says Carisi.

Rafael looks at him sharply. "Go back to your work, detective," he says after another long moment. "No one passes the bar running on no sleep, I can tell you that much."

"Thanks for the heads up," says Carisi, rolling his eyes and turning back to his tablet. "Goodnight, counsellor."

Rafael doesn't reply.


Then comes the massive fuck-up of the D'Amico case. Rafael's lost cases before, a lot of them, even, but maybe never quite so spectacularly. He doesn't think he's ever dropped so quickly from the high-altitude confidence of a winning strategy to the realisation that it's not going to happen. That he's going to lose, and badly. It leaves him breathless, his chest tight, his insides squeezed hard by all-encompassing failure. The oh-so-public nature of it doesn't help. He hates losing, of course, but he hates losing in front of people even more. Plus the consequences--

He may actually have a panic attack if he dwells on it too much longer.

At least the jury won't be out long, and in the meantime, there's Carisi.

Carisi, who tells him it was worth the fight, and who thanks him, which is just-- Rafael can't even begin to parse that right now. He can't recall a single interaction between them that warrants thanks at all, nevermind this stupid kind of earnest, heartfelt appreciation.

He's glad he doesn't have to give a real answer, because there's something in him, beneath the suffocating clench of his panicked ribs, that feels oddly, abruptly swollen and sore. When he goes home he drinks half a bottle of Scotch and does his best to forget the day entirely.


"Got anything yet, Carisi?" says Rafael, ducking into the squad room on another late-night stopover. "That girl is still in hospital and I'd like to arraign someone for it sooner rather than later."

"Nothing yet, counsellor," says Carisi. He's once again the only detective left in the bullpen. The pros of being childless, Rafael supposes. Or cons, depending which way you look at it. "I'm just going over the witness statements we have so far, but I wouldn't hold my breath. We've got a couple leads to follow up on tomorrow. You'll know if we get anything."

Rafael pauses in the doorway on his way out, looking back at Carisi bent over his desk, frowning in concentration, the fingers on his left hand spread out on the statements, holding them steady as he takes notes with his other. It's right around then, oddly and startlingly and clearly, like a break in a tough case, that Rafael realises he actually likes the moron.

Carisi is exuberant and crass and overeager, too happy and too optimistic. He's loud and annoying and handsome, with his long limbs and his hair and his mouth. His accent is atrocious.

He's also incredibly smart, a very good detective, and kinder than anyone in this line of work should be, with far too much visible heart for his own good-- so quietly, gently human underneath all the bruiser flash and effusiveness-- and Jesus, Rafael likes him.

He likes the way he's so fiercely protective of his family, how he actively makes it bigger, dragging in unsuspecting SVU detectives, cooking for them, taking care of them. Likes the way he's doing well enough for himself but still wants to be better, wants to learn, wants more. Likes the way he's so dedicated to getting that for himself, the way he's so passionate about the things he does.

The way he cares.

Rafael thinks about this part of him, the inside, the part that stays mostly hidden, and how it's his mother, his grandmother. The soft things, the gentle things, the vulnerable things.

They're buried because they're precious, and leaving them bare in a job and a life like this would destroy them, and destroy him. He loves his work, he loves the way he does it, and he wouldn't switch the way he is on the outside with the way he is on the inside, not now, not for anything.

He thinks sometimes this is why he doesn't really have relationships.

They'd require him to open up that part of himself, and there are so many reasons why he can't, so many reasons it scares him, but at the heart of it all is that raw, suffocating fear of loving someone and not having it returned, because he knows, he's done it already, before he was old enough to know how much someone could hurt you if you gave them all of yourself.

He is still, however-- regrettably-- human, and despite the fear, there's also that deep, untouchable desire that everyone has, no matter how damaged they are: the need to be seen, and wanted. For Rafael specifically, to have someone who bridges the gap between those two parts of him. Who lets him touch-- and who touches-- both without ruining either.

Distressingly, Carisi is probably the best candidate he's found in a while. Coño.

"Carisi," he snaps before he can change his mind.

Carisi looks up, blinking.

"Are you here under orders, or are you once again throwing yourself on the sacrificial altar of overtime?"

"Uh," says Carisi, "I volunteered?"

"Right," says Rafael. "Come with me."

"What?" Carisi frowns in confusion.

"Dinner," says Rafael.

"What?" says Carisi again. Dear God.

Rafael rubs his forehead, already half regretting this. "Carisi, either you didn't eat or you've been here long enough that a second meal isn't a problem -- I honestly don't care which-- and I spent my entire evening going over notes for upcoming appeals. Dinner."

"You-- want me to get dinner with you?" says Carisi slowly, stupidly.

"No, actually, I'm going to murder you and eat you for my dinner." Rafael rolls his eyes. "What do you think, Carisi?"

"Okay," says Carisi, "But-- "

The thing is, Rafael is well aware that Carisi has something of a misguided, bright-eyed crush on him, so when he says, "You have five seconds to make up your mind, and then I'm leaving with or without you," he's about ninety per cent certain it'll work.

Carisi blinks at him, then blinks again, then shoots upright and grabs his jacket in one hand, stuffing his phone and keys and wallet into his pocket with the other. "Yeah, okay," he says, stepping away from his desk. "Dinner sounds good, counsellor."

"Ya era hora," mutters Rafael, leading the way out.


There's a decent Italian place near the precinct that stays open late for the sole reason that it's near the precinct. It's casual enough to appeal to cops, just scrubbed wooden tables and good food. Carisi orders bolognese like a good Italian boy, and red wine like a terrible cop.

"What?" says Carisi, noticing Rafael's raised eyebrow. "You have bolognese, you have red wine. That's how it works. Beer is for bars and games and food that isn't Italian."

"Why do I feel like I'm talking to your mother right now?" says Rafael.

Carisi flushes a little. "Well, she's right," he says defensively.

Rafael just snorts, shaking his head.

"Whatever, it tastes good, it's alcohol." Carisi waves a hand.

"Charming," says Rafael.

Carisi makes a face at him. Rafael ignores him in favour of the waiter arriving with their drinks.

"So tell me, Carisi," he says after a beautifully satisfying mouthful of Scotch, "What are you going to do with your law degree? I need to brace myself."

"Nothing for now," says Carisi. "I like being a cop. I like working in SVU. I like the law too, but right now I'm happy just using it to be a better cop." He smirks. "Maybe a part-time shadow counsellor."

"Don't flatter yourself," says Rafael.

Carisi just laughs.

"Why do you like SVU so much?" asks Rafael.

Carisi fiddles with his napkin, frowning a little. "Well, I don't know if I'd say I like it," he says. "We see some pretty messed up things. But I guess that's true no matter what division you work in. But Homicide was-- it's the last in line. It's like we were waiting at the end for the victims of everyone else's division. The ones who didn't make it out, didn't get help in time to stop them winding up in the morgue. That's kind of depressing, you know? I'd see these victims-- the women, oh man." He shakes his head. "The women were the worst, they were just-- " He shrugs helplessly. "I guess I like feeling like I can help make a difference, you know? We get these victims, and they went through the worst things, but a lot of them are still alive, and maybe we can't always stop what happens to them, but we can get the people that hurt them, we can make sure they're put away, make sure the same shitty things don't happen to anyone else, and we can help the victims start their lives over. Help them move on. No one moves on when their case winds up in Homicide."

Rafael just stares at him, speechless for one of the few times in his life.

Carisi looks away for a moment, almost self-conscious, then rolls his shoulders and says, "Anyway, what about you? You gonna move on someday? District Attorney? Mayor?"

"God, no," says Rafael. "I like specifics. Details. District Attorneys and Mayors don't have time for that."

"Huh," says Carisi. "You seem kind of ambitious, counsellor. Guess I thought you'd wanna work your way up."

"Not to any of that," says Rafael. "I don't care enough about people, Carisi."

"You care about our victims," says Carisi.

"Individuals, not people in general," says Rafael. "Not constituents, entire populations reduced to generalities. But who knows, maybe someday I'll switch sides, set my ambitions on the defence attorney big bucks."

"No, you won't," says Carisi easily.

Rafael is almost as insulted by this show of faith as he is complimented by it.

Their food arrives then, and Rafael decides that eating is more important than figuring it out.


"Thanks for the dinner, counsellor," says Carisi on the sidewalk outside the restaurant. Rafael had paid, snatching the check before Carisi could get to it with no doubt maternally-imposed manners. "I'd almost think this was a date if it wasn't me, and I wasn't, you know. A guy."

Rafael glances at him sharply. Carisi is a lot smarter than he cares to let on, a lot of the time, and Rafael's pretty sure he's being tested right now, his motives prodded by some less than subtle interrogation techniques.

"Are you trying to figure me out, detective?" he says, quirking an eyebrow.

Carisi laughs. "Okay, you caught me," he says.

"Not exactly a Herculean task," says Rafael. "You're hardly the definition of subtle."

"Hey, I can be subtle," says Carisi. "My undercover work is art, counsellor."

"Right, what was the last one? An ice addict who couldn't communicate below a hundred decibels?"

"So many layers," says Carisi, nodding. His eyes give him away, bright and laughing.

"Keep telling yourself that," mutters Rafael.

"Anyway, counsellor. Are you gay?"

"Is it relevant?" says Rafael. He can do the testing thing too, even though he's mostly sure of the answer he's going to get. He wants to hear Carisi say it, though-- the lawyer in him, maybe.

Hunches, even good ones, don't prove anything, after all.

Carisi should know that, too; confessions are important. Seal the deal, more often than not.

Carisi can seal the deal, if he knows what a confession will get him. If he really wants it.

"Well," says Carisi, "I think so, since, see, I'm bi, and I'm pretty sure you've figured out I'm kinda into you. 'Cause apparently I'm hardly the definition of subtle, and also a pretty good detective."

"One for two," says Rafael. "Yes, detective, I am gay."

"Awesome," says Carisi. "Wanna come back to my place?"

"Sure," says Rafael, shrugging.

Carisi stops walking. Rafael looks at him, eyebrows raised. "Wait, seriously?" says Carisi.

"You think I'm humouring you, detective?" says Rafael.

"You've never made anything this easy," says Carisi suspiciously.

Rafael rolls his eyes. "I'm here because I want to be, Carisi. If I didn't, trust me, the fact that you're 'kinda into me' wouldn't make any difference at all."

Carisi opens and closes his mouth. "Huh," he says after a moment. "So you're kinda into me too?"

"Dios mio," mutters Rafael.

Carisi grins slowly. "Am I right, counsellor?"

"Almost never," says Rafael, reflexive. "Carisi, if you can stop pissing me off long enough to-- "

He's cut off by Carisi jerking forward to kiss him, hard and wet. His hands slide underneath Rafael's jacket, fingers tucked under the hem of his waistcoat.

"Wow," mumbles Carisi against his mouth. "Wow, this is awesome. Okay."

He shuts up after that, thank God, and Rafael gives himself thirty seconds to enjoy the kiss-- to swallow Carisi's eager little noises, to scrape his teeth over Carisi's plush bottom lip and lick into the wine-sweet wetness of his mouth.

Then he tugs on the ends of Carisi's stupid slicked-back hair and says, "If you don't tell me how to get to your apartment in the next ten seconds, I'm going to arraign you for public indecency."

Carisi drops his head to Rafael's shoulder, laughing against his neck. "Sure thing, counsellor," he says. "Follow me."


"Okay," says Rafael once they make it into Carisi's bedroom, dishevelled but still clothed, courtesy of a detour to make out against Carisi's front door. "First of all, I am not into work-related role play, so kindly refrain from calling me counsellor in bed. My name is Rafael. Use it."

"I can do that," says Carisi. "Long as you call me Sonny." He grins.

Rafael sighs, put upon. Of all the ridiculous, stereotypical--

"Fine," he says. He tends to lapse into Spanish in bed anyway, so whatever.

"Was there a second thing?"

"Yes," says Rafael. "What do you want?"

Carisi tilts his head. "What do you want?"

"I asked first, Carisi," says Rafael.

"Sonny," corrects Carisi. "Okay. I want you to fuck me. Does that work for you, Rafael?"

"Yes," says Rafael calmly, "It does." He tugs Carisi in by his tie.


Carisi is so tight, when Rafael gets him bare and spread out on his back, gorgeous long legs spread wide, letting Rafael in. Rafael barely even has one finger in him, and he's clenching down so hard it feels painful, his thighs closing reflexively around the obstacle of Rafael's hips. Rafael frowns, pulls his finger out, pours on more lube, and leans forward to talk roughly against Carisi's cheek, rubbing wetly over his hole but not pushing in again, not yet.

"Have you done this before, querido?" he says.

"Of course I have," says Carisi. "I told you, I'm bi."

"That has absolutely no bearing on whether or not anyone's ever fucked you in the ass," says Rafael. "Don't lie to me, Sonny."

Carisi sighs as Rafael pulls back to look at him, rolling his eyes. "Fine," he says. "Look, I haven't been with a guy in a while, okay? I did this once, in college, but the last time, we didn't usually get this far, and if we did he preferred it the other way 'round. That was the first time I fucked a guy, and before that it was mostly, you know. Other stuff. Okay?"

"Okay," says Rafael.

"Doesn't mean I don't want it now," says Carisi immediately, fiercely, like he's worried Rafael will suddenly turn down the opportunity to fuck him. "So don't you dare go-- "

"Jesus, shut the fuck up," says Rafael. "Turn over."

"I-- huh?"

"Turn over, Carisi," says Rafael.

"Sonny," Carisi corrects him as he twists himself onto his front.

"Whatever," says Rafael. Carisi snorts.

Rafael pushes his thighs apart, digging his fingers into the crease where they meet his ass, eyes following the smooth lines of his back in the low light from his bedside lamp, his spine cutting between his shoulder blades, disappearing into his hair.

"What are you waiting for?" says Carisi, writhing a little.

Rafael smirks and leans down to bite the swell of his ass.

"Jesus," hisses Carisi, hips twitching. He likes it, clearly. "Knew you'd be a biter."

"Did you?" says Rafael, lubing up his fingers again. "Thought about this, Carisi?"

"Obviously," says Carisi. "And it's Sonny."

Rafael smiles to himself and puts his fingers to his ass again, still not pushing in, and stretches up along Carisi's-- Sonny's-- side to put his mouth on his neck, right where it curves into his shoulder. He scrapes his teeth a little, then sucks, hard. Sonny makes a choked noise and shudders, melts. Rafael pushes one finger back inside him. "Oh, fuck," says Sonny. "Fuck, yeah."

"Ahí tienes," murmurs Rafael. "Eso es."

"Gimme another," mumbles Sonny. "Come on, I can take it."

"Of course you can," says Rafael. "Jesus, me vuelves loco."

He gets Sonny's prostate with two fingers, curving and pressing.

Sonny moans, hips jerking hard, gasps, "Fuck, fuck, right there, right there, do that again."

"Ahí está," says Rafael. He works up to three and fucks them in until Sonny is gasping, groaning, grinding into the mattress. Probably ruining the sheets. Good thing they're not expensive. Then he pulls them out to get the condom on, watching and wanting as Sonny arches his back impatiently.

"Ven aquí," he says when he's slicked up, getting a hold of Sonny's narrow, pretty hips, liking the way he fits between Rafael's palms. He tugs him up and back, letting Sonny get his knees under him a little, lining up against him. "I'm gonna fuck you now, cariño," he murmurs. "Okay?"

"Fuck," says Sonny. "Fuck, yeah, do it."

Rafael does. Sonny is still so tight, when he pushes in, and so beautifully responsive, loud and giving. He pushes back against Rafael's thrusts, urges him on, asks for, "More," and, "Harder, fuck, right there." His back is damp, muscles flexing, a flush working down from his neck.

"Yeah?" gasps Rafael. "So good, so tight, querido."

He slides one hand around to Sonny's dick, hard and wet and neglected, jacking him in time with his thrusts.

"God," groans Sonny between his teeth. "Fuck, gonna come."

"Si, hazlo, ven por mí," says Rafael. Sonny probably doesn't understand what he's saying, but he does it anyway, coming into Rafael's hand, onto the sheets, shouting and clenching down.

Fuck. God, that feels good.

"Eso es," gasps Rafael, slowing even though it hurts to. "Eso es, ahí tienes."

Sonny slumps forward onto the mattress, shaking a little, and Rafael follows him down, folding over his back. He curls his hands around Sonny's wrists, feeling his frantic pulse.

"You close?" mumbles Sonny.

"Yeah," says Rafael through his teeth.

Sonny turns his head and smiles. "Keep going," he says. "Come on, wanna feel it."


Rafael stretches to kiss Sonny's bitten-soft mouth as he rolls his hips, swallowing Sonny's strung-out little moans until he drops his head and comes, teeth closing over Sonny's shoulder.

"Fuck me," says Sonny after a long moment of slowing breaths, still pressed tight together.

Rafael hums, pulling out with great effort and settling off to the side. He has no idea where to ditch the condom, so he drops it over the side of the bed with a slight grimace.

Sonny doesn't appear to notice; he's rolling onto his back and inspecting his messed-up stomach, swiping a thumb through it curiously before he grabs a handful of tissues from his bedside table and cleans himself off. Then he stretches leisurely, closing his eyes, mouth quirked upwards.

Rafael eyes the arch of his torso. He really is ridiculously pretty.

"Huh," says Sonny. He lifts a hand to touch his shoulder, right where Rafael bit him. "Well, that's gonna leave a mark."

"Good," says Rafael.

"Yeah?" says Sonny, turning his head to grin at him.

Rafael rolls his eyes.

"Hey," says Sonny. "Hey, counsellor."

"Still in bed," says Rafael. "Still Rafael."

"Okay, Rafael," says Sonny, still grinning. "How 'bout next time, I pay for dinner?"

"Next time?" says Rafael, looking at him and quirking an eyebrow.

"Yeah, next time," says Sonny just a little bit fiercely, squaring up even though he's still flat on his back, like he's preparing for a fight.

Rafael looks away and lets himself smile, just small, at the ceiling. "Okay," he says.

"Yeah?" says Sonny. He sounds surprised, and even more pleased.

"Stop fishing, Carisi," says Rafael. "I said okay."

"Sonny," says Sonny. "I'm gonna kiss you now, okay?"

"Okay, Sonny," says Rafael, smirking.

Sonny's laugh tastes really fucking good.