The two lawyers stand in front of each other, naked. Two little Ken dolls waiting to be dressed.
"Okay, put these on," one of them flings a pair of boxer briefs at the other.
"Hey!" the recipient exclaims and then whines, "Rafi, please don't make me."
"I think I have it harder, Dominick." Barba gives his partner a pointed look. "I can't believe you go commando to work every day."
The two had decided to dress each other in their own style for work that day. Barba was beginning to think this was a bad idea. . .
"But it's so uncomfortable to be confined like that."
"More uncomfortable than getting your bare balls constricted by the crotch of your pants?"
"I thought you liked boas."
Barba just gives him a withering look at that remark and Carisi grins wickedly. "Try it. You just might like it. It'll make me hot seeing you squirm in court like that all day, just knowing why."
Barba groans. "Just because you're making me do this doesn't mean I have to like it."
"Suit yourself," Carisi shrugs.
"Speaking of suits," Barba brings out his selection for Carisi that day. "It was hard to find something decent to dress you in. Your wardrobe has so few appropriate choices."
"Come on," Carisi challenges, tilting his head to the side. Barba tries to hide his little bit of excitement at the sound of Dominick's heavily accented, nasally voice by turning away for a minute. He loves the way Dominick says 'come on' like that. Often that phrase has a very different meaning between them. Barba pretends to be debating which tie he wants his partner to wear even though he has already picked one out. When the moment passes he confidently turns around and hangs the tie over the suit he has already hung on the valet.
"Here, I like you in lavender, so start with this shirt." He holds out a lavender shirt with tiny stripes.
"I'm going to like this . . . " Carisi muses.
"Yeah, well I'm not." Barba snaps.
Oh yes he will. Carisi thinks, giving Rafi a knowing look - he knows him too well. He slowly starts to button his shirt from the waist up knowing it will unnerve his very meticulous partner. Rafi always had the mindset that things had to be done in a particular way - and in a very particular order. Carisi continues to button his shirt up slowly, with a seductive glint in his eye.
"Are you performing a reverse strip tease or something, Dominick?"
"I might be," Carisi jests, noncommittally.
"Put your shirt on." Barba gives him a stern look. "The right way."
"Yes sir," Carisi says unbuttoning the shirt from the bottom and starting again from the top. When he finishes he brings out a shirt from Barba's collection. A nice crisp white one. "And this is for you."
Barba sighs in relief and reaches for the shirt without hesitation. "Thank god you've got decent taste so far."
"I'm not done with you yet."
"Ugh," Barba says and buttons up his shirt the right way – the first time. And he's glad the shirt hangs low and basically covers the part of him he doesn't want Dominick to see - in case he does find himself enjoying this too much. He doesn't want to give him the satisfaction.
"Now this is a nice, well-cut suit of yours," Barba tells him, holding out a deep navy three-piece suit - Carisi's most expensive one.
"Figures," Carisi mutters, takes the pants from the hanger, and starts putting them on.
When he gets them up to his waist Barba turns Carisi around and pulls him in close by the hips. Carisi leans into him, feeling Rafi's hot breath on his neck.
"Here let me help you with that," Barba says in a low voice as he zips him up from behind and closes the waistband on his pants.
"Stay there," Carisi pleads, grabbing Rafi's hands and holding them in place.
"No," Barba says firmly. "We'll never make it to work."
But despite his admonition he lets his hands linger, caught in his lover's grip.
Eventually when he extracts his hands from Dominick's he clears his throat. "Now for your belt."
Barba picks up a navy belt as Carisi tucks his shirt in. It is so perfectly matched that it blends into the color of his navy pants exactly. Then he turns Carisi back around and starts putting the belt through the loops.
"Rafi, you know I'm really bunched up here," Carisi says, wriggling in discomfort. "I don't have my suits tailored to accommodate underwear."
"So I've noticed," Barba says with a wink. "Is that underwear really causing you to bunch up or are you just happy to see me?"
"Both," Carisi admits.
Barba shakes his head while continuing to thread the belt. His partner has no shame and never felt like hiding anything. He paused a few times as he did the buckle, thinking about Dominick's openness. "I love you," he had admitted to him first, before he even had a chance to, before things were solid between them. "I'm sorry, that's just how I feel," he had said and shrugged. At the memory Barba let a small smile form on his lips - his partner's lack of shame and honesty had been refreshing. And it always would be.
Once the belt was on, Carisi picked out just a pair of pants for Barba to put on. It appeared that he hadn't chosen a suit jacket yet, or at least he hadn't revealed it.
"Where did you find those? They've been out of style for a year."
"Come on, put them on." There was that 'come on' again. Barba decided he'd better put those pants on, and fast.
His pants were on so lightning quick that Carisi couldn't have helped him into them if he'd wanted to. So instead he just stands there, his arms folded across his chest grinning from ear to ear. He knew Rafi was into this. He had just caught a glimpse of what he had been trying to hide.
Barba tucks in his shirt, puts his own belt on none the wiser, and then takes the navy vest off of the valet. He doesn't just hand it to Dominick, but instead comes over and helps him into it. One arm at a time. And then he slowly, gently buttons the vest. Taking his time, making everything perfect.
At one point Carisi stops him by taking his hand and kissing it. God Barba loved his blue eyes in that moment.
"Go on," Carisi says softly as he releases his hand.
"Uh, yeah, okay." Barba clears his throat and tries to refocus after being drawn into the lure of his partner's sudden affection. If this continued they would never make it to work. As it was, he didn't know how he was going to make it through the day thinking about what he was going to do to Dominick once they got home.
He finishes and then Carisi says to him, "Forgot something?"
Barba takes a good look and then says. "Oh damn, the tie."
He smirks. This must really be getting to Rafi. How could he forget the proper order to put on a suit? This is so much fun. Too bad his pants were getting uncomfortably tight.
"Take that off." Barba commands.
"Yes, sir." The vest is off in a flash.
Barba picks up an elegant lavender striped tie. It is made of silk of course. Carisi watches his partner stroke the soft material for a moment too long. Would Rafi even touch anything made of lesser material?
The way he comes up to Carisi and intimately entwines the tie around his neck has him breathing hard in seconds. Barba teases him a bit – continuing to touch his neck a little too much while forming the knot.
"There? That's it?" Carisi pants softly. "You're going to leave me hanging like that?"
"Well, you won't exactly be hanging," Barba raises his eyebrow and looks down at his crotch. "We've got those things pretty well contained for the day, don't you think?"
"It's getting very tight in there." Carisi grimaces.
Barba just smirks.
"Hey, that's your fault you know." Carisi points a finger at him.
"Is it?" Barba questions. "Wasn't this your idea in the first place?"
"I don't remember," Carisi grumbles.
And actually neither does Barba. He waves it all away. "Okay, okay. Do me."
"You don't mean that literally." Carisi gives him a wry grin.
"And I don't mean it figuratively either. Come on. Chop chop. My tie."
Carisi goes into Barba's closest and comes back out carrying Barba's biggest shopping mistake of the season. The tie is banana yellow – and not in a good way. How in the hell was this shade even in fashion? He shouldn't have bought it - the hideous color makes his face go a touch sallow.
"That tie does not match these pants," he says in protest.
"It does to me," Carisi says, "And that's the goal here, right? You dress me to look like you and I dress you to look like me?"
"I knew this was a bad idea . . . "
"No," Carisi corrects him, catching his shoulders, steadying him. "It's fun. You need to have a little more fun in your life, Rafi."
"That's what you're here for."
"Exactly. Let me do my job." Carisi whips the tie behind Barba's neck and says, "I would wear this tie with those pants. So today you will too."
"You don't have the best sense of taste," Barba grumbles.
"Unless I'm trying to follow your lead."
Carisi just gives him another wry grin, shakes his head, and tugs the tie around Barba's uplifted collar, starting to knot it.
"You're so efficient with that."
"Wouldn't want to get you too excited." Carisi smiles to himself.
"Please," Barba says dismissively.
"This wouldn't work for you?" Carisi asks as he pauses in tying the knot, slowly using the need of having to lower his partner's collar as an excuse to stroke his finger slowly down his neck from his chin. And then he continues - all the way around. Barba's eyelids flutter.
"That will do quite nicely," Barba says sharply once Carisi is done. He grabs his tie and briskly finishes off the knot. "See, efficiency."
"Uh, huh," Carisi answers. "You really liked that."
"Please." Barba meets Carisi's half smile with hard eyes. "Okay, where were we?"
Barba looks around and then spots Carisi's vest. He picks it up and begins putting it back on him. "Take two."
He fastens the buttons of the vest as gently and lovingly as before, entranced by Dominick's breathing. This close he can see his chest rise and fall, feel it under his hands as he works.
"Now where were we?" Barba says as he places both palms flat against his partner's chest and looks up into his eyes.
Carisi starts to tip his head down, making a move towards his lips.
"No, not that," Barba stops him with a raised hand. "We'll never make it to work if we go there."
"Ah, come on!"
Barba has to stifle an involuntary shiver at the sound of that phrase being uttered from Carisi's lips once again.
"No, let's focus. We need our jackets next. I'm assuming you've got no vest for me?"
"You'd be right about that."
"Well then, here's your jacket."
Carisi takes the suit jacket from Barba's hands and whips it on in seconds. He pulls down on it a bit to straighten it and pulls the sides together. It still feels a little odd not to be putting on his badge before heading out to work – it wasn't so long ago that he was still working as an SVU detective.
"Mine?" Barba demands, pulling him out of his thoughts.
"Hold your horses. I'm getting it for ya." Carisi dives back into Barba's closet to pull out the pièce de résistance. The jacket he would definitely wear with those pants and that tie. It's plaid – it ties all of the colors together – he thinks. Until he sees his partner's face when he presents it to him.
Carisi's face falls at his expression. "It doesn't match?"
Barba sees the crestfallen look on Dominick's face and doesn't want to hurt his feelings even though that jacket in combination with everything else he will be wearing that day will be hideous. Absolutely hideous. But he decides to suck it up – if just for one day.
"Bring it here," he instructs Dominick, who walks it over to him. He makes a show of evaluating it, nods and says, "It will work."
As Barba puts it on Carisi hangs his head in defeat. "You hate it."
After Barba straightens out the jacket he comes up to Dominick and places his hand on his cheek, making him look him in the eye. He says firmly, "It will work."
They both nod at each other and part. Barba studies Carisi for a bit. "Well, at least we agree on proper shaving technique."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Barba starts trying to make tufts out of Carisi's immaculately gelled hair. "Well if you're going to look like me today, this is not going to work."
"Hey!" Carisi bats his hand away. "If you mess with this perfection, I'm going to come at you with a bottle of gel and fix yours."
"Bring it on," Barba challenges.
They stare each other down, hands on their hips. Carisi looms over Barba, and Barba stares defiantly back at him. But the confrontational staring doesn't last - it ends in a stalemate. They both decide to let it go and head for their sock drawers.
"Got anything interesting in there?" Barba asks Carisi as they each shuffle through their own stash of socks.
"Nope. Just basic blacks."
"Damn," Barba mutters. "I hate vanilla socks."
Carisi smirks over at him. "I know. I can't wait to see what you have in store for me."
"These!" Barba exclaims as he pulls out a raging mess of school bus yellow and traffic cone orange socks. "These are perfect for that outfit."
Carisi groans a bit but sits down on their bed with a selection for Barba, who hands him the hideous yellow-orange monstrosities dangling from his hands. "I don't think they'll fit."
"I've got long feet, Rafi."
"See if they will work."
"Ugh." Carisi forcibly tugs them on. "Great, yet another constricting thing to wear today."
"Think of my balls."
"Yeah, I will. I'm already jealous - they'll be free."
"Until the seam of my pants decides it would rather be a boa."
Carisi grins at him. Today is going to be so much fun . . . watching Rafi squirm all day . . . he'll be ready to be out of his clothes as soon as we return home. Carisi wonders what his partner will have in store for him. Despite Rafi's protests, Carisi knows this whole little game is a big turn on for him.
"My turn," Barba demands, gesturing towards the pair of black socks on the bed beside Carisi.
"Oh man, I don't know if you can handle these socks, Rafi," Carisi says as he picks them up and turns them over in his hands.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You know my feet are kinda big. My socks are kinda long . . . "
"I can handle your LONG SOCKS Carisi. Now give them to me." Barba grabs them out of Carisi's hands.
"I don't know, Barba, my long socks might be just a little too much for you to handle. . ."
"I've handled them before," Barba snarls without thinking.
Carisi bursts out laughing at this. "Oh you have?"
"You know what I mean," Barba says lowly.
"No, I'm not sure I do. You mean you sneak into my sock drawer at night to fondle my socks when you think I'm asleep?"
Barba doesn't justify that with an answer.
"Is that some kind of new kink for you?"
Barba groans as he struggles to put on the socks. Dominick was right – they just don't fit. The annoyingly plain black socks actually are too long for him - the heel goes halfway up his calf.
"Here," Carisi says with his hand out. "How about a trade? I'll be vanilla, as usual, and you can be whatever this flaming monstrosity is today."
"Thank god we get to keep our own shoes, too," Barba says as he gives his partner back the pair of drab, black socks.
Once their feet are all sorted they stand up from the bed and give each other the once over. Barba swipes some imaginary dust of Carisi's shoulder and Carisi fiddles with Rafi's collar a bit, pretending to fix it, remembering his partner's earlier reaction to the feel of his fingers on his neck. He bends down and gives him a quick, almost chaste kiss on the lips.
"Come on," he whispers to his partner in just that way. "Ready for work?"