The first time Sonny sees it, he’s on his knees.
His jaw is stretched wide and Barba’s zipper is grating on his chin, the burn only barely noticeable in counterpoint to the thick head rubbing against the roof of his mouth. It’s good, it’s nearly fucking perfect, and he knows this won’t last long because Barba is already trying to fuck his throat like he has something to prove. Sonny looks up through his lashes, searching his face out, and instead they catch on a shadow just above Barba’s navel. It’s tiny, barely more than an indentation, but Sonny’s eyes stay there anyway because that couldn’t possibly be what he thinks it is.
There’s no ring, it didn’t look like there had been one in a while, but the realization still hits him like a jolt of electricity because what the fuck?
Assistant district attorney.
Future district attorney of Manhattan.
Man of bespoke suits and woven ties, reigning king of condescension and literal fucking god among men, had once pierced his navel.
Who had placed their hand flat across that expanse of bronze flesh, holding him in place so the needle could break skin?
Sonny shuddered, the image hitting him hard.
Young Barba on his back, shirt up. Pants riding low, baring the trail of dark hair that disappeared below his waistband. Had someone been forced to hold him down? Had he squirmed, laughed at his sudden fit of nerves? Had he arched into the pain, back up off the table, eyes closing to ward off the sting as the needle left his body?
Sonny was openly shaking now, moaning into the forceful intrusion of Barba’s cock in his mouth. He’d forgotten all about finding his eyes. All he could think about was that little hole a few inches above his line of sight, taunting him. Barba was whispering a litany of beautiful filth into the silence of his office and Sonny had to readjust himself because there was hard and then there was hard , and he had long since crossed that line.
His hand left its place on Barba’s thigh and drifted up, venturing up and under Barba’s shirt. The glance of his skin on Barba’s abdomen had the man cursing and bucking roughly into the back of Sonny’s throat. Sonny hung on, grimaced against his gag reflex, and reached until his fingers could touch the depression in Barba’s skin. Sonny was a lightning rod and Barba was pure electricity and that was all it took for Barba to reach his peak, shooting into the back of his throat in heavy spurts that felt as intrusive as the still-pulsing cock resting on Sonny’s tongue.
Sonny’s fingers never strayed.
They ran over that indentation over and over again, even when Barba started to shake and when Sonny swallowed him down. If given a few more minutes he could probably come untouched - just from this, just the pads of his fingers tracing the ghost of Barba’s body modification. If he took a little longer cleaning Barba up, licking every trace of his sharp tang from his skin, who was to know it was because of this?
The moment ended when Barba yanked him up off the floor and backed him against the bookshelf, shoving his hands down Sonny’s pants and taking hold.
It doesn’t take long.
Sonny comes with his eyes glued to Barba’s pierced skin.
The second time Sonny sees it, they’re in court.
It’s been two weeks since he became aware of its existence and his preoccupation hadn’t even begun to dwindle. In the persistent lull between cases he found himself thinking about it more and more, never quite gathering the courage to ask Barba about it directly. He knew what the answer would be - an eye roll and dismissive sigh, probably some dig at his own age.
If you’re wanting to fuck the Rafael that had that ring, he’d say, You’re about twenty years too late.
But Sonny doesn’t want to fuck Rafael from twenty years ago.
Sonny wants to fuck the Rafael that’s in front of him now, pacing in front of the jury box while looking effortlessly composed and certain about his opening statements. This is one of the first images Sonny reacted to with Barba, years ago. The confidence, the smug smirk that somehow didn’t make him look like a total dick. The genius, because surely that’s what Barba had in spades to be able to pull some of the stunts he had in this courtroom. Even now he’s the smartest person in the room and the public defender sitting a few feet away has only just realized that he doesn’t stand a chance.
Barba is fucking gorgeous.
Gorgeous in his charcoal suit and pristine white dress shirt, no waistcoat today, the startling red tie bringing the green of his eyes roaring to life. Sonny followed the line of that tie, leading to its inevitable conclusion behind Barba’s zipper, but a shadow in his new favorite place catches his eye again. Sonny stares a little harder, trying not to be too obvious in case any jurors are looking his way. Barba turns this way and that, never staying in place for long enough for Sonny to be sure of what he’s seeing. It isn’t until Barba pauses in front of the gallery and smoothes his tie down that Sonny is convinced.
Barba’s thumb catches.
It’s less than a second, no one would know unless they were an obsessed freak staring intently at Barba’s middle, but Sonny is exactly that kind of freak so he notices instantly.
Barba’s thumb catches as it trails down the length of his tie and comes up just a hair, suggesting a bump under his clothes just above his waistline. Sonny swallows hard and wonders what the chances were of Barba suddenly deciding to put a ring in again? Coincidence? Maybe his staring had been noticed after all. Sonny had really done his best to be discreet. Maybe Barba didn’t know.
His eyes dart up to meet Rafael’s as he concludes his statements and Sonny doesn’t miss the self-satisfied smirk on his lover’s face.
He totally fucking knew.
Sonny watched that shadow the rest of the afternoon, trying to make out the shape. The color. He tried to imagine the steel rod currently residing under Barba’s skin and only succeeded in making himself half-hard and frustrated. Barba looked particularly radiant as Sonny snuck out of the courtroom, desperately in need of fresh air and a distraction.
The distraction comes later, when Barba leaves the courthouse and is met by a gaggle of reporters on the front steps. He talks to them with practiced ease and no one seems to know about the attorney’s little secret, the one hidden inconspicuously under his tie and the pearlescent buttons of his shirt.
Sonny totally fucking knew.
The third time Sonny sees it, he’s ripping the dress shirt from Barba’s body.
His eyes are drawn to it instantly, desperate.
The ring is stainless steel punctuated with beads of dark ruby red at the ends. It perfectly matches his tie, because of course it fucking does.
Sonny is so turned on his vision has narrowed to a tunnel and his mouth is dry. He rushes, even more than usual, because that glittering piece of jewelry is driving him fucking crazy and Barba is arching his back off the bed like he has some idea of what he’s doing to him. Like he knows that it’s catching the light and forcing Sonny to see red. Every time he catches Sonny staring he’s rewarded with another smirk. Even if they hadn’t been doing this for months, Sonny’s sure he would have known exactly what Barba was thinking.
I see you, Detective.
When he’s ready Sonny collapses on his back, pulling Barba on top of him. Barba sinks down slowly, until Sonny is seated so deep he can’t breathe, and Barba moves his hips so obscenely that Sonny can’t help the long groans pouring from his lungs. All the while his eyes stay glued on the navel ring, admiring the movement as Barba rides him into the mattress. It glimmers and shakes as Barba takes him in, as Barba starts to speed up, as his thighs tighten around Sonny’s hips and as he starts to touch himself.
It blinks a dark scarlet as Barba comes.
It halts and starts.
Back and forth.
Up and down as Barba spills across Sonny’s stomach, as Barba does his best to ride out what was left of his orgasm. His hazy eyes meet Sonny’s when his thighs are shaking, when he can’t bring himself to lift off again. That was Sonny’s cue, one that he’d been waiting for since he’d first gotten Barba into bed.
Sonny rolled them and ended with Barba on his back, legs wrapped around Sonny’s narrow waist as he pushes in again. This time he keeps his eyes on Barba’s face, on his lips as Sonny’s efforts are rewarded with breathy whines and outright cries as Sonny hits his prostate with every thrust.
Music, Sonny thinks to himself.
He manages to give Barba a few sloppy kisses before he can’t take it anymore, before the insistent rub of metal against his stomach is too much for him to process. He rears back and pulls himself from Barba’s body, admiring the reflexive clench of his hole in Sonny’s absence. It was the last straw as he whips off the condom and takes himself into his fist, twisting over the head of his cock as Barba looks on, mouth open, eyes drawn downward. The pressure builds and presses hard against the base of his spine, nearly bowling him over as it breaks and washes over him. He strains to keep his eyes open, determined to burn this into his memory.
Sonny watches as his come splashes over the ring, smothering the ruby red in milky white until it’s gone. Until it’s buried and until come has welled up in Barba’s navel and started to drip down his sides. Sonny wrings every last drop from himself, until he’s bucking against the overstimulation and his legs are shaking with the strain of holding himself upright. He can vaguely hear Barba talking, praising him. His ears are ringing too loud to understand any of it.
Finally he collapses on top of his lover, pressing wet kisses along the edge of his jaw and the underside of his chin.
“Satisfied?” Barba asks breathlessly and Sonny doesn’t think for a second that he’s talking about anything other than the come-slathered jewelry between them.
“Very,” Sonny replies, head tilted back and breathing at the ceiling.