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“I didn’t want anyone to ever know.”

Chapter Text

Carisi approached Barba’s office nervously. He didn’t want to; everything screamed at him to turn around and walk away. He was shaking and sweaty… but if there was a time to do this, it was now.
“No time like the present, right?” he thought to himself as he knocked on the ADA’s door and waited briefly before walking in and shutting the door behind him.

“Detective Carisi, what can I do for you?” Barba asked, barely glancing up from the work on his desk.
“Ah, counsellor… you got a minute?” Carisi replied anxiously.
“Not really,” Barba sighed quietly under his breath before replying properly, “Yes,” gesturing for the younger man to sit, and walking over to sit across from him. As soon as Carisi sat down his leg began to jiggle nervously.
“Is this about the Weber case?” Barba inquired seriously.
“Y-yeah. You said that, in order to build a strong case, you needed more victims to come forward, right?” the detective asked hesitantly.
“Yes, but we have yet to get anyone to come forward-“ Carisi cut him off.
“I… know of one.”
Barba’s brows furrowed.
“Another victim?”
Carisi nodded.
“Do you think they’d be willing to testify?”
Now Carisi felt like he was suffocating.
“Ah… I’m not sure.”
“Alright, I can talk with him, or you could. It’s not like we haven’t dealt with cases like this before.”

Carisi felt numb all over. “What are you doing?” he argued with himself.
“Is everything alright, detective?” Barba questioned, rousing Carisi from his thoughts.
“Um… yea-no. Counsellor…” he started quietly, “I need to confess something.”
Barba frowned intriguingly, tilting his head to the side slightly.
The room was silent for a few brief moments.
“I-it… it’s me.”
The ADA seemed confused.
Carisi sighed and spoke slowly to ease the fear in his voice.
“Counsellor, your victim… is me.”

Barba closed his eyes briefly and nodded. To say that he was shocked would be an understatement.
“Okay. I have some questions- well, lots actually.”
Carisi just stared at Barba’s shoes.

----------------

“It happened while I was in high school. I was failing, and he asked me to stay after class so that we could address it.”

Carisi couldn’t make eye contact with Barba, in fact, he couldn’t even look at him, but he knew that the ADA had nodded encouragingly for him to continue.

He took a deep breath before continuing.
“He told me to close the door, I just assumed it was to make our meeting private, not so he that could get me alone, and…” he trailed off; he couldn’t say it, he never had, not in relation to himself anyways.
After a momentary pause, he continued.
“He said that there was nothing that I could do coursework-wise, but that if I helped him out, he’d be willing to consider it for extra credit.”

Flashback to 15-year-old Dominick Carisi

Dominick was miserable. He sucked at all of the sciences, chemistry, physics, and biology, and hated them even more. He was failing, and he had asked, practically begged, his teacher for something to boost his mark up just enough so he’d pass. He’d lucked out; Mr. Weber had agreed, and had asked him to stay after school to work on whatever it was.
He walked into the science lab and Mr. Weber looked up from his desk.
“Dominick, glad you could make it! Please close the door.” The older man said, nodding towards the exit. He closed the door and walked towards his teacher.
“Uh, thank you, sir, for meeting with me. I really need to pass, or my parents will kill me!”
Mr. Weber chuckled.
“Not literally, I hope.”
Dominick grimaced.
“Ah, you don’t know many Italians, do ya?”
Mr. Weber laughed again, and Dominick smiled.
“Please, take a seat. Relax.”
Dominick sat on a desk close to his teacher’s.
“So, Dominick, next week is your midterm.”
Dominick groaned inwardly.
“How do you think you’ll do?”
“I’m not sure, sir.”
“Well, to be honest, I’m not too sure either. But, like I said, you could help me out…”
His teacher stood up and walked towards him.
“I’d be willing to bump your mark up if you did a really good job.”
“Maybe report card day won’t be so bad after all…” Dominick thought.
“Sir, I really need to pass; I’ll do anything.”
Mr. Weber smiled.
“Excellent, that’s what I’d hoped you say.”

Back to modern day

“Carisi?” Barba probed gently.
Carisi inhaled sharply before clearing his throat and glancing up at Barba.
“Uh, right. H-he walked behind me and put his hand on my shoulder. I… I didn’t even know what to expect. I-I had no idea what he was going to do.”
A sad look crossed Barba’s face.
“Caris-Dominick… you know that this was not your fault. Jacob Weber is a serial abuser, who has been abusing the trust of adolescent boys for decades. It’s not your fault.”
Carisi just chewed on his bottom lip.

-----------------------------------------------------------------
The silence in ADA Barba’s office was deafening. For once, both men were rendered subsequently speechless. Eventually, Barba broke the silence.
“How long did this go on for?”
Carisi was numbed to the point of feeling like he could barely breath.
“A few months.” He mumbled.
“I failed the class, so I had to retake it. I passed the second time though, and after that he left me alone.”
Barba nodded, knowing that this man, this predator, had likely failed Carisi on purpose to keep him in his class longer.
“Ok. And how old were you when this happened?”
“Old enough to know better, and to fight back.” He’d thought.
“F-fifteen, sixteen.”

Flashback to 15-year-old Dominick Carisi

Mr. Weber was standing behind him, and put both his hands on Dominick’s shoulders. Dominick squirmed uncomfortably ever so slightly.
And then the older man leaned over Dominick, like a lion about to devour a gazelle.

“Tell me Dominick… are you a virgin?” The older man inquired with a smirk.
“W-what?!” Dominick panicked, twisting his body around to look at his teacher with a look on his face that was a mixture of shock and fear.
“Have you ever had sex?”
Dominick felt paralyzed.
“Ever sucked another man off?”

In the same moment, Dominick leapt off of the desk and made for the door, and his teacher grabbed his arm, yanking him backwards toward his body. The older man placed his hand tightly across Dominick’s mouth and nose.

“Are you going to be a good boy? Or am I going to have to shove something into that pretty little mouth of yours?
Tears stung Dominick’s eyes, and he choked back a sob before nodding slightly.
“Good. Now, lets have some fun.”

Back to modern day

Carisi was trembling.
“I-I’ve never told anyone before. No one knows.” He said, shaking his head. Then, in an even quieter voice, borderline whispering, he confessed:
“I didn’t want anyone to ever know.”

Chapter Text

Carisi was trembling.

“I-I’ve never told anyone before. No one knows.” He said, shaking his head. Then, in an even quieter voice, borderline whispering, he confessed:

“I didn’t want anyone to ever know.”

------------------------------------------------

 Carisi is sitting with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands.

Barba, who is leaned forward, sighed sadly.

 

“Car-Dominick… do you wish to testify?” Barba asks carefully.

Carisi moves his hands from his face to slightly hanging between his knees, his head still turned down.

“I… I don’t… I don’t really know.” He stammers.

“I don’t want him to get away with this, again. I don’t want him to keep… hurting kids.” He shakes his head.

“This… what happened, to all these kids… what’s been going on for YEARS,” Carisi looked up at Barba, now feeling disgusted and angry with himself, “That is on me, that is MY fault.” He said, his finger now jabbing himself in the chest pointedly.

Barba shook his head.

“No one is to blame, except Jacob Weber. You were a CHILD, Dominick!”

“I was a teenager! I knew better!” Carisi snapped back.

Barba sighed and looked away. The intensity of the younger man’s gaze was a little overwhelming, which was saying a lot considering the situations he had been in in the court room and while making deals with some of the worst people on the planet.

 

“I am asking if you are willing to testify because then you would need to file an official complaint.” He said, again choosing his words carefully. Carisi was obviously in a fragile emotional state right now, and Barba didn’t want to tip him over the edge.

Carisi remained silent, once again looking down at his hands and the ground.

“You know, probably more than anyone else, that we cannot use your disclosure in court unless you file a complaint with SVU.”

 

It took a few moments for Carisi to understand what Barba was really trying to tell him… he should have known that he could not just tell Barba what happened to him, he would also have to talk about it, in court, and even to his coworkers… at the very least he would have to tell the Lieutenant.

Now he felt nauseous.

 

“Okay.” Carisi said after a few minutes, which felt more like several hours to both men.

“I’ll do it. I’ll testify.”

Barba nodded, got up, and stepped out of the room to make a phone call to Lieutenant Benson.

 

----------------------------

 

“Benson?” the Lieutenant answered, standing at home in her kitchen.

“Olivia? I need you to come and meet me at my office, as soon as possible.”

“Um, okay. Sure. What’s going on?” Liv asked worriedly.

Barba sighed.

“A victim, in the Weber case, has come forward. I need you to take his statement. He’s here at my office right now.”

“Okay. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“Thank you, Liv.”

 

---------------------------

 

Half an hour later, Barba met Olivia outside of his office.

 

“Thank you for coming, Liv. I have to tell you something before we go in…” Barba said, with one hand rubbing the back of his head, and the other in his pocket.

“The man that’s in my office? It’s Carisi.” Barba explained discreetly.

“Oh, Carisi…” Olivia put her hand over her eyes and shook her head. She was more than a little shocked. Some people… she could tell that they had experienced trauma at some time in their lives; Carisi was so outgoing and positive. She never would have suspected that he was a survivor.

Olivia wiped her hand across her face, held her cheek, and nodded.

“Okay. Let’s go talk to him.”

 

----------------------------

 

The two entered the room to find Carisi standing by the window, with his hands in his pockets. He didn’t even look up when Olivia and Barba entered.

 

“Carisi? How are you doing?” Liv said gently, walking near him, while Barba opted to sit down on a couch.

Carisi swallowed hard before turning around.

“Lieutenant.” He said, nodding at her, his eyes not meeting hers.

Olivia gave him a small, sad smile.

 

---------------------------

 

Carisi was sitting across from Olivia and Barba, trying to think of how, or where, to begin.

 

“I… don’t know where to start.” He finally admitted.

“That’s okay. How about, you just start from the beginning.” Olivia suggested.

Carisi nodded, feeling kind of ridiculous for struggling so hard with this.

“He was my tenth-grade science teacher. I’ve never been any good at science… I just wanted to pass the class. I thought…” Carisi swallowed before continuing, “I thought he’d have me inventory the class supplies or do an extra research assignment.”

Olivia nodded encouragingly.

Carisi licked his lips.

 

Flashback to Fifteen-year-old Carisi

 

When it was all over Dominick sat on the floor, his back against a desk, wearing just his socks. His eyes were tightly shut and his hand was across his mouth, a feeble attempt of the young boy’s to stave off a sob. Mr. Weber was standing a few feet away putting his clothes back on. The world stood still, and everything was silent for several minutes.

 

Eventually, Mr. Weber’s gruff voice broke through the veil of shock that Dominick was entrenched in.

“Get dressed. The janitor will be coming around soon to empty the trash bins, and I have to get home.”

Dominick opened his eyes and nodded wordlessly before getting up and gathering up his clothes. He got dressed slowly, acutely aware of how much pain he was in, while Mr. Weber sat at his desk marking tests… as if nothing had happened.

Chapter Text

Flashback to Fifteen-year-old Dominick Carisi

When it was all over Dominick sat on the floor, his back against a desk, wearing just his socks. His eyes were tightly shut and his hand was across his mouth, a feeble attempt of the young boy’s to stave off a sob. Mr. Weber was standing a few feet away putting his clothes back on. The world stood still, and everything was silent for several minutes.

Eventually, Mr. Weber’s gruff voice broke through the veil of shock that Dominick was entrenched in.

“Get dressed. The janitor will be coming around soon to empty the trash bins, and I have to get home.”

Dominick opened his eyes and nodded wordlessly before getting up and gathering up his clothes. He got dressed slowly, acutely aware of how much pain he was in, while Mr. Weber sat at his desk marking tests… as if nothing had happened.

Back to modern day

 

“Carisi?” Olivia asked with concern, now sitting beside Carisi and gently touching his shoulder to rouse him from his thoughts.

“Hmm?” Carisi turned to Olivia, forgetting for a brief moment where he was and what he was doing. Once reality hit him again, he looked away and mumbled a “Sorry.”

“It’s okay. Take your time.” Olivia said, nodding empathetically. Barba was still seated across from them, legs crossed, listening quietly.

Carisi took a calming breath before continuing.

“After that first time… it became a regular thing.” Carisi said, pausing every few words to steady his voice.

“Okay. How often was regular?” Olivia’s head was tilted to the side so that she could see the young detective’s face.

Carisi sighed deeply.

“He… sent a note home, saying that he was going to tutor me privately, once a week. My parents…” Carisi shook his head bitterly, “My parents were… were happy, that they wouldn’t need to fork over thousands of dollars for me to pull my grades up.”

“So, once a week.”

Carisi nodded, a sour taste filling his mouth.

 

Flashback to Fifteen-year-old Dominick Carisi

It had been a week since Dominick met with Mr. Weber. When he had gotten home that night he had immediately gone and showered, trying desperately hard not to alert his parents, or any of his sisters, as to how much pain he was in as he made his way to the bathroom. He had scrubbed the skin on his arms and thighs near raw before he broke down sobbing. He felt… well he didn’t really know how he felt. Confused, angry, disgusted, ashamed, afraid… none of those fully explained what was going on inside of him. How could he have let this happen? Why didn’t he fight back? Why didn’t he scream? Hell, why didn’t he tell his parents as soon as he’d gotten home?

In the days since the assault, Dominick was still not sure how he was feeling, or what he was going to do about it. He had begun sitting in the back during his classes, too overwhelmed and distracted to pay attention.

“… Can anyone name two mammals that have a symbiotic relationship? Anyone? Dominick maybe?”

Hearing his name being called roused Dominick from his thoughts, and he looked up at his teacher.

“Dominick, am I boring you?”

Everyone turned around to look at him.

“Um… no, sir.”

Mr. Weber stared at him, narrowing his eyes.

“I’d like you to stay after class, please.”

Dominick felt like the wind had been kicked out of him, as the rest of the class teasingly “ooohh’ed” at a fellow student getting into trouble.

He nodded silently in response, a lump forming in the back of his throat. What if… what if, as soon as they were alone together, what happened last week, happened again?

------------------------

“Dominick, I’d like you to give this letter to your parents, and have them sign the permission slip. I’d like it by tomorrow, please.”

Dominick accepted the sealed, white envelope from his teacher. They were alone in the science lab, and Dominick’s knees felt so weak that he actually held onto the edge of Mr. Weber’s desk.

“W-what is it?” he asked, purposely staring at the envelope in his hands, rather than looking up at his teacher.

“I’m volunteering to tutor you; that way, you’ll pass, and won’t have to go to summer school. A nice, young boy like you should be spending his summers outside, running around, and playing sports, not cooped up in a classroom.”

Dominick felt sick to his stomach.

Back to Modern Day

 

Carisi’s hands were shaking, and he clasped them together tightly to try and hide it.

Olivia was nodding again.

“Okay, okay… And what would happen during these meetings?” She asked, glancing up at Barba, who returned her look of concern. No matter how many years she had worked at Special Victims, asking this question, and hearing the answers, never got easier. Even knowing what Jacob Weber did to his other victims didn’t make this less difficult to hear from one of the Lieutenant’s most promising detectives.

Caris sighed heavily.

“… it Depends. Depends on what kind of mood he was in, depends on… on h-how good I was….” He trailed off, staring at his hands as he spoke.

He shut his eyes tight, his face scrunching up, and took a long, deep breath, before forcing himself to say what he had long tried to pretend never happened.  

“H-he… he would m-make me… have sex… or touch him… o-or use my mouth. S-sometimes, he would touch me back…” Carisi was barely speaking above a whisper, leading Barba to have to strain a little to hear him.

“Sometimes, I think that’s the part I hated the most…”

 

Flashback to Fifteen-year-old Dominick Carisi

 

It had been about a month since Dominick had begun meeting with his science teacher for “tutoring.” So far, they hadn’t worked on anything remotely close to science.

Their first tutoring lesson (which Dominick had tried to get out of, but was caught by Mr. Weber, who had grabbed his arm and pulled him back as he was leaving the classroom - “Going somewhere Dominick? Remember, we have our first tutoring session today.”), begun with his teacher locking the door behind them, then promptly forcing him against a wall. His teacher then started to kiss and nip at his neck, while rubbing and touching Dominick through his jeans.

Dominick whimpered, and shut his eyes tightly, trying desperately to go somewhere else in his mind, to pretend that none of this was happening… he tried that is, before he started to feel himself react to what the older man was doing to him. His eyes flew open, and he immediately struggled to push Mr. Weber away from him, who just wrapped his hand tightly around Dominick’s mouth, holding him in place.

“You’re not going anywhere. I know you like this. You want it!”

Dominick, still struggling to break free, had started to cry.

Mr. Weber removed his hand from the young boy’s mouth, only to replace it with his lips, and used his now-free hand to continue molesting the young boy.

 

Back to modern day

 

Everyone was quiet and Carisi felt… well, much the same as he felt after the first time Mr. Weber did what he did, though mostly ashamed and disgusted. He knew deep down that the Lieutenant and the ADA were not thinking that he was disgusting, and dirty, and he had been working at SVU long enough to know that shame was… normal, if there was anything normal in what had happened to him. But still, he couldn’t help but feel shame and like he was dirty, despite the fact that the last time his teacher had made him do anything was years ago.

It was, surprisingly, Barba who broke the silence, speaking in the softest tone that either Olivia or Carisi had ever heard from him.

“Thank you, Dominick. I know that none of that was easy for you to say.”

Carisi didn’t respond, just swallowed and looked away.

“Um, well… it’s late, so how about we get someone to give you a ride home, and we’ll pick this up tomorrow after you’ve gotten some rest.” Olivia suggested.

Carisi was going to protest, to say that he could get himself home, but suddenly felt exhausted, and nodded okay instead.

“Um, I can… give him a ride home, Liv.” Barba volunteered.

 Olivia nodded, and placed her hand on Carisi's shoulder gently, who looked back down at his hands.

"Okay. Go home, get some sleep, and....." Olivia paused to sigh quietly, "And we'll add this to the long list of Jacob Weber's charges tomorrow morning." 

Chapter Text

“Um, well… it’s late, so how about we get someone to give you a ride home, and we’ll pick this up tomorrow after you’ve gotten some rest.” Olivia suggested.

Carisi was going to protest, to say that he could get himself home, but suddenly felt exhausted, and nodded okay instead.

“Um, I can… give him a ride home, Liv.” Barba volunteered.

 

----------------------------

Admittedly, Carisi never imagined Rafael Barba as someone who drove… he’s not really sure how he imagined the counsellor made it to court, or his office, or to SVU… he just figured Barba just kind of appeared there.

The two had been awkwardly driving in silence for close to twenty minutes; Barba, lost in his thoughts, and Carisi still trying to calm his shaking hands.

“It’s um… it’s the second one on the right, there.” Carisi said, pointing out the passenger side window.

Barba pulled over and parked outside of Carisi’s apartment building, but neither of the two made any moves to get out of the car.

Finally Barba sighed heavily, the evenings events having worn him out.

“Carisi… you should really go upstairs and get some sle-“

“I can’t.” the younger man said abruptly, staring out the window at his building.

Barba turned to him, his brow furrowed with concern.

“I… I’m afraid… to be alone. Of… of what I’ll do if I’m b-by myself…”

Barba nodded slowly, swallowing nervously.

He spoke hesitantly, a touch of sadness pouring through.

“Dominick… should I be taking you to a hospital?”

Carisi shook his head.

“No, no. It-it’s nothing like that. I just…” Carisi sighed heavily.

“I don’t… feel safe, by myself. I just… I feel like a damn kid again. Alone.” Carisi said, shaking his head and making a sound that was similar to a bitter chuckle, only more empty sounding and without the joy behind it.

“You are not alone. You have Liv and I, and we’ll be with you throughout all of this. You’ll never be alone in this.”

Barba spoke slowly, hoping that the words would resonate with the young detective.

Carisi stayed quiet, continuing to stare out the window.

Another minute or so passed before Barba got out of the car and walked over to the passenger side door, opening it.

“Come on. I’ll walk you up, make sure you get settled.”

Carisi stared at Barba’s shoes for a few moments, before unbuckling his seat belt and getting out of the car.

 

--------------------

 

Carisi’s apartment looked nothing like Barba had imagined. He was surprised to find that Carisi’s home looked a little like a mixture of Patrick Bateman’s apartment from American Psycho and Gary and Brooke’s condo from The Break-Up, rather than a random assemble of furniture collected since Carisi’s college days. Barba was suddenly curious as to what the rest of the young detective’s apartment looked like…

As soon as they had walked in, Carisi had mumbled something that sounded like “Make yourself comfortable” and run off somewhere, leaving the ADA standing awkwardly in the front entryway. After a few minutes, the middle-aged lawyer decided to take the younger man up on his offer, and made his way over to the adjoining living room. As he walked in, Barba was pleasantly shocked by the sight of an oversized bookshelf against the far left wall, holding dozens of books, the majority of which appeared to be law books, as well as dozens of framed photographs on the walls. He made his way over to one of them; this one seemed to be of a much younger Carisi – maybe eleven or twelve – and three girls, one that was clearly older, one that was clearly younger, and one that looked like she may have been the same age as the boy. In the photo, the four were sitting at a table, young Dominick Carisi was grinning and holding the youngest girl on his lap, while the other girls were standing across from them. Barba smiled slightly, and turned to another photo. This one seemed to be from just a few years ago, of Carisi holding a small infant, who was adorned in a light yellow onsie reading “I ❤︎ my Uncle.” Just then Carisi walked in, now wearing a pair of sweat pants and a white t-shirt.

 

Carisi leaned against the archway that lead into the hallway, and gestured to the photograph.

“That’s my nephew. He’s my sister’s, Bella’s, son.”

Barba remained quiet for a moment, trying to put together what he wanted to say. Finally he tucked his hands into his jacket pockets, turned so that he was fully facing Carisi, and spoke: “You know… what you said earlier, about feeling alone, I understand it, I do, but I also see that you have a lot of people around you that care about you. You have your family, me, Liv, and the rest of SVU.”

Carisi eyebrows raise in surprise at Barba mentioning that he cared about him, though if the counsellor noticed, he didn’t say anything. Carisi had always felt like Barba merely tolerated him…

Barba continued.

“What you did today… it’s going to protect hundreds of kids, kids like your nephew, and bring justice to those who couldn’t be protected. I.. honestly, I don’t think there’s a braver thing that a person could do.”

For the first time all night, Carisi gave Barba a small smile.

 

THE NEXT DAY

Lieutenant Benson was standing outside of the interrogation room, watching Jacob Weber and his lawyer through the one-way mirror, as Barba walked into the room. He nodded, and gave her a soft “Hey” as he walked over to peer thrugh the glass himself. He noted Liv’s look of contempt as she stared at the man that had abused so many kids… including detective Carisi. He sighed exhaustedly as Liv turned her back to the glass and looked over at him, her arms now crossed.

“Are you ready for this?” he asked her with seriousness, yet also a tinge of concern.

Olivia sighed quietly.

“As ready as I could be in this situation.”

Barba nodded, and pursed his lips in agreement.

“Okay, lets do this then.”

Chapter Text

THE NEXT DAY

Lieutenant Benson was standing outside of the interrogation room, watching Jacob Weber and his lawyer through the one-way mirror, as Barba walked into the room. He nodded, and gave her a soft “Hey” as he walked over to peer thrugh the glass himself. He noted Liv’s look of contempt as she stared at the man that had abused so many kids… including detective Carisi. He sighed exhaustedly as Liv turned her back to the glass and looked over at him, her arms now crossed.

“Are you ready for this?” he asked her with seriousness, yet also a tinge of concern.

Olivia sighed quietly.

“As ready as I could be in this situation.”

Barba nodded, and pursed his lips in agreement.

“Okay, lets do this then.”

-------------------------

 As soon as ADA Barba and Lieutenant Benson entered the interrogation room, Jacob Weber’s lawyer immediately stood up and began to defend his client.

“Why are we here again? You’ve already charged my client, what more could we possibly have to say to you before trial?”

Olivia looked at him coldly.

“Sit down, counsellor.”

Barba felt like the room temperature had dropped ten degrees. All three of them then sat down in the cold, hard, metal interrogation room chairs.

Benson opened a manila folder containing a photograph of a teenaged boy, several forms, and typed notes. She removed the photo and placed it in front of Jacob Weber, who stared at it for a moment, before sliding it towards the middle of the table.

“I don’t know him.” He denied, a blank looks on his face.

“Look again.” Benson demanded with authority.

“Was this a former student of mine? I had hundreds of them, you cannot possibly expect me to remember-“

Benson cut him off.

“Dominick Carisi.” She said pointedly.

Weber blinked back a possible look of recognition at Carisi’s name, and feigned trying to remember, before shaking his head.

“No… I don’t recall having a student by that name…”

“Really?” Benson asked, grabbing one of the pages from the folder.

“Because he sure as hell had a lot to say about you.”

She passed the men across from her the page, and Jacob Weber’s lawyer snatched it immediately, scanning it for info.

“Could I have a moment with my client, alone?” The lawyer asked after a moment.

Barba frowned; him and Benson got up and left the room.

----------------------

As soon as they stepped out of the room, they were surprised to see Carisi, his arms folded in a disguised way of handling his anxiety and fear, and his back to the one-way window.

“Carisi, what are you doing here?” Olivia asked, surprised and concerned.

“I… I just wanted to see for myself… I wanted to know w-what he’d say… about me.” He replied, avoiding eye contact.

Olivia’s face and demeanour softened.

“I understand, but you know you can’t be here right now, listening to the interview. It could compromise the case.” Barba reminded Carisi, an unexpected gentleness in his voice.

 

Barba was compassionate of course – it was very difficult to do the job that he did without compassion – but it wasn’t very often that he tried to comfort others. Sure, he had comforted Olivia on occasion, but she was a close friend. While Carisi was a sort of friend too, in this situation he was a victim, and dealing with victims was not his forte.  

 

After a moment, Carisi nodded solemnly.

Olivia put a hand gently on his shoulder.

“How about you go and sit in my office, and we’ll talk when we’re done here?” She suggested.  

Carisi sighed, and nodded, before leaving the room.

At that moment, Jacob Weber’s defense attorney knocked on the window, signalling to Benson and Barba that he was ready to talk.

 

-----------------------------

“Ok… I admit to knowing Dominick and having a relationship with him.”
Olivia scoffed, looking to Barba in disbelief.

“Look, I know how it sounds… it’s inappropriate and unethical to have a relationship with a student-“
“An UNDERAGED student!” Olivia corrected him angrily.

Weber frowned.

“I never made Dominick do anything that he didn’t want to do. We were… we were in love…”

Barba got up abruptly.

“Okay, we’re done here.”

“Dominick was okay with everything that we did! He never said no!” he shouted at them as they were leaving the room.

Olivia turned back to him.

“Even if that were true, it’s still statutory rape.”

She tried to keep her voice even, so as not to tip the man off as to how angry she was. This case was personal, and she had to try and not let him know that.

 

-----------------------

Olivia knocked on the door before entering her office, where Carisi was waiting.

Carisi had been up and pacing, but sat down when Olivia entered the room, Barba close behind. Carisi noted that the Lieutenant seemed angry. Olivia sat down, and Barba stood behind Carisi, his arms crossed, and leaned against the wall. All three of them remained quiet for one long minute. Carisi broke the silence, speaking quietly, his eyes cast down.

“What did he say?”

Oliva remained quiet; Barba sighed before answered the younger man.

“He said… that you two had a consensual, albeit inappropriate, relationship.”  

 

Flashback to Fifteen-year-old Dominick Carisi

 

Dominick had felt completely numbed for weeks. He had tried, desperately, to get out of his “tutoring” sessions… pretending he was sick, claiming to join an after school club, and then actually joining a club, but his parents wouldn’t budge and made him continue, week after week, to stay after school with Mr. Weber.

He had started to lose weight, and couldn’t concentrate during the day, or sleep at night. His grades in his other classes had started to slip. When his parents questioned him about it, all he could do was shrug.

 

Today, after yet another one of his “tutoring” sessions, his teacher stopped him before he could leave.

“Dominick… I’m worried about you.”

Dominick didn’t respond, he just looked away.

Mr. Weber put an arm around him and started rubbing his back, as if to “reassure” the young boy.

“You know you can tell me anything. You can trust me.”

In a moment of hurt, confusion, and anger, Dominick shoved him away.

“Get away from me! Don’t touch me!” he snapped,

“Calm down, Dominick. There’s no need for that.” Mr. Weber said calmly, approaching the boy with his hands up.

“Just… just leave me alone.” Dominick replied, his voice breaking, as he tried, but failed, to step away before the older man could touch him again. Mr. Weber embraced him, holding Dominick as he began to sob.

“P-please… I-I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Mr. Weber rubbed Dominick’s back gently, murmuring soothing words to the young boy. He felt ashamed, but Dominick couldn’t help but lean into the comfort. He had felt so alone, afraid, and empty, for months…

“It’s okay… I get it. You’re scared… but it’s okay, you don’t need to be afraid, or ashamed, with me!”

Dominick abruptly pulled away and looked up at his teacher.

"It’s okay, you don’t have to lie to me, Dominick… I know you’re gay, and that’s okay! It’s completely natural!”

 “W-what?! No!” He felt like he was going to throw up, and tried to pull away from the older man, but he gripped Dominick tighter.

"Dominick please... I-I love you."

And that's when Dominick punched him in the face, then ran from the room.

 

He had had to wear sweaters and long-sleeved shirts for the next week and a half to cover up the bruises on his arms from where Mr. Weber had gripped him. Mr. Weber, on the other hand, couldn't cover up the black eye Dominick had given him; seeing it made Dominick smile for the first time in weeks.

 

Back to modern day

 

Carisi was shaking, pissed off, and mortified. 

"No! No, that is NOT what happened!" He said, his voice raised, and sounding panicked and out of breath. 

Olivia tried to interject to get him to calm down.
"I did NOT have a...a RELATIONSHIP with him! That's NOT what happened!" 

Olivia raised both her hands and her voice to try and get through to him and quiet both him and his worries. 

She knew how common it was for boys who had experienced abuse to get extremely upset at the suggestion that they might be gay or had been a willing participant in what had happened to them. 

 "Carisi, neither of us think that you two were in a relationship. We know the rationalization that abusers use to make what they did seem okay. We know what he did to you was wrong, it doesn't matter what he said."

"I will make sure that he goes to prison for this, for a very long time." Barba said softly, but sternly.

Chapter Text

Back to modern day

 

Carisi was shaking, pissed off, and mortified. 

"No! No, that is NOT what happened!" He said, his voice raised, and sounding panicked and out of breath. 

Olivia tried to interject to get him to calm down. 
"I did NOT have a...a RELATIONSHIP with him! That's NOT what happened!" 

Olivia raised both her hands and her voice to try and get through to him and quiet both him and his worries. 

She knew how common it was for boys who had experienced abuse to get extremely upset at the suggestion that they might be gay or had been a willing participant in what had happened to them. 

 "Carisi, neither of us think that you two were in a relationship. We know the rationalization that abusers use to make what they did seem okay. We know what he did to you was wrong, it doesn't matter what he said."

"I will make sure that he goes to prison for this, for a very long time." Barba said softly, but sternly.

-----------------------------

It took about half an hour for Carisi to fully calm down. Barba had had to run off somewhere, leaving Olivia alone to work through some paperwork with Carisi. He seemed exhausted, so Olivia ended their meeting early.

“How about we call it a day and finish this later?” She suggested.

Carisi sighed and nodded.

“Also, I think you should take a few days off. This whole process is a lot to handle. I can give you some information on support groups and therap-“
“I can’t take time off, we’re short handed, and what would you tell everyone?” Carisi asked anxiously.

Olivia gave him a look of sympathy, which Carisi resented a little, but understood.

“Carisi, its fine. Your mental health is far more important to me.”

“Well Rollins and Fin are going to want to know why-“
Olivia stopped him there.

“I will think of something.”

Carisi felt concerned, but eventually nodded.

“… Okay.”

 

THE NEXT DAY

Carisi could barely remember how he had made it home – he knew he took the train and walked, but he could not distinctly remember anything specific about his commute, like who had sat next to him, whether he had to wait at a stop light, if he had to wait for the elevator… That night hadn’t been much easier; Carisi had been tossing and turning for hours, and finally decided to just get up for the day around 7am.

He had spent a few hours cleaning his apartment, and now was sitting, numbed, in front of the TV, watching… something, he didn’t really know what. He couldn’t focus. Then he heard his phone buzz and checked it; he was surprised to see a text from Rollins, asking if he wanted Jessie and her to come over later and keep him company. He texted her back, “Sure, I’d like that,” and an hour later she was knocking at his door.

“Hey, Amanda. Hi Jessie!” He said, greeting the two as he opened the door, and leaning down a little to smile at Jessie, who was snuggled in Rollins’ arms.

“Hi.” She replied, giving Carisi a one-armed hug.

He took Jessie from her so that she could put her stuff down, and they made their way to the living room to sit down.

“So, the Lieutenant says that you’re on leave? What happened?” Rollins asked, with concern.

Carisi swallowed nervously but tried not to show her that he was feeling that way.

He nodded.

“Y-yeah, it’s fine. It’s nothing, really. Everything’s fine.”

Rollins’ eyebrows raised; she clearly wasn’t buying it.

“Does this have anything to do with the meeting you had with Barba the other day?”

Carisi’s brows furrowed.

“Wait… why do you know about that?” He replied, his anxiety building.

Does she know? How could she know?” He thought.

Rollins seemed confused.

“You told me, remember? The other day, you said you had to meet with him after work…”

It took him a second, but then Carisi remembered. He had felt so nervous beforehand, it was impossible for Rollins not to notice, and impossible for him to lie about it.

“Oh! Y-yeah, yeah. It was fine, it went fine.”

She still had that look on her face, like she was not buying it.  

Carisi sighed and, thinking fast, told her the truth (or at least a small part of it).

“Fine. I had to talk to Barba because I went to that high school as a kid. I wanted to know if it’d be a conflict of interest.”

Rollins’ eyes got big.

“Wait, you went to that high school?!”

Carisi nodded.

“Y-yeah. All four years.”

“Did this guy teach while you were going there?”

“Um…” he swallowed before continuing, wondering exactly how much he wanted to tell her.

“Yeah, he did.”

Rollins frowned with concern.

His knee started jiggling nervously, and to try and make it seem intentional he moved Jesse to over, as if he was bouncing her for fun.

“Wait, did you have him as a teacher?”

Carisi was feeling very uncomfortable with the direction this conversation had taken. 

It took him a few moments to answer, trying to figure out exactly what to say and how to say it. It sounds silly, why didn’t he just tell her the truth? She would probably find out soon anyways, with the upcoming trial. He stared at Jesse while he answered.

“Yeah, I had him for science in tenth grade.”

“Did you ever hear anything about him? Were there rumours about what he was doing?”

Carisi shook his head.

“No. No, no on ever knew a thing.”

Chapter Text

“Wait, did you have him as a teacher?” Rollins asked, in a voice that was either alarmed or curiosity, Carisi wasn’t sure.

Carisi was feeling uncomfortable with the direction this conversation had taken.

It took him a few moments to answer, trying to figure out exactly what to say and how to say it. It sounds silly, why didn’t he just tell her the truth? She would probably find out soon anyways, with the upcoming trial. He stared at Jesse while he answered.

“Yeah, I had him for science in tenth grade.”

“Did you ever hear anything about him? Were there rumours about what he was doing?”

Carisi shook his head.

“No. No, no on ever knew a thing.”

----------------------------------------------------

Rollins, and Jessie, had hung out at Carisi’s house, watching movies and ordering in takeout, until the late evening. After cleaning up the dinner dishes and putting the leftovers in the fridge, Carisi decided to shower before turning in for the night.

He got into the shower, leaning his hand against the wall directly underneath the showerhead, allowing the steaming hot water to run over his head, neck, and shoulders. He felt some of the tension in his shoulders being released and took a long, deep breath. He stood there, underneath the water, for a lot longer than he needed to, allowing himself to think about everything that had happened over the last two days. He never thought that he’d be in this situation… never thought that he’d tell anyone he worked with, never thought he’d be going to court. The Lieutenant was right about this being a lot to process (not that he doubted her, or didn’t tell… survivors the same thing – would he ever get used to referring to himself as a survivor?) Afterwards he towelled himself dry and headed off to bed.

Flashback to Fifteen-Year Old Dominick Carisi

Dominick had started to get used to this… he knew exactly what to do once his teacher locked the classroom door, knew exactly how to behave, and how to do the things Mr. Weber expected of him (“C’mon now Dominick, you know how I like it. That’s it… that’s my good boy…”) He knew that his teacher didn’t like it when he put up a fuss or tried to push him away; when he did, Mr. Weber was rougher, more forceful, and Dominick was often left with bruises on his arms, hips, and thighs (“Ow, stop! Y-you’re hurting me!” “Well I wouldn’t have to hurt you if you had just done as you were told!”)

Today had started out no different than any of their other “tutoring” sessions over the last several months. He had finished… doing what he’d been doing, when the older man wrapped his arms around him from behind, his mouth close to Dominick’s ear.

“I have a gift for you…” Mr. Weber said in a rough, husky voice.

Dominick squirmed in his teacher’s arms; he really didn’t like the way that that sounded… and besides, he didn’t want anything from this man.

“I-I have to get h-home…” he said, trying his best to keep his voice steady.

“It won’t take long, and I know you’ll love it.” His teacher replied, arms tightening around Dominick as he kissed behind the young boy’s ear.

After a few seconds (which felt like several long minutes to Dominick) Mr. Weber pulled away and turned Dominick around.

“Drop your pants and underwear, and get one the desk.”

Dominick was shaking. He knew what was coming… he didn’t want to do it, but he was too scared of what would happen if he didn’t listen… so he did what he had to.

Even though it was a long time ago, he still vividly remembered how cold the desk had felt on his skin… how he had gripped the edge of the desk tightly in fear, closed his eyes and tried to force his mind and imagination elsewhere… he willed himself to be anywhere other than there, in that room.

But the pain that he had anticipated never came, and instead his senses were engulfed in warmth, and his eyes flew open in shock.

“W-what are you doing?!”

“Shh, it’s okay Dominick. I just want to make you feel as good as you make me feel…” his teacher answered huskily, putting his hand on Dominick’s chest and pushing his body back down onto the desk.

 

Back to modern day

 

Carisi jolted awake, breathing heavily. He was completely drenched in sweat, as were his bedsheets. He was overcome with nausea and had to rush to the adjoining bathroom; afterwards he sat there, wedged between the toilet and the bathroom wall, knees against his chest. He realized that he was shaking when he went to rub his face with his hands, as if to scrub away the nightmare. Eventually he calmed down enough to get up, change his clothes and his bed sheets, before climbing back into bed and, despite the ordeal he’d just experienced, fell back to sleep quickly due to his mental exhaustion.

 

-------------------------

 

Carisi was awakened a few hours later by the sound of his phone ringing. Through groggy eyes he sat up, grabbed his phone, and glanced at the caller ID. It was Barba, and he sighed before picking up.

“Hello?” He answered, his voice still thick with sleep.

“Oh, did I wake you?” Barba said apologetically.

“S’ok. What can I do for you, counsellor?”

“I was hoping to meet with you, today, to go over some things…”  

“… Ok. What time?” Carisi replied, craning his neck to look at the time on his alarm clock, which displayed 8:13AM in bright red numbers.

“I’m due in court at nine, could you meet me outside the courthouse at eleven-thirty? I’m sure Olivia would be fine with you leaving for a few hours.”

“Oh, she told me to take a few days off, so that’s fine. I’ll be there.”

“Oh, okay… Okay, I’ll see you later.”

They both mumbled goodbye before hanging up, and then Carisi lay back down in bed, sighing again.

 

-----------------------------------------------

Carisi decided that since he wasn’t actually working that he would wear more casual clothes to his meeting with Barba: jeans, a t-shirt, and a hoodie. He’d taken the subway and stopped at a coffee cart outside the courthouse, facing away from the grand building. He sat on a bench and drank his coffee while he waited for Barba. It was a brisk morning, but the coffee was keeping him and his hands warm, so he didn’t mind. After waiting a few minutes, he’d spotted the older lawyer walking towards him, and stood up to meet him.

 

“Hey, how are you doing?” Barba asked.

Carisi gave him a small, but tight, smile.
“I’m fine. How was court?”
Barba frowned.

“It was fine. How are you, really?”

Carisi sighed and took a few moments before shaking his head and answering.

“I don’t know. Fine right now…”

Barba nodded understandingly.

“Well… this is part of why I wanted to meet with you. Another boy came forward, and I would like it if you could talk with him.”

Chapter Text

“Hey, how are you doing?” Barba asked.

Carisi gave him a small, but tight, smile.
“I’m fine. How was court?”
Barba frowned.

“It was fine. How are you, really?”

Carisi sighed and took a few moments before shaking his head and answering.

“I don’t know. Fine right now…”

Barba nodded understandingly.

“Well… this is part of why I wanted to meet with you. Another boy came forward, and I would like it if you could talk with him.”

--------------------------------------------

Barba explained the situation to Carisi as they walked from the courthouse to Barba’s office. After Mr. Webber had been arrested, Jason Hernandez, 15, had confided in a teacher that the man had been abusing him too. He had tried to downplay what happened after his parents had been called; he didn’t want to go to the police, he had just needed to tell someone…But the police were called, and SVU detectives showed up. They had taken him to the hospital for an exam (Jason had been mortified; his only solace was that his parents had been asked to leave the room). Afterwards, Olivia called Barba and explained that the boy was scared to testify but would think about doing it. That’s where Carisi came in: Barba wanted Carisi to talk to the boy, maybe persuade him to testify (“His testimony would solidify the case.” Is what Barba had said).

They walked into the corridor to Barba’s office and found a teenage boy sitting in one of the hard, plastic chairs by himself. Jason was a little small for his age, both in height and in frame; he had black hair, just long enough to cover his ears, and light brown skin. He was wearing a navy blue t-shirt, jeans, and a worn pair of sneakers. Barba walked over to him; Carisi noted that the older man slowed his pace slightly, perhaps in an attempt to not startle the teen.

“Jason?” Barba ask when he was a few feet away.

The boy looked up.

“Hi. My name is Rafael Barba, I’m the assistant district attorney assigned to your case. And this is Dominick Carisi.”

Carisi gave the boy a wave and a small smile of acknowledgment.

The boy gave him a small nod. Carisi knew exactly what he was going through… the feeling of numbness and confusion from finally telling someone your secret, and, afterwards, the sensation of everything around you moving both too fast and in slow motion, simultaneously.

“How about we talk in my office?” Barba suggested, gesturing down the hallway to his office door.

Barba shut the door and gestured for Jason to sit down at one of the tables on the far side of his office, opposite his desk. He stopped Carisi from following.

“I’d leave you two alone to talk, but you’re both witnesses, so I have to make sure that you’re not collaborating stories… not that I think you would.” Barba stated quitely.

Carisi looked at the boy, and then back at Barba and shook his head.

“It’s okay. I doubt he’ll feel comfortable being alone…” Carisi replied, “with me, or any man for that matter.” he’d finished thinking.

Barba nodded understandingly and moved to sit on one of the couches, the same ones that hey had sat one just a few days earlier when Carisi had revealed his secret. Carisi sat across from Jason at the table.

“Hi Jason. Like Mr. Barba said, my name’s Dominick. I’m a detective, I work with Olivia Benson, the detective you talked to yesterday.”

“I don’t understand… I already told her everything, why am I here?” Jason asked, sounding upset.

“Okay, I understand that. I get that… you probably just want to stop thinking and talking about what happened. That’s understandable. But, Mr. Barba and I would like to talk to you about testifying.” Carisi was somehow managing to speak calmly, but it was difficult… sitting across from another victim… the guilt of having not said something when he was younger was really weighing on him.

“I already told you, I don’t know if I want to do it!”

Carisi nodded, forcing himself to look Jason in the eye.

“Right, Detective Benson told us that, and I know that the idea of testifying, telling a judge and a jury what happened, is… is terrifying-“

“What do you know?!”

Carisi held the boys gaze.

“You have no idea what I’m going through right now! To have everybody know that I’m a freak! My parents… my mother won’t stop crying, and my father won’t even look at me, and it’s just going to get worse!” Jason was really worked up now, but Carisi let him talk, to help him get even a bit of the anger he was feeling out.

“Actually, Jason, that’s why I’m here…” Carisi said, his voice a little quieter now. He took a breath before continuing.

“I know exactly what you’re going through right now. I’ll be testifying against Mr. Webber as well.”

Jason stared, confusion evidently written on his face.

“So? You’re a cop, you do that all the time… don’t you?”

Carisi smiled for a brief moment and breathed out through his nose, almost as if he had chuckled.

“Your-you’re right, I do, but that’s not what I mean.” Carisi paused for a second before continuing. “I went to the same high school as you do… and I had Mr. Webber as a teacher too.”

The boy’s eyes narrowed questioningly.

“Jason, he did the same things to me.” Carisi confessed, unable to look the boy in the eyes.

Jason was quiet for a moment, and then began to shake his head slowly.

“I… I though- I thought I was the only one…”

Carisi sighed and looked over at Barba, who was eyeing the two younger men with sadness. Carisi looked back at Jason and nodded.

“That’s normal; a lot of people feel that way.”

He remembered feeling that way too, not that long ago. 

--------------------------------------------------------

By the end of their conversation with Jason, he had agreed to testify. He was still afraid, but they had reassured him that they would stay with him every step of the way.

After Jason left Barba drove Carisi home again (he remembered the way without any directions). When they had arrived outside Carisi’s building, Barba stopped the younger man before he could get out of the car.

“Carisi… I know that today could not have been easy on you, so I want to thank you for talking with Jason.”

Carisi gave him a small smile, thanked him for the ride, and left.

When he got into his apartment he closed the door, slid his back down it, sat down on the floor, and began sobbing.

Chapter Text

After Jason left, Barba drove Carisi home again (he remembered the way without any directions). When they had arrived outside Carisi’s building, Barba stopped the younger man before he could get out of the car.

“Carisi… I know that today could not have been easy on you, so I want to thank you for talking with Jason.”

Carisi gave him a small smile, thanked him for the ride, and left.

When he got into his apartment he closed the door, slid his back down it, sat down on the floor, and began sobbing.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Carisi had done something very, very stupid.

It started with having a drink, to help calm himself down. The guilt of having not said something about what his teacher had been doing to him was unbearable. He felt personally responsible for what happened to Jason, and all of the other boys Mr. Webber had abused over the years. He felt disgusted with himself. So he drank. But one drink led to two, which led to three… which ended somewhere around drink number eight or so. Had the night ended there, all he would have woken up to was a massive hangover, but instead drunken Carisi had decided that he needed some comfort. He wanted to feel like he was still loved by someone, anyone…. So he called his ex… from college. If things had ended there then he would have woken up a little embarrassed (and with the aforementioned hangover), but instead he had woken up with an arm around his chest and a head nested in the crook of his neck.

---------------------------------------------------

He’d met Jaime his second year of college and, for Carisi at least, it practically felt like love at first sight. They’d dated for over two years, but come senior year they decided to break things off to focus more on their schoolwork. Carisi had secretly hoped that they’d get back together after graduation, but Jaime was offered a job on the other side of the country, and left before Carisi even had the chance to say goodbye. He probably would have never even talked to his “college sweetheart” ever again had it not been for Facebook’s people you might know section. After they reconnected online Carisi discovered that Jaime had moved back to New York a few months earlier. They’d met for coffee a few times since, but, up until a few weeks ago, Jaime had been in a long-term relationship, so nothing ever came out of their little meet-ups other than reminiscing. 

Carisi lay in bed, with Jaime still cuddled up on his right side, and tried to think of a way to get out of the very awkward conversation that was to come. “Good morning! Last night was a huge mistake. I’m going to go shower, and when I get out you won’t be here. Please lock the door on your way out!” Jaime began to stir beside him, and Carisi took the opportunity to pull away from the other body, and carefully rolled out of bed. He thought he’d lucked out in not waking his partner, but then he heard a “g’morning” being mumbled out as Jaime slowly stretched and began to sit up. Carisi just stood there, staring like a deer in headlights.

“So… last night was…” Jaime said slowly through a small smile.

“Last night was… was… was a huge mistake. Look, Jaime, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t’ve called you. I was drunk and-and lonely…” Carisi rambled, looking away awkwardly and running his fingers through his messy hair.

Carisi didn’t even have to look, he could feel Jaime’s eyes rolling.

“Oh, grow up Sonny. So you were drunk… absolutely wasted actually, but we had fun, didn’t we?” Jaime teased.

“Actually… I can’t really remember anything that happened...” he replied, now feeling nervous. He hated when he got so drunk he couldn’t remember the night before.

“Fine, I’ll just have to remember for the both of us!”

Carisi sighed.

“So, um… what DID happen, last night?”

Jamie sighed, eyes rolling again.

“Nothing. We just made out a little and then went to bed.”

Carisi sighed with relief, and nodded.

“Ok, ok. Good.”

“Wow, tell me how you really feel.” Jamie said, arms crossed.

“O-oh, no! No, I didn’t mean it that way!”

“Relax, pretty boy. Did you really think that, after not seeing each other for, what, ten years, that I would sleep with a hot, drunk, crying mess?”
Now it was Carisi’s turn to roll his eyes.

“I’m taking a shower.” He said, the door swinging shut behind him.

“Can I join you?” Jamie called through the door.

Carisi could practically hear the grin splayed out on his former lover’s face.

--------------------------

Carisi was internally cringing. He felt even worse than he did last night; the pulsing headache he had wasn’t helping.

I cannot believe I called him. What is wrong with me?!”

As he thought this he opened up his medicine cabinet and swallowed some Advil, scooping water form the tap into his mouth by cupping his hand. The he sighed, and looked at himself in the mirror.

“You’re a goddamn mess, Sonny. Pull it together! If you’re this bad now, you’re going to be no use during the trial!”
He bit his lip and looked away. He stood there for a few more moments before making his way into his shower.

He’d only been under the steaming hot water for a few moments when he heard his cell ring in the other room.

Carisi hung his head and sighed. It was probably Leiu; he’d call her back later.

Then he heard a knock on the door.

Ugh, what does he want now, what’s left of my dignity?”

“Hey Sonny, there’s a… Barba?... on the phone for you.”  

Carisi’s eyes grew wide.

Of all the people he wouldn’t want to know about this…

“Why the hell did you answer my phone?!” He yelled, now more angry than irritated.

“Sorry?”
“Tell him I’ll call him back later!”

“Oh, so now you want me to use your phone?”

“Just tell him!” How the hell did he ever date this asshole?

“Alright, alright. Chill.”

After a few seconds Jaime knocked on the door, cracking it a bit so he could be heard easier.

“Hey. That guy said that he wanted to meet you for lunch… Is he your boyfriend?”

Carisi just groaned and shut his eyes.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Barba had been up late… thinking about Carisi, surprisingly. He was worried about the young detective. He couldn’t even imagine what Carisi was going through right now. He shouldn’t have asked him to talk to Jason; on the drive home he was clearly shaken up about actually meeting and talking with another victim of the man that abused his trust and violently ripped away his childhood. At one point during the night he was even tempted to call Carisi to check up on him, but he talked himself out of it, (“He’s probably sleeping…”). But, when he woke up, he was still thinking about checking in with him, so he decided to call and arrange for them to meet for lunch, only… someone else answered Carisi’s phone.

“Hello, Sonny’s phone?”
“H-hi? Sorry, who is this?”

“I’m a… friend of Sonny’s. Who’s this?”

“I-I work with Car- Sonny. Could I talk- is he there?”

Barba was stumbling over his words. Of course Carisi had friends! He was a likeable guy. But Barba couldn’t help but feel a twinge of… of what? Jealously? Barba didn’t get jealous...
“Uh, yeah, just gimme a second. He’s in the shower.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Jaime had left before Carisi got out of the shower (“I guess he can take a hint.” Carisi had thought when he found himself alone in his apartment). Before getting dressed he texted Barba that he’s meet him for lunch at a deli close to the ADA’s office.

Now he was sitting at the deli waiting for NOT-his-boyfriend-Barba. He was already on his second coffee - was undeniably still feeling like crap from last night’s binge. He glanced up from mixing some cream and sugar into the heavenly beverage (he was definitely not a black coffee kinda guy) and spotted Barba as soon as he strode in.

Carisi waved him over to the booth he had in the corner.

“Hey.”

Barba gave him a small smile, which turned into a frown when he glanced down at the table as he sat; he gestured to the dozen-plus sugar and cream packets, which clearly were not all in the one cup of coffee Carisi was holding (the man knew his coffee).

“Rough night?”

Carisi inhaled and sighed loudly.

“You could say that.”

“Does it have anything to do with the man that answered your phone?” Barba asked, his eyes darting away from the younger man sitting across from him.

Carisi sighed again.

“Yeah… that obvious, huh?”

Barba raised his eyebrows.

Carisi sighed, and began to tell the older man everything.

Chapter Text

“Rough night?” Barba asked.

Carisi inhaled and sighed loudly.

“You could say that.”

“Does it have anything to do with the man that answered your phone?” Barba asked, his eyes darting away from the younger man sitting across from him.

Carisi sighed again.

“Yeah… that obvious, huh?”

Barba raised his eyebrows.

Carisi sighed, and began to tell the older man everything.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

"So you're..." Barba asked, his question trailing off into silence.

Carisi's mouth twitched in response, resembling a smile, before returning to a neutral expression. 

"Bi." 
Barba nodded. A look of understanding and realization crossed his face. 

Carisi sighed, suddenly feeling a level of freedom... he'd hid so much for so long, and now there was someone out there who knew everything. 

"I dated only girls throughout middle school and high school… but when I got to college, and when I met Jaime, I realized that... that I liked both, guys and girls." Carisi recalled with a shrug and a far-away look in his eyes. 

Barba nodded again.

The waitress came by and poured a cup of coffee for Barba, and the two sat in silence for several minutes. Carisi hated silence.