Actions

Work Header

Audible Cracks

Chapter Text

Rumpled white sheets sticking to your skin, soft breaths filling the otherwise silent room. His chest moved up and down evenly, it had been for at least a half hour. He was fast asleep, but you were still awake, anxiety twisting and knotting up in your stomach. You hadn’t felt so alone in months. Why had you ever said anything? You should have left it alone and quietly tried to get over it on your own, but instead Liv was going to the DA tomorrow for a search warrant that would hopefully collect some sort of evidence of Casey’s obsession with you. Your name was going to be dragged through the mud and it was a guarantee that Rafael’s would as well. You stared at Rafael’s back that was peeking out from under the sheets, trying to memorize every inch of skin. He wasn’t going to be yours for much longer, not when you told him. You looked over at the clock, it was one am and you should have been asleep, but you couldn’t with everything that was going on in your head. Rafael had been happier since you got home from the hospital, he had finally told his mom that the two of you were engaged which she had inadvertently revealed to half the squad at the courthouse. He had finally returned to work about a week ago once the antibiotic treatment was finished and his infection was gone. His cast was supposed to come off in a week. You hated the fact that all of that pain had been your fault. He would be better off without you. All of this was a mess. You wanted to go back to before you had ever met Rafael, before you could hurt him and never come to Manhattan. You would have been better off with the sleeping pills, or at least Rafael would’ve been.

“What are you thinking about?” His voice startled you. When you looked over, his green eyes were studying your face. He had rolled over at some point, resting on his side, head propped up in his hand, “I know that look,”

“It’s nothing Rafi, go back to bed,” You whispered.

“Well obviously it’s not nothing,” he countered, moving to sit up, “Are you nervous about the search warrant?”

“I feel like I’m gonna be sick,” you groaned, crawling out of bed and heading toward the bathroom. Rafael’s soft footsteps hurried after you. He rubbed your back while you threw up, whispering soothing words by your ear. Afterwards, you curled up against his chest, head tucked against his shoulder.

“How many times have you thrown up this week?” He asked softly, holding you tight.

“Ten,” you murmured, wrapping your arms around his midsection. He managed to squeeze his hand between his shoulder and your head so he could feel your forehead,

“You should stay home tomorrow,” he suggested, but you shook your head,

“No, I have too much to do,” you argued, sniffling,

“You should at least see a doctor,” Rafael murmured.

“I’d rather not,” you were being difficult and you knew it, but it would make things easier if you could distance yourself. It had been months of having Rafael anytime you wanted him. Having company when you came home from work, having someone to laugh with and to take care of, and it would be an adjustment to return to being alone.

“Y/N,” he whispered, “What’s going on?” He always could read your moods. When you didn’t answer, he playfully dug his fingers into your side, making you laugh as he tickled you,

“Stop hahahaha,” you begged, trying to swat his hands away, “I hate you, stop it,” he finally did, a stupid, smug smirk on his face. “That was so mean,” you groaned breathlessly, sagging against him.

“I wouldn’t have to resort to drastic measures if you would talk to me,” he whispered by your ear. You shut your eyes. “Can I help?” You shook your head.

“Let’s go back to bed. I’ll be fine,” you promised, finally getting up. Rafael followed you back to bed, holding you close as he slept. You stayed wide awake.

Chapter Text

You felt dizzy and sick to your stomach as you sat huddled on your kitchen floor. The cool tile felt nice against your burning skin. You had dragged a pillow and blanket out there and laid curled up by the trash can. Your phone was incessantly buzzing, giving you a headache. It was probably Rafael wondering where the hell you were. You had gone to work and then to your apartment instead of Rafael’s. You figured you probably should have told him you weren’t coming over, but at this point you had too much of a headache to attempt to explain yourself to him over the phone. Black spots dancing across your vision, you shut your eyes, drifting in and out of consciousness. Exhaustion had been plaguing you for weeks. Rafael had found you asleep in the bath, you had passed out, half on top of him during a movie, and you had almost fallen asleep during a meeting at the squad room. You counted the crumbs on your floor, the lasting taste of bile still in your mouth. Fighting the urge to vomit again, you shut your eyes, hoping to fall asleep for a little while. Phone buzzing by your head, you shot up with a jolt and realized someone was banging on your door. You grabbed the phone, blinking blearily. Ten missed calls from Rafael, at least a dozen texts. You felt bad. Pushing yourself slowly up to your feet, you headed to the door, checking to see who it was before opening it. You only opened it a crack, but you were immediately met with the worried face of your fiancé. He pushed the door open, enveloping you in a hug, “Where the hell have you been? You had me so scared,” he exclaimed.

“I’m sorry,” you whispered, “I fell asleep. I didn’t mean to worry you,”

“I’m just glad you’re okay, I was about to call Liv to come and break your door down. I thought maybe Mitchell did something,” he was babbling against your hair. You gripped onto his grey sweater, rubbing his back, and breathing in the smell of him,

“Here, come on in,” you whispered, pulling back and stepping aside so he could enter. He warily eyed the little fort you had set up in the kitchen,

“Are you sure you won’t go to the doctor? For me?” You avoided the question,

“I know we were supposed to go out tonight, I’ll make it up to you,” you replied, obviously deflecting.

“Y/N,” he said sternly, but you didn’t want to go to the doctor and you didn’t want to talk about it either. “I don’t understand why you won’t go to the doctor. You made me,” Great, now you felt like a hypocrite.

“I don’t want to go to the doctor because I am completely fine. You, obviously, were not,” you countered.

“Would you like to enlighten me to the piece of information that makes you think you are absolutely fine when you’ve been throwing up all week? I think you’ve lost some weight,” he replied, making you glare at the sarcastic tone he was using. His face softened slightly, “I’m just worried about you, and I would feel better if you saw a doctor,”

“It’s just stress Rafael,” you whispered, pouring him a glass of a scotch. “I’m stressed about the investigation. Why don’t you distract me, but uh, let me brush my teeth first,” You pushed the tumbler into his hand, and he watched you closely, an amused look on his face. You took a deep breath in front of the mirror before brushing your teeth. The last time the two of you had sex, it had gone badly with you having a slight meltdown. The night had ended with lots of tears and snuggles, and you hoped to God it wouldn’t happen again. Rafael had settled on the couch and slipped off his shoes by the time you came back, so you took a seat beside him, fingers worrying with the hem of his grey sweater before slipping underneath to feel his warm skin.

“I would rather not get sick today,” He whispered teasingly as you leaned in for a kiss,

“Oh shut up, I promise I won’t get you sick,” you replied, dragging him closer. He smiled against your lips, letting you slip your tongue into his mouth. Hands splayed across his back, you changed the angle of the kiss so you could deepen it. Rafael groaned softly, his hips jerking forward to get some friction against your thigh. He reached around you to set his glass on the coffee table, a lopsided smirk appearing on his face.

“I think you’re the one trying to distract me,” he whispered, kissing your neck.

“Maybe I am,” you laughed, letting him push you onto your back so he could settle between your legs. You could feel his eyes glued to your chest, and you cursed softly, your breasts had already begun to get a bit heavier and fuller, and Rafael had apparently noticed. He went back to kissing your neck, his hand coming up to grope you, but you hissed in pain almost immediately, “Ow, ow, Raf,” He pulled his hand back, looking alarmed,

“That hurt?” he settled back on his knees. You shut your eyes, tears were starting to well up in them again. You took a breath,

“I’m fine,” you assured him, wiping desperately at the stray tears. Rafael looked more than  a little concerned.

“I’m going to get you some ice,” he whispered, heading towards your freezer. You pushed yourself up, closing your eyes again and trying not to lose it. He was back in a few minutes with a towel and ice for you, letting you gently apply the cold compress. He sat back down, guiding your head to his thigh and stroking your hair. “Did I-did I bruise you last time?” he was trying to figure out why that had hurt, and of course he had immediately assumed it was something he did.

“No, no, Rafi, it’s probably just PMS, usually they get a little sore,” you lied, reaching for his hand, “Besides, that wasn’t even that hard,” He was quiet, stroking a hand through your hair and down your back while he watched tv on low volume. You felt yourself starting to drift off, the exhaustion finally overtaking you.

…………………………………………….......................................................................................................................................................

Light pouring in the room, a buzzing noise filling the air. You blinked, the white ceiling making you flinch. More buzzing. Groping around for the source of the annoying noise, you found your phone on the couch beside your head. You took a deep breath, grabbing it, 10:00 , it was too light out to be ten pm. You shot up, it was ten am. You were late for work, and your phone was still buzzing, so you shot up to your feet, answering it on your way back to the bedroom, “Hey Y/N, it’s Liv. I know you’re out sick today,” you stopped in your tracks. What was she talking about? Then it dawned on you. Rafael was going to get it the next time you saw him. “But uh, we found some stuff at Mitchell’s apartment and office. We took him into custody, and I’m going to need you to do a line up tomorrow,”

“Okay, whatever, call Jerome please and have him put it in my schedule. Thanks Liv,” you quickly replied, “Is Rafael at work right now? He left while I was sleeping,”

“He’s outside, let me see what he’s doing,” the detective replied.

“Thanks,” you headed back to the couch, sitting down. It honestly was probably a good thing he had called you out sick--you obviously needed the sleep and you suddenly were feeling nauseous again. You faintly could hear Liv talking and some rustling before the familiar timbre of your fiancé’s voice filled the phone,

“Hey—” He started to say, but you interrupted.

“First of all, what the hell,” you said, annoyed,

“Hello to you too,” Rafael whispered, but you weren’t done,

“I told you I was fine—“ it was Rafael’s turn to interrupt,

“You obviously weren’t. Look, we can argue about this later. Are you feeling any better right now?” His voice was gentle.

“Not really,”

“I’m going to be over in a few hours, I’m working from home for the afternoon. Do you want me to bring anything with me?” Even the thought of food heightened your nausea,

“I have no idea, I feel nauseous,” you replied softly.

“Well I’ll stop at the store and find some stuff that might make you feel better,” he promised, “I have to go speak with the DA about your case and then I’ll be home,” you checked the clock after saying goodbye to Rafael and hanging up. If he was at the squad room, it’d probably be at least an hour before he was done with his meeting and likely two before he made it home, so you had time to run to the bodega down the street. Afterwards, you sat in the bathroom with the little plastic bag. You had already taken one of these, but before you told Rafael, you wanted to be sure. He had told you he wasn’t ready yet, and you had promised him you could wait, but now things had changed. You pulled the little stick out of the box, followed the directions, and laid on the couch while you waited. You had to make yourself go back into the bathroom. Who would have known two little lines could make so much anxiety twist around in your gut? It wasn’t that you weren’t excited to have Rafael’s baby, it wasn’t that you didn’t want it, but you were almost positive that he wasn’t ready. You quickly cleaned up, tying it closed in the bag and shoving it in your dresser. Collapsing back down on the couch, you ran a hand through your hair and wiped at the tears that were escaping. Your stomach was rolling again, anxiety and nausea making you want to lay down. You weren’t even sure how long it took for Rafael to get there. The door opening alerted you to his arrival, but you were feeling dizzy and ill, so you didn’t move from your spot in the couch. His hand was cool against your forehead, “Hey,” he whispered.

“I hate you,” you groaned. Rafael chuckled softly, kneeling down beside you .

“Well that’s not very nice,” he murmured by your ear, stroking his hand through your hair, “I brought some soup and jello and sprite,” you were quiet. He pressed his lips to your forehead and then he was gone. There were loud noises coming from your kitchen that did nothing to help with your headache. “Can you sit up?” He asked when he came back. You slowly pushed yourself up. He had a warm bowl of soup and a glass of sprite waiting for you on the coffee table. He tried to make small talk with you, but you shut it down. “Did I do something?” He finally asked.

“Not really,” You whispered.

“You’ve been distant recently. For at least a week now, what did I do?” He whispered, but you didn’t answer, “Come on Y/N, I want to make this better,”

“It’s nothing Rafael,” you snapped. He flinched slightly, his mouth hardening into a scowl,

“I didn’t have to come over here you know, I could have stayed at work or gone home,” Great, you had pissed him off now. You had to take a breath before softly speaking,

“I’m sorry, I’m not upset with you and I shouldn’t have snapped, we just—we have to talk,” Poor Rafael looked extremely worried at this point. You had no idea how to tell him this,

“Okay, I’m listening,” he prompted when you were silent for a few moments. You held up a finger, telling him to wait a second. When had you decided this was a good idea? It was too late now to go back. You grabbed the plastic bag from your room, untying it as you came back out into the living room. You sat down next to him,

“I know you said you weren’t ready for this, and I didn’t mean for it to happen. I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell you for days,” you handed him the test. Nothing. He was absolutely silent, hands tremoring slightly as he stared down at the little pink and white piece of plastic.

“It’s mine?” He practically squeaked. If you didn’t know how distressed he was probably feeling, you would been insulted at the notion that you were having someone else’s baby.

“I haven’t had sex with anyone but you in over a year so unless this baby is Jesus Christ, it’s yours,” you were hoping to make him laugh, but he just stared dumbly at you, eyes wide like a deer in the headlights. He stood up, the pregnancy test falling from his hands onto the ground,

“I uh, I think I should go. I’ll see you tomorrow,” he whispered, racing out the door. You stared at the door for a moment before your eyes shifted to the plastic test in the floor. You picked it up, wiping at the tears in your eyes. At least he hadn’t broken up with you right on the spot. The bowl and cup sat untouched on the coffee table as you sat there and weeped. You clutched the stupid little test in your hands, praying that somehow this would all work itself out. What would you do? Could you raise a child on your own? Should you keep it? All you could do for the rest of the night was lay there and cry until you finally, blissfully blacked out.

Chapter Text

Keeping your head down, you walked into the office, bundled up in a coat and shaking softly. You saw Rafael in his office on the way by, but he didn’t look up. Jerome took your bag for you when you got to the door, going over your schedule on the way in. “Are you feeling alright Counselor?” he asked softly, “You look pale. Can I get you some coffee or…”

“Is there any hot tea around here?” you whispered. Jerome promised to go get some for you. You leaned back in the chair, nibbling on some crackers. You had woken up over an hour before you had to be awake, your stomach rolling. You had thrown up until your throat felt raw and then cried for a half hour, curled up on the floor of the bathroom. You felt so tired, you had barely managed to make yourself presentable before having to hurry out the door. Now you were sitting in your office, feeling sorry for yourself, and wishing more than anything that Rafael would just come down and say hi to you. All you wanted was the man who had chased away the shadows in your dreams and comforted you when you needed him. Briefly, you thought maybe you should go and try to comfort him. You couldn’t even imagine what was going through his head, but he had made it clear he needed space. Jerome startled you when he came back with your tea, but you thanked him profusely and asked him to print a copy of your schedule and to bring the Brown file. Trying desperately to focus on your work, you took notes as you read, but you kept having to reread the same sentence. You blinked, rubbing your eyes. It was hours of fighting with yourself to comprehend the file before your phone started buzzing on the desk.

“Hey Y/N, it’s Liv. We need you and Barba down at the station,” the detective’s voice said through the phone.

“Sure, sure, we’ll see you soon,” you immediately replied. You grabbed your briefcase, slipping your jacket on, and heading to the hallway with the tea in your hand. “Jerome, can you please have Carmen send Mr. Barba down to the front of the building to go to the SVU squad room with me,” he looked at you oddly, but nodded. You made yourself walk right past his office, down to the sidewalk. Dizziness and pounding made you feel disoriented, and your head hurt. He was quiet when he came out, barely meeting your eyes, but he did eventually put a hand on your lower back that made you feel better. His hand was warm and moved in little circles. The cab ride was thankfully short, and you walked in the room side by side, but there was palpable tension in the air.

“Hey guys,” Sonny said with a big grin. You managed a smile for him, but barely,

“Hey,” your voice was almost as weak as your smile. Rafael was silent. He took a seat at the table, playing with the clasp on his briefcase. You sat on the other side. Everyone was giving you odd looks throughout the meeting. You sat there, spacing out and not really paying much attention.

“Y/N?” Liv’s voice startled you.

“I’m sorry, what did you say?” you asked.

“I asked if you were alright,” she repeated. You wanted to sob, to break down and cry or curl up on the floor.

“Please uh, excuse me, I need to--I need a minute,” you headed out into the hallway, taking a few calming breaths. You had scheduled a doctor’s appointment earlier, but with every moment that Rafael ignored you, you felt a crushing need to fix this. You had the number in your phone, and you found yourself reaching for it and waiting as it rang, “Yes, hi, I’d like to set up an appointment please. A consultation. I’m not sure yet, okay, thank you. This is a good number,” the words you spoke were almost automatic, and you barely heard a thing the woman said to you. A hand on your shoulder startled you, and for a split second you thought maybe Rafael had come after you, but it was Sonny.

“Hey, what’s going on with you guys?” He asked softly. You needed to sit down.

“That’s a long story Sonny,” You whispered, “I don’t know if we’ll make it through this one,”

“Oh that’s nonsense,” he said, trying to be reassuring as he sat next to you.

“He hasn’t talked to me since yesterday,” your voice was so soft as you cradled your head in your hands, tears starting to pour from your eyes, “I really need him to talk to me right now,”

“Aww, I’m sure he’ll come around Counselor, maybe he needed some space,” the detective offered. “Can I get you a coffee or something?” Even the mention of food made you want to heave, so you shook your head. “Here, sit tight, I’ll get you some water,” he disappeared back into the squad room, leaving you alone with your thoughts.

…………………

Rafael couldn’t stop watching out the door of the squad room to keep an eye on you. The sad look on your face felt like a knife twisting in his heart. He wanted desperately to go out there and tell you it would be okay, but he was frozen and every time he tried to say anything to you, it got stuck in his throat. He could barely breathe when he thought about it. He wasn’t ready for this, not remotely ready. He hated himself for being such a coward right now. When Carmen had walked into his office to tell him he was needed at the SVU squad room, he had known you were upset with him. Knowing he was being a complete asshole and changing it were two very different things in this situation. He had needed space to think the night before. Hearing your news had not only caught him off guard, but it had terrified him to no end. Rafael had gone straight home and had a few glasses of whiskey, remembering a childhood of constant fear and misery. He recalled long nights where he cried himself to sleep or hiding  in his closet when his parents were fighting. Going to school with bruises that covered his body but were hidden under clothing, the late nights where his father came into his bedroom—he shivered, wishing to forget. He didn’t want that for his kids.

You seemed to think that he was different, that he could be better than what was in his blood, but how did you know? Could he risk that? He wanted to believe you were right, to believe that he could be the man he had worked all his life to become. He groaned in frustration when he realized how terribly he had acted the night before. There were a thousand better ways that he could have dealt with this, but instead of helping you at all, he had walked away. Well he was done being a coward. You would talk about it. Rafael pushed himself up, going out into the hallway. You were slumped over, elbows resting on your thighs, your head in your hands. You were shaking with soft sobs, and he hated himself even more. He sat down next to you, unsure of what to say. All he could think to do was wrap his arms around you, “Sonny, what are you—Oh,” you said softly, looking up at him. “Rafi,” you sobbed, leaning your head against his chest.

“I’m sorry,” he murmured against your hair, finally able to say what he had been thinking all day, “I’m so sorry, I’ve been such a terrible, horrible fiancé,”

“No, you needed some time, I just—I’m scared,” he barely heard your response. He couldn’t understand why you always were so understanding, why you forgave him for things like this without blinking.

“I’m sorry for scaring you, I’m going to be here, we can talk about everything, but whatever you decide, I’ll be here for you,” his hands rubbed up and down your back and through your hair, and he squeezed his eyes closed. If he thought really hard, he could imagine holding a little baby, he could imagine raising a kid with you and he could imagine it going well. He just hoped it wasn’t wishful thinking.

Chapter Text

You tore up your napkin. You were sitting across from Rafael at a restaurant, out for lunch. You felt so sick, it was ridiculous. Rafael was staring at you from across the table, “Can I help you?” You asked softly.

“Well aren’t you gonna eat?” He asked, taking a bite of his sandwich.

“Rafael, even looking at you eat that sandwich is nauseating,” you replied.

“I didn’t think my face was that ugly,” he was smiling at you, that special smile that he saved for when you were alone. You laughed, taking a sip of water.

“What are we going to do?” You finally whispered, tired of dancing around it. He set his food down,

“What do you want to do?” Rafael finally replied.

“Well I’m not sure, I would like to keep and raise our child, but I meant what I said to you,” you said, looking right at him. He sighed loudly and looked down at the table.

“I’m trying so hard, but I am so scared Y/N,” he finally admitted, “I want to give this a shot with you,” You smiled, taking his hand in yours,

“Really?” you asked, and he nodded, “We have a lot of plans to make, but Rafi, I know you can do this,” He smiled softly,

“Should I uh, should I tell my mom?” The look on his face made you want to grin. He looked excited. Incredibly terrified, but excited.

“I don’t know, we should probably wait until I’m farther along, but if you really want, we can,” you told him, finally taking a bite of the toast you had ordered. Rafael was watching you closely,

“We’re going to have to find a way to get real food into you,” he took another bite of his sandwich, “Well this explains why you’ve been so short with me recently,” your eyes narrowed, “Relax, that was a joke,” His demeanor changed even just to the car. Rafael Barba was not one to half ass something. If he got involved, he was going to get completely involved. He was on his phone in the car, reading something while you leaned back and shut your eyes. Rubbing his hand over your thigh, he leaned close to your ear, “Have you been drinking enough water?” you snorted,

“How much is enough?” you asked. His cologne was making you feel worse which was a real shame because you really, really liked his cologne.

“Eight glasses is what it says here. I’m gonna need to do some more research,” Rafael said softly.

“Honey, can you please, can you please sit a little closer to the door,” you tried not to make a gagging noise, your stomach feeling incredibly unsettled. “Oh my god,” He moved over, looking at you curiously. You were grateful when the cab reached your office, staggering out of it and trying not to lose what little you had managed to get down for lunch. Rafael helped you to your office, one hand on your lower back, the other holding both your bags, ignoring the looks your assistants were throwing your way.

“Here, sit down,” He whispered, setting down the bags, “How does some ginger ale sound?” You nodded, closing your eyes to stay the dizziness. The smell of coffee was clear in the air, but it made you wrinkle your nose. “Jerome, here’s a couple dollars, go get me a ginger ale from the vending machine for Y/N,” Rafael stayed with you, talking to you softly while he waited for your soda. The hiss of the can opening echoed through the room, and you took it weakly, sipping at the carbonated liquid. “I’m going to get you some crackers, I will be right back Darling, and I’m going to bring some work over here with me to finish,” While he was gone, you sipped your ginger ale, and it did help to settle your stomach some. By the time Rafael returned, the idea of eating a cracker didn’t make you want to puke your guts out, so you had a few while he set up at the table in the corner of your office.

“Where did you get these?” You asked. He looked up from the file he was reading,

“A bodega,” he simply replied. You felt a warm feeling in your chest. He always took such good care of you.

“Thank you Rafi,” you whispered. He smiled,

“It’s the least I can do cariño, don’t worry about it,” Rafael went back to work and you tried to start some of the mountain of paperwork on your desk. You had a motions hearing later, and you hoped to god you felt better by then.

“Can you close the door? That coffee is making me want to throw up again,” Rafael immediately got up and shut the door. He also produced a water bottle that he must have bought with the crackers and set it on your desk. He sat next to you, rubbing your back softly as you sipped at the water. Over the next few hours, you both steadily got through your paperwork until it was time for you to leave. You kissed Rafael, leaning your head against his shoulder before heading out to catch a cab with the promise to call him when you were done.

…………………….

You were tired. You had only been in court for a couple hours, but you were exhausted. Feet aching, you slowly made your way out to a cab, pulling your phone out of your pocket. It rang while you sat in the back, eyes closed. “Hey mi amor,” his soft voice said,

“Hey babe, I’m leaving the courthouse right now,” you whispered,

“How are you feeling?” the sound of a door clicking shut was faint, but you could hear it. He must have stepped into his office. You leaned your head back against the seat, taking a soft breath,

“Could be better—I threw up in the bathroom after the hearing,” Rafael was quiet for a few moments.

“Do you have a prenatal check up scheduled yet?” he finally asked, “I’m a little concerned,”

“Yes,” you sighed, pinching the bridge of your nose. Rafael was quiet on the other side of the line for a bit.

“Are you okay?” he finally whispered. You weren’t really. There was so much going on at once. You were happy, but so stressed out. What would this mean for your career? The case was quickly hurtling towards trial which left you shaking with anxiety.

“Um, no, not really,” you finally whispered, “I’m just feeling a bit overwhelmed,”

“Breathe, listen to me, it’s gonna be okay Y/N. I have a few more things to do, we have to go do the lineup at the precinct, but then we can go on home. How does a hot bath sound?” He was always there to make you feel better when you needed him.

“That sounds wonderful, thank you,” You whispered, “How are you doing?” It was a loaded question that probably lacked a simple answer.

“Just promise you’ll hold me later,” Rafael finally said. You wanted to hold him now.

“As long as you don’t mind me puking on you,” you teased him, earning a snort, “We’ll both get through this darling,”

“I really love you,” he said, “I’ll see you soon okay,”

“Yeah, love you too babe. Bye,” you replied. The rest of the ride went by pretty quickly and soon you were at your office. Jerome was standing in the lobby when you came in, “Jerome, what are you doing out here?” You asked, frowning,

“Mr. Barba sent me down here to help you carry your bags,” he said coming over to try and take your briefcase. You waved him off,

“Ignore him, I can carry it myself,” you said, rolling your eyes, “I owe you a very nice present for Assistant Appreciation Day,” Jerome laughed, following you through security and then to the elevator. “I don’t have much left today, you can head on home if all the filing is done,”

“Oh thanks,” he said with a smile,

“If Mr. Barba tells you to do ridiculous things, please let me know. I will talk to him,” you said, looking good and hard at your assistant,

“He just cares about you,” he said softly, “And I don’t mind carrying your bag,”

“You are my assistant, Jerome, not my slave,” you argued, “Or his, I have a meeting soon so I’ll see you tomorrow, have a nice evening,” you said as you approached your office. Rafael was waiting for you.

“Where’s Jerome? I asked him to carry that for you,” he asked, coming over and starting to fuss over you. He took the briefcase, making you sit down.

“Jerome doesn’t need to carry my bags or get me food. I’m perfectly capable Rafi,” you scolded, leaning your head back. Rafael was hovering closely to you, “I need a minute and then we can go,” He rubbed your shoulders gently,

“Breathe for me,” Rafael whispered, “What do you need?”

“I need wine,” you groaned, “But that’s out of the question. I really want some sleep. My feet hurt like hell,” Rafael patiently waited until you were ready to go, hailing a cab. Once you finally got to the precinct, you felt nervous. You were starting to shake again. Rafael walked next to you, bumping shoulders as you made your way into the squad room where Liv was waiting.

“Ready?” she asked softly. You grabbed Rafael’s arm to steady yourself,

“I--I don’t know if I can,” you were suddenly panicking. Rafael wrapped an arm around your waist,

“You can do it,” he said gently, “He can’t hurt you now Y/N,” You had a death grip on his arm, “Okay, sit down for a second, I’ll get you some water, and then we can try,”  

“Liv, are you guys ready?” Sonny poked his head out.

“We need a couple minutes Carisi,” Liv replied. You tried to control the panic that was coursing through your veins. You were shaking.

“Let’s try not to stress out,” Rafael whispered, coming back and handing you a paper cup, “I know that’s easier said than done,” He rubbed his hand over your shoulder blade. He coaxed you up and toward the room, “Alright, I will stay with you the whole time. Try to stay calm and ID him, and then we can go right home,” He held your hand. You nodded and walked into the room, looking through the glass at the people lined up. You knew this was just a formality, it wasn’t as if Mitchell was a stranger to you, but the DA wanted no holes in the case at all, so you were trapped. You stayed silent for a good few minutes, a lump forming in your throat. Rafael rubbed soothing circles onto the back of your hand.

“Y/N,” Liv said softly, “Do you recognize anyone?”

“No prompting detective,” Mitchell’s attorney snapped. Liv took a breath,

"That's not prompting," she bit back.

“Whenever you’re ready mi amor,” Rafael whispered. You squeezed his hand, wiping at your eyes.

“It’s number six,” you finally whispered, “That’s him, he raped me,” Rafael kissed your temple and squeezed your hand.

Chapter Text

The bath water warmed your body. The lights were dimmed, the sweet smell of your scented candles filling the air. Lips against the side of your neck were calming. Your back was pressed up against Rafael’s chest, his fingers tracing indistinguishable shapes on your stomach. Feeling drowsy, you shut your eyes and leaned against him. Dread and anxiety was coiling up inside of you. If you could barely do the lineup, how were you supposed to face him in court. Rafael sighed, tightening his arms around you, “How do you feel?” he asked gently.

“Not so great,” you sniffled, shaking with soft sobs. Rafael buried his face against your hair,

“It’ll all work out Y/N,” he murmured into your hair, “Everything will,” you knew he was trying to tell himself that as well. Eventually the bath water was cold so you climbed out and toweled off. You reclined on the couch, your feet resting in Rafael’s lap as you shut your eyes. He absentmindedly stroked your ankle, watching tv while you tried to relax. You were thankful the nausea had subsided some since earlier. Your feet absolutely ached, your lower back was a bit sore, and exhaustion was clouding your brain. Rafael’s fingers gently pressed into the muscles of your foot, massaging the soreness away. You made a soft, pleased sound; he took such good care of you. Finally he pressed his lips against the skin of your ankle before shifting around to hold you close to him.

“I thought I was the one doing the holding tonight,” you murmured, moving to cradle him in your arms. He happily rested his head on your chest, sighing as you ran your fingers through his hair. You were so warm and soft, he could fall asleep, clinging to you. There was a dull aching sensation that was forming behind his eyes. You kissed the top of his head, “How do you feel about all this right now?”

“Overwhelmed,” he whispered, “Stressed, but I-I am excited. We made a life together,” You smiled, nails scraping across his scalp gently. “I’m going to do this. I’m going to be a good Dad,”

“The best,” you whispered, “You are going to be amazing,” He shut his eyes, turning over, his face pillowed between your breasts. He wanted to go to sleep. You ran your hands over his back soothingly, trying to shift him around so he wasn’t putting so much pressure on your sore chest. “Raf, that hurts, can you move your head up a little bit,” He groaned, murmuring an apology against your skin before scooting up a little bit. “Mmm, here,” you pulled your shirt down a bit, giving him a nice view of your cleavage if he looked down. He laughed, face still pressed against your chest. “You can look, just don’t touch. That might cheer you up a bit,”

“It certainly wouldn’t make it worse,” he whispered, sitting up. There was a small smile on his face. You sat up, pulling your shirt up and off. Rafael’s hand went to your thigh, rubbing up and down as his eyes stayed glued on your chest. You unhooked your bra, guiding his hands to your sides. He ran them up and down the warm skin, leaning in to kiss you. His lips were desperate against yours, the perfect mixture of teeth and tongue making warmth pool in your abdomen. “Help me forget,” you barely heard what he said, but it caused anger to burn like fire through your veins. You kissed his throat tenderly, pulling the well worn maroon tee shirt up and off of him. Hands shaking, he dragged your leggings from your hips, kissing your stomach. He made quick work of his own pants, stroking himself a few times before looking at you, “Good?” he asked,

“Yeah,” you murmured. He was searching your eyes to ensure you were actually okay. Once he was satisfied, he gently slipped two fingers inside you, thumb brushing over your clit as he got you wet enough to take him. His movements were frantic, tears dripping onto your neck where he tucked his face. You brushed your fingers through the hair on the back of his head, legs wrapping around his waist. The stuttering of his hips told you he was close, and strangled sobs were escaping his throat. The moment felt so heavy and intimate that you could barely speak, “Come on Raf,” you whispered, “Come for me babe,” He shuddered, letting out a long whine as thrusted a few more times, collapsing in a heap on top of you. You stroked his hair gently, holding him still when he tried to pull away,

“I’m not going to leave you hanging,” he whispered, his voice still broken. You didn’t let up on your hold.

“Stay right there,” you instructed, stroking his sweat slicked back, and hugging him tightly to you. He was stubborn though and maneuvered around so he could slip his fingers inside of you. You didn’t bother trying to argue with him; he had his mind set on it, so you enjoyed yourself, coming with a breathy moan of his name before he let you gather him up in your arms again. You pressed kisses all over his shoulders and head while he laid still save for the trembling. You held him until the stickiness was absolutely unbearable. “Let me up, I’m gonna get a towel or a washcloth,” Rafael rolled to the side, wordlessly doing as you asked. He was half asleep when you got back, so you wiped him off gently before trying to clean up yourself and the couch. You shook his shoulder, “Rafi, come on, you can’t sleep out here,” you whispered, “Let’s go to bed darling,” he groaned softly, but opened his eyes. He helped you pick up your forgotten clothes, throwing them in the hamper and pulling on a fresh pair of boxer briefs before crawling into bed beside you. Holding him tightly in your arms, you shut your eyes, but he was still shaking, “Hey, are you okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, that was just—I don’t know—intense, intimate,” he murmured against your skin.

“Well I think it’s 3-1 me in the crying after sex category, so feel free to close the distance,” you joked, smiling when he laughed softly.

“What about crying during sex,” his voice was light and filled with humor.

“Should I really try to count that?” You asked, smiling softly and enjoying the secure feeling that encompassed you when his arms curled around your waist. He laid still momentarily before moving his hand to your stomach, rubbing small circles over the still flat area.

“How-how far along are you? I never asked,” Rafael asked, green eyes flickering up to your face.

“Six weeks I think,” you whispered, “But I won’t know for sure until my doctor’s appointment,” Rafael shut his eyes,

“I hope it’s a girl,” he whispered. You continued to pet his hair,

“Mm, I don’t care what it is, but I can’t say the image of you spoiling our little girl rotten isn’t appealing,” you said, “She’ll have you wrapped around her pinky,” he snorted, leaning into your hand.

“When’s the first ultrasound?” you smiled at Rafael’s questions, shutting your eyes due to exhaustion.

“I think the first appointment,” he lifted his head up at that.

“I’m coming then. I want to see,” he rubbed his hand over your stomach again, kissing right above your belly button. “I want to be there for everything,”

“Mkay, I think I scheduled it for next week. I’ll tell Carmen to put it in your schedule,” you murmured, growing sleepier and sleepier by the moment. Rafael hit the lights, making sure the alarm clock was set and then settled back in your arms to sleep.

……………………….

You woke up to your phone buzzing, and tried to open your eyes, but you were so tired. “Don’t get up, I’ve got it,” Rafael’s voice was drowsy. He grabbed your phone, “Hello? She can’t come to the phone right now. Yeah, I’ll let her know. Thanks,” He hung it up, but was silent afterwards. You waited for him to tell you, but he didn’t say a thing. Finally you grew impatient.

“Rafi, who was it?” you asked softly.

“You made an appointment at Planned Parenthood?” he asked softly. Your stomach dropped, you had forgotten about that since Rafael had started talking to you again.

“I forgot to cancel that,” you groaned, “I made it a couple of days ago, I was on the verge of a panic attack, it was just crazy,”

“I’m sorry,” he whispered.

“Rafi don’t, it’s over,” you shut your eyes, hoping to fall asleep. Rubbing his hand over your stomach again, Rafael pressed loving kisses on your skin, holding you close. You felt him move around until his face was resting against your shirt. It wasn’t until his body started shaking with soft sobs that you noticed the dampness of your shirt. “Don’t cry,” you ran a hand over his back and head, trying to sooth him with soft comforting words. “Hey, shhh,”

“Sorry,” He whispered again. Eventually he calmed down, murmuring for you to go back to sleep.

You were jerked awake again by flailing limbs and soft pleas. “No, no,” Rafael’s voice was barely a mumble but he sounded panicked. His arms were flying in all directions, his body tossing and turning. “No quise,” his face was scrunched up in panic. You had no idea what to do.

“Rafael,” you whispered, trying to wake him. You shook his shoulder, but had to duck out of the way of his arm that flew at your face. “Rafael, wake up, it’s just a dream honey,” his eyes flew open, his chest heaving.

“What, where am—”

“You’re safe, you’re at home,” you murmured, brushing the sweaty hair from his forehead. He shut his eyes, breathing heavily as he laid there. “It was just a dream,”

“I’m fine,” he whispered,

“You’re fine,” you agreed. You wanted to talk to him about it, but he rolled over, facing the wall. Instead of pushing him, you rubbed his back softly before looping an arm around his waist and shutting your eyes. You couldn’t make him talk to you if he didn’t want to.

Chapter Text

When you woke up the next morning to your alarm, the shower was already going. You didn’t think anything of it, Rafael must have decided to get up and shower first which, while different from normal, wasn’t entirely odd. Sometimes he would try to let you sleep longer, so you rolled over and shut your eyes for awhile longer. Hands shaking your shoulder startled you awake. “Wha—” It was just Rafael standing next to the bed, only wearing his dress pants and an unbuttoned shirt.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. Are you going to work this morning?” He asked softly. You barely heard what he said. His appearance had you preoccupied: there were dark, heavy bags under his eyes, and his shoulders were sagged a little—he looked like he hadn’t gotten any sleep at all. “Y/N,”

“Sorry, uh, yeah, let me just get up,” you whispered. Your lower back was aching as you stood up, “Are you feeling alright?” You asked him.

“Fine, fine, I’m tired, but that’s nothing a few cups of coffee can’t fix,” he replied. You walked over and straightened out his collar,

“Don’t overwhelm yourself,” you whispered. He gripped onto you,

“I’m okay,” His voice was soft.

“Raf,” you murmured, stroking his cheek, “What if, what if we went to some counseling? Together,” he looked away briefly before nodding softly,

“I guess it wouldn’t hurt,” he conceded.

“I’ll set something up. We can give it a try, and if you don’t like it, I won’t make you keep going, okay?” He nodded, letting you kiss his hands. “I need to get ready,” You whispered, pulling him in for a kiss.

“Hey, you want to meet me for lunch later?” He murmured in between the short pecks of your lips.

“When do we not get lunch?” You teased,

“Yesterday,” he said with a little smirk that made you laugh, “But really, we only get lunch together every couple days. Usually I have meetings on Monday, and you have too much paper work on Friday, and you pack me lunch on Wednesday,”

“Yeah but you eat it in my office,” you countered, “Regardless, I will get lunch with you,” you sealed it with one more kiss before you had to get ready for work.

………………….

Grabbing your coat and then locking your door, you let Jerome know to hold your calls before heading over to Rafael’s office. Carmen was half way to standing when you waved her off. You knocked on the door just as the alarm started going off on his phone. He looked up, “Time already?” He asked softly. There was only a slight trace of anxiety on his face. The bags under his eyes made you worry. He hadn’t been sleeping well recently with nightmares and the occasional panic attack. Rafael packed up his things, coming over to wrap his arms around you.

“You don’t have to come if you don’t want to,” You whispered. He looked down right offended at that,

“I want to see our baby. Just because this stresses me out, doesn’t mean I’m not excited Y/N. I promise,” he squeezed your hand, “Let’s go. We don’t want to be late,” Carmen shot you a look on your way out that made you hold Rafael’s hand a little tighter. He must have been on the edge of a freak out this morning judging from the look on her face.

“So, uh, what did you think of the therapist the other day?” You asked softly, looking up to get a read on his face,

“It was okay,” He was lying, it clearly made him uncomfortable, “I think it will help if we keep going, it’s just going to take some getting used to. I don’t—I don’t really like talking about… everything,”

“I think it will be really good for the both of us. Just remember I’m listening if you want to talk about anything or if you need to stop therapy for a bit. The last thing I want is to make this worse for you,” you told him as you exited the building. He smiled at you gratefully.

“I really appreciate that cariño,” he whispered, “How are you feeling this morning?”

“Okay. I threw up earlier, but I was able to eat some fruit and I had a ginger ale,” you said softly, “My feet are constantly hurting,” He rubbed his hand across your back,

“I’ll give you another foot massage tonight,” he offered, holding his hand up to hail a cab. He opened the door, sliding in beside you. He gave the driver the address before turning to you, “Guess what I found,” there was the beginnings of a smile forming on his face.  

“What’s that?” you asked softly, glad to see him smile again.

“There’s this app that lets you download the sonogram and so I can keep it on my phone,” he said, his eyes lighting up. You were slightly surprised at the excitement in his voice. You hadn’t seen him this excited about the baby before as usually it was accompanied by anxiety or slight panic. “I was thinking we could do one of those cool uh picture things maybe to announce it like get some little dress shoes or something. I don’t know,” he was watching your face for some sort of confirmation.

“Wow, you sound excited,” you said with a big smile, “And I think that is a fantastic idea baby,” he looked away shyly for a moment,

“I uh, I’m trying to focus on the good just like Dr. Chase said, and this, this appointment is good,” he said softly, and you squeezed his hand again.

“Have you told your mom yet? I assume not because she hasn’t called me,” you said with a laugh.

“Yeah I’m sorry about all of that with the wedding thing, I didn’t think she’d get that excited,” he rubbed the back of his neck. You immediately shook your head,

“You didn’t think she’d be excited that her only son is getting married? I didn’t mind anyways. I got a little flustered at the moment, but honestly it’s cute,” Rafael smiled at your words, a full, genuine, toothy smile.

“To answer your question though, no, I haven’t told her. I want to wait until--what is it? 12 weeks--to tell people,” the cab was pulling in to the doctor’s office.

“So you want to do dress shoes? We could get a little briefcase,” you said as he helped you out of the car.

“I don’t know. Something cute though. We could make little cards and send them out,” he shrugged. You wanted to grin, him getting this involved was so sweet. You knew how hard he was trying.

The closer and closer you got to the visit, the more nervous you felt. It was too early for them to do the ultrasound through your stomach, and while recently you had been doing better with Rafael, this was a stranger and a plastic wand—you just needed to remember to breathe. Rafael noticed the death grip you had on his hand almost immediately and shifted to wrap his arm around you instead. When your names were called, the two of you headed back to the exam room, and you sent Rafael to get you a water while you changed out of your clothes. When he returned, you were settled on the exam table with the sheet over top your legs. He looked slightly confused when he came back. “Hey,” you whispered, taking the bottle and having a sip. He came and sat on the edge of the bed next to you, looking curiously at the little sheet that was covering you.

“I uh, I think I missed something, how’s this gonna work?” He asked.

You snorted softly, leaning your head back, “Our baby is still very small Rafi, so a regular ultrasound isn’t going to see it. We’re getting a transvaginal ultrasound, so they’re gonna use a little wand and uh, yeah,”

“Oh,” he said softly, his hand moving to your stomach, “Are you gonna be okay?”

“Yeah, it will be fine honey,” you murmured. He was nervously shifting around and pacing in the room. “Rafi,”

“I’m sorry, I’m just nervous. What-what if there’s something wrong?” he whispered.

“Then we’ll deal with it then, come sit over here with me. I’m gonna need you,” you patted the bed beside you, so he complied, returning to his spot from earlier. The doctor came in before long, asking you what felt like a million questions about your family history, your last period, your menstruation cycle, Rafael’s family. Then she drew your blood. You held his hand tightly especially when she had you get your legs up in the stirrups.

“My PA is going to come in and do a Pap smear and a pelvic exam. After that the tech will do the ultrasound. He is on his way right now,” the woman said gently. “How are you feeling currently?”

Not so good now. You hadn’t realized you needed a Pap smear. She grabbed your wrist, gently feeling for your pulse. “Okay I guess,” you finally replied, “Some nausea,” she took your blood pressure and temperature before leaving the room. Rafael stroked your hand, “I’m sorry this is taking so long,” you whispered, “I didn’t realize how thorough they were going to be,”

“It’s no problem darling,” he murmured, “So uh, what exactly is a Pap smear. I’ve heard of them, but I don’t know the actual logistics--I’m only asking because you seemed nervous all the sudden when she said that,” You sighed, biting your lip and staring at the ceiling. He once again was going to have to do some coddling; you absolutely hated what all of this had done to you.

“It’s uh, it’s a test for cervical cancer and any other abnormalities. The doctor will take a swab, it’s not a big deal, I just hate these. They always hurt and I’m feeling a little anxious,” you finally explained. There was dread coiling deep in your abdomen as you laid there, waiting for the PA to come in. Rafael was quiet, but his presence made you feel somewhat better.

“What do you want to name it?” he finally asked softly, your hand resting in his lap, fingers intertwined. You honestly hadn’t given serious thought to it yet, but you had a few preliminary ideas. “I’m not sure what you’ve been thinking, but I would like some sort of latino influence maybe, I don’t know,” he seemed a bit unsure of himself, his eyes searching your face for a reaction.

“Don’t get all shy with me Rafael, of course we can look at names like that. I want your opinion honey,” you assured him, “What if we got a white board, and if you find a name you like, write it up there and like once a week, we can talk and take off some or add or whatever,” He nodded softly, hanging his head slightly. His brain seemed to be going a hundred miles per hour, thinking and trying to predict everything. He was planning, and that’s how you knew he was nervous. He was looking at little details to try and make sure everything he thought needed to be done got done in order to ensure he wouldn’t have to worry about making a wrong decision. Over the weekend, he had disappeared after breakfast for hours. You assumed he was finishing some work in the study, but when you had taken him a sandwich and water to make sure he didn’t starve himself, he had been knee deep in ten different articles about parenting and kids. You had promptly dragged him out to the couch for a nap as he looked exhausted and stressed out. “Raf, breathe, we will figure this all out together. I promise,”

“I was trying to distract you, instead, you’re calming me down,” he said tiredly, with a slightly bitter laugh as  he rubbed his face, “I’m sorry. I suck at this,”

“Don’t Rafi, don’t do that,” you interjected, squeezing his hand. His foot was tapping on the floor, his muscles tensed up. “Hey, take a sip of water, close your eyes and imagine somewhere nice,” He took a few deep breaths, murmuring that he was okay. Your heart went out to him, what could possibly be going through his head that made him this nervous? Whatever had happened, it must have been horrible to make him this scared of himself. There was a knock on the door and in came a young man with a smile on his face.

“Ms. Y/L/N?” he asked, walking over to the sink and washing his hands.

“That would be me,” you said softly, He came over by the bed, shook your hand, and pulled a chair up,

“I’m Tom, I’m a PA. Have you had a Pap smear and a pelvic exam before?” he asked.

“Pap smear yes, pelvic exam no,” you wanted him to hurry up and just get it over with.

“Alright, I’m going to get the speculum and supplies, you’re feeling alright right now?” he said standing up and getting some things from the cupboard.

“Fine,” you were tense and you knew it.

“You may feel some discomfort, but it shouldn’t be painful,” he explained, pulling on gloves and bringing his things over. You hand to try and relax your muscles as he performed the procedure. Rafael’s hand must have turned white from how hard you gripped it. It hurt, it hurt a lot, but only for a few seconds. Otherwise you just felt a slightly uncomfortable stretch. You voiced your discomfort to him, but he replied with an assurance that it shouldn’t be hurting you. Rafael was tense beside you, like he wanted to jump in and punch Tom in the face for hurting you. There were tears stinging your eyes, but it was finally over. Rafael ran a hand over your hair, a hard look on his face. “Alright, I’m going to give this to the nurse to take to the lab, I will be just a moment,” he said, washing his hands again and heading out the door. Rafael was watching you closely as you reached up to brush away a stray tear.

“This is why I hate my OBGYN visits,” you said, trying to lighten the atmosphere, but Rafael looked like he was steaming. He wiped a tear from your cheek, rubbing your arm and being there for you. “Don’t be upset, it’s fine,”

“They should take his license,” he said lowly in an agitated tone, “Where’d he learn that bedside manner? I should go out there and make them get the doctor back in here,”

“I’m fine Rafael, it’s okay,” you assured him, holding his hand. He clenched his jaw, but didn’t argue with you. Tom returned within moments, coming to sit beside you again,

“For the pelvic exam, I’m going to first just press on your lower abdomen and then I need to place two fingers in your vagina and press around again,” he explained. Rafael seemed like he was on the verge of interjecting and making a big deal out of this. You squeezed his hand, trying to get him to calm down,

“Okay, go ahead,” you said softly. That particular exam was less painful, but more uncomfortable in general. You were glad when Tom left the room after assuring you that everything looked normal during the examination and the results of the Pap would be in in a week or so.

“Finally he’s gone,” Rafael grumbled, “Now the ultrasound?” you had a lump in your throat. You wanted to curl up at home and shut your eyes. “Y/N?” you wiped at the tears that started to pour from your eyes. “Hey, what--” he trailed off. Instead of continuing to speak, he rubbed your arm. He took a sharp breath, “Are you in pain?” his voice had an edge to it. It did hurt some physically, but that wasn’t why you were crying,

“Only a little bit,” you sniffled, finally finding your voice.

“Okay, okay, you’re going home after this,” he sighed, leaving no room for argument, but you wouldn’t have bothered anyways. You needed to put on some pajamas and lay down for a while. You felt a lot better when the tech finally arrived, smiling at the both of you and offering you water or a break if you needed it. Shaking slightly, you took her up on the water, sitting up and sipping at the cool liquid. Rafael rubbed your back, trying not to lose it.

“You must be the Dad,” she said, turning to Rafael to shake his hand. He smiled tensely and replied with a soft yes. “I understand you’ve already had a few procedures done today so I will try to make this a quick and painless as possible. It shouldn’t hurt, but if you are experiencing any pain, please let me know. Are you guys looking to know the gender? It’s early for that, but if you continue coming to me for your scans, I’d like to know if I have to keep secrets,”

“We haven’t talked about it yet,” Rafael said softly, saving you from having to answer, “She’s had a bit of a rough exam, so I’d appreciate it if you were as gentle as possible,”

“Of course Mr...I don’t think I got your name. I know you are Y/N,” she replied pulling the machine over by the bed.

“Barba, Mr. Barba or Rafael,” he said distractedly, still fussing over you a bit. You shut your eyes when you laid back down, trying to breathe. Rafael’s phone started ringing, but he didn’t want to leave you so he answered it right there, “Hey Carmen,” you heard him say, “No, I’ll be back soon. Tell Jerome to clear Y/N’s schedule for today please. If you’d like to know, ask her tomorrow. Thanks, okay, I’ll see you soon,”

“Do you need to go babe?” You asked,

“Nope, I’m staying right here. Reverend Curtis wants to talk to me, but he can wait a bit. God knows how many times he’s burst into my office,” he assured you, tucking his phone back in his pocket. “After this I’ll drop you off at home before I head back to work,” Your ultrasound tech was careful with you, and it was a lot less painful than the Pap smear. She had to do some searching which was mildly painful because of everything that had already been done, but when the soft heartbeat filled the room, it was worth it. Rafael’s face when he heard the rapid thump thump thump was absolutely priceless. It softened from angry and annoyed to awestruck. His hand moved to your stomach like he was shocked that something so amazing could be inside you. The tech swiveled the screen around and pointed out the little peanut sized blob that was your baby. His hands shook as he fumbled for his phone, “Can you send that to my phone or whatever?” He asked, his voice shaking. His eyes were still glued to the screen. You felt like crying for an entirely different reason now—it was so perfect. Everything else in the world felt so small at that one moment. It was just you and Rafael, and your baby.

“Of course Rafael, after the exam I’ll get you hooked up with a copy of this,” the woman said. “I’m going to have to move this around a little bit to look at a few things, this may be painful because of earlier. I’ll try to be quick and gentle,” you squeezed your eyes closed, biting back a cry but it was over quickly. “Alright, all done. Are you okay?” She patted your leg. You nodded softly, sucking in loud breaths to try and calm down. “Tom did the Pap smear right? I’m going to send the doctor back in,” she helped Rafael with downloading the ultrasound before heading out the door. He gently helped you to sit up, fetching your clothes from the chair. You slipped into your panties, feeling wobbly on your feet,

“I’m going to bleed for days,” you whispered tiredly. He steadied you so you didn’t fall.

“I’m going to mention it to the doctor,” he said softly, “He shouldn’t have hurt you that much, and what he said, that’s entirely unacceptable,” there was a knock on the door just as you were gingerly sitting down again.

“Hey guys, Jess, the tech said you wanted to speak with me?” Your doctor asked, coming into the room.

“Yes, uh, I had some concerns about that PA, Tom,” Rafael started saying. You didn’t have the energy to argue with him despite the fact that you thought it wasn’t worth the time to complain. He explained to your doctor what had happened, and she apologized profusely, promising to document the incident and speak with him. After that Rafael helped you out to a cab and walked you up into his apartment before heading back to work with one last kiss. Your abdomen grew painful with cramps the longer you laid down, so you finally dragged yourself up, hoping a warm bath might help. You laid your head back against the tub, shutting your eyes, and trying to ignore the throbbing. Your phone buzzed from where you left it on the counter, but you were too tired to get it. Eventually the water was cooling down so you dried off and slipped into some of Rafael’s pajama pants and an old tee shirt before curling up in bed.

Chapter Text

Rafael strolled briskly into the office, waving hello to a passing ADA that he had worked with on a case recently. He headed to his office where Carmen was waiting, looking tense and nervous, “Oh thank god, the DA called, he wants you to call him back. Reverend Curtis is in your office, and Lieutenant Benson is waiting in Y/N’s office,”

“I told you to have Jerome clear her schedule,” he said, frowning.

“I know. She’s waiting for you,” his assistant clarified.

“Ah, okay. Thank you Carmen,” he immediately replied. “Tell Lieutenant Benson I’ll only be a few minutes,” He headed into his office, setting his briefcase down beside his desk after shaking the Reverend’s hand. It took about ten minutes to have that conversation, and his call to the DA took only a couple. He signaled for Carmen to send Liv down to his office while he poured coffee and finished talking to his boss. He smiled when she knocked softly before coming in. “Alright, yes sir, understood,” he said, hanging up. “Liv, hi,”

“Hey Rafa, how are you?” She asked. He sighed, grabbing another cup,

“Alright I guess, coffee?” he asked. She nodded, taking a seat.

“Where’s Y/N? I talked to her this morning on the phone,” she asked as he brought the cup over with cream and sugar. He almost brushed it off with a lie, but he was bursting to tell someone. Rafael wanted to talk to someone about this. He looked down at the papers on his desk before smiling softly,

“Uh, she had a doctor’s appointment. Now she’s at home,” he replied. Picking up his pen and fidgeting with it in his hand, he looked at her finally, “Can you uh, can you keep a secret for me?” Liv looked taken aback for a second before she finally answered,

“Of course,” she waited patiently for him to elaborate. He sat down next to her and pulled his phone out.

“I’m not actually supposed to tell anyone this, but Y/N and I were getting a sonogram today,” he said softly as he pulled up the ultrasound. A look of surprise cross her face, but she smiled.

“That’s good?” Liv asked softly, with a smile. Rafael nodded, it was good--it was a good thing. “How far along is she?”

“Uhh six weeks I think. Anyways, she’s at home resting, had a bit of a rough appointment,” he explained, “We weren’t planning this, but I’m excited,”

“Having kids, it makes you a different person Rafael. You two are gonna be so good together. If you want some practice, you could babysit Noah for me,”

“I actually might take you up on that. I’m a little nervous about all of this,” he admitted, rubbing fingers across his face to stave off a headache.“It’s a lot all at once,” Liv reached out and patted his arm,

“Well, we can talk more details later, but I have a police function next week. If you two want, I can let Lucy have the night off and he can come on over to your place. I’ll pick him up afterwards,” Rafael wanted to talk to you about it first, but it was actually a really appealing offer to him.

“Alright, I’ll talk to Y/N after this or when I get home. I really appreciate that Liv,” he said softly, “So what did you come all the way down here for?”

“Right, I have a warrant I need,”

…………………

Laying in bed, you clutched your stomach, trying not to cry. Everything felt uncomfortable and raw. “Y/N?” Rafael’s voice was soft as he poked his head in the door, “You didn’t answer your phone, are you okay mi amor?”

“Not really,” You whispered. He came in the room, settling down beside you on the bed. Was it already six? You had been laying in bed since your appointment. Rafael wordlessly guided your head over to rest in his lap, his hands sifting through your hair.

“I brought home some chicken broth and peppermint tea for you,” he murmured. “Can I help at all?” You sniffled,

“I hate to ask you to go out again, but I need some panty liners because I’m spotting,” he rubbed his hands over your back and shoulders,

“I’m going to change clothes, and I’ll go to the store,” he whispered. You clung to him for a few more minutes, not wanting him to leave. He seemed to sense your slight distress, so he stayed still until you finally let go. “I’ll be quick,” he promised softly, pressing a kiss to your forehead. You watched as he carefully folded his suit for dry cleaning and slipped into some jeans and a sweater to go outside. He came back in for one more kiss once his brown coat and scarf were on. He sat on the bed to tie his boots and then he was gone again and you were alone and in pain. The heating pad was still beside the bed, so you plugged it in and put a blanket between it and your skin to try and get some relief. By the time you had to take it off, the sound of the door closing rang out in the apartment, announcing Rafael’s return from the store. The bodega down the street must not have been too busy. There was snow sticking to his hair when he came into the room, and his skin was cold but you savored his embrace all the same. “Oh cariño,” he murmured, “I’m so sorry,” at first you weren’t entirely sure what he was talking about, but when you raised a hand to your face, you felt the tear tracks and realized you had been crying. He kissed your face before disappearing out of the room again. You heard him banging around in the kitchen for a while before he came back with a bowl of chicken broth and a warm cup of tea. Propping you up with pillows and blankets, he sat in bed with you, and typed on his computer while you ate. He told you about his day, detailing the verbal lashing he got from the DA about the last case the two of you had lost which made you laugh softly.

“Can you get me some tylenol?” you asked finally, shutting your eyes. Rafael quickly got up, padding off to the kitchen for water and medicine. When he returned, he wrapped an arm around you, leaning against you slightly,

“So, uh Liv was looking for a babysitter next week and I thought it might be...good for us to watch him for a few hours,” he had that unsure look on his face again. The one that told you he was nervous. You watched him closely for a few moments, and he fidgeted slightly under your gaze.

“Would that make you feel more comfortable?” you asked softly. He nodded. “Then I don’t see why not,”

“I may have told her,” he admitted a few moments later, rubbing the back of his neck. You covered his hand with your own,

“I told you if you wanted to tell people, you could,” you assured him, “Honestly, I don’t mind,” Rafael nodded softly. “I think this will be a lot of fun actually, and if you need to take a break or if you feel too stressed out, I can entertain Noah,”

“Thank you Y/N. I would be so lost without you,” he whispered, clinging to you as much as he could without hurting you.

Chapter Text

Hands shaking no matter how hard he tried to calm down, Rafael paced trying to get out some of his nervous energy. He had been trying that all day, cleaning things over and over again and baking cookies. Rafael was sure he had lost it. The moment he was dreading was nearing at a much faster rate than he could handle. He wanted to watch Noah, he really did, but there was that ever present anxiety twisting inside of him and making him a wreck. He sat down next to where you were laying on the couch, tapping his foot on the floor, and biting his lip. He could do this. He was a lawyer for god’s sake, he faced much more intimidating situations everyday. “This is gonna be fine,” he muttered, dropping his head into his hands, “I have paper and crayons, cookies, movies. Kids like movies right?” he babbled, clenching his hands. Liv was going to be there in a half hour and then it would be the two of you and Noah. Oh God, Liv was leaving. How would Noah react? What if he started crying, “What do I do if he starts crying?”

“Rafael,” your voice was tired and soft, but calming, “Breathe,” Breathe, right. Relax, no problem. Every muscle in his body felt tight, blood pounding in his ears. “Come here,” he obeyed immediately, curling up beside you, your arms wrapping around him and stroking down his back, “Stop freaking out,” the last part was mumbled into his hair as you kissed the top of his head. “It’s only going to be a few hours of watching Noah, I’m right here,” He did some deep breathing, relaxing each muscle in his body slowly until he was finally comfortably settled in your arms, shutting his eyes and breathing softly. He stayed like that until the louding knock on the door startled him. Panic began to pool in his abdomen, anxiety fluttering around in his stomach and his heart rate rapidly increasing until his heart was beating so loud, he was sure all of New York could hear it. You stood up, so he followed, feeling awkward and out of place as he stood back a little bit. The door opened and there stood Liv, a little hand enclosed in hers. He took a breath, fighting the urge to hide. “Hey Liv. Hey Noah,” you said gently. He wished he could say that as calmly as you. Instead, he waved at the little boy, trying to seem friendly.

“Noah, can you say hi to Aunt Y/N and Uncle Rafa,” Liv was kneeling down beside her son, trying to get him more comfortable with the two of you. He shyly took a step back, grabbed for Liv, but she nudged him forward. Finally after a few moments, he waved back at Rafael who felt a pang of accomplishment for a brief moment. He watched as you knelt down beside him, giving him a conspiratorial look. When you looked like that at Rafael, he always knew things were about to get interesting, and that both terrified him and made him love you all the more.

“Do you like cookies Noah?” you whispered. Rafael checked Liv’s face to gauge her reaction to the offered sweets, and thankfully she was smiling. Noah looked back at you, his eyes wide as he nodded enthusiastically. “If uh, if it’s okay with your mommy, we’re gonna eat some cookies. Uncle Rafa made them, didn’t you hun?” he could tell you were trying to include him in the conversation and make him more comfortable, but he could barely speak, his throat feeling constricted and tight.

“Chocolate chip,” he finally managed to offer lamely, but Noah’s eyes grew even wider with excitement as he turned toward Liv.

“Mommy, can I have cookies,” he sounded so excited which made Rafael smile slightly. Liv quickly granted permission for cookie consumption before ushering Noah in the door and handing his backpack to Rafael.

“You’re probably going to want to give him one of those cookies soon or he’s going to be bugging you for them,” she advised with a laugh, standing next to him. Rafael could still feel his hands shaking, his mouth felt dry. He rubbed his palms on his pants, trying to wipe the sweat away. Noah took a step toward him, but Rafael instinctively took a step back, “Relax Rafa, he doesn’t bite,” Liv said, her hand on his shoulder. Right, cause that was helpful. “If you guys need me, just give me a call on my cell. Try not to give him too many cookies, I’d hate for him to throw up everywhere or get a tummy ache. If you don’t mind giving him a bath, that would be great, but if it doesn’t happen, that’s fine too. Thanks for doing this,”

“No, thank you,” you said, beating Rafael to the punch. He took a deep breath and smiled at Noah who was slowly making his way over to the table. Rafael followed, heading to the kitchen to get a plate and some cookies for Noah. They were just coming out of the oven so he took them to the table and blew on them to try and cool them down for the little boy. Eventually he deemed them good enough and pushed the plate toward Noah. He had scribbled a couple of big, fluffy clouds and he grabbed a purple crayon.

“What are you drawing?” Rafael asked softly.

“The sun,” Noah didn’t even look up at him. Rafael grabbed the yellow,

“Don’t you want yellow for that?” He asked, slightly confused, but Noah shook his head,

“Nope, purple,” he still hadn’t looked up at Rafael, but he had grabbed a cookie, taking a big bite.  

“Are you su—” his question was cut off by your voice,

“Leave him alone Rafi,” You chided. He blushed slightly, what was he even doing. Noah was five for God’s sake, who cared if he drew a purple sun. Rafael was wound up so tightly, he was struggling to act normally. He went quiet, watching dejectedly as Noah continued to color. How was he ever supposed to be a good father, it felt so impossible. Rafael jerked back slightly when a piece of soggy cookie, clutched in a little hand, was shoved into his face. Looking over at Noah, he saw the expectant look on his face as he waited for Rafael to take the offered snack. Did Noah actually expect him to eat that? He could feel his stomach rolling even at the thought. While Rafael didn’t consider himself a germaphobe, he typically avoided anything that involved other people’s bodily fluids, including saliva. He could hear you laughing from where you stood with Liv.

“He likes you Rafa,” Liv said, chuckling softly, “He doesn’t share his cookies with just anyone,”

“Well go ahead,” you prodded, so Rafael reluctantly took the cookie from the little boy’s sticky fingers, shutting his eyes and popping it in his mouth before he could change his mind. He had to force a smile on his face as he choked it down, fighting the urge to gag.

“Mmm, yummy,” he whispered, standing up and heading to the kitchen to gulp down a glass of water. At least he had been momentarily gratified with a smile from Noah. When he returned, Liv was gone and you were seated at the table with the little boy. He saw you scoot closer and look at Noah’s picture,

“What are you drawing there buddy?” you asked softly, and he found himself entranced. How did you interact so naturally with Noah? You were going to be a flawless mother which made him even more ashamed of his own inability to cope. He missed Noah’s answer. You looked up and waved him over, so he slowly sat down again, feeling shaky. He took a breath when your small hand covered his, trying to focus on the good of the situation. This was something you wanted, and it was something he could give to you. He wanted to give you everything and more. “I think Uncle Rafa wants some more cookie,” your statement jerked him from his thoughts, his facial expression shifting into a glare. Oh ha ha, you were so funny. He made a soft sound of protest, pointedly staring at you, lips slightly pursed. Noah held out another piece of cookie to him, this one thankfully not so soggy. He sullenly took it and chewed it so fast, he barely tasted it. Rafael sat quietly, unable to think of something useful to say. He watched Noah draw, fiddling with his sleeve as he tried to relax. “You’re in kindergarten now, right Noah?” you asked softly.

“Mmhmm, Miss Smiley is nice,” Noah replied. He colored for another few seconds before looking up at you with a big grin on his face, “Mommy got me new socks, they make me run really fast,” Rafael frowned. The statement was so odd, so childish to him that he had no idea how to respond to something like that. He had always been far too focused on surviving his hellish childhood and then on making a name for himself to ever get comfortable around children, and now he was paying dearly for that oversight. Playing along with Noah’s statement seemed like a viable option, but was it okay to let him think silly things that obviously weren’t true? “Those must be some really special socks,” and there you had come up with something completely reasonable while he sat there and had a mental breakdown. Rafael wanted to curl up and cry. He hadn’t felt so inadequate in, well, in a very, very long time.

“Are you thirsty?” you asked softly. Rafael hadn’t even thought of that.

“Can I have some milk?” Noah asked, looking up excitedly, “And another cookie please,” A cookie. Rafael could get him another cookie.

“I think we should take a break from the cookies, but let me go get you a drink,” Oh. You stood up heading to the kitchen, so he got up as well, following hot on your heels.

“How do you talk to him like that?” he asked softly as you pulled a jug of milk out of the fridge. “I don’t know what to say. How am I supposed to be a dad if I can barely talk to a five year old for ten minutes?”

“Rafael,” you sighed as you turned around, pouring milk into a little glass, “You’re catastrophizing. Just talk to him about things he knows: school, toys, colors, his favorite book. I have faith in you darling,” you pressed your lips to his, “But, uh, word of advice, don’t leave five year olds alone, especially five year olds who aren’t ours,” Shit . He was an idiot. Rafael rushed back to sit with Noah, who had thankfully stayed put. Rafael took a deep breath. You were probably right, he probably was overreacting, but he didn’t know how to stop. Instead of focusing on his anxiety, he pushed through it, looking over at Noah’s paper,

“I-Is that you and your mom?” he asked softly. Noah smiled and nodded, pushing a fresh piece of paper over toward Rafael. “Oh, thank you. What should I draw?”

“Your Mommy,” Noah said plainly like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Rafael reached for a crayon.

“My Mami’s favorite color is purple, what’s your mom’s?” he finally asked, trying to get Noah talking. He would be damned if he screwed this up.

“Blue,” Noah said softly. Rafael started to scribble with the crayon. “She has pretty blue dresses, but I like green,” he proudly announced.

“Oh like on your shirt?” the older man commented, looking at Noah’s green sweatshirt. Noah nodded enthusiastically, starting to tell Rafael about school and how his best friend liked orange. Rafael smiled, feeling more than a little proud of himself. He reached out for the blue crayon, but Noah snatched it up, “Hey--” he said lamely,

“You have to say please,” Noah insisted, and Rafael gaped for a second, snapping his mouth shut.

“Can I please have the blue?” he finally amended, and this time Noah dropped it into his hand. Rafael got back to work on his drawing. It had been a very long time since he had colored with a crayon, or drawn at all for that matter. He could feel your eyes on him, and when he looked up, you were leaning against the door frame, a soft smile playing at your lips. He looked back down at the paper, snorting at his little stick figures. Hands on his back startled him for a second, but he quickly relaxed against your touches. You wrapped your arms around his neck,

“Are you okay if I lay down for a bit?” he turned to look at you, anxiety building up immediately. You looked a bit green, and he knew if you were asking him to lay down, you really needed to.

“What’s wrong?” he couldn’t help the concern that seeped into his voice. He couldn’t deny that he wasn’t keen to be left all alone to watch Noah, but if you weren’t feeling well, he wasn’t going to tell you not to sleep.

“Exhausted, nauseous. The usual,” you replied, kissing his temple, “I’ll be on the couch,”

“Okay, and we’ll color and make I’ll make Mac and cheese?” He asked sounding slightly unsure.

“Sounds like a good plan to me. Liv said he likes it, so I have a box in the cupboard and there is j-u-i-c-e in the fridge. He is not supposed to have anymore c-o-o-k-i-e-s before dinner,” You explained. Rafael was frowning at you, “I believe in you babe, you’ve got this,”

“W-h-y are you spelling words?” He asked, making you laugh.

“I’ll explain it to you later,” you said, shaking your head before pressing a kiss to his temple. Rafael had to remind himself to breathe for a few moments after you left. He was alone . Well...not entirely. If he needed you, you were just asleep on the couch, but it wasn’t like he was going to wake you up unless he really needed you. He forced himself to slowly breathe in and out until he wasn’t shaking so hard anymore. After a bit. Noah proudly held up his picture and Rafael grinned and told him they would hang it on the fridge until his Mom got there.

“Uncle Raaffaa, I’m hungry. I want another cookie,” Noah whined after a while. He looked tired of coloring, so Rafael stood up.

“No more cookies or you’re going to get sick bud, we’re gonna go make dinner, okay?” Rafael asked, hoping this wouldn’t lead to a meltdown. Noah frowned for a second, “Your Mom said you like Mac and Cheese,” Rafael said, trying to redirect his attention from the cookies. His eyes lit up at that. “Wanna help me make it?” Noah nodded enthusiastically, so Rafael went into the kitchen with him, washing his hands and helping Noah to scrub his own clean. He got the box out of the cupboard and collected everything he needed. Noah was restless beside him, trying to jump up and see the box and squeezing between the lawyer and the counter to grab the spoon. “Woah, okay, how about you fill the water up to this line,” Rafael offered, lifting Noah up to sit on the counter so he could reach the sink. It didn’t take them long to finish dinner, and Rafael got two bowls and filled them before settling on the chair in the living room to eat, Noah right beside him.  He turned on a movie that you had rented which captured Noah’s attention while he ate. Rafael let him have three cups of juice which he knew he would regret later, but the puppy dog eyes that Noah threw his way were irresistible. After the movie, Rafael took Noah to the bathroom, hands shaking slightly. He felt uncomfortable, but he pushed through it, reminding himself that he wasn’t his father. He ran the bath water, feeling to make sure the temperature was okay before allowing Noah to get in. More than anything, Rafael wanted to wake you up for help, but you needed sleep desperately. Instead, he sat on the edge of the tub, sleeves rolled up and watched as Noah played with his bottle of shampoo. Rafael assisted him in lathering the soap into his hair and then rinsing it out, but he was unsuccessful at keeping the suds out of Noah’s eyes. Noah’s soft crying made Rafael a whole new level of uncomfortable, horrors from his own experiences bombarding his mind. The little boy with dark hair and big green eyes that was scrawny for his age sobbing in the corner, the little boy he had tried to pretend was someone else.

“Uncle Rafa,” Noah’s wails drew him back out of the dark recesses of his own head, and he quickly grabbed a towel, wetting it with clean water and pressing it to Noah’s eyes.

“It’s okay Noah, here,” murmured, trying to be comforting. That seemed to do the trick. “I’m sorry,” he offered softly.

“S’okay Uncle Rafa,” Noah whispered, rubbing his eyes. Rafael got him a washcloth with soap on it so he could wash himself. Noah somehow managed to get Rafael soaked with water, so after the little boy was out of the tub and enclosed in a giant fluffy towel, Rafael started to unbutton his shirt. He helped Noah into his pajamas and then took him into the bedroom, sitting him on the bed,

“Stay right here for minute,” he instructed, standing up and quickly shedding his wet clothing before pulling on some flannel pajama pants and a white tee. It was back to the living room then where Noah asked to read a book. Rafael settled on the chair, Noah cuddled against his side as he read the book Liv had sent.

…………………….

You blinked softly at the sound of knocking on the door, sitting up and tiredly rubbing your face. When you looked over at the chair, your heart absolutely melted. Rafael was on his favorite chair, reclining slightly, a book dropped and forgotten on his stomach, and Noah was curled into his side, head resting on Rafael’s chest. Both were fast asleep. You wanted to stare at that for the rest of your life, but another knock startled you. Standing up, you headed to the door opening it up to see Liv, “Sorry, we all got kinda cozy in here,” you apologized, opening the door.

“No problem, did he behave?” Liv asked, following you to the living room.

“You’ll have to ask Rafael, he did most of the work,” you said, smiling again as you caught sight of your man. Liv covered her mouth, smiling. “I hate to wake them up,” you softly admitted. Liv held up a finger, snapping a picture that you knew Rafael would probably hate later. You gently shook his shoulder after that, “Rafi, honey,” his eyes flew open,

“I didn’t mean to,” he gasped, his chest heaving. Noah shifted around, but didn’t open his eyes. You rubbed your hand over his bicep,

“You’re okay,” you assured him, trying to help him calm down from whatever he had been dreaming about.

“Oh, hey. I must have fallen asleep,” Rafael whispered, rubbing his face, “Hi Liv, Noah had dinner and a bath,” He was still breathing a bit heavier than you liked, his muscles tense under your hand. “He drank some juice, had some cookies. I read him a book. Well, part of a book,” you helped Rafael get up without disturbing Noah. “Let me get my jacket, I’ll help you carry him down to your car,” Rafael fetched his jacket, his boots, and Noah’s boots, tenderly slipping them on the little boy’s feet before bundling himself up. Liv got Noah in his jacket when Rafael picked him up, leaning his head on his shoulder. Noah curled an arm around Rafael’s neck, snuggling his face against his shoulder. You followed after them to say goodbye. Rafael struggled to get Noah in the car because his hands were bunched up in the older man’s shirt.

“Rafa,” Noah mumbled, gripping your fiancé tightly.

“Wow, he likes you,” Liv said with a laugh, helping to extract her son from Rafael’s arms. “Noah, honey, we have to go home. I’ll make sure you get to see Uncle Rafa again,”

“Maybe you can come visit me at work sometime,” Rafael offered softly, “Goodnight Noah,”

“Mmm, night Uncle Rafa,” Noah whispered. Rafael walked back over to you, stepping closer when you looped an arm around his waist. You watched as Liv drove away before heading back up to your apartment, still holding onto him. You could tell something was wrong with him--he was silent and practically clinging to you. Then, he promptly poured himself a scotch, settling on the couch to drink it. You sat next to him, turning the tv on at a low volume and leaning into his arms. He leaned his head against the top of yours trembling slightly.

“Want to talk?” you whispered. He didn’t answer for a long time,

“Just a bad dream,” he finally admitted, taking another sip, “That actually went well. I was nervous, but I managed,”

“I knew you could,” you said, gently, “He apparently had a lot of fun,” Rafael didn’t respond, but you understood. Nightmares had a way of sticking in your memory and poisoning your thoughts for hours. He seemed disturbed by whatever he had been dreaming about. You knew how he felt, so you held him close and let him try to sort out his own mind.

Chapter Text

Opening the door, you dumped your things on the counter and collapsed onto the couch. You had been in court all day. It was a murder case, and you had been doing most of the heavy lifting while Rafael worked on a separate case. “Hey,” his voice startled you slightly. He had been home hours before you which in some ways you were glad because he desperately needed some extra sleep. The bags under his eyes were darkening substantially.

“Hi,” you managed softly.

“Dinner is warming up if you’re hungry. I wasn’t sure how you’d be feeling,” Rafael came to sit on the couch next to you. “I uh, I did some brainstorming,” you opened your eyes, looking at the white board that was in his lap. In his neatly scrawled handwriting were three names for a boy and three names for a girl-- Enrique, Dante, Roman, Gabriella, Sofia, Lucia. You stole the board from his hands, uncapping the marker and scribbled out at the bottom, Rafael . He looked at you quizzically. “You want to name him Rafael? Isn’t that a little, I don’t know, cruel,” You smacked his arm,

“I love your name,” you exclaimed, “And besides, you want to name our daughter after your mother,”

“It was just a suggestion,” he whispered, “And that would be very different from me writing Y/N on the board,” Later, when you headed out to the kitchen for a glass of water, it was erased from the board, so you added it again. He wasn’t going to win this one that easily. He had also erased two of the other names you had written on the board the week before. You left the names he had up there because none of them were awful and you wanted to encourage him to continue to give his input. You sat in the living room, watching television and trying to relax for most of the evening, but Rafael had disappeared. While you wanted to go find him and figure out what was wrong, you also wanted to give him space. Eventually, you gave up and headed back to the study. Just as you suspected, Rafael was sitting at his desk, reading a book. Instead of a big law book, it was smaller and he was flipping through it rather quickly. There was an empty tumbler beside his hand, amber tinted ice cubes still resting at the bottom.

“What are you doing?” you asked softly from the door. He looked up,

“Reading about baby names,” he admitted, sighing and pouring himself another glass. You sat on the arm of his chair, guiding his head against your shoulder,

“Rafi,” you said softly. At first he stayed there, quietly letting you hold him, but then he tried to pull away. His eyes were shut, a few tears escaping, and now you were really worried. Something serious was going on inside his head. “Talk to me,”

“I’m sorry,” he muttered, “I’m so scared. I can’t fuck this up. I won’t be able to live with myself if I screw up a kid,”

“You won’t darling, you’re not alone,” You whispered, trying to assure him. He was trembling. “What did Dr. Chase tell you?”

“I know, I know,” he snapped, “That doesn’t make it any easier,” You grabbed him again, holding him tightly against you and not letting him go. He struggled for a few seconds before slumping against you and sobbing. He hadn’t lost it like this in a couple of weeks. You rubbed his hair, wondering how you could make it better. How did he always make everything better for you. He held up your crumbling world numerous times. Almost as soon as it began, he had cried himself out, wiping his eyes and pulling away. So much help you were.

“Do you need some water or another glass of scotch?” you asked softly. He shook his head.

“I’m sorry I snapped--I had a bad day and--” he started to explain, but you cut him off.

“Don’t apologize,” you stroked his face, “What happened? Tell me about it darling,” He turned away, running his fingers through his hair. Come to mention it, he had been acting odd the past couple of days, sitting in the dark, not talking very much, but you had been stressed out about your own trial and not paying enough attention. You felt guilty for not realizing he was hurting. He was eerily silent, hunched over slightly. Rubbing his back, you tried to be there and be patient for him to speak when he was ready. He finally looked up at you,

“It’s just--it’s the anniversary of my father’s death, and Mami calls every year and cries and wants me to go visit his grave with her, and I can’t get him out of my head,” he finally admitted. It was nearly too soft for you to make out, but when you did fully grasp what he was saying, you wrapped him up in a tight hug again.

“Are you going to go?” you asked softly. He nodded,

“To make her happy. Tomorrow,” he explained. You ran your fingers through his hair,

“Maybe you should tell her how you feel,” you suggested, trying not to butt into his family drama, but you sure as hell would stick up for him if needed.

Rafi how could you disrespect your father like that? ” He muttered, “She would say that even though she risked her own safety to protect me at times, and then she would cry and I would feel bad. It would be a mess,” You wanted to offer to go with, but you didn’t want to crowd him or intrude at all, so instead, you held him tightly and rubbed his back until his breaths stopped hitching in his throat. He hiccuped, scrubbing at his eyes. “Have you eaten?” He asked softly, knowing your nausea limited your appetite quite drastically at times. It was so like him: despite currently having his own issues, he was constantly thinking about you.

“No,” you admitted, but it hadn’t been because of nausea.

“Here, let me distract myself by taking care of you,” he said, standing up and starting out toward the kitchen, “What sounds good right now? I’ll make whatever you want,” you weren’t hungry, but he was trying to cope right now so you humored him. What did you want to eat? He did say anything. “Oh boy, what did I just promise,” he whispered with a soft laugh, “Say it,”

“Do you remember that ground beef, tomato thing you made for me when we first started dating?” You asked softly. Rafael frowned, “You said your Abuelita showed you how to make it when you were seven,” you added to clarify.

“Oh,” his face lit up with recognition, “Picadillo. I don’t remember making that for you, but I’m going to have to go to the store then,” he combed a hand through his hair, obviously making a list in his head while he started to get ready. He squeezed himself into an old pair of jeans that barely fit him, but were probably the only pair not sitting in the loads of laundry that you hadn’t done yet before pulling on his quarter zip and winter coat. You handed him his scarf, kissing his lips before he headed out the door. He wasn’t long, maybe fifteen minutes at the store and then he was working hard in the kitchen, a warm, spicy smell filling the apartment and for once it didn’t make you nauseous. Both of you settled on the couch to eat, his arm wrapped around you, and that’s when he noticed, “You’re shaking,” he whispered, “What’s up?” You shrugged, focusing on the food you were eating. “Don’t be like that,” he murmured against your neck.

“He came to my office today,” you finally admitted. Rafael immediately stiffened.

“Mitchell?” He asked softly. He was out on bail, had been since the very beginning.

“Jerome didn’t let him in, but it shook me up,” Rafael tightened his hold on you protectively.

“Why didn’t you come find me?” he asked, voice low, “I told the DA you needed an order of protection. I’m calling him about it tomorrow,”

“Don’t get worked up about this Rafael, you already have so much going on,” you whispered, “You were at your meeting already, and I was leaving for court,” you were silent for a really long time after that before finally whispering, “Rafi, why does it hurt so badly, I feel so broken right now,”

“You’re not broken, he doesn’t get to do that to you,” he said firmly. “His lawyer is playing the stalling game. They know he’s dead to rights,”

“Is he really though? What do they have, an allegation, some forensic evidence that proves intercourse, but there’s no rape kit and no way for me to seriously prove it wasn’t consensual,” you whispered. “He’s going to get up on that stand and tell everyone I wanted that,”

“Y/N, what about the messages? The stalking and harassment lend well to the rape case. Plus Dr. Chase will testify to your state of mind,” he argued, “Liv will testify, I’ll testify,”

“And none of you were there,” you sighed, “I wouldn’t like this case if I was trying it,”

“What if—” Rafael trailed off, obviously thinking about something, “You said he assaulted you at the Brooklyn DA’s office right?”

“Yeah, in his office,” you replied, unsure of where he was going.

“There are cameras all over that place. How has no one checked those?” He started scrambling for his phone, “I need to call Liv,” and with that, he disappeared into the other room. Finishing the food he so lovingly made for you, you tried not to cry. You were so tired of everything. Your poor Rafael, who was scared out of his mind, was trying to hold you together.  You could hear him talking animatedly on the phone, but you didn’t have the energy to get up. Finally, you had to give into the urge to cry, wiping at your face. This trial needed to be over fast, or you were gonna lose it. “Mi amor--oh hey,” he stopped when he saw you crying. “Y/N, c’mere,” he just held you close, shutting his eyes and nuzzling his face against your neck. “You and I are going to make this work. All of it,”

“I’m sorry,” you murmured, “You don’t need me losing it right now,”

“Don’t talk like that,” he scolded gently, “This is what I’m here for,” his hands snuck up under your shirt, his palms running gently over your skin. His touch was comforting.

“I was doing so well,” you whispered, “And now I’m fucked up again,”

“Stop that, you know you’re always going to have good days and bad days. You’re not fucked up, I promise,” He squeezed you tightly against him, “I know it hurts, and I know everytime it gets worse, you feel like it’s never going to go away, but it will with more time,”

“Will it? It doesn’t look like it went away for you,” you regretted saying it almost immediately, but he didn’t look upset.

“Yes, well I never had any therapy until recently, and you’ve already come so far. I just pushed it back for years and tried to pretend it didn’t happen. I made myself numb to it,” he finally answered, “Here, come on. Let’s go to bed. I think we could both use some sleep,”

Later, when you were laying in the dark, half asleep, Rafael’s groggy voice startled you, “Y/N?”

“Hmm?” you mumbled, not wanting to open your eyes,

“W-will you go with me tomorrow?” he finally asked. You laced your fingers through his.

“Of course I will,”

………………………………………………

Walking briskly, you entered the courtroom, coming to sit beside Rafael at the prosecution table. “Hey,” He whispered softly with a smile, “You’re right on time,” you wanted to respond, but you didn’t trust your voice at all. “What’s-”

“All rise. The Supreme Court of the State Of New York is now is session, the Honorable Judge Elana Barth presiding,” the Bailiff interrupted Rafael’s question, so you both stood, waiting for the judge to enter. As soon as you sat down again, a note was pushed in front of you with Rafael’s scribbled handwriting. Are you okay? Now was not the time or the place, so you quickly wrote back,

Not now, I’ll tell you later . You could feel his eyes on you. Can you do the opening statement? Now he looked really worried. He nodded softly, hand squeezing yours under the table. “Are the people ready to deliver their opening statement?”

Rafael stood, clearing his throat, “Yes your honor, of course,” He did a brilliant job winging the opening statement while you sat there and tried to keep your emotions in check. You felt sick, like you were going to throw up. There was anxiety fluttering around in your stomach, a lump in your throat, and tears filling your eyes. You wanted to get up and leave, but you were stuck here until the judge decided to call it a night. You didn’t trust yourself to make a competent argument, and thankfully Rafael was more than willing to take care of it. In between directs, he poured you a glass of water and pushed it over towards you and wrote little notes to get your input on his next questions. Finally, the judge ended the session, and you were free to go. Rafael tried to contain himself, not asking questions or crowding you. He knew you would tell him when you were ready. You excused yourself to the bathroom and told him you would catch up with them on the steps. In the bathroom, you gripped the sink so hard your knuckles were white. How were you supposed to tell him this? Just last night you held him in your arms when he was on the brink of a panic attack, his head in your hands. You whispered for him to shut his eyes and put a hand on your stomach and just listen to your baby’s heartbeat. You had promised everything would be okay, told him to stop thinking so much, but now everything wasn’t okay. He finally seemed genuinely excited. There was no hiding now though, you needed to go tell him, so you collected your things, took a calming breath and headed outside. He was on the steps, talking to Liv and Amanda. You timidly approached him, “Hey,” he said softly, leaning in to kiss your cheek, but you shied away,

“We need to talk,” your voice was so small. He nodded,

“Excuse me a second,” he said softly to Liv. You gestured over to the far side of the stairs. Rafael followed you, leaning against the column. “What’s up?” he asked when you didn’t say anything. Your eyes stung, the lump in your throat making it feel impossible to talk. “Y/N, you’re scaring me,” you finally managed to whisper it, and the look on his face made it even worse, “What?” his voice was low, “I-I just heard the heartbeat two days ago,” your twelve week ultrasound had just been the other day and everything had been fine, but then you were bleeding and cramping and you were scared so you went to the doctor. This was all such a nightmare. When you looked up at him, he had started to pace, hands on his head, his eyes growing glossy with unshed tears.

“I don’t know Rafael, I’m supposed to go back in a couple days and decide if I want--hey,” you stopped speaking when he started to walk away. “Rafael, where are you going? Come back here,” he just kept walking, storming down the steps and ignoring the media mob that tried to ask him questions about the trial. You felt your lip quivering as you tried to wipe the tears away. You needed to get out of there and go home. Liv and Amanda were still standing over by the steps, no doubt having seen Rafael stomp off. You collected your things and your self, heading over to them, “Liv, is there anyway you could give me a ride home?”

“Of course, honey, come on,” she said, sensing your distress. Anger was coursing through your veins: anger at Rafael for just leaving, anger at your body, anger at the world for fucking you over again. Liv rubbed your back, mentioning that she needed to stop at the office before dropping you off, but that was okay with you. As you neared Rafael’s apartment, anger boiled up inside of you, you couldn’t bear to see his face, so you quickly rerouted Liv. The elevator ride up to your floor felt like forever, and the apartment felt so empty without him. You felt so utterly alone. All you could do was slip into some sweat pants and curl up on the couch, weeping softly into your arms.

Chapter Text

You were trapped under crushing grief, gloom hanging in the air. You had barely moved from your spot on the couch for two days, only getting up to use the bathroom or to call off work. Your face was red and puffy with tears, skin irritated from the excessive crying. Resigned to another day of staring at the same wall, you pulled the blanket tighter around yourself, laying there and shaking. Rafael had come by, knocking on your door the first night, but you had been too angry to let him in. Now you wished you had. Your eyes felt so heavy, but every time you tried to sleep, horrifying nightmares forced you back into awareness. Despite how much you wanted Rafael’s company, you didn’t think you could look him in the eyes after all this. When the knocking started, you weren’t quite sure if you were hearing things or if they were real, but maybe if you didn’t get up, the person would go away. It just got louder and louder though, so you finally struggled to your feet, opening the door as you stood there huddled in on yourself. Rafael was looking sheepish, a few days worth of stubble coating his face. He was otherwise fairly groomed, his hair slicked back, clad in a nice pair of jeans and a button down neatly tucked in and boots. In his arms rested a bouquet of flowers, “Hi,” he said softly.

“Hi,” You whispered back, but your voice didn’t sound like your own. You didn’t even know what to say to him. It always used to be so easy.

“I suppose I have some groveling to do,” his tone was light, but you couldn’t find humor in anything. “I’m really sorry Y/N, I shouldn’t have walked away like that. I needed some time,” You didn’t respond. “I don’t know what to say other than sorry,” He fidgeted with his glasses. You played with your sleeve, trying to make yourself say something. “Are you o—that’s a stupid question,” but it was enough for you to find your voice.

“No,” you whispered, and then you were in his arms and it hurt a little bit less. He leaned his head against your shoulder, squeezing you tightly. Rafael always gave the best hugs, warm and tight enough that you felt safe and loved every time.

“Let’s go inside, you need food and a shower,” he murmured, and this time you managed a soft laugh,

“Is that your way of telling me I stink?” you whispered. He shook his head, laughing as well. You followed him inside, sitting on the couch, and feeling that much better simply because he was there. It still hurt like hell, but not feeling alone made such an incredible difference. You hadn’t noticed the bag of groceries in his hand when he first arrived, but he quickly unpacked the food and made you a small lunch. You watched from one of the bar stools. What you wouldn’t give for a little bit of morning sickness, something you never thought you’d miss. The amount of times he had to come over and coax you out of bed and make sure you ate and took care of yourself was ridiculous, but he always showed up. Rafael was always there.

“Oh mi amor,” he murmured, arms wrapping around you from behind. His nuzzled his face against your neck, “Come on, I’ll run you a bath,”

Later, when the two of you were laying in bed together in the dark, you fell apart. Rafael silently held you, rubbing your back. You had a death grip on his shirt, hands twisted up in the fabric tightly. “Rafi,” you whispered. He didn’t try to calm you down, instead keeping you wrapped up in his arms as you tried to work through your grief. His grip tightened when you started to pull away,

“Shh, it’s okay, stay here. I’m right here,” he murmured, but it didn’t make you feel any better. It felt like there was a gaping hole in your chest that was never going to get better. You were drowning in sadness, everything hurt. Every breath was a task, every sob ripped from your throat.

“I’m sorry Rafael,” you whispered, and his arms tightened around you, practically crushing your against his body.

“No,” he whispered against your hair, “No, don’t you ever say that again,” he was shaking his head, kissing your hair. You were shaking, chest heaving, tears soaking Rafael’s shirt. You cried yourself to sleep.

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

The words in the file in front of you were all blurring together. There was a pounding sensation that was developing behind your eyes. Knocking on the door startled you. “Hey mi amor,” Rafael’s voice made you feel a little better. It felt like you had barely seen him in the past few days. He spent the evenings in his study unless you asked him to come into the living room, and he was quieter than ever before. He did try to joke around with you sometimes, lightening the mood as much as possible, but most times it fell flat. “Do you want to go out for dinner tonight?”

“I’m not hungry,” you whispered. He sighed, staring down at his feet, “I don’t know if I’ll eat anything, but I guess we could go somewhere,”

“Okay,” he came over, hand dropping to your shoulder, “Carbone sound okay?”

“Sure,” you whispered. It was your favorite restaurant.

“Let me help you pack this stuff up then,” he started to pick up papers from your desk and tuck them into the file folders when there was a knock on your door. It was Jerome.

“Hey guys,” he said, “Detective Benson is here to see you, and this just came in the mail,” The brown package he set down on your desk was carefully wrapped in paper.

“Send Liv in here. Thanks Jerome,” Rafael said, taking the square box and unwrapping it before easing the lid off. His face went dark almost immediately, leaving little doubt in your mind about what it was. He set it on the desk, turning away for a moment. You didn’t even want to look at the cards. They had been so cute when you picked them out, the front featuring two starbucks cups and a little bottle with a paper logo wrapped around it. It had said, ‘Baby Barba, coming August 2019.’ You had been approaching twelve weeks, and Rafael had mentioned doing one of these as the birth announcement, so you had talked about it and settled on that design. Now you wished you hadn’t. The loud noise of something hitting the ground made you jump slightly. Rafael had knocked the box off your desk and into the trash. He tensely walked over to the window, staring out it for a good few moments. Liv knocked on the door,

“Hey,” she said, smiling softly, but you weren’t smiling and neither was Rafael.

“Liv, hey,” Rafael said, turning around. There was no trace of the outburst of emotion on his face. He looked ready to get down to business meanwhile you were desperately trying to hold in sobs.

“Excuse me,” you whispered, standing up and heading to the bathroom. You couldn’t even bear to look at yourself in the mirror. The doctor had said your hormone levels were off, and you had almost fallen apart at the office that day. Rafael was always quick to assure you that it wasn’t your fault, but you felt so responsible. You closed yourself in the handicap stall, body wracked with sobs. You had to steady yourself by holding onto the the railing. It hurt so badly. You gasped in breaths, almost doubled over. Rafael wasn’t helping either. He was supportive of you, but you hated watching him and feeling like he didn’t care. Deep down, you thought he was upset, but he wasn’t talking about it or showing it barely at all. You felt alone in your grief and it was frustrating. Scrubbing at your tears, you tried to breathe through the pain, but it was too much.

You headed back to your office which was now empty. The door to Rafael’s office was shut. You shoved files into your briefcase, slipping into your coat and gathering up one of the cards from the floor. You sucked in a few breaths, your chest heaving with the exertion of breathing. “Ms. Y/L/N, are you okay?” Jerome was at your side, steadying you.

“No,” you murmured, letting your assistant guide you to a chair. You needed to breathe. If you could only stop this hyperventilating, a lot of the panic would recede. You would still be left with the crippling grief, but at least you might be able to act normal. The tightness in your chest and the aching feeling that accompanied every time you sucked in a breath made your brain scream with panic. You weren’t getting enough air in, you felt dizzy. Jerome’s voice sounded miles away, you could barely hear what he was saying, but then suddenly Rafael was by your side.

“Shh, shh, look at me. Breathe,” he whispered, his eyes locked on yours, practically forcing you to comply. His green eyes were so soft, so familiar and comforting. His hand was rubbing up and down your arm, lips pressed against your temple, “Cariño, I’ve got you,” It took a couple minutes, but you managed to calm down until you were just softly weeping,

“I’m sorry,” you whispered.

“No, don’t be sorry, it’s okay,” he interjected, thumbs brushing away the tears staining your cheeks. You grabbed at his wrist, pulling him closer so you could lean into his arms. “Come on mi amor, we’re gonna go home,” He helped you up to your feet, and you practically collapsed against him, unable to stop your tears. His arms held you so tight.

“Why, why me. What did I do-” you muttered against his shirt.

“You did nothing, none of this was your fault,” he insisted sharply. You finally managed to pull yourself together enough to leave the building, and when you left the room, Liv was still out there. The look on her face told you everything. Rafael had told her.

“I’m so sorry Y/N,” she said gently, hand on your arm. Tears threatened to escape again, but you managed to hold them back, patting her hand,

“Thank you Liv, that means a lot,” your voice was hoarse and wavering. Rafael walked you out to a cab. The ride home was tense and quiet. Nothing felt easy between the two of you anymore. There was just tension and pain. Some nights he slept on the couch instead of in your bed, and you couldn’t help but wonder if he was upset with you, but when you went out the next morning, he would be wide awake and reading a case file on the couch or locked in the study. Your relationship that had felt so solid before now had cracks showing. It wasn’t irreparable by any means, but you needed to find a way to get him to talk to you. You needed to find a way to talk to him. Neither of you had been to see your therapist in weeks. “Can we just go home?” you finally asked, and Rafael nodded softly. You stood there expecting him to talk to you or say something, but instead he poured himself a glass of whiskey before disappearing into his study. You had enough of this. You wanted to talk to him, to cry, to scream, to make him react. You couldn’t breathe anymore. If nothing else, you needed the tension to dissipate. You couldn’t handle your shaky mental state and a shaky relationship at the same time. You knocked on the door,

“Come in,” he called softly, so you opened the door. You stood there awkwardly for a few minutes, “Do you need something?” his voice was cold and short, a tone he hadn’t used with you often.

“Can we talk?” you didn’t mean for it to come out so harshly. Rafael’s eyes flickered up to meet yours. His jaw clenched, but then he relaxed slightly.

“I’m trying to work right now,” he said in a more gentle tone, but it didn’t soften the blow of his words.

“You’re always working,” great, you were crying right now and it sounded so accusatory, but you were fed up. You wanted to fix this before it got out of hand, but he didn’t want to work with you. He hadn’t wanted the baby in the first place, maybe he didn’t care. Maybe this was his way of telling you that he was done. “At least you can be happy now,”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” now he sounded mad. He stood up from his desk, his muscles tense.

“You never wanted this in the first place. I get it now. Don’t worry, I don’t think I could take another loss anyways,” your vision was blinded by tears as you left the room. You sat down on your bed and cried. That couldn’t have gone worse; you hadn’t intended to pick a fight. Why did everything feel so broken? You missed the warm sand of Hawaii. The pain then had been different--you had Rafael to hold you upright and to keep you safe, but now he felt so far away. That felt so long ago, like another lifetime. You got up, still sniffling as you headed to the bathroom for a shower. Once you were clean and comfortable in a pair of Rafael’s flannel pants and an old tee shirt, you headed back into the bedroom where a glass of wine and a plate with dinner was sitting on the nightstand. The light was still on in Rafael’s study, but the door was shut and probably locked. This was some sort of peace offering and it did warm your heart. Tucked under the glass of wine was a paper with a heart drawn on it and at the bottom of the page was a dash followed by an R. You sat down, clicking on the tv and turning the volume down. You sipped at the wine, trying to work up the nerve to eat something. Food was so unappealing, it all tasted like ash in your mouth, and you were never hungry. You ate half of it, but you couldn’t force down anymore. You called it a night early, turning over and closing your eyes.

The sound of the door startled you from your half asleep state. You blinked, the rustling of Rafael shedding his clothing and his feet against the carpet filled the room. The sheets made a crinkling sound when he slipped under the covers. His hands went to your waist, “Did I wake you up?” he whispered by your ear, kissing your skin, “I’m sorry,”

“It’s fine,” you murmured, closing your eyes again and letting him curl up beside you. It was an unspoken agreement to push away the argument from earlier and talk another time. He hadn’t slept in bed in almost a week. You gripped his hand that rested on your stomach, trying not to cry. All of it was too much. “Thank you for dinner,” you finally said, and he grunted in response. That was the end of the conversation.

Soft gasping sounds were what pulled you from sleep the second time. Rafael had slipped out of your grasp at some point during the night. He was facing the wall on the other side of the bed, his chest heaving with the exertion of sobs. The noises coming from him were absolutely heart wrenching. Something was muffling them, but you weren’t sure what at this point. You were sure he wouldn’t want you to be hearing him fall apart like this, so you were torn. Did you risk embarrassing him by acknowledging the situation or did you pretend it wasn’t happening and leave him crying, curled up on his side all alone to drown in his misery-you made a decision quickly. He could get over any embarrassment. “Rafi?” you whispered gently, turning over to face him. He didn’t answer. “Rafael, honey,” He was shaking. You ran a hand gently over his back.

“Go back to bed,” he whispered, his voice watery and muffled against what you could now see was a pillow.

“Rafael, come here,” you insisted, pulling at his shoulder. He took a moment before sitting up and letting you pull him against your chest. You guided his face to your shoulder, fingers running through his hair as he cried. He laid there for a while before he finally calmed down, breaths still hitching in his throat. You kissed the top of his head, “I-I’m so sorry about what I said earlier, that wasn’t fair at all,”

“I know,” he said softly against your skin, “It’s okay,” He quietly laid there for a while before he started to speak again, “I know I’ve been working a lot recently,”

“Raf, it’s okay-” you tried to interject, but he didn’t let you,

“Let me finish,” he insisted, “It’s hard for me to open up sometimes, and if I stop going one hundred miles per hour or pushing forward all I can think about is us and the baby we lost. I never thought I would want to have kids because of everything, but I guess it’s like they say--you don’t truly appreciate anything until you don’t have it anymore,” he stopped talking, tearing up again and gripping your sides, “I walk through the park during my lunch break and all I can see are little kids everywhere, and I just lost mine. I lost my chance,”

“Why didn’t you say something before?” you whispered, holding him tightly. He was feeling exactly what you were, “I felt so alone Rafael, you felt alone,”

“I wanted to be strong Y/N, I wanted to be there for you, but I couldn’t even do that. I thought-I thought fathers weren’t supposed to feel this way. It wasn’t supposed to hurt this much,” he whispered, “I don’t understand. Why did this happen? Why did this happen to me, to you?” You had no answers for him, but you knew he didn’t expect any. You leaned your head down against his, starting to cry yourself,

“You don’t have to be strong for me. You need to work through what you’re feeling,” you whispered. You clutched him to you, closing your eyes. You fingers ghosted over his back, holding him tight. He let out a little bitter laugh,

“I guess I never really was a father anyways,” it was barely audible, but it made you furious.

“Don’t say that Rafi,” you said firmly. The two of you laid there for a while, both sniffling. Rafael stroked your back, his hands wandering under your shirt and against your bare skin. You hadn’t been up for anything at all since it happened, not only because of doctor’s orders but also emotional scars. You couldn’t bear to imagine getting pregnant again and losing another baby. It had been a problem with your body, so who was to say that it wouldn’t happen again. You couldn’t deny that more than anything, you still wanted to have a baby with Rafael. It hadn’t been planned the first time, but when you got past all the complicated parts of it, deep down, you were happy.

“Were you serious when you said you don’t want to try again?” his voice was so soft. You rubbed his back, face pressed against the bare skin of his shoulder.

“I’m barely together right now Rafael,” you whispered, “If we lost another, I wouldn’t be able to handle it,”

“But?” he was so good at reading you, it was unreal. He always seemed to have some idea of how you felt.

“But I want to have a baby,” you whispered, “I want to have your baby, more than anything Rafael. Maybe this would sting less,” Rafael held you quietly.

“Has the bleeding stopped?” he asked gently. It had for the most part. It had started out slow, but the one night, he had to hold you through the worst pain of your entire life. You had been almost screaming, clutching his hand so hard it turned white. He wanted to take you to the hospital, but you had told him in no uncertain terms that you weren’t going anywhere. The next few days had been tough, heavy bleeding and you had to rest constantly.

“Mostly,” you whispered. Rafael shut his eyes.

“Does it still hurt?” he murmured. You ran fingers through his hair again, down his neck and to his back.

“Just a little. The doctor said it would for awhile,” He sighed softly when you started to massage his back, “How’s your back been, you shouldn’t have slept on the couch,” he grunted softly when you hit a particularly sore spot.

“It’s a mess. I need to go back to my chiropractor,” his voice was slightly strained.

“Loosen up so I can rub it better,” you whispered, “Don’t tense your muscles,” You dug your fingers in just hard enough to make a difference and tried not to make it painful. He still sucked in a sharp breath, face burrowing against your shoulder. After you finished, he sighed and looked more comfortable.

“Thank you,” he whispered, face still against your shoulder. The both of you were quiet after that, clinging to each other for support. You finally were consumed by darkness, falling asleep and only waking up once it was morning.

Chapter Text

You stood up tiredly, thankful that the hearing was over. Packing up your papers, you headed out of the courtroom. You just wanted to get back to your office and sit down. You felt drained. “Y/N!” it was Liv’s voice. You turned around and smiled, “Hey, how was the hearing?”

“Long,” you sighed, “Judge threw out the motion to suppress, but it was a tough argument,”

“You look tired, let me buy you cup of coffee,” she offered. You thought about turning her down, you really shouldn’t have the extra caffeine--you weren’t sleeping well as it was--but the company was attractive.

“Sure, sure, thank you,” you said, trailing her out to a little cafe down the road. You shot a quick text to Rafael, letting him know you’d be back later. You ordered a pumpkin spice latte,

“How are you guys doing?” she asked. You stared at your hands, running them up and down the warm cup,

“It’s hard,” you whispered, “We’re trying to get through. Rafael buries himself in work,” You took a long breath, trying not to cry, “It wasn’t planned, but we were making plans to have a family and all the sudden it’s just gone,”

“I can’t even imagine,” Liv murmured, “I’m so sorry. I’m here if you want to talk about anything,”

“I don’t even know what to say. This is stressful and with the trial still hanging over my head, I feel like I can’t live my life,” you admitted, “I want to get married and be happy, but I feel so broken. Our relationship feels broken,”

“You both sound like you could use a distraction, something normal. I’ll tell you what, why don’t we get some tickets to a show and you, me, and Amanda can go. I’ll see if Sonny and Fin want to take Rafael out for some drinks or something,” Liv offered, and it meant more to you than you could articulate. Liv was so right, having something normal and fun to do sounded incredible. Your whole life had felt out of wack recently, and spending a night with Liv and Amanda was really appealing.

“Thank you,” you whispered. You finished your coffee before heading back to the office. Sitting down in your chair you pulled out a file and began to read and take notes. You had another hearing tomorrow that you needed to prep for. It was going to be complicated too, a mess with improper searches and claims of vendettas. The defense attorney was obviously stalling, but with the judge that had been assigned to the case, you weren’t sure if the ruling would be in your favor or not. A knock on the door startled you. There stood Rafael, a tangle of green stems and bright petals in his arms.

“Hey,” he whispered. You grinned bigger than you had in a long time.

“Hi,” you said softly.

“I got you these,” he took a step closer, handing them to you. Then he looked away for a moment, standing there awkwardly, his hands nervously toying with his belt loop. “Is now an okay time to talk?”

“Yeah, sure,” you replied, setting your things down so you could supply him with your full attention. He shut the door to your office, taking a seat in one of the chairs in front of your desk. He was obviously anxious about whatever he was going to say to you. Collecting his thoughts, Rafael stayed silent for a few minutes,

“I want—I want to try to have a baby,” he finally said. You jerked back in surprise for a second; you had not been expecting that. You were stunned silent, staring dumbly at Rafael for a few seconds, “You don’t have to answer now. I understand you may not feel the same way, but I wanted to be clear about where I’m at. I want us to talk like we usually do,” You let him take your hands,

“I-I think I want that too, but I’m scared Rafael, this has really, really hurt me,” you managed admit softly after a few moments. Rafael smiled a big toothy smile that you rarely saw.

“Well, you think about it, we aren’t supposed to have sex again for a week or two and it’s a month at least until we’re allowed to try again for a baby, so you have plenty of time,” he said, standing up and coming to sit on the arm of your chair. You wrapped your arms around his waist as he leaned down to kiss your forehead. “Whatever you decide, I will respect it. I love you okay?” you nodded. Hearing that from him after everything made you feel so much better. It still hurt, but you felt like a person again, like it might turn out okay.

“Love you too Raf,” you murmured against his shirt. His arms winded around you, face pressed against your hair. “How was your hearing yesterday?” you asked softly, shutting your eyes.

“That idiot defendant, what was his name, Lacey--he lost it. Tried to attack me,” Rafael said quietly, “The judge yelled at Buchanan, who might I add, did nothing to help. Took three Bailiffs to restrain him,” You reached up and traced the slight bruising on his cheek that you had asked about.

“That’s what that’s from?” you asked, eyes narrowing, “Why didn’t you tell me the truth when I asked?” He grabbed your hand, bringing it to his lips,

“You don’t need to be worrying about me. He barely hit me,” he said softly, holding you tightly, “I am fine. I’ll see you at home later,” he kissed your temple before leaving. You felt tired and emotional, but for the first time in awhile, hopeful. You weren’t drowning anymore.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Where was he? He was twenty minutes late and you were freaking out inside. You phone started going off in your pocket, “Hello?” You asked softly.

“Y/N, hey,” he sounded out of breath, “It’s me—”

“Where are you?” You asked, more anger seeping into your tone than you intended,

“I’m sorry my schedule doesn’t revolve around you,” he snapped before sighing loudly, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that, the judge held us late at the hearing. I’m on my way,”

You sat back tiredly, “I’m so sorry, he should be here in fifteen minutes latest,” you said to the receptionist. She smiled and assured you it was alright. When he finally rushed in, he was apologizing profusely before taking a seat beside you. The doctor came in moments later,

“You must be Y/N and you are Rafael,” she said with a smile, taking a seat.

“I’m so sorry to keep you waiting,” Rafael said, shucking his jacket off. She brushed it off,

“My receptionist moved some things around. It’s alright. I’m Dr. Montgomery,” she shook both your hands, “So, why don’t we start with a brief family history and medical history,” Explaining the recent events of your lives took a while, but both you and Rafael had decided that talking to a fertility specialist would ease your concerns about trying again. It was only a week until you were medically allowed to begin the process. Rafael had been reading all about conception in his free time, obsessing over it as he usually did with things like this. “Why exactly did your doctor say the miscarriage occurred?” There was the question that made you feel ill.

“Uh, it was some sort of hormonal imbalance and the baby stopped growing. It was just after the 12 week mark,” Rafael answered the question for you, squeezing your hand.

“I guess, the reason we’re really here is I want to know if we got pregnant again, how likely is it that I’d miscarry a second time?” You said. Rafael started to rub soothing circles onto your back like he expected a bad answer. You were getting nervous the more it seemed like he was nervous.

“Well, I’m going to have to get some blood work back, but I’m optimistic that with the correct medicinal help, you should be able to sustain a pregnancy to term. This is by far not the worst situation I have seen. Worst case here as of right now, you could use a surrogate,” she said with a warm smile. Rafael let out a little sobbing sound as he pulled you into a hug. You gripped onto his shoulder tears of thankfulness pouring from your eyes despite your attempts to contain them.

“See,” he said softly, holding you tight. You both wiped your eyes.

“That is such a relief to hear,” you admitted.

“It’s always great to give good news. Now, how about we get some blood drawn, and to be on the safe side, I’m going to do a full workup which includes a semen sample from you,” the doctor said matter of factly. Rafael went red almost immediately. He cleared his throat,

“Uhh, is there any…” he managed to turn an ever deeper color of red, “Never mind. Where…”

“James will show you to one of the rooms, wash your hands with soap and water and no saliva please,” she said it so plainly with no hint of embarrassment while Rafael was so red he could pass as a beet. He followed the man to a plain room that didn’t do much to aid the process.

“Right in here Mr. Barba,” the man said, handing him a cup, “Ejaculate into the cup, seal it and bring it out for us. Take as much time as you need,”

Rafael shoved his hands in his pockets, “Wow, you guys really tried to provide plenty of visual aids,” he whispered wryly. “What, no countdown timer to up the pressure?” James laughed softly at him, but he was sort of serious. How was he supposed to perform under all of this pressure; he felt put on the spot. He wished they might let you in the room to get him in the mood, but alas he was alone in the little sterile room and feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed. Rafael carefully washed his hands thoroughly and then dried them. He shut his eyes, sitting down and trying to relax his muscles. What he wouldn’t give for a glass of whiskey. He leaned back against the wall, swallowing loudly. Picturing people outside laughing at him was really psyching him out. Rafael had to take a deep breath before pushing through the awkwardness he was feeling. Imagining your mouth around him, he started to palm himself through his pants. He quickly shed his jacket from his shoulders, unbuttoning his vest and folding them up. After unzipping and unbuttoning his pants, he slipped the suspenders from his shoulders and then stepped out of them. Off came his shirt and then he was comfortable. He didn’t want to get anything on his clothes considering he had to return to work after this appointment. He folded the up, setting them on a table a little ways away before settling back down on the chair. He pulled his boxer briefs down just enough to get his cock out and began to tug lazily on it, remembering the way you fit him tighter than a glove, the dizzying heat around him. He was half hard in no time, biting his lip to try and keep quiet. A loud footstep outside the door was enough to have his hard on flagging. He groaned frustratedly and took a deep breath. He fished his phone out of his pants and toyed with it nervously for a moment. He was tempted to find some porn to help him along, but this was his work phone. He sat there awkwardly, tracing his finger along the side before giving in and calling you.

“Having trouble?” Your voice sounded amused. He huffed softly,

“How about you try it sometime,” he grumbled, “I’m just nervous. I don’t like knowing there are people right outside the door,”

“Take a deep breath Rafa, close your eyes and imagine what I’ll do for you later if you do this,” your voice was soft and his head fell back, a groan escaping his throat. He knew you’d make good on that and it was enough to get him hard again,

“Thanks,” he muttered, hanging up and started to stroke himself once more. This time he finished without any incidents, and he was more than glad to be done with it. He washed his hands again, dressing quickly before heading out to give the little cup to Dr. Montgomery. He could feel his cheeks burning.

“Good job babe,” you whispered, making him blush more. You were still getting fawned over by a nurse who was icing your arm; it was definitely going to bruise. The first nurse had been a little needle happy when trying to take your blood. “I’m okay, really,” you assured him.

“Y/N,” Rafael gently held your arm up, looking more than a little upset about it, “Seriously,”

“Rafael, I’m okay,” you assured him, stopping him from getting upset with anyone here.

“Alright, I’ll call you guys later this week to discuss any results and let you know about the treatment plan I’m going to develop,” Dr. Montgomery said with a smile, “Read these pamphlets about conception and next week you can start to try for a baby,” You hadn’t felt this hopeful in a long time.

Chapter Text

You groaned loudly. Rafael’s tongue was working magic on you; he was on the edge of bringing you to a third orgasm in one night, his head buried between your thighs. “Oh my god,” you whispered, “Please, please, ahh,” he laughed softly, fingers tracing circles on your sweaty thighs.

“Having a good time?” He teased, “You know our walls aren’t sound proof,”

“Shut up,” You breathlessly whispered, trying not to laugh, “Shut up and finish me,” You grabbed a handful of his hair, pulling on it slightly. Rafael laughed again, but latched onto your clit sucking until you tensed up and shouted. He wiped his face and god that shouldn’t have been so hot. He was visibly hard again,

“You really have an effect on me, it’s barely been a half hour,” he whispered, leaning in to kiss you. You couldn’t even really return the kiss,

“I can’t move Raf,” you whispered, shutting your eyes. You felt like a puddle of mush.

“I’ll do all the moving,” he said, that lopsided smirk on his face. The moonlight made him look almost boyish. You didn’t answer, still trying to catch your breath, “I’m only kidding you know, we don’t have to go again,” he whispered by your ear.

“No, no, give me a couple minutes,” you said softly, “But you are not allowed to get me up before noon tomorrow,”

“Like I ever get you up in the morning. You’d rip my throat out,” he said, his hands running soothingly over your skin. When you opened your eyes, he was lazily stroking himself, probably trying to stay hard while you mustered up enough energy for round two—well it was your round four.

“Okay,” you whispered, “C’mere, but you really are going to have to do all the work,” It only took him seconds to be draped over top of you, kissing your neck and leaning down by your ear,

“Are you sure?” his words were soft, and you knew you could say no and he would stop immediately. You had never thought you would be able to trust anyone again, not to be in a relationship much less with sex; not after Casey Mitchell, but Rafael had completely changed everything for you.

“Yes,” and he was glad to oblige.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Rafael was sitting on the couch, his foot tapping on the ground like crazy. He squeezed your hand as you both sat silently, half heartedly watching the tv. You fidgeted, hand toying with your sleeve before leaning into Rafael’s arms. He ran his fingers gently over your shoulder, “How long…?”

“A couple minutes,” you whispered back, tucking your head against his chest. You were practically clutching on to his shirt.

“It’s okay Y/N,” he murmured, “If you aren’t we’ll just keep trying. It’s only been a month,” You were only two days late, but you both wanted this so badly. Rafael had picked up the test on his way home from work; you had been so worked up you stayed home. All day you had wanted to throw up, laying in bed as your stomach twisted and turned with anxiety.

“What if we can’t. I know she said...but what if, what if she’s wrong?” you started to cry, but Rafael was immediately holding onto you,

“Don’t think like that, one step at a time. Let’s not rush to the worst possible outcome. If worse comes to worse we can use a surrogate or talk about adoption. There are options,” he kissed your temple, thumb brushing over your cheek, “It’s okay,” You nodded, wiping your face. “Has it been two minutes yet?” You checked the clock and nodded, standing up and heading to the bathroom. You grabbed the door handle, pausing to take a breath. You heard the rustling noise of Rafael standing up as he waited for the answer. You opened the door, picking up the test before dropping it back down on the counter. Rafael was at the door, leaning against the wall, hands shoved in his pockets. You reached up and wiped at a tear, shaking your head and then he was holding you again, “It’s okay, here, come on, let’s go out for ice cream. We’re gonna keep trying Y/N, we’ve got this,” The problem was, you were having a hard time believing him.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

You blinked the sleep from your eyes, rolling over to check your phone for the time. You still had over an hour before you needed to get up. Rafael groaned, his arms tightening around you as he tried to pull you closer. “It can’t be time to leave yet,” he mumbled against your shoulder, pressing his lips on the skin a few times.

“Nope, another hour and a half,” you replied, rolling over to kiss him lazily. He blinked a few times, smiling against your lips. The soft touches soon became heavier and more intense, his hands roaming across your skin. You pressed your knee insistently against his morning wood forcing groans from his throat.

“Mmm good morning to me,” he whispered, raising his eyebrows. You laughed softly, crawling on top of his lap as he sat up, leaning against the headboard. His voice was still rough with sleep as he murmured how good you felt into your ear, and his movements were slow. The whole thing was lazy and breathless but still delicious. Rafael rested his face against your neck, occasionally pressing kisses there and gripping onto you. Afterwards you laid in his arms, cursing the fact that you had work soon. You had been up late the night before and now you were going to be exhausted later. Rafael had already drifted off beside you as he often got sleepy post-orgasm. You were going to have to do laundry when you got home because there were probably semen stains on the sheets. You chose to ignore your impending long day and shut your eyes as you cuddled into Rafael’s chest.

Chapter Text

Sitting at your desk, you sipped at your nearly empty cup of coffee, reading the newest case file. A knock on the door pulled you from it, “Sonny, hey,” you said, standing up, “Something I can do for you?”

“I uh, I brought you a coffee,” he said, holding out a cup,

“Wow, you read minds now? I’m almost out,” you said with a smile, “Thank you so much,”

“Barba said you were having a bad day,” he commented, taking a seat in front of your desk. “But uh, I’m actually here to talk to you about the Johnson case. I talked to the eye witness, Eli Rory, he uh he gave a description to a sketch artist and we have a new lead on the car, a black SUV, partial plate,”

“Okay, you checked out the car? Who was it registered to?” you asked, wondering where he could be going with this. After a long conversation, you sent Sonny on his way to keep investigating. You were still a long way from enough for a warrant. Rafael was the next one to come into your office, his arms behind his back like he was hiding something.

“Hey beautiful,” he said with a smile, “What do you say we get out of here and get some lunch?” It was then that he revealed the flowers that were previously hidden behind him. You didn’t really want to stop working though. Sonny had been right, you were having a bad day, and work was distracting you.

“I’m kind of busy Rafael,” you whispered, but Rafael saw right through it. He came over to lean against the edge of your desk,

“C’mon mi amor, I know you have time for a quick lunch, I asked Jerome,” he said, reaching out to caress your cheek.

“I want to get out of here at a reasonable time tonight. We only have two days Rafael,” you insisted. Your last two pregnancy tests had come back negative and you were just in a bad mood. You were supposedly ovulating in a couple days, and you were desperate to succeed this time around. He looked a little hurt,

“Is that all that matters to you now? I want a baby too Y/N, but I also want you back. This has consumed everything,” he wasn’t looking at you now, his shoulders slumped. He was right, infuriatingly right. Rafael was always right.

“I know, I know, I’m sorry,” you whispered, “I’m scared,” you set down your pen. Rafael looked slightly relieved at your reaction. “Here, let’s go to lunch. We can worry about everything else later,” You stood up, accepting his offered arm and placing the flowers on your desk, “What were those?”

“Daisies,” he pecked your cheek on the way out the door.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Sitting in the bath, you shut your eyes and tried to relax. You couldn’t look at the test. You couldn’t see another negative. Rafael had checked the last one for you, but he was away at a conference in LA and you were here all alone. Sonny had come by to check in on you when you didn’t show up for work, but you hadn’t been feeling well all week. That was really what prompted you to take the test. You had just taken one a week or so before, but it had come back negative. This time you hadn’t even told Rafael you were taking the test. You couldn’t bear to see the disappointed look on his face when it was negative again. You hadn’t even been trying that long at this point, but it felt like forever to you.

You tried to distract yourself, to think of anything else. You had a meeting with the DA about your pending case against Casey Mitchell later that week. The trial kept getting postponed for one reason or another and it was getting ridiculous. Mitchell’s attorney was playing the wait game and the judge wasn’t calling him out on it. You wished the trial could just be over already, knowing the stress from that certainly was not helping your endeavors to conceive. Eventually the water grew cold and you took to distracting yourself in other ways like not really watching tv or having a short but sweet text conversation with Rafael. You couldn’t stall forever.

You finally gave in right before bed. You got all ready first so that when you were consumed by crushing sadness you could just curl up on your side and cry. You brushed your teeth, called Rafael to say good night, and then there you were, standing in the bathroom looking the mirror and trying to work up enough courage to look down. You were shaking slightly. Finally, you forced your gaze onto the little piece of plastic, almost falling over when you saw the result. You staggered back and had to catch yourself on the wall. Quickly you ripped open the second box that you had bought, taking another test and sitting anxiously on the floor for it to be ready.

Chapter Text

He was halfway through the door when you kissed him. He made a little sound of surprise, his suitcase clattering to the floor, “Hello to you too,” He whispered with a laugh when you pulled away, “I’m exhausted,” You moved aside so he could actually get in the door and sit down. His flight had been delayed God knows how many times and you were actually concerned he wouldn’t be home for Christmas.

“What do you need right now babe?” You asked softly, sinking down onto the couch next to him. He pulled you close, burying his face in your hair.

“Sleep,” he murmured, “We’re supposed to go to my mom’s tomorrow,” he pressed his lips against your cheek, “And decorate the tree,” peck on your forehead, “And we should probably have sex at some point considering it’s been almost a week,” peck on your nose, “And I need to see the chiropractor,”

“That’s enough thinking about tomorrow,” you whispered, “Have you eaten?”

“Mmhmm, I paid the very hefty price for dinner on the plane. I was starving,” he said, his eyes closed,

“Is that whiskey I smell on your breath?” You teased softly, knowing it likely was. He hated planes, well heights actually but that made him hate planes. He gave you a weak smile,

“Is the sky blue?” His voice was playful, “Stop being a lawyer and asking me questions you already know the answer to,”

“Here, you take a shower and then I’m gonna rub your back,” your offered, kissing his cheek. He sighed contentedly,

“What would I do without you?” He headed to the bathroom to wash up while you unpacked his suitcase. You felt like a balloon ready to burst and tell him your news, but you needed to stay patient and wait. When he was absolutely exhausted was not the time. He came into the bedroom, slipping into some boxer briefs and collapsing face first onto the bed. You pressed your thumbs into his shoulders, rubbing deep circles to ease the tension. His muscles felt coiled tighter than a spring, knots everywhere, so you pressed a little firmer drawing a hiss from him. You moved down a bit, fingers pressing in on either side of his spine just like he loved. That earned you a deep groan. You worked your way from there down to his lower back where the mess really was. He jerked slightly when you hit tender spots, but you knew it was for his own good so you kept going.

“Feel any better?” You asked softly. He rolled over, nodding softly. You weren’t sure how he’d react, but you hooked your fingers in his briefs anyways, pulling them down slightly. He jerked fully awake immediately,

“What—”

“Shh, I’m just gonna blow you,” You whispered. He relaxed against the bed, nodding his consent a moment later. He groaned softly as you took him in your mouth, sucking lightly and fondling his balls. Needy noises escaped his lips, his hips bucking up slightly,

“Oh God Y/N, how do you always know what I need?” he hissed, his eyes screwed shut as you took him all the way to the root. “Fuck,” he murmured. He clutched the sheets in his hands, legs quivering. You pushed his hips flat against the bed, pulling back slightly so the head was just in your your mouth, tongue swirling around it and then across the underside over the bulging vein. One of his hands tangled in your hair, stroking through it as you returned to sucking him in. He was panting, red faced and letting you know how good it felt. You loosened your lips finally, letting him buck into your mouth. He came with a loud groan, his head falling back against the bed as he sucked in breaths. You wiped your mouth with a towel and then you cleaned him off, helping him to scoot up the bed and fix his underwear. He laid there silently for a bit, leaning over to kiss you when you crawled in bed next to him,

“I missed you,” you murmured, stroking his hair,

“I could tell. Thank you,” he replied softly. He was fading quickly, his eyes fluttering shut. He sighed contentedly when you pulled him into your arms. “Te amo,” he muttered, so you kissed his head,

“I love you too Raf,”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………....

Rafael was dead to the world. When you woke up, he was still out like a light, snoring softly as he laid sprawled out beside you. You stayed in bed awhile with him, but eventually it was getting late so you got up and started to get ready for the day. Letting him sleep until it was absolutely necessary seemed like an excellent idea at the moment. You pulled out all of the Christmas decorations you brought from your apartment and got it set up for when Rafael woke up. You were making him something to eat and about to go get him when he stumbled out of bed, blearily rubbing his eyes. His hair was sticking up comically and his boxer briefs had slipped low on his hips at some time during the night. “Good morning sunshine,” you said with a smile, but he just grunted. You set his coffee in front of him, sugar and milk already stirred into it. He mumbled his thanks, practically gulping down half the cup and sputtering because of the heat. You threaded your fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck and then down his neck and back and up into his hair again. “I’ll make you breakfast and then we can decorate darling,”

“Kay,” he whispered, yawning, “Mom’s expecting us at five, I’m s’posed to make mojitos and doncellitas,”

“Mmm sounds good,” you whispered, wrapping your arms around his neck. He turned his head to peck your cheek, but he caught your lips instead,

“Thank you for breakfast and last night,” he murmured. You made omelettes and then more coffee. Rafael pulled on a shirt before he helped you start to decorate. You got him to hang lights around the room which he thought was kind of tacky, but he let you convince him of it anyways. You took turns putting ornaments on the tree. This was your first real Christmas together. The year before your relationship had been so young and tentative that you had done little more than exchange gifts and spend Christmas Eve watching movies. Rafael sparingly put tinsel on the tree while you strung the lights around it. He put the star up. You straightened a few pictures on the mantel. Afterwards Rafael actually got dressed in khakis and a button down with the ugly Christmas sweater you bought him. You wore jeans and a matching sweater. “Cariño? Are you ready to go honey?” he called from the bathroom where he was finishing his hair. You wrapped your arms around his waist, kissing his neck,

“Yeah I’m good when you are,” you replied. He bundled up in a coat and scarf, taking your hand as you headed outside the door. You hailed a cab, and the ride over was quiet but cozy, “Rafi are you okay?” you asked softly. He had been sort of quiet all day.

“Yeah, yeah, just tired, a little stressed out. Tomorrow’s Christmas and I was just hoping--never mind,” he changed his mind in the middle of the sentence, letting out a huff of air.

“You were hoping what?” you insisted, taking his hand in yours once more. He looked away for a second,

“I don’t want to upset you,” he started, but you glared at him, “I was hoping you’d be pregnant by now. I see all these kids around and Liv was showing me pictures of Noah. It’s just harder around the holidays,” You almost broke down and told him right then, but you stopped yourself. You had plans and you didn’t want to ruin them.

“Like you said Rafa, we got this. It’s going to be okay,” you promised. He nodded, holding you tight against him.

“You’re right,” he murmured. When the car pulled up in front of Lucia’s apartment, you climbed out of the cab, heading up stairs hand in hand. Rafael knocked on the door,

“Rafi, come here,” Lucia said immediately when she opened the door, kissing his cheek and pulling him into a tight hug. “Y/N,” she said your name warmly as she hugged you as well. The first time Lucia had embraced you had explained where Rafael had learned to hug so well. They were always warm, tight bear hugs that left you feeling loved. “You need to make the drinks, everything is in the kitchen,” she said to Rafael who sighed but headed off to do as she asked. She urged you over to the couch, introducing you to a few of Rafael’s cousins and people from her work. Pictures of Rafael as he grew up littered the walls and tables, and you adored looking at them. “Would you like to see a scrapbook?” she asked softly with a big smile on her face.

“Oh more than anything,” you said with a laugh, settling back on the couch. Lucia came back with a big scrapbook, sitting down beside you and opening the book up. The first page was filled with little pictures of baby Rafael, a mop of dark hair on his head and big green eyes. He was a little chubby but so adorable. You would be a happy woman if your baby looked just like that. “Oh my God,” you whispered, “He’s so adorable,” She turned the page revealing a little toddler sitting with an older man who you immediately recognized as Rafael’s father. There were features on Rafael that you could see came from him despite the fact that he looked so similar to hs mother. “Is that Raf’s dad?” you asked softly. She nodded. You didn’t want to look at him any longer, not with what you already knew. Your poor, poor Rafael. You paged through the book, laughing at the pictures of him in the dirt and his cute little toothless smiles. Your favorites were his high school pictures from graduation and from law school. You wished you could have known him then. You wished you could have known him your whole life.

“Mami, I made--Mami seriously,” Rafael groaned, “You have got to be kidding me,” You laughed at the look on his face, holding up a naked baby picture,

“Look, there’s that cute butt,” your words made his face turn bright red. He tried to snatch it from your hand, but you were too quick. He glared at you,

“I’m gonna get you back for this,” he said playfully before turning his gaze toward his mother, “And I thought we talked about not doing this to me,”

“Oh but darling you were so cute, how am I supposed to resist,” Lucia said, stroking his face,

“Yeah Rafi, you were so cute,” you echoed, unable to resist teasing him. He let out a long suffering sigh,

“Whatever, I made the drinks, they’re in the kitchen. Cariño, do you want a doncellita, a mojito, or maybe some wine?” he asked softly, giving up on arguing with the two of you.

“Just some water please,” you said softly, trying not to be too obvious about it. “I don’t want to be hungover tomorrow,” Rafael took the excuse without question, turning to his mother,

“How about you Mami?” he asked softly.

“Serve our guests first,” she replied, turning back to continue showing you pictures.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………....

The light was pouring into the window, pulling you awake. Rafael was still passed out on his stomach beside you. You knew you should probably let him sleep, but you couldn’t wait to exchange gifts. He groaned when you shook his shoulder, weakly swatting at your hands, but you were persistent. “Rafi, wake up,”

“Stop it Y/N, thirty more minutes,” he protested, shoving his head under the pillow. You sighed, getting out of bed,

“I’m holding you to that,” you called on your way out. He grumbled something, but it was muffled by his pillow. Starting a pot of coffee, you tried to contain your excitement. Telling Rafael was one of the best parts. You amused yourself by watching tv for a bit, but you grew tired of it quickly. You got cold, so you went searching for the soft down blanket that Rafael used to keep on his bed. It was so warm and smelled like him. You opened the closet and out tumbled the white board that had been hanging on the fridge, baby names written carefully on it and never erased. It brought tears to your eyes thinking about the pain he may have been in, seeing the board everyday until it had become so unbearable that he hid it away in the closet. You erased everything that was written by it after taking a quick mental inventory of the names that were written down and hung it on the fridge again. Today was about new beginnings. You sat on the couch again, wrapped up in the warm blanket, waiting for Rafael to get up. He came out right before you were about to break and go wake him up.

“You’re a godsend you know that,” he called from the kitchen, likely when he found the full pot of coffee, “You aren’t having any? Or did you drink a whole pot while I was asleep?”

“I’m trying to cut back on the caffeine, I had five cups the other day,” you brushed off his snarky commentary with a serious answer that was actually plausible.

“Y/N--where did you--what is this doing in here?” he asked softly, a strained look on his face when he finally came into the room.

“Oh, it was in the closet,” you replied, ignoring the second half of his question.

“But--”

“Shhh. Get your ass over here. We’re watching It’s a Wonderful Life and then opening presents okay?” you interrupted. He came and sat at your side obliging your whims. He wrapped an arm around you, leaning in to press his lips against your neck.

“I love you,” he whispered. You nodded, leaning your head against his chest and watching the movie. Afterwards you settled on the floor, his pile of presents sitting in front of you. He had a nice stack of gifts on the other side of the tree as well, wrapped in different paper.

“Can I give you yours first?” you asked softly. He nodded looking at you expectantly. You pushed the pile toward him and watched as he began to unwrap his gifts. A huge smile stretched across his face when he found the expensive watch you bought for him. He also uncovered an luxury travel mug, a three pair set of diamond cufflinks that he had been eyeing up during your trip to Tiffany’s to have your ring size adjusted slightly, and three Hemingway books he didn’t own yet.

“Wow, you really outdid yourself,” he said with a big smile, “You didn’t need to get me all of this,” You kissed him,

“I love you and I wanted to,” you assure him, “But I’m not quite done yet. I have one more present for you,” You dug the little box out from under the tree. Rafael took it, smirking at you,

“Is it another watch?” he teased, unwrapping the paper and easing the lid off the rectangular box. The smile fell from his face and when he looked up at you, his eyes were red rimmed, but glimmering with hope, “You-You’re pregnant?!” he finally managed to choke out, shooting up to his knees so he could pull you in for a hug. “When did you find out? This is so, this is so great,”

“While you were at your conference,” you whispered, “I hope you aren’t mad I waited to tell you. I wanted it to be a surprise,”

“Oh I don’t care Y/N, I’m just so, so thankful,” he was clutching onto you like his life depended on it. “We-we’re gonna have a baby,” he sounded so disbelieving as he settled down, the the grin never leaving his face,

“Yes Rafi, we’re gonna have a baby,” you echoed.

“Well my gift suddenly feels really inadequate. I couldn’t possibly top what you gave me,” he said with a soft laugh. You opened your presents that included an absolutely stunning necklace, a few seasons of the Wonder Years, your favorite tv show, a bottle of that expensive perfume that you got in Italy and had recently finished and a new briefcase to replace yours that was practically falling apart at the seams.

“Oh Rafi, thank you,” you whispered, “I love all of this,”

“Ah, I’m not done yet. Just like you, I have another surprise, but mine is not nearly as amazing as yours,” he said before leaning in and crashing your lips together, “So I uh, you seemed so sad recently--” a knock on the door interrupted what he was saying. “Go ahead, see your surprise,” he said with a smile. You stood up, heading to the door. When you opened it, Liv was standing there with a little cage in her hands. She set it down and unlocked the door and out came a small, fluffy puppy that ran up to you and started to jump up against your legs. You knelt down, gathering it up in your arms and holding it.

“Oh my God, Rafael,” you whispered, petting it and clutching it to you. It licked your face,

“Thanks Liv,” he said with a smile.

“Oh no problem, Noah thought it was a lot of fun. See you guys tomorrow,” she said with a big grin. You were shocked to say the least, you had asked Rafael about getting a dog months ago, and he was more than against it. He didn’t want to deal with the shedding or leaving a puppy with someone else if he wanted to go on vacation. You had actually argued about it briefly, but in the end you felt it wasn’t worth the tension and let it go. Rafael knelt down beside you,

“You like it?” he asked, smiling softly and reaching out to pet it, “It’s a boy,”

“I love you,” you whispered, kissing his cheek. You petted your puppy, murmuring, “He’s so cute,”

“Here come on, I have some stuff for the dog,” he said. You watched as he gleefully revealed the collar he bought and the little dog bed and how he held the dog at an arm’s length, trying to avoid hair getting on his clothes. You loved this man more than anything in the world.

When you went out into the kitchen for a glass of water, one name was written on the whiteboard.

Rafael.