Actions

Work Header

Whiskey and Wine

Chapter Text

 

Rafael would be lying if he said he didn’t frequent the gym more these days due to the hot brunette who was currently laying into the punch bag in the studio. He watched her through the glass from the corner of his eye. She was toned and fit, hair up in a messy bun, sweat dripping down her forehead. She wore a faded NYPD tank top and shorts, bouncing gently on her toes round the punch bag, laying into it every now and then. She was beautiful, he couldn't help but look at her.

 

“Man, she’s hot, huh?” another guy next to him said, making Rafael turn to him before he turned back to the brunette. She stopped punching, taking off the gloves and wiping the hair from her face. She took a swig of water from a bottle before she looked through the glass, meeting Rafael’s eyes for a moment. The man blushed red, looked away and went back to exercising. He looked at himself in the mirrored wall in front of him as he sped up the treadmill. He tried to ignore the feeling that the woman was watching him.”She’s checking you out, man,” the man next to him said. Rafael continued to run on the treadmill, turning his head to look at her again. She was staring at him and smiling gently. Then everything happened so fast.

 

Rafael tripped over his own feet on the treadmill and went down with a thud, falling off and onto the floor. He groaned at the pain of landing on his arm, knowing he’d hurt something almost straight away. Suddenly there was a hand under his head and voice speaking to him in his haze.

 

“Oh God, are you okay?” Rafael looked up at the brunette beauty who filled his every thought lately. He felt his face go red.

 

“I … um, just lost my footing,” he said, feeling complete embarrassment at what had just happened.

 

“Can you get up?” she asked and he nodded, putting his hand on the ground for leverage but winced as his wrist gave in. “I think I’ve damaged my wrist.” The woman helped him to his feet.

 

“Come on. I’ll take you to the ER,” she said. He was about to protest but she cut him off. “No, I’m taking you.” She took his arm. “Come on.” He nodded, letting her guide him out of the gym and to her car. “I’m Olivia Benson.”

 

“Rafael Barba,” he said, his face still red as she opened the door of her car for him to get in. There was some small talk in the car on the way there as Rafael cradled his wrist to his body. The wait at the hospital wasn’t long and he left with Olivia with a strapped up wrist. She offered to take him home and he insisted he could get home by himself but she wouldn’t hear it. He eventually agreed. But before he got in the car, she pressed her hand against the door, stopping him from opening it. He looked up into her brown eyes.

 

“So Rafael, let’s cut to the chase here. You were checking me out in the gym,” she said and Rafael began to stutter and she pressed a finger to his lips and he stopped. “And I was most definitely checking you out.” His cheeks burned. “So let’s not beat around the bush. Do you want to grab a cup of coffee, or dinner sometime?” Rafael smiled gently.

 

“I’d like that. Do you have some time now?” he asked. Olivia smiled.

 

“I do.”

Chapter Text

Olivia threw back the rest of the glass of cabernet after a hard day at work. It never got any easier. She had sent the squad home, some of the images of the case the past few days would be burned into her brain for the rest of her life. She sighed as she put her glass down before letting her head fall into her hands. Suddenly, the glass in front of her disappeared and a fresh one got put down in front of her, making her lift her head to the bartender.

 

“You look like you needed another,” said the man in front of her. “Rough day?” She smiled gently and picked up the glass.

 

“You don’t know the half of it!” she said, taking a sip of the wine. He placed his elbows on the bar and leaned forward.

 

“Well, you are supposed to tell a bartender your troubles. So if you need an ear …” he said, smiling gently at her before someone called for his attention for a drink. “You know where to find me.” He indicated the bar before he went to serve other customers. Olivia watched him from the corner of her eye as he mixed drinks with relative ease, flipping bottles as he made cocktails. She found it fascinating. He was an attractive man, his green eyes piercing and his hair expertly gelled into place. He wore a fitted shirt and waistcoat and a red tie with a white apron tired around his waist. And was he speaking Spanish down the other end of the bar?! Now that was hot. She sipped her wine as her phone buzzed in her pocket. She rolled her eyes and pulled out the phone.

 

Hope you’re okay, Liv. Day was hard. Have a drink for me. F.

 

Fin. He always looked out for her. She smiled at the text before messaging back.

 

I’ll have a few. Thanks Fin. x

 

“Boyfriend? Husband?” the bartender asked, stepping in front of her again. She chuckled, taking another drink of her wine. She leaned closer to him.

 

“My job doesn’t leave time for a relationship …” she said.

 

“What do you do?” he said, as he wiped down the bar. “Modelling, maybe?” Olivia laughed louder than before which made the bartender smile.

 

“You are charming,” she said. She opened her blazer to flash her badge. “Not a model, I’m afraid.” He put his hands up in mock surrender.

 

“Don’t arrest me, detective …”

 

“Lieutenant …” she corrected with a smile.

 

“Lieutenant? Wow,” he said. “I can imagine you’d be stunning in uniform.” She felt her cheeks go red a little. She suddenly felt quite brave and went into her pocket and pulled out a card and placed it on bar and slid it across with her finger. The bartender picked it up and smirked gently at her.

 

“Maybe you can find out for yourself one day?” she said, gulping down the last of the wine in her glass before getting off her stool and picking up her coat.

 

“I may just do that …,” he said before looking down at the card. “Lieutenant Olivia Benson.” She smiled and leaned closer to see the name badge on his shirt.

 

“See you again soon ... Rafael,” she said, loving the way his name rolled off her tongue. He winked at her and she walked away and out the building before stopping outside to lean against the wall. Where had that come from? She had given a complete stranger her number. Surely her position in the NYPD had taught her that that kind of behaviour could be dangerous. But she had been drawn to him. And he spoke Spanish for god’s sake. She straightened up and took a deep breath before she began walking home, looking in the window of the bar. Rafael caught her eye through the window and smiled at her once more. She blushed and walked the rest of the way home with that image of his beautiful smile replacing some of the gruesome images from the recent case. Right now, she was happy.

Chapter Text

The apartment door swung open quickly as Olivia Benson pulled Rafael Barba in by the tie, hauling him closer so their lips met hard, Rafael’s hands going straight to her hips and pulling them together. It was only their second date since Rafael had the courage to finally ask Olivia out but the need for each other had grown all the way through their date until they got back to the apartment. Olivia’s back collided with the wall as he pushed her against it, holding her there with his hips, one of Olivia’s legs wrapping around his own.

 

Rafa …” she moaned against his mouth as her arms went around his neck.  His lips moved down to her neck, peppering wet kisses over her skin, making Olivia’s head fall back against the wall.

 

“You taste so good, Liv,” he whispered, his breath tickling her neck. Olivia pushed at his suit jacket, trying hard to get it off his body while they were half wrapped around each other. Eventually it puddled at his feet before Olivia was pushing him in the direction of the couch. She pushed him down on the couch and got rid of her own jacket before she kicked off her shoes and moved to straddle his lap. She took his face in her hands and kissed him deeply, Rafael’s own hands getting a good handful of her pert rear, pulling her hips down against his, causing some friction between them. She pulled his tie off and unbuttoned the top of his shirt before running her hands down his chest. All of a sudden, she froze and Rafael panicked.

 

“You okay, Liv …?” he asked breathlessly. She pulled back a little, a small smirk on her face. “Liv?”

 

“Rafael Barba! Is there something you want to tell me?” she asked, running her hand over his shirt front again, pressing the heel of her hand against his right nipple, making the counsellor moan deeply.

 

“Do that again …” he said and she complied, pressing harder and his hips moved of their own accord. She grabbed his shirt and pulled it open quickly to reveal a pierced nipple, something that turned her on more than she wanted to admit. Rafael’s face was red, his breath coming harshly as she stared at the metal bar that went through his nipple. She rubbed her hand over it and he gasped gently.

 

“I’m, um … sensitive there,” he said and a dirty smirk slid onto her face before she bent her head, kissing from his throat and down his chest before she pulled on the metal bar with her teeth, a strangled sound leaving Rafael’s mouth. “ Fuck … Olivia!!”

 

“That’s the plan,” she said, running her tongue over the nipple to soothe it after biting gently. She moved back up to kiss his lips as he began to pull her clothes off. “So … the piercing?”

 

“Um, I was dared to do it when I was eighteen,” he said. “I was rather drunk …” She ran her fingers over it again and he tried his hardest to keep his hips where they were. “Woman, you’re going to kill me. Touch me again.” She obliged and ran her thumbs over both his nipples, Rafael closing his eyes and almost melted into the couch, his dick straining hard against his suit pants.

 

“I can’t imagine ADA Rafael Barba out getting drunk and getting himself pierced. Have you any other little secrets you’re hiding?” she asked, kissing him again, one hand staying on his chest and one unbuttoning his pants to slide her hand in.

 

“You’ll need to get the rest of my clothes off to find out …”

 

“I’ll do just that …”

Chapter Text

Olivia sat up quickly in bed, her body soaked with sweat, tangled in the sheets. She felt tears run down her face, quickly wiping them away with the back of her hand. Nightmares. Always nightmares. Ever since William Lewis she had suffered from them, lied to her therapist that they were going away, that she got them less and less. But, truth be told, there was probably more. She lay down on the pillow again, trying to catch her breath, trying to stop the tears but they kept coming. The horrors, the memories of those days with Lewis were just a fresh as they if it had happened yesterday. She reached for her phone to check the time. 2.44am. She quickly scrolled through her numbers before she pressed dial. The phone rang a few times before there was an answer.

 

“Liv?” came the sleepy voice on the other end.

 

“Hi. I’m sorry I woke you,” she whispered, sniffing and wiping her eyes again. There was silence for a moment before he spoke again.

 

“Are you crying?” he asked and Olivia felt a fresh wave of tears coming but she tried to hold them off.

 

“I can’t sleep, Rafa. I keep seeing him in my mind. I keep seeing the moment I beat him with that iron bar. I keep hearing his voice. It’s suffocating me,” she said, trying her hardest to keep her composure. There was another silence for a few moments before she heard rustling on his end of the phone. “Rafael?”

 

“I’m coming over,” he said.

 

“No, Rafa. I’m sorry I woke you, but I just wanted to speak to someone …” she said but he cut her off.

 

“Olivia, I’m coming over,” he said and she felt herself smile as she snuggled down against the pillow. “I’ll be there in ten minutes.” He hung up and Olivia eased herself out of bed and grabbed her hoodie from the chair in the corner, pulling it on before she went to the kitchen to put a pot of coffee on. It felt like an age before there was a knock on the door. She saw him through the peephole and opened the door. Rafael stood there, his hair fluffy from sleep and little stubble on his chin. She smiled at him and stood back to let him in.

 

“Hi,” she said, closing the door again and turning to him.

 

“Are you okay?” he asked her. She reached for his hand and squeezed it gently.

 

“I just keep replaying the days I was with him in my head,” she said. Rafael pulled her over to the couch to sit down, holding her hand in his. “It’s so vivid, Rafael. I can still smell and taste the vodka he forced down my throat. I can smell his breath, smell the blood. I know they are just dreams, but it’s like they are real. I can’t tell what is reality and what is a dream.” She squeezed his hand tighter in hers. “Rafa, what if these nightmares never go away? I can’t deal with this for the rest of my life.” She broke down into tears and Rafael wasted no time in pulling her against him, holding her tight as she cried. She never let her emotions run away from her so Rafael knew it must be affecting her. He rubbed her back soothingly.

 

“You won’t have to deal with it alone, Liv,” he said. “The squad have your back, I do too. You know I’m always here for you if you need me. I know I can’t control your nightmares, but I can comfort you when you need it.” Olivia lifted her head from his shoulder, his heart breaking upon seeing her tear stained cheeks. He lifted a hand to her face, running a thumb over one cheek to wipe away her tears.

 

“I’m sorry, Rafael …”

 

“There’s no need for you to be sorry. You’ve done nothing wrong. You went through an unimaginable ordeal. You are allowed to be affected by it, Liv. No one is judging you, not me, not Rollins, not Fin, not Carisi. No one, do you hear me?” he asked, cupping her cheek in his hand. She closed her eyes, nodding gently as she nuzzled gently into his hand. The next thing he knew she had moved forwards quickly, cupping his face with both hands and kissing him gently on the lips, feather light and barely there, but he felt it nonetheless. He made no motion to move until she went to pull away and he followed her lips, pressing closer, making the kiss deeper. She gasped gently at his reciprocation but it was over before she knew it and she opened her eyes to stare into his.

 

“Rafa …”

 

“Olivia,” he whispered, clearing his throat. “This … I want this, I want you. But you, at this moment, you need to sleep and you need to feel better before we discuss this. So, we are going to go into that bedroom,” he said, pointing at Olivia’s bedroom door. “We are going to get into your bed and I’m going to hold you until we fall asleep. I want you to know I’m here for you. Tomorrow, I’ll take you for breakfast and we can talk about .... us.” Olivia sniffed gently before nodding. “Until then, just let me comfort you the best I can. William Lewis is gone. He’s not going to hurt you.” Olivia nodded.

 

“Let’s go to bed.” Rafael smiled and he stood, pulling Olivia to her feet before they went to her bedroom, Rafael stripping out of his sweater and jeans before they both climbed into her bed. Olivia scooted closer to him, her hand gripping onto his t-shirt as he wrapped his arms around her. She pulled the sheet up over them and they both settled with a gentle sigh. “Thank you, Rafa,” she whispered and Rafael kissed her forehead.

 

“Anything for you.”

Chapter Text

“Mama?”

 

“Yes, sweet boy?” Olivia asked her son while she made the spaghetti for their weekly spaghetti night. He was sitting on the floor with his building blocks, looking up at her.

 

“Is Uncle Rafa coming round for spaghetti night?” he asked innocently and Olivia had to fight to roll her eyes. She had recently asked Rafael to babysit for a couple of hours while she went to deal with a victim of rape who was having trouble adjusting after her rapist had been jailed and had asked for Olivia specifically. Rafael had said he would happily do it. Whatever he and Noah had been up to in those few hours seemed to have put Rafael on a podium in Noah’s eyes. He was his hero. It was ‘Uncle Rafa’ this and ‘Uncle Rafa’ that. It made Olivia smiled that he had a male figure to look up to.

 

“Not tonight, baby. Uncle Rafa has gone to see his mama tonight,” she said, stirring the sauce in the pot. She looked down at Noah, who pouted and went back to play with his blocks.

 

“I want Uncle Rafa to come round for spaghetti night soon,” he said, looking a little deflated. She turned off the hob and she went to her son and she picked him up off the floor, sitting on the couch and putting him on her knee.

 

“Tell you what, the next time you see Uncle Rafa, you ask him politely if he would like to come round for spaghetti, okay? I’m sure he’ll say yes if you ask him,” she said. She kissed the side of his head. “Now, why don’t we have spaghetti and then you can draw Uncle Rafa a picture to give to him next time you see him.”

 

“Okay mama!”

 

It turned out the next time she was going to see him was only a couple of hours later when another report came in of a violent assault. She called Lucy who said she’d get there as soon as possible and arranged to pick Noah up from the precinct if Olivia took him there, which Olivia agreed to. That’s where she found herself, walking through the precinct with her little man in tow, who was wearing Captain America pyjamas and a pair of sneakers with a sweater over the top, holding tightly to his mama’s hand. He waved at Amanda and Sonny on the way to Olivia’s office. Olivia lifted him onto the couch and gave him one of his story books until she went to find out the information about the assault.

 

“What have we got?” she asked and Sonny turned to her.

 

“Seventeen year old victim, Sadiyah Reese, was at a party. Said she didn’t touch any alcohol but she felt dizzy and disoriented. She said she was followed outside by two guys in dark hoods who jumped her and left her behind a dumpster in an alley, bleeding and underwear around her ankles. She’s cooperated and she’s had a rape kit done and we’re just waiting to find out,” he said.

 

“She said she went to the party with a friend who left her there but she wouldn’t give up her name,” Amanda said. Olivia sighed gently.

 

“You two go back to the hospital and get that name out of Sadiyah. We need to …”

 

“UNCLE RAFA!” Noah’s voice rang out over the precinct, silencing everything, as he came sprinting out of Olivia’s office and into the arms of the ADA who had just strolled round the corner. Rafael smiled and lifted the boy into his arms, Noah throwing his arms around him and pressing a big kiss to his cheek. “Uncle Rafa, you missed spaghetti night! You’re silly.”

 

“Ah, sorry amigo , I was having dinner with my mami tonight,” he said before he turned his head to the squad who were all watching them. “Sorry to interrupt. I’ll take him into your office right now.” The squad watched them go, the office door closing behind them. Sonny smirked at Amanda.

 

“Uncle Rafa, huh? We don’t even get to call him Rafael,” he said with a giggle before he caught Olivia’s eye and he stopped laughing.

 

“You two get back to the hospital now and find out everything. Everything, you hear me?” Olivia ordered.

 

“Got it, lieu,” Sonny said and he and Amanda vacated the squad room. Olivia returned to her office, Rafael sitting on the couch with Noah, his overcoat and suit jacket gone and tie loosened as he read from the book Noah had there. She smiled and went back to her desk, getting back to her work, leaving Rafael to read the book until it was done. Then Noah spoke.

 

“I missed you, Uncle Rafa,” he said and Olivia looked up, sure she could see tears shining in Rafael’s eyes. Rafael pulled the little curly haired boy against his chest and held him tightly in a hug, kissing the top of his head gently. “Will you come to the next spaghetti night?” The ADA looked over at Olivia who nodded her head and smiled brightly at them.

 

“Of course, little man. I’d love to.”

Chapter Text

Rafael wanted the world to just collapse around him. He sat at his desk in the office, holding a glass of scotch so tight in his hand he was surprised it hadn’t broken. He hadn’t gone home after being at his abuelita’s apartment. He’d comforted his mother, took the blame that his mother wasn’t directly throwing at him, but he knew she was insinuating. He knew he was to blame. He knew if he’d left well alone, if he hadn’t made her move to that facility, she’d be alive right now. It was his fault, all his fault. He stood up from his seat, scotch glass still in hand as he felt the tears sting at his eyes.

 

“I’m sorry, abuelita ,” he whispered to himself. “I’m so sorry.” Then the tears came and he launched his glass at the wall in fury, the damn thing smashing into a million pieces as it hit one of the framed art pieces on his wall, cracking the glass there too. His knees gave out underneath him and he fell to the floor, tears leaking from his eyes freely now. He heard rushing footsteps, then someone was kneeling by his side, wrapping their arms around his body as he cried. He didn’t have the strength to look up and see who was cradling him in their arms, his hand over his own eyes as he sobbed.

 

“Rafael … breathe,” came Olivia Benson’s voice and he felt himself relax a bit more in the arms of his friend. She stroked his hair gently, pressing a small kiss to the side of his head. “I’ve got you, Rafa.”

 

“My grandmother, my abuelita, she’s … she’s gone, Liv,” he said.

 

“I know, honey. I know. Your mother called me,” she said and she felt him tense again. “She doesn’t blame you, Rafael.”

 

“Doesn’t she?” he spat bitterly. “You didn’t hear her when I arrived at the apartment. She said abuelita should have never gone to that place. It was my idea. I didn’t want her to be alone in that apartment anymore. I was only thinking of her … and look what I’ve done. I’ve killed her.” Olivia removed her arms from him and grabbed him by the front of his coat and pulled him up to look at her, her face full of rage.

 

“Stop that right now!” she said. “You didn’t know this would happen, Rafael. You did not kill her. Don’t ever say anything like that again, do you hear me?” She was angry at him, he understood. He nodded gently and she let go of his coat and wrapped her arms around him again, his own arms going round her back as he sobbed into her coat. She didn’t know how long they knelt there on the floor with their arms around each other but she didn’t want to move from the embrace. But eventually her knees were numb and she needed to get up. “Come on Rafael. Come and sit down,” she said, both of them getting up slowly, stretching their legs before moving over to the couch. She sat him down before she went back to his desk and got a fresh glass of scotch for him, taking it over to him. “Drink this one, don’t decorate your office with it.” That got him to smile ever so slightly before he took a quick gulp of the scotch. “Have you eaten?” Rafael shook his head.

 

“No …” he said and Olivia took his hand in hers.

 

“You’re coming home with me and I’m going to make you dinner,” she said. “You can even stay at my apartment if you don’t feel like going home.” Rafael felt fresh tears come to his eyes.

 

“Why are you being so nice to me?” he asked and Olivia was genuinely shocked by his question.

 

“You are my friend, Rafael. Friends look out for each other …” she said, squeezing his hand. “I’ll always be your friend.”

Chapter Text

Halloween was definitely not one of Rafael’s favourite holidays; kids on a constant sugar high, parents letting them run riot. But when Noah gave him the puppy eyes and asked if he would take him trick or treating, he couldn’t say no. And so began the costume hunting. Noah wanted to be a superhero but so many kids were already running around dressed as little versions of Captain America and Iron Man. No, he wanted something else. Something different. He had an idea.

 

------

 

The precinct was pretty busy for a Tuesday night. Olivia had promised to go trick or treating with Rafael and Noah. It was the first time the three of them had gone out together and she was excited. Rafael was getting them their costumes and she was trusting him the best she could with this. Noah didn’t like scary things so Rafael promised to get them something good. She knew his taste so she knew it wouldn’t be corny. She had just returned to the precinct after being called what the neighbour had described as a domestic violence episode but it turned out the couple were just into really loud sex. She and Fin had walked back in, shaking their heads at Sonny and Mike who were sitting at their desks.

 

“Don’t ask,” she begged them.

 

“Lieutenant, Barba called. He and Noah are on their way,” Mike said from his desk. That made Olivia smile.

 

“Thank you,” she said before she turned to her office. She quickly tied up her paperwork before heading to the break room for a coffee. That was when she saw the most adorable sight she had ever seen in her life. There was Noah and Rafael, dressed in matching outfits, walking into the squad room. Their matching jeans which were rolled up at the cuffs over a pair of black Converse, matching white t-shirts and leather jackets with aviator sunglasses. Rafael’s hair was coiffed to perfection and Noah’s unruly curls had been tamed to look similar to Rafael’s, slicked back with copious amounts of gel. Rafael smiled in her direction and she couldn’t help but giggle into her hands as she saw them. Noah walked with a little swagger, making little finger guns at her when he saw her.

 

“Mama, what do you think?” he asked, posing for Olivia as Sonny and Mike turned to take a look at their resident ADA. Sonny whistled.

 

“Lookin’ good counsellor,” he said. “A bit of the old greased lightning goin’ on there.” Rafael took off his sunglasses and held out the bag he had in his hand to Olivia.

 

“I second that. You both look amazing,” Olivia said, her eyes raking over her boyfriend. Damn, he looked good in leather. She took the bag from him and went off to get changed, kissing her son’s forehead on the way past, followed by Rafael’s cheek. Noah went running to Sonny and Mike, wanting to climb up on Sonny’s lap.

 

“Look Uncle Sonny, I’m a T’Bird,” he said, showing him what was written on the back of his leather jacket. “Papi has one too.” Everyone froze, including Rafael. Noah has just called him Papi. Dad . He felt his heart beat faster in his chest. “Did I do something wrong?” Rafael heard Noah ask and he shook his head, moving forward and placing a kiss on Noah’s forehead.

 

“No, mijo , you didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. He looked at Sonny, who was smiling stupidly over the top of Noah’s head. Noah jumped down and went running to Olivia’s office to wait on his mom.

 

“Papi, huh? That’s a big step,” Mike said and Rafael took a deep breath and nodded.

 

“It definitely is,” he said. There was suddenly a few wolf whistles coming from the squad room and Rafael turned to see Olivia in the doorway, skin tight catsuit and heels and all. She smiled at Rafael and put her hands on her hips.

 

“Jesus ...Olivia,” Rafael said in disbelief. She was absolutely gorgeous.

 

“Tell me about it, stud ,” she said, winking at him. He crossed the room in three strides and dipped her to kiss her, Olivia giggling as he kissed her deeply. Noah covered his eyes and Sonny called out for them to get a room. Rafael pulled back from the kiss.

 

“You wait til you get home, Lieutenant Benson. I’m going to show you just how much you’re turning me on right now,” he said under his breath. She gave him one last peck on the lips.

 

“Come on, let’s get our sweet boy some candy since he’s been so good,” she said, pulling on her leather jacket over the top of her costume before the called out their goodbyes and took one of Noah’s hands each. Sonny and Mike were still staring, wondering what on Earth Rafael had managed to do to bag Olivia Benson.

 

-------

 

The night was more fun than Rafael remember having in a long time. Noah had told jokes and made up little acts for the neighbours and people in the building across the road. They decided not to go to far since it was only Noah’s first time trick or treating. The last port of call was Rafael’s mother. Lucia had begged them to stand together for a photo, which they agreed to before she poured the candy she had left into Noah’s bag. Rafael decided not to tell his mother off for doping up their son with E numbers and sugar. Once they left they could tell Noah was beginning to get sleepy. Olivia took his candy bag and Rafael lifted him into his arms, carrying him the rest of the way home before the little guy fell asleep on his feet.

 

They entered their apartment and Rafael took Noah to bed, stripping him out of his jacket and shoes and changing his jeans for pyjama bottoms. He was going to have to get a thorough scrubbing in the morning to get all the gel from his hair. Noah stirred as Rafael was putting him down in bed and he opened one eye.

“Goodnight, mijo,” he said, kissing Noah’s cheek.

 

“Night, Papi,” he said back and was asleep again within seconds. Rafael felt like his chest was going to burst with sheer joy. He tucked in the sleeping boy, placing Eddie the elephant next to him. He left the room, closing the door behind him, turning to see Olivia standing watching him.

 

“Did Noah just call you Papi?” she asked, moving closer and wrapping her arms around his neck.

 

“He did. Is that okay?” he asked, running his hands down her back, taking the zip of her costume down with him, smirking gently.

 

“It’s more than okay,” she said before leaning in and pressing a passionate kiss to Rafael’s lips. He pressed closer to her, kissing her back deeply. “Take me to bed, counsellor. Make good on your promise earlier.” He pulled back and took her hand, leading her to the bedroom.

 

“I’ll do that, since I’m hopelessly devoted to you …” he said laughing, watching as she rolled her eyes.

 

“Any more of that, you’re on the couch …”

Chapter Text

“Mama, can we make cookies and cupcakes for Uncle Rafa coming home?” Noah piped up, making Olivia look up from her phone. She had a rare Saturday off and she and Noah had decided to have a day in their pyjamas. She smiled at her boy, putting her phone down and lifting him onto her hip.

 

“I think Uncle Rafa would like that,” she said. She sat him on the counter and she kissed his nose gently. He giggled, the sound music to Olivia’s ears and she continued to press kisses all over his face, his laughter becoming infectious, Olivia’s laughter coming to the surface too.

 

“Mama, you’re silly,” he said, throwing his arms around her neck.

 

“Come on, sweet boy. Let’s make some cakes,” she said and she grabbed Noah’s little apron from the kitchen cabinet, putting it on him before grabbing all the ingredients for their little project. Olivia let Noah do most of the work, even though flour ended up all over the floor and their pyjamas; melted chocolate all over the counter top and icing all over their faces by the end of it all. Noah laughed, scooping icing onto his fingers and smearing it on Olivia’s nose. She gasped and rubbed her nose against Noah’s, spreading the icing across his nose too.

 

“Mama!” he exclaimed, giggling louder. The two were having so much fun that they didn’t hear the door open, didn’t hear the briefcase and coat getting put down and the footsteps approach the kitchen. Rafael stood, watching Olivia and Noah with a big smile on his face.

 

“I thought there was too much hilarity in here,” he said, making his presence known. Noah looked so happy to see him, ready to run at him but Olivia grabbed his arm gently and stopped him.

 

“You have flour and chocolate all over you, you’re not going near Uncle Rafa’s suit,” she said and Rafael smiled for a moment before he took off his suit jacket and loosened his tie, rolling up his shirt sleeves and walking into the kitchen beside them before he picked Noah up and hugged him enthusiastically. “Rafa ...your suit!” she scolded as she watched Noah’s flour covered hands leave prints all over his waistcoat.

 

“The suit can be washed,” he said, pulling her close too and kissing her gently. “What are you two up to? Are you actually baking or are you just making a mess?”

 

“We’ve made you some cupcakes, Uncle Rafa. Cookies are cooking too,” he said, pointing at the oven.

 

“Wow, thank you so much, sweet boy,” he said, kissing Noah’s cheek. “Give me that apron and go wash your hands and face. Change your shirt too.” Noah nodded and Rafael put him down and he ran to his room to do as he was told, Rafael turning to Olivia, only to be met with a finger covered in icing meeting his cheek, right on the corner of his lips. “You wicked woman …” He watched as she dipped her hands in the flour on the counter and she drew a white line down his nose, laughing as he scowled gently. He pulled her against him and she leaned in and licked the icing from his mouth before they kissed deeply, the taste of the chocolate icing strong on both of their tongues. Her hands ran down his back and down to his behind, grabbing a handful of his ass as they kissed. “You know what …?”

 

“Hmm?”

 

“It’s my turn,” he said and got some icing on his finger and dragged it across her collar bone before he leaned in to kiss her neck, from underneath her ear and down to her collar bone, running his tongue over it to clean up the icing. Olivia’s arms went round his neck, sighing gently as his hands gripped her hips, sliding up underneath her t-shirt before his lips met hers again, kissing her deeply, pushing her back against the kitchen counter top.

 

“Rafa, Noah will see us,” she breathed against his mouth.

 

“Part of me wishes he was asleep so I could bang you right here in this kitchen,” he said, pushing his hips into Olivia’s. She giggled before she pulled back, patting him on the chest.

 

“Later honey, when he is sleeping, you definitely can,” she said, placing one quick peck on his lips. “I better get those cookies out the oven.”

 

“Um … put the icing that’s left over away for later. We might find a use for it,” Rafael said, winking before he walked away towards their bedroom to get changed. Olivia watched him walk away before she burst out laughing, making him turn back to her. “What is it?”

 

“I may have got a little enthusiastic,” she said and nodded towards the long mirror on the wall. He turned to look in it, looking over himself before he turned his back to it and looked over his shoulder. She laughed again when he noticed the two big flour-y hand prints across the ass of his pristine suit pants.

 

“I always knew my ass was your favourite,” he said before walking to the bedroom.

 

“Of course …”

Chapter Text

“Both of them?”

 

“It’s only for a few hours, Rafa. Lucy is ill and I need all my squad for this so there’s no one to watch them. I wouldn’t ask if we weren’t desperate,” Olivia said, looking into Rafael’s wide eyes. They were having to leave both Noah and Jesse with someone they trusted and Rafael Barba was their last hope. He looked panicked but she knew he’d be fine.

 

“Please Barba,” Rollins begged from next to Liv. “I can’t get my babysitter.” Rafael sighed. Jesse was still so small and that scared Rafael. He was terrified. “Rafael …” Rollins’ use of his first name made him look back up at her. “You’ll be perfectly fine. She’ll sleep until she needs her bottle and then she’ll sleep again.” He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.

 

“You two owe me big time after this, you know that right?” he said. Both women were on him in seconds, hugging him close, Olivia kissing his cheek gently.

 

“We do, so much …” Rollins said. “We’ll drop them off at your place in half an hour.” He nodded.

 

“Make sure you give me enough things to keep them occupied. My apartment isn’t really kid-ready,” he said and they nodded. That was where he found himself exactly half an hour later. He opened his apartment door, Noah all but charging into his legs to hug him. He found himself smiling despite himself. Rollins had Jesse sleeping against her shoulder. He managed to maneuver Noah into the apartment to let them in with the kids’ things; bags of toys and books for them, along with a changing bag for Jesse. He was trying not to have an internal freak out.

 

“You be good for Uncle Rafa,” Olivia said to Noah and he nodded enthusiastically.  Rafael reached out and took Jesse from Rollins, trying not to wake her as he put her against his shoulder. Rollins smiled.

“You’re a natural, Barba,” she said and soon they were waving goodbye to him and Noah and the door closed, leaving him alone with two small children.

 

“Right, kiddo,” he said, holding out his hand for Noah’s. “Let’s get you settled for the day.”

 

--------

 

Everything was going well until Jesse woke and began to cry. Then crying became screaming holy murder for her mama and Rafael could have cried too. He was cursing Olivia and Amanda. He was in the middle of getting her bottle, with her crying into his shirt. He held her and rubbed her back, his head resting gently against hers, whispering ‘shh’ into her ear.

 

“Uncle Rafa, is Jesse okay?” Noah asked, looking panic stricken at the fact she’d been crying for so long. “Is she hurt?”

 

“No, amigo . She’s just tired and hungry,” he said. “I’ll get her to stop crying soon, don’t worry. Are you hungry?”

 

“No,” Noah said, going back to his coloring book, and for this Rafael was grateful. He only had two hands. Jesse’s little fists balled into his shirt and his suspenders, her crying sounding painful now. Rafael didn’t know what to do so he began to sing gently in her ear, some Cuban lullaby his mother used to sing to him when he was a little boy. Jesse seemed to calm slightly, her crying coming down a decibel or two and he was grateful he could hear again. He continued to sing and she lifted her head from his shirt to look at him, her blonde hair sticking to her tear-sodden face. She was the double of Amanda, a little blonde beauty and Rafael couldn’t help but smile at her.

 

“Now what was all the fuss about, huh?” he asked her, lifting his free hand to wipe away her tears. “What was all that crying for?” She stopped crying all together and she sniffed, wiping her eye with back of her hand. “Will Uncle Rafa give you lunch?” She seemed to perk up at the mention of his name, like she couldn’t quite fathom who he was properly until she heard his name.

 

“Rafa,” she said, her little voice croaky from all the sobbing.

 

“Yes, Uncle Rafa,” he said, leaning in to kiss her forehead gently. “Now, mama will be home soon, but until then, me, you and Noah are going to spend the day together. So let’s have your bottle.” He picked up the bottle and they went to the living room, Rafael sitting her on his knee and letting her hold the bottle herself. She tried her hardest to hold her bottle with one hand so she could keep one hand balled in his shirt, like he was a human security blanket, but it didn’t work so Rafael held the bottle for her and she drank it slowly. Rafael watched Noah from where he sat, watching him color. This was peaceful now and it was comfortable. He smiled to himself.

 

------

 

A text from Olivia saying they’d be later than expected had Rafael getting the kids ready for bed. One soaked bathroom and shirt later, both kids were sitting wrapped in towels drying off eating cookies and drinking milk after eating all their dinner. They were giggling at some cartoons as Rafael cleaned the kitchen. He put the dishes away before moving into the living room beside the kids.

 

“Noah, go put your pyjamas on before you get cold,” he said and Noah gathered the towel around him and ran to Rafael’s room to get changed. Rafael got Jesse into her pyjamas and soon the three of them were cuddled on the couch watching TV. Soon enough Noah had fallen asleep against his shoulder and Jesse was trying to keep her head up, to try and stay awake but it didn’t happen. He shook Noah gently before standing with Jesse in his arms and taking Noah’s hand and taking both children to his bedroom to sleep. He let Noah climb up and he placed Jesse in the middle of the bed.

 

“Rafa, sleep,” Jesse’s little eyes open a little and he smiled.

 

“In a minute, Noah will keep you company,” he said. He grabs sweats and a white t-shirt from his dresser before going to the bathroom to change. He threw his laundry in the hamper before entering the bedroom again, only to see both kids sleeping soundly. He decided not to disturb them so grabbed a blanket and went to the couch to sleep, letting them have the bed. He fell asleep quite quickly but was soon woken again by a small hand tapping on his arm. He opened one eye to see Jesse standing there, tears in her eyes again, holding her arms out for him to help her up.

 

“What’s up, kiddo?” he said, lifting her up and laying her on his chest, pulling the blanket back up over the top of them, his hand rubbing her back gently. “You’ve been such a good girl for Uncle Rafa. No more tears.” He wiped the lone tear that was halfway down her cheek. She seemed to sigh gently and relax, her head in the crook of his neck and her fingers gripping the neckline of his t-shirt. They both fell asleep together.

 

------

 

It was 7.30am when Olivia and Amanda arrived back at Rafael’s apartment. Olivia had felt terrible not being able to get home any earlier than they had but it couldn’t be helped. She took out the spare key Rafael had given her for emergencies and she opened the door, waiting to see what carnage the kids had caused Rafael. They were pleasantly surprised that the apartment was quiet, on small lamp on in the hallway. They made their way down the hall to the living room to the most adorable sight they had ever witnessed in their entire life.

 

Rafael was lying on his back on the couch, Jesse on his chest, the little girl looking more peaceful than Amanda had seen her in a long time. Rafael’s arm was wrapped possessively around her little body, holding her to him. She moved slowly up and down with every steady breath Rafael took in and let out. She had as much of his t-shirt in her fist as she could manage. Noah was tucked against Rafael’s side, his arm around Rafael’s waist. Olivia was just glad he had a big enough couch to accommodate them all. Noah’s face was tucked against the ADA’s side and three of them together made Olivia smile brightly. Amanda was already digging out her phone to snap a photo.

 

“Carisi is going to want to see this,” she whispered. Olivia chuckled before she went over to the sleeping trio and she pulled the blanket up around them some more. “I’ll put the coffee on. He’s probably going to need some.” Amanda watched knowingly as Olivia bent down and pressed a lingering kiss to Rafael’s forehead before she turned to join Amanda in the kitchen. They made three coffees and watched as Rafael slowly woke, his arms tightening around both children before he placed a small kiss against Jesse’s forehead which almost made Amanda melt there on the spot.

 

“Morning,” Olivia said from where she was leaning on the kitchen counter, watching them. Rafael turned his head and gave them a sleepy smile, still not one hundred percent awake yet. He ran his hand up and down Jesse’s back again, feeling her shift underneath it, whimpering slightly. Amanda was ready to come over and take her but Rafael said ‘no, it’s fine, I’ve got this.’ He began to sing gently, that old Cuban lullaby again and she calmed down even though her eyes were open now. She moved her head, lifting it to look up at Rafael, her hand pressing flat on his chest to push her little body up.

 

“Rafa …” she exclaimed excitedly. He couldn’t help but smile brightly at her.

 

“Good morning niñita ,” he said. She giggled and rubbed her cheek against his slightly stubbled one.

 

“Barba, you’re going to have to convince me big time that you are that hardass lawyer again after what I’m witnessing right here, right now,” Amanda said, making Olivia chuckle.

 

“Don’t worry, Rollins. This is only a temporary persona, only brought out by young children and small adorable dogs,” he said. “Can’t be a smartass lawyer to them.” He could smell the coffee and longed for one but he didn’t want to move. Olivia noticed his dilemma and she moved over to help, taking Noah’s arm from around his waist and lifting him into her arms. “Put him in my bed, Liv. Don’t wake him.” She nodded and disappeared down the hall to his bedroom. He put his arm back round Jesse and he maneuvered himself to sit up, holding the little one close.

 

“She likes you, Barba,” Amanda said as he stood and walked towards the kitchen.

 

“I think after she screamed my house down yesterday, we’ve cemented a firm friendship, haven’t we, honey?” he said, bouncing her gently and making her giggle. Jesse looked at Amanda and smiled brightly at her mother before she buried her head in Rafael’s neck again, thumb in her mouth. “Anyone want breakfast?”

 

------

 

The small gift box lying on his desk a few days later made him curious. He picked it up and shook it gently. It was heavy, a red bow wrapped around the silver box. There was an envelope taped to the top and he pulled it off and opened it, knowing Olivia’s handwriting straight away.

 

“As a thank you. Don’t be mad! Liv + Amanda x’

 

Don’t be mad. Now that intrigued him even more. He took off the bow and opened the box, a frame inside the box. He picked it up and turned it over, a picture of himself, Jesse and Noah all cuddle together on the couch. How could he be mad? He loved those kids. There was another folded piece of paper in the box, which he picked up and opened it, Noah’s large colourful handwriting this time.

 

‘Love you Uncle Rafa xxx’

 

He felt himself tear up and he put both notes back in the box and he put the framed picture pride of place on his desk, next to his name plaque. He had a family with the SVU Unit and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Chapter Text

The feel of a bullet ripping through the flesh of his shoulder had Rafael Barba hitting the steps of the courthouse as he left the latest case. He’d heard the shot, felt excruciating agony and down he went. There were screams and a call of his name as he fell, hands grabbing at him but he couldn’t see who. Someone was talking, calling for an ambulance as someone’s hand pressed hard on his wound, pulling him back to reality for a moment. He was sweating but cold, his breath coming in harsh pants as he panicked. Suddenly Olivia Benson’s face was in front of his, someone cushioning his head on their lap as she pressed down on the wound to try and stop the blood.

 

“Liv …” he breathed, grabbing at her hand. “Liv, it … it hurts.”

 

“I know … I know Rafa, hold on. The ambulance is coming,” she said. He heard Carisi’s voice somewhere and some yelling elsewhere but he focussed on Olivia. His beautiful Olivia. If he died here and now, he wouldn’t have been able to tell her how he felt about her. Someone stroked his hair, keeping him calm (he was sure it was Rollins as he could hear her but couldn’t see her). He felt tired, wanted to close his eyes and go to sleep but someone shook him harshly. “Damn you, Rafael Barba! Don’t you dare close your eyes.”

 

“I won’t … promise,” he said but his body was betraying him. He wanted to sleep.

 

“Rafa? Rafael?” were the last words he heard, along with the far off sounds of sirens as he succumbed to sleep.

 

------

 

The distant sound of a constant beep rose Rafael from his deep sleep. His body felt numb, his eyes heavy but he felt euphoric, as relaxed as he could be at that moment. He went to move his arm but it wouldn’t obey him. His heavy eyelids lifted to a dimly lit room, a small lamp in the corner. His eyes were fuzzy, out of focus. He blinked a few times, his vision beginning to clear. He was in a hospital room but why, he wasn’t sure. He went to lift his arm again, only to realise there was someone asleep with their head on his bed, his hand clasped in theirs. His vision cleared a bit more and he turned his head to get a good look, realising Olivia Benson was the one holding his hand.

 

“Liv?” he said but it came out as more of a croak. He tried to move his fingers but she was holding his hand tight in hers. “Olivia …” She still didn’t hear him. He tried his hardest to move his hand out of hers, at least to get her attention and the feeling back into his fingers. She must have felt something as her eyes flickered open and her attention snapped straight to him.

 

“Oh, Rafa!” she said and she got up out of the chair she was in and hugged him close.

 

“Ow, Liv, careful, careful …” he said, his shoulder groaning in protest at the contact. She pulled back quickly, cupping his cheek in her hand.

 

“I’m sorry, Rafa. I’ve just been so worried about you,” she said. “You’ve been here for three days. You … it was touch and go for a while. If the bullet had gone any lower it would have hit your heart.” He took a deep shaky breath as he tried to process her words, not wanting to bring up the fact she had blood all over her shirt. His blood. “They said your body was under so much stress from the wound that your heart stopped for a few moments.” She sat on the bed beside him, taking his hand and holding it in her lap, running her thumb over his knuckles.

 

“I’m here, Liv … I’m not going anywhere,” he said, his eyelids feeling heavy again. Probably the pain medication. “I won’t leave you.”

 

“You want some water?” she asked, and he nodded gently. She put his hand down to pour some water for him into the glass nearby, popping a straw into it that had been left for him. She held the straw to his lips and she slid the other hand under his head to sit him up a little so he didn’t choke on the water. He was grateful to her, the cold liquid sliding down his throat the best feeling in the world at that moment in time. She put the glass back down and she whispered to him. “You okay?” He nodded gently, reaching for her hand again.

 

“I’m glad you’re here, Liv …” he said. “I thought I was going to die without …” He paused, making her frown gently.

 

“Without what, Rafa?” she asked, looking confused.

 

“Without telling you how I felt about you,” he said and he heard Olivia’s breath catch in her throat. “I love … no, I’m so deeply in love with you, LIv, that it hurts me to think that I could lose you at any time. You and Noah mean the world to me.” Olivia was staring at him with wide eyes but she kept his hand in hers. She wasn’t pushing him away but the silence after the admission was absolutely unbearable. He felt a slight pull at his shoulder as he tried to move in bed a little and he grimaced at the pain. That stopped her staring and she pressed her hand gently against his bandaged shoulder, the heel of her hand touching bare skin, making him realise he was shirtless. He lifted his hand and pressed it against hers against his wound gently. “I’m here, Olivia.”

 

“You are my best friend, Rafa,” she whispered and Rafael felt his heart break a little. This was it. She was going to tell him they could only be friends. “Noah loves you so much.” She lifted a hand and she ran it through his hair and down to cup his cheek, her thumb stroking across his cheek gently. “I love you more.” Rafael felt his bottom lip quiver as tears came to his eyes. He smiled gently at her before he lifted his good arm, running the back of his fingers down her cheek, his thumb gently running over her lips, Olivia pressing a kiss to it gently. “I’ve always loved you, Rafa. You’ve always been there for me and I have never thanked you properly. Let me do that now and for as long as you’ll have me.” His tears fell freely now and she seemed to lean in in slow motion, her lips meeting his in a soft caress. His eyes fell shut as he let himself get lost in her, their hands still clasped over his wound, just above his heart, which was threatening to burst from his chest. His hand cupped the back of her head, pulling her into a deeper kiss, her lips parting against his. He could feel the breath being stolen from his body but he wanted to kiss her forever. But she pulled back when there was a knock on the door.

 

“Lieutenant,” Carisi’s voice said, looking quite embarrassed he’d interrupted. “We got the shooter. He’s in custody now.”

 

“Thank you, Carisi. I’ll see you back at the precinct,” she said and the detective left them alone again. “Well, we’ll definitely be subject to some office gossip.” Rafael smiled.

 

“Let them gossip,” he said and he pulled her down to kiss her again quickly, Olivia resting her forehead against his.

 

“I love you, Rafael Barba. You are coming to stay with Noah and I until you feel better. I’m going to look after you,” she said, pressing a kiss to his forehead.

 

“You going to give me a sponge bath, nurse?” he asked with a wink.

 

“Don’t push your luck, mister.”

Chapter Text

Olivia had a new neighbour. Her old neighbour left a few weeks ago and she had never been happier. There was only so much techno music she could listen to at 2am. It had got so bad one time she went over there with her badge and gun and threatened to shoot his ass if she didn’t get at least four hours sleep before she had to go to work. He’s all but shit himself, hands in the air, shouting all the sorries he could before she left, slamming the door behind her. Dickhead that he was. Today she was pleasantly surprised to come home from work to see the door of the apartment across from her open and soft classical violin music filtering out, a few boxes sitting outside the door still. She peeked her head around the door. The apartment had been tastefully decorated and there was a man there, placing large hardback books into a large mahogany bookcase whilst humming along to the music. He was a handsome man, fairly tanned skin, dark hair gelled in place. He wore a worn grey t-shirt with some lettering she couldn’t make out from where she stood and some dark jeans with paint stains on them, feet bare on the plush rug beneath him. She stopped her staring for a moment to reach out to his door and knock gently, making the man turn his head in her direction. Holy shit , he was gorgeous and Olivia felt her face flush.

 

“Hi,” she said, smiling at him. “I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m Olivia Benson, I live across the hall.” He smiled back and walked towards her, stretching out his hand to shake hers. His skin was warm and she could have stared into his green eyes all day.

 

“Good to meet you. Rafael Barba,” he said. “Good to finally meet someone , actually. I was beginning to think no one lived in this building apart from the doorman.” Olivia chuckled.

 

“Ah, that’s the beauty of being a cop, in my case. I never know what time I’ll get home,” she said.

 

“You’re a cop? I’d never have guessed,” he replied. She realised they were still holding hands but she found she didn’t mind. His hand was soft and warm.

 

“I’m a lieutenant with Manhattan SVU,” she said and his eyebrows flew up to his hairline.

 

“Wow, that’s amazing. Glad to know I’ll always be safe living across the hall from you,” he said and he finally let go of her hand. She felt a pang of disappointment in her chest as he did so but she kept smiling.

 

“If you need help with anything or, y’know, need to borrow sugar,” she said, making him chuckle. “Just ask.” He nodded.

 

“I’ll remember that. Thank you, Lieutenant Benson,” he said and her face flushed a little before she turned out of the apartment and into her own, glancing at him one last time before she closed the door and leaned against it, taking a deep breath before she went about her night, her head filled with thoughts of tanned skin and green eyes. She didn’t see Rafael again for a while and it disappointed her. The thought of bumping into him in the hallway excited her but it didn’t happen.

 

It was at two and a half weeks later and she had just come out the shower, having changed into sweatpants and a tank top, walking into her living room and towelling off her hair when the most amazing smell hit her nose. She found her mouth watering and her stomach began to rumble, so she followed where her nose wanted her to go. She found herself out in the hallway, realising the delicious smell was coming from Rafael’s apartment. She needed to know what he was cooking because it smelled divine. She stepped up to his door, ready to knock when she heard a woman’s voice inside, making her heart jump into her throat. She moved her ear closer to the door, listening to both Rafael and the woman laughing and she felt a jealous pang in her stomach. Jesus , she barely knew him and she was jealous of him spending time with another woman. She turned away from the door and headed back into her apartment, only to hear the door open behind her.

 

“Olivia!” Rafael said, making her turn to him. “I was just coming to see you. I noticed you got home from work quite late and I’ve made enough food to feed five-thousand. Do you want to join us for dinner?” Olivia felt her insides knot at the thought of sitting with Rafael and his woman.

 

“Us?” Olivia enquired, hoping she didn’t sound snippy.

 

“Yes, my mami is visiting,” he said. “She wanted to see the apartment and we spent the evening cooking. I heard you come home earlier. You’re very welcome to join us.” Olivia smiled, feeling her stomach settle again. His mother. His mother was visiting; not a girlfriend as she had originally thought.

 

“That’s very kind of you, Rafael,” she said. “I’d love to. I’ll just go grab my sweater.” He nodded and left his door open for her. She threw on a NYPD sweater and threw her hair up into a messy bun before she went over to Rafael’s, closing the door gently behind her. The smell of food cooking was stronger and absolutely amazing now that she was closer to it. Rafael gestured her through to where a short, dark-haired woman was stirring something in a large pot on the stove.

 

Mami , this is Olivia Benson from across the hall, the only neighbour I’ve met since I’ve been here,” he said with a chuckle and Olivia smiled at the woman in the kitchen. “Olivia, this is my mother, Lucia Barba.”

 

“Pleased to meet you, Mrs Barba,” Olivia said, smiling at the woman in the kitchen. Lucia Barba looked over at her son.

 

“You were right, mijo ,” she said. “ Ella es bonita .” Rafael’s face went red, starting from the tips of his ears. Olivia felt her own cheeks go a little red but Rafael didn’t notice. She didn’t have to let him right now that she spoke some Spanish. “Good to meet you, Olivia.” Rafael moved into the kitchen too, going to pick up a bottle of wine.

 

“Red, lieutenant?” he asked, indicating the bottle.

 

“How did you know?” she asked and he winked at her, uncorking the bottle to let it breathe before he went to stir something in another pot. “This all smells amazing.”

 

Mami prides herself in Cuban cuisine. Surprised I’m not a little on the larger side due to that fact,” he said, leaning over to kiss his mother’s cheek. “You ladies sit, I’ll take over.” He poured the both a glass of red, handing one over to Olivia. She suddenly felt a little underdressed for a night of fine cuisine with a handsome man and his mother, yet she noticed Rafael in a pair of sweatpants himself, feet bare against the hardwood flooring, a navy Harvard University on. It looked like they were a couple on a lazy day off, cooking food for his mother. Lucia moved over to the table, motioning for Olivia to join her.

 

“So, Olivia Benson. Tell me about yourself.”

 

-------

 

Olivia had never had better food in her whole life. She sat on Rafael’s couch, a fresh glass of wine in hand after saying goodnight to Lucia, watching Rafael put some dishes away. She was absolutely stuffed full. The food had been divine but Rafael and Lucia’s company had been so much better. He was an amazing person. She learnt he taught law to students after working in a DA’s office. He said he wanted to get back into being a DA but wasn’t sure he would. He could cook well; he was apparently a great dancer and singer, according to Lucia, making Rafael blush darker than the wine in her glass. She felt like she had known him for years after only a few short hours with him. She looked over at him again, watching him pour himself some scotch.

 

“So, you told your mother you think I’m pretty?” she said and she watched with amusement as he started at the question, spilling some of the expensive scotch on the countertop before he turned to her.

 

“You understood …”

 

“You learn other languages in my line of work, a lot of foreign victims and cases. I know Spanish pretty well,” she said, taking a sip of her wine with a smirk. “I’m flattered.”

 

“Well, I have eyes, you know,” he said and she smiled a little wider. She patted the couch next to her and he quickly mopped up the spilled scotch before he joined her on the couch. They sat quite close, the smell of Rafael’s cologne wrapping around her like a security blanket. He smelled wonderful. “Thank you for dinner, Rafael. I’ve had a great time.” She held out her glass and he tapped his against hers gently before they both took a sip. “I don’t get to sit down to each much, not with my job. Take-out is my friend.”

 

“I’d be happy to cook for you again anytime,” he said. She looked down at her wine, her cheeks feeling warm. He was unbelievably sweet, something she wasn’t used to. His hand suddenly moved up to her face, tucking a stray piece of hair that had come undone from her bun behind her ear, his fingers warm against her face. “Can I ask you something?”

 

“Sure.”

 

“Would you hate me right now if I was to kiss you?” he whispered into the small space between them. This was only the second time they’d met but she felt like she had known him her whole life. He was devilishly handsome and she wanted to spend more time in his company. Her hesitance made him sit back a little. “Sorry, It’s too soon, I …” he started but she slid her hand to the back of his neck and pulled him closer, their lips meeting gently. She scooted forward a little on the couch, moving closer before she pulled back from the kiss, testing the boundaries there. He stared at her lips for a moment before he met her eyes. She moved in again and their lips met once more and she run her hand from his neck to his cheek, her thumb caressing it gently. Rafael pulled back again and they stared at each other for a moment, breathing heavily.

 

“That was nice,” Olivia whispered.

 

“It was …” Rafael agreed. “Would you like to go out sometime? I would like to take you for dinner.” She pressed her forehead against his.

 

“I’d love to.”

Chapter Text

“Olivia, can I speak to you for a moment in your office?”

 

Olivia turned away from the squad room at the insistence and nervousness in Rafael’s voice as he walked straight into her office to wait on her. She looked at Rollins and Carisi, who both looked as confused as she did, before she followed the ADA into the office, closing the door behind her. Rafael was already sitting in front of her desk, playing with the end of his tie, looking up at her as she walked past him. She sat down and frowned gently.

 

“Are you alright, Rafael?” she asked, worried about what was bothering him. He reached into his pocket and pulled out an envelope and slid it across the desk to her. She picked it up and pulled a fancy looking invitation out of it. It was inviting Rafael to a family gathering to celebrate some cousin getting engaged. It invited Rafael and a plus one (the words plus one had at least five exclamation marks after it). She looked up at him, saw the nervousness in his eyes. “Are you going?”

 

“I wasn’t going to. It’s my cousin Sofia and her fiance Leo. It’s her engagement party,” he said. “ Mami called me last night and said, and I quote, ‘you better get your ass a date for that party or you’re going to end up old and alone like your mami’ , so here I am … asking you if you’d like to accompany me to the party?” Olivia was taken aback for a moment, not expecting that at all. He still looked nervous, his cheeks a little red.

 

“Oh? Rafael … that’s kind of you to ask me …” she said.

 

“But you have other plans. I’m sorry to drop this on you so suddenly. Don’t worry …” he said but she interrupted him.

 

“No … no, Rafael. I just need to arrange for Lucy to look after Noah for me,” she said. “I’d be honoured to go with you. I’ll need to get myself something to wear.” Rafael smiled at her, looking less nervous than he did before.

“Liv, you have no idea how happy you’ve made me,” he said. “ Mami is always saying I’ll be alone all my life. I just want for her to be speechless for once. After it, I’ll buy you dinner as a thank you.” Something in Olivia’s chest tightened in disappointment. She was only pretending to be his date to stop his mother from questioning his love life. She was happy to help him, but she had feelings for him already so it was going to be hard to just pretend. She kept smiling, not letting him know that that was how she felt.

 

“It’s no problem, Rafael,” she said.

 

------

 

The engagement party was held in Sofia and Leo’s huge back yard, a marquee set up with enough food to feed a small country and more people than Olivia had ever seen at a single gathering. She held onto Rafael’s arm as they moved in amongst everyone. A few guests stared at them and it made her wonder if Rafael’s family were shocked to see him there with a plus one. Her hand curled around his forearm, tightening a little and he reached over with his free hand to pat it gently. She looked at him.

 

“Don’t be nervous. I’m nervous. You need to be the strong one,” he said with a chuckle, making her smile. “If you’re nervous, god help us!” Rafael stopped to hug a few people who came up to him, and he introduced Olivia as his girlfriend and Olivia’s heart threatened to burst from her chest at the title. A title she knew was only for today.

 

“Rafael, mi hijo ,” came Lucia Barba’s voice as she came barreling towards him with her arms out. She pulled him to her and Olivia let go of his arm for a moment to let mother and son embrace. She had heard wonderful things about Mrs Barba but this was the first time she had seen her in person. The older woman’s eyes met Olivia’s and she looked ready to burst with glee. “Who is this beauty you have on your arm, Rafael?” Olivia blushed a little, looking down at her hands as they played with her dress.

 

Mami , this is my girlfriend, Olivia Benson. I’ve told you about her before, yes?” he said, placing his hand on the small of her back, and Olivia looked up at her again.

 

“Benson? He does talk about you a lot. You drive him a little crazy,” Mrs Barba said and Olivia turned to Rafael, before Mrs Barba grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her in for a kiss to each cheek. “I am so glad my Rafi has someone.” She pinched Rafael’s cheek as if he were five years old again and disappeared in the crowd to mingle. Rafael rubbed his cheek, Olivia chuckling next to him.

 

“Come on, Rafa. I’m starving,” she said, taking his arm again and walking towards the marquee for some food. They joined some more of his family, more introductions were made and Rafael took a couple of mocking jokes from another cousin, Mateo, who asked Olivia how much he was paying her for her time. She only wished she had her gun on her. Rafael pulled her away from them before Olivia beat the crap out of Mateo and they got themselves some food and found a table, Rafael pulled her seat out for her to sit down. He was such a gentleman. He shrugged off his jacket and draped it over the back of his chair and rolled up his sleeves to the elbow. He had decided on casual jeans which hugged his backside beautifully if Olivia did say so herself. His shirt was pale blue and his suit jacket was grey with a pocket square that matched his shirt. He looked good enough to eat.

 

“Do your family mock your love life often?” she asked, taking a bite of her food. Rafael sighed and he nodded.

 

“Unfortunately it’s a common thing I have to deal with,” he said.”I went to Harvard to study law. I never had time for relationships. I’m now in my forties and they still can’t believe I have no one. To be honest, I was married to the job for so long, it didn’t cross my mind that my social and love life was suffering. I wasn’t great at making friends.”

 

“I’m your friend,” she said. “I’ll always be your friend, Rafael.” The ADA smiled and reached across the table to take her hand in his.

 

“I appreciate that. I always will.”

 

------

 

It began to get dark and the marquee was litten up with fairy lights and candles, making the dancefloor area look romantic as couples began to dance. Olivia took a drink of her wine, looking around for Rafael who had gone off to the bathroom a few minutes prior. A young woman sat down next to her, Olivia looking up into Sofia’s face as she smiled gently.

 

“I’m glad Rafael has someone,” Sofia said, bluntly. “I try to stop the family saying bad things about him. For a long time they thought he was gay, not that that bothered anyone, but it bothered Rafael simply because they were talking about him behind his back. He hurts easily when it comes to his family. He loves them but they hurt his feelings too easily.” Olivia felt her heart hurt for Rafael, knowing how much of a good man he was. “I’m glad he has you. You can see it in his eyes how much he loves you, Olivia. You’re special to him. Thank you for coming today. I hope you enjoy the rest of the night.” She pressed two quick kisses to Olivia’s cheek before she dashed away to find Leo. Olivia was still trying to process her words. Rafael loved her?! Surely not. This was just a friend helping out a friend, right?

 

“There you are,” he said, smiling down at her before he took her wine from her and put it on the table before taking her hand. “Come dance with me.” She nodded and let herself be led to the dancefloor. He pulled her close, his hand settling on the small of her back as he guided one of her arms around his neck, making her move closer to him. He took her other hand in his and they swayed together to the music, eyes on each other.

 

“When were you going to tell me?” she asked and he looked confused for a moment before she pressed her forehead to his. “This isn’t just a friend helping a friend, is it?” He sighed gently. “Rafael?”

 

“No. But you were my only choice to ask, Olivia. I wasn’t going to ask Rollins ,” he said. “The thing is, I’m all talk in the office and the courtroom but when it comes to matters of the heart, I’m useless. Olivia, I’ve loved you since I met you and it’s never going to change. You mean everything to me.” Olivia felt tears come to her eyes. “I want to be part of your life.”

 

“You are …” she said, letting go of his hand and bringing it to caress his cheek before wrapping it around his neck too, his hands now on her hips as they swayed. “Noah adores you, Rafa. You’ve been pretty much the most present father figure he’s ever had and he always asks for you. If you win my son over, you are high on my list. I love you too, Rafael Barba, and I want you in my life full time. I want you there when I wake up and when I fall asleep. I want you there when it’s been a tough case and I need a shoulder to lean on. I just want you.” Rafael felt his own heart swell with love for this woman. Her hands moved up to play with the hair at the nape of his neck.

 

“Can I kiss you senseless in front of my entire family?” he asked her. She smiled brightly.

 

“I insist upon it,” she said and his lips were on hers, kissing her passionately as they swayed together. Lucia Barba watched her son and his love embrace each other. She knew they hadn’t come to the party as partners. She knew they had only been friends. But she could tell there was love there, they just hadn’t done anything about it yet. She noted a few of their family members staring at the couple, not quite believing what they were seeing, a few others whistling and cheering for them, making them break apart and blush deeply.

 

“Let’s get another drink,” Olivia said, caressing Rafael’s cheek. “Then you are going to take me to your place, take my clothes off and have your wicked way with me. Does that sound okay to you?” Rafael swallowed hard.

 

“Can we skip the drink?” he asked and she pressed a hand to his chest.

 

“No … be sociable with your family …” she said. “We have all night.” He leaned in and kissed her again, unable to get enough of her lips.

 

“What about Lucy?” he said when he pulled back.

 

“I’ll pay her double,” she said, turning him round and smacking his backside. “Come on, get me a drink.”

Chapter Text

Rafael’s apartment was bathed in soft light from a single lamp in the corner as both he and Olivia entered quietly. They’d managed to keep their hands to themselves in the cab home, although Olivia fought hard not to straddle him in full view of the driver on more than one occasion. They’d left the party while it had still been in full swing, with only a kiss to his mother’s cheek and hug for Sofia, whom he thanked for her kind words to Olivia earlier in the evening. Rafael reached for Olivia’s shoulders, sliding her coat off and hanging it up in the hallway before he took her hand and led her through to the living room.

 

“Do, um … do you want a drink?” he asked and she nodded.

 

“I’ll have what you’re having,” she said. He gestured to the couch and she sat down as he went to the kitchen to pour two glasses of scotch. He moved to the couch beside her, handing her a glass, touching his against hers with a clink, before they took a drink, nervousness seeping into them both. They both wanted this, yet now they were here and it was nerve wracking. He looked at her, his eyes roaming her as she stared down at her glass on her lap. He reached over and took one of her hands in his.

 

“You okay?” he asked her, tilting his head to see into her eyes. She met those green eyes and she swallowed hard.

 

“You really want me, Rafael?” she asked, squeezing his hand in hers. Rafael looked confused for a moment. “I just don’t have a great track record. I just want to know that this is something.” She put her glass down on the coffee table and took his from him, before taking his hands in both of hers. She leaned down and kissed them, holding them tightly. “I love you, Rafael. I just need to know this is for keeps. You and me …” Rafael scooted closer, their knees touching gently.

 

“Olivia, I want nothing more than to be with you. Everything I said earlier in the garden was one hundred percent the truth. I want to help you raise Noah; I want to be here for you when you need me; I love you more than you know, Liv,” he said and before he knew it he had a lap full of Olivia Benson, his lips being devoured by hers, her hips pressing down against his. His hands slid up her back and grasped the zipper of her dress, pulling it down slowly as she opened her mouth against his, moaning as her tongue traced across his. Olivia felt her dress loosen around her as it was undone and she slipped her arms from the fabric, letting it pool at her waist, before cupping his face in her hands. They pulled back for a moment, breath coming in harsh pants as Olivia traced her thumb over Rafael’s lips. The want in Rafael’s eyes was unmistakable and Olivia shimmied back, off his lap, standing up and letting her dress drop to her feet, kicking it away out of the way.

 

“Liv …” Rafael’s voice sounded broken as he looked her over, standing there in front of him in nothing but a black lace bra and panties set. She kicked off her heels and she moved to straddle him again, smoothing her hands down the front of his shirt, just touching him to make sure all of this was real. She pulled the shirt out of his trousers and yanked it open, a few buttons ripping from the material as she did so. She smirked at Rafael’s slightly scandalised look before she dove in for another kiss, pressing herself as close to him as possible. Rafael’s hands were suddenly all over her skin, hot and needy, gripping her backside to pull her hips flush with his, letting her feel exactly how hard for her he was, which was v ery fucking hard . One hand made its way between her legs, rubbing her through the material of her panties, the rough lace against her clit making her bite her lip at the feeling.

 

“Rafa … you’re … mmm, Rafa !” she moaned, gripping his shoulders hard she knew she’d bruise him. “You’re wearing too many clothes, baby.” He removed his hand before he managed to wrestle his way out of his shirt, throwing it across the room. He toed off his shoes from where she had him pinned to the couch before both sets of hands were pulling at his belt and button, trying to get his jeans undone so they could be skin to skin. But before they went further, Rafael grabbed her around the waist with one arm and sat forward on the couch before lowering her to the plush rug which adorned his living room floor, him kneeling between her legs. He crawled over her and kissed her again before his lips made their way down her neck and over her breasts, leaving his mark on the swell of the left one as she arched her back to unhook the offending garment keeping him from his prize. Her bra soon joined the clothes on the floor before her nipple was in his mouth getting lavished with attention before he moved to the other one, licking and sucking like it was some kind of obscene popsicle. His torture continued further, kissing down over her belly, paying close attention to a scar there, kissing it like he was making it feel better. Then his fingers hooked into the waistband of her panties and she took a deep breath, knowing it was all real now.

 

“You okay?” he asked, having felt her tense a little. “Liv, we can stop …”

 

“No! No, don’t stop Rafa,” she managed to whisper before she reached for him, running her fingers through his hair and down his cheek. ”I love you … I just can’t believe we’re finally about to do this.” He let go of the material of her panties for a moment before he crawled back up her body and kissed her lips deeply, sensually.

 

“You’re sure, yeah? You know you can tell me if you’re not?” he said and she nodded, touching his lips with her fingertips.

 

“I’ve never been more sure of anything,” she said. He was down at her panties again in seconds, his fingers hooking into the material before slowly pulling them down her legs. She panted hard at the fact her body was laid bare for his eyes on his living room floor. His eyes roamed and he definitely liked what he saw before his kisses were peppering her stomach again, moving down to her inner thigh, ignoring where she wanted him to go. “Rafael, don’t tease me!’ But that’s exactly what he did, His kissed moved around her thigh and down her leg before he moved to the other one, kissing back up towards his destination. “Rafa … please … oh fuuuuck ...!” The moment she decided to speak, Rafael buried his face between her legs, attacking her clit with his tongue while he slid a finger into her wetness. Her fingers scrambled for purchase on the rug, one hand gripping his hair hard but he said nothing, not with his tongue between her legs. The torture was slow, his hot breath against her wet centre driving her mad, one leg slipping over his shoulder, heel pressing hard into his back as he licked a particularly sensitive spot. She managed to lift her head to look at him. His eyes were closed but he must have sensed her looking at him as they opened and stared right at her, licking and pressing open mouthed kisses to the most intimate part of her body like he did it every day. Not that she would mind if he did do it every day, his tongue was so sinful. Her head fell back and she groaned as he added a second finger, his tongue ceasing its torture for a moment before kissing the inside of her thigh. Rafael was rock hard in his jeans and he needed something soon otherwise he was going to be very embarrassed it ended so quickly. Olivia was writhing under his ministrations and he removed his fingers from her, keeping her from falling over the edge too quickly. She went to sit up, pulling him in for a kiss, sliding her hand inside his jeans, causing him to make the most strangled sound she had ever heard.

 

Liv …”

 

“I’ll take care of you …” she said and it was clear what she meant so he stopped her.

 

“As much as the thought of your mouth on me makes me harder than I’ve ever been, I haven’t done this in a while so I’d rather be inside you when I finish,” he said and Olivia smiled gently. “You can definitely use your mouth on me later, in fact, I insist upon it.” She removed her hand from his jeans in favour of just removing them completely. They stayed on the floor but Olivia pushed him back against the couch and straddled his lap again, both of them naked against each other now. His skin against hers was something she had wanted for ages and now it was happening she was the happiest she had ever been. He reached over to his discarded jeans and pulled his wallet from his pocket and pulled out a condom, making her chuckle.

 

“Planning this, counsellor?” she teased, her arms winding round his neck as she kissed him again.

 

“You never know when a gorgeous SVU lieutenant wants you to take her home and have your wicked way with her,” he replied before accepting her kiss. She took the condom from him and gave him a few firm strokes before sliding it onto him, his head falling back against the couch at her touch. She rose up on her knees and she sank down onto him, their hands gripping each other tight as they finally became one. Rafael tried to control his breathing, the tightness of Olivia around him knocking the wind from him as he tried not to finish too soon. He hadn’t lied; it had been a long time for him. Olivia’s eyes met his and they stared at one another for a good few moments before his hands slid round to her backside, encouraging her to move on him, which she did with a subtle rock of her hips to begin with. Her arms reached over his shoulders to the couch behind him, gripping the cushions with her fingers, her lips taking his again. She couldn’t get enough of his kisses. Her hips moved a little faster, taking him in that little deeper each time she did so. His cheeks were red and his mouth was open, letting out a deep moan ever few movements.

 

“Fuck … hnnng , Rafa …” Olivia moaned and before she knew it, her back was against the rug again and he was above her and inside her and everywhere around her. His hands pushed her legs open that little bit wider as he began thrusting into her hard, leaning over her on his elbows, burying his face in her neck. She held him to her as she gasped into his ear, her fingernails leaving scratches down his back. “More, Rafa. Harder …” Her ankles locked at his back, pulling him hard against her, making him go deeper. He got the hint and moved his hips hard against hers, the obscene sound of damp skin slapping against damp skin filling the room, but neither lieutenant nor ADA cared. Her skin glistened with sweat in the low lamp light as Rafael made love to her on his apartment floor. He felt the inevitable build up, knowing he wouldn’t last much longer, not with how tight he was around him. The way her muscles were trembling in her legs told him she wouldn’t last much longer either. “Rafa … I’m close …” she moaned and Rafael straightened up and took her hips in his hands and thrust hard and fast until she was arching her back off the floor and tightening around him as she came hard, her orgasm washing over her with some force. She stopped breathing for a moment until a loud cry came from her lips followed by a huge intake of breath, just as Rafael bent over her again, burying his face between her breasts as he came, his cock throbbing within her as he emptied himself, loud gasps for breath coming from his throat. Olivia’s hard ran through his hair as he pressed kisses between her breasts and up to her neck.

 

“I love you,” he whispered in her ear before taking her earlobe between his teeth and pulling gently. She turned her head to face him and kissed him gently, feather-light against his lips. They stayed close until Rafael pulled himself from her and disposed of the condom, his legs wobbly as he got up, helping Olivia up too. He pulled her close, more kisses shared between the two as they held each other.

 

“I love you more,” Olivia whispered back before he took her hand and led her to his bedroom where they climbed into bed and just held each other, Olivia’s head resting over Rafael’s heart, listening to his heartbeat and knowing he was there with her. His fingers traced up her spine lightly, making her sigh with happiness.

 

“What are you thinking?” he asked.

 

“That I don’t know how I’m going to keep my hands to myself in the precinct when I see you there,” she said and he chuckled.

 

“That is a dilemma. I trust I was to your liking?” he asking in a jesting manner and she chuckled back.

 

“Hmm, indeed you were. How long until you can go again?” she asked and he made a noise in his throat at her words, making her look up at him.

 

“Woman, you’re going to kill me,” he said and she grinned before she was sliding under the sheets and down further. Her hand wrapped around him and he cursed loudly. “You are definitely going to kill me!”

 

“There are worse ways to go. At least you’ll go with a smile on your face,” she said, stroking him slowly. He gasped at her touch.

 

“Truer words have never been spoken.”

Chapter Text

“So come on, Liv. What’s Barba like in bed?”

 

Olivia choked on her wine as Amanda spoke so bluntly, putting a hand under her own chin to catch any drips as Amanda collapsed into a fit of giggles. They had decided drinks and some gossip would cheer them up after a bad case and Sonny had offered to take Jesse and Noah to the movies to see the latest Disney offering. He loved both of the kids deeply and relished any time he got to spend with them. Rafael was also working late, getting all his paperwork done and dusted, which left Olivia and Amanda alone to chat about girls things. Olivia hadn’t realised that meant her and Rafael’s bedroom habits.

 

“Manda!!” she said, putting down her wine for a moment before it ended up all over the carpet. “I don’t ask you about yours and Sonny’s bedroom habits!” Amanda just laughed.

 

“All I’d tell you about that is that he’s loud and he loves to keep his socks on. He’s a weirdo, but he’s my weirdo,” she said, making Olivia giggle. “He’s a good guy, Liv. Jesse loves him so that’s good enough for me. Come on woman, tell me something about Barba! Dish the dirt! Is he kinky? Does he tie you up with those suspenders and blindfold you with elaborately patterned ties?” Olivia blushed scarlet and Amanda had to bite back laughter. “He does, doesn’t he? I knew some of those ties had to be for other reasons.”

 

“Okay, he’s blindfolded me a couple of times. Once tied me up with the suspenders … I had to get him to untie me though …” she said, looking a little sad for a moment. “It brought back memories of … y’know, being tied up by him .” Amanda felt guilty for a moment. William Lewis was not a man Olivia could get out of her head easily and she knew she still had nightmares.

 

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to …”

 

“Not your fault, Manda. Anyway, if we are sharing, Rafael once wore my red lace panties to work once. Remember Nick complaining at him for not sitting still while we were going over evidence?” Amanda giggled.

 

“He was seriously sitting there with your lacy panties on? I’m never going to be able to look at him the same again. Jesus, Liv, how did you get him to agree to that?” she asked, taking a sip of her wine.

 

“Sexual favours,” Olivia said and both women collapsed into fits of giggles. They swapped some more stories about their significant others before Amanda’s stomach grumbled loudly, disrupting their gossip. “Hungry?”

 

“Yeah, let’s order pizza,” Amanda said and grabbed her phone, opening the Domino’s app and ordering two large pizzas for them before she turned to Olivia. “Any special instructions?” Olivia smiled.

 

“Send their cutest delivery boy …” Olivia said, shrugging her shoulders. Amanda laughed.

 

“Liv, their not going to send a dog carrying pizza in a little satchel like the stories you see on the internet,” she said with a smile, Olivia laughing too.

 

“You never know,” she said. “More wine?” Amanda nodded and Olivia retrieved the bottle from the kitchen. Amanda raised her glass.

“Here’s to Barba in the sexy red panties.” Olivia dissolved into fits of laughter.

 

------

 

Forty minutes passed and Amanda felt like eating anything she could get her hands on. She and Olivia had shared more wine and more stories than they’d ever opened up about before and both women knew it was going to be hard looking at their significant others without laughing.

 

“So, Noah walked in on the two of you and thought you were wrestling? That’s actually hilarious, Liv,” she said as Olivia wiped the tears of laughter from her eyes.

 

“The worst part was trying to explain to him that he couldn’t play with us,” Olivia said and Amanda was sure wine came down her nose after an undignified snort of laughter.

 

“Oh God, my sides hurt so much! Stop making me laugh …” she said when there was suddenly a knock on the door, which was strange as no one had buzzed to be allowed access to the building. But with their mouths watering from the hunger they were feeling, Olivia and Amanda both moved to the door, dying to see some cute-sy delivery boy, only to open the door and see Rafael Barba standing there with two pizza boxes in his hand and his briefcase in the other, making it impossible for him to get his keys out to open the door himself. He looked confused for a moment before Olivia spoke.

 

“Well, he’s the best looking pizza delivery boy I’ve ever seen in my life,” she said and Amanda backed away as Olivia stepped forward, cupping Rafael’s face in her hands and kissing him deeply.

 

“Liv, eat the pizza, not Barba’s face,” Amanda commented, taking the pizzas from Rafael’s hand, letting it wrap around Olivia’s waist as he kissed her back deeply. Olivia pulled back first, taking Rafael’s hand and pulling him into the apartment.

 

“I met the pizza guy at the door. It’s on me,” he said, putting his briefcase down and shrugging off his coat. “Am I cute enough for you?” Olivia blushed gently.

 

“You’re always cute enough for me,” she said. “Get changed and come and have some pizza.” He nodded and moved to their bedroom to change. By the time he surfaced again, Olivia was letting Sonny into the apartment, Noah’s hand in his own and Jesse sleeping on his shoulder. Amanda smiled at him and hugged Noah before Sonny handed her her sleeping daughter. Rafael scooped up Noah and held him on his hip, his eyes drooping as he rested his head against Rafael’s shoulder.

 

“Let’s put them to bed and then the adults can have a drink,” he said and Amanda got up, following Rafael to Noah’s room to lie the kids down. Olivia got more glasses and poured Rafael a scotch and Sonny a beer, sitting them on the coffee table before taking a seat. Amanda and Rafael reappeared and they all sat round the coffee table, picking up their glasses and tapping them together in a sort of toast. Everyone took a drink before Amanda spoke.

 

“So Barba, red lace, huh? Always knew you’d have impeccable taste in underwear.”

 

Olivia knew she was dead, if the glare he gave her was anything to go by.

Chapter Text

Olivia felt the rest of the night went past quite awkwardly after Amanda’s throwaway comment about Rafael, which had caused Sonny to be confused as hell to begin with until he caught on, trying his hardest not to picture the ADA wearing red lace panties. But there were still some laughs to be had and more drinks to be consumed. But eventually Jesse came wandering out of Noah’s room, saying she wanted to go home and that was the cue for Amanda and Sonny.  Sonny lifted the little girl into his arms and picked up her blanket, wrapping it around her before standing. Amanda grabbed her bag and coat.

 

“It’s been fun,” Amanda said as Rafael moved to get the door for Sonny, shaking his hand and smiling. Amanda mouthed ‘I’m so sorry’ to Olivia before he said her goodbyes and rushed after Sonny, Rafael closing the door behind them. Olivia prepared herself for an onslaught of shit about telling coworkers about their personal and their sex lives. But he picked up the now empty pizza boxes and took them to the kitchen, Olivia watching him from where she was sitting cross-legged on the sofa. He didn’t even lift her eyes to look at her.

 

“Rafa …” she said and he just continued to ignore her, filling the dishwasher with their empty glasses. “Rafa, come on. Don’t be like this …”

 

“Sex lives are supposed to be private …” he said. “I wore those damn panties because you asked me to, not so that you could tell Rollins all about it.”

 

“I’m sorry, honey. We’d had a few drinks and we were sharing stories. I brought it up by accident …” she said. She got up and moved towards the kitchen, standing at the opposite side of the countertop from him.

 

“You should think about what you say and who you say it to,” he said, picking up a towel to dry his hands on, turning away from her again.

 

“Ooh, is papi going to punish me?” she said in an annoyed tone. He froze on the spot and it was then Olivia had realised what she said. She swallowed hard as she waited for his reactions. He turned back round to face her and his brow was creased like he was confused but she knew he wasn’t. He probably just couldn’t believe she said that. It had been the wine talking. But she kept her eyes on his.

 

“What did you say?” he asked, a little stutter in his voice letting her know that he had liked what he had just heard.

 

“You heard me, counsellor,” she said, leaning forward and onto her elbows on the countertop. She lowered her voice to a whisper. “Well, are you?” He just stood staring at her for a moment before she turned away from him, walking towards the bedroom when a sudden grasp on her wrist made her gasp as she was pushed roughly up against the wall. She grunted as her back hit the wall, lips descending upon hers quickly and passionately, his hand hiking her leg up around his waist. She kissed him desperately, rough, wet, open mouthed kisses, full of tongue and teeth and moans. She felt him grab at her, holding her tight against him.

 

“You are a devil woman,” he said. “Is that what you want? You want me to spank you because you’ve been bad?” His voice was little more than a whisper and it was rough with arousal, which made Olivia wet almost immediately.

 

“Oh God …” she moaned, leaning in to kiss him again but he pulled his head back.

 

“Answer me, lieutenant,” he demanded.

 

“Yes, God yes,” she moaned. “I want it now.” That was all he needed to hear. He took her bottom lip between his teeth and he pulled it roughly but not enough to hurt her.

 

“Bedroom now. Take off your sweats and wait for me. I’ll be in in a minute,” he said. She leaned in for another kiss but he denied her. “You can kiss me soon enough. Bedroom. Now.” She nodded gently and Rafael let her go, her hand brushing against his as she went. He didn’t know what had come over her but he had to say he liked it. Olivia never really let him be dominant. It wasn’t in her nature to let him take over as he knew after difficult cases she liked to take control, to feel better. Rafael watched the bedroom door close behind her and he moved to the kitchen and poured himself a final glass of scotch and drained the glass in one, willing his heart not to burst from his chest at what was waiting behind that door for him. He’d never done this before; this was new. He swallowed hard and he moved to the bedroom, detouring quickly to check on Noah and tuck him in, placing a kiss on his temple before turning out his Captain America shield nightlight on the wall. He closed the door behind him and took a slow walk to their bedroom, wrapping his hand around the door handle and taking a deep breath before opening the door.

 

Olivia sat there on the end of the bed, her head snapping up as he entered the room. She sat there in her bra and panties, like he’d asked. She was patient but he could see her chest rising and falling faster than usual as she waited. Her cheeks were a bit pinker than usual and there was a fire burning in her eyes. Rafael took off his t-shirt, wanting them to be skin to skin in some way when he was done with her. He moved into her space, taking her hand and pulling her to stand. He took her face in his hands and he leaned in, kissing her gently compared to their kisses earlier. Her hands came up to run along his arms and down his bare chest, causing him to sigh against her lips.

 

“Turn round,” he said when he pulled back and she obeyed, turning to face the end of the bed. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a moment. “Lean down on your elbows.” She bent at the middle, her lace clad backside in the air for his pleasure. She rested her forehead on her balled fists, her breath coming harshly at the thought of what was going to happen. Rafael was hard in his sweats and he wanted nothing more than to fuck her, but she asked for this. He reached out and she started at his touch, his hand running over her bare back and down, caressing her perfect backside and the tops of her thighs. She let out a breathy sigh. He stepped back a bit, taking the material of her panties between his fingers and pulling them down, leaving them mid thigh. He pressed himself against her, letting her feel how hard he was in his pants. A small whining noise left her as she felt him.

 

“Rafael …” she moaned and her voice sounded broken. Rafael bent over her, kissing down her spine and down over her cheeks, biting the supple skin gently.

 

“You okay?” he asked and she nodded vigorously. “If you need to stop, tell me and I’ll stop, okay?”

 

“Yes, Rafael …” she said and he stood up straight, took a deep breath, put one hand on the small of her back to steady both himself and her before he brought the other hand down hard against her backside, causing her to jerk forward with a shocked gasp. The sting in his palm along with the red handprint on her skin made him let out a shuddering breath, not quite believing he was doing this. He brought his hand up again before spanking her again, over the exact same spot he did it the first time. She gripped the bed sheets beneath her hands. “More … please, baby …” she moaned and Rafael took another deep breath and smacked her again, Olivia obviously not expecting that one so soon. She cried out a little louder than before as he continued to bring his hand down against her skin; once, twice, three times, four times, he eventually lost count. His hand was getting numb as he struck her. He could see how wet it was making her and he intended to do something about that soon. She was moaning, begging, pleading for him but she never said stop, not once. Rafael could no longer feel his hand and brought it down one last time, catching fresh, untouched skin where thigh and buttock met and that had Olivia breaking down, trying to catch her breath.

 

“Liv …” he breathed but she cut him off.

 

“Do something, Rafael. I want … god, I want to come,” she pleaded with him and he realised how turned on she was by the spanking. He moved closer and he quickly flipped her onto her back, Olivia whimpering when her raw buttocks rubbed against the bed sheets, pushing his own sweatpants down to his knees fast. He pulled her to the edge of the bed and he sank into her in one swift, easy motion. Her back arched as he went as far as he could go before he began to pound into her, his own release not far away either. They rutted fast and hard, not caring they were being a little too loud anymore, the bed squeaking under their weight and movement. “Rafa … I’m coming …” Olivia moaned and she pulled him to her and held him tight as she shook and spasmed through her orgasm, her entire body on fire as he continued to move within her, searching for his own release, which wasn’t far behind. He groaned loudly into her neck as he spilled inside her, his own body shaking through it. He’d never had an orgasm so intense before and by the look of Olivia, neither had she. His thoughts were interrupted when Olivia began giggling.

 

“What’s so funny?” he asked.

 

“That those fucking red panties earned me a spanking. I knew I should never have bought them. Although they looked amazing on your ass,” she said, pulling him close for a kiss. “I am sorry I told Amanda but this was so worth it.” He laughed too, kissing her once more.

 

“Come on, let’s have a shower and then I’ll rub lotion on your ass,” he said. “Can’t say I don’t look after you.” He pulled himself from her and pulled up his sweatpants again before he lifted her bridal style into his arms and into the ensuite. “I love you so much.”

 

“I love you too, Rafael.”

 

If Amanda noticed a slight falter in her lieutenant’s step and the wince she gave when she sat down in her office the next day, she made no comment. She knew better than that.

Chapter Text

Everything was dark and there was pain somewhere but Olivia couldn’t tell where. Her eyes struggled open, everything fuzzy and it hurt her head to try and focus. She tried to remember where she was, turning her head to look around. At least she knew that’s where some of the pain came from as she winced when she moved, catching a glimpse of a light brown hair next to her, slumped over. Oh God, the car. She was in the car with Carisi. They had gone to pick up the kids to go get ice cream on their way to Lucy. But they hadn’t made it for ice cream. The white SUV had come out of nowhere and lost control, slamming into Carisi’s side of the car, smashing windows and denting everything before she lost control too and drove into the sidewalk and smack bang into another car. Oh God, the kids. Olivia tried her hardest to turn her head to look at the backseat. Jesse was in her car seat, behind Carisi, her side of the car having got the worst hit. She was awake but she looked dazed and upset, a few small cuts to her little arms and her nose was bleeding. She looked at Olivia, who reached back and took her little hand.

 

“It’s okay, baby. It’s okay,” she said. “Everything’s going to be okay.” Jesse looked like she was going to cry.

 

“Noah hurt,” she managed to say and Olivia moved harshly to check on Noah, crying out in agony when she realised her leg was trapped from where she struck the other car. The front of the car was bashed in and she knew from the way she was trapped and how much it hurt that it was broken.

 

“Does he have any boo boo’s, honey? Is he bleeding?” she asked, her heart pounding in her chest.

“Noah has a sore head …” she said. “He’s sleeping.” Oh God, please let him be okay. She looked at Carisi, who was still slumped over. He was covered in glass and the dent in the passenger door was large enough to realise he’d taken a hard hit.

 

“Carisi? Carisi, can you hear me?” she asked, reaching over to feel for a pulse in his neck. She felt one barely, but her hand came away from him crimson with blood. “Sonny! Sonny, wake up!”

 

“Papa!” Jesse said, sounding almost confused, trying to lean forward to see Sonny.

 

“It’s okay baby. Can you reach Noah? Can you try and wake him up for me. Aunty Liv will call for help,” she said and Jesse nodded, reaching over to Noah. Olivia fumbled about in her pocket for her phone, pulling it out and using bloody fingers to call 911. “This is Lieutenant Olivia Benson from Manhattan SVU. We’ve been involved in a car crash with a white SUV. I can’t see the state of the other driver, but I have an unconscious officer in the car with me and two children under the age of five. I can’t see the extent of injuries as my leg is trapped. But we need a bus, Midtown East, 10th Avenue. Please hurry, the children are hurt.” She was assured they would be there as soon as possible. She felt dizzy, and could hear Jesse begging Noah to wake up. She looked down at her phone again and scrolled through numbers, landing one one familiar number and pressing dial.

 

“Barba.” His voice came sharply over the line.

 

“Not checking caller ID again, Rafa,” she said, trying to disguise the hurt and tears in her voice.

 

“Hey. Sorry, was deep in paperwork. How are you, mi amor ?” he asked and she would have laughed out loud if it weren’t for the situation. How was she? She was terrified her baby was badly hurt. She needed him here. She needed him to tell her their son was okay.

 

“I’m okay …” she said and he was silent for a moment. Something in her voice must have given it away.

 

“Olivia, what’s wrong?” he asked and this time she was silent. “Olivia?”

 

“I love you,” she said suddenly. “You know that, right?” She heard his breath hitch.

 

“Olivia, you’re scaring me. Is everything okay? Is Noah okay?” he asked and she felt her tears fall. “Liv, are you crying? I can’t help if you don’t tell me what’s wrong?” The panic in his voice was unmistakable.

 

“We were hit. White SUV drove us off the road. We’re trapped in the car,” she said. “I lost control once it hit and hit another car. I’m stuck; I think my leg is broken. Sonny is unconscious. Noah won’t wake and Jesse is a little cut up. There’s a bus coming …” She heard rustling at his end of the phone, a noise that sounded like a chair being knocked over and the sound of running footsteps, Rafael’s voice calling ‘Carmen, cancel everything.’ “Rafa … I love you.”

 

“Don’t you dare. You’re going nowhere,” he said. “I’m coming, just hold on.” But her phone went dead and she felt her tears fall. She dropped the phone into the footwell and tried her hardest to move her leg but she couldn’t. It felt wet and she knew there was blood somewhere down there. There was nothing she could do until someone came. The windscreen was smashed but not shattered but she could see a build up of people around them, but the smashed up white SUV was in the way so they couldn’t get near them at the moment. There was a groan from next to her and she saw Sonny’s head move slightly.

 

“Oh God, Sonny … can you hear me?” Olivia said and Sonny turned his head in the direction of the voice very slowly. He was bleeding from a deep cut across his brow and another under his chin, no doubt from the shattering glass. His eyes looked glazed over and he looked out of it. Probably a concussion.

 

“I told you I should have driven,” he said and she huffed a laugh. Trust him to make jokes at this time. “Jesse?”

 

“Papa, you’re awake …” Jesse said happily.

 

“Sonny, don’t strain yourself. You took a bad hit. But can you turn and see Noah?” she asked. “I can’t see him and Jesse said he had a sore head. I just want to know he’s okay.” Sonny turned his head slowly, his neck in agony, to see Noah. He was slumped against the door and his nose had a trickle of blood coming from it. There was blood on the door, no doubt from where Noah’s head had connected with it but he could see his chest rising and falling.

 

“He’s breathing, Liv,” he said. Olivia sighed with relief and she reached over with a bloodied hand to take Sonny’s. “I’m glad you’re here.”

 

“Help is coming, Sonny,” she said. She hoped Rafael would get here soon.

 

------

 

“Can’t you go any faster? Or another way?” Rafael barked at the cab driver.

 

“Look man, you’re welcome to get out and walk. Traffic at this time isn’t going to go any faster,” the driver said and Rafael threw money at him and he got out of the taxi and began running. He was only a few blocks from where Olivia was. He needed to get there. The heavens opened and the rain poured but he ran. He’d left his coat and suit jacket in his haste to get out of the office, his shirt sleeves still rolled up to the elbows. He must have looked a sight, running through the streets of New York in a suit. But he didn’t care. He heard the sirens and moved as fast as he legs would carry him, his lungs and legs burning. He was lucky he had gotten the location from Olivia’s call and he had called Rollins and Fin straight away, Rollins panicking for her partner and daughter. He finally turned into the street where everything had happened and saw the carnage, car parts littering the road, the destroyed white SUV, Olivia’s damaged car, which was currently surrounded with paramedics and fire service, who were cutting into the metal to try and free the occupants.

 

“Barba!” Dodds called, walking over to him, taking in the state of him, out of breath and soaked through. “Everyone is alive, but they’re trapped. We’re working on getting them out.” Rafael moved passed him to Amanda, who was having a mini freak out. She saw him and she threw herself into his arms.

 

“Barba, my baby is in there,” she said, her voice thick with tears. He hugged her to his chest.

 

“So is mine,” he whispered, holding her tight. Suddenly, there was a sound of metal being scraped against metal and a cry of pain came from the car. Rafael let go of Amanda and ran forward, cops trying to stop him but Amanda flashed her badge next to him and they were allowed past. He went to the driver’s side, catching sight of Olivia covered in blood and tears, crying out in agony as the metal was being pulled back to release her leg. Sonny was being released from the crushed metal too, although he was unconscious. Rafael moved forward and grabbed Olivia’s hand, who turned to him at the touch. She tried to smile through her tears.

 

“You’re here,” she said and he leaned in and kissed her forehead, his own tears starting to fall.

 

“Where else would I be?” he asked.

 

“One out …” someone called and Amanda’s shout of Jesse’s name made Rafael look up. The little girl was cradled against her mother’s chest as Amanda carried her towards an ambulance, Jesse suddenly calling out for Sonny, cries of ‘Papa’ filling the air around them all. It was heartbreaking, Rafael taking in Sonny’s appearance. He had taken the brunt of it, by the looks of things and it definitely didn’t look good.

 

“Mama … Papi …” came a little voice from the back seat and Rafael managed to stick a hand between Olivia’s seat and the door to reach back to Noah. Olivia sobbed as she heard his voice.

 

“Oh my sweet boy. My sweet, sweet boy,” Olivia said, not able to turn to him. “Are you okay?” Noah took Rafael’s hand tight, tears falling down his little face.

 

“My head hurts, mama,” he said.

 

“I know, baby. You’ll get out in a minute and someone will make it better. Mama’s stuck or I would help you,” she said. A fire service worker climbed into the back of the car and cut Noah’s seatbelt off and he was lifted from his seat. Noah didn’t want to let go of Rafael’s hand.

 

Papi …” he cried.

“I’ll be there in a minute, mijo . I promise,” he said and the young boy was carried away to the ambulance beside Jesse. Rafael was suddenly pulled away from Olivia as the top of the car was cut away and Olivia’s door was promptly taken off, letting Rafael see the extent of the damage. One leg of Olivia’s jeans was saturated in blood, the metal obviously having cut into her as it had bent. She had blood all over her hands and was bleeding from a cut to her side too. He could only stand and watch as both Olivia and Sonny were cut from their seatbelts, which had been suffocating them with their tightness. A gurney was brought to her side and she was lifted out and onto it with many a cry and moan of pain, her leg getting strapped to a board and a neck brace being put on too. He realised he could have lost her, her and their son. Sonny was taken out too and also strapped up, an oxygen mask applied to his face and they were both wheeled away to their respective ambulances. Olivia’s cry of his name had him suddenly following, getting into the ambulance with her as it took off down the street with full force.

Chapter Text

Hospitals were a place Rafael hated. They were too bright and smelled too clean for a place where people died everyday. He sat alone in the waiting room, which was eerily quiet for a Friday night, and he thought about Olivia, about Noah, about how he could have lost them both to a reckless driver in a white SUV. He ran his fingers round the rim of his paper coffee cup, the coffee long gone cold. His eyes flicked up to the muted TV with the subtitles, but he didn’t pay much attention. He had been waiting for a long time for information, but no one had come. He knew Rollins would be waiting on news about Carisi while being with Jesse. He was glad everyone was safe. He was snapped out of his thoughts by his phone vibrating in his pocket. He pulled it out, once again not checking caller ID.

 

“Barba,” he said, rubbing his eyes with the tips of his fingers.

 

“There you are, mijo ,” Lucia Barba said. “Your lovely secretary said you’d left the office, some sort of emergency. We were meant to have an early dinner together. What happened?” Rafael bit his lip, trying not to get any more upset than he already was.

 

“Mami, I’m so sorry …” he said. “I should have called …” his voice broke as he spoke to her and she was shushing him gently over the phone like he was little again.

 

“It’s okay, Rafael. What’s happened? Can I help?” she asked and Rafael wondered what he had done to deserve her as his mother. She was an angel.

 

“It’s Olivia and Noah. They were in a car with Detective Carisi and his little girl, Jesse, and they were hit by an SUV. Olivia is in surgery. Her leg is broken and she is bashed up pretty bad,” he said and heard his mother gasp. “Noah is getting his head injury checked. I’m at the hospital, waiting for news. Mami , it’s killing me. I need to know what’s happening.”

 

“Shh, it’s okay, honey. I’ll be there as soon as possible,” she said and he was shaking his head.

 

Mami , you don’t need to …”

 

“Enough of that! You know I love Olivia and Noah as much as you do. I want to be there for them and for you,” she said and Rafael definitely knew he didn’t deserve her. “I’ll see you soon, mijo . Stay strong for Olivia.”

 

“Love you, mom,” he said and she said it back before she hung up. Rafael dropped the phone on the seat next to him and he let his head fall into his hands, tears finally falling. He knew his little family would be alright but it was the shock of it all had him spiralling. He just needed to know something.

 

Time passed slowly and Rafael had stood up and sat down more times than he could count. He paced, biting at his nails, when suddenly the waiting room door swung open and Rollins stood there with Jesse in her arms, the little one bandaged from wrist to elbow on both arms. He smiled best he could at Rollins but it didn’t meet his eyes.

 

“Hi …” he said and she smiled the best she could back.

 

“Hi. You okay?” she asked, taking in his wrinkled shirt, tie discarded on one of the chairs and his collar undone a good deal more than usual. He had dried blood on his forearms and hands from where he had held Olivia’s hand in the car.

 

“I just want to know they are okay,” he said. “I just want to hold our boy and tell them both I love them. I panicked when Olivia called me. She kept telling me she loved me and asked me if I knew that. Then when she told me she was trapped, I imagined the worst. I thought she was saying goodbye …” He ran a hand over his face and wiped tears away that were forming. Suddenly, Jesse held out her arms, wanting Rafael to hold her. He took her from Rollins for a moment, mindful of her sore arms. “I’m glad you are safe, niñita,” he said, rubbing his nose against hers, making her giggle.

 

“Where Noah?” she asked him and Rafael sighed gently.

 

“The doctor is making sure his sore head feels better. We can see him soon, don’t worry,” he said. The waiting room door opened once more and Lucia Barba rushed in to see her son. He handed Jesse back to Amanda and he accepted the hug his mother gave him, holding her tight and as close to him as he could.

 

“Oh, mijo … I got here as fast as I could,” she said, pulling back and kissing her son’s forehead. “Any news?” He shook his head.

 

“No, it’s just a waiting game. Both Olivia and Detective Carisi are in surgery. Noah was taken to get checked for a concussion.” Lucia placed one hand on his chest, patting gently.

 

“Everything will be fine, honey,” she said. “Olivia is a strong woman.”

 

“Mr Barba?” a voice from behind everyone said. They all turned to the doctor standing there, who offered them a faint smile. “I’ve been looking after Noah Porter Benson. He has had a have a couple of stitches in his forehead for the cut to heal properly. He’ll have some bruising around it, but he’ll be fine. There’s no sign of a concussion. He responded normally to our tests. He’s just a bit tender and very tired. Now, his mother is out of surgery as of just a few moments ago but you - or Noah - can’t go to her yet so Noah is asking for you. He said he wanted his dad.” Rafael fought back tears at the thought of Noah asking for him as ‘dad’. He nodded. Lucia let go of him and let him go to his boy.

 

“I’ll be here when you need me,” she said and she and Amanda took a seat as the doctor led him to Noah. He was in a private room, looking absolutely tiny tucked under those sheets, a stark white bandage wrapped around his head. Rafael entered the room, the sound of the door opening making Noah open his eyes, lighting up when he saw Rafael.

 

Papi …” he said gently and Rafael broke down, moving forward quickly to pull the little boy to his chest, kissing his hair and rubbing his back.

 

“Oh, my boy. I’m so glad you’re okay …” he said, crying into his hair. Noah’s fists curled around Rafael’s vest. “I was so worried about you and mama.”

 

“Where is mama?” he asked and Rafael sighed gently.

 

“Mama’s leg was hurt so the doctors were fixing it. She’s sleeping just now. We can go see her later,” he said. Noah nodded, lying against Rafael’s chest. “You tired, mijo ?” Noah nodded again. “You have to stay here tonight so the doctor can make sure you’re okay.”

 

“Can you stay here until I go to sleep, papi?” Noah asked. Rafael kicked off his shoes and he lay up on the bed beside Noah, letting the boy lie against his chest. He kissed his forehead and held him close.

 

“Of course I will,” he said.

 

------

 

Olivia still hadn’t woken three hours later and Rafael took the chance to go home and change, his mother staying with Noah, telling him she would call him with news of Olivia. He had agreed, getting a cab back to his and Olivia’s apartment. The apartment was dark as he walked in. He was used to seeing Olivia and Noah sitting laughing over their tv shows together, or cooking, or napping when he got home. It was quiet. Too quiet. He moved through to their bedroom, pulling off pieces of his suit as he went, throwing his shirt into the laundry hamper. Grabbing jeans and a sweater, he quickly redressed and sat down with a heavy sigh on the bed. He looked at the nightstand and he opened the drawer there, picking up a small box he kept in there. It felt heavy in its hand, its meaning was heavy and he knew now what he wanted to do. He slowly opened it, looking at the sparkling engagement ring he had picked out for the love of his life. Everything that happened made him realise he had to act. Every day they got through together was a blessing, a privilege. Their jobs were dangerous; their life together could end abruptly and there would be things unsaid, memories they hadn’t made that they desperately wanted to. He closed the box again and stood, pulling on his shoes and jacket before he packed Olivia a bag for the hospital. He knew she would want comforts. He did the same for Noah, picking up Eddie the elephant from his place in the little building block prison Noah kept him in more often than not. He put the ring box in his jacket pocket and grabbed his phone before he was back in a cab, stopping only a couple of blocks from the hospital to buy Olivia some flowers.

 

His mother was still in the waiting room, but she was holding a sleeping Jesse, who was wrapped in Amanda’s coat. Amanda herself was lying across the sofa at the other end of the waiting room, also asleep. He put down Olivia’s bag before he went back to Noah’s room, putting his bag down on the floor beside the bed before tucking Eddie in beside the sleeping boy. He moved gently, his arm wrapping around the toy. Rafael ruffled the boy’s hair gently before the clearing of someone’s throat had him turning. A doctor stood there, a faint smile on his face.

 

“Mr Barba … Olivia Benson is asking for you,” he said and Rafael felt his heart race in his chest. She was awake. Thank God. “She is in some pain. We’re giving her the medication she needs. She’s comfortable at the moment. Her leg was broken on the impact but we have set it and strapped it up. Under no circumstances should should she be up and about on it any time soon without support.” Rafael nodded.

 

“Understood,” he said.

 

“She had two cracked ribs and she will have bruising for a while. It looks bad but I assure you it isn’t as bad as it could have been. We want to keep her here for a few days. But at the moment, she’s asking for you,” he said and Rafael took a deep breath and he followed him to Olivia. He felt nervous though he had no idea why. The doctor stopped and pointed him at one of the doors. Rafael thanked him and opened the door slowly, moving into the room, looking up to see his beloved Olivia lying there. Her eyes were closed at that moment but they opened when she heard the door close. She watched him as he walked closer to the bed before she held her hand out to him. He was by her side in seconds, cupping her face gently as he kissed her lips, a sense of relief flooding over him as she touched his cheek.

 

“God, you scared me, Liv,” he said against her lips before he kissed her again, savouring her lips against his. He didn’t realise he was crying until his tears mingled with their kisses, making him pull back, noting that she was also crying.

 

“I’m sorry, Rafa …”

 

“Don’t you dare apologise. You didn’t do anything wrong. That driver could have killed you,” he said, running a thumb over her cheek, wiping away tears. Her face was a little bruised and a cut was stitched and stuck with some gauze over her left eyebrow. “God, when you called me, I thought you were calling to say goodbye. I thought you were leaving me. Then when you told me about the car I thought you were dying, Liv. I thought I was going to lose you both.”

 

“I didn’t mean to scare you … I just wanted you there. I needed to hear your voice,” she told him. “I love you so much, Rafa. I needed you there. I was so scared for our boy and that something would happen, that I’d never see you again.” He kissed her again, letting her know how much he loved her with his kiss alone. He pulled back slowly and sat down on the bed beside her, holding her hand in his. “Is Noah okay?”

 

“He is. He’s bumped his head pretty hard but no concussion. He’s just sore and tired. They’re keeping him in overnight just to make sure he’s okay,” he told her, rubbing her knuckles with his thumb. “I’ll bring him to see you once he’s slept.”

 

“You’re such a good dad, Rafa,” she said. “Noah loves you so much. Thank you for being there with him when I couldn’t.” Rafael gave a teary smile.

“Well, I can’t take all the credit. Eddie is keeping him company just now. That elephant is good for something at least,” he said and she huffed out a small laugh, followed by a wince of pain that shot through her. “Careful, you have cracked ribs.”

 

“Have you slept? You look exhausted,” she commented, reaching up and running a hand through his hair.

 

“You’ve answered your own question …” he said, turning his head to kiss her palm. “I’m okay, I promise.”

 

“What about Sonny? Is he okay?” she asked.

 

“Last news I heard he was still in surgery. I’ll find out what I can. He took a hell of a hit,” he said. Olivia nodded. Sonny had taken the brunt of it and had fell unconscious again after waking. She had been worried about him. She looked up at Rafael, who looked nervous.

 

“You okay, Rafa?” she asked, frowning gently. He took a deep breath.

 

“I’m just so glad you’re okay, Liv. I, um …” he stammered a bit before he leaned down to kiss her hands. “These past two years with you have been the best of my life and I thought of everything we were yet to do when I thought you were dying. I wanted us to go on a family vacation; I wanted us to raise Noah together; I ...um, I want to adopt Noah, officially. I want to be his dad, Liv. I love that boy so damn much. But I wanted to ask you first,” he told her. The tears sliding down her cheeks told him she didn’t object.

 

“Rafa, he - and I - would love nothing more,” she said, linking her fingers with his. “I love you.” Rafael took a deep breath.

 

“I love you,” he said, letting go of her hand and rifling about in his pocket before he pulled out the little box there, turning her hand, palm up, and placing it there. She looked confused for a moment before she opened the box with shaking fingers. The ring in the box sparkled under the lighting, making Olivia’s breath catch in her throat. She felt her eyes sting with tears as she tore them away from the ring to look up at Rafael. She tried to talk but she had no words. “I want us to be a family. Will you marry me, Olivia Benson?”

Chapter Text

“Will you marry me, Olivia Benson?”

 

Olivia’s heart pounded in her chest at those words. She stared at Rafael before she looked back at the ring in her hand. It was happiness she felt whenever Rafael was near; even when they fought she couldn’t stay mad at him for long. He was her soulmate, if there was such a thing, and she loved him completely.

 

“Rafael …” she said, tears leaking from her eyes and down her slightly bruised cheeks. He was staring at her, her hesitation making panic visible in his eyes. She looked at him again and reached over with one hand to cup his cheek. “Yes, I’ll marry you.” She smiled the best she could as relief washed over him and he leaned in to kiss her hard.

 

“Liv, I love you so much,” he said between kisses before he pulled back and took the ring from the box, taking her left hand in his and sliding it onto her finger. “When you get home, I’m going to look after you and Noah.”

 

“I’d love nothing more,” Olivia whispered, pulling him down to kiss her once more. Suddenly there was a knock on the door and Rafael turned to see his mother there, Noah clinging to her hand like a lifeline.

 

“Someone was crying for his mami and papi,” she said, looking sorry she interrupted but Rafael smiled and moved over to them, lifting Noah onto his hip and over to the bed beside Olivia. The lieutenant smiled up at her son, moving herself to get a little more comfortable before she patted the bed beside her. Rafael put Noah down next to her and he curled into her side gently, her fingers running through his unruly curls, whispered her ‘I love you’s to her son. Lucia moved forward and she took Olivia’s hand gently.

 

“I’m glad to see you are okay, querida ,” he said, running her thumb over Olivia’s hand as she leaned down to kiss her forehead.

 

“Thank you, Lucia. It’s good you are here,” Olivia said. Lucia pulled back and looked down at Olivia’s hand as her thumb caught on the beautiful engagement ring that sat there. Her eyes widened and she looked between Rafael and Olivia’s smiling faces. “Oh my … when?”

 

“Just before you came in,” he said, beaming at his mother. Lucia felt her tears coming.

 

“Oh, mi hijo ,” she said, moving around the bed to him and pulling him into a hug. “My boy! You will be so happy, both of you. You look after her, Rafael, she is precious.” Olivia felt her cheeks go red but she continued to smile. Noah watched them curiously, Rafael noticing his confusion.

 

“I asked mommy to marry me, mijo . Is that okay?” he asked, stroking the boy’s hair.

 

“You’re already my daddy,” he said, standing on Olivia’s bed and hugging Rafael, the ADA holding the boy close and trying his hardest not to cry for the millionth time. “You love my mommy so I think it’s okay that you can marry her.” Rafael laughed against Noah’s shoulder, catching Olivia’s eyes.

 

“I’m glad to hear you say that,” he said, kissing Noah’s cheek gently, letting the boy lie down next to his mama again. Suddenly the door flew open and Amanda stood there with Jesse.

 

“Liv! Thank God you’re okay,” she said, moving forward to see her. Olivia nodded.

 

“I’m just glad this little one is okay,” she said, running her hand over Jesse’s back. “What about Sonny?”

 

“That’s what I came to tell you,” she said. “Surgery was successful. He’s recovering two doors down. It looked bad for so long, Liv. His ribs are broken, one punctured lung, broken wrist, glass cut his neck. They said if it had been deeper it would have been a vital artery or vein. He’s alive and that’s what matters.” Olivia could see the relief radiating from Amanda. She loved Sonny dearly and so did Jesse. She reached up to take Amanda’s hand.

 

“We all are,” she said.

 

------

 

Sonny had woken half a day later and Amanda and Jesse cried and fawned over him for a few hours, making sure he was okay. He assured them he was and that it would take more than a car crash to take him out of the detective game. Amanda could of slapped him but Jesse just wanted to cuddle him, kissing him all over his face and saying ‘Papa I missed you.’ The doctors wanted Sonny to stay with them for at least a few days to keep an eye on him. Rafael and Noah visited him too, letting him know they were glad he was still with them.

 

Sonny was finally sitting up a little better in bed when a knock on his door made him look up and a nurse brought Olivia in in a wheelchair to see him, her face brightening when she saw him alive and well. The nurse wheeled her to the side of the bed and left her, letting her know she’d be back in a half hour. Olivia immediately reached out and grabbed Sonny’s hand.

 

“Sonny, I was so worried about you,” she said. “I’m so happy to see you.” He smiled

 

“Thanks Liv. You ain’t getting rid of me so easy,” he said in jest. “I’m happy to see you too. Looks like neither of us will be at work for a while.” He nodded down at her leg in its cast and she shrugged.

 

“At least we have people willing to take care of us. I can call in a few favours. Fin can run the precinct with Mike. Amanda can still do fewer hours so she can be with you and Jesse. I’m not allowed to walk so I can still take calls from home if I need to,” she said. “Just focus on getting well, Sonny.”

 

“You too,” he said. “Talking about people taking care of us …” he held up Olivia’s hand, indicating the engagement ring. “It almost blinded me when you came in the door. Congratulations lieu.” She smiled at him, looking down at the ring on her hand. “Glad Barba finally plucked up the courage.”

 

“I think it took the shock of nearly losing me and Noah to do it. He wants to adopt Noah too, officially,” she said.

 

“I know. He came to me and told me, not sure how to bring it up with you,” he said. “He didn’t want to feel like he was pushing himself into your life without you being ready for it. He loves that kid. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but his desk in his office has become a shrine to you and Noah with the amount of pictures he has. You can barely see his name plaque,” he said and she laughed. “I’m glad you’re happy lieu. You deserve it.”

 

“You and Amanda deserve it too. You’ve had your own ups and downs and you need each other. Jesse is good for you too …” she said.

 

“I love that kid,” he said. “Who knows, if things go well, I might take a leaf out of Barba’s book.” Olivia smiled.

 

“I’ll be here to support you when you do,” she said, her hand tightening around his.

 

------

 

It felt good to finally get back to the apartment. She missed the faint smell of Rafael’s cologne that hung in the air permanently. He helped them into the apartment, Olivia on a set of crutches, Noah carrying his little bag and Eddie as Rafael carried Olivia’s bag. He dropped the bag at the door and closed it behind him before helping Olivia to the couch, letting her take the weight off.

 

“Coffee?” he asked her and she nodded.

 

“God, yes please,” she said and he moved to make them both some coffee. Noah sat on the floor playing with his toys, Olivia watching him like he was going to disappear from her sight at any given moment. She cast a glance between her two boys, thinking about how the domestic life was not something she ever wanted until Rafael Barba came into her life. When she took in Noah she thought it would be just the two of them against the world. Then Rafael was the hurricane that thrust itself into her life and she wouldn’t have it any other way. His eyes caught hers and she smiled gently at him, playing with the engagement ring on her finger. He finished making coffee and brought a cup over to Olivia before he sat beside her, letting her lean against his side, watching Noah play on the floor.

 

“You okay …?” Rafael asked her, kissing her temple. She turned to him, kissing his lips lightly.

 

“I’m happy,” she whispered and kissed him again.

 

Trying to get to sleep that night was uncomfortable. Her bandaged leg caused her nothing but grief. It was hot and itchy and she wanted nothing more than to be able to scratch it. Rafael slept soundly next to her, unaware of her discomfort. She eased herself into a sitting position, moving her legs out of bed slowly so she didn’t disturb her sleeping fiance. He looked peaceful, the usual lines on his forehead smoothed out. His arms were curled around the pillow, his face buried in it as he breathed deeply. He was beautiful. She reached out and touched his hair gently, smiling down at his sleeping form before she reached for her crutches and eased herself up, moving into the ensuite bathroom. She balanced her crutches against the wall and used the sink to hold herself up as she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror properly for the first time. There was still purple-y bruising around her forehead and across her left cheek. She also caught a glimpse of angry coloured bruising peeking out the v-neck of her sleep shirt. She took the hem of her t-shirt and pulled it off, leaving her braless chest bare in front of the mirror. A large diagonal bruise of many different colours went from her collarbone, faded a little across her breast, and down onto her stomach towards her hip, obviously where the seatbelt had constricted her breathing and stopped her from moving. She ran her fingers over the purple bruising, which looked almost black in places. It brought back panicked memories, worrying about the children and Sonny, calling Rafael to tell him she loved him, like it was the last time she was going to ever be able to tell him. Fresh tears came to her eyes as she realised how lucky the four of them were to be alive, how lucky she was that she could still be with Rafael and Noah. Suddenly, a set of hands were on her hips, running round to her bare stomach as kisses were peppered over the back of her neck.

 

“You should be resting that leg,” Rafael said in a sleepy voice.

 

“You should be sleeping too,” she whispered back.

 

“Well, I was, but my security blanket disappeared,” he said and she laughed lightly, sniffing as she lifted her hand to wipe her eyes. “You okay?”

 

“I’m fine. I was just uncomfortable. Just looking at the extent of it all,” she said. He moved from where he was to her side, turning her to face him. He looked at the bruising all over her front. His fingers traced where her’s had earlier, up over the soft skin of her breast, making her sigh deeply at the touch.

 

“Your seatbelt no doubt saved your life, Liv,” he said, kneeling down in front of her, kissing over her stomach. Her fingers threaded through his hair as he did so, the other hand holding on to the sink as he made his way up her body, following the bruising over her breast and up to her collarbone. He took her arms and he made her wrap them around his neck to hold herself up while he moved his lips to hers, kissing her deeply, her bare breasts pressing against his bare chest, but in this moment it was comforting, not sexual. She loved the feeling of their skin against each other. One hand ran through the hair at the nape of his neck as he kissed her. “I’m the luckiest man alive and you have made me so happy, Olivia. I am so glad you’re okay.”

 

“I love you so much,” she said. He kissed her once more and picked up her t-shirt and pulled it over her head before he wrapped an arm around her waist and helped her back to bed, making sure she was comfortable before he wrapped himself around her, kissing her neck.

 

“Goodnight, Liv …” he whispered and she linked her fingers with his.

 

“Goodnight Rafa …”

Chapter Text

Rafael took the elevator to Olivia’s apartment. He’d gotten a text that afternoon asking him to meet at Forlini’s at 6pm but she never showed. It wasn’t like Olivia not to show. She would usually text if there was a change of plans. He stepped off the elevator at her floor and immediately it was obvious why she didn’t show. There was raised voices in her apartment, one being Olivia’s, the other Brian Cassidy’s. Rafael hated that guy. He was yelling about how she was never home, never there for him, always spending time with others and not him. Then Rafael heard Brian say his name and his blood boiled.

 

“Are you sleeping with Barba, Liv?” he asked and Rafael saw red. How dare he accuse her of something she’s never done. Rafael couldn’t say he had not thought about he and Liv together but he was respectful; she was with Brian. But for how much longer, he didn’t know. “I heard you seem to like lawyers.”

 

“Brian, that’s enough,” she said. “I’m not that kind of person. I wouldn’t cheat on you. But you’re making it very difficult for me to want to carry on with his relationship. Leave Rafael out of this. He’s my best friend.”

 

“Oh, Rafael is it? First names …”

 

“Well, do you go round calling your best friend by their surname, huh?” she yelled back and Rafael huffed a laugh. Olivia Benson wasn’t taking any of his bullshit.

 

“You’ll still always pick your job over me,” he said. “And nights out to Forlini’s for a little nightcap with Barba.” Rafael shook his head at Brian’s attitude. He decided he better go. He knew he shouldn’t be listening to them. He would text Olivia later. He pressed the button for the elevator again when suddenly the door to the apartment opened and Brian came out, throwing on his leather jacket when their eyes met.

“Oh, speak of the fucking devil,” he said and moved forward towards Rafael. Olivia came running out of the apartment at Brian’s words and gasped when she saw Rafael there.

 

“I’m just going, Cassidy. I’m not here to get involved,” he said. Brian grabbed Rafael by the front of his hooded sweater and pushed him up against the wall with a thud. Rafael groaned in pain as the movement winded him. “Let me go.”

 

“You fucking my girlfriend?” Brian spat, his face close to Rafael’s.

 

“Are you an idiot, Cassidy? Why would I do that when she’s with you?” he asked, grunting in pain as Brian held him against the wall hard.

 

“That’s hilarious. When she’s with me. She’s never with me. She’s always with you,” he said. Olivia looked between the two men, unsure what to do.

 

“Enough!” Olivia shouted. “Brian, leave him alone. He hasn’t done anything.” She stepped in and put a hand on Brian’s chest and tried to push him off Rafael but Brian pushed her out of the way, making her fall to floor with a thud. Rafael saw red once more and he pushed Brian off him himself and he swung his fist without really thinking and caught Brian in the mouth, earning a grunt of pain from the other man. Rafael was shocked at himself but Brian gave him as good as he got, his fist catching Rafael in the stomach first before connecting with his cheekbone hard, sending him flying back against the wall, sliding down it and ending up on all fours on the floor, coughing and spluttering as he tried get his breath back. Olivia moved to Rafael, wrapping her arm around his shoulder. “Brian, I want you to go.”

 

“You can’t be serious …”

 

“We’re finished. I’ll have your stuff ready for you to pick up tomorrow. Now just leave,” she said, before she turned her attention back to Rafael. Brian watched them for a moment, watched how Olivia stroked Rafael’s hair as she comforted him, asking if he was alright. Brian went into his pocket and took out his key before throwing it to the floor in front of Olivia and Rafael, heading for the elevator. He didn’t notice Olivia’s eyes on his as he got on the elevator and left, not looking back at her. She took hold of Rafael’s bicep and helped him to his feet.

 

“I’m okay, Liv,” he said, sounding a little pained.

 

“I’m so sorry, Rafael. I didn’t mean for you to get involved in this,” she said. “Come in, I’ll get you a drink.” He nodded and followed her in slowly, his face hurting like hell. She closed the door behind him as he shrugged off his coat and hung it up, moving into the living room. Olivia went to the kitchen and grabbed a dish towel, grabbing some ice and placing it in the middle of the towel, wrapping it around the cubes before she took it to Rafael. “To stop it swelling,” she said, indicating his sore face, which looked like it was going to bruise. He thanked her and took the towel, pressing the ice to his face. She went back to pour them a drink, some scotch she had in the cupboard from the many a night they sat prepping for cases together. She had to admit that Brian wasn’t wrong when he said they spent a lot of time together.

 

“I was worried about you,” Rafael said. Olivia frowned gently.

 

“Why?”

 

“When you didn’t show up at six for our drink. I sat there for an hour and a half, just in case, before I decided to come see if you were okay. I didn’t mean to hear what was going on, Liv. But I couldn’t bear to hear him yell at you. He doesn’t deserve you,” he said, taking the glass of scotch from her when she brought it over. He took a drink almost immediately, half the scotch gone in seconds. “The time we spend together is time I cherish, Liv. Hearing him say that you spent too much time with me made me think I was getting too involved in your life, that maybe I should back off.”

 

“Rafael, you are not unwelcome in my life. You are my best friend,” she said and she smiled at him.

 

“I’m just saying that if you need me to back off …” he said but Olivia interrupted him.

 

“Rafa, stop talking …” she said and she leaned in and cupped his good cheek, pressing a gentle kiss to his lips, shutting him up immediately. The kiss was quick, no more than a brush of lips against lips, making Rafael’s eyes widen quite comically. “You’re not going anywhere. You are a huge part of my life, Brian, well, he no longer has a space in my life. He’s not welcome. Not after tonight.”

 

“Have you fought about things like this before?” he asked, still feeling the touch of her lips against his and he fought not to reach up and touch her to make sure she was real. She nodded.

 

“Brian gets jealous,” she said.

 

“Well, we didn’t help the situation with that kiss a moment ago,” he said.

 

“I’ve made up my mind about who deserves to be in my life, Rafael. It’s you, every time,” she said. “That won’t change. Brian doesn’t have a say in what I do. If I want to kiss you and you want to kiss me, no other questions need asked.” Rafael felt his heart beat faster in his chest. He pulled the ice pack away from his face and put it down on the table before Olivia reached over, running her fingers over his red cheek, swollen slightly from Brian’s fist. They were close; he could feel her breath light on his face before their lips were touching again, almost like they were testing the water, making sure the other was okay with it, before they were pressing closer, lips pressing harder, tongues tasting, breath gasping, hands exploring. But before it got too heated, Rafael grabbed her hands.

 

“Olivia, you’re sure?” he asked. She nodded.

 

“I am.”

 

“We’re really going to do this?” he asked, with a crooked smile. She ran her fingers through his hair.

 

“Start slow. Take me to dinner tomorrow night, somewhere we’re not known quite as well and we can use that as a starting point,” she said. He took a deep breath and he nodded. “I’d like to date you, Rafael Barba. I have wanted to for a while.” Rafael smiled.

 

“I’m glad.”

Chapter Text

“Hey, let’s play Twister,” Sonny exclaimed excitedly.

 

“Who the hell even has Twister anymore?” Fin said, rolling his eyes at how excited Carisi got over children’s games. Sonny had invited the squad and Barba over for drinks after their success in winning a high profile case and getting the justice for the victim, who was severely traumatised after the whole ordeal. Olivia had secured her the help she needed and she was in capable hands.

 

“Jesse pointed it out one day at the toy store. I wasn’t going to say no,” he said. “I have long legs. I have the advantage when it comes to playing.”

 

“That usually means you’re a cheating SOB,” Fin said and everyone laughed at Carisi’s mock hurt face.

 

“Detective Tutuola, you wound me,” he said, hand on his heart before he moved to the closet and pulled out the game in question.

 

“We’re all adults. We can’t all play at once. There is not enough room,” Olivia said. They all nodded in agreement.

 

“Are we being serious? Are we actually playing Twister?” Rafael said in disbelief, looking between them all before his eyes landed back on Sonny.

 

“Oh Barba, lighten up,” Amanda said, downing the rest of the wine that was in her glass. “Time to get bendy, counsellor.” Rafael looked scared for a moment, making Amanda laugh at him.

 

“I ain’t bending myself into strange positions,” Fin said. “I’ll do the wheel spinning thing.” The next thing they knew all the furniture have been pushed to various parts of the room and Sonny was flattening out the Twister mat on the floor. Fin grabbed the wheel and moved to sit on the chair nearby, getting various glares because he’d managed to get the good job in this game. Amanda, Olivia and Rafael all kicked off their shoes, as did Sonny.

 

“I’m not nearly drunk enough for this,” Rafael commented. “And I’m definitely going to end up ripping my good suit pants.”

 

“I can definitely supply more alcohol, Rafael,” Sonny commented. “Stop complaining and just play.” Rafael rolled his eyes and he removed his suit jacket and tie, unbuttoning the top three buttons on his collar.

 

“Right kids,” Fin said, spinning the wheel as hard as he could. “Sonny and Amanda, you guys go first. Sonny, left hand green.” And from there, the game went on. Sonny was an expert at this game and Olivia and Rafael didn’t want to think about what the two of them used this mat for in their spare time. Not just for playing Twister, that was for sure. Sonny was lanky and he used it to his advantage. He and Amanda ended up bent around each other in the strangest way, Sonny struggling to hold himself up, arms and legs at completely different sides of the mat. It wasn’t until Amanda tried a bold move that she fell, taking Sonny down with her. Olivia and Rafael cackled at them, taking a drink before they helped them up, knowing full well it was their turn next.

 

“Okay, guys. You next,” Sonny exclaimed, sharing a knowing look with Amanda. They knew that both Olivia and Rafael had some sort of feelings for each other and were determined to help them see it. They flirted with each other on many an occasion but they didn’t realise it themselves. Olivia and Rafael stepped up to the mat.

 

“If I rip my pants, you owe me a new pair, Carisi,” Rafael said, pointing his finger at the young detective.

 

“If you do, I hope you’ve got nice underwear on,” Amanda commented. “Don’t wanna see no tighty whiteys in this apartment.”

 

“No worries there, then,” Rafael said with a smirk as Fin turned the wheel.

 

“Okay Barba, right foot red,” he said and they were off. At first they weren’t really near each other until one particular move had them basically face to face. Sonny and Amanda made a face at Fin and Fin shook his head, giving out their next instructions. Before anyone knew it, Rafael was in a sort of crab position, facing up from the mat, hands and feet at funny angles to try and keep himself up. The next instruction had his heart pounding in his chest as Olivia apologised and threw her leg over Rafael’s front to reach the colour at the other side of the mat. Olivia Benson was basically straddling him in front of all the squad and he was finding it hard not to get a little excited by this. His body was betraying him, albeit slowly. He felt his socked feet slip on the mat and he tried his hardest not to fall. The next instruction had Olivia reaching over him before her foot slipped from underneath her and she took Rafael down with her, their bodies colliding, Rafael ending up on his back. Olivia was actually straddling him this time, sitting on his front with her hands against his chest as the two of them got their breath back from laughing. They momentarily forgot where they were, just staring at each other. Olivia’s eyes widened a little and he knew she could feel how excited he was to have her sitting astride him. A clearing of someone’s throat made them both look up into three amused looking faces.

 

“Want us to clear the room?” Sonny asked, amused by it all. Olivia got up and took Rafael’s hand and helped him to his feet, the man excusing himself to go to the bathroom almost immediately. Olivia blushed and stepped out the way to let him pass before she grabbed her wine and drank the rest of it one gulp. She didn’t see Sonny and Amanda giving a sly high five to each other, Fin rolling his eyes.

 

“Okay, show’s over. I’m off home,” Fin said. Olivia agreed and she helped pack away the Twister mat, Rafael joining them again and drinking his scotch quickly. His eyes met Olivia’s and they both blushed before helping Sonny clear up. They all slipped on their shoes and coats, saying their goodbyes and making their way back to their respective apartments. Rafael entered the home, closing the door behind him and leaning against the wood, taking a deep breath. He hung up his coat and moved to his kitchen, pouring another drink just as his phone went off, indicating he had a message. He pulled it out of his pocket and checked it. Olivia. He almost spat out his scotch at the content of the message.

 

Want to play again, this time in my bed?

 

His drink was forgotten as he grabbed his coat and ran out of his apartment, hailing a cab quickly. He definitely wanted to play again.

Chapter Text

When Olivia awoke, the pain in her head was unbearable. The amount of alcohol she consumed the night before had been a hell of a lot. She placed her fingers against her temple and massaged gently, willing the pain to go away. She turned her head further into her pillow, taking a deep breath, before lifting her head again. Her pillow smelt like men’s cologne. She quickly glanced around the room and realised she wasn’t in her own apartment. Mind you, she remembered meeting a guy last night. A sudden movement behind her had her turning her head to see who it was. Oh God, she had hooked up last night. Oh God, he was handsome . The gentleman in question lay sleeping soundly. He had a couple of days worth of stubble growth on his face and he had to have been similar age to Olivia. A quick glance under the bed sheet let Olivia know they were both very naked and there was no doubt in her mind of what had happened. There was an empty condom wrapper on the nightstand next to his side of the bed and she breathed a sigh of relief. At least they had been safe. The night wasn’t a complete haze. She remembered him approaching her and complimenting her numerous times. Amanda had been there and pushed her in his direction. They had danced a lot and he had kissed her hard and passionately in the middle of the dancefloor. Then they went back to the bar for more drinks. She remembered leaving with him and going to his apartment where must have had some mind-blowing sex because her body was sore, but not in a bad way.

“Good morning,” his voice, Rafael he said his name was last night, said with a sleepy croak to it. She smiled gently.

 

“Morning,” she replied and he turned to face her, reaching over to run his hand over her bare shoulder.

 

“I have to admit, I thought I was going to wake and you wouldn’t be here,” he said. “You had a lot to drink last night.”

 

“I did, but I remember saying yes to you,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be.” He ran his hand down her bare back, the sheets pooled around the small of her back.

 

“You’re so beautiful, Olivia,” he said and he scooted closer but she stopped him from kissing her with a hand against his lips.

 

“I’m not kissing you when my mouth still tastes like tequila shots,” she said and he laughed, pressing a kiss to her shoulder instead. He was such a gentleman, something she never expected from a random hookup.

 

“Can I make you breakfast?” he asked her. She was going to nod but she suddenly remembered she had to get home.

 

“I have to get home to my son,” she said and she saw a look of disappointment on his face for a moment.

 

“Are you married?” he asked and she patted his arm.

 

“No, god no! I wouldn’t be here if I was. No, I have an adopted son. My babysitter was taking care of him,” she said and Rafael nodded gently. She placed her fingers under his chin and made him look at her. “I would like to see you again.”

 

“I’d like that too,” he said. Tequila shots be damned she thought and leaned in to kiss him deeply, his hand threading through her hair as she rolled him onto his back and climbed on top of him, feeling him get hard against her as they kissed, naked bodies pressed together from lips to feet. Her hand went down between their bodies, taking him in a tight fist and stroking him, his head falling back into the pillow.

 

“Are you sure you have to go right now?” he asked breathlessly.

 

“I suppose I could stay a little longer.”

 

------

 

“Mommy, why are you going to see my teacher?” Noah asked, as Olivia took his hand and pulled him towards the school building instead of towards her car when school was over.

 

“Because he sent me a letter and said you got into a fight. Why were you fighting, Noah?” she asked and Noah looked down at his feet, not answering her. “I told you fighting was not nice. I’m disappointed in you, Noah Porter-Benson.”

 

“But mommy,” he said and she cut him off.

 

“No buts, Noah. I’ve told you before,” she said and he walked with her all the way back to his classroom. Noah went quiet, obviously in a bad mood now because Olivia was taking him to see his teacher again. She was directed by another teacher to Noah’s classroom and she was asked to wait while they went to fetch him. Noah sat playing with the hem of his coat as they waited.

 

“You’ve got a chance to tell me what happened before …”

 

“Olivia?”

 

Olivia turned at the familiar voice saying her name. He stood in the doorway of the classroom, a pale grey shirt on with a navy tie and cardigan. His sleeves were rolled up to the elbows and his collar was undone slightly, a pair of dark jeans on too. He looked so good. God, why did he look so good . He stared at her, looking quite dumbfounded that she was sat there in his classroom.

 

“Rafael!” she said, standing from the chair. She felt herself blushing. “Hi.”

 

“Hi …” he said. He looked down at Noah sitting there. “Ah, you’re Noah’s mother.”

 

“I didn’t realise you were Noah’s teacher. You never did tell me your full name,” she said with a small smile. “You didn’t tell me you were a teacher in general.” She quickly looked down at Noah, noting him watching them curiously. Rafael turned his attention back to the boy for the moment.

 

“He’s such a good kid. I didn’t want to have to tell his mother he’s been fighting.”

 

“Mr Barba … I didn’t mean to,” Noah said and Rafael looked down at Noah, who looked ready to burst out crying.

 

“What happened?” Olivia asked, bending down next to her son. Noah just looked at her before he looked back down at his shoes. Rafael bent down at the other side of Noah, patting the boy on the shoulder.

 

“A few kids have been picking on him for the simple reason that he doesn’t know anything about his father,” Rafael explained. “We had a day when the children brought in their fathers. Noah was one of two who didn’t have anyone here. He was very quiet and didn’t want to join in at all that day.” Olivia felt heartbroken for her son.

 

“He didn’t even tell me,” Olivia said.

 

“After that day, some of the others cornered him at recess, said some mean things and he lashed out, split one boys lip,” Rafael said. “I know he was only acting out of anger in the situation. The other boy’s parents have been spoken to also. I just have to do my job.” Olivia reached out and touched his arm, patting it gently.

 

“No, I completely understand. Thank you for telling me,” she said. She knew she’d have to sit down and talk with Noah. Both adults stood up again and Noah looked up at Olivia.

 

“I’m sorry, mommy,” he said. Olivia smiled gently.

 

“I understand why you did it sweetie, I do. But no more hitting, okay. Hitting someone doesn’t solve anything,” she said. She turned to Rafael who was standing with his arms crossed across  his chest, just watching her. She left Noah sitting there for a moment and she walked over to him, smiling. “Thank you for letting me know.” He nodded.

 

“You know, you left without giving me your phone number,” he said, smirking. “I didn’t take it personally since you said you wanted to see me again.” Olivia blushed, running a hand through her hair.

 

“Ah, yes. That was an accident. I meant to give you it,” she said. She quickly opened her handbag and she raked around a little before producing a card, handing it to him. He took it and smiled. He quickly grabbed a pen from his desk and quickly jotted down his number before she took it from him. “Maybe we could grab a drink again sometime?” Rafael nodded.

 

“That would be nice,” he said. She moved over to Noah again and took his hand leading him out of the classroom. Rafael cleared his throat and she turned to see him holding Noah’s backpack. She rolled her eyes and smiled, letting go of Noah’s hand for a moment to take it from him, looking at his lips quickly before back up to his beautiful green eyes. They both leaned in at the same time and their lips met quickly, sharing a few kisses before she pulled back.

 

“I’ll call you,” she said, swallowing hard. God, he was gorgeous .

 

“I’ll look forward to it.”

Chapter Text

It was late by the time Olivia arrived home. She and the squad had caught a late bit to eat after a gruellingly long case before they went their separate ways, with strict orders from Dodds to make sure they got enough sleep as he didn’t want any of them collapsing on the squad room floor. There was a light on in the living room, but no one was there. She pulled off her coat and threw down her bag before she moved to the bedroom, pulling at various pieces of clothing, her blouse hanging unbuttoned as she noticed the light from under the door of the ensuite. The bed was still made so he hadn’t been to bed without her yet. The bathroom door was slightly ajar but not enough to see in. The shower was running and Olivia bit her lip as she pushed the door opened slowly, the sound of laboured breathing catching her ears over the sound of water slapping skin as she entered. Rafael Barba stood there under the spray of water, hand wrapped tightly around his cock, stroking himself slowly, languidly, like he was building it up and making it last. He moaned gently with each stroke, his eyes closed and his other hand pressed against the wall in front of him as he jerked himself off right there in front of her.

 

Olivia moved into the room slowly, not to alert him to her presence just yet. She unbuttoned her pants and let them drop to the floor with a whisper, her blouse sliding from her shoulders to join the pants. She kept her eyes on his hand as she unclipped her bra and pulled it from her body, before dropping her panties and stepping from them. She walked closer to her lover before stepping into the shower with him. She placed her hands on his back, his body jumping slightly as she startled him, before she ran them down the length of his body, cupping his bare ass in her hands as she kissed his neck, then slipping her hands around his front, one sliding up his chest and the other one joining his on his cock.

 

“Honey, I’m home,” she whispered, letting the water spray over her too as she stepped up closer and moulded herself to his back. His moans got louder as she squeezed his cock. He took her hand away and turned in her arms, pulling her in for a deep kiss. Her arms wound round his neck, pulling him close as his hands grabbed at her ass, causing her to press against his hard cock. He groaned deep in his throat at the heat and the friction.

 

“I missed you today,” he panted. She pulled back and grabbed the soap, lathering it up in her hands before she smoothed it all over his chest, paying close attention to his nipples, which hardened under her touch. He knew everything would be over too quickly if he didn’t be careful. He grabbed the soap and did the same to her, until they were washed and rinsed off. Rafael turned off the shower and he led her out by the hand before kissing her again, pushing her wet body up against the counter. She grunted as it dug into her back, Rafael lifting her suddenly to sit on the edge before he was kneeling between her legs, his tongue licking at her clit immediately. She cried out the first touch, biting down on her fist as he lapped at her, holding her thighs apart with his large hands. She balanced one foot on his shoulder, hands grabbing at the sink to hold on as he spread her wider and feasted on her.

 

“Rafael … god, please don’t ever stop …” she begged him, head falling back, droplets of water sliding down her chest as she heaved for breath. He sucked hard on her clit and she almost hit the roof, a broken sob coming from her throat as she felt her body betraying her. He removed his mouth for a moment and kissed her thigh while his fingers took its place, massaging that little bundle of nerves until her thighs were trembling against him, until her chest and cheeks began to go red from the heat pulsating through her body, before she came hard, his mouth pressing in again to lap at her as she writhed against his tongue. She cursed and gasped and moaned, unable to stop the tremors that assaulted her body. She sagged for a moment, trying her hardest to catch her breath. Rafael was so hard watching her come undone that he took his cock in his fist again, stroking himself hard, sharp tugs to try and bring himself to completion but she had other ideas. “Stand up.” He did as he was told and she slid off the counter to kiss him once more.

 

“I love you …” he whispered against her lips and she smiled, pulling back and stroking her hand through his wet hair, causing it to stand up on end. She turned away from him and bent over the counter in front of her, looking at her reflection in the mirror. She watched him stand behind her and give her a good once over, biting his lip. “ Jesus , Liv …”

 

“I’m waiting, counsellor,” she said and he looked up to meet her eyes in the mirror. His cock was throbbing, begging him to bury it within her. He ran his hand over her back and over her ass. “I want to feel you.” He met her eyes once more and he took hold of her hip, lining himself up with her entrance before he pushed in slowly, her body wet and welcoming. The heat was unbearable and he knew he needed to go slow or he’d come now. She moaned deeply as he buried himself in her, watching him behind her in the mirror. This turned her on even more. She could see his facial expressions and he was fucking gorgeous. He was watching his cock disappear within her before taking a few slow, teasing strokes, meeting her eyes once more. They kept their gazes locked as he moved within her, until one particularly hard thrust had her closing her eyes against her will and calling out his name, begging for him to fuck her harder. Rafael was more than happy to oblige, kicking at her ankle gently to make her spread her legs a bit wider, pulling her hips back to meet his every hard forward thrust. She reached out and pressed her hand against the mirror, her head bent down as she moaned at every thrust, begging him, pleading with him. He was panting hard as he fucked her, trying to keep it together, to keep going as long as possible. But he failed miserably and he came hard inside her too suddenly, making his vision blur for a second, burying his face in the back of her neck and groaning loudly. He moaned her name and she reached back and ran her hand over his face as he continued to move through his orgasm. His hand was suddenly between her legs, stroking hard and fast, bringing her to the edge fast before she followed him into ecstasy, her legs buckling as she fought to keep standing, his own body keeping her in place.

 

“Liv?” he said as she stayed unmoving, apart from a heaving chest and trembling thighs.

 

“I’m okay …” she said as Rafael stood upright again, pulling out of her, allowing her to stand. They would definitely need another shower, Olivia thought, feeling Rafael’s release running down the inside of her thighs. He pulled her close and kissed her slow and passionately, their bodies hot and delightfully sated.

 

“Come on, let’s get cleaned up,” he said, turning her back towards the shower and pulling her in with him. “Let’s actually get clean this time.”

 

“What was I to do when my husband was masturbating right in front of me?” she asked, turning the water on, startling him when a spray of cold water came out first. She laughed at the shock on his face before the water warmed. “Oops,” she said with a smirk.

 

“Devil woman.”

Chapter Text

Olivia didn’t know if she had broken her ankle or not, all she knew is that it hurt like hell. She was sitting on the sidewalk outside a club she had been in and she had gotten into an argument with someone who was trying to get her to go home with him.  But the guys girlfriend didn’t like that and promptly got up in Olivia’s face as if she had started it. Olivia had tried to leave and the woman wasn’t having it. She managed to give Olivia a bloody nose and had tripped her, causing her to fall into a table, going over on her ankle in her heels, feeling something snap as she fell. The woman was satisfied she’d done enough damage before she was promptly thrown out of the club. Olivia managed to pull herself to her feet, shrugging off help as she grabbed her coat and bag, unable to put much weight down on her damaged foot. She managed to hobble out of the club, dumping herself down on the sidewalk, wiping some blood from her nose before sighing deeply. She couldn’t even go for a drink in peace. People walked past her, not paying attention. She didn’t know how she was going to get home.

 

“Hey, are you alright?” came a soft voice from next to her and she looked up into the worried eyes of a man round about her age, wearing a crimson sweater and dark jeans with a light rain jacket over the top. His brow was creased  in concern and it was quite adorable. Olivia went to wipe the rest of the blood from her nose, which was still coming in cascades, her mouth tasting the metallic tang. He moved closer and he squatted down next to her and he went into his pocket for a hankerchief before he handed it to her with a small smile. It was monogrammed with a small R.B in the corner and she felt bad getting his personal belongings covered in blood. “It’s okay, go ahead.” He must have realised her hesitation and she smiled gently at him before she used it to clean the blood off.

 

“Thank you,” she said in a small voice.

 

“Are you okay?” he asked again and she shrugged her shoulders.

 

“It seems I’m not able to just go out for a drink in peace without someone trying to hit on me. Some guy was trying to get me to go home with him and his girlfriend was there too, thinking it was me wanting to take him home. She let her annoyance be known,” Olivia said, reaching down to slide her shoe off, showing off her bruised and swollen ankle. The man noted this, looking down at her ankle, wincing at how swollen it was. Olivia pushed her hair out of her face and sighed.

 

“I can take you to hospital,” he said. “My car is just round the corner.”

 

“No, I don’t want to be a burden,” she said.

 

“I’m offering,” he said, standing again and holding his hands out to her to help her up. She looked at his hands for a moment before she took them and got up, crying out in pain as her ankle protested at the weight she put down on it. Her eyes watered at the pain and he grabbed her jacket quickly and helped her put it on before he handed her bag to her. “If this isn’t okay, let me know.” He took one of her arms and put it around his shoulders, her fingers gripping his jacket as she slid his arm around her back and under her knees and lifted her into his arms, carrying her down the street. She blushed gently, a handsome stranger saving the damsel in distress was something she only read about in fairy tales but no, apparently it happened in real life too.

 

“What’s your name?” she asked him quietly.

 

“Rafael …” he said, turning his head to look at her, her heart racing faster at those beautiful green eyes close up.

 

“I’m Olivia,” she replied.

 

“Good to meet you, Olivia,” he said. “It’s not every Friday night I end up carrying a beautiful woman down the street.” She chuckled gently, blushing, as they came to a stop and he went about putting her down, reminding her not to put weight on her ankle as he went to open the door for her to let her into the car. He helped her with her seatbelt and he closed the door, getting in the other side and driving her to the hospital.

 

------

 

She left the hospital with Rafael three hours later, a supportive boot on her, luckily unbroken, foot. She had gone over on it hard and there was no doubt she had damaged it but there was no break, just damaged ligaments which the doctor said could sometimes be worse. He helped her out to his car again, shrugging off her apologies for ruining his night. He let her lean on his arm before he helped her back into the car. She gave him her address and he pulled out of the parking lot to take her home.

 

“Thank you again, Rafael,” she said. “You are so kind. Where were you going when you found me?” He quickly looked at her before looking back at the road.

 

“I had been on a date,” he said and Olivia felt something in her chest hurt. Why, she had no idea. She had only just met the guy. “It didn’t go as well as I had hoped.”

 

“Nothing in common?” she asked, watching him from where she sat instead of watching the road.

 

“A few things in common. I guess she was looking for something different from me,” he said, a small sad smile sliding over his face.

 

“And what are you looking for?” she asked, silently cursing herself for sounding like she was giving him the third degree. “Sorry, it’s none of my business, I …” but he cut her off.

 

“No, it’s okay. Look, I’m forty-eight years old, I’m single, unmarried and childless, live for my job. I just realised that couldn’t be the case anymore if I wanted to live my life. So I took some time off, went a bit of travelling, went home to see some long lost family in Cuba and came back with a new lease of life and got set up on a date by my friend, Sonny,” he said. “He’s going to be so disappointed it didn’t work out with Rita. He was sure we were so compatible. Oh, how wrong he was.” Olivia smiled gently.

 

“I know what you mean about being married to the job …” she said. “I’m a cop …”

 

“And you didn’t arrest the people that did this to you?” he asked in disbelief.

 

“That’s just it, Rafael. I’m so tired. The job, life in general. If I wanted to, they would have been arrested right there, but even a cop gets sick of their job sometimes. I recently lost a squad member and his death hit us all hard. Sometimes it’s just too much. It takes its toll.”

 

“My friend Sonny is a cop …” he said. “Works for Manhattan SVU.” Olivia suddenly turned to look at him, looking rather shocked.

 

“Sonny? As in Dominick Carisi, preferable name being Sonny,” she said. What a small world.

 

“The very same. You know him?!” he asked and she giggled again.

 

“I’m his boss,” she said and Rafael laughed too. It definitely was a small world.

 

“You’re Olivia Benson then?” he asked and she nodded. “Sonny talks about you with nothing but respect. He looks up to you.” Olivia blushed a deep red.

 

“He’s a good detective,” she said. “He wants to be a lawyer.”

 

“He does. I’ve been teaching him all I know,” he said. He stopped at a red light before he turned right onto the street Olivia had given him as her address. She pointed at the building where she lived and he pulled up to park right in front of it, turning off the engine.

 

“You’re a lawyer?” she asked.

 

“I used to be. Like I said, the job consumed too much of me and I was an asshole, to everyone and about everyone. I needed out. Now, as of only a few days ago when I got back from my vacation, I teach law to students, which I prefer. Being an ADA was too much sometimes. You couldn’t unsee things,” he said. “I feel at ease now. I can live comfortably now without working as many hours,” he said. She looked at him for a moment, able to relate to everything he had said when she suddenly realised something.

 

“You’re that notorious ADA who was able to win the hardest of cases. Rafael Barba, right?” she asked. He nodded and held out his hand. She took it and he kissed her knuckles.

 

“Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lieutenant Benson,” he said before he got out the car and moved round to her side and helped her out of the car, before looping his arm around her waist as she held onto his shoulders as he helped her to the elevator and took her up to her apartment, opening the door for her and helping her inside. He eased her down onto the couch, taking her coat and bag from her to hang them up.

 

“I do suggest you call Sonny then, get him to check the CCTV of the club and get those people arrested for doing this to you, Olivia. They’ll only get away with it again,” he said. She nodded, knowing he was right. “I’ll get you some water so you can take some pain medication.”

 

“Thank you, Rafael. You’ve been so good to me,” she said. Her face was starting to feel really sore and tender from the punch she had received, knowing she would bruise. She knew she’d have to call her squad about it; they’d ask questions about how she got her injuries.

 

“Do you need me to do anything for you?” he asked, handing her the water and pain pills before before standing awkwardly in the middle of the room, watching her for a moment.

 

“No, you’ve done so much for me already, Rafael,” she said. “Thank you. If it wasn’t for you, I’d probably still be sitting on that sidewalk, feeling sorry for myself.” He smiled gently and moved closer, reaching out to take her hand, pressing a kiss to her knuckles.

 

“Anything for a damsel in distress,” he said with a wink. He stood and reached into his pocket, pulling out his wallet and taking a card from within. He handed it to her. “Here’s my number. If you need anything, just call.” She felt a lump in her throat at his words. He was nicer than the hardass lawyer she had heard so many stories about. "Please speak to your squad about arresting those people." She nodded.

 

“I will. Thank you, Rafael,” she said again and he smiled and let himself out, allowing himself on more glance back at her before the door closed behind him. Olivia took a deep breath and she fell back against the couch. Although she had never met or seen him before now, she had heard of Rafael Barba’s approach in the courtroom and the man who had just been in her apartment was nothing like the man she had read about. She definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

 

------

 

Olivia ran her fingers through her hair with a sigh before she moved on to the next piece of gruelling paperwork. Taking a drink of her coffee, she started suddenly when her phone went off next to her, alerting her to a text. She looked through the window of her office, noting all the squad were there before she picked up the phone. Rafael. She smiled and opened the message.

 

I heard on the grapevine you were back at work. Take it easy. R x

 

She smiled, something she had been doing a lot lately when it came to the former ADA. They had exchanged a few texts here and there, him checking up on her to make sure she was okay. He was so sweet and she felt her heart beat faster every time he sent her a message.

I am. Don’t worry. I am confined to desk duty. N o heavy work for me at the moment. Hope you are well. Liv x

 

She put her phone down and she took another sip of coffee when a text alert came again and she looked at the phone again, noting that it wasn’t hers that went off this time.

 

“I am well, thank you,” came a voice and Olivia looked up into the nervous eyes of Rafael Barba, who was standing with his phone in one hand and a rather large bouquet of flowers of various colours. Olivia blushed as he smiled at her, cursing her body for having these reactions to his presence. He was wearing a black t-shirt, showing off arms that were deliciously toned; his dark blue jeans were hugging him perfectly and a pair of blue Converse on his feet topped the outfit off, along with a leather messenger bag slung across his body. His hair was gelled to perfection, a few day worth of scruff on his chin and he had a pair of sunglasses sitting on his head. He looked so good.

 

“Hi …” she said, beckoning him in. He moved closer and he held out the flowers to her.

 

“For you. Hoping to cheer you up while you’re on desk duty,” he said.

 

“You didn’t know that until just now, so you bought me flowers before you knew that. You’re so kind,” she said, taking the flowers from him, bringing them up to her nose to smell them. They smelt divine and so did Rafael. His cologne assaulted her nose and she wanted to get closer but she held herself back. “Apart from bringing me these, what brings you across this side of town?”

 

“Well, I saved a damsel in distress a few weeks ago from outside a nightclub and since then I have enjoyed corresponding with her. I wanted to ask her if she would like to accompany me to dinner or to a movie. A date, you know?” he said, smiling gently at her. Olivia smiled brightly, feeling her cheeks go red.

 

“Well, I am sure she’d like that very much, so yes, that sounds lovely,” she said. Rafael smiled at her again and he took her hand again, the gentleman that he was, and pressed a kiss to her knuckles.

 

“Good, I’ll pick her up seven-thirty tonight, if she doesn’t mind,” he said with a wink.

 

“Seven-thirty is perfect,” she said. “She’s looking forward to it, more than you know."

Chapter Text

“Rafael … it wasn’t what it looked like!”

 

“Oh, do tell me what it was, Olivia, because it looked exactly like what it was.”

 

Two hours earlier

 

Olivia sat in her office, finishing up her paperwork for the day. She was looking forward to meeting with Rafael for their one year anniversary dinner. She had made arrangements for Noah to spend the evening with Lucia so that she and Rafael could wine and dine and be as overly romantic as they wanted without worry. She filed away the last of the paperwork when a knock on the door had her turning and smiling.

 

“You’re early …” she started but was cut off when she saw who stood at the door, her smile disappearing as quickly as it had come. .

 

“Hey Liv,” Elliot Stabler said as he stood there, hands in his coat pockets, unmoving, just watching her. Her hand came up over her mouth, struggling for breath as she lowered herself into her chair. How could he be here? It had been seven years since she had spoken to him last, since he cut off all communication with her. Now here he was, standing in her office, looking pretty much the same apart from the short beard he now sported.

 

“Elliot,” she whispered, not quite believing. “What … what are you doing here?”

 

“I, um … I was in the neighbourhood,” he said before he sighed. “I wanted to see you, Liv.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Why not? We were partners for years,” he said, moving a little closer to her desk.

 

“Elliot, I haven’t seen you in seven years. You were my best friend, I …” she stopped herself short, watching him before she felt the rage bubble. “Close the door.” He nodded and he closed it gently. “You were my everything in this job, Elliot. My best friend, my confidante, my fucking hero. Then you leave me high and dry with no god damn explanation and you show up here with nothing more than ‘hey, Liv’.” Her fists curled on the desk as she tried to calm down but it wasn’t working as well as she wanted.

 

“I wish sorry could be enough, Liv. I wish you knew how much I thought about you every single day. You were my hero too, Liv. Every single day,” he said, moving closer again and she was resisting the urge to shoot him right now for being an asshole. “I did some stupid shit while I was here, things that put my job in jeopardy. That’s why I retired without contacting you. I was in therapy for almost two years after I shot Jenna. Those nightmares just don’t go away.”

 

“Believe me, Elliot. I’ve been through some shit too. I get nightmares too. Don’t you watch the news?” she spat bitterly. She got up from her chair and she walked up to him, poking her fingers into his chest. She had hoped for a moment she was hallucinating, but no. He was the real deal. “You leaving me broke me, Elliot. You didn’t even say goodbye. One phone call or one meeting was needed. You gave me nothing.” She turned away from him, walking back to her desk. He went with her, noting a photo on her desk. He picked it up and looked at the little boy who was staring out of the frame at him.

“He yours?” he asked her and she nodded.

 

“Noah. He’s my adopted son,” she said.

 

“You haven’t married?” he enquired and her head snapped round so she could meet his eyes.

 

“No,” she said simply. “I have a long term partner now. I love him very much.” Why was she telling him this when he didn’t deserve it, not after what he put her through.

 

“Lucky guy,” he said. That was when he spotted another photo of Olivia and Noah with an olive skinned man, all three smiles bright and happy as they posed with Mickey and MInnie Mouse at Disney World. Another photo of Olivia and this man hung on the wall behind her desk and they only had eyes for each other and it made Elliot’s heart hurt.

 

“Kathy left me,” he said suddenly and Olivia’s eyes held sadness, knowing how many times they had fought to keep their marriage strong. She turned to him and reached out to touch his arm, stroking it in an affectionate gesture.

 

“I’m sorry, Elliot,” she said and he smiled sadly.

 

“She realised she couldn’t compete with Olivia Benson anymore, even after I left,” he said and Olivia frowned again.

 

“What …?” she began but she was cut off when he stepped into her space and his lips were on hers and she froze, exactly the same time as her office door swung open. She took a few seconds to process everything, her senses heightened by everything going on around her before she pushed Elliot away and turned to see the broken-hearted look on Rafael Barba’s face as he stood frozen in place by the door, a bunch of roses in his hand. He had seen it all. Olivia felt sick as Rafael stood there, staring between them both.

 

“Rafa …” she said before he turned on his heel and left, dropping the roses and slamming the office door so hard that she was sure the glass would have shattered. She felt a sob leave her throat as her hand came up over her mouth once more. She turned back to Elliot and she stepped close to him again, the man looking down at the floor, knowing exactly what he’d done. She stopped in front of him and her hand met his cheek with an almighty force before she knew it. The sound echoed in the room and she felt the sting in her hand to be immensely satisfying. “You ruined my life when you left. You’re not getting to ruin it again. I love Rafael Barba more than you’ll ever know and now I’m going to have to convince him that I mean that, because you decided to show up here today.” She felt tears come to her eyes as she looked at Elliot, who hadn’t met her eyes since Rafael had left. “Today is our one year anniversary. We had plans, romantic plans. It’s your fault they’re ruined, Elliot.” He finally brought his eyes up to hers, sadness in his own this time around.

 

“You loved me once, no?” he asked and she fought the urge to slap him again.

 

“Maybe once. But you broke my heart,” she said. She moved behind her desk and she grabbed her coat and bag. “I have to go. I want you out of this building too, right now.” He nodded and she opened the door to let him out.

 

“I’m sorry, Olivia,” he said but she closed the door in his face and watched him walk away through the blinds before she collapsed on the floor of her office, sobs taking over her body. Rafael would hate her, she just knew it. She reached for the roses on the floor beside her and she pulled them into her arms, a few petals falling off here and there. She brought them up to her nose as tears fell down her cheeks. Why? Why did Elliot have to come back into her life now. She had to leave and find Rafael. She got up and she grabbed her coat and bag, holding the flowers close as she opened the door and ran out of the precinct, Carisi calling after her to make sure she was alright, but she ignored him. She had to get to Rafael.

 

------

 

The lock clicked as Olivia opened the door to the apartment. A lamp was on in the living room and Rafael’s briefcase sat on the floor by the door, along with his shoes. His coat was hung up on the hooks where it usually was. She swallowed hard, putting down her own bag, still holding the bouquet of roses in her arm. She slipped off her own shoes, putting them next to Rafael’s.  She looked down at them, side by side, a little sliver of the domestic life they had settled into. She turned and moved into the living room, where Rafael was sitting on the couch, his fingers wrapped around a tumbler of scotch. He avoided her eyes for a moment before he looked up at her.

 

“These are beautiful flowers, Rafa,” Olivia said with a broken voice, trying to keep her composure.

 

“Well, I would have handed them to you instead of leaving them on your office floor if you hadn’t been attached to another man at the mouth,” he said. “Am I not satisfying you as a partner? I thought we were doing fine before tonight.”

 

“We are, Rafa …” she said.

 

“You could have fooled me,” he snapped, the crease between his brows deepening as he got angry. His eyes were sad and defeated but his expression was angry. Yet he was calm.

 

“Rafael … it wasn’t what it looked like.”

 

“Oh, do tell me what it was, Olivia, because it looked exactly like what it was.”

 

------

 

“His name is Elliot Stabler …” she said, putting the roses down on the kitchen counter. She heard Rafael scoff, getting up from the couch and pacing the room. “He was my old partner back when I was a detective. We were partners for twelve years.”

 

“Amd he thought he’d come back and rekindle the romance did he?” Rafael said bitterly, taking a drink of his scotch. Olivia watching him, hurt that he thought she would cheat on him. She grabbed a wine glass before she moved to pour herself one, taking a drink before she looked over at him again. He was watching her with a broken expression, one that made her chest ache, knowing she had caused that expression.

 

“I thought I loved him once,” she said and Rafael turned away from her again.

 

“I thought you loved me,” he said and she could hear the tears threatening to fall in the way his voice cracked.

 

“Rafa, I do love you. I love you so much,” she said. “I haven’t seen Elliot in seven years, not since he retired without saying goodbye. He was my best friend. He was my support. I needed him. Then he left and I was broken. I wondered what I’d done wrong for him to leave me without saying goodbye. I saved his skin so many times and he saved mine.”

 

“This isn’t helping, Olivia,” Rafael said. “You were standing in your office with him and you were kissing him. On our one year anniversary. Why?”

 

“He kissed me! He told me his wife had left him. He was married for twenty years. He has five children and it’s all been ripped away from him,” she said. She couldn’t believe she was defending him right now but she needed Rafael to see reason. “He just kissed me. I didn’t initiate it, Rafael. If he’d come to me seven years ago, before I met you, I maybe would have let him kiss me. But now, there is nothing I want more than you and Noah in my life. I love you both and Elliot Stabler is not going to change that. You are the only man I want to kiss me, Rafa.” He stared at her for a moment before he took another drink of his scotch, sitting down on the couch again, pinching the bridge of his nose with his fingers. Olivia watched him for a moment, wiping away a lone tear that made its way down her face. “Please Rafael, believe what I’m saying to you. I need you.”

 

“It hurt me seeing you with him,” Rafael said, anger still present in his voice.

 

“I know, honey,” she said. “I’m so sorry our night has been ruined.” Rafael sat back on the couch, not looking at her for a moment. Olivia sighed and finished her wine before she left the kitchen and went in the direction of their bedroom, leaving him alone with his thoughts for the moment. She fought to keep her tears at bay as she readied herself for bed, just wanting to forget the events of the day, to sleep and wake up in the morning and everything would be back to normal. She hoped anyway. She pulled an old Harvard t-shirt of Rafael’s on, smelling his cologne on the material. She pulled on some shorts and used the bathroom before she turned out the lamp and climbed under the sheets, finally letting the tears fall.

 

She realised she must have dozed off when she was woken by a dip in the bed behind her. She opened her eyes, noting the hesitation in Rafael’s movements before he slid his arm over her waist, pulling her close, burying his face in her neck. She sighed happily at the touch. His lips kissed her neck before he sighed too, holding her tightly as if she would disappear at any moment.

 

“I believe you …” he said against her skin. “I’m so sorry, Liv.” She turned over onto her back and reached out to caress his cheek with a small smile.

 

“We danced around our feelings for so long, Rafa. If you think I was going to throw that away for Elliot Stabler, you are so wrong. I love you and no one else,” she said.

 

“I know. God, Liv, I love you too,” he said and he leaned down to kiss her lips passionately, letting her know how sorry he was for doubting her. She kissed him back, rolling with him on the bed and bringing one leg up to curl around his own leg, pulling them close together.

 

“You know, our night isn’t completely ruined,” she said and she slid off the t-shirt and shorts she wore before pressing her naked body against her partners.

 

“No, it isn’t,” he said with a smile before he accepted her kiss once more.

Chapter Text

Rafael Barba rubbed his eyes and took another drink of his coffee as he went through the latest case files. He had a rare day off coming up so he was prepping as much as he could before that day so he could spend it with his family. He had promised Olivia and Noah a family day out to the movies, Noah excited about the newest superhero film so Rafael couldn’t say no. Olivia was just looking forward to spending some time with her boys. He went back to his note taking when his phone text alert went off. He picked it up and saw Olivia’s name on the screen, smiling before he opened the text.

 

Hard at work? L x.

 

Always. What are you doing? R x

 

Noah’s in bed so I’m just having some alone time. L x

 

His phone went again and this time there was a picture attached. He opened it whilst taking a drink of coffee, almost spitting it out again, choking on the liquid as a near naked picture of Olivia came up on his phone. She was in the bath and the picture was of her face from her nose down to where she disappeared beneath the bubbly water. Her breasts were barely covered with the bubbles, her nipples peeking out and she held a glass of wine in her free hand. He bit his lip as he stared at the picture for longer than he should. God, she was gorgeous and she was his. He sat back in his chair, still looking at the photo with a smile on his face.

 

‘Cat got your tongue? X’ was the next message he received with two love heart emojis. He was tempted to play her at her own game but he was in the middle of his office. He couldn’t very well take a half naked picture of himself to send to his girlfriend. But Carmen was gone for the night, back to her husband and her new baby. Most of his blinds were closed and no one had been around in a few hours. He put down his phone and he shucked the suspenders from his shoulders, letting them fall to his waist. He took a deep breath and he loosened his tie a little more before his hands were on the button and zipper of his dress pants, undoing them slowly. He wasn’t going to gift her too much at the moment. He picked up his phone and opened the camera, wondering when he had become a teenager again, sending naughty photos to his girlfriend. He pushed his boxers down a little, treating her to the trail of hair that went from his navel down under the material to the base of his cock. He took a photo and quickly sent it, feeling his cheeks heat up a little. His eyes shot up to the door as if he was expecting someone to be standing there but he was still alone.

 

I thought you were working, counsellor? X

 

He could almost hear the smile in her message, knowing she’d be lying in the bath, grinning at her phone. Another message came through from Olivia.

 

What did I do to deserve you? You’re gorgeous Rafa x

 

He smiled at the phone before he sent one back.

 

Back at you, baby. X

 

His phone buzzed again and he saw the words ‘Liv sent a photo’ and he knew he had to mentally prepare himself for this photo war that was currently about to take place. He opened the photo and nearly dropped his phone. She had taken a photo of the other end of the bath, one of her feet up on the side of the bath and the free hand that held her wine before was between her legs, no doubt bringing herself pleasure and he wasn’t there to help.

 

Your turn. X

 

He took a deep breath and felt his cock become interested in what was going on here. He slowly slid his hand inside his boxers, wrapping it around himself with a groan. He picked up his phone again, giving himself a few drawn out strokes, slowly bringing his cock to life. He slid his boxers a little further down, taking another photo and sending it to Olivia. He needed to get home. He needed to make love to his girlfriend rather than get himself off in his office whilst sending naughty photos. But his hand on his rapidly hardening cock felt too good to stop now. He took another few strokes before footsteps alerted him to someone’s presence. He pulled his hand from his boxers and pulled his chair closer to his desk to hid his very obvious erection when there was a knock on the door, before it opened and Sonny and Fin walked in, more files in their hands about the current case. He smiled the best he could at them both just as his phone buzzed again.

 

“You okay, Barba?” Fin asked. “You look a bit red in the face.”

 

“You ill, counsellor?” Sonny asked, looking concerned. If only he knew what Rafael was trying to hide.

 

“No, I’m fine. Just too hot in here,” he said. “Can I help?” His phone buzzed for a second time.

 

“Just a bit more information for the case, Warner’s details on the vic too for more clarification,” Sonny said, stepping forward and handing them to Rafael. He took them quickly and had a scan over it before he added it to the every growing pile.

 

“Thank you,” he said. “Anything else?” He knew he sounded a bit snappy and he immediately regretted it. “Sorry, I would love nothing more than to go home. It’s been a long day.” Both men nodded in understanding.

 

“We can drop you off. We’ll be passing your place,” Sonny said and Rafael found himself nodding.

 

“Um, thank you. I’ll meet you at the car in five minutes. I just need to clear up my things,” he said and both men nodded again before they left, closing the door behind them. Rafael sighed with relief, sitting back in his chair. He quickly pulled his boxers and pants back up properly, redoing the button and sliding up his suspenders again. His cock strained uncomfortably under the material. He picked up his phone again, two messages from Olivia sitting waiting on him. He took one more deep breath and he opened the first message. This time she was out the bath, taking a photo of her naked body in the full length mirror in their bedroom, her hair up in a messy bun with a small smirk on her face. He flicked to the next photo which was similar to the one in the bath. Her legs were spread and her free hand was down between her legs. He started suddenly as another message came through.

 

I’m waiting. Xx

 

He grabbed his suit jacket and shrugged it on before he put all his paperwork in his briefcase before grabbing his coat and running out to the car where Fin and Carisi were waiting.

 

------

 

It didn’t take long for him to get home, thanking Fin and Sonny for the ride. He checked on a sleeping Noah before he dumped all his stuff and made his way to the bedroom. He pushed the door open only to see Olivia lying there on their bed, this time on her front, resting her head on her hand, waiting on him. She smiled at him as he entered the room, their eyes locked with each others.

 

“You’re late. I already took care of myself once while I waited,” she said with a smile and she moved to sit up, moving to sit with her back against the headboard. “I suppose I could do it again.” Her legs parted, making Rafael groan at the view he got from where he stood, watching as her hand moved down between her legs again. He went to move closer but she held out her other hand to stop him. “Stay.” He bit his lip as he watched her, eyes drifting down to her hand, fingers circling on her clit slowly at first.

 

“You can’t tease me like this and make me wait, Liv,” he said. “Let me touch you.” She shook her head.

 

“Not yet,” she said. “Strip, counsellor, then I’ll think about it. Slowly though. I do enjoy a show.” He narrowed his eyes at her, his hands getting to work on removing his clothes, slowly like she asked. She watched him, the only part of her moving was her hand as she stroked her clit and her chest as her breath came harder, her arousal very obvious. His suit jacket and tie hit the floor before he pulled down his suspenders, the shirt coming off next. His cock was very interested in what was going on as his fingers fumbled with his button and zipper. He kicked off his shoes and bent down to remove his socks before his pants puddled at his feet, Rafael kicking them out the way. He was left in his boxers, standing watching her. Her eyes closed for a moment, her head falling back as she touched herself, a moan falling from her lips.

 

“Liv, let me touch you,” he begged and she opened her eyes again before he removed her hand from between her legs and beckoned him forward. He was on her in seconds, lips on hers as she curled her fingers around his biceps and his hips rocked against hers, his boxers the only material between them. Her hands ran up his arms and over his shoulders before travelling down his back and into his boxers, taking handfuls of his ass and squeezing, pulling his hips hard against hers as she rocked up, creating delicious friction between them. He moaned against her lips. She snapped the elastic waistband of his boxers against his skin.

 

“Get these off now,” she ordered and he rose up to remove them before he was on her again, his mouth sucking on her nipple as his hand rubbed between her legs, taking over from her. She wrapped one leg around his, her arms raising above her head to grip the headboard. He kissed down her body, sucking her clit into his mouth with an obscene sound. She gasped and trapped his head with her thighs for a moment before she relaxed them again, his tongue lapping at her. She arched her back off the bed as pleasure shot through her. She had needed this badly ever since they had started sending photos to each other.

 

“You taste so good, Liv …” he moaned against her.

 

“God, fuck me, Rafa …” she almost sobbed, the pleasure his tongue was causing her becoming too much. She knew she wouldn’t last much longer if he kept that up. He crawled up her body and reached for the drawer next to the bed but she shook her head. “Just do it. We’re okay, you know that.” He nodded and kissed her deeply before he was pushing inside her, Olivia white hot around him. He fought not to start thrusting hard, so he moved slowly, savouring the noise coming from Olivia as he did so. She cupped his face and kissed him as he moved. He pressed his forehead to hers before she pushed him off, pushing him onto his back and sliding down onto him once more. Her hands on his chest kept her balance and his hands on her hips holding her there.

 

“I missed you today,” he said, smiling up at her.

 

“I missed you too,” she said, running a hand through his smattering of chest hair before she began moving on his lap, pulling moans and gasps from them both. She was hot and tight and felt amazing wrapped around his cock. “I thought about you getting yourself off in your office … oh fuck, Rafa,” she moaned. “It turned me on more … aaah … more than I thought it would.” Her movements on his lap were becoming jerky and out of rhythm, Rafael knowing she was close. He knew he wouldn’t be able to hold off any longer either.

 

“Glad I could help …” he managed to say through his moans. He forced himself into a sitting position, his arms going around her body as she continued to rock on his lap. His head rested against her shoulder as she breathed hard in his ear, her own arms wrapping around him. “Liv … gonna come …”

 

“Let go, baby,” she whispered in his ear and a few more movements from them both had Rafael’s orgasm hitting him hard, his chest heaving for breath just as Olivia let go too, her whole body going into spasm in his arms. She held him close, her forehead against his. Their bodies were sweat covered and hot as she pulled him into a soft, lazy kiss, humming gently against his lips. They fell back onto the pillows together as she moved off his lap, lying down with him and tracing patterns over his chest.

 

“You know I nearly got caught with my dick out in my office trying to send you a photo?” he said and she laughed, burying her face in his neck. “Fin and Carisi would have some office gossip to pass around if they’d caught me.”

 

“Didn’t think you had it in you, counsellor,” she said with a smile.

 

“When my woman is sending me sexy photos of herself, I have to give her a gift back,” he said.

 

“You’re definitely a gift, Rafael Barba,” she said, kissing him passionately.

 

“I know.”

Chapter Text

Another police function was the last place Olivia wanted to be. She had arrived hand in hand with Rafael, who had happily agreed to go with her. They’d recently disclosed their relationship to the people who needed to know and they were both just happy they were able to keep their jobs so showing up at a police function together was something new for them. They’d had some photos taken like it was a red carpet event, making Olivia want to roll her eyes. She looked at Rafael during it, who had simply stared at her and smiled, leaning in to whisper in her ear and tell her she was beautiful. She smiled, the elegant silver and red dress she wore something she had picked out so she would feel beautiful on such an attractive man’s arm. He’d decided on a navy suit, a silk grey pocket square and crisp white shirt with an open collar which showed off some of his chest hair, finished off with a lovely pair of grey round rimmed glasses he’d took to wearing these days. He looked amazing.

 

“You’re rather gorgeous yourself,” she had whispered. They’d shared a quick kiss in front of the cameras, uncaring who saw anymore, before they entered the function, finding their table. Carisi, Rollins, Fin and Amaro sat there, along with Chief Dodds and his son Mike. They said their hellos, shook hands and kisses cheeks where needed before they took their seats. Rafael took her hand in his, kissing her fingers quickly. There was a speech, thanking everyone for attending before they were served their meal, conversation flowing easily between friends. They spoke of Noah, Jesse, what they were doing for the holidays, even the subject of Olivia and Rafael, which made Carisi happier than anything. Apparently he had ‘shipped’ them from the beginning, whatever the hell that meant. Amanda rolled her eyes before she slapped his knee.

 

“That’s enough, Dominick,” she said and that shut him up. He knew better when she used his full name. After dinner, there was an auction with some wonderful items to bid on. The rooms was abuzz with talk of vacations, cruises, spa days, tickets to Broadway. All of the money was going to charity so they didn’t mind putting their money on the table. The room was suddenly a bidding frenzy when they got going, Olivia smiling at the generosity from her fellow officers. It wasn’t until Rafael bid on a romantic trip for two to Paris and won that she felt her heart beat fast in her chest. He was amazing and doing wonders of charity too. He winked and smiled at her and she leaned in and pressed a kiss to his lips. Others from the table bid too as well as Olivia herself on other items until they were all thanked for their participation and made aware that the bar was now ready to serve again and a band began playing, providing their entertainment for the rest of the night. The men all headed to the bar, leaving Olivia and Amanda together at the table.

 

“You two are sickly sweet, you know that right?” she commented and Olivia blushed.

 

“He’s definitely ruthless in the courtroom, but he’s the sweetest out of it,” she said. “I’m glad we chose the path we did and we disclosed.” Amanda smiled. “What about you and Sonny? How is that going?”

 

“Well, he came round the other night and had dinner with me and Jessie. He ended up staying the night,” she said.

 

“Ah, that’s why the suit was the same the next day,” she said, smirking, and Amanda nodded.

 

“You’re okay with this lieu?” she asked and she nodded.

 

“I can’t very well complain when I’m dating our ADA,” she said. “You guys are good for each other. He loves Jessie too, that is plain to see.” Amanda nodded. The guys came back with drinks, Rafael handing Olivia a glass of wine with a smile. They fell into easy conversation once more before the band played a slow song, Rafael taking Olivia’s hand as he noted people moving to the dance floor.

 

“Come dance with me,” he said and she nodded, holding up her dress so she didn’t trip on the way there. Amanda and Sonny followed suit. Rafael took her waist with one hand and her free hand in his, pulling her close. “Are you having a good time? I know how much you hate these things.” She smiled and pressed her forehead to his.

 

“I am, now that we have a trip to Paris to look forward to,” she said with a chuckle.

 

“I was hoping I hadn’t overstepped any boundaries there,” he said, smiling back.

 

“Of course not,” she said. They swayed gently together on the dance floor, with only eyes for each other. “As much as I dislike these events, it’s good to have a night where it’s just two of us. As much as I love Noah, we need a night off too.” Rafael laughed.

 

“I agree,” he said. “He’ll be there when we get home, don’t worry, mi amor.” She smiled once more as they continued to dance, bodies close and matching smiles. The song soon came to an end and everyone applauded the band. Olivia excused herself from Rafael, squeezing his hand before she headed for the ladies room, Amanda hot on her heels. They moved into the restroom, Amanda running for a free cubicle while Olivia went to the mirror to fix her hair and lipstick.

 

“Did you see Lieutenant Benson all over the ADA?” came a voice from inside one of the cubicles. She froze, listening, praying Amanda wouldn’t come out and start throwing punches. Funnily enough, Amanda did come back out of her cubicle but Olivia put a finger to her lips, wanting to hear what they had to say.

 

“Pfft, I know. Given her track record, you’d think he’d have turned her down,” another woman answered.

 

“Oh, I’ve heard. Seems she’s been all around the precinct,” the first woman said and Olivia felt her blood boil. “Rafael Barba is so attractive yet he’s tied down to Olivia Benson, who adopted a child trafficker’s son. That woman has issues written all over her. Barba could do so much better,” the woman said, making the other woman laugh and Olivia felt her eyes burn with unshed tears. The toilets were flushed and Olivia prepared herself to come face to face with these bitches. The door opened and the woman looked directly into Olivia’s eyes, the realisation that Olivia had heard showing on her face. “Lieutenant Benson, good to see you.” Olivia knew her from another precinct, but her name escaped her.

 

“I’m sure it is. Have you nothing better to do than to mock me?” Olivia asked her. She noticed Amanda fidget next to her and she was sure if she let her, Amanda would knock out the bitch.

 

“Well, when you’re draped all over the ADA in front of everyone, it’s kind of sad. Is it just to let everyone know you’ve moved on from the precinct to the DA’s office?” she said, smirking. “Does Barba feel sorry for you?”

 

“What Rafael and I have is of no concern of yours,” she said. She started the woman down, being at least a head taller than her. “As for me adopting a ‘child trafficker’s son’, he is an innocent child. He doesn’t deserve to be tossed about like an old rag doll. He has a mother and a father now, who both love him very much. He wants for nothing.” She grabbed the woman by the front of her dress and pushed her up against the wall, making fear cross the woman’s face. “I know you anyway, detective. I’ve heard you’d open your legs for any man who crosses your path. And what were you going to do? Go out there to the ADA and beg him to go home with you? He prefers a woman, not a sad little girl who needs to fuck her way around the squad room to get herself known …”

 

“Is that not what you’ve done? Fucked yourself up the ranks?” the detective asked, sneering at Olivia.

 

“Liv, let me punch her,” Amanda said from beside her.

 

“No, it’s okay. Let her say what she wants,” Olivia said. “Rafael Barba is going home with me tonight. To my house, to my bed . I have no interest in sad little gossips.” Olivia pushed the detective from her grip, right into her friend who had been watching the whole exchange from a good few steps back. “I’ll tell the lovely ADA you said hi.”

 

“Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, bitch,” Amanda said. The two women scrambled out of the bathroom, leaving Amanda and Olivia standing there. Amanda put her hand on Olivia’s bare shoulder, knowing what the woman said had hurt Olivia deep down. Olivia leaned against the sink, taking a deep breath and running her hand over her face. “Liv, it’s okay. Rafael loves you.” Olivia nodded but her emotions betrayed her, a few tears leaking from her eyes.

 

“She’s right, you know. I don’t have a good track record,” Olivia said. “I need some air. If Rafael asks, tell him I’ll be back in a bit.”

 

“Liv, it’s no one’s business what your track record is. Rafael loves you. It doesn’t matter about anyone else. Take your time,” she said. Olivia smiled best she could and she left the restroom and headed right for the door, not realising Rafael’s eyes were on her as she left. He caught Amanda’s eye as she left the restroom after Olivia, cocking her head as an indication for him to go after Olivia. He put down his drink and excused himself from the conversation he was having with Sonny and Nick before he headed outside after Olivia. He found her sitting on the steps outside the building. She had her clutch bag on her knee and her phone in her hand. He noticed she was looking at a picture of himself and Noah together, running her finger over the screen gently. He moved down the steps and sat next to her, watching her hide her phone quickly.

 

“You okay, honey?” he asked, his arm going round her back, kissing her shoulder. It only seemed to make her cry. “Hey, hey! Are you okay? What happened?” She turned to him and took his face in her hands, kissing him deeply. He accepted her kiss, his own hand going to her cheek and wiping her tears away with his thumb until they pulled back for air. “You going to tell me what happened?” She looked back down at the steps in front of her.

 

“Someone said you were tied to me and that you could do better than me. Also said that I basically slept my way up to the lieutenant’s job and now I’ve moved onto the DA’s office,” she said. He pulled a handkerchief out of his jacket and handed it to her. She took it with a small smile and wiped her eyes, trying not to ruin her makeup. He took her free hand and linked their fingers.

 

“I am in no way tied to you. I’m with you because I want to be,” he said. “And you can move on to the DA’s office if you want, as long as it’s me you’re sleeping with.” That made her laugh, wiping her nose with the handkerchief. He smiled. “You deserved your job, honey. You didn’t do anything but work your ass of for it.” He cupped her cheek and made her turn to look at him. He pushed her hair behind her ear before running the back of his fingers down her cheek. “You’re so beautiful, Liv. You know what? I think we should get out of here, go home, put on our sweats and eat crap while watching shit TV. Or we could go have some hot sex.” Olivia giggled. “Or both. Up to you.” He smiled as she giggled, leaning in to kiss her before resting his forehead against hers.

 

“Both sounds good.”

Chapter Text

Another tough case had Olivia on edge. The jury found the defendant not guilty, even though there was fingerprints, DNA, bodies of two dead women who had been raped and strangled. The images burned into her brain were things she’s never unsee. Rafael had left the courthouse hastily, only patting Olivia’s arm on the way by. She watched him go before she left after him, heading in the opposite direction in search for a glass of wine. She ended up at Forlini’s, with the largest glass of cabernet in front of her. She nursed it for a while, just simply people watching before she polished off the glass and got up, grabbing her coat and moving out onto the street in the direction of Hogan Place. The light was on in the window of Rafael’s office as she moved closer to the building. She really didn’t know what to say when she got there but she continued on anyway. Carmen was long gone for the night as Olivia approached the door, not bothering to knock as she slipped into the room.

 

“Liv,” came Rafael’s voice from the couch at the other end of the room. She smiled gently at him, putting down her coat on the chair by his desk.

 

“Hi,” she said. He held up the bottle of scotch and she nodded and he poured her a drink, indicating the seat next to him. She moved over beside him and sat, picking up the scotch he poured for her. They sat back on the couch, shoulder to shoulder, just staring into space.

 

“You okay?” he asked first. She shook her head.

 

“Justice wasn’t served this time. Those girls are dead and it’s all for nothing,” she said, still looking down at her glass. She leaned forward and let her head fall into her free hand. “Why do we do this, Rafael? I love my job, but sometimes I wonder why we put ourselves through all this. It’s too much when the guilty get to walk away.” She felt a tear fall down her cheek, rubbing it away quickly. But Rafael had already noticed. He reached over with his free hand to take Olivia’s. He linked their fingers together, stroking her hand with his thumb.

 

“We will always have cases like this, Liv. But we fight for the victim the best we can. You showed me that we should fight. I used to just get the job done and say goodbye to the case. But you showed me how to be compassionate. But you are the heart of it all, Liv. You know what to say and that’s why people trust you,” he said. He sat forward and put his glass down on the table and turned his body towards Olivia. “I trust you with everything; I trust you with my life.”

 

“Rafa …” she said, touched by his words. She looked up into his eyes, seeing the trust there. She leaned in, intending to place a kiss on his cheek for his kind words but Rafael turned at the last second, their lips touching, yet neither of them pulled away. Rafael’s other hand came up to her cheek and he pressed forward, not wanting to overstep. But she seemed happy to kiss him back, her lips parting ever so slightly against his. He followed suit and soon their kisses were open-mouthed, full of tongue and teeth, moaning against each others lips. Olivia pulled back first, breathing heavily, eyes wide and wondering. Rafael licked his lips before he met her eyes.

 

“I’m sorry,” he said, not sounding completely convincing. She swallowed hard.

 

“Don’t be,” she said and she pushed him back against the couch and threw her leg over his lap, straddling him. His eyes widened a bit, not expecting this. She took his face in her hands and she kissed him again, the kisses passionate and full of promise. She ran her hand down his neck to his open collar, opening two more buttons as her kisses moved from his lips down his neck, sucking on the skin there. He sighed happily but he pushed her back by her shoulders for a moment.

 

“What are we doing?” he asked. She sagged a little, sitting down on his thighs properly.

 

“I’m not sure. But what I am sure about is that I have feelings for you, Rafael,” she said. “I have for a long time; too long in fact. Every moment I spend in your company makes me so happy.”

 

“I have feelings for you too, Liv. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” he said. She climbed back off his lap. “If we do this, we do it properly. I want to take you out.”

 

“I’d like that,” she said with a smile. He smiled back and leaned in for another kiss. She kissed him back deeply, knowing she could kiss him forever and never get tired of it. He was amazing and she loved him with all her heart. She pulled back from the kiss and immediately yawned, making him laugh.

 

“Am I boring you?” he asked with a smirk.

 

“Never,” she said with one more kiss to his lips.

 

“It’s been a tough case, Liv,” he said. “Let’s have another drink and then let’s get home.”

 

------

 

Amanda and Sonny had been trying to call Olivia on her cell but no one was answering. They’d tracked her cell in panic, ever since William Lewis and all the other things she’d been through, and it put her at 1 Hogan Place. They knew if she was there then Barba was too but they wanted to check she was okay after the case. Her car was outside when they arrived, meaning she was definitely still there. They entered the building, Carmen not at her desk yet. The blinds on Rafael’s office were closed but the door was ever so slightly ajar. Amanda moved forward and opened the door that little bit more and poked her head inside.

 

“Sonny, quick …” Amanda said and Sonny moved forward, thinking something was wrong. They both stepped into the room to see Rafael and Olivia, lying together on the couch at the other side of the room. Both sets of shoes had been kicked off, two empty glasses on the table. Rafael’s arms were around Olivia as she slept on his chest, fingers loosely twisted in his suspenders. His head was cushioned on the arm of the couch and her leg was wrapped round one of his. Olivia’s face was the most peaceful anyone had seen her for a while and it made Amanda smile as she knew Olivia had been stressed.

 

“Morning, Mr Barba …” Carmen’s voice said from behind Amanda and Sonny, who both turned to her with their fingers to their lips, beckoning her into the office to see the sight they were witnessing. She smiled at the sight, both lieutenant and ADA looking so peaceful. It was a shame that they had to wake them. Sonny sighed and walked over to the sleeping couple, putting his hand on Rafael’s shoulder and shaking him. The ADA started, his eyes opening and meeting Sonny’s eyes.

 

“Morning, counsellor,” he whispered. Rafael looked around with sleepy eyes before he realised Olivia was asleep on his chest. He looked at everyone, quite comically wide-eyed. “Hey, it’s okay! Me and Amanda just owe Fin twenty bucks now. We just wanted to check Olivia was alright. Lucy called us. She didn’t go home to Noah last night, but now we see why.” Rafael extracted himself from Olivia’s grip and laid her gently down on the cushions before covering her over with his suit jacket. He moved over to the other side of the office to the coffee maker and turning it on.

 

“She, um … she came here last night upset after the case. We had a few drinks and fell asleep. She must have forgotten to call Lucy,” he said. “We’re sorry you worried.”

 

“At least we know where she is. Tell her to call Lucy when she wakes,” Amanda said. Rafael nodded. “We gotta go but we’ll see you later, Barba.” Amanda and Sonny both said goodbye to Carmen before the woman followed them out to go sit at her desk. Rafael took a gulp of his coffee before he moved back over to Olivia. He sat on the edge of the couch and ran a hand over her cheek, tucking stray hair behind her ear. She sighed gently, moving ever so slightly before her eyes opened, looking up at him with a smile.

 

“Hi …” she said. He leaned down and kissed her lips, a soft moan leaving her lips as he did so.

 

“Good morning,” he said. “Lucy called the precinct wondering where you were. She took Noah to her apartment to stay last night. I’m sorry …”

 

“Not your fault. We fell asleep, nothing wrong with that,” she said, sitting up. She rubbed her eyes before she turned her head to Rafael, leaning in to press another quick kiss to his lips. “I’ll need to get back to Noah. Meet us for lunch later?”

 

“I have a few appointments but I’m sure I’ll be able to fit you in,” he said. “I’ll text you later.” She grabbed her shoes and pulled them on, flattening her hair and standing before she pulled on her coat. She turned to him one last time before she left, watching him pick up the whiskey glasses and put them away. He noted her pause and he met her eyes before she was crossing the room quickly to kiss him hard, her arms going round his neck as his hands found her hips. She pulled back first, leaving almost no space between them.

 

“I love you,” she whispered. “I don’t expect you to say it back, but I do. So much, Rafael.” He felt his heart beat faster in his chest and he smiled, happier than he had been in a very long time.

 

“I love you too. I really do.” She smiled back and kissed him one final time.

 

“I’ll see you for lunch,” she said and left the office, leaving him standing there in full view of Carmen’s desk, the young woman sitting there staring with a knowing smirk and a raised eyebrow. He pointed at her.

 

“Not a word or I’ll fire you.”

 

Carmen knew he was kidding.

Chapter Text

The sun shone brightly through the gap in the curtains of Olivia and Rafael’s shared bedroom, shining over the sleeping occupants of the king size bed. Olivia’s leg was thrown over Rafael’s as she slept against his side, face tucked into his neck. His arm was wrapped around her back, his fingers resting under the waistband of her sleep shorts, just on her hip. He moved gently against her, moving in closer and pulling her in against his body as he woke slowly, taking a deep breath. Suddenly, the bedroom door creaked open and small feet padded towards the bed, climbing up onto the bed and crawling close. Rafael scooted back a little from Olivia, untangling their legs, letting Noah settle in between the two of them. Olivia woke, sighing gently before opening her eyes and smiling at her husband and son.

 

“Morning, mama,” Noah said before snuggling close, Olivia kissing his curls gently.

 

“Good morning, sweet boy,” she said. “Did you sleep well?”

 

“Yeah,” he said. Rafael moved closer to Noah’s back, his fingers linking with Olivia’s over their son’s small body. Lazy mornings with his family were his favourite. His beautiful family. “I’m hungry.”

 

“Well, mom and dad will get up soon and make you some breakfast. Go and put your cartoons on and we’ll be through in a minute,” Rafael said. Noah nodded but made no move apart from closing his eyes again. Rafael smiled before smiling at Olivia, who smiled back.

 

“I never thought Rafael Barba would settle and be domesticated,” she said with a giggle.

 

“Well, it’s all your fault. You and your boy weaseling your way into my world and turning the shades of grey to colour,” he said.

 

“Weaseling? You’re so charming,” she said, slapping his arm gently, before she reached to his cheek to stroke it with the back of her fingers. “I love you.”

 

“I love you too,” he said.

 

“I love you both too,” Noah interjected, sitting up quickly before trying to pull them both close to hug them together. He then jumped from the bed and went through to the living room, allowing Rafael to pull Olivia to him again, her leg sliding over his hip as he pressed his lips to hers, kissing her lazily as their hands roamed each other. Olivia cupped his face gently before she pulled back.

 

“I love domesticated Rafael. He’s my favourite Rafael, apart from sexy lawyer Rafael, who talks the talk and walks the walk. He’s my absolute favourite,” she said, grinning at him as he rolled his eyes.

 

“I can’t say you’re not sexy yourself when you’re in angry cop mode,” he said. She kissed him again, her hands moving down his back and into his sleep shorts, grabbing handfuls of his ass, making him moan. “You need to stop that right now or I won’t be able to stop and Noah is going to walk in here and wonder what the hell his mom is doing to his papi .”

 

“You started it,” she said before they were quiet for a few moments. “Are you happy with us, Rafael?” His brows knitted together in confusion.

 

“You know I am, honey,” he said. “Why? Is something wrong? Did I do something?” She took his hand in hers.

 

“No, of course not, baby. I just wanted to know because …” she began before sliding his hand under her t-shirt to press against her belly. “... I found out that we’re going to be adding to our family.” Rafael’s mouth fell open in shock as she held his hand against her, her eyes fixed on it before they met hers. “I want us to be happy. It was a surprise to me but I wanted to be sure everything was healthy before I told you.”

 

“Oh Liv …” he said, removing his hand from her belly before he took her face in his hands and rolled her onto her back, kissing her deeply before he pulled back and stared down at her. “You’re serious? You’re having a baby?” She nodded, smiling with unshed tears in her eyes.

 

“We are, Rafa,” she said.

 

“God, I love you so much,” he said, kissing her once more before he turned her away from him, pulling the sheets up over them again, moulding himself to her back and sliding his hands up her shirt to rest on her stomach. Olivia covered his hands with hers and melted back into his embrace. She felt him kiss the back of her neck as his fingers traced lightly over her belly. “I’ll be a good dad, I promise.”

 

“You’re already a good dad, Rafa,” she said. “Noah loves you, and this little one will love you unconditionally too.” Rafael smiled into her hair, snuggling close. She was the best thing that ever happened to him and he gave her what he had always wanted; the perfect family.

Chapter Text

“Lieu … me and Amanda are gonna grab a drink, wanna come?” Carisi said from her office door, making Olivia look up from the last email she was replying to. She thought about saying no, how she just wanted to go home and pull on pyjamas, eating crap whilst watching episodes of Supernatural, but it was only a couple of drinks and Noah was staying with Lucy tonight after he’d begged her to let him. Lucy had been more than happy to give Olivia the night off and Olivia gratefully accepted. And she felt like she could use a drink.

 

“Sure, I won’t be getting any more done today. Barba’s finished early for the day, so no point holding out for anything else” she said. “Lead the way.” She got up and grabbed her coat and bag and followed them out, saying their goodnights to the room as they went. They hailed a cab and made their way to a live music bar, something different from their usual. Olivia wondered why specifically this bar but she rolled with it anyway. They went in and got themselves a table. The small stage in the middle was set up with a few instruments but no one was there at the moment. The smell of delicious food assaulted their noses and Carisi went to the bar to order them their drinks.

 

“You okay, Liv? We just wanted to get out of the office for a bit. It’s been a long few days,” Amanda said and Olivia nodded.

 

“I had thought about going home and binge eating and watching TV, but it just makes me think too much about the case. I do need a large drink,” she said and Amanda smiled. Olivia shrugged off her coat as Carisi came back with a large glass of wine for her and beer for both he and Amanda. Olivia took a sip. “I’ve never been in here before.”

 

“We were here a few weeks ago and there is some great singers in here,” Carisi said, casting a quick glance to Amanda, who smirked. Olivia barely noticed. “The guy singing tonight … god, wait til you hear him, lieu. If I was into dudes, holy crap. I think he does it every now and then as a favour.” Both Amanda and Olivia giggled and they chatted for a while before the entertainment was due to start. Olivia turned away to have another drink when a familiar voice over the microphone made her almost choke on her wine before she turned her head fast enough to almost give herself whiplash.

 

“Evening, all, good to see you. I must admit I don’t do this very often. Only as a favour to a friend of mine who owes me big time,” came the unmistakable voice of Rafael Barba, the audience laughing gently. Olivia took in the man standing there, who had a pair of dark blue jeans on and a black v-neck t-shirt, which showed off a gold chain he wore around his neck. Did he wear that under his suit, she wondered. He had a pair of black thick rimmed glasses on and his hair was gelled to perfection. He had a couple of leather bands around his wrist and sneakers on his feet; the polar opposite of the perfectly suited and booted Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba. He looked gorgeous; he looked good enough to eat. She turned back to Amanda and Sonny, who smirked at her.

 

“You knew?” she said.

 

“Yeah,” Amanda said simply, smiling wider and taking a drink of her beer.

 

“Wait til you hear him sing, lieu,” Sonny said. Olivia was kind of glad their table was off to the side a little more so she could observe the fact that Rafael Barba was going to sing .

 

“Um, the song I’m going to sing is dedicated to a very special woman. She is a rock in my life and she deserves happiness among other things. She is, um, she is my best friend and … well, this is for her …” he said, his cheeks turning slightly red, but that could have been the spotlight shining down on him. Olivia’s cheeks also went red. He meant her, didn’t he? She was his best friend … and did he have feelings for her? Oh God, how could she not know? She watched as he sat down on the stool and the backing track began playing for the song, holding the microphone in his hand so tightly, his knuckles were almost completely white before he raised it to his lips. Olivia held her breath.

 

Hello from my hotel room

A thousand miles away and I’m missing you

It’s late at night, afraid that I, I might let you down,

Staring at an empty page,

Trying to write the things I didn’t say to you,

And we move so fast, the words get lost,

And I hope you know that …

 

Olivia’s heart was thumping against her chest as she watched him. His eyes closed as he sang, his free hand coming up to rest on the microphone. Rafael Barba could sing. Boy, could he sing. He began to look a little more relaxed as the words flowed from his mouth. His foot tapped along the music as he sang. Olivia felt her chest heave as she watched him, felt unshed tears come to her eyes. He was beautiful at that moment.

 

… you deserve a symphony, soaring strings and timpani,

But all I have’s this melody written from my heart,

It’s a simple song and the words don’t rhyme,

No poetry between the lines,

Our symphony will come in time,

But all I need to know tonight is that you’re still mine

 

Olivia wanted to stand, she wanted to go to him and tell him how much she cared for him too. She listened to the words and took in his more relaxed stance. He sang with his hands too, reaching out before pulling it back, splaying his hand over his heart. His own eyes shone and he lost himself in music, like an artist working on a masterpiece. His eyes scanned the room as he sang, looking at his audience the best he could through the blinding spotlight. He had gone from looking nervous to being the most confident person in the whole world and, in that moment, Olivia knew she was in love with Rafael Barba. She completely missed Sonny and Amanda’s eyes going between them both, watching for a development.

 

Another sun, another moon,

Can’t look you in the eye and say I’ll be home soon,

You’ve been so good and strong for me, standing by my side,

I’m out here chasing the dream, living up to all I’m supposed to be,

Missing out on the one who means the most to me ‘cause

you deserve a symphony, soaring strings and timpani,

But all I have’s this melody written from my heart,

It’s a simple song and the words don’t rhyme,

No poetry between the lines,

Our symphony will come in time,

But all I need to know tonight ...

 

She was quite glad he still hadn’t seen them sitting there as she felt a tear escape her eye and slip down her cheek, dripping off her face and onto her hands in her lap. She wiped it away before she swiped her finger over her cheek, removing the wet tracks from her face. He stood from his stool, moving closer to the front of the stage as the music began to swell, wrapping the entire room in it’s embrace as it did so. The room sat still, watching him like she was, unmoving and enchanted by his voice. She turned to look at Sonny and Amanda for a moment, both of them smiling at her, before looking back to Rafael. Olivia followed suit only to find Rafael’s eyes on hers. Her breath caught and she stared back at him. He lost his wording for a moment, barely noticeable, but she smiled gently at him. His eyes were slightly wide before he squatted down on the edge of the stage, sliding down and on to the floor and into the audience, making his way towards her.

 

… is that you feel me with you even when I’m gone,

And that you’re holding on ‘cause you and I belong,

If I could send you all the love I have inside,

It’s in every note I sing, it’s in every word I write ‘cause …

 

Rafael stopped in front of the woman he loved, oblivious to everything for the moment apart from her and the words coming from his mouth. He knew his expression showed his surprise at seeing her sitting there, watching him sing. Sonny had come across him by accident once and he’d then brought Amanda. He never dreamed they would bring Olivia with them. He reached out for her hand and she took his, their fingers linking together as he neared the end of his song, a song he had heard himself and thought of Olivia almost immediately. She was smiling at him quite brightly, making him smile back as the music swelled once more and he gave the last of the song his all.

 

… you deserve a symphony, soaring strings and timpani,

But all I have’s this melody written from my heart,

It’s a simple song and the words don’t rhyme,

No poetry between the lines,

Our symphony will come in time,

But all I need to know tonight is that you’re still mine.

 

You’re still mine.

 

Olivia stared at him as the music stopped and the room erupted into applause, drawing Rafael back to the present. He pressed a kiss to the back of Olivia’s hand before smiling gently. She couldn’t help but beam back at him, cupping his cheek gently, her thumb running over his cheekbone.

 

“We need to talk,” he said.

 

“We do,” she said, looking down at his lips which were begging to be kissed before she met his eyes.

 

“Wait for me after,” he said and she nodded, reluctant to let go of his hand but eventually did so, letting him go back to the stage. He climbed back up and sat down on his stool again, letting himself gaze at Olivia once more before he turned back to the rest of his audience. Olivia turned back to her table and picked up her wine, gulping a few mouthfuls down quickly, Sonny and Amanda watching her.

 

“You two are something else, you know that,” Olivia said, smiling into her glass before she put it down.

 

“Don’t know what you mean, lieu,” Sonny said, taking a drink of his beer with a smirk. She quickly look back at the man on stage. It was going to be the longest thirty minutes of her life.

 

------

 

Olivia waited outside the bar in the cool October air, unable to get the sound of Rafael’s beautiful singing voice out of her head. How could she not know this about him? He definitely kept it well hidden. She leant against the side of the building, nervousness seeping into her as she waited. She turned to look at the door of the bar only to see the man in question walking slowly towards her, jacket on but not buttoned and a scarf hanging undone around his neck. The glasses were gone, but he still looked good enough to eat. She turned her whole body to face him but he stopped a few feet from her, both lieutenant and lawyer just staring at each other.

 

“Hey,” he said, hands in his pockets.

 

“Hi,” she replied. They were both silent for a moment before Olivia spoke again. “You were … incredible, Rafael. You never told me you could sing like that.”

 

“It just never came up. Not many people know. A friend of mine I helped in a case a long time ago owns the bar. He asked if I would help him out. I do it every now and then,” he said. “I didn’t expect to see you here.” Olivia’s cheeks went red.

 

“Sonny and Amanda brought me here. They knew about you, I had no idea,” she said. “I had no intention of butting into your private life … but you were amazing. You are amazing.” He looked down at his shoes with a smile.

 

“Thank you, Liv,” he said. There was another pause and they just stared at each other. “I meant it, you know. That song was for my best friend, for you. You deserve so much happiness, Olivia. I …” He walked closer to her, reaching out for her hand, her own coming up to meet his, linking their fingers together as they had in the bar. “I care for you. So much. You’re more than my best friend, you’re the love of my life.” Olivia heart was thundering in her chest as he said the words she had wanted to say to him for so long. “I love you so much, Olivia.” She felt the magnetic pull of his words which brought her into her personal space, only enough space between their faces to breathe.

 

“Rafa … I love you too,” she said and she saw the visible relief in his eyes, tears forming there and a smile gracing his face. She moved her face closer, rubbing the tip of his nose with her own. He tilted his head and moved closer, his lips covering hers gently at first, both sets of eyes fluttering closed at the feel of each others lips. She dropped his hand and she brought them both up to cup his jaw, running her thumbs over his cheeks. Their kisses were light, as if testing the waters, but then she pushed herself against his body and began a few more passionate kisses, Rafael’s hands going to her hips. They both eventually pulled back, breathing heavily before Rafael pulled her into a hug, just holding her tight against him one of the best feelings in the world.

 

“Noah’s staying with Lucy tonight. Come home with me?” she asked before pulling back from the hug to look him in the eye.

 

“That sounds perfect.”

Chapter Text

When Olivia envisioned going out for a drink with Sonny and Amanda, she had thought about a few glasses of wine, talking about things that weren’t work related; the kids, what new series was on Netflix that they could binge, plans for the holidays, that sort of thing. She hadn’t imagined that she would unearth Rafael Barba’s hidden singing talent or, as a matter of fact, the talent his tongue had at that moment in time as it worked relentlessly between her legs, bringing her the most exquisite pleasure, rendering her unable to sit still. Her jeans and panties were still gathered around one ankle, getting caught as they tried to get them off. Rafael was kneeling between her legs, Olivia reclined back on the couch, hands holding her thighs to keep her as still as possible as he licked at her, tasting her as he moaned low in his throat. His dark t-shirt had been thrown over the room in her haste to get it off him and she had one hand buried in his hair, pulling every time he licked over a sensitive spot.

 

“Fuck … Rafa,” she moaned, head falling back into the backrest of the couch, mouth open and eyes glazed over in ecstasy as he brought her closer and closer to the edge, but not letting her tip over it, slowing down whenever she got to close, not allowing her to come yet. He grinned before his eyes flicked up to her, watching her as her chest heaved and her other hand gripped a cushion for dear life. Her eyes met his, sweat building up on her brow. “Rafa … please.” He pressed a few open mouthed kisses and nips to the inside of her thigh before he attacked her clit again, fingers joining in on the torture this time, sliding one into her, curling it up inside her. She cried out, not quite there yet, but he found that sweet spot inside her, which lit her whole body on fire. If this was what dying felt like, she would happily accept it at that moment.

 

“You’re so beautiful like this, Liv,” he whispered and she felt her legs tremble. She pulled his hair hard, causing him to groan.

 

“Move your fingers faster , damn it,” she said through gritted teeth. She needed the rest of her clothes off. She was overheating as her orgasm got closer then was denied. “Rafa, let me fucking come !”

 

“As you wish, my lady,” he said before he sucked her clit into his mouth hard and moved his fingers in a way that almost had her sobbing, before she fell over the edge with a full body spasm, almost every muscle trembling like she had just had an electric shock. She held her breath for a moment before she let out a cry that sounded like she was in pain, her head thrown back against the couch and her hips pressing up against his mouth as she rode it out before she went boneless against the couch, lungs working overtime to let her take in the air she needed. Rafael lifted his head, wiping his mouth with his back of his hand. She reached for him, trying to sit up in her blissed out state, before she took his face in her hands, pressing kisses to his lips, tasting herself of his tongue, which was strangely erotic. He pulled back from the kiss and went to stand up, holding out his hand to help Olivia up too, but she had other ideas. She slid off the couch and onto her knees, finally freeing her other foot from her jeans and panties before she was nuzzling against the crotch of Rafael’s jeans. “Liv, you don’t have to …”

 

“I want to …” she said, pressing a kiss to the tented denim. “Then I want you to fuck me.” Rafael drew in a shaky breath as Olivia’s hands worked his belt and zipper, pulling down his jeans and underwear to his thighs. His cock sprang free, hard and waiting in front of her eyes. She looked up at him before taking him in hand, a groan leaving his throat as her warm hand touched tender flesh.

 

“I’ll warn you now, I won’t last if you tease me for too long and I’d prefer to be inside you,” he said. She smiled and opened her mouth, teasing the head of his cock with her tongue before taking more of him in. Rafael let his head fall back, one hand slowly making its way into her hair, caressing her scalp gently. He only wished he had something to hold on to. She sucked on him like some kind of obscene popsicle, hollowing her cheeks and swallowing around him, driving him crazy. She dropped her hand from him and let her mouth do all the work, her hands running from his hips round to his bare backside, nails digging into the supple flesh there. The noises coming from him aroused her, feeling herself become soaked again. She dragged her teeth along the sensitive flesh and his body gave a solo involuntary jerk before she removed her mouth completely. He quickly hauled her to her feet, pulling her in for a kiss before his hands were on her half unbuttoned blouse, tearing at the rest of them. Her bra went next and she was naked in front of him. “So fucking beautiful …” he said, repeating his sentiment from earlier. “Do you have …”

 

“I’m clean and already protected, Rafa,” she said.

 

“I’m clean too,” he said.

 

“Then just fuck me,” she begged. Rafael didn’t think twice and the bedroom was too far away for how much he wanted her at that moment, so he backed her up against the nearest wall, one of her legs wrapping around his waist as he lined himself up and pushed inside with ease, Olivia clutching at him for dear life before bringing up her other leg. Rafael held her up, her legs wrapped tightly around his waist as he began to move within her, pressing his face into her chest as he did. They moaned in unison as he pulled out and pushed back in, starting off slow before his pace quickened. She pushed down to meet his thrusts, their mouths meeting for messy kisses between their moans. His thrusts got harder, pushing her into the wall as he did and she knew she would bruise, but she didn’t care. He bit at the supple skin of her breasts before burying his face in her neck. She felt his body become tense and she knew he was close from the way he trembled.

 

“Liv …” he gasped against her skin.

 

“I know, baby …” she said. His hips sped up and Olivia felt her second orgasm of the night creep up on her and she gripped him to her, her legs tightening around his waist as she came hard, nails and teeth nipping at his skin as she gasped through it. He held her, slowing down for the moment to let her get through it before he was moving again, bringing his own end closer. The next thing Olivia knew, he was moaning deeply into her shoulder as he emptied himself inside her, his legs shaking as he fought to hold her up. She let down one leg to the floor to steady herself in case his own legs gave out. He lowered her gently to the floor, pulling himself from her. They stood in each other’s embrace trying to catch their breath, eyes just taking the other in. She leaned in and pressed the softest kiss to his lips, her arms around his neck as his wrapped around her back.

 

“I’m so in love with you, Olivia Benson,” he told her when she pulled back from the kiss.

 

“I love you too,” she said with another quick kiss. “Come on, let’s go shower. I’m sweaty and sticky. Then you can sing to me again later.”

 

“I’m never going to live this down, am I?” he asked, pulling up his boxers and jeans that were still bunched around his thighs.

 

“Definitely not, mister,” she said. “Come on.” Rafael had no idea that shower meant more sex and then bed meant even more, but no one would catch him complaining.

Chapter Text

Oliva could have cried at that very moment, but she knew it wouldn’t help. She was stuck in the apartment with a very sick son and an equally sick boyfriend, who turned out to be needier than Noah, and he was driving her up the wall. Fin and Carisi had come round to offer help but she had turned them away, not wanting her officers to come down with what Rafael and Noah both had. Noah crying in his room, his cries of ‘mama, my tummy hurts’ and the sounds of Rafael vomiting in the bathroom adjoining their bedroom were all that could be heard most of the day. She’d spent all her time going between them both, Rafael absolutely certain he was dying. Olivia could only roll her eyes. Once more, she found herself with Noah in the bathroom, holding him up over the toilet while he was sick. He cried between each gag, his tummy and throat burning in agony.

 

“Mama, when will it go away?” he cried against her blouse once she had washed his face and cleaned him up.

 

“I don’t know baby. I’ll give you some more medicine and you can try and nap,” she said. “Mama will look after you.”

 

“Where’s dad?” he asked, Olivia smiling at the fact he saw Rafael as such.

 

“He’s in bed, honey. He’s sick too,” she said. “Come on, medicine time.” She picked him up and carried him on her hip to the kitchen, sitting him on the worktop before picking up his medicine and giving him some, hoping that that and some sleep would do him good. Noah moved in for another cuddle, sniffing gently. Olivia carried him to his room and put him in his freshly changed bed (he’d been rather sick all over it earlier in the day) and she lay him down, putting a sick bucket by his bed, just in case. She kissed his curls and caressed his cheek. “Sleep well, sweet boy. I’ll be out there if you need me.”

 

“Can I have some water, mama?” he asked and she nodded.

 

“I’ll go check on your dad and bring you some,” she said, kissing his temple once more before she headed back into the living room, taking a deep breath before she headed to the bedroom where Rafael was resting. She moved into the room, taking in the lump buried under the sheets. She moved closer and sat on the bed beside him, taking his hand in hers as her other pressed against his forehead, which was hot to the touch. He looked sweaty and pale, not well at all. She ran her fingers down his cheek and he groaned gently.

 

“Liv …” he said, cracking one eye open to look up at her.

 

“How are you feeling?” she asked.

 

“Like I’ve been hit by a bus,” he said. He squeezed her hand in his. “How’s Noah?”

 

“Still throwing up every now and then, but he’s in bed right now,” she said. “He hasn’t slept much. Neither have you.” He shook his head, his hair plastered to his forehead with sweat. “I’ll get you some water too.” She bent down and kissed his temple, just like she had with Noah. She hadn’t even gotten up and turned her back five seconds when Rafael was clambering out of bed and in the direction of the bathroom, Olivia grimacing when she heard him throwing up again. She quickly moved to the kitchen and grabbed two glasses of water, dropping one off in Noah’s room, the boy already sleeping, before heading back to Rafael. He was still in the bathroom, sitting against the wall, sweating profusely. She handed him the water before she flushed the toilet and grabbed a washcloth, wetting it and kneeling down in front of him. He took a gulp of the water before she was running the wash cloth over his neck and forehead tenderly, making sure she cooled him down as much as she could.

 

“A sponge bath, Nurse Benson?” he joked, trying his hardest to smirk through his discomfort.

 

“Obviously not sick enough to crack the jokes, counsellor,” she said back. She leaned in and kissed the tip of his nose ever so gently. “Arms up and get that t-shirt off …”

 

“Trying to get me naked, lieutenant …”

 

“... and get a clean one on. You’re sweating so much. I’ll take your temperature and I’ll grab you some medicine too. You and Noah are as bad as each other,” she said, but with a lighthearted smile. She helped him get his shirt off and get back to his feet before she sent him back to bed with a slap on the behind. “There’s a clean t-shirt on the chair for you.” He nodded and she headed back out of the room, dying for a glass of wine. But she would have one after she’d seen to her boys. She grabbed medicine for Rafael and the thermometer before heading back to the bedroom. Rafael hadn’t bothered to put on a new t-shirt, obviously too hot. She felt for him as she knew how much he’d rather be working or playing with Noah than be cooped up in bed.

 

“Liv, it’s too hot,” he said, voice hoarse before he began coughing. She went back to the bathroom to wet the washcloth a little more before she went to sit on the edge of the bed again, taking his temperature first, which was a little on the high side, but still on the right side, so there was no fever to worry about. She took the washcloth to his face again, Rafael moaning gently at the cold against his hot skin. She moved it over his forehead and down his cheeks, before moving further down his neck and onto his chest. “Keep going lower, nurse.” His voice had amusement laced through it.

 

“Only you could turn this into something sexual,” she giggled before she left him some Tylenol, kissing his forehead once more and putting the sheet around him again. “Get better and you can have all the sexual favours you want.” He smiled.

 

“I’ll hold you to that,” he said.

 

“Sleep, Rafa. I love you,” she said.

 

“Love you too,” he said and she left the room again, turning on Netflix and going to get herself a glass of wine. She took a gulp of it before she even sat down, the liquid soothing her after her long day looking after her boys. She took a seat on the couch, flicking through movies and TV series, kicking off her shoes and putting her feet up. She felt that she deserved it. She went to take another sip of wine.

 

“Mama … I threw up again …”

 

She sighed. It was going to be a long night.

 

------

 

Rafael woke a few hours later, his muscles protesting as he moved. He felt a little better than he had earlier in the day but still felt like shit. He sat up slowly, reaching for his robe, pulling it on and moving into the living room. Olivia was sleeping on the couch, the Netflix main menu showing on the TV screen and an empty glass of wine sitting on the table in front of her. He couldn’t help but feel a little guilty that she had looked after them both as well as having worked a busy week. He hadn’t been this ill in so long. He grabbed a blanket from the chair and put it over her, pushing her hair behind her ear before leaning down to kiss her cheek gently. He was grateful for everything she did for them.

 

“Mama …” came Noah’s voice and Rafael went to him instead, letting Olivia sleep. He moved into the room and Noah’s eyes lit up.

 

“Dad! Mama said you were sick too,” he said and Rafael smiled.

 

“I am, kiddo, but I feel a bit better. Are you okay?” he asked, kneeling down next to Noah’s bed and running a hand through his unruly curls.

 

“My tummy still hurts. Can I have some more water?” he asked. Rafael nodded.

 

“I’ll go get you some,” he said, grabbing Noah’s plastic cup and going to the kitchen. He looked over at Olivia, who was trying her hardest to sit up whilst rubbing her eyes.

 

“Rafa, you’re up! Are you hungry? Thirsty?” she asked, standing so quickly she gave herself a head rush and had to sit down again.

 

“Liv, it’s okay. I’m okay just now. I just needed to get up. My muscles were sore, I needed to walk around a bit. Then Noah asked for more water,” he said. Noah suddenly appeared from his room with his blanket and Eddie the elephant, climbing onto the couch with Olivia, clinging to her shirt, snuggling in before Olivia wrapped her arm around him, holding him close. Then Noah held out his arm for Rafael, gesturing for him to join in the hug. Rafael smiled and finished pouring Noah’s glass of water before he moved over to join them, snuggling down into Noah’s side. Olivia ran her hand through Rafael’s hair, smiling at her little family.

 

“Mama, can we watch Doctor Who?” Noah asked.

 

“A few episodes then, then it’s back to bed,” she said. “You two are still sick.”

 

“Yes, nurse,” Rafael said. They rearranged themselves to that Rafael was lying along the couch, Olivia tucked into his side with Noah between them, holding onto to Eddie as if his life depended on it. Olivia put on the first episode for Noah before she reached over and ran her fingers over Rafael’s cheek. He smiled at her over their son’s head, before he took her hand, smiling at her. In that moment, Olivia knew she wouldn’t have changed her family for the world.

Chapter Text

“Shut up! You’re not even my real father!”

 

Rafael felt like he’d been kicked in the gut;  he felt sick. He never, ever thought Noah would say those words to him. He and Noah had always had a wonderful relationship, Noah respecting and loving him as a father figure in his life. But he was fourteen, a lippy, sarcastic little shit at times. He had been sassing Olivia and she was getting annoyed, telling him to do his homework and clean his room or he wouldn’t get to go out with his friend. He didn’t listen to Olivia and Rafael had snapped at him, causing Noah’s outburst. Olivia lifted her hand to her mouth in shock, the hurt Rafael’s face evident.

 

“Noah! I can’t believe you just said that to your dad …” she said.

 

“He’s. Not. My. Dad,” he said again and ran to his room, slamming the door closed behind him. Olivia made to follow him but Rafael put a hand out to stop her.

“No. Liv, it’s okay. Let him go cool down,” he said, trying to hold back how upset he was but Olivia could hear it in his voice. She moved over to him and cupped his face, running her thumbs over his cheeks.

 

“He loves you. He’s just grumpy today,” she said, leaning in to kiss him gently. She pulled back and Rafael put his hand over his eyes as he began to sob quietly, not realising how much those words would hurt him until the tears started to fall. Olivia pulled him against her chest, running her hand through his hair, kissing his temple gently. “Shh, honey. It’s okay. It’s okay!” She rocked him in her embrace gently as his shoulders shook until he pulled back, wiping his eyes before he grabbed his coat. “Rafa, where are you going?”

 

“I need some air, mi amor . I’ll be back later,” he said, pulling on his coat and leaving the apartment, not quite slamming the door behind him. Olivia stood staring at the door before she strode to Noah’s room and threw the door open, startling him from where he was sitting on the edge of his bed, looking so guilty. She stood over him, arms crossed over her chest.

 

“Noah, you are completely out of line,” she snapped. “I don’t care how much of a big man you think you are at this moment, but I am your mother and you will treat me with respect. And as for Rafa, he is as close to as father as you’ll ever get. He’s been there for you since you were five and you say nasty things like that to him. You’ve upset him, Noah, and I won’t have it in my house, do you hear me?” Noah looked ready to cry, looking more guilty than she’d ever seen him.

 

“Mom, I didn’t mean …”

 

“It’s too late for that,” Olivia said. “You said it and hurt his feelings. He loves you like you’re his own. I want you to think on it and when he comes back, maybe you should talk to him, yes?” Noah nodded. “I’m going to make dinner and pray that Rafa comes home for it.”

 

“I know what I said was wrong …”

 

“Then you shouldn’t have said it,” Olivia said and left the room, closing the door behind her and taking a deep, shuddering breath. She went to the kitchen and tried to busy herself with making dinner but her mind kept wandering to Rafael, wondering where he was going, or what he was doing. She pulled out her phone, a few emails notifications but nothing else. She opened her text messages and sent one to Rafael.

 

I love you. Please come home tonight.

 

She sighed and put her phone down while she made some stir fry for dinner, her phone lighting up again halfway through cooking. She picked it up and smiled.

 

I will be. I promise. I love you more.

 

------

 

Rafael felt more nervous the closer he got to home. What if Noah had meant what he said? The thought was running through his head ever since he left. He’d only gone to a bar down the street and sunk a few glasses of scotch, called his mother and told her what Noah had said, trying not to break down on the phone in the middle of a crowded bar. Then he walked around the cold streets before he began the journey back home. He knew he’d have missed dinner, but he knew Liv well enough to know she’d had left him some. He entered the building and got on the elevator up to their floor. His hand shook in his pocket as he fished for his keys. Leaving the elevator and stepping up to the door, he took a deep breath before unlocking the door and moving inside. He shrugged his coat off and threw his keys down on the table, turning round to move into the living room when a sudden hard mass slammed against his front, arms wrapping round his back. He looked down to see a mass of curls, a cheek pressed against his chest. He stood still for a moment, not knowing how to react, which only made Noah hug him tighter.

 

“I’m so, so sorry, dad,” Noah said, sniffling as tears fell down his cheeks. “I didn’t mean what I said.” Rafael looked over the top of Noah’s head at Olivia, who was sitting on the couch, smiling lovingly at both of them. Rafael brought his hands down to rub his boy’s back, feeling more tears come to his eyes. Noah moved his head to look up at Rafael, his chin on his chest, wet tear tracks down his cheeks.

 

“My feelings were hurt, Noah,” he said. “No matter what the circumstances, you are my son. I know you’re not my real son, but I see you as exactly that. I just want to be the best dad I can for you.” Noah nodded, rubbing an eye with the back of his hand.

 

“You are the best dad. I’m sorry,” he said. “I love you.”

 

“I love you too, Noah,” he said and, even though he was catching up to Rafael’s height quicker than they anticipated, Rafael lifted Noah up and hugged him, Noah holding him tight. Olivia could only watch and smile as Rafael cried silently into Noah’s shoulder before he put him down. “Come on, kiddo. Time for bed.”

 

“Can we go out tomorrow, dad? Just me and you?” he asked and Rafael nodded.

 

“I’d love nothing more.”

Chapter Text

The breeze from the sea ruffled Rafael’s hair as he stood on the balcony of the beach house he had rented for the week. He deserved a vacation and to spend it with the woman who mattered most in the world to him. He smiled down at the beach, noting Olivia sitting on a blanket on the sand, looking out over the sea, peaceful and happy. He went to the kitchen and poured them both a drink before moving outside to join her, sitting down beside her and handing her the glass. She took it with a smile and had a sip, continuing to gaze out over the ocean. He took the time she was distracted to just watch her. She was glowing, a healthy colour from their week in paradise. Her eyes sparkled and happiness radiated from her. The newest addition to their relationship sparkled brightly on the fourth finger of her left hand in the sunset, something he had sprung on her two nights prior whilst they had been enjoying a romantic walk along the beach. She had gotten so excited after saying yes she had knocked him over in her hurry to hug him and they’d both ended up in the sea, laughing and kissing happily, luckily the ring had already been placed on her finger, or it could have been lost. They were deliriously happy and it showed.

 

“You’re staring,” she said, smiling gently.

 

“You’re beautiful,” he said simply and she looked down at the sand, her smile widening and her cheeks turning a darker shade of pink. He reached out and took her hand, kissing her knuckles.

 

“Back to reality tomorrow. I don’t want to leave,” she said, turning to him.

 

“There will always be good memories of this place,” he said. “We can come back soon. We can bring Noah and Jesse. No doubt Rollins and Carisi would enjoy the break themselves and the kids would love it here.” Olivia smiled once more.

 

“Once upon a time I never would have thought Rafael Barba would be a marriage and kids kind of person. I am pleasantly surprised,” she said.

 

“You and me both,” he said with a chuckle before she leaned in to kiss him chastely. She ran her fingers over his cheek. “How did I get so lucky, having you in my life?”

 

“You just did,” she said with a laugh.

 

“Modest as ever, I see,” he said and he placed a kiss on her bare shoulder before taking another drink, his own gaze looking out over the sea. They sat in companionable silence, holding each other’s hand and taking a drink every now and then until their glasses were empty. Olivia suddenly stood, startling Rafael for a moment before she began getting undressed down to her bikini. “Now, that’s a show …”

 

“Come on, you too,” she said and Rafael shrugged off his already open linen shirt and kicked off his flip flops, until he noticed Olivia pulling at the ties of her bikini bottoms too.

 

“What are you doing?” he asked, eyes on her hand.

 

“You never been skinny dipping before, counsellor?” she asked and his eyes almost popped out his head. Olivia Benson wanted to go skinny dipping? She was a devil woman. “Come on, Rafa. There’s no one here. Just us.” Her bikini bottoms fell away, the top soon after and she ran towards the water before diving in, Rafael only watching in shock as the water engulfed her for a few moments before she came up for air. “Come on, big boy. Get them off! The water is so warm.” He stared at her for a few moments before he stood, pulling at the drawstring of his swim shorts to loosen them. He could feel Olivia’s eyes on his hands as he pushed the shorts down over his hips before they dropped of their own accord around his feet, leaving him naked as he stepped out of them. He moved down the beach and into the sea with her, the water a comfortably warm temperature as he joined her, Olivia reaching for him and wrapping her arms around his neck.

 

“You’re a she-devil,” he said and he kissed her, an open mouthed, passionate kiss, full of tongue and teeth and moans. She pressed herself against his front, holding on tight. The water shone around them in the sunset and it was a beautiful backdrop to their vacation. Rafael ran his hands down to her bare bottom, grabbing hold and pulling her in against him, letting her wrap her legs around his waist. He felt himself get hard there and then and he knew she felt it too. She pulled back from the kiss and she put her head back, wetting her hair again before pushing it back from her face. She ran her fingers through his hair, wetting it too, as his hands trailed up her back, just savouring her. Her eyes scanned over his face, over and over again, playing with the hair at the nape of his neck. “What is it?” he asked, his own eyes focussed on her lips.

 

“I just love you, Rafael,” she said. “So much. You make me so happy. I’m just sorry it took me so long to realise …”

 

“Liv, we are here now, and we will be husband and wife. Forget the past. We’re here now,” he said. “I love you too.”

 

“Noah’s going to be so happy that he’s going to officially have a father figure,” she said. “You’ve been so good to him, he deserves happiness too.”

 

“He does,” he replied and he dipped his head, kissing along her neck and shoulder before moving back up to her lips, kissing her deeply. He hummed against her lips before he pulled back again, pressing his forehead against hers. “God, the things I want to do to you right now …”

 

“Well, we might as well make our last night memorable,” she said. He kissed her again and before she knew it, they were back in the beach house, French doors flung wide open on their balcony and curtains swaying in the breeze as he made love to her on their bed. She held him close and whispered in his ear as he breathed against her skin, sweat covered bodies moving together. Nails and teeth bit into tender skin, moans muffled by kisses and damp skin slapped against damp skin as he moved against her. Climax washed over them both hard until he sagged against her, spent. She held him until he got his breath back and he rolled off her to lie next to her, Olivia turning on to her side to face him.

 

“That we definitely memorable,” she said, breathlessly.

 

“I’m just getting started,” he replied.

 

“Oh really? I’ll look forward to the rest of the night ahead,” she teased, cupping him in her hand, his over-sensitised body jerking at her touch.

 

“Woman, I’m not as young as I used to be,” he said before she moved closer and captured his lips in hers again.

 

“Luckily, I’m a patient woman.”

Chapter Text

“Can I hold Frannie’s leash, ‘Manda?”

 

“Sure, Noah. Just wait until we get by the busier parts, then you can take it,” Amanda said, smiling down at the boy, who was holding his mother’s hand as they walked through the park. The sun was splitting the skies and Olivia and Amanda had promised they would take the kids out, both of them begging to go to the park. It was full of joggers, cyclists, fellow dog walkers, picnic-ers, everyone they could dream of was out under the scorching sun. Jesse held on to Amanda’s other hand, she and Noah holding hands too.

 

“We can find somewhere to sit and have some lunch. Frannie will need to lie down in the shade for a bit,” Amanda said.

 

“I think we will all need shade at this rate,” Olivia replied. They walked further into the park, Amanda eventually letting Noah hold the leash for a while, instructing him to hold it tight so Frannie wouldn’t run away. The dog had slowed to a slow walk on the grass, the heat obviously getting to her. Olivia noticed a nice shaded spot under a tree that was free of people and she led them over, taking out their picnic blanket and putting it down. She took out water for the kids, as Amanda took a small bowl from her bag and poured some water in it for Frannie, who lapped it up like it was the first drink she had ever had. Amanda scratched behind her ears as they sat, Olivia opening a cool bag and giving Noah and Jesse a sandwich. They ate together, laughing and joking and just watching the world go by. She watched the joggers as they went by, her eyes suddenly drawn to one man, sure she had seen him out running before. He was an attractive man, olive skinned, t-shirt covered in sweat from the heat, earphones in as he ran. Suddenly, Frannie’s bark made her turn back around, only to see the dog get distracted by something moving suddenly in the grass. A squirrel popped its head up in fright at the loud bark before Frannie was up and chasing it, right across the jogger’s path. Olivia gasped.

 

“Frannie!” she called.

 

“Frannie, no!” Amanda called after her but it was too late. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. Frannie ran across the path, after the squirrel, and straight into the attractive jogger’s legs, not giving him enough time to react. The shock on his face was apparent, his legs giving out under him as he fell over the top of the dog and hit the ground with a thud, grunting on impact. Olivia and Amanda’s hands flew to their mouths in shock before Olivia was scrambling to her feet to get to him, Amanda calling for Frannie to come back to her. Olivia was by his side in seconds, touching his arm gently.

 

“Oh my God, are you okay?” she asked in a panic, hoping he hadn’t broken anything. He grunted again and lifted his head up, shaking the dirt from his hair, hands on the ground to push himself up, but he winced before looking up at Olivia. His nose was bleeding and he was covered in dirt. “I’m so sorry, the dog got a bit excited.” He stared at her for a moment before he continued to try and get himself up. She took his arm and helped him. “Are you okay?” she repeated.

 

“I think so. Hands and knees a little scraped but I’ll live,” he said.

 

“Your nose is bleeding. Come sit with us, I have a first aid kit,” she said, taking his wrist in her hand and pulling at him to follow her. He did so slowly, wincing as he walked. She sat down on the blanket again and he sat down too, the kids watching him for a moment.

 

“I’m so sorry,” Amanda said from where she held Frannie by the leash again after catching her. “I didn’t have any time to stop her.”

 

“It’s fine, honestly. No harm done,” he said.

 

“Say that when you’re not bleeding,” Olivia said, raking through her bag for the first aid kit she carried in case anything happened to Noah or Jesse. Frannie moved forward to him, sitting down next to him and licking his arm gently before looking up at him with almost apologetic eyes. He lifted a hand and scratched her ears, smiling gently at her.

 

“Well, I definitely can’t be mad at you when you look at me like that,” he said before turning back to Olivia, who handed him a tissue for his nose before she was wiping at his hands with an alcohol wipe, hearing him hiss as it stung. Jesse stood up and moved to sit next to Frannie, beside the man, and she put her little hand on his wrist, making him look down at her.

 

“I’ll hold your hand, like mommy does when I have a booboo,” she said and Amanda smiled at her daughter before looking up at the man again, who was also smiling. He turned his hand round and Jesse put her hand in his, smiling back at him.

 

“I definitely feel braver now with you holding my hand,” he said and Jesse giggled.

 

“What’s your name?” Amanda asked him.

 

“Rafael,” he answered, looking back at Olivia, who was concentrating on what she was doing. He watched her, her tongue poking out between her lips and she cleaned him up. He took another alcohol wipe to his knees before she went back to his bleeding nose, taking the tissue from him and cleaning away the blood that was trickling down his upper lip. He had a few drips that had made it down onto his t-shirt, but he didn’t care. “And you are …?”

 

“I’m Olivia and this is my son, Noah,” she said.

 

“I’m Amanda and that's Jesse, my daughter. And trouble maker over there is Frannie,” Amanda said, the dog’s ear perking up at the mention of her name. She licked at Rafael’s arm again, lying down and putting her head on his thigh, sighing gently.

 

“Thank you for this,” he said. “You didn’t have to …”

 

“It was the least we could do,” Olivia said, smiling. “There, good as new.”

 

“You need a band-aid for your knee!” Jesse exclaimed suddenly and leaned over him, plucking one from the little bag. “I got a princess one.” Rafael chuckled.

 

“Princesses are great. You gonna put it on for me?” he asked and Jesse opened it with help from Noah and she placed it neatly over the cut on his knee.

 

“There you go, Rafa …” she said and he chuckled at the fond little nickname.

 

“Thank you,” he said. Olivia grabbed a bottle of water and handed it to him. He took a drink before he put it back down on the picnic blanket. “Thank you all for the first aid, I feel much better.” Olivia caught his eye and she blushed gently. He was so attractive up close and she knew she could get lost in his eyes.

 

“You can sit with us, if you like. You don’t have to go,” she said, hoping she didn’t sound too desperate. He patted Frannie’s head gently where it still lay on his thigh.

 

“I’m afraid duty calls. I have a few meetings this afternoon. I was just hoping to get a run in before I had to go to work. I didn’t anticipate falling over a dog today,” he said and they laughed. He went into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, taking a card from it and handing it to Olivia. “Call me sometime.”

 

“Thanks …” she said, blushing deeper. She could almost feel Amanda smirking at her from behind her. Rafael got up and stretched a bit before he said his goodbyes.

 

“Nice to meet you all,” he said before he began to jog again, slower than before because of his discomfort. Olivia watched him until he disappeared from view.

 

“You are gonna call him, right?” Amanda asked,

 

“What?”

 

“You’re definitely gonna call him. He’s hot,” she said. “If you don’t, I will ...”

 

“I will ... I will,” she said, looking down at his card, smiling gently. “I most definitely will.”

Chapter Text

It had been a week since the incident in the park and Olivia had sat, more often than not, twirling the card between her fingers, wondering if she should call him. Amanda had called her dumbass for not calling him the very next day but she didn’t want to appear desperate. She hadn’t been out with a decent guy in a long time and she didn’t want to hope he was decent and him turn out to be a jerk. Something about him told her he wasn’t but she could never be sure. She sat at her desk, staring into space when Carisi suddenly knocked on the door.

 

“Lieu, the new ADA is here to see you, said he’s a bit early” he said. Ah, another new one, here we go again, she thought. She had known she was getting a new one, but she knew next to nothing about him. Not even his name. Just that he was very, very, very good. She smiled at Carisi.

 

“Just send him through, it’s fine,” she said, going back to the paperwork in front of her. She listened to footsteps enter her office and slow down in front of her desk. Then a laugh made her look up, right into the eyes of Rafael, who looked thoroughly amused.

 

“Well, this is certainly unexpected,” he said, putting his jacket down over one of the chairs in front of her desk. She continued to stare at him, unable to believe that he was stood there in front of her, and that he, of all people, was their new ADA.

 

“Rafael …” she managed but didn’t know what else to say.

 

“Let’s start with proper introductions, shall we?” he asked and held out his hand to Olivia, the scrapes from the day in the park having mostly healed, and she stood from her desk. “Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba. Good to meet you, professionally.” She smiled back and looked down at his hand before placing hers in his, shaking it gently.

 

“Lieutenant Olivia Benson, SVU,” she said back and they held each other’s hand for a moment before letting go, both sitting down again across from each other. She saw his eyes wander the office for a moment before coming to rest on his own business card, lying next to her office phone. She looked down at it, blushing gently. “I was considering calling you …”

 

“But you haven’t yet. Should I prepare myself now for disappointment?” he asked, crossing one leg over the other and fixing his tie.

 

“Well, considering we now seem to be working together …”

 

“One drink won’t hurt …” he cut in, smirking gently. She sighed but smiled back.

 

“No, it won’t. But what one drink might turn into may ruin our working relationship before it has properly begun,” she said. He sighed, his eyes locked on hers.

 

“Is there nothing I can say to convince you?!”

 

------

 

Olivia lay on her back on the unfamiliar bed, sheets up around her chest, holding them up to cover her nakedness, Rafael lying next to her, both heaving for breath. They were sweaty and the room smelled of sex, but she cursed herself. She shouldn’t have even come home with him. One drink, she had eventually agreed, but no! No, no, no, no! He shouldn’t have been able to change her mind, but him with his sexy three-piece suits (those waistcoats were so, so sexy) and his cologne and his voice. She was screwed, literally and figuratively. They lay in silence, neither of them wanting to break the bliss for that moment. She knew if she opened her mouth, she’d tell him they couldn’t do this. She didn’t want to lose this moment. She lowered one hand between them and she found his own hand, linking her fingers with his. He turned his head to look at her but she kept her eyes fixed on the ceiling for that moment.

 

“Olivia …”

 

“Shhh … let’s just enjoy this moment,” she whispered into the dimly lit room.

 

“This moment before you tell me we can’t carry on?” he asked and she turned her head to meet his eyes.

 

“Rafael, don’t make this any harder than it has to be …” she said, moving to sit up, but he grabbed her shoulder gently and pulled her back down.

 

“Please, don’t go. I know you will eventually. But please, not yet,” he pleaded. She met his eyes and stared into them for a moment before she lay back down, turning onto her side to face him. “I don’t usually do one night stands, y’know.”

 

“Me neither,” she admitted before she sighed again. “I do like you, Rafael. Very much. But I don’t want to jeopardise our working relationship. We have only just started working together and I’d hate for one of us to be fired or have to resign.” He took her hand between their bodies again.

 

“Well, I wouldn’t want to do anything to hurt you or your job at SVU. So how about you stay the night and we go back to being professional in the morning?” he asked, moving his body closer and she fought not to grab him and kiss him again, even though she was lying there naked in his bed.

 

“If I stay the night, I may want to come back again,” she said and Rafael smiled.

 

“I’ve got no problem with that,” he said and she knew her walls were crumbling. She wanted him; she wanted to date him but she tried to convince herself she didn’t. She didn’t want to leave the warm comfort of his bed, his arms, but she knew she would have to. It didn’t stop her climbing on top of him again, straddling his hips and riding him for all he was worth again, his fingers digging hard into her hips, no doubt leaving bruises in their wake. Her own nails left marks on his chest as his head fell back against the pillows, his eyes almost rolling back in his head in ecstasy. They moved on the bed until they finished together, Olivia leaning down to kiss him gently through their breathlessness. Their eyes met and Olivia couldn’t stop herself from running her fingers over his features, tracing his cheekbones and his lips, as if she was mapping him out.

 

“You’re something else, Rafael Barba,” she said, cupping his face in her palm and kissing his lips once more. She sighed gently once she pulled back. “I’ll stay the night and … and I’d love to go on a date with you.” She knew she would regret it if she didn’t and she made him so happy by uttering those words, if his expression was anything to go by.

 

“Who’d have thought a dog knocking me over would have brought us to this moment, Olivia Benson?” he asked, running a hand through her hair. She was suddenly flipped onto her back and Rafael settled between her thighs.

 

“Rafael, we have work in the morning,” she said.

 

“When I said you could stay the night, I said nothing about sleeping,” he said, smirking and making her laugh out loud before she kissed him again.

 

“Well, if you insist …”

Chapter Text

It had been the longest eight months of Olivia’s life. She poured herself into her work, into looking after Noah to the best of her ability, but the thoughts of him plagued her mind every single day since he left. She loved Rafael Barba with all her heart but hadn’t the strength to tell him outside the courthouse that fateful day. She had watched him walk away until she couldn’t see him anymore before she broke down, taking one more look up at the courthouse before she headed back to SVU. But that wasn’t the end. She dealt with the aftermath of the whole thing by being as strong as she could. She cried no more tears over him until she passed the courthouse a week later to see the words ‘Barba the baby-killer’ spray-painted there. She bit her lip to try and stop the tears, but she only ended up drawing blood as angry and red as the words on the wall. The offensive message was scrubbed off and the wall repainted under SVU’s supervision, a few arrests made when the scumbags came back to respray their message. She wouldn’t let it happen again.

 

After that she threw herself back into her work until Lucia Barba turned up at her apartment one night, eyes red rimmed and cheeks tear stained, claiming Rafael wasn’t answering her calls anymore. Olivia hoped he hadn’t done anything stupid and brought the woman in, giving her a glass of wine and some comfort.

 

“Why did he have to do this, Olivia?” Lucia cried into her shoulder. The usually-strong woman was crumbling in front of her and Olivia wasn’t strong enough for both of them. She hugged Lucia and let her cry.

 

“He did it to stop an innocent baby from suffering,” she said into the woman’s shoulder. “But most people don’t see it like that. He was stronger than most people. Even Drew’s parents didn’t have the strength to do it.”

 

“Oh, my Rafi …” Lucia cried and Olivia pulled back from the hug and got the woman some tissues. She thanked her, wiping her nose and eyes. “When I spoke to him last, he said he was leaving New York for a while. He didn’t say where. Do you …?”

 

“I haven’t spoken to him since the day he left me outside the courthouse. I wish I had the guts to tell him …” she started but caught herself when she realised who she was talking to. “Never mind.” She ran a hand through her hair.

 

“I know you love him, Olivia,” Lucia said, pushing stray hair out of Olivia’s eyes and running her thumb over the lieutenant’s cheek. Olivia blushed and looked down at her own hands in her lap. “I’d be proud to have called you family.” It was Olivia’s turn to cry now. She had been bottling it up but once the first sob passed her lips she couldn’t stop. Lucia took her in her arms and Olivia went willingly, curling up against the older woman and sobbing hard into her sweater. Lucia rubbed her back and muttered some words in Spanish to calm her but her sobbing woke Noah, who came out of his room and curled himself between Lucia and Olivia, wanting to comfort his mother. The three lay together, just holding each other until Olivia had calmed. After that, Lucia became part of the family. They kept each other grounded, still no word from Rafael. But then, eight months after he left, a simple text.

 

I’m coming home

 

Olivia had been sat at her desk when she got the message and she felt her stomach flip, knowing exactly who it was, even though it wasn’t his usual number and he hadn’t signed off with his name. Those three words made her so fucking angry and so deliriously happy at the same time; angry that he had left with no word but so happy he was coming back to her, to his mother, to Noah. She knew things wouldn’t be the same at first but he was coming home and that was all that mattered. She called Lucia and let her know and the woman had been inconsolable on the other end of the phone. Once she had calmed and Olivia had spoken to her, she hung up, only to realise she had another text, asking if she would pick him up from the airport, but he totally understood if she couldn’t. He gave her his flight time and said he hoped she’d be there but she still didn’t reply. She didn’t know what to say after all this time. But the next day found her walking through the airport with Lucia and Noah, her stomach in agony as she tried to wish away her nerves. She wanted to punch him in his perfect face for leaving but she wanted to kiss him senseless for coming back. Lucia went to get them some coffee, knowing they were there too early but she didn’t dare say so to Olivia.

 

“Mama, is Uncle Rafa staying this time?” Noah asked her. She lifted him up onto her knee and kissed his temple.

 

“I hope so, sweet boy,” she said. “I hope so.” Lucia came back with coffee and they sat waiting, Olivia’s eyes on the board every so often until it said Rafael’s flight was coming in. She felt her heart leap into her throat that at any moment she would see the man she loved. She felt Lucia take her hand, squeezing gently.

 

“It’s be fine, mi querida ,” she said before they stood and took Noah’s hand, walking to meet Rafael. Or so they hoped. They stood with the other families who were waiting on their loved ones getting off the plane. It felt like the longest wait of her life until people started filtering through. Her heart drummed hard in her chest as she scanned the crowds for him, starting to feel disappointed when she couldn’t see him. The crowd started thinning down to only a few families and Olivia felt deflated. Maybe he had changed his mind last minute. She looked at Lucia, who looked equally as disappointed before Noah spoke up.

 

“UNCLE RAFA!”

 

Olivia’s head flew back round at the mention of his name. Noah was so excited but they held him where he was. Rafael stood there, looking healthier than he did before he left, more tanned, his hair was immaculately kept as always but he had grown a short beard, grey coming through at his temples. Olivia felt she couldn’t move but before she knew it she dropped Noah’s hand, moving closer to him before she was running down the airport towards him, tears leaking from her eyes.

 

“Rafa …” she said as she got closer. He dropped his bags and moved towards her too. She met him in the middle, her arms going round his neck and her legs around his waist as his arms went round her back, cuddling her against him tight. He stumbled a bit on impact but he caught his balance and held her. “I’ve missed you so much, Rafael.”

 

“God, I’m so sorry I left you. I’m sorry for everything. I’ve missed you so much,” he said. She pulled back from the hug a little to look at him, only for her lips to collide with his, kissing him deeply in the middle of the crowded airport. He put her back down on her feet, still joined at the lips before he cupped her face and deepened it. She gripped the front of his sweater, pulling him in as close as she could. Nothing else existed in that moment apart from them.

 

“I love you … I love you so much,” he whispered against her lips and she broke the kiss as she began to cry again.

 

“I love you too, Rafa,” she said, trying to will her tears to stop, his thumb wiping them away from her cheek. “I always have. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before you left.” He smiled at her through his own tears before a sudden mass clattered into his leg and gripped on. He looked down to see Noah attached to his leg.

 

“Uncle Rafa,” he exclaimed, so excited to see his hero. Olivia moved back from him for a moment to let him see Lucia standing there, her own tears staining her cheeks. She pulled Noah from Rafael to let him move forward to his mother.

 

Mami …”


“Shh, mi hijo …” she said and Rafael broke down against her shoulder. “I am so happy you’re home.” She embraced her boy, rocking him gently as Olivia gathered the bags he had dropped in his haste to get to her. She rejoined them and they left the airport together, all huddled in to one another. A family. He wasn’t ADA Rafael Barba anymore, nor ‘Barba the baby-killer’. He was just Rafael and he was part of Olivia and Noah’s life for as long as he wanted to be and she wanted him for the rest of her life. He wrapped his arm around her waist, catching her eye on the way out to the car before leaning in to press a chaste kiss to her lips. They had a lot to talk about but that could wait until the morning, when Noah went to school. That night belonged to Olivia and Rafael and their re-acquaintance with each other. And Olivia couldn’t wait.

Chapter Text

Rafael opened his eyes slowly, still heavy from sleep. The rain was falling outside the window, the curtains still open and the lights from the street lighting the room. Rafael turned his head and reached for his phone, the light stinging his eyes as he checked the time. 2.07am. He sighed and put the phone down again, running his hand over his face before turning over, only to face an empty bed. He took a glance around the room and could see light coming from under the door. He slid out of bed and grabbed his boxers  before he moved through to the living room. There was a light on in the hallway, casting a dim glow through to the living room. He stepped through, noticing a figure sitting on the chair by the window staring out with her arms wrapped around her knees. Rafael watched Olivia for a few moments, wondering what was on her mind.

 

They had come home from the airport together, back to Lucia’s apartment first where she had made them all a huge home cooked meal, Rafael happy to have his mother’s cuisine back in his life, as well as other things. They had sat like a normal family, laughing and joking together, making Noah laugh. But Rafael had known that he and Olivia would have to talk. Lucia took Olivia to the side after dinner and had offered to keep Noah for the night so that she and Rafael could catch up and get everything off their chest and Olivia hugged her, thanking her. Soon enough they’d gone back to her place and, within moments, they were on each other, kissing each other until they were completely breathless. Rafael took her to her bedroom and made love to her, both of them holding each other close and whispering  sweet nothings in each other’s ear. Olivia had cried after, Rafael only holding her through her tears, knowing how much he had hurt her by leaving in the first place. He could only apologise, promising that he would never leave her again. They made love again before falling asleep in each others arms, content for that moment until they were able to talk properly.

 

“Liv?” Rafael said gently into the half light. She turned to him, a small smile on her lips.

 

“Hi,” she whispered and he moved closer, noticing she was wearing his t-shirt. He could definitely get used to that sight. She held out her hand to him and he reached for her. She stood and pulled him to sit down before she curled herself into his lap, her head on his shoulder, nose buried in his neck and taking in the scent that was purely Rafael Barba. He curled his arm around her back to hold her close and linked his fingers with hers with his free hand. She sniffed gently and he knew she was crying again.

 

“You okay?” he asked and felt her smile against his skin.

 

“I will be,” she said. “I love you, Rafa.”

 

“I love you too, Liv. I always have,” he said and she lifted her head and he faced her, only to have her lips capture his in a sweet kiss, lips soft and loving against his.

 

“What made you come back?” she asked when they parted and Rafael realised he hadn’t been as ready for this question as he thought he was. He hesitated a moment before he looked her in the eye again.

 

“It would be easy to say you and Noah were the reason, Liv, but there were other factors too. I realised I was living in fear, fear that people would always see me as … as a murderer. I didn’t see it as murder, Liv. I still don’t. Drew would have been kept alive by machines as long as his parents would have allowed it. His mother wanted to do it. I saw her; she put her hand on the machine, ready to turn it off herself but she couldn’t, so I did what she couldn’t. I did what I did to stop her and her husband suffer as much as baby Drew was,” he said, feeling his voice shake as he spoke. He swallowed hard to try and stop tears from coming as he remembered back to that day like it was yesterday; Drew lying there, unmoving and only breathing through a machine. That little boy’s face had haunted him ever since he had left but he didn’t regret what he had done. “The only solice I got from all of this is knowing that he is at peace now.”

 

“Oh, Rafa …” Olivia whispered, sitting up a little and cupping his face, her thumbs swiping away the tears he didn’t realise had fallen. “You are the bravest man I’ve ever known.” He shook his head and tried to turn away from her. “Hey, look at me.” He did and she ran a thumb over his cheek again. “If I had been in your position, I don’t know if I could have done what you did. You stopped his suffering.”

 

“Liv …”

 

“Mr and Mrs Householder contacted me after you left, to try and get in touch with you. They wanted to clear the air with you. They were distraught to realise that you were gone. They thought they’d driven you away …” she said and Rafael shook his head.

 

“Never. I left for my own piece of mind, but I wish I hadn’t,” he said.

 

“Maybe, if you feel up to it, you should contact them,” she said and a look of sheer panic graced Rafael’s features. She grabbed his hand in hers. “Only if you want to, but it may help you all find closure. I only want what is best for you, Rafa.” He nodded.

 

“Not yet …” he said. “I just got you back.” She smiled gently at him, cupping his face once more.

 

“I’ll always be here. I waited every single day for you to come back. There was no one else for me,” she said and she could see his bottom lip quiver as he tried to smile at her before he broke down. She cradled his head against her chest as he cried, smoothing her hands over his hair and his cheek, the other arm holding his quaking shoulders. He needed to cry, he needed to let it all out and she knew he would feel better if he did. They sat together for a long while until he had cried all his tears, yet she continued to hold him. She kissed his temple tenderly.

 

“Please don’t leave again,” she whispered.

 

“I’m never leaving you again,” he replied and lifted his head again. Their eyes met once more and Olivia stood, taking his hand and pulling him to his feet.

 

“Let’s go back to bed. I don’t plan on getting back out of it until, at least, tomorrow afternoon.”

 

“That sounds perfect to me.”

Chapter Text

Rafael sighed contently as Olivia handed him his coffee, sitting down next to him and throwing her feet over his lap. He smiled at her gently before she put on her reading glasses and picking up her book before he looked back at the TV. It was unusual for them to have an afternoon off together, but since Noah started high school they had lessened their work loads so they could spend more time together. They definitely weren’t getting any younger. He ran his hand up and down her leg as he watched the news. He leaned back, resting his head against her shoulder, her fingers coming up to run through his hair, nails scratching at his scalp gently. It was quiet and comfortable and they had never been happier than just sitting in each other’s company. That was until the front door flew open and Noah and Jesse’s hushed voices came through the house, making them glance at each other. The door slammed closed followed by the slamming of Noah’s bedroom door as they quickly disappeared inside.

 

“Noah?” Olivia called out, only to receive no answer.

 

“Something’s not right,” Rafael said, looking back at the news for a moment. “He usually comes to say hi.”

 

“Maybe just a bad day. We’ve all had them. I’ll go see him,” Olivia said. “Noah? Jesse?” She put her book down and pulled her feet from Rafael’s lap before getting up and moving to Noah’s room, knocking on the door. “Sweetie, are you okay?”

 

“Fine, mom. Go away …” he said quite abruptly, making Olivia turn to Rafael, a deep frown between her brows. He raised an eyebrow at Noah’s abrupt tone before putting down his coffee and turning off the TV.

 

“Noah?  Open the door right now,” Olivia said, worry in her voice. There was silence for a moment before the door clicked open and Jesse stood there, looking really upset. Her cheeks were stained with tears. “What’s going on?” Jesse stood back and let Olivia in. Her eyes immediately fell on Noah, who was sitting on his bed, nose gushing with blood and his knuckles covered too. “Noah, what happened to you? I’ve told you multiple times that fighting is not the answer.”

 

“It’s all my fault, Aunt Liv,” Jesse said. “Some other kids were picking on me on the bus and they were pushing me around and Noah stepped in. They punched him for getting in their way but he hit them back to stop them picking on me.” Olivia wrapped her arm around Jesse’s shoulder and squeezed her gently.

 

“It’s not your fault, Jesse,” Noah said, wiping his nose on his sleeve. “I’m sorry, mom. I didn’t mean to fight. I was just protecting Jesse.” Olivia sighed.

 

“Come on, Rocky Balboa. Let’s get you cleaned up,” she said. “Jesse, your Uncle Rafa is in the living room. You want to keep him company until I clean up Noah?”

 

“Sure,” she said, touching Noah’s shoulder gently before she went out to the living room. Olivia knelt in front of Noah and reached up to run a thumb over his cheek.

 

“You’re so protective over Jesse. Your Aunt Amanda will be happy to know you stuck up for her. But you need to stop punching people. This is the third time I’ve had to clean you up since you started high school,” she said. She took his hand. “Come on, let’s get you sorted.” Noah shrugged off his backpack and blazer before he went with Olivia to the kitchen, passing Rafael and Jesse in the living room. Jesse was sitting between the arm of the sofa and Rafael, her arm flung over him and her head resting on his shoulder as he rubbed her back gently. Rafael looked shocked at Noah’s appearance.

 

“You okay, kiddo?” Rafael asked Noah. The young boy shrugged.

 

“I got punched in the nose,” he said.

 

“So I see. Jesse told me you were looking out for her. Even though I don’t condone the fighting, I’m proud of you, mijo ,” he said. “I’m proud of you both.” He hugged Jesse closer, who smiled at her uncle. Noah smiled best he could with his sore face as Olivia wet a cloth and began to wipe the blood away, making sure he was clean before moving to his knuckles. She pulled out a first aid kit from under the sink and she bandaged his hand up. Olivia kissed her son’s forehead.

 

“Go change your shirt. I’ll need to wash it to get the blood out of your collar,” she said. Noah nodded and went to his room. Olivia cleaned up the kitchen and moved back to sit with Rafael and Jesse. She reached over and ran her fingers through Jesse’s long blonde hair. “I think it’s great you two have each other. You’ll look out for him too, yeah?”

 

“Course I will, Aunt Liv,” she said and Olivia joined in the hug with Rafael and Jesse, kissing the young girls cheek. Jesse continued to cuddle with Rafael as Olivia put the TV back on, putting Doctor Who back on from where the four of them had left it last time they had all been together. Noah came back changed and Olivia moved to put his uniform in the wash before it stained. They still had a couple of hours before Amanda came to pick up Jesse so Olivia ordered them pizza instead of cooking, and the four of them sat around the coffee table to eat, Noah and Rafael playfully arguing about whether Daleks or Cybermen were the most fearsome and powerful, Olivia and Jesse just sharing a look and a perfectly synchronized eye roll. The afternoon turned into evening quickly and Rafael announced he was going for a shower, kissing Olivia gently on the way to their bedroom. Olivia cleaned up pizza boxes and the kitchen before moving back into the living room, only to see Noah and and Jesse sleeping soundly, Jesse draped across Noah’s chest, her head settled under his chin and his arms wrapped around her protectively. It was the most adorable thing Olivia had ever seen. She grabbed her phone and snapped a quick photo, sending it to Amanda.

 

Let her stay here tonight. She’s settled. Rafael will drop her off tomorrow. X

 

She received a text back within moments, gushing comments about how cute the two of them were together. She agreed to let her stay, Olivia knowing Amanda would take the opportunity to spend quality time with Sonny. Olivia gathered up a blanket and she covered them both up, kissing their foreheads. Suddenly Rafael’s arms were around her waist, a kiss pressed to her shoulder. She turned in his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck, kissing him gently. She ran one hand through his hair, which was still wet from the shower. He looked down at Noah and Jesse, smiling gently.

 

“Fifty bucks says they get married …” he said, chuckling gently at Olivia’s surprised expression before she began to laugh too.

 

“I wish I could say you’re crazy, but you never know …” she said. “Noah adores her.”

 

“She adores him just as much. She told me so when you were speaking with Noah in his room,” he said. Olivia took Rafael’s hand and pulled him towards the kitchen, just so they didn’t wake them. “She said that she loved him very much and would hate if anything bad were to happen to him because of her. She said she’s been picked on for a while but Noah always stands up for her.”

 

“He’s a good boy …”

 

“You raised him well, Liv …” he said.

 

We did, Rafa. You have been a concrete father figure in his life. He wouldn’t be who he was without your influence too,” she said. She ran a hand over his cheek. “I love you.” He leaned in and kissed her gently, wrapped his arms around her back and holding her close.

 

“I love you too, Liv …”

 

“Come on. Kids are asleep. I can think of a few things we could do with some spare time,” she said, a mischievous glint in her eye as she ran her hands down his chest. He raised an eyebrow.

 

“While the kids are in the living room? You rebel, you,” he joked and she laughed.

 

“Come on, they’re asleep. You’ll just need to keep the volume down. You are the loud one,” she said, taking his hand and leading him to their bedroom.

 

“Pfft, I beg to differ.”