Sonny Carisi was in love.
The head over heels, butterflies in the stomach, eagerly looking in every doorway, kind of love. It had crept up on him.
He wasn't quite sure when he fell in love with Peter Stone, but the moment he realized was an epiphany.
From there things developed naturally, easily. It was as though they were meant to be, and maybe they were.
From their first kiss shared over boxes of Chinese while hunched over case files, to agreeing to move in with Peter six months later, it had been easy. Far too easy.
He didn't understand why it hadn't been that easy before.
Maybe it was Peter's gentle nature, or the respect he had immediately shown Sonny. Or maybe it was his biting humor, the fact he could sass a defence attorney when he had complimented them moments before. Maybe it was their common interests, their love of baseball and good food. Sonny wished he could pinpoint it.
But he was happy, happier than he had ever been.
It was typical that this was when he would run into Rafael Barba, their ex-ADA and his ex-lover.
Sonny was dragging Peter to Forlini's to meet the squad for drinks when he saw the man's familiar silhouette emerging from the darkness.
Rafael was hunched over himself, his knuckles white as he clung to his briefcase, his eyes were sunken and his bags darkened. He looked tired.
Sonny's heart twinged and his grip tightened on Peter's hand. He took a deep breath and stepped forward before he called out the man's name.
Rafael turned and raized a hand to block out the lamp light. "Sonny?" He sounded breathless. "ADA Stone."
"It's EADA now." It had been a recent promotion, and one of the reasons why they had chosen to disclose their relationship to the squad.
Rafael didn't look impressed, he just lifted a brow and scoffed.
"We haven't heard from you in ages," Sonny attempted to intervene. "We've been worried--"
"If you were truly worried you could have asked Liv." The ex-ADA's voice was dripping with sarcasm, and was surprisingly bitter. "Or Rollins, or Fin."
Sonny could hear how wounded he sounded and he couldn't help but feel guilty. After their relationship had disintegrated Sonny had wanted nothing to do with the man.
He got angry, threw himself into a brand new relationship and unintentionally made things worse.
He and Rafael had only just began to reconnect when Peter stepped into the picture and his ex-lover had disappeared without a word.
That was when Sonny decided it was truly over.
That didn't mean that Sonny never thought about Rafael. The man would probably always sit somewhere in the back of his mind. Rafael was his first real attempt at a relationship with a man, or he would have been if Sonny hadn't been too scared to take that leap.
He felt Peter's hand squeeze his and a warm feeling washed over the detective. He smiled at Rafael. "We're heading to Forlini's, why don't you join us?"
Even though the invitation was genuine, Sonny never actually expected Rafael to accept. And before he knew what was happening the three of them were heading towards the restaurant.
Peter kept his hand locked with Sonny's as the three of them walked, every so often he would murmur reassurances into the detective ears, and occasionally the odd dirty joke.
It was barely enough to distract Sonny from the eyes boring into his back. He wondered what he and Peter looked like to Rafael, did they look happy? Sonny hoped so.
When they finally reached the restaurant, Sonny turned to Rafael with a smile. "Last chance to back out."
Of course Rafael was the first of them to enter.
He strode over to the Lieu as though he had been invited, he kissed her on the cheek, shook Fin's hand and even hugged Amanda. Sonny couldn't help but roll his eyes.
He greeted everyone as Peter bought a round of drinks and soon they were chatting about work and the Mets. Even with Peter's hand on his thigh, reassuring him that everything was okay, Sonny couldn't help but sneak a glance at Rafael.
He looked relaxed.
More relaxed than Sonny felt, and he was the one who had moved on. He snuck a look at Peter and frowned. Maybe it was something else that was bothering him.
Though they never discussed the details, Sonny was aware that Rafael and Peter had a one night stand during Rafael's trial. Sonny hated his ex-lover for that. It was unfair that Rafael got to experience Peter, his tenderness, his warmth, well before Sonny did.
Even though Peter reassured Sonny that it was nothing, the jealousy was eating at him.
Then he felt Peter squeeze his thigh and a reassuring kiss was pressed to his neck, and just like that the weight was lifted off Sonny's shoulder's. He couldn't help the smile that blossomed on his face. Peter loved him, and he loved Peter. Rafael would never get to experience that.
All too soon his colleagues were leaving and Sonny noticed Rafael had been left alone. He stood up, dragged Peter over to the man, sat down with him and asked him about what he was working on. That was all the three of them needed to get the conversation going.
Peter was easily able to talk with Rafael, he was the kind of person who could find common ground with his greatest enemy.
It wasn't until Peter excused himself to use the restroom that an awkward silence fell upon the table.
"How have you really been, Rafael?" Sonny leaned forward, he was surprised to find himself genuinely interested.
The only response he received was a grunted, "Busy."
"Busy?" He returned skeptically.
Rafael scoffed with a raised brow. "Obviously."
"Really Rafael?" Sonny couldn't help the scowl that crept across his features. "Surely-"
"Sorry I'm late," an all too familiar voice interrupted.
He watched as Trevor Langan ran a hand over Rafael's shoulder's and squeezed gently.
He watched as Rafael's sullen demeanor turned soft.
And for some inexplicable reason he felt jealousy curl in the pit of his stomach.
The defense attorney held out his hand and introduced himself. "Trevor Langan."
"I know who you are," Sonny forced a smile.
"Has Raf been talking again?" Sonny was surprised at how light the taller man's tone was. "I'm just going to grab myself a drink, Raf, would you like another? Macallan Twelve?"
Sonny couldn't believe the smile that Rafael flashed Langan and how greatful his thanks sounded. As soon as Langan was out of earshot, Sonny couldn't help but snap. "A Defense attorney, Rafael, really?"
"Another man, Sonny, really?" Sonny couldn't help but flinch at Rafael's words.
Sonny didn't owe the man an explanation, and yet he felt obligated. He racked his brain, how could he explain to Rafael how good a man Peter was? How could he do his lover justice?
Then the man himself stepped forward, a blinding smile on his face and a concerned look in his eye.
"I think we should get a move on, Sonny," his tone was light and polite.
"Yes," Sonny eagerly agreed, quickly clambering out of his seat. "Let's go home."
"Goodbye, Rafael," Peter kept his tone polite as he held out his hand. "It was lovely seeing you again."
Rafael eyed the hand warily before he finally shook it. "Thank you."
Sonny was relieved that Peter's hand never left the small of his back as they left the restaurant. When they were finally outside he looked through the window and saw Rafael happily chatting with Langan.
"Are you okay?" Apparently Peter had noticed the look on Sonny's face.
He turned, an easy smile appearing as he looked at his lover. "I'm good, really. I just didn't expect to run into him again."
"You do keep the same circle of friends," Peter chuckled and held out his hand for Sonny to take. "It was bound to happen."
Sonny's hand slid easily into Peter's, as though they had been holding each other's hand their entire lives. Sonny felt the familiar swoop of butterflies in his stomach as they made their way down the street and he let out a light chuckle.
"What?" Peter asked softly.
Sonny just hummed. "Life's funny isn't it?"
"It is?" the EADA's tone was teasing.
"I think the universe gave me the sign I needed," Sonny explained as he pressed himself against Peter's firm body.
Peter stopped them and wrapped an arm around Sonny, his voice dripping with concern. "You needed the universe to give you a sign that it was okay to date me?"
"No," Sonny chucked before he wound his finger's into Peter's hair and tugged the man towards him. "The universe told me I no longer have to worry about Rafael. I now know he is happy and thriving."
Sonny licked his lips before he finally pressed his mouth against Peter's, the contact sending tingles through him. When they finally parted both men had wild grin's on their faces.
"I love you." The words were as natural to Sonny as breathing. Peter's response, though, made Sonny feel as though he was truly alive.
"I love you too."