Things are weird at work. Even if she says that nothing’s changed, Amanda’s been acting weird ever since Sonny came out to her. He thinks it would be better if she was overtly rude, because he knows how to handle that. Instead, she’s just distant. Their years of friendship have gone back to the tension and uncertainty that they had when they first met. Not once in three weeks has she smiled at him other than a tight-lipped courtesy or asked him if he wants to come over and spend time with his goddaughter. The best way to explain is that she doesn’t trust him anymore.
Olivia had said to give her time, but Sonny isn’t sure that that’ll be enough to fix this. Everyone has noticed their sudden distance and he doesn’t know how long he’s going to be able to handle it. She shouldn’t care at all what he was born as, especially not since she doesn’t have to get used to calling him a new name. This feels strange and awful. Sonny wants to say that she shouldn’t care, knows that she shouldn’t, but at the same time a part of him doesn’t really blame her. He’s weird. He doesn’t fit. One more thing to add to the list of reasons Sonny Carisi does not belong.
It comes to a head when Amanda refuses to even consider his input on a case. He can’t take it anymore and drags her into the crypt for a conversation.
“What the hell is going on? You’ve been acting weird ever since I told you that…” he trails off, the words dying on his tongue because there’s never been a manual for how to approach a situation like this.
“Since you told me that you’re not a boy? Gee, I wonder why that would upset me.”
His vision gets blurry for a moment. “You’re right, I’m not a boy. I’m a grown man and it shouldn’t matter to you or anyone else what the hospital decided more than thirty years ago.”
Amanda has the decency to flush, but it doesn’t change her words or her guarded posture. The damage has already been done and she doesn’t look like she feels any different. As much as Sonny wants to storm away, he needs her to understand. Even if he doesn’t get why he needs that, he knows that he does.
“So why does it upset you Amanda? Why do you care?”
“I don’t know,” she confesses after a beat of silence. And Sonny believes her, but his heart is still a little broken. “You’re right. It shouldn’t matter. Can I have another chance?”
He almost says no.
She thanks him before she leaves. Sonny still has pain searing fire in his chest, but now he doesn’t have any way to try and make it stop. He has a sudden realization that she didn’t apologize, maybe because she doesn’t get how much she’s hurt him. It really, really bothers him to think about that possibility, but he doesn’t let it show. But for the time being, the issue has been set aside and the two of them can get back to working together in peace and putting away criminals.
He goes home that night feeling better than he has in a while, with a slight bounce in his step and a smile fighting to emerge on his face. Rafael came home first after winning a tough case against his old friend Alex, which means that he’ll be riding that high in his own state of confidence and happiness excitement until they go to bed, and maybe into the next day. He must’ve ordered takeout that’s arrived in the past couple minutes, because as soon as Sonny turns into the hallway of the building with their front door, he smells Chinese food.
His key catches on the lock and won’t pull it, and Sonny’s about to sigh and knock when it unlocks and opens on its own to Rafael smirking with a raised eyebrow. “Having trouble?”
“Maybe a little. Remind me to call the super tomorrow,” he says, yanking his key free and shoving it deep into his pocket. “Heard you convicted Muñoz finally.”
“Barely. The jury was out for days.”
“You still did it.” Sonny bumps his shoulder against Rafael’s before he sheds his coat and hangs it up by the door.
The takeout smells stronger in here. One container is open with two wooden chopsticks sticking out of it, right in front of Rafael’s seat at their small table. An unopened one with still attached chopsticks sits in front of Sonny’s chair, warm steam still seeping from the cracks. He grins and takes his seat, eagerly opening up his food. At this exact moment, he realizes that he hasn’t eaten since lunch time yesterday, having gotten home late and collapsing last night and being too busy to get breakfast or lunch today. He’s quick to dig in, and winds up finishing his food before Rafael despite starting later.
With a full stomach and the aftermath of a long couple weeks, Sonny’s suddenly really tired and wants nothing more than to lay in bed with Rafael and sleep for the next year without having to worry so much about the issues in his personal life on top of the sorts of things he faces every day as a detective at SVU. He loves his job, sure, but it can be a bit too taxing at times.
“When’s your next day off?” Rafael asks, almost as if he knows exactly what Sonny’s thinking about.
He has to take a moment to mentally review his calendar before answering, “I think Monday, but I’ll still be on call.”
“Liv should really swallow her pride and ask for some reinforcements.”
Sonny shrugs half-heartedly and stands up, gathering his garbage and now that Rafael’s finished, his as well. He hates how often they end up eating like this, especially when one of them comes home too late and settles for nuking leftovers in the microwave. Cooking may be tiring, but a part of Sonny always feels warm inside cooking for Rafael or the squad. He’s taking care of them, something he wishes he was able to do better.
After the table’s cleared and meticulously wiped down, Sonny sits beside Rafael on the couch and scans the case briefs. Apparently one of the defense attorneys from an upcoming case has dug up every single motion she can think to file to disrupt and destroy their case before the trial even starts. If he was more awake and more present of mind, Sonny would offer to help, but right now he cares more about how easy it would be to fall asleep lying there with his cheek on Rafael’s shoulder.
That’s what he must’ve done, because he wakes up in bed with a vague memory of being carried there by Rafael. On the nightstand, their little digital clock blinks bright red numbers that it’s almost five thirty in the morning- neither of them have to get up for at least another hour. Sonny can’t go back to sleep- once he’s up, he’s up for the day- but he doesn’t want to wake Rafael up yet. Instead, he raises his hand without thinking to run his thumb over Rafael’s lips. They’re so much softer than they look, and Sonny takes pride in being the only one who knows that. Rafael in general is much more gentle and sweet than everyone thinks. He smiles often, he’s affectionate, and when he isn’t paying attention, he mumbles a lot. He’s human, and in a secret way that Sonny likes to think of as his.
Rafael blinks awake with sleepy green eyes. “Morning,” he croaks, voice not yet woken up.
He realizes that his hand is still on Rafael’s cheek and quickly drops it, only for Rafael to grab it and lace their fingers together. This moment just between the two of them is one that Sonny is already filing away to look at again when he’s feeling down. No matter what happens, this is his and always will be. He leans forward enough to kiss Rafael. Not even morning breath can ruin this. They kiss again, and again, and next thing Sonny knows Rafael is on top of him, propped up on his forearms.
“Promise me you’ll say stop if you get uncomfortable?” Sonny nods. “Out loud.”
Rafael hums happily and goes back to kissing Sonny. It’s not urgent, or needy, just another way to feel loved and wanted and everything that Sonny’s always needed but hasn’t ever had the chance to enjoy without guilt. He relaxes and enjoys the intimacy. This is a memory he wants to save too, kissing Rafael in a quiet dark room and not being afraid.
In a sudden surge of confidence, Sonny takes one of Rafael’s hands and guides it to the waistband of his boxers. He isn’t sure what he wants, or what he’s expecting, but he’s curious and he knows that Rafael won’t make him do anything. This isn’t like last time. He has the cover of the dark and he’s still dressed, which makes more of a difference than he realized. It’s a lot easier to tell himself right now that everything will be okay.
Rafael’s fingers skim along Sonny’s waistband but don’t stray too low or slip beneath without permission. Sonny curls his hand around Rafael’s wrist, not holding too tightly but making his presence known. He breaks the kiss and looks anywhere but Rafael’s eyes.
He trails off, trying to find words. Rafael doesn’t push him.
“I want you to touch me. So I can see how it feels.”
His stomach muscles tighten when fingertips finally dip into his underwear, but he can’t tell if it’s from fear or anticipation or something else entirely. Rafael’s hand is warm, a little rough with hints of calluses. At some point Sonny realizes that he’s holding his breath. He lets it out at the same time as Rafael settles so that his knees touch the bed and he can gently guide Sonny’s legs apart.
“Tell me what feels good,” he says softly.
His voice is thinner than he expects, more breathy and pitched kind of high. Yes, he’s a little nervous, but he’s excited too. When Rafael moves just a little lower and slips two fingers in between Sonny’s lips, he tenses.
“I’m okay for now.”
Rafael kisses Sonny’s temple and starts making slow circles with his fingers. It gives Sonny a strange feeling that isn’t quite bad. He doesn’t know how to explain, but a small noise claws its way out of his throat. “Raf.-”
The name dies on his tongue before he can finish. He tightens his hold on Rafael’s wrist. Something like a knot in his chest is growing and growing and becoming something uncontrollable the longer this goes on. Rafael moves faster. His breath keeps catching and tangling with his moans in an incomprehensible jumble. He throws his head back on the pillows and arches his back off the bed, although he doesn’t know why.
“Raf- shit- I-”
Tighter and tighter his muscles are bunching and the knot in his chest grows until it’s too much and he makes a garbled whine that he can barely hear over an odd buzzing in his ears. By the time he can hear again, he has a weird not quite ache where Rafael’s touching him. He pulls Rafael’s hand away and laces their fingers together. There’s a stickiness to his skin that Sonny doesn’t understand but he’s too tired to be grossed out. His eyes are all droopy.
“I liked that,” he mumbles.
Rafael lays down beside him. “That’s called an orgasm.”
“Should I return the favor?”
“No, just get a quick nap in before we have to get up.”
He nods and before he knows it, he’s drifted back to sleep.