Barba was never babysitting Noah again. EVER. No matter how much Liv begged him. This was not in any way worth helping his friend out.
He was standing at the closest open laundromat, pushing his now ruined pants and shirt into a washing machine. Of course every dry-cleaner in the area was closed today, forcing him to instead clean his clothes on the mildest rinsing program the machine could offer. He glared at the sparkles that still stuck to his hand as he pressed the start button. Of course Noah had wanted to play with glitter. Of course Noah had spilled it. Of course it had stuck all over Barba’s pinstriped suit, hair, and shoes. He looked like he'd been visited by Tinker Bell. At least that's what Noah had exclaimed, thrilled. Liv had given him a pair of loose shorts that Tucker had left in her apartment, while failing to hold her laughter at bay.
At the moment, he was wearing said shorts, socks, shoes, his undershirt, and since there was no way he was letting it out of his sights, his blazer. To add to injury, his hair, eyebrows and skin in general were all covered in tiny sparkles. He looked like he'd been at a strip club. Who knows, maybe there exists a stripper with the name Tinker Bell? He was in New York after all. His only comfort in this situation was that with the exception of Liv and Noah, no one he knew would see him like this. One hour to rinse, half hour on the gentlest drying program, and he'd be able to at least wear it home. No one would ever know.
“Yeah, I'll get back to you later leu,” a thick Staten Island accent burrowed its way into his ear. Carisi. Oh no. Oh god no! Could he hide? Who was he kidding, all there was was fucking washing machines and dryers. Maybe he wouldn’t recognise him without the suit? How could he, that was all he ever wore.
Slowly, oh so slowly, he turned his head to the side. He nearly choked. There stood Dominick Carisi, leaning casually against a washing machine on one palm, the other pocketing a phone, wearing nothing but an off-white undershirt and a pair of hot pink booty shorts. There were sequins forming a word on the back. Tilting his head into an angle, he nearly damned choked again. Across Carisi’s ass, in golden sequins to set off to the hot pink, read the word JUICY.
This time he made a sound in the back of his throat. Carisi glanced over in response to the sound, giving Barba the kind of look you give a complete stranger when you glance at them. Then he whiplashed back, eyes wide.
“Hey counselor, I didn't recogni...” Carisi’s sentence came to a stop as he took in Barba in all his sparked glory. Barba himself was also speechless. When Carisi had turned to face him , he'd also revealed the writing on his undershirt. In bright pink, actually not that far away from the hot pink off his shorts, stood the words “ BAD BITCH” .
They both stood like that, staring at each other like deer caught in headlights. Barba’s eyebrows rose in a silent question to Carisi’s shirt. He didn’t answer, his eyes glued to the sparkles stuck onto said eyebrows.
Barba was the first to regain motor functions. He cleared his throat, turned slightly away to face his washer and muttered loud enough for the other man to hear;
“How about we just never talk about this ever again?”
Carisi’s head bounced up and down in agreement, suddenly acutely aware of the words displayed both on his chest and ass. “Yeah, that sounds like a plan Barba.” the two stayed in silence, both ignoring the red tips on the other’s ears. Barba made sure to send Liv a text, assuring her that it would be a cold day in hell before he ever babysat again. She responded with a grumpy face, an arrow pointing to the emoji, and the words; this is you .
Carisi was fidgeting, the uncomfortable silence clearly killing him.
“So... was it a good party?” He asked, breaking the silence.
“I beg your pardon?” Barba turned to face him, not having caught what Carisi had said.
“The party... was it good?” He gestured to Barba in general, but Barba knew what he ment. The glitter . He smiled his best venomous smile and answered.
“Only if you count running after a four-year old and him throwing glitter all over your favorite suit a party.” Barba glanced at his watch. Carisi only laughed in response.
“Noah, huh? Yeah, that kid is pretty wild sometimes. It’s fun though.” He was running his hand through his hair, his smile still lingering on his face.
“And you? Just got off your shift at Hooters?” Carisi turned dark red. Barba was pleased. If they were having this conversation, Carsisi was going to be just as uncomfortable as he was. Besides, he looked quite lovely with that shade of red splattered across his cheeks. Barba forced his eyes to remain on his colleague’s face and not his ass, which was difficult enough in any other situation, but the hot pink and the short shorts in general were not helping.
“Ya know how it is, laundry day and all. Everything else is in the washer.” His dialect was thicker than usual, and it sent shivers down Barba’s back.
“And the only things left for you to wear was a top and a pair of booty shorts which read “Juicy” and “Bad Bitch?” He drew out the words, tasting each one as it left his mouth, just like he would in court when he knew he had the witness exactly where he wanted them.
“...My sister left them at my place?”
“Was that an answer or a question, detective?”
“Like you should talk, Mr. Sparkles.” Carisi grumbled, but a smile was still dancing on his lips, showing that he didn’t take offence in Barba’s teasing.
Barba opened his mouth to counter, closed it, then opened it again. Then he shook his head, before laughing softly. “We both look absolutely ridiculous, don’t we?” He rubbed the back of his neck as Carisi joined in with a chuckle of his own. Their eyes met, blue against green. Carisi let out a loud snort. Barba followed with a bark of laughter. Before they knew it, they were howling with laughter, supporting themselves against the washing machines. Everytime one of them got close to calming down, all it took was a glance at the other to start up again. At some point, they stumbled closer to each other, now using the other as a means to stay standing. Exhausted by laughter, they rested against each other in comfortable silence. Barba wiped away a few tears that had leaked through. Carisi did the same.
“I think that’s the hardest I’ve laughed in months,” Carisi panted softly leaning against his washer, his hips connecting with the machine at the exact moment it dinged, signalizing it was done.
“Months? Try years” Barba smiled, leaning on the neighboring washer, enjoying the view when Carisi crouched to take out his laundry. Those shorts might very well be the end for him. But god, what an ending it would be.
“Years? I’ll have to wear this more often then.” Carisi winked.
“Please do!” The words left Barba’s mouth before he could even think about stopping them. Carisi stood up slowly, eying Barba up and down. A smile was dancing on his face. “Sure.” Barba’s throat was suddenly very dry. “Uhm...” Carisi’s phone rang. He pulled the phone out of his shorts, how was there even room for a phone in those?! , and answered, still sporting an amused, and, dare Barba say it, a seductive look on his face?
“Yeah Leu? Where? Yeah, I can be there in forty five minutes. Yeah, alright, see ya there.” he hung up, turning to Barba who was still the color of a tomato. “I gotta run, we just got a new case.”
“Right.” Work. Barba could handle work. Apparently, he could not handle a flirting Carisi. Lord have mercy. Carisi pulled a pair of jeans from his pile of dry clothes, tugging them on over the shorts, and covered the top with a shirt. He picked his baskets up from the floor, and whisked out with a “I’ll see you around, counselor” before exiting the little laundromat.
“Juicy”, Barba muttered to himself before turning his attention to his phone once more.
“Come on Barba, you’ve got to give us something!” Liv was standing in his office, trying as she always did, to get a warrant for something they did not have probable cause for. She looked frustrated. So was Barba feeling. Next to Liv stood Carisi, and Barba could not for the life of him get the image of those hot pink booty shorts out of his head. Then there was also the fact that Carisi, in the last three weeks since the “incident” had not acknowledged any part of it, at all, in any way, shape or form.
“When you get me probable cause, I’ll get you all the warrants you could ever want.” It didn't help that he looked damned good in his suit. At least Barba knew he looked just as good today, in his black and purple number. “Where are we with Smith?”
“All three victims refuse to testify, still no DNA connecting him to the crimes.” Liv sighed. This case had been rough on all of them, and they weren’t even close to the finish line. Barba was already nursing two aspirin to account for the headache it was causing him, and it was barely 10 in the morning.
“Maybe we can convince him to confess” Carisi mussed, running his hand through his dirty blond hair.
“And how do you suggest we do that? Introduce him to Detetive Bad Bitch?” He probably shouldn't have said it, but god, watching Carisi’s eyes widening, and his cheeks flushing in a millisecond, it was worth it. Liv stared between the two of them, confused. “Wha..”
“I don’t see you coming up with any glittering ideas.” Liv let out a choked sound at Carisi’s words, her hands pressing against her mouth in order to not laugh. This one she got. Barba popped up an eyebrow, both in silent frustration and because he was impressed with Carisi’s comeback. Liv was shaking. She didn’t make a single sound, only shuffled her way out from Barba’s office. The moment she closed the door, they could hear her laughing like a maniac. The two shared a look.
“So that’s how we sounded.” Carisi chuckled.
“Mmmm,” Barba hummed in agreement. Then he set his eyes on Carisi. “If you think I’ve forgotten about your promise to wear those shorts for me again, you’re dead wrong.” His voice was cool, in control, so unlike how it would have played out had Carisi not run out when he had three weeks ago. The only sign that Carisi reacted at all was a gentle jerk in his knee.
“I’m free tonight.” Carisi’s words hung in the air, a possibility floating in the room. Barba just nodded. “Good. Now get out of here, you’ve got some probable cause to find and a confession to get.”
“Yeah yeah, I’ll see you later Counselor,” He said as he headed out the door. Barba answered, not loudly, but Carisi still heard him.
“See you tonight, Juicy.”