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A Slight Detour Home

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Sonny barks out a hacking cough as he curls into himself in a vain attempt to conserve body beat. There are tears in his eyes by the time he finally finishes coughing. His head falls against the holding cell’s bars in exhaustion.

He’s been undercover for just shy of three weeks. It was a painstakingly frustrating case and it was just sheer dumb look on the perps’ part that allowed them to get what they needed to make the arrests tonight. When Rollins, Fin, and Lieu moved in to make their arrests he thought it was pretty much done and he would be home within a couple of hours. That’s why he waved off Rollins’ look of concern and dismissed Lieu’s suggestion to head to the hospital to get checked out. But of course, the perps are not making it easy. Their attorney is all over Lieu hollering about the chain of custody. Which means hours later after the bust, Sonny is still stuck in lockup preserving his cover when all he wants is to chug some NyQuil and collapse into bed with Rafael for the next week.

Sonny barks out another cough as his head clinks off the cell’s bars. If only the case against Zeke Crowley and his merry band of pimps and thugs developed as quick as his chest cold, then maybe Sonny would have been home last week. But, that didn’t happen.

He feels his teeth chatter together as a rough bout of chills begin to wrack his body. Sonny takes a wheezing breath as Crowley’s second-hand man, Victor is let back into the cell. Great. He really isn’t going to be leaving anytime soon.

“What is that jackass Henry crying about?” A curt and all too familiar voice calls out across the squad room.

Sonny’s heart starts beating a little faster at hearing Rafael’s voice. If anyone can get this crap squared, Rafael can. Then he can go home. To their bed. He opens his tired eyes and sees the older man talking to Lieu and Rollins before he spears a glance at Sonny. When the DA does finally look over at Sonny, it’s one filled with relief, love, and also deep concern. Rafael almost looks sick to his stomach. Sonny must look awful. He’s not surprised because if he looks half as bad as he feels, Rafael will be mother hening him to death for the foreseeable future.

Rafael breaks eye contact with Sonny and turns back to Lieu.

Good, let’s get this thing moving. Sonny closes his eyes as he leans back against the cell’s bars, letting his harsh uneven breathing lull him into a restless, sleep.

XXX

To his credit, Rafael waits until Liv’s door is shut before he starts.

“Why the hell is he here?!”

Liv takes her glasses off as she sits down behind her desk motioning for him to sit down as well. She’s not surprised when he doesn’t. He has that look in his eye. He’s pissed. It’s the same look that she has seen him get when he’s up against the worst of the worst in court. If she was still standing she would be taking a step back from that intense glare. She’s not used to being on the receiving end of it. And she hopes to never be so again from the way the tension and desperation is pouring off her friend.

“He needs to be in a damn hospital! Why didn’t you send him to the ER when you guys went in?” Rafael bites as he starts pacing back and forth in her office.

“After we went in, Rollins and I asked if he was okay. He was asked if he needed to go to the ER. He said he was okay. Carisi’s a big boy. What was I supposed to do, physically drag him to the hospital? He said he was okay.”

“Does he look okay to you? Look at him! He’s probably delirious! He has no clue what he needs right now.”

Liv stands up. She knows that Rafael is concerned about Carisi, but he has no right to lay into her about Carisi’s health. She’s a good lieutenant and would never do anything to hurt any of her detectives intentionally. Carisi said he was okay. She had to trust him that he was telling her the truth. That’s what a good boss does. Trust her people. Trust her people that they will tell her when they're not okay. “He didn’t want to blow his cover. It was his decision to let his whole thing play out in its entirety.”

“So instead he’s going to sit in there and let his lungs drown in their own mucus,” Rafael replies with a look of disgust, motioning in the direction of the holding cell.

Olivia lets out a sigh. “I doubt he thought it will take this long to process everyone.”

Rafael rubs his chin and lets out a loud sigh. “You’re right. I’m sorry. That asshole Henry is the one stalling this. Complaining about the chain of custody. There’s nothing to that allegation, is there?”

Liv shakes her head. “Everything was done by the book.”

“Good. I’ll deal with Henry. Try to move along,“ Barba says as he stops his pacing to look out the glass window towards the holding cell.

“Okay and I’ll see what I can do on my end to move processing along, so we can at least get Carisi out of booking,” Olivia says as she stands up and makes her way to the door.

“Thanks, Liv.” Rafael says as he follows her back into the bullpen.

XXX

A cool, small hand on his wrist jerks Sonny out of his slumber.

“Hey, easy.” A familiar voice says soothingly.

Sonny looks out of his blurry eyes to see a concerned looking Rollins standing in front of him. Is he free to go?

“I have to take you to interrogation,” Rollins says regretfully.

Sonny looks around to see there are still two of the perps from their bust still there. Great. Looks like he’s still not going home any time soon.

“Come on,” Rollins say as she places a hand on his arm, urging him to stand. “We need you in interrogation.”

A couple of times spots blur his vision, forcing him to stop and rest so he can get his bearings as they make their way to the interrogation room. He sees the blinds are down. When they finally reach the interrogation room, cold sweat is running down his back as he all but collapses into the chair.

“Here you go,” Rollins says as she hands him a bottle of water. “Drink this. You need it.”

He takes the bottle into his shaking hands and starts drinking, relieving his sore throat. He’s forced to stop when he starts to cough. “Thanks,” Sonny croaks out pushing the water bottle away once he is able to catch his breath.

“We should be able to get you outta here pretty soon. Liv and Barba are working on it,” Rollins explains. “You look awful. Do you want me to get you something to eat? Maybe some soup”

Just hearing about food, causes Sonny’s stomach to flip. Food is the last thing he…or his stomach wants right now. “Nah, I’m go--,” his words are cut off when a deep, chest rattling cough takes hold.

Rollins brings a hand to his back, rubbing small circles. “Easy, Carisi. Easy.”

He appreciates her trying to comfort him, but it’s not her that he wants. He looks out the window into the bullpen. Where is Rafael? He wants to go home.

“I wish there was a place for you to lay down,” Rollins says sadly looking around the sparsely furnished interrogation room. There is only a couple of chairs and table. No good place to lie down. “You definitely have a fever and you should be in bed. The next time the lieutenant or I ask you if you need to go to the hospital, you’re going no matter what you say.”

Sonny nods in agreement as he starts coughing again. If he feels like this ever again, he’ll put himself in the damn ambulance.

When he finally stops coughing, Rollins looks at him at a loss of what to do. “Barba is royally pissed at Liv for not sending your sick ass to the ER after we made the bust.”

He’s going to have to talk to Rafael. It’s not lieu’s fault that he’s sick. He shouldn’t be taking out his anger on her. But right now, Sonny does not have the energy to respond. Instead he lays his head down on his arms, closing his eyes letting his exhausted body drift off to sleep again.

He doesn’t know if it’s minutes or hours, but the next time he wakes it’s to a familiar hand running down his hot cheek. “Sonny? Baby, please wake up for me.”

It takes him longer than it should to wake up, but when he does it’s to a smiling Rafael. “Hey.”

“Hey,” Sonny repeats as he starts another bout of coughing.

It takes way too long to get the coughing to stop this time. Rafael feels helpless as all he can do is wait for his lover’s hacking coughs to stop. When it finally does, he gives Sonny a sad look, running his hand through the younger man’s mess of curls. The touch feels good. “You ready to get out of here?”

Hell yeah. Get me out of here. But, he can’t seem to get the words out. All his energy is being spent on the simple act of breathing. God Bless him, Rafael knows what Sonny is thinking. For he pulls Sonny up from his chair and gets a good look at him and runs a hand over his fevered cheek.

“I know you want to go home, but I have to get you to an ER and get some real meds in you,” Rafael says as he wraps an arm around the younger man’s waist. “I don’t think this is just a cold that some Nyquil can fix.”

Sonny doesn’t say anything and lets the other man guide him to the door. He’s just so happy to be getting out of there and getting to sleep in a bed, a real bed.

Normally, Rafael shies away from such public displays of affection, but not tonight. At this late hour the bullpen is virtually empty, so there won’t be many spying eyes. Second, from the way Sonny is leaning almost all of his weight onto the shorter man, he doesn’t think that Sonny would be able to walk out of there on his own.

“Come on, let’s go.” Rafael says as they slowly make their way across the bullpen. He wishes Liv and Rollins a good night as he passes them on their way out with a promise to text them after Sonny is seen at the ER.

They’re almost halfway across the bullpen when Sonny starts that god-awful coughing again. With no other choice, Rafael stops where they are so that Sonny can catch his breath. He squeezes Sonny a little closer to himself in hopes of giving the other man some much-needed comfort as well as support. Sonny looks at him with fever bright eyes when he finally stops coughing. His eyes are looking at Rafael, but there is no comprehension in the blue eyes staring back at the prosecutor.

"You okay, Sonny? You with me?"A clearly unnerved Rafael asks.

 But instead of answering, Sonny’s eyes roll in the back of his head as he slips from Rafael’s grip crashing to the bullpen’s floor, to everyone’s shock.