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And There, at the End

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Rafael knows to think before he speaks. It’s a lesson his mother instilled in him at a young age. Rafi, mijo, it’s unfair, but people will make assumptions about you, because of where you come from, the color of your skin, the language of our people. Don’t ever prove them right. She’d always tell him as she zipped his coat, or tucked his hat over his ears. Use that head of yours, papito. Make sure you know how people are going to react before you say anything. Don’t let your big brain become a big mouth. If only he had learned to think before he acted too. Then maybe he wouldn’t have ended up here, walking up the five flights of stairs to the apartment he may never call home again.

It’s a foolish thought, really, because Rafael knows he did think it through. He weighed the options, considered the consequences, and decided it was a bad idea. Not for his moral compass, not for his sense of justice, or ethics skewed slightly by his time at SVU. It was a bad idea because it means the end. Of his life as he knows it, his life working with SVU, working as an attorney at the DAs office, the end of his life with Trevor. That had been the final pin that tipped the scales of justice against doing it.

But he did anyway, and for the life of him, Rafael can’t figure out why, so instead he commits to the slow, anguished funeral march to apartment 532, for what might be the last time.

He hesitates at the door, just long enough to hear the rustling of papers on the other side, and his entire body tenses.

This is what he’s most afraid of.

Not a jury.

Not a judge.

Not even an executioner.

Just Trevor. Soft, sweet Trevor with eyes that remind him of wispy clouds across a pale blue sky. Trevor, who will undoubtedly offer nothing but understanding, and compassion, who will hide his sadness, and his disappointment and his anger until Rafael can’t see it. Trevor who will be strong when Rafael is weak, but soft exactly when he needs it.

Rafael knows he’s done nothing to deserve the man just behind the door, waiting for him to come home. If the roles had been reversed, Rafael knows he’d be wearing down the lacquered hardwood floors waiting for Trevor with bitter resentment, that he’d made that sort of decision for them, thrown a wrench into their life together, their future. Extinguished the possibility of a happy ending.

But he won’t get that from Trevor. Not tonight. And maybe, that’s what makes it hurt so much.

Still, he turns the doorknob and steps inside the apartment, letting the door swing closed behind him.

Trevor is exactly where Rafael expects him to be, long legs kicked up onto the coffee table, a stack of files in his lap, half empty mug of coffee or tea in one hand. It hits Rafael right in the chest, wind sucked out of his lungs. This is what he’s going to miss, coming home and curling up next to him on the couch.

“Rafael,” Trevor murmurs softly as he looks up from the papers, peering over the rim of his reading glasses, and he immediately sits up, sets the files on the coffee table. “Are you okay?” He asks as he stands up, taking a step towards Rafael, still frozen at the door.

“No,” Rafael’s voice cracks, and he can feel the tears welling in his eyes for the first time since this whole storm began. “No, I was indicted,” his breath hitches, but he can’t move. His feet feel like they’re glued to the floor, like he’s sinking in a quicksand that only he can see.

But Trevor takes the steps for him instead, pulls him into the sort of hug Rafael feels like he could live in, warm, and safe, and all consuming. “I know, Rafael, I know. Liv called me. I know the trial starts tomorrow.” He threads his fingers through the short hair on the back of Rafael’s head, holding him close.

Rafael lets out a heavy sob, entire body trembling under the tension, the weight of everything he’s been holding in. He can’t hide anything from Trevor, even if he wants to. In front of Trevor he’s split open and raw, chest bared, every flaw and insecurity, tender and exposed. He’s never wanted it to be any different.

“I’m sorry,” Rafael’s words are broken, and muffled by his face pressed against Trevor’s chest, but he repeats it like a hymn, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Trevor just pulls him a little closer, holds him a little tighter. He presses his lips to the top of Rafael’s head and waits for the heavy sobs wracking Rafael’s body to subside.

“It’s okay,” Trevor murmurs as Rafael relaxes against him, fist still twisted in the soft fabric of Trevor’s old tee shirt.

It’s not okay, and they both know that.

“I could spend the rest of my life in prison, Trevor,” Rafael finally pulls away, taking a step back. He knows they have to talk about this, that he has to convince Trevor that if the verdict comes down the way they both expect it to, he shouldn’t stay, needs to convince Trevor that he doesn’t expect him to wait.

“We’ll cross that bridge when it comes to it, Rafael. We’re not there yet,” he offers softly, and lets his hands rest on Rafael’s hips.

“We are, Trevor. We’re there and we should talk about it. I don’t expect you to stay. I don’t expect you to come to visiting hours in Attica,” Rafael replies with a bitter bite, like he’s trying to keep his emotions at arms length, just casual acceptance of his fate.

Trevor knows him better than that.

“You and I both know that trials never go the way you expect them to. We’re not there yet.”

It’s Rafael who surges forward, yanking Trevor down by his clutch on his shirt into a heated kiss. Trevor hesitates for only a moment, a split second or something shorter before he pulls Rafael back against him, pressing his knee between Rafael’s legs, grinding against him.

This is it, and they’re both acutely aware of that somewhere in the back of their minds. Tonight might be all they ever get, might be the end. Rafael wants something to remember. He tips his head back and groans brokenly, still clutching at Trevor, afraid that if he loosens his grip, he’s going to lose him too soon.

Trevor moves for Rafael’s suit jacket first, pushes it off broad shoulders and lets it fall to the floor. Maybe another day Rafael might have made a joke, might have gotten annoyed with the casual treatment of such expensive fabric, but it seems trivial now, and he just traces his hands under Trevor’s shirt, fingers grazing every inch of his stomach and chest, back and sides like he’s trying to commit it all to memory while Trevor’s nimble fingers work at the knot at Rafael’s neck.

The tie goes, and then suspenders, and finally he starts unbuttoning Rafael’s shirt, exposing dark sparse curls against tanned skin. The sight is more than he can take, and Trevor leans in again to capture Rafael’s lips in a soft, wet kiss. It’s jarring, Rafael thinks, the sweet sincerity he can feel with Trevor’s mouth against his, the taste of chamomile tea on his breath juxtaposed against the burgeoning, desperate desire he feels in the pit of his stomach, the rising urgency, the reminder that they only have tonight.

Rafael’s shirt joins the rest of his abandoned clothes on the floor, and Trevor moves his hands to the waistband of Rafael’s suit pants.

“Wait,” Rafael murmurs, chest heaving, face flushed and slightly out of breath. Trevor pauses immediately, and his eyes soften, searching Rafael for an explanation. Rafael says nothing further, just reaches for the hem of Trevor’s shirt.

Trevor gets the hint, and lifts his shirt over his head, and before he can even cast it aside, Rafael’s fingers are hooked in the hem of his soft cotton pajama pants, sliding them down over angled hips.

Trevor shudders at the rush of cool air against his hardening cock, and Rafael wastes no time crowding back up against him, long fingers clenching at his hip. Rafael fleetingly hopes that he leaves bruises, that there will be remnants of him, of this, on Trevor’s skin for just a little longer, after he’s gone, and grinds his still clothed hips against him. Trevor’s breath hitches, a gentle little gasp, and Rafael knows he’s holding back, he always does.

Trevor though, takes a step back, fumbles with the clasp on Rafael’s pants, shoves them roughly down over his hips, fabric pooling at his ankles, and Trevor pulls him back in, coaxing a heady groan out of Rafael’s chest, the dry slide against each other.

“Please,” Rafael’s voice cracks as his fingers tighten against Trevor’s sides. Rafael usually has all the patience in the world, lets Trevor take his time, run his fingertips up and down his sides, meet his lips with soft kisses. Every time feels like gentle exploration, but this, the feeling of panic, of desperation is welling in the pit of his stomach and he can’t wait. “The end table,” he encourages as he tips his head back, Trevor’s teeth sinking into the tanned skin on his neck, just hard enough to leave a mark.

“Come to bed,” Trevor whispers in reply, husky and hot pressed against Rafael’s ear, but Rafael doesn’t move.

“No, please,” Rafael shakes his head, tears welling in his eyes already and Trevor hesitates, “right here,” he takes a step backwards, back against the wall. “Please,” he adds again, and Trevor couldn’t say no even if he wanted to.

Trevor has never wanted anything more than to be Rafael’s port in the storm, safe haven from the rain. Come tomorrow, there’s nothing he’ll be able to do, no amount of sheltering will save Rafael from facing down the justice system that has been a home to them for twenty years.

He steps away for just a moment, and Rafael whimpers at the loss, too much of a reminder that they’ll have to part come morning, but then Trevor’s back immediately, pressing Rafael against the wall with a ferocity that takes him by surprise. Trevor nudges Rafael’s legs apart and reaches between them, slicked fingers massaging at Rafael’s hole.

“Don’t tease,” Rafael gasps, hands anchored against Trevor’s shoulders, knees buckling as Trevor presses a finger inside him, torturously slow. Trevor likes to take his time, work Rafael open with careful precision teasing and fleeting brushes against his prostate until he’s impossibly hard and begging. “More, Trevor, please,” Rafael chants, his head tipping back against the wall, breath quickening, chest pounding as Trevor adds a second finger.

Trevor likes to take his time, but Rafael has always sort of relished the painful pleasure of rushed prep, and right now he wants to feel it, wants something that he’ll still feel in the morning, sitting on the other side of the courtroom.

“Please, Trevor just fuck me,” Rafael begs through a loud moan as Trevor curls his fingers, knees shaking. Trevor’s acutely aware that this may be his last chance to give Rafael what he wants, for Rafael to get what he wants, so he obliges, withdraws his fingers leaving Rafael feeling more hollow than his chest does, the pads of his fingers circling teasingly, lingering. It’s hard to pull away, like every single touch might be the last one to remember.

Rafael clutches at Trevor’s arm, open-mouthed to beg again when he’s startled by the sudden rush, gathered off the ground in Trevor’s arms, and even amongst his surprise, he instinctively wraps his legs around Trevor’s waist, and he’s not sure if it’s skill, or familiarity, but Trevor doesn’t fumble, doesn’t miss a beat as he lets Rafael’s back hit the wall and slides into him in one slow, unyielding movement.

They stay like that for a moment, Rafael breathing deeply to adjust to the intrusion, burning slightly but he’s never felt more complete than this moment, this last desperate precipice. Trevor waits, one arm circled around Rafael’s lower back, the other anchored against the wall, peering down at him unblinking, and just for a moment Rafael thinks that maybe he sees mourning flit across his features. Rafael can’t stand the thought, can’t face what he’s done, not to himself, not to it, but to him, Trevor, always willing to offer everything he has.

Rafael shifts his hips slightly, taking Trevor’s length just a little deeper, but he brushes against Rafael’s prostate, and his entire body tenses. “Please,” Rafael claws at Trevor’s shoulders. He doesn’t want time to adjust, they don’t have that kind of time, he just wants to feel it; maybe Trevor understands that somewhere, maybe he doesn’t, but either way he understands what Rafael is begging for so desperately and cants his hips before he sets off a punishing rhythm. It catches Rafael by surprise, and he lets out a gasp but it fades into a moan, absolutely overwhelmed by a deluge of pleasure and pain, love and yearning.

Rafael, Trevor, they both want the moment to last forever, don’t want to let the reality of the situation settle the moment this ends the way they know it will, but neither can hold on, not with the brutal staccato rhythm Trevor set, not with the way Rafael squirms against the wall, legs tightening around Trevor’s waist, each forceful stroke filling him almost more than he can bare.

Rafael comes first, untouched, startling and shattered, Trevor’s name caught in an eddy of broken moaning, and Trevor’s not far behind, his head bowed in next to Rafael’s as his body tenses and seizes, emptying everything he has deep inside of Rafael, like somehow it will still connect them after everything is said and done.

Trevor pins Rafael against the wall just enough to withdraw, and sort of stumbles backwards, legs near trembling from the exertion and it’s only then that Rafael realizes he’s crying. His stomach clenches painfully because he did this, to them, in true form like everything else in his life, Rafael ruined them.

Trevor collapses on the couch and beckons for Rafael to follow. Unsteady on his feet, it takes Rafael a moment, and he hesitates because he doesn’t deserve this, doesn’t deserve the relentless unyielding compassion, and love, and understanding he always gets from Trevor. But still he can’t bring himself to walk away, not before he has to, so he drops into the couch, settling into the crook of Trevor’s shoulder, burying his face against sweat slicked skin, hoping Trevor won’t notice the tears welling at the corners of his eyes.

But Trevor does, he always does, and he cards his hand gently through Rafael’s damp hair, “it’s not over yet.” Trevor tries to remind him, but Rafael knows it is.