"Bye Aunt Casey!"
"Let's go you two," a ginger-haired woman ushered a teenage girl and a four year old girl out of the Homicide A.D.A's office. Casey Novak was a busy woman and having her cousin and nieces in her office wouldn't be helping her finish any time sooner.
Thankfully her cousin, Montserrat Novak, was off duty that day. Being an SVU Detective rarely gave such free days, and just to her luck she was tasked with babysitting her nieces. She'd secretly brought them over to Casey just to let her in on how annoying babysitting was going to be.
The older teenager, Jules, was being particularly difficult since her own plans were being altered due to her parents dumping her and her sister with Montserrat. "Aunt Montse, please just let me go to the concert! I promise I'll be back by midnight!"
Montserrat awkwardly smiled at the passing people. "Jules, be quiet. People are working here!"
Jules did no such thing. Instead, she stopped and turned around with the intention of finishing her case. "But aunt Montse, my parents were already going to say yes-"
"-no they weren't," Jules' younger sister, Ivanna, shook her head. "Mommy was saying no-"
"-be quiet," Jules ordered through gritted teeth. Leave it to the brat to ruin what could be her ticket to the best concert in the city.
Montserrat crossed her arms, tilting her head at her young niece. "Jules, they said no. Your dad would kill me and then your aunt Casey would have to prosecute him for it. Is that what you want?"
Jules rolled her eyes. "Save the dramatics, aunt Montse. I'm sixteen, not an idiot. Just let me make my case, alright?"
"You want to treat this as a case? I've seen plenty, Jules, and they hardly work for the people in the wrong."
"The concert is of a band that's actually pretty influential-"
"-Eeeh, wrong!" Montserrat unceremoniously cut the girl off. "Try again. They have multiple lawsuits that Casey's talked about."
"I-I could meet important people for college-"
"-Eeeh wrong!" Montserrat once again cut her. "It's a concert. Not a college tour. That was a weak point and you know it."
Ivanna giggled beside her aunt, only further irritating Jules. The teenager responded in a louder manner much to Montserrat's dismay. "I'd be going with responsible friends who have never given any reason for my parents to distrust them!"
"Eeeh, wrong!" Montserrat still went. "You think I didn't hear about your friend Leah's DUI? Not to mention the fact she's underage."
Jules growled, her hands strangling nothing in the air. "I'd call in every hour-"
"Wrong. You pulled that one on Casey-"
"-would you stop doing that!?"
Montserrat's moment of smugness was short-lived when someone else came to Jules' defense, though he didn't really know he was.
"Frustration like that can only be reserved for Detective Montserrat Novak," Rafael Barba came to stand beside Montserrat with a wide smirk. "I would know."
"It's my day off, you can't bother me. It's a written rule," Montserrat pointed him to stay quiet.
"Again, I would know about that. And it's not a rule," he gave a light shake of his head.
"Do you have work stuff in there?" Ivanna pulled his attention. She was tapping his briefcase he was holding. "My Daddy has one too but he never lets me near it."
"Because you draw on everything," Jules bitterly remarked.
"My brother's a contractor," Montserrat clarified for Rafael. "And we were leaving before we pull any other A.D.A out of their office."
"Too late," Rafael stopped her with the words. "I heard you even inside closed doors. You're more mature than I thought with your, uh...what was it? 'Eeeh wrong'?"
His smirk made Montserrat blush in embarrassment. "I was trying to prove a point."
"No she wasn't," Jules didn't hesitate to contradict her. "She was just shooting down all my reasons to go to a concert. I was trying to be a professional-"
"-you're sixteen!" Montserrat took a moment to calm herself down and explain better. "Rafael, these are my nieces. Julianna-" she gestured to the older teen.
"Jules," she corrected.
"And this is Ivanna," Montserrat patted the four year old's head. "Girls, this is Rafael Barba. He has the same job as aunt Casey does, just...with different people." They exchanged knowing glances, keeping it PG for the four year old was common sense.
"I was being extra quiet," Ivanna proudly said. "Aunt Casey says this is a place for whispers." She even whispered for show.
Rafael smiled at the girl. "You might want to tell your aunt Montserrat that," he whispered back to her. "She shouts a lot at me."
"I swear to God," Montserrat shook her head.
"You're a lawyer, so help me out here," Jules didn't express any shyness as she directed herself just to Rafael. "I want to be a lawyer like aunt Casey, so naturally I'm trying to use what I know from her to win over the judge here-" she threw a glare at Montserrat, "-so I can go to a concert tonight."
"Which I turned down politely," Montserrat argued.
"Oh, really?" Rafael tilted his head, making Montserrat point at him again. The tilted head meant he was going to start.
"Don't you dare-"
"Eeeh - wrong!" he mimicked her noise perfectly. Jules beamed and Ivanna giggled, but Montserrat was keeping herself calm.
"This is very unprofessional-"
Jules' eyes flickered between the detective and the lawyer, though happy to see someone on her side she didn't miss the underlying vibe she was getting from the two adults. She smirked.
Montserrat continued to argue but every time she got a couple words in, Rafael would shut her down. "You're still on the job-"
"-Eeeh, wrong!" Rafael smirked even wider if possible. Her face was getting redder, almost matching her ginger hair. Just as she opened her mouth, he went ahead again. "Eeeh wrong!"
"Would you stop doing that!?" she unintentionally shouted.
"Fine," he said, but his lingering smirk contrasted his intentions.
Montserrat rolled her eyes then turned to Jules. "You see-"
"Eeeh, wrong!" Rafael blurted and earned himself another glare. "That one had a mind of its own," he flashed her a cheeky smile.
"You are not helping me," Montserrat said in a bluntly irritated manner. "Go," she pointed him towards the doors up ahead.
"Alright fine," Rafael raised his free hand in defeat. "But Jules, I would just listen to your aunt. She's crazy but...she has a good idea of what's safe and what's not."
"That's your help?" Montserrat didn't know whether to laugh or feel more offended. "Every other lawyer in this building is shaking from your talent."
"Now you're the one being rude," he moved around the woman and stopped on her other side.
"Spoken by the rudest A.D.A I've ever known," she quipped. "It's okay, I'll still work with you even when no one else wants to."
His smile was strained and Montserrat was sure he was holding back a snap because of her nieces. He waved goodbye at her and the girls before heading off towards the entrance doors.
"Aunt Montse, can we stop by the donuts?" Ivanna tugged on Montserrat's hand to get her attention. Montserrat may or may not have been watching after Rafael. May have.
"Yes sweetie, that I can do," Montserrat smiled down at Ivanna and started walking them out.
Jules was right beside her aunt, ready to discuss but not about her concert this time. "Aunt Montse, I didn't know you had the hots for the lawyer!"
Montserrat did a double take at the teen. "What!?"
Jules stopped to laugh, and not quietly. "This is gold! I can't wait to tell Dad and aunt Casey that you like-"
Montserrat grabbed Jules by the arm. "Would you keep it down!? This is a workplace, not your place to joke around."
Jules got serious in that one moment. "I wasn't joking. You like Rafael, and it's pretty damn clear he does too. Your flirting could use a little more edge but-"
"I swear to God I'm going to ground you myself if you finish that sentence," Montserrat had never been more serious. The last thing she needed were for rumors to start when they most certainly weren't true. Because it was certainly wasn't.
"Aunt Montse," Ivanna called, making both Montserrat and Jules realize she'd run towards the entrance doors, "I want my donuts! Let's go!"
"Ivanna, sweetie, hold on!" Montserrat exclaimed but the four year old got a head-start when someone opened the door from outside. "Ivanna!"
Jules sighed and rushed after her aunt. "This isn't going away!" she warned with a laugh.
Montserrat bumped into some people on her way out the doors, to which she garnered glares but ignored. "Ivanna!" she called for the girl and almost had a heart attack when she didn't see Ivanna in the first minute.
"Did you lose something?" Rafael's voice pulled her gaze to the side and was immediately relieved to see Ivanna beside him.
"I found the briefcase again!" Ivanna cheerfully said. "I thought it was my Daddy's...but it's not."
"My conversation was interrupted in such a creative way," Rafael brought the girl back to Montserrat. "I'm sure they'll remember the little girl knocking into me when they see me in court tomorrow."
"I'm so sorry," Montserrat pulled Ivanna to her and hoisted the girl up in her arms. "She knows she's not supposed to go anywhere without an adult."
Ivanna apologetically smiled. "But I wasn't. I found your friend."
Jules snorted beside Montserrat. "Friend..."
"Apologize right now," Montserrat nodded Ivanna to Rafael, secretly hoping Jules would just keep her mouth shut. "He was working and you rudely interrupted him. That's not nice, Ivanna."
"I'm sorry," the little girl dutifully apologized to the man.
"Montse, it's fine," Rafael chuckled at the girl. "I was just talking about court tomorrow. Better she found me than..." he purposely trailed off, knowing she out of everyone would know the dangers that lurked around unsupervised children.
"Yeah, I guess," Montserrat sighed. She still gave Ivanna a serious look. "But no more running away from me."
"Who'd want to do that?" Rafael asked, but Montserrat couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic or not. He was probably doing it on purpose judging by the smirk on his face. "I'll see you," he said, meaning it this time.
Montserrat gave a small smile and said goodbye. She only stopped smiling when she noticed Jules gesturing after Rafael. "See!? Flirting! So flirting!"
Montserrat rolled her eyes, ignoring the warmth on her face as she turned in the opposite way. "If you want to see nightfall, I suggest you stop talking."
"Ooooh no," Jules marched behind her. "If I'm not going to the concert then I'm definitely talking about this! The Detective and the A.D.A? I'm going to have a lot fun with this!"
Montserrat playfully rolled her eyes, but inside her stomach was churning with the feelings she fought to keep hidden.