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Expectations

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Sonny had been at the precinct for just under two hours and he was already bored out of his mind, but by his estimations he would have to stay here for at least another two. Not because of any paperwork he had to do, although that was the official reason for him being here on an otherwise quiet Sunday morning. In fact, he had barely looked over at the small stack of forms he had to still complete, instead filling the time playing games on his phone, reading a legal article he had been recommended, constantly going to get more overly bitter coffee, and sneaking occasional glances at the only other person in the squad room. Sergeant Mike Dodds.

Unlike Sonny he was dutifully filling out various forms from a rapidly dwindling stack, so rapidly dwindling in fact that Sonny could swear Mike was making a conscious effort to slow down, not that he was paying that much attention to the other man. Okay, so maybe over the months he had fallen into the habit of constantly stealing glances at the man, sometimes worried ones when he saw a case was getting to Dodds and he wanted to make sure he was dealing with the transfer to SVU. Other glances were slightly more selfish in their motivation, like the one he was currently enjoying, taking in Mikes broad frame and strong arms, wondering what it would be like to be held by the man, how easily Mike could lift his slim frame up and… he could feel someone watching him and he slowly looked up, his eyes meeting Mikes. There was no way he could deny the fact he had been staring at him, so instead he gave a small smile and tried to think of anything to say that could break the awkward silence stretching between them.

“Sarge, what are you doing here on a Sunday?”

“Paperwork” Mike said with a small nod in the direction of the stack he was working on, thankfully allowing Sonny to move on from the situation.

“Surely you can catch up on that tomorrow. You work too hard, I just mean, you deserve a break too” Sonny said, knowing that this was a lot to be saying to his superior, especially one who had just caught him staring directly at him, or perhaps more accurately, giving him the once over.

“You’re here as well” Mike said, deflecting slightly, hoping Sonny wouldn’t notice how tense he had gone at Sonny's probing into his current excuse for missing yet another excruciating Sunday lunch with his father.

“I’m only here to establish an alibi” Sonny replied, only realising once the words were out how suspicious that sounded out of context, and he wasn’t sure why he suddenly wanted Mike to know the context. He hadn’t told anyone yet about his problems with his family, it made no sense to unburden it on Mike.

“An alibi?” “I told my family I was stuck at work which is why I couldn’t join them for lunch. They’ve called the office phone when I’ve been working before so… here I am”

“Why didn’t you want to spend lunch with your family?” Mike said, slightly confused, remembering all the times Sonny had excitedly talked about his sisters, his niece. After a few seconds later he added “You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to” realising just how close they were to departing from their roles as coworkers and becoming something more.

“No, it’s okay.” Sonny said, surprised at how true that was, of all the people he considered unloading this on Mike was at the bottom of the list, yet here he was and it felt right. “A few months ago I, well I told my ma that I was… that I’m bi” Sonny said, breaking eye contact as he said that last bit, as much as he hated his own fear of saying the words out loud he still found it hard to do. This meant he didn’t see the way Mikes eyes widened slightly, suddenly realising that the unattainable coworker he had safely started growing affection for, knowing this crush was harmless not only because he would undoubtedly be leaving the squad soon but because the man in question was straight, was not so unattainable. Not so safe, either. Because now that Mike knew he could have those dimples, those sparkling blue eyes, that kind heart in his life he wanted it and there was no way he could have it. Not with his father and all his expectations.

“She reacted… okay. As well as can be expected from a devout Catholic. But then the previous few weeks she’s been bringing around family friends, well their daughters. And, it’s not that they’re not nice girls, they are, but it hurts knowing my ma still desperately wants her son to marry a good, Catholic woman. I- sorry for putting this on you, Sarge. You probably don’t want to hear all of this” Sonny said, running a nervous hand through his hair.

“No, it’s okay” Mike interjected, hating how unsure Sonny was starting to look, how uncomfortable. His desire to make Sonny feel less alone was probably what prompted the sudden moment of vulnerability, of truth. “I kind of understand, I mean I said I was here because of paperwork but also… my father organises lunches together each Sunday, saying I’m working is the only excuse I can give to get out of it. Not that I don’t..” Mike cut himself off before he could finish, the lie that he enjoyed any kind of interaction with his father turning bitter in his mouth. “It’s the same thing with expectations and sometimes it gets too much. He wants what’s best for me, I think, but it’s constant pressure to keep getting better positions in the force, pressure to meet the right people, the right wife and settle down, have some perfect kids and continue the Dodds legacy” Mike said, almost spitting out the last bit, the anger and bitterness he’d been pushing down for so long at having his life planned for him starting to rise to the surface.

“Don’t you want that, the wife, the kids?” Sonny said, before Mike could start worrying about revealing too much, and now it was Sonnys turn to deal with that fear.

“I do..” Mike cut himself off again, wanting, needing to tell the truth to at least one person. “Actually, I don’t, I think… I mean I know… I’m, I’m gay” Mike said, barely able to get the words out and hating the way his voice wavered. He’d never admitted it to anyone, barely to himself. I mean, he knew, but he kept making excuses, that it was something he’d grow out of, or just another weakness he had to overcome, or that as long as he managed it by only going for the unattainable it would be fine. Something to indulge in only in secret, in the confines of his own daydreams.

Saying it out loud, Mike was hit almost simultaneously with a wave of relief, like a weight was lifted off his shoulder and then a wave of panic, cold fear rushing through his veins, and his throat started to feel tight, and it was getting harder and harder to breathe.

“Hey, that’s cool, I’m glad you felt you could tell me that” Sonny said, and Mike wondered briefly when Sonny had moved closer to him, close enough he could hold one of Mikes hands in his, squeezing it slightly in a way that seemed to anchor Mike to reality.

“What do you want then? If you don't want this job, or anything your father expects” Said, looking up at Mike from where he was crouched down next to him, and maybe it was the fact no one had ever bothered to ask what he had wanted before, but Mike didn't think about his answer before he spoke. 

“You.” Mike said, freezing as soon as the words were out. “I'm sorry that was unprofessional, and just because you're bi doesn't mean you're, well, interested and I should never had said something like that to you especially not at work and-”

“Wow, Sarge, normally it's me who says the wildly wrong thing.” Said with a laugh, breaking some of the tension slightly. “And that wasn't even that wrong, I mean, often there are dinners and dates before that sort of declaration but still.”

It took Mike a few seconds to truly understand what Sonny was saying, letting out a small smile when he did, barely a quirk of the lips, but looking in his eyes you could see just how overjoyed he was. “Dinner, right, that sounds perfect.” Mike said, losing himself in the happiness of the moment so that it almost became possible to believe things could actually be perfect between them.