And all at once, you are the one I have been waiting for
King of my heart, body and soul
And all at once, you're all I want, I'll never let you go
Sonny knew his soulmate was an intense person. On his 18th birthday, the first spark of their connection was so strong, Sonny almost passed out on top of the birthday cake his mother made for him. His family clapped in excitement at the sight. Every connection was different; some took a couple hours to complete, others took a couple days. Sonny’s was instant, and it was a lot at once.
He felt frustration, anger, but also a good amount of satisfaction and gratitude. Through the years, Sonny realized those were the most common emotions he felt coming from his soulmate, often one after the other. He fell into the habit of counting them down, but sometimes it stopped at anger. It burned so deep within him, Sonny could almost taste it.
His soulmate was passionate, driven, and Sonny couldn’t wait to meet him. He also liked to have old scotch and dark chocolate late in the night. Sonny wasn’t into either, but the flavor was clear in the back of his tongue. He also often felt silk against his skin, between his fingers, and Sonny wondered if his soulmate slept in silky pajamas.
Everyone in his family had found their soulmates. His sisters, even his youngest one, were all happily married and had children. The bond they shared with their partners was something Sonny was envious of. He ached to know what that was like - to share everything you were with someone else.
When he started working for SVU, he was curious to know if the squad had also found their soulmates. Amanda was the first person he asked.
“No, I haven’t found them,” she shrugged. “I’m not really worried about it, you know?! I mean, sometimes it doesn’t work out. So, what’s the point?”
That was what kept Sonny up at night the most. What if his bond didn’t work? What if his soulmate didn’t want to be with him? What if he never found him? The bonds weren’t perfect and some people rebelled against it. Sonny had a girlfriend back in college that made him question the whole thing. They were great together and their relationship was perfect. But when he felt pure happiness bloom in his chest from whatever his soulmate was doing, he knew he didn’t want to give that up.
“The sergeant met her soulmate here, on her first day as an SVU detective,” Amanda told him, her voice low. “But he was already married and had four children. At one point he considered divorcing the other woman, but in the end, he chose to stay home with his kids.”
“Did the bond fade?,” Sonny swallowed dryly.
“Mostly, especially after he left the unit, but she still gets a few bumps here and there. They had a strong connection.”
The bond between two people was made stronger by physical contact. So the longer the soulmates spent together, and the more they touched, the sturdier and harder to break the bond would become, and the two people would be more sensitive to each other. If the two people wished to break the connection, they had to cease all contact and, with time, the bond would become thinner and, in some cases, even disappear altogether.
“That’s horrible,” he replied with a tremor. He prayed to God this didn’t happen to him.
“If you ask me, I think she’s better off without him. I didn’t meet him, but from what I’ve heard, he was a class A jerk,” Amanda pulled a face. “But because of their connection, they were unstoppable. Nobody worked together as well as they did. They were known all over New York because of it.”
Sonny had heard about them when he was in the academy. SVU’s golden duo. But he didn’t know they were soulmates.
“What about Fin and Amaro?,” he asked, hoping it didn’t come across as gossip. Amanda chuckled.
“Amaro found out his soulmate was cheating on him and broke it off, but it’s recent, so they’re still very connected,” Amanda held back laughter at the look of shock on Sonny’s face. That’s probably why Amaro was angry all the time, then. “And Fin has a kid with his soulmate, but they divorced decades ago, so the bond is gone. See what I mean? It’s a mess, Carisi. I’m not sure I want any part in that.”
“Well, I mean, those stories are very unfortunate. But my three sisters have very successful bonds. My parents also. And it’s beautiful to see, Rollins. It’s like magic,” Sonny said while making wide gestures with his hands. “Maybe you just have to be around people who got it right to restore your faith in your soulmate.”
Rollins looked at Sonny with an amused grin and nodded. “Is yours a strong one?”
“Yeah. And if I close my eyes and concentrate, I can feel everything he’s feeling. All four senses,” he grinned proudly.
“All four?,” Amanda looked surprised. “Maybe that’s why you’re so hopeful. I can barely get two with mine”.
Sonny knew each connection was different, but he felt taken aback by the way Amanda looked at him. As if she didn’t quite believe him. As if sharing all four senses wasn’t possible before meeting your soulmate. He knew it was. His parents did. Maybe it was genetic.
“How do you know it’s a him?,” Amanda asked, still not convinced.
“I just-,” he shrugged. “I know. I can feel him, Amanda. I just know.”
Taste, smell, touch, emotions. Sonny had gotten into cooking as soon as he found out he shared his taste with his soulmate. He would try different recipes, always hoping he’d know which ones his soulmate liked the most. He knew about the scotch and the chocolate, but there was always a lot of spicy food involved and a lot of coffee as well. He liked it; so he started adding more spices to his own meals. His mother threw a fit when he said he preferred to have cuban over italian food. She threatened to disown him. Sonny didn’t take it to heart.
But his soulmate was also snacky. He liked baked goods, pastries, muffins, cookies, or just straight up icing from a tube. Sonny mastered the art of baking before he was even 20, learning everything he could from his grandmother. When he made his first croissant from scratch, his mouth wouldn’t stop salivating, no matter how many bites he took. He smiled when he realized he wasn’t the one actually drooling over it.
And it was his sense of smell that clued him in on his soulmate being another man. Early sunday morning, he could smell aftershave. Late sunday night, he smelled lube. The thought of it still made him shiver. On Monday morning, he felt a mist touch his chest under his shirt. Cologne; and it smelled expensive and definitely manly. But maybe it was sexist of him to assume anything, right?
It didn’t come as a shock to him at all. But his sisters sure made fun of him for it. “Guess you won’t be getting any daughters-in-law, ma,” Gina joked and winked at him.
“Thank God,” his mother replied under her breath.
Once soulmates met, it only took one look for the bond to click. From then on, all four senses would be heightened and a fifth one would connect their minds, almost like a phone, and the soulmates would be able to tap in and out to talk. That seemed like the most exciting to Sonny; always having someone to count on through the good and bad. Having secret conversations in crowded rooms. The ultimate companionship.
“Well, I for one hope you find your soulmate and it works out, Amanda. I really do,” Sonny offered her an honest smile and Amanda tried her best to return it.
“You too, Carisi,” she said genuinely, but was suddenly distracted by something behind Sonny’s back. “And… Barba just walked into the sergeant’s office. Act like you know what you’re doing or he’s going to bite your head off in one,” Amanda offered in a rush.
Sonny looked around quickly, trying to locate their ADA, whom he hadn’t met yet, but had heard a lot about - and not all of it was good. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw him standing in front of Olivia, holding a blue envelope. That wasn’t a great sign. He looked at Amanda, brows furrowed after she caught sight of said envelope.
“Does he look mad?,” Sonny whispered.
“A little, yeah,” Amanda was looking over Sonny’s shoulder into Olivia’s office, using his body as a shield. “But the sergeant doesn’t seem worried, so I think we’re good.”
“Carisi!,” Olivia’s voice rang from her office and Sonny’s stomach dropped. Amanda’s eyes widened slightly, but she was smirking.
“Well, seems like you’re about to meet our lovely ADA. Try not to embarrass yourself too much. Good luck!,” she winked.
Sonny got up in a rush, grabbing his jacket and putting it on quickly as he made it to his boss’ office in quick strides. He sure wanted to make a good first impression, even though he hadn’t managed that with anyone yet. His nerves always got the best of him. At least he was wearing one of his good suits and a good tie, which he made sure to fix and smooth out.
He knocked on the open door, a smile on his face. Sonny looked at the man, his back turned to him. Barba was a bit shorter than him, but his shoulders were squared up and his back was perfectly straight. His suit was definitely nicer than Sonny’s, he could tell. The air around the room was different, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. He nodded at his sergeant, mentally preparing himself for whatever she was about to throw at him.
“Carisi, there’s been a development with the Walker case. ADA Barba brought some bad news,” Olivia said with a disappointed look on her face, pointing at the man standing in front of her.
Sonny took a step closer to Barba as the man turned to him. “Development is an understatement-,” he started.
Then, their eyes met. All at once, everything made sense. He realized that all his life, he was waiting for this exact moment to play out. The moment he felt the bond expand, reach out, and click into place. He felt his soul bursting, his body tingling, his heart pounding against his ears. Then the sound turned into two different heartbeats, falling into place, in synch, until they beat as one.
Barba looked golden, like the sun was shining right on top of him. There was a small smile tugging at the corner of his lips. Sonny felt like there was a string pulling them closer, or perhaps they were magnets, drawn to each other. Either way, he took another step towards him, their hands meeting halfway, their fingers intertwining and their palms connecting.
Then he heard it. A spark in his mind, something awakened. It ran down his whole body. And it felt like pure magic.
Did you say we have a problem, counselor? , he asked.
Oh, I think we’re going to be just fine, he replied, sounding amused. I’m Rafael Barba. I believe I’ve been looking for you.
Well, I’m here now. It’s very nice to meet you, Rafael. I’m Sonny Carisi. Your soulmate.
Nice to meet you, too. My soulmate.