The squad hated him from day one.
At first he thought it was because they knew what he was. He had figured out Special Victims Unit was unique from the moment he walked into the room. Olivia and Amanda were vampires, Finn a werewolf and for a time they even had a warlock, Nick. He thought with such a special group they would welcome him. Perhaps they didn’t respect him because he hadn’t activated his curse. He wanted to talk with Finn so badly, he was curious if the man had been born a wolf or bitten. But like the rest of the squad he was kept Sonny at a distance.
Rafael Barba was human yet he fit in perfectly with the supernatural bunch. Sonny knew that the squad confided in Barba. He had to admit it made him jealous. He had wondered if Rafael knew what he was or what he had the potential of being.
But then one day Barba, in his normal snarky tone, told him to stop being an ‘overeager puppy’ Sonny’s entire face had turned bright red. Barba did know. And what Sonny hadn’t expected was that unlike the squad, Barba liked him, werewolf or not.
When Rafael Barba walked into Sonny’s life his luck completely changed.
Their friendship had been tentative, but once Sonny realized Barba liked his eager nature, he couldn’t stay away. He was at the Barba’s offices as often as Liv could spare him. When there were increased threats on the ADA’s life, he began to spend time at the ADA’s apartment. At first it was because he was charge of protecting the human but then over home-cooked meals and bottles of wine that they became Rafael and Sonny instead of Barba and Carisi.
The first time they kissed, it had turned intense and breathless quickly. His dating life had only consisted of being introduced to other cursed wolves by his family. His dating experiences had been extremely limited and with that lack of experience Sonny tried to navigate his relationship with Rafael, a human.
Rafael would often change the subject when Sonny wanted to talk about the squad’s supernatural qualities. They had been dating for six months before Rafael finally asked him about his wolf status.
They were in the office going over files, Rafael at his desk and Sonny across from him leaning back in one of the comfy chairs usually reserved for guests.
“So born or bitten?” Rafael asked without even looking up from the statement he was reading.
Sonny wondered if his answer would change how Barba viewed him,“Born.” he replied, putting down the files. There was no way he could focus on them while having this conversation with Barba. “Part of the Paxon pack.”
Rafael copied his movement and placed his files down as well, “Is that an old one? Finn tries to keep me updated but I find wolf packs confusing.”
Sonny felt his throat tighten. He knew that the squad talked freely with Barba, just not in his presence. He was surprised that Finn spoke about packs with a human.
“It’s an old pack, Paxons have lived on Staten Island since the Civil War.” he stated.
Rafael nodded, taking the information in. “Interesting,” was his only response.
They went back to their paperwork, reading over the case-file, in a comfortable silence. The case was a brutal one, a rape-murder. An extramarital affair was involved and it was just a mess.
“Secrets are dangerous,” Rafael declared suddenly, “they can get you killed.”
Sonny found the statement odd. Was Rafael referencing the case or their relationship? Sonny noticed that while Rafael was always calm and collected in the courtroom, he was anxious outside of work. He was jumpy when they would eat out in public, Sonny assumed it was because he didn’t want anyone from work to know they were dating.
“Yeah. This guy had a lot of them.” Sonny trailed off. He noticed Rafael’s shoulders tighten. “Raf, I'm not keeping any secrets from you. We just haven’t talk about all the particulars yet...” Sonny muttered, hoping he hadn’t misstepped.
There was a beat of silence before Rafael replied, “Everyone has secrets, Sonny.”
Sonny studied Rafael’s face, his expression was unreadable.
Eleven months into their relationship, Rafael tried to break up with him.
They had a fantastic dinner prepared by Sonny with a Cuban theme. Sonny had even asked Rafael’s mother for family recipes. They were on Rafael’s couch, Sonny enthusiastically making out with his boyfriend. He felt Rafael’s hands on his chest pushing him away.
“You can’t seriously want to be with me. Really be with me-” Rafael said softly. His eyes looked weary and tired.
“Rafael, I’m confused. Things have been…”
“Things have been great.” Rafael sighed.
“Yeah, they have been.” Sonny affirmed. “So…”
“Sonny, it’s not safe for you to be with me.” Rafael moved back, creating more distance between them.
“That’s noble of you, Rafael. But I know you get threatened all the time. That’s not going to scare me away. People only threaten you because you get justice when no one else fights for it.” Sonny placed his hand around Rafael neck and pulled him gently back towards him.
“That’s what I love about you.” Sonny smiled.
He watched Rafael’s weary expression turn into a grin. The older man looked younger when he smiled.
“Well then, little wolf.” Rafael murmured. “I suppose you should take me to our bed.”
Usually Sonny would sleep soundly but something had woken him up. He didn't realize there was another person in the room until he felt a punch across his face. He gasped, and tried to sit up but another hit landed on his chest sending him out of the bed and onto the floor.
He attempted to scream for Rafael but his attacker was on top of him and their hand covered his mouth. He felt fear first then anger when he heard a scream from the bed and he knew the sound belong to Rafael. There must have been another attacker on the bed, hurting Rafael. Sunny pushed the assailant off of him and reach for his side piece in the nightstand, he switched the safety off and fired two shots.
He needed to get to Rafael. He needed to make sure he was okay. When he stood up off the floor, he saw the other assailant off the bed and no longer on top of Rafael. He was clutching his head tightly and screaming. Sonny saw Rafael sitting up in the bed, his arm extended, he was chanting in Latin.
“Ad somnum proficisci in dolore, ad somnum proficisci in dolore, ad somnum proficisci in dolore.”
The man continued to scream for another minute until Rafael yelled, “Cor prohibere”. Sonny gathered by the way the man clutch his chest and collapsed to the floor that he was dead.
Rafael Barba was a magic user and not just any kind, a very powerful one who could defend himself against an attacker and didn't need a protector.
Rafael turned the lamp on his side table on and Sonny assessed the damage. The man who attacked Rafael looked awful, there was blood dripping from his eyes, nose and mouth. There was blood everywhere. The assailant who attacked Sonny was not better off. Sonny’s shots had he had hit the man in the shoulder and once in the head, it was very clear that the man was dead. Sonny had been his killer. Sonny killed a man.
It took Sonny a moment to realize that Rafael was speaking to him, really he was yelling.
“Oh my God, Sonny, are you alright?” Rafael’s hands touched his face gently, “Are you hurt? Sonny? Sonny?”
Sonny looked at Rafael, his lover, trying to figure out who he had been in bed with all these months.
“You’re a witch.” Sonny sighed.
Sonny wanted to be angry but he was just tried. Rafael had lied to him, well, not told him that he wasn’t just a human.
And now Sonny had activated his curse.
He was a full-fledged werewolf.
Mike Dodds joined Special Victims Unit soon after the attack on Rafael and Sonny. Olivia objected to Mike from the moment he walked in the door.
He was human, fully human, nothing supernatural about him. He couldn't be safe with them Olivia tried to argue with the Chief.
Sonny could hear her through the door, his hearing had been heightened since the activation of the curse. He hated it and he wished he could block it out.
“Hey kid, you hearing what I'm hearing.” Fin asked, stepping up to Sonny’s desk, where he was sitting holding his head.
“So you can't block it out, either?” Sonny asked curiously.
“Yeah, I can. I just choose not...I like to know what's going.” Finn chuckled. He placed his hand on Sonny’s back and gave a squeeze.
“It's going to get better, I promise.” Finn whispered.
Sonny nodded as Finn walked away. He appreciated Finn’s kindness. Amanda had been extremely nice to him as well. She kept him updated on Rafael, who had been taken into protective custody.
She didn’t pry into Sonny and Rafael’s obviously secret relationship.
“I tried to keep Jessie a secret from Liv.” Amanda had explained to him, “What I didn’t know is that she had been keeping the fact that she was a vampire from me.”
Sonny learned that Amanda was dying after giving birth to Jessie and Liv had given her vampire blood to drink without her knowledge. So when she didn’t make it, she woke up, undead but able to raise her daughter.
Although, the Sonny was angry with Rafael, Amanda encouraged him not to stay mad.
“Everyone has secrets.” she reasoned.
Sonny couldn’t help listen in to what was happening in the Lieu’s office. Things were getting heated between her and Chief Dodds. How could Olivia not know her Detective was sleeping with their ADA? How could the threats against Barba escalate without anyone knowing? Was the attack promoted by humans or supernatural forces?
God, Sonny just wanted to hear less. He could hear every word as if they were yelling in his ear. He could hear the heartbeat of the beat cops in the break-room down the hallway.
It was terrible.
Rafael’s secret was a big one. Could Sonny forgive him for keeping it from him?
They spent two months apart while the squad found the person who had hired the hit on Rafael. It was just a human who didn’t want Rafael to prosecute his rape case.
The time apart wasn’t bad. Sonny went home to Staten Island, his mother helped him navigate his first transformation.
It was as horrible as he had been told. He felt every bone in his body break and mold into his wolf from.
The freedom he felt as a wolf was liberating. He could run and forget all his problems. But as a wolf he felt a longing for a mate.
Sonny knew he didn’t want just anyone, or just any wolf. He wanted Rafael to be his mate. He had known it from the first time they kissed even when he didn’t know about Rafael’s magic.
Sonny knew he was going to forgive Rafael but when the lawyer showed up on his doorstep in Staten Island it made the choice that much easier.
“There’s a human outside.” his older sister scoffed, as they sat at the dinner table.
Sonny had never seen Rafael look so uncertain when he opened the door.
“I’m sorry, I should have told you.” Rafael started.
Sonny placed a finger on Rafael’s lips.
“Yes, you should have. I wish you had trusted me.”
Before Rafael could speak again, Sonny kissed him, deeply, hoping it told Rafael that although they had a lot to talk about that everything would be ok.
When they separate Rafael spilled his heart out.
“I didn’t choose to have magic. I was born with it. My mother and father were both practicing magic when one day my father decided that magic was evil...but by that time I had already been learning from them, how to harness my powers. He tried to beat the magic out of us. Trusting people with who I am...doesn’t come easily to me.”
Rafael’s face was vulnerable, his lips wet from Sonny’s deep kiss. Even though Rafael had been born with an incredible gift it had come at a high price. His family.
“Sonny, I trust you. I-I know you need a mate you can trust. If that isn’t me then I underst-”
Sonny did not let him finish. He kissed him again, this time embracing him tightly, making use of their slight height difference.
“I want to be with you, Rafael.” Sonny stated.
For five years they were happy. They were married in a quiet ceremony on Staten Island, in his family’s backyard. The guest were family only. That of course included the SVU crew. Life had changed so much for Sonny since his first week at SVU. He was part of the team now.
They were on a rare shared weekend off when Rafael asked him, “Will you bond with me?”
It was a cold, wintry day. Their small brownstone was cool but Sonny had a warm Mr. Barba-Carisi to curl up with. Sonny let the blanket that covered them on the couch fall as he sat up.
“Bond? We’ve been married a year, Raf.”
Rafael gave him a soft smile, “Yes, but in mage culture a bond means more. Mami has been bugging me to ask you.”
Sonny tilted his head, Rafael told him it was one of his wolf habits
“What does it mean? The bond?” he inquired.
“It means, that we will be together...forever.” Rafael pulled up the fallen blanket.
Sonny leaned over Rafael, kissing him positively. “We did say, till death do us part. Of course, I’ll bond with you love.”
The ceremony changed how Sonny viewed Rafael’s magic. He had rarely seen him use it. The beautiful bright lights and the sound of his intoning the Latin text, enchanted him.
When he thought he couldn’t love him more, he did.
Fiorini’s was empty, except for the celebrating SVU squad with their ADA.
“To our ADA Rafael Barba! There is no man better than him!” Amanda toasted.
Sonny glanced at his husband, who looked quite proud of himself. They had put away another dangerous rapist, this one a vampire who was not only attacking women but turning them as well.
Their glasses clinked together before everyone took a drink.
Sonny felt off as soon as the alcohol reached his mouth.
Amanda and Olivia looked at each other, they tasted it too.
Suddenly, Rafael collapsed on the ground, his head barely missing the bar and bar stools.
“Raf?” Sonny rushed his his husband who was now coughing, blood coming up. Sonny felt Amanda and Olivia run after the bartender. He heard Finn on the phone calling an ambulance and Mike coughing like Rafael.
He felt light-headed and weak but wasn’t coughing like Mike or Rafael.
“S-S-Sonny.” Rafael croaked out between coughs.
Sonny sat on the floor and moved Rafael’s head into his lap.
“Don’t w-worry, h-help is c-coming.” Sonny felt his words slurring and his vision blurring.
“I-I love you.”
When Sonny woke up he was the apartment he shared with Rafael, in their bed and he was frantic for him. Liv appeared quickly and had to order him to calm down, using her vampire compulsion to get him to stop yelling. She got him to lay down in the bed.
“Rafael didn’t make it.” Liv stated after she got him to calm down.
“The poison was spelled to kill a mage. It only caused you, Mike and Finn to pass out, although we almost lost Mike.” she continued.
Sonny heard her but wasn’t listening. Rafael was dead. The love of his life, his bonded, his husband, was gone.
“He doesn’t feel dead.” Sonny mumbled. He felt Rafael, just like he had when Rafael had chanted during the bonding ritual.
Sonny felt a hand over his. He looked to see Amanda next to him, leaning over the bed. “Olivia couldn’t let Rafael go...you know, Liv.”
Liv was bad at letting go. Sonny knew this.
“So he’s alive?” Sonny asked hopefully.
Sonny’s head turned to the door and saw Rafael standing in the doorway. He looked tired. He had dark circles under his eyes and his hands were trembling.
“Raf.” Sonny cried.
Rafael walked over to the bed and crawled into it, allowing Sonny to wrap his arms around him and sob into his chest.
Sonny was grateful that Liv and Amanda left without being asked.
“Thank God.” Sonny sobbed. “I thought I would never see you again.”
“It’s going to be ok, Sonny.” Rafael comforted him, gently running his hand through Sonny’s messy hair.
“I-I don’t have much time left.”
Sonny looked at him, confused, “What?”
“Liv made me drink vampire blood before I died.” Rafael explained, “I have to feed in a few hours or I will die.”
“So we need to get you some blood to drink.” Sonny moved to get out of the bed, but Rafael grabbed his shirt and kept him from going very far.
“Sonny, I don’t need blood...I’m not going to turn.” Rafael declared.
The joy Sonny had felt seeing Rafael now felt sour.
“I don’t understand.” Sonny felt his voice trembling.
“If I am a vampire, I can’t use magic. I won’t be a mage anymore. I...I won’t be with the ancestors if I die…”
“But you won’t die!” Sonny argued, “You’ll live forever.”
“But you won’t, mi amor.”
“I don’t want to lose you.” he cried.
“You’ll never lose me, Sonny. But we don’t have a lot of time.” Rafael paused. “Can you just hold me?” Rafael asked softly.
Sonny nodded and he held Rafael until he was gone and he couldn’t feel him through the bond anymore.
Sonny had tracked down the mage who poisoned Rafael and ripped him limb from limb causing a wolf scare in the city. It did nothing to heal the pain he felt.
He hated his life.
Sonny worked, he slept, he ate but he didn’t function.
During full moons, he would just run and run in his wolf shape, sometimes he would wake up in another city or state.
He mourned with Lucia at her church in the Bronx, attending Mass with her weekly. His family understood his grief but still tried to get him to find another mate, a wolf mate. He resented them for that.
He tried to focus on work.
By the time he had been promoted to Lieutenant, the pain of losing Rafael was just a numbness that sat in his chest.
He took risks on the job.
He put himself out in front of his own squad.
Some said he was too reckless and maybe they were right.
Sonny woke up in a forest, the moss was wet underneath him. He didn’t expect to feel anything. He thought death would feel like nothing. He sat up in the damp grass.
Sonny was dressed in his favorite pairs of jeans and a worn Harvard Alumni t-shirt. Sonny had loved the feel of the shirt and had worn it many nights after Rafael’s death.
“I wondered how long it would take you to wake up.”
Sonny whipped his head round to see Rafael, leaning against a tree behind him.
“Raf.” he felt his breath tighten. He stood up quickly, his feet slipped on the wet grass. He felt Rafael’s hand on his hips, steadying him.
His hands were warm, just like he remembered. Sonny wrapped his arms around Rafael, smashing his lips against Rafael, and leaving no space between them.
When they separated Sonny looked at him. Rafael looked perfect. He was wearing slacks and a purple button up. He appeared far to formal for a forest.
“The bonding?” Sonny asked.
Rafael nodded. “Yes, I-It worked.”
Sonny felt joy swelling in his chest.
“So I meant it, when I said I would love you forever.”
Sonny felt his cheeks blush.
“Hey, we can talk at home.” Rafael smiled gently, placing his hand on Sonny’s cheek, stop all his questions.
“Home?” was the only word Sonny managed to choke out through his tears that had started to fall.
“Yeah, we have that place by the lake. I-I thought. Well, I hoped I would be waiting a lot longer for you but I am glad I get to share it this afterlife with you, mi amor.”
Sonny allowed Rafael it take his hand and led him into the woods.
“You’ll love the house. It’s perfect. And I imagine you’ll love running in the woods.” Rafael rattled on.
Sonny grinned. Forever with Rafael. How did Sonny get so lucky?