As soon as he stirred awake, Rafael felt a warm, comfortable feeling in his chest. He smiled, embracing it.
He opened his eyes, and although he found the other side of the bed empty, he didn’t feel alone. He hadn’t felt alone in two years, actually. And he let the feeling of gratitude for his soulmate wash over him like a tidal wave.
Good morning, Raf , he heard Sonny tap into their bond smoothly. Whenever you’re ready, I have a cup of coffee waiting for you.
Rafael smiled again, bigger this time. He wasn’t the biggest morning person, but by now Sonny knew the magic words that would get him out of bed semi-frustratingly.
Hugging his pillow closer, Rafael closed his eyes and purred back, Can you come here, please?
Although he had his back to the door, he heard it open slowly and close softly. Then, he felt the bed dip under Sonny’s weight and the Detective’s chest snuggled up his back.
Sonny kissed the sensitive spot right under his earlobe and whispered, “Good morning. Feeling lazy, are we?”
Rafael’s only reply was a low hum, leaning into Sonny as he wrapped one arm around Rafael’s waist and pulled him closer. Quietly, they settled in their embrace. Sonny kept his nose pressed on the back of Rafael’s neck, breathing him in, placing soft little kisses here and there. His hand kept running along Rafael’s chest, his fingertips dancing along his chest hair.
Rafael felt love blooming in his chest, getting bigger and bigger and running down to his toes. He curled them lazily, sighing deeply at the sensation of uncensored affection.
Sonny felt warm against him, he always did. And it was so comfortable he almost drifted back to sleep. But Sonny kept him awake by pressing slow kisses down his neck, the shell of his ear, along his shoulder.
It was the perfect Saturday morning as far as Rafael was concerned.
After a while, he turned in Sonny’s arms with a low grunt, nuzzling his nose into Sonny’s neck as soon as he settled again. Sonny pressed a kiss to the top of his head, his hand now running down Rafael’s arm and back.
Rafael took a deep breath against his boyfriend’s neck. He loved the smell of him in the morning, before he showered. Rafael felt like Sonny smelled the most like himself in those moments. No soap, no aftershave, no cologne to stump down his scent.
Sonny’s smell was very much unique, but Rafael could best describe it as pure, warm honey. It was sweet, but not sickeningly so. And it felt velvety the more Rafael breathed it in. He heard Sonny’s breath hitch the slightest bit when he pressed an open mouthed kiss to the curve of his collarbone and licked along it, craving a taste.
“Raf,” he whispered, content. His voice sounded hoarse, and Rafael placed a kiss on his Adam’s apple.
Rafael felt it in his chest too, Sonny’s happiness. It centered him, settling deep within him.
Sometimes Rafael felt like he would burst with it. He was at his happiest in Sonny’s arms, and when he felt the mutual feeling coming through the bond, his heart felt like it was physically expanding to accommodate that extra amount of feeling.
And that was what Rafael felt right then, Sonny’s hand running through his hair slowly, massaging his scalp softly. He felt his heart grow twice its size, allowing Sonny’s happiness to take place along his own.
Days like these, they were easy. Letting himself dive into Sonny’s senses like that, it had become easier with time.
Back when their bond was new, it was difficult to relax. Their jobs were hard, the amount of stress was high enough individually, having to share it almost made them lose their minds.
Rafael couldn’t afford to sense Sonny chasing down perps when he was in court, and Sonny couldn’t deal with Rafael raging at defense attorneys when he was trying to comfort victims. So they went into training.
It was kind of a new service, and Rafael had been skeptical at first. In his opinion, the thing sounded too much like therapy under a different name. But the longer they stook with the program, the more glad Rafael was Sonny had the idea to start it.
The soulmate program consisted of bond-training for people who worked in environments that caused them a lot of stress, worry, and emotional pressure. It was a little bit like therapy, but was much more related to brain power and mindfulness.
It took a lot of patience, especially from Rafael’s end, but when they were done with all the steps, it became much easier to navigate their relationship and their bond while still being good at their jobs.
So as Rafael pressed his face into Sonny’s neck, he let the bond tell his boyfriend how thankful he was. Sonny hugged him tighter.
“Sonny,” Rafael whispered, placing another kiss to the other man’s collarbone. “I love you so much.”
He felt another jolt of happiness sparkling inside him, like a ray of sunshine touching his skin.
“I love you, too,” Sonny whispered back, his hand coming down from Rafael’s hair to caress his cheek. He felt devotion curling around his stomach, and he smiled against Sonny’s skin.
“Did you say something about coffee?,” Rafael asked, and he kissed Sonny’s neck again when he felt him chuckle.
“I did,” he pulled back the slightest bit and Rafael held back a whine. “It’s still warm.”
Rafael pulled back too, to look at him. And when their eyes met, he felt amazement tingling inside him. He let his own awe travel through the bond because, God, how was it possible that a man like Sonny was even real?
Maybe Rafael let that thought escape him as well, because Sonny smiled shyly and blushed. “You’re pretty amazing yourself, Rafael.”
Sonny’s eyes were clear blue, looking at him with admiration.
The hand that was on his cheek ran down to his jaw, and Sonny slowly pulled his chin up to meet him for a kiss. It was soft, warm, and familiar. A feeling of serenity cleared his mind, and he sighed deeply, melting into Sonny even more than he had before.
As Sonny tilted his head a little to press his lips harder to Rafael’s, he tapped into the bond to say I love it when you wake up like this. You feel so warm. I can feel your calmness in the back of my mind, and your happiness makes my heart beat faster. And nothing makes me happier than knowing that you’re happy.
Rafael buried his hand in Sonny’s hair, trying to pull him closer even though they couldn’t possibly be. I’m glad you can feel it, Sonny. Because I don’t have enough words to describe how much I love you.
And because he didn’t know the words, he let his heart pour out completely through their bond. He heard Sonny’s breath hitch and he pulled away when it seemed like he couldn’t breathe. He gasped, opening his eyes wide.
Sonny beamed at Rafael, laughing a little because he couldn’t seem to help himself. “I feel it, Raf,” he breathed, resting their foreheads together. “I can feel it. And it’s a lot.”
“You’re the love of my life,” he whispered between them. “And I want to spend the rest of it with you.”
Sonny kissed him again, nice and sweet. “Let’s have some coffee, and we can make plans for the rest of our lives because I like the sound of that.”
Looking at Rafael sitting in their kitchen, watching him as Sonny made them pancakes, Sonny understood what his boyfriend said by being at a loss for words.
He couldn’t put into words how exactly Rafael made him feel. So he was glad Rafael could feel said emotions for himself instead of Sonny having to explain it to him.
Rafael was, without a doubt, the most handsome man Sonny had ever seen. He felt privileged to see him just like he was now, in sweatpants, shirtless, his hair an unkept mess he was sure Rafael would curse at if he caught sight of it in a mirror.
It was a look no one else but Sonny got to see. Just like he was the only one who got to see Rafael with no clothes at all, sweaty, a panting, groaning mess underneath him as they moved as one.
Having one side of Rafael that was reserved only for him made Sonny burn with something that stood in a thin line between pride and lust. Through a sip of his coffee, Rafael raised a curious eyebrow at him. Sonny smiled.
Only after bonding with Rafael did Sonny understand what true love was. And not in the way movies portrayed it, but actual, heavy, pure love. The kind that settled like a comfortable weight in his chest and that kept him centered all day, through the worst of cases, even when his faith was shaken.
All it took was one tap into their bond, and Sonny could breathe again. It was as refreshing as taking a swim in the ocean on a hot summer’s day.
“You look like you’re having to think very hard to make those pancakes,” Rafael teased, leaning forward. Sonny took a quick step away from the stove to meet him halfway in a kiss.
“Just thinking about how much I love you, that’s all,” Sonny smirked as he pulled back and flipped a perfectly golden pancake into a plate.
“Is that it?,” Rafael gave him a wicked look. “Or were you thinking about what we did last night?”
The memories hit him hard, along with the wave of want coming from Rafael, and Sonny accidentally burned the tip of his thumb while trying to pour fresh batter into the pan. He heard Rafael wince at the same time he did.
“Sorry,” he said, but smirked. “But I feel like it was your own fault.”
Rafael rolled his eyes playfully. He stood up and walked to the refrigerator, taking an ice cube and placing it on Sonny’s finger carefully. “You started it with your impure thoughts.”
“My thoughts were very pure,” Sonny said, batting his eyelashes at Rafael. He laughed when Rafael shot him a knowing look. “Okay, but it’s still your fault. You look too good right now, Raf. It’s distracting.”
Rafael smiled, and Sonny felt satisfaction curling in his chest. “We can go back to bed after breakfast.”
Sonny nodded eagerly as Rafael leaned in to kiss him again. He couldn’t help but pull him by the waist, pressing their naked chest flush against each other. “You’re so gorgeous, it’s unfair,” he breathed when they parted.
“You’re one to talk,” he smirked, pecked Sonny’s lips and took a step back. “Your pancake is burning.”
“Shit,” Sonny turned back to the stove and flipped the pancake. He heard Rafael laughing as he groaned at the dark brown it had turned. “You’re banned from my kitchen, Mr. Barba.”
He felt giddy suddenly, and looked over his shoulder to see that Rafael had taken his sweatpants off and was standing completely naked in the kitchen. Sonny felt lust licking up his stomach, and he turned the burner off with no hesitation, pancakes suddenly forgotten.
“Banned?,” Rafael teased. “I’d like to see you try.”
Sonny closed the distance between them in quick strides, and he pulled Rafael flush against him again, kissing him hangrily. The other man responded in kind, and soon Sonny’s body was burning from the inside out.
Sometimes Sonny found it hard to believe that he could feel so much and not be overwhelmed. On the contrary, it only felt right. It came naturally to him.
He remembered the very few seconds after he was shot, a year and a half ago, when he couldn’t tap into their bond. He had felt lost, like suddenly nothing made sense anymore. If he couldn’t reach Rafael, what was the point?
Rafael had told him he spent hours thinking their bond was gone, and Sonny agonized over that thought for days after. He couldn’t let go of the fear of losing Rafael, of their bond breaking for some reason. The idea was driving him crazy, until he woke up with Rafael safe in his arms, smiling at him.
Sonny felt his heart thumping against his ribcage, and it felt heavy. Heavy with the love Rafael felt for him. And he left himself be consumed by it, sighing deeply, as Rafael poured all of himself inside Sonny.
And it was a lot.
He felt like his lungs couldn’t take all the pressure, and he gasped for air. But he wasn’t suffocating. On the contrary. He was breathing again.
Rafael was his breath of fresh air. And as he felt his love thrumming through his veins, Sonny stopped torturing himself and accepted that the man in his arms was his safe place.
“Rafael,” Sonny said, almost breathlessly, as he broke their kiss. “Rafael, marry me.”
“Yes,” he replied, no hesitation. Sonny felt it in his bones how much Rafael meant that simple word. “I’ll marry you.”
Sonny pulled him into another kiss, this one much less desperate, but just as passionate.
“I can’t wait to hear you tell your mom you proposed to me while I was standing naked in the kitchen,” Rafael smirked.
Sonny laughed. “No, in the version I’m going to tell her you’ll be wearing your soft, fancy silk pyjamas, and I’ll have cooked us the perfect breakfast before getting down on one knee and presenting you with a beautiful ring.”
“Sonny,” Rafael said, throwing his arms around Sonny’s shoulders. “This was the perfect proposal.”
And Sonny believe him. Because he could feel Rafael’s happiness deep in his chest. And as he kissed Rafael again, Sonny chased that feeling and embraced it, allowing it to spread warmly through his heart, body, and soul.