You stumbled into work late, again. It was a daily thing, Sleepy Cali loves to turn off her alarm after regular Cali stays up way too late every night. The precinct was full of officers in uniform and detectives that were dressed at least business casual. Not you. You were wearing flats during your first foot pursuit and decided after that day that you were wearing running shoes or Vans every shift from then on out. Plus, wearing a blazer with your hair neatly straightened for 10+ hours a day gets tiring. It's a good thing that you're a damn great detective, not many Lieutenants would tolerate you wearing jeans and a hoodie nearly every day.
"Good morning, Jack! Stayed up late again last night?" Olivia intercepted you before you even reached your desk. She wasn't aggravated, she had a smile on her face, which probably meant that Rollins and Fin caught their perp early this morning.
"I did, I did. I've got two more days to make it through my month of Halloween movies list. I've got five more on my list. What are you so chipper about?" You made your way to your desk to set down your bag.
"Amanda and Fin finally caught up with their rapist, your partner's monitoring them with Barba." She nodded her head toward interrogation room 1.
You filled up your coffee cup and start toward the glass, toward Sonny and Barba. You were always telling Sonny that he needed to be aware of his surroundings, even when he thought he was safe. But he never listened. So you playfully tapped the back of his knee with your foot, his knee giving out just enough to startle him but not enough for him to actually fall. He jerked around with a bitch face that would shame anyone who didn't know him like you did. He saw it was you and his eyes lit up. Barba's, too. It seemed everyone was in a good mood today.
"I told you, Risi, always be aware of your surrounding. I'm gonna do that until you start to expect it." You leaned one shoulder against the wall, sipping your coffee and crossing your legs. Your eyes still looked tired.
"Not gonna happen, if a perp's gonna take me out it's not gonna be with his girly tip toes, Cal. Good morning to you too, though."
It took you months to get used to the New Yorker accent after moving up here. Being from Staten Island though, Sonny's didn't make your ears bleed as bad as most others.
You chuckled and moved between him and Barba, watching Rollins and Fin take their perp's confession. He denied a defense attorney, said he wanted to make things right with God. Sonny scoffed, "God.. What do these people think they know about God?"
Liv entered, it'd always amazed you how she managed to be a full time mother and Captain, and somehow still had time to curl her hair and get dressed up every day. She was being followed by two investigators that none of you recognized. "Speaking of God.. Calico, these two investigators are from Tennessee. They traveled all the way here because your previous precinct wouldn't give them any information to contact you with." She looked concerned, walking them your way. You couldn't see their faces but Sonny and Barba looked equally as confused. You weren't, you knew what this was about. Liv turns her attention back to them, "Guys, you could've just called us, our lines are secure. Let me show you to a conference room.."
"No, it's fine, Captain. I've sort of been expecting them." You headed toward your desk, resting on the edge of it. The Tennessee detectives and your coworkers follow. "My sister's been keeping me updated on the, uh.. news."
The older detective, he looked to be in his 50's. He was a stocky African American man with a deep voice but a very friendly smile. "You haven't been in contact with any members of the Methodist Church of the Bleeding Heart, have you Detective?"
"Not since I was maybe 16. My Aunt is still a member, I believe. But I don't keep in contact with much of my extended family either, sir."
Now the younger one. He was a little older than you, maybe 30. Dark hair with a tiny bit of silver in the front. You could see the future laugh lines around his mouth when he spoke. "There's been a string of suicides within their community, all teenage years or younger. The members aren't very.. forthcoming with information. Or with anything for that matter."
"I wouldn't expect anything less from that church. But if you're looking for me to paint any of them as murderers, I can't." You were telling the truth. You'd love to see any of their members pay for their sins, but you had no clue about their actions in the past 10 years.
"We aren't, Detective. But we do need to speak to you about what happened to you while you were a member of their church." The older detective, Lieutenant Scoggins, looked sympathetic. Like he regretted even asking you such a thing. As he should be, your blood ran cold and for a moment you had chill bumps that were visible to all of them. You looked up from your coffee and motioned toward a conference room. The two investigators followed, your squad stayed behind.
"What's this about, Liv?" Sonny's brow was furrowed, he had the flaw of being a little over protective of his partner and friend.
"Something that I am not at liberty to discuss, Carisi.." Olivia walked away, back to her office.
"Don't worry about her, we both know how strong she is." Rafael reassured Sonny. Sonny sometimes wondered about yours and Barba's relationship. You were oddly close. He knew you stayed the night with him every now and then, and you'd sometimes come in wearing his t-shirts.
"Yeah, I know. I just thought it was only the Catholic Church that had it's scandals."
You came out two hours later, heart racing and a little jittery. You hadn't talked in detail about what happened in that church for years, you liked it that way. You sat down at your desk, across from Sonny. He looked up and noticed you rubbing your head, knowing you suffered from chronic migraines. He also knew that you would deny anything being wrong if he'd asked how you felt, so he texted Liv and asked her to suggest the two of you take a break to grab some lunch. It was a slow day anyways, whoever was on call would get the shit end of the stick come Halloween night.
Liv came out a few minutes later. "Jack, Carisi, how about you two go grab some lunch while it's dead? I don't want your blood sugar dropping if anything hits the fan later today."
"Y'know what, I was actually thinking the same thing. C'mon, Cal, I know of a great little noodle shop in Chinatown that I've been craving like crazy lately." He got up and grabbed his coat, extending his hand out toward you. You took it, but he knew that you saw right through him. You popped a few Advil Migraines before heading out.
You sat at the outdoor dining section of a little Vietnamese restaurant, Sonny ordered pad thai and you ordered beef pho. You loved the crisp fall air up here, it stayed warm well into December in your hometown. You knew that Sonny was worried. This was the most anyone from your squad knew about your past so far, which was saying a lot as they still didn't even know that much at all. It wasn't a secret, you weren't deliberately not talking about it. You just didn't bring it up, living by the rule of "dont ask, don't tell".
"Your head feelin' better? I saw you rubbing it after you came outta there."
You laughed a little, "Yeah, yeah. I expected them to be here a lot sooner, honestly."
"What's this about, Cal? Are you in some kind of trouble?"
"No, Risi. I'm fine, I swear. The church I grew up in has always pulled shady shit, it's just catching up with them now."
He looked at you suspiciously, he knew you were holding back. "Okay, just please tell me if you ever are in trouble.. I'm your partner, okay? I've always got your back." You nodded at him as your entrees came out. "How's your month of Halloween movie list coming along?"
"I'm fallin' short, man! I've got two more nights to finish 5 more movies! That's at least 8 more hours of screen time!"
"Have you not seen all of these movies before? Which ones do you have left?"
"Yeah but I save all the best for last so it's not like I can just SKIP over these last few! I've still got A Nightmare on Elm St 3, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Hocus Pocus, The Craft and Scream."
"Okay well out of all of those I've only seen Harry Potter."
It was absolutely fucking crazy to you how people up here didn't celebrate Halloween as enthusiastically as you did.
"That's just wrong, Sonny... You know, I've got a real comfy couch. You wanna start the holiday weekend off right, come watch a few movies and eat way too much candy corn with me tonight?"
"Not the biggest fan of candy corn or scary movies, but I could use a little break, why not?"
The two of you made your way back to the precinct, slowly and sleepily after getting way too full on noodles. The rest of the day went by without incident. Sonny spent most of his time making funny faces at you when you weren't looking and acting like nothing was happening when you peeked up from your computer, effectively making Amanda and Fin giggle like school girls. A rubber band war broke out at some point, and ended when one went rouge and flew into Olivia's office and onto her desk. She folded up her glasses and came out, arms crossed.
"Okay, children, since it doesn't look like anyone is doing any more work for today, what do you all have planned for the weekend?"
"I'm trying to find a good, safe neighborhood to take Jaden for his first Halloween. Oh, I'll have to send you all photos, he's bein' a little baby Groot. I love it!" Fin was so proud since becoming a Pop.
"Well hey, Liv and I are takin' the kids up to Chelsea for Trick 'r Treating, if you and your family wanna come. I'm taxing the kids half of their candy because this neighborhood is gaurenteed to give out full sized bars." Amanda's little girls were getting so big.
"Cal is introducing me to her tradition of scary movies and candy corn, so I'll be out on Monday for my first dentist appointment in years. Just a heads up, Leiu."
You grinned, already chewing on a piece, 'So cute, all your little families."
Olivia gave you all the okay to head out for the day. Fin and Sonny were walking out together while you were gathering your stuff. Sonny turned around, "I'll be there around 7, Cal. Need me to bring anything?"
"That's a negative, but dress like a normal person and not a cop."
Carisi smiled and turned back around while Fin yelled back, "Hey maybe come this summer you'll have started your own little family, too, Calico!"
You caught Sonny jabbing him in the ribs with an elbow as they turned the corner.
"Come on man, I'm joking, she knows that!" Fin coughed out while rubbing ribs.
"You know we're not like that, Fin. She's a great partner, I don't want anything making it weird and us end up separated."
"No Carisi, you two are the ones denying it's not like that. The rest of us are just trying to decide what we're gonna wear to the wedding. What do you think, should we color coordinate?"
"Oh, so now two partners can't catch up outside of work without it meaning they're sleeping together?"
"All I'm saying is that I haven't seen chemistry like that on the job since I was working with Phoebe in Narcotics 20 years ago - But that's not a good example, we both know how that ended up."
Sonny stopped walking and gave him a look. A look that Fin knew meant to drop it.
"All right, man, I get it. But if anything ever does happen, I want us to drop the badges and talk like guys about it. Y'know, locker room talk." Sonny laughed and they continued on their way.
You made it to your little apartment and changed into some leggings, a cropped, white v-neck t shirt, and a knitted cardigan. Your thick, wavy hair went up into a messy bun with your baby hairs hanging down by your ears. Your apartment was homey and cozy, Sonny had described it as "eclectic" when he was helping you move and unpack. It was a little one bedroom, one and a half bath on the 10th floor near Central Park. You didn't realize it before you signed your lease, but there were no ceiling lights in the living room or bedroom, so you hung a strand of string lights behind your couch. It actually gave the place a cute glow with just enough light to not strain your eyes.
In the mean time, Sonny was getting dressed and undressed in front of his mirror. He didn't understand what "don't dress like a cop" meant. No button down and slacks, he assumed? He settled on a pair of well fitted jeans and a thick, long sleeved, grey, Henley shirt. He decided that was good enough, pulled on his brown leather jacket and headed out.
He opened the door to your apartment without knocking, like usual. Sonny and Rafa were there more than anyone else, so it has become pretty normal.
"Man, it is getting cold FAST this year. It's gonna be a tough winter." He threw his jacket over the recliner and joined you in the kitchen, hopping up to sit on the counter beside where you were standing. "All right, what we got here?"
"Chai tea, don't bother. Everyone I know hates it. Which movie do you wanna watch first?"
"Harry Potter? You've seen it a thousand times and I wanna catch up, I haven't seen you outside of work for weeks. I'm losing my best friend to Rafael Barba." He said it almost seriously, like it was an insult to him.
You headed into the living room and popped Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in, Sonny followed and made himself comfortable on the couch. Took his shoes off and propped his feet up on the coffee table. You joined but turned towards him, one knee up toward your chest. "What are you talking about, Dom?"
He tried to blow it off, "Nothin', I shouldn't have brought it up." He didn't sound angry or jealous, more just a little sad or ashamed. "My bad."
"No, it's not nothing. Talk to me." You placed your hand on his forearm to get his attention. He turned his face and caught your eyes, he had never been good at lying to you.
"It's not you, Cal. I guess I just don't have many friends outside of the squad room. Fin, Amanda, Liv, they've all got their families, you know. I like when you invite me over, it feels like we're actually friends when we're not wearing the badges."
"Sonny, we are actually friends. Yeah, I hang out with Barba sometimes. I hang out with Amanda and Liv sometimes, too. But you know that I'm closer to you than any of them."
"Then why are you hidin' stuff from me, Cali? Why were those detectives from Tennessee here today? You're tellin' me they took a flight halfway across the country for nothin'?"
You stood up with your hands in your face and groaned into your palms. "Ohhhh my goddddd. Is this what this is about Dominick? Cause I've got one tiny secret?"
"You know I'm just worried about you. You're my partner, we look out for each other, don't we?"
You sat back down, completely turned towards him with your legs crossed. "Sonny, if you're worried that I was raped, or molested, or taken advantage of, you're wrong. And that isn't me being in denial, or refusing to admit that I was a victim. That's the truth."
"Okay, okay. I'm sorry. You're right, I shouldn't try to force you to open up to me before you're ready."
"No, I'm ready. But if we're gonna have one of these nights, we're doing this right." He looked at you, confused. "I need someone up here to know about my past. I can't keep living like it didn't happen. Talking to those detectives today made me realize that. I shouldn't still be having a physical reaction to something that happened almost a decade ago."
You got up and stepped over his legs, grabbing a bottle out of your liquor cabinet. It was Patron Silver, he laughed and sat straight up, "Whoa-ho-ho, Cal, I know you can swing that stuff but I grew up on red wine and communion wafers." You had that half grin on your face, the one where the dimple on your right cheek shows so prominently.
"I've got red wine, too! This just works faster and doesn't give me the headache after. I've gotten drunk and had a long night of opening up with all of my best friends from back home. I told you, we're doing this right."
You took an impressive swig from the bottle and chased it with your tea, then handed the bottle to Sonny. His gulp wasn't as big, but after a few more he wouldn't be able to feel the burn in his throat anyways. An hour later, it had worked. You were both laughing your asses off about how Sonny had accidentally tazed an elderly woman who had already been subdued. It wasn't funny, but in this line of work you really had to have a fucked up sense of humor or else it would kill you. Neither of you were wasted, but you were comfortable, loose. Sonny wiped tears from his eyes after he was finally able to catch his breath.
So what happened, Cali? No pressure, I don't want you telling me anything you don't want to."
You shrugged your shoulders, "Everything's a sin, you know? At least to them it was."
You took a final sip from the bottle and set it on the coffee table, "Except to them, sinning was evil. To them, we are all born evil sinners, and our only goal before death is to be as close to godly as possible."
"That's.. that's not how God works.. You know that, right?"
"Yeah, but when I say that everything was a sin, I mean everything. So pretty much.. until they felt like you were an adult, they considered you evil. Everything you did, everything you wore. No matter how often you prayed or said 'please' and 'thank you'. It didn't matter if you got on the floor and spoke in tongues or sat quietly in the back pew. It was pure, unfiltered mental abuse until they decided that you'd had enough. Grown men and women.. bullying 12 year old girls into throwing up in the bathroom after every meal, because 'God hates gluttons' . Shunning little boys for sitting to close to other boys, because 'God hates fags'. Their religion wasn't about believing in God, it was just about fearing Hell."
Your voice trailed off and your eyes wandered down toward your hands, you were playing with your fingers.
"They brought in fucking rattlesnakes sometimes, said that they could detect the evil ones in the room. I didn't know it at the time, but they'd starved them for weeks. Poked and prodded them until they were angry as shit before bringing them in. One time they'd specifically asked all the kids to sit in the front pews and sat the snakes down on our laps. They sat them on the first kid in the row and let them slither down the line. Once it got down to me, it wrapped itself around my wrist. It's tongue was flicking my hand. I'd had a ham and cheese sandwich right before the sermon. I thought for sure it was going to bite me.. But when it struck, it went for the little girl right beside me."
Sonny grabbed your hands that you'd been picking at, "Cali, I am so -" You pulled them away.
"I'd watched her eat a sandwich too. She just didn't wash her hands afterwards. She was 10 at the absolute most, dude.. She screamed bloody fucking murder. I can still hear it sometimes, ringing in my ear. Her dad grabbed the snake right off my wrist and scooped his daughter up, he barely got her to the hospital in time. They never came back after that. I hate to say it but she was lucky.. The things they said about her after she left.. They claimed that she was bitten because she had gotten her period and was embarrassed about telling her dad, claimed that getting your period before 13 meant that she'd already had sex and that she was always doomed to be an adulterer. Then the pastor turned to me and said that I should feel grateful that the snake only gave me a warning, that it gave me a chance to turn toward the lord."
"What did they say you did?"
You looked up at him with an exasperated sigh, "One of them saw me taking birth control. They didn't believe in contraceptive, said it was the lord's will you know. I wasn't even having sex, I was on it to control my endometriosis because it was making me anemic. But they just saw me as a whore. My family left a month later, when they pretended to be my parents and tried to call my doctor's office to get copies of my medical records."
Sonny looked at you dumbfounded. He didn't say anything. He put his hands out this time, asking for permission to hold them without saying anything. You placed your hands in his. For the first time in a long, long time, a tear fell down your cheek.
This time it wasn't a question. You leaned into his chest and he leaned back against the arm of the couch, laying you down with him. He pulled a throw blanket from the back of the couch over the two of you and wrapped his arms around your shoulders. You had one arm behind his back and the other on his chest. You both just laid there for a little while, Sonny stroking your back. It was nice, it didn't feel forced or awkward.
"You know, you said you wanted to hang out outside of work more. How about making this a Friday tradition? I mean maybe not the getting drunk and spilling past traumas part.. but making dinner or going somewhere or something."
Sunny laughed, tightening his grip around you. "Yeah, Cal. I'd like that a lot, actually." He reached an arm behind the couch and switched off the string lights. You fell asleep fast in his arms. He laid there for a while, just holding you. Listening to your breathing, stroking your hair. Before he fell asleep he noticed how fast his heart was beating. He just didn't know if it was because of the tequila, or because he'd realized that Fin was absolutely fucking right.