Olivia Benson sat on the tarmac at O'Hare waiting for her flight to take off. She was exhausted both mentally and physically. It had already been a tough few weeks without this latest case which had taken her to Chicago. They had saved two kids and caught the perps, but in the process they had lost a fellow officer, which was always hard. Seeing his wife and daughter at the precinct had engulfed Olivia in a tsunami of emotions. She had been through rough weeks at SVU before but these had to be up there amongst the toughest.
Dodds was riding her hard, on her case at every given opportunity. As if the job wasn't difficult enough she didn't need him breathing down her neck with every move she made.
Noah had been sick and hospitalised, she'd had to leave him with the sitter or Nick's mom because of work. Miss Jackson from child services had told her in no uncertain terms that they were keeping a watchful eye on the situation. She'd had to work on her last day off when three kids had gone missing at Halloween. It was just one thing after another.
There was also something else she needed to think about or rather someone. As if life wasn't complicated enough at the moment, a couple weeks ago she had ended up in bed or to be more accurate in the shower with ADA Rafael Barba. Ellie hadn't been able to stay late that evening and Olivia had reluctantly had to cut short the evening, feeling bad about having to run out on him. Ridiculously and almost unbelievably their paths had hardly crossed in the intervening time. Olivia had tried to get across to Hogan Place on a couple of occasions. Each time someone offered to go for her, saving her the trouble and she couldn't think of one good reason why they shouldn't. They had left messages for each other, telephone tag didn't begin to cover it. His messages as short as hers neither giving anything away. "Hey it's me call me when you can" just about summed it up.
When she had dispatched Rollins and Amaro to Chicago, Olivia had hoped she would finally get the opportunity to catch up with him but then Voigt had called her and she'd been on the next plane. She had tried calling Barba from the airport both times. Both times it had of course gone straight to voicemail and she'd left him another two short messages. The first briefly explaining she was heading out of town. The one she had left not 40 minutes ago she was now beginning to regret. It wasn't as if they were together, a couple or anything. It had just been something that happened and something they hadn't had a chance to talk about since. With so much going on honestly she didn't know what to think about it.
"Hey it's me again. This is getting really silly and more than a little bit frustrating in more ways than one. I am about to catch my flight home….. I've missed you."
ADA Rafael Barba replayed the voicemail message Olivia Benson had left him for a third possibly fourth time. A silly grin lifting his lips. Truthfully he hadn't known where he stood or what had happened, well he knew what had happened more a case why or how. Oh he didn't know. All he did know was that he had enjoyed it. He had hated it when Liv had had to rush off and that they hadn't had a chance to talk or anything subsequently. Perhaps he was being foolish, romanticising and reading far too much into a voicemail. He toyed aimlessly with his coffee cup and made a decision.
Olivia could tell Ellie was delighted when she said she was about to board and would be back home in few hours. She adored Noah and was always there at the drop of the hat but the poor girl had a life. She glanced at her phone once more before putting it into flight mode. Still nothing from Barba, this was going to be more than awkward.
"Ladies and Gentlemen we are now beginning our decent into JFK." Olivia blinked, shivering as she pulled herself fully awake. She couldn't believe she had slept for most of the two and a half hour flight. The last thing she recalled was drinking the not so nice wine the attendant had given her. Much as she needed to see Noah and hug him, she hoped Ellie had bathed him and put him to bed. All she wanted was a hot bath, a decent glass of wine and maybe some take out before sinking into her own bed.
The moment they were allowed to do so Olivia switched her cell phone back on.
"Hey, sorry I missed you again. Guess you must be at a few thousand feet by now. I will catch up with your later".
The message was as if he were talking about a case, nothing personal. Disappointment washed through Olivia's veins as she got into a cab and headed home. That hot bath and glass or two of wine had never sounded better.
Opening the door to her apartment she dropped her overnight bag and briefcase just inside the door. Thankfully the bliss of silence greeted her. Olivia glanced around her deserted and remarkably tidy living room. No mean feat when there was a crawling infant to amuse. His toys were in the playpen and his highchair was free from bottles and plastic dishes. Her couch wasn't covered in comforters or bibs, the cushions were scattered as they used to be. The room was bathed in the dim light from two table lamps she rarely used these days. Toys strewn about the floor in the half-light could be lethal especially on bare feet. Ellie must have realised Olivia would be shattered and had cleared up a little. The girl was a treasure thought Olivia, if only she'd run me a bath, she smiled to herself. That would have been above and beyond the call of duty.
A bottle of red wine was open on the table. Even in this light Olivia could tell it wasn't one of her usual bottles the label wasn't you average bodega stuff. Maybe it was just one left over from a dinner party she'd had, Olivia tended to splash out on something a little better when she had guests. A door clicked shut behind her and she turned to thank Ellie. Coming face to face with Rafael Barba. Olivia wasn't sure what surprised her more the sight of him in her apartment or the fact he had a spit up cloth over one shoulder, an empty bottle in one hand and a wooden train in the other. His jacket and tie had presumably been discarded somewhere around the apartment. His shirt was unbuttoned as was his vest and the sleeves on his pale blue striped shirt were rolled to the elbows. Despite his somewhat formal attire he looked strangely at home with his accessories.
"Hi" Was all Olivia could manage, her face almost split in two by her smile.
His own smiled veered towards the nervous: "Hi. I hope you don't mind." He put the bottle and train down. "I was so ….. I got your message….I just thought"
Olivia laughed out loud, this was a first Barba at a loss for words. She shrugged out of her coat and crossed the room. "Of course I don't mind. In fact I couldn't be happier that you are here." She caught hold of the cloth, pretending to tug on it. "You are rocking this new look Counsellor."
The idea to be at Olivia's apartment when she arrived home seemed like a good one when he got her message, but courage was beginning to fail him by the time he knocked on the door. He wasn't sure Ellie would be happy leaving Noah with him without speaking to Olivia, but it appeared she had no such doubts. She knew who he was and he guessed well if you can't trust a district attorney then who can you trust?
His experiences with infants wasn't extensive. But he had godchildren and had done his bit when it came to diapers, bathing and bottles. Noah it turned out was a dream and he felt a little hurt that Amaro got to spend so much time with the child, but then Barba assumed his mother did sit for Olivia and he had children of his own it was only natural she would turn to him. The infant had viewed him suspiciously from his high chair. Ellie had given him a quick run-down of the remainder of his routine for the evening. He should be tired she had told him as she had gathered up her bag. He just needs to be bathed and to make sure he dried his hair properly, given his night time bottle and he should go down easily.
Barba had found everything he needed. Ever organised he laid out a clean diaper and onesie for the tot and got the formula ready to heat once he was done. The child chuckled and wriggled as his new sitter splashed him and tickled him with a brightly coloured dolphin. There were a few tears when it came to having his hair washed despite Barba managing to keep the shampoo from those big brown eyes, but a few faces and more tickling soon put paid to those. He wrapped Noah snuggly in a hooded towel and dried his dark baby hair thoroughly as Ellie had instructed, before deftly fitting the diaper and dressing the squirming child in the animal covered onesie. He felt quite smug that he was still a dab hand at the process, it was many years since his godchildren had need him to wash their hair or change a diaper. With Noah securely at his shoulder Barba had ventured into the kitchen to heat up the formula Ellie had left out for him. He had a healthy appetite and a feisty grip hanging onto one of Barba's long fingers as he guzzled greedily on the bottle. The sucking slowed as the milk vanished and the child became sleepy and a little grizzly. Barba rubbed Noah's back and managed to extract a loud burp which was promptly followed by more grizzling. Making himself comfortable on Liv's couch, he allowed the tiring and tearful child to wriggle around on his tummy. Little knees and toes dug into parts of him as Noah wriggled around finally stilling on Barba's chest.
"This little world can seem so big without any to love. To love. Well this little world can make you feel trapped."
He gently crooned to the quietening child who fell asleep almost instantaneously. His rosy upturned face rising on falling with the ADA's even breathing. He stayed like that for a little while for fear of disturbing him, once he was certain he wouldn't wake the sleeping child he laid him gently down in his cot. He had been checking on him a little while later when he heard the door open. Looking after Noah had been the easy part of his evening. He hoped Olivia wouldn't mind him barging into her apartment and taking over the care of her son. He also hoped she didn't regret what had happened between them and that them not seeing it each had been purely down to their respective jobs and not her trying to avoid him.
"Well Noah" He whispered to the peacefully sleeping infant. "I am about to find out"
Olivia looked tired but beautiful, her face positively lighting up when she saw him. He wanted to take her in his arms and explain all at once what he was doing here. Neither materialised.
"I would say I need a shower and a whiskey or two" She noticed the smile of recognition lift his lips. She moved closer still holding the cloth. "But personally I would prefer a bath and a glass of wine or two". The fact that he was here spoke volumes. Olivia decided to push her luck.
"I hope Noah isn't the only member of this family who gets his back scrubbed by you tonight?"
Barba studied her seriously, his grave face belying his real feelings.
"I am not sure" He began hesitantly, pausing for effect. He was good at this, he knew how to punctuate a sentence to maximise its impact. It was after all what he got paid for. "What I am going to enjoy more, applying baby oil or you falling asleep on my chest." He pulled Olivia into his arms and brushed his lips softly across hers. Her felt her smile beneath them.
She pushed him back playfully. "As long as you aren't planning on talcing my butt"
His laughter was a sound Olivia rarely heard, she liked it.
"Hmmm not sure that's one of my kinks." He admittedly earnestly.
"Oh you have kinks?" Olivia arched a brow at him.
He smiled at her avoiding the question. "Well I've prepared your bottle." He gestured to the Cabernet breathing on the table. "I shall go and run a bath to the correct temperature."
With a flourish he was gone, leaving a rather bemused Olivia standing in the middle of her living room. She was extremely happy that he was here and was just going to allow herself to enjoy it. She kicked off her boots, dropping her socks inside and shrugged out of her jacket. Grabbing the wine and two glasses from the unit, she poked her head in on the mercifully sound asleep Noah and joined her surprise guest in the bathroom.
The room was shrouded in a fine mist caused by the steam from the tub. A tub scented with jasmine and sandalwood which wafted in to the air. Soft candlelight illuminated the room. It had been a very long time since Olivia had had either the time or the inclination to light them and enjoy a long soak with some music and a glass of wine. This was quite simply perfect. She placed the wine and the glasses on a small cabinet. Barba was testing the water as she clicked the door shut.
"No don't." He said, as she grabbed the hem on her blouse to tug it over her head. "Let me." his voice was low and husky.
Olivia's hands fell to her sides happy to comply with his request. A moment later they were once again raised allowing him to slip the silky garment over her head, which he then carefully placed over the sink. He reached for something behind her, the wool of his vest brushing against her exposed skin sending a frisson of awareness through her. But he didn't touch her.
His long fingers were in her hair gently scooping it from her neck and securing it in the clamp, just above her nape, where he planted a delicate but sensual kiss.
"Mmmm" She couldn't help the sound that escaped her lips. His mouth, fleeting as it was felt so good against her skin. His feather light touch stirring every nerve in her body.
Unbuttoning her pants he allowed them to pool around her ankles. Olivia stepped out of them kicking them to one side. Closing her eyes to savour the softness of his hands on her naked skin. She couldn't help but feel a little self-conscious. Being undressed by him in this way felt a little strange, coupled with the fact that her everyday underwear whilst wonderfully comfortable for work left a lot be desired in the sexy stakes, unless of course you had a thing for simple white cotton and embarrassingly it was the second time she had been wearing it. With frightening dexterity he dispatched the offending items to the ground giving her little time to worry about it.
Barba held her hand as she stepped into the tub, worried that he might have used too much of the foaming oil and made the surface slippery. He didn't let go until she was safely seated in the hot scented water.
"Water ok?" He asked. The look of unadulterated delight on her face was confirmation enough. She eased herself backwards so her head rested on the rim of the tub allowing the mass of bubbles to engulf her. Barba decanted a glass of wine. A wet hand emerged from the thick foam and Olivia took a large appreciative swig.
He poured himself a glass and perched on the edge of the bathtub, sipping the dark red liquid, he couldn't resist asking. "Would you like a colourful dolphin to play with?"
Olivia took another mouthful of the delicious wine. Like the water it was the perfect temperature. It had clearly been chosen with great care.
"Actually" She replied languorously, eyeing him speculatively over the rim of the bulbous glass. "I would prefer a colourful ADA to play with!" She patted the water playfully.
Their eyes met across two oversized wine glasses. Hot chocolate brown twinkled at wide limpid green.
An indolent smile tugged at Barba's lips. He hadn't planned on getting in. The water had risen considerably with one body, two was going to make a mess. He wasn't even sure he was going to fit, it wasn't the biggest of bathtubs.
Placing his glass carefully on a reachable corner of the tub he undid the laces on his shoes and took them off along with an intriguingly coloured pair of socks. Glancing back at a smirking Olivia he got up.
His previously unbuttoned charcoal grey vest was the first item of clothing to go, joining Olivia's blouse on the sink. Its removal revealed a striking pair of yellow and navy striped suspenders which he slipped off his shoulders with practised ease. Barba didn't hurry nor did he draw out the process. He thought he would feel awkward stripping like this, but if the truth be told he was actually quite enjoying it. He pulled his shirt free from his dress pants, undoing the buttons to expose a white cotton undershirt both of which were quickly discarded. It was a strangely erotic sensation that raced through him as he lowered his zipper allowing his suit pants to fall to the floor. Something which became blatantly obvious when he removed his last piece of clothing.
Olivia chewed on her bottom lip, biting down hard in lieu of pinching herself. ADA Rafael Barba had basically just stripped for her and was standing in her bathroom resplendently naked in a semi-aroused state. She waited for the sound of her alarm clock to wake her from this somewhat vivid and surreal dream. Thankfully it didn't come.
Much as she hated to admit it, the last time, there really hadn't been much time for prolonged pleasure or savouring the moment. They had clearly both enjoyed it but at the time it had simply been something that happened. Unlike Olivia she hadn't thought much beyond the moment. The fact that it had all gathered momentum so quickly neither had Barba. She had the distinct impression that he intended to change that and she had no intention of stopping him.
It was rude to stare but she just couldn't help it. For someone who spent so much time at a desk she still couldn't get over the fact his legs and arms were so well toned. She was torn between just wanting him to stand there so she could enjoy looking at him like some Greek statue or for him to get into the bath with her so she could enjoy that glorious nakedness against her own skin. She was beginning to feel like a child at the museum with an overwhelming need to reach out and touch. One thing was certain Rafael Barba would not feel like hard cold marble, not cold marble anyway. She edged forward slightly making room for him.
Just as he had suspected, sliding in behind Olivia propelled hot scented water cascading over the lip of the tub onto the tiled floor. It wasn't the biggest of tubs, but with a little manoeuvring he managed to wrap his legs around her, Olivia's elbow resting conveniently on his knee to support her wine.
She had beautiful skin, pale and smooth. The way he had roughly scooped up her hair and caught it in the clamp allowed a few tendrils to escape. They were wispy at her neck and incredibly sexy. Foam clung to her shoulder and he blew gently on the white bubbles sending them scattering across her back. She leaned backwards against his chest, sending another wave of water onto the floor. Her forehead rested against his cheek. It wasn't the most comfortable of positions in the confined space, but she remained like this for some time, relishing the feel his body moulded against hers. It felt good, he felt good.
"I think I need a bigger tub." She murmured dreamily against his shoulder.
Barba dropped a kiss on the top of Olivia's head. He could still smell the vague aroma of her perfume over the jasmine and sandalwood. She turned her face to towards him. She looked like a different person to the one who had walked through the door a short time ago. The tiredness was all but gone and her eyes were bright and happy. It gave him an inordinate sense of pleasure that it was because of him. That he could do that with such simple things. He captured her mouth, it seemed an eternity since he had felt its soft fullness beneath his own. There were times in the last couple of weeks he'd seriously begun to wonder if he'd imagined it all. Olivia deepened the kiss, her tongue stroking his with a burning sensuality that left him a little breathless.
"No" He breathed. "This is perfect, a little messy but perfect. I like having you so close." He savoured the silky softness of her skin against his own. Her delicate touch sent thrills coursing through him as her fingers trailed slowly up one of the legs he had wrapped around her. With his free hand he unhurriedly and gently bathed her.
"Mmmm." Was all Olivia could manage, the tender rhythmic motion of his hand combined with the warmth, the relaxing scent and the wine sending her into a trance like state. As his long fingers brushed over her breast, arousal flooded her body. The touch was brief but so sensual, Olivia pressed back against him. Savouring the feel of his skin against hers.
"I could stay like this forever." She practically purred at him.
"I think we might get cold, a little stiff and very wrinkled."
Olivia smacked him good-humouredly "Well you've ruined it now, but I like the sound of a little stiff."
It was Barba's turn at the good humour "Just the sound of?" feigning sulkiness he leapt unexpectedly from the tub, amidst a deluge of water and bubbles. Dripping over the already sodden floor he wrapped a towel around his waist and held out a pale grey towelling robe for Olivia. Wrapping it around her, he pulled the tie tightly and playfully put up the hood, just as he had done with Noah earlier in the evening.
"Do you have an animal print onesie too?" He asked.
"I might do, would you like to borrow it?
"I think I will stick with the Roman baths look."
"Well it's certainly very you and much easier to get out of." Olivia tugged at the towel to prove her point, it promptly came undone. Barba's reflexes were impressive managing to stop it falling onto the wet floor. But to Olivia's delight he made no attempt to retie it.
Rafael Barba undressed in her apartment wasn't something Olivia had ever expected to see but was something she could easily get used to!
She liked to see a man dressed well and he always looked the picture of sartorial elegance in his impeccably cut suits. Ever the consummate professional and sharp advocate. There was definitely a lot more than met the eye going on under that exceptional tailoring. Who'd have thought!
It amused her that she had now seen him naked as many times as she had seen him in casual clothes, and after the yellow sailing jacket she definitely preferred naked.
"Didn't anyone ever tell you it was rude to stare Sargent?" His amused voice cut through her trail of thought.
Olivia felt her face burn, her brown eyes reluctantly rising to meet his. "I would say sorry Counsellor, but actually I'm not"
Barba laughed "Well that's honest. So shall I just stand here for a while longer or shall we get comfortable somewhere else?"
A simple white cotton sheet replaced the towel and was all that covered Rafael Barba when Olivia entered her bedroom after checking on a still sleeping Noah. Trading her bathrobe for an oversized cotton t-shirt she snuggled up to him on the bed. Satin and lace were something for another time she hoped.
"OK spill, what's your secret" She asked jabbing him in the tummy with her forefinger "How did you get my son to sleep so soundly?"
"Ouch. I don't think as a District Attorney, I care for your interrogation skills"
Her soft lips replaced the prodding finger. Tracing a teasing path across his stomach, she toyed with the splattering of dark hair and moved up towards his chest. Her tongue circled his nipple with a merciless eroticism.
"OK OK! I'll tell you."
Olivia laughed. "It didn't take much to get you to crack."
"What can I say Liv, a man can only take so much". He stroked her hair, freed from the clamp and still damp from the steam, it fanned across his upper body. "Well after I bathed him and had given him his bottle. I made myself comfortable on the couch, let him wriggle around until he was happy. Which was apparently sprawled across my chest and I sang to him."
"You sang to him?" She asked incredulously propping herself up to look squarely at him.
His green eyes sparkled at her obvious disbelief. "I am not saying I am Broadway material but I've been told I can carry a bit of a tune"
Barba was a little stunned when Olivia pulled back the sheet covering him. Not quite the response he had expected to his revelation. She clambered over him, pushing his legs apart with her knee, her stomach resting on his groin, she nestled comfortably, her head resting on his chest.
"Well, you've bathed me, I've had a bottle. I assume you are comfortable, I've wriggled around a bit and I am happy sprawled across your chest."
Realisation suddenly dawned on the somewhat bemused ADA. It wasn't quite what he had expected but then things rarely were with Olivia. With his hand splayed across her back, his thumb moving in small circular motions he began to croon softly at the clearly contented woman lying on his chest.
"This little world can seem so big without any to love. To love. Well this little world can make you feel trapped."
She fell asleep almost instantaneously. Her beautiful upturned face, flushed, rising and falling with the ADA's even breathing.