Title: Catch Me When I Fall
Summary: She didn't want to be alone, but at the same time, she didn't want to be with people. Except him.
A/N: Set somewhere after season sixteen.
Olivia couldn't go home. She didn't want to be alone, but at the same time, she didn't want to be with people.
She didn't know how she'd managed to find herself in his neighborhood, in his small, yet immaculately trimmed, yard, but here she stood. Her eyes moved up as did her hand.
Three short raps on the solid wood door, and she started to come to herself. She turned, stepping off the porch into the grass. She would have run, but the light from his now open door bathed her in light. She took a deep breath as she turned.
"Olivia?" Rafael Barba's voice sounded surprised but welcoming. He stepped barefoot out onto the porch. "Please come inside. It's freezing out here. You don't even have on a coat..."
Ignoring the fact that he himself was barefoot, he stepped off the porch and reached for her. His fingers curled around her bare arm just as his other hand reached out to place a guiding hand to her back. "Come on."
She offered no resistance. "I just started driving. I just-just needed to see you." She looked around the foyer of his home as the door closed behind them, the feel of his ever guiding hand still on the small of her back. "Rafael..."
He nodded his head, letting her know he understood. He also let it sink in that this was the first time she'd used his first name, but he didn't voice it. "Then you did the right thing coming here." He guided her into the living room, encouraging her to sit down. He reached for a throw and placed it around her shoulders. "Coffee? Tea?"
She lifted her red rimmed brown eyes to meet his green ones. "Tea would be nice. Th-thank you." She sank into the couch. It was soft and deep and the complete opposite of what she had expected. She reached to close the throw around herself tighter.
"Just sit and get warm, okay?" He laid a comforting hand on her shoulder. His eyes moved to his small coffee table. He had been going over a case for her unit that would be going to trial soon, and the photographs from the crime scene were in full display. He moved quickly to cover them and gather them up so she didn't have to have a vivid reminder.
Another painful memory rose to the surface. They had been too late for the victim. The fifteen year old victim had died in route to the hospital.
She had to force her eyes closed as a sob tore loose from deep inside her. She sounded like a wounded animal as she shoved her fist between her teeth to try and stop herself from completely falling apart at the seams.
He dropped to the couch beside her, pulling her into his arms as he tried his best to soothe her. His fingers brushed through her hair as his voice gave soft words of comfort. Spanish mixed with English as they often did when he was worried.
They had shifted on the couch, and she was curled into him as her body shook with almost violent sobs. Her hand had a fist full of his Harvard t-shirt as she clung to him. Her face pressed against his neck.
After some time, the shaking and the sobbing slowed then finally ceased all together, but they still stayed as they were. His lips parted slowly as his eyes slipped shut.
"You were right in coming here, Liv. You can always come to me." His fingers still carded gently through her tresses as he pressed a soft, lingering kiss to her forehead. "Always."
She didn't know when it happened, didn't know why, but she had fallen for the no nonsense assistant district attorney, and tonight when everything else had fallen apart, he was all she could see.
It's what had led her to his door. It was what allowed her to fall apart. It was what trusted him to catch her.
For once, Sergeant Olivia Benson got it right.
He slipped two fingers beneath her chin and eased her face up so that their eyes met. His mouth pressed gently to hers. A kiss that was a promise of more to come. A promise that he'd do his damnedest to deserve the trust she'd placed in him.
But mostly, the kiss was a promise of love, faithfulness, and commitment to all they had been in the past, all they were in this moment, and what they were destined to be.
"Will you let me change clothes and pack a bag? I'm sure Noah's going to want his Mommy to put him to bed. We'll take your car, okay?" He kissed her once more before he stood up. He reached for his Harvard sweatshirt that lay across the arm of the chair he'd vacated in her arrival and offered, "Slip this on. Can't have you catching a cold now, can we?"
She took the sweatshirt, their fingers touched. Her fingers curled around his. "Thank you. For everything." She stood, leaning into him as she initiated the next kiss. "Now go. Pack a bag. I want to be home with my two favorite people."
It was in that soft proclamation that everything became so clear and so completely honest. They were both still learning to fall, but neither afraid that the other wouldn't there to catch them. And in that, it all became worth it.