All original characters belong to Dick Wolf, and NBC. I merely own any new characters, and the plot.

It was a beautiful morning, the sun shone through the curtains and onto the messy sheets, arousing the sleeping form tangled within its folds. Hair disheveled, those gorgeous brown locks framing her face and covering parts of it, even sticking to the slightly smudged eyeliner that got messed up in last night's festivities. Her eyes fluttered open, a content sigh escaping her lips as her hand stretched out beside her in search of the warm body that kept her company the night before, only for her hand to be met with the cold sheets. She turned her head slowly, and frowned at the empty pillow next to her. She lifted her head slightly, a smile tugging at her lips when she saw that the crumbled up clothes from last night were now neatly folded on the chair next to the closet. She shook her head in amusement as a soft chuckle left her lips at her boyfriend's antics.

Her boyfriend! She had given up on that a while ago, especially after Noah, especially with her track record. She'd had some successful relationships before, but something always seemed to tank them. Whether it was a job transfer, a difference in what they want out of the relationship, or where the relationship was heading. And after she adopted Noah, she totally gave up on that. Most men have trouble with a woman in a position of power who was on call every second of every day. And then you add a baby to that mix, and she's radioactive.

But like they always say, it happens when you're not looking.

Never in a million years did she think that he out of all people would be the one she falls head over heels for, without even realizing it. And never in her wildest fantasies did she think that not only would he be acceptable of Noah, but that he would be as good to him as she was. He nurtured him, endured his tantrums, and didn't care in the slightest how he looked as he made funny faces at the hysterical two-year old. It's true that he wasn't a baby person, but it seemed that Noah was able to wrap him around his tiny finger.

The faint sounds of giggling and laughter coming from the kitchen warmed her heart and she scurried out of bed to catch a glimpse of the goofy grin she was sure they both had on their faces. If there's one thing she couldn't get enough of, it was the look of absolute adoration he had in his eyes as he looked at Noah, and how completely content and peaceful he looked when Noah was around.

She tiptoed out of the room, careful not to make a single sound to alert them of her presence, the noises getting louder with each step she took. She could hear his hushed voice as he tried to calm the happily squealing child.

"Mijo, we're gonna wake your Mami up like that, and she needs her rest," he scolded half-heartedly, and she had to suppress a laugh. She peeked her head around the corner, and saw Noah standing on the counter, relentlessly messing with the colorful tie the sharply dressed ADA had on, as the latter tried – and miserably failed – to glare at him to stop.

Rafael Barba, the last man you would expect to sweep her off her feet, and push away all the demons she had spent years harboring. Not to mention take such good care of her son. Her smile grew even more when her mind wandered back to the first time Noah had taken a liking to the counselor's color schemes.

It had been a long day, the case they caught kept getting more and more complicated, until Carisi's crazy theory explained it all. And because out of all days, today had to be the day Lucy came down with something, Noah was dropped off at her office, and she spent half the day bossing her squad around with her two-year old balanced on her hip. And the fact that she was one detective short really didn't help the situation. She didn't know what was taking so long, but they still hadn't sent her a new detective to replace Nick. After all, Carisi was dumped in her lap less than a week after she put in the request. And it's been nearly a month since Nick put in his papers, and she put in the request.

But thankfully, the day was finally coming to an end, with Carisi and Amanda getting a full confession from their rapist.

"Good job, guys," she complimented as they both made their way out of the interrogation room, with a notepad in Amanda's hand with the detailed account of what the pervert did to the six women he abducted. They both bowed their heads dramatically, graciously accepting the praise.

"I hear the glory should go to one of your crazy theories," a voice quipped from behind her, and she turned around to see their ADA walking towards them.

"You should listen to me more often!" Carisi gloated jokingly, and Olivia had to stifle a laugh at Amanda's eye roll. Their childish banter never failed to amuse her, and it appeared that they quite enjoyed it as well.

"Then we'd never close a case," she retorted.

"Casual Friday, Counselor?" Fin wondered, as he eyed Barba's lack of a suit jacket and vest, as he too joined the four of them with Noah happily munching on a snack in his arms. The latter seemed totally pre-occupied with studying the colorful patterns on Barba's suspenders.

"I decided to take a page out of your book, Detective," came Barba's sassy reply, which Fin took in good nature.

"Well, this case is wrapped in a bow, so looks like we'll be able to get out of here early," Olivia pointed out, as she reached for Noah, who instead of going for her, threw himself at an unsuspecting Barba, swiftly grabbing his suspenders.

Fin had placed a hand on Noah's chest to stop him from falling, at the same time Olivia took a hold of his hands to try and detangle them from around the suspenders.

"Noah, no," she admonished gently. "Sorry, Barba," she smiled apologetically at the ADA, who was studying the toddler intently.

But before she could pull Noah away from him, Barba did something that surprised everyone around him, himself included. He reached for the toddler, and plucked him out of Fin's arms.

They were all very still now, watching the two interact. They never pegged him for a baby person, and he always seemed a bit awkward around them. He wasn't mean, or neglectful towards Noah whenever he was around him, but he wasn't the kind to get down on his knees and play with him on the floor either.

But there he was, carrying Noah and calmly letting him play with his suspenders and tie, greasing them both with whatever it was Fin had gotten him to eat.

All of that took a couple of seconds, before Olivia regained her composure, and reached for Noah once more. Only for Barba to turn away from her, with Noah still in his arms.

"No, it's okay," he objected softly, his eyes briefly leaving the toddler and looking at Olivia, but long enough for her to see a different sparkle in his eyes. She hardly saw the councilor genuinely happy, so much that his eyes sparkled, and it was quite a surprise to her to know that her son had that effect on him.

"Barba, he'll ruin them," she pointed out, gesturing to the stains on Noah's hands that were now leaving streaks of grease in their wake as Noah moved them around the suspenders and tie.

"So, that's what dry cleaning is for," he quipped, finally tearing his eyes away from the toddler, to wink at her, smiling when he saw her shake her head in amusement.

"I've been trying to explain to her for years that men don't really care about that stuff," Fin put in, as he winked at Olivia.

The loud squeal of delight pulled her back to earth in time to see Barba pick Noah up and spin him around, eliciting all kinds of signs of happiness from the toddler. Starting with the squeal, all the way to his chubby hands clumsily bumping together as he tried to clap in the air.

A laugh escaped her despite her best efforts to rain it in, and in less than a second two sets of sparkling blue-green eyes found her, both of which smiled at the sight of her.

"Mama," Noah squealed as he lunged from Barba's arms at his mother.

"Hi, baby boy," she greeted with as much happiness, as she happily took him into her arms. Her smiled widened when tiny arms wrapped around her neck, as Noah rested his head onto her shoulder. She had missed him, since by the time she made it home the night before, Barba had already put him to bed. And she had left the morning before he awoke, so to her, it seemed like ages since she last saw her baby boy.

"I missed you too, sweetheart," she cooed as she patted him on the back gently.

"Morning, gorgeous," Barba greeted, winking mischievously at her, eliciting a throaty chuckle out of her, as she leaned forward and caught his lips.

"How long have you two been up?" she asked softly. "I didn't hear him cry," she said.

"That's because he didn't, I heard him moving around in his crib, and happily babbling to himself, so I got him, and switched off the monitor, before he woke you," he recounted. "And that was a little over an hour ago," he added, and she raised her eyebrows in shock.

"That's weird, I usually wake up before he does," she said thoughtfully.

"Well, you were totally wiped!" Barba pointed out.

"That's because someone worked me pretty well last night," she reminded him pointedly.

His smile turned into a mischievous grin, as he walked back towards her, slid an arm around her waist, and leaned closer to her ear. "Why do you think I wanted to put Noah to bed before you came?" he whispered teasingly, as her shoulders shook with laughter. He smiled happily at her, scrunching up his nose goofily at Noah when he lifted his head off Olivia's shoulder, and looked at the two of them, completely oblivious to what they were both talking about, but smiled happily when he saw his mother laughing, and at the funny faces Barba was making at him.

It still surprised Olivia sometimes how natural he was with Noah, she had never thought of him as a baby person, and the one time she asked him to hold Noah, he looked as uncomfortable as one could be, and absolutely on the brink of a panic attack by the time she took him back, which was less than thirty seconds later. But as time went by, he slowly warmed up to Noah, and it was what made her fall even harder for him, and why she was less hesitant to pursue a romantic relationship with him once she knew how he felt about her. And she still didn't believe how lucky she was sometimes.

It all started one sunny Sunday afternoon, she and Noah were spending the day in the park, moving around from one thing to the other. Or at least trying to, since Noah was hogging the swing, and simply refused to do anything else, unless she promised him more swinging afterwards.

She was laughing along with a giggling Noah, as she pushed him, watching how he happily clapped his hands when he flew with the swing in the air. When a familiar voice caught her attention, and she looked up to find the sharply dressed ADA in jeans and a polo. The attire was a refreshing change from his usual suits and professional demeanor, but it was quite surprising nonetheless.

"Amanda said I might find you here," he yelled over the noise of the playground.

"Please don't tell me there's another case," she grumbled.

"No, but Noah's present finally came in," he said, moving the box into her line of sight, his smile widening when Noah squealed happily at the sight of the colorful box with the bow on the lid.

Olivia had thrown Noah a birthday party a week before, but the ADA had told her that unfortunately, the gift he had pre-ordered for Noah was yet to arrive.

"Rafael, you didn't have to," she said, as she made her way around the swing, and took the box.

"Have you ever known me to do something just because I had to?" he asked pointedly, as he now made his way behind Noah, and took over the pushing. He knew that he could've swung it by the office later on in the week, but he actually wanted to see Noah's reaction to it.

Olivia carefully pulled the lid back, her eyes widening in shock, before they snapped up to meet Barba's, who was already laughing knowing the contents of the box. His shoulders started to shake slowly with laughter, as a joyful, throaty laugh escaped her as she bent forward slightly, and pulled one of the contents of the box to show Noah.

"Look Noah, look what Rafael got you," she said in between her laughs, her smile ever growing when Noah excitedly reached for the item in her hand.

It was a small replica of one of Barba's suspenders, as well as a few other pairs that she kept in the box, and handed Noah one. Barba on his end, smiled at the grinning child when he tilted his head back to look at him, before he plucked him out of the swing seat. And to Olivia's surprise, Noah's usual protests to being taken out of the swing were nowhere to be heard, as he happily played with the suspender in Barba's arms.

She stood there, watching the two interact, a wistful smile playing on her lips, and an all too familiar gleam in her eyes. She hadn't felt that way about a man before, not Elliot, not Haden, not even Brian. She had learned a while back that her feeling for Elliot, as intense as they may have been, were not what she was looking for. She depended on Elliot, seeked his approval, put herself in danger sometimes for his sake. Granted, he did the same for her. But when the ultimate test rolled around, he failed it miserably. He just left. He didn't say goodbye, he didn't give her a heads up, he didn't even tell her. She heard about it through her captain, and not once did he return her calls.

Haden and Brian had been good for her, but even at the time, she knew they weren't the ones for her. Which is what makes this all the more different. She knew that she was attracted to David, and Brian, but her feelings for Barba had snuck up on her, and by the time she realized she had them, she had already fallen hard for him. She trusted him, confided in him, and allowed herself to be weak and vulnerable around him. He was the one person who didn't tiptoe around her after Lewis, who didn't look at her like she was a broken child, or was worried that she may crumble at any minute. She saw the concern in his eyes, but he understood her need to be treated equally. She knew that he would always fight for her, and fight for her son.

And so, without her even knowing, she had fallen hard for the sharply dressed, quick tongued ADA. But fearing that her feeling might ruin their friendship, and their work together, she rained them in, and tried her best not to show them. But it was moments like these that she couldn't hide it, and as long as he wasn't looking, she would allow it to show through.

The sweet moment was cut short when a familiar voice came from behind, one that made Barba's blood boil, not to mention made him wrap the hand that was previously mercilessly tickling Noah around his body protectively, as he turned his body slightly away.

"Look at you looking all domestic, I thought you said you never wanted any kids," the Latina woman teased viciously, enjoying how Barba's jaw clenched tightly, and the pained expression on Olivia's face. The comment took her by surprise, and she didn't have time to school her features. She had only seen the woman on TV, and knew of Barba's feelings for her. So her comment only served as a cruel reminder of why it can never work between them.

"Yelena," Barba almost spat through gritted teeth, his previous happy, and at ease demeanor vanishing into thin air, and replaced by one of pure anger, and malice. The quick change was quite the surprise to both Olivia and Yelena herself. "What are you doing here?" he seethed, and she only smiled sweetly at him.

"I remember a time when the happiest moment of your life was seeing me," she taunted, as she moved closer to him and Noah, past a still gobsmacked Olivia.

"Things change," he retorted angrily, his eyes fleetingly looking over at Olivia to gauge her reaction, his heart sinking when he realized that she believed Yelena's earlier comment about children.

It wasn't until Noah gurgled happily in his arms, as he obliviously continued to play with the suspenders, did he realize that in order to do this right, Noah and Olivia can't be here. So morphing his angry expression into a comforting one, he gently whispered into Noah's ear. "Mijo, why don't you go to your Mommy for now?" he almost cooed.

"Liv, do you mind giving us a minute?" he asked apprehensively, trying his best to look her in the eye, but she was too angry.

"Sure," she said in a clipped tone, before she took Noah from him, and walked away from the two. To his relief, she didn't leave the gift behind, he really didn't want to give Yelena any more ammunition.

Once he was sure she was out of earshot, he turned his angry glare onto his former crush.

Olivia was beyond pissed. How could she be so stupid? Of course, he wouldn't want kids. Why would he? He never showed any interest in them. Sure he was nice to Noah, but so was Carisi and Fin, and she didn't take that to mean anything. It was obvious since the Munoz case that he had feelings for Yelena, and for whatever reason possible she chose Alex over him. And now, just her mere presence changed his demeanor. And so, she not only walked away a little, she left the park all together, and decided to walk back to her apartment. It was time for Noah's nap anyways.

She didn't stop for anything, and as hurt as she was, she couldn't claim that she was surprised that he didn't follow her. She desperately wanted to slam the door shut when she reached her apartment, but Noah had fallen asleep in her arms, and she didn't want to awake him. So instead of slamming it angrily, she had to wait till she put him in his crib, and resorted to punching the hell out of her couch cushions.

But her angry rant didn't last for long, for before she could fully let it all go, a soft knock, followed by a pleading voice, froze her in the middle of her living room.

"Liv, open up, it's me."

He followed her, he actually did come after her. But why? What reason could he possibly have? He could've just called! Or texted!

She walked over to the door, and opened it.

"Is everything alright? Is Noah okay?" he asked, genuinely concerned, and completely clueless as to why she left the park.

"I wanted to give you two some space, didn't want to get in the way of anything!" she snapped, as she moved away from the door, not wanting him to see the hurt in her eyes.

"What are you talking about?" he asked, as he made his way into the apartment, still not sure what he did wrong. "Get in the way of what?" he inquired.

"Don't play dumb with me Barba," she hissed, and he was surprised at how it hurt him that she was back to using his last name outside of the office. She usually only used it when they were in the office, otherwise, she used his first. So if she was using his last name, then she was really pissed.

"You were the one who told me about the two of you, how she was your first love!" she continued her angry rant, pulling him out of his thoughts.

"That was a long time ago, Liv," he tried to sooth the angry hulk standing before him. "Those feelings are long gone," he said sincerely, but she only scoffed angrily.

"Is that why she thought you going after Alex was because of the two of you?" she retorted angrily.

"She was trying to find a different reason for what was happening aside from the fact that her husband was a cheating pedophile," he shot back bluntly.

"Is that why she knows you well enough to know that you never wanted kids?" she countered, her voice catching slightly at the end of the sentence, which she hated.

"That's because I didn't think that I'll be good at it," he deadpanned, and she whipped around to look at him. "I didn't have the most affectionate of fathers, so I have no idea how to handle a kid. Noah's the first kid I ever had constantly around me, and frankly the only one I ever paid attention to," he continued in all honesty, happy to see belief creeping into her eyes.

He sighed, knowing that he had to choose his words carefully, otherwise, he could make a bad situation worse.

"I won't lie to you, I never saw myself as a family man with a wife and kids…." He trailed off, "but…."he stammered, barely catching himself before he said too much.

Olivia, seeing something that she allowed herself to believe were feelings for her, moved closer to him, and put her hand on his chest. "But what?" she whispered softly, her eyes finally betraying the way she felt about him.

Instead of answering her, he simply crashed his lips against hers, in a hungry, desperate kiss. One which she fully reciprocated.

The story wrote itself from there, it took him a while to fully loosen up around Noah, constantly fearing that he will hurt him like his father used to hurt him, with Olivia patiently letting him know that he was nothing like his father. And she took some time to get used to the idea of letting herself relinquish the control, and to sharing Noah with someone. But eventually, they both declared their love for each other, and went to 1PP with their relationship, and told the rest of the squad.

It was quite the scene at her office; Carisi scrunched his nose at the thought of his boss and the ADA together, Amanda was smiling at her like the Cheshire cat, and Fin simply said one word. 'Finally!'

But little did Olivia know that the beautiful morning was merely the quiet before the storm. And it all started with the beep of a phone.

So this is my first attempt at an SVU fanfiction, let alone a Benson/Barba one. I don't know if I'm the only one who ships them, but their chemistry is undeniable, and they seem comfortable around eachother enough to show sides that the others hadn't seen. I liked how concern he was about her, and about Noah and how he fought for both of them, so I do hope that you will all like this.

This isn't a romantic, fluffy fic, so get ready for some real heartache.

Reviews are highly appreciated, and the next chapter should be up soon.