Title: Know You Better Now
Summary: He rubbed the boy's back and continued to play with him all the while thinking two and three steps ahead to what it was that Noah would need from him next.
A/N: I couldn't get the idea of a sick Olivia trying to take care of Noah out of my mind. And then Barba just had to show up and play hero.
Chapter 1: And Open Up the Door for You
A.D.A. Rafael Barba moved down the hall of Sergeant Olivia Benson's apartment complex. He had taken the stairs instead of the elevator to give him a little more time to clear his head. He realized he would need her on the stand sooner than he had first expected as he had read over the list of witnesses the defense had to call. He'd need to come out of the gate strong.
He had been to her apartment several times, but things had been slowly shifting for the two of them. They were dancing a fine line between more than friends, and he wasn't quite sure how to handle that. He looked up, seeing her door. He didn't give himself time to change his mind as his hand raised and his knuckles came down against the door in three quick successions.
When the door opened, he was met with a ragged Olivia holding Noah in her arms when she herself looked about ready to fall over. He immediately forgot about work and reached for the toddler in her arms just as she leaned against the door as if her energy had totally depleted. He gently slipped an arm around her back and guided her back inside toward the couch. "Olivia, you look terrible. Where's Lucy?"
"Virginia Beach with her family." Olivia collapsed on the couch, drawing her knees up to her chest. "Won't be back until Saturday." She closed her eyes, starting to shiver as a chill came over her body.
Rafael rubbed Noah's back gently as he tried to keep him satisfied. He realized that she needed to be in bed. He sat the boy in the middle of the toys that were strewn about the floor and made sure he was okay before he turned to her. "Come on, Liv. Let's get you in bed, okay?" He had his hands on her upper arms, trying to ease her up so that he could help her stand. Finally, he had her up and managed to slip his arm around her back to guide her toward her bedroom.
She could do little more than lay her head on his shoulder. "I can't. I don't have a sitter for Noah. Barba, really. I'm going to be fine." The pounding in her head was only becoming more unbearable.
He insisted, "I have Noah taken care of. Just trust me, alright?" He pushed her bedroom door open and guided her through it and toward the unmade bed. He pulled back the blankets, encouraging her to crawl under them. "I'll get you something to drink and some Tylenol to help with the pain and fever. You probably just need to sleep it off."
A bug had swept through the D.A.'s office earlier that week. She'd spent a good amount of time there preparing for a case. It was no surprise that she'd fallen sick.
Olivia didn't have the energy to argue with him. She crawled obediently beneath the blankets and curled herself around her pillow. She let out a soft moan as the pain intensified as he tucked the blankets up around her shivering body to help get her warm. "My hero."
"Yeah. Yeah. Just rest." He smoothed back her hair from her face before he righted himself and exited the bedroom and went straight for her medicine cabinet. Finding the bottle of Tylenol, he popped the cap and shook out two tablets into his open palm. He then moved to the kitchen and grabbed a glass before rooting around in her fridge for some orange juice and poured her a glass.
He moved back toward the living room, peeking in at Noah who was playing happily where he had left him so he hurried to the bedroom to get the Tylenol and juice to Olivia. He sat down on the edge of the bed beside her. "Come on, Liv. I need you to sit up and take these..."
He gently eased his hand under her upper back and helped her to sit up. He placed the tablets into her hand and instructed softly, "Come on." He watched as she slowly put them into her mouth and reached for the orange juice. He helped her get the glass to her mouth and managed to keep her from spilling it. "That's it. Just a little bit more, Liv."
She turned her head away, curling away from him into the pillows. She just wanted to sleep. Her head pounded, making it almost impossible to think. "Noah," she breathed. Her knees drew up to chest in the fetal position.
He covered her up once again, letting out a soft sigh. "Noah's in good hands. I promise, Liv. You just get some rest and feel better." He turned off the lamp at her bedside, drowning the room in darkness. The only light came from the hallway to which he headed and moved back to living room where he'd left the younger Benson.
"Well, little man. Looks like I'm all you got until your Mommy feels better. Here's hoping I don't screw this up." He sat down on the floor with Noah, giving the toddler a bright smile. "So what should we do first?" He picked up a toy stuffed frog and made jumping motions with it along the rug toward him.
Noah giggled and reached with both hands for the frog. He managed to get both hands on the toy and pulled it immediately to his mouth. He smiled widely as he did so.
Rafael chuckled softly. "You like that, do you?" He rubbed the boy's back and continued to play with him all the while thinking two and three steps ahead to what it was that Noah would need from him next.
Rafael had Noah in one arm, facing the boy outward as he opened the refrigerator. He bent slightly, taking stock of the contents. He glanced at the boy. "Anything look good to you, Noah?" He thought about it for a minute then closed the door and moved to place the child in the high chair that he'd seen Olivia feed him in at the occasional dinner party he'd attended.
He pulled his cellphone out of his pocket and speed dialed his mother. "Hola, Mami." If anyone would be able to help him figure out what the baby could eat, it would be his own mother. He trusted her above anyone else. Anyone aside from Olivia herself.