*Still working on the Tucker story as well- just couldn't get this one out of my head.*
Olivia's phone ringing pierces the silence of her bedroom- drawing her abruptly from the deepest sleep she's had in weeks.
She sucks in a breath and rolls over to check the clock. 4:13 AM. Propping herself on one elbow- she squeezes her eyes shut, trying to wake her brain before answering, "Benson."
"Liv, we caught a case, need you to meet us at Barba's." Fin was seldom upbeat this early but this morning he sounds downright funereal.
She rubs her face with one hand, "What's going on? What do you need a warrant for?" It's the only thing he'd call for at 4AM.
She can almost feel the tension through the phone as Fin draws in a breath. "Not a warrant Liv, we've gotta pick him up." Olivia presses her back to headboard- trying to register what he's just said as she turns to look at the man sleeping peacefully beside her. "Liv, Yelena Muñoz was found raped and murdered in her apartment late last night. Alex is saying Barba did it."
Fin waits for a minute- trying to let the information soak in. He knows she and Barba are close. This won't be easy for any of them. Finally, he asks again, "Meet us there?"
"He's not there." She nearly blurts out, once her brain catches up. "He's not there, he's- I'll bring him to the precinct." Her heart is hammering out of her chest.
Fin only responds with a quick, "OK." And she's infinitely grateful that he is a man of few words.
Olivia hangs up, tries to calm herself. Barba's breathing has changed- he's awake but hasn't moved. "You OK?" He reaches for her and she takes his hand- giving it a reassuring squeeze before she moves to turn on the bedside lamp.
Barba raises himself up on his elbows, concern etched all over his face. "What's the matter?"
She finally meets his eyes, apprehensive. There is no doubt in her mind that he didn't do what he's accused of but how does she tell him that Yelena's dead? How does she tell him his former best friend of accusing him of doing it? And how does affect some semblance of protocol and still comfort him?
"Sit up a sec?" He turns and sits semi-facing her. Once again, he takes her hand in his, bracing to comfort her about whatever's wrong. "Rafi, I'm going to tell you something and I need you to promise me that no matter what- you're not going to say a word after I do."
Now he's really worried, "Liv, what the hell is going on?"
"Not a word, Rafi! Fucking promise me!" He nods slowly- trying to imagine what could possibly have her so upset. "That was Fin. They found Yelena Muñoz dead in her apartment this morning."
The blood drains from his face- but it takes a moment for him to process what she's just told him. When he does- she watches his jaw clench as tears well up in his eyes. He grinds out- "I'm going to fucking kill him, I'm-"
"Shhhh!" Olivia pleads, dragging him into her embrace as his tears start to fall. "Shut up, shut up, shut up! You can't say anything to me."
She feels tears sting her eyes as he sobs into her shoulder. She rubs his back- trying to comfort him as she braces herself to deliver the rest of the horrible news. "Rafi, Alex is claiming it was you."
Liv feels him drag in a shuddered breath, "Liv, I swear-"
"Shut up!" She nearly yells, pushing her back from him and looking him in the eye. "I know. But we can't talk about it. I want you to call Rita Calhoun- have her meet us at the precinct."
He nods, tears still streaming down his face. He can see in her eyes, she believes him. And he's grateful for it. Whatever's about to happen, he knows he won't survive it without her. Her pleas for silence on his part are her way of protecting the truth- uncorrupted statements on both their parts. If they talk about it now- when their questioned it'll appear rehearsed.
So he accepts her comforting hand on his back as he calls Calhoun. She watches as he shuffles into the bathroom to get dressed. Hears him heaving the contents of his stomach into the toilet before the sink turns on.
She silently thanks whatever deity may exist that Noah is at Barba's mother's. They'd gone from being friends to something more intimate a little over a month ago but their "dates" usually consisted of case files and bedtime stories. Last night, Barba's mother had agreed to keep Noah so they could go on their first real date. He'd gone to a lot of trouble- reservations, dancing. He'd made her feel wanted, loved, like a woman. And when they'd gotten home- they finally had the chance to take their time without the worry of waking the baby. Olivia couldn't imagine a more perfect night- and now this.
He shuffles back out- still white as a sheet. His eyes are puffy but there are no more tears. Shock has set in.
Having pulled on some clothes herself, Liv escorts him to the car and they drive to the precinct in silence.