The apartment is quiet and lit by a single lamp when she finally gets home, sometime after midnight.
He immediately rises from the couch, blazer in hand, shoes already on, and moves toward the door.
He walks quickly, not wanting to get into a fight with her, not now.
"Where are you going?" Her voice is just above a whisper, but the silence is so complete it sounds like yelling.
He ignores her question, simply says, "Noah's been wheezing, he needs his puffers first thing in the morning."
She reaches out to put a hand on his arm, trying to stop his movement.
He flinches like she's shocked him, "Don't."
"Rafi, please. Please don't leave," she's begging, tears falling unchecked.
"I can't do this right now. I just- I just need to calm down so I don't say something I'm going to regret," his words are just as quiet as hers, but infused with a barely controlled anger.
She has seen him like this before, but never has it been directed at her.
She's terrified that if he leaves, she will lose him. She considers letting it go, letting him go for now, but decides she can't take the risk.
"I'm scared that if you leave now, you'll never come back."
His eyes close against the pain of knowing he is making her hurt. Well, payback is a bitch.
"I'm terrified if I don't leave now there will be nothing to come back to. I'm so angry right now, Olivia."
He moves her hand off his arm, and starts toward the door again.
She whispers, "Please don't hate me."
He sighs, and has to fight back tears as he replies, "I wish I could hate you."
Without another word, he exits the apartment, silently closing the door behind him. He moves out of the sight line of the peep hole and waits until he hears her flip the locks before he moves down the hallway.
-Monday Afternoon -
"It's only for a day or so?"
"Yes, I understand."
"No, it won't be an issue."
"Yes, sir. I will be there soon."
Olivia sighs as she hangs up her desk phone.
She doesn't have much time, but knows he will never forgive her if she doesn't see him.
She dials his number repeatedly from her cell as she hurriedly grabs her essentials out of her desk and rushes out to the squad room, giving Fin a brief summary of the situation and rushes home to quickly change and say goodbye to her son.
Fifteen unanswered calls to his cell, three to his office, and a message left with his assistant to call her immediately go by before she arrives at her apartment building.
This is not an ideal time for him to go off the grid, she's cutting it close as it is.
She sends him a text message from the elevator: 'Rafael, I don't know why you're not answering but this is very important. Please call me ASAP. No one is hurt but it is urgent. Love you xx'
Ten minutes later she is back in the elevator again, having changed, given Noah a quick cuddle, and tried Rafael again. Still nothing.
She tries his cell while hailing a cab to One PP. This time she leaves a voicemail.
'Hey Raf, I don't know where you are and I wish I could have told you this in person, but I've run out of time so here we go. I'm going undercover. I'll give you details when I can but please believe me when I say this was not my idea, and I don't have a choice. I will be gone a day or two at most, and even though every job has its risks, this one is low. I'm sorry I didn't get to say goodbye. I love you.' She's quiet for a moment, trying to think of something else to say, but can only think of how much she doesn't want to go. 'I love you so much, Ra-' the voicemail message cuts her off, but she doesn't bother trying again.
She stares at her phone the rest of the ride across town, but other than a few unimportant emails coming in, it's quiet.
She breaks protocol and leaves her phone and ringer on during her briefing, only turning it off after a final attempt to reach her fiancé at the last possible moment.
He's not in court today, and she's honestly a little worried as to why he's not picking up.
Nevertheless, she is a professional with a job to do and has to push him out of her mind if she wants to come out of this alive.
Rafael was puzzled when he stepped off the elevator and was immediately bombarded by Carmen, asking him if everything was alright.
"Yes? Is everything alright with you?" his confusion is apparent.
"I just thought with everything going on with Lieutenant Benson you wouldn't be back today," Carmen is now as confused as her boss.
"What are you talking about? What's going on with Olivia?" Confusion is now warring with dread.
"I'm not sure, she called a few times looking for you, then she finally left a message with me asking you to call her. All she said was she and Noah were fine but she needed to speak with you urgently. Your office phone rang quite a few times as well," Carmen reports, looking more anxious as time goes on.
"Shit. The one time my phone dies. Noah basically drained the battery watching YouTube videos this morning and I was in a meeting all morning with no chance to charge it. Thanks, Carmen, I'll call her now."
Barba proceeds into his office, heading straight for his desk and immediately plugs his Blackberry into the charging dock. He checks his desk phone while waiting for his cell to turn on. No messages.
He removes his blazer, and loosens his tie, dropping into his desk chair with a sigh as his phone comes to life.
16 missed calls.
1 text message.
He checks the text first, smiling at her sign off.
He tries to call her before checking his voicemail, but is surprised when her voicemail answering message comes on after one ring- clearly her phone is either off or dead. Neither is promising.
He dials his voicemail next, stomach dropping at her somber tone. He has to listen to it three times before it sinks in- she's gone.
She went undercover, at a moment's notice, without even speaking to him first.
He's not sure if he's going to get any answers there, but he won't be getting any work done this afternoon regardless, so he heads over to the one-six.
She had forgotten how much she hates undercover work for more than a few hours.
It's torture being so close to home, to her family and not being able to see or speak to them.
How has it only been 18 hours? It feels like months.
He's exhausted- couldn't sleep at all, he was too worried about Olivia and what she might be doing.
Fin had been little help, but Barba didn't think he knew much anyway. By the sounds of it Liv was in a hurry when she spoke with him, and only gave him a heads up that she'd be gone- she didn't even mention an undercover operation.
They were still being watched closely by both the DA and Deputy Chief Dodds, so Rafael knew he couldn't ask for any information from them or other higher-ups; no need to draw attention to anything.
So he worried, wasn't able to concentrate and, thankful he wasn't in the middle of a trial, again left early, eager to get home to Noah.
He sleeps fitfully that night, in her bed that has become theirs, and has dreams of a beautiful angel that saves him from any number of bad situations, and then slips out of his grasp.
When he wakes he tries to suppress the feelings of dread that threaten to overwhelm him, and succeeds while preoccupied with Noah and their morning routine.
Once he steps into the hallway however, a weight settles on his chest that he knows will stay there until she gets back.
She is thoroughly done. They are no closer to finishing this operation than they were three days ago, and the worst part is she's convinced they have no plans to pull her anytime soon.
She manages to get a few minutes alone with her emergency burner cell and sets up a meet with her handler for midnight.
The FBI can be so cloak and dagger it's ridiculous.
He's been scouring the news outlets in any form he can- website, app, radio, TV...for anything that might give him a clue as to what Olivia is doing.
She said one, maybe two days- it's been that and more. He's officially starting to panic.
-Thursday morning -
Rafael spends the third night she's gone sitting up with Noah; every time he goes to lay the boy down he starts crying. After a few attempts, he gives up and just stays in the rocker, glad that Liv chose a comfortable one.
Noah's breathing is wheezy but not labored, and he's not running a fever, so after consulting with Lucy, his mother, and WebMD, he decides that he doesn't need to go to the ER, at least not yet.
He's moved past the worry stage and into anger- he can't believe she would do this to him, to them.
Then he feels guilty for being mad; rationally he knows that Olivia would rather be at home with them.
He thought it would be easier for their relationship when they stopped working all their cases together but in reality he just feels out of the loop.
He wants to take the day off, but has a few court appearances that he won't ask anyone else to do; Olivia's dogged pursuit of justice for the victim's sake (as opposed to improving his win/loss ratio) has rubbed off on him.
So he leaves Noah with Lucy, not wanting him to be at daycare with his breathing less than 100%. The last thing they need is him picking up some virus that leads to pneumonia.
He's definitely off his game but thankfully it doesn't affect the outcome of any of his cases.
She's been up for two days straight now, but doesn't feel it. She just needs to wrap this up and get home.
Perhaps it's bad luck or maybe she was too distracted, but somehow they got the jump on her and now she's unarmed and handcuffed; her backup is screaming in her ear: hold the fuck on we'll get you out, keep your head down- we have a shot.
Unfortunately it's not the first time she's had someone using her as a human shield get shot and she's ended up with blood spray all over her.
It is, however, the first time it's happened since she became a mother and a fiancé- and the terror is magnified ten fold, because it's not just her life on the line.
All she could think of while they were screaming about getting a clear shot was the image of officers knocking on their apartment door tonight, Rafael answering with Noah in his arms, the boy getting excited thinking one of his friends from Mommy's work is coming to play.
The smell of iron lingers (at least in her mind) long after she has been examined, had three stitches put in her temple, and given clean clothes after a shower.
Her day isn't over after the hospital. She has reports to give and debriefing at Federal Plaza, and then she assumes she's have to report to someone at NYPD.
Her personal effects including her cell phone and engagement ring are in a locker at 1PP, but she borrows a phone from her FBI agent/driver/escort and she sends a text to Rafael, just wanting to make contact.
'hey Raf it's Liv, don't have my phone back yet but I'm out and I'm okay. Gotta debrief and give statement at Federal Plaza then I'll be able to come home. Will call soon. Love you xx'
He had been giving Noah a bath when her message came in from a random number. So it was 45 minutes later when he saw it, and didn't bother replying, knowing she wouldn't be on the receiving end of it anyway.
He sighs, and pockets his phone, making sure it's on vibrate so it doesn't disturb Noah if she happens to call while he's finishing up the bedtime routine.
Noah is fast asleep, the dishes washed and put away, and Rafael has flipped the TV on to distract himself while he waits for her to call.
That was his first mistake.
The screen was showing the headlines for the ten o clock news- and the teaser to get viewers to keep their TVs on after prime time was, 'FBI halts human smuggling ring, video of the takedown by sniper fire exclusively on Channel 5'.
Recalling her comment regarding debriefing at Federal Plaza, Rafael swears. And then grabs the iPad, opening Google.
This is his second mistake.
The results of his search almost cause him to drop the device, and his blood runs cold.
The grainy video, probably from an ATM or similar setup, has no audio, but it doesn't need it.
The image of a man literally with his back against a wall holding a woman in from of him like a human shield, would be hard enough for a casual observer to endure.
Rafael knows, is 100% positive that it is Olivia Benson that has a gun shoved into the side of her neck.
It is his best friend, handcuffed with blood running down her face, unable to fight back against this disgusting joke of a human being.
That's his fiancé, inches from a bullet entering her skull, had the sniper misfired.
The mother of the sweet boy who spent an hour today looking through the photo stream on the iPad, stopping every time he saw his mother, and giving her image a kiss.
He's suddenly absolutely furious, and of course his phone would start buzzing at that exact moment.
She clearly has her phone back- it's her picture lighting up the screen.
He can't answer it. If he does, he knows he will scream at her and none of what he says will make any sense.
So he watches it ring as she tries again.
She calls a third time before giving up and sending a text message.
'hey, hope Noah's not giving you a rough time. Gonna be a few more hours. Got my ringer on so I'll answer if you get a chance to call. Love you xx'
How can she do this? How can she be normal as if she didn't almost die a few hours ago?
She must not know about the video being posted online. At least he hopes that she would have mentioned something had she known.
He's still blind from the rage and knows it probably won't help but pours a generous glass of scotch regardless.
For some reason he watches the video again, and he can't decide if it's to punish himself or to remind himself that she's lucky, and didn't get hit.
But if that bullet was two inches to the right...no. He needs to stop.
The scotch calms him down enough to consider calling her.
He doesn't realize it's been an hour until another text comes through.
everything alright? Please call me, I'm worried about my boys xx
That's it, all the anger is back, even stronger. She's worried? Because he didn't answer one fucking phone call?
He's dialing her number before it even registers what he's doing.
"Hey, Raf," her quiet words are a balm to his tired soul.
The relief he feels at hearing her voice is total, but is quickly overwhelmed by fury when he remembers why he's so relieved to hear her voice.
He takes a deep breath, trying to suffocate the anger welling up. He can't say anything, doesn't know what to say.
She can hear him breathing through the phone.
"Rafael? Is everything alright?" She tentatively asks.
"No!" the dam has burst. "Everything is not fucking alright. How can you be like this? How can you just fucking say 'hey Raf' like you went to the goddamn store when you had a fucking gun to your head a few hours ago?"
He tries to rein it in a little, not wanting to wake Noah.
"How did you-?" she sounds resigned and a little confused, her plan- of explaining the whole operation to him in person, once she could prove to him she was fine- now up in smoke.
"The video's all over the goddamn Internet, Olivia. I heard about it on the fucking news," he spits out, starting to pace, unable to sit still any longer.
He waits for her to elaborate, but the silence stretches on.
"That's it? You're sorry?"
"What else do you want me to say? You're clearly not in the frame of mind to discuss this rationally. You knew what my job was when we got involved, Rafael. It's not always questioning victims and testifying in court!"
"I know full well what your job entails, Olivia. This is not the first time I've seen the fallout of your job extending beyond its normal purview."
The allusion to Lewis is clear, and she sucks in her breath at the memory of that time, and the guilt she knows Rafael still carries with him about it.
"This is nothing like Lewis," her voice is low and brittle.
"The hell it isn't," he matches her tone. "Tell me you weren't scared for your life, bound and bleeding," he continues, "tell me you didn't go there out of a sense of obligation to help someone and end up with the blood of some psychopath sprayed all over your face. Tell me-"
"Stop!" he can hear the tears in her voice, but is still so consumed by anger he has no sympathy for her right now.
"I'm sorry this happened, Rafael. I'm sorry you saw that video, I can't imagine what that cost you. I'm sorry I didn't ditch my FBI detail tonight and come straight home to you. There are countless things I'm sorry for, but I won't apologize for doing my job," her voice is strained and tears and sniffling are evident in her words and the silence that follows them.
Rafael has lost his fight, he's just sitting on the couch, blinking back tears of his own.
"Okay," is all he can get out.
"Okay?" She repeats.
"I don't know what you want me to say, Olivia. I'm angry. I'm so fucking emotional right now I don't know what to say."
The tears are streaming down her face, she's standing in a hallway at the New York headquarters of the FBI and she couldn't care less.
"Please..." she trails off into a sob. "Please be home when I get there. Don't leave," the 'me' is not voiced, but clear to them both.
His voice is just above a whisper when he replies, "I'll be here when you get back. That's all I can promise."
"I'll be home soon," she promises, then pauses.
"I love you," she says so tentatively he's sure his heart will break.
He lets out a breath that is half sigh half strangled sob and replies, "God, Liv, I love you too."
He hangs up and tosses his phone onto the coffee table, leaning back against the couch.
There's no point in getting files out, he's in no frame of mind to work. So he flips the TV back on, catching the end of the ten o'clock news, the part where they showcase an animal video that was trending on Facebook that day.
It's something they always make fun of together, and he swiftly changes the channel.
It's after midnight when she finally arrives home.
After managing to pull herself together and throwing some cold water on her face, she went to the case supervisor and told them any further information they needed from her would have to wait until the next day at the earliest, and left for home.
As she walks down the hallway approaching her apartment, she fights a wave of nausea, holding on to the wall for support until it passes.
The apartment is almost dark when she enters, and all she can hear is the dull whirring of the fan in Noah's room through the baby monitor.
She hangs up her coat, drops her bag, and tentatively moves into the living room.
Her heart leaps when she sees him sitting on the couch, but drops just as quickly when he stands and crosses the room, not even looking at her.
"Where are you going?"
She had been hoping that they would be able to talk, work through this and go to sleep in each other's arms.
He ignores her, simply stating that Noah needs his puffers when he wakes up.
She reaches for him as he approaches her, but he tries to avoid her touch.
The look on his face is devastating- as is the knowledge that she did this to him. He's always so strong, so calm and collected, even in regards to her and their relationship.
She's begging and pleading- but she doesn't care; pride is nothing to her right now.
He doesn't listen; brushes her off without a backward glance.
It doesn't matter that he's angry or that he can't stand to look at her.
All that matters is that he left. She doesn't know where they stand, even though they both said 'I love you' on the phone, she's not so naive as to believe that love is all you need.
In a fog, she moves to lock the door, and check on Noah.
He's sprawled out like a starfish, taking up every possible inch of his toddler bed, snoring.
She tucks him back under the covers, and then takes a moment some time to just watch him sleep.
Even though she cleaned up at the hospital, she still feels tainted, so runs a bath not caring that it's the middle of the night.
She is completely exhausted, but Olivia doesn't really sleep, merely lays in bed, on Rafael's side, face buried in his pillow.
She must have dozed off at some point though, as she is awoken by Noah yelling for Rafael.
She knows it's because he's been the one putting him to bed and getting him up in the morning for the last few days, but it still hurts a little; Noah has always called for her.
When she enters his room, the light is filtering through the curtains, and the sight of her son hiding under the blankets brings a smile to her face.
"Good morning, Noah," she can't keep the laugh in at the sight of her son bolting up in bed and throwing the blanket onto the floor in his excitement.
"Mama!" She scoops him up and sighs in contentment at the way he wraps his little body around her, hugging him close.
"Mama go work?"
"No, baby. Mama's all done work now. Mama's staying with Noah today."
"Yay, Mama," Noah is still clinging to her like a barnacle, and she loves it.
Checking the clock, she realizes they slept in much later than usual, and either slept through Rafael coming back and getting ready for work, or he made use of his spare clothes at the office.
Knowing how he gets when he's angry, she's betting on the latter situation.
Noah is apparently thinking the same thing as he asks, "Papì go work t'day?"
"Yes, Noah. It's Friday, Papì had to go to work," she doesn't bother hiding her disappointment that Rafael isn't there as she knows Noah feels the same way.
"Alright, sweet boy. Let's go get something to eat."
Liv laughs, "Yes, my love. We can have pancakes."
"Papì make pancakes," Noah says seriously.
"Yes, Papì usually makes the pancakes. But Mama can make them too. Will you be my helper, Noah?" Olivia ignores the tiny voice in her head that says she better get used to making them, because Rafael is done with her.
"Noh help Mama," he agrees with a nod.
Rafael went from the apartment straight to his office. He spent the night dozing fitfully on the couch, then changed into one of the spare suits he keeps there for emergencies.
He doesn't actually have to be there today, he most likely won't get any paperwork done with the fight with Liv weighing on his mind; and he doesn't have any court appearances.
However, he also doesn't want to go home yet. The anger is only just starting to fade, and he wants to wait until he is in a place where they can have a rational discussion- yelling isn't going to fix this.
So he spends the morning pushing papers around his desk, organizing his email inbox, and then gets an idea and spends an hour calling around to local flower shops trying to find one that had red and cream tulips in stock- one of the flower language websites he found helped him figure out his choice.
He might be angry, but he doesn't want her doubting him, or their relationship. They didn't make it this far to just give up.
After a lazy morning of pancakes and playing in their jammies, Olivia and Noah snuggle on the couch to watch a movie.
Noah is totally enthralled by the characters on screen. Olivia on the other hand, is miles away, thinking of her fiancé in his downtown office.
Her reverie is broken by the sound of the apartment buzzer. She groans, and settles Noah in the pillows before heading to the speaker to see who it is.
Puzzled, she buzzes the delivery person up, wondering if she forgot that she ordered something online- something she tends to do more often than not.
At the soft knock on the door, she checks the peephole and is surprised by the sight.
She opens the door, tips the delivery person, and takes the large arrangement of flowers into the apartment.
Noah looks up from his movie as she crosses the room and says, "Pwetty Mama."
Touched that her fiancé would do this when she feels she's the one who has the apology to make, her voice is thick and she's holding back tears when she replies, "Yes, baby. They are very pretty. Papì sent them to me."
She places the arrangement of deep red tulips interspersed with cream tulips that are already in a crystal vase on the kitchen counter, and opens the envelope with her name on it.
There are two cards inside, the first one she pulls out is handwritten and she recognizes it as belonging to her fiancé.
I'm sorry I left like that last night. I hope you and Noah get to have extra snuggle time today, and hopefully we can all have dinner together tonight? I've missed our family time this week. We can talk after Noah's in bed.
Te quiero con todo mi corazòn,
(I love you with all my heart)
She takes a moment to smell the beautiful blooms- amazed at how thoughtful Rafael Barba is.
The other card in the envelope is typed; it says,
Red tulips are a declaration of true love, and convey the message 'believe me'.
The cream tulip says 'I will love you forever'.
Tears are now sliding down her face, and she wipes them away quickly before grabbing her phone and sending him a text message.
Thank you for the flowers, they are beautiful and their messages are perfect for us. Let me know when you leave the office and I'll order something in, I've missed family dinners too. Love you xx
Dropping her phone into the pocket of her robe, Olivia returns to the couch to find Noah has fallen asleep. Carefully she lifts him up and moves him into her room, wanting to get some sleep and snuggles with her boy.
Now that things are somewhat settled with Rafael, she can actually get some decent rest for the first time in days.
After Rafael receives the text from Liv, he realizes he's unnecessarily punishing them both, and really wants nothing more than to be at home with her and their son.
So he packs up his files and tells Carmen he's taking the rest of the day off and he'll see her Monday, then heads home.
The apartment is still when he arrives, not surprising as it's nap time, so he carefully sheds his shoes, jacket and briefcase by the door.
He quietly pads through the apartment, heading for Noah's room. He's surprised when he finds the toddler bed empty, but quickly continues into his and Olivia's room.
The sight that greets him warms his heart- Liv and Noah are snuggled together, sharing Rafael's pillow.
Rafael quickly strips down to his undershirt and boxers and slides under the covers next to his fiancé, spooning her.
She wakes up when he wraps his arm around her waist, groggily muttering, "Rafi? Wha time's't?"
"Shh, sweetheart, it's almost one o'clock. Go back to sleep, amor," he whispers into her hair.
Her only response is to snuggle a little further back into him and grab onto his hand.
He sighs in contentment, at peace for the first time all week. He quickly joins his family in sleep- it's been too many nights of restless sleep, when he managed to get any at all.
The next thing Rafael is aware of is a tiny voice calling for him.
"Papì? Papì te despierta?" (Papì you awake?)
Before he can answer Olivia rushes into the room and lovingly admonishes Noah, "I said don't wake him up, baby. Papì está cansado." (Papì is tired)
Rafael sits up and pulls Noah onto his lap, looking at Olivia, "It's okay. I missed you guys."
He reaches out his hand and is relieved when she takes it and climbs back into the bed, settling next to him.
He notices she brought a tray with her into the room, loaded with snacks and drinks for them and Noah, their iPad mini, and the remote for the TV. He gives her a quizzical look, flicking his gaze to the tray. "What's up?"
"I thought if I brought enough stuff to occupy him, we could stay here for awhile," she says softly. "Maybe we can order pizza and just have a lazy night in."
He lets go of her hand to wrap an arm around her and pull her body into his.
"Mmm, sounds perfect." He glances at the alarm clock on his bedside table.
"Holy s-" he catches himself just in time, Noah is a sponge for new words lately. "I mean, wow, I can't believe I slept that long! It's past five!"
"Well, assuming you got about as much sleep as I did this week, it's understandable. I'd still be out if this little one didn't wake me up, right baby?"
"Noh wake up," Noah agrees with a nod. "Teebee Mama? Wan' minions!"
"Ask again with your good manners, please, Noah."
"Pwease watch minions?" he accompanies his request with a big smile.
"What do you think, Papì? Do we wanna watch minions?"
Rafael pretends to consider the request, tapping his chin with one finger.
"Pwease, pwease, pweeeeease Papì?" now the pouty lip has been activated.
"Oh, alright, Noah. You can have your minions," Rafael responds amid cheers from the little boy.
Olivia hands him the remote to get the movie set up while she gets Noah settled in with his snack, cup and blanket.
Once the opening scene starts Noah is completely oblivious to anything else going on.
Olivia and Rafael take the opportunity to get comfortable themselves, ending up spooning much like they were when Rafael crawled into bed early that afternoon.
Silence stretches between them but it's not awkward. Liv hugs onto his arm that encases her, and absently plays with his fingers.
After several minutes she turns her head slightly, asking, "Do you want to talk now? Noah's not paying any attention to us..."
He places a soft kiss to her temple and replies, "No, I just wanna lay here with you and not think about it. We'll talk after he's in bed, okay? I promise I'm not avoiding this I just don't..." he trails off, unable to articulate how he's feeling.
"Okay. I know, baby. I feel the same way. It feels so good to be in your arms. I missed you so much this week."
"I know, I missed you too. I was so scared one night, Noah was fussy and wheezing and I didn't know what you would have done- I think Lucy will be happy you're back so she can stop fielding my calls at all hours of the day and night," he speaks quietly, laughing slightly.
"I'm sorry you had to deal with that on your own," she apologizes.
"I know. Oh, we're confirmed with my mom for brunch next Sunday for her birthday," Rafael says.
"Okay. One of us has to remember to drop by the pottery painting place to pick up the mug Noah painted for her. They called last week to say it was ready but I keep forgetting to get it."
They're both silent for a few minutes, just enjoying the feeling of being together.
When Rafael's stomach starts to growl, Liv turns in his arms so they are face to face.
"Hungry, love?" She asks, stroking his eyebrows with one finger.
Rafael closes his eyes, her touch soothing. "Mmm, I didn't really have an appetite so I haven't eaten much today. How about we get that pizza?"
The evening was spent watching movies and eating pizza in bed with Noah. Then Olivia took care of bath and bed time with Noah while Rafael had a long hot shower, determined to let the stress and residual anger wash down the drain.
Not long after Noah falls asleep, Olivia is changing in the bedroom when Rafael steps out of the bathroom in just a towel.
He crosses the room quietly and wraps his arms around her waist from the back. Sometimes it's easier to be honest without eye contact.
"I love you, Liv," Rafael whispers while nuzzling her neck. "I love you so much, and I get so scared because we haven't had enough time. There are so many things I wanna do with you, and we need the next forty years at least, and if you...if you leave me... whether it's your choice or not... I don't know how I'll go on.
"When I saw that video, I got so angry. At you, at me- I never really considered what would happen if you got hurt; which is fucking ridiculous considering the things that have happened to you in just the last few years since I've known you.
"I know that you have a dangerous job, and I understand that sometimes your job blends into your personal life. I thought I had accepted that, but really I was just ignoring it and hoping we'd never have to deal with it.
"Your selflessness is one of the things I admire most about you- I'm sorry I used it against you. I'm sorry about everything I said last night, and that I wasn't there for you.
"You had a shitty week, and a horrific day and instead of supporting you and giving you a soft place to land I cut you down and walked out on you.
"Please forgive me, Liv," he finishes, pressing a kiss to the back of her head and laying his forehead on her shoulder.
She doesn't answer, but pulls at his arms around her waist for him to let her go and turns to face him.
He nervously shifts his weight from one foot to the other, unable to be still.
Olivia takes another moment to gather her thoughts, then puts her hands on Rafael's shoulders, waiting until his focus is on her.
"I understand what's it's like to be involved with a cop- I watched my boyfriend get shot twice and then flatline in the ambulance- so I do understand where you're coming from. There's no guarantee that they will come home, and that's scary. But know this- I completely and utterly with every ounce of my being would rather be home with you and our son than at work. And I will try my absolute hardest to come home to you two every night," she pauses and takes a deep breath.
"You're right- I did need you last night. Even though he was a piece of shit, I still had a person's blood sprayed all over me and I felt him die. I kept reliving that moment every time I would almost fall asleep, and then I'd reach over for you and there was just an empty space.
"Noah wanted pancakes for breakfast- and I had this horrible thought that you might never make us pancakes again; I don't want to feel like that when we have a fight. And we are going to fight, about big things and little things.
"I have never been this happy in my entire life; getting Noah was amazing and changed my life, but since we've been together I've been content in a whole new way. So there's no chance I'm giving up on this, on you.
"I forgive you. Promise me that next time you won't walk out on me? I can give you space, just... watching you leave... it was horrible..." she trails off, throat closing with emotion.
She continues thickly, "I love you, Rafi, and when you put this ring on my finger you promised me forever. Para siempre. I intend to hold you to that."
A few tears break through and Rafael gently wipes them from her cheeks while he says, "Liv, I love you so much. I won't walk out again. Next time- we work it out; no more nights like that," he promises and leans in for a soft kiss.
It is the first time they've kissed since leaving for work five days before.
It is soft and sweet and tender; full of apologies and forgiveness.
Olivia runs her hands down Rafael's back, reaching the towel still wrapped around his waist. She reaches down and untucks the end- removing the towel and tossing it in the direction of the bathroom.
As her hands travel over his bare ass, she deepens the kiss and Rafael stokes the fire when he flicks open the clasp of Liv's bra with one hand- the other holding her against him.
After the fight, the near-death experience, and being separated for almost a week- they both know the sex will be hard and fast tonight.
In the early hours of the morning, Olivia returns from the bathroom to find her fiancé sitting up in bed, her phone in his hand.
He holds it out to her, "It was ringing in your purse. I heard it when I went to check on Noah."
She reaches out and takes it with a frown, navigating to the missed calls list. "Ugh, it's dispatch. They must not have input my revised days off. Just let me call them and get this sorted out- and pass the information along to Fin."
He gives her a disbelieving look.
"What? They've been fine without me for this long, they can handle things until Monday," she states firmly. She leans over to give him a kiss and then grabs her robe off the floor to ward off the chill of the night.
As she makes her way to the living room to make her calls she turns and gives him a smirk, "Enjoy the break, baby. I'm not done with you yet, not by a long shot."
"Promise?" He smirks back.