Title: No Need to Say Goodbye
Author: untapdtreasure with The Confused One
Spoilers: Surrendering Noah
Summary: The best part was that everything was clean. There were no secrets and absolutely no lies.
A/N: This is the last co-authored piece for us. I post this in loving memory of one of my best friends. You will never be forgotten. Always loved and remembered fondly.
Rafael Barba watched as one after another of Olivia's guests said goodbye and made a quiet exit until he was the only one left. He glanced around before he began to pick up discarded champagne glasses and carried them to the kitchen.
So much had happened in the course of this trial, and he was happy that her life with Noah wouldn't be shrouded with lies. The pain he'd seen in her eyes had been almost too much to bear when she'd spoke those words in a whispered rush in the quiet hallway of the one-six. He had felt them deep in his heart despite the mistake he felt she was making in naming Johnny Drake as Noah's father.
He rinsed the glasses in the sink before placing them in the dishwasher while he stood in quiet 'd slowly became each other's confidant when cases had become too much and justice not enough. He wasn't sure when he'd started to see her in a different light, but he'd be lying if he said it was nothing more than friendship.
And Noah. He remembered the first time she'd placed the boy in his arms. He had been terrified. Then slowly he had begun to play with him. He remembered her commenting once that he seemed quite at home, and he'd made a hasty exit; running because she was right. He'd fallen her and her kid. And it had absolutely terrified him.
None of this explained why he had purposeful been the last to leave so as to not make it more painful for himself, but he had already figured that one out.
Rafael Barba was tired of running.
Shutting the door once again, Olivia sighed softly. She was completely exhausted. She had gone from an exhilarating high to an all time low, and it had left her drained.
She was deliriously happy that the adoption had finally been finalized. The fear, the wait was over. She could breathe easier. No one could take him from her. She was officially and legally his mother, and she wouldn't trade that for the world. She would do it all over again to get to this point. She loved him more than she loved herself, and she would do anything for him. He fulfilled her in ways she hadn't realized needed filling before he came into her life.
The best part was that everything was clean. There were no secrets and absolutely no lies. There was nothing that could come back and cause them any problems. She knew one day Noah would start asking questions, and she would have to tell him about his birth parents. It was not a pretty story, and it would be hard, but she would not lie to Noah. Things had a way of coming out, and she would not have him angry and resentful towards her because she didn't trust him with the truth.
This brought her to the low. Nick was leaving. He was going to go clear across the country, to California, and it was going to leave a huge hole in the squad; another lost partner. She already missed him, and he hadn't even left yet. She understood his reasoning, and she couldn't argue against it. She had to admit she would make the same decision he was making if she was in the same position. There was nothing left for him in New York. His children, his family were in California. His best chance at the career he wanted was in California.
He had been a hero in that courtroom. A part of her was deeply grateful and relieved that Johnny D was dead. He could never cause her and Noah anymore problems. He couldn't challenge her ability to adopt Noah. He couldn't fight for rights or visitations. He couldn't send people to harass them. She would never have to take her son to a prison to visit a man he didn't know, and she didn't want him to know. She would never admit it out loud, but Nick had given her and Noah a true gift.
Softly clanking glasses drew Olivia's attention out of her thoughts and back to the present. She turned in time to see Rafael move into the kitchen. She couldn't help the ghost of a smile that crossed her face. He really had grown comfortable in her home, in her world, and she wasn't afraid to admit she liked it. She wanted him there. He had become the first person she turned to when she needed to talk.
Laying alone in bed, she had admitted to herself that somehow she had gone from seeing him as a friend to seeing him as something more. She might even call it falling in love, but everything going on with Noah and work had kept her from truly being able to process her feelings and decide what to do about them. Now Noah was hers, and she could make room for what could come next. She didn't know how Rafael felt, but they were alone now, and she decided to test the waters.
Grabbing the rest of the glasses on the table, she followed him into the kitchen. Moving to stand beside him, she placed the glasses on the counter next to the sink. Smiling, she lightly teased, "You know you're a guest here and not required to help clean up, right?"
Rafael reached for another glass as she sat them down. He had been so lost in thought that he hadn't noticed her presence until their shoulders brushed together ever so slightly. It caused his heart to skip a beat. His sleeves were rolled up to his elbows; something he always did whenever he was comfortable with his surroundings. He glanced over at her, giving her a soft smile.
"I know, but it's the least I can do for you including me in your and Noah's celebration." He hadn't felt nearly as uncomfortable with her co-workers as he thought he'd be. It was true he worked closely with all of them, but he'd never partook in any gathering with any of them with the exception of the occasional drink.
"I'm glad the adoption is finalized. That you got what you wanted. And most especially that Noah will never have to know that bastard." He placed the last of the glasses into the dishwasher before he turned slightly to look at her. "I-I was wrong about it being a mistake. You were right to want to be truthful with your son. He deserves that much after everything he's been through in his short little life."
He glanced toward the bedroom where Noah lay sleeping soundly. He smiled then turned his attention back to Olivia. "He's a lucky little boy. Congratulations." He leaned in then, pressing a soft kiss to her cheek as his hand came to rest against her hip. "And I mean that, Liv."
The physical contact made her heart flutter. Her knees suddenly felt like jello, and she was certain they would buckle at any moment. She felt like a teenager with her first love, and her cheeks flushed as her stomach jumped a little, and she struggled to process anything more than where his hand was and where his lips had been. This was the most contact either of them had dared to risk, and she liked it. She wanted more of his touch. She silently cursed the clothes she wore for keeping her from being able to feel his hand against her bare skin. His overture was an unmistakable signal, and it gave her confidence that he felt something as well.
Lifting her head, she easily found his eyes, and was taken aback by the emotion she found there. As his words sunk in, she didn't step away. Tears pricked at her eyes, but she was able to keep them at bay. His words meant more to her than he knew. They meant more than anyone else's, and she knew it was because he meant more to her than anyone else. She spoke softly, "Th-thank you for saying that, for trying to understand why I did what I did and why I have to be able to be honest with Noah." Drawing on her own life and experience, she added, "Everyone deserves to know where they come from. They deserve to know who they are."
He held his breath at the unshed tears that pooled in her eyes. He wanted desperately to make them go away. If it was one thing he didn't like to see, it was tears in her eyes or streaming down her cheeks. He'd witnessed both too often. His hand squeezed at her hip just a little as he lifted his other hand and touched first her upper arm then her cheek for a brief moment before he lowered it back down to his side. "He's a lucky little boy," he repeated his words from moments before.
His feet took a step towards her, wanting to close the distance completely. He quietly pulled her into a gentle hug, not caring that they were crossing lines that they'd only skirted in the past. He turned his head slightly into her hair to let the scent tickle his nose. He rubbed her back gently up and down.
"You're a wonderful mom, Liv..." He closed his eyes then, relaxing at the feel of her in his arms.
Easily relaxing into his embrace, she never wanted to leave it. It was so strong, so sure, so safe. His aftershave was intoxicating, and the soft reassuring stroking of her back left her wanting more. She wanted him to kiss her, to make love to her. She wanted to know every part of him and for him to explore every part of her. She knew she shouldn't feel the way she did, but she was tired of her life being on hold. She was tired of worrying about what the department might think of her choices.
She had to force herself to focus and comprehend his words. It felt good to know someone had such confidence in her, especially him. She wanted his approval most of all. Even as she did what she felt she had to do, it had pained her to disagree with Rafael. Staying in his arms, she spoke softly, "I just hope Noah thinks so."
He pulled back so that he could meet her eyes. He kept a hand to her hip, squeezing gently. "Liv, you're going to give that little boy the life he deserves. A life you both deserve." He searched her eyes, getting lost in the deep chocolate recesses. He held his breath as his free hand came up to caress her cheek. His heart pounded hard in his chest.
He leaned in, pressing his lips gently to hers. The kiss lasted for only a second, but it felt like an entire lifetime. He felt his cheeks burn hot as he let it sink in that he'd just kissed her. He closed his eyes for only a moment.
"A life I'd give anything to be part of." His eyes opened, meeting hers as he leaned in once more to press his mouth to hers. The second kiss lasted longer than the first.
She felt her head spin as her heart skipped a beat as the second kiss ended. If she had still harbored any doubts about her feelings or his, they were gone now. Only he could evoke such a reaction and such feelings in her. She hadn't expected him to kiss her, but she was glad he had. It was better than all of the dreams and fantasies she had entertained over the months. It made her hungry for so much more.
She had never felt so sure about anyone in her life. He was the only one who ever made her world feel righted. He was the only one she had ever been able to picture as part of her and Noah's life together. Rafael, she knew, was the missing piece of their family. Taking a shaky breath, Olivia leaned her forehead against his and ignored the butterflies forming in the pit of her stomach. They were about to start something they couldn't take back. He had made a bold move, and now it was her turn. She searched his eyes and whispered, "I-I want you to be a part of it, too." To punctuate her point, she closed the inches and kissed him before he could respond.
His hand that had been anywhere but on her now came to grasp her other hip. He melted into the kiss as her lips parted for him, to him. He slipped his tongue into her mouth, caressing his own along hers. He moaned softly before tilting his head a little more to deepen the kiss. He pressed his hips into hers as he pushed her backside into the countertop next to the sink. He gripped her hips, maybe a little too tightly, but he was terrified she'd come to her senses and skirt away from him.
He allowed the kiss to continue for a few moments. His mind going a million miles a minute. As air became necessary, he pulled back slightly to give them both room to breathe.
He loved the taste of her. She was sweet; just like he knew she'd be. The champagne had lingered on her tongue, and that only heightened the sweet taste of her mouth. He slipped his arms around her back, holding her gently like she was more precious than a friend but not quite yet his lover.
He admitted softly, "I've never really been around kids. You'll have to-to teach me." Not that he doubted for a moment that she hadn't been already. He'd already went from being wooden and stiff when Noah was in his arms to relaxed and had quickly become fluent in Noah-speak.
"Relax, Counselor. You're doing great." Her arms slipped up around his neck, leaning into him as her mouth pressed softly to his. "We've got this." Her eyes sparkled as he smiled.
"I should probably say goodbye," he said as he made absolutely no move to leave. "We don't want to rush this."
Her fingers found his lips, pressing against them to halt in further talking. She took his hand, leading him toward the bedroom. She shut off lights as they went. "No need to say goodbye."