Just a Barson one-shot based off of the song Unsteady by X Ambassadors. Review to let me know what you think :) I will probably turn it into a two-shot depending on how I feel. Hopefully more SVU fics to come in the future.
Hold on to me, 'cause I'm a little unsteady. A little unsteady.
Noah sat upright in his bed. It was still dark out, but he couldn't sleep.
His parents had waited for him to fall asleep before they hashed it out. What had started as a fight of whisper-yelling quickly escalated into raised voices.
"Liv, you can't possibly be considering this."
"Barba... I'm going on 50. I'm too old for a casual relationship. I have a son and a full time job and this," she gestured between them, "...this just isn't working."
Rafael cringed first at the use of his last name and then at the words 'casual relationship'.
"Is that all this is to you, some kind of fling? I know I don't have to remind you that I am also at a point in my life where my twenties are well behind me."
Mother, I know that you're tired of being alone.
"I can't do this. Us. You are married to your job, and so am I. I don't blame you, but I'm done being alone. I need more, Noah needs more. I'm not letting him get attached to have his heart crushed. You have aspirations. Someday you'll realize that you don't have time to be a dad and you'll walk out of our lives and I'll have to explain to my son why people in his world keep leaving. I can't do that to him Rafael."
He takes in her words and feels the anger rise.
"Did you really just lower me to the level of Johnny D? Am I nothing more than just another person in his life that can't handle it?"
He laughs briefly, but they both know he doesn't think the situation is funny at all.
"I can cut back on the hours Liv. That isn't the problem. The problem is that you think that I'm not committed. That I could walk out that door at any moment and leave you guys behind. You don't trust me."
Her eyes give her away. He's hit the nail right on the head. It wasn't that she didn't want to trust the snarky ADA, but she wasn't a gambling woman and the odds that a man with limitless opportunities would choose to settle down with her an her son were slim to none.
"We're not married. You're the lawyer, you know that legally nothing is binding you to Noah and me. What's to stop you from walking out that door today or tomorrow or weeks from now?"
Dad I know that you're trying to fight when you feel like flying.
"You. Noah. That is what's stopping me from just walking out. Yes, maybe someday I want to move beyond being an ADA for SVU, but that is not happening anytime soon, and when it does we can talk about it."
He had shattered all her arguments, but he just couldn't sway the judge. Olivia had made up her mind. She had been hurt too many times, and that wasn't Barba's fault, but it had shattered her trust in her partner.
"It might not work out, and I can't take that chance," she whispered.
Noah had slowly crept from his bed to peek through the door. He could just see the forms of his mother and Rafael in the living room. Their faces are red and visibly upset.
"If you want me gone, I'm gone."
A sob escaped Noah's little body causing Olivia and Rafael to whirl around toward the cause of the noise. The door to Noah's room was clearly ajar, and from the look in the little boy's eyes he had heard everything.
The two grown ups moved toward the crying child. He was clutching a stuffed shark tight to his body as he shook with sobs. All traces of anger suddenly vanished at the sight of their little boy.
"Raf pwease don't leave. Mama don't make Raf leave." Noah's words were a forced whisper. Tears streamed down his face.
Rafael moved to pick up Noah, and he winced as the boy cried into his chest, clutching the elastic of his suspenders as if he never wanted to let go.
"It's okay amigo, I'm not leaving you. I'm just going to live in my house again for a while, okay? But I'll still come to visit you, and maybe you can come visit me too sometimes. How does that sound?" Rafael tightened his grip on Noah, trying to reassure the boy while fighting off heartbreak of his own.
"Don't... don't want you to go." Olivia stood and watched the pained exchange between the two boys-her two boys-as guilt seeped through her veins and a sharp pain overtook her chest.
If you love me don't let go.
She didn't want him to leave either, but if she thought it was hard now she couldn't imagine the pain it would cause if she allowed the relationship to continue. They would only grow more attached. She refused to entertain the idea that she and Rafael and Noah could live in their perfect fairytale forever. Every story has to end, and so far all of her stories have ended in heartbreak.
"I'm so sorry Noah, I have to go back to my house. This apartment is too small. I just take up too much space."
Rafael pushed out his belly a little, trying to convince the boy that he had just become too large. The action elicited a giggle from Noah before his face turned somber again.
"Will you still love me and mamí?"
Rafael took a breath. "It doesn't matter if I am a million miles away or right next to you; I will always love you and your mamí. Remember that Noah."
Noah seemed to accept Barba's answer, albeit begrudgingly. He loosened his grip on Rafael's suspenders slightly, but still refused to release the ADA.
If you love me don't let go.
Rafael took one last look around the apartment and determined he'd come to pack up his things some other time. Right now he'd say good-bye and then leave before it became even harder to walk away.
"I'll see you soon Noah, okay? Promise you'll be good for your mamí?"
Noah nodded his head up and down. Giving one last squeeze, Rafael set the child on the ground.
He nodded to Olivia. "I'm going to catch a cab. I'll see you in the precinct in the morning. I..." He wanted to say I love you, like he always did before saying goodbye to her, but stopped himself. The unfinished sentence was left hanging in the air as he reached for the door handle.
He half expected her to turn around and admit that she had been wrong and afraid and that she didn't want him to go. Hell, Olivia was already beginning to have second thoughts. The world stopped for a few seconds as Rafael opened the door to the apartment and stepped into the hall. And just as quickly as they had stopped the hands of time resumed and the door clicked shut leaving two broken people on either side.
In the cab, Barba clutched his coat a little bit tighter around himself.
Hold, Hold on.
Olivia didn't even try to put Noah back into his crib, she just gathered him into her arms and held him close on the sofa.
Hold onto me.
It would be a rough night, but morning would come soon enough. They just needed to hold on until then.
'Cause I'm a little unsteady. A little unsteady.