I have decided this will be a two-shot. Please review, fave, follow! Those things make my day. Here's part two: enjoy!
"You think our guy is a serial?" Fin stared hard at their current case, and then at the information the squad had on the MO of their rapist. Each of the victims had been harassed with phone calls, raped, and then strangled with a tie. The evidence would all be scrubbed away: not a single print, fiber, or fluid left behind. The only thing the detectives had to go off of was the silk tie that was left wrapped around each victim's throat.
"Of course it's the same guy, but the first three rapes were committed in Jersey... And that means the Feds are going to want in."
Rollins and Fin shared a look before turning to Liv.
She sighed, put her hands up and said, "Okay. I'll call Barba."
The phone call between the ADA and the Lieutenant was brief and professional. No remnant emotions about the previous night were brought up. SVU needed help from the ADA, nothing more.
After about twenty minutes of waiting, Liv heard a knock on her door.
"Come in," she said cautiously, expecting Rafael to emerge. Instead, Amanda Rollins appeared in the doorway.
"Liv, are you okay? Did something happen with you and Barba recently?" The blonde detective had shut the door behind her and assumed a seat in front of the Lieutenant.
Olivia was taken back. Could she really be read that easily? She thought about lying to and saying everything was fine, but Amanda was much more than just a colleague, and she trusted her.
"I ended things last night..." she took a breath, "is it really that easy to tell?"
Amanda gave a sad smile. "It wasn't you that gave it away." She moved to peek through the shades that hid the office from the bullpen and motioned Olivia over.
Rafael Barba was sitting next to Fin and talking over the case. He looked like a mess. His hair wasn't gelled, the normally impeccable suit and tie he wore was full of wrinkles, and the bags under his eyes hinted that he had not gotten much sleep the night before.
"I didn't mean to hurt him." She's not sure if the words are for Amanda or herself, but they're out in the open.
Amanda doesn't say anything, just drops her hold on the window blinds to face Olivia.
Olivia gives an almost imperceptible nod before she opens the door into the bullpen.
"Alright Barba, what can you do for us?" The ADA looks up at her. His clothes might be wrinkled, but he appears completely unfazed by her presence.
"I'll argue to the judge that the pattern clearly calls for the charges to be tried together, but I need a suspect. Soon. Get me a face within three 72 hours and week keep this case in SVU; any longer than that and the government gets to manhandle our case."
"Okay. Rollins, get Carisi out of bed and go canvas the last two neighborhoods again. Fin, run the DNA through the database one more time and then call Huang to see if we can get a profile on this guy. This case is ours, okay?"
The team nodded in acknowledgment and Olivia retreated back into her office. A few minutes later someone rapped against her door.
"Come in Rollins," Liv spoke to the doorway, eyes focused on the case file in front of her.
"Lieutenant?" came a voice from in front of her, jolting her gaze upward.
"Oh. Ra-Barba, what can I do for you?" He sighed a little at the formality she was consciously using.
"Can we talk, for just a second?" His eyes were downcast, she didn't have it in her to say no.
"Raf, did you sleep last night?" Olivia spoke genuine concern and more than a little guilt.
"Uh-no, actually, I didn't sleep. I had a lot of paperwork and so I guess I just stayed at my office until you called. I-I didn't even have time to go home and change," He says, gesturing to his sloppy dress wear.
Before she can start to apologize he says, "Not the first time I've pulled an all-nighter at the office, and I doubt it will be the last." Silence ensues as the two adults try to avoid the elephant in the room.
"So... what did you want to talk about?" She probes, thinking she has a fair guess at what brought him into her office.
"Actually, I just wanted to drop this file off with you. I need to get back to the office, but take a look at it when you get a chance?"
"Yea, sure," she stutters, expecting a confrontation from him, not more paperwork.
"Okay, thanks Olivia." The door clicks shut. Olivia looks at the file in front of her. Something tells her it must be important if Rafael was willing to personally drop it off amid the obvious tension between them.
She opens the manila folder and scans the documents inside. Her breath catches.
Last Will and Testament of Rafael Barba. She scans the document, tears pricking at her eyes.
In the event of Rafael Barba's death, the title to Mr. Barba's apartment and fifty (50) percent of his remaining monetary assets after taxes shall be transferred to Lucia Barba. Ten (10) percent of Mr. Barba's monetary assets should be donated to the Cuban-American Child Enrichment Charity. The remaining monetary assets shall be transferred into a trust fund in the name of Noah Benson, accessible to him if he is over twenty-one (21) years of age, or entrusted to his appointed guardian, Olivia Benson, until he becomes 21 years of age...
She flips to the next page in the folder.
Request of Adoption Approval for (minor) Noah Porter Benson. She can't take it anymore. She closes the folder and flips it over on her desk. A piece of stationary is taped to the back, the header reading 'from the office of ADA Rafael Barba'.
Liv. First things first, I am not dying. At least, I'm not dying any faster than the average human being. I am, however, getting old. I don't want a casual relationship. I want to be bound to you and Noah in every possible way I can. You can shred these documents if you want; I don't mean to overwhelm you. But I want you to know, I mean this. Nothing would make me happier than to call Noah my son. Nothing, that is, except maybe someday having the honor of calling you my wife. Again, please don't feel pressured into anything. This is where I'm at, but I don't expect you to be on the same page. You've had a lot of assholes in your life (I'll refrain from names), and I know you're scared that I might be one of them. I'm not exactly the nicest guy I know. I sincerely wish you to be the best, happiest, version of yourself you can possibly be, even if that means you need to let me go. You're first and foremost my best friend, and that will never change.
She feels like her heart might explode. What the hell was I thinking.
"Rafael!" The door to her office opens, and she scans the squad room frantically. She stops when she sees his familiar wrinkled gray suit next to the coffee maker, downing what she would bet is his third cup.
He doesn't notice her calling to him, so she resigns to running over to where he is standing.
"Oh, Liv, I was just about on my way to go talk to the judge about that case. I'll go now." He awkwardly tries to leave, but Olivia grabs his arm.
"This isn't about the case." He looks at her eyes, and then to the ground.
"I assume you read that file I gave you?"
"Yea," she says, unsure of what to say next.
"I-I'm sorry. I overstepped. I'm just going to go. I'll see you around Olivia." He takes a couple of quick strides toward the door before she can regain her voice.
"Rafael, I'm going to need a good lawyer to help me with the adoption paperwork." He turns around to search her eyes, trying to determine if she's saying what he thinks she is saying.
"I'm not shredding the paperwork. I want you to adopt Noah. I trust you, Rafael. With all my heart." Barba takes a second to absorb the information she's given him, but then his face lights in the way it does after he's won a huge case.
She doesn't care that she's in her own precinct, she kisses him like her life depends on it.
"Ahem, sidebar Counselor?" The two step apart to look up at Fin, who is waving a file in Barba's face.
"As much as I love when mom and dad kiss and make up, we've got a case to solve." Olivia laughs at her detective, and releases an irritated-looking Barba.
"Dinner tonight, on me? Maybe we can go over some of that paperwork?"
Barba smiles and nods at her. "I'd love to." They share a grin, before Fin interrupts once more.
"Alright lovebirds. Get a damn room. The rest of us have a case to solve."
Alright, so I was feeling kind of tragic and sad last night and then I woke up this morning and couldn't deal with leaving a sad ending. So here's that sappy reconciliation we all love. Hope you enjoyed! Review for more SVU fics.