A/N: This is my first SVU fanfic and while I have seen alot of the last few seasons of the show I have not seen all of it. If anything is inaccurate please let me know and I will do my best to fix it. This only the introduction, later chapters will be longer. I appreciate any and all feedback.

Warnings: This story includes talk of rape and sexual assault. It should be at about the level that the show deals with it.

Introduction: Appreciation

Rafael Barba had never gotten flowers before. Yet a colorful and fragrant arrangement had just been delivered to his office. He pulled out the small card that had come with it, wondering who would've sent him something like that. The card read: "I greatly admire you and the work you do." It was not signed and the delivery man left before he could ask who had sent it.

It was nice to be appreciated for the work he did. At times he became exhausted with always having someone angry at him. There were also times that he wondered if it was worth it. But then he would win a case and see a look of relief on the victim's face knowing that justice had been served. Unfortunately, those moments didn't happen frequently enough, more often than not he had to make an unsettling compromise.

The flowers and the card that he was holding were a small but welcome encouragement. He allowed it to put him in a better mood than he had started the day with.

As he set the arrangement on his desk his phone beeped to remind him that he had to be in court soon. Barba grabbed his briefcase and left with one last glance at the flowers. When viewing them out of the corner of his eye he realized that the colors stood out, a stark contrast against the neutral tones of his office.

"The state requests remand, your honor," Barba said as he glanced at the defense. "The defendant has already once left the state while awaiting a previous trial."

"I was just trying to see my son!" the defendant frantically tried to explain.

The judge gave the defense a stern glare. "Mr. Darner, I suggest that you rein in your client."

"Sean, hold yourself together," Darner muttered before turning to the judge. "Your honor, Mr. Arnold only left the state because his girlfriend had just given birth to their son. He is not a flight risk as his girlfriend and his son have moved back to the city recently. All of his family is here, he has a job, and doesn't even have a passport. He's not going anywhere."

The judge sighed and Barba was concerned for a moment that he saw sympathy in her eyes. She seemed to weigh the argument for less than a second before deciding. "Bail is set at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars."

Barba looked down to pack up his things and smirked to himself satisfied with the amount the bail had been set at. When he looked up Darner had stopped in front of him. "Can I help you?" he asked the unmoving defense attorney.

"I always look forward to going up against you, Mr. Barba. You're always so… fiery in the courtroom," Darner said with barely concealed anticipation.

Barba raised an eyebrow at Darner's choice of words but nodded as he replied. "I will try not to disappoint," he said dryly.

As he left the courtroom Barba shook his head to himself. Darner was rather new on the scene and had only crossed paths with him in court once before. The defense attorney seemed to get overconfident before completely bombing when it came to actually performing in a full courtroom. It was a bit refreshing for Barba to finally have an easy case to look forward to.

When Barba got back to his office Olivia was waiting for him. "Hello, Lieutenant," he greeted as he set down his briefcase and sat down behind his desk. "To what do I owe the honor."

She set down a file on the desk and slid it to him. "I needed to talk to you about the Thornton case."

They spent most of the evening discussing the intricacies of the case. Barba ended up ordering them dinner while they went over it. Eventually, Olivia excused herself saying that she wanted to get home in time to put Noah to bed.

As she put on her coat she paused to glance at the flowers on Barba's desk. "Nice flowers by the way. Who are they from?"

"I don't know," Barba admitted as he crumpled up the paper wrapper from his sandwich. "Someone delivered them earlier with no name on the card."

Olivia frowned as her glance turned into a suspicious look. "That's odd."

"They're just flowers. The card said that the sender admired the work I do. It's nice to be appreciated every once in a while. Some people seem to think I only exist to be at their beck and call," he said pointedly.

The Lieutenant rolled her eyes as she approached the door. "Just be careful. Okay, Barba?"

"Okay," he replied with an impatient sigh. "I thought you wanted to get home, not hang around my office speculating about flowers."

Once she was gone Barba sat down behind his desk again and stared at the flowers. It was nice to know someone understood how much work he did, but it still concerned him that no one had signed the card. In his line of work anonymity was not usually a good thing. On the other hand, it was just flowers, not a letter filled with anthrax.