It hurts, a little different and a lot the same as it did outside the courthouse, to see Rafael standing there looking lost and unsure and not at all like the person she knows him to be – but Liv blinks and he's still here, still not gone anywhere and she finds herself breathing a little easier, after all.
She shakes her head slightly, cutting off that train of thought as she waves vaguely towards the still-open door of his apartment. "Go make yourself look presentable or something, Noah and I can hold off the cavalry – right, Noah?"
Rafael gives her an unimpressed look at that, even though he's already turning, careful not to trip over Noah in the process. "I'm an unemployed tramp right now, Liv, I think that allows me some license to dress however I like."
She hears Fin snort in undisguised amusement behind her as they pile into the apartment. "Hate to break it to you, but you got a ways to go past sleepin' in suits before you reach that level, Barba."
"I'll take that under advisement, Sergeant Tutuola," Rafael snipes back over his shoulder, but Liv catches Rollins and Fin exchanging quick grins when Rafael turns away again to duck into his bedroom, and she's – ridiculously glad to see it, actually.
Liv's been blessed to have this squad, this team that's learned to read her and each other so well that they'd guessed what happened even though she only told them the bare facts (and nothing of the conversation that followed, although that's in no small part because Liv herself hasn't even had the chance to process those words yet – she needs a couple dozen pints of ice-cream and a crate of good wine before any of that happens, Liv thinks, because god she loves the man like nothing else but Rafael Barba can be opaque as a lead wall at the best of times, and that's even without him trying to be.)
In comparison, Carisi still seems unusually subdued, even as he heads straight to the kitchen, opening cupboards and drawers with apparent familiarity. Fin's guess was that he'd heard something from his contacts in the DA's office, and Liv wouldn't be surprised at that – Carisi really is the kind of person that people just want to tell things to, after all. But she also remembers the singleminded focus with which he'd pored over endless books in between long phonecalls with Dworkin, and makes a mental note to tell Rafael (though he probably already knows) that he really needs to have a proper talk with Carisi about things going forward, whatever that entails.
Rollins and Carisi are almost done with doling out generous portions of pasta (quite a bit heavier than their usual party fare, true, but it's spaghetti night anyway and Liv knows for a fact that they've all barely had time for one square meal between them for the past week) when Rafael finally reappears in a singularly incongruous getup of a Harvard Law sweatshirt that's subtitled What, like it's hard? over jeans and a nearly-familiar smirk, and Liv's breath skips a little at the sight, the relief almost a physical thing.
Rafael waits out the inevitable round of snickers before blithely asking "Good enough for a defense attorney, do you think?", which sets them all off again.
Rollins snorts so hard that she accidentally inhales her drink. "Who's seeing who in court now, huh," she says between coughs, and doesn't quite manage to stifle her wince when Noah hits her a bit too enthusiastically on the back, though she thanks him with watering eyes.
"Gonna join Calhoun over on the dark side, Barba?" Fin quips, but before Liv can glance over to see Rafael's reaction Carisi asks "How 'bout a legislator?" with a lopsided smile, and the conversation quickly degenerates from there into a mess of career switch ideas as they settle down to dinner, pulling a couple of extra chairs to the table.
Some of the suggestions are more questionable than others, Fin and Rollins apparently having fallen into a mild competition to outdo the other: private investigator is followed by yachting is followed (after a brief but heated debate over the merits of "yachter" versus "yachtsman") by secret agent, at which point Carisi clears his throat and intones, "The name's Barba. Rafael Barba."
That is followed by an entire twenty seconds' worth of complete silence, only broken by Rafael's very pointedly raised eyebrows.
"Excuse me," he says haughtily, dusting entirely imaginary lint off his sleeve as he somehow draws himself up to his full height even though he's still sitting down. "My suits are much better than anything the MI-6 could possibly afford, thank you – "
"Hear, hear," Rollins says with an easy grin as she raises her drink, and Liv laughs, because she definitely doesn't disagree, and meets it with her own.
"To Uncle Rafa's pocket squares," Liv declares loudly over the clink of glasses, just a bit giddy with something more than the wine she's drank.
Rafael scowls at Liv (or tries to, at least, though it's frankly unconvincing) and kicks her leg under the table.
He makes something close to an affronted yelp when she kicks back even though he really should've seen it coming, but for the first time all night she doesn't see that tightness around his eyes, and Liv thinks – yeah, she thinks that they're going be just fine.