Alright, I'll admit that lately, especially since the beginning of the 15th season, I REALLY love Rafael Barba. He's seriously become my favorite character, besides Olivia of course. Anyway, that lead to me really loving a Rafael/Olivia relationship, and therefore this story was born!
This story is basically the storyline of the 14th/15th seasons, with a Barson (that's the ship name I've heard Rafael/Olivia called, if you guys know anything different let me know!) backstory behind each episode.
So first I'll begin with how Barson got started! BTW the song that inspired this story is "Everything Has Changed" by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.
ADA Rafael Barba couldn't get Detective Olivia Benson out of his head, ever since his first encounter with her in the courtroom. Sure he insulted her with his cockiness and confidence more times than he could count, but that didn't mean anything. She was honestly the strongest woman he knew, and he respected the hell out of her.
He wasn't really sure when he'd begun thinking of her as more than just a work associate and more so like a friend. It might have been how impressed he was by her passion and instinct, especially when she'd found him in that little upscale bar. He had to admit she'd surprised him and nearly made him choke when he turned to see her leaning against the bar.
"How did you find me?"
"I'm a trained detective, plus I could smell the scotch,"
He appreciated their banter back and forth, normally he was the one with the sass and everyone else just took it, but Olivia Benson gave as good as she got.
"Sit. Drink. Smile."
Barba remembered his words, and he faintly remembered her muttering a very unflattering term aimed at him as she followed his instructions.
They were still professional, but he'd like to say they were more than just associates. He'd never admit it, but he'd like to think of them as friends.
What he didn't know was that Olivia felt the same way. He was an attractive man, but Olivia never allowed her thoughts to stray that way as they tended to. After Captain Harris pointed him out in the courtroom, Olivia was struck by just how attractive he was.
And then his smartass remark "Bring your daughters to work day?" made her shake her head as he shook her hand. His brilliant smile made her smile back, and then they started to work together.
After the verdict had been delivered, she looked at him with a smile, and was surprised to find him looking back at her, almost as if he was awaiting her approval. She nodded to him with gratitude in her eyes, and the corners of his mouth lifted slightly in a faint smile as he nodded back.
The first time they ended up in a bar together was after the pop singer Mischa's case. When they were sitting in the squadroom watching the broadcast of the news of her death, Olivia's heart broke. Barba's jaw was set as they showed the memorial for the young singer, and fury flashed through everyone's eyes, including Amanda, Nick and Munch, at the sight of Caleb Bryant's picture, the man who murdered her.
Olivia was the first to take her leave, getting up and grabbing her coat. She strode out, and Nick went to go after her. "Leave her, Nick," Munch advised quietly, and Nick looked at him.
"She's never the first to leave," He said, as if that explained that something was obviously wrong.
"Well I don't know about you guys but I am in desperate need of a drink," Barba said hoarsely, adjusting his tie. "I'll see you all later," He said with a nod, and walked out.
Tonight he just told the cab driver to drop him off at a random bar he saw along the streets, ignoring his usual 'watering hole' so to speak. He just needed to forget that poor girl's face for a little while.
Imagine his surprise when he walked into the same bar that Olivia Benson was sitting at the bar, her head in her hands. "Detective," Barba said quietly when he jolted in shock at recognizing her.
"I suppose it's your turn to find me, hm?" Olivia said quietly, sipping her drink.
"In all actuality I just chose this place at random, I just wanted something different," Barba muttered as he ordered his own drink.
"Yeah, I get that," She sighed, swirling her drink around.
"Amaro wanted to go after you, said that you never leave first," Barba commented, and Olivia rolled her eyes.
"Whenever a case is tough, Cragen usually orders us home for the night at a certain time, and normally Nick's the first one out of there, or sometimes Amanda. Usually I'm the one that stays behind, making sure paperwork is done or making sure they get out of there,"
"What, you imagine yourself as saving them from the many hours you worked in your first years at SVU?" Barba scoffed, but then he saw Olivia close her eyes.
"I'm not saying I regret anything, Barba, but sometimes I can't help but wonder what my life would be like now if I had cared more about my personal life back then, when I first started at SVU. Then of course I remember that I can't dwell on the past and I move on," She said, her voice had the faintest hint of bitterness at the end, and Barba sighed.
"Yeah, I understand that,"
"I mean maybe me and Cassidy could've worked things out in the beginning, maybe I could've had more of a relationship with my mom, maybe I could've kept Calvin…" Olivia mumbled, and although Barba didn't understand any of the things she was saying, he nodded. She glanced at him and suddenly laughed.
"What?" He demanded, and she just shook her head.
"You have no clue about what I'm talking about, Barba,"
"I just figured you needed someone to listen, not understand," He retorted, and the smile slowly slid off of her face.
"Yeah, I guess you're right,"
"No, I'm not always right. Tell me about Calvin," Barba suggested, remembering a few of the things she said.
"I was investigating this case about three years ago with this woman, Vivian Arliss, and eventually we found out that she may have killed her mother's rapist, who was also her father,"
"Tough case," Barba muttered, and Olivia sighed.
"You got that right. She fled before we could bring her in, and she left a note and legal documentation that left me as the legal guardian of her boy, Calvin. He was just a boy, I think he was 8 when I first met him. So he lived with me for a while, and I guess I got used to having him as my son, so to speak. He even drew a picture at school of me and him and labeled me as 'mom',"
"And then Vivian came back," Barba said with a shake of his head, sensing what was about to come next.
"Yes. I found Vivian, and brought her into the station. We eventually found out that she wasn't the murderer after all. At the end of the day, Vivian and her lawyer came into the precinct and…told me that my parental rights were revoked. She sent him to live with his grandparents. That…was not a pretty scene…" Olivia's voice broke, and Barba instinctively put his hand on her arm.
"Calvin didn't want to leave you, that's understandable,"
"And the thing is, I could've kept him. I had the chance; Vivian just wanted me to let her go and not bring her in, if I had done that, pretended like I missed her when I went up to her apartment, I might still have Calvin. Sometimes that thought runs through my mind and I feel like crap that I'm thinking it, but I can't help it," She admitted quietly as she finished her drink.
They drank together in silence for a while, and then Olivia finished her beverage and slowly stood up. "I should get home before I keep drinking," She muttered, and Barba looked at her in alarm.
"Did you drive here?"
"Hell no, Barba, do you think I'm an idiot? I took a cab," She snapped, rolling her eyes to soften the blow of her words. He chuckled and got up, paying his tab too and held his arm out to her.
"Let's share a cab then. Maybe if we hold onto each other we won't fall down and look like complete drunks," He said wisely, and she laughed as she latched onto his arm.
They walked out together, and Barba managed to hail a taxi even as the rain started to come down. As Olivia gave her address first, Barba watched the rain fall out of the window.
"Thank you for listening to me, Barba," Olivia said quietly as the taxi pulled up to her apartment building.
"Anytime, Benson. And it's Rafael," He said quietly as she leaned back in the car and smiled at him.
"Olivia," She held her hand out with a silly grin on her face and he shook it with a bark of laughter.
He watched her walk back into her building before telling the driver to take him home to his condo. Yes, he'd like to think of them as friends.
As I was writing this story, I was struck by how much I really wished Olivia could've kept Calvin. I understand why they writers felt the need to write him out, but still, I wish she could see him more. Ah well. I hope you enjoyed the beginning to this story! I will post the second chapter soon because I'm almost done with it now! Let me know if I'm doing the characterization right, Rafael's a bit tricky to write accurately. Thank you so much for reading!