Sonny is pretty certain he's about to walk across the room, throw Rafael over his shoulder, and exit swiftly, decorum be damned. There are four women fawning over Rafael, smiling and touching and standing entirely too close for Sonny's liking. They're all trying to charm him because he's getting auctioned off as a date for a fundraiser, and of course he's dressed the part of the most handsome goddamn man in the world.
Sonny taps his fingers against his champagne flute and tries to calm himself down. It's not a big deal. He's the one who helped Rafael figure out what to wear for this thing. He's the one who kissed Rafael for good luck as they walked in the doors. Everyone here knows that they're together, that Rafael's spoken for, and that the date is merely a way to help raise some money for a couple of the less-funded libraries in the city.
"You keep clenching your jaw like that, you're going to make a dentist very rich," Rita says as she walks up to Sonny. She's the mastermind behind this auction, which is why Rafael is even involved. "Take a breath," she says, nudging Sonny's shoulder with her own. "Whoever wins enjoys a lovely, mediocre chicken dinner with him at the head table tonight, and then he goes home with you."
"Sorry," Sonny murmurs, taking a drink of champagne. "I don't know why it's bothering me."
Rita watches the women interact with Rafael for a few moments. "If you ask me, it looks like a pack of lions going in for the kill. I wouldn't like it, either."
Sonny chuckles quietly. "Thanks," he says.
"I promise he'll be returned all in one piece and likely a bit bored," Rita says. She pats his back and walks off to talk to someone else.
The auction has a 'no betting on your spouse or partner' rule, which Sonny appreciates in theory but hates when Rafael walks up on stage. He's wearing pink slacks, a knitted, dove grey blazer, and a crisp white shirt. Some of the people went fancier for the auction, but Sonny had convinced Rafael to try for something more casual.
"How often has anyone seen you out of a suit or a tux?" he'd asked as he'd help Rafael sort through his options. "It'll blow their minds. They'll be all over you. You'll rake it a shitton of cash."
"I feel a bit pimped," Rafael had replied with a laugh.
"You'll look great in anything," Sonny had said, pausing in his sorting to kiss Rafael on the cheek. "But you'll look extra great in something they don't see much."
"You've convinced me. Let's go casual."
The truth is, Sonny had wanted Rafael to go casual because it's his very favorite version of Rafael. He's still sophisticated and stylish, but there's a softness to him that comes out when he's dressed for a simple dinner out or a day of running errands and maybe a movie. He's warmer in a way, more approachable, and Sonny had honestly thought it would be amazing to see Rafael like that in front of a lot of people who weren't expecting it.
Except. Well. They're enjoying it a little too much. The bidding isn't quite a frenzy, but it's close. Rafael's playing it up. Smirking at the various bidders, doing a little twirl at the laughing insistence of the auctioneer. When asked if he has any special skills, he says "Oral arguments," with the sort of sly confidence he sometimes uses just to make Sonny's brain short circuit from how attractive he is.
Sonny has one glass of champagne too many as he continues to watch the auction. By the time the bidding is fully over and everyone has purchased their date for the dinner to come, he's a bit tipsy and definitely flushed.
Rafael finds him as the auctioneer explains they'll be seating for dinner in half an hour and requests anyone who didn't win to donate the same amount of money to the fundraiser anyway. He takes Sonny in and smiles, pressing the back of his hand to Sonny's cheek. "You lost track of your champagne intake, didn't you?"
"Nope," Sonny says, glad he's not quite tipsy enough for his words to sound weird. "I had exactly as much as I needed to watch you get treated like a slab of meat."
Rafael cocks his head, his smile going from easy happiness to concern. "What? Of course I was. That's the whole point, isn't it?"
Sonny screws up his face and glances around. The woman who won Rafael had been wearing a tasteful green dress and large but not obnoxious diamond earrings. She'd laughed when Rafael vamped and waved her sign in the air in an understated but fun way when she'd been announced the winner. "Sorry," he says quietly, reaching up to hold Rafael's hand, which he'd turned to cup Sonny's cheek. "I don't know why I'm acting like this. It's stupid."
"Let's go on the balcony," Rafael says, keeping hold of Sonny's hand as he lowers his own. "I'm not required to play nice with the winner until we sit down to eat. Let's take a few minutes, okay?"
Sonny nods and lets Rafael lead him towards the balcony. There's a smattering of people out there. None of them, Sonny is glad to see, are the person who won Rafael's attention for the night.
Rafael pulls them to one side, away from the majority of the people. He leans against the balcony railing, back to the city, and puts his arms around Sonny's waist. It's more physical affection than he normally shows in public, and Sonny appreciates the ease with which he does it. "What's going on?" Rafael asks. "I know you say you don't know, but I also know how your mind works. You have a theory."
Sonny smiles down at Rafael, feeling more settled than he had a few minutes ago. "I guess...I guess seeing people react to you when you look like this bothered me."
Rafael glances down at himself. "Look like what?"
"Casual." Sonny sighs and runs a thumb over the soft knit of Rafael's jacket. "You look like you do on the weekends or on your day off, and...I guess it means a lot to me that I know what that looks like, and it turns out it bothers me that other people enjoy it so much."
Rafael's smile is a mixture of amusement and teasing. "You're jealous because people think I look good? At a bachelor auction?"
"But you're not a bachelor," Sonny says, and everything clicks into place. Rafael looking like he should be at a garden party, the woman who won him looking like she should be on his arm, the two of them forming some sort of supercouple whose looks and sophistication open doors without effort.
"What is it?" Rafael asks quietly, unquestionably aware that the pieces have fallen into place.
Sonny works his mouth back and forth for a moment, trying to figure out how to phrase it. "The women who were flirting with you and the one who won you, they're the sort of people I'm pretty sure everyone in that room thinks you should be with. Not some cop with a night-school law degree from Fordham and a Staten Island accent you can cut with a knife."
Rafael doesn't say anything for a long moment. He just watches Sonny's face and seems to drink him in. "So, a decorated detective in the hardest job in all of the NYPD who got himself through law school and passed the bar on the first try can fall for a scholarship kid from the barrio with a chip on his shoulder and sometimes minimal people skills, but me falling for you shouldn't have happened?"
Sonny stares at Rafael, overwhelmed. "Well," he says slowly. "When you put it like that."
"When I put it like that," Rafael says, standing on his toes to give Sonny a kiss. "Anyone in there who thinks I should be with anyone who isn't you isn't someone who knows me at all," Rafael says when he pulls away. "And they're not worth my time."
Sonny dips down to return Rafael's kiss. "Thank you," he says against Rafael's mouth.
They kiss one more time then pull away from each other. Rafael turns to take in the view of the city, and Sonny stands next to him, still holding his hand. "I notice you didn't defend my accent," Sonny says a few minutes later.
Rafael laughs. "If you found out I thought you're perfect, you'd be insufferable."
Sonny turns and presses a kiss into Rafael's hair. "Same to you," he says, and they watch the sun start to set before dinner is served.