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Recovery, A Sequel to Darkest Before the Dawn

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Barba's bright light, Carisi, was shut down and nonresponsive. Barba had pulled Carisi's head down on to his lap and was rubbing his head and occasionally running his fingers nervously through his lover's blonde hair. Amaro sat with Barba providing emotional support while they waited for Lindstrom to arrive.

Huang had left them alone ten minutes or so ago because he was struggling with trying to not help his friends as a therapist.

Finally waiting for what seemed like an eternity, there was a knock at the apartment door.

Carisi went from nearly catatonic to fearfully sprinting to the bathroom and locking the door.

"I'll let Peter in," Amaro said leaving the bedroom to answer the door.

Barba got off the bed and walked over to the bathroom door.

You are going to be okay. You'll get through this too. You are so strong, mi amor. Sonny, I love you so much," Barba whispered through the door.


Amaro returned to the bedroom. "Rafael, Peter wants to talk to you in the living room. I'll stay here with Sonny."

"Thanks, Nick." Barba went and slid on a pair of sweat pants over his boxer briefs and headed out to the living room.

He was feeling uncomfortable. He was erect and had not cum yet when he had to put a halt evening sex. He really needed to jerk himself off, but later when he had privacy. Right now, Carisi was all that mattered.


When Barba entered the living room, Renee was sitting in the living room with Lindstrom both sipping tea.

Upon seeing Barba enter the room, Renee rose and announced, "I'm going to encroach on Sonny's territory and make some dinner for everyone."

"Hi Rafael. I got here as soon as I can. George explained what Nick told him about the hostage situation. I need to know what has happened since. Can you fill me in on what happened since you got home?"

"Well, I came home early after I got a text saying he needed me here ASAP. When I got here, he was in the bedroom. He was drunk and shirtless."

What was his demeanor like?"

"He seemed sort of out of it when I first saw him, but he perked up as soon as we made eye contact.

"So why did he text you?"

"He really never said. It sounded urgent. After I confronted him about being drunk, he just seemed interested in...having sex. I thought maybe he was just being clingy because this was the longest we've been apart since we eloped."

"Does Sonny typically drink a lot?"

"Look, Sonny's had the occasional hangover, but Sonny drinks socially with others, but rarely to the point where he's wasted or vomiting. Look, Sonny's had hangovers before, but he doesn't drink to the point that he gets sick. He drank alone and was wasted before dinner."

"Did you ask him about why he drank?"

"He said he was celebrating his new job and my promotion...without me. I don't buy that even for a minute."

"So he was drunk and wanted to have sex. Was that consensual?"

Barba tensed and got defensive. "Yes. He insisted he was sober enough and knew what he wanted. Seriously, if he is having an off day and wants to make love, he gets what he wants. He's mi amor. He's Sonny. He comes first in my life."

"I'm not judging or trying to place blame, I'm just trying to get the facts," Lindstrom said.

Barba nodded and relaxed slightly.

"Rafael, you said he was shirtless...was it because..."

"Nick said he had blood spatter on his shirt. I'm assuming he just took it off for that reason."

"Did he say anything while you were having sex?"

"Yeah. He was rambling on about worrying about my safety...and our children's safety. He wasn't right. I told him we needed to talk afterwards."

"Then what happened?"

"The light went out in his eyes. He wasn't Sonny. What we were doing wasn't about intimacy anymore. He was zoned out in his own world and was just...fucking me. Going through the motions. There was no connection. Nothing loving about what was going on. He didn't...he didn't even know he was hurting me. We listen to each other all the time...he didn't even hear me say that he was hurting me or asking him to stop."

"So you did say he was hurting you and asked him to stop?"

"Yes, but it's not like he was just ignoring me. He was zoned out. He didn't hear me. He didn't do it on purpose."

"How did you get him to stop?"

"I tried to push him off."

"Why did you say 'tried'?"

"Sonny's so much stronger. If he was attacking me, I'd be completely at his mercy. I'd have no chance in hell of subduing him."

"So you really trust him that he would never hurt you given his physical advantages?"

"Yes. I've never questioned that..."

"Until tonight?"

"No, not even tonight. That was not Sonny. Sonny disappeared when the light in his eyes disappeared."

"Rafael, are you hurt?"

"I don't think so. I'm sore."

"Any bleeding?"

Barba shrugged his shoulders. "I've not exactly had the chance to get myself checked out. Normally I would ask Sonny...but that's not happening."

"Rafael, you need to be checked out."

"No. Sonny is the priority right now. Later," Barba said being dismissive.

"How do you think Sonny will feel when he snaps out of this and finds out that you were hurt and didn't seek treatment? Do you think he'll recover and bounce back from that?"

"Look, I said I will get checked out later."

"No now," Lindstrom argued. "You know how serious reinjuring yourself in under a year could be. You need to be checked out."

"I can't leave him. I can't. I just can't," Barba said as his eyes filled with tears.

"It's either going to have to be the ER or someone else here checking you out. Those are your only two choices."

Barba sat in silence trying to find a third alternative. 

"Nick or George?"

"I can't believe we're having this conversation," Barba said sliding down into the cushion turning red.

"Pick one or I will send you to the ER."

After another moment of no decision being made, Lindstrom  called out, "Renee?"

Barba shot up out of his seat with wide eyes.

"Relax, I'm not asking her," Lindstrom whispered.

Barba slowly sank back onto the sofa.

"Peter?" Renee asked.

"Could you ask George to join us please?"


"Hi Peter," Huang said entering the living room.

"Hi George."

"Is everything okay?"

"I need to enlist your assistance as a friend and/or doctor. It seems here that Rafael is not able to tell me if he is injured or bleeding. I've given him two options and he seems to not be able to make up his mind. I need you to talk some sense into him. He either has to go to the ER or have someone here check him out. Please convince him to do one or the other. Now that I've got a more complete picture of what happened, I need to go speak with Sonny," Lindstrom said standing to head to Barba's bedroom.


Barba looked horrified. "Look I'm fine," he told Huang.

"Rafael, you have to be looked at. Why won't you go to the ER?"

"I can't leave Sonny. Not now. Not while he's like this."

"Then me or Nick."

Barba was convinced that his face would become so red that it would implode and the problem would not exist anymore.

"Look, we're all men and we've seen each other naked. Nick might not be comfortable looking at other men's bodies, but I have a medical degree. I know I can handle it. It'll be professional."

Barba felt a chill run down his spine and he shuddered. "How long?"

"If you open yourself up, it will take a minute or two for me to get my fingers in you. Then another two or three minutes checking around for any pain. I will gently tap around and you tell me if you feel pain anywhere. It would probably be best to prep yourself as if you were going to be having anal."

Barba started panicking breathing fast and getting redder.

"Rafael, calm down. If you are bleeding, panicking will make you lose blood faster."

Amaro entered the living room and overheard Huang's last statement about bleeding. Amaro quickly went and sat on the sofa next to Barba.

"Rafael, are you hurt?" Amaro asked concerned.

Barba shook his head.

"He doesn't know. He's refusing to go to the ER because he won't leave Sonny and he seems to think he is going to die from embarrassment if one of us puts our fingers up his ass to check him out," Huang crudely clarified.

Amaro sat down next to Barba. "Seriously, this is an awkward position, but if want to be here with Sonny, you need to let someone check you."

Huang stood up. "Since Peter is you your bedroom, go prep yourself in our bedroom and I'll give you a few minutes. I'll knock before I come in. You can keep as much covered as you want. I just need to access your entrance," he instructed.

Barba stood up and almost fell over.

"Nick, please escort the modest DA to our room safely," Huang said.

"Te voy a patear el trasero!" Barba muttered under his breath.

Huang looked at Amaro. 

"He just threatened to kick your ass!" Amaro laughed translating.

Huang smirked. "I've been known to take three people down at one time while detoxing. Being clear and alert, I'm sure I can kick your ass," Huang joked hoping it would relax Barba.

By his glare, his attempt at levity failed miserably. 


Lindstrom was outside their bathroom door listening to Carisi gag. The gagging sounds were making him feel queasy to his stomach.

"Sonny, it is Peter. I know you're not feeling very well. Maybe some ginger ale or crackers might help?"

Carisi's response was only continued gagging.

Huang entered the room.

"Any progress with our ADA friend?" Lindstrom asked.

"He's a DA now, and yes. He didn't exactly agree, but I am going to check him for injuries. Peter, this isn't going to be good for him psychologically. He's been raped multiple times and this is not going to as simple as his partner being in him."

"George, don't be the doctor. Be his friend. You are helping him with his well-being."

"So I can't help them as a psychiatrist but it is okay to use my medical treat or traumatize Rafael further."

"You are not going to be assaulting him. You know that. You're not doing so well with separating your friendship and professional responsibilities with any of them, are you?"

"No. You're asking me to ignore part of me. It's destroying me worse than trying to help them."

"I know it's not easy. I literally left here on Saturday in tears because it's so hard. Your friends have become my friends as well. It's so hard to see all four of you struggle. You are all such good and loving people. It's hard."

After another moment of silence, Lindstrom continued looking a bit teary.

"I know this is asking a lot of you George, but Rafael needs to be here for his psychological health. If you can help him physically, I'll help him psychologically. Are you able to do this for him as his friend? For me as your friend?"

Huang nodded. "I'll try my best."

"Thank you, George,"  Lindstrom said with a tear escaping his eyes.

"You remember how we used to talk as colleagues and friends?"

Lindstrom nodded.

"I need that again. I think you do too," Huang said.

"As always, you are so perceptive and wise. George, not helping your friends has nothing to do with your skills as a therapist. You are more than qualified."

"The personal connections just blur the lines," Huang said.

"Yes. Yes it does." Lindstrom wiped the tear from his face. "You better get to it or the ADA...I mean DA might just flee."

"And it certainly wouldn't be the first time," Huang said. "Do you think Sonny really injured him?"

"I think it's possible but am certain it was not intentional. After you check Rafael, I think we all need to gather in the living room and discuss what we can do to help Sonny."

Huang nodded and left the room.

"Sonny, you're not gagging. Are you okay in there?" Lindstrom asked.

"Yes," Sonny replied.

"Finally, communication established," Lindstrom thought triumphantly.

"I'm sorry, Peter."

"For what? You didn't do anything wrong, Sonny. You're just struggling. We'll figure this out."

"No. For breaking another therapist. We are so damaged that we are taking everyone down with us."

"Sonny, that's not true. George and I are fine. It's just harder watching friends go through something awful. Sonny, you, your husband, and're my friends too now. I'm not sorry about getting to know you guys. George and I will get you guys through this," Lindstrom replied.

"If you say so," Carisi said apathetically.


Huang knocked on his own bedroom door and then entered.

Barba had a sheet draped on his lower half and he was trembling. He looked so scared.

"Rafael, you know I'm not doing this to hurt you, right?" Huang asked softly and gripped his head.

Barba didn't answer.

"Look it'll be over quickly. You'll be fine. It's just professional."

Huang lifted the sheet and saw Barba reach for a hand, but Carisi wasn't there to hold it.

Seeing Barba needed a hand to hold, he called out for his husband. "Nick!"

Amaro came in the room.

"Hold his hand and don't look," Huang said. "Rafael, he just going to hold your hand as a friend. You're not alone. You have Nick. Sonny is waiting on you. Let's get you back to him as fast we can. Okay?"

Barba grabbed Amaro's hand tightly. "Thank you," he whispered to both of them.


Barba closed his eyes and tears ran from the corners as Huang touched Barba and separated his cheeks.

Barba flinched at his touch. He felt awful causing him such fear and embarrassment. "Rafael, you're okay. It's just me and Nick. We're going to get you back to Sonny ASAP."

Once his entrance was exposed, Huang used a gloved hand to push a finger in and out. He felt loose so he added a second, and then a third a minute later. Barba was still pretty loose given what he and Carisi had been doing not long before.

Amaro signaled to Huang that Barba's grip was tight.

"Okay, Rafael, that's all that I'm putting in you. I'm just going to move my fingers around inside and tap. I'll be as gentle as I can. Just tell me if anything hurts. Okay?"

Barba still had his eyes closed but nodded his head.

Huang moved his fingers around gently pressing and asking if there was any pain. No pain. Huang was just about done.

Barba was squirming feeling someone inside him. Someone that was not Sonny. Both Amaro and Huang saw how panicked and uncomfortable he was.

One spot left, Barba's prostate. "Rafael, I'm going to touch your prostate. Don't panic," he warned the DA. Huang brushed over his prostate pressing down to check when Barba flinched.

"Take a deep breath. You're okay. Did that hurt?"

"No...don't make me cum. Please don't make me cum! Please," Barba begged.

Huang had been so focused on Barba's entrance that he completely missed his erection. "Shit. He must not have cum when he was with Sonny. If I would have been paying attention, I should have made him jerk himself off first," he thought to himself.

"I'll try not to, but did you feel any pain?"

"No!" Barba cried out.

Huang took his fingers out. "There's no pain and doesn't appear to be any blood on my glove, so I think you're all good," Huang said.

He noticed Barba was starting to sob loudly. That's when he noticed Rafael had cum on their sheets. Amaro followed Huang's eyes and noted the same thing.

"Come on Rafa, that's good news. You're not hurt. Why don't we get you to the shower...I'll bring in some new clothes for you and then we can go back to Sonny?"

Barba nodded.

"Rafael, I'm sorry," Huang apologized as Amaro closed the door behind Barba.

Amaro bit his lip to keep from laughing. He felt guilty for finding the DA's modesty endearing, but he was praying that he wasn't traumatized. He knew this was more than likely triggering of his assaults.

Huang stared up at the ceiling shaking his head partly amused and partly angry for embarrassing Barba even more than he already was.


Amaro and Huang left the bedroom to go get some new clothes for Barba.

"I didn't think it was possible for someone to cum during an exam," Amaro remarked.

"It's very rare. Given he was intimate with Sonny and didn't cum...I should have told him to jerk himself off, but I didn't notice he was erect until he instructed me not to make him cum. I already had my hand in him and knew that he'd never allow me to go back in if I stopped at that point."

"He's never going to want to have sex again after this embarrassing evening."

"I wish he would have just went to the ER," Huang sighed. "Now he's going to be pissed because I made him cum when I told him wouldn't. Accidents happen, but for Rafael, that was no little accident. He's going to think the experience is life-ending."


Everyone was gathered in the living room sitting being briefed by Lindstrom.

Barba and Huang were avoiding eye contact.

"Okay, my best guess is that its a combination of things so this not going to be easy." Lindstrom turned to Barba. "Rafael, you guys are expecting children and he just saw one die a very horrible death right in front of his parents. The child died right in front of him. This is also the second time in a very short time period that he's been covered by blood spatter from a close proximity gunshot fatality. He probably drank to calm his nerves. He wanted to be with you because he feels safe with you but between everything he was feeling and not expressing, he was probably on autopilot when he started hurting you and wasn't aware that he was," Lindstrom explained. "He's a wreck of emotions. It sounds like he is struggling to let them out. If I recall correctly, he had difficulty expressing and dealing with his emotions after your first abduction."

"Damn. He's got a lot going on. I should have driven him straight home. I knew he wasn't right," Amaro said.

"Nick, you noticed he was off and talked him into going home. That was a great catch. Don't blame yourself for him stopping off at a bar. Sonny had no history of a drinking issue, so no one would have expected him to get wasted."

"I don't care that he hurt me. We need to do something to help him," Barba insisted.

"Rafael, Sonny is going to care very much so that he hurt you. That is not something that either of you should shrug off. Even if it is not an issue for you, it could be and probably will be for him given what he's done during your abductions."

"I agree with Peter. I'm almost certain he will not deal with it well if left to his own devices."

"He's already remorseful and he's dealing with enough...let's not make it worse," Barba pleaded.

"Rafael, not addressing this will make it far worse later. He's probably confused with what and why it happened. Why he did what he did. He needs clarity."

"Fine," Barba resigned reluctantly. "What's the plan?"

"I think the best approach to helping him is going to be working backwards from what happened in the bedroom to the precipitating event. Then we'll help him deal with the event."

"Can I try to talk to him first? At least just get him out of the bathroom?" Barba asked.

"Yes, I want to take point and guide the conversation," Lindstrom said.

"Well, I guess we could go eat dinner with Renee. Plus we've kind of been leaving her on her own. We need to make her feel more welcomed," Amaro said peeling his husband from the living room sensing Huang was tempted to go all-therapist-like on his friends again.


Barba went over and knocked on the bathroom door. "Mi amor, ven aqui. Por favor?"

Carisi opened the bathroom door and peaked out.

"It's just me and Peter," Barba said reaching through the door and gently grabbing Carisi's arm and pulling him from the bathroom.

"Sit down," Barba said guiding him to the bed. Barba then sat down next to him on the bed and Lindstrom on the other side.

"Is it okay if I hold your hand? Barba asked.

Carisi nodded.

Barba turned and nodded to Lindstrom.

"Sonny, we heard your first day back with the squad wasn't a good one."

Carisi didn't make eye contact with anyone but shook his head indicating that it was a bad day.

"Can you tell me why you were vomiting so much?"

"I feel sick."

"Sick from being drunk?" Lindstrom inquired.


"From what happened between us?" Barba asked.

Carisi nodded. "I might be out of it and you guys think I can't hear you, but I did. I hurt you. I also could see it on your face before I started vomiting."

"Sonny, we didn't mean to talk about you like you weren't there. We were trying to figure out what was troubling you and what to do. None of us had the full story," Barba explained. "I just thought you were drunk and in the mood. Nick and George only knew about the shooting."

Carisi didn't reply.

"Sonny, what did you feel when you realized you hurt Rafael?"

"I couldn't believe I did that. I know I asked if I could lose myself to him, but I had no clue what I did. Not until he tried to push me and I snapped out of it." He finally looked up at Barba. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to overpower or hurt you. It wasn't about love and I'm so sorry," Carisi sobbed.

"Sonny, I know that," Barba said using a finger to wipe away tears from his husband's eyes.

"Are you hurt bad? Do you need to go to the hospital?" Carisi asked. 

"No, George said I'm fine. I don't even hurt now," Barba replied.


"Sonny, I know you sort of zoned out while it was happening, but if you think about it now or looking back, what feelings were surfacing when you lost yourself?"


"What was the fear about?"

"How unsafe the world is. A kid just died. Right in front of his parents. Right in front of law enforcement. Right in front of all of us. We all had guns and not one of us...until it was too late."

"So you're thinking about our future kids and their safety?"

"Yeah, but also it reminded me of you. Everything we've been through and how we've almost lost each other so many times. I wanted you there so badly. Just to hold me in your arms. I was going to go home, but I knew you wouldn't be here yet."

"So you stopped at a bar. Why?" Lindstrom asked.

"I needed to relax. I was on edge. I felt out of control. I needed to do something until Rafael would be home."

"Sonny, you could have come to my office or called me immediately. It's not like I was in the middle of trial. And don't think I wouldn't request a recess for personal reasons if I was. I don't care if you have to walk in during the middle of striking a deal with a defense attorney or a cross-examination during court, you just show up. Keep your eyes on me until I can get to you. You are more important to me than the job."

"You are more important to me than my job, but I'm not."

"Sonny? That's not true," Barba said.

"But it is. I've raped you on two separate occasions. The second one wasn't at gun point. Now I just hurt you. I'm no better than the scumbags you prosecute."

"Sonny, you are my hero. You saved us the first time. You tried to save me from myself and the drugs the second time. What just happened tonight...that was about trauma. I know you too well. That was not you."

"Sonny, you were on autopilot because you weren't processing your emotions. You were probably also in shock. You might still be," Lindstrom said looking into Carisi's eyes checking to see if he was responsive because Carisi's monotone voice wasn't very convincing. "Why were you so desperate to be in Rafael's arms?"

"I was worried about his safety. I was scared too," Carisi admitted.

"Why were you so intent on having sex tonight?" Lindstrom continued questioning.

Barba thus far was only slightly pink.

"I feel more connected during sex. It's like we're one. It's like we communicate on a whole different level. I wanted to know that he was safe. I wanted to know that I was safe."

"Okay, a minute ago you said that the sex wasn't about love. Do you not consider concern for each other's safety not a part of love?"

Barba nodded at Carisi as they sat in silence.

"I guess it is," Carisi finally said. "Not at the end though."

"Sonny, if I was in shock or mentally zoned out, would you blame me?" Barba asked.

Carisi shook his head.

"But you blame yourself?" Lindstrom asked.

"I do," Carisi weakly. "I realize saying it doesn't make sense, but that's how I feel."

"Feelings are temporary and can be dealt with. Talking about it will help. We all need to keep talking about this. It's not going to feel better overnight, but it will be there. What you need to focus on for tonight in that Rafael understands, that he still loves you, and that he is not injured."

"Mi amor, I really do love you. Trauma, however big or small is not about to take the most important person from my life and I beg you not to let it take me from yours," Barba said finally starting to release some tears."

"You and me. We are forever," Carisi said with a slight grin.

"That's right, mi amor. You and me. We are forever," Barba said recommitting to their vows.

"Rafi, can I hug you?"

"Mi amor, you never have to ask to hug or kiss me. Ever. Even in public," Barba said wrapping his arms around Carisi who started sobbing down on his shoulder.