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I Want You to Know

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Liv’s Office - Tuesday Morning

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“Come in.” Liv yelled out from her desk while keeping her eyes glued to the paperwork that lied before.

Sonny entered slowly. “Ready whenever you are Cap.”

Liv looked up at him, removed her glasses and nodded. “Alright, let’s head out.”

She quickly gathered her things together, got up from her desk and her and Sonny exited her office together. However, before they left the squad room they took a quick detour to Fin’s work station.

“Carisi and I are on our way to JFK to fly down to Fort Bragg now. I need you to swing by Private Johnson’s apartment to give her an update on what’s going on and to see if she’ll be willing to testify. Take Velasco with you whenever he gets back from getting coffee.”

Fin nodded and started to respond before being interrupted by Amanda, who had just come out of the bathroom and plopped down at her own desk across from her sergeant’s. “I can go with Fin. I know Velasco has a good rapport with her, but I do too.”

“Well unlike Velasco, Fin, and everyone else in this squad room, you still haven’t gone to get your yearly physical yet.” Liv reminded her detective. “And until you do, your benched.”

Amanda rolled her eyes. “Come on, Liv. Really?”

Liv put her hands up in the air. “That call came from McGrath. But honestly Amanda, it’ll take you what, an hour? I don’t know why you haven’t done it yet.”

Amanda sulked and locked eyes with Sonny, looking for an ally, but instead of defending her he agreed with the captain.

“Don’t give me that look.” Sonny laughed. “Liv’s right. Stop stallin’ and go get it done.”

“Fine.” Amanda grumbled out as she picked up her work phone and dialed her primary doctor.

Both Sonny and Liv looked at each other, shook their heads and chuckled. They then hurried off together out of the precinct.

***************

Fort Bragg, NC

Soldier Support Center - Tuesday Late Afternoon

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“Did you get us an Uber yet or do I have time to run back in to use the bathroom?” Liv asked as she placed her sunglasses on top of her head.

Sonny motioned for her to go on. “No, I didn’t. I’ll wait til you get back.”

Liv nodded and headed into the building.

Sonny loosened up his tie, grabbed the handkerchief from his suit pocket and began wiping away the sweat that had started to form on his face as a result of sitting out in the hot North Carolina sun. He decided to stand up and walk to a shady, more secluded area underneath a tree when his phone buzzed; a FaceTime from Amanda.

“Hey!” He answered cheerfully, happy to see that she had called him.

‘How are things going?’ She asked in a much more subdued manner from the empty staff break room.

Sonny sighed. “They’re goin.’ Liv and I made some pretty decent headway down here, but there’s still a lot that needs to be worked through. We’re gonna grab a quick bite and then we gotta bunch more meetings lined up. I’m definitely not gonna be home until really late.”

‘I figured.’ Amanda said as she nodded her head slowly. She then added, ‘Is Liv with you now?’

Sonny shook his head no and, taking note of her very serious and monotone sounding voice asked, “Is everythin’ okay?”

Amanda took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. ‘FaceTime probably isn’t the best way to do it, but…I don’t want to wait to have this conversation.’

A concerned Sonny furrowed his brows. “Manda, what’s goin’ on? Did you end up gettin’ your physical done today? Did…s—somethin’ come up, w-wrong?”

Amanda shook her head. ‘I did end up getting it done but no, I’m fine. I promise.’

He sighed in relief, but still felt a bit anxious by the demeanor she was outwardly displaying before him. “Then what’s this about?”

Amanda took her fingers and started to wipe away the tears that had begun to well up in her eyes. ‘I don’t think I can call you my boyfriend anymore.’

A now very flustered Sonny struggled to string his words to respond. “W-what? What…d-do you mean? Are you…breakin’—“

She cut him off and with a grin said through tears, ‘I can’t call you my boyfriend anymore because in a few months you’re gonna be my baby’s daddy and I think that’s an even better title.’

It took a second for Amanda’s words to register, but when they finally did he instantly found himself overcome with emotion. Sonny’s mouth quivered open and his eyes instantly softened. “You’re…”

‘I’m having your baby, Dominick Carisi.’ She said as she wiped her eyes again. ‘Our baby. I’m pregnant.’

A single tear from each eye slowly fell down his cheeks as a big smile formed on his face.

Amanda sat up a little bit straighter in her chair. ‘I know this is…really unexpected and there’s…a lot we’re gonna have to figure out. But I want you to know that I’m very, very happy about this and I hope you are too.”

“Of course I am.” Sonny said through a grin as he rubbed his eyes. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

He paused for a moment to look at Amanda as he soaked in her beauty and the beauty of this moment before finally telling her, “I love you. I love you so much.”

‘I love you too.’ She said in between sniffles.

It was at that moment Sonny noticed Liv walking over to him.

“Liv’s comin.’” He told her as he tried to compose himself. “I’ve…gotta go.”

Amanda nodded, and then added, ‘You can tell her if you want.’

Sonny smiled brightly. “Ok. I will.”

‘Bye.’

“Bye.”

Sonny ended the call and placed his phone in his pocket.

“Tell me what?” A curious Liv, who had picked up the tail end of the ADA’s conversation with Amanda, asked.

A still shocked, but smiley Sonny placed a free hand on his forehead and shared the news with her. “I’m gonna be a dad.”

Liv’s eyes widened in surprise and her jaw dropped. “You and Amanda are having a baby?”

He vigorously nodded his head up and down.

She gave Sonny a small smile and briefly placed a hand over her heart before bringing him in for a hug.

After a short, but meaningful embrace, Liv slowly pulled away from him and rested her hands on his shoulders. “I’m really, really happy for you both. But I’m especially happy for you. I don’t know if you remember this but you said something a while back that really stuck with me. It was around the time of the Howard case…right before Fin and Phoebe’s wedding. We had been running around together pretty much the whole day and you had just ended a…difficult phone call…and you said to me that you thought at this point in your life you’d be married with kids by now. And I know it hurt your heart that you weren’t and how you felt that dream might never come to fruition. And while I know you and Amanda aren’t quite there yet, it’s so good to see everything start to come together for you. Because there’s no guy more deserving of that happily ever after than you Dominick Carisi Jr.”

Sonny remained quiet for a long while as he took in his former boss’s words before responding.

“Thank you, Liv.” He said as he smiled softly at her. “It means a lot to hear you say that.”

Liv nodded as she released her grip and checked her watch. “Doesn’t look like we have time for lunch anymore.”

Sonny shrugged and chuckled. “Im fine with skippin’ it. There’s enough adrenaline runnin’ through me for the both of us to get through this next round of talks.”

Liv gave him a small smile as the two made their way back into the building. “And the sooner we finish up here, the sooner we can get back home.”

Sonny nodded and exclaimed, “God, I can’t wait to see her.”

***************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Early Wednesday Morning

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Liv and Sonny were able to fairly quickly wrap up their talks and deals with army officials on the base to help aide the case they were working on at home. However, the duo had been plagued with issues —a longer than expected layover and an out of the way connection—on their way back that severely delayed their return to Manhattan.

It wasn’t until around 1a that Sonny had finally made it back to his and Amanda’s apartment. Knowing her and the girls were likely all in bed, he tried his best to enter as quietly as possible. When he did he was pleasantly surprised to see Amanda fast asleep on their living room sofa. He carefully set his briefcase down by the door and walked over to her.

Sonny kneeled down to Amanda’s eye level and gently caressed her cheek in an attempt to wake her.

After a few moments, the sleepy blonde’s eyes slowly started to flutter open.

“Hi.” She groggily whispered out, smiling.

“Hi.” A grinning Sonny quietly repeated back to her. “How are you?”

“We’re good.” Amanda said as she placed a hand on her stomach. “Really good.”

He placed a hand on top of hers and looked down at her stomach for a long while in awe before releasing his hand to bend down and pick up the two yellow tulips he had hidden from her view.

“One for baby and one for you.” Sonny said as he handed them to her.

Amanda smiled as she brought the flowers to her nose and smelled them. “How about a kiss?”

Sonny grinned as he directed his eyes back toward her stomach. He very gingerly lifted her shirt up and gently placed a kiss just above her belly button. “One for baby…”

He then brought his gaze up to Amanda and very slowly connected his lips to hers for a sweet, but sensual kiss. “And one for you.” Sonny whispered.

He rested his head on Amanda’s forehead. “I love you both so much.”

“We love you too.”

Chapter Text

***************

Manhattan - Tuesday Afternoon

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“Do you think she’ll testify?” Fin asked as he stared aimlessly out the passenger window.

Amanda sighed. “Only if Carisi subpoenas her. Which means we won’t get anything useful from her on the stand.”

Fin shook his head as he turned up the patrol car’s air conditioning while Amanda impatiently twiddled her thumbs on the steering wheel as she waited for the light to change.

After about another minute of waiting, the light finally turned green and just as Amanda went through the intersection a white Range Rover blew the red light on their end and slammed almost directly into the driver’s side of the patrol car.

The accident rattled Fin a bit but, having not received a brunt of the impact, he felt seemingly ok. He rubbed his temples, removed his seatbelt, looked over to check on Amanda and was shocked at what he saw. The blonde had what appeared to be a broken arm, blood running from her nose, a wound on her head, and was rendered completely unconscious.

“Amanda! Amanda!” Fin yelled out to her as he removed her seatbelt. “Stay with me, ok?! Stay with me.”

He quickly pulled out his cell and dialed 911.

***************

Courthouse - Tuesday Afternoon
Arraignment Court

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Sonny took his position on the prosecutor’s side, had a sip of water and looked over his notes while he waited for the judge to enter. About a minute later Judge Anita Wright walked into the room from the judges’ chambers and as she did, Sonny noticed Velasco slip into the courtroom and whisper something to Liv, who had walked into the hearing with Sonny and had been in attendance from the start.

He watched as Liv’s brown eyes grew large. She immediately turned her gaze to Sonny, and tried her best to keep a calm outward presence, but he could tell something was wrong when she quickly made her way out with Velasco.

“Counselor Carisi?”

Sonny tried his best to push the bad feeling in the pit of his stomach to the side and focus on getting through the arraignment.

“The people ask for remand. The defendant is a known flight risk with access to private planes and several off-shore accounts.”

“My client, who’s family is based here in the city, has no intentions of leaving the country.” The defendant’s young, female attorney rebutted. “We ask that he be released on his own recognizance. He’ll even offer to surrender his passport.”

Judge Wright sat contemplating for a short moment before coming to a decision. “Bail is set for $250,000. Defendant will surrender his passport. Next case.”

Sonny rolled his eyes and briefly glanced over at the defendant’s counsel who, though not getting exactly what she asked for, still seemed pleased with the way the proceedings went. He then hastily packed up his things and exited the courtroom.

Sonny quickly spotted Liv who, upon seeing him emerge before her, hustled over to him.

“What’s wrong?”

Liv ran a hand through her hair and sighed. “Amanda and Fin were in a car accident. They were on their way back to the precinct when someone hit them. She’s…in bad shape Carisi. We gotta get to the hospital. Come on.”

The color instantly drained from his face and him and Liv ran out of the courthouse together at lightening speed.

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Mercy Hospital - Amanda’s Room

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“She’s waking up.” A young red-haired male nurse, who had been checking Amanda’s vitals, said to the middle aged brunette doctor standing next to him.

“How ya feeling, Amanda?” Her doctor asked as she shined her light into the blonde’s blue eyes.

“Everything…h-hurts.” Amanda managed to whisper out. “My…head, chest…and…a-arm.”

The doctor immediately began working to stabilize her arm. “Ok. I need you to try to stay as still as you can and we’re going to get you something for the pain.”

Amanda nodded her head a little and then shut her eyes again.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Though fairly hectic, Sonny and Liv were easily able to spot Fin in the ER waiting room and hurried over to him.

“How’s Amanda?!” A flustered Sonny asked as he frantically looked around. “Where is she?!”

Fin sighed. “I don’t know, Carisi. They’ve been busy working on her. No ones told me much of anything.”

He then pointed to the brunette woman down the hall. “But that’s one of her doctors over there.”

Sonny nodded and hurried over to her.

“Are you alright?” Liv asked as she took a seat next to Fin.

Her sergeant nodded. “Yeah, I was checked out. I’m good.”

“What happened? This wasn’t…intentional, was it?”

Fin shook his head no. “Velasco’s been lookin’ into it. The SUV that hit us…the driver’s a 17 year old girl. Just got her license last week. Wasn’t paying attention and blew through a light.”

Liv sighed and turned her gaze toward Sonny in the distance.

“I’m looking for Amanda Rollins.” Sonny said as he approached the female doctor. “I’m—“

“Her fiancé, right?” She looked down at some notes on her chart. “Dominick? She asked for you.”

“So she’s awake?” Sonny asked hopefully. “Is she okay?”

The doctor placed her glasses on top of her head and locked eyes with the ADA. “She will be. But Amanda has gone through a lot. She has a pretty bad concussion. Quite a few of her ribs are either broken or bruised and her left arm is badly fractured. We’re going to put it in a cast soon, but I need to find an OB or sonographer to do an ultrasound and check on the baby first.”

Sonny’s mouth opened in shock. “Baby?”

“The bloodwork we ran showed that she’s pregnant. Very early on. Amanda might not have known. I haven’t had a chance to talk to her about it yet. Just got the results back a few minutes ago.”

Sonny stood quietly at a loss for words as he struggled to take in everything he was told before finally asking, “Is…t-the baby…goin’ to be…okay after going through somethin’ like this?”

The doctor sighed. “I don’t know.” She answered honestly. “That’s why an ultrasound needs to be done.”

Sonny nodded his head slowly. “Can I see her?”

“Of course.” She ushered him down the hall and around the corner toward Amanda’s room.

“She should be fairly alert.” The doctor whispered to him. “I’ll give you two some time and then I’m going to have someone come do the ultrasound.”

Sonny nodded, took in a deep breath and slowly entered into the room, where he saw a groggy looking Amanda sitting up in her bed. The red-haired nurse who had been tending to her gave Sonny a small smile before swiftly exiting the room.

Sonny knew Amanda would be in rough shape, but he still felt extremely caught off guard seeing her in such a banged and bruised up condition. The tears that had been welling up in his eyes while talking to her doctor had now started to fall down his cheeks. He quickly took a seat in the chair near her beside, took her right hand into his left and caressed her cheek with his other one.

“They told me I…h-have a concussion.” Amanda said to him quietly. “And that my arm…and ribs are broken.”

Sonny nodded slowly and then immediately tried to regain his composure and reassure her as best as he could. “Yes. But those are all things that will get better in time. You’ll be back at work puttin’ Velasco in his place and kickin’ ass again before ya know it.”

Amanda nodded and smiled softly at him.

Sonny remained quiet for a long while before finally working up the courage to bring up the baby to her.

"There's somethin' I need to talk to you about." He said as he released his hand from hers and ran it through his hair. “Your doctor she...ran bloodwork on you and it showed that…you’re pregnant.”

A surprised Amanda’s eyes grew big. “Pregnant?”

“You didn’t know?” He asked, biting his lip.

Tears started pouring down Amanda’s face as she vigorously shook her head no.

Sonny fixed his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by her.

“I just had to go and try talking Erin into testifying again.” Amanda said through soft cries as she rubbed her nose. “And now I probably lost our baby.”

He sat up in his seat and began adamantly shaking his head. “Manda, you’re in this bed because someone hit you. This was nothin’ you did, you hear me? And we don’t know what’s going on with the baby, yet. Someone is gonna come in and do an ultrasound in a minute and we’ll find out more then.”

“But look at me.” Amanda said to him as she gestured at herself. “How does a baby survive everything I went through?”

Sonny struggled to find the words to soothe Amanda’s fears because he knew deep down that the chances their unborn child managed to live through such a horrific wreck were slim. He carefully thought over his words before responding.

“I don’t know.” He answered her honestly. Sonny then brought her right hand back into both of his and whispered to her. “But what I do know is that no matter what happens…we’re goin’ to get through this. Together. We’re goin’ to be okay. I promise.”

She nodded her head slowly and the two sat in silence for a long while before who they assumed was the OBGYN and a sonographer finally entered into the room with the ultrasound equipment.

“Hi Amanda, I’m Dr. Chandler.” An older blonde said smiling softly down at her. She then pointed to the sonographer standing to next her. “And this is Jenna. We’re gonna check on the baby using a transvaginal ultrasound. Have you had one of those before?”

“Yes.” Amanda told her.

“Ok let’s get started.”

Amanda took in a deep breath, exhaled slowly and shot a quick glance at Sonny, who gave her a small smile as he gently rubbed his thumbs over her knuckles as he held her hand.

As the sonographer started the exam, Amanda and Sonny both turned their heads away from the monitor and instead stared deeply into each other’s eyes.

“Do you see anything yet?” Dr. Chandler asked quietly underneath her breath.

Jenna shook her head. “No.”

The couple anxiously waited to hear for some sign of good news but their hearts slowly began to sink when, after what felt like a really long time, they heard no words coming from the duo or sounds being picked up from the equipment. But just when they thought all hope was lost, a loud and fast heartbeat finally came blaring through.

The two instantly became emotional as Sonny carefully cupped Amanda’s cheeks and gave her a sweet, tender kiss on the lips. They both then turned their attention to the monitor.

“It’s so quick.” Sonny said in astonishment.

“But it’s normal.” Dr. Chandler told him. “Normal and strong.” She then pointed to a small spot on the screen. “We had trouble finding the baby before because he or she was hiding out, but I see it now and everything looks really good.”

Amanda sniffled, looked back toward Sonny and grinned brightly. “I can’t believe we’re going to have a baby.”

She took his right hand, gently placed it over her stomach, and held it in place.

“I know.” Sonny said smiling down at her stomach. He then turned his gaze back to Amanda. “And I know this has been…such a scary and terrible day for you. But I want you to know I’m so thankful that you’re gonna be okay. And I’m so thankful for this sweet little silver lining of ours.”

He paused for a moment to gently caress her stomach before continuing.

“I love you Amanda Rollins. You and our baby. More than words can describe.”

“We love you too Dominick.” She said as she carefully rested her forehead on his. “This little one has no idea what an amazing dad he or she has coming their way. But they will soon.”

Chapter Text

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Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Wednesday Night

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It was late by the time Sonny had finally made his way home after a longer than anticipated night of prepping witnesses for an upcoming homicide trial. He was unexpectedly handed the case at the last minute after their bureau’s ADA was forced to recuse himself and had been working an abundance amount of overtime in an effort to prepare for it.

“Hey.” A tired looking Sonny yawned out to his fiancé as he closed and locked the apartment door behind him.

Amanda gave him a sympathetic smile. “You look exhausted.”

Sonny set his keys down on the kitchen counter, headed over to the adjacent living room and plopped down on the couch. “I am.”

“But things are going well, right?”

He nodded. “I think so.”

Amanda took a seat next to him and bit her lip. “I know you’re really tired, but…”

Sonny raised his eyebrow at her. “But…”

“It’s the 12th.” She reminded him. “And it’s the best night to, you know, do it.”

Sonny closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. “Manda—“

“Please?” She asked hopefully. “I’m about to ovulate so that means today, and maybe tomorrow, are my greatest chances at getting pregnant this month.”

Sonny sighed and fixed his mouth to speak, but stopped as Amanda slid closer to him and started planting sensual kisses down his neck.

“It can be a quickie.” She said in between kisses. The blonde then stood up, took his hands into hers and looked at him. “What do you say?”

Sonny thought for a moment, before finally relenting. “Ok, ok.”

Amanda grinned as she guided him to their bedroom and closed the door behind them.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Once they finished making love, Sonny got up from the bed.

“Want to shower with me?” He asked as he threw his boxers back on.

Amanda, who as soon as they finished had propped herself up a bit with pillows, shook her head no without looking up at him, keeping her eyes glued to a fertility app on her phone.

Sonny rolled his eyes. “Of course. You’re done with me. Now ya gotta lay here like that for the next 15 minutes. How could I forget.”

Amanda set her cell down on the nightstand beside her. “I’m doing this because it’s suppose to help the process.”

“I know, I know.” He grumbled as he ran a hand through his now disheveled silver locks.

“Then what’s wrong? You still want to have a baby with me, right?”

Sonny sighed. “I do, but not like this.”

She eyed him curiously. “What do you mean?”

He slid back into bed next to her. “Manda, getting pregnant is all you care about these days. You only ever want to have sex according to your ovulation schedule. If it doesn’t happen on those specific days, in one of three specific positions, then you aren’t interested. When we said we would try to have a baby together, I knew there would need to be some planning involved, but I feel like lately there’s been no spontaneity or romance to our sex life anymore. You literally go through the motions solely in the hopes that we’ll make a baby.”

Amanda sat up and looked over at him. “Sonny, I’m sorry. I had no idea how what I thought were little things, like the tracking apps and scheduling, was coming across. It wasn’t my intention. I guess I have gone a little overboard. It’s just…”

“Just…”

She sighed. “I didn’t expect it to be this hard. I mean, I got pregnant with both the girls on birth control. I know I’m a little older now, but I didn’t have Billie THAT long ago. I thought this all would’ve happened a lot faster and easier for us than it is, but its not. And I worry that if it doesn’t happen soon it might not ever.”

Sonny placed his hand on her thigh and gently rubbed up and down. “I hate seeing how stressed out you are about this.”

He paused for a moment to collect his thoughts before continuing.

“I realize that if we’re goin’ to try to have a baby it needs to be now, but I don’t think it’s healthy to be this fixated on it. I’m not saying we stop trying outright, but we can’t let this consume us, either. We need to start living our lives again.”

Amanda sighed. “You’re right. We do.”

He wrapped his arm around her as she rested her head on his chest. “If you get pregnant, that would be wonderful. But if it doesn’t happen, then it doesn’t happen. And I’m OK with that. My life with you and the girls is amazing and means everything to me.”

Amanda nodded and gave him a small smile as he pulled her in closer to him and the two laid together for a long while, quietly enjoying each other’s company.

*****************

Three Weeks Later

Sonny’s Office - Late Thursday Afternoon

******************

After having their much needed conversation, life went back to the way it had been for Amanda and Sonny and they were both much happier as a result. The timing was especially helpful for Sonny, who was busy prepping and then trying his big homicide case.

It had been a long, arduous process but all the hard work he poured into it ended up paying off. Despite some shaky witnesses and a large portion of evidence being thrown out on a technicality, the jury still found the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree.

He had returned straight to his office after the verdict was announced and about an hour later he heard a knock on his door and saw Amanda, who had been stuck at a police conference all day, emerge from behind it.

“I just heard the news.” She said smiling as she hurried to him and engulfed him in a big hug. “Congrats on winning the case!”

“Thanks.” Sonny said as they pulled away and he rested his hands on her hips. “I’m so glad it’s done and that it went how we hoped it would.”

“Should we celebrate with a drink?” She asked. “Sitter’s still on the clock for another two hours.”

Sonny thought her proposition over, but as he stood quietly engrossed in the beauty of his fiancé, who was dressed up a little fancier than usual due to the conference and had her long, wavy blonde tresses neatly put together and draped over her shoulders, a different idea popped into his head.

“That’d be nice. But there’s somethin’ else I’d rather be doin’ instead.”

Amanda wrapped her arms around his shoulders and eyed him suggestively. “What do you have in mind?”

He leaned in and kissed her passionately.

She pulled away briefly to catch her breath and asked, “No one’s planning on stopping by?”

Sonny shook his head no.

Amanda headed to his door, hastily locked it, and then hurried back to Sonny, who lifted her up into his arms and connected his lips with hers.

The ADA carried her to his desk, cleared it off with one swift arm sweep, set her down on top of it, and began unbuttoning her blouse as she ripped off his tie.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

“Lights on.” Liv said to Fin as she pointed to Sonny’s office.

The duo headed over and as Liv knocked on the door it opened up on its own, catching the clothed, but slightly disheveled couple inside off guard.

“Hey.” Sonny awkwardly greeted the twosome as Amanda quickly finished throwing her blonde locks into a sloppy bun and he ran a hand through his now messy gray hair.

Liv and Fin eyed them both curiously, before the captain finally turned her attention to Sonny.

“We just umm…finished up a meeting with McGrath and since we were close by we thought we’d stop in and congratulate you on the verdict today.”

Sonny gave her a small smile. “Thanks, Liv. It was a tough one.”

She nodded her head slowly. “Ok, well…we won’t keep you. I’m guessing you need to get home to the girls.”

“Yea, we were just about to head out.” Amanda told her boss.

“Alright, we’ll see you both tomorrow.” Fin told the couple.

Sonny and Amanda nodded and watched as the sergeant and captain headed out.

As Fin and Liv walked down the hall he whispered, “You know if we had walked in there 5 minutes earlier we would’ve been greeted by Carisi’s ass, don’t you?”

Liv shot him a look and hit him in the arm, but said nothing and the duo continued on out of the building.

Meanwhile back inside the office, Sonny and Amanda started chuckling.

“I thought you locked the door?!” He asked her.

Amanda shrugged. “I thought I did too.” She giggled out. “Guess not.”

The two continued to laugh together before Amanda finally stopped and looked up at him. “That was fun. I’m glad we’re getting back to how we use to be.”

He smiled softly at her and stroked her cheek. “Me too.”

They stood staring deeply into each other’s eyes for a long while before Amanda finally looked down and checked her watch.

“Alright, we really should get back home to the girls.”

Sonny nodded and the two quickly gathered their things and headed out of his office.

*****************

Seven Weeks Later

Sonny and Amanda’s Bedroom - Thursday Morning

******************

“Are you sure you’re goin’ to be ok?” A concerned looking Sonny asked Amanda.

She waved him off. “If Billie and Jesse can handle it, so can I.”

“Well that stomach bug they both brought home seems to be hittin’ you way worst than it did them.” He said as he set a glass of water down on her nightstand.

“I’ll be fine.” She reassured him. “Nothin’ a little extra rest and another day or two off from work can’t fix.”

Sonny sighed. “Ok. Well I’m gonna go drop them off at school and head into the office. If you need me, call me.”

She nodded. “I will.”

He gave her a small smile, her thigh a quick rub and made his way out of the room.

Amanda sat up a bit more in bed and contemplated Sonny’s words and realized he was right. The stomach bug that her daughters had just gotten over wasn’t nearly as bad, long or as sporadic as the one that had been plaguing her. She started to wonder if all the nausea and throwing up she was doing was actually due to something else.

When she was sure Sonny and the girls had left, she slowly got out of bed, headed toward the bathroom and began rummaging around through the medicine cabinet.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

When Sonny walked into the apartment after getting off work later that afternoon he was pleasantly surprised to see a much healthier, upbeat looking Amanda sitting on the living room couch.

“Hey.” He said smiling at her. “You’re lookin’ a lot better.”

“I feel much better.” She said as she fiddled around on her cell. “I ended up making an appointment with my doctor. She prescribed some medication and it’s helped a lot.”

“That’s good.” Sonny said as he plopped down next to her on the couch. He glanced down at his watch. “Girls, still at dance?”

Amanda nodded. “Yeah, one of us will need to leave to get them in about 20 minutes.”

He motioned toward your phone. “What’s so interestin’?”

“Just setting up this new tracking app.” She said coyly, keeping her eyes focused on her phone.

Sonny sighed. “Manda, I thought you said you were done with all the ovulation tracking?”

“I am.” Amanda said as she bit her lip and handed him her iPhone. “This is different.”

He looked down at the screen and saw the words “Week 7” plastered on top with a picture of a blueberry underneath it and text that read, ‘Baby is as big as a blueberry.’

Sonny’s eyes grew soft and a big grin spread across his face. “You’re pregnant?”

Amanda nodded and smiled.

“We’re having a baby!” He shouted out enthusiastically as he put her phone down next to him on the couch, gave her a quick kiss on the lips and hugged her. “This is great!”

After holding her in his arms for a long while he finally let go and asked, “So what we thought was a stomach virus was actually—“

“Morning sickness.” Amanda said cutting him off. “Really terrible morning sickness.”

Sensing he felt bad that she was struggling so much with it she quickly followed up. “But it’s under control now. I promise. Don’t worry. Baby and I are good.”

Sonny nodded. He then picked her phone back up and looked down at it again. “So you’re seven weeks?”

Amanda nodded. “Yeah, that’s what my doctor said.”

He chuckled. “That means this happened during our little impromptu office session.”

“It did.” She said smiling. “When we weren’t trying or even thinking about it. Looks like we should’ve gone with your approach to this whole thing a long time ago.”

Sonny reached out for her hand and tenderly caressed it. “I can’t wait to start this next chapter in our lives.”

She cuddled up closer to him. “Me either.”

The two sat together silently for a bit longer before Amanda, who noted the time, stood up. “How about I go pick up Jesse and Billie? That way you can get dinner started?”

“Sure, no problem.” Sonny said as he got up and made his way into the kitchen.

The blonde headed toward the door to gather her coat, shoes and bag. When she felt around her pockets for her phone she remembered it was left on the couch, but when she went to grab it she saw it wasn’t there. She looked around a bit and noticed Sonny still had it.

“Still lookin’ at my pregnancy app?” Amanda asked, laughing. “I think you might be the one who has a problem with tracking now.”

“I’m just so excited. I can’t help myself.” A giddy Sonny told her as he continued going through it.

“Well you can hold on to my phone.” She told him. “I’ll take yours with me.”

Amanda stood smiling and watching him for a bit longer before finally grabbing his cell off the charger that lied on the kitchen counter and making her way out the door.

Chapter Text

******************

October

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Saturday Night

******************

It had been a dark, wet, stormy day that had ended up turning into a dark, wet stormy night. However, neither Jesse or Billie seemed to mind being cooped up in the house for much of the afternoon and now evening. They both found the atmosphere to be perfect for Halloween, which was coming up early next week, and had spent much of their day dressing up in old costumes and much of the night binge watching their favorite “spooky” movies.

After the dinner dishes had been cleared away, Sonny and Amanda joined the girls for one last movie before bed. Jesse had selected the first of the Harry Potter films, ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,’ and though Sonny was pretty sure it was too scary for both Rollins girls and that they’d likely end up crawling into bed with him and Amanda later, his wife didn’t seem to question the choice so he decided not to push the issue.

About half way through the movie, Amanda headed to the bathroom and remained there for a long time. Though the girls may have been oblivious to what their mother was doing, Sonny was not. It was the same thing she had been doing on and off for the past week. He had purposefully avoided bringing the topic up to her, but knew he couldn’t keep ignoring it forever.

“I’ll be back girls.” Sonny told Jesse and Billie as he got up from off the sofa and went to go check on Amanda.

He knocked on the bathroom door, entered, and then closed the door behind him. Sonny found Amanda on the floor, quietly clutching the toilet bowl. He walked over to where she was kneeling and bent down beside her.

Sonny placed his hand on her back and gently rubbed up and down. “Do you want me to get you a test?”

Amanda remained quiet for a long while before finally looking up at him and nodding.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

She waited until the girls were in bed before taking the pregnancy test.

Once the results were in, Amanda stepped out of the bathroom, headed toward her and Sonny’s bedroom and shut the door.

She sat down beside him on the bed and handed the stick to her husband. “It’s positive.”

He looked at it silently for a bit before eventually taking in a deep breath, exhaling slowly and turning his attention back to Amanda. “I guess I knew there was a chance you could get pregnant. Because we weren’t actively trying to prevent it, but…it’s still pretty shockin’ to see that you are and that it’s happened so fast. Especially since it didn’t happen this quick for us the first time.”

Amanda got up, headed toward the bench by the window sill, sat down and began staring aimlessly at the rain falling outside. “I should be getting ready to give birth to our son soon. Not finding out about a replacement baby I didn’t ask for.”

Sonny sighed. “Amanda…”

He set the test down next to him, got up from off the bed, joined his wife by the window and cradled her in his arms.

Amanda began to cry softly. “If I had miscarried before I knew I was pregnant or really early on due to some genetic abnormality I know I would’ve been really sad about it. But it’s something I could have come to terms with. But this…this was different. Our baby was fine. He was perfect. There was nothing wrong with him. Until I—I tripped…and fell d—down the…stairs. And now he’s gone and it’s all my fault. I don’t know how you can look at me and not hate me for losing our baby.”

The tears that had been welling up in Sonny’s own eyes began to slowly trickle down his face. He released Amanda from his grasp, cupped her cheeks and caressed them gently.

“Honey, I could never hate you. You have to stop blaming yourself. It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. This was just somethin’ that happened. Why? I don’t know. But what I do know is that you mean everything to me and there is nothin’ you could do, say or confess that would ever make me love you less, ok?”

She sniffled and nodded.

The two sat quietly together for a long while before Amanda broke the silence.

“I hate the fact that my doctor even classified it as a miscarriage. I was almost 5 months. I wasn’t sorta pregnant. I was very pregnant. We started buying things. Everyone knew. If I had lost him a week later it would’ve been considered a stillbirth. But it didn’t so it’s like legally he never even existed. But he did to me.”

Sonny nodded. “Me too.”

He took in a deep breath and contemplated his next words carefully before speaking.

“Manda, I know how conflicted you feel about this pregnancy. It’s a lot to process. Especially since it’s only been two months since we lost our son and because we hadn’t talked about whether we even wanted to try again. But I see this baby…”

He paused and rested his hand on her stomach. “As a blessing, not a replacement. A gift bestowed upon us that will help bring the light that has dimmed back into our lives. One that will help us not to forget, but to move forward. Help us heal. Someone we can love and hold in the flesh until we’re all together again someday. Lovin’ and wantin’ this child doesn’t diminish or erase the love we have for the son we lost. There’s room in our hearts for all four of our kids. Especially in one as big as yours.”

Sonny rested his forehead on hers and whispered to her. “This storm we’ve had to weather through has been the most difficult period of our lives, but I truly believe this baby is a sign that the rain is finally starting to subside. He or she is the rainbow we’ve been waitin’ for. I know you’re having trouble seein’ it, but you will. I promise you will.

Amanda placed her own hand over the one he had resting on her stomach and slowly nodded.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

The couple eventually headed off to sleep and, as Sonny had predicted, the girls had found their way into their bed not long after they had settled in. Scared of both the movie from earlier in the night and of the storm that had gradually picked up and grew louder as they had slept. While having both Jesse and Billie in the bed was a crowded experience, neither Amanda nor Sonny minded having them there on a night like this. They found their presence to be comforting and much needed.

******************

Amanda and Sonny’s Bedroom - Sunday Morning

******************

Sonny and Amanda both awakened around the same time the following morning. Not by the sounds of the pitter patter of little feet roaming around or the rain slamming overhead, but by the unexpected sunshine that beamed from their bedroom window. As their eyes fluttered open they noticed Jesse and Billie were already up and sitting together on the bench staring out the window.

“Look!” Jesse said to them. She then pointed to something off in the distance.

Amanda and Sonny slowly climbed out of bed, joined the girls by the window and saw a big, beautiful rainbow displaying prominently in the sky.

“It’s pretty, isn’t it?” She asked.

The couple remained quiet but nodded and then exchanged small smiles with one another.

Jesse climbed off the bench and looked up at Sonny. “Can we make French toast for breakfast?”

“Of course.” He told her as he lifted Billie off the bench and carefully set her down on the ground. “You girls go on ahead to the kitchen and I’ll meet you in there in a second.”

Both girls nodded and scurried off together.

Sonny wrapped his arm around Amanda and pulled her in close as she rested her head on his shoulder. The two continued to stare at the rainbow for a little while longer before he finally broke the silence.

“You feelin’ okay’?” He asked as he gently stroked her hair.

Amanda rested her hand on her stomach and thought long and hard before responding. “Getting there.”

Sonny nodded and pressed a kiss against her forehead.

The couple stood together for a few moments longer before finally exiting the bedroom and joining the girls in the kitchen.

******************

June

Amanda’s Hospital Room - Thursday Morning

******************

“Come in.”

Liv, with Jesse and Billie by her side, slowly walked into Amanda’s hospital room. Both girls’ eyes lit up at the sight of their mother holding their new baby sister and carefully, but excitedly, approached her bedside.

“She’s so pretty.” Jesse said as she and Billie sat down next to Amanda. She gently rubbed the little baby’s hand and looked into her big, sparkling blue eyes. “What’s her name?”

“Aurora.” Sonny said as he smiled down at all three girls cuddled up together. “But we’re gonna call her Rory.”

“Aurora.” Billie repeated back and then, after coming to a realization, excitedly exclaimed, “After the princess?!”

Though the little baby’s new name had a much deeper meaning to it than Billie could understand, Amanda simply smiled and nodded. “That’s exactly right.”

Sonny locked eyes with his wife and the two chuckled softly.

The girls sat quietly admiring their little sister for a bit longer when eventually Billie started tugging on Sonny’s shirt. “Can I have a snack?”

Sonny fixed his lips to respond but was cut off by Liv.

“I’ll take them both to the cafeteria for a quick bite.” She motioned for Jesse and Billie to follow her.

Amanda gave her Captain a small smile. “Thanks, Liv. And thank you for bringing them.”

Liv nodded and grinned. She then ushered the girls out of the room and the trio went off to go get something eat.

Sonny carefully sat down next to Amanda on her bed and draped his arm around her while she rested her head on his shoulder.

“I could stare at her all day.” Amanda said as she rubbed the baby’s little cheek.

“Me too.” Sonny said as he picked up Aurora’s left foot and kissed it. “She’s so perfect.”

“She is.” Amanda said looking up at him. “And you were right.”

“Bout what?” He asked, curiously.

“About there being enough room in my heart for all four.”

She paused for a moment as she gently stroked her now sleeping daughter’s cusps of light brown hair.

“I miss, love and think about our son everyday. At the same time I’m so grateful for Jesse, Billie, and this beautiful, burst of light that has entered our lives. Our Aurora. I love her so much and I’m so happy she’s here with us.”

Sonny took his free hand, placed it underneath her chin and brought his lips to hers.

He then looked backed down at the little girl fast asleep in his wife’s arms and grinned. “Billie wasn’t wrong. She really is a sleepin’ beauty.”

Amanda laughed. “That she is.”

Chapter Text

*******************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Friday Night

*******************

“And the witch never bothered the prince or princess again.” Sonny said as he closed the storybook. “The End.”

He got up from his chair beside Jesse’s bed and placed the book he had been reading to the girls back on their shared bookshelf. Sonny then lifted Billie up into his arms and tucked her into her own bed across from Jesse’s.

“Goodnight, Billie.” He gave her a kiss on the forehead and smiled down at her.

She yawned and smiled back. “Night, Uncle Sonny.” Billie then turned to her side and slowly closed her eyes.

Sonny then turned his attention to Jesse.

“Are you going to be here when we wake up tomorrow?” She asked hopefully as he pulled the covers over her.

“I won’t be.” He told her honestly. “But I am still goin’ to come take you and your sister to the zoo Sunday afternoon, ok?”

Jesse sighed, but nodded.

“Night Jess.” He said as he gave her a quick kiss on the forehead.

“Night.” She said as she turned onto her stomach and shut her eyes.

Sonny stood quietly staring at both sleeping girls for a bit before slowly walking out of their bedroom, turning off the lights and closing the door.

He then headed down the hall and turned his attention to Amanda, who had been cleaning up around the kitchen.

“Thanks for letting me come by and put the girls to bed tonight.” Sonny told her.

Amanda nodded, but remained quiet.

He checked his watched. “Better get goin.’ It takes a while to get to Bella’s from here.”

Sonny headed for the door, but just as he reached for the knob she stopped him.

“Wait.”

He turned around and faced her.

“I know it’s gettin’ late, but…we need to talk.” She motioned for him to go sit with her in the living room.

Sonny nodded and made his way over to the couch, where Amanda followed and sat down next to him.

“I’ve been wantin’ to have a conversation for a little while now.”

“I know.” She said as she ran a hand through her messy blonde locks. “But I needed time to…process the situation. I wanted a little more time, but something else has come up that’s made me realize we can’t sit in limbo like this.”

He eyed her curiously. “What is it?”

Amanda took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “I’m pregnant.”

Sonny’s mouth opened wide in surprise upon hearing Amanda’s news.

“Really?” He whispered out, as tears started to well up a bit in his eyes.

Amanda nodded slowly. “I felt…really off earlier this week. So I made an appointment with my doctor and she confirmed what I suspected. That I’m pregnant. 6 weeks.”

Sonny pressed his lips together and contemplated his words carefully before speaking. “I’m not sure how you feel about this, considering we weren’t trying for a baby and because of where you and I stand right now, but I want you to know I’m really, really happy about it.”

“I am too.” Amanda admitted, sighing. “But this news doesn’t change the fact that I’m not happy with you.”

“I know.” He said quietly as he leaned back, sank deeper into the couch and closed his eyes. “Amanda, I swear to you I pushed her away when she kissed me. It’s on tape. I know the DA’s office won’t let you see it because the incident is still technically under review but it’s the truth and I’m hoping they will eventually once the paperwork clearing me of any wrongdoing has been processed.”

“I never doubted your faithfulness, Sonny.” Amanda said to her fiancé.

He opened his eyes and threw his arms up in the air. “If you believe me and know I didn’t do anything, then why are you so upset with me?”

“It’s because you didn’t do anything.” Amanda said, parroting back his words. “You knew your intern had a massive crush on you and you did nothing about it.”

She got up from off the couch and began pacing around the living room.

Sonny sat up and rubbed his temples. “I thought it was innocent. Nothin’ that she’d seriously try to pursue.”

“The love letter she gave you telling you to leave me wasn’t enough of an indication for you that her behavior had become wildly inappropriate?” Amanda asked raising an eyebrow.

He sighed. “It was at that very moment I realized just how far down the rabbit hole she had fallen.”

“Then why didn’t you fire her after that!?” Amanda asked raising her voice before remembering the girls were asleep in the next room. She quickly regained her composure. “If you had, the situation never would’ve spiraled to the point it did.”

Sonny bit his lip and ran a hand through his hair. “I was hoping to transfer her to one of the female ADAs in the office because while I knew I couldn’t continue to work with her in a professional capacity, I thought she was bright and had a lot of potential. I didn’t want to completely destroy a 21-year-old girl’s future over what I believed and what I thought in time she would come to see was a foolish, momentarily lapse in judgment. Firing her from the DA’s office for misconduct would’ve put the nail in the coffin for her career wise and I had a hard time sitting with that for a few reasons.”

He took a minute to collect his thoughts and then continued on.

“It’s not the same thing…but I did find myself in a position once when I was younger where I did somethin’ pretty stupid and had it been reported like it should’ve I never would’ve been able to be an ADA. Or even a cop. I’d probably still be on Staten Island somewhere, strugglin’ to make ends meet on minimum wage. But someone saw somethin’ special in me and I was given a second chance. One I am immensely grateful for and I was tryin’ to do the same thing here.”

Sonny stood up, gently placed his hands on Amanda’s shoulders and stared straight into her blue eyes. “And like myself, I know you too were once in a situation where someone helped you out and went to bat for you when others wouldn’t have. And had they not, we wouldn’t be here together right now. This was all stuff I had floatin’ around in my mind at the time.”

Amanda briefly diverted her eyes away from him as she contemplated his words. She found her mind instantly drifting to the incident he was alluding to; the undercover Vice operation Declan Murphy roped her into at one of the her lowest moments, saving her badge.

“I get it.” Amanda said as she sighed and sat back down. “I do. I hadn’t really thought about it in that way before now.”

She paused for a minute before finishing her thoughts.

“But Sonny this girl easily could’ve tried to play you as well and flip the script in an effort to save her own butt. She didn’t, luckily. Probably only because she realized the cameras plastered all over that place she wasn’t initially aware of would’ve refuted her. Still, you bein’ overly nice could’ve cost you your job.”

“I see that now.” Sonny said as he took a seat back down on the couch beside Amanda. “My reputation has definitely taken a bit of a nosedive with some in my office. I can only imagine what’s been said about me at 1PP amongst those who don’t know the whole story and how embarrassin’ that is for you and I’m really sorry.”

“They’ll be talking about someone and something else eventually.” Amanda told him, sighing.

Sonny reached for her hands and held them in his own. “If I could go back and do things differently, like goin’ to HR and asking for guidance, I would. But I can’t unring a bell. So how can we move forward? What do you need from me? Because these two and a half weeks apart from you and the girls have been the worst of my life. I want to fix this. We need to fix this. Especially with the baby comin’. I don’t want what should be an excitin’ new chapter in our lives to begin with a cloud hangin’ over our heads.”

“Neither do I.” Amanda said as she removed one of her hands from his grasp to wipe a tear from her eye.

She took in a deep breath as she carefully thought over what she wanted to say and after a long while finally responded.

“I need you to not be afraid to tell me about a problem you’re having because you think it might…hurt my feelings or that it’s something I don’t want to hear. I mean, I wouldn’t have been thrilled to learn you had an intern coming on to you, but I could’ve helped you navigate the situation before it blew out of control.”

Sonny nodded. “You’re right. I shouldn’t have kept it from you and I won’t keep you in the dark about any other future situations, whatever they may be. Even if I think it might be difficult for you to hear.”

Ananda nodded and continued. “And while what I love the most about you is your heart and how you’ll go over and beyond to help someone, it can’t be done at the expense of yourself or our family.”

Sonny took his free hand and caressed her cheek. “It won’t. You, the girls, the baby…you’re my number ones. Always. And I’ll do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to prove that to you.”

Amanda nodded slowly and after what felt like an eternity to Sonny, but in actuality was only a short period of silence, said to him, “Tonight, I want you to stay.”

“And tomorrow?”

She then rested her forehead on his and whispered. “Tomorrow, you get your things and come home.”

He gave her a small smile and then they both leaned in to each other, kissed, and embraced.

They held each other in the silence for a long while before Sonny eventually found his eyes drifting to her midsection and said to her quietly. “I still can’t believe we made a baby together.”

Amanda placed a hand on her stomach and smiled down at it. “I know. Not quite sure how that happened.” She teased him.

“Is that so?” Sonny asked her, smirking. “Would you like a refresher on how that happened?” He then connected his lips to hers for a passionate kiss.

Once their mouths finally parted ways, Amanda breathed out heavily and whispered, “A refresher would be nice.”

He chuckled softly as he stood up, guided her up from off the sofa and, with their hands intertwined, headed toward their bedroom.

*******************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Saturday Morning

*******************

“Ten more minutes.” A closed eyed Jesse yawned out as she turned from her back onto her side and pulled her covers up higher.

“Ok, but Billie’s probably goin’ to eat all the chocolate pancakes if you don’t get up now.”

Jesse’s eyes instantly opened when she recognized the voice speaking to her.

The little blonde immediately popped up in her bed and then flew her arms around Sonny, giving him a great big hug. “You’re here! You’re home!” She exclaimed excitedly.

“I am.” Sonny said grinning down at her.

She slowly pulled away and very seriously looked up at him and asked, “And tomorrow?”

“He’ll be here tomorrow too.” Amanda, who stood standing by her daughters’ bedroom door, told her eldest. “Tomorrow and always. Now come get some pancakes.”

A happy Jesse nodded, hopped out of bed and hurried off into the kitchen.

Sonny slowly got up from Jesse’s bed and headed toward where Amanda stood. The couple exchanged small smiles as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder. They then made their way back into the kitchen to join the girls for breakfast.

Chapter Text

****************

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Tuesday Morning

****************

Despite all the time the family of four had spent together enjoying a fun, long three day weekend, Amanda and Jesse ended up feeling under the weather by the end of it while Sonny and Billie somehow managed to escape it unscathed.

Jesse picked up yet another viral infection of some sort while Amanda herself appeared to be battling a much milder version of the same cold. So, since she was a little sick too and because Sienna was on vacation, she ended up staying home with her daughter on Tuesday to take care of her and to rest a bit herself.

When Amanda went to the bathroom and began rummaging around the medicine cabinet trying to find some cough syrup for Jesse, she happened to stumble upon a pregnancy test that had been hiding out in the back.

She had bought one several months back when her normally regular period had been unusually late. It ended up coming before she got around to taking it and Amanda shoved it away, not giving the idea too much thought again until that very moment. Because while both her and Jesse had similar cold symptoms, unlike her oldest daughter, Amanda had also been experiencing some extreme fatigue and intermittent nausea for the past week, before the cold had even started. It had her wondering if maybe, in addition to being a little sick, she might be pregnant too.

Amanda pulled out a bottle of Children’s Robitussin, as well as the test, and shut the cabinet. She swiftly closed the bathroom door and then headed back to the counter and began unboxing the test.

Once Amanda finished it, she decided to give Jesse her medicine instead of hanging around the bathroom waiting for the results. Jesse, who was lying under her covers in her bed playing a game on her Amazon tablet, made a face when she saw her mother emerge into her bedroom with the cough syrup bottle.

“I don’t need any Mom.” Jesse whispered. She paused as she was then suddenly hit with a fairly intense coughing spell. “I’m getting better.”

Amanda shook her head. “No it sounds like you’re getting worst.” She poured her a spoonful and had her swallow it. Amanda then took a good look at Jesse’s throat. “And I’m pretty sure you’ve got tonsillitis again. Someone, either me or Sonny, is gonna have to take you to the doctor’s tomorrow to get that checked.”

“Is she gonna take them out?” The little blonde asked worriedly.

“Not tomorrow, but I think you’re going to eventually need to have them removed. Your doctor said if this happened again we should look into getting that done.”

Jesse sighed.

“I know you’re not crazy about the idea, but if you get them taken out you won’t get so many sore throats.” Amanda told her as she gently stroked Jesse’s hair. “We’ll talk about it more later, I want you to try to rest a little, ok?”

Jesse nodded and handed her mother her tablet. She then turned onto her side, closed her eyes and attempted to get some shut eye.

Amanda set her daughter’s tablet down on the dresser, exited the room and closed the door behind her. She then headed off to the kitchen, poured herself a glass of orange juice and then leisurely made her way back into the bathroom to look at the results of the pregnancy test.

Her eyes widened in surprise as she set the glass down on the counter and picked up the stick, which prominently displayed the word ‘Pregnant’ on it. Amanda stood silently staring at it for a long time.

“I can’t believe I’m pregnant.” She finally said to herself out loud, smiling. “We’re going to have a baby.”

“A baby?”

The blonde slowly turned her head toward the door and was shocked to see her daughter standing before her.

Jesse walked deeper into the bathroom and looked up at her mother. “You’re going to have a baby?”

Amanda was at a loss for words. She had no idea her little girl, who she thought was in bed, had been standing out there. Jesse hearing about her pregnancy before Sonny and before she reached a safe point in which she would’ve been comfortable sharing the news with her and Billie was not ideal, but Jesse wasn’t a toddler and there was no way she could try to sweep this under the rug.

She knelt down to Jesse’s eye level, gently rubbed her hand and nodded. “According to the test I took, it looks like I am.”

“So Sonny will be the baby’s daddy, like Dr. Al’s Billie’s dad?”

Amanda tucked a loose strand of Jesse’s hair behind her ear. “Yes.”

Jesse looked at the test. “You just found out?”

Amanda nodded. “I did. So do you think you can keep this a secret between us for just a little while until I can get a chance to tell Sonny?”

Jesse nodded, but remained quiet.

Amanda gave her daughter a small smile, but then pressed her lips together and a bit nervously asked, “What do you think about all this, Jess? About having a brother or another sister?”

A slightly dejected looking Jesse stood pondering for a moment before eventually shrugging. “It’s fine. I guess.” She then started to cough heavily. “I’m going to go back to bed.”

Amanda nodded slowly. “Alright, baby.”

She watched as her daughter headed back to her room. Amanda then turned her attention back to the positive pregnancy test on the counter and sighed. She could tell Jesse wasn’t particularly excited about the prospect of a new baby coming into the family and it was weighing on her.

****************

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Tuesday Night

****************

Amanda decided she wasn’t going to immediately rush and tell Sonny about the baby. She figured she’d take a day or two, confirm the news and make sure everything was ok first before bringing it up to him. She hoped during that time she’d also be able to figure out how to make Jesse feel better about the whole situation.

Sonny ended up getting home late from work that night, long after both girls normally went to bed, so he did his best to quietly enter into the apartment.

He kicked off his shoes, set his briefcase down by the door, hung his keys on the hook and headed toward the bedroom, where he found Amanda wrapped in a towel getting ready to shower.

“Hey.” He said as he gave her a kiss on the cheek, loosened up his tie and plopped down on the bed.

“You look tired.”

Sonny sighed. “I am. It was a busy day. Spent most of it at the precinct and running around gettin’ warrants.”

“What happened?” Amanda asked curiously as she sat down next to him.

“Rape-homicide on Roosevelt Island.” He said as he rubbed his eyes and yawned. “But it looks like Liv’s going to hand it over to Homicide. They found out about the case a couple hours ago and I guess the M.O. matches a suspect they’ve been lookin’ at for a murder in Chelsea last week.”

Amanda nodded. “I wish I could’ve been there to help out.”

“They managed ok. Besides, someone needed to stay home with Jess. How’s she feelin’? Any better?”

Amanda shook her head. “No she’s still hacking like crazy and I’m like 90% sure she has tonsillitis.”

“Again?” Sonny asked in disbelief.

She nodded. “I’m gonna text Liv and let her know I need another day so I can take Jesse to the doctor’s and figure out what’s going on and what the next steps are.”

Sonny stood up and removed his suit jacket. “I’m guessing their going to want to do surgery to remove her tonsils.”

“That’s what I’m thinking too.” Amanda said sighing. “Not sure how we’re going to swing that with us both being so busy all the time.”

Sonny waved his hand dismissively. “It’ll be fine. We’ll figure out a way to make sure at least one of us is there with her.”

Amanda nodded and stood up.

“So how are you feeling?” Sonny asked as he placed his hands on his wife’s arms and rubbed up and down. “I know you weren’t as bad as Jesse, but—“

“I’m doing ok.” She tried to reassure him. “Promise.”

Amanda noted the time on the alarm clock that sat on her husband’s nightstand. “I can’t believe it’s this late and I’m just now showering. Did you want to hop in before me?”

Sonny shook his head. “No you go ahead. I need to pick out somethin’ to wear for work tomorrow and do some ironin.’”

Amanda nodded. “Ok.” She then headed out of the bedroom and made her way toward the bathroom.

Sonny started going through his dresser looking for a dress shirt to wear, finally settling on a light blue one. He then moved on to his sock draw and when he looked in it, he immediately realized that a majority of the freshly washed socks that lied on top weren’t actually his, but his wife’s. He figured Amanda must’ve done laundry earlier in the day and accidentally placed hers in his and vice versa.

So Sonny collected all of Amanda’s socks from his drawer and headed to her dresser to do a swap. He set her socks down on top of it, opened her sock drawer and started removing his own socks from it. As he did he noticed a pregnancy test that had been placed in the back corner.

His eyes grew big and his jaw dropped in shock as he picked the test up and saw that it was positive.

A grin slowly started to spread across his face as he came to the realization that Amanda was pregnant. While a baby wasn’t something they were actively trying for, they weren’t actively trying to prevent it either and both had agreed that if it happened, it happened, and if it didn’t, it didn’t. But it looked like it was actually happening. Him and Amanda were going to have a baby and Sonny was thrilled.

He briefly wondered how long Amanda had known and why she hadn’t even hinted to him that she had news to share, but then figured she was probably waiting for when the time was right. Tonight, after he came in late from a busy work day and with Jesse being so sick, wasn’t it. Sonny decided he wouldn’t bring it up and would wait for Amanda to come to him and tell him when she was ready. He carefully placed the test back where he found it, swapped out their socks and finished getting his stuff together for tomorrow.

****************

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Friday Night

****************

Wednesday came and went. So did Thursday. Then Friday morning.

Sonny started to grow concerned over the fact that Amanda still hadn’t mentioned the positive pregnancy test. He spent much of his few free moments during the work day over analyzing the situation. After a while he realized he couldn’t handle all the ‘what if’s’ and that he needed to bring it up to her sooner rather than later so that night when the two were getting ready for bed, he did.

“So there’s somethin’ I want talk with you about.” Sonny said as he slid into bed next to his wife.

Amanda, noting the seriousness in his tone of voice, set her cell down on the nightstand and turned her attention to him. “Ok.”

“On Tuesday, while you were in the shower and I was gathering some work clothes together for the next day, I noticed you mixed up our socks. So when I went to put yours back in your dresser draw I came across the pregnancy test. A positive pregnancy test. Now I don’t know how common false positives are—“

“It’s not a false positive.” Amanda said cutting him off. “I’m pregnant. A blood test confirmed it. I’m 5 weeks.

Sonny gave her a small smile, but then followed up, asking, “Why didn’t you want to tell me?”

“I was going to tell you about it this weekend, I swear.” Amanda told him as she a ran a hand through her hair. “I just needed a little time to process everything.”

“What do you mean by that?” He asked, frowning. “You do…w—want the baby, right?”

“Sonny, of course I do.” Amanda said to him, saddened her behavior had made him think otherwise. “When I found out I was so excited and I still very much am.”

Sonny nodded and felt relieved by his wife’s words, but still seemed perplexed as to what was troubling her. “If you’re happy about it and you knew I’d be happy about it, why were you hesitant to tell me?”

Amanda sighed. “Because while I’m happy and I knew you’d be happy, Jesse is not.”

Sonny raised an eyebrow. “Wait, Jesse knows?”

Amanda nodded. “I took the test on Tuesday morning when I thought she was in bed. But she had gotten up and caught me in the bathroom talking out loud saying I was going to have a baby. If it had been Billie I would’ve tried to cover myself, but Jesse’s seven and there’s no way I could lie to her about it at that point. I hope you’re not upset she knew before you.”

He furrowed his brows. “That doesn’t bother me. It’s just the way it happened. It is what it is. I am, however, sad to hear and don’t quite understand why she isn’t excited about the idea of you and I having a baby. I mean, she’s already used to bein’ a big sister and is a great one.”

“Because it’s different this time, Sonny.” Amanda said to him honestly. “This is your baby.”

She took a minute to collect her thoughts and then continued on.

“The first thing out of Jesse’s mouth after I told her I was pregnant was ‘So Sonny’s the baby’s dad like Dr. Al’s Billie’s dad.’ I just got the impression from our conversation that she’s feeling left out. She’s going to be the only one of her siblings who doesn’t have her biological dad involved in her life.”

Sonny pressed his lips together and sighed. “Does Jesse think I’m going to love the baby more than her? Because that’s not true. I try to be as respectful as possible in regards to Al and his place in Billie’s life, but I see and love both her and Billie as my daughters. So so much. Adding a new baby into the mix isn’t going to change that.”

Amanda sat up a little bit more in bed. “I know how much you love the girls and I know this won’t change how you feel about them. But like I said, it’s going to be a different experience this go around. This baby will be part of you. He or she is going to look like you. You’re going to see him or her come into this world and be in their lives from the very beginning. I think you need to realize it’s going to be a different kind of connection. Not necessarily a better one than what you have with Jesse and Billie, but different.”

Sonny rubbed his eyes and pondered his wife’s words for a while.

“You might be right.” He finally told her, biting his bottom lip. “I have a strong relationship with both girls and I love them exactly the same, but I do relate to and connect with them each differently.”

Amanda snuggled in closer to Sonny, rested her head on his chest and placed a hand on her stomach. “I can tell this is getting to you too. But I’ve had some time to sit with it and I’m thinking that once the baby is actually here and we all get into a new routine as a family of five, everything will work itself out. We need to keep the issue on the radar, but shouldn’t let this hiccup damper the moment. We created a baby together. It’s an exciting time for us and it’s OK to express that.”

Sonny nodded and smiled softly. He then wrapped his arm Amanda, pulled her in closer to him, and placed his hand on top of the one she had on her stomach.

****************

Sonny’s Office - Monday Morning

****************

Amanda knocked as she entered Sonny’s office. “Hey.”

Sonny looked up at her from his desk. “Hey. Liv send you to check up on the warrant she asked for?”

Amanda sighed. “Yeah.”

“Figured.” Sonny said as he leaned back in his chair. “You guys didn’t give me much to work with, but I think I can talk Connelly into signing it. He’s in court til 1p though.”

Amanda nodded. “Ok. I’ll let her know.” She then plopped down from across his desk. “You got a minute to talk?”

He closed the file he had been reviewing and moved it off to the side. “Yeah, what’s up?”

“I told Liv about the baby today.” Amanda smiled. “I thought about waiting a bit longer, but since I’m a little older this go around I thought it would be best to give her a heads up now. Anyways, she’s really happy for us. She’ll probably bring it up to you the next time she sees you so I wanted to give you a heads up.”

Sonny grinned and nodded.

“But outside of her and our parents, I still want to wait a few more weeks before telling anyone else.”

“My lips are sealed.” Sonny promised her.

Amanda nodded and stood up. “Alright I better get back to the precinct.”

She started to make her way to leave before quickly turning back around again.

“I almost forgot to tell you. I scheduled Jesse’s tonsillectomy for this Friday at 8a. There was a cancellation at the surgical center her doctor wanted to send her to so I scooped it up. Since the Sherman trial starts on Monday and I know you need to prep for that, it’ll probably make more sense for me to be with her so I’ll work it out with Liv.”

Sonny nodded. “Ok. And you’re right. It probably does make more sense for you to take her. But…let me do it.”

Amanda raised her eyebrows. “Sonny, this is a big trial. I mean, knowing Hadid she’ll give you the day, because she’s all about appearances and wouldn’t want anyone to think bad of her if it got out that you asked for time to take your kid into surgery and she denied it, but she’s gonna be pissed and will make you pay for it later.”

Sonny sighed and shrugged. “Probably. But I’m in good shape for the trial. Yeah, there’s a chance somethin’ could come up but I have Rebecca from Corporate Counsel sittin’ in as my second chair on the off chance the defense decides to call you to the stand and if anything major comes up that I can’t handle remotely from a computer she can take care of it.”

He got up from his chair, walked over to Amanda and rested his hands on her shoulders. “I want to do this. It’s important.”

Amanda nodded. “Ok.”

****************

Manhattan Surgical Center - Friday Morning

****************

The day of the tonsillectomy finally arrived and a nervous Jesse laid anxiously in her hospital bed as she waited to be wheeled in for surgery.

Sonny took her hand and gently rubbed his thumb over her knuckles. “I know you’re nervous Jess, but you’re not even goin’ to remember any of it. Your doctor is gonna give you somethin’ to make you sleepy and when you wake up those pesky tonsils will be gone.”

“But it’s going to hurt, isn’t it?” Jesse asked worriedly.

“You’re throat will be sore for a while.” He told her. “And it might be a little hard to eat and speak for a bit, but it’ll start to feel better in a few days.”

The little blonde nodded and then asked, “You’ll be here when I wake up?”

“Yes.” He reassured her. “I’ll be right here waitin’ for you. I’m not goin’ anywhere, ok?”

She gave him a small smile and nodded again. Just then Jesse’s nurse, a young brunette named Shannen, entered.

“You ready to go Jesse?” She asked smiling down at her.

“Yes.” Jesse whispered out.

Sonny stood up from his seat by Jesse’s bed, let go of her hand and gave her a kiss on the forehead. “I’ll see you soon.”

He then watched as Shannen wheeled Jesse out of the room for her procedure.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

A short while later the procedure was finished and as Jesse’s eyes slowly started to flutter open she saw Sonny sitting by her bedside, right where he said he’d be.

“Hey kiddo.” He said smiling at her softly and taking his hand into hers. “How ya feelin’?”

Jesse cringed a little bit and whispered very softly. “My throat really hurts.”

“I know it does. And I know the last thing you probably want to do is eat or drink, but you haven’t had anything in a while and it’s important to get somethin’ in your stomach so do you think you can try for me?”

Jesse nodded.

Sonny adjusted her pillows and helped her sit up a bit more in her bed. He then opened up a juice box and put it up to her mouth. Jesse drank about half of it and then stopped. She then very shakily reached toward a small container of applesauce that was sitting next to her, but Sonny stopped her.

“I got it.” He said, not wanting her to spill it all over herself. Sonny peeled the top off, spooned some of it up and fed it to her.

“I haven’t fed you like this since you were just a little baby.” Sonny told her smiling.

“You used to feed me when I was a baby?” Jesse whispered after slowly swallowing another small spoonful of the applesauce.

Sonny nodded. “All the time. You were actually the first one I ever fed.”

“I was?” She quietly asked.

“Yup.” He said as he scooped up another spoonful and gave it to her. “And even though I have a few nieces older than you, you were the first I used to swaddle up like a little burrito. The first I ever gave a bath to. The first poopy diaper I ever changed and the first one to fall asleep on my chest.”

“Really?” She whispered, looking surprised.

Sonny nodded as he set the now empty applesauce container down. “I wasn’t around everyday like I am now, but I was there a lot and you and I…we shared a lot of firsts together. I learned how to be a dad through you Jess. How to care for and love someone else more than myself.”

She remained quiet in an effort to rest her voice but smiled brightly at him.

“And you know what else?”

Jesse shook her head no.

“While I love you, Billie, and this new baby on the way all the same, because you came into my life first I’ll have always loved you the longest and that’s a pretty special thing, don’t you think?”

Jesse grinned and nodded.

The two sat together for a little while longer before Shannen eventually returned to check in on Jesse.

“How’s our patient doing?” The nurse asked the little blonde.

“Ok.” Jesse stated quietly.

Shannen nodded. “We’re going to have you rest for a little while longer to make sure everything is good and then you’ll be able to go home.”

“And guess what’s waitin’ for ya in the freezer at home Jess.” Sonny teased her.

“What?” She asked curiously.

His eyes widened and he grinned. “Rainbow sherbet!”

“My favorite.” She murmured.

Shannen smiled and then turned her attention to Sonny.

“Mr. Carisi, the front desk needs you to fill out her discharge paperwork.”

Sonny nodded and stood up. “Ok. I’ll be right back, Jesse.”

Jesse quickly reached for his arm in an effort to stop him. When he turned around to face her she hugged him tightly. “Thank you for taking care of me today.” She whispered out.

“Of course.” Sonny said as he kissed her on the cheek. “And I always will. I love you so much.”

“I love you too.”

He then released himself from Jesse’s grasp and made his way out of the room to fill out the paperwork.

“You have such an awesome dad.” Shannen said as she took a seat on Jesse’s bed and pulled the covers up over her better.

Jesse nodded and whispered. “He’s the best.”

****************

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Friday Night

****************

“You know, for having to get both her tonsils AND adenoids removed and not being able to talk above a whisper or eat very well, Jesse was in one the best moods I’ve seen in a really long time.” Amanda said as she finished brushing her hair and got up from her bedroom vanity.

“We had a moment today that I think went a long way.” Sonny said as he propped his pillows up and got into bed.

Amanda headed over to the bed and slid under the covers next to Sonny. “I’m not sure what you said to her and I won’t pry, but she seems so much happier so I know whatever it was, it meant a lot to her. And it means a lot to me.”

Sonny pulled Amanda in close to him and caressed her cheek. “And you all mean everything to me.”

He leaned in and kissed her.

“Our party of five is going to be just fine.” She said as she rested her head on his shoulder.

“We will be.” Sonny stated confidently.

The two the sat together quietly in bed for a short while before eventually turning off the lights and going to sleep.

****************

One Year and Three Months Later

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Sunday Morning

****************

When Jesse, who had just finished her first ever two week sleep away camp upstate, entered into the apartment with Amanda, she was greeted by Billie and Sonny, a big huge handmade “Welcome Home Jesse!” banner, streamers and balloons.

“Welcome back!” Sonny and Billie yelled out in unison.

“This is all for me?!” Jesse asked as she looked around in awe and ran over to give Sonny and her little sister a hug.

“Of course.” Sonny told her as he bent down to her eye level. “We’re happy you had fun at camp, but we all really missed you and glad you’re finally home. It hasn’t been the same without you.”

Jesse grinned. “I missed you all too.”

Just then a loud excited shriek came from the nursery.

“I think Grace knows you’re here.” Sonny said as he stood back up and went to go get the baby from her crib. He returned a few moments later with Grace, who’s eyes lit up upon seeing Jesse and immediately began reaching out for her.

“Gracie!” Jesse excitedly greeted her baby sister as she scooped her up into arms and twirled her around.

She then walked over to the couch with her and sat down. They were both quickly joined by Billie.

Amanda set Jesse’s suitcase down on the floor and headed over to Sonny. The two watched as Gracie rested her head on Jesse’s chest and giggled at her two older sisters making funny faces at her.

“I love the way they love each other.” Sonny whispered to his wife as he wrapped his arm around her.

“So do I.” Amanda said quietly. “So do I.”

They stood silently observing for a bit longer before Sonny finally yelled out, “Who wants to help me make waffles?”

“Me!” Both girls shouted out simultaneously and headed toward the kitchen.

Amanda took Gracie from Jesse and smiled as she watched both her older girls happily roll up their sleeves and get to work.

Chapter Text

****************

Manhattan

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Saturday Afternoon

****************

Liv, Kat and Phoebe stood in the living room quietly observing as Amanda’s mother struggled to zip her daughter into her wedding dress.

“Jesus, Amanda.” Beth Anne huffed, as she let go of the zipper and crossed her arms in frustration. “This fit you perfect at your last fitting. What’ve you been shoving your face with these past two weeks?”

Amanda rolled her eyes. “I’ll get it zipped. Can you please help Sienna with the girls and make sure they’re all set?”

Her mother sighed, but nodded and headed down the hall toward Jesse and Billie’s bedroom.

Phoebe walked up to Amanda. “Let me try.” She gently attempted to zip up the dress and then, when that failed, put a bit more muscle into it, but like Beth Anne couldn’t get it.

A now very embarrassed Amanda’s face started to turn red. She found her gaze briefly lock with Liv’s, who eyed her a bit curiously but remained quiet.

Kat approached the blonde. “Take in a deep breath and I’m going to zip ya in on three, ok?”

Amanda nodded.

Kat furrowed her brows. “One, two—“

On two Kat quickly zipped the zipper up, catching Amanda off guard. However, her little trick seemed to work and she was able to fully zip the bride to be into her gown.

“You can breathe, right?” A concerned looking Liv asked her. “It’s not too tight?”

Amanda shook her head. “It’s fine. I’m good.” She turned her attention to the younger brunette. “Thanks, Kat.”

Amanda then bit her lip and asked the trio of ladies before her. “So what do you think?”

Liv, Kat and Phoebe stood admiring a fully made up Amanda in her wedding dress, with her light blonde hair pulled back into a low updo.

“Stunning.” Liv said smiling brightly. “Absolutely stunning.”

“You sure are.” Phoebe agreed.

“Carisi’s going to lose it when he sees you.” Kat said grinning.

She then headed toward the tote bag she had left on the floor in the kitchen and pulled out a bottle of champagne. “Ok time for a toast. Rollins, where do you keep your glasses?”

Amanda waved her hand. “Kat, the girls are right down the hall.”

Kat rolled her eyes as she looked around the cabinets. “We’re not getting wasted. Just a little congratulatory sip.” She quickly located the glasses, and poured a small amount of champagne into four of them. She then handed one to each of the ladies.

“Rollins...” Kat began as she raised her glass in the air. “We’re all really happy that you and Carisi FINALLY managed to get your shit together after seven plus years of will you or won’t you.”

Liv and Phoebe laughed, while Amanda playfully rolled her eyes, but smiled.

“But seriously, you are two of the best people I know. I hope you enjoy this moment. Enjoy this day. And enjoy living happily ever after.”

The four ladies smiled and clanked their glasses together. Kat, Liv, Phoebe and Amanda each brought their glasses to their mouths for a small sip, but just before the champagne reached her lips, Amanda subtly pulled the glass back and set it down on one of the living room end tables.

“I’ll be right back.” She told the women.

Amanda quickly made her way to go look in on Jesse and Billie, who were both adorably dressed in matching light pink dresses with their hair neatly put together in identical blonde fishtail braids.

Amanda looked down at her daughters. “You both look so beautiful!” She exclaimed as she bent down and gave them each a hug.

“So do you mom.” Jesse said smiling.

“You look just like Elsa!” Billie followed up as she stared at her mother in awe.

Amanda grinned and fixed her lips to respond before being interrupted by Beth Anne.

“Amanda, you forgot to put on your necklace.” Her mother reminded her. “It’s on your dresser in your room.”

She nodded then turned her attention back to the girls. “Try not to touch your hair or get your dresses wrinkled, ok? “

Both Jesse and Billie nodded and then made their way over to Sienna who was waiting by their beds with a bottle of pink nail polish to paint the girls’ nails with.

Amanda then exited their bedroom and headed into her own to retrieve her necklace. As she sat down at her vanity to put it on, she heard a knock on the door.

“Come in.”

Liv slowly entered and closed the door behind her.

“Wow that’s a pretty necklace.” She remarked as she made her way over to her detective and helped her put it on.

“It was my grandma’s. My ‘something old.’”

Liv nodded. “So have you told Carisi yet?”She asked as she clasped the necklace together and straightened it out.

“Told him what?” Amanda coyly asked.

Liv raised an eyebrow at her.

The blonde sighed and then smiled softly. “Is it that obvious?”

Her captain chuckled. “To your mom and Kat? No. Pretty sure Phoebe caught your little drink trick like I did and might be wondering, but she didn’t say anything to me about it.”

Amanda nodded and stood up. “I haven’t told him yet. Sonny’s always surprising me with things so I came up with a special way to tell him I’m pregnant on our honeymoon. Trying to keep it under wraps until then.”

Liv grinned and pulled her in for a gentle hug, being sure not to mess up her makeup or hair in the process. “I’m so happy for you guys. I know this was something you both were hoping for in the near future and while it might be a little sooner than you were planning, I’m glad its happening for you two.”

Amanda gave her captain a small smile. “Thanks, Liv. I’m really excited about it and I know he’s going to be too.”

“And your secret is safe with me.” Liv tried to reassure her, adding, “I’ll try to make sure Kat doesn’t shove any more alcohol at you.”

Amanda laughed. “That’d be great.”

The two then made headed out, with Liv making her way to the living room with the rest of the ladies and Amanda going back to Jesse and Billie’s room to finish getting them ready for the big day.

****************

Staten Island

Amanda and Sonny’s Wedding - Early Saturday Evening

****************

The ceremony, set in an outdoor pavilion near a makeshift lake in the middle of a flourishing garden, was about to begin. Both Sonny and Amanda’s family and friends were all in their seats and an excited Sonny stood at the alter next to the officiant, ready for his bride to walk down the aisle.

But when the music started their was no Amanda in sight.

Sonny nervously locked eyes with Liv, who sat close by near the front, then with Jim Rollins who shrugged at him as he stood waiting by the old, vintage style reception hall that Amanda was supposed to be coming out of.

Beth Anne, who was seated in the front row with Jesse and Billie on each side of her, started to get up to go see what was keeping Amanda, but Liv, who was sitting directly behind her, quietly told her she’d go check and got up from her chair.

The captain brushed passed Jim and headed inside toward the room she knew Amanda had been inside waiting in.

Liv walked in and found the blonde sitting in a chair with her eyes closed, rubbing her temples.

“What’s wrong?” She asked as she approached her, looking concerned.

“I can’t go out there.”

Liv’s eyes widened. “What do you mean you can’t go out there?”

Amanda opened her eyes and sighed. “I mean, if I go out there right now there’s an 90% chance I’m gonna blow chunks all over him.”

Liv made a face. “Morning sickness?”

Amanda nodded. “I don’t know who’s bright idea it was to call it that, because I’m pretty sure I’ve never ever been hit with it in the morning.”

“I’ll be right back.” Liv said as she briefly left the room to go to a drink machine she had passed on her way into the room. She pulled out some money from her purse, selected a ginger ale, and then headed back to the room.

“Drink some of this.” Her captain said as she handed her the bottle. “And keep taking deep breaths. It should pass.”

Amanda took a few sips of the ginger ale and then breathed in and out deeply. She drank a little bit more from the bottle and then sat silently for another couple of minutes before looking up at Liv. “I think I’m good.” She set the bottle down on a nearby table and got up from her seat.

Liv nodded. “Ok. I’m gonna go let them know we can start.”

Amanda reached her hand out, grabbed Liv’s and gave it a light squeeze. “Thank you.”

Liv smiled softly and then quickly exited the room and out the building. She let Jim know Amanda was ready and on her way back to her seat gave Sonny a thumbs up to let him know everything was ok and the ceremony could begin.

A very anxious looking Sonny sighed in relief and then motioned to the musicians to let them know they could start playing the wedding march again.

This time Amanda came out right on cue. She smiled at Sonny, who was staring out at her in awe, as she grabbed a hold of her dad’s arm and walked down the aisle toward him.

When they reached the altar, Jim gave Sonny a pat on the back. He then took his seat in the front next to Jesse.

“Sorry I’m late.” Amanda whispered to her fiancé.

“You’re worth the wait, Manda.” Sonny quietly told her as he scanned her up and down. “My God, you look so beautiful.”

“You don’t look too shabby yourself.” She said, giving him a small smirk and wink.

Just then, the officiant leaned in and whispered to them. “Are you ready?”

The couple, keeping their gaze fixated on each other, quietly nodded.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to celebrate the union of Dominick Carisi Jr and Amanda Rollins…”

XXXXXXXXXXXX

“Do you Dominick take Amanda to be your lawfully wedded wife? To have and to hold. To love and to cherish. From this day forward. For as long as you both shall live?”

“I do.” Sonny said through a big grin and then slowly placed Amanda’s ring on her left ring finger.

The officiant then looked over at Amanda.

“Do you Amanda take Dominick to be your lawfully wedded husband? To have and to hold. To love and to cherish. From this day forward. For as long as you both shall live?”

Amanda vigorously nodded and smiled. “I do.” She then slid the silver wedding band onto his left ringer.

“By the power invested in me by the State of New York, I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

He then turned to Sonny. “You may kiss your bride.”

Sonny stepped in closer to Amanda, placed his hands on her hips, leaned in and brought his lips to hers for a kiss and everyone stood up and applauded.

When the couple finally parted, Jesse and Billie ran up to the altar. Amanda pulled Jesse in for a side hug while Sonny scooped a giggly Billie up into his arms.

“I’m so glad you’re finally married!” Jesse told the couple.

“Me too.” Billie chimed in. She then rested her head on Sonny’s shoulder and asked him. “Is it time to eat now? I’m hungry.”

Jesse rolled her eyes at her little sister. “You’re always hungry.”

Sonny chuckled as he shifted Billie to his left hip and told the little girl, “Yes. Time to eat. Let’s go on inside.”

He then took Amanda’s left hand into his right and the foursome, along with the wedding guests, made their way inside to the venue’s reception hall.

****************

Amanda and Sonny’s Cocktail Hour/Reception - Saturday Evening

****************

“Girls all set?” Sonny, who was sitting at their table, asked as she headed toward him.

Amanda nodded. “Yes. Sienna’s got them, Mason, and Bella’s kids all set up in their little room. I’m so glad we have her help. She’s been such a lifesaver.”

“She has.” Sonny agreed. He then got up from his chair. “Alright, let’s go take advantage of this open bar that my parents insisted they pay for.” He said laughing.

Amanda cringed internally, but feigned a smile. “Ok.”

Just then, the couple was approached by Fin and Phoebe, who each had two drinks in hand.

“Congratulations, you two.” Phoebe told the twosome. “The ceremony was beautiful.”

“Almost as nice as our non-wedding.” Fin added in, smirking. He then handed Sonny one of the glasses he was holding. “Bar is already crowded so we grabbed you both drinks.”

Sonny raised his glass to Fin. “It’s where we were headed so thanks for savin’ us from the line.”

While Fin and Sonny chatted, Phoebe handed Amanda the second glass and subtly mouthed to her that it was non-alcoholic.

The blonde gave her a small, appreciative smile and accepted it and the two joined in the on conversation their significant others were having together, though Amanda was only halfheartedly engaging. While she was grateful for Phoebe in that moment, she was starting to find the process of keeping her secret daunting.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Once dinner ended up rolling around and Sonny gave her a peculiar look after she swapped out the mercury filled fish entree she had pleaded to be put on the menu, Amanda was ready to throw in the towel.

“I’m just going to tell him.” Amanda whispered quietly to Liv as the two stood watching Sonny fast dance with Jesse, who had, with permission, left the kids area to boogie for a bit.

“Really?” Liv asked, though she didn’t seem all that surprised when she did.

“Between my dress issues earlier today and then again a few minutes ago, feelin nauseous, dodging drinks. I’m over it. It’s time. Besides, a third of these guests are detectives. Someone’s bound to put two to two together like you and Phoebe did and blow up my spot. The last thing I want is for Sonny to hear about the baby from someone else.”

Liv nodded. “I know you had a more elaborate reveal planned in a couple days, but doing it tonight, here, at your wedding is special too. Even if years down the road Carisi forgets some of the little details about how you told him—though knowing him he won’t—he’ll never forget how he felt in that very moment and that’s what really matters.”

“You’re right.” Amanda said as she continued to watch her husband and daughter dance together.

Just then the music slowed down and the lights dimmed. Amanda excused herself and headed toward the floor.

“Mind if I cut in?” She asked Jesse as she gently placed a hand on her little girl’s shoulder.

Jesse shook her head no as she stepped away and stood over by Liv.

“There you are.” Sonny said as he placed his hands around Amanda’s waist and pulled her in close to him.

She remained quiet, but smiled softly as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and the two swayed together to the music playing in the background.

About halfway through the song Amanda guided them to a secluded corner of the dance floor where there wasn’t a soul in sight.

“There’s something I want you to know.” She said as she took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly.

“What is it?”

Amanda stood pondering for a bit before speaking again. “How does that old bridal rhyme go?”

“Something borrowed…” She then gestured to the diamond earrings she was wearing that Beth Anne had lent her.

“Something blue…” Amanda held up her right hand and showed off the blue sapphire ring on her pointer finger.

Sonny started to eye her curiously, but said nothing and let her continue on.

“Something old…” The blonde gently lifted up her grandmother’s necklace.

Amanda then took both of her hands, placed them over her husband’s, and then slowly moved them from her hips to her midsection. “Something new.”

Sonny stood looking a bit perplexed for a few seconds before it quickly registered in his brain what she meant. His eyes grew large and his mouth opened wide. “We’re gonna have a baby?”

Amanda nodded, smiled, and nervously bit her lip.

Even though no one was around he brought Amanda out of the room and into the empty hallway. He then pulled her in for a kiss, lifted her up into his arms and twirled her around once.

“I can’t believe you’re pregnant.” A shocked, but excited, Sonny said to her. “When did you find out?”

“Early last week.” Amanda confessed, quickly adding. “I had a really cool way I wanted to tell you on our honeymoon so I was trying to wait until then and I had been doing a good job keeping it a secret up until today.”

“How do you mean?” Sonny asked curiously. “What happened today?”

“What didn’t happen?” She said as she leaned up against the wall. “I’m only 8 weeks. Still too early to even be telling people yet, but I’ve already started gaining baby weight and I could barely fit into my dress. Then I had Kat trying to shove champagne at me. Got super nauseous right as I’m supposed to be walking down the aisle and—“

“So that’s what the issue was.” Sonny interrupted. He then gave her a sympathetic smile. “Oh honey, I’m sorry.”

“Sorry for what? Knocking me up BEFORE the wedding instead of after like the plan?” She asked laughing.

Sonny threw his hands up. “Hey you can’t blame me for what the universe decided.”

Amanda raised an eyebrow. “Oh the universe? So it was the universe that chose not to pull—“

“Alright, alright.” Sonny said cutting her off as he leaned up next to her on the wall. “What I was trying to say is that I’m sorry you’ve been silently dealing with all these things and I really hope it didn’t put too much of a damper onto today.”

Amanda intertwined her hands with his. “It didn’t.” She reassured him. “Despite the tiny hiccups, today was still the best day ever.”

He nodded and smiled.

“And I wasn’t exactly alone with all this.” She admitted to him. “Liv and Phoebe figured it out. That’s another reason I thought I should tell you now. Considering we have a bunch of super sleuths as our wedding guests.”

Sonny began connecting more dots together. “So that drink she gave you—“

“Sparkling grape juice.”

He nodded and chuckled softly.

The two stood together quietly for a bit longer before Sonny broke the silence. “I still can’t believe it. I get to be ‘Papa’ to three. THREE. We’re going to be outnumbered, Manda.”

Amanda laughed. “I know. Are you ready for it?”

Sonny grinned and caressed her cheek with his free hand. “Ready.”

The two kissed again and then Amanda motioned her head toward the door. “We’ve been gone a while. We better get back in there.”

As the two made their way back inside the main room they noticed Velasco walking towards them with three double shots in hand.

“Oh no.” Amanda muttered underneath her breath.

“Congrats, guys.” Velasco said as he attempted to hand them each one of the shots. The couple tried to politely decline, but he still managed to shove them into their hands anyways.

“Come on. I actually had to buy these tequila shots. They weren’t part of your open bar. Anyways, it’s my way of saying congratulations…”

He then turned his attention to Amanda. “And to thank you for not uninviting me over what happened with the Fletcher case because I know you’re still super pissed at me about it.”

Amanda pressed her lips together as she tried to not think about the work mishap, caused by Velasco’s inexperience, that almost got her in hot water with McGrath. “Uh huh.”

Velasco fixed his mouth to speak when he was interrupted by a loud boom. He turned his head to see what it was and when he did Amanda quietly nudged Sonny in the arm and held her shot up to him. He sighed, but grabbed it and took the shot. He winced and then handed the empty glass back to her just as Velasco turned back toward them.

“So it looks like you decided to accept my proverbial olive branch.” He said smiling.

She nodded. “We’re good.”

Velasco raised his glass at Carisi and the two both downed the shots in their hands. He then excused himself and went back to mingling with some other guests.

“You alright?” She asked him. “I know how much you hate tequila.”

Sonny made a face. “How’s that one rhyme go?” He asked, jokingly parroting back to Amanda’s words earlier. “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor. Well the floor’s where I’m gonna be headed if I have to down one more sip of anythin’ else tonight. You might be eating for two, but I definitely can’t drink for two.” He said chuckling softly.

“Eating for two?!”

Both Amanda and Sonny simultaneously cringed and turned their heads to see Kat standing before them.

“You miss heard.” Sonny lied as he and Amanda started walking away in an effort to escape from Kat and the questions they knew were coming.

“I did not. Amanda’s pregnant.” Kat said to them quietly as she followed closely behind the duo. “Hey, I got dibs on godmother. Liv’s already done it twice anyways.”

The couple stopped and raised an eyebrow at her.

“Dibs?” Amanda laughed out.

“Kat, what are you? 12?” Sonny followed up.

“So I’m guessing by your responses I have a reason to call dibs?”

Amanda and Sonny playfully rolled their eyes and smiled, but remained tight lip.

Kat gave them both a smirk and gestured toward the speakers. “I’ll leave it alone for now, because this is my jam but I plan on finding you two later to finish this conversation.” She then made her way to the dance floor.

Once Kat was out of sight, the two shook their heads and laughed. They then headed over to a quiet, empty corner on the other side of the room.

“What a night it’s been.” Amanda said to him. “And it’s still so early.”

“I know.” Sonny said as he rubbed his temples.

“Starting to feel a buzz?” She asked.

“Oh yeah.” He admitted.

“Well baby and I appreciate you helping us out with that one.” Amanda joked.

“Anything for baby.” Sonny said as he discreetly placed his hand on her stomach. “And anything for my baby’s mama.”

Amanda raised an eyebrow and hit him lightly in the chest. “I might’ve been just your baby mama this morning, but I’m much more than that now.” She playfully reminded him.

Sonny grinned and nodded. “That you are. You’re Mrs. Carisi. My wife. God, I love the way that sounds.”

“Me too.” She said as she rested her head on his chest. “Me too.”

Chapter Text

*****************

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Saturday Morning

******************

“Billie, if we don’t leave in the next fifteen minutes we’re going to be late for your dress rehearsal so you gotta eat fast, okay?” Amanda said as she adjusted the four-year-old’s black tutu and then ushered her into the kitchen to eat her cereal.

Once Billie was settled at the kitchen table eating her breakfast, Amanda made her way into the bathroom to do something she had been trying to do for the past few days. Though her youngest daughter was close by and she was a little limited in time, Sonny and Jesse had left earlier in the morning to go to her soccer tournament out in Suffolk County and this was probably the emptiest and quietest the apartment was ever going to be.

Amanda closed then locked the door behind her and began rummaging under the bathroom sink in search of the pregnancy test she had hidden way. She quickly unboxed it and headed toward the toilet.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Not wanting to hog up the bathroom in case Billie needed to use it, Amanda decided to exit and wait for the results in her bedroom. She entered her room, closed the door and set the test down on her nightstand. The blonde then got herself dressed to take Billie to dance.

When she finished she checked her watch and saw that enough time had passed and that the results should be ready. Amanda headed over to the nightstand and gasped in surprise when she saw the word ‘Pregnant’ displayed on the stick.

Amanda picked up the test, sat down on her bed and stared at it in disbelief. Though she had a strongly inkling this would be the end result, hence her decision to take the test in the first place, it was surprising to see. While her and Sonny had casually discussed having a baby together, they hadn’t been trying and Amanda was still on birth control. Nevertheless, she was thrilled to discover that they would be adding to their brood and knew Sonny would be too.

“I can’t believe I’m pregnant.” She said out loud to herself, smiling.

“What’s pregnant mean?”

Amanda’s eyes nearly popped out of her head upon hearing Billie’s voice. She turned her head and saw the little girl had, unbeknownst to her, opened the door and entered into her bedroom while Amanda was deep in thought.

After Billie had nearly walked in on her and Sonny having sex a few months back, the couple sat the little girl down and talked to her about things like closed doors, privacy, knocking, etc. And though Billie had been a lot better about not barging in on someone unexpectedly, she still occasionally forgot and this was unfortunately one of those times.

“I’m done eating.” She told her mother as she walked up to her. Billie then repeated her question. “What’s pregnant mean?” She then pointed at the test in Amanda’s hand and asked, “What’s that?”

Amanda sat quietly for a moment as she pondered how to proceed. The last thing she wanted was Billie knowing about this so early, before she gotten a chance to make sure everything was okay with the baby and tell Sonny about it all. Since Billie didn’t know what the word pregnant meant, she decided she’d try to brush it off and see how it goes.

“It’s nothing important.” Amanda told her daughter as she set the test aside and stood up. “Boring adult stuff I don’t want you to worry about, alright?”

A seemingly content Billie nodded.

A relieved looking Amanda smiled down at her. “Ok, let’s get going.”

The duo headed out of the main bedroom and toward the living room, where Amanda gathered Billie’s things and then they both left the apartment together.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Amanda quickly buckled Billie into her booster seat in the back of her suv, hopped into the driver’s side and then began making the drive to Billie’s dance studio.

“So remember Billie after your dress rehearsal is over, I’m going to bring you to your dad’s and your going to stay with him for the long weekend and then Sonny or I will come pick you up on Monday, ok?”

Billie briefly looked up at her mother and nodded before quickly redirecting her attention back on the game she was playing on her tablet.

As Amanda drove on she became increasingly curious as to what Billie would think about a new baby coming into the family, despite it not being the right time for her to officially know it would be happening soon. She tried to think of a subtle way to broach the topic.

“Are you happy Cora will be back in class today?” Amanda asked, referencing one of her daughter’s really good friends.

Billie nodded and smiled. “Yeah it’s always more fun when she’s there too.”

Amanda tapped her thumbs on the steering while waiting at a red light. “Didn’t her stepmom have a baby a few months ago?”

“Yeah.” Billie said as she switched off her tablet and placed it off to the side. “His name is Cole. I got to play with him a couple weeks ago. He’s so cute. I wish I had a baby brother.”

Amanda remained quiet, but smiled softly; happy to hear that Billie would likely not only be open to the idea of having a new sibling, but be fairly enthusiastic about it.

*****************

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Saturday Evening

******************

Later on that day, Sonny and Jesse, who was rocking some hardware around her neck, finally got home from Long Island.

“We came in second.” Jesse said as she walked up to her mother, who was sitting down in the living room watching tv, and showed her the medal. “The Sharks beat us in the championship match on a penalty kick.” She said sighing.

“Hey, second is nothing to hang your head about.” Amanda told her daughter as she brought Jesse in for a hug. “Sonny sent me a bunch of videos he took from your matches and you and the rest of your team did so good.”

“They sure did.” Sonny chimed in as he placed his hands on Jesse’s shoulders. “Especially the next Alex Morgan over here. This one scored so many goals today.”

Amanda smiled as she watched Jesse blush and grin up at him.

“Alright, why don’t you go get washed up?” She told her daughter.

Jesse nodded and headed off down the hall toward her bedroom.

“Pizza tonight?” Amanda asked as she watched Sonny make his way into the adjacent kitchen.

“Works for me.” He said as he headed toward the Keurig. “You want a cup?”

Amanda shook her head no so he proceeded to make one just for himself.

“I wish I could’ve gone to see Jesse play today.” Amanda said sighing.

“But someone had to bring Billie to dance and then handle her drop off.” Sonny said as he removed his cup from the machine and took a sip. “It sucks when they have things goin’ on at the same time, but it’s gonna happen every now and then.”

He headed back into the living room and sat down next to his wife. “So how’d her dress rehearsal go?”

“It was a little chaotic.” Amanda admitted, chuckling. “But that’s to be expected with a group of four year olds. They all looked really cute though. I can’t wait for you and Jesse to see her when they perform it.”

He smiled and took a sip of his coffee. “I’m sure she’s going to be the best ballerina on the stage.”

Sonny rubbed his free hand up and down her thigh. “So how was the rest of the afternoon?”

A small part of Amanda considered telling him right then and there about the positive pregnancy test, but ultimately decided to stick to her original plan of verifying it with a doctor and making sure everything was ok first.

“Pretty uneventful.” She told him as she snuggled closer into him. “Just hung out with Frannie.”

He nodded and wrapped his arm around her. The two sat together for a little while longer before Amanda eventually got up to order the pizza and Sonny settled into the couch and flicked on a hockey game.

*****************

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Sunday Evening

******************

When Amanda got called in by Liv to help with a case, and with Billie still at Al’s and Jesse at a sleepover, Sonny found himself alone in the apartment the following night and he took the opportunity to catch up on some of his work.

A couple of hours after Amanda had left she ended up calling him.

“Hey what’s up?” He asked as he placed his cell on speaker and continued typing away on his laptop.

‘Al texted me.’ Amanda relayed to him from the other end of the line. ‘He has to deal with an emergency at the hospital and needs to drop Billie off tonight. You’re home still, right?’

“Yeah.” Sonny said as he stopped typing and ran a hand through his hair. “When’s he comin?”

‘He should be there in like 30 minutes.’

“Ok.”

‘Thanks, I’ll see you and Billie when I get home. Hoping I won’t be out too much longer.’

“Alright be safe.” He reminded her. “Love you. Bye.”

Sonny ended the phone call, closed his laptop and began putting his work up in anticipation of Billie’s return home.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Billie sat quietly, staring aimlessly out of the window in the backseat of Al’s car as he finished wrapping up a call with his sister through his hands free set while he drove her back to Amanda and Sonny’s.

“I know Sarah doesn’t want to re-home her cat, but it isn’t a good idea for her to keep it since her husband works out of town so much.”

‘Why not?’

“Because she’s about to have a baby. Pregnant women shouldn’t be handling litter boxes. There’s a chance she could get Toxoplasma. Especially since her cat goes outside. But hey, what do I know. I’m only a doctor…”

Billie’s eyes perked up a bit at this point in her dad’s phone call as the little girl began putting two and two together in her head from her conversation earlier in the day with her mother.

Once her dad had gotten off the phone with her aunt, Billie, looking for confirmation, stated to him, “Pregnant means you’re gonna have a baby.”

Al, noticing it had started to rain a bit, turned on his windshield wipers. “Yes. Sarah is your cousin and she’s going to be having a baby soon.”

“So is my mom!” Billie exclaimed excitedly.

He raised an eyebrow. “What?”

“Mommy’s going to have a baby.” The little blonde said giddily. “She’s pregnant.”

Al was extremely taken aback by Billie’s revelation, but tried his best not to show it. Instead of commenting, he simply gave his daughter a small smile and kept his focus on the road.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

“Hi Sonny!” Billie yelled out to him as he opened the apartment door. She then quickly brushed by him before he could greet her back and scurried off into her bedroom, with Frannie following close behind her.

“I guess congratulations are in order.” Al said in a monotone pitch of voice that sounded anything but congratulatory as he handed him Billie’s bags.

Sonny looked at him peculiarly.

“So I’m judging by your reaction Billie wasn’t supposed to tell me you and Amanda are having a baby?”

A shocked Sonny’s eyes immediately grew large as he began processing what was being told to him. His mind started to race. Amanda was pregnant?! Billie knew?! Sonny had a million questions for his wife, but in that moment his main concern was to not let on to Al that he knew about all this before he did.

“It’s fine that she told you.” Sonny said in as composed of a nature as he could. “And, thanks.”

Al nodded. “I’m glad Amanda’s finally getting what she wants. Well, almost everything she wants.”

Sonny raised an eyebrow at him. “What do you mean by that?”

“Oh come on Carisi. You and I both know Amanda would rather you were Billie’s dad and if she could, she’d erase me from her world in a second.” Al said laughing.

Sonny was surprised by Al’s frankness and could sense there was some underlying hurt there, but he didn’t really know the best way to respond to him in that moment so he remained quiet.

“I need to get going.” Al finally said to him. “Can you tell Billie I said bye and will see her soon?”

Sonny nodded and then closed door behind Al as he exited.

He then leaned up against it, closed his eyes, rubbed his temples and stood, deep in thought.

*****************

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Sunday Night

******************

Amanda ended up getting off work much later than anticipated and though he typically liked to let her relax and decompress on a night like this, he knew that they needed to talk and it couldn’t wait. When she emerged into their bedroom after getting out of the shower and finished getting dressed he wasted no time bringing up the events that occurred earlier on in the evening.

“Manda, I know you’ve had a long night and all you want to do is sleep but…we really need to talk.”

He motioned for her to sit down next to him on the edge of the bed and she did.

“What about?” She asked, looking concerned.

He took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Are you pregnant?”

Amanda’s mouth opened wide in surprise. “Billie told you?”

“No, Al.”

Amanda raised her eyebrows. “Al?!” She sighed. “I’m…so sorry that’s how you found out about this. It’s definitely not how I envisioned it.”

Sonny nodded and then looked directly into her eyes. “So it’s true? You are pregnant?”

Amanda grinned and nodded. “I wanted to wait another day or two to tell you. After I had a seen a doctor. But yes. I am.”

A smile slowly spread across Sonny’s face.

“So you’re happy about it?” She asked, biting her lip. “I know we weren’t exactly trying for a baby right now.”

“Of course I am.” Sonny said to her as he lovingly caressed her thigh. “We weren’t actively plannin’ for it, but you and I had discussed maybe tryin’ soon so to know you are pregnant and that it all happened easier and quicker than we initially thought it might is such wonderful news. But when and how did Billie find out?”

Amanda sighed as she ran a hand through her wet hair. “I took a test yesterday morning before I brought Billie to dance and she overheard me talking out loud to myself saying ‘I’m pregnant’ and saw the test. She asked me what pregnant meant, so since I knew she didn’t associate the word with a baby I—“

“Tried to sweep it under the rug?” He asked, cutting her off.

Amanda nodded. “I thought it worked. She didn’t ask me about it again. But it looks like at some point she either got curious or the word came up and I’m guessing she asked her dad about it.”

Sonny nodded. “So Jesse—“

“Doesn’t know. But now that Billie really understands it we’re gonna have to tell her about it when she gets home tomorrow. The girls knowing about this so early on isn’t ideal, but it is what it is at this point.”

“Ok.” Sonny said quietly as he took everything in.

Amanda could sense he still had something on his mind and asked, “What else did you want to talk about?”

Sonny stood up and began walking around the room. “It’s what Al said to me after he ‘congratulated’ us.”

Amanda rolled her eyes. “Let me guess. He gave you shit for being my third baby daddy? Or he’s upset because Billie’s gonna have ‘another’ half sibling?”

He shook his head no slowly. “He said he was glad you were finally gettin’ almost everythin’ you wanted.”

She eyed her husband curiously. “What else does he think I want?”

Sonny stopped moving and stared at her intently. “He thinks you’d rather I was Billie’s dad and if you could, you’d erase him from your world.”

Amanda sat quietly for a long time as she took in the surprisingly blunt comment and thought over her ex’s statement.

“He’s not entirely wrong.” Amanda finally whispered out quietly.

Chapter Text

*****************

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Sunday Night

******************

“He thinks you’d rather I was Billie’s dad and if you could, you’d erase him from your world.”

Amanda sat quietly for a long time as she took in the surprisingly blunt comment and thought over her ex’s statement.

“He’s not entirely wrong.” Amanda finally whispered out quietly.

Sonny raised both eyebrows at his wife’s response, but waited before commenting to see if she would continue on and she did.

“If I was given a chance to do things over and was told I could have that exact same child”—she pointed toward Billie’s room—“and she’d biologically be yours, I’d accept it in a heartbeat. Because, though I originally never saw myself having a second baby, I figured if I ever did, it’d be with you. It should’ve been with you.”

She sat quietly for a moment to collect her thoughts and then continued on.

“And that’s because I always knew there was something there between us. A lot earlier than I was willing to admit it to you or anyone else. Since Jesse was just a baby. Seeing how great you were with her is what actually got me seeing you in a different light and led us to forging such a strong connection. One I valued over all others. But I kept you at arms length because I felt like I was too damaged and you deserved someone better. At the same time a part of me thought I’d eventually get my act together sooner than I did and you and I might be a couple someday. Which is why I’m guessing I could never completely let you go in the way I should’ve if I truly wanted you to find happiness with someone else. It’s because deep down, I didn’t.”

Sonny stood stunned by her revelation. He sat back down beside Amanda on the bed but, being at a loss for words remained quiet. Though some of what she said didn’t surprise him, other portions of it had caught him off guard and hit him harder than he anticipated.

Amanda took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Why do you think it was so hard for me to tell you I was pregnant the second time? Because I knew it was going to crush you and I thought any small chance of us being a thing in the future was over. That was part of the reason I even considered giving Al a chance. I figured if I couldn’t get the real happy ending I envisioned for myself that having just short of that would be better than nothing.”

Sonny closed his eyes and rubbed his temples, but said nothing.

“Please, say something.” Amanda said, growing slightly frustrated with his silence.

“What do you want me to say?” He asked, shrugging. “That the whole Al situation wasn’t hurtful? Because at the time, it did feel like a sucker punch considering how close we were. I mean, I didn’t even know you were seein’ someone. And every time I thought I had come to terms with it all, somethin’ always came up. Him asking you to move in. Me bringing you to the hospital and being mistaken as the dad. Watching him propose to you right in front of my face. It was a lot to deal with.”

He stopped for a long while to collect his thoughts and after what felt like an eternity to Amanda finally continued.

“But I did eventually. Because time seems to have a way of healin’ everything. Especially when a lot of that time was spent being a godfather to the little girl who, no matter how much you wish could be here without Al, wouldn’t be.”

Amanda sighed. “I know.”

Sonny furrowed his brows. “Believe it or not I’ve probably spent just as much time as you thinking about ‘what if.’ Especially during nights when it’s the four of us having fun together and enjoyin’ an amazing family moment. How it would’ve been so nice to have been able to jump into our lives together sooner than it happened. But I’ve come to realize that if you and I had tried to pursue things earlier than we did, there’s a very good chance we wouldn’t be here together now.”

He paused to take a breath and then continued to express his thoughts. “During much of those ‘will we or won’t we’ years, you were still dealin’ with a lot of personal issues…with your dad, your sister, internally…not to mention I had my own set of insecurities and problems. And we were workin’ close together as partners. Imagine if we had hooked up in West Virginia like I had wanted to? Or if it had happened a little later on down the line? Things likely would’ve ended up disastrously if we chose to go down that road at that time. We may not have even been able to recover enough to stay friends.”

Sonny took his hand and gently rubbed it up and down Amanda’s back. “I guess what I’m sayin’ is that we need to trust the timing of our lives. Gettin’ together when we did, after we both took the time to work on becomin’ the individuals we wanted to be independent of one another, personally and professionally, is why we work so well as a couple today. Combined with the fact we created some healthy distance work wise and were such good friends to begin with.”

He pulled her in closer to him and rested his hand on her stomach as she laid her head on his shoulder. “Bein’ with you, here and now, raising Jesse, Billie and in a few months this little baby that we created together means the world to me. One slight change in our history would’ve likely lead to a very different present day reality and I wouldn’t want a life that diverged from this very one that we have now.” Sonny concluded.

Amanda nodded her head slowly. “You’re right. Neither would I. Our journey, as much as a small part of me wishes it had gone a bit differently because I would’ve loved to have been where we are now sooner, probably happened exactly how it was meant to.”

The two sat together quietly for a long while before Sonny finally broke it.

“This wasn’t the easiest conversation, but it was honest and I’m glad we had it.”

Amanda nodded. “Me too.”

He then followed up. “And I think sometime in the near future we need to have something similar with Al. By similar, I mean a frank discussion. Because talkin’ with him tonight gave me the impression that this coparenting situation still isn’t where it needs to be and could be better. Especially with the baby comin’ and Billie gettin’ older and startin’ to get involved in more extracurricular activities that the three of us are all going to be helpin’ out with it and attending.”

Amanda tucked a loose strand of her blonde hair behind her ear. “Yeah, it’s needed and long overdue. Maybe we can have a short sit down with him during the next exchange in a few weeks.”

“Ok.” Sonny said yawning, adding, “It’s gettin’ late. How about the three of us get to bed.”

Amanda smiled up at him and nodded.

*****************

6 Weeks Later

Al’s Apartment - Friday Evening

******************

It took a bit longer than anticipated due to busy work schedules, but the three did eventually meet up to chat.

Though Sonny, being an ADA who regularly gave impassioned opening and closing statements before large crowds, had a much better way with words than she did, Amanda knew it was important that she take the lead in this conversation so the three adults sat together quietly as she took a few moments to carefully collect her thoughts before speaking.

“Thanks for sittin’ down with us.” Amanda said as she took a small sip of her decaf coffee. “We thought with Billie starting to get older and with some of the changes that’ll be happening soon in our lives that’ll be effecting her, that it would be good to kind of talk a bit and reset things.”

Al remained quiet, but nodded.

“Sonny told me a little about your conversation the night Billie told you about the baby and I just wanted to say that…while my life would be a whole lot of easier if I did have this perfect little nuclear family and all my kids had the same dad, it’s not my reality or the reality for most. Blended families are the norm. You are her father and I appreciate the fact that you want to be. Because not every child is fortunate enough to have biological dads who are willing and/or able to be in their lives. Jesse being one of them.”

Al nodded. “It’s nice to hear you say that. But there’s something I’ve noticed that makes me wonder if you really mean it.” He then turned his gaze to Sonny. “If all that’s true, how come I hear Billie sometimes call you dad?”

The couple exchanged quick glances at one another and then Sonny spoke up.

“She doesn’t do it nearly as much as I think you think she does.” Sonny cleared his throat and then continued.

“But you’re right, Billie does call me dad from time to time. It’s not somethin’ Amanda and I ever told her to do. I think sometimes it slips out on accident. Other times when we’re out and people refer to me as her dad she goes with it because it’s easy to do in the moment. But I do sometimes think she does it because she genuinely wants to.”

Amanda decided to chime back in at this point. “I imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and I heard her occasionally refer to someone else as mom it would hurt. But the reason we don’t correct her is because she’s four and a half and still sorting things out in her head. Neither of us feel comfortable telling Billie that she can’t say it if she feels as though she wants to in a particular moment. Especially considering how much Sonny loves her, treats her like a daughter and does so much for her on the day to day basis. I don’t think she does it as a slap in the face to you, but more as a way to show an appreciation for him.”

“I hadn’t thought about it in that way before.” Al admitted honestly, pausing for a moment before saying to Sonny. “I want you to know I do appreciate the fact that Billie has you and that you actually love and care about her, rather than tolerate her like I see in a lot of other situations, because you want to be with her mother.”

Sonny nodded. “I do love Billie a whole heck of a lot. And I could tell you weren’t super thrilled when you heard Amanda and I were having a baby. I’m guessin’ because of how that effects Billie, but I want you to know to it’s not going to change how I feel about her and how I treat her. She’ll always be just as much of a priority to me as the new baby is.”

“That’s good to know.” He then added, “And while I was definitely shocked to hear that you two were going to have a baby, I’m not mad about it and I’m sorry if it came across that way. Ya know, I got about a decade over you both age wise and more kids are definitely not in my future. But I had siblings growing up and I’m glad that Billie will get to have that experience as well.”

Amanda and Sonny both nodded.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

The trio continued to chat for a little while longer before Sonny and Amanda eventually made their way out and headed back home.

“How do you think it went?” Amanda asked as she entered into their empty apartment, kicked off her shoes and plopped down on the couch. “Think the three of us will all be besties now?” She jokingly asked, smirking.

Sonny rolled his eyes and laughed as he locked the door and sat down beside her. “Pretty sure we’ll see a pig fly before that were to ever happen. But it’s good to know we can sit and have a civil conversation and hash out any issues that might pop up. Which will happen from time to time.”

She nodded. “I’m glad we had it and cleared the air. Maybe we put some good karma out there that will come back to us in the future. Still, I’m happy it’s over.”

“Same.”

Amanda curled up a little closer to him. “With Billie at Al’s and Jesse at my mom’s this is the first weekend where it’s been just the two of us in a long time. And it’ll probably happen even less often once this little guy graces us with his presence in a few months.” She then pointed down toward her stomach.

“I know.” Sonny said as he rested his hand on her burgeoning abdomen. “I still can’t believe we went from casually talkin’ bout having a baby, to boom, pregnant. Then I blink and you’re startin’ to show. It’s crazy how fast everythin’ is moving.”

“Well someone once told me to trust the timing of our lives.” Amanda said as she gave him a small smile. “So I guess we’re going in the direction we’re meant to and at the speed in which we’re meant to.”

He chuckled. “This someone sounds like a pretty smart guy.”

“Eh, so he thinks.” Amanda replied playfully.

Sonny moved in closer to her. “So…since this might be one of our last quiet weekends together, we should definitely take advantage of the opportunity.” He delicately reached for her chin with his free hand and brought his lips to hers for a kiss.

After a short while, Amanda briefly pulled her mouth away from his and said, “I think that sounds like a great idea.”

Sonny grinned and the two leaned into each other, for a deeper, more passionate kiss.

*****************

5 Months Later

Hospital Room - Sunday Afternoon

******************

Liv knocked on the cracked door and, along with Fin and Kat, quietly entered into Amanda’s hospital room.

Jesse sat in a chair in the corner playing a game on her tablet, while Sonny stood next to a tired, but happy Amanda, who was holding their new bright eyed and curious little bundle in her arms.

“Who do we have here?” Liv asked as she set some flowers she had gotten for her detective off to the side and slowly approached her.

“His name’s Matteo.” Jesse replied from her spot across the room.

“Matteo, huh?” Fin asked smirking. “Very Italian. I’m guessing the counselor came up with that one.”

Sonny smiled and shook his head no.

“It was me.” Amanda confessed. “His top choice was Matthew. But you know I prefer something a bit more unique. So I thought the Italian version, Matteo, would be a good compromise. We’re gonna call him Teo.”

Liv grinned down at the little blue-eyed baby boy Amanda handed up to her to hold. “Well I think his name’s adorable. Almost as adorable as he is.”

The captain stared down at him long and hard and then turned her attention to Sonny. “He looks like just like you, Carisi. Minus the gray hair.” She added laughing.

Sonny playfully rolled his eyes and chuckled.

Kat began looking around the room. “Hey where’s Billie?” She asked curiously.

Amanda sighed. “Florida.”

Kat frowned. “Why?”

“Teo coming three weeks early kind of through everything off kilter. Fell right during Al’s annual court mandated two week vacation period he gets with her every year. I went into labor right when they landed down.”

Kat sighed. “That stinks.”

Sonny rubbed the bridge of his nose. “It does. We obviously want Billie here to meet Teo in person at the same time everyone else does, but there’s nothin’ we can do. We can’t force Al to cancel his trip and cut his time.”

Liv carefully handed Matteo back to Amanda. “It’s unfortunate timing. But she’ll get to meet him soon.”

Just then the crew heard what sounded like the pitter patter of little feet plummeting down the usually quiet hallway toward Amanda’s room. When everyone looked at the door they were all very surprised to see Billie standing by it with Al emerging behind her a few moments later once he had caught up.

Liv, Fin, and Kat decided to let them all have a little space and excused themselves from the room.

Once they left, a smiley Billie slowly walked up to her mother and very gently, being mindful of the baby, gave her a hug.

“Billie, what are you doing here?” Amanda asked as she cradled the baby in one arm and stroked her little girl’s light blonde hair with her free hand.

“We came back so I could see Teo.” Billie said as she looked down at her baby brother in awe and gently rubbed his little hand. “He’s so cute, mommy.”

Amanda smiled and then both her and Sonny looked over at Al for a more detailed explanation.

“She really wanted to meet him and I thought it was important that she did and it wasn’t delayed.” He told them simply, adding, “Beaches can wait.”

Sonny scooped Billie, who had headed over his way, into his arms. “Thank you for flyin’ Billie back. It means a lot to have her here with us right now.”

Al nodded. “If you need me to take her at some point I will, but I know Billie would rather spend the remainder of these two weeks with you all and she can if she wants.”

“You sure?” Amanda asked raising an eyebrow.

“Yes.” Al reiterated as he set Billie’s luggage down near the door. “Ok, I’m gonna get going. Bye Billie.”

“Bye.”

He gave her a small smile and then exited the room.

Once Al left, Jesse got up from her chair and stood beside Sonny, who shifted Billie to one hip and placed his free hand on Jesse’s shoulder.

“When can you and Teo leave the hospital?” Billie asked Amanda as she rested her head on Sonny’s shoulder.

“Tomorrow.” Amanda whispered as Matteo drifted off to sleep in her arms.

Billie, a bit tired from her traveling, smiled and said yawning, “I can’t wait for us all to be home together.”

Amanda and Sonny exchanged big smiles with one another.

“Neither can we, Billie.” Amanda replied to her daughter. “Neither can we.”

Chapter Text

****************

Late October 2021

Amanda’s Apartment - Tuesday Morning - 12a

****************

Sonny used his spare key and, in an effort to not awaken Jesse and Billie, did his best to quietly enter into the apartment, where he found Amanda waiting for him on the living room couch.

“Hey.” Sonny said as he locked the door behind him. He then quickly kicked his shoes off and set his briefcase down by the door. “Sorry I ended up bein’ later than I said I would. Somethin’ came up at the office and—“

Amanda waved her hand and cut him off. “It’s fine. Come sit.”

Sonny set his keys down on the kitchen counter, made his way into the adjacent living room and sat down next to her.

“What did you want to talk about?” He asked curiously. “I’m guessin’ it’s important if it couldn’t wait until tomorrow.”

Amanda nodded. “It is.” But remained quiet.

After sitting together for what felt like to him a long time in silence, an anxiously growing Sonny tried to suss out where her head was at and broke it. “D-did I do somethin’? Are you…tryin’ to break up—“

“No.” Amanda said interrupting. “There’s nothing you did and I’m not breaking up with you.”

A somewhat relieved looking Sonny gave her a small smile, but he was still concerned by the fact that she seemed extremely troubled by something that she clearly wanted to share with him, but was struggling to do so.

He placed his hand on her thigh and rubbed up and down. “Manda, what is it? Tell me.”

The blonde blinked back the tears that had started to well up in her eyes, took in a deep breath and exhaled. “I’m pregnant.” She whispered to him.

Sonny’s eyes widened in shock and his jaw dropped. Amanda’s revelation had left him completely speechless and he sat there stunned for a long while before finally, very shakily asking, “Are y—you…s—sure?”

Amanda nodded her head slowly. “I took two at home tests and had a blood test. I’m definitely pregnant.”

He closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. “How far along?”

“8 weeks.” Amanda said as she bit her lip. “So two months.”

Sonny opened his eyes and stared blankly and silently straight ahead.

She sighed. “Dominick…”

Not quite sure what to say, she let her voice trail off.

After a few more minutes of silence passed, Sonny finally found his words.

“Having a child was somethin’ that…at this stage in my life I wasn’t sure would actually happen.” He said to her quietly. “Yet it is. Gettin’ to have a baby. To be with you. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. And now it looks like the both of us might lose everything else in the process.”

Sonny stood up and began pacing around the living room. “We should’ve disclosed our relationship as soon as it started. But we didn’t. And now we’re ‘bout to have a baby together. How do we explain this?”

Amanda sighed. “I don’t know.”

“No one’s going to believe we had a one-night stand or we’ve only been together a little over two months.” He said as he ran a hand through his hair. “I noticed Anya and more recently a couple of others around the DA’s office have been lookin’ at us with these wondering eyes lately. For all we know someone out there might know for sure we’ve been a thing since Memorial Day and is just sittin’ back waiting for it all to blow up in our face like it is right now.”

He paused for a moment and then continued on.

“Even if it was thought to be only two months, two months is too long. In these past eight weeks, I’ve put you on the stand to testify twice on two separate cases you were a lead on. The perps in those cases I won will now have legitimate grounds to appeal their convictions.”

A frustrated Amanda threw her arms up in the air. “I tell you I’m having your baby and all you want to talk about is the 8th floor. Is work the only thing you care about!?”

She suddenly remembered the girls were asleep close by and quickly took in some deep breaths to try to regain her composure.

“Of course it’s not.” Sonny said quietly, but sternly, and in a slightly offended manner. “But how do you expect us to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table for us and three kids without the 8th floor and 1PP? Because there’s a very real possibility we could lose our jobs over this.”

He furrowed his brows and took a seat beside Amanda. “Not to mention these ramifications extend beyond us. We have victims who’s justice might be overturned because of what we did. McGrath has been putting Liv through the wringer these past few months and once this all comes to light things could get even worst for her. He’s not gonna believe she didn’t know.”

Amanda buried her face into her hands and the two sat together silently.

Eventually she lifted her head up, took in a deep breath and looked over at him. “With us being so short staffed at the precinct I really do need to tell Liv I’m pregnant. But…I don’t have to immediately come right out about the rest of it. We can take some more time to think about the best way to approach it.”

Sonny vehemently shook his head. “Absolutely not. You didn’t lie down alone and get yourself pregnant.”

Amanda sighed. “I’m not saying we never—“

“It’s not happening, Manda.” He said cutting her off. “I can see it now. Waitin’ a few months, turns to waitin’ til after the baby is born to who knows when. I’m not going to delay claiming our child. I don’t want him or her to ever think I was ashamed of them. Because I’m not.”

Sonny looked deeply into her eyes.

“When I told you this is all I ever I wanted, I meant it. Because while I regret how we went about handling this, I don’t regret pursuing this”— he gestured between them—“and even more importantly what’s become of this.” Sonny told her as he gently placed his hand on her stomach.

Amanda gave him a small smile as she rested her hand on top of his.

“But the lying through omission we’ve been doin’ has got to stop.” He whispered to her softly.

“You’re right. It does. No more secrets.”

Sonny took his free hand and caressed her cheek.

Amanda took in a deep breath and exhaled. “So tomorrow we…”

“Disclose.” He told her as he rested his forehead on hers. “All of it. And whatever the consequences are, we’ll face them. Together, ok?”

She closed her eyes and nodded.

Chapter Text

****************

Sonny’s Office - Tuesday 1p

****************

“Come in.”

Amanda slowly opened his office door and quietly closed it behind her as she entered. “I know I probably shouldn’t be here right now, but you hadn’t responded to my texts and…”

She let her voice trail off and her eyes widened when she saw Sonny packing things up into a box. Amanda fixed her mouth to speak, but he waved her off.

“I didn’t get fired.” Sonny told her as he rummaged though one of his desk drawers. “Not yet anyways.”

“What happened?” She asked biting her lip.

Sonny sighed. “Sat down with Hadid and told her about everythin’ first thing this morning. Then she arranged a meeting with the District Attorney. I’m suspended, without pay, pending the results of an investigation by the DA’s office into our relationship and my court cases, startin’ with the Howard plea deal.”

Amanda’s jaw dropped. “Without pay?”

Sonny nodded as he carefully placed a framed photo of him with Jesse and Billie into his box. “Yeah. I’m gonna have to dig into my savings to get by.”

Amanda ran a hand through her hair and took a seat in the chair across from where he stood at his desk. “God, your rent, law school loans, the—“

He shook his head and cut her off. “I’ll be ok. For a little while, anyways. Unless this investigation drags or they do decide to fire me.”

Amanda sighed. “How did Hadid react?”

Sonny rubbed his temples. “Badly. She really laid into me. But…during the sit down with the DA, she went to bat for me.”

“Really?” A surprised looking Amanda asked.

He tossed a small crumbled up piece of paper on his desk into the nearby wastebasket. “I’m guessin’ it’s because though we screwed up with how we went about all this, she knows I’ve always handled work by the book and that when it comes to the job we’ve never displayed any signs of impropriety.”

Amanda nodded and then pointed to the items before her. “If you haven’t been fired, why are you packing your things?”

“I can’t be here after today.” He told her as he taped up the box. “And there’s a couple important things I want with me.”

“I’m surprised they’re letting you go through your stuff like this alone.”

“It’s because DA investigators have already gone through my office.”

Amanda’s eyes widened. “How invasive is this all gonna be?”

Sonny sighed as he sat down in his desk chair. “Very. I’ve disclosed the relationship but at this point my word is worthless. Pretty sure they think we’re only doin’ it now because your pregnant and, they aren’t exactly wrong. Anyways, be ready for them to comb through nearly every aspect of our lives.”

He pressed his lips together and paused for a moment before continuing.

“I wasn’t goin’ to bring this up because I didn’t want to freak you out and I know the truth is somethin’ that can easily be verified, but when the investigators sat me down for an initial interview, I was asked about Billie and whether or not the whole ‘godfather’ thing was a cover for somethin’ else.”

Amanda opened her mouth wide and raised both her eyebrows. “They wanted to know if you could be her biological father?”

Sonny nodded his head slowly. “Considering her age and how close we were prior to when I said our relationship began, yes. A test would show I’m not, but it’s a good example of how deep they’re goin’ to be lookin’ at us. As soon as I got finished with that interview I called my parents and finally told them about everythin’ in case they were contacted.”

Amanda took in a deep breath and exhaled. “How’d that go?”

Sonny ran a hand through his slightly disheveled gray hair. “They’re not happy with me. I mean, they are happy to hear I have someone special in my life and about the baby comin’, yet hate the fact that I’ve potentially jeopardized my job and kept us a secret from them.”

Amanda blinked back some tears that had started to well up in her eyes. “You wanted to disclose right away. To everyone and that’s what we should’ve done. And now on top of everything that we’re dealing with, you’re family is mad at you. This is all my fault.”

Sonny got up from his chair and knelt down beside her. “You didn’t twist my arm. Once you brought it up I thought the idea of keepin’ it between us for a while seemed like a good one too. This falls on me as well.”

He took his thumbs and wiped her tears away. “And they aren’t that upset. It’s nothin’ I can’t smooth over in an in-person conversation. I’m headin’ over to Staten Island to talk with them once I leave here. And you know what? In my brief call with them earlier they reiterated to me several times how they can’t wait to meet both you and the girls and want to as soon as possible. So I’m gonna somethin’ set up with them if it’s ok with you.”

Amanda sniffed, nodded and gave him a small smile.

He returned the smile and stood back up.

It was at that moment Sonny’s mention of the girls triggered a thought that had just hit Amanda. She furrowed her brows, which did not go unnoticed by him. “What is it?”

“The girls.” She began. “Well, Jesse. You don’t think they’d try to question her about us, do you? Because I’m not gonna let them use her to take you down.”

Sonny rubbed the bridge of his nose and sat back down in his chair. “I’m not sure. What I do know is that I won’t let it happen. I’ll resign before lettin’ them rope her up into this.”

Amanda sighed and opened her mouth to speak, but saw he wanted to continue his thoughts so she refrained from commenting and let him continue.

“I don’t know bout’ you, but I did a lot of tossing and turnin’ last night after we went to bed and I came to the conclusion that I’d be OK with movin’ on from here if need be. My dream was to be an attorney and to do good. To help people. I don’t have to be an ADA to do that. Sometimes I’m not sure if it’s the best place to be able to do the kind of good I want considerin’ all the red tape and politics—which you’ve always said was never my strong suit—I’m forced to deal with on the daily basis. I see why Kat decided to leave the force more and more each day. Because it’s frustratin’ to have all that lingering over your head and it effectin’ your ability to achieve justice for people in need of it.”

Sonny paused to take a deep breath and then looked directly into Amanda’s eyes, telling her, “You, the girls and the baby mean more to me than all of THIS.” He said as he gestured around the room, in reference to his job. “It’s a little scary to think about, startin’ over, but I’ll do it in a second, if need be.”

“We really could go and start our own agency like we joked about before.” Amanda said as she gave him a small smirk, trying to lighten the mood a bit.

“That we could.” He said as he smiled back.

The two sat together quietly for a bit before Sonny finally broke it.

“I did read your texts. I was plannin’ on calling you as soon as I finished up here. So, McGrath really went out on medical leave? And Liv’s basically been designated acting deputy chief of SVU in the meantime?”

Amanda nodded.

“I do truly hope, that whatever he’s dealin’ with isn’t too serious and that he’s OK.” Sonny said as he loosened up his tie. “That being said, Liv bein’ interim deputy chief is best case scenario for you. But you need to tell her ASAP. You don’t want her hearin’ about this from anyone else.”

Amanda got up from her seat and began pacing around. “I know, but she’s out with Stabler and Bell helping with an organized crime case and I can’t get a hold of her.”

Sonny sighed. “When I read your message saying you hadn’t been able to speak with her, I tried my best to buy you some time. Hadid was able to convince the DA investigators to refrain from reaching out directly to her and/or IAB, so you could inform yourself, but you only have til close of business today.”

Amanda was about to respond but was interrupted by her cell going off. She stopped moving, pulled her phone out of her pocket and looked down at a text from her sergeant. “It’s Fin. He said Liv called and she’s on her way back to the precinct.”

“You should go then.”

The blonde bit her lip and nodded her head slowly, but didn’t go to leave.

Sonny stood up and walked over to her. “Do you want me to do it with you? I can go see my parents afterwards.”

She shook her head no. “You and Liv have gotten a lot closer since your move to the DA’s office and you should definitely have a conversation with her about all this, but I need to do this initial disclosure by myself.”

Amanda paused for a moment, took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “As bad as everything you told me you’re going through is and makes me worried about the work ramifications I’m going to be faced with, at the end of the day, like you said, we can get new jobs and start over. But I might not be able to start over with Liv after this. She’s forgiven me for so much over the years, but this could be what puts the nail in the coffin and ruin our friendship forever.”

Sonny hugged and held her close. “It won’t.” He pulled away a bit, but then rested his forehead on hers and caressed her cheek. “It won’t.”

The two then brought their lips to each other’s for a long, deep kiss, breaking apart only after being startled by the door suddenly swinging open.

“Seriously?!” Hadid admonished as she rolled her eyes at them and made a face.

Sonny rubbed his temples and looked down, while Amanda sighed and turned her head away.

A very annoyed looking Hadid glared at Amanda and gestured toward the door. “Have a good day Detective Rollins.”

The blonde immediately brushed by the bureau chief and out of Sonny’s office, hearing the door loudly slam behind her as she did.

****************

Precinct

****************

“Do you think we have enough for a warrant?” Velasco asked.

Fin slowly nodded his head and handed the younger male detective the file he had been looking over. “Yeah, call the counselor.”

Velasco nodded as he headed back to his desk, picked up his phone and started dialing.

Just then, Amanda entered into the squad room. She immediately looked to see if Liv had gotten in yet, but she hadn’t so she made her way back to her desk and plopped down.

“That was a long lunch, Amanda.” Her sergeant told her as he sifted through some paperwork on his desk. “But I won’t say anything to Liv about it.”

With an extended lunch break the least of her concerns, Amanda didn’t bother responding and instead turned her computer on and attempted to act like she was trying to get some work done.

“Can Carisi get us the warrant?” Fin asked Velasco as he saw him end his phone call.

Velasco ran a hand through his hair. “Apparently he’s been suspended.”

“Suspended?” Fin asked, raising an eyebrow. “For what?”

Velasco shrugged. “My call to him got redirected to another counselor…Shiobhan McGeary from Corporation Counsel? She told me he was suspended until further notice and she’d be handling all SVU related requests in the meantime. She didn’t say why or what happened. Just that she’d be the one working on getting us the warrant and would get back to me.”

Fin quickly turned his attention to the unusually quiet blonde detective. “Amanda, what’s going on?”

“How would she know?” Velasco asked, who, still being new, was oblivious to the close dynamic between the two that Fin knew all too well.

Before Fin could respond, Liv finally entered into the squad room.

“God, what a day I’ve had.” She said shaking her head.

“It’s about to get worst.” Her sergeant told her. “Carisi’s been suspended from the DA’s office.”

A stunned Liv raised her eyebrows at him. “What? Why?” She then turned her attention to the blonde. “Do you know what happened?”

Amanda took in a deep breath, stood up and breathed out slowly. “Can we talk privately please?”

Liv eyed her curiously for a few moments, before finally nodding and motioning for her to follow her into her office.

Both women entered into the room. Amanda then closed Liv’s office door behind them and then took the seat across from her Captain’s desk.

“You know what’s going on with Carisi don’t you?”

Amanda nodded slowly. “I do, but there’s something about me I want you to know. That I need to tell you.”

Liv ran a hand through her wavy brown hair. “Ok.”

Amanda remained quiet for a long while as she worked to build up her courage and find her words before finally speaking. “I’m…I’m pregnant.”

Liv’s eyes grew large in surprise. It was the last thing she thought was going to come out of her mouth.

The Captain nodded slowly. “Ok I—“

“The baby is Carisi’s.” She interrupted through a whisper.

Liv’s jaw dropped in shock. “You and…Carisi? W—was this a…one time thing or…” she let her voice trail off when she noticed Amanda shaking her head no.

“We’ve been in a serious relationship since Memorial Day.”

“Wow.” Liv muttered to herself as she stood up and started pacing around the room. She remained quiet for a few moments as her mind went to work and began connecting dots. She then resumed speaking.

“So for almost five months? During the Howard case, the ice cream truck rapist and Wheelhouse trials and all the countless other cases we worked that followed? Most in which you were an integral part of the investigation? Some in which Carisi put you on the stand to testify? And now there are convictions that were secured that’ll have grounds for an appeal and could be overturned.”

She stopped pacing and stood directly in front of the detective, staring deeply into her eyes. “What were you two thinking?! Were you EVER going to disclose this relationship?! Are you only doing it now because your pregnant?!”

Despite all the questions Liv threw at Amanda, she wasn’t looking for her to answer any of them. At least not in that moment. She instead reached her hand out, palm up, toward her.

Amanda stood up, blinked back her tears and handed Liv her gun and badge.

“Go home.” She told her detective as she set the items down on her desk and sat back in her chair.

Amanda nodded and walked out of the office. When she emerged into the main squad room she could feel Fin and Velasco’s eyes on her, but she kept her head down, quickly gathered her belongings from her desk and left the precinct.

Liv sighed as she removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes. She then directed her attention to her work phone, staring at it for a long while before eventually picking it up, hitting the IAB preset and bringing the phone to her ear.

Chapter Text

****************

Amanda’s Apartment - 4p

*****************

When Sonny returned from his parents home, Amanda immediately began filling him in on what had transpired at the precinct between her and Liv.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so mad and, even worse, disappointed in me.” Amanda said as she closed her eyes and sunk deeper into the living room couch.

Sonny sighed, but remained quiet and rubbed his hand up and down her thigh in an effort to comfort her.

“I’m not even sure what happens next.” She said as she opened her eyes and ran a hand through her blonde locks. “I’m guessing I’ll be hearing from her or someone from IAB before the night is over. I mean, I get she’s gonna have to call them.”

Sonny nodded. “Yeah, there’s no way around it.”

“So do you think I’ll be chewed out, suspended, demoted, transferred, or fired?” A deflated looking Amanda asked.

He sighed again. “At this point, it’s out of our hands. All we can do is speak honestly when spoken to on the topic and wait to see where the chips fall. I think we need to try not to think about it and instead focus on somethin’ positive. Like the baby.”

Amanda murmured. “We’re probably the only ones in this world who think it is.”

Sonny frowned and fixed his mouth to respond, but she continued on.

“A couple of Sundays ago, when you were helping Mia move, I took the girls to the library since it was rainy and there wasn’t much else to do. Anyways, when we were there one of the teen services librarians was doing a special program on ‘The Scarlet Letter.’ I remembered reading it in school. It was about an adulterer who had a baby outside of her marriage. She refused to name the father and was forced to wear a scarlet letter A on her chest as a symbol of her shame and sin. And her daughter was viewed by the town as another symbol of her sin.”

Sonny furrowed his brows. “What are you gettin’ at with this?” He asked, though he already had a slight inkling.

“If we had disclosed our relationship at the on-set and found out I was pregnant, people would’ve been happy for us. But because of what it’s all tied to, no one is looking at it as this wonderful thing. Liv’s mind, as I’m sure Hadid’s and everyone else you had to speak with today and told about the relationship and pregnancy, instantly went to the implications of our actions and I’ve started to wonder if its all that’s ever gonna matter to people. If because of the circumstances in which our baby was conceived under, he or she is only going to be looked at by most as a symbol and proof of our missteps. Even if we manage to come out of this relatively unscathed, will we always be seen as those two, who did that thing and then went and had ‘this’ baby?”

Sonny sat quietly for a long time and after a while he attempted to find his words, but struggled, “But I…our baby…”

Amanda had hoped that by revealing her fears to Sonny he might be able to assuage them like he so often did, but it seemed as though this time he was unsure how to confront her. She thought maybe it was because while he hadn’t considered all the worries she brought up until that very moment, now that he had, he was unable to shake them himself. However, Amanda wasn’t left much time to ponder when she was hit by a shocking question from someone neither her or Sonny realized had entered into the room.

“You’re going to have a baby?”

Amanda and Sonny’s eyes grew large as they turned their heads and saw Jesse, who had been doing homework in her room while Billie napped, emerge from behind the living room sofa and stood standing before them.

“I heard Uncle Sonny say our baby.” The little blonde said very seriously looking up at her mother. “Are you having one?”

Amanda exchanged a glance with Sonny, who mouthed to her ‘we might as well tell her.’

Amanda took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly before responding. “Yeah Jess. We are going to have a baby.”

Upon hearing her mother’s confirmation, Jesse’s serious demeanor immediately softened and a grin spread across her face. She climbed up on the couch in between the two, gave her mother a big hug and then one to Sonny.

“Is it going to be a boy or a girl?!” She asked giddily. “I hope it’s a girl. I want a baby sister.”

Neither Amanda nor Sonny had anticipated Jesse to be this enthusiastic about the prospect of a new sibling, but found her reaction to be very comforting and needed in that moment.

“We aren’t sure.” Amanda said as she smiled down at her daughter and tucked a loose strand of her blonde hair behind her ear. “It’s still too early to tell just yet.”

“Is that why you don’t look like your having one?” Jesse asked as she looked at her mother’s stomach. “Because Cassie’s mom is going to have a baby and she has a really big belly.” She stated very matter of factly as she extended her little arms out wide in front of her.

Both Sonny and Amanda laughed.

“So will I eventually.” Amanda said to her. “Sooner than you think.”

Jesse turned her attention to Sonny. “Does this mean you’re going to live with us all the time now?” She asked, hopefully. “Because I really wish you did.”

“So do I.” He told her. “I love waking up to you, your mom and sister and I wish I could do it everyday.”

“Then you will!?” Jesse asked excitedly.

“He will.” Amanda responded for him, smiling softly. She then quickly added. “Not sure when, but we’ll figure it out soon. What I do know is the five of us are going to be a family and home will be wherever we can all be together.”

Jesse smiled and nodded. She then sat cuddling with the duo for a little while longer before eventually climbing down. “Can I watch a movie on the iPad?”

“Yes. Just make sure you use your headphones so you don’t wake Billie, ok?” Amanda told her.

Jesse nodded and the couple watched as she quietly made her way back into her bedroom and gently closed the door behind her.

Once he was fairly confident that Jesse was set up and occupied in her room, Sonny, who had been at a loss for words before the little girl’s appearance, seemed to have regained his footing.

“You know what, Manda?” He said very seriously as he moved in closer to her on the sofa. “Jesse, she cares and is happy we’re havin’ a baby together. Like I’m sure your mom is. And my parents, who like myself, didn’t really see this in my future. And while the context in which the pregnancy came about is present in theirs and others minds, because you can’t completely disassociate the two, the ones who matter will care about the baby and not focus solely on the rest. It might take some of them a minute to show it, but they will. The ones who do fixate on all the other stuff? Don’t matter. And while I don’t think you, me and our child will be water cooler gossip for the rest of our careers, if we are, so be it. People can think what they want. I don’t care. Because to me, the only thing ‘this’ baby is a symbol of, is our love.”

Amanda let the tears that had been welling up in her eyes while he spoke fall down her cheeks as she nodded and gave him a small smile. He wiped them away, pulled her in close to him and held her in his arms.

The two sat together silently for a little while longer when Amanda caught wind of the time on her watch. “I gotta get Billie up or she’s never going to go to bed tonight. We need to figure out what to do for dinner too.”

Sonny nodded. “We should just order somethin.’”

“It’d be the easiest thing to do and baby and I could definitely go for some Thai, but should we really be wasting money on takeout right now?” She asked him.

Sonny shrugged. “Probably not. But tonight, let’s just go for it. If you and the baby want Thai, then that’s what you, me, and Jesse will have.”

He then got up from off the couch, headed toward the kitchen freezer and pulled out an enormous bag of frozen dinosaur chicken nuggets. “And Billie can eat her Dino nuggets.” Sonny then proceeded to preheat the oven and grab a baking pan.

Amanda shook her head and laughed softly. “We gotta get her to start eating more things.”

“I know.” Sonny said as he started placing the frozen pieces onto the pan. “But hey, they’re really cheap and since Billie has successfully been livin’ off these and not much else for the past few months, it’s good to know we could as well if need be and worst came to worst.” He said chuckling.

Amanda playfully rolled her eyes and hit him in the arm. She then headed off to the girls bedroom to awaken her youngest daughter.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

“Girls asleep?” Sonny, who was cleaning up the kitchen, asked as he saw Amanda enter.

“Billie, yes.” Amanda said as she plopped down in a nearby chair at the table. “Jesse not so much, but I’m hoping she’ll fall asleep soon.”

Sonny nodded. “Do you—“

His words were cut off by the ringing of Amanda’s cell phone nearby on the counter. The two glanced over at one another and then immediately shifted their eyes back to her phone.

Amanda took in a deep breath, stood up from her seat, walked over to her phone and answered it.

****************

One Hour Later

Manhattan Diner - 9p

*****************

Amanda walked into the unusually quiet diner and upon spotting Liv, sitting alone in an empty booth, headed over to her.

She slowly sat down across from her and set her things down to the side.

“Thank you for meeting me.” Liv said to her as she poured some sugar into her coffee. “I know it’s late. Carisi with the girls?”

Amanda nodded. “Yeah.”

Liv picked up her spoon and stirred her cup. “After I sent you home I called IAB and before the other end even started to ring, I hung up.”

Amanda eyed her a bit curiously, slightly surprised by her admission.

The Captain set her spoon down and locked eyes with the blonde. Her eyes started to soften and so did her voice. “I do need to call them about all this. And I will. Tomorrow morning. But I wanted to sit down with you first and talk this through. Because what happened earlier wasn’t that. It was me reacting. In the heat of the moment. I did a lot of talking before. Now I’m ready to listen. Can you tell me how we got here? How you two got here?”

Amanda sighed and nodded.

Chapter Text

****************

Manhattan Diner - 9p

*****************

Amanda walked into the unusually quiet diner and upon spotting Liv, sitting alone in an empty booth, headed over to her.

She slowly sat down across from her and set her things down to the side.

“Thank you for meeting me.” Liv said to her as she poured some sugar into her coffee. “I know it’s late. Carisi with the girls?”

Amanda nodded. “Yeah.”

Liv picked up her spoon and stirred her cup. “After I sent you home I called IAB and before the other end even started to ring, I hung up.”

Amanda eyed her a bit curiously, slightly surprised by her admission.

The Captain set her spoon down and locked eyes with the blonde. Her eyes started to soften and so did her voice. “I do need to call them about all this. And I will. Tomorrow morning. But I wanted to sit down with you first and talk this through. Because what happened earlier wasn’t that. It was me reacting. In the heat of the moment. I did a lot of talking before. Now I’m ready to listen. Can you tell me how we got here? How you two got here?”

Amanda sighed and nodded.

“Carisi and I we…had a moment at the wedding. He read me a portion of the speech he wrote for it and though I know he aimed for it to be about Fin and Phoebe, it was about us. And it really hit me hard. How for years I’ve been ignoring the fact that I had something good standing right in front of my face. I think it had been partly because we were such good friends and I didn’t want to ruin that. And also because I always thought he could do much better than me. But in that moment none of those things mattered to me anymore. My heart was speaking louder than my brain and I…I kissed him. Then he kissed me back. And we realized there was no going back to the way things were before and neither of us wanted to.”

Liv nodded. “So it was serious from the start?”

“Yeah.” Amanda said as she sat up a little bit straighter in her seat. She fixed her mouth to continue but was interrupted by the waitress.

“Can I get you anything?” She asked her. “Coffee?”

Amanda gave her a small smile. “Yes. I’ll take a decaf. Thank you.”

The waitress nodded and headed off.

Amanda ran a hand through her hair and continued on. “Carisi immediately pointed out the implications of an undisclosed relationship and thought we should come out about it right away and I knew it was something we couldn’t and shouldn’t hide forever, but…it was so new and special and I really wanted to keep it between us for a little while before announcing it to the world and he agreed. We never thought it would drag on as long as it did.”

Just then the waitress came back with Amanda’s coffee.

“So why did it?” Liv asked.

Amanda poured some creamer into her cup. “I don’t know. Partly because, with us being so short staffed, it felt like there was always something more pressing going on and the timing of it all just never seemed right. I also wondered too if after disclosing, people might not want us working together and that if we wanted to keep the relationship going, one of us would need to transfer. So it made me at least not want to rush to disclose it. With all the changes that have been taking place recently, the last thing I wanted was to not be able to work with him by my side. But then…”

“You found out you were pregnant.”

Amanda nodded as she added some sugar into her coffee and stirred.

“Sonny and I talked. We knew we needed to disclose our relationship and the fact that we were doing it in conjunction with a pregnancy announcement wasn’t going to blow over well. Especially considering how pregnant I am.”

“How far along are you?

“8 weeks.” Amanda said, biting her lip. “But I swear I just confirmed it yesterday. My periods have always been wonky and we had been very careful. Or so I thought. It never crossed my mind I could be pregnant until I started feeling a little different. A bit off. Anyways, I told Sonny later that day and then we disclosed today.”

“How do you two feel about the baby?” Liv asked as she took another sip of her coffee.

“Another baby was definitely not something I saw for myself. Especially at my age and with already having Jesse and Billie. And though him and I hadn’t really talked about it, considering how new everything was and still is, I always got the impression he understood that and respected the season and time of our lives in which we were getting together. But then life threw us a curveball. And of course the timing in which this one happened isn’t great. I mean, us not disclosing and the ramifications of that decision was one the first things we discussed when I sat him down and told him I was pregnant. Still, we’re really, really happy and excited about the baby. If we could go back and handle how we went about moving forward with our relationship we would, but neither of us regret following our hearts and what’s come out of it.”

Liv nodded and remained quiet for a long while as she appeared to soak in and process everything Amanda told her before finally commenting.

“I am not surprised to hear that you two are together. It’s been obvious how Carisi has felt about you for a long time and while you’re not the type of girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, I always had the sense you felt the same way about him, just that you were a bit more hesitant to admit it to yourself. And I can understand the conundrum you were in regards to disclosing because, though it wasn’t nearly on the same level of seriousness as you and Carisi, I once found myself in a somewhat similar situation with—“

“Haden?” Amanda asked as she sipped some of her coffee.

Liv chuckled lightly and nodded. “Guess I wasn’t as discreet as I thought. Anyways, I understand, more than others, the worries you had and how unfair it can all feel that you might have to choose between pursuing your heart potentially at the expense of your career when most people in other professions aren’t faced with those same concerns. That being said, you and Carisi had to know you couldn’t stay in limbo forever.”

Amanda nodded. “I know.”

Liv tucked a loose strand of her brown hair behind her ear. “I know you think the timing of the baby was less than ideal, but I think this little one of yours is exactly what you needed and came at exactly the right time. Because he or she gave you and Carisi the swift kick in the behind you needed to come forward and own up to—“

“Our mistakes?”

“I suppose, but more importantly your relationship. Which if it’s truly as serious as you and I both know it to be, needed to be revealed. Because a secret relationship that can’t be shared isn’t really a relationship at all, is it?”

“You’re right, it’s not.” Amanda said agreeing. “And the girls and the baby deserve better than being wrapped up in something like that.”

Liv nodded. “They do. And so do you two.”

Amanda gave her a small smile, but then followed up with the one question that had been weighing most heavily on her mind. “So what happens next?”

Liv pressed her lips together and thought quietly to herself before finally responding. “Like I said, I do need to talk with IAB and honestly at this point, there’s a good chance they’re already aware of this situation and will be reaching out to me first thing in the morning. Either way, they’re going to sit down with you, gather facts, and likely make a short term decision on what to do until they hear the results of the DA’s investigation on Carisi’s side of things that Hadid told me about. Particularly in regards to how this effects any cases and if those two convictions in particular could be thrown out. I don’t have final say in regards to what will be decided for you, but as acting deputy chief my input and word is going to be taken into serious consideration and…while I do think you both deserve to face some consequences for your actions, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that you being fired or transferred isn’t one of them. And though I definitely don’t have as much pull on the DA end of things, I’m going to try my best to see that Carisi gets a fair shake and can come out of this similarly.”

“Really?” Amanda asked in disbelief, growing a bit teary eyed. “I’m not even sure I deserve you going out on a limb for me, especially considering the position I put you in as my supervisor.”

“I don’t want you to worry about that.” Liv tried to assure her. “And while this definitely wasn’t one of your greatest moves, I don’t think you need to pay the ultimate price for it. Besides, we are all worth more than the worst thing we’ve ever done and SVU is a much better place with Amanda Rollins in it as opposed to out of it.”

“Thanks, Liv.” Amanda whispered to her.

The Captain nodded and then reached for a menu that rested off to the side. “I’m sure you’ve probably eaten dinner considering how late it is but if you haven’t and you’d like to join me, please do. It’s on me.”

“I did have dinner, but honestly…I’m still hungry and could eat a second one.” Amanda admitted, blushing a bit.

Liv chuckled softly and then attempted to get the waitress’s attention so they could order.

****************

The Next Day

Amanda’s Apartment - Wednesday Morning

*****************

“How’d it go with IAB?” Sonny asked as Amanda entered into the apartment and plopped down at the kitchen table.

“Suspended, with pay, pending ‘further review’ meaning—“

“They’re waitin’ to see where the DA’s investigation goes.” Sonny said as he handed her a glass of orange juice.

Amanda nodded. “That’s what I’m guessing.”

“At least they’re giving you pay.” Sonny said as he joined her at the table. “That’s a good thing.”

Amanda took a sip of her juice. “It is. But I got the impression they only gave it to me because Liv pushed for it. But I’m not complaining. I’ll take what I can get. I guess now it’s just wait and see. While I don’t like all the digging into our personal life, I’m not concerned because I know you were upfront with them about it all and they aren’t going to uncover anything bad. But I am kinda worried about the court cases.” She confessed to him.

Sonny ran a hand through his messy bed head. “Me too. I know we handled each of those, from investigation to the trial, by the book but the optics of it all still might overshadow that. And if they end up being appealed and the convictions get set aside…I’d feel terrible.”

Amanda sighed. “Same. But let’s just try to hope for the best.”

He nodded.

Just then, Amanda’s cell went off. Sonny sat quietly, not entirely able to gauge what it pertained to listening to only her side of the conversation.

“Everything alright?” He asked after she finished her call.

“Yeah.” Amanda said as she set her phone down on the table. “It was my doctor’s office. I had an appointment Friday to do my initial ultrasound, but they wanted to know if they could move it up. There was an opening this afternoon and, since it’s not like I got much else to do, I decided to take it. You coming with?” She asked, a bit nervously.

Sonny raised an eyebrow. “Did you really think I wouldn’t want to?” He asked her. “Even if I did have somethin’ going on today, I’d move around or cancel whatever it was to make sure I could be there with you. I don’t want to miss a thing. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”

A big grin slowly spread across Amanda’s face as he reached across the table and took her hand into his.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

“You ok?” Amanda asked, smirking slightly as the two made their way out of the doctor’s office and made the walk toward his car.

A very smiley Sonny nodded his head slowly.

“It was a pretty neat experience, right?”

“It was incredible.” Sonny said as he reflected back. “Seeing our baby on the screen…being able to hear the heartbeat. It all feels so much more real now. And put some things in perspective for me.”

Amanda stopped walking and looked up at him. “Yeah? How so?”

“That no matter what ends up happening with us job wise, none of it’s as important as this.” He said as he gently placed his hand on her stomach. “And that you, me, Jesse, Billie and the baby are going to be just fine. Wherever we end up.”

Amanda nodded confidently. “We will be.”

The two began walking together again.

“So what are you hoping it is?” Amanda asked curiously. “Boy or girl.”

Sonny shook his head. “Doesn’t matter. As long as it’s healthy.”

“Yes that’s definitely the most important thing, but if you could choose, is there one way your leaning a bit more?”

Sonny sighed and gave her a small smile. “Ok, ok. I guess if I could choose, I’d like it to be a girl.”

“Really?” Amanda asked, sounding surprised.

Sonny nodded. “I really enjoy my time with Jesse and Billie and partaking in all the activities they love. From the tea parties to the nail paintin.’ I feel like I’m startin’ to get the girl dad thing down and would like to keep it goin.”

“You’re the best girl dad.” Amanda said grinning up at him.

He smiled back and the two continued on their way.

“Can’t believe the baby’s due on Memorial Day.” Sonny laughed out as they crossed the street.

Amanda chuckled lightly. “I know. It’s kind of kismet in a way.”

“It is.” Sonny said agreeing. “It is.”

****************

Four Weeks Later

Precinct - Early Friday Morning

*****************

“I wonder if them calling us in together is a good or a bad thing.” Sonny asked as the elevator doors opened up into the nearly empty squad room.

“I guess we’re about to find out.” Amanda said as the duo made their way toward Liv’s office, where both her and Hadid were waiting for them.

Liv motioned for them to sit.

Hadid started the conversation. “So while the personal side of things, like the investigation into the timeline of your relationship, checked out fairly quickly, the main reason the other half of the investigation has been dragging as long as it has is because of the court cases, especially those last two in which Detective Rollins testified in and seeing whether or not those convictions had a chance of being upheld or not.”

“Do you think they will be?” An unsure sounding Sonny asked. “Or does it look like they’ll be overturned?”

Liv followed up with more information. “Johnson has been diagnosed with stage four 4 lung cancer. He was granted a compassionate release and is in hospice care. This would be happening regardless of the situation at hand. And Brooklyn’s cold case squad just linked Pearson to a 2005 murder in Crown Heights. He confessed to it during an interrogation. So while he could technically pursue a reversal of his rape conviction, he’s still going away even longer for the murder.”

“You two got lucky with how those cases ended up.” Hadid added. She then turned her attention to Sonny. “Because of the outcomes, and the fact that despite the optics of the situation, you handled them all as they should have been handled, this pretty much ends here. You are going to be censured, but your suspension is over after today. I expect you back at work Monday morning.”

Sonny nodded slowly, but then asked. “So I’m not being transferred?”

“No.”

“Am I?” Amanda asked looking at Liv.

The Captain shook her head. “No. You aren’t being transferred, fired or demoted. You’ll be returning to work here on Monday as well. On desk duty. It’s technically a continuation of your punishment, but I would’ve been putting you on the desk anyways for obvious reasons.”

Amanda remained quiet, but nodded.

“How is this going to work moving forward?” Sonny asked, a little confused. “Especially if I can’t prosecute a case she takes the lead on?”

“We’re going to start making better use of Corporation Counsel, which hasn’t been done with much regularity since the Pippa Cox days.” Hadid said to him. “So an ACC will be brought in more to assist not only with SVU’s juvenile cases but also be available to prosecute ones in which a plea deal can’t be reached and Detective Rollins served as an integral part of the investigation and would need to be put on the stand to testify.”

Sonny took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Ok.”

“I hope this was a lesson learned.” Hadid said sternly to the couple as she stand up. “I need to get back to the office.” She then excused herself and exited the room.

“I can’t believe this is all finally over.” Amanda said aloud, still in a bit of disbelief.

“Yeah well not entirely. Her tone and demeanor made it very clear that we still got some work to do in regards to building our professional reputations back.” Sonny said in reference to Hadid.

Liv nodded. “You do with some. But you’ll get there. And remember, the comeback is always greater than the setback.”

The two both looked at each other and then gave the Captain a small smile.

Liv put her glasses on and began ruffling through some files on her desk. “Ok I’ve got a ton of work to catch up and you both are still technically suspended. So head on out and I’ll see you next week.”

The duo nodded and headed out of the office, where they noticed Fin and Velasco sitting at their desks.

“We just saw Hadid fly out of here on her broomstick.” Fin said to the couple, rolling his eyes. “So what’s going on? Y’all back?”

Sonny nodded. “Yes. We both start on Monday. Punishments are over. Well, except for me. I’m bein’ censured. But I’ll take an official public reprimand over a suspension of my license or a disbarment.”

Fin took a bite of his jelly donut. “I’m glad it’s all done with and that you’ll both be back. It hasn’t been the same around here. Not to mention both of your temporary replacements were of little to no help to us these past few weeks.”

“Especially that ACC they saddled us with.” Velasco said rolling her eyes.

Sonny chuckled. “Well I’m not sure which one they brought in to cover for me, but get used to someone comin’ in from that office to assist every now and then.”

“To cover some of the cases involving kids and I’m guessing others where you’re heavily involved?” Fin asked Amanda.

The blonde ran a hand through her hair. “Yeah.”

“Makes sense.”

Sonny checked his watch and then turned his attention to Amanda. “We should get going.” She nodded her head agreeing.

“We’ll catch you later.” Amanda said to her two colleagues as she and Sonny started to make their way out.

“Wait.” Fin yelled out.

The couple turned around.

“I almost forgot to tell you congratulations.” The sergeant grinned. “Still can’t believe we didn’t even know you two were a thing and now you’re about to have a baby together. But it’s cool. I’m happy for you two.”

“Same.” Velasco added. “Congrats.”

The couple exchanged small glances with one another before turning their attention back to Fin and Velasco.

“Thanks, guys.” Amanda said smiling.

The two once again headed out and as they did Velasco shouted out to Amanda, “There’s donuts in the break room. Have some. The Boston creams are pretty good. I know you’re all about Staten Island these days, but you should branch out a little.”

Amanda playfully rolled her eyes and shot him a look while Fin, Velasco and Sonny chuckled. Her and Sonny then continued on out of the squad room.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

“We dodged a bullet in there today.” Amanda said to him, still a little surprised with how events unfolded, as the two made their way out of the precinct toward his car.

“We did.” Sonny agreed. “I’m glad we can start to put this behind us and move forward.”

He paused for a moment and then, after looking down and noticing their hands absentmindedly intertwined, commented. “It’s funny, a few weeks ago before we disclosed, we never would’ve been walkin’ together like this, hand in hand, out in public. Especially this close to the precinct. And I never woulda done this…”

Sonny stopped walking, caressed her cheek with his free hand and kissed her.

“It’s nice to be able to be open like this.” Amanda said to him when they finally pulled their lips apart.

“That it is.” He echoed back to her.

The two then continued on their way together.

“So how should we spend our last day of suspension?” Amanda asked him.

Sonny pondered for a moment before saying, “Well my lease is up next month and I know yours is up in January. I think it’d be a good time to start lookin’ at some three bedroom apartments. See what’s out there and start plannin’ for the future.”

Amanda smiled up at him. “I like the sound of that.”

****************

August 2022

Sonny’s Office - Monday Morning

*****************

“We should be in good shape.” Sonny said to Liv, who sat across from him, as he fingered through the files in front of him. “How’s Morgan?”

“A little nervous.” Liv admitted. “But she’s determined to get up on that stand and have her voice heard. I think it’ll go well today.”

Sonny nodded. “Me too. I—“

His words were interrupted by a soft knock on the door. Him and Liv both looked over and saw Amanda, with the baby, emerge.

Sonny stood up and walked over to them. “Well this is a nice surprise.” He said as he gave Amanda a quick kiss on the lips and kissed his little blue eyed baby girl on her cheek. “What are you two doing here?”

Amanda handed him a notebook. “Sammie noticed you forgot your notebook by the front door and she insisted that we bring it to you. She knew you needed it for your big trial today.”

Sonny quickly set the notebook down at his desk and then headed back over to Amanda and scooped the baby up into his arms.

“Thank you for coming out and bringing it.” He said to her. “I really did need it.”

Amanda smiled softly and nodded.

At that point Liv stood up and headed over to them. She grinned at Sammie, who stared at her quietly, comfortably nuzzled up in her father’s arms.

“She’s just the cutest.” The Captain said to the couple. “I still can’t believe she’s a redhead.” She said commenting on Sammie’s pretty light red hair. “Who’d she’d get that from?”

Amanda pointed to Sonny and Liv raised her eyebrows in surprise.

Sonny nodded. “My grandmother had the same red hair.”

Liv chuckled. “So I’m guessing you’re not as Italian as you pretend to be?”

He playfully rolled his eyes. “I never claimed to be 100% Italian. Clearly I have some other things floatin’ around in my DNA.”

Amanda checked her watch. “We should get going. I know you and Liv are doing some final prep and I don’t want to keep you from it.”

Sonny nodded and handed Sammie back to Amanda. “I’ll walk you two out.”

The two had only made it a few feet when Sammie randomly spit up all over her shoulder and arm.

“Ugh.” Amanda said looking down at herself.

He ushered them into the near by break room. “There should be some paper towels and stuff in here.”

As the trio entered the fairly busy break room, Amanda stood close to the door with the baby while Sonny quickly gathered up a few paper towels. He gave a couple to Amanda to wipe herself up with and then took one himself and cleaned up Sammie’s face.

Just then, a small group of young and middle aged female attorneys, who had been standing by the water cooler chatting, noticed them from afar and made their way over to them.

“Dominick, is this Samantha?!” A young brunette woman asked as she grinned down at the baby. “What a cutie!”

Sonny nodded and smiled softly.

“She’s adorable.” An older blonde said to Amanda.

“Her hair is beautiful.” Another attorney commented. “And so are those blue eyes.”

“Thank you.” Sonny, blushing a bit, said to them.

“We know you have a trial starting later this morning so we won’t keep you.” The young brunette said to him. “Good luck.”

Sonny smiled softly, nodded and then watched as the small group then dispersed and headed off in separate directions. Sonny and Amanda then exited the break room themselves and started off down the hallway.

“Well it looks like Sammie IS water cooler talk. But the best kind.” Sonny said chuckling.

“That she is.” Amanda laughed out.

“You ready to start back next week?”

Amanda sighed as she cradled the baby close to her. “Kinda. It’ll be nice to be back out there. Especially after being stuck on the desk for so long. But I’m not looking forward to leaving Sammie.”

“I know but she’ll be in good hands.” Sonny said to her as he stared at the engagement ring he had recently placed on her left hand a few weeks prior. “None as pretty as yours, but good ones.”

She smiled up at him as he wrapped his arm around her and the trio continued along their way.

Chapter Text

“Stab My Back”

******************

Courthouse

Arraignment Court - Friday Morning

*******************

“You won’t even give me a hint?” Sonny asked Amanda as the two made their way down the relatively quiet courthouse hallway.

The blonde rolled her eyes at her fiancé. “No because it’s a surprise.”

He huffed. “You’re killin’ me Manda. I’ve been waitin’ all week for this surprise of yours. You gotta give me somethin.’”

“Fine, fine.” Amanda said as she waived her hands up in defeat. Her eyes softened and a small smile spread across her face. “It’s something you don’t ever really talk about, but I know deep down you’ve wanted for a long time.”

Sonny’s playful nature turned a bit more retrospective as he contemplated her words. “Hmm.”

“That’s all you’re getting.” She said to him as they turned the corner. “You’ll finally find out what it is later tonight.”

Sonny sighed, but nodded.

The two continued along together until reaching the courtroom where Amanda took a seat next to Velasco while Sonny made his way to the podium. He opened up his briefcase, grabbed a few files and thumbed through them while he waited for Judge Serani, who emerged from chambers a few minutes later and the first arraignment proceeding of the day began.

“The People ask for remand.” Sonny said to the judge. “The defendant is a Brazilian national with access to private jets and several offshore accounts. Making him a flight risk.”

“My client, Mr. Mendes, has no plans to leave the country and looks forward to the opportunity to vigorously fight these charges.” The older male defense attorney said to the judge. “We ask that he be released on his own recognizance.”

Without much hesitation Judge Serani quickly came to a decision. “Bail is set at $500,000. Defendant will surrender his passport. Next case.”

While Sonny would’ve preferred his request was granted, he figured Mendes would more than likely be granted bail of some sort and wasn’t surprised with how events unfolded.

He quickly gathered up his things and exited the courtroom. Though he had another arraignment coming up for an OC case he had been asked to assist with, there were quite a few others scheduled before his next one so he decided to walk Amanda, as well as Velasco, who both needed to head back to the precinct, out.

“How quick do you think he’ll post bail?” Velasco asked as the trio made their way down the hall toward the elevator.

Sonny straightened out his tie. “He’ll be out by this afternoon.”

Amanda sighed as the three entered the fairly crowded elevator. “At least he had to surrender his passport. That’s something I suppose.”

Just as the door was about to close, a man came hurrying inside and situated himself in the empty space behind Sonny.

“If it’s slow later and I’m not out handling a call, wanna grab lunch at one of the food trucks?” Amanda asked Sonny.

He nodded. “Sounds good. My afternoon’s pretty open.”

Just as the elevator reached the main floor and a majority of the occupants, including Amanda, Sonny, and Velasco, started to exit, the man standing behind Sonny discreetly whipped out a large knife he had concealed, dug it straight into the lower, middle of the ADA’s back and hustled out of the elevator.

Both Amanda and Velasco eyed the man curiously but continued out of the elevator until they heard gurgling noises coming from behind. They quickly turned around and saw Sonny gasping for air, drop to his knees and then collapse forward, revealing the knife that had been plunged into his back, with blooding pooling out from his wound.

“Dominick!” She screamed out as she hit the elevator hold button and ran over to him. “Someone please help!”

Velasco immediately exited the elevator and, noticing the man who had been standing behind Sonny running down the hall, chased after him.

Meanwhile the blonde began to frantically remove her suit jacket and tried her best to minimize his bleeding by putting pressure around his wound. She momentarily thought about removing the knife but was stopped by a man, who identified himself as an orthopedic doctor and had joined her in the elevator. “It’s best to leave it for now.” He told her.

The man took over caring for Sonny while a female defense attorney who was about to enter into the elevator called 911. A helpless looking Amanda kneeled beside her fiancé, crying, with her hands covered in his blood.

******************

Mercy Hospital - Friday Morning

*******************

Liv looked around anxiously for Amanda in the busy ER’s waiting room before finally spotting her sitting in a chair staring aimlessly out of the window.

The Captain ran a hand through her hair and sat down next to her detective. “How’s he doing?”

A teary-eyed Amanda shrugged. “I have no idea. They took him into surgery two hours ago and no ones come out to give me an update.”

She sniffed and wiped her eyes. “I don’t understand why anyone would want to hurt him.”

“Velasco caught the guy who stabbed Carisi. He did it in hopes of delaying the arraignment.”

Amanda raised an eyebrow. “This was an organized crime hit? That Serbian gang?”

She nodded slowly.

Amanda shook her head in anger. “Bell and Stabler just had to rope him into this case. There’s a bunch of ADAs they could use, but no, they’re always requesting Sonny.”

Liv sighed. “Amanda—“

“He could die, Liv.” The blonde interrupted, standing up from her seat. “He might die without ever knowing.”

Liv eyed her curiously. “Knowing what?”

Amanda let the tears that had been building up in her eyes fall. “That I’m having his baby.”

Liv’s eyes widened in surprise. However, she immediately stood up, took Amanda into her arms and, in an effort to comfort her, let her quietly cry in her embrace.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

About 30 minutes later one of the doctors who Amanda remembered had been working on Sonny entered into the waiting room and headed in her and Liv’s direction.

“Please tell me he’s going to be ok.” She whispered out to him.

The salt and pepper haired doctor removed his glasses and placed them in his coat pocket. “Dominick’s stable and is going to pull through. He’s not awake yet, but you can see and sit with him if you’d like.”

Amanda sighed in relief and nodded. “Thank, God.” She pulled her cell out of her pocket and turned her attention to Liv. “I—I need to tell his parents what’s going on. They were vacationing in Florida and trying to find flights back here. I—“

“I’ll call them.” Liv said cutting her off. “Go be with Carisi.”

Amanda nodded and proceeded to follow the doctor to Sonny’s hospital room.

“There’s something you need to know.” The doctor told Amanda as they headed off together. “While Dominick is going to ok, the knife it…was lodged into the lower portion of his spinal cord and there’s a very real possibility it did some lasting damage.”

“W—what…do you…m—mean by that?” A worried Amanda asked, biting her lip.

“It means he has a spinal cord injury of some sort. We won’t know what kind or how bad it is until he wakes up.”

Amanda did her best to blink back her tears. She took in a deep breath, exhaled slowly and nodded.

Upon reaching his room, Amanda sat down in the empty chair next to Sonny’s bed. She took his right hand into both of hers and sat quietly. The doctor who brought Amanda to the room and a nurse, who had been checking Sonny’s vitals, left the two of them alone.

About 15 minutes later, Amanda felt Sonny move his hand and slowly start to stir awake.

“Sonny…” she said quietly as she released one of her hands and caressed his cheek.

His eyes slowly fluttered open. “Manda…” Sonny very slowly moved his left hand and placed it over the right hand she had resting on his cheek.

He groaned out quietly. “My b—back. It…hurts so…much.”

Amanda hit the button on the side of his bed to summon his nurse. “I know it does. I know. I just buzzed your nurse. I’m going to ask her to give you something.”

“What…h—happened…to me?” He asked as he released his hand from top of hers and attempted to readjust himself within the bed to get more comfortable, however as he tried to he came to a startling realization.

Sonny’s eyes grew large and he immediately turned his attention to his fiancé. “Amanda I can’t f—feel my legs. W—why can’t I feel my legs?! What’s wrong with me?! W—why can’t I move them?”

A teary eyed Amanda, though knowing something like this was a possibility, tried to answer him, but found herself at a loss of words. So instead she stood up, carefully sat beside him on the bed, and let him cry into her chest as she cried along with him.

Chapter Text

“He About to Lose Me”

******************

July

Three Weeks Later

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Friday Morning

******************

“What’s all this?” A solemn looking Sonny asked as Amanda pushed his wheelchair into the living room, which had been decorated with a homemade banner, balloons and streamers.

“Jesse and Billie wanted to welcome you back home from the hospital. They made everything last night and we hung it up this morning before I brought them to camp.” Amanda said as she closed and locked the apartment door behind her.

“Jesse made you a card too.” She picked it up from off the kitchen counter and handed it to him.

Sonny furrowed his brows as he read the card and then handed it back to her. “Is your mom still going to take them?”

Amanda sighed. “She could for a few days I guess. But Sonny, the girls haven’t seen you in weeks because they wouldn’t allow kids into the rehabilitation center and both of them really, really miss you.”

“Well I don’t want them seein’ me like this.” He told her very seriously.

Amanda sighed again. “You can’t hide from them forever. Besides, this”—she then gestured toward his chair—“isn’t forever.”

Sonny rolled his eyes. “So you and the doctors keep tellin’ me.” He snapped back at her.

Amanda ran a hand through her hair. “Sonny, you had an incomplete spinal cord injury. Your paralysis is serious, but doesn’t have to be permanent. You CAN and WILL regain the ability to walk again. It’s just going to take time and effort.”

The room filled with a long uncomfortable silence and Amanda did her best to try and ease the tension. “Are you thirsty? Do you want some juice?”

He remained quiet, but nodded.

Amanda headed into the nearby adjacent kitchen, grabbed some orange juice from the fridge, a glass from one of the cabinets and poured him some. She then walked back over to him and handed him the glass.

“Are you going to be ok for a bit?” She asked biting her lip. “I was hoping to take a quick shower.”

He nodded his head slowly but stayed silent. Amanda stood for a moment contemplating whether or not she should leave him alone, but ultimately decided to let him be for a while and take her shower. She quickly made her way out of the living room and headed into the bathroom.

Sonny sat quietly in his chair drinking his juice. After a few sips he set it down on the coffee table. Wanting to turn the TV on he began looking around for the clicker, which he eventually noticed was placed on a high shelf above the television set.

He grumbled as he wheeled himself over to the shelf. Despite having long arms he was unable to reach it sitting down. Sonny attempted to slowly stand up, but as he tried to his legs gave out and he fell out of his wheelchair and face planted onto the hardwood floor.

The commotion scared Amanda, who immediately jumped out of the shower, wrapped herself up in a towel and hurried back into the living room, where she saw him struggling to muscle himself back up into his wheelchair using his arms. She tried to help him, but he pulled away from her and as he did inadvertently yanked the towel she had tied up around her off.

Amanda sighed as she went to reach for the towel to put it back on, but Sonny stopped her. He somehow quickly managed to get back into his chair by himself and then immediately fixated his gaze on her naked, petite frame and scanned her up and down slowly. To someone unfamiliar with her body, they probably wouldn’t have noticed anything odd, but Sonny, who knew it intimately and better than anyone other than Amanda, could pick up even the most subtle of changes and new instantly something was different.

Sonny’s mouth opened wide in astonishment. “Are you pregnant?”

Amanda said nothing as she draped the towel back around her, but nodded.

“How far along?”

“3 months.” She whispered out to him.

Sonny’s eyes grew big. “You’re going to have a baby in SIX months?! When exactly were you plannin’ on telling me this?!”

Amanda closed her eyes and rubbed her temples. “I’ve wanted to for a while. But the timing hasn’t been right. For obvious reasons.”

“Was this my surprise?” He wondered out loud to her curiously.

“Yes.” She said to him quietly.

“You were right.” Sonny said as his hardened tone saddened and he started growing teary eyed. “Having a child IS somethin’ I’ve always wanted. Then this happens. How am I supposed to be the kinda dad a baby and the girls need stuck like this?”

Amanda blinked back her own tears and attempted to wrap her arms around Sonny in an effort to comfort him, but he gently removed her hands from off him.

“I just want to be left alone.” He whispered to her. A concerned looking Amanda watched as he then slowly wheeled himself into their bedroom.

******************

Four Weeks Later

Early August

Precinct - Wednesday Morning

******************

“Have a seat.” Liv said to Amanda as she closed her office door and sat at her desk.

Amanda plopped down in the chair across from her Captain.

Liv took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Amanda, I know you and Velasco but heads from time to time, but you’ve really been snapping at him a lot lately. Fin too.”

Amanda sighed as she ran a hand through her blonde locks. “I guess he’s starting to rub off on me.”

“Carisi?” Liv asked, somewhat rhetorically already knowing the answering.

Amanda nodded. “I thought the depression would start to subside once he was home and got into a routine. But it hasn’t. Sonny’s just so bitter. All the time. And he hardly ever does his rehab exercises. He was kind of trying for a while and was making a little progress, but then he’d have a tiny setback, which is expected, and he’d want to quit. It’s like one step forward, three giant steps back. I’m trying my best to be as supportive as I can, but I don’t know how much more I can take. I’m miserable. The girls are miserable. I’m at my breaking point.”

A very concerned looking Liv removed her glasses and placed them down in front of her. “Have you told him how you’re feeling?”

Amanda shook her head no.

Liv pressed her lips together and contemplated her words carefully before continuing. “You need to. I know you probably don’t think your feelings matter as much as his do in this situation. Because this devastating thing that happened, happened to him. But Amanda, it impacts those close to Carisi as well and you have a right to express to him how this is effecting you.”

Amanda sighed, but nodded.

“I know you’re trying to work as much as possible because you took a lot of time off when Carisi first got hurt and now your trying to save the rest of it for when the baby comes, but if you need to take a week or two, let me know. We can work something out.”

The blonde gave her Captain a sad, small smile as she stood up. “Ok.”

Liv nodded and watched as Amanda exited her office and headed back to her desk.

******************

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment

Living Room - Wednesday Night

******************

Liv’s words had been floating around in Amanda’s head all day and she realized her Captain was right and that she needed to talk with Sonny and tell him how she was feeling. So after putting the girls to bed, she decided to have the conversation.

Amanda picked up the remote from the coffee table and turned the television off. “Sonny, I want to talk.”

He picked the remote back up and turned the television back on. “I don’t.”

She grabbed the remote again, clicked the TV back off and this time held on to it. “Well I do.”

“What is there to talk ‘bout?”

She sat down near his chair by the arm of the couch. “A lot. I mean, you do realize our baby is going to be here in a few months, right?”

Sonny furrowed his brows at her. “I’m aware.”

“Are you?” Amanda asked him. “Because the only thing you seem interested in lately is sitting in that chair, sulking all hours of the day, every day.”

He rolled his eyes. “That’s not true.”

“It isn’t?” She asked, raising an eyebrow. “Because I never see you do anything with Jesse and Billie anymore. When was the last time you read the girls a bedtime story? Helped Jesse with her spelling? Did a puzzle with Billie? All things you used to do and could still be doing with or without the use of your legs.”

Sonny sighed, but remained quiet.

“And then you and I? I feel more like your servant and a roommate, not your soon to be wife. I can’t remember the last time you kissed or touched me. The only thing you’re focused on is being pissed off at the world.”

“I kinda have a right to be pissed off, don’t you think?” He asked her sincerely.

Amanda nodded her head slowly. “You do Sonny. What happened to you isn’t fair. But you can’t wallow in your grief forever. Eventually you have to start trying to move forward with your life. You sitting here with a scowl on your face isn’t going to get you out of that chair. The only thing it’s doing is pushing everyone who loves and cares about you away and making them feel just as angry and miserable as you are. The girls…they’re unhappy. So am I. And I’m not going to keep us in this environment nor will I bring our baby into it.”

Sonny looked at her very seriously and asked, “What are you saying?”

Amanda sighed. “I’m saying that if something doesn’t change, I’m done. I spent many years raising the girls on my own and I’ll do it again, along with this new baby, if need be. Because as tough as that’d be, the four of us would be a whole lot better off alone than than we would be if we had to deal with this for the rest of our lives.”

“You’d really leave? Sonny asked her, as tears started streaming down his face. “And keep the kids away from me?”

“It’s the last thing I want to do, Dominick. But you’re not leaving me with any other option.” She said to him.

She stood up slowly from the couch.

“Liv she…offered to give me a little time off and I think I’m going to take her up on it. I’m gonna bring the girls upstate and we’ll stay with my mom for a little bit. I’ll let your parents and Bella know so they are aware they’ll need to be around more.”

“I promise I’ll be better.” He pleaded with her. “I’ll do whatever it takes. Just don’t leave me. Please.”

“I want to believe you, but your words…the tears…they’re not enough. I need action. If you can’t find a way to fix this”—she gestured toward her heart—“and this”—she pointed to her head—“then this”—she gestured between them—“can’t continue.”

The couple stared at each other quietly for a long while before Amanda finally broke the silence. “I need to get to bed. It’s late and I need to pack me and the girls up and get on the road early tomorrow.”

Sonny watched as she slowly made her way into their bedroom and closed the door. He wiped his eyes and sat silently, deep in thought.

Chapter Text

“This is Me Trying”

******************

Rehabilitation Center - Friday Morning

*******************

“How long you gonna be?” Bella asked her brother as she carefully watched him slowly transition from his walker to one of the chairs in the empty waiting room by the front reception desk.

“I should be done by 12p.” Sonny told her as he finally made it into his seat and thought about how long it had taken him. He sighed as he realized he wasn’t nearly as proficient with his walker as he probably should be at this point due to an over-reliance of using his wheelchair.

Bella nodded. “Ok. I’m gonna run to the bank and take care of a couple of other things and will come back to get you.”

She started to head out to leave, but then turned back around. “I talked to Amanda for a little bit last night and let me tell you somethin’. She’s not kiddin’ bout leavin.’ Do you want to lose the only woman you’ve ever really loved? Or be that ‘see my kid once a month’ kind of dad? Because that’s what’s gonna happen if you don’t get your shit together.”

“I know.” Sonny said to her quietly. “And I will.”

“I hope so.” Bella said as she placed the sunglasses that rested on top of her head over her eyes and headed out.

Sonny sighed as he ran a hand through his hair and tried to get as comfortable as he could while he waited for his physical therapist to call him in. After a couple of minutes he pulled his cell phone out and began sifting through the camera roll. He smiled, a little sadly, as he looked down at photos of him with Amanda and the girls. Liv had given Amanda the remainder of the month, up until Labor Day, off and the idea of her and the girls not being around for that long, possibly permanently, just gutted him.

As he looked through the images, a woman was wheeled into the facility and sat by the front desk, waiting for the office assistant to finish on the phone to check her in.

Sonny could feel the woman’s eyes fixated on his phone. He eventually glanced up at her and, having realized she had been caught, she said to him, a little teary eyed. “Sorry for staring. It’s just your oldest daughter…she reminds me so much of my Madyson. I…lost her a…f-few months ago in the car accident that left me this way.”

Sonny’s heart instantly sank upon hearing this woman’s story. He could tell by looking at her that unlike himself she was a quadriplegic and wouldn’t be getting out of her wheelchair. And, unlike him, the incident that paralyzed her took away the most precious person in her life.

It was at that moment he realized just how poorly he had been acting. That while what he’d gone through was horrible, it could have been much worst. That there were many other people out going through worst. Unlike this woman, he had the ability to walk again. Unlike this woman, the incident that left him hurt didn’t hurt anyone else. Amanda was still here. Jesse and Billie were still here.

“I am…so so sorry for your loss.” Sonny said to her.

She nodded. “I wish I could squeeze Mady and tell her I how much love her. Just once more.” She said to him.

“She knows.” Sonny said to her.

The woman gave him a sad small and then directed her attention to the office assistant behind the desk who was now off the phone and ready to check her in.

Just then, Sonny’s physical therapist entered into the room and walked over to him. “Hi Dominick. You ready?”

Sonny nodded his head slowly as his gaze slowly shifted between the woman and his therapist. “I think I finally am.” He said to him.

******************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Sunday Afternoon

*******************

After picking up some supplies while out with his sister, Sonny had spent much of his Friday, a bulk of his Saturday and Sunday morning working on a special project for Jesse and a separate one for Billie.

By Sunday afternoon he was almost done, just needing some ribbon to finish off Jesse’s. He knew there was some on the top shelf in the hall closet and though he was a little unsure if he could get it, he decided to try.

So Sonny, who had decided he would refrain from using his wheelchair unless his legs got tired or there was no other way to do something, carefully made his way to the closet with his walker. When he got to it and opened it up, he brought his eyes to the top shelf and spotted the purple ribbon he was in search of. He very slowly let go of his walker and, once he felt somewhat balanced reached his left arm up slowly and grabbed the ribbon.

Sonny smiled softly to himself, feeling pretty proud he was able to get it, but his smile soon faded when he remembered he was alone and there was no one there with him to share in these tiny triumphs. Not even Frannie, who Amanda had also taken with her. He sighed, as he started to head back toward the kitchen to finish up, but paused when he came across the room that was to be the nursery. He slowly stepped inside and began looking around.

Amanda had cleared the room, which had previously functioned as both a guest/pseudo playroom for the girls, but hadn’t done much else. The only thing that currently sat in the empty room was a rocking chair and the baby’s crib, which hadn’t been put together and was still in the box. Sonny pressed his lips together and stood quietly thinking to himself.

******************

Rockland County

Beth Anne’s House - Wednesday Afternoon

*******************

When Amanda returned after a walk with the girls and Frannie to her mother’s, who had headed out to run errands while they were gone, she was surprised to see a fairly large sized package on the kitchen counter and even more surprised to see it wasn’t her mom’s, but was addressed to Jesse and Billie.

“Girls, it looks like you got some mail.” She said to them as she removed Frannie’s leash, picked up the package and set it down on the kitchen table.

“Who’s it from?!” Jesse asked excitedly as she and Billie scrambled to the table.

Though there was no return address, when Amanda looked a little closer at the handwriting she knew instantly who had sent it.

“It’s from Sonny.” The blonde told them as she and Billie watched Jesse rip into the box.

Both girls eyes, as well as Amanda’s, beamed when they looked inside at the contents. For Jesse there was a book, but not just any book. It was a homemade one featuring a story Sonny wrote and had put together using the purple ribbon from the closet. And for Billie there was a homemade jigsaw puzzle he had created and cut into pieces for her to put together.

“The Prin…cess and t—the Pig,” Jesse said out loud, smiling. “I’m going to go read it now!”

Amanda watched her oldest daughter scurry out of the kitchen with her book. She then turned her attention to Billie, who had placed her puzzle pieces on the table in front of her. “Mama, will you help me?” She asked hopefully.

She smiled at Billie and took a seat next to her at the table. “Of course. Let’s do it.”

Amanda quietly sat and let her mind drift as she passively assisted Billie with her puzzle.

******************

One Week and Two Days Later

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Friday Evening

*******************

Sonny had just taken the eggplant parmigiana he made out of the oven and transitioned from his wheelchair, which he sometimes still had to use for cooking, back to his walker when he heard keys jingling, the front door to the apartment slowly open and Amanda suddenly standing before him.

“Hey.”

“Hey.” He parroted back to her.

Though Sonny was surprised, he was so happy to see Amanda. For the first time in a little over two weeks. He smiled softly as he quietly took in her appearance. She was dressed casually, but nicely in a light blue sleeveless swing dress. And though it hadn’t been a huge, significant amount of time since he last saw her in person he noticed her bump had grown larger in a way that suited her so well.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt your dinner.” Amanda said as she ran a hand through her blonde locks. She noticed and was glad to see him using his walker, but refrained from commenting on it. “I just needed to stop by to pick up a couple things I forgot for myself and some stuff the girls were asking for.”

“You’re not interrupting anything.” He responded, though a little sadly after realizing Amanda’s main motivation for coming back to the apartment. “How are Jesse and Billie?”

Amanda nodded. “Good. They got your package. Billie’s must’ve taken apart and redone your puzzle a hundred times now. And Jesse reads your book with Billie every night. They really loved everything.”

Sonny nodded and then a long awkward silence filled the room, which lasted a while before he finally broke it. “I know you came to here get things and you’ve probably eaten already, but I made a bunch of food. Do you want to stay and have dinner with me?”

Amanda stood contemplating for what seemed like an eternity to Sonny before answering. “I did eat. But…I could eat a little more. So yeah. I’ll have dinner with you.”

He gave her a small smile. “Great.”

XXXXXXXXXXXX

“Thank you for dinner.” Amanda said as she stood up and began clearing the table. “It was really good.”

Sonny shook his head. “You don’t have to thank me. And you don’t have to clean up I —“

“You cooked.” She said cutting him off. “Cleaning up is the least I can do.”

Sonny sighed, but relented. “Ok.”

Amanda fairly quickly washed the dishes and put everything away. Once she finished, she turned her attention back to Sonny. “I should go get the stuff I came for. It’s starting to get late.”

He nodded and watched as she headed down the hall, before suddenly remembering he left the door to the nursery open. Sonny tried to get out of the kitchen chair and grab his walker as quickly as he could, hoping to stop her from poking her head in, but was too late.

By the time he got to the nursery Amanda had already stepped inside and was silently looking around the room.

She stood staring in awe at what once was a very empty, depressing looking bonus room she hadn’t felt inspired to start fixing up and saw that it had been transformed into a beautiful, nearly completed nursery. The walls had been wallpapered in a neutral, cool gray colored design. The cream crib Amanda had bought a while back was put together and, in addition to the rocking chair, there was now a dresser and matching changing table, a bookshelf with a small collection of baby books placed on it, a diaper pail, a few toys and a baby swing.

Amanda, with her eyes and mouth opened up wide in surprise, turned her attention to Sonny, who lingered by the door.

“There’s still a couple of things I was plannin’ on doing, but it’s mostly done.” Sonny told her, quickly adding. “Unless you hate it. If so I—“

“No.” Amanda said as she grew teary eyed. “I love it. You…you did all of this? How?”

“I did a good chunk of it.” Sonny admitted. “With some help from a very special fairy godmother.”

Amanda chuckled at the reference, which was how a Disney loving Billie liked to refer to Liv.

“Liv was a big help with the wallpaperin’ and some other things. Took me days longer than it probably would’ve normally and I needed someone else to move everythin’ into place, but I did put the crib and all the other furniture together myself.”

Amanda wiped her eyes and smiled at him brightly. “It’s amazing. All of it.”

“I’m glad you like it.” He whispered to her.

She stood staring deeply into his eyes for a long while before finally telling him, “I should start getting the things I came for.”

Sonny nodded and slowly moved away from the nursery room’s door so Amanda could get by. She tried to hide her face away from him while she swiftly brushed by and headed towards their bedroom.

Sonny, not wanting to get in Amanda’s way, started to make his way back to the living room and kitchen area when he heard her call him.

“Sonny?”

He turned slowly around and, though it probably would’ve been easier for her to come to him, which she started to do, he urged her to stay where she was. Sonny then carefully headed into the bedroom, sat down beside Amanda on the bed, and moved his walker off to the side.

She tucked a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear and looked up at him. “I lied.”

“About liking the nursery?” He asked curiously. “Because like I said—“

“Not about that.” Amanda said quietly to him. “I…”

She let her voice drift off and brought her left hand to her stomach.

“Are you okay?” A very concerned looking Sonny asked.

Amanda nodded and smiled softly. “Baby’s kicking pretty good. I wish you could feel it from the outside, but it’s still a little too early.”

A slightly disappointed Sonny nodded, placed his hand on top of the one she had resting on her stomach and then brought his eyes up to hers.

He stared longingly into them and then slowly moved his face closer to hers and placed a brief, chaste kiss on her lips. Sonny pulled away fairly fast to gauge her reaction, but was pleasantly surprised when she immediately leaned into and kissed him back.

He deepened the kiss and then moved his mouth away from hers and started to plant kisses down Amanda’s neck.

Not entirely sure where his head was at, a slightly breathless Amanda felt the need to tell him, “Sonny we…don’t have to…take this further. I know you CAN, and I want to, but…I don’t want to hurt you.” She said as she looked down toward his legs.

“You won’t.” He reassured her as he stroked her hair. “I want to be close to you. I want to make love to you. Let me.”

Amanda contemplated for a brief moment before lifting Sonny’s shirt off and then connecting his lips back to his.

They broke away momentarily so Sonny could lay his back down on the bed and Amanda carefully straddled herself on top of him, but as he went to lift her dress off overhead, she bit her lip and stopped him. He got a sense she was starting to feel self-conscious and he tried his best assuage those feelings.

Sonny mouthed to her ‘I want to see you’ as he slowly moved her hand from off his and gently lifted her dress up overhead and set it off to the side.

He smiled as he scanned Amanda’s body up and down and intertwined his fingers with hers. “You look beautiful. So so beautiful.”

Amanda relaxed a little, gave him a small grin and leaned down to kiss him.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Once the two finished, they laid together in the quiet, both deep in thought as Amanda rested her head on his chest and he absentmindedly stroked her hair. Eventually Sonny broke the silence.

“Manda I know this,” he said in reference to their love making, “the nursery, the things I did for the girls…that…none of it just fixes everything and makes up for what I put you through. I see the terrible person I had become and I hate it. And I know it’s going to take a lot more effort to prove to you that I’m not going to be that person anymore. But I want you to know that I’m tryin.’ I realize I’ve cut you so deeply and as a result it’s hard to believe me. And maybe at this point I’ve let you down too many times, but is there any part of your heart that thinks we can fix this? That still has faith in me?”

Amanda looked at him quietly as she took in and carefully contemplated his words.

Chapter Text

“Too Soon”

******************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Friday Evening

******************

Once the two finished, they laid together in the quiet, both deep in thought as Amanda rested her head on his chest and he absentmindedly stroked her hair. Eventually Sonny broke the silence.

“Manda I know this,” he said in reference to their love making, “the nursery, the things I did for the girls…that…none of it just fixes everything and makes up for what I put you through. I see the terrible person I had become and I hate it. And I know it’s going to take a lot more effort to prove to you that I’m not going to be that person anymore. But I want you to know that I’m tryin.’ I realize I’ve cut you so deeply and as a result it’s hard to believe me. And maybe at this point I’ve let you down too many times, but is there any part of your heart that thinks we can fix this? That still has faith in me?”

Amanda looked at him quietly as she took in and carefully contemplated his words. She then sat up in the bed and responded.

“I lied when I said I came by because I wanted to pick up some stuff the girls and I needed. I mean, there’s a couple of little things I was gonna grab, but the main reason I stopped by is because I wanted to see you.”

Sonny sat up and raised his left eyebrow. “Really?” He asked, sounding a bit surprised.

Amanda nodded. “I was really touched by what you did for Jesse and Billie. It meant a lot to them and me that you went through the extra effort to do something so sweet for them. And while what you did for them alone wasn’t enough to just fix everything, it got me wondering what you were up to and wanting to see how you were and check in.”

She pressed her lips together and paused for a moment before continuing. “I wouldn’t be here right now if I didn’t still have faith in you.”

Sonny gave her a small smile.

“I like what I’m seeing.” Amanda admitted, but then quickly followed up. “That being said, I don’t want to rush back into anything. I need more time to see how this all plays out. So I’m still gonna ride out the rest of the time that Liv gave me at my mom’s with the girls.”

Sonny sighed and ran a hand through his disheveled silvery hair. “Ok. I understand.”

“But…as long as you keep continuing down this track, we WILL be back home after that.” She told him.

He gently rubbed her thigh with his thumb. “I will keep this up. I won’t let you or myself down.”

Amanda remained quiet, but nodded.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Anxious to get back to Jesse and Billie, Amanda didn’t linger for too much longer. After her and Sonny finished their conversation, she got dressed, grabbed a few small items for the girls, collected her things and headed toward the door.

“What are your plans for next week?” A curious Amanda asked him as she picked her sandals up from by the front door and put them on.

“Just making sure I get to my therapy sessions.” He said to her from the living room couch, but then adding. “I was also thinkin’ bout maybe reaching out to Hadid. I think I’m finally ready to start back.”

“Yeah?” A pleasantly surprised Amanda asked as she made her way over to him.

Sonny nodded. “I don’t…know if I’m mentally ready to go back into a courtroom and put myself out there just yet.” He admitted to her, as he let his mind momentarily drift back to the elevator stabbing. “But there’s other work I could be doin’ in the meantime.”

She gave him a sympathetic, understanding smile. “There is. I’m really happy to hear you want to get back into the swing of things.”

The two stared at each other for a short while, before Amanda finally broke the silence. “Ok I’m gonna go.”

He nodded. “Call me when you get to your mother’s so I know you got there safe.”

“I will.” She then leaned down and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Bye.”

“Bye.”

Sonny then watched Amanda make her way to the door and exit the apartment.

******************

September

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Saturday Morning

******************

Sonny spent the rest of August living up to his word as best as he could.

He continued with his therapy sessions. Some days went better than others, but he tried his hardest not to let the little setbacks get to him and kept on at it. At home he put the last finishing touches on the nursery and stayed busy by working on a couple of small assignments Hadid had given him to help ease his way back into things before he would start heading to the office on the regular basis beginning the second week of September.

It felt like an eternity, but Labor Day weekend finally arrived and Amanda, feeling as though Sonny had lived up to his word about changing his attitude and moving forward, was ready to come back home and reunite with him.

Sonny sat twiddling his thumbs at the kitchen table on Saturday morning in nervous, but excited anticipation of Amanda and the girls’ arrival.

Just as he was starting to wonder how much longer they’d be, he heard giggles and the pitter patter of four little feet running towards the apartment door and smiled. A few moments later, Amanda, with Jesse, Billie, and Frannie, emerged.

“Hi Sonny!” Jesse excitedly greeted as she and Billie ran over to him. Billie did so a little roughly and inadvertently rammed herself hard into his legs.

“Billie...” Jesse admonished her younger sister, who’s eyes began to well up a bit.

Sonny scooped Billie up onto his lap. “It’s ok. You didn’t hurt me.” He reassured her. Sonny then gave her a wink and Billie grinned up at him. “I’m so glad you girls are here. I’ve missed ya both so much.”

“We really missed you too!” Jesse said to him as she hugged him gently. She then sniffed the air and looked around. “Did you make us French toast for breakfast!?”

Sonny nodded. “I sure did.”

“Yay!” Both girls exclaimed loudly in unison.

“Jess, why don’t you and Billie bring your stuff into your bedroom, wash up and then come eat?”

Jesse nodded as Sonny set Billie down and the couple watched as the two rolled their little suitcases into their room. Amanda unleashed Frannie and then headed over to Sonny.

“I’m so happy you’re home.” He whispered into her ear as she bent down a little and wrapped her arms around him from behind. “All four of you.”

“Me too.” Amanda quietly whispered back to him and the two exchanged a long awaited kiss.

******************

Last Week of October

Courthouse - Friday Morning

******************

After Amanda and the girls returned home at the beginning of September, the family settled into a new normal. Sonny continued to rehab and, though it took some time, he was eventually able to transition away from his walker and onto forearm crutches, though navigating them was still a work in progress for him.

Because of the way the first three SVU cases he was handling played out, which involved plea deals or didn’t materialize into anything that could be prosecuted, Sonny hadn’t needed to go to trial. However, the few arraignments that came up he passed off to some newer colleagues. This was because while he wasn’t afraid of being attacked a second time at the courthouse, which heightened its security, Sonny still wasn’t ready to go to court just yet. The idea of being in front of a lot people, in what he felt was a vulnerable state, was something he still struggled with.

But today, he couldn’t avoid the situation. He had to do an arraignment.

“You ready?” Liv asked as she took a seat next to him on the bench outside out of the room where the proceeding was to be held.

“For the case, I suppose.” Sonny said sighing. “Not ready for a bunch of strangers watchin’ me walk and stand up at the podium like I’m a newborn calf, but it is what it is I guess.”

“Don’t worry about this.” Liv said as she gestured to his crutches. “Or about what other people are thinking. They don’t matter. Just go in there and do what you do best.”

Sonny nodded. “I know. Amanda told me the same thing. I wish she could be here, but her doctor’s appointment is more important.”

“It is.” Liv reaffirmed. “And you’ll be fine.”

He grabbed his briefcase, which he temporarily replaced with a crossbody one because it was easier to carry around. He then reached for his forearm crutches and slowly stood up. The two of them quietly entered into the court room. Liv took her seat in the crowd, while Sonny carefully made his way to the prosecution’s side.

Sonny could feel Buchanan, who was serving as the defendant’s attorney, his client, and the numerous others who filled the room with his eyes on him, but he tried to not focus on it. When he reached the podium, he momentarily sat down in a nearby chair, gathered his papers together from his briefcase and set them down where he wanted. Sonny then slowly stood back with his crutches and waited.

A few minutes later Judge Serani, the same judge who handled his last arraignment before the stabbing, emerged before them and the proceeding began.

“The People ask for remand. The defendant has previously skipped out on bail before and shouldn’t be given the opportunity to do so again.”

“While my client has jumped bail in the past, he has learned the error of his ways.” Buchanan responded. “I can assure you if released on his own recognizance or granted bail, he will appear before the court to answer to these absurd charges.”

“I don’t think you can guarantee that.” Judge Serani said to Buchanan and he quickly ruled without any hesitation. “Defendant will be remanded until trial. Next case.”

Sonny exchanged a brief glance and a smile with Liv and started to carefully pack himself up. As he did, Judge Serani said to him, “Good to see you on your feet and back in the courtroom, Counselor.”

Sonny stopped and nodded. “Thank you, sir.” He then continued to gather his things and head out of the courtroom, where he saw Liv waiting for him.

“Nice job.” She said as she gave him a light pat on the back. “A nice short and sweet way to ease back into it.”

Sonny fixed his mouth to respond but was interrupted by his phone going off. Noticing it was Amanda’s ring, he sat down on the bench outside of the room as quickly as he could manage to and answered it.

“Hey what’s—“

Liv watched on silently, growing concerned when she saw Sonny’s fairly cheerful demeanor after the proceeding diminish rapidly while he listened intently to whatever Amanda was telling him on the other end.

Sonny closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. “I’m on my way to you now, ok? I’ll be there as fast as I can.” He quickly ended the call and started to stand up.

“What’s going on Carisi?” Liv asked.

“Amanda’s water broke.” A visibly upset Sonny told her as he steadied himself onto his forearm crutches and began walking. “While she was sitting in the waiting room at her doctor’s office. They sent her right to the hospital.”

Liv’s eyes widened as she followed him. “But she’s only—“

“29 weeks.” Sonny interrupted, growing more anxious. “Way too early. They’re tryin’ to delay the labor so that they can give Amanda steroid injections to speed up the development of the baby’s lungs, but the baby is in…s—some sort of distress and if…they can’t figure it out or get it under control they’re not going to be able to wait to deliver. God Liv, she sounded so scared. I’m scared.”

Liv nodded. “We’re going to take a squad car and I’m gonna get you to her, ok?”

He sighed, but nodded and the two continued on out of the courthouse.

Chapter Text

“The Graduates”

******************

Mercy Hospital - Friday Afternoon

******************

Liv, who had been hastily texting away on her phone while she sat in the waiting room to hear word about Amanda, happen to glance up and when she did she saw Sonny slowly heading her way.

She quickly hurried over to him. “What’s going on?”

Sonny gave her a small, sad smile. “Amanda had the baby. It’s a boy. Three pounds, sixteen inches.”

“How’s he doing?” Liv asked, though she could tell by his eyes it wasn’t good.

“Strugglin’ over in the NICU.” Sonny said as he blinked back some tears. “He’s dealin’ with…a lot of issues. We can’t be with him just yet.”

Liv sighed and ran a hand through her hair. “How’s Amanda?”

“She had to have a C-section, but physically, she’s doin’ ok.” He said, adding. “Mentally, I can tell she’s not great, but…s—she’s not sayin’ too much to me. It’s like she’s holdin’ it all in for some reason.”

Sonny paused to sigh and then continued. “I need to get back to her, but I want to call her mom, my parents…let them know what’s going on and figure out what we’re gonna do with the girls.”

Liv nodded. “Can I see and sit with her while you make your calls?”

“I think she’d like that.” Sonny said to her. He then gestured down the hall toward the elevators. “She’s on the fourth floor. Room 403.”

Liv gave Sonny’s shoulder a light squeeze. “Everything will be alright.” She tried to reassure him.

He sighed, but nodded and then watched as she headed down the hall toward the elevators. Sonny then very slowly and wobbly, as his legs were exhausted, made his way to a chair in the waiting room to make his calls.

******************

Mercy Hospital - Amanda’s Hospital Room

******************

Liv stood by the elevator and made a quick call to Fin to relay to him what was going on. Once she finished she headed around the corner and down the hall toward Amanda’s room. She knocked on the outside of the door and slowly entered, leaving the door slightly ajar as she did.

Liv gave the blonde a sympathetic smile as she walked over to her and sat down in the chair beside the bed.

“I was trying to pump.” A frustrated looking Amanda told her as she set the electric breast pump down on the stand next to her and cringed a bit as she tried to make herself more comfortable. “But it’s not working out very well.”

“Amanda you just had a C-section.” Liv reminded her. “No one expects you to rush and start pumping. It can wait a while.”

Amanda nodded and the room momentarily filled with silence before she spoke up again.

“We named him Andrew.” Amanda said to her Captain as she grew teary eyed. “It was one of the few names Sonny and I both liked. I didn’t realize it until after the fact, but according to one of his nurses, Andrew means ‘strong.’ But…when I look at him, I don’t see s—strong. All I see is a…f—fragile, little baby boy that I let down.”

It was at that moment that all the emotions that had been building up inside her came bursting out and the tears came flooding from her eyes.

Liv moved closer to her and rubbed her shoulder. “Amanda, you had no control over your water breaking early. Sometimes these things just happen. It isn’t anyone’s fault. And as for Andrew…he’s in one of the best hospitals with some of the best doctors and nurses in the country. He’s going to get through this.”

“Everyone keeps telling me that babies born at 29 weeks do well.” Amanda said rolling her eyes as she wiped her face. “But, every possible issue Andrew could have, he does. His lungs weren’t fully developed so he needs help breathing and is on a respirator. He isn’t able to regulate his body temperature so they have him in an incubator. He can’t be bottled fed or even through a tube, so he had to have an IV put into place. He has gastro problems, they’re worried about infections and said he’s at risk of developing cerebral palsy. How does he just get over all that? None of this is OK.”

She ran a hand through her messy blonde hair. “And…I’m afraid to tell Sonny just how worried I really am b—because I don’t want him…going back to a d—dark place.”

“Oh, Amanda.” Liv gently sat down next to her on the bed and very carefully pulled her in closer to her, letting Amanda cry into her shoulders.

Unbeknownst to them both Sonny had been standing outside of the door, quietly taking in everything he heard Amanda say.

******************

NICU - Early Friday Evening

******************

While Amanda, exhausted from the day’s events and still recovering from her C-section, was finally getting some needed rest, Sonny got word he could visit with his son so he jumped at the opportunity and headed straight to see him.

He very carefully took a seat in a chair near baby Andrew’s incubator and gently placed his crutches on the floor.

Sonny furrowed his brows and stared sadly at the baby, disheartened at seeing him hooked up to so many monitors and tubes. He sat quietly for a few more minutes before finally speaking to him.

“Hey Buddy.” Sonny said to him as he reached his hand out toward the incubator. “I know you’re probably wonderin’ where your mama is because she’s the voice your used to hearin’ most often. Well, she’s sleeping right now, but she’s going to be coming in to see you real soon. I promise. And if you’re wonderin’ who I am well…I’m you’re dad.”

He paused for a moment before continuing.

“I’m sure this wasn’t the life on the outside you were expectin’ while you were growing on the inside. It wasn’t what me or your mom wanted for you either. And she’ll never admit out loud to me how truly worried she is about you, but I know it’s a lot. I am too. But I’ve come to realize lately more than ever that life…doesn’t throw us any obstacles we can’t handle.”

“This”—Sonny began as he gestured toward all the equipment Andrew was attached too—“isn’t forever.” He then continued to parrot back some of Amanda’s own words to him. “You CAN and you WILL get stronger. I know you will because you’re half Rollins and your mom and big sisters are three of the toughest cookies I know. It’s just going to take some time and effort.”

He took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Now I’m not one of those people who doesn’t practice what he preaches.” Sonny briefly looked down at his forearm crutches. “I know I’ve still got my own work to do and I’m going to keep at it. And when we’re both ready, you and me…we’re going to walk outta here together, OK?”

Sonny then smiled softly at the infant, though was startled by a sound coming from behind him. Thinking it was a nurse he turned to look and was surprised to see it wasn’t a nurse, but his fiancé.

“Amanda, come sit.” He urged her as he motioned toward the empty chair next to him. “How long were you standin’ there?”

“Long enough.” She said as she carefully sat down in the seat beside and gave him a small smile. “I…heard everything you said to him.”

Amanda leaned her head on Sonny’s shoulder. “Andrew he’s…going to be fine.” She said to him, kind of as a both a statement and a question.

Sonny wrapped his arm around her and pulled her in close to him. “He will be. I have faith in him.”

“Me too.” Amanda whispered.

******************

November

Three Weeks Later

Mercy Hospital NICU

******************

Amanda was discharged a couple of days later on Monday, while Andrew was to remain in the NICU until he hit a long lost of milestones. The hope was he’d reach these goals by his original due date in early January, but the doctors warned the couple it could take much longer.

Even though they were separated from one another, the new family of five quickly settled into a new routine. During the week, Sonny woke up extra early before work for his own physical therapy sessions and then headed into the office, while Amanda got the girls off to school in the mornings and then spent the rest of the day at the hospital with Andrew. When Sonny finished at the office, he’d meet Amanda at the hospital for a while, she’d then head home to tend to the girls and Sonny would stay with baby Andrew throughout the evening and into the early nighttime hours. He’d then head home and they’d do it all over again the next day. On the weekends they would all, Jesse and Billie too, go visit with the baby together.

Sometimes a case would throw a bit of a wrench into things, but for the most part Sonny and Amanda were able to keep the schedule working well. He’d rather not being working at all, but he couldn’t afford to take anymore time off so they were making the best of the situation.

“Hey.” Amanda greeted Sonny as he slowly made his way into the baby’s NICU room. “How was physical therapy this morning?”

“Pretty good.” Sonny said as he grinned down at Andrew and then carefully sat down next to her, removed his briefcase and set it and his arm crutches down underneath his chair. “He thinks I’m ready to swap these out for leg braces.”

“Yeah?” Amanda asked, smiling. “That’s awesome.”

Sonny nodded and then changed the subject. “How’s he doin’?”

“Good.” Amanda said as she stared down at baby Andrew. “Going to try to bottle feed him again today. His nurse went to fix one.”

A few minutes later the baby’s nurse emerged with a bottle. She set the bottle down, very carefully picked the baby up and handed him to Amanda.

She attempted to give him the bottle, but he wouldn’t take it.

Amanda sighed.

Sonny, seeing the dejected look on her face, turned his attention to the nurse. “Do you think he’d breastfeed?” He asked hopefully.

The young brunette nurse briefly pondered. “We could try. Do you want to give it a go?” She asked Amanda.

She nodded her head vigorously and the nurse helped Amanda get herself situated and though it took Andrew a second to figure out what was going on, he eventually latched onto her and started feeding.

“He’s doing it.” Amanda said excitedly, but quietly in an effort not to disturb him.

The nurse grinned downed at the baby. “Guess the bottle just wasn’t your thing. Way to go baby Drew.”

Sonny returned Amanda’s enthusiasm with a smile and a quick kiss. He then reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a pen and small little notebook where he kept track of each new thing his son conquered. Sonny slowly crossed out feeding on his list; a new major milestone achieved to go along with maintaining body temperature.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

The next morning Sonny rose before dawn as he normally did and headed to his rehab facility.

His therapist fitted with him braces and his first attempts at walking with them on didn’t go very well. Sonny, fell, and fell, and fell again.

“It might be a little too soon for this.” His physical therapist said after his last fall. “Maybe we should bring back your crutches and try this in another week or two.”

Sonny adamantly shook his head no. “I don’t want to bring them back. I can do it.”

He took a deep breath, exhaled and attempted to walk again very slowly. He fell once again, but immediately stood back up and tried again, taking a small baby step forward. This time he managed to stay on his feet. So he took another little step. And then another.

His physical therapist smiled. “Nice work. Let’s keep it going.”

******************

December

Mercy Hospital NICU - Christmas Eve

******************

Though he was hit with a few setbacks, baby Andrew continued to make progress as the weeks went by. His weight was steadily increasing, he was eating well, and most of his gastro problems were starting to resolve. Still, he had issues he was grappling with, like apnea and a slow heart rate, and he couldn’t be released until that and a couple of other things were resolved.

So Sonny, Amanda, Jesse, and Billie spent the big Christmas holiday in the NICU. Though they were stuck inside a hospital and it was nothing like there typical Christmases of the past, the girls didn’t seem to mind this year’s set up.

While Billie played quietly by herself in a corner with a new Barbie doll, Jesse made her way into the empty chair next to her mother and looked down at the baby in Amanda’s arms.

“Who do you think he’s looks like, Jess?” Sonny, who stood very steadily nearby with his leg braces on, asked her curiously.

Jesse stared back and forth at both adults for a long while before turning her attention back to her baby brother, who’s features, vibrant blue eyes and lots of blonde hair, were starting to show.

“I think baby Drew looks just like mom.” Jesse finally commented.

Sonny nodded. “I think so too.”

“I suppose you do.” Amanda said to her son. “But this smile of yours…it’s identical to your daddy’s.” She then gently squeezed his cheeks to draw it out and then looked up at Sonny, who was staring back at her with the same matching grin as Andrew’s.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Amanda glanced over at the baby, who was fast asleep in his crib, and then the girls, who were both cuddled up together asleep in chairs.

“It’s starting to get late.” She said as she looked down at her watch. “We should get Jesse and Billie home.”

Sonny nodded. “But before we do I wanted to give you somethin’.” He then pulled out a small, rectangular box wrapped in red wrapping paper and tied with white ribbon from his coat pocket.

Amanda sighed. “But I didn’t bring any of my gifts here for you.”

He shook his head and waved her off. “Open it.” Sonny handed her the box.

She smiled softly and unwrapped the gift and opened up the box. Amanda then slowly pulled out a diamond encrusted silver bracelet with an anchor charm on it.

“Sonny, it’s beautiful.” She said as she held it up to admire it better.

Sonny placed his hands around her waist. “I chose an anchor because that’s what you are to us all.” He gestured around the room with his head. “The four of us would be lost with you. Drew and I especially. We wouldn’t be as far along as we are today without your love and support. I really hope you know that.”

Amanda smiled up at him and wiped away a tear that had fallen from her eye.

“I love you so much.” He followed up, staring deeply into her eyes.

“I love you too.” Amanda said as she kissed him, hugged him and buried her head into his chest. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas.” He whispered into her ear.

******************

January

Rehabilitation Center - Wednesday Morning

******************

Christmas came and went. So did New Years. And as the holidays passed, Andrew continued to inch closer and closer to being released and, unbeknownst to Sonny, so was he.

“How’s Drew doing?” Sonny’s physical therapist asked him as he made some adjustments to his leg braces and then motioned for him to walk.

“He’s so close to comin’ home.” Sonny said as he walked back and forth with ease. “He was strugglin’ with apnea, but he hasn’t stopped breathin’ in his sleep in almost a week. It’s the last thing he had to work through so I’m hoping he’ll be released any day now.”

“Glad to hear he’s doing good.” His physical therapist told him. He then said, “Ok, I want you to take your braces off and walk back and forth without them.”

Sonny raised an eyebrow at him. Though he felt good and stable moving around with the braces on, he felt a little unsure about taking them off.

“They aren’t supporting you.” His physical therapist told him, sensing his hesitation. “That last adjustment I made proves it. I lowered the settings down to 0. Your legs alone were doing all the work.”

“Really?” Sonny seemed surprised, yet more excited at the prospect of removing them.

The young man nodded.

Sonny carefully sat down on the ground and started taking off his braces.

******************

Mercy Hospital NICU - Late Wednesday Afternoon

******************

Amanda had just finished feeding baby Andrew and placed him back into his crib when she saw Sonny, brace-less, walking toward her.

Her jaw dropped in shock as a smiling Sonny picked her up into his arms and twirled her around once before setting her back down.

“Why didn’t you tell me you got your braces off earlier?!” She asked as she thought back to the multiple conversations they had during the day.

“I wanted to surprise you.” Sonny said to her grinning.

“So you’re officially cleared?!” Amanda asked excitedly.

He nodded. “Cleared.”

Sonny then turned his attention to his son. He carefully lifted the baby up and cradled him in his arms. “You’re next Drew. I feel it comin.’”

******************

Mercy Hospital NICU - Early Friday Afternoon

******************

It was finally the end of the week and Amanda and Sonny, this time joined by Jesse and Billie, as well as Liv and a few nurses, watched in nervous anticipation as Andrew’s primary NICU doctor evaluated him for what they all hoped was one last time.

The brunette doctor jotted down a few notes as she looked the baby over and after a short while smiled and said to him, “Well Andrew, we’re all really going to miss having you around here, but I think it’s time you went home.”

“Yay!” Jesse and Billie yelled out in unison as they hugged Liv’s legs and both jumped up and down in excitement.

A happy, but emotional Amanda and Sonny embraced each other.

“I knew this day would come.” Sonny said to her as they pulled apart a bit. “It felt like it took an eternity, but…I knew it would come.”

“You know, Sonny…there was a time there in the beginning when I wasn’t so sure.” She admitted to him quietly. “But you…you never lost faith. What you did was strengthen mine. You say I’m your anchor…well…your our family’s rock. Drew watched you bounce back and I know it’s what helped him push forward. He reached this moment because of you. I really hope you know that.”

Sonny gave her a big grin, kissed her forehead and held her tightly.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Once Andrew’s discharge paperwork had been filled out, he was good to go. But before they did, Jesse reached into the bag Liv had been holding and pulled out a pint size handmade blue graduation cap.

“Billie and I made this for baby Drew.” Jesse said as she held it up to Sonny and Amanda. “For graduatin’ from the NICU!”

Amanda and Sonny exchanged smiles with one another.

“This was so sweet of you two Jess.” Amanda said as she took the cap from Jesse, very gently placed it on Andrew’s, who Sonny was holding in his arms, little head. “Ok we should get going.”

“Wait!” Jesse said as she rummaged through the bag again. “We made another one.”

This time she pulled out a larger, red homemade graduation cap and held it up to Sonny. “This one’s for you because you graduated too! We’re proud of you!”

Sonny looked down at the two grinning little girls before him and then brought his gaze up to a smiling Liv and Amanda.

“I’m proud of you too.” Liv echoed to her ADA.

“So am I.” Amanda said as she took the hat from Jesse and placed it on top of Sonny’s head. “Let’s go home, graduates.”

Sonny blinked back his tears as he looked around at them all, smiled, and nodded.

He then looked down at a giggly Andrew in his arms and kissed his forehead. “I promised you that when we were both ready I was going to walk us outta here. Well, today is the day.”

As a bunch of the NICU staff happily watched on from afar, Sonny and Andrew, with Amanda, Liv and the girls following close behind, headed down the hall toward the exit.

Chapter Text

****************

May 2022

Playground - Late Saturday Afternoon

*****************

It was an unusually warm May day and in attempt to let Amanda, who was feeling a bit under the weather, get some rest, Sonny took Jesse and Billie out for a fun filled morning spent at the aquarium and playing mini golf. They then had lunch and dessert at their favorite Italian restaurant and were ending the day at the playground near their apartment.

Jesse was busy hanging from the monkey bars while Sonny pushed Billie on the swings when his cell started ringing.

Sonny, realizing it was Hadid’s ring and it was probably important, sighed. “Hey Jess, can you push your sister? I gotta take this.”

Jesse jumped down and headed toward Billie, while Sonny walked off to a nearby bench that was still in eyesight of the girls, but gave him a little privacy.

Jesse absentmindedly pushed Billie but abruptly stopped when something in the distance caught her eye. She briefly looked over at Sonny, who was fully engrossed in his phone conversation with Hadid, and slowly made her way over to a set of yellow eyes she saw peaking out of a bush near the teeter-totter.

A large black cat with a purple collar emerged and lovingly rubbed her head on Jesse’s leg. The little blonde gleefully picked her up and, after noticing no one else around that the cat seemed to belong to, discreetly brought her back to the swing set.

“Kitty!” Billie shouted out excitedly.

Jesse shushed her and then carefully placed the cat into her backpack, leaving a portion of it unzipped so she could breathe.

“We bring her home?” a curious Billie asked her older sister.

Jesse nodded. “But don’t tell Sonny.”

A couple minutes later Sonny ended his phone call with Hadid and walked back over to Jesse and Billie.

Jesse faked yawned. “I’m kinda tired. Billie is too. Can we go home?” She asked hopefully as she put her backpack on.

Sonny eyed her curiously, not entirely buying what she was selling, but decided to let it go. “Ok. Let’s walk back.”

Sonny lifted Billie out of the swing, gently grabbed ahold of Jesse’s hand and the trio headed back to the apartment.

As they walked, Sonny found his eyes and throat starting to itch. Even though it was spring and pollen had started coming out, he thought it was peculiar that there wasn’t any in sight and the girls were ok, yet he was seemingly dealing with allergy issues. Sonny decided to shrug it off, knowing he’d be home soon and it wouldn’t really matter anyways once he was inside.

Meanwhile in Jesse’s backpack, the pretty black cat poked its head out of the unzipped portion of the bag and looked around.

****************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Late Saturday Afternoon

*****************

Once the three entered into the apartment, Jesse and Billie greeted their mother with a wave, but then immediately ran off into their bedroom and closed the door behind them.

Amanda, who had been resting on the couch, raised an eyebrow. “They’re up to something.”

Sonny sneezed and then nodded his head. “Agreed. Just not sure what.” He sneezed again and then sat down next to her. “How are you feelin’?”

“A little better. My nausea’s gone.” She said, adding. “You don’t look all that great. Don’t tell me you’re coming down with something too.”

Sonny rubbed his itchy eyes, but shook his head no. “Just allergies I think.”

“But the pollen count was low and you cleaned the apartment yesterday. There’s not a dust mite in sight.”

Sonny sneezed again and then fixed his mouth to respond but was interrupted by a loud boom sound coming from the girls room.

Both Jesse and Billie poked their heads out from the doorframe.

“Sorry, we dropped somethin.’” Jesse said. They then retreated back inside and closed the door.

Amanda and Sonny exchanged glances but before either one of them could comment they heard another boom come from the girls room.

“Ok, no more games.” Amanda said as she shoved the covers off herself and her and Sonny went to go see what Jesse and Billie were up to.

When Amanda opened the door up to their bedroom, both her and Sonny’s mouths opened up wide in surprise when they saw the cat lying in the middle of the room on the floor.

“So that’s why I’ve been so miserable.” Sonny said sighing. “I’m going to see if we have any Benadryl.” He headed off to the bathroom.

“Jesse, where did this cat come from?!” Amanda asked her oldest daughter.

“I found her on the on the playground.” Jesse said as she picked her up and cuddled with the cat on her bed. “She was all by herself.”

Amanda sighed as she stepped into the room and sat down next to her. “So you snuck her home and thought she could just live in your room without us ever finding out?”

Jesse shrugged.

“We can’t keep her Jess.” Amanda said as she pointed to the cat’s collar and name tag. “Look this says her name is Pepper. She belongs to someone. Even if she didn’t, Sonny is super allergic to cats. He can’t live with one.”

“But can’t we keep her until we find her owner?” Jesse pleaded as Sonny remerged by the doorframe. She set the cat down and walked over to Sonny. “Please?” She asked as she pouted her bottom lip and softened her eyes.

Billie scurried over to him as well and mimicked her older sister’s pout. “Please?” She repeated looking up at him.

Sonny sighed and glanced over at Amanda, who gave him a sympathetic shrug as if unsure what they should do. He looked back at the girls for a brief moment before stepping away into the kitchen.

The girls and Amanda followed and watched as he grabbed his keys and put his sneakers on.

“Where ya going?” Amanda asked curiously.

Sonny rubbed his eyes and cleared his throat. “To get cat food, a bed, and a litter box.”

Jesse and Billie’s eyes lit up and they began jumping up and down. “Yay!”

“The cat can stay for two weeks while we try to find her owner.” Sonny said to the girls. “But if we can’t find them after that we’ll have to bring her to a shelter, ok?”

Both girls nodded.

“And I don’t want you two handlin’ her too much until she sees a vet and gets checked for fleas and whatnot.”

“We won’t.” Jesse assured. “Come on Billie!” The two girls hurried back to Pepper.

Amanda chuckled and walked over to him. “I had a feeling you weren’t going to say no to those pouts.”

Sonny sighed, but smiled softly. “Yeah well I may come to regret this decision if that cat rubs up against me and I break out into hives.”

She laughed. “I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.”

He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and then headed out to retrieve Pepper’s things.

****************

Veterinarian’s Office - Sunday Morning

*****************

“No fleas, no worms, no ticks or parasites.” The vet said as she handed Pepper to a smiley Jesse and then directed her attention to Amanda and Sonny. “She’s a healthy cat. But there is something you oughta know.”

Sonny sneezed and exchanged a quick glance with Amanda. “What is it?”

“Well you expressed concern about her weight. It turns out she’s not obese. Just pregnant and due in about a week or two.”

Both Amanda and Sonny’s eyes widened in shock as Jesse and Billie cheered excitedly.

“Pepper’s going to be a mommy!” Jesse exclaimed as she cuddled the cat closer.

“How many kittens do you think she’s going to have?” Amanda asked the vet.

“It’s hard to say.” She told Amanda honestly. “But if I had to guess, I’d say around 5.”

Amanda and Sonny’s jaws dropped and the blonde turned her gaze to her oldest daughter. “Jesse we can’t keep—“

“Please.” She said cutting her off, directing her eyes to Sonny, sticking out her bottom lip.

Sonny rubbed his eyes and sighed.

****************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Sunday Afternoon

*****************

The family of four came back home with the very pregnant Pepper in tow. The girls scurried off into the living room with the cat while Sonny and Amanda headed toward the kitchen to get lunch ready.

“They’ve got you wrapped around their fingers.” Amanda said as she opened up the refrigerator and pulled out some turkey and cheese for the girls sandwiches.

Sonny sniffled, popped some Claritin into his mouth and took a swig from his water bottle. “They do and they know it.”

She shook her head and laughed softly.

“But I have Pepper plastered all over social media and online pet forums. That cat’s owner is out there and I’m gonna find them before those kittens come.”

The couple continued to get lunch ready while the girls played together quietly in the living room.

“How did the babies get in Pepper’s belly?” Billie asked her big sister as she laid beside the cat and played with her two plush cats.

Sonny and Amanda, who had been casually listening to the two girls chat, cringed a bit at Billie’s question and wondered how Jesse would answer.

“The daddy cat put them in there.” Jesse stated very matter of factly as she pet Pepper behind her ears.

“But how?” Billie asked.

Jesse took the two stuffed cats and smushed them together. “Like this. It’s how human mommy’s and daddy’s make babies too, right?” She asked looking over at Amanda and Sonny for confirmation.

The couple’s eyes grew large in surprise. A mortified Amanda couldn’t find her words and looked at Sonny, who told Jesse, “Ugh…right.”

Jesse handed the stuffed toys back to her sister and the girls changed the subject to Disney princesses.

Amanda subtly hit him in the ribs and shot him a look.

Sonny whispered. “She’s not wrong. What was I supposed to do, lie?”

“Where do you think she learned about sex?” Amanda quietly asked him, worriedly.

He shrugged and whispered. “We need to ask her. Hopefully it was in a professional setting like class and not by watching us.”

Amanda elbowed him in the ribs again. She then tried her best to shrug it off and the two went back to preparing lunch.

****************

Sonny and Amanda’s Bedroom - Sunday Night

*****************

Both girls had fallen asleep for the night much earlier than usual and Amanda and Sonny took advantage of the opportunity.

They were engaged in a hot and heavy make out session and just as Sonny went to lift Amanda’s shirt off, Pepper started yowling and he stopped and sighed.

“She’ll stop eventually.” Amanda said as she planted kisses down his bare chest. “Let’s keep going.”

She took her top off and the two resumed kissing and just as he reached to unclip her bra the yowling picked up intensity.

“Manda, I can’t.” Sonny said groaning. “She’s officially killed the mood. How do Jesse and Billie sleep through that?”

“Who knows.” Amanda grumbled as she put her shirt back on.

Sonny could sense her frustration with him. “I’m sorry. I—“

“It’s fine.” Amanda said waving him off. “Let’s just go to bed. We both have long days tomorrow.” She pulled the blankets over her and closed her eyes.

Sonny sighed, turned his bedside lamp off and attempted to try to go to sleep. However, Pepper’s incessant yowling continued.

“Argh.” He muttered to himself as he put his pillow over his ears.

****************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment

Kitchen - Monday Morning

*****************

Both Jesse and Billie appeared for breakfast looking as though they each had a good night rest, while him and Amanda barely got any sleep and were struggling to keep their eyes open as they went about their morning routine. Additionally, Amanda once again had an upset stomach and wasn’t feeling great.

“You not feelin’ well again?” Sonny asked as he rubbed his tired, and very itchy, red eyes and offered her some coffee. “I thought you were startin’ to feel better?”

She made a slight face and waved him off. “No thanks. And I thought so too. I don’t know what’s going on.”

“You still goin’ to work?”

“Yeah I have to.” Amanda then looked down at his hand and frowned. “Is that a rash?”

Sonny nodded. “Pepper licked me when I was tying my shoes.”

Amanda shook her head in disbelief. “I can’t believe one lick did that.”

Just then, both girls hopped out of their seats and Jesse brought both her and Billie’s empty cereal bowls to the sink and set them down. Billie then went to scoop Pepper’s litter box while Jesse refilled her food and water bowl.

“I must say, they have both been doin’ a good job taking care of this cat.” Sonny whispered to her quietly. “Way more responsible than I thought they would be at this age.”

Amanda nodded. “I agree.”

Sonny took a sip of his coffee and then let out a big sneeze. “I’m going to grab some more Claritin.” He then retreated off into the bathroom.

Amanda turned her gaze toward Pepper, who was lying quietly next to a sleeping Frannie on the living room floor. She stared intently at the cat’s large stomach, pressed her lips together and then let her mind drift.

****************

Precinct - Late Friday Morning

*****************

The rest of the week was fairly uneventful for the Rollins-Carisi crew. Both Amanda and Sonny were growing frustrated that all his efforts to locate Pepper’s owner, both virtually and through signs in their neighborhood, hadn’t materialized into anything. Though the cat had grown on Amanda and even Sonny a bit, though he was still highly allergic to her, they were worried about her going into labor and being stuck with kittens that would need to be taken care of.

***

Sonny entered the relatively quiet squad room late Friday morning and looked around. Neither Amanda or Velasco were at their desks and Liv’s office was empty.

“Where is everyone?” Sonny asked as he handed Fin a search warrant he had requested earlier.

“Liv’s in a meeting with McGrath and Amanda and Velasco were out on a call, but should be back any second.

Fin squinted and eyed Sonny curiously.

Sonny, realizing he noticed the mark on his neck, started to blush. “It’s not what you think. It’s a rash. The cat rubbed up against me and accidentally scratched me while tryin’ to get away from Frannie.”

Fin looked at him skeptically. “Uh huh.”

“Fin come on—“

“Ain’t nobody that allergic to cats, Carisi.”
He said interrupting. “We both know what that is.”

Sonny fixed his lips to respond but was interrupted by a voice from behind him.

“Is that a hickey?!” asked Velasco, who unbeknownst to Fin and Sonny, had quietly entered back into the squad room with Amanda. He turned to look at the blonde and laughed. “You gave Carisi a hickey?”

Amanda shot Velasco a look and hit him lightly in the arm, while Sonny rolled his eyes and started to answer him, when his cell buzzed. It was an unknown number and, though he usually ignored them, he decided to step away and answer it.

Meanwhile Fin and Velasco headed out together to go execute the search warrant Carisi had given Fin while Amanda headed back to her desk and began filling out the DD5 for the call her and Velasco had handled when she was approached by a gleeful looking Sonny a few minutes later.

“What is it?” Amanda asked curiously.

“Finally found Pepper’s owner.” Sonny said smiling.

“Really?” She asked, surprised. “You sure?”

“Yes. She’s very happy we found Pepper and temporarily took her in and that she didn’t end up in a shelter. She’s anxious to get her back but is out of town for work until tomorrow so she’s going to come pick Pepper up Saturday afternoon.”

Amanda nodded and said a little sadly. “Well it’s good we finally found her. The girls are going to be upset but…they knew this day was going to come.”

Sonny gave Amanda a small sympathetic smile. “Looks like they aren’t the only ones who are goin’ to miss Pepper.”

Amanda shrugged. “They aren’t. I will too.”

“Same.” Sonny admitted, adding. “However, it’ll be nice to not have to worry about rashes and to be able to breathe normally again without needin’ a bunch of allergy medication everyday.”

He checked his watch. “I gotta get goin.’” Sonny gave Amanda a kiss in the cheek. “See ya at home later.”

Amanda nodded and watched him head out.

****************

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Friday Evening

*****************

As anticipated both Jesse and Billie were devastated to hear that Pepper would be going home the next day.

Tears were shed, but after lots of comforting hugs from Amanda and Sonny, the girls started to settle down a bit and joined their mother on the living room sofa to watch tv while Sonny went and showered.

“Do you think Pepper will remember us?” Jesse asked her mother hopefully as she pet the cat that had sprawled out and made herself comfortable on Amanda’s lap.

Amanda nodded. “Definitely. You two were the best bonus mommies to Pepper.”

“What’s a bonus mommy?” Billie asked her.

“Well…” Amanda began. “It’s like an extra, second mommy that steps in. Kinda how Sonny is a bonus dad to you girls.”

Jesse emphatically shook her head. “Sonny is NOT a bonus dad.” She stated very matter of factly.

Amanda frowned a bit. “Why do you say that Jess?”

“Because he’s THE one that takes care of us, plays with us and loves us. Sonny’s not an extra, second dad. He’s just dad. The best dad there is.”

Jesse’s sweet words caused tears to well up in Amanda’s eyes. She pulled her eldest daughter in for a hug and as she did caught glimpse of Sonny, who was standing quietly a few feet away by the entrance into the living room, smiling softly and growing a little teary eyed himself.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

“Is Billie ok?” Amanda asked as she set her cell down on the nightstand and got underneath the covers in their bed.

Sonny nodded and yawned as he settled in next to her. “Yeah. Just needed to do a quick sweep for monsters.”

Amanda smiled softly. “Jesse’s right. You are the best dad there is. The girls know it and soon…this little one of ours will too.” She said as she placed a hand on her stomach and bit her lip in anticipation of his response.

Sonny’s eyes grew large and his mouth opened up wide. “Really?” He whispered. “We’re having a baby?”

Amanda nodded and laughed out. “It turns out Pepper isn’t the only one walking around here with something in her belly.”

She paused for a moment and then continued. “I know this is a little out of left field, but I hope you’re ok with it.”

Sonny chuckled, brought her lips to his for a kiss and then pulled her in for a hug. “I’m more than ok with it. I think this is amazing! When did you find out?”

“Two days ago.” Amanda said to him. “It didn’t even cross my mind that I could be pregnant until we found out that Pepper was. Then it hit me that maybe that was the reason I had been so nauseous and a bit off lately.”

“I’m sorry you haven’t been feelin’ well,” a sympathetic Sonny said to her as he wrapped his arm around Amanda and she rested her head on his chest.

“The morning sickness will pass eventually.” She told him as she snuggled in closer.

“I still can’t believe it.” Sonny whispered as he gently placed a free hand on her stomach. “A baby. I can’t wait to meet him or her.”

“We will soon.” A smiling Amanda said to him quietly.

Sonny grinned, kissed her again and the two curled up closer together.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Pepper’s usual yowling from the girls’ room that night was replaced with soft meows that instead sounded like they were coming outside Sonny and Amanda’s bedroom door.

The sounds awakened Sonny, who got up and opened the door. Pepper immediately walked in and went over to Amanda’s side of the bed and meowed at her incessantly, causing the blonde to stir and wake up.

Amanda sat up and once she did Pepper jumped into her lap.

“She’s been acting so strange.” Amanda said as she pet the cat. “Very clingy. Do you think she’s going into labor?”

Sonny nodded but let out a big sneeze before responding. “Maybe that’s why she’s been so clingy with you today. I think she senses our baby and feels comforted being around you.”

Amanda lifted Pepper into her arms and stood up. “I’ll sit with her in the living room for a while and keep an eye on her.”

Sonny nodded and watched as Amanda made her way into the living room and settled in with Pepper on the couch.

****************

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment

Living Room - Saturday Morning 6a

*****************

“Manda…”

Amanda, who had been asleep on the couch, slowly opened up her eyes and saw Sonny, with Billie in his arms, standing before her.

She sat up and rubbed her eyes.

“Pepper had kitties!” Billie exclaimed excitedly and pointed toward the middle of the kitchen floor.

Amanda locked eyes with Sonny who nodded.

“Jesse saw ‘em when she woke up to go to the bathroom.” He motioned for Amanda to follow him and Billie into the kitchen, where Jesse and Frannie sat near Pepper, who was nursing her six kittens.

“Oh my God there’s six.” A surprised Amanda said aloud. “She gave birth right here?”

Sonny rubbed his bloodshot red eyes, sneezed and then made a bit of a face. “Yeah. I just finished cleanin’ up the remnants.”

Amanda chuckled.

“They’re so little!” Jesse said as she looked down at the kittens in awe.

“And funny looking.” Billie said giggling.

“Oh yeah? Well you were kinda funny lookin’ when you were first born too.” Sonny joked with Billie as he tickled her, causing the little girl to erupt into laughter.

Amanda laughed and then turned her attention back to the sweet little kittens on the kitchen floor and smiled down at them.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Later that afternoon Pepper’s owner, Rachael, came to pick her and the kittens up. Both girls, especially Jesse, had a tough time handing off Pepper and her kittens, who she had named and also grown super attached too since their arrival earlier in the day.

“This is Cinnamon.” Jesse said in between sniffles as she very carefully handed one of the kittens to Rachael to put in a carrier. “And this one’s Ginger.”

She gently picked up a third. “Saffron.” And then the fourth. “Nutmeg.”

Jesse wiped her eyes and picked up the last two. “Paprika and Oregano.”

She then turned her attention to Pepper. Jesse picked her up and cradled her in her arms. “Bye Pepper. I’m really g—going to miss…you.”

A sad looking Billie kissed the top of Pepper’s head. “Bye bye Pepper.”

Jesse then handed her to Rachael, who gave the girls sad small smiles. “Thank you girls for taking such good care of Pepper and her kittens.”

Both Jesse and Billie nodded and then slowly and sadly exited the living room toward their bedroom.

Sensing Pepper’s owner felt bad, Amanda said to her, “They’ll be ok in a couple of days.”

Rachael nodded, put Pepper in her carrier and stood up. “My husband and I were only planning on keeping one of the kittens and, once they are old enough, we were going to give the rest away to friends and family. I know you won’t accept any money, but I would like to thank you and your daughters in some way. Would you be interested in having one of the kittens?”

Both Amanda and Sonny’s eyes grew big and they exchanged looks with one another, but before Sonny could even fix his lips to respond Amanda answered.

“This one’s super allergic to cats and has been living off allergy medication for the past week so I think we’re going to have to pass.”

Rachael nodded. “I understand.” She then picked up the cat carriers and made her way to the door, which Sonny hustled over to and opened up for her. “Thank you both again.” She then exited their apartment.

“I guess that’s the end of that.” Amanda said sighing as she ran a hand through her hair. “I’m gonna go take a shower.”

Sonny nodded as he watched Amanda head off to the bathroom. He then shifted his gaze towards the girls room and sighed.

****************

8 Weeks Later

July

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Saturday Afternoon

*****************

As time passed the family of four, plus Frannie, had pretty much settled back in to life as it had been before. Still, whenever the girls came across a stray cat while out and about or saw one pop up in a movie, television show or book, especially a black one that looked like Pepper, they would grow a little sad.

While Sonny knew he couldn’t bring Pepper back for them, he realized he could do the next best thing and on a wet rainy day when Jesse and Billie were stuck inside, he went out to run a “errand” and returned home with a surprise for them.

“Hey girls!” Sonny called as he entered the apartment and set down a box on the floor beside him in the living room. “Can you come here for a second?”

“Whatcha got there?” Amanda asked curiously as she emerged from the kitchen and looked down at the box.

“You’ll see in a second.” He told her as he rubbed his eyes and sniffed.

Just then, Jesse and Billie came running into the living room.

“Is that for us?!” a smiling Jesse asked as she eyed the box.

Sonny nodded. “It is.” He then opened the box up, reached in, pulled out a small little kitten and gave her to Jesse.

Jesse’s eyes nearly popped out of her head and a big huge grin spread across her face. “Saffron!”

Sonny reached into the box once more and revealed a second, even tinier kitten. “And Oregano.” He handed him to Billie who’s eyes lit up with excitement.

“Thank you! Thank you!” Both girls yelled out to him as they hugged his legs. They then plopped down on the couch together and began playing with the kittens.

“You got them not one but TWO kittens?!” A shocked Amanda asked him quietly as they both entered into the adjacent kitchen.

Sonny sneezed and nodded his head. “They were the last two left in the litter and had bonded and needed to be adopted together.”

“But what about your allergies?”

“I start my first round of allergy shots on Monday.” He told her. “I’m sure the process won’t be fun and that it’ll take a while for it to work, but I didn’t like the fact I was the reason the girls couldn’t have a cat. Especially when I know they, as well as their mother, really wanted one. So if I have to suffer for a bit, so be it. I just want everyone to be happy.”

Amanda gave him a small smile and reached up to kiss him. “We’re so lucky to have you.”

Sonny blushed and fixed his mouth to respond but stopped when he heard the girls talking about their cats.

“Saffron is mine and Oregano is yours.” Jesse said to her little sister. “We each have one and we don’t have to worry about sharing!”

“Yay!” Billie exclaimed.

Amanda chuckled softly. “This might be a good time to tell them about you know what.”

Sonny grinned. “I think you’re right.”

The couple headed into the living room and sat down on the sofa next to the girls.

“What’s all this about not sharing?” Amanda asked the duo.

“Just that we don’t need to because there’s two of us and Sonny got us two kittens.” Jesse said as she cradled Saffron in her arms.

Amanda nodded. “Well there is only two of you right now, but in a few months…there’s going to be three.”

It took a second to register what her mother meant, but once it did a huge smile spread across her face. “Really?! Yay!” She then gave both Amanda and Sonny big hugs.

Sensing that Billie didn’t understand, both Sonny and Amanda followed up.

He scooped the youngest Rollins girl onto his lap. “Billie, do you remember when Pepper had babies in her belly?”

She nodded her head as she gently pet Oregano.

Amanda pointed to her stomach. “There’s a baby in my belly.”

Billie grinned and opened her mouth wide in shock. “Really!?” She asked enthusiastically.

Amanda nodded.

“But only one?” She asked, a little disappointed.

Both Sonny and Amanda laughed.

“Yes, only one.” Sonny said looking down at her. “Human mommies don’t usually have six like cats can. But I promise you’ll have fun with just one little brother or sister, ok?”

Billie smiled and nodded and the foursome, along with the kittens and Frannie, who made her way over to them, settled in on the couch, flicked on a movie and enjoyed the rest of their lazy, rainy Saturday afternoon together.

Chapter Text

“I’m Not Okay With This”

********************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Late Monday Night

********************

Amanda walked into their room, where Sonny was already anxiously waiting for her on their bed, with the digital pregnancy test in her hands. She placed it on her nightstand, checked her watch and then sat down next to him.

The two said nothing to each other as they both waited to see what the results would be. When Amanda was sure at least three minutes had passed, she got up and went to check it.

“It’s positive.” The blonde said as she walked back over to Sonny, plopped down beside him and handed the test to him.

He stared at it silently long and hard for a while before giving it back to Amanda and asking, “Is there anyway this could be wrong? A false positive?”

Amanda set the test next to her and shook her head. “It’s technically possible, but…really rare. If it’s showing I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant.”

Sonny took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, but remained quiet for a long time before finally finding his words.

He closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. “How did this happen?”

Amanda fixed her mouth to respond, but was interrupted by cries coming from the nursery next door. She sighed and made her way out of the room.

Amanda emerged a short while later with their baby daughter, Ariana, in her arms. She sat down on the bed and started to feed her a bottle.

Once Amanda was settled, Sonny ran a hand through his already disheveled hair and resumed their conversation. “God, this looks so bad. Ari is only five months old.”

Amanda sighed. “I know. I’m not looking forward to telling my mother about this. I can hear her judging me for it now.”

Sonny stood up and began pacing around the bedroom. “Puttin’ the optics of it all to the side, Ari she…was supposed to be the last one. We took the necessary precautions in an effort to ensure she’d be it. We weren’t careless.”

“I’m not sure what went wrong with my birth control.” Amanda said as she gently stroked the baby’s light brown hair. She groaned lightly. “I should’ve just had my doctor tie my tubes after the C-section.”

Sonny stopped pacing and fixated his gaze on baby Ariana. “This isn’t fair to her. She’d be what? Around 13 months old when this new baby was born? Barely walkin’ and still in diapers. She’s still gonna need a lot of our attention, but won’t have as much of it as she should if there’s a newborn around. I worry about Jesse and Billie too. Billie especially.”

Amanda tried to make herself more comfortable on the bed. “So do I. She’s definitely jealous and been having a tough time adjusting to Ari and not being the baby anymore. I’m not sure how adding an additional sibling in such a short time period is going to affect her. I imagine it’ll be hard on Jesse as well.”

The room filled with silence for a long while before Sonny spoke again.

“Money is goin’ to be tight too.” He said as he took Ariana, who had finished her formula, from Amanda and cradled her in his arms. “We’d have to get a bigger, so more expensive, apartment with at least two bathrooms, and if the new baby turns out to be a boy, it’d need to be a four bedroom.”

“Overtime could help.” Amanda suggested. “But I wouldn’t be able to take it on for a while.”

Sonny nodded and added. “I should take the OC gig.”

Amanda shook her head. “If you accept that position as their ADA and do double duty with SVU, you’d be working all the time. We’d never see you. Not to mention organized crime is so dangerous.”

Sonny simply shrugged. “But it’d be a big pay raise. And we’d could use the money. If I don’t do it, we’d have to cut back in other ways. Like pull Jess from the new school we just put her in. The one she loves. Or pull both girls from one of their extra curricular activities. None of which I want to do.”

Amanda nodded. “Neither do I.”

She watched as Sonny attempted to soothe the baby asleep, which he did fairly quickly. He briefly left the room to put Ariana back down in her crib and then returned to their bedroom.

He sat back down on the bed next to her and once again the room filled with an uncomfortable silence for a long while before Amanda finally spoke up again.

“I had such a hard time carrying Ari.” Amanda said sighing as she reflected back. “Gestational diabetes, placenta previa, and a C-section. All three of which I’m at risk for again.”

Sonny closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “I know.” He told her sympathetically.

The two went quiet again for a few more minutes and then Sonny spoke up again.

“This is…far from an ideal situation we’re in but…it is what it is. There’s nothin’ we can do.”

Amanda remained silent for a while, contemplating if she should say it, before biting her lip and whispering, “That’s not exactly true.”

Sonny furrowed his eyebrows. “What do you mean by that?”

“You know what I mean, Dominick.”

He immediately became visibly upset. “You want to have an abortion?”

Amanda sighed. “All I’m saying, as of right now, is that it’s an option that needs to be seriously considered.”

Sonny stood back up and began pacing around again.

Amanda ran a hand through her messy blonde locks. “The optics of it all…people lookin’ at us funny…I could live with. But Sonny, we just ran through the reasons why a fourth child doesn’t make sense for us. In order to compensate for the financial stress it would put us under, Jesse and Billie would have to sacrifice their activities or we’d have to work more. Which means we’d be spending less time at home and with the kids. All of whom currently are and will continue to be vying for and needing our attention in different ways. And while there’s a chance I could have a smooth pregnancy, my track record isn’t good. I’ve had a lot of issues that could pop up again. Being older doesn’t help.”

Sonny sat back down next to Amanda and stared aimlessly at the wall for a minute before finally responding.

“If I knew for a fact that there was somethin’ seriously wrong with the baby or that your life was in danger and there wasn’t just a possibility of some complications, then maybe I could I understand it. But…that’s not the situation we’re in Amanda. And as I said before, the situation we ARE in isn’t ideal and this isn’t somethin’ I would’ve actively sought, but I…I couldn’t live with myself if we didn’t move forward with the pregnancy. Could you…really? You’d have no regrets?”

Amanda’s mind began to drift back to years earlier and her conversation with Liv when she had briefly pondered whether or not she should continue her pregnancy with Billie. Though she felt like the two circumstances were very different and more lives were to be heavily and in her opinion, negatively, impacted by the situation at hand, her Captain’s words weighed on her:

”This is your decision to make alone, and I will defend to the death your right to make it, but regret is an awful thing to live with.”

Amanda started to grow a bit upset herself and tears began to well up in her eyes. “I…d—don’t…know if I’d regret it. I’m not 100% sure it’s what I want to do. All I said was that’s it an option to consider. I just need to know that if I did go that route that…y—you wouldn’t hate me for it.”

Sonny rubbed his temples and sighed. “Amanda I could never, ever hate you. And at the end of the day this is your body and I can’t and would never force you to do somethin’ you don’t want to do. But…I just don’t see myself ever being okay with this. So I don’t know where that leaves us.”

The couple stared at each other in the silence for a long time before Sonny eventually stood up. “I’m gonna take a drive. I need to clear my head. I’ll be back in a while.”

She watched as he grabbed his Fordham hoodie from their closet, put it on and leave the bedroom. Amanda could hear him hastily put on his sneakers, reach for his keys and then quickly, exit the apartment.

Amanda wiped her eyes and sat alone quietly, deep in thought.

Chapter Text

“I’ll Be There”

*********************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Tuesday Morning

*********************

Neither Amanda or Sonny got much sleep and the next morning neither of them brought up the baby subject. They knew it was something they weren’t going to be able to avoid forever, but for the time being the issue was put on the back burner as they tried to just get through their morning routine with the girls, which seemed much more difficult than usual.

Jesse was moving slow and missed her bus, meaning she’d need to be driven to school, which was a good 20 minutes out of the way. And though she wasn’t wet, hungry, tired, or appeared to be sick, baby Ari spent a good chunk of the morning crying incessantly, stopping only if she was held, while Billie turned her nose up at all three of the breakfast options Sonny offered her.

The four-year-old pushed her oatmeal bowl away. “I don’t want this. I want eggs.”

Sonny closed his eyes and sighed as he rocked Ariana in his arms. “Billie, I’m not makin’ eggs today. It’s either oatmeal, yogurt, or fruit. That’s it.”

Billie crossed her arms and remained defiant, refusing to eat.

Sonny shook his head as he sat Ariana, who instantly began hollering, down in her high chair, and threw the oatmeal out. He emptied and washed the bowl, placed it on the dish rack and, knowing the preschooler would be hungry later and would regret her decision to skip breakfast, tossed the yogurt and banana into her lunch box. He then hurried back over to the baby who, once in his arms, immediately stopped crying. He then hastily tried to finish his now lukewarm, cup of coffee.

“Jesse, come on!” Amanda yelled out to her eldest daughter as she passed by the girls’ bedroom on her way to the kitchen. “If Sonny doesn’t leave to take you to school in the next two minutes you’re going to be late.”

Billie’s eyes lit up when she heard that Sonny was taking Jesse to school. “Is Sonny taking me to school too?” She asked her mother hopefully.

It was at that moment Jesse entered into the living room/kitchen area with her backpack on, ready to go. She grabbed her lunch box from off the counter and then began putting her shoes on.

“No, because yours is in the opposite direction of Jesse’s.” Amanda said as she bent down to tie Billie’s sneakers. “And Sonny needs to take Jesse today because she missed her bus. I’m bringing you to preschool and Ari to daycare, ok?”

Billie huffed and started to whine. “But I want to go with Sonny!”

Jesse rolled her eyes at her little sister. “You’re such a brat.”

“I am not!” Billie retorted.

“Are too!”

“Am not!”

The yelling back and forth began to upset Ari and she started to burst out into tears and it was at that moment a frustrated Sonny, who rarely lost his cool, did.

“Enough!” He shouted out as he handed Amanda, who had just finished tying up Billie’s sneakers, the crying infant. “Billie you are goin’ with mom. Jesse you are comin’ with me and we’re leavin’ now.”

“But I didn’t have any breakfast.” She told him as they headed toward the front door.

Sonny doubled back into the kitchen, grabbed a banana from the counter and gave it to her. “Let’s go.”

“Aren’t you forgetting something?” Jesse asked him very seriously.

“What’d I forget?” Sonny asked her, looking around.

“You didn’t kiss mom goodbye.” The little blonde stated very matter of factly. “You always kiss mom when you leave.”

Sonny’s gaze shifted from Jesse to Amanda. He stood still for a moment before eventually making his way to her. He briefly stared down at Ariana, who had started to settle down a bit, and then looked up at Amanda. Sonny then leaned in and connected his lips to hers.

He pulled away slowly and said quietly, “Bye.”

“Bye.” She repeated.

The two stared at each other for a few more moments before Sonny rejoined Jesse by the door and the two headed out.

*********************

Sonny’s Office - Tuesday Morning

*********************

As soon as Sonny had settled down behind his desk and started working he heard his cell going off. The sound he heard was a notification for a new email and, though he didn’t usually check his personal email while at work, something told him that today he should.

When he opened up the email and read it, his heart skipped a beat. It was an email letting him know that his law school loan payments were going to be increasing and the increase was significant.

Unbeknownst to his friends and even much of his own family, Sonny wasn’t raking in the dough working as a lawyer for the DA’s office and that a law degree was one of the more expensive degrees one could get and, as a result, he had accumulated a good amount of debt.

He sighed as he put his phone away and tried to refocus his attention back on to the task at hand, when another email notification alert went off. Sonny picked his phone back up to look at it and saw that this email was from Jesse’s school; a reminder that tuition was due.

He rubbed the bridge of his nose and sighed once again. Him and Amanda had decided to pull Jesse out of the public school she was zoned to after her teachers said she wasn’t be challenged enough and she’d benefit from a school with a more rigorous academic programming and one centered on her interests and strengths, science and math. So they had recently put Jesse in a private school that had all of those things and she was thriving. While they had been able to swing it, as Sonny started doing the math in his head he was realizing more and more that the possibility of keeping her in that school if they did have the baby were slim to none.

His thoughts were interrupted by a knock on his door. Sonny looked up and saw Hadid entering with a file in her hand. “Here’s the Thompson file.” She walked it over to him.

“Thanks.” He said he took the file and began thumbing through it.

“You look tired.” Hadid commented as she took in his appearance. “Baby keep you up?”

“I guess you could say that.” Sonny responded, knowing she meant Ari while he was referring to the possible new addition.

She nodded and then proceeded to make her way out of his office before Sonny stopped her.

“Do you know if they’ve found a permanent ADA to cover for organized crime yet?” He asked her.

“No.” Hadid said, eying him curiously. “You want it? I thought you said you weren’t interested in doing double duty?”

Sonny contemplated the idea a bit more for a second before responding. “I’m not sure if I am, but…I was kind of hoping to try it out for a bit to see if it was manageable. If it was alright with DA and the task force.”

Hadid nodded her head. “I’m sure it will be. Let me make some phone calls.”

Sonny nodded and watched as she exited his office. He sat quietly, staring off into space for a moment, before eventually getting back to work.

*********************

Precinct

Squad Room - Late Tuesday Morning

*********************

About an hour and a half later, Sonny arrived at the precinct for a meeting with Liv. As he entered the squad room he was surprised to see how quiet it was; just a few patrol deputies walking around and Liv and Amanda, chatting by the latter’s desk.

He made his way over to them and, though he briefly locked eyes with Amanda, the two said nothing to each other and he quickly redirected his attention to Liv. “I’m ready whenever you are Cap.”

Liv’s gaze shifted between both of them and, though she sensed a little tension, decided not to dig into. She instead nodded at Sonny and just as she fixed her mouth to say something, her cell went off. It was Velasco, who she had sent out along with Fin to handle an early call.

“What’s going on Velasco?” She said as she placed him on speaker.

‘Sergeant said I should give you a call to see how you wanted to proceed with this.’

Amanda, who hadn’t yet gotten to the precinct when the guys left to take the call, asked, “What happened?”

Liv sighed. “A 16-year-old purposely threw herself off the second floor at her high school this morning before classes started. Hit her head on the railing on the way down and went unconscious.”

Sonny’s eyes, as well as Amanda’s, widened in shock.

“That’s…absolutely terrible. But how did this become an SVU case?” He asked.

“Paramedics saw signs of very recent, vaginal trauma when trying to stabilize her that made them think she had been sexually assaulted.”

Velasco jumped back into the conversation. ‘It turns out she wasn’t assaulted. The trauma was…self inflicted.’

All three raised eyebrows at each other but before Liv could respond, Velasco provided more details.

‘Apparently she’s pregnant and though minors don’t need parental permission to get an abortion in New York, her parents don’t believe in it and wouldn’t help her pay for it. So—‘

“She tried to self abort by doing things to trigger a miscarriage.” Sonny interrupted, staring intently at a quiet, solemn looking Amanda the entire time. Liv could feel the uncomfortable tension between the couple growing, but still refrained from commenting.

He shook his head. “Jesus Christ.”

Liv directed her attention back to her young detective. “Velasco, did the jump cause a miscarriage?”

‘No. She’s still pregnant. Other than a concussion, she’s fine physically. And her parents…they feel badly about how this all played out. They said they’d pay for her abortion and are going to get her into some counseling. So while what she did…isn’t right—‘

“You were thinking she’s been punished enough?”

‘I think we should let it go.’ He told her honestly.

Liv nodded. “I agree.” She then looked at Sonny. “Carisi?”

He looked at Amanda, who had remained quiet throughout the entire exchange, took in a deep breath, exhaled slowly and said. “I hate what she did. But, I know for a fact my office isn’t going to want to pursue this further. So tell ‘em to drop it.”

Liv eyed him curiously, but nodded. She then took Velasco off speaker and stepped away from the couple to talk to him privately.

Knowing this incident was hitting him harder than it might typically have, considering what was going on in their personal lives, Amanda attempted to get him to open up to her about it more. “Sonny—“

“I’m done talkin’ bout that case.” He said interrupting her, quietly adding. “And we’re not gettin’ into anything deeper. Not here, not now.”

Amanda was about to respond but stopped when his phone went off. He read the text to himself and then hastily put his phone away. “I have an arraignment that got moved up. Can you tell Liv I’ll catch up with her later?”

“An arraignment for what?” Amanda asked, furrowing her brows. “You don’t have any active SVU cases in that phase. What’s it for?”

Sonny didn’t answer and just stood quietly.

An annoyed Amanda shook her head. “It’s an organized crime case, isn’t it? You took the ADA position without discussing it with me first?!”

He sighed. “I didn’t officially take it. Just doin’ a trial run of it for now to see how it goes.”

“Why?!” Amanda said, her voice growing louder. “What are you trying to prove?”

Sonny threw his arms up in aggravation. “Oh come on Manda, you KNOW why I took it!”

It was at that moment Liv quickly ended her phone call with Velasco and hurried over to them.

“I’m not gonna have you two yelling at each other in the middle of my squad room.” She said to them sternly. “What is this about? The case? I get how upsetting this must be for you both, especially having just had Ariana—“

“It has nothin’ to do with Ariana.” Sonny said interrupting.

“But there is something going on?” She asked, looking back and forth between them both.

Sonny just shook his head. “I can’t deal with this right now. I’m gonna be late for my arraignment.”

He looked at his wife and said, “Tell her if you want. I’m sure you were plannin’ to at some point anyways, whether I was OK with it or not.”

Sonny quickly headed toward the elevators and made his way out of the squad room.

Liv immediately motioned for her to detective to join her in her office.

Once the two were settled in, Liv removed her glasses, set them off to the side, and said to the blonde, “It’s clear you and Carisi are at odds with each other and I’m sensing it’s over something deeply personal. So I understand if you don’t want to discuss it with me. But I’m here, as your Captain and friend, if you need me and want to talk whatever it is out.”

Amanda bit her lip and nodded as she grew teary eyed. She mulled the situation over for a brief moment before she realized she had to, and wanted to, discuss everything with her. She took a breath and exhaled slowly. “I’m pregnant.”

Liv’s eyes grew big and her jaw dropped. Though she hadn’t been sure what exactly was going on with Amanda, her being pregnant was the last thing she would’ve thought. She fixed her mouth to comment, but stopped when she saw Amanda continuing.

“I’m pregnant and…most of the time I’m…pretty sure I don’t want to be.”

Liv nodded her head slowly. “You’re thinking you might want to terminate it?”

Amanda wiped her eyes and nodded.

“And I’m guessing Carisi doesn’t want that?”

“He’s adamantly oppose to it.” She said, pausing for a moment before adding, “But...”

“But?” Liv asked curiously.

Amanda sighed. “Deep down I think we’re actually on the same page. When I took the test last night and we saw it was positive, Sonny and I both agreed how problematic this was for several reasons. Most of which he first brought up. The fact that Ari would only be a year old herself and still needing a lot of our attention which she wouldn’t have. How Billie’s been having a difficult time adjusting to one new little sibling and a second could cause her to regress more than she has. How we’d need a larger apartment and possibly more baby things. All of which requires more money. Meaning we’d need to work more, which means more time away from the kids, or cut back on things like the girls’ extra curricular activities. That or take Jesse out of her new school.”

“I thought I heard Carisi mention he took the OC ADA position. Is that why?”

Amanda shrugged. “I guess. He claims to be just trying it out to see if he could handle the double duty between OC and SVU. But I already know it’s going to be too much on him.”

“He’d definitely be working a lot.” Liv said, agreeing.

“And we also talked about how I had some major issues, like the gestational diabetes, during my pregnancy with Ariana that I’d more than likely be dealing with again.”

“Do you think his opposition to it stems from his faith?”

Amanda nodded her head slowly. “Yeah I definitely feel as though he’s in conflict with his Catholicism. And though my sense of faith isn’t on the same level of intensity as his, I too am struggling with the moral ambiguity of it all. Which is why I said most of the time I don’t think I want to be pregnant. Because there are moments when I wonder if, I do decide to have an abortion, if I’m going to be constantly looking back and wondering ‘what if?’ Or if I’m going to regret my choice and then have to figure out a way to live with it. I think about the conversation you and I had all those years ago about regret—“

“Being an awful thing to live with.” Liv finished. “You know Amanda, one of the concerns I had when you told me you were thinking about terminating your second pregnancy was that you were making a rash decision based primarily off emotions. But this…this isn’t that. These are two entirely different situations that can’t be viewed in the same way. You are at a stage in your life where you’ve completed your family but still have several years of reproductive life that could, and did, end up leading to an unintended pregnancy. Despite taking precautions, I’m assuming.”

“We did.” Amanda felt the need to disclose. “We weren’t being reckless.”

Liv nodded. “An unintended pregnancy that could cause financial and other familial strains.” She paused for a minute and then resumed her thoughts. “I guess what I’m getting at is…while you might regret making a certain choice in one situation, it doesn’t mean you’d regret making that same choice under different circumstances.”

Amanda blinked back her tears, wiped her nose and nodded slowly.

Liv reached her hands across her desk and grabbed Amanda’s. “I know you feel like you’re caught between a rock and a hard place. But eventually you’ll have to make a decision. And while it’s important and necessary to keep Carisi and the girls in your mind when deciding what to do, you’re the one who is pregnant. You have to think about what would be best for you.”

Amanda bit her lip and nodded.

“You going to be ok to finish out the day or do you want to take the rest of it off?”

Amanda shook her head no as she released her hands from Liv’s grip. “I’ll be fine.”

She got up from her seat. “Thanks, Liv. This conversation was…helpful. And very much needed.”

Liv nodded. “I’m always here if you need me. Always.”

Amanda returned the nod and then made her way out of her Captain’s office and back to her desk.

*********************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Late Tuesday Night

*********************

When Sonny, after a long day of arraignments and making deals with some seedy individuals he wish he could’ve avoided, finally stumbled into the apartment he was surprised to see Amanda was still awake, sitting in the kitchen drinking tea.

“Hey.” He said as he kicked his shoes off and set his briefcase down by the door.

“Hey.” She said as sipped her tea. “Tired?” She asked, as she saw him yawning.

He made his way into the kitchen and sat down across from Amanda at the table. “Yeah. It’s been…a long day.”

“I’m guessing a lot of your days are going to be like this moving forward.”

Sonny sighed. “Probably.”

The two sat together in the silence for a long while before Amanda finally broke it.

“I made an appointment with my OB tomorrow afternoon. For an ultrasound. I know we aren’t in the best place right now, but…it’d mean a lot to me if you’d come along. I could really use your support.”

Sonny furrowed his brows. “But I thought you were leaning toward not wantin’ to keep the baby?”

Amanda took another sip of her tea. “I need to know what’s going on, like how far along I am and if the pregnancy is even viable, regardless of what I decide to do. So…will you come?”

Sonny’s mind started to drift back to Ariana’s first ultrasound, seeing her on the monitor, and hearing her heartbeat for the first time and he shook his head no.

“I…I can’t.” He said rubbing his temples.

“You know, none of this is easy on me either, Sonny. But whatever, don’t come.” A frustrated Amanda said as she got up from her chair. “I’ll do it alone.”

She then headed to the sink, set her empty teacup down in it and walked toward the bedroom to change into her night clothes.

Sonny buried his face into his hands for a brief moment and then sat deep in thought for a bit before getting up. He then decided to check in on the girls, who had all been put to bed hours earlier.

He poked his head into the nursery and saw that Ariana was fast asleep, snoring lightly. He smiled at his baby girl and then carefully closed her door. Sonny then headed toward Jesse and Billie’s room. Jesse was also sleeping soundly but when he went over to Billie’s side of the room he saw she was awake.

“I’m sorry if I woke you.” Sonny said as he bent down to the little girl’s bedside.

“I was already up.” Billie told him.

Sonny pulled her covers up. “Ok. Well try and get some sleep.”

Billie nodded, but as Sonny stood up and made his way out of the room she said to him, “I should’ve ate my oatmeal.”

He turned his head and bent back down to her eye level.

“I’m sorry I was a being brat.” She added.

Sonny shook his head. “You weren’t being a brat.”

“Yes I was.” She said to him quietly. “But I promise I’ll be better tomorrow.”

Sonny gave the four-year-old a small smile. “I’m sorry for yellin’ this morning. But I promise I’ll be better tomorrow.”

Billie smiled back and nodded. “Goodnight.”

He kissed her forehead. “Goodnight.”

As he stood back up and exited the room Sonny realized in that very moment that if he was truly going to ‘be better’, like he promised Billie he would be, he needed to be better in every way. He knew he needed to be there for Amanda. Because when they married he vowed to love her, for better AND for worse. So while they appeared to be out of sync in regards to the whole baby situation, he knew he should still be present at the ultrasound. So he decided he would be.

After they had both settled in for the night and got into bed, Sonny leaned in to her and whispered into her ear, “I’ll be there.”

Amanda turned to him, gave him a small smile and nodded.

Chapter Text

“We Will Be”

*********************

Doctor’s Office Waiting Room - Wednesday Afternoon

*********************

Amanda glanced down at the time on her cell. She sighed, knowing she’d be called in any second, yet Sonny was nowhere in sight. But just when she started to give up hope that he’d actually show up, she finally saw him enter through the front door and head over to where she was waiting.

“Sorry I’m late.” He said as he sat down in the empty chair beside her. “My meetin’ with Stabler and Bell ran longer than anticipated.”

Amanda gave him a sad, small smile. “It’s ok. I’m just glad you’re here. It means a lot to me.”

Sonny nodded his head slowly.

The two sat together quietly for a few more minutes before Amanda was finally called and the couple was brought into an examination room.

A short while after she had her vital’s checked, her doctor emerged to start the appointment and after a brief exchange of ‘hi’ and ‘how are you’ between the three, Amanda laid down on the examination table and made a point to tell her OB, “I just want to find out how far along I am and…if the pregnancy is viable. I—I don’t want to…see or…hear anything.”

Her doctor nodded her head and got the ultrasound started.

Sonny took Amanda’s hand into his own and held onto it the entire time and the two tried hard to keep their eyes focused on each other and away from the monitor, which the doctor had angled mostly toward herself.

After what felt like a long time Amanda’s doctor finally spoke. “So it looks like you’re seven weeks and that everything is on track and where it should be.”

As the doctor reached to adjust the monitor, she inadvertently turned the sound on and when she did the baby’s heartbeat came blaring through.

“My apologies.” She said as she hastily sought to shut it off, but Amanda put her hand up and stopped her.

Sonny listened closely and fixated his gaze on Amanda, who he could see was listening very intently herself.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

“You ok?” Sonny asked as they made their way out of the office and he walked Amanda toward her car.

Amanda thought for a moment before responding. “I don’t know.” She answered honestly.

He pressed his lips together and nodded slowly.

The two continued along the rest of the way together in silence, as they both pondered next steps in their heads. Sonny could sense Amanda, who had been much more sure of what she wanted just the day before, seemed a bit more unsure now. Still, he didn’t think it was enough to cause her do a complete 180 either.

The one thing they both did learn today was that they still had some time to figure it all out. But nevertheless, the clock was ticking.

*********************.

Three Weeks Later

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Friday Night

*********************

Amanda and Sonny spent little time over the next couple weeks discussing the baby. Not so much because they were trying to avoid it and act like the whole situation didn’t exist, but more so because Sonny, and Amanda herself though to a lesser extent, had been swamped by work and hadn’t spent much time together aside from moments at the precinct or court. More times than she would’ve liked, Sienna had been the one tucking the girls into bed at night. And while things went in waves for Amanda and her work had started slowing down a bit, Sonny stayed consistently busy. Much to the dismay of both the girls, but Jesse especially.

“Goodnight Billie.” Amanda said to her middle daughter as she kissed her on the cheek and tucked her in tight, the way she liked, into her bed.

She yawned. “Night.” Billie then turned to her side and shut her eyes.

Amanda then turned her attention to a sleepy Jesse.

“Is Sonny still not home yet?”

“Not yet.” Amanda said as she gently sat down on Jesse’s bed.

Jesse sighed as she pulled her covers up. “How come he’s never here?” She asked sadly.

Amanda bit her lip as she contemplated how she wanted to answer her oldest daughter. “Jess, Sonny’s been working as the lawyer for my unit and he’s now also working as the lawyer for another. And the other unit is very busy and he sometimes has to work longer and more unpredictable hours for them. So unfortunately that means more time away than what we’re all used to.”

“But why is he working more?” A confused Jesse asked.

Amanda ran a hand through her messy blonde hair. “It’s…complicated Jess. He just…is right now.”

Jesse’s eyes started to flutter. “Well I wish he wasn’t. I feel like I never see him and we never do fun things together anymore.”

“I know.” Amanda said to her quietly.

“I’m going to go to sleep now.” Jesse told her mother as she yawned. “Goodnight.” She then flipped onto her stomach.

“Goodnight.” Amanda said as she brushed the wild hair from Jesse’s cheek and kissed her goodnight.

Amanda then stood up, turned off the lights and exited her daughters’ bedroom, shutting the door behind her.

About 30 minutes later, Sonny quietly entered the apartment where he saw Amanda lying on the couch watching TV, seemingly waiting for him.

“Hey.” She said as sat up, picked up the remote and lowered the volume down a little.

“Hey.” Sonny said as he locked the door and took his shoes off. “Are…”

He let his voice trail off and frowned when his eyes stumbled upon a petition lying on the kitchen counter near him. He picked it up and briefly looked it over. “Al’s tryin’ to lower the amount of child support he gives you for Billie?”

Amanda sighed. Yup.”

“You get a chance to talk to Langan about it yet?”

“He said he’s going to try to fight it, but that it’s been a while since the agreement was looked at it and Al’s making less than what he was when it was first put together and that it’ll probably go in his favor and be lowered.”

“Of course it will.” Sonny said as he rolled his eyes, set his keys down and removed his coat. “Girls’ asleep?”

Amanda nodded.

Sonny sighed. “I really thought I was gonna make it back in time to say goodnight and help put them to bed.”

Just then, Ariana began crying from her nursery. Amanda started to get up, but Sonny motioned for her to stay. “Let me check on her.”

He headed off to go see what she needed. It turned out she had just wanted her pacifier, which had fallen to the floor. Sonny brought Ari into the kitchen, washed off her pacifier at the sink with his free hand and gave it back to her. She settled into his arms, closed her eyes and instantly fell right back to sleep.

Sonny stared at her long and hard, before finally saying to Amanda, “Her hair used to be so brown. But lately it’s lookin’ more blonde. I think it’ll end up turnin’ just as blonde as Jesse and Billie’s eventually.”

He paused for a moment before continuing. “I also used to think Ari was your doppelgänger, but when I really look at her now I’m starting to see myself in her more. It’s crazy how fast she’s changing.”

Amanda nodded her head slowly. “Babies change and grow fast. Jess and Billie are too. And if we don't stop and look around once in a while, we could miss it. They won’t be 6 months, 4 and 7 forever.”

Sonny took in a deep breath and exhaled. He then slowly headed back to Ariana’s room, laid her back down in her crib, returned to the living room and sat down next to his wife.

“Jesse was asking for you again tonight.” She told him. “She misses you and doesn’t understand why you’re working so much.”

He sighed. “I really didn’t think it was gonna be this bad. But you were right.”

Sonny sunk deeper into the couch. “There’s always somethin’ pressin’ coming up with organized crime and it’s always so last minute. The arraignments, plea bargains, warrants, meetings, prison interviews upstate, constantly drafting Queen for the Day and other agreements, putting together that Grand Jury last week. All in conjunction with everythin’ I’ve been doin’ for SVU. Its…a lot and it’s been keepin’ me away from you and the kids too much. The double duty just isn’t workin’ out like I hoped it would.”

“I know.” Amanda said to him sympathetically.

“I’m gonna tell Hadid I’m done. I’m not gonna do it anymore.”

Amanda nodded her head slowly and the room filled up with silence as they let their minds drift. The wall clock in the kitchen, usually inaudible throughout much of the day with the girls running around, could be heard and heard loudly. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

The two both looked at the clock and then at each other.

“I don’t wanna sit on the baby situation any longer.” Amanda finally said to him. “A decision’s gotta be made.”

Sonny rubbed his temples and nodded. “I know.”

“I’m tired. You look tired. So I don’t think tonight is the night to do it. But let’s sit down this Sunday and figure it all out, ok?”

“Ok.” He said to her quietly.

*********************.

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - 6a Sunday Morning

*********************

Sonny was startled awake from a deep sleep when he suddenly felt Amanda pop up beside him in bed. He turned to look at her and saw her wince in pain.

“What’s wrong?” He asked as he gently set his hands on her shoulders and rubbed them.

“I’m cramping.” Amanda said to him as she placed her hands on the lower portion of her stomach. She cringed a bit. “I’m…gonna go to the bathroom.”

She slowly pulled the covers off herself, got out of bed and exited the room.

Sonny furrowed his brows and sighed. He began to ponder if what he thought might be happening, was actually happening. But he didn’t have much time to think about it before his thoughts were interrupted by Amanda calling out to him.

He instantly popped out of bed and ran into the bathroom, closing the door behind him, and headed over to Amanda, who was sitting on the toilet and appeared to be in a lot of pain.

A concerned looking Sonny knelt down next to her and gently ran his hand up and down her back.

She closed her eyes and said to him, “I’m bleeding…a lot.”

Sonny nodded his head slowly. “Let’s get you to a doctor.”

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Despite it being early, Sonny had been able to get a hold of Sienna, who came right over and stayed with the girls while he brought Amanda to the hospital.

They returned to an empty apartment a short while later, Sienna having taken the kids out in an effort to give the couple some alone time.

“Do you want anything to eat?” Sonny asked Amanda as she slowly sat and settled down on the living room sofa. “Or coffee?”

“I’ll have some coffee.” She said as she ran a hand through her hair.

Sonny nodded, quickly fixed her cup on the Keirug, brought it over to her and took a seat next to her.

“How are you feelin’?” He asked as he rubbed his hand up and down her thigh.

She took a sip of her coffee and then set the mug down on the coffee table in front of her. “I’m still cramping a bit, but it’s not that bad.”

“What about here?” He asked, pointing to his head, curious as to how she felt mentally.

Amanda sighed and sniffled. “There’s a part of me that’s a little sad about the miscarriage.” She admitted to him. “But honestly, I mostly feel…relieved.”

She paused for a minute before continuing.

“I’m not gonna lie to you. When I heard the baby’s heartbeat at the ultrasound, it…got to me a little. And there were a couple of times where I did wonder, ‘what if.’ But, once some time had passed I had realized I was sure having a fourth baby wasn’t right for our family. Especially now that we see the double duty workload you were undertaking that may have eased some of the financial strain we would’ve been under wasn’t working. All it did was make you tired and keep you from me and the girls. Who are only little girls once and who we need to be present for.”

Sonny nodded his head slowly. “I know. I had been fightin’ so hard to try to prove to you and myself that we could afford to have this baby without really thinking about the other factors involved in the situation. Like how the extra work was taking me away from Jesse, Billie and Ari and how that absence affects them.”

He paused for a minute before continuing. “There was an incident with one of the members of the Grand Jury last week. She was a type one diabetic and had a hypoglycemic episode. It reminded me of everythin’ you went through with your gestational diabetes during your pregnancy with Ariana. That, along with the placenta previa…the intermittent bleeding it caused and the bed rest you had to be put on. How rough and dangerous it all was on you. And how you would’ve probably had to go through both things again.”

Sonny took in a deep breath and added, “You brought two precious little girls into my life and then went through a whole heck of a lot to give me another that you and I created together. I’m so very, very grateful for and happy with the children we have. I never had the desire to try for a second biological child. I think I had been so adamant about going forward with this pregnancy more out of an obligation; because I felt like it was the ‘right’ thing to do. Not because it was somethin’ I truly wanted. I mean, you were on birth control for a reason. Because this was somethin’ we hoped wouldn’t come up.”

“You thought it would make you a bad person if we didn’t go through with it?” Amanda asked curiously.

He nodded. “But I’m realizing that doing somethin’ I wasn’t really happy about…that wasn’t in the rest of my family’s best interest and was done solely out of a sense of duty doesn’t really make me a good person, either.”

Sonny took in another deep breath and continued on once more. “I feel the exact same way about this as you do. A little sad because a miscarriage…it’s a sad thing. But at the same time I do feel a sense of relief.”

Amanda nodded her head slowly. “The universe ended up making the decision for us, but if it hadn’t I still think I would have gone through with the abortion.”

“And I know I said I never would’ve been ok with it, but…I think I would’ve been.” Sonny told her honestly.

He pulled Amanda in close to him and the two sat together quietly for a long while before Amanda said to him, “God, I never want to go through something like this again.”

“You won’t, we won’t.” Sonny said as he gently stroked her hair. “I decided a little while back that, no matter what way we ended up goin’ here, I’d get a vasectomy to make sure we never find ourselves in a similar situation again in the future. I’m gonna look into setting that up as soon as I can.”

Amanda rested her head on his shoulder. “Yeah?”

“Yes.” He said reassuring her.

“We’re going to be okay, right?” She asked. “All of us. You, me…the girls?”

Sonny caressed her cheek and kissed her. “We will be.”

Just then the front door opened up and Sienna, along with Jesse, Billie and Ari, emerged. Jesse and Billie quickly ran over to Amanda while Sonny got up from the couch and took the baby from Sienna.

“They were anxious to get home.” She said to him. “I hope it’s ok I brought them back a little earlier than anticipated.”

He took shook his head. “No it’s fine. Thank you for helpin’ out today so last minute. We really appreciate it.”

Sienna nodded, gave him a small smile and then quickly exited the apartment.

“Are you ok mom?” Jesse, who knew she had gone to the hospital though not the reason why, asked as she and Billie sat down on the couch next to Amanda and Sonny walked back over to them and handed his wife a wiggly Ariana, who was reaching for her.

“Gettin’ there.” Amanda said to the girls as she held Ari close to her chest and rocked her gently. “Having you all here with me helps a lot.”

Sonny picked Billie up, sat back down on the couch and gently set her down on his lap. “I think we should all take it easy today, girls. No outside distractions. Just us five spending some quiet time together. Just family.”

“I like the sound of that.” Billie said smiling up at him and then resting her head on his chest.

“Me too.” Jesse said grinning.

“Me three.” Amanda replied, giving him a small smile.

Ariana then made a short, gleeful shriek noise and Jesse commented, “I think that’s baby talk for ‘me four.’” She said giggling.

“I think you’re right.” Amanda said as she pulled her oldest daughter in for a hug.

Jesse and Billie then started chatting away, loving that they finally had this opportunity to spend some much desired quality time together with their parents. And for the first time in a long while they all sat with each other, enjoying one another’s company and being together as a family.

Chapter Text

“There Will Be Blood”

******************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Friday Morning

******************

Amanda’s mouth opened wide in surprise as she looked down at the test in her hands and saw that it was positive. She knew it was very likely that she was pregnant, hence her decision to take the test in the first place, but it was still pretty shocking, and exciting, to see her suspicions had been right.

Amanda and Sonny had decided a while back that they wouldn’t actively try to have a baby together. If it happened, great. But if not, that was fine too. Because while he always saw kids in his future, it didn’t matter to him if they were biologically his or not. Sonny loved both Jesse and Billie with all his heart and enjoyed his place in their lives and helping Amanda raise them. Still, she knew he’d be excited about adding a third little one into their world. One they could raise together from the beginning.

So many thoughts began to flood Amanda’s mind, but they were soon interrupted by a knock on the bathroom door.

“Mommy are you almost done?” Billie asked from the other side of the door. “I gotta go!”

Amanda hid the positive test and box in a discreet location in a drawer on her side of the bathroom vanity. As she opened the door, Billie came running in passed her and slammed the door shut hard as soon as her mother stepped out.

Amanda shook her head and laughed as she made her way into the kitchen, where Jesse was sitting at the table eating scrambled eggs and bacon.

“You excited for today?” Amanda asked Jesse as she joined her at the table and poured herself a glass of orange juice.

Jesse took a bite of her eggs and nodded. “I can’t wait for all my friends to meet Sonny and hear about how he prosecutes the bad guys!”

Amanda locked eyes with Sonny, who stood by the stove making some eggs for his wife, and two smiled at each other.

A few minutes later he finished up and set a plate down in front of her. “Here ya go. Eggs over easy and slightly burnt bacon.”

“Just the way I like it.” Amanda said smirking. “You know me so well.”

Sonny took a sip of his coffee and eyed her curiously.

“What is it?” She asked as she bit down on a piece of bacon.

He shook his head. “There’s somethin’ different about you this morning. I can’t put my finger on what it is, but different. In a good way.”

Amanda wasn’t surprised Sonny noted there was something going on with her, even if he wasn’t quite sure what that was, though she didn’t feel as if she was acting any differently. The way he just seemed to know her intuitively, better than she knew herself, was one of the many things she loved most about him. Still, this wasn’t the time to share her baby news. Instead she’d wait until tonight, when they were alone together in bed, lying in each other’s arms. That’s when she’d do it. And the moment will be perfect.

Amanda simply shrugged. “Well I don’t feel different.”

Sonny chuckled and fixed his mouth to respond but was interrupted by Billie yelling from the bathroom.

“Mommy I need help wiping!” The four year old shouted out. “I went number two and it got stuck!”

Jesse made a face. “Gross.” She mumbled as she took a sip of her juice, while Sonny burst into laughter.

“TMI, Billie.” He yelled out. “TMI!”

“What does that mean!?” She shouted back.

“Don’t worry about it Billie. I’m coming!” Amanda shot Sonny a look, took another bite of her eggs and then stood up and headed off to the bathroom.

A few minutes later Amanda and Billie emerged from the bathroom and the two sat down and finished up their breakfast. Once everyone was done they all headed off to start the day, with Amanda dropping Billie off at preschool on her way to the precinct and Sonny and Jesse making their way to her school for Career Day.

******************

Jesse’s Elementary School Classroom - Friday Morning

******************

“So does anyone have questions for Jesse’s stepdad?” Her teacher, the young pretty brunette Ms. Fisher, asked her class of second graders once Sonny finished his spiel about his work as an ADA.

A little red-haired boy raised his hand and asked, “Did you really used to be a cop like Jesse said?”

Sonny nodded. “Yes, I used to work as a detective.”

“Do you you still carry a gun?” He followed up again, asking. “Do you even remember how to use it?”

Sonny was taken aback by the kid’s questions, but nevertheless answered them. “No, I don’t carry a gun. But yes, I do still know how to use one.”

A little dark haired girl, who sat directly behind Jesse, raised her hand and asked, “Jesse’s mom is a detective too, right? Is that how you met?”

Sonny sighed a bit when he realized it was another non-presentation related question, but still responded to her. “Yes, we were partners.”

“But wouldn’t dating her of been a conflict of interest?” A blonde boy way in the back shouted out. “Isn’t it even more of a conflict of interest being married to her since your an ADA now?”

Sonny’s mouth dropped in shock at the precocious student’s questions, but before he could respond Ms. Fisher decided to end the round of Q&A.

“Ok, let’s thank Sonny for coming in to talk with us.” She said clapping, mouthing ‘I’m sorry’ to him as she did for the personal turn the questions had taken.

He gave her a small smile and then took a seat next to the three other parents who were also there for Career Day.

“Next, Sarah’s mom, Lisa, is going to talk about her work as a physician’s assistant. Lisa can…”

Ms. Fisher’s voice trailed off as she noticed a figure standing in the back of the classroom by her desk staring at her. It appeared she recognized him and immediately excused herself. “I’ll be back in…o—one second.” She told her students and guest speakers.

Sonny watched as Jesse’s teacher nervously made her way over to him.

The two quietly talked amongst themselves for a few moments when Sonny noticed Ms. Fisher start to grow more and more uncomfortable and eventually she discreetly reached her hand and hit a button underneath her desk.

He quickly realized it was a panic button of some sort because as soon as she hit it lights started flashing in the hallway and an alarm went off.

“What did you do?!” The man shouted at Ms. Fisher and as he did, he started frantically waving around the gun he had been holding, one Sonny hadn’t seen until that very moment, and it inadvertently went off.

The bullet hit Ms. Fisher in her stomach, which she instantly clutched, as blood soaked her white blouse and she slowly fell to the floor.

Sonny and the rest of the adults jaws’ dropped in horror at what had just taken place before their eyes in a matter of seconds while the children cried out for their teacher. “Ms. Fisher!”

The man began to panic and anxiously and nervously pace around the room before ultimately locking the classroom door and barricading it with some of the children’s desks.

While he did, Sonny, worried about Jesse’s teacher and wanting to render first aid, slowly made his way over to her. But as soon as he reached her he felt a gun being pointed to the back of his head.

“What do you think you’re doing?” The man asked him. “No one’s doing anything and no one’s going anywhere.”

******************

Precinct - Friday Morning

******************

“SVU.” Velasco said as he answered his desk phone.

The young detective furrowed his brows and locked eyes with Liv and Fin, who both happened to be walking by his desk at the time. “But I…I don’t understand why we’re being called. Shouldn’t something like this be handled by the Hostage team?”

Liv eyed him curiously and motioned for him to hand her his desk phone, which he did.

“This is Captain Benson. What’s—“

Her eyes began to widen as she listened intently to what was being told to her.

“Ok.” She finally said. “I understand.” She then hung up the phone.

A curious Amanda, who had been casually observing the phone conversation from her work desk, watched as Liv whisper something to Fin, who then briefly locked eyes with Amanda before motioning to Velasco to follow him out of the squad room.

Amanda looked on as the two exited together. She then stood up and walked over to Liv. “What’s going on?”

Liv took a deep breath and sighed. “Shots were fired at Jesse’s school. In her classroom. At some point someone, maybe her teacher, hit a panic button which alerted the rest of the classes in the building of the situation and they were all able to get out, but the gunman he’s…locked and barricaded himself and Jesse’s entire class in that room.”

“WHAT?!” Amanda yelled out to her Captain, tears instantly welling up in her eyes. “Are Sonny and Jesse ok?!”

Liv sighed. “I don’t know.” She told her honestly. “I just sent Fin and Velasco to meet the local precinct, as well as the Hostage Negotiation team, at the school. I’m about to head there now.”

A devastated looking Amanda whispered out. “My God, my little girl. My husband…”

The blonde immediately reached for the set of keys to a squad car that rested on her desk, grabbed her coat, ran toward the elevators and entered inside.

Liv chased after her. “Amanda, you can’t…”

The Captain let her voice trail off as the elevator doors closed in her face.

Chapter Text

“Gotta Get Thru This”

*******************

Jesse’s Elementary School Classroom - Friday Morning

*******************

Sonny, worried about Jesse’s teacher and wanting to render first aid, slowly made his way over to her. But as soon as he reached her he felt a gun being pointed to the back of his head.

“What do you think you’re doing?” The man asked him. “No one’s doing anything and no one’s going anywhere.”

Sonny put his hands up. “I’m not gonna go anywhere.” He tried to reassure the man. “But she needs help. I can tell by the way you reacted you didn’t intend to shoot her. But if you let her die then this escalates beyond the point of no return.”

The young dark haired male removed the gun from Sonny’s head but kept it aimed at him. “I didn’t mean to shoot her. I—I love her. I just wanted to talk. I was trying to apologize to her. It…w—was an accident.”

The man then eyed him curiously. “Who are you? What was going on here today?”

Sonny slowly turned around and faced him. “It was Career Day. I came to my daughter’s class to talk ‘bout what I do.”

“What do you do?”

“I’m an assistant district attorney.” Sonny told him, adding, “And I used to be a detective.”

He pressed his lips together and appeared to be in deep thought, as if he wasn’t sure whether or not what Sonny just told him was a good thing or a bad thing. He then asked, “When Lauren pushed that panic button, it notified the police, didn’t it?”

Sonny nodded his head. “Probably.”

“So what happens next?” He asked, his voice starting to shake a bit. “Are they going to storm in here?”

Sonny lowered his hands and began to explain. “With a room full of kids? No. The Hostage Team is probably on its way here. They’re going to call. Try to negotiate and de-escalate the situation.”

The counselor briefly turned his attention back on to the teacher and, seeing her struggling, said to the young man. “Ms. Fisher needs help. If you don’t want me to help her, fine but someone needs to.”

He then pointed to Lisa, the physician assistant, who was sitting in the opposite corner of the room. “She’s a PA. Kinda like a doctor. Let her.”

Just then police sirens could be heard approaching the school. The dark haired man motioned for Lisa to come over.

“Help her.” He directed and she immediately went over to a shelf, where she noticed a first aid kit, and did her best to attend to the wounded teacher.

As she did the classroom’s phone rang. Sonny, the man, the other adults and all the children just quietly stared at it. The phone eventually stopped ringing but then a minute later started up again.

“You’re gonna have to answer the phone.” Sonny told him. “If you don’t they are going to think something is wrong and if they think there is something wrong they WILL storm in.”

The guy sighed and then said to Sonny. “Call someone high up in the NYPD that you trust and cares about what happens to you.”

Sonny stared at him for a long while before nodding and then heading back to where he had been seated earlier to retrieve his cell.

“Where are you going?!” He shouted at him.

“I don’t know her number by heart.” He lied to the man. The last thing Sonny wanted was to lose access to his phone. “It’s stored in my cell.”

“Fine.” He relented. “Get it.”

Sonny walked back to his chair, pulled out his cell phone from his briefcase, and turned it on. As he did, a frightened Jesse ran over to him and clutched his legs.

“I’m guessing she’s yours.” He said to Sonny as he walked over closer to him and the rest of the class. “Good to know.”

Sonny glared at him, but refrained from commenting and just rubbed Jesse’s shoulder in an effort to comfort her as he waited for his phone to turn on.

A part of him really just wanted to bum rush this guy and try to take him down. But the last thing he wanted was to fail and then have Jesse most importantly, but the rest of the people in the room, left in danger. Sonny, the most equipped in the room to handle the situation, knew he was going to have to try his best to remain calm and attempt to build some kind of rapport with the young man if everyone in the room was going to get out safely.

However, doing that with someone like this troubled, disturbed individual standing before him wasn’t going to be easy for him. Getting into someone like that’s head was what Amanda and Liv were good at and had done on numerous occasions. Not him. But he had to try. He had to get them all through this.

“What’s your name?” Sonny asked before he dialed. “I need to who I’m talking to and my old Captain is gonna wanna know to.”

The dark haired male stared at Sonny for awhile before finally telling him. “Matt.”

Sonny nodded. “Now I don’t know what your end game is. You might not either at this point. But if it’s to get out of this alive, you’re gonna have to show them a sign of good faith. Like letting some of these kids and their teacher go. Otherwise they will eventually force their way in here.”

Matt thought over what Sonny said, but remained silent and watched as the counselor dialed Liv. As Sonny did he noticed several missed calls, as well as texts, from her, Amanda, Fin, and his family.

“Put it on speaker.” Matt whispered to him.

Sonny did as he was told and after a few rings, Liv picked up.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

A few minutes earlier outside

Liv quickly put her police car in park and made her way to where she saw the Hostage Team, as well as Fin and Velasco.

“Where’s Amanda?” She asked, looking around. “When I told her about what was going on she ran out of the precinct before I could stop her.”

Fin pointed to a parked car a few feet away. “The Hostage Negotiation Team’s commanding officer, Lt. Banks, spotted her and figured out who she was. Had her put in the cop car to keep her out of the way. She refuses to be taken home…said she’ll just drive back, so one of his officer’s is watching her and making sure she doesn’t do anything stupid, like run inside the school.”

Liv sighed. “Where is Banks?”

“Right here.”

Liv turned around to see Banks standing before her. The two shook hands.

“Thanks for giving us the heads up about this and letting us assist.” Liv told the lieutenant.

Banks nodded. “Considering who two of the hostages are, we figured you’d want to know and could maybe be helpful.”

“Have you made contact yet?” Liv asked as she was handed a vest to to put on. “Do you know what’s going on?”

“We just tried, but no one answered.”

Liv fixed her mouth to speak but was interrupted by her phone going off.

“It’s Carisi.” She said aloud.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Inside the classroom

‘Carisi, what’s going on?’ Liv asked the ADA as she put her cell on speaker. ‘Is everyone OK?’

“Liv you’re on speaker.” Sonny told her first. He then started to answer some of her questions. “So I’m here with Matt…”

Velasco, who was designated to be the note taker, immediately jotted the man’s name down.

“He’s a friend of the classroom’s teacher. Ms. Fisher. Lauren Fisher.”

Liv quickly muted the phone. “Did you notice Carisi’s tone when he said friend? Maybe he’s more like a disgruntled ex?”

She unmuted the phone. ‘Is everyone OK?’

“Everyone except Ms. Fisher.” Sonny said as he kept his eyes on Matt. “She was…accidentally shot in the stomach. There’s a PA who’s tendin’ to her, but she’s in rough shape. However, I think Matt is willin’ to let her out to get some medical attention and to maybe let a few of the kids go, right?”

Matt ran a hand through his dark jet black hair as he contemplated his next move before finally nodding.

“He’s nodding yes Liv. Give me a second I’m gonna put you on mute.”

“How about you let one of the parents carrying her out and bring some of the kids with them?” Sonny asked.

Matt pointed to the only other adult male, a lanky gentleman with glasses. “You do it.”

Then he pointed to the little red haired boy who had been asking Sonny questions after his presentation, and three others, two girls and another male student, who luckily happened to be the son of the adult he designated to bring Ms. Fisher out. “They can leave.”

Sonny nodded and then unmuted his cell. “Liv, Ms. Fisher is going to be brought out by a parent and there will be four kids with them.”

Liv sighed a bit in relief. “Ok Carisi. Good.”

Matt motioned for him to get off the phone. “I need to go now, but I’ll call back.” Sonny then hung up.

“Help him un-barricade the door.” Matt directed Sonny. “And don’t try anything funny while you do it.” His eyes drifted to Jesse and then back to the counselor’s.

Sonny nodded and him and the man with the glasses went to the door and began removing chairs. Once they were done, Matt motioned for the kids he said to leave to get up and stand by the door. The man with the glasses then carefully picked up Ms. Fisher, who was drifting in and out of consciousness. The six of them then exited the room and headed off down the hallway together.

Matt locked the door and pointed the gun back at Sonny. “Re-barricade the door.”

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Liv, Lt. Banks, Fin, and Velasco, as well as Banks’ whole team, waited by the school’s front entrance for what felt like a long time before eventually seeing figures emerge.

Fin and Velasco went to attend to the kids, while Banks and the paramedics headed toward the man with the glasses and Ms. Fisher, who the first responders were hoping to stabilize as quickly as possible so they could transport her to the hospital.

Amanda, who noticed people coming out of the building, hopped out of the cop car when the officer watching her momentarily diverted his eyes to the radio.

She headed straight to where her Captain stood. “Sonny and Jesse are still in there, aren’t they?”

Liv nodded and then told her detective, “Yes. They’re both OK though. Look, Amanda I know you want to be here, but—“

“I’ll stay out of the way.” Amanda told her. “But I’m not leaving and I’m not going back in that car.”

Liv sighed, but relented and nodded. She stared at her for a while before finally asking, “Did you take a test yet?”

Amanda slowly nodded and whispered. “This morning. It was positive.”

Liv sighed and gave her a sympathetic, sad small smile. “Did you tell him?”

Amanda shook her head no as she blinked back her tears. “Not yet. I was…g—going to do it…tonight. But he sensed something was different with me. He…told me as much. And God, I wish I had just told him then. Because what if something happens to him in there?! He could die without ever knowing.”

Liv took Amanda in her arms and hugged her.

“I need them both to be OK.” Amanda said to her quietly.

“They will be.” Liv tried to confidently reassure the blonde. “Once NYPD, always NYPD. Carisi knows how to keep him and Jesse safe. Remember that.”

Amanda sniffled and nodded.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Once Sonny was done barricading the door, he went and sat back down with Jesse, who cuddled up close to him.

“You did a good thing, Matt.” Sonny told him. “They’re going to take note of that.”

Matt nodded. “Good. Because now someone needs to do something for me.”

He pointed his gun back at Sonny. “Get your old Captain back on the phone.”

Sonny slowly picked up his cell that rested beside him and called Liv.

Chapter Text

“She Stays”

*******************

Jesse’s Elementary School Classroom - Late Friday Morning

*******************

Once Sonny was done barricading the door, he went and sat back down with Jesse, who cuddled up close to him.

“You did a good thing, Matt.” Sonny told him. “They’re going to take note of that.”

Matt nodded. “Good. Because now someone needs to do something for me.”

He pointed his gun back at Sonny. “Get your old Captain back on the phone.”

Sonny slowly picked up his cell that rested beside him and called Liv.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Outside

‘Carisi,’ Liv answered, motioning for Amanda to remain silent. ‘They all made it out. The kids are safe and Ms. Fisher is on her way to the hospital now.’

Matt snatched the cell from Sonny. “Is Lauren going to be ok?”

Liv, realizing she was now talking to the shooter/hostage taker, thought carefully before responding. ‘I don’t know, Matt. But we all hope so. You letting her out to get some help…that was a good thing, because now she has a chance.’

“Since I got her out and I let out some of the kids, I need something in return from you all.”

Lt. Banks, as well as Fin and Velasco, rejoined Liv. He noted Amanda’s presence and wasn’t happy about it but refrained from commenting on it in that moment.

“I want to know that I’m not going to get charged for shooting her or for anything else. In writing.” The young darker haired male said to her. “Then I want access to a vehicle and to be able to freely leave and drive up north to Canada, where I’m from. Once I know I can get these things, I’ll let everyone go.”

Sonny sighed as he listened to Matt’s request, knowing it was outrageous and not something that would ever be agreed to and that if Matt thought even for second they were trying to bluff him this could all end disastrously. So when he heard Lt. Banks entertaining the idea of honoring his requests he was shocked.

‘Matt, you’re speaking with Lt. Banks.’ Banks said, responding before Liv could get the chance. ‘We’ll work on all of that. But how about in the meantime you let some more of the kids out?’

Liv, not liking Banks’ approach, exchanged glances with Fin, Amanda and Velasco, who also all looked equally dismayed.

“No.” Matt said flatly. “That’s not happening.”

Sonny motioned for him to give him the phone, which he surprisingly did without much pushback.

“Liv are you still there?”

‘Yes, Carisi,’ Liv said as she jumped back into the call.

“I’m gonna talk with Matt for a while.” He said to her. “I’ll call back again soon.” Sonny then ended the call and set the phone down next to him.

“What does the counselor think he’s doing?” Banks asked Liv.

Before the Captain could respond, Amanda angrily yelled out.

“What he’s doing is trying to talk to this guy calmly and logically in an effort to keep our daughter and everyone else in that room safe instead of spewing out false promises to him that aren’t going to be kept and will likely get them all killed!”

She shook her head and stormed off. Liv motioned for Velasco to follow her and stay with her, which he did.

Banks sighed. “He is not a detective anymore and even when he was one he had no experience in hostage negotiation.”

“He isn’t.” Liv admitted. “And you’re right, he didn’t. But he’s smart. He’s a people person. Carisi’s already gotten him to let the teacher and some of the kids in the room out. Give him a chance to work this.”

“Fine.” Banks said as he furrowed his brows. “I’ll give him a little time. But I’m the one in charge of this operation and if I don’t see some sort of progress in a timely manner, we’re going to do things my way.”

Liv nodded. “Ok.”

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Classroom

“We have nothing to talk about.” Matt said very matter of factly to Sonny. “I want what I want and there’s nothing you can say that’s going to change my mind.”

Sonny nodded. “Fine. But holdin’ all these innocent kids here in this classroom, isn’t going to help you get what you want.”

Sonny gently removed Jesse from his grasp, stood up and cautiously walked up closer to Matt. “Like I told you before, I’m an ADA and ex NYPD. And my wife…she’s a senior detective in one of Manhattan’s most elite squads. I’m the only and most important bargainin’ chip you need.”

Matt pressed his lips together as he thought long and hard over Sonny’s proposition before finally, much to Sonny’s surprise, agreeing.

“Ok.” He said to the ADA. “They can all go. Except for one.”

Matt then nodded his head in Jesse’s direction. “She stays. That way I know you won’t try any funny business once everyone else leaves.”

He then motioned for Jesse to come over to them, which she did slowly.

“What’s your name?”

She looked up at him and quietly said, “Jesse.”

Matt smiled at her and placed his free hand, the one not holding the gun, on her shoulder. “Jesse and I are going to hang out here while you unblock the door and let everyone else out.”

Sonny’s heart began to race so he tried to take in a few deep breaths in an effort to maintain his composure, but was visibly struggling as he walked away from Jesse and once again began removing the chairs from the door.

When he finished, Matt motioned for all of the kids, except Jesse, and the last few adults to exit the classroom, which they did quickly. Once they were gone Matt directed his attention back to Sonny.

“Lock the door and barricade it back up.”

Sonny nodded as he locked the door and grabbed a chair. As he did he noticed Matt’s attention briefly drift to the nearby window. It was at that moment Sonny discreetly unlocked the door. He then began setting up the chairs in a strategic fashion; in a manner that unbeknownst to Matt would give a small person Jesse’s size a clear pathway to the door.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Outside

As Liv, Fin, and Banks stood together, anxiously waiting for word from Carisi or some other positive sign, they saw the remaining children and adults come running out of the front of the building and hurried over to them.

Amanda, who was standing with Velasco by a police car several feet back from where the others were, also spotted them.

Her eyes frantically searched the bunch for Sonny and Jesse, but didn’t see them.

“They’re not here.” Amanda said as she wiped the tears from her eyes. “Sonny and Jesse are the only ones he didn’t let out.”

She buried her head into her hands and cried softly while Velasco put his arm around her shoulder and rubbed up and down in an effort to comfort his partner. “They’ll be ok.” He tried to reassure her.

Meanwhile, Fin went to talk to the adults who had just exited while Liv and Banks attended to the children and got a headcount. After a few minutes they all joined back up.

“So everyone’s out but Carisi and Jesse.” Liv said sighing as she ran a hand through her hair.

“I just got done speaking with one of the mom’s, Lisa.” Fin relayed to the captain and lieutenant. “Apparently, Carisi convinced Matt that he was the most important bargaining chip needed and to let everyone else out, which the guy agreed to. Except for Jesse. Because he probably thinks Jesse—“

“Is the only thing that’ll keep Carisi from making any rash, sudden moves against him.” Liv said cutting him off. “Because he wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to her.”

Banks whispered to the Captain. “Carisi’s got an hour to figure this out.”

Liv sighed and nodded.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Classroom

Just as Sonny was finishing up, he heard Matt shout.

“Jesus Christ, did you just pee yourself!?” He asked Jesse, as he looked down at the puddle by their feet. “Aren’t you like seven? What seven-year-old still pees themself?”

“A scared one being held kidnapped at gunpoint does.” Sonny snapped at him as he walked up to a crying Jesse, bent down to her eye level and rubbed her shoulders in an effort to comfort her. “Let me talk to her. Alone.”

Matt, who had grown frustrated with Jesse’s incessant crying and the peeing incident, relented. “Fine. You have two minutes. Calm her down.” He then stepped away from the two and headed in a corner in the opposite side of the room. He was out of ear shot but Sonny was very conscious of the fact that Matt still had the loaded gun pointed in their direction.

“I’m s—sorry I…peed myself.” Jesse stuttered out in between sniffles.

Sonny shook his head and pulled her in for a hug. “It’s ok Jess. You don’t have to apologize for that.” He said as he held her tightly and stroked her hair gently.

Sonny pulled back from her, placed his hands on her cheeks and wiped away the tears that were falling down with his thumbs. “Now I know you’re scared, but I need you to listen very carefully to what I’m about to tell you, ok?”

Jesse nodded.

Sonny took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “I love you so so much. And I will never let anything bad happen to you. I will do anything and everything to keep you safe, you hear me?”

Jesse wiped her nose and nodded again.

“I don’t want you to look but the door is unlocked. And I cleared a path for you. If at any point you hear me tell you ‘run,’ I want you to run out that door as fast as you can and I don’t want you lookin back for me. You keep runnin’ until you get out the school. You hear me?“

Jesse shook her head. “But I…don’t wanna leave w—without you.”

Sonny fought hard to blink back his own tears and remain stoic. “You can and you will if you hear me say the word Jess. You have to. Ok?”

She nodded and hugged him. Sonny hugged her and held for a little while longer before Matt finally came back over to them and split them up.

“Times up.” He said as he pulled them apart. Matt then motioned for Sonny to sit on one of the kid’s desk while he stood by Ms. Fisher’s desk with Jesse.

Sonny furrowed his brows as he carefully contemplated his next move.

Chapter Text

************************

Jesse’s Elementary School Classroom - Late Friday Morning

************************

“Times up.” He said as he pulled them apart. Matt then motioned for Sonny to sit on one of the kid’s desk while he stood by Ms. Fisher’s desk with Jesse.

Sonny furrowed his brows as he carefully contemplated his next move. He was glad he was able to prepare Jesse just in case worst came to worst, but he still hoped that this situation could end peacefully.

Matt said earlier he wasn’t interested in talking, but Sonny figured he’d try to start a conversation anyways.

“How do you know Ms. Fisher?” Sonny asked him as he wiggled around a little bit on the desk in an effort to get comfortable.

Matt stared at him, but said nothing. However, after a while he finally decided to tell him. “Lauren’s my fiancé. Or was. She broke things off.”

Sonny nodded his head slowly. “She give you a reason why?”

Matt pressed his lips together and very somberly said to him, “She said she didn’t love me anymore. We…we were college school sweethearts. I thought we’d be together forever and then she wakes up one morning and tells me that.”

Sonny eased himself off the desk. “I’m sorry. I know how it feels to be in love with someone and them not look at you in that same way.”

Matt rolled his eyes. “Oh is that so? A big hot shot lawyer like yourself? Let me see your phone.”

Sonny slowly walked over to him and handed over his cell.

Matt took his hand off Jesse’s shoulder but kept the gun directly on her and went through Sonny’s photos with his free hand and stopped when he found a photograph of him with Amanda. “Pretty sure your smoke show detective wife is looking at you like you’re a god. And you’re going to stand here and tell me you know how it feels to be in my shoes?”

He continued to look through Sonny’s phone and stopped to chuckle at an image of him, Amanda, Jesse, Billie and Frannie. “So you got another daughter AND a dog. Bet you all live in a nice fancy penthouse together too. The perfect little nuclear family. Oh the struggle…”

“You think you know me so well?” Sonny asked raising an eyebrow.

“Well we aren’t a nuclear family. Not in the traditional sense you’re assumin.’ We’re a blended one. Both girls are my stepdaughters. Jesse’s biological father is not part of her life and the younger one? Well hers writes checks, but has nothin’ to do with her otherwise.”

He paused for a moment before continuing.

“And I’m no hot shot lawyer. I’m an in debt one who’s going to be payin’ student loans for the next 10 or so years. And I bet at least half the teachers in this school make more money teachin’ than I do as an ADA. So no me and my ‘smoke show’ wife don’t live in a penthouse. More like a very small, modest apartment.”

Sonny was a little hesitant to take the conversation into this next direction, but decided to keep the honesty going and hoped it worked out for the best.

“Speakin’ of my wife…it wasn’t love at first sight for her. She wanted nothin’ to do with me when we met. We became friends eventually and it was during those early years of our friendship I realized I was in love with her. But she didn’t see me that way. It hurt, but you know what I did? Focused on my work. Spent time with family and friends. Dated. I put a smile on my face and I kept on with my life. Because that’s what you have to do.”

Matt stared at him intently as if he was processing what was being said to him but remained quiet.

“If two people are truly meant to be, they’ll find their way to each other in the end, like my wife and I did.” Sonny said to him. “But you don’t force it. You don’t confront them and try to make them love you. Look how well that turned out for you. You shot Ms. Fisher and then ended up holding a classroom of seven year olds hostage.“

He pondered what Sonny was saying to him for a minute before sirens going off loudly outside disrupted his thoughts and rattled him, much to Sonny’s dismay.

Matt set the phone down and shook his head. “But the shooting was an accident. That lieutenant…he said he was gonna work on getting me a car and making sure I don’t get charged.”

Sonny sighed as he watched him go into the recent calls on the cell and call Liv on speaker phone. He knew Matt was going to ask what the hold up was and worried that once he found out he was being lied to about it all, him and Jesse would be in a world of trouble.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Earlier Outside

Amanda, with Velasco by her side, made her way back over to Liv, Fin, and Banks.

“Can we talk for a minute?” The blonde asked her Captain. “Alone?”

Liv nodded and the guys all scattered around to different areas nearby.

“Have you heard anything new?” Amanda asked hopefully, biting her lip.

Liv sighed. “One of the parent’s said Carisi convinced Matt that he was the most important bargaining chip needed and to let the others go. Which he did except for Jesse. But we haven’t spoken to Carisi since before everyone else was let out.”

Amanda blinked backed some tears. “Jesse’s probably so scared.”

Liv put her hands on the blonde’s shoulders and stared straight into her eyes. “Carisi will do whatever it takes to ease her fears and keep her safe. Remember that.”

Amanda nodded, but then said, “I just wish he had someone in their who could do the same for him.”

Liv pulled her in for a hug. “I know.”

Just then, the Captain’s cell went off. Banks, Fin, and Velasco all hurried over to them.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Classroom

‘Carisi?’ Liv asked, cautiously.

“No, it’s Matt. I want to speak with the Lieutenant.”

Liv handed Banks the phone.

‘Hey Matt. I—‘

“I let Lauren, those adults and all the kids except his out.” Matt said to him. “Now I want to know what’s going on with those charges and I want to know when I’m going to get my car!”

A clearly aggravated Amanda shook her head but bit her tongue, as did the rest of her squad as they anxiously waited to hear how Banks would respond.

‘So Matt, that’s something we’re still working on.’

Sonny, who was listening in closely, did his best not to roll his eyes.

“I’m done with the games!” Matt spat out. “Get me what I asked for!”

Sonny rubbed his temples and sighed. Meanwhile outside, Liv tried to get Banks’ attention.

‘Matt, let me put you on hold for one second, ok?’ He then put him on hold.

Matt rolled his eyes as he stood waiting for Banks to resume the conversation, but him and Sonny were surprised to hear voices on the other end of the line. They both realized Banks had mistakenly not put him on hold and the two of them could hear everything that was being said outside.

“What are you going to do?” Liv asked the lieutenant very seriously.

Banks sighed. “I’m going to keep bullshitting him until I can develop a game plan to get my guys in their and take him out without putting the counselor and Detective Rollins’ daughter in danger. Because I’m officially done waiting on the counselor to talk this guy down. He’s starting to become more and more unhinged and we need to make a move.”

Sonny’s eyes instantly widened and his heart started to pound out of his chest.

“Is that so?” Matt asked.

Banks, Liv, Amanda, Fin, and Velasco’s jaws dropped when they all realized he had been listening in.

“Well you’ve made it very clear that not only am I not getting what I asked for but that you plan on storming in here and shooting me.” Matt said calmly into the phone. “That’s fine. Just know that if I’m not making it out alive, neither are they.”

He then ended the call by momentarily stepping away from Jesse and angrily throwing the cell phone across the room. Sonny wasted no time in putting his emergency plan into action.

“Jesse, run!” Sonny yelled out to her.

Jesse did as she was told and instantly darted for the door at lightening speed.

Matt quickly pointed the gun in Jesse’s direction but before he could get a shot off, Sonny knocked it out of his hand and tackled him down to the ground and the two started to wrestle on the floor.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Outside

Moments later Banks and the squad heard a shot go off in the building.

“Move in!” Liv shouted, taking control of the operation.

A devastated looking Amanda watched on as Liv, Fin, Velasco, Banks and his officers headed toward the building to enter inside when they saw Jesse screaming as she ran out the front door and into the arms of her mother.

“Jesse!” Amanda cried out as she bent down, reached toward her daughter and hugged her tightly. “Are you okay baby?”

Jesse nodded while crying. “Sonny told me to run and to keep running until I got out so I did.”

Amanda stroked her hair and rubbed her back. “You did so good Jess.”

She then stood up, placed her arm around Jesse and then directed her attention to the front door of the school. She took in a deep breath and quietly prayed. “Please, God. Please, let him be alright.”

Amanda stood waiting for what felt like an eternity when she eventually saw a few officers making their way out the school. They motioned for the paramedics to come in, which worried her. However, a few minutes later she saw Liv and then finally Sonny, with a gash on the side of his forehead and a bloody lip, emerge.

Her and Jesse slowly headed to him and then Amanda pulled him into her arms.

When they finally broke apart she looked up at his forehead and gently touched the wound, frowning.

“It’s not as bad as it looks.” Sonny tried to reassure her. “Probably need a few stitches but I’ll be fine.”

He then directed his attention down to Jesse. “Are you okay, Jess?”

She wiped her eyes and nodded. He then picked her up into his arms and pulled Amanda in for another hug.

Just then the paramedics brought out a handcuffed Matt, who was lying on a stretcher with a gunshot wound to the leg and his left hand bandaged up. They were followed closely behind by Fin, Velasco and Banks.

“What happened in there?” She asked, looking up into his eyes.

Sonny took a deep breath, exhaled and then began to relay everything that went down in the classroom once Jesse ran out.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Earlier in the Classroom

The two wrestled with each other on the floor in an attempt to subdue the other and gain control of the gun, each getting in a few good hits.

Seeing the gun in his reach, Matt attempted to grab it, but just before he could get to it, Sonny was able to stand up. He then stomped on Matt’s hand as hard as he could, crushing it.

Sonny grabbed the gun and, as Matt came lunging at him, aimed and shot him in the leg, disabling him. Sonny then tossed the gun to the other side of the room and, hearing the cops enter the building, put him into a headlock and held him down until they came into the room.

Liv entered first, followed immediately by Fin and Velasco.

She had to pry an angry Carisi’s hands from off Matt’s neck but she eventually was able to do so and Velasco carefully, taking note of the young man’s messed up hand, handcuffed him and started reading the man his rights. He then brought him to his feet and slowly guided Matt, who was hopping on one leg, out the classroom.

“You did good Carisi.” Fin said, giving him a pat on the back. “That was one hell of a shot. You still got it.”

Sonny remained quiet, but nodded at his former sergeant and watched as he exited the room.

“I agree.” Banks said as he approached Sonny. “Nice work, Counselor.”

Sonny shook his head and stared at him angrily. “Don’t stand here and try to placate me. Your false promises are the reason this all went down the way it did. You nearly got Jesse and me killed and that’s somethin’ I won’t ever forget.”

Banks looked at Liv, who said nothing in support of him. He then quietly walked off.

“You shot to wound instead of center mass to the torso.” Liv said to him quietly. “Why?”

Sonny remained silent for a moment before finally responding. “I know what I did was risky and that I coulda missed, but…I wanted to make sure he lived. Because he deserves to pay for what he did. To Ms. Fisher, Jesse, and everyone else that was held in this room today.”

“He will.” Liv reassured him, as she gave him a pat on the back, adding. “Carisi, your actions today saved so many lives and while I know you don’t think of yourself in this way, you truly are a hero. And I’m proud of you.”

He gave her a small smile.

“Come on, let’s head out. Amanda’s here and she’s waiting for you.”

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Outside

“Liv’s right.” Amanda said looking up at him. “You are a hero and the girls and I are so lucky to have you.”

She rested her head on his chest. “I’m glad you’re both safe and this is finally over.” Amanda whispered into his ear.

“So am I.” Sonny said holding on to both of his girls a little tighter. “So am I.”

************************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Late Friday Night

************************

After Sonny, who needed some stitches, was medically cleared and him and Jesse were questioned about the day’s events, the trio went home and tried their best to not let the traumatic event consume too much of their thoughts, though it was difficult. Especially for Jesse who, unlike Amanda and Sonny, had never experienced such a distressing, life-threatening situation before.

“Jesse asleep?” Sonny asked as Amanda pulled the covers back and slid into bed next to him.

“She is right now.” Amanda said as she ran a hand through her messy blonde hair. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up knocking on our door at some point tonight wanting to sleep with us.”

“It’s fine with me if she wants to.” Sonny said to her.

Amanda nodded. “Same.”

The bedroom filled with silence for a long while before Amanda broke it. “She keeps asking about Ms. Fisher. I really, really hope she’ll end up pulling through.”

Sonny sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Me too.” He then followed up by adding. “Jesse she’s…been through so much. I think it might be good if she sat down with a professional and talk her feelings out.”

“I agree. I’ll look into it. Maybe Dr. Hanover knows someone who would be good.”

She placed her right hand into his left. “What about you? Where’s your head at?”

Sonny lifted her hand up and kissed it. “I’ll be OK. I promise. If I’m not, I’ll let you know.”

Amanda nodded, moved a little closer to him and looked deeply and lovingly into his eyes. “Thank you. Thank you for keeping Jesse safe today.”

Sonny wrapped his arm around her. “Don’t thank me. Jesse and Billie are my daughters in all the ways that truly matter. I would do anythin’ and everythin’ to protect our kids. Always.”

“So would I.” Amanda said as she rested her head on his chest. “For all three of them.”

It took Sonny a second for what Amanda said to register in his head, but it eventually did.

His eyes softened as he whispered, “You’re…” Sonny let his voice trail off.

Amanda nodded slowly. “I’m having your baby, Dominick Carisi. Our baby.”

A shocked, but happy Sonny was left speechless. He smiled, blinked back some tears and then leaned in to kiss her.

“H-how long have you known?” He asked when he was finally able to find his words.

“I found out this morning. Before we left for the day.” Amanda said as she sniffled and grew teary eyed. “You were right when you said you thought there was something different about me. But I wanted to wait before I said anything. When we were alone and not rushing around. Then today happened and I…I was so a-afraid I wasn’t going to be able to tell you.”

Sonny rested his head on her forehead and gently caressed her cheek. “But you did tell me. Because I’m still here.”

He then placed his hand on her stomach. “And I can’t wait to meet this little nugget of ours. To raise him or her alongside Jesse and Billie and for the five of us to be one big happy family.”

Amanda smiled softly. “I can’t wait either.”

He kissed her again and pulled her in closer to him. Just then the couple heard a knock on the door.

“Come in.” Amanda said.

Jesse slowly opened up the door.

“I had a nightmare.” She told them. “Can I sleep with you tonight?”

Sonny nodded and motioned for her to join them. Jesse quickly climbed up onto the bed, slid in between them both and snuggled underneath the covers.

Everyone exchanged good nights as Amanda and Sonny both turned off their nightstand lamps and the trio attempted to get some shut eye.

About an hour later Billie joined them and though the bed felt extra small with all the extra bodies in it, no one minded. Not tonight. For the crowdedness was a nice reminder of the fact that they were safe, warm and all together.

Chapter Text

“I Love You, But…”

********************

Sonny’s Office - Early Tuesday Evening

********************

“It’s really good, Meghan.” Sonny told her as he finished reading up the expose, folded up the newspaper and set it down on his desk. “Well written and important. I’m glad you’re talkin’ about this.”

“Thanks.” The blue-eyed, blonde haired reporter said to him. “It wasn’t an easy subject to discuss, but the story of what happened to those murdered single mothers needed to be told so hopefully nothing like that ever happens again.”

Sonny nodded. “Agreed.”

Meghan checked the time on her watch. “Are you done for the day? Do you want to grab a drink? Maybe dinner?” She asked, hopefully.

Sonny sat quietly for a while as he contemplated whether or not to accept Meghan’s invitation. Because though it could be innocent, it felt like she was asking him out on a date. And though he had been on a couple of casual, set up one offs since him and Amanda split, this was different. Sonny had gotten to know Meghan via work and genuinely liked her. Whether or not it was in a platonic way or something more he wasn’t sure. But he realized it was probably time he find out.

“I am.” Sonny said as he gave her a small smile. “Drinks and dinner sound nice.”

Meghan grinned and fixed her mouth to respond when she was interrupted by a knock. They both turned their attention to the door and saw Amanda standing before them.

“Am I interrupting something?” Amanda asked as she eyed the duo curiously.

Sonny awkwardly shook his head. “No, its uh…fine. Meghan, this is Detective Rollins. She works for SVU. Amanda, this is Meghan Moore. She’s a reporter for The Times who recently transferred here from LA and has been assigned to cover cases hittin’ the Homicide Bureau.”

Meghan walked over to Amanda and extended her hand. “Nice to meet you.”

Amanda feigned a smile and nodded. “Likewise.” She shook her hand.

The reporter, spotting the file in Amanda’s hand, turned her attention back to Sonny. “Looks like you two have work to discuss. How about I text you the address of the restaurant and we meet there when you’re done? If it gets too late, no worries. We can aim for tomorrow.”

Sonny briefly locked eyes with Amanda, who tried her best to remain stoic but was crushed as she came to the realization the two were likely about to go on a date.

He nodded at Meghan, but remained quiet. She smiled and then exited his office.

Once Amanda was certain Meghan was long gone, she plopped down in the chair across from Sonny’s desk, handed him the file and sarcastically asked, “Dating a reporter? Isn’t that a conflict of interest?”

Sonny rolled his eyes. “So was being with you. And I’m pretty sure I saw you leave on a date from the precinct the other day so you don’t get to give me a hard time about goin’ on one myself.”

Amanda looked down and went silent.

Sonny sighed. “You didn’t come here to hand me a file that you could’ve had Velasco or someone else give me in the morning. So what do you wanna talk about?”

“There’s s—something I…need to tell you.” Amanda said quietly.

He eyed her curiously. “Ok…”

Amanda stayed silent for a long while before she finally took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “I’m pregnant.”

Sonny’s eyes grew wide in shock and his heart started to pound. “Are y—you sure?”

The blonde nodded.

“How far along?”

Amanda ran a hand through her hair. “Six weeks.”

Sonny pressed his lips together as he pondered if he should ask her this next question but he felt like he had to do it so he did. “It’s mine?”

Amanda raised her eyebrows. “Did you seriously just ask me that?” She stood up and began pacing around the room.

Sonny closed his eyes and sighed. “Amanda, I wouldn’t be asking if this child was conceived while we were together, but we broke up two and a half months ago and then hooked up exactly one time after that. The timeline fits but like I said earlier, I know you’ve been dating. I had to ask.”

Amanda stopped moving and crossed her arms. “Yes, I’ve been on a few dates. None of which went beyond a second date.”

She sat back down in the chair and as she blinked back tears quietly added, “This is your baby, Sonny. Our baby. You’re the only one I’ve been with. That one time was THE time.”

She paused for a moment before continuing, “But if you want a paternity test—“

“I don’t.” Sonny said cutting her off, instantly regretting that he took the conversation in that direction. “Your word is more than enough. I’m sorry I went there.”

He did feel badly. In part because the night in question six weeks ago in his office had been a very spur of the moment, reckless night of post-breakup sex. Birth control wasn’t on either of their minds, so the fact that their hook up resulted in an unplanned pregnancy shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise to him. Even if they had been more careful, he knew Amanda and never should’ve questioned her like that. It was starting to eat at him that he did.

Amanda could sense it and assuaged his fears a bit by saying, “Its ok. I know I got upset, but…it was only one time and I was out on dates with other people before and after so if I were in your shoes I probably would’ve wanted to make sure too.”

His office soon filled with silence before Amanda finally spoke up.

“Even though the situation in which this has come about, considering you and I aren’t together, isn’t ideal and despite my original stance on the idea of a third child, I want you to know I’m happy about the baby and I’m going to have it. I don’t know how this will work and what everything will look like, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”

Sonny nodded and momentarily found his mind drifting. Him and Amanda had the baby discussion fairly early on in the relationship. It was something Amanda had felt needed to be brought up sooner rather than later. Mainly because she was happy with Jesse and Billie and had been certain she didn’t want a third child. She said she needed Sonny to know that in case having a biological baby of his own was something he felt strongly about. Amanda didn’t want them to get too deep and wrapped up into the relationship, one with two little girls involved, and then find out later that this is a dealbreaker for him.

He told her it wasn’t and he meant it. Sonny loved Amanda and the girls so much and while he definitely would’ve had a baby with her if it was something she wanted, he didn’t need to have a biological child to feel fulfilled. However, this issue was something Amanda continued to worry about every so often, thinking one day he’d come to resent her over it, and it had been a point of contention between them at times. Sonny found it ironic that this ended up happening and the universe had seemingly resolved one of their problems in a manner it saw was best. Still, others loomed in the background.

Sonny took a deep breath and exhaled. “You’re right. It isn’t ideal. This definitely is not how I saw myself becoming a father if it were to ever happen. But despite everything, I’m really glad that I get to be a dad. And I’m here for you. Financially, of course, but emotionally too. Whatever you and the baby need, ok?”

Amanda nodded as he absentmindedly placed his right hand over hers, which rested on his desk, and rubbed it gently.

“Have you thought about when and how you’ll tell the girls?” He asked.

She shook her head no. “Not yet.”

“I know you’re still tryin’ to figure out what’s best for Jesse and Billie in regards to my place in their world, but I want you to know I would really like to continue for them to be part of my life. I love and miss them and my door is always open to them. When the baby is with me, they are more than welcome to stay with me too. If it’s somethin’ they want and you’re ok with.”

Amanda nodded and thought his words over in her head. Their breakup had been a difficult transition not only for them, but for Jesse and Billie. She had let Sonny see them a couple of times since but that’s all. Because Amanda wasn’t sure how much time he should be spending with the girls, if at all. While he wasn’t their biological dad, he was the closest thing to a father either of them had and it didn’t feel right just ripping him from their lives. Especially when he loved them so and vice versa.

Still, Amanda questioned how healthy it was for them to retain that relationship when she knew eventually both her and Sonny would move on and, in his case maybe start a family of his own. She didn’t want the girls getting hurt down the road, even if wasn’t his intention. So while she appreciated his words, she still felt the need to be cautious and adding a new baby into this equation, one that would be his child, but also Jesse and Billie’s sibling, only complicated matters even more because he would now forever be in all three of their lives in some capacity. As Amanda reflected more and more on their situation after learning about the baby, it saddened her. She never thought this was how her love story with Sonny would go. She knew he didn’t either.

The two remained quiet for a while, staring deeply into each other’s eyes before she finally asked him, “Does it really have to be this way, Dominick? Especially now with the baby coming? I still love you and I know you still love me. I know I was the one who first suggested the split, but…”

He looked down on the hand that lay atop of hers and sighed. “I do still love you, Amanda. I probably always will. But you suggested it, and I agreed to it, for a reason. Our home wasn’t the healthiest environment. It got to the point where we were arguing every day about everythin’. And I don’t know how we’re supposed to talk any of it out if we can’t even agree on why we’re fighting in the first place. Like the whole issue surrounding the girls and you thinkin’ I called you a bad mom.”

“You did.” She said to him, growing a bit annoyed as she thought back to the incident in question. “You alluded to it.”

An equally frustrated Sonny moved his hand and shook his head. “I did not. All I said was that you regularly undermined me with the girls. Which you did.”

“That’s not true.”

Sonny threw his hands up in the air. “See? This is exactly what I’m talkin’ bout it.”

Amanda fixed her mouth to respond when Sonny’s cell started going off. She glanced over at it and saw it was a text from Meghan.

“My doppelgänger is waiting for you.” Amanda said as she got up. “Not sure how excited she’s going to be once she hears about me and our love child but—“

Sonny rubbed his temples. “Amanda…”

The room once again filled with silence for what felt like an eternity before Amanda finally found her words.

“Let’s just forget the fact that I even brought us up tonight.” She said in a less snarky tone in an attempt to not end the conversation negatively. “And we don’t need to hash out the baby thing all in one night. If you wanna go on your date, you should. It’s none of my business.”

He watched as Amanda then hurried out of his office. Sonny sank deeper down into his seat and glanced over at his phone. He then sighed as he closed his eyes and sat, deep in thought.

Chapter Text

“In My Feelings”

********************

Sonny’s Office - Tuesday Evening

********************

Sonny watched as Amanda then hurried out of his office. He sank deeper down into his seat and glanced over at his phone. He then sighed as he closed his eyes and sat, deep in thought.

After some back and forth in his head, Sonny eventually decided to meet up with Meghan for dinner and drinks. He didn’t go into it thinking of it as a date per say, instead viewing it more as a night out with a new friend; a much needed distraction.

********************

Restaurant - Tuesday Night

********************

“I’m glad you were able to join me tonight.” Meghan said as she took a sip of her wine. “I’ve been living in the city for a while now, but still don’t know many people here and don’t really get out too much. It can feel pretty isolating sometimes.”

Sonny gave her a small smile and nodded. “New York is one of the biggest and bustlin’ cities in the world, but can feel like one of the loneliest if you don’t have anyone to share all the chaos with.”

“That it can.” She said agreeing.

Just then, their waiter came by and asked what they would like for their entrees.

“I’ll take the steak.” Sonny said as he handed him his menu. “Medium well.”

“And I’ll try the spaghetti squash.” Meghan told the waiter as she gave him her menu.

Unbeknownst to Meghan, her dinner choice instantly caused Sonny’s mind to drift back to a night a few months earlier.

********************

Four Months Ago

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Thursday Evening

********************

“Girls!” Sonny called out from the kitchen. “Dinner’s ready!”

A few moments later Jesse and Billie entered into the kitchen and sat down at their regular seats at the table.

Jesse sniffed the air. “Are we having spaghetti?” She asked hopefully.

“Sort of.” Sonny said as he set their plates down in front of them. “It’s spaghetti squash.”

“Can I have peanut butter and jelly?” asked Billie, who wasn’t a fan of any sort of vegetable, even when covered in her favorite Alfredo sauce.

Sonny handed each girl a fork. “Maybe for lunch tomorrow. But this is what I made for tonight’s dinner.”

Billie intently watched her older sister shove some of the spaghetti squash into her mouth.

“It’s good!” Jesse said to Sonny.

Sonny smiled and turned his attention toward the younger Rollins girl, who was quietly playing around with her fork.

He pulled a chair up next to the four-year-old. “I know you’re a little iffy about the squash. So that’s why I also made garlic bread and meatballs, which I know you love, to go with it. How about you try three forkfuls of the spaghetti squash and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat the rest. You can eat just the bread and meatballs.”

Billie sighed, but nodded. “Ok.”

Just then his cell rang. Sonny saw it was a call from the deputy chief of the Homicide Bureau and figured it was important.

“Girls, I’ll be right back. I need to take this.” He picked his phone up from off the counter and then headed off to the bedroom to take the call.

Sonny emerged from the bedroom around twenty minutes later after wrapping up his conversation. When he came back into the kitchen he was pleasantly surprised to see Amanda had quietly entered into the apartment. However, he was dismayed when he saw that while Jesse had finished her dinner and went to do the rest of her homework in the girls’ bedroom, Billie’s plate remained completely untouched and she was instead chowing down on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

“Amanda, can we talk in the bedroom?” He asked as he furrowed his eyebrows.

She nodded as she put away the jelly in the refrigerator. The two then headed off to the bedroom together.

Sonny closed the door. “I wish you had talked to me before you fixed Billie that peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

Amanda ran a hand through her hair. “Sonny, you and I both know how difficult it is to get Billie to try vegetables. Yes, I wish she ate better, and I’m hoping in time she’ll grow out of the pickiness, but she wasn’t gonna sit there and finish all of that spaghetti squash and I won’t force her to. Especially if she’s adamantly expressing to me she doesn’t like it, which she did.”

Sonny shook his head. “But I didn’t ask Billie to sit there and eat everythin’ on her plate. All I wanted was for her to try three forkfuls. If she didn’t like it I said she didn’t have to eat the rest and could stick with the meatballs and garlic bread. Two things I specifically made to go with it because I know she likes them. But I looked at her plate before comin’ in here and it was clear she didn’t eat ANYTHING on it. All she did was move everythin’ around. Then to top it off I told Billie I wouldn’t make her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when she asked for that instead of tryin’ what I cooked and you went and made her one. Now she’s gonna think if she holds out long enough that someone will eventually make her somethin’ different when she doesn’t want what was made for dinner.”

He rubbed his temples and plopped down on the bed.

Amanda sighed. “When I came in Billie said she didn’t like it. I hadn’t realized she didn’t actually try it or eat even a little bit of the other stuff that was given to her. I made the sandwich because I didn’t want her to be hungry. But I’m sorry, I should’ve checked with you first before doing it.”

Sonny remained quiet for a long while before finally responding. “I appreciate the apology. I do, but…” He let his voice trail off.

“But what?” Amanda asked as she sat down next to him.

Sonny took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “I need more support from you when it comes to navigating this new role I have with the girls. It’s been difficult transitioning from Uncle Sonny, the fun godfather who let them do pretty much whatever they wanted to being a pseudo, though hopefully one day soon official, stepdad who has to be more of an authority figure. We both agreed that this shift in my relationship with Jesse and Billie is necessary if we want our romantic relationship to continue to progress. Especially since I spend so much time at home with them while you’re at work and because they’re still so young and need structure. But it’s tough because they are used to you and only you being a parental figure. And what makes it tougher is when you do things to undermine me with them.”

Amanda raised an eyebrow. “Come on, because of this spaghetti squash thing?”

He sighed. “It’s one of a handful of times lately where I made a parenting decision and it falls flat because you reverse it without even talkin’ to me about it first. Like the other day when I asked Jess if she could finish cleaning her side of the bedroom, which had been messy for days, before watching TV. When you got home from work, she went behind my back and asked you if she could watch TV and you let her without gathering all the facts first and finding out what deal her and I made.”

Sonny paused for a moment before continuing.

“It’s gettin’ to the point where I feel both girls don’t really think what I say holds weight and if I tell them somethin’ they don’t wanna hear, they’ll go to you in hopes of lessening or eliminating the punishment or being given permission to do whatever it is I said they couldn’t.”

Amanda stood up, pressed her lips together and crossed her arms. “What I’m gathering from this WHOLE conversation is that you think I’m not instilling enough discipline. That I’m too easy on them and the girls see me as a pushover.”

Sonny also stood up and began adamantly shaking his head. “I said no such thing.”

“You didn’t say it but it’s what you’re alluding to.” Amanda balked, raising her voice. “You’re basically, in a round about way, calling me me out for being a bad mom.”

“I am not!” Sonny said throwing his arms up. “All I said was that the girls go to you behind my back because they don’t see me as being on equal footing with you in the parenting department and in the HOPES of getting a different answer from you when I make a decision they don’t like. I never said you always reverse things in their favor. And I never said the choices I make with them are always right, either.” Sonny responded, matching her tone.

“They’re not!” Amanda spat back. “Which is why I sometimes reverse them. It’s not always because I’m “oblivious” as to what’s going on!”

“I know I’m a work in progress when it comes to all of this!” Sonny responded. “I understand if you think a decision I made needs to be modified. But talk to me about it privately! We need to be more of a united front with the girls! They don’t need to know when we aren’t on the same page about somethin.’ And when we aren’t, we need to sit down and get on the same page. So Jesse and Billie know that no matter who is handling a specific situation the outcome will be the same.”

Sonny paused for a moment to take a breath and then continued on. “All I’m askin’ for is that we communicate better and for you to give me more of a chance to step up into that father figure role with them in ALL aspects. Not just for the fun stuff like daddy-daughter dances and not just when it’s convenient for you. I know it’s going to take time for Jesse and Billie to see me and respect me in the same way they do with you as an authority figure, but we’ll never get there if you and I don’t work together as a team.”

“Sonny—“

“I’m done talkin’ bout this.” Sonny said as he cut her off and stood up. “I need to get some air. Clear my head. I’ll be back.”

He then headed for the door and exited the bedroom. Amanda sighed as she sat back down on the bed and stared aimlessly straight ahead at the wall.

********************

Present Day

Restaurant - Tuesday Evening

********************

“Sonny.

“Hmm?”

Meghan raised an eyebrow. “You alright? Seemed like your head was somewhere else.”

Sonny nodded slowly. “Sorry. Yeah, I’m fine.”

She stared at him curiously for a while, but didn’t dig into anything further and changed the subject.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

“Thanks for walking me home.” Meghan said to him when the duo finally reached her apartment door. “You didn’t have to.”

Sonny shook his head. “Well I wanted to make sure you got home safe. And you only live a few blocks from the restaurant. It was no trouble at all.”

Meghan tucked a loose strand of her blonde hair behind her ear. “You’re quite the gentleman Dominick Carisi.”

Sonny gave her a small smile and then fixed his mouth to respond when she leaned into him and connected her lips to his, but after a second he pulled away.

An embarrassed Meghan began to blush. “I clearly misread things.”

“No, you didn’t. I…do like you.” Sonny said sighing. “It’s…look it’s not you. It’s me.”

“I’ve heard that before.” Meghan said running a hand through her hair.

Sonny shook his head. “No I mean it. My life is…really complicated at the moment and it wouldn’t be fair to rope you or anyone else into in this way right now.”

“Try me.”

Sonny took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Detective Rollins…who you met earlier. She’s umm…not just a colleague. Her and I…we were in a very serious relationship. We broke up…not that long ago. Anyways, I just found out earlier tonight that she’s pregnant and we’re having a baby. And even though her and I aren’t together, I plan on being an active part of this child’s life. He or she is my primary focus and will always come first.”

Meghan’s eyes widened in surprise and she remained quiet for a moment, likely needing some time to take in and process what was just told to her, but eventually responded.

“You’re right.” She finally said. “You do have a lot going on in your life. But it doesn’t scare me. Hearing how committed you are to the child you have coming and not running away from your responsibilities? It honestly makes me like you even more. That being said, I understand where your coming from and where your priorities need to lie. So how about we just take this date by date, day by day and see where it goes? Let’s go into this with no expectations.”

Sonny briefly pondered her suggestion, smiled softly and nodded. “Ok.”

“Night, Sonny.” Meghan said and as she turned around to go into her apartment, he stopped her gently with his hand.

Sonny then placed a brief kiss on her lips. “Night.”

She smiled and then headed inside her building.

********************

Outside the Precinct - Friday Afternoon

********************

“Thanks for picking me up.” Amanda said as her and Sonny began walking toward his car.

Sonny nodded. “And thank you for inviting me to come along.”

Amanda nodded. “I know you’ve never gotten to see what an ultrasound is like so I wanted to give you that chance to experience it. It’s really early so you won’t see much, but it’s still pretty cool.”

“It means a lot.” He told her sincerely.

Amanda gave him a small smile and then changed the subject. “Hopefully whatever’s wrong with my car can be fixed quickly and won’t cost a fortune.” She groaned slightly. “I hate not having car.”

“Give me the bill once you get it.”

Amanda vehemently shook her head no. “Sonny, you’re not paying that. It has nothing to do with the baby.”

“But it absolutely does.” Sonny said to her. “You need to have a car that’s runnin’ properly to get around with the baby, as well as the girls.”

She sighed. “No woman is going to put up with you doing this kind of stuff for me.”

Sonny bit his lip and furrowed his brows as if he were in deep thought, but remained quiet as he opened up the passenger side door of his car for her.

Amanda got in and he closed the door. Sonny then made his way to the driver’s side and climbed in. As he turned his car on and entered the address to the doctor’s office onto his phone’s GPS, a call from Meghan came in.

Amanda watched as Sonny quickly declined it and went back to setting up his GPS. She started to wonder if he ever ended up going on that date and if so, how it went. But another part of her thought that ignorance is bliss and she might be better off not knowing. Not to mention, her and Sonny were actually getting along and she didn’t want to ruin the vibe. Not today.

“Ready?” He asked as turned the heat up.

Amanda buckled her seatbelt and then nodded. Sonny then pulled his car out into the road and they were off.

********************

Doctor’s Office - Friday Afternoon

********************

Amanda made a slight face as her doctor entered the wand like device inside of her and began the ultrasound.

Both her and Sonny immediately directed their attention to the monitor.

Amanda’s doctor pointed to the screen. “There’s the baby.”

The blonde grinned and then turned her head to look up at Sonny, who appeared to be in awe at what he was looking at.

“My nurse said you told her earlier this week you thought you were around six weeks?” The doctor asked Amanda.

“Yes.” Amanda said. “But probably seven now though that it’s heading towards the end of the week.”

Her doctor nodded. “Seven weeks is what it looks like to me. We should be able to see and hear the baby’s heartbeat today.”

Sonny raised his eyebrows. “Really? This early?”

The doctor nodded. She moved the wand, turned her attention back to the monitor and then pointed to the screen. “See that flicker? That’s the heartbeat.”

She then turned the volume on and once she did the baby’s heartbeat came blaring through loud and quickly.

Sonny’s mouth opened wide in astonishment. “It’s so fast.”

“About 105 beats per minute.” The doctor told him. “Fast, but normal.”

His eyes remained glued to the screen, but his hand drifted to Amanda’s and he began to absentmindedly rub the top of her knuckles with his thumb.

“This is incredible.” He said quietly.

Sonny locked eyes with Amanda, who gave him a small smile, and when she did he soon found his mind wandering back to that night. The night that they never talked about until the other day. The night that led to this very moment.

********************

Seven Weeks Earlier

Sonny’s Office - Friday Evening

********************

A frustrated Sonny rubbed his temples. “You can’t talk about that on the stand.”

“Why not?” Amanda asked raising an eyebrow.

“Because it’s hearsay. Calhoun’s gonna object and Catano will rule in her favor.”

Amanda rolled her eyes and the two immediately started bickering back and forth.

Velasco, over being stuck in trial prep with the two exes, checked his watch. “How much longer are we gonna be?” He asked the counselor.

Sonny ran a hand through his hair. “Until I think you’re both ready. And we obviously have a ways to go. So if you got a date or somethin’ else planned you should probably reschedule it for another time.”

Velasco sighed. “I don’t. I’m good.”

Sonny looked over at Amanda, who remained quiet, and then directed his attention to his paperwork. When he did, she attempted to subtly pull out her phone and send a text, but he saw her out of the corner of her eyes. The two then locked eyes and quietly stared at each other.

“This is so fucking awkward.” Velasco muttered under his breath. “Someone please save me.”

Just then there was a knock on the door. All three looked and saw Liv standing by the door.

“Sorry to interrupt.” The Captain said as she entered the office. “I know you three are busy trial prepping for the Meyer case. But I just got some news.”

“Everythin’ ok?” Sonny asked, looking concerned.

Liv sighed. “Khaldun called. Homicide was notified of a murder that took place in Chelsea about an hour ago.”

“Why’d he call you about it?” Amanda asked curiously.

The Captain took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Because the victim is Lindsay Nichols.”

Sonny and Velasco immediately turned their gazes toward the blonde, who instantly became visibly upset.

“Her husband did it, didn’t he?” She whispered, her voice quivering.

Liv nodded. “He stabbed her and then hung himself in their bedroom. Nanny found them and called the police. Homicide is still investigating, but they’re pretty sure that’s how it all went.”

Amanda tried to wipe away the tears that had started to fall down her cheeks, but they kept on coming. “I knew…t—this was going to…h—happen.”

Liv ran a hand through her hair. “Amanda, I know how close you got to her and that you think this is your fault—“

“But it is.” The blonde said, interrupting her Captain. She stood up from her chair and started pace around the room. “It is my fault.”

Though their breakup was still fairly fresh and raw, Sonny hated seeing Amanda so upset. Lindsay Nichols, a DV vic, had been a bit of a sore point between the two. Sonny thought Amanda had gotten too close to her, which resulted in threats on their family by the woman’s abusive husband. Still, while maybe expecting this outcome, they all hoped for the best and that the troubling situation would never elevate to this point. Unfortunately it did and though him, Liv and Velasco were all saddened by what they heard, he knew Amanda would be the most devastated.

Sonny motioned to Liv and Velasco for them to give the two a minute so the Captain and detective quietly made their way out of his office and shut the door.

He got up from his seat at his desk and walked over to her.

“Amanda,” Sonny said as he placed his hands on her shoulder and attempted to get her to stop moving. “None of the this is your fault. You hear me?”

“But—“

“No buts.” He said cutting her off. “You did everythin’ you could to help Lindsay. Frequent welfare checks, bringing her into shelters, tryin’ to find work for her so she’d be able to stand alone on her own, got her in contact with pro-bono divorce lawyers. There wasn’t anythin’ more you could’ve done you didn’t already do.”

Sonny took his thumbs and wiped her tears away. “She didn’t want the help and you can’t make someone accept it if they aren’t ready or willing.”

“I know.” Amanda said as she sniffled and buried her head into his chest. “I just wish it all didn’t end this way.”

Sonny held her close, cradling Amanda in his arms for a while.

“You gonna be okay?” He finally asked as he gently pulled away from her and caressed her cheek.

Amanda nodded her head slowly and the two stared deeply into each other’s eyes for a long time when she eventually leaned in, tilted her head and planted a brief, chaste kiss onto his lips.

She pulled away to gauge his reaction and a few seconds later he leaned in and returned her kiss with a much more passionate one of his own.

After a short while they broke apart. Sonny then lifted Amanda up into his arms and very carefully set her down on his desk. They then resumed kissing as Sonny started to unbutton her blouse and Amanda removed his suit jacket and began undoing his tie.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

They quietly got dressed and tried not to make eye contact with each other as they did. That’s because they were both unsure what that was and what it meant. So instead of talking about it, they ignored it.

After they were both fully clothed, Sonny reached for his cell and started typing. “I don’t know if Velasco was plannin’ on comin’ back, but umm…I’m gonna let him know we should probably just call it a night and pick this back up tomorrow.”

Amanda nodded, but remained quiet.

The two stared at one another for a long while before she finally spoke.

“I’m gonna…go. If I leave now I…might be able to make it home in time to read the girls a story and tuck them in.”

Sonny nodded his head slowly.

She lingered for a moment before finally telling him, “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.” He whispered out.

Sonny then watched as Amanda left his office. He closed his eyes and ran a hand through his head of silver hair as he stood, thinking.

********************

Present Day

Doctor’s Office - Friday Afternoon

********************

“Sonny.”

“Yeah?” Sonny asked as he snapped back to reality.

Amanda removed her hand from his and, once the doctor had removed the wand, sat up. “I asked if you wanted any of the ultrasound photos they’re giving me.”

He vehemently nodded his head up and down. “I would.”

She eyed him curiously. “You alright? You seemed light years away there for a minute.”

“Yeah, I’m…fine.” He said slowly, dragging out his words.

She nodded and watched as the doctor left the room. “Well I’m all set. I just need to get dressed. Then we can grab the photos and go.”

“Ok.” He told her, as he remained still.

She raised an eyebrow at him and then directed her gaze toward the door.

“Sorry.” Sonny said, realizing she wanted him to leave while she changed. “I’ll be…right outside.”

He quickly headed out of the room and closed the door behind him.

Sonny sighed heavily as he leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes.

Chapter Text

“Never Really Over”

*********************

Amanda’s Apartment - Late Friday Afternoon

*********************

“Thanks again for taking me AND for bringing me home.” Amanda said to him as she rummaged for her apartment keys. “I know it’s really out of your way.”

Sonny shook his head. “It’s no problem.”

Amanda furrowed her brows as she continued looking around her purse for her keys. “Ugh I hope I didn’t leave them at the precinct.”

Sonny stood quietly watching her for a few more moments before pulling his set of keys out of his coat pocket. He looked through them and then inserted the key to the apartment in the door and unlocked it.

She was surprised he still carried it around, but grateful. “Thank you.”

“I hadn’t realized I still had it on my key ring until now.” Sonny said as he took the key off and tried it to give it to her.

“Maybe you should keep it.” Amanda said to him. “I’m sure mine will turn up and it might come in handy sometime. With the baby at some point.”

Amanda internally cringed as she thought her reasoning for him keeping the key over in her head. Because she knew there probably wasn’t really a need for him to have it, but nevertheless she still wanted him to keep it.

Much to the blonde’s surprise, he agreed.

“Ok.” Sonny said as he took the key and placed it back on his ring.

“Sienna should be back from picking the girls up from school any minute if you want to stick around for a bit and see them.”

Sonny smiled softly. “Yeah, I’d like to.”

Amanda nodded and the two walked inside together and settled down in the living room.

“You can have these two.” Amanda said as she handed him the ultrasound images and they sat down together on the couch.

He grinned as he stared down at them. “Thanks.”

She fixed her mouth to say something, but was interrupted by the sounds of Jesse and Billie coming in with Sienna.

Though both girls were pleasantly surprised to see their mom home from work earlier than anticipated, they were much more surprised to see Sonny sitting with her in the living room.

“Sonny!” Both Jesse and Billie yelled out in unison as they dropped their backpacks and quickly yanked off their jackets and shoes.

Sonny smiled brightly and placed the photos on the end table nearby as both Rollins girls ran over to him.

He scooped them both up together in his arms and hugged them tightly.

“We’ve missed you!” Jesse declared as Billie nodded her head in agreement.

“Not as much as I’ve missed you two.” He said as he squeezed them both a little tighter before finally setting them down.

Amanda smiled, though a little sadly, as she watched the mini reunion between Sonny and her daughters. Seeing how excited Jesse and Billie were to see him after such a long time of minimal interaction made her feel guilty for keeping him away from them.

She quickly stood up and thanked and said goodbye to Sienna. Amanda then picked up and started putting away the girls’ things.

“Did you come here just to see us?” Billie asked hopefully.

Sonny exchanged a quick glance with Amanda, before smiling at Billie and nodding.

Billie grinned back at him and both her and Jesse began chatting away as they caught Sonny, who was listening very intently, up on everything that had been going on in the world.

After a short while Jesse’s eyes spotted the sonogram images on the end table and picked one up. Jesse, who’s pregnant teacher had recently shown her class a similar photo, knew exactly what it was.

“Mom, are you having a baby?” She asked as she held up the sonogram.

Both Amanda and Sonny’s eyes grew large as they briefly stared at each other, neither knowing how to respond. Because the baby’s heartbeat was easily detected, Amanda knew her risk of miscarriage was pretty low at this point. Still, she hadn’t planned to tell the girls about the baby for a while. She was hoping for more time to think of a thoughtful way to let Jesse and Billie know about it, as she was unsure how both of them would react to the news.

But the cat was out of the bag now. It was obvious Jesse already knew the answer to the question and was just waiting for her mother to provide the details.

Amanda ran a hand through her hair and motioned for the girls to sit next to her on the couch. She then directed her attention to her oldest daughter.

“Yes, Jesse.” Amanda said to her as she tucked a loose strand of the girl’s blonde hair behind her ear. “I am going to have a baby.”

Billie smiled. “When?!” She asked excitedly.

“It’ll be a while.” Amanda told her as she gently rubbed the little girl’s thigh. “Not until July.”

Though Billie’s reaction was enthusiastic, Jesse’s was much more reserved and her questions kept coming. The next one was directed at Sonny. “Are you the baby’s daddy?”

Sonny took a deep breath and exhaled slowly as he sat down on the sofa beside her. “Yeah, Jess. I am.”

“Does that mean you’re going to come back home and live with us again?”

Sonny sighed and shook his head no. “Mom and I haven’t really worked out the details yet, but the baby will probably live mostly here with you three and then stay with me at my place the rest of the time.”

Jesse frowned and went silent.

Sonny attempted to find something to say to comfort her, but before he could get any words out Amanda responded.

“Jesse, Sonny told me the other day that whenever the baby is staying with him both you and Billie can too.”

Sonny, appreciating the fact that Amanda took him up on his offer from a few days ago, gave her a small smile and then followed up her words.

“And you know what Jess? You and Billie can start staying with me whenever you want. We don’t have to wait until the baby gets here for us to begin spending time together again. Does that sound, OK?”

Billie happily nodded, but Jesse remained quiet for a long while as she appeared to take in everything that was being told to her.

“What do you think Jesse?” Amanda asked curiously.

Jesse sighed and got up from off the sofa. “I just wish we could all be together again.”

She slowly headed toward her bedroom. Billie then got up and followed her.

Amanda sighed and fixed her mouth to say something to Sonny but was interrupted by his cell ringing. She looked down when he did and saw that it was Meghan.

“If you have somewhere to be, you should go.” Amanda said to him. “I’ll talk to her. She’ll be fine.”

Amanda then exited the living room and headed down the hall toward Jesse and Billie’s bedroom.

Sonny looked down at his phone again, hit ignore, and sighed. He wanted to go check on Jesse with her, but thought it would probably be best to let Amanda handle it so he stood up and quietly left the apartment.

*********************

Precinct - Monday Morning

*********************

Amanda and Sonny hadn’t talked the rest of the weekend but she did text him early Monday morning to let him know that she planned on telling Liv that she was pregnant. It was still pretty early but with the girls already knowing and the squad being short staffed with Velasco being temporarily reassigned on an undercover narcotics gig, she thought the sooner she let her Captain know, the better.

Amanda knocked on her boss’s slightly ajar door. “Liv, do you have a minute?”

Liv nodded and motioned for her to come in.

Amanda stepped in and slowly closed the door behind her. She then sat in the seat directly across from Liv’s desk, took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly.

“Is everything alright?” Liv asked, sensing her detective’s nerves.

Amanda nodded. “Yeah, it’s just…there’s something I need to talk to you about.”

“Ok.” Liv said, eying her curiously.

Amanda remained quiet for a brief moment and then told her Captain the news. “I’m pregnant. About seven weeks.”

Liv raised her eyebrows in shock and, having trouble gauging whether or not Amanda was happy about it, decided to come right out and ask her. “Wow. So how do you feel about that?“

“Well a third baby was definitely not something I thought I wanted.” Amanda admitted to her honestly. “But once I found out and had some time to process it I realized I do want this and though it wasn’t planned, I’m really happy it happened.”

Liv smiled softly and fixed her mouth to respond but was interrupted by Amanda.

“I was a little worried to tell you because I know the timing isn’t great since we’re already down one detective with Velasco undercover and now I’m going to have to be on restricted duty.

Liv shook her head. “Amanda we’ll be fine. I put in for a temporary replacement to fill in for Velasco. We’ll just keep whoever it is around until after you’re back from maternity leave.”

Amanda nodded. “Hopefully you’ll get someone good.”

Liv chuckled. “Well I asked for an experienced, empathetic detective so knowing my luck I’ll probably be given someone like Carisi.”

Amanda smiled a bit, but remained quiet.

“Does he know?” Liv asked a little worriedly, knowing that even though him and Amanda weren’t together anymore, the counselor likely wouldn’t take the news well.

Amanda sighed and ran a hand through her hair. “Yeah he knows. It’s umm…his baby.”

A surprised looking Liv nodded. “So are you two back—“

“No.” Amanda said, cutting her off. “Not together. Baby’s here as a result of us getting caught up in a moment. That’s it.”

Liv nodded her head slowly and remained silent for a moment before speaking.

“Have you two talked about trying to work through your issues?” Liv asked her. “Obviously there is something still there.”

Amanda sighed. “There is.” She admitted to her honestly. “But I just don’t know if we can work through them. I mean, the baby thing isn’t really a factor anymore but we were disagreeing on cases and that trickled into our personal lives. And the issue surrounding the girls was a big one that we STILL don’t see eye to eye on. We were fighting about it all again just a few days ago. I don’t want the girls and now this new baby growing up in a house where arguing is constantly going on.”

She paused for a moment before continuing. “Besides, Sonny he…he started seeing someone.” Amanda said to her sadly.

Liv was about to respond when they heard a knock on the door. “Come in.”

“Sorry to interrupt.” Fin said as he entered. “But Carrie Mitchell and her mother are here.”

Liv nodded and then turned her attention back to her detective. “Time to find out what she knows.”

Amanda nodded and both quickly stood up, followed Fin out of the office, and headed toward the interrogation room.

*********************

Sonny’s Office - Monday Afternoon

*********************

Sonny, who had a meeting with Barth later in the afternoon, was working feverishly on the plea deal he was planning to bring to her and her client when he heard a knock on the door.

He looked up and saw it was Meghan.

“I know you’re busy so I won’t stay.” The blonde reporter said to him as she entered with a bag in her hand. “But I was nearby in a lunch meeting at Frank’s and I know how much you love their Italian mix so I got you one.”

Sonny gave her a small smile as he took the bag with the sub in it from her and set it down on his desk. “That was really nice of you. Thank you.”

Meghan nodded. “Ok I’m gonna go.”

She leaned in to him and the two kissed, just as Liv walked in.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.” Liv said. “The door was open and I—“

“It’s OK Liv.” Sonny said cutting her off. He then introduced the two. “Meghan this is Captain Olivia Benson, commanding officer of SVU. Liv, this is Meghan Moore, a reporter for The Times.”

“It’s nice to meet you Captain.” Meghan said as she extended her hand out to Liv.

Liv shook her hand and smiled softly. “Likewise.”

“I’ll catch ya later.” Meghan told Sonny and then quickly exited the office and closed the door behind her.

“New girlfriend?” Liv asked as she walked over to his desk and handed him the file she had in her hands.

Sonny shook his head. “No. Her and I are seein’ each other but…we haven’t put a label on it.”

Liv nodded and then changed the subject. “Amanda told me about the baby this morning. Congratulations.”

Sonny gave her a small smile. “Thanks. I’m excited about it. Even though the situation surrounding it isn’t ideal.”

“Figured if you ever had a baby you’d be with its mother?” Liv asked, curiously.

Sonny sighed and nodded. “Yeah. This definitely isn’t the way I imagined it. But forcing somethin’ that isn’t right and wasn’t workin’ just because of the baby isn’t a good idea.”

“It’s not.” Liv said to him, adding. “But are you really sure it isn’t right?”

Sonny sighed. “Liv—“

“It took you and Amanda so long to get together. When you finally did you both were so happily engrossed in each other. Nothing the other did bothered you. It was blissful, right? But then that blissful bubble got popped. The honeymoon stage ended, real life started and you realized the other isn’t as perfect as you thought and conflict arises. Every couple goes through this Carisi. The ones that survive it are the ones who put in the work. You and Amanda? You didn’t do that. The going got tough and you both got going.”

Sonny rubbed his temples. “I…we…did try.”

“But did you really try everything you could?” She asked him seriously. “Like counseling? Both together and independently? Mediation?”

Sonny remained quiet for a minute before finally answering. “No. We didn’t.”

“Don’t you think you owe it to each other…to Jesse, Billie, and the baby to do everything you can?”

He closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Yes but…a part me thinks if we were really meant to be together we wouldn’t need to take it to that level and that this all wouldn’t be so hard.”

Liv nodded slowly. “But if you really thought it was over, that there was no hope, then why haven’t you made more of an effort to move on? There’s a reason you don’t want to label whatever it is your doing with that reporter. And that she happens to look a lot like Amanda? That’s not a coincidence.”

Sonny sighed and, at a loss for words, stayed quiet.

“I know you have that meeting with Barth in a couple hours so I won’t keep you. I just hope you think about what I said. While I may have overstepped my bounds a bit, I’m only telling you all this because I’m rooting for you two. And so are a lot of other people. No one wants to see your story end this way. Deep down I don’t think you or her do either. So don’t let it.”

Liv then quickly left his office, closing the door as she did.

Sonny stared aimlessly ahead for a long while before closing his eyes, sinking into his chair and sighing.

*********************

Precinct - Late Tuesday Afternoon

*********************

Liv’s words struck a bit of a chord with Sonny, but he hadn’t had too much time to sit and think about it as both he and the squad had been busier than normal.

Sonny, having spent the first half of his Tuesday in arraignment court, had a short break before he needed to head to Riker’s to meet with a public defender and his client to discuss a deal for a case he was handling for the Homicide Bureau. So he took the opportunity to drop off a search warrant Fin asked for earlier in the morning.

As he entered the precinct he immediately spotted both Fin and Amanda, who was in the middle of a phone call, in the squad room. He quickly made his way over to Fin and handed him the warrant.

“Took you long enough Carisi.” The seargent said as he grabbed his coat and keys to a cop car.

“I know, I’m sorry.” Sonny said to him. “Busy day today. CSU meeting you out there?”

Fin nodded. “Yeah.”

“Hopefully you find what you need.”

“So do I.” Fin said as he headed toward the elevators.

Amanda wrapped up her phone call just as Fin exited and appeared very distressed. Sonny immediately headed over to her.

“Is everything OK?” He asked worriedly.

A teary eyed Amanda shook her head. “No. My dad had a heart attack.”

Sonny placed his hand on her back and rubbed up and down in an attempt to comfort her. “Amanda, I’m so sorry. That’s terrible. Is he going to be OK?”

Amanda shrugged. “I don’t know. It wasn’t a widowmaker or anything, but it wasn’t a minor one either. I need to get down to Atlanta and help him. He has no one. But my mom isn’t going to be able to help with Jesse and Billie.”

“Why not?” Sonny asked furrowing his eyebrows.

“If it were summer it’d be fine, but Jesse and Billie both have school. I can’t pull them out for 2-3 weeks and bring them up to Rockland. And my mom can’t come down here because she has Mason and he’s in school up there. God, I don’t know what I’m gonna do.”

Sonny pondered the situation for a moment before finally telling her, “I can take care of Jesse and Billie. For as long as you need me to.”

Amanda shook her head. “No I can’t ask you to do that.”

“You didn’t. I’m offerin.’ Because I want to help. You trust me with them, don’t you?”

“Of course.” Amanda insisted. “It’s just I know you have a lot going on. Work wise and personally and—“

“Don’t worry about that.” Sonny interrupted. “I’ll make it work. We’ll be fine.”

Amanda blinked back her tears, stood up and hugged him tightly.

“Thank you.” She whispered into his ear.

He nodded and held her closely in his arms.

Chapter Text

“Reflections”

*********************

Amanda’s Apartment - Tuesday Night

*********************

Amanda was able to find and book a late night flight to Atlanta so Sonny headed over to her place to start staying with the girls that night. They figured it was easier for him to look after them at her apartment while she was away.

When Sonny got to the apartment he used his key and quietly let himself in, as Amanda requested he did. As he entered he could hear her talking to Jesse and Billie in their bedroom.

“Ok girls Sonny will be here any second.” Amanda said as she tucked Billie into her bed a little tighter. “I want you to listen and do what he says while I’m gone, alright? No talking back and no trying to negotiate.”

Both Jesse and Billie nodded.

Amanda then quickly gave each of her daughters a kiss goodnight and goodbye, turned the lights off, exited their bedroom and then closed the door behind her.

She looked a bit surprised, but happy to see Sonny standing in the living room.

“You said to just let myself in when I got here so—“

“I did.” Amanda said cutting him off. “And I’m glad you’re here. I just called for a taxi before I got the girls settled for bed and it should be here soon.”

He nodded and watched as she headed toward the kitchen counter and grab a piece of paper.

“I know you know how to care for the girls.” Amanda felt the need to reiterate. “But I wrote up just a few reminder notes for you. Like the days and times they have dance, which has changed since you used to take them, and when Jesse has play practice. I also listed some of the quirky things I typically did for them when we were together that they’ll need you to do.”

Sonny raised an eyebrow at her. “Like what?”

“Ya know, clipping their toenails. Brushing Billie’s teeth.” Amanda blushed a bit as she thought about all of the not so pleasant tasks on her note sheet.

She handed them the paper and bit her lip as she watched Sonny look over it. But to her surprise he didn’t seem bothered by anything on it.

“I won’t forget to do the nails, Billie’s teeth or anythin’ else on this.” He said to her, smiling. “I appreciate the cheat sheet.”

Sonny then changed the subject. “Now I have a reminder for you.”

He folded up the paper, put it in his pocket and then placed his hands on Amanda’s shoulders. “I know your primary focus while down there is to take care of your dad, as it should. Just don’t forget to take care of yourself too. Make sure you eat and rest when you can, Ok?”

Amanda nodded. “I will. I promise.”

Just then her cell started buzzing. “My cab’s here.”

They both headed toward the door together. Amanda then put on her coat, boats and picked up her suitcase.

“Let me know when you land.” He told her. “I don’t care how late it is.”

She nodded. “OK.”

Amanda then leaned in and hugged him. “Thanks again for staying with the girls.”

“Of course.” He whispered into her ear.

When they finally broke apart they stared deeply into each other’s eyes for a little while longer before Amanda finally opened up the door and exited the apartment.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Wednesday morning was the trio’s first full day together.

“How long will mom be gone for?” Jesse asked as she shoved a spoonful of oatmeal into her mouth.

“I’m not sure Jess.” Sonny said as he poured her a glass of milk. “Hopefully not too long.”

She took a sip of her milk. “I hope grandpa’s gonna be okay.”

“Me too.” Sonny told her. “Me too.”

Just then Billie, with her wild, staticky blonde hair, came storming into the kitchen but as she started to head toward the table to eat her breakfast, Sonny stopped her.

“Wait.”

The little girl froze in place.

He then bent down and motioned for Billie to come over to him.

“We gotta brush those teeth first.” Sonny said to her. “Mom will be mad at me if I let you go to preschool with morning breath. I’ll be fast and gentle, I promise.”

Billie sighed, but nodded. The two then headed off to the bathroom together.

As promised, Sonny brushed Billie’s teeth as tenderly and quickly, yet thoroughly, as he could.

Once he finished Billie gave him a big smile. “That wasn’t so bad.”

“I told ya.” He said as he lifted her from off the bathroom counter.

“I like it better when you do it.” She told him honestly. “But don’t tell mommy.”

Sonny chuckled. “My lips are sealed.”

The duo then walked back into the kitchen. Billie joined Jesse at the kitchen table and began eating her oatmeal, while Sonny finished up his now lukewarm cup of coffee.

A few minutes later Jesse brought her empty bowl to the sink. “Don’t forget to do Billie’s hair.” She reminded him.

Sonny nodded but internally cringed at the thought of it. Though he could do ponytails and braid well, Billie had woken up looking like she had just been electrocuted and he didn’t have the slightest idea on what to do with her hair.

Jesse, sensing his hesitance, reassured him. “Don’t worry. I can show you what mom does to Billie’s hair when she wakes up with it looking like that.”

He smiled down at her.

Once Billie was done with her breakfast, the three gathered together in the living room and Sonny started on the four year old’s hair.

“Spray this in it.” Jesse told him as she handed him a bottle of hair product. “Then comb it.”

Sonny did as Jesse said and after about a minute Billie’s hair started to return to the state he was used to seeing it in. He mouthed ‘thank you’ to Jesse and gave her a wink.

“So Billie, how do you want your hair today?”

“Can I have a braid?” She asked hopefully.

Sonny nodded and went to work. He quickly brushed her long blonde hair into a ponytail, braided it and then added a pink headband that closely matched the pink sweater she was wearing.

“What ya think?” He asked both girls, handing Billie a small hand mirror.

“I like it!” Billie exclaimed.

Jesse grinned and gave him a thumbs up.

“Ok, time to head out.”

Jesse collected the hair supplies and went to put them away while Sonny helped Billie get her sneakers on and tie them. About a minute later, Jesse came running back into the living room area. She quickly put on her shoes and both girls then put on their jackets and grabbed their backpacks and lunch boxes. As they did, Sonny retrieved his briefcase from the bedroom and put on his coat. Once everyone was all set the trio left the apartment and were off on their way to school and work.

*********************

Atlanta

Hospital - Early Wednesday Afternoon

*********************

While Jim didn’t have a severe, life-alternating heart attack, he was going to need to spend the next 2-4 days in the hospital and then require some at home assistance for a couple of weeks. Amanda, not wanting to be away from the girls for too long, decided she would stay for up to three weeks and then hire a nurse to check on Jim, as needed, if he hadn’t recovered enough to be on his own by that point.

Though Amanda got to Atlanta the night before, Jim had to remain in the coronary care unit (CCU) for 24 hours so she was only now finally getting the chance to see and spend some time with him.

“You thirsty?” She asked her dad as she pointed toward the cup of water on the end table by his bedside.

He nodded so Amanda picked up the cup and held the straw up to his mouth. Jim took a few sips and then motioned to her that he didn’t want anymore so she set it back down on the table.

“Are you comfortable?” She asked as stood up and fluffed his pillow.

“You don’t need to baby me.” Jim said as he adjusted himself in the bed slightly to get more comfortable. “It wasn’t a widowmaker.”

Amanda sighed. “Well it wasn’t exactly minor either.”

“I’ll be fine.” He tried to reassure her, though failing miserably.

“Not if you don’t stop smokin’ and don’t start eating better and exercising more.”

“Where are the girls?” Jim asked, changing the subject.

Amanda, though realizing he was trying to deflect, decided to let it go for now.

“New York.” Amanda said as she ran a hand through her messy blonde locks and sat down in the seat next to him. “Jesse and Billie need to be in school. Even if they didn’t the hospital isn’t allowing kids their age to visit.

“Sonny looking after them?”

Amanda nodded.

He smiled softly. “I’m so glad you finally went for the good guy.”

Amanda smiled, but internally cringed. She was feeling pretty bad about the fact that her and Sonny had broken up nearly three months ago at this point and she hadn’t bothered to tell her dad. Not wanting to potentially give Jim another heart attack by telling him the news, she thought it would be best to leave it alone for now.

“You two ever gonna get married?” He asked, curiously.

Amanda shot him a look.

“It’d be nice if he did it before I croaked.” Jim said interrupting. “That’s all I’m saying.”

She sighed. “Dad don’t talk like that.”

While Amanda was now certain she was not going to tell her dad about the break up, she thought he might enjoy good news of some sort.

“So I’m not engaged but I do have somethin’ good to tell you.” Amanda said to him. “Sonny and I are going to have a baby.”

Jim, though a bit surprised, grinned. “I can’t believe I’m going to be a grandpa again.”

Amanda smiled softly. “Yup. For the last time. Well, from me anyway.”

Jim nodded slowly. “It’s good that at least one of us in this family of ours was finally able to get their act together. And hopefully you keep it together. It’s not often you find someone who fits you like a glove and is willing to do anything for you. Like take care of kids that aren’t his for weeks while you come to look after your old man.”

“You should get some rest, Dad.” Amanda said, changing the subject. “I’ll sit here with you while you do. I won’t leave.”

Jim, who was feeling a bit tired, just nodded. He then closed his eyes and slowly drifted off to sleep.

As he slept she couldn’t help but think of what he had said. She hated that when it came to her romantic life her father, of all people, seemed to always be right. He was right about the reason she used to date losers and he’s right about the fact that Sonny is a really good guy. One who understands her better than anyone and who, despite their present circumstances, would still do anything for her. Even brush her four year old’s teeth.

“Why am I not fighting harder to hold on to him?” She whispered to herself.

Amanda sighed as she stared aimlessly out of the window, pondering her life. While she wanted to take a stab at saving what they had, she wasn’t sure if she had the guts to put her heart out there on the line. What if he crushed it?

*********************

New York City

Amanda’s Apartment - Wednesday Evening

*********************

Sonny’s busy workday flew by and before he knew it he was back at the apartment again with the girls, helping Jesse with her homework and Billie with an art project while cooking dinner. It was hectic for sure, but he was enjoying it.

“What are we having for dinner?” Billie asked as she put away her green crayon and grabbed a red one.

“Eggplant parm.” Sonny told her as he opened up the oven and checked on it.

Unbeknownst to Sonny, Billie made a face, even though she had never even had it before. Jesse caught it and whispered to her. “You better eat it. Us not listening is the reason mom and Sonny broke up. If we listened more they’d still be together.”

Sonny, having overheard what Jesse said, felt terrible that his and Amanda’s arguing had indeed been overheard, and overheard incorrectly, by the girls. It crushed him to hear Jesse’s thoughts and he immediately sought to rectify the situation.

“Jesse,” Sonny began as he took a seat at the kitchen table across from both girls. “Your mom and I didn’t break up because of somethin’ you or Billie did or didn’t do. It’s not your fault and I don’t want either of you thinkin’ that.”

“Then why did you?” She asked.

Sonny ran a hand through his hair. “It’s…complicated Jess.”

“But you still love mom, don’t you?”

“I do.” He answered honestly, then redirected the conversation. “I also love the both of you a whole lot. And even though our family looks a little differently than it used to, we’re still a family and I’ll always be there for you two, OK?”

“But our family shouldn’t have to look differently than it used to.” Jesse retorted. “You love mom and she loves you. You love us and we love you. People who love each other, should be together.”

Sonny found himself at a loss for words. While her logic was simple and didn’t take into account all the various variables that made it difficult for him and Amanda to reconcile, Jesse’s proclamation got to him. If him and Amanda still truly loved each other as much as they claimed to, than they should be willing to do whatever it takes to make their relationship work so they all COULD be together. But Liv was right. They hadn’t.

As Sonny sat thinking, the oven timer went off, forcing him to temporarily put his thoughts on hold.

While he took the eggplant out of the oven and began plating their food, the girls cleared the kitchen table of their things and went to wash their hands. They emerged back into the kitchen a few minutes later and took their seats at the table. Sonny placed one plate down in front of Jesse and the other in front of Billie. It had been a while since he cooked for the girls and he wasn’t quite sure how receptive Billie would be to it, but he was hoping she’d give the eggplant a try.

“I know mommy said not to ‘gotiate,” Billie told him. “But can we do what her and I do for dinner sometimes?”

“What’s that?” Sonny asked curiously.

“How about I try three bites.” She said pointing to the eggplant. “If I don’t like it I don’t have to eat anymore, but I’ll eat everything else.” Billie then pointed to the linguine and the salad.

Sonny raised an eyebrow and smirked. “What a great idea. I wonder where she got it from?”

He extended his hand out to the four year old. “Ok Billie. Deal.” And the two shook.

Sonny watched as Billie took a bite of the eggplant.

She chewed it very slowly and after a few moments a big smile spread across her face and her eyes lit up. “It’s really good!” Billie then took a bigger bite.

Sonny grinned, happy that she branched out and tried it out. But also because he found it endearing how the expression on Billie’s face in that moment reminded him so much of Amanda. It was an expression he hadn’t seen in a while and missed a great deal.

Just then, Sonny’s cell, which was sitting on the counter, buzzed. He went to go look at it and cringed when he saw it was a text from Meghan asking where he was. It had completely slipped his mind that he had made plans a couple days ago to make her dinner at his place tonight. It wasn’t even until that very moment he realized he hadn’t even told Meghan that he would be taking care of Jesse and Billie for the next couple of weeks while Amanda was out of town. He knew he had a lot of explaining to do and that it should be done in person.

He texted Meghan, apologizing for being a no show and asked if she could meet him in an hour at a coffee shop to talk.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Sonny asked Amanda’s neighbor, who sometimes babysat the girls, to watch them for a bit so he could meet up with Meghan.

When he got to the coffee shop she was already sitting at a booth waiting for him and she didn’t look very happy.

“Hey.” He said as he took a seat.

Meghan wasted no time getting to the topic at hand. Or at least what she thought would be the topic at hand. “Where were you?” She asked. “If something came up at work you could’ve told me.”

Sonny ran a hand through his disheveled hair. “It didn’t. Honestly, it just…slipped my mind. Some stuff came up and—“

“Like what?” Meghan asked, cutting him off.

He sighed. “Amanda’s dad, who lives in Georgia, had a heart attack. He lives alone, with no family around to help him out so she flew down to take care of him. Someone needed to take care of the girls for her while she’s gone—“

“So she asked you?” Meghan asked raising an eyebrow.

Sonny shook his head no. “She didn’t ask, I offered.”

“Why?” Meghan asked, looking genuinely confused. “Why isn’t their dad or an actual relative staying with them? I’d understand if your baby was here and you were taking care of him or her while she was away, but her daughters from a previous relationship? Isn’t that kind of weird?”

Sonny remained quiet for a bit as he contemplated her questions. Volunteering to watch his ex girlfriend’s children was probably one of those things Amanda had mentioned during their trip to the doctor’s office that in her words ‘no woman was going to put up with.’ Still, as weird as it may seem to outsiders for him to be looking after Jesse and Billie, it wasn’t to him.

“No it’s not.” He said to her honestly. “Because she doesn’t have much family and the girls’ dads, yes they each have different dads, aren’t actively involved in their lives. But I have been. Since they were both born. Before Amanda and I were even a thing. I love Jesse and Billie so much and think of them as my daughters. Because they are in every way that truly matters. So of course I would offer to take care of them for her. My devotion to them doesn’t just suddenly stop because my relationship with their mother ended.”

Sonny paused for a moment and then continued on. “I didn’t go into all of this with you before because after Amanda and I split she wanted time to think about what my relationship with the girls should be post break up. Ultimately she decided she wanted it to continue as it was, which I’m extremely grateful for. So moving forward, they’re going to be in my life in the exact same way that my baby on the way will be and treated no differently.”

A stunned Meghan sat quietly for what seemed like a long while before finally responding. “Sonny this is a lot to process.”

He nodded. “I know. I can see your strugglin’ to understand and accept this dynamic I have with Amanda and her girls. Which makes me think this is a sign we should stop this while it’s still undefined. Because while I get that this is all far from conventional, it’s my life and whoever I’m with needs to be OK with it.”

Meghan stayed silent for a few moments as she pondered his words and then nodded her head slowly. “Maybe you’re right.” She said to him quietly.

She left money at the table, more than enough to cover the coffee she hadn’t touched, blinked back her tears and got up from the booth. “See you around Dominick.”

Meghan then quickly left the coffee shop.

He sighed and rubbed his temples. He could tell that Meghan had been taking whatever it was they were doing more seriously than he had and more seriously than she initially planned on and felt bad about hurting her. But it was better that it ended now. Especially since, while everything he told her was 100% true, his heart was still with Amanda. It wasn’t fair to Meghan or himself to keep things going when he knew he felt this way.

While Sonny didn’t know what the future had in store for him and Amanda, he knew he didn’t want that situation holding him back from going all in and figuring it out when she returned home. He just hoped he had the nerve to take the step when she did.

Chapter Text

“Whatever It Takes”

*********************

Two and a Half Weeks Later

Amanda’s Apartment - Friday Night 11p

*********************

Sonny felt as though his two and a half weeks spent with the girls went by in a flash. While he was still a little sad that all his one on one time with Jesse and Billie would be coming to an end, Sonny was happy Amanda would be coming back home. He knew the girls really missed her and he had too.

Amanda was supposed to be arriving Friday afternoon, but her flight got delayed due to weather and she ended up getting back to Manhattan much later than anticipated.

Not wanting to wake the girls, who she knew were in bed, Amanda tried to enter into the apartment as quietly as she could. When she walked in she smiled as she saw a big ‘Welcome Home Mom!’ banner plastered up on the wall and a sleeping Sonny lying on the living room couch.

She walked over to him, placed her hand on his shoulder and gently shook. “Sonny.”

After a few seconds his eyes slowly fluttered open. “You’re back.” Sonny said as he smiled softly and stretched. He rubbed his eyes and sat up on the sofa.

“Finally.” Amanda said sighing as she took a seat beside him.

“How’s Jim doing?”

“He’s getting there.” Amanda said as she ran hand through her hair. “Doing a whole lot better than when I first saw him. I don’t think he’ll need that nurse I hired for him for very long.”

Sonny nodded. “That’s good to hear.”

“Hopefully the girls were as well behaved as they told me they were during all of our FaceTime calls.” Amanda said, chuckling.

Sonny smiled. “They were. Honest.” He crossed his heart.

“You know what they told me in our last phone call?” Amanda asked him.

Sonny shook his head. “What?”

“That they hoped the new baby was a girl. Because you’re the best girl dad.”

Sonny blushed. “Jesse and Billie really said that?”

Amanda nodded. “Billie also said you are an expert nose blower and teeth brusher.”

Sonny laughed and then his demeanor turned a bit more serious. “I can’t believe I never realized all the little things you do for the girls. Billie especially. It’s…its a lot. I don’t know how you do this by yourself. Now, but especially when Jesse was a toddler and Billie was a baby. You’re a really great mom. I hope you know that.”

Amanda gave him a small smile.

He paused for a moment before continuing. “As difficult as I sometimes found being the one who had to make every decision, big and small, for them while you were gone, I imagine if I had been the one who was consistently making them for their entire lives it would be hard to have someone else come in and shake up that dynamic. I should’ve been more understandin’ of that. I’m sorry I wasn’t.”

A surprised Amanda sat silently for a bit as she absorbed what Sonny just told her before eventually replying.

“I really appreciate you saying all of that.” Amanda began, adding, “It WAS difficult letting go. Still, I should’ve been more open to ideas and choices that weren’t my own. Me being a bit reluctant to do so probably did inadvertently sabotage your efforts with the girls. While the way I always did things with Jesse and Billie worked, in my eyes anyways, it doesn’t mean there weren’t better ways to do them. Like the food trick with Billie I stole from you.”

Sonny chuckled. “I thought when she brought that up to me on night one it sounded familiar.”

Amanda smiled and then continued. “I should’ve also just been more accepting of the help. There’s not many guys out there who wouldn’t flinch when asked to do some of the stuff I put on that list. Especially for little girls that aren’t biologically his own.”

“Biology has never mattered to me.” Sonny reminded her.

“I know.” Amanda said. “But I still wanted you to know that you’re a rare breed and I’m lucky to have you in my life. Even if it isn’t really the way I want.”

Sonny raised his eyebrows and fixed his mouth to respond to the latter part of her statement, but she signaled to him with her hand to let her finish.

“I can see why you like her.” Amanda said, in regards to Meghan. “She’s young, smart, successful, beautiful, and has no baggage. But there’s one thing I have that she doesn’t and that’s your heart.”

“Amanda—“

“You can try to deny it, but I know I do. I see it in your eyes when you look at me and I feel it deep within my soul. I know we have problems, but we were just able to sit here and talk a few of the issues that pertained to the girls out. We still have a ways to go in that regards, and on other things like our work disagreements, but it shows me that we’re capable of working through any issue if we try a little harder.”

“Manda—“

“And I want to try. Because you have my heart too. And I want our family to be together. You, me, the girls, and the baby. All five of us. Under the same roof. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen and—“

Sonny interrupted her by leaning in and kissing her. A kiss that caught Amanda by surprise, but in a good way.

When their lips finally parted, Sonny rested his forehead on hers, caressed her cheek, and whispered to her, “You’re right. You do have my heart. That’s why I broke off whatever it was I had goin’ on with her. Two weeks ago. It’s because I love you so much and I want all the same things you do. I’m ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen.”

“Really?”

He nodded. “Yes.”

They kissed again for a long while before Amanda finally pulled back.

“As much as I want to take this where I feel like it’s going, maybe we shouldn’t.”

Sonny nodded. “As happy as I am that the last time we were together led to this—“ He placed his hand on her stomach—“it didn’t solve anythin.’ We should probably take it slow and focus on the parts of our relationship that need work. Intimacy definitely isn’t one of them and there’s plenty of time for that later.”

Amanda laughed softly. “Agreed.” She then asked, “ So how do we move forward and get past this rough patch we’ve been stuck in?”

“I think we need to continue to talk things out. But maybe do it with someone who can serve as an impartial mediator who could help guide us? Like a a therapist.”

Sonny paused for a moment before continuing. “I’ve never really been a fan of the whole therapy, psychology thing and I know the whole Bucci incident kinda turned you off of it too, but it might be a good thing to try.”

Amanda nodded. “I think you’re right. If we said we’ll do whatever it takes, then we need to do just that. So I’m willing to give it a go and see what happens.”

Sonny gave her a smile and wrapped his arm around her while Amanda cuddled in close to him. They sat like that together for a long while. Both unsure of what lied ahead for the two of them but optimistic.

*********************

Three Months Later

Move In Day - Saturday Morning

*********************

As badly as both Sonny and Amanda wanted to go full steam ahead and get right back into the swing of things in regards to their relationship, they also knew if they wanted it to work, they couldn’t rush the process. So they didn’t.

Though Sonny and Amanda had made a lot of good progress early on in their therapy sessions, ironing out a lot of the issues that plagued them and picking up new skills, (like learning how to fight as a twosome), they still eased back into life as a couple and family unit slowly. Sonny continued to maintain his apartment, but would spend small stretches at Amanda’s.

However after a couple of months and a lot of headway they decided it was finally time for Sonny to move back into their apartment and for them not to get back to life as it was before, but to establish and settle in to a new normal.

“Come on you three let me help.” A now very pregnant Amanda told Sonny, Jesse and Billie as she watched the trio lug in and unpack his things from the living room.

Sonny shook his head. “We got this Rollins.” He said as he headed toward their bedroom with a box. “You relax on the couch.”

“Yes mom, you relax.” Jesse echoed as she followed behind Sonny with a much smaller and lighter box in hand. “We got this.”

Billie scurried behind Jesse carrying a little lamp yelling out. “We gots it mommy!”

Amanda laughed, put her hands up in defeat and plopped down on the sofa.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Later in the afternoon, while Amanda was out running some errands and Billie was napping, Sonny decided to take a break from unpacking his things and start painting the baby’s room. He promised Amanda that he’d get it done before some of the furniture she ordered for it was delivered next week.

When Jesse heard rummaging in the nursery, she poked her head into it and saw what Sonny was doing.

“Can I help you paint?” She asked hopefully.

Sonny nodded as he opened up the lid to the yellow paint. “Sure. As soon as you water the plants and finish up the rest of your chores.”

Jesse nodded. “OK.” She then went off and did as she was asked.

About 10 minutes later Amanda returned home and was pleasantly surprised to see Jesse on the floor brushing Frannie.

“Starting on your chores?” Amanda asked as she set her keys down on the kitchen counter.

“Yes.” Jesse said as she stood up, removed Frannie’s hair from the dog brush, put it away and then went to grab the empty watering can from underneath the sink. “I want to help Sonny paint the nursery, but he said I needed to do my chores first.”

Amanda hung up her coat in the closet. “He did, huh?”

Jesse nodded as she finished filling up the can at the kitchen sink and made her way over to the peace lily.

Just then, Sonny emerged into the kitchen/living room area from the nursery to grab a drink. She covertly nodded her head in Jesse’s direction and gave him a thumbs. He took a swig from his water bottle and smiled.

Sonny and Amanda had sat down and jointly come up with a list of chores for the girls, punishments (if needed for misbehaving), and what they deemed were age appropriate activities for each one. Doing that helped get them both on the same page and instill in Jesse and Billie that no matter which adult they asked to do something and no matter which adult asked them to do something the other one would support the decision. As a result there was no more going behind Sonny’s back and the girls were listening to him just as well as they had when Amanda had been away.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

When Amanda entered her and Sonny’s bedroom later that night after checking on Jesse and Billie, she frowned when she saw Sonny on his work cell, looking intently through his email.

She shot him a look.

Sonny sighed. “Sorry I know we agreed no talkin’ bout work or doin’ work at home UNLESS—“

“It’s an emergency or we’re in the middle of a trial.”

“It’s an emergency or we’re in the middle of a trial.” They said together in unison.

Sonny and Amanda had come up with the solution as a way to minimize any on the job disagreements that may occasionally arise from seeping into their personal lives and it seemed to be helping.

“It’s easier for me to not talk about it then it is to not do somethin’ work related.” Sonny admitted as he put the phone down on his nightstand. “I’m definitely still a work in progress when it comes to that. But I’m tryin.’”

“I know it is.” Amanda said as she slipped into her side of the bed. “And you are trying. You haven’t slipped up too much.” She said smiling.

Amanda cuddled up closer to him and rested her head on his chest. “The nursery looks great. You and Jesse did a nice job painting.”

“I’m glad you like it.” Sonny said to her, but added. “You shouldn’t be in there though. Not until that paint smell dies down a bit. I don’t want you breathin’ those fumes in.”

Amanda nodded. “I just poked my head in for a second. But I won’t do it again.”

Sonny then changed the subject. “So the girls are asleep, right?”

“Right.” Amanda said, raising an eyebrow. “Why do you ask?”

“You know why I’m askin.’” Sonny said as he looked her up and down. “I think we’ve waited long enough.”

“Agreed.” Amanda told him. “It’s just…”

“What is it?”

Amanda sighed. “I’ve never done it pregnant before and I just…don’t feel all that attractive right now.”

She sat up and took her shirt off. “I mean, are you sure you wanna do all this?” Amanda asked as she gestured toward herself.

Sonny sat up a little and guided her on top of him. “No I don’t wanna ‘do’ all this. I want to make love to all this. Because all of this is beautiful.”

He then leaned in and kissed her stomach. “I love you.”

Sonny then brought his hand up to Amanda’s chin. “And I love you. So much.”

Amanda grinned. “I love you too.”

He connected his lips with hers and kissed her passionately.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Once they finished the two curled up to each other.

“We’re gonna be OK.” Amanda said to him quietly.

“We will be.” Sonny told her as he stroked her blonde hair gently.

*********************

Three and Half Months Later

July

Amanda and Sonny’s Apartment - Sunday Morning

*********************

When Sonny, Amanda and the baby entered into the apartment, they were quietly greeted by Jesse and Billie, as well as Liv, who had been watching the girls.

“Welcome home!” Jesse and Billie whispered excitedly in an attempt not to awaken their new baby sister, who was sound asleep in their mother’s arms.

Amanda slowly made her way to the living room couch to sit and as she did, the newborn’s ocean blue eyes fluttered open and looked around at her new surroundings before finally resting on her two sisters, who stood before her.

“Do you think Penelope remembers seeing us at the hospital?” Billie asked Amanda hopefully.

“Of course she does.” She told her.

Jesse smiled at her and rubbed the baby’s little hand. “She’s so pretty.”

Liv stood watching Jesse and Billie interact with their new sister for a little bit longer before whispering to Sonny. “I’m gonna head out.”

He nodded. “Thanks for watchin’ the girls.”

Liv shook her head. “No problem.”

“Jesse, Billie, I’ll see you two soon, OK?” Liv said as she gave each girl a hug.

She then turned her attention to the baby girl in her detective’s arms.

“I’ll be seeing you soon too Miss Penelope.” Liv looked over at Amanda. “Have you guys decided on a nickname yet?”

Amanda shook her head. “Not yet. Penny, P, Nellie, and Elle are all still in the runnin’.”

Liv chuckled. “I’m sure you’ll decide on one soon.”

Amanda gently stroked the baby’s light, golden brown hair. “Thanks again for all your help, Liv. We really appreciate it.”

The Captain nodded, gave a her a small smile and waved goodbye to her, Sonny and the girls as she exited the apartment.

Jesse carefully sat down next to Amanda while Sonny pulled Billie up into his arms and stood beside them.

“Is anyone going to be coming over to see Penelope today?” Jesse asked, curiously.

“Nope.” Amanda said as she settled into the couch a bit more and got comfortable. “It’ll be just us. Just family.”

Amanda then looked up at Sonny, who gave her a wink and grinned.

“Good.” Jesse said smiling. “That’s the way I like it.”

“Me too!” Billie exclaimed as she rested her head on Sonny’s shoulder.

He gave her a kiss on the forehead. “Me three.”

“Me four.” Amanda said as she cradled Penelope into one arm and pulled Jesse in closer to her with the other.

Chapter Text

*******************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Thursday Night

*******************

“Girls still asleep?” Amanda asked as Sonny entered into the bedroom and closed the door behind him.

He nodded as he laid down beside Amanda on their bed and rubbed his hand up and down her thigh. “I know you’re probably just as exhausted as they are after the day you had at the precinct, but do you think we can talk for a minute?”

Amanda sat up a bit in the bed and turned toward him. “Yeah. What about?”

“The baby situation.”

“Do you want to stop trying?” She asked, biting her lip nervously.

He shook his head vehemently. “No, no.”

Sonny paused for a moment to collect his thoughts and then continued on. “I definitely want to keep pursuing this, but I think we need to hit the reset button.”

She raised her eyebrow at him. “What do you mean?”

Sonny took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “You’ve had three miscarriages. And I know how upsettin’ and discouraging it has been. Especially the last time. So I’m thinkin’ we should maybe try a different approach.”

Amanda pressed her lips together as she let her mind drift back to her third miscarriage two and a half weeks ago. It had been especially sad because unlike the other times they both really thought the pregnancy was going to take because it had lasted longer than the first two. But ultimately the result was the same.

“What do you have in mind?” She asked him curiously.

He ran a hand through his hair. “How would you feel about surrogacy?”

Amanda’s eyes widened in surprise. It wasn’t what she had expected to come out of his mouth and the idea wasn’t something she had ever considered.

“Like another woman having a baby for us?” She asked, furrowing her brows.

Sonny wasn’t sure if she took it the way he intended so he sought to clear up any misconceptions. “Yes, but she would only be carrying the baby. The surrogate wouldn’t be the mom. You would. We’d do IVF with your eggs and my sperm.”

Amanda got up off the bed and began pacing around the room, but said nothing so Sonny continued speaking.

“We’d have to investigate it a bit more to see if it’s a viable option, but your doctor said she thinks the issue hasn’t been the embryos, but that the scarring in your uterus from when you had the girls is making it difficult for you to carry a baby to term.”

As Amanda paced she quietly took in what her husband was saying. She knew Sonny was right. Though her OBGYN didn’t come right out and say that trying for a baby the natural way was a lost cause, she mentioned the issues he had just parroted back to her. Still, despite the heartache each miscarriage caused, Amanda hadn’t been ready to give up and change course just yet and she was very unsure what to think of his proposal. She was very committed to trying for a baby with Sonny, but wasn’t sure whether or not she wanted to take it this far.

“Isn’t all of that really expensive?” She asked him as she stopped moving and stood in place. “How would we even pay for something like this?”

Sonny nodded. “It is and though we’ve built up a pretty decent savings account, it wouldn’t be enough to cover this.”

He then stood up and walked over to where she stood. “But before I brought this idea up to you tonight, I ran it by my parents. Just to get their thoughts on it. They told me that if we wanted to do this they’d help us.”

Amanda shook her head. “No, no, no. Absolutely not.”

Sonny rubbed his temples. “I’m not crazy about it either. And if we were in our early 30s I’d probably turn them down and pursue this option after saving up for a couple of years. But Amanda, we don’t have a couple years. If we’re gonna go this route, it would need to be now. So I say we view it as a loan that we’ll pay back in time after the fact.”

Amanda nodded slowly, but he could tell she was still indifferent. “What else is botherin’ you about using a surrogate?”

She plopped back down on the bed. “What if she tried to keep our baby? Or we had trouble claiming him or her? I’ve heard stories where there were a lot of issues.”

Sonny sighed and sat down next to her. “They are very uncommon. But to ensure that everythin’ goes as smoothly as possible we would get someone like Langan or another family law attorney to write up a contract so there won’t be any questions regarding who’s baby it is. And a lot of these agencies that set couples up with a surrogate have them go through a rigorous screenin’ process. The surrogate knows what they’re getting into and 99% of them wouldn’t try and keep our child.”

“You’ve really done your homework.” Amanda told him, wondering how long he’d been looking into this before he brought the idea to her.

Sonny nodded. “I have. I knew you’d have questions and I wanted to be able to answer them.”

And he was able to answer a majority of them. But she still had concerns that she knew as a guy he wouldn’t understand or know how to ease and they were big ones.

“This is a lot to process.” Amanda finally said to him. “I need to sit on it for a while and think about it.”

Sonny was admittedly a bit disappointed. He thought Amanda would be more open to the idea than she initially seemed. However, he also knew he threw a lot at her and it would take some time for her to digest it all.

“OK.” Sonny said as he rubbed his hand up and down her back. “Let’s table it for now and go to bed.”

Amanda nodded and the two made their way back to their respective sides of the bed and climbed in.

They then both turned their bedside lamps off and attempted to get some sleep, though Amanda found it difficult to shut her brain off as the surrogacy idea loomed in her thoughts.

Chapter Text

“All in the Family”

*******************

Precinct - Friday Morning

*******************

Though the idea was very much on both their minds, neither Sonny or Amanda brought up the surrogacy topic the following morning. Instead they focused their attention on getting Jesse and Billie off to school and themselves off to work on time, which had been a struggle as the girls were still very much in summer mode.

“Sorry I’m late.” Amanda said to her Captain as she, with Sonny close behind, rushed into the squad room.

She plopped down at her desk. “Jesse would not get out of bed this morning. I had to drag her out. Literally. Comforter and all. She’s like a teenager. I swear she’d sleep all day if I let her.”

Liv chuckled. “It’s alright.” She then looked over at Sonny. “Carisi, you ready to head up to Bedford Hills?”

The counselor nodded.

“Who are you two going to see there?” Velasco asked, curiously.

“Whitney Evans and her public defender.” Sonny told him. “Apparently she’s ready to talk and give up some names.”

“We’ll be back soon.” Liv said to her squad, who watched as her and Sonny quickly made their way toward the elevators to head out.

Amanda, Fin and Velasco then directed their attentions back to their computers. However, a few minutes later an officer entered their work area looking for Fin.

“Hey seargent.” He said as he approached Fin. “There’s a couple here, Hank and Diana Greene, who will only speak to someone in charge.”

Fin sighed and stood up. “Ok. Bring them.”

The young officer nodded and hurried off. He returned to the squad room a few moments later with the couple.

Fin motioned for Amanda to join him and the two walked over to the husband and wife, both of whom were visibly upset.

“I’m Sgt. Tutuola.” Fin said, introducing himself. “And this is Detective Rollins.” He gestured toward Amanda. “How can we help you?”

“Our daughter, Christina, was taken.” A distraught sounding Diana told them as she handed Fin a photo. “When I went to…c—check on her this morning…she wasn’t in her crib.”

Fin and Amanda looked at the photo of a dark haired, green eyed baby girl who looked to be about 7-8 months old.

Amanda fixed her mouth to ask a question but was cut off by the husband.

“And we know who took her.” Hank said as he pulled up a video on his phone. “We caught this on our nanny cam.”

Fin and Amanda watched the soundless video, which showed a woman enter into Christina’s nursery, reach into the crib for the infant and then exit with the little girl in her arms.

“Your nanny?” Amanda asked, somewhat rhetorically as she pointed to the figure in the video.

Hank shook his head. “No. She was our surrogate. We hired her to carry our baby. I can’t believe she broke into our house without us knowing and kidnapped Christina. What kind of person does this?!”

Amanda’s eyes nearly popped out of her head upon hearing that the couple’s daughter was taken by her surrogate mother. But she quickly regained her focus and put her personal thoughts on pause.

“We’re going to do everything we can to bring her back home to you.” Amanda tried to assure the couple.

*******************

Westchester - Friday Morning 10a

*******************

“Well that was actually more productive than I thought it’d be.” Sonny said as him and Liv reached her car and he got in on the passenger’s side. “I thought for sure we were wastin’ our time comin’ up here.”

Liv slid into the driver’s seat, started up the car and just as she was about to respond to Sonny, her cell started to ring.

“What’s going on Fin?” Liv asked as she put her phone on speaker.

‘We got hit with a child abduction case almost right after you left.’ Her sergeant told her.

“Did you put an Amber Alert out?” She asked curiously, as she watched Sonny check his phone to see if he got a notification.

‘I did but I retracted it. The couple caught everything on one of those nanny cams. We knew exactly who we were looking for. Apparently it was their surrogate.’

It was at that moment Sonny’s eyes widened in surprise, but he remained quiet and continued listening to Fin talk.

‘She wasn’t good at covering her tracks. Made a credit card purchase, some ATM withdraws. Amanda and I were able to find her and the little girl pretty quickly at a hotel in Midtown. And now the baby snatcher is in custody and the couple has been reunited with their daughter.’

Liv nodded, forgetting Fin couldn’t see, and then said to him. “Nice work.”

‘Oh, tell Carisi that Hutchins was here dropping off a search warrant Velasco requested for the Sanderson case and offered to handle the arraignment so the counselor’s off the hook with this one.’

“Alright Fin I will. Thanks for handling this. Carisi and I just finished up and we’re on our way back down to the precinct. We’ll see you soon.”

Liv ended the call and set her phone down. She then looked up at Sonny to ask if he was ready, but stopped when she saw the look on his face. “What is it? Did you want to take that case?”

Sonny shook his head. “No, no. It’s uh…”

He let his voice trail off as he briefly contemplated whether or not to tell Liv about the surrogacy discussion he had with Amanda. Sonny figured their was no harm in it since it was just an idea and she was already aware of their initial efforts.

“You know how Amanda and I have been tryin’ for a baby and how she’s…had some miscarriages.”

Liv nodded slowly. “Yeah.” She said a little sadly.

Sonny took in a deep breath and continued. “Well after the last one I mentioned the idea of lookin’ into IVF and using a surrogate. Just last night. One of her many concerns was the surrogate becoming too attached and wanting to keep the baby. I think she was mainly worried about a surrogate tryin’ to legally take our child and us having difficulty proving the baby was ours if she wasn’t the one who gave birth, but still the timing of this case is—“

“Terrible?” Liv asked, finishing off his thought.

Sonny nodded. “I know deep down Amanda knows stuff like this hardly ever happens, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it still turned her off the whole thing.”

Liv pressed her lips together and thought quietly to herself for a second before telling him, “She might be a bit taken aback, but I don’t think this one incident will ruin her outlook on surrogacy. Especially if it’s the best option for you two in your baby pursuits.”

Sonny sighed. “I guess we’ll see.”

Just then his cell went off. “It’s the office. I gotta take this.”

Liv nodded, put the key in the ignition and began the drive back to Manhattan.

*******************

Precinct - Friday Night

*******************

Liv was grateful that Fin had been able to quickly locate the baby in the surrogate kidnapping case earlier in the morning because as the day progressed the precinct grew busier and busier and her, Amanda, Fin, and Velasco had to each take the lead on other cases that had hit the squad room throughout the afternoon and evening. It wasn’t until around 10p they were all finally able to call it a night.

Fin and Velasco had already made their way out while Amanda was still at her desk gathering her belongings together when Liv stopped by on her way over to the elevators.

“Rough day of cases today, huh?”

“That it was.” Amanda said agreeing. “Especially the baby from this morning who was kidnapped by the couple’s surrogate. I hate it when kids are taken. But at least we were able to find her pretty quick and get her back to her parents.”

Liv nodded. “None of us like those. But is there maybe another reason that one in a particular stood out?”

“Carisi told you about the surrogacy thing?” She asked, getting what her Captain was alluding to. “It’s fine that he did, you’d need to know about it if we decided to go that route anyway.”

“He did bring it up to me after hearing about the baby snatching case. I think he was a little worried it might cause you to write the idea off.”

Amanda ran a hand through her hair. “I mean, it was kinda ironic that him and I were just talking about surrogacy and my concern of a surrogate getting too attached and then this case pops up. But I do know what happened today is more the exception than the norm and most women wouldn’t go out and snatch our baby.”

“Yet you’re still on the fence about it?”

She nodded. “Yeah. There’s a few concerns I have I didn’t bring up to Sonny because I wasn’t sure he’d understand.”

“Like what?” Liv asked curiously.

Amanda sighed. “I know it shouldn’t but the whole thought of surrogacy makes me feel so inadequate. Like, I was able to do this two times before and now I can’t? I know I’m older, but I’m getting pregnant pretty easily. I just can’t seem to stay pregnant. I hate that my body’s letting me down. It’s frustrating.”

“I get that.” Liv said, seeing where Amanda was coming from. “But there are a lot of women out there like you who’ve had one or two children and for one reason or another have difficulty when they go to try again. Secondary fertility is very common.”

“I guess.” Amanda admitted. “It’s not just that though. I’m worried that because I wouldn’t be carrying this baby, I might not have the same connection to him or her like I do with Jesse and Billie. I also wonder if the baby would be more attached to their surrogate since that’s the only mother they’ll know when they come out.”

Liv nodded her head slowly and thought over her words carefully for a long while before commenting. “I remember when you were about to have Billie. You wondered if you could love a second baby as much as Jesse. But when I went to visit you in the hospital and saw you with Billie, I could tell by the look in your eyes that you did. You will love this one in the same way you do the girls. As soon as you’re holding him or her in your arms, you’ll feel it. And your baby’s going to love you too. He or she won’t remember or care about how they came into this world. At the end of the day you will be the only mother they’ll ever know and want.”

Liv placed her hand on top of hers and gave it a light squeeze. “Your route might look a little different this time around, but the end result will be the same. That’s all that really matters.”

Amanda gave her a small smile and nodded.

“See you on Monday.”

Amanda watched as Liv headed toward the elevators and exited the squad room.

She sat at her desk for another few minutes, deep in thought, before finally getting up, gathering her stuff and making her way out.

*******************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Friday Night

*******************

When Amanda finally got home, having been slowed down by not one but two car accidents, it was fairly late. While she expected Billie to be in bed, she was somewhat surprised to see that Sonny wasn’t in the living room watching tv or moving around in the kitchen.

Once Amanda took off her shoes and settled in, she headed down the hallway toward Billie and Jesse’s room. Jesse’s side of the room was empty, as the six-year-old was at a sleepover, but Billie was fast asleep in her bed and Sonny was close by, snoring on the floor beside her with a purple unicorn blanket draped over the upper half of his body.

Amanda stood by the doorway grinning for a while before quietly entering into the bedroom.

“Sonny,” Amanda said as she gently shook his arm in an attempt to wake him up.

After a few seconds he started to stir and slowly opened up his eyes.

“Hey.” He said groggily as he sat up and removed the blanket from off of him.

“What are you doing in here?” Amanda whispered out.

“Billie had a nightmare.” Sonny said as he quietly stood up. “A monster was trying to eat her. So I told her I would stay with her until she fell asleep but I musta fell asleep first.” Sonny laughed softly.

Amanda smiled as she watched Sonny, who noticed the three-year-old shivering a bit, pull up Billie’s covers, which she had inadvertently kicked off herself, and re-tuck her into bed.

“Look at those feet.” Sonny said quietly, pointing to the little girls feet, which were close to dangling off the edge of the bed.

“I know.” Amanda said sadly. “She’s gonna be too big for this toddler bed soon. We’ll have to get her into a twin bed.”

In an attempt not to awaken Billie, the two tip toed out of the bedroom and Amanda gently shut the door behind them.

“You want some coffee?” He asked as they made their way into the kitchen together.

Amanda nodded as she sat down at the kitchen table and watched Sonny quickly make two cups of coffee on the Keurig. He handed one of them to her and took a seat across from her at the table.

“You look tired.” Sonny said to her, sympathetically.

“I am.” Amanda took a sip of her coffee. “Busy day.”

The couple sat together quietly for what felt like a long while. As they did Amanda found her mind drifting to her conversations with Sonny the night before and Liv a little while earlier. She then thought back to the scene she had just witnessed of Sonny uncomfortably sleeping on the floor of the girls’ room all in an effort to ease Billie’s fears. He was always doing things like that for the girls. Because he was a good dad to them. And it was at that moment Amanda realized Liv was right; it didn’t matter if this baby came along differently than her daughters. She wanted Sonny to be a dad in his own right and she wanted to share that connection of a child with him. How they got there wasn’t all that important.

“Sonny,”

“Amanda,”

He motioned for her to go first.

Amanda took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Let’s do it.”

He raised an eyebrow at her. “Umm when you mean it—“

“Not that.” Amanda said rolling her eyes. “I mean, we can do IT later, but I’m talking about the surrogacy.”

Sonny’s eyes widened in surprise. “Really? You do?“

Amanda nodded. “I can’t say all my fears about the process have completely fallen to the way side, but I’ve realized that my desire to have a child with you trumps all of that. We might not be able to go about this the way I imagined, but as long as we still can have a baby together, that’s all that truly matters to me. So if this turns out to be the best path towards that goal, then I want to do it.”

Sonny smiled, reached his hand across the table and set it on top of hers. “So we’re gonna look into it?”

“Yes.” She said smiling back.

“Great.” Sonny responded, grinning. He then changed the subject. “Alright, let’s finish these drinks. I’m anxious to do the other it I thought you were talkin’ bout.” Sonny quickly started to chug his coffee.

Amanda shook her head and laughed but then picked up her mug and began drinking her coffee as fast as she could.

*******************

Two Months Later

Staten Island

Sonny’s Parents House - Late Saturday Afternoon

*******************

When Sonny, with Amanda by his side, arrived at his parents’ house for dinner and knocked on the front door, he was surprised to see his 12-year-old nephew was the one answered it.

“Uncle Sonny!”

“Joey!” Sonny said as he gave his nephew a hug. “It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve seen you. How was your summer in LA with your dad?”

“It was fun but I’m glad I’m home.” Joey responded and then quickly changed the subject. “I brought the glove you got me for my birthday! Wanna play catch in the backyard? Been workin’ on my fastball.”

Sonny smiled. “Alright. Let me settle in and say hi to everyone first.”

Joey nodded and then headed off upstairs to grab his gear.

“Aww he was so happy to see you.” Amanda said to him, smiling. “You’re definitely one of his favorite people.”

Sonny fixed his mouth to respond but was interrupted.

“He is.” His sister, Gina, said as she approached the couple and gave Amanda a hug. “You were all he talked about when he got home. ‘When am I gonna see Uncle Sonny? I gotta show ‘em my fastball.’”

Sonny chuckled as he hugged his sister.

“Where’s Jesse and Billie?” Gina asked, frowning slightly as she pulled away from her brother.

“At my mom’s.” Amanda said as the three headed toward the family room, where the rest of Sonny’s sisters and parents were gathered. “They wanted to see her and their cousin so I brought them up to Rockland for the weekend.”

Once they reached the family room and after Sonny and Amanda said hello to everyone, the counselor made a quick trip out to the backyard to play catch with his nephew before it got too dark.

When he came back in and rejoined the adults, Teresa began her typical prying into her little brother’s personal life. “So what’s going on with the surrogacy thing?”

“Teresa.” Gina admonished her older sister.

Teresa rolled her eyes. “Oh come on. I can’t be the only one curious. Except for mom and dad, he doesn’t keep anyone in the loop about it.”

“Maybe because it’s a private matter?” She told her sister.

“We’re family.” Teresa rebuffed. “Him and Amanda shouldn’t be keepin’ us in the dark ‘bout it.”

“We’re not.” Sonny said, exchanging a look with his wife. “There just hadn’t been much to tell. Didn’t think you all needed a play by play of every single move.”

“So there’s somethin’ to tell now?” Bella asked, noting his choice of words.

Sonny looked back over at Amanda, who gave him the silent go ahead.

“The IVF part of it all has been successful.” Sonny relayed to his family. “We got five embryos out of it.”

“Four boys and a girl.” Amanda added.

“Four boys?” Tommy asked, chuckling. “Looks like the Carisi name won’t be dying out after all.”

“Well we’re not going to purposely pick one of the boys when we get to that point.” Sonny told his brother-in-law. “We’ll leave it up to chance and let the doctors randomly choose. But we still don’t have a surrogate so who knows when that’ll be.”

“How long you been lookin’? Bella asked.

“A long time.” Amanda said, sighing. “Since I first started IVF.”

“Yeah we’ve been havin’ a lot of trouble finding a person we’re both comfortable with.” Sonny said as he rubbed his temples. “There was someone we liked up in Albany, but another couple also wanted her and she went with them. Our second choice was a woman out in Buffalo, but the more we thought about it, Amanda and I realized she was just too far away. With the nature of our jobs and needin’ to be around to take care of Jesse and Billie we didn’t see it workin’ out well.”

Teresa rolled her eyes. “Aren’t ya two being a little picky?”

Bella made a face. “Really Teresa? It isn’t like pickin’ a car. You don’t want just any woman pushing your kid out their vagina.”

“OK time for dinner.” Sonny’s mother said, feeling the need to change the subject. “Teresa, Bella, come help me in the kitchen. Gina, you and Sonny set the table.”

Sonny and Gina headed toward the dining room, while their sisters followed their mother into the kitchen.

Gina grabbed a stack of plates from the China cabinet and handed them to her brother.

“Don’t listen to Teresa.” She said to him, as she grabbed some glasses. “You and Amanda will find someone you both like and who lives closer. It might take some time, but your embryos won’t go bad if it takes a while, right?”

He shook his head. “No. They can be frozen for years. But we still don’t wanna wait too long to do this. Amanda and I aren’t gettin’ any younger and we didn’t want their to be too much of an age gap between the baby and Billie.”

Sonny sighed as he began setting the plates on the table. “I guess we’ll see what happens.”

Gina nodded, but remained quiet as she began placing glasses by each of the plates Sonny had set down.

*******************

Two Weeks Later

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Saturday Afternoon

*******************

Sonny was sitting alone at the kitchen table with his laptop reading over his opening statement for an upcoming trial starting the following Monday when he heard a knock at the door.

When he went to go answer it, he was pleasantly surprised to see his sister Gina, who rarely, if ever, stopped over unannounced, standing before him.

“Hey.” Sonny said as he motioned for his sister to come in.

“Sorry to just drop over like this.” Gina said as she followed her brother into the living room and the two sat down together on the sofa. “Are Amanda and the girls here?”

Sonny shook his head. “She dropped them off at a birthday party, but—“

He was cut off by Amanda entering into the apartment and as she did, she saw Gina sitting in her living room.

“Am I interrupting something?” Amanda asked, not sure if the siblings were hoping to talk privately.

“No.” Gina tried to reassure her. “I stopped by because I wanted to talk to the both of you.”

Amanda, though somewhat surprised, nodded and plopped down in a chair next to the sofa.

Gina looked back and forth between Sonny and Amanda before taking in a deep breath and exhaling slowly. “I want to be your surrogate.”

Amanda’s mouth opened in shock, while Sonny’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. Neither of them were anticipating those words to come out of her mouth and both were momentarily left speechless.

Sonny briefly locked eyes with his wife before turning his attention back to his sister. “G, what made you—“

“Sonny, you’ve always been there for me.” Gina said, cutting him off. “And you’re the best uncle to Joey. Doin’ the fun guy stuff with him I know he loves and would be missin’ out on if he didn’t have you in his life because his dad lives so far away.”

She paused for a moment before continuing. “I know how much it means to you both to have this one baby that you share together and I really want to help give you that. It’s my turn to step up and be the best aunt I can be.”

Sonny was touched by Gina’s words, but was still unsure how he felt about his sister committing to such an enormous undertaking. “Gina, you’d be putting your life on hold. For nine months. For a baby that isn’t yours and you wouldn’t be bringing home. I can’t ask you to do that.”

“You’re not, I’m offerin.’” Gina reminded him. “Look, this isn’t a rash decision. It’s somethin’ I’ve been thinkin’ about for a while now. Since you both mentioned how difficult it was for you to find a surrogate. Sonny, you and I are only a year apart, but we’re at very different points in our lives. Joey was my one and done. There are no more babies of my own in my future. But I’m still able to carry one and I would look after your baby, who would be my niece or nephew, like he or she was my own. In a way a stranger never could.”

“Not to mention I wouldn’t be charging ya, so I’d be a lot cheaper too.” Gina added, laughing a bit.

Sonny and Amanda both smiled softly at her last comment, but then their faces became much more serious as they both contemplated her offer in their heads.

“I’m not going to renege my offer.” Gina said as she got up from off the couch. “So take as long as you need to think about it and let me know.”

Amanda and Sonny both stood up and nodded and followed Gina as she made her way to the door.

They said their goodbyes and after Sonny closed the door the couple headed back into the living room and sat down next to each other on the couch.

“So what do you think?” Sonny asked, biting his lip.

Chapter Text

“The Outsider”

*******************

Early November

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Saturday Afternoon

*******************

“So what do you think?” Sonny asked, biting his lip.

Amanda contemplated for a while before deciding she wanted to hear his opinion first. “What are your thoughts on it?”

Sonny furrowed his eyebrows. “It’s not somethin’ that had ever crossed my mind. But now that it’s been presented to us I kinda feel like having Gina as our surrogate makes the most sense. I know you don’t have the same relationship with her that I do, but I really trust her. More than I could ever trust some random person we pick. No matter how good their portfolio looks. I know the idea sounds a little a hick when ya say it out loud without understanding the context, but I feel as though if we can’t have you carry our child, Gina is the next best option.”

He paused for a moment before continuing. “She brought up some other good points too. Like the cost. We would obviously pay for all her medical expenses, but not having to drop thousands of dollars to hire a surrogate, on top of the thousands we spent on IVF, would help us out considerably. We wouldn’t have to borrow from my parents, which I know you weren’t crazy about, nor would we need to go into debt.”

Sonny took in a deep breath and ran a hand through his hair. “How do you feel about it all?”

Amanda pressed her lips together as she carefully thought over her words before finally responding. “Out of all your sisters, Gina’s probably the one I know least. But from the little time I have spent with her, I do think she has a really good head on her shoulders and would take this whole thing very seriously. Having someone in the family as our surrogate does feel like the best way to go about this. For all the reasons you said. But…”

“But?” Sonny pressed, wanting to know what was on her mind.

“What if us and Gina don’t see eye to eye on certain aspects? Like doctors or procedures? What if something went wrong and we lost the baby? What if something bad happened to your sister during labor? I guess what I’m saying is while this could be a great thing, there’s also a chance, depending on how things go down, for the surrogacy to cause a rift between you and her. I would feel terrible if we got a baby out of this, but the journey to him or her resulted in you not having a relationship with your sister.”

Sonny sighed as he thought over his wife’s words and realized this did have the potential to cause issues. “I hadn’t really considered everythin’ you mentioned. Maybe because I’ve been tryin’ to stay optimistic about it all. But you’re right. If we aren’t on the same page with her about things or something goes wrong and blame is bein’ thrown around, we could have real problems.”

Seeing the disappointment in his face, Amanda pressed on with the rest of her thoughts. “Sonny, I’m not trying to be a Debbie downer. I definitely think there are more positives than negatives using your sister as a surrogate over a stranger. It’s just the three of us will need to sit down and lay out expectations. We should also keep Langan as our lawyer and make sure Gina gets one too. If we are all on the same page regarding the big things, then I’d like to go forward with this.”

Sonny rested his hand on her thigh. “You’re not bein’ a Debbie downer. I understand and agree with everything your saying and it’s what we’ll do.”

Amanda laid her head down on his shoulder. “It’s crazy to think a year from this very moment they’re could be a baby here with us. One last baby to complete our family.”

“It’s gonna happen.” He said as he stroked her hair gently. “I feel good about lookin’ into having Gina be our surrogate, but even if it doesn’t work out, we’ll figure out something else, OK?”

Amanda looked up at him, nodded, and then rested her head back down on his shoulder. The two then stayed cuddled up together as they each quietly thought the situation over in their heads.

*******************

Christmas Eve

Sonny’s Parents House - Saturday Evening

*******************

In the following weeks after Sonny and Amanda’s initial conversation with Gina, the three of them got together again to talk everything out more.

Once they realized they were largely on the same page about the big things and, after Gina went through testing and it was determined she’d be a good candidate, physically, to be a surrogate, the couple decided to take the plunge and go for it.

They told their families, minus the girls, about what was going on, though kept a lot of the procedural details about it all to themselves. However, they were hopeful there would be some sort of news to share with their families and close friends soon and on Christmas Eve they got it.

During the Carisi’s annual holiday party, Gina pulled the couple to the side and brought them into one of her parent’s spare bedrooms.

“I know we try to keep the focus on the kids and don’t usually give each other presents anymore,” Gina told her brother and Amanda. “But I do have somethin’ for you both.”

Gina removed her hands from behind her back and revealed a small, rectangular shaped gift box and handed it to Amanda.

The blonde locked eyes with her husband and then slowly opened up the box.

“Oh my God,” Amanda said as she looked down at the box’s contents, a positive pregnancy test, and started to grow teary eyed. “You’re pregnant?!”

Gina nodded. “The doctor told me to take a test on Christmas Eve so I did it this mornin’ and it came up positive.”

Amanda turned to Sonny and smiled. “We’re gonna have a baby.”

The two excitedly embraced each other tightly for a long while before turning their attention back to Gina.

“Thank you.” Sonny said as he hugged his sister. “You don’t know how much this means to us. What you’re givin’ us.”

Gina, who was beginning to grow a bit emotional herself, gave them a small smile and told them, “I promise I won’t say anything or talk about it with anyone, not even mom, until you’re ready to share.”

Amanda gave her sister-in-law’s hand a light squeeze. “We appreciate that.”

Gina nodded. “Alright I’m gonna go back out there.” She then slowly exited the room.

“I’m really excited.” Amanda told Sonny, adding. “But I’m still nervous. I know Gina isn’t prone to miscarriages like I was but it’s still a possibility.”

“I know.” Sonny said as he rubbed her shoulders. “That’s why we’ll keep it quiet for now. And if somethin’ goes wrong, we can try again. We still have four other embryos.”

Amanda nodded and the two hugged each other again before eventually exiting the room themselves and heading back to the party.

*******************

Early April

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Sunday Afternoon

*******************

Once Gina had gotten through her first trimester, both Amanda and Sonny finally felt comfortable about sharing the baby news and when they did it was very warmly received by everyone.

About a month after the news was out amongst the adults in their life, the couple decided to tell the girls about the baby, though they were a bit worried how they’d take it and if they would understand it all.

Amanda and Sonny brought Jesse and Billie into the living room and handed them each a sparkly purple and gold gift bag.

“What’s this for?!” Jesse asked excitedly. “It’s not either of our birthdays.”

“We know.” Sonny said as him and Amanda plopped down on the carpet beside them.

“What is it?” Billie asked curiously.

“Why don’t you open yours first and see.” Amanda told her youngest daughter.

Billie quickly pulled out the tissue paper and lifted up a pink t-shirt, with silver lettering. She easily recognized some of the letters, but couldn’t read what it said.

“Jesse, what’s this say?” Billie asked as she handed her the shirt.

Jesse looked at it and raised an eyebrow. “Big Sister.” She then looked at Amanda and Sonny. “But Billie’s not a big…”

She let her voice trail off as she handed Billie her shirt back, dug into her bag and pulled out her own t-shirt.

“Big Big Sister.” Jesse read aloud. She then grinned as she started to put two and two together. “You’re gonna have a baby?!” She asked giddily.

Amanda and Sonny both smiled and nodded their heads and Jesse immediately went to hug them both.

“Where’s the baby?” A smiley Billie asked.

Before either Amanda or Sonny could respond Jesse said very matter of factly, “It’s in mommy’s belly.”

The couple exchanged glances at one another and then redirected their attention back to the girls.

“There actually isn’t a baby in my belly.” Amanda told them.

Jesse eyed her curiously. “Are you adopting?”

“No. We’re doing somethin’ called surrogacy.” Sonny said to the girls. “Do you know what that means?”

Both Jesse and Billie looked at each other and shook their heads no.

He looked over at Amanda to see if she wanted to answer, but she motioned for him to continue on.

“Surrogacy means that someone else is going to carry the baby in their stomach.”

The couple could tell Billie was lost, but that Jesse was trying to process it.

“How did the baby get into someone else’s stomach?” She asked.

Amanda decided to answer this one. “It happened in a doctor’s office. To make a baby you need something called sperm from the dad and an egg from the mom. Doctors took that from me and Sonny and created a baby. And then they put the baby into another woman, a surrogate, who will carry him or her for us.”

“But why?” Jesse asked. “Didn’t Billie and I grow in your belly? Why can’t your stomach grow the new baby?”

Amanda knew Jesse was just trying to understand everything and was in no way trying to upset her. Still, feelings of inadequacy she thought she had long come to terms with were once again starting to creep up inside of her.

Sonny could sense it and he tried his best to answer Jesse’s question in a way that would also make Amanda feel better.

“Jess, sometimes women who’ve had babies before have difficulties when they go to try again and their bodies won’t let them. It’s nothing they did to cause it. Sometimes it just happens. So because mom was having trouble and we really wanted to have a baby, we decided to use a surrogate.”

Jesse nodded, but Sonny was still unsure she completely grasped it all so he decided to use an analogy. One he thought might work with Billie too.

“Think of it this way.” He told the girls. “Jesse, you have all the stuff you need to make a pizza. The crust, sauce, cheese and pepperoni. You put them all together and then when you go to put it in your oven, you realize it isn’t workin.’ But Billie offers to let you use her oven and you’re able to cook it in there. So you wouldn’t have been able to make the pizza without Billie’s oven, but the pizza is still yours because all the ingredients were yours.”

Jesse nodded. “So the new baby is still going to be our brother or sister, it just needs to grow in someone else’s stomach because mommy was having trouble.”

“That’s right.” Sonny said to her.

“Who’s belly is the baby growing in?” Billie asked innocently.

“Aunt Gina’s.” Amanda said as she tried to regroup and reenter the conversation. “She offered to help us.”

“That’s very nice of her.” Jesse told them.

Sonny smiled softly. “It is. And you know what? Her and Joey are comin’ over for dinner in a little while so you’ll get to see her today.”

Both girls’ eyes lit up.

“Really?!” Jesse asked excitedly. “Do you think she’ll let us touch her belly?”

Sonny nodded. “I’m sure she will.”

“I can’t wait to see her!” Jesse screeched. “Come on Billie, let’s go put our shirts on!”

The two girls quickly grabbed their t-shirts and ran off together toward their bedroom.

Amanda quietly stood up herself and headed off to the kitchen to prepare Jesse and Billie’s lunch.

Sonny noticed she was a bit upset. He stood up and followed her into the kitchen.

“You know Jesse was just curious and wasn’t trying to hurt your feelings, right?” He asked as he handed her the bread.

Amanda removed a few slices and started to spread peanut butter and jelly onto them. “I know.” She said quietly and sadly.

Sonny gently took the butter knife from her, set it down on the counter and then engulfed her in a big hug.

“You’re perfect, ya hear me.” He whispered into her. “I don’t want you feelin’ like your less than just because we’re having a baby through surrogacy. You aren’t.”

Logically she knew all of this, but in that very moment, she still couldn’t help but feel exactly that: less than.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

By dinner time, Amanda was in better spirits and her and Sonny were excited to see Gina who, due to busy work schedules, they hadn’t seen in a few weeks. The girls were also very excited and anxiously ran to the door when they heard a knock.

“Can I open the door?” An excited Jesse shouted down the hall to Sonny, who was emerging from the bathroom, and Amanda, who was still in the master bedroom getting herself ready.

“Go ahead.” Sonny shouted out to her as he made his way toward the entryway.

Amanda tried to hastily finish up her hair and then headed toward the living room a few minutes later, where she saw her nephew sitting in a chair, engrossed in some game on his Nintendo Switch, and the girls, as well as Sonny, clamoring near Gina by the couch.

She noticed both Jesse and Billie had big smiles on their faces as Gina gently held each of their little hands on top of her stomach, which had expanded quite a bit since Amanda had last seen her.

“What’s it like?” Jesse asked her.

“To have a baby inside of me?”

Jesse nodded. “Yeah. Can you feel it moving?”

“A little.” Gina told her. “You know that feelin’ you get in your belly when your nervous? That’s kinda what it feels like to have the baby in there. Like I got butterflies in my stomach.”

“Can the baby hear us?” Billie asked her hopefully.

Gina nodded. “I think so.”

“Hi baby!” Billie yelled out excitedly to Gina’s stomach. “It’s me, Billie.”

“And Jesse!” The older Rollins girl quickly added. “We’re your big sisters!”

“I wish we could talk to the baby all the time.” Billie said to Gina.

“Well you girls can come see me and talk to your little brother or sister whenever you want, OK?”

Both Jesse and Billie happily nodded, removed their hands from her stomach and then headed over to where Joey was sitting and started watching him play his video game.

It was at that moment Gina and Sonny noticed a solemn looking Amanda had quietly entered into the living room.

“Hi Amanda.” Gina said to her sister-in-law, grinning.

Amanda tried her best to give her a small smile back. “Hey Gina.”

She then headed into the kitchen, grabbed some silverware and started setting the table. Sonny sighed and followed her, took out some plates and began helping her.

“Amanda, are you OK?” He asked quietly. “I—“

“I’m fine.” She said, cutting him off. “And I’ve got this. You can go back into the living room.”

Sonny stood staring at her for a bit before finally doing as she asked and heading back to the living room.

Amanda continued to quietly set the table and as she did she couldn’t help but let her mind wander to what she just saw. While she was extremely grateful for the selflessness of her sister-in-law, Amanda also found herself jealous and feeling left out of the experience. This was her child. She wanted to be the one to feel the butterflies in her stomach. She wanted her voice to be the one her baby heard everyday. She wanted Sonny and the girls to talk to and put their hands on her belly. But none of this was going to happen. Instead Amanda felt like an outsider, looking in, and she hated it.

Chapter Text

“No Place I’d Rather Be”

*******************

Two Weeks Later

Precinct - Late Thursday Morning

*******************

Amanda had just gotten back to the squad room after responding to a call when she felt her cell vibrate in her coat.

She removed her phone from the coat and then took it off and hung it up. She then plopped down at her desk and read the text message from Sonny.

Gina had to move her appointment from next week to today at 3p. I’m able to cut out of work early. Will Liv let you?

Amanda sighed as she set her cell down on her desk. Her and Sonny didn’t usually go to most of his sister’s doctor’s appointments. This was mainly in an effort to give Gina some space but because of the duo’s work schedules and the fact she lived close to an hour away on Long Island, it also wasn’t feasible to try and go to them all. However, this was an ultrasound and the one where they’d be finding out the sex. Amanda knew the baby was likely a boy, but finding out for sure and being able to see him or her in real-time on the monitor was something she had really been looking forward to.

But Fin and Velasco were up in Dannemora speaking with an inmate and Liv had a mandatory training scheduled all afternoon. Though Liv normally would let her leave for something like this, even if it was last minute, Amanda knew today was the one day she wouldn’t be able to because there would be no senior staff available to manage the squad room.

Amanda picked up her phone and texted back:

She can’t. I’m the only one that’s gonna be around this afternoon so I need to watch over the squad room and respond to calls.

Amanda waited for his response, which came quickly. He sent her a sad face emoji and then added:

I’ll make sure to take a video and get lots of photos. I’ll also have the tech write down the sex and put it in an envelope. You and I can find out together later tonight.

Amanda responded OK and then put her phone away. She appreciated that Sonny was doing his best to try and make up for the fact that she couldn’t be there, but it still sucked that she had to miss it.

She sighed as she turned her computer on and tried to focus her attention on work.

*******************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Thursday Evening

*******************

As Amanda entered into the apartment later that evening she was quickly bombarded by the girls.

“Guess what mom?” Jesse said to her excitedly. “We got to see the baby!”

Amanda’s eyes widened a bit in surprise and she quickly looked over at Sonny, who had hustled into the entryway after them.

“Sienna had an emergency and wasn’t gonna be able to watch the girls.” He whispered to her. “So I had to pick them up from school a little early and bring them with me.”

He then directed his attention toward Jesse and Billie and fixed his lips to tell them something but before he could Billie blurted out, “I’m so happy I’m gonna have a baby sister!”

Amanda’s jaw dropped in shock while Sonny instantly cringed.

“You weren’t supposed to say anything.” Jesse admonished.

Tears started to build up in Billie’s eyes.

“Billie, don’t cry. It’s OK.” Sonny tried to reassure her. He then said to the both of them. “Why don’t you two go and play in your room for a while.”

Both girls nodded and then quickly scurried off together down the hall.

“The baby’s a girl?” Amanda asked as she tried her best to maintain her composure.

Sonny nodded his head slowly. “Yes. Jesse and Billie found out on accident. The tech slipped up during the ultrasound. Anyways, I was never gonna have the girls lie about knowing. I just wanted to be the one to tell you about it first.”

“So I’m guessing Gina knows too?”

“Yeah.” He said, though quickly added. “But she’s not going to tell anyone. Not even my ma.”

A visibly upset Amanda dropped her things right where she stood and then headed into the living room and sat down on the couch. Sonny followed her.

“It was the one thing I wanted.” She said to him somberly. “The one thing you and I could find out together and keep between ourselves. The one thing that made me feel like this was our baby and not your sister’s.”

Sonny frowned and sat down next to her. “Amanda, she IS our baby. I—“

“I know she is.” She said, cutting him off. “But I feel like I’m always on the outside looking in. And it isn’t because of anything someone did. I’m not upset with you, Gina, or anyone else. Except for maybe that ultrasound technician. I’m just frustrated with the situation.”

Sonny took her hands into his. “What can I do? How can I help you feel better about all of this?”

Amanda shook her head. “There isn’t anything anyone can do, Sonny. It’s just something I’m gonna have to learn to live with until the baby gets here.”

She sighed as she got up from off the couch and headed toward their bedroom while Sonny remained seated on the sofa, deep in thought.

*******************

Five Days Later

May

Precinct - Tuesday Morning

*******************

Sonny entered into the fairly quiet squad room and, after seeing that Liv nor any of the detectives were in there he headed towards his former sergeant’s desk and placed a stack of DD5’s on top of it.

On his way out he thought he heard voices coming from the break room so he poked his head in and saw Fin and Velasco sitting down eating breakfast.

“Hey,” Sonny said as he walked in. “Fin, I left those DD5’s on your desk.”

Fin nodded.

“Amanda out on a call?” Sonny asked.

Velasco shook his head no. “Her and the Captain went to talk with the Cooper girls.”

“Speaking of Amanda,” Fin asked as he took a bite of his bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. “Is she OK? She’s been a little…”

“Snappy.” Velasco finished.

“She’s been having a tough time with the surrogacy.” Sonny said to them. “But I’ve been workin’ on ways to make her feel better about it all. I’m actually glad Amanda’s not here because I wanted to talk to you both about one of them.”

Sonny took a seat at the table next to Fin and the three continued their conversation.

*******************

Two and a Half Weeks Later

Liv’s Apartment - Saturday Evening

*******************

“I’m glad Liv invited us over for dinner.” Amanda said as her and Sonny made their way up the stairs to the floor her apartment was on. “I love the girls but we definitely need some adult only time.”

“Agreed.” Sonny said as he put the bottle of wine he was holding into his left hand and knocked on Liv’s door with his right.

The couple stood waiting for a short while before Liv finally answered.

“Sorry, I was on the phone with Noah.” She told them as she motioned for the two to come in.

Amanda shook her head and fixed her mouth to tell her it was fine, when as she entered inside she noticed a small group of people all gathered together in her Captain’s living room.

“Surprise!”

Amanda’s eyes grew wide as she looked around and saw, in addition to Sonny and Liv, her mom, dad, Fin, Phoebe, Velasco, Khaldun, Sienna, Kat and her girlfriend Celine.

She looked back and forth between her husband and Liv. “What is all this?”

“I got everyone together,” Sonny began as he handed Liv the wine bottle. “So we could celebrate you. You and the baby.”

He took her hands into his. “I know you told me a while back you really didn’t want to do a shower since this would be your third go around and you don’t have to think of it as one. Even though it looks like everyone brought gifts when I said not to.”

Sonny playfully rolled his eyes and glanced at the group.

“I just wanted you to have a day.” He said, staring deeply into his wife’s eyes. “One that wasn’t about anything or anyone else except honoring you and our daughter.”

She smiled softly, then asked, “But where’s your family?”

“My family would like to do somethin’ for you in the future, but I wanted to keep tonight small and intimate.”

Amanda grew teary-eyed as she looked around at everyone and then at Sonny. “I can’t believe you did this for me.”

She leaned up, gave him a quick kiss on the lips and then hugged him.

“I love you.” Amanda whispered in his ear.

“I love you too.” He whisper back.

They stood hugging for a long while before eventually remembering where they were and finally pulled away from each other. Sonny then headed off to chat with Fin and Phoebe while Amanda briefly spoke to her parents and then went to talk to Kat.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Later that Night…

“That’s everything,” Sonny said as he set the last of the baby gifts down on the floor in the half completed nursery in their apartment.

“I wish everyone didn’t get us so much.” Amanda said as she arranged all of the presents into one corner of the room.

“But out of all the gifts we did get I think my favorite is Velasco’s.” She laughed as she picked up the expensive looking baby sound machine and night light he bought.

Sonny smiled softly. “So you had a good time?”

“I did.” She told him grinning. “It definitely wasn’t the most traditional shower…sprinkle or whatever you want to call it, especially with the games Kat came up with for everyone to play, but it was a a lot of fun and much more my speed.”

She took her hands into his. “Thank you for tonight.”

Sonny nodded, but then added. “It’s not quite over. I’ve got somethin’ else for you.”

She eyed him curiously as he pulled his cellphone out of his pocket and began rummaging through it

“Now I made these to give to Gina,” he began. “But they’re for you and the baby.”

He hit something on his phone and once he did Amanda’s voice came blaring out.

”Alice was growing very tired listening to her sister read. Just as her eyes began to close she saw a white rabbit run by, looking at his pocket watch and talking to himself.”

Sonny hit pause as he noticed Amanda’s mouth open wide in surprise.

“That’s me reading ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to the girls last week.” Amanda said as she processed what she just heard. “You…recorded me?”

“I did.” Sonny confirmed. “I also got you reading ‘I Am Not a Chair,’ ‘Room on the Broom,’ and the baby’s favorite, according to Gina, ‘Frozen,’ just like her big sisters.”

“You’ve been secretly recording me reading to the girls and sent them to your sister for her to play to the baby?” She asked as she put two and two together.

Sonny nodded. “I have. So she’ll become familiar with your voice. But not just stories. The little moments too. Our daughter is hearing firsthand what an amazing mother she has comin’ her way.”

He picked another audio file and hit play.

”Mommy!” Billie came running up to her in the kitchen, crying. “I hit my elbow!”

Amanda could tell she banged it pretty good, but that it wasn’t scraped up and she would be OK. Still, she did her best to ease Billie’s fears and make her feel better.

Amanda bent down to her eye level and gently held Billie’s elbow.

“I’m sorry you hurt your elbow.” She said as she rubbed it softly. “Do you think a kiss will help?”

Billie nodded and sniffled. “Yes.”

Amanda kissed her elbow. “And how about a hug? Will that help?”

Billie smiled. “Yes.”

She pulled her daughter in for a big hug and squeezed her tightly.

“Does it feel better?” Amanda asked as she wiped her little girl’s tears away with her thumbs.

“Better.” Billie confirmed.

“Good.” Amanda said, hugging her again. “Why don’t you go back and play with Jesse.”

“OK.”

Amanda smiled at her. “Alright. Love you.”

“Love you too mommy.” Billie then hurried off toward her bedroom.

“I cant believe you managed to record that and everything else without me noticing.” A shocked Amanda told him, blinking back some tears.

“It wasn’t easy.” Sonny admitted, chuckling a bit. “But I got better at it as time went by. Spent the last three weeks capturing these moments.”

“Really?” Amanda asked, wiping her eyes.

He nodded and placed his hands on her hips. “I know this whole journey hasn’t been easy on you. That you really wanted to be the one to carry our child and that you’ve been feeling very much left out of the entire process. While I can’t change the way things ended up happening and I know a shower and these recordings don’t make up for what you’re not physically experiencing, I wanted to do my best to make you feel more at ease with it. For you to know that you matter and to remind you that our baby wouldn’t exist without you.”

Sonny pulled her in closer to him. “You’re gonna be the one she goes to when she wants a bedtime story read. When she hurts herself and needs a hug and kiss to feel better. And for so much more. Our daughter may not be growing inside of you, but in just a couple of months you’re going to scoop her up into your arms and she’s never gonna want to leave them.”

“You think?” Amanda asked hopefully.

“I do.” He told her confidently.

“You always know how to make feel better.” She rested her head on his chest. “Thank you. Thank you for being you.”

He gave Amanda a smile and wrapped his arms around her tightly.

*******************

September 4

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Saturday Afternoon

*******************

While Amanda and Sonny spent those next couple of months preparing for the baby they also focused on spending as much time as possible with the girls. Their last summer as a family of four was spent camping, feeding animals at the zoo, running around Lego Land, and boogie boarding at the Jersey Shore.

They also spent a lot of time with both of their extended families and it was during the summer that Gina went from being the sister-in-law Amanda knew the least to the one she loved and appreciated most. Once Amanda grew more comfortable with the idea of the surrogacy, she was able to let her guard down more around her and the two grew a lot closer.

But as summer began to wind down, reality started to set in that there was going to be a new baby in the home very soon and the couple was excited.

“Car seat is ready to go.” Sonny said to Amanda as he entered into the apartment and joined her in the living room. “I still can’t believe she’s gonna be here tomorrow.”

“Same.” Amanda said as she set the baby’s bag down by the door. “Have you talked to Gina today? How is she doing?”

“She’s a little nervous.” Sonny admitted.

Amanda sighed as she and Sonny made their way to the couch and sat down. “I hate that your sister needs a C-section.”

“Agreed. But the baby’s breeched and they couldn’t turn her. Gina’s OK with it. She knew there was a possibility it could happen.”

Amanda nodded.

“The one silver lining about it is that it’s scheduled and we know exactly when the baby’s coming. We don’t have to worry about one of us being caught up with work and then havin’ to rush out to Long Island.

“That’s true.” Amanda said agreeing. “So you ready?” She asked him grinning.

Sonny nodded and ran a hand through his gray hair. “I think so. I hope so.”

Amanda rested her head on his shoulder. “You’re already a great dad to Jesse and Billie. You will be with the new baby too. You’ll be a pro at the swaddling and bottle making in no time.”

He smiled, wrapped his arm around her and pulled Amanda in closer to him.

*******************

September 5

North Shore University Hospital - Sunday Morning

*******************

Sonny knocked on the outside of his sister’s hospital room door.

“Come in.”

Amanda and Sonny, with flowers in tow, slowly entered.

Gina sat up in her bed and smiled softly. “You didn’t have to give me flowers.”

“You’re giving us a baby.” Amanda reminded her, chucking. “Flowers are the least we could do.”

Sonny set the flowers down on the nightstand beside Gina’s bed. “How ya feeling?”

“Large and uncomfortable.” Gina told the couple honestly as she placed her hand on her stomach and said to the baby. “You’ve been a great little roomie these past nine months girlie, but today your gettin’ evicted.”

Amanda and Sonny both looked at each other and laughed.

“They’re gonna be preppin’ me for surgery soon.” She told them “Have you decided who’s goin’ to go in? I’m fine with whoever.”

Amanda fixed her lips to respond, but Sonny answered before she could.

“Amanda is.”

“What?” Amanda asked, looking confused. “I thought we agreed it would be you. I’ve gone through labor. This is your one and only chance to be in the room when your baby is being born.”

“I know,” Sonny began. “But the more and more I thought about it, the more and more I realized that the first person to meet our daughter should be her mother.”

“You’re sure?” She asked, biting her lip.

“Very.” He said confidently.

Amanda gave him a small smile and nodded. “OK.”

XXXXXXXXXXXX

A little while later Gina, accompanied by Amanda, was brought into the operating room.

“You OK?” Amanda asked her sister-in-law a short time after the procedure started.

Gina nodded. “Yeah. I don’t really feel anything.”

Things moved quickly and before the two of them knew it, the doctor pulled the baby out. After the umbilical cord was cut and the baby was checked over to make sure she was OK, a nurse went to hand her over to Gina.

“No I’m just the aunt.” Gina said and then motioned toward Amanda. “She’s mom.”

The nurse nodded and carefully handed the wailing infant to Amanda who, once settled in her mother’s arms, slowly stopped crying.

“Oh my God.” Amanda said quietly as tears began to stream down her cheeks.

The little baby opened up her blue eyes and looked up at her.

As she held her, the fears that had once flooded Amanda’s mind early on when first considering surrogacy, like if she would love and feel connected to this baby in the same way she did with her older girls, instantly dissipated. Her heart felt so full.

Amanda gently rocked her daughter. “You’re beautiful.” She whispered to her. “And I love you. So so much.”

She turned toward her sister-in-law. “You’ll never know how much this means to me. Thank you. Thank you for taking such good care of her.”

Gina smiled and nodded.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Once the surgeon finished stitching Gina up and she was brought into recovery, Amanda settled in with the baby in another room and as soon as he was allowed to Sonny went to see them.

A big huge smile spread across his face as he entered and saw his wife cradling the newborn in her arms.

“Come meet your daughter.” She told him.

Amanda got up from the chair she was sitting in and carefully handed the sleeping baby to Sonny.

“She’s perfect.” Sonny said as he looked down at her, beaming with pride.

Just then, the little baby slowly opened up her eyes and stared up at him.

“Welcome to the world, Ruby.” He said smiling down at her. “I’m your dad.”

Sonny adjusted Ruby’s little hat and kissed her forehead. “I know we’re just now meetin’ but it feels like I’ve loved you since forever and I always will.”

He quietly held her for a little while longer before eventually handing his little girl back to his wife.

Amanda gently caressed Ruby’s cheek as she stared down at her. “It’s been a long, and at times emotionally draining, road. Filled with a lot of hope and a lot of heartache. But I’m happy we didn’t give up and that we kept on going. Because we finally got to this moment. To Ruby. And I’m so thankful for her.”

Sonny, who’s eyes were fixated on the baby, slowly nodded. “So am I. For so long our family felt incomplete. But now that Ruby is here it finally feels whole.”

“That it does.” Amanda said as she kissed her cheek. “That it does.”

He leaned into Amanda, connected his lips to hers for a kiss and the two shifted their gazes back to Ruby.

*******************

Three Months Later

December

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Thursday Night

*******************

Sonny, who was busy loading up the dishwasher, stopped what he was doing when he heard a knock on the door. Though it was starting to get late, he was expecting Liv and that’s exactly who stood on the other side of the door when he answered it.

“Hey Liv,” He said as he motioned for her to come in.

“Sorry to be stopping by this late.” She said apologizing.

Sonny shook his head. “No it’s fine. All three girls are still awake. Jesse and Billie don’t have school tomorrow.”

He headed toward the living room coffee table, grabbed the stack of files she came for and handed them to her.

“Thank you.” Liv said as she flipped through the papers. She fixed her lips to say something else but stopped when she saw Amanda emerge from down the hall with Ruby in her arms.

“Look at her.” Liv said as she sat the files back down and slowly approached Amanda. She smiled at the little brown haired baby girl, who was fast asleep.

“Do you wanna hold her?” Amanda asked

Liv nodded and carefully scooped Ruby up into her arms. “She’s looking more and more like you now Carisi.”

“She does.” Sonny concurred. “Except for the nose. That’s a Rollins nose.”

The two women quietly chucked, made their way over to the couch and sat down.

Amanda, who saw the stack of files and had taken note of her Captain’s attire, said to her, “I’m sorry my being out on maternity leave has left y’all so short staffed and having to work late nights.”

Liv vigorously shook her head. “We’re fine Amanda. I don’t want you rushing back. Take all the time you need.”

Amanda smiled and then Liv turned to look over at Sonny. “How’s your sister doing?”

“Gina’s good.” He told her as he leaned up against the sofa. “Recovery went well.”

“You can’t even tell she had a baby three months ago.” Amanda said laughing softly.

“Does she miss Ruby?” Liv asked. “I imagine it must’ve been hard giving her up after carrying her for 9 months.”

Sonny contemplated the question for a while before responding. “She does but she told us it wasn’t hard to hand her over when the time came. Gina said it didn’t feel like she was giving her up, but that she was giving her back to us.”

“That’s quite a sister you got there Carisi.”

Sonny nodded his head, agreeing. “That she is.”

Liv was about to say something else when Ruby started to stir and her blue eyes slowly fluttered open.

As she looked up and saw she was no longer in her mother’s arms she began to cry.

“Looks like Ruby’s done with me.” Liv said laughing as she handed the baby back to Amanda.

“Don’t feel bad Liv.” Sonny told her. “She still hollers like that sometimes when I hold her too. Ruby merely tolerates me, Sienna, and the girls. Where she is right now is the only place she ever wants to be.”

Amanda playfully rolled her eyes at him, but deep down she knew he wasn’t exactly wrong. As soon as Ruby had settled back into her arms she instantly stopped crying.

Just then, Jesse came out of her and Billie’s bedroom and into the living room. “Sonny, can you help us? Billie accidentally hit something on the iPad and now Moana is speaking in French.”

Sonny laughed and nodded. “OK, let me see what I can do.” He followed Jesse down the hall.

Amanda and Liv sat together silently for a bit before the blonde said to her, “You were right about it all.”

“About what?” She asked her curiously.

“When you said I would be the only mother she will ever want. It’s true. She never wants to be away from me for very long. And when you told me I would love her in the same way I do her sisters. I do. As soon as Ruby was placed in my arms, the love and connection between us was there and it grows stronger each and everyday.”

Liv smiled softly and gave Amanda’s free hand a gentle squeeze.

She then sat up. “I wish I could visit with you two longer, but I gotta get back to the precinct. But we’ll catch up again soon.”

Amanda started to get up, but Liv motioned for her to stay. “I’ll see myself out.”

The blonde nodded and watched as she grabbed the files and quickly made her way out of the apartment.

Amanda redirected her attention back to her daughter as she grinned down at the baby and gently squeezed her cheeks.

Ruby’s eyes instantly lit up and she smiled brightly at her.

Amanda sat with her for a little while longer before eventually heading toward the door, locking it and then making her way to Ruby’s nursery to get her settled in for the night.

Chapter Text

*********************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Saturday Morning

*********************

A typical Saturday morning in the Rollins-Carisi household was usually full of fun and commotion. But instead of Amanda and the girls prancing around in the living room to music while Sonny whipped up pancakes for everyone and Frannie happily chewed on a brand new dog bone, the mood was much more somber.

Beth Anne had picked up Jesse and Billie earlier in the week and brought them up to her house so the couple could take time to process some shocking news. And then yesterday they were hit with even more. They purposely didn’t talk about it then but today they knew they would have to.

Amanda walked out of the bathroom and made her way into the living room where Sonny sat on the sofa.

She took a seat next to him and the two sat together quietly for a while before she finally broke the silence.

Amanda took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “I want this baby.”

Sonny said nothing at first before eventually turning to her. “And I want you to have an abortion.” He said to her very seriously.

“How could you of all people say that?” She asked him, blinking back tears.

Sonny sighed. “Because you and I both know it’s what needs to happen.”

“But it doesn’t.” Amanda said very matter of factly. “And I won’t do it.”

Sonny shook his head in frustration, stood up and began pacing around the room.

“This is gonna be our one and only chance to have a child together.” She told him, sniffling. “I want this and I know how much you’ve wanted this.”

“Not if it means I have to lose you.” He said as he started to grow teary-eyed. “Amanda, you have cancer. It needs to be treated. That should be the priority.”

Amanda closed her eyes and took in some deep breaths before responding.

“But they caught it early and it’s growing slow.” She said to him. “I can hold off on the radiation for a bit. Just until the third trimester when it’s safer for the baby to be exposed to it.”

Sonny sighed. “I know it was discovered early and it’s not an aggressive type, but it’s still cancer and it can kill you.”

Amanda slowly nodded her head in acknowledgement. “I know.”

“Then how can you even think about continuing with the pregnancy?!” He asked as he grew more and more emotional.

Amanda fixed her lips to respond but he cut her off.

“What about the girls?” He asked her firmly. “If you have the baby and died you’d be leaving three kids motherless. Not only that, they’d all be split up from each other. The baby would be with me, Billie would go to Al, and Jesse would go to your mom. Is that somethin’ you want? It’s not what I want.”

She knew he was right. There was a possibility she could be leaving her kids without their mother and separated from each other and Sonny. Because even though the couple shared their lives together and he helped raise the girls, he wasn’t their father and he had no legal relationship with them. It was something she thought about, but tried not to focus on because it upset her.

Amanda wiped away the tears that had started to flood out of her eyes. “Of course it isn’t.”

“Then how can you be OK taking such a risk?” He asked her. “Sure you could delay treatment, have the baby and still beat the cancer. But there’s also a chance you wait to do the radiation, the cancer spreads to the point where treatment won’t work and you die after having the baby. Maybe even beforehand.”

She took a few moments to collect herself. Amanda then motioned for him to sit back down next to her.

“I could terminate the pregnancy, start treatment right away and be OK.” She told him, adding, “But there’s also a possibility I could have an abortion, immediately start radiation and…s—still…die.”

The idea Amanda might still die, despite terminating the pregnancy and starting treatment right away, distressed him a great deal. It was a scenario he did not like to consider, but knew he couldn’t ignore.

“I know…you c—could.” Sonny said, his voice quivering.

She took his hands into her own.

“Sonny, I’m a detective and you used to be one. You know the nature of the job. Every time I walk out that door for work there’s a possibility I won’t be coming back. I’ve been shot. Kidnapped. I put my life on the line everyday for people I don’t know. How could I not do the same for our child?”

He contemplated her words in his head, but remained quiet.

“I know you think I’m playing Russian Roulette with my life.” Amanda said to him. “That what I want to do is risky. But neither of us has a crystal ball that can predict how this will play out. I’m choosing to have this baby and I am choosing to believe that when everything is all said and done I’ll still be here. With you, Jesse, Billie and our child.”

Sonny buried his head into his hands and began to sob.

She put her arms around him and cradled his head close to her chest.

“I know you’re scared I might die.” Amanda whispered in his ear. “I am too, despite this choice I’m making. I also know this isn’t the choice you would make for me if you could. But I need you to trust my judgment and I need your support. Now more than ever.”

Sonny stopped crying, slowly pulled away from her, wiped his eyes and stared deeply into her own. He stayed silent for a long while before quietly telling her, “OK.”

Amanda sniffled, nodded and then rested her forehead on his.

*********************

16 Months Later

Saturday Morning - 8am

*********************

Sonny stirred as the sun, which was beaming into the bedroom through the window, hit his face.

He laid quietly on his back for a few moments before slowly opening up his eyes. Sonny turned onto his side and briefly stared at the empty space beside him. He then pulled the covers off of himself and got up out of bed.

Sonny yawned as he made his way down the hall toward his son’s nursery.

He slowly entered inside and found the happy, giggly 8-month-old wide awake in his crib, reaching up for him.

Sonny smiled softly as he scooped the baby up into his arms. He then brought him over to the changing table, gave him a fresh diaper and the twosome made their way into the quiet and empty kitchen.

Sonny set his son down into his high chair and put his bib on. He grabbed a baby spoon from the dish rack, headed toward the fridge, picked up a container of Gerber’s and made his way back to the high chair.

He peeled the top off, scooped a little bit of the puréed pears onto the spoon and fed it to the baby, who having never had pears appeared to be briefly pondering whether or not he liked it.

“How is it Zander?”

After a couple of seconds, Zander’s eyes grew big and he immediately opened his mouth up for more.

Sonny smiled as he fed him another spoonful, which he gulped right down.

Once he was finished feeding the baby, Sonny cleaned him up, lifted him out of his high chair and set him down on the living room carpet. He handed Zander his toy remote control, which he happily accepted and put right into his mouth.

Sonny plopped down on the sofa and stared intently at his blonde haired, blue eyed little boy who, though inherited his demeanor, was the spitting image of his mother, Amanda. The only woman he ever truly loved and the only woman he knew he would ever love.

He was soon interrupted from his thoughts when the front door to the apartment swung wide open.

Jesse and Billie came storming inside and immediately headed into the living room.

“Hi Sonny!” Jesse said as she carefully picked her baby brother up into her arms.

“I saw mom was gone, but I thought you two were still in bed.” He said to the girls as he set Billie down onto his lap. “Where were you guys?”

“Gettin’ groceries.” Amanda, who had been a few paces behind her daughters, answered for them as she entered the apartment, closed the door, and set her bags down on the counter. “Us three woke up early and saw we didn’t have stuff to make pancakes.“

“So we went shoppin.’” Billie told him very matter of factly. “Because we can’t have pancake Saturday without pancakes.”

Sonny smiled. “No we can’t.”

“Sorry I didn’t leave a note sayin’ where we were.” Amanda said as she started removing items from the bags. “I thought we’d be back before you boys got up.”

Sonny set Billie down on the couch and then made his way over to Amanda to help her unpack and to get breakfast started.

The couple stood quietly going through the bags when Sonny suddenly stopped and stared at Amanda. Her wavy blonde bob length hair was pulled back into a very short messy ponytail. She had no makeup on and was wearing an oversized blue sweater with a tear in it and a pair of black leggings that had Frannie’s hair all over them. He knew she probably wouldn’t agree, but it was moments like this he found her to be the most stunning.

And it was these seemingly insignificant moments when they were in the kitchen together getting breakfast going while the girls and their little boy played close by that he treasured most. Because there was a time not so long ago he thought there wouldn’t be such moments. But there she stood. Amanda, now in remission, had bravely battled and beaten cancer. And while she fought, she brought their son into the world. A son who, along with the girls, filled their hearts with so much joy and laughter. A son he knew wouldn’t be here had Amanda listened to him.

But instead she chose to listen to her heart. To take a leap of faith. There were some ups and downs along the way, but everything worked out. Just as Amanda chose to believe it would. It was because of her Sonny now had a life he didn’t think would ever be a reality for him. One with Amanda, Jesse, Billie, and their son, Zander. A life with the four people he cared about the most. One he cherished more than anything.

“Do I have something on my face?” Amanda asked when she finally caught him staring at her.

Sonny shook his head. “Nah. I’m just staring at you because your beautiful.”

Amanda blushed, but smiled back at him.

Just then the apartment flooded with music after Jesse had quietly activated the family’s Amazon Echo.

Both adults turned their attention to Billie and Jesse, who was still holding the baby, dancing around the living room.

“Be careful with Zander.” Amanda reminded her daughters.

“We will be!” Jesse yelled back.

The couple chuckled and then refocused on getting breakfast started.

When Sonny was finally ready to make the pancake batter he shouted out to the girls, “So what kind of pancakes should we have?”

Billie scurried into the kitchen. “I want chocolate chip!”

Jesse, who walked in slowly and handed her brother to Amanda, said, “But I want blueberry.”

“Guess that means mom’s the tiebreaker.” Sonny said, looking at Amanda.

“I am, huh?”

Sonny nodded and motioned toward the bag of chocolate chips and the one filled with blueberries. “The choice is yours.”

Amanda looked back and forth between the two options before finally reaching inside the bag that was in front of her and pulling out a large box of raisins. “I choose cinnamon raisin.”

Sonny smiled. “Cinnamon raisin it is.”

He then rolled up his sleeves. “Ok who’s dancin’ and who’s helping me cook?”

“I’ll help!” Billie exclaimed.

“I’m dancing.” Jesse said as she ran back into the living room.

“So am I.” Amanda said as she moonwalked into the living room behind Jesse. “Alexa, play ‘You Should Be Dancing’ by The Bee Gees.”

’You Should Be Dancing,’ by The Bee Gees, on Amazon music.

Sonny laughed as he watched Amanda move Zander’s arms around, having the baby mimic the dance moves John Travolta did in Saturday Night Fever.

He then turned his attention back to Billie and the two of them got started making the pancake batter.

Chapter Text

*********************

May

Precinct - Monday Morning

*********************

Sonny walked into the fairly quiet squad room and looked around. While he was there to see Fin, he was hoping Amanda would be in but when he didn’t see her or Liv he figured the two were out on a call. He sighed and made his way over to his former sergeant’s desk.

“You look tired, Carisi.” Fin said as Sonny approached him and he handed the ADA a stack of DD5’s.

“Because I am.” He said as he took a sip from his coffee mug and sighed.

“Well you knew when you accepted that promotion they were gonna hit you with more work.” Fin told him.

“You were promoted?” Velasco, who was sitting at his desk nearby, asked.

“Sorta. Bout a month ago.”

“How come I didn’t know?” The young detective asked, curiously.

Sonny shrugged. “I didn’t go around advertisin’ it because it’s not a real promotion. I mean, my title didn’t change or anything. Just a small pay raise, been doing a little supervising and, as Fin said, getting handed more cases.”

“Hey a small raise is still a raise.” Fin reminded.

The counselor nodded. “True. And the extra workload is partly why I’m feeling so exhausted lately. Jesse and Billie are the other reason.”

Velasco raised an eyebrow. “But it’s not like their babies who keep you up at night.”

“No they aren’t.” Sonny said agreeing. “But their little girls who can’t drive and have a million and one things goin’ on.”

“Ah, they’ve started getting into a bunch of activities and developed a bit of a social life.” Fin said as he leaned back in his chair. “That’s a rough, busy stage.”

Sonny sighed. “Tell me about it. Jesse cheerleads nearly all year round. Says she has to if she wants to make mat and get to Daytona. Whatever the heck that means.”

“She wants to be a Navarro cheerleader.” Velasco told him very matter of factly. “You’ve never seen Cheer on Netflix?”

Sonny and Fin exchanged glances with one another and then raised their eyebrows at him.

“You have?” The sergeant asked.

“My girlfriend makes me watch it with her.” Velasco said as he redirected his attention back to his computer.

“Sure she does.” Fin said chuckling.

Sonny rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Anyways, it seems like Jesse’s got a competition almost every weekend. Then on her off weekends and sometimes at the same time Billie’s in a judo tournament.“

“Judo?” a pleasantly surprised Velasco asked. “You got a future Ronda Rousey on your hands?”

“Maybe. She fights up with the 6-year-olds and beats them a lot of the times.” Sonny said chuckling, adding, “Both her and Jesse are really good at what they do. It’s just a lot. The few weekends there isn’t some kind of sporting event there’s usually a birthday party, a Carisi wedding or work. I feel like lately we’re just always on the go. I can barely remember the last time Amanda and I had a moment as a couple. The few opportunities that do pop up here and there we both would just rather sleep.”

Velasco shook his head. “Not good Carisi. It can’t be all about the kids and work.“

Fin nodded. “Velasco’s right. Surprisingly. You gotta find time for your relationship. Phoebe and I don’t have kids but with us both being sergeants for different squads who sometimes work opposite schedules, I understand how it can be difficult. So you need to find ways to carve it in and when those rare free moments come along you can’t pass them up.”

“You’re both right.” Sonny told them. “We have to prioritize it. I’m gonna make more of an effort to do that.”

He glanced down at his watch. “Ok I need to look these over and get ready for some arraignments I got comin’ up this afternoon. I’ll catch you guys later.”

Fin and Velasco nodded and watched as Sonny hurried out of the squad room.

*********************

Family Court - Late Monday Afternoon

*********************

Sonny, who had been at Family Court trying to get a judge to sign off on a warrant, was on his way out and back to the precinct with it, when he was surprised to see his wife walking down the same hallway a little further up ahead of him.

“Amanda!”

The blonde turned around and smiled when she realized who was calling her.

“Hey,” She said as she headed over to him. “What are you doing here?”

“Needed to find a judge who’d sign off on this search warrant for Liv.” Sonny said as he held it up to her. “You headed back to the precinct? Can you give it to her?”

Amanda shook her head. “I can’t I’m about to meet up with our new corporation counselor to prep for that family court trial starting up early next week.”

“That’s right. How is she, anyways? Christine, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Amanda said as she tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “She seems nice, but I’ve only met her once. Not sure what kind of lawyer she is. Guess I’ll find out soon.”

Sonny nodded. “I know you gotta get goin’ and so do I, but there’s somethin’ I wanted to talk with you about.”

He moved in a little closer to her and said to her quietly, “So I’m sure you’ve noticed that you and I…well that there hasn’t been much of a you and I as of late.”

Amanda sighed. “I have and I was meaning to bring it up to you.”

“I know it’s been tough but we need to find a way to find some time for us.” He told her seriously. “Now it’s not much, but how about tonight, since it looks like I’m gonna be wrapping up at a decent time today, I whip up you and I a nice meal and we have dinner together. Just the two of us.”

Amanda smiled softly. “I’d love that. I just hope I’m not handed a difficult case that requires me to do overtime. Feel like it’s been happening a lot lately.”

Sonny shook his head and waved his hands dismissively. “Doesn’t matter. I’ll wait for you. Even if that means we’re eating dinner at 10p.”

Amanda nodded. “OK. You keep dinner warm and I’ll take care of dessert.”

“Oh yeah?” Sonny asked, eying her curiously. “What we having?”

“Each other.” Amanda whispered into his ear. She grinned and then made her way back down the hall and turned the corner.

Sonny stood chuckling for a moment before continuing on toward the exit.

*********************

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Tuesday Morning 12a

*********************

Amanda wiggled her key into the door of her apartment and when she opened it up she saw Sonny, dressed in nighttime attire, in the kitchen washing dishes and sighed.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t wait.” He told her apologetically through a yawn.

“I figured.” She said to him. “So I grabbed something and ate it on my way home.”

Amanda dropped her purse on the floor and walked over to him. “I know I missed dinner, but do you still wanna do dessert?” She asked hopefully.

Sonny smiled softly and nodded.

“Great,” Amanda said as she set her keys down on the counter. “Just give me five minutes to freshen up.”

“OK.” He said as he gave her arm a light squeeze and headed toward their bedroom.

Amanda hurried off into the bathroom and shut the door behind her. She washed her face and then brushed her teeth. Once she finished she took her hair down and started combing it out. When she was satisfied she hastily took off her work clothes, grabbed her silk robe that hung on the back of the door and slipped into it. Amanda left her clothes on the floor and then quickly exited and made her way to her and Sonny’s bedroom.

However the smile she had planted on her face immediately vanished when she saw Sonny on the bed passed out and lightly snoring. Amanda walked up to him and nudged him, but she knew that once he started snoring he was in a deep sleep and there was no waking him.

She grunted and begrudgingly headed back into the bathroom to shower and then get into bed herself.

*********************

Precinct - Wednesday Afternoon

*********************

Sonny had just wrapped up a meeting with Liv and was on his way back to his office when he spotted Amanda and Velasco heading into the squad room together.

Though he really needed to get back to the office and knew Amanda had work to catch up on herself, Sonny pulled her into the break room.

“I still feel really bad ‘bout the other night.” He said to her, frowning a bit.

“It’s fine, Sonny.” Amanda reassured him. “I’ve done the same thing to you before.”

“Well I’m makin’ it up to you anyways.” Sonny told her. “Now I know the next few days are a crapshoot, the weekend is booked and next week we’re both in court. But…”

“But?” She asked curiously.

“Billie’s tournament next Sunday? Got canceled.”

“Really?”

Sonny nodded. “They sent an email to our personal accounts about it this morning AND, guess what? My buddy Phil and his wife decided to hire movers so they don’t need my help moving that Saturday.”

“So we have a free weekend?” Amanda asked in disbelief.

“We did.” Sonny told her, adding. “Until I booked us an Airbnb right by the water up in Lake George.”

Amanda’s eyes widened in surprise and delight.

“That sounds amazing.” She said as she leaned in and hugged him. “And the girls?”

“Will be with your mom.” Sonny said to her. “I already talked to her and set it up.”

She grinned and fixed her mouth to say something else, but was cut off by Fin, who had just appeared by the doorway.

“Sorry to interrupt.” The sergeant told him. “Rollins, Liv wants you.”

“Alright I better let you go.” Sonny said smiling softly. “See you at home.”

She nodded and then headed with Fin toward Liv’s office while Sonny followed them out and made his way to the elevators.

*********************

Sonny’s Office - Friday Afternoon

*********************

Sonny, who had a meeting with Jack McCoy, was on his way out the door when he nearly ran into Amanda, who had been making her way in.

“Were you able to get us that warrant?” She asked him hopefully.

Sonny nodded, walked back to his desk and handed it to her. “Only for the apartment. It doesn’t extend to his office.

“OK.” Amanda said as she read it over. She then looked back up at him. “Where you headed?”

“Meetin’ with McCoy.”

“Can I walk with you for a bit?”

He nodded and the two headed out.

The couple walked together quietly for a while before they both broke the silence at the same time.

“I have something to tell you.”

“I have something to tell you.”

Sonny motioned for her to go first.

“The new Deputy Chief wants Liv and I to speak at this upcoming conference on sexual assault and domestic violence in Albany. It’s next Sunday. So we’re unfortunately gonna have to cut our trip a little short.”

Sonny rubbed his temples. “Actually it looks like we’re goin’ to have to cancel it outright.”

Amanda frowned. “But why? We still have Saturday. And Lake George is only an hour north of Albany. We can spend the night and enjoy the morning together. I don’t have to be at the conference until 11a.”

Sonny sighed. “My cousin Antonia’s wedding is next Saturday.”

“I thought that was on the 28th?”

“Me too.” Sonny said. “But I was talkin’ to my mom earlier and realized I had the date wrong.”

Amanda brought her face to her palm and shook her head.

“I’m sorry.” He told her, sighing again. “But we have to go. We RSVP’d and she went to our wedding.”

“I know.” Amanda said as she ran a hand through her hair. “And I guess it’d be good for us to get dressed up and socialize with people are own age, but I was just really looking forward to spending some quality one on one time with you and it sucks that we once again aren’t going to have any.”

The two continued on together quietly for a few more minutes until they reached the point where their paths diverged.

“I’ll see you at home.” She said to him somewhat somberly as she entered into the elevator to head out of the building.

Sonny nodded and watched as the doors slowly closed in front of him.

He stood furrowing his eyebrows for a few moments, deep in thought, before eventually continuing along to Jack McCoy’s office.

*********************

One Week Later

Montauk, Long Island

Wedding Reception - Saturday Night 9p

*********************

After a long week of testifying and sitting in Family Court for Amanda and Sonny speaking before a Grand Jury, the day of his cousin’s wedding had finally arrived.

Neither of them were thrilled they had to cancel their weekend plans, but the couple found the wedding to be one of the better Carisi ones they’d been to in a while and were enjoying themselves. Still, Sonny knew it wasn’t the night Amanda envisioned for them. But unbeknownst to his wife he planned something special for her to make up for it.

“Where are we going?” Amanda whispered to Sonny as he led her out of the room where the reception was taking place.

He was about to respond but was cut off by his slightly tipsy cousin, Bobby, who was coming out of the bathroom.

“Sonny!” He said as he approached the couple. “I know I still owe you that shot. I didn’t forget.”

Sonny chuckled. “Neither did I. I’ll be back for it in a minute.”

Bobby nodded. “Alright.” He gave his cousin a pat on the back and went inside.

Amanda eyed Sonny curiously as the duo continued on and asked, “We aren’t going back in are we?”

Sonny smiled. “Nope. We’re going somewhere much better. Now close your eyes and let me lead you.”

Amanda smirked and did as he requested.

She was fairly confident he hadn’t led her out of the wedding reception venue and that they were still somewhere inside of the hotel. Especially when she felt herself enter into an elevator. But the longer it took for them to get to wherever he was taking her she started to have doubts.

But Amanda realized her initial gut instinct was right when Sonny had her open her eyes and she realized that not only were they still in the hotel, they were in a beautifully decorated suite. White rose petals were elegantly scattered about the room, music was playing softly in the background and there was a candlelit table for two, with glasses of champagne and dessert, set up in the center.

“Sonny,” Amanda said as she looked around the room. “What’s all this?”

“All this is for us.” He said as he closed the door to the suite and placed his hands on her hips. “I know we’ll only be able to stay one night and we’re gonna have to get up at the ass crack of dawn tomorrow to make sure we get you to that conference on time, but I really miss dating my wife and all the running around we’ll have to do in the mornin’ is worth it if it means we can have a special night together.”

Amanda smiled, then asked, “Sonny this is…so sweet and romantic. But a suite like this in a hotel like this in Montauk must’ve cost a fortune. And what about your family? We didn’t say bye to anyone. Aren’t they gonna wonder where we are?”

Sonny laughed. “You’re right it did. Good thing I got that mini raise. And there’s over a hundred people at the reception so I doubt we’ll be missed, but I did let my cousin and parents know we were leavin’.”

Amanda wrapped her arms around his shoulders. “You’re the best, you know that?” She leaned up and kissed him. “Thank you for this.”

Sonny smiled and the two swayed together to the music.

After a little while Amanda said to him, “I could dance with you all night.”

She then looked over at the candlelit table. “And I can’t wait to have some champagne and dig into that cheesecake. But…”

“But?”

“Do you think we could skip to the good part?” Amanda asked. She then bit her lip and raised her eyebrows.

Sonny grinned. “I think we can do that.”

He then swooped her up into his arms and carried her into the master bedroom, where more rose petals, shaped into a heart on the bed, were waiting for them.

Sonny gently set Amanda down in the middle of the heart, carefully removed her shoes, put them down on the floor and climbed on top of her.

He gently caressed her cheek.

“The beginning of many more nights just like this right?” She asked him.

“Right.” Sonny said smiling. He then leaned down and kissed her passionately.

*********************

Five Weeks Later

Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Thursday Afternoon

*********************

And it was the beginning of more date nights and intimate moments for Sonny and Amanda. The duo vowed to find more time for one another, despite their busy work schedules and the girls’ extra curricular activities, and they did just that. Some were longer and more romantic than others and sometimes they occurred during the day and were much shorter, fleeting moments, but they cherished each and every one of them.

Amanda, who had stayed home sick from work, was pleasantly surprised when she saw Sonny, bag in hand, coming through the door in the middle of the afternoon.

“What are you doing home?” Amanda, who had been lying down on the living room sofa, asked as she stood up and met him in the kitchen.

“I thought we could have lunch together.” Sonny told her as he removed the two Italian mix subs he bought of the bag and set them down on the table.

Amanda smiled and the two sat down and started to eat.

“You feelin’ better?” He asked as he took a bite of his sandwich and wiped his mouth with a napkin. “You look better.”

Amanda opened up her bag of kettle chips. “I do. I’m gonna go to work tomorrow.”

“That’s good.” Sonny said to her. He then changed the subject. “I’m glad we’ve been able to fit in more moments like this where it’s just the two of us. It took us some time to figure it out, but I feel like we’ve finally got our groove back.”

Amanda said nothing and quietly took a bite of her sandwich.

“You don’t agree?”

“It’s not that.” Amanda said to him. “We have been doing really good fitting in ‘us’ time. It’s just about to get a whole lot harder again real soon is all.”

He furrowed his eyebrows. “How so? Why do you say that?”

“I guess you could say we left cousin Antonia’s wedding night with a party favor.” She told him while nervously smiling.

Sonny sat confused for a minute as he thought over what she said when after a while it finally clicked in his head.

“We’re having a baby?”

Amanda nodded her head up and down.

His eyes opened wide in surprise and a smile slowly spread across his face. Sonny walked over to Amanda, who stood up, and hugged her tightly.

“You ready for the chaos?” She asked him, smiling.

“I guess we’ll find out soon.” Sonny said chuckling.

*********************

One Year Later

SUNY Stony Brook - Long Island

Jesse’s Cheerleading Competition - Saturday Morning

*********************

Jesse’s squad emerged from backstage to begin warming up on the floor. As she plopped down on the ground and started stretching she looked up in horror at her family in the stands.

Sonny, with her baby sister strapped to his chest, was sleeping and drooling; Billie, rocking pink hair and a scowl, was dressed in her judo gi because she refused to put on real clothes; and Amanda, who had a pacifier shoved into the corner of her mouth, was sitting with a confused look on her face.

“Is that your family?” One of Jesse’s new assistant coaches asked the 8-year-old when she noticed her looking up.

Jesse immediately shook her head. “I have no idea who those people are.” She then refocused her attention back to stretching.

Amanda, having finally remembered where she put the diaper bag, removed the pacifier from her mouth, grabbed the bag from underneath Billie’s seat and shoved the binky into it. She then looked up and saw that Jesse’s team was about to get started.

“Sonny,” Amanda called out to him. When she got no response she shouted out, “CARISI!”

“Overruled!” Sonny yelled as he was startled awake.

Amanda rolled her eyes. “Sorry to disturb you from your beauty sleep Judge, but Jesse’s squad is about to go on next. Not to mention you should be paying closer attention to the precious cargo you got over there.”

“She’s practically glued to me in this baby carrier.” Sonny said as he lifted up the sunglasses he had over his eyes to disguise the fact that he was sleeping. “We’re fine, Rollins.” He kissed his daughter on the forehead and then rubbed her little back.

The tiny blue eyed, brown haired four-month-old did appear to be very content as she quietly and comfortably rested on Sonny and took in the scenery.

Amanda was about to say something when she was interrupted from her thoughts by loud noises coming from the tablet Billie, who was sitting in between them, was playing a game on.

“Billie, can you put your headphones in?” She asked her daughter.

Billie nodded and put them on her ears.

“I still can’t believe we let her dye her hair pink.” Sonny said, shaking his head.

“They’re highlights.” Amanda reminded him. “And it’ll come out after a couple of washes. Did you wanna listen to her whine about it all summer long cause I didn’t.”

“Nope.” Sonny confirmed. “I take it back. Love the pink hair.”

Just then one of the cheer mom’s Amanda and Sonny loathed appeared before them.

“Amanda, Sonny.”

“Blair.” Amanda and Sonny said in unison, feigning smiles. “So nice to see you.” Amanda added.

“Likewise.” Blair said, then motioned to a woman standing beside her. “I wanted to introduce you both to my sister, Laura. She lives nearby and came out to see Alyssa cheer today.”

“Nice to meet you both.” Laura told the couple. She then shifted her gaze to the infant strapped to Sonny’s chest. “Your baby is adorable. What’s her name?”

“Vale.“ He said to Blair’s sister. “Like a wedding veil, but we spell it V-A-L-E.”

“That’s such a pretty and unique name. Where did it come from?”

“I think I saw it in one of those baby books.” Amanda told her.

“No you didn’t.” Billie, who had removed her headphones and was listening in, said. “I heard you and Sonny say you named her Vale because she was conceived at cousin Antonia’s wedding.”

An embarrassed Amanda’s face instantly turned bright red while Sonny began to laugh hysterically.

The sisters exchanged glances with each other, awkwardly smiled at them all and then quickly excused themselves.

Amanda looked at Billie, who shrugged and put her headphones back in.

She then shot her husband a look. “That laugh is the reason you’re not gonna get laid tonight.”

Sonny lowered his sunglasses back down over his eyes. “Oh please it wasn’t happenin’ tonight anyways.”

“It never happens.” He added underneath his breath so his wife couldn’t hear.

“It probably wouldn’t have.” Amanda admitted as she thought about how hectic their lives had become since Vale was born. “But I was gonna try to pencil ‘us time’ in for sometime late next week.”

“Really?” A surprised Sonny asked. “Will you pencil it back in if I go on diaper duty for the rest of the weekend?”

She pondered briefly before nodding. “Deal.”

Amanda then pulled out her phone, looked through her Google calendar and added an event to it. “I have us tentatively scheduled for next Sunday at 6a.”

Sonny smiled softly as he attempted to get more comfortable in his seat and tried his best to stay awake. “Maybe next month we’ll be able to squeeze in a date.”

“Maybe.” Amanda said, shrugging.