“Sargent Benson, I was hoping to find you,”
Turning and seeing the blond woman coming toward her Olivia couldn’t hid the eye roll that came next,“Mrs. Malko this really isn’t a good time.”
“I know this is difficult for you, but your son will get through this, he will never get measles again and he will be stronger because his body…”
Olivia wasn’t going to give her the chance to finish that sentence, “You really don’t want to get into this with me right now, my son is suffering, they are upping his antibiotics.”
“Over exposer to antibiotics may be why his immune system is so weak, that’s another thing you should think about…”
This woman was asking to have her teeth punched in, but the common sense side of the mother knew that would only cause a longer delay so she’d settle with using her words, “You may want to think about shutting your mouth my son wouldn’t have pneumonia if it weren’t for you.”
“Liv, Liv, is everything alright?” Her face softened just enough for him to see the fear in her eyes as she heard his voice and it broke his heart.
When he laid his hand on her arm her resolve almost crumbled, then she remembered the blond behind her and her anger flared once again as she replied, “No, his fever is spiking and if it doesn’t come down they might have to give him a spinal tap.” She shot daggers from her dark brown eyes as she jabbed the ‘door close’ button.
Dropping his head against the cold wood of the court house wall Rafael Barba said a prayer to whatever God was up there listing. Not that anyone knew that he had been dating Olivia since the beginning. He was there when she brought Noah home, he was there for the panicked hospital visits before this, and he was there for all the late night dippers and bottle feedings. He had been there through it all.
He had assumed Trudy Malko had left until he heard her snarky voice, “Oh my God, you’re his father.”
His head popped up so fast he was sure he had whiplash, “Excuse me,”
“You’re the father of Sargent Benson’s son, that’s the real reason that everyone is so intent on sending me to jail.”
The anger in his voice was only an expression of what showed on his face, “You broke the law, and you deserve to be punished for it. But so help me God if something worse happens to Noah, I’ll make sure you never see the light of day again.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“No, I’m promising you. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a trial to win.”
He began to walk away as he heard her speak again, "After my lawyer hears about this you won't have a trial anymore."
Stopping short the ADA quickly debated if the younger woman was wanting to be assaulted every time she spoke but he simply replied with his signature smirk, "We will see about that."
An hour later Rafael Barba sat in his office having just gotten off the phone with Olivia. Luckily they were holding off on the spinal tap for now, but Noah wasn't completely out of the woods yet. He wanted nothing more than to be at the hospital but he was due back in court in twenty minutes and he would be damned if anyone else was going to put this bitch in jail.
His heart jumped as he heard his office phone ring, "Rafael Barba...yes, I'll be right there."
And now he had to explain his love life to Judge Catano and try to keep his case afloat.
Flattening out the nonexistent wrinkles in his jacket the assistant district attorney stood in chambers trying not to show how nervous he was, because Rafael Barba didn't get nervous.
"Mr. Barba I've heard some interesting rumors surrounding you and Sargent Benson."
"I'm guessing from Ms. Malko and her attorney?"
Noticing the slight nod of her head Barba was almost ready to admitted defeat, but not before he argued his case.
"Sargent Benson is Noah Porters foster mother, my name is nowhere on his legal documents although we have been seeing each other since before his arrival. Our private relationship was never disclosed to anyone because of the professionalism maintained while at work. I see no reason for the jury to obtain this knowledge as it has nothing to do with Mrs. Malko's decision not to vaccinate her child and then to falsify that information on legal records."
Finally taking a breath for the first time since he had started talking he looked at Judge Catano who to his surprised had a slightly amused expression on her face.
"Mr.Barba, are you finished?" Nodding his head he gulped hard enough for her to see his Adam's apple throb.
"While I do not contain you keeping information like this from the district attorney's office, I do have to credit Sargent Benson's as well as your own professionalism from the beginning. And that's why much to the disagreement to Mrs.Malko and her attorney, I'm not allowing for your relationship with Noah Porter or Sargent Benson to be brought up in this case."
He couldn't help the grin that split his face wide open, "Thank you ma'am."
"Under the condition that you revile your relationship to both Benson and Noah to the DA's office after the completion of this case."
"Agreed your honor." Walking to the door with a new found pep in his step, turning back when he heard his name again.
"And Mr.Barba, try and pull anything like this in my court again, and things won't go as smoothly for you."
"Understood your honor."
Olivia Benson threw herself into one of the hard plastic chairs that lined the walls of the pediatric ICU. A day from hell didn't even begin to describe the way today was going; though luckily they were saying that the worst was over and her little man would be going home soon.
She had sent all of her team home or back to the office, they had spent more than enough time babysitting her at the hospital. She checked her phone for the hundredth time in an hour hoping to see even the slightest text from Rafael, at this point she just needed to draw strength from the simplest of contact.
Despite the circumstances she smiled as her background glowed against the dimmed lights of the waiting room. It was a quick photo op she had taken a couple weekends ago as she and Noah had spent a quiet Saturday at Rafael's apartment. Both her boys were sprawled out on the couch, Noah laid draped across her boyfriend’s chest his cubby fists gripping the previously unwrinkled tee shirt, and their soft snores had echoed throughout the lofty apartment. It was her small reminder that not everything in the world was bad.
Hearing the small cries coming from inside the secured doors she got up watching the nurses attempt to give Noah his next round of antibiotics. It broke her heart to see her son with tears streaming down his face as he called out for her.
Hearing the ding of the elevator, she used the last of her energy to turn and see who came through the doors; her heart nearly stopped when she saw Rafael walk in. His tie was undone and his neatly pressed shirt was now untucked and wrinkled, he looked like he himself had been to hell and back.
His soft smile gave her a newfound spirit as she engulfed him in a hug the minute he was within her reach. In his arms she felt safe enough to break down the walls she had been holding up all week. He wrapped his surprisingly strong arms around her and held her close. Noticing they were alone in the waiting room he breathed in her scent, letting her cry.
“I’m so sorry I couldn’t do more,”
“You have nothing to be sorry for, you did everything you could. It was a small battle won in a war that’s just beginning; but it’s over for us now, Rafi.”
She watched his gaze quickly shift to window so he could watch the young boy he considered a son, whose tears had dried up to only a few sniffles, “Eres tan fuerte mi hijo,” Her heart fluttered in her chest as it did every time she heard him refer to Noah as his son.
“Sargent Benson,” they both turned to see the night nurse standing behind them
Unwrapping himself from Rafael’s arms she grasped his hand as she answered, “Hey Sara, how is he?”
“He’s doing extremely well, we just gave him his last round of antibiotics for the night. If you all would like to go in the medication should keep him up for at least the next hour.”
Not five minutes later they both had both been gifted gowns and granted entrance to Noah’s secured room. Though things were looking up for the toddler, his doctors were still weary of germs effecting his weak immune system.
The minute he heard the door sweep open Noah’s big brown eyes lit up with a 100 watt smile, “Momma! Momma!”
“Hello my baby boy,” The laughter that erupted from his small frame was a welcomed change from the tears that had been there not long before.
“Rafi! Momma, Rafi!” In that moment not even the hospital room could put a damper on the family reunion.
“Mi Noah,” Rafael ran his hands through the dark soft hair before planting an uncharacteristic kiss to the side of his head, “You’ve been so strong, mi hijo.”
Looking over at Olivia he grinned; the light was back in her eyes, and a genuine smile on her face.
A small cubby finger that gripped his own brought him back to the present. He leaned down on the bed until he was eye level with the toddler and began tickling the bottom of his soft foot. And again the small giggles filled the room, but this time they were matched with that of the aged district attorney.
Nick let his small smile take over the tiredness of his eyes as he watched the family through the window. A small part of him felt as though he was intruding on something only meant for the makeshift family; but yet he couldn’t bring himself to look away. His partner and their District Attorney were never two he would have put together, but he was pretty sure he had never seen two happier people than in that moment. Their son was safe and a small piece of justice had been served.
Tucking the memo he had been sent to deliver back in his jacket pocket, the detective made his way quietly back to the elevator. The rest of the world could wait until tomorrow for Olivia Benson and Rafael Barba, tonight the person that would always need them the most had their undivided attention.