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“Do you have any plans for the weekend, Carisi?”

Sonny barely looks up from his notes, too busy scribbling down the name of a case Barba mentioned in passing, because he wants to look it up later. Sonny has been trying to impress Barba, he’s been trying to appear extra diligent, to appear like a good student, because he wants to shadow Barba again and Barba does not suffer fools gladly.

Speaking of, and not that Sonny considers himself a fool, but Barba’s attempt at making small talk is not a good sign.

Barba is probably bored. Sonny needs to find something interesting to say. Which is a tall order for a Friday night, a little before midnight, but Sonny has to try.

After he answers Barba’s question.

“Nah. No plans, counselor. I’ll probably just swing by my parents’ house at some point, Bella and my niece are gonna be there and I always…”

Sonny stops talking, just in time. He knows he shouldn’t ramble on about himself. Barba barely tolerates him as it is. Sonny needs to keep it short, and sweet, and professional, and maybe Barba will let him tag along in court again.

Court is awesome.

“Anyway. You know. Family stuff.”

Barba nods.

Barba hesitates, and then he speaks.

“I have a wedding to attend.”

Barba doesn’t look too happy. Sonny loves weddings, but he also knows there’s nothing worse than having to attend one out of obligation.

“Yikes.”

Barba actually smiles. Score one for Sonny.

Barba keeps smiling as he fiddles with his pen. He looks a little restless.

Sonny tries to read the situation.

It’s strange for Barba to be volunteering this information, to be volunteering anything about his private life. Sonny figures Barba is either really bored or he’s too preoccupied with that wedding, too annoyed, and he wants to talk about it. To vent.

Sonny takes one good look at Barba, at Barba’s frown, at Barba’s tense expression, and realizes it’s the latter.

“Can’t you skip it? Or is it a work thing, you gotta go for networking purposes? Or, wait, is it a family thing? Where you don’t show up for your cousin’s wedding ‘cause you had a final the next morning, and your aunt doesn’t talk to you for 3 months? I know a thing or two about that type of stuff.”

Barba smiles again.

“Neither.”

Oh.

Sonny is intrigued.

“Okay, so it’s not a work obligation, and it’s not a family obligation, so that leaves friends, but you wouldn’t look so bummed out if it was a friend of yours getting married.”

Sonny gets it, just as Barba’s eyes widen in surprise.

In discomfort.

It’s hilarious.

“What, counselor? Did you think I wouldn’t figure it out? I mean, I am a detective.”

Barba sneers.

“Barely.”

Sonny snorts.

“Yeah, yeah. So, it’s an ex, right? Probably a long relationship, ended amicably, and you’re still on good terms, and they invited you out of courtesy, and you can’t not go 'cause they’ll think you’re still pining over them.”

Barba narrows his eyes.

“They, Carisi?”

Sonny tries not to react as he picks up his coffee mug. The coffee is stale, but it will do just fine to cover up any nervous fidgeting.

“Uh. Yeah. I don’t know if… Maybe it’s a girl, maybe it’s a guy. I don’t want to assume.”

Barba nods.

“It’s a guy. And we were together for 3 years. And I may have done my share of pining.”

Sonny chokes on his coffee.

Barba looks unimpressed.

Barba must be feeling pretty down if he’s willing to divulge this to Sonny, of all people.

Sonny feels the need to say something.

Something nice.

"Oh. Okay. I’m sorry? You’ll… You’ll find somebody, counselor.”

Wait.

Now Barba looks unimpressed.

Wait.

No.

Now Barba looks interested.

“I think I just did.”

~ ~ ~

Sonny doesn’t know why he agreed to do this. Sonny doesn’t know why he let Barba pick him up at his place, Sonny doesn’t know why he got all dressed up for the wedding of some guy he’s never met.

“Like we agreed, counselor. I get to shadow you on three separate trials. Not three days. Three cases. My pick. Just so we’re clear.”

Oh yeah. That’s why.

Barba side-eyes him briefly, and Sonny is sure that side-eye would have lasted longer except Barba is driving, so he has to make do.

“Fine, Carisi. Just know that I will remember this. Your eagerness to help out a colleague in a time of need, for no personal gain whatsoever.”

Sonny smirks.

“Yeah, well, I will remember this too. Your eagerness to ask me out so you’d impress your-”

Barba turns his head almost violently. He looks angry. Sonny shouldn’t have said that.

“Carisi, if you tell anyb-”

“No, no, I won’t. That’s not what I meant, Barba. I wouldn’t do that. I’d never do that. I meant, I’ll remember this. I’m gonna tease you about it. When it’s just the two of us. Not in front of the others. Never. But, when it’s just us, and you try to make fun of me, I’ll be quick to remind you that you once asked me out on a date.”

Barba exhales. He looks appeased. He looks amused.

"Oh. Okay. I suppose I deserve that punishment. On top of the punishment of having to spend an evening with you.”

Sonny rolls his eyes.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m real fun at parties, Barba. You have no idea.”

Barba looks doubtful.

~ ~ ~

The guy, Barba’s guy, is pretty hot. Sonny can definitely see him with Barba. He’s around Barba’s age, maybe a little younger, and he looks all distinguished with his gray hair and his blue eyes, kinda like a shorter, bulkier Anderson Cooper.

Sonny is about to turn and say that to Barba, ask if anybody ever made that comparison, when he sees just how Barba is looking at this guy.

Barba looks wistful.

Sonny has never seen Barba like that before. He’s seen Barba emotional, but only because of their cases. Never for a personal reason. When it’s personal, Barba’s features look softer. He looks kinder. More mellow.

More sad.

It sucks.

Sonny decides to do whatever he can to distract Barba. Sonny decides to try and make this evening as fun as possible.

The worst part’s over, anyway. The wedding is over, and the reception is just starting, and they’re waiting to greet the couple, and there’s a legitimate line that goes around the room and now Barba has to wait for, like, 45 minutes before he can speak to a guy who probably broke his heart.

Maybe the worst part is not over.

Alcohol, Sonny thinks.

Thank God for the open bar. Thank God for those brave souls standing in line who have already gotten a drink, so Sonny won’t look weird for doing the same.

“Want a drink, counselor? What’s your poison?”

Barba snaps out of it, grabs Sonny’s elbow and pulls him closer.

“Don’t call me counselor, Caris… Dominick. Call me Rafael.”

Sonny doesn’t know where to begin.

He really hopes he doesn’t blurt out 'You smell nice.’

Thankfully, he doesn’t get a chance to embarrass himself.

“Just for tonight, obviously. Don’t get any ideas. Tomorrow, it’s back to counselor.”

Sonny nods.

“Okay, Rafael, but why you gotta call me Dominick?”

“Because I refuse to go around introducing you as 'my boyfriend Sonny’. That sounds like a bad 90s movie.”

Sonny cracks up.

He’s irrationally disappointed he won’t ever get to hear Barba calling him Sonny. He’s pretty sure this wedding was his best chance, and Sonny just needs one of his colleagues to call him Sonny, just once, because he’s been at SVU for a year and a half now and it’s getting ridiculous. Still, at least the word 'Sonny’ did come out of Barba’s lips. That’s something. Even Barba only did it to mock him.

“My Cousin Vinny is an awesome movie.”

Barba snorts.

~ ~ ~

It’s time.

Barba visibly steels himself.

They’re literally 2 feet away from the grooms.

Sonny puts an arm around Barba, tries not to look hesitant, tries not to look like he’s afraid Barba will rip it off.

Sonny leans closer.

Whispers.

“You’re way hotter than his husband.”

Barba lets out a surprised laugh.

Sonny smirks, and Barba keeps snickering, and for a second it looks like Barba has forgotten where he is, and Sonny’s plan worked because it’s their turn now, and they’re standing in front of the happy couple looking for all the word like they’re the happy couple.

“Rafael! Hi. I’m so glad you could make it. You haven’t met my fianc… My husband, I’m still not used to that. My husband, Travis.”

Sonny cringes. Sonny wants to give this guy the what-for, wants to ask why he’s rubbing his happiness in Barba’s face.

“Hello, Antonio. Travis, nice to meet you. This is my boyfriend, Sonny.”

Sonny tries not to show his surprise.

Sonny just grins, extends his hand without taking his other arm from Barba’s back.

“Hi, Antonio, Travis. Detective Carisi. Nice to meet you both. Congratulations.”

Travis, the husband, he looks impressed.

Barba actually preens. Sonny didn’t check with him about playing the 'detective’ card beforehand, but it looks like Barba approves.

~ ~ ~

As the night wears on, Barba starts getting more relaxed. Now the hard part really is over.

Now they just sit, and they eat surprisingly decent food and they drink.

Mostly, they drink.

Music is playing. People are dancing. Maybe if Sonny gets a few more drinks in him he’ll ask Barba to dance. Not seriously. Just to see Barba’s reaction.

Sonny turns to Barba, to make sure he’s not sulking again. If he is, Sonny will ask him to dance.

Sonny has tried really hard to have a silly comment at the ready, to keep Barba distracted all night.

This will take more than a silly comment.

Barba looks wistful again, looks sad again, as the happy couple dances the night away.

Sonny needs to say something quickly.

“How come you asked me to come, Barba? Was it 'cause you wanted to show up with a hot piece of ass? Impress your ex?”

Barba manages to tear his eyes from the dance floor, just to scoff at Sonny.

To scoff and to smile.

“Because I knew you wouldn’t dream of saying no, Sonny. And stop calling me Barba.”

Oh. That’s right.

“OK, Rafael. Why wouldn’t I say no?”

“Because all you ever want to do is get in my good graces. And this is a pretty good way of doing that.”

Sonny nods.

“Fair enough. Hey, just out of curiosity, was 3 cases a good deal for me? Would you have gone for 5?”

Barba chuckles.

“Not a chance. You did strike a pretty good deal, actually. You asked just what I was willing to offer. I’m impressed.”

Sonny grins.

Barba smiles, but then he turns his eyes to the dance floor again.

Dammit.

Sonny has to say s-

“I didn’t want to get married. That’s why we broke up. I still don’t want to get married. All this, I hate all this stuff. But, you know.”

Sonny nods.

Sonny does know.

Sonny wants to reciprocate. Talk about his own woes, to distract Barba some more.

“I had a girlfriend, in college, and I thought she was the one. I thought for sure we were gonna get married. I had introduced her to my family and all. It lasted over 4 years, all through college and then some. And then it just fell apart. I became a cop, and she hated it, and it was over. Just like that. She got married, she’s got 2 kids now. I see their pictures all over Bella’s facebook page.”

Barba looks sympathetic.

And curious.

“I didn’t know you were bisexual, Caris… Sonny.”

Sonny is confused.

“Wait, you thought I was gay?”

Now Barba looks confused too.

“Yes. Why? You’re not? Are you straight?”

Barba looks hilariously offended by that notion.

Sonny is really confused.

“No, I’m bi. But, if you thought I was gay, why didn’t you say something?”

Barba exhales. Looks relieved, for some reason.

“Like what, Sonny? Congratulations?”

Sonny scoffs.

“No. Just, if I were straight, and you asked me to help you out tonight, that’s one thing. No big deal. But if I were gay, that would be different. This is kind of like a date. I mean, what if I had a boyfriend?”

Barba laughs out loud.

Sonny does not appreciate that.

“Wow, okay. You better be laughing about the 'kind of like a date’ part, Barba. Not about me possibly having a boyfriend.”

Barba gets himself together.

Eventually.

“I was laughing at both, as a matter of fact. But, come on, Carisi. I was fairly confident that you don’t have a boyfriend.”

Sonny notices they’re back to using 'Barba’ and 'Carisi’, but he doesn’t say anything. He prefers it. It’s more natural. It feels fake, when Barba calls him Sonny.

“Yeah? How come? Like I can’t get a date? Because, pardon me if I’m wrong, but you were the one who couldn’t get a date tonight.”

Barba smirks.

"Look, Carisi. I wasn’t going to mention this, but I probably should. Just so there are no misunderstandings. I know you don’t have a boyfriend because I know you’re attracted to me. I know about your little crush.”

Sonny frowns.

“My what?”

Barba shoots him a deadpan look.

“No point in denying it, detective. I just want to acknowledge it, and make sure you don’t get any ideas after tonight, because I don’t feel the same way about you.”

Sonny stares.

“Uh, I’m pretty sure you do feel the same way, Barba.”

Barba gets an almost pitying look on his face.

“I’m sorry, detective. I realize rejection can be hard to h-”

“No. You do feel the same way because I’m not attracted to you either.”

Barba looks stunned.

“What?”

“I’m not into you, Barba. Where are you even getting this from? When did I ever do anything to make you think that I’m attracted to you? And, by the way, even if I was, a 'little crush’? What, am I 16? At least give me some credit. Call it feelings, or something.”

Sonny knows that’s not what he should be focusing on, but that phrase, ‘little crush’, it kind of rubbed him the wrong way.

Sonny takes a breath and considers some things. Considers his own behaviour, and Barba’s.

Sonny is really trying to see this from Barba’s perspective, but he can’t seem to grasp how Barba could have gotten that vibe from him. They barely ever interact.

Barba has always been a dick to him, save for the last few months. Sonny’s attitude has always remained cordial, ‘cause that’s what Sonny does. Where does a ‘little crush’ fit in? They’re just colleagues.

Maybe Barba is talking about the wedding. Fine, maybe Sonny did overdo it a little with the fake flirting earlier, but he was trying to appear like a doting boyfriend, to stick it to Barba’s ex, as a friendly gesture. But it’s a long way from that to a 'little crush’.

Meanwhile, Barba continues to look stunned.

“You’re serious. You’re not just saying this to save face.”

Sonny laughs.

“Wow. Talk about an ego. Yes, counselor. I’m serious.”

Barba looks flabbergasted, still.

“Then why do you keep hovering around me? Constantly? Hanging from my every word? Asking to shadow me all the tim… Oh.

Sonny tries not to laugh.

“Yeah, oh. Look, I think you’re an amazing lawyer, and I think I can learn a lot from you. I don’t mean to pester you or nothing, just. You’re awesome. But that’s it. I want to shadow you 'cause I want to shadow you.”

Barba looks…

Disappointed?

Embarrassed?

Upset?

Rejection is hard to handle.

Sonny belatedly realizes that he’s the one rejecting Barba.

Sonny thinks maybe he should have lied.

Just to spare Barba’s feelings, especially on a difficult night like this one.

Just to make things less awkward.

Just to keep Barba from hating him even more.

Just to make sure Barba will still want to work with him afterwards.

Sonny decides to say something.

It’s not even a lie.

“Don’t get me wrong, Barba. You’re definitely hot. I mean, totally. No question. Just, I don’t really see you that way. It’d be inappropriate. Unprofessional, even. You know, like asking a colleague to be your date for a wedding.”

Barba doesn’t laugh. Doesn’t smile. Doesn’t react to Sonny’s joke at all.

“Wait, Carisi. This. Right now. Telling me I look hot. All your compliments.”

“What about ‘em? I got eyes. I don’t have to be into you to think you look good.”

“And the touching? You haven’t taken your hands off me all night.”

Sonny doesn’t say 'I was trying to keep you distracted.’ Sonny doesn’t think Barba would appreciate being manipulated, even for it was for his own good.

“I consider this evening an undercover mission, counselor. I happen to take that very seriously.”

Barba does smile this time.

A little.

“Oh.”

“Yeah, oh. So, let me get this straight. You thought I’ve been hitting on you the entire night?”

Barba shakes his head.

“Try the entire year.

Sonny is the one who looks stunned now.

“Uh. Okay. So you thought I liked you, for a whole year, and you still asked me to come here tonight? So I could watch you pine over some other guy? Didn’t you consider my feelings at all?”

Barba’s smile is wider now. He’s smirking, almost.

“I thought it would add a touch of realism.”

Sonny snorts.

“Wow. Using my imaginary feelings against me. Harsh, counselor.”

Barba smiles again.

“Shut up, Sonny.”

'Sonny.’

It doesn’t sound fake, now.

~ ~ ~

Sonny drives on the way back. Barba has had a few too many. He’s not drunk, but Sonny doesn’t want to take any chances.

“Thanks, Sonny. For tonight. It went better than I expected.”

Apparently, Barba is drunk enough to still call him Sonny. That’s something.

“You’re welc… Hey. Why? What were you expecting? That I’d blow it?”

Barba smirks.

“That you’d blow me, maybe.”

Sonny’s jaw drops, before he starts laughing.

Wow. You’re a fun drunk, counselor. Remind me to ply you with eggnog next Christmas, will you? So I can laugh while you say something like that in front of everybody and make a fool of yourself.“

Barba chuckles.

"Seriously, I appreciate it, Sonny. You can have 4 cases.”

Sonny grins.

“Really? You sure? You might get used to working with me. You’ll miss me when I’m gone.”

“You don’t have to go. You’ll pass the bar, and afterwards maybe you can come work for us at the DA’s office. You wouldn’t be half bad at it.”

Maybe Barba is more drunk than Sonny thought.

Either way, that’s the closest thing to a compliment Barba has ever said to him, and Barba sounded genuine, and Sonny will take it.

“Uh. Thanks. Thank you.”

Barba nods.

“We’re here, Sonny. Pull up over there.”

Sonny does.

Sonny thinks this night went better than he expected, too.

“Are you good to go up, counselor? Need some help?”

Barba considers it.

“I think that would be a good idea.”

Sonny gets out of the car and dutifully opens the door for Barba.

“Wait, Sonny, how are you getting hom-”

“Don’t worry about it. Let’s just get you up.”

Barba nods and lets Sonny take one of his elbows. Sonny isn’t really holding Barba up. Sonny is just waiting to catch Barba, in case he trips or stumbles.

He doesn’t. If Sonny didn’t know any better, he’d think Barba was milking it.

Barba is walking steadily.

The doorman helps with the front door, but Barba appears to have trouble with his house keys.

“Here, let me.”

Sonny opens the door and Barba gets in, before turning around to face him.

“I’d ask you inside, Sonny, but…”

“But I’m not gonna blow you, so why bother, right?”

Barba chuckles again. He looks relaxed, and tired, and a little sleepy and kind of cute, frankly.

“Yeah. Anyway, I’m sorry for assuming. You might wanna be more clear with your ass-kissing in the future, detective. More direct. More straightforward. Don’t go around calling people hot and smiling with your dimples. A guy can get the wrong idea.”

Sonny snorts.

“I’ll keep that in mind, counselor. Goodnight.”

Barba smiles.

“Goodnight.”

'Goodnight,’ Barba says, and then he leans in.

Sonny barely has time to react before Barba plants one on him.

Barba’s mouth is open, Barba’s tongue slips out, licks at Sonny’s bottom lip, just for a second.

Sonny kisses back, instinctively, Sonny kisses back until Barba closes the door on his face.

Sonny isn’t even sure Barba realized what he did.

Sonny realized.

Sonny realized, alright.

Sonny felt a jolt. All over his body.

Sonny doesn’t… Didn’t…

Sonny never…

Crap.

The door opens again.

Sonny is still standing in the same spot. Frozen. Dumbstruck.

Barba looks at him.

Barba realized too.

Barba doesn’t look half as conflicted as Sonny feels.

“What if I blow you?”

Sonny doesn’t laugh this time.

Maybe because this time it’s not a joke.

It’s not a joke, but it is crazy.

“I’m not that kind of guy, counselor.”

Barba seems to take that in stride.

“Alright. How about a nightcap, then? A platonic one? I have way better liquor here than what they served at that reception.”

Sonny agrees.

~ ~ ~

Sonny shouldn’t have agreed.

Barba did blow him.

Sonny blew Barba, too.

That was the least of what they did.

And now it’s Sunday morning and Sonny is naked in Barba’s bed and Barba is still asleep and their legs are tangled and Sonny’s leg is trapped under Barba’s nice, thick, hairy thigh and oh God.

This is crazy.

Sonny tries to slide his leg from under Barba’s thigh, slowly, without shifting his weight too much, trying not to wake Barba up.

It’s not easy.

It’s impossible, in fact.

Barba opens one eye.

And then both.

Barba opens both eyes and he shoots up like someone shocked him with a cattle prod.

“Uh.”

That’s all Sonny has to offer, as he sits up slowly, holding the sheet over himself.

Barba looks defensive.

“I thought you weren’t 'into me’, Sonny.”

Oh.

It’s still 'Sonny’.

And, apparently, Barba likes to use sassy air quotes before breakfast.

Also, what the hell?

“Yeah, and I was pretty clear about it, and you still kissed me, and you still invited me in, so don’t act like this is my fault.”

Barba’s expression changes.

“I’m not saying it’s your fault. I’m saying you could have stopped it.”

Sonny…

Sonny knows that’s true.

“Yeah, well. I didn’t.”

Barba exhales.

“Were you lying? It’s okay if you were. Were you lying about not being attracted to m-”

Jesus, counselor. Conceited much? No. I wasn’t lying. I just-”

“Because I was.”

That shuts Sonny up.

“I was lying, when I said I didn’t feel the same. I was attracted to you. I am. I have been. For a while. From the start.”

Sonny is too shocked to even blink.

Barba keeps talking.

“That’s why I asked you to come with me to the wedding, and not someone else. I hadn’t thought about my ex in years, but when I got that invitation, it still hit me. I knew that if you were there to distract me, I’d be able to get through it without sulking all night.

“That’s why I brought it up. I thought you’d jump at the chance to get me alone. When you negotiated that deal, about shadowing me, I thought it was an act. I thought you were trying to hide the real reason you agreed to come with me. I thought we were on the same page.

"I wasn’t joking about you blowing me at the end of the night. I was counting on it. I was counting on your little crush. I was counting on you hitting on me. I was even going to act like I was doing you a favor. But I wanted it.”

Sonny is speechless.

Wait.

No he’s not.

“What do you mean from the start?”

Barba looks uncomfortable.

“From the start. When we first met.”

Sonny’s mind is blown.

“When we first met what? From the start what? You’ve wanted to sleep with me? This whole time?”

Barba nods, and his face suggests that he knows just how insane that is.

“And that’s what you do when you meet somebody you wanna bang? Treat 'em like dirt and then kiss ‘em out of the blue, a year later, hoping they’ll still wanna do you?”

Barba snorts.

“Well, in my defense, it worked.”

Sonny stares.

Barba laughs, probably at Sonny’s expression.

This is crazy.

Sonny would be regretting the entire night, except the sex had been amazing and, well. Sonny doesn’t regret a thing. He just wants to leave with his dignity intact.

“Anyway, counselor. Your little plan worked, good for you. Now I gotta go.”

Barba turns serious.

“No, you…  I didn’t mean it like that.”

Sonny didn’t mean it like that either, not really. He was just trying to play it cool, but he doesn’t mind putting a guilt trip on Barba, even if by accident. Barba deserves it, just for that whole, 'Are you sure you’re not attracted to me? Really sure? Really really sure?’ business.

Sonny tries to get up, tries to pull at the sheet, to maybe wrap it around his waist, but Barba is sitting on it and won’t move. Sonny gives up and just stands. It’s nothing Barba hasn’t seen before.

Sonny starts looking for his clothes.

“Yeah, you didn’t mean it like that. Except you literally said your whole plan for the evening was to get into my pants, Barba.”

Barba is very clearly trying not to stare at Sonny’s naked body.

Sonny tries not to smirk.

Neither of them succeeds.

“That wasn’t my whole plan.”

Sonny looks up from where he’s bent over, looking for his other sock.

“What?”

This time, Barba makes no attempt to conceal the fact he had just been staring at Sonny’s ass.

“Getting into your pants, it wasn’t my whole plan. It was step 1. Step 2 would be to make it into a habit. To turn a one-time thing into a colleagues-with-benefits type of arrangement. To keep sleeping with you, after you inevitably asked for more.”

Sonny snorts.

Sonny would find that incredibly presumptuous, except the sex had been amazing and, well. Barba is arrogant, but at least he can back it up.

That doesn’t mean Sonny is willing to admit it, of course.

“Alright. That’s not presumptuous at al-”

“Step 3 would be to pretend that your little crush was starting to rub off on me. That I was starting to get fond of you, against my better judgment.”

Sonny narrows his eyes.

“Step 4, that’s obvious. I’d return your feelings, and we’d start dating. Officially.”

Sonny drops the sock he was holding.

Sonny really hopes there’s no step 5.

“Okay. Okay, counselor. I’m just gonna leave, before you tell me that step 7 is us having a baby via surrogate.”

Barba laughs out loud.

“I haven’t gotten that far. I’m only up to step 4.”

Sonny looks at Barba.

It’s like Barba is a whole new person. He’s smiling. He’s relaxed. He’s teasing, but without a hint of condescension. Playfully. Sweetly. Getting laid will do that to you, Sonny supposes.

This Barba, this Barba Sonny could like.

This Barba likes Sonny. This Barba concocted an entire plan in order to 'officially’ date Sonny. This Barba came clean, about everything, when he could have just acted like this was a simple one-night stand.

Except it wasn’t a one night stand.

It was never supposed to be a one-night stand.

Barba had a plan.

Sonny looks at Barba again.

Sonny thinks about Barba’s joke, about Sonny inevitably asking for more.

Barba is the one who wants more.

Last night, Barba was the one who kissed him. The one who ‘jokingly’ offered to blow him. The one who invited him in. The one who leaned in, after another drink or three, and whispered, “Can I blow you now?”, his voice getting Sonny hard in a matter of seconds.

Barba is the one who wants more.

That’s what this is. This confession. Barba is asking for more.

A few hours earlier, before their evening at the wedding, before their night together, Sonny would think that was the craziest thing he’s ever heard.

He still thinks that.

“That’s a nice plan, Barba. And it only took you a year, too. There’s just one problem.”

Barba’s smile gets a little tighter.

“Yes. A false premise. There are no feelings to return. You don’t have a little crush on me, apparently. Looks like we’ll have to stop at step 1.”

Sonny doesn’t know what to say.

Sonny knows what he wants to say, but not if he should say it.

Sonny thinks about it.

Sonny thinks, what the hell.

“I don’t know, counselor. Step 2, it sounded pretty good.”

Barba’s tight smile turns into a smirk.

“Yeah?”

Sonny sits back down on the bed, right next to Barba. They’re not touching.

Sonny wants to touch.

“Yeah. And, who knows, maybe we could still do step 3, but the other way around. Maybe your little crush will rub off on me, someday. Rafael.

Barba’s smirk turns into a smile again.

A genuine, bright smile.

Barba pulls Sonny in for a kiss.

They touch.

Barba’s hands, they go to Sonny’s face. Even though Sonny is completely naked. Barba could touch him anywhere.

Barba touches his face.

Sonny takes hold of Barba’s wrists.

Sonny can feel Barba’s pulse on his fingertips.

It’s going really fast.

This is crazy.

Sonny thinks maybe they could do step 4, too.