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Regrets

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 “I wish I never broke my rule of not dating co-workers for her,” Rafael grumbles. He decided to drown his sorrows over his not-so-recent breakup with Liv with a glass of scotch.  He thought he was ok with it for a while. After the shooting of Terrence Reynolds, consequences soon followed, making work very stressful. Everyone was breathing down his neck and Liv's too. Pinning them against each other. Telling Liv that her true loyalties lie within the NYPD. They viewed the ADA as a snake and a traitor for daring to prosecute the officers involved in such a shooting. Rafael wished he could get it through their thick skulls that everyone had to obey the laws. No one was above the law, not even the police.  The stress finally got to them and they decided to take a break from one another.

 Now Rafael wasn't one to get jealous. In his mind, jealousy was for the petty and he had no time for it.  Liv was her own woman. She could date anyone she wanted. When he found out she moved on and had gotten with Tucker, a pang of jealousy hit him. Anger too. Edward Tucker. The Captain of the IAB that she used to loathe and roll her eyes at whenever someone mentioned his name or whenever he appeared at the precinct. The one they used to gossip about together. How they used to say how much they disliked him for being a total hardass, even by Rafael’s standards. Fucking Tucker. He truly hoped it was a joke, she would say “APRIL FOOLS!” and they would have a good laugh over it. However, it was not a joke and Liv was quite serious about her involvement with Tucker.

But a relationship with Tucker? What changed? Was it because he helped Liv when she was taken hostage at that one brownstone? Rafael was there too. Worried. Hoping she'll make it out. Holding his breath. Feeling a chill roll down his back whenever he heard Liv's voice cracking on speaker phone. How he hated how scared she sounded. He should have been the one to talk to her. To calm her. To tell her that everything was going to be ok. He was even willing to take time off to help her babysit Noah and take him to the zoo when it was all over. To help her out just as a friend and nothing more. He supposed that Tucker took what he had away from him, maybe on purpose. No, he was only assuming this. He cursed how jealous his mind had become. How this ate at him for a few weeks.  Her newly found relationship with that guy was his breaking point.

Back to the present where Rafael was at some hole-in-the-wall bar. He drinks another shot of scotch in hopes of erasing these painful memories and jealous feelings out of his mind. In his increasing inebriated state, he started to spill  his heartache to Carisi. How was Carisi able to do that? It almost seemed like magic how at ease Rafael became around him in his most vulnerable state. Rafael was normally so guarded. Then again, the alcohol within him helped make it easier to talk about such painful things. When did he start talking to Carisi in the first place? That’s right. When Carisi just so happened to walk into the bar he was at and spotted him. It was so typical of Carisi to ask him at least 10 questions, asking him if he was ok and why he looked upset.  If he was sober, he would tell him to mind his own business. Yet here he was admitting how much this breakup has been affecting him. Carisi kept telling him “Hey, it's ok” and “Maybe Lieu will change her mind?”

Rafael felt guilty having these kinds of emotions. Liv looked happy being with Tucker like he used to make her. He thought back to when he reported their relationship to 1PP. How it wasn’t the best thing in terms of mending their rapport. He could tell she was thinking he did it out of anger, but he did it to protect her. That if it wasn’t him reporting them, someone else would. They would be in actual trouble with possibly tampering with an investigation. The very thought of his office prosecuting his own best friend scared him. He would not and could not let that happen. Rafael knew his way around the court system and what rules were in place. He used his knowledge to their advantage. She didn’t see it that way and it pained Rafael to see Liv was hurt over it. Now Rafael barely gets a smile out of her, even when he tries to make a joke to ease the tension between the two.  Even if he couldn't get his girl back, he wanted their friendship to be restored again. He missed their conversations. He missed being each other's confidants. Everything is too professional between them now, like they were never even friends at all.

Rafael notices Carisi seemed a little tipsier than before. However, his reason for drinking was because he passed the Bar. He was celebrating and having a good time. Rafael smiles a little. He felt proud that Carisi passed first time go, which is not an easy task to do. Then again, Rafael was the one who tutored him. Carisi  had to have passed. There was no other outcome. It was no secret he was reluctant in helping him at first until Liv convinced him otherwise. After a while, he started to enjoy his company more and Carisi asking him “Am I right?” every so often. As he taught him, he learned that Carisi was genuinely passionate about the inner workings of the justice system. Rafael appreciated the fact that Carisi learned from his mistakes. That he never once complained about being wrong.

Then he remembered how he treated Carisi in the beginning. Why was Carisi so goddamn kind to him the entire time he's known him? Rafael thought he shouldn't waste his time with him. Carisi should have fun, leave him alone with his misery, and not worry about Rafael's love life. Rafael wanted to be the only one to figure out his problems. How he wanted to tell him to leave him alone and go have fun. If only Rafael was in a better state of mind he would join him in his celebration. How he hated how everything seemed like it was falling apart for him in recent months. How he wanted to drink the pain and regret away, yet these memories were coming back tenfold.

Rafael wakes up the next morning to find himself in his own bed. He had no recollection of how he got there or when he did. On top of that, he had a massive headache and he felt a little nauseous. The worst part was the sunlight shining through his windows, which hurt his eyes. So much so he wanted to punch himself in the face to stop the pain. He flops back down on the bed, shoving his face into a pillow, letting the coolness of it relieve his eyes for a moment. How much did he drink last night? As he turns over, he sees someone's back. “What?!”

The person turns over. As blurry as his vision was, there was no mistaking it for Carisi, who was still wearing his clothes from last night.

“Counsellah, you're awake?” Carisi greets him with a smile.

Wait, why was Carisi in his apartment and in his bed? His head pounded more and his heart dropped into the pit of his stomach, “Oh Christ, did we?”

“No,” Carisi shakes his head. “You got friggin' wasted and cryin’ and I took you home. Took ya a long while to get you to sleep. It was when I cuddled you that-”

Rafael cocks an eyebrow, “You cuddled me?”

“I know that sounds weird. Ok, it is weird, but I did. You asked me to. It was the only thing to stop your cryin’ and to get you to sleep.” Carisi starts to get up, “I promise I didn't do anything else.”

“I believe you,” Rafael's cheeks flushed. He was totally embarrassed.  “Don't say a word to anyone about any of this,” he says in a stern matter.

“Won't. Promise,” Carisi makes a gesture of zipping his lips shut. “Need me for anything else? I can cook you breakfast to help with your hangover.”

Rafael lied there for a moment. Now Carisi was going to cook for him like Suzy Homemaker. That was too much. “No. No, thank you. “

“Are you sure?”

Rafael snaps at him, “Yes, I’m sure!”

Carisi jumps a little, taken aback at Rafael's tone of voice. He stands there and says nothing, looking sorry.

Rafael soon regretted yelling at him as it made his headache worse. He rubs his temples, “I don't feel good. Haven't had a hangover this bad since college.” He puts his face into the pillow again, groaning.

“Let me get you some water and some aspirin, at least.”

Rafael rolls his eyes, “Ok, ok. Medicine cabinet. Second shelf. There's a cup on the sink.” He senses part of the bed shift. He missed that familiarity of when Liv was there. Of someone sleeping in his bed, comforting him and vice versa. The bed that he had now was meant for two.  It was too big to be alone in. Once more, those dreadful emotions returned.  He hated how empty his apartment had become.  How lonely he had become and how he became so bitter about everything. His conscience was telling him, “Be nicer to Carisi. He did bring you home safe and sound afterall.” He sighs for a moment. “I guess,” he mumbles into his pillow as he hears a plastic cup placed down on his nightstand.

Carisi asks, “You guess what?”

He bites his lip and turns his head to face Carisi, rubbing his forehead and his eyes. “S-So...” He pauses for a moment. Apologising was never an easy thing for Rafael to do. All he knew was he had to. “Sorry for being rude to you before and thank you for bringing me home.”

“Not a problem, Counsellah. Here.” Carisi hands Rafael the aspirin.

Rafael sits up slowly, tossing the covers off. He takes the pills, drinks his water, and swallows them. “Thanks.”

Carisi smile, “You're welcome. I'll leave you to let you rest.”

As he starts to leave, Rafael speaks up, “Wait.”

Carisi looks over his shoulder, “Yeah?”

Rafael rubs the back of his head, “Actually, breakfast sounds good right now.”

A slight grin appears on Carisi's face,  asking, “Really?”

“Yes, I need something in me that wasn't distilled in a barrel.” Rafael stands up, using the nightstand to steady himself. He was still a little woozy, but his headache had lessened, and he could manage.

 “What do you want?” Carisi was now bouncing on his toes, looking very eager to cook for him.

Rafael shrugs, “Anything, honestly. Surprise me.”

“I know just the thing!” Carisi leads Rafael out of his room and to his kitchen.