Joe had the gun pointed at Olivia’s head. He had her cell phone in his other.
“Now, who’s someone who cares about you? Someone who cares whether you live or die?”
Rafael Barba. His name immediately crossed Liv’s mind.
“I want you to call them. Now.” Joe grabbed her wrist pushing the phone into her hand roughly.
She winced as his hand wrapped around her already bruised arm. Dialing the number she’s known by heart for the last three years she takes a shuddering breath, wondering if the rattling of her ribs is just a figment of her imagination or if the bastard had actually broken them.
“Liv.” Barba sighed out her name after picking up. He had her on speaker so that the rest of the squad could hear the conversation.
Before Olivia could finish, the phone was ripped out of her hand. Joe walked behind the Lieutenant, placing a hand on her shoulder rather forcefully.
“Rafa, huh?” Joe looked down at Olivia, smirking at her.
Barba gritted his teeth. “Put Lieutenant Benson back on the phone.”
Joe crouched down, yanking Liv’s hair eliciting a yelp out of her. “She’s alive. That’s all you need to know right now. But what I want to know, Rafa, is how far you’re willing to go to keep your precious girlfriend alive.”
Rafael ran his hand over his face. Without even consulting with the squad and the hostage negotiator, he blurted out, “Let me take her place. If you need something, I can get it for you. Faster than the Lieutenant can.” Rafael had no idea if that was true or not, he just wanted Olivia out of there.
“What do you say, Liv? Should I invite him in? I mean, you’ll get to see your son. What was his name again?” Joe squeezed her shoulder, whispering in her ear. “Noah, wasn’t it?”
Olivia jerked out of his grasp. “Don’t talk about my son Joe. Just ask for what you want and get your hands off of me.”
Barba’s heart dropped as he made eye contact with Fin, who seemed to be covering his worry a lot better than the ADA at the moment. Joe? His hands were on her? What had he done to her? Fin wrote down the name Joe on the whiteboard and urged Barba to keep talking. The more Barba talked, the more information they were likely to get. “Joe, was it? Listen, why don’t you let me come in and trade places with Lieutenant Benson?”
“No. No!” Liv would be dammed if Rafael came. She wouldn’t let him get hurt for her.
A sharp crack, the sound a gun made when forcefully meeting skin, echoed throughout the room the squad was in. Not shortly after a small whimper followed. Barba barely heard it over the sound of his heart beating rapidly in his chest. He knew she would try her hardest to not show any pain in front of this man or for the squad for that matter. He knew because she had told him once, after one too many drinks at Forlini’s. “If I cant protect myself, how am I fit to run this squad, and how can they trust me?” That is what had reverberated through Rafael’s mind. Ever since Lewis, she doubted herself at every turn. Granted it had gotten better but she still had her moments, and he knew that right now she was trying to keep it together for her team, trying not to show any pain.
“I don’t believe you have a say in any of this anymore Olivia. So Rafael, you can either get your ass in this house right now, or I shoot your gorgeous girlfriend in the head, ending the fun before it even gets started.” Joe pushed the barrel of the gun against Liv’s forehead. “What’ll it be?”
Olivia squeezed her eyes shut, willing the tears to disappear. She didn’t need to see her face to know that she had a giant gash running from her eyebrow to her cheek bone from the gun.
“Oh beautiful, don’t cry. You’ll see Rafa soon enough.
To hear she was crying was the final push that led him to make his decision. “Fine. I will trade places with Lieutenant Benson as long as you promise to let her and the rest of the family go. You don’t need them anymore Joe.” Barba was squeezing his fist together so tightly his knuckles were turning white.
“You hear that Lieutenant? Your boyfriend Barba is gonna come in. No tricks though Counselor. You can bring two EMT’s to get the father out and don’t come armed. I also want you to bring in a set of handcuffs. Do you understand me?” Joe walked over to the window and looked out, seeing a multitude of officers and other types of law enforcement.
“You have my word Joe.”
The family had been let go, even the father, taken out on a stretcher by two EMT’s. One of the EMT’s being Mike Dodds who was sent in to get a look at the situation to let Barba and the squad know what was happening before he went inside. After being prepped by the hostage negotiator, Barba made his way to the house. Rafael went up to the door and before he could knock, Joe opened the door pulling him inside and cuffed his hands in front of him, forcing him to sit across from Olivia.
“So good of you to join us Counselor.” Joe had both of his hands on Olivia’s shoulders.
Barba took in Liv’s condition. Her face was bruised all over and she looked like she was trying to lean to one side. Most likely trying to keep the pressure off of her ribs. “You have me now Joe. Let Lieutenant Benson go.” Rafael wanted her out of there as soon as possible.
“Actually,” Joe trailed his gun across Olivia’s jaw and down her collarbone. “I think I’m gonna keep both of you a little while longer.” He leaned in closer to Liv, sniffing her hair. “Until I figure out the plan, I’m sure you can help me with that, right Lieutenant?”
Barba couldn’t just stand there and watch him run his hands all over Olivia’s body. “Get away from her before I break every bone in your body.” Rafael growled out at Joe.
Joe let out a laugh and walked over to Barba. “Someone’s protective. You were right Olivia, he really does care about you.”
“Of course I do.” Barba seethed. “She’s my best friend and I love her.” So much for keeping it all bottled up, Barba thought to himself.
“What?” Liv’s eyes went wide. She knew Rafael loved her as a friend, but she never thought he loved her that way. She loved him too, and now she hated herself even more for getting him dragged into this when there was a possibility he could get hurt. “Rafael I-“
“Oh wow. How sweet. Rafael Barba, here to save the day.” Joe went back over to Olivia and lifted her up from the chair. She swayed before Joe grabbed her waist pulling her flush up against him. “She’s beautiful, I’ll give you that Counselor.”
Barba clenched his teeth together, flaring his nostrils.
“What’s she like in bed, huh?” Joe smirked and ran his hand underneath her shirt trailing it up her side. “Should I give her a try and we can compare notes?” Joe let out a chuckle, trailing his hand higher and higher.
Liv had had enough. “Get your hands off of me.” She elbowed him in the stomach causing a groan to fall from his lips, but her ribs slowed her down and before she could grab her gun from his hands he backhanded her across the face. Olivia went flying across the room, into the wall, and slid down slowly. Now her ribs were definitely broken. She felt the multiple snaps as soon as she collided with the wall. A whimper left her mouth as she curled herself into a ball.
Rafael was on his feet in an instant, rushing over to Liv. He brushed the hair out of her face, which was scrunched up in pain. “I swear to god, if she doesn’t make it out of here alive I’m going to kill you.” He felt her hand grab his, and tightened around his fingers. “Liv, hey, hey open your eyes. Can you look at me?”
Olivia opened her eyes and Rafael saw her pupils dilate immediately. “You probably have a concussion, can you sit up for me?” Barba tried to help her sit up, leaning her into his chest. “Look Joe, you won’t be getting any deals if she doesn’t make it out of this. I know that’s not what you want.” He turned his head towards Liv as Joe started pacing. Her breathing was labored and unsteady and her hands were shaking.
“Okay. Okay okay okay. Here’s what’s gonna happen. You-up, lets go.” Joe leaned down and yanked Olivia off of the floor, causing her to groan once again.
Olivia fell into Joe, who wrapped his arms around her waist tightly. “Let go of me.” She ground out, it was hurting her to breathe and the look of panic and terror on Rafael’s face wasn’t doing her any good. She winced when he squeezed tighter and started to drag her to the stairs. “If you think I’m going upstairs with you, you’ve lost your mind.”
Barba stood up, interrupting Joe before he had a chance to respond to Olivia. “I’m not letting you bring her upstairs with you by yourself. You want her up there I’m coming too.” He edged his way closer to them. He’d be damned if he let her get hurt anymore while he was in here. “Joe, honestly what’s your plan here? You have to know that the people outside aren’t going to just let you stay in here with a lieutenant and an ADA. You need to tell me what you want so I can contact them get us all out of here.”
Joe backed closer to the stairs, now supporting all of Olivia’s weight, who could barely hold herself up because of her ribs. “I just need a minute to think! I’m bringing her with me to keep you from doing anything stupid. Now you’re going to go over there and sit down, while we go upstairs. You even think about trying anything and I’ll kill her on the spot. Do you understand me?”
Rafael made eye contact with Olivia who very subtly nodded her head, telling him to stay. His gut filled with dread.
“I said do you understand me!” Liv flinched as Joe screamed at him, pressing the gun to her temple.
“Ye-Yes. I understand.” Rafael stuttered out. The gun pointed at Liv’s head had knocked the wind out of him and he could barely get a word out without his throat closing up.
Joe dropped Olivia on the stairs and and walked over to Barba. He pistol-whipped him, getting him to fall onto the ground and cuffed him to the leg of the table.
Olivia let out a gasp when Barba went down and tried to crawl over to him.
“Ah ah ah. Don’t even think about it, let’s go sweetie, we’re going upstairs.” Joe picked Liv up by her hair and practically dragged her up the stairs. He made his way into the parent’s bedroom and threw her on the bed.
Her mind flashed to the bed in the beach house. Now she was terrified. Olivia’s breathing picked up as she tried to squirm away from him. “No! No get off of me!” She was screaming now. Using what was left of her strength to try to throw Joe off of her as he was straddling her waist. “Please.” She pleaded.
“Nah, baby, we’re gonna have some fun while I think of a way out of here, and when I do think of a plan, I’m gonna kill your boyfriend down there and you and me are going to go away for a while.” Joe whispered in her ear as she started to cry, and he began kissing her neck. Joe ripped her top down the middle and licked his lips. He then started kissing down her chest. “God, you’re beautiful, even though it looks like someone got here before me.” Joe smirked as he traced his finger around a faded cigarette burn, he chuckled as tears leaked from her eyes. “You can tell me about him later though, once we’re all alone.” Looking at the other burns that littered her chest, he kissed each one before coming to one that was on the top of her breast. Without warning he bit down, hard, causing a high pitched scream to erupt from Olivia.
Rafael yanked as hard as he could against the table leg and the cuffs as he heard Olivia upstairs screaming, pleading with Joe to get off of her. Tears came to his eyes listening to her crying. He couldn’t take it. Using all of his strength, he got on his knees and, with his shoulders, pushed against the underside of the table, lifting it up. Barba was just barely able to slide the cuffs out from the table leg. He could still hear Liv screaming upstairs and making his way into the kitchen, he grabbed the biggest knife he could find since Joe had taken the gun upstairs with him.
Next he lowered his hands all the way to the ground and placing his right foot in between his wrists on the chain he pulled upwards as hard as he could. Nothing.
“Stop! Get. Off. Of. Me!” Olivia’s screams pierced his ears once more which sent adrenaline rushing through his body from head to toe. Getting the strength he needed, once again he yanked as hard as he could, trying to break the chain. He felt the chain break, but not without his left wrist breaking along with it. He swallowed his yell so he wouldn’t alert Joe that he escaped.
Grabbing the knife, Barba made his way upstairs as quietly as possible. He checked the kid’s rooms first. No Olivia or Joe. He made his way down the hall to the last door. The parent’s room. Once again he heard Joe laughing as Olivia yelled. He heard her full on sobbing now. Without waiting another minute he burst into the room. “Get off of her!” He yelled as he charged at Joe. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Liv on the bed, her top ripped open and her jeans unbuttoned. Rage filled his entire body and without thinking he rammed the knife into Joe’s lower abdomen. Joe was able to get in a punch to Rafael’s jaw, but it barely affected him and he stabbed Joe once more.
That was it. Joe fell to the ground letting out one last breath before his eyes shut. It was over.
Rafael bent over and grabbed Olivia’s phone from Joe’s pocket. He sent a text to Fin saying Joe was dead and they could come in, but that they needed EMT’s for the Lieutenant. He then rushed over to Olivia who was shaking and had pushed herself up against the bed frame. Rafael picked up a blanket which had fallen on the floor during the struggle and draped it around Liv’s shoulders. He wanted to cover her up as much as possible but her top had practically been torn to shreds. “Liv, Olivia? Fin and everyone will be coming in soon can you stand? Are you alright?”
Olivia looked up at him as more tears filled her eyes, overflowing and rolling down her cheeks. “Rafael.” She stuttered out as she leaned into him. “It hurts.”
Barba froze at her words. Had Joe raped her? It looked like he hadn’t gotten past her jeans. “Olivia, did he rape you?” He dreaded the answer. Liv had barely gotten over Lewis before this monster had waltzed his way into her life. He started breathing again when she shook her head no.
“No. No he didn’t. But he would have if you hadn’t gotten here when you did.” She wrapped her arms around him, tightly, pulling him into a hug. “Thank you, Rafa.” Olivia mumbled into his ear. “My ribs, though. It hurts to breathe Barba, son of a bitch broke them.”
Not a minute later did Fin and the rest of the squad bust into the room. All of a sudden, Rafael was very aware of Olivia and her practically bare chest pressed against him. He pulled back and wrapped the blanket tighter around the front of Liv. “Where are the EMT’s? Her ribs are broken.”
Fin and Carisi went right over to the ADA and the Lieutenant. Seeing Liv in a situation like this was something that Fin never got used to, and it took his breath away every time. “They’re right here man.” Fin pointed behind him as they came into the room. One of the EMT’s, as well as Dodds, went over to Joe and the other came over to Olivia, Rafael, Carisi, and Fin. “Ma’am, can you stand up?”
Barba helped her move to the end of the bed. She grabbed his arm as leverage to boost herself up. “It’s just my ribs. I think they’re broken.” Olivia winced as she took a deep breath. She felt herself get dizzy and swayed, she stumbled into Rafael.
“She also might have a concussion and is having trouble breathing.” He wrapped his arm loosely around Olivia’s waist, to keep her steady, but not cause her anymore pain.
“Was she raped?” The EMT asked looking at Rafael.
All of a sudden, Fin and Carisi took in all of Liv’s condition. The bruises on her face, the handprints on her neck, the ripped blouse, and the unbuttoned pants. They had tried to keep their eyes from roaming because they knew the Lieutenant was a private person, but the EMT’s question caught them off guard.
“No! That bastard didn’t rape me.” Olivia growled. “Rafael stopped him before he could. And I’m right here, you don’t have to talk as if I’m not. I’m perfectly capable of answering your questions.” The Lieutenant tried to add venom to her voice, but the events of the day prevented her from doing so, and instead of sounding authoritative, her voice cracked at the end. “I’m sorry. I just want to go home.” Olivia whispered tearfully. Not even twenty seconds passed before her head shot up. “Noah! Where’s Noah? I need to see my son! Carisi where is he?” She started hyperventilating now, barely getting any air in. Her knees buckled and she would have fallen had Rafael not caught her. He picked her up, carrying her over to the stretcher, laying her down so that the EMT could place an oxygen mask on her. Olivia wouldn’t let go of his hand, as she struggled to breathe.
“Lieu, he’s okay, Noah is with Rollins. Lucy dropped him off there after school. He’s gonna sleep over there tonight so you can get some rest.” Carisi grabbed Liv’s other hand gently, reassuring her. He squeezed it softly, letting her know he was there for her.
“Okay, we need to get her to the hospital to check for any internal bleeding and make sure she doesn’t have a life threatening brain injury.” The paramedics lifted the stretcher and began carrying her out of the room but as they crossed through the doorway, Olivia let out a yelp, followed by a low moan.
“Ow, oh god.” She grabbed the side of her stomach, and her breathing became ragged once more. “Rafa-I’m scared.” She was barely able to get out.
Fin and Sonny looked at each other, never in the all the years they’ve worked with her, had they ever heard her say she was scared.
“I’m right here, Liv. I’m not going anywhere.” Barba promised as they carried her down the stairs and out of the house.
Rafael helped Olivia through his apartment door and gently sat her on the couch. Since Noah was with Amanda, she had asked if he could take her back to his place, which he happily obliged to. The list of injuries the doctor had rambled off to Barba and the rest of the squad kept echoing throughout his mind.
Two broken ribs, three fractured ones. A concussion, a bruised jaw and a gash the length of his hand down the side of her face. She had gotten her ribs wrapped and had painkillers prescribed to her for everything. Not to mention his broken wrist which he had all but forgotten about in the wake of things and needed a cast put on it.
It physically hurt him to see her in so much pain, but he was grateful knowing it could have been much worse. “Liv can I get you anything? Food, a drink, different clothes?” He sat down next to Olivia on the couch, carefully as not to disturb her.
“Can I shower?” Liv asked him meekly.
“Of course, come on.” Rafael helped her up and slowly led her down the hall and into his bathroom. After showing her where everything was. he spoke up, I’m going to go get you a towel and some more comfortable clothes. Let me know if you need anything.” After watching her nod, he left the bathroom, closing the door on his way out. First he grabbed a towel and put it in the dryer for fifteen minutes so that when she got out of the shower she’d warm up quickly. Then he spent the next fifteen minutes finding her a pair of his old sweats and one of his Harvard sweatshirts. He went into the kitchen and took out the soup his mother had made for him last week and heated a bowl of it up for Olivia. By the time he finished, the towel was done and he went and brought the clothes and towel into the bathroom.
Olivia heard the bathroom door open and close. The towel, she thought. Liv looked down at her body as the water cascaded down it, washing away the day. Her torso was a multitude of different colors. She had hand-shaped bruises along the inside of her thighs. Before she knew it, she felt tears running down her face. “Enough.” She scolded herself as she angrily wiped away her tears and turned off the shower. She was done feeling sorry for herself. Opening the shower curtain, her eyes landed on the towel and the clothes Rafael had left for her. A smile graced her face as she dried off in the steamy towel, she really needed to thank him when this was all over, and painfully slipped the sweatpants on. She needed help wrapping her ribs. “Damn it.” She muttered. Olivia wrapped the towel around the top of her body and opened the door, calling out for Rafael. “Rafa, can you-can you help me wrap my ribs again? Please.”
Barba had been sitting at the table, nursing a scotch, trying to get the sounds of Olivia’s screams out of his mind. He heard Olivia call out for him and immediately made his way over to the bathroom.
“I can’t do it by myself. Can you please help me?” She asked quietly.
“Absolutely.” He swallowed as Olivia dropped the towel. She was in his sweatpants and just her bra. She had figured he already saw her in her bra earlier today after killing Joe so one more time wouldn’t make a difference. Rafael stepped closer to her, beginning to wrap the bandage around her body. His eyes immediately found the bite mark surrounding the cigarette burn. “Bastard.” He mumbled under his breath.
Olivia followed his eyesight to the ugly marks over her right breast. “I’m okay Rafa, I’m standing here because of you. You’re the reason I am still alive right now.” She lifted his chin up with her hand, making eye contact with him and watching him struggle to find a response, she tried to change the topic. “Thank you, for the shower, and the clothes.” She told him softly. He muttered a “don’t mention it” and continued working. “And for saving my life.” That got his attention.
Barba finished and helped her put the sweatshirt on. Together, they made their way back into his living room and onto the couch. The bowl of soup was sitting on the coffee table, steaming. Olivia reiterated what she had said in the bathroom. “I mean it Rafael, thank you.” She placed her hand on the side of his face. “I’m sorry you got hurt though.” She looked down at his wrist and then back up at the bruise that had started to form along his jaw from when Joe had hit him with the gun.
“Olivia, I want you to know that I would’ve gone through that again and worse, just to stop him from laying another hand on you.” Rafael knew that he would have gone back into that house again and again because he loves this woman sitting next to him, and he’d do anything to keep her safe, but he had no idea whether or not she felt the same. “I just want to know, why did you choose me?”
Olivia stared at him with a look of disbelief. “You know very well why, Rafael. I’ve been thinking a lot about what you said earlier. And I want you to know that I never said anything when you said that to Joe not because I didn’t feel the same way, but because I didn’t want him to hurt you more than he already had. I love you Rafael. I’m in love with you. And I know it probably wasn’t the smartest thing for me to choose you, when I should have chosen a hostage negotiator, but I was scared, and a part of me thought I was going to die, and if I was going to die, you were the only person I wanted there with me. Then he was on top of me, and I couldn’t breathe. I was terrified, more terrified than when I was with Lewis, because he had hurt you and he separated us. And all I wanted was you. And then you came, and I knew I had chosen the right person.” She had started rambling and needed to catch her breath. Olivia pressed her forehead against his. “I am so incredibly grateful for you.”
Rafael smiled, his first real smile this whole day. His eyes welled with tears once again. “I thought he was raping you, and all I could think about was Lewis, and how it was my fault that he got to you because I hadn’t been able to send him away.” He held up his finger to keep her from interrupting. “I don’t want you to take on my guilt. I’m slowly but surely coming to terms with the fact that it was no one’s fault but Lewis’s. But today brought back so many painful memories, and I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to help you. I mean you weaseled your way into my world so quickly and unexpectedly, that I didn’t even realize I was falling in love with you, until I began missing you whenever you weren’t with me. And listening to you scream-I thought I was dying.” He felt her wipe away a couple tears that had made their way down his face. “Joe was the first person I ever killed, and I feel like I should feel bad about it. But I don’t. I don’t because when I came into that room and saw him on top of you, hurting you, I wanted him dead. I wanted him to suffer for all the pain he caused you.” He stopped, breathing heavily. “You mean the world to me Olivia Benson, and I genuinely can’t imagine my life without you.”
Throughout the course of their conversation, Olivia had finished the soup and had curled into his chest. When he was finished talking, she took a deep breath, and looking up, she pulled him down to her and brushed her lips softly against his. He kissed back gently, running his hand through her damp locks. “Are you okay with this?” He pulled back and asked her after they both ran out of breath.
“Rafa if I wasn’t okay with it, I wouldn’t have kissed you.” She smirked at him, but then turned it into a smile. “I appreciate you asking me though. “Can we go into your bed?” She let out a laugh as he raised his eyebrow.
“Are you sure? You have two broken ribs.”, he asked her.
“As much as I want to, I’m tired and I want to sleep, but good to know where your head is at.” Olivia lightly tapped him in the stomach with her elbow, chuckling.
Barba’s face went red and he tried to laugh it off. “I-uhh…”
“Rafael relax, its okay, and if it didn’t hurt to laugh, I’d keep making fun of you.” Olivia stood up with a grimace, resting one had on her side and using the other to grab the ADA’s hand. ‘’Come on.”
They made their way into his bedroom and slid under the covers. She nestled into his arms as comfortably as she could and rested her head on his chest. Rafael rested his chin on the top of her head, holding her as tightly as he could without actual hurting her. “I’m never letting you go again.”
Olivia smiled as she drifted off to sleep, ready to forget the horrors of the day. “I love you too Rafael.”.