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Silence

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Sonny was going home.

Not home, home, as in his parent’s home.
He was going back to his apartment.
But you get the idea.

It was late at night, 9:26 pm to be exact, he was the last one at the office and only the guards were pacing around the halls. The workload had become insufferable and pepto didn’t have the same effect anymore. Those cases were killing him, but the eighth floor of course didn’t care.
Overall it was good, he was happy, he was finally putting his degree to use and after a little bit of encouragement, he was ready to make the switch.
He had to admit it was not that easy at first, he felt like he didn’t belong, like his friends were in someway upset or felt betrayed by him… eventually he understood it was hard for everyone to let go, and even if they didn’t express it in the best way possible, they didn’t hold grudges against him.

The new work environment was different; snazzy suits, expensive briefcases and fancy coffee surrounded him every morning. He even had an assistant now! The first week working with her was weird, the only assistant he had ever had was Siri, if that even counts. Now he had someone to answer his calls, check his schedule, arrange his meetings and even bring him coffee.

All of this was on his mind while he walked to the subway station. New York at night was beautiful: the lights from the buildings, voices from inside of bars, taxis… somehow it was true, New York never sleeps, it was never silent. It was a nice city to live in, it was exciting.

He was wondering if there was something to eat at home, maybe he still had some leftovers from the previous night. He had been so busy lately, cooking was not in his priorities list anymore.
That was sad, because he actually loved to cook, for his family, friends, for himself... It was one of the things he enjoyed the most about being Italian, food meant a lot for them, it was a way to express their love and care. His nonna was his first mentor, she showed him how to make pasta, pastries, all kinds of sauces and her famous cannoli.

He was a lucky man. That’s what everyone always said.
His dates always said he was perfect: cute smile, handsome, tall, beautiful eyes, smart because he was a lawyer, fierce and strong because he used to be a cop, and the cherry on top: he knew how to cook, loved babies and was extraordinary at making new friends.
He had it all.
What they didn’t know was that he struggled a lot, he felt alone.
He was 39, about to be 40 and he didn’t have a family of his own. He always pictured himself with two or three kids who he could teach to cook, they could go to the park, he would go to their parents meeting at school. He was ready, but never found the right partner. Besides, he was busy trying to prove himself he was good at his job.
Then there was the problem about his sexuality. For him it was not “a problem”, he loved himself, but it was hard to feel that way when everyone seemed to judge him. He was bi, and proud, but the force not so much, not to even mention the church.
He grew up Catholic, it was an important part of their life, his spirituality, but when he came out, half of the people turned their backs at him, including the priest. So his family made the decision to stop going there and found a new church with a group that could support him and encourage him to love himself as he was. At the time it was a relief, because he grew up knowing he was perfect the way he was, until he faced the world outside his house and his church group. People were mean and cruel, always asking the wrong questions. Even at work, which is why he constantly changed precincts, until he found a family in SVU.

There, Sonny met some special people who he considered friends… family.
Actually he was still recovering from losing his best friend there.
Mike was an amazing addition to the team, but now the terrorism task force had the best sergeant in the world. They still talk to each other, but a month ago Mike went undercover and Sonny hadn’t heard anything from him since. Sonny knew the implications and dangers of going undercover, but he also knew Mike was smart.
He just missed his best friend.

He was finally out of the station and now he had to walk a few blocks.
His street was quiet, he liked it that way, there was never a lot of traffic which meant on days he could sleep in, there was silence.

Silence, isn’t it an interesting word?
We all know what silence is, it’s when everythings is quiet, no sounds, not even when you breathe. Some people even say you can hear the silence. It’s a weird concept.

Sonny didn’t experience silence often growing up. He had three sisters so the house was never quiet, plus they are all Italian, maybe there was silence when everyone was asleep, but you are asleep too so you can’t actually experience it. And when you have insomnia there is never silence because you hear yourself breathe, think, move…
In college he had a very loud roommate, he was always doing something, he had so much energy Sonny thought one day he was going to explode.
When he finally had his own apartment he had very loud neighbours, upstairs there was a couple with a newborn and 3 year old twins... so no silence either, not to mention, it’s New York.
But a couple months ago, he moved out of there and found this new quiet place uptown, affordable and spacious enough for him, maybe even too big for him. The place had 2 bedrooms and a giant kitchen considering he was living in an apartment.
He decorated the place pretty decently for a single man.
He had his law books on the shelves, his degree next to his police plaque and family pictures on the wall with different frames which gave the place a modern look. He also bought what he thought was the most comfortable couch in the entire world and had a big TV for whenever he had time to watch a movie or a hockey match.
His place was nice, really nice, he liked it, but sometimes, he wished for more.
Sonny didn’t exactly know what, but there was something missing… or more like a someone.

He had no luck when it came to love. After three or four dates it always ended up the same: “Sonny, you are amazing, but…” “Dominick, it’s not you…” “Dominick, I don’t think I’m ready for a relationship…
Failure, after failure, after failure.
He was giving up until someone showed up at the precinct. The most handsome man he had ever seen in his life. Dressed impeccably and with a confidence that transformed his 5’7 into the empire state building.
Sonny, for the first time in his life, was at a loss of words, he always had something to say: a joke, a pointless comment, a compliment… but nothing came to his mind when it was about him.

At first their relationship was non-existent. Sonny admired from afar and whenever he dared to make a comment the other man always had a snarky reply. The first time that happened Sonny tried to think of a reason, he actually made a list.

  1. he’s smarter than me.
  2. he’s so pretty. Look at his hair!
  3. he dresses better than me.

And that last reason was it... or was it?
At the moment Sonny thought the differences would be solved if he improved his wardrobe. That weekend, he got rid of his 80’s shirts, shaved the mustache and went for a trim. He spent his entire salary in buying new shirts, ties and even asked Emilio, an old friend of the family, who owned a tailor shop called “Caprizio”, to make him some suits.

Nothing.

That’s when he had the brilliant idea to mention he was also at Law School.
Booyah Fordham Law” he replied, when Sonny tried to explain how the law worked.

After a few months maybe it wasn’t so bad, Sonny started commenting here and there more freely and little by little the ADA softened his replies and started listening to him, like actually listening, not like the others who just pretended to pay attention. By then he thought they had reached the colleagues mark.

When the bar exam was approaching, he asked if he could shadow him so he could learn from the experience. Good thought, bad execution.
Sonny couldn’t even focus with the man next to him saying objection! and questioning the witnesses as if it was the easiest thing in the world. He was mesmerized and overall, the experience didn’t help with his feelings.

By the end of the shadow period, they were somewhere between colleagues and friends. Sonny never dared to ask him out and the man didn’t show any interest besides the constant teasing either so he gave up and just faced the fact that he never stood a chance.

Then one day he disappeared. He literally just vanished. Olivia said it was because they offered him a position at Columbia and apparently, he was tired of being an ADA.
“That’s bullshit,” Sonny thought. He wasn’t that close with the other man but he knew he loved his job. Maybe he was tired of his boss constantly questioning his decisions and being an impediment to doing his job properly.
But even with that, Sonny was sad, even angry at some point, and he didn’t know why. He just left, didn’t say goodbye, not even to his coworkers who had known him for a long time.

So with the sarcastic god, his expectations about love died. He was sure he was going to be single forever and maybe he should start checking out retirement homes because he was going to be an old lonely grandpa. “How depressing”, he thought.

He finally arrived at his apartment and turned on the lights before flopping onto his couch. He was tired and he was sure he was going to fall asleep on the couch if he didn’t stand up quickly.

“Sonny,” someone whispered, “Sonny wake up, what are you doing on the couch?”
“umm… five minutes ma,” he said shifting his head so the light wouldn’t bother his eyes until they hit his head with… a pillow? “OUCH!”
“Sorry cariño, but do I sound like your mom?” the voice laughed
“Well good night to you too” Sonny sat up, “When did I fall asleep?” he said stretching a little, the couch was not small, but wasn’t bigger either, and considering he was incredibly tall, he slept in an uncomfortable position.
“I don’t know, I just arrived. But I told you not to wait, I knew I was going to be late today,”
“I guess I was just tired. I made dinner though. It’s in the oven, I’ll heat it up for ya.”
“Thanks,” he said, kissing him softly on the lips. “What were you dreaming?”
“How do you know I was dreaming?” Sonny asked with a surprised look.
“When I opened the door you were mumbling something about bullshit and McCoy” he laughed, “you also said something about being single. Are we not married anymore?”
“Oh!” Sonny blushed at his comment, “well, if you really wanna know, apparently I was dreaming about life if that… thing at the Chicago trip actually didn’t happen.” he smirked.
“Oh! that thing.” The other man chuckled and got closer to Sonny so he could wrap his arms around his waist, “You know I don’t like Amanda that much but I’ll be forever grateful she refused to share a room with Olivia during that trip so we had to share the bed”
“Don’t forget to be thankful to Olivia for practically forcing you to go to the police training we had. I still don’t know how she convinced you or under what excuse…”
“She said Voight wanted to thank me for what I did with the Yates case and he asked for a favor because he had this new attorney… what was his name… Jack? Pablo? Peter! his name was Peter… Stone I think? He was inexperienced and he heard I was mentoring lawyers so he asked if I could help.”
“And you decided to be nice for what?”
“HA. HA, very funny” Sonny kissed his cheek as a peace offer, “you are lucky you are cute,”
“Don’t forget we are married, you can’t back out now Rafi.”
“Talking about forgetting… Rita called today, she said paperwork is done.”
“Wait- you mean that paperwork?!” Sonny felt the excitement grow, if Rafael was talking about what he was talking about, this could be the happiest day of his life.
“Yes, that paperwork. Sonny, we are going to be parents!” Rafael had tears in his eyes and Sonny was in shock. He genuinely didn’t know what to say, everything he dreamed and hoped for, he had it now. His husband, their home, and now, their children.

Sonny smacked Rafael’s arm.
“OUCH?! what was that for?!”
“And you didn’t call me right away?! Rita didn’t call me, the other parent, right away?!”
“Whoopsie? I asked her not to, I wanted to see your face when I told you the news,” he offered an apologetic smile.
“Rafa, we are going to be parents. Those beautiful twins will have Barba-Carisi as their last name,” he cried.
“We are, Sonny, and they will be the happiest, most beautiful children in the world, because they are ours.”
“When can we go pick them up?”
“In two days… they will be with us in two days.” Sonny hugged Rafael. He had no other way to express how he was feeling right now. The mix of joy, happiness, love… it was impossible to describe.

“Rafael?”
“Yes, my love?”
“I love you and our babies so much. Don’t let go… ever, please?”
“Not even in a million years would I think about that, Sonny.”