The first time Rafael noticed it, his breath got caught in his throat, they had fallen into a routine rather quickly when they first moved in together, it was now approaching the second week but they worked well, the first morning a little hectic with them both having lived by themselves for so long they had to figure out who needed what first; on the days when they had work, Sonny got up first, using the bathroom and the shower while Rafael would go into the kitchen and get the coffee started, then Rafael would shower while Sonny drinks coffee and gets dressed, he'd be grabbing his briefcase by the time Rafael got out and then he'd press a kiss to his forehead, Rafael would wish him a good day at work, they'd say 'I love you' and Sonny would go to work, leaving Rafael to get dressed and ready for his day too.
On days off together, they'd lounge in bed until they were ready to get up, then they'd share the shower and make coffee together afterwards.
It only took a few days to get this system working but now it came so naturally which is why a slight change to the morning routine threw Rafael off but in the best way possible. Sonny had been for his shower and by the time Rafael goes in the steam from Sonny's has already dispersed, the room only filling again because of Rafael. When he went into the bathroom everything looked normal, he got undressed, put his old clothes into the laundry hamper and turned on the water, his morning showers by himself didn't take long, normally only ten minutes or so, and then he was out again, wrapping a towel around his waist and using another to towel dry his hair as he walked towards the mirror, his hand ready to wipe away the condensation from the mirror when it caught his eyes, three simple words written in the condensation on the glass; I love you.
Rafael stared at it for a while, maybe a little too long because Sonny was soon knocking on the bathroom door asking to come in, the steam following out when Sonny entered; "Are you okay?" They asked, Rafael looked at his boyfriend's blurry form in the mirror, he smiled.
"More than okay."
"I was just a little worried, I was ready to give you a kiss and you weren't out yet and... oh," Rafael could hear the smile in his voice, "Is it because of my message?"
"Yes," Rafael turned to face him, "I love you too."
"I'm glad." Rafael smiled wider.
"It was so sweet, thank you."
"If it makes you smile this much I'll do it every morning."
Rafael had laughed in response, and reminded him that they still had work to go to, Sonny kissed his forehead, they both said 'I love you' and Sonny went off to work, just like every morning only this time, Rafael felt a little distracted, he watched the note on the mirror until the condensation had cleared and it had gone. He didn't care that it set him back fifteen minutes, that he had to rush to get ready or that his hair wouldn't sit right because it had mostly dried by the time he got around to styling it. He blamed traffic for the reason he rocked up to work later, nobody batted an eye lid at his excuse, they trusted him and Rafael didn't feel bad for lying, not when the memory of the mirror was so clear in his mind.
Sonny wasn't lying when he said he'd do it every morning, the second day threw off Rafael for a moment again and then they had to make a change to their routine, getting out of bed ten minutes earlier just so Rafael had time to appreciate the message a little longer. Rafael tried to protest the getting up earlier, saying they didn't have to but Sonny had just kissed him to shut him up and told him that Rafael's smile every morning and the way he had a spring in his step was worth getting up that little bit earlier. Rafael fell in love with him a little more, he started taking hot showers all the time now, even in the summer, so that he could always see the messages.
The first time Rafael accidently destroys the message he freaks out, he got out of the shower, towel around his waist and one in his hair and without thinking he reached out with his hand and wiped the mirror, he hadn't done that in months and when his palm wiped down the damp surface he froze, the towel from his hair dropping to the floor. Sonny's message was gone, the condensation had run down and it was ruined, he had ruined his morning message from Sonny which in turn had ruined his whole morning and his whole mood. It was gone.
He didn't understand why he was so upset, it was exactly the same as what Sonny does every single morning, it was always 'I love you' occasionally with doodles depending on the time Sonny has in the morning but that's not the point, the point is that his boyfriend writes a little reminder of his love on the mirror every single morning and Rafael had just wiped it away like it was nothing, like it didn't matter. Rafael couldn't stop staring at the mirror, the steam clearing up making the mirror clear up too, the rest of it disappearing when Sonny opens the bathroom door, concern in his eyes and it's only then that Rafael realised he was crying and, fuck, isn't that pathetic?
"Baby? Baby, what's wrong?" Sonny asked, turning him to face them, holding his face in his hands, "What's happened?"
"I'm sorry." Rafael said, trying to get his emotions under control.
"I don't understand?" Sonny wiped away some tears with his thumbs, "I was coming to make sure you were okay and then I heard you crying, why are you apologising?"
"Because I'm acting so stupid right now."
"Why do you say that?"
"I... I wiped away your message," Rafael admitted, his stomach twisting, "I didn't even think, I don't know why I did it and I'm sorry... I am /so/ sorry." Sonny smiled softly, pulling Rafael into a hug despite his damp skin pressing against his fresh shirt.
"Don't apologise for that, it's okay baby," Sonny kissed his temple, "There's nothing to get upset over."
"I wiped it away before I could read it," Rafael said, his tears had stopped now, he just felt foolish for how he reacted, "I was worried you would think I did it on purpose... not like you would have known if I hadn't told you."
"Rafe..." Sonny kissed his temple again before pulling away from the hug, they moved towards the mirror and Rafael turned to watch his boyfriend as he leaned towards the glass, moving his head as he breathed onto the surface and then wrote 'I love you' into the condensation his breath made, "There you go," Sonny said, smiling widely at Rafael, "So you get the chance to read it."
"Thank you," Rafael felt his heart swell in his chest, "You didn't have to do that."
"I don't like the idea of you being upset, if I can fix it, I will," Sonny said, he quickly checked his watch, "I gotta go, or I'm going to be late meeting Liv."
"No, don't be, I'm not complaining," Sonny said, kissing his forehead, "I'll see you tonight, unless you're free for lunch?"
"I believe I'm free."
"Great, I'll come around to your office around one then."
"I'd like that." Sonny pressed a kiss against his lips.
"Perfect, I'll see you then, I hope work goes well, I love you."
"I love you too, see you at lunch and give Liv my best."
"I will." Rafael kissed him again, he hated when Sonny left before him but the little message that was fading behind him on the mirror reminded him just how lucky he was to have a guy like Sonny in his life.
Rafael stared at the mirror, a frown on his face, there was nothing there, there wasn't a message on it at all and it wasn't because he'd accidentally rubbed it off like he had done months ago, Sonny hadn't written anything on the mirror at all and Rafael couldn't understand why. He stared at the mirror a while longer before leaving the bathroom, his heart heavy, he called out for Sonny but their name just echoed around the apartment as Rafael walked into the different rooms, trying to find his boyfriend or a note or something, but there wasn't anything. Sonny was already gone.
The morning turned blurry after that, Rafael didn't remember getting changed or how he got to the office either, he didn't even remember his receptionist greeting him or getting him his coffee. Nothing made any sense because why would Sonny leave without giving him a kiss or saying goodbye? Why didn't he get his morning message? Rafael sent him a text, asking if everything was okay and if he was free for lunch an then put his phone down and tried to go through one of his current cases to take his mind off things, thankful that it wasn't too complicated and that the way things were going he'd probably be able to cut a deal without having to go through a trial, he just needed to draw up a deal first.
Working on the case distracted him for an hour, then he checked his phone again to find it blank which just made Rafael feel even worse because that means Sonny was angry with him, it really couldn't mean anything else. Rafael wondered if he should just go down to Sonny's office, go see him in person or maybe just call his office phone but he decided against it, if Sonny wasn't replying to him it probably means he won't want to see him either, he'd just have to wait until he was home to beg for forgiveness for... for what? What did he even do?
Rafael frowned, leaning back in his chair, the files on the table now forgotten as he tries to think of anything he did wrong between last night and this morning. Rafael was home before Sonny, it was only an hours difference, but he had cooked dinner for him so it was all ready for when they got in after a long day, they ate together and spoke about their days and made plans for the weekend, then they moved to the couch and watched TV, made out a bit and then moved it to the bedroom. If Rafael was honest, last night was amazing and Sonny had seemed to agree so it couldn't have anything to do about that, and Rafael barely remembers seeing his boyfriend during the morning, he remembers Sonny pressing snooze on his alarm a few times and held him close and then they went about their morning routine only Sonny didn't leave him a message and he didn't say goodbye and now he was ignoring him so there must be something he was missing.
He asked his receptionist to tell anyone who called him that he was busy, he really needed to focus on figuring out what he did to upset his boyfriend so he could fix it.
The apartment was empty when Rafael got home, Sonny still hadn't contacted him so he had no idea what time they would be getting home which made it impossible for Rafael to plan dinner, he didn't want to do nothing and make it look like he was expecting Sonny to cook but then he didn't want to cook something if Sonny had plans. He couldn't stop pacing, he was worried he'd wear a hole into their sitting room floor and he was worried that he'd tear a hole into his boyfriends Fordham hoodie if he kept pulling on the sleeve cuff, he was about to call Liv and see if she had noticed anything wrong with Sonny or if he'd mentioned anything to her in passing that would give him a clue as to what he did wrong when he heard the keys in the door and Sonny walk in.
"Rafael?" Sonny called from the front door, Rafael knew he'd be hanging up his coat and taking of shoes right now but he stayed quiet, Sonny had used his name rather than a pet name which meant he was still upset, "Rafael? Are you home?"
"Mhm." Rafael mumbled, stopping his pacing but now he just felt overwhelmed, he tried to not let it show but he knew how well Sonny can read him. He could hear Sonny walking towards the sitting room.
"Hey, I am..." Sonny stopped talking when he saw Rafael, he frowned, "Are you okay?"
"I'm sorry," Rafael couldn't stop himself from apologising, "I am really sorry."
"Why? What have you done?"
"I don't know."
"Then why are you saying sorry?"
"Because I've upset you." Sonny's frown just deepened.
"Why would you say that?" Sonny asked, "I don't understand?"
"Because... Because..." Rafael sighed, feeling stupid but he knew he had to talk, "You were gone when I got out of the shower this morning and you didn't respond to me all day, you used my first name when you came home and... you also didn't leave a message on the mirror."
"Oh..." Rafael expected Sonny to explain what he did wrong, what he didn't expect was Sonny to walk over and pull him into a hug which is exactly what he boyfriend did, "Oh baby, I am so sorry."
"What?" Rafael was confused but he wrapped his arms around Sonny's waist, grabbing fist fulls of his waist coat in his hands.
"I'm not upset with you at all."
"I got up late this morning, I just didn't want to let you go," Sonny said, "By the time I had showered I was running way behind schedule, the message just slipped my mind, I did yell that I was leaving but you were already in the shower so I didn't think you would have heard me," Sonny hugged him tighter, "I was going to text you but I left my phone here, I did try your office at lunch so I could take you out but it got directed to your receptionist who said you were busy and couldn't answer."
"I miss Carmen," Rafael sighed, "At least when you called she knew to redirect you straight to me or if I really was busy she'd take a message so I could call you back."
"I'm really sorry."
"Don't be, I overreacted, I just couldn't figure it out, I didn't even think about you being late for work, it makes sense since you snoozed the alarm a lot."
"I didn't want to let you go, and I'm sorry about the mirror, I only realised that I hadn't done it once I was half way to the precinct to meet Liv."
"It's okay," Rafael pulled back so he could look at Sonny, "I'm just glad you're not upset with me."
"Baby, even if I was upset with you that wouldn't stop me from writing 'I love you' on that mirror," Sonny said, "I don't stop loving you just because we've had a fight."
"Sonny..." Rafael didn't really know what to say so he did what he normally did when he was lost for words and kissed him. He felt so much relief from that kiss, knowing that Sonny wasn't mad at all, that he hadn't upset them or hurt them or anything, it was just miscommunication and a misunderstanding.
"I love you." Sonny whispered against his lips, barely pulling away, just enough to get his words out.
"I love you too," They smiled, "What do you want to do for dinner?" Sonny pulled him closer.
"I could think of a few things." Rafael laughed, his lips turning upwards into a smirk.
"I was thinking of actual food but I'm in no mood to cook and if you're in no mood to cook..." Sonny groaned.
"I know where this is going."
"Want me to continue?"
"Okay, so... wanna place a takeout order and see if we can get each other off before it arrives?" Sonny kissed him.
"I'll place the order, you get into that bedroom and lose the clothes." Rafael laughed, kissed Sonny once more and went to do as he was told.
Sonny wrote 'I love you' in a heart the next morning.
Rafael had an early morning meeting which meant there routine was switched, Rafael took a shower first and Sonny put the coffee on. Rafael didn't really like it when they had to swap their morning around, it made him feel a little uneasy but this was an important case to him so he really couldn't afford to be late, it felt a little weird getting out of the shower and not having his morning message but it gave him an idea. Rafael put the towel he uses for his hair down next to the basin, leaning forward to write 'I love you:)' with a really lopsided love heart, Sonny always did it for him and now Rafael wanted to share the happiness he felt when he saw the message every morning.
Sonny smiled at him as they passed each other, Sonny into the bathroom and Rafael going to the bedroom to get dried and dressed. He was sat at the breakfast bar finishing his coffee when Sonny came out of the bathroom, his smile wide, hair plastered to his forehead and his skin a shade of pink from the warm water, he didn't say anything as he walked towards him he just pulled Rafael into a kiss, careful not to drip water onto his suit as he did so; "I love you too." Sonny said as they pulled back.
"You got my message, then?" Rafael smiled.
"Loud and clear, thank you."
"You do it for me all the time, thought you might like to see that I feel the same."
"I already knew you did."
"I know, but... you do it for me every morning and every time I feel really happy, I was hoping it would make you feel the same way."
"It did, it really did, thank you."
Rafael left for work shortly after that, a spring in his step from seeing how happy Sonny was from his message. Two weeks later, Rafael noticed something on Sonny's wrist when he rolled his sleeve up, it was a tattoo; a small, lopsided love heart, the very same one he had drawn on the mirror. Rafael felt almost overwhelmed, he became obsessed with it, Sonny telling him that he took a photo of it and a local tattooist had managed to draw out the heart Rafael had done on the mirror, Rafael liked to trace it with his finger tips. Rafael took a photo of the next heart Sonny drew for him, a few weeks after that, he had his own little wonky love heart tattoo on his wrist to match Sonny's.
They'd been living together for over a year now, together for nearly three, when it happened. They had the weekend off, they were making the most of being able to lounge in bed until nearly ten in the morning before going to take a shower together, it lasted a little longer than normal but they were both more than satisfied when they were done. Sonny slipped out first, telling Rafael that he has to do something real quickly, Rafael had just shrugged and let him go while he finished getting clean. He stepped out of the shower a few minutes later, he towel dried himself and then slipped on his bathrobe since he wasn't in any rush to get changed on his day off.
He was drying his hair with the towel when he noticed it, the towel being dropped and instantly forgotten. Sonny had written a message on the mirror again, just like every morning only this time it was different, there was only two words on the mirror this time and it wasn't a phrase but a question, a huge question. Rafael had half expected it but only because he knew if Sonny didn't ask him soon then he'd take matters into his own hands but seeing that question, clear as day in the mirror took his breath away. He saw Sonny's figure in the reflection, standing in the doorway and Rafael could feel his heart beating too fast as he watched his boyfriend disappear down, out of line of the mirror and the question written on it's surface; Marry me?
Rafael turned around, Sonny was on one knee, a nervous smile on his face and a closed box in hand, Rafael didn't say anything, he gripped his bathrobe tightly, waiting to here those words from Sonny, just in case this was a very bazar misunderstanding and Rafael had suddenly forgotten how to read and it didn't say 'marry me' on the mirror.
"I don't really know where to start," Sonny said, "I had so much that I had planned to say but now I'm here I... I love you Rafael, I love you so much, you make me feel so safe and appreciated, you've given me more support than anyone I've ever known and you didn't let me give up on my dream of being a lawyer," They started smiling wider, looking braver, "You're my everything, I love what we have right now but I really want to know if you'll marry me?" They opened the box and Rafael gasped. The ring was stylish and classy, white gold with a single row of stones in a deep red running along the band, it seemed to glow when the light hit it; it was perfect.
"I..." Rafael turned his back on Sonny, he heard the confused 'huh?' but he ignored them, leaning over the basin to write 'YES!' in the mirror next to the question Sonny had left him, when he turned around he was nodding his head and smiling, "Yes, of course I will, yes." Sonny laughed, it sounded overjoyed and relieved as he stood up, Rafael holding out his left hand so that Sonny could slip the ring onto his finger, then they pulled him into a kiss, kissing him like nothing else in the world mattered, like nothing mattered to him but Rafael.
"Thank you." Sonny whispered as he pulled back, Rafael gripped the front of his fiancé's own bathrobe.
"I should be thanking you, Sonny, baby, I love you too." Sonny kissed him again before getting his phone out of his pocket, he used it to take a picture of the mirror before it faded completely, the question and answer was as clear as day on Sonny's phone screen, the blurred reflection of Rafael's head on Sonny's shoulder with their arms around their waists could be seen, the ring glinting ever so slightly. Rafael wasn't often one for selfies, he allowed them mainly with Sonny, he just never understood why people wanted to take so many pictures of themselves but now, with Sonny's front camera directed at them as Sonny kissed him and Rafael showed of his ring, he realised that maybe they aren't so bad after all.
Later that morning, after they had breakfast and were now laying on the couch together, Rafael admiring his ring, Sonny took to his Instagram account and uploaded the photos, the first one being the picture of the mirror. It didn't take long for friends and family and other followers that Sonny had, to start commenting below, congratulating them and sending them love. Rafael leaned in further to his boyfriend, tilting his head up and Sonny got the message, shifting so he could give him kisses, his phone being haphazardly thrown onto the coffee table as he held Rafael's face in his hands; it felt a bit Spider-Man, Rafael loved it.
It took a few weeks before they started planning their wedding, they wanted to have a long engagement but that got thrown out of the window when someone at Sonny's work place said 'Oh, you must be Carisi's husband' and it set something off inside him, he didn't want to waste another second not being married to the most perfect person in the world, when they got home that night Rafael was pulling out his laptop and looking up venues, grabbing both of their diaries to compare dates. Sonny had laughed, called him eager but sat down beside him to help.
They had everything planned within a month and then everything booked after a week of finalising their choices. It was exciting, Rafael bought Sonny his own engagement ring while they were wedding ring shopping, Sonny loved it. The squad threw them a surprise party, it made Rafael miss working with them but he made his choices and was happy now, his relationship with Sonny survived, his friendships had and Rafael couldn't ask for a better life. He really did have everything he could ever ask for.
Sonny still wrote his morning 'I love you' with his little hearts in the condensation on the mirror only now, it was followed by a countdown to their wedding. The morning of their wedding, Rafael and Sonny had slept apart in different hotel rooms, he shared a room with Olivia because he knew that if he was by himself nothing would be able to stop him from getting out of bed in the middle of the night to go join Sonny but Sonny wanted the whole experience of not seeing each other before the wedding because it was bad luck, Rafael tried to create an argument that it was bad luck for grooms to see their brides but Sonny didn't care and Rafael couldn't say no to him.
Olivia was Rafael's version of 'best man', he didn't want anyone else but her by his side on the biggest day of his life, it had been nice spending time with her but he still missed Sonny. Rafael was smoothing out his suit when Liv told him the bathroom was free, Rafael letting her use it first, he thanked her and went for his shower, feeling a little sad that he wouldn't get the final day countdown but when he got out of his shower he stopped, his eyes watering as the mirror there it was 'I love you Mr. Carisi-Barba, today's the day!' in Sonny's handwriting. Rafael briefly wondered if Olivia had let him in quickly but those thoughts were filed as unimportant because it was true, today was the day.
Rafael looked down at his little tattoo on his wrist of one of Sonny's condensation hearts, he'd never felt so lucky or so happy before. He went back into his bedroom to grab his phone and quickly went back to the bathroom before the message disappeared, he wrote something in the remaining space and took a photo of it and sent it to Sonny.
'I love you too, Mr. Carisi-Barba.'