The Community Garden Headcanon

Idea presented by the magnificent @me-ladie, filled out by myself and the remarkable and talented @butihavejoy.  AU where Sonny has a community garden.

The community garden is Rafael’s, thank you very much.  

The plants are all from his abuelita’s garden in the Bronx, transplanted here after she passed.  In two years no one has stepped foot beyond the chain-link gates and Rafael had taken advantage of that, growing up her tomatoes in peace and quiet until the vines were lush and the fruits themselves were fat and red.  Catalina would have been so proud and that made him proud.  There was a surprising sense of calm there.

At least until Dominick Carisi Jr. - everyone calls me Sonny - shows up.

The fact that Rafael even knows the man’s full given name is ridiculous, and that’s not even the most he knows about him.  He knows that he’s and Italian from Staten Island (delivered in a tone of voice that would suggest Rafael would have no idea otherwise), that his parents have been married for over forty years.  That he has a gaggle of sisters and a niece, all of whom he worships.  The only thing Rafael doesn’t know is why in the hell Dominick Carisi Jr. is doing there, particularly when he clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing.

It’s not like Rafael is anything approximating hospitable.  He’s rude, he glares daggers in Carisi’s direction the entire time.  He flatly refuses to help when it’s obvious that Carisi needs it and only barely avoids injuring the man when the puns start.

Oh, the puns.

Rafael was starting to think he’d bought a book to memorize, just to torment him.  When the first of Carisi’s zucchini’s grow in, the first thing he does is face Rafael with an ecstatic grin that’s almost attractive and then ruin it with, “Thanks for not squashing my dreams.”

One day Rafael is waiting to see the man lumber into the garden around nine, his usual, but it doesn’t happen.  Sonny doesn’t come in until closer to eleven, getting to work without so much as a syllable in Rafael’s direction.  He has dark circles under his eyes and he moves like he’s exhausted and it goes against everything in his nature to ask if Carisi is okay.  Which is met with a tired smile and a soft, “I’m alright, Raf.  Thanks.”

Oh, yeah. 

Carisi calls him “Raf”.

Rafael does his best to take that answer at face value but still can’t help the worry niggling when Carisi leaves an hour later.  He packs up soon after, belatedly realizing that something shiny had fallen where Carisi keeps his tools.

A shield.  Badge number 0188.

Dominick Carisi Jr. is a cop?

He knows it’s important that this gets back to its owner but he doesn’t know a thing about Carisi that would help him get it there - not his address, not his phone number.  The best he can do is call the precincts in the area until one agrees to employing a Detective Dominick Carisi Jr.  The knowledge that Carisi is not only a cop but also a detective is shocking to him but he hides it the best he can while he Ubers to the 16th, badge in hand.  When he gets to Carisi’s office - the Special Victims Unit, it turns out - he’s met with the warm gaze of a woman a few years older than him, with big brown eyes and a kind smile.  

“Mr. Barba,” she starts.  “They told me you were coming.  Do you have a minute?”

She gestures toward her office and Rafael follows because he really didn’t have anything else to do.

“Detective…” he starts and the woman smiles.

“Lieutenant, actually.  Lieutenant Olivia Benson,” she corrects.  “I hope this isn’t too intrusive of me, but I just wanted to thank you.”

“It’s no problem,” he replies, thinking of the badge.  “I just didn’t want Mr. Carisi to get in any trouble.”

“No, not about his shield.  I mean for helping him so much.”

Rafael balks.


“He talks about you a lot.  How helpful you are, how much he’s been enjoying your company,” Olivia says with a smile.  “He’s always been overeager but after a few months ago, after he came so close to dying, he hasn’t quite been the same.  His therapist recommended gardening as a way of relieving the stress.”

The floor drops out from under him.  

Not just at the realization that Carisi talks about him.  More at the knowledge that he’d been in danger.  Real danger.  There was a good chance that Dominick Carisi Jr. - everyone calls me Sonny - might never have wandered into their garden and he would never have known.  Might have seen it on the news but would never have realized just what the world was missing out on.  Someone kind, someone warm.  Someone energetic and helpful.  He’s surprised to find his breath grown short while Olivia finishes thanking him for his kindness toward Sonny, with a promise to return his shield the next time he’s in.

Rafael leaves in a daze.

Rafael has a plan.

The next time Dominick Carisi Jr. - Sonny - comes into the community garden he’s met with two extra plots, clean and ready for use.  His own miserable scrap of land in the corner has been cleared and fertilized, labeled in neat handwriting that clearly isn’t his own.  

“Raf!” he cries, thrilled.  “Did you do this?”

He shrugs but still can’t stop imagining that newscast he never had to hear.

“You’re doing well.  You deserve more space.  And I’m - I’m sorry for being an asshole about it.”

Sonny beams.

“You’re not an asshole, Raf.  Besides, I like grumpy men.”

Rafael scoffs and rolls his eyes to high heaven but it’s only so he can hide the fact that that warm feeling in his chest wants him to smile instead.

They spend another month or two, side by side.  Planting flowers and herbs and vegetables alike, debating where or not they could manage an apple tree.  Rafael is not always kind, not always patient, but Sonny always looks at him like he is.  And maybe it’s less about the company than it is about Sonny himself when, at the end of their harvest, Rafael suggests Sonny come over and help him cook their bounty.  The suggestion was a risk but it was one he would take a dozen times if it made Sonny smile like he did then, like there was nothing he’d rather do than wash produce and argue about sauces with a man ten years older than him.

There’s nothing Rafael would rather do, either.  


liam: can you tell me i was right?
nickle: right about what?
liam: that what pissed harlow off was your foul attitude and your problem communicating without coming off standoffish? oh, and i’m sure she said you need to be more supportive because you’re her “best friend”.
nickle: ……………………………. you were right.
liam: ahh, it feels good to be told i was right. say it again!
nickle: …. no.
liam: be grumpy all you want, you’ll miss me and my advice when i go back to windenburg.
nickle: well i mean, yeah, but it’ll be nice to be the smartest one around here.
liam: .. harlow still has you beat, but believe whatever makes you happy.


… whatever Andrei had in mind for his enemies squicked the everloving hell out of that magic mirror.

I guess to get him to go away help him deal with his enemies, the mirror gave him a poisoned apple.  Rather DANGEROUS in this game.  :|


Why is your brother a troll?

Really bizarre love is in the air.

Love and furniture shavings.

Artyom inherited an eye color somewhere in Andrei’s parental line, while Stepan got his mom’s eye color.

…. I’m not sure whose is better, tbh.  xD

…. oh.

I don’t remember where she came from.  xD

Joe has these odd days sometimes where he just seems down in the dumps and sits like this on his bed, not lying properly down to sleep, even after a long walk. I never know what causes it and he’s usually over it by the next day. Do other dogs do this sort of thing? 🤔


favorite tom holland candids (2017)