Rafael sifted through the photos at a leisurely pace, admiring lighting and dress just as much as this previously unseen version of his husband. Sonny had the remarkable ability to shift and blend to fit his surroundings. Different lives, different stories told with a look or the set of his mouth. Fashionable twenty-something in some nondescript urban area to a grungy artist, clad in threadbare t-shirts under woven cashmere sweaters.
This shouldn’t have surprised Rafael, not after watching him elicit confessions and go undercover more times than Rafael would ever be comfortable with. Here, though, it wasn’t a cause for concern. He didn’t have to worry if Sonny would blend in enough. There wasn’t a concern for his life. Here he could watch Sonny transform in and out of personalities and be in awe instead of in fear.
Rafael paused a little longer at this particular image, his mouth curling into a smile at the petulant glare staring out from the page. Sonny couldn’t have been more than twenty-five in this one, which put him two years out of college and one year before the academy. He’d never shared much about this part of his life but Rafael had always assumed it was because there wasn’t much to share. College, working, trying to figure out what came next. Rafael had his own few years of indecision and nothing about those years were particularly interesting.
None of them had resulted in images of himself frozen in time, with messy hair and his feet on the furniture like a heathen.
It was easy for him to forget that this was Sonny.
The young man in the picture had an indifferent slope to his shoulders that his husband didn’t - Sonny stood strong and proud and determined, back straight and braced against the work he was doing. It was only when he got home that he fully exhaled and crumpled, usually against Rafael and only ever when they were alone. Rafael didn’t have to wonder about that, at least. It was fairly obvious what had grown his backbone and every day was a reminder of what it took to maintain it.
Still, he looked at the image with fondness and felt an odd pulling in his chest at the sight of Sonny’s skinny frame and slouched shoulders. He smiled, thinking about pressing a kiss to the pale column of his husband’s throat when he came home.