I love you ask... 22, please. ❤️❤️❤️
Slight emetophobia warning. Sickfic fluff.
22. Muffled, from the other side of the door.
Barba’s voice was muffled by the locked door that Carisi had just rapped lightly on with his knuckles, but not even a door could hide how pathetic Barba sounded, weak and pained, and Carisi sighed. “I’m not goin’ anywhere,” he told Barba through the door. “I brought soup. For when you’re, ya know—”
The sound of retching was Barba’s only response and Carisi winced. “I’ll just put the soup in the fridge,” he told Barba, beating a hasty retreat to the kitchen.
He got back to the bathroom door just in time to hear the toilet flush, and he knocked again, lightly. “You need anything?”
“For you to go away,” Barba said, without any real heat.
“No can do,” Carisi told him cheerfully, sinking down onto the floor outside Barba’s bathroom. “You don’t have to let me in if you don’t want, but if you want me out of your apartment, you’ll have to make me leave, and frankly, I don’t think you’re up for it.”
Barba groaned and Carisi thought he heard Barba mutter a few choice words, the nicest of which were “insufferable” and “obnoxious”. He ignored Barba’s muttering and continued, “Besides, we were supposed to be on a date tonight, so I have the whole evening free. The Lieu even promised she wouldn’t call me in unless it was an emergency.” He paused. “She sends her apologies, by the way. She’s pretty sure it must be Noah’s stomach bug from last week that you picked up.”
“I knew there was a reason I hated children,” Barba muttered darkly. “How come you aren’t sick?”
Carisi grinned. “I’m sorely tempted to make a joke about how old you are and how run down your immune system gets with age, but I’m refraining and I want you to remember that when you’re feeling better.”
Barba snorted. “Detective, I can say with certainty that I will remember that you had the opportunity to kick me when I was down and instead of doing so, you chose to tell me how you could in a bizarre attempt at brownie points.”
They both fell silent, and when the silence stretched a moment past uncomfortable, Carisi knocked lightly on the door again. “Did you fall in?” he called, trying to make a joke.
“No,” Barba groaned, sounding truly miserable. “But I think I might be dying.”
“Don’t even joke about that,” Carisi said, his tone a little too dark to be kidding. He hesitated before asking, “I know you don’t want me here, though Lord only knows why, but will you at least unlock the door in case something happens and I need to get you outta there and to a hospital? I’d really rather not have to kick your bathroom door in.”
There was another long stretch of silence before Carisi heard the soft click of the lock, and he let out a breath he didn’t know he had been holding. “Thanks,” he said, relief coloring his tone.
Barba said something, but it was too quiet for Carisi to hear and he frowned at the door. “What?”
“I do want you here,” Barba repeated. “I shouldn’t, because you have infinitely better things to do with your time, but I do.”
“Then why are you trying to make go away?” Carisi asked, his brow furrowed.
Barba sighed heavily, accompanied by a soft thunk that suggested he had leaned his head back against the bathroom door. “I don’t want you to see me like this,” he admitted. “All gross and old and pathetic…”
He trailed off and Carisi rolled his eyes but filed away his initial retort for later, when Barba was feeling better and might again appreciate snark. “Rafi, I don’t care that you’re gross and pathetic,” he said patiently. “I’m here for the long haul, and that means seeing you when you’re at your worst as well as your best.”
“In sickness and in health?” Barba asked, as snarkily as he could manage.
But Carisi just nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “Exactly.”
After a long moment, Barba told him softly, “I love you.”
The words may have been muffled by the bathroom door, but that didn’t mean Carisi’s heart didn’t leap the way it did every time he heard Barba say those three words. “I know,” he said, as casually as he could manage. “I love you, too.” He paused. “Vomit and all.”
Barba groaned. “Maybe don’t mention vomit right now,” he said weakly.
Carisi laughed. “Deal,” he said easily.
Barba hesitated before adding, reluctantly, “And you can stay, I guess.”
“I was already planning on it,” Carisi told him, but his voice was gentle. “I’m not goin’ anywhere. I promise.”