Three months. That's how long it had been from that cold day in February when Rafael had kissed Olivia on the forehead and told her that he had to move on. Three whole months she had gone without her best friend to talk to every day, and her trying to work with their new ADA.
But thankfully, after the first week of complete silence, Rafael reached out to Olivia. He wasn't sure how she would react to him on the phone but was delighted when she wanted to talk to him. He told her he would send postcards for both her and Noah if that was okay with her.
Noah looked forward to every postcard from 'Uncle Rafa.' It was his favourite part of the week and Liv wanted to share that with Rafael; she did so by capturing a video of Noah running in through the door and going through the mail to find the postcard. His face was one that was the definition of happiness.
One of the days, Noah was reading the postcard with Lucy and he looked at Lucy. "Lucy, can you help me write a letter to Uncle Rafa? Err - I don't want Mama to know about the letter?"
Lucy was slightly surprised by Noah's request. She, naturally, knew he missed the man, but this was the first time that he asked to make contact with him. By agreeing to write it with him Lucy knew that she would be able to check if she needed to give the letter to Olivia before sending it to the address that Rafael had given them.
Lucy looked at the young boy. "Sure, Noah. We can write a letter together to your uncle."
Noah told Lucy what he wanted the letter to say and she wrote it for him but he wanted to sign his own name so that Uncle Rafa would know it was really from him. When they read over the letter and Noah was happy with it Lucy slipped it into her bag with the promise to post it first thing tomorrow morning for Noah.
A week from when Noah sent the letter they were at Noah's ball game. He had a big tournament today and all the kids were warming with someone, mostly their dads. The coaches had decided on this to try and get families more involved.
Olivia and the squad, along with Stone, were all there for Noah. Fin came over to Noah. "Hey, little man, do you want me or Uncle Sonny to warm up with you?" Noah shook his head saying no.
Looking around, Liv felt so guilty as Noah was the only one on his team not out there warming up with a male family member: not all were dads, as some had dads that worked outside of New York. She came over to her son running her hand over his curls. "Sweet boy, why don't you let Uncle Fin or Uncle Sonny warm up with you?"
Noah shook his head again. "No, Mama. I asked someone to come here and warm up with me."
Liv was confused as she had no idea who Noah was talking about as almost everyone they knew was here, and she knew that Nick, Munch and Cragen weren't in town this weekend. Before she could ask him who he meant, Stone was standing beside them and Liv tried to smile and be nice, even though she had no idea what he was doing here.
Stone looked at Noah. "Noah, you know that I used to play ball and I would love to help you warm up."
Noah was getting frustrated with everyone asking him and he went to answer Mr. Stone when someone behind him caught his attention. Noah squealed. “Uncle Rafa!" Immediately, the young boy was running as fast as his legs would allow.
The whole squad turned around at hearing Noah. They were convinced that Noah had to have been mistaken, but there before they're eyes was Rafael Barba in jeans, a t-shirt and with a slight beard. When Noah got closer, Rafael scooped him up into a hug, hugging him tightly. It was then that he realized just how much he had missed this little boy. Rafael carried Noah towards the squad as the young boy didn't want to be set down.
Noah smiled proudly at his mom and her squad. "See, Mama. I told you that I had asked someone to be here with me."
Olivia was shocked. She wasn't even sure how or why Rafael was here, but she wouldn't lie, it was so good to see him.
Rafael smiled. "Well, there was no way I was going to let you down, mi Amigo. Now, you mentioned something about us having to warm up, so let's go."
At the mention of playing ball, Noah squirmed to get down out of Rafael's arms and ran to get a ball for them to throw. The squad stood in shock watching Rafael who just smiled watching Noah run back to him.
He looked at Olivia. "I'm guessing Lucy and Noah didn't get around to telling you that they had invited me to come here today? If you want I can leave."
Olivia shook her head. "No, stay. Noah wants you here and so do I, Rafa. I'm just really surprised to see you, you didn't mention last night on the phone that you would be actually seeing me today.”
Noah came running over pulling on Rafael's hand. "Uncle Rafa, lets play!"
Rafael looked at Noah and chuckled. "Ok, Amigo. I'm coming."
Rafael looked at Liv. "I promise we will talk after the game." He squeezed her arm gently as he went over to Noah as they played catch as if they had been playing catch together every day. Rafael and Noah looked so at ease with each other.
Stone looked at Olivia. "I didn't realize that you were still in contact with Mr. Barba, Lieutenant."
Liv looked at Stone. "I don't really see any reason that the D.A's office would need to know that I'm still in contact with Rafael."
Carisi smiled watching Rafael with Noah. "It's good to see him back where he belongs, with his family." He paused. "He looks different somehow."
Rollins nodded. "He looks like he's not carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders."
Fin looked at them both. "That's because he doesn't have to listen to Carisi go on about his crazy law ideas."
That got a laugh from both Olivia and Rollins. Especially when they saw the face that Carisi was pulling.
Stone looked at them all. "You do realize that he's not back? I will still be your ADA that won't change."
Liv went to speak, but Fin cut in before her. "We're well aware of that, Counsellor, but we're glad to have Barba back with the family. It's where he belongs, whatever job he decides to do."
Olivia was getting pissed off at Stone's attitude concerning Rafael. Rollins noticed the look on Liv's face. "Hey, guys, how about we go and get decent seats on the bleachers to make sure that Noah can not only hear us but can see us too."
Carisi went into full-on Italian family mode, getting the small banner that he had made for Noah, and he had brought snacks for everyone that his mother had made the night before.
Rafael ruffled Noah's hair and wished him good luck when their coach called them in. He then made his way back over to Liv, and he smiled, taking the bottle of water that she offered to him. "Thank you. I am thankful I got back running the last few months or I think you would be taking me to a hospital right now. I forgot how much energy Noah has." He chuckled softly as he took a drink from the bottle watching Noah.
Olivia looked at Rafael. "So... how come you didn't tell me last night on the phone that you were coming back to the city?"
He wiped his mouth and looked at Olivia. "Liv, Noah sent me a letter a week ago. Lucy helped him write it and he asked me to be here today that everyone had to bring an important male in their life. In the letter he asked me not to mention it you unless you brought it up... so, when you didn't I guessed that he hadn't told you yet. Maybe he was afraid I wouldn't show up." Rafa looked down swallowing, hoping that the young boy who held a very special place in his heart didn't think that he would let him down.
Liv put her hand on Rafael's arm. "He was probably afraid that I would get angry that he asked without telling me. You know what my sweet boy is like; he worries too much at times. Come on. Let's go join the others. I'm sure Carisi has plenty of questions for you."
Rafael groaned playfully. "Oh, come on, Liv. I'm here today for your son. Can't you threaten to put Carisi on Desk Duty if he starts asking me too many questions?"
Liv shook her head laughing. "I'm not sure even that would stop him. Come on, Rafa. He hasn't seen you in three months, and he hasn't taken the same shine to Stone."
Rafael shook his head, laughing, walking with Liv towards the rest of the squad - including Stone.
Is Barba Returning Home? is the original story. The other author (BarsonFan) abandoned the story and upon request gave me permission to continue the story where they left off.