|On The Way Down
Author: sparkly green nail polish PM
It’s been two years since Letty’s death and in a last ditch effort to get himself together for his sake and for his son’s sake, Leon goes home. Back to the place he grew up – Miami. SEQUEL TO MAKESHIFT BEDS AND MORPHINE completeRated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Angst - Chapters: 49 - Words: 98,290 - Reviews: 304 - Favs: 49 - Follows: 17 - Updated: 12-16-05 - Published: 06-09-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2430375
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: SEQUEL! I couldn't help myself, so here it is - the first chapter of On The Way Down. Hopefully you'll enjoy this one as much as you enjoyed Makeshift. Cheers!
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters from TFATF .. dammit..
"Cade," Leon began in a warning tone, "If you be naughty I'm going to have to smack you. Do you want that?"
The dark haired little child shook his head, sticking three of his fingers in his mouth.
"..no.." he mumbled around the digits, burying his head against Leon's shoulder.
Leon knocked on the eggshell white door then took a step back. He turned to look around the yard while he waited for someone to answer.
It had been a long time since he had been back to Miami. A very long time indeed, but nothing had changed. There was still an abundance of scantily clad beach goers, the sun still had that same bite as it had years earlier – Leon quickly checked over his small son to make sure he was properly protected from the suns rays.
"Are you hungry?" he asked the dark haired little boy. Chocolate eyes stared up at him, sparkling with intelligence. Cade was the image of his mother. The same dark hair and eyes, the same pixie like nose and the most adorable round cheeks he had ever seen. His skin was a shade or two lighter than Letty's had been, but Leon put that down to his genetic make up. The boy shook his head, laying back down against his father's shoulder. Leon watched him for a moment, the familiar nauseated feeling starting to grow heavier in his gut. It hurt to look at Cade and remember what he had, remember how it was. He never resented him for it though, Cade that is. The boy hadn't asked to be born, nor did he intend for his mother to die in the delivery room from complications. None of it was his fault. Leon knew it all rested on his own shoulders.
"Excuse me? Sir, may I help you?"
Leon jerked slightly, enraptured by watching his son. He turned toward the voice and saw the woman who had made such an impact on his life. A complete stranger who had seen the good in him and had helped him, no questions asked. She was his guardian angel, he was sure of it.
She was looking at him oddly. "Do I know you?" she asked after a moment, eyes flitting back and forth from him to the child in his eyes.
"Yes, Ma'am." He replied quietly, nodding his head. "Well you did."
Her eyes widened and her hand lifted to her mouth. "Oh my goodness – Leon? Is that you sweetie?"
He gave her a forced smile, one that no-one else knew was a fake. "Yeah."
The woman, Angeline, stepped forward and reached out to touch his head like a mother would their child. Much like she had the day she met him in the trauma centre at the local hospital while he was sitting alone getting all his stitches out. She peered down at Cade who was shyly hiding his face in the folds of Leon's light jacket. Angeline looked back to Leon's face.
"You've gotten so handsome." She told him, urging him inside. "I always knew you would be."
A slight blush stained his neck. "Thankyou." He replied softly.
Leon got to the door and kicked off his shoes, then carefully worked the tiny little boots Cade wore from his feet.
"If I put you down, will you be good for Daddy?"
The little boy nodded, fingers still in his mouth. His face was still hidden in Leon's jacket.
"Cade Ash Orello," he said sternly, "Answer the question. I know you."
"Be good." He said as solemnly as he could muster. Leon rolled his eyes at the doe eyed expression his son was giving him and set him down on the carpet just inside. He knelt down and looked up at Angeline watching with tears in her eyes. He wasn't quite sure whether they were tears or joy, pride, or sadness.
"Cade, this is daddy's friend, Mrs Monroe."
She knelt down so she was at eye level with the small boy. "Hello Cade."
He waved meekly, hiding his face in Leon's side.
She laughed, standing. "Come on you two – inside."
"Where's his mother?"
Leon swallowed thickly, watching his son. "She died giving birth."
Angeline immediately wanted to kick herself for asking such a foolish question. It was obvious Leon was still in pain from losing the mother of his child. He sat a little straighter and turned to her.
"Did you ever get my letters? Presents?"
The older woman felt her eyes start to water at the thought of his gifts. He was always sending her little trinkets and knick knacks when he had first left Miami. It wasn't until about six months after that he started sending her paintings. She had been stunned to learn that he himself had created the beautiful works of art for her.
"Of course I did. I'm surprised you didn't recognise some of the pictures on the wall as you walked through."
Leon smiled dryly. "I was a little preoccupied watching the human wrecking ball over there." He lifted his chin in Cade's direction. She chuckled.
"Well they're all inside if you want to see them."
He nodded, picking up the discarded cigarette packet from the table to put the unlit cancer stick back in it.
"You've still got the photos? Of the starry woman?"
Angeline nodded. "They're in the study. Those are absolutely gorgeous, Leon."
A sad smile crept across his face. "They're breathtaking." He said to her, then called Cade over to him. As the little boy made his way toward them, Leon smiled lightly. It was the first genuine smile she had seen on his face since he arrived an hour earlier.
"He'll be two soon," he told her, "-and he's got a cousin, Rory, who's almost three."
She watched the little caramel boy step into Leon's outstretched arms, his outfit an almost identical match to his father's. Tan coloured boots, dark blue jeans and a black t-shirt. Instinct led her to believe that the boy had helped choose his own attire once he saw what dad was wearing.
"Could I show Cade those pictures?" he asked hesitantly.
"Of course you can! Follow me."
She led them down the hall to the study and stepped aside. It wasn't difficult to spot the pictures Leon was talking about. They were twelve square and block mounted. There was a woman depicted as the night sky, her entire body bathed in dark paint and patches of gold and silver, strategically draped velvet hiding any important parts from view. She was sitting side on, her head on her knees, eyes closed. Angeline watched Leon's hand lift to touch the glass covered picture, then he lifted Cade's small hand to do the same.
"Do you know who that is?"
The small boy looked from the picture to Leon, then back at the picture. Tears started to pool in his big brown eyes when he shook his head. Leon bounced him slightly on his hip, calming him.
"It's alright. Don't get upset." He soothed, kissing the top of his head. His fingers came up to drag across the glass once more. "That's your mommy." He said with a small smile.
Angeline could see the love in his eyes when he looked at the woman. It was blatantly obvious that she was the centre of his world for some time. One didn't create something so beautiful out of the image of another without having some serious feelings for them.
Cade looked at the picture, his hand following the exact path Leon's did. He giggled at the muted shriek their skin made against the glass.
"Mommy's beautiful, isn't she."
Leon nodded, his eyes glassy. "That's right. Mommy's in the stars now. She watches you sleep." He pressed a kiss to Cade's chubby cheek, nuzzling the baby soft skin.
Cade's hands tangled in Leon's hair, fisting large clumps of it. To Angeline it looked painful, but Leon showed no sign of discomfort. He noticed her look.
"He's got a hair thing." He explained simply. His eyes had cleared now and he looked almost nonchalant again.
Cade's hand slapped against the picture. "Go sleep?"
Leon looked at him, his brow furrowed. "You want a nap?"
In a move that was too old for him, Cade tried to roll his eyes and pointed to the picture.
"Mommy watches me sleep when there's stars." He said seriously. He touched the picture. "Mommy's wearing stars, so I sleep."
Leon looked at Angeline. "I.. Uh.."
She waved him after her. "Now that my older kids have moved out, Leon, we have some spare rooms. Do you have anywhere to stay?"
Leon flushed a dark shade of pink. "I hadn't thought that far ahead," he admitted.
"Then it's settled. You and Cade will stay here as long as you need to."
"Oh, Angie I couldn't impose on-"
She slapped her hand over his mouth to silence him, garnering some amused giggles from Cade.
She gave Leon her best 'I'm a mother so you will do as I say' glare. "You are staying young man. Understood?"
He nodded mutely. "Yes, Ma'am."
Cade tugged at Leon's shirt. "Say thankyou." He insisted in a loud whisper. Leon's eyes widened almost comically.
"Oh! Right," he nodded conspiringly. "Thanks." He whispered loudly, then made a show of turning to look at Angeline.
She laughed, running her hand over his hair. "You're more than welcome! It's just so good to see you again."
His lips lifted slightly, barely even a smile. "It's good to be back." I hope.