Chapter One:

The New Roots

"I don't know," the psychiatrist said to Stansfield's new "guardian", "buy him a piano or something." Leon groaned.

"But Doctor," he protested, "I uh… travel a lot. How can I—"

"Get him a keyboard. Give him something to play on rather than in his head," the doctor told him. Lately, Stansfield had been dropping into little trances in which he began to play air-piano, actually believing he heard the music in his head.

"Okay, fine. I'll buy him a keyboard," Leon said in his thick Italian accent.

Leon walked casually down the street towards his apartment where Mathilda, her little brother, Stansfield, and his plant were staying.

"Stansfield… you're such a strange man," he muttered in Italian as he walked up the stairs to the front door. He pressed the buzzer. A young man poked his head out the window of Leon's apartment.

"Go away!" The man shouted. "No visitors!" Leon smacked his forehead.

"Mathilda!" He shouted. A little girl shoved the man aside.

"Sorry, Leon," she said as she waved and then ran back into the room. Leon watched as the little light turned green and the apartment door was opened.

"Thanks!" He said as he walked in.

"No problem!" He heard Stansfield answer, but not exactly to him… more to himself.

Leon wondered exactly what it was that caused Stansfield to be so… odd. It was probably the drugs but he wondered if it was anything else. He began to reflect on how he'd first met Stansfield:

What is going on down there? Leon wondered to himself when he heard crashes coming from the apartment down the hall. He opened the door and walked casually out, secretly carrying a colt python in his belt.

When he walked closer he noticed a man standing out in the hallway smoking and holding out a gun.

"I'm calm," the man said to him.

"What?" Leon just stared at him. "N-never mind… what the hell is going on in there?" He asked.

"They're killing the men. I got the thief," the man in the sandy-coloured suit said.

"What!" Leon ran into the room leaving the strange man behind. He spotted two gunmen firing down a woman. The wife. "Hey!" He pulled his python out just as the skinnier man with the dreadlocks grabbed a young boy who wailed madly. Leon aimed and fired with simple ease, hitting the man directly in the forehead. Next he swung his arm to the side without even lowering it and shot the larger man in black.

"Aggghhh!" The little boy wailed as he ran over to Leon and grabbed his waist in a scared hug. Leon gasped. He wasn't used to children… especially saving them.

"Who are these me—" Leon stopped when he saw the tan-suit-man in the doorway.

"You killed my men," he stated in a rather questionable tone. Leon moved in front of the boy and held out his gun.

"Who are you?" He asked without lowering his gun still.

"Tommy Cash," said the man.

"Why are you here?"

"Because he stole my cocaine," the tan-suit-man said, pointing to the dead body on the floor.

"C-cocaine?" Leon raised a brow at Mr. Cash. What kind of loon would actually admit that?

"That's right… uh…" Mr. Cash looked up towards the ceiling and began to hum a tune that Leon couldn't quite put his finger on. It sounded classical.

"M-Mr. Cash?" Leon made the little boy back up a bit as he prepared to shoot.

"Do you like Beethoven?" Mr. Cash asked as he continued to look up at the ceiling. Leon gave him another funny look.

"I should just say yes, shouldn't I?" He muttered to the boy. The boy nodded nervously.

"Mr. Ca—" Suddenly Mr. Cash collapsed and began to convulse madly.

"Aggghhhh!" The little boy began to wail again as he clung to Leon.

"Come on!" Leon picked him up and ran towards his room. "Go in there!" He shoved the boy in and closed the door before looking back at Mr. Cash.

"Hey… are you…" he had never really felt sympathy before… but he felt kind of bad for this pale-faced man. He looked (and sounded) kind of sick…

"Wah!" Mr. Cash shot up from his place on the floor and grasped Leon in an embrace. Leon had to refrain from shooting him out of alarm from the random grasp.

"Are you okay?" Leon said a bit louder.

"I'm fine, so I haven't gotten an answer yet," Mr. Cash said as he stood up and brushed himself off. He suddenly looked up and passed out.

"What is wrong with this guy?" Leon muttered as he lifted the man into his arms and brought him into his apartment.

"So who are you?" Leon asked the little boy as they both sat and stared at the unconscious man on the sofa.

"My name is Nick," the little boy said.

"Okay, my name's Leon. Is there anyone else in the house?" He asked. Nick shook his head.

"But my sister is out shopping," he said. However he pronounced his R's more like W's.

"Shit," Leon muttered as the man began to stir. It only then occurred to him to search the pockets and remove the gun from his hand. He reached over and pried the pistol from Mr. Cash's hands. Next he reached into his pockets and pulled out a box of bullets and a box of pills. "I knew you were on drugs you sick bastard," he muttered as he put all his treasures on the table and continued searching.

"Can I help you?" Mr. Cash said in a slight British accent.

"Nope, not at all," Leon said, satisfied with his finds and no more, startled by the sudden awakening.

"Good," the man stood up and fell to his knees.

"Will you sit the hell down…" Leon said as he dragged the man back over to the couch. He couldn't quite figure out why he felt bad for this man… he just kind of did. Almost as if… he knew there was something that had happened to him to make him this way… it wasn't his fault.

"B-but," Mr. Cash complained as Leon forced him back down. "AGH!" He jumped when he noticed the little boy.

"What's wrong with you?" Leon asked as Mr. Cash climbed onto his shoulders.

"Demon child!" Mr. Cash shouted. Leon pried him off.

"What?" He placed the fidgeting man down on the couch again.

"He smashed the CD!" Mr. Cash wailed.

"What?" Leon turned to Nick. Nick shrugged.

"I think it scared him when I accidentally broke the Mozart CD my sister has," he suggested. Leon rolled his eyes.

"What is wrong with you? Why are you so crazy?" Leon asked. Mr. Cash who was moaning miserably.

"Crazy? Who's crazy?" He grinned. Nick and Leon looked at each other as a knock sounded from outside the door. Mathilda.

He laughed when he remembered how long it had taken Stansfield to tell him his real name. He had randomly come out two days later and told him his name was really Norman Stansfield. Why he had given him a fake name he wasn't quite sure… but then he's Stansfield, right?

Leon snorted back a laugh when Stansfield opened the door wearing an apron and holding a spatula.

"Stansfield, what the hell are you doing?" He asked as he walked in a placed his bag down.

"Cooking dinner for you," Stansfield said with a child-like smile that Leon had to like.

"Wh—Stansfield!" Leon and Mathilda rushed into the kitchen to put out the ball of fire the toast had become.

"Toast for dinner?" Mathilda asked as she held up the black piece of bread.

"Eew!" Nick shouted as he hid behind the counted from all the smoke that was emanating from the kitchen.

"I like toast for dinner," Stansfield pouted as Leon threw out his masterpiece.

"How about pizza?" He suggested as he pulled a giant frozen pizza from the refrigerator.

"Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!" Mathilda cheered, "you really are Italian!" She hugged him and grabbed the piazza from him, insistent on doing everything herself.

"I like pizza too," Stansfield said as he and Nick floated into the kitchen with the nice smell of dinner.

"Back up!" Leon dragged the three hungry monsters away from the microwave as the pizza cooked.

"But I'm hungry now!" Stansfield moaned as he sat down on the couch.

"How come you are the oldest of the three here and yet you're the most childish?" Leon asked.

"Hey, I'm younger than you," Stansfield protested.

"I said the three," Leon told him as he motion to him, Mathilda, and Nick.

"Oh… I am not childish! I want my drugs back!" He wailed before settling himself randomly and beginning to play air-piano in his odd trance.

"That oughta hold him until dinner," Leon muttered as he walked back into the kitchen. Mathilda giggled as she watched Stansfield. She had gained an odd sort of respect for him since he rid her of her awful life by killing her horrible father.

"If you hadn't I would have eventually," she had told him once. "Good, because he deserved to die," Stansfield had come back with. He was so odd.

She touched his hands to see if he would snap out of it. He didn't.

"Are you calm?" She asked him.

"I'm calm!" He screamed as he jumped out of his trance. He was calm… he honestly was. Honest. "I'm calm! I'm calm…" he breathed heavily as if that statement had frightened him badly.

"I know, I know," Mathilda said as she pet his head like a dog. "I know you're calm. Hey dinner's ready!" She grabbed him and they ran towards the table together, like young children running insanely through the wet summer backyard. Good, good.