Summary: What if Luke took a little longer to adapt to life with the Seavers? What challenges does he face as he comes to terms with what has happened to him and as he struggles to find a place in this crazy family? Takes place right after "In vino veritas."

Rated: T

Disclaimer: I do not own Growing Pains nor am I making any money off of this! Please don't sue!

Please read & review. Thanks!!!

Settling In

Luke wasn't sure what to do with himself. It had been a long time since he had told anyone the truth about his past. A really long time. It was almost nice for someone to know. He wasn't sure, though. His head was spinning.

Trust. It wasn't something Luke had a lot of. He had learned to fend for himself a long time ago, and it was hard to release that control. He had started to trust Mike, but he wasn't so sure about the rest of the Seavers. He wanted to believe that he would be safe there, like the Seavers had told him, but he wasn't so sure. He hadn't been safe in a long time. Why should this be any different?

They promised a lot. Food. Shelter. Safety. But Luke had learned a long time ago that everything came at a price. What was theirs?

He tried not to think of these things as he drifted off to sleep that night. At least they believed me about the wine. He thought to himself. And at least Mike was just exaggerating when he said that Jason was like Freddy Kruger. At least, Luke hoped that he was just exaggerating. Experiences often colored perceptions… and he had enough experiences of drunks to last a lifetime. He liked Jason, except that he reminded Luke of his step-dad, at least a little.

Luke sighed and rolled over. He couldn't screw this up. He didn't understand why they let him stay. He wasn't worth it. He couldn't even understand why Mike would want to help him. What made him worth it? Nobody ever gave him the time of day before.

Luke wouldn't be getting much sleep tonight.

The hours dragged by and soon it was the next morning. Luke dragged himself out of bed and paused before going downstairs. His reflection in the mirror caught his gaze, and he couldn't help but stop and stare. Who was he? He didn't know anymore. He was living in a nice suburban house, with people who seemed to genuinely care. I don't deserve this. He thought to himself. Shaking the thought of his head, he plastered a tired smile on his face and headed downstairs.

He found Mike in the kitchen, hastily deciding on which cold cereal to eat for breakfast.

"Good morning, Luke." Mike greeted.

"Morning." Luke greeted in return.

"You okay, kid?" Mike asked, seeing that Luke had dark circles under his eyes.

"Yeah, fine…" Luke lied.

"You expect me to believe that?" Mike sat down next to Luke, who had taken a place at the kitchen table. "I know you better than that. What's going on."

"Nothing…" he started. "I couldn't sleep. That's all."

"Anything you want to talk about?"

"Nope. I'm fine. Really." He sounded more like he wanted to convince himself.

"Is this about what happened last night? You know we believe you… we want you here."

"Yeah, I know." Luke put on a fake smile. "Maybe, I'll just go take a nap or something…"

"Luke, you know I'm always here if you need to talk…"

"Yeah, thanks." Luke got up to leave, but than turned around. "for everything."

"No problem." Mike replied. He wasn't sure if Luke heard him or not. Something was definitely going on with that kid. He just wasn't sure what. But he was going to find out.

Mike finished his cereal quickly. He knew that something was up with his young charge and he wanted to talk to him. Last night had been stressful. Many things had come out that Mike didn't even know how to handle. The two had such a strong connection, though, that he felt the need to talk to him, and to make sure things were going okay. He couldn't believe that he didn't know the terrible things that Luke had gone through. He wanted to make sure his young friend was handling things okay… and he wanted to make sure that Luke knew they wanted him there. Mike could see it in his eyes. The doubt. The pain. The fear. He hated it.

Walking up to Luke's room, Mike had absolutely no idea what he would say to the boy. What was there even to say to someone in this situation? He just held his breath and knocked on the door.

Silence.

Mike knocked again.

Silence.

"Luke, it's me!" Mike yelled. Silence. "It's Mike!" Silence again.

He waited a few seconds. Knock Knock Knock. "Okay, I'm opening the door…"

He opened the door slowly. "Luke?" He said hopefully. "You in here?" The boy had told him that he was taking a nap and Mike suddenly felt bad that he was waking him up. He peered toward the bed. Empty. "Luke?" He was suddenly concerned. His eyes scanned the entire room before being drawn to flowing curtains that danced around the open window.

Mike ran to the window and looked down. The window led straight to the roof, which connected to the garage. No, he wouldn't have… But he did.

Where was Luke? What was going on? The room looked immaculate, the bed was made. It looked like nobody was ever there. Oh No! Mike groaned, a terrible thought suddenly popping in his head.

"Luke!" Mike yelled out the open window. "Luke!"

He wouldn't have run away… or would he?

To be continued… Please Review!