A/N.: Hey guys! This is a short one shot. Title says it all. I hope you like it. Thanks to ParisAmy for spending her precious free-time with betaing my stories!
In front of the Courtroom
I'm waiting outside of the courtroom with my client. The case is clear. Armed robbery. The evidence is back-breaking. I doubt I can even reach less than the maximum sentence. This man had entered a gas station, pointed a gun at the cashier, took all money, hit an innocent woman, damaged several racks and shot the cashier in the shoulder, after he handed the money over. There was not the slightest sign of compassion or regret. This judgement was clear.
"Daddy!" I hear a pitched boy's voice. A small kid, approximately at the age of six, runs towards us. My client only looks at me, and I nod assuring. This will be the last time he'll see his little boy. When he comes out again, the boy will be an adult. It hurts to know that a parent won't be able to watch his kid grow up. I can't imagine how awful this feeling must be. On the other hand, he could've found another solution than stealing money and hurting innocent people.
"Hey little man." He kneels down and catches the boy in his arms.
"Do you come home today?" The boy asks. His sandy hair stands up to all directions; his cloths are old, damaged and dirty; he has a black eye and grazes on his arms – one of them looks awfully swollen; but his eyes. His eyes are incredibly big and blue. Ocean blue and there is so much sadness and affection at once radiating from them.
"I don't know; probably not." My client answers. I can understand that he doesn't want to tell his young son that he wasn't going to see him for a very long time.
"Where did you get these from?" My client asks and points at the bruises and gazes. The boy only shrugs his shoulders. I don't like what I'm witnessing. I have a good sense for things like that, and I already know the explanation. The whole body language from the boy tells you what had happened.
"Ryan?" My client asks him, now in a stricter attitude.
"I fell." The boy whispers. This is a lie. I can tell. I don't say anything. This is not my business.
"Did you?" My client asks again. The boy doesn't answer. He's staring at the ground. He doesn't even make the attempt to look at his father.
"Oh kid. You have to take care of yourself. I can't be there all the time to protect you. You're a big man now. You need to protect yourself, because nobody else will. Did you understand?" Harsh words; but they are the truth. I know where the boy comes from and I know that if he wants to survive there he has to grow up fast. Six years. That's too young to tell a boy he has to grow up and take care of himself. Kids this age barely can walk on their own, and still struggle to express themselves. You can't tell them to grow up immediately.
"Ryan!" I hear the steely voice of a woman shouting after her son. She comes up to us. Her hair is a mess, the makeup is smeared all over her face and her eyes are dull. She has another kid in tow; another boy. He's taller and older. His face has something intimidating and I'm sure this boy is a brat.
"Come here, now!" She screams at him. The boy hesitates.
"Sorry." He whispers and goes to his mother. My heart clenches when she slaps his face.
"I told you not to talk to this man again. He's not your father anymore. You won't see him for a long time. He won't be a father. How should he be? He won't see you grow up. He has left us. Do you understand me? This man is no longer your father. He has abandoned us. He's not your father and I don't want you calling him like that or even pretending as if he was. Did you get that?" She asks harshly, and slaps her youngest again.
"Dawn, that's enough. He's only six. Stop telling him such things." My client steps in. I see the concern in his face and the urge in his eyes to take his son with him.
"Stop blaming my Mom. You've hurt her and you've left us. You've no right on us anymore. You've messed it up. So stop playing the father you've never been." The other boy now says. As I thought: a tiny little brat. I feel awfully sorry for the boy. He looks so lost among these people. He doesn't belong to them. He's not one of them. He looks so trustful. He's intimidated. How is this boy supposed to survive with an abusive mother and a brother like this?
"But I love him, so he's my DAD!" The little boy screams out. He stands up for his feelings. He's such an honest soul.
"Never, ever say this again."
"Why not? It's the truth." This owed him another slap to his face. The truth. Indeed it is, but these people don't look as if they pay a lot attention to what the truth is, and what not. The woman grabs the boy's arm and drags him outside.
"Stop it; I want to stay with Dad!" I can hear the boy scream. "I…don't want…to be alone with you!" He screams. I can hear that he had started crying. "Dad I love you!" He screams. My heart shatters. I see the tears in my client's eyes.
"Excuse me." He says and then disappears in the lavatories. He comes back; he's regained his composure.
"Sorry for that." He apologizes. "I don't know how my little boy is supposed to survive alone with his mother and brother. He's so different from them. He has such a good heart. He never would harm anyone or anything. He's a good kid. Quite smart. He taught himself how to read." The man says. I see how the thought having to abandon his youngest hurts him.
"He doesn't belong here. He needs someone who protects him. He's not safe with my ex wife. He didn't fall. My wife or one of her partners has done this to him. He never would say that. He would never accuse his mother or complain about her, neither about his brother. He's only six years old, but they already start to rip his soul out; everyday another piece. I'm so afraid of what might happen to him when I'm not there to protect him. I guess every place is better than one he has to share with his mother." He says. These are the words of a man who had faced the truth, accepted it, and now was concerned about what this might do to his family.
"I can take care of that, if you want me to. I can find a good foster home for him." I offer him. I have to give him some relief. He's a good father and a concerned one. I'm afraid he might do anything stupid that might expand the time of his stay in prison.
"You could do that?" I see some glimpse of hope in the man's face.
"If you want me to." I say.
"Yes, I need my youngest to be safe. He needs someone who can help him to escape out of this vicious circle. He's the first one in our family who has the skills doing so. He deserves something better." He says with all fervour a man in his position can have left.
"Okay, but now you should worry about yourself. If you want to protect your son, you need to fight this." I say. Then we enter the court room.
After the proceedings
I walk out of the building. My feelings had been right. Fifteen years. Take care of my son. These had been the last words from my client. I had to. I can't forget these blue eyes. I can't forget the boy. When I go to my car I see a familiar form sitting on the kerb. His back is contracting with every single sob. His face his hidden in his arms. He looks so lost. I should get into my car and let the social services deal with it. I can't. He is only a kid. A kid that can't take care of himself, because he's too young.
"Hey kid." I say and sit down next to him. I look around, but there's no mother and no brother.
"What are you doing here alone?" I ask him. He just shrugs his shoulders. He doesn't look up to me. He's crying.
"Where's your Mom?" I ask him. Again he shrugs his shoulders. I need to do something; but to be able to do something I need to know what's wrong; and for knowing what's wrong the boy needs to talk to me. I look at him. Only now I realise how skinny he is for a boy of his age. No, he doesn't look healthy and I can understand my client's concerns. The boy really needs a better place than the one he's staying right now – if he's staying at one place anyway. It doesn't look like that. Why else would a six year old boy sit alone on a kerb, without his mother that had been there only a couple of hours before?
"Do you want some chocolate?" Sweets always get kids to talk.
"Dad says…I'm…not allowed…to take…anything from strangers." He says. He's smart. He loves his Dad and once again my hear breaks into pieces and I question myself; whether I could've done a better job.
"But I'm your Dad's lawyer and he asked me to take care of you as long as he isn't there." I tell him.
"Lawyers aren't allowed to lie…right?" The boy asks.
"That's right." I tell him, well aware that this is not the whole truth. Hell, this is a six year old boy. It's not important.
"Here." I hand him some chocolate and he hesitatingly takes it. He bits small bits of it. I look at his still swollen arm. It's drawn in all colours. It doesn't look good. The whole boy doesn't look good. I'm quite sure that he needs medical attention. He's too skinny.
"What happened to your arm?" I ask him.
"I fell." He answers.
"Your Dad told me that this isn't the truth." I say to him. He blushes and ducks his head in a defensive way.
"Don't worry; I'm not hurting you. I just think that a doctor should have a look at this." I tell him.
"No!" He calls out in panic.
"Why not? He'll only look at it and makes it better if it's hurting."
"It doesn't hurt." He says.
"Kid, your father said to me I have to take care of you, and you don't want to him to be mad only because you didn't listen or?" I ask him. The boy becomes sad again.
"Is it true that he won't come home for a long time?" He asks. I don't want to answer this question. I can't lie to him. He would find out.
"Yes." I say and try to stay as calm as I can.
"Then I don't need a doctor."
"Why not?" I ask him confused.
"Because the arm would be damaged again anyway. So it's not worth it, or?"
"Oh yes it is." I say. This sentence has pulled a trigger.
"I'll take care that nobody will damage your arm again." I say to him.
"Really?" He asks and for the first time these blue eyes look up at me. They are so sad and hurt.
Ten years later
"What are you thinking of?" My wife asks me. We're standing in the kitchen.
"I can't believe it's already ten years I've met him first." I say and point at the blond boy in our pool, fooling around with another boy with dark curly hair.
"Me neither." My wife says and watches the boys carefully.
"Boys dinner is ready." I call out. Both of them jump out of the pool and run towards the house.
"Be careful." My wife announces them, with a smile on her face.
"Mom!?" The blond boy says and only rolls his eyes. Yes, teeny modus had kicked in once again.
"Don't 'mom' me and now you both get changed." She says.
"Hey Ry; catch!" The dark curly haired boy says and throws a slice of bread towards him.
"Kids." I only say to stop their high spirits before something happens.
"Yes, yes we're already on our way." My dark haired son says and I ruffle y hand through his hair.
"I'll hope so." I say and start an attempt to ruffle my blond son's hair, but he's blocking my hand with his arm. The scars are the reminder of the day when I've met him. The arm had been broken. A complicated fracture had required several surgeries; but this time is gone now. Only the scars remind us, from time to time that the boy has a past that doesn't include us, but most of the time it doesn't play any role. The boy is our son and behaves like that. Who would have thought that I would go to court one day and bring home a son?