Jumping

"Just don't follow me home, okay?"

Leopold nodded dully as Stuart prattled on and on. The duke felt the ring in his hand, fingering it and then putting it abruptly in his pocket.

The Brooklyn Bridge loomed up before them. Leopold suddenly felt very small and unimportant. The cars raced past them, over the bridge. He looked up and down, realizing how very high it was. Before he could think, he found Stuart leading him up towards the top, towards the jump point.

The next thing he knew, he staring at the pavement and water far down below. He suddenly felt very dizzy.

"I don't think I can do this…" he mumbled to himself.

Stuart glanced back for the moment, and then kept walking. They finally came to the top.

"Okay, Leopold, what you have to do…"

He rambled on, and Leopold managed to listen to him a little. Cross the girder, a feat in itself, and jump from that far ledge. Easy.

"So, uh…" Stuart looked rather sad now that it came down to this. "I guess this is goodbye."

Leopold nodded, so he continued.

"I'll never forget the time I spent with you. A man out of time."

The inventor smiled wryly, and then gave Leopold one last pat on the shoulder.

"I'll read about you in the history books."

Lightly, Leopold swung his legs over the railing. The girder he had to cross seemed ominously narrow. Holding his arms out for balance, he made his way precariously across the thin bridge. The cars whizzed below, and dizziness seized him again. He paused in the middle, flailing his arms for balance. He was going to fall. Then his mind he cleared, and he was across.

The waters below seemed cold and unwelcoming, even in the bright daylight. He gazed towards the city. New York. A beautiful thing it had become, tall and proud. Yet it was not the New York that he knew and loved. This city was loud and fast, driving on and on at a relentless pace. That was one thing he was eager to leave behind. But…

Kate. In the few days Leopold had known her, she had made an impact on his heart that he had never felt before. Her bright, brash, and outgoing manner was nothing he had ever seen in a woman before. And she needed him. She needed someone who would care for her and cherish her. Someone who would love until the crumbling of time itself. And that was a role he would willingly fill.

But it was not be. He had been brought to this hectic hell, and in the midst of it found an angel. And now he was to be torn from her and sent back all alone. All alone in his miserable life, with no one to guide him or love him. No one but his uncle, with those hateful words and striking hands that had plagued him all his life. And Otis would be there, of course.

Otis. How he wished Otis was here, right now. Here to guide him and comfort like he had all these years. With his soft voice and kind eyes he had been, unawares, a pillar of strength and sanity for Leopold to lean on in his youth. But now he was years away, back in the vortex of time.

Once again Leopold cast his gaze downward. The cruel waters were daunting, and he felt a gnawing feeling in the pit of his stomach. If he went now, he would never see Kate again. She would be here, and he would be beyond her reach. And he would always know that she waited for him in the years to come.

"Jump, Leopold!" Stuart called.

What if the portal didn't work? What if he plunged to his death in the iciness below? This thought at first seemed terrible, but slowly became welcoming. If he jumped, Kate would be out of his reach forever either way. Better to die and not have to go on.

Kate. How could he ever leave her? But it must be so. It must be so. So he must steel himself to fate, however horrible it may be.

His eyes drifted back to the apartment building. He could see it from here. There, he had confessed to her what they both knew. And now he said it again.

"I love you, Kate McKay."

"Leopold! Jump!" Stuart's voice was urgent.

Taking a shuddering breath, Leopold drew his sleeve across his face in a most un-gentlemanly way to wipe away the tears. Then, bowing his head, he closed his eyes…

And…

Jumped.          

Author's Notes: Yay! My first 'Kate & Leopold' fic! *sniff* I'm so proud… Okay, I want to say 'thanks very much' to Manda Mizuno Ami. You posted the first fic in the section, way to go! You inspired me to get my butt in gear, write this down, and post it. And also SLY One. Your fic is awesome! Keep writing, you've got talent. Aaaaand, now that you've gotten this far, please review. It will make me very happy. J

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Miramax, or the writers, or something. They don't belong to me, I am not making any money, merely entertaining myself and (hopefully) others.