A/N: This story is slightly AU. My take on Leo's backstory. Not much is mentioned about his past in the show, so I thought that this was a very possible situation. Frank and Julia adopt him when he's young, and they help him adjust to his new life. Let me know what you think!
FRANK AND JULIA'S HOME
It was nearing three in the afternoon and Julia was working on the book for Heaven on Earth while nursing a cup of hot tea. It was a cold, rainy day and there was no way she wanted to venture out into the city. She had been on and off the phone with Tom discussing things about the play.
Frank had been working out some new lesson plans, he was planning on going back to teaching Chemistry in the fall and was getting prepared early. They had been looking into adopting a child but they hadn't heard from the agency yet about any kids that needed homes.
Julia's phone rang, and the name on the caller ID read Tom, she answered it right away, since he thought that maybe he'd finally finished the gap in one song. "Hey, finish that new song yet?" she asked.
"just about. Hey, you're probably gonna think I'm crazy, but I think I found you a kid" he replied.
"a kid?" she'd pushed the adoption to the back of her mind because she wasn't sure if they'd ever find a child.
"yeah, I'm friends with a detective, he called me and asked if I knew anyone who was willing to take in a young boy who had just been placed in a group home" the man explained.
Julia went to find Frank and told him what Tom had said, she put her writing partner on speaker phone and let him know. "what happened?" she asked, and felt Frank's arm wrap around her shoulder.
"neglect, he's scared, confused and they don't think a group home is the best place for him" Tom explained.
Julia looked to Frank, he knew she wanted to adopt the little boy, or at least be his foster parents. The redheaded woman sighed, "how old is he?"
"eight. His name is Leo, I told my friend that's the cop that you and Frank were looking to adopt a child, and maybe he'd be the one" Tom explained. Julia sighed, she wanted a baby, but if this little boy really needed a home, she would be okay with it, she knew if he'd ben neglected that they'd have to really work with him but it would be okay, Frank stayed at home most of the day so he would have someone there.
"who do we need to talk to?" Julia asked, looking at her husband for approval. He just nodded, he knew the little boy needed a good family, and they could give him that.
"The detective's name is Carol Brighton, Manhattan SVU, but the kid's social worker's name is Grace Harrison" the man replied.
Frank grabbed a sticky note from his pile and wrote the information down that Tom had given them. Julia thanked Tom and reminded him to finish the song. They hung up and she sat down next to Frank on the couch. "well?"
"I think we should look into this, from what Tom said it sounds like this little boy really needs somebody" the brown haired man replied, rubbing his wife's shoulder.
Julia nodded, "yeah, we can clean up the guest room and make it so he has a place to stay, and just go from there"
Frank smiled, "I'll call the cop. You can start working on the room"
She nodded and went upstairs as the man dialed a number on his cell phone. About half an hour later, he came upstairs to see Julia putting a fresh set of sheets on the full sized bed. "we can meet him in an hour"
Julia smiled, she was surprised, but nervous at the same time. She had no idea how bad things had been for this little boy before now, and hoped they'd be able to work with him and make them better. "that's great" she replied, stuffing a pillow inside a grey pillow case.
"they said it was a pretty bad case, he's tiny, really confused, and the worst part is the parents were drug addicts" Frank explained to his wife.
She sighed, they definitely had a lot to work on, but she hoped an adoption would go through and they could keep him. "we're probably gonna have to make things really routine for him at first because he probably has no idea what to expect"
He nodded, "yeah, we can just figure that out as we go and see what works best for him"
Julia sighed, and went into the closet, she had once bought some boy clothes because they almost got a young boy about Leo's age but it fell through. "I'm bringing him these, who knows what he's got"
"alright. we should probably get going, they said he's at the group home, and the detective gave me an address" the man explained. She nodded and went to grab her purse and some shoes. She was a little nervous, she hoped things would go as smoothly as possible with this little boy.
They took a cab down to the group home and Julia sighed, it was pretty worn down, and there were kids running around outside. Frank wrapped his arm around her and they walked inside. Frank told the receptionist that they were there to meet with Leo's social worker. They met the strawberry blond woman and were taken to a playroom, where a tiny little boy was sitting alone, away from most of the toys and other kids. Julia knew right away that this little brown haired boy was Leo. Her heart broke for the child who looked like he was so out of place. Grace explained that he'd been found by a dumpster searching for food and was removed from his home when the parents were found passed out from drugs. The social worker approached the boy who wouldn't make eye contact at first but when he did he looked terrified. The woman finally motioned for Julia and Frank to approach him, and Julia did, with Frank following slowly behind her.
Julia knelt down to his level and smiled. "hi my name is Julia, can you tell me yours?"
He shook his head, but got a stern look from the social worker and mumbled, "Leo…" Julia sighed, she was a little angry that the social worker was already being so stern with him, and she didn't want to push the little boy too hard.
Julia smiled again, "how would you like to come live with me and my husband, Frank for a while?"
Grace sighed angrily as the little boy shrugged. Julia was glad to be getting him away from this woman. Frank knelt down next to Leo as well, "I think you'll like living with me and Julia, we won't hurt you, I promise"
Apparently those were the magic words, Leo nodded, and the social worker gave them the information they needed and they were back to the cab. They made it to Julia's house and Leo immediately tensed up. He seemed intimidated by the big home and didn't know what was expected of him. Julia gently guided him into the house and he just stood there, frozen.
She sighed, "it's okay buddy, you're gonna be safe here" he didn't know if he should believe her or not. The house was nice and nothing was broken or falling apart like things were at his old house. It was bright, and it looked like there was lots of room.
He stood still, he didn't want to say the wrong thing, there were words he wasn't allowed to use and wasn't sure what would happen now if he said those things. He wanted food, but asking for something like that was wrong, and asking to go potty was wrong too.
Julia put her purse on the counter and knelt down to his level, "I know you're probably really scared, but that's okay. how about we get you a little something to eat and then we can show you your room"
He just looked at her, he had never really had his own room before. and nobody ever asked him if he wanted food. He was hungry, so he nodded. He guessed being offered food saved him from having to ask.
"have you had macaroni and cheese before?" the redheaded woman asked. She figured it wouldn't be too hard to get a kid to like pasta, and it was easy to eat, and would be light on his stomach.
He shook his head. Julia turned to Frank and nodded, the man started making the pasta for the young boy without fighting. This was new to Leo. He barely said a word and was getting food, or he thought he'd get food.
"that's alright, you can try some. I think you'll like it" Julia said, smiling at the little boy.
He just nodded, he was still scared and confused. Julia stood up, and turned on the Disney channel. Frank sighed, he knew he'd be missing several episodes of his favorite show, but it was worth it. Leo still stood there, frozen and terrified to move and take one wrong step. Julia noticed this and sighed, she decided that with some coaxing the little boy would eventually warm up to them. "come on kiddo, you can come sit with me and watch some TV"
He slowly made his way over to the couch, climbed up onto it and just sat there, looking at the screen showing a talking platypus. He recognized this show, he'd watched it with a friend one time and actually liked it. How Julia knew he liked it, he didn't know, but she was letting him watch it and he wasn't going to say anything.
Frank sat the table and finished getting the pasta ready for Leo. He walked into the living room and the tiny little boy was sitting straight up on the couch, his attention trained on the screen. "hey Leo, I've got some macaroni ready for you, why don't you come try a few bites"
Julia smiled, and gave him an encouraging nod, he got up and sat at the table. He didn't hesitate to eat, he was starving, and the food looked like it tasted good. It was better than anything he'd ever eaten, even the cafeteria food that his teacher got him. He wasted no time eating the bowl of pasta and downing the glass of milk that Frank had given him, he didn't want it to be taken away. The man decided to sit by him, "there's some more macaroni if you're still hungry"
Leo tried not to look confused, he didn't know he could have more if he wanted it, since at school he never got more. Frank knew that if he had been searching for food in the dumpster, he probably didn't know what it was like to actually get good food. "oh.." he mumbled after a few minutes. He was still very hungry although the macaroni was helping. He didn't want to eat all of their food though, he knew it was bad to do that too.
"it's okay if you're still hungry and you want more" Frank reassured him.
The little boy just shook his head and got down from the table. Frank sighed and thought that maybe he was a little overwhelmed. He wasn't going to pressure the child to eat, and he knew that the young boy would eventually see that he was allowed to eat whatever he wanted. He just stood by the table, he saw that his show was on but he didn't know if sitting on the couch was okay. Julia noticed that he didn't do anything without being told that it was okay, and that worried her. she felt so bad for this little boy and wanted to make him feel comfortable and help him heal. She calmly told him that he could come sit by her again and he did. His eyes glued to the TV screen and she smiled.
She decided that she wasn't going to coax him to relax or to talk, he seemed content with the TV show he was watching and they would take things slowly, but she knew there were so many things that they needed to figure out. She decided that the next day she'd call a pediatrician, and would try to talk to him about his old school.