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
Leo did not sleep peacefully at all that night. He tossed and turned after Julia had laid him down in bed. He woke up and he was pretty sure it was a school morning. he had no idea what time it was and ran down the stairs. He couldn't be late for school, his teacher would be mad, and he'd be in trouble.
He hurried down the stairs to find Frank sitting at the kitchen table eating. He was scared, he wasn't sure what he should say or do to get Frank's attention. He just stood there, stick straight.
Frank turned around and smiled when he saw the little boy standing near him. "hey buddy…"
Leo was startled by the calmness in Frank's voice and he started to tear up. "school…." Was the only thing the little boy could think of to say. He wasn't sure how to explain to Frank that he got hurt if he was in trouble at school.
Frank sighed, he realized that Leo was so confused, and unsure of what was going to happen next. He walked closer to the little boy and knelt down, "you get to stay home today, we want to talk to you teacher and let them know what's goin on. and you need a break to rest"
Leo shook his head, "don't call my teacher!"
"why don't you want me to call your teacher?" Frank asked, he was really concerned about how things were going for Leo at school.
"I'll get in trouble! You can't" he whined. Frank could hear the confusion in the little boy's voice. He knew they really had a lot to work on with him.
"I don't want to call because you're in trouble, I want to know what things are like for you at school so we can help you." Frank explained, the teacher would know how he was acting, what his grades were like and what he struggled with the most.
"I don't need help…" he mumbled, looking away.
"maybe you don't, but I wanna know who your teacher is incase you ever do need help, or if you have a bad day" Frank was glad he was a teacher, he knew sometimes things like this could be hard on kids, and they often struggled a lot. Leo had a lot to adjust to and would need a lot of patience and guidance from Frank, Julia and his teachers. Frank could tell that no one had ever been patient with the little boy and it was probably showing in his school work.
Leo thought for a few minutes, he never liked going to school. Kids made fun of him when he got really bad grades, he got picked on because he was really scared all the time, and he often looked like he wasn't taken care of. There were kids in his class that talked about toys and movies that he had never heard of and was laughed at because of it. he didn't have any of the nice clothes that they had so he was always talked about.
He couldn't understand why he was so different from everybody else. Maybe the help that Frank mentioned meant getting him the toys and movies and clothes the other kids had. Leo remembered the day it was storming and how he almost told Julia the night before. He thought maybe if his teacher or Frank knew about how much storms scared him he wouldn't be laughed at. But he wasn't sure how that worked. He shrugged, all of this was just so new to him he didn't know what to do. The night before crying seemed to keep Julia from hurting him and he thought she was nice.
He let the tears fall and looked away. He was just so confused he didn't know what was acceptable. Frank sighed, he could just see the confusion and fear written on the little boy's face and wanted to do everything he could to take it away. He sat on the floor with Leo and started rubbing his back. "it's okay buddy"
Leo continued to sob and was still afraid to say what was on his mind. His back had hurt from some beatings he'd taken not too long ago and the way Frank was rubbing it actually made him feel better. The eight year old scooted closer to Frank and leaned into him. He thought he felt safe with Frank and he wanted to see if it was true.
Frank smiled, he knew Leo had to be uncomfortable, tired, and scared. He wanted to help the little boy work through everything that had happened, and he felt like this was a step in the right direction. "can I pick you up kiddo?" he asked, he didn't want to startle the child by just picking him up so he thought asking first would be the best for him right now.
Leo was hesitant but nodded. He didn't like sitting on the floor, and Frank made him feel safe. The next thing he knew he was in Frank's arms and the man was still rubbing his back. "It's okay for you to stay home today. Why don't we go find some cartoons to watch, and I'll get you some breakfast"
Leo just nodded into Frank's shoulder and whimpered. Frank sat on the couch with him and helped him get situated, the little boy settled into Frank's side and rested his head on the man's shoulder. Frank turned the TV to the Disney channel and noticed a small smile make it's way to Leo's face.
About 20 minutes later Julia got up and realized her house was quiet, which she was used to. but it could also mean that Leo was asleep or something was wrong. She threw on her robe, and pulled her hair into a loose low ponytail and peeked into Leo's room. She noticed the sheets thrown back and the bear neglected on the bed, so she picked up the stuffed animal and made her way downstairs where she heard the sound of animated voices coming from their TV.
She knew this was where the little boy had to be. She walked further into the living room and smiled when she saw the eight year old curled up next to her husband and half asleep. She smiled at Frank and handed the little boy the teddy bear. She saw a look of fear come across the little boys face. She sighed when he didn't hide himself in Frank or just settle in with the teddy bear. She knew he was still confused, and it would take some time before he settled in.
Frank gently rubbed his shoulder, "just relax buddy, it's okay"
Leo sighed, and just turned his focus back to the TV. Frank helped him relax and he settled down and slowly fell asleep.
Julia walked away and decided to call the school. She wanted to find out how the little boy was doing academically and see what they could do to help him. She found the number in the information the social worker had given her. She called the principals office and the woman picked up after three rings. "Donna Trammell's office…"
"hi, I'm not sure if the social worker talked to you recently, but one of your students is now in foster care.." Julia started, hoping the woman knew about Leo.
"is this about Leo Peterson?" the woman asked.
"yeah, it is. I'm his new foster mother, Julia Houston…" the redheaded woman explained, she was hoping the woman could get her the answers she needed.
The principal pulled up his file and sighed, the little boy was struggling, academically and emotionally. "well from the files I'm looking at now, he's struggling, a lot. If you want you can come in and I can show you some of his stuff and let you talk with his teacher" the woman suggested, she wanted to help make things a little easier for the eight year old.
Julia was actually pleased with the woman's response, she'd get a chance to really see what things had been like for the young boy and help him have an easier time at school. "I'll be in sometime this afternoon, I have to go into work but I have a break around two" she replied, hoping she could get away for a few minutes.
The redheaded woman was able to sneak away from work for a while after explaining to Tom and the director what was going on. Both men agreed to let her go without a fight. She walked into the school building, it was an older school, and it was a little too run down for Julia's liking.
She knocked on the principal's door and a older blond woman answered, and smiled. Julia sat down in the chair and the principal opened up a file folder. She turned it around so Julia could see Leo's last report card. The redheaded woman sighed, the eight year old was making mostly Ds with a few Cs. She knew that she and Frank could help him bring his grades up a lot higher than they were.
"math and reading are his two hardest subjects. His teacher said science is something he really likes, but still struggles because of reading" the woman explained.
"well, my husband teaches science at one of the high schools. That's good to know, he can help Leo a lot. But we'll definitely work on everything with him"
The woman smiled, but sighed, "we don't think anyone has sat and worked with him while he's trying to read, I feel like he might have tried to teach himself"
"I'll try reading with him tonight and see how he does." Julia told her, she was going to pick up some books that the eight year old might be interested in and let him look through them.
"since it's getting close to the end of the year, there's a chance he could be held back, it might be what's best for him so he can have some time to catch up" the blond explained, she knew there was a slim chance Leo could make it on to third grade, but she was willing to work with him.
"we'll just see how he does. There's a lot we have to work with him on, and we want to take it slowly, so he has time to adjust." Julia told her.
"our counselor agreed to talk to him whenever he feels like it. She was planning on sitting with him through an entire day to see how he's really doing.
"that would probably be a good idea, that way we'll know what his biggest issues are and we can work through those first" Julia said, smiling. She was really happy with the way this woman wanted to help Leo.
"alright, I'll have her give you a call after she works with him and let you know how his day went" Donna replied, this would be good because she knew the little boy would probably have a hard time telling Julia about his day and the counselor would be able to pick up on a lot of things that they'd missed before. She hoped that Leo would be willing to cooperate with them.
"that sounds great. Is there a way we can update his information so that you'll be able to get a hold of me or my husband if something happens?" Julia asked, she wanted the school to have the correct information.
"yeah, I'll get you the paperwork and you can either have him give it to his teacher or just bring it back when you can" the woman smiled, searching through a file cabinet. She handed Julia a few papers and the redhead smiled.
"I'll just bring it by, I don't want to scare him by having him bring it to you" Julia replied, folding the papers and putting them in her purse.
"alright. let me know if there's anything else I can do to help him." the woman said, smiling.
"I will. He's gonna start getting better soon, my husband and I are thinking about adopting him" Julia said, getting up.
"he needs a good home. I'm glad they finally got him out of the one he was in" Donna explained.
"have you tried to help him before?" Julia asked.
"we did, but the parents wouldn't do much to continue helping him, so it wasn't making a big difference" she explained.
Julia sighed, "we want him to do better. it's gonna take a while but he will"
"that's good. I hate to cut this short but I have a meeting to go to… but you can call me if you need anything" the principal said, grabbing a file.
"alright, I actually need to get back to work, but we will keep in touch" Julia said, following the woman out the door.
A/N: Sorry about the wait! I've been super busy and am actually procrastinating homework right now to finish this up for you guys! Hope you enjoyed it!