*Remember that all of the guest fiction should be considered AU since they do not fully reflect the canon storyline. -- Tricia

 

 

Dear Diary,

by Angela

 

March 17th, 2012

I just received some of the most shocking news of my life today, and believe me I have received my fair share of shocking news. Being the wife of a police captain can expose a person to a lot of it. However, this definitely beats them all.

Carl came home today, calm as you please, and asked me a most fascinating question over dinner: How would I feel about taking in an abused teenager? Apparently Carl had recently met a young man in Hangway who desperately wanted to leave his old life behind and start again. Carl wanted to help the boy, give him a new life, turn him around and he wanted to do it here, that way he could easily keep his eyes on the boy and I had a chance at the family I had always wanted.

What do you say to an offer like that? I think my first response was to choke on my drink. Carl was offering me a teenage boy as a son. It was definitely not one of our more normal dinner conversations. I had always wanted children, but Carl’s job was very important to him and it was hard for someone in the position he was in to have a family because of how dangerous his job really was. We had intended on starting a family years ago, but it just sort of kept getting pushed back until it just seemed to no longer be a possibility. Then this happens. I, of course, grilled him for information on the boy. How old was he? What kind of abuse did he suffer from? Why was he in Hangway? He didn’t give me too many details, just enough so that I had a pretty good idea of what the boy had gone through. Learning what I did about him, an even better question popped into my head: How could I possibly say no?

*****

March 28th, 2012

It has become official, or as official as Carl truly made it: the boy will be moving in with us. It is going to take a little while until it is safe to bring him. Carl needs new papers for him and something must be done about his appearance. Apparently this boy has quite the recognizable face and they both want that changed. They are going to decide on a new look, get everything arranged, and then he will leave Hangway, go into surgery, stay the night, and come home the next day.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about having this boy around. I mean, I’m happy that he is going to be here and glad for the opportunity to not only play at being a mother but making a difference in the life of someone who apparently never had much of a chance. It’s more of the fact that, over the years, I had become used to the idea of never having children and now I do have that chance. I wonder what it will be like having someone else in the house? I imagine the house won’t be so quiet, what with a teenager running around. No vacuuming early in the morning in case he isn’t awake. I can bake cookies and have someone to share with besides the neighbors. He can help me bake cookies. Does he even like cookies? I’ll have to ask.

*****

May 29th, 2012

Oh my dear Lord, I have never been so nervous in my life. I’m writing right now to give my hands something to do while I wait for Carl to come back with the boy. I hate that I have to refer to him as “boy.” It sounds so very impersonal. But Carl said that he was letting the boy pick his new name today so I won’t have to use that word anymore.

My goodness, my hands are actually shaking. It has been years since I have been this excited. I can count on one hand the number of times I have been scared or excited into shaking. My wedding was one time. I was so afraid something would go wrong. I remember walking down the aisle and looking at Carl in his dress uniform and I thought my heart was going to burst right out of my chest. I had never been so happy. When I reached him and he held out his hand to me and I reached out to take it, my hand was shaking so badly I remember he looked up at me and there was such a look of deep concern that I actually started to cry. I don’t know what he saw in my eyes but he smiled at me and firmly held my hand. It was one of the happiest moments in my life.

Then, of course, there was the time my best friend, Allyson, had her first baby. I had known Allyson for what seemed like forever and we had always been there for each other. When Carl and I got married, she was my maid of honor and I was hers when she married her sweetie, Mikey. I was one of the first people she told about her pregnancy and I was there every step of the way. Mikey is a wonderful and loving man but while Allyson was pregnant anytime she was upset or angry, he just fell to pieces so I was the one in the delivery room with Alley when Peter was born. I was also there when Allyson’s brother, Jake, died. He was killed by a police officer during a drug bust. After that, Allyson and Mikey said they couldn’t stay in Juxtapose City anymore. That was another time I found myself shaking but I suppose that happens when you cry hard enough. I haven’t heard from her in almost ten year.

The there was the time when Carl was shot and almost killed during a routine bust. I was so angry.

I think I hear the car. I’ll finish later.

*****

May 29th, 2012

You know the stories mothers tell of when they first laid eyes on their child? When they take one look at the helpless young life before them and a fierce and overwhelming love fills them and they know that there is nothing they wouldn’t do to protect that fragile life? My fragile life walked almost full-grown into my house this afternoon. Some people say it’s the eyes, the way they look at you, so very trusting, but that’s not it. Some say it’s the fact that this life sprang from your body and has been a part of you for so long and that may be true, but that’s not entirely it either. When our young Black, and his name is Black, walked into my house this afternoon, I realized what it was. Vulnerability. This young creature enters your life and you just know that you are responsible for his safety and welfare and for making their life a happy one.

Carl made the comment yesterday after he saw the boy that he looked like something that walked out of a horror movie. I chastised him at the time but I have to admit, if only to myself, that he was right. The poor child came walking into the house, cautiously shuffling along with one hand delicately held in Carl’s, with his entire body covered in bandages. Not even his eyes were visible. He really did look like a mummy come to life. Carl thought it was amusing. I couldn’t find it in me to laugh. He was so vulnerable, standing in the hallway, his shoulders hunched as if he was trying to protect himself from some unknown danger. When Carl turned him to face me and introduced me to him, he started trembling, absolutely shaking like a leaf, the poor dear. He was so very scared of what he thought I was going to do or say that it absolutely broke my heart. I took his hand and lead him out back and rocked with him on the swinging chair in the backyard, trying to comfort him. I think it worked. I could feel the tension seep out of him to be replaced by a fine trembling in his limbs, but I just kept rocking him.

Carl said that the bandages would start coming off in a week or so, or so he heard from the doctor. I admit that I’m curious to see what he looks like, but I find that I don’t really care. It would be nice to have a face to go with his voice, but I don’t care what he looks like. No matter what, he is Black. Can you believe he picked that name? No first name or last name, whatever the case may be, just Black. He said it was the opposite of who he was. He didn’t want to be that person anymore. When he said that, I could feel my heart wanting to break out of my chest and all I could think of was, whatever he wanted, he got it. If he never wanted to be that person again, then with every last breath in my body I will make sure that he doesn’t.

*****

June 6, 2012

I know I said before that it didn’t matter to me what Black looked like under the bandages, and it still doesn’t, but when he got back from the hospital today with Carl, the first thing I could think of was investing in an aluminum bat to beat his admirers away. He really is quite the good-looking young man. Attractive, yes, but what pleased me the most was his eyes. I guess if I explained what happened it would be easier to understand.

I’m in the kitchen preparing for dinner, making pork chops because they are Carl’s favorite. I wanted to make Black’s favorite dish but when I asked he just replied, “Anything you make is my favorite food.” Isn’t he sweet? Anyway, I’m in the kitchen cooking when I hear the craft pull up. The thought occurs to me to meet them at the door, but this would be the first time Black has ever seen me and I don’t want to make him nervous. After all, today was the first time he’d seen himself as well. So, I decide to stay in the kitchen. The front door opens and I tell them where I am. I hear someone moving in the hall behind me so I take a breath and turn. I get an impression of dark skin and hair until I meet his eyes. They are literally like pools of coffee, a rich brown that is deep and warm as he looks at me. I must have looked surprised because he blushed, looking away around the kitchen. I glance over the rest of him, noting his high cheekbones, dark hair, and full mouth before he glances at me again. His eyes are strange, his brow slightly furrowed as he looks into my eyes. He looks slightly upset, like he can’t tell what I’m thinking and its frustrating him. So I smiled. I meant what I said. It doesn’t matter to me what he looked like. I raised my arms to him and he smiled and practically ran into them.

It actually occurred to me the irony of his name. Dark hair, dark eyes, tanned skin. Black. How very fitting.

*****

September 5, 2012

I cannot believe how very tired I have been all day. I blame it entirely on Black. All right, if I was honest I could admit that it was probably the weather that was so exhausting, but I still blame it on him.

It has been so painfully humid lately. That’s what we get living near the water, I suppose, but honestly I can’t wait until autumn starts settling in. It is just too hot. And then, of course, there is the small matter of the boy who lives with us. Black did his drills again today. Not that I mind, I’m so proud that he is determined to stick with it, and I love to watch as he practices. It makes him very happy. However, watching him abuse an already battered dummy in one hundred degree weather was just too much. I was tired just watching him. I tried everything to get him to stop. I tempted him with baking but he said he needed to practice. I promised to read to him, but he had just a little more to do. I even brought out the big guns and asked him to make potpourri balls with me (he absolutely loves drying flowers, much to my delight), but he said he was almost done. I gave up and made lemonade. If I couldn’t make him stop I could at least keep him hydrated.

It is actually quite touching to see how much Black takes everything Carl tells him to heart: the drills, lectures about becoming a police officer, everything. Apparently, Black wants to grow up to be just like Carl. You can’t help but find it amusing. Black is like a second shadow. He even cleans Carl’s craft everyday when he gets home. I still can’t get over that. It actually is very funny. Black practices his drills in the withering humidity, takes a shower, waits for Carl to come home, and cleans the craft. I once asked him what the point of the shower was. He just gave me a silly smile and shrugged.

I never realized how much energy Black brought into the house. He and Carl are out right now, I’m not sure what they are doing exactly, but the house is so very quiet. It actually is making me feel slightly uncomfortable. It had never bothered me before. I wonder why today is so different? Maybe its because I’ve gotten used to having someone else in the house with me. I wonder where those two went? I asked, but Carl just said it was a surprise he wanted to share with Black and wouldn’t tell me what it was. I’ll just have to ask Black tomorrow. They both looked so handsome when they were leaving. I was so proud.

The house sure is quiet.

*****

September 6, 2012

The heat wave finally broke today. I was so glad. I thought if I had to watch Black do his drills in the humidity again I was going to suffer heat stroke. Black actually seemed sort of subdued today. He seemed to be approaching his drills with a strange energy. One moment he would be trying to kill the dummy, the next he looked like he wants to give up. I wonder if it has anything to do with where he and Carl went last night? I asked Black about it after Carl had left for the day, expecting his usual enthusiasm for everything that involved Carl. To my surprise, he just gave me a small smile and told me that he had fun, and then completely changed the subject. Now, called me paranoid, call it woman’s intuition or a mother’s instinct or even years of experience being a police captain’s wife, but for a moment after he started rambling about the cookies I suggested yesterday, my consciousness was screaming that something was wrong. I’m not sure what, exactly, but something just didn’t feel right. Of course, then he made some ridiculous remark about me not wanting to make cookies because I wasn’t listening to him and that he would go and read quietly and I immediately snapped into action. Looking back on it, I have the sneaking suspicion he was distracting me. As a matter of fact, after the cookies, I watched him do his drills, then we dried flowers and then I worked on my cross-stitch while he read to me. He kept me busy all the way through until dinner and even helped me cook, the sneak. Oh, well. If something were wrong, I would hope he would come and tell me.

I just looked out the window. Carl’s craft is still dirty. Black didn’t clean it today. I really wish I knew what happened last night.

*****

February 14, 2019

Carl gave JC2 to Black. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. I’m happy for Black. This is the opportunity he has been living for these past seven years. It’s a dream come true for him, but I can’t help being angry. Only a little angry, but angry nonetheless. I’m not quite sure what it is that Carl is trying to do. Black deserves the opportunity but being the leader of JC2 is going to be highly stressful and Black is still so young, too young to be in charge of such a dangerous team. It’s not that he can’t handle it, exactly. I know he can, but I also know that 23 is very young to be leading such an elite force. Any force, as a matter of fact. What will the other officers say? I can’t help but feel that this might be a mistake.

Something has changed between those two. I’m not entirely sure when it happened or what it is exactly, but something has changed. Black still respects Carl like he always did, but I’m not sure how much he actually trusts him. Carl is still fond of Black, but there is something slightly hollow about his affection, like he is seeing something that I’m not.

*****

October 13th, 2019

Sometimes I wonder what people see when they look at me. I suppose that, in their eyes, I’m so sweet butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth. I think they don’t realize what a person can learn from being married to a police officer for thirty-one years. I’m just the Captain’s wife. I don’t think they realize what that really means.

For example, Carl’s affairs. Well, perhaps “affair” is too strong a word. It implies a certain level of emotional attachment, which I don’t believe he has. I’m sure it’s all purely physical. How could people believe that I don’t see it? I’m not ignorant, I’m not naïve, and I’m definitely not blind. Take, for example, the psypath that Carl recently forced into working with them. Starr, I believe his name was. The empath. Carl doesn’t talk about him often, very rarely in fact, but I don’t miss the smug look he sometimes gets when he refers to the empath. Sometimes I ask Carl about him, just to see how things are working out. Carl tells me not to worry myself over filth like him and kisses me on the forehead as he wanders out to go drinking with his friends or whatever it is that he does and doesn’t tell me. I find it terribly disturbing that he refers to Starr as “filth,” especially considering the origins of the young man we took in seven years ago.

That’s another sore point in this ignorance game we seem to be playing. Carl is out tonight with Black again. Another meeting with the department heads. It hasn’t been so long since Black lived with us and I still remember the look he would have on his face after these meetings when he thought no one was watching. Disappointment, disgust; it’s hard to tell sometimes. Over the years, the boy has become very good at hiding himself from me. I can still tell when something is wrong, but more often than not I get the distinct feeling that I’m not being told everything.

About a year ago I was out at the supermarket with Black. He had agreed to go shopping with me because we usually don’t have much of a chance to spend time with each other. Black had gone to get some carrots for me as I was picking out some apples when a woman not far from me made a very suggestive comment about him. I was shocked. Not that she thought he was attractive, of course; I knew from the first time I saw him that he was attractive. My surprise was from how very crude her interest was in him. The woman laughed at my _expression and told me that I shouldn’t be surprised. Anyone with eyes would want him. I was so angry. Black had immediately wanted to know what was wrong, but all I told him was that she had been rude. Still, something about her comment had stayed with me, despite my attempts to shake it off. Anyone with eyes would want him.

I wonder what Black and Carl are really doing.

*****

December 1, 2019

Carl is gone with Black. Again. Another department meeting. I actually got to see Black though. Whenever they go to these meetings, Carl is usually waiting at the door for Black to arrive and leaves before I can say hello. Today he had not quite been ready so I managed to beat him to the door. Black had looked so surprised when he saw me I thought he was going to turn around and walk away. He seemed really tense, like everything was slowly piling up on him. I knew it would, what with JC2 and the death of his three teammates and that empath, Starr, on his team, I knew it was going to be too much. Black, the darling, has become very good at hiding his emotions but here is a little secret about him: if you ever want to know how he is feeling, hug him. True, not many people can get away with that without loosing limbs but for those who can, try it. Close contact like that can tell you a lot about him. When I hugged him, I thought he was going to melt into me and hide away from the rest of the world. Things are getting to be too much for him. I told him to come by and let me pamper him but I’m not so sure he will. I think he wants to, but I think he feels that doing so would make him appear weak. However, he did promise me to come by and I intend to hold him to that promise.

Of course, things were going fine until Carl came to the door. The little bit that Black had opened up had withered away and died. It made me wonder again where they were going so I decided to ask, hoping Black with give me something, anything to stop them from going, but Carl didn’t let him answer. I just hope my suspicion is unfounded.

*****

December 2, 2019

Black came to see me today, though not under the circumstances I had expected. He called me around noon, no picture on the PRU, just his voice, which was breathy and strained. He begged to see me and then started crying over the line. Black never cried. Something must have happened that pushed him over the edge, which broke through his defenses against the stress he had been trying to hide. So he came over and spent some time with me. Not much, of course. He was on duty and the only time Black was not conscious of his responsibility was when he was unconscious. Still, he came over. We talked about several things, including his excursion with Carl last night. He still wouldn’t tell me what happens when they go out, but he did deny my suspicion. I don’t know what I would have done if I had been right. Best not to think about it.

It turned out that Black’s biggest problem actually had to deal with the empath, Starr. Apparently, Starr has taken quite a shine to Black and his constant flirting and innuendos was driving Black mad. He says that the empath reminds him too much of things he’d rather not remember. I have my doubts. Oh, I’m sure that his past is making this all infinitely more difficult than it needs to be and Starr’s amorous attention is probably incredibly frustrating considering how much Black thinks he doesn’t need attention or affection from the people around him, but I think there is something else there, too. I think, and maybe this is just the meddling mother speaking, but I think that Black might just be angry with Starr because the empath gets through all those barriers that he places between himself and everyone else and that scares him. He might start to enjoy the attention, even crave it, and to want anything that badly from someone that reminds him so much of everything he left behind is driving him insane. So I gave him some advice: “Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.” Now it’s up to him to decide which one Starr is. He thinks it’s the latter, but I’m betting on the former.

Do you ever feel like you try so hard to do something right just to find out there was nothing you could have done? From the moment I first laid eyes on Black, knowing what I did of his past, and heard him say, “I don’t want to be that person anymore,” I have done my best to make his wish come true. I had, however, recently come to the heartbreaking conclusion that there was nothing I could do. I had tried to be there and protect him as much as I could from the world, but I seem to be defeated at every turn, mostly by Carl but sometimes even by the very person I’m trying to help. But my talk with Black today made me realize something very important: he doesn’t want to be protected. He wants to do it himself. He wants to be responsible for the changes in his life, for saying that he turned his life around. Yes, he had help from Carl and he would be the first to point that out, but he wants to prove that he can do it, if not to the world, than at least to himself. Of course, this leaves me in quite the position. I can’t give him the kind of assistance Carl can and does, nor can I help him make his decisions, which he must do for himself. What is it, beyond everything that I have already done, that I could possibly supply for him? I got my answer today: me. I realized that this young man, who considers himself to be my son, just needs me to be there for him. I can’t protect him like I always wanted to, but I can try to give him the sanctuary he needs as he fights his battles.

Yet, still, I worry about him. But, then, I guess it is my right. After all, I am his mother.

The End

 

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