Not That Little Boy Anymore


kincaid_icon.gif melissa2_icon.gif

Scene Title Not That Little Boy Anymore
Synopsis After dreaming of her son, Melissa comes face to face with him for the first time.
Date April 18, 2011

The Symbiosis Foundation

After freaking out on Perry's shoulder earlier, Mel had to do something, go somewhere to settle and ground herself. What better place than an office which represents her major goal in life?

She's alone in the office, no employees, no people needing help, just Melissa, calming herself by using her old standby for relaxing. She's cleaning. It was already pretty clean, but this is Mel, it has to be immaculate. Which, right now, means washing the windows until they sparkle like diamonds. Her phone is playing music, earbuds tucked in her ears, so that her head bobs lightly to the beat of whatever's playing.

With the music playing, she doesn't hear the door slide open with a creak, but the cool breeze might give the first clue. The additional light flickers, first from the door being opened, then covered in a shadow that nearly shadows the entire sliver, then light, then dark as the door is closed again.

And Kincaid stands inside the office, hands moving back into his pockets where they go deep, his broad shoulders slumping a little as he stands there watching her clean.

None of her phone calls were answered. Not one. None of the voicemails returned. But some things are better done in person, rather than the phone…

The breeze catches Melissa's attention, and before she turns she's starting to say, "I'm sorry, we're not op…" She goes very, very still when she sees Kincaid, and the bottle of cleaner slips from her fingers, landing with a muted thud on the floor, but going unnoticed. Her hand slowly reaches up, tugging the earbuds free, leaving them to dangle over her shoulders.

"Kincaid…I've been calling," she murmurs softly, looking at him almost as though she'd never seen him before, searching for similarities to the boy from her dream.

The hair and eyes have darkened considerably from the boy she saw in her dreams. The facial structure has matured, but not changed entirely, and the fact that he has stubble doesn't give him any of that young boyish look that she'd seen. But age can change people— especially the twenty-some years of difference between the two.

"I know," Kincaid says with a grimace, looking back toward the door, as if considering an escape, before looking back. "I— I thought we should talk in person. Rather than…" His shoulders rise vaguely. Even the voice is different. So much changes in so many years. "What did you see?"

The question has Melissa frowning, and she starts forward, though has to stop a few feet from him, just out of reach. But rather than answering his question, she asks, just as softly, "What's the name of your mother, 'Cade?" accidentally slipping into using the nickname she used for him in her dream.

For a long moment, Kincaid stays silent, mouth closed as he watches her carefully. With a slow exhale, almost a sigh, he looks down, "Kincaid August's mother's name was Lisa." It's a simple statement, but darkened eyes dart back up. "But my mother's name was Melissa— Melissa…" There's a hesitation. Because there's something missing. "Pierce," is what he ends up tacking on the end.

Melissa's eyes close, and after a moment her hands come up to her face, covering it, then rubbing at her eyes. "Oh god," she whispers, suddenly unsteady on her feet. Her hands drop and she looks at him, blinking rapidly, trying to prevent tears from falling, and she's not entirely successful.

"How…" The question is overshadowed by one thought, spoken in a murmur. "You're mine. My son. The little boy…Oh god." She can't hold back the flood of emotion any longer, and she steps forward, pulling him into a tight hug.

The tears and her words make Kincaid's eyes close, which works well with the hug he's pulled into. Hands move out of the depths of the pockets to wrap around her, one touching her hair. A good five inches taller than her, it allows him to press his chin against the side of her head.

"Don't cry… I haven't been a little boy for… a long time. I know it's hard to… I know it's impossible, but it's true and I can't— I can't explain a lot of it." There's a pause. "I'm sorry. It is the truth, though. You— you are my mom. Or you would have been."

"I can't help it," Melissa replies about the tears. "The dream just…I've been going nuts. I didn't see how it was possible. It made so much sense, but it seems impossible," she whispers, clinging to him as though afraid that letting go will make him disappear. "You were so sweet, wanted so badly for me to take you skating." She gives a sobbing laugh. "You ended up taking me. God. 'Cade…how…Why did you tell me? I don't care about would have beens. You're mine."

"I didn't tell you… because I didn't want it to happen," Kincaid says with a grimace, letting his hands drop from around her, even though she's still clinging to him. "The first time… I thought I could make it happen, but nicer— but then… I realized it wouldn't. That trying to force it to happen was just…" he trails off.

"I'm sorry, but I'm not really yours." The words are gentle, not trying to be offensive, but still managing to sound… pained. This whole thing isn't easy for him. Especially considering that hint of self-loathing that he started with at the beginning. Someone got a little goth from somewhere, and not fashion-wise. "But I did— get to take you ice skating."

When he says that he isn't hers Melissa jerks as if he'd hit her, and she lets go of him, taking a few steps back, her cheeks wet. "Your mother is Melissa Pierce. I have a dream of me holding you, talking to you. You couldn't have been more than five or six. I kissed your hair, promised to try to carve out time to go ice skating, and told you that you should help people whenever you could. Are you saying that it didn't happen?" she asks softly.

"It did for me," Kincaid says quietly, dark eyes catching the dampness on her face and making him grimace. Guilty. "But that dream it— it isn't going to happen for you now. Not as more than that— as more than memories that aren't really yours."

The scarred right hand that she examined reaches up, briefly touching her cheeks with the backs of his fingers. "And I'm not that little boy anymore— I haven't been for twenty years."

No move is made to try to avoid that touch, instead Melissa lifts a hand, to close it over his and hold that hand against her cheek. "I know. And I'm sorry it isn't going to happen. Not because I want…him…I don't want anything to do with him. But you…that little boy…It may not happen for me, but you can't expect me to forget how I felt when that little boy looked at me, or when I held him in my arms. Even if he's not a little boy anymore. Even if I don't understand how you're here."

The hand that she grasps stops moving. Kincaid looks down into her eyes in silence, but it doesn't remain as steady as he might want. A couple blinks and those eyes have begun to form tears. After a few attempts to blink them away, he gives up, leaning down to press his lips against her hair— much as she kissed him in the dream. A memory he's probably nearly forgotten, it was so long ago. "It's called time travel," he says, voice taking on the sound of a smirk, even if she can't see it. "And don't apologize to me about that. Some things are better off."

"I know about time travel. I went back a few times myself. But…The future you came from…it doesn't exist, it can't. So how are you here?" Melissa whispers, eyes closing at the kiss. "But I'm not apologizing that I won't be marrying your father. I'm apologizing because I'll miss out on your childhood, because it only exists in your memory now. Kincaid…If I keep anything from that dream, any one memory, it's that I loved you. I may not have gotten to take you skating, but…That was there."

"I told you— time travel," Kincaid says quietly, shoulders slumping again at all of her questions. "It's impossible now, but half a year ago it was possible. Things just— changed." There's a guilty shrug as he pulls back, the expression in his dark eyes. "I don't know exactly when it changed or how or even why— I just know it did. And it didn't take me too long to realize it had, either."

The other hand comes up, to grasp her hand between both of his. "And I know you loved me. Just like you know I loved you.. Before I realized that I wouldn't be able to go back home— I wanted to at least go ice skating with you."

One particular phrase has Melissa's eyes opening, and she looks up at him. "You're not going back? You're staying here?" she asks, hope shining in those blue eyes. "I know I'm not the Melissa you grew up with, but I'd still love it if you would stay. I'll take you skating, like I should've, and introduce you to Perry, to…well, you know Kendall," she says, gaze dropping slightly.

After a moment she looks up again. "How much…can you tell me? I know that…someone…went back in time once, to save me, and my memory of it was wiped, so I know it's a tricky thing."

"When I came here— I thought a few minor changes and…" Kincaid shakes his head. "It's hard to go back to a place you'll never be born in," he says with a regretful sound to his voice. Regret for coming at all, in many ways— "I said I'd go back to her— and when…" he shakes his head.

"I do want to meet Perry— and Kendall. I haven't seen him since I was young," he adds, trying to raise his mood, and not really suceeding. Despite that joking smirk earlier, happiness isn't going to be quick coming for him. Even if she's all hopeful. "I can— try to answer questions. But I don't really know where to start if I just try to tell you. It's my whole life."

"Back to her? The girlfriend you mentioned before? She didn't…no, you said she couldn't come with you." Melissa smiles a little, reaching for his hand, trying to draw him towards the chairs so they can sit down. "I would've liked to meet her. And Perry told me to tell you thank you. For making me go to Hawaii."

She does sit, even if he ends up standing, and she has to think for a moment. "I…part of me wants to ask, about the dreams I've had. The one about you was the third. One…seemed to match with Kendall's, and it was more a nightmare," she murmurs.

Instead of answering outloud on the girlfriend topic, Kincaid settles with a quiet nod. That subject is still too close to the vest— So even a hard topic seems easier. "Kendall died when I was six," he explains in quiet tones. "Just before Christmas— a week before my seventh birthday. I didn't understand what happened at the time, but… you were different after. Distant, angry… you…"

There's hesitation in his voice, "It's not the way I want to remember you, honestly. You were so… angry. Cause all the help you tried to do didn't matter when it came to saving him…"

"He…If my dream is right…and it was right before Christmas…he shot himself," Melissa says softly. "His girlfriend, Valerie, had just died, and he shot himself. In the house. I was there, and I could only hold him. It was just me and a friend, Elaine. She…she'd been there, bringing pictures of Junie."

Her brow furrows. "Why didn't I have Junie, 'Cade? I love that little girl. I may not have carried her, but she's as much mine as you or Kendall or Devon. I wouldn't have given her up without one hell of a fight."

"His girlfriend died before I was born," Kincaid says in soft tones, even if the topic is difficult for him. "He… I don't really understand much. I just know he was sick. Looking back— he'd probably tried before…" Six year olds just don't understand those things— rather than knowing they upset their mother's.

"He came to live with us— off and on— sometimes he would go back to the hospital, and then they'd let him come back. But I know they made him take the negation pills, as part of his probation, I guess— Increased risk of suicide is one of the on the label side effects."

With a step back, Kincaid leans against the closed door, hands pulling away to rub at his face. "June— Junko— didn't live with you. That happened befoer I was born too."

When he steps back Melissa is standing, but she doesn't touch him. "Okay…Okay, enough of that. Not gonna happen now. I won't let Junie go, I won't let Kendall kill himself, and I'm not losing you. You're older than six. I can't die when you're six if you're already older than six. I just…I want to take you ice skating. I want you to know my family, and for them to know you. I want to know you. Please, tell me you're going to stay."

"You— you didn't die when I was six," Kincaid says quietly, giving voice to one of the lies he told. "Though that was when I stopped asking. Because of…" What had happened when he was six. Kendall. "You actually died when I was eleven. At an election party— for dad— for Russo. He'd just won a third term as Mayor and a group called Messiah…"

That distance may be for the best, but his eyes don't drop. They also don't look accusingly.

"I wasn't supposed to go— it was after my bedtime on a school night— but dad thought I was old enough. You hated being there for his things, so you were late… You died getting me out of there."

"Oh god," Melissa whispers, her eyes closing, her expression guilty. "At least…At least if I had to die with you were so young, I died saving you." Eyes open slowly and it takes her a minute before she speaks again, trying to push aside the memory of her first dream. "But the rest of what I said, it stands. I want you to stay, to meet the others who are important to me," like he clearly is, "and to let them meet you."

"I know," Kincaid says in soft tones, looking down and away for a long moment. The memory of her dying— of both his parents dying at once— was probably overwelming for him. Only eleven, after all. "But this… this city— it's… not a good place to raise a child. Trust me. I may not be born, but I don't think things have changed so much that…" He takes in a slow breath.

"Sorry," he apologizes, though doesn't say what for, really. Probably for everything. Discouraging something when he can't even fully explain it. "Can I ask you a favor?" he asks, but doesn't wait for the response when he adds. "Take away my pain."

Pain that rushes in a moment later, as he drops his ability all together. Intense pain— the pain that had made him vomit and stagger on the bridge when he'd offered himself to be executed instead. When his power was negated.

But pain that she can block. Block, and allow him to look at her with the pale blue eyes that are his own. The eyes of the child that she saw in a dream.

The sudden rush of pain has Melissa staggering a little, face tightening at the echo she feels. But a moment later it's easing, disappearing, for him at least, but it takes longer for Mel to start working on turning off that part of her ability that lets her feel it. "Oh god, 'Cade…what have you been through?" she whispers.

She fights to keep the pain off her face until she can eliminate the cause for it, and she meets those eyes. "You're so handsome," she murmurs. "Whoever your girlfriend is, she's a very lucky girl. Probably not good enough for you though," she says, smiling faintly as she steps closer.

"So lucky that I won't come home to her," Kincaid says quietly, blue eyes shifting downwards. Emotional pain comes from a different place than physical pain. She can't take that away, or even share it with him beyond the expression on his face. "So lucky that I won't even exist for her anymore…"

At least, not in the same way.

"Oh baby," Melissa murmurs, much as she did in the dream, and she steps forward, lifting a hand to his cheek. "I'm sorry. So sorry. If I thought…If I could fix it for you, I would. I would do anything to take that look out of your eyes. To prevent you from hurting the way you are now, emotionally and physically," she murmurs. "Tell me what you need, tell me what I can do. Just don't hurt anymore," she whispers, trying to hug him again.

"I… I should go," Kincaid says in soft tones, reaching up to take her hand away from his cheek, to break the attempt at a hug. "You can't fix everything, mom." The words are sad, but the title is true. True and spoken for the first time with real meaning since he got here. His mom.

No matter what he may have said earlier. The pain, the physical pain at least, fades as his eyes start to turn dark again. Nearly black.

"Take care of Junko— keep her safe. And let me know if there's any trouble. I promise I'll answer my phone this time," he adds on, as he reaches for the door, intending to leave.

When he calls her mom Melissa very nearly bursts into tears. A vastly different reaction than when Kendall's called her mom. It's hard, very hard, for her to refrain. "Baby…" she whispers. But she lets her hand drop, doesn't try to stop him. "I will, I'll keep her safe. But don't be a stranger. You can call or come by anytime you want. I don't care how late or inconvenient it might be. Can you promise me that? That you'll keep in touch? Let me take you skating, and introduce you to Perry? All of that?"

"I— I won't be a stranger. I promise," Kincaid says, though that sadness is still in his voice. There's a lot of things that even moms can't fix, and that happens to be most of his life… A life she'll never have to see him have, but one he can't really take back, either. Not for him, at least.

"And you can take me ice skating, and then if your kids, when you have them… if they ever ask you to ice skate, you'll know how," he adds, one hand opening the door behind him, while the other reaches out into the office.

To tap her on the forehead. "No excuses."

Though Melissa is still struggling against tears, and there's some sadness from the whole thing, she smiles. "I promise. All of my kids, if they want ice skating, or anything like that, I'll take them. Starting with you, and wearing the skates that you gave me."

"I hope things have changed enough so that… things are different," Kincaid adds, though he looks apologetic a moment later. For being cryptic. "Bye," he closes with, as he pulls the door shut behind him. She could chase after him, cause his ability, while it nulls his pain, doesn't allow him to vanish into thin air.

Sometimes he wishes it would.

There is absolutely no doubt that part of Melissa would like to chase him down, but the rest of her has her staying where she is, watching as the door closes. Not for good, no, she believes that he won't disappear, for all that she doesn't really know him. But letting him leave is as much for herself as for him.

She holds it together for a minute, barely sixty seconds, before she sinks down her knees, letting the tears that sting her eyes fall down her cheeks. Crying for a childhood she'll never experience, all the hurts, little and big, that she can't fix. But while she cannot go to his past and change things, she certainly intends to do what she can to make his present a happier place for him.

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