Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Legends of Tomorrow
Character/Pairing: Leonard, Lisa
Challenge/Prompt: beattheblackdog #38: None
Word Count: 1,379
Date Written: 18 October 2016
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
Sometimes, he likes to think about what he would take from this place when he finally manages to leave it. He can't stop the hands that beat him every night -- he doesn't have the strength yet --, but he could escape him if he ran away when he's passed out, as he finally is now. He could set him on fire now or cut his throat while he sleeps. He could, but he's not a monster like his dad. He's never going to be like his dad.
But he could run away one of these times while he's passed out. He could run and hide, and the bastard would never find or hurt him again. He could even slip his lithe, little fingers into his old man's pocket and take his wallet, take all the money he has to live off on for a while. It would get him far, but it wouldn't get him far enough. He's still just a kid. He's not old enough to hold down a job.
He's not even old enough to have one. He knows, because it wasn't that long ago he asked about an open position in a grocery store. It was just a bagging job -- he could've done it easily --, but the boss' response to his inquiry was simply to ask where his father was. That's all they ever want to know: where his dad is. They don't know what kind of a man his father really is, what kind of a monster he is. They see his old man and don't look beyond him. His father was right when he told him the world doesn't care about him.
But he could take the money and run. It's a nice thought, a very desirable option tonight, but the problem tonight is he can't run. He grunts as he finally reaches the banister. His small hands grip the hard wood, and he uses it to pull himself up. He bites his lip to keep from crying out loud at the pain that sears through his left leg.
Tears start again in his eyes, but he won't let them fall tonight. He's done crying because of that bastard. He may beat him every night for years yet until Leonard finally finds a way to break away from him, but he won't make him shed another tear. The child shivers as he remembers his father screaming at him for crying, sneering at him, calling him weak, and beating him even harder. No, he won't give him any more tears to use against him, not tonight or ever again.
He may be weak now, but he won't always be weak. No one will ever call him on his tears again. He keeps biting his lip as he pulls himself up the stairs, going one hand at a time and putting as much weight as he can on his hands and that old banister. His whole body aches tonight, and he's pretty damn certain his father broke his foot, if not his leg. Yet he'll have to walk on it tomorrow to go to school or his father will spend the day beating him in addition to tonight.
He can't wait for the old man to leave again. Things are never good for his family any longer, but at least they're better when he's gone. He's dreamed of changing the locks before, but his father would just break in. He knows that's what he does for a living: He steals his way through this world, and his sick, twisted mind gets pleasure from hurting those who he thinks are weaker than himself, like his own son.
One day, Leonard swears to himself yet again, one day, he's going to get away from this place. He's going to run away and build a new life for himself somewhere, anywhere, far, far away, and if his father finds him, he'll be strong enough to finally stand against him. He'll be strong enough to beat him. But he isn't now.
He isn't even strong enough to run away tonight. He probably couldn't even get all the way out of their building before falling, but one day he's going to leave. One day, he's going to take what he wants from this place, leave, and never look back, or maybe, maybe he'll take none of it. Maybe he'll just leave and never look back.
Reaching the top of the stairs, Leonard presses his hands against the wall and tries to slide to his room. He's making slow progress when he realizes his sister's door is open. His heart twists. A lump forms in his throat. Again, his tears sting his eyes, aching to start falling, but again, he refuses them, biting down on his lip so hard this time that he bleeds.
He told her to keep that damn door shut and locked. Locks can't keep out their father, but it would have given him time to get their old man's attention back to him if it had wandered. Instead, she'd left her door open, and she'd probably heard every time the old bastard had ripped a scream from his son's weak, betraying lungs. He doesn't want to think about Lisa hearing him scream.
Seeing his own door up ahead, Leonard focuses on it and keeps pushing and pulling himself down the hall. When he comes to Lisa's door, he leans against the frame and reaches across the open space for the door, intending to pull himself across. He freezes when he hears her shaky voice call, "L-Leo?"
Again, his tears threaten to start, but he still refuses them. "Go to bed, Lisa. We have school tomorrow."
But her tiny arms reach out from the darkness and wrap around his arm. He can never fight his sister and lets her pull him into her room. The moment he's not balanced against the wall, however, he falls. She catches him and pulls him to her bed.
The city lights filtering in through her open curtains reveal the bruises already forming on his face. They show her the blood on his lip and the cuts on his arms. He places a hand over her mouth as she goes to cry. He shakes his head. "You don't want to wake him."
She nods, and when he moves his hand away, she vows, "I don't want to wake him. I want to kill him!"
"No, you don't." He starts to shake his head, but even that hurts. He cracks a grin instead, ignoring the taste of his own blood. "I'm the one who's going to get to do that one of these days."
She smiles at him through her tears, then shakes her own head. "Leo, Leo, my brave, brave lion." He doesn't admonish her tonight for the nickname. Instead, as she hugs him close, he finally acknowledges why he can't leave yet. He might be able to run away. He might be able to live off of the streets. But he can't provide a life for them both. Not yet, any way.
He strokes his little sister's hair as he holds her close and she cries for both of them. He can't do it yet, but one day he will. One day, they'll leave this place. He'll make a way for them both. But until that day comes, he'll protect his sister the only way he can. He'll take their father's blows, and he'll take them proudly, and without shedding another tear, because he knows every strike that lands on him is a strike his sister doesn't have to feel. But one day he'll free them both. He'll make a life for them both far from here, and maybe then he'll finally be worthy of being the brother his sister already thinks is so courageous.
For now, he closes his eyes, and he dreams. He dreams of being away from this place. He dreams of being freed from their father. He dreams of living in a place where neither of them ever have to be pummeled again and where at long last they're happy as other children their age already are. He dreams and feels his sister's soothing touch, and finally, the tears vanish from his eyes for another night.