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 Post subject: Jeremiah, by mamaboolj, Elias/Nicole, OCs, R for language
PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:00 pm
Posts: 189
Location: neither here nor there
Title: Jeremiah
Author: Mamaboolj
Fandom: Whistler
Characters: Elias Noth/Nicole Miller
Spoilers: Entire Series
Rating: R for language
Word Count: ~2,150
Disclaimer: Owned by CTV, not me. I'm just filling in the blanks. Please don't sue.
Beta: sabaceanbabe and rebelliousrose, even though I stopped her before she got that far. The story has changed a good deal since either of them read it!
Author’s Note: If life ever allows me, I may continue this story at some point. But for now, you get to make up what you think happens next. Story background and inspiration may come out in the comments, but for now I hope you enjoy the read.

"Is that your phone?" Nicole lifted her head from the pillow, startled awake by the muffled ringing buried deep in the pile of clothes next to the bed.

“Yeah.” Elias willed his eyes open and glanced at the clock on the bedside table. 2:07 am. “Probably a wrong number.” She dropped her head back to the pillow, as he slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her closer. They drifted back to sleep.

“Who the f…,” Elias sat up in bed as the phone rang again minutes later. He quickly checked the time. 2:12. Shaking off the rumpled sheets, he got out of bed, nearly tripping over Sabre. Rummaging through the clothes, he followed the persistent ringing to his jeans and pulled it from the worn back pocket. A Vancouver number he didn’t recognize, and he only gave his number to people he absolutely had to.

“You have the wrong number,” he growled in greeting.

“Elias…” was all Nicole needed to say to tell him he was being rude.

“Mr. Noth, my name is Muriel LeFavre, and I’m with Child Protective Services.” The woman spoke quickly before he could hang up. “I apologize for calling in the middle of the night. The police were able to pull your cell phone number for me. I have something of an emergency here, and I hope you can help. Do you know an Amanda Kinney?”

Elias slumped back to the bed, as he took a few deep breaths to stave off sudden panic. “Mr. Noth, are you there?”

“What’s going on, Elias?” The light from the bedside lamp flooded the room. Sabre struggled to his feet, expecting to be let outdoors. “Not now boy,” Nicole told him. Sensing something wasn’t quite right, the dog turned back from the door and lay at Elias’s feet.

“Mr. Noth!”

“Yeah, I’m here.” His eyes met Nicole’s; he needed her right now, probably more than he ever had before. “I know Amanda Kinney. She’s my sister. What’s happened?”

“Oh my God.” Nicole knew that Amy existed, but not much else. Over the past two years, she’d learned some things about his childhood, his family, his time on the streets, but not a lot. He would release small pieces of information when he felt strong enough, secure enough to share his most painful memories with her, and that didn’t happen too often. She crossed the bed and sat next to Elias, placing a reassuring hand on his back.

“When was the last time you saw your sister, Mr. Noth?”

“About eight years ago when she told me to stay out of her life.” Those weren’t quite the words she had used. Sure, he hadn’t been the best big brother in the world, but that’s not the main reason Amy wanted nothing to do with him. That had more to do with his trying to talk her out of gang life. She’d been passed around from foster home to foster home over the ten years since their mother had died and he’d taken to the streets. Gang life, in comparison, offered her a sense of belonging, of having people she could count on. It was the beat cop who had helped him get clean that called when Amy, at fifteen, was first picked up for selling drugs. Four years sober himself, by then, and starting to make a little money selling art, her brother offered to help. That’s when she told him “Go fuck yourself, you goddamned junky!” and spit in his face.

“She’s been arrested…again.” It was clear that LeFavre was building up to the real purpose of the call. “Because she broke parole, she’s going to do time.”

Elias decided to cut to the chase. “Why are you calling me?”

“Because Amy has a six-year-old son. Jeremiah. She named you as the only relative who might be able to take him, at least temporarily. Mr. Noth, he’s not yet an official ward of CPS, although we have been monitoring him and your sister since her last arrest. As a family member, Amy can sign guardianship over to you right now—and she’s willing to do it to keep him out of foster care. But, if you don’t agree to this, Jeremiah will enter the foster care system immediately.”

He pulled the phone from his ear and dropped it in Nicole’s lap without speaking a word. He started pacing the room, as the reality of what he’d just been told set in. No amount of deep breathing could stop the panic now. He struggled to catch his breath as his past life came storming into the present. His body ached for a hit, and it was taking all of his strength to will the desire away.

“Hello. This is Nicole Miller, Elias’s…girlfriend. He’ll be with you in a moment.”

“Get her number. Tell her I’ll call her back.” He pulled on his jeans and walked out of Nicole’s room—really their room; his place was just a studio now. Sabre followed close at his heals, standing guard as Elias resumed his pacing.

Nicole confirmed the woman’s name and number before disconnecting. She pulled on a silk robe and joined Sabre in his watch. She wasn’t sure whether Elias needed space or comfort. She’d seen him upset before, but never like this. She took a chance. “Talk to me. What’s going on?”

He looked at her, face contorted with rage and fear. “My fucking little sister is going to jail, and they want me, me of all fucking people, to take her six-year-old son, who I didn’t even know existed until minutes ago. Hell, Amy didn’t want shit to do with me, but now she tells CPS I can take him. Bullshit. And this woman says it’s me or foster care. Well, obviously, the stupid bitch didn’t do her homework. No one in her right fucking mind would let me anywhere near a kid.”

Nicole knew how Elias felt about kids generally, and raising them specifically. It had been the first real test of their relationship, other than the whole running off to New York thing. After seeing the sheer delight she took in playing with Matthew and Oscar’s toddler on one of her visits to see him there, he told her he didn’t want kids—didn’t want to adopt them, didn’t want to go through IVF, didn’t want some kid by a surrogate dad. Elias was still a hermit, and that didn’t fit well with fatherhood.

But the real reason he didn’t want to be a parent was his fear of ruining a kid’s life, of taking out his anger and frustration in all the wrong ways that perpetuate the addiction and abuse that had plagued his family for at least three generations. Nicole, however, was a born nurturer and always wanted kids of her own. The decision to give up motherhood for a life with Elias had been harder than she had thought it would be, but, in the end, the choice was clear. She could find other ways of having kids in her life, but she could never find another love like she had with Elias.

Now that she had made her choice and was at peace with it, the Province of British Columbia wanted to drop a kid into the life they were building together. Nice timing.

“Elias, the rules are different when it’s a family member. Remember, I got custody of Carrie after Mom died.”

He shook his head dismissively. “Right, Nicole. And what the hell did they have on you? That you threw a few keggers in high school? It would take them 10 seconds to Google my name and find out that I had a drug problem, was homeless, hate being around people, and am a real pain in the ass.”

“Well, can’t say anything about the last one, but you haven’t used in, what, almost 12 years? You have a steady income—a good income—from your art. You don’t even have a mortgage on your studio. And, if I may say so, you’re in a committed relationship with a woman who has passed their background checks. As the kid’s blood relative, I think there’s a very good chance that they’ll let you be his guardian.”

He stared at the painting of large, brightly colored flowers hanging on the wall behind Nicole. Carrie had given it to their dying mother, who asked for something to cheer her up when she got really sick. Nicole refused to take it down because family meant a lot to her. It meant nothing to him, at least since his grandfather died when he was 13. That was when he had been forced to move back to Vancouver with his mom and whichever jerk she was with at the time. But Grandpa had been a good man, once he’d beaten the bottle. He had served as a positive force in his grandson’s otherwise shitty life. The truth is, Grandpa took charge of him when his mom was in no position to have a kid around.

“This woman from CPS, she said he wasn’t a ward yet, and that Amy could still sign over temporary guardianship. But you know that isn’t the only issue here. ” He reached out his hands and took hers, rubbing his thumbs across her palms. “Nicole, I know you don’t want to hear this, but they are not going to let someone with HIV get custody of someone else’s kid. If I die, he’ll be right back where he started.”

“Elias, your health is really stable. Sure, if you were alone and this was permanent custody, I could see it being a problem. But right now, I don’t think it will be, especially if Amy is willing. Did this woman tell you his name?” Nicole knew that referring to him as “the kid” kept it distant, like the child wasn’t a real person.

“Jeremiah.”

“That’s a beautiful name.” He saw it in her eyes. She wanted this. She was going in blind, though. Nicole hadn't had an easy life, but, without even knowing the kid, Elias was pretty damn sure that his nephew had seen more in his six years than Nicole had seen in her almost 30.

"We know nothing about him, Nikki. You've known he existed for ten minutes, and you're willing to take him in? He could be a real terror. " He spoke the words quietly and seriously, grasping her hands in his, hoping that she would grasp the reality of the situation.

"He's six, Elias."

"Being six doesn't mean shit. His mom is a gang member and she's going to jail. It's a given that this kid is going to have some troubles. Are you ready for that?"

She looked down at the floor, considering what he had to say. What Elias said made sense, but still, she felt compelled to do this. "I don't know if I'm ready. But I do know that Jeremiah clearly needs someone to take care of him, provide some stability right now. We can give that to him."

They were both surprised when tears welled in her eyes. Letting go of her hands, he embraced her, holding her tightly.

"Nicole, I know you want to do this, but I can’t. I don’t want to fuck up this kid’s…”

“His name is Jeremiah,” she said quietly, her cheek against his chest.

“… Jeremiah’s life.” His voice quivered, and his body shook.

She lifted her chin to look into his face. “Elias, together we can turn Jeremiah’s life around. We’ll break the cycle, not perpetuate it.”

He pulled away from her and walked the few steps into the adjoining living room. The stress of making a decision was putting him back on edge. “I don’t know what to do. They need to know now. This is huge, Nicole. This is a child’s life we’re talking about, and they want me to make a decision at 2:30 in the fucking morning about a nephew I didn’t know I had? I have no idea what to do with a kid, let alone a kid who's going to be a real challenge.”

“You’ll figure it out. We'll figure it out.” She approached him cautiously, stopping a couple feet away. Sabre lingered just behind her. “Elias, this is going to be hard, but I know this is the right thing to do." She spoke quietly, gently, but with conviction. "Deep in your heart and soul, you know it too.” She bent down and started petting Sabre. “Just like you knew 12 years ago that it was up to you to take care of someone else.”

She had certainly pulled out all the stops. But Elias knew she was right. He had to do this—they had to do this—even though it was one of the very last things he wanted to do. He knelt next to her, and joined her in petting the dog. “Did I ever tell you about my grandpa?”

“A little, not much. Just that he encouraged your art when you were young.” The hopeful look on her face told him she wanted to know more, wanted to know what his grandpa had to do with all of this.

“Yeah. He did.” He just wasn’t ready to tell her more, not right now, but he guessed it would all come out soon. “Nicole, I don’t want him—Jeremiah—to come to us for just a few days and then end up in foster care because they deem me unfit. If he’s going to go, he should go now, not get tossed around some more first.”

“I agree, but let's take this one step at a time. Let's call back this woman and find out more.” She placed one hand on his as it rested on Sabre’s back.

He slowly nodded his head. "Okay."

She reached with her free hand into the pocket of her robe and pulled out the cell phone before he could change his mind.

_________________
Caleb's Hope Donate your time or money or both if you can. Buy beads or t-shirts when they became available. Feel free to PM - mamaboolj - for more information.


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