Characters: Claire, Czeslaw.
Genera: Humour (although the first chapter isn't funny), 'family'.
Warnings: Foul language, violence, mature themes.
Disclaimer: I don't own any characters or anything to do with Baccano! this is a work of fan-made fiction.
Do not plagiarize or use any of of my fan-fiction and writing.
Note: The fic is getting long so I just put all the chapter under spoiler tags so it's easier to navigate.
Chapter One: The Park
Claire smiled and passed the ice cream cone towards Czeslaw. The brunette child stared at the swirling vanilla tower in front of him for a few minutes before he succumbed to his childish adoration for sweets, and snatched the cone from Claire’s hands. Czeslaw licked the soft ice cream and glanced up at the unassuming red haired monster, who took a seat on the park bench next to him. There was still a strong tension of fear and twisted desires between the boy and the conductor, but Czeslaw had overcome the seemingly requisite urge to scream and run away. It seemed like every single day Ennis and Czeslaw would go to the park, and every single day, Claire would get Czeslaw alone.
“Where’s Ennis this time?” Claire asked, his thick New York accent and lazy mannerisms nearly swallowing up his words and regurgitating it as a jumbled mess.
Czeslaw shrugged his tiny shoulders and mumbled, “She said she wanted to play with the dog,” into his ice cream. The boy jumped slightly as Claire shifted in the bench. For a moment Claire chuckled and Czeslaw looked up at him with two large, confused brown eyes.
“I imagine the dog like you. Brown fur, big eyes, a bit shy.” Claire explained, then chuckled even more as Czeslaw looked up at him with a frustrated expression. “You’ve got ice cream all over your face.” Claire managed to say through his sprees of laughter. “Here.” He declared, trying to snatch the boy’s face and clean the mess with a brown paper napkin. Czeslaw scowled and tore the napkin out of Claire’s hands. Indignantly, Czeslaw turned around and wiped his face clean.
“You are awful.” Czeslaw snapped, his voice low with remnants fear.
“Czes, you hurt my feelings!” Claire pouted, draping an arm over Czeslaw’s shoulders. The boy tried to shy away, but realized he was sitting on the very edge of the park bench. “Kid, look at you! You’ve grown taller, haven’t you?” Claire blurted out, purely astounded.
“Nonsense.” Czeslaw hissed, slumping over in a childish attempt to slide Claire’s arm off of his shoulders. Czeslaw spoke in a tone so low, he could feel his throat clench tight, “You and I both know that I haven’t grown, and never will.”
“Yeah, yeah, but I like the idea of seeing my kid grow old.” Claire added, so nonchalantly Czeslaw barely noticed the fact that Claire had just called the boy his ‘kid’.
“I am not your child!” Czeslaw nearly screamed. The old couple on the bench across from them jumped and whispered to each other while the man walking past them stared at Czeslaw and Claire. Claire flashed what was supposed to be a genuine smile (but ultimately turned out to be some sick grin) at the shocked man.
“Who says?” Claire shrugged as he pulled Czeslaw close to him in an awkward embrace. Czeslaw winced and tried push himself free, but his feeble body proved useless. “You’re all just little creations of mine. If I want one for myself, I can have one.” Claire declared, swooping Czeslaw into a light headlock and mussed the boy’s meticulously combed hair with his knuckles. At this point, Czeslaw had completely given up on fighting against Claire. If the psychopath wanted something, he would get it.
“You smell like blood.” Czeslaw noted as he flailed about in one final attempt at freedom. “Firo told me you stopped. Does Chane know?” Claire’s eyes popped open with surprise, and he looked around in an exaggerated frenzy. Claire pulled up the collar of his black coat and sniffed the fabric.
“Sh*t, you can smell that?”
“I have a good nose.” Czeslaw grumbled, his voice was even more muffled due to the fact that his face was smothered by Claire’s coat. “Now let me go. My hair is a mess thanks to you. You know, 230 years ago people cared about their appearance.” Czeslaw slipped from out of Claire’s lock and frantically fixed his hair.
“Have you thought about my offer?” Claire asked. He leaned back into the bench and rested his arms over the back. Claire looked down at the scowling immortal and smiled with fatherly love.
“That is the last thing I will do.” Czeslaw snapped. Czeslaw glanced to his right and noticed Ennis, walking a small brown dog. “Leave me alone.” He snapped and turned on his heel.
“Aw, Czes, you know I can’t do that!”
Claire called after Czeslaw as he marched off towards Ennis. Czeslaw did
respond, to Claire’s dismay. The young conductor smiled an unusual smile, at
least for his own character and stared at Czeslaw’s back, as his tiny figure
grew smaller with each step. “See ya, kiddo.” Claire mumbled to himself.
Chapter Two: The Tickets
“Are you leaving?” Czeslaw asked, loathsomely picking at his scrambled eggs. Just remembering Claire’s red eyes smiling at him… knowing it was all a sick lie was more than enough to kill the immortal’s appetite and drain him of sleep. The last thing Czeslaw wanted was to be left at home… alone... while Claire Stanfield was still alive. If the conductor ever found him again Czeslaw wouldn’t know what to do. The ‘boy’ shivered at the though of what Claire would do.
Ennis nodded and Firo patted him on the back with a kind, but faint smile on his lips. “We’ll be back before you know it.” Firo stated, pulling his green hat onto his head. “But I don’t think you need to worry, what’s the worst that could happen?” Firo chimed as he made his way to the door, Ennis following behind him silently. Czeslaw stifled a pessimistic groan by chewing on his lower lip. If only Firo understood, “Aw, Czes, that’s a bad habit.” Czeslaw tried to smile to keep Firo off of him, but he was too tired and too scared to actually do so.
“Do I have to stay here, Firo?” Czeslaw nearly moaned. “Ennis goes with you.”
Firo smiled as he picked up the mail by the door. “I’m not dating you, Czes.” He responded simply flipping through the letters then stopped. Firo read the envelope three times before he finally believed his eyes. “You’ve got mail, buddy.” He said, tossing the letter at Czeslaw, who caught it nonchalantly. “The hand writing looks familiar.” He mumbled to himself.
Czes slowly flipped the envelope over and tore it open. Inside was a ticket.
‘NEW YORK YANKEES Vs. BOSTON RED SOX’
Czeslaw blinked his big brown eyes in confusion. Deep down inside he knew exactly who sent the letter, but refused to believe it. He turned the envelope back over and frowned, there was no return address. Czeslaw peered into the envelope and found nothing. But the boy knew exactly who sent the letter, and began to tremble.
It was then that a loud rapping sound came from the door. Through the small window, the immortal could see a flash of unmistakeable red hair.
“Go away!” Czeslaw snapped, his little voice quivering. Before, Czeslaw and Claire had only met at the park… there were other people and Ennis was close by. But now Claire had found his house, and Czeslaw was all alone.
“Czes, open the door. You wouldn’t be rude enough to refuse such a generous offer. It’s baseball, buddy; every American loves baseball.” Claire called. For the longest time, Czeslaw remained silent, but suddenly squealed in panic as he heard the lock on the door click .
He can pick locks? Czeslaw’s thoughts screamed. Czeslaw backed up in his chair, and suddenly flipped over and crawled backwards. The front door swung open and Claire marched in. The Rail Tracer grinned, and Czeslaw could swear his eyes were glowing red, but the immortal boy was smarter than that. It's probably a trick of the light. He told himself.
The Rail Tracer picked up Czeslaw by the scruff of his collar and smiled. “Come on little Czesy.” Claire stated happily. “Babe Ruth ain’t gunna wait all day.” The redhead let go of Czeslaw, and with a light thud the boy landed on his feet.
Czeslaw looked up at Claire’s sharp red eyes and shivered. He looked around, checked his odds, and sighed.
The next thing Czeslaw knew he and Claire
plopped down the stands of a massive baseball stadium, the New York Yankees up
to bat, and a pretzel in his hands.
Chapter Three: The Game
“Go! Go! Go!” Claire screamed as the player rounded the bases, then slid to home. Claire Stanfield threw his popcorn into the air and pumped his fist in glory. “HOME RUN!” The Rail Tracer roared. Czeslaw looked up at the flaming red-head and shrunk, silently picking popcorn out of his hair. Although the ‘child’ was no longer screaming from fear and reluctance, he was still frightened of Claire Stanfield’s semi-psychotic outbursts. It wasn’t even a close game. They were at the eighth inning and the New York Yankees had a 12 point lead. Czeslaw didn’t understand why Claire was so ecstatic. But the boy shrugged his shoulders, it was best not to question the assassin who bit your fingers off and ran your face along the railroad tracks. The immortal shivered thinking of the horrible torture techniques Claire could think of with a baseball bat and a bag of popcorn.
“Oh, kiddo. I’ve got some business to take care of here. I’ll be gone for 10 minutes tops. If you need me, you can’t probably find me… somewhere.” Claire explained as he patted Czeslaw on the head. Czeslaw looked over at the man sitting next to him. He smelled of booze and cigarettes, then the immortal looked over to Claire, who smelled of shampoo and popcorn. Calire seemed to sense the sudden flow of nervous energy and snatched Czeslaw by the wrist. “You can come with me.” Claire stated, a fatherly smile on his face.
Choosing the better of the worst, Czeslaw followed Claire silently. Czelaw peered around Claire and noticed that they had been following a certain man in a flashy purple suit for a while. “Claire… Please don’t tell me… Y… you’re…. No!” Czeslaw whispered, yet screamed at the same time. “I… I don’t… don’t want to see… t-that… ever!”
Claire placed his strong hand on Czeslaw’s head and grinned. “I’m dealing with our buddy in the bathroom. You can hide in one of the stall or something.” Claire said childishly.
“No!” Czeslaw shook his head, and stopping. “I’m not going! Please! You’ve traumatized me enough!” But suddenly the immortal boy was nearly dragged through the stadium, after the purple suit. Czeslaw could feel his cheeks grow wet with tears and fear. But by now, he was beyond the point of speaking.
The man in the purple suit entered the bathroom, and after a short pause, Claire (with Czeslaw in tow) followed him. The man was at the urinal when Claire and Czeslaw entered. Claire pushed the immortal into one of the stalls. He looked around and nodded when he saw nobody else was in the washroom. Vino heard the lock slide closed and he sat on the counter around the sinks. The man in the purple suit glanced over at Claire with a strange look, and he shrugged his shoulders.
“He’s my kid. Tommy.” Claire explained. “He still has trouble using the bathroom without me around.” He whispered. Vino nearly burst out laughing as he could hear Czeslaw seethe from inside the stall.
“Is he okay?” The man in the purple suit asked, trying peer at the stall.
Claire waved his hand and smiled. “I’m sure he’ll be fine. I mean, he’s over 230 years old.” He stated, imperturbably reached into his pocket. He heard Czeslaw begin to protest, and the man began to babble, confused, but Claire didn’t care. He began to talk again and everything fell deadly silent. “It’s really you we should be worried about.” Vino hissed as he pulled out a large knife from his long black coat. “Looks like somebody got caught up with the wrong mafia family.” Vino chuckled.
Czeslaw shivered at he heard a dying scream from the man in the purple suit. Czeslaw could hear the sound of Claire chuckling, and the sounds of the man groaning as Claire worked his knife through the man’s body. Tears streamed down his face, and his eyes were locked on the floor as blood, red like Claire’s hair, covered the washroom floor. Czeslaw couldn’t speak, or scream… he could just listen and stare.
Czeslaw thought it was over, until he heard a loud thump, then the sound of a toilet being flushed. Suddenly the floor wasn’t just covered with blood, but now a mix of water and blood. “Come out now, Czes.” Vino called, banging on the door. Slowly, and in a daze, Czeslaw obeyed. Claire wrapped a comforting, blood stained arm around the immortal and pointed to the dead body (with it’s head clogging a blood covered toilet). “Every father has to teach his son the family trade.” Claire explained. He let go of Czeslaw and put his long black coat back on, to hide the blood stains, and the two left the bathroom and the stadium with out another word.
When they reached the streets and headed down an old alley, Czeslaw finally spoke. It started with him screaming in fear, then him screaming at Claire. “You are sick!” The immortal screeched. “Twisted! Why would you show me that? Take me there? Full well knowing what you had to do!” Then, the boy fell to the dirty ground and covered his face as he cried.
All Claire Stanfield could do was stand and watch as Czeslaw broke down in front of him. But, suddenly, the idea came to him. “I’ve got ice cream back home.” Claire stated, smiling foolishly. “A radio and a warn bath. Chane is making some French food that her father taught her to make a long time ago.” Claire picked up Czeslaw like a baby, and carried the boy in his arms until they reached the car. Claire looked up and frowned it was late; maybe he should take Czeslaw back to Firo and Ennis?
The next morning, Czeslaw woke up in his own bed, as if nothing happened. The last thing he remembered, Claire was carrying him, then he had fallen asleep. “He took me home…” Czeslaw mumbled, then looked to his bedside table there was a baseball mitt, signed by Babe Ruth. On the glove was a note. Czeslaw leaned over picked it up and read it.
<I was stupid. You were right. I’m a twisted man, but I can’t change who I am.
But… I feel different when I’m around you. There’s something that makes me feel so attached to you and I don’t know what it is.
I want a second… third chance with you. I want to prove to you how much of a father figure I can be.
I want to give you the childhood you were denied.
Czeslaw glared at the note and frowned. He
would never forgive Claire for all the torture he put Czeslaw through, but the
Rail Tracer was persistent. Next time, Czeslaw would need a plan. Czeslaw
suddenly noticed there was more to the note.
<P.S. – You fell asleep at my house,
so when I brought you home, I made sure to put some of Chane’s cooking in the
Chapter Four: Exposure Therapy
“I hear you and Claire saw a baseball game yesterday.” Firo stated, the combination of mastication and a thick Brooklyn accent made him almost impossible to understand. “How was that?” He asked, oblivious to what actually happened.
Czeslaw looked up at him with a furrowed brow. “The single most horrifying experience of my life.” He responded shortly, then turned back to his bacon and eggs. Firo nearly dropped his fork and he just stared at Czeslaw. “Ennis this tastes good.” Czeslaw mumbled, trying to break the extremely awkward silence that had just fallen upon the table. Ennis glanced up and nodded, her perfect features were stoic as per usual.
Firo was still staring at Czeslaw with his warm hazel eyes and a straight face. Suddenly Firo’s features scrunched up and he began to laugh. Czeslaw cocked his head in confusion; he had never seen Firo laugh this much. “Aren’t you a bit old to be going through the teen aged grumpy faze?” Firo chuckled as he mussed up Czeslaw’s hair and returned to his breakfast.
“I just don’t like Claire.” Czeslaw mumbled.
“He’s a great guy. Luck chooses the best company. You just need to spend some time with the guy.” Firo said, shoving a piece of bacon into his mouth, then washed it down with a cup of milk.
“He’s insane! He’s a killer Firo.” Czeslaw moaned, poking at his scrambled eggs with a scowl.
“And so am I, and Luck, and Maiza, heck I can’t think of a single person I know who hasn’t killed somebody, or paid for somebody’s death. It’s the kind of business we’re in.” Firo stood up and picked up his plate and glass, then reached over and took Ennis’. “Don’t play with your food for chrissakes kiddo. I don’t need your pubescent moping.”
Czeslaw’s cheeks turned pink, but his scowl only deepened. “I’m not going through puberty!” He hissed at his eggs more than at Firo, then shoved his plated away from him and towards the centre of the table.
“Are you going to eat your breakfast?” Firo asked.
“Great.” He smiled and took Czeslaw’s plate and shoved the bacon into his mouth. “Mmpf. Moph mm omnoph—“
“Firo. Chew and swallow, then talk.” Ennis said, her voice stoic, but a smile seemed to creep onto her lips as she glanced over at the boy who was utterly perturbed. Firo mumbled something that sounded like ‘Okay’. The room fell silent as Firo speed-chewed his food, and swallowed with an unnecessary loud gulp.
“On the topic of Claire, he did phone earlier this morning while you were asleep.” Firo finally said as he pulled his coat on. “Y’know how yesterday you didn’t want to be alone during the days? Claire offered to sit you when Ennis and I go out. You’ll get to know him better and you’ll have some compa—“
“Why on earth would you do that?” Czeslaw suddenly squealed. “He scares me!”
Firo laughed and pulled he green hat over his head. “You just need to get to know the guy better. Claire’ll be over in a few minutes, and Ennis and I will be home around six, okay?”
“No! Not okay!” Czeslaw snapped.
“Since when have you been this cranky, Czes?” Firo chuckled. “I gave Chane a key to the house so Claire’ll probably just let himself in.” And then with a slam of the door everything fell silent. Indignantly, Czeslaw perched himself in the large reading chair in the living room and crossed his arms over his small chest. He was beyond screaming, and beyond crying. With a sigh the immortal boy realized that he was in the brooding stage of his awful situation.
After a few minutes the front door opened and Claire stepped inside. “Hello kiddo!” He called to the silent house. “Ain’t this great buddy? You and me, for over eight hours. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you son.”
Czeslaw worried his lower lip, and remained brooding in the oversized chair. “Who on Earth would trust somebody like you with a child?” He moaned rhetorically.
Claire suddenly popped up behind Czeslaw and noogied the immortal. “Don’t be like that kiddo, we’re gunna have lots of fun. Look, I brought The Game of Life!” He said, shaking a box filled with the essential pieces for the game. “We are going to have a ball kiddo.”
Chapter Five: The Things I Do For Love
“I need some advice… And I don’t really know who to talk to. I mean, the closest person to me is Chane, but she doesn’t really talk. I dunno, you gave me some good advice last time, so I thought you might be able to help me this time.” Claire stated as he viciously attacked his steak with a sharp knife and the fork (which he had bent in his determination). He looked up at the blonde and sized her up. “You look different.” He stated.
The woman shrugged and sipped her glass of water calmly. “It has been over seven years. And you didn’t even know me that well, so I don’t know how you can jump to that conclusion.” She stated.
“Hmm cold as ever I see… Crap… What’s your name?” Claire said and stopped ravishing his steak.
The woman glared at Claire with eyes like liquid gold, her face was generally stoic, save her eyes that made Claire grin. “Rachel. I suppose somebody with manners like yours would forget somebody’s name.” She hissed.
Claire returned to cutting his steak. As soon as he had cut a rather large piece off of the meat, he shoved it into his mouth and continued to talk. “So, there’s this boy, and I want to—“
“Please don’t tell me you’re gay.” Rachel suddenly said.
“Look, you came to me before asking how you’re going to marry this girl, and I assume you did. Now you’re coming to me for more romantic advice. It is one thing to come to me and ask me about proposals, but another thing to come to me about your… um… confusion.” She explained. “I’m afraid I might give you unsavoury advice.”
“Unsavoury?” Claire echoed. It almost looked like he was thinking about the word. “What ever. It’s not like that! No way. He’s twelve… Or two hundred and some odd years.”
“That doesn’t make things any better!” Rachel started, and then fell silent. “You… you said he was two hundred…” She mumbled, remembering the young boy on the train, the one who couldn’t die. “What do you want with him? Didn’t you get your frustration out on the train? Leave the boy alone.”
Claire nearly recoiled, then returned to his steak and conversation. “I told you it isn’t like that! I think of him as a son. He’s already got an adopted family, but I feel like more of a father than Firo ever will be. I just wanna be there for the kid, I feel a strange attachment to him.” He explained as he played with the steak in front of him than took a huge bite.
“You sound psychotic.”
“And I didn’t before? Believe me, I’m finding this really bizarre myself, but every time I see that kid I just want to pick him up and give him a hug.” Claire sighed.
“Then just tell the kid. I’m sure that if you try you can befriend him.” Rachel suggest with a shrug, then skewered a leaf of salad with her fork and ate.
“But that’s the problem. I kinda tried to kill him before. He just can’t let it go!” Claire wailed, exasperated, and slammed his fists onto the table. “Every time I try and bond with the kid, I always mess it up. I took him on a job that I probably should have, and I tried to make it up to him by playing that game Life with him. Fifteen minutes in he chucked the board at my face.” Claire stuck out his bottom lip pathetically and continued. “But just because he’s angry at me, I don’t necessarily think that he necessarily hates me… but I dunno, all the signs point to him wanting me dead. What can I do to make this kid want to be around me? What do I do to make it up to him?”
Rachel glanced to the side in thought, then looked back to Claire and began slowly. “Judging by the circumstances, I could assume that he probably didn’t have much of a childhood. He’s afraid of you because of what you did—“
“That’s right!” Claire suddenly bellowed. “The kid’s guardian from way back when was a complete ***hole! Firo told me the kid can’t really love anybody because of it. All I have to do is show him that I really do care for him!”
Rachel sat, staring dumbfounded at Claire Stanfield. She opened her mouth to speak, closed it, then opened it again and the words stumbled out. “You weren’t trying that already?”
“I… I didn’t really try showing him emotion, y’know. I just took the kid out to baseball games, and tried all that fatherly stuff you see in movies. Like, if I just sit down and talk to him, or something and just let him know… What if he rejects me?” Claire suddenly wailed and grabbed his head in his hands. “I don’t know if I could live with that kind of rejection…. No… I should just get it over with like I did with Chane. Thanks Rachel!” He suddenly jumped out of his chair, knocked it over and shot out of the restaurant, shoving away random pedestrians as he bolted down the street.
As the red-haired maniac ran, he spotted a boy in front of him. Black hair, brown suit and a driver’s cap… it was unmistakeable. “Czes!” He called, and picked up the boy from behind in a massive hug and twirled around with him. “Czes I really care for you, and I want to make up for all the times I killed y…ou…” Claire’s voice trailed off as he placed the kid on the ground and turned him around. It wasn’t Czeslaw. Clare looked up and saw the mother of the child glaring down on him.
“Police!!” She screeched. “Some man is touching my child! Somebody help!! He’s got some kind of mental illness. A crazy man is touching my child!!”
Claire waved his hands in front of his face and his eyes popped wide open with surprise and fear. “Oh… f**k… lady! Look I’m sorry! I had him mistaken for somebody—“ Claire winced as the lady smashed her handbag into Claire’s face. “Alright, alright, I get it!!” he moaned and bolted towards Firo, Ennis and Czeslaw’s house.
It took him almost two hours after he got lost, and wound up running in circle, but he arrived at the small house panting, sweating and looking awful. He rasped on the door with his knuckles and didn’t stop until Firo answered the door, slightly confused, then happy when he realized it was Claire.
“Claire! What bring you here…? Are you okay?” Firo said, cocking his head to the side and wondering what was wrong with Claire.
“I need to talk to Czes.” Claire boomed, as he snatched Firo by his shoulders.
“Yeah… he’s in the living room.”
Claire nodded and marched in. Czeslaw was
sitting in the oversized and fluffy reading chair, like before, and Claire
smiled as he knelt to his height. Czeslaw looked down at him with his two
judging, black eyes. “Czes… I love you!” Claire blurted out.
Chapter Six: Another Chance
“You’ve snapped… haven’t you?” Czeslaw stated with wide eyes and a wavering voice. “A crazed assassin, that’s one thing. But even though I’m over 230 years old, this counts as paedophilia… not matter how you look at it.”
“No. Czes, listen to me… it’s not like that!” Claire insisted. He placed a comforting hand on the boy’s knee and looked up at the immortal with two pleading eyes. “I know you’ve been lied to you whole life. I know what it’s like not to have a proper childhood. I know what it’s like to be abused and told that it’s still worth living life...” Claire stopped to smile, and Czeslaw looked him in the eyes for the first time. Claire looked as if he were about to cry, and for the first time, Czeslaw felt something for the infamous ‘Rail Tracer’. “I know it’s really f**king hard to wake up every morning aching in pain, and love somebody. But after living with Gandors, I know it’s possible. And I know you feel something too… For Firo, Ennis, and even Maiza. But… it’s not enough is it? Nobody understands you… I do. I love you like you were my own son.”
Czeslaw stared at Claire. For a long moment, it was silent. Claire seemed like he was going to cry, but Czeslaw’s face was chiselled in stone. “What do you know?” Czeslaw suddenly hissed.
Claire let a half-hearted laugh escape his lips and he continued to smile meekly up at the boy. “Did you think I was born like this? I had a father who beat me, and a mother who gave me bacon for Christmas and ate it herself the next day. I ran away from home to live with the Gandors, and I still didn’t fit it. I was different. And when I ran away to the circus, I still was considered weird… around a bunch of circus freaks too. I thought that if I let myself get close to anyone, they’d reject me, and they’d hurt me. It’s the same with… y… Czes?”
Claire frowned, and extended his arms until they wrapped around the small of Czeslaw’s back. And before he knew it, Claire was holding the sobbing immortal in his arms. “You don’t have to be afraid of me…” Claire whispered into Czeslaw’s ear. “I know I was awful to you. I… I didn’t know… I had all these emotions I couldn’t understand. Nothing made sense and… for the first time ever I was confused… Unsure… Scared… I’m a complete idiot.” Czeslaw didn’t answer; he was too busy crying into the ferrous smelling coat. But this time the smell of blood wasn’t frightening, it was comforting.
When Czeslaw stopped crying, he suddenly realized what was happening. “This doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten what you did… and I haven’t forgiven you either.” He hissed and Claire and tried to pry himself out of the Rail Tracer’s vice-like embrace. “You have to prove to me you’ve changed.”
“I promise, kiddo!” Claire nearly squealed as he put Czeslaw back in the oversize chair and gently kissed the boy’s forehead. Czeslaw winced and stuck his tongue out.
“Don’t even kiss me again.” He moped.
“But I thought you Europeans had a whole culture around kissing.” Claire joked, and poked Czeslaw in the ribs. The boy recoiled and crossed his arms over his chest.
“I have been a citizen of the USA for over two hundred years.”
“Ha!” Claire guffawed. “Old habits die hard!” He chimed and kissed the boy on his forehead once more before scooting out the door as fast as he arrived.
Firo peaked into the room where Czeslaw sat, still brooding in the reading chair. “What did I say?” He stated slyly. Czeslaw looked back at him with a stare that could kill.
“He still scares me.” Czeslaw retorted. “And I don’t like him.”
There was a long pause that followed. Firo seemed disappointed with Czeslaw, but there was nothing he could do. After all, Czeslaw had more of a reason to hate Claire than anybody. But Firo just hoped everybody could get along.
“I’ll give him another chance, though.”
Chapter Seven: Ice, Ice, Baby
“Do you trust me?” Claire asked, his voice calm but he was out of breath. His joints ached and his legs felt like Jell-O. Czeslaw’s eyes were puffy and red, he was still fighting tears. Czeslaw sniffed and shrunk in close to Claire’s chest. Slowly, he nodded. “Good. Turn around and face me, wrap your arms around my neck and your legs around my waist.” With another sniff, Czeslaw obeyed and clung to Claire like a monkey.
Claire placed a hand on Czeslaw’s head for safe measure and leaned back until the two were hanging upside down. “Keep holding on, kiddo. Tightly. I couldn’t live with myself if I let you fall.” Claire reminded the boy, then he extended his arms, and chuckled as Czeslaw squealed and squeezed tighter around Claire. The red-head snatched the tree branch below him and let his legs let go of the one he was holding onto.
The duo swung down until Claire stopped them, and landed on a sizable branch. The leaves shook as they landed, and Claire looked down. If he jumped, he could make it, but he remembered the frail immortal that clung to his chest. So, Claire picked his way through the branches of the trees with extreme agility, until his feet landed on the soft grass below. “You okay, Czes?” He asked, placing Czeslaw on the ground and mussing his hair.
Czeslaw nodded and wiped away the remaining tears on his face. “Next time you get stuck in a tree, don’t look down.” Claire laughed and sat down. “Sitting up there for an hour with you crying your eyes out is a lot harder than I though.” Claire snickered and poked Czeslaw in the ribs.
“Stop doing that!” He pouted and sat next to Claire.
“Czes… There’s something I should tell you.” Claire finally said after a long, long pause. He closed his eyes, and could remember last night crystal clear…
Claire and Chane were sitting on the couch. The sounds of smooth jazz from the radio flooded the room. Claire leaned over and kissed Chane gently on her perfect lips. They continued to kiss until Claire was on top of her, his hand grabbing her thigh. But with out warning, and with out a sound, Chane stopped Claire. With such grace and elegance, she placed her hand just bellow her belly button and smiled. Claire looked down and paused to think, then his eyes grew wide.
“W… Well, how late?” Claire stammered, nervous and excited. Chane remained calm, her face barely showed her smile, and she raised to fingers. “Two days?” The redhead asked stupidly, and with an amused sigh Chane shook her head. “Weeks?” Again, she shook her head. “Months?!?” Claire nearly squealed. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
Chane didn’t respond, but that was expected. Claire laughed and kissed Chane once more, before he snuggled down close to her holding her belly where a bump soon would be.
Czeslaw seemed to smile, but it was half-hearted and awkward. After living for hundreds of years, Czeslaw had trouble smiling, his dark past made sure of that. But Claire felt proud that he had put a smile on those thin lips.
“I’m happy for you…” Czeslaw said.
Claire blinked and mussed up his hair, as usual. “Just happy kiddo? I’m freaking extatic! Like, a little baby. A eating, breathing and pooping baby!” He roared, shaking Czeslaw’s shoulders with what was easily mistaken for anger.
“You might have gained my trust, for the time being.” The immortal stated, coolly, “But you should never be trusted with a child. They’re a lot more work than you think.”
The readhead laughed and patted Czeslaw on the back. “So far it’s been pretty easy. Just took a few candles, smooth jazz and some fu—“
“That’s not what I mean!” Czeslaw cut Claire off, his face red after realizing where Claire was going. “I mean, you’re not fatherly. You’re more than a bit crazy. I am not worried for you, I am worried for the child.”
Claire could only sit, mouth agape as the immortal stood up and walk away. His words stung Claire like frostbite, and left him literally shivering. He reached out a hand “Wait! You shouldn’t go home alone! It’s dangerous at night!” He wanted to scream, but his mouth hung open… not even able to form the words.
Chapter Eight: Brother, My Brother
“You’d think he’s the one having the baby,” Claire said, exasperated, as he failed his arms in the air and slammed them down on the table. “I mean, I get the kid still doesn’t trust me, but he could at least pretend to be happy about it. What do you think? You’re the smart one.”
Luck shrugged. His lips were unmoving but always seemed to smile, except when the light hit his face a certain way and he looked scarier than Hell. Even when he spoke, his face remained calm, his lips barely seemed to move, and his voice was as melodic as a sad sailor’s song. Despite his true age and apparent age, Luck was full of history. “Maybe you’re taking things the wrong way.” He said simply.
Claire stared at Luck with a flabbergasted expression. Luck shrugged again.
“Perhaps he has a bit of the Stockholm Syndrome.” Luck stated, and for a moment it looked like he was amused. Luck rested his elbow on the table and cupped his chin with his hand. “If you are the incarcerator, then he would be the victim. He’s grown accustomed to you, and now this baby is threatening to break the bonds. Czes probably doesn’t like it.” The youngest Gandor brother explained flatly.
“Wait a tick.” Claire replied, touching his temple with his forefinger. “You’re tellin’ me that Czes is…”
“Jealous. Yes.” Luck finished for the seemingly dumbfounded and animated redhead.
“Naw. Look Luck, Czes isn’t like that. He’s as cold and calculating as you. Besides, I’m pretty sure he still wants my balls on a plaque.” Claire sighed.
There was a brief moment of silence before Luck chuckled, but only the slightest bit. “Claire, I doubt it.” He finally said. His molten bronze eyes seemed to smile with amusement as Claire scowled like a child. “You forget that he doesn’t age.” Luck explained. “That means really, he still has the mind of a boy. They become easily attached to everything, and frightened at anything that intimidates them. He’s just about as immature as you are.”
“Hey! Wait a minute Luck! You’re calling me immature!?” Claire boomed in response and folded his arms across his chest, a pout plastered on his face. “That isn’t a correct or nice statement!” The two stared at each other for a long time. A veil of silence so thick, it was palpable. But suddenly the two laughed. They understood each other like brothers, and Claire accepted who he was with utter bliss.
“Anyways Claire, remember that man you took out for me a month ago?” Luck said, taking out a wad of bills and began to count out an unbelievable sum. “His friends are wandering our turf again. I’m looking for a reliable man to do the job.” Luck looked up at Claire and winked.
But the famed assassin shook his head, and waved his hand in front of his face. “If I’m going to be a father, I’m going to have to get rid of Vino.” He explained, in all seriousness.
Luck’s perpetual faint smile grew for a slight second and his eyes light up, “Now that’s very responsible Claire. Why the change, if I may ask?”
Claire shrugged. “I don’t know…” He answered, cautiously. “But I think it’s got something to do with Czes.”
Luck bgan put away the wad of cash. It was hard to tell if he was pleased or not… that faint smile created the perfect poker-face. Then, Luck paused, halfway to putting the money away in his pocket. “You’re going to have to get a real job. It’s not going to be easy.” Luck counted out the bills until Claire’s eyes grew wide. “Congratulations, brother.” Luck Gandor said, this time a genuine smile on his pale lips. He handed Claire the money and added, "You really love that kid, don't you?"
Chapter Nine (Finale): The Godfather
The hospital smelt of medicine and bleach. Czeslaw would have stuck out his tongue if he weren’t asleep. Firo checked his watch and frowned. Maybe we should go home, and come back in the morning… the camorrista thought to himself. Ennis had fallen asleep on one of his shoulders, and Czeslaw on the other. A light smile touched his pale lips and he fiddled with the brim of his green hat.
“Excuse me!” Firo whispered to a passing nurse. The woman stopped to hear what Firo had to say. “I’ve got a bit of a situation.” He chuckled, motioning to the two sleeping beauties on his shoulders. “Could you do me a favour and figure out how long a ‘Chane Walken’ will be?” The nurse smiled and nodded. Firo sighed and leaned back while he waited for the nurse to return. There was a smile on the young man’s face; Firo had always loved babies. The fact that one was being born a floor above him was enough for Firo to feel jittery. He as ecstatic for the baby as Claire was.
The nurse returned a moment and whispered a response to Firo. “They shouldn’t be long.” She explained. “Mrs. Walken’s yet to give birth, but they believe it shouldn’t be much longer.” Firo smiled and thanked the young nurse then returned to fiddling with his hat. They would wait for an hour, then go home. He didn’t want to spend the night in a hospital; the place was creepy enough already.
So, they waited… and waited. An hour and a half passed before Firo gently shook Ennis’ shoulder, and playfully mussed Czeslaw’s hair. Czeslaw woke with a start, then frowned as Firo said, “We’re going home, but we can come back tomorrow morning.” Czeslaw nodded and the trio stood up to leave. A pout was plastered on Czeslaw’s adorable face.
“Mr. Prochainezo?” A nurse called, the same one from earlier. “I think you better stay. Mr. and Mrs. Walken said they wanted to see the boy first, then you’re welcome to join them.” Firo turned around and with the biggest smile on his face he dashed up the stairs to the hospital room where Claire and Chane would be.
Ennis and Firo waited outside the room, surprisingly, with the doctor and nurse as well. Czeslaw entered the room and glanced around. There he saw Claire and Chane. Chane held the smallest baby Czeslaw had ever seen, a smile was on her face and you could see that both Chane and Claire were grinning uncontrollably. Chane looked into Czeslaw’s large brown eyes, and Czeslaw looked back. The immortal boy blushed, realizing that he had never seen any other side of Chane, other than the stoic and silent one. Is this what he sees in her? Czes though, glancing over at Claire.
Claire, previously known as ‘Vino’, had tear stained cheeks. His pale skin was warm with love, an emotion Czeslaw thought Claire never knew. Claire’s jaw was set firm, but his thin red lips smiled. The redhead hadn’t shaved for a few days, but it barely looked ‘scraggly’. Claire looked over at Czeslaw with two warm red eyes like Madeira wine left out in the sun. And that’s what she sees in him.
Chane reached out a graceful and gentle hand. Slowly, Czeslaw approached her and took her hand. The immortal smiled awkwardly and Chane kissed him on the cheek. She looked down at the new born child and Czeslaw followed her gaze. Then, Chane gently handed over the sleeping child to Czeslaw.
“We want you to meet you godson.” Claire explained. Czeslaw stared at Claire with utter disbelief, his small mouth was dropped so low, it touched his chest. “Don’t drop him.” The redhead joked with a chuckle. Czeslaw looked down at the child. The immortal thought all babies looked the same. But the boy now saw Claire’s thin red lips and round eyes, Chane’s pale skin and gentle jaw.
“What’s his name?” Czeslaw asked, sniffling.
“We were hoping you could help us with that.” Claire stated. Czeslaw still couldn’t believe it. Wide eyed, he glanced at Chane who nodded.
Czeslaw blushed, and slowly began, “I’ve… always liked the name Alphonse.”
“Like Capone? That’s bad ass!” Claire blurted out, and Chane rolled her doe-like eyes.
“I… I’m sorry I can choose another one... if you want…” Czeslaw quickly added, completely flustered and embarrassed. He looked down at the baby once more and frowned, thinking that the name fit rather well.
“No.” Claire assured Czeslaw with a smile. “I like it too. Alphonse Walken. Well, Uncle Czes, I only hope he’s as good of a child as you are.”
Czeslaw blushed even more and his smile
widened for the first time in his life. “Only if he has as good of a father as
you are.” The only thing Czeslaw and Claire could do was stare into the newborn's face and cry.
“Luck!?” Firo called as he saw a familiar man walk the halls of the hospital to Chane’s room. “What are you doing here?” Firo asked, giving Luck a strong and firm handshake. Ennis simply nodded to note his presence.
“I just wanted to see my nephew.” Luck assure Firo with a light smile on his lips, as always. But Firo noticed something else. Luck look…. Nervous?
“What’s wrong? You look a bit upset.” Firo asked.
Luck chuckled at the thought of it and shook his head. “That’s not it. I was just thinking…” He said, “My nephew’s going to be fucked.”
Again, no using my work with out my permission. Please comment, and give criticism. No flame. I will cry. You don't wanna see me cry. TT.TT