Jehan certainly took after his father, that Claude was sure of. As much as he could even remember his father before the plague took him and his mother; Jehan was much more different than he.
Claude would admit it, he was a quiet man; Paris always seemed too big for him, the townsfolk were numerous, and often times he felt claustrophobic. Comfort was found within Notre Dame herself. She was indeed imposing, but where many saw loneliness he found solace, the low drone of the bells were now a lullaby to him, and during the cold winter nights, Claude enjoyed sitting by the pews watching as the stained glass windows turned a beautiful light blue tint. The Notre Dame was more a home to him than other places he and his brother were forced to hop around from; the plague had not only taken their parents, but much Paris' kindness, each home was less welcoming than the next, too many mouths to feed, too much sickness still lingering in each town. It was a miracle that the Archdeacon of Notre Dame had enough love to bring the two boys in, giving them a home with Father Dupin, despite the stench of plague forever imprinted on their souls.
This kindness would forever affect Claude greatly, even at a young age, he understood how difficult it was to simply change one's life, and adopting two orphans was a gesture far too generous to be left unthanked. He quickly threw himself into religious studies; reading and rereading the Bible, helping Father Dupin with his work, everything he'd do would be for Notre Dame.
Jehan...not so much.
Of course, Jehan was far younger, and more naive. He took things for granted, and he believed that kindness was out of one's heart that required no owage. Claude had given up at this point trying to explain how wrong his brother was, like their father, Jehan was stubborn and passionate, once he thought of something, he steadfastly held to it, a trait Claude held as well, but not so foolishly.
"You must be home before evening mass."
"Yes, yes, I know. Back for evening mass."
"No! Before! So you have time to get dressed and ready."
"I will be home on time, cease your worries!"
Their conversations always had this, Claude would desperately find ways to protect Jehan's unfiltered adventures, and no matter how much he tried, his foolish brother would go with his words unheeded. Many times, Jehan would receive a stern scolding and, the older he got, the more severe the punishments became. It wasn't long before Claude found fresh whip marks on his brother's back. They then spent many nights together at the highest point of Notre Dame, far from the law of their adoptive father, Claude gently washing away Jehan's painful wounds. He used to scold Jehan with a flurry of insults, calling him every synonym of 'stupid', but as time passed and Claude saw more bloody marks from the switch on his younger brother's back, the insults lessened. They spoke less of Jehan's idiocy, and instead opted to talk more of the adventures the young Frollo dubbed 'worth the wounds'.
"Oh Claude, you wouldn't believe it!" He'd explain, his breath hitching as the damp cloth pressed close on the newest injury. The more he rambled on his newest exploits, the more his mind was less on his humiliation and pain, and the more Claude seemed to relax. The last thing he wanted to see was Jehan look so downtrodden, but as much as he wanted keep his brother happy, it never stopped him from gently warning him that one day, the Archdeacon would not be forgiving. Jehan shrugged it off each time, but like each time, he always gave Claude a warm embrace, thanking his brother for being so patient and loving.
And so they grew with a cycle. Jehan would disappear for fun, Claude would warn him, Jehan would be punished, Claude would help him, repeat.
One day, however, this cycle changed. Jehan had convinced Father Dupin that he would do good outside Notre Dame, and would have Claude join him; the two soon were at the streets of Paris, blessing those lesser than them and enjoying the warm summer day. Claude was initially uncomfortable, it was far too hot, too sticky, too filled with people falling to their knees to kiss his and his brother's robes. But as they spent more time together, Claude grew more used to the sudden change of pace, and Jehan noticed. Soon enough, their religious work faded into a day of rest and recreation; Jehan, being well known in the city, was welcomed in every place we went, and the name 'Claude' became as familiar as his. The older Frollo even enjoyed the new path he took with his brother, until they entered a tavern he knew...was more for drinking in. The smell was passionate, animalistic, feverish; he returned to his stoic state, knowing well enough the reason why Jehan had come here. Claude wasn't going to ignore the fact that this order was familiar to him, on his brother, though he hoped he would never have to confront him on it. The horrible thought was solidified when Jehan came forward with a slim, tall, and dark-skinned beauty that made even his heart skip a beat. Her name was Florika, as Jehan explained before kissing her lovingly on the lips, his hands gripping onto her waist desperately; noticing his brother look so uneasy in this new environment, Jehan brought another woman forward. Claude's heart skipped another beat. She was fuller, shorter, but beautiful; dark skin with even darker, more mysterious eyes, and a gentle, possibly nervous smile. Jehan pulled away from Florika momentarily to push his brother towards the other gypsy woman and whispered, "Let this be a moment of fun for you! I know you find her lovely…"
Usually, Claude would have responded to his brother's cheeky tease with a harsh retort, a man of celibacy would never be so close to a woman as...immoral as the one he was now chest to chest to. But he was unable to speak, his eyes glued onto hers, and his body trembling from nerves and excitement.
"Kiss him Violca!" Many of the gypsies yelled and pestered, grins on their faces and alcohol on their breath, and after a second of hesitance, the young gypsy woman giggled and pressed her full lips to the pious Claude's. He immediately pulled away, horrified and disgusted before turning and leaving the tavern without a single word to his brother.
They didn't speak that night, even when Jehan returned late to Notre Dame (for the obvious reason Claude now knew)l, he said nothing. Claude, instead, rushed to Father Dupin, confessing what he and his brother had done, and asked for forgiveness; his dear father blessed him with mercy, though he murmured that the three of them would need to speak. It gave Claude nightmares for the rest of the evening. It wasn't until the next morning, when the two brothers were called to Father Dupin's office, that Claude realized how much he was sweating. Their adoptive father held such a look of disappointment and sadness as he confronted them, his eyes casting down on the floor as the horrible words left his lips.
Jehan was excommunicated. No argument on it.
Claude spent the entire day at Father Dupin's feet, tears running down his eyes as he begged, cursed, and cried for pity on his brother; Jehan was quiet, in shock after understanding that no one but Claude could have told the church of their outing. He could hear his older brother in hysterics, begging their adoptive father to spare him the separation they would both be forced to make, and he could also hear Father Dupin's regretful, but firm reply that there was nothing to be done.
The brothers bid each other not, Jehan left Notre Dame before Claude could even say goodbye and, for years, the Frollo brothers lost complete contact.
Claude grew colder without his brother, he spoke less with Father Dupin, though he helped more and more around the church, gradually ascending higher and higher up the hierarchy. More years passed, and Claude was Archdeacon, an honor he had hoped to share with his brother. Father Dupin passed away, and after praying for his heavenly soul, he screamed and cursed at him for tearing Jehan away from him. Claude later flogged himself, disgusted at his short temper and loathing the man who had become a father to him, and disappointed at himself for betraying Jehan. He hoped the more time passed, the more the painful memory would subside.
But months passed, and not a memory changed, they grew worse in his dreams, and one fateful night, a letter brought every memory up from his subconscious.
Jehan wrote to him, with an address, and a desperate plea to see each other.
He had rushed out in seconds flat.
The address led to a familiar tavern that made Claude's stomach knot, but there was no stopping him to see Jehan; opening the doors, he found himself with a knife at his throat by an old, half blind gypsy man. He whimpered, feeling the sharp blade press against his adam's apple, but as quick as the gypsy had moved to attack, he quickly pulled away at someone's voice. Claude looked around the dark room, searching frantically for the mysterious speaker; he was ready to demand for his brother, but the shadowed figure stepped into the light, and Claude almost collapsed.
It was Jehan, standing right before him.
No time was spared at the older Frollo sprinted to hug his brother, kissing his dusty cheeks and gripping his bony shoulders. Jehan's cough concerned him deeply, and after pulling apart, he could see the state his dear brother was in. Jehan was thin, sickly so, with an odd-greenish tint on his skin, and deep red rashes over his arms and chest. They said very little to each other, Jehan was unable to; the illness had not only taken his lover, the gypsy Florika, but was quickly spreading over him, and time was short. He had become so weak, that the gypsies he stayed with were forced to carry him to a small cot, where he could lay in peace. Claude was nervous, he had always been sickly as a child, getting this close to one with such a severe ailment would risk a lot-he stopped himself. How could he think like this? His own brother, found, after so many years, and the only thing he could think about was staying further away? It shamed him, though the knot in his stomach grew. Claude reassured him, he'd take him back to Notre Dame and heal him, they could live together once more in the place they called sanctuary, and home. Jehan denied his brother such a hope, he wasn't going to make it, that was very clear, but he gripped his brother's hands tightly and asked him for one last favor. Claude immediately obliged.
A gypsy woman stepped out from the shadows, holding a bundle in her arms, she hastily passed it along to the Archdeacon before retreating back into darkness. Claude stood baffled for a moment until the soft cry of an infant shocked him back into reality, he knelt by his brother's side and without asking, knew whose son this was. There was disappointment, worry, fear, and...pure joy. He was an uncle, and in Jehan's final moments, they could share a beautiful moment, holding the newest Frollo to their family. Claude gently brought the child into the light to see its face; was it like his father? Blue-eyed and gentle cheeks? Or mother, with dark skin and soft skin? Each thought dashed from his head when his nephew was brought into the faint light.
It was disgusting.
A misshapen, pained, disgusting...monster.
Claude turned back to his brother, but there was nothing to be said, Jehan had passed. He lay unmoving on the cot, eyes shut gently as if in sleep, his hair damp with sweat that stuck to his face unruly as it always had in youth. The Archdeacon returned to his side, and pressed their foreheads together, stifling the heartbroken sob that grew in him.
The babe cried again, this time desperately, and loudly.
The gypsies, seeing their friend and comrade dead, began wailing. Some drew close to Claude as comfort, but the only thing on the oldest Frollo's mind was the demon he held in his arms. He rushed out of the tavern again, panic stewing in his mind as he sprinted down the dark streets of Paris. Not a soul in sight, but the infant's screams would arise the curiosity of somebody, Claude had to get rid of it. He didn't bother considering leaving the child on a random doorstep, cursing the next family to find it. No, the babe had to die. For the sake of his brother, the Frollo name, and the child itself.
Claude passed by Notre Dame, deep in thought, when his eyes fell on the statues surrounding his home. The blessed Saints looked back down on him, unblinking, and waiting.
He sighed, and looked at the child, whose cries slowly faded into rest. He couldn't do it, he wouldn't. The Lord had a plan for all, and if Claude was to raise his brother's bastard child as his own...he would do it. After all, the monster was his nephew. There was the same blood running through their veins, if Claude could teach the abomination to be like him, and devote his life for Notre Dame, this child could grow into something formidable.
The Archdeacon made his decision, he was going to raise the infant. Though, he thought it best to give it a name. A creature like this couldn't be named something holy like John, Mark, or Elijah, it would be an insult to his own devotion, Claude had to think carefully. An infant, who would grow into, no doubt, a man with severe differences with his body, was more a monster than a man. Half of one, and half of the other. Part monster, part human.