A/N: I decided to take a break from the Hawaiian and the Hunchback for a while so I came up with this! Right after I joined DeviantArt that is. Well, it's about Clopin, and I'm not sure if I caught his character in this one. Well, you've got to help me there. Read and send me reviews (constructive criticism is most welcome) and I'll be happy. And, my writing will hopefully improve. I now shall be known as the crispy-gypsy! Fear me!

Chapter One

Clopin lay down across the floor of his wagon, staring up at the curve of the roof that now sheltered him from the drops that fell outside. He gazed unblinking, listening silently to the pitter-patter of the falling rain, allowing the monotonous sound to lull him into drowsiness. Of course, it wasn't the only thing that helped him reach his dreamland. The shit-load of alcohol he had forced down also helped quite a bit.
It wasn't usual that Monsieur Le Roi de Gitan Clopin Trouillefou drank himself silly (he swore several times before that it only happened once a week), though the great stock of wine and liquor bottles he had hidden in his caravan rather contradicted this claim. But, now he had found a great reason to drink as much as he wanted, which he did. That was rather evident by the great many glass flasks that littered the wooden floor, rolling across the planks and clinking against one another.
Clopin hiccuped and rolled to his side, disturbing even more of the green glass bottles and sending several of them crashing against the wall. He flinched at the sudden loudness and groaned quietly.
"Damn it all," he muttered, hiccuping yet again. "I have to get back to the court."
He tried to get himself up, lifting up the top half of his body just a little off the floor, supporting himself on his right elbow. His whole body was shaking terribly and it seemed that he would be unable to move much. And it was the truth; seconds later he fell back onto the floor, hitting his head, hiccuping, laughing, and cursing all at the same time.
"Monsieur," he told himself, trying to keep his heavy eyelids from closing, "you are an idiot. You come out to work on a day that you knew wouldn't be good, you get upset at that fact when you realize that it was stupid of you to come out (damn you), and you drink yourself so silly you can't even sit up. Look at yourself. You're having trouble staying awake. You have to back to the Court of Miracles! It's your entire damn fault. No, don't try to blame that cursed rain and stop talking to yourself. I'm getting a headache."
And he coughed and sighed, then turned back to the ceiling with drowsy eyes. The damn rain. Why the hell did it do that to him, dripping and dropping for the whole goddamned week? Hell, he would have given up long before had he not always had that optimistic little outlook that made him think that it would stop. That outlook was what made him walk all the way from the court to his wagon, which he had kept out in the rain for three days straight. That outlook was what kept him waiting for about an hour, looking at the sky through the open window, waiting for the rain to stop. But, then again, that outlook was also what caused him to close all windows and doors, and what lead to his being on the floor and hiccuping as he thought over his woes.
"Always the optimistic one, aren't we?" he asked himself after this thought. "Forever looking up with closed eyes, blind to the gray clouds, when we should have been watching were we were stepping. Maybe then, we would have noticed how wet our shoes were getting and would've been smart enough to realize that it would've been better just to stay indoors for the day. You're such an idiot! Be realistic at least once in your life!"
It had been a thing that he had done several days prior (though this was the first time that he had drank so much), for there seemed to be a perpetual cloud of rain hanging over Paris. It was evident, everyday that he left the comfort of the Court (well, as comfortable as the court could be), out into the soggy outdoors on the slippery cobbles of the narrow streets. Always the same talk to himself, trying to force himself to be more practical, threatening to never again think that same way. But, of course, this was all blabber, and it wasn't a very practical thing to listen to one's self when one was drunk (even if this drunken musing was being somewhat accurate).
Everyday, he stared out of his window, out at the soggy streets and the dim skies, which the rays of the sun barely peeped through. The rain...that was what kept the light hidden and the children in their drafty houses, away from his stories. As you can think, he was not making much money because of this. The other gypsies had remained in the drier (or should the term be 'less damp'?) recesses of their hideaway. And, behind his back of course, talking amongst themselves about his enthusiasm in the beginning of the day, and laughing greatly to themselves when he came back, grumbling and sodden.
No one seemed to want to be outside during the shower. Clopin saw little everyday, though he noticed several women gathering beneath the awning or under a doorway, pointing and giggling flirtatiously at him. Clopin would lean on one elbow and smile at them, and their whispers and giggles would grow. God knows that his usually...erm, "bold" mannerisms were dampened by the rain, and the thought of a few good flirts lifted his spirits little. And, besides, if they were the type of women that he thought them to be, then he would most probably have to pay them at the end of their meeting. That was not going to help him at all.
Clopin felt his eyes closing, and a great yawn came from his mouth and he twisted upon the floor, searching for a comfortable position. Hell, he couldn't get up anyway. Might as well take a good nap before limping his way back to the court. That way, there was more of a chance of him getting there anyway before he passed out on the damned streets and drowned himself in the freaking rain. He shook his head at the thought, laughing just a snicker at himself, then turned on his side. He took off his mask, gloves, and hat, cushioned his head with his arm, snorted and closed his eyes. Seconds later, he was in a soundless sleep, dreaming away of rainless days full of song and children's laughter. Days that, hopefully, would be coming once again some time soon.

Clopin was forced awake much later on in the day, and he sat up with many a curse leaping straight from his lips. The bottles were rolling across the floor and hitting each other, not to mention him, and his head was bouncing against the floor from the bumps outside. Plus, the sound of horse hooves and whip snaps were getting on his nerves.
Every one of these nuisances had actually been going on for a pretty long time, going all the way back to who knows when, but Clopin had ignored them at first. He was much too engrossed in the pleasant dreams of children and puppet shows. But, now that his dream was stretching a little bit too long, these annoyances were becoming, bit by bit, more obvious, right up until his awakening.
"Damn," he muttered, rubbing the bump on his head that throbbed with the beat of his heart. "What inconsiderate loon would ride a horse along this way while I was asleep?"
This statement was a bit sarcastic, but he wondered anyway. The clip clopping had been going on for about an hour now, if his estimates were correct. Either there was a whole cavalcade of horses coming down the way, or the same horse found it great exercise to trot in place. And what was with the bumping of his wagon? He could barely hear the rain beating down on the roof with all the hubbub. He shook his head and leaned against the wall, pulling on his gloves and tying his mask to his face with groggy slowness. He sighed putting his hat atop his head and yawning. Supporting himself against the walls of the wagon, he got to his feet. His knees wobbled just a smidgen, but at least he could stand. And, later on, he learned that he could walk. Excellent.
Clopin rubbed the sleep from his eyes and made his way to the back of the wagon, where the door was set, closed. And, yawning for the last time of the day, he straightened out the front of his shirt, pulled down his cowl, pushed open the door and stepped forward...and almost fell right onto the muddy streets of the outskirts.
"What the hell!" He screamed, stepping backward, watching as the ground beneath the caravan actually moved, right over the mud and grass, through puddles and dirt. This wasn't how it was when he fell asleep! At least, that wasn't how he remembered it to be! What in the name of all that was holy was going on here?
"What was that?"
Clopin stopped hyperventilating and listened quietly to what appeared to be a man's voice. It came from the front of the wagon.
"I'm not sure," a woman replied. "It sounded like someone cursing."
"Do you think someone's following us?" the first person asked. Clopin didn't hear the reply, but didn't much care when he heard the man's response. "Well, go check it out! There might be one of those heathens in this damned wagon."
"What do I do if there is?"
The gypsy heard a sound much like a sword being pulled from a hilt, a sort of slicing noise.
"Kill him."
Clopin started, and paled just a bit. He had half a mind to just jump out of the wagon into the mud and hightail it right out of there, but, taking a little guess from the trotting and the neighs, they were on horses. And even then, Monsieur Clopin the light-footed could not outrun a horse. Besides, they had his caravan, though he did not know what they intended to do with it. He would never allow them to do such a thing! No one steals from the Gypsy King, no one!
But there was little time to muse over whatever he was to do, for the caravan stopped, and the sound of someone coming off of a horse could be heard just feet away. Clopin realized his predicament yet again, and looked desperately around for anything that might assist in his escape. Nothing in sight. Not a rock or a tree; not even a hill to hide behind. He was in some deep shit now.
And nearby the sound of approaching footsteps, tromping through the thick mud, could be heard.

A/N: Okay, I'm going to end it here for now. I've got to do something right now, so I'm going to have to continue it later on. Hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you enjoy a later chapter, which I hope will be less short and crappy! Well, bye-bye!

-Guille van Cartier, Crispy-Gypsy