A/N: Not much to tell. This is just a little oneshot about when DB's son, Julian, asks his father about his first love. DC references.
"How do you know you're in love?"
His head quirked towards his son and for a moment took in a flash of Bea washing dishes in the kitchen. He saw the small smile that quickly spread across her face, and knew this would get him points with her if he explained just how fast and wordlessly he had fallen in love with his wife at just eighteen. His boy was fifteen now, definitely old enough to be interested in girls, probably had been for awhile and just hadn't confided in his father. Well, now he was confiding in him, and he wouldn't dare miss such an opportunity to seize the moment.
"Come, son, let's go outside – take a walk. I'll tell you all about how I fell in love with your mother," he winked as Bea as they headed out the door. Her smile spread just a little more as she continued with her chores in the kitchen.
"Is this about that pretty little Catherine that lives about two blocks away?" he gestured to the left of them and Julian blushed madly. Daniel chuckled.
"I just wanted to know how you knew, dad," he clarified, slightly sweating in embarrassment. "This has nothing to do with Cathy."
"Oh, Cathy is it?" he teased his son, pushing at his side a little. Julian sighed.
He nodded, accepting the commission of getting to the point and not teasing all morning.
"I first met your mother when we were little kids, a short time after I had mended things over with your Uncle Tomas for poking fun at his sister…" he chuckled, but was cut off.
"Dad, no offense but—"
Daniel quirked his head in the way of his son.
"I've heard this story before."
"Oh?" his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Now he didn't know what to think.
"Mother has told it to me on several occasions."
He smirked. Of course she would.
"Ah, but has she told it to you from my perspective?" he smiled wide, like a Cheshire cat. Julian shook his head, laughing a little.
"No. Well, she's tried, but—"
"A woman cannot ever completely know a man's thoughts towards her, Julian," he informed him, "only what he chooses to tell her. He must choose not to tell her everything, because if he does she won't be able to handle it."
Julian's eyebrows narrowed as they continued to walk. "What if you forget some time and accidentally show it all?"
Daniel chuckled. "It cannot ever be shown all at once, Julian," he assured him, though pausing for a few moments to think about it. "But if it does by some miraculous miracle happen, you must take the opportunity to express yourself to the fullest towards her. It will do neither of you any good if you suddenly feel all the love you have for a woman and keep it to yourself."
He smiled a little and nodded his head. Daniel straightened his form from where he had squatted on the ground, staring his son straight in the eyes, and began to walk again.
"How do you know?" Julian continued. Daniel turned his head to him and rose an eyebrow in curiosity. "How do you know how much you love a woman?"
Daniel sighed, somehow having realized over the years that his son had accepted his father knew everything. It was a lot to live up to, especially in regards to the subject he still barely only knew half about.
"You don't know," he concluded, trying for the truth. "But…" he smirked, thinking about Bea. "You get an idea." Julian turned his head towards his father's.
"What do you mean?" he asked. His father turned towards him with a mischievous glint in his eye. They both stopped and looked at each other for a moment. Julian nearly stopped breathing while waiting for his father's next words.
"You can't keep your hands off of her," Daniel said, continuing to look mischievously at his son before finally directing his face straight ahead and walking again. Julian gaped but then his mouth snapped shut, not wanting to look shocked by his father's blunt nature. The comment itself had made him want to come to his father sooner. He ran ahead to catch up with him.
"Mmm?" he asked, still smiling at the last thing that had been said.
"Momma wasn't the first girl you loved, was she?"
"Who told you that?" Daniel asked skeptically, turning his face a quarter of the way towards his son. It looked as though Julian might be panicking, but he could've interpreted it wrong.
"Uh…well, nobody ends up the first girl he falls in love with," he stated matter-of-factly. It seemed whatever nervousness that had come up with the skepticism had disappeared. Daniel slowed his walking a great degree as he thought of the great writer Julian Carax and his first love Penelope Aldaya. It was the saddest story he had ever heard, and he did not plan on using it as an example in this simple 'How do you know' talk he was having with his son.
"You want to know about first loves."
Julian nodded once. "Yes."
"Well, you're right."
"I beg your pardon?" he asked, confused, turning to his father.
"Your mother wasn't the first woman I fell in love with."
He blinked. It seemed as though he had been planning on being outwitted and actually told that she was his father's first. Now he didn't know what to think.
"She was however the first woman to reciprocate my feelings for her…in that particular department," he clarified, needing to clear his throat on the spot.
"Well, Dad, then who—"
"Clara Barcelo," Daniel said with a sigh. Julian couldn't interpret what emotion it held – content, discouraged, mournful, angry. There were plenty of options. Suddenly though the name hit a familiar thread in his mind.
"That's the blind woman you go and see at the Plaza Real, isn't it?"
He nodded. "Yes," he sighed, wondering how he'd go about this. It'd been over fifteen years since he'd been in love with Clara Barcelo. Now, as much as he hated to admit it, he dreaded the few times Bea would beg him to go see her throughout the year. Clara had grown bitter, was incredibly lonely, and now that her beauty – though still flawless – was beginning to fade, her list of unsuitable suitors was as well.
"Father?" Julian asked, stilling himself. Daniel blinked and tried to form words but only came out with a couple coughs and some clearing of his throat. It seemed he had gotten lost in his thoughts again.
"I'm sorry, son," he looked over at him sympathetically. "It's been quite awhile since I've thought of Clara as anything but a nuisance." He laughed quietly, softly, without really knowing the reason why. Julian was beyond confused as well. He clearly wanted to know more, but did not know how to go about asking for it.
"I met Clara Barcelo," Daniel began, "when her Uncle Gustavo had decided to help me find out more about the author who had written my new favorite book."
"Yes," Daniel said, smiling over his son. "That's the one."
"But you said that Uncle Gustavo wasn't much help with that."
Daniel shook his head. "Well, no, he wasn't. But Clara was with him when I went to see him to find out more about the book, and I was enraptured by her from the very start."
"Wasn't she blind then?" he asked.
"Oh yes," Daniel said, "I remember thinking that her eyes were the saddest I'd ever seen." He sighed. "I still think that. But I was only ten years old, almost eleven if I can recall correctly…"
Julian gaped and his father smiled.
"Things can be deceiving."
"Then what?" Julian asked enthralled.
"Well, I thought she was beautiful. I couldn't tell if she was real at first. She seemed like an angel to me, and since she was blind I could look at her endlessly without her growing too offended or feeling uncomfortable." He smiled. "She had also read another book by Julian Carax. That drew me to her further. I insisted on coming over the next day to read books to her, since she could not see. I did that for the next five years."
Julian gaped. "Five years?" he asked. Daniel chuckled and nodded.
"Yes. I had a very unhealthy obsession with her, son."
"Oh," he mused, trying to come to a different conclusion after that statement. "So you didn't love her," he decided. "It was just an obsession." Daniel sighed, knowing that wasn't the full truth either.
"We were ten years apart in age, son. Nothing could have ever happened. She only ever saw me as a young boy with a fascination for her. Sometimes, I think she misses that little boy. I gave her more attention than anyone, and she got a lot of attention."
Julian smiled softly. "What happened?" he asked hesitantly, sensing the end to his father's fascination was probably a tender subject. The sigh that slipped out of Daniel Sempere's mouth right then confirmed his suspicions.
"Everyone told me spending so much time with Clara was not a good idea. They all knew I was obsessed, and whether I knew it or not, that I had chosen to ignore the fact that Clara and I would never be more than friends."
Julian gulped, his eyes fixed on his father's profile. If a giant boulder had suddenly come into his path, he would have walked right into it.
"Clara had gotten into an illicit affair with her charming, but arrogant – especially to me – music teacher. I was unaware of it. On the night of my sixteenth birthday, I invited her, Gustavo, and their then maid, Bernarda to my birthday party. None of them showed, Bernarda maybe for a moment. I was furious." He sighed, trying to get a hold of his thoughts, wondering if it would be safe to fill his son in on everything. Giving clues to the secrets of Julian Carax's life would eventually lead to telling his son everything, and he could hardly handle the whole secret himself, especially that tragic year of 1919.
"Through some unfortunate and very unsettling events, of which I will not go into now, I ended up at the Plaza Real that night to check on Clara."
Julian gulped again, wondering what the events were, but figuring he had tortured his father enough with forgotten memories to go digging again.
"What I saw there prevented me from ever willingly going to see or talk to Clara again, except when I was nearly forced into the situation about two years later in regards to some of Fermin's injuries."
Julian bit his lip, feeling sympathy for his father and guilt for still more curiosity creeping up on him. "Fermin's injuries?" he inquired. Daniel sighed in a near quiet sigh and put a hand on his son's shoulder, turning the two of them back around towards the house. They were at least five blocks away by now, and Bea would want them home before dark.
"Another story for another time," he said. Julian pursed his lips, accepting. "Any other questions, my inquisitive lad?" his father asked after taking a moment to flush out the memories he'd brought to the surface. For a few spare seconds there it had almost seemed as if he was back in Plaza Real seventeen years earlier, and unable to tear his eyes away from Clara Barcelo's pristine face.
"Tell me about Mother," he requested, shifting the topic to a safer one. His guilt faded away when he saw his father's smile return. "Your side of the story," he smirked. Daniel chuckled, pulling his son to his side.
"Your mother is the only person I've ever really been afraid of," he began, loving the sound of his son's laughter as it rippled from the very beginning of his tale. "I've never needed someone as much as I need your mother," he said, stilling Julian's laughter for a moment of awestruck sincerity.
"I'm pretty sure she knows this," he laughed, shaking his head. Julian's eyes twinkled as he looked up at his father talking endlessly about his mother. She may not have been his first, but she was definitely his last, and the love between them was the most palpable feeling he had ever felt, whether with one of them or with both. That was what he wanted for himself, for someday. And as far as he was concerned, he was going to get it with Cathy Sinclaine two blocks away.
A/N: So DB, DC, yay! Lol. I really enjoyed writing this. I was going to stop at 1,000 words, but I just couldn't. XD We didn't get to see much of Julian Sempere in the book, so I thought I'd play around with him a little, and show that even though he heeds his father's advice, he is 15 and wants what he wants at the time, just like Daniel did with Clara. ;p Review! =D