Meet Alfred F. Jones, five years old.
A typical toddler with happiness lighting his blue eyes and a cowlick in his cornflower hair that gives him that "li'l rascal" look. Dressed in a pair of blue denim overall shorts and a striped short sleeved shirt, a dirty pair of Chuck Taylor's on his feet, he looks exactly like all the other little boys on the playground.
Alfred, however, is not like all the other little boys on the playground.
Alfred, in all actuality, comes from a very special family. One that is blessed with what some might call a gift. Which is also one that they are all known to not speak of very much.
At this age, Alfred knows very vague details of what flowed through his veins. He is aware of how his grandfather would win every card game that he ever participated in, and even won a local lottery time and again. He sometimes thinks he remembers his mother and how she would always know what he was doing and where he was when he had first learned to walk, even when she wasn't in the home.
He knows that his cousin Matthew can speak with animals, even if it was only after Matthew had made a dog bite him that he actually believed him. Alfred also knows that his current guardian is able to see all of those that were a part of the fairy tales he was told.
There isn't one person who is blood related to him, that doesn't possess either The Sight or some sort of ability that could be considered supernatural. Alfred knows all this, and the command to never speak of it to anyone outside the family ever has been drilled into his head since he first learned to speak.
The incident at the last day care is what made him realize that the order is one that should and always would be followed.
Because Alfred can not see mythical beings, speak with animals, know things without the need to be present for them, or have the ability to win at something like cards and other games of chance. Alfred does something that only certain family members are capable of every few generations.
Alfred sees ghosts.
He sees them all the time.
They don't scare him. At least, the majority don't scare him, at first. In all honesty, they most likely wouldn't have scared him at all if it wasn't for some hair brained Halloween prank that his guardian concocted that practically scarred the poor boy. Either way, Alfred is still young and has some difficulty in deciphering who is really there and who is only there for him to see.
So when Alfred runs back into the day care from the backyard turned playground to use the restroom, he doesn't think twice when addressing a grown up that wasn't introduced to him when first arriving.
"Hey, mister!" he calls. "Where's the bathroom?"
Said mister turns away from the window he had been gazing from and looks down at the small child, his face expressing that of confusion.
"You are talking to me?" he asks, even pointing at himself.
Alfred nods and asks again, "Where's the bathroom?"
The man gives him a long look before pointing down a hallway. "At the end, and on the right."
Alfred spins on his heal without a second word and runs down the hall. It only occurs to him while washing his hands that he didn't thank the person who helped him. He leaves the bathroom and makes his way back to the play room that leads out into the backyard where the man had been, but he isn't there.
Alfred looks out of the window and only sees the small blonde man named Tino chasing after some of the children with the other one, Bear-something, standing off on the side watching it all happen. Figuring that the one who helped him out has to be somewhere in the house, Alfred starts his search for him.
He goes through every room on the ground floor. From the back playroom to the eating room to the kitchen to the small room that is set aside for finger painting and other messy activities. All that's left to explore is the upstairs.
The bottom half of the staircase is illuminated and therefore non frightening. The top half however…
Alfred shakes his head and starts to climb up. He's being a baby about it, there's a light up there. It's just not as bright and a lot more far up than it looks…
Alfred reaches the landing, glad to see that sunlight gives off enough illumination so the entire level is removed somewhat from complete darkness.
The upper level is a lot more quiet than below. There's a faint buzz of something electric, but the building is old, much so that even at his age he's able to distinguish such. Chances are that it's feedback from something below. It puts him on edge, in any case.
The pine floorboards groan under his small weight as he pads along a hallway, making for the only visible door that seems to be open. It's a bedroom, pale blue walls and the same type of flooring. A full sized bed sits on one side with a single end table and a lamp on top, a desk is pushed against the wall, and sitting in the chair pulled out from underneath is the very person Alfred if searching for.
"Mister," he calls out again. "I forgot to thank ya!"
It's during another silent moment between them in which it seemed as though the one being addressed is once again confused on actually being addressed that Alfred finally gets a good view of the man.
He is tall, that much is obvious even since before at the first meeting the two shared. He is very pale, and his hair looks white, almost like if he was supposed to be an old man. What Alfred finds a bit strange though, is his manner of dress.
He's dressed entirely in black, from his shoes to his coat. There's only one exception, a soft pink scarf that wraps around his neck. It's completely out of place and what attracts Alfred's attention the most. Not because it's summer time and a bit on the warm side, but because it is pink and that is a girl's color. Alfred says as much.
The confused expression slips away and makes way for one filled with amusement.
"It belonged to my sister," he answers.
"Where's your sister?" Alfred asks.
To that, the man tilts his head as though pondering. "I am not sure."
Alfred blinks. "Didja lose her?"
"Quite the opposite, I am afraid. She lost me."
"You're too tall to be lost."
"Maybe it is that you are short?" the man laughs.
"I'm not short!" pouts Alfred. "You're just a.. a giant! Yeah! You go around and stomp on people's houses and eat everyone that talks funny, like Artie. He told me that you eat bone bread or something!"
"I eat bone bread?"
Alfred shrugs. "Well not you you, but you giants you. But you are a giant so yeah, you eat bone bread. You're not gonna eat my bone bread are ya? 'Cause I can tell ya, my bones aren't hard like old people bones, Kiku told me and he's like the most smartest person ever!"
"Maybe I do not like hard bones," the other teases light heartily. "What if I prefer small children like you?"
Alfred's eyes widen, and his jaw goes slack. His lip starts to quiver and giving the best puppy dog eyes he can under the circumstance, asks, "You're not gonna eat me… are ya, mister?"
The man rises up from his seat, the action reminds Alfred just how tall he is exactly, and begins to take long strides towards the small boy. With each step, Alfred begins to grow a little more scared and wishing that he hadn't gone on this little adventure of his.
He reaches a position directly in front of Alfred, who is shaking slightly but refuses to budge, and without bending over or anything of the sort, places a hand on his head.
"No," he says. "I am afraid I do not like to eat bone break much, nor am I a giant. I am simply very tall, and you are still very short."
Alfred shakes his hand off, knowing now that no imminent harm will come to him and no longer afraid, and pushes past him. "I toldja I'm not short. I'm actually the tallest outta everyone, y'know!"
"Is that so?" the man replies, watching as Alfred hops onto the bed and dangles his feet over the edge.
"Yeah!" Alfred starts to swing his feet, the heels of his shoes bang up against the frame of the bed. "My cousin's almost taller but I keep telling' him that he can't be because he's not as awesome."
Alfred stops his actions suddenly and tilts his head in the man's direction. "Hey mister, what's yer name? 'Cause I'ma keep callin' ya mister if I dunno."
With a small smile, the older male makes his way back to his previous seat, all too aware of a pair of small eyes watching and waiting for an answer. He settles into the chair, little noise made the whole while, and waiting for just a second longer all in the name of suspense, he finally answers.
"My name is Ivan." It's a simple answer, one devoid of any hesitation or false implications.
"Huh," Alfred sounds and resumes his actions, even adding a bit of a sway to the motion. "That a first name? I can call you by a first name?"
"I do not see why not," the man, Ivan, replies.
"Artie says not to call grown-ups by their first name unless they say so. He says it's bad manners or something."
"Yes, that is true. However I see no harm on being called by my first name."
Alfred smiles at the invitation. "My name's Alfred."
"Alfred?" repeats Ivan. "That seems too far an old name for you."
"Nuh uh. My momma named me after someone awesome, she told me."
While the two become better acquainted upstairs, Alfred's very own "uncle" Artie, or rather Arthur, parks his car and begins the short journey to the front porch. As he does as much, his mind comments on how such a quaint looking home could be transformed into a fully functional day care so easily. Particularly since this quaint looking home once doubled as a mortuary only a few short years ago.
In all honesty, that small detail had worried him when dropping Alfred off that morning, but it is close to his workplace and affordable. Even so, there had been a sense of guilt clawing at the back of his mind all because he took convenience and ease into consideration rather Alfred's own… condition.
Though had there been any problems involving that, he was sure to have been given a call. He had stressed that to Tino before leaving Alfred in his care.
In any case, Arthur (who had long since made his way to the front porch) rings the small buzzer and is greeted by a broad chest. It takes a few moments for Arthur to avert his gaze and thus be greeted by a bespectacled blonde Swede with an all too scary facial expression.
"Ah, you must be…" Arthur struggles slightly with remembering the other person on staff it was that Tino mentioned that morning. "Berwald? Is that right?"
The tall blonde nods and steps aside, a universal gesture for Arthur to take his entrance. There's the sound of children talking and objects clacking together while a louder voice attempts to reign control over them all by being the loudest just one room over.
Arthur turns back to Berwald, just enough to ask if it would be alright to go ahead and infiltrate on those apparently in the middle of some sort of activity. His question never leaves his lips, as the other male takes it upon himself to lead the way for Arthur through the archway where a brightly lit room is set up for finger painting, which by the looks of things, seem to be more on the children than the papers set upon small easels.
Tino, who is in the middle of settling a dispute between two of the children over who was using more of the blue paint than the other should, notices Arthur's entrance right away. He says something inaudible to the two children before making his way towards the others.
"Berwald, could you check if we have anymore blue paint?" he asked first off. "Feliks is going to throw a tantrum if there's not enough to go with his pink."
Berwald gives him an affirmative nod and stalks off to search in a nearby closet.
"Not much of a talker, is he?" Arthur attempts to make light of Berwald's non-verbal form of communication.
"It took some getting used to," Tino admits. "But he means well. I assume you're here already for Alfred."
"Yes, I do hope he didn't give you much trouble."
"Oh, no problems at all," Tino assures. "In fact, he…"
Tino trails off, his eyes frantically scanning the room in search of the child left in his care. When it seems as though Alfred is nowhere to be found within the area, his eyes widen in horror and instinctively cries out, "Where's Alfred!"
While Tino breaks out into a complete panic, Arthur begins to suspect that his fears had come to life while no one was watching, that Alfred had seen something, identified it as such and instead of making a scene, chose to hide.
"He's probably hiding," Arthur says as much, having been in this situation before. "Alfred… does that when something, embarrassing or other might have happened."
Tino tilts his head and considers the thought. "I remember him being on the playground though, he seemed perfectly fine."
Arthur only shrugs slightly while Tino catches the attention of one of the older children and beckons him over to the two.
"Ludwig," he says once the child is in front of them. "I need to help Alfred's father look for him, can I trust you to watch the others until Berwald comes back?"
There's a slight hesitation before Ludwig answers, but a firm nod reassures Tino that he had left the most responsible one amongst them in charge. Tino flashes him a small smile and straightens upright, turns to face the other children and claps his hands in order to gather their attention.
"Everyone," announces Tino. "I'll be leaving the room for a little while, Ludwig will be in charge until Berwald comes back. Then he'll be looking after you."
A small object clatters against the floor when the statement is made, and a little squeak follows after it. A small hand raises in the back, belonging to a little girl in a green dress around Ludwig's age with long brown hair.
"Tino!," she shouts. "Feliciano just wet himself! Again!"
Laughter ripples throughout the room and Tino's shoulders sag. Arthur begins to feel a new sense of sympathy for the man.
So in the span of which all of the above took place, Alfred has learn some new things about his newly acquired friend.
He learnss that Ivan comes from a magical far away place that he had left when he had barely turned Alfred's age. He had an older sister, who he figures to still be lost though that particular subject isn't touched in the slightest. How he likes summer, though winter is equally beautiful in it's own sense. There has even been a ten minute back and forth on why sunflowers are the better of all flowers.
Ivan in return learns more of Alfred.
He learnes that Alfred likes the color blue. How his current guardian isn't his father, or even a real uncle but some kind of cousin of his mother's that's located somewhere on the family tree. That his actual father was a hero and passed when he was only a newborn, his mother as well, only a year or so ago. Where as his father had been a soldier, Alfred's mother had been a casualty of a convenient store robbery when helping the customers escape.
"Artie didn't want me to know because he says that she should've thought about me," Alfred explains. "But I like that she did that."
All this nonsensical talk however, overshadows what Alfred should take into account. How Ivan barely (if at all) makes noise when moving. How the room is noticeably colder than it should have been given the time of day and season. He should notice straight away how different it is to press his palm against the older male's when he is being taught a new clapping game.
"Hey, Ivan," Alfred says suddenly. "How come you're up here instead of playing with everyone else downstairs?"
The small inquiry catches Ivan off guard. He leans in slightly towards Alfred, now having moved from the desk to the bed in order to sit side by side with the boy. He gives him a sort of curious look, right before turning into a searching expression. When he does pull back, there's signs of a slight frown wanting to tug at his lips.
"Alfred," he begins. "Do you know why you are able to see me?"
"Because I'm not blind?"
"No, that is not what I meant."
Alfred is just about to ask him what he actually meant, but is interrupted when they both hear the sound of pounding footsteps rushing across the old floorboards. Ivan only has to look up at the open bedroom door to present the amount of attention the sounds are being given while Alfred chooses to turn his entire body around since he has been facing the opposite direction.
Alfred hops off the bed when Tino reaches the doorframe with Arthur following closely behind him and rushes at his guardian, letting himself be enveloped in a large hug.
"Have you been hiding up here all day?" is the first question Arthur asks Alfred right after letting him out of his embrace.
Alfred shakes his head in the negative, saying, "Nope, I came up here after using the bathroom."
"Did you have an accident of some kind?" Tino asks, remembering at that moment how Arthur told him of Alfred's hiding episodes.
"No!" Alfred exclaims. "I wanted to talk to Ivan."
Alfred broke away from any lingering grasp Arthur may have on him and turned to face his new friend once more, but he's not there.
"Where'd he go?" Alfred asks aloud, mostly to himself rather either of the other two.
"Alfred," Tino calls, "Who're you talking about?"
"Ivan," answers Alfred, giving the care taker his full attention. "He helped me find the bathroom and then we talked and played games up here when I was lookin' to thank him. He works here to doesn't he?"
Arthur understands what this means at once, he frantically shakes his head and mouths the word 'no' at Tino, but his warnings go unheeded when the smaller blonde speaks once more.
"I'm sorry, Alfred," Tino says honestly. "Berwald and I are the only adults here."
Alfred's eyes widen immensely at the revelation, and right after the pieces in his mind click together, he lets out a loud wail.
Disclaimer: Sims and fanfiction, two of the procrastinators best friends and worst enemies. -dies-
-Kay, so a few blocks away from my place is a mortuary that was family owned but they closed it and moved away and yeah. Then later, I hear their gonna make it a day care center. Hello? Haunting in Connecticut , anyone? Whatever...
-Baby Alfred and Ghost Ivan, was gonna be a one-shot, but they pretty much forced me to write a mutli-chapter by not letting me describe their entire time together. Nyaa~...
-Idk about a supernatural ability being genetic, but my momma (who I love so much) swears up and down that everyone in our family has psychic capabilities that was passed down from a while back and we all use it to an extent. Now, had I heard this before some things actually happened, I prolly wouldn't have believed it was true, but... Well, stuff's happened that make me sorta believe it. I don't see ghosts or anything though. :3