Ghost of the Past

Prologue:

April, 1883

The rain had finally stopped.

Huddled against one of the many buildings nearby, he looked down at the younger boy next to him who was trying his best to stop his tears and shivering. He held back his own sobs and stood up with his fists clenched tightly with determination. He inhaled deeply and turned to the younger boy, "i-it's okay, Mattie, don't cry, I'm here! I'll take care of us! Let's go!"

His brother nodded obediently and followed him up, "O-okay, Alf."

Taking the boy's hand and led him away from their resting place, trying his best to ignore the discomfort of having wet clothes on. "Come on, if you're hungry, we'll go find something to eat."

Still crying silently, the other boy followed him obediently.

They hadn't eaten since the day before yesterday when a kindly woman spared them a slice of bread off her plate. It scared him how weak his brother's grip was and he realized the severity of the situation despite how young they were at the time. They had no money, they had no experience stealing, and they'd been chased away from every store they'd approached. Rounding the corner, he felt the other boy tug on his hand, his pace staggering, "Alf...I don't feel so good, I'm tired..."

Panicking, he let his brother rest against a wall nearby and looked around, "it'll be alright, don't worry, Mattie! You stay right here, I'll be right back, okay? I'm just going to go get us food, okay? So make sure you stay right here and don't go anywhere!"

Breaking into a sprint, he ran down the street looking for an easy looking target. It didn't take long to spot an affluent looking blond accompanied by a brunet who appeared to be a butler who was carrying an umbrella and what appeared to be groceries in the other. The blond was laughing, his voice had a heavy French accent to it as he chatted away, "I can't wait to use these! They're such fresh ingredients! But really, to be able to buy these in Angleterre of all places! They eat nothing but scones here, these must've been imported! Who would've thought such treasures can be found here. And there's no need to give me your lecture on frugality, I know how much you spend on your own ingredients, mon ami."

He could feel his heart pounding in his chest and the adrenaline rushing through his blood. Taking aim, he took a deep breath before running and giving the brunet a hard shove. The man gave a yelp and dropped his goods while attempting to remain on his feet. Grabbing as much food as his arms could hold, he ignored the yells of both men and dashed back down the street as fast as he could, avoiding the angry, grabbing hands of the other men and women trying to assist the rich man.


Francis exhaled deeply and swore through clenched teeth as he ran after the wet little boy who'd taken off with his ingredients. It wasn't so much the loss of food that he minded; the boy had only managed to grab the loaf of bread and a bell pepper in his little stunt. If the boy had asked, he would've gladly given him more than that. Actually, he wasn't sure why he was chasing the little blond down the street. Maybe it was his desperately defiant blue eyes or the way he managed to muster up the courage to do such a thing when it was clear that it wasn't something he was used to doing. Either way, he wanted to see where the boy was running off to.

Finally rounding a corner, for a moment, he was afraid he'd lost the boy but then quickly spotted him kneeling in front of another blond who looked weak, more than weak, he looked like he was fading. The boy held his loot up and showed the other excitedly, "look Mattie, food! I got us actual food! Here," he ripped a piece of the bread and fed it to the other child, "eat it, okay? It's good!"

'Mattie' gave a weak smile and nodded, taking the chunk of bread into his mouth and attempted to chew, "y-yea, it's good, Alf..."

The thief nodded eagerly, "yea, it's tasty, right? So eat more, okay? You can have the whole thing! Here, open your mouth!"

"Thank you..."

"Don't thank me! Just eat, okay? Are you done? You didn't swallow the bread, you need to swallow it, Mattie! Come on, please eat!"

The boy's eyelids began drooping again, "Sorry, but I'm sleepy, Alf."

Soon, the child had been reduced to tears as he tried to keep the other boy conscious. Begging and pleading, the blond began shaking the other's shoulders, "d-don't sleep, Mattie! Eat! You need to eat! We're going to see the river tomorrow, remember? I won't take you unless you eat, o-okay? Mattie, please eat..you have to eat..."

His heart broke at the sight of the boy trying to get his brother to eat.

"Who would've thought such treasures could be found here," he muttered softly to himself as he approached the boys.

The blond must've noticed him approaching because he turned around, tears rolling down his cheeks. He looked scared, of what though, he wasn't sure. "M-mister, I'm sorry, I-I…Mattie won't eat! Please help him! Don't let Mattie…don't let Mattie…I don't want him to go where mummy went…"

Taking the boy into his arms, he smoothed the blonde's wet, greasy locks back to look into his eyes, "it's alright, mon cher, it's alright, I'm here now," moving, he picked the other boy up. The little blond felt weightless in his arms. Standing up, he offered his hand to the hiccupping child, "come along, we'll get 'Mattie' here into some dry clothes and we'll make him some soup. It'll be easier for him to swallow, alright? Do you know what kind of soup he likes? Oh don't cry, mon cher, it'll be alright, your Mattie will be alright."

Choking back a sob, the boy looked at him, "r-really? You pro-promise?"

He nodded, "oui, I promise. It's alright, I'll take care of him. I'll take care of both of you from now on."


August, 1888

Retying his hair and adjusting his bangs in the mirror by the door, he straightened the sleeves of his shirt and looked down at the child beside him, "I'll be back soon, mon cher, so be good. And Alfred, remember, let Mathieu sleep. The more sleep he gets, the sooner he'll get better, non?"

Blue eyes lit up and the boy gave an enthusiastic nod, "yea, then we can go play tag! Oh wait, Mattie's always too slow...we can go play hide and seek outside!"

The man laughed, "That's right, but make sure you stay inside the yard next time, poor Mathieu spent hours trying to find you last time. You're lucky Bella found you asleep in her tulip bed or who knows what would've happened," he chided lightly.

" I would've been fine, papa! I'm a hero, remember?"

"Oui, oui, I remember very well. Anyways, I'm afraid I must be off or I won't be back in time for lunch." Leaning down, he planted a kiss on the boy's head, "make sure you behave now."

"Of course, papa," he smiled innocently, "do you think I'd be able to play outside-just in the yard, I promise! This way, I won't disturb Mattie and he'll be able to sleep as much as he wants!"

After a moment of consideration, the blond shook his head, "désolé, mon cher, I'm afraid I'm going to have to say no this time. You have to take care of your brother, non?"

Sulking slightly, the boy gave an exasperated sigh, "Fine, but only for today…until either Mattie gets better or till you get back, whichever happens first."

"That's a good boy. Je reviens dès que possible," the man smiled and left through the front door.


March, 1898

Strolling down the busy streets of London, Arthur Kirkland couldn't help but smile at the sight of stores and bustling crowds. Soon, he'd be living there, just as soon as he found his perfect house. The idea he had in his mind involved living a little closer to the outskirts of town though there had to be easy access to the inner city.

He loved London, everything was just so alive. Suddenly, he caught sight of a little boy no older than ten running off into an alley and blinked. The boy's clothing looked slightly out of place, though it was subtle, something about it was just too old...it might've been the best clothes money could buy once, over a decade ago, but it just looked off now. And the boy clearly appeared to be part of the higher end of the city; golden hair clean and gleaming, blue eyes free of sadness and disease.

He didn't know what random impulse made him do it, but he followed the boy down the alley. Turning corners and jogging down unknown and nameless streets, he continued following the figure that he assumed was the boy. Running out of breath, he wondered how much longer the boy was going to run on for. Then suddenly, he came to a clearing and gaped in awe.

Before him was a beautiful house, not large enough to be considered a mansion but still more than adequate for a comfortable lifestyle. And in front was a worn out 'For Sale' sign. Silently, he wondered how long the sign had been up, it'd been beaten down, most of the words had worn off and plenty of spiders had marked it as their own already. Looking around, he gave a start when he noticed the boy standing there, staring at the house with equal intensity as he had a moment ago. Walking up to him, he could now tell that the boy couldn't have been any older than ten years old. He asked the boy gently so as to not startle the child, "say lad, what might you be doing here?"

The boy blinked and spared him a momentary glance but remained silent.

Pursing his lips, he decided to make a wild guess, "do you want to go inside or something?"

The boy nodded.

He raised a brow, "Oh, then why don't you then? It's not like there's an owner and I'm sure you lads have your ways of getting into places like these."

The boy then shook his head and stared directly at him, "I can't. They're still mad at me..."


Nya~

Yay London during the Victorian Era (1837-1901)...the place generally couldn't be called anything close to a sanctuary for anyone outside the middle/higher class, especially for orphans and whatnot. But luckily, Mattie and Al won't be chimney sweeping or mill scavenging in this fic because...well because I love papa!France and well, I decided not too give them such miserable jobs. If you read about what orphans had to go through back in the 19th century, it's quite tragic if not horrifying. Yes well, anyhow, here's the first chapter! Family and supernatural make a strange combo when it comes to genres so I went with drama instead. And I'm sorry my summaries suck. I hate how there's a character limit on everything. Anyways, enjoy!

Translations:

Désolé - Sorry (Fr)
Je reviens dès que possible
- I'll be back as soon as possible (Fr)