Croissants and Coffee

In the mornings, Lisette buys fresh croissants for Gustave from the little patisserie just down the street. He wakes most days to the smell of the hot buttered pastries, intermingled with the scent of coffee, wafting in from the kitchen.

The two of them eat together at the little table across from the window, croissants and coffee and fruit. When Gustave lived alone the table was a constant mess of coffee-ringed paperwork and worn wood, but now it's covered with a white lace table cloth and there's always a bouquet of some new flower in the center. Lisette covers every horizontal surface with vases of the flowers she brings home from the station at the end of the day; the apartment always smells like her, and like sunshine and like the countryside. Gustave feeds his leftover pastries to Maximilian under the table, crosses his left leg over his right and oils his gears – he used to put his leg right up on the table, but Lisette did not approve. He had to develop a whole new set of manners once she moved in with him.

They walk together to the station when the morning is beginning to warm up, Maximilian trotting along at Gustave's heels. He helps her bring out and arrange her armloads of flowers in their boxes and baskets and wheelbarrows, and before he leaves to begin his shift, she always tucks a flower in his lapel and kisses him and tells him not to be too hard on any poor orphans he runs across. And he always gives her his third-best smile back, the rather forced one which says that while he admires and respects her, he is nevertheless not going to let his new status as an almost-married man impede him in the carrying-out of his duty.

But nevertheless, sometimes, more often than not lately, he lets the occasional scruffy-haired and wide-eyed kids who run around the station without their parents be. He'll look up at the nearest gorgeous, perfectly-timed clock instead, and perhaps down at his new leg, and he'll pat Maximilian and move on. After all, it is quite unlikely, but you never know who or what one of those ragged children could secretly be. Doesn't everyone, he considers, deserve a second chance at one time or another?

...

A/N: I wrote this the night after watching Hugo, which must have been something like a month ago - just a little fluff-drabble, I loved the Station Inspector and thought he and the flower girl were awkwardly adorable together. I have no idea why it took me so long to post this.