The Laws of Physics Are Defied and…
…and the FBI has connections to the Mafia?
A child's dead body comes back to life.
The unsub knocks on the door…but he's dead?
And how do hats fit into the equation?
"Clocks slay time...time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life." (William Faulkner)
VI. The dead body couldn't have knocked on the door…right?
The station had become a battle zone of immense proportions. The local police were hardly even welcomed to work anymore, their entire workplace transformed into some strange parody of the real FBI headquarters. While the BAU remained on the case, it had been almost completely taken over by Talbot's strange division of selective members. The office wasn't even crowded, but the tension in the air between the two parties remained at an all-time high.
After all, Talbot had been commissioned to investigate cases involving these "immortals" back when the FBI had only been a fledgling as the Bureau of Investigation amongst a slew of other government programs. His was a secret unit, but as old as the organization itself, and as Avaro explained sometime between interrogations, nearly as old as the country in which they resided.
Besides, they had no idea how to find a man that had somehow managed to elude the CIA's intelligence system, although he hadn't aged a day and assumed his original name for official documents. In this day and age, it was unheard of not to be registered in the government's systems; it was nearly impossible if anyone wished to travel beyond the forests and Rocky Mountains.
The human, mortal, unsub was a different story, perhaps the only reason why they were still in town at all. Talbot never made the impression that he wanted them out of the investigation, occasionally asking their opinions on certain things, but there had been less and less for the BAU to do. More accurately, there had been less and less that they could comprehend or analyze as time drew on. There seemed to be no other victims in that time span, at least. Then again, they couldn't find Avaro's young charge either (though they supposed he was not so young in the first place).
The fourth day of the investigation, a little boy with neatly trimmed hair and pale skin knocked on the door to the police headquarters. Prentiss found him first; he and the body slumped behind him. The dark blood was slowly seeping into the bleached white concrete, a perfect splatter straight from an intelligence test. It was a young man with a nondescript face, as much of it as she could recognize as human anyways, the type of unsub that was the most dangerous and unpredictable.
The little boy stared up at her with wide, innocent eyes. They were completely different from the eyes in the video, the eyes that were adult's eyes, ancient's eyes. His lip trembled and his legs shook unsteadily. It was the image of a poor, traumatized boy, except that he was no boy. Children were not nearly as frightening.
"You – you're Czeslaw Meyer, right?" The little boy nodded curiously in response, but didn't say anything. His facial expression hardly twitched. It's just weird, Prentiss thought. If it weren't for that video, she wouldn't have acted any differently around this boy than any other victim. "Your guardian…or friend…Maiza Avaro is here. He's been worried about you."
Not that it was easy to discern the worry in Avaro's features, but he had verbally made it clear that he felt concern for his ward's wellbeing, even if he was immortal. The connotation of his voice suggested that it was because he was immortal that he was concerned. And after that video, Prentiss wasn't sure she could blame him.
"Maiza's been looking for me?" the little boy asked in genuine curiosity. Something in his expression had changed when Prentiss mentioned Avaro, and she clearly saw the gears churning in his head as she spoke. As a result, his voice was now even more unsettling, not quite childish, but not quite the tone of an adult either. He glanced back at the body, the blood now a thin layer of dark paint, before he smiled up at her. It was a child's smile again. "I'm glad."
"What…" The body behind him was still.
"Oh…that other guy – his name's Keegan Wallace – killed him." The boy stated it simply, perhaps as if he were relating a particular story he had read to her. Somewhere along the line he had figured that she knew the truth. "He was rather nice. He made this guy stop beating and killing me because it's useless, so he just brought me here. I told him Maiza and I were looking for him, but he doesn't seem to want to come around just yet."
"And will he?" Prentiss blurted it out before she could think. The boy sounded rather sure of himself, as if there were no question as to whether or not the man would come, but a question of when he would decide to drop by.
The boy nodded. "I'm pretty sure he will. Can I see Maiza now?"
Prentiss was just wondering how they were supposed to write up a report after this.
VII. Aaron Hotchner has a strange conversation with one Firo Prochainezo.
A follow-up on the previous call was all that Hotchner had set out to accomplish. Nothing complicated by any means, something he had done many times before. The couple's adopted child/younger brother or whatever story they had chosen had shown up at the front door not so long ago. He was alright on the surface, although Avaro had voiced sentimental concern over his mental wellbeing to Hotch in private. Now it was up to Talbot's subsection of the Bureau to finish the job, which left his team to clean up the mess.
"Hello, is Firo Prochainezo there? This is Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner from the FBI. We've contacted you previously about…" Here, Hotch paused to glance at the sheet of paper on the desk that provided a helpful key to pronouncing the little boy's name. Written down, it was perplexing to figure out. "…Czeslaw Meyer, who is your wife's younger brother…?"
There was a shuffling and series of muffled noises on the other line, but Hotch waited patiently. The others who had been charged with calling the couple in New York told him about the whole fiasco and tortuous experience they had with calling the Prochainezo residence, so if he didn't immediately get Firo or his wife, they recommended he remain as calm as possible. Or alternatively, as Maiza Avaro had stated simply, he could just yell at the people on the other end and contact the right person much quicker.
"Isaac, Miria, get away from the phone or give it to me!" a muffled voice said from the other end. There were a few squeals and high pitched shouts before someone picked up the phone – a young voice, smoother than the excited people who had first answered. It was the voice of someone in his twenties, but someone who was undoubtedly much older than that. "Don't listen to anything they said; I'm Firo. Who are you again?"
Hotch repeated himself, the man giving a pensive hum. "I'm calling in regards to your wife's younger brother. He has been found and is currently safe, here with Mr. Avaro. There doesn't seem to be any lasting damage. I'm not sure if Avaro intends to bring him back to New York or not, but I can let you talk to him if you want."
"Hm…no, it's fine, I trust Maiza. I'm glad the kid's alright. Thanks for finding him." Hotchner noticed now that the voice had a distinct accent. If he had the same longevity as the other three "immortals", it was strange that he hadn't gotten rid of that yet. Though he supposed that if the man had lived and stayed in New York for most of these years, he really wouldn't get rid of it.
"About that…although I normally wouldn't be telling you something like this, something did happen during the case that seems…important to mention. This particular serial killer, although he is in custody now, sent videos of him killing his victims to the relatives. Have you heard of it on the news?" Hotch heard the man on the other end suck in a sharp breath that came through as scratchy and hollow.
"Yeah, I saw that. What about it?"
"Well, this may sound unpleasant, but he did…injure the boy, so we were worried about the lasting effects this may have had on him…even though there are no lasting injuries"
"A-ah, I can assure you, mister FBI agent, it's perfectly fine. Czes is a strong kid and when he comes back everyone'll be there to help him whether he wants it or not! You heard those two before…they won't give him a second of the day alone! S-so, is it possible that you can just…overlook what happened on that video? It was probably just a trick of the light or something, right? A-aha…can I talk to Maiza now?"
Hotch stared at the receiver, perplexed, as the man rambled on nervously. This was easy to distinguish in his voice with an accent much more profound than before. It took him a moment to realize that the man was making an attempt to cover up their immortality.
"You can relax, Mr. Prochainezo. Mr. Avaro and an Agent Talbot told us about your…condition already," Hotch interrupted before the man could spurt anymore anxious chatter. The other voice immediately stopped and released an echoing, relieved sigh.
"Oh, wait…Victor Talbot's there? Oh, well, it's probably for the best that you don't mention that you called me to him…we didn't leave off on good terms, so I'd appreciate it." Hotch could have sworn that he heard the man mutter something about jails and Alcatraz, but his voice was away from the receiver by now. When he returned, he was much more composed, sounding less like an exuberant twenty-one year old.
"Thanks for calling, Agent. I'm sure the others will be happy. Well, I've got to get back to work, so see ya!"
VIII. In which Maiza gives a short history lesson and Reid learns something new.
"You can't die," about half of the team stated almost simultaneously, dubious and rightfully so. Maiza Avaro, ever with a smile on his face, nodded. Talbot stood to the side against a desk, arms crossed.
"I can show you, if you really don't believe it," Avaro supplied.
"How can that be physically possible? I mean it shouldn't be because human cells can't divide that rapidly and replace limbs…what it would take to do such a thing…" Reid said in that voice of his that indicated an imminent rant. No one stopped him this time, because they were genuinely curious as well. If someone from the FBI even supported it…
"It's due to alchemy, a lost art now, but it was very popular in the eighteenth century. I suppose you can say it started on a passenger ship called the Advenna Avis with a group of morbidly curious alchemists looking far beyond the bounds of mortality…" Avaro told them. "In any case, after the passengers of this ship summoned a demon, they created the elixir of immortality so sought after by sovereigns and scholars. It never spread beyond those passengers on the ship, so it fell into myth."
"And why are you telling us this? Wouldn't it compromise your identities?" Hotchner inquired after the man. They needed to cover all of their bases, even if the information was too grandiose to comprehend. It was suspicious that the man was telling them so much with this nonchalance.
"Not at all, since everyone would simply consider you insane if you decided to tell anyone. Selective parts of the government have been allowed to know about the existence of immortals, but for obvious reasons it's all classified information. After this case, you all will be entered in that very small list of people who know of this and asked not to repeat it." Talbot coolly explained this in an orderly manner.
"So, this little boy you're looking for…" Prentiss began.
"Czes is also one of us. So in that aspect I'm not concerned," said Avaro. "I do need to find him, though, and I would prefer it if he wasn't harmed at all, but that's just idealistic. I do worry, though. Just because we cannot die doesn't mean we're invulnerable to the sensation or psychological aspect of pain."
Perhaps it didn't make much sense and would never make much sense.
"But the files the database has on you…" Morgan protested, having received the report from Garcia only an hour ago.
"One of the rules imposed on immortals is that we cannot establish lasting pseudonyms in society. For official documents, we have to use our real names." Avaro explained it patiently, as if he had all the time in the world to instruct them. And he did.
Talbot followed this up quickly with, "Our department usually regulates those documents. And these guys are advised to lay low in society, but they obviously don't always listen. Some of them have made rather large names for themselves."
"Well, we're successful, that's all I can say."
IX. Czeslaw Meyer tells his side of the story…and how to pronounce his name.
"Can you tell me what happened before you were kidnapped?" Prentiss was in charge of this interview, asking the little boy informally of what had happened during his time in the criminal's custody. That was after a physician gave him an unnecessary physical, which he had been decidedly unhappy about. They were seated at the conference table with papers stacked in huge piles along the sides for their case. The boy had declined a drink or anything to eat.
The childish lilt to his voice had been fluctuating ever since Avaro told him that the agents knew their secret. He seemed undecided as to whether or not to maintain his innocent façade or reveal his true nature, whatever that was. The agents had only caught snatches of it here and there.
"I was in the bookstore. I asked the man to buy me something to drink. I couldn't fight him, so he just ended up taking me away," the little boy explained simply. He seemed somewhat irked by his weakness, but shrugged the matter off. "We traveled in a van for a while. The drugs didn't work on me for long of course, but I was tied up too. He ended up going to the basement of some house. I guess you know the rest."
"And that other man was…?"
"An immortal," the boy who was definitely past his boyhood years answered. "But I remember him. He's not so bad. He made the guy stop, since it was useless to try and kill me anyways. I told him that Maiza and I were looking for everyone, but he said that he couldn't return at this rate, not for a long time. Maybe he'll turn himself in, maybe not. I asked him why, but he said that I probably already knew."
A look overcame the boy's face, a deeply troubled look that shadowed his small, pale features. There was more to the story. There always would be more to the story, things that would remain invisible to even those who had experienced it. This boy – a man, technically – slid a mask of quiet innocence on his face to disregard whatever details he wasn't willing to share.
"I don't really understand. But that's okay. You don't always have to know everything." He paused. "Are we done here, miss? I want to go back to Maiza."
He was a child again. As easy as that, he was a ten year old child again.
"Oh…one more thing," Prentiss said suddenly. Czeslaw Meyer slid off his seat and turned an attentive ear to her. Feeling infinitely silly, she asked, "How do you pronounce your name?"
"Americans say it 'chez-law'. But you can just call me 'Czes' if it's too hard." He smiled.
X. Welcome to New York, home and haunt of the Mafia!
…Wait, that's the wrong time period…
The team was there for a case and when it wrapped up, they stepped into a restaurant to relax and unwind before the plane ride home. This was no longer the era of storefronts concealing speakeasies and hidden rooms where mafia schemed, but somehow the ghost of such a place remained. The residue it left behind might have been in part due to its occupants, those who had been born and lived under that time period and reflected the grandeur and depression of those years.
It was the union of two parties from completely different eras, from two completely different spectrums of the law and society. Even anomalies such as these could coexist for a single night.
A large group occupied two large tables against the wall and the team unconsciously flicked their gazes over to the boisterous crowd. Their voices were tinged with an accent particular of the area and they seemed to be having grand fun. A red-haired man stood and made a show of slamming his hands on the table and in the next moment had yanked the chair out from underneath the man sitting next to him. It was almost an invisible act.
In fact, this restaurant had been established quite some time ago. It was old and had that antique feel without the mold and rust. The team ate and released the tension their job always gave them.
They were laughing again after three days of solemnity when a small force tugged at the elbow of Hotch's sleeve. He turned his head automatically, still with a slight smile on his face, instinctively knowing it was a child behind him. All he thought about was that the other patrons were being awfully vulgar with such a small child there at the same time. Well, that was until he saw the child.
"Hello, mister. Welcome to the Alveare. Do you like it?"
Hotch blinked. It had been a year since that case, which had been conveniently swept under the radar by that peculiar branch of the FBI, already. The youth's face hadn't changed in the slightest. It was as if he were staring into a well-preserved photograph or a digital picture.
"Hey, Czes, who're you talking to?" called a voice from one table.
"Who is it?" echoed a woman's voice. They sounded vaguely familiar.
"Oh, these people helped me when I got lost last year."
The man and woman were out of their seats in an instant and squeezed into the space between Hotch and Prentiss to address the team. There was a strange glint in their eyes.
"So you're the ones who saved little Czes! We must thank you from the bottom of our hearts!" the man intoned passionately, one hand clenching into a fist as he pulled back and struck some strange pose. The woman beside him also retreated and imitated him, chirping:
"We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!"
"No, really it's okay…it's our job; we're just glad that everything turned out fine. You seem to be doing well," Prentiss addressed the boy.
The others from the large party had turned around and threw half drunken toasts and jokes around. In the back against the wall, Hotch caught the gaze of Maiza Avaro, ever smiling as he waved. Some of the people rose and began to waltz around the room, heedless of the other diners, boisterously chatting about the old times and business as usual.
The red headed man rose from his seat again, slapped someone violently on the back, and sauntered over with a smooth, effortless pace, as if he were still sober. He stopped by the little boy and laid a large hand over his shoulder, echoing the couple's words of thanks.
Czeslaw stiffened instantly, eyes suddenly wide and ten times the age he appeared to be. He roughly shrugged away from the man and darted across the room to where some others were sitting.
The man shrugged. "Kid still doesn't like me much. Well, gotta thank ya for helping him out anyways."
"Really, it's nothing." If anyone was suspicious that the agents weren't suspicious, no one mentioned a word. And the night continued, melding the timeline, plunging the Alveare back into an era of crime lords and contraband alcohol, to a time when the Mafioso and the Camorristas ruled the streets, all in an era of modern technology and shining silver skyscrapers.
"Sometimes I think all cities have a shadow self, where the memory of great events and great places lingers after those places themselves are gone." (Cassandra Clare)
• Well, the story's done. Hope it wasn't too horribly confusing. I'll probably make a continuation off this timeline, so I guess the story isn't technically over.
• Czeslaw's name is Polish, but the American dub pronounces it wrong- the way he says to pronounce it here. The Japanese version was closer to the original, something like "chess-wahf"