This is an AU story of mine that I have been writing for a while. There isn't any actual shipping in it, so don't expect a lot of romance. Updates will also not be as frequent, as this summer, I will be in California for at least a month, so most certainly no updates then. But maybe I can get a few chapters done before I go.
Human names are used, but hopefully it's fairly obvious who is who.
Summary: An aspiring filmmaker and orphan, 14 year old Raivis keeps to himself, believing nobody will ever understand him and his work. He is soon adopted by Ivan, a kind but mysterious man. Ivan is hiding secrets from him, and Raivis is determined to understand them.
"I finally found one!" cheered Peter as he wheeled the grocery cart down to the end of the cul de sac, "I've been wheeling this around all day for you!"
Raivis took a look at the cart, and grinned cooly, examining the rusty vehicle with one of his hands, "Excellent work. Where'd you find it?"
"I found it in the alley behind my brother's coffee shop." smiled Peter proudly. Since he was so strong, pushing this thing five whole blocks was no kind of a challenge.
"Well, you saved me time for finding one myself. This one's a little rusty, but it'll do." observed Raivis, as he started pushing the cart the other direction. Peter raised an eyebrow, "Wait, what are you doing now?"
"I'm taking it to the next street over. So then I can film the action scene while it's still light out."
"Can I come?" asked Peter excitedly.
"I actually need you for this part. So of course." nodded Raivis, as he continued to wheel the cart forward.
Peter gave an exuberant grin, his sea-blue eyes wide and shining in the sun. The nine-year old saw Raivis as his idol, and his best friend, despite the five-year age difference. He thought Raivis was one of the coolest kids he'd ever met, and was always willing to help him with his film projects, or watch them intently. Raivis thought Peter was a little annoying sometimes, but but he didn't really mind it. It kind of felt good to have someone younger look up to him. So he wasn't always alone. And everything fit. Peter's family was always busy, and Raivis had no family at all.
Raivis was simply an orphan.
When they finally reached the edge of the other street, Raivis hopped into the cart, and unstrapped the camera from his satchel. He turned it on, and peered through it, making sure the lens was free of any dust or smudges. He drew his knees up to his chest, and set the camera firmly on top of them, like a tripod. Making sure the cart was not in sight of the lenses, Raivis smiled and said,
"Okay Peter, think you can push this cart with me in it?"
Peter nodded, and gripped the handle, "How fast do you want me to run?"
"As fast as you can, Space-boy."
"Space-boy? You mean, you want me to be the part in your film?"
"Sure. All you have to do is run around when I tell you. No lines or anything"
Peter smiled even wider. He had been asking Raivis if he could be part of the film he was making, Space-boy. According to Raivis, it was about a boy who makes a rocket ship and flies to a forest planet to explore. And now he was filming the 'zoom' scene for when the rocket would take off.
"Am I gonna be famous?"
"Maybe. If I can get all the effects right, and convince all the critics to see my films."
Peter stared with stars in his eyes, and gave a soft, "Wow. How many films have you made anyway?"
"Three. One of them I used stop motion with foil puppets in the orphanage basement. It's actually kind of cool."
"I wanna see them!"
"I don't really show them to anyone...It's kind of a thing for me..." answered the other quietly.
"Oh." replied Peter sadly.
"But if I get this one done, you can see it!" reassured Raivis, "Now let's get back on track. When I say 'action', push this cart as fast as you can. And don't stop until I say 'cut'."
"Alright!" affirmed Peter, jumping cheerfully into position.
Raivis positioned his camera again, and stared ahead intently, "Ready...set...action!"
Lucky for Raivis, Peter was first place in his class' track and field, and he shoved the cart forward at a shocking strength, bolting forward without slowing down.
The acceleration and the air blowing past Raivis made him feel so free, as he peered through his private dream world in the camera. He was no longer riding an abandoned grocery cart in the street, he was truly flying in space.
He was so caught in the flying, he almost forgot to say cut. He gave a squeal, and shouted, "Cut-cut-cut!"
Peter stopped almost immediately, and stopped the cart by jerking it back a little. As he stopped to catch his breath, Raivis laughed in pride of the moment, "That was great! Let's do another take..."
Peter gasped for more breath, and held his thumbs up in affirmation. He turned his head when he heard a familiar voice call out, "Petey, time to come home!"
Peter's older brother Arthur was walking home from work, and waved for the boy to come over to him.
"I have to go now Raivis. Can we film more tomorrow?"
"I guess. If I go to the library tomorrow, I'll fix up the footage from today, and see if it needs to be perfected more."
Peter smiled once again, and ran to catch up with his brother. Raivis waved goodbye, and turning off his camera, put it back in his satchel. He then took hold of the cart, and wheeled it off the street, and another three blocks down, to where he lived...or survived.
The orphanage was not a terrible place. Raivis always made sure to explain that to people that he was not to be pitied because he lived in an orphanage. He was not abused, and he was not in risk of dying. But it was not a place that he would choose to live in as a home.
The woman who ran the orphanage, Mrs. Mendell truly was a kind person, and she looked out for the children there. Besides Peter, she was the only other person whom Raivis could believe in talking to. She had been his mother figure for most of his life. Raivis never knew his father, and his mother died of measles when he was three, only months after she had moved from Latvia to America. He was far too young to even remember her. But as soon as he was without family to take care of him, he was put in the orphanage.
As for the other children at the orphanage, Raivis was not overly fond of them. They were either indifferent to him, or they bullied him. They would pick on him for his size, his weight (he was very very skinny for a fourteen year old), his strange accent, and his dreams of filmmaking (they'd call him terrible names for it). More than once, one of them threatened to break his camera. And so Raivis never liked being around them.
They also made fun of Raivis' uncontrolled shaking. He couldn't help it. He was just born that way. He'd take treatments for it, but it never really did much. So they'd always call him 'Shaky-Cam'. That name wasn't hurtful, more as annoying.
He went up the stairs, and into his room, which he shared with four other boys. There were two bunk beds on opposite sides of the wall, and Raivis had one of the bottom ones. On the wall next to his bunk, he had a poster from Sundance Film Festival. He'd always dreamed of going one day, but he couldn't really afford to travel to Utah. Fare from New York to there would be killer. The other poster was of Stanley Kubrick, as a teen, posing with one of his first cameras. He was one of Raivis' idols, and one of the boy's impossible dreams was to meet the late filmmaker.
He sat on the bed, and put the camera down in front of him. He sighed, and looking at the poster, murmured,
"Someday, we'll make it there Stanley."
"Stanley? You actually talk to the poster? You named the stupid poster Stanley?" scoffed his bunkmate, climbing onto the top bunk with a loud thump.
"I didn't name the poster, the guy in the poster's name is Stanley Kubrick." informed Raivis with a frown, not addressing the other boy by name. If they didn't call him by his name, then he wouldn't call them theirs.
"Haha, wow, you have a gay crush on the guy or something? You're always talking to the poster."
"I do not have a 'gay crush' on him. He's my favorite filmmaker. He's dead anyway."
"Wow, that's dorky. Anyway, you're supposed to be downstairs for dinner. Maybe if you eat, you'll get some meat on your chicken bones."
Raivis glared, and didn't respond. He got up from his bed, and as he got out from under the bunk, his bunkmate slapped him in the back of the head with a whiny chuckle. Clenching his jaw, Raivis stomped out of the room, and downstairs.
Dinner was fairly simple; a small toasted cheese sandwich and tomato soup; A dish Raivis found to be appealing. He ate quietly, away from the other children. As soon as he finished, he walked by Mrs. Mendell, who greeted him kindly.
"How are you today, Raivis?"
"I'm fine, m'am." he smiled slightly, "I got some more filming done today."
Her wrinkled face smiled as she responded, "Oh, that's wonderful! And you'll be sure to show me your film once it's done, right?"
"Mhm." nodded the boy, as he went back upstairs. He always told her he'd show her his films, but he never did. Whenever she asked when she could see them or if she could, he said as soon as they were complete, and he'd always say that there was one last thing to finish, or something wasn't right with it, or that he moved onto another project before he finished it. As much as he trusted the elderly woman, he didn't show anyone his films. He knew they wouldn't understand them. He wasn't even sure if Peter would understand Space-boy.
When it was time for bed, Raivis put on his pajamas, and took his medicine from the little pill-counter he had bought, and crawled under the covers. Ignoring a jeering question from his bunkmate whether or not he was going to kiss his poster goodnight, Raivis sighed, and said to himself, quietly,
The next morning, Raivis walked over to the library, to use the computers there. The librarian there was usually really strict about cameras being brought in, but as Raivis began coming more often, she loosened up a little. '
He was more than glad that the computers there had a film editing program. It wasn't as top notch as After-Effects, or Dragon software, but it was fine if Raivis worked enough effort into it. He just hoped that if he could get into an important film school, he'd have opportunity to use professional tools.
As he edited the zoom scene, he added a violet-blue hue to overlay the environment. Then he added sounds and ambience of space and flying. As he melded it all in, he couldn't help but feel a grin spread on his face.
As he walked back the way he came, he walked into the Kirkland family's cafe. Peter was sitting at a chair, boredly playing with a plastic dinosaur. He saw Raivis, and pouted,
"Raivis, Arthur's being a jerk, and won't let me help you today!"
The older boy gave a curious look to his brother behind the counter, who replied, "He's being punished. This morning, he thought it would be a great idea to turn on all the soda taps and try and drink from them like a water fountain."
"Ah, I see." nodded Raivis. Arthur gave an small smile, and asked, "Would you like anything while you're here?"
Now that Raivis thought about it, he was thirsty. He nodded and said, "Can I have a bottle of grapefruit Izze, please?"
"Of course." nodded Arthur, who got one from behind the counter, "$1.50 please."
Raivis fished through his pockets, and found a dollar and six cents. He looked up apologetically to Arthur, "I'm 44 cents short...can I just take some water-"
"It's okay." smiled Arthur, handing him the drink, "You've been watching Petey almost every day this week, so I guess I can give a babysitter discount."
"Raivis is not my babysitter!" cried Peter indignantly, "He's my bestest friend in the world!"
The other two laughed a little, and with another thank you, Raivis left the cafe, opening his drink. He sipped on it, feeling rather satisfied. He walked across the street, to the public park, and sat under a tree, to enjoy the day.
As he finished his drink, and put the bottle down, he could hear snickers coming from up above. Before he could look up, two of the bigger boys from the orphanage leaped down from a branch, and smiled at him unpleasantly.
"Well lookie here! Shaky-cam is having a nice day out!"
One of the boys whisked his camera from out of his lap, and peered into it mockingly, "What do you even film with this anyway? Naked girls? I'd pay you if you'd do that. But when would you even get lucky?"
"Give it back." demanded Raivis, frowning into the other's acne ridden face.
"I-I'll fight you!"
"Haha, really. I'd love to see that." sneered the other, grabbing him by the arm, and pulling him up.
"You really wanna fight?"
"Just give me back my camera." sighed Raivis once again, too tired to care if he'd get beat up or not.
"I asked you a question, polack. You gonna fight me?"
Raivis gave a dark look, about ready to punch the jerk, "What did you just call me?"
"Polack. What, does that offend you?"
"It offends me." chimed in another voice, surprisingly soft. The boys turned around, to see a tall figure looming over them, staring straight at them with dark purple eyes, the same color as Raivis'.
"For one thing, the term 'Polack' is a derogatory term for the Polish.", answered the man with a thick accent slightly similar to Raivis', "This boy, judging by his accent, is from one of the Baltic nations. I am correct, da?", he asked addressing the shaking boy, who nodded a little.
"And second, I'd recommend that you'd give this young man his camera back, and keep your hands off of him. Immediately." the tall man chided darkly, still with that soft voice.
"O-Or what?" dared one of the bullies, voice slightly faltering.
The tall man smiled creepily, "I'd be more than glad to show you how to really fight. And I guarantee that you will not be the victor."
The bullies stared at each other, then at the man, and one of them defeatedly muttered, "Whatever.", before he hastily handed the camera back to Raivis, and walked off. The tall man watched them leave, and then looked back down to Raivis, still smiling, but warmly.
"You can stop trembling now, little one. I think I scared them off well enough."
"I-I can't help my trembling." replied Raivis, and when the man stared at him confusedly, he explained, "It's a medical condition."
"I see." nodded the man, who then asked, "That would make filming very difficult, wouldn't it?"
"Sometimes, yes." nodded Raivis shyly, "But I make my own tripods sometimes to keep it steady. I can't afford to buy one."
"Da, I understand." replied the man, "Well, anyway, I don't think those boys will be bothering you anymore. Do you need to be escorted home...?...um..."
"Raivis, sir...and um, I actually live nearby. Just a few blocks away."
"Oh alright. Nice to meet you Raivis. Take care of your camera."
Just as Raivis was about to leave, the man then asked, "By the way, would you happen to know where the children's orphanage is?"
Raivis nodded, and said very softly, "Um...yes...it's just three blocks from here..."
Without waiting for an answer, he ran off that way, leaving the tall, violet-eyed man with a confused look.
Every first Saturday morning of the month was adoption day. Where prospective parents could come and visit the children at the orphanage. Most kids looked forward to this day, but Raivis was rather indifferent to it. He had been at the orphanage for a long time, and didn't really see any point in it for him. All the parents would come in, and end up choosing one of the cute, smiling kids. Why would they ever want one who was small, skinny, and depressed looking?
He refused to be put in a foster home. He had been in three of them, and they were always a bad experience for him. He'd end up feeling out of place, but when he finally felt like he was part of a family, hed' have to leave...Besides, the last home he was in was a total nightmare. Those crazy fundamentalist zealots. They thought his interest in filmmaking was a 'work of the devil'. Which is why he ended up sneaking out at night, and running back to the oprhanage, much to Mrs. Mendell's dismay and sympathy.
And so, while most of the other kids hung around downstairs, talking to the adults, Raivis stayed up in his room, toying with his camera, or reading. Or drawing. Raivis loved to draw, and thought animation would be a fun field of work as well. After filming.
Since most of the children stayed downstairs, none of the parents ever thought of coming upstairs to the bedrooms. So Raivis never expected anyone to come see him that day. Mrs. Mendell was usually so busy taking care of the other kids on this day, she didn't have the time to make sure Raivis was down there. She did hope that he would be adopted someday, but she didn't want to pressure him into opening up.
Since these Saturdays were normally quiet, Raivis tuned out to the world. And he usually never heard anyone talk on this day. So he had a good reason to be startled when he heard a voice curiously say, "Well hello again."
Raivis turned, and as if fate couldn't get any stranger, it was the tall man from the park. His soft face was smiling a little.
"You never told me you lived here."
"I...I don't really tell people much."
"Ah." nodded the other man, who looked around, "This must be your room, da?"
"The other kids are downstairs if you want to talk to them."
"I know. But at the moment, I am talking to you. I came up here to see if there were any stragglers hiding." smiled the man, who took a look at the bunk beds, "These are quite a tight fit, aren't they?"
"Yes. It's okay, sir. You don't really have to talk to me. The other kids are a better fit I bet."
"What makes you think that?"
"I'm no blond and blue eyed child...well, I'm blond, but not the good blond. I'm not a rosy cheeked little kid. Which is probably what you want. I'm a sick-looking teen."
The man sighed, and with a sympathetic smile said, "I'm not picky. I don't care if the child looks perfect or not, I just want to know if it feels right. If I think it would be the right child for me."
The boy nodded unattentively, secretly wishing he could just hide alone in his bed. But the man bent over a little, and peered at the posters on the wall.
"You like Stanley Kubrick?"
Raivis nodded, "He's my favorite."
"What's your favorite film of his?"
"...Um...2001: A Space Odyssey. I like the shots it takes."
The violet eyed man nodded warmly, "I've seen 'A Clockwork Orange'. But it was a little too vicious for my tastes."
Raivis scrunched his nose a little, "That one's kind of overrated."
"Do you make any films?"
"Yes." nodded Raivis, flipping back to his book.
"What are they about?"
"...Nobody would really understand them."
The man had no reply. He just watched Raivis read his book. He then asked, "Which country are you from?"
"Latvia. I lived there for three years."
"Da. How many years have you lived here?"
"Eleven. Since my mom died."
The man's smile fell, as he gave a sad look, "Oh, I'm sorry."
Raivis didn't like pity, so he asked,"...Where are you from? You have an accent like mine."
"I am from Russia. Moscow, to be precise."
The man then stood up to his normal height, "I think I will go talk to the woman downstairs for a minute. It's been nice to see you again Raivis. My name is Ivan Braginski. Have a good day."
Raivis gave another nod, not watching the man leave. He felt a little different now after talking to the strange man. What made it even more different was the fact that he had come upstairs. Parents usually never bothered going upstairs. If they did, they usually took one look at Raivis, and awkwardly turned around and left. Ivan, the man, he just came in and talked with him. He didn't even back away or anything.
And now the boy had more questions going through his head, the biggest being why some strange man from Russia was even in a New York orphanage. And why he even bothered.
That evening, when things couldn't have gotten any weirder, Mrs. Mendell came into Raivis' room, and smiled warmly,
"Raivis, I have some wonderful news for you."
"Do you remember a nice man named Mr. Braginski coming up here to talk to you earlier today?", asked the old woman sweetly.
"Um...faintly, yes." nodded the boy, anticipating what she would say next with both excitement and reluctance. He knew what she might say, and he was saying to himself, "Say it...say it...wait don't say it...no say it..."
"Raivis dear, Mr. Braginski is going to adopt you."