Disclaimer: I do not own Baccano! nor any of the characters in this story.
A Little Bit of Immortality
-1932, somewhere in New York-
The car rolled down the street. It was early in the morning, and so very few autos were on the road, yet it was driving at the fastest allowable speed, for reasons unknown except for those inside.
Senator Beriam could hardly keep his hands steady. After years of searching and countless nights dreaming of a miracle, now, in his hands, lay that which he has sought after ever since he had come to know of its existence.
The Elixir of Immortality.
This particular batch had come from a contact of his in New Jersey, and claimed that the liquid originated more than two hundred years ago in a ship called the Advenna Avis. Granted, the amount of the liquid was so small that it only took a small bottle to hold it, but for Manfred Beriam, it was more than enough for his dreams to come true.
The train that was to carry the courier would arrive to New York early in the morning, and so Manfred had to go to the train station early as well. Unfortunately, his wife and daughter caught him sneaking into the driveway, made him explain where he was going, and demanded to accompany him to the rendezvous point.
And so they were there, cruising along the New York streets, making as little noise as possible so as not to wake up the city, and rushing to get home.
Manfred took the bottle from his pocket. The bottle could not have held more than ten milliliters of any liquid, but it didn't matter to him, for soon, immortality would be his.
"What's so important with that bottle that you had and get up so early in the morning anyway?" asked Manfred's wife, Natalie Beriam.
"Nothing, but I feel that it will have a lot of significance very soon," came the reply.
Natalie could think of no argument to this, and simply dismissed the bottle as a political strategy his husband had come up with to defeat his rivals.
Their daughter, Mary, understanding little of what her parents were talking about, simply looked at the both of them.
Manfred examined the bottle, he held it with his fingertips and moved it close to his face.
'Should I drink this now? Or should I wait until I'm alone' he contemplated, his heart hammering in his chest.
The car swerved hard to the right, and the bottle fell from Manfred's grasp.
He watched, in spectacular slow motion, as the tiny glass container tumbled in midair, did a backflip, wrote a will, and said goodbye to its family, before shattering to the floor of the car, the precious liquid that it contained slowly being absorbed by the fabric of the foot covers.
Manfred just sat there, stunned, as years of hard work and information gathering were slowly unraveling before his very eyes.
Not even a very loud cry of pain from her daughter had stopped Manfred from bending down into the floor, dipping his fingers into the elixir, and desperately trying to lick what little was left of his dream. He knew he must have looked crazy, but he didn't care, not when the item that would make him live forever is slipping from his grasp.
It was only after Natalie herself bent down and dipped her fingers into the elixir that Richard stopped his crazed actions. He can only look on as his own wife licked the finger that was covered in the liquid, and give him a scolding gaze.
"That wine must have been very rare. It's one of the best I've ever tasted, but I have to wonder, how is it more valuable than your daughter?" she asked, and only then that Manfred noticed that Mary had her hand clamped shut in her right eye, as if it had been something sharp had gotten into it.
And it was only then that Manfred realized that a piece of broken glass from the bottle must have flown into his daughter's eye.
He could do nothing but watch as a drop of blood trickled down Mary's face...
Natalie didn't know what on earth was inside that bottle that was so important that her husband had gone completely mad when it was smashed, not even Mary's sudden cry at having something in her eye managed to dislodge him from dropping down and literally lick the liquid from his fingertips.
After reprimanding him for choosing a material object over his daughter, she returned her gaze to Mary, just in time to see a trickle of blood run down her daughter's face.
Her face turned white. "Driver, get us to the hospital, now!" she shouted to the driver.
The man gave a quick "yes ma'am!" before making a u-turn and headed for the nearest hospital.
Natalie, for her part, watched transfixed as the blood ran down Mary's cheek, collect into her chin, drop towards the floor...and stop in midair.
Nothing could have prepared her for what she saw next, as the blood literally floated back the way it came from, up Mary's cheek, and back into her eye. The girl then stopped clutching her eye, and stared at her hands. She blinked a few times, as if making sure that there was nothing else in her eyes, and looked at her mother with a confused expression.
"Mama, why doesn't it hurt now?" Mary asked.
Her mother could offer no explanation. She was hyperventilating, and very close to fainting. The only thing stopping her from going into a coma was Manfred holding onto her shoulders. A moment of silence descended, one that confused Mary even more as she wondered why her mother was acting strange.
It was Manfred who broke the silence. "I never expected this," he said.
Natalie looked at her husband, her eyes seeking answers to questions that should not exist.
What was in that bottle?
Where did it come from?
How did the blood from Mary's eye return to her body? And for that matter, how did it heal so fast?
"Driver, take us back to the house," he said.
"But sir, miss Beriam sounded scared, shouldn't we at least-"
"Don't argue, just do it."
The driver stopped the car, unsure of whether to proceed to the hospital or do as his boss said. But under the scrutinizing gaze of Senator Beriam, it was hard not to obey. The car did another u-turn, and headed back home.
Manfred looked at his wife with a sigh. It was going to be a long day.
-Same year, New Jersey-
Bartolo Runorata was one of the most feared men in the entire United States. His organization, a mafia family of unthinkable power, held control over most of the nation's underworld. Very few things can surprise him, and even fewer can actually make him interested.
But the young girl in front of him managed to do both.
"Let me summarize your offer Miss Genoard," he said, as Eve sat in a chair in front of his desk. Three months after the events that happened in New York city, where Eve had been looking for his missing brother, life for the young Genoard had been quiet. The dredging of the Hudson river had gone as planned, but no trace of Dallas had since been found.
That she herself would come to him with a ridiculous offer had been surprising indeed.
"In exchange for the ninety percent of all the assets that the Genoard family currently owns, you wish for me to pay you an amount that is less than half of what you are basically giving away?"
"And may I ask why, Miss Eve?"
Eve lowered her head. She balled her hands into fists, and gave an expression of sadness. "The wealth of my family was made through illegal means, and I have no intention of continuing in the business. You can put the assets of my family to better use, and in exchange, I can use the money to continue my education and invest in other, more legal ventures."
"In short you want to erase the legacy of your family."
A curt nod.
Bartolo let out a low chuckle. "You do realize that the moment your family stepped into the world of the mafia, they would never get out of it. No matter how hard you deny it, your life will forever be entwined with that of ours."
Eve tightened her fists even more. Her expression changed from sadness to anger, and she looked directly into the Runorata boss.
"I know. My grandfather's wealth, my father's practices, my brothers' problems, I have inherited all of them. I know that no matter what I do, I will still be caught up in the midst of criminal organizations. But, I think, letting go of mine and my family's past would be a start," she said, with all the determination and bravery that she could muster.
Bartolo listened carefully, he closed his eyes, and eased his features into a thoughtful state. Then he smiled.
"I see. Well, if that is what you really want, I will accept your offer. One question however, where will you stay?"
"I have already bought two smaller houses, one here and another in New York."
The Runorata boss blinked. The young girl before him had planned this for a long time. He gave a hearty laugh.
"Very well, come back here tomorrow so we can finalize the deal," he said, before beckoning for the door to be opened.
Eve gave a sigh of relief, she got up from her seat, uttered a quick "thank you" to Bartolo, and walked out the door to her waiting maid and butler.
One of his underlings, the one who close the door, looked back their their boss.
"I didn't expect you to accept that deal, sir. You know that you've got nothing to gain from it."
Bartolo simply smiled. "Yes. But it is far more interesting to watch what would happen to our young miss. You wouldn't try and ruin an old man's fun would you?" he asked.
"N-no sir," replied the underling.
-1934, New York-
The Gandor family, a small mafia organization squeezed between other, bigger groups, were having a good day. All the businesses in their territory were thriving, and their relationships with the other mafia families could never have been better. As a bonus, the newspaper that day held interesting news.
The leaders of the Gandor family, the brothers Keith, Berga, and Luck Gandor, were sitting in their usual location, playing poker. Keith was reading the newspaper, trying to drown out the sound of his younger brothers arguing. Berga had accused Luck of cheating in the game, which the youngest Gandor calmly denied, and that Berga was simply bad at poker.
Before the two Gandors came to blows, Keith had lowered the newspaper, and silently directed them to the second page headline.
Genoard family acquires textile company Texas Textiles, after long struggle
"That's the third company Eve had bought out," commented Berga.
Luck smiled, Eve had the ruthlessness of a tiger when it came to business.
Keith then pointed further down the page, and the other two brothers followed his finger, to another article.
Textile company Cloth Inc. files for bankruptcy, bought by Genoard Textiles.
"Never mind, make that the fourth company Eve had bought out, and a big one too," said Berga.
Keith shook his head, and turned to the business section.
The headline made Luck laugh and Berga groan.
Genoard Textiles owner announces intention to buy Fabric United
Berga whistled. "Looks like Eve had gotten herself a really big fish this time. Hey Luck, better catch her before somebody else does."
He winked at his brother.
Luck said nothing, but the smile on his face looked genuine enough for people to know what he was thinking.
-1938, New Jersey-
Eve wiped sweat off her forehead as she worked on getting the last of the paperwork done before closing time. The textile factory would close in exactly fifteen minutes, and she didn't want to have to overtime on her birthday.
After six years of studying and hard work, Eve had finally reached what she had been aiming for: repairing the name of the Genoard family.
It had not been easy. After her purchase of a small textile company, a rival of her family's, many of the workers distrusted her. It had taken a lot of persuasion from her and her maid and butler for the workers to not resign from their positions.
There was still no sign of her brother, and the barrels underneath the Hudson revealed nothing. Eve, devastated by this discovery, took a full month to regain her health. It was only with Bartolo's convincing that she did not personally look for Dallas again. Nevertheless she still regularly visited the Daily Days, a newspaper company, for any news about her brother.
In between trying to find Dallas and managing her company, she enrolled in a college, and took up Business Administration. She graduated from the course in an amazing two years.
Eve, as it turned out, inherited the determination, and the straightforward and aggressive personality of her father and grandfather, despite her kindness and dislike for violence. It was this drive to succeed that allowed her to steam roll her way to college, as well as gain the respect of the workers of her company. Her beating every last one of them in a game of billiards may have also helped.
In the four years that followed, thanks to Eve's aggressive buying and merging of other companies, as well as basically taking out of any other competition, her once small textile factory had grown. No longer confined to the New Jersey area, it now had a virtual monopoly of the textile industry in America.
The now twenty-one year old girl was finally finished with the day's work, and her butler, Benjamin, walked to her side.
"Are you ready to go Miss Genoard?" he asked.
"Yes, just let me gather up my things."
Benjamin breathed out sadly.
"You should take a vacation my lady, you've been working yourself to the bone nonstop since six years ago," he said.
"i appreciate your concern Benjamin, but I must always be present in the company, something might happen if I am gone for a week." replied Eve.
"Nothing will happen in a week Miss Eve, and besides it is your birthday today-"
"I am ready to go now."
She had deliberately changed the subject to get away from Benjamin's fussing. If her butler has had anything more to say, he didn't show it.
The next time Benjamin spoke was in the car.
"I forgot to tell you this earlier, but Don Runorata had invited you to a dinner at your his house tonight."
"Is there any reason why?"
"He said that he wanted to congratulate you for your success as a businessperson."
"Can I refuse the offer?"
"He said he will personally go to your house and drag you back to his when you don't show up before seven this evening."
Eve chuckled at that.
"Alright, let's go to the Runorata residence," she said, "after I change my clothes."
When they arrived there, Benjamin had instructed Eve to stay behind the door for a moment, he needed to inform Bartolo that Miss Genoard had arrived.
After a few minutes, Benjamin returned, he took Eve by the arm, and opened the door.
The deafening cry of the room nearly caused the young Genoard to have a heart attack.
When she finally regained control of herself, she saw party balloons, cakes, gifts, and people with party hats, all laughing and shouting "happy birthday!" to her.
She gave a mock angry look at Benjamin, who was happily trying to avert his gaze.
"Happy Birthday young miss! Ah hope ya liked this little surprise party that we had set up for ya," said her black maid, Samasa. Eve was startled to see her plump maid in the center of the celebration, but wasn't that surprised.
"Samasa...so that's why you asked for a day off on my birthday," said Eve.
Samasa gave her a big grin, before waving her hand to the crowd. Eve followed her hand, and was taken aback by the sheer number of people who came.
There were the Gandors, a small mafia family who had struck up an alliance with the Runorata's six years ago, right after the incident at New York city. The Martillo family, close friends of the Gandors, appeared to have come in full force. Eve could even see the two thieves who stole from the Genoards eight years ago, Isaac and Miria, who were happily waving giant "happy birthday" signs around. Eve noticed Jacuzzi Splot and his gang in the back, trying to make themselves known. Only the big Mexican named Donny actually stood out in the crowd.
Bartolo himself came forward to greet Eve this time.
"I hope you like our little surprise party. Your two staff had been planning for this since three months ago," he said.
"Really?" exclaimed Eve, and looked at Benjamin and Samasa, who happily nodded their heads.
Tears started to form in her eyes.
"I...don't know what to say. I...thank you!" she cried, as she let her tears fall freely from her eyes.
The shouting and the laughing stopped, and everyone looked at Eve.
"Thank you, all of you. I really can't think of anything else to say. To think that I've been so busy that I didn't even notice my own butler and main plot something behind my back, I must be getting old!" she said.
Everyone laughed, and Bartolo took the stage again.
"Well now, since nearly everyone is here, let us begin our celebration with the feast!"
As soon as he said this, there was a mad scramble for plates and eating utensils.
Eve decided to wait until the line had thinned before getting some food. She went to Bartolo.
"I have to thank you for lending your manor to this party."
"It's of no consequence. It has been a while since this house has seen a gathering as wild as this," replied Bartolo.
"You said earlier that there were still some who aren't here, who are they?" asked Eve.
As if on cue, the honk of a car horn filled the air, and everyone turned to the door in anticipation of the newcomer.
Bartolo gave a smile. "I will have to apologize if the latest guests aren't to your liking. I am the one who invited them."
The door opened, and the figures of Manfred Beriam, Natalie Beriam, and Mary Beriam entered the room. Stunned silence descended upon the room.
The entrance itself was not spectacular, rather, it was Mary's appearance that had them all gaping their mouths.
Mary Beriam looked like she hadn't aged a day.
For Mary's part, she seemed to be used to the stares, and looked around the room, only for her gaze to land on a brown-haired boy seemingly her age, who looked even more horrified than the rest. This time it was Mary who was stunned.
"Czeslaw?" she said, and moved towards the boy.
The boy backed away, and tried to run seconds later, but the stunned crowd prevented him from going anywhere. It took Mary only seconds to catch up to him and grab his wrist. Czeslaw tried to break away, but then Mary had grabbed hold of his shirt and dragged him outside.
The commotion over, Manfred walked over to Bartolo.
"I should apologize for being late, I had to work overtime."
Natalie acknowledged her husband's remark. "We were about to leave without him," she said.
Bartolo gave a nod. "I am nevertheless glad that you could come."
He gave a wave of his hand. "Come, enjoy the party," he said, and beckoned the Beriams, sans Mary who was outside, to join the feast.
The arrival of the Beriams had created a tense atmosphere in the room, most notably centered around the fact that Mary still looked like a ten-year old, despite the fact that she should be more or less seventeen by now.
Whispers circulated, but nobody tried to ask Mary's parents directly, for fear of government retaliation.
Outside, Mary had cornered Czeslaw into the wall. The boy struggled, but was held down by her grip and a slap to the cheek.
"Will you stop struggling! I'm not going to do anything to you, I just want to ask a few questions," she said. Czeslaw remained frightened, but nonetheless quieted down.
Mary removed her hands from his clothing, and placed it on her hips.
"Alright, why do you still look like a kid?" she asked.
Czeslaw raised an eyebrow. "I could say the same to you, you look exactly the same as when we first met on that train seven years ago."
The train, the Flying Pussyfoot. A trans-continental express train that traveled from Chicago to New York non-stop. It was also the site of horrific murders, a hostage taking, a robbery, and the birth of an urban legend.
"If I tell you my story, will you tell me yours?" asked Mary. Czeslaw nodded.
Mary then began by telling Czeslaw of what had happened six years ago, when her father had finally acquired a small amount of the Immortality Elixir. She told him about how the bottle smashed on the way home, and that some of the broken pieces, which still had some of the elixir, had gotten into her eye.
"Papa told us everything when we got back home, mama fainted for three days after that," she said.
Czeslaw nodded. Mary then gave a wry smile.
"Your turn," she said, her hands to her side to prevent Czeslaw from escaping.
Czeslaw contemplated on simply running away after she told her story, but that fact that Mary had put her hands in such a way as to stop him from running, removed that option.
With a sigh, he placed his right hand on Mary's head.
Mary didn't understand why Czeslaw would put his hand on her head, and then her eyes widened as information of two hundred years of life experience came flooding her mind. When Czeslaw removed his hand, Mary collapsed unto him. It was good that he had been pinned to a wall, or else both of them would have fallen into the ground.
It took Mary a few seconds to process everything that was given to her. She broke away from Czeslaw and gave him a questioning look.
"So, you're actually over two hundred years old?"
"And a lot of the people back inside are actually immortal?"
"And the elixir that papa had gotten came from the ship that you were on?"
"And that you can kill other immortals as well as give them knowledge by placing your right hand on their heads?"
"Do that to me, and I will kill you."
Mary laughed at his answer.
"I've gotten the answers that I wanted, come on, let's go back to the party inside," she quipped. She held Czeslaw by the wrist, and pulled him back to the house.
At the liquor bar, Isaac and Miria stumbles upon a familiar bottle.
"Hey Isaac, look! This looks like that bottle of wine from the party six years ago!"
"You're right Miria, it does look like that bottle from six years ago!"
"But there isn't a lot left though. I think you've barely got enough for a glass."
Isaac thought long and hard, searching his mind on what to do.
Then it hit him.
"I know, let's give the last glass to Miss Eve, it is her birthday after all!"
"Great idea Isaac!" agreed Miria.
Eve sat down on one of the sofas, tired from the day's work and exhausted after talking with so many people about her success. After Mary and Czeslaw went back inside, and after Czeslaw had explained to the guests, the incident had mostly died down.
Her eyes were already drooping when she was suddenly jolted back to alertness.
Her eyes snapped open, and she found herself looking at the faces of Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent.
"Oh good Isaac, she's awake, we though you had gone to sleep!"
"Miss Eve, we present to you the very last of the very best wine in existence!" they said, extending a glass of wine to Eve, and struck a dramatic pose for added effect.
Eve stared at the glass with uncertainty.
"But, I don't drink," she said.
Isaac and Miria, who were excited to give her the glass, broke from their pose and sat down in a huddle.
"She said that she doesn't drink Miria."
"Yeah, what should we do Isaac?"
"Maybe we can give it to someone else?"
"But I thought Eve should be the one to drink it?"
"Yeah, there's that."
As they were pondering their next move, the crowd began to look towards them.
"Miss Eve, come on, drink some wine, it's your twenty-first birthday after all!" someone said.
"Yeah, Miss Eve!"
"There's a first time for everything!"
"It'll help you sleep better!"
More than a few minutes passed before Eve succumbed to the pressure.
"Uh, I think I'll have the wine..."
Isaac and Miria were already in front of her.
"Here it is my lady! The very best wine in all the world!"
"The very best!"
Puzzled as she was by their antics, Eve took the wine from them all the same.
Everyone was watching, and Eve downed the glass in one gulp.
She was instantly asleep, and plopped down onto the sofa.
Isaac and Miria moved closer to her.
"Is she still alive Isaac?"
Before Isaac could answer, a young man in a green suit walked over to them, and held Eve's hand.
"She still has a pulse. Either she get's drunk easily, or that was some wine that you two gave her. Isaac, Miria, where did that wine come from anyway?" he asked.
"From that bottle from the party six years ago, Firo. You know, the one with the magic show and the disappearing old man?"
Firo, and the rest of the Martillo family, blinked. With a groan, he placed his palm on his face. He took out a small knife from his pocket, and positioned it over Eve's arm.
With a small flick, he sliced a cut on her arm.
The blood began to drip, and for a moment Firo thought that he was wrong.
Then the dripping stopped, and the blood started to flow back into the arm, which closed seamlessly afterward.
Firo, unsurprised, turned to the rest of the guests.
"We have a lot of explaining to do tomorrow," he said.
Author's Notes: I had a lot of fun writing this little one-shot. I've always been interested in the side characters, especially the shy ones.
Just additional info, the bottle that Isaac and Miria discovered ended up there because the Martillo family brought some wine to the party.
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