Hello everyone! Welcome to a my Hellboy fanfic! I thank you, dear reader, for deciding to stop by and read this first chapter and hope you enjoy it! Before I send you on your way though, let me explain a bit about this fic. (Feel free to skip the following and get straight to the story but I would recommend reading it at some point!)
This story came to me almost immediately after watching the first Hellboy movie this past year. I loved the movie and had fallen in love with Hellboy as a wonderful antihero! But... I heavily-HEAVILY disliked Liz. At least as a love interest for Hellboy. I felt she was a bit of wet rag and didn't like the way she treated Hellboy. No offense to those who love her, I just didn't. I've heard she gets better as a character in the second movie but I have yet to see it.
Anyway, I wanted a Red to have a romance with a girl I thought was wonderful. Lots of daydreams later, we have this story. It will be split up into two fics. The first (which you have chosen to read) will be told in a series of vignettes showing the meetings between HB and my OC, Ivy, over a period of about 15 years (1990 to 2004). The second fic will pick up in 2004 in the movie plot and be a continuous narrative. Every chapter in this part will encompass 1 year (except for the second chapter, which will cover 2) so we should, at most have 15 chapters (if I split later years up into more than 1 chapter). Some chapters will be short, others will be a lot longer depending on what happens during that year. Each chapter will start an ivy related quote or fact and a small flash into the future.
Okay! That is enough chit chat! On to the show!
Disclaimer: I own everything except anything related to the Hellboy comics/franchise.
Brick and Ivy
"True Friends like ivy and the wall, both stand together, and together fall."
Chapter 1: 1990 A Meeting Behind the Coffee Shop
From every window unfurls my heart, the heart that you have won.
When does a crush stop being a crush?
When does a smile of pleasant surprise become a smile of utter relief?
When does a slight reddening of the cheeks turn into a platoon of drums pounding in ones chest?
When does that gentle tickling of the heart become a desperate itching ache?
And, after all the changes and all the sweet pain, what does one do when the object of affection looks the other way?
Ivy Sanders looked out the windows as the rain distorted the view outside. Droplet after droplet splashed down against the glass but she barely blinked. She did not look out the front, as one would expect, where the beautiful wrought iron tables sat beneath a vine-covered awning. No, Ivy Sanders looked out the back, staring intently at an aged brick wall surrounded by grey. Grey clouds and grey concrete and grey garbage cans.
When had it all begun? How had it gotten like this?
She nursed the warm cup of aromatic tea between her cold hands. Soft pink lips pulled up at the corners in a sad smile that did not touch her grass green eyes.
Had it really been that long ago?
A Summer's Meeting - 1990
It was a slow afternoon at the coffee shop. The heat of summer drove people away from their inviting doors despite the massive groups they had that morning. Even in the worst of summer, people wanted their coffee before work.
That was all good and well though, except it didn't help Ivy in the least. Working the afternoon shift behind the counter with nothing but an insane red-headed boss and her pet canary named Chipmunk was torturous. Even the delicious sweets and pastries sitting in the glass case next to the cash register were detrimental to the whole situation.
Fiddling with her green apron strap, she eyed the black and white cookies, worrying at her lip all the while. Why had she been cursed with such a slow metabolism? Every mouthful of food went directly to some part of her body where it wasn't welcomed.
Ivy caught sight of her reflection in the glass and stuck her tongue out at it, turning way. Just because the treats were there didn't mean she had to look.
"Oh go on!" sang Cherie, her red hair done up at the top of her head tied with a bright blue ribbon. "One never hurts anyone."
"It hurts me," Ivy responded, turning away from the counter and marching into the kitchen.
"Where are you going?" Cherie's voice asked from the main room.
"If I can't eat them, I'll make them," she called back. "Besides, we are out of the oatmeal chocolate chip."
In response she heard a loud and rather off key rendition of Andrea Bocelli's "Time to Say Goodbye" float through the small shop accompanied by the soft trill of Chipmunk. Ivy smiled and changed out of the green store front apron and in its place donned a soft, well washed white one. In the starkness of the kitchen there was work to be done. Soft cream cabinets held pots and pans and baking dishes while the stainless-steal fridge was home to a plethora of butter, cream, and fresh fruit. She took out a clean bowl and placed it on the granite counter top.
She loved the storefront. It was a lush escape for clients, covered in plush sitting chairs and simple antique wooden stools of different shades. The walls were a soft green covered in old maps and drawings scribbled on old parchment. Light streamed inside from the open windows and the space was littered with soft pink and purple shades from the paper lanterns Cherie kept lit during the day. It was beautiful, a wonderland of eclectic antiquity and the smell of fresh coffee grounds. Yes, she really loved it but sometimes, the simplicity of the kitchen was much more accepting.
Slipping off the scrunchie on her wrist she tied her chestnut brown hair up into a sloppy bun at the top of her head. No one wanted a long strand of hair in cookies. Ivy hummed lightly to her boss's singing as she collected her ingredients, managing to stay on key despite Cherie's attempts to butcher the song.
Italian words filled her mind as she sang softly under her breath, spooning the flour into a cup measure. She couldn't understand the words but they were as sad as the song was beautiful. Who was saying goodbye? And to who? Ivy wondered if it was, perhaps, two lovers parting.
Almost automatically, her body went through the motions of making the cookie dough. It was a recipe she had created a few years ago that Cherie adored enough to sell at the shop. Easy and filled with oatmeal, chocolate chips, and chopped pecans that created one wonderful treat (and temptation, as far as Ivy as concerned).
It was nice to bake at the shop. The cookies were made then put on display for other people to eat resolving the problem she always had baking at home. Between her and her mother, who would eat all the baked goods? No, it was much better to bake at the shop and not have all those delicious things land on her stomach or in the garbage.
Violins filled her ears as she popped two trays of cookies into the oven. Recognizing the intro to "Time to Say Goodbye", Ivy laughed and shook her head. Cherie never put music on until she had a song stuck in her head. That song would define the music of the day. Sometimes, there was no music, sometimes there was so many different types it made Ivy's head spin. With the music, Cherie began singing louder and, thankfully, more in tune.
Ivy let the music wash over her as she scrubbed the equipment that could not be placed in the industrial dishwasher. Cherie waltzed into the kitchen, her voice climbing up octaves she shouldn't have been climbing as the last note cut through the air and she spread her arms, throwing her head back letting out a sound that didn't exist on any musical scale.
Laughing, Ivy wiped tears from her eyes with the back of her hand, clutching a pot in another. As the music died, the old woman grinned at her.
"Well, my, doesn't it smell divine in here?" she crooned, placing her hands on her hips and letting the soft and flowing fabric of her kimono style dress swish against the floor.
"Thanks. Could you throw away that egg carton?" She asked motioning with her elbow to the brown box on the counter.
"Of course, my elf," Cherie replied.
Ivy watched the woman grab the box and attempt cramming it into the filled garbage can.
"Feisty today, are we?!" the older woman cried out at the can.
"Leave it," Ivy sighed, "I'll take the garbage out as soon as I'm done with this."
Cherie nodded, with sympathetic eyes but did not offer to do it herself. As the owner, laziness was a right.
Drying the last mixer blade, she placed it on the counter and slipped out of her apron. Hoisting the garbage bag out of the can, she trudged to the back door and slipped outside. The dumpster and recycling bin were located up against a red brick wall under a high overhang. Dragging the heavy bag she threw open the lid of the dumpster and began pulling it up as a shadow flew over the uncovered area of the space. A loud crash reached her ears as the cement beneath her shook monetarily.
Garbage falling from her hands and her heart pounding in her throat, she turned to see the most colossal man—creature she had ever seen. He was red. A bright and rich red highlighted by black side burns along an angular face. A wide barreled chest of thick, prominent muscle was bare beneath a long, heavy khaki jacket that reached past his knees. He shook his head from the impact and caught sight of her.
"Guess this wasn't as empty as I thought," he said to no one and began walking towards her.
Ivy threw her hands up in front of her face and crouched to the floor, shaking before him. She felt his shadow fall on her and then it was gone. She opened her eyes and moved her hands so she could see and nearly fell over. The man (he was very obviously male and more similar to a man than any other creature she could think of) was leaning back on the brick wall, lighting a cigar.
Overhead, a helicopter roared into the distance.
"And, there they go," he said, chomping down on the butt of his cigar.
Ivy stared wide-eyed at the man before her, eyeing the massive rock of a right arm that hung at his side.
"Hey, kid," asked his gruff voice, bringing Ivy's eyes to his face and almost immediately to the two flat protrusions on his forehead. She looked away and stood up quickly. "You don't have a camera, do ya?"
Ivy shook her head as a brief picture swam through her head. A news special with a bold headline "DOES HE EXSIST?!" across the top of a TV screen. Turning, she took him in as a whole. How had she not noticed?!
"You're Hellboy!" she squeaked, clutching the hem of her uniform blouse.
"In the flesh."
"Oh," she said oddly.
It was just Hellboy. Local myth and agent of the equally as mythological B.P.R.D. Nothing too out of the ordinary
"Hm, somethin smells good," he drawled, looking across the yard to the open kitchen door.
And then, as if on cue, the loud beeping of the oven timer reached her ears.
"The cookies," she said, eyeing him as he exhaled a cloud of smoke. He was fascinating. Was he really a demon? Or maybe a governmental science experiment gone wrong like that one article in the newspaper claimed.
"You gonna go get them?" he said, motioning at the door.
"Oh yeah!" Ivy said, realizing she actually had to go take them out.
She ran towards the door but stopped suddenly, turning around to look at him again. He was still there. He hadn't disappeared when she looked away.
"You gonna keep staring?" he said, eyes narrowing slightly.
"Oh! Uh…" she fumbled, trying to find some way to not be offensive, "Do you want to try a cookie? Their fresh."
"So I hear," he said, once again reminding her that she needed to take them out the oven before they stopped being so fresh.
She turned quickly and ran to the oven, turning off the timer and whisking her trays out the oven, sighing with relief. They were a perfect golden brown. Not too overcooked.
"Ivy, are the cookies done?" Cherie called, amid the classical music.
"Yeah. They're just cooling," she called back as she escaped out the door, closing it this time behind her.
And he was still there! Standing three yards away, she still had to incline her head to get a look at him. Damn, was he tall. It didn't help that she lived her life on the shorter end of the height scale but he had to be six foot six at the least.
"They're cooling now… It'll take fifteen minutes—if you want one that is," she said, fidgeting.
"I've got time," he responded, simply.
Ivy nodded and scooted over back to her original spot by the dumpster. She eyed the fallen garbage bag and wondered, for a moment, whether he'd think it was rude if she threw it in quickly. As he looked towards the shop, eyes not really focused on anything, she decided he probably wouldn't care one way or the other. What ever it was that he was doing here, it was not a social visit.
She tugged the bag up and as she lifted it to throw it into the dumpster, a huge red hand gripped it, crushing the contents inside, and dropped it into the dumpster. She turned around as Hellboy moved back to the wall.
"Thanks," she said, rubbing her hands on her kaki capris.
"No problem," he nodded.
Questions swam through her mind.
What was he really? Is there such thing as the B.P.R.D? Did he have wings underneath that trench coat? Had anyone ever told him he sort of looked like Vincent from the drama, Beauty and the Beast? She shook her head at that last one. It didn't even make sense. Finding silence awkward and the rest of her questions too offensive, she opted for:
"Uh… Can I ask why you are here?"
Hellboy eyed Ivy for a second and she could see him run through a few replies in his head before he answered, "I'm on a mission and I need to hide from the bad guys."
"Yeah, real stiff necked, kill joys with a fetish for locking people up," he said, smiling to himself in amusement.
Nodding as if she understood, she rocked back on her heels and found herself staring at him again. He caught her eyes and she was met with brilliant gold irises.
"Got a name, kid?" he asked.
"Ivy," she spilled out, surprised at his interest. "Ivy Sanders."
"Like the plant?" he asked.
She nodded, "My mom had a thing for them before she discovered they were destroying her walls."
Once again, silence settled over them.
"What's this?" he said motioning towards the coffee shop. "A bakery?"
Ivy found herself smiling, surprised even more that he was continuing the conversation.
"It's a coffee shop. We sell cookies and some cakes but… mostly coffee," she started, then trailed off. What could she say? "I work the counter."
He nodded, exhaling, and sent a cloud of smoke through the air. Unused to the heavy aroma of cigar smoke, Ivy fought the urge to cough. As she hid her mouth behind her hand she heard a muffled call.
Turning back to the store, she saw Cherie searching through the kitchen, opening cupboards and drawers. Fighting the strong suspicion that the woman was looking for her in those drawers, she turned back the Hellboy and motioned with her hands at the window.
He looked towards the shop and saw the flaming redhead and turned back to Ivy.
"Aren't you going to hide?!" she cried softly.
"Why?" he said, shrugging.
"What if she sees you?"
"You saw me."
"Look, she is already unstable enough as it is without having to tell the world she saw Hellboy smoking behind her coffee shop," Ivy said, slightly amused that the corner of his mouth turned up in a half smile.
"At least… crouch down or something while I get her away," she said, rushing towards the door. Before opening it she turned and saw him standing, very amused, watching her. She motioned with her hand for him to duck and only opened the door when he did so begrudgingly.
Slipping in quickly and shutting the door behind her, she smiled at the woman.
"Yes?" she asked politely, moving in front of the uncovered window nearest Cherie.
"What were you doing?" the old woman asked, eyeing the girl.
"The garbage," she answered, quickly.
"For that long?"
"I… I've decided to go on my break," she blurted out.
"But it isn't even near when you have lunch, my elf!" cried the woman.
"Its alright. I'll be fine," Ivy replied and began gently guiding the woman back to the store front. "If that was all…"
"Now, wait a minute!" cried Cherie. Ivy froze and for a short moment feared the woman had caught a glimpse of the hulk by the garbage cans. "What about the cookies? Are they ready? A girl wants them for her mother."
Relief instant, she smiled and nodded vigorously. "Yes, they should be perfect!"
Cherie smiled back and looked at her expectantly. Getting the old woman's meaning, she quickly whisked one tray of cookies onto a display tray and popped them into the glass case in the front, not even noticing the girl standing there waiting.
As Ivy rushed back into the kitchen, Cherie waltzed back into the front. Sighing, the girl gave herself a moment to breathe. Leaning on the countertop she spied the other tray of cookies and grabbed a plate from one of the cupboards. He had never answered one way or another on wanting a cookie, so why not? As she placed the baked goods onto it, she wondered how many he would want. Was he big eater? Thinking of his size, she didn't think anything could be so large if it didn't eat a lot. Seven was a good number. If he didn't eat them all, he could take them back with him to… where ever it was that he came from.
Opening the door, she nearly ran face first into a colossal red chest.
"What took so long?" he said, as she craned her neck to look up at him.
From a distance, he had looked impressive and strange but up close, he was intimidating; a powerful stance, a toned body, and an aura of physical prowess. She clutched the plate of cookies with both hands and bit her cheek to distract her from staring. Pushing past him, she closed the door.
"You nearly made me drop the cookies," she said, ignoring the fact that, had Cherie been behind her or near her when she opened the door, she would have gotten a full view of the city's urban big foot.
She placed the plate on the top of a garbage can, looking at him out of the corner of her eyes until she saw him move towards the confections. Moving to the side, Ivy leaned against the wall and tried wrapping her head around the absolute ridiculous situation she was in.
There were many facets to it that made it ridiculous. Hellboy, himself, for one. Hellboy hiding by Cherie's garbage cans. Hellboy talking to her. Interacting with him and not shaking in fear (really, it was hard to be completely terrified of someone who managed to look so comfortable and at home against a brick wall). And he was still there, eating a cooki—
"How long do you have to hide?" she asked, turning towards him as he reached for another cookie.
"Just until they double back," he said between mouthfuls.
As if the day hadn't been going oddly enough, the roar of a helicopter flew over head.
"Like clockwork," he said, smiling and taking another bite out of the cookie.
Ivy fidget, expecting him to leap away suddenly, but watched him polish off every cookie on the plate. Rubbing his fingers on his jacket front, he turned to her.
Dumbfounded, she nodded and walked back to the door before, once again, stopping.
"Uh… do you want to take it in a baggie or just another plate?"
"Takeout? Sure, why not?" he answered with a shrug.
In she went, into the kitchen, packed up the cookies, adding another bullet to the list of the crazy aspects of the day. This time, she gave him the remainder of the tray, putting them in the beautiful green paper bags Cherie hand made for take-aways.
Handing it to him, she noticed how large even his regular hand was compared to her own.
"Tell your boss she makes some great cookies," he said as he used his large right hand to pull himself up on top of the wall.
He gave a half salute as he disappeared over the wall. She called out a goodbye, almost regretting that she hadn't had the chance to tell him that the cookies were her own.
Turning back the store, she grabbed the plate off the trash can and opened the door just as the intro to "Time to Say Goodbye" began to play again. The sound of the song, beautiful and sad, clashed with the hilarity of the previous encounter, making it almost seem like nothing but a great daydream.
But the second tray of cookies was gone and she could still taste the cigar smoke in the back of her throat.
Somehow, it had all actually happened.
Closing Author's Note
So? Thoughts? Do we like so far? And what about my dear Ivy? She seem like a cool character? I hope so!
Please feel free to leave a review! In fact, I highly recommend doing so as the motivate me to write. Plus! I get to see what you think about the story! So! Off with you!
- Cherry Fingertips