I do not own any of the works mentioned in the chapter below.

Sorry for the delay! I swear, the internet is so distracting. I bet some of you are meant to be working.

I am too.

/shot


A First Time for Everything

Saturday, June 6, 1987

Berwald

The first time was phenomenal. How was I to comprehend what it had meant? It was my fifth birthday, and my parents brought me to the Stockholms stadsmuseum. I think it was my first time going there. My parents were telling me about how much fun I was going to have. Mum had just gotten back from Toronto and bought me a gem, amethyst, that rested upon a bed of cotton inside a clear case. I would hold it so close to my face that I saw nothing but amethyst. It brought a feeling upon me, a feeling that I tried to mimic with alcohol and found again with Tino, a feeling of emptiness, relief, and senselessness. My parents described everything to my bouncy 5-year-old self. I was so thrilled that I awoke an hour before the sun did. I put on my sneakers and took out my amethyst and went into the backyard and down the steps to look at the river in my pyjamas. I sat by the river and watched the sun come out. I remember seeing a mummy duck and her babies swim in the river. I probably fell asleep. I heard Mum calling from the house and made my way back up, making sure to be careful and not drop the amethyst. She was irked with me for going out by myself, but didn't fuss about it, considering it was my birthday.

Both of them decided to take a break that night so they were in no rush to dress and to get out the door. I was ready long before they took their showers. I sat on their bed and pretended to read Mum's score. This was around the time where my musical parents realised that I, their one and only offspring, was musically illiterate. It's not that I didn't want to try; I just could never pick up how it was supposed to sound by reading the scores. I loved music, but when I attempted to recreate it the way they did, it only sounded like a screech. And though I was able to read books when I was four, scores just looked like pretty black blobs to me. But still, my parents were still hoping for musical proficiency, so when I pretended to read the score, Mum sat down next to me and attempted to aid me in reading it. A few moments after that, Mum started to sing and I was screeching along with her. I started snapping my fingers offbeat and Mum started tickling me and we were giggling. Dad walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist and joined us and both Mum and Dad started singing for a few wondrous minutes and Dad picked me up and Mum danced along with us in a waltz. Then, the phone rang and the singing halted. Mum went out to answer it and dad sat me down on the floor to get dressed.

Finally, after a long wait, they were ready. Mum wore a purple dress and heels; she painted her nails purple to match her dress. Dad looked magnificent in black pants and a dark blue shirt, a striking contrast to Mum's exuberance. We all sat down in the car. I lay on the backseat. I've always had the backseat to myself. I looked at the sky through the windows.

"Sit up Berwald," Mum said. "We're here."

I sat up and looked at the building. This satisfied my requirements for Museum. After being dragged by my parents around The United Kingdom and Ireland. Since it was Monday, it was easy to find a parking spot. My parents brought me inside and explained everything to me, to which I responded with, "I can read!"

When we were told that the museum was closing, I nearly cried because I wanted to stay. I was exhausted and Dad ended up carrying me back to the car. I fell asleep in the backseat and when I woke up, we were home and it was time for dinner.

We had dinner in Mr and Mrs Honda's apartment. They were our landlords. Mr Honda was quiet and old fashioned. He seemed to like me though he's never said anything much. Mrs Honda (she insisted that I call her Honey) was my friend, my crazy Japanese sake-drinking babysitter. I spent most of my day with Honey. My mum wasn't the best cook, but Honey could cook anything from pizza to nyponsoppa. Tonight, she cooked k├Âttbullar and strawberry shortcakes (a request from me).

We dug into the food. They sang happy birthday and I blew the candle on my slice of cake. I don't actually remember what I wished for. But I remember that I was allowed to stay up later than usual because it was my birthday, and a five-year-old's request had to be fulfilled unless you want a nightmare on your hands. I sat in the front porch with my parents and Mr and Mrs Honda. I drank cranberry juice while the adults had sake, I believe. We sat there for quite a while, my parents talked to the Hondas about going to Kyoto and me staring at the night sky. Eventually, Mum said, "Bear, bedtime." I brushed my teeth and tried stalling bedtime by asking Dad to read me stories. He complied. It was my birthday, after all. After he read to me for a while, I still couldn't sleep. Mum came in and started singing to me for a while, but I still couldn't sleep. Mum pursed her lips and told me that she'd play piano for me outside. She played Debussy's Claire de Lune and Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. She then walked into my room to see if I was still awake. I must have looked tiny in my too-big bed, a hyper little birthday-boy.

"Oh. Still can't sleep, Bear?"

I nodded pathetically.

"Mum's sleepy and Dad's already in bed. Will you be okay?"

"Oui."

She smiled and gave me a hug. "Pretty exciting day today, huh? You're five years old!"

"Can we go to the museum again tomorrow?"

"No, but we can go back really soon, alright?"

"Okay."

"Goodnight, Bear." She left my door open and turned off the hall lights. "Sleep tight and sweet dreams."

I could hear noises: the sink running, toilet flushing, and rustle of bedsheets. Then all was silent. I decided to get out of bed and stare at the empty street. I heard a few cats meowing and could see some headlights. I stayed at the window for a while and decided to stand up. Everything changed then.

Thursday, January 2, 2004, 4:06 a.m./ Saturday, June 6, 1987, 10:53 p.m. (Berwald is 21 and 5)

Berwald

It's 4:06 a.m., I was in an all-night drunk gaming frenzy playing Freedom Fighters. It's below freezing outside and I'm about ready to crash. I turn the Xbox off and crawl to my room. I was about ready to crash to bed, but I don't land on soft mattress. No. I land on hard marble. I stand up and see that I am now naked. In Stockholms stadsmuseum. I remember that today, I will be seeing little me time travel for the first time. I run to find the employee lockers and throw on clothes at random. Luckily, they fit. Unluckily, they smell like horse ass. I sprint towards the lobby are and await my small self, a large shirt in hand.

He appears nearby my standing spot.

"Berwald." I call out softly.

I hear his breath hitch, but he doesn't move.

"Hey, Berwald. It's okay. I'm your own private tour guide. We can look at all the exhibits again. Don't be scared."

I hear a slight noise coming from him. I approach him cautiously. "Here, I have a shirt for you, Berwald. Put it on so you won't get cold while we look around again." He is in front of me right now. He looks fearful. I kneel in front of him and hand him the shirt. "Here you go, Berwald. Put it on." He puts on the shirt and looks at me expectantly. My five-year-old self, with choppy haircut, no glasses yet, ivory-pale and same stoic face.

"Hey. I'm really glad to see you, Berwald. Thank you for being here."

"Where am I? Who are you?" his voice is small and shaking, it echoes a little.

"You're in Stockholms stadsmuseum. I'm here to give you a special tour of the museum. It's only us here. My name is Berwald as well, isn't that silly?"

He nods a little.

"Would you like some Oreos? I love eating Oreos when I'm walking around museums." He reaches for it but hesitates. He is unsure of whether it is real or not. He is hungry, but he doesn't know how much he can take without being rude. "Take as many as you wish. I've already eaten a pack myself, so to be fair, you get your own pack." He takes the whole package. "Do you want to go anywhere first?" he mutters a no. "Alright, we can go look a the things that aren't on display, okay?"

"Okay."

We walk to the storage area. He's walking slowly, cautiously, and I follow behind him.

"Where's Mum?"

"She's sleeping at home. This is a very special tour only you can have because it's your birthday. And besides, grown-ups don't do this sort of thing."

"Aren't you a grown-up?"

"I'm an atypical grown-up. My job is to go on adventures. Of course I came when you said you wanted to come back here. I want to show you around."

"But how did I even get here?" he stops and looks at me with a confused look on his face.

"It's a secret. If I tell you, you're not allowed to tell anyone else."

"Why?"

"Nobody's going to believe you. The only people you're allowed to tell are Mum, Dad, and Honey, okay?"

"Okay."

I kneel in front of him. In front of my younger self, innocent, and frowning. I look at him in the eyes. "Pinky promise."

"Oui."

"Time travel. You got here by time traveling. Like in Back to the Future, but without the time machine. Your body is sort of the machine. You travelled just a few hours back and you're probably going to go home soon." He is looking at the ground thoughtfully. "Make sense?"

"My body is like the time machine. How?"

"That I don't know. You'll probably be the first to know when I figure it out. Let's move along."

After looking around the whole museum, we sit on the stairs and chat about one thing or another. He tells me he's starting to learn French and about Mum and Dad and the Hondas. He also tells me about his best friend Alfhild. I completely forgot about her. We stay best friends until about 5 months from now, and she'll move to Copenhagen right about then. He keeps on chattering and asks a few things about me. I tell him about Rosemarie and my workshop.

Then, he screams and reaches out for my hand. I grabbed the collar of his shirt but he's gone. I know that he's going to go to bed right about now. I remember everything. How could I forget? I woke up in the morning and tell Mum and Dad about it over breakfast. Mum had laughed and said that she wants to try it to.

That was the beginning.


((A/N: Wow okay I took forever to update. Don't kill me please. I was busy playing on my PS3 /shot. Yes. I changed their ages. So my exams went well, I suppose. Kept my GPA at 3.8 points. Aw yiss. Um review? I'll be super extra happy if you do. I write this whilst listening to Finntroll's Ur jordens djup. It doesn't go well with this. Sorry for shit description. Never been to the Stockholm City Museum. Or outside of Asia for that matter. I hope you enjoyed and do not forget to review. I live off of reviews. You don't want your beloved author to die, now do you? Okay I'll shut up now.))