A quick parting-fic!
As some of you guys know, I shall soon be heading off for Malaysia for a couple of months. I felt like I ought to leave a present before I go so, instead of re-organising my backpack like I should've been, I wrote this quick ficlet. XD
Title: Nothing To Worry About Characters: Ickle!Teatime Warnings: None! None at all! .D
"Rum little fellow, isn't he? So tiny."
"Doesn't seem to quite understand, either. I suppose that's for the best - poor little chap."
The two men turned, for a moment, to look at the small boy in the corner of the room. He was about three or four, gazing up at one of the oak bookshelves with an thoughtful expression. Reaching out one hand, he touched one of the huge, leather-bound tomes - then grinned hugely. The two men glanced back at each other.
"Hope he's not planning on climbing them."
"Might want to open one. He's lettered, after all."
A look of surprise from the first Assassin. "That young? I know his father was well employed, but I didn't realise they could afford a tutor so soon..."
"They couldn't. He's a little precocious, or so Gerard said."
"Gerard... You knew the Teatimes, then?"
Lord Downey nodded. "I did. It's at my request we're taking him in, rather than his father's Guild. Gerard had high hopes for the boy - if he doesn't take to the profession, he'll at least have the best education." He walked towards the little boy, crouching to his level. "Hello, there - Jonathan, isn't it?"
Slowly, the child turned his head away from whatever he was plotting for the bookcase. He nodded.
"Would you like to look at one of the books?"
The bright smile burst forth again. "Yes please!"
Lord Downey found himself smiling in return. It was silly, really, to be so wary of the boy's eyes, with their tiny, pin-prick pupils; and he was entirely unfamiliar with children, so perhaps three was a perfectly reasonable age to be using the sort of vocabulary he'd heard from the boy. And seeing such a ghastly thing would have an unsettling effect on anyone so young. So he told himself as he pulled one of the books from the shelf, opening the pages mid-way through (the child surely couldn't have any comprehension of speculative metaphysics, could he?).
But Jonathan didn't seem interested in the pages, or the words. He put his hand underneath the book, feeling the cover.
Darque - the other Assassin - chuckled. "It's a nice feel, isn't it, boy?"
Jonathan looked up into Downey's eyes. "This is skin?"
A pause. "... cow's skin, yes. That's what leather is made of."
"Not at all." Downey pulled the book away, snapping it shut. Jonathan didn't blink. "Why would you think..."
"Mummy said it was people-skin," the boy explained, looking very cheerful. "Mummy said bad boys and girls got their skin taken away because it could be used for books and then they'd be useful." He cocked his head. "Do you do that here?"
"No," Downey replied. "That would be entirely uncivilised and far too messy."
"But you make dead people here. For Daddy."
"We inhume people with dignity, little boy. Doing something like that -" Downey attempted to phrase his thoughts in a manner appropriate for a three-year-old "- well, it wouldn't be nice. Would it, Darque."
"Not nice at all. Can you imagine having to do something like that? Very messy. Very slippery. Could ruin your shoes, something like that."
Jonathan was looking thoughtful again. "... I think it would be nice," he concluded, finally.
And of course all young boys had a fascination with the gruesome - of course they did, what sort of young lad didn't - but there was something so earnest in his face, so thoughtful, even after almost two days trapped in a playpen with the bodies of his parents... Downey stood up.
"Well," he said. "The nurse will be along presently." He slotted the book back into it's place. "Darque, if you could mind young Mister Teatime until she comes along..."
He'd grow out of it, Downey told himself. All little boys were like that.