Francis Bonnefoy was badass, the definition and what many thought a badass would be. In fact, he was so powerful, he controlled most of the underworld’s dealings from extortion, blackmail, kidnapping, prostitution, and even drug trafficking. His papa, Gaul, was tough and made him tough. No one dared fuck with his Papa. Francis grew up to be a badass, had an empire of his own, and a wife. However, something changed, something major that he couldn’t take back. He had a son. He didn’t know HOW he got there, he didn’t know WHY, but it didn’t change the fact that he had a son and a single father. He wasn’t kid friendly to begin with. It wasn’t like he didn’t like Matthew; it’s just that he couldn’t be around him for a long time. He ruined the boy’s life. He knew what he had to do. There weren’t many places that he or Gaul hadn’t had groups in. However, there was man who knew whom he knew would be about for him. He made a phone call on the plane. He looked over at Matthew. The boy stared out the window. He knew he never allowed crying, ever, and he held them all in, making sure he wouldn’t cry in front of his Papa. Within a week, he almost lost his mother and guardian, saw them both blown out a window, and now told he was moving away to a strange place without either of them. Francis reached into his bag and plopped a book in front of him. It was a copy of fairytales.
“Keep your mind off,” Matthew nodded. They arrived at the house in the dead of night. It was a very large house in a very spaced neighborhood. It had a large front yard, surrounded by a white picket fence. Francis ushered Matthew out of the car. They walked to the door where Francis pounded on it. Soon someone answered. Matthew looked at the strange man. He was tall, but not as tall as Papa with freckles, blue eyes, pinkish hair, and a big smile on his face.
“Francis! It’s been awhile!” he flung his arms around him. Francis cringed and pats him awkwardly, “Please, come in, come in!” Matthew looked around the house. It was immaculate and spacious. Soon the strange man spotted him, “My word! Is this little Mattie?” The man got down on one knee and smiled at him. Matthew took a step back.
“Yeah it’s him,” said Francis, “Greet him, son,”
“H-Hello,” he said quietly.
“So you’re little Mattie, I’ve heard loads about you little one!” he said smiling at him, “My name is Arthur Kirkland but you can call me Artie if you like,” Matthew nodded, “Not the talkative type are you? Well you can when you feel ready. But maybe you can tell me what’s your favorite supper and I’ll try my best to make it for you,”
“We’ll have it tomorrow, I promise. I’m just so glad you’re here,”
“DAD! Mattie punched me in the eye!”
“If I catch you in my room again I’ll shove my hockey so far up your ass that you're going to be coughing splinters!”
“The boys are fighting again,” Artie said in the kitchen sipping his tea while Francis sipped his wine.
“They’ll tire soon,” it’s been about three years since Matthew arrived in the States. Artie was just so happy that Matthew called his room, his room, not ‘the place Artie gave me to sleep’. Alfred ran to Artie holding his eye. Both boys looked as though they were fighting for a while with the normal cuts and bruises. Artie got up. He was pretty used to this by now. Alfred and Matthew beat the living snot out of each other on a daily bases, usually it was nothing major but when both got serious, one or both could end up in the hospital. Matthew went to the fridge for some milk.
“What did you do this time, Alfie,” said Artie.
“I was minding my own business,”
“That’s bullshit and you know it,” barked Matthew.
“Mattie calm down!”
“We all know he shouldn’t be using that phrase,”
“Anyway!” Alfred leered, “I went in his room and found this,” Alfred held up rather beaten up looking stuffed rabbit. The color drained from Matthew’s face.
“Give that back!”
“I think everyone would know that big, bad Matthew Williams sleeps with a stuffed bunny! Whatcha name it? After your girlfriend?”
“Fair warning! Give it back!” Alfred and Francis feel the tension rising. Artie made a grab for the bunny but Alfred had already ran for it.
“Make me Mattie-Mattie!” Matthew ran at him. Alfred immediately ran outside, still with the bunny.
“GIVE IT BACK!” Alfred smirked. He had it dangling before throwing it up into the tree, which it fell into the mud. Matthew glares.
“Aww did I mess it up?”
“You’re DEAD!” Matthew tackled Alfred into the tree and proceeded to pound him over and over again until he heard something crack, then he repeatedly kicked him in his butt, “Maman gave that to me you ass!” he hid his tears under her rage. He gathered it and back into the house. Artie looked at the muddy stuffed bunny. It was ripping and covered with mud. Matthew looked visibly upset. He smiled and pats his head.
“Don’t worry, he can get fixed,”
“Thank you Artie,”
“Get ready for school,” he nodded and ran upstairs. Moments later, Alfred limped into the house. Artie fixed him up and scolded him, “I really wish you’d stop provoking Mattie so early in the day. The school nurse says at this rate you’ll be lucky to make it to puberty,” at school, Matthew and Maximo hung around at recess and __________ and him would trade lunch and play during lunch. After school, they both walked to home together, since she was closer.
“Why do you watch such a girl show?!” he said looking at her. She was humming the theme song of her favorite show at the time.
“Sailor Moon isn’t a girl show! It’s really good!”
“All the characters are okay I guess what kind of weapon is throwing roses!”
“They have thorns!”
“Not enough to kill!”
“Magical roses?” he laughed.
“You watch it too,”
“Yeah but Tuxedo Mask is the worst character ever! Roses!”
“I was going to ask you to dress like him for Halloween and I dress like a scout,”
“No way!” she laughed this time.
“But you’d look sooooooooo cute,” he grabbed her and ruffled her head. She struggled and tried to get away. Soon they were at her house. She hugged him tightly.
“See you tomorrow, Mattie!” he smiled, waited for her to be safely in the house, before going home. Everything was just so much better now. Not perfect but better.
Matthew watched in silence as Francis packed a few things. He refused to look at his son while he packed.
“Where are we going now?”
“You’re staying here with Artie. You’ll probably never see me again,”
“I know what’s best! Just stay here and don’t you dare cry,” Matthew stared. Francis scowled at him and walked downstairs, went into a taxi, and left. It was two months since that day. Since then, Artie tried to hunt Francis down. It was hard but finally found him in a seedy bar having a drink. He really would wish Francis would be less seedy sometimes. He went to him.
“Francis, we need to talk,”
“Hey Francis! Didn’t know you were into twinks!” a man grunted. Artie looked a bit puzzled.
“I do like twinkies if that’s what you mean,” many of the men crowed and laughed.
“Hey twink, wanna ride my trolley?”
“You have a trolley?! I would love a ride—,” Francis grabbed Artie and took him to the door. He gave them all a warning glare, that if anyone messes with Artie, it would be their asses. He took them to his apartment nearby, which was relatively clean but rundown and sketchy.
“I swear to fucking god you wouldn’t last one moment here,”
“Heh, you’re always around to make sure I’m okay,” he smiled. Francis sighs.
“What do you want?”
“Mattie wants his Papa,”
“Tell him I’m dead,” Artie was taken back.
“Francis! He’s your son! He needs you!”
“He doesn’t need me! He can manage fine without me!”
“Francis…please, Matthew is still a child! He’s a frightened thing and he needs you in his life—,”
“HE DOESN’T NEED ME!” Artie recoils. Francis leers at him, “I’m not cut out for this shit! I don’t fuckin’ deserve him! He doesn’t need me fuckin’ up his life anymore than I have! He already doesn’t have his mother because of me and its best thing I can do for him is to stay far away from him as possible! He’s already in a fuckin’ better place and this is the best I can do for him,”
“What do you mean?”
“He has you, doesn’t he? You’re a better parent than I can ever be. I’ll wire money over, just raise him for me,” Artie came back home looking weary. He knew what Francis was trying to do but it’s not fair to do this to Matthew, especially what’s he’s been through. He spied Matthew in the living room. He was at the table eating a few cookies. He perked up for the sake up the boy.
“Hello Mattie! Why are you up so late? Growing boys need their rest,”
“Papa’s not coming back is he?” Artie stared at Matthew. He was looking out the window with tears cascading from his face.
“He will, don’t worry,”
“He doesn’t want me around, does he?”
“He does but I think he just needs a little time to himself,” Artie felt awful. Matthew has already been through a lot. He needed his father, but he knew Francis. Francis was very hands off when it came to things. In this case, Francine was the perfect buffer. He pulled the boy into his arms. Matthew sobbed, “Shh, it’ll be okay,”
“No it’s not, when you get tired of me, you’ll make me leave too,” Artie pulled him away and looking into his eyes.
“Matthew, for as long as you live, you will always have a home here and I will always be around when you need me,” He took an handkerchief and wipes his face, “And I promise you I’ll get your Papa to come home. I promise,” For the next few days, Matthew kept to himself. He missed his Maman, he missed his Papa, he missed his Soeur Aînée, his missed his home. He often found himself in his new room just curled in bed. He ventured outside. There weren’t many places to see. Artie was nice, too nice sometimes, but nice. Alfred, however, he wanted to beat the living crap out of him. One day, Artie took the boys to a Farmer’s Market for groceries. Matthew wondered off a little while, mainly because he was curious to see everything about. There a few kids around but many just walked passed him. He glared until he heard a tiny little voice.
“Hi!” he looked up. He saw a cute little girl with two big (e/c) eyes and (h/c) hair. She had a big smile and looked very friendly. He didn’t want to speak. He was so used to speaking French that he was afraid to say something.
“Salut,” he muttered
“How are you?” she said brightly. Could she understand him?
“What’s your name? I’m ________!”
“I never seen you around here before,”
“I just got here a few weeks ago,” his reply seemed to satisfy the little girl.
“I can’t wait to see you at school! Have a good day!” he watched her leave. Besides Artie and Alfred, she was one of the first he met since he got here. He stared at her for a few moments.
“What a weird girl,”
“Matthew?” he looked up. Artie was smiling at him, “Oh you met ________, Mr. (l/n)’s daughter. Isn’t she nice?”
“I guess so,” he said reddening a bit.
“Don’t worry, you two will see each other at school next week! Maybe you can have a play date soon!” Sure enough when they started school, she was in his class and at recess, she smiled and greeted him again and asked if he wanted to play. He nodded and joined her in a game of tag. He had to admit, it felt good to be wanted. Especially by someone as nice and sweet as this girl.
Gaul arrived at the Kirkland house early that morning on Saturday. Everyone was still eating breakfast. He strode into the kitchen. The man was intimidating with his steel gray eyes boring into his grandson’s soul. All sorts of feelings came back to Matthew when his Pepe came to visit. He remembered the day he left his mother and big sis and moved here all because he said it was best. He and Alfred were sent upstairs. However, he lingered nearby to hear everything. He was away for a while but he was able to catch the conversation.
“Actually moving sounds like a great idea,” Matthew’s blood went cold. They were moving back to Canada? He thought they were never going back but he inched further.
“I think the move would do him some good,” said Pepe, “A boy needs room to grow and somewhere close where he can call his own,”
“I agree but maybe we should ask him first,”
“He needs to realize that as a man, he’ll have to take the good with the bad and in this case, he doesn’t have a choice,”
“I see,” said Artie, “I’ll talk to him tonight about it,” Matthew glared. He didn’t want to leave. He liked it here. He glared. He wasn’t going to leave! He ran to his room and packed. There weren’t many places a boy could live by himself but he’ll go to the woods if he had to in order to stay with people he actually liked. He packed and went out the window. He climbed to the roof, went to the tree, and climbed down. He then ran down the street and plotted his next move. There were two people he knew he could turn to. Maximo was one, but he didn’t live close by, and but his second choice was ________ and she did live close. He knew she could help him but he had to be careful. He didn’t like her mother, not one bit. He started his long journey to her house. When he got there, it was late afternoon. He saw her in the backyard playing. She wasn’t like other girls, which he loved. Instead of playing house or dolls, she was playing barracks, using a lawn table as her barrack.
“The Prince is in the castle being held captive by Queen Beryl! I, Sailor Leaf, will save him and obtain the Silver Crystal! In the name of the Planet Earth, I will punish her!”
“Psst!” ________ stopped. Matthew was hiding behind the bush. She trotted to the bush and was face to face with a pair of purple eyes. Her face went red.
“H-How long have you been in there?!” he smirked.
“Fighting Evil by Moonlight, winning love by Daylight, never running from a real fight, she is the one name Sailor Leaf!”
“Don’t tell anyone about this!”
“Shh! Keep your voice down! Let me in, I’m stay with you,”
“I’ll tell you when I’m in!” she complies and ushered him into the house. Her mother was watching soap operas and she was the furthest thing from her mind. Her room was upstairs far from the other rooms. She didn’t really know why. Inside, Matthew sat on a chair in front of her desk. It wasn’t really a girl’s room. There were stuffed animals around but not a lot with a Sailor Moon poster, but there was a bookshelf with books, a bed with white quilt, and a closet. Matthew explained everything that happened that morning and the events that led to it.
“I thought you wanted to back,”
“I don’t wanna go back to Canada!” he said looking at her, “Papa and Pepe wants me to go but I don’t wanna go! I want to stay here with Artie, my friends, and you!”
“I can’t leave my friend! I’d miss you! If I left, Alfred will walk all over you and I’ll be damned if that happens! Who’s going to keep Tim out of trouble?! Then there’s Maximo, we hadn’t finished that pissing contest against Alfred and Gilbert,”
“I wish you two would stop doing that,” she winced, “I hate being the referee in that contest,”
“You’re the only girl we know and you’re biased about it,”
“That’s because you guys are peeing! Why did you come here? I mean I’m happy you’re here! But wouldn’t you want to be with another boy?”
“Well it’s because you’re closer but you always like having me around. I don’t want to leave someone who actually wants me,” _______ takes his hand.
“It’ll be hard but you can stay here but have to keep quiet,” he nodded. She sets up a makeshift bed under her bed for him. Thankfully her bed was high enough and her blankets were long. She sneaked him food and water and was bathroom lookout. At night, when she was in bed, Matthew joined her in bed and they sat and talked until she dozed off, “Mattie, do you ever miss Canada?”
“Yeah,” he said, “I miss my mom more than anything,”
“She sounds really nice,”
“She is,” he said, “Before bed, she or Soeur Aînée would read me a story,”
“Lucky,” she said smiling, “Maybe I can go to Canada with you someday,”
“I’ll take you there, I promise,” the pair talked for hours. They enjoyed each other’s company a lot. Matthew never felt so relaxed. It felt good to be wanted.
“Do you hate it here? I mean in town. Sometimes you look like you’d rather be in Canada but then again; you don’t want to be there,”
“When I first came here, I really wanted to go back home, to be with Maman and Soeur Aînée but now I don’t because…I have everything I need here. The only thing I don’t have are them and Artie kinda fills that, I guess,”
“Mr. Kirkland? I’ve always thought you saw him as a mom, he’s an cool mom,”
“Not at first. I mean it’s not like I hate Artie, he’s nice I guess but, how can someone be so nice all the time?! I mean, he pays a lot of attention to me; Papa did when he was around, but it was more with training and stuff,”
“Papa wants me to be strong just like him so we fight a lot so I can become strong. I’ve used to it but sometimes Uncle Allistor comes by and does the same,”
“Yeah, he’s awesome, he’s Artie’s brother. You should meet him one day,” soon the pair grew tired and fell asleep. Mr. (l/n) passed by to check on _________. He saw her sleeping from the door but noticed two arms around her while she slept. He shook his head. Maybe he was seeing things, it was late in evening and her room was dark.
Francis had been worried sick for the last few days. Matthew has ran away and been gone a week. Artie looked everywhere in town, asking neighbors and other children. Gaul and Francis took another approach. Francis went through brothels, black-market sellers, and prostitution rings to see if anyone brought in a boy fitting Matthew’s description. Gaul did that on a global basis, both praying that he was still alive. It was entering the second week and no one knew where the boy had gone. Artie then thought about asking someone he knew Matthew wouldn’t leave behind. He and Francis went to the (l/n) residence. For the last week, Matthew has been secretly living in the house. _________ brought him their homework, telling Miss Smith that Matthew was sick and she was bringing him homework. Alfred, knowing the story and threatened with death by Matthew, confirmed this. The only person Matthew had to evade at the house was Mrs. (l/n) mother’s who went out every day after she took ________ to school. He managed to sneak breakfast, lunch; watch television, and keeping things tidy while she was gone. When she got home, he pretended he came over from school to play with her. Then when it was time to “go home” he walked home, went around the neighbor’s yard and back to the house. He didn’t care. He liked being around ________. However, they reached a whole level of panic when Matthew saw his father and Artie’s car pulling up in front of the house. ___________ quickly hid him in her room.
“Remember, you never saw me!”
“I know!” she whispered.
“________?” He father called from downstairs. She ran downstairs and was greeted to the three men. She gulped and slowly approached them.
“Mr. Kirkland and Mr. Bonnefoy want to talk to you,” she nodded slowly. Mr. Kirkland and Mr. Bonnefoy looked at the little girl. She gulped when she saw Mr. Bonnefoy. His eyes were bloodshot, he looked scruffier than usual, he had a very solemn look on his face, and she could smell alcohol on him, more so than usual. Artie got down on one knee.
“_________, we need to ask you a very important question. Have you seen Matthew?” she was careful not to hesitate.
“I’m sorry, I-I haven’t,” she said.
“Are you sure dearest?”
“Y-Yes Mr. Kirkland, I haven’t seen Matthew at all,”
“Fuck she was our last hope,” said Mr. Bonnefoy. _______ saw the sadness and general worry in his face.
“We’re sorry to trouble you Mr. (l/n),”
“It’s okay; we’ll keep an eye out for Matthew,” ________ ran upstairs. Matthew looked up at her.
“They’re gone,” she said. He sighed in relief.
“Matthew, maybe you should tell them you’re okay in some way. Your Papa looked really bad, like he’s been crying,”
“Papa never cries. He’ll be okay, he’s just gonna take me back. Please don’t tell anyone I’m here,”
“I-I won’t,” Matthew didn’t know the extent of how much everyone was looking for him. There were signs everywhere. Artie went to school looking worried every day, when she saw Mr. Bonnefoy at the Bakery when she passed, he looked terrible. She knew Mattie wasn’t completely happy either. She knew what she had to do. She just hoped that Matthew didn’t hate her later.
__________ opened the door to Artie’s Bakery Friday after school. Artie was at the counter, making the shift from afternoon to evening. He spies the little girl and smiles at her.
“Well hello poppet! How are you today?” she looked at him before beckoning him closer. She whispered something in his ear. He nodded and puts up a closed sign, closed the curtains and gave her some milk and a cupcake, “What’s on your mind, love?”
“I-I-I know where Mattie is,” he looked at her for a few moments, “He’s okay, he’s been living in my room for the past month. He overheard his dad talking about taking him back to Canada and living with Pepe and well, he doesn’t want to go because he’ll miss you and Alfred and Maximo and all the other people he likes. He also doesn’t think anyone would like him if he moved again. Please don’t make him go Mr. Kirkland!” tears rolled down her cheeks, “I’ll miss him too!” Artie smiled and gently cleaned her face with a handkerchief.
“Oh love, young ladies really shouldn’t cry. It was a very brave thing you did telling me what you knew. I’m guessing Mr. Bonnefoy frightened you,” she nodded.
“Mattie really doesn’t want to leave and after school, he came to my house and never left. He overheard you all talking and he got scared,”
“Well I have good news for both of you. He’s not moving back to Canada. You see, the house is large, very large and he and Alfred have been neighbors for years now but Francis thought it would be a good idea for Mattie to move across the landing near the guestroom where his uncle usually stays,”
“S-So he’s not moving?!”
“Nope. I have to admit, you two had us worried for two weeks now. That has to be a record,”
“I hope he won’t be mad at me,”
“I’ll handle Mattie, come let’s make his favorite sweet,” he walked over and hugged her tightly, “You did a very brave thing, love. It’s not easy doing what’s right even if you’re friend will be angry with you later. You didn’t do anything wrong. We’ve been worried sick but I’m glad you told us,” he took her home and then called Francis.
“I found him, he’s alive and well. Don’t worry and called Gaul. We can collect him in the morning. Why? Let him have one more night with his friend,”
“Francis, I would love for you and Mattie to live with Alfred and me. It’s a big house, too big for just two people and he’ll be able to have stability with his father. We’ve practically lived with each other for years before. Please Francis, for Mattie,”
“He doesn’t need me,” Francis growled, “You raising him would be a hundred times better,”
“Then what if I stuck around a bit?” Allistor walked in the house. Both stared at him.
“Allistor, what are you doing here?”
“A beautiful blonde birdie told me ye were in America and she was makin’ sure her kid and husband were safe and sound. Look I’m not one to care about shite like this but the boys needs ye and Artie needs ye so I’ll stick around to make sure you stick around and take care of them for me,” Francis sighed, “You don’t want Francine to worry do ye? It’s bad enough Artie is ill and Mattie may suffer some psychological shit and become a sissy because of this shit. I doubt you want him to be a weak, dependant little shit, do ye?” Francis winced at the thought. Matthew was strong right now he didn’t want to crush that.
“Where’s my room?” Artie pounced on him and hugged. He glared and pats the man awkwardly. It would be hard but he would have to make Matthew into a strong man.Francis walked into the room. Matthew was in his bed reading a book. Before he could react, Francis tossed Matthew’s hockey stick at him. He caught it.
“Let’s see if Artie made you soft,” Matthew grinned and dodged Francis’ saber.
It took them a long time of coaxing but Artie managed to get Matthew out of hiding at the (l/n) home. Matthew agreed he’ll come home, granted that he gets a say in his future about this moving and that _______ won’t get into trouble. Artie gathered his things and took him outside. The little girl was alone for a moment with Francis. ____________ gulped when Francis loomed over her. She didn’t know what he was going to do. He stretched out his hand. She winced but felt a gentle pat on her shoulder and then met with a strong whiff of cologne and stale cigarette smoke as Francis hugged her.
“Thank you for keeping him safe for me,” she nodded, “And giving him someplace safe,”
Mrs. (l/n) was still baffled how her daughter could easily hide a small boy in his room for two weeks, under her nose, and still able to carry on as if nothing was wrong. Mr. (l/n) was actually impressed that she could do it.
“I guess this means we’re going to have to give a bed without a bottom,” said her mother.
“No, it just means we’re going to have to be more observant about her,” at home, Gaul and Francis took the boy into the living room to talk about his moving.
“I’m not moving, I’m not moving from another home again!”
“What are you on about?” Francis growled.
“I heard you all talking about moving me! I’m not leaving my home a second time! I’m wanted and damn it, I actually like it here. If you try to make me go again, I’ll run off again and this time no one will know where,” Gaul smirked at him.
“Nice threat, boy. Have to admit, I like how you stick to your shit like a man but you ran away like a boy. If you would have stuck around and waited, you would have known we were talking about moving you to another and larger room since you and Alfred can’t seem to be neighbors, we’re moving you across the landing,” Matthew stared at them. Relief passed on his face. However, it was short lived when Gaul tossed him his hockey stick, “But you’re going to have to earn it by showing me how strong you’ve gotten. If you want that room, you’re going to have to land five blows on me,”
Matthew hugged _________ tightly behind the school during their lunch break. She grinned and hugged him back.
“I got my own room!”
“Yep and I got to land five blows on Pepe,” she noticed that he looked more beaten up than usual but the teachers just figured he and Alfred got into another fight, as usual, “He went back to France but I got my own room!” he gave her another hug, “Tell anyone I hugged I’ll never forgive you,”
“If you ever need to run away, I’ll be here to hide you. I want to thank you for hiding me,”
“Anytime and thanks but I don’t think I’ll run away anytime soon. Oh before I forget!” she reached over and pecks his cheek. He froze and glared at her!
“W-What was that for?!”
“For not leaving to for Canada!”
“You didn’t have to kiss me!” he face was red. She giggled and pecks him again. He glared at her again and started rubbing his cheek.
“You’re not wiping it off you know, you’re rubbing it in!” he smirked.
“She is the one, Sailor Leaf!”
“Don’t tell anyone about that!” he laughed hard. He was glad he was still here. He would definitely miss her the most.
Matthew looked over at ____________ sleeping on the couch. He walked over to her and just stared at her. She looked so peaceful in sleep. He gently traced her cheek with his finger. She stirred a bit. He liked watching her sleep. He leaned down and kissed her softly. She opened her eyes. He winked.
“Wow, are we playing sleeping beauty?”
“Nope, just when Sailor Leaf beats Queen Beryl, falls into a sleep and finally rescued by the prince she was saving,” she looked at him puzzled before smiling, “How did that story end?”
“I was eight, the concept of love aftermath meant living peacefully,” he smirked.
“You’re an adult now, so let’s do that special thing that adults do,” he picked her up and took her upstairs.
“I don’t think my eight year old self meant getting ravished by a horny Canadian,”
“True but you have a choice in the manner. It’s your own fault for being so damned cute,”
And being the one person I can always depend on to be here with me