CLIPPED WINGS | 3
CHPT 3. FLEE THE NEST
Laszlo Kreizler x female!reader series [SEASON ONE ONLY]
description: You're midway through bargaining yourself out of the Nightingale Women's Institution when another boy is found and Roosevelt is pushed to make a decision.
stars’ main masterlist!
CLIPPED WINGS MASTERLIST
ꜝ Trigger warnings for this chapter only ꜝ this chapter is rated MATURE/17+ as it will include mentions of minor prostitiuion - canon to ‘the alienist’, depictions of injury, blood, foul language, drug use/drugging, death, murder etc. Please only read if you’re comfortable with the mature/gory/explicit themes present in Alienist, which is rated 17+. OUTDATED VIEWS/TERMS TO DESCRIBE MENTAL ILLNESS.
previous chapter | | next chapter
Desperation was a powerful thing. Even the strongest of people could be brought to their knees over it, submit themselves to the lowest of actions in the name of desperation.
‘In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.’ Those would later be the words of Theodore Roosevelt. And perhaps that was why he did what he had to. Perhaps the events of the day that he met the woman in the padlocked jacket had inspired him to accede to his desperation, admit defeat and choose the lesser of two evils.
Because as Sara, Laszlo and Theodore himself had stood to lead you back to the police carriage, ready to be shipped off to Nightingale Asylum with no chance of release in the future, one of the guards burst into the tiny interrogation room, his eyes darting to Roosevelt.
“There’s been another boy found, Commissioner,” He said in between puffs of breath, as though he had run through the entirety of the building to reach them as soon as he had received the news.
With that, all eyes fell to Theodore to make his decision.
Because it was clear what that meant. They were running out of time with little to no leads as to where to steer their investigation next. They needed help. They needed you.
He looked to you; your hands secured behind you with two of his fellow officers grabbing at your arms, then to Miss Howard and Dr Kreizler, who regarded him with a pleading gaze, knowing that your insight and position at Paresis Hall could help with the case immeasurably.
Teddy took a moment to think his options over, gaze tumbling to the floor. The pause was freighted with tension and waiting from all three parties who didn’t relent their corrosive stare at the man with the weight of the dead boys on his shoulders. “It seems you have reached a check-mate, Miss L/N,” He spoke quietly, as if somewhat ashamed as to what he was doing.
His job as police Commissioner was to catch criminals, force them to serve the time they owed in the name of justice, not free them back into society. But it was for the greater good, he had to tell himself. He was doing it in the name of the good of the children, the boys that were at risk of the sick person targeting them next, the families like the Santorelli’s that could lose their sons, their babies.
Because what if this killer moved onto bigger prey? That the small children no longer satiated him and he decided grown men and women were more his appetite now. In the time it had taken for him to talk with you and decline your plea of freedom, another life had already been taken, just sixteen days after Georgio had been found on the bridge.
He was choosing the lesser of two evils, Roosevelt reasoned with himself. The next best thing. He couldn’t stand there as more boys were slaughtered.
He gave the nod to his officers for them to release you. You were not done here as first thought.
The guards that held you were still seemingly still bitter about the fight you had put up when they had first wrestled you into the jacket and all but threw you back into the chair you had frequented. You stumbled back, legs weak from disuse, and fell back into your seat, the force of their push making it tip back in a fleeting moment onto its rear legs, before returning back with a thud.
“Please, she seems really quite passive. I doubt there is need for such brute force, gentlemen,” The man, the Doctor, with the soft eyes said in your defence. That you were not expecting. You stared at him for a moment, to which he looked back at you with a hint of a smile ghosting the corners of his lips.
What was his game? Who even was this man who seemed to extend his comfort to you despite being well aware of what you had done? He was forlorn, tentative with you almost in a way you’d never felt anyone behave towards you, both before and after… the incidents.
He was oddly calming, you’d give him that.
The three sat down once more, though this time you sat as equals. You held an upper hand here in a way you hadn’t when they’d first entered. You had a bargaining chip, your knowledge of the boys at Paresis Hall, and you were going to use it to fight tooth and nail for your freedom.
“If we let you free, there’s going to be some changes to the conditions of your arrest.” Roosevelt started, and you leaned forward in your seat.
“How so?” You asked, though you had a feeling from the cautious look in his eye it wouldn’t be a smooth transition into life as you’d known it as you hoped. But he was offering you freedom for heaven’s sake, you would take anything he put onto the table.
The commissioner looked hesitant to even propose it to you, knowing once he spoke he couldn’t take his word back. ‘For the greater good,’ bounced around Theodore’s head before he opened his mouth to talk once more.
“The first condition for your release is that you’re not allowed to leave New York? In fact, you don’t go anywhere without the accompaniment of someone working on the case.” It was less than favourable being babysat at your grand age of nearing thirty. You were a grown woman and you were still trying to recover your dignity left from being coddled like a child at Nightingale institution. Though the nurses were mostly kind, you hated how they babied you, treated you as though you belonged there, as though you really were a woman who had misplaced her sanity. But no matter how much it grated your nerves, you’d take being babysat over that wretched tiny, white room any day.
The days you had spent critiquing the lack of life in Nightingale was uncountable. The cynical part of you felt that was why everything was so clean, so bland. It hoped to turn the women habituating it into even blander, characterless beings. It planned to wipe every bit of them that remained intact clean; make them an ornament to society, something more acceptable to see. Turn mentally ill, sick women into pretty little statues that suddenly seemed nice to look at.
At least that was what could be said for you. Nightingale had tried to rip every unique part of you away and turn you into something pretty. And when they couldn’t, they forced you to sleep instead.
You would not go back there, you vowed.
“Okay,” You nodded, before a thought struck you at the proposition, “So will someone be living with me?”
Roosevelt went quiet, tilting his head in consideration “I suppose we could spare some men to keep guard over your door to prevent an escape. Though I was hoping to be subtle about releasing a prisoner into society...”
“If I may, Commissioner,” Doctor Kreizler cut in, making your head snap towards where he was sitting, “I believe I have the room to spare and Cyrus would provide the muscle power needed to stave off any nefarious behaviour. It would also allow me to assess Miss L/N more closely for any disconcerting behaviours that would make her a danger to be released.”
Theodore nodded at him, “Only if you’re sure, Kreizler. That would be a huge help to our department.” You looked between the men who discussed your future, ignoring the fact you felt Sara’s eyes on you.
“Great. I’ll stay with Doctor Kreizler and I won’t leave the city. Simple.” You said, making a move to stand. You had the taste of freedom tingling at the tip of your tongue, and you were hungry for it. A year and three months locked away in the institute and now there was the chance of emancipation standing before you. It had your heart racing in trepidation, pounding against your ribs with excitement. No more druggings. No more tiny rooms. No more nurses telling you when to eat, shoving the god awful food down your throat if you wouldn’t comply.
No more imprisonment. You could be normal again, get your life back to how it was before those awful men happened.
Doctor Kreizler seemed kind, that was a bonus. If you were to stay with him and this Cyrus he spoke of, you would be in good hands, gentle hands. You hoped, at least. You could be completely wrong about him, but out of the three people in the room, he seemed by far the superior choice for sudden supervisors.
“Then there’s the second term of your release,” Roosevelt’s voice stopped your excitement where it started, and you felt your eyebrows pull into a small frown. “If you step one single movement out of line, a lone hair width of trouble from you, and your pardon is revoked. You try to escape or hurt anyone else as you had done previously, and it’s the gallows for you Miss L/N.”
There it was.
You had to give it to Roosevelt, he was good. He had met your bargaining chip, your upper hand over the situation, with his own equally as compelling barter. You’d not had any intention as of yet to escape once and for all, but Roosevelt had made himself clear. You’d be stopped before you could even get a chance, you’d be hung for any misbehaviour. There would be no second chances.
But you wanted to help, truly. Not just for your own liberation, for Georgio. You hadn’t lied when you said you helped his family out here and there. You knew his mother struggled with such poor conditions and his father was a bastard even by your standards. He was such a small boy, and someone had robbed him from this world as well as whoever the boy was that had been found not minutes earlier.
You had a chance to help.
And so you nodded, albeit slowly, and your fate as an aid to the very same city you had sinned was sealed.
Roosevelt insisted on the guards leading you out the back entrance where a carriage awaited you and Laszlo to take you to his home. The New York police had covered up the fact they had caught the murderer of the seventeen men as simply a gang war that had gotten out of hand. They’d spun some half-assed story of how they’d chased the gang members out of New York with the promise of them not returning, too ashamed to admit it had been a pretty little woman who had caused them so much uproar. But the citizens had lapped it up, too afraid to think otherwise, to even dote on the fact that their precious high society was in danger.
So there you were, your identity safe yet being hurried into the back of the carriage to avoid any stares on the confining jacket that had still yet to be removed. The three watched as Roosevelt’s men shoved you into your seat, hearing you mumble something that clearly annoyed the bigger of the two as he swiftly backhanded your cheek and caused your lip to split open once more with a hiss of pain. Laszlo shook his head in despair, turning to his acquaintances. He was quick to notice Sara’s sad gaze as she stared at the coach where you sat, now forlorn as the blood rolled down your chin. He left her to her thoughts as the guard that had struck you handed him a small key, assumedly for the padlocks on that infernal jacket.
Laszlo glared at the man that passed him the small, metal object. His father had always taught him that there was no respect or honour in hitting women, particularly not for a man as huge and bulky as the officer in front of him. His papa may have been cruel to him at times, but he had the utmost respect for his wife and sisters and had always taught him to never lay an angry hand on a woman.
“I think it wise of you to wait until you’re with Cyrus until you free her. I’m still unsure of her nature, though I can only guess it is unreliable,” Roosevelt said quietly as Laszlo pocketed the key and stepped forward towards the carriage.
“I will heed your warning, Commissioner, but I am optimistic she will be co-operative if she cares about the boys as much as I believe she does.” He replied, turning his attention to Sara and speaking louder, “We will speak very soon, Miss Howard,”
She spared him a glance, nodding to him silently as though still lost in thought. He took his leave, stepping into the carriage himself and taking a seat opposite you.
And with that, the two of you were alone.
The coachman set off towards the other side of town, where Kreizler’s house was, and for a moment the horses’ hooves on the stone roads were the only thing to fill the silence.
You stared at him cautiously, taking in his smart clothing and the lavish gold-capped cane he carried in his left hand. He was a man of money, you quickly deduced, though he looked like no doctor you had ever seen before. He carried no stethoscope or white coat and looked more like a man of high society than anything. Your gaze travelled up to his face, his thick, well-groomed beard that gave him a very masculine yet gentle face, and eventually met two honey eyes that watched you take him in. You stared into them for a moment, as he did to yours, seemingly matching each other’s gaze with equally piqued interest.
He offered you a small smile, ostensibly trying to mute the caution that was written all over your face. You looked like a deer, attempting to decide if he were a hunter or some other menial woodland creature that would cause you no harm. So he spoke, quietly and passively to be sure he didn’t discomfort you.
“My name is Doctor Kreizler. I’m an Alienist working with Sara to catch Georgio’s murderer, and now as it seems the new boy as well,” He introduced himself, though he thought better than to attempt to shake your hand seeing as they were restricted. “I apologise for the restraints. I’m simply abiding to the commissioner’s wishes, I don’t believe you would do me any harm,”
“What makes you so sure?” You asked, your eyes narrowed onto the man who tilted his head at you in consideration.
“Miss L/N, unlike my peers I don’t believe you murdered those men on a whim. You said you were a school teacher, and that you helped the Santorelli’s when you could. From that, I can deduce you’re compassionate in nature. A compassionate woman doesn’t kill for the fun of it.” He explained, and you stared at him softly.
He had been the first, if the only, person to not brandish you a heartless ripper like everyone else.
“Is that what you do as an alienist?” You asked, curious about who this man that seemed so different to the others was. You looked down at your skirting, unable to keep his intensely inquisitive gaze on you. “You make deductions about people? Because you seem awfully sure of yourself.”
He smiled slightly again, this time a little humoured despite your serious tone. “Sometimes, yes. It’s my job to see what’s not there in someone’s words. Decide what is actually being said despite it not leaving the person’s lips.” He watched you nod in understanding, meeting his eyes again. “Can I gather from your silence that I was accurate in my conclusion that you had a good reason to murder those men?”
And there it was again. The coldness in your eyes at the prodding of the raw nerve. He should have known better than to inquire so quickly about your actions, but he was Laszlo after all. He had never been good at holding his tongue when something was on his mind. ‘You're too curious for this world, Laszlo,’ his mother’s words reverberated around his head as you drew into yourself, glaring at him for a second before avoiding his gaze altogether and searching out of the carriage window at the passers-by.
“It seems I have offended you, forgive me,” He said earnestly, attempting to reclaim your attention once more. “Miss L/N, if we are to find this murderer and…” he searched for the correct word, “cohabitate in my home for the time being, I wish for us to be civil, if not acquaintances.”
You thought his words over. He seemed to be genuine about his apology and it would make things incredibly difficult if you were to bicker with the man who had been gracious enough to offer you a place in his home. So you looked back at him, his face sweet with atonement, and nodded to him.
“Alright,” You spoke quietly, “In that case, you may call me Y/N,”
“Laszlo,” He replied, and you smiled at him in a sign of peace.
He produced an embellished handkerchief from his breast pocket and gently reached over to wipe your cheek where the guards had pressed you to the floor. It had been wet with something awful smelling that you hadn’t wanted to know the origin of, though it seems it must have left a mark as he lightly brushed over your cheekbone to remove it.
“You don’t have to,” You tried to say, though it came out as a peep at the tenderness in his movement, and he soon moved to your chin, brushing the remnants of blood away.
“Nonsense. I fear looking like that you’ll scare Mary,” He replies and you felt your heart tug as he gently dabbed at the split in your lip.
“Mary? Is that your wife?” You asked, keeping your movements as little as possible.
“No, my housemaid.” He replied simply, meeting your eyes that seemed to watch his face during his ministrations. “She will be able to patch up your wound,”
“That’s very generous, but I’m sure it can heal on its own.” You said, shifting in your spot as your arms began to fall asleep from their awkward position. “Is it just you two?”
“No. There is Cyrus and Stevie too,” Laszlo explained and you leaned in, eager to learn more of your sudden living arrangements, “Cyrus is my servant and bodyguard, and Stevie is my house boy,” You nodded your head in acknowledgement, though you were a little confused. Why would someone who seemingly lived without family employ three people to act as domestic help? How large could his house be exactly?
You remained quiet nevertheless, your eyes trailing the streets through the window. The horses trotting by with their passengers in tow. Children running in between the crowds, their little heads tipped back with carefree laughter despite the terrible, grown-up things happening in New York.
Just the colours of everything you embraced, a desperate change from the plain, bland white of Nightingale. Your eyes caught cherry blossom pinks in women’s dresses, verdant green in the fresh apples on one grocer’s stall, lapis blue in the writing on a shop window.
You couldn’t catch them all fast enough. The technicolour enthralled your vision after a year of dormant monochrome.
Laszlo’s eyes didn’t leave your face.
“Is there something the matter?” he asked, curious as to what had caught your attention so deeply.
“It’s nothing, it’s just,” You looked at the man and smiled bashfully, “I haven’t been outside in a while. I’ve missed seeing people, the outdoors.”
“I don’t wish for you to feel like a prisoner in my home, Y/N. Any time you wish to leave, whether it be for the case or for general purposes either Cyrus or myself can accompany you,” Laszlo promised, and your smile rested on your lips as you looked at him in pleasant surprise.
“Thank you, Laszlo. That’s very kind,” You replied, turning your attention back to the outside of the carriage.
And he was. He had proven himself to be kinder, gentler, than any man you’d ever met in the mere ten minutes you’d known him and you only felt curious as to where he found the strength to be so wonderfully caring for a woman, a murderer, than didn’t deserve his generosity in the slightest.
Laszlo Kreizler was like no man you’d ever met.
You’d arrived at his home shortly after that. With your lack of arms available to cement yourself to the ground, Laszlo found himself helping you to hop down from the carriage, albeit with a slight stumble on your part. He steadied you, shooting you a quick nod of reassurance before he led you up the steps to his home.
It was huge, that much you noted, possibly even three floors to it and the large, mahogany door surrounded a frosted glass window. A small side road led around to a yard area from what you could see, and the smell of animal manure was clear in the air. You knew what that meant, a man of his standing would no doubt have his own carriage tucked away back there, and even better…
“You have horses?” You asked as you reached the top step, him reaching out for the door handle with his left hand and twisting.
He opened the door, gesturing for you to enter, “Yes, three. Stevie usually tends to them, though, they’re working horses not pets.” He explained, and you nodded, making a mental note to chase up this Stevie about taking you to see them.
It was then you regarded his home. The chandelier that hung above your head must have cost a fortune alone. It rested classically in between a huge semi-spiralled staircase, illuminating the foyer you stood in as the dark wood of the railings and floorboards came to life. The wallpaper was timely, a dark blue base with cream details of flowers and swirls and other such patterns. It was oddly well furnished despite the fact this was strictly a man’s home, and part of you wondered if he had ever had a feminine association to help him.
He called out for Cyrus first, no doubt seeing as this was the man who was meant to keep you in check, per Roosevelt’s orders. Before he could call out again, a few thudding footsteps came from the kitchen in the back of the house, and a bulking tower of a man strolled into the foyer.
Despite his huge size, he had a round, kind face, beauty marks scattered on his cheekbones that you had always adored on a person. They had a way of bringing qualities to the skin, as though God himself had dripped ink over his creation, just to make it that bit more unique.
“Yes, sir?” He responded politely. He looked from the Doctor, then to you and you could only imagine what you looked like.
You knew your hair was a mess from how hard the guards had yanked it when two of them tackled you to the ground as the others had slipped the jacket on you in the first place. Your lip, though now looking less fresh thanks to Laszlo’s handkerchief, was still split and swollen slightly and the thin, cheap white gown they’d given you to wear at Nightingale was nothing like the beautiful robes you were accustomed to. You knew you looked like hell had spat you out and it read on the surprised look on this Cyrus’ face.
“Cyrus this is Y/N L/N. She’ll be staying with us to help on the Santorelli case.” Laszlo explained, handing the tiny key from his pocket to the larger man. “Would you undo these padlocks while I go find Stevie and Mary?”
“Certainly,” The man complied, the key looking like something from a children’s dollhouse in his huge hands. The doctor strode off, the sound of his footsteps reverberating as he headed towards the back room, the kitchen, that Cyrus had just entered from in search of his other house guests.
“Thank you,” You said to the man as you felt him jiggle around with the key. No doubt the size difference made it difficult for him too as he fumbled with the tiny port.
“I’m a little too scared to ask how you ended up in these, ma’am,” His deep voice spoke, trying to lighten the mood as you stood in awkward silence. You laughed lightly, shaking your head.
“I upset a few people I shouldn’t have, let’s just say that.” You replied as the first sleeve popped open and your right arm was freed. It fell limply at your side, dead and only tingling after a moment as the blood rushed through it once more. Just as Cyrus began fiddling with the second lock, a teenaged boy entered the foyer, a beautiful woman trailing behind him. Your brows raised slightly; this must be Mary. For a housemaid, you had to admit she was exquisite to the eye, with raven hair pinned back into a neat bun looking shinier than the finest silk you’d ever seen. Her dark eyes were wide with intrigue and almond-shaped, immediately zoning in on your lip with concern.
Stevie struck you next. He was tall, lean as most boys you’d seen in his societal position were but you highly doubted that the doctor starved him with all his available wealth. He had a strong jaw and a sweep of reddish-brown hair, with a face full of youthful freckles to match. He couldn’t have been older than sixteen. Two alarmed, cocoa eyes stared at you, to which you simply smiled slightly at him to show you meant no harm despite what the jacket suggested.
Laszlo ambled behind them as the pair of them came to a stop at the bottom of the stairs. “Mary, Stevie. This is Y/N. She’s helping Sara, John and I on the Santorelli case.”
“What the hell is up with that jacket?” Stevie asked as you felt the second padlock drop off and your other arm was freed from restraints. You felt Cyrus undo the buckles that kept the infernal thing on your body, your arms painful with the hot tingling of waking up once more and, before you knew it, the leather slid down your arms altogether.
You eyed Laszlo, both of you seeming to share the same thought. Lie. Do not tell them who you are.
“Pickpocketing.” You said quickly, thinking on your feet for an excuse. You had a feeling ‘multi-murderer’ would only drive the three newcomers away from you, so something much less hair raising seemed fair.
But Stevie’s face only paled. “That’s what they do to pickpockets these days?” He blew a huff through pursed lips, “Looks like I got off easy,”
“Really?” You couldn’t help the amused smile spreading on your face at his response. “I don’t think a cane to the hand is cutting it anymore,” You mused.
He tutted as you shook your hands out, the pain subsiding as the blood reached your fingertips with the movement. “I’ll say,”
With another smile flashed at the boy, you looked at Mary who was still furrowing her brows at your injury, “I’m Y/N,” You said, offering your hand to her.
She didn’t reply, instead shaking your hand with a nod and a smile. You assumed she must just be shy so you didn’t mention it, your etiquette teacher’s voice echoing in your head that it was incredibly rude to be confrontational in such a way.
She pointed to her lip, where your cut was on your own face. You raised your brow, gesturing to your injury, “This? Don’t worry, it’ll heal on its own,”
But Mary shook her head, tilting her head back to insinuate you to follow her. “I’d do as she says, she can get very insistent with things like this,” Cyrus said, and you looked to Laszlo. Would this be okay? Roosevelt had been clear he wanted you to be accompanied by someone bigger, stronger than you at all times. How would Laszlo fare with you in a kitchen, alone with his maid, a woman small enough to easily overpower?
Surely he wouldn’t trust you. And yet, he was exactly the opposite to what you expect of a man, as he had been all day.
Because he nodded, a tiny smile twitching his lips as you passed him following Mary with a shocked look on your face at his permittance, and you entered the kitchen with the beautiful woman.
It was much more open than the foyer was, light streaming through two large windows that looked out onto a small courtyard. The floors were a reddish terracotta that matched the cream tones in the walls and furnishings, and you had to admit he had good taste. There was a huge wooden counter in the middle to prepare food on and a large copper basin wide enough to fit a small child. She grabbed a high stool at the side of the table, moving it closer to you and patting on the seat perkily. You compiled with her as she walked over to the cupboard below the sink and pulled out some rubbing alcohol and cotton pads. Twisting off the cap to the bottle, she splashed some onto the material, shuffling closer to you.
“This is really very kind of you, Mary.” You said graciously as she gently swiped at the wound with the alcohol, “How long have you worked for the Doctor?”
She looked at you puzzled, as though she was surprised you were even making small talk with her. But how couldn’t you? She was doing you a kindness and with such gentle, motherly hands too. She shook her head silently and before you could press any questions, Laszlo entered.
“Mary cannot speak, I found her as a young girl and she has worked for me ever since.” He explained as you sat ghostly still in your seat so as not to knock the woman.
“Lovely,” You mused, though your heart melted slightly at his kindness. “I hate to be too forward but what of my clothes and belongings? They’re all still at my home a couple of streets away,”
Laszlo seemed to consider this, as though he hadn’t given much thought to it before and neither had you to be fair, until the jacket had come off and you saw the ghastly cheap gown they had stuck you in. Wiping away all character and uniqueness, just as Nightingale intended.
“Cyrus and I can accompany you home in the morning to collect some things,” He offered, and you nodded slightly as Mary moved the cotton up to your right cheekbone. It stung as she did so, and you assumed there was a cut there either from the floor or the nasty slap you’d received that you hadn’t noticed before.
“And my job at Paresis Hall? I suppose it would be wise for me to return there to keep an eye on the boys, see if they know anything about the murderer,” You saw Mary’s eyes flick to yours for a split second, curiosity and something close to alarm at the revelation of your previous employment before she continued with her gentle touch.
“Yes, that too.” Laszlo nodded, gesturing for you to follow him. “Come along. I’ll show you to your room,”
You stood from the chair, Mary moving away from you with a nod of her head to bid you goodbye. You went to follow the Doctor through the hallway back to the huge staircase before you caught yourself.
“Mary,” You said clearly, stopping in your tracks and turning on your heel. She looked up inquisitively, mid-way through screwing the cap back onto the peroxide, “Thank you again. That was very sweet of you,”
It had been easy for you to lose some manners having been your only real company for over a year, but the dazzling smile on her face as you turned to leave was worth catching yourself on the bad habit.
You followed Laszlo up the winding stairs, Stevie and Cyrus now off doing their duties seeing as it was by now past lunch. You were starving, but you would simply wait until morning rather than bother anyone for a meal. Truthfully, you were a little nervous to be cohabitating with people once more, so you didn’t want to push anyone for anything, especially not to use someone else’s food. Even Mary going out of her way to tend to you had warmed your heart yet bitten you with a sense of guilt you couldn’t deny, that you needed someone to take care of you.
You had always been independent in nature, so this was going to be odd.
The two of you reached the top of the stairs, and you took in the chandelier from the new point. Every single glass crystal sparkled with not a single spec of dust to coat it, and you commemorated Mary’s cleaning skills. It dazzled your eyes, making it hard to look directly at, but you couldn’t stop yourself from getting lost in the maze of refracted light bouncing at you. It reminded you of the crystalline glasses of champagne at the parties your father used to force you to attend.
With the single memory, your mood turned sour. You hadn’t thought of him in a whole year.
“Your house is really beautiful, Laszlo,” You commented, eyes moving to the paintings on the walls. Most were menial things like fruit and landscapes but one stuck out to you immediately. It was a man, elderly and stern-looking with a nose resembling that of your host. His eyes were black with scorn, and he held no trace of the softness that Laszlo adhered you with. Either it was a fault of the artist, or that man was as mean as his face suggested.
You would investigate further another time, you decided, as Laszlo stood outside a door at the end of the hallway.
“This is the room I have spare. I apologise if it is not to your liking.” He said quietly, almost shy to show you what he had to offer. But he couldn’t have been more wrong.
The wood was a little darker than you would have chosen for yourself but other than that the room was lovely. There was a twin bed endowed with plain grey sheets and a simple chest of drawers and a matching nightstand next to it. The thick red rug poking out from under the bed complimented the wood perfectly, and the curtains opened up to give you a lovely view of the people passing by on the street below. You knew you’d spend the best part of the afternoon people watching.
It was wonderful.
“Nonsense. It’s perfect,” You said, smiling genuinely while peering down at the view you had.
“Mine and Stevie’s rooms are right across from yours and Mary’s is next door.” He said, as you turned to look over your shoulder to see him awkwardly standing in the doorway, looking unsure if he should leave you to your staring. “Supper is in an hour or two,”
You smiled widely at that. Thank fuck. Food. “Perfect,” You repeated yourself and he gave you a brief nod, turning to leave you to your new space. You couldn’t have that though, “Laszlo, wait!” You said loudly, hurrying over to the doorway and catching his hand, the one not holding his cane. He froze instantly, head snapping to look at you with an unreadable expression, but you assumed that was from your loud tone. “Thank you. Truly, thank you,” You said quietly, with as much honesty as you could fit into your voice, briefly stroking his hand with your thumb, “I won’t betray the trust you’ve put in me, I hope you know that.”
He said nothing, just stared at you and nodded slightly. You smiled at him again, letting go of him and retreating back into your room, closing the door as he made his way back down the stairs.
You couldn’t think why he had reacted in such a way. It puzzled you for the next half an hour, but with the smell of something divine wafting upstairs to your empty stomach, the thought left your mind before you could linger over it.
God you were ravenous.
@clints-lucky-arrow @lol-im-done @cazzyimagines
This was the last chapter worth of set up I promise! I'll move onto plot starting 1x02 next chapter :)
19 notes · View notes