there's a boy standing against the sky. he is all ruddy, ruddy skin delicate enough to bruise, jutting bones and dark, dark hair. he has sad, lonely written all over the set of his face, the shining white of his eyes: water rolling down his plump cheeks like shining tracks of silver.

(but there is a boy, and in the dark, he glows.)

he looks very small in the darkness of the church as he walks through the sanctuary's doors. the gypsy watches him, a boy who is too thin and too small and has a head full of curls, but it feels to the gypsy like their weight is too much on his head, watching as the boy brushes them out of his eyes behind his ear and as he pushes them back, and finally as he lets them fall into his face, as if it will make them not so heavy on his brow.

the gypsy has slept on the pews for many years, holding his life in a felt hat, but this is the first time he has looked into the dark of the chapel, singing to himself, and seen eyes stare back at him. He knows enough about churches to know that if you see eyes staring at you it is better not to look away, and those eyes couldn't have been sadder, or harder to look away from.

(in the early hours of morning, it is not the choir of the bells which wakes him, but the boy's weeping. his voice is little more than a rasp, a scraping texture of stone against stone. It is too grating a voice for a small boy, if it is a boy at all and not a gargoyle come to life in the halls of the church.)

But even the gypsy is not without sin, and so all he does is listen, to this boy with his heart in his mouth but no god to go to, crying to a god that isn't there and does not listen. A boy who doesn't know any other god but the one his father prays to.

Who naively believes that the world should be honest, that everyone should be good and there should be no pain or sadness. Who believes the world should be good, and is crying because it is not.

The gypsy listens to the boy's weeping cries and listens to the heart of Paris breaking just a little.

(or maybe the boy thinks of his mother as he cries, with a sadness so big it fills up the chapel. maybe he thinks of his father: his father a monster, his mother under the ground.)

no matter which it is, the gypsy knows such sadness all too well, and somehow it is sadder that way.

His cries quiet as the hour comes up: he's sleeping at last, face bruised violet with all of dawn caught in it, tracks of silver cutting sharp lines in his face. he doesn't wake at the toll of the bells or even as the gypsy gives the sleeping boy a last look.

"Goodnight, Aleksander, he says softly, and exits.