HELLBOY'S FAMILY

Hi, to all the people who have been reading my stuff and leaving such great comments. I have decided to put Chapter Five up in parts as I am writing. I'm afraid that it may be a while before I can bring this story to it's conclusion, but it won't be as long as you would think. I, myself, don't always know exactly where my stories are heading and often feel compelled to write so I can find out for myself.

Author's Notes: This is my first attempt at writing Abe Sapien. I love this character dearly, but for many reasons writing about him has been difficult for me. I saw the film before I read any of Mignola's original comics. I worshiped the movie, but it wasn't really until after reading the original comics that I felt compelled to write about Hellboy and the people in his life that could be considered his 'family'. The primary problem that I have with Abe is that as much as I loved his character in the movie, I like Mignola's original character even more. In general, the stories I have been writing have been based on the movie; hence the basic avoidance of writing about Abe at all. I want to correct this omission here and hope that I can reconcile an Abe that is closer to my take on Mignola's original character to a movieverse story.

I am going to avoid creating a detailed origin story for Abe; "B.P.R.D.: A Plague of Frogs" deals with that and I don't want to create one that will deviate from what Mignola has in mind. I've not read all of "A Plague of Frogs" yet and I am assuming that some others haven't finished it either. The things from director Guillermo del Toro's character in the movie that I will be discarding are the goggles and respirator; they work well enough in the film due to del Toro's personal obsession with things mechanical, but they are not part of Mignola's original character, so I prefer not using them.

I'm taking the rating of Hellboy's Family up to PG13, mostly for language and violence. Beware of possible SPOILERS if you haven't seen the movie.

Chapter Five: Abe Sapien: Sibling Rivalry: Part One

Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense,
Newark, New Jersey, October to December 1978

There was still about a week to go before Halloween and Hellboy was bored stiff. The man that he called 'Father' had promised him that if he were especially good this month he would be allowed to go somewhere for Halloween; supervised by other agents, of course, and to be seen by no one else except these agents. Hellboy wished that for once, just once, he could go out all by himself like other people did. A guy who is just short of his thirty-fourth birthday does get tired of feeling like a puppy on a leash.

He stood up from the bed that he had been lying on and stretched his large frame, trying to decide if he wanted to lift weights or sand down his horn stubs further. He decided to go for sanding down his horns. Gone were the days when he had to do this by hand with a file. He loved the new electric sander his father had given him for his birthday last year. It made a god-awful racket, but it certainly did the job faster and easier.

He walked over to the section of his quarters that had the bathroom facilities, switched on a light there, and fetched his sander down from a shelf over his sink. He proceeded to grind down his horns as he watched himself in a large mirror that was on the wall.

As he performed this evening ritual, he was reminded of why he was never permitted to venture forth into the outside world unsupervised. Why he seldom got to meet new people. He was a seven-foot tall, three hundred and fifty pound, red-skinned demon—complete with a tail, horns, cloven hooves, and a huge right hand that looked like a stone glove and was almost five times too large for the size of his body.

He wasn't human and no amount of sanding down the horns on his forehead, even twice a day, could ever make him appear acceptable to that outside world he so wanted to live in. Hellboy hated looking so different; frankly, he didn't feel all that different inside from those humans that he had lived and worked with his entire life.

A human male, who loved Hellboy dearly, had raised him from infancy; this affection was mutual even if Hellboy seldom expressed it in words. He worked as a monster hunter and paranormal investigator along with a small group of human colleagues who looked on him with the same affection, respect, and loyalty that he felt for them.

Hellboy's main source of entertainment for over thirty years had been a steady diet of American television and movies. This all left him filled with the same needs and desires as most human males with little outlet to express them.

Outside of his relationship with Trevor 'Broom' Bruttenholm, his adoptive father, the most fulfilling aspect of Hellboy's life was his career as an agent for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, a secret adjunct organization to the FBI directed by Broom; yet, at the same time, this connection to the BPRD left Hellboy feeling trapped.

Hellboy's entire life for over thirty years had been almost solely confined to the Bureau and its precincts. The general public that he defended did not know of his existence. The other agents he worked with had outside lives; even Trevor Broom, in addition to his duties as director of the BPRD, had another life as a professor of folklore at New York University and had an apartment in Brooklyn that Hellboy seldom got to visit.

Hellboy often felt that his sole claim to fame within the Bureau, outside of his enormous size and strength, was as its only non-human agent; this was the one way that he could feel proud of his mysterious supernatural origins. The possibility never occurred to him that the Bureau could someday contain another being of non-human origins. It never even came into his wildest dreams that Trevor Broom might possibly develop a paternal affection toward another being, whether human or not.

Hellboy had spent decades of his life as an only child. He was not used to sharing anything that he looked upon as solely his own, especially not his father's attentions; Hellboy was soon to learn a hard lesson about jealousy.

After Hellboy had finished sanding down his horns he sat back down on his bed and idly flipped through channels using the remote control for one of his newest television sets. There was nothing on that interested him. There was also a VHS player attached to this television, but his collection of tapes was still quite small and he had already watched each of these many times.

Switching off the television in disgust, Hellboy laid back down on his bed. But it was still early and he wasn't really sleepy yet. He knew that his father would really like him to start reading more and had recommended Kate Corrigan's latest edition of Introduction to Folklore, originally written by her late father, Richard Corrigan.

Broom had been hoping that Hellboy's friendship with Kate would encourage him to read this book. When Hellboy did have the occasional chance to meet up with the woman who was one of his closest friends, lively conversations with her on folklore and the paranormal always interested him. But, unfortunately, he found the rather academic prose in her books as boring as his father's writings often seemed to him.

Hellboy decided to see if his father was in his office. Sometimes, there was some new item or relic that his father had picked up that would be of interest. Since Hellboy had been on his best behavior this month, he pretty much had free rein to wander around the Bureau headquarters. He made his way to his father's office.

Trevor Broom was now in his early sixties; this fact, combined with the long-term effects of a major bout with cancer in his early forties, meant that he worked late less often in the evenings than he had when Hellboy had been young.

Sometimes, though, Hellboy could still find his father in his office this late in the evening, but he would usually just be puttering around, reading a favorite book, or listening to music. Real work after nine o'clock at night usually indicated something important or some sudden emergency.

Hellboy pulled open the beautiful oak door that led into his father's office. The wood of this door almost looked like burnished gold and stood out against the rather stark décor of the corridor.

At first, as he walked in, the large and beautifully furnished office looked unoccupied. But he heard a voice call down from the upper mezzanine that was reached by a spiral staircase; the voice was that of Broom's assistant Mark Baldwin.

"Professor Broom received an important phone call from Washington three hours ago," Mark said as he descended the staircase to the lower level, "He took an agent as a driver and went out immediately after the call. The driver took him to the Newark airport where there was a special shuttle waiting to fly him to Washington. He told me nothing about the nature of the call, but I am assuming it was very important. I decided that it would be worthwhile to wait up for a while, so I've been catching up on some extra work."

Hellboy was a little surprised with the suddenness of all of this; "It's weird enough him going off this late in the day, but why not tell me he was going out? Did he say how long he was going to be away?"

Mark shook his head, "I received the impression that whatever this is, it's really big and probably classified in some way. The only thing that I caught was a mention of one of the hospitals in Washington; St. Trinian's I believe."

Hellboy shrugged, "Thanks for the info, Mark. I hope Pop won't be coming back here in the wee hours of the morning. He gets cranky when he doesn't get enough sleep."

Hellboy wandered over to one of the many bookshelves that filled the office from floor to ceiling. "I think I'll hang around here myself. I'm kind of curious what would have dragged him out of here all of a sudden. While I'm waiting I think I'll take a look at Katie's book like he wanted me to."

He fetched down Kate's recent edition of the textbook on folklore from a shelf and sat down in a large chair near his father's desk to skim over the introduction and foreword. He noted the dedication at the beginning of the book to her late father, Richard Corrigan, and to Hellboy's adoptive father, Trevor Bruttenholm, the mentor of her college years.

Hellboy had first met Kate in Boston in 1959 when her father had been hospitalized for a heart condition in the BPRD's medical facility at the same time that Trevor Broom had been located there for treatment for cancer. Fourteen-year-old Hellboy and eight-year-old Katie had struck up an immediate, supportive, and long-lasting friendship. Hellboy wished, not for the first time, that he could convince Kate to work as a consultant for the BPRD like her father had done before he died the year they met.

Kate now had a rewarding career as professor of folklore at NYU, but she would be a good asset to the Bureau. This also would mean that she would be around Bureau headquarters in Newark more often; her presence might liven the place up a bit and maybe Hellboy could drag her out into the field with him on occasion. He could show her some folklore in action instead of this boring theory she was always writing about.

After sitting and musing on these thoughts for a while, Hellboy realized that what he was really doing was avoiding reading the book. Even though he was sometimes interested in folklore and theories of the paranormal, he detested reading books and articles on these topics. He often avoided reading anything whatsoever, except for his favorite comic books. This had been a constant bone of contention during Hellboy's teenage years.

From the time he had been very young Hellboy had always tested at a high level of intelligence, almost to the level of genius. This intelligence, coupled with his talent for memorization, could have turned Hellboy into a walking encyclopedia on folklore and the paranormal. He often amazed both Kate and his father with what he could recall.

But Hellboy's basic temperament was very different from the man who was raising him. He found academics and research infinitely boring; Trevor Broom often felt that Hellboy was turning what could be a brilliant career as a paranormal investigator into a mere job as a kind of supernatural pest exterminator.

Broom saw Hellboy as having the potential to be the Bureau's greatest research expert, even greater than Broom himself. But he had given up nagging Hellboy over his lack of diligence in study in much the same way that he had given up trying to get him to try new foods, listen to classical music, watch foreign-language films, or read great literature.

It was almost three o'clock in the morning before Trevor Broom returned to the Bureau's underground facilities in Newark. He decided to briefly check on things in his office before retiring to his sleeping quarters. Mark Baldwin had retired for the night around eleven in the evening leaving Hellboy still struggling to get beyond the introduction to Kate's textbook. Hellboy was still there when Broom walked in, but was now fast asleep.

Broom smiled to himself as he bent over to pick up the textbook that Hellboy had dropped when he fell asleep. He placed it on his desk and then lightly tapped Hellboy's shoulder to wake him up.

Hellboy sat up and looked around the office, "Jeez, Pop, you startled me. I forgot I was still here." His eye caught the time on the face of a beautiful oak wall clock that Broom had brought to America when he moved from England. "You better get to bed, Pop. And I hope you aren't planning on getting up at six in the morning like you usually do. What was going on in Washington that was important enough to drag you out this late?"

Broom yawned, "Something very important, Son; and very interesting. But now is not the best time to discuss it with you. I really do need to get to bed. I will inform you of these new developments tomorrow morning." They both exited the office as Broom switched off the lights. To Hellboy's eyes he looked more excited than tired.

Something in his excitement seemed to give back to him some of the energy he had when he was younger and he seemed to barely need his cane; the cane that he had used ever since his discharge from the BPRD medical facilities after his 1959 treatment for cancer. Hellboy liked seeing this change; he hated when his father started looking old.

They reached the door to Broom's sleeping quarters. As he went to enter Hellboy put a hand on his shoulder, "Hey, Pop, the next time you have to stay out so late why not tell me? I got a little worried when you weren't back by midnight."

Broom smiled in amusement at the idea of Hellboy worrying about him rather than the other way around, "I did want to tell you something, but the powers-that-be asked me to come without telling anyone where I was going. I had no idea that I was going to be there so late. I was glad to notice that you were starting to read Kate's book. Did you find anything interesting in it?"

"Nah, it was dull just like I thought it would be. It's beyond me how anyone so interesting in person can write stuff this boring. The pictures and illustrations were nice, though. Katie must have gone to a lot of trouble to find such nice ones."

Hellboy, who had been relaxed and smiling in an affectionate way, now looked away from Broom, "Father, I know I must be a disappointment to you. I just wish I could find all of this stuff as interesting as you do, but I don't."

Broom grabbed Hellboy's left hand, the one that had just been on his shoulder, and gave it a slight squeeze, "Look at me and try to understand what I am saying: you will never, ever be a disappointment to me; get that silly idea out of your head. Yet, there is more to your job than bashing the dickens out of monsters. Right now you depend on me to do all the necessary research into the creatures we are dealing with. I won't be around forever, you know, and I am concerned what will happen to you when I am gone."

Hellboy suddenly grinned again, "Don't worry about me, Pop. I can take care of myself. And you'll probably live forever, anyway, just to nag me about all my bad habits. Now, go get some sleep before it gets even later." With a wave of his huge right hand Hellboy strode off down the corridor to his own quarters.

To be continued…

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