HELLBOY'S FIRST CHRISTMAS

Author’s notes: Couldn’t resist posting something for Christmas. One point for those who are only familiar with Hellboy through Guillermo’s excellent film adaptation: in the comic Hellboy was conjured on December 23, the day before Christmas Eve, not in October as in the film. Even though my stories are mainly based on the movie, I prefer the December date.

Hellboy’s First Christmas

Chapter One: Hellboy’s First Birthday

Secret Military Base, somewhere in New Mexico
December 1945

Technically, it really wasn’t going to be Hellboy’s first Christmas this year.

But Trevor Broom wasn’t sure he would like to count the Christmas in 1944 that was just a few days after he had found the infant red-skinned demon on an island off the coast of Scotland; the same island where Broom was shot in the leg while fighting against Nazi occultists.

All that came forth that night, the night before Christmas Eve, was a strange baby boy; a boy that Trevor Broom came to love dearly and think of as his son. Unfortunately, Broom and his newfound son ended up spending their first Christmas together tossing about in a ship in the stormy seas off the coast of Scotland.

The American soldiers who had accompanied the English-born Broom on this assignment against the Nazis loved this demon infant they had all taken to calling Hellboy. This was fortunate, since they had to care for Hellboy while Broom spent most of Christmas with a fever due to an infection stemming from the bullet wound in his right leg.

Trevor Broom was thankful that the American ship he was on had an excellent surgeon and his leg healed faster than he had originally expected. By the end of 1944, he found himself and Hellboy moving to live in the United States under the protection of the federal government and the FBI. President Roosevelt eventually appointed Broom to be the director of the newly formed Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense and allowed him to keep custody of Hellboy.

Of course, this had to be done in secret. It wouldn’t particularly be in Hellboy’s best interest for the general American public to know that an infant the Nazis had probably conjured from the depths of Hell resided somewhere in their country. Broom eventually found himself and Hellboy residing on a series of secret military bases.

Trevor Broom quickly became attached to Hellboy, wanting to give him as normal a childhood as he could arrange for. This first year was difficult for him, mainly due to the fact that there was little privacy on these military bases. He also had no permanent base of operations for his organization; which meant that he frequently had to travel, reluctantly leaving Hellboy in the hands of others.

Hellboy’s rate of physical development had been odd. During most of his first year, he was not much taller than he had been when Broom first found him on that island. On the other hand, his cloven hooves had quickly grown large and the child always clomped around in adult-sized military boots. These boots, when put together with a wardrobe basically adapted from cut-down military fatigues and the presence of his tail, made Hellboy look a lot like a midget-sized red-devil soldier.

His major physical problem was his right hand and forearm, which were closer to the size that would belong to some ten-foot giant and not a three-foot tall child. At first, it seemed that he would never learn to control the actions of this hand. However, Trevor Broom’s loving patience with him eventually worked some miracle of restraint in Hellboy; who really wanted nothing more than to please the man who loved him as a father.

For a long time, Hellboy communicated by a sign language developed and taught to him by Broom. He avoided tying to speak; the only sounds he made being grunting, squealing, or crying when he was upset or scared. Broom came to realize that something was impeding Hellboy’s ability to form certain sounds when he finally tried to say the word ‘father’ for the first time; it came out more as ‘fafah’.

Broom eventually found that this problem was stemming from Hellboy’s teeth growing faster than his mouth and jaw. The FBI allowed for a military speech pathologist to work with Hellboy. By the time of his first birthday, Hellboy was speaking just fine and due to his very high intelligence was more articulate than a human child would be at that same age.

By the end of 1945, Broom found himself and Hellboy living on an infamously secret military base in Roswell, New Mexico. Broom insisted that they construct him his own private bungalow on this base. It was here that he finally began to develop a ‘home’ for Hellboy, also using it as the base of operations for his organization.

Broom considered December 23, 1945 as Hellboy’s first birthday and wanted everything to be very special that day. He had noticed that Hellboy was starting to become interested in the movies that were often shown for the entertainment of the personnel and their families who resided on the base.

Coming up with the funds to purchase his own film projection equipment, Broom also obtained prints of Hellboy’s favorite Gene Autry and John Wayne movies. Hellboy was more than excited when he found that they were going to celebrate his birthday by watching all of his favorite movies and that he would be permitted to eat his favorite foods, especially Baby Ruth candy bars.

After having watched two of these films, they went outside to play catch. After a while, playing catch became somewhat taxing for Broom; his right leg still bothered him at times. Also, the constant reminding to Hellboy to throw only with his left hand had become tiring; any throwing with his right hand could turn the ball into a dangerous missile. Broom finally decided it was time for a rest.

They went back into the bungalow and curled up into a large chair together. Trevor Broom had managed to perfect a way of seating Hellboy on his lap. He tucked Hellboy’s over-sized right hand behind his back and angled him so that Hellboy could lay his head on his chest without poking his eyes out with the horns on his forehead. He then wrapped his arms around this red-skinned demon he cherished more than anything else in this world and they long sat together in a loving silence.

It was Hellboy who eventually broke this silence, startling Broom who had almost fallen asleep. Raising his head, he asked, “Father, this has been lots of fun, but don’t you have to work today? You’re always working or going away somewhere.”

Broom kissed Hellboy’s forehead. “No, Son, I’m not planning on working at all today. This is your special day and I’m going to spend the whole day just with you.”

Hellboy smiled. “I like that, but what’s so special about today?”

Broom hugged Hellboy even tighter. “Today is your birthday; it is the anniversary of that remarkable day you first came to me.”

Hellboy considered this information. “Do the other kids here have birthdays, or just me?”

Broom put Hellboy down from his lap, stood up, and stretched. “No, Son, all people have birthdays; the anniversary of the day they were born on,” he said as he tried to work out the cramp he had developed in his right leg from the weight of Hellboy sitting in his lap for so long. He then took Hellboy’s left hand in his own and said, “Let’s go outside for a walk. I need to stretch my legs.”

They then tramped around the non-restricted sections of the military base. Hellboy was wished a ‘happy birthday’ by several of the personnel on the base that often worked with Broom running his Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense.

When they returned to the bungalow a half hour later, Hellboy asked, “Father, when is your birthday? You said everyone has one.”

Broom sighed; he should have realized that this question would come sooner or later. He stooped down to Hellboy’s level. “Son, as far as I’m concerned the most significant day in my life is the day that I found you. It’s the only birthday I care to celebrate; the day on which I was born is no longer important to me and I would rather not have it mentioned.”

They went in and watched another of Hellboy’s favorite cowboy films, then ate a supper consisting of his favorite foods: hot dogs, chili, hot noodles, and Coca-Cola. For dessert, he was allowed to eat even more Baby Ruth candy bars. Hellboy went to sleep that night a very full and happy child.

He had no idea that in a few days time he would be celebrating another ‘birthday’, the birth of Jesus, the Child of Bethlehem.

Next: Chapter 2: The Birthday of Jesus

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