Xavier was using the car ride to think. The little conversation there was went in one ear and out the other.

He was alone, on the sidewalk. Men under tall hats, with shaded sideburns walked past in the freezing rain, pulling their coats higher to protect themselves.

"Daddy?" the little baby Xavier said to no-one. "Mommy?"

Nobody paid him any mind. The baby started to cry, wanting his parents.

"Mommy! Daddy!" his plaintive cries echoed across the now-empty street, answered by not a living soul.

Then, like an angel from the darkness, somebody came. She knelt down beside him, and looked into his eyes. "What's wrong?" she asked him.

Xavier dried his eyes, and between sobs and hiccups, told his story. "My mommy and my daddy said they were taking me to a surprise, a-and they left me out here, and it was cold, and I yelled for them, and they didn't come, and nobody looked at me until you came."

"Oh, you poor baby," the girl said. "I'll help you." And she took him up into her arms, and sheltered him with her cloak. "Don't worry. You're safe now," she said.

Xavier cuddled against her body and fell asleep. When he woke up, he was sitting beside a crackling fireplace. He was in a warm house, and music was playing. It was so unlike what he was used to. The cold flagstones of what people called "the orphanage," and his parents that were called "caregivers," were so different from this soft, orange carpet, and this nice, pretty girl.

After some years of living with the girl, he grew to be smart, strong, and young. When he was seven, though, the girl died of tuberculosis. He wasn't scared, though. He knew how to survive now, from his many trips outside.

He went out on his own, and learned to survive. He took his rat, Token, from his old house. It had been his pet ever since he found it in the walls.

Out in the street, he grew. He grew physically and mentally. He learned about people. He hated them. He hated the world, and especially the orphanage. He had always been a loner.

The car stopped, snapping Xavier back to reality. "Augh...," he mumbled quietly.

The End

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