Girl Genius, Klaus + baby!Gil. Klaus’s thoughts on watching Gil grow.
The magnetite compas was working. As was the nourishment formula the infant boy was suckling on.
He would have to do something about the fine green fuzz of hair that marked him as Skifandran. But right now, in a hot-air flying engine cobbled together out of whatever he had to hand… it was not important.
He could not take his sister. At least, he could not take the infant princess Zeetha and hope to survive. Males did not count for much in Skifander. They would stop searching for him and his son at the first false death scene.
His son was too important to leave to the tender mercies of a matriarchy.
He could change clothing. The sooner he was out of the ludicrous bandolier-and-posing-pouch thing the Queen had chosen for him, the better.
Alas, all his cloth and leather was currently serving more important functions. He set course for Europe. And spent entirely too long staring at the tiny scrap of humanity that was the future of his line. Watching Gil breathe.
So very small and fragile…
“Come what may,” he said, knowing his son could not understand, “I will protect you.”
Paris was on fire. Large portions of Europe were either on fire or infested with revenants. The Other had done much damage. Incessant bickering between sparks had escalated to siege weaponry and unguided missiles.
Gil was happy in his carry-harness. A metal pod that served as protection in unpleasant circumstances, life support and -ah- hygienic necessity.
It would, evidently, soon be insufficient. He needed more than a clank to protect his son. He would need an army.
He would start, like he always had to start, with whatever came to hand. And build from there.
Castle Wulfenbach was a wrecked ruin on the ground. He would build a new one. One that was invulnerable. Or at least one that could move beyond conventional attack. He would rain order on the country.
He set up a shelter in what used to be a staff kitchen in his castle. A relic in which to build his future.
Gil hit the protective bubble with the thing-on-a-stick Klaus had managed to buy from a nervous vendor.
“No sign of Bill or Barry. Still,” he said. He had been talking to Gil on the theory that talking helped a child learn to speak. Also the theory that saying things out loud helped keep him sane. There was little empirical evidence that either was working. “If they were here, this would be so much easier…”
“Da!” said Gil.
Talking early. Promising. Klaus almost instantly smothered his warming heart in waves of paranoia. His plan put his son in danger.
…but only if anyone knew that Gil was his son.
Castle Wolfenbach soared. It flew over the wreckage of Mechanicsburg and the ruin of castle Heterodyne.
The Other had known when and where to strike.
It took a unique ruthlessness to deal with Mechanicsburg. It took so much ruthlessness. To make him and his family a target to everyone with a blade.
Which meant a unique talent for salvage.
He found Otilla in the body of Vonn Pinn, and set her to guarding the children. Knowing she would not fail. Especially the most important one.
“And this… is Gil.” Almost three years old. He would start forming permanent memories, soon. Klaus allowed himself the luxury of one last hug. Permitted himself the weakness of wet eyes. He would not touch or speak to his son as a father until such time as the boy grew of age. “Just. Gil.”
Von Pinn looked him in the eye, lie for lie, and nodded. “I will gift him with equal protection.”
Which, to her mind, meant the utmost protection.
It was called Zoing. Quite remarkable. A whimsical construct made out of what seemed to be kitchen leftovers. Gil was eight. And already a Spark.
What made a Spark into a Spark? Why would the boy break out so easily at six when his own development…
And since he had so many renegade Sparks in his custody… It was high time he indulged in some experiments.
Starting with the self-styled Doctor Dimitri. He would no longer harm any child, any longer. A man with those kinds of perversions… would never be missed.
And it would help protect his son.
Business, Science and Pleasure. A very rare triple victory.