The cold was harsh to everything in its sharp sight; biting through clothing and unguarded skin. It caused everyone around to rush and only one seemed to be persevering through the cold with a determined scowl. Then again, it could be said he was a little strange with his ample amount of jewelry and his need for things otherworldly. Tonight he was met with word of a new shop and fully intended to do business with the keeper. He just wanted something interesting. All of his collections,stamps, bugs, jewels, books, chairs, furniture in general, paintings,small figurines, chandeliers, and a whole basement filled with neat, clean paper, were boring him immensely. Viktor wondered just where he'd find something new. He stopped to check his reflection in a mirror that was dimly lit with the setted sun and made sure his fine, long honey blonde hair was tied back properly and that his grey blue eyes didn't look dark and as though he was without sleep. Appearances meant a lot in the city. People don't like doing business with those who looked horrid. He entered the shop in question and adjusted his golden and brown suit, making sure the fine velvetine was smooth and his cufflinks intact and that they were not caught up on one of his many bracelets and checked to be sure his long dangled sword earrings did not catch into his hair. "Is anyone here?"
From the back of the shop, its owner emerged, an eccentric-looking man in his own right. He wore a top hat with a large, white chrysanthemum tucked into the band, and his hair was long and steel-grey. His face was lined with cares that would take many years to recount if he was asked, but his blue eyes shone with a strange light and fervor. "Welcome, welcome good sir. Not many people would brave this terrible weather for a peek at my wares. Are you quite interested in what I have to sell?" He swept his hand toward the walls of his shop, which were lined with the naked bodies of several human-sized dolls. They all had hair and faces, unique faces, and all of them were anatomically correct. Some were male, some were female. None of them were moving, however. They had been instructed not to, and they were all quite good at staying perfectly still. The old man behind the counter smiled lovingly at them. "These are my dolls, my children. Have you an interest in purchasing one? They are all for sale, and they would all serve you well, but many people do not see their appeal." His face fell as he said it, giving the appearance that there was some grave history behind his simple statement. "Here, I will demonstrate for you. Corvi, come here." At that moment, the rest of the dolls seemed to take the que that they were allowed to move again, and they blinked and stretched and wriggled their fingers and toes and sighed. One of them, however, stepped away from his spot against the wall and approached the old man and the customer. "Good evening, Master," he said, and offered a small bow to the shop keeper. Corvi was lithe and beautiful, with shoulder-length wavy hair in the purest white, and bright, grass-green eyes.
Viktor eyed the doll with much confusion. "I'm very confused sir, but most intrigued." He said, finding the flawless features of the doll to be unique, but how did he get it to speak? How did he get it to move in such a fluid manner? "They stand so still. They are human? I suspect you made them so they have no choice but to be dolls, right?" He was more than confused. "I collect many things and this would definitely brighten my home. I don't understand though...please explain." He wanted to reach out and touch the young looking doll but didn't want to upset the shop-keeper.
The shop keeper laughed heartily, while Corvi stared eerily at Viktor with his wide green eyes. "Let me explain, dear sir, and let me say that at least you are not frightened. That is how most people react to my dolls. All of the dolls, like Corvi here, are simply that - dolls. They are not quite human, their bodies are artificial, but they move and speak because they have something that other dolls lack. They have souls. And though their bodies are not of human flesh and blood, they have all five human senses. The only thing is...it is hard to teach them basic human emotion. You see, I have so little time to do so..." The shop keeper gestured to all of the dolls around the store, some of which had stepped away from the wall as Corvi had. A couple of them were having conversation with each other, but most of them were examining things around the shop or looking out the windows in a most peculiar manner. "As you can see, they are also completely naked. If you choose to purchase one of them, I also have clothes that you may select for them. The clothing is no charge." He nodded at Corvi, who attempted to smile, but it was an odd expression that seemed to lack the proper feeling behind it.
Viktor thought for a moment and reached out to touch the hair of the doll that was presented to him. It seemed somehow realistic enough to make him still terribly confused. But at the same time it was the perfect thing for him to collect. "I'll take him, how much?" He knew the price had to be steep, but he had time and he had money,and this little thing would make him extremely happy. It would give him company. It spoke and moved and seemed to think just didn't have emotion. He'd teach it.
Corvi reacted little to Viktor touching his hair. He only seemed to tip his head to the side, and continued to stare at him, blinking occasionally. The shop keeper laughed and clapped his hands. "Wonderful, wonderful! For you, sir, since you are the first to purchase one of my creations here, I will give you a discount. Instead of $10,000, I will give him to you for $5000. Half of his price. Please do not forget to choose something for him to wear before you leave. Taking him outside, naked, in this weather is inadvisable." He smiled warmly. "Listen to that everyone, Corvi has found a home!" The rest of the dolls clapped mechanically, but soon stopped and went back to whatever they had been doing before. "You see what I mean? They lack human emotion. It will be much work teaching Corvi. If you wouldn't mind too much, come back some time and let me know how things are progressing?"
Vitkor nodded and produced his debit card. "Run it as a debit, I have more than enough to cover this in my account." He looked about. "And where may I find the clothing?" He asked, wondering how it was that he would make the other 'warm' enough to travel about the streets until back at their home. It was going to be nice having someone around. Someone that wouldn't judge him. Someone that wouldn't do a thing to him unless ordered and other than that would follow his rule blindly. He was definitely suffering a power trip. "And I'll be more than happy to bring him back by when things are learned."
"Thank you, thank you sir. I would be so happy to see that one of my creations was successful." The shop keeper swiped Viktor's card through the cash register, and handed it back to him. "The clothing is through that door. Choose anything you like." He pointed to a door to Viktor's left, and it seemed that the smile simply could not leave the old man's face. "So now I shall address you as Master, yes?" It was the first time Corvi had spoken since greeting the shop keeper, but he had a good grasp on the situation. He did not need to understand human emotion to keep track of a transaction. He fixed his wide eyes on Viktor once more. "Thank you, Master, for giving me a home." He bowed low, but it was rather absurd to behold since he was still stark naked.
Viktor rushed to get clothing. "No, not master, you may call me by name, my name is Viktor." He smiled at the thing and brought out a nice long-sleeved sweater that would be slimming on the thing and a pair of blue jeans and a coat. "This will do for now. I'll dress you more to your own liking.. if you have a liking, when we get home." He smiled at the shopkeeper and waved to him. "Thank you very much sir. I'll be seeing you later then." He placed his hand on the doll's shoulder and lead the thing outside to his car that was some way down the street.
"Viktor," Corvi repeated, and nodded. He tugged at the sweater and the coat, and walked oddly in the jeans. He wasn't accustomed to wearing clothing. The shop keeper had kept all of the dolls naked for display purposes, and to teach them to be comfortable in their bodies, rather than relying on clothes. He had mentioned something about it being good for their personalities. He waved at the shop keeper as they left. "Viktor, it's very cold out here," Corvi commented as the winter wind stung his eyes and the exposed skin of his face. He decided that though he had little capacity for preference, he liked warmth more than cold.
"You can feel the cold?" Viktor asked, helping the doll in the car. He immediately turned on the heater to help keep him warm. "Anything you need just tell me and I will get it for you. Do you require food?" He asked, not sure of that either. "I mean, I don't know much about you." He didn't want to consider the strange being to not be human, but honestly, he wasn't anything of the sort.
Corvi gave one of his strange, blank smiles, and nodded. "Thank you, Viktor. Yes, I require food, but only in small amounts, and I do feel the cold. I have the same five senses that you do." He realized after the heat had been turned on that it stopped him from shivering. It was nice. He definitely preferred warmth over cold. "There is little to know about me. I do not have many interests, but I enjoy reading. That is to say that I spend a lot of time doing so, as I do not fully understand what it means to enjoy something. Reading helps me learn. I have learned some things about human emotion from books, but they are not very helpful. But I don't know anything about you either, Viktor. What things do you enjoy?"
"I enjoy collecting things. My house.. it's cluttered but its clean, so don't worry about that. My house is your house now, our house. If you need your own space not filled with my pointless obsession, then simply let me know and I'll change it." Viktor smiled and figured he could probably move things around to accommodate the other if he wanted his own room and such.
Corvi nodded once. "Thank you Viktor, that's very kind of you. I do not require much space, but perhaps I will in the future if I acquire more interests. I do need a place to sleep, though, if it wouldn't be too much trouble." Sleeping was a curious thing for Corvi. He often had dreams of things that he did not recognize, but he did not know how to interpret or react to them, so he let them be. "You purchased me to add to your collection, didn't you, Viktor? Do not worry that your answer will insult me, that's not possible at the moment."
"Not just for that. You have a conscience. I can understand you and talk to you. My house is very lonely. And you're going to brighten it up, I can tell already. It's been so long since I've seen such a lovely thing to collect and you were definitely made well. You're prettier than most humans I know.. but then you're human in a sense.. I think. What exactly are you?"
Tipping his head to the side in a charming manner, Corvi hesitated a moment before he spoke. "I am...somewhat human. I understand that I have a soul, but I have little understanding as to what a soul is. As I gather, though, humans also have little understanding of their souls. I am a creation of the shop keeper that you purchased me from, essentially a doll, but with human functions and the capacity for human emotion, though I have not been taught to feel them. I do not remember my birth, and I did not have a childhood. I have always been this way, in an adult humanoid body. That probably does not make much sense, does it, Viktor?"
"I'm beginning to understand it." Viktor said, and it was true. He felt he was finally grasping the concept. "So you feel things and have human functions, so you digest food and seek pleasureful things? You know, soft fabrics, touches of soft and pleasing things?" Viktor wasn't trying to be awkward, but he was curious what everything felt like, sounded like and must have tasted like. He pulled into his driveway and stopped the car. "You can explain to me all about your feelings and such when inside."
Corvi nodded and opened the door to the car, shivering immediately and once again at the cold winter wind. "I don't like being cold, Viktor. That is a feeling that I have that is definite." He attempted to smile once more, but seemed to think better of it in the middle and let his face become blank once more. "Viktor, will you teach me to smile? I like how smiles look, but I don't know how to do it. I don't know how to be happy so that I can do it."
Viktor wondered how he would manage such a task."All right, well.. you have to feel happy or amused to smile. You know how to make the face, but... well you think, right? You can tell that you don't like the cold, but you do like the warmth. When the warmth feels more than good, let it show by a smile that shows that you enjoy the warmth, that you truly like the feeling. That should help with that. Have you ever laughed?" He asked, unlocking the door and showing him in. "Try that for me and I'll get you a room set up."
"No, I have never laughed, not that I can remember. Laughter is another thing caused by happiness, isn't it?" As they entered the house, the warmth of it stopped Corvi's shivering, and he thought about how it made him feel. He really, truly liked the warmth...a smile, not quite as real as it could have been, but much better, spread over his face. A look of surprise replaced it quickly, though, and he pointed at his face. "Viktor! I think I did it!" Excitement was something relatively new to him as well, but he felt that was an emotion that was much easier to react to than happiness.
Viktor grinned and came out of the room he'd been preparing. "Show me,my little treasure." Viktor said,putting his fingers under his doll's chin to make him look up. "Come on, make me proud now, I want to see it." He smiled softly as he waited for the action, wondering if he would be able to see it as well as he wanted to. Perhaps this emotion teaching thing wasn't going to be that difficult after all. It couldn't be. How could one think but not feel?
Corvi's face went curiously blank again, just for a moment, as he looked into Viktor's face, and he closed his eyes as if concentrating or meditating. Then, with his eyes closed, he smiled slowly, and it was even better than the one before it. Still smiling, he opened his eyes and looked at Viktor. "Is it a good smile?" His teeth were perfect and white. "I chose to think of something other than warmth to make me smile this time, though."
"It's a perfect, and lovely smile." Viktor said, hugging Corvi to him. "I can't wait to teach you more things." He grinned. "Come, I want to show you the room I made up for you." He pulled him to show him the most uncluttered room in the house, complete with a large, spacious bed with sheets of green silk and a large comforter of gold. "I hope you like it." He turned on a lamp near the bed so the other would have a more warm light. "I'll get you some clothing tomorrow."
"Thank you, Viktor. I am glad that you are so kind to me. The shop keeper told us that he would never sell us to people who would do us harm, and I see that he held true to that promise. I am...happy...that it was you that bought me, Viktor." Corvi petted the bed covers with his hand, and smiled once more. "They match my eyes," he commented, pointing at the silk sheets. It was a very nice room, and he found that no part of Viktor's house was uninteresting to him. He wondered if he would be permitted to explore it, and inspect all of the things that this man collected. It was much different from the shop, which was not very homey at all, since that was not its intended purpose. "Will you be going to sleep now, Viktor?"
"Yes, I will. Do you require anything?" Viktor asked, checking to make sure that he didn't have a bunch of collectibles in the guest bathroom. "Well bathroom's there, towels...do you bathe? How old are you? I have so many strange questions to ask." He smiled and sat on the edge of his bed. "I'll just stop with my questions and return to the first one. Do you need anything else?"
Corvi tipped his head to the side again and smiled. "Only perhaps a book to read, since I am not tired yet. But if you are not too tired, I may be able to answer some of your questions. To start, yes, I do bathe. You may think of me as human, to a certain extent. My body functions as yours does, and therefore gets dirty as yours does." He removed his coat, which was starting to make him overly warm, and laid it on the foot of the bed. "Would you like me to answer more questions?"
"Not tonight my dear, go and sleep for now." Viktor said gently, patting Corvi on the head. "I'm right down the hallway on the right, it's the only door there if you need me. For now, I want you to sleep and enjoy your dreams should you have them." He caressed the doll's cheeks one last time before he made his way out to his own bedroom, hoping he was a good enough host for the young one.
Nodding, Corvi smiled - he really enjoyed doing that, now that he could do it genuinely - and crawled into bed as Viktor left the room. He looked around the room, taking in the wallpaper, the little things on shelves, and the general clutter. He liked it, he supposed. He was comfortable in the close surroundings. After a moment, however, he climbed out of bed to remove his sweater and jeans, which he had forgotten he was even wearing. Was he supposed to wear something to sleep? Naked once more, he left the room and walked silently down the hall toward what he supposed was Viktor's room, as it was the only door with a light on behind it. He knocked quietly.
Viktor answered the door and blushed at the sight of his naked Corvi. "Well...are you all right? Why are you naked?" He asked, placing his hands on Corvi's shoulders. "Is everything all right?" To say he was confused was clearly a huge understatement. To say he was worried was accurate. What caused the creature to get up and out of bed nakedly to search for him. His mind clearly entertained the idea of sexual excitement, but he shook that thought away quickly.
"Everything is fine, Viktor. I didn't know if it was acceptable for me to sleep this way in the bed that you gave me, but I didn't have anything to sleep in either, so I came to ask you what you would have me do." Corvi looked curiously at Viktor's face. "I apologize if I have upset you, Viktor. Did I startle you?" He supposed that it was not common for people to wander around naked. He knew that much, at least, but he hadn't really thought about it. He was simply used to running around in all his glory at the shop.
"A little bit, i wasn't expecting you to show up at my room naked." He smiled. "You may sleep as you wish, shall I provide a large shirt for you?" He asked, motioning to his closet. "It might get cold in your room if the heater decides to stop working later." He frowned at the thought. "You can't get sick, can you?" He was worried and felt he might even want to share his bed with the other to keep him warm if anything.
"A large shirt might be best, yes. Thank you, Viktor." Corvi nodded. He wanted to say that he was sorry his nakedness had offended him, but he thought it might embarrass him further than he already seemed to be. Instead, he narrowed his eyes and replied, "I don't really know if I can get sick, actually. I have never been sick before..." He frowned. He had read many things about illness and injury, but none of them had ever happened to him, and he had never witnessed anything like them in his isolated life. "Does the heater often stop working?"
"Only when it gets used too little. I'm not very good at being cold so it's not used often." Viktor replied, handing him a long shirt. "This should keep you warm enough. Are you all right sleeping alone?" He asked, unsure how all of the dolls slept when in their store. "I don't know how others would sleep where you came from." He smiled and sat at the foot of his own bed in his boxers and house robe.
Corvi quickly pulled the shirt over his head, and smoothed it out, shrugging to settle it on his shoulders. "I should hope I will be all right, since you have been generous enough to provide me with my own bed, but I have never done it before. We each had our own bed at the shop, but we all slept in the same room." The dark did not bother him, but that was something else he had never really experienced alone. "How do you stay warm without your heater, Viktor?" It occurred to him that Viktor had mentioned he lived alone.
"A lot of blankets, dear Corvi." He said, patting his head. "You may sleep in here if it would make you feel comfortable." He gestured to his bed in offering, wondering what this mystery would chose. He wouldn't be offended if the doll decided to sleep alone. "And if you want to sleep alone it wont bother me either. I just know you like to keep warm." He smiled kindly, waiting for his choice, forgetting what Corvi said he'd come in there for originally anyhow.
"I think it likely that it would make me more comfortable, but I do not wish to cause you inconvenience. If you do not mind sharing your bed, then I do not mind taking advantage of extra warmth." Corvi smiled. He did not think there was anything odd about sharing a bed with Viktor, though he had read various romance novels in his lifetime, so he was not unfamiliar with the concept of sharing a bed. It was just yet another experience that he lacked. "Viktor, why is there not a girl to share your bed?"
"Because I've never met a girl who can handle my fascination with collecting and I prefer the same sex." Viktor said easily, being truthful. "However, I suppose if one could handle me, then there would be one. Why do you ask?" He wondered, turning off the main light and leaving the lamp on while he patted the bed for him to lay beside him while he slipped back under the comforter. "Come now, lay with me."
"I was only curious," Corvi answered and climbed readily into bed next to Viktor. "I have read about things like that too. Why does it seem that some forms of love are less popular than others? Why is it not that all love is appreciated as love? Perhaps I misunderstand love itself. Can you explain it to me?" He fixed Viktor with a perplexed expression, frowning and creasing his brow.
"I can try." Viktor thought for a moment as he pulled the blanket up around them both. "It's... you wont know love until it's right there in front of your face screaming at you. You suspect it but when the realization that you're in love hits you feel humbled. It's a butterflies feeling in your stomach and your heart beats faster than normal. You'll blush, you'll wish that person you love to be around you always, and you'll devote yourself to them alone. What have you read that makes you wonder?"
"Love is a very complicated emotion, isn't it, Viktor? I don't really understand it any better by what you have explained, but it sounded very nice. I have read many things that speak of love. I have read romance novels of all sorts, poetry, prose, and I have even seen some films. I see that there are different kinds of love. For instance, the difference between the love for a child and the love for a significant other." Corvi stopped himself short and smiled. "I apologize for keeping you awake, Viktor. You said you were going to sleep, so I'll be quiet if you want me to."
"No,go ahead and speak more. I want to hear what you have learned." Viktor urged on, stroking Corvi's hair while they lay together. "You are a living thing too, you should be able to express yourself." He was more than glad to finally have someone beside himself at night, even if it was technically a 'doll' and he'd just bought them. It moved,felt and sounded human and did human things and that was human enough for him. It was just nice to have a pleasant conversation for once.
"Okay, thank you." Corvi leaned into Viktor's touch a bit. "I like it when you stroke my hair that way, it feels nice." He smiled. "Everything I have learned has come from books, and occasionally films. I know things of history and geography, fiction and non-fiction, but these things all speak volumes of people in general. It seems to me that humans do not often understand their own emotions. But what I find most interesting is how love and other emotions are expressed. I think kissing sounds very intriguing, for example." For the first time in Viktor's presence, Corvi blushed. He had remembered a film that he had seen many years ago, and a couple in the movie had shared a kiss in one of the scenes, and it had made him blush then too, but he didn't know why.
"Emotions can be confusing if one doesn't understand where they are coming from. But rest assured, eventually the real emotion comes out in the end." He felt the other warm in the cheeks and glanced at him. "Are you feeling well? I would say you're blushing, do you feel normal?" He was of course very concerned. This was his new friend and his latest collectible, but then, perhaps all of this talk about romance was stirring some feelings in the other.
"I feel fine. I was just...remembering something that I saw once when I mentioned kissing. It was in a film. There was a scene in which the couple kissed, and..." Corvi stopped, his blush intensifying a bit. "I've never experienced kissing before, but it seems like something that people enjoy doing very much. I only wonder what it's like, that's all. I apologize for worrying you, Viktor."
Viktor glanced at the other. "Oh, so you're slightly embarrassed then.. it's fine to blush. It's very nice on your cheeks." He sat up and gazed down at Corvi while leaning on his side. "I can show you if you'd like?" He asked, deciding he would probably have to teach him all things. It wasn't like he was going to have sex with the creation, and even if he wanted to, Corvi was technically his property.
The blush on Corvi's cheeks faded a little, replaced by a bit of excitement that he was going to try something new. "Yes, that would be wonderful, Viktor." He smiled and sat up a little as well. His heart was beating faster than normal, and the blush was returning to his cheeks. That feeling of nervousness...Viktor had described it like butterflies. Was he really feeling all of this? Some of the things that Viktor had used to describe love. Curious. "This is okay with you?" He hoped he wasn't asking something embarrassing or awkward of him.
"Oh yes, it's fine." Viktor leant forward and pressed his lips to Corvi's, enjoying the feel of them. For something that was a creation, he certainly felt real enough. He enjoyed the kiss for the moment that their lips were together and felt sad that they were parted from it so soon. "Was that what you had in mind?"
"Yes...and no..." Corvi was blushing again, and he sounded a bit breathless. "I don't mean for that to sound insulting, Viktor. Your kiss was more than satisfactory. I only meant...could you do it again?" Just one more kiss was all he wanted for the moment. Perhaps it would be okay to ask for more in the future? He didn't want to take advantage of Viktor's generosity, he was already being so nice as to teach him and explain things to him.
Viktor granted the other a kiss without question and nodded. "Yes, in the future if you want kisses I have no problem granting them to you." He thought then about possibly taking the creation on a date or something of that nature to eat somewhere special. They could even pose as a couple. And that thought warmed him greatly.
Corvi snuggled against Viktor's chest and smiled. "Thank you, Viktor. You're very kind to me. You make me happy." He was finally getting tired, and it was warm and comfortable in the bed, close to Viktor. "Should we sleep now? And tomorrow we will go get clothes?" He was rather excited about that, since he had never been shopping for clothes before, but he was too tired now to let his excitement show.
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