An Upbringing

He doesn't remember much about his birth mother. She didn't leave a very big impression on him- curly dark hair like his own, thin, sharp fingers like tiny daggers, and a blurry face are all he can recall. He grew up on the steps of the orphanage, a tiny building populated mostly by nuns and children unfortunate enough to be without family, like him.

He grew up three years of his life without a name. The head nun- too long ago and too old for anyone to remember- named him Frank. Everyone called him Frankie. When he was old enough, he changed his name legally to Frey Siani. It was a change he'd been waiting for his entire life.

She was a heavy-set older woman, her knobby hands beautiful despite her age. She used to play the piano for the children on rainy nights when they couldn't get to sleep, her fingers gliding along the black and white in a way that fascinated him endlessly. She wore a habit, like all of the sisters in the orphanage, and a golden cross on a thin chain around her neck. Her fingers shook when she prayed, holding the cross between both of her hands, kneeling on the ground. When she took off her habit, her hair was short and curly, thin and soft like the down feathers of a duckling.

She was the one who taught him to play the piano- she taught all the children, with varying degrees of success. She was their guide into the ups and downs of the world of music. He was the only one to show the promise and the interest that inspired her to unbury a rickety old violin she said she hadn't played in decades.

His first violin he bought when the old one broke in three places along the neck, cheap wood snapped into thorny splinters, rough and uneven under his fingers. He used money he'd been saving up since he first took a job walking the neighborhood's dogs, when he was eight years old. He found it in a music store, knocked down several prices because of its age and disrepair. He bought it, and brought it back to the orphanage, staying up late some nights fixing it. It took a month and a half to repair the violin in its entirety. He didn't even play it for the first week, afraid he might break it, afraid all of his hard work would amount to nothing in two seconds as he heard the crack and the snap of the aged wood collapsing in his palm.

He named it Stella, only he didn't tell anybody, not even the woman he'd named it after.

That violin shattered into a thousand pieces years later when he flung it from a bridge. He'd done it on a spur-of-the-moment decision, and had immediately regretted it. Kyle attempted to reassure him that they could always just buy him a new one, but, horrified by what he'd done, Frey had collected the pieces as best as he could and gave them a proper burial in the park, the first and only funeral he'd been to, and it wasn't even for anything living.

(When he tells Charlie that story Charlie laughs at first. Frey feels betrayed, but then Charlie pats him on the back consolingly, telling him that throwing his prized violin off a bridge is one of the least craziest things he could have done, and gives him a kiss on the forehead to make him feel better.)

He left the orphanage with that violin and a bag of sparse belongings. "I'm eighteen years old now," He told Stella, who watched him from the doorway. She smiled at him.

"You're not a child anymore," Is what she said. "I'm proud of you."

He says his good-byes to those he will miss and leaves, never to return.

A/N: I'm not as fond of this as I am of the previous chapter. It's a little cheesy and cliche, right? I don't like that. But I needed to get it out of my system, so I just wrote it.

Also, I'm aware how confusing this can be, so if you have any questions about the plot or the time line, feel free to ask. I will be happy to answer any and all of your questions, and I probably will answer all of them, since there's no way they could be spoiler-ish at this point. Right? Right.