Belgium, 1816, late November...
Shadows crept across the floor of the small nursery. "I feel like there is a lot of questionable morality here. I mean, sure, they did a horrible thing as an adult, but right now they're just a kid."
A second voice hissed at the first, much quieter. "Keep your voice down, we don't want to wake anyone up!"
A window slid open, letting in a cool chill. "So, you're going to let them catch cold and die naturally?"
The other reached into the cot, lifting the toddler into their arms with a gentleness totally at odds with their actions. "No. We have to be sure. Carriage accidents happen every day."
The first made a horrified sound, but didn't move to stop the second. "So you'll traumatise some poor carriage driver instead?"
The other ignored him. "Sorry, little Adolphe, but it's for the good of the world."
The toddler went flying out of the second-floor window, and before the horrified screams started to ring out below, the pair had vanished.
A child sat at a desk, absorbed in a book of musical theory. Two figures watched from the shadows. One shifted in place, a hint of guilt to their body language. "This is getting to be a very bad habit, you know."
The other squirmed, holding a bowl of a cloudy liquid, and eyeing the child's almost empty glass of milk. "Don't remind me, how can one kid be so difficult to kill?"
Pouring the liquid into the milk glass was the work of moments, and once again, they had vanished by the time the child started to cough.
The laughter of children rang over the fields, most of them sensibly keeping away from the small cliff and staying under the watchful eye of their minders.
One child was less cautious, and equally unaware of the heavily-camouflaged eyes that watched him from the scattered shadows. The rules of American Football would not be formalized for some time yet, which was a shame, because the combination charge and shoulder block would have made several coaches stand up and applaud.
In an actual football game, the move was fairly ineffective against an equally large and padded opposing team. Used against a nine-year-old child by a grown adult, the results were far more dramatic. Adolphe went flying over the edge of the cliff with a shriek, and the stranger made himself scarce.
Surely this time...
"Measles? You know that can be deadly, right?"
"Accidents aren't working, and he's already started to experiment!"
"Well, the vial says that this is a particularly virulent strain, so hopefully it works. All we need to do is find an opportunity to inject it..."
"... and he'll fall into a short coma leading to death. Don't look at me like that, I know assassinations aren't glorious or honourable, but sometimes they're necessary!"
"I just hope this is the last time we're back here. We're expending far too much time and effort on a single person."
Adolphe, one had to admit, was a singularly resilient child. Having recovered from a nine day coma due to a bad bout of measles, the family were planning to celebrate with a visit to his grandparents.
No sooner had the fourteen-year-old climbed into the carriage, than the new footman shut the door too quickly, closing it on the adolescent's arm.
Adolphe screamed, and the afternoon's plans were quickly changed to another visit to the doctor.
A shadowy figure perched lightly on the rooftop, carefully working a brick free from the chimney, and keeping one eye on the street below, waiting for a very specific person.
A tall young man walked by, and the shadow struck, hurling the brick down with remarkable aim. They'd resorted to taking turns, to draw less attention.
The young man went down like... well, like a ton of bricks, and the would-be assassin vanished, hoping that it actually stuck this time. Many more attempts, and the Powers That Be would start to notice, if the mission wasn't wrapped up soon.
It hurt the Shadow to do this. The target stared back at him, almost reproachfully, he imagined, and he shifted guiltily.
It had to be done, the Shadow told himself. This was the last chance to change things, to prevent the Great Atrocity.
Picking up the syringe, the Shadow forced the needle through the cork, injecting the poison into the wine.
This time, this time, surely it would work.
It had to...
From the street, there was very little remarkable about the small patent office. To anyone bothering to observe the pair on the street corner opposite - one clearly agitated and the other making a futile attempt to calm their companion - there was clearly something very important about a patent office that specialized in the design of musical instruments.
Agent 99, who was very much not female, despite their Sit-Com counterpart, had given up all attempts at stealth and was waving their arms. "You have got to be kidding me! He's either got the luck of the gods themselves, or he's actually immortal!"
Agent 23, whose wild hair might have seen them compared to Einstein, had it not been for their bronze skin tone, sighed in exasperation. "Look, collectively as an organisation, we've made over a hundred attempts to take Antonine-Joseph Sax out of the timeline; I think we're just going to have to give this one up as a loss."
Agent 99 groaned, deflating like a tire that had just run over a nail. "At least it wasn't an official mission, so it won't show up on our quarterly review."
Agent 23, who had been about to open a portal in a shadowy alley, paused min-date-input. "You're not still trying to impress that cute receptionist from Finance, are you? The one who keeps bribing IT to glitch the sound system whenever the Jazz playlist comes on?"
".... I'm not answering that."
Mission Status: Failed. Saxophone was invented.
Note: Research fixed time points. Dr Who may have been onto something.
Inspired by this prompt.
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