|“||No matter how great my injuries were, my life was always spared. If it was divine punishment, and I ran from it through suicide, I would probably be given a heavier punishment. That is why I treat people: I see it as my duty to save as many souls who want to live as possible. Until God allows me to die.||”|
Fred (フレッド, Fureddo) is an underground doctor who dresses all in grey to hide his scars from World War I. He is first introduced as The Grey Magician (灰色 の 魔術師, Haīro no majutsu-shi) aboard the Flying Pussyfoot in 1931, where he treated the train's injured regardless of their faction.
Fred is responsible for two important locations in New York: his medical clinic, where all patients are welcome regardless of occupation or social standing; and a poorhouse he repurposed from a hotel to house and feed the city's jobless and others hit by the Depression.
Fred wears a gray coat over gray clothes and thin gray gloves, has a gray cloth wrapped around his head, and a thick muffler that covers the lower part of his face. His clothes cover hideous scars from his service in World War I. He normally carries his black medical bag with him at all times.
Ladd describes his eyes thusly: "...He's got eyes that look like he could die at any time and be fine with it. Or maybe eyes like a guy who's already dead."
Fred does not discriminate between those in need of treatment, as befitting of his profession. He treats the Lemures, the White Suits, and Jack aboard the Flying Pussyfoot equally and without prejudice.
Fred has an apathetic view towards death; he not frightened of it, but he is aware of it at all times. He is exactly the sort of man Ladd finds hardest to deal with - though if he were a woman, he'd be Ladd's favorite type (a la Lua Klein). He developed this attitude during his service in World War I, where he was heavily affected by the deaths around him and blamed h He hides his scars under heavy clothing to hide his pain.
He takes an overall neutral stance, and he not willing to involve himself heavily in the affairs of the immortal gangsters. He'd rather prefer to stay in the background, only taking an active role when people have been wounded.
He has a distinct dislike for drug addicts, a feeling that is especially evident when he has to deal with with Roy Maddock's destructive personality. Still, he does not hold Roy's behavior against him, and supports Edith's goal to make Roy a better man.
The Great War Edit
Fred enlists in the German army as a military doctor right in the middle of World War I and serves in the Battle of Verdun, which raged from February to December 1916 between German and French forces. The severe death toll on both sides leaves an indelible impression on him, as does one instance in which he finds himself the only living soul on a battlefield for as far as he could can see. He wonders if he might have been spared such a sight if he had only treated more people.
Throughout the rest of his military service in the Great War, Fred accumulates multiple grievous injuries which leave his face and body hideously scarred. That he continues to survive no matter the severity of his injuries does not escape him, to the point where he wonders if he is under some sort of divine punishment. Acknowledging that escaping his punishment through suicide would surely incur a heavier punishment in the afterlife, he comes to believe that it is his duty to save as many people who want to live as possible until God finally allows him to die.
Intending to catch a train to New York, Fred is travelling through the countryside several miles south of Chicago on December 29, 1931 when he comes across an injured man named Nader Schasschule, missing his right hand and suffering from serious burns. Fred delays his plans in order to treat Nader's wounds, which take so much time to treat that he ends up missing his train and having to look for a later one.
Fred manages to secure a third class ticket aboard the luxury transcontinental Flying Pussyfoot, due to depart from Chicago's Union Station on the evening of December 30. Once he boards the train, he heads for the third class car by way of second class, passing by Ladd Russo and other white-clad second class passengers in the middle of his corridor.
A few hours into the journey, Fred decides to leave his compartment and climb up onto the roof for some fresh air. He finds that men in black suits - the Lemures - have taken over his room upon his return, and elects to exit onto the car's platform instead of attempting to take his cabin back. Ladd Russo comes across him and levels his rifle at Fred's back, ordering him to not move - only to realize that Fred is not clad in the same outfit as the rest of the Lemures are. Fred confirms that he's not part of the Lemures' faction, and explains what happened to his room.
Ladd lowers his rifle and informs Fred that all the compartments in the second-class carriage are now empty, offering Fred the use of any compartment of his choosing. Fred smiles at the "Mr. Magician" moniker Ladd uses and thanks him for his generosity, moving past him toward second class. Curious, Ladd asks what is in the bag that Fred carries - only to quickly lose interest when he finds it is merely filled with medical books and other items. Before they part ways, he advises Fred to explain he has "Ladd's permission" if any White Suits try to stop him from making use of second class.
Fred nods, closes his bag, and enters Room Three of the second class compartments. At some point, he lies down on the top bed of the bunk bed in the corner of the room, and rests until some delinquents named Jacuzzi Splot and Donny enter his compartment and drop off their badly beaten friend Jack, not realizing that the room is already occupied. Fred gets off the bed to examine Jack, who blearily asks if he is "Death...that Grim Reaper fella?" - and tries to persuade him that he's not that badly off; he claims that he just needs to rest a little so that he can go save Jacuzzi and the others, and that Death had better not take Jacuzzi by mistake.
Noting Jack's clear will to live, Fred internally resolves to treat Jack's wounds and opens his medical bag, admitting that he envies Jack's determination to not die. Unbeknownst to either of them, conductor Claire Stanfield is observing the treatment through the compartment's window. Shortly afterwards, the door to the room opens to reveal the White Suits Lua Klein and Who, the latter of whom demands to know what is going on. Realizing that this room is likely theirs, Fred tells them that he is currently taking up Ladd on a "kind offer," and thanks them before returning to aiding Jack. Without pausing in his work, he asks if they could help him move his patient to the bed.
Once Fred finishes treating Jack, he comments to Lua that there is much more life in her eyes than there was before. At her glance, he quietly recounts his ordeals in the Great War and what his current duty is in life; he adds that Lua's eyes are finally alive, he can guess that she has finally found something she needs to do. Lua stands at his words, and as she leaves he hums that once she completes her task she could perhaps return to being dead - and then quickly dismisses the thought, admitting that it felt like someone with the same eyes as his was disappearing, a feeling that made him feel a little lonely for a moment.
After Lua leaves, Fred returns to tending to Jack with Who's assistance. Who asks him what the foreign books are in his bag - guessing that they might be magic books - but Fred explains that they're medical books, written in German. Who then asks him why he wears grey instead of white, and Fred replies that only white is bad for surgeries since it reflects light - that, and grey is also a personal preference. He believes that grey is the best color for blending - or rather, hiding - in the world.
Who recalls that Lua said something similar once upon a time, and Fred remarks that he and Lua are very similar in their shared desire for death. However, Fred is sure that there is a fundamental difference between the two of them: Lua's eyes resemble those of certain soldiers on the battlefield; the eyes of someone who personally wants to die but has someone that they love dearly - in other words, they are the eyes of someone who is needed by someone else. Meanwhile, Fred only heals wounds out of sheer obligation; from Fred's perspective, Lua holds much more value to the world than he does.
Later on, Who convinces Fred to take him on as an assistant so that he can escape the arrests that the rest of the surviving White Suits are guaranteed to endure. Fred agrees. Before the journey is over, an injured Jacuzzi lopes into the compartment on the recommendation of Claire, who'd suggested he go to Fred for treatment. After the Flying Pussyfoot is switched out for new cars and a new locomotive - and after a two hour police investigation is complete - the train arrives at Pennsylvania Station in New York at 2:00 PM December 31, two hours late. Fred disembarks with Who in tow, the latter of whom is carrying his luggage. Behind them straggle Jacuzzi and his friends; Jacuzzi and Jack become patients at Fred's Clinic, and are given beds of their own.
(Rest under construction)
- Fred's appearance in the story was omitted from the anime. The absence changes the characterization of Lua Klein and Who altogether, with Who implied to have perished and Lua's character less developed in the anime.
- Fred's omittance from the 2007 anime is also important because in the Grand Punk Railroad arc he serves as a red herring for the friend that Maiza is planning on picking up at the station. His medical knowledge, his clothes and life outlook - he gives off the same feeling of isolation that Maiza's friend does early on.
- He shares some similarities with Shingen Kishitani from the Naritaverse light novel series Durarara!!. Both wear clothing that conceal their identity, their professionalism takes priority, and they are both doctors. Fred shares the underground doctor profession with Shingen's son, Shinra.