"Sorry for making you wait." Byakuran apologized when he found me sitting outside the school building. I had been waiting for so long that the sun had already painted the sky a beautiful red.
I used all my willpower to suppress the mental images that had popped up from earlier as I told him, "Don't worry about it."
He tilted his head to the side, his ear up in the air, as if listening to the wind. He smiled knowingly and with a coy smile called out, "Thanks for your services but it's okay to go home now."
I looked around the vacant grounds. The school was dark on the other side of the windows as if the building was patiently waiting for the next day. It was still light but already the outside lamps were on in preparation for the coming darkness. Fon had left a few minutes earlier. When he had rolled out I could tell that we both felt a little awkward. I don't think he knew I knew but his face showed that he hadn't fully recovered from the experience yet, and I think that made him feel self-conscious. After Fon there hadn't been anyone else and besides Byakuran and I there was no one else around now.
There was a slight rustle from the shrubbery along the school wall and a Namimori Middle School uniform popped up like the classic jack-in-the-box. I was startled at first but not as much when I saw that it was Hibari who was lurking about and not the creepers.
Byakuran offered a small wave, "I've got it from here so goodnight Hibari."
"Che," Hibari walked away, his back to us, mumbling something about weaklings being burdensome.
I had gone through too much to question it and so I quietly got into Byakuran's car. It was a silent trip and one that I was thankful for. Byakuran seemed to understand and respected my need for a moment of quiet. It wasn't that I wanted to think, while waiting I had plenty of time for that, it's just that I didn't want to talk.
We pulled up in front of an odd looking building. It was made from cement, making it grey, and was bigger on top which reminded me of a mushroom. All the windows were different sizes and shapes. There was a large star, a few square ones, and at least a dozen circles.
We got out of the car and my feet were greeted by a carpet of rich green grass. Upon a closer inspection I found that there were no sprinklers in the yard.
"Oh you like?" Byakuran glanced at the ground as he pulled my stuff out of the trunk. "I water it myself."
"Do you have a garden?" Dad loved our garden, which reminded me that I needed to water it while he was…
"No, but I find the menial task to be relaxing."
I looked around but I saw no hose, "What do you water it with?"
"This!" With his free hand Byakuran proudly held up a purple daisy watering can. After a moment he smiled shyly and sat it down near the door, "Enough of that though let me show you inside."
I have to admit I hadn't been expecting it. Then again there was a lot I hadn't been expecting like me actually liking the new town we moved to.
Byakuran's home was very…
I had been expecting something childish as his mushroom house and watering can led me to believe. I figured the place would look like Takashi Murakami's Tonton Bo Puking had spewed all over the place but in reality it was much more high-class. The walls were a nice beige, the carpet was a dark lavender, and all the woodwork was sandalwood if the yellow color and smell was anything to go by. His furniture was tactfully placed around a round Persian rug that was elaborate in design. The back wall of his living room was covered in bookshelves. As we passed by I glanced at some of the titles and was impressed by their topics ranging from physics to ancient civilizations.
"I have a guestroom upstairs," Byakuran explained as we climbed the spiral staircase.
While walking down the hall I noticed some wall paintings. Most of them were unrecognizable, but then there were a few that I was sure I had seen before.
Byakuran noticed I wasn't following and looked over at me. He then followed my line of sight, "Do you like it?"
"It's called Water Lilies, well it's just a print, but the original is by Claude Monet."
I felt myself smile a little, "It's beautiful."
"Monet was part of the impressionist movement along with other great artists like Degas and Renoir. With impressionist artwork you'll find that their paintings are painterly meaning you can actually see the brushstrokes." Byakuran laughed, "The kicker is that he was practically blind when he painted this."
I gave him a strange look.
"What? Did you think Lal Mirch was the only one into art?" He winked at me as he continued down the hall.
He opened up the door at the end of the hallway and sat my bags inside. I peeked through the door at the canopy bed with billows of purple mesh hanging over the frame. This room had three of the circle windows clustered together like escaping bubbles. There were end tables with matching lamps and a full body mirror stood in the corner opposite the closet. Overall it was a nice room.
"This will be your room for as long as you need it. You are free to use the closet which I encourage so that your clothes don't get wrinkled." He looked around, "I don't think there's much to tell you except that there's a bathroom across the hall that you can use. There's another one downstairs which I can show you later."
"Thank you. I appreciate all of what you're doing for me."
"No problem." He smiled, "I'm glad to have you aboard Frannie. In fact once your dad gets better the both of you can come and spend the night whenever you want."
"Are you hungry?" He asked and I nodded my head, "Great! I'll fix dinner right away."
With a wave and a twirl he was gone. I poked my head out the door and watched as his white hair bobbed down the stairs. What an odd man. Even more odd was the lack of oddness in his house. It was so lavish and not at all like Byakuran. Or maybe I just didn't know him as well as I thought I did.
I placed my belongings in their proper places and then followed Byakuran's path to the kitchen.
When I pushed open the door I was greeted with more elegance. The hardwood table was polished to a shine, the feet was carved with spirals, and on top of it was a red tablecloth with a lace trim. There was a golden candelabrum in the center with unlit white candles. There were more paintings but these had gold frames.
I walked into the kitchen, for the two were separated, to find Byakuran pulling out bowls. He turned around and I saw that he was now wearing a grey apron with pockets that had pink nails painted on them and an elephant hat instead of a chef's.
"Do you like my apron? Believe it or not Reborn made it for me for Christmas last year."
"Reborn gave you a present?" Now that was hard to believe. The English teacher was nice, enough, but he didn't seem the type to humor the principal. Or the type to make something so silly that seemed more up Haru's alley.
Byakuran glanced away, "Well it was a secret Santa thing."
I felt bad for questioning it, "Well that was very sweet of him to make that for you. It's… cute."
"Thanks. Fon thinks it makes my head look big but I think he's just jealous that I'm wearing something another man made me."
"Well it does make your head look bigger," I said and Byakuran gave me an icy glare so I quickly added, "Well I mean elephants have huge ears and all."
"Hmm, I never thought about it like that." He reached up and touched one of the floppy appendages. "Anyways if you were wanting dinner it's not ready yet, but I'll call you when it is."
I walked back up and opened the door to my room, or what I thought was my room, but I must have opened Byakuran's bedroom door instead.
Oh my God…
I slowly closed the door.
"Go on. Dig in." Byakuran encouraged me as he ate a bite himself.
I looked up from my plate and gave him a dubious look. I looked back down at the plate. We were having a traditional Japanese dinner of miso soup with cooked salmon. It smelled delicious and the fish was cooked perfectly. Everything looked yummy.
"Sorry. I guess I'm too used to my dad's cooking."
"No need to apologize just eat up."
With a small shrug I grabbed my soup scoop and took a large mouthful… and immediately spit it back into the bowl.
"Frannie are you okay?" Byakuran asked while standing out of his chair to hand me a cloth napkin. I spluttered and reached for it to wipe up the liquid dribbling down my chin.
Once I got myself under control and cleaned up I looked down at the bowl in confusion. I politely told Byakuran, "I hate to tell you this but I think you may have mistaken the sugar for the salt."
"No I didn't."
"But it's sweet." I argued then used my spoon to scoop up one of the tofu's, "I mean it's so sweet that the tofu tastes like pure sugar."
"Oh that's because that's not tofu,"
"What but-" My eyelids lowers, "Wait don't tell me these are marshmallows."
"Okay then I wont." He chirped and kept on eating.
"Mm it's nice having company over every once and awhile. Fon comes over from time to time but-"
"You put marshmallows in the miso soup. What kind of sick bastard are you?"
"Silly Frannie I haven't had a cold in ages." He smiled.
"…" I thought about it for a moment, "Well please tell me the salmon is normal."
"Of course," He nodded his head.
I sighed with relief and picked up a piece of the awaiting dish of fish.
"I coated it with honey to give it just the right flavor."
I dropped my chopsticks onto the table, "I'm out of here."
I headed straight for the door. I felt bad because he had made the meal for me, but there was no way I could eat that.
"But weren't you hungry?" Byakuran called after my retreating form.
"I'll wait for breakfast." I said and never looked back.
I was woken up by Byakuran singing in the shower and surprisingly he wasn't half bad. I was able to take my own before getting dressed for school. When entering the dinning room I had this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that we would be eating Lucky Charms cereal for breakfast.
"Good morning Frannie I fixed eggs for breakfast so I hope you don't mind." Byakuran's voice came with the sizzle of frying.
Thank god that nightmare hadn't come true. I sat down in the seat I sat in the previously night. When I heard that we would be eating eggs my stomach perked up. Last night I had been so desperate that I ate all of the remaining cookies that Tsuna and his mother made me, and the sad thing was they were less sweet than the soup.
"Here you go," He put the plate down in front of me, "Will you be wanting anything to go on it? Something like ketchup?"
I was about ready to dig in when I noticed my eggs were lumpy, and then I realized it was an omelet. I really like omelets. I cut a small piece off and stuffed it in my mouth. I was starving at this point. The egg was nice and fluffy. I was really enjoying it until I tasted something off about it. I glanced down at my plate and for the first time saw the white chunk popping out of the yellow.
"What's wrong Frannie?"
"I just remembered that I have to go to school early." I said already getting up. It was the second time I would be escaping the table and one of Byakuran's meals.
"Before you go here's your lunch!" Byakuran grabbed a paper sack and forced it into my hands. "I made it myself."
I had been afraid of that.
"Are you going to walk to school?" He asked me.
"Okay I'll see you at school then."
It was a good thing that he didn't live too far from the school because I was running on empty. By the time I got to school my stomach was sounding like a rabid dog and I felt like a zombie.
"Good morning Fran. You're here awfully early." Fon greeted me. It took me a minute to figure out what was off about him, but then I realized that he was standing on his feet. As I looked him up and down I was impressed by how well his posture was.
"Your leg!" I gasped.
"Mostly all better." He smiled, "I went to the hospital last night."
"That's great news." I really meant it. I didn't like seeing Fon hurt like that.
There was an awkward moment of silence before Fon said, "I-pin isn't here yet, but have you seen Kyoya?"
"No… not since last night."
"But I thought he was-" Fon began with a puzzled expression.
Just then Hibari appeared, speak of the devil, and strolled into the school without a glance towards us.
"Ah there he is." Fon clasped his hands together then quickly changed the topic, "More importantly how are you doing?"
"I understand and thought this might happen." Fon pulled out a paper bag from behind his back, "Byakuran has a sweet tooth that doesn't agree with most people's flavor palate. I've become used to his abnormal taste buds but I figured you might need this."
I grabbed the bag and looked inside. Normal food!
"I love you."
He laughed, "Just don't tell Byakuran about the hamburger because it might hurt his feelings."
"I wont." I swore as I took in the greasy aroma. Then I remembered that this would probably be the only food I would get all day and all my excitement melted away.
Fon chuckled, "Byakuran wanted to celebrate me getting out of the wheelchair so tonight we're eating out."
"Did I mention I love you and your legs?" I asked.
"Well I was fortunate that it wasn't as bad as the doctors first thought. Oh and there's one thing I should warn you about," His expression was serious, "Never go into Byakuran's room because-"
My face contorted.
He stopped himself and grimaced, "You already did didn't you?"
I looked away, "…yeah."
"It's not your fault."
"No, but still…" He rubbed his arm, "Do you need to talk about it?"
"You're a good kid."
To be continued…
Author's Note- Ah poor Fran… And yay Fon is all better! :D Or is he? Dun dun dun. Byakuran is so cool. ^^ I would love to live in his house.