Title: Lesson of the Day
Author: Sorceress Fantasia
Pairings: Some form of AkuRoku, implied Riku/Sora
Warnings: Kid!Organization XIII, AU, slight crack?
Word count: 2259
Disclaimer: I do not own the Kingdom Hearts franchise or any of its characters portrayed in this piece of fictional work.
Summary: As a childcare centre employee, Xenmas had to deal with a bunch of kids who resembled hell spawns more than they resembled kids. And then there was the new kid, Roxas.
Note: Written for aurons_fans birthday. Happy birthday, dear!
There were days when Xenmas could safely say he regretted some decisions he'd made in his life.
As a child, he'd dreamed of becoming a scientist who would make important discoveries and name astounding theories after himself. Unfortunately, as his teachers realized, he had next to no talent in the sciences and even persistence was not enough to keep him in all the classes. Maybe turning in long essays about his theories on the darkness, lights and hearts to his physics teacher hadn't been such a good idea after all.
Antagonizing his teachers after that probably was a stupid decision, one that led to him being expelled from school. Of course, his father Ansem had told him to apologize and ask for leniency, but no, he'd chosen to be a smartass and did the complete opposite by upping the stakes and antagonizing his teachers even more. So that was the end of his years in Twilight High.
As though that wasn't enough, his then-girlfriend had to pour salt into his wounds by ending their relationship and shacking up with his arch-rival in science classes, who actually wasn't really a rival since he and Xenmas were at the opposite ends in terms of their results. All because Xenmas decided that buying her sea-salt ice cream instead of that Prada bag she'd wanted for her birthday was a good idea.
Xenmas had made many, many decisions in his life, but out of the many decisions he had made in his life and regretted, this one had to take the cake.
"Xenmas, is it tea time yet? I'm hungry," said a child as he tugged and pulled at Xenmas' pants.
The man sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. Kneeling down, he ruffled the child's hair roughly, hoping the action would disorientate the child but alas, not even a spike of the child's golden locks went out of place. Faced with bright hopeful eyes, he said, "Demyx, you just had lunch. We won't have tea until at least another two hours."
"But I'm hungry!" Demyx whined, rubbing his stomach as he did so.
"Tea time is at 3 o'clock. It's only 1 o'clock now. I've taught you how to tell the time, so now tell me, how long more is it to tea time?"
Demyx scratched his head and started counting with his other hand.
"One… two… Two minutes," he finally said.
And people wondered why he had a permanent flat spot on his palm and forehead. "Two hours, Demyx. Hours. It's two hours, so go play with the other kids or something."
There was no denying the pout on Demyx's face, but after so many months on the job, he'd already developed superb immunity to all sorts of kicked puppy faces and its variations. Instead, he merely pointed a finger at the other children playing at the other corner of the room and glared until the child toddled away, his mohawk drooping.
Once the child was back with his friends, Xenmas sighed again. When his friend, Xigbar, had taken it upon himself to recommend a job at a child care center to him, he had obviously not taken into account Xenmas' utter hatred of children. Then again, Xigbar had probably seen the dismal state of his bank account and decided that any job would be better than no job. Maybe he'd thought that if anything, Xenmas could torture little kids to kill time and earn some cash along the way. Xenmas had to admit that thought did flash across his mind once or twice before he put his name on the dotted line.
Another bad decision, but Xigbar certainly hadn't pointed his favourite gun at him and forced him to accept the job offer, so Xenmas only had himself to blame for his current state. From an aspiring scientist to childcare center employee… what had happened to his life?
Before Xenmas could retreat into a corner and start drawing circles with his fingers while lamenting everything that had gone wrong with his life, his boss walked into the room. Or maybe strutted would have been a more appropriate word choice, since the man had the stance of a peacock and certainly the self-absorption to go with it. Occasionally, Xenmas wondered why his boss, Riku, wasn't an actor or a model, because with the silver-hair, piercing aquamarine eyes and chiseled features, Riku was definitely eye-candy material.
Of course, it helped that Riku had the diva attitude too.
"Xenmas, there's a new kid today," he said simply.
No, there wasn't a 'how's work today' or a 'are you being swarmed with work?' or even a nice 'you should take tomorrow off'. With Riku, it was always work, work, more work and a 'you'd better be working or I'll sack your sorry behind before you know it'. As much as Xenmas would love to quit, the mounting stack of bills on his breakfast table (actually, the thing was made out of wooden crates but they served as a table well enough) forbade it. So he forced himself to smile and, almost gagging in the process, said, "A new kid? Oh, that's lovely."
The new kid, hiding behind Riku's ripped and very fashionable jeans, peered at him silently. He had a mob of wild golden hair and cool blue eyes that reminded Xenmas of Riku and Sora - Riku's would-be-boyfriend if Riku would just get his act together and ask him out - at the same time. Maybe those two had somehow transcended the impossible and gotten themselves a love child.
"He's Sora's cousin. Sora's supposed to be babysitting him today, but he got called away for some job so he's entrusting Roxas to us. Take good care of him," Riku said pointedly. Then he knelt down on one knee and suddenly, his voice was a million times softer and gentler. "Roxas, I need to do some work so Xemnas, that man over there, will take care of you for a while. See the other kids? You can play with them, alright?"
The blond nodded obediently.
"Call for me or Xenmas if you need anything," he finished and left, but not before ruffling the child's hair affectionately and sending a deadly glare at the general direction of Xenmas. While some may beg to differ and say that the glare had been directed at Xenmas, Xenmas decided to be optimistic and claim that the glare had been shot at in his general direction and he'd merely been standing at the wrong place at the wrong time.
In any case, Xenmas wasn't too sure how to decipher the glare, but he had a sneaking feeling it was something along the lines of: "Take good care or Roxas or else!"
Simple enough, except Xenmas had never been a kids person, even after so many months on the job. He barely knew what to do with them, much less take good care of them. Usually, he just sent them off to one corner to play by themselves or read to them or teach them some basic mathematics or sing some songs. How was he supposed to treat a kid whom he had to "take good care of"?
Looking down, he noticed Roxas staring up at him.
The other kids were still rowdy and playing in the other side of the room.
It was entirely possible that the staring contest would have continued until their eye balls dried out, but something made sure it didn't. Out of the blues, there was a familiar clicking sound, one so familiar it made Xenmas jump instinctively and check if his clothes were on fire. When he was sure nothing had been burnt, he glared down at the source of the clicking.
"Axel, how many times have I told you that you're not allowed to bring a lighter to the centre?" he snapped testily, snatching the red lighter from the child's hands as he did so.
The child merely looked at him with a bored expression and pulled out another lighter from his jacket, which was snatched away just as quickly. He scowled, and replied grudgingly, "Not sure. I lost count after the 17th time. And yes, I can count beyond 17. Anyway, Demyx wants to know if it's tea time yet. He's been asking everyone if two hours is up, and if he asks one more time, Larxene is going to zap him with that Taser she brought today."
"A Taser!? Why does Larxene have a Taser?"
Axel shrugged. "She said that since Marluxia got to bring his vicious venus flytrap for show-and-tell yesterday, she should be allowed to bring her toy today."
If Xenmas was regretting his decision to be a childcare centre employee earlier, he was now one step away from tendering his resignation and getting the hell out of the place, pun intended. These kids he was supposed to be looking after were not kids; they were the devil's incarnates.
"Why can't any of you be normal and bring normal things like books and test tubes? See Zexion and Vexen?" he exclaimed, before recalling the blades hidden between the book's pages and the carpet-eating acid in the test tube, and he pinched the bridge of his nose. "No… just… don't bring anything to class."
"Even ourselves?" Axel's spikes stood up.
"No, you have to come to class."
"Oh." The spikes drooped in an instant. Then his eyes landed on the new kid hiding behind Xenmas who looked like he wanted to be anywhere but here. "Hey, new kid? My name's Axel. Got it memorized?"
"…I'd sooner memorize all the multiplication tables than your name," Roxas replied as scathingly as he could, which wasn't much, considering he was still peeking from behind Xenmas.
"Well, we can memorize that together later. Come on! Let's go play with the others!" Axel yelled as he pulled Roxas with him to the other kids, all the while ignoring Roxas' struggles and indignant hollers.
Absently, as Xenmas shuffled into the kitchen for an icepack to nurse his growing migraine, he thought he heard Axel asking for Roxas' name, Roxas outright refusing and demanding that the redhead leave him alone, Larxene threatening Demyx with her Taser, Zexion throwing what sounded like bulky items (probably dictionaries) and yelling at Larxene to stop bullying Demyx, Demyx whimpering somewhere and asking if it was tea time yet. He could imagine Vexen burning another hole in the carpet which would be filled with Xenmas dwindling pay check, Lexaeus sitting in some corner, Xaldin spearing something with toothpicks, and Saix drawing circles while claiming they were supposed to be the moon.
Then he felt a sudden draft at his right leg, and he groaned when he realized that Roxas had pulled a chunk of the fabric from his pants earlier. Probably during his struggle with Axel.
Flat spot on palm, meet flat spot on forehead.
It was another six hours later that Xenmas could finally say goodbye to the hell spawns. Even Riku had come out from hiding and offered to take Roxas off his hands. To be honest, however, Roxas hadn't been such a bad kid to look after. Compared to the others, Roxas was precocious and well-mannered (the missing fabric from his pants was just a one-off incident), and despite his initial distrust of Axel, it was obvious the two had become good friends after a while.
Xenmas wouldn't mind if Roxas visited again. The boy kept Axel in check.
"So," Riku started, having knelt down in front of Roxas, "how was your day? Did you make any friends?"
The young blond nodded. "Lots!"
One point to Riku's good mood. Maybe Riku'd be nice and give him a day off tomorrow, Xenmas thought.
"What did you learn today? And what did you like best?" Riku continued amicably.
Roxas clapped his hands together excitedly. "I learnt Axel's name today and I like him best! He says I'm going to marry him when we get older!"
That line effectively heralded the next ice age, and Xenmas could just see Riku's good mood bar deplete like he'd been thrashed to high heavens by a killer move.
"My office. Now."
"And you can kiss your next pay check goodbye."
After his elder brother had warned him to stay put in the car while he went to the gents, Axel got out and wandered back inside the centre. Surprised to see his new best friend sitting on the couch outside Mr Riku's office, where some loud yelling was heard, he tottered over.
"Hey Roxas, aren't you going home yet?"
Roxas shook his head. "Riku's still busy, so he told me to wait for him a bit."
"But my elder brother said it's not safe to leave a kid alone. Why don't you come home with me? We can play some games and then Mr Riku can pick you up after he's done with his work."
The two walked hand-in-hand and climbed into the car's backseat just in time because the moment the door closed, Axel's elder brother came out of the gents and slid into the driver's seat before driving off.
That night, everyone but the two children had a heart attack. Their reactions were as follow:
Reno: Holy shit! Did I just kidnap someone's kid? …What do you mean he's your future bride, Axel!?
Riku: On my god, Sora is going to castrate me! Roxas couldn't have gone far! Quick, look for him!
Xenmas: Yes boss! /sprints off/
Lesson of the day #1: Whether you excel or suck in science doesn't really matter; you'll still find a job in the end.
Lesson of the day #2: Even if you're stunningly gorgeous with the gait and air of a model, you may still turn out to be a babysitter in the end.
Lesson of the day #3: Assuming that kids are naive and harmless will cause your downfall.
Lesson of the day #4: The ones who usually deal the most damage are the ones that look the least threatening. Think Roxas.
A/N: Happy Birthday, Brie! :DDD I know you wanted to write a AkuRoku fic for 8/13 this year but didn't really manage, so I decided to write you a little AkuRoku to make up for it. Hope you like it!