Names: MC/Hero/Protagonist is known as Keiichi Kimura, and Naoya shares his surname. I am aware Keiichi doesn't fit into the spots provided in game.
Honorifics Used: -niisan is short for oniisan, which means big brother. -chan is used in this chapter as part of a nickname for Keiichi from his mother.
This fanfiction contains no spoilers for the video game known as Megami Ibunroku/Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. However, it is recommended you have a firm understanding of the game as a lot of the stuff in relation to Naoya won't make as much sense otherwise, such as the whole brother vs. cousin thing. This fanfiction is a one-shot.
Devil Survivor: Comfort Food
Naoya Kimura looked up from his computer screen. He was sure he had heard the voice of his six year old brother, Keiichi. The child was known for trying to get his attention from the other side of the house, and no amount of scolding would convince him to do otherwise. After some silence, Naoya returned to inputting what would have been nonsensical garbage to most onto his computer screen.
The teenager looked up from his workspace again. The shout had been more insistent this time. He let out a sigh and brought his right hand up and massaged his temple. The fingers of his left hand typed some code or another onto his screen. The display shut off and Naoya used the same hand to push himself to his feet. Mizuki, the woman who considered herself their mother, was home in time for dinner. He didn't understand why she couldn't handle the annoying blue haired child, but there was nothing that could be done about if if she wouldn't.
Naoya had halved the distance between the corner that housed his workspace and his bedroom door when the hammering on his door began. He closed the remaining distance more quickly and placed his hand on the door handle. Keiichi was still to young to grasp the value of personal space, at least when it came to his family. A lack of memories was a blessing Naoya could not blame his little brother for. He twisted the door handle and pulled it open.
Keiichi blinked at the open door. For a few seconds, his small fists continued to hammer the now empty air. He froze in that position for another moment before turning towards Naoya. The teenager returned the innocent look with a glare. Keiichi either didn't notice or didn't care. He gave a goofy grin and pointed in the direction of the kitchen. His arm waved up and down. Naoya fought the urge to grab it by the wrist.
"What do you want?"
"Mama says that supper is ready! Mama says she wants you to come and eat with us! Mama says if you don't you're gonna be in biiiig trouble!"
Keiichi spread his arms wide to indicate just how big the trouble Naoya would be in was. The teenager's expression shifted from annoyed to bored. His aunt was operating on the facts she knew. The facts she knew put him at thirteen. A thirteen year old who had lost his parents to a car accident less than a year prior. He returned his focus to Keiichi.
"What did she make?"
"Tell her I am not interested," Naoya said.
"But... but... Mama is almost never here for supper! You hafta come, Naoya-niisan! You hafta!"
"I do not like hot dogs," Naoya's voice was ice.
"How can you not like hot dogs? They're yummy! Mama made them just for me!"
Naoya stopped mid-turn. Right now he wanted to go back into his room and continue writing his program. He would have done just that had Keiichi not said his last sentence. Just for him? Naoya knew Mizuki well enough to know what had really happened. Keiichi had asked her to make hot dogs. She had asked him what his cousin had wanted. Keiichi had ignored it and pressed hot dogs again. Naoya's grip tightened on the door handle. Anything for his little brother. Always for his little brother. He didn't turn back to Keiichi as he spoke.
"Do you even know where hot dogs come from?"
"Um..." Keiichi stuck his pointer finger in his mouth and bit down, "The supermarket?"
"Before that," Naoya had yet to turn around, "And don't talk with your finger in your mouth."
"Um..." the boy took his finger out of his mouth and wiped it on his shirt. He looked back up and got a suspicious expression, "Hey, do you even know?"
Naoya took a step back and closed his door before turning back to Keiichi, "They kill and chop up cows, pigs, and chickens. They take the good stuff to make things like steak, sausages, and drumsticks. Then they take the leftovers no one wants, grind them together, and mold them into those hot dogs you like so much."
Naoya chopped his left hand over his right palm as he mentioned chopping up. He rolled his left hand into a fist so he could lift one finger with each of the food products made with the "good stuff". He put his hand back into a fist and twisted it into the palm of his other hand when he mentioned grinding. When he was done, he emphasized the food Keiichi liked by pointing towards the kitchen.
Keiichi's first reaction came with Naoya's description of animals being killed and chopped up. The poor boy couldn't believe his ears. He liked cow, pigs, and chickens. They were cute, especially the babies. As Naoya went on, his little brother lost most of the color to his face and gained eyes comparable to saucers. There was a pause of about five seconds after Naoya finished up, followed by Keiichi bursting into tears and running off in the direction of the kitchen. Naoya smirked to himself before following his little brother down the hall. Keiichi would be in no condition to inform his mother he wasn't coming for dinner.
"Naoya, how dare you!"
The teenager was hit with Mizuki's angry voice before he could set his foot down on the tiled floor of the kitchen. His smirk faded to a frown as he looked up at the woman who seemed to think she was raising him. Keiichi was latched onto her right leg and his tears hadn't let up. Mizuki had her arms crossed and was tapping her left foot.
"How dare I what?"
"How dare you what!? Naoya, I can't believe you! Telling your cousin all sorts of nasty things! He's only six, he doesn't need to know that!"
"Isn't it better he learns at home rather than in school?" Naoya pointed at Keiichi without removing his eyes from his Mizuki's, "That kind of reaction at school would get him beaten up. Besides, its not like I need your permission to teach my little brother anything."
"If you insist on treating him like a sibling rather than a cousin, then start acting like one! Older siblings are supposed to protect the younger ones!"
"I don't need that lecture from you!" Naoya snarled.
His aunt jumped at the expression on his face. If the silver haired teenager had possessed fangs, he would have been baring them. It was not often he got that expression, but it always made her wonder about his supposed thirteen years of age. No one under adulthood should be capable of such a horrid expression. Naoya knew she was trying to find a response when Keiichi lifted his head and looked up at her. He took in a large sniffle before speaking.
"Mama, please don't yell at Naoya-niisan..."
The thoughts of Naoya's awful expression were gone in an instant. The woman looked down towards her son. Naoya's own expression softened at the words from his brother as Mizuki placed her hand on Keiichi's head. She crouched down and put her arms around the surprised child and gave him a hug.
"It's okay, Kei-chan. Your big brother is just being a teenager. How about you go get ready for dinner, okay?"
"No!" Keiichi ducked down out of the embrace and scuttled over to Naoya, "I don't want hot dogs! Naoya-niisan says that animals are killed and the parts no one wants are ground up and its awful! I never want hot dogs again!"
Naoya's entire body tensed up as Keiichi grabbed him by the front. The six year old child was now embracing him. Keiichi turned his head towards his mother, and he was now glaring at her. She opened her mouth to argue. She decided instead to give Naoya a glare. It was returned.
"It's his choice if he wants to become a vegetarian," Naoya stated.
"Naoya, he is six years old! He can't make choices like that and you know it! I have a pot full of hot dogs sitting on the stove! What am I supposed to do with them?"
"Eat them yourself."
"Naoya! Argh, this has to be teenage rebellion. Fine, but if Kei-chan isn't going to eat what I made, you are responsible for making sure he gets fed!"
"Hey, I'm not-!"
His aunt wasn't in the room to listen to his objection. She turned as she spoke and left the room before he could get many words out. He glowered in the direction she had gone. It was not his job to take care of his little brother. She was there that night, if Keiichi didn't want hot dogs, she could have made him a sandwich. Naoya's glare remained on his face when he looked down in response to tugging on his shirt. Keiichi's eyes widened when he saw the expression and he took a step back. He looked ready to cry again.
"Hey, be quiet."
"B-but I'm hungry, Naoya-niisan..."
Naoya's scowl deepened. He pushed Keiichi further away and yanked open the cupboard. Most of what he saw were spices or other such ingredients for cooking. He couldn't feed those to his brother. He noticed a box tucked into a corner of the cabinet and reached up for it. His fingers brushed the edge of it but he was not close enough to grab it. He muttered unkind words under his breath before standing on the tips of his toes and swiping at it. He managed to knock it down and catch it in his right arm. He turned towards Keiichi and pulled out one of the containers within.
Keiichi angled his head to try and look at the package from a different view. The threat of crying had stopped, "What's that, Naoya-niisan?"
"Graham crackers," Naoya stated, popping open the plastic wrapper around the container and pulling one out.
"Gram Crackers?" Keiichi's face scrunched up, "Is it meat?"
Naoya snapped a piece off from the scored cracker, "No, it's made mostly of wheat and sugar. Those are made from plants. Here."
"Thanks... are plants cute like cows and pigs and chickens?"
"They're plants," Naoya sighed, "Like trees. Hurry up and taste that."
Keiichi looked at the cracker before he stuck a corner of it in his mouth and nibbled. Naoya watched Keiichi as his face lit up and a grin that threatened to crack his face appeared. Before the teenager could stop him, Keiichi had stuck the entire piece in his mouth. To his relief, the boy managed to get it down without trouble. He then snatched the bag of graham crackers from Naoya and dug out another piece.
"These are yummy!" Keiichi said before turning towards where his mother had gone and dashing in that direction, "Mama, mama, Naoya-niisan gave me yummy gram crackers!"
Naoya stared where first his aunt, and then his little brother, had disappeared to. His expression was hard to read, but it wasn't upset. If anything, the teenager looked amused. He looked down at what was left of the cracker in his hand. He broke off another piece and took a bite out of it, keeping his gaze where his little brother had gone as he chewed. Naoya's expression became kind before he turned around. He popped the rest of the graham cracker piece into his mouth and headed back towards the hall that lead to his bedroom.
I'm falling for him this time, aren't I? I suppose as long as it doesn't get in the way of things, I can live with that...