A/N: Ah, lucky number seven. And I say that because though this chapter is sad, the character involved also gets lucky towards the end. No, not that way you sickos. But it's not like I haven't given that idea any thought...hmm...
*cough* Anyway, this chapter took me...ah...I can't remember...approximately two or three days to write since I had just updated my crack fic not too long ago, so if I update for more than one story in the same week, I get tired. Writing takes a lot out of a person! Really!
In this chapter, it's kind of a semi-character dump, but you'll understand why once you finish. It'll be entertaining (I hope). Promise. :3
Chapter 7: Luck Be A Lady
Karma had its way with getting back at Damian. The incident he caused during lunch eventually reached the office, which reached the dean, which then reached the principle. He was called in and given a single warning. The dean had him come in after school for the rest of the month, meaning he would miss football practice. Of course, he pleaded to his coach to get him out of this punishment, but it was either he misses a few practices, or he gets kicked out of the school. The coach would rather keep him even though Damian would have to train twice as hard for all the exercises and practice sessions he was suspended from.
Alfred loved the way justice worked.
The blonde wondered if Kiku would even come to baseball practice once seventh period was over. The small teenager had been avoiding him and the rest of his friends after lunch, minus Yao. "He'll be alright," the Chinese student had told him. "I talked to him for a little while after that jerk did such an inexcusable thing to him."
"Alfred?" Matthew asked him. "Are you okay?"
"You seemed to be lost in thought."
"Oh…uhm…sorry." He finished putting away his textbooks in his locker.
"You were thinking about what happened at lunch, weren't you?"
He sighed. "I can't help it Matt. Just…it got me so frustrated…"
"But Yao said Kiku's going to be fine, so you shouldn't worry about it anymore."
"I know, but still…" He closed his locker. "Do you think he's going to come to practice today?"
"I hope so. Coach won't be too happy if he doesn't…"
The twins walked out of the main building from where their lockers were located, and proceeded to the Gym to equip themselves for practice.
Meanwhile, Kiku made sure the halls were empty as he slowly exited the bathroom. He had been hiding in there ever since the school day was over, waiting for the wave of students to disperse. When he was assured the hallways were cleared, he walked out and opened his locker.
"Why do these sorts of things somehow always end up happening to me?" he asked to himself. "I haven't done anything to Damian to make him hate me." He felt sad and still a little humiliated, but then anger started to build up inside of him. "He walks around here with an air of superiority…bullies shorter and less-built students…especially if they're a minority…" He sighed and calmed down, realizing that evil thoughts of the jock's demise wasn't a solution. "Heracles-san probably hates me now that he knows…"
"No I don't."
Kiku felt his heart skip a beat as he turned to the side to find Heracles standing there with the usual calm expression on his face. He was dressed in the attire he wore for soccer practice.
The Japanese student felt his cheeks warm up a bit. "Heracles-san…"
They said nothing to each other and the silence during that time period was heavily awkward. The Grecian was the first to speak. "Don't worry about it."
Kiku looked up at him from staring towards the floor.
"You can't help how you feel. And don't think you've offended me in any way. I don't hate you. It's going to take a lot more than that for me to dislike a person, and it's got to be for a good reason too, not something dumb as a crush coming from the same sex. That just doesn't make sense."
"But…you aren't…aren't you appalled?"
"Why would I be appalled?"
"I don't know…"
Heracles noticed the saddened expression on Kiku's face as he once again looked at the floor. The taller of the two smiled and put a hand on the other's head. "Look at me Kiku." He immediately obeyed, his cheeks deepening in color.
"While I don't go in that same direction as you do, I'm flattered nonetheless. And our friendship isn't going to change because of that, alright? I don't return your feelings, but I also don't think of you any less if that's what you had thought."
"You…seem to be taking this rather well Heracles-san."
Heracles smiled. "Like I had said in the cafeteria after you vanished, it doesn't bother me at all." He looked a little more serious. "Though now I am. Not because of your attraction towards me, but what might happen to you because of assholes like Damian."
"Oh. Uhm…well, I will survive through it Heracles-san, but I appreciate your concern for my well-being."
"Kiku, I can tell."
"That you're a bit scared now to continue attending this school."
Kiku looked away not wanting to answer. "It's…well…it's really just the fact that I am already picked on enough as it is because of my ethnicity and size. Now that everybody knows my sexual orientation as well…things might be rougher for me amongst my peers…"
"Not all of them though."
"And from the looks of it, you already have a good group of friends that really care about you." He smiled at him. "They won't let anything bad happen to you Kiku. You can also add me in to the count. I'll back you up if you ever need it, okay?"
Kiku smiled up at Heracles. "Thank you so much…Heracles-san."
He smiled in return. "No problem. And I already suspected it earlier on today."
Heracles took out a Valentine's gram from the pocket of his shorts. "I got this in homeroom today along with the other ones. It was signed Anonymous but I recognized the writing as yours."
The Japanese student blushed again. "I tried to make the writing bigger and less neat like Alfred-san's and Gilbert-san's writing…but…"
Heracles gave a laugh. "It's okay. Thank you anyway Kiku." He looked at the clock at the top of the hallway wall. "Ah, it's almost time for practice. I got to start heading back to the soccer field. I think you need to go to the locker rooms and change right? You have baseball practice today."
"I wasn't sure if I was going to go after all…"
"You should. Missing a practice because of Damian shouldn't stop you. I have a feeling that's what he wants. He wants to see you give in to his bullying."
Kiku all of a sudden felt determined. "But…I will not give in to a person as heartless as him!"
Heracles smiled again. "Then you better get to the baseball field. Why don't I walk you over there? I'm headed that way anyway."
"Oh, well, okay."
Heracles held out a hand. Kiku looked at it the same way he did when Alfred offered his not too long ago. "Friends?"
Kiku smiled genuinely and shook his hand. "Friends."
"Where's Honda?" asked Coach Cruz. "He's the only one absent from practice today. He just started too…"
"Uhm…w-well…" Feliciano began, a bit intimidated by her tone of voice. "Something happened today at lunch that…might make Kiku not want to come to practice today…"
"Is this about the whole him being gay thing?"
The entire team looked at her surprisingly. She continued on. "Because if it is, I feel like smacking him upside the head. He shouldn't let things like that get to him. I really don't give a damn which way he goes. What I do give a damn about is him coming to practice! And if he's gonna miss, he's gotta give me a better excuse than that-"
"I'm very sorry I'm late Cruz-sensei…"
The woman turned around and saw Kiku dressed for practice, looking as timid as ever. She smiled. "Well, looks like you decided to show up after all! That's great! Okay, everybody, let's start."
He seemed a little surprised. He was sure she'd explode in his face. "You're not going to ask me-"
"No I'm not because I already know what happened and I see no reason to bring it up again. That's your business, not mine. Now if this affected your health or something, then I might pry and let you off the hook but otherwise, you need to be here on time."
Coach Cruz walked up to him and at first he felt like she was going to slap him, but he was relieved when all she did was smile, and in a more motherly tone said, "You don't have anything to fear here Kiku. While there are people who may look down on something like that, there're also people who have no problem with it. And just between you and me, I get the feeling you're not the only one who swings that way." She looked around suspiciously. "There are way too many pretty foreign boys in this school, so one has to wonder…"
Kiku tried to suppress a chuckle. "Thank you Cruz-sensei."
"No problem! Now go practice with Alfred while I try to teach Feli that the ball thrown at him when a batter hits isn't a rotted and petrified tomato trying to attack him." She walked off calling Feliciano and Lovino for a more focused practice session. Alfred walked up next to Kiku and put a hand on his shoulder.
"Glad you decided to come."
He smiled up at him. "I wouldn't miss it over something trivial like Damian's bullying."
"That's the spirit! Alright! Let's go play some ball!"
"This flyer…" Alfred looked at the piece of paper Coach Cruz had given the boys after practice was done. It was to inform their parents that conferences were coming up on the last Friday of the month.
Manuel looked at Alfred in a confused manner as the two and Matthew waited on the front steps of school. "What about it?"
"Parent-Teacher conferences are coming up real soon…"
"And that's bad?"
"Yeah kinda. I mean, I don't exactly have the best grade in math…"
"How can you not have a good grade if you do well on the tests?"
"His cooperation and work habits grade," Matthew answered. "He always gets a U for both of those, so his grade drops down two levels."
"Now I'm close to a fricken D…this really sucks…"
Manuel shook his head. "You know, it wouldn't hurt you to not give Mr. Jenkins so much attitude Alfredo."
"But that guy…he's just out to get me! I just know it! And I told you to not call me Alfredo!"
"Well you can't do anything about that last part because that idiota Antonio isn't here! Ha!" Manuel smiled and stuck out his tongue at his American friend.
Matthew shook his head. He knew Alfred was going to get him back for that comment. He just knew it. "Oh, hey here comes mom! I see her!"
"Crap!" Alfred snatched the flyer Matthew had (earning a protest from the younger twin) and threw both papers in the trashcan. "There, now she won't know about it. And don't say anything Manny!"
"Why would I? It's not like I wanna come to Parent-Teacher Conference either."
The three boys got into the car and Emily began to drive off towards their home.
"So, how was school today boys? I'm sure it was pretty fun since it was Valentine's Day!"
"Well, I got a lot of chocolates!" exclaimed Alfred. "And this year the office had to put them all in a bag because of the large amount!"
"Wow! That's amazing! But of course I knew you'd get a lot, seeing as how you and your brother are the most attractive young men in that school!"
She heard Manuel clear his throat and she gave a laugh. "You too Manuel."
He smiled. "Gracias."
When the four arrived home, Manuel walked to his house next door, leaving the Jones to their own residence. Alfred tossed his backpack on the couch and went to the fridge. "So what are we having today mom?"
"Hmm…well, how about some meatloaf?"
"Alright, I better get started on it!" She put on her apron without even bothering to change out of her work clothes and began to prepare dinner.
"Oh, and I checked the mail today and saw that there was a letter from the school. Looks like Parent-Teacher conferences are coming up real soon boys."
Damn!, Alfred thought to himself. I forgot the school also sends the letters directly home!
"I can't wait to go!" said Emily, breaking Alfred's talk with himself. "Oh, I'll get to see all your friends again!" She gasped. "And might I also meet Kiku as well?"
"If he's there," Alfred told her. "I mean, Yao usually comes with all of his siblings. Though because his dad is working, it's mostly his mom that comes to those things."
"Oh I see. Still, this will be fun!" She hummed to herself, and then remembered something. "Well, it will be, if Arthur's mother doesn't throw me rude comments like she always does. Seriously, that woman needs to learn how to have better social skills."
"Arthur seems to act the same way…"
"Like mother, like son I guess."
And how true that is, Matthew thought looking at his older twin and mother ranting about the Kirkland family.
"Ah, so you all got Valentine's grams?" Chun-Yan asked during dinner. "That's wonderful!"
"Mei got a good amount," Yao pointed out. "It seems like she's becoming more popular with the boys lately."
"That's because she's blossoming into a beautiful young woman, just like her mother!"
Mei giggled. "Yao and Li got a few also."
"Don't forget me!" shouted Yong Soo unnecessarily. "I got more than all of you! Chicks dig tall Asians!"
Mr. Wang managed a smirk at his nephew's loud outburst and Chun-Yan laughed. She looked at Kiku and smiled. "So Kiku, how many did you get?"
The smallest of the males fidgeted with his chopsticks. "Uhm…well…I didn't get any this year…"
"Aww, well, I'm sorry to hear that Kiku."
"I-I did get one from Feliciano-kun though…"
"Such a nice boy he is. Always thinking of his friends." Mrs. Wang didn't comment any further because like everybody at the table, she knew the Italian always gave Kiku a Valentine so he wouldn't feel lonely or excluded from the holiday.
"Mom," Li began. "We're going to have Parent-Conference soon."
"Oh really? When?"
"It's the last Friday at the end of this month."
"I thought they were usually on Thursdays?"
"The school said they wanted to move the late afternoon conference times on Thursdays, and the evening ones on Fridays."
"Mm, better go to the Friday one then. I'm busy during the day." She turned to her husband. "Dear, are you coming to the conferences this year?"
"I might. I'll see how late I have to work that day. But I'm assured that all of my children are superb in their grades, right?" He looked at them and they nodded.
"Still, it would be nice to see their new teachers." She gasped. "And this also means I'll get to see that boy you like Mei!"
The girl blushed. "Mom!" Her brothers and cousin snickered. "Why do you keep bringing that up?"
"Well I want to see him!"
Mei focused on her plate and continued eating. Yao shook his head but smiled, and though he would have liked for his father to be more enthusiastic about attending the conference, he felt that maybe it was better if he didn't, just in case somebody happened to mention the incident with Kiku that happened earlier.
He was sure not a lot of people were going to forget about it by the end of the month.
Alfred looked out the window with dissatisfaction on his face. He really didn't want to come to parent conference, but his mother insisted. Matt's so lucky. He has nothing to worry about. All the teachers love him…
Emily and her two sons got off the car and walked towards the lit main building where other students and their families were entering.
"Wow, haven't been here in a while!" she said to herself. "I can't remember when the last time I visited your school was!"
"Mom, we're supposed to go to our homeroom first so Mrs. Rosales can give out our report cards. Then we go to our individual classes."
"Okay then! Let's go!" She walked with enthusiasm up the stairs of the main building until Matthew said, "Mom! It's this way!"
"I-I knew that! I just wanted to check out that mural that's painted up there!"
The Jones family entered the world history class, the twins' beloved homeroom. It was very busy, the walls sporting a big map of the world in the back, classroom projects aligned on the tables and shelves on the sides, flags of different countries hanging from the topmost border of the walls, as well as student assignments posted on cork boards that received an A or better.
Then there was the white board. The words "Welcome to Mrs. Rosales' World History Class!" was written in elaborate letters of varying colors. Surrounding it were the portraits of the presidents of the United States, some in black and white and others in color. She also had a few large posters here and there of important figures of Mexican and Mexican-American history. There were also posters of different landscapes and monuments from all over the world and Emily noticed the word "Hello!" written in different languages across the border of the furthest wall. The teacher's desk was off to the side of the white board that, like her classroom, was cluttered with international trinkets.
Emily guessed the teacher wanted her students to feel like they were all welcomed in her classroom, no matter where they came from. The thought made her smile.
While the room was quite impressive, nothing was more impressive than the table at the back where there were snacks and drinks, which tempted Emily and Alfred. They quickly walked over to it and began to consume the donuts and juice. Matthew put a palm to his forehead.
"I like your classroom!" Emily said to her twin sons. "It looks really nice and inviting!"
"It just looks a bit messy to me."
Emily knew that voice all too well. She groaned and turned to her right to see a sophisticated-looking woman serving herself some iced tea in a paper cup. She was wearing glasses and her hair was styled in pigtails, perhaps trying to make her look younger than she really was.
"If you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all, Alice."
Alice turned to her. "It's not a mean comment. I was just trying to say that it seems this place could use a bit of tidying up, don't you think?"
"Well I think it looks nice. Stop being such a jerk. Gosh."
"Really now Emily, you act like such a child."
"Says the woman wearing pigtails."
Alice narrowed her lightning-green eyes at the American, eyes that resembled her son's immensely.
"Oh, hello Ms. Jones."
"Arthur! Hey there!" She grinned at him. "Wow, you're looking more handsome every time I see you!"
He smiled as his ego leveled up. "Why thank you Ms. Jones. You're looking lovely this evening."
"Thanks! I didn't have time to change. I had to rush through traffic to get here. But it's nice to see you again! Al said that you got fatter over the winter break, but I'm just not seeing it."
Arthur retained his smile but if one stared closely, an angry vein appeared on the side of his head. He leaned to the side of Emily to see Alfred devouring a few donuts on her left, ignoring the Briton as best as he could.
"So you think I got FAT over the break, do you Alfred?"
"Huh what was that Mrs. Rosales?" He walked away, obviously dodging the question, which only increased Arthur's anger. He smiled at Emily again. "Excuse me Ms. Jones." His usual scowling face returned. "Alfred!"
Emily laughed. "Those two. Sometimes I wondered how it would be like if they were brothers."
"I shudder at the thought Emily."
"Really Alice, what do you have against my son?"
"Nothing. Though your son may be a bit childish, he's quite a pleasant young man. You on the other hand…"
"Bonjour Emily and Alice!"
Emily turned around. "Hey there Franny!"
The woman Emily addressed as "Franny" had a regal air about her. She was dressed quite fashionably in a blouse and skirt with her blonde hair held up in a French bun. A string of pearls hung around her neck. Her eyes were violet which complemented her features quite nicely.
She giggled. "Hello Emily." She looked at Alice snobbishly. "Alice."
"I see you still think wearing pigtails makes you look attractive."
"And I see that you're still holding your nose up in the air when you talk to people."
"Only when I'm speaking with you Alice."
"At least I dress my age." She fixed her hair up a bit at smiled. "And I look rather fine for it too."
Emily smiled at the bickering of the Englishwoman and Frenchwoman. They really do act like the same way as their sons.
"Ah! Ms. Jones!"
She turned around. "Francis! Hello! Wow, you're looking really handsome too!"
He chuckled. "Thank you. And I see you're looking radiant as ever." He delicately took her hand and kissed the top of it, making her chuckle. Francoise smiled, pride showing in her look towards her son.
"And Mrs. Kirkland, I see you're looking rather lovely yourself too." He took her hand as well and made the same gesture.
"Thank you Francis," she said, trying to not let her smile grow too big because she was flattered.
"What are you doing?"
Francis turned around. "Arthur!" He held out his hands with a big smile for a hug.
"Get away from me frog!"
"You don't want a hug?"
"No I do not!"
"But I haven't seen you in a while."
"You saw me a few hours ago today at school imbecile!"
"I count that as 'a while' in my book."
Emily decided this was the perfect time to walk away from the snack table. She strolled around the classroom, looking at the different posters and student projects.
"Ah, Emily, hello."
The American mother turned around. "Hmm? Oh, Anya, how are you doing?"
"Fine thank you. It's been a while since I last saw you."
Anya was a tall woman, though her face remained to appear kind and loving. She had long silver-blonde hair that had a pink headband perched on top of her head, and an interesting eye color that looked almost purple. Her outfit looked warm, the pinks and grays blending in nicely.
"Where're your kids?"
"Oh, Ivan is over there, talking with his friends." She spoke with a Russian accent. "Katyusha and Natalia are with him."
"Ah I see! Ivan's really tall! Wow!"
Anya chuckled. "He gets it from his father."
"You're pretty tall yourself though!"
The Russian woman chuckled again. "Oh, there's Alice and Francoise. Ha ha, they seem to be fighting again! I find it amusing seeing their sons bicker right next to them."
Emily laughed. "Yep. I left them though because I don't wanna have to get in the middle of anything."
"I see. I think I'll go say hello then. Nice to see you again Emily."
Emily wondered if she'd get to see any more of the parents belonging to her sons' friends tonight. She got her answer when she heard loud voices coming from the hallway as they entered the classroom. There were two couples: one was a muscular-looking man with a perky woman holding onto his arm, and the other was a stoic looking man with a distressed-looking woman. Their children walked in behind them.
"Ah! The smell of education!" said the masculine man. "It smells like…donuts and apple juice?"
"They have snacks here?" the perky woman asked. "Oh yay! Aww, I should have brought some kind of appetizers when we were coming!" She sniffed.
"That's okay Mama!" he said to his wife. "Tomorrow, we will make a big dinner!"
"Uwaaah!" said one of their sons. It was Feliciano. "Can we have pasta?"
"Of course Feli!"
"Shut up! You're too loud!" Lovino scolded.
"Lovi, be nice to your brother!" the woman told him.
"Mama, there is no need for him to get so excited over nothing!"
"But that's how he is! And he's so adorable! My little Feli ~ !"
"Mama ~ !" Feliciano hugged his mother with no trace of embarrassment whatsoever.
"Your family is energetic, as always Sofia," said the woman that came along with the stoic-looking man.
"Oh thank you Loise! Yes, we're a family full of energy! Even Lovi! He doesn't show it much, but he's got some spirit in him!"
Sofia looked a lot like her younger son, Feliciano. She had her hair up in a ponytail, the end a bit curly. Like him, she too seemed to have a curl sticking out from the side. Her husband was as equally happy in disposition. He had what seemed to be a five o' clock shadow and his hair was curlier than his wife's, a few curls sticking out as well.
"Arsenius," said the stoic man. "You need to control your children more."
"So where're the snacks? I heard there're snacks here!" Gilbert said loudly. "Oh they're over there. Damn Al's gonna eat all of 'em if I don't go over there!" He rushed to the back table to help himself before all the goodies were gone, making a loud ruckus in the process. Ludwig only pinched the bridge of his nose.
Arsenius laughed. "Like you have with your own Folkert?"
"Gilbert is just a little hyper-active, like his aunt." He looked at his wife and she sighed.
"My schwester is a lot like Gilbert…and thank God she doesn't know about this parent conference…otherwise she'd want to come…"
The stoic man, known as Folkert, behaved a lot more like an adult than Arsenius did. He was a great contrast to the other man, since his skin was a lot lighter and not at all tanned. His hair was long and blonde while the other's was short and brown. He had piercing blue eyes and looked quite intimidating.
His wife on the other hand looked a lot more kind, though she also had a serious disposition. Her hair was messy and quite short and her eyes were green, almost blue. She had a large bosom and a robust yet feminine build. She resembled her son Ludwig immensely.
"Oh hey there!" Emily said as she happily walked over to them. "Haven't seen the four of you in a while!"
"Ah! Emily ~ !" Sofia exclaimed. "Helloooo!" She hugged her instantly. "It's nice to see you again. You look so pretty tonight!"
"Ha ha! Thanks! Same to you!"
"Loise! Hi! Gilbo still a hassle?"
"Pretty much yes…but there are times when he's well-behaved."
"Well…teenagers are like that I guess. Luckily Mattie isn't rambunctious like his brother, but both of my boys are great kids!"
"So Emily," Arsenius began. "Doing well?"
"Yep. I'm doing just fine. Thanks for asking."
"If you ever need help, you can always ask us for assistance," Folkert told her.
"Wow, thanks guys. You're really nice!"
The two couples nodded and said their momentary good-byes as they walked around the room, chatting with the other parents.
"It's so crowded in here…" Chun-Yan said as she walked in with five following her. She spotted Emily. "Emily!"
She grinned. "Chun! Hey!" She ran up and hugged her. "I was wondering where you were at! How're your boys and daughter?"
"Oh they're fine. They went to go talk with their friends over there." The two mothers looked at the teenagers in the room, who seemed to be getting along swimmingly, save for Francis and Arthur, but they didn't count them as this was the usual behavior for the dynamic duo.
Emily saw a small person walk up to Alfred and timidly say hello, the blonde's face lighting up instantly and ruffling the other's hair. Emily couldn't tell who it was, though to her, it looked like a girl from behind.
"Say, who's that Chun?" she asked pointing to the person next to Alfred.
"Oh, that's my nephew, Kiku. You remember him, right?"
Emily squealed, earning a shocked expression from Chun-Yan. "He's so cuuuute! And tiny! I feel like hugging him!"
Chun-Yan laughed. "I don't think he's ever met you. Why don't you go say hello?"
Emily happily walked over to her son and Kiku, greeting a few other parents along the way.
"Oh! Mom!" Alfred said noticing her approaching figure. "This is Kiku!"
Kiku turned around and saw Emily, grinning from ear to ear at him. He wondered why she looked so happy.
"Good evening Jones-san," he said with a small bow. "My name is Ki-"
He was cut off when Emily grabbed him into a hug, cuddling him afterward.
"Hey Kiku! I've wanted to meet you for the longest time!" she said. "Al's told me a lot about you, so I was curious as to whom you were!"
She let him go and held on to his shoulders, still smiling at him. His face was red from being forcefully hugged into her chest.
"J-J-Jones-san. Th-That was an extremely unexpected hug!" he said still blushing.
"Well I'm a hugger! Aww, now aren't you the cutest little thing ever!" She pet his head. "You've got such an adorable little friend here Al!"
"You think so?"
"Yes! He's so cute! He makes me want to adopt him!"
Before anyone else could get a word in, Mrs. Rosales clapped her hands to get attention. "Please, take a seat students and parents. I want to welcome you all back to the school!"
The bodies in the room sat down and listened to the teacher while she spoke.
"Now then, I'm sure you all have questions about what your students are doing in my classroom for those who I have for world history, and those of you who I have for homeroom, I'm sure your parents want to know about your behavior! But first, report cards!"
She took out a stack of papers. Alfred merely groaned.
"Al, how could you get a C minus?" Emily scolded her eldest son while they were driving back home.
"That teacher hates me!"
"I thought he did too in the beginning, but after talking with him, I think he's right! Al, stop giving him so much attitude."
"But he's a jerk! I don't like him! He needs to get fired…"
"The sad truth is, you're going to have teachers who you dislike, and they may be teachers who don't give a darn about the students, but only go to school for a paycheck. That's reality Alfred."
He thought it was strange how she went from 'best friend' to 'mother' in such a short amount of time. But that's what he probably liked the best about her.
"Well, at least you have good grades in your other classes. Still, you need to be on top with your math."
"And my Matty always has straight A's! I'm so proud!"
Matthew blushed. "Thanks mom."
The car pulled up into the driveway, and as they were getting out, Emily said, "Your friend Kiku is so adorable Alfred!"
His smile returned. "That's what a lot of women seem to tell him."
"Well he is! I thought he was a girl at first from the back…"
"Same here! He looks like one a little, doesn't he?"
"Yeah, quite a bit!"
Matthew shook his head.
"Sad though about his family…Chun-Yan told me about it. The poor kid…"
"He tries to not think about it," Matthew cut in. "He thinks about his future, not his past."
"Well that's good. And for coming to America during elementary at such a young age and not interacting much with others, he can speak English pretty well! His accent is light."
Emily got out her keys and opened the door to the house. "How about pizza tonight?"
"Yeah pizza!" shouted Alfred.
"Can we watch a movie too mom?"
"Sure Matty! Let me just change. Al, order up the pizza."
Alfred was glad that his mom didn't bring up the bad grade any further. He liked the way she handled situations like those. She figured that "As long as he knows that I want him to bring it up to an A, that's fine. I don't want to pressure him any further." which of course Alfred respected. He'll bring up that grade eventually. But right now he was engorging himself with pizza while watching a movie with his brother and mom, their dogs lying on the floor beneath their feet.
The older twin's cell phone rang about midway through the movie. He picked it up. "Hello! Alfred here!"
"Kiku?" He noticed that his friend's voice sounded shaky. "What's wrong?"
Emily paused the movie to let Alfred talk.
"I-I-I…" He heard a sob on the other end. "Alfred-san…"
"Where are you at right now Kiku?"
"The front of the s-school…"
"So late? Parent conferences ended two hours ago. It's almost eleven! What happened?"
All he got in response was another sob and a few sniffles.
"Kiku, I'm going to go and get you. Stay there." He closed his phone and got up, putting on his shoes.
"What happened sweetie?" asked Emily in a concerned tone.
"Something's wrong with Kiku, but he wouldn't tell me over the phone. He's at the front of the school." He got the car keys from the bowl on the island in the kitchen. "I'm gonna go get him."
"Do you want me to go with you? Or Matthew?"
"No, I'll go by myself." He opened the front door.
"Well alright. We'll be here waiting. Be careful."
The door closed.
Alfred drove through the streets towards his school and parked the car near the steps. He saw Kiku sitting on the topmost one, head in his hands. The blonde immediately walked over to him.
"Kiku! Why the hell are you here so late at night? And what's wrong?" He crouched down in front of him, hands on his shoulders.
Kiku looked up at him, tears falling from his eyes, his face rosy from crying. "Alfred-san…"
Alfred looked at him worriedly. Slowly, and much more calmly, he asked, "What happened Kiku?"
The boy tried to stop crying and looked down at his lap. "I…I was…I was kicked out of my home…"
"When my aunt…Chun-Yan…came to parent conference, she overheard a few of the students talking about what happened on Valentine's Day…a-and in the car…she began to talk to me about it and got upset at all of us because we didn't tell her. My uncle…he noticed she looked stressed and he pried her to tell him what was wrong, but she said not to worry about it. I assumed…that she didn't want him lashing out at any of us…especially me…then he began to yell at her out of frustration…and Yong Soo-kun got extremely upset at him for doing that to her and the two started arguing. Then…the secret just…slipped by accident…"
Alfred's face was indescribable at this point as he continued to listen to Kiku's tale.
"At first the room was deathly silent. Nobody spoke for a few moments. Then, he looked at me with a cold glare. I just stared at the ground…unsure of what to do or say. He began to walk upstairs, but before he was out of sight…he said 'When I come back down, I expect to see one less person present in the room.' We all knew who he was talking about…and what he meant by that sentence…"
"Kiku…oh…oh my God…"
"Aunt Chun-Yan went upstairs to go and talk to him, and I heard them arguing in Chinese. Yao-san felt like he needed to take responsibility, and of course Yong Soo-kun felt the same, so the two left upstairs to try to settle things. Mei began to sob and Li comforted her." He stopped for a few seconds, Alfred noticing that he was trying his best not to cry.
"And then I…I quietly slipped out of the house, and ran away from there as fast as I could. A few minutes after I had gone, Yao was calling me on my phone continuously, but I didn't answer it. I didn't know where to go. I took the bus…and just sat there…thinking that maybe it would be best if none of them knew where I was…and then somehow…after wandering a bit…I ended up here at the school…"
Tears started to drip down his face again. "But I was so scared…I…have never been in this kind of situation before…a-and though I tried my best to get a hold of myself…I just…" He let out a shuddery breath and covered his eyes with his hands. "…I-I decided to contact you because you said that if I ever needed anything to call you a-and I figured that…" He couldn't speak any longer and just cried, his body trembling.
Alfred didn't know how to respond to what Kiku had just confessed to him. He stood quiet for a moment and watched the small teen release his sorrows.
"So…you…were kicked out of your house because your uncle found out that you were…" He was afraid to say the word. "…uhm…gay…and have been wandering the streets…since that time and now you have no place to stay?" Kiku gave no response. Alfred thought about his next words carefully.
"Do you want me to take you to my house?"
The lithe teen looked up at him, not sure what to say. Alfred decided to continue. "You can't…be out in the streets during this time. It could be dangerous. I don't want you to get hurt. And obviously you have no were else to go…so…I thought…maybe you'd want to come and stay with me and my family for the night?"
Kiku looked at him, straight into his crystal blue eyes behind the lenses of his glasses, wondering if he was being sincere. To his relief, he found that Alfred meant everything he had just offered.
"Come on," he said to Kiku. "No matter what your answer is, you're still coming with me." Alfred stood up and held out his hand to Kiku who took it. The taller boy helped him up and led him to the car. Subconsciously he opened the door for Kiku, who found the gesture strange for a brief moment but didn't think anything of it afterward and sat down in the passenger seat. Alfred got inside the car and began to drive away from the school.
The two didn't talk on the drive back to the Jones residence.
"Wait here," Alfred told Kiku as he got out of the car. "I'll be back in a few."
Kiku nodded and remained seated. It was the first time he had been to Alfred's house, and he felt like he was imposing. "What am I doing…" he told himself. "I should have declined. I don't want to be a bother to him or his family."
Alfred returned not too long after he had left and opened up the door on Kiku's side. "I told my mom that I brought you home because you had called me and had no place to stay, but now she's curious for the whole story…er…sorry…I didn't tell her anything though, because I feel like you should be the one to say something…"
"I understand Alfred-san." He got out of the car and walked with the taller teen inside the house. Kiku noticed that they did not leave their shoes at the door, so he felt like he should respect their house rules, if they even had any in the first place.
Emily walked up to him, looking sympathetic. "Kiku…what happened?"
She invited him over to the couch where she and Matthew listened to his story. Alfred had already heard it, and it only angered him the second time it was told. He loathed the fact that Kiku had been kicked out of his own home and had nowhere else to go. He had no biological parents, his only family in this country wanted him to get out (well his uncle at least), and he had no money to stay anywhere.
Half-way through, the Japanese student began to cry once again, though he tried to withhold it more this time. Emily knew he was hurting, so she gently embraced him and held him close to her in a motherly fashion.
"Kiku," she began. "I'd be more than happy to let you spend the night here."
"No, don't say anything. It's apparent that if I don't, you'll be out all night, and something can happen to you. That would be horrible. You can sleep in Alfred's room."
"But where will he-"
"I'll sleep on the couch."
Kiku looked at him. "Alfred-san, you don't mind?"
"Of course not. And it's not like I haven't slept on this couch either. I do it all the time when I watch TV!"
"You all…seriously don't mind me staying here?"
Matthew gave a gentle smile. "Kiku, it's okay. Really. We'd be more than happy if you stood with us. We want you to be safe, so don't worry about it okay? It's no trouble at all."
He wanted to cry again. "Thank you…so much…" Emily noticing his breaking voice held him close to her again, trying to shush him in a whispered tone. "Al."
"Go see if you have anything Kiku could wear to sleep in."
"Okay." He walked up the stairs to his room.
"Matt, make sure Al's room is decent enough to live in. You know how he is."
Matthew gave a light laugh and nodded, following his brother. Emily looked at Kiku who had his eyes closed, trying to stop the tears from falling. She stroked his hair.
"Don't think about it anymore. I'll…tell your aunt where you're at."
"I know you're not particularly fond of the idea, but they need to know where you're at Kiku, alright?"
She smiled. "Good. Now go upstairs to Alfred's room. You shouldn't be able to miss it. He has a board hanging outside his door that says Hero Headquarters in big gold letters decorated with stars."
For the first time that night, Kiku managed to laugh, even if it was only a little. "Okay. And thank you again Jones-san. I am very appreciative of what you're doing for me."
"Aww, it's okay. Like Mattie said, don't worry about it. Now, go upstairs. I'm sure you're tired."
Kiku excused himself and walked up the stairs towards Alfred's room. Emily walked to the kitchen and grabbed the phone, taking out her address book from the drawer. She flipped through the pages and found the number of the Wang residence. She dialed and waited for somebody to pick up.
"Hello…?" answered a very melancholy Yao. "Who's this?"
"It's Emily, Alfred and Matthew's mother."
"Ms. Jones? I don't mean to sound rude but, why are you calling?"
"Kiku is here with us."
"He is?!" She could hear Chun-Yan in the back asking Yao what was going on, him giving her the news in return. Yao continued to speak with Emily. "Oh, thank goodness! He wouldn't answer his cell phone when any of us tried to call him! We were so worried! Is he okay?"
"He's fine. Just a little tired I think."
Yao fell silent on the other line. "…oh…I see. Well…uhm…"
Emily smiled. "It's alright Yao. You don't have to explain anything to me. He told us the whole story. I'm going to let him spend the night here."
"Ms. Jones…thank you so much…"
"It's my pleasure. But, we will discuss no more of this alright? Tomorrow…I'll speak with your parents Yao...maybe try to understand more of what's happening."
"Good night Yao."
"Good night Ms. Jones, and again, thank you so much…"
They hung up. Emily sighed and sat down on a stool of the island looking at the phone and brushing her fingers over the buttons, contemplating the situation she was now in.
"There's only one solution I can think of," she said to herself. "But…it's kinda of rash…and I'm not sure if I'm ready for it…no…I have to. That poor boy can't be out and about wandering from one friend's house to another…"
She put the phone back. "I can handle this."
"Well…they're kinda big on you…" Alfred said to Kiku. He let him change into a plain white shirt and sweatpants since it was cold, but the shirt was nearly falling off Kiku's shoulders and the pants off his waist.
A faint blush appeared on the latter's face. "No…this is fine Alfred-san. Thank you."
"You're welcome. Well, I better head off to bed now. I'm kinda tired. You should get some sleep too Kiku."
"I will." He looked at the bed. "Uhm…aren't you going to take a pillow?"
"We have extra pillows and blankets in the hallway closet." He left for a few minutes, Kiku taking note of the sound of a door opening and shuffling of objects, the door closing, and Alfred's bare footsteps returning to the room. He had a pillow under one arm, and a blanket under the other. He smiled. "See?"
"Then…I insist I sleep on the couch."
"And I insist you sleep in here. Kiku, it's no trouble! Really! Besides, Hero and Maple will keep me company."
"Yeah, they're our dogs. I put them outside to go do their business before letting them back in."
"Oh…I see." Kiku looked at the floor, and then at Alfred again. "Thank you so much Alfred-san. You…you really don't know how much this means to me."
"Aww Kiku, you're welcome!"
Emily knocked on the door frame. "Time for bed boys."
"Okay mom. Night Kiku!"
"Good night Alfred-san."
Emily kissed her son on the head and he proceeded downstairs. She walked in the room and began lifting the covers and fluffing the pillow for her guest. Then when she had finished, she held Kiku's shoulders, smiling at him. "Everything's going to be alright. You'll see." She kissed the top of his head. "Good night Kiku."
"Good night Jones-san."
She turned off the light, and closed the door.
Kiku walked over to the bed, placing his phone on the night stand. He got under the covers and laid back on the pillow, staring at the ceiling. He wanted to examine Alfred's room more thoroughly since it was quite busy, but his eyelids were disobeying him.
Before he knew it, he had drifted off to sleep.
A/N: Poor Kiku. Er...his personality was difficult for me in this chapter because...well I know he's capable of crying...but I didn't want to make him turn out to be a huge wimp either. So...yeah. How do you guys think I did? Dx
Lol forever. Yeah, basically, the parents of all the 'students' are going to be their gender-bends. I was going to include some more gender-bends in this chapter...however...I think that would be a bit too much. Therefore, the rest will appear gradually throughout the story, though I'm not quite sure if I'll be able to get them all in somewhere... I'll try my best though! :D
I'd like to point out that the names for the gender-bends in this chapter are from the Hetalia wikia, since those are the names that appear to be given to them from the Japanese fandom. Italy's mother "Sofia" can also be called "Daisy", but that doesn't sound very Italian, now does it? xD Yes, Ancient Rome is Italy's father in this story, and Germania is Germany's father. Idk. They look too handsome and young to be grandfathers. XD
This is also the last chapter for the summer, since I will be starting college next week on Monday. Uwaaah...I'm kinda nervous... T^T So because of this, I can't give an estimate as to when my next update will be, but I'll try to write little by little! Thank you all for reading! The next chapter...let's see...hmm...the next chapter might have a surprise towards the end...
Remember, ninety percent of all incidents that occur in the home are caused by not reviewing fanfictions. ;D