Side Story Three: The Lottery
Summary: A retelling of when the children drew for their Training Grounds. Originally written for Night Queen who wanted more of Ikki in the story.
It was two pm as Mitsumasa Kido gazed at the children from the one way window. Typically he would frown at the pitiful training that was going on as several kids were either congregating around the lone luke-warm water fountain or simple meditating on the one day of the week that was focused on stamina-related exercises. Then again, they had been in the gym two hours longer than intended and it was best to keep them in one area where the weak of heart had nowhere to hide.
Tatsumi sat at the desk in the corner. The butler ran his thumbs along the sides before lifting the black box and turning it in different angles, trying to see how it would look from a child's perspective.
He pulled his black silk sleeve and examined his watch before turning toward his butler. "We don't have all day," he muttered aloud, before shifting one eye over to see Tatsumi counting out the blank sheets of paper. He then turned to a list of children and ran his finger through the names before turning his attention to another pile.
The two were interrupted by a knock at the door before a young silver haired man stepped inside. "Sir, your granddaughter would like to join you."
Mr. Kido turned away from his view. "Mr. Valentine, please send her in." The door opened as the young silver haired gentleman bowed his head and held the door for the future heiress of the Kido Foundation.
Miss Saori turned to her Grandfather and politely smiled before grabbing her new boyfriend's hand and pulled the guard over by her side.
Mr. Kido turned his eyes to the newly hired guard. Aside from having near perfect scores during the physical, he had this uncanny ability to make any standard issued black suit and tie look as sharp as anything from his Gucci collection. He then returned his gaze back to his granddaughter. "Saori, you know there will not be any surprises, why waste your time up here when you could be playing your piano?"
The little girl smiled. "I just want to see their reactions," she beamed.
Tatsumi walked over and stroked her head. "How cute," he mumbled awkwardly with a crooked smile. He then grabbed the microphone and announced the Drawing of the Training Grounds before exiting out of the viewing booth.
Miss Saori shifted her eyes over to the small green haired boy in the bright orange hoodie sobbing his eyes out in the middle of the ring. Shun was always a delight to watch. Aside from being one of the cuter orphans, anytime his tears would fall, nothing but drama will ensue, and today will be no different. Her palms gripped the side of the console in anticipation of the upcoming maelstrom below.
Shun clutched his brother's side as the other ninety eight orphans surrounded them. "Ikki," he muttered before pushing his face against his brother's warm side while shaking from the good cry he had not too long ago.
Ikki turned and gently pulled him away, leaving two ovals and a thin line on his shirt where his brother's eyes and mouth used to be. He took his hands and firmly held his brother's shoulders, staring him down until the green haired boy wiped his own face and blinked repeatedly until no more tears fell from his ducts. Ikki then gently rubbed Shun's shaking shoulders causing the boy to smile. Shun always expected him to wipe his tears off his face, however, there was the chance that the two will be separated and the sooner Shun learned to rely on himself, the better. Still, he reached over, and held his little brother's hand before facing Tatsumi in the front of the group.
Tatsumi placed his hands along the sides of the black box. He shifted his eyes over toward Mr. M at one set of doors while Mr. R at the other. "The time has come for all of you to draw to see which of the training facilities you will all be heading too. As of right now, there are twelve available slots. Therefore in this box are eighty eight blank sheets. Those who have a blank, we ask that you step to the right and will wait until… future slots open up and you may try again. Those who have a destination will step to the left." Tatsumi's beady eyes searched the room. "We will go ahead and start," his eyes make contact with the two brothers before he turned to the other children. "We will start… reverse alphabetical order."
Shun Amamiya felt Ikki's hand tightened around his little fingers after hearing that they will be last. Shun turned his head toward their interlocking fingers and while he found great comfort in the warmth of his brother's hand, he wasn't too fond of the tingling and numbness that was following afterwards. The two of them turned toward the long line that followed passing others until they reached the end.
Ikki carefully eyed each drawing. He did smile as he watched Kai, a boy who he liked to spar with, cheer wildly and showed off his blank sheet of paper. It was nice to see he didn't have to go but it also meant one less blank for him and Shun.
Tatsumi turned his head over toward the floor. "SEIYA! GET OVER HERE AND STOP SHOWING OFF!"
Shun and everyone else laughed as Seiya continued to pump out his push-ups with one hand.
"You never blew the whistle! PE is not over!" Seiya saluted. "Hold on, I need a break!" he huffed as he he easily switched hands and kept going. Mr. R huffed over and grabbed the little runt by his tank top and carried him over. Seiya turned his head and gave a good sniff. "Have you been drinking whiskey again?" Mr. R narrowed his golden eyes before tossing the little smartass onto the stage.
Seiya rubbed his sore elbows and shoved his hand inside the box. He pulled out the piece of paper and read it to himself.
Tatsumi leaned over his shoulder towards his ear. "It's not blank."
Seiya simply shrugged. "Yeah I know, isn't it awesome? One less person goes to hell. Besides, Greece sounds like a nice place!" Seiya took his paper, folded it into a paper football before tucking it in his pocket. He strutted over to the left side by Hyoga and Shiryu and threw his arms around their shoulders. "Hey guys, aren't you sad, I mean, we'll never wake up to Tatsumi's butt-ugly face again!"
"BE QUIET!" the butler cried ignoring another boy nervously sticking his hand in the box.
Ikki looked over as Shun's tucked his head deep into his armpit. "Shun, come on, stop crying!"
Shun looked up. "I can't!" he dug his face deeper into Ikki's side. "Why Seiya? Why does it have to be Seiya! He's so funny and nice, why does he have to go to…."
Ikki pulled Shun up. "Shun, don't cry," Ikki pointed over to the bald man. "He wants you to cry," he then turned the boy over to the glass booth. "They want you to cry, don't give any of them that satisfaction!"
Shun jerked his head back and forth. "But Ikki, I don't want to draw a training ground and I don't want you to either."
Ikki frowned. "Shun, it doesn't matter, twelve people will draw a location, you can't stop that. Let's just hope it's not us."
Shun shook his head. "I know. I asked Mommy that we won't pick one, but it was SEIYA!" Shun sobbed harder at his selfish prayers and wishes.
Ikki turned away and counted the small group on the left. Ikki raised his hand. "There are ten over there and twenty more have to draw before us. Shun, that's a lot of people…." Hope was all they had at that moment.
Shun nodded. It was a small comfort. However, the line continued to grow shorter with each child that drew and nobody else was going to the small training ground group. Now only eight children were in front of them. "Ikki…" he muttered.
Ikki pulled Shun tightly to his side, while continuing to stare at the black box. Another child, another blank sheet of paper. "Shun, don't cry. Remember about being strong, now is the time to be strong!" If just one other person could get a blank sheet of paper, perhaps he could feel around the paper for any writing.
Alas the two boys watched as the last of the children in line drew a blank. Ikki turned over toward the group of ten. Two pieces of paper and two children, there was no ifs ands or buts, they would have to go and they will have to be separated. Shun felt his legs give out as he leaned even tighter. "Ikki, what do we do?"
Ikki looked forward as he stared at Tatsumi and then focused as the man clutched the box with his sweaty hairy palms. He asked Shun to go ahead. His little brother moved while he watched Tatsumi's hand slip something white through his sleeve ever so carefully into a hidden slit in the box. He shifted his eyes before turning toward the right side group. He moved ahead of Shun, told him to wait and bolted ahead. He walked over toward Kai, and gave him a long hug. He then quietly reached down into the box for a little bit before heading over to the left side with the other eleven. As he approached he noticed Tatsumi moving his sleeve around, looking nervous. Apparently he wanted Shun next after all.
Shun shifted his eyes around. He was the only one left. He turned to either side. Well at least he'll be with his brother and his friends. Maybe wherever he will go, it'll be a nice place? If everyone left around the same time, they'll return around the same time. If he stayed, then he'd have to wait even longer to be reunited with his brother, and that would make him very sad. He trudged along the thirteen steps and finally reached the top. He looked down. Everyone looked so small from here, when in truth he was the smallest of them all. Shun reached down and grabbed the only piece of paper. He sighed as his forearm rested along the top. One sheet of paper. Everyone else got so many choices, so many chances, but he only had one route, whatever no one else took. It didn't feel fair.
He took the sheet of paper and quietly stood there. He wanted to look at it, but dreaded what could be worse than Siberia or Liberia? He raised it up only for Tatsumi to snatch it out.
He watched as the butler chuckle at the poor little crybaby as he stood there wondering what happened. "Well well, I wonder what you got? Eleven children on one side and eighty eight on the other; I wonder where that puts you? Are you nervous, Shun?" he stared at his green eyes anticipating the delicious moment the boy will break down on his knees in a fountain of tears.
Shun looked down at the group remembering his brother's words well; he will not cry, he will be brave. Shun sighed. "I am nervous, but wherever I will go; I will do my very best." That was when he saw Tatsumi struggling to hold in his laughter. "What's so funny?"
Tatsumi held Shun's paper as he turned toward the crowd. "Oh Shun, you one unluckly little fellow. If only you knew the place you would be going. A place where the volcano never stops erupting where nothing ever grows and the air smolters with ash." He raised the sheet and unfolded it for all the children to see. "Shun you are going to DEATH QUEEN ISLAND!"
Seiya scratched his head and took a step forward. "Uh, no he's not, he got a blank."
Shiryu joined him. "Sir, there's nothing on there."
Shun took a step and looked up. Sure enough there were no words on either the front or the back. "Well, I guess I'll be going to the right side then." He quietly turned away and started to head down the steps before Tatsumi snatched the boy by his hood and dragged him back over.
"WHERE ARE YOU GOING!" demanded Tatsumi.
Shun pointed over to the large group of kids. "I got a blank and I have to go with them."
"NO YOU DIDN'T!"
Seiya shrugged. "It looked blank to me!" he called out.
Shun nodded. "Uh huh," he took the piece of paper and showed Tatsumi both of its sides. "It's definitely blank!" he looked at the paper and then at the eleven other children on one side and the eighty eight children on the other. By the math, he supposed he should be on the left side but his paper was blank. "Did I get a wildcard?"
Tatsumi face turned a dark red. He looked down and tossed the top off the box in an attempt to find the last sheet before ordering Ikki back up. The boy turned to him and held up two clearly written sheets in his hand.
"Tatsumi, what's going on over here," asked Mr. Kido as he, Saori and Mr. Valentine reached the gathering.
The butler adjusted his tie and calmly bowed to his boss. "I apologize for the delay, I believe Ikki had broke our rules on the drawing and has clearly took both written sheets and somehow replaced one with a blank." He turned to the two brothers and folded his hands behind his back. "Ikki, that was a very funny prank you pulled, could you please hand your brother the Death Queen Island slip so that we may make travel arrangements for all of you to reach your destination?"
Ikki looked up and wanted to spit in his face. "Why do you want to send Shun to Death Queen Island so badly? How do even know that Shun was going to Death Queen Island? I never told you where I was going? How do you know it was Death Queen Island? You never even read Shun's paper when you wanted to send Shun to Death Queen Island? Half of us didn't even show you where we were going. Why didn't you guess those? I thought this was supposed to be a lottery? Huh? Huh! HUH!"
The barrage of questions left Tatsumi standing there with the most dumbfounded expression on his face. His lip twitched as he answered the nine year old the only way he could. He took his hand and slapped both brothers ensuring that Ikki got the thickest part of his ring right along his upper cheek. He was about to return the swing when Mr. Valentine stepped in and grasped his wrist right before the ring could strike Shun's cheek. "Sir, we are behind schedule, I believe one of the children's flights to China leaves in a few hours and we must resolve this matter, post haste."
Ikki wiped his bruised cheek and looked down at the two choices. Andromeda Island did sound like a nice beautiful place, especially since it was named after a Princess. "Okay, I'll take Death Queen Island, Andromeda Island sounds sissy!"
Tatsumi pulled Mr. Valentine's hand away. "Who said you could decide?" He gasped as Ikki carelessly tossed Andromeda Island to the floor. "Pick it up!" Ikki shrugged and folded his arms. "PICK IT UP!"
Ikki turned away. "Make me!"
Tatsumi took the boy's hand and forced it down to the Andromeda Island sheet. Ikki pressed his hand as flat as possible to avoid picking it up.
"Tatsumi, let the boy go to Death Queen Island." Mr. Kido looked at his watch. He did agree to have lunch and a golf game with the Solo family. Knowing Ikki, they'll be here all day if he doesn't do something. "Perhaps its destiny, now give Shun Andromeda Island, as long as they return as Saints, that's all that matters to me."
Tatsumi removed his hand over Ikki's. He picked up Andromeda Island and handed it over to the little green haired runt.
Tatsumi walked into the office. He looked down, pulled a piece of Ikki's hair and laid the bloody kendo stick to the side. He turned to the list of children. Ikki must have seen him slip the list of training facilities to the appropriate child. It would've been better if they could just assign the children to wherever they saw fit, but Sanctuary and their antique traditions insisted on this way.
He looked at the pile of tickets already purchased weeks ago for each child to go. Now with Shun and Ikki he was going to have to contact a few ships and make the appropriate changes. Both places were considered the most difficult training grounds in all of Sanctuary. The difference was that Andromeda Island currently had a very good teacher while the one on Death Queen Island was considered borderline insane.
The plan was to send Ikki to Andromeda Island due to him having the best training record over at the Kido Orphanage. He surely had the best chance of earning a Cloth.
Shun didn't qualify for any Training Ground. His combat was awful and he would've been considered too soft. It would've been nice to send him to Death Queen Island just to kill off the useless little green turd.
Author's Note: I got a review from Night Queen asking for more Ikki in the story. Originally one of the chapters was going to have a ton of flashbacks and this was going to be one of the main ones. However, when I decided to not go with that idea, I had a number of flashbacks that I was going to use to insert throughout the main story. However, I couldn't find a good place to insert this one just because it was too long for a flashback and I wanted to move on with Shun's development of him getting over his past trauma of the Kido Orphanage. So, rather than let it sit in my hard drive I decided to turn it into a one-shot.
I tried to make it close to the original scene, but I change a few details to make it my own. While I am focusing on the main Love You, Kill Me storyline, I am willing to take requests.
Till next time,