So, Tsubaki and Liz are like 17-18 and Soul (13) Patty (12)

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Soul Evans didn't know where he was running to, he just knew he had to get away. Red eye's shining with held back tears, and white hair shining in the soft moonlight he continued running. Turning down another side street he felt his legs finally give out from under him and he collapsed against the grimy pavement. Letting out a chocked cry he curled his tiny body into a ball and began to sob quietly. For hours he laid there, sobs continuing to wrack his small body long after he had run out of tears, until finally, exhausted, he slipped into the darkness.

xXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx

Soul finished the piece with a small flourish, a smile on his face as he turned towards the beaming faces of his parents. "How was that?"

"Wonderful!" his mother laughed, gliding gradually over towards her son and enveloping him into a tight hug and pulling him up from the piano and into her arms. "You are wonderful." Soul snuggled into his mother's warmth as she carried him into the den, coming to a rest on the couch next to his father. "Don't you agree?"

"Very good" his father praised, reaching out and ruffling his son's frosty hair. "Keep it up, and you could play in Carnegie Hall one day."

Smiling at the praise, Soul relaxed into his mother, head resting easily against her as she began to smooth his hair out from his fathers rough hand. Eye's dropping, he lazily listened as his mother continued to speak to him. "You can do anything you want to baby. Always remember, you are mommies heart, and my Soul."

Nodding, Soul finally slipped away into a peaceful sleep, safely wrapped in the love of his family.

xXxXxXxXxXxXx

"Hey, brat! You alive?" a loud female voice broke through his mind as something pointy hit him in the rib cage. Letting out a pathetic cry, Soul rolled over, but kept himself wrapped tightly in a ball.

"Liz, leave him alone" A softer voice admonished. "He's scared."

"Look at his clothes Tsubaki, he's not an orphan. Looks like's runaway. Might be worth something."

Soul heard a loud smack, followed by a groan but he still didn't raise his head. "Liz! Be more sensitive."

"I'm just saying" Liz grumbled. "S'not like we've pulled a good job in the last few weeks. Money is getting tight. This kid could be a meal ticket."

"Or, he could just be another frightened child" Tsubaki sighed as she crouched down next to the shivering bow, "Hey, it's okay." She reached out and laid her hand softly on his back. Feeling the contact, Soul's fight or flight instinct kicked in and he rolled to his feet. With a terrified cry he took off, only to have his ankle give out from under him as it twisted awkwardly. Whimpering, he crashed back down to the ally way, collapsing into a trio of trashcans loudly. Behind him, him Liz sighed.

"So…that went well" She rolled her eyes as she advanced forward with Tsubaki on the cowering youth.

The raven-haired girl gave her accomplice a scathing look before once again crouching down next to Soul, giving him an encouraging smile. "Sorry if I scared you. Are you hurt?"

Eye's wide, Soul shook his head back and forth quickly. But his mouth remained firmly shut.

She nodded, "Okay, good. So can you tell me your name?" When Soul shook his head again, Liz scoffed, but Tsubaki's smile never wavered. "How about we tell you our names? Okay?" When no answer came from the young boy she continued. "This is Liz, and I'm Tsubaki."

Swallowing down the painful lump in his throat, Soul stared up into Tsubaki's smiling face. Seeing the warmth continued in her eyes, he slowly found his voice as he wiped his eyes with his sleeve. "So…ven" He lied. "My…my name is Sven

"Sven?" Tsubaki repeated slowly before smiling gently at him again. "That's a very nice name. Are you lost Sven?"

Soul shook his head. "No…I'm not lost."

"Do you know where your home is?"

"I don't have one." Soul replied softly. It wasn't a lie, not really.

Tsubaki glanced up at Liz quickly, both noting the suit the young boy was still wearing, obviously expensive even thought he grime and tears. Looking back at Sven, she continued her questioning. "Do you know your parents numbers Sven? Do you know where we could find them?"

There was a beat of uncomfortable silence as Soul's eyes widened, before filling with fresh tears and the young boy launched himself forward. Surprised, Tsubaki caught him in her arms and wrapped tightly them around the sobbing boy. Whispering soothingly, she once again caught Liz's eye. After a few seconds of non-verbal communication the blonde sighed and nodded.

"Sven" Tsubaki gently pried the small boy from her arms. "Do you want to come back with us? At least until you get everything sorted out?"

Soul chocked back another sob as he nodded, trying to wipe away his tears but failing miserably as they continued to fall.

"Good, it's not a far walk from here. Do you think you can walk?"

Soul shook his head, "I…I hurt my ankle."

"Don't worry, I can carry you." Tsubaki smiled, shaking her head and turning around. With a small prompting, the small boy clambered onto her back and the trio was on their way.

Silently, they walked down the many dark alleyways, taking so many twists and turns Soul soon lost his sense of direction. Though, he didn't know where he was anyway. Sighing, he rested his head on Tsubaki's shoulder as the minutes continued to mount and in moments he was fast asleep. Hearing the light snoring, Liz moved closer to Tsubaki, her voice low. "What are you planning?"

"We're going to take him back to the house. We'll figure out the rest from there"

"Tsubaki, look at him" Liz sighed, "He's an aristocrat. He's probably got some rich parent's looking for him right now. And if we're not going to collect a reward, we might as well just drop him off and go."

Coming to a halt, Tsubaki wheeled around on her friend, eyes gaining a rarely seen hardness. "Is that really what you want to do Liz? Do you want to just leave him on the street and hope for the best?"

Liz went silent as she stared at her friend before her eyes drifted to the sleeping boys face. His snowy hair had fallen over his face and a thin line of drool had begun to seep from his face. She could still see how puffy his eyes were from crying, and how the grime of the city marred his face. The boy wouldn't last a day out here. Letting out a sigh she shook her head and pushed past Tsubaki. "Ugh, fine. Let's get the little twerp back to the apartment. Maybe we can actually get some information out of him once he's gotten cleaned up and eaten a bit."

Behind her Tsubaki smiled knowingly. At heart Liz really was a softie, no matter how hard she tried to act cold.

xXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx

Soul didn't understand why no one came to pick him up from his recital. He didn't understand why his family hadn't been in their seats. They had promised they would be there. They had told him they would be right there, waiting for him after. But they never showed.

But Soul had still played. And he played to perfection. But as the applause rained over him, it felt wrong, hollow. But he had ignored it. He had ignored it all. Because once his mother was there, everything would be okay.

Two hours past, and still no one came for him.

Confused, he sat down on the cold pavement, wrapping his arms tightly around his legs as the hours continued to pass. It wasn't until sometime around midnight, a black car finally pulled up to the building. Warily, Soul rose to his feet, but made no move to approach the black car. His parents always came out to greet him. This wasn't right. This wasn't their car. Who were these people?

Slowly, the passenger door opened, and a slender women in a black suit stepped out. Frowning, she approached Soul who took an unsteady step back. "Who are you?"

"Soul Evans?" She asked quietly, ignoring his question.

"Who are you?" Soul repeated, louder, fearing starting to rising in his stomach.

"Are you Soul Evans?" She repeated, taking a step closer to him.

"Where's my mom?" Soul yelled, taking another step back. "Where's my dad? Where's Wes? Where are they?"

The women's frown deepened as she slowly began. "Mr. Evans…there was…there was an accident. I'm so sorry."

And just like that, Soul Evans felt his world begin to crumble around him.

xXxXxXxXxXxXx

Soul woke up with a splitting headache. Groping around blindly he felt a pair of soft arms press down on his shoulders and force him back down gently.

"Mom?" he whimpered out quietly before reality cruelly sunk into him, and the memories came flooding back. Shaking away weakly from the arms, he forced his eyes open and found himself staring into a kind pair of blue eyes.

"Hello Sven" Tsubaki greeted quietly. "How are you feeling?"

Soul didn't reply at once, instead choosing to look around his surroundings, but he didn't gain much for his trouble. He was lying on a large couch, a thin blanket draped over him. He could hear two people talking loudly, but he couldn't make out what they were saying. Rubbing his eyes, he turned back to Tsubaki who was waiting patiently. "Where am I?"

"My home" she replied, "It's a small house we rent out from time to time. Just a few miles from where we found you." Soul nodded, eyes still darting around the dark room. When he didn't speak again for a few minutes, Tsubaki took the imitative. "Are you hungry?"

"Not really" Soul lied, just as his stomach growled loudly. Laughing Tsubaki took his hand and gave it a quick squeeze.

"Don't worry Sven, you're safe here. We'll help you. I promise." Giving him another smile, she made to let go of his hand, but Soul held fast

"Wait!" Soul cried, sitting up. Staring into her gentle face, Soul felt his heart tighten. There were no lies, no anger or malice. Only shining kindness and trust. Continuing to stare up at her, Soul felt the tightness on his heart relax slightly for the first time in what felt like years. Swallowing hard, he made a decision "My name…my name is Soul."

Tsubaki watched him for a moment before smiling. "Okay Soul." She stood up, giving his hand a gentle squeeze before letting go. "That fits you much better than Sven does. I'll just go see how dinner is coming, then we'll get you, okay?" She waited until Soul nodded before leaving the room, leaving Soul alone with his thoughts. Or so he thought.

"Hi!" A bubbly voice cried next to him, causing him to jump and nearly slip off the couch. Recoiling back, he pulled the blanket tighter around him as he moved to a corner of the couch. "Sorry if I scared you!"

Finding his bearings, Soul glared at the young girl who had entered the room. "I wasn't scared."

"Were too! You jumped." she guffawed. "And I'm Patty!"

"My name's Soul. And I wasn't scared, I was simply surprised." Soul corrected her, relaxing slightly as he realized the new girl couldn't be any older than he was. But his relaxed state began to wane as she stared at him with wide blue eyes, obviously curious. "What?"

"You look funny" She giggled, plopping down on the couch next to him.

"I do not!" Soul pouted. He didn't even know this girl. Who was she to make fun of him?

"Do too!" She reached out quickly and tugged on his hair. "See, your hair is white."

Soul slapped her hand away. "That's not funny. It's just my hair."

"And your eyes" she continued, leaning uncomfortably close to him. "They are funny too."

Soul lowered his head sulkily. "There's nothing wrong with my eyes."

"But they're red" Patty questioned. "I've never met anyone with red eyes."

"Well…" Soul paused as he tried to think of a comeback. "Well, now you do."

Patty cocked her head to the side before smiling widely. "I like you! Do you want to be my friend?"

Soul stared at her for a moment, eyebrows rising. "Friend?"

She nodded vigorously. "Yeah. We move around a lot, so I don't get to have many friends. But if you're going to stay with us, then you can be my friend!"

Before Soul could answer, another voice cut in. "We don't know if he's staying with us Patty" Liz commented lightly as she strolled into the room. "We still don't even know who he is."

"He's Soul!" Patty replied simply, throwing her arm around Soul who immediately shrank away. "And he's my friend."

"We can talk about it later" Liz sighed, peeling Patty's arm from around Soul's shoulder and pulling the small girl over the couch. "Now come on, dinner is ready." She started to leave the room before noticing Soul was still rooted firmly on the couch, "You too twerp!" Nodding quickly, Soul jumped to his feet and followed silently.

xXxXxXxXxXXXxXxXx

Dinner was an experience unlike anything Soul had ever known. While dinner with his family could be lively at times, it was nothing compared to dinner with the girls. Loud voices filled the tiny kitchen as they talked about everything and nothing, while Soul quietly sipped the soup they had given to him. It wasn't until he bit into a piece of bread that he finally drew the attention of his new 'friend' again.

"Hey!" Patty called, leaning towards him, "You have sharp teeth!"

"Patty" Tsubaki chided, "Don't be rude."

"But he does!" Patty pointed towards Soul, who's mouth had closed tightly. "Show her. Please?"

Soul felt the eyes of the room fall on him as the girls waited expectantly. Unsure, he glanced at Tsubaki who gave him an encouraging smile. "If you want to Soul."

For a moment he stayed still, then slowly pulled back his lips, showing off his sharp teeth. Patty was instantly excited. "See! Look! He's like a shark!"

Across the table, her sister smiled. "Yes Patty, now leave Soul alone so he can eat."

"Kay!" Patty sang, lifting her bowl up and taking a loud sip as the conversation once again picked up.

Quietly, Soul continued eating, carefully watching the exchange before him. He didn't know why, but he liked it here. Maybe it was the loving exchange of Patty and Liz, or the warmth of Tsubaki's smile, or simply the vitality of this house that made him feel safe. Feel like how he used to. He took another bite of bread.

It was a far cry from his home. But it was something. And he couldn't help but want to cling to it.

xXxXxXxXxXxXxXx

Once dinner was done, Liz quickly made to send Patty off to bed. But the younger of the two sisters was quite against the idea. "But I don't wanna go to sleep!"

"Now Patty" Liz scolded, putting her hands on her sisters shoulders and marching her towards her room.

"But I wanna stay up." She pouted, "You're letting Soul stay up!"

"Only for a little bit" Liz responded with a sigh, pushing her sister gently into her room, "Then he's going to sleep too."

Patty ducked her head slightly, sulking. "Fine."

Liz smiled, leaning down and kissing her sister on the forehead. "Get some sleep. Gotta wake up early tomorrow for work. Love you."

"Love you too" Patty called as she climbed into her bed. "And sis?"

"Yeah?"

"Is Soul going to stay with us?"

Liz paused at the door. "I don't know yet Patty."

Patty yawned, curling up around her favorite stuffed animal. "I think he should. He looks lonely."

Liz smiled, "We'll see, now get some sleep." She shut the door and quickly made her way back to the kitchen where Tsubaki and Soul were still sitting patiently, Soul sipping on a glass of milk. Taking her seat, she glanced over at Tsubaki, waiting for her to start.

"Soul" Tsubaki began, drawing the young boys attention. "I told you we would help you, but we need to know some stuff first. Okay?"

Soul nodded, putting down the glass with a soft clink, "Okay."

She gave him a small smile. "Alright, so can you tell us why you were on the street?"

"I was running" Soul answered simply.

"From what?"

"The lady in the black suit." Soul shivered. "They said they were going to send me to an orphanage. But I didn't want to go. So I ran. I won't go back."

Tsubaki glanced up at Liz, both confused. "Is the lady in the Black suit your mother?"

Soul's red eyes flashed dangerously. "No! My mom would never send me away. My mom loves me! My whole family loves me!"

"Okay okay!" Tsubaki held up her hands apologetically. "But where is your mother then Soul?"

Almost instantly, Soul's anger deflated as he sank down lower in his chair. With a dull voice he answered her. "Dead. They're all dead."

"Oh Soul" Tsubaki whispered, getting up from her chair and gently enveloping the boy in a hug as he began to shake. "It's okay."

"No it's not!" he cried, burying his face against her chest. "They're gone. And no one wants me. Everything is gone. I just…" his voice cracked and he broke down to tears once again. Patiently, Tsubaki waited for him to calm down.

"Soul, when did this happen?"

"A few weeks ago…there was a car crash" he coughed out as he tried to stop his tears, still tightly clinging to Tsubaki. Across the table Liz perked up, drawing Tsubaki's attention. "Tonight she tried to take me away. I won't go back. I won't!"

"Shhh" Tsubaki sighed, rubbing his hair while looking at Liz. The blonde nodded. "You don't have to go back if you don't want to."

"Yeah." Liz finally spoke up, looking thoughtful. "You can stay here as long as you want Soul."

Soul pulled his face away from Tsubaki to look at Liz who gave him a gentle smile. "Really?"

"Really" Liz nodded.

"See, everything will be okay" Tsubaki assured him. "But it's been a long day. Why don't you go take a shower, then you can get some sleep. Okay?"

Soul nodded, giving her a tight hug before letting go. Silently he worked his way to Liz and repeated the action. "Thank you."

Liz smiled, returning the affection. "Don't worry about it. But you're going to pull your own weight, you got that?" When he nodded she gave him a small nudge. "Shower's down the hall, go on."

"Okay" Soul nodded, starting to make his way out when Liz called out to him.

"Hey Soul, can you tell us your last name?" She asked

Soul nodded, "It's Evans."

Liz's face never wavered as she smiled and nodded, letting him continue on towards the bathroom. As he exited the room, she swung her attention over to Tsubaki. "I know who that kid is."


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