This puppy is probably the longest GR oneshot I've ever typed. This is a Secret Santa present for my buddy on Providence Playground, Aenrhien. He wanted a fic that involved Five and Six as friends, lovers, frienimies, etc. I was hit with the idea to write a cute family story about them as kids. This takes place before any of the Numbers are given their...well...numbers. Therefore, I have chosen my own names for them. Hope you like them and this story! ^_^
"Flint. One is on the phone." A tall, angry-faced teen grumbled as he placed the living room phone on the table.
"Oh! Coming!" The sound of scampering footsteps could be heard as a small, black haired, seven year old boy rushed into the room, nearly tripping on the Oriental rug. "Thanks, Dmitri!" He fumbled with the phone for a second before putting it to his ear. "Hi, One! How's England? Did you drink lots of tea and eat scones? Was the museum really big? Did you see King Arthur?"
One's gentle voice chuckled on the other end of the line. "I told you, Flint: King Arthur has been dead for years."
Flint stuck a hand into the pocket of his green hoodie. "How do you know? Merlin could've brought him back to life!"
"Merlin is dead too, Flint. How are things at home? Is Dmitri taking good care of you boys?"
At this, a pout came to the child's face. "He trained all day with Tomas, but he won't help me at all."
"That's because you cry whenever we fight, enano..." Dmitri called from the couch, flipping a page in his Spanish romance novel.
"You punched me in the eye!" Flint retorted, pointing to his still-swollen left eye. "You hit my tear ducts!"
"Now, boys." One gently chided. "I don't want you two to be fighting when I come home. After all, I have a big surprise for all of you."
"Ooh! What is it?" Flint asked before calling to Dmitri in a loud whisper: "One has a surprise for us!"
"Bueno..." The teen's voice dripped with sarcasm. He didn't bother looking up from his book.
"If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise. I need to go now, Flint. Be good until I get home."
"Don't you wanna talk to Tomas and Abasi?"
"They didn't come when Dmitri called them." One's voice carried a small hint of sadness. "I suppose I'll have to talk to them when I get home."
"Kay. Love you, One!"
"I love you too, Flint. Goodbye for now." Click.
Flint put the phone back on the receiver before running over to Dmitri. "C'mon, Dmitri! Let's train! I want you to teach me that cool move you used on Tomas. You know, when you knocked him down with that stick."
Dmitri breathed an impatient sigh. "Why don't you train with Tomas instead?"
"He sat on me last time!"
"Go play with Abasi, then."
"He never wants to! He just sits in his room praying to some weird Egyptian dog named Noobie or Anoob or something." Flint leaned over the couch. "Besides, you're the oldest brother. That's what One says. That means you're the best one to teach me, right?"
"We've been over this already, Flint." Dmitri grumbled. "One is just being sentimental. I'm not your brother. Now, will you please let me finish my book?"
Flint's heart deflated. "Kay..." He muttered, wiping his stormy eyes and walking out of the room.
Flint had been with One for as long as he could remember. He had known Dmitri for about the same amount of time, as the older boy had already been living on the island. Apparently, he had been living on the streets of Spain when One found him. Tomas had come along later, when Flint was five. One had gone on a trip to America and found the large boy stealing food from a grocer. Abasi had come during the previous year, when One made a trip to Egypt and happened upon a hollow-eyed child sitting by himself in a dusty, abandoned temple.
Now, One was coming home from England. And he was bringing a surprise. Flint was almost positive as to what it would be.
'Maybe this one will actually want to be my brother. Maybe he'll actually train with me.' These hopeful thoughts healed the hurt left by Dmitri's cold dismissal.
With a yawn, He lazily gazed at his walls, which were decorated with various Asian artifacts that One had collected over the years: A scroll painting of a Chinese dragon, a gold fan, a painting of a cherry blossom tree, etc. Hanging on the wall were ornamental katanas and shuriken. Propped against the wall was a pair of wooden training swords.
Flint reached absentmindedly for his green stuffed tortoise, hugging it to his chest as he closed his eyes.
The young girl sighed, impatiently strumming a few chords on her small guitar. The boat rocked beneath her. She was very hungry by this point, but had no intention of eating and getting sea-sick afterward. Instead, she distracted herself by playing the first few notes of "Twist and Shout".
"Aria." The tall, kind man who called himself "One" sat down next to her. "Are you well?"
Aria looked up from her guitar, brushed some white-blonde locks from her forehead, and smiled. "Quite well, sir. Thank you."
One was one of the first people to hear Aria speak in a respectful tone. At the orphanage, everyone was given the rough side of her tongue: the strict women who ran the place, her ruler-wielding governess, and the boys who teased and beat her.
She was pretty good in hand-to-hand combat. Having to defend herself against a pack of ruffians since birth allowed her to develop certain skills. Unfortunately, the boys had decided to gang up and get revenge on her. Boys considered it a great dishonor to lose to a girl in a fight, after all.
One had found her lying in an alley; bloody, weak, and bruised. He cleaned her up, bought her new clothes, and fed her good, wholesome food that put the orphanage slop to shame. He had adopted her the very next day.
It still blew Aria's mind that any human being could be so kind. She caressed the smooth wood of her instrument, a gift from One. After talking about the boys at the orphanage and of her many destroyed and burned guitars, she had woken up the next morning to find a case waiting on the table in the hotel room.
"Are you happy to be going to your new home?" One questioned, cutting into her thoughts.
"I'm rather nervous, actually..." Aria muttered, her expression faltering. Despite One's kindness, the idea of living alone on an island with four older boys was not ideal.
One placed a hand on her shoulder. "The only time one of my boys will lay a hand on you is during training, if you choose to partake."
"Alright..." Aria nodded her head slowly, though she was still very doubtful.
"Guys! One's boat is almost here! Come on!" Flint was bouncing on the heels of his tennis shoes.
Dmitri groaned quietly as he sat up on the couch. Tomas glanced up, took another large bite of his barbeque ribs, and stood up. "Where's Abasi at?" He mumbled, licking his fingers.
"I'll get him now!" Flint turned on his heel and bolted down the hallway. "Abasi!" He skidded to a halt in front of the Egyptian boy's door. "Come on, Abasi! One is back!"
The door opened a crack and a dark eye peered out. "So, he has returned safely... That is good... I was worried..."
Flint rolled his eyes. "He was just on a scouting mission. He was making sure England didn't need any mercenary work done."
"Death comes in many forms and in many places. It matters not the intentions of the deceased."
"You...are weird. Come on!" He reached into the room and grabbed Abasi's arm, dragging him down the hallway and toward the door. He let go once they were outside and ran ahead to the dock. His gray eyes were bright and excited. "One!" He called out. He could see his adoptive father helping a smaller form off of the ship. 'I knew it!' "Hey, One!"
One looked over and waved. "Hello, Flint." As Flint drew close, he held out his arms. The young boy flew right into them, nuzzling his face into his mentor's chest.
"I missed you, One!" Flint jumped back and turned to look at the small figure that was standing a few paces away. It was a young child, about his age, who was clad in jeans and a Beatles shirt and was toting a black guitar case. Flint blinked in confusion. "You're a girl!"
Aria resisted the urge to plant her face in her palm, opting instead to roll her eyes. "Well spotted, Aristotle." She drawled.
One smiled and beckoned for her to come closer, keeping his other hand on his pupil's shoulder. "Flint, this is Aria. She will be staying with us. I hope you'll make her feel at home."
"Will she be training with us?" Flint's eyes were wide. "I thought girls couldn't fight!" With her slight figure, gray-blue eyes, and light hair, Aria looked like a fragile china statue.
Aria's eyes darkened. "I could take you out in my sleep!"
"Let's see it, then."
Flint looked over his shoulder and Aria looked up as Dmitri, Tomas, and Abasi approached.
Dmitri, who had been the one to speak, smirked and tilted his head. "Show us your skills, niña."
Aria felt a minor pang of fear and started to turn to One for help, then stopped. 'This is my initiation onto this island. It's a test. I need to prove myself to these people on my own.' She realized. Turning toward the black-haired, green-clad boy, she held up her fists and got into a fighting stance.
The childish confusion left Flint's face immediately and he instinctively moved into a defensive position. After a moment of sizing his opponent up, he jumped forward. Aria nimbly dodged and jabbed her elbow into his back, throwing him to the ground. Before he could even move, she jumped on top of him, throwing him to the ground, digging her knees into his shoulder blades and holding his wrists tightly.
Aria looked down at her opponent for a moment before jumping up. She flashed a defiant smile toward Dmitri before bending down to pick up her guitar case. Next thing she knew, her face was planted in the sand and an oppressive weight sat on her back.
"Never turn your back on an enemy!" Dmitri smirked, quoting one of One's many lessons. After a moment, he stood up and held out his hand. "Not bad for a girl! Though, beating enano is no great challenge." He nodded toward Flint, who was brushing sand off of his jeans, his face as red as a tomato.
Aria stared at Dmitri's outstretched hand for a moment before standing up on her own.
One placed a hand on Flint's shoulder, smiling at the disgruntled boy before turning to the others. "You three have probably gathered that Aria will be staying with us. Aria, this is Dmitri, Tomas, and Abasi." He nodded at each boy in turn. "I hope you grow to like it here and I hope that my boys will make you feel at home." He gave Flint's shoulder a gentle squeeze while flashing a stern look at his other charges. "Now," He walked away from Flint and started toward the building. "I should show you your new room."
Picking up her guitar case, Aria glanced at the smirking Dmitri, the distant-looking Abasi, and the incredibly dense-looking Tomas. Her eyes rested on the young, red-faced boy she had just beaten. He was staring at the ground, clearly trying not to cry. She felt a brief stab of guilt for humiliating him, which she quickly beat down. 'He'll try to get back at me soon enough.' With that, she turned and followed One into her new home.
"Come on, Dmitri! Just one round! Please?" Flint was holding his wooden swords tightly in his hands. "I haven't done any training for days. Just a few minutes? Pleeeeeaaaase?"
Dmitri rolled his eyes. "I'll only be a moment, Abasi." He murmured to the small, staff-wielding boy, before turning and holding out his own wooden training weapons. Flint ran at him, swords outstretched, only to receive a hard crack on the head. He fell to the ground, clutching his skull and whimpering. Dmitri shook his head pityingly. "Maybe next time, enano."
Flint staggered to his feet, tears streaming down his face. "You didn't even give me a chance..." He whined. His head was throbbing, as if a hammer was repeatedly smashing it.
"A real enemy won't give you a chance." Dmitri replied before turning back to Abasi.
"But..." Flint sighed and looked at the ground. "I was hoping you'd teach me how to get better..." When Dmitri ignored him, he sniffed and walked away. As he passed the courtyard, the sound of guitar music came to his ear. He paused, somewhat recognizing the tune from the radio, though he couldn't remember the song's name. Tilting his head, he turned and walked toward the sound.
Aria's eyes were closed as her small fingers lightly strummed the notes of the Beatles song, "Yesterday". A faint smile was on her face as she hummed the lyrics. At the moment, she was on top of the world: her room was large and spacious with a soft bed, she had a full stomach, and she hadn't had to fight anybody for food or sleep.
Her light eyes opened. Standing in front of her was the green-hoodie-wearing, black-haired boy from the other day. She frowned. "Are you gonna try to beat me up?"
Flint blinked in confusion. "No. I heard your guitar."
Aria shook her head. "You're lying. Boys always beat me up after I beat them." She looked at his hands. "They like to hit me with sticks."
Flint looked down at his training swords and quickly dropped them. "One taught us to lose honorably and to not hold grudges. Besides," He grinned. "I let you beat me."
"Did no-Hey!" He folded his arms and pouted. "You cheated!"
Aria laughed. "You actually fell for it!" She placed her guitar on the bench and approached the slightly taller boy. "How 'bout a rematch?"
"Kay." Flint picked up his training swords and tossed her one, which she nimbly caught. "But this time, let's fight my way!"
The young girl looked nervously at the wooden sword in her hands. She had hit boys with sticks before, but knew nothing about actually dueling with them. Still, she hid her insecurity and rushed forward, swinging her weapon toward her opponent's side.
Flint didn't even move as he stopped Aria's strike with a sharp "thwack". "You don't run in like that. You should look for my weak spots before you try to hit me."
Aria blinked in surprise. He was going to help her? Cautiously, she began to scan Flint. He was holding his sword in front of his chest, so she probably had a good shot if she aimed for his legs. Pointing her wooden weapon downward, she lunged toward him, only to be blocked again.
"You were obviously going for the legs. You need to make it seem like you're aiming somewhere else." Flint instructed, smiling brightly. 'Hey! I feel kinda like One!' He glanced at Aria's exposed side before faking a blow toward the head and trying to swing around.
Aria smirked at Flint's dumbstruck expression. "You looked at where you were gonna hit."
Meanwhile, One was walking toward the courtyard for his daily meditation. He paused, a smile coming to his face, as he watched Flint and Aria train. Flint's face had a look of happiness and confidence that, for the longest time, had been noticeably absent. 'Sometimes, one learns best when teaching.' Still smiling, he walked across the garden and toward his two charges. "Now, now." He chided. "Training is for the training yard. I don't need you two falling on the flowers or upsetting the rock garden."
The two children stopped, glancing guiltily at each other. "Sorry." They both murmured, flashing simultaneous sheepish grins, before running toward the training yard.
"Race you there!" Aria shouted, bolting ahead.
"Hey! No head starts!" Flint protested, rushing to catch up.
"Is it...made of metal?" Aria asked, using up her tenth question. It had been a week since her arrival and she and Flint were in the middle of an intense game of Twenty Questions.
"Yep!" Flint was smirking smugly.
"Is it a weapon?"
"Is it...a sword?"
"Ha! I win!"
"No you don't." Flint was still grinning. "You gotta guess what kind!"
"What? No way!" Aria shook her head. "I don't know knives like you do. I didn't use a specific type of guitar for mine!"
Flint shrugged. "And that's why you're gonna lose."
"Nuh-uh! Is it a pocketknife?"
After eventually using up her twentieth question, Aria sighed in defeat. "What was it?"
"A Tantō!" With a superior laugh, Flint reached across the table, grabbing his prize: the last of the brownies.
"Did you know why he's called 'One'?" Aria asked Flint as they sat on the beach, a tall, freshly-made sandcastle casting a shadow on the sand next to them. She had been living on the island for almost three months now. "He told me this morning. Do you know?"
"Yeah. He told me awhile ago." Flint grinned proudly. "He's the deadliest man in the world! And he's our dad!"
"Not technically. None of us are related." Aria sighed, looking out at the ocean. "It's all words on paper."
"So?" Flint snapped, frowning irritably and squinting. The setting sun was getting in his eyes. Shading his face, he turned to Aria. "We all live here and we take care of each other, don't we? That's family!"
"Dmitri, Tomas, and Abasi don't seem to care." Aria waved a dismissive hand. "That's not what I'm getting at. Why do you think One is training us?"
"I-" Flint paused. "I dunno."
"I'll bet he wants us to be deadly too." Aria said, her voice taking on a conspiratorial tone. "We're gonna get numbers too someday!"
A bright grin spread across Flint's face. "That'll be so great! I'll be Two!"
Aria laughed. "No way! Dmitri, Tomas, and Abasi can still beat you!"
Flint pouted. He couldn't deny that fact. "Fine. I'll be Five."
Aria pushed some light hair from her face. "I'm gonna be Five."
"I've been here longer! I've been training longer!"
"Yeah, but I beat you yesterday!"
"I wasn't feeling good!"
"Yeah, right." Aria smirked. "You're gonna be Six."
Flint huffed. "No way! I'm gonna be deadlier than you! You are gonna be Six!"
"I'm already deadlier than you!"
"Let's ask One! He'll know!" Flint stood up, brushing sand from his shorts.
"Fine. Just don't cry when he says that I'm deadlier!"
"I'm more worried about you crying when he says I'm deadlier. Girls always cry."
Aria narrowed her eyes. "Say that again." She dared.
"Wah-wah-wah!" Flint said in his most annoying voice before bolting toward the house.
"Flint Saxon, you get back here right now!" Aria shouted, running after her soon-to-be-dead friend.
One looked up from the book he was reading as the sound of running feet came to his ears. 'Aria and Flint.' He knew immediately.
"You are so dead!"
"You gotta catch me first, girl!"
Smiling indulgently, One stood up and calmly held up a hand as the children approached. "What's the problem this time, you two?"
Of course, both kids started talking at the same time.
"Aria thinks she's gonna be-" "Flint's saying I'm a girl-"
"You are a girl-" "I am gonna be-"
"No you're not-" "I can still kick your-"
"One at a time." One turned to Aria. "Why don't you speak first?"
Flint folded his arms as Aria cast him a smug look before saying: "One, are we gonna get numbers too? Are we gonna be deadly?"
A shadow briefly passed over One's face. This was not the first time he had been asked that question. Dmitri, Tomas, and Abasi already realized the potential possibilities of being trained by the deadliest man on the planet. The eagerness on his youngest charges' faces seemed to stab him in the heart.
When he had first taken in Dmitri, he had done it out of pity. When the two has started training, One had honestly hoped to give the child a sense of discipline and honor that would carry him through his whole life. The circumstances had been the same for Tomas, Abasi, Flint, and Aria: they were all children who nobody wanted and who needed guidance.
'They have no idea what my position involves...' Out loud, he gave his young wards the same answer he had given the older boys: "If, when you are older, that is your wish, I will help you to pursue it." He was already beginning a special training regiment with Dmitri. The Spanish boy had taken to the harsh conditions and merciless fighting like a fish to water. Looking at Aria and Flint's excited faces, One wished that they would never age.
Unaware of his adoptive father's inner turmoil, Flint did an excited fist pump. "Yeah!" He looked up at One with shining gray eyes. "Hey, One? Who's gonna be deadlier? Me or Aria?"
One couldn't keep himself from rolling his eyes and chuckling. "It's impossible to tell, Flint. It all depends on how well you train when the time comes."
"Kay..." Flint shrugged, walking back toward the house, followed by Aria.
As One sat down, he could hear two small voices whispering: "I'm gonna be deadlier than you." "Nuh-uh." "Uh-huh." "Nuh-uh." "Uh-huh." Despite his misgivings, he couldn't wipe the amused grin from his face.
Aria smiled as she looked at the brightly-decorated kitchen. 'Six months.' She thought to herself. 'It feels like I've lived here my whole life!' She looked up as Flint batted a green balloon toward her. Grinning, she joined the game of "Don't Let the Balloon Touch the Floor". Even Tomas and Abasi were joining in. "How does it feel being eight, Flint?"
Flint shrugged as he gave the balloon a kick. "The same as I did yesterday, except I'm getting presents today!" He laughed.
When One started lighting the candles on Flint's large chocolate cake, the group stopped playing and sat at the table. "Why aren't you wearing a party hat?" One asked, placing a green-striped hat on the birthday boy's head.
Flint grimaced, taking the hat back off. "It looks stupid." He replied, sticking the pointed end in his cup and swirling his punch around with it. "You're not gonna sing Happy Birthday, are you?" He asked nervously. "I really hate that song."
Dmitri shook his head. "For once, enano, we agree on something. Besides, we all know what you're waiting for." He held up a large, neatly wrapped box.
Grinning brightly, Flint turned and blew out the candles. 'I wish to become a better fighter and to make One proud!' He wished the same thing every year.
As One started cutting the cake, Dmitri handed Flint his present. "I figured that, when you're older, you'll want to wear something with a little more class." He eyed the young boy's ragged hoodie and ripped jeans. "At least, I hope you will."
Flint stared in wonder at the green suit and pants that were inside the box. They were far too large for him. He couldn't wait until he was bigger! "Thanks, Dmitri!" He resisted the urge to hug the older boy, knowing that he would immediately get pushed away if he tried.
Tomas gave him a "lucky rock". (Flint was pretty sure that he had forgotten what day it was and had just grabbed something randomly from outside.) Abasi gave him a statue of the Egyptian god, Horus. "He is the god of kings and the conqueror of Set. He may help you in your training."
Aria handed him a small box. When he unwrapped and opened it, he saw a pair of sleek, green-tinted shades. "Whoa!" He immediately put them on. "How do I look?"
"Pretty cool." Aria laughed. "It should help you when you fight. Now, enemies can't tell where you're looking. Also, they'll keep the sun from getting in your eyes."
"Thanks!" Flint felt no inhibitions when hugging Aria.
The last present was from One. When Flint opened it, his shaded eyes nearly popped out of his skull. Two beautiful, shining katanas sat on a bed of red silk.
"Those aren't decorative blades, Flint." One smiled. "If you wish to learn how to use them, we can start training tomorrow."
Flint nearly knocked him over.
Aria winced as another crack of thunder sounded outside. Her brows furrowed with frustration. She wasn't afraid of storms, per say, but she couldn't stand it when the thunder was close enough to shake the foundations of her bed. There was just something about it that made her tremble.
CRASH! Her bed shuddered once more.
Scrunching her eyes shut, she jumped from the bed and walked into the hallway, pausing only when another crash made the floor vibrate. She hesitated at the door to Flint's room before pushing it open. 'It's fine.' She thought to herself. 'He came into my room a few weeks ago when he had a nightmare.' She took a deep breath before peeking into the room.
To her surprise, Flint was awake. He was sitting up in his bed, hugging his ragged stuffed turtle to his chest, his gray eyes wide and fearful. He blinked when he saw her. "A-Aria. Y-You're s-scared of the storm?"
Aria closed the door behind her and walked over to the bed. "No." She replied, trying to hide the tremor from her voice. "I just wanted to see if you were okay."
"Oh..." Flint stared at his blankets, cheeks flushing in embarrassment. "I'm f-fine."
Both kids flinched as another BOOM echoed through the house. At the same time, a flash of lightning illuminated the room. After a moment, they both grinned sheepishly.
"I guess we're both a little scared, huh?" Flint laughed.
"Only a little!" Aria replied firmly, moving the covers aside and crawling onto the bed.
"Right. Just a little." Flint yawned and wrapped his arms around his friend. Despite the fact that she was more than a year younger than him, she was within an inch of his height. She often teased that she would grow to be taller than him, making him the shortest person on the island once more. (Abasi had recently hit a growth spurt, putting him ahead of Flint by about an inch.)
Aria smiled, nestling her face into Flint's green, ninja-printed pajamas. She shivered again as an oppressive rumble came to her ears. "So," She spoke up, deciding that conversation was the best distraction from the storm. "I was thinking about dying my hair."
"What color?" Flint replied, closing his eyes and blowing some of Aria's white-blonde hair away from his face. "Blue would look weird. Maybe purple?"
"I was thinking along the lines of pink."
Flint laughed. "You'd look like a piece of bubblegum!"
"Not if I wear the right clothes and accessories! Black and pink are a pretty good combo."
"I guess." Flint held her more tightly as the thunder loudly smacked itself against the building. In the distance, the frothing ocean snarled. "Hey, Aria?"
"Yeah?" Aria hugged Flint as another shiver passed through her.
Aria smiled."You too." She relaxed into the soft mattress, closing her eyes.
Flint felt his head sink into the pillow. "I was thinking: I know you don't think we're a real family, but..." He paused, bracing himself for the rejection he often received from Dmitri and the others. "Will you be my little sister anyway?"
Aria blinked and pulled back slightly, looking up at Flint's face. His eyes were downcast and nervous. He was obviously expecting her to say no.
'Little sister...' Well, Flint was definitely the best friend she had ever had. He never seemed to tire of her company and she certainly never grew tired of his. 'I never knew my family. I never had one before. But...' He trained with her, talked with her, played with her, and, as he was currently doing, comforted her. 'Isn't that what a brother does?' Another oppressive growl caused her to snuggle up against him again.
After a moment, she spoke aloud: "I'd like that very much, Flint."
Flint's eyes lit up, a look of unsurpassed joy coming to his face. 'She said yes! I have a little sister!' He hugged Aria tightly. "Thanks, Aria! I'll be a good brother!"
"You already are." Aria grunted, pushing him back. "Just let me breathe a little!"
Flint laughed. "Kay!" He hugged her loosely and plopped his head back on the pillow.
"Oh, and Flint?"
Aria smirked and closed her eyes. "I'm still deadlier than you."
The two continued to argue long after the storm passed.
Merry Christmas, Aen! Hope this was awesome! ^_^ And that goes for all of my readers: I hope you have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Blessed Yule, Happy Ramadan (is it during December this year...?), and whatever the heck you're celebrating! Peace out!
PS- Just so you know, "enano" means "runt" in Spanish. It feels like something Dos would have called Six when they were younger.