The second that he saw her he knew that she would have him wrapped around her finger. She was barely a few hours old and he could feel the love for his daughter swell inside him - he had no idea that it was possible to love someone so much.
Then she opened her eyes and love he felt expanded to a dull ache in his heart - he loved his little girl so much that it physically hurt. His daughter was resting in the crook of his arms, yawning sleepily as she wiggled, burrowing closer to his body heat, to his strength and to his safety and he knew that he would fight to protect her.
She was always a well-behaved child but as she grew older and he and Genki had Mushi, Kuki became more distant, hanging out with her friends, living in the treehouse at the back of the Uno's home and he really, really missed her. When she was eight he had taken her to the Mall to get some last-minute Christmas presents and they were just about to cross the busy car-park when he felt Kuki's small hand slide innocently into his. He hadn't held his daughter's hand in a long time - she was so free spirited and happy-go-lucky that he had never needed too and she didn't often reach out for him, but right now, that one tiny simple gesture made him realise just how much she still needed him and he was determined to do right by her, make her proud to call him her Dad.
She had this annoying ability to be heard no matter where she was Nigel had noticed. Her voice had followed him since he was seven, when she was singing the Rainbow Monkey theme tune at full blast or laughing to herself or arguing with Wally he always knew where she was and it had drove him to the edge of insanity more than once, especially when he had a report that needed to be written or if he had an essay due for the next day.
But it was also comforting, to know that she was still around, no matter what life seemed to throw at the Japanese girl she just twirled around it and danced off, not letting it get her down. As they grew older, life didn't affect her the way that it did others - no matter how old she got she was still a Kid at Heart and even though her naïve personality and air-headedness made him want to yank on his eyelashes, he loved her. He loved her sweet, caring personality, how she gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and how she was willing to stand up for anyone, launching herself in the line of fire. She had the innocence that he had strived to keep, but inevitably lost as he grew older, she just stayed young.
She was easily one of his best friends, had been for years and even though they clashed over the littlest things, they clicked, they worked - he made her sit down and finish her assignments instead of watching cartoons, and she got him to smile. It was a win-win relationship, one that worked and he was determined to hold onto it.
Cleveland, Ohio wasn't a very big place and so, unfortunately, the Asian community was rather small - In Gallagher Elementary they were only four other Asians aside from himself and Kuki Sanban was one of them. He had been pulled, almost magnetically to her when he first moved to America when he was fifteen - she was assigned to him by the Head Teacher because she spoke Japanese and while he had a grasp of the English language, he just much preferred to speak in his mother tongue.
Kuki was different to anyone else that he had ever known - she was so forgiving and kind-hearted and he felt a fierce protectiveness over her, unable to bear her pain - not that she was apt at showing it. Instead, she hid her pain from those so they couldn't see, but it was generated instead into an aura that everyone could feel - they knew she was hurting and Kai made it his personal mission to break anyone who dare cause her that pain.
Even if that meant getting yelled at later for using unnecessary violence as she cleaned up whatever injury he had managed to get this time, defending her honour.
Kuki was like his little sister and he was the one that she went to if she was upset - he was the only one throughout their childhood and teenage years that saw her broken and that was because he would listen. He would listen and throw pillows and blankets on the floor with a variety of junk food as they bundled up in the nest that he made and he let her watch Rainbow Monkeys and cry, and he wouldn't move until she was ready to tell him what was wrong and then he would do everything in his power to make her feel better. You see, with Kuki, Hoagie always knew the exact thing to say and when to say it because they were essentially the same person. Yes, Hoagie was a complete geek and Kuki was a cheerleader, but that didn't mean anything - they were both optimists, ready for a good laugh, willing to help others and always there to listen.
As the grew older, Hoagie found that he could also go to her if he needed to - that no matter what she was doing if he needed to vent or to complain than she would stop everything that was doing and usher him into his room, putting in his favourite video game and fighting him (quite literally) to the death as he ranted.
The thing with him and Kuki is that they were both givers, they gave to others all the time and didn't demand anything in return, so they worked, they clicked and they, quite easily, were family.
He had no idea how he did it, but he had forgotten about the bubbly, airheaded Japanese girl from Sector V. He considered this a personal achievement to be honest, seeing as even the people in her sector, who had been decommissioned couldn't forget her. She was like a burst of life and energy and it was so hard to forget her.
Now that Chad remembered her, he realised that. He was a Senior when she came to Gallagher Elementary as a Freshman and she popped up everywhere all the time- in the hallway, in the gym, in the cafeteria, in the main office...She was even sat on the bleachers during the big football game with a foam finger on her hand and cheering so loud that Chad could hear her singled out from the rest.
She was loud, annoying, and was too damn cheerful and when he graduated High School he was secure in the knowledge that he wouldn't have to see Kuki Sanban again.
His first day at NYU, he found that he was disappointed that she wasn't here. She was a lot harder to forget the second time around.
The Spanish teenager had been harbouring a crush on the pretty Japanese girl for a really long time, ever since he was ten and first saw her in a purple bathing suit. He had fixated on her and wrongly so - he should have known that her heart was being held by someone else but when she turned thirteen and got decommissioned he had hoped, prayed that she would turn around and see him standing there, at the side-lines, just waiting for her to come to her senses.
Of course, that didn't happen and Sector V reunited once more as teenagers who just wanted to move on with their lives. Still, he didn't stop trying to win her heart.
He had thought that once he became the captain of the football team and she became head cheerleader in their Sophomore years that maybe, just maybe she would come to her senses and take him up on his offer for a date. But she never did, her eyes always looking in another direction, at someone else.
So he settled for her friendship, even though it drove him crazy seeing her with other guys. Her friendship was easy to get, it was even easier to keep, but once you lost it, then it was hard to get back. Better friendship than nothing at all.
There was definitely something special about Kuki Sanban, Patton knew of it and he wasn't about to let it go easily. They were in Junior year when they got together and Patton could honestly say that he'd never been in a relationship as honest as this one was. Kuki was so honest and forgiving and he knew that he was lucky that she even gave him the time of day.
They'd been firm friends since they were in Middle school and had started hanging out with each other more when he made the football team and she became a cheerleader - he felt bad, especially for Ace, but this was his chance with this girl and they didn't get more special than Kuki Sanban.
Their relationship lasted for seven great months before they broke up, but Patton was okay with that because it wasn't harsh, it wasn't messy, it wasn't cruel - no one had cheated, no one had lied, no one had gone behind the others back - the feeling that should have been there just wasn't. She had smiled sadly at him that day, stood on her tippy-toes and pressed a tender kiss to the corner of his mouth and he had itched to pull her closer, slide his fingers through her obsidian black tresses and feed her hot, passionate kisses (she was an amazing kisser), but he stopped himself, inhaled sharply and watched her walk away, her cheerleading skirt swaying, flitting against the back of her legs (that had been wrapped around his waist).
His biggest worry was that they'd stop being friends, but when he pulled into the parking lot in his jeep (she was so short that she had to literally launch herself into the seat) and saw her sat on the low wall with Abigail Lincoln she sent him this blinding forgiving smile and he knew - he wasn't letting her go.
That night they went to the movies and fell back into the rhythm of their friendship and threw popcorn everywhere, laughed at the serious scenes and then, on the way home, re-enacted their favourite scenes that had Patton laughing so hard that he had to stop driving for fear of killing them (well, her). Yeah, he'd miss her, she was probably one of the best girlfriends he'd ever had, but this with her, couldn't argue that it was terrible.
Since he was seven he'd held a crush on the (then) tall Japanese girl who danced, laughed and hugged him all the time. He'd made no secret of it and everyone in this damn town knew about it.
Well, except for her.
He'd waited for her, watched as Ace attempted to steal her heart, watched as Patton managed to get a hold of it (and the fact that there was a huge dent in the metal of his locker had nothing to do with it, nothing what-so-ever...) when they'd gotten together Wally had decided that these feelings he had for his best friend just had to go - so he dated Rachel McKenzie. If he couldn't have her in a relationship, her friendship would have to do.
It was a huge mistake - he knew that it was Kuki that had his heart and he hated it, hated how he gave it to her so easily and he knew that he should just walk away from her, forget about her, but he couldn't - he was pulled to her like a magnet, unable to leave and he definitely wouldn't be able to forget about her, he didn't even think he wanted to.
He realised, after watching her with Patton that there was no way he was good enough for her - he came from a poor background, his home was in an industrial estate surrounded by scaffolding and he was completely wrong for her, couldn't offer her what Patton could.
Then they broke up. He'd never been more happy and angry to hear about something - what exactly had Patton done in order for them to break up? He was fuming, thinking that Kuki was hurt and he had to find her, make sure that she was alright and then go and give Patton a piece of his fist - he needed to protect her.
When he saw them outside Geography classroom laughing with each other he was confused as hell - hadn't they broken up? Then Kuki looked at him with those big eyes shining with happiness and he knew that she was okay. He dropped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close for just a second before going to his class, thankful that she was okay.
It was senior year when she finally, finally saw him. It was his eighteenth birthday and they were sat in his backyard, drinking from glasses of Cola before she knelt next to his deck chair, took his drink away from him and then kissed him lightly on the lips before moving away, uncertain. His hand was cupping her jaw before he could process his movements and he was pulling her closer, closer, so much closer, kissing her the way he's wanted to for eleven years.
He didn't get it - he didn't get why this girl, why Kuki - gonna-get-out-of-Cleveland-ad-make-something-of-herself Sanban chose him - he was a nobody, a loser. One day he'd said this to her and he was taken aback by the sudden fury as she passionately told him that he wasn't all those things, that he was worthy of anything and everything that he wanted and he knew from that moment, as he kissed her fiercely and picked her up, letting her wrap her legs around his waist, that he would make her proud.
He had never seen Kuki as a member of his family - Nigel and Hoagie where like his brothers and Abigail was easily like his big sister, but he had never seen Kuki in that way - but now, when he looked at her, he saw nothing but his family - the family that he would have if he didn't royally screw this up.
Somehow, Wallabee Beatles had managed to get the girl and if you asked him how he honestly had no answer, but he loved her - he loved her unbelievable faith in him, loved her loyalty and her innocence, loved how she was the only one who saw this side of him, the side that would happily just hold her and stroke her hair as they dozed in each others arms. He loved that he had her and there was no way that he was letting that go.
Joey was smitten with his sister-in-law. She was always there to cheer him up and make his day, always there to help him with his cruddy homework, always there to listen. She loved how the second that she stepped through the front door with his brother that she just brightened up the room. He also loved her because of what she did for his big brother. Wally had never been the 'bring-home-your-girlfriend' type and the little escapades that he had with Rachel just didnt count, because he didn't even think she was worthy of being with Wally - she wasn't good enough for his brother, but Kuki was.
Wally was head-over-heels-know-I'm-gonna-marry-this-girl in love with her and had been since before they even started dating - the thing that made Kuki so special, and made Joey want to thank her over and over again, is that Joey could see in Kuki's face, whenever she so much as glanced in Wally's direction, the same heart-stopping love that had followed his brother around for years.
The belonged together; she stopped his violent tendencies and he could easily handle her crazy, insane amount of happiness, no matter how much he complained about them. They didn't love each other in spite of their flaws, but because of them. They were meant for each other and while Joey hated thinking something so incredibly sappy, he couldn't deny the truthfullness that was clear as day to see.
It goes without saying that Jack Beatles loved his Mom. Anyone with eyes colud see that the blonde-haired boy doted on his mother, followed her everywhere, hoping for praise and attention - which he alway, always recieved from her. She had this amazing skill of making his fears go away, soothing him with a kiss to his temple and an arm around his shoulders and he knew that with his Mom he was safe.
Even as he grew older the same belief he held as a child that his Mom could fix anything never went away - he woke up most mornings to her laugh in the kitchen, which just made the whole day seem so much better and the last thing he heard before he went to sleep was his Mom chatting quietly to his Dad in the room next door and when he'd been a toddler, it had still been her voice, singing to him, lulling him to sleep.
His Mom could do anything and he was so grateful that Kuki and Wally where his parents - they were accepting of everything that he wanted to do. When he was five, he wanted to be an fireman (he still does) and instead of trying to talk him out of it, as it was a dangerous job, his Mom stood by him 100%.
His faith in his Mom was unshakeable - as a teenager he would actually listen to his Mom, finish his chores, do his homework and all she had to do was ask - for most of his life, he was fully convinced that his Mom was magic.
Not to say that they didnt argue, because when his Mom was mad, his Mom was mad - even when she was arguing with Dad she was all Hell fire and evil glinty eye-ness, but she was his Mom and to him, she could do no wrong.
A/N: Okay, this is something that I got the idea for awhile ago and only just got around to doing it. Each guy in Kuki's life represents something:
Kani - Proud, Nigel - Love, Kai - Protectiveness, Hoagie - Family, Chad - Forget/Memory, Ace - Friendship, Patton - Relationship, Wally - A bit of everything (I wanted him to tie them all together), Joey - Thanks, Jack - Faith.
I'm sorry for those reading if the Patton/Kuki relationship bothers you, I just really love them together.
I hope you enjoy reading this guys :D Oh, I'm sorry if it's a bit repetative, I didn't write it all in once, I kept coming back to it over a week so it may seem a bit...disjointed. :)