The soft pit-patter of the rain hitting the window woke the newest edition to the 7th Heaven home and bar. He stirred for a moment underneath the warm covers of the bed then stilled for a moment before he realized that he was fully awake and another day had passed with the warm sun clouded over with rain and darkness. His deep blue eyes groggily blinked away the blurred vision before moving to sit up. For a moment he began to panic when he realized he wasn't sleeping within the church and his satchel with the few items he owned wasn't in sight. Then another second passed as the day before's events rang clear through his memories. A little girl and boy. I saved them? He pondered a moment before he pushed himself up into a sitting position and took in the room. That's right. They brought me here. A man and that little girl. Cloud and-
His azure eyes darted to the door knob at the sound of a pair of light feet approaching the room then a dark haired little girl peered into the room with a worried look. Marlene. A smile graced his unusually stoic features when he recognized the little girl. She gave him a name. She gave him importance. Her soft hazel eyes brightened up at the sight of the awake guest then carefully stepped into the room and shut the door with an equal amount of care, before hurrying towards his side. She smiled up at him as her fingers sank into the bare mattress then tilted her head waiting for a reply.
"Good morning." He said as he reached out an lightly ruffled the young girl's hazelnut colored hair. She had undone her long braid the night before and now had her dark locks cascading down her shoulders and back giving her a very innocent look. A bright smile crossed her features as she looked up at him then looked back at the door.
"Do you wanna come downstairs with me? Cloud and Tifa are still asleep though so we'll have to be quiet." Marlene whispered then motioned to the hallway as Keenan followed her gaze then nodded in agreement. He didn't get a very good look at the residence and he was curious to see what else was in the home. Fingers tightening he gripped the mattress as he slid himself off and finally released his hold when bare feet hit the cold wooden floors. A twinge of a smirk came upon his features when he realized that he wasn't quite so shaky as before that his knees didn't threaten to buckle under the briefest amount of weight. So I really am cured. He thought momentarily before his thoughts were interrupted by the feel of Marlene's hand wrapping around his and gently tugging him towards the door. Smiling kindly at her he nodded in agreement then silently followed her through the hall, down the steps and into the first level of the home…or rather bar.
Keenan looked around curiously. He could barely recall his entrance through the bar what little memory he did have was a hazy blur. Simplicity at its best. Plain white tiles covered the floor, wooden tables surrounded by metal chairs decorated the entire room. At the back of said establishment was the bar/counter lined with matching chairs as the far wall contained various drinking glasses from wine to beer. All in all a very well decorated room. Marlene walked behind the counter and out of Keenan's sight as he moved to sit at one of the bar stools.
A moment later the top of her dark hair appeared again as two small pale hands lifted up two drinking glasses before setting them on the counter. A small sigh escaped from the young man as he watched the little girl dash to the small refrigerator bringing out a carton of orange juice. He envied her. He yearned to be able to do that simple little task. To be able to have a home to go to sleep in, to go down stairs and drink orange juice with family and friends. Tiny insignificant things that people took for granted everyday. He knew the eight year old didn't see the privileged life she had and perhaps it was for the best. I'd never wish my life on anyone, nevertheless her.
"Are you feeling better?" Marlene asked quietly as she walked out from behind the counter then clambered onto the barstool beside Keenan. He turned himself around to fully face the brunette as she poured the juice then reached out to gently push back the dark strands that threatened to fall over her shoulders and into the drinks.
"Yeah, I am." He replied back as she smiled then pushed the drink in his direction before glancing in the direction of the stairwell. "All thanks to you, Marlene. I owe you my life."
Her hazel eyes snapped back to Keenan as he took a sip from the sweet drink relishing in the cool, brightly colored liquid sliding down his throat. H couldn't remember the last time he had a treat like that for breakfast. Ages ago it seemed. A warm smile crossed his lips as he placed the glass down to give his full attention to the little girl who seemed to be quite entertained at the sight of the newest edition to the 7th Heaven family.
"So what do you usually do around here?" He asked curious to know all about the small girl before him. He felt compelled to know more about her. She saved his life. He felt it was only right that he help her along in hers. He wasn't sure how he could help her, but he'd certainly try to find a way.
"Well, usually Tifa gets up early to cook breakfast for us and then Denzel and I go to school. Cloud is gone most of the day. He has a delivery business so he's usually not here, but I know he tries to come back as often as he can." Marlene explained as her fingers lightly traced the grain of the wooden counter top while her mind wandered onto thoughts of the blond swordsman. He's still gone a lot. She thought to herself, but a tiny nagging feeling brought her back to the present. At least he's trying and he stays a lot longer than before.
"How about I cook breakfast today?" Keenan said with a wink to the girl as she blinked at him in surprise then momentarily bit her lower lip as she thought about it.
"Tifa said we were just going to have some cereal since there isn't a lot of food in the pantry. We're supposed to go grocery shopping today." Marlene sighed wishing she didn't have to eat the bland cereal Tifa always bought. It might be healthy for the kids but it lacked in flavor and packaging finesse. Keenan caught on to the disgusted look on the eight year old's face then began to form a plan of action.
"Well, maybe we can whip up something with what you've got." He said with a shrug as he got down from the chair silently willing Marlene to agree with him. However the little girl looked up at him skeptically as she recalled what was left in the refrigerator and pantry, which wasn't much.
"We only have leftovers from the day before." She admitted as her cheeks tinged red from the embarrassment of not having enough food for her guest, but Keenan merely waved it off. He spun around for a moment then turned to Marlene with an upward quirk of his lip then held out his hand to her as if to help the girl down from the stool.
"I've been told I'm pretty good at working with leftovers. Give me a chance, if all goes wrong then I'll take the blame. How does that sound?" He said again as Marlene glanced at the outstretched hand then up to Keenan's sky blue mako eyes briefly. Her cheeks colored again when she realized that she had been staring at him for quite a bit.
"Okay. Lets give it a try." She agreed before placing her hand in his as he smiled again at her while lightly squeezing her tiny hand.
Whenever there'd be guests at the 7th Heaven bar, Tifa would make a point of getting up extra early to tidy up and get a head-start on the morning. However, in this case she accidentally overslept. She had spent half the night sitting beside Cloud as they worked over the numbers from Cloud's delivery service and part of her knew that Cloud didn't stay up just to calculate the Gil he earned. It was more because he still didn't trust the man they had brought home. Which in Tifa's eyes seemed ridiculous because he shouldn't have brought the young man home if he didn't trust him. But Cloud was Cloud and he'd never change when it came to protecting his friends…and family.
So when the loud clang of pots hitting the tiled floors below it sent Tifa into a panic. Her eyes flashed open at the sound of the crash then she leapt out of bed and raced out of the room just in time to see Cloud's blond spikes dash ahead of her to investigate the noise. By the time both adults reached the bottom of the stairwell laughter could be heard echoing from behind the bar and into the kitchen. Tifa's dark hazel ruby eyes met Cloud's azure ones confusedly then both pressed forward into the kitchen to see what the ruckus was. It was there they found Marlene and Keenan trying to pick up the jumble of pots and pans they accidentally knocked off the counter tops.
"Sorry about that. I'll pay for whatever I broke." Keenan said with a shy smile as Marlene giggled at the two mystified adults who stood at the doorway. Tifa merely sighed in relief while Cloud looked over the two younger people on the floor with an amused look. Keenan and Marlene both had specks of white flour on their clothes and hair but miraculously the rest of the kitchen was still relatively clean.
"I thought I'd make breakfast. You've done me a great service yesterday, its only fair that I start to repay the favor." Keenan said as he stood up and placed the two cooking pots on the countertop before turning back around to take a few of the pans out of Marlene's arms lest she drop them again. Tifa smiled at the two then shook her head at the explanation.
"That's very sweet of you, Angeal-" Tifa said as Marlene frowned then shook her head at the woman. The eight year old moved to stand beside the dark haired twenty year old then took his hand in hers.
"His name is Keenan now." Marlene said firmly as Keenan smiled down on the little girl then lightly ruffled her long hair once more.
"Marlene said I should have a real name instead of using my father's. She's the one that thought up the idea and the name." Keenan explained as Marlene proudly nodded earning a soft smile from Cloud and Tifa, both a bit glad and relieved to see that Marlene had gotten close to the stranger. She was always a good judge of character, especially for someone her age and if she approved of someone then they usually were trust worthy. That was all Cloud needed to see to be more at ease with having Keenan around.
"That was very nice of you, Marlene." Tifa said warmly as Marlene smiled at her then Cloud.
"I'm sorry we woke you up." Marlene said shyly. Now it was Keenan's turn to flush as he realized why the adults came down, he reached up and nervously scratched his head while shifting from one foot to another.
"I'm sorry too. We were trying to be quiet, but things slipped and got a bit out of hand." Keenan apologized as Cloud shook his head at the young man then glanced around the spotless kitchen. He couldn't believe how clean everything was with all the noise and the two cooks being speckled in white dust.
"Its alright. We overslept anyways." Cloud argued then turned to head back upstairs. "I'm gonna change. I'll be down a sec."
"Yeah, we'll be down in a little bit." Tifa agreed as she followed Cloud out of the kitchen leaving the two to finish up whatever they were trying to cook. Tifa was genuinely happy to see that the two got along well. Even more so that she didn't have to cook, not that she minded, but it was nice to have a small break and it seemed like Keenan actually enjoyed cooking. A sigh of relief escaped from her lips as she shut her bedroom door while listening to the sounds of laughter coming from the first level of the home. She hoped Keenan was as good as he seemed, because she could get used to hearing the sound of laughter in the 7th Heaven home…