There were a lot of things Mukuro Rokudo was expecting as he traversed through a small town, but finding a tiny kid looking as if he was homeless was not one of them. His heterochromatic eyes blinked as they watched the child stumble past hordes of people, only to be pushed away or avoided like the plague. Teal hair hung down into the kid's face, framing the pale cheeks, and Mukuro just couldn't be sure if he were looking at a girl or a boy.
For once, the purple-haired boy was glad he wasn't accompanied by the two annoying idiots who insisted on following him everywhere; he was curious about the kid's state of living and he was sure the others would make things unnecessarily difficult.
Mukuro remained where he was standing, watching as the kid stumbled and fell. He felt a pang of annoyance rip through him when people ignored him, passing him by like he were a common pest.
That's so wrong. If there was one thing Mukuro wouldn't stand for, it was mistreatment of little kids – not after the pain he had been put through as a child.
Putting one foot in front of the other, the boy quickly made his way over to the fallen child, aware of the looks of disgust and horror others shot at him. He wouldn't acknowledge such petty – not when they were the ones who were disgusting, after all.
Mukuro could see ocean-green eyes looking up at him as he knelt beside the kid, reaching out with a slow hand. He caught the flinch he was rewarded with, the flashing of fear in the younger's eyes.
"Are you alright, little one?" Mukuro was calm as he spoke, pushing hair out of the smaller person's eyes. "Are you hurt?"
The kid blinked before they nodded, pointing to their knee. The child didn't speak, and Mukuro was pretty sure he knew why; if this kid had been through what he had...
Glancing down at the leg that was half-hidden beneath the tiny body, Mukuro could see the scrape that was steadily bleeding. Putting his hands on the smaller body, he helped the kid to their feet, letting them rest against his side.
"Do you have a home?" Mukuro's voice was as gentle as ever, his eyes warm as he smiled. He tilted his head as the younger nodded, trying to convey he needed more than an affirmation to help. "Where do you live?"
A tiny hand raised and pointed behind Mukuro. Wide teal eyes stared at the older boy with distrust, confusion shining bright. "..."
Mukuro sighed before he spoke again, picking the other up into a careful hold. "I'll need more than just a gesture, little one. Who do you live with?"
"..." the voice that responded was small, trembling. It was then the purple-haired boy realised he was doing with a male. "...M-my grandmother..."
Mukuro nodded as he got back to his feet, heading in the direction he had been pointed in. "You don't live with your parents?"
"..." This time, the response was in a whisper as a single tear slipped down a pale cheek. "...They didn't want me..."
Mukuro nodded again, knowing sometimes it was better to just not say anything. He understand how the boy must have felt, having no parents himself. "Little one, do you have a name?"
"Fran. Okay. Are we almost at your grandmother's house?"
The boy – Fran – was silent for the rest of the way, speaking up only to guide the older boy to his home. He kept his face hidden in the strong chest, feeling the accusing glares aimed at him like they were fire. He didn't see the way the other glared back at them almost as if he were daring them to say something.
By the time Fran found himself being led through the front garden to his home, he realised he didn't know the other's name. Lifting his head, the boy gathered all the strength he had to speak. "...W-what's your... name, mister...?"
It was silent between them once again, broken only by the sound of Mukuro's knocking at the front door. Fran frowned as he heard his grandmother's worried voice, knowing he must have had her concerned for being late for dinner.
"Fran, dear, where have you been?" Looking up, teal eyes watched as the old lady reached out to take him. He was passed effortlessly between them and, once he was back in familiar arms, he wrapped his own around his grandmother's neck much like a frightened child. "You had me scared something had happened!"
Mukuro watched as Fran mumbled something back to the grey-haired woman before he spoke. "He fell over and scraped his knee. I didn't have anything to clean it up so you might want to look at it before it gets an infection."
The woman turned kind eyes to him as she replied and, in that instant, Mukuro became enlightened to the fact that he was dealing with a most-likely senile woman who probably wasn't fit to take care of a child – that would explain the rags Fran wore, the way his hair was unkempt and he looked as if he hadn't had a bath in a long while.
"Thank you very much dear," the woman said, her tone grateful as she stepped away from the doorway to allow the boy entrance. "I don't know what I would have done had you not brought him home. Please, join us for dinner."
Mukuro knew he probably should have turned the invitation down, but it was too appealing considering he hadn't had a decent meal in quite a while. "If that will be no problem for you."
"Of course not, dear. Please, come in!"
Mukuro stepped into the small house, looking around him. He was standing in the entrance hall, the walls bare. Further ahead lead to what he assumed would either be the living area or the kitchen. Following the woman, he found he was standing in the dining room if the small table pushed into the corner was anything to go by.
"Make yourself at home, young man." The woman smiled as she gestured to the small eating area. "I will just take Fran into the bathroom and look at his knee. Dinner won't be long."
Mukuro smiled back politely as he took a seat at the circular dining table, noticing there were only two seats; was it really as he assumed and there was no one else in their lives?
The purple-haired boy felt he hadn't waited too long before the old woman walked back into the dining room, her hand entwined with her grandson's. The scrape had been cleaned up but there was nothing protecting the wound, though Fran didn't seem too bothered as he smiled shyly at his rescuer.
"T-thank you... sir..." Fran's voice was barely audible as he slowly made his way towards the table, pulling the unoccupied chair beside Mukuro.
Mukuro was curious as to the boy's actions; at first the younger had been afraid of him, but now he was acting like they were friends – did Fran have friends? Or was he lonely enough to call someone who showed him kindness one?
Throughout dinner, Fran had been quiet, speaking only when addressed, leaving the two older people to converse. Fran's grandmother was a lovely woman but, as Mukuro had come to learn, she really was going senile, asking the same things over and over again, forgetting she had turned the stove-top kettle on and even forgetting to turn said stove off. She did love her grandchild, but Mukuro worried she wouldn't be able to take proper care of the boy.
Mukuro wanted to ask if he could take the boy off her hands but he didn't want to pull them apart if they were all the other had. However, he found he didn't have to ask as Fran had made the decision himself.
Standing up, Mukuro excused himself from the table, his gentle smile crossing his face as he thanked the woman for her time. "That was a wonderful meal, ma'am. I should really be going now."
Rokudo turned around to head to the front door, but when a weight unexpectedly attached itself to his leg, he was surprised to find Fran clinging to him, a frown on his face as he looked anywhere but at the older boy.
"What is it, little one?" Mukuro gently pried the tiny arms from his person before he knelt to look the boy in the eyes.
Fran didn't speak; he only turned frightened teal eyes to look into heterochromatic ones as he raised his arms upwards, silently asking to be held. When Mukuro complied with his wishes, he snuggled in against the warm chest, the foreign feeling of being safe passing over him.
Running a hand through ocean-green hair, Mukuro smiled as he turned to address the boy's grandmother. "I am sorry to ask this of you, but may I take him with me?"
The old woman returned the smile sadly as she nodded, her eyes soft. "...I... I do my best for him, but I understand it is not enough... I love him very much, so please take good care of him, like how I am unable to."
"I'll look after him very well, ma'am," Mukuro reassured as he rubbed the boy's back. "Fran, do you have anything you want to bring with us?" After the boy shook his head, Rokudo bid his farewells to the woman, letting Fran hug her goodbye.
The purple-haired boy understood it would be a difficult thing to raise a child, but having seen the way he was treated by the villagers, there was no way he could leave him behind – not when their history was so similar.