Author: Jubilee (calavasas )
Characters/Pairings: In this chapter: America, Japan, Canada, Greece, England, France, Russia, N. Italy, S. Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Prussia, China, S. Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, fem!America, fem!China, and an OC to fill in for Yao's fictional father.
Warnings/Notes: AU - High school. A racial slur is used and this is also a controversial chapter, depending on how you look at it.
Summary: Alfred didn't really know what he wanted to do with his life. All he did know was that he wanted to do something heroic, to be a hero. Luckily for him, he was about to get that chance in the form of a small Japanese teenage boy.
"Ugh…" Alfred complained. "I hate the fricken winter…"
"It's really not that bad," Matthew told him.
"Yeah but you like cold places!"
"Stop whining Alfred," Arthur said. "Whining won't help you any."
"And this is coming from the guy who finds something to complain about twenty-four seven…"
"I beg your pardon? I do not complain!"
"Oh, I beg to differ," Francis said with a smirk. "There always seems to be something that is on your nerves. Really, it's been a while since I have seen you be happy for an entire day."
"Nobody was talking to you frog."
It had been about a week since the students returned to school. Alfred and his friends were walking to the front of the school from being dropped off at the front steps near the sidewalk. For being a public school, it was constructed very nicely, it's most prominent feature being a giant metal globe in the front of the school, a little ways before the students climbed the steps to the main building.
"I'm so glad that this school doesn't require uniforms," Elizaveta said. "Otherwise I would be freezing in a skirt and knee-high socks…"
"Oh, but then you'd be more comfortable walking around ~"
"Francis, I am this close to slugging you with my backpack. Don't think I'm unaware of the real reason why you think I should wear a skirt."
"Why Elizaveta, I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Don't act innocent! You tend to have a habit of trying to look under girls' skirts you damn pervert!"
"Oh but they look so good on you."
"Hey now Francis," Gilbert began. "You're my buddy and everything, but don't try hitting on my girl!"
"What?" By now the Hungarian beauty was very annoyed. "Gilbert, for the last time, I am in no way your girl!"
"Really Gilbert," Roderich said shaking his head. "She's already involved with somebody so why you still believe she has feelings for you is beyond me."
"Hey hey, don't think just because you and Liz hooked up that she can't have feelings for somebody else! Gosh you're so conceited, thinking you're better than me."
"I never said that, although sometimes it's difficult not to feel that way."
"See? What did I tell you? Stuck up," he chimed.
"Leave Roderich alone Gilbert! Or do you want me to shove a pencil in an uncomfortable place in your body?" She began to walk away from him, Roderich following her.
"Oh you'll see," said Gilbert. "Someday, she's gonna dump that pansy and realize that I'm the guy for her." He crossed his arms and smirked.
"She didn't like you in third grade so why would she like you now in 11th grade?" Ludwig asked. "You really need to leave her alone. I can't remember how many times she's given you black eyes and broken limbs."
"That's her way of hiding her feelings. You see Ludwig, you'll understand these things when you're older, like me."
"Gilbert, I'm barely a year younger than you are."
"Then why are we in the same grade?"
"Because you were being a brat and didn't want to go to school before I did since you were afraid. You needed me there with you for emotional support. Technically you're supposed to be in twelfth grade but…"
"Okay okay! Geez…"
Feliciano laughed. "You're so funny Gilbert! Aww, but don't worry. My big bro felt the same! He was scared about going to school before me in this country, so my parents put us in the same grade!"
"Stop telling everybody damn it!" It wasn't like everybody didn't already know. Most of them found this out in elementary. "You have such a big mouth!" Lovino pulled on the long strand of curly hair on his younger brother's head.
"N-no! Lovi d-don't do that!" A blush grew on his face, and even though his brother knew the reason, he didn't stop.
"Every time you humiliate me, I'm going to hurt you like this!"
"Leave Feliciano alone. You humiliate yourself anyway…"
"What was that potato bastard?"
"My, everyone is so lively in the morning," Ivan said with a smile. "It's nice being around such lively people ~"
"But they argue a lot too…" Yao commented. He noticed that Kiku had walked to the front of the group before the others, even before Elizaveta and Roderich, and had disappeared inside the building. "I hope Kiku is alright. He hasn't spoken to me much after we started the second semester…and he usually tells me everything…" Yao said to himself.
It was lunch again and it was same old same old, except by the second week, Aksel decided to join his cousins along with Tino and Berwald. Manny went to go sit with his own relatives. Antonio followed him much to Manny's dismay and the Mexican boy would constantly curse at his cousin, telling him to get lost and leave him alone. Lovino didn't want to be left alone without Antonio, so he followed the Spaniard and joined him, sitting in between him and his cousin, that way there would be less fighting between the two. Gilbert decided to join Roderich, Elizaveta, and Vash to prove to his brother that he could get any girl he wanted, even a tomboy like the Hungarian, because like he had said, "What girl doesn't want a guy like me?"
"Well guys," Alfred said. "Looks like it's back down to just the eight of us."
"Oh, it's kinda lonely without big brother and Antonio…" Feliciano said sadly.
"I'm kind of glad your brother is gone, that way he isn't always glaring at me for no reason…"
"I've told Lovi before not to be mean to you Ludwig, but he won't listen! Oh, I wish I knew why he hates you so much…"
"I wish I knew too, because that way at least I'll know if I did something to offend him."
Heracles passed by Alfred's table with his tray of food and the blonde was able to stop him with, "Hey Heracles!"
"Oh, hello Alfred."
"Kiku already left the cafeteria."
"Do you know where he goes during lunch?"
"He used to go to the library, but I think now he goes to the baseball field and eats on one of the benches."
"Oh, really? Why is he eating all the way over there?"
"I wish I knew." There was a pause as Alfred stared at the Grecian. Not changing his expression at all, he asked, "Do you want me to go talk to him again?"
"Wow you're psychic or something!"
Arthur groaned in disbelief and pinched his temple. Good Lord he is so dense.
"I take that as a yes?"
"Oh pleeeease Heracles?"
"Well, what do you want me to say?"
"Convince him to come to the cafeteria! I already kinda have a plan, but he needs to be here first. Will you do that for me please?"
"I guess so. Okay, I'll see what I can do."
"Thanks Heracles! You really are the best!"
The Grecian walked to his table and said to his tablemates, "I have to run an errand."
"The Kiku thing again?" asked Neeraja.
"Yup. I'll be back. Watch my food please." He only took his sandwich and headed out the door.
"What's going on?" asked Logan.
"Oh, it's Alfred being himself again."
"Hmm, well I don't know what that means, but alright."
"We'll explain it to you later."
Heracles walked across the baseball field. It was very close to the football field, but he knew better than to try and go that way by himself with all those jocks there. It wasn't that he was afraid, but Alfred had told all of his friends to avoid those kinds of people at all times possible. Just to make the paranoid American happy, he agreed and avoided going in that direction during lunch.
Luckily he found Kiku sitting by himself, eating a sandwich, just staring at the baseball diamond.
Kiku's head turned to the side instantly. "Heracles-san! What are you doing here?"
"I just wanted to talk. May I sit down?"
"Oh…y-yes, if you want…"
Kiku was getting nervous. He was rarely left alone with the Grecian but when he was, he chose his words carefully so as not to sound like an idiot or offend in any possible way.
"The grass is nice out here," Heracles said to break the silence.
"Yes, it is. It is taken care of very well."
"Yup. Kiku, can I ask you a question?"
"Why do you eat outside by yourself here? I mean, it's a bit dangerous since the baseball field is just across from the football field."
"Uhm…well, I seem to be at peace here, so this is where I eat my lunch."
"Oh, I see. Why don't you try coming to the cafeteria? There are a few empty tables left inside."
"I think it would be strange for me to be sitting by myself in an area where everyone is sitting with someone. I would be the center of attention and I'd rather not have that…"
"Well, maybe somebody will invite you to sit with them, just like we invited Logan. Sorry that there isn't a space for another person at our table, because you'd be more than welcome sitting with us."
"Oh…thank you Heracles-san. That is very kind."
"And, all of our classmates eat lunch in the cafeteria, so we get to talk to each other a lot. I think this will be good for you since you'll be able to interact with everyone."
"Well, alright, but, the cafeteria would be more complete with you in it you know. Yao gets worried about you because you don't talk to him much."
"Yes well, he is a cousin not a sibling…"
"But he sees you as his little brother. I think it would take a lot of stress off his shoulders if you started eating in the cafeteria."
Kiku looked at his half-bitten sandwich. "I'm not…so certain…about joining you and the rest of my classmates there…"
Heracles shrugged. "Well, it's up to you really. I just don't want you to be out here all the time by yourself. One day the jocks are going to notice you sitting out here all alone. Then what will you do?" He got up. "Hopefully that never happens though. Well, I'll see you later in class Kiku." He waved and then walked away, eating his sandwich as he did so.
Kiku hesitantly took a bite of his own sandwich and contemplated what Heracles said. It is true that if the athletes catch me here by myself…I could be in big trouble. But…there are also a few people in the cafeteria who aren't very fond of me…oh…what to do…
Alfred noticed when Heracles returned to the cafeteria. He walked over to his table and asked, "So how did it go?"
"He's still being stubborn and prefers to be by himself."
"Damn it what is with him?! Is he really that content with being lonely? Hell, I sure wouldn't be!"
"Well, just be a bit more patient. You should-"
"If you mention 'time' I'm going to scream…"
Heracles gave a chuckle. "You're a funny one Alfred."
The blonde walked back to his table and sat down sighing. Matthew looked at him. "Don't worry, Kiku will come around soon."
"Gee, I hope so."
"Oh, and don't forget, we have baseball practice today."
"Oh shoot I totally forgot!" In an instant Alfred's cheerful demeanor returned. "Baseball! Man, I haven't been able to play it over Christmas break. I hope I didn't get rusty! Ha!"
Feliciano laughed. "I don't think you've gotten rusty Alfred. Hey! Do you want to do some warm-ups with me today afterschool?"
"Oh good! Because…I think Lovi is going to be mean to me and throw the ball really hard because of what I said in the morning…"
"Is your brother mean to you all the time?"
"No, he's not mean. He's actually really nice to me sometimes! Uhm…well, that's when nobody else is around…other times he's protective of me, especially when I'm around Ludwig…"
"Wow, I wonder what it feels like to have an older brother."
"Well don't wonder," Ludwig said. "Sometimes having an older sibling is a bother…"
"Mm that depends on who your older sibling is," Ivan said in return. "Katyusha is really nice to me! She's a great older sister and she took care of Natalia and I when my parents would go out somewhere. I love her a lot!"
"Yeah that's easy for you to say Ivan," Arthur retorted. "You have sisters, so of course they're nicer. You all have no idea what it's like being a younger brother until you've had three older ones pick on you until the day they leave for college…"
"But Arthur, everybody picks on you whether they're family or not."
"Apparently you don't know when somebody is talking to you or not Francis. And nobody picks on me as bad as my brothers did!"
"It's because we tease you and taunt you, not actually bully you."
"Still, it's quite irritating, so I would appreciate it if you guys didn't do that anymore please."
"Oh but Arthur, that's how we show our love for you!"
"Not you. You try to show it in other ways you sexual deviant!"
Francis laughed. "You know you like it." He screamed and looked down at his arm, realizing a spork had been jabbed in there. "Arthur!"
"If you don't keep your hands off of me, these are going to be in much worse places on your body."
The French student glared at him. "You really need to calm that temper. Oh now look what you did. I started bleeding! And it's seeping through my new sweater too!"
"Well don't just stand there!" shrieked Matthew. "Hurry and go to the nurse! Oh, here, I'll go with you!"
"Thank you Matthew. At least I know there are still good people in the world."
Arthur ignored the last comment that was clearly directed at him. Matthew took Francis to the nurse and that's when Alfred said, "You know, you should try and be nicer to Francis. He's really not that bad."
"Out of all of you here, I have known Francis the longest so you have no idea what you're talking about."
"Stop complaining," Yao told him. "Don't think you're the only one that is a victim to his perversion. All of us have been molested by him in some way at a certain point."
"Yes but not as much as I have!"
"You should choose your words carefully. Angelique has gotten her unfair share of perverted antics from Francis."
"Yeah well, he isn't going to get anywhere near my pants! That is ALL he wants from everybody! Well I'm not going to just let him have what he wants. No, never. God it's scary that neither females nor males are safe from his shenanigans…"
Alfred shook his head and continued to eat his food. He knew that Arthur didn't really hate Francis as much as he said he did, but he wasn't about to be the next person to be sent to the nurse because he was assaulted with a spork.
The bell rang and it was finally time for the students to go home, at least the ones who didn't have sports afterschool or any other extracurricular activities like Decathlon or Speech and Debate.
"Baseball!" Alfred shouted as he walked to his locker. "Oh I can't wait to start practicing again!" He opened his locker and got out his duffle bag.
Matthew smiled. "You really love this sport don't you?" He had a duffle bag too. Besides hockey, this was the only other sport the twins both liked playing together.
"Yeah, aside from football, baseball is the best sport ever invented!"
"I still think hockey is more enjoyable though."
"Hey, whatever floats your boat. Hockey you can really only play in the winter, but baseball you can play whenever!"
Matthew rolled his eyes. "Well, let's get going. We don't watch Coach Cruz to get angry with us on our first day back!"
"Ha, yeah. Coach can be scary sometimes if you're late…"
"Not to mention the rest of the team."
The brothers were heading down the hallway and that's when Alfred noticed Kiku still at his locker. He was trying to put some papers in a folder. "Hey, I'll catch up with you right now Matt. I gotta do something first."
"Oh but Alfred!"
"I'll be there right now!"
"Fine…don't take too long," Matthew said as he began to walk away.
The American was going to attempt to talk to Kiku now that he had him alone. Well, at least he thought he was alone until he heard familiar voices coming from around the corner of the hallway, voices that Alfred wasn't too fond of. "Gosh I don't have time for him right now…" He hid behind another corner so Damian and his lackeys wouldn't find him and start annoying him.
"Well well, what do we have here boys?"
Kiku's breath caught in his throat. He ignored him and continued to shuffle through the papers in his folder, trying to balance his textbooks all the while. It was a horrible coincidence that by this time, the hallways were empty.
Damian closed the locker and leaned an arm against it. "So, you think you're too superior to talk to us or what?"
Kiku didn't say anything and stood quiet, still shuffling through his papers.
"Hey, I'm talking to you, you fucking Jap."
Alfred hadn't heard that word in a long time. In fact, he hadn't heard any racial slurs in a while. Not that he liked hearing him. He usually only heard them in movies because in the area where he lived, it was usually pretty tame. People said foul words sometimes, but not like those.
"Please…" Kiku began trying to show some form of backbone. "Do not use that word. It is very hurtful."
"And it's hurtful when you try talking to somebody and they don't answer back. What, you think that because you're Asian and you're smart that you're better than me?"
"I never said anything like that. Refrain from putting words into my mouth."
"My fist is going to be in your mouth in a minute if you don't stop talking back."
Kiku decided that now would be a good time to walk away, but unfortunately, there were three of them, and only one of him. Oh no…
Damian put his hand on the smaller boy's head. He laughed. "Damn! You're so short! Hey, and you're skinny too, like a girl. You sure you're a guy?"
Kiku swatted his hand away. "Do not touch me. Please keep your hands to yourself. I am tired of you disrespecting me and other people."
"And what are you going to do about it? Look at you! You're so frail! I mean it's one thing if I was talking to your brother, since he probably knows kung-fu or something, but you? You can't do anything." He flicked him on his forehead and made the small boy flinch. Damian then slapped the books and folder out of his hands, making the loose pages scatter around on the floor.
"Tch. Hard to believe that somebody like you actually took on Jones in middle school. Don't think I haven't heard the stories. I'm just not seeing it since when I try to kick his ass, he puts up a fight. That douche. But you? All I have to do is give you one or two punches, and you're down! Stick to your paper folding or whatever it is your people do."
He began to walk away, his friends behind him. Alfred was glad they walked in another direction and not towards his. He looked around the corner to see the aftermath. He thanked the Heavens they didn't beat up Kiku, at least not this time.
Kiku rubbed his forehead and crouched down to organize the scattered papers. Alfred felt bad for him and decided to help. He began walking his way when he heard a small sob. He stopped and looked. Is he…crying?
Sure enough, he was. Not loudly like Alfred used to do when he was little, yelling as if somebody was trying to kill him when all that happened was a classmate wouldn't give him the red crayon.
He walked up to him and put his duffle bag aside, crouching down in front of Kiku. He began to help him pick up the scattered papers. Kiku looked up at him, tears still trailing his cheeks. He watched Alfred gather the loose sheets. He made them into a neat stack and then gave them to Kiku. "Here…"
For a few moments Kiku didn't say anything. He looked straight at him, straight into his eyes.
"…uhm…thank you…" He took the papers and put them in his folder. He wiped his face with his sleeve.
"You're welcome." There was a pause. "I saw what happened."
"…you did…" It was more like a statement than a question.
"Yeah. Uh…" He didn't know what to say. "Look, don't listen to them. They don't know what they're talking about okay?"
"Yes, they do. They stated the facts…not opinions…"
"They're not…well…you were…uh…"
"I'm sorry that I didn't intervene and stop them from bullying you. I just didn't do it because I didn't want you to think I'm more annoying and nosy than you already do. But believe me, if it would have gotten worse, I wouldn't hesitate to help you."
"Oh…I…I see…" Kiku gathered his things and stood up, Alfred doing the same.
He looked up at him. This was the first time he really noticed Alfred was significantly taller than he, the small boy barely reaching his chest.
"You did not do anything."
"No, I'm sorry about…what had happened in eighth grade."
"Look…I was stupid. I didn't know that the club leaders were behind everything. I regret ever hurting you. I…what I did was out of line…and I still feel really bad about it. But you…you were being so impulsive…and I didn't know how to defend myself any other way. Kiku, I'm really sorry."
The Japanese student put some hair behind his ear. "Uhm…well…thank you Jones-san, for apologizing…"
"There's no need to thank. I should've done it a long time ago. So…I'm really sorry for everything that I did to you on that day. I hope that…we can establish peace between us now?"
"A-And I hope you accept my apology. I really would…like to start over…"
Kiku looked at the floor and then back up at Alfred. "I…I accept your apology. And…I am sorry as well. I was foolish to think that your club and the clubs of your friends would try something like that, especially in middle school. So…I sincerely apologize for what I had done. I hope that in return…you accept mine as well…"
Alfred smiled. "Of course I do. Can we…start over now?"
"Uhm…I suppose so. Yes…I-I think…uhm…I would like that very much…"
"Okay." He held out a hand. "Hey there! My name is Alfred! Sorry about before, but I really would like it if we could become friends!"
"Uhm…h-hello…" He took his hand. "I'm sorry about before as well. My name is Honda Kiku, and I think…that we can probably have a stable friendship." They shook hands.
"I think so too! Hey, now that we've made up, do you want to hang out?"
"Yeah! Except, not after school today since I have my first baseball practice of the second semester. But why don't you sit with me during lunch?"
Alfred laughed. "Well where else? Feli is going to be SO psyched when he hears that we're friends now! You know, he worries about you a lot. So does Yao."
"Yes, I have heard."
"Well, whaddya say? Wanna join us for lunch tomorrow?"
"I…I'm not sure…"
"Oh. Okay then. Well, whenever you feel ready, we'll have a spot for you at our table! We have a round table so we can look at everyone and talk more efficiently that way nobody gets ignored. Except sometimes we do it to Arthur on purpose just to see him get angry. It's really funny."
"I thank you for your kind invitation, Alfred-san."
The blonde beamed. That was the first time since the fight that Kiku had called him by his first name. "Oh it's no big deal! Just sit with us whenever you feel like it okay?"
"Well I gotta run, or else Coach is gonna chew me out. Don't want that again…" He sighed, but then the smile returned. "Okay, guess I'll see you tomorrow Kiku!" Alfred ran off trying to hurry to the baseball diamond.
Kiku watched him leave. "Maybe…if I join him…then Damian won't pick on me as much…" He shook his head. "No, that is a horrible thought to think about! Alfred-san just sincerely apologized to me. I cannot abuse his friendship in such a manner! B-But either way…I will sit with him during lunch now. At least…I will try…"
He looked at his cell phone. "Oh, I have missed the school bus…now I have to take the public one…" He took out his wallet (which was actually a coin purse but he denied it whenever Yong Soo would ask) and looked for change.
"Oh, wonderful. I have enough for the public bus."
Alfred waited at the front of the school with the other baseball players.
"Oh, there's my mom!" Feliciano said. "Bye everyone!"
Feliciano and Lovino got into the car, the older brother telling Feliciano to sit in the back because he liked the passenger seat.
"Sometimes I feel bad for Feli. Poor guy. He's sweet and everything, but he's a pushover…"
Matthew smiled. "Yeah, I know what you mean Al."
The twins had to wait a while longer than the rest of the students for their mom to pick them up.
"Why can't you just ask your mom to come and get you? And wait, don't you drive already?"
"I drive, but I don't have a license. Geez Alfred, I'm not so dumb that I would drive a car without a license…"
Emily pulled up in front of the school and honked. The twins and Manny ran down to get in. Alfred was a bit of a mama's boy (but then again so was Matthew) so he always had to sit in the front. Matthew only got to sit there when he'd run errands with his mother, and even then he only got to sit there half the time because Alfred would tag along due to boredom.
"Hey boys! How was practice?" Emily asked as the three put on their seatbelts.
"It was fine mom, except Alfred got in trouble…"
"On the first day back of practice? Al, what did you do?"
"I was late…"
"You're never late!"
"But I got a chance to talk to Kiku and I went for it!"
Emily gasped. "Really? Oh tell me!"
Alfred proceeded to tell her and the other two about what had happened, the three of them listening intently, even while his mother was driving home.
Emily frowned. "Why doesn't somebody tell the dean or a person of authority about that bully? Don't they notice those things?"
"Damian does it when the teachers are oblivious to it. He hardly ever does it in class, and when he does, it's subtle so they can't really tell…"
"He needs to get kicked out of that school." She turned a corner. "Oh, poor Kiku. Was he really crying?"
"The poor thing. I can imagine he's probably been bullied a lot. Well, now that you're friends, I am making it you responsibility to watch after him."
"Mom you haven't even met him."
"I don't need to know him to know that he is in dire need of a friend Alfred."
For some reason, that hit Alfred really hard. His mom was rarely ever serious, but he knew her well enough to know when her tone wasn't frivolous or whimsical.
The four finally reached the Jones residence. Manny thanked them and walked to his house. Being Alfred's next door neighbor had its perks, and Manny was reaping them almost every single day since he met the twins.
Emily unlocked the front door and walked inside, heading up the stairs to change. The twins didn't have any homework because Emily told them that if they were going to be in a sport, they better keep up their grades, otherwise things weren't going to be pretty.
"Man it feels so good to not have homework, especially when we have sports," Alfred said as he flopped down face first on the couch. Matthew opened the door to the backyard and the dogs rushed inside. Hero trotted over to Alfred and began licking his ear and his cheek. Maple clawed at Matthew's leg asking to be held. The younger twin chuckled and picked him up, petting him.
"Nooo Heroooo…" Alfred said, his voice muffled by the couch cushion. "I'm tired right now…"
His dog gave a whimper.
"Oh okay, you can lounge next to me then." He sat up and Hero jumped on the couch, stretching out his body across Alfred's lap. The boy laughed and pet his dog, scratching him between the ears again. Hero's tail wagged.
"So boys, what would you like for dinner?" asked Emily.
"Oh, whatever you want to cook is fine mom," said Matthew.
"Hmm…wanna order some pizza? I'm kinda tired today…"
"Yay pizza!" Alfred shot up from his seat. "I'll order it!"
"Okay, just make sure to include the usual."
"And don't put pineapples on it!" Matthew said. "You always order pineapples…"
"But they're good! Oh fine. I'll order half the usual and the other half with pineapples on top of the usual."
Emily shook her head and smiled. Even though her boys argued a lot, they were still brothers and were able to get along surprisingly well most of the time.
There was a knock at the door. Kiku put down his pencil and walked over to it. "Yes?"
"Kiku!" said Yao happily. "We're going to eat dinner now. Do you want to join us?"
"Well…I don't know. I was a bit busy with a new landscape."
"Oh, I see." Yao walked into his room. Kiku drew a lot so sometimes Yao wondered if he wanted to be an artist when he grew up. "You have really nice drawings."
"Have you decided to pursue a career in art?"
"No, I haven't. I'm more interested in medicine."
Yao knew that was a lie, but he wasn't going to pry and bug Kiku about it. "Oh, well okay. Well, the food is ready. Or do you want me to bring it up to your room again?"
"No. I think, I will…join you and the rest of the family for dinner tonight."
Yao beamed. "Oh okay! I'll go tell them then!" He exited Kiku's room hurriedly and walked down the steps almost in a daze. "Kiku is finally going to join us for dinner ~" He felt extremely happy, and not even Yong Soo could ruin the moment when he hugged him from behind in surprise.
"Aniki!" he said. "Gonna sit next to me at dinner again?"
"No, I want Kiku to sit next to me."
"Huh?" He let go of Yao. "Kiku? You mean…he's gonna eat dinner with us?"
"Yes! It's so wonderful!" He walked to the kitchen where his mom was almost done preparing the food. "Mother, Kiku is going to join us for dinner today!"
"Really?" She turned around from putting the food in large bowls. "Oh, that's great!" Chun-Yan Wang was a short and cute woman with two buns in her hair. At times she looked liked her eldest son, but of course, in a more feminine way.
Mr. Wang walked into the kitchen. He had just arrived from work. Yao ran up to him. "Father! Kiku is going to join us for dinner!"
"Oh, that's nice," he said unenthusiastically. Yao frowned on the inside.
"Is Kiku really joining us?" asked Mei.
"Oh that's great! Finally! Now he won't be alone anymore!"
Yong Soo pouted and crosses his arms. Mrs. Wang smiled. "Yong Soo, you can always sit on the other side of Yao you know."
"But I like sitting on his right side!" He grumbled under his breath.
Kiku came downstairs and walked a bit timidly into the room. Though Yao and a few of the other Asian students in his school were a bit short, Kiku was by far, the shortest male in his class and of the male population. It was a good thing he wasn't the shortest student, otherwise, that would give bullies like Damian another reason to target him. He realized this and mentally compared heights with his older cousin as Yao walked up to him.
"Kiku! Do you want to sit next to me?"
Yao happily showed him to his seat and Kiku sat down. Yao helped his mother put the food on the table and then he took his seat next to Kiku. Yong Soo was now sitting on Yao's left and he kept glaring at Kiku from the side.
As the family began to fill their plates, Mrs. Wang asked, "So, what made you decide to change your mind and come eat with us tonight Kiku?"
"I…wanted to…bond I suppose. I do not have any family in this country aside from you, so…I did not want to be ungrateful any longer. That was very rude of me and I apologize."
"Oh, don't worry about it Kiku! You'll always have a spot here at the dinner table. Right dear?" She looked at her husband who was eating quietly. He said nothing and Mrs. Wang ignored it. "Anyway, how was school kids?"
"It was okay," Yao said. "Arthur was just complaining again about Francis."
"Aiya…your friend seems to take up complaining as a hobby doesn't he?"
Yao laughed. "Yes, he does."
"And what about you Mei?"
"Oh, nothing much."
"How is the progress coming along with that boy you like? The blonde one. Was his name Alfred?"
Mei blushed. "Mom! Not here at the dinner table!"
"I just want to know!"
Mei didn't like talking about such private matters in front of her father, but sometimes her mother forgot to think before she spoke. "Well…okay I guess…"
"That means it's coming along horribly," Li said. Mei looked at him with a scowl.
"No! It's just…well…"
"You can tell her Mei."
She sighed. "It's just…I don't think we're ever going to be more than just friends."
"Oh, why do you say that?"
"He likes that girl…the Arabic one…Navah. I can tell…" She ate a dumpling. "I mean, the way he looks at her and then he blushes sometimes when she speaks to him, and he gets clumsier when she's around. How can that not be obvious enough?" She pouted.
"Well, if that's the case," Mrs. Wang began. "Then I guess you're going to have to stay friends."
"I don't want you picking fights with anybody Mei. If this boy you like has his eyes set on that classmate of yours, don't fight it. Just remain friends, and don't become hostile to the girl either."
"Yes mom…" Mei sighed. "Just…I wish I could understand. Why did he pick her? I mean, aren't Americans paranoid of people from the Middle East? You know, ever since the September 11th attack—ow!"
Mrs. Wang hit Mei's hand with her spoon. "Hush your mouth Mei. Don't let your jealousy blind you with ignorance. Now you listen to me, that classmate of yours, Navah, from what I heard, she's a very brilliant and kind young lady. I don't want you to think badly of her or anybody else in your school of that origin for that matter. Do you understand me?"
"Good. Now if Alfred doesn't like you more than a friend, don't beat yourself up about it. He's a high school crush and you'll get over it sooner or later and start to like another boy. There's more fish in the sea Mei."
"Now promise me you won't have any more ill thoughts about Navah."
"I promise." Mei now felt bad about being bitter towards her Arabic classmate.
Kiku, being the curious boy he was, asked, "May I…interrupt?"
"Oh of course!" Mrs. Wang said. "What did you want to say Kiku?"
"W-Well, it's more of a question for Mei since she's a girl…"
"I'm a girl too."
"Ah! Yes I know b-but I mean a girl in my class…"
"I'm only asking this out of curiosity but, exactly…how many girls like Alfred-san?"
Mei thought about it for a moment and took a drink from her beverage. "Well, a few actually to be honest with you. I mean, aside from me, there's Eva who's been crushing on him for the longest time, and a few other girls I don't know, the American-born ones. I'd say…well in our 11th grade class, about five or so, maybe more. It's uncertain. And then there are the ones who think he's very hot or handsome." She blushed a bit and smiled thinking about it. "But those are usually the underclassmen, like the freshman and sophomores."
"Oh, I see. That is quite a huge number. I was just curious because Alfred-san seems to be a bit naïve and…an oaf at times. Guess I just didn't understand why girls would want somebody like that since he doesn't seem to be very bright, but I guess I was proved wrong."
"Damn," Yong Soo commented. "So he's a chick magnet or what?"
"Pretty much yeah," Mei replied nonchalantly. "But then again, a lot of girls also crush on his twin, Matthew, usually the more intellectual ones. I already know of one girl who likes Matthew a whole lot, but she wanted me to refrain from ever telling anyone since she's shy."
"These twin brothers, the Jones Twins, well, they sound like very attractive young men," Mrs. Wang said.
"They are. But then again, a lot of girls also like Arthur because he's British and apparently his accent is sexy. I can't understand it." She shrugged and Yao laughed. "I mean, he's a gentleman to the female peers, but to the males, he's pretty much a jerk."
"Well, Arthur can be like that," Li said. "He's not all bad though."
"Yeah I know, but still." She chuckled. "Feliciano is also a huge chick magnet."
"Oh, that Italian boy?"
"Yep. A lot of the girls like him because he's really cute and sweet, plus he has the highest grade in Home Economics. He's very helpful too and friendly!" She left out the part that he was also a huge crybaby and a coward.
"Aww, well I would like to meet him someday."
"Oh my God, and also, there are so many girls who are practically in love with Antonio."
"He's the Spanish one right?"
"Yep. I think that is the exact reason girls crush on him, because he's Spanish and his accent is pretty alluring too. Also, he's very attractive and nice!"
"Wow. He doesn't even have to do anything for girls to like him then huh?"
"Nope. It just happens automatically."
Mrs. Wang laughed.
"And a lot of girls are attracted to Francis too."
"The French student?"
"Yes, because they think his accent is pretty sexy too. The only thing is…well, pardon my French," She laughed at the horrible pun. "The only thing is he gets bitchslapped a lot for being so perverted."
"Well then I don't want you hanging around with that boy!"
"Don't worry mom, I make sure Francis doesn't get anywhere near Mei," Yao said. "I always have and luckily he hasn't tried anything funny. Besides," he smiled. "Francis' current target seems to be Arthur."
Mr. Wang gave a laugh. "I'll never understand what your French friend sees in him, or what he even sees in other males."
"Dear, not now please," Mrs. Wang told him. "We've already discussed this."
"I understand your point father," Yao began to tell him. "But Francis' sexual preference does not prevent me from being his friend, nor does it prevent the rest of our group from being friends with him either. We were friends with him even before we knew he liked both females and males. We just learned to get used to it. If anything, we wouldn't like him because he's so perverted."
"Which is still something I don't understand. Doesn't it bother you Yao?"
"Not really since he usually targets Arthur or Antonio. Sometimes he targets Angelique or Elizaveta."
"Hmm. Well I'll still never comprehend why he likes males as well as females. I'm very glad that none of you are like that, otherwise, I'd be very devastated. A lot of people don't tolerate that mindset and it won't be tolerated in this household either."
Kiku looked at his plate and stood quiet for the rest of the night. Now that this conversation had been spoken, he felt even more uncomfortable in the Wang household than he had ever been before. He was just glad Mei didn't bring up Heracles otherwise the usual blush on his face would have returned, and he'd be exactly the kind of child Mr. Wang didn't want.
None of the main characters are going to be antagonists. That's what the non Nation-tan OCs are gonna be for. Just wanted to throw that out there. Hmm, that's really all I have to say.