Author: Jubilee (calavasas )
Characters/Pairings: In this chapter: America, Japan, Canada, N. Italy, S. Italy, Germany, France, England, Russia, China, S. Korea, Spain, Greece, Denmark, fem!America, fem!China, fem!Cuba, OC!Mexico
Warnings/Notes: AU - High school.
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.
Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
The next day went by as usual for everyone at Ambrosia High. Get on the school bus, go to class, have lunch, go to class again, and go home. Currently it was lunch time, which was always Alfred's favorite time of the school day, aside from afterschool when he'd have baseball practice.
"Hey Feli," he told the younger Italian brother at the lunch table. "Did I tell you the news?"
"Hmm? No, what news?"
"Kiku and I are finally friends!"
"Wow! Really? That's great! Oh, I'm so happy! Ludwig! Did you hear!" He tugged violently on the German's sweater.
"Yes, I'm sitting right here Feliciano. Now please stop doing that…" He then looked at Alfred and smiled. "So how did you two make amends?"
"Well…" He then told all of his friends about the incident afterschool with Kiku and Damian, the group frowning and their eyebrows furrowing.
"That guy is so unpleasant," Francis said. "Really, something needs to be done about his behavior."
"Yes, he needs to be taught a lesson. Somebody should corner him in a dark alley, get a faucet pipe and beat him till he's bloody and begs for mercy, and then dump him somewhere in a remote area in the mountains at night ~"
"U-Uhm Ivan…I'm pretty sure th-that's premeditated murder…"
"What's your point?"
Ivan was the only person Francis never dared to molest for very obvious reasons. He also stood away from Katyusha and Natalia despite his temptations.
Arthur noticed Francis' shudder of horror and smiled. Yao looked worried. "Why didn't Kiku tell me this had happened to him?"
Alfred shrugged. "Maybe he didn't want you to worry?"
"But I'm his older brother! I'm supposed to know what happens to my siblings! Mei tells me everything, Li tells me everything, and even though sometimes it's annoying, Yong Soo tells me everything! I like to be informed of what happens to my siblings. I don't like it when they keep secrets from me…"
Matthew patted his shoulder. "Maybe he was just too embarrassed."
"Well…because he wasn't able to defend himself."
"That's my point. Kiku…Kiku gets bullied a lot and he never tells me or anybody in my family about it. I always find out the next day at school from my friends or classmates. He's so quiet. I…I get so worried about him…" Yao put his head in his hands. "Sometimes…I fear that one day…he won't be able to take it anymore…and he…he might…"
"No Yao, don't say things like that."
Yao looked at Alfred. "But I can't help but worry about him."
"Kiku is strong and he's not so weak minded that he'd take his own life just because he's unhappy."
"And how do you know that for sure? You're not very close to him Alfred."
The American didn't know how to respond to that. Feliciano decided to intervene. "But I am, and Alfred is right. Kiku is strong and he wouldn't…he wouldn't do something horrible to himself like suicide. N-No, I don't even want to think about it being a possibility!" He closed his eyes shut for a few seconds, but then calmed down. "And now that he and Alfred have forgiven each other, I think, that possibility will be less likely to happen. And you know why? Because now we can all be friends, just like we were in middle school before eighth grade. Now…now we can all do fun things together, like go to each other's houses, or go to the mall, or even go to Disneyland and get those cute hats with mouse ears on them! Kiku won't be by himself anymore, and he won't be sad like he used to be for the past few years. He's going to be happy because he's going to be with people who want to hang out with him and do fun things on weekends and during the summer vacations." He smiled and looked at Yao. "So don't worry. We're going to protect Kiku okay? We won't let bad things happen to him. Right everyone?"
Alfred grinned. "Yes! Feli is right! Kiku from this point on, is going to become one of us!"
"Alfred," Arthur began. "First of all, Kiku isn't here. How do you expect him to be happier if he isn't even here with us?"
"Way to kill the mood Artie. But anyway, ignoring you stupidity-"
"I told Kiku yesterday that he should come to the cafeteria and join us during lunch! Except I don't see him…hmm…maybe he's not ready to join anybody yet…"
Matthew looked around and smiled. "No Alfred, he just walked in. He's seated at that table all the way over there." His twin pointed and Alfred looked to the back of the cafeteria. Sure enough, there was Kiku, sitting by himself at a lone table.
"He came! He really did!"
"Oh, but why is he sitting by himself all the way over there? We're over here!"
"Don't worry Feli, I'll handle this."
Alfred walked over to the back of the cafeteria where Kiku was sitting. He was eating his food timidly, trying to ignore the stares from curious students as to why he was by himself. He got even more stares when Alfred walked up to him. "Hey Kiku!"
Kiku looked up at him. "Oh, good afternoon Alfred-san."
The blonde sat down across from him. "I'm glad you decided to come to the cafeteria today! But uh, what are you doing sitting all the way over here?"
"Uhm…well…at first I didn't see you in here because of all the students, and Heracles-san's table was already full…so…I found an empty table here in the back, but it wasn't until that moment that I noticed you and your friends at a table. You were having such an intense conversation from the looks of things that I felt it'd be rude for me to just walk up to you and request to sit down…"
"You're so cute!"
Kiku blushed. Not too many people told him that. "E-Excuse me?"
"Kiku, you wouldn't be interrupting. I was telling everybody at the table about how we're friends now, and we were actually talking about inviting you over to sit with us! None of them mind, and Feli is really excited. So I hereby invite you to The Table of Epicness!"
"Yeah! That's what I call our table. So come on!"
"Are you sure?"
"Yup!" Alfred got up. "I'll carry your tray if you'd like."
"N-No that won't be necessary. I'm capable of doing this myself." He took his tray and followed Alfred. Kiku still noticed a few stares, but the blonde oaf was oblivious to this and just smiled at everyone who looked at him, waving to a few people.
"Guys!" he said to his tablemates. "Look who's here!"
"Kikuuuuuuuuuu ~ !" shouted Feliciano. He got up and hugged him. "Oh yay! You're going to join us now! This is awesome because we actually have room for one more! It's like it was meant for you! Right Alfred?"
"Yeah! I like how you think Feli!"
"Hee hee! Yes!"
"Kiku, welcome to The Table of Epicness."
"The Table of Epicness?" Arthur raised an eyebrow. "You actually named our table?"
"When did this happen?"
"It's always been named!"
"No it hasn't. It was just a table."
"Well we've been sitting here ever since freshman year so it has a name. Now shut up!" he said with a smile, Arthur sporting a shocked expression in response to being told to shut his trap.
"So Kiku, sit down! You're now officially a member of the Epic table!" Alfred sat down and patted the seat next to him, shoving Arthur away a few centimeters. "You can sit next to me!"
"B-But…Arthur-san was sitting there just a few moments ago…"
"No Kiku, it's quite alright. You may sit there since I was just about to move because some people are rather rude here."
"Well okay…" Kiku placed his tray next to Alfred's and sat down. He had never sat with a bunch of people before, so he felt a little out of place.
"Uwaaah, I wanna sit next to Kiku too!" Feliciano squeezed himself in between Arthur and Kiku. "Ludwig!"
"Why do I always have to sit next to you?"
"Because! And now that Kiku is here, the three of us should sit together okay?"
Ludwig sighed and walked over to Feliciano's new seat, excusing himself to Arthur who didn't care. The German sat next to his Italian friend who was just bubbling with joy. "Yay!"
Eventually all of them ended up switching seats. Arthur hated his new seat because now not only was he sitting next to Francis still, but also next to Ivan. The Russian was not affected by this at all since he was still sitting next to Yao. Matthew was glad Yao was to his right and Alfred to his left, because otherwise, he'd be a bit afraid to have to sit next to Ivan.
"Great!" Alfred said. "Okay, these are going to be our permanent seats from here until we graduate high school!"
Arthur looked at him. "Who said these were permanent?"
"Well for one thing, I want my bro to sit next to me and Kiku on my other side. Feli also wants to sit next to Kiku, and since he's close to Ludwig, obviously he's gonna want them to both sit next to him. Matthew likes Yao sitting next to him and so does Ivan, and of course Francis likes sitting next to you. Really, you're the only person who opposes this seating arrangement, so you're outvoted 8 to one. Therefore, it will be ignored."
Sometimes Arthur thought Alfred was a real jackass, but he never brought it up much because Alfred knew he thought this. "Whatever."
"Can we have colors now?"
"Sure Feli! I want red!"
"Okay, then I want yellow!"
"Colors?" asked Arthur. "What is this? Some kind of team?"
"Yes, the team of Epicness! Man you're really slow at this group thing. You can be bright green like your eyes."
Arthur's cheeks turned pink. "Really?"
"Yeah and also because trolls are sometimes that color, so since you like that stuff, and you act like one sometimes, I thought bright green should fit you."
The moment of fluff had ended as soon as Alfred finished that sentence, and Arthur became upset once again. Francis merely chuckled.
"Ludwig!" Feliciano tugged on his sweater again, lightly this time. "What color do you want?"
"It doesn't really matter to me."
"Oh, well what about green? Not light green, or lime green like Arthur, but just green. It's a nice color and I think it fits you really well!"
"Okay, then green it is."
"I want to be orange then," Yao said. "Alfred already claimed red for himself…"
"Then I want purple ~" Ivan added. "Because Feliciano took yellow, and I'd rather not fight for it. After all, it's just a color. But if it was a sunflower or something like that, then we might have a few problems on our hands. Heh heh!"
Feliciano cried on the inside. On the outside, he buried his face into Ludwig's shoulder. The German face-palmed. He really did wonder how he got stuck with people like these.
"Francis, what color do you want?" asked Alfred.
"Blue of course. It's such a wonderful color. The color of beauty ~"
"Okay then, you get blue! Matt! What color would you like?"
"Uhm…can I have white?"
"Why do you want white?"
"Because…it's the color of snow…and the color of fur on a polar bear…"
"Oh, sure then! You get white!" Alfred looked to his left. "Kiku! You're the last one to get a color. Which one would you like?"
Kiku thought for a moment and then said, "The color I…had wanted doesn't seem appropriate so I'll just get brown."
"Brown is a nice color, but it isn't as colorful as the rest of ours. Which was your first option?"
"No…it's very stupid…"
"Oh come on, don't say that. Just tell us!"
Kiku looked at his tray and a blush crept onto his cheeks. He said something, but it was a mumble so Alfred couldn't hear it.
"What was that? Sorry, I didn't hear what you said."
"Still didn't hear. Come on Kiku, work with me."
"I would like to claim the color p-pink if that's alright with the rest of you."
For a moment nobody said anything but looked at Kiku with curiosity. He was feeling very uncomfortable. Pink was usually a girl color but he liked how pleasant it was to look at and how colorful it was. His blush only increased and he looked at his lap, avoiding the eyes of the rest of his tablemates.
Feliciano decided to break the silence noticing how out of place Kiku was feeling. "That's a nice color! Pink is great!"
Kiku looked at Feliciano timidly. "You don't think…it's strange…?"
"No, why would I think it's strange? Besides, it's just a color! It's soft on the eyes and great to look at!"
Alfred smiled. "Yeah he's right. If pink is the color you want, then pink it is! Just out of curiosity, why'd you want that color?"
"Because…I think…pink is a very cute color…and…I tend…I tend to be fond of cute things…"
The blonde laughed. "Well okay then! You'll get pink! And actually, that's the perfect color for you because you're always blushing!" He looked at the rest of his friends. "Okay guys, we have our official colors! Now we need a team name!"
"Hold on just a moment here," Arthur said. "Why are we even doing this? There is no point to it!"
"Have a little imagination! My God…" Alfred shook his head. "It's just for fun. Now as your leader-"
"Excuse me but I don't remember anybody appointing you as the leader."
"Red is the color of a leader so there. Stop interrupting. Like I was saying, as your leader, I have decided that no matter what happens, the nine of us will stick together from now until the end of time. Even if we go our separate ways in the future, we're always going to be friends okay? And we're always going to back each other up when one of us is in trouble, or when one of us asks for help. Yes, that's the code of The Table of Epicness!"
Feliciano laughed. "Okay, that sounds good! Hey, can we hold out our hands? You know, like they do in sports teams?"
"Sure thing! Wow Feli, you're full of great ideas today!"
The only reason he's saying that is because Alfred is just as dense as Feliciano, Arthur thought to himself.
They all put their right hand at the center of their table, though Kiku was a bit hesitant. "Come on Kiku," Alfred said. "Put your hand with the rest of ours."
"But…I feel that all of this is too sudden. I have just recently joined you all and-"
"That doesn't matter. It's not like you're a new person to us entirely. We've known you for a few years already. And we'll all get to know you better in the future. Really, it's fine!"
Kiku looked at him, Alfred merely smiling. Then he put his hand in the center as well.
"This is a sign that we're all in this together, for better or for worse. Okay?"
Arthur chuckled. "You're being so dramatic about this, as if this was some kind of movie or something."
"Well it's not, and I'm serious. I really mean it you guys. I don't…I don't want us to ever have such serious problems between us again. From now on, we're going to put aside our differences and cooperate and be friends. Okay?"
Feliciano smiled. "Yes, I would like that a lot."
"Me too Al."
The rest nodded.
"Okay. Go Prime Nine!"
His friends just laughed at the cheesy name he gave his group, Kiku managing a small smile. Little did he know that this moment marked the beginning of the drastic change his life was about to take.
It was afterschool and that meant the twins had to go to baseball practice again.
"Remember what coach told us?"
"About the team quantity?"
"Yeah. I think I have an idea." He closed his locker after taking out his duffle bag. He walked over to Kiku's locker. "Hey Kiku!"
"Oh, hello Alfred-san, Matthew-san."
"So, you doing anything after school today?"
"Uhm…no, I don't have any plans. I was just going to go home and do my homework, perhaps play some video games afterwards…"
"Wanna come to our baseball practice instead?"
"We've noticed that sometimes you'd look longingly at the baseball field when we had gym class," Matthew said.
"Would you like to play Kiku?"
"Uhm…well, I have always wanted to try it. But I never thought that I would be very good at-"
"Nonsense!" Alfred put his arm around Kiku. "Don't think like that. I'm sure you'll be great! Alright, it's final. You're coming to our practice."
"No buts! Come on Matt, let's go before coach gets angry with us again!"
"Us? Coach only got angry with you Al…"
Alfred pouted. Kiku smiled up at him, enjoying the twins' bickering as they walked to the baseball field.
"Is your coach…" asked Kiku after they exited the boy's locker room. "…very harsh?"
"Nah, coach is strict sometimes, but never harsh. When we have our games, whether we win or lose, we always go out for pizza afterwards!"
"Oh, I see."
"Don't worry Kiku, you'll do fine."
"Well, if you say so." He looked at his shirt. "Uhm, and also, thank you for lending me these workout clothes."
"It's no problem. Those were from my freshman year, but I grew out of them because, well as you can see, I've gotten really tall! Ha! So has Matt, so it didn't really matter which of our sets you wore. We grow the same every year, since ya know, we're twins and all."
"Yes, I have noticed."
Matthew gave a chuckle at Kiku's response to Alfred's obvious statement.
The three walked to the baseball diamond where the rest of the players were waiting for their coach to arrive.
Feliciano gasped. "Oh my God! Kikuuuuu!" He practically tackled him into a hug. "Yay you came to watch us practice!"
"Well actually Feliciano-kun, I came because…I wanted to…see if I was any good at baseball…"
The Italian gasped again. "Really? Well I'm sure you'll be great! Isn't that right Lovi?" Feliciano looked towards his older brother.
"Yep, I think Kiku should do well at this sport."
"Wow, now I can go home with somebody after practice! I won't be alone on the bus anymore!" Yong Soo said. "Ha! Kiku, I'll show you how it's done okay? Since you know, baseball originated in Korea!"
"No it didn't!" Alfred told him. "It originated in America! A lot of sports were created in this country!"
"Calm down Alfredo," Manny told him, putting a hand on his shoulder. "He's just kidding."
"Manny, don't call me Alfredo. My name is Alfred."
"But Alfredo is my nickname for you!"
"That's not even a real name!"
"Yes it is. One of my uncles is named that."
"And it's the name of a pasta ~ !"
Alfred sighed. "Nevermind…"
Kiku looked at the players. There were the Vargas brothers both playing, his cousin Yong Soo, his classmate Manuel, and the Jones Twins. Then there were a few other people he wasn't too familiar with, but he had seen them around the school.
"So, where is your coach Alfred-san?"
"Coach will be here soon. Always likes to surprise-"
"Alright. Who's ready to practice? Games will be starting pretty soon so I want you all in tip top shape! Yong Soo, Matthew, come and help!"
Both of them ran to the person approaching and helped carry the equipment closer to where the players were gathered. Finally the coach had approached the team and said, "Well, looks like we're all accounted for. I don't even have to take roll. Hmm? You, the short one, who are you?"
"Uhm, I am Honda Kiku." He bowed. "I wanted to…"
"Yes, because I wanted to see-"
"Great! We need another player!"
"Oh, okay. So, where is the coach?"
All of a sudden, it got deathly quiet, so quiet that you could hear the splashing of the swimmers inside the gym.
"Uhm…K-Kiku…" Lovino began. "Th…That IS the coach."
"It…is? But…I was sure the coach would be-"
"A male? Well I hate to break it to ya kid, but there hasn't been a male baseball coach in quite some time at this school."
Kiku looked at the baseball coach. She was a bit dark and had a voluptuous body. Despite her appearance, her tone of voice wasn't light at all and was actually very assertive.
"I'm Coach Cruz." She held out her hand. "Nice to meet you Honda."
He shook her hand. "It's…nice to meet you too Cruz-sensei. Uhm, I sincerely apologize for assuming that the baseball coach would be a male…"
"That's alright. You're not the first kid to think that. Anyway, back to the main topic. You wanna try out for the baseball team here? We actually need another player!"
"Well I simply wanted to try it out to see if I was any good…"
"Listen to me Kiku, even if you suck beyond words, that's all gonna change, because when I'm coaching, being a failure at the get go isn't important. I'll turn that little body of yours into a super star high school athlete's. Understand?"
"Good. Hmm…you're really small. In fact, you're the shortest player on this team. Well, I guess it can't be helped. I'll put you on base to start off with. Have you ever played baseball before?"
"I know the basics of it…and I have played it in video games-"
"Well this is real life, not baseball. You kids need to get outside more an exercise! Why, when I came to this country, I didn't even have the luxuries you all have today. But I don't fret over it. They're not important. Well, Honda, why don't we start with you first?"
"Now would you like to be called 'Honda' or 'Kiku'? I don't mind either one, but 'Honda' is what's gonna be on your jersey if you make the team. I'm just saying."
"Whichever you prefer Cruz-sensei. It doesn't matter to me."
"Alright then, Honda it is. I call all of my students by their last names anyway, except if they have the same one like the Jones twins over here. I have to call them Al and Matt instead. Messes up the flow here, so then I decided to call everyone by their first names but oh well. Okay guys, let's test Honda to see if he's any good."
Kiku was getting nervous. Even though Coach Cruz was in fact a woman, she sure didn't act like one. I can see why Alfred-san doesn't like being late to practice…
"Feli! You be the timer!"
"Okay!" She handed him a timer and then said, "Honda! Come here."
Kiku walked over a bit timidly to her. She smiled at him. "Now stop looking at your feet. And don't put your hands in front of you like that. It makes you look weak and vulnerable."
He was surprised at her bluntness.
"Alright Honda, this is what I want you to do. I want you to run to that base over there. Feli will time you." Feliciano waved from first base. "I want to see how fast you can run to a base."
Kiku waited at the home base until he was told to go. "Alright, ready, set…go!"
He ran to the first base and Feliciano stopped the timer as soon as he reached it.
"How fast Feli?"
"Holy crap that's fast! Well, guess you've got speed Honda! Looks like that small body of yours can be used to your advantage! Great, now we're gonna do some warm ups."
"Uhm…but don't you want to see me do other things?"
"I'll watch you warm up with the other guys. Al will be your instructor. Right Al?"
"Okay, then I want you all to get into pairs since now we have an even number of players."
"This is great Kiku!" Alfred told him as he handed him an extra mitt. "Coach already likes you! Wow, I had to suck up a lot and play really hard for her to like me! Ha, poor Matt though. She'd get confused sometimes. She didn't know which one of us was which when we'd have our baseball caps or helmets on. When she was supposed to yell at me, she yelled at Matthew instead." He chuckled.
The pairs each began to throw the ball at each other, catching them with their mitts.
"Okay Kiku, I'm going to throw the ball now."
"Alright, I'm ready."
Alfred threw the ball to Kiku, but it was more like he shot it at him. Kiku dodged it. "Alfred-san!"
"What? Why didn't you catch the ball Kiku?"
"That was too fast!"
"But that's how I throw!"
"Cruz-sensei…" Kiku told her as she approached him. "May…I get somebody who throws a little…softer?"
"You can't let Al intimidate you with his throw! He's the best pitcher I've had so far. He throws so fast and so hard that it's difficult for the other teams to hit the ball and the umpire usually has a sprained wrist at the end of a game. I wanted to make you face a challenge in the beginning so you know what you're up against."
"If you're gonna let a little pitch scare you off, then this isn't the sport for you. You're gonna get injured in every sport, some more than others. There is only one thing I guarantee to all of my players: you're gonna get hurt one way or another. Sometimes you'll get hurt a lot, like Feli and Lovi, and sometimes you'll get hurt hardly at all, like Al and Manny. And then sometimes you'll just be a real klutz and hurt yourself like Matt."
"Continue practicing with Yong Soo and don't get distracted Matt!" She looked at Kiku again. "Are you sure you want to do this Honda? It would be great if you could join our team because I see a lot of potential in you, but that's only if you're up for it. I don't want to force you into playing for us if you're not ready." That was the closest Kiku was going to get to feminine compassion from Coach Cruz.
"Yes…I'm positive. I…I want to play."
"Great! Then I expect you to be here every day after school until I tell you different! Al will be your practice buddy for a while since he's the captain and the best I have. Al, I want you to take care of this boy out there on the field okay? Turn him into a super star like the rest of your teammates!"
"Got it coach!"
"I thought that…you'd teach me firsthand yourself…"
"Yeah well I still need to help out Feli, Lovi, and Matt. They're the klutzes of this team. I gotta make sure they get rid of that out on the field before we start having games. That's why I'm leaving it up to Al to teach you how to play. And don't be afraid of his pitch. I doubt he'll hit you somewhere sensitive, like he did with Matt. He hit him a few times in the crotch-"
"COACH!" Matthew blushed and Alfred merely laughed.
"—while they were practicing, but don't worry. I'm sure Al will be more careful now."
For the next hour or so, Kiku practiced throwing and catching from different distances and different speeds with Alfred. The American made sure to not hit Kiku in his family jewels like he usually did with Matthew.
"Great job boys!" Coach Cruz told them. "Excellent practice today! And kudos to you Honda! You just started today and already you're getting good. You're a pretty fast learner!" She ruffled his hair.
"Thank you Cruz-sensei. But Alfred-san had a lot to do with my improvement as well."
"Don't be so modest! I bet no matter who taught you, you'd still be great! Al's nothing special!"
Alfred made a face. "Uh Coach-"
"Well boys, I'll see you tomorrow for another practice! Sleep well tonight!"
The boys proceeded to the locker room to change, the older twin deciding to give up his protest.
He turned around. "Aksel! Hey how was soccer practice?"
"Pretty good. When we start having games, I'm gonna kick some ass out there!"
"Mannyyyyyy ~ !"
The Mexican boy sighed heavily. "Here comes the embodiment of irritation…"
Antonio hugged him from behind and buried his face into his hair.
"Get off me Antonio! You're all sweaty!"
"So are you, but that's okay!"
"You're dirty too! You're getting grass all over my socks!"
"And you're getting dirt all over my soccer jersey, but that's okay as well ~"
Manny growled which didn't affect Antonio at all. Lovino could only glare with hidden jealousy.
"Ay, que curosito estas Manuel ~" He cuddled him.
Manny blushed. "Idiota! No digas cosas como esos!"
"Alright break it up!" Lovino said as he practically ripped Antonio off of Manny.
"Oh, are you jealous Lovi?" asked Antonio.
"Hell no! Why would I be jealous? I just saw Manny getting uncomfortable with your physical contact! I know how that feels, which is why I decided to save him!"
"Aww, it's okay Lovi. If you want a hug, all you have to do is ask!"
"Okay, come here Antonio."
"You really want a hug?"
"Yes." He smiled.
The Spaniard happily hugged Lovino, but then screamed.
"Thanks for the hug Toni. I feel a lot better now." Lovino said as he patted his back. He then went back to his gym locker.
Aksel walked up to Antonio.
"He…he gave me a wedgie…it really…it really hurts…!"
Aksel laughed. "You should have seen it coming Toni! Don't fall for things like that okay?"
"Serves you right pendejo," Manny mumbled as he put on a clean shirt.
"Manny, why won't you love me!?"
"STOP SAYING WEIRD THINGS LIKE THAT IN HERE!"
Alfred cracked up. "Aww come on Manny, be nice to your cousin!"
"He's too affectionate! It always gives people the wrong idea when he does things like that to me out in public! That's why I don't like being seen with him! Already people think we have an incestuous relationship when we don't!" He glared daggers at Antonio. "And THAT is why I hate you Antonio Fernandez Carriedo."
Antonio just shooed him with his hand and went to his own locker. Kiku was starting to become amused with the comical scene he had just witnessed.
"Is it like this every day in here Alfred-san?" he asked the taller boy.
"Pretty much. That's why Manny ran over here today. He wanted to be the first one to change and get out so Antonio doesn't ambush him, but I think Toni already figured out this recurring pattern, so now it's ineffective. Ha!"
"Oh, I see. Is Manuel-san…"
"Nah, he isn't. If he was, he would cringe at the thought of being associated with Francis. He just doesn't like Antonio's affection. But I know that deep down, he longs for it. I'm pretty sure when they're alone at home, he doesn't mind it."
"I heard that Alfredo."
"Every time you call me that, I'm gonna tell Toni to hug you."
"Oh can I do it now?"
Antonio practically darted over to Manny and glomped him. He blushed again. "DAMN IT ANTONIO! You don't have a shirt on! And I'm trying to change my pants! Do you know how WRONG this looks!?"
"Oh but it's okay. It's not like this isn't normal during this time of day ~" He cuddled him again. "Besides, you should be used to it by now!"
Kiku blushed at the scene before him this time, and instead of watching and laughing like the rest of the guys (minus Lovino who had decided to teach Antonio a lesson again), he hid his pink face and continued to change out of his clothes.
"Hey, what's all the commotion about?"
Kiku turned beet red when he heard that voice.
"Heracles!" Alfred said. "Hey there! How was soccer practice?"
"Pretty good. I think I'm getting better."
"That's great. Can't wait to watch your first game!"
"Thanks Alfred." He noticed somebody small next to him. "Oh, hello Kiku. I didn't know you were in a sport."
Kiku's heart was beating so fast he felt like it was going to shoot out of his chest. "Y-Y-Yes I am now in b-baseball because I-I had w-wanted to try out a-and…" He hurriedly put on his clean shirt, hoping it would hide his blushing face.
"That's good Kiku. I always thought you'd be good at something like baseball. I'll be cheering for you from the sidelines and when I'm practicing out on the soccer field."
"Th-Thank you Heracles-san…"
The Grecian walked over to his locker which just so happened to be right next to Alfred's. He changed out of his shirt, taking his sweet time, as was his way, but this of course, made Kiku uncomfortable yet again. He found himself staring at his classmate, noticing his tanned body and all the muscles embedded on it. He gasped and reached for his backpack and books.
"Kiku? What's wrong?" asked Alfred.
"I-I-I just remembered that I forgot s-something in my locker. I must retrieve it before the building closes. I-I will see you tomorrow Alfred-san." He rushed out of the locker room, his face still quite red.
"Hey Kiku! Wait for me! Don't run so fast!" Yong Soo shouted. "I'll see you all tomorrow!" He waved as his fellow athletes gave him their goodbyes.
"What up with Kiku?" asked Heracles.
Alfred shrugged. "Wish I knew."
Kiku reached the front of the school and panted, out of breath from running so quickly. "I…I managed to get out of there…"
He turned around and found Yong Soo running towards him. "What happened back there? You left so suddenly."
"I-I needed to get something from my locker."
"Oh okay. Were you able to?"
"No…the building was…uhm…closed."
"Ah. Well, we better head for the bus stop. Don't wanna miss it!"
The two waited at the bus stop and when it came they promptly went inside. The two sat down in the front of the bus, resting while it took them to their neighborhood block.
"So how did you like baseball?"
"It was…interesting. I had fun."
"That's nice. Are you gonna stick with us?"
"Uhm…w-well I'm not sure…"
"Oh come on! You're really good at it! I think you should."
"Okay…then I guess…I'll also attend tomorrow…"
"Great! Hope you weren't disturbed by the scene at the locker room."
Kiku became nervous and defensive. "What? Why would you think I'd be disturbed!?"
"Geez calm down! I didn't mean anything bad by it! I was just saying…I mean, this is your first time with the athletes and everybody behaves the same every day in there, you know, with Manny and his pseudo hatred for Toni, Lovino's abusive ways, and Aksel and Alfred just laughing…Heracles lagging it and always being the last one inside…this is how it is every day for those of us who stay afterschool for sports. Just wanted to let you know what you got yourself in to that way you won't be surprised by it."
"Oh…I see. Thank you for telling me Yong Soo-kun, though it is a bit late…"
"You'll get used to it."
The two relatives stood quiet for most of the bus ride home. But of course, Yong Soo being himself, couldn't sit still or be quiet for long periods of time. "Hey Kiku."
"Yes Yong Soo-kun?"
"If…if you ever wanna talk about something…I'm here for you."
Kiku turned to him curiously. "Where did this come from?"
"Nowhere. I just want you to know that…if you ever need to talk about something, no matter what it is, you can come and talk to me and I'll help you." He looked seriously at him. "I know Yao is the oldest out of all of us…but…I just want you to know that he isn't the only person you can talk to about serious matters. I'm here for you too, okay Kiku?"
The Japanese boy looked at his cousin, a bit of admiration in his eyes. "Well, thank you Yong Soo-kun."
"It's no problem." He smiled at him and put a hand on his shoulder. "I know it's been hard for you growing up without…well biological parents in a country that isn't your motherland but…you have family here, and we'll take care of you alright?"
Kiku smiled back at him. "Thank you. That means…that really means a lot to me."
Yong Soo gave a toothy grin. "No problem! Oh, here's our bus stop. Let's go! I hope mom already started dinner!" Though Chun-Yan wasn't Yong Soo's birth mother, she was like a mother to him, which is why he called her "mom". She didn't mind of course. She rather liked the idea.
"We're home!" Yong Soo shouted as he opened the front door.
"Oh there you boys are!" Chun-Yan said. "Yao was getting worr-"
"WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!?"
He walked angrily towards Yong Soo.
"Uhm…at baseball practice? You know I have-"
"No not you! I know where you're at after school! I was talking to Kiku!" He put his hands on his small cousin's shoulders. "Kiku! Are you okay!?"
Kiku blinked. "Yes Yao-san. I'm not in any troubled condition. Why were you so worried?"
"Because I didn't see you on the school bus after school! I tried calling you on your cell phone, but you didn't pick up!"
"Oh, I apologize. I was at baseball practice with Alfred-san and the others."
"Yeah!" Yong Soo intervened. "Kiku's officially on the baseball team! Isn't that great?"
"So soon? I thought you needed to wait a few weeks until the coach-"
"Coach gets desperate sometimes but she said she saw a lot of potential in Kiku, so now he's an athlete, just like his big brother!" He put an arm around Kiku's shoulders.
"Yong Soo, you are NOT his big brother. You're the third youngest in this family of five siblings."
"No I'm not!"
"Yes you are! I'm the eldest, Kiku is the second eldest, you're the middle child, Li is the older fraternal twin, and Mei is the younger fraternal twin."
"That's a lie!"
"Want me to dig up our birth certificates?"
"They were printed in Korea!"
"Aiya! Stop it with your Korean nonsense already!"
Mei giggled and Li cracked a smile. Chun-Yan laughed and said, "Okay, it's time for dinner! Enough you two."
Kiku smiled and though he wasn't very close to his family yet, he would try to spend more time with them to get to know them better. Little did he know, those he would consider to be his family would extend well beyond the Wang household very soon.
"So Manny, what made you decide to come have dinner with us tonight?" asked Emily.
"Antonio." He grumpily ate the mashed potatoes. Emily had brought home KFC since yet again she was tired from work.
"Yes. He all of a sudden decided it would be a GREAT idea to have dinner with my sisters and parents. But I sure fooled him. He thinks I'm still in the restroom."
"Manny," Alfred began. "How did you get out of the restroom if it's on the second floor?"
"I climbed out the window and used the towels as a rope."
"You can fit?"
"I'm skinner than you okay?"
"Are you calling me fat?"
"Look, I'm not fat! It's muscle okay!"
Manny laughed. "Sure Alfred."
Matthew chuckled along with Emily. "Sweetie, he's only kidding."
Alfred grumbled and viciously bit into the chicken drumstick. Matthew shook his head in amusement.
"So how was school today boys?"
"Oh it was great!" Alfred told her with food in his mouth. "Kiku's on the baseball team now."
"Yup! Coach said she saw a lot of potential in him, so how he's on our team!"
"That's wonderful! Oh, this means I'll get to see him now when I go to your games! Is he cute?"
"Mom, how would I know? I'm a guy."
"Guys can still think other men are attractive. That doesn't necessarily mean they're gay or anything."
"Yeah I know. But I guess I've never really paid attention to people's looks in depth a lot. Like Manny is a mop head but you don't hear me saying it out loud."
"Hey! Don't call me a mop head, fattie!"
Matthew sighed and Emily just laughed. "Oh Manny, I think your hair is nice! It looks like very healthy hair, and it's so soft!"
"Ah! Thank you very much senora!" He smiled. "It's not at all like Antonio's stupid semi-curly hair…dumb curls…they're only a hassle anyway…"
"Manny, when will you stop being mean to Antonio? He is a very pleasant young man!"
"It's like he's got this incestuous thing going on with me! I'm not creeped out by it since I see Yong Soo do it all the time with his siblings, but it just gets annoying! Calling me cute and petting me…then cuddling me and hugging me in public… I'm not a baby!"
Emily chuckled. "But he seems to adore you."
"I wouldn't mind it if he didn't do it so often…ay Dios…"
Emily ruffled his hair and Manny smiled at her. "Anyway, thanks for letting me stay here while Antonio lurks around at my house."
"You're welcome. Mi casa es tu casa!"
Manny laughed at Emily's shot at Spanish. "Gracias."
The four continued to eat with occasional conversation, the dogs begging beneath the table. Alfred enjoyed times like these. It was in his home where he felt safe and comfortable. Just another normal day in his life. At least, it was normal for the moment, because things were about to get hectic for him in the following weeks that were slowly approaching, and were also going to get hectic for his new Asian friend.
A/N: Excuse me and my fail writing in another language. I haven't had Spanish class in almost two months. Anyway, here are the translations for the bits of Spanish that was used in this chapter:
Ay, que curosito estas Manuel ~ = Oh, how cute you are Manuel ~
Idiota! No digas cosas como esos! = Idiot! Don't say things like that!
Oh and yeah, I bet Greece/Heracles really does have an awesome body. Heh heh. (-`ω′-)b
And yes, I do ship Spain x Mexico as a matter of fact. >w>;;; Don't believe Manny. He doesn't really hate Toni as much as he says he does.
Also, Coach Cruz is basically gender-bended Cuba. LOL. I've seen pictures of her on Pixiv and she's a very attractive-looking woman. She also seems very spunky, so I made her the baseball coach. And yes, I have watched Big Windup! before just in case you were wondering but I haven't finished it yet...I really should get on that so I know more about baseball for future reference... *pathetic* OTL The base thing was an actual exercise I had to do when I tried out for softball. Of course...me being the nonathletic person I am didn't make the team. *cries forever* And I'm pretty sure 3 seconds is hella fast...yeah...cuz I took longer than that to reach the next base. xD Yeah...shutting up about that now...
Finally: FIFA World Cup. I actually watched some of the matches, even though I'm not really that into sports-related things. France vs. Mexico was the most recent one I saw. YES. MEXICO WON. WHOO! Sorry Francis. You're a cool guy and all, but Manny is mah man ~