Author: Jubilee (calavasas )
Characters/Pairings: In this chapter: America, Japan, Greece, and various other characters to different degrees.
Rating: T+ (for language in this chapter)
Warnings/Notes: AU - High school. Derogatory names are used.
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 | 5
Alfred had been wondering why Kiku had been leaving the boy's locker room so quickly after baseball practice. He had asked him why and Kiku always told him the same thing: "I forgot something in my hallway locker."
But Alfred thought that sounded a bit strange since he knew Kiku wasn't the kind of guy to forget his textbooks in his locker. He was very diligent with his studies. But, Alfred not wanting to become a nuisance, decided to not bug him about it further and left it at that.
"Hey Kiku!" said Alfred as he followed his small friend to the locker room after practice. "Wait up!"
"Do you have anything to do today after?"
He nodded. "Alfred-san, if you are still wondering why I leave the locker room so early, it's because I have found myself a job and so I cannot be late, otherwise my boss will get extremely upset with me and I do not want that." Of course, that was really only half of the story since the other half involved Heracles.
"Oh, I see. Why were you hiding it then? Getting a job isn't a bad thing. Hell, I want a job! I think during the summer I'm gonna try to apply for a job at the movies so I can get discounts! Summer movies are the best!"
Kiku smiled at him. "That sounds like a nice occupation for the summer."
"Yeah but it's still a few months away… It's still winter…" He sighed. "I don't really like February because the weather outside is still kinda cold…"
"Oh, well don't worry Alfred-san. This month will pass by before you know it."
"Yeah, guess you're right."
Kiku proceeded to his locker and quickly changed, Alfred not bothering to catch up with him. "Done already Kiku?"
"Yes. Like I said, I must get going."
"Oh, well okay. Guess I'll see you tomorrow then! Later!"
"Goodbye Alfred-san." He gave a small bow and then walked out of the locker room, just as the other athletes were starting to pile into the area.
"Hey, Alfredo, why did Kiku leave so suddenly?" asked Manny.
"He got a job so he can't be late for it. And don't call me Alfredo!"
A certain Spaniard's ears perked. "Alfredo? Did Manny call you that again?"
"Yeah, and you know what that means!"
"Mannnnny ~ !"
"Damn I forgot about that!"
Alfred laughed as his friend was being cuddled to death by his older cousin.
Toris sighed as he walked out of the building. He didn't like that Feliks kept forgetting the homework assignments. That guy really needed to be more responsible.
The Lithuanian happily turned around at the voice. "Oh, Alfred! Hello!"
"Hey there! What are you doing here after school so late?"
"I needed to go to the library for some books for my homework. Plus, Feliks wanted me to get some for him since he needed to be somewhere…"
"Really? Like a doctor's appointment or something?"
"No. Apparently there was a sale at the mall that starts at five so he had to be there otherwise he'd throw a fit if he missed it."
Alfred laughed. "Good ol' Feliks. Say, since you're here, do you want to go to the mall to find him?"
"Why would you want to do that?"
"Well, you need to give him the books right? And you guys are like best friends so you should know exactly where he is at the mall!"
"Oh, I guess so. But how are we going to get there?"
"By bus of course!"
"Alfred!" Matthew said as he finally caught up with him. Manny wasn't too far behind, the main reason being he wanted to get as far away from Antonio as possible. "Mom just called and said she's working late tonight so she won't be able to come and get us…"
"Oh that's okay. We were going to the mall anyway!"
"Really Alfred," Toris began shyly. "You don't have to go through all this trouble…"
"But it's no trouble at all! I haven't been to the mall in a while anyway. So what do you say Matt? Wanna go?"
"I need to call mom first…"
"She won't mind."
"But I still want to let her know."
"Okay then, call her I guess. Say Manny, wanna tag along?"
"My mom expects me to be home so-"
"Such a momma's boy…"
"I am not! And you shouldn't be talking!" Manny huffed. "Fine! I'll go to the mall too! Plus, I think Antonio might come over again and I don't wanna be near him…"
"Then it's settled! We're all going to the mall!"
The bus ride was pretty quick so the four didn't spend a lot of time on the vehicle. Manny however, took that small amount of time to call his mother, because seriously, he was a momma's boy, though in that sense, he wasn't any different from Alfred or Matthew.
"So Toris," Alfred began as they walked through the mall doors. "Which store is Feliks in?"
"He could be anywhere since he had told me three stores were having sales, but he never specified."
"Guess we'll have to split up!" His gaze suddenly turned to the food court and he looked at it longingly like a puppy wanting a chew toy. Toris noticed and smiled.
"You know Alfred, Feliks takes a while to shop in just one store. And he usually spends hours at the mall, so if you want, we can always eat first."
"Yay! Hey Matt, wanna eat something?"
"Oh, I guess, since mom won't be making dinner."
"What did you have in mind to eat Alfred?" asked Manny.
"Hmm. Oh! I know! There's a McDonald's in the food court!"
"That place again? Why do you like it so much?"
"They have good food!"
"That is fattening and will give you a heart attack."
"Pfft. You're one to talk about food like that since a lot of the food you eat is fattening too."
"It's homemade at least, okay? And it's not my fault Mexican food is like that! Besides, you like eating it too…"
"I never said I didn't."
After Matthew stopped their arguing, the four went to the food court to the McDonald's, otherwise Alfred would complain for the rest of the evening.
"So, what do you guys want?" asked Alfred.
"Ah…uhm…maybe I'll get the chicken strips…because those seem to be the healthiest things on here…" Matthew said.
"I think I'll get the same as Matthew." Toris looked at the menu. "Yes, I think I will. None of these other things look very…life-prolonging. Uhm, not that they don't taste good though!" He added the last part quickly so as not to hurt Alfred's feelings.
"Nah, that's okay Toris. You like what you like."
"Hey! Why are you so nice to him but not me?"
"Manny, don't complain! Just tell me what you want already so I can order for us!"
The boy groaned. "I don't know. But I'm not getting a snack wrap because that's an insult to burritos in my personal opinion. What are you getting?"
"The Big Mac of course!"
"Eh, guess I'll get the double cheeseburger then…"
Alfred walked up to the register.
"Hello, welcome to McDon—Alfred…san?"
"Kiku! You work here? At McDonald's?" He was actually very shocked. He was sure Kiku would work somewhere a little more…Asian and authentic. Like Yoshinoya or something.
"Ah…uhm…yes. It was the only place that offered a job near home so I decided to take it."
"So you have the night shift?"
"Pretty much, yes. But, it's not very late into the night, so it's fine."
"Wow, that kinda sucks. Especially since you just got out of baseball practice. Don't you get tired?"
"Not really. I'm used to it by this point."
"Honda!" yelled the manager. "No chitchatting with the customers! Do it on your break!"
"Y-Yes! I'm very sorry!" Kiku getting flustered, turned back to Alfred. That's when the other three noticed him.
"Kiku? You work here?" asked Matthew.
"Uhm, y-yes. But I cannot stop to talk because I'm not on my break. Please, make your order."
"Alright." Alfred looked at the menu one last time. "Okay so…we're gonna have one Big Mac, two orders of those chicken things, and then…a double cheese burger."
Kiku pressed the appropriate buttons on the register. "Okay, is that all?"
"Mm. Oh, and five orders of apple pies."
"What? That many?"
"Well yeah! I love apple pie!"
Kiku was sure he'd at least share them with the other three. "Uhm…alright then. Will that be for here or to go?"
Kiku finished inputting the order and then said, "Your total will be $30.43"
"Wow that's a lot!" He took out his wallet. "Eh…I only have $20 on me…hey Matt!"
"Have an extra ten?"
"Alfred…I'm not paying!"
"I'm paying for most of it anyway! I'll pay you back later!"
Matthew frowned but took out his wallet and gave Alfred the money. "Only because you're my brother…"
"And I couldn't have asked for a better one!" He smiled thankfully at him, making his younger twin blush a bit. The blonde then searched his pocket for change and gave the money to Kiku. "There you go!"
Kiku put it in the register and then handed Alfred the receipt. "Thank you, and please enjoy your meal."
Alfred smiled at him. "Ha ha! Thanks! Well, we're gonna go sit down okay?"
"Oh, yes, alright."
The four found a table near the back of the McDonald's area and waited until their order was completed. Toris heard a chime from his phone and looked at it. "Oh, it's a text message from Feliks." He opened it and sighed, but smiled. "He said he managed to get to the sale on time to one of the stores, and he's gonna try to make it to the other ones if possible."
"Text him and tell him you're here to give him his books."
"Oh, okay. Should I ask him where he's at?"
"No, just tell him we're at the food court."
Toris responded with what Alfred had said and then sent the message. "Okay. This will give us time to eat then."
Alfred looked at the counter and saw that their tray of food was ready. He got up and walked over to it.
"Here you go Alfred-san."
"Thanks Kiku!" He took the tray in his hands. "Hey, when are you off?"
"Well…around eight forty-five."
"Oh, I see. Is your boss pretty lenient with you?"
"Sometimes. I told him I have sports after school so he cuts me some slack if I'm tardy."
"That's good." It was quiet for a moment.
"Well, I must be getting back to work. Enjoy your meal."
"Okay. Guess I'll see you tomorrow at school then!"
Kiku nodded and returned to the register.
Alfred walked over to his table and set the food down. "I wanna get a job so bad…"
"Why don't you?" asked Manny.
"Mom says that I'll get distracted and I'll be more concentrated on earning money than my schoolwork…"
"And I'm the momma's boy."
"You know what! Just shut up Manny!"
The Mexican boy laughed at his friend, and Alfred couldn't help but crack a smile too. The four ate their meal contently, Alfred devouring everything in front of him.
"Are you at least going to share those pies?" asked Matthew. "I mean…you're not gonna eat them all yourself right?"
"'Course not! What kind of guy do you think I am? Sharing is caring!" He gave Toris a pie. "There you go!"
"Oh, thank you Alfred!"
Matthew frowned. "That's not…exactly what I meant…"
"Oh, there you guys are!"
The four turned around in their seats and saw Feliks walking towards them. "Like, it is such a surprise to see you here!"
"Feliks, next time don't run off so suddenly!"
"But Tor, the sale was only for a day, and I couldn't miss it!"
"Yes, but you forgot that you needed to check out books for your homework assignment!"
Feliks pouted. "I could have always done it tomorrow. It's not due until like, next week."
Toris sighed. "I guess. Anyway, I checked out some books for you to use, but please don't lose them. They're under my name and I don't want to have to pay for them."
"Oh you totally have nothing to worry about Tor. I'll take good care of them! What a pal! Isn't he Freddy?"
Alfred laughed. "Sure is! Hey, wanna sit with us? I have a few extra pies left!"
"Oh sure!" He scooted in next to Toris. "I wanted something sweet to eat anyway."
"So," began Manny. "What did you want to buy Feliks?"
"Hmm. Well, they were having a sale on shoes so obviously I had to get them, but like, there were also these cute shirts I just had to have! So it was a pretty hard decision since the sales were at like the same time. In the end though, I decided to go with the shirts, because I figured they'd be more useful in the long run."
"Oh I see."
Feliks began to eat his pie when he noticed the counter. "Oh hey! I didn't know Kiku worked here!"
"I know right? I just found out today myself!"
"That's totally awesome. I think I'm gonna get a job later too. Yeah."
The five friends suddenly heard a few loud voices walk into the food court. Matthew looked over his brother's shoulder and frowned. "What horrible timing…"
Alfred turned around and saw the person who despised him the most. "Ugh…I can't believe he's here." He glanced at where Kiku was at. "Oh God…don't tell me…"
Damian and his two friends walked to the counter. "Man I'm hungry! Let's see. What should I get? Do you guys want anything?"
"Nah man, I'm not starving or anything."
"Alright. Guess I'll just get something for myself."
Kiku gasped and walked away from his register, but he bumped into his manager.
"Honda, where are you going?"
"Uhm, I need to use the restroom."
The man frowned. "Sorry, right now it's out of order. And Larry just went home since he wasn't feeling well so I can't afford to lose another employee today. We have customers over there. Look."
He pointed to Damian who was waiting to be served.
"Honda, the faster you do this, the faster you can get this over with. Why don't you want to serve them anyway?"
"It is…oh…oh okay…" Kiku walked back to his register and gulped, but gained all the courage he could and walked up to the counter. "Hello, welcome to McDonald's. May I take your order?"
Damian looked down at him. "Are you serious…"
Kiku said nothing.
"Man, and just when this day was going great for me too! Ugh, I had to see the Jap again…"
"Please, stop using that word."
"I can say it if I want. It's my mouth."
"Just make your order please. Other people are waiting. You're not the only one in line."
"What was that?"
Kiku bit his lip. He really did try to stand up for himself. He hated being picked on and pushed around.
"You…you heard me."
Damian grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. "You better stop talking back to me you little shit, otherwise there's gonna be trouble for you."
Damian turned around.
"Other people are waiting in this line okay? Hurry the hell up and make your order!"
The jock let go of Kiku and smirked. "Hey what do we have here! If it isn't Mr. Universe!"
"Are you finished Damian? I need to make an order and you're holding up the line."
"It's such a coincidence that you're always near when there are other nationalities present."
"Get with the program moron. This is America. Everybody is always surrounded by other nationalities."
Damian's eye twitched. "Jones, I swear-"
"Is there a problem?" asked the manager.
"Yeah, your little employee here refuses to take my order."
Kiku looked up at his manager with big worried eyes and shook his head. He didn't want to get fired, especially over a lie. "That is not true Thompson-san! I would never refuse service to anybody unless I was told to do so!"
"That guy is lying. He just doesn't want to get the boot!"
Mr. Thompson turned to Damian. "I'll take your order for you." He stood in front of Kiku's register. "What do you want?"
"Hmm…I want an Angus deluxe…with a large coke. It's to go."
"Alright." He rung up the price and Damian paid. "Your order will be ready soon."
"Thanks!" Damian waited off to the side with his friends, and Alfred was the next one at the counter for Kiku's register. He saw the small boy standing behind Mr. Thompson, his gaze facing downwards in disappointment in himself.
"Excuse me, sir?"
"You were…aware of what happened just now, right?"
"Why do you think I took that kid's order instead of having Honda do it?"
"Are you a friend of Honda's?"
"Yes, I am."
"I see." He turned to Kiku. "Don't get so worried over nothing. I'm not going to take that kid's word over yours. I know you're an honest person even though you've only been working here for a few weeks. You won't get fired Kiku."
That was the first time Kiku heard his boss use his first name. "Th-Thank you so very much Thompson-san." He bowed. "I really appreciate it."
"Hey, as long as you do your job and I don't get any complaints from anyone, you're going to remain an employee here until you decide to quit or something, okay?"
Kiku smiled. "Yes, I understand."
"Good." Another employee had brought Damian's order. "Order number seventy-six is ready!"
Damian walked up to the counter and Mr. Thompson handed him the bag. "There you go. Thank you for coming."
"Thanks for serving me! Unlike incompetent people I seem to know." He looked at Kiku who turned away from him.
"Now please leave. There are other people waiting in line."
Damian raised an eyebrow at him and then frowned. "I just found another one…" He scoffed and then left with his friends.
"What in the world is wrong with that child?"
Alfred shook his head. "He doesn't like people who aren't fully American according to his standards."
"Well he's gonna have to get used to it if he wants to continue to live in this country. And he really can't live anywhere else, so I don't know why he just doesn't deal with it."
Alfred laughed. "Exactly what I was thinking!"
"Anyway," he said turning to Kiku. "Keep up the good work Honda."
Mr. Thompson left back to his office to go do some paper work and call his wife to see if she had any leftovers from dinner.
"Uhm, do you want to order anything else Alfred-san?"
"No, I'm fine. I was just going to leave with the others right now. But I did want to give you this." He handed him a piece of paper from his notebook.
"Oh," Kiku took it. "What is it?"
"It's my cell phone number. If you ever need anything, don't hesitate to call me okay?"
"Oh, alright. I will make sure to add it to my phone."
"Good. Well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow at school!"
"Oh, okay. Good night Alfred-san."
The public bus first dropped off Toris and Feliks on a block not too far away from the block where Alfred lived, so he didn't have to worry about them getting home safely. He walked down the street of his block with his twin and Manny. The Mexican boy said goodnight to them as he entered his house, the twins opening the door to their own residence, their mother already inside.
She was sitting on the couch eating donuts. "Oh, hello boys!"
"Did you have fun at the mall?"
"Yeah, we found Feliks. And guess what? Kiku works there!"
"Really? Wow! What does he do?"
"He's a cashier at the McDonald's in the food court."
"Really? Well that's something different!"
"Yep. I gave him my number at last."
"Yeah…" Alfred then told him the story of what had happened at the McDonald's. Emily frowned and sighed.
"Well, I'm glad you gave Kiku your number then. If that school of yours doesn't do something about this Damian kid, I'm gonna have to march right up there myself and demand him to be removed!"
"I don't know if you can do that mom," Matthew told her. "I mean, Damian hasn't really done anything to Al. I think the only way you can complain is if you were Kiku's parent or guardian."
Hero stretched from his sleeping place under the dining room table and walked over to Alfred, nudging his hand for a petting spree. The boy laughed and crouched down to pet his dog. Maple walked over too. "Hey Matt, have you noticed that Maple's been growing?"
"He's gotten bigger. He's almost Hero's size now. I thought he was supposed to stay small."
"Yeah, same here. But when we bought them both, the lady did tell us they were unique dogs."
"Okay boys, it's off to bed for you two!"
"You still have school tomorrow Alfred."
Kiku walked away from the boy's locker room to the front of the school. He really needed to get to work. He was already late as it was, but he had been trying to come up with a great poem; a haiku for Valentine's Day. It was next week and he had wanted to perhaps tell Heracles how he felt about him, but he didn't know how he'd handle it.
"Maybe I shouldn't say anything…I mean, then everyone will find out about…my sexual preference and I wouldn't want Heracles-san to be the victim of bullying or anything like that…"
He sighed. He really was in a bind, but he decided to not think about it further. "I should probably give some chocolates to Feliciano-kun and Ludwig-san. I have done that every year since I've known them so maybe I should continue to do so. I wonder…should I give some chocolates to Alfred-san as well? I know he loves chocolate and practically anything sweet…" He shook his head. "No…then he'll think it's strange since it's coming from a guy and not a girl. Maybe…I should wait until we're better friends so he isn't surprised at an action like that coming from me…"
Kiku's train of thought was lost when he tripped over something. "Ow…what was-"
"You should be careful you little shit."
The Japanese boy inwardly shuddered. "Damian…"
"Watch where you're walking."
Kiku ignored him and got up, hurriedly heading towards the building door to the front of the school. He heard Damian say to one of his friends, "I think I'm up for some burgers again guys at the mall."
The small boy knew he was referring to McDonald's, where he worked. "He's going to try and pick on me again…but I can't miss work! What to do…"
On the bus ride to the mall, Kiku thought about what he'd be able to do. He knew Damian couldn't do anything to him while he was working because Mr. Thompson would know and then he'd have Damian kicked out. Security would have to get involved and then Damian probably wouldn't be allowed back in the mall, and Kiku was sure the boy wouldn't want that. But there was no telling what he'd do to him after his shift was done.
"Really, what on earth have I done to him to make him so bitter towards me? I've never even talked to him before on a personal basis, and he didn't attend the same middle school. I wish I knew the reason…"
For a long while, even as he was working, Kiku was curious for his answer. But if he asked Damian bluntly, he'd probably just get beaten or something and he definitely didn't want that.
"Are you paying attention to what you're doing?"
Kiku had overfilled the cup with a smoothie. "Ah! I'm terribly sorry! Please forgive me Thompson-san!"
"Don't get so worked up about it! Just make sure you don't do it again!" He gave the customer the proper amount in a new cup. "But it looks like something's bothering you. You sure you don't want a break?"
"No. I don't have a long shift, so no breaks are necessary. Thank you though."
"Well alright then."
Kiku was glad his shift was almost over. He could finally go home. He really needed a shower, or better yet, a hot bath. He liked taking them when he was stressed, and now was a better time than any for one.
The clock struck nine, and Kiku sighed out of relief. "Okay, I guess I'll be heading home now Thompson-san."
"Alright, be careful Honda. See you tomorrow."
Kiku walked out of the mall with his back pack and duffle bag of baseball utilities. He still had his McDonald's uniform on. He never took it off until he arrived home. He heard some voices and turned around. He saw Damian and two of his friends walking towards the mall's entrance. Kiku's eyes widened. The bus wouldn't come for another five minutes and a lot could happen within that time span. Why…why now? It's so late at night…no! Do not think that way Kiku! How do you even know he's after you? What if he just wanted something to do with his friends? It is Friday after all. Yes, I'm just paranoid. That must be it…
There was a honk of a car horn and Kiku jumped. The noise startled him but the voice that followed was very comforting to hear.
"Alfred-san? What are you doing here?"
"I thought you might need a ride home."
"How did you even know I got out at this time?"
"Well you told me yesterday you got out at eight forty-five. Plus, I asked Yao. He was really happy that I didn't mind picking you up and taking you home. He really does worry about you ya know."
"Yes, I know…"
"Well come on, hop in!"
Kiku got into the navy blue car on the passenger's side after putting his things in the backseat. He really was relieved Alfred came when he did. Kiku could have sworn he saw Damian frown from the rear view mirror, but that was probably him being paranoid again.
"Thank you Alfred-san," he told the blonde. "I really appreciate this. I'm sorry if I caused you any trouble."
"Aww, you're welcome! And dude, it's no trouble at all! Really!"
"Oh, okay. Uhm, may I ask something?"
"Do you have a license? Because from what I know, you need to be eighteen years of age in the state of California to have a license."
"Well, I have a permit."
"But you need a parent or guardian with you."
Alfred stood quiet. "Hey, I have never crashed contrary to popular belief!" He pouted.
Kiku gave a giggle. "I believe you Alfred-san."
"Besides, I only need to wait one more year until I'm eighteen!"
"But, you're sixteen right now, correct?"
"Yeah but I'll turn seventeen in July, and then eighteen next year in July! Say, speaking of birthdays, when is yours?"
"Oh…it is February 11th."
"Wow! Just one day before Antonio's! That's cool."
"Yeah, and it's three days before Valentine's Day!" He paused. "Oh crap…Valentine's Day is next week isn't it?"
"Yes, it is."
"Man! What am I gonna do…"
Alfred blushed. "Well…there's…okay, you can't tell anyone alright?"
"I promise Alfred-san, that I will not say anything to anyone about what you are going to tell me."
"Well…there's this girl…in our class…who rides our bus…and…"
"Is it Navah-san?"
"Are you psychic or something!?"
Kiku smiled out of amusement. "No, just, it's actually quite obvious that you like her. You don't get nervous around any other girl in our school except her. To be honest, a lot of our classmates suspect you have a crush on her already."
Alfred blushed more. "Man this really sucks!"
"Don't worry. I'm sure nobody will say anything."
"Well…anyway…I want to get her something for Valentine's…but I don't know what. I don't want it to be extravagant or anything like that, because then she'll know I like her and yeah…"
"Why not just get her a card? Our school has those Valentine's grams every year for Valentine's Day. You should buy her one."
"But then I have to put my name on it! And if I write anonymous, then she'll know it was me because of the way I write!"
"If you'd like, I can write it for you."
"Yes. I don't mind. I can write anonymous, but she doesn't know my handwriting so it'll be safer for you that way."
"Wow, you'd do that for me?"
"Of course Alfred-san."
"Thanks! You're the best! So Kiku…" Alfred smiled mischievously. "Is there somebody you like? Come on, I'm sure there's a girl you've got the hots for."
Kiku's trademark blush returned. "U-Uhm…w-well…"
"Aww ha ha! I knew it! You have a crush on somebody! So, who's the girl?"
"P-Please…I'm v-very uncomfortable talking about th-things like this…" He wasn't about to tell Alfred that his crush was a guy.
"Oh…well, okay then. Don't get so embarrassed about it. Your face is really red! Are you okay?"
"Y-Yes, I'm fine. I just tend to blush very easily…"
"Yeah I've noticed!"
Luckily Alfred had already pulled up on the sidewalk right in front of Kiku's house. The small teen got his stuff from the backseat. "Uhm, thank you very much for the ride home Alfred-san."
"It's no problem! And don't forget, don't tell anybody about me liking Navah, even if some already suspect it!"
Kiku smiled. "I won't."
"Thanks. Well, I guess I'll see you later!"
"Alright. Good night, Alfred-san."
The boy watched Alfred drive off down the street. He really was grateful that he became friends with him. He smiled at the thought.
"Yes, either way, I will give him something for Valentine's Day as a token of my appreciation."
Alfred had decided to hurry up and finish his lunch so he could go to the student store to buy a Valentine's gram. Kiku tagged along because he promised he'd write the message for him.
"So," Alfred said looking at the heart-shaped pink paper. "You just…write down the person's name?"
"Yes. I believe you need to write down their name and the class number of their homeroom so the office knows where to send it on Friday."
"Oh…okay." He handed Kiku the paper. "Please…?" He looked shy.
The boy smiled. "Of course Alfred-san." Kiku took out a pen from his pocket and wrote Navah's name down and their homeroom number since she was in the same one as them. He signed it "Anonymous."
"Thanks Kiku! You're a really great friend!"
"Uhm, thank you, but I'm sure a friend is more than signing things you don't want to sign yourself…"
Alfred laughed. "But you've been a good friend and done so much for me!"
The blonde ignored him. "Anyway, where do I send this?"
"At that table over there." Kiku pointed to a table that was set up outside the cafeteria. There was a hand-painted banner that said "Valentine's Grams" in front of it. Two people were sitting down taking various grams from others who decided to buy it.
Alfred and Kiku walked up to the table. "Feliks? What are you doing here?"
"Oh hey Freddy! I'm in charge of this year's Valentine's Grams so like, I have to sit here and wait every lunch until like Friday since that's when Valentine's Day is. Liz is here with me too!"
"Hey guys!" said Elizaveta. "Do you have a gram you wanna put in the box?"
Alfred blushed. "Y-Yeah…"
Elizaveta took it and smiled at his bashfulness. "Okay. Would you like to send this person a rose? It's only a dollar more."
Alfred looked at Kiku and his small friend replied, "Whichever you want Alfred-san. You're the one giving the gram to that special somebody, so I can't make these kind of decisions for you."
"Uhm…" he said turning back to Elizaveta. "Yeah, I'll…buy a rose too…" He gave her a dollar and she attached a paper to his gram and then put it in the box.
"What was that?"
"We mark all the grams that are going to have a rose since it's easier to remember."
"Oh, alright. Well, I guess I'll see you two later then!"
"Bye you guys!"
"I'm kind of nervous…" Alfred told Kiku as they headed back inside the cafeteria.
"I don't know…I just am…and it's not even Friday yet…"
"Well, don't be Alfred-san."
"Yeah but I can't help it! When I'm nervous my stomach really hurts and then I feel like I'm gonna puke!"
"L-Let's try to find something that will take this thing off your mind so that doesn't happen then..."
Kiku had avoided talking about anything relating to Valentine's Day for the rest of the week so Alfred wouldn't get nervous therefore preventing his breakfast or lunch from being seen by other people in its digested form.
Of course, when Friday came along, no matter what topic Kiku brought up, Alfred was still very nervous.
"Oh my God!"
"Please Alfred-san, calm down!"
"B-But after second period is homeroom where we're going to receive any Valentine's Grams! The place we're walking to right now!"
"Do not worry. Everything will be fine."
Alfred was a nervous wreck when it came to things like these. Therefore, he bugged Arthur to get out of his seat since he sat behind him, that way Kiku could sit there instead.
"Why does he need to sit so close to you?!"
"For emotional support!"
"What the bloody hell are you talking about?"
"Just move! Please?"
Arthur gave an irritated sigh and moved from his seat, switching places with Kiku. "Alfred-san, was that really necessary?"
"Yes it was!"
"Okay class!" said Mrs. Rosales in her usual perky manner. "Usually this is the time where I make announcements about things going on in the school, but since today is Valentine's Day, I'm gonna spend it giving out all the Valentine's Grams!"
She put two boxes on her desk. "Now usually I like you all to be in your usual seats, but today you can move around to sit with your friends."
"Mrs. Rosales," Arthur said raising his hand.
"Why are there bags inside one of those boxes?"
"Oh, well, you see, this year some of you got so many grams that the office had to put them in bags! There's quite a few of you in here who seem to be very popular among the female and male students of this school! Now then, when I call your name, come up and get your grams! I'll start with the bags."
She shuffled through the second box and picked out a bag. "This first one is for you Francis!"
The French student walked over and took the bag. "But of course. I suspected I'd be getting various grams from very lovely ladies ~"
Arthur gave a laugh. "They're probably from all your past relationships who wrote death threats on the grams instead!"
"Don't be jealous Arthur," he said taking out a rose from one of the cards, sniffing it. "There's plenty of Francis for you left." He winked.
Arthur's face went red, but from anger or embarrassment, nobody could tell. "Bloody frog…"
"Oh! What do you know! Arthur, this next bag is for you!"
The Briton happily walked up and grabbed the bag. "Thank you." He smiled looking down at it. A lot of girls couldn't resist him so getting a bag full of grams only increased his ego.
"Well well Francis, seems that this year I've got more than you."
"Nonsense. I will not believe it until I see it with my own eyes."
"Want to count?"
Yao shook his head. "Aiya…those two and their rivalry…"
Mrs. Rosales took out another. "This next one is for…Katyusha!"
"Oh!" said the Ukrainian as she walked to the front of the class. "I-I-I didn't expect to get so many! Oh, this makes me very happy!" She had tears in her eyes as she walked back to her desk.
"Big Sis…" asked Ivan. "Can I see those grams?"
"Well…I just want to thank whoever sent them to you since you seem so happy!"
Katyusha smiled. "Oh of course! After I read one, I'll let you see it, and so on!"
"Okay!" Those poor unsuspecting males who sent Katyusha grams this year were going to suffer the consequences depending on Ivan's personal opinions of each of them.
"Wow!" said Mrs. Rosales as she took out a larger bag, making Arthur and Francis' jaws drop. "This one is for Feliciano!"
"Yaaaay ~ !" said the Italian as he walked up and received his prize. "I got a lot this year! Oh, I'm so happy!"
Romano pouted and crossed his arms.
"And this one, is for Ludwig!"
The German was shocked. He had never gotten a bag of Valentine's Grams ever. "What…? For me…?"
Mrs. Rosales handed the bag to Feliciano who took it to Ludwig. "Wow! You're popular with the girls Ludwig! That's so awesome!"
He really didn't know what to say. He thought he was intimidating to a lot of people, but that bag proved his personal opinion of himself, wrong.
"Oh goodness…" said Mrs. Rosales reaching into the box. "This one…!" She pulled up an even bigger bag. "Is for…Antonio!"
Arthur and Francis gawked at the huge bag that was for Antonio.
"Wow!" said the Spaniard. "This is amazing!" He saw various roses sticking up from the top of the bag. "I feel so loved!" He walked back to his seat, Arthur and Francis glaring daggers at him but being himself, Antonio didn't even notice.
"I hope one of these is from Manny ~"
"Moron!" shouted Manny. "I'd never send you one of those! Who the hell do you think I am!?"
"You mean you didn't send one?"
"But…but why not?"
Manny was very close to throwing a chair at Antonio's face. "I hate you. Remember?"
"You don't really mean that."
"Yes I do!"
"Oh…it's because I didn't spend a lot of time with you like I did with Lovino and Feli in the past, isn't it?"
Manny stood quiet for a moment. "You know why I hate you. I don't have to keep repeating myself…"
Alfred looked at Manny and realized that there were things he didn't know about him despite how close they were. But looking at his face, he thought that asking him personal questions about his past wasn't exactly a good idea.
Mrs. Rosales put her hands on her hips. "I've called you three times and you didn't answer. What were you thinking about?"
"Oh…nothing. I'm sorry…"
"That's okay. Anyway, this bag is for you!"
The entire class stared at the bag in shock. It was just as large as Antonio's, except instead of overflowing with roses, it was overflowing with chocolates.
"Holy crap is that for me!" asked Alfred in sincere awe as he walked up to the class and took it. "This is awesome!"
Mrs. Rosales laughed. "My Alfred! You seem to be the most popular with the females like Antonio!"
"Guess I am! Then again, I am pretty handsome."
"Don't get too conceited git."
"Arthur, don't hate just because girls like me more than you. Envy is such a horrible thing isn't it?"
Arthur's hands balled up into fists on his desk. "One of these days…"
Mrs. Rosales handed out the last of the bags. One was for Logan and the other was for Heracles.
"What!?" said Arthur in shock. "How could Logan get a bag? He's only been here for a few weeks!"
"Believe me Iggy, I'm just as surprised as you are!"
"Don't call me Iggy!"
"But crickey, I feel very happy to have gotten a thing like this! Better make sure to thank all those girls afterward!"
Arthur shook his head. "Really…that…that is unbelievable…"
Heracles didn't seem enthusiastic about the bag of grams he got, but then again, he was never enthusiastic about anything. "Wow, I got a lot of grams this year." He picked one out at random and read it, though it didn't say anything except "To Heracles" and "From". It was signed anonymous but he recognized the handwriting. "Hmm…"
"Well, those are all the bags! Now for the others in a much smaller quantity!"
Elizaveta got one from Roderich who bought her many roses. She swooned and tied them all together in a bouquet. The rest were from guys she didn't talk to, and then she got one from the person who annoyed her the most.
"Gilbert, what the hell is this?"
"It's a gram! What does it look like?"
"Why'd you send one?"
He sat back in his seat, his hands behind his head and his feet on his desk. A smirk formed on his face. "You see, one day, you're gonna realize that Rich there is a pansy and I'm the embodiment of awesome and you're gonna beg me to be your guy. So I sent you one in advance. There's no need to thank me babe."
Elizaveta ripped the gram to shreds and her anger was so grand that everyone in the room felt it. "Call me babe again. I. Dare. YOU."
Francis stuffed chocolates into Gilbert's mouth.
"Mmf!" He spit them out. "What are you doing!?"
"Gilbert! Don't answer her!"
"Well geeze you don't have to stuff my face with chocolates!"
Alfred watched from afar as Navah smiled at all of the grams she got and the way she daintily held the rose to sniff it. The American smiled out of contentment, a light blush on his cheeks.
Everyone in homeroom wasn't left out. Each student got at least one gram whether it was from a friend or from their secret admirer. Yes, everyone got a Valentine's Gram, except Kiku.
"Kiku, you didn't get anything again this year?" asked Feliciano sadly.
"No…except yours that both you and Ludwig-san signed but…" He didn't want to hurt Feliciano's feelings and tell him that by this point, he didn't count it anymore.
Kiku decided not to worry about it though. This was expected. It didn't help that sometimes he was mistaken for a girl in public, a factor didn't help his self-esteem at all, but made this day all the more understandable.
It was third period and Kiku had Spanish class next. He thought it was a coincidence that this year Alfred was in all of his class periods, even though he didn't sit next to him.
Kiku couldn't pay attention though. He was lost in his own world after homeroom. When he had exited, Heracles stopped him and gave him one of the chocolates he had gotten from the grams. The Grecian told Kiku that he looked sad not getting anything for Valentine's Day, so he didn't want him to feel left out.
That made Kiku's heart flutter. All he could think about was Heracles. He didn't have him in this period, so he couldn't stare longingly at him like he usually did, but that didn't matter anymore. What mattered was that Heracles thought about him on Valentine's Day. Yes, it was pathetic to most people if they had known, but quite frankly, Kiku didn't give a damn.
He wasn't even paying attention in class. When he was supposed to be taking down notes on the different conjugations, instead, he was doodling in pink lead pencil which he had borrowed from Feliks some time ago but forgot to give it back. Even now he didn't remember.
Currently, he was engrossed in writing a haiku about Heracles, though there were so many wonderful things to say about him that he didn't know just what exactly to write. He wasn't going to give it to him because it would be rather embarrassing, so he didn't really care how mushy it got.
"Your kindness is sweet
Your friendship I treasure
If only it were more"
Just looking at it made him blush but that didn't matter. He continued to doodle around it with the pink lead pencil, though his current activity was interrupted by his teacher.
"Are you paying attention?"
"Then what did I just ask of you now?"
Kiku didn't know what to say. Ms. Lopez sighed. "I asked you to go take some papers to the office for me."
"Oh! Yes, right away Lopez-sensei."
The teacher handed him the papers and he took the hall pass so he wouldn't get in trouble. He exited the classroom towards the office.
"Hmm, he's usually not lost in his own little world," Damian said to himself. As much as Alfred and the rest of his friends hated it, some of their periods had students they didn't like, such as Damian and his acquaintances. This was one of those periods.
As Ms. Lopez was writing down some tricky conjugations on the white board, Damian got up to throw something away and as he was going back to his seat, he casually looked at Kiku's notebook and at first he had said, "What the fuck…" but then he smiled and ripped the page out, folding it in his pocket. He returned to his desk and continued to pay attention.
When Kiku returned, he panicked because he couldn't find the page where he had doodled on. "Oh…where is it?! I know I didn't rip it out!"
He worried about it for the rest of the period and onward.
"What paper?" asked Alfred as they all sat at The Table of Epicness.
"I was writing on a paper during Spanish class. Did you happen to see it anywhere?"
"What did it have on it?"
"They were in…pink." That's all he was going to say.
"Mm, nope. I can't recall any papers like that in the classroom. Sorry."
"Why are you so worried about it?" Arthur asked him.
"Because…just…the things I drew are a bit embarrassing and it would be horrible if anybody else saw them! They're doodles of my personal thoughts!"
"Oh. Sorry to hear that Kiku."
"That's alright. I just hope nobody found it and it was thrown away instead…"
"On another note," Francis began. "Why is Damian eating inside today? It's not raining."
Matthew looked at the table where the jock and his subordinates where eating. "I really don't know. Maybe he got bored eating outside all the time?"
"Well whatever it is, it can't be something good," Alfred said. "He's up to something, but I don't know what. I can just feel it…"
It was such a coincidence that a few moments after Alfred had said that, Damian stood up on the table. "Excuse me! May I have your attention please!"
The cafeteria got quiet and looked at Damian, wondering what he was going to do.
"First, I would like to say that Jenny is the greatest girlfriend in the world!"
The cheerleader sitting at another table blushed. "Thank you Damian, but you don't have to say it so loudly!"
"Love you too babe!" Then he took something out from his pocket. "And secondly, I would like to read out something. It appears to be a lost page of notebook paper I found in one of my classes, but I have no idea who it belongs to!"
Kiku's eyes went wide and his skin turned pale. Everyone at the table looked at him and then the light bulb turned on in all of their heads. Yao shouted at the jock angrily. "Damian!"
The boy ignored him. "Let me read some things on here. Wow, this person sure must like pink. Oh! Look, it's a poem! It says: Your kindness is sweet. Your friendship I treasure. If only it were more." He smiled. "Wow, that's a pretty nice poem. Short, but nice. This person has talent for writing. I wonder who's the author!"
Yao shouted again. "Damian!"
"Well would you look at that! Somebody has a thing for Heracles!"
The Grecian turned around to look at Damian. Neeraja, Gupta, and Logan did the same. They had been ignoring him until now.
"There's all these hearts and kittens everywhere, and then his name is written elaborately." He laughed. "Wow! His name is written in every nook and cranny on this thing! I think…yes! It's even written in Japanese." He stressed the last word on purpose.
Kiku's tablemates turned to him and he began to tremble as he looked at Damian. "No…no…no!"
"This last one seems to be isolated with a fluffy cloud with hearts inside of it. It says "Heracles plus KIKU."
His heart stopped. The mumbles stopped. Time itself stopped. All eyes were fixed on Kiku, even those sitting at his table.
Damian crossed his arms triumphantly. "Well now, I think this paper belongs to Kiku. It sure does look like his writing. Doesn't it, Heracles?" He molded it into a ball and tossed it to Heracles who caught it. He opened it up and scanned it with his eyes.
"This…this is Kiku's writing…"
Kiku's world fell apart. He felt like the apocalypse was happening. He felt like he had been hit by a train. He felt like the United States stopped all imports of anime-related merchandise from Japan. He just wanted to die.
"So," Damian said. "Now I know who that paper belonged too. Kiku! Judging by everything you've written, I think it's safe to say that your secret is…out of the closet."
There were mumbles from the cafeteria. Yao looked at Kiku. "What…is he talking about Kiku? Are you…"
Kiku looked at him with that horrified expression still on his face. Damian smiled. "You write in pink. You dress in tight clothing on occasion. And you write a guy's name down everywhere with little hearts." He grinned.
"You're gay, aren't you?"
He was speechless. He didn't know how to respond. He opened his mouth to say something, but no words came to mind. Heracles looked at him curiously, waiting for an answer. Alfred looked at him in shock, but stood quiet. Tears were forming in his eyes. He was trapped. There was no way out. They knew.
Kiku got up from his seat and ran out of the cafeteria as fast as he could. He slammed the doors open and fled to the nearest restroom to hide.
"Kiku!" shouted Yao. He chased after him, Yong Soo and the rest of his family following.
Damian laughed. "This is the best Valentine's Day ever! Wow! Seriously!"
Alfred shot up from his seat and slammed his hands on the table. "DAMIAN!"
He looked at him. "What do you want Jones?"
"That was a serious dick move you just did right now!"
"Maybe to you. But people were gonna find out sooner or later. Why not sooner?"
"You can't go exposing Kiku's thoughts like that to everyone!"
"They're not private if he writes them down so vividly!"
"I bet you're the one who tore out that page from his notebook while he left to go run an errand!"
"No duh Captain Obvious."
"Don't you realize the consequences of what you've just done!?"
"Not really, and I honestly don't care."
"Kiku is going to get picked on even more because some fucking jackass named Damian exposed his sexual preference! Just because you may not like homosexuals doesn't mean you can bully him!"
"Why are you getting angry at me just because everyone now knows that Kiku is queer? And I barely found out myself he was gay too! I bet you didn't even know about it Mr. We Are the World!"
Alfred scowled at him and Damian smiled. He said nothing more to him but turned to Heracles.
"So Heracles! How does it feel to know that you're liked by a fag?"
The Grecian hadn't changed his expression at all. He took his time eating his lunch and drinking the juice from the carton. Then, he looked at Damian. Everyone was waiting for a response.
"Well, you want the truth?"
He stood quiet for a few seconds and then said, "I don't care." He shrugged.
There were gasps from the room. "What?"
"I said, I don't care."
"How could you not care!"
"Unlike you, I'm comfortable with my sexuality. I don't know if this is true, but I was told once that homophobes are only that way because they're afraid to admit they're homosexual themselves. Maybe that's your case? I dunno. I know I'm not gay, which is why I didn't freak out about it. I'm still going to see Kiku as a good friend of mine like I always did even before this day. I'm not going to treat him any different. You'll probably treat him worse. Maybe it's because you yourself are attracted to him and you're just denying it, so you beat him up instead of confessing."
There were snickers from some of the students in the cafeteria. Damian was enraged. His face was really red. "WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE MAKING ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ME LIKE THAT!?"
"Your anger isn't helping. You might wanna calm yourself a bit. Oh, and step down from that table. People eat on it."
"How dare you say something like that to me! You as a guy should be heavily disturbed that somebody like Kiku is crushing on you!"
"Like I said, I'm comfortable with my sexuality. I wouldn't be disturbed. If anything, I should be flattered or something like that. It just means I'm that much more attractive than you'll ever be if I can get both girls and guys to crush on me." He ate some more of his lunch in his usual calm manner.
There were a lot of laughs and comments like "Burned!" in the room. Damian stepped down still enraged. Heracles shook his head and continued on with his lunch like nothing had ever happened.
"Wow!" said Alfred. "Way to go Heracles!"
He only got a thumbs up in response. Alfred laughed, but then his cheerful expression changed to worry. "I hope Kiku's alright…"
"You're not shocked about this…discovery Alfred?" asked Arthur. "I mean…don't Americans dislike homosexuality?"
"Not all of them. Look, just because all British people are gay does not mean you have the right to make assumptions about Americans."
An angry vein appeared on his head. "You just did the same thing right now you idiot!!!"
As always, Alfred ignored him. "I hope Kiku is alright though."
Matthew put a hand on his shoulder. "Yao went after him so he should be fine. You're not at all shocked Alfred?"
"A little I guess. But…honestly…Kiku did look a bit effeminate at certain angles…" He looked at his twin. "Is it bad that I thought that about him? I could never tell him because then he might be offended but now…no…I still won't tell him."
"Oh, it's okay Alfred," Feliciano said. "It happens to the best of us. If it's of any consolation, I thought Kiku was a girl too when I first saw him!"
"I didn't say he looked like a girl. I said he looked effeminate Feli."
Ludwig faced palmed and Alfred smiled, shaking his head. But he really did wonder how Kiku was doing.
Mei was waiting outside the boy's restroom since she couldn't join her brothers in comforting Kiku. But even Yao wasn't having any luck.
"Please Kiku, come out from there," he said from the stall door.
"I can always climb over and get him," Yong Soo suggested, but said no more when Yao gave him a death glare.
Yao continued to try to talk Kiku into coming out. "Please…just talk to us Kiku…we're your family and you can tell us anything…"
"Just…just leave me alone…" he sobbed in reply.
"Kiku…" He thought of an idea and shooed away Yong Soo and Li from the bathroom. Then he walked back to the stall and knocked. "If you'd like, you can just talk to me. Yong Soo and Li are gone. I told them and Mei to get back to lunch."
"Class…will start soon…"
"I don't care if I'm late. You're more important."
Kiku slowly unlocked the stall and walked out. He stared at Yao looking for any signs of disappointment or disgust, but he found none. Instead, Yao smiled at him a bit sadly, but Kiku knew it was because of how his secret was exposed. Tears were welling up in his eyes again and he nearly tackled Yao with a hug, trembling and crying. Yao held him comfortingly. He missed the days when Kiku would tell him everything that was bothering him. He was slowly getting those kind of moments back, even though he would have preferred if this had never happened.
"It's alright. I won't shun you if that's what you're thinking. Even though you may not feel the same way, you're my brother and I'll always be here for you Kiku. Don't ever forget that."
Kiku said nothing but cried some more, Yao holding him tighter. He didn't worry about what people would think of him since everyone at school now knew he had a gay cousin, but what he did worry about was what his father would think if and when he found out. He knew the result wasn't going to be a pat on the back and an "It's okay son." kind of scenario. What could be the result of this was sure to tear Kiku on the inside, and Yao hoped Mr. Wang would give the poor boy some form of mercy.
A/N: I don't care that it isn't anywhere near Valentine's Day. This chapter had to be written since this story starts off in January. And ignore the fail haiku. OTL Poor Kiku. His big secret is out. But don't worry, things will get better for him. You'll see. :)
A lot of you are probably wondering why Damian is such a douche. Ha ha. Well, you'll find that out in a VERY distant chapter. :3
I should note that what Heracles said is actually my own personal opinion on this topic. Nevertheless, I don't like talking about it...it's too controversial...
Also, according to TV Tropes, apparently Kiku is considered to be a Mary Sue, the Purity Sue type, out of all the characters, even though he isn't female. Really? Wow.