BoyPrincess Fan Fiction ❯ Bonds That Bind ❯ Getting To Know You ( Chapter 1 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]
Authors Notes: Just a small note, Irene doesn’t yet have The Thorn. It wouldn’t make sense for her to be hanging back as much if she did, and the whole story breaks apart. Keep in mind, it follows the events from cannon closely(as much as an AU can anyway) but of course has differences.

* *

Many times, Irene wondered if things would had been different if they had stayed somewhere else besides Red Shield HQ.

It seemed it wouldn’t have mattered either way but the Sif still couldn’t help but think about Kai’s current condition and Riku’s death. If maybe she had been a bit stronger, or maybe if Moses had been there with the others. In the end of things, there were far to many ‘maybe’s’ and ‘ifs’ for her liking so she tried to stop thinking about it.

She hadn’t seen Kai since yesterday.

Kai was closed off, emotionally speaking that is. He hadn’t been the same since the death of his brother and the Sif wasn’t sure how to go about helping him. Irene remembered instances when her friends had gone to depression but those memories proved unhelpful in this case. It was different this time, her fellow Sif for the most part kept their pain inside of them, and if they showed it outwardly it would eventually fade. But she was sure Kai would need help getting through with what happened, the question was what could she do?

Finding more questions that plagued her mind more then answers, Irene decided to go down stairs. Out of habit, she securely fastened her dark hood despite having her windows to her room boarded up; courtesy of Lewis. The excuse Lewis had given was that she had a ‘skin’ condition and couldn’t be in direct sunlight without agitating it. This wasn’t an total lie, Irene in her own way did have a skin condition; it was just hers was far more severe then most.

Once exiting out of her room, her sensitive nose picked an unfamiliar smell. The odor was slightly sweet but overall pleasant even if she couldn’t tell what it was. Sounds of talk and idle chatter were heard long before she even set foot into the kitchen. Irene peered curiously at the strange food, round brown ‘things’ with golden fluffy edges. They poured some odd ‘black’ liquid with an picture of an woman on the front, it was labeled ‘Syrup’. An little girl and boy were arguing over something, Irene hadn’t a clue of what. Monique was eating, while an older man was off to the side mixing in a metal bowl.

“You’re just in time.” The older gentlemen didn’t even look from his task as he addressed Irene who just outside of the kitchen area. “Why don’t you have a seat and try some our pancakes? I promise you’ll enjoy them once you try them. Besides, I don’t we’ve properly been introduced.”

“Have a seat. We like to see a new face every once in a while.” Monique pulled a chair and offered it to Irene.

Looking around, Irene timidly made her way inside, taking a seat.

The old man finished with his second batch of pancakes, placing them on a plate and setting them down in front of the Sif; fork and butter knife in all. “I don’t believe I got your name young lady.”

“Irene.” She answered the question, but found herself slightly confused on the tools laid in front of her. The children seemed to eat with them, so she guessed they were used for dinning. But wouldn’t be easier to simply eat with your hands instead?

“That’s a nice name. You can call me Gray, and I’m sure you’ve met Monique already. Those two children over there are Javier and Nahabi.”Gray placed a cup of orange juice by Irene. “Lewis told me that you need regular blood transfusions, we don’t have any now but we will soon.”

“Thank you.” But bringing up the subject of blood reminded her of something she was trying not to remember; mainly The Thorn. She didn’t have it yet, but she wondered how much time she had, how much time they all had. If they didn’t get Diva’s blood in time...

..It was best not to think of it.

“No problem Irene. You can have as many pancakes as you want, help yourself.” Then the retired soldier began cleaning up after himself from the mess he had made.

Monique tried to start some form of conversation with their guest. “So how are you enjoying yourself so far Irene?”

“It’s nice.” The reply came simple and natural enough, but more importantly it was truthful. Any place she had stayed had been better then Khirbet. This place she liked. Irene was sure she was going to become fond of this house. Experimenting, she took the strange tools in her hand and poked at the food. “What are these?”

Monique blinked once. At first she was unsure what she meant by the question, but guessed it was the fork and spoon. “Fork and spoon, you use them to eat. Here.” She went over, gently correcting Irene’s posture, trying to teach her how to use both of them.

Javier watched the scene curiously, confusion on her small face. “You never used forks before Irene?”

It was an innocent question to be sure, but Monique didn’t want her guest flustered. “Now Javier.”

“Sorry.” The small girl squeaked in case she offended their guest. Nahabi was to busy stuffing himself to comment.

The Sif shook her head. “No, its all right. This is this the first time.”

That statement made both Monique and Gray think for a moment. Where had this girl come from where she hadn’t performed a simple task such using kitchen utensils?

However, it was probably best to leave what was likely a sore subject alone so none of them bothered to ask her about it for now. Monique tactfully decided it would be best to move both children along to their activities for the day.

“You two finished? After you’re done we’ll go out ok?” The bribe worked, and the two imps took the bait.

“I’m already finished!” Nahabi announced.

“No you’re not, your plate isn’t done.” Javier pointed out to his half-eaten food.

Before an argument could start, Monique changed gears, hands on hips. “You don’t have to finish all your food. Just put it away for now.”

Happily agreeing, Irene watched the young boy simply dump the plate in the sink and wait eagerly to go. Javier took her small cup, draining it before going after her playmate. Monique smiled, saying something else to them as the three walked away and out of sight.

“Don’t mind those two, they’re more mischievous then harmful.” Gray said, taking a seat across Irene with his own plate.

She wasn’t sure how to respond to that, but nodded. Irene looked at her pancakes once again, not having tasted it yet. Now that she wasn’t distracted by something else, her curious nature got the better of her.

Irene’s chewing was slow and deliberate as she took the ‘pancake’ into her mouth. It was hard to describe, but was it tasted good.(Very chewy though) Her eating habits were improving, thanks too to Kai mainly, but she still had a while to go.

As she ate, her eyes fell onto a picture.

Gray was in it, though much younger. What really caught her eye was an woman by his side, dark black hair and a kind smile; by her were some children she hadn’t seen before.

“That was my wife, Rebecca.” Gray answered Irene’s silent question. “She used to help me raise children in this same orphanage. I was doing it myself until Monique came along, she’s been a bit help and I’m as young as I used to be. She was a strong woman.”
She couldn’t help but notice he spoke in past tense. “..What happened to her?”

The unmistakable look of sadness overcame him, but it was so brief she almost didn’t see it. “She died of cancer. If she had caught it around this time, they would have been able to do something if they caught it early but in those days the medicine isn’t as advanced as we have now. The doctors said she only had a month to live, but she fought and proved them wrong and lived for two more years.”

Irene was interested in the story, and was quite until he finished. “How did she live longer?”

This time, Gray smiled a little. “The doctors may have said she had next to no chance, but Rebecca was a fighter by heart. She never gave up even after the news, and that’s what made her live longer, she had to much to live for and had to hang on longer. If you work hard enough, there’s nothing you can’t overcome.”

The story calmed her. Rather it resonated with her current condition in a way and gave her a bit more hope for a better tomorrow.

Maybe one day if she tried hard enough, she’d be able to walk just once under the sun.

* *

Irene had spent a long time getting to know Gray better, but she had been pulled away from later by Javier. The little girl had wanted a playmate, and since Monique and Nahabi were busy, she would have to do in the meantime. It was nice, and for a moment it took her mind off of worrying about Kai’s emotional health.

Javier liked to talk. A lot. About everything and nothing in particular, or what ever crossed her mind at the current time. Irene didn’t mind, she would just listen, seeming to be genuinely interested in what the little girl talked about. At times, it almost seemed like Irene was learning more from the little girl then the other way around.

Most of the day consisted of them doing odd activities together. The little girl had gently tugged her along with her tiny hands which fit perfectly in Irene’s gloved ones as they went to one thing to the next. They had watched an episode of “Sesame Street” together and both had enjoyed it. In Khirbet, the researchers would let Irene and the other Sif watch Sesame Street to speed up the learning process. It wasn’t often that it happened, but she had enjoyed those brief moments of peace. That was the only pleasant memory of that place she could recall.

Once night had fallen, Javier insisted on giving Irene an ‘make over with her hair’. Since the sun wasn’t an threat at the moment, Irene had went along with it without much of a fuss. Javier had then taken a small brush, delighted and saying she’d make her look fabulous.(Javier hadn’t a clue of what it meant, but she heard it from T.V. once before)
In the end, Javier had simply combed Irene’s hair and the ‘make over’ was completed in a short time. The had nothing to do, so they played with strange blocks called ‘Lego’s’ which connected to one another if they touched. Nahabi joined them later, having finished his chores. Irene was sure Lulu would have liked these things, if she had been here anyway.

Irene was absorbed in her work, and Javier seemed to be in a similar state of mind as they finished making their large tower of Lego’s. She did notice the ring of the doorbell, and glanced briefly to the side, spotting a young woman in her teens and an older man. If she remembered right, that one was named Mao, but she was unsure exactly who the other one was. She didn’t remember getting his name, but his face is familiar.

“Come on you three, its time to eat.” Gray was heard before he was seen, stepping into the living room. “If you wait to long your dinner is going to get cold.”

Javier and Nahabi’s stomach did the talking for them, and they abandoned their Lego’s without as much putting their recent work of art away. Irene stood up, she didn’t need to eat human food but the taste alone made her come for dinner. That and the company. For once, she left her hood off as she headed to the kitchen, seeing Mao, Monique, and Lewis sitting already. David was there as well, but inner-demons had throughly thrashed him: his hair was a mess and he seemed shaky and uncoordinated even sitting. He was obviously still intoxicated at the current moment.

Through all this, what caught her eye was Kai, he had finally came down.

He offered an weak smile to Irene, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes. Still, he was trying.

Irene took the seat by Kai, which happened to be by Javier, she didn’t mind because she had become fond of small girl in a short time. Mao didn’t seem to appreciate or approve Irene sitting close to Kai, and her mood noticeably soured; she wasn’t good at hiding her emotions when she was upset. The older man(Okamura) was laid back, and didn’t seem to have a care in the world, which was true. He had a free meal after all.

Mao drunk from her cup once the eating began, her eyes never straying from Kai and Irene for to long, and the Sif was beginning to become quite uncomfortable under that hard gaze. Monique noticed this and frowned, they’re guest was acting rather rudely in a passive manner to Irene. It was a slight awkward dinner, there was small talk but nothing truly solid, but Okamura didn’t seem to mind the tension, nor did Lewis. Gray was doing his best to hold things together, with limited success.

Kai had time to think when he was up in his room, and he had come to an decision. It hadn’t been an easy choice and he was still unsure of it. He was going to fight. He may not have a true chance but he couldn’t sit here, he couldn’t let Riku’s death be that meaningless. If he gave up, then everything would be for nothing, but the decision was still a shaky one.

“I’m going to continue the fight.”

The statement from Kai got mixed reactions.

Lewis seemed happy about the decision, Okamura, Mao and Monique had no real idea what he was talking about and Gray looked thoughtful.

David however, was a different story.

His neutral, dazed expression transformed almost to a cynical sneer. The drinks from earlier made his comments nasty and say things he normally wouldn’t say. “What’s the point? Saya’s dead and Red Shield is gone. We can’t do anything. You’ll just end up like Ri-”

Kai’s temper flared. He didn’t even let David finish the sentence that had been like throwing salt on the recent wound. He picked up the older man by his collar so he could face him. “What the hell did you just say?”

Gray broke up it up before any blows could be thrown from either side. His body was sturdy from many trials and battles, and though he was old, he wasn’t an push over. He put a hand on Kai’s arm firmly. “That’s enough from both of you.”

Kai let him go, and David awkwardly looked away, deciding if he should apologize. “I’m going up.” Instead, he walked away to clear his head.

Watching him go, Kai sucked in a breath, calming himself. “Just save my food for later, I lost my appetite.”

Both of them left out of the kitchen, leaving a strange silence between everyone.

Okamura decided to break it somehow. “You going to eat that?”

Wordlessly, Monique slid her plate with pie on it to the reporter. Irene suddenly wasn’t hungry either.