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When House Becomes Home

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Daffodil; new beginnings, rebirth

                                                  

 

June 1st, 1998

 

The walls are off putting, not only in their relation to the colour white, but also in appearance. Either side is too close together, it’s suffocating, the paint is chipped and peeling, revealing a variety of brown stains. The floor creaks with each step, even under his small body, and sticks out randomly, making him stumble. The windows are dirty, the water pressure is weak, the rooms are small, the kitchen smells like burnt rubber; he hates it. He hates his new house, it’s not even a house, it’s an apartment, but it doesn’t feel like home, so he’ll call it the house. 

 

His mother heaves behind him, her thin arms struggling to carry the heavy box. He wants to stomp his feet, complaining about how much he hates their new place of stay, but he knows she works hard and is trying his best to make things better for the both of them. So instead he waddles over and puts his hands under half of the box, using all of his strength to help her carry the box to the kitchen bench. She coos at him, calls him her ‘strong little hero’, it makes him feel giddy. 

 

“I know it’s not great, but it’s all I can afford right now. I hope you understand,” she says, crouching down to his height. Her hands brushing through his wild jet locks.  

 

He nodded, he was sad, having to leave behind his best (only) friend, Kakucho. They had only moved about twenty minutes away from their last address, but after the divorce, his mother was left to move him to a smaller, cheaper public school near their new apartment. His first day was the coming Monday, he was terrified. He only had Kakucho back at his old school, everyone else thought he was strange. Now how was he supposed to talk to him? He was going to be alone all over again. 

 

“Take, why don’t you go for a walk around the building. You can play with the elevators all you want, okay? I just need to make some calls.”

 

His eyes lit up, “I can really go on the elevators Mama?!”

 

“Yes baby, just don’t let the janitor catch you.”

 

He runs out the front door, floorboards creaking beneath him. The hallways aren’t any better, narrows, sharp turns, carpet that holds stains and smells that he doesn’t even want to know their true origins. His eyes light up at the sight of the elevator, he hid behind the corner and poked his head out making sure no annoying adults that could hinder his fun were around. Noticing the coast was clear he ran towards the elevator and pressed the button, giddy in excitement for it to open. Only it didn’t. He spammed the button with his little finger yet the result didn’t change.

 

“That one’s broken. You have to use the one at the other end of the hallway,” a small voice muttered behind him, causing him to jump in surprise. 

 

He turns around and is met with the sight of a little blonde boy, he has piercing seafoam coloured eyes and a frown etched into his face. The boy looks to be the same age as him, but what quickly takes his attention is the black kitten in the boy's arms. He smiles brightly and slowly edges towards the boy and the kitten, his little arms outstretched.

 

“Can-can I pet it?” He asked hopefully.

 

But to his dismay, the boy tightens his hold on the kitten and turns away, sending a mean glare his way.

 

No. ” 

“B-but why not?!” He sputtered, not understanding why he couldn’t pet the pretty cat. 

“He’s my cat, find your own, new kid,” the boy spat, adjusting the kitten in his hold before turning to walk away.

“Please! I’ll be really gentle, I promise! I really like cats,” he pleaded, tears welling in his eyes, he just wanted something to go right for him. 

 

The boy furrowed his eyebrows and tried to look away from his very convincing expression. He didn’t have to let the new kid pet his cat, but…well one pet can’t hurt right? The cerulean boy across from him looked like he couldn’t even hurt a fly, let alone a cat. And well, the cat wasn’t technically his. One of the strays in the area, but he had put a claim on him. He even gave him a super awesome name, Excalibur. 

 

“Fine. One pat,” he mumbled, not wanting to seem like he gave into the new kid’s enchanting pleading gaze. He didn’t understand the funny feeling in his tummy at the sight of the new kid’s eyes lighting up and a toothy grin spreading across his red cheeks. 

“He uh, he likes scratches under his chin, I guess,” he offered indifferently.

 

He did so, cooing as Excalibur purred at his touches. He peered up at him with those eyes once more,

“Does he have a name?”

“Of course he has a name,” he scoffed.

“Well then what is it?”

“Excalibur.”

 

He scoffed and the boy frowned.

 

“That name sucks!”

“It does not.”

“It does! It doesn’t even make sense, why would you name a cat after a sword?” 

“A sword?” The boy questioned, “I just saw the name on a poster and thought it sounded cool.”

“It’s from a western story. You should choose a different name, why would such a sweet and gentle cat be named after a super strong sword?”

 

Well, this new kid has certainly stumped him. He thought Excalibur sounded super cool, but new kid was right, now that he knew the meaning it didn’t suit the cat that slept peacefully in his arms. He has some things to think about tonight.

 

“Whatever, I guess I’ll think of a new name.”

“Will you tell me once you’ve thought of it? I’d like to see the kitty again!” He asked expectantly.

How the hell was the boy supposed to say no? New kid lived on the same level as him, he’d probably see him all the time now. Not that he exactly hated that idea. Most of the people who lived in this apartment building were all old folk, there was no one his age.

“Yeah. What’s your name, new kid?”

“I’m Hanagaki Takemichi! What’s yours?”

“Matsuno Chifuyu.”

“Can I call you Chi-chan?”

“No way!"