☁ chapter seven
☁ greece/japan mainly; a few minor others appear here.
☁ rated T for mpreg, cussing, etc etc. just general life.
☁ mmm, Kiku has some internal conflict and development and stuff. I like this chapter; the story is moving along nicely and i've set the scene for a few bits I intend to include later. c:
☁ You might notice that whenever the baby is refered to, I use the male pronoun. And you might think that you're clever and i'm dumb, giving away the gender of the baby already. WELL, fair reader, I am not. it's just easy to use one gender, and I figure that since both Greece and Japan are son-oriented societies, they'd hope for a son. So. Yeah. BUUUT in reality, I still dunno which gender the baby should be. At all. ; D ; So cast your opinions in now! ~
In a world where it's rare for nations to keep their children, and rarer still for said children to survive the womb, two of the most stubborn of them find themselves entangled in a web of newfound friendships, emotions and frontiers - all summoned forth by one sinister, little pink plus sign.
As the days passed and hard work became more and more foreign to him, Kiku found that it was becoming far too easy to sleep in. There were days when he woke up at times pressing towards nine in the morning. Although this was completely unacceptable, one couldn't blame him; he barely got enough sleep as it was, as the baby had somehow discovered that it was glorious fun to kick when his mother was trying to relax. And with Greece, it was always so warm and cozy... although it was an entirely new and strange sensation, Japan had to admit; cuddling wasn't so bad. It could even be enjoyable, on some occasions.
On one particular morning, though, it seemed that absolutely everything was more out of whack than it already was. First, Kiku woke up at ten-thirty in the morning. As soon as the panic at his somehow impolite hour of waking subsided, he'd looked out the window and found that it was raining. It was a soft fall, and it looked soothing, though he knew that it would just make everything outside wet and gray and miserable. He'd smiled a little; he liked the rain, no matter what.
And as he turned to wake Greece, he found something that shocked him completely. His lover was not there. That was likely the most disorienting thing of all; usually it took poking and prodding and near-pleading to get him to wake up before eleven in the morning, and if Kiku was there to sleep with him? The Greek did everything in his power to make sure they stayed in bed together, for as long as possible. He must have had some important emergency meeting to attend, or something of the like. The thought that maybe something had happened with the other’s people temporarily crossed his mind, but he quickly and stubbornly shook it away. Positive thoughts, Kiku.
Rubbing his eyes, Japan turned and finally scooted reluctantly out of bed. As he went he put on his yukata; as he put on his socks as well, he found himself feeling glad that Heracles wasn’t there to witness the struggle that it was just to put the damn things on. It took a few minutes for him just to find the kitchen, in the labyrinth that was Greece's home, alone, without anyone or anything to guide him.
Nibbling on some double chocolate Hello Panda snacks, Kiku decided to see what he could discover in the grand maze of Heracles' humble home. The Greek had left a note on the kitchen table, saying that he had to go to a meeting of some sort and wouldn't be back until the evening, but he could talk and come home at any time... Though of course he loved having company (and he never was without it, technically), Japan smiled at the opportunity to have some peaceful, calm and quiet alone time.
"Ah... what a fantastically complicated home... hmm, Pochi-kun?" Japan mused aloud, stopping for a moment to scratch his beloved little dog behind the ear before turning a tight corner in the darkened back hall and stepping into a small, cramped room.
Like most of the others, at first glance it was simply filled with junk. Furniture that was probably picked up at the side of a highway, knick-knacks you'd only find at a thrift store and antiques even a museum would be glad to have all crowded together in a sort of lazy harmony that only someone like Heracles could pull off. While a few rooms in his home were open, airy, organized and spacious, many more seemed to be like this one; giant storage closets. While a few had beds and looked at least somewhat like guest rooms or bedrooms, still others had themes - like "office" or "sitting room" or "crap from the 1700s".
Kiku would never have guessed that the home was so large; from the front it looked small and cramped, though the gaggle of potted plants and other such things on the front patio should have lent him to the idea. Not even in their many years of friendship and visitation had Japan seen all of the other's home, and although the thought that maybe there was a reason for that being so put him on edge, he couldn't fight his curiosity. So he pressed on, discovering new things, putting new ideas and perceptions of Heracles in his head with each room and closet and hallway and window he happened to glance in, down, and out of.
It was good to sit, finally. Rubbing his belly with one hand, (trying, in vain, to calm the baby's sudden kicking) Japan sat himself down slowly on the bed he and Greece now shared. He stopped to help Pochi up as well, a gentle smile on his face.
Lying down, he sighed softly, half out of relief to be off his feet and relaxing, half as a byproduct of all the thoughts and musings that were already racing through his head.
He knew that Greece was a mystery. Kiku himself had often remarked so, and knew that the other said the very same thing about him in return. He figured that it had to do with age and experience; pain and joy, living and let live. But now -
"Perhaps..." Kiku thought aloud, having found long ago that speaking out loud to Pochi helped him better organize his thoughts, "he needs a large, complicated home to mirror his heart, or his experience... or, he needs things to fill a gap? Like those 'hoarders' on America's television shows. Although he is not even close to them..."
He shook his head slowly, pressing his eyes together. Trying to pin the other to words was both easy and hard - he was like the cast colors of a stained glass window on a white marble church floor. You could pick out colors and general shapes easily, but trying to put them together into a whole picture was the real challenge. Japan would be the opposite - you could see the picture, but not the colors - the motivation, the thoughts behind his actions and his mannerisms, was often the thing to figure out.
"But if I could pin him down - he would be stubborn, lazy, kind, generous... he is attached to the past. He likes wandering, because having a path 'is boring.' ...Pochi, how is it that I know this man better than I know myself, yet I don't know him at all?"
The dog barked softly, curling up into a ball of blonde fur at Japan's side. His master lay there, a half-smile on his face, feeling his heart press into itself with love; for the impossible baby that kicked and wiggled inside of him, for the rain that pattered softly on the roof, the ocean and soft socks and salted salmon and olives and how Greece had made him ride on a burro all the way up a hill when they were in Santorini, but mostly for that man himself.
"I... I should tell him... Sh-shouldn't I?"
Kiku tried. Bless his heart, he really did.
It wasn't as if he was scared of the other's reaction - if anything, knew that it would be of joy and love, too. There really was no doubt of how Greece felt for him. His slow courting, extreme patience and good humor in almost every situation were certainly evidence enough... Well, if the bump immediately wasn't.
So he attempted to say it when Heracles got home, his hair puffed up from the rain (I love that too, Kiku thought), but he just couldn't get it out. Instead he helped his lover out of his wet clothes, gave into the soft kissing and touching that ensued, and sternly chastised him after – as usual.
He tried saying it over dinner, but ended up just asking for the soy sauce, humiliation and defeat written all over his face. How could he, Japan, leader in technology, master of miraculous modernization, the one and only Land Of The Rising Sun, sophisticated nation extraordinaire (and ex-samurai to boot) be scared of uttering three little words?
He'd manage to choke out the news that he was pregnant - in public, too! He'd also talked about feelings once or twice before. He was ready. The only other thing he could possibly do was ask Germany if he had guides on how to say it, but he wasn't quite ready to face Feliciano's extreme excitement so soon, and willingly. (He was already preparing himself for the inevitable shower of affection and hospitality that would ensue after the baby's birth).
But: but. One look up at Greece, and he knew exactly how he could be so frightened, so completely petrified of saying it. It wasn't that he thought he would be laughed at, or rejected. Maybe the words just weren't enough. All he'd ever wanted was someone who would just understand him, after all.
"A-ano... We should choose a color already..."
Three nations stood - rendered completely helpless in the face of such a monumental decision - in front of a mostly blank wall. On it three paint colors were smeared, left to dry long enough to show their permanent tone.
The first was a light blue, matching, more or less, Greece's own flag. Heracles chose that for obvious reasons, but made the compelling argument that "it reminds one... of the sky..."
Another was a soft green, the color that Feliciano chose, saying something about it being "pretty, and it'll remind the baby of meadows and running and stuff!"
The last was a light cream color, not exactly white (or off-white), but not yellow either. Japan rather liked that one, claiming gender neutrality. To him, it, too, was peaceful.
The three leaned in on their hips; Japan's hand floated to rest atop his tummy, as if he could draw some kind of answer out of the little one himself. Feliciano, ever the dedicated painter, was quiet for once, lost in his pondering of which tone really did look best. Greece was thinking about lunch, and also about cats. All in all, it was a storm of consideration and silent argument.
"I think that the white or the green would be best, really!" Italy finally said, nodding firmly. "Blue is nice, but it would make a little girl feel out of place! And she wouldn't even know what the sky is!"
Greece, considering this for a moment, shrugged. "I... well... whatever Kiku decides, is... fine with me."
The two turned to Japan, who in turn froze up; he hated making these kinds of decisions. The mother part of his brain was screaming for him to just finish the room already, but the rest just couldn't tell.
"I... I will sleep on the decision. It is too monumental for me to make as of now."
"Does that mean we can make lunch now?"
"I'm glad we chose this room..." Heracles murmured against his lover's hair, after Italy had gone home. The two lay on a small couch that had been dragged in, that faced the window, and the wicker chair placed under it.
Secure and sleepy in his arms, Kiku made a little noise of confusion, though he figured that Greece would say that just because it was a good room for a nursery. It was close to their bedroom, with a window facing the general direction of the ocean and it was spacious enough to fit everything in.
"I..." Greece started, then shifted a little so the other would be a little more comfortable - he knew how precious sleep had become to Japan recently. "I just figure that... well, this is sort of where it all began."
It being the second sitting room would ultimately mean nothing to Kiku, and technically should have been nothing special to Heracles. But that the room where he'd first sat, where he received that call, would be where it would end, both of their lives changed forever, was enough to make Greece smile for the nearly-impossible future and kiss his lover goodnight as he, too, fell asleep. Three heartbeats fluttered; together, they were stronger than anything.