The rain poured upon the poor girl as she walked through the slum. It was midnight, a time when gangs lurked. Every man for himself was the rule here and the only exception was to children, elders, and mothers. She looked around before running into a door that led to her tiny, barely two roomed living space.
"Mutti?" A small voice spoke.
"Yes Vash? I'm surprised you're still awake."
"I couldn't sleep." He said. She took out a chicken noodle ramen cup and prepared it. "Not to mention I was hungry.
"Because I gave my food to Lili." She smiled proudly as she took the warmed ramen cup and sat down on a couch that doubled as a bed, next to Vash.
"How kind of you. Lili's lucky to have a brother like you." Vash's lips curled into a small smile.
"Thank you Mutti." She handed him the cup, allowing him to dig in. "What are you going to eat?"
"Me? I already ate." Vash raised an eyebrow but carefully ate half of the ramen cup. He handed the rest to her. "Vash?"
"You need to eat Mutti. You keep saying you already ate but I know that's not true." She sighed.
"Go to bed Vash." The five year old boy nodded and went off to the other room, where his sister lay sleeping. She sighed, carefully eating the ramen.
"I'm such a horrible big sister..." She thought sadly.
"Well well well...what have we here?" That voice! Her eyes shot up, meeting a blond, Italian by the accent, in a white suit with a maroon-ish scarf around his neck. A suave white hat lay upon his head.
It couldn't be...yet it was!
"My poor [name] is hiding from the rain."
"What do you want Cristoforo!?"
"To help, of course."
"Since when did you care about the well-being of others?" She growled. He casually strode up to her and gently took her chin.
"Ever since I heard about your predicament...and I always had an eye on you. Since we met, all those years ago..."
Ah, high school. What a place it was. Of course, not that it mattered too much since she had two elder brothers, Ludwig and Gilbert, almost always nearby. Being the youngest, and the only girl in the Beilschmidt family, had it's problems occasionally. Gilbert was a junior, Ludwig a sophomore, and herself a little freshman that simply had brothers in high places. Good? Probably.
"You sure you're gonna be okay in class?" Ludwig pointed drying to the door to Mr. Baines classroom, who taught English I.
"Of course I will!" She said cheerfully.
"If you say so." He said, patting her shoulder. She smiled and entered the classroom, only to be blasted by pastel colors.
"Oh!" A voice, almost deceptively cheerful, said in surprise. She turned, seeing the teacher behind a birch wood desk. "My, aren't you early! Class doesn't start for another ten minutes."
"Well, my big brothers are doing other things right now and I don't have any friends here yet." He nodded.
"[first name] [last name]-Beilschmidt."
"Beilschmidt?" He asked curiously. "I had your brothers in the past. They were fun to deal with, especially Gilbert." She sat down in a desk at the front of the classroom.
"Gilbert said you were a bit of a nut."
"That's what they all say." He pouted. She chuckled as the bell rang. Students entered the classroom, more freshman like her. When they sat down, Mr. Baines began to call out names.
"Cristoforo Gronchi?" No response, aside from an irritated growl from Nevio, who was sitting right next to her. "Cristoforo?" He asked again.
"That would be me." [Name] turned, seeing a young man in the doorway. His voice was gently accented, Italian by the sound of it. He was blond, with an odd curl sticking out, and wearing a white suit with a maroon scarf. Hiding the true color of his eyes, tinted glasses sat on his face.
"Stupid fratello." Nevio muttered.
"What's wrong?" She asked quietly. Nevio glanced at her.
"He's a showoff. Even worse, he's older then me by about a minute."
"He was born May 6th, 11:59 PM. I was born May 7th, midnight. Flaunts it around like he's king." He growled sourly. Cristoforo sat next to her.
"Don't listen to him ragazza. He's just bitter that Grandfather Remus likes me more."
"I am not bitter!"
"Both of you!" Mr. Baines quickly ended the argument between the two brothers. "Calm down or both of you will get detention!"
"Grandfather Remus won't be happy about that..." Cristoforo muttered. Nevio nodded in agreement although his expression betrayed his inner rage. Poor [name], stuck between two brothers who both were not on friendly terms with the other. What a predicament to be in. Throughout the course of the years, the two had earned [name]'s affection, although she never showed it. By the time they graduated, she kept her feelings to herself out of fear of losing her friends.
After high school, things fell apart. Ludwig and Gilbert left, leaving [name] with two new siblings, each about a year apart: Vash and Lili. Her father's death forced her into poverty. Living off welfare and soup kitchens, she wondered if she could escape from poverty. Time only got harder and harder and sooner or later, [name] would have to give into giving up her siblings to survive.
She pulled back in disbelief.
"Bullshit. You don't care, you never did! Get out." He chuckled at her anger. "What's so funny?"
"Poverty really does change old friends. You do realize that being with me is a good idea? Look at your ki-"
"Siblings." He rolled his eyes.
"Your siblings. If they stay here any longer, the chances of death only increase." He did speak the truth, death always loomed over those who lived in the slums, not to mention other gender-related things that would threaten their life as they got older.
"Fine." She growled.
"Splendid! Gather your siblings and possessions! I'll be waiting outside." He said happily, leaving the tiny lodging. She took a step back in surprise, now realizing exactly what she did.
"Mutti?" She glanced to Vash. "Are we leaving?"
"Yeah. I'll go get Lili, you get our things." She said, entering the other room to gather the little girl that lay asleep. Vash didn't have much to collect: A few photos, Lili's toy rabbit, and what little money they had. He went outside, seeing Cristoforo holding an umbrella.
"You're the man Mutti was talking too. " He said. Cristoforo nodded. "I don't like you."
"You look like the men Mutti brings home sometimes. They hurt her, I can her hear cry. And they always leave in the morning." Vashs aid.
"I never knew she was in THAT buisness." Cristoforo thought. "No wonder she was hesitant in my offer." He saw [name] holding a small bundle in her arms out of the corner of his eye.
"Lili, she's a year younger then Vash and sleeping like a rock." She glared at Cristoforo. "Let's go."
Ten years later...
"Vash!" Vash turned, glaring at the sing-song voice of his adoptive father. "There you are. I thought you ran away."
"Why would I do that? My sister is here, why would I need to leave?" Cristoforo laughed.
"Ever so loyal. Anyways, [name] needs you. Lili's already with her. She looks like she's in pretty bad shape." Vash's eyes widened and he ran off. When he arrived, he noticed Lili was already by her side.
"Mutti, I'm here." Vash sat down next to her. She smiled.
"Vash...I need to reveal some things. First of all, I'm not truthfully your mother. I am your elder sister, actually. I'm sorry I lied, but it was for your own good. You would've resented me had I said otherwise, hated me even. Secondly, I don't have much time. The doctor reckons I'll pass on tonight." Lili tried her hardest to repress a sob. [Name] continued on. "I'm so proud of you, both of you. Lili, you've grown up to be such a fine lady. Vash, you've become a gentleman I can be proud of. If only...if only I could stay alive a little longer to see nieces and nephews from you two." She sighed.
"Please, stop." Vash said quietly. "You'll wear yourself out." She smiled before she began to sing softly, an old lullaby.
"There are clearer skies
further on the road in our lives.
The pain you feel right now
is not what it seems.
Haunted by the memories,
moments of hope are what they used to be
They're only reflections of a dream..." Her voice grew weaker as she sung. Upon the last word, her eyes fluttered closed. Lili ran out of the room sobbing. Vash sighed, covering the body of his truthful elder sister.
"She's dead...isn't she?" Cristoforo asked. Vash turned, seeing him in the doorway. He seemed saddened. "She was a good friend of mine. And a great mother to you two." He left the room, leaving Vash alone. He sighed, taking out a rose from a nearby vase and placing it on her chest.
"Goodnight...mutti." He whispered.