"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
It started like this….
"If you don't like staying with us you can leave at any time, but for now, you need a quiet place to rest your mind. Our place is as quiet as it gets. Come stay with us."
A new family. A new city. An old story.
(They lingered around the edges of his vision. He tried not to give himself away. But, that never lasted very long.)
His gaze slid sideways to the eye peeking in the window.
(It was entirely his fault. He shouldn't have flinched when the yokai brushed by him just outside the house.)
He turned back to his new guardian and tried to focus on what she was telling him.
"Now this is your new room. I wasn't sure what you liked, but I got a few decorations for you. If you don't like them just let me know! We can go get you some new ones if you want. I know our house is a little bit old and we're a little bit traditional, but if you want a bed then we can get that for you! But, for now, the futon is in the closet. Oh, sorry I was rambling." She patted her cheek self-consciously. "Anyway, I set up the essentials. The bathroom is just down the hall here. I have a little night light right next to the door, so you can find your way at night. Oh! I suppose you'll want to set your bags down and unpack? It is getting a little late."
He blinked trying to figure out what she wanted from him when she turned towards him with an expectant look.
"Ah, thank you." He finally murmured with a bow.
(He didn't understand the flash of sadness that crossed her face.)
"Make yourself at home, Takashi." Her smile was soft when she reached over to pat his cheek. "I'm going to start dinner. Get your things unpacked and settled, then you can do whatever you want until dinner. Whatever makes you happy."
He bowed again as she left the room.
(He had agreed without a thought when the couple had appeared in the hospital room. He had been so overjoyed that someone actually sought him out and wanted him in their home rather than being shoved onto an unwilling family. But, now he wasn't sure what to do with himself or where he fit into this quaint little house.)
"Thank you, Touko-san." He murmured again to an empty room.
It didn't take long to unpack his small suitcase and explore the house.
It took even less time for the yokai who had been peeking in the window to slip inside to mess with him. The yokai looked like a child, with a bald head and one large brown eye taking up most of its face. Its tongue was slightly enlarged and stuck out of its mouth a little bit.
As soon as it entered the room it clung to Takashi's pants leg tightly and smiled brightly up at him.
"My name is Koji! I never met a human who could see me before. Though I heard stories from other yokai about how a mean human went around and beat us up. But, I never met one and you don't look very mean. Are you mean? What's your name? Ow." The yokai winced as it bit its tongue from talking a little too fast. It shook it off quickly though and continued. "I heard the lady call you Takashi. Is that your name? Can I call you Takashi?"
He ignored the childlike spirit at first, but that never lasted long. They tended to get angry and mildly destructive if he continued to ignore them. After what happened last time…
Well, he didn't want to cause trouble.
"Oh, are you going out for a walk?" Touko-san poked her head out of the kitchen.
He nodded, not sure what to say.
She beamed at him in return. "Ok, be safe and don't stay out too late you still have to eat and go to bed early for school tomorrow!"
He nodded again and slipped out the door.
The child didn't seem to mind his silence. It kept pace with him as he walked quickly through the neighborhood and meandered into a shopping area he saw on the drive from the train station.
The whole time the yokai chatted endlessly.
"I thought hitotsume-kozō liked silence." He murmured, mostly to himself.
The yokai paused and turned a wide eye towards him as its mouth split into a grin. "So, you can talk! And you know what I am! Wow, you're really cool Takashi."
"Ah." He glanced sideways at the people walking past him. None of them seemed to notice his slip.
(Even so, it felt like there were eyes watching him. Judging him.)
He glanced around again and paused for a brief moment, nearly getting run over by a group of businessmen. The little yokai cackled at him loudly. He bowed and apologized with a bright blush and stepped off to the side. But, by the time he had wedged himself out of the crowd, he couldn't find what made him paused in the first place.
(It was odd. The cat that boy was holding…it was different. Its shadow in the store window was…)
A tug on his pant leg forced him to turn his attention back to the little yokai at his feet.
"Hey, hey. It's getting late out. Shouldn't you go home?" Its eye darted around to the yokai lingering in the shadows. "If one of those scary guys find out you can see them, they might want to take a bite out of you."
Takashi blinked slowly.
(Maybe this guy isn't so bad…)
He was completely wrong.
"Give it back." He tried keeping his voice down, aware of the other people making their way to work and school. "Please, just give me my bag back. I need it."
"Nope~!" The yokai giggled and leaped to another branch. "I won't give it to you till you promise to play with me! And don't try to lie. I'll know if you're lying!"
Takashi stomped his foot in frustration. "I can't! If people, see me talking to thin air…"
Takashi barely had enough time to dive forward to catch the yokai. He landed roughly on his stomach and smacked his face on the tree trunk for his trouble, but the little yokai and his bag was safely in his arms. He sat up and winced. A couple of girls walking by giggled at him before darting off to their school. Luckily, judging from their uniforms they didn't go to his new school.
"I'm sorry." The yokai mumbled into his shirt as he sat up and shift it to his lap. "I just wanted to play…no one ever plays with me no more."
Takashi sighed and pulled it closer.
(Maybe he was a little bit too harsh, the yokai didn't seem to mean any harm.)
"Hey, I'll play with you. I promise, but I need to go to school now. Maybe after school, somewhere more secluded? How does that sound...Koji?"
A single tear filled eye blinked up at him for a moment before a wide grin spread across its little face.
"You remembered my name!"
The little yokai, Koji, gave him a tight hug, clinging to his new uniform, rumbling it further, before letting go and hopping away.
"I'll see you later then, Takashi!"
With a wave, Koji disappeared.
(This may have been a mistake.)
"Ah, yeah…" He sat there a moment before remembering he was on his way to school.
Even after running the rest of the way there, he wasn't on time. It was better than some of his first days at different schools, but the principal didn't look very happy about his state of dress and tardiness. As he trailed behind the man Takashi hoped that he didn't contact the Fujiwara's. He didn't want to trouble them. Not after they went out of their way to invite him into their home.
(He didn't know why. He wasn't worth the trouble. He was sure it would end, just like it always did. They were never mean people or at least they didn't start that way. He just made them mean.)
He didn't know what made him look at the guy sitting next to him.
Red eyes met his own and Takashi couldn't help but shiver.
He didn't seem like a yokai…
But, he didn't seem all that human either.
Hitotsume-kozō are mischievous yokai who may or may not have been mountain gods at one point. They aren't all that harmful, just like playing tricks and surprising humans. From what I understand they are also tied to fortune and misfortune. Specifically (correct me if wrong) they can decide whether a family will get fortune/misfortune based on the tidiness/look of their house.
Anyway, that info aside I wanted to address a couple things that might be confusing.
Whats up with the setting? ~Basically, I'm merging these two anime. Instead of living in the countryside, The Fujiwara's (and Reiko) live in the same city that servamp takes place. I started out this chapter with a different family member taking care of Takashi, but man this kid needs some love. Also, I don't like including too many ocs. One yokai kid was enough for one chapter ( I actually really like Koji. Lol).
Timeline? ~ Beginning of both series. We'll see how this combine as far as events in both stories. I'm still working that out.
Let me know what ya'll think!