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Title: Friend
Rating: PG
Prompt: You cannot change what you refuse to confront. – Unknown
Fandom/Series: Hunter x Hunter
Word Count: 5307
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: Mikan’s world is turned upside-down after it is discovered she possesses scarlet eyes. However after the tragedy she soon meets Kurapika who accepts her and who she is able to call a friend.
*~*~*~*

Friend

“Mommy!” Mikan shouts to her mother, as she runs to her.

“Mikan!” Her mother responds and lifts her up in the air. “How was your day sweetie?”

“Super! Daddy bought me this cake!” Mikan replies while showing her mother the cake, which causes her mother to sigh.

“Honestly dear, I thought I told you to stop buying her sweets.” Her mother looks over to her father with an annoyed expression

“Ehh, but how can you say no to this cute little face.” Her father defends himself and squishes Mikan’s face for emphasis.

Her mother just lets out another sigh before walking back inside the house. Her father follows her in while he tries to convince her that spoiling their daughter wasn’t a bad thing. Mikan watches her parents argue amongst themselves about her and couldn’t help a little giggle from escaping. She then goes to follow them in the house, but as she was walking, someone runs right into her and knocks the cake right out of her hands and onto the floor.

“Oh I’m so sor-” The person that ran into her begins to apologise, this is until he catches a glimpse of her face. “Monster!”

The yell catches the attention of everyone including her parents, who quickly rushed back outside due to the noise. There they see the cake smashed on the ground and their daughter glaring at a man with her scarlet eyes.

“Oh no.” Her mother starts to panic, while her father quickly runs over to her and shields her from the upcoming onslaught.

“She must be possessed!” One of the townsmen accuses.

“Get her out of here!” Another one yells at her.

The yells quickly escalate to things being thrown at her.

“Daddy I’m scared.” Mikan says with tears in the corners of her eyes.

“It’s okay sweetie, daddy will protect you,” her father reassures her

Her father quickly guides her back into the house with her mother.

“Why! Why does she have those?!” Her mother yells hysterically.

“Calm down dear, we knew this was a possibility from the start.” Her father tries to calm her mother down.

“What do we do now?”

“Well for now, let’s go back to the village.”

“Are you insane?!”

“Only until she learns how to control her eyes.”

“They’ll never accept us!”

“Come on, they’re your family, of course they’ll accept us… at the very least they’ll accept you and Mikan.”

“But what about you?”

“Don’t worry about me.”

“Dear-”

“What other choice do we have?!” Her father yells back, the riot outside finally getting to him.

Her mother says nothing more and just goes up to Mikan and hugs her as if it was the last time she would be able to hug her daughter.

In the end they decide going back to the village was their best course of action, so they packed up their things and headed out of the town. It was difficult making it through the angry mob at first, but when the mob saw the direction they were heading, they let them through, although they were still yelling angrily at them as they left.

By the time they reached the village, it was already night-time so manoeuvring through the forest was very troublesome. Eventually, the people from the village came out from hearing the noise.

“Who’s there?!” One of the villagers yells out, swords in his hands.

“Don’t worry it’s just me!” Her mother answers back.

“…Kaori?” One of the villagers recognizes her mother and happily walks closer, until he sees her father. “Who’s that?” He questions her mother, but when his eyes landed on Mikan, his question was answered and he did not like the answer. “Kaori don’t tell me you…” He trails off and when her mother stays silent, he yells "Don’t you know marrying an outsider is forbidden!”

“You don’t understand!” Her mother tries to defend herself.

“It’s you who doesn’t understand.” A voice from behind the man responds.

“Chief!” They all shout and opened a path to let him through.

“You have let an outsider in and that brings danger to everyone in the village.” The chief declares and doesn’t even give her mother a chance to respond.

“Ah!” Her mother cries out in pain and she is slashed with swords.

“Gah!” Her father was immediately slashed as well.

“Okaa-san! Otou-san!” Mikan yells as she sees her parents being cut down, tears streaming down her face from her glowing her eyes.

The villagers turn to Sakura and one of them goes to kill her, but before he does, the chief stops him.

“Wait, don’t kill her.” The chief orders, when he sees her scarlet eyes.

Sakura watches the chief who bends down to her level and give her a seemingly kind smile, before everything went black.

When she wakes up, she discovers that it was morning and that she was in a bed of a room she had never seen before.

The elders of the village had decided that it would be best to leave Mikan in her mother’s old house and to fabricate a lie about her circumstances. The other villagers had been told that her mother had accidently gotten pregnant with her out of wedlock so for the sake of her reputation she fled the village. Her mother then tried to raise her child on her own on the outside, but it ended up being too much for her and she used up all of her remaining strength to return her daughter to her village before she died. The father of her child was never mentioned and the other villagers didn’t dare ask, in ‘respect’ for her mother.

Since Mikan was only three years old, they thought they could convince her that their story was true and that she was a full kurata. At first she refused to believe them, who would believe someone they witnessed murder their parents right before their own eyes. However as they kept repeating it over and over again to her, the more it started to sound true. Eventually her memory surrounding her parents’ death starts to become unclear and she accepts the story as the truth. That was when she started living the lie.

For the first few years, all the villagers had pitched in to help take care of Sakura, but as she grew older and wiser in a sense, they all started leaving her. She didn’t blame them. After all she was the only illegitimate child in the village. At the age of seven she had been left completely alone and essentially had to fend for herself. She didn’t mind though. She was tired of the dirty looks they gave her when they came into her house.

During her spare time Mikan would make up little songs, which grew longer as her grew older. Her mother had a piano and she was able to teach herself from the books she found in the house. She wasn’t able to play the full pieces she assumed her mother could play, but she was able to play almost all the chords. She knew all of them, but her hands were too small to play a few of them. However that didn’t stop her from creating a tune for her songs. She found that most of her songs were slow and only needed chords anyway. Most of her songs were sad songs as she would use them to express her feelings instead of showing her feelings physically. She often wonders if the villagers ever hear her singing… if they ever hear her pain.

When Mikan wasn’t singing, she would often read the other books that her mother had left in the house. She didn’t particularly like reading, but she was too scared to go outside and potentially have to interact with the people outside, so she supposed she would have to use books to tide her over until she was old enough to leave the village. It was also convenient as she learnt that her mother was an avid reader during her time in the village, so she didn’t have to go to the library. Her mother’s collection of books was mostly filled with storybooks, but she enjoyed reading about the adventures the characters go through. She still remembers a little about the time she was on the ‘outside’, as the villagers called it and she couldn’t help but wonder if she could’ve lived the adventures in the books if she had stayed there…

Mikan breathes out a sigh and places the book down on the table before heading for the only windowsill that gave her a view of the village. She didn’t really enjoy watching the villagers, but she finds herself unable to look away as they go about their day happily with their families. She often wonders what her life would be like if she was born into a normal family. She didn’t hate her mother, but sometimes she wished that her mother had been like everyone else, so that she could be like everyone else. It was a selfish wish she knows, but at least she wouldn’t feel the pain of loneliness she does now. She continues to stare blankly out the window like any other day, until a golden haired boy obstructs her view.

“Hi!” The boy greets her.

At first Mikan thought the boy was talking to somebody else, but the boy continues to stare right at her. She stares back at the boy for a while until the boy takes a step closer to the window and touches the pane of glass separating them, which made her panic. Even though there was glass in between them, this was the closest she had been to someone for a long time and she didn’t like it. She quickly pulls the curtains to cover up the window and sits on the ground with her back against the wall.

‘Maybe he’ll go away if I stay like this.’ Mikan thought hopefully, but the boy wouldn’t have it.

After about a minute of silence, Sakura heard a knock at her door. When she doesn’t respond, the knocks became louder and faster. She covers her ears with her hands, but she could still hear the knocks.

“Go away!” Mikan yells out in fright. To her surprise, as soon as she said it, the knocking stops. Another minute goes by, then five, then ten, and still no noise was heard.

‘Maybe he left…’ Mikan thought as she crawls out from under the windowsill. She slowly starts to get up towards the window and carefully moves one of the curtains out of the way so that she could see out the window. She almost fell back when she sees the boy was still on the other side.

“Hi!” The boy greets her again as if he was there for the first time and she hadn’t rejected him.

“I thought I told you to go away,” Mikan says as she grips the curtain tightly.

“Well, I don’t want to,” the boy responds.

“Well, I do,” Sakura retorts.

“…Don’t you feel lonely being in this house all by yourself?” The boy enquires.

“Wha- that’s none of your business,” Mikan responds and grips the curtains tighter. Who does this guy think he is, talking as if he knows the pain she has been through. “Besides I prefer to be alone,” she adds.

“That’s only because you haven’t felt the joy of hanging out with people.”

“Hmph, like anyone would hang out with me,” Mikan mutters under her breath, but the boy hears her.

“But, that’s why I am here,” the boy announces his intentions blatantly.

‘Yeah right,’ she thought and decides to set the boy straight. “Look I don’t know if you’re mocking me of taking pity on me or whatever, either way I’m not interested. You should just go and hang out with some other people.”

Mikan doesn’t give the boy the chance to respond before fully closing the curtains and heading back to the table. ‘I’m sure he’ll leave soon,’ she thought and picks up her book.

After Sakura had finished her book, she took the time to sweep the house before going back to the window. She wanted to let the light in and she figured the boy had already left by now so she reopens the curtains. ‘Seriously…’ was all that came to mind when she sees that the boy was still there.

“You’re back!” The boy says excitedly.

“How long have you been standing there?” Mikan asks with incredulity.

“How long has it been since you last talked to me?”

Mikan let out a sigh. “Go home,” she demands.

“No,” the boy responds.

“Go home,” Mikan repeats.

“No.”

“Seriously what do you want from me?!” Mikan snaps.

“I told you I want to hang out with you,” The boy replies in all seriousness.

“…Why?” Mikan asks, a little taken aback by his determination.

“So we can be friends,” the boy simple states.

“Friends? Why would you want to be friends with someone like me, you’ve heard about me right?”

“Yeah, so?”

“You know my mother had me out of wedlock and now she’s dead and who knows where my father is so why?! …Why?” Mikan questions the boy while on the verge of crying.

“What does it matter what your parents did? They’re not you and besides if you think about it, if your birth turned out a different way, you wouldn’t be who you are today and that would be bad.”

“Hmph, what could you possibly know about me,” Mikan laughs at the ridiculousness of the boy’s reasoning.

“I know that you like to read,” the boy answers, which catches her off guard. “I know that you’re very diligent because you clean your house everyday all by yourself. I know you’re kind because you like to take care of small animals that have been injured. And I know that you’re strong because you continue to go to the market even though everybody is so mean to you.”

“…How do you know all that?” Mikan asks hesitantly.

“You leave your curtains open everyday. You’re practically letting the world know what you’re doing everyday,” the boy explains, which leaves her to give him a strange look. “Not that I watch you everyday! It’s just…”

“It’s just what?” Mikan asks with genuine curiosity and a little amusement.

“It’s just ever since I saw you, I wanted to get to know you more, but I couldn’t build up the courage to talk to you,” the boy informs her with a light blush across his face.

“You’re talking to me now aren’t you?” Mikan points out to the boy.

“Well yeah, it seriously took me by surprise when you were staring at me. Normally you would look at my general direction but you would never really look at me so I got a little excited and came a bit closer… sorry if I scared you,” the boy apologizes.

“Pff, I…I wasn’t scared…” Mikan says unconvincingly, her face red from embarrassment.

“It’s okay to be scared, I get scared sometimes too,” the boy says and gives her a reassuring smile.

Somehow, hearing the boy admit that he has been afraid made Mikan feel a lot better and at ease.

“Sooooo, my name is Kurapika. What’s yours?” Kurapika introduces himself when he sees that Sakura was starting to let her guard down.

“…It’s Mikan.” Mikan introduces herself shyly. She doesn’t give her last name as she had noticed that the people here did not have last names.

“Pff that’s a weird name,” Kurapika laughs.

“Not as weird as yours,” Sakura fires back.

Both glare at each other but soon they burst into laughter at the ridiculousness of their little fight.

“Well, aren’t you going to come outside?” Kurapika enquires.

Mikan walks away from the window in response and Kurapika thinks she is heading to the front door. He goes over to her front door to wait until she opens the door, but she wasn’t thinking of using the door.

Mikan was actually going blow out the candle on her desk and close her book. Then she goes back to unlock the window then slides it wide open before she jumps out, much to Kurapika’s surprise.

“What? It’s faster this way,” Mikan tells Kurapika with a smile.

Kurapika feels his heart skip a beat, it was the first time he had ever seen her smile. All the times he had watched her from the window, she never had a smile on and it makes him truly happy to see that she could smile like that. It also made her a lot more beautiful in his opinion.

“What’s wrong?” Mikan asks as she notices Kurapika had been staring at her for a very long time without moving.

“N-Nothing!” Kurapika quickly responds. “Let’s go!” He grabs Mikan’s hand and pulls her along, blushing furiously.

This action surprises Mikan, but she can’t say that she didn’t feel happy. ‘He’s warm,’ she thought and smiles.

Kurapika introduces Mikan to his friend Pairo. Unlike Kurapika, Pairo was a little more cautious of her, but he soon comes to accept her, stating, “Any friend of Kurapika is a friend of mine.”

Time had never gone so fast for Mikan. Before she knew it, she had two of the nicest friends who had taught her a lot of things. The first thing they ever taught her was how to use her swords, which made her extremely happy, although she admits she might’ve taken it a little too far. Kurapika and Pairo had both started learning from a young age and she had felt that she needed to catch up so she would train anytime she was free. It wasn’t long before she was able to fight them evenly and sometimes even win, much to their surprise and a little annoyance.

Out of the two of them, Mikan bonded more with Kurapika. He had discovered her habit of reading books and recommended all the books he liked for her to read. Honestly, she didn’t want to read more books as that was basically what she had been doing for the past few years, but Kurapika seemed really excited to find someone who he could share his love of books and she didn’t have the heart to turn him down. Plus she found that she didn’t like it when he knew something she didn’t so she may have gotten into it more than necessary. Although on the outside she plays it off as just something she would do when she was bored, the truth was she read almost five books everyday. Kurapika also ups his game when he notices she was starting to know more than him and he didn’t like that, especially when he just sees her playing and eating sweets all day. Another thing Kurapika had noticed Mikan enjoyed doing a lot was singing and that was honestly what drew him to her in the first place.

The things Kurapika had heard about Sakura from his parents and the people around him were not good. Even as a child, he could sense the hate all the adults around him felt towards her, but he never understood why. He knows that her mother wasn't married to her dad when she was born, but why does that have anything to do with her. Even if that was a fact of concern, she was one of them wasn’t she?

The first time Kurapika saw the girl was when her parents had been assigned to take care of her. His first impression of her was like all his impressions of people. He couldn’t see what was so bad about her. She seemed just like all the other kids in the village. However it was obvious through their actions that his parents thought differently and he could see she notices it as well. After that encounter, he never met her face-to-face again for a while, and by that he means years.

However one day, Kurapika decides that enough was enough. By this time, he had noticed that the villagers had stopped visiting the girl all together as she was now, they supposed, self-sufficient. They weren’t wrong to deem that she was capable of taking care of herself but she was still only a child. There are other more important things, in his opinion, besides being able to stay alive like having someone to talk to. Don’t they even consider whether or not she would be lonely in that house all alone? Well he did, which is why he was going to visit her.

Determined, Kurapika heads to the girl’s house and walks up to her front door. He was about to knock but then he hears a piano playing from inside. He decides to switch from the door and move to the open window. There he was able to see that it was the girl that was playing the piano. He wonders where she had learnt how to play, but then he sees the piano books scattered all around her.

‘Oh, she taught herself. That’s pretty impressive.’ Kurapika thought, though it did sadden him a little that she would have to teach herself.

The piece she was playing wasn’t overly complicated, just a few notes accompanied by some chords if Kurapika wasn’t mistaken. He doesn’t play the piano, but he has read some books about them. Even though it was simple, it was really nice. He looks up at the player and she looked very relaxed while she plays, then he sees her mouth start to open and her sweet voice starts to sing.

“A summer breeze comes knocking again~

I open up just to let in the sun~

And all I hear are those fleeting tweeting notes they carry away~”

Kurapika listens, as the words seem to flow smoothly out of her.

“A half read book I place to the side~

‘Hey little guy, where on earth are you from’ with a smile~

And with me blindfolded I still know that it’s 3 after noon~”

At first Kurapika was fully enjoying the song. It sounded so happy and fun, but then as the song continues, he realizes how wrong his first impression was.

“I know how simple this world it seems~

And yes I know, that it’s me who is weird~

But even I have to wonder why I cant just be like the rest~

And far away and out of their sight~,

there is a house in the forest of trees hid away~

And can you bet there no one crazy enough to stop by~”

The worst part was that Kurapika soon becomes aware of the resemblance between the song and her life.

“Don’t look in their eyes!~

A heart so cold became ice, I guess that I wasn’t able to make a friend~

And all I see everyday can never be much more than a thing~

The world outside there is made from pictures in books~

So please could you forgive me thinking such terrible things~

Will someone please let me see with my own eyes?~”

Kurapika couldn’t help but feel guilty about the pain she was conveying through this song, though much to his relief the song does take a small turn for the good. However his slight relief was short lived as the girl sings more sad lyrics before stoping all together.

“Long long long since before I was born~

It’s always been an inside out world but there was burning~

Life inside me~

I knew it’d never it’d never go out~

Hey hey, when will that knock ever come?~

I just can’t wait to see what kind of future is out there~

I’ll wait to hear the sound~

Knocking a beautiful call at my door…”

‘At least she has hope.’ Kurapika thought as he listens to the part about having life inside her and waiting for the day someone would come visit her.

“Dreams about what life would be like~

As I stare faraway in a daze~

And just then, I could hear soft calling of a voice in the wind~

I take a leap back and knock down my tea~

And of course, it’s all over the desk~

‘What can I do?’~

As I stare at the door without a thing in the way~

‘Don’t look in their eyes…or they’ll be turned into stone.’~

My parents always had earnestly told me this~

And surely my eyes were to be treated in just the same way~

And just as stories go, the people will run far away~

But I don’t blame them being way too afraid~

The world was just not to love someone like me~”

However his slight relief was short lived as the girl sings more sad lyrics before stoping all together.

‘Eh? That can’t be it!’ Kurapika thought, but then he sees the girl stand up and head to the window. ‘I have to hide!’ Was Kurapika’s immediate response and he ducks under the windowsill. He could hear the sounds of curtains being shut, signifying that she was done for the day. He goes out from under the window and stares at the now covered window. ‘I guess I’ll visit her next time.’ Kurapika thought and heads home in a defeated state. ‘I hope I get to hear the rest of the song next time…’

The next time Kurapika visits, he sees her reading a book instead of playing the piano. She looked so calm and serene as she flipped through the pages and he couldn’t bring himself to interrupt her so he continues to watch her for a while before leaving.

The times after that didn’t go as well as Kurapika had hoped either. Whenever he comes over she would always be doing something and he just couldn’t bring himself to interrupt her and just ends up watching her through the window for a while. He’s seen her reading books, cleaning, writing what he assumed were her songs, tending to small injured animals… and playing piano while singing. Although much to his disappointment, he never heard the sing the song the first time he came here.

This cycle of Kurapika coming to her house to visit her, giving up and watching her through the window instead became a part of his normal routine and he was okay with that. However it did shock him when one day she catches him in the act. He remembers think ‘Crap, did she find out about what I’ve been doing?!’ He then tries to confirm whether or not she does through her reaction to his greeting. When she didn’t react, he took a step closer, which turned out to be a bad move as she shuts the curtains almost immediately. But, he wasn’t about to give up, he had gotten this far and there was no going back and to his surprise he somehow convinces her to come out of her home and become his friend.

“Hah?! You seriously did all that?!” Mikan yells in shock of Kurapika’s stalker behaviour.

“Well what else was I supposed to do?” Kurapika defends himself.

“Um, I don’t know…knock?!”

“Would you have answered if I had knocked?”

“…” Mikan couldn’t admit that Kurapika was right so she doesn’t say anything in response, but something from Kurapika’s story did catch her attention. “That song wasn’t finished, but I have finished it now if you want to hear…” She shyly offers.

“Wait really?!” Kurapika shouts excitedly. “Yes, I want to hear it! Let’s go back to your house right now so you can play it!”

“Eh? I can just sing it right here.”

“No, you have to play it all properly.”

Sakura really didn’t know what the difference was but Kurapika seemed so into it that she couldn’t bring herself to say no and lets him drag her to her house.

“Can I sing now?” Mikan asks when she was seated in front of the piano.

Kurapika nods vigorously in approval, which brings a slight smile to Mikan’s face. She sighs and starts to play the song.

“A summer breeze comes knocking again~

I open up just to let in the sun~

And all I hear are those fleeting tweeting notes they carry away~

A half read book I place to the side~

‘Hey little guy, where on earth are you from’ with a smile~

And with me blindfolded I still know that it’s 3 after noon~

I know how simple this world it seems~

And yes I know, that it’s me who is weird~

But even I have to wonder why I cant just be like the rest~

And far away and out of their sight~,

there is a house in the forest of trees hid away~

And can you bet there no one crazy enough to stop by~

Don’t look in their eyes!~

A heart so cold became ice, I guess that I wasn’t able to make a friend~

And all I see everyday can never be much more than a thing~

The world outside there is made from pictures in books~

So please could you forgive me thinking such terrible things~

Will someone please let me see with my own eyes?~

Long long long since before I was born~

It’s always been an inside out world but there was burning~

Life inside me~

I knew it’d never go out~

Hey hey, when will that knock ever come?~

I just cant wait to see what kind of future is out there~

I’ll wait to hear the sound~

Knocking a beautiful call at my door~”

“Dreams about what life would be like~

As I stare faraway in a daze~

And just then, I could hear soft calling of a voice in the wind~

I take a leap back and knock down my tea~

And of course, it’s all over the desk~

‘What can I do?’~

As I stare at the door without a thing in the way~

‘Don’t look in their eyes…or they’ll be turned into stone.’~

My parents always had earnestly told me this~

And surely my eyes were to be treated in just the same way~

And just as stories go, the people will run far away~

But I don’t blame them being way too afraid~

The world was just not to love someone like me~”

Kurapika was literally on the edge of his seat when he hears the last line and sees that this time Mikan wasn’t done yet.

“Knock Knock Knock and the sound is loud~

Although I’d never heard a knock upon my door so~

I was so scared~

Oh god I need to think straight~”

“Hey hey, hearing a knock at my door~

I never thought that I would ever hear such beating~

And just so easily~

It opened to leave me exposed and alone~

And then finding me cowering hiding eyes away~

That person was of course to be surprised~

‘Don’t look in my eyes…petrified…you’ll turn to stone’~

I tried to speak but he just smiled back~.

“I was just like you, I was scared of living life~

so scared that I would turn completely stone~

But living in a world where no one is ever scared~,

now wouldn’t that be nice?~”

‘Could this be about our first encounter?!’ Kurapika thought happily.

“Now now now, from a spark inside~

I had imagined a new world for me to live in~

Where they love me I feel it ringing out now~

Hey hey, what does this world look like~

I wanna know please tell me just how then can I get there~

So if I’m ever lost~

Hey will you search for me once again?~”

“Of course I will!” Kurapika jumps up and hugs her.

“Hah?! What are you talking about, it’s just a song!” Mikan yells at Kurapika for the sudden attack, but on the inside she really couldn’t be happier.

................................................................................................................................

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