"Happy Birthday to you!"
The song was sung and candles were blown. Everybody clapped their hands and the birthday boy shyly blushed at all the attention he was getting.
"Just a few more photos and we'll cut that cake, okay Sly?" Jun crunched down to the little boy who was inches away from eating the cake "Now can you tell uncle Judai how old are you?"
"Four." he showed four fingers at which all the adult guests cooed and younger ones cheered.
"Great now one group photo! Everyone get closer!" Judai went setting the camera on the stand while all people present gathered around the coffee table with a birthday cake.
Next to the Sly were cyan haired twins, Rua and Ruka who had turned four just a few months ago. Right behind them were their parents, their short father Sho and their mother Rei with a growing belly that carried another family member. Sly's father Jun awkwardly stood next to Sly's mother Asuka who held her three month old baby Rick who was smiling thanks to her brother Fubuki pulling silly faces at him. Next to her was Ryo who stood there with crossed arms, serious as always. Johan had his arms around his friends from work, Jim Cook who miraculously didn't bring his pet crocodile Karen like he always did and Kenzan who showed up in a dinosaur costume for some reason. Lastly there was Edo who was constantly checking his phone due to his nagging manager Saio. There were more people invited to the birthday party, but sadly due to work or being out of the country they couldn't come. Still, the group photo came out nice and that's what mattered in the end.
"Time for the cake!" Judai shouted and all kids quickly grabbed their plates to get that cake.
Johan neatly cut them on even pieces and in a matter of minutes all guests were joyfully devouring chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. Sly went off showing Rua the cards he got from Hayato who was a card designer at Industrial Illusions and a child size duel disk he got from his dad. Ruka helped Judai take away all the plates and the rest of the guests caught up with Johan and Jun while they could. After all those three lived in the middle of nowhere so those kind of get-togethers were the best way to meet up.
"Alright you two, we should get going." Sho picked their bags and slowly started moving towards the doors.
"But dad, we've just started with the duel!" Rua whined "Just ten more minutes!"
"Rua it's past your bedtime and your mom needs rest too." Sho sighed to which Rua was ready to protest, but Ruka dragged him away before he could. The family started putting on their coats at the same time the other family did. Asuka already had Rick in his baby carrier and Ryo helped her put her coat on. Jun held the doors opened so all the guests could get out and before Asuka put Rick in the car he gently stroke the baby's head that already had several spiky strands of hair on. Asuka waved him goodbye and once she was in the car, Ryo drove away.
With no more guests left, the black haired returned back to the house. Jun found Judai in the kitchen, putting the leftover food in the fridge.
"Johan took Sly to the bed so no need to worry. Little guy nearly fell asleep on the couch soon after he said goodbye to the twins." Judai went cleaning the kitchen counter.
"Thanks..." Jun let a sigh of relief as he threw himself on the couch.
"How are the things with Asuka and you right now?"
"I don't really know, but I think she's changed ever since she got pregnant with Rick. Ryo seems like a decent guy and Sly is okay with shared custody." Jun turned towards his wedding picture where he and Asuka shared a passionate kiss "As long as he's happy, I'm alright with all of this."
"You matter too." Judai playfully threw his arms around Jun’s shoulders "I know you've had a hard crush on her since middle school, but if it didn't work out then it didn't. I'm just glad you've managed to arrange it so the two of you can still equally raise Sly and you get to see Rick."
"I guess being a lawyer has its advantages." Jun hugged Judai back "Thank you so much for letting me stay with you two. Your house is like right between Sly's day care and Asuka's house."
"Hey if we survived our college years together in that tiny apartment we can as well last in the same house for a while. And besides, we love Sly just as much as you do."
"I better go say goodnight to him before my boss decides to send me more paperwork to go through."
"You do that." Judai kissed his forehead "I'll clean up the rest."
The black haired man avoided those few toys that were scattered on the ground, going towards the staircase leading up to the bedrooms. There was one bedroom with a huge king sized bed for Judai and Johan, though Jun would often sleep there too. Then there was another bedroom that was also Jun's office, a guest room and lastly Sly's room. Since Sly would be with Asuka during the weekends, a majority of his stuff was there. All of his toys were neatly put together in the boxes, clothes for tomorrow were prepared on the chair and Johan was just about to finish the goodnight story.
"And so the four dragon hatchlings stayed with the Dragon King and he was never lonely again. The End." Johan closed the picture book and tucked the edges of the blanket "Good Night and happy birthday to you again Sly."
"Thank you, uncle Johan." Sly yawned as he snuggled underneath the warm blanket.
"Good night to you too squirt." Jun teased as he ruffled boy's head.
"Night, dad." the boy smiled and his eyelids finally slipped down
The two men quietly left the room, turning off the lights and closing the door.
“Me and Judai will clean up, you get some rest.” Johan patted Jun’s shoulder.
“Are you sure? You two pretty much organized everything, let me help you at least at the clean up.”
“And you financed everything, even working over hours to provide us with all we needed.”
Jun gave up and after giving Johan a good night peck he headed towards his own room since he had to get up early to go through everything he missed out during the day he took off. The blue haired man smiled as he went to check on his animal clinic one floor below. His mentor and also a previous owner of the clinic let him took over it after he retired, so Johan more than gladly made sure it was in a top-notch shape. During his first year he spent a majority of the days here, struggling to keep it going all on his own with an occasional help from his friends from college, but unfortunately they already had a job at Domino Zoo. He could barely see Judai and Jun who were also equally busy due to their jobs that also required them to travel a lot.
In the end he just decided to move in since he could regularly check on all the animal patients staying here. At first he only dragged a mattress, blankets and few other necessary things from the apartment he shared with Jun and Judai during his college days, so the entire second floor looked a mixture of a campsite and an attic for that year. Slowly he began renovating it and by the time Judai returned from overseas where he worked as an actor, Johan made it quite livable and cozy. So cozy in fact that Judai decided to just move in with him to help him out since he could work from home as a comic book artist. From time to time Jun came to visit, most of the time seeking advice since he wasn’t sure where his marriage with Asuka is going until they finally divorced. In the end Jun moved in as well, along with his and Asuka’s son Sly.
Soft meowing brought Johan out of his thinking. A small cat nestled in his hood unnoticeably, its soft lilac colored fur nuzzling against his neck. Two more cats circled around him, both meowing for attention since he hasn’t played with them the whole day due to the birthday party. Johan managed to quickly slip to the animal clinic that luckily didn’t have any recovering patients, so he just looked around to see if everything was okay before returning back to stairs where all the cats awaited him. And not only cats.
Besides the small cat named Ruby that would often find her way in Johan’s hoodies, two older cats Amethyst and Topaz, they also had two more dogs. After Judai moved in, he also brought his two dogs with him - a tiny and extremely puffy terrier Kuriboh that despite being a dog often played with Ruby and a German Shepard named Yubel that was rather protective of her owner. Johan let them follow him towards the living room where he had given them treats before the bed. Then all except for Ruby, the pets found the way to their baskets to catch some shuteye.
Judai was still taking off the decoration, especially balloons since Yubel and Kuriboh were both crazy about them. Once he noticed Johan coming he happily pressed a kiss to his cheek and Johan did the same. When they were in middle school they would high five, in college they would politely shake hands, but now they would kiss every time when they did a good job together. All the planning, from inviting all of their friends to getting the cake and presents was well worth it. Sly had a nice little birthday party and they got to hang out with friends they haven’t soon for months.
“Did you get both of them to bed?” Judai asked while putting the dishes into a dish washed.
“Barely.” Johan grinned “Sly got all the stubbornness from Jun. I had to read him Lonely Dragon two times before he was asleep.”
“Hehe you’d make a good mom.” the brunet man teased, earning a ruffling of his hair for it.
But all the jokes aside, it didn’t take long for their smiles to fade. They both started cleaning the rest of the kitchen and living room in silence, neither of them saying a word that would start a conversation. By now they already knew each other enough to be able to tell what the other was thinking. However once they wiped the counter and the table for the third time, Johan couldn’t stay quiet anymore.
“Before Jun moved in… remember what we were-“
“Yes of course I still remember and I still think the same. I know you wish to have a kid…” Judai said after a long sigh “Babysitting Sly eased it out during all the times we helped Jun… but I always felt like I wanted someone I could call my own…”
“I know J… I know… We’ve been sending letters to practically every adoption agency…”
“It’s hard when two men aren’t seen as suitable parents, yeah…”
The two of the them sulked in living room for some more checking on their pets when Judai finally said something he was meaning to bring up for the whole day, but he didn’t want to overshadow Sly’s birthday with it.
“A while ago an old friend of mine gave me a contact of this facility… that has no problem with it… and few days ago they replied back that we can come for a meeting!” Judai said slowly which immediately made Johan’s jaw drop from a mixture of excitement and surprise.
“Oh my gosh J, this is amazing!” Johan embraced him tightly.
“We only have to pick up a date for a meeting.”
“Which date is the soonest?”
One week lasted before they knew it and all three of them along with Sly jumped into a car. Jun has always supported Judai and Johan them since he believed they’d made an excellent parents and even took care of all the adoption papers. Thanks to being a lawyer, Jun also knew how the whole process worked and together they went through it over and over again so they could make a good impression on the head of the orphanage. Sly came along as well since he was more than eager to have a friend besides Rua and Ruka, who lived too far, and Rick, who was still too young, to play with.
They were greeted by an older woman who introduced herself as Martha and showed them around. The orphanage was actually located all the way in New Neo Domino which was nearly three hours away and was also on a rather shady part of the town. While the orphanage looked like it was taken care of nicely, the neighborhood make them feel a little uncomfortable. Jun made sure to no let go of Sly’s hand, something he rarely did since he would usually let him walk on his own.
“May I ask who recommended this orphanage to you?” Martha asked.
“A friend from work, Yusei Fudo. We’ve been searching for so long, but no adoption agency or orphanage ever replied back but yours.” Judai replied.
“Oh don’t you worry. With as excellent recommendation letter as yours, a suitable home and the list of your accomplishments in volunteering work, there’s not a single problem. We do have a condition though.”
“What kind of a condition?” Johan was puzzled by her words.
“You have to bond with a child and actively participate in their daily activities. That way we can really make sure you’re suitable parents for the child you choose to adopt and not return after a month.”
“Yeah around that time the parents may decide if they want or don’t want to permanently adopt a child. Sadly we get a lot of returns after a month since orphaned children often have troubled background. So we often organize those little meeting sessions with volunteers, foster workers and potential parents.” Martha led them towards the big doors from which various sounds were coming “Here is the playroom, place where the children pass their free time.”
The woman knocked on the door, the voices in the room quietened slightly and in a matter of seconds, a head of another caretaker peeked out. He had spikey orange hair tied with a bandana and wore an apron that had the orphanage’s logo on it.
“What’s up Martha?” the caregiver asked while fixing his hair.
“Crow, could you show Judai, Johan, Jun and Sly around the playroom? They’d like to meet the kids.”
“Wait, you’re THE JUDAI YUKI?! Man, what you did in Bonds Beyond Time was amazing!” Crow fanboyed at Judai offering him his hand after recognizing his face.
“Don’t sweat it, but weren’t you in that movie too?” brunet man blushed a bit.
“I was, but like only at the beginning and the end. I never got to meet you since they were shooting your scenes at entirely different location.”
The rest of the group introduced themselves as well, though Sly was bit shyer to do it since despite his rather extroverted personality he was quieter around strangers.
“Well anyway, you’re here to see the brats aren’t you? You’ve arrived just in the middle of their playtime!” Crow opened the door, revealing the playroom.
The room was the size of their living room combined with kitchen and hallway. There were around two dozen of children there, majority of them being boys all around Sly’s age. The children were playing with the toys from the box, some of them playing card games and board games, some were running around tossing the ball to each other and the rest were sitting at the little tables, coloring with crayons.
“Here are the kids from ages from three to six. The older ones are one floor above in another activity room.” Crow explained to the three men who were all a bit taken back by how many kids were in one room “Just play it cool and don’t ask too many questions. The kids enjoy their playtime and it’s a great chance to know them. And don’t tell them you’re here to adopt one of them. Just that you’re volunteers who came to play with them.”
They nodded their heads and before they knew it, they joined their fun. Sly got the courage to join the kids who were playing Duel Monsters, immediately showing off his deck and the group of boys freely let him play with them while Jun watched. Johan somehow got the ball that the kids were throwing around and quickly he caught up with their game of dodge ball. They surely had fun, remembering the times when they were kids themselves.
Jun and Judai used to be neighbors, both living at the same street where they would usually play together, most commonly with Duel Monsters cards. Then later they went to the same elementary school and during their middle school years they met Johan who transferred there after his parents moved to Domino. They all quickly became friends thanks to the card game despite the different interests, so it was no wonder they became roommates during college.
Still, Judai could recall the days before he met Jun. His parents were often busy, so he would mostly spend his days alone in the house where he would be putting together a deck, read comic books or just doodle with a pencil. It wasn’t that his parents didn’t allow him to go out, he was simply afraid to leave the safety of his room where he was somewhat happy. The day that he dared to go out and met Jun changed everything. As the youngest in the family, Jun was pretty much used to getting what he wanted and believed he was the best. Imagine his expression when Judai singlehandedly defeated him in a duel, embarrassing him right in front of his friends. It was the first time Judai felt like he was having fun, feeling the energy and passion behind the single game that he played with someone one else.
Unfortunately Jun wasn’t the same since he instantly hated his guts and would start challenging to a card game more and more. Despite the numerous losses, Jun wouldn’t give up and continued to ask him to come duel him the next day. Jun’s so called friends eventually got tired to see him lose all the time and once he refused to give up, they decided to give up on him. For a while Judai was being met with only an empty street since his black haired neighbor stopped coming. After a few weeks Jun finally came to play again though this time he was alone. Judai was eager for another card game, hoping Jun would be able to defeat him again, but Jun didn’t even bring his cards that time.
It turned out that even though he was from a wealthy family, he wasn’t exactly happy. Like Judai’s parents, his parents were even busier along with his older brothers who were already in high school, so the only company he had were the other kids from the neighborhood and now that even they didn’t want to play with him Jun no longer saw a need to challenge Judai if he knew he’s going to lose. What was even worse was the fact that both of his brothers were regional champions and once they found out their little brother was a loser, they started treating him as one.
Judai didn’t really know how to help at that point, so he just invited him inside his house. Jun was reluctant at first, but once he saw the rest of Judai’s cards and his sketches he got interested in coming there more often. Eventually Jun learned that playing Duel Monsters wasn’t the only pastime they could have and in a matter of days, he was reading comic books with Judai and gave him ideas for more of his sketches. Jun finally realized what having a friend meant and he was more than glad that Judai was his first friend.
Now that he was in his mid-twenties, Judai was determined to connected more people together, encouraging them in a form of the movies and tv-shows that portrayed such ideas where he acted and later in comics that he drew. With Jun and Johan spending time with the majority of lively kids, Judai rather sat down with kids who were drawing or coloring with crayons. Two girls giggled while coloring a picture of a dragon pink and the fire it breathed blue and few more boys were coloring an entire castle. Judai took a piece of paper and crayons for himself since he got yet another idea for a comic that he was currently working on.
But his eyes landed on another boy at the other end of the table.
Unlike the rest of the kids who were coloring while chattering, that boy was quiet and completely focused in his drawing. Instead of crayons, he used pencils and was actually drawing something. Curiosity got the best of Judai and soon he moved closer to him. The boy with blond hair and few green strands on his bangs underneath a gray beanie was so focused in his drawing that he didn’t even notice Judai.
Knowing how concentrated he would get when working on something. He remembered how freaked out he would get when Ruby accidently jumped in his hood right when he was in the middle of finishing new pages for the comic whose deadline was approaching. So Judai simply worked on his own drawings next to the boy and patiently waited for the blond haired boy to notice him by himself.
It took longer than Judai expected, but once he was at his third drawing, he finally heard a tiny voice.
“Y-You’re… p-pretty… g-good…” the boy more whispered in a stuttering voice than actually said it.
“Thank you.” Judai smiled and took an opportunity to take a look at the boy’s drawings. To say they looked amazing was an understatement. The brunet man hardly believed those were done by simply a pencil, let alone that they were drawn by a kid who didn’t look older than three. The boy drew what looked like a pretty forest straight out of a fairytale. There were trees, animals and flowers everywhere, along with fairies, unicorns and creatures Judai couldn’t even recognize. And not only it was drawn in magnificent perfection, it was colored so precisely like it was printed.
The man was puzzled of how no one could even notice just how talented that boy was, so he was more than eager to learn more about him.
“This is really impressive.” Judai leaned his head closer to the drawing “You even know how to use shading and combining colors together “How old are you?”
“F-five…” the boy mumbled, seemingly nervous to talk and yet somewhat curious about this man.
Five? That kid was so small in height that he could easily pass as the three year old boy! Judai had to keep himself together a bit not to scare the kid, so he just cleared his throat to proceed with another question.
“Five huh? Well my friend’s son just turned four.” Judai nudged towards Sly who was happily playing Duel Monsters with other boys “Would you like to go meet him and play card games with him?”
The boy politely shook his head as he reached for another piece of paper, ready to draw another masterpiece.
“You don’t like playing card games, huh?” Judai asked gently as the boy began to slowly sketch with a newly sharpened pencil.
“I-I… like the… game… I d-don’t like to… p-play it…” the boy started drawing without making an eye contact “B-but… I like… Duel Monsters.”
“Duel Monsters?” Judai stared at the paper, only now realizing what the boy was doing.
He drew a picture of a bunny, but not an average one. This one carried a huge pocket watch around his neck, had several numbers inside his ears and the whiskers looked like clock indicators. And next to the bunny he wrote something as well.
Clock Bunny, AP 1400, DP 1000, Special Effect: Once per turn it can end the attack phase.
Now Judai knew what the boy meant. Instead of playing the game, he preferred to design it instead. Judai would sketch and made up Duel Monsters for fun with Jun, but he never actually made them for real. The only time he actually did something with them was sending them to Industrial Illusions and they only used the designs since he didn’t bother with anything else. This kid knew the game well and despite his timid persona, Judai could tell this child will be going places one day.
“Why Clock Bunny?” he asked in a curious manner.
“A-Alice in the W-wonderland.” the boy nearly said without stuttering “I l-like the s-story.”
“I see… this is pretty smart actually. The white rabbit was always late so your bunny decided to just stop the time.”
“T-Thank you…” the boy smiled briefly before he went drawing again.
“What is your name?” Judai tried to find out more about the boy “My name is Judai Yuuki. I also have two friends with me, Jun and Sly and Johan.”
“O-Olmi…” the child replied back quietly “My name is Olmi.”
“That’s a really nice name.” Judai brought out another piece of paper “Say, would you like to draw something with me?”
Olmi stared at him with a bit of a confusion in his eyes, not sure what to say, but once Judai handed him more colored pencils, the boy seemed more relaxed. They didn’t say what were they going to draw, they simply drew what they felt like drawing. Olmi started drawing open grass fields as Judai drew an ocean. The boy added birds and flowers and the brunet man decided for dolphins and sharks. They weren’t even sure how much time has passed since only Crow’s voice could stop their intense train of thought that they were putting into the drawing.
“Alright you kiddos, time for snacks!” the orange haired caregiver shouted once he brought the food on an extra table.
All of them rushed towards it, even Olmi who followed with a slower tempo. Sly went to get one too after Crow nudged him to come to the table. The children chewed on their sandwiches and drank from the set plastic cups filled with juice. The three men and Crow took that opportunity to sit down, to discuss their experience with the kids.
“So whaddya think? Any stray brat you’re willing to take home?” Crow joked.
“Sly quickly became friends with the kids he played Duel Monsters with. I’m sure he’d love to play with them again.” Jun said, watching his son talking with the very same boys.
“Eh… I really didn’t get to know anyone.” Johan sweat dropped at the realization “The kids I played with were so energetic.”
“And you?” Crow turned towards Judai who seemed like he was lost in his thoughts.
“I… well… I did get to know one boy named Olmi.” Judai said which for unknown reason made Crow raise his eyebrows.
The caregiver nudged towards the doors leading out of the playroom. The brunet was rather confused about it, but followed him anyway. Once they were out and probably somewhat private, Crow finally spoke.
“By Olmi, do you mean the short blond haired boy wearing a beanie?” Crow crossed his arms in a rather serious manner.
“Yeah that’s the one! He seems like a really nice and gentle kid, not to mention he has an incredible talent for drawing!” Judai said while thinking about Olmi “I’m a comic book artist myself and I’m sure I could teach him-“
“I’m sorry… but I’m afraid that taking care of that child will be difficult for someone like you.” Crow sighed, leaning against the wall.
“What do you mean?” Judai blinked in confusion “It is really not a problem if he stutters or if he is shy. My friend’s daughter used to have a same problem, so I know how to help-“
“That’s not it.” the caregiver interrupted while reaching for his cell phone “Olmi has been here for less than a year. And this is how he looked like when he was brought in.”
Judai stared at that tiny photo on Crow’s phone. Was… was that really Olmi? Those clear azure eyes were indeed Olmi’s, but the rest looked vastly different. It was surprising that he could even keep those eyes opened under two ugly bruisers across his face. And they were not the only ones. He had bruisers all over, his lips were bloodied and there were scratches all around his exposed shoulders and neck that were most definitely caused by human nails and not some cat. But what shocked Judai the most, was just how scared Olmi looked, like some frightened animal.
“We get a lot of kids from broken families, so a scratch and a bruise is nothing to worry about. But this boy… we still have no idea what he has been through. Police investigated his case thoroughly and from what they could gather was only that he was awfully mistreated by his parents… if you can even call them that. He was locked in an attic of the apartment where they lived, hardly ever interacting with people other than his parents.” Crow put away his phone "I don't doubt you'll do your best to raise him well, especially if you're already actively helping raise your friend's kid. But please understand that we can't entrust you a child who has been through such an ordeal just yet."
"I do wish to help him in some way... he's so talented and has a potential to do great things in his life."
"We heard that from far too many social services along with their suggestion to get him in program for talented children... but we fear it would also further damage him mentally..."
"What do you mean by that? Aren't those programs specifically aimed to help such children to further develop their skills?"
"They all sound well on paper, but just think. Olmi has been treated like a mistake by the bastards known as his parents for his entire early childhood. What would happen if he would get under the care of people who only care about his talents and scores on the tests they put him through? Wouldn't that be basically the same? Olmi has never been loved or got a chance to act like an actual child. Here he has an opportunity to experience both."
Judai understood what Crow was trying to tell him. The caregiver was concerned how the boy would respond to his care. At that point Judai wasn't even sure if he could take care of him, even if he got Johan and Jun by his side. Jun might've been a typical busy lawyer, but he always made sure to spend enough time with Sly. Johan dealt with injured and sick pets on a daily basis, patiently treating them until they would heal up.
Though deep down he felt the pain of the past few years when he and Johan would spent long hours writing letters to adoption agencies, each of them ignoring them or replied that they aren’t suitable. The two of them even started attending parenting lessons and volunteering at Sly’s daycare. Their friends helped them out whatever way they could when they got time and if either Johan or Judai was busy, then Jun would go instead. They couldn’t give up now that they were so close.
And that boy Olmi… was it really true he was never loved? If that were to be true, Judai didn’t really see Olmi that way. What he saw was a young talented boy, hiding behind the walls, who still had a passion for drawing and creating things. He was broken, but not beyond repair and Judai was determined to help him put all those pieces back. Judai knew it, he just knew that was the child he wanted to raise with Johan.
“Please, would you at least consider it? I work from home so I can spend a lot of time with him. My partner is a vet and knows well how to approach a living being that’s been through a heavy injury or abuse. He even trained my dog to be a comfort animal and I’m sure it would help Olmi in some way. And Jun… he might’ve had some problems when dealing with aftermath of divorce, but he’s always put his son’s needs first.”
Crow was a bit taken back by how pleading Judai’s eyes looked, so full of sincerity and hope. He only saw one person like that and that was Martha when orphanage was going through a financial struggle, but she was determined to keep it going. This man, his partner and his friend along with that kid… they truly looked like a nice family. They deserved to get a chance.
The caregiver was about to explain him the situation when the loud scream echoed through the playroom. Crow reacted immediately, rushing back in at once. The kids were gathered around Sly who had his eyebrows narrowed down, kicking and trying to get out of his father’s grip in order to get to the two boys who were staring at him in fear.
“Say you’re sorry!” Sly yelled angrily “Or we are not friends anymore!”
Only now could Judai recognize those two as the boys who were playing Duel Monsters with Sly before. Why did they had an argument out of a blue? They seemed to get along really well during their playtime.
“Alright what happened?” Crow took the two boys by their shoulders “Sooner you tell, less trouble you’ll get in.”
One of the two boys gulped down and quietly began to talk.
“W-we just m-made a small joke and h-he started yelling!”
“Liars! You were making fun of him!” Sly instantly argued back, looking like he was ready to punch them in the face “You made him cry!”
Judai looked where Sly was pointing and he quickly realized what was going on. Johan was holding no other than Olmi in his arms, who shivered from fear. Judai quickly crunched down, giving his partner a questionable look.
“I’m not exactly sure what happened. Me and Jun talked when this kid started screaming and Sly nearly started a fight.” Johan said while gently cradling the blond haired boy in his arms.
“They were bullying him!” Sly yelled.
If there was one thing that Jun detested about himself when he was young, it was the fact that he often bullied younger and weaker children. That’s why he did anything he could for Sly not to end up the same way. Judai was surprised just how seriously Sly took the whole thing.
Brushing that aside, Judai was much more concerned about Olmi who despite being held was still shaking like a leaf in the storm. While Crow was calming down the children, Judai gently rubbed Olmi’s back, cooing soft words that he hoped would help.
“Olmi… it’s me Judai…” he called which stirred a boy a bit “We drew that picture together, remember?”
Olmi actually turned around, eyeing the man, like he wasn’t sure if he really was him. But once Judai made his iconic goofy grin, Olmi knew it. He rushed into Judai’s arms right away, continuing to cry. And yet he was no longer shivering, staying completely still in those arms. He felt safe.
“What if we go draw another picture together?” Judai asked to which Olmi nodded slightly.
Judai carried the child back to the table that was unlike before scattered, crayons and papers lying everywhere. Along with the drawing they did together.
It was ripped.
No wonder he became upset, Olmi put his heart and soul in that drawing and he was probably heartbroken when those two kids destroyed it.
“Don’t worry Olmi, we’ll draw another picture.” Judai hugged him tight “And we’ll make sure it stays in one piece. I promise you that.”