“I’m off, dad!” Takumi yelled to his dad as he was about to go to school. Soon he’ll turn fourteen. In human years, at least.
“Got it.” his dad replied behind the counter. From a first glance, you may think that they’re your usual father and son duo, but the truth couldn’t be farther from that. A small round of clicking drew his attention to a corner of the room above the doorway, his eyes landing on an absolutely massive golden silk orb weaver that was nesting there. Were he anyone else, he’d be damn terrified of the thing. But he wasn’t just anyone else.
“Good luck in school, kid.” the spider said peacefully. “Don’t fall asleep again.”
“I’m not going to fall asleep again, Tama.” Takumi responded quickly, sounding particularly put out, and left with the sound of chuckling following after him. On his way, he passed a fruit store, the owner of the establishment carrying around boxes in preparation for the day. She perked up when she saw Takumi.
“Oh, good morning Takumi!” she greeted politely. “You on your way to school?”
“Yes, ma’am.” he responded quietly, keeping his eyes averted. He knew she didn’t mind at all, and had even called him cute because of it once.
She kept on looking at the kid as he continued walking, a vaguely fond smile on her face. ‘He’s still quite shy… also his face doesn’t look like his father’s, but more like his mother’s. You wouldn’t even think that he is Bunta’s kid from a first glance.’ she thought, then got back to work.
Takumi kept quietly looking ahead, but then his ears picked up someone running towards him.
“Takumi!” a familiar voice called excitedly, causing him to turn and catch sight of his friend Itsuki beaming at him.
“It’s still too early for the shouting, Itsuki.” Takumi responded easily as his friend came into stride beside him. “But good morning nonetheless. You seem pretty happy this morning.”
“I’m not happy at all.” Itsuki responded, still looking pretty happy, a stark contrast to his words. Sometimes Takumi didn’t understand his friend at all. “I have a quiz today, I am not looking forward to it at all…” Takumi listened quietly as Itsuki talked on and on about his classes for the day. Itsuki was a very hyper human, pretty much always talking, and to Takumi it felt like they’d known one another for longer than they had. He doesn’t really remember what brought Itsuki to talk with him at first, but seeing as he didn’t really have any friends, he was pretty thankful for it. He didn’t tell this to Itsuki, but if something would happen to him, he’d snap and get revenge on whoever did it.
“Oh! Do you know that senior in high school called Iketani?” Itsuki’s abrupt change in topic would have given Takumi whiplash if he wasn’t used to it. “He lives in my neighbourhood, you know? He told me that he’ll go to a driving school and get a licence over summer.” the human let out an odd noise, a sort of cooing squeal that often varied in volume and pitch depending on the situation, Takumi had come to associate such noise with how excited his friend was, the louder and higher the pitch, the more explosive the following outburst would be. “That’s so cool! Being a high schooler and getting a driver’s license, he’s practically an adult!”
“A license, huh?” Takumi finally responded, Itsuki’s attention locked on him. “From what age can you get one?”
“Eighteen, I believe.” Itsuki responded quickly enough.
‘Eighteen, huh? That means I can’t drive for another five years…’ Takumi thought to himself, feeling his pedipalps shift beneath his disguise. ‘Well, can’t drive legally, I guess. What is my dad thinking?’
“By the way, Takumi. When is your birthday?” Itsuki asked, which brought Takumi out of his thoughts.
“It’s soon, a little later this month actually.”
It was much later in the day when they met back up again, taking to the school roof to talk in private.
“So,” Itsuki began after a moment. “Do you know what you’re gonna ask for on your birthday?”
“I don’t have a mom and my dad runs a commerce business, so we don’t really have access to the funds for anything much, you know that, Itsuki.” he let out a sigh and wilted a little against the railing.
“I know, but it’s your birthday , you should at least get something . I know that if I didn’t get anything for my birthday, I’d turn into a delinquent!”
“If it works like that, then I should have become one long before now.” Takumi responded dryly.
“Hey! Since you’ve got nothing to lose, why don’t you try saying that to him?” at Takumi’s confused look, Itsuki explained. “Saying that you might turn into a delinquent, I mean.” his expression morphed from confused to wide eyed bewilderment.
“Why in the hell should I do that!?”
“I’m home!” Takumi called as he opened the door, prompting his father to lean out from the kitchen, the phone to his ear.
“Welcome back.” he said after placing a hand on the receiver. “I’ll talk to you in a second.” and removed his hand, continuing the conversation. “Sorry for that, my son came home. I know this might seem like a bother, but would you mind holding out on collecting the bill payments for a week?” there was a pause, and Bunta’s expression shifted downwards slightly, enough for Takumi to notice. There was a small weight on his shoulder and he turned to see that Tama had descended onto it. “I know what I’m asking, I’m just a little short on the funds right now, business has been bad lately.” that time Bunta shifted his stance, a few of his limbs crossing. “I know, I’m sorry, if you can just wait for one more week I’ll get you the money.” this pause was much longer, before Bunta let out a vaguely quiet huff. “Yes, I understand, thank you for your consideration.” and with that, he hung up, pressing a hand to his temple for a moment before turning towards Takumi, who had fully shifted while he was talking on the phone. “Sorry you came in to that. Did you want to talk about something?”
“No.” Takumi responded, looking vaguely concerned. He could feel Tama tapping at him, likely wanting to speak, but Takumi ignored it. “It was just something Itsuki told me earlier today, it’s nothing important.”
Takumi was out and about, walking around the Green Shopping Street. He paused for a moment before their Trueno, a blank expression on his face as he stared at it. A few moments passed before he turned away from the car and began to walk away.
‘It’s fine.’ he thought. ‘I don’t care if I don’t receive anything for my birthday. It’s not dad’s fault if we can’t afford it. And besides, there’s always someone who has it worse. Itsuki can have his opinions on the matter, but it just goes to show that his family can afford that.’ he sat down on a nearby stairwell, a pleasant smile on his face. ‘I’m completely alright with all this.’
It was almost five in the morning as a car came storming down the pass. No one else was around to notice that a thirteen year old kid was driving the thing. The only thing on Takumi’s mind, when he was driving his dad’s car, was to get back home as fast as he could, so he could get some extra sleep. He remembered how this all started, almost a year ago, when his dad hit a surprise molt before a delivery, leaving Takumi the only one who could possibly deliver the tofu on time, with Tama’s guidance of course. But now, his dad makes him do the deliveries every day, for reasons he couldn’t understand. And now, after doing the same thing over and over, night after night, it was just… boring. Eventually, he was off Akina and on the road home.
Back home, Takumi was about to head inside to catch up on lost sleep, his dad walking towards the car and feeling the tires, oddly. It wasn’t something he did every night, but it was something Takumi didn’t care to question when he was this tired, instead opting to head inside and up the stairs, his only destination being his bed.
Outside, Tama joined his master’s side, watching Bunta’s actions quietly.
“Verdict?” Tama asked as Bunta pulled his hand away, and the elder spider let out a quiet breath.
“He’s gotten exceedingly better, and for him to come this far in only about a year… I’m almost scared of his natural aptitude for it.” he let out a huff. “He’s still rough with the poor thing, though, he really needs to work on his cornering speed.”
And, of course, he made sure to mention that to him when he got up later that day.
“I don’t get it.” Takumi responded, not surprising Bunta in the slightest. “All I ever think about when doing the deliveries is getting home so I can sleep just a little bit-” Takumi suddenly cut himself off, a vaguely agitated, wide eyed look coming over his face as he began to click a little. “Have you been drinking again?”
“Not too much. But yes, I did go out drinking with Yuichi.” Bunta responded easily. “So what?”
“Didn’t you postpone the bills just yesterday, though!?” Takumi’s clicking was much louder now. “That’s irresponsible! If you’ve got the m-money to d-drink, then why did you postpone the bills!?”
“You stuttered on the important bits, kid.” Bunta’s response was not the answer Takumi had wanted, obviously, for he let out an angry shriek, a quiet one but still particularly loud for the soft spoken arachnid.
“Outsiders, that does it! I should stop helping you with the deliveries if you’re just gonna go out drinking almost every night! I should have listened to Itsuki this time!” he closed his eyes in anger and ran out of his room. Well he would’ve if his eyes were open, instead he ran headfirst into a wall and recoiled backwards onto the floor. The laughter from Tama was absolutely uproarious, while Bunta merely set two of his hands on his face and let out a long sigh.
“Outsiders guide me, my kid is ridiculous.”
Takumi told Itsuki a heavily edited version of that to Itsuki the next morning, a sage and understanding look on his face as he listened and nodded along with his eyes closed.
“And so, I’m becoming a delinquent.” Takumi finished firmly. “Though, I don’t really know what to do in that regard. I thought about maybe picking up what dad does, but firstly that costs money, and secondly I’d really rather not though.” that had been what he was complaining about in the first place, picking those habits up would just be hypocritical of him. “I can’t even hang around in an arcade. Trying to be a delinquent while being poor is too difficult. What do you think I should do, Itsuki?”
“Have you thought about trying to shoplift from a convenience store?” Itsuki offered, and Takumi gave him the most alarmed look the human had ever seen on his face before. Before he could say anything, Takumi’s fist collided with his face.
“You idiot, that’s illegal!” Takumi exclaimed, causing Itsuki to whine and hold his cheek.
“But isn’t that what delinquents do?” he asked. “You’re already turning into a delinquent anyway, punching me like you did. You have power behind your fists, did you know that?” turning his eyes towards Takumi, he noticed the familiar, distant look in his eyes and let out an agitated groan. And now Takumi was just gone, great. Before he could blink, a vaguely terrifying expression came over his friend’s face.
“I got an idea! I’ll get on it when I get home from school! Thanks, Itsuki!”
“N-no problem?” just what did Takumi cook up while he was zoned out? That had been the shortest time his friend had been spaced since he first met him. Whatever it was, he did not want to know.
Takumi quietly slid open the door leading to his dad’s room. No one in sight, not even Tama. Even the car was parked next to their place. Perfect. Taking a moment to look around, his eyes landed on his target and, quickly and quietly, he had it at hand and was down the stairs, heading outside and to the car with an excited, almost a manic gleam in his eyes. Everything was going according to plan. With no hesitation, the car drove off during the daytime with a kid in the driver’s seat.
Two hours later, they return with no incidents. Takumi’s expression was carefully blank as he parked and turned off the Trueno, sitting there for a moment before he exited the car, walked back into the house, put the keys back where he got them, entered his room, closed the door, and hit the wall and slid down it, an embarrassed flush breaking out across his face.
“This is absolutely unbelievable.” he groused, his limbs appearing as he pulled his legs closer to himself. “Even though I circled the train station in my school uniform, not a single person noticed and paid attention to me. This sucks! I can’t become a delinquent in this place!”
“Happy birthday, Takumi!” Itsuki exclaimed excitedly, yanking his friend into a quick hug. “Any plans for today? Anything cooked up for becoming a delinquent? Speaking of, how’d that last plan go?” at Takumi’s blank look, Itsuki snorted. “Horribly, then.”
“How about running away from home?” the suggestion was a little startling to Takumi.
“You know, just for a little while. Not too long. Since it’s your birthday, you could stay over at my place without phoning home, isn’t that something a delinquent does?” Itsuki’s reasoning for the suggestion wasn’t really supporting the delinquent idea, but Takumi doesn’t need to know that. Itsuki just wanted to celebrate Takumi’s birthday with him.
“Hmm, seems like a good idea, but I don’t have anywhere to stay…”
“I said you could stay over at my place, space case!” Itsuki laughed, causing Takumi’s eyes to light up with excitement.
“What? Really!? Can I?!”
“Yeah! I don’t think mom’ll mind one bit!” that made Takumi smile throughout the school day.
Back at Itsuki’s place, his mom was surprised to see Takumi with him, but greeted him with a happy smile anyway as Itsuki explained that he was staying over for his birthday. This caused an excited spark to enter her eyes as she dragged him into a hug, Takumi now knew where Itsuki got that from, and said that she’d make the best dinner she could in celebration.
And it really was one of the best dinners Takumi had in a long time, with more food he’d seen in a single place. His wide eyed expression wasn’t really lost on Itsuki’s family, but Itsuki himself ignored it.
“You know, Takumi,” Itsuki’s dad spoke up as they began plating, causing Takumi to look at him. “If you ever want seconds, or more, of anything here, you’re welcome to it.”
“Could you pass me and Takumi that, dad?” Itsuki asked as Takumi’s expression became a little overwhelmed.
“O-Oh! I don’t… I’m fine like this.” Takumi finally managed to respond, causing Itsuki to lean towards him.
“Aren’t you trying to be a delinquent, Takumi?” he whispered, before leaning back away and nudging the cup towards him. “At least try it once.” Takumi eyed the liquid in the cup he’d been given, recognizing the smell coming from it pretty quickly, having smelled it on his dad enough times, before taking a sip and visibly gagging, much to Itsuki’s amusement. Takumi set the glass down and pushed it to the side, yeah, no, no more of that.
It was getting late, but Takumi was still quite excited. Itsuki’s family asked him about what his family does. Takumi had to think a bit before answering.
“Well, dad owns and operates a little tofu shop.” he finally responded. “Sometimes we don’t get a lot of business, but we do have this hotel we deliver to every night, or very early in the morning as I should actually put it.” his expression narrowed a little as he looked away. “Though, he does force me to do the deliveries, saying it’s nothing terrible.”
“It’s good that you’re helping out at home with your dad’s work!” Itsuki’s mother commented as she hurried about. “You’re greatly different from Itsuki.” Takumi almost choked as Itsuki whined at the jab.
“It’s not really like that at all.” he responded with a vaguely happy expression, not noticing as Itsuki side eyed him. “There is no love or affection between us all. My face doesn’t even resemble his, so I must’ve been adopted.” Itsuki’s mother laughed at that.
“You’re a funny kid, Takumi. You be sure to give your father a proper call later, he’s probably worried sick.”
“I doubt that.” Takumi responded, his expression changing suddenly as he jabbed at his food. “He’s probably out drinking sake somewhere again, he’s stupid like that.” he gave out a silly little laugh. But his face morphed a little when he felt an odd pain in his chest.
“I’m sorry for my kid causing you any trouble.” Bunta said to Itsuki’s mother quietly, a little relieved now that he knew where his kid was.
“Oh, he was no trouble at all.” she responded. “He’s a nice kid, though he seemed vaguely bitter.” she sighed as she showed him the room Takumi and Itsuki were asleep in. His kid looked serene, Bunta mutedly realized, but let out a small sigh.
“Thank you for calling me, at least. I’ll get him out of your hair.” taking a few steps forward, he knelt down beside his son and shook him gently. “Takumi, get up.” Takumi groaned, clearly not being used to sleeping in his human disguise, opening his eyes slowly, revealing his red, multi-pupiled eyes before he slowly shifted them down.
“Dad?” he asked sleepily, rubbing at his eyes, and Bunta hummed.
“Come on kid, time to come back home.” to which Takumi slowly sat up.
The ride back home was silent, Takumi slowly waking back up as they went.
“Look, Takumi…” Bunta began when they were half way home. “I’m completely alright with you staying overnight at a friend’s house, but at least call to let me know. Your birthday was yesterday, I’d waited for you to come home but you never did.” he heard a small sniff come from his kid.
“You didn’t forget about my birthday?” he asked, and a glance into his rearview showed his eyes gleaming in the moonlight, looking wetter than usual.
“How could I forget about the birthday of my one and only son? Of course I didn’t. I even left you a present and some cake on the table.” a few of Takumi’s limbs came up close, a vague comforting gesture Bunta recognized. Takumi was obviously starting to regret staying at Itsuki’s as late as he did without having told him. “I don’t mean to make you feel bad with my words, kid. Let’s just get home, alright? You do have to go to school.” Takumi nodded and let out a confirming sound. He looked at Takumi for a moment to notice few tear drops in the corner of his eyes, he was still worried about something.
Bunta sighed, shifting his position in the driver’s seat as he prepared himself to do something that’s probably a little stupid. ‘Even if I try to explain it to him with words, he won’t get it. I’m sure he feels with his body how to control the car. Guess I’ll have to show him what differs between mine and his racing.’ he thought to himself before hitting the gas pedal. Takumi went wide eyed at his dad’s sudden difference in driving, knowing that he should probably be scared, but not able to bring himself to be. Despite the questionability of it, he felt safe, even if his father was, in his opinion, driving crazily. Slowly turning his gaze to his dad, he caught sight of what looked like a faint white fire surrounding him, bending and weaving untamed, yet held back from what it likely could actually be.
‘He’s glowing…’ Takumi thought. ‘I’ve never seen dad look like this before… it’s so cool…! You’re amazing, dad!’
“Good morning, Takumi!” the shop keep greeted the next morning as he began the regular trek to school. Looks like he was brought out of his thoughts again, as he lightly jumped.
“Morning.” he greeted back, still avoiding eye contact with her. Despite that, there was a small smile on his face, and he looked oddly peaceful as he walked away.
“Well, he looked really happy today.” she commented to herself. “Something nice must’ve happened to him.” she chuckled to herself. “Still as shy as ever, though. He’s cute as always.”