From a young age, Reigen was aware that his parents weren’t the greatest at parenting. They weren’t the worst, far from it. That didn’t change the fact that they were cold and judgemental towards their son.
His father would say, “that kid won’t leave you alone? Suck it up and ignore them.” His mother would sigh, “why can’t you at least try to get decent grades? You are quite the disappointment.” As a child, he took all these things to heart. If anything went wrong, he internally knew it was his fault. The ginger wasn’t good enough and that will never change.
As soon as he turned eighteen, the young man left his parent’s house to pursue his own life. He hoped for some adventure away from the judging eyes they would often give him. That didn’t happen for a long time. Instead he was stuck at an office job, using his silver tongue as a telemarketer. While he was one of the best in the company, the higher ups didn’t care about him or his gift.
On top of that, he was barely able to get any sort of escape from his parent’s judgments. His father would always scold him about his work. “You’re really not trying hard at your job.” The older man would chide. “If there’s one thing you got from me, it’s your charisma. Use it and climb the ladder, maybe then you won’t be so bored.” Reigen’s mother was even worse. The moment he turned twenty, she was constantly asking about girlfriends and babies.
“What do you mean you don’t have one? You have my looks after all, so you're sure to have girls fawning over you!” That was partly true. Girls were often attracted to Reigen and his strange sort of appeal, but that wasn’t the issue. He just wasn’t interested in any of them. He kept his mouth shut as his mother continued on the other end. “I’m getting old! I want to have at least one grandchild before I die.”
As the years went on, the ginger ignored his parent’s calls more and more. Especially after he quit his job to follow a dumb urge. He wanted to be someone, and he knew for a fact he would never be anything other than a random nobody if he continued as a telemarketer. Both his parents were furious. “Nothing good will come out of it,” they said. “Just you wait.”
There was a long period where he thought they were right. Spirits and Such barely made any money and on top of that, it was boring. He hated being wrong, especially if it meant his parents would be right. Yet there he was, oh so very close to admitting defeat.
Then Mob appeared.
When the boy first walked into the office, Reigen thought he was a prankster at best and delusional at worst. The raven haired kid talked about how he could see ghosts and how he had powers that he couldn’t control. The conman found himself rolling his eyes, thinking of how to get the boy to leave. So he whipped up some fake advice and tried to play it off as something that was actually thought out. He didn’t expect for his heart to melt when he saw the boy’s eyes shimmer with hope. He didn’t expect to feel like the scum of the Earth when he realized the ten year old was taking every word to heart. He didn’t expect to feel real, genuine panic when he thought his hot tea was going to spill on the little listener.
He certainly didn’t expect for Mob to be telling the truth.
It was then that he decided to let the boy stay around. So the boy did, for four years. Over the time Reigen found himself caring more and more for the awkward, strange, caring boy. It also meant that he found himself being more like his parents then he would like. He lied to the boy, told him he was powerless. Everytime he did he kicked himself. He wanted to be better than them, not worse!
Reigen often found himself wondering why Mob would spend any time around him. He didn’t deserve the teen, and the teen certainly deserved better than him. The boy looked up to the man and the man would inevitably let him down. Reigen knew that eventually he would figure out he was no more than a fraud. Once the psychic did, the powerless man would be alone once again.
Reigen found himself thinking about this when he was on the phone with his parents. It was his mother’s birthday and he wasn’t petty enough to ignore her on her special day. He had never told either of his parents about Mob and he didn’t plan to. He didn’t want to hear anything negative about the boy. He looked out of the window and stared out at the early January sky, barely registering what his mother had to say. That is, until he said something that caught his attention.
“I’m going to be in Seasoning City to visit a friend next week. I’d like to visit your office, see what you left your well paying job for. Besides, I haven’t seen you in years.”
“I don-” Reigen started, only to be cut off.
“Great! I’ll be there on Tuesday at four. Please don’t reek of smoke when I get there.” The ginger was about to tell her that he'd drastically cut back on his smoking four years ago, but she had already hung up.
The week passed by at a snail’s pace. Despite that, he somehow forgot to tell Mob to not show up on Tuesday. So Tuesday came and Mob arrived at an empty office a little before four. Believe it or not, this had nothing to do with Reigen’s mother. He and Serizawa had just gone out on an exorcism not long before Mob arrived. This wasn’t unusual, so the teen carried on with what he would normally do when the two were out. He sat at his small wooden desk and tried to do his homework, making sure to pay attention in case anyone were to come into the building. He didn’t really expect anyone to though, so when the door creaked open at exactly four o’clock the poor boy almost jumped out of his skin.
“Welcome to Spirits and Such, how can I help you?” He quickly blurted.
The woman glared at him. She had dull red hair pulled up into a neat bun, a blue turtleneck and five pounds of make-up on her face. Her posture screamed of confidence, though unlike Reigen’s it also had a suffocating sort of aura. “I see my son has pulled a poor boy into his moronic scheme.”
Mob bit his lip, unsure of how to respond. “R-reigen and Serizawa will be back surely if you would like their assistance. For now I could get you some tea?” The woman rolled her eyes at the way he spoke. He sat down, keeping her rigid posture while doing so. “Tea sounds fine.” She waved her hand.
Mob was in the middle making tea when Reigen and Serizawa. They were both covered in dirt, looking somewhat tired. The smaller of the two looked like he was about to say something when he locked eyes with the woman in the chair.
“You’re late.” She scolds. Reigen looks over to Mob, who looks a bit pale. He gets angry at the sight of seeing his apprentice uncomfortable, but he keeps it under control. “Serizawa, can you please help Mob with tea?”
“Mob? What kind of nickname is that?” Reigen’s mother asks. Out of the corner of his eye, he can see the boy wince.
“It’s a play on his name, that’s the kind.” He says cooly, leaving out the fact that the teen blended in. He then turns to Mob and Serizawa. “Can you two leave us for a minute, the tea can wait.”
Serizawa looks at his boss with concern glimmering in his eye. He keeps his mouth shut and so does Mob. Though the man does look back at him one last time, as though he was checking to make sure he was okay.
Once the two left, Reigen sighed and rubbed his temple. “Look, I have no idea what your problem is-”
“My problem is the fact that you pulled some idiot kid into your damn con!”
Reigen was taken aback by that. Not the part where she called his business a con (because she was half right) but the part where she called Mob an idiot. It felt like a personal attack. The woman continues though, clearly not caring. “You could be out getting a good wife and having children but instead you're messing around! That child clearly can’t think for himself, especially if he’s buying your bull-”
“-that’s enough.” Reigen practically growls. “I don’t mind if you attack me or my business. I don’t care if you attack my love life, though I’m sure you’d be happy to know I found someone who I’m quite interested in. Then again, I’m sure you wouldn’t like them very much at all. However, I will not let you go after Mob. He’s a sweet boy who is perfectly able to think for himself, and he has disagreed with me before. He was in the right, of course.”
The woman’s face stays perfectly neutral. Reigen doesn’t think she even blinked. He settles back into his chair, his face perfectly mirroring hers. “So, what did you even come here for?”
“I came here to have a civil conversation like adults.” She sighed dramatically. “I suppose that’s impossible.” A “for you” is left unspoken.
“Yes, I suppose it is. Now, would you please leave. I have business to attend to.”
She stands up, towering over her sitting son. She then walks out the door, without looking back. Reigen doesn’t watch her leave but the moment he does he sinks into his chair. Rubbing his face, he thought about how terribly that went.
“She’s gone, you can come back now.” He yelled to the two hiding in the back room. Though he has a suspicion that he didn’t need to. That suspicion was confirmed when they both came out looking extremely uncomfortable. They had heard the whole thing.
Reigen looked at them and sighed. “How about we close up early and get some ramen? I don’t have any more appointments today anyways.”
The other two silently agreed. Mob packed his schoolwork away, occasionally looking back at the ginger. Once they were all finally ready to leave, Reigen locked the door and headed out. The walk was silent, though the streets were not. Mob looked down at the ground, subconsciously gravitating towards Reigen. The man noticed this, and ruffled his hair once the boy finally bumped into him. Mob looked up and smiled.
“Thanks for sticking up for me.” He said softly.
“Yeah.” Reigen looked up. He would defend the boy anytime.