Queen of Dodge!
It was ten years ago. Rentaro, at age 8, sat in his room with his hands clasped over his ears while rocking back and forth in a fetal position on his bed. In the living room of the house Minami and Rentaro’s mother spoke with a man. “Are you sure?” She asked,
“I’m absolutely positive,” he said, “Granted, about 1% of the human population have it, which would make it about 75 Million people. Which really seems like a large number, but it’s not. About 1 in 54 children have it, with 1 in 34 boys and 1 in 144 girls. I’ve worked and specialized in all kinds of children with a wide array of what your son has.”
“What’s going on with him right now?”
“You said he freaked out when you turned the sink on, and later he didn’t like it when you hugged him. It’s just extreme sensitivity to sound and touch. What you aren’t hearing, he most certainly is. Perhaps he’s hearing a leak in your pipe, or maybe a small grain of rust.” He looked at their mother and said, “Your blouse, what’s it made out of?”
“I see, that may be a texture thing. For example, try wearing Silk. Silk is a natural fiber, while Satin is a weave. Silk could help his skin retain any moisture he finds comfortable on his skin, and not also naturally regulate temperature. It’s also resistant to mold and dust mites. It’s also used by hypoallergenics with sensitive skin and other skin disorders.”
“I-I see…” She said as she looked down a bit saddened, “What else do I need to look for with him…? What do I do…?”
“Well, I want you to observe him for a week. Write down anything that comes up, whether it’s short attention span, impulsiveness, aggression. Maybe he has a routine, and he gets upset when the routine is ever so slightly hindered by something. He might also fixate on a certain object or activity.”
“Yes, flat robotic speech is something to look for, not using or rarely using common gestures like waving, inability to stay on topic and even delayed speech. Once you do that, give me another call and I can start fitting him into other parts of the spectrum, such as ADD, OCD, ODD, and so on.”
“Okay,” she responded with a shallow nod, “I just…I don’t know what could’ve caused this…”
“It’s likely that you did nothing wrong,” he responded. It was that that moment that Minami looked around the corner to see her mom talking with the man, “Lots of things can cause this.”
“Well, how old are you?”
“And your husband?”
“Oftentimes having children at an old age can cause this.” Minami frowned before she turned and looked to Rentaro’s room. “However, it usually is passed down to the second child.”
“But Minami isn’t like Rentaro.”
Minami then turned out her mother and the strange man as she walked up to Rentaro’s door and slowly turned the doorknob. Rentaro gave a dull whine as he clenched down tighter on his ears. “Oniichan…?” She said softly as she gently pushed the door open, Rentaro closed his eyes and curled into a tighter ball as the squeak of the door drove him crazy. “Are you okay…?” As Minami spoke, all the sounds from the outside rushed into Rentaro’s head at once. He clenched his teeth as he began to softly cry. The noises got louder as did Rentaro’s crying until suddenly it went silent. “Oniichan,” Minami said, with her voice being the only thing Rentaro was able to hear now. Her voice was as clear as the water.
Rentaro slowly opened his eyes before he looked up into Minami’s eyes, “Are you okay?” She asked again,
“You’re okay, right?”
“Okay! Good!” She said with a smile, “I was really worried about you! But I’m glad you’re all okay now!”
“Wow,” the man whispered to their mother as they stood outside the door, “I…honestly, I haven’t seen anything quite like that before. Are you sure she hasn’t shown the same symptoms as him?”
“No,” she responded, “She’s…” she then took him back to the living room and said, “For lack of a better term, Minami is completely normal.”
“I see, and they’re not twins?”
“No, Minami was born three years after he was.”
“I see,” he said, “He would’ve been about three when she was a newborn. I know some people with autism can’t empathize with others. In some cases it’s hard for them to put themselves in the shoes of someone else who feels, wants, reacts outside of their own experience.” He then turned back to the bedroom, “Perhaps, in some way, he found a way to empathize with Minami as a baby. However, the thing with empathy is that anyone can struggle with it. It could be that Rentaro empathized with Minami as a baby…and he may have, theoretically, gotten a massive spike of oxytocin when she was born and when he first laid eyes on her.”
“Maybe he felt the way she did when she was born. So innocent and new to everything, and experiencing new things all at once. Not only that but he felt a love for her that I don’t think we can understand. It’s almost like he did some form of imprinting on her. You could call it Kin Recognition.” He then chuckled before saying, “Either that, or she’s become a product of hyperfixation. Long story short, he just loves his sister.”
Rentaro stood there looking into Yakuza’s eyes and Yakuza back into his. Rentaro was looking into Yakuza’s eyes to see what Minami saw in him. Meanwhile Yakuza looked into Rentaro’s eyes because he had no idea who he was. Kyutaro didn’t tell him about Rentaro, and it’s likely he didn’t know. With his size Kyutaro probably just assumed he was the coach. Rasen clenched his teeth before he growled, “This is bullshit!!! This is dodgeball!!!” He then picked up a ball and hurled it at Rentaro, “Not a staring contest!!!!” Rentaro then raised his hand and caught the ball before it hit his face. Rasen’s eyes widened in total shock. “D-Damn it! You better get me back in this game Yakuza!!!”
Rentaro’s eyes widened slightly before he threw the ball towards Yakuza. Yakuza’s eyes widened as he realized he couldn’t catch this ball. He bent backwards to avoid the ball before he fell onto his back. Rentaro picked up another ball and began to approach Yakuza. He threw the ball towards Yakuza three times. Each time Yakuza barely avoided the ball and every time the ball bounced back to Rentaro’s hand. The fourth time Rentaro threw it Yakuza kicked the ball away before Rentaro kicked it up to his hands. Yakuza laid there out of breath and totally shocked.
“Rentaro is absurd…” Daisuke said in total shock, “I-I’ve never seen Yakuza get knocked off his feet once…!”
“Rentaro…” Minami said softly in total disbelief. What she had been vigorously training for, Rentaro appeared to do with ease.
“W-Wait…! Why’d you stop?!” Ryusuke asked,
“He’s out of range,” Rentaro said, “If I were to throw the ball again it wouldn’t come back to me. The only way it would happen is if I stepped over the line and out of bounds. And I don’t think he’s kind enough to come closer for me to hit him.”
Yakuza clenched his teeth and glared before he grabbed the ball next to him and stood up. He then reeled his arm back and threw the ball as hard as he could. Rentaro then threw the ball in his hand towards Yakuza’s ball at his fullest strength. The two balls collided with such force that they popped on impact. The loud bang shot through the gym bouncing off its thick walls before sinking into Rentaro’s eardrums and bouncing around his brain. Rentaro’s eyes widened as he placed his hands over his ears and fell to his knees as his face twisted in discomfort. “Rentaro!” Minami screamed as she rushed to his side, she then turned to the referee and said, “Hey! Can I get a time out?!” He nodded before he then blew the whistle,
The whistle only made Rentaro scream before he clenched his teeth and slammed his eyes shut. “Hey! Rentaro!” Minami said as she grabbed onto his wrists, “Rentaro! Rentaro! Hey! Look at me!”
“M-Make it stop…!” He said as he began to softly cry, “Make it stop…!” Ryusuke turned as he stood and held his hands out to the cheerleaders who attempted to swarm Rentaro and come to his rescue.
“Hey,” Minami said, “It’s okay, it’s okay, I’m right here!” She placed her hands on the sides of his head as she attempted to look into his eyes, “Rentaro, I’m right here.” It didn’t take long for Mitsuri to run down to the gym floor. She then ran over to Minami and said,
“Does your brother have Autism?”
“He does,” Minami said, “He’s very scared right now, who are you?”
“I’m Mitsuri, I’m in his class. He’s a friend of mine,” she then paused before she looked back at the cheerleaders before looking back to Minami, “Well…an ACTUAL friend.” She knelt down and placed her hand beside Minami’s, this then triggered a soft reaction in Rentaro. “I’ve been wanting to work with people with autism as a career, as my dad does it as well. However I mostly want to work with children.” Rentaro slowly opened his eyes before he looked up to see Mitsuri and Minami conversing. He could hear both of their voices above all the calamity.
“Mitsuri…” Rentaro spoke causing Mitsuri to jump before she looked at him, “What’re you…?”
“I came down to see you as soon as you hit the floor! Are you okay?”
“I…yeah,” he responded before he turned to Minami, “Minamimōto…” he sighed before he looked down and said, “I’m sorry…”
“Don’t be sorry,” she said, “I didn’t think I’d ever get to see Yakuza scramble for his life!” She said with a soft chuckle, “Are you okay…?”
“Yeah…my head hurts…I want to go home…”
“Oh, okay, well…uh…I can’t exactly-“
“I can take him home,” Mitsuri said, “If you’re alright with that.”
“Yeah,” Minami said before she turned to Rentaro, “Is that alright with you?”
“Okay,” Minami said as she helped Rentaro up and made sure he left the gym with Mitsuri safely. She then stood in the door frame looking down at the ground. She screamed before she punched the door frame and went down the hall. Daisuke looked to the referee and said,
“Hey, can we have a quick break?”
“A break?” The referee asked, “Kid, this is dodgeball, not-“
“DON'T KID HIM STRIPES!!!!” Gaoma screamed, “CHOJI IS LITERALLY OUR BEST PLAYER!!! SHE JUST SENT HER BROTHER HOME WHO SHE CARES FOR VERY MUCH!!! SO YOU GIVE HER A GOD DAMN BREAK UNLESS THE ONLY WAY YOU’LL BE ABLE TO USE YOUR WHISTLE IS WITH THE OTHER END, UNDERSTAND?!?!?!?!??!!!!!”
The referee jumped totally frightened before he said, “F-Fine, five minute break, no longer!”
“You’re damn right,” Gaoma said before he blew steam out his nose. With that Ryusuke then ran from the gym.
Another chapter down! This time it’s more focused on Rentaro! I’ve wanted to show what type of relationship Rentaro and Minami have! She’s really the overprotective sister despite being the younger sibling haha! The relationship she has with Rentaro is deeper and more complex than any romantic or platonic relationship she will have with anyone else going forward into the story!