Chapter 17:

The day off (Takara)

Special Fighting Club

Summer break’s officially over and with that school stats again.
During lunchbreak I´m on my way to get something to drink.
“Hey Takara!” The bicycle club´s captain runs to me.
“Oh Ei-kun how´re doing?” I turn to him.
“Good, well exhausted from summer camp. You guy were in Chiba right?”
I nod.
“How was it?” He asks.
“Good, well Taiki and I had an argument but if you ignore that it was pretty good. How was yours?” I say.
He stares into nothingness. “Over 1000 km, mostly through the mountains.” He answers. “So you got training today?”
I shake my head. “Manami-san gave us the day off.”
“Must be nice. We have training today and my legs are still sore.” He rubs one leg.
“But the problem is that I haven´t had a day off in so long that I don´t know what to do with myself.” I say.
He thinks. “My girlfriend found this new café with really good crepes and there’s this awesome new arcade that opened close to the café, they have some super old games.”
I nod. “Maybe I´ll go there.”

“I haven´t been to an arcade in like years.” Kei says. He looks around excitedly.
Taiki and I sit down at a beat ´em up. Kei watches us.
“Don´t argue after you lost.” He says to both of us.
We nod and begin to play. Taiki wins, then me, then him again.
“That´s 15 to 15, I really don´t know if you guys suck at this or if you´re good.” Kei says after a while.
He plays a few rounds against us too and wins every single one.
I look at Taiki. “Let´s play a rhythmic game!” He says.
“You guys just don´t want to lose anymore.” Kei says. “You cowards!” After we haven´t turned around.
So we play a rhythmic dancing game. We´re really in sync and wrack up the points super-fast. In the end we beat the high score. We high five.
“God you´re an idiot!”
“You aren´t any better!”
We hear two familiar voices argue at the machine next to us.
“Aka-kun and Kat-kun?” I ask them.
They turn around. “Takara-senpai.”
Kei joins us, with him Nagi-kun.
He smiles shyly. “I come here once a week.”
Aka-kun puts a hand on his shoulder. “So you know how to play that game?” He points at the rhythmic game he and Kat-kun failed at.
Nagi-kun nods. “I do.”
He´s roped into playing with Aka-kun.
The rest of us walk over to the crane games. There´s a guy standing surrounded by stuffed animals and I recognize him. “Ken-kun!”
He turns around. “Oh Takara-senpai.” He points at the stuffed animals. “Do you want some? I have a few doubles.”
I find a few that I like. I decide to stand next to him and watch what he´s doing.
“I came here with Aka-chin but he ran off as soon as he saw Ka-chin.” He tells me.
“You guys should rest on your day off.” Kei scolds him.
Ken-kun looks up. “You guys aren´t doing that either.”
Kei takes a stuffed panda and leans in next to Ken-kun also mesmerized at how good he is.
“How do you do that?” Kat-kun asks.
“Practice. A lot of practice.” Ken-kun answers.
Taiki now also watches. “You don´t have the blue whale yet.” He points out.
After a while Aka-kun and Nagi-kun join us too. Ken-kun decided to stop after an employee looked at him both impressed and angry.
We all stand at the entrance with bags of plushies.
“Well we´ll be off to the café, what about you?” I say.
“I´ll bring my sister and her friend a few of these.” Kat-kun says holding up the bag of plushies.
Aka-kun and Ken-kun answer together. “We´ll go to the new steak place that opened close to home.”
“I´ll just go home, maybe bring a few of the plushies to neighborhood kids.” Nagi-kun answers.

We just entered the café when one of the girls in a bigger group jumps up.
“Takara-chi, Taki-chi, Saito-chi you can sit with us!” Haru-chan says.
We sit down at their table.
“You were at the arcade?” Ren-chan asks pointing at the bags in our hands.
I nod. “We met some of the boys.”
“Really? Nanami and I met Chiko and our ace in the mall with a child.” Lei-chan says.
“Chi-kun has a child?” I ask shocked.
“His younger brother maybe?” Ran-chan asks.
“No Tousen-kun has an older brother and Kozato-kun is an only child.” Kei answers.
“So you were shopping?” I ask after a bit of silence.
She nods. “We met these three there and just decided to get coffee together.”
“What´d you get?” Taiki asks.
“Taiki-chi can I have one of them?” Haru-chan asks pointing at the bag.
He nods and hands her the bag.
“Can I also have one?” Ran-chan asks shyly.
Again he nods. “You all can have some. We have so many at home.”
“How did you even end up with them?” Ren-chan asks. She picked a little yellow squirrel.
We tell the story.
“Is it my turn now?” Lei-chan asks, a red glittery dragon in hand.
“Oh yeah sorry, got distracted.” Taiki says.
Lei-chan shows us a skirt. “Guess which brand?”
“Fujima.” Taiki and I answer.
“I have the same one just in pink.” I say.
Lei-chan smiles.
“Wait that’s the brand you were talking about?” Haru-chan asks.
I nod. “Our mother is the main designer and owner.”
“I didn´t know the brand was so well known.” Ran-chan says.
“It is for special fighting what Adidas is for soccer. Plus they have way better quality everyday clothing than a lot of other big brands.” Lei-chan says.
“Taiki and I only have Fujima brand clothing; our mother would get really mad if we wore anything else.” I say pointing at our clothes.
“I got some from my sister. She did a shot from Fujima once and got to keep some.” Kei says pointing at his hat.
“You have a sister?” Haru-chan asks surprised.
Kei nods. “She´s older than me.”
“I´ve know you for three years now and this is the first time I’ve heard of an older sister.” Lei-chan says a bit angry.
“He doesn´t like to talk about her.” I say.
“Why? Is she like their brother?” Na-chan asks.
I shake my head. “She´s pretty nice. He doesn´t want everyone to know that his sister is MI-MI.”
“You mean the idol?” Ran-chan asks.
I nod.
Kei slaps my head. “Idiot!”

The sun´s starting to set. We decide to stop at a ramen place we haven´t been to in a while on our way home.
There we meet Aki-kun and Chi-kun with the aforementioned child.
“I thought todays a day off?” Kei asks. “So why do I have to see all of your mugs?”
“Nice to see you too.” Chi-kun says after we sit down at their table.
“Whose child is that?” I ask.
“Him? My older brothers. Yoshi introduce yourself.” Chi-kun says.
“I´m Tousen Yoshi, I´m six. Chi is my uncle and Koto is his best friend.” The boy says.
“They know us.” Chi-kun says.
“Which one´s the captain?” Yoshi asks.
“The one with boobs is the captain the one without is the vice-captain.” Chi-kun answers.
“Blue is captain, rainbow is vice-captain.” Yoshi mumbles.
“You guys come here often?” Kei asks Aki-kun.
He nods while eating his ramen.
“Chi why is that one wearing a hat in summer?” Yoshi asks pointing at Kei.
“I shouldn´t answer that.” Chi-kun says. Kei is staring at him with a look saying If you say something I´ll kill you.
Yoshi turns to Aki-kun. “Why is he…”
“I´m not risking my life to answer that.”
Yoshi turns to me. “Why…”
“He has pink hair.” I say.
Yoshi stares at the hat. “Can I see?”
I look at Taiki; he nods and pulls the hat down.
Kei sits frozen; all other guests turn their heads to him. “This light´s making my hair glow.” He says sad.
“That´s so cool. You´re like a super sentai team! One blue, one pink and one rainbow!” Yoshi says excitedly.
Kei smiles. “Yeah sure.”
“We heard you were in the mall shopping.” I say.
“My brother asked if I could get some new clothes for Yoshi and I took Koto with me to not get bored.” Chi-kun answers.
Aki-kun nods, still eating his ramen.
Yoshi jumps up and pulls out a T-shirt out of a bag. “It has a shark on it!”
“That’s cool!” I say.
Yoshi blushes. “I know. Chi bought that from his own money.”
Chi-kun looks annoyed. “That was 5500 yen.”
“But it´s cool!” Yoshi says.
“It´s really cool.” Aki-kun encourages him.
Chi-kun smiles. “Thankfully Koto´s paying for the ramen, I´m broke now.”
I smile.
Yoshi sits next to me. “Captain can I come watch your matches?”
I nod. “Sure, if your parents allow it.”
He smiles. “Chi I´ll cheer you on. And you too Koto!”
Both nod smiling.
I hand Yoshi a shark plushie, Aki-kun a tiger plushie and Chi-kun a lion plushie before leaving.

We come home semi exhausted. Onii-sama greets us.
“Hey there, you´re late.”
“None of your business.” Taiki says.
“Well it kind of is.”
“Onii-sama do you want a plushie?” I ask.
He stares at me. “You never wanted to give me something.” He says perplexed but he takes a green octopus. “Thanks.” He says quietly, smiling very faintly.
“Your welcome.” I walk up the stairs to my room.
Taiki and Kei, who´s staying over today, follow me.
“That´s the first time I´ve seen him smile.” Taiki says.
“That was a smile?” Kei asks.
I nod and turn to them. “You two the summer high´s starting soon. Let´s focus starting tomorrow.”
They nod in agreement.

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