“It’s a tea stalk! A tea stalk, Asago-ojousan!”
Asago gave her best imitation of a death glare. Shibuya, affectionately dubbed Bun-san by Tsukasa, was not impressed.
“What about it?” She snapped.
“Well… It is said that it is good luck to have a tea stalk floating erect. So don’t you worry, Sandaime will come back safe and sound!” He continued. And indeed, in his tea was a perfectly straight tea stalk, bobbing up and down.
“I’M NOT WORRIED ABOUT THAT!” Asago yelled shrilly. And then she started muttering, “Of course he’ll come back safely! Nonsense!” With a low growl, she abruptly stood up and stomped away.
They were currently stuck waiting in New Heaven Tokio, said to be the island closest to Heaven. It was a Southern Hemisphere resort, full of sun, beaches, and rides. People would have been cheerfully exploring the place… were it not under a terrorist attack. Bombs had been going off every ten minutes, and people were becoming more and more panicked. Bun-san thought it was closer to Hell than Heaven. He did not think this because of the general panic amongst the crowd around him, however. He thought this because he was subject to Asago’s, the seisai candidate, temper tantrum. He’d much rather be dealing with the bomb crisis. Or even get blown up. Anything to escape his current predicament.
Bun-san sighed as he heard Asago start yelling again. He could hear her despite the distance between them. This is the reason why I hate babysitting.
Absently, he thought of Tsukasa, and wondered why he never felt he was babysitting her. Usually, she’d be considered more childish than Asago. Whereas Asago was stern, Tsukasa was made happy by the simplest of things. Always fascinated by something. More often than not jumping around like a kid on a sugar high. One of the few people anyone can attribute the word “frolicking” to while not being sarcastic. Yet, despite all of these seemingly childish qualities, dealing with Tsukasa never felt like babysitting.
Instead, she seemed to suck people in, making them go at her own pace. In her presence, everyone became a child. Numerous times, Bun-san found himself and Kamojima going along with her ill-conceived plots, acting in ways they had never even dared to with the Sandaime before she had come along. He’d seen the effect happen on enemies as well. Tsukasa would go off on another of her tangents and the enemies would become fascinated, eventually joining her. A few were immune to her ability, but they were easily dealt with through her other skills – namely her ridiculous fighting ability (and it was sometimes frightening, just how good she was. Before he had realized it, Bun-san had come to trust her not only with his life, but with the Sandaime’s as well).
Yes, Tsukasa created an often-childish world of fantasy – half of the time she was in her own little nonsensical world full of flowers, dogs, and other things Bun-san didn’t think he’d ever quite understand. Yet, she managed to captivate people and pull them into her world. Dealing with Tsukasa was never like babysitting; it was like exploring, going on an adventure. Even the Sandaime (especially the Sandaime, a small part of his brain he tried to ignore whispered to him), was affected by it.
Despite Tsukasa’s childlike qualities, there was a certain maturity to her. She deeply sympathized with others, shouldering their hardships with ease. She knew emotional and physical pain intimately, and while other might have been crippled by it, she managed to overcome them and use them as a weapon. She did not let the cruelty of the world, the careless acts of violence that she encountered each day, destroy her. In fact, her childish aspects were a testament to her strength. Despite seeing all the things she had seen, Tsukasa managed to retain a sort of innocence through sheer strength of character. Bun-san had to admit he admired her.
So, no. He never felt like he had to babysit Tsukasa. Honestly, sometimes he felt she took care of him.
She was always making sure that he and Kamo-san were healthy, along with the Sandaime. Actually, she did that with all of the kuumin, something he noticed earned her frustrated, exasperated, resigned, and reluctantly fond looks in equal measure. She showered all of them with affection (and the endless affection she was able to feel for almost anybody was another trait he had initially deemed childlike, only to later conclude was a product of her strength), and cared for them in her own way. He remembered the day she had loudly barged into his room with a confused Kamo-san in tow and told them that they were training. Immediately. She had complained about their abysmal shooting skills and said that she wouldn’t stand for it any longer. He would have been offended that a civilian was telling him, a yakuza, one of the Sandaime’s bodyguards (although that hadn’t really been part of the job description anymore since she had joined and promptly shamed them with her skills), had she not been that bloody good. He and Kamo-san had automatically obeyed the intimidating woman and followed her to the shooting range. Tsukasa had then shown them how to shoot a target accurately (and since when could she wield a gun?! Was she just automatically good at any weapon she touched?), and corrected their stances when they imitated her. By the end of the training session he was sore and tired, but his aim had improved exponentially, and so had Kamo-san’s.
Idly noting that Asago had come close to him again and had started on another of her rants, Bun-san wished he were with the Sandaime and Tsukasa (with the real possibility of dying via bomb, although he doubted something as petty as a bomb could kill those two), instead of with Asago. Kamojima is so lucky…
Finally, the Sandaime, Tsukasa, Kamojima, and a large, handsome man Bun-san didn’t know appeared again. Immediately, Asago went towards Sandaime-sama.
“Welcome back, Ryuji”, she whispered.
“Yea”, was the Sandaime’s eloquent response.
Asago seemed near tears, and hugged the Sandaime tightly.
“I’m glad you’re okay”.
The scene would have been touching had it not looked so stilted, and had Bun-san not had to deal with the annoying brat for the past hour. He wasn’t feeling very charitable towards her at the moment. Bad, bad Shibuya… that’s the future seisai. Your future boss. You have to be nice.
Bun-san was startled out of his thoughts as Asago tried to hit Tsukasa, only for her hand to be expertly caught. She then started yelling at Tsukasa, blaming her for endangering the Sandaime’s life (even though she had not asked Sandaime-sama to help her), accusing her of incompetence.
It was especially at times like this that Bun-san thought that it was Asago, and not Tsukasa, who was childish. Asago’s fragile emotional state, her tendency to always put the blame on others, her unreasonable temper… they all reminded him of a small, immature child. In comparison, Tsukasa, who took all of this abuse with grace (as well as her unique ability to travel to a nonsensical world), seemed much more mature.
It wouldn’t be bad to have Tsukasa as a boss… But that was a dangerous line of thought. Bun-san knew Kamo-san had already given in to that line of thought, in fact was its biggest advocate, constantly doing everything in his power to encourage it, but Bun-san knew it would be nigh impossible for Tsukasa, a civilian, to be his boss (by marrying Sandaime-sama went unsaid).
It was only much later that Bun-san found out how wrong he was.
But he was right about one thing. Tsukasa did make an excellent boss.