They'd come back from Saitama three days ago and were finishing moving into the apartment they should have been in two weeks ago. It was the final week of August; the new semester of Tokyo Tech was just about to start and Sadami Akiyama had been accepted back in spring to begin in the first Wednesday of September.
One of his Linked Horizon discs was playing on the radio. Listening to some of his old favorites was helpful in drowning the memories of his father's funeral out. Sadami was fifteen years old with mussed, dark red hair and green eyes exactly like his father, Asa's. Sadami was average height of five-foot-five and an average weight of 114 pounds — everything about him was average.
His intelligence, though, could be argued. His social skills might be suboptimal, but his academic smarts were beyond most students his age. He even beat another student who'd graduated secondary school all the way rather than middle school because of his gift in engineering and technologies.
At least Sadami could say he was going to be a sophomore, just in college and not high school like his former classmates.
He was also probably one of the few college students who wouldn't have to stay in a dorm with a stranger roommate that might either become his best friend or his worst burden. Sadami was moving in with a friend he'd known for ten years into a Shinjuku apartment. Unlike the college-bound one, Tobi had been an online linguistics student for a year already, taking a two year program to get his bachelor's degree.
Also unlike Sadami, he wasn't born in Tokyo, and had only been raised there as long as he'd known him. This pair was more unalike than they were alike — as children, Sadami loved finding new ways to have fun while Tobi wanted to stay inside and read quietly. Admittedly, Sadami was the only person Tobi truly felt comfortable with.
Tobi also tended to have better practical sense than his close companion who was a bit more daring than thoughtful. Despite that, Tobi knew he couldn't be luckier to have anyone but the loyal and ethical Sadami as his best friend — to him, anyone who'd spoken to the Akiyama boy should know this. He was eighteen now, but would be nineteen on the tenth of October; an uneventful birthday since eighteen and twenty were the milestones while nineteen was the awkward in between years where he really shouldn't be considered a teenager, but wasn't quite an adult yet.
Albeit his age, and just so he could contrast with his Osananajimi even more, Tobi was in incredible shape, to make an understatement. Underneath his shirt and jacket, he was built like an athlete. He tended to tower over most young men in his region; at five feet and nine inches with probably a few more to go. He could be quite intimidating without even meaning to whereas houseflies weren't even scared of Sadami. Tobi had light olive skin and raven black hair that was spiked in all directions.
He had an icy stare that froze people and would make them turn the other way, though he was always avoiding eye-contact with anyone. His eyes were bloody red. The irises were completely scarlet and his pupils stared glazed like someone had marked the center with a pen. All Tobi knew was that he was born with those eyes.
Contacts never helped — brown ones especially gave his eyes a strange, auburn color. It wouldn't do just to wear sunglasses, and pulling up his coat's hood only made authorities and store owners stare at him and make him uncomfortable.
While Tobi couldn't agree on any terms with this, Sadami had said multiple times that they could pull off being brothers instead of just friends. Sadami would say so because while he looked like his father, Tobi looked more like Sadami's mother, Asami. Asami Akiyama was also short-arse, even an inch short of being her own son's height. She had dark hair that fell over her shoulders that was thick and difficult to style. She was still too fair-skinned to be Tobi's mother unless one could claim he spent most of the time in the sun — which would be a complete lie.
Asami was where Sadami had learned optimism from — even though she was newly widowed, she would say with high-spirit that the saddest thing to occur this year would be her baby boy turning sixteen in November. She said that forty-seven years old was too young to be taking care of a young man and told him to go back to being a child again. She'd said the same to Tobi on his sixteenth birthday. Asami loved him like her own son so much that she even cried when he graduated high school.
In this case, it had only been a decent car ride while they made a few trips back and forth to unload Sadami's remaining luggage — this time it was only a few small sentimental things like some old action figures he couldn't bring himself to throw away but had been collecting dust on his shelf for the past three years and all of his books he'd bought prior to knowing he and Tobi would be moving.
Tobi had known from a young age that he'd never be going to a public college; he'd been told by teachers and by public store workers that he made people feel 'uncomfortable' when he was around. It was like having a mutation he could do nothing about offended them. The package came with low self-esteem and a hatred of meeting new people.
He'd learned to live with it; or at least how to make it through a day without having to deal with anyone who wanted to point him out. It was when people whispered to each other and thought he didn't notice that was worse for Tobi.
"You don't have a lot of snack choices here, Tobi." Sadami said, looking through the fridge. It was Tobi who'd done the grocery shopping for the place.
"I hate that processed crap; you know I've never liked junk food or chocolates." He simpered.
"Aw, but I always rely on crap foods when I'm stressed."
"Since I became a college student."
"You're not in college yet; you have a week before that."
Sadami closed the fridge and sat at the island counter of the kitchen, "I'm already panicking."
"Can you relax? Just enjoy your last week off since neither one of us will have free time for a while."
"I'll try," Sadami grimaced, "I really wanna thank you for being with me in Saitama." He suddenly said, "I don't think I could've gotten through that without you."
Tobi hated the sudden change of mood, "Hey, your dad's done so much for me growing up… Of course I'd be there with you."
Sadami hadn't meant to make the mood serious, so he switched back to what he'd been thinking about, "You didn't tell me the girl who works at the desk was really cute."
"How would I know?" Tobi shrugged, "I just moved in; I wouldn't let her get a good look at me anyway. But she does look our age."
"I've seen plenty of adults who look like teenagers and teenagers who look like adults… I just hope she's the latter." Sadami laughed, earning a slight grin from Tobi, who was getting a Pocari from the cabinet. He offered one to Sadami, but he declined, "I need to call my mom and let her know we're all settled."
"We're not; you still have to unpack the rest of your things." Tobi slurped his can.
"I'll do it after I shower." Sadami whined, stepping out to call Asami on his cell phone. They both knew that they'd be calling her daily as well as regular visits just so she felt like she was needed — it was hard enough that she had to live alone in that house without a husband to help provide for her.
Asami was hard-working and gifted in her job as a columnist for The Japan Times, but Asa was an anatomist. Living in the Shinjuku area, at least for them, was expensive — it required two working residents to pay monthly bills, depending on the job. Asami was normally freelance and took whatever story she was offered to work on. But now she needed to make sure that whatever big event that came up went to her.
Tobi sat back down at the counter with his drink and pulled his laptop closer. He was finishing an essay on Slavic roots and how they evolved. It was part of the research in the independent study he'd chosen himself: Russian.
That was another thing Tobi knew; he'd loved the Russian language since he was young. It wasn't something he could explain, nor did he care to. Only he had to know that he loved languages.
Loving Russian also wasn't anything new — it had been his fantasy destination since childhood. He even had a music box from there; it was his sixteenth birthday present. The inside had a gold plate that read 'Oпростить и 3абыть.'
Sadami was already off the phone with his mother and he joined Tobi, who was focused in his typing, "So, how's that Russian class going?"
"Prosto prekrasno." Tobi replied, sounding like a linguist with his accent and tongue trill.
Sadami blinked and smacked his lips, "Okay…" He shrugged.
"It's going fine, I just have this stupid essay and then a subject-verb test that's due tomorrow."
"Jeez," Sadami held up his hands, "I better not disturb you."
"You might as well unpack since I'm gonna be busy for the rest of the evening."
"You just want me to unpack because now it means you don't have to help me." He pointed out; Tobi had probably knowingly put off his work until that moment.
"I don't know what you're talking about." He grinned at Sadami, slightly mischievous. Tobi, however, wouldn't be so low as to make the poor lad do all the work himself, so he took a break to help him organize his room and make sure he didn't leave anything lying in the living room.
Once they were finished, they talked about what they both wanted to eat, but it was evident neither one of them felt like cooking — they'd deal with it, they agreed.