Hayato had to places in the apartment where he would go and sulk. It was either under Tsunami's bed or her study corner where she her computer desk was. Hayato chose the corner, his head lowered, tail tucked against his leg. He whines and cries. Tsunami watches him with a pout. It took her a minute to realize that her furry family were upset from the smells of other animals on her. Even after taking a bath they didn't come near her.
"Oh, c'mon you guys! I couldn't help it."
Hayato finally looks at her. His green eyes filled with sorrow. Tsunami's heart clenches when she sees the tear-soaked lines on his face.
"Hayato-kun…" Tsunami moans.
Tsunami didn't bother with Reborn. Reborn took his pet Leon out to cool his head. It had been a long time since she made Reborn this upset. It was best to leave him alone and let him come to her on his own. It was for the best. Tsunami recalls a neighbor who had temporarily lived in the apartments. His name was Jager and he had a cat. Tsunami tilts her head in thought. What was his name…Bermuda von Veckenschtien. Tsunami mentally pats herself on the back for remembering the cat's full name. He was dark like Reborn with strange wide eyes that eerily can see into your soul. Others had thought the cat was creepy. Tsunami thought he was sort of cute. He had a strange meow and liked to visit her and Reborn. It seemed find for a time. Reborn and Bermuda got along fine. That was until Bermuda cross the line and sat in Tsunami's lap. Long story short…fur flew, there was hissing and spitting and Tsunami had get Jager to help pull their cats a part. There were no hard feelings between. Jager still contacted her from time to time from overseas. Reborn was mad at Tsunami and refused to come near her until the smell of Bermuda left her days later. Tsunami didn't have worry about Reborn. Reborn could take care of himself and knew where Bianchi lived. She would be expecting a call from Bianchi sooner or later. Which left her with having to deal with Hayato's broken heart.
At least he was now making eye contact with her. He hadn't look at her for hours.
"Hayatooo-kuuun," Tsunami coos.
She pats the empty cushion next to her in her loveseat, "Come here. Please, Hayato-kun?"
"I'm sorry! It's okay, I still love you! You're the only dog I ever loved!"
Hayato whines again.
"Yeah, I love you! I love you, Hayato."
Tsunami's sweet words finally reached Hayato. Hayato leaves his corner, his claws clicking on the wood-panel flooring and he leaps into Tsunami's arms. Tsunami laughs and kisses nose twice. He melts and wraps his paws around her neck, resting his cheek against her neck, causing his fur to tickle it.
Her phone dings and Tsunami holds Hayato close as she leans over him to the coffee table to pick up. It was a text from Ryohei:
Had an extremely good time with you! It was extremely fun to see so many animals at the shelter. Can't wait to go back with you! Maybe we can go for dinner sometime?
Tsunami blushes. How was she going to respond to that?!
Another message: Don't have to agree on dinner now! No worries. Hopefully soon.
Ding! I like you.
Tsunami clutches Hayato tighter. He liked her! Ryohei liked her and wants to go to dinner with her. She hides her face into the dog's fur. Hayato whines at her mild distress.
"How can he be so sure that he likes me? We…we've only known each other for a little while! What does he want from me?"
A few minutes later, her phone rings. On the caller ID, it's Kyoko.
"How did it go?!" Kyoko yells.
"I…he…we…it was…nice." Tsunami mumbles.
"Nice? What was nice? Oni-chan had stopped by with this goofy grin on his face. He kept going on how cute you were! How brave you were…did you really pet a giant alligator?! They have alligators at animal shelters?!"
Tsunami answers Kyoko's rapid fire questions. When it got to the details of her date, Tsunami told her how kind and patient her brother was when it came to handling a puppy. She appreciated it and decided to remind herself to get something for Ryohei. They went out to eat after visiting the shelter and talked about school and their future. Ryohei had both a big ambition and simple common goal. Becoming a pro-boxer and having a family.
"Mmm, Oni-chan really does want a family. Honestly, I tried to pair him off with someone before. But, we both agreed that it wouldn't work."
"With who?" Tsunami frowns. "Why wouldn't it had worked?" 'I'm sure she would have been a better option than me…' thought Tsunami.
"It was Hana."
"Yeah. They looked good together…but, Hana doesn't care for children and Oni-san really, really wants them. I told him that you've been good children since we were middle school and you're an awesome cook and baker."
"I'm…I'm not that incredible, Kyoko-chan…" Tsunami flushes.
"Of course, you are! I really wish you wouldn't down play yourself."
They continue their talk through the night. Kyoko gets a laugh when Tsunami explains how upset her pets were with her. Smelling like other animals. Kyoko playfully teases Tsunami.
"Hmm, it's sort of weird. If Reborn was upset with you touching another animal, how come he didn't get mad when you brought Hayato home."
"Oh…I think it's simple…Hayato is a dog. Reborn doesn't like it when I mess around with other cats. He's actually taking a walk to clear his head. Probably on his way to Bianchi's. I'm expecting a call or something from her. To let me know he made it to her place safely."
Her phone dings. Pulling the phone away, she sees a text from Bianchi: Reborn's at my place. You two-timer!
Tsunami reads the message aloud to Kyoko and she broke out into a fit of giggles.
Tsunami and Ryohei meet again after school. This time, Ryohei went to her apartment so they could go to the shelter together. On arriving at the shelter, they see Lal Mirch at her post in the front desk. She stood over two young girls, one looked to be in either middle or high school. In the older girl's hand was thick black leash with a chain hocked to a studded leather harness wrapped around the muscular lean chest of a dog. Tsunami squeaks and hides Ryohei. This dog a type of breed bred for fighting. It was a pitbull. He was dark saved for a patch of white fur in a deformed heart-shape one side of its chest and its front paws. Its big honey-brown eyes spot them. It stands and barks through a ragged, old baseball with the dirty-red stitching unraveling. Its whip-like tail wags excitedly. The other younger girl possibly in elementary school. She had her tiny arms wrapped its neck. Tsunami clutches the back of Ryohei's shirt, threatening to pull it off him. Ryohei touches her hand to comfort her.
"I'm sorry. But our shelter doesn't have room for Takeshi. You have to take him to another shelter."
"None of the shelters we want him to go to would take him. They're scared of him!" yells the older girl. "Other shelters…we can't take him to those. Nobody from a good family would pick Takeshi! If he doesn't get adopted…they'll put him to sleep!"
The girl holding the pitbull's neck whimpers and pushes her face into his neck.
"This shelter is Takeshi's only chance to be happy!" the high-school girl's voice quivers.
"I don't want Takeshi to die!" the younger girl cries.
The pitbull named Takeshi, whimpers at his owners' distress. Lal Mirch's face softens.
"I understand your concerns. I can see that Takeshi is a good dog but…as much as we would love to hold onto him and look for a family for him…we don't have the facilities for a dog Takeshi's size. We're full and we only have a few volunteers in our foster-care program…"
A thought reveals itself on Lal Mirch face and she looks towards Ryohei and gazes around him. Tsunami stares back and shakes her head violently.
Lal Mirch's authoritative voice plus two girl's puppy eyes later, Tsunami stood in the meet-and-greet room with Ryohei and Takeshi. Tsunami was trembling on the far side of the room. Ryohei held Takeshi's leash from the other side. Ryohei was rubbing Takeshi's belly on the floor.
"He's isn't bad, Tsunami. He's an extremely nice guy!"
Tsunami shook her head. Takeshi was a pitbull! Those were mean dogs that could bite your hand off! They were created to fight and kill! There was no way she was taking Takeshi home. Even though Lal Mirch forced her to agree and she couldn't say no to those girls' teary eyes. Why on earth did they get a pitbull anyway?!
"I…I'm sorry…I'll be back…!"
Tsunami speeds down the hallway until she found a spot she was completely alone. She whines to herself. This was too much too fast! What was she going to do with that dog when it was time to go home!? She felt tears well up in her eyes. She hears sniffling not her own. It was within one of the offices. Tsunami recalls Lal Mirch taking them to see Lancia regarding paperwork and to take information about Takeshi.
"Thank you, very much for taking Takeshi!"
"Thank you for being so patient with us," Lancia replies. "Takeshi seems to be a good dog. It might be pushing it, but he might be able to help our new volunteer."
"…she didn't see very happy to take him…but, I…we…just didn't want to take Takeshi anywhere else. He deserves to have a good family. It would suck if he has to be put down because no one will give him a chance to know him…."
"Nee-chan, you didn't like Takeshi at first!"
"….no, I didn't…."
"Oh," Tsunami could hear Lancia's eyebrows rise.
"Well…it was dad's idea to adopt Takeshi. It was for our protection. I' had been begging for a dog and wanted something small and cute. Like a chihuahua or something small and fluffy…but when dad brought Takeshi…I thought he was a monster and I was mad that nobody considered what I wanted…I tried ignoring Takeshi. But," the high school laughs. "the big dummy was just…so nice. I'm surprised that he wasn't made into a fighting dog or something. Maybe he was just lucky. It made me mad sometimes when people would freak out when their meet for the first time. He's so nice and he loves people. I think, sometimes, Takeshi can sense when somebody doesn't like him."
Tsunami remembers Takeshi in the meet-and-greet room. When he was taken to the room he became less active. His ears were pressed over his head and his tail was held low. His mood had changed and he had been staring at Tsunami. Thinking about his eyes, they did seem rather sad.
"But, Takeshi didn't need to worry about what other's thought. He had use and we loved him for who he was. I'm sorry that we had to give up so soon. It's so unfair to him. But, we're moving overseas and taking Takeshi with us would be difficult. I hope that woman will take care of him and see how great Takeshi is."
"I'm sure she will. I have a good feeling," Lancia assures.
Returning to the room, Tsunami hears Takeshi barking and Ryohei laughing. Opening the door, she finds them lightly rough-housing. Ryohei was down on all fours at Takeshi's level. He made dog-like noises and growls. He would reach out and try to grab for Takeshi. Takeshi would snort and huff dodging Ryohei's grabs, lunge forward and jumping away. At the opening of the door, Takeshi notices her first. He stops playing and sits still. Confused at Takeshi's change of mood, Ryohei looks over his shoulder at the sound of the door shutting.
"Tsunami! Are you extremely okay?"
Tsunami nods. She looks over Takeshi. Takeshi knew that he made her uncomfortable and thought she didn't like him. Two very nice girls who loved him enough to fight for a place for Takeshi to live and be happy. There was something good about this dog that made the girls cherish so much. Tsunami slowly moves towards Takeshi. Ryohei reaches out and held Takeshi's harness. Takeshi doesn't budge. Just sat and stood still, watching Tsunami's approach. Tsunami leans forward and holds out her hand. Takeshi stood and leaned forward to sniff her hand and licks it gently. He looks up at her and his ears perk up and his eyes shine.
Tsunami rests on her knees and begins rubbing his ears and stroking his head down to his neck. Takeshi closes his eyes and whines quietly. His tail wags softly. Ryohei smiles. His own hands join Tsunami's as she pets Takeshi. Tsunami blushes as his fingers fondle her own and strokes over her hands. She doesn't say anything and was too shy to look at him. She kept her eyes on Takeshi. Takeshi's tongue rolls out of his mouth, laughing in his own doggy-way.
Hayato was not happy when Takeshi was brought home.
Truly, Takeshi was a wonderful dog! While Hayato barks and snarls, Takeshi remained quiet, kept close to Tsunami but held a dominant, defensive posture just in case Hayato decided to take a bite out of him. Tsunami was glad that though Hayato was overacting, the little Shiba Inu had enough sense not to attack. It stunned Tsunami for a moment of the great size different between the two. Hayato wasn't small nor large. He was on the medium-small size. He was a head smaller than Takeshi. Whether he was it was breed or due to him still recovery from lack of nutrition, he lacked the muscle definition that shined through Takeshi's shiny, short hair.
Hayato was put away into Tsunami's room until he was calm. Hayato whined and cried for an hour and a half. Takeshi sniffed and explored his new temporary home. He checked out Hayato's blankets and Reborn's kitty tower. He drinks from Hayato's bowl. Tsunami was given some extra dog supplies from the shelter. She was a doggie-foster parent, so the shelter was giving her allowance and assistance in the caring for Takeshi until he would be adopted. Tsunami was impressed with their adoption and care system of the shelter. Lancia explained that he was a foster-dog owner as well at time. His first three dogs were saved from lab that performed animal-testing. They were in the foster care program before he decided that he himself would adopt them permanently. They were a troublesome trio at first, but over time he won their trust. One of them was a very crafty and frightfully intelligent creature. Tsunami was familiar in the ownership of the furry and unusually intelligent.
Once Takeshi was comfortable, he went to Tsunami's bedroom door and scratches at the door. Hayato growls and starts barking a storm again. Takeshi lies before the door and presses his nose at the seam under the door. After Tsunami had set up Takeshi's food and water dish and his bedding area, she finds him still by the door. He was wagging his tail, nose against the door. Hayato was quiet. He whines when he hears Tsunami's presence. Tsunami opens the door letting Hayato out. Takeshi leaps to his feet and greets Hayato with the continuous wagging of his tail. Hayato pads forward cautiously, ears flat and tail low. He sniffs Takeshi and Takeshi bless his heart kept still and patient. Tsunami was amazed by his behavior. She now felt horrible that she had misjudged him just because of what he is. She reaches out and scratches behind both their ears and gives words of encouragement. Takeshi lowers his head and licks Hayato's forehead. Hayato growls low in response yet stays put.
Takeshi brought fun into Tsunami and Hayato's lives. Takeshi was energetic and playful. Hayato would wait patiently for Tsunami to wake up on her own by her alarm. Takeshi learned her alarm schedule as well. But he was there for wake-up time than breakfast time. At the sound of the alarm he would jump into her bed and snuggle her out of bed. Hayato would make a fuss. How dare Takeshi disturb Tsunami's sleep! Takeshi was well-trained and potty-trained and Hayato was quick to follow his example, since he was getting more praises than him. It was amazing how quickly they were learning from each other.
Reborn finally came home. Bianchi sent a text that he was on his way. It was then that Tsunami became nervous in how Reborn would react to having another dog in their apartment. He didn't mind Hayato that much. The dog didn't bother him and never dared touched anything that belong to the cat. Reborn slipped into the apartment, from where Tsunami had never figured that out. Reborn knew something was different from the air. He sniffed once and made his way right over to Takeshi who was lying on his bed, chewing on his baseball. Takeshi drops his ball, giving Reborn his full attention. Reborn stares at Takeshi. Takeshi bows his head while wagging his tail. Reborn ducks under Takeshi's chin and arches his back against him. Reborn and Takeshi got along shockingly well. Tsunami had found that Reborn liked sit or lie on Takeshi's head or back and be transported through the apartment.
"Reborn, Takeshi is not a horse!"
Of course, the king of the castle, did not heed her words and continued to ride his dark and happy steed. Takeshi liked it, so it must be okay. Takeshi not only made fast friends with Reborn. He quickly grew attached to Ryohei. Tsunami was grateful to Ryohei being out during their walks. Takeshi was a very strong dog. Sometimes he would pull her along and their walks lasted longer than normal. Both she and Hayato would return home exhausted. Ryohei would often take the lead and he and Takeshi would run back forth between lampposts and parks cars back to Tsunami and Hayato. Ryohei even offered to take Takeshi for runs with him.
"Oh, Ryohei you're wonderful!" Tsunami blurted out.
Tsunami sees Ryohei blush for the first time. It was a cute look on the boxer. Tsunami wished she could have taken a picture.
Hayato was the slowest to warm-up to Takeshi. It was upsetting to the little warrior that he had to compete for Tsunami's affections. Tsunami made sure to love on him as much as possible while also loving Takeshi at the same time. Once again, bless Takeshi's good nature and patience when he allowed her to sometimes drown Hayato with love to reassure him that she loves him. Takeshi was also happy to pile on his own love on Hayato. Takeshi like to snuggle and sometimes he would try to snuggle Hayato, climbing into Hayato's little bed. Hayato would growl at times but Tsunami would respond with a shout and scold him. Even worse, she would take Takeshi away and cuddle with him instead. To keep Takeshi away from Tsunami, Hayato allowed Takeshi to snuggle him…sometimes. The moments when Tsunami would catch the two together, she had to take a picture and share it with her friends. She was surprised when she received likes and comments from not just her small circle of friends but from complete strangers as well. They were surprised to see a tiny fluffy Shiba Inu cuddle with a big pit. She gained a new follower. Tsunami didn't like how people reacted to sweet Takeshi when she takes him out and about on errands. At certain areas and shops, employees and managers had come up to Tsunami and asked that she not bring such a "dangerous" animal around. It made her more upset that Takeshi also felt the discomfort of others. Tsunami racked her brain for a solution for people not to be afraid of Takeshi.
Ryohei comes to her rescue when they were on a lunch date. Ryohei had heard somewhere from the internet about someone in China who had a pitbull that made everyone nervous. He placed a panda hat on the dog and the silly, adorable hat made the pitbull much more approachable. Tsunami immediately searched online hats for dogs. She found all sorts of hats for dogs. It very from adorable knitwear hats to expensive, stylish hats. She discovers a newly opened clothing store for dogs that also doubled as a salon for dogs. She takes all three of her pets to the store. Reborn took his usual perch on Takeshi's back and they got some stares, giggles and people taking out their phones to take photos or record. The store was called Royalty Pets. On the website, the store's mascot was a Pomeranian in a black and purple striped long-sleeve shirt and a tiny tiara placed on his head. On arriving, there in the front store display was the mascot himself. Young girls and women coo and take pictures as the Pom basked in their adoration with a Cheshire cat grin. Entering the store, for a moment, Tsunami felt that maybe this place was out of her family's league. Plush pink velvet curtains are thrown outward and a tall man struts his stuff towards her. An oh did he worked his walk! He wore a tight fuchsia muscle shirt, tucked into snug leather skinny pants. His shoes were leopard-printed with a full-inch heel and the toes were pointed. His hair was a side-mohawk with green and red parts.
"Hellooooo~, welcome to Royalty Pets, honey!"
"Ah ah!" the man waves a well-manicured and red painted fingernail in her face. "No need to be shy! I know what you were thinking…this place is too fancy! This may be out of league and most of above my paycheck!"
"Honey," he grasps her hands, mindful of the leashes she was holding. "You have nothing to fear," he speaks softly. "You love your babies, don't you?"
He smiles, his face lighting up the room and Tsunami could almost make out his eyes through his sunglasses.
"Then believe me, honey, this place is perfect for you to show your babies how much you love them! My name is Lussuria!"
Lussuria flicks out a card out of thin air. On the card, it read dog fashion designer, groomer and owner of the shop and salon for dogs. He crouches down to her dogs and squeals.
"Ohhhhh, a pittie and shiba!"
Takeshi was happy to be so warmly received. Hayato ducks away from Lussuria to hide behind Tsunami's legs. Lussuria doesn't pursue him and focuses his attention on loving Takeshi and admires Reborn stunned by his six toes and his super long tail.
"How can you Big Sis help you today, honey?"
"Big…uh…I'm actually looking for hats…for Takeshi," she rubs the pitbull's ears. "I don't want people to be scared of him so…"
"Say no more!" Lussuria throws his hands up in the air. "It's a very smart move and I can tell that Take-baby just wants to make friends. Pitbulls and other so called 'aggressive' breeds get such a bad rap. We're going to fix that today!"
Lussuria takes her to the hat rack revealing cozy knitwear in shapes funny animals and wild colors. There were knitwear hats that were light enough for wearing during warmer months.
"Now, before I let you get crazy, we might want to see if Takeshi minds wearing a hat. Most dogs don't like wearing hats or clothes for that matter. But if you trained them up and they learn that some clothes are actually comfortable they'll learn to love it."
A simple slip-on hat was placed over Takeshi's head. Once again, Tsunami was so happy that Takeshi was so adaptable and good nature. He didn't shake the hat off or paw at it. He just sat there with a wide, open smile. Tsunami selected two to start. Lussuria was kind enough to give one of the hats for free for being a first-time visitor and also a 50% coupon off all three pets for grooming. Tsunami thanks Lussuria and promises that she would visit when she could. Lussuria picked up the store mascot and his baby and waves his little paw.
"Bye-bye! Say 'bye-bye', Bel!"
Bel the Pom's signature grin spreads across his face and he snickers, making Lussuria giggle and Hayato growl.
Takeshi wore his brand-new hat of a blue sparrow in knit. As Takeshi trotted, the wings of the bird flaps in the wind. People they pass had to stop and look. They smiled and took pictures. There were some that had stopped her so they could take a proper picture and pet Takeshi. Takeshi was ecstatic and his tail wouldn't stop wagging. He was loved and accepted. He was happy and Tsunami was happy.
When she met Ryohei at the animal shelter she hugs him tight and thanks him for his wonderful idea! After hugging him, she grabs his face and kisses the corner of his lip. Ryohei blushes softly and grins happily. Tsunami giggles and blushes as well.
"Alright, you lovebirds! Time for work," Lal Mirch barks from the front.
Tsunami takes his hand and they boldly go to the dog kennels. Ryohei squeezes her hand.
"I'm extremely glad that you're sticking with the volunteering. It's been going extremely for you and your fear of dogs."
"It's only for week…so it isn't that bad."
Ryohei stops and tilts his head, "A week…its' been past a week."
"It's been three weeks," Ryohei chuckles.