Finding Life: Level One
Saitama was moving out of his house. He carried a large green camp bag which held all of his clothes, ignoring the odd looks of the people on the sidewalk beside him as he trekked the journey to K City, passing gray and white buildings and skyscrapers and the crowded pedestrians walking the streets.
He'd rather still be sleeping, but his father insisted that early bird gets the worm. Whatever the hell that meant.
It was college, after all. One does not simply live with their father when they're finally living the dream; getting a stadium apartment and doing God knows what in order to get a "taste of college life".
It probably helped that his dad managed to get some random girl pregnant and kicked him out to make room in their small house.
Damn that father of his. So freaking irresponsible!
Saitama passed by a mirror shop and checked his reflection from the mirrors on the display window. He donned a white polo over a yellow shirt, white jeans, and red rubber shoes. He almost felt comfortable if it wasn't for one glaring fact; his bald head. Yes, despite being a teenager on the prime of his life, Saitama has gone bold. For the life of him he didn't know why.
Still, he decided to enter the mirror store and buy a small mirror, if only to keep looking at his reflection and check up on his shining head. Repeating the words, he realized how much he sounded. Shaking his head, he said, "God. I sound so narcissistic."
He stepped on the red welcome mat of the mirror store. All sorts of mirrors hanged on the red walls of the store. As he continued further inside, he found the counter and the cashier, talking to another customer.
"No, I do not have your money!" The cashier said.
Saitama tilted his head. Was there a business transaction going on?
The cashier was a balding man who erred on the heavy side of the weighing scale. Fat, rude people would call him. Saitama was taught manners by his old man so he knew better. The cashier also had a large nose, a missing tooth and wore a blue coat over a white tank top, stained with cheese sauce on the left collar.
"This won't go well with the Green Family, I'll have you know." The customer said. The customer wore a green knit cap over shoulder length blonde hair, green eyes, and had a muscular build even through his gray shirt and black cargo pants and black boots. "You have a nice store here too. Shame if something…" He chuckled, "Were to happen to it."
The cashier narrowed his eyes. "You dare threaten me!? After all the money I've given you and your ilk. I have had enough! No more 'protection money' is going to come from me, understood!?"
The customer sighed. And then he pulled out a black pistol and shot the wall behind the cashier, piercing through the mirror hanging on the wall. The mirror cracked and shards fell to the floor, clattering about. The customer waved his handgun lazily as he leaned on the counter.
"Give me. The money." He pointed at the shaking cashier with disdain. "Or next time it's going to be you eating that bullet. And I'll make sure to add your blood to the color of this store."
"Please." The cashier begged. "I barely have enough for my daughter's college." He cried.
The customer smirked. "We'll fix that after you give me the money you creep."
Despite his fears, the tears running through his eyes, and the sweat soaking through his shirt, the cashier shook his head and said, "No."
The customer straightened and shrugged. "Oh well."
And he pointed the gun at the cashier, intending to pull the trigger.
Saitama intervened. A moment he was at the entrance, and the next he stood by the customer.
"That's enough of that." Saitama said, blocking the muzzle as he expected what the customer would do next.
"What!" The customer screamed in surprise, nearly jumping as he did so. He pulled the trigger repeatedly and the cashier's eyes widened as shock entered his body, imagining his blood and brains staining the wall.
Smoke rose from Saitama's fist. However, that was all. The bullet didn't even pierce his skin, jamming the gun as the customer pulled the trigger again and again, staring dead straight into Saitama with blossoming fear in his eyes.
The gun, overheating, caught Saitama's attention. His eyes fell to the customer's hand and then back to his face. "You know," Saitama said, "Your hand's gonna melt if you keep this up." The customer looked at him in confusion before glancing down his hand.
"Ah!" The customer screamed, finally letting go of his gun as he looked at his burned palm. "My hand! You son of a bitch!" The customer raised a fist and threw it at Saitama's face, intending to break his cheek.
Saitama looked at the customer in mild fascination. He already saw Saitama block bullets with his bare hand. Did he really think flesh and bones is going to make a difference? Simply to satisfy his curiosity more than anything else, Saitama did nothing to block the fist. The customer grinned as his fist touched Saitama's face, hearing the sounds of crushed flesh.
"How'd you like me now, punk? Just because my gun jammed doesn't mean I can't break your cheekbones with my own fist!" He began laughing manically.
"Uh, it wasn't my face that broke." Saitama said, looking even more curious as he added, "It was your fist."
The customer looked Saitama's face, and the blood stain on his undamaged cheek, and then at his fist. "Eh?" His fingers were shattered of his own choice, and blood leaked through his broken hand.
"That's why people should wear boxing gloves." Saitama said amicably, pointing a finger to the ceiling as he did so. "It protects the hands of the attacker more than the body of the defender. See, our hands aren't meant to sustain a lot of impacts punching solid objects. Otherwise we'd end up with fractured fists like yours."
The customer gaped at him, and then screamed. "Shut the fuck up!" He raised his other hand, ready to continue fighting.
Saitama, finally losing interest in the customer, punched his chest through the display window, shattering the window as the customer fell to the sidewalk outside the store, covering his body with shards of broken glass.
"Uh." Saitama pointed at the display window in shock, and then back to the cashier. "Um, I didn't mean to do that?"
He had to get out of there, before the cashier calls the police or the Heroes Association.
He didn't feel like doing community service right now either.
The cashier took heavy breaths as he absorbed the situation. Saitama, standing in front of the counter. Broken glass from the display window. And an unconscious person outside the shop.
"Listen, listen," Saitama said, raising his arms to placate the man. "I know you have that urge to call the police with your cell phone and everything, but I implore you to think otherwise. Come on man!" Saitama said, feeling his heart ready to burst through his chest as the cashier ducked down the counter. "I said I'm sorry!"
The cashier picked up a duffel bag. "Y-Your name?"
"S-S-Sa-Sai…" Saitama clenched his teeth. Why oh why did he think it was a good idea to go to a shop today of all days!
The cashier nodded. "Thank you." He said. Saitama tilted his head and looked curiously. That was not what he expected an angry man would say. "This bag was left by that punk outside. I can deposit the rest of it under my daughter's account, and now I'll know that for the rest of her life she'll be well off."
He opened the duffel bag. Saitama's jaw opened so wide he thought it hit the floor as he stared at the large amounts of money inside. There's got to be millions at least!
"That's right." The cashier said shakily, smiling as he did so. "I'm thankful a man such as you showed up. Instead of losing my life, I gained a new one. There's at least a hundred million yen here."
"H-hundred million?" Saitama said.
"Yeah." The cashier nodded. "If it were anyone else I'd be worried to trust them. But I knew I could count on you, Sai."
"Wait my name's not-"
"Here." The cashier took out a large bill of cash. "It's not much, just being a hundred thousand yen, but I know you'll understand, right? I have to look out for my little girl too." The cashier said, looking desperately for something from Saitama.
He thought of declining the offer, but remembered the little amount of money his father gave him.
He could use some cash.
"R-right." Saitama said, excitement seeping through his bones as he accepted the offer and took the cash.
This was unreal.
"Thank you." The cashier nodded gratefully.
Closing the duffel bag, he carried it with him as he rushed to the backdoor of the shop.
Finally, Saitama was alone.
"Unreal." He muttered, feeling giddy at the cash in his pocket. Clapping his jeans where his money would be, Saitama felt like a whole new man and left the store happier.
"I didn't get the mirror, but this much cash more than makes up for it." He chirped. Holding the straps of his bag, he continued his walk to the city, ignoring the honks of the cars stuck in traffic, the noisy sounds of pictures being taken by the crowd surrounding the display window, and the groaning customer lying on the sidewalk.
Saitama went on his merry way.
"Dude, what are you wearing?" Murakami asked.
Saitama lazily waved at his odd acquaintance. Murakami was a man with short brown hair, brown eyes, a pretty generic face, and was wearing a black suit.
Looking him over, Saitama concluded. "Sorry, I'm not interested in wearing a monkey suit."
Murakami gaped at him. "Monkey suit? Saitama, this was mandatory, bro! We're going to college now, man. Shouldn't you like, I don't know, try harder with your clothes? It checks on with the ladies."
They sat on two stone benches with a stone table between them. A tree shaded their bodies from the heat, and wind passed by, cooling their skin. The ground below them was sporting healthy green grass, surrounded by pathways to and from buildings across the university.
Students milled about, freshmen like them enjoying the scenery and making friends with the more matured and well knowing sophomores and juniors while seniors rushed to make their thesis and defenses against the army of teachers waiting for them at the end of the semester.
"Hey, isn't that odd?" Saitama said suddenly.
"What? That K City hasn't been destroyed by tree monsters?" Murakami joked, leaning on the oak tree as he crossed his arms.
"No, man. Sick." Saitama said. "What I'm saying is, isn't there some kind of freshmen orientation or something for us newbies?"
"Hmm. Oh yeah." Murakami said, smiling.
Saitama nodded, also smiling.
"So why the hell aren't we doing anything?" Saitama asked, still smiling.
Murakami shrugged. "Well, what's the point of being in a room full of strangers if there's no one I know, am I right?" Murakami said.
"Hey look, punks who think they're hot shit cutting classes." A voice said.
"Eh?" Saitama searched for the source.
A red haired man with freckles, muscled shoulders, and wearing a black shirt and shorts jumped from the slope of the covered walkway towards them, sliding to the foot of the slope as he did so.
"How'd you even know we're freshmen?" Saitama asked, amazed at this man's keen eyes.
"Psh. Like hell I wouldn't recognize new people when I've been here longer." The man said.
"He's also a fratboy." Murakami said, glaring at the man. "A drunk one at that, if the alcohol I can smell from his mouth is any indication."
"Dude, it's not cool to go to school drunk, m'kay?" Saitama said, wagging his finger as he did so. "Now go home and sleep before you hurt someone else with your bad smell." Alcohol does not match Saitama's sense of smelling, and any longer might make him sick. Granted, he's never been sick, but better safe than sorry.
"You punks think you could cut classes and tell me what to do!?" The senior screamed, gathering attention from a crowd of students from the walkway and the benches near them.
"What you say to me, punk!?" The senior said.
"Saitama, let's just go." Murakami whispered, looking worried.
"Nah, man. It's cool." Saitama waved Muaraki's worries as he stood and faced the taller man. "What do you want to say to me, then?"
"I said," The senior clenched his fist. "Respect your seniors!" He threw a punch.
Saitama wouldn't get hurt by this level of attack. Hell, he doubted he could get hurt by anything these days. But to get hit by this drunkard was the same as not dodging spit thrown at him.
Saitama ducked under the punch and side stepped the second, throwing his own at the senior's chest. The senior flew to the slope, crashing against it as he did so. He groaned, falling into unconsciousness.
Respect? This 'role model'? And he used the term role model lightly.
"Only when you're sober." Saitama said.
"OH!" The crowd went wild with cheers.
"Stupid idiot." Murakami said. He got up and stood beside Saitama, looking over the drunkard.
"Look at him. So drunk he couldn't even stay conscious." Murakami said. "Scumbag drunks like him was the reason I dreaded going to this place."
"What?" Saitama looked at his acquaintance. "You mean college?" He crossed his arms over his chest and closed his eyes. "Now I know peer pressure might get to you, but don't let that discourage you from going to school, Murakami."
"Yeah?" Murakami tapped Saitama's shoulder. Saitama opened his eyes and looked, finding his right cheek pressed to Murakami's pointer finger. He glanced at Murakami's grinning face. Murakami pointed up the slope to the walkway where a familiar person gazed.
Looking down on them, arms over her chest stood a beautiful woman with a voluptuous frame. The left side of her hair curled to resemble a drill, and her alluring eyes looked at Saitama judgmentally. Her frilly pink turtleneck and high cut slit pencil skirt spoke of elegance combined with her natural beauty, but her gaze burned with intensity as she glared at her student.
"Ah. You're in trouble now, Saitama-chan!" Murakami laughed. "Should've let that drunk piece of work fall unconscious by himself."
Saitama shrugged. "He hit first. It was self defense." Saitama kept his gaze cool even as he stared back at the woman.
"Saitama, don't you know who she is? That's the associate professor of this university." Murakami said. "Also our history teacher." He buried his hands down his pocket. "Come on man. Stop staring!" He hissed.
"Hey auntie." Saitama waved at the associate professor lazily.
"With me. Right now, nephew. "She said, words as cold as they were restrained.
"Wait. What?" Murakami gaped. Saitama put his hands behind his neck as he walked up the slope towards his aunt. He ignored the words of people saying he was in trouble, and that he was going to get it now, as he stood by his auntie and followed her as she started walking the pathway away from the drunkard.
"What was that?" She asked him.
"Me, defending myself?" Saitama looked at the clear blue sky.
"While you missed freshmen orientation?" She continued.
"Eh, I was already late." Saitama kicked a pebble.
"So in addition to cutting classes, you also picked a fight and made a scene as you went at it." She said, facing Saitama.
He leaned against a lamp post. "Eh. If you're going to lecture me I might as well cut the rest of the semester. I didn't plan on living with you anyway. That was dad's suggestion. I could always crash with Murakami if I have to. Dude is eager to make money."
"Oh?" She raised an eyebrow. "And you? You have money?"
"Been saving." Saitama shrugged. He was thankful for that cashier, now more than ever. "Not like it matters if you're just going to be my annoying teacher instead of being my worried auntie."
She kept her gaze even, and he stared back with equal patience. Finally relenting, she caved in and sighed. "I'm going to collaborate with you two. That friend of yours will have no worry talking bad about the unconscious drunk since they have a bad history, and the words of a teacher will always be taken over those of a student's anyway."
Saitama finally broke into a smile. "Knew I could count on you."
His aunt bit her lip, restraining herself from joining him. Instead she lightly punched his shoulder. "Do stupid shit again and you're on your own. Okay?"
"Mhm. Whatever you say, Kaoruko." Saitama said.
This was his auntie, Kaoruko. He knew her for quite some time, having already moved his stuff in her place months earlier. But he felt like he knew her longer. A memory evaded him, but blurs returned now and again, of a younger self playing with a teenaged version of his aunt.
In some ways, she was the closest he had to a friend.
Not like he'd ever admit it. And, he thought – looking at her smirking face – neither would she.
"Can't wait to move into your condominium! It's going to be a blast!" Saitama said.
"It won' be easy." Kaoruko warned him, briefly closing her eyes as she said so. "You're going to have to do chores there too."
"Oh right. And rent. Crap." Saitama said. Looking at her though, for a moment he thought her gaze – what little he found from her one opened eye – looked more amorous than normal.
And then it was gone. Kaoruko merely stuck her tongue out, one eye open, and pressed a finger to her chin. "We'll talk about it when we get there."
Author's notes; Basically, Saitama replaces Terumi. This story takes place in a fictional city in Saitama's world. So yes, I'm combining the slice of life theme of Minamoto-kun Monogatari with the superhero genre of One Punch Man.