The act of slacking is probably the most hated thing by all of leaders who handle people. This promotes unproductivity, or in their words, a waste of time and money.
However, slacking is probably what everyone wants to do with their life. People start businesses to get a huge sum of money to support their needs and wants for the years to come. Really, people who don't "procrastinate" are just lumping all of their hard work in a short duration so that they can slack off later.
This also leads to people thinking that they deserve some "rest" after all the work they have done. It is the reward that people do all of that work because no one really wants work if it was not voluntary.
And at last, the service club finally claimed its just reward.
After a few days of being busy with Hayama and the younger Kawasaki's requests, the service club is finally at its default state which is a "reading club" with tea and snacks. Personally, I like this setting. Even though Yuigahama complains that having no clients is boring, this is probably one of the best times that I could have throughout the whole school hours. Being handed with snacks while practically doing nothing is my ideal kind of life.
I thought this peace would continue for the rest of the hour. But suddenly, the door opened, revealing Hiratsuka-sensei in his anime-esque entrance.
"Please knock, Hiratsuka-sensei." Yukinoshita told her.
"Yeah yeah." Sensei unenthusiastically replied as she then grabbed a seat and placed it on Yuigahama's right.
She sat there as if she was a student who happens to be a member of this club and not its advisor. Seriously, her "youthful" energy is so high that I think it's inappropriate for her age. Maybe that is why most men she dated always dumps her. But why would they hate that about her? I mean, Hiratsuka-sensei is obviously a top-tier woman who has enough quirks to get a gap moe– Woah there! I have to be careful or else I'll end up committing a school taboo.
By the looks of it, it doesn't seem like she just wants to hang out with us. If she's here, that only means that she wants us to do something.
"So, is there something you want from us?" I asked.
"Yeah, there is. Because Yuigahama has finally submitted her application form and she's doing well with the club activities, I decided to add her to the bet where the loser will do whatever the winner wants. This time, it will be a battle royal between you three."
That decision of hers was kinda suggestive but I understand why she wanted it to be like so. Because Yuigahama is now a member of the club, it makes sense to add her to the game. Other reason is that she would just throw a tantrum if she would find out there's a "game" between Yukinoshita and I and she wasn't included.
When Yuigahama finally processed what Hiratsuka-sensei said, she immediately turned his gaze towards me in disgust. As expected, she would react like that considering that they like to throw insults about my "creepiness" and being a "pervert".
"Hey Hikki, you pervert! You would really do that to Yukinon?"
I in returned just twitched my eye in irritation upon hearing her assume that I was the one responsible for the bet. I didn't really took offense to that but it's jus to annoying to hear such remark.
Luckily, Hiratsuka-sensei stepped in my defense. "No, Yuigahama, that was on me. It's my way for them to be motivated to win the contest. And of course, I won't permit them to ask the loser for something extreme or one that violates the school rules."
"Oh, sorry Hikki." she apologized in which I just nodded in response.
"So, now that there are no more concerns, I will take my leave. Do your best for the battle royale."
As quick as she came to the club room, she immediately left as if she were a very busy person. The three of us were left here inside with the same atmosphere as what we had before Hiratsuka-sensei entered here earlier.
The club hour finally ended with the only visitor we had for the whole period was Hiratsuka-sensei. As expected of Yuigahama, she immediately bolted out of the club room to go with her friends for some Friday outing or whatever. I don't know, I know nothing about friends activities or anything of sort.
I myself also was about exit the club room. However, a soft voice called out to me, making me stop on my tracks. I didn't expect that Yukinoshita wanted something for me.
"Uh, yes, what is it?" I asked.
"Do you know what July 18 is?"
To be honest, I'm confused why she is asking me about that date. That being her birthday is out of the question because she won't possibly just reveal it to a person that she views as "insignificant loner creep". Her words, not mine.
"Monday, what about it?"
"That day is Yuigahama-san's birthday. She may deny it, but she's been a very helpful member of the club. So, I'm planning on celebrating her on Monday during club hours."
Well, Yuigahama certainly is a very useful member for the service club. She is the only member who is not socially awkward. I still remember when we first receive our first job request when she was not a member yet, which was the cookies request from herself. We ended up criticizing her too much which could have gotten worse if it was not her that we were serving.
"What I'm saying is that... Um... Will you go out with me?"
Luckily for me, I resolved that misunderstanding before my past self could emerge from the depths of my mind and take me over. If that happened, I would be jumping in joy that someone asked me to "go out" with her.
What she meant is that we will be going out tomorrow to shop for gifts for Yuigahama's birthday. She also asked me if I could bring Komachi along because she knows about girls like Yuigahama more than me and Yukinoshita combined.
I do mind a little about interrupting my precious weekend that should be dedicated for my research about spider silk and how to replicate it. However, I doubt I could find enough excuses if Komachi finds out that I just turned down an invitation from a girl.
Speaking of spider silk, I'm actually doing my research on it this time of the night because I simply cannot do it tomorrow at daytime. I found out that some groups of people from around the world have already successfully synthesized a spider silk using some bacterias. However, I need something that I could use like a grappling hook like in some superhero movies.
All while binge studying my high school science and math lessons, this proved to be much more of a hassle that I thought it would be.
Why I am doing all of this nonsense? It is because of this weird spider sense that came along with my other spider powers. This spider sense of mine always receives the signal of someone that is in danger. And with my powers basically from an animal, I always have this urge to act on it and help that certain someone in danger even if it is against my will.
I know this sounds weird coming from me but because I'm bound to help someone in danger with this powers, it is only a matter of time before I would encounter some life-threatening events and some illegal businesses. So before all of that could happen, I need to separate this persona of mine before someone close to me gets hurt because of my actions.
With that, my solution is to create a superhero persona who acts as a total opposite of me. I need to have a disguise complete with set of distinguishable identity so that all of my possible enemies will be redirected towards that persona and not to Hikigaya Hachiman.
That is where the spider web comes in action. The spider web will complete my "Spider-Man" persona by giving it the signature ability that most spiders have. If the usage of spider silk is absent, then I might as well be a lizard man or something.
In short, it is just for aesthetics yet a very important one.
Last night was quite the experience for me. First is that it was my first time staying so late at night only studying. Usually, I would say that I'm going to studying but all I would do is to grab either whatever gaming console to play or grab a novel to read for the whole duration of my "study session".
The thing I hate about it was when I stumbled around most of the topics that were covered in previous exams. I found out that most of them are actually easy to understand yet I did not bother to study them before, leading to the tragedy which is my math and science exam results.
As of now, me and Komachi are sitting on a bench at the mall where we decided to buy our gifts for Yuigahama. The time is about fifteen minutes before ten which is the time that me and Yukinoshita agreed upon.
I decided to wear a gray long-sleeved undershirt underneath my orange shirt because I'm still hiding even from Komachi that I'm now having an almost perfect body when it comes to fitness. In fact, all I wear at home always have a long sleeve.
"Komachi, could you please remind me why we came here this early?"
"You're quite slow, aren't you Onii-chan? Of course we need to come here early because a man can't keep a woman waiting."
"That doesn't explain why we have to come here half an hour early."
I mean, we did not really spent the last fifteen minutes here just waiting for Yukinoshita as I spent it by accompanying Komachi to look for something of her interest. A short duration but I somehow enjoyed it because I get to spend time outside alone with my sister. I'm not a siscon, just a loving older brother. Those who say otherwise are just perverts who do not have their own sisters.
"Oh, come on! Yukino-san seems to be the type to go early. We need to go extra early if we were to be earlier than her."
A solid point. Yukinoshita will go here early and then call me out for being tardy even if I were to arrive here on time. If I didn't know any better, I would assume that she is just trying to get my attention by casually throwing insults at me because sh is a tsundere. However, it was most likely that she just wants her superiority to be validated.
Five minutes later, which is exactly ten minutes before the time which we agreed on meeting, Yukinoshita arrived.
"Can we start looking for Yuigahama's gifts now?" I asked impatiently.
My words made my two companions look at me in disbelief. I actually know that they were looking for. They wanted me to exchange pleasantries like when meeting a friend or something. The problem is that I do not really know how to do it nor I'm interested in doing so.
"As expected of you, Hikigaya-kun. You can't even make a proper greeting." complained Yukinoshita.
"Fine. Good morning, Yukinoshita."
"There you go. Good morning to you also, Hikigaya-kun."
After all of that pleasantries, we decided to go together to a certain part of the mall where things of Yuigahama's interest might be located. At first, me and Yukinoshita were about to go on our separate ways because we just knew that it is the most efficient method because we could cover more ground with. However, Komachi decided to subtly try to play cupid, thus the change in decision.
My suspicion about Komachi's cupid play just solidified when she bailed us while giving me the crappy excuse of her forgetting some certain items to buy.
So now I am left alone with Yukinoshita while acting as his boyfriend so that I male like me would not get unnecessary attention while entering a girl's merchandise area. I agreed because it's the only way for me to look for gifts for Yuigahama more effectively.
If only there is something of Yuigahama's interest that does not involve mostly gender-exclusive stuff like make-up and dresses. Maybe something related to pets. Wait, that's it! I can just look for some fancy dog collar. It does not matter if people will see me buying a girly dog collar because they will know that it is not for me specifically.
While waiting for Yukinoshita to finish looking for a cooking apron, she called me. When I turned around, I was met with her frame adorned with the purple apron with a black cat embroidered on it. It was rather cute on her.
"How about this? What do you think?" she asked me.
"I don't know. I think it looks good on you."
"Thanks, but I don't mean me. If only I knew what Yuigahama-san's tastes are." she replied as she removed the apron and placed it back on the hanger.
"Maybe something frilly and overly decorated like some people with a low IQ would want."
"That's a rude way to say it but you're right." Agreeing to that is just as rude.
Getting a clear idea of what Yuigahama's tastes are, she immediately looked for an apron that I described. She picked a pink and frilly apron which is basically the textbook definition of a girly design.
While Yukinoshita was paying for the pink and the purple apron, my spider-sense tingled slightly. It was as if someone was being threatened or is about to be so for some reason. The sensation was far from what I felt when I saved the former bandit a few days ago.
I immediately turned to see a woman on her late teens or early twenties. She has almost the same appearance as Yukinoshita but with a voluptuous body. It doesn't take a genius to guess that she and Yukinoshita are relatives, possibly sisters.
"Ara, Yukino-chan? It really is you!" the woman cheerfully exclaimed upon seeing Yukinoshita.
So this is what my senses warned me about. This pretty much would cause misunderstanding just because a boy and a girl went to a store together. All siblings want to tease their sibling if the happen to find them with the opposite gender.
"N-Nee-san..." Yukinoshita replied.
Based on Yukinoshita's reaction to seeing her sister, I think it is safe to assume that she is not that fond of her. I still remember about her melancholic look when we dealt with Kawa... Kawasaki's family problem, implying that she also has one herself. Maybe that was also about her sister. I don't know and I don't want to know.
Being at the pinnacle of extroversion, the older Yukinoshita managed to drag the both of us towards a nearby bench outside of the women's store. I didn't complain and just went along with it because I don't want to make an unnecessary scene.
I then came to know that the older Yukinoshita's name is Haruno, which is totally a very useless information to me just because I don't see myself interacting with her anytime soon.
The conversation basically just went to Haruno teasing us about the 'relationship' she assumed that we and Yukinoshita have. Because I'm comfortable with assumptions, I explained to her the we are not dating and we're only together because we're buying for a gift for a fellow club member's birthday. Now that I think about it, it sounded like a lame excuse to make a person hang out with me.
Haruno then left, saying that we should have a drink once me and her sister decided to date for real. Strangely enough, the strange signal I have sensed earlier has not dwindled down yet, heck, it worsened. So she's not the source of the signal.
The signal is really getting worse that I can tell that Yukinoshita can easily see my uneasiness right now. I tried to look around for some suspicious things that might have triggered my spider-sense but to no avail.
Yukinoshita finally asked something about my obvious uneasiness. "I know malls are not your preferred habitat but would you tell me what is going on with you?"
"You're right, I want to go home that badly. So... May I go now?" I managed to blurt out.
"But you haven't bought your gift for Yuigahama-san yet."
"I'll just buy a collar for her dog at a pet store."
"Oh well, I guess this is goodbye for now. See you on Monday." she said with the most uninterested voice possible.
Then suddenly, the signal spiked at a very intense level that I even lost my balance a bit. When I looked around I caught a glimpse on a man wearing a very thick jacket. At first, I thought he was just a very fat guy because of how bloated his jacket was and his double chin does the cover perfectly. However, my enhanced sight noticed that some of the bulge on his jacket that lookef so rigid to be considered as a part of his body fat.
That is when I connected the dots. A guy thick jacket with some strange things hidden underneath it, and he happened to appear when my spider-sense are tingling wildly. I'm almost certain that this guy is a suicide bomber.
"Hey, Hikigaya-kun. What is happening to you?" Yukinoshita asked.
I then realized that just knocked a random store display during my spider-sense trance. But with the direness of the situation, I disregarded the mess I made
I immediately pulled out my phone and dialled Komachi's number because I need her to get out of this building immediately.
[Hello, Onii-chan! How's the date with Yukino-san?]
[No, that wasn't a date in the slightest. Listen, are you still inside the mall?]
[No, I already bought what I wanted. I'm now at ho–]
I didn't finish the call because I already got what I needed to hear from her. Right now, my main concern is to make Yukinoshita leave this mall immediately. My senses are telling me that there's no time to stop the explosion so all I could do is to grab the nearest person to me and save at least one life.
"Yukinoshita, I think we should leave now."
"Look, you've been acting paranoid for a while now but–"
Impatiently, I didn't bother listening to her and just grabbed her arm. I then ran as humanly fast as possible towards the exit of the mall while pulling her along with me.
Never once in my life I felt that the time seemed so slow. I even managed to get a glimpse of the bomber who looked too afraid about what he's about to do. Maybe I could do something about it after I remove Yukinoshita from the building. Hopefully, I'm not too late even though my senses are telling me otherwise.
"Hey! What is wrong with–"
However, she didn't even finish her statement as my fear came into reality. An explosion came loudly to our ears. Disregarding the intimacy of it, I shielded Yukinoshita from the scattering debris by wrapping my arms around her while jumping away towards the grassy part of the side of the pavement.
Because the explosion happened kinda near the entrance of the mall, the shattered glasses and steel went flying towards us. Luckily because of my enhanced durability, most of the debris that hit my back just scratched and bruised me instead of completely stabbing or cutting me.
However, I shouldn't be counting this as lucky because I don't need to look back to see that a lot of people died from the explosion because my senses are already overloading me with the signals. It was a complete hell for me because I basically felt the shock all the people here have felt towards the event.
After shielding Yukinoshita from all of that debris, I released her from my arms and then sat down at the ground. When I finally looked at where the explosion happened, all I could describe to place was pure horror. Multiple human bodies are scattered around the area and are most probably dead. I can't even bare to describe the scene in detail.
Yukinoshita froze while still lying down on the ground, probably traumatized of what happened.
"Hey!" I shouted while shaking her shoulder to snap her out of trance but to no avail.
Understanding that all of these are too difficult to take in at once, I gave up on snapping her into consciousness and just stayed by her side. I would have liked to take solace on the fact that I managed to save a person's life, but I just can't because of how many of the people here have died.
My question is why. Why would fate put me to such responsibility that I would even feel the danger of others? Why is it when a person acquire a super power, devastating events will also follow him everywhere? Why is it that I'm given a power that could have saved all of these people, yet I'm only able to save just one? Why give it to me when there are countless public servants that could better utilize such abilities?
But when I saw Yukinoshita slowly crawling towards me while giving me a shaky hug of someone who was terrified yet relieved, I realized that I really did save someone. If the power was given to someone else, they wouldn't be here to save at least one life.
I can't go on with this and just brush it off like nothing happened because this is never a 'nothing'. If I don't do something about this even though I'm capable of saving at least one life amidst the sudden disaster, every death on my watch will become my own fault.
I'm not a hero, nor I've dreamed of becoming one. But if it's the only way to keep my sanity and the life of those around me, then I'll have to be one.
I have to be the Spider-Man.
Edit: I decided to immediately go to sleep after finishing what I've written. When I woke up and opened my PC to reread it, I realized how horrible the Miura scene was. I also saw that Yukinoshita would better fit the scene because she's already with Hikigaya when the spider-sense thing happened. That is why I removed the unnecessary Miura scene.