At 17, Arima wasn’t exactly a normal teenager. In many aspects he was extremely mature. He could face death impassively, stand firm in the face of adversity, and stick to his metaphorical (and literal) guns. However…
Arima had a child’s sense of “normal”. It impacted his perception of the world around him and his ability to make seemingly simple decisions.
Most people, upon finding a toddler hiding behind a dumpster, would’ve taken the child back home to his parents. Maybe they would’ve called the police. Maybe they would’ve just kept walking.
Arima had stared at the child. When it (he?) demanded,
Arima had simply complied (orders were orders). When the kid had promptly fallen asleep, odd two-toned hair tickling Arima’s chin, he decided to carry on with his day.
While carrying the kid.
The rest, they say, is history.
“Arima-kun…I know you are a very mature boy and that you already have a stable job, but…I think you are too young to be a father, too. That can’t possibly be your kid.”
Arima’s landlord muttered incredulously, staring hard at Arima’s blank face for some hint of amusement. Arima considered the toddler in his arms for a moment (was the child…not his? He’d picked it up, so wasn’t it technically his possession now?).
He said. Oddly enough, his landlord fainted right afterwords. Arima stepped over his body and returned to his apartment.
“Pick a name.”
Arima said, pushing a newspaper into the child’s face. It blinked at him sleepily (it had just polished off a legendary amount of food) and wiped some soy sauce across the page. Squinting at the stains, Arima could make out a few words.
He asked, clarifying with the kid. It clapped and mimicked him,
Haise Sasaki it was.
Haise was older than Arima had thought - apparently the kid was 5 (”5 and a quarter!”). He’d been living on the streets for awhile, so his education was lacking and his mass was less than expected, so Arima’s guess hadn’t been the worst.
He was also quite the clingy child - he cried practically every time Arima left for work (making his stomach drop uncomfortably). Since Haise was old enough to make his own food and not get into too much trouble, Arima had thought leaving him in the apartment was fine. As that clearly wasn’t fine, Arima took Haise to work instead.
(He didn’t understand why his bosses yelled at him later. Haise had been smiling through the whole affair. Arima had even taught him how to identify ghouls in the crowd…)
“Hahahaha, Reaper! You’ve come for me at la- what the fuck.”
A ghoul was screeching at Arima. This wasn’t particularly new, however Arima had never felt so judged before in his life. The ghoul was managing to give off a disapproving air despite its mask, though Arima didn’t think that was fair.
The ghoul was the one swearing in front of a child, after all.
“Watch your language.”
Arima responded, clapping his hands over little Haise’s ears. The child grinned at him innocently and Arima knew exactly what was going to happen next.
“You can’t just bring a child-”
The ghoul began, only to be interrupted by Haise’s cry of,
“What the fuck!”
Arima took the ghoul out with extreme prejudice (strange rumours began circulating about the Reaper’s hatred of foul language afterwords. No one believed the whispers about a child, however).
“Hey Arima! I’ve come to join the CC- what the fuck.”
Arima was used to foul language from Fura and, while he was happy to see him, he wasn’t really sure what he had done to earn that reaction. He tried to arrange his face into a quizzical expression (Haise’s giggle indicated his lack of success).
“WHEN DID YOU HAVE A CHILD? HAS THE CCG BEEN CLONING YOU, ARIMA? I KNEW IT! I KNEW SOMEONE SO YOUNG COULDN’T BE SO-”
Fura ranted, cutting off Arima’s greeting completely. Sighing to himself, Arima picked up Haise and left. Fura would keep ranting to a wall for half an hour or more before noticing their departure.
(Besides, Haise had to be dropped off at daycare. His superiors kept insisting that he needed an education and since Haise couldn’t be left alone, Arima would have to go as well)
“Thank you so much for saving m- what the fuck.”
Arima was getting really tired of this.
“Paparima, what does what the f-”
Haise asked, blinking at Arima over his 6th birthday cake when he was abruptly cut off.
“Don’t finish that sentence.”
“Those are bad words said by bad people.”
His kid’s eyes went wide and solemn at that. When he nodded his understanding, Arima felt a little something like pride beat at his chest. It bloomed even larger however, when Haise turned and stared at Fura across the table, pronouncing:
“You’re a bad person. I hate you.”
(It took Haise until well into his teens to stop pelting Fura with random objects every time he swore. Eventually, he switched to a swear jar instead. Everyone was terrified of him - Arima loved it)
“Here is how you activate IXA, do you see?”
Arima instructed Haise, guiding his hands to a biometric scanner on his briefcase. It clicked open immediately (Arima had gotten the scanner changed just for his boy) and Haise grasped the weapon delightedly.
“Applejack, I will kill you.”
Haise growled in his best Arima-voice and waved IXA around (stabbing a chair clean-through). Arima chuckled and patted Haise’s too-long hair (he'd need to take scissors to it soon).
“Hey Arima, can you-”
A voice came from the doorway and Arima internally seethed. He knew exactly what was coming.
Arima turned his best death glare on the door, not knowing Haise was mimicking him perfectly, waving IXA threateningly at Houji behind Arima. Turning white, Houji edged away desperately.
(Soon, this kind of interaction would become common. Arima would raise his child to the best of his ability, teaching him all that he knew, and people would question his methods. Haise would stare at them ominously, Arima would do the same, and they would leave. It was a good way to live…it made Arima’s glare strong enough to deter all of Haise’s future suitors, though that’s a story for another time)