Editor: Ferret Thao
Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 2: The Bear in the Big House
“Um…is it this way?”
According to the directions written on the paper, he was almost at his destination. Rick glanced around at his surroundings with a sigh. He trudged along pitifully, his gait unsure.
“Hah. I wonder if this is really a good idea…”
But it was natural to be worried. After all, he was going to be living with a stranger who he had never met–had never even seen his face–for a few months.
Yep. Right now, Rick was on his way to the house of the “nice firefighter’s nice co-worker.” He was also preparing to enter hibernation. Surprisingly, he had agreed to accept the now-homeless Rick into his house.
At first, Rick had been against the idea. The firefighter’s colleague was a complete stranger to him. No matter how much Rick apologized to him, he would still be inconveniencing him. But when he had asked himself, “Well, what should I do now?”, he had not been able to come up with another answer.
After asking that question, Rick had finally decided to go to the man’s house.
There’s no one else that I can rely on…
Rick had no relatives. If he’d had relatives, he wouldn’t be forced to rely on a stranger like this.
Rick’s parents had passed away when he was still a child. The orphaned Rick was not left in the care of his relatives. He was put into an orphanage.
Rick had learned for the first time that the warmth he had taken for granted could easily vanish in an instant.
“I hope he likes this…”
Rick carried a paper bag under his arm.
With his meager leftover pocketmoney, he had bought some high-quality nuts.
Rick did not make much money. He’d come from an orphanage, and he had not been able to go to a good school because they were all expensive. Inevitably, he had not been able to get a job at a good company. At the moment, he was working in the kitchen of a restaurant.
He may have been poor, but he did not hate working at the restaurant. It was nice that he could take a hibernation vacation, and there weren’t any people that looked down on small beastmen species like Rick and tried to make a fool of him. Rather, working at that shop felt like it was his life’s purpose. However, it was not possible to save money by fulfilling his life’s purpose alone. As such, there was no way for him to set anything aside for an emergency fund that covered events like today’s.
Nevertheless, Rick being the man he was, had bought a thank-you gift. The gift was probably too cheap to be an adequate repayment for troubling someone to take care of him, but Rick had done the best that he could.
“This is the first time I’ve bought such high-quality nuts.”
Rick shook the paper bag, and it made a rustling noise. He nodded his head in approval. Surely the nice man was a small beastman species, like him. He wouldn’t dislike his hibernation partner’s nuts.
I wonder if he’s a squirrel? Or maybe he’s a ferret? A dormouse?
“…Ah, is this the place?”
As Rick walked, lost in his thoughts, he finally arrived at the address that the firefighter had written on the note he’d given to him.
Rick reflexively craned his neck, looking straight up. The streetlights shone upon the building, but it was not an apartment, as Rick had expected. Rather, it was a single, large house.
Rick lingered in front of his destination (at least, he thought it was his destination), hesitating. “Is it really okay to be here?” he asked, checking the actual address on the memo over and over again. No matter how many times he checked, this was the address that was written on the memo. This was surely the place.
Rick didn’t have anywhere else to go, and he couldn’t imagine that the kind firefighter had lied about the address. After hesitating, Rick gathered his courage and rang the doorbell.
After the quiet ring of the doorbell, a light flickered on at the front door. It had probably been turned on from inside the house.
There was the click of the door being unlocked, and then it opened to reveal a large entryway.
“Ah! Good evening, n-nice to meet–wah!?”
As Rick bowed his head, a pair of large feet came into view. There were two feet lined up across from his, and he was surprised by how much larger they were than his own. Confused, Rick raised his head. What he saw literally made him jump.
The hairs on Rick’s round tail instinctively stood on end. *Fwumph*
No matter how he looked at it, the person before him was neither a squirrel nor a ferret. He wasn’t a dormouse either.
“Ah, um, eh…?”
Rick gazed up at the large man who had opened the door.
Rick stood there with a dumbstruck, squirrel-like look on his face. 1 His mind was blank except for the distant hum of elevator music.
His height, the width of his shoulders, his chest–every single thing about the man was huge. He had neat black hair, sharp eyes, and a rugged physique. At a glance, he looked strong. If he were to swing his sturdy arms, he could easily knock aside someone like Rick.
Instinctively, Rick began to tremble.
“…Are you Mr. Rick Edwards?”
After making a face as though he were pondering something, the large person tilted his head as he asked the question to confirm.
“Eek, y-yes, I am.”
Rick raised a quivering hand in reply.
There was no mistake; he had called Rick’s name. No two ways about it.
In other words, this man was the person that lived here. The person Rick would be living with. The man who Rick had heard would be starting his hibernation vacation tomorrow. No doubt about it.
“I’m Davis Geller, Bear Beastman.”
“Just call me ‘Davis’”
For some reason, he repeated his name. It must have meant that he wanted to be called by his first name. With an internal shudder, Rick called his name in a soft voice.
“What is it?”
He’s a man of few words–too few words!
It suited his large appearance (though it might be strange to say so). He seemed to have a taciturn personality. Rick had been terrified of Davis from the beginning, but the fact that Davis only opened his mouth to say the bare minimum paralyzed Rick with horror.
Was he unaware of Rick’s fear, or was he just disinterested in it? The gargantuan pers…Davis turned away, a nonchalant expression on his face. “Welcome,” he said, prompting Rick to enter the house.
Rick, flinching with each of the man’s movements, hunched over. “A-ah, yes, excuse me,” he said as he stepped into the house.
More importantly–that man…He said he was a b-bear beastman. Bear? Bear….Whoa, he’s a bear.
At the shop where he worked, the items on the menu were aimed toward medium and small beastmen species, so large beastmen species seldom came to the restaurant. Sometimes he saw large beastmen around town from time to time, but he had never really seen a *bear* beastman before.
There are a large variety of beastmen. Naturally, there exist both common species and rare species. Bears are fairly rare types.
“T-thank you so much. P-p-please pardon me for disturbing you…”
Clutching the paper bag against his chest with both hands, he slowly passed through the doorway. He looked around the large foyer.
To his right was what he supposed was a shoe cabinet. Its doors took up an entire wall. He could not see inside the cabinet, but it was so large that it made him want to see how many pairs of shoes it could hold. There was a small corridor with stylish indirect lights and houseplants. The back wall was decorated with large abstract paintings.
The ceiling was high, and tasteful lamps hung from the ceiling.
Fluffy white slippers had been arranged at the entrance. They had probably been placed there for Rick to use.
He glanced at Davis, who pointed at the slippers and nodded. This was the first time that Rick had been offered slippers, and Davis had done so without saying a word. Rather, this was the first time that he visited a home where slippers were worn. Everyone else that he knew lived in an apartment, and they had never given him slippers.
He took off his shoes, bowing his head as he stepped into the slippers. They were fluffy and warm. Actually, he felt really warm just being inside.
It wasn’t just the foyer; the whole house was filled with warmth. Rick hated the cold, so the warmth was like heaven to him.
This house is pretty cozy.
Rick hadn’t noticed it before, but his body had been cold and his fingers were starting to go numb. After letting out a sigh of relief, Rick turned back to look at Davis.
When he looked back, he found that Davis was closer to him than he’d expected, and Rick jumped again. A moment ago, he’d thought that Davis was next to the door to the foyer. How had he gotten so close to him that fast?
Rick replied in a shrill voice, the paper bag clutched against his pounding chest.
Scaaarry! Like I thought–he’s scary!
It was no wonder that Rick was scared of him; how was it possible for him to move that huge body without making a sound?
Davis lazily raised his hand and pointed at the floor, then told the pale-faced Rick, “They’re big, huh? The slippers?”
Rick followed the line of Davis’ finger and looked down. Certainly the fluffy, white slippers looked disproportionately large on his feet. They made him look like Bigfoot or a clown. He couldn’t say for sure because he hadn’t started walking yet, but from the looks of things, he wouldn’t be able to take a couple of steps without stumbling.
“That’s pretty cute, but it looks like they’re bothering you, so I’ll go buy another pair.”
“Hm? B-b-uu–? No, no! I-It’s okay! It’s not a bother!!”
For a moment, Rick felt as though he had heard Davis say something strange, and he had said something odd in response. But Davis’ sentence had been long, and Rick had been distracted by the latter half of it. Rick completely forgot about the first part.
Rick looked in surprise at Davis, who stood straight-faced with his arms crossed, and just shook his head.