Actions

Work Header

Tumbling Down

Chapter Text

Takeout, again. There hadn’t been any sales lately and Genos couldn’t make anything with what was left in the fridge. He had offered to go out and get something, but it would’ve been at least another hour before the food was ready and Saitama was starving.

“Sensei, I saw an ad for 30% off this Friday at SmartShop.”

Saitama gazed blankly at Genos over a bowl of noodles, thinking. Today was Wednesday, and if they saved the leftovers from tonight they could manage to cook something up for tomorrow. “Sounds good. We’ll go then.”

Genos nodded and looked down to an open notebook under his own curry chicken. Saitama would be lying if he said he wasn’t a little creeped out by how many diagrams of himself were in there, but it seemed so important to his disciple he didn’t bother mentioning it. Anyway, if Genos didn’t have those notebooks, the guy would probably end up recording him 24/7. …If that wasn’t already happening.

Saitama pushed the thought out of his head and munched. Glancing at the chopsticks in his roommate’s hand, he asked, “Genos…why do you eat? Can’t you just...” He was going to say “run on electricity,” but he still wasn’t sure how sensitive Genos was about his robot status. “Doesn’t Doctor Kuseno have something more powerful for you to use? You must need a lot of energy for the things you do.”

Genos stared straight back at Saitama, as he always did when his sensei spoke. “Doctor Kuseno has created a state-of-the-art processing system that allows me to alternate between organic and inorganic energy sources, depending on the given situation. If it’s more prudent to—“

Saitama raised his eyebrow, and the cyborg paused.

“I can both eat and use a charger for energy, Sensei.”

“Aah,” answered Saitama. “Like a hybrid, right? That’s cool.”

“Yes. Doctor Kuseno is an excellent engineer.”

It always seemed strange to Saitama that the doctor didn’t get more attention because of Genos. “He made every part of you, right?”


Genos nodded, biting into another hunk of chicken. He dabbed away some of the sauce with a napkin and traded his chopsticks for a pencil, scribbling something in his compact handwriting.


Saitama imagined how many different wires and gears and chips Genos’ body had. He’d seen them scattered across battlefields more times that he could count, so it wasn’t hard. He never got over seeing his face torn up, though. “Genos, what about your skin? It looks so real. Did Kuseno develop that too?”


The cyborg looked up and squinted. Sensei wasn’t often this talkative, and Genos wasn’t sure if this was his way of asking for a favor. He hadn’t shown much interest in his manufacture before. “Yes, Sensei. He was part of an organization that worked on new skin for burn victims. He recycled the formula and used it for me.”


Saitama oohed again. “That’s amazing…”


The low din of Genos’ fans kicked in, filling the room with a familiar hum. Saitama remembered the few times he touched his disciple’s face and how realistic it felt. Science these days was incredible. He could never figure any of that stuff out in school, and he couldn’t fathom being on that level. He reached over the table and poked Genos’ forehead, much to his disciple’s surprise. “You wouldn’t be able to tell it was fake if you didn’t already know, y’know?"

Genos sat wordless for a moment, but the whir of his fans got louder. “Saitama-sensei,” he offered, “You can feel my face if you want to.”


His teacher waved his hand, looking over at the curry chicken. “Aw, no dude, don’t worry about it. You’re eatin—“


There was a bang as the cyborg slammed down his meal and clanked over to the other side of the table. He plopped himself cross-legged beside Saitama and very nearly shouted, “It isn’t a problem, Sensei!”


“O-Okay,” Saitama laughed, slowly backing away. His student was a little scary when he got determined. After wiping his fingers he turned towards Genos. “Do you want me to…just…” Saitama lifted his arm, unsure how to start.


The cyborg held his teacher’s hand and put it to his cheek, leaning into it. It took everything in Saitama’s power not to jerk it away. That was way more intimate that he had been expecting, but he didn’t want to insult Genos…


Saitama moved his hand without thinking and was surprised at how authentic the cyborg’s skin was. It’s not as if he hadn’t felt it during training or missions, he knew it was soft. It was different like this, though. Velvety, firm…it was warm even. It must have been from Genos’ processors or something…


Saitama glanced at his disciples eyes and saw them glowing, figures flickering in the golden iris. “Genos…are you…recording me?”


“Yes, Sensei,” he answered. “When people are confronted with something new, they act more on instinct and less on informed opinion. I…might discover something about what makes you powerful if I can study your reactions later. I can stop if you do not want me to.”


The bald man grunted and ignored Genos’ flashing eyes, putting up a hand to his own cheek to compare the two. The kid’s was way softer than his, that wasn’t even a question. Saitama ran his fingers over both their features in unison, testing their cheeks, their chins, their noses… It wasn’t fair. The guy was a high-ranking hero, super-popular with fangirls, and had the complexion of a model for an anti-acne campaign.


Saitama moved onto his chapped lips and brushed against Genos’ own, pushing down on them lightly. Even those seemed real, all plush like that! Not only that, they were nicer than any he had felt before. It’s not as if he had kissed a lot of girls (most certainly none in the past few years), but they didn’t have ones that were this pouty and smooth and—


Saitama blanched, quickly pulling his fingers away from the cyborg’s mouth. Only now did he notice the shrill whistle of a cooling system and the badly-disguised panic in his disciple’s face. Saitama had a feeling that, if he was seeing it from Genos’ point of view, he would have looked the same.


He didn’t know why he was so embarrassed, though. It’s not like he was doing anything creepy. He was just awed by how real robot parts could be. He was just comparing artificial lips to human ones. He definitely wasn’t wondering how’d they feel in an actual kiss, that would be totally gay, and he wasn’t into guys, not even this one with his perfect skin and girly lips and pretty hair—not that he noticed or anything!


“So those are real impressive,” Saitama screamed, laughing awkwardly over the fans’ whine. “Your doctor made them real good!”


“Y-yes, Saitama-sensei! Doctor Kuseno modified them in order to make eating, drinking, and speaking as natural as possible.”


“Wow,” drawled Saitama, still too loud, “That’s…real….good!” Genos sat there, eyes still flickering, locked onto his sensei. Oh God he had to say something, he couldn’t sit there getting stared at. “So…the whole mouth and throat and all that is the same, eh? All realistic and stuff? That’s super neat! Having everything work together like that!”


Genos shot forward. “Sensei can touch that too if he wants!”


The two froze and locked eyes, both utterly silent. With a small “click” Genos’ shoulders unhinged and steam poured from them, filling the room with an electric smell.


“Uh…Genos,” started the older man, cautiously pointing at the boy’s chest.


It took a few seconds for Genos to respond. “Excuse me, Sensei,” was all he said before standing up, walking out onto the balcony, and shutting the door behind him.


Saitama watched steam fog up the glass as the blonde stood stock-still, facing towards the dark sky. If he was a better person, he would have followed Genos out to make sure he was okay. Right now he wasn’t that person. Right now Saitama needed to make sure Saitama was okay.


He thought for a few moments, trying to figure out exactly what made him so upset. He stopped after needing to viciously suppress the question of whether or not Genos’ lips really were nicer than any he had kissed.


No, Saitama was not okay. He had made a mistake. He was tired and probably horny and Genos happened to be there. No sensei was supposed to go around feeling up on their student’s faces and telling them how nice they were. That’s way too creepy! The kid probably thought he was a perv. Judging by how he freaked out, he must have. He’s psyching himself up to walk back in and say he needs to be by himself for a while.


Saitama turned when his disciple opened the completely fogged door. He looked for the boy’s regular, serious scowl, but found Genos’ staring back with nervous eyes and a tight lip. He didn’t look angry--he looked scared. But he must have been grossed out by Saitama, right?


“Sensei…do you want me to save the leftovers?”


Sensei didn’t move, not sure how to react.


“I can use them to make a stir-fry tomorrow.”


“Uh…sure, Genos. Go ahead.”


Trailing smoke and a gentle hum, Genos speed-walked into the room, gathering up everything faster than Saitama had ever seen before. In no time he was making lunches and washing dishes, cleaning as if nothing had happened.


Saitama kept on watching as Genos started scrubbing a pot. The cyborg was one-hundred percent disgusted. He had to have been. There wasn’t any other option.


Genos glanced up from the sink to find his sensei staring at him, and quickly dove back into his work. The whine of his fans increased.


Yeah. That was undeniably, positively the only way Genos could have felt. Creeped out.


The blonde shyly looked back up and away, scrubbing motions slowing.


Absolutely repulsed. Nothing else.


“S-sensei,” called the boy, “…do you want to begin loading Kick-ass while I dry the dishes?”


…Wasn’t he?


“Yeah…yeah, sure Genos. Sounds good.”


Saitama reached over and pulled a ‘Chobits’ manga off the shelves. Bang had lent it to him, saying Saitama should read it, but he never explained why. The bald man absently flipped to one of the pages and read, trying not to focus on how hot the tips of his ears were.

Chapter Text

    It was only a job.

    Yeah, it was sleazy-sounding based on the ad, and it was even sleazier when they explained what he was actually doing. Take this mic, they said, and make love to it. Kiss it, moan into it, stuff like that. The company called them “audio date CDs.” Saitama just called it ear porn. Sure it was creepy, but the job paid really well. He didn’t need to use his actual name either, so no one would know he was doing it in the first place (it’s not like the Hero Association could track a part-time gig paid under the table, right?) The best thing about it was that they kept on asking him to come back, and they started paying him better to keep him there. Apparently he moaned into a mic better than a lot of other guys.

    He was a little proud, he had to admit it. Last month he got asked to come in for a new one. He didn’t know when it would be released, but he didn’t really care. He never listened to them after the fact anyway.

    At least…he hadn’t listened to them before.

    All he wanted to do was find that stupid song he downloaded. King had told him there was a great rock cover someone did of Ryu’s main theme and sent it over in an email. Saitama clicked the file, fiddled around on some of the hero forums as its progress bar inched by…and accidentally closed the “Open file?” prompt.

    “Shit…” he mumbled, pulling up the Start Menu and struggling to figure out which folder it would be in. Genos had explained to him a while back what the Recent one was for. Maybe it went there…? He wished the cyborg was around. He could have got this in a flash. Stupid S-class meetings.

    Saitama scrolled impatiently through the garbled file names, trying to pick out the one he wanted. He aimlessly clicked on a few, finding old albums of his and a few of the electronic tracks Genos liked. Glancing up at the headers for the files, Saitama remembered he could organize them according to date opened. So he did.

    A lump of files jumped to the top, all of them with similar chains at the start of their name but different numbers at the end. Saitama clicked on the first one, hoping that would be it.

    Viz player flew up onto the screen.

    “Wa-wait a minute…When I said…do something about it…”

    That sounded…familiar…

    “Id-idiot…you…don’t need to do th—“

    There was a fury of clicking as Saitama hastily closed the box, which ended up opening another file three separate times. Saitama heard himself moan in triplicate. A blush creeped into his face as he carefully closed each of the three players.

    The man stared at the computer screen, realizing that the chunk of ten or twelve files at the top of it all had the same sort of title. That meant they were all the same thing, right? He gingerly clicked on one more to make sure.

    “It feels hot as hell inside you.”

    He closed it. Yep. That’s what it meant.

    Saitama took a closer look at the files, hoping they’d help him figure out why they were there. It didn’t give any links or sources, though—only the name, date, size, and type…whatever that was. The three files he clicked on had all popped to the top of the folder and read 6/7/2010, 12:31:25 PM (ish), almost exactly today’s date and time. The files must have shown when they were last opened, then. He scanned the rest of them:

6/6/2010, 2:35:46 PM

6/6/2010, 2:29:14 PM

6/6/2010, 2:20:22 PM

6/4/2010, 3:17:20 PM

    It went on like that, going back until a few days ago. He tried to remember what he had been doing yesterday. There was a giant sale at a seafood place in City B, so he rushed over there to get it…he thought he left at around two though, so it was just Genos—

    “Oh. My. God,” Saitama said. “No…he wouldn’t…”

    The hero went back over the list of dates, trying to remember his week. At two yesterday he was at the food store. At three on Tuesday he went to pick up his hero outfit from his tailor (frickin’ porcupine monster). At five on Monday he ran out to a B-Class hero meeting and was there for a while.

    Genos had stayed home every time. And every time Saitama left, he was…on…the computer…

    Saitama recoiled from the laptop; then he caught himself. No, he thought, that was ridiculous. Genos didn’t…masturbate, right? He’s a robot! Saitama had seen the kid naked, there was nothing going on down there. He hardly showed any kind of romantic inclination at all. Except…

    Saitama felt his cheeks burning. Well, except maybe for that one night were he felt up Genos’ face (God that was so awkward), but his disciple hadn’t done anything afterwards, so he obviously didn’t feel anything towards Saitama. There was a good reason for this. Genos was probably looking out for his Sensei—he had a more protective streak than a German Shepherd, it wouldn’t surprise his teacher at all. If he found out something like this existed, he’d definitely want to know how and why…

    Saitama tried really hard to believe that. He did. But he also couldn’t ignore the fact that, for the past week, the apartment smelled a lot like the electronic twang Genos’ vents gave out when he got over-heated. And Saitama never saw said vents open up when he was around.

    The hero’s stomach twisted like he had eaten bad curry. His disciple was getting off on his voice.

     “I mean, maybe not…” Saitama said, doing his best to comfort himself. He couldn’t know until he asked, right? How do you even ask something like that? “Hey Genos,” he started, talking at the wall, “I found some files…No. So… Genos, do you fuck? Oh my God no that’s even worse. Oi, Genos…do you…like…me…”

    His chest seized up on the last question. Definitely not that one. Okay…he had to figure this out. What if he could hint at it, right? Maybe asking about audios CDs, or if there was anything floating around online about him…but that was way too forward! Genos was a genius, he’d figure it out in a second. Saitama had never been interested in things like that before…

    Then he got an idea. Saitama looked back into the folder, carefully opening one and putting the volume on low. Genos was a genius, he soaked up everything like a sponge. And if it was something he cared about, he could recite it like a tape recorder. So if the cyborg heard something off these files when he didn’t expect to…and he’d been using them for their intended purpose (Saitama pushed the image out of his head)…well, he’d react, right?

    He picked up a pair of headphones lying next to the computer and slipped them on, not wanting to think about why they were there. He’d only need to listen a couple times before the scripts came back to him anyway.


 

    Genos walked into the door, holding a bag filled with random kitchenware. Clearance stickers shone through the plastic. “Sensei,” he greeted, putting it down, “The home goods store in City C advertised 75% off out-of-season stock, so I bought some new table settings. I did not think you would mind a snowman print on your bowls, but if you don’t like them, I can find another…”

    As Genos looked up to his Sensei, he found him quietly closing the laptop and taking off his headphones. His face was incredibly red.

     “Sensei, has something happened?”

    Saitama’s brow furrowed and he scratched his skull. “Nah…nah, just something I saw online…uh…” Shit, he was so bad at lying. “There were some old pictures of me at this convenience store I used to work at. I looked like such a dork, was all.”

    The cyborg plucked up. “There are photos of you from so long ago, Sensei? Could I see them?”

     “What? I mean, no, not now—I closed the tab and I don’t feel like pulling it up again.”

    Genos walked over to the computer. “I could easily find it for you if that’s what—“

     “No!” Saitama shouted, surprising the blonde. “Uh…I’m really embarrassed about that kind of stuff, and…I’m hungry anyway! Could you make…something?”

    Genos stared, scanning his teacher’s vital signals. His heartbeat was fast, his blood rate was up…he must have been really agitated by seeing pictures of himself. He would not push the issue further. “Of course, Sensei,” Genos answered, moving over to the kitchen. “What would you like?”

    Saitama watched Genos put on his pink apron. He could feel his heart thudding in his chest, preparing for what he was going to do. He’d always recorded the tracks in an empty room. Trying to be all sexy with someone else nearby felt…weird. But it was the only way he’d know, right? Yeah. Right. “Uhm…BLTs?”

    His disciple nodded and reached down to the bread box, pulling out half a loaf of white bread. Saitama went around the divide and stood next to the countertop. “I’ll get these ready, okay?”

    Genos glanced down, not understanding why Sensei was asking his permission. He shrugged and pulled out the cutting board from its place by the sink, laying it beside his teacher.
Saitama let out a slow breath. He looked down at the bread, thinking. It had started to get stale, but the insides were still okay. “Ah…Hey Genos.”

    The cyborg glanced over, getting ready to slice up tomatoes.

    Saitama swallowed, poking at the center of the bread. It was tough to put on the voice without any prep. “It’s so soft, but it’s gotten hard right over here.”

    Genos stopped mid-motion.

     “Do you think we need to get some new bread?”

    The cyborg’s shoulders slumped a little. “Sensei…If you would like to, yes, but for toast it will be fine.”

     “Oh…” Saitama answered. That wasn’t that bad, and Genos hardly did anything at all. Maybe he wasn’t using the files. “Great.” Or maybe he’s a robot that’s really bad at showing how he feels.  Saitama pulled out the frying pan from the cupboards and put it on the stove, starting the heat. “We do have bacon, right?”

     “Yes, Sensei. In the bottom right drawer.”

    Saitama fished it out of the fridge and plopped it next to Genos. He absently fiddled with one of the uncut tomatoes on the counter, sure his cheeks must’ve been the same color. They were about to get darker. “Could you stop…calling me that,” he started, forcing an all-too-inappropriate growl in his voice. Might as well pull out the big guns and get this over with. “It always bothered me when you called me…Sensei…”

    Genos hesitated and turned to his teacher. The man was slumped over the counter with his vegetable, seemingly oblivious to what he was quoting (or how he was saying it, for that matter). This wasn’t on purpose…was it? Sensei couldn’t have known, right? There was no way he found the files. His master was good at many things, but technology wasn’t one of them.

    Sensei looked straight back at him. “Call me…Saitama.”

    The whirr of his cooling system increased. Genos held eye contact for as long as he could…which wasn’t very long at all. He was simply over-reacting. Sensei—Saitama-sensei—asked Genos to address him informally all the time. Additionally, sometimes the human brain defaults into previously used patterns during times of great stress, especially those that had been memorized for a purpose, and Sensei—Saitama-sensei—had been doing a great deal of hero duty lately. Not that he seemed very tired lately. Not that he had seemed tired ever. And not that he ever sounded so damned hoarse and throaty whenever he was even close to exhausted. Oh God, had he found the files?

    Saitama heard the hum of Genos’ fans and looked down to the tiny blades peeking out from his open tank. They’d picked up a little, but that was normal for his student’s day-to-day. That was good. It was totally possible Saitama had it wrong. After all, the kid hardly flinched at his “wrap-it-up” voice (that’s what they called it at the studio).

    Saitama relaxed, mostly satisfied. Then he heard a small scraping sound coming from the cutting board. Genos was concentrating very hard on cutting the tomatoes as thin as possible, not realizing that he was also shaving off bits of his fingers in the process.

    The bald man sighed as the bad-curry feeling curled back into his belly.

    Alright, so there was a chance—a good one too, not that Saitama wanted to admit it—that Genos was doing some questionable things when he wasn’t around. He still didn’t understand how that was physically possible, but before he was going to ask about it, he had to be sure. He needed to say something that couldn’t possibly make the kid flustered unless he’d heard it first in those frickin’ CDs.

    Saitama covertly checked out the room, searching for inspiration. Fridge, cleaning solution, dishes…the stove…Genos’ slippers… Then he spied the toaster in the corner. That was it.

    Saitama breathed in deep, steeling himself. He felt seedy just thinking of what he wanted to do. Was this really better than openly asking Genos if he was listening to the files?

    The man played out the scenario in his head. Yes. Yes it was.

    Saitama plugged in the toaster and popped some bread in it, making a show of waiting for it to heat up. Picking up another slice, he moved his hand over to this disciple’s side and let it hover there for a second. Genos glanced down again, tossing his sensei a concerned look.

    The caped baldy dropped his voice. “It feels hot as hell inside you…”

    The knife Genos was using clattered on the cutting board, and Saitama heard a shrill squeal come from his disciple’s fans. That wasn’t very promising.

     “Sen..sei?!”

    Saitama wiggled a piece of bread in his other hand. “I wanna put it in….Can I?”

    Genos stared down at Saitama, his vents trying desperately to cool him off. Sensei was talking about bread. He was only talking about bread. It was complete coincidence that he happened to be asking using quotes from the audios he’d lifted from that fan site. It was his brain recalling past experiences and pulling them up for current use. He was only talking about bread! “S-Saitama-sensei…I don’t know that it would taste well, because of the oil between my joints, and it would take longer, and you wouldn’t get the same kind of texture as you do with a normal toaster due to the lack of grates, and I know you like to eat the burnt pieces which certainly wouldn’t come out right if you had used me…”

    The man stood straight, watching his student have a tiny robot freak-out. Yeah. He was using the files. Saitama moved over to the toaster and waited for the first two pieces to pop out, numbly listening to Genos ramble on.

    Well. This would be a conversation.

Chapter Text

    If only there had been some cicadas, this wouldn’t be so hard.

    Saitama stared up at the ceiling in the dark room, trying desperately to sleep. Without the whir of Genos’ fans, it was impossible. He forgot how much he relied on that hum to get to bed at night. When he was living by himself the quiet was no problem, but he must have gotten used to having Genos there…

    The man closed his eyes and listened for anything outside the open balcony door. Except for a random wind or two, it was totally silent. He couldn’t be mad, though. It was his fault for taking out that cicada-imago-thing a few weeks ago, and the cricket mutant after that, along with all their bug minions. He didn’t know why monsters decided to gather up giant swarms of their kind to follow them around, but it was a real effective way to get rid of pest problems. Not that he was too happy about it now.

    He turned toward the spot where Genos used to sleep, coming face-to-face with that little fan shoved up against the wall. Saitama refused to turn it on (why waste the batteries?), and he’d fought his student on getting it in the first place. Genos thought it would “assist Sensei’s rest by providing white noise,” but Saitama knew it wouldn’t work. The sound wasn’t the same. In the end, though, Genos snuck out and bought one anyway. One day when the caped baldy was bored, he drew Genos’ trademark scowl on the front of it. 

     It was funny at first–he called it “Genos’ Biggest Fan” (Saitama was pretty pleased with that joke). Now, though, seeing those eyes glare at him from across the room just made him feel like shit.

    “Damnit…” he mumbled, frowning. He’d hoped the guilt would ease up after a couple of weeks. It only got worse. What else was he supposed to do though, let the kid go on sleeping next to him? Wouldn’t that be harder on Genos? Wouldn’t that be harder on the both of them? As if this wasn’t awkward enough already…

    The clock in the corner ticked on, making the night feel even longer. Seven o’clock wasn’t coming any faster than it had yesterday, or the day before…or the one before that. Saitama was exhausted. He closed his eyes and tried counting back from 100, hoping to wear himself out.

    He got to 81 before he started replaying the conversation in his head.

    He’d it practically memorized at this point. He didn’t know why his brain wanted to torture him that much, but he couldn’t stop it. All of a sudden he would remember how anxious Genos looked while he was cowering across from him, and that was that.

     Once Saitama finished rehearsing all those clips he found on the computer a few weeks ago, he forgot to close them out…as if testing out ear porn on his disciple didn’t make him enough of an idiot. So of course when Genos opened up the laptop to check his email, which was what he did always did after dinner (they’d only lived together for almost two years, how could Saitama forget that?), there they were, right in front of him. Every single one.

     His vents made a little “click”sound and start to steam. Saitama thought the cyborg shut down for a second; he was hovering over the chair, not at all acknowledging the smoke pouring from his shoulders.

    “Genos?” he asked, peeking around his shoulder. That was when he saw the screen. His chest tightened up, and all he could manage was an, “A-ah…”

    The boy continued to fog up the room, still frozen. He didn’t move until Saitama called his name and pat the freshly-cleared table.

    The blonde turned and sat himself across from his teacher. Saitama hadn’t seen him walk that stiffly since his new legs locked up after fighting the Sea King. “Genos…” he started, and promptly stopped. What did he say? There was no way to ease into this. He wasn’t even sure what to ask first.

    “Um…so…I found those clips…today…by mistake…”

    Genos was focusing intently on his hands, fans letting out a high squeal.

    “…And, uh…I wasn’t sure why they were there…”

    Genos’ ventilation system continued to do the talking for him.

    “…Dude, you could at least look at me if you’re not gonna say anything.”

    His disciple’s eyes leapt up, the yellow irises glowing the same way they did during battle. Saitama could see the reactors begin to ignite through his shirt. “Hey,” he asked, “Are you…alright?” What a stupid question. Of course he wasn’t.

    The cyborg’s face twisted and he started to open his mouth, but instead of answering he shook his head. Tendrils of steam curled around his face.

    Saitama waved the cloud away, and took a second to walk over to the patio door so he could slide it open. Then he situated himself back on the floor, facing the blonde. “Genos. Talk to me,” Saitama urged. “Usually I can’t get you to shut up…”

    In a very, very small voice, Genos asked, “What do you want to know, Sensei?”

    This was it, then. “Well…I guess…first off, why were those files there?”

    “I…downloaded them, Sensei.”

    Fuck. “…On purpose?”

    “Yes, Sensei.”

    Hope flashed across Saitama’s face. “Did you do it…because you were trying to see if there was any news about me again?”

    Genos tensed and the buzz of his fans hiccupped. Guess he didn’t realize that Saitama knew how much research his disciple did on him. “Y…yes, Sensei. I found rumors on a hero-hate forum, and I wanted to know if they were trying to slander you further.”

    Saitama frowned. He didn’t want to know why he was being talked about on a hate forum, or what the other slander was.

    Genos glanced up. “They were actually quite fond of you, Saitama-sensei.”

    Oh. Well that was a nice thing to hear. At least he had some fans (even if they had nothing to do with him being a hero). “So you only listened to them to see if what those guys were saying was true, right?”

    “Yes,” answered Genos, before breaking eye contact. “…At first.”

    Saitama did his best not to groan out loud, but he still found himself slumping over the table. He saw Genos flinch and immediately felt awful for it. “Genos…I…” Saitama hesitated, and thought, and gave up. This was so far beyond his expertise. He punched things. That was about all he was good at. “So…you were actually using them?”

    Genos was sinking deeper and deeper into his chest. “…Yes, Sensei.”

    That was the last thing Saitama wanted to hear. His stomach was doing gymnastics, and he regretted asking Genos to make Fettuccini Alfredo for dinner. Still, though, he just didn’t get it. The blonde was missing some key parts of the whole masturbation thing. He wanted to ask, but….

    Aw hell. This couldn’t be more uncomfortable anyway, might as well go for broke. “Alright, I have to know—how do you even use them? I’ve seen you without pants on. There isn’t anything there.”

    His roommate took a deep breath, either not realizing he was inhaling smoke or not caring. The open door wasn’t helping much. “I have a panel installed in my pelvis that’s touch-activated and hyper-sensitive,” Genos explained. “When I trace a pattern on it, it unlocks that part of my system and increases the amount of processing power my body devotes to it. After…active use…and a cooldown cycle, it automatically relocks itself.”

    Saitama tried to understand, head in his hands. Those were a lot of fancy words. “So…what you mean is…your junk’s password-protected?”

    His student couldn’t hold back his smile. “Essentially, yes, Sensei.”

    That was a new one. Saitama swallowed, and then caught the lump in this throat. Oh God. Did that mean… “Wa—wait! So, it’s all…where it would normally be, right? Like…” He frantically gestured to his hips.

    A light fog had started to settle on the floor. “Yes…Sensei…”

    “So…I… Damnit! Stand up,” Saitama blundered, reaching over and taking his disciple by his smoking shoulder. He didn’t want to initiate any kind of physical contact right now, but that frickin’ smog was all over the place! The man guided Genos to the patio door and made him sit in front of it.

    “Okay,” Saitama began, plopping himself a safe distance away from his student and hoping he couldn’t see how red he was. “Okay! So if it’s all…where it would normally be…well, I’ve definitely needed to pick you up from your crotch when you were all broken up! Is this password complicated? I mean…I didn’t ever…do anything…by mistake, did I?”

    Genos’s fans died down as he laughed. Saitama was a little surprised by the sound. “No, Sensei…it’s not like that. You’ve never accidentally unlocked it.”

    The bald man doubled over himself, head on his knees. He felt like his cheeks were going to burst into flames. “Oh…well, that’s…good…” The last thing he needed was a sexual harassment suit from the Hero Association. Did that exist? Was that in that stupid manual he never read?

    He heard a small whine pick up from the door, and looked up to see Genos chewing on his lip. He hadn’t seen him do that…well, ever. It seemed natural for him, though. Did Saitama never notice it before? Damn was he unobservant.  

    Genos covertly glanced at his teacher before returning his focus to his hands. “Of course,” he mumbled, “If Sensei is nervous about putting the panel online…” His voice trickled away and Saitama asked him to repeat himself. He thought he lost the last few words in the new flood of steam that was started to whistle from his disciple’s torso.

    The boy let out a long, slow breath and leaned back, just a little bit. “If Sensei wanted to know the password…I could…show you…how…” Quickly, so quickly Saitama wasn’t sure he heard him right, he added, “For when you need to gather my pieces. Sensei. So you know what not to do. If…you’d want to know.”

    Saitama quirked his eyebrow at his student. Like, watch him activate it? Like…watch him…touch himself? “What? No, that’s fine, if I hadn’t before, I probably won’t later.”

    “O-Okay, Sensei.” Genos put his head down and rubbed his face, body drooping. He almost looked…disappointed? What, had he wanted his sensei to say, “Yeah, go ahead?” That was weird. The guy would be practically jerking off in front of him.

    Genos started to fidget in his seat, and Saitama felt his stomach curl up again. Oh God. Did hewant to jerk off in front of him?

    …Oh God, was Genos coming onto him?

    Saitama straightened like a lightning bolt, mind going a mile a minute. He’d never legitimately questioned his disciple’s sexuality before (hell, deep down he still thought maybe the CDs were some kind of experiment for him). Saitama hadn’t considered him being interested in guys, and he certainly didn’t think he’d go for Saitama himself. Sure, there had been points when he caught the cyborg staring, but at his age everyone has those moments where you wonder, and what with the Association calling him away all the time he hardly had any of it to himself, and when you can’t take care of business for a while you start eyeing up anything with an ass, and fuck Saitama was always walking around in his boxers, not that he did it on purpose he really thought it didn’t matter, and geeze if the kid was trying something Saitama’d spent the whole afternoon dirty-talking him like you couldn’t blame him—

    “Saitama-sensei,” Genos said, clearly uncomfortable. “Do you have…any more questions?”

    Saitama realized he had been staring straight at his disciple’s head for the past half-a-minute. “Oh! Uh…um…” How did he do this tactfully? Could you flat-out ask what people went for? ‘Genos, do you prefer the D or the V?’ Crap! “With, um…with the CDs…if you’re into, y’know…guys…there’s others. And then girls, too, if you’d rather those.” He watched Genos for his reaction. “I could get them, if you wanted.” Saitama was ready to smack himself. As if this whole situation wasn’t bad enough, now he was offering to become his student’s smut source. Great. Just great.

    Genos was silent for a second, the vents on his chest beginning to glow again. “Sensei…I am ‘into’ guys…”

    Saitama felt what little hope he had left slip away.

    “…but I’m also ‘into’ girls. It does not make a big difference for me.”

    Some of that hope slithered back in. “Oh,” he answered, “Oh. I hadn’t thought about it…I guess you’re desensitized to it, huh? What with your body and all…” Saitama made a vague point towards Genos’ chest. The boy nodded.

    “It’s difficult to care about sex when you don’t necessarily have one yourself.”

    So he didn’t care if it was a guy or a girl he was listening to? The man sunk back into his feet, trying very hard not to piece together what the cyborg was telling him. “Well…I mean, if there’s something about guys’ voices you like, I could find others…”

    Man, was he grasping for straws. It was totally possible he preferred how dudes sounded, though, right? And that was why he was using Saitama’s recordings…right?

    The lights on Genos’ chest burned brighter, and Saitama worried that the poor kid’s shirt would start to smoke. It lit up his face against the dark sky outside. He looked so scared.

    Saitama wasn’t used to seeing him like this.

    “It isn’t that I like men’s voices, Sensei.”

    His teacher didn’t respond. Honestly he didn’t even want to listen.

    “It’s…that I like…your voice, Sensei.” He looked away. “I like hearing it. I like hearing you say so many kind things. I like…feeling as if you’re close to me, Sensei, the way those audios make it seem. I…”

    Oh God. The man found himself wishing a monster would crash through the ceiling. Could he go find one? Now?

    Genos sighed, the soft sound fighting with the whine of his reactors. “Saitama-sen—“ He caught himself. “Saitama. It’s you. I…like…you, Saitama.” He bowed his head to the floor, covering his face completely. Muffled under his hair, his teacher heard one last “Sensei” mumbled before the blonde stopped talking.

    Saitama looked down, and did nothing else. He didn’t move, he didn’t breathe, he didn’t talk. He was not socially prepared for something like this. ‘Saitama.’ Genos actually said his name. He couldn’t tell if he wanted to throw up or start dissolving into thin air. Maybe both. That would work.

    His mouth started moving, and Saitama garbled out a lot of nonsense before finally settling on, “…Eh?”

    The cyborg pushed his face further into the ground. Apparently he wasn’t going to be helping the discussion along.

    Saitama had to say something. “Genos,” he started, going nowhere. What? What did he say? How did he answer that? He didn’t feel the same. Sure, he liked having Genos around—his life had definitely improved since he moved in, there was no denying that—but it wasn’t like he wanted to boink him or anything… “Genos…hey, sit up, would you? You look like your…I dunno, groveling or something.”

    The not-very demonic Demon Cyborg pulled himself up. Saitama saw yellow rings were indeed starting to burn through on the shirt he was wearing. He wanted to mention it, but now wasn’t the time to tell his roommate to take his shirt off.

    “…How long has this been going on?”

    “What…specifically, Sensei?”

    Saitama paused. “Specifically? Uh…well, you…” It was so hard to say it out loud. “…Being…in love…with me?”

    There was a rev and a new hum as the fans shot up again. At least the steam had started to taper off. “I’m not certain, Sensei. For at least the last year. It could have been longer than that.” Genos found a stack of his journals in the corner and absentmindedly pushed them into a straighter pile. “That was when I understood what I was feeling.”

    A year? An entire year? Saitama wondered how many times Genos must’ve tried to show him. He knew he was oblivious, but this was borderline neglectful. Was he that bad of a roommate? Damn, screw that, was he that bad of a friend?

    “Genos, I’m…so sorry. I honestly had no idea…”

    The blonde smiled. “I know, Saitama-sensei. I made sure you didn’t. The chances of you feeling the same were low, and I didn’t want to distress you.”

    It’s a certain kind of shame when your student knows you better than you know him. Some Sensei he was.

    Saitama started, then stopped, and reached out, and stopped, and finally put a hand on the cyborg’s too-hot shoulder. It was the same reassuring pat he always gave Genos, and he wasn’t sure if that made it better or worse. He had to tell him, though. “You’re…right. Like usual. I…don’t…feel the same, Genos.”

    Steam swirled out through Saitama’s fingers. Genos tried hard to keep a straight face, but he couldn’t keep his eyebrows from knotting up.

    This was awful. “That doesn’t mean I hate you! I don’t. I really don’t. I like you, y’know? You make things a lot better here, and you’re always thoughtful. You even pushed me into becoming a real hero, and I wouldn’t have done that if it weren’t for you! So I’m thankful you’re around…oh—oh God, I’m sorry!”

    Saitama took back his hand as he saw the tiny oil droplets splashing on his student’s legs. Those weird black tears were trailing down his cheeks, pooling on his chin. Genos was doing his best to shut them out, but they kept on coming anyway. Saitama ran over to the kitchen and grabbed a towel. Last time this happened the tissues disintegrated on contact…and the floor was stained for months. He returned, holding it out to the cyborg.

    Genos took it and sobbed into the rag. It was an old one anyway.

    Saitama looked away and leaned up against his manga tower. He’d only asked a girl out a few times before, but he always got turned down when he did. Was this how it felt from the other side?

    The ever-growing pile of journals lurked beside him. He found himself hating them a little bit. So much effort went into those…so many hours Genos spent thinking about his teacher, constantly. Seriously, how could Saitama have missed this? And why him? He wasn’t attractive, he didn’t have hair…his personal grooming habits were slim to none (it had been at least a week since he took a shower). His body was okay, but he was dumb as a rock. He didn’t even have that great a sense of humor. And he was poor to boot. And Genos…

    Saitama looked over at him. Even with his face all bunched up, he was still gorgeous. He was still…well, everything. He was smart, rich, popular, respected. Genos was a prodigy; hell, he was a miracle. He shouldn’t be crying over someone like Saitama. People should cry over him.

    Maybe if they hadn’t been together 24-7, Genos would be able to realize that.

    “Oi…Genos…”

    The blonde looked over, his face a mess of black smudges.

    “…Maybe…we should start sleeping in separate rooms…”

    Three weeks. It had been three weeks since then. Saitama closed his eyes on the memory before checking out the clock. The perky little face showed 3:42.

    Damnit. He wasn’t going to get any sleep tonight either. He continued to stare up at the ceiling, trying to come up with increasingly more creative ways to tucker out his head without getting up to do anything. He knew the second he started moving his student would wake up, poke his ruffled little head out of the bathroom where he’d been sleeping, and ask if his sensei wanted any tea. Saitama swore he had sensors installed to track his vital signs.  

    He went back over the week, trying to remember if he had seen any sales posted around the cities. On the third Friday of every month Cuttle Crab put up a BOGO sale for bulk packs of tuna, but he didn’t know if he had the space to store it this time around. Plus there was supposed to be something going on at Superstore B this weekend, so he would probably want to pick up whatever they had over there… He thought he saw some sardines in their canned section, and he knew Genos liked those. Oh yeah! King had told him there was a sale on electronics over in the Upland Mall…but Saitama had a feeling Sonic lived somewhere near there, whenever he made the trip the ninja always showed up and made a mess…

    Saitama stopped, listening in the dark. For a second he thought he heard the whine from Genos’ blasters start up. After a tense moment he relaxed. Nothing. Guess he was that tire—

    Orange and red exploded into the room, tearing through the house with a deafening roar. It sounded like Genos was screaming behind it. Saitama shot up, panicking, and sprinted down the hall before backpedaling to pat out a couple of small fires in the kitchen.

    More careful this time, Saitama eased his way around the now non-existent bathroom door and checked out his disciple.

    Genos was down on one knee, arms in full cannon mode, gasping, glaring at nothing. He must have been crying at some point too—his face was covered in black tear lines. He was looking around as if he had lost something.

     Saitama gingerly stepped in the room. “Hey buddy… Everything okay?”

    Genos instinctively aimed his blasters at his teacher. When he realized where he was pointing them, his eyes got as round as takoyaki and he snapped out of it. He looked to the still-smoldering door, and then out to the charred hallway, and finally up at the massive hole in the roof. Then he turned back to his teacher, stricken. “I-I apologize, I didn’t mean—I’ll repair it right away, I can go out now and get—“

    Saitama waved his hands, dismissing him. “Hey, calm down. It’s fine. Way worse has been done to this apartment.” That was only half-true. Saitama shimmied into the already-crammed room and sat down next to the boy. “Wanna tell me what happened?”

    Genos rolled his shoulders and wiped his face, noticing the oil streaks on his hand when he pulled them away. He cursed softly as he reached for what was left of his comforter and clanked down on the floor. Saitama was quiet while he cleaned himself up.

    “It was just a nightmare,” Genos told him, voice husky behind the rags. “I was remembering…when the rogue cyborg came…”

    Saitama cooed. “Ah…okay.” The boy sighed and threw the blanket down, putting his head on his knees and between his arms. They whistled as they powered down. “You don’t seem at all surprised. Is this normal?”

    The blonde head bobbed.

    “Hm…but you never did this before,” Saitama said, jutting his chin towards the walls.

    Genos’ bright stare popped up from under his bangs. He looked so small like that. “It was more frequent when I lived with Doctor Kuseno. I slept in a room with reinforced, fireproof walls.”

    They were silent while they sat, both listening to the wind blowing in from the outside. It was soothing, actually.

    “You didn’t tell me you had nightmares like that,” pushed Saitama.

    Genos turned his head so he could look over at his teacher. “It wasn’t important. Besides, I stopped having them so often once I moved in here. They almost went away…” As an afterthought, he added, “Sensei.”

    He was finally waking up. “Really?”

    The boy nodded again, rubbing his eyes. Mid-motion he stopped and shook his head instead. “Well…they had, at least. They started coming back…a couple of weeks ago…”

    Saitama grimaced. There it was—that shitty feeling again. “So…when you started sleeping alone?”

    His disciple wouldn’t look him in the eye. “Yes. Around then.” Then he hid his face completely. “I think…I felt safer with you next to me, Sensei. I know you could destroy anything that threatened us.”

    The man scratched the back of his head, more out of habit than anything. In other words, he thought, his dumb idea got them into this mess. For the second time.

    Crap

    Saitama yawned, making his puffy eyes water up. He was so tired. Genos obviously wasn’t sleeping either. He looked down at the mostly-intact futon and poked his student. “Up,” he commanded.

    Genos quirked his head, and Saitama raised his hand. “Up. Off. C’mon.”

    The boy stumbled away the futon as Saitama picked it up and dragged it out into the living room, carting his pillow with him. The mattress left black streak marks across the floor, but that was the least of Saitama’s worries at this point. He knew Genos was going to scrub down everything tomorrow anyway, no matter how many times he was told not to.

    Saitama nudged Genos’ Biggest Fan out of the way to make some space on the floor. The cyborg’s futon made a weak “fwup” as Saitama laid it down next to his own and stepped down onto his bed. He put the sheet over himself and motioned for Genos to follow suit.

    A pair of yellow lights stared out from across the room. “B-but Saitama-sensei…you said we should…”

    Saitama grunted and smacked the comforter. “I know what I said, and it was stupid. So come here.”

    There was a metal clatter as Genos walked over and stretched out on the futon. He stared shyly at his teacher, his ventilation system kicking in.

    “Don’t look at me like that. I can’t get any shut-eye either, okay? I need the stupid noise from your fans.”

    Saitama couldn’t help looking over to see his student smile. He felt a blush creeping into his ears.

    “And stop it with that stupid grin!”

    Genos settled down, averting his eyes. “There are…many stupid things tonight, Sensei.”

    Saitama turned and bore down at his disciple. Was the brat actually teasing him? “Yeah, well…!” He tried to think of something clever to say, but it was so late, and all he wanted to do was sleep, and Genos was right. Saitama looked away. “Shut up.”

    The cyborg gave the smallest of laughs from behind his teacher’s head. Still not looking at him, Saitama raised the comforter. “Do you need this?”

    “…what? Sensei…I’m sure you don’t want to share a blanket.”

    “I said do you need this?” The kid could not be making this harder on him. Saitama was one more piece of robot sass away from telling him to sleep outside.

    “…yes, Sensei. I prefer to sleep with a sheet.”

    Saitama thrust his hand out again, waiting for Genos to skootch over. He did, and Saitama absolutely didn’t think the way that he nuzzled up behind him was kinda cute.

    Yeah. He was sending some great signals right now. The bald man sighed. He was so bad at this.

    “Thank you, Sensei.”

    “Go to sleep.”

    For a while Saitama sat there, staring up and around, finally looking over at the cyborg. He’d missed a lot of the oil from the tears and some of it got in his hair. That was alright, though. He was knocked out (at least he looked it) and breathing peacefully. Every now and again he would shudder as he inhaled, and Saitama could hear the pumps in his lungs working. He must’ve still been cooling down, too, because his fans were blowing out a bit of warm air. It would’ve been too much if the breeze from the hole in the roof wasn’t drifting through the room.

    Heh, Saitama thought. His disciple was a real hot-head. He’d need to tell him that when he woke up, that was a good one.

    The hum of Genos’ body droned on. It was such a unique sound. Shit, did Saitama miss it. It was something like how his old Dell sounded when it was shutting down, and something like their refrigerator, and something like a jet engine. The hero grinned. Genos would be thrilled if he knew he was comparing him to two pieces of broken-down equipment and a plane. Oh well. There were all these tiny sounds hidden in there too, though, little pops and sparks that you couldn’t hear unless it was totally quiet…

    Through the sleepy haze, Saitama recognized that this was probably wrong. He shouldn’t let his student get so close, especially after knowing how he felt. It would only lead him on, right? Right. Saitama knew he was right. But…still though…

    The man yawned one more time, feeling the heat pulse on beside him. Still, he had to admit…

    He glanced over at Genos before shutting his eyes.

    …This was pretty nice.

Chapter Text

     It hit him when he saw City D’s ads for the exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. It was showing off what they’d be doing for Culture Day. That meant it was the end of October…

     …and Genos’ birthday was on the second of November…

     …and Saitama had no idea what to get him.

     It wasn’t like he couldn’t ask him now. It had been a few months since the blonde let Saitama know how he felt, and things were almost back to the way they were before. They were sleeping in the same room again, they were talking about dumb stuff over dinner… They didn’t go the bathhouses together anymore, but Genos let that one go without a fight. Saitama was sure he’d seen enough to last him a lifetime anyways.

     Huh… The bald man stopped and thought. Did his body come with a lifetime warranty? The kid would outlive his gear. Was that something he could try to buy for him?

     There was a ruffled “flup” as Saitama tucked his head in his sleeves, agonizing over presents in his empty apartment. He probably couldn’t afford anything for Genos’ parts, and Kuseno took care of all his mechanical upkeep anyway.

     Honestly he couldn’t afford anything, period. Saitama gazed blankly into the folds of his sweatshirt. All the stuff he thought his disciple might want—phones, shoes, cookware, tools—it was all so expensive! There was a little under ¥9,000 left lying in the apartment for whatever. The hero was willing to spend it on something for Genos, but everything in that price range seemed to be a knockoff of the good stuff. That wasn’t what the kid deserved. The walking war machine would destroy anything that wasn’t top-of-the-line anyway.

     Saitama chuckled, remembering how destructive his disciple got yesterday. He found an old electric mixer at a thrift shop and gave it to Genos to test out on some cakes (he’d developed a taste for baking lately, Saitama wasn’t sure why). Thinking that was that, the bald man wandered out of the kitchen and laid down to reread The Big O.

     Some clangs and thwups came from the sink at first, nothing too alarming. Then they got louder. Not even five minutes later Saitama heard an awful screeching followed by a crack. He poked his head over the divide to see what was going on.

     He saw Genos glaring at the smoking and shattered mixer, looking like his blasters would start up any second.

     “Genos,” he called, “What…happened?”

     The cyborg scowled on. “I couldn’t figure out how to secure the whisks in place, Sensei.”

     His teacher nodded, very slowly. “Ah… Is that so… Y’know,” he offered, tilting his head, “I could have shown you how to do it. I didn’t reali—“

     Genos had turned his scowl from the mixer in his hand to the man in the other room. Saitama hushed up. “It’s fine. It was only a few hundred yen anyway.”

     There was a silence as Genos held the stare, the way he did when he was ready to incinerate something. His roommate could practically hear the internal screaming. Quietly the boy said, “I will pay Sensei back for it.”

     “No kid, it’s alright, I promise.” Saitama took a hold of the sill so he could lift himself up to it. “And you gotta stop saying things like that. We’ve lived together for almost two years—it’s kind of insulting.”

     Those bright yellow eyes shot up, all big and worried. Saitama should’ve seen that one coming. “Sensei! I did not mean to insult you in any way…It is merely that I know how frugal you are with your funds, and for you to—“

     It was Sensei’s turn to interrupt him as he held up a hand. “Twenty words!”

     Genos’ shoulders slumped, and he (pretty roughly) tossed the mixer into the trash. “I apologize, Sensei. It was kind of you to get that for me, and I broke it.”

     “Don’t worry about it. Hey, could you grab the chips? Ninja Warrior’s about to start.”

     The boy came around, a bag of Lays in hand. They both plopped down by the TV and Saitama turned up the volume. It was an alright episode, nothing great. Genos gave a running commentary as Saitama munched, slipping the doubled-up chips to his student (those were the kid’s favorite, so he always passed them off when he found them). After the rolling credits ended, they went to sleep.

     …Well, Genos went to sleep. Saitama stayed up for a while longer, listening to his disciple’s fans and trying to figure out what the hell he would want.

     The caped baldy had made no more progress today than he had the night before.

     “Ugh!” he called out, throwing his hands up and splaying himself out across the rug. He was one-hundred percent lost. He’d have to go shopping around town to see if something caught his eye. Saitama tugged his cell phone out of his pocket and started typing a text.


 

     “He’s loaded, you know? So he buys everything for himself. Half the time I haven’t even heard of the brands he brings home, they’re so high-end.”

     There was a breeze when Saitama and Mumen left the noodle house, squinting into the sun. The bald man eyed up the Licenseless Rider’s cozy-looking jacket and hugged his own sweatshirt a little closer. Eventually he’d need to cave and get a winter coat…eventually. But maybe not just yet. Those things were so pricey.

     Saitama looked down the street at the strip of stores ahead of them. “Wanna start heading that way?”

     Mumen shrugged and stepped forward. “I have a lot of trouble finding gifts for May,” he offered, “And she doesn’t like to ask for anything. Usually I have to think about what I see her doing around the house.”

     “Huh,” muttered Saitama, considering it. “Well…he’s always scribbling notes in his journal…and I think he uses pencils…”

     Mumen looked over, confused. Saitama forgot that the C-Class hero didn’t have much time to hang out at the apartment.

     “Genos has these…journals, logs, diaries…whatever they are, and he keeps notes on—“ He was going to say ‘me,’ but wouldn’t that make Genos sound creepy? Okay, not that it wasn’t a little creepy, but he didn’t want Mumen thinking of his student that way. “…On training stuff, and things he thought were interesting.” Saitama smiled. “He’s kind of obsessive about it.”

     The light glinted off Mumen’s glasses as he nodded. “I can see him being that type. What about a bookcase to hold them all?”

     Saitama’s face lit up…and then he slumped right back down. Unless he was going to buy a library, no amount of bookcases would be enough. “I don’t know…he usually only keeps two or three at the apartment, and he drops the rest off at the doc’s house.” An image of a room filled with towers and towers of Genos’ well-worn notebooks flashed through Saitama’s head. He felt bad for Kuseno.

     “Does he like any kind of food? Or sweets?”

     That he knew. There were a bunch of things Genos liked. The cyborg ate…a lot. Saitama wasn’t sure if that was any cheaper than the charger he'd stuffed in one of their closets. “Genos has lots of favorites—super spicy udon, strawberry Jolly Ranchers, wasabi peas, omelets…hot chocolate, but only with a ton of whipped cream…” He remembered last night. “Those curly chips you get sometimes…” He looked to Mumen for suggestions, and found the cyclist giving him a weird stare. It was like he was seeing a dog do a cute trick. “What?”

     Mumen shook his head and turned away. Was he laughing? “It’s nothing. Those are…really specific, so I guess you couldn’t get him just those.”

     Saitama kept his eyes on the displays next to him, irritated that the brunette wasn’t letting him in on the joke. They passed by a smoke shop and a few jewelry stores, nothing that Genos could use (Saitama briefly considered earrings until he remembered that the cyborg’s studs were actual screws). He paused in front of a pea coat on display in a nicer boutique. It was dark grey, and had a big collar. Two rows of buttons went down the front…that was called double-breasted, right? “Mumen…he’d look pretty good in something like this, eh? Maybe with the collar popped up?”

     The other man examined the jacket. “Hmm…I think so, but wouldn’t he have trouble with his shoulders? And…” Mumen pushed his face against the glass, trying to get a look at the price tag. His voice was muffled under his cheeks. “Saitama, this is almost ¥50,000.”

     Well that was out then. “Damnit,” he mumbled, and kept on moving.

     It was driving him crazy. Saitama should be able to do this. He and Genos were together all the time, it shouldn’t be this hard to think up something his student would want. The kid was always bringing home things that Saitama liked. Why couldn’t he figure out one frickin’ gift to give back?  

     They wandered for a while longer, going further downtown until they were right in the center of City D. Electronics, stationary, culinary, aerobic…they went in more stores than Saitama could remember having ever visited in his life, and left empty-handed each time.

     “Sorry, Mumen,” he started, rolling his shoulders. “You can get going if you have stuff to do. You don’t get days off all that much, I’m not gonna keep you.”

     The brunette shook his head. “Nah, don’t worry. I kinda like it, just walking around like this. It’s relaxing.”

     “Alright…but you don’t have to.” Way down on the other side of the street Saitama spotted a bakery. “Do you mind if we see wha—“

     He cut himself off as he leapt back, a thin blur hurtling towards him…and missing. Three shuriken whizzed at Saitama as the shape skidded to a stop behind him.

     The bald man caught the ninja stars, unsurprised. Mumen sighed and assumed a defensive stance.

     “Saitama,” the mass cried, bursting towards said hero. He slipped to one side and proceeded to dodge a barrage of dagger strikes. The slashes came faster as their source screamed, “Quit running away!”

     The B-class hero watched on as Sonic tried his best to hit him, getting angrier and angrier with each miss. He was improving, though! His movements were more fluid, and he wasn’t losing as much speed to recoil. While Saitama dodged, he took a closer look at the villain. He was kinda young, and pretty chic what with the nice clothes he was always wearing…and he must have been more in touch with what was popular now…

     “Hey Sonic,” Saitama said, reaching out for his hands. In less than a second the black whirlwind turned into a furious, big-eyed ninja, hair sticking out in all directions and scarf askew. “You’re up-to-date on what’s in style! Can you help me find something?”

     The assassin was flabbergasted. “Wh…what? I’m here to murder you! I’m not going to—“

     “I promise I’ll knock you out afterwards, okay? Just help me out now?”

     Sonic grimaced, but he put his hands down at his side. “If you think that’s how it will end, you’re wrong.” He glowered over at Mumen, who was very unsure of what to do right now. “You had this idiot helping you? No wonder you’re lost. What are you looking for?”

     The bald man gave a warning frown. “Mumen isn’t an idiot. Anyway, I need something for Genos’ birthday, but I don’t know what’s ‘in.’” …as if he ever knew what was ‘in.’ Saitama had the fashion sense of a perpetual tourist.

     “You’re asking for my help on that?” Sonic rolled his eyes. “Geeze…aren’t you his boyfriend or something? Shouldn’t you already have it figured out?”

     It was interesting (to say the least) to watch the most powerful man in existence crumple at a few words.

     “C’mon, Sonic, I’m asking nice!” The ninja smirked, and Saitama wondered if it was alright to knock him out right then and there. Snarky little sonafa--

     “There’s a few shops I’ve been looking into lately. Might as well check them out now.” The black-haired brat sauntered on, and the two followed.

     Saitama could feel the discomfort radiating off of Mumen’s shoulders. “Dude…you okay?”

     His fellow hero’s stare bore into Sonic’s back. “He’s a wanted criminal, Saitama. He’s killed hundreds of people! We shouldn’t be…”

     “Ah…” Mumen was so honorable. Saitama respected that in him. “Um…well, jails can’t hold him, and the police can’t catch him, right? So as long as he’s with us, he’s not doing anything bad. Besides,” the man mumbled, “He’s actually pretty harmless. He just likes to make himself look scary.”

     Saitama stopped to palm a fourth shuriken as it buzzed towards his head. It made a little chiming noise when he slipped it into his front pocket with the others.

     “I can hear you,” muttered Sonic.

     “Where’s this place you’re taking us?” asked Saitama, completely ignoring the comment.

     “…It’s up the street a little. It’s probably out of your price range, but isn’t everywhere?”

     Little prick…he was just asking for it. Saitama’s fists stayed balled up next to the ninja stars.

     “You can’t talk to him like that,” urged Mumen. “What about you? There aren’t any records of you working anywhere, or even of you living anywhere, for that matter. Do you have a home?”

     The ninja bristled. “I do!”

     “Do you pay for it? Or are you just squatting?”

      Before Mumen knew it, he was face-to-blade with Sonic’s knife. “What’s it to you, you piece of C-class shit?”

     Oh, damnit. Saitama reached over to the dagger and pulled it away. “Guys. Stop. I need help.”

     The two looked over and then back at each other. Sonic made a small lunge at the hero before tucking his weapon in a sleeve and jutting his thumb at a shop on the corner. “The place is called ‘Bywear,’” he grumbled.

     The next hour was spent in and out of expensive shoe stores and computer dealers. Mumen kept close tabs the ninja, horrified as he tried to sneak anything he could under his shirt. Saitama hovered behind him so he could put everything back before Sonic had a chance to complain.

     In the end they still couldn’t find anything.

     When they realized how hopeless the trip was, they made their way for a local coffee shop so they could warm up. Mumen waited outside with Sonic while the other hero got it for them—he didn’t want to risk the thief trying anything.

     With the ring of a bell Saitama came out of the store, cups in hand. He passed one to Mumen, and another to Sonic. The ninja was staring at a mannequin in a lingerie store. Specifically, he was staring at a very tight, very see-through, very yellow dress.

     Saitama didn’t trust him. “What…are you looking at?”

     A small scarred hand pointed up. Totally straight-faced, Sonic asked, “What about this?”

     What? Was he kidding? “H-huh? For Genos? Absolutely not!” Saitama could feel his cheeks getting hotter, and it had nothing to do with his drink. “That’s ridiculous!”

     Sonic gave him a deadpan glare. “Really, Saitama? What are you, five? And no, I meant for you.”

     The lid on Saitama’s coffee toppled as he crushed the cup under it.

     “It’s your color, right? And I see the way you move, you have a good body. This would highlight all your muscles, since it’s sheer. I’m sure Genos wou—“

      There was a meaty “thwuck” as Saitama punched Sonic in the mouth, knocking the ninja out cold. His drink toppled beside him.

     Mumen quietly sipped on his own.

     “Little…punk,” Saitama grumbled, kneeling down next to the ninja so he could prop him up against the store. He wiped his hand on his sweatshirt and leaned Sonic’s head against his bony shoulder, trying hard to ignore everything he just heard. “I’m not into guys,” he insisted. He wasn’t sure why he was saying it, though. It’s not like the assassin could hear him…

     When he stood up, Mumen was smiling behind his drink. There it was again! That goofy watch-this-puppy-go look! “Dude, what? Why are you laughing at me?”

     Red crept across the cyclist’s cheeks. “It’s nothing Saitama, don’t worry! Uh…” The man glanced down at his phone. “It’s about four right now. Do you want to head back?”

     Not really, Saitama thought. They hadn’t even come close to finding something for his disciple. He only had a week left to get it… “Well…yeah, I’ll head back. I think Genos’ll be home soon anyway, and he’ll need help with dinner. He was talking about a shabu-shabu for tonight. Seems like a lot of effort to me, but it’s useless trying to argue with him once he makes up his mind.”

     Mumen chuckled. “Do you guys argue about that stuff a lot?”

     “Sometimes. I mean, if you can call me telling him not to do something and him just doing it anyway ‘arguing.’ I know he’s a robot, but still.”

     “Yeah…me and May do that a lot too.”

     “Eh? I always saw you two as the easy-going type.” Everyone had their problems, Saitama supposed. “Good thing I don’t have a girl—I don’t think I could handle that and Genos at the same time.”

     The brunette’s mouth opened for a second, and shut almost right away. “Saitama,” he started, rubbing the back of his arm, “Have you ever considered…ah…”

     Saitama stared, unmoving. What was he trying to say? He’d been acting weird all afternoon.

     “Well…” After another pause, Mumen shook his head and grinned. “You know what, nevermind.” He put out his fist and Saitama automatically bumped it with his own, cocking his head to one side. “I’ll see you later, okay? I gotta catch a bus. Good luck!”

     “Yeah, thanks,” answered the bald man, waving as the hero jogged away. What was that all about? Mumen wasn’t the type of guy who was afraid to say what he was thinking.

     Saitama pulled up his hood and turned in the other direction, listening to the wind whistle in his ears. He hesitated as he stepped past Sonic, leaning down to wrap the scarf a bit tighter around his neck. The ninja might have wanted him dead, but so did half the planet (and some of the universe too). That was hardly a reason to let him get sick.

     The night was getting cold and quiet as Saitama plodded back down the sidewalk. He tried focusing on gift ideas to push out the chill, but it just wasn’t working. Winter was coming early this time around. He shivered, imagining how warm it would be when he walked through his front door. He couldn’t wait to get home so he could help Genos with that stupid shabu-shabu.

Chapter Text

    The growing pile of presents by the TV wasn’t making Saitama feel any better.

    Three days. Saitama had three days to figure out what he was going to get his disciple for his birthday. It wasn’t like he could get the same gift as last year—Genos decided not to tell him when it was, so Saitama hadn’t given him anything in the first place.

    He slumped over the table, watching the blonde get increasingly more flustered as he chipped away at his giant pile of fan mail. It was bigger than normal. To see Genos over the stack, Saitama had to push himself so close to the edge that he was hanging off of it.

    The cyborg’s fans had been going at a steady pace. Most of the letters came in smelling like perfume, and the gusts were spreading the scent around the room.

    “What are they saying?” asked the man, trying to ignore both the smell and the mountain of boxes. Usually it was only Saitama’s hate mail that got him going this much.

    Genos finished scanning through another letter, crumpling and tossing it into a half-full takeout bag on the floor. “They are expressing birthday wishes.”

    “That’s nice of them…” Saitama tilted his head. “Why the vents, then?”

    The Demon Cyborg opened another letter, peered inside, and closed it right away. “They’re using…unconventional methods, Sensei.”

    The table creaked as Saitama sat up. “Eh? What do you mean?”

    Genos considered the envelope in his hand. After a moment he tugged something out of it, passing it over wordlessly. When Saitama took it, he found himself staring at some very explicit photos of a girl.

    “O-oh,” the man mumbled, slapping them face-down in front of him. “That’s…um…something…” It was moments like these that made Saitama realize how much of a difference there was between S-class and B-class. He couldn’t help checking out the trash bag by Genos’ thigh. How many of those photos had he tossed already?

    “It’s very frustrating, Sensei,” answered Genos, stuffing another envelope down. “I have no idea how old any of these individuals are. Some of this could be considered child pornography. They’re threatening my status as a hero and they don’t realize it.”

    Saitama pulled back from the pics, eyeing them cautiously. Then he glanced over at the TV. Man…what was hiding in there? “Is that why you aren’t opening those, Genos?”

    The blonde turned to look behind himself, and back to his teacher. He did not understand. “…No, Sensei. It’s because they’re gifts.”

    The boy stopped and Saitama waited. There were a few seconds of confused eye contact. “…So?” prompted the man.

    “So, I cannot open them until my birthday, Sensei.”

    Seriously? Saitama grinned, opening his mouth to say something. Nothing came out but a laugh. “You’re actually gonna wait?”

    The hum of the fans picked up. “I don’t understand why this is funny, Sensei,” began Genos, shoulders squaring off. “They are birthday presents. Is it not customary to open them only when that day comes?”

    He was so serious! “Genos,” Saitama chuckled, “That’s not…” The bald man faltered. He didn’t want to say that you grew out of that rule once you left elementary, he knew that would embarrass his student. Instead he stared back at that angry pout and shook his head. “That’s good of you, dude. You don’t have to do that though.”

    The cyborg put his face to the pile. “It’s what I choose to do, Sensei.”

    They sat like that for a while, Genos stripping down the stack and his teacher asking questions. Mostly Saitama wanted to distract himself from the pretty wrapping paper and crushed bows over by the flat screen. He couldn’t, though. There they were, all big and colorful, showing off how many people knew exactly what to get for his disciple…

    …And here Saitama was, floundering when he tried to think of anything. Maybe some books…? What books would Genos like? Sci-fi? Would he end up laughing at them? Or maybe…action…or…a new apron? Saitama had spilled a bunch of soy sauce on the last one, it was all dirty now… But no, he couldn’t give the kid an apron for his birthday, that would be about as bad as the one time his tailor gave him a subscription to the Hair Club for New Years…

     The man swore the presents were mocking him. Stupid fans with their stupid good ideas…They could all go to hell.

    “Sensei…do you want me to get rid of the packages?” asked Genos, totally out-of-the-blue.

    Saitama looked over, surprised, and felt his face relax. Ah. Okay, maybe it wasn’t out of the blue—apparently he’d been glaring at the pile for a long while now. “Oh—nah, nah kid, don’t worry. I’m…thinking, is all.”

    He had his student’s full attention. “Oh? What does Sensei think about?”

    How little I know about you, thought Saitama, but instead he answered, “Um…sales. Over the weekend.”

    Genos’ face lit up like he’d found one of his lost screws. “Right! Sensei, I had forgotten!” The cyborg’s fans gave a little “pfft” when he stood and he clunked over to the closet down the hall. He called out while he walked. “I found a sale when I was coming home on Wednesday, and—“ There was a rustling as Genos paused, peeking over at his teacher from around the stairs. Did he seem a little…nervous? “Saitama-sensei, could you…close your eyes?”

    The man’s stomach dropped. He taught that to the cyborg a couple of weeks ago (he’d brought home a box of cannolis from a bakery he saved, and he wanted to surprise his disciple). Did this mean Genos got him a gift? “Genos…why—“

    “Please, Sensei,” called the boy over another rustle.

    Saitama frowned and shut his eyes. What did he do? What did he bring home? This was so backwards. The man didn’t deserve presents, especially not from Genos. Two years and he still wasn’t sure what the blonde liked? That was terrible!

    The clank of metal feet got closer. Saitama hoped that in a second he’d be holding onto a pair of sandals, or socks, or an energy drink. Those are pretty normal. Those are appropriate “just because” gifts. Saitama got that kind of stuff for Genos if he was out an—

    Something thick and wooly plopped into his hands.

    “Okay, Sensei. You may open your eyes.”

    Saitama leered down, afraid to see what was on his lap. “Genos…this…this is…!”

    Holy shit. This was most definitely not a pair of socks. It was a coat—a warm, soft, for-real winter coat. Saitama held it up, taking it in. Not only was it a coat, it was a nice one at that. The fabric was this dark red, and it had a bunch of pockets on the sides—Saitama  turned it around—with a giant hood attached to the back… It was long, but not that long…

    He caught sight of the tag hanging off it, and thought he recognized the logo. Where had he seen it? It was pretty recently… Saitama stopped. He grabbed the slip and pulled it closer to his face, inspecting it. After a few moments of denial, he felt like he was going to throw up.

    It was from that boutique he found when he went out with Mumen a few days ago.

    Saitama froze, trying to remember what he could about the store. How much was that one jacket in the window? Way over ¥40,000, right? That was almost two months worth of rent. That was ridiculous. How much did his student shell out for this? “Genos,” he pushed, holding up the tag, “What is this?”

    The boy’s normally rigid posture tightened up even more. His sensei sounded angry—angrier than he’d heard him a long time. “It’s…a winter jacket, Sensei. I thought you would want one for the coming months…”

    Saitama gaped, glancing frantically over the gift like it would give him something profound to say. All he got was, “N-no! Genos, no!” He thrust the jacket at his roommate, tag leading the attack. The cyborg shied away. “I know this place! Genos, this is a top-of-the-line clothes store! They’re super-expensive!”

    He was so mad… “If you are worried about our funds, Sensei…I could return—“

    “This isn’t about money, Genos,” cried Saitama, startling his student. Geeze, he looked like he was gonna cry…again! How could Saitama be so bad at this? “It’s—well okay, money’s part of it, but—“

    Desperate, the bald man took in the jacket. Nothing. He had said nothing about wanting one of these. And Genos knew, never having asked, just like that. Like it was the most natural thing in the world. Like he did with the manga, and the video games, and the drinks. Like he was more in tune with Saitama’s thoughts than Saitama was himself.

    And his sensei couldn’t think up a single fucking gift to give him for his birthday.

    “Damnit…it’s not about any of that. It’s…” The bald man sunk back into his feet “This is about you, Genos. Your birthday is almost here, and…I don’t know what to do for you. You’re always saying all this nice stuff… You’re always right there when I need something, without question… Genos, I—“

    Saitama looked back up to this student. His fans had started to buzz.

     “Genos…” The caped baldy played with the jacket. “…I like you, kid. I like having you around. But it seems like I don’t, and it’s making me feel like shit. I want to get something for you, y’know? To show how thankful I am. Something good…” Saitama lifted the hood. “Something like this…”

    Genos stared, unmoving and silent. What was Sensei trying to say? So many kind things… Saitama-sensei had told him so many kind things… But was he displeased? Should Genos reach out or speak? Would it be best to leave him alone? What was he supposed to do here?

    Saitama hung his head. “I really like the coat,” he said. “Thank you, Genos.”

    The cyborg felt his core heat up in his chest. “Sensei! I’m glad!” He bowed for a moment, putting his head to his knees. “I did not mean to agitate you, though, Sensei. Please forg—“

    A pair of small, strong hands pushed Genos’ shoulders back up. When he pulled away from the floor, he saw his teacher rubbing the back of his neck.

    “Please don’t do that right now. I feel crappy enough as is.”

    Genos was not very good at comforting his sensei. He straightened and watched the man, taking a moment to appreciate him. He was so humble. He deserved all the praise in the world, all the gifts people could give at him. And to get worked up over something as small as a jacket…

    The boy was so lucky to have someone like him in his life. “Sensei,” he started, “You do not have to get me anything.”

    Saitama let out a coarse ‘argh’ and threw his head back. Of course he’d say that. “Yes I do, Genos! But I…don’t…”

    “…Do you need suggestions, Sensei?”

    Yeah, because he was the most unobservant person alive. Saitama nodded sheepishly.

    Genos considered it. There weren’t many things that he wanted, at least not physical things. He received the J-26 model blasters from Kuseno two weeks ago, and he ordered the Toshiba S1350 for the Association on Thursday (not that he would ever request something so lavish). He had enough clothes to last for at least four-and-a-half months… His apron was stained, but he didn’t dare think of replacing it…

    Wow, thought Saitama. The cyborg was really digging for an answer. He couldn’t remember Genos ever being this quiet for this long, at least not after he was asked a question.

    Genos briefly gazed back at his teacher. Then he shuffled on his toes and took a breath. “Sensei…If it is not too much…”

    Saitama leaned over the coat in his lap, totally zoned in. What? What was it? Was it boots? Saitama was half-convinced it was boots.

    “…Could we spend the day together?”

    …What? “U-uh…Genos, that’s not…”

    The blonde spoke fast. “It’s okay, Sensei. I know you probably have something you were planning to do—it was selfish of me to suggest it. Saitama-sensei has many things he likes to take care of during the week and I would get in the way.”

    “N-no! That’s not why…Genos, that’s not a gift.” Saitama pulled back, trying to ignore how hot his ears were getting. “That’s…pretty much a normal day, isn’t it? I want to get you something cool, or fun…”

    “That would be both, Sensei.” And then the brat smiled.

    …Was Saitama blushing more? The man rubbed his face, hoping it would take some of the red away. Not that it worked like that. “Uh…A-alright, Genos. Okay. What do you want to do?”

    The yellow in the cyborg’s stare brightened. “N-nothing in particular, Sensei. I would like to practice Tekken with you, or work on a new shortbread recipe. We could also go out to eat somewhere, so long as we do not enter the main cities.” Genos imagined a sea of cameras flashing around him and his teacher, and he scowled. “I would like to avoid the paparazzi, if possible. I don’t like them, and I don’t want them near me on my birthday.”

    That was it? The bald man leaned back, wondering. That wasn’t anything special. Saitama was a boring guy, it’s not like he did anything real interesting. This was supposed to be different, exciting. He wanted Genos to let loose, at least a little. He hardly ever opened up—

    Saitama shriveled. Ugh. Right. Maybe because the last time he did it left him sobbing for half an hour.

    He sized up his perfectly-postured student, listening to his fans. That electric smell was coming back into the air, and it was mixing weirdly with the flowery one from all the letters. He was so stiff—at least when he got up to get the coat, there was some spring in his step. He actually looked like a 21-year old guy for a second. He looked happy.

    Oh. Oh…! “Genos,” Saitama started, and immediately clammed up. He thought of something—he finally thought of something–but…was it a good idea? Probably not, the bald man had a terrible track record with plans involving his student. He didn’t have anything more to offer, though…and even this wasn’t really good enough.

    “Yes, Sensei?”

    Saitama steeled himself. Here goes. “Listen, all that stuff you said you wanted to do—it’s normal, right? That’s not what a birthday is for. It’s gotta be special. So…what if…” His cheeks were notburning up. This was ridiculous. “…What if you could do whatever you wanted that day? With…me, I mean.”

    Had he not heard himself, Saitama would’ve thought he told Genos he became S-class.

    “To a limit, though,” the man pushed. “Like, if you want, you can lean on me, and hug me, and all that, but…no kissing or anything real couple-y, y’know?”

    The cyborg’s face fell.

    Augh… “Well…alright, maybe on the forehead or whatever. But nothing intimate!” Crap. What was he saying? Why? Why did he do this to himself?

    Genos bent forward, chest humming. “S-Saitama-sensei! Would that not be…inconsiderate to you? I would like that very much, but I know you don’t feel the same as I, and I don’t want to make you uncomfortable!”

    No no no no, the kid wasn’t gonna make him backtrack now. “Shut up, Genos. It’s fine. That’s what I want to do, so it’s good. I don’t mind.” He watched his student start to talk, and he put out his hand. “Don’t!”

    The cyborg heard his fans pick up, and he couldn’t think straight for a moment. One day where he could do whatever he wanted (to a limit) with his sensei? He could…sit next to him, and be close to him? He could praise him all he wanted…and touch him…even if it wasn’t necessary? Genos’ vents began to glow. He could—potentially—kiss—if he wanted—!!

    The man watched as the steam started to blow from his disciple’s chest. Alright, well, at least it was a good gift. He’d have to deal with some awkward situations in a couple of days, but he’d leave tomorrow’s problems to tomorrow’s Saitama, right?

    He felt a tiny little twinge in his chest, and tried real hard to pretend it wasn’t there.

    Right. Tomorrow’s Saitama.


 

    Tomorrow’s problems came a lot sooner than Saitama had expected.

   On Saturday, Genos got a call from Mumen asking if he would come out to dinner at the Stuffed Shell. Mumen hardly ever asked for anything, so of course the cyborg and his teacher agreed. When they showed up, though, they found themselves surrounded by a medley of S- and A-class heroes, half of them scarfing down appetizers, and the other half tapping out their obvious boredom on their phones. It was clear that the Association had organized the dinner (pretty publicly too—there were at least twenty reporters sitting around the restaurant).

    They endured it. Genos made Fubuki furious when he insisted she get up so Saitama could sit next to him, and the man had to deal with her and her tiny sister staring daggers into the back of his head all night (he meant that literally—somehow Saitama insulted the Tornado of Terror and she tried to throw a steak knife at him). Snek made snide comments all night long while Metal Bat was telling everyone about his little sister’s school fair, and King was his normal quiet self. Saitama would’ve waved Mumen over so he would at least have someone to talk to, but he was busy with his fiancé. They seemed agitated. Neither Saitama nor his student wanted to bother them.

    Everyone else ate their food and left without so much as trying to wish Genos a ‘Happy Birthday.’

    Saitama thought about it. Well, alright, some of them did, but Genos was kind of rude to them. He was starting to realize that the kid wasn’t too good at interacting with people.

    When it was finally acceptable to leave, Genos and Saitama tore out of the place in a sea of flashes.

    Saitama turned back to see a few of the reporters tailing them. “Wow…you’re a real big deal, Genos!”

    The blonde turned and gave the journalists a glare he usually saved for the worst of monsters. They fell away until there was only one stubborn man left.

    Genos stretched his palm out behind him. With a whine and a bang, the reporter about-faced and ran off from the smoking crater in front of him.

    “What the hell, Genos,” shouted Saitama, whipping around to see the guy sprinting. “You can’t just fire at people!”

    The glow in the cyborg’s eyes said otherwise. “He was harassing us, Sensei.”

    “Yeah, but…you can ask them to stop. You’re too strong to use your blasters like that!”

    Genos turned away. “No, Saitama-sensei. That sort does not stop, no matter how many times you ask. He would have followed us home, and we would have needed to escort him out of City Z.”

    How many times a day did the cyborg have to do this? Saitama got quiet and kept on walking, wondering about his student’s normal routine.

    “I did not enjoy that, Sensei.”

    The bald man looked over. “Huh?”

    “The dinner, Sensei,” Genos added. “That was very unpleasant. I wish Mumen hadn’t called.”

    Frick, yeah. That whole thing was a mess. “What’s wrong with all of them? Are the meetings that nasty too?”

    The cyborg nodded. “Yes, Sensei. We do not get along. Most of the time everyone would rather be home. They don’t want to be bothered.”

    Saitama shrank a little. All he ever did was stay at home, unless he saw something about a monster on the news. Would he be the same way if he became S-class? “Well…that’s where we’re going now,” he said, “So we don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

    The boy smiled. “Yes, Saitama-sensei.” And then quieter, he added, “I will enjoy that.”

    Oh boy. Saitama felt that twinge in his chest again. His birthday was going to be…interesting.

    Sunday was spent shopping—or rather, Saitama tried bringing Genos shopping, but the two were hounded by fans doing their best to give their idol presents. They were chased out of three different supermarkets before they gave up and came home.

    On Monday night, Saitama had a lot of trouble falling asleep. They had settled down for bed at 9:30…and it was now 11:45. He was no closer to dozing off than he’d been two hours before. He tried to tell himself that it was because he had heartburn from that Thai takeout, but he knew that wasn’t it.

    He was nervous.

    The bald man had no idea what to expect come sun-up (because he knew his student was going to milk the day for all it was worth). Genos was upfront, but he wasn’t bold. He never made a move on Saitama or anything. …Well, except for when he tried to make a giant move and jack off in front of his teacher, but Saitama let that one slide. That was a rough day for the kid.

    He glanced over at the sleeping cyborg, listening to his body hum. Man…he must have put him through hell for that year when he didn’t say anything about being…in love…with him. Saitama couldn’t imagine dealing with something like that day-in and day-out. It had been a long while since he’d been interested in anyone, but the last time it happened he only saw the girl for maybe 45 minutes each day and that was hard. To live with the person…

    His cheeks blew up as he remembered how many times he’d walked around pantless…or even in just a towel. Saitama was not a body-conscious man. If he didn’t feel like it, he wasn’t going to get dressed. Hell, he only wore boxers so that he didn’t have to worry about dust from the floor getting stuck to his ass as he was reading or gaming or whatever. Not that there was too much dust anymore. Genos was a little obsessive about cleaning…

    Saitama thought about the notebooks, and the training, and how long he spent on the hero forums, and the hundreds of sugar cookies he made to get the recipe right… Honestly, Genos was a little obsessive about everything. The bald man laughed, remembering how frustrated his student got on the fifth and six batches. He’d burned at least thirty of them befo—

    A ‘boop, boop, boop’ broke off his train of thought. At first he thought it was the TV, but the screen was dark. He bent his neck back so he could see Genos’ Biggest Fan in the corner, thinking maybe the batteries were malfunctioning or something.

    Then he saw the cyborg shuffle in his sleep as the noise stopped. Genos pushed himself up on his palms and looked for Saitama. When he found his teacher staring back, he cocked his head.

    “Sen..sei,” mumbled Genos, not fully booted yet. “Did I…wake you?”

    Did he wake Saitama? “Nah, I was up. …Were those beeps you?”

    The blonde nodded his messy head. “It’s 12 AM, Sensei… It’s Tuesday…”

    The man’s mouth dropped. “You set an alarm for yourself.”

    Genos bobbed his head again. “I did not want to miss any of today…Saitama-sensei…”

    Why did he have to say stuff like that? “Genos, go back to sleep. You’re exhausted.”

    “Sensei…are you still willing to adhere…to the conditions you…established?”

    …Huh? “What, Genos?”

    Those yellow lights locked onto Saitama. “…May I still do whatever I like with you today?”

    The man’s belly tightened up. “Uh…y-yeah… How come…?”

    Genos knelt on his mat and crawled off, pushing it beside his teacher’s. He held a very sloppy seiza as he asked, “May I sleep beside you, Sensei?”

    Shit. He didn’t think he’d have to deal with this for another few hours. His gut reaction was ‘no,’ but he couldn’t really refuse Genos—Saitama set up the deal, this was literally his idea. And hey, they’d slept next to each other before. Maybe this wouldn’t be too bad… “I mean…I told you you could do whatever today, so…so yeah.”

    The kid drooped as he padded forward, practically dragging his legs beneath him. Saitama felt himself tensing as he shuffled closer…

    …and closer…

    …and closer…!

    The man watched the cyborg as he pushed up against his chest. Saitama reflexively jerked back so they weren’t touching, and Genos looked up. Damnit, his eyebrows were wibbly…

    “Is this not okay, Sensei?”

    No! Not that they hadn’t been this close before, but it was never…like this! This was absolutely notokay! Neither was the way Saitama’s cheeks were burning, or how his stupid frickin’ heart was going…but that Genos’ core thudding like that, right? Yeah!

    …Aw shit, Saitama was so wrong, this was nothing like the last time. “It’s…a little much, Genos.”

    The blonde head settled down on the comforter. “Oh…” he mumbled, pushing away.

    “Wait, no—“ Saitama couldn’t believe what an awful person he was. How many different ways could he screw with his student’s head? “Ugh,” he grunted, fighting with himself as he pulled Genos back in. He heard a familiar whirr pick up at his touch, and found his student peeking up at him.

    He needed to stop that. He needed to stop that right away.

    “Thank you, Sensei,” he whispered, closing his eyes and tucking his head into the man’s shirt.

    Saitama laid there, frozen, feeling his student breathe into his chest. What the hell. What was this. He didn’t expect it to be like this when he suggested it. This was…intense!

    Genos sighed a couple times and was out in less than a minute.

    Saitama listened to him…and hardly slept at all.

Chapter Text

     As soon as the clock ticked over to a somewhat reasonable hour, Saitama shimmied himself away from Genos and sprinted into the bathroom. He took his morning whiz and cleaned his hands, lingering before picking up his toothbrush. He needed a second. He needed, like, an hour.

     Saitama had never slept that way with anyone before… It was incredibly uncomfortable. Genos’ vents started to burn after a while and the man couldn’t figure out how to lay with his student practically on top of him. It wasn’t even like he could turn around to get more comfortable—each time he did, the kid would move closer or wind his legs around him or make these small…throaty…sounds…

    Tea. Saitama needed tea. That would clear his head. He quickly brushed his teeth and tiptoed into the kitchen. Being as quiet as he could, he lifted the kettle off the oven, took forever filling it so the water wouldn’t echo in the pot, placed it as softly as he could on the coils, eased the heat on…and turned around to see Genos sitting up on the floor, rubbing his eyes.

     God damnit.

     He tried not to be upset at the blonde, but it wasn’t easy. “Morning, Genos,” he mumbled.

     His student looked up at him and the smile he gave was the dumbest, sweetest thing Saitama thought he’d ever seen. “Good morning, Saitama-sensei…”

     …Maybe he wasn’t all that upset after all. “Happy Birthday, kid. What tea do you want?”

     “…Blueberry?”

     The man took down a couple of mugs and put at bag in each, letting the water boil. Genos came wobbling into the kitchen to get his cup. He was a lot sleepier than normal. “You alright?”

     Genos nodded, yawning. Saitama never understood why Kuseno made that part of his programming, it was totally nonessential. He ended up yawning back as the boy answered, “Yes, Sensei. I slept…very deeply.”

     Lucky him. “…Good. Uhm…what do you want for breakfast? Anything special?”

     There was a clank as Genos put down his cup, and a second clunk when he leaned against the counter to get his apron. “I hadn’t thought of it, Sensei. Maybe…”

     Saitama pushed his hand back and grabbed the frilly pink strap. “You don’t cook today, it’s your birthday. What about…eggs?” Ugh…he hadn’t thought this all the way through. “…Eggs and rice are really all I can do.”

     “Eggs are good, Sensei.” He considered the apron in his teacher’s hand, and after a flustered moment he took it back in his own.

      Saitama stared.

     “May I, Sensei?” asked the boy, lifting the halter towards his teacher’s head.

     “Genos, I can p—“ The man’s eyes widened and his mouth tightened over his words. “S…sure. Yeah.”

     Saitama didn’t budge as his disciple slipped the strap over his head and tied the strings at the back. He was being so gentle… This was weird. Saitama looked down at the (slightly too tight) apron and fiddled with his cup. “Uh…thanks…”

     The cyborg stood back, admiring his Sensei…and promptly spun around to the refrigerator. He needed cool air.

     Being open with his feelings was much more difficult than hiding them.

     He let out a slow breath as he pulled on the door and grabbed a half-full carton from the bottom shelf. “Should I take out the scallions as well, Sensei?”

     “I dunno, do you want any?”

     “…Yes.”

     They didn’t talk much as the man cooked, Saitama because he was missing those six hours of sleep, and Genos because he was mentally steadying himself for the day ahead. They flipped on the news as they ate at the table, Genos scrolling through his phone.

     Saitama tried to see the screen. There were an awful lot of drawings of heroes flashing past…and some of them were awfully naked… “Genos, is that a hero forum?”

     The blonde quickly closed the app and flipped the phone over. “Um…yes, Sensei. …of a sort.”

     Saitama gave a short “hmph” and chewed. Then he thought. “Oh…shouldn’t Kuseno be giving you a call today? That’s…that’s what family does, right?” It had been years since Saitama got a birthday call, so he wasn’t sure if that was still a thing you did.

     “Yes, Sensei. Although he is not biologically family…and he probably does not know that I’m awake. He’s currently in the United States meeting with an associate to test a theory on geothermal energy they’ve been discussing. He wouldn’t call for a few hours yet…”

     Genos kept on going, and it took a lot out of his teacher to let him talk. He still did though. This was the kid’s day, after all.

     The bald man let out a little sigh. It was going to be a very, very long one.

     Once his student finished explaining about turbines or tubes or whatever, Saitama asked, “Why don’t you call him?”

     “Oh. I…hadn’t thought of that, Sensei.” Genos blinked down at his phone and plucked it off the table, tapping the screen a few times before bringing it to his ear. After two or three rings, Saitama heard a gruff voice through the other line. Genos greeted him and the voice sung out a loud ‘Happy Birthday!’

     “Thank you, Dr. Kuseno. Is it going well over there? …Yes, Dr. Peterson was always perceptive with her observations… But I’m interested! …I have not yet opened my gifts, doctor, but I am excited nonetheless. Saitama-sensei and I have tentative plans for toda—“ Genos’ vents let out a puff and he glanced over at his teacher. “…N-no, doctor, not like that. We will be together all day, however, and Sensei suggested…”

     Genos pushed himself off the ground so he could walk out onto the balcony, shutting the door behind him. Saitama was disappointed that he left—he still hadn’t met Doctor Kuseno, and this was the closest he’d gotten to talking with him. He seemed nice, though.

     It was a while before the cyborg finished up. When he walked back in, his vents were at full-whistle and he was pretty shaken.

     “Everything okay, Genos?”

     The blonde looked at him, hovered there for a second, and tore his eyes away. “Y-yes, Sensei. It’s quite okay. Um…I will get changed?”

     Saitama shrugged and went back to watching the news. There was a flash across the screen as an emergency broadcast took over a spot on feral cats. Some dirt monster had overrun the better portion of City N and they were summoning any A- and S-class heroes nearby.

     “Ah crap…”

     Almost immediately Genos’ phone started ringing from the bathroom.

     Really? They couldn’t leave him alone for one day? They knew it was his frickin’ birthday, they planned that stupid dinner around it!

     Saitama heard him pick up and stalked over to the cracked door. “Is that so? Ah. I see. I understand, th—“

     The bald man’s hand shot through the door and took the phone out of the cyborg’s grip. “Can’t you guys find somebody else to do this? It’s the kid’s birthday, give him the day off!”

     His cyborg stared, mortified.

     “Who is this?” demanded the man on the other line. “Where is Demon Cyborg? This is an emergen—”

     “This his teacher,” answered Saitama, “And I’m telling you to back off. Can’t you get that short brat or that pretty guy to do it? When do they do anything?”

     “’Teacher’? Who—“ Tapping came through from the other side. “Mr. Saitama?! This is out of your jurisdiction, you shouldn’t even be listening to this call! Put Demon Cy—“

     “Where is it?”

     “What?”

     Saitama was gonna crush the damned phone.  “Where’s the monster? I’ll take care of it, if you won’t call anyone else.”

     “Absolutely not! This threat is too powerful for a B-class, you can—“

     “Oh my God,” moaned the bald man. “Will you just tell me where it is?”

     “No! Put Dem—“

     “Listen to me,” he screamed, his hand clamping around (and cracking) the door sill. “I can take care of it. I can do it faster than anyone else. Tell me where it is, or I’ll come over there and figure it out for myself!”

     There was a lengthy pause, and Saitama could hear the man arguing with someone else. They sure were taking their sweet-ass time about it. Finally, the voice told him, “…City N, northern borough, last seen at the intersection of 67th and 8th.”

     The molding crumbled to the floor as Saitama let it go. “Thank you!” he cried, handing the phone back to his student before rushing to get on his shoes.

     “Sensei! What about—don’t you need your suit?”

     “Not gonna bother,” shouted Saitama, “I’ll be back soon anyway.” And he bolted out of the door.

     Genos stood in the bathroom, resisting the shame that was building in his belly. This would look terrible to the Association, no matter how right his teacher was. Tatsumaki would pester him relentlessly about it and all the others would be convinced it was a plot contrived by Saitama to go up in rankings.

     He balanced the phone on the edge of the sink and continued getting changed. Of course…he couldn’t help but feel a bit flattered…even if Sensei’s actions were utterly unnecessary (and reckless at that).

     Kuseno’s words came drifting back to him from this morning’s conversation. “That’s how he reacted, eh? …Son, I’ve had many friends, and at least a few sweethearts. Now I could be wrong, I don’t know Saitama as well as you do, but what you’re describing doesn’t sound like someone hanging out with just a friend. I don’t want to get your hopes up, but maybe…you shouldn’t get rid of them altogether, hm?”

      Genos had been trying to ignore what his guardian had said. Saitama rushing off to fight something so he didn’t have to wasn’t helping his efforts.

     His teacher was back in their hallway 45 minutes later, smiling and covered in muck. “I’m home! That was nothing, they didn’t have to call you for it.”

     He changed and took a quick bath while Genos checked through his social accounts on the laptop. There were so many notifications for him to take care of… How many times did he have to tell his fans he wasn’t interested in a relationship? He wished the Hero Association wouldn’t advertise popular heroes’ birthdays on their main page, it made things so much more complicated…

     Something shiny caught Genos’ attention. He looked up, and found his Sensei peering out from behind the bathroom door.

     “Uh…Genos…could you…uh…”

     “Is everything alright, Sensei?”

     The man leaned further out. “Just—close your eyes for a second, okay?”

     Ah. Saitama-sensei had forgotten a towel again. Genos stood up and walked over to the closet in the hallway, shielding his face as he passed the steaming door. This happened frequently…not that he was upset. The cyborg rather enjoyed the glimpses of his teacher’s body he’d sneak at these times, especially now that the man had become more modest when he was at home.

     The blonde pulled down one of the towels from the stack and returned to the bathroom, passing it over. He couldn’t help but steal the tiniest glance as Sensei took it.

     “…You’re not looking, right?”

     Genos shook his head, but he didn’t say anything.

     The man grunted.

     He came out a few minutes later in a well-worn Cream-O-Land sweater and an equally well-worn pair of jeans. He was still pink from the water.

     “What was the monster like, Sensei?”

     The hero settled himself down by the manga tower. “Big. Messy. It had been…some construction worker? Or maybe it was an old building model, I don’t know. Those guys ramble on so much…”

     Genos watched as he tipped over a Clover manga and flipped through it. “That’s an unusual choice for you, Sensei, isn’t it?”

     His sensei shrugged. “I guess…but after I finished Chobits, Bang told me to read this one, so…I don’t know. Might as well, right?”

     Genos had read through Chobits when his teacher was not around. It made him uncomfortable to know how clearly everyone else could see how he felt about Saitama-sensei, especially since it took him so long to find out himself.

      He felt that pull in his chest again, and he shuffled through his open tabs on the computer. Then he glanced back at his hero. “Saitama-sensei…could we…”

     The man peered over his manga at the cyborg.

     Oh. Oh damn. Genos wasn’t even sure what he wanted to do—he just wanted to talk to him, just at that moment. “Ah…work on…baking shortbread cookies?” He was so awkward…

    His teacher’s deep brown eyes lit up. “Yeah, if that’s what you want to do.” He set the manga down and stood. “Do we have the stuff we need?”

     The cyborg tallied the ingredients he knew they had already. There should be proportionate quantities for a few batches… “Yes, Sensei.”

     “Cool,” the man answered, moving into the kitchen. He reappeared in the hall a moment later. “Uh…maybe you should be in here? I don’t know what I’m doing.”

     The boy smiled. “Yes, Sensei.”

     It was the most enjoyable baking session Genos could remember. It was not as if it was any easier—the new mixer Sensei bought him was still infuriatingly fickle, and the uneven heating on the oven left half of the batches undercooked, but that didn’t matter. The cyborg let himself stand closer to his teacher this time, and linger longer. He didn’t try to avoid touching him by accident. He didn’t try to avoid touching him on purpose, even. At first he could tell he was making his teacher uncomfortable, and it hurt. As soon as they moved on to the next step in the recipe, though, Saitama-sensei had forgotten all about it.

     They argued, figured, measured, baked… They did it happily, and more smoothly, than they had before. It was nice. It was extraordinarily nice.

     Genos couldn’t hold back a grin. It was wonderful.

     Luckily his teacher didn’t see. He was busy pulling the last tray from the oven.

     …The whole batch was burnt.

     “Heh…that’s alright, Genos, our cooking’s just too hot to handle.” The man chuckled at his own terrible joke. He always did. That’s what made them good.

     He picked up one and tossed it between his hands, blowing on it.

    “Sensei,” warned Genos, “They’ll be ho—“

     Too late. Saitama had already bit into it and was fanning his mouth.

     “…Do you need water, Sensei?”

     The man shook his bald head and forced a swallow, tears budding in his eyes. “Actually, kid, these came out good! The burn makes them taste more buttery, somehow.”

      Genos poured a cup anyway, and handed it over to his teacher. He was so impatient with food. The man gulped it down and pat his chest, giving a small thanks.

     The cyborg kept on staring. He knew it was unnerving, and he knew he was being sentimental…but he loved the man so much. He wanted him to have everything. He wanted him to know he was everything, at least to the cyborg. He just wanted him.

     “Uh…so…wanna turn on the PlayStation?”

     Agh…he got caught ogling. Damnit… “Yes, Sensei.”

     Saitama-sensei took a step outside of the doorway and stopped. “Hey! Genos, it’s your birthday!”

     “…I know that, Sensei.”

     The bald man flicked his hand back. “No, kid, I mean—“ He pointed towards the (uncomfortably large) pile of presents sitting near the television. “You can open these now!”

      Genos’ shoulders fell. Yes. Yes he could.

     …He was not excited about it. “Sensei…it will take so much time, and we’ve already lost close to an hour…”

     His teacher gave him a confused frown before a flash of realization passed over his face. Had he already forgotten about the monster? “Oh…well… Why don’t I help you open them? That way we can…um…keep on hanging out?”

     Genos could feel the heat coming from his sensei’s skin before he could see it. “Ah…I would enjoy that, Sensei. Yes, then.”

     The two sized up the stack as they walked over to it. Saitama-sensei pushed the table aside sat where it had been. He gathered up at least two dozen of the boxes and dragged them towards himself.

     “I’ll work on these, and you’ll do those, right?”

     Genos sighed. “Okay, Sensei.”

     The man was already ripping into a gift when the cyborg knelt near his own. A blue polka-dotted box perched at the top, its bow askew. Genos reached out for—

     “Kid, sit normal,” his teacher told him, startling the blonde. Genos glanced down at his tightly-locked knees. “You don’t have to be so formal all the time, especially not today.”

     It was uncomfortable to sit cross-legged with his teacher around, but Genos did it gladly. He’d asked so many things of Saitama-sensei that it was relieving to do something his hero requested.

     He heard a laugh from beside the patio door. Genos turned to see his teacher holding a small plushie of the cyborg.

     “Check it out, dude! It looks just like you!”

     Genos pouted. Its eyes were massive and it had a scowl sewn into the front. Did he truly appear to be so mad all the time? The effect was terribly…childish.

     “Haha…this is cute. I’m gonna put all the gifts by the table, okay?”

     The cyborg’s fans started up as he nodded, focusing on his own gift. It was a bottle of high-quality liquor. He heard Saitama whistle his approval behind him and tear into a second package.

     The two worked down their respective piles, finding a myriad of different presents. All-in-all they were fairly innocuous, ranging from stuffed animals to t-shirts to far more alcohol than Genos would ever drink (not that he didn’t enjoy the taste, but he could not handle much—his system could not process ethanol as well as an organic body). There had been, of course, a few less-innocent gifts than those, but they could be disposed of easily.

     There were only six boxes left. Genos picked one up and studied the elaborate handwriting on the tag. He knew it, but from where, though… It was wrapped in bright pink paper filled with hearts, and had a large bow in the front. “To the most angelic Demon I’ve ever seen,” read the front. Genos turned it around. “If you ever need help relaxing after work, let me know.” A small heart with “PPP” signed it off.

     Oh…shit. Genos sighed deeply, sizing up the present. He had no desire to find out what was inside.

     “What’s wrong?” asked his teacher. “You look like you’re holding a dead cat.”

     The cyborg didn’t move. “This is from Puri-Puri Prisoner, Sensei.”

     He heard the man shudder. “That guy... Eesh, I get it now. What…do you think…?”

     “I do not know, and I don’t want to know.”

     Saitama-sensei crawled over and plopped down beside his student. Genos approved of the change. “I dunno… I’m kind of curious. It’s like watching a bad movie, right?”

     The blonde shook his head. He’d received presents from Puri-Puri before (not that he would ever let his Sensei know that). They were…salacious, if Genos was being kind. “I will open it if you would like me to, Sensei.”

     The man’s bald head tipped from side to side, and then it nodded quickly. He laughed. “Yeah, I gotta see what’s in there.”

     Genos unraveled the pink ribbon along the edges, and removed the top. He pulled aside a couple of layers of glittery wrapping paper…

     He felt his Sensei freeze up beside him. “Is that…?!”

     Nestled inside the box was a very large, very pink dildo. Genos inhaled, working to calm his blasters as they warmed up. That must have been the third time this year.

     “W-what,” his teacher cried out, “He can’t send you stuff like this! Isn’t it…y’know, against company policy or something?”

     The blonde pulled out his phone and dialed the Association’s number. Yes, it was, and he had already filed several suits against the S-class hero. It was a few moments before a woman picked up.

     “Hello, this is the Hero Association S-class line. My name is Kura, how may I help you?”

     “Hello Kura. This is Demon Cyborg.”

     “Hello sir! Just a moment…” The light chatter of keys came through from the other side. “Ah, Happy Birthday, Demon Cyborg! How may I help you?”

     “Thank you,” muttered the boy. “I wish to file a complaint.”

     The woman’s tone shifted. “Oh…what’s the matter, sir?”

     “It’s Puri-Puri Prisoner. He—“

     “Again?” cried the woman, tapping furiously.

     Saitama-sensei was listening closely at Genos’ ear, and he turned to give him a frown. “’Again’?” he asked. “What does she mean ‘again’?”

     The blonde ignored him. “Yes, Kura. Are you ready for the details?”

     “Geeze…yea—er, yes, sir, go ahead.”

     “Date, November second. Time, 12:16. Reason: unsolicited gifts of a sexual nature. And…you are recording, right?”

     “That’s right.”

     “Good. I, Genos, hero name Demon Cyborg, am personally filing this complaint against hero Puri-Puri Prisoner. I will deliver the item in question to the Association’s lawyers tomorrow.”

     “Thank you, sir. That should be all we need. You’re succinct as always.”

     Genos’ teacher quirked an eyebrow. “’Always’? How many times have you had to do this?”

     “You’re welcome, Kura,” pushed the blonde. “Thank you for your assistance as well. Have a good day.” And he hung up.

     Saitama nudged him as he put the phone on the ground. “No, really kid—how many times has this happened? I don’t want that freak trying anything on you.”

     “It…is nothing, Sensei,” he answered, feeling something like pride swell up in his chest. Sensei was concerned…! “I can handle him.”

     There came a “hmph” from his teacher as the man settled back down, considering the box in Genos’ lap. “So…you have to bring that in?”

     The cyborg nodded, placing the lid on it and shoving it as far away from himself as he could. Then he reached for another gift. “They need it as evidence to prove that I’m not trying to slander Puri-Puri.”

     Sensei scoffed. “Slander? He’s a criminal! He’s already slandered himself!”

     “Nonetheless, Sensei,” mumbled his student, pulling a gift card for ¥10,000 from a bright yellow container. He turned it over and handed it to Saitama-sensei so he could put it with the other gifts.

     “Want me to take one?”

     “If you would like, Sensei.”

     They both reached for their next gift. Saitama grabbed a bag; Genos a box.

     “This is kind of fun,” mused Sensei, speaking over the rustling of tissue paper, “Opening all these. It’s been a while! …Y’know, I don’t think…I’ve…ever…”

     Genos looked up from the fourth bottle of saké he’d received. His teacher’s hand was stuck fast in the bag, and he was extremely flushed. “Saitama-sensei? What is it?”

     “Uh…Well,” he started, slowly fishing out a CD case. The back was decorated with a picture of a beautiful man… Why would somebody sen--

     A shrill whine slid its way through Genos’ fans as they burst into action, recognizing what his teacher was holding. Those—were—!

     Saitama-sensei set the first down, and pulled out another…and another…

     And another…

     Once the bag was emptied, he sat surrounded by six handsomely decorated drama CDs…in all of which he played a lead role. Sensei was making it a point to concentrate on an empty part of the floor. “…Y’know,” he started, defeated, “It doesn’t hit you what you’ve done until you have to hold it in your hands and face it.”

     Genos was horrified and suspicious…but also massively pleased. “Sen…sei…who…are those from?”

     The man used the tip of his finger to pull the bag down, recoiling like it was going to vomit all over him. “No name. No card.” And he released it.

     Genos surveyed the circle of gifts and the hero at their center, trying to determine which to take care of first. Then slowly, listening as his vents clicked and started to fog, he reached over and gathered the CDs into a neat pile. They were stashed behind the rest of the gifts.

     Sensei buried his face in his hands. “I guess…that one hit the mark…”

     The blonde said nothing, instead rapidly opening the last two. One was a gemstone necklace; the other a tank top that read ‘HOTHEAD.’ They were tossed unceremoniously into the new pile by the table.

     “S-Sensei…since we have finished…”

     The man listened through his fingers. God he was cute when he got bashful.

     “…I will…clean the dishes!” offered the blonde, desperate to avoid discussing the contents of that bag. He had been doing his best to keep less innocent thoughts of Sensei at bay, and he’d been successful for most of the morning… After all, it had been at least an hour since he remembered the feel of Sensei’s firm body from the night before, not to mention the small huffs and sighs and the touch of his hip—

     Shit! Genos sprung up and bounded over to the kitchen. His teacher followed him with a strangled shout.

     “N—no, Genos! Hey,” he started, grabbing onto the blonde’s shoulder and keeping him back. “Not today—you aren’t allowed to do any housework today!”

     The dishes were visible from the kitchen doorway, disgusting and plenty and just waiting to be used as a great excuse for Genos to be alone for a few moments. “But Sens—“

     “Nope,” muttered the man, forcing the boy to sit back down. “Fiddle on your phone for a bit,” he called, “I’ll take care of these.”

     The cyborg watched as Sensei walked into the kitchen (rather enjoying the view but not needing any further stimulation) and he sat, forlorn. Then he stood up and followed anyway.

     “Dude,” shouted his teacher. “What did I say?”

     “I know, Saitama-sensei,” he offered from the hall, finding his teacher halfway into one glove. “But…could we instead…play Tekken?” Genos didn’t like the idea of the man cleaning on normal day, and he certainly didn’t want Sensei wasting what time was left in this one for it.

     “Ah…yeah, sure. But these…”

     “I will wash them tomorrow, Sensei.”

     “Like hell you will,” grumbled Saitama, and Genos felt his throat hitch at his teacher’s rare baritone. “I made them same as you,” he explained, “So I’ll clean them. …Who do you wanna to play?”

      Focus, Genos. Tekken characters. “Uh…King?”

     Saitama thought. “Huh…different, but cool. I’m still going for Jack.” He tugged the glove off and tossed it with the other.

    Genos began walking to the TV, expecting his teacher to follow him. Instead he heard a tiny “Ah” coming from the kitchen. When he settled down by the flat screen, he looked up to find Sensei holding a plate of cookies, half of them golden brown and the other…just brown.

     Genos was going to destroy that oven one day.

     Saitama-sensei sat beside his disciple and laid e cookies by their knees. “Since we have them, might as well eat ‘em. ”

     Genos grabbed one of the not-badly burnt ones, giving it a wary bite. He watched his sensei bent forward to turn on the PlayStation and pull out the controllers. The blonde fought to keep himself from staring at the way his teacher’s behind wiggled as he unraveled cords...but it was a losing battle. He never understood how it kept its bubbly shape. The rest of his Sensei was lean, muscular, streamlined... All of it, of course, except for that ass.

     The boy pulled his eyes to the TV as Saitama-sensei sat back. The black controller thunked his palm.  

     Damn… His fans were going again.

     The man turned back. “Are you gonna be okay, kid? I know you’re…happy…about today, but I don’t want you to—what, overheat? Would that be it?”

     Genos didn’t have the heart to tell his teacher that if he’d made it through last night, he could handle almost anything. “N-no, Saitama-sensei. I will be fine.”

     The hero answered with a disbelieving gaze.

     “I will! I ensure you, Sensei, I will be okay. My system can handle a great deal of stress before beginning to falter. You have seen me at that point, you will know if it’s happened.”

     Saitama-sensei glared at the TV, clicking through start-up screens and getting to the character select. “Yeah, but I don’t want to see you at that point—that’s what I’m saying.”

     The ventilation system kicked up again, and they both deflated.

     “Just—pick your character, Genos,” ordered his teacher.

     The cyborg scrolled over to the leopard-headed fighter and clicked “X.” He would give his all in this fight—he needed to distract himself from his teacher’s kind words, and his proximity, and the memories of his body he couldn’t repress. It didn’t help that he couldn’t stop peeking at the hump where his Sensei’s foot was pressing against that ridiculously perky butt of his…

     “Man, kid, are you even trying?” asked his teacher, watching the replay of Jack smashing the luchador’s head into the ground.

     Genos huffed and leaned forward. The next round began, and with a few choice combo attacks…

     …it ended the same way.

     “Rematch, Sensei,” growled Genos. He was better than this (even if his opponent was consuming most of his attention).

     Saitama-sensei shrugged and started the round. He ate absentmindedly as he played, popping one of the burnt cookies in his mouth and nibbling on it. Genos loved when he sat like that, it was so sweet and—

     “KO,” screamed the announcer.

     Shit! “Rematch!”

     His teacher gave a small smile, slipping another cookie into his mouth. “Alright…we can switch characters, if you want.”

     The boy locked his jaw and pushed ‘X.’

     Several replays and half a plate of cookies later, he still hadn’t won a round.

     “Man, blondie, you’re way off today!”

     The boy glowered, literally fuming. He couldn’t very well tell the man it was his fault for being so damned attractive. “I’m not in prime training condition right now, Sensei.”

     Saitama-sensei pulled a half-eaten treat from his mouth. “You wanna do something else? We can come back to this later.”

     Genos began to shake his head…and twisted into a nod. His teacher was always telling him that he needed to learn when to surrender. This was one of those times.

     The man shrugged once more and popped the cookie back in place, reaching over to the power button.

     “Actually…Sensei…” Said Sensei looked back at him, and Genos wished he would think before he talked. It was so endearing when Saitama-sensei was focused on something, he didn’t want him to stop just yet... He needed an excuse! “Could I watch you play, Sensei? To…to determine what I’m doing wrong.”

     Genos was terrible at lying.

     The man turned and stared, eyes wide. “Kay,” he mumbled, taking up the controller again. “Do you want me to use anyone in particular?”

     “King…I suppose?”

     The man returned to the start menu and selected ‘Arcade Mode.’ Genos was relieved he took the bait. He couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit guilty as his sensei highlighted King and skipped through the intro into his first round. This was a poor way to get his teacher to let the blonde observe him, but…

     The man leaned in, eyes trained on the screen. He switched the cookie from one side of his mouth to another, twisting his lips around so it didn’t fall, eyebrows furrowing when he thought it would. His shoulders strained towards the Vizio and his toes flexed against the floor. Every part of him was so expressive, so unabashedly revealing of how he felt, Genos couldn’t help but stare.

     He felt the steam taper off, but his vents continued to buzz inside him. Genos knew how strong the man next to him was, but…he seemed so small. Genos wanted to hide Saitama from the world. He wanted to stop people who’d take his sincerity for naivety, to incinerate the ones who thought their insults would work because of it. He wanted to protect him, and hold him, and tell him that he was worth more than anything, because he was, he truly was, and Genos didn’t know how he could ever convince him of that…

     “Sensei…” he started.

     “Hm?” asked the man, not turning from the game.

     “Could I…that is…”

     There was a tiny ‘chink’ when Saitama-sensei paused the battle and twisted back. His student must have seemed nervous—the cyborg could see the apprehension in his eyes.

     Genos shook his head. “Nevermind, Sensei, it is nothing.”

     The bald man let out a sharp breath. “N-no, Genos, it’s alright. What were you going to ask?”

     Genos stared at the ground, tapping his fingers. It would be bold. It would be bolder than he was comfortable with. But he had Sensei’s permission to do as he wished…and it would only last until the end of today… “Could I…sit…with you?”

    His teacher’s face clouded over. “Isn’t that what you’re doing now?”

    Genos hesitated; then he pushed himself off the ground and scuttled in behind his teacher. With vents clicking into steam, he put his legs on either side of the man and pulled his hips in, core spinning viciously when he rested his head on Saitama-sensei’s shoulder. Genos brought his arms up so he could wrap himself completely around his hero and mumbled, “Like this, Sensei.”

     The cyborg was almost cheek-to-cheek with his teacher…and the man’s were palpably warm. A squeak eeked out of him before a half-hearted “Ah…hah…haha…ahh...”

     The heat wasn’t exclusive to his sensei. Genos could feel the fans in his torso burning themselves out as they struggled to keep up. This was so much…but the blonde couldn’t bring himself to let go, no matter how much he knew he should. Instead, he buried his head further into his shoulder and forced himself to ask, “Is this not okay...Saitama-sensei?”

     Genos could tell that his teacher had stopped breathing for a moment. Then he leaned forward and pushed the “Start” button.

     The caped baldy floundered and failed for the next half an hour, getting more furious with each KO. Genos continued to hold him, enjoying the way his stomach flexed against the casing on his forearms, taking in the musky smell that he usually only found on the man’s sweatshirts and sheets. He watched most of the matches, stopping only see how their loser was faring.

     If the flush that covered most of his face was any indication, not well.

     The boy glanced down. It’d be so cruel to tease his teacher, given the situation. Genos was already taking advantage of Saitama-sensei’s kindness, he couldn’t taunt him…he shouldn’t

     But that didn’t mean he wouldn’t.

     “…Man, Sensei, you’re way off today…”

     The bald man whipped his head around, eyes livid. It would have been frightening if he didn’t look like a human tomato for the moment. “You—shut—you—“ After another moment of tight-lipped fury, Saitama-sensei pushed his disciple’s face away with a shaky hand.

     Genos let a chuckle slip.

    “Shut up!” The man was already craning towards the television, ignoring the cyborg stuck fast to his back. There were bursts of red and various many grunts as he mashed out whatever attacks he could. It took no time before he was watching his own defeat played across the screen.

     He bolted upright, carrying the surprised blonde with him. “I’m done,” he screamed, smashing the controller to the floor. It was a good thing they had purchased extras.

     “Genos, I’m hungry, where—“ He twisted back to see his student, not noticing the boy was still attached to his back. “Kid—what—“

     Genos released him, fumbling as he stood. “We may go wherever you would like! Sensei!”

     The man continued to glare, stomping around the apartment until he had his wallet and keys. He began to shimmy into an Oppai sweatshirt until he spied his new jacket, at which point he promptly threw the sweatshirt off. He (more gingerly) forced his arms into the sleeves and buttoned it, pausing to size it up. Then he tugged the hood over his head. “It fits great, Genos… Thanks…”

     The cyborg could feel the lights in his eyes brimming. “I’m so pleased, Sensei!”

     A grunt was the only response he got as his teacher hurried out the door.

     Genos rushed after. “Where would you like to eat, Sensei?”

     It was difficult to see under his hood. “I don’t know. It’s your birthday, kid. You choose.”

     Was he…upset? Genos’ felt his joints stiffen. Of course he was. His disciple had overstepped boundaries, and now Saitama-sensei was regretting ever having mentioned his trouble with deciding on a gift…

     Genos was such an idiot… “I…would enjoy a noodle house, Sensei. Perhaps Dyna Mink?” He knew his teacher liked udon, at least.

     A tiny “’Kay” came from under the hood and they both turned towards the business district. They walked through the decimated streets for quite a while, the bald man keeping his mouth tightly shut and the blonde becoming more panicked by the second.

     Seven minutes of silence broke the cyborg. “Saitama-sensei, please forgive me. I did not mean to trouble you so. I was foolish and arrogant and selfish and I should not have tried to embrace you. We can call off the deal immediately if tha—“

     The man put a hand to his student’s shoulder and gazed up at him. Genos saw that he was still red…but there was no anger in his eyes. “Genos, no, it’s fine,” he reassured him, voice soft. “I…I promise, it’s fine.” And his hand returned to the jacket pocket.

     There was the smallest of crinkles as the bands and wires in Genos’ body relaxed. “…I’m glad, Sensei.” They rounded another corner, this one more intact that the last. They were getting closer to the dining quarter.

     Genos snuck a glance at his teacher, wondering what he was mulling over. “I’m…very much enjoying today, Saitama-sensei,” he offered, trying to cheer him up.

     “Yeah,” came the answer. “…Me…too.”

     ...Huh?

     Genos peeked over at Sensei, almost scared to look. The man had his head down, though, and didn’t give any indication that he would continue talking. The boy didn’t dare ask him to repeat himself, but he wasn’t sure he’d heard him correctly.

     After another few moments, Saitama-sensei jut out his elbow. When Genos made no reaction, he thrust it out again.

     The cyborg stared at it as it hung in the air. “Sensei? Is…your arm alright?”

     “Just take it,” grumbled Saitama-sensei, still not making eye contact. “I know you want to do this whenever we go anywhere…you’ve tried a few times…”

     Genos heard his fans spur into motion. He’d hoped the man hadn’t noticed that… “Sensei…it’s alright?”

     His hero stopped, head drooping. He roared out a groan and yelled, “Would you take my stupid arm already? I’m trying to do something nice!”

     Genos didn’t need to be told again. He wove his arm through his teacher’s and pulled himself in, listening as his body fought to cope with his emotions.

     He was glad he had replacement motors for his fans back at home.

     They continued without talking, though this time it was almost entirely because Genos was too pleased to speak. They arrived at the noodle house just as the sun dipped below the skyline and sat themselves, getting their usual.

     There were just enough people there to notice the two of them. Well, more specifically, to notice the way the cyborg that was chattering away through the entire meal, smiling like the brat he was.

     Saitama was trying to ignore them, especially the whispers from the waitresses. They came here all the time, but they must have looked…different…today.

     Ah frig, what was the point in trying to sugarcoat it? A couple. They looked like a couple. Especially with the kid giving him puppy eyes every other second. Was he doing it on purpose? Did Saitama accidentally release all the cute he’d been storing up for the past five years?

     The man sighed into his hands. Cute. Yeah. He was cute. He was being really, really, really cute. Crap… Saitama couldn’t ask him to stop with the cyborg grinning at him like that… “You ready?” he asked, motioning to the staff.

     Genos nodded, wiping his mouth. Then he reached back to get his wallet.

     The waiter jogged over. “All finished, guys?”

     “Yeah. Could we get takeout boxes?”

     “Sure, just a minute,” he said, stepping away.

     “Wait,” called the bald man. “The check…?”

     The teen waved him off. “Don’t worry about it. You’re regulars, and besides…” He thumbed at the cyborg. “It seems like this is a special night. Take it as our congratulations.”

     Saitama glared, wanting terribly to give the prick the middle finger. Then he turned to see one very frantic robot across from him. “What’s wrong, kid?”

     “I…I don’t have my wallet, Sensei. I must have left it at the apartment…”

     “Don’t worry about it. Didn’t you hear? They’re taking care of it.”

     The boy’s head shot up. “Oh? Why would they do that?” Anger flashed across his face. “Do they know it’s my birthday too?”

     “Uh…yeah…I think…” It was nice when Genos made up the excuses for him.

     “It’s because of the Association…they broadcast heroes’ birthdays for months, it’s sickening. I have no interest in becoming some kind of spectacle for fan sites…”

     Saitama let him bicker as they packed up and left. When they were well out-of-range of the restaurant’s windows, he gave up his arm and they continued home. It was a harder to navigate through the dark streets now that the sun had gone down, but at least his jacket kept most of the chill out.

     He was glad when they got back to their apartment…although it was all lit up. “…We left the lights on again.”

     Genos (reluctantly) let go of his teacher’s elbow and went over to the kitchen. There was a click and a rustle as he put their leftovers away. “It is my fault, Sensei. I was the last to leave, but I didn’t flip them off.”

     Saitama slouched. “No, dude…it’s alright.” He slipped out of the coat and hung it across the desk chair, trying to muddle through the landmine of emotions that were making him feel particularly shitty. It was like someone told him he was going to fight the universe’s strongest gladiator, but that he had to do it in a bright pink dress. And high heels. And makeup. While all the major broadcasting networks were recording.

     He knew he said he would do whatever Genos wanted for the entire day—he wanted the kid to have something great, that was why he let him practically hold his hand the whole way down there (he swore he heard him giggle at one point)—but he couldn’t do this. Not for much longer. He was switching between hating himself for leading the blonde on, and hating the blonde for…

     Genos meandered out, putting the place back into order. For what? What was he doing? Talking to him? Smiling at him? It’s not like this was anything new. Yeah, he’d done it more today than he had for the past three months, but it’s not like Saitama hadn’t even see him like this. He didn’t feel so bunched-up when it happened then.

     The boy glanced up at him. “Saitama-sensei…”

     What was he worried about this time? “Yeah Genos?”

     “You’ve been quiet all afternoon. Are you sure…I haven’t bothered you?”

      “No, you’re okay.” Well…at least he hadn’t bothered him in the way Genos was thinking. “So…what do you want to do now? We still have a while left.” He hoped the blonde wanted to go out somewhere. The feel of the boy’s arms tucked around his belly came rushing back, and his toes clenched. “Wanna…find…a movie?”

     “Surely, Sensei!” Genos kathunked over to the laptop and opened it, typing ‘netflix.com’ into a Chrome window. “I believe The Animatrix is currently streaming, so we can continue watching that…or there’s a few new thrillers if you’d like…”

     “Ah, no, I mean—like, do you want to go to a theater?” This could backfire real fast.

     Genos looked back and up, confused. He thought for a moment before giving a very firm, “No.”

     That was…final. Saitama fidgeted. “How come?”

     “The only well-kept theaters are in the more populated cities, Sensei,” explained the cyborg as he scrolled through movie descriptions, “Because they are safer, so there are more residents and potential customers. That also means there are more reporters.” He glared. “I do not wish to run into any of them today.”

      The bald man nodded, trying to figure out what else he could do with the boy. It was about eight, so the malls were still open…but then they’d get attacked by fans—ah crap, the fans. That ruled out almost anywhere with a lot of people... Maybe…drinks?

      “Would you like to go to a bar or something?”

      Again Genos squinted at him like he had a couple of extra legs. “Sensei…” His blonde head turned around to check on the pile of presents. “If you want to drink…we have more than enough here.”

      “Ah…yeah…right.” Think. Think! The kid obviously wanted to stay put, so maybe… “Should I invite over King or Mumen?”

     His disciple shook his head, clicking through a few open tabs. “King is helping the Association gather data for a hero study tonight, and Mumen will be tired.”

     Well, that was it. Saitama had nothing else. He felt his belly twist up as he resigned himself to the night alone with his student. “…Kay. Uh…what did you find?”

     “I was correct, The Animatrix is out. There is also a new addition to The Grudge series, and all of the Rocky films are available.”

     “…Let’s do Animatrix.” Saitama wanted to punch himself. Could he even do that? It was worth a shot, right?

     He watched Genos reach over to the remote on the table and turn it on, noticing how fluid his motions were. There was a liveliness to him that Saitama had only ever seen maybe three or four times during the years he’d known him. The kid was happy. He was actually, genuinely happy. He’d never been like this before.

     ...Maybe Saitama could deal with wanting to upchuck for a bit more. “You want snacks?”

     Genos told his sensei he did and Saitama grabbed the chips from the kitchen.

     “Sensei!”

     “Yeah?” Saitama was pulling a bowl down from cabinet.

     “…Why don’t you get glasses as well? For the drinks. Since we have so many…”

     Ha…ha… “Uh…Sure, Genos, yeah.”

     Saitama couldn’t help but wonder if it was a good idea. He had no idea what alcohol did to his student—he never touched the stuff. Could he get drunk? His body could burn through anything…right? And what about the baldy himself? He knew he was…handsy when he had too much. He wasn’t too good at picking up hints, and he’d gotten at least a few slaps from girls because of it. But he wouldn’t do anything to Genos. It wasn’t like he was interested in the cyborg, even though the reverse wasn’t at all true…and even though he was real cute…and made some nice sounds when he slept…and had the softest frickin’ ski—

     Saitama changed his mind. “How many glasses should I bring out, kid?!”

    He needed to drink. He needed to drink a lot. He needed to drink so much he couldn’t think straight enough to remember anything that’d happened with his not-at-all-attractive student over the past couple of days. And he totally wasn’t attractive. The same way Saitama wasn’t into guys, not even a little.

     Genos’ bright yellow eyes popped around the divide. “As many as you’d like, Sensei. I’ll only have a small amount.”

     Not even a little. “K-kay, kid. Got it.”

     He made his way into the living room, balancing four glasses in a bowl and a few bags of snacks in the other. He found his disciple kneeling in front of the TV, the screen frozen on the opening frame of The Animatrix. Saitama noticed a small mound of what had once been a controller shoved off against the wall. Stupid boss fights…

     Genos ogled his teacher’s hands as he came in and quirked his head. “Isn’t that…a lot, Sensei?”

    “Yeah, but you gotta eat when you drink.”

     The blonde stared.

     “You…have you ever gone out before?”

     The robot shook “no.”

     “…Do you know your limits?”

     “…What, Sensei?”

     Oh boy... “Like…do you know how much it takes to get you tipsy.”

    The kid lit up. “Ah! Yes, Sensei. Well…an approximation. Or…rather…” …and slumped right back down. “I’m retracting that, Sensei. All I know is that it’s less than regular people. I’ve only ever drunk with Kuseno, and I trusted him implicitly, so I did not need to worry about the amount I was having.”

     That wasn’t much to go off of… Saitama put down their supplies and sat. “Do you have any clue? I don’t want you getting sick, y’know?”

     Genos thought, and shrugged. “I generally fell asleep before the night was through, and rarely ever remembered the quantity of alcohol I had when I woke up.”

     “So…you drank until you passed out?” Saitama grinned from ear-to-ear. He didn’t think blondie had it in him!

     “…What? I…I cannot ‘pass out,’ Sensei. My body can enter sleep mode or force a system shut down if I am damaged, but ‘passing out’ is an organic process th—“

     “Genos,” Saitama interrupted, “It’s a saying. That means you drank until you couldn’t walk and woke up not knowing what happened the next day.”

     The fans let out a spurt of air. “Oh! Oh…well…yes, then. I…just assumed that was part of drinking.”

     “…How much of a lightweight are you?”

     The boy turned on his knees and leaned backwards, grabbing one of the saké bottles. He looked kinda nice like that, his back bent an—

     Holy shit, what was Saitama thinking?!

    “We can find out, Sensei,” his disciple told him, lifting up and showing him the bottle.

     His teacher took an unsteady breath. “Gimme,” he urged, grabbing the bottle from Genos’ hands and ripping off the top. They both jumped when they heard a ‘crack’ and saw the shattered top in the man’s palm.

     Saitama didn’t move. “…It’s a clean break,” he said, and proceeded to pour a giant glass for himself.

     Genos puffed up. “Sen-Sensei! Isn’t that…”

     The man started chugging and glared. “Yeah?” Eugh. It tasted awful when you took it fast…

     “Will you be alright, Sensei? Isn’t saké meant to be imbibed…frugally?”

     The smell of alcohol was overpowering as he wiped it off on his shirt. “Yeah. But it’s a special day, right? Here—“ He passed the cup to his student.“—Have a sip so you know how much you want.”

     Genos picked up the cup the same way he would the pieces of a colorful monster. Then he grabbed it and drank.

     “Good?”

     The blonde’s nose twisted, but he didn’t seem grossed out. “…Yes, actually.” He picked up the bottle, reading the label. “It’s so sweet, Sensei…what is this?”

     Saitama shrugged. “I ‘unno. There’s a lot of it left, though, so that one can be yours.”

     Genos head sprung up. “’Mine’? Saitama-sensei, I cannot finish this.”

    “You don’t have to, kid. There’s about seven more left.”

     The man drank deep, hoping the alcohol would kick in soon. It probably wouldn’t, after his change he needed an absurd amount for it to work. Hell, he wasn’t even sure if it would stop the fluttery feeling all along his spine or just make it worse. He needed to try something, though. This was insane.

    He’d been nervous about what Genos would ask, and he expected it to be awkward. That was fine. Saitama was used to awkward, he practically lived it. Handling that was a piece of cake.

     But…this… He knew this, and he couldn’t handle it. He’d feel it whenever he thought he’d have a good fight, or there was a sale coming up, or some organization was handing out freebies…

     Saitama took another long swig, draining the glass. He found a new bottle and (ignoring the judgement rolling off his roomie) gently opened it, pouring a second cup.

     The man watched sidelong as his disciple tipped the broken bottle over his own glass and filled it a third of the way, taking a gulp after examining the drink. The he looked up with those huge, glowing eyes and motioned to the TV. “Can I start, Sensei?”

     “Yeah,” he mumbled. The boy pushed play.

     Saitama could feel the liquor working itself through him, and it was easy to get lost in the film. With how cool the animation was, you had to be blind not to get sucked in right away. He got so involved in it that it wasn’t until the third section that he noticed his student tottering next to him.

     “Genos?” he asked. “You…alright?” He glanced down at his disciple’s cup—there were maybe a few shots-worth of the saké missing. He hadn’t had that much.

     “M-hm,” came the cheerful reply, which was told Saitama that he wasn’t.

     “Stand up, then.”

     The cyborg leaned heavily on one arm and pushed himself up, swaying in place. It was funny to see him struggle to keep his “big bear” pose (that’s what Saitama called it) when he could hardly hold himself up.

     “Geeze, Genos. You weren’t kidding about being a lightweight…stay there.”

    Saitama grabbed one of the empty glasses and knelt up, getting woozy himself as he walked. Maybe he’d had more than he thought… Ah, well, he needed it, anyway. He kept an eye on Genos as filled the cup from the tap, watching as the cyborg flexed and unflexed his hands. What was he doing…?

     He came back to his student and jut the cup into his chest. “Drink this—all of it. Nothing else until it’s gone, okay?”

     The kid gave a foggy smile and nodded, taking the cup with one hand and…Saitama’s hand…in the other…

     The man pored over Genos’ face, trying to figure out…anything. Was he doing it on purpose…? He certainly didn’t seem to notice it, if he was. His fans were totally quiet for what must’ve been the first time that night.

     While the cyborg worked down the cup, he started wriggling his fingers through his sensei’s. What was he… Saitama looked down found his hand woven into his student’s. “Genos,” he cried out, tearing his arm away…and feeling like a schmuck for it immediately after.

     All his student did was laugh. “Can we finish The Anma...The Mani…the film, Sensei?”

     Saitama felt the red flaring up into his ears. Was the cyborg screwing with him, or was he really that far gone? He’d hardly touched his drink! “Ah—y…Yeah, let’s…sure.”

     He sat down, expecting the blonde to follow. What he got was a pile of cyborg crashing down as the boy’s knees stopped working the way he thought they should.

     “Kid!” Saitama shot forward, gathering him up off the floor. “Are you alright? Do I need to bring you…” …Shit. Where did he go? He’d only ever dropped Genos off at HQ, or brought him to a pick-up point for Kuseno. Could the Association help? Would they know how to treat alcohol poisoning in a robot? His student would be so embarrassed, he couldn’t do that…but what if—

     “I’m…fine…Sensei,” mumbled the blonde, rolling over onto his side. “I’m…fairly certain this is…well, normal. Isn’t it? It seems like it.” He shimmied closer to his teacher and hefted himself up, resting on the man’s shoulder. “Yeah…this is right…”

     Saitama froze, trying hard not to pull away. Genos was drunk, and he had to take care of him. It was part of the whole “sensei” package. The kid being a real affectionate drunk, and the way his teacher’s heart was pounding, and how he felt like his cheeks were going to melt off, had nothing to do with it. He could do this. He had to!

     Genos tucked into his neck and sighed. “You always smell so nice, Sensei.”

     …Saitama must have pissed off some god at some point, because this was ridiculous. “Come on, you…you gotta keep on drinking the water...”

     Genos’ metallic hand flopped noisily against the floor, nearly tipping over the glass as he grabbed it. Then he took a sloppy sip. Saitama steeled himself, doing his best to ignore the wet little noises his disciple was making as he swallowed and wiped his mouth.

     …It was an effort.

     The man eased the cup away before the whole thing ended up in his lap. “Genos, I’m serious—are you alright? You’re not doing good.”

     The blonde nodded. “I’m okay, Sensei.”

     Of course he’d say that. That was drunk thinking 101. What was it that Saitama’s friends used to do when they’d sneak vodka in prep school? “Uh…Genos, where are you?”

     “With Sensei.”

     …Seriously? “N-no! What’s the name of the city you’re in?”

     “City Z, Sensei.”

     “Okay. What’s the date?” He caught himself. “And you can’t say ‘my birthday’!”

     “That’s easy, Saitama-sensei. November 2, 2010. It’s 8:16 and 34—35 seconds. The current temperature is negative 1.7 degrees Celsius, and the humidi—“

     “Are you just reading off your scanners? Genos, that’s cheating!”

     The boy slid down onto his teacher’s legs, because what he’d been doing before wasn’t uncomfortable enough. “How is it cheating, Sensei? You’re asking me things…I’m telling you things…”

    “No!” Saitama went to pull his disciple up, but he just pushed himself further into the man’s stomach. God-frickin-damnit! “It—Kid, could you stop that?!”

     “M-m,” was the answer, and the blond head shook ferociously.

     …The man didn’t know how to respond. Honestly, he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t sorta proud, no matter how frustrating it was. Genos had never flat-out refused him before. “Why not?”

     “It’s still my birthday, Sensei. I may do whatever I like with you, so long as it’s ‘nothing intimate’ or ‘real couple-y.’”

     Saitama glared down at the mass of yellow-haired robot cuddling into him. What an absolute brat. Using his words against him. How could he even remember shi—

     Oh. Saitama’s shoulders relaxed, and he rubbed his head. Guess that meant he wasn’t too far gone, if he could pull up stuff like that.

     And he was right, after all. “I…ugh. Let’s just finish the stupid movie, Genos.”

     He felt the ‘borg spin around on his thighs as he grabbed the remote off the floor and pushed the triangle at the center. The short started right where it left off, but Saitama would be damned if he could pay attention to it. He was too focused on the mechanical wonder chortling away in his lap. The movie wasn’t funny, he didn’t know what the problem was.

     After six straight minutes of giggles (and some nudges that had the potential to become massively inappropriate) Saitama lost it. “What,” he shouted down, “What, Genos? What are you laughing at?”

     The blonde glanced back up, and instantly hid his face. “Sensei…I’m laughing at Sensei.”

     And they were right back to the blushing business. Saitama was going to pop a blood vessel soon. “E-eh? And how come? I’m just sitting here!”

     The blonde’s eyes flashed through his chunky fingers. “I know! That’s why!” He broke out into another fit.

     Saitama was about ready to throw the robot off the porch. “Why are you laughing?”

     “I love you!”

     That...no. Saitama froze. That wasn’t okay. “G-Genos…”

     “I love you, Sensei,” the boy pushed, “And you’re just there, and I love you so much for it. You’re not doing anything…but you’re just there…and I’m here…and you’re letting me be here…”

     Was he tearing up? Oh—Oh God, what did his teacher do this time? Was the blonde happy or sad? Why did Saitama feel like his stomach was going to eat its way out of his body? Why the fuck did he open the frickin’ saké? “Kid—you’re not allowed to drink anymore, okay?!”

      The blonde just stared up, eyes so bright they hurt. He hadn’t heard a word his teacher said. “…I love you,” he mumbled, barely loud enough to hear.

     Genos had to stop.

     “I love you. I love you. I. Love. You.”

     He wasn’t stopping.

     “I love you. I love—“

     “Genos!” The cyborg jumped in his lap and grinned. Saitama’s stomach felt heavier than a thousand Pig Gods. “…What are you doing?” he asked, voice low. It was tough to hold a steady tone when your whole body felt like undercooked tofu.

     “It’s so nice to say it, Sensei,” answered the boy, “After holding it in for so long. It means so much…I love you,” he trailed, “I love you. I love you…”

     His teacher flattened his hand across the kid’s face, unable to tell him to shut his mouth. Genos glanced up and away. When his fans revved up, Saitama was relieved. He was worried they shorted-out sometime after he started drink—

     There was a tickle on his palm, then a warm pressure, and the tiniest of “chus” from underneath it.

     The man felt a chill run up his arm. He peeked down to see those yellow eyes staring at him.

     Saitama pulled his hand to his side. “Genos…what was that?”

     The whir got louder. “It was…a kiss, Sensei.”

     So he hadn’t imagined it. “….Why?”

     The boy regarded his presents. “Because I mean it, Sensei. And I won’t be able to do it after tonight.”

     Saitama didn’t think it was possible for him to get any redder.

     “I apologize…I know you do not feel the same way about me. You are ‘not into dudes,’ after all. But I’m into you, Sensei.” The blonde peeked back up, and Saitama saw the start of a smirk in his eye. “I…would also like to be in you, Saitama-sensei, but…” He craned his head to see the front door. “As you’ve said, you are ‘not into dudes.’”

     Welp, Saitama was wrong with the red thing. He was real wrong. How did he even answer that? ‘In you’? That was what the kid said, right?

     The spot where his disciple had given him a peck felt like it was steaming. When…when did Genos get so smooth?

     The boy yawned in his lap, just barely keeping eye contact with his teacher. “I’m going to go to sleep now, Sensei.”

     …Wait, what? “Really, Genos? It isn’t even nine.”

     A half-hearted “hm” hummed from his disciple, and he turned around so that he was face-to-belly with his hero. He gathered up the man in his arms, gave him one earnest squeeze, and settled down.

    Within minutes, he was out.

    Saitama sat like a deer in headlights. What…what the hell was all that? Being so flirty, all of a sudden…it was like he was a different guy altogether. The man considered his disciple’s face, trying to find something new in the way his hair fell over his eyes, or how his bottom lip shook when exhaled. His system gave its normal sparking clicks as it booted down. No, he was still the awkward little robot that doted on him hand and foot (even though he was told a million times not to).

     The floor started spinning around the blonde, and Saitama pulled his head up. He could feel the liquor kicking in full force. He glanced over to his glass and found it almost empty. Shit…he hadn’t been keeping track. Two cups wasn’t nearly as much as he needed to get trashed, though…Maybe that saké was a higher proof than he thought?

    Saitama closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead. He was exhausted. Dealing with Genos had been a lot harder than he expected, and he was not prepared for it. It was okay, though. The day was over. Saitama could tell the kid no all he wanted as soon as he woke up. No more birthday meant no more awkward situations.

     He looked back down to the dork in his lap, and he had to laugh. What a bastard. Taking advantage of his teacher like this…but he was a sweet bastard, at least. The man lifted his hand and placed it on his student’s head. He earned a good day, though. He deserved it.

     It was Saitama’s turn to yawn noisily into the room. It was nice to know he was free from all those requests—the sleeping together, and the hugging…that “I love you” business... If he didn’t want to deal with it, he didn’t have to.

    Saitama rolled his shoulders, watching the cyborg sleep. There was a motorized whine as Genos sighed and Saitama smiled at the drunk. Then he smiled more, because he was finally drunk too.

     The man leaned back onto the floor and closed his eyes, hand still on his disciple’s head. The kid had the right idea—a nap sounded great. Not thinking much about it, he fanned his fingers and ran them through the cyborg’s hair, enjoying how silky it felt, and the warm buzz that was flooding across him. That really was some strong saké, he needed to give the blonde more credit.

     Man, he thought, world phasing into black. What a day. Good thing it was behind him. He wouldn’t have to do anything he didn’t want to anymore.

     Genos shifted until he was resting on his stomach, and Saitama shifted with him.

     Right. Nothing he didn’t want to.

Chapter Text

HYDRATION LEVELS LOW.

HIGH LEVELS OF ACETALDEHYDE DETECTED.

SYSTEM FLUSH NECESSARY.

SYSTEM FLUSH NECESSARY.

SYSTEM FLUSH NECESSARY.

SYSTEM FLU—

     Genos was far too warm when he forced his eyes open, blinking away the warning signals flashing on his iris. It took him a few moments to orient himself. He was at the apartment, and the sun blaring through the open curtain told him it was late morning. His tactile and visual senses weren’t fully online, but he knew he was laying across something that wasn’t his futon…

     …that was wearing a pair of familiar, worn-out jeans…

     …and having a normal experience for a sleeping 27-year old man.

     The blonde shoved himself off Saitama’s hips, keeping his surprised cry as low as possible. He shielded his eyes as he stumbled so he did not have to see any more of his hero’s morning wood than he already had.

     The cyborg sat back, fans skipping into motion. They were struggling with having to work so hard right after a system boot. Genos focused on the noise, muddling through his waking fog to figure out why he’d been on top of his Sensei’s crotch.

     He knew he had been drinking the night before. His throbbing headache would remind him of it even if he couldn’t remember. They had watched some of The Animatrix…but after that…

     There had been laughing, and Sensei gave him a glass…and there was something with his teacher’s hand…

     Blip! SYSTEM FLUSH NECESSARY.

     Genos shook his head. Bathroom, right. Yes. The floor creaked as the cyborg stood up, tiptoeing as quietly as he could down the hall. It was not, admittedly, all that quiet—his feet tapped with each step—but Saitama-sensei slept soundly behind him regardless.

     With a “click” he shut the door and undid his pants, opening his pelvic hatch. He thought as he relieved himself, worrying about what he couldn’t recall. Had he done anything stupid? Kuseno often told him how relaxed he was when he drank, but he didn’t know why. His guardian refused to share anything he had done while he was intoxicated.

     He flipped the tube back into its compartment and pulled up his pants, swiveling over to the sink. His doctor’s reluctance wasn’t the most comforting thing in the world. Kuseno only withheld information if he wanted to stop the cyborg from doing something rash, or if it was too embarrassing to hear.

     Genos left the water pouring and plucked his toothbrush from its holder. Good God…what could he have said to Saitama-sensei? Nothing...too personal, right? His drunk self must have had some semblance of restraint…

     He examined his mussy-headed reflection, not trusting it.

     The drain gurgled as the water and used toothpaste swirled down. Genos made his way back to the living room, truly seeing it for the first time that morning. It was a mess. Used plates, old cups, half-empty liquor bottles (was most of that vodka gone?)… Not to mention his teacher spread out across what must have been an uncomfortable floor.

     The boy sighed. Restraint may have been too much to hope for.

     First things first—he needed to take care of Saitama-sensei. Genos knew the pounding in his head would recede after a few hours, but he wasn’t sure how his teacher responded to alcohol. He unfurled the futon from the closet, sliding it flush to the corner so that the sun’s rays couldn’t hit it. Then he undid the heart-covered comforter and placed it down.

     “Sensei,” he whispered, kneeling beside him, “You should move to your bed.”

     The man mumbled something and turned away.

     “Saitama-sensei,” the boy urged, “This will hurt your back.”

     There was more mumbling in response. He could make out, “Kid…should…sleep,” while his teacher rubbed his stomach. After a few moments he started to pat it, hand roaming further and further away. Eventually the man lifted his head and gave some weary blinks towards his hips.

     The boy tried hard not to look at his erection.

     “Genos?” the man breathed, not yet awake.

     “Sensei,” answered his student, and he looked up.

     “Ah,” was all the boy got before he flopped his head back down. It made a solid “thwop” against the wood.

     Genos had to smile, flustered as he was. “Saitama-sensei, you need to move. I’ve prepared your futon for you by the wall…”

     His teacher glared over at the corner of the room like it had insulted him. “Come back n’ sleep,” the man pushed, voice more coherent this time.

     “Saitama-sensei. Go to bed.”

     With a great deal of huffing Sensei lifted himself up so he could point a moody stare at his disciple. His brown eyes were glossy in the morning light. “Genos…” he started…but he didn’t get far. He merely glowered in silence.

     It was unnerving. “…Yes, Sensei?”

     After a couple of seconds the man lifted his hands to his temples and rubbed. “Crap…I had too much…”

     Genos felt a little relieved. If Saitama-sensei could over-estimate his limits, it could not be that shameful for his student to have done the same. “Would you like water, Sensei?”

     He nodded with the slightest amount of motion possible. Genos got up and went to the kitchen.

     The water seemed louder in the sleepy apartment. Usually the news would be bubbling from the TV and the radio tuned into some rock station. Now, though, there was just the wind whistling through the part of the roof Genos could never repair. He couldn’t believe he’d blown a hole in it over the summer… “Would you like anything to eat, Sensei?”

     He gave another meager nod when the cyborg stepped out and handed him a cup. “Let me…let me help, though,” trailed the man.

     “It is not necessary,” pushed Genos, returning to the kitchen and the fridge. He pulled out what bacon they had left, a fresh carton of eggs, and a pack of cheese. “Is Sensei alright with omelets?”

     There came only a groan, but Genos knew it meant “yes.”

     Saitama-sensei was extraordinarily still. The boy kept an eye on him as he prepared breakfast...and stole some time for himself.

     He needed to remember what happened last night.

     Notifications of system updates floated into Genos’ vision as he opened up his Save Drive, but he blinked them away. He had to get into his photos and videos. He suspected that he snuck in a few pictures while he was drunk, and they would give an idea of how he acted.

     Several different folders fanned out before his pupil: “Training,” “H.A.,” “Kuseno”… He faltered between “Saitama-sensei” and “Sensei” before settling on the latter. That one was reserved for moments where he captured his teacher being sweet, or funny, or particularly attractive. Knowing himself he would’ve been looking through it during the night, and any recordings would have saved there by default.

     He was bombarded by fuzzy images as soon as he opened the folder. His fans buzzed on in his shoulders, and he frowned. He was right…

     Genos paid minimal attention to the bacon and eggs while he browsed through the gallery. It was cringe-worthy. He organized the files in sequential order and found that he had, at some point, collapsed (although not before taking a gratuitous amount of photos of his teacher smiling at the film). There were several shots of Sensei from the man’s shoulder (when had he sidled up that close?), the captions on each getting more and more garbled as time passed (“Senseei’s smell is good,” “Hess s handsme,” “eggnek”).

     The cyborg’s vents whined as he continued. He was looking at many photos of his Sensei’s stomach and…his crotch? He’d obviously fallen into his lap… Genos sped past the endless pictures and accidental videos he took of his teacher’s chest, belly, and…pelvic region…doing his best to ignore the comments he’d left on them. They were lewd, even for him.

     He was considering never drinking again.

     After a minute or so he found a long video, both scared and relieved. This would show him what happened the day before…but taking into account what he’d seen, maybe he didn’t want to know…

     Genos placed some of the bacon and cheese into the first omelet and folded it over. The opening frame of the file hovered in his vision.

     Breathing against the squeeze in his stomach, Genos played the fifteen-minute long video.

     The first half-a-minute was a single shot of Saitama-sensei from below, nothing strange or inappropriate. It was pockmarked with comments like “lovHim” and “so cute” (which was a welcome change from the others Genos had been making). They had started the movie back up—The Animatrix was blaring from the TV. After the two-minute mark the video began to shake, and Genos heard himself…giggling…

     He flipped the omelet from the pan and started on the ingredients for the second one, grimacing.

     The next six minutes and forty-seven seconds were filled with the cyborg badly hiding his laughter. More notes flickered past the marker—“SO MUCH” and “LOOK” and “II LOVE SITAMA.”

     Genos could see his hero getting more and more flustered in the recording, until he broke and screamed, “What? What, Genos? What are you laughing at?”

     The cyborg had to admit, he was curious too. He was confused when he heard himself say, “Sensei…I’m laughing at Sensei.”

     The man’s eyes caught the colors of the film—they looked like they were glowing. “E-eh? And how come? I’m just sitting here!”

     Genos hovered over the counter, bacon hissing by his hand. “I know! That’s why!Man did he hate how he sounded when he got emotional…

     Genos’ belly dropped. He was emotional. He was also more relaxed when drunk… Oh…

     “Why are you laughing?

     No…

     “I love you!”

     Genos put his hand down on the oven, not caring that his sensors were firing off about a dozen warnings. The drone of his ventilation system drowned out the sizzling of breakfast.

     “G-Genos…”

     The boy could stop the video. He didn’t have to put himself through this kind of torture. “I love you, Sensei, and you’re just there…” But he kept on watching. “And I love you so much for it. You’re not doing anything…but you’re just there…and I’m here…and you’re letting me be here…”

     What the hell was saying? Genos stared straight at the kitchen backsplash, forgetting that he was doing anything else. The video steadied and locked straight onto Saitama-sensei’s face. It was filled with panic.

     “Kid—you’re not allowed to drink anymore, okay?!”

     Absolutely.

     “I love you…” he heard. Oh, please, let it have stopped there….

     “I love you. I love you. I. Love. You.”

     Genos was about ready to disintegrate. How long was he going to keep on going?

     “I love you. love—“

     “Genos!” screamed his teacher. The boy was incredibly thankful for his teacher’s bad social skills.

     “…What are you doing?”

     The blonde paused. He’d expected anger and frustration from his teacher, or for him to push his student onto the floor. What he heard was…sadness? No, not that. He looked a bit closer at Saitama-sensei’s face. Was that…fear?

          His own voice slipped through. “It’s so nice to say it, Sensei…after holding it in for so long. It means so much…I love you…I love you. I love you…”

     The boy covered his face, disbelieving how inappropriately he’d acted the night before. Not a fraction of a second later he watched the frame fill up with his Sensei’s palm when it clamped over his mouth.

     Good call, Sensei.

     There was a harsh smell cutting through Genos’ nose, and he glanced down to find that the bacon had become a black mess. He scrambled to take it off the heat, groaning as he noticed that the eggs too had caked onto their pan.

     “…Genos?” came a concerned call from the living room.

     “It’s nothing, Sensei!” he answered, trying to watch the video. It was calm for a bit, but he saw himself looking between his teacher and his hand…and he heard his fans rev…and there was a small, wet sound…

     He froze, holding the no-longer-an-omelet above the stove. Had he…kissed…him?

     He watched Sensei stare down over his hand. There was that frightened gleen again... “Genos…what was that?”

     Both in the video and the present, Genos’ fans screeched. “It was…a kiss, Sensei.”

      “….Why?”

     Yes, Genos, why? Why?!

     “Because I mean it, Sensei. And I won’t be able to do it after tonight.” Oh…well… Genos couldn’t help being a little jealous of how confident he was after too much sake. “I apologize,” his voice continued, “I know you do not feel the same way about me. You are ‘not into dudes,’ after all. But I’m into you, Sensei.” The camera zoomed in on his Sensei’s eyes, and…lips? “I…would also like to be in you, Saitama-sensei, but…as you’ve said, you are ‘not into dudes.’”

     No. No he didn’t. Genos leaned heavily on the oven, forgetting the pan in his grip. It clattered on the stovetop and toppled to the ground, bursting into an arc of burnt egg. After a clumsy fumble his teacher appeared in the doorway.

     “What’s wrong?” shouted Saitama-sensei, alert for only a moment before putting his hand on his head and slumping against the wall. “You okay?”

     The cyborg was quiet, letting the video fade out to black. ‘In him,’ he’d said? ‘In him’? He couldn’t face his teacher, not after listening to that. For the first time in his life he didn’t want to be anywhere close to him. He’d like to be outside, running as fast as he could into whatever would knock him out the quickest.

     “S…Saitama-sensei,” he made himself start.

     “…Yeah?”

     “What…what do you remember of last night?”

     There was a silence. It was a very long silence. And then, “You got drunk, kid.”

     The blonde struggled to look over. “Anything…else?”

     Sensei’s cheeks flushed. “You…got real drunk.”

     Oh God. Oh God he did remember. “Sensei,” Genos cried, turning towards him. “Sensei, I apologize! I was out-of-line, everything I did was completely inappropriate! I should not have said the things I said, or acted the w—“

     His teacher’s bald head shook, and he put up a hand. The cyborg clammed up. “Why are you screaming so early? It’s okay.” He gave a tiny smile. “Really. Sure, you were…cuddly…last night…”

    Genos wanted to self-destruct.

     “…And you said some things…but everyone does when they get like that. You’re okay, Genos. I’m not mad.” He eyed the mess on the floor through his fingers. “Can you give me the mini-broom?”

     The cyborg let out a small noise of alarm and fetched the broom, springing to the floor before his teacher could so much as kneel down.

    The bald man sighed. “I’m going to the bathroom,” he mumbled, tottering away.

     Genos kept his eyes on the brush pan. He was surprised Saitama-sensei lasted that long, he still had a massiv—

     The blonde cut his thoughts off and cleaned with more gusto. Today was not yesterday. He didn’t have the freedom to do the (mortifying) things he had done then—he needed no temptations. Yesterday was special, something kind Sensei had done for his birthday even though he didn’t want to…

     The mini brush felt chunky in Genos fingers, and he slowed. Right. Yesterday was special. All the touching, and hugging, and talking…and holding his arm…and sleeping together….those were things Sensei didn’t want to do. And that he wouldn’t continue doing, despite having agreed to them once.

     Genos sat back on his feet. His core pulsed hot in his chest, and for a second his limbs seemed heavier than a dozen of Metal Knight’s suits.

     It had only been for his birthday.

     He didn’t move for a while, the cleaning tools slack in his hands. He wasn’t sure why the realization was affecting him this much. He knew how his teacher felt. He knew the closeness they had on his birthday was fleeting. He was aware of the fact that, when he woke up this morning, things would return to how they had always been, without a chance of repetition. But…

     Even so…

     He couldn’t forget the warmth of his Sensei’s arm through his jacket, or the way his voice hummed in his chest as he sighed in his sleep…or how his callused palm felt flush against his mouth…

     The bathroom door creaked and Saitama-sensei hobbled out, hands massaging his face. He peaked over at the cyborg on the floor and found him gazing back.

     The man stopped. “Genos? …What’s going on with you?”

     An idiot. He was such an idiot. Shirts, sneakers, a better mixer—there were dozens of things he could have asked for his birthday, things that would have come and gone like everything else. How could he have been so stupid, suggesting they spend the day together? And then to accept Sensei’s ridiculous deal? The prospect of doing whatever he’d wanted with his hero, though, if it was only for a day….

     The boy hung his head and shook it, moving to brush crumbs that weren’t there. “Nothing, Sensei. I have…a headache.” His chest burned as he heard his teacher shuffle off.

     …he’d been so excited about yesterday that he hadn’t thought about how to cope with the day after.

____________________________________

     Something was wrong with Genos.

     Saitama wasn’t sure what had changed in his student, but he was off. He was cooking less, sleeping less, talking less…he was even talking back less, which was something the man never thought he’d miss. He wrote just as much, but it seemed like he spent a lot of the time flipping back and forth between pages in his notebooks, not taking any of it in.

     It had been going on for a few weeks now…pretty much right after his birthday.

     He wanted to ask about it, but whenever they sat down together Genos would just pull out his phone and read. Any of the conversations Saitama tried to start fizzled away. It’s not like the cyborg didn’t talk, he answered his questions fine—after a few minutes, though, his eyes would glaze over, and his voice would kind of drop off…

     Saitama reached for the cell phone in his pocket and turned it up, checking the display. No new messages.

     He took in a slow breath. He hoped his student was alright at home.

     Saitama had a long trip ahead of him. He wanted to stop by Sunshine Deli in City J—he saw an ad for a great sale when he was fighting some Seafolk—and Genos had asked if they could have beef stew for dinner. The man wasn’t happy about needing to get something when they already had plenty in the house…but it was the first time Genos had seemed interested in food for almost a week, so he didn’t mind shelling out a little more.

     When Saitama left the apartment, his student hung back so he could work on stuff for the Association. The cyborg had been doing that a lot for the past few weeks too.

     Saitama wasn’t sure how much he believed him.

     He pulled his new jacket in a little closer, tucking his head as far back into the hood as it would go. He knew, somehow, it was his fault. He had no idea what he’d done to make his disciple so…tame, all of a sudden, but it was starting to really get to him.

     That, of course, was a whole problem in itself. The getting to him.

     Genos had been getting to him a lot lately.

     He found himself thinking about his student a lot more, whether he was worrying, or just wondering. Not that he didn’t think about him before, but this was…different…somehow.

     A cat wandered out of a nearby alley as Saitama watched. It stared back and hissed once before disappearing back into the dark. Man…that one didn’t give him the tiniest chance to pet it. Talk about getting shut down…

     It was cold enough for his breath to fog, so Saitama exhaled like a dragon, doing his best to distract himself from the walk. It felt a lot longer when he was doing it alone. The kid’s constant rambling could be annoying, but it was better than this. He wasn’t sure how he’d handled it when he was by himself for all those years.

     He checked his phone again. Still nothing.

     Stepping around concrete bits and craters, Saitama plodded towards the nearest highway. About half an hour in he found a local store with the same promotion, so he snagged the goods and started on the slow walk back.

     He wouldn’t ever admit that he started texting Genos six times before he stuffed the phone back in his pocket. There wasn’t anything new to tell him—he had no reason to want to talk to him so bad.

     Saitama thought. He didn’t have anything to say, right? Saitama went over the past month, trying to figure out if he’d forgotten something. They made it to the Cuttle Crab sale… His suit wasn’t ready to get picked up yet… The Association hadn’t left any messages… Sonic had been leaving them alone for a while, which was impressive…

     The image of Genos bent over his notebooks a couple of nights ago floated into the man’s head, and he couldn’t stop thinking about how upset he looked as he was going over them.

     No, he didn’t have anything to say. Nothing that he could put into words.

     He climbed the stairs up to his apartment, fiddling in his jacket. His hand groped around one deep pocket, and moved over to another. Where were his keys…? He checked the breast pockets, the waist, the ones hidden inside…even those weird small ones that he was pretty sure were for change. After ruffling through the coat three times, he caved to the fact that he’d either lost his keys or left them inside.

     “Damnit,” he mumbled, walking up to their place. He gave the doorknob a spin, hoping (for once) that he’d forgotten to lock the door. It wouldn’t turn. “Hurm,” Saitama grumbled, knocking on the door. “Hey Genos,” he called, “If you’re in there, let me in, alright?”

     Nothing came back. The blonde must’ve gone out somewhere…but he would have his keys on him, right? Saitama had a reason to talk to him after all.

     He pulled out his phone and pushed ‘CALL,’ knowing the last number would’ve been Genos’. It took a while for him to connect (they had such crappy service around here), but it went through in the end. Saitama listened as it rang, and rang…and rang….

     No luck. “This is Genos,” came the recording. “Leave a message.” He might have been irritated, but Saitama couldn’t keep back a smile. He loved blondie’s voicemail. He never knew you could talk a scowl at someone.

     There was a tiny beep and the man shouted, “Oi! Genos! I don’t know what happened to my keys! Can you come back from…wherever you went and let me in?” And he clicked “End,” realizing his call would do nothing if his student didn’t see it within the next few minutes…and if he wasn’t within a fifteen-minute run from the building. The sirloin for tonight was hanging in a plastic bag at his side, he needed to throw it in the fridge so it didn’t go bad. He tried opening the front door once more before giving up on it.

     The ramshackle apartment loomed in front of him. He could smash through the walls if he wanted to… Genos had worked so hard on fixing that one hole, though, Saitama wouldn’t dare make another one.

     He looked down the wall, glancing around the side of the complex. His eyes lit up. “O-ooh,” he mumbled, sprinting down the stairs to the opposite side of the building. A lot of times they left the patio door unlocked (although they’d been better with it ever since that one time the ninja managed to get in). Maybe he’d left it open today?

     He looked to his balcony, judged the distance between him and the ledge, and with a crack from the concrete he jumped.

     His landing was off and he ended up hanging from the metal rungs outside, stupid bag hitting him in the face every other second. He went to pull over the railing, but realized that smoke was trickling down through the beams…

     Panic settled in real fast. He jerked back and searched, trying to tell what part of the building was burning. He looked at all the rooms in his range of view, but there was…nothing. He couldn’t see fire, he couldn’t feel it, he didn’t smell anything… Saitama gave the air a good sniff. Then again, there was a kind of…electric twang to it. Sort of like a computer frying…

     The man eased his way back onto the balcony. The curtains were almost totally drawn and the door was open. A small cloud was drifting through it, and from inside he heard…moaning?

     Saitama’s face turned lobster red in seconds. He knew what he heard. He also knew why the door was locked, and why Genos wasn’t answering his phone.

     The little frickin’ brat. So that’s what “doing work for the Association” meant!

     Saitama inched over to the crack in the door, nervous. He didn’t want to catch his student doing anything, that was so skeevy...but what if he wasn’t? What if he was hurt or something? “I thought he was masturbating” would sound like a pretty shitty explanation for why his teacher didn’t help him.

     The moans came louder from inside, as if they were trying to push Saitama away.

     …On second thought…

     The man shook his head. He needed to be an adult about this. He was just gonna take a super-quick glance to confirm what he thought and leave (saving the tenderloin had become significantly less important at this point). It wasn’t like Genos hadn’t caught him before—they were careful to announce when they were going to the bathroom now—and anyway…

     …Well, Saitama had to admit, he was curious as to how it worked. Genos explained it, but…what the hell did it look like? His disciple was seamless down there, except for the place where he pissed out of. Was it there…? If it was a “touch-activated panel” (Saitama was pretty sure that’s what Genos said), did it attach to his body, or could he move it around like a tablet? When he came, did he, like…actually cum or anything?

     The flush spread to his ears and neck. Yeah, no, those questions didn’t make him seem like a mega-creeper. Saitama held his breath as he moved towards the curtain, trying as hard as he could to ignore the sounds his disciple was making. Saitama braced himself as he peeked in…

     The man froze. He certainly had…a view…from this angle. One very naked Genos was on his back in the middle of a smoky cloud, spread out where the table usually was. He’d pushed it aside and set the laptop down on it, a thin wire connecting it to the pair of headphones on his head (that explained why he didn’t hear any of the knocks…).The blonde’s head was almost touching the far wall, but he had it propped up on a pillow and Saitama could see most of his face.

     The bald man looked closer. The pillow was…awfully…yellow…

     His shoulders shriveled. Oh good God it was his sweatshirt. The kid was was jerking off on top of his sweatshirt. He would be having a serious discussion about boundar—

     The man paused, remembering what he was doing. Okay, maybe he wouldn’t. He’d run the hoodie through a few intense cleaning sessions later and never, ever, ever mention this to anyone.

     “S..S..Sen…sei…”

     Shit! Saitama pulled back from the door, his heart about ready to explode. Had Genos seen him? It was weird that the cyborg couldn’t tell how close he was, usually the man was still a mile away when he started getting “could you bring in the mail” texts from his disciple... What did he say if he was caught? “Don’t mind me, I’m just dropping this off?” Saitama’s stomach wound itself up like calamari as he peeked back in.

     It didn’t take long before he figured out that his fears were unfounded. There was only one thing his disciple was focusing on right now.

     His legs were open and he was rubbing furiously at his crotch. That must’ve been the touch panel, then…The fingers from one hand were digging into the metal plate where his dick would’ve been, the others coming from underneath to feel up what would have been a pair. He was arching up into the air, toes stretched as far as they could go, rolling his hips into his hands again and again, and every time…

    …he would call out for his teacher…

    Saitama checked out the table and noticed the two piles if his drama CDs beside the laptop.

     Ah…haha… Right.

     Saitama had seen all he needed to, and he started to move away. Honest, he did. He put out his foot so he could brace himself, and he reached out for the railing for leverage, and he crouched down…

     But…

     “Ssai-tam-ma...sensei…”

     ….hearing someone say your name like you were some kind of sex god…that has a way of keeping you where you are. Especially when that someone was your ever-devoted disciple, who was so private about this stuff. And sweet in general.

     And super-smart…

     And…really…good-looking…

     …and told you the night before that they wanted to be inside you.

     For the record, he did try to leave.

     Saitama covered his face as he pulled back to the cracked patio door, feeling like the shittiest person on the entire planet. He stayed motionless as Genos bucked on, watching the way he buried his head into his teacher’s hoodie, and how his fingers slipped against his hips when he thrust too hard...listening as both the scream of his fans and his hoarse cries got louder, and stronger…

     The caped baldy stayed as motionless as possible, nervous of what he might do if he let his hands go. Not that he was into guys. Not that he was watching one jack off in front of him, knowing the guy was imagining him…

     …and getting way less weirded out by it than he would have liked…

     Genos neck shone black against the bright yellow as he tossed his head back. His shoulders steamed, his whole body curved up. In the middle of a flood of smoke he shook, and with an aching voice he shouted, “Sai—ta—ma-a-ah!”

     The man’s fingers clamped around his mouth. Nobody had ever said his name like that before.

     With a few whimpers the boy collapsed, one hand brushing against his groin. The spark smell was overwhelming. Saitama followed the tendrils of smoke drifting out onto the patio and curling around his legs.

     He looked back in.

     The cyborg’s hand was moving faster, and he was climbing again. His sensei assumed being 90% mechanical meant you didn’t need much recovery time…which was pretty lucky for S—

     Saitama’s eyes blew up as he stared. Lucky for Genos. It was pretty lucky for Genos.

    “Sensei…please…sen..sei,” groaned the boy, putting his free fingers to his lips and starting to suck them off at an agonizingly slow pace.

     Yeah. Really, really, really lucky. Saitama was gripping his jaw and holding his arm flat to his body, aware that his fists were so tight he could’ve turned a sack of diamonds into expensive dust. He needed to focus on that squeeze. He didn’t want to think about the flush that was creeping down through his belly… Or the way his legs were wobbling, just a little… He tried to turn, or at least close his eyes to the scene.

     …He failed. Of course he did. He couldn’t look away as his disciple laid there, deep-throating himself, moaning on and off while he practically fucked the air.

     He was supposed to have the body of a robot. A robot! How in the hell could he look like that?!

    Genos cried out a second finish (or a third, or fourth—he must’ve been going for a while), one that was less strong this time. He fell back to the floor and shuddered, face twisted in what should have been pleasure, but looked a whole lot like pain.

     “Hnng…” came the frustrated noise from the blonde. He gave a sidelong glance at the laptop, his hand moving weakly from between his legs.

     Saitama glanced up at the screen, and saw there were only a couple of minutes left of the track.

     “Stop…” mumbled his student as he groped for the mouse. Despite the whole-body blush Saitama was going through, he was confused. The last couple of minutes were always the most intense. Why would you skip…?

     “N-no…Stop!” shouted Genos, tugging off his headphones and throwing them as hard as he could against the wall.

     They shattered and the laptop almost toppled from the table.

     …What the hell?

     Saitama listened, noticing as the cyborg slumped back and into his shoulders. Somehow the plug had made a clean pull from the computer, and the audio kept on playing. He heard himself mumble, “—oing crazy.” There was moaning, and gasping. Lots of rustling. Standard “wrap it up” procedures.

     Genos laid his hands over his ears, knees bending to his chest.

     There was another gasp, and “I love you…”

     Oh…he must have had this one memorized. Saitama watched Genos roll over on his side, face disappearing behind his palms.

     “I really…fucking love you…”

     The boy shriveled, roughly elbowing the sweatshirt aside. Then he reached out and held it close to his chest.

     “I get it…”

     His shoulders crept up like he was shielding himself from the sound.

    “Think I’m…gonna…” There was the guttural noise that they insisted Saitama do, and then the “afterglow breathing” (they had a lot of weird phrases at the studio). He wasn’t paying attention to that, though. He was watching as his student’s back start to heave, and his head dipped to the floor…

     “God damnit,” the boy mumbled, reaching out to a towel Saitama couldn’t see from his angle. He shoved his face into it, using it to muffle his weak sobs.

     His teacher’s composure broke. Now. Now he felt like the shittiest person on the planet. Screw that, he was the shittiest person in the universe. First he sneaks up on his disciple and watches him jack off after having told him about a hundred times he didn’t want anything like that. And now he was standing there, letting him cry alone in their apartment, over him.

     Again.

     Genos shuffled his position, and Saitama realized he would be getting up soon. Great. Not only could he not help the kid, he had to run away like a little prick so that he didn’t get seen. Just…great.

     Saitama went to pick up the meat, and stopped. It would be too loud, he couldn’t risk getting Genos’ attention. If his disciple was upset now, he’d be devastated to know that his pervert of a friggin’ sensei saw the whole thing.

     As quiet as he could, Saitama slid over the railing and let go. He dropped with a tiny “fwip” and speed-walked away, not wanting to alert Genos’ sensors of fast-moving objects.

     He glanced once up at the apartment. Smoke was drifting out of the balcony, but everything else was the same as it had always been. Then he turned back to the rubble.

     His eyes trailed the uneven skyline in front of him, moving from the ruined business district nearby to the perfect outline of City A in the distance. Saitama was trying his best not to imagine Genos hugging his hoodie close, curled up on the floor…or writhing above it, calling for him…

     He tugged his jacket tighter and shivered. It was taking everything Saitama had to ignore how badly he’d wanted to answer.

Chapter Text

     Saitama was miles away...in more ways than one.

     He’d picked a direction and started walking in it, not thinking about where he was going. Somehow he ended up in one of the beat-up neighborhoods at the edge of the city. All he wanted was to waste some time so Genos had an hour or so to himself. …After all, his teacher certainly hadn’t let him have it before.

     “Shit,” the man spat, kicking a rock away. It hurtled through the air and burst what was left of a shop wall. He listened as the cement settled, getting more sour by the second. That stone-in-stomach feeling hadn’t left, and neither had…other things…that had popped up when he was on the patio. Of all the days to wear track pants… Saitama was glad his coat was on the longer side—at least he’d be able to cover himself up when he went back.

     He walked on. Right…when he went back. Saitama’s lip bunched as he thought about going to the apartment, about needing to see his disciple. He would have to pretend like he didn’t…

     His face fell. Didn’t what? Didn’t see him jack off? That was bad, yeah—Saitama had been a full-on creeper and he knew it. It had nothing to do with physically sitting there, though. It was more than that. It had been how he reacted to it…how it made him feel?

     Saitama shook his head and huffed. Emotional stuff like this, it was way too deep for him. He knew when he liked something or when he didn’t like something…and that was about it. He liked sales, he liked sleeping. He liked watching Saturday morning cartoons. He liked rock covers and manga. Nothing had changed there.

     A bird rustled its feathers from far off, and Saitama looked up to find it perched on a nest it had made inside a broken window. He watched as it shook and settled. No, he thought, something had changed. He did like sales, and sleeping. He liked cartoons and rock and reading, but…

     Memories flashed through his head—Genos reading off a list of ingredients for dumplings, Genos rolling over on his futon and blinking at the TV screen, Genos leering at their radio…

     Something like fear stewed into the crock-pot of feelings that was Saitama’s belly. He realized that he liked all those things a lot more now.

     And there had only been one change.

     The hero kept on charging forward, but damn if he was paying any attention to where he was going. He was fighting uncomfortable thoughts about the cyborg waiting for him, ones that required reasoning like, ‘He’s always around, of course I like him,’ and ‘Who wouldn’t get turned on by watching something like that?’ and ‘I’m only kinda lonely when he’s at Kuseno’s.’ Ones that sounded a whole lot like excuses, even to the bald man thinking them up.

     …and ones that made it hard to answer the phone when he heard it sing “Buy it, use it, break it, fix it…”

     Saitama took a deep breath and flipped the top. “Hey…Genos…”

     “Sensei,” came the reply, and it was painfully apparent that something was wrong. Saitama had never heard his student’s voice so soft before. “I…received your message.”

     Aw, damnit! His voicemail...

     “You may come home now…”

     Okay. Well, okay, maybe he had no idea what happened, that was possib—

     “The sirloin…it’s still cold, you don’t need to get anymore.”

     Shit. Shitshitshitshit shit. “Uh…G-Genos! I…”

     “When you come back, Sensei,” was all his disciple said before he hung up.

     Saitama held the phone to his ear, processing the silence. Then he snapped it shut and pocketed it. He took in the rubble around him, motionless at first. …He didn’t have to go back, honestly. He didn’t have to have any weird conversations about masturbation and feelings and how sad his student sounded. He could keep on walking. There were other apartments he could find.

     The bald man took a few dragging steps towards City A. He felt his whole chest seize up after the fourth, and about-faced.

     Walking back was so much easier.

     He sped up a little at first, and then a little more. Before he knew it, Saitama was running full-speed, sprinting towards his complex and destroying the stairs as he climbed them. When he burst through the now-unlocked door, he nearly tripped over the cyborg that was aiming his canons at it.  

     “Sensei,” he cried, scrambling to get out of the way. His voice was letting out the way it had when he got kicked in the neck by that kangaroo monster. Saitama figured it was the Genos version of a sore throat.

     He frowned as he caught his breath. How long had he been crying…?

     The boy didn’t look at him while he pushed himself off the floor, the fire in his palms dying down. “S-Sensei…I thought you were an enemy! I didn’t expect you back…so quickly…”

     Saitama straightened. “I—um. I…” Neither had he… “I felt like a good run?”

     The floor creaked under Genos as he stood, face still hidden. “I…see, Sensei.” He sidled past Saitama and to the cracked door. After some experimental swings, he closed it fully. Then he plodded to the fridge and pulled out that damned beef.

     Over his shoulder he asked, “Are you hungry?”

     Saitama started to answer, but he couldn’t help but notice his disciple was head-to-toe in gray, baggy sweats. “Uh…yeah, Genos, sure…” There were shirts with sleeves big enough for his shoulders? Didn’t they mess with his vents? “So have you always had those clothes? I haven’t seen you wear them before…”

     The blonde’s back stiffened and he bobbed his head, but he didn’t say anything.

     Saitama kept his eyes on the cyborg for a moment longer before glancing over at the living room. Everything was perfectly in place—the rug was straight, the table was at perpendicular angles with the wall, the laptop was closed and on its desk. Most of that electric smell was gone too. You’d have no idea that a couple of hours ago his student had been laying there, naked as a bird, all sprawled out and bent up…and smoking…and…loud…

     The man pulled his coat tighter in the front and rubbed his forehead. Now definitely wasn’t the time for that.

    He wandered over to the manga tower, searching for the most gruesome volume he could find. He needed something to calm himself down. Maybe…that one about the giants eating people?

     In a few seconds he was pulling it from the second shelf and flipping it open, trying to find the scene where a woman got bit in half. After settling on the page he stared at it…

     And stared…

     And stared some more…

     Geeze, Genos was so silent. It was nerve-wracking. The man glanced up at the divide and found his student standing still, head hanging over the counter. The sweatshirt was huge, but somehow it made him look…smaller.

     Saitama put the book back in place and went into the kitchen. He stopped next to the cyborg, who didn’t make any sign that he was going to move.

     The man picked up one of the knives Genos had laid out and started to fiddle with it. “You…need help, kid?”

     No answer.

     “Genos...” Saitama really didn’t want to do this… “Genos, could you at least look at me?”

     He still didn’t turn his head. “I assumed Sensei had already seen enough of me today.”

    The knife hovered in Saitama’s palm. How did he answer that? “I…Genos, don’t, you shouldn’t be…”

     His student gave him a chance to try and finish before doing it on his own. “…ashamed, Sensei? Or embarrassed? Why? You—you caught me…in a much more intimate way then I had ever caught you before…”

     Saitama’s hand tensed and the knife was in danger of a curly redesign. Genos knew he saw, that was bad enough, but…did he know how long he stood…?

     The boy sighed. “I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t make you uncomfortable because of how I felt for you. I’ve...broken that promise, many, many times over, and…to do it the way I did…today…”

     That’s what he was getting all bent out of shape about? “Damn, Genos, that’s all?” Saitama laughed. “The way you were going on, I thought you were mad at me…”

     Finally the boy looked at him. His eyes were dull, and he didn’t speak up. “It’s…no, Sensei, that isn’t all, but…” His brow bent down. “Why would I be mad? You did nothing on purpose…”

     The man froze, and the knife was indeed starting to twist a bit. Why? Why didn’t he think before he opened his mouth?

     Genos’ eyes widened. “Sensei…you did only catch me, didn’t…you? You didn’t…”

     If Saitama thought he’d blushed before he must have been wrong, because he felt like his skin was going to melt off right then and there.

     The cyborg’s fans started. Behind them came the whine of his incinerators. “Saitama-sensei—didn’t--watchme?”

     The bald man’s heart was going to explode if it kept beating so fast. What should he do? Did he lie? Genos could tell, he knew he could, anyways he was an awful liar—

     “Sensei…why?” The blonde was trying to keep up some kind of composure…and failing terribly. “What—why would—I’ve done everything I can to give you space, and respect your wishes, and hold myself back, and you can’t—you—“

     His voice was cutting out as it pitched up, and those eyes were like spotlights. Saitama could smell the fabric burning around the cyborg’s shoulders. He was reconsidering that whole ‘Genos looking small’ thing—right now he was massive, looming, and his teacher would be lying if he said he wasn’t sort of scared of him.

     The blasters heating up as he talked didn’t help any. “Do you know,” Genos pushed, “Saitama-sensei…how hard it is…to have told you how strongly I feel about you, and to show it to you, without you showing it back? Do you have any idea how much that hurts?”

     Saitama’s whole upper body squeezed at his words.

     “You don’t. You don’t know, Sensei. You have no idea how it feels to hear you comment on beautiful women, or say ‘I’m not gay’ when Puri tries something. How it hurts to have you say you had trouble sleeping when I was getting repaired, to find your porn open on the laptop, to see you smile…when…I walk through the door…” His words were started to break, and the cyborg took a deep breath. He glared at his teacher as before he continued.

     That expression never stung before...

     “Knowing,” the cyborg shouted, engines getting dangerously bright through his sweater, “That even though we’ve come so close, nothing will happen…regardless of how badly I want it …And then, after telling me hundreds of times in all these small ways that you’re not interested and won’t ever be, after steeling myself up to that and accepting that, I do my best to hide myself away so you don’t have to see me dealing with it, to—to have you go behind my back and sit there and watch as…as I—“ A strangled cry came from Genos as his fists ground into themselves, head turned down so he didn’t have to face his teacher.

     Knife remnants in hand, Saitama stood at the counter and just…stared. He knew he should do something. Talk, reach out, make a bad joke—that’s what he did when Genos was upset, and they usually worked pretty well. The kid would crack a smile and move on. But…all those other times, the thing he’d been upset wasn’t Saitama himself…

     The blonde spoke up, and oh God he was trying not to sob. “Saitama-sensei…what do you think of me? To do something like that…” He stared straight at his teacher with those massive eyes of his. “Do you see me as a pet, or…or a child, or… What am I to you?”

     His sensei stood there, mouth open, hand tight, absolutely silent. He definitely wasn’t either of those. Genos was his student…right? He was his friend too though, but…it wasn’t only that. He…he was…

     “What am I to you, Sen—“ started the blonde, biting his lip hard enough to leave dents. “Saitama. Please.”

     The man was clenching what had been one of his favorite cutting knives so hard he could feel it starting to melt. Genos. Genos was…Genos…was…

     “Sensei!”

     “I don’t know,” Saitama shouted, looking anywhere that wasn’t his student. “I—I just don’t, Genos! I think I could’ve told you yesterday, or a few days ago, but…I don’t know now, okay?”

     The cyborg’s jaw dropped, and Saitama thought he froze for a moment. It was only a moment, though, because right away he was screaming, “What does that mean?”

     “I don’t know!”

     The blonde’s eyes swept down, and to the side, and at Saitama, and back down. “Are—yesterday—what,” he cried, hands chopping through the air, “Are you implying how you feel has suddenly changed in a day? You, whose slogan behind ‘I’m a hero for fun’ might as well be ‘and I’m not into guys,’ is going to somehow transform a lifetime of sexual preference in twenty-four hours? Sensei, if this is some indirect way of getting around telling me you do not respect me then please do not build on this excuse because it is far more hurtful for you to lie to me about ev—“

     “Genos, shut up!” Saitama hesitated, trying to gather himself. “I—I do respect you! A lot! I don’t see you as any of those things you said…and I’m not into guys, okay? I’m not lying! But holy shit kid, anyone would have thought you looked hot lying there all bendy and moaning and crap! Why do you think you have so many fan clubs?”

     His student stopped, and this time Saitama was positive he froze for a second. He saw his eyes flicker to black. When they were back to normal, the blonde gaped at the counter and mumbled, “…‘Hot’? You said I looked…Saitama-sensei, that is what you said?”

     The man tensed up and pitched the knife so hard into the garbage that it went through the both the bin and the wall behind it. “Damnit, Genos, why do you talk so much? Can’t we just cook? Like normal roommates?”

     It was as if a switch had been flipped somewhere inside all those gears and wires. Genos shuffled in place, reaching for the fridge door before remembering he’d already taken out the meat. He tried to open it with a mixing spoon before successfully using a pair of scissors. Saitama could practically hear him freaking out.

     If he said so much as a word, though, that was it, he was going to throw his robot as—

     “Sensei…“

     Saitama gave him a warning glare that had made intergalactic warlords turn tail and run. He shut up.

     …For four seconds. “Did you enjoy it?”

     The man slammed his hands on the counter. “Genos!”

     The boy jerked back to slicing the meat into thin strips, not caring that the blood was getting inside his knuckle joints. He probably wasn’t thinking about it, though. Right now he seemed far too concerned with making this situation as uncomfortable and awkward as it could be.

     He glanced back over at his sensei.

     “Genos I fucking swear if you say another word I will punch you…”

     The cyborg curled and uncurled his fists in Saitama’s peripherals. “Coat, Sensei.”

     “…what?”

     “Your coat,” mumbled the cyborg. “You’re…you’re going to get it messy.”

     The man looked at his chest, disbelieving. Then he glanced at his crotch and confirmed that he didn’t want to lose the jacket yet. “No.”

     “But…it is a very high-end coat…”

     Yeah, like he needed a reminder of how much cash his student had to blow… “I’m…keeping it on,” Saitama mumbled, tugging it over himself. Geeze, if his cheeks got any hotter he was going to pass out.

     “But…Sensei isn’t cold…” The man heard those clicking noises his student’s scanner made when he used them. “You’re actually rather warm…”

     Saitama had no words. He was spent. He stared at the wall, lips clamped shut.

     Genos didn’t get the message. Softly, he urged, “So there’s no reason…”

     “Oh my God, Genos, please stop,” Saitama whispered, shoving his face into his hands. They weren’t big enough to cover all of it, and with a blur of motion the hood was hanging low over his jaw. He twisted his knee to one side, wondering how the hell he could stay turned on through all of this.

     He heard a brief span of silence, and then there was a jump in his students’ fans. Seriously? He could tell? He didn’t know he needed to shut his mouth when Saitama told him three times, but he was able to tell what was going on with his Sensei’s junk from the way he was standing?

     There was a rustling next to him and Saitama peeked over to see what the cyborg was doing. He found him half-out of his sweatshirt, and for a split-second he thought things were going to get even weirder than they already were. Then his disciple held out the charred top, eyes glued to the fridge.

     The bald man let it hang there initially…but he didn’t have many other options. He grabbed it, and neither of them made a sound as he slipped out of the jacket as fast as he could without ripping it apart. Genos pulled it from him and hung it by the apron so he could shimmy the sweater on.

     It was old—the lining inside was all rough and worn away, but it was still soft. Genos’ blasters had made it warm and it reeked of his stupid sparky smell. Boy was Saitama happy that it fell to his knees. It made him notice how much smaller he was than his student, though, and he got a ticked off that it didn’t at least come to his upper thigh.

     He must’ve looked ridiculous. This whole thing was ridiculous. The past few hours had been completely, utterly, one-hundred percent ridiculous.

     Saitama turned in time to catch his student smiling at him before going back to the meat. At least the kid had something on underneath it, so his teacher didn’t feel as bad. Although that tank top was tight enough that he could pretty much make out everything anyway.

     “Crap…” he spat, snatching some potatoes out of the bag that was on the counter and tearing a colander out from the cupboard. He hadn’t rinsed anything so furiously before.

     They didn’t say much as they cooked, the only sound between them the chopping of vegetables, or boiling water, and the constant buzz of Genos’ fans. Occasionally Saitama would glance up to see him grinning. He’d almost shouted at him to stop twice now, but each time he started he’d get this nudge in his chest and he couldn’t go through with it.

     Frickin’ brat.

     They ate mostly in silence too. Sure they would ask each other to pass a napkin or something, but there was none of Genos’ running commentary on a meeting at the Association or him asking his teacher what sales were coming up. When the blonde eventually piped up, they were getting close to an hour of not speaking to each other.

     “You…may sleep in that shirt, if you would like, Sensei.”

     Saitama had gotten the situation under control, but he was too focused on eating to take the sweater off. “Thanks,” he grunted, mouth full of stew.

     Genos examined his bowl and put it down. His arm stretched out behind him to one of the notebooks piled by the manga tower. Pulling the pencil clipped to the cover into his hand, he thumbed to a blank page and started writing.

     Saitama watched. He wasn’t scribbling as intensely as he normally did—he was pretty calm, which was odd. He was writing a lot more than normal too.

     When he flipped to the third page, his teacher spoke up. “What are you putting down in there, Genos? A speech?”

     The cyborg shook his head. “No, Sensei. They’re notes.”

     Saitama craned over the table to see what they were. It certainly didn’t look like notes—it was all paragraphs, no pictures or charts or any of the stuff that he’d made on the other pages. He let him go until he got to the fourth page.

     “C’mon, blondie, what are you writing? Your stew’s gotta be cold by now…”

     Genos glanced up. He was smiling again, the little prick. “I’m writing about Sensei. You’re all I write about, mostly…”

     The man slunk back in his seat. Right. “O-oh…”

     The boy took a breath and his shoulders tensed. “I’m writing…about how cute you look, like that, Sensei.”

     …What?

     He held his gaze steady—Saitama could tell he was recording. “And about how cute you were earlier tonight, when you were flustered.”

     The man’s throat squeezed up and he fought not to choke on the carrot he was swallowing. What the hell? Was Genos…flirting with him?

     The snot didn’t break eye contact and the video marker was still ticking away on his iris. “There’s a lot to write about—it was very sweet.”

     There was a splash as Saitama almost literally dove back into his food, scarfing it down. He saw Genos nod out of the corner of his eye and scribble more lines.

     It look a while longer for it to sink in. “Kid…was that a test?”

     The fans hummed on and Genos went back to his bowl. “…Perhaps, Sensei.”

     Saitama slammed his down. “Well don’t do that!”

     Genos ducked his head to give a second, smaller nod.

     His teacher waited. “So…”

     “So…what, Saitama-sensei?”

     “So,” the man repeated, “Are you gonna tell me what you were testing?”

     The hum hitched. “I…I was trying to answer the question I asked you in the kitchen.”

     …huh? “What? What question?”

     They fans were starting to edge over into a screech. “When I asked…if…you enjoyed it…”

     The stew suddenly became real unappetizing. Saitama pushed it away. “Genos. Genos. Can you not…Can’t you let that drop?”

     Something shifted in the way the cyborg held himself. “Did you have to sneak up on me and watch me, Sensei?”

     Damn that was fast. And…deserved. “I…I…”

     His student ate quietly.

     “I… Alright,” the man shouted, stuffing his hands into the folds of Genos’ sweater. “Okay! You’re right, I owe you—something. Okay. Fine. I…”

     The boy looked up, his trademark scowl back in place. Well, sort of—it was a lot less angry than it could be (and his fans speeding along made him way less intimidating).

     …Aw shit this wasn’t any easier with Genos staring at him like that.

     “I…Uh…” Saitama rolled the fabric between his palms. “I…Well…maybe…it was…pretty nice, I guess…”

     His student didn’t move. “So you enjoyed it,” he urged.

     The man glanced up, self-conscious of the glow in his ears. God-damn, was Genos going to make him say it? “I…Geeze, kid, yeah! I--”

     Genos bore down on him.

     “I…enjoyed…it…”

     The blonde tensed as his fans opened up to let out a jet of steam. Then he relaxed and put his nose back to his bowl. “Thank you, Sensei.”

     Euck…having him thank him for that…felt really… “Genos, don’t.”

     “You were truthful and I appreciate it.”

     “Yeah…don’t mention it…” Saitama glowered. “I mean it.”

     “I will not, Saitama-sensei,” he mumbled, pulling the notebook back open and writing one more thing before shutting it again.

    ~~~

     The kid may have said he wasn’t going to mention it, but he sure as hell wasn’t letting his teacher forget it. Saitama was positive his student was keeping up his little “tests.” It was bearable for the first day, and the second. After the third and fourth, it was getting kind of irritating. A full week of it had the bald man gritting his teeth.

     Not that he was upset with Genos letting his guard down. Crap, he’d been telling him to loosen up for years—he was happy the kid stopped scrambling to put away his notebooks every time his teacher came in the room, and was leaving off the sitting seiza thing, but…

    Well…when he left them open to detailed sketches of Saitama’s abs, or started leaning up against the wall with is legs spread, hand always hovering right by his hips…

     “Genos,” he told him one night, watching him make dinner without a shirt on (for the third time in a row). “I know what you’re doing.”

     “And what’s that, Sensei?” he called, focusing on the pan.

     “I know you’re...well…testing me again.”

     His fans picked up. “Why…would you think that?”

     That was the other thing. Saitama understood the kid could be a smart-aleck—he heard him talk to other heroes during mission briefs and he could be downright cruel—but he’d never been sarcastic with his hero before. Since the blow-up a couple weeks ago, though, he was more of a brat than ever. “Don’t act like you haven’t been doing anything weird lately!”

      “Could you tell me, Sensei, something ‘weird’ that I’ve done? If I had an example…” The blonde reached back to wiggle a loose screw on his shoulder, careful not to hit his noisy vents.

     Saitama started to answer…and stopped right away. Shit. If he rattled off any of the dozens of things the blonde had done—parade around in nothing but a towel, roll over into to Saitama while he was “sleeping,” start loving ice cream pops out of the blue—that would mean he’d noticed them. And he didn’t. Not in, like, a sexual way, at least. No matter how much all of it was…getting to him…

     “Kid,” he called, waiting for the boy to look at him. “Just…stop, alright? It’s…not gonna go anywhere. You know that.”

     The vents hummed on and the boy frowned, turning away. Saitama listened as he whisked together the batter for fried flounder. “Sensei,” he called, the tiniest edge in it, “How are we doing on tissues?”

     Saitama’s belly seized up. “W-we’re fine!”

     “Are you sure? I’m fairly certain we’re down to a quarter of a box.”

     Alright, so maybe he had noticed some of the things in that way. It’d been years since he got any, though, he wasn’t used to having someone flirt with him! “We’re fine, Genos! Don’t worry about it!” It wasn’t like he thought about dudes when he was jerking it…

     “I could pick some up on my way home tomorrow, Sensei, if you need me to.”

     “I said don’t worry about it!”

     He could feel the smugness radiating off his disciple.

     Although…Saitama wished he could take his own advice. He sat on the wall near his manga tower one night, holding a volume of Dragonball after Genos got called away for a mission, skating around the question that’d been bugging him nonstop. He kept on rereading the same panels again and again, head buzzing with worry he couldn’t keep out anymore.

     Saitama was almost totally positive he was straight. He hadn’t been attracted to dudes before, and he didn’t get excited when waiters or coworkers would come on to him (this was back when he had hair, wore suits, worked a nine to five…y’know, when he was attractive). Like, sure, he could appreciate when a guy was jacked or whatever, and porn was definitely better if the dudes were good-looking, but that didn’t mean anything. A ripped jock didn’t get him going the way a chick wearing a baggy sweater and a short skirt did, or girls in those clingy one-piece bathing suits that had all the cutouts.

     But…well…

     Saitama sighed, finally resting the manga down on his stomach. He thought back through the past two years, the past four, six. A guy never genuinely pursued him before, so it’s not like he had a reason to question it.

     Then he thought about this week and his ears started to simmer. He had an exceptionally persistent guy pursuing him now, and Saitama had been spending…a lot…of time in the bathroom. Or on the computer when Genos was gone. Or…secretly working one out…when the blonde was baking in the kitchen… But that was just the one time! ‘Cause the kid had his headphones in and was singing along with all these stupid sexy dance songs, and he really did have a nice voice, and this was after he’d spent three frickin’ hours half-naked, sucking down a couple of Fudgsicles while his teacher tried to not to notice how close he’d squished up next to him in front of the news…

     Saitama tucked his arms behind his head. He figured the sake was the only reason Genos had been so bold on his birthday. He was starting to wonder, though, if the kid was so on edge all the time that he was too stressed out to be his regular flirty self. All this stuff…it was coming too naturally to him to be a show.

     Now that he thought about it… The man paused and sat up. Laying normally, singing as he cooked, not getting dressed when he didn’t have to… None of those things were all that flirty on their own, were they? They were what guys did in their own homes. Dang, it was what Saitama did when he was home.

     The man’s belly made an all-too-familiar drop again. Saitama had been asking the blonde to cool it for years. Was he finally…relaxing around him? Why? What would change…

     He spied his yellow sweatshirt hanging in the closet, and remembered how shy Genos was when he came home. He also remembered how insistent the kid was on hearing Saitama say he liked watching him jack off.

     Embarrassment smashed through Saitama in waves, and he played with the rug to shut it out. He was trying to focus. Man…had the kid been ashamed of himself all this time? Was that it? Did he just need to hear that his teacher wasn’t disgusted by him? What had he done to make Genos think he was in the first place?

     Saitama’s head was going a mile a minute, and he was sure his stomach was trying to strangle itself. He was so bad with all this emotional stuff—but now he couldn’t stop thinking—and while he tried to sort through years of possible insults and shut-downs, there was a single huge thought creeping up on him like a blob monster.

     If this was all Genos being Genos for first time, then he wasn’t putting on an act or anything. He was doing the things that he’d do even if Saitama wasn’t around. And Saitama was seeing it as (ridiculously effective) flirting.

    That meant, for the past week, Saitama had been getting super turned on by his disciple being himself.

    So Saitama was turned on by Genos, being himself.

    The man froze.

     So Saitama. Was turned on. By Genos.

     Saitama doubled over into his hands. “I’m not into guys,” he mumbled, cheeks flush. The kid was stressing him out, was all. That had to be it. He hadn’t gotten attention from anyone in so long that he was…overstimulated. And it was making him horny. …Really horny.

     So fucking horny.

     “Damnit,” Saitama mumbled, reaching for the tissues. This was the third time today…and the brat was right, they were almost out. He had to take advantage of the empty apartment while he had it, though.

     Genos had been gone long enough that Saitama knew he’d be stuck a while longer—it must’ve been a big mission, and there would be a ton of paperwork to file after. He hoped if he got one good jerk in before the kid came back he’d calm down. Then maybe he’d be able to think about all this more clearly. …That, or he’d be so tired he’d fall sleep. Both were better alternatives to the frazzled lump he was now.

     He slipped off his hoodie and pulled aside his sweats, taking a hold of himself. The man conjured up all his go-tos: boobs bouncing out of tops, chicks in boy shorts, doggy style…

     After a minute he knew it wasn’t working. Great. This was exactly what he needed to get less frustrated right now. He kept at it, waiting to be close enough that it didn’t matter what he was dreaming up. Once he reached the point of no return he’d be good. His hand kept on going, and going….

     And going….

     Damnit! If it wasn’t so quiet in the room, he could push through. All he had was the stupid clock in the corner. Without Genos shuffling around…

     “Hnph.” He couldn’t go there. He thought around the blonde, forcing himself to remember any kind of porn he could: that one scene of the chick getting cummed on from six different guys, and that other cute girl in the green G-string, and Genos’ throa—no, no, that one with the purple dildo, and the six-guy chick again, and the desk, and his soft effing lips as he kissed his teacher’s palm—

     “Fuck…” Saitama whispered, struggling to block out his student’s face. He never had this problem before. He was getting closer, though, he couldn’t concentrate, and the girls weren’t doing anything for him…and Genos was really…attractive…

     And it’s not like…he would know…

     There was a ruffle from the rug as Saitama leaned further back. This was wrong. This would make him more of an asshole than he currently was. How many times had he told the kid he wasn’t interested? How hard was he trying to convince himself he wasn’t interested?

     …But the way his student looked with that blonde head shoved into his sweatshirt…and how warm he felt laughing in Saitama’s lap…

     He shook his head. No no no, he had absolutely no right to do this. Whether he wanted it or not, he must’ve made Genos cry at least a dozen times at this point, he didn’t deserve it…

     He remembered the boy twisting on the floor again. He also made him moan how many times…?

     Saitama strained against his inner eye, losing badly. The girl’s faces became his face, the men’s backs became his back, their cries sounded like him…

     “Hah…” Saitama laughed, bowing his head. How pathetic was he… The strongest man in the universe and he couldn’t fight this. He toyed with himself for a second, holding out as long as he could. Then he breathed in once, calming the flutters in his chest…and caved.

     He eased into it, nervous and guilty, figuring out how Genos would hold him. It would be slow, he decided, so much slower that his teacher would go. He’d draw it out, getting as much out of it as he could. Compared to his own callused hand, what would Genos’ soft, leathered one feel like? How much gentler would he be…?

    Even if it was pathetic, Saitama wouldn’t try to stop himself, not now. He…he wanted the blonde on him, over him, touching him… He remembered exactly how his lips felt on his skin, and he imagined them on his neck, his chest…his belly... It wasn’t hard to think of that impossibly small mouth stretching, and wrapping, and oh God the way he would slip around Saitama, cautious and attentive and so fucking slow…

     Saitama looked at his hand and saw it shining. He wondered what it would look like on the boy’s lips, on his cheek. He knew how Genos would stare up at him with those huge yellow eyes…so pretty, so frickin’ hot…listening, recording, of course he would record this…

     Somehow that made it so much better…

     And he’d cup Saitama from behind, and keep on going, and keep on playing, and his teacher wanted it so bad his legs were starting to twitch, and he could feel his disciple tightening around him…

     And if Genos ran his hand down his own body, and Saitama could watch him like he had before—watch his fingers push down into the metal, watch his feet curl hard into the balls of his feet, watch his hips buck, his back arch, his head tilt back and hear him give that throaty fucking sob as he cried out—

     “Nngh—!“

     Saitama spasmed under his grip, pushing himself deep into a boy that wasn’t there. He shook for a few heavy heartbeats and laid back flat on the floor, breathing fast and ragged, eyes shut to the dark. He waited a long while before opening them, giving time for the thoughts of his student to fade away.

     The clock sounded way louder than it had before as it ticked on in the corner. He stared up at the ceiling, dazed. He actually did that. Saitama glanced down at his hands and stomach, and at the undeniable evidence of what happened. He just…

     This was wrong. Geeze, no, this was downright mean. He reached over to the tissues and started to numbly clean himself.

     In a split-second he stopped. That felt great, he realized. Like, really great. That was mind-blowing. It was the most satisfying finish he’d had in years.

     Saitama was terrified.

     “There’s no way,” he mumbled, wiping fast and stuffing the tissues in the garbage by the closet. Saitama had to admit that it was a measly protest, especially considering why he was saying it. He didn’t like guys, though, not like this! …At least…he hadn’t, not before...

     …this one?

     His futon was rolled up in the corner, and he slowly unfurled it. Turning off the lights and wrapping himself in his heart-covered blanket, Saitama settled down, looking out at the cloudless sky. Genos would be back at some point.

    The caped baldy didn’t move, and he hardly breathed. He didn’t even want to think. Saitama couldn’t begin to figure out how he’d face his student the next day. How should he greet him? The kid would be able to tell right away that something was wrong. Could he say he was sick, or…or tired…

     Ah, who knew, it was a Thursday, maybe Genos would have work to do or something. The Association ran weir—

     Saitama’s eyes shot open. That’s right. Tomorrow was Thursday.

     Crap.

     They had to be at a time-sale in the morning.

 

Chapter Text

     “…ensei…”

     Saitama had no idea when he finally dozed off…

     “…aitama-sen…”

     …but he’d done it with Genos’ face swimming in his head…

     “…ensei, please.”

     …and woke up to the same thing right in front of him.

     “Saitama-sensei,” his student told him, hanging over his futon, “You need to get up. We have to make our way over to Kingsmart.”

     The bald man kept motionless under that yellow glare. He half-hoped Genos would think he was still sleeping and let him stay there. Pretty soon it turned into a staring contest, neither of them budging.

     Huh… usually it hurt to look at Genos’ eyes for too long, but they were awfully dim right now…and he wasn’t holding himself too steady…

      The blonde gave a tight nod and shuffled over to the closet. Saitama craned his neck to watch him.

     His teacher recognized the shambly way he was moving. It wasn’t anything obvious, but Saitama could tell when he needed some shut-eye…and right now Genos was exhausted. His hair was messy too—had he even brushed it yet?

     “When did you finally get back last night?” he asked, eating back a yawn.

     The closet door rumbled as Genos slid it back into place. He was clutching a pair of cargos and a t-shirt. “At around three in the morning, Sensei.”

      Three AM, eh? What time… Saitama turned to check out the clock. “Shit, it’s only eight!” He bolted up, tossing his covers aside “Go back to sleep, I can do this on my own.”

     Genos pushed the clothes into his hands. “No, Sensei. You’ve had this planned for a week, and one person cannot carry everything we need. We’re both going.”

     He refused to take it easy after the tougher missions… “Come on, you need to relax. You’re gonna burn out.”

     “I’ll be fine,” grumbled the cyborg, floor creaking as he lifted up. “Please get changed. I made sandwiches for us.”

     Saitama rubbed along the edge of his temples. To be booted up and finished with breakfast by now, Genos would’ve needed to get up an hour earlier…which mean he was running on four hours of sleep, if that. “You shouldn’t have, kid.”

     The cyborg smiled at him with those stupid sleepy eyes and Saitama’s belly twisted. “I wanted to, Sensei.”

     The man gave a frustrated grunt as he took the clothes and stomped over to the bathroom. When he opened the door, he found Genos waiting with his teacher’s coat in one hand and breakfast in the other. Saitama grabbed both and they walked out into the cold.

     They made quick work of their PB&Js as they plodded on in anxious silence. …Well, it was anxious for Saitama, anyway. The man was pretty sure the cyborg could barely muster the concentration to walk let alone be worried. Still, though, they had an hour to get to the far side of City A, and at the pace they were going he wasn’t sure that they’d make it.

     Not having his student’s running commentary in the background wasn’t helping time pass by faster, either. Saitama had plenty of chances to remember what he thought up last night…and it was excruciating. He’d struggle to squash out what he was sure was the last of the images, only to have another one come floating back right away. Man was he thankful that his coat had a hood…

     After snuffing out the visual of Genos deep-throating him for the third time, he realized how badly he needed a distraction. “So…so what kind of monster was it that kept you for so long?”

     “A road demon, Sensei,” answered the blonde, voice rough. “It started attacking in City L and traveled all the way to D. It regenerated on contact with asphalt, so trapping it…was a problem.”

     Saitama thought of the kid chasing after an overpass and fought back a snort. “Who was helping you? There must’ve been some other heroes there too.”

     “Atomic Samurai, Flash, Superalloy… Metal Bat came as well, but he was a fool and got himself surrounded for most of the fight…”

     “…That was it?”

     Genos flexed his wrist. “Yes, Sensei. No one else responded to the call.”

    It had been like that a lot more recently—no one showing up for work but Genos and a couple of other guys. The man scowled. He was pretty sure the upper class heroes were taking advantage of his student…

     Saitama snuck a peek over at him, scanning him for injuries like he always did. There was bound to be a weird hollow in his back or something, what with the fight going on for so long. He searched for the usual: major dents, missing limbs, a limp…but he wasn’t finding anything. He lifted his hood up a little higher. There were no fingers bent off, no cracks on his cheeks, neither of his shoulder plates were turned around…

     “Genos,” he cried, “You’re in one piece!”

     The boy tilted his head. “…Sensei?”

     Saitama was grinning like an idiot. “You always come back with your hand gone or half your face ripped up, but you’re fine this time. Good job, blondie!”

     A small “vrrh” and a puff of steam trailed the cyborg as he turned away. “I…I tried to be…more careful, Sensei. Although I did have to replace a joint that got cracked during one of the demon’s attacks…”

     His teacher nudged him with his shoulder. “Aw, that doesn’t matter, that’s small. I’m proud of you.”

     Genos still wouldn’t look at him. “Thank you, Saitama-sensei. It means…a lot, to hear that from you.”

     It was about time the brat learned how to protect himself. It only took half a decade, if what he gathered from Genos’ rambling was right. Saitama tried to figure out what it was that gave his student that extra push. Maybe Kuseno told him he was running low on parts? Or it could be that he was frustrated with constantly having to leave for the doc’s… After all, neither of them knew how long repairs could take, and it was a pain figuring out how to handle things when he was gone. Sleeping was impossible too—Saitama needed the sound of the blonde’s fans to get some shut-eye. Man, it would be nice if this would be a permanent thing, it sucked always having to worry about Genos when the Association called him away…

     “Sensei,” mumbled the cyborg.

      Saitama blinked. He must’ve been zoning out... “Yeah?”

     “Are you cold?”

     What a weird question. “Nah, not at all. How come?”

     The fans picked up again. “…You’re very close to me.”

     The man glanced down…and took a hefty step to the side. His shoulder was still warm from where it’d been brushing up against his student’s. “A-ah! Sorry! Sorry about…that…” Shit, he was pretty sure their hips had been touching too…how couldn’t he feel it? They’d been walking for a while now…

     The cyborg hesitated. “…I didn’t mind.”

     “It—that was a mistake, Genos. I didn’t do it on purpose.” There goes his distraction…

     The whine hitched. “You weren’t doing it on purpose for almost ten minutes straight, Sensei.”

     “It was a mistake!”

     Genos didn’t say a word, and it was infuriating.

     Saitama glowered at his disciple. “It’s too early for you to be this snarky! Aren’t you supposed to be tired?”

     The cyborg looked up at the bridge they were about to cross. He opened his mouth to answer…and quirked his eyebrows instead. Whatever comment he was about to make turned into a “Yes, Saitama-sensei,” and he smiled to himself. Little prick…he was probably cracking all sorts of jokes about his teacher in his head right now…

     Saitama fumed and kept a strong foot of distance between them for the rest of the way.

     It was busy when they stepped through the sliding doors of the huge store. Both heroes wilted when they found the crowds, and one of them forgot why he was mad.

     “Aw man…look at all these people…”

     His disciple stepped out into the grocery section and scanned the displays. Saitama saw a bunch of the shoppers turn to him and whisper, lots of them giggling as they did it.

     Something heavy bubbled in his chest. It got a little bigger when one of the women pulled out her phone and bum-rushed his student, tittering on about clubs and selfies and how much she loved him.

     His teacher watched, irritated. Genos barely acknowledged her before waving her away.

     “Heh…” Served her right, thinking she could just walk up and interrupt him…

     The chick wasn’t getting the message though. She kept on pleading (how desperate can you be?), and after a straight minute Genos looked down at her. Saitama could tell he was angry.

     The bald man glanced at the girl again. She was all pretty and curvy, though—totally the kind of girl you hoped would be in your fan club. He focused on his student’s expression, trying to see if it wavered from his normal scowl at all. There was nothing that he could make out…

     The gurgling feeling boiled over when he watched him lower his face beside hers and look up at her purple phone. It was over in a few seconds—the girl flipped the screen around to check out the photo she took before running back to her friends—but it was still too much. What made her think she could go up and get a picture with his disciple? Didn’t she know he was busy? And why would he stop for something like that? He almost always brushed off paparazzi…how were fans different? Anyway, getting all close to one like that, wasn’t it inappropriate for an S-class hero? Their cheeks were almost touching!

     “Genos,” Saitama shouted, tossing his head back towards the crowd.

     The blonde gave one last scan and clomped over. “Saitama-sensei,” he started, “Yams, Gala apples, shallots, whole garlic, and bulk egg salad are on sale from 9:00 to 9:05 in the grocery section. I believe there are a great deal of cleaning goods on sale at the other end of the store at the same time. It is now…” A small notch popped out from the edge of his iris. “…8:58. Which section would you prefer to take on?”

     The man frowned and shrugged, looking behind him at the back of the store. His hood was itchy on his cheek and he scratched at it. “I dunno…the cleaning stuff is fine for me.”

     The kid’s eyebrows knotted and he looked like he was going to say something. Before he could open his mouth, though, his teacher pointed him towards the grocery section and tore off to the detergent aisle.

     Saitama concentrated on the clock hanging above the deli, telling himself he wasn’t bothered by the way his disciple was glancing back at him.

     As soon as the long hand ticked over to the twelve, he barreled forward. 

     If the Caped Baldy was being truthful, him being there wasn’t very fair to the other customers. All they saw was a red blur as it whipped through each aisle, picking up twos and threes of the stuff on promo. Lots of shoppers hardly got a look at the paper towels on sale before the package disappeared from under them, no evidence it had been there but a light dust ring. At 9:02 Saitama was standing at the counter, piling everything high on the belt of a flabbergasted attendant.

     Saitama fished out his wallet, sighing. These kind of sales were great (they’d be good on napkins for months) but waiting to get rung up was the worst. He hated the glares he got from all the wrinkled old aunties—they made him feel like he’d taken it straight from them. It’s not as if he’d done anything wrong…

     He had a clear view of the mess that was the fresh foods section from the checkout. Genos strode from bay to bay, weighing veggies in his hands and filling bags. He was so determined… Saitama laughed as the kid ran over to the bananas, realizing a minute to the end that they were part of the sale too. A woman tried to start a fight with him before he shot her a warning glare. She pulled back her hand and he whipped the last three bunches into the crook of his arm.

     In moments he was speeding over to the counter, basket overflowing at his side. He stationed himself at the register in front of his teacher’s and laid the bananas on it. He nodded before emptying the rest of his goods on the belt. He must have been checking the time…

     “Sir? Are you ready to pay?”

     The man looked at the teen behind the counter, surprised to find that he’d bagged all his loot. Dude was fast.... “Oh—yeah, sorry. How much…?”

     The clerk checked his screen. “¥4572, sir.”

     Saitama unclipped his wallet and rummaged through. He thought he had enough in here, but… “Crap…Hey, kid!”

     Genos turned to look at his teacher...and everyone else turned to look at Genos.

     Saitama ignored them. “Do you have the wallet with the ¥1000 bills? They’re not in this one.”

     The blonde padded down all his pockets. The girl ringing him up watched his ass as he tugged out the turtle-covered coin purse from his back left. Her gawk stuck when he tossed it over.

     Saitama whipped it out of the air without looking, too busy giving the girl major stink-eye. What was going on today? What, was the whole store trying to mentally undress his student? He harrumphed to himself as he fished the crumpled bills from the wallet, wondering how people could be so disrespectful…before his cheeks started to burn.

     Right. He was the last person that should be judging anyone for that.

     In a few moments Saitama was standing outside, checking through his receipt in the middle of a pile of groceries. He wasn’t able to focus too hard on it.

     He felt his ears get a little hotter when Genos walked through the doors, arms filled with bags all the way to his elbows. He repositioned them, asking, “Is everything alright, Sensei?”

     What? Was he that red? Could Genos tell…? Saitama’s back tightened up before he remembered the scroll in his hands.

     Oh. He meant with the sales. “Yeah, we’re good. Let’s go home.” He tugged his hood over his face and gathered up his own purchases before walking.

     He was having a tough time finding things to say. “That…was better than I thought it would be?”

     “Yes, Sensei,” answered Genos, “I’m particularly excited about the apples, there’s a pork dish I’ve been wanting to try for a while that calls for them. Of course it isn’t the right kind of apple, but I’m sure the slight difference in tast—“

     “Demon Cyborg,” came a cry. Saitama looked out from his hood to see some guy bounding over from across the street, phone in hand. “Can I get a picture? My brother’s not gonna believe this…”

     Saitama tried to stare him down, but he didn’t care.

     “I’m not available for pictures right now,” Genos urged. It sounded rehearsed.

     “Aw, man, please, just one! I’ve only seen you on the news, I didn’t think you came around here!”

     “Please leave me alone.”

     “I’ll be real quick—here—“

     Saitama’s fists balled up as he watched the jerk swoop in for a selfie and snap it before Genos could say ‘no.’

     The cyborg’s incinerators started their low whistle. “Delete that picture. I do not like having my photo taken.”

     “Sure, sure,” the guy said, laughing. “Thank you!” And he sped across the street, phone still in hand.

     He wasn’t going to delete it. “What an ass,” shouted Saitama, still glaring. “Hey prick! You, get back here! Do what he—“

      Genos nudged his teacher with his elbow, shaking his head. “Don’t worry about it, Sensei. It happens frequently.”

     Saitama gaped. “Huh? Really?” He watched the blonde nod, yellow eyes trained on the fan. “But I’ve never…seen it…”

     Genos walked on. “We are not usually in such a populated area, Sensei. Our sales tend to be in smaller, more isolated districts.”

     The man followed, trying to remember their normal routes. He hadn’t thought about it, but they did always stick to less crowded stores. There wasn’t as much competition that way. Guess that meant there weren’t as many fans either…

     He checked out the busy sidewalk and got a little self-conscious with all the people that were watching them pass by. “Geeze, kid, you sure get a lot of attention…”

     “It’s because the Hero Association heavily promotes its top heroes. I do not like it.”

     A few more people tried asking Genos for a picture on their way out of town. Most of them were those model types you see in ritzy areas, all of them good-looking and fashionable…

     Saitama turned to his disciple. “This is normal for you, Genos?”

     The kid nodded. “Unfortunately, yes, Sensei. They are annoyingly persistent.”

     The caped baldy pulled his eyes to the sidewalk, belly squeezing. “So…are we talking every day normal, or…”

     His student looked over. “Sometimes, yes.” There was a long pause—Saitama could feel the frickin’ sensors going off inside that yellow puffball. “Although not always. Sensei…why are you asking?”

     There sure were some weird-shaped gum blotches in the concrete… “I don’t…know. No reason, I guess. It’s just…that’s a lot of people…”

     They were finally left alone once they reached the paths along the highways. The other pedestrians were too busy rushing by to try and stop them. The heroes were quiet themselves, if you didn’t count Genos’ fans buzzing in his shoulders.

     A man on a bike rode around them. The cyborg watched him pedal forward. “Have you heard from Mumen recently, Sensei?”

     “Nah, not much,” answered Saitama, rolling his neck. “He sends some texts now and again, usually when he sees sales, but he’s been busy. ...Maybe he’s getting ready for the wedding? He’s been engaged for a while.”

     “Shouldn’t we have gotten a reminder for it, then? I don’t recall…“ Genos stopped and stiffened up. “Saitama-sensei. It’s December.”

     Eh? “Yeah, of course it is. Wh—ooh…” The man slumped, hood catching on his forehead. “That thing’s in a couple weeks, isn’t it?”

     The cyborg’s head bobbed. “Yes. I wasn’t thinking about it…”

     Saitama let out an “Ugh,” already dreading it. Each year the HA held a Christmas lunch at some swanky restaurant for Class A and S heroes. That jerk with the blue hair—what was his name, Candy Face?—he insisted that everyone who was S-class came, or else they’d get knocked down a peg in ranking. It was some baloney about the public seeing the heroes spend time together… “They’re not giving you trouble about me being your guest this year?”

     The blonde smirked. “I can’t imagine they would. Amai Mask was very frustrated when I refused to attend unless you could come as well. Not that it matters, though. I would still bring Sensei anyway.”

     There was another squeeze in Saitama’s chest. “Do…are you sure it’s happening? Maybe they called it off for…something…”

     “I received the email last week, Sensei. I forgot to mention it. I have been…absent-minded, lately.”

     Yeah, okay. If by ‘absent-minded’ he meant ‘flirty as shit’… “The party’s on the 23rd?”

     “No, the afternoon of the 24th. It will begin at one and end at four.” Genos paused, bags crinkling in his hands. “Saitama-sensei, I have been meaning to ask… Are we exchanging gifts again?”

     The man stared ahead. Damn…he hadn’t thought of that… He got Genos something small when he was out last winter—it was a pen set or something, it reminded him of the blonde when he saw it—and Genos way overreacted by buying him a frickin’ Gameboy DS. Which he promptly cracked by dropping it. After that they made a rule that they weren’t allowed to buy consoles without talking it over with each other first.

     “Uh…I…don’t know? Do you want to, Genos? Or—” What a stupid question, of course he’d want to. Genos took any chance he could to throw away money on his teacher. “Actually, let’s not, okay? That way we don’t have to worry about it.”

     The kid deflated. “O-of course, Saitama-sensei. Yes.”

     Saitama turned away, feeling like shit. Not that he knew why.

     …Stupid frickin’ cyborg.


 

     The next four days went by as awkwardly as the past two weeks had, what with Genos being way more laid back around his teacher, and said teacher…not handling it very well. At least the cyborg didn’t mention how long he was spending in his bath, or how much laundry he’d been doing.

     …Of course, if the carton of tissues he brought home one night was anything to go by, it wasn’t like he hadn’t noticed either.

     Their joint missions weren’t even fun now. Sometimes his disciple would cry out this one way or do something super badass, and Saitama’d become painfully aware of just how little his hero suit covered up. All of a sudden the monsters were exploding and the only explanation Genos got was a Sensei-colored blur jetting home through the gore.

     It was awful, all of it. And through the whole thing Saitama was trying to figure out why. Had he been secretly craving attention all these years, or was it that he’d wanted to boink a dude? Was Genos trying to come on to him…or was he not doing anything at all? Maybe it was all of it, or—or none of it, or a handful of those things…?

     Saitama needed to talk to somebody.

     He got his chance one morning when Genos left for a meeting. After an hour of arguing with himself, he picked up the phone. It took another ten minutes for him to decide who to call. Eventually he pushed the button and held it up to his ear, sinking into the corner between the manga tower and the wall.

    It rung a few times before there was a click, and then…nothing but weird rustling noises? “Mumen? You there?” Was the phone still in his pocket? “Mumen! Hey, pick up!”

     There was more ruffling and a confused mumble. “H-Hullo?”

     “Mumen! It’s me. Are you on patrol?”

     There came a shaky, “No…”

     “Alright. Uh…are you…working out?”

     “Ah…sure.”

    “Oh.” Shit. He couldn’t talk then…

    “Is everything alright, Saitama?” There was an exclamation in the background and it sounded like Mumen was fighting something.

     “Ye—well...no, not really. It’s…it’s a weird question, though, and…” The thing was obviously fighting back. “Dude, are you alright? I can call later.”

     The C-class hero grunted. “N-no, it’s okay. What’s up? I’ve never heard you this nervous before.”

     Saitama went to talk…but his tongue wouldn’t work. He hadn’t thought about what would happen once he got to this point. Worrying about something was one thing, but saying it out loud… “I…uh… Um. It’s…I have this…problem…and…”

     …shitshitshit.

      “What happened? …Did you get in trouble with the Hero Association?”

     “No no, nothing like that. It’s…well…about…” Say it, Saitama. ”…Genos?”

     “Genos? Is he alright? He got himself destroyed again, didn’t he?”

     Someone laughed on the other side. Who the hell was that…? “No! He’s fine. We’re all fine. Nothing like that is wrong.”

     Mumen waited for him to continue...but he didn’t. “Saitama, I’m lost here. What’s the matter?”

     Damnit…this was so much harder than he thought it would be. How did he start? “Uh…Mumen…” Think think think…. “What’s the longest you’ve gone without sex?” Well that’s one helluva way to do it. Saitama blushed hearing the question.

     “G-Geeze,” the cyclist stuttered, “That’s…kind of personal, don’t you think?”

     Yeah, he did. He no idea what else he could say, though. “I know, but…could you…”

     “It was…man, this embarrassing!”

     “Three years,” blurted out Saitama. “It’s been three years for me.” He wanted to shrivel up. Honestly, though, anything was better than what he was gearing up to.

     “Um…” There was a huge pause from Mumen’s end. “…Saitama, where is this going?”

     “Please answer the damned question!”

     “Ah! It’s—it was four for me, back between high school and college. I’m…not great at approaching people.” There was another set of mumbles and Mumen distinctly saying, ‘stop.’

     “Okay,” answered Saitama, ignoring it. “Did you…y’know, get stir-crazy? Like…you’re straight, right?”

     There was a pause. “…No?”

     Saitama’s mouth dropped. “O-oh! I guess…I just assumed, since you’ve been with May for so long…” Aw shit. He was counting on that…frick…

     “It’s…alright, it took me a while to figure it out, so…” There was static as Mumen breathed in. “Why?”

     “Um…” He couldn’t back out now… “Well…before you knew then, did you, like…look at a guy that way? When you were really horny?”

     “A few times, sure. Doesn’t everyone?”

     This wasn’t helping him much. “Uh…alright, was it ever only dudes that you thought about? For a little while.”

     The pause was a lot longer this time. “...I mean I did, but…that was when I started to wonder…”

     Shit.

     “Saitama, what…do you think you might be bi?...You said this was about Genos, not…”

     Someone screamed ‘I knew it’ and cackled, getting another shush from Mumen. Then he was back, saying, “Are you…thinking you’re interested in guys?”

     Saitama wondered how much it would cost to replace the phone if he smashed it right there. Not too much, right? But they renewed their plan a few weeks ago…

     Fuck, he shouldn’t have called. “I—I—no? B-but yes, maybe? …Shit I’m not sure, I’m so lost here Mumen, I can’t sort through all this stuff in my head, and the kid’s been doing nothing but sucking on ice pops and prancing around the house half-nake—“

     “Woah, woah—wait, stop. Saitama, hold on. Breathe for a second.”

     The bald man curled further into the wall and followed Mumen’s directions.

     “Okay. What are you trying to ask me?”

     How he could have been such a phenomenal screw-up, for one… “Well…alright. Is it…normal for straight men to think about other men when they’re getting off? Y’know…every now and again…” That phrase was being used loosely here. After what happened last week, Saitama hadn’t been able to get turned on by much else other than his student.

     Mumen laughed. “I’m…pretty sure that it isn’t, Saitama, but I’m not positive. …Can I ask you a question now?”

     “…what is it?”

     “You don’t have to answer it, if you don’t want to…or if you’re not ready, I guess. But this other man that you’re thinking about—would it happen to be Genos?”

     Could Saitama disappear? Could he shrink? If he tried he could probably crush himself into a little ball, right? “…Maybe…it…is…”

     “’Kay. …How long has this been going on for?”

     “I…don’t know….” Last week, the week before, the one before that…and some days? “About…a month?”

     Mumen took a breath. “Alright. I think you need to talk to him about it. I’m pretty sure you know how he feels about you, and it’s—“

     Saitama’s stomach plummeted. “Wait, you knew? How?”

     That other person groaned. Mumen talked over them. “…Well, everyone kind of knows. Genos isn’t the most subtle guy around.”

     Great. Just great. Just frickin’ great. The whole world had a better handle on his disciple’s emotions than he did. That’s…wonderful. As if Saitama didn’t already feel like the shittiest person in the history of forever. Now he felt like the dumbest.

     “Anyway,” Mumen continued, “I think you need to talk it out. It’s unfai—“ A loud ‘Just fuck already!’ cut him off, and after an equally loud ‘shut up’ Mumen returned. “Sorry…You need to tell him about this, it’s too big not too. You’re more important to Genos than anything. I think he’d want to hear it even if it wasn’t about him.”

     “Y…yeah, thanks. I…maybe.” Talk to the kid. Right. Like that never got him into trouble before…

     There was a sort of chant in the background, and Saitama could definitely make out his and Genos’ names. Then he heard ‘kissing’ spelled out in badly accented English. “By the way, Mumen, who the hell is there with you? They’re kind of an asshole.”

     “It—It’s—my cousin, he stopped in for the day.”

     “Oh…well he’s still an ass. Make sure you tell him that for me.”

     The cyclist chuckled. “I will. …Good luck, Saitama.”

     “Thanks, man.” And he hung up.

     He didn’t think they had the heat up too high, but wow was he warm. Of course…that probably had more to do with what Mumen had said than the thermostat. Talk to the kid. He should talk to the kid.

     Talk to him.

     Saitama tried to imagine the cyborg’s face as he explained how he’d been using him as fodder for a while now. All he could remember was the boy standing in the kitchen, giant sweater smoking, looking like he was gonna cry and explode at the same time.

     Yeah. That would go over well.

     He needed to figure something out, though. He couldn’t keep this up. Maybe if he asked Genos to go back to—to how he was before? When he wore more clothes, and sat all straight…and didn’t sing…and smiled less… Saitama sighed. So ask him to be miserable so his sensei could be marginally more comfortable. That was a perfect solution.

     Saitama stood up, bending out some cracks in his back. He’d make himself tea and try to think it all over. He was awful at plans, but if he could prepar—

     The front door clicked as it creaked open, Genos trudging through behind it.

     The man crumpled. Aw, come on! Couldn’t he at least finish his stretch?!


 

     The cyborg stepped into the foyer, careful not to shut the door too hard. Ever since Sensei charged through it a few weeks ago it hung loose on its hinges. His teacher insisted it was fine, though, and stopped Genos when he tried to repair it.

     “Hello, Saitama-sensei,” he greeted, slipping off his shoes and out of his shirt. It had become routine after he found out that Sensei wasn’t disturbed by the sight of his back. Genos wasn’t a fan of clothes in general—they were constantly catching on otherwise imperceptible cracks in his tubing and screws—and it was a relief to remove them. Well, most of them, that was. He generally left his pants on because his teacher got…frustrated…when he didn’t.

     The boy snuck a peek at Sensei and found him already red. That was fast…he wasn’t even in the hallway yet.

     He folded the shirt in his hands, feeling the coolant in his torso redistribute itself. The idea was still new to him—that his teacher didn’t think his body was strange, or that Genos was. He had convinced himself early on that Saitama-sensei merely allowed his presence out of politeness or guilt, unsure of how to tell a moving firing range that it needed to leave. To find, though, that Saitama-sensei not only considered him a close friend, but that he might actually…like how his student looked…

     Genos rolled his shoulder to straighten a kink in one of his wires. He glanced up to see Sensei staring out of the corner of his eyes.

     Well. The cyborg would be lying if he said he wasn’t enjoying it a little.  

     He popped his feet into the green slippers his teacher got him and moved to the closet, laying the shirt back onto the pile beside his tool kit. Then he wandered into the kitchen, opening the refrigerator door to check inside it. He didn’t know what he wanted for lunch…something simple and warm would be best, it was cold outside. He could make udon in beef stock, that was one of Sensei’s favorites…

    Genos spied the cupboard above the counter and closed the fridge. Tea. He wanted tea. That was it. He fished out a box from the upper shelf, calling over the divide. “Sensei, would you like tea? I’m going to make some for myself.”

     “…Yeah. Uh…orange, please.”

     “Yes Sensei,” he mumbled automatically, slipping out a packet of orange spice and apple cinnamon. Apples… Genos smiled, filling the pot and plopping it on the stove. That pork dish he’d made a few nights ago turned out as good as he thought it would be. He was particularly proud of the sauce he’d cooked to go with it… Was there any of that left? He could go for some of it… “Sensei, did you eat the rest of the gala roast yesterday?”

     “Huh?”

     “The ‘fruity meat,’ I believe it what you called it.”

     “Oh! Oh yeah, it was great. Thanks for packing it up”

     His fans lightly turned, preparing themselves. “It was nothing, Sensei.” Two years and he still couldn’t handle his teacher’s complements…this one meant that none of that pork was left, though. Ah well. It’s not like he couldn’t make it again.

     In a couple of minutes he was handing the tea over to Saitama-sensei, watching as his tiny hero curled around his tiny cup. God he loved him so much…

     “Thanks.”

     “My pleasure, Sensei.” Genos stared, confirming that the man was avoiding making eye contact. That had been normal recently, but there was usually something to prompt it—not that Genos was purposely doing those things, of course. Bobbing his hips to music, reclining by the TV, singing…it was all what he did when he was alone or at Kuseno’s. He simply didn’t stop if his teacher chose to ogle him while he did it.

     The boy let him be for a while longer, grabbing one of his notebooks from a pile and opening it up. He scanned through the “Damage” tab—he’d been working out a theory on how Sensei’s skin managed to avoid cuts and bruising—before flipping to one of his favorite sections. It was a long list of things that made the man flustered. Each action’s effectiveness was rated based on how tongue-tied he got, how red he became, how high his temperature spiked, and…how long he seemed to spend on “self work” that day.

     Genos’ mouth twitched up. The last one was a bit invasive—Saitama-sensei would be mortified if he knew Genos kept a tally of how often his heart rate made that familiar hitch, or how many tissues he found lying around as he cleaned—but it was a useful statistic nonetheless.

     He read through it. So far the biggest agents were oral play, body contact, and interestingly enough, being watched. He never thought that would have affected Sensei so strongly. He looked over at the man sipping at his tea, wondering if Sensei himself knew it got him going the way it did. It would be something to remember for—

     Genos blinked, frowning. He took a drink from the cup after pulling out the over-steeped bag. As much as he liked this, all this prodding and testing and pushing…he still had no idea how Saitama-sensei felt about him. He seemed to like Genos for who he was, for the things he had to say, what he did. There was a chance…however small…that he could…care about the blonde…the same way Genos did him…

     He shook his head. For all he knew, though, his teacher had a secret robot fetish and or had been craving attention, and the cyborg was merely fulfilling a role. There could have been anything in his spot and Sensei would have reacted the same.

     To let himself hope that there would be a reason to remember all of this…

     Genos flipped the page, turning back to the “Damages” section.

     It was foolish.

     Saitama-sensei still hadn’t said a word. When the cyborg lifted his eyes from the journal, he found him redder than before.

     The boy scanned the wood in front of him, trying to find what he could be reacting to. Genos had been toying with the teabag but other than that…was he humming without realizing, or…? “Sensei,” he asked, “Is everything alright?”

     The man looked at him over his cup. “Y-yeah, kid. Of course. Why…are you asking?”

     No, then, everything wasn’t alright. “You are very red right now, Saitama-sensei.”

     His teacher gave a forced laugh. “Eh? It’s gotta be the heat, let me just—“ He reached back and cracked open the door, letting a breeze cut through the air. It was obvious he didn’t like it. “Perfect,” he said, mouth clamping shut. There was a set of old coupon flyers by the television and he grabbed for it, hiding behind the sheets as he “read” the promotions.

     Genos stared. “Sensei.”

     The man looked back over them. He was still as flushed as before. The only difference was that he was shivering now too.

     “Sensei…what’s wrong?”

     “Nothing, kid. It’s…well…I…um.” He crumpled the flyers as he put them on the table. “I…uh…”

     Genos wish he knew what he did to leave his teacher like this. It would get a top rating on the “tongue-tied” section…

     The man buried his fists in the carpet. The wood strained underneath them. “I…well…I gotta…talk…we have to talk about…”

     Genos’ fans started to turn. About…what? Had he crossed the line? Was he finally getting thrown out? Deep down he knew, he knew this was coming, it was a matter of time once he admitted how he felt, surely Sensei couldn’t handle something so uncomfortable and pressing and inappropriate. Additionally his repair pieces took up a great deal of space and his body was so noisy during normal tasks that his teacher probably couldn’t focus on television or manga or any of the other things he enj—

     “About how good you’ve been doing on missions,” shouted his teacher, hands slamming onto the table. He looked at the cracks for a split-second before turning back to his disciple. “Y-yeah! I’m…really proud of you! But I don’t know how you’re doing it! So…so what’s up with that?”

     Genos was taken aback. He wasn’t sure what he was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t…battle technique? “I…do not know what you mean, Sensei. How well…?”

     His teacher relaxed into the floor. “Uh-huh. How good you’ve been at keeping yourself together. You’ve hardly touched your spare parts lately, and I haven’t needed to carry you home from a fight for a good couple of weeks now.” The man smiled. “It took forever, but you’re finally taking care of yourself! So…what changed, huh? I haven’t told you anything different…was it something with Kuseno, or…the Association…?”

     Genos stared, and stared some more, and stared a little longer. Then his ventilation system kicked in.

     “…Genos?” The man looked over at him, defeat washing over his face.

     The blonde turned away. “It…is nothing serious, Sensei. I’m merely...testing a different defensive approach.”

     Silence stretched on between them, both waiting for the other to talk. Genos was bashful of his tactic—it was deeply sentimental, and besides, there was always the possibility that he was…wrong…

     The blonde kept his eyes on the floor, hoping his teacher would leave the explanation alone and move on.

     “So…what’s the approach? It’s working, you should stick by it!”

     Of all the times for Sensei to suddenly become interested in his theories…The boy flipped through his journal, fiddling with the well-worked edges, stalling. How much could he say without telling him anything at all…? “I have been I trying…to think of myself differently, Sensei.”

     “Eh?”

      Genos twisted the corners in his fingertips. “I am—I was built to be a mobile armory, Saitama-sensei. Nearly all of my body has some destructive purpose. For the most part I perceive myself as a sentient weapon, one that can be easily upgraded or repaired, or…replaced.” His shoulders whistled on as they tensed up. He wanted to lie, he did. He could come up with a believable explanation, he didn’t have to tell his teacher something as childish and emotional as this…

     He looked up, thinking through a dozen excuses, and found those deep brown eyes trained on him, concerned and beautiful.

     Shit. “This past week,” he pushed, forcing an honest answer, “I’ve tried…to see myself…as something fully organic, Sensei. Like the people we save. Something that could be permanently lost, and that would be…missed, or…or wanted, or…cherished…”

     His teacher curled over the table, impatient. Genos couldn’t blame him. “What are you getting at? Spit it out, kid.”

     He steeled himself for the worst. “I tried to see myself…as…I think…you might have begun…seeing me…Saitama-sensei…”

     His teacher’s face plummeted. “W—what?”

      “Of course,” shot the cyborg, mumbling against the shrill cry of his vents, “I could be entirely wrong. It was merely a thought exercise I can consider successful in that it helped me protect myself. I can stop using it immediately, though, if Sensei wishes me to. After all imposing my own emotions upon Sensei’s for an indulgent act of wishful thinking is a shameful thing to do, especially since he has been so tolerant of me for so long, notwithstanding some…bumps…along the way, and I understand if he is made uncomfortable by the assumption…”

     Even Genos lost track of what he was saying after a minute or so, and he was sure he repeated himself somewhere along the middle. His voice trailed off and he looked up to see his teacher frozen in spot, eyes wide, fists clenched tightly on the table. It was the first time he could remember that he let his disciple talk for so long…

     Genos took a breath, trying to steady his fans. “Sensei…” he pushed, core hot in his chest, “Have I offended you?”

     The man looked up, mouth wide. Genos felt like he was five.

     “Genos,” he muttered.

     Here it comes…

     “What the hell did I do to make you think I hate you?”

     …Huh?

     Saitama continued, bearing down on his hands. “You said I’m only beginning to see you as ‘organic’...so, what, like a normal guy? And that I’ve been ‘tolerant’ of you…” He met his student’s bewildered eyes. “What the crap, Genos? You’re talking like you’re an animal or something… When did I ever make you think you were in the way, or that I didn’t want you here? You’re…You’re…” His shoulders were tight around his neck. “You’re my friend! And my roommate, and…I…I don’t know what to call it, but I want you around. It’s nice. I like it…a lot…Probably…more than…I…”

    The man’s body drifted to the floor like a slashed tire. His voice tapered away, leaving him a lump of red.

     Genos felt the way his teacher looked.

     “Saitama-sensei…?”

     The man flopped back onto the rug and everything but the top of his head disappeared from view. The cyborg leaned around it to get a better look at him…but it was no use. He couldn’t find an angle where he could see his teacher’s face. He walked over on his knees, settling down beside him.

     Saitama-sensei glanced at the boy, worn and wordless.

     “Sensei,” Genos started, fans turning. “…Did I not offend you, then?”

     The man shook his head.

     “Saitama-sensei…” The blonde’s core was spinning far too fast to be comfortable. “Is my theory…correct?”

     “I…” He looked up at the cyborg, and away, and huffed. His face twisted as he shrugged, palms slapping on the floor. “Well, yeah Genos, I guess, I mean I like you and I don’t want you hurt, but…y’know… I’m not sure that it’s…well…you’re important to me, more important than most stuff…but I don’t know…if…”

     The boy felt his shoulders unhinge and a small trail of steam spill from it. No, this wasn’t the best answer. His teacher’s mumbling was terribly unclear, the possible interpretations were countless, and from a scientific standpoint that gave no proof to back up his suspicions…

     The steam poured on. Then again…

     It wasn’t a denial either.

     “…Saitama-sensei,” Genos asked, forcing his lips to work. They dried out when the man turned his head.

      This was a necessary question, he knew. Things needed to be clear. If they were going to continue living together, and working together, training together, they needed to fully understand where they stood in their relationship. Still, though… Still…

      …that made it no less frightening.

     Genos inhaled, feeling the burn of smoke as he did so. “How…do you feel about me?”

     Those big black eyes got bigger, and the man gave a nearly invisible shake of his head. “I don’t know, Genos.

     He observed Saitama-sensei, watching his face slip deeper and deeper into confusion. Did his answer mean…he’d been thinking about his disciple as well? For how long? Genos let his gaze wonder as he thought, making anything out of his expression that he could, checking his eyes, his ears, his cheeks, his jaw…his mouth…

     …How much longer would it be until he did know?

     “Sensei?”

     His hero gave a small “eh,” utterly exhausted.

     “May I try something?”

     The man’s brow furrowed as he shrugged again. “Damn kid, go ahead…things can’t get worse at this point.”

     That stung a little, but Genos swallowed it. He took another deep breath, listening to his body whine into action. This was…much more forward than he ever intended on being. But it would help them both…right? It would make it easier to sort through things…

    The boy put his hand on either side of his teacher’s shoulders. He watched the confusion melt away…

     Genos leaned over him. He could tell Sensei’s heart was racing, and he watched him tense up. He wasn’t trying to move away, though.

     The blonde closed his eyes, bringing his head down… He could feel the heat radiating from the man’s cheeks, and the air as it rushed into his mouth…

     “Genos…” came the squeak from under him. He blinked and found his sensei’s eyes centimeters from his own. What he saw in them was…anticipation? Surprise? No no, it was…fear. His hero was scared.

     Saitama was absolutely terrified.

     Genos lifted back, throat thick. This wasn’t the reaction he was hoping for.

     His teacher stared up at the ceiling at first, not moving. After a while he gave a shaky sigh and looked over to his student. He sat up slowly.

     The squeal of Genos’ fans filled the quiet space between the two of them.

     “Sai…tama…” muttered the cyborg, deeply afraid. What should he say? What could he say?

     The man glanced up and towards the kitchen. He hovered for a bit, hunched over his legs…and in a flash his composure broke. He laughed, pushing his face into his hands. “I’m not good at this…”

     Genos shuffled uncomfortably on his knees, playing with the fabric of his jeans. He started to move back, trying to give his teacher some space.

     A small hand shot out to grab Genos’ arm. The cyborg looked down at it and back to its owner.

     Saitama was peeking out from behind his palm. “Don’t…get up yet. Okay? Can you just…sit with me, for a second?”

     His touch was firm on Genos’ plating, impossibly secure but not at all rough. Genos cautiously reached for it. He noted how the man’s heart jumped as he wrapped his fingers up in his own.

     Saitama uncurled his grip from the plates and squeezed back.

     Many moments passed before the blonde spoke. “Sensei…would you like me to make udon?”

     Sensei nodded.

     The boy let go, standing up. Genos began to walk into the kitchen when he felt his teacher, warm and strong, wrap around his legs.

     He held on for another couple of seconds before pulling back his arms. “Okay,” he mumbled.

     Genos trudged into the kitchen, core somehow heavy and light all at once.

     All this smoke was going to make it hard for him to concentrate on cooking.

Chapter Text

     Saitama refused to mention the cracks in the table. It’s not like he was gonna replace it—a couple of fist-shaped indents didn’t make it work worse (unless you laid a cup or bowl on them, ‘cause those wouldn’t sit straight). Anyway, when there were plates over them you hardly noticed they were there at all.

     Genos watched as he pushed his chicken over one of the craters. The kid wasn’t bringing them up either (which was a miracle), but he was giving him that look again. It was the one where it was like he was scanning him, or listening though his teacher hadn’t said anything.

     Saitama busied himself with a sip of lemonade. He wasn’t sure if Genos knew he was doing it, but it had been happening a lot lately. Ever since…

     For the umpteenth time, he imagined the wide-eyed cyborg above him, lips shaking like he’d been told he was kicked out of the Association. The drink clinked as he put it down.

     ‘How…do you feel about me?

     He’d replayed the scene in his head so much he could almost hear Genos asking it. How Saitama felt about him. The man glanced over at the cyborg, catching him as he looked down to his plate. His teacher never answered the question, but…he couldn’t. He didn’t have an answer.

     …How did he feel about him?

     Sure, Saitama thought the blonde was…well, hot. At this point he had to admit it, even if he was seriously messed up from all that implied. Genos was a good guy, Saitama liked living with him. And despite how much of a chatter-bug the kid could be, it was nice having him tag along on errands. But…

     Saitama fiddled with the chips in the tabletop. He’d always sucked at stuff like this, way back to when he was a kid and his mom was asking why he hated school so much. What had she said? Try to break it down and see how each part made you feel? Well…

     He remembered the cyborg in pieces, pushing himself off the ground with his only arm. Saitama saw the kid’s chest was dented in and panicked about his core… Needless to say, the monster didn’t last long after that.

     Worried, scared…

     Okay. This was a good start.

     He remembered going out to dinner at their udon place, getting mad as Genos rambled off all the reasons why Sensei should fight the HA on his ranking. He didn’t understand how bad it’d be to have his student, who was way younger than him and as tactful as a freight train, argue for him to get bumped up to S-class. Like he wasn’t shipped enough hate mail already…

     Irritated (really, really irritated), embarrassed.

     He remembered coming home from a screaming match with this old lady (he punched a robber into her car). Genos peeked his head out of the kitchen as soon as the door opened, saying how he was glad Sensei was a little late because it gave him time to make a foreign-sounding soup, and that he’d picked up his teacher’s shoes after that morning’s meeting, and that there was a sale the next day that they should go to, and how he was excited to watch the sequel of the movie they’d finished the night before…

     Relieved…and what else? Kinda…warm, sort of…

     He remembered the kid fumbling around on his futon during a rare nap, trying to find his phone as it rang. Saitama ended up laughing at how pissed off he was as he answered. He laughed harder when the cyborg glared at him for it. Genos’ hair was plastered to one side, and there was something about seeing his scowl under that crazy puffball…

     Happy…happier than he had been in a while...

     He remembered Genos shuddering against his chest that night he blew a hole in the roof…how messy his face was from crying, how worn-down he sounded when the talked about his nightmares. He remembered his core humming as he slept.

     …Protective...

     “Saitama-sensei,” Genos asked, snapping his teacher out of it. “You aren’t eating…is there something wrong with the chicken? I can make a different dish, if you would like that better.”

     Saitama stared at the boy sitting across from him, the same way he had most nights for the past couple of years—the boy who helped him hold bags even if there were only two of them. The boy who balled up his fists in his back when he was carried home from another lost fight. The boy who insulted most any other hero they ran into when they were out and about…

     Any other one, of course, except for his hero.

     The plate was getting cold when Saitama picked it up. “No, Genos, don’t worry about it. It’s great. I like it a lot.”

     Genos’ fans gave the smallest whir and Saitama smiled.

     …Appreciative.

     The man spied the open closet out of the corner of his eyes, along with the yellow sweatshirt hanging there. It still made him a nervous to see it—ever since the tenderloin incident, he couldn’t bring himself to put it on. If he was being honest, he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to wear it again…

     His stomach flip-flopped when the idea hit him. He knew he said they weren’t going to get each other presents for Christmas this year, but…

     Well, maybe he could surprise his disciple for a change.

     Saitama mulled it over as he chewed. He’d need to reach out to his tailor. Would a week be enough time?


 

     He could not, for the life of him, figure out why the kid was so damned excited.

     Saitama dragged his feet as he walked into the living room, still wet from the bath. The pajama pants sticking to his skin were making him more pissed off. Today would’ve been the perfect day for video games or a movie marathon, what with how chilly it got and the snow that morning—but no, they couldn’t. Instead they were rushing around, getting ready to leave for that stupid lunch. They’d have to take some stuffy train so they didn’t get dirty on the way over, and then he’d have to make it through four hours of sitting in uncomfortable clothes, eating crappy food he didn’t want, talking to people he didn’t like…

    If Genos was mad about needing to go, he certainly wasn’t showing it. He buzzed around the apartment, doing last-minute chores. His teacher wouldn’t mention it, but the pink apron and head-cover looked kind of silly paired with his dress pants (and those gold arms were really throwing Saitama off)…

     The man felt his cheeks burn up. When Genos stepped out of the bathroom in his formal wear earlier that day, Saitama had to hide behind a manga to keep himself from gawking. Not that it helped, though. He went and did it anyway…

     …Kind of like how he was now. It was ridiculous. All he had on was a sleeveless button down and some black pants—but they must’ve been made for the kid, because they fit him perfectly. They didn’t have those awkward folds his clothes got when they were too tight or too loose around his armor. They were just form-fitting enough so you could make out how wide his chest was, and how teeny his waist, and the curve of that tight little a—

     Saitama tore his eyes away and rushed to the closet, nearly breaking the door as he shoved it open. Genos jumped up from dusting a hole in the divide.  

     “S-Sensei,” he cried, stumbling to stand. “Are you getting dressed?”

     “…Yeah, I have to.” What the hell kind of question was that? “I can’t go like this…Then again, Sugar Cheeks would love that, wouldn’t he?”

     The cyborg was so on-edge that he barely let a chuckle slip. Usually he took every chance to tear into that A-class shithead…what was up with him? His fans were humming and Saitama swore the kid was shaking.

     “Sensei,” he began, “Before you do…Could you please…close your eyes?”

     Oh…no.

     The man glared. “Genos, absolutely not. What did you do?”

     “Saitama-sensei, please, close your eyes. And…I will need to get into the closet, so if you could stand back…?”

     They squared off for a few more moments until Saitama caved, stepping away and doing what his student asked. He heard Genos struggle to slide the door (did Saitama break the track again?) and fish something out. There was some clinking, so…whatever it was had to be hidden in his spare parts bag? What was so important that he had to hide it in the first place? Aw shit, this was gonna be terrible, Genos hadn’t even done this with the frickin’ DS…

     Saitama started when he felt Genos take his hands and turn them up. He spoke as he laid something soft in them. “I know we aren’t exchanging gifts this year, and you do not need to give me anything back, but…” There was a pause. “Sensei, you can open your eyes now.”

     Sensei really didn’t want to. Whatever he was holding was made out of suit material, and it felt pretty hefty…which meant it was nice suit material. Which meant that it probably cost a year’s worth of rent.

    His stomach was heavy enough to plummet straight to the bottom level of the complex. “You really, really shouldn’t have…”

    “I wanted to, Saitama-sensei. Please…look at it?”

     The man squinted, afraid of what would be waiting for him when he did.

     ...Bright yellow wasn’t what he was expecting.

     “Kid…what,” he mumbled, turning what he thought was just a jacket in his hands. His student shot down to catch the equally yellow pair of pants and black vest that fell as he did so. He stared at all three pieces, unfurling the top. “A whole—a whole suit, Genos?” he cried, holding it as far from himself as he could. “That’s—you can’t—“

     He shoved it onto the cyborg’s chest, furiously shaking his head. “You have to bring it back, that’s way too much to spend on me, that’s gotta be—“ He tried to remember how much the nicer suits went for when he was still buying them. He knew the kid was going to shop brand name, and the more colorful ones were pricier… “Like, forty—fifty—Genos, this is too much, I can’t take this. I haven’t tried it on…what if it doesn’t fit? You can return it, right? I mean…you can, right?!”

     The brat didn’t flinch—if anything, his dumb smile got bigger. “I know it will fit, Sensei. And it cost me significantly less than you’re thinking. You should change into it now—we need to leave for the luncheon soon.”

     Saitama blanched, utterly unsure what to tackle first. “Less—how—and you want me to—I’m gonna stick out like a sore thumb, kid, I…”

     Genos folded the vest over his arm. “When I was discussing end-of-the-year celebrations with Bang over the summer, I realized you didn’t have a properly fitting suit. I visited your tailor shortly after and asked that he make you one. Fukutera refused payment at first, but when I insisted several times, he set ¥6,000 as the price. We considered what would look best, and I…” Genos sharpened the seam lines of the pants. “…I suggested yellow, Sensei. Like your hero suit. It…fits you, I think.”

     The man gaped at the jacket. This was made specifically for him…? He knew that old man was good, but not this good. Everything about it was perfect—the shape, the length… The buttons were white with these little black centers, and the lining on the inside was a soft gold… It wasn’t too heavy either, so he wouldn’t be boiling when he got into it.

     He looked over it a bit more before it hit him. “Aw…kid,” he forced, shoulders slouching, “I don’t know…if I have a collared shirt…or, like…a belt…”

     Genos passed the rest of the suit to his teacher. “Sensei should not worry about that,” he mumbled, reaching to his clothes rack. In a moment he was holding an ironed button-up and a bag filled with accessories. “You didn’t seem to have any of these on your side of the closet, so I went out earlier this week and bought them. I believe they should fit, but if not we can make do with what you have…”

     Saitama was ready to collapse. He opened his mouth to start arguing, to tell the kid that he wasn’t worth it and that he was fine wearing the same thing he had the last two times, but…he couldn’t. It was pointless. There was no way Genos was going to listen, and none of the stuff he had was nice enough to pair with the outfit.

     Numb, Saitama took the bag and plodded over to the bathroom.

     Everything fit perfectly.

     He walked out of the bathroom, adjusting the black tie. He found Genos at the desk checking the HA calendar. Whatever he saw couldn’t have been that great, ‘cause when he glanced over his scowl might as well have been carved in…

     …but it faded to the kind of look Saitama never thought he’d get from anyone. Man, if his eyes got any wider they were gonna pop out... He turned to face his teacher and Saitama saw a yellow flower pinned next to his tie.

     He pointed to it, ignoring the cyborg’s dopey grin. “What’s with the flower, kid? …Where did you even get that?”

     Genos looked at his chest, caught off-guard. “I—I found it at a nearby florist, Sensei. I picked it up last night.” He fiddled with the red-spotted petals. “They said it was a canna lily…it’s called the Yellow King.”

     Saitama could feel the red creeping up his cheeks. “O-Oh. That’s..cool. Why…uh…are you gonna wear it, though? It doesn’t really, y’know…go with your outfit.”

     The blonde tilted his head. “No…but it goes with yours.”

     “Oh.” There went his ears. “So…we’ll match.”

    Genos gazed up at him, still playing with the stupid flower. “Is that alright, Sensei?”

     Saitama froze. How the hell was he supposed to tell him ‘no’ when he was giving him that puppy dog look?! “Y-yeah, sure. That’s—go ahead.”

     The cyborg puffed up like an air balloon and stood. “Thank you, Sensei! I’m…glad. I’m very glad. Will you need this?” he asked, lifting the red jacket slung across the back of the chair.

     Saitama shook his head. “Nah, I’m…It’s fine, I’m good.” He took a deep breath, noticing a second later that he did it. Geeze…why was he so nervous?

     Genos took him in as he stepped into the hallway. “Saitama-sensei…you’re so handsome.”

     Oh. Oh right. “Uhh…Th-thanks, kid…If you say so…”

     His student walked over to the door, turning the knob and pushing it open. Fancy shoes made him way quieter than the boots he normally wore.

      A cold breeze swept in as Genos waited.

     “Hold on,” Saitama mumbled, fishing their keys from his coat pocket. They walked outside and Saitama locked up. “Okay. Are we good?”

     Genos nodded.

     “Good! Let’s get to the train, then.”

     They made their way down the wet stairs, Saitama gripping the railing so he didn’t slip on his new shoes. Enough of the snow had melted to clear up the sidewalks, though, and they made the train without a problem…unless you count all the people that ogled them on the trek over. It got worse with each new wave of passengers that piled into their car.

     The bald man shuffled as a group of teens whispered in front of them. “You think they’d be a little more discreet about it,” he muttered.

     “Perhaps, Sensei,” answered his student. “But at least they aren’t trying to bother us.”

     No, but they were totally talking about them. “I’m sure they’re saying how ridiculous I look next to you…”

     “…Sensei, I think you look wonderful...”

      Saitama must’ve turned the same red as his gloves. It didn’t help when the whispers got louder.

     The man didn’t say much else for the rest of the ride, letting his student talk on instead. Occasionally Genos would brush his hand on Saitama’s thigh, and he couldn’t tell if it was on purpose. He had a feeling it was though. He’d been doing it a lot, but only with little things like touching his fingers when he passed a plate, or pushing his leg up against his teacher’s before they fell asleep. It certainly wasn’t helping their tissue situation any…

     …and Saitama sure was glad the jacket was long enough to cover his crotch when he sat. Geeze, he only had a few more stops, he needed to pull himself together…

     The staring was a whole lot worse when they finally reached the business district of City A. Everyone seemed to be watching Genos as he walked by. Well, Genos, or the man in the obnoxiously loud suit next to him.

     “Sensei,” Genos urged, “Don’t worry so much.”

     Did he look that stressed out? He hadn’t said a word, how could he know…? “I’m not…I’m fine. I’m not worried.”

     The only response was a quiet chuckle.

     The man’s shoulders tensed. “Don’t you laugh at me! You’re the reason they’re all looking at us, y’know.”

     “Not all of them, Sensei,” mumbled the boy. “Quite a few of them are looking at you as well.”

     Was that supposed to make him feel better? “Yeah, ‘cause they can’t not look at me!”

     Genos glanced at him, vents humming along. “Well…you are very attractive, Saitama-sensei.”

     His teacher was gonna combust right there on the sidewalk. He was used to Genos fawning, but this was absurd. And could he wipe that friggin’ smile of his face? It had been stuck there for the past twenty minutes!

     At least they were almost at the restaurant. After three blocks of flustered silence they reached the corner, stepping around it...to stop dead in their tracks.

     It was flooded with reporters and fans, all of them with cameras at the ready. Some were (thankfully) distracted by heroes trying to slip by them. Most were on the lookout for more.

     “Genos,” Saitama whispered, “What time is it?”

     “…12:48, Sensei.”

     “So we have to get in there.”

     A sigh came from behind him. “Yes.”

     Saitama groaned and tossed his neck back. Was there another entrance they could use…?

     “Demon Cyborg!”

      Both heroes spun to see a fan waving from across the street, pulling her phone out and bounding across. They turned towards the restaurant just in time to see the reporters doing the same.

     “Ah shi—“

     Saitama stumbled as he was practically dragged to the door by his student. He’d hooked his arm around his teacher’s and was speed-walking past the questions pouring in from all sides. 

     “Demon Cyborg! Can I get a picture?“

     “Demon Cyborg! What do those arms do?“

     “Demon Cyborg! Is that your boyfriend?“

     Saitama turned and screamed “No!” at that last one before Genos tugged him inside. It took a while for the man to adjust to the low-lit hall.

     “Dang kid,” he mumbled, rubbing his eyes, “Couldn’t you at least’ve warned me you were gonna jerk me around like that?”

     That familiar whirr came back and Genos bowed his head. “I…did not give it much thought, Sensei. I did the first thing that came to mind…I apologize for surprising you.”

     Saitama let a laugh slip. So barrel into the thick of things without thinking? Geeze, that wasn’t like the kid at all…

     When he could finally see, Saitama found the restaurant filled with a lot of very weird people in very nice clothes. Most of them seemed irritated.

     Someone called “Genos” from the center of the hall and both turned. King was waving to them from a table stuffed with angry men and women. Saitama slumped, meekly waving himself, and the two moved forward. Plenty of heroes gave the caped baldy dirty looks as he wove around them. They must have believed all the rumors…

     Just before they got to the empty chairs waiting at the table, that blue-haired prick snuck up behind them. “Demon Cyborg! I’m glad you made it,” he yacked. “It’s good to see you supporting the Association this way.”

     Genos glowered, fists tight. “Amai Mask.”

     The actor turned to Saitama. “And I see you’ve brought the Caped Baldy…again…” He was openly repulsed when he gave the man a once-over. “That’s an…interesting choice of color, B-class. But I appreciate your audacious fashion sense.”

     “Yeah?” started Saitama, “Well that face is an inter—“

     “When will lunch be served?” asked Genos, lifting his elbow in front of his teacher.

     Amai Mask kept his smug eyes on the hero behind the cyborg. “Shortly. It won’t be long after you’ve settled in. If you’ll excuse me,” he said, prancing off to one of the doors in the back.

     Genos pulled out the chair next to King and looked at his teacher.

     Saitama didn’t get it. “What?”

     “Please sit, Sensei,” he offered, nodding to the seat.

     “You sit,” Saitama pushed, still angry at the douche who’d vanished a few seconds earlier.

     Genos quirked his eyebrow at the man, and he (begrudgingly) plopped down. “Thanks,” he grumbled, pulling himself in.

     The blonde took his spot beside him. “It is nothing.”

     The two were quiet, Saitama refusing to look over at the cyborg. He was waiting for it…

     “…You should not pick fights with him, Saitama-sensei.”

     There it was. “I got it, kid. I know. He’s important.” The napkin ring shone as Saitama spun it around with the tip of his finger. He’d heard the same thing about a hundred times now, whenever he and Genos went to HA events together—‘don’t say this,’ ‘don’t shout that,’ ‘don’t punch him…’

     Not that he could blame Genos for being kinda…preachy. Last Christmas he and Amai-whatsits got into it, and Saitama nearly cracked one of the walls of the restaurant during the fight. He was still mad the blonde held him back, though—the prick spent the whole night insulting him, and then he went and called Genos cannon fodder to his face. “…He’s an ass-hat too.”

     The blonde broke into a smirk. “I…agree, Sensei. But you can’t let him know you think that.” His shoulders glinted as he twisted to the robot…cyborg…guy that was on the other side of him.

     Saitama never could figure out what that other hero was. He had hair like Genos, and he was about the same height, but that’s where the similarities ended. He wasn’t sure if he had human parts in him, and it always felt like too awkward a question to ask.

     “Hello Sai,” said King in his gravelly voice. “You got dragged here again?”

     The B-class smiled. “Yeah…actually, I did. You, uh…been here long?”

     The massive man tottered from side-to-side. “Not very. I’m talking about effort values with Sheila—” He pointed his thumb to a cute redhead who waved before bending back over a Gameboy. “—So I haven’t been keeping track of time. Are you two gonna stay for the whole thing?”

     Last year’s miserable attempt at an early getaway flashed through Saitama’s head. Amai Musk only started talking to them because they tried to skip out three hours before the lunch ended. “Don’t have much of a choice, eh?”

     King bobbed his head and turned back to his guest.

     Bored at having no one to talk to, Saitama fiddled with the cutlery and checked out the rest of the table. The bat guy brought his little sister and they were arguing right across from him. The green-haired chick was glaring at King and his friend, obviously stressing out her poor date. Her sister was talking with one of her henchmen, ordering him to do some poll or whatever. Then there was the computer kid and his dad, the fat man (how did he already have a bag of food?), and…

     The fork and knife crinkled into one utensil in Saitama’s fist.

     Puri-puri Prisoner. That fucking pervert. He was with some jacked dude who looked like he was gonna cry.

     Saitama might not have had the best memory, but he definitely remembered what he’d sent to his disciple, and Genos saying it had happened a buncha times before. It was taking a lot out of him not to walk across the table and punch in his ugly butt-chinned face right now.

     The hero looked over and batted his eyelashes at Saitama.

     The abomination in the man’s hand shattered.

     Genos stopped his conversation to look down to it, and up to his teacher, and finally over to the convict across the way. “Sensei,” he muttered.

     “Don’t, Genos.”

     “Sensei, you shouldn’t—“

     “Genos, I swear, don’t you say it.”

     His teacher jumped as the cyborg put a hand on his wrist. “Sensei,” he urged, “Don’t fight here. The ‘ass-hat’ will take it out on your ranking.”

     Saitama still wasn’t used to this touchy-feely thing his disciple had going on, but at least the shock was enough to help him ease up. …Not that it stopped him from staring down the roided-up creep. If he tried anything, anything on his disciple…

     The man imagined the different ways he could rip off a fairly important part of Puri-puri before busting his face in. He was interrupted by the waiters bringing salads around.

     Saitama looked on his own, trying to calm down enough to eat it. “I’m going to the bathroom,” he grunted, stomping away from the table. He had no idea where that was, but at least it would give him some time to walk and chill out.  

     It took about ten minutes before he even got to the corridor it was in. It was another five before he found it.

     Saitama rushed into a marble stall and whizzed, cracking the door as he walked out. When he was done washing his hands he stopped and hung over the counter. It felt like his chest was going to explode… Geeze, he hadn’t been this angry in…

     His brow scrunched up. How long was it? A year? Two? Maybe more? He’d been pissed when the monsters started getting too weak to be a challenge, and there was that one time Genos messed himself up real bad and almost didn’t make it, but…there was a good reason for those. Right now he was just mad at some creep who wanted in his disciple’s pants.

     The burning pushed down a little deeper. It was his disciple though. And the guy had no right being anywhere near his pants. Or to send shit that could go inside them, especially not with nasty flowery notes attached—

     Saitama heard a gritting noise and lifted his hands. Grooves were carved into the sink where his fingers had been. Shit… He stood, taking a deep breath, and pulled his head up— 

     He stopped, reflection staring back at him in the huge mirror. The dingy one at home didn’t do much but show your face, so Saitama hadn’t been able to see if he could pull off the suit. He was doing it now, though…and…

     He turned from side to side, trying to get at every angle. He opened it up, closed it, pushed everything back where it should be. Then he turned the lightest of pinks.

     The kid wasn’t lying to make him feel better. He looked good.

     Saitama admired himself for a second later before shaking his head and turning away. Of course his student would be the one to think this up. It took some kind of magic to make Saitama attractive, but…well, at least he could pass for it right now.

     Man, he hoped his gift didn’t seem chintzy compared to this…

     He peeked one last time before leaving. That I’m-gonna-rip-his-sack-off feeling hadn’t completely left, but Saitama supposed he could keep it down if it made Genos feel better. It wasn’t like he cared much about the Association other than the paycheck, though, and the difference between B and C wasn’t too big…of course it’d be a pain to have to climb the system again, especially if he couldn’t find a catastrophe to help him leap up…

     Saitama turned the corner into the hall and saw his table.

     Huh. That whole thing about calming down? That was gone.

     In less than a second Saitama was next to the curly-haired freak that was sitting in his seat, sweet-talking his student.

     Genos’ eyes darted up to his silently raging teacher. “Puri, it would be best if you returned to your side…as I’ve suggested you do several times now.”

     The bastard barely looked at Saitama before pouting those fat lips at his disciple. “I’m sure your date wouldn’t mind letting me chat to you for another minute, blondie.”

     ‘Blondie’?!

     “Up,” screamed Saitama, echoing throughout the hall. He was sure people were staring but he couldn’t care less.

     The dickbag just laughed. “In a second, tiny man. I’m almost done.” And he leaned in closer to Genos.

     Saitama was sure he whited out for a second. He was getting ready to kill him when he heard the boy go, “Saitama-sensei.”

     The B-class hero made himself look over at the blonde as he shook his head. Saitama stood stock still, glancing between the two, before giving this weird throaty cry and picking up the chair Puri was sitting in. He stomped over to the other side of the table, smashing it down hard enough that the legs broke underneath it, and stole an empty seat to replace it.

     Saitama was trying to ignore how quiet the place had got as he tore back to his spot beside his cyborg, refusing to look up as slammed into it.

     He took the spoon in his hands and pushed the soggy salad around on his plate.

     Genos was gaping at him.

     Well. This was 100% worse than last year.

     It was a long time before the babbling picked up again. Saitama wanted to sink as far as he could into the ground. (But not before ripping off that damned pervert’s face hair and making him eat it. This was all his fault…him and his frickin’ flirting, thinking he could get that close to Genos…as if he had a chance in hell!)

     He heard Dive Newt talking with Genos next to him. “Your teacher is…passionate,” he said, autotuned voice failing to whisper. “It’s refreshing.”

     “Sensei is a deeply passionate man.”

     What? No he wasn’t…

     “And he is quite protective of you.”

     “Yes, he is. Which I’m thankful for… I am accident prone, and if it were not for him, I would have died many times over.”

     “Is that so? You are lucky, then.”

     Saitama felt not one but two scanners bearing into the back of his head.

     “Of course… Genos, I apologize if this is bold, but…he seems a bit too protective for you to only be his student…”

     Saitama zipped his head around. “Shut it, cyclops.”

     The two were quiet, but the man was sure he heard them laughing.

     Stupid robots…

     The lunch lasted for what seemed like weeks, Saitama dipping lower and lower into his seat. He didn’t know what else to do… It wasn’t like he could stand up and run away to the bathroom. He had on the brightest color in the joint, people would notice even if they weren’t constantly glancing over to him. King was too busy nerding out with his date or friend or whatever, and the cyborgs had been talking about different oil brands for the past hour and a half.

     At least the escapee didn’t dare look in his student’s direction.

     Saitama kept on glancing over at Genos, hoping he’d say something, or do something. All he got was this funky smile that was plastered on the kid’s face, and a “thank you” when he first sat back down.

     Crap did he hate these things…

     By the time dessert came out, Saitama’s head was almost level with the table. The waitress put down this tiny green and white cake in front of him. He just stared at it before looking back up. “Hey,” he asked, “Could I get a box?”

     She forced a smile. “O-oh, Sir...I can’t, actually.”

     “Eh?”

     Her fingers tightened around her tray. “Well, you see, since we offer seconds and thirds free, we can’t let you take anything home…”

     What? “Wait, seriously? I could’ve asked for more?”

     She faltered. “Y-yes…did your coordinators not tell you?”

     “No,” shouted Saitama, sizing up the cake. Not that he was super-hungry, but that chicken was good and he could’ve had another piece.

     “Oh…I apologize, Sir, whoever organizes the event is supposed to let the guests know.”

     Whoever organizes…? Saitama thought about it, and realized who that was. “Hey Genos,” he asked, tapping the kid’s shoulder with his knuckle. “Did you know we get seconds and thirds?”

     The blonde turned, considering it, and shook his head. “No, Saitama-sensei. The invitation did not specify.”

     Great. So Amai Match decided he wasn’t going to put it on the invites. Saitama tried to the blonde on his other side. “Hey King,” he started, “Did you know that we got free seconds?”

     He looked confused. “Yeah—it was in the save the date, and the invitation, and the RSVP…”

     Saitama glared at the itty-bitty treat in front of him. Then he went back to the waitress. “I want three more of these.”

     “I can’t…really do that…until everyone gets their first…”

     Aw, come on! The bald man kept on glaring, getting more and more frustrated…

     “B-but I can make an exception,” she cried, pulling a few plates of the tray. “Just this once…”

     “Oh…” He was a little surprised when she placed them down. Wonder what made her change her mind…? “Thanks,” he chirped, digging in. When he got to the second helping, he bumped Genos’ arm with his elbow. “You want another one?”

     The blonde’s eyes darted between the offered plate and the one closest to him. “…No, Sensei, but thank you.”

     Saitama quirked a brow. “But you love sweets… You should take it. I don’t even want it that much now.”

     Genos hesitated. “It’s yours, Sensei…”

     His teacher used his spoon to push the cake onto his disciple’s dish. “There you go.”

     A tiny “thank you” from under that yellow fluff before the cyborg pulled a forkful.

     Saitama smiled and looked back around the hall. Some of the heroes were putting on their coats. “Hey kid, what time is it?”

     “It’s 3:28, Sensei. We only have another half-hour.”

     Only, he says. Like that’s not going to stretch on forever. “We can hop out a little early though, right? Like…as soon as we’re done with these?” He poked one of the treats with his spoon.

     “I do not know if Amai Mask will allow any of the S-class to leave before the luncheon is done, Sensei.” The boy looked up between bites, some of the icing on his chin. “He may want us to stay as long as possible, in order to make it seem like we care about the event.”

     Saitama groaned. “…Fine. If you say so.” He tapped his face where the cake was on his student’s and the boy wiped it away. “I’ll even take five minutes, though.” Any amount of time he didn’t have to spend here would be worth it.

     Genos grinned. “I’ll try, Saitama-sensei.”

     The man would’ve done the same if he hadn’t caught the people in red slipping through the room, each of them carrying a camera…

     The busty chick started playing with her bangs. “Hideki, does it look good?” The man by her stuttered something that should’ve been a yes, but he was too overwhelmed to say it. She rolled her eyes and went to her sister. “Tatsu?”

     The green-haired chick frowned, shook her head, and used a spurt of energy to fluff her sister’s bob. After a second she nodded and turned to watch the photographers.

      There was no denying that’s what they were. Each table had some standing by them, and they were taking group shots or…

      Saitama saw one of them hold mistletoe over a pair of heroes as they kissed.

     Or couple shots.

     He couldn’t stop himself from peeking at Genos, not sure if the kid had seen…but he absolutely had. His eyes were huge and if they glowed any brighter he’d blind the baseball guy across the way. It was like he was going to charge over and grab one of the photographers for himself.

     “No, Genos,” Saitama pushed, stopping the question before it came.

     The boy looked over. “…But…Sensei…”

     “I’m not doing it.”

     Genos drummed his fingers against the table. “…You are my ‘plus-one.’”

     “No.”

     “And my teach—“

     “I’m not doing it,” Saitama nearly shouted, cheeks starting up. The rest of the afternoon had been enough. He didn’t need a couple hundred people watch as a stranger posed them all cute. And someone would try to…have them…

    He returned the stare Genos was giving him. “No! No, I won’t, alright? No.” Saitama watched their photographers come around, the one armed with mistletoe making a beeline for King. “I’m not gonna do it. Nuh-uh.”

     They snapped away at the scarred-up man and his small date, making sure to get a bunch of him blushing when they pulled out the plant. It was over when the photographer felt himself start to hover above the ground. Apparently Tatsumaki didn’t like it very much.

     When she put him down, he spun right around to Genos. “Demon Cyborg! I’ll need your picture for the registry.” He held his camera up. “Would you like them with your…”

     “Teacher,” muttered Saitama. “I’m his teacher. And no.”

     “Hnf…”

     The man turned to the boy. Did Genos just...harumph?

     “I can take it alone, sir,” he answered, frowning harder than ever. The photographer snagged a quick shot and moved onto Hard Bat.

     Saitama checked out his disciple as the man scampered off. The kid was hunched over the table with his eyebrows all scrunched up…

     Aw crap. Here comes that shitty feeling… “Genos, it would’ve been weird.”

     The boy didn’t budge.

     “I mean…with all these people here…”

     Nothing.

     “And it’s not like we’re...y’know…”

     That gold stare finally hit Saitama…and he wasn’t sure he wanted it anymore. He got quiet, twisting a napkin between his fingertips. Genos didn’t often let on when he was mad at his teacher…but he was so disappointed right now…

     The man slapped the napkin back onto the table. “Damnit! Hey, picture guy!”

     One of the photographers turned, just like Genos did.

     Saitama ignored the cyborg. “Can you get us together?”

     The guy flitted over. Saitama didn’t mean to ask the one with the mistletoe back—

     “Do you want this too?”

     Both heroes froze, waiting for the other to answer.

     “Oh my God,” whined Snowstorm or whatever her name was, “Just use it. They’re both so into each other it hurts being in the same room as them.”

     “H-Hey,” cried Saitama, “No—that’s not—“

     “What?” The fat guy grumbled, “You’re not dating?”

     The tiny one piped up. “If the cyborg would grow a set and ask him out they would.

     Genos’ fans started going.

     “I don’t think he can,” muttered that kid with the tablet, “not with his current model of legs. They’re based on the latest battle set released from Cromtich, and there isn’t much room down there…”

     Saitama’ jaw dropped at the same time his student spoke. “Child Emperor! How did you… I would appreciate it if you didn’t openly discuss my specs with the re—“

     “Really?” Asked the criminal. “What a shame…I guess you could do other things…”

     “I’ve been wanting to punch you for months,” screamed the B-class, finger jutting across the table, “Don’t you dare—“

     The preteen went on. “Well…if you lifted the hip joints to widen his stance, you could probably fit all the normal stuff…”

     The whine got louder and Saitama saw his disciple’s arms start to glow. “Emperor! Do not talk abo—“

     “Yeah kid,” cried Solid Bat, “Leave him alone. His balls are his business.”

     “Well he wants them to be his teacher’s,” mumbled greeny.

     When Genos went to hide his face, that was it. “It isn’t any of your businesses,” Saitama shouted, standing and slamming his hands down without thinking about it. The table crumpled, and everyone sprung away to avoid the explosion of drinks and food that came crashing down.

     Saitama would’ve felt bad if he didn’t already feel as awful as he possibly could. “Genos,” he barked, “Come on!”

     The blonde followed wordlessly out, neither of them acknowledging the two-hundred-plus people tracking them as they left. That A-class shitstreak tried to stop them at the door, but he got about as far as “Demo—“ before Saitama shoved passed him.

     Everyone on the street looked over to see what the booming noise was. The only thing they found was a beet-red bald guy charging out of the building and a blonde nervously running after him.

     “Sensei…you shouldn’t…”

     It was already taking everything in Saitama not to go back and give those jerks an intense lesson in common frickin’ courtesy. “Genos, don’t. They were asking for it. All of them.” He tore off in the first direction he found, not sure where it was going. Whatever. It was away from the restaurant and that was good enough for him.

      …At least…until he realized he was completely lost.

     “Frick,” he whispered, searching the crowded streets for any kind of landmark. He turned to his student, beginning to ask, “Genos, do you know…”

     …But he couldn’t finish. He found the blonde a few steps behind, all hangdog, spacing off into the street. “…Kid?”

     Blondie blinked. “Yes, Saitama-sensei?”

     “You…you okay?”

     He gave a tiny nod. “Yes.”

      No he wasn’t. “…You sure?”

     Genos fought to hold eye contact before pulling away and shaking his head.

     “Was it…the stuff they were saying?”

     “…A little, Sensei. Yes.”

      Now would’ve been a good time for a monster, because Saitama needed to kill something. “Genos, ignore them. They’re a bunch of pricks, nobody should stay stuff…like that…to other people.”

     There were a few ticks from Genos’ eyes as he scanned the area. Then he started walking again, waiting for his teacher to follow. “It’s not…simply that, Saitama-sensei. People talk about my body all the time.”

     “What? Who?”

      The cyborg regarded the snowdrifts beside them. “Fans, usually. They obsess over my anatomy. It’s one of the most common threads I find about myself on hero forums.”

      Couples were walking past them, lots of them pointing and smiling. A few went to ask for a picture before they saw Genos’ face. At least some folks had manners… “It doesn’t…make you mad?” asked his sensei.

     Genos considered it. “At first it did, but…after a year of failed attempts to stop it, I learned to cope. It’s easy to avoid when I don’t want to deal with it…” He could’ve burned down the street with the way he was glowering at it. “I’m simply not used to having it discussed in front of me when I’m not part of the discussion.”

     The man put his hand on his student’s shoulder, and…blanked out. He wasn’t sure what to say. It’s not like he knew how the kid felt—people barely noticed Saitama existed, let alone cared enough to talk about him with other people. Well, except to say how much of a jerk he was, but that was nothing…

     He glanced up at Genos. With the way he was keeping his head down…was he trying to hide his face? “…You aren’t…like, ashamed of yourself or anything like that, right?”

     The vents gave a puff that steamed in the chilly air. It was a lot cooler with the sun going down… “No, Saitama-sensei. Not ashamed. I’ve come to terms with my body.”

     ‘Come to terms’? That was… Saitama blanched. Holy shit, did the kid think he was ugly? Sure, his arms kinda stuck out, but they were more badass than anything. And as for the rest of him…

      Saitama’s cheeks buzzed. “You shouldn’t be self-conscious, Genos. You’re built different, but...it’s not… You have nothing to be embarrassed of.”

      Genos met his eyes. “…What?”

      The man was getting redder by the second. He couldn’t stop there—his student was staring like he was about to tell him when the world would end—but….ah, shit! “You’re—you’re really…good looking…”

     The blonde wilted. “My face is synthetic, Sensei. Kuseno ensured I had an attractive appearance to make it easier for others to trus—”

     “It’s not just your face,” Saitama blurted, regretting it immediately. He’d wanted to stop another one of Genos’ rants before he got going, but now the cyborg was watching him, totally quiet, and maybe the rant wouldn’t be so bad after all…

     “I…don’t understand, Sensei.”

     Saitama took a giant breath, figuring out what to say without sounding like a total creep. “Yeah, you’re—y’know, you’re attractive and all that, what with the hair and the eyes..and the mouth…” The kids fans hopped straight up into a whine. Oh God he needed to talk about something else. “B-But! It’s not just that! It’s…y’know…”

     Genos’s eyes were glued on him. He didn’t look like he’d turn away even if a monster bust through the shoe store next to him.

     For about the thousandth time that day, Saitama wanted to disappear. “It’s…how you hold yourself, or how you move, and…like…your shape, and…your…waist and…legs…and your neck…”

      A small stream of smoke eeked out into the air, but the blonde didn’t stop. “Are you being honest, Saitama-sensei? Please…do not lie for the sake of making me feel better.”

     It was Saitama’s turn to hide. Not like it would keep him from seeing that his teacher was turning into a walking stop sign… “I’m am being honest. You know I suck at lying…”

     Finally the cyborg pulled those damned headlights off Saitama and walked on. He didn’t say a word for the next few blocks.

     Eventually his sensei had to because the tension was killing him. “So where are we going?”

     The boy jerked his head up, surprised. “O-oh. I am not sure, Sensei. I assumed you knew…?”

     Saitama stopped dead. “So we’ve just been walking all this time for no reason? Back before, when we were standing at the intersection, weren’t you checking a map or something?”

     “No,” mused the kid, nose crinkled in confusion, “I always scan areas to see where the best vantage point would be in battle. It was along this street since it allows for the most movement. I wanted to make sure we were safely on it…”

     Crap! “Could you check one now? It’s getting kinda chilly…” How far away were they from the train station? Saitama wished he’d taken his jacket back at the apartment…

      There were a few clicks as Genos’ eyes flashed and he tugged his phone from his pocket. “It’s twenty-four minutes walking to the nearest station, Saitama-sensei, but…” He fiddled on the screen. “We’ve missed the train and the next one doesn’t leave for another hour and a half. We could take a taxi home, if you are cold.”

     Take a taxi? All the way back to City Z? “No way! that would cost so much… We’ll just—I don’t know, wander around or something until then.” That meant they wouldn’t be home for another two hours… Man, so much for spending a quiet night at their place. Maybe they could still watch one of those corny Christmas specials…?

     “Do you want to get a drink, Sensei? If you are cold.”

     The man thought about it. “Yeah, might as well, right? There’s gotta be a hot chocolate stand somewhere around here.”

     They meandered through the streets for a while, trying to find a one. It took a good twenty minutes before they finally spotted a cart on a corner. It wasn’t an unpleasant twenty minutes, though—Genos had cheered up and Saitama himself was cooling down (but he still felt like a solid punch would do him a world of good). Plus, everything was decorated all nice, which was something Saitama hadn’t gotten to see since he was little. There was no one to do the decorating where he lived. He missed all the pretty lights, and the trees, and the wreathes…

     “Hey! Genos, look,” he called, patting the cyborg’s arm. “That’s the one toy store that does their windows up every year!”

     The blonde regarded the crowd pressing into the display. It was filled with all sorts of shiny crap—snowmen, tinsel, deer, little Santas…

     “We can get closer, Saitama-sensei.”

     The man shook his head. “What’s the point? There’s too many people over there. We’d get stuck all the way in the back.”

     There was a moment of quiet while Genos watched the hubbub, and then he was looking both ways, crossing the street.

     “H-Hey! Kid, wait!” Saitama trotted after him, irritated. He was already at the back of the mass, craning to see the store. “Why’d you do that? I told you, we wouldn’t be able to see anything.”

     He glanced down just long enough to see where his teacher’s arm was and grabbed it. “Excuse me,” he mumbled, pushing towards the window. The other gawkers were mad at first, muttering about him being rude or shooting him ugly looks. Then someone recognized him, and as soon as they said “Demon Cyborg!” people let him slip right through.

     His teacher was a more rattled than excited. “You really didn’t have to do that…”

     Genos admired the display, red and white lights reflecting off his gold plating. “It’s nothing, Sensei. Look,” he said, pointing to a tiny metal model of the HA. It was covered in diamonds. “And here too.” His finger tapped on the glass above an equally bedazzled cat.

    Saitama laughed. “That one’s cute…” He moved in closer, trying to see all the little details. It looked good from far away, but man, this thing was crammed with all sorts of trinkets. Little towns, hero dolls, full-length gowns with lights wrapped around them… “Oh, Genos! Here’s you!”

     The both leaned in to see a small plushie of the cyborg. It glared back up at them, sitting in a pyramid with a bunch of other S-class heroes.  “Isn’t that the one you got for your birthday?”

     A small grunt came from the blonde. “Yes, Saitama-sensei.”

     “I thought so…” Saitama talked as he passed over other parts of the set-up. “By the way, where did it go? I wanted to hang it up in the kitchen…”

     “…I put it in the storage closet.”

      The bald man panned over to him. “You hid it?”

     Genos mouth dimpled into a pout. “It makes me seem so...young. And harmless.”

      There was a tiny “vhr” as Saitama laughed, lightly shoving his disciple’s arm. “That’s ‘cause you are. Well, to me, anyway. I’m sure the monsters you take out don’t think the same…and you’re a menace to yourself.”

     “I’ve been…improving…”

     Saitama froze, remembering last week. “…Yeah. You have.”

    There was a tap on the man’s back and he turned, finding a girl with her phone out. “Excuse me, could I get to Dem—” She tipped her head to the side, eyes lighting up. “Hey…aren’t you Caped Baldy?”

     Oh no…here we go… Saitama waited for the accusations to start up. “Yeah…” He could feel Genos’ blasters igniting behind him.

     “I thought so,” she cried…excited about it? “You took out that grasshopper monster a while back, right? Thank you! My house almost got crushed by it before you swooped in…” Something else passed over her face—it was a look Saitama didn’t recognize. She stepped back to take in his outfit. “Damn…that suit you always wear doesn’t do you justice, Baldy. You should switch to something like this.”

     The hero blanked out, taken by surprise. That was a first. “Uh..than—“

     His student shot over him. “Would you like a picture of us, miss?”

     Shit, so was that. “Genos?”

     The girl jumped up and down, mumbling a bunch of “thank yous” as he positioned her phone. Several other people sprung at the chance and started snagging shots too.

     The cyborg stood beside him. “Kid, what—“

     “Do you guys want to pose? Like, something cutesy?”

     Saitama was floored. “Wait, you want both of us? Why?”

     She peeked around the screen. “Aren’t you…together?”

     While the man fumbled for an answer, Genos spoke for him. “Saitama-sensei is my plus-one.”

     His teacher whipped his head to look at him, mouthing words that wouldn’t come out, and turned back to the camera just in time for the flash to go off. The fan brought it closer to her face, giggling like a maniac right after.

     “Oh my God it’s so cute. Here,” she said, walking over, “Check it out.”

     Saitama stretched his neck to get a better look at it. He regretted it as soon as he did.

     He was gaping at the screen, all surprised and confused in that bright yellow suit. It didn’t help that the gold from the window display made it look even brighter. And then there was Genos looking like he stepped off a billboard. He must’ve broke away at the last second, ‘cause instead of facing the camera he was watching his sensei, and he had that same weird smile he’d been sporting at lunch…

     Saitama grabbed the phone and put it right up to his eyes. “Genos, what’s with the look?! You aren’t even staring at the camera!” Then he put it back in the girl’s hand. “Take another one! You need a better shot than that…”

     She giggled again. “Oh my God you guys really are so cute. Thank you! Thank you so much!” And she rushed back to the corner of the crowd.

     The B-class wanted to argue (they weren’t cute–they weren’t anything!), but he didn’t have time. Now that she was gone there were about twenty other people who wanted their own picture. The heroes glanced at each other and forced their way to the hot chocolate stand down the street.

     Saitama threw a sidelong stare at the cyborg just before they got there. “So…what was that? You never want photos taken of you.”

     Genos gave it back. “It is different when the fan is also a fan of Sensei.”

     “…You know now there’s gonna be a bunch of pictures of us together floating around…wherever people put those things up.”

     Genos stopped in front of the cart, looking at the different drinks they offered. “I’m fully aware, Saitama-sensei.”

     “…Did you do that on purpose?” He couldn’t really tell since the brat wasn’t looking at him, but…Saitama thought he saw a smirk on those dumb squishy cheeks…

     The vendor nodded as Genos asked for two large hot chocolates, one with extra whipped cream. He was suspiciously silent as they waited.

     “It’s gonna start…rumors…”

     Genos watched the first hot chocolate pour.

     “Your fan club’s gonna go crazy.”

     He did the same with the second.

     Being the talkative one wasn’t something Saitama was used to. “You’ll set them straight, right? Like…make a statement or something?”

     His disciple rubbed his forearm as the man topped both drinks off with a mound of cream. “…Does being seen with me bother you that much, Saitama-sensei?”

     That hurt so bad even the vendor hissed.

     “Kid, no, that’s not—you know it isn’t…” Saitama struggled for the right thing to say as the man shaved chocolate into the foam cups. “That chick back there, she said we were cute together. As if we were…but we’re not! Not that I don’t like you—I mean…I…you’re my student, kid, and…well I do, like you, I mean, but…not…” He felt the blush on his cheeks get deeper and deeper as Genos dug into his pocket. “H-hey,” he cried, fishing into his jacket, “Don’t pay for me! I got it. Keep your money for yourself.”

     “Sensei—could you hold these?” asked the kid, putting both drinks in his teacher’s hands.

     Saitama grabbed them on instinct, not registering that it meant he couldn’t get his wallet. He looked on helplessly as the kid handed a bill over the counter, giving a small “thank you” when he got the change. He left a few coins on the cart for tip.

     “My pleasure, guys. And for what it’s worth…you are cute together.” He waggled a finger between the two of them. “I like the matching thing you’ve got going on.”

     If his student hadn’t gotten it for him, Saitama would’ve crushed the cups in his hands.

     Genos paused for a second, reaching back into his pocket. There was an almost palpable shock when he plopped two ¥1000 yen notes on top of the coins the counter. “Thank you, sir.”

     The cyborg needed to call his teacher more than once to get him to move from his spot. Saitama was still staring open-mouthed at the bills. He didn’t stop when he finally followed.

     “That was a huge tip, kid! That’s…that’s at least a couple of weeks of udon.”

     Genos slipped his drink from his teacher’s hand and popped the top, making sure it was the one with extra cream. “It was worth it, Sensei. The man earned it.”

     “Why,” hollered Saitama, “Because he said we were cute?”

     The blonde smiled as he drank.

     “It was because he said we were cute. Really, kid? Is this a normal thing, where you just throw money at people or do whatever they say if they complement me?”

     “Sensei needs as much positive attention from the public as possible. Everyone should know how impressive you truly are.” He swallowed another mouthful of whipped cream. “…So…yes.”

     The hot chocolate burned as Saitama chugged it, drinking more out of frustration than anything. His jacket was doing less and less to keep the chill out, though, so he didn’t mind that it was almost boiling. “You shouldn’t. I can fend for myself, you don’t gotta do it all the time. Same way you didn’t have to buy this for m—“

     There was a long spurt of silence between them. Genos glanced over, anxious. “Sens—“

     “Give me a second,” Saitama cried, thinking. Genos bought him his drink. Genos got him on the train. Genos took him to a fancy restaurant. Genos gave him a new frickin’ suit, one that Genos made sure he matched.

     The man looked at all the couples wandering around them. And they were strolling through the city on Christmas.

      “Genos,” he started, quietly, “Did you…take me out…on a date?”

     The cyborg’s shoulders started humming. “…Much of tonight did not go as I thought it would…and missing our train was not planned…”

     Saitama waited.

     “But…if you mean to ask if I intended on bringing you out for a night where we could be together, and hopefully enjoy it…”

      “Twenty words, kid!”

     Genos studied his cup. “…Yes, Sensei.”

     Saitama didn’t know that you could feel like you were on fire and freezing at the same time. It took him a while before he could process it. “Have you…done this before?”

     The hum turned into a whine. “…There have been a few occasions…Saitama-sensei…”

     A few? His teacher was quiet, sifting through the hundreds of times they’d eaten out. Did Genos ever get dressed up for them? Or when he paid…but wasn’t that just the brat being the brat? Had he left him something to wear, or…gone there a certain way…

     Nothing. He couldn’t come up with anything. Saitama had to be the most oblivious person there was.

     He focused on the sidewalk for another long while, only looking up when he spied City A’s famous Christmas display around the corner. Now that the sun was down it was lighting up the whole block in blue and white.

     Genos noticed. “Do you want to go there, Saitama-sensei? We have time…”

     The city square was bustling with couples and families and friends, all of them winding around the different set-ups. Yeah, Saitama did want to look at it, he’d always wanted to see what the fuss was about. With so many people around though, some of them were bound to recognize Genos…

     Ah, screw it. After everything that happened that day, nothing could make it worse. “Why not…”

     They ambled in, walking along all of the paths, admiring the reindeer and light-covered awnings. The Caped Baldy tried to ignore the comments he heard from the other spectators, focusing on rubbing his arms to keep warm instead.

     “Saitama-sensei…” Genos mumbled as they sidled up to the giant tree in the corner, “Are you…upset with me?”

     A decorated fence surrounded it, probably to protect the wires and lamps beneath. Under the top layer of LEDs there was a canvas backlit to make it seem like was snowing inside the tree. They found a spot by the railing and took it.   

    The man sighed. He was upset…but not with Genos. “Couldn’t you have warned me, at least?” Saitama put hands down on the metal and leaned against it, wincing at how cold it was. The hot chocolate had long-since become lukewarm chocolate and wasn’t helping anymore.

     “If I had, Sensei, you wouldn’t have come.”

     …He was right, like usual. “Well…if I knew, maybe I wouldn’t’ve acted like such an idiot...” He remembered the look on Puri’s face when he was tossed on the floor, and how shocked everyone was when the table cracked… How many times he’d told the kid to stop being so weird…

     He hung his head. “I messed it all up…”

     “Sensei was being Sensei.” There was a “thwuck” as Genos tossed his empty cup into a nearby trash can and leaned next to his teacher. He considered the man’s shaking shoulders. “You are cold. I apologize, I should have brought your jacket…”

     Saitama shrugged. “I told you not to bring it, you’re fine. And I’ll manage.”

     There was a pause. “I could…help, if you wanted.”

     “Huh?” Saitama turned, not understanding.

     Genos shifted to show his chest, and the glowing vents under it. “I can control my body temperature, Saitama-sensei.”

     Oh, right. His teacher forgot. They’d been able to save a lot on heating because of it… “Sure, I guess. Thanks. …Don’t turn it up too high, though.” He wondered how hot his chest plate could get before it started to burn through his shirt.

     “I do not need to increase it very much, Sensei,” pushed the kid, standing back from the railing. Saitama was confused when he unpinned the flower from his chest, not knowing why his fans were whistling or why he was moving behind him. Then he dropped his cup as Genos put his hands on either side of his teacher’s, pressing up against his back.

     The hot chocolate toppled on one of the wires and part of the tree shorted out.

     Saitama didn’t move, feeling himself turn as red as the suits on the Santa at the base of the display. “G-Genos! Get off!” He peeked at the bystanders surrounding them. At least a few phones flashed in the distance. “The people here…they can see you…”

     A pulse of heat came from the cyborg’s chest and Saitama let a shiver slip. He was mortified, yeah…but he was also really, really cold. Still, though, he wished the blonde would back up, they might as well have been on a stage…

     “Let them see, then,” mumbled the cyborg. His voice sounded a lot different this close. “It’s alright if they think we’re together, Saitama-sensei.”

     The bald man felt like his heart could jackhammer through his chest and down into the concrete. “But…it doesn’t… It’s not…true… Won’t that bother you?”

     There came a second pulse and Saitama shivered despite trying his best not to. The cyborg hesitated before linking his arms around the man’s waist, pulling him even friggin’ closer. “You know how I feel about you, Saitama-sensei—you are the only person I want to be with. If rumors are going to start about my dating life…then I’d rather they included you.”

     This was a lot harder to handle when Saitama wasn’t drunk. He took a long, slow breath, doing what he could to calm down the banging in his ribs, and to ignore the crowd he could hear trickling in behind them. He focused on the yellow flower in his student’s grip.

     Genos leaned his head on Saitama’s shoulder. “That people would think we were a couple,” he started, voice muffled by the suit, “…Sensei, do you dislike it that much?”

     Why? Why did he keep on saying these things? It was like a hose had sucked out all of Saitama’s insides and he was a blob getting ready to melt.

     His student asked a question, though. Another one. He had to answer it. He had to. He couldn’t leave him like this again, he couldn’t stay quiet, like he had all the other times. He had to tell him…something…

     Anything

    …

     Saitama took the kid’s hands in his own and pulled them away from his chest, resting them on the railing. He did not let them go, though. He stared at them, at how big and bulky they were compared to his, how dark they seemed against the lily. He felt the weight of Genos on his back and listened to his core spinning. It was warm, comforting. It was safe. Nice.

     …Saitama liked it a lot.

     He squeezed the cyborg’s hands, hard…and choked. “…Can we walk back to the station now?”

     Genos drooped heavily on the man’s shoulders. With a silent nod he dragged himself off his teacher. He stopped when he found said teacher was still holding onto him.

      Saitama was a piece of shit, and he knew it. He wouldn’t be able to give the blonde a straight answer no matter how much he wanted to. He didn’t have one.

     …But he also knew a wall of phones would be waiting for them when they left (he could hear the cameras going off). He turned around, fingers wrapped around Genos’, and pulled him towards it.

     He made sure there were a few more clicks before he finally let go.

     The walk to the train station was quiet, to say the least. Saitama couldn’t bring himself to say much. All Genos said was, “Thank you, Saitama-sensei.”

     The ride on the train was a little better. Genos bubbled on about wire brands he’d heard of from Drive Nice, and mission quotas for the new year, and a mop he’d seen in City D. Saitama could nod along with most of it. Unfortunately that left him plenty of time to his own thoughts…and the trip was just long enough for him to get seriously worried about the gift he got for Genos, on top of everything…else. It was pretty stupid, the more he broke it down. It wasn’t like the kid needed it, and he might get embarrassed wearing it out, what with the…things…he’d done on it… And it probably wouldn’t fit, and what if it was wrinkled, and maybe his vents would just melt it down…

     He must’ve looked worried, because the blonde trailed off mid-spiel before brushing his fingers against his teacher’s knee. Saitama considered them for a good minute, wondering if they were calming him down or not, before reaching back.

     Genos talked quieter after that.

     When they finally got to their apartment Saitama didn’t feel any better. His stomach was still alternating between wanting to melt out of him and bunching into a clump of knots. He opened the door, happy at least to feel the warm air.

     “Darnit… I left the lights on again…”

     Genos stepped in behind him, crouching to take off his shoes. “What would you like to do now, Saitama-sensei? The Christmas cake is in the fridge, and I believe we have some vanilla tea…”

     Saitama forced himself to think over the ball of anxiety working its way up his throat. “Wanna…see…if there’s anything on TV?”

     “That sounds good, Sensei,” answered the cyborg, clomping into the kitchen. Saitama kinda missed that noise when he had his dress shoes on.

     The man walked into the living room, stealing a hanger from the bathroom along the way. He carefully slipped out of the jacket and hung it on the patio door so he could check it for spots. There wasn’t anything major…

     “Is it alright, Sensei?”

     Saitama looked over... “Ye—“ …And went right back to the jacket. “Kid…when did you take your shirt off?”

     “When I was in the kitchen, Sensei. I don’t want it to get dirty.”

     The man panned down to his own outfit. “Oh…that’s a good idea, actually.” Doing his best not to stare at the cyborg (couldn’t he at least change into a pair of normal pants if he was gonna be half-naked?), Saitama went to the closet to grab a set of loungey clothes. While he was in there, he eyed up the pile of socks that was covering Genos’ gift. He could’ve found it as he was rummaging through his closet earlier…

     When Saitama came out of the bathroom in an old tank and track shorts, Genos had changed into his own pair of sweats. His shirt and pants were sitting on the divide along with Saitama’s jacket.

     “I’ll need to clean them tomorrow,” he said from the floor, reclining as he flipped through different stations. “There are spots on the cuffs, and I believe there was something on the back of your jacket, Saitama-sensei, but it won’t be difficult to remove. Please leave the rest of your suit on mine so I can inspect yours as well.” He paused on an improv show they both liked, finding all of the usual comedians dressed in ridiculous costumes. “Is this alright, Sensei?” he asked, looking up to his teacher.

     Why was it so hard to answer? “…Yup.”

     The boy’s eyebrows furrowed before he turned back to the screen. Saitama laid his outfit down on the counter, chest seizing up again. Now was the time. Now was when he’d need to do it. Geeze…it was just a stupid gift, it’s not like he hadn’t given people things before…

     He turned to the cyborg sitting on the ground, leaning back onto his hands. He was so focused on the show…maybe he could avoid it…

     Saitama sized up the closet. No, he couldn’t. The kid went all out on him, he had to give him something back…even if it was as stupid as this…

     The man approached the open door like it would grow teeth and eat him, tentatively digging into the corner. Genos was watching when he shuffled back, bag in tow. “S-so…” He twirled the twine of the handle around his thumb. “I know what I said about presents, but…I thought of this afterwards…” He glared at his disciple. “And since you went out and got me a frickin’ suit… Well, close your eyes, kid.”

     Genos scrambled to kneel in front of him. By the time Saitama pulled out the gift and put it in his open hands, his fans were screeching. He was practically vibrating when Saitama told him, “’Kay. You can look.”

     His glowing stare shot down, eyes getting brighter when he saw the yellow sweatshirt in his lap. Steam drifted from his vents as he lifted it up. Wide white strips ran down the seams of the body and sleeves, and a zipper had been sewn into both shoulders. He peeked around it at his teacher, wordless.

     Saitama played with his pants. “I figured you liked that one…since…” They exchanged a quick glance before looking away. “Well yeah, so I thought you’d want it…but I knew it would be too small, especially around your shoulders…” Saitama shuffled over to the sweatshirt, pointing to the zipper pulls. “I didn’t know if you’d want these on here, so I asked Fukutera if he could make them removable, and this—“ He touched the white strip, feeling the tips of his ears burn. “I…uh…well this is material from one of my old capes…so I thought you’d like that sewn there, to make it bigger for you…”

     If you didn’t count the steam whistling out of him, the blonde was mute, great big eyes dashing all over the hoodie. When he eventually put it down to thank his teacher nothing came out.

     Saitama rubbed his neck. Maybe he didn’t do so bad...? “So…is it alright? It’s probably silly, since you don’t really need to wear jackets and things like that…”

     Genos took a few more seconds before he spoke. “Saitama-sensei…”

     The man braced himself. “…Yeah?”

     “This…is more than alright. This is wonderful. I… I don’t think it’s silly, at all. It’s…” He gripped it tighter in his fists, pushing it down into his lap. “Thank you. Thank you, Sensei. Thank you…thank you…”

     The eighth ‘thank you’ was the final straw. “Stop, Genos, stop,” pushed Saitama, putting his palm up. “It’s not that great. Not compared to what you got me…” He looked between the fresh suit hanging by the kitchen and the faded old hoodie in his disciple’s fist. “You don’t have to act like it’s gold or something…”

     The boy put his head down, taking an odd-sounding breath. Saitama dipped to try and see him, and…was he…? Again?! “Oh my God, are you crying?”

     Genos brought his hand to his face. A little sob came from behind it as he shook his head.

     What the hell! Was this all Saitama was good at? Making his student bust out into tears? “Shit! Genos—I—I’m sorry—let me, here, I’ll get something—“

     He clambered up and over to the bathroom, bringing back one of the dingier towels. The blonde took it and bawled into it for a while.

     Saitama knelt in front of him, trying to figure out what the hell he’d done to make Genos break down this time. For someone who was supposed to be a walking war machine, he sure did have a set of waterworks…

     In a few minutes Genos put the now-black rag down.

     The man snorted, folding it to one of the few clean patches and handing it to back to him. “You missed a lot,” Saitama mumbled, “Try again.” He waited until the blonde got (most of) the streaks off to talk. “So…why are you crying?”

     Genos kept his eyes on the sweatshirt, careful not to touch it with his oiled-up hand. “I…I apologize, Sensei. I noticed this missing from the closet last week, and I believed…you had thrown it out…because you saw me…on it…” His bottom lip started to shake. “I thought you w-were disgusted with it, with…with me…and y-you didn’t want…to look…at it…”

     Saitama waited, back tight, for the boy to work through another fit. As he sniffed, Saitama asked, “Wanna try it on?”

     He nodded sharply. After a few seconds of him fumbling with his only clean hand, Saitama plucked up the sweater and pulled it open in front of his arms. He had to laugh when they finally got that blonde puffball through the neck—his hair was a mess, his face was a mess, the floor was a mess…

     “Does it fit?”

     The cyborg nodded again, looking down. He slumped under a deep breath and held the sweater close to himself.

      Saitama bent towards his student. He was relieved that it worked out alright, but that didn’t mean he also wasn’t kinda pissed… “’Disgusted’?” he pushed. “Really?”

     A guilty shrivel was his only answer.

     “Come on…you gotta know by now that’s…not even close.”

     Nothing.

     “Kid?”

     The blonde’s nose scrunched up one more time. “It’s…difficult, Saitama-sensei. After th-thinking, for so l-long…I…”

     It was pointless. He could hardly get through a word, let alone one of his giant explanations. “Fuck, Genos,” he mumbled, reaching over and gathering the kid into his arms. He ignored the thud-thud in his chest so he could listen to the blonde blubber on his shoulder.

      He looked at the utensils spread across the table, and then at the TV. Their futons were already spread out in front of it. “You wanna eat some of the cake and catch what’s left of this episode?”

     The blonde bobbed his head against the man’s collarbone, hair itchy on his neck. Saitama waited to scratch at it until Genos pulled away and to the table.

     “Would you like a big piece or a sm-mall one?”

     Saitama sunk to the floor. Couldn’t the kid let him do something for once? “I’ll get it, Genos—“

     Too late. He was already cutting through it, holding the knife in place until he got an answer.

     “…Big.”

     Genos sliced the cake, not realizing as his hero stared. Saitama zoned out like that plenty of times, so it was nothing out of the ordinary…except that he wasn’t zoning out this time. He was watching the way Genos leaned up against the edge of the table, and how his eyebrows twisted when it wouldn’t slide off the platter, and his lips pursing while he concentrated. He watched his fingers as they shone in the light from the TV, and his chest as it heaved under his sensei’s old sweater…

     He watched him, and he thought, and he had to look away.

     ‘…do you dislike it that much?’

     How…do you feel about me?’

     ‘What am I to you?’

     The thudding never stopped, but now it felt weird. Tight, sort of. He rubbed it, trying to loosen it. It was like his heart had outgrown his ribs. Like it was puffing up…

     “Really big,” Saitama muttered.

     At the table Genos looked over, and down to the slice he made, and started cutting another. Saitama watched him do that too.

     …He was pretty sure now that he knew why.

Chapter Text

     Genos was losing patience.

     He knew Sensei kept to himself about most things. He did not talk much on a normal day, unless he found something interesting on the news. On good ones he bubbled with comments and was prone to joke with his student, or else he hummed around the apartment. On bad days it was an effort for him to say “good morning,” and Genos tried to give him space he needed. It was important then, he knew, not to prod, or push, or question the man—only to be there, and let Sensei work through it.

     His hero had been very quiet lately, and even though Genos could not question him about it…it was not because he was having bad days.

     Had this been something else, Genos would doubt himself more. He would study his sensei’s behavior and sleeping habits, compare it to those he exhibited during his ups and downs, cross-reference using the mental health forums he frequented to see how many others experienced the same, and for how long, and in what way.

     He didn’t need to, though. Genos knew this quiet. He understood those looks, and the nervous stutters. He’d gone through the same thing a year ago.

     Saitama had, in some secret way, fallen in love with his student.

     This was not something Genos believed in order to flatter himself. Yes, it made his core pulse when he thought of it, and his whole body seized at the idea of Sensei returning his affections. Yes, it made him want to sprint and scream and combust simultaneously.

     Right now, though. Right now it was agonizing.

     He could not push the man to admit it. His teacher was excellent at several things, but dealing with his emotions was not one of them. If Genos asked him directly—as he had stupidly done so often before—he would hush and recede, and be distant for the next few days. It was not on purpose, Genos knew that. Sensei needed to process through these things on his own, in his own…slow…way. His hero needed time. A lot of time…

      …So much time.

     Genos studied his journal, scratching out old theories on his teacher’s stamina. He’d not yet found a limit to it, but there were times when weather conditions or sleep deprivation clearly affected him. It would seem he had some kind of reserve energy he tapped into during emergency situations, but how long that reserve would last, or where he got it from…

     There was so much he didn’t know about his sensei’s body. He was a biological phenomenon. His power output was several million times larger than his mass, his speed was limitless, his skin was impervious…

     …but not insensitive. No, he could very much feel, Genos knew, from the way Sensei would hop when he brushed his fingers against the man’s shoulder or thigh. He reacted so strongly to such small things… If Genos could test more—if he could…touch…more…

     The cyborg clenched his fist. But he had to wait. He had to give his teacher space. The man had to come to terms with this on his own. Sensei would, he knew he would, however long it took.

     Genos was just…very ready for him to do it.

     It did not help that most of his normal avenues for distraction were filled with reminders of Saitama-sensei. Stores were filling up with Valentine’s Day displays, and he couldn’t so much as walk into the Association HQ without one of the S-class asking about his “plus one.” Fan mail had always been an easy way to waste an hour or so, but that was out of the question too. His admirers had gone from praising him and begging for a reply to cursing the cyborg for dating anyone but them, and of anyone, a man…and of all men, the Caped Baldy.

     He expected his teacher to receive more hate mail than normal, and he did not mind spending the time to screen out what precious few letters of gratitude were hidden there. He had not expected so much of his own. It was…disheartening, a little, and…maybe frustrating…

     The boy held a letter filled with slurs and exclamation points one afternoon, wishing he could brush it off as easily as Saitama-sensei did. Painful, was what it was. He had often wondered how the public would react if he revealed his feelings for his teacher. Somewhere in the back of his mind he must have hoped they would be kinder.  

     It was foolish of him.

     The hero forums were a little better, at least. Of course they swam with the same sort of slander—of his interest in men, of his interest in general, of Sensei and his using the blonde to climb the ranks (it took a great deal of self-restraint not to search for those user’s IP addresses and personally visit them to explain how wrong they were). There were also, however, dozens congratulating or complementing them—how happy they seemed together, how comfortable…how handsome his teacher was in his new suit…

      Saitama-sensei leaned over his shoulder as he combed through threads after a long day. “Is that…us?”

      He was referring to a set of fuzzy photos of them in front of the Kato storefront. “Yes, Sensei,” he told him, leaning to the side so the man could see the screen better. He scrolled down through the pictures in the thread (“The Prince’s prince” was its name), glancing at Sensei to gauge his reaction. Genos would’ve thought he was reading HA evaluation schedules…had it not been for the blazing red covering his cheeks and ears.

     There was one of them smiling together under a particularly large Santa set-up in the Kasai light display. Genos paused on it. It had appeared several times in many threads, and he understood why. Saitama-sensei was delighted, arms wide around his belly while he tried to mimic the animatronic. Genos was laughing at him. The photographer managed to capture the cyborg as he glanced over at his teacher…and the way the cyborg felt was sorely apparent. Still, though, the wonder in Sensei’s eyes, and the easy way he held himself beside his student…

     “…Doesn’t this creep you out?” Genos reclined to see an even redder Sensei stiffening on the top of the chair. “To find all these pictures of yourself online?”

     The cyborg scrolled past the photo. “I am used to it, Saitama-sensei. It no longer surprises me.” Then he stopped, finger hovering above the mouse. Sensei was such an unmovable man…there was no way he was… “…Does it bother you?”

     His teacher stood, edging out of the blonde’s peripherals. “Well…I dunno, it’s weird for a bunch of strangers to have pictures of you, y’know?”

     “…Yes, Sensei, I suppose that is true.” He continued to pass through the forum, each new shot helping him remember a little more of the day. “But for these in particular…I am thankful.”

     “Geeze kid, why? They’re…embarrassing.”

     The blonde’s shoulders drooped. “I rather enjoyed that night, Saitama-sensei, despite the…unexpected parts.” He looked up. “I want every memento of it can find.”

     Sensei was rubbing his neck, refusing to meet Genos’ gaze. “O-oh,” was all he said.

     The cyborg stared for a few moments longer before he returned to the screen. He was silent as he tried to recall the stolen moments that had been captured there.

      A hand ran through his hair, then, ruffling through its waves. Months ago the motion would have been careless and quick. Now it lingered, and played, and pulled very, very gently. In moments it was gone, and Genos turned to watch his teacher shuffle over to the TV so he could flop face-down in front of it.

     …Patience. Genos needed more patience.

     He browsed through the thread for another minute before closing it and pretending to concentrate on email.

     …but he wasn’t sure how much more patient he could possibly be.


 

     Signs were springing up like weeds everywhere they went.

     “Sweets for the sweetheart in your life!”

     “DIY says ILU!”

     “Confess and impress!”

      It was making grocery runs awful. Saitama mentioned them the first couple of times he saw them—the Valentine’s displays were going up way earlier than normal, what with it still being the second week of January—but he did his best to ignore them from then on. After all, he didn’t need a bunch of pastel-colored ads telling him how to live his life.

     Even if…he knew that they were right.

     It was like the whole damned world was trying to make Saitama open up. Chocolate kit stands popped up overnight and there was at least one aisle in all their favorite stores that was slowly getting covered with pink and red. It didn’t help when he noticed Genos hanging back, sizing up the boxes on the end. They never talked about it when the blonde caught up…but somehow that made it worse. The not-talking-about-it, that was.

     …Saitama was having a lot of trouble talking lately.

     He found himself tripping over stupid crap, like saying “goodnight” when Genos rolled over on his futon, or “thank you” as he passed over the rice at dinner. It would start out fine, but then kid would look over at him with those damned yellow eyes and something in Saitama would just stop. He’d never been very good with words, but it wasn’t ever this bad.

      Genos though, he was great with them—he never seemed to run out of words. Saitama watched as his disciple worked in the kitchen, paying zero attention to the coupon pamphlet on the table. He made it a point to time the cyborg every now and again. The record was a twenty-eight minute long rant about a bad attendant from some phone store. He kept going on and on and on about how the guy was rude, and didn’t know what the insurance plans were, and that he was brushing him off… His teacher swore that he forgot to breathe halfway through and barreled on in pure fury.

     Saitama smiled. Genos’ chattiness used to drive him crazy…but it didn’t bother him anymore. He actually kind of missed it when he had to schlep over to a store by himself. Not that he could keep up with what the cyborg said, especially when he was excited about something. He’d start talking way too fast then, and his words would mold together, and all Saitama could get out of it was a jumble of happy-sounding syllables.

     He liked it, though, when Genos got worked-up. It was worth waiting for him to finish so he could ask him to say it again.

     The man scanned over the flyer, listening to the clangs as Genos stirred the stew. He liked it a bunch…the same way he liked a ton of other stuff about the blonde. When he’d pass out over his journal after a long day, for instance, and Saitama would have to practically carry him over to his bed. That and how he got sucked into whatever movies they watched together. Oh yeah, and the too-loud “Welcome home, Sensei!” he’d shout whenever Saitama walked through the door.

     Or the little whirr is core would give at his teacher’s complements.

     …Or when he’d skootch up to Saitama’s side as he slept…

     ...and how warm he felt there, breathing soft, hair all over the place…

     The man put his head in his arms, giving up on the coupons for the third time that day. He hadn’t been able to focus on it since he picked it up from the mail. …Aw, scratch that, he hadn’t been able to focus at all for the past couple of weeks. Not since…

     Saitama snuck another peek at his disciple. He had his headphones in and his blonde head was bobbing to music Saitama couldn’t hear. The pink bow tied at his back stood out against its gray plates, his new hoodie hanging wear the apron usually was.

     Not since he realized how much about Genos he…liked. A lot. A whole lot. Way more than he’d liked anything…well ever, except for maybe those first few monster fights he had. And he wasn’t totally sure about that.

     The pamphlet crinkled under his sleeves. Half of the cover was filled with pink and white flowers, one of the blurbs screaming in giant red letters to “TELL THEM HOW YOU FEEL.”

     “Sensei,” called Genos, “Can you clear the table?”

     Saitama saw his student untie the apron from around his waist and lay it beside the sink. The man slipped the flyer face-down onto the desk. “Sure,” he mumbled, not quite loud enough to be heard by either of them.

     Genos chatted on through dinner, but he was more…reserved, than usual. All the details he’d add in were missing from his stories, and his fans weren’t buzzing the way they did when he got into them. If Saitama could find a good topic he’d pluck back up—all he had to do was ask the right question, or mention something that pissed him off…

     …but when he tried Genos stared straight at him again, and all he managed was “So this meat’s good, yeah?”

     He didn’t say much after that.

     It was the fifth “m-hm?” that broke Genos. “Saitama-sensei,” he started, putting his spoon down, “...Is something the matter? You’re very quiet, tonight…” He fiddled with the edge of a napkin before setting his eyes back on his hero. “…As you have been…”

     Saitama held the stare for about two seconds before he decided it was a good time to appreciate the pattern of the floorboards. “It’s…no I’m fine, Genos, it’s—yeah, no. Nothing. Thanks.”

     His head sunk into his shoulders as he tried not to hear what came out of his mouth. Saitama…was having a lot of trouble talking lately.

     Luckily the kid let it drop. Of course, he kept on giving his sensei that waiting look again, the same one he’d been sporting for the past month…but that was better than more of his questions.

     Doing the dishes was easier. Saitama would wash as Genos dried (this stupid pack of rubber gloves kept on getting pinched in his knuckles and tearing), and as Saitama slipped the apron around his neck, the blonde took his phone from his pocket and unraveled the headphones from around it. He tapped around on the screen before popping them in place. In a few seconds he was rocking his head to whatever song was playing.

     Saitama watched from the corner of his eyes, taking plenty of time going through the piles in the sink. It’s not like this was new—Genos’d been pulling out his music during housework for a while—but it was still funny, seeing him there. It was always the same build-up. First he would do this kind of head wiggle, and then his foot would start to tap, and right around the same time he’d sing real soft and his hips would do these…swirly things Saitama couldn’t hope to copy if he tried.

     Tonight, though, it was different. He was moving slower, and his voice was dropping off a lot more.

      The man didn’t want to pry. Maybe Genos was tired—after all, he spent a pretty long while at the Association today, probably filling out paperwork or forms or whatever for the new year. He earned the right to be sluggish.

      …it was more than that, though. The kid was a million miles away. He was hanging there, mouthing whatever he was trying to sing, shoulders barely tottering from side to side while he air-dried the same plate that he had been since they started washing. That couldn’t be good for the porcelain…

      Saitama pulled off his glove and tapped the blonde’s shoulder. Genos perked up. “You…okay?” the man asked. “You’re kinda out of it…”

      Steam hissed from the cyborg’s palm and he hesitated, thinking harder than he should’ve needed to before shaking his head.

     “I can finish this, if you’re tired.”

     “No, Sensei… It’s alright.”

     Saitama pulled the glove back on. “…Was it a long day at work?”

     Genos wouldn’t look at him. “…No.”

     “Um…are you…having trouble with one of your updates or…some…thing?”

    The cyborg gave the smallest chuckle and shook his head again.

     …Oh…oh no. “Was it…reporters…?”

     There was a “chink” when Genos put his hand on the counter, breathing in deep.

     Shit.

     “It’s,” he grumbled, pulling out the headphones and letting them hang around his neck. “It… Saitama-sensei, do you… Have you…thought…”

     He tried about half a dozen of bad starts before relenting to “Sensei,” head rolling down, hand stretched out to his teacher.

     The man stared at it, and to his own, and back to the blonde’s. He could hear the beat thudding from the earbuds on Genos’ chestplate and the water drip as he hung the glove back over it.

     Saitama’s ribs felt like they were brimming with clouds when he reached back.

      Genos took it, fans buzzing on in his shoulders, and ran his fingers along his hero’s knuckles. The pads were soft across the dry skin there. “Why…have you been so quiet, Sensei?”

      “I…I dunno, I…haven’t had much to say, I guess…” What a load of crap. Saitama had plenty to say, he just…couldn’t find the right words for it. It was impossible when Genos was constantly doing all that dumb stuff—smiling at him, singing by him, massaging his fingers as if he was some five-star masseuse…

      “…Is it something that I’ve done, Sensei?”

     Yeah. “It—n…nah, kid, it’s…I, um…” It felt too good to make him stop, but frick, he couldn’t think, not when Genos was playing with his hands like that, all sweet and careful and slow, and…aw no was his student shaking why would he be shaking it’s not like Saitama had sa—

     Genos tightened his grip. “Is it anything,” he repeated, voice way too soft, “to do with me?”

      If the man’s mouth could make coherent sounds it sure as hell was doing a bad job of it now.

     The boy stared at him dead-on. “Saitama,” he urged.

      It sounded like begging, and it crumpled something inside his teacher.

      Genos’ great big eyes burned as they stayed steady on him, waiting for sounds to come out of his hero’s hanging mouth. The only answer he got was from the singer crooning in his headphones.

      After too long he let Saitama’s hand drop and his teacher’s stomach plummeted with it. He slipped the earbuds back in, glancing at the dishes once before lifting his hoodie from the wall and stalking over to the balcony.

      Saitama listened to the door rumble open and slam shut. When he peeked around the divide, he saw Genos tugging the sweater on and pulling the hood over his head, then sink against the glass.

      God damnit

     Saitama took the second glove off, slinking over to the door. He gave it a warning shove to let the cyborg know he was opening it and made large enough crack for him to speak through. “Genos?”

      Nothing.

      “…Kid? You…you wanna…”

      “What, Sensei?”

      The man shrunk. “Um…talk?”

      Genos tucked his head further into his knees. “I would very much like to talk,” he shot, voice muffled in the sleeves, “But you seem to be having a good deal of trouble doing so.”

      Saitama ducked his head inside, keeping his eyes on the yellow mass huddled at his feet. He took one giant breath to brace himself against the chill…and slipped the door open.

     Genos didn’t move as he stepped around, shimmying against the wall so he could settle down next to the blonde. He leaned against the concrete and watched the clouds drift over the moon. There weren’t too many of them tonight, so you could make out most of the stars. That was one of the few perks of living in the most ramshackle cities in the world—since a better half of the street lights were broken, they had a great view of the sky at night.

      “It’s nice out here,” he offered, not sure if Genos could hear him through the earbuds. If he did, he didn’t make a show of it. “A little cold, but it’s not as bad as it has been…”

     Saitama turned to his disciple. His hood was low over his face and most of that was shoved into the crook of his elbows, so all he could see was a tiny curl of gold hair poking out of the top. The man smiled despite the ball of guilt that was his gut. After a few seconds he nudged Genos’ knee with his own.

      His student’s eyes glowed from under the sweatshirt.

      Saitama pointed to his ear. “What are you listening to?”

      Genos pulled out an earbud, splitting the divide between the two halves and handing one over.

      Saitama’s fingers fumbled on it. He hadn’t expected such a…direct reply. He heard singing before he got the bud in and an organ as soon as he did. It was pretty, even if it wasn’t his kind of music. He remembered enough of his English at the law firm to make out the bulk of what the lyrics were (translating emails was the one thing he was alright at in that place)…but there was a lot he couldn’t catch. The guy was singing about someone losing someone else, and…fixing them? “What does ‘ignite’ mean?”

      “To light on fire, Sensei.”

      Oh. That seemed…violent… “What song is this?”

     “’Fix You,’ by Coldplay. It’s a band I liked before… When I was younger.”

      Saitama tensed up. Genos never talked about his old life, not after the very first time he stomped into the apartment.

      The blonde mumbled into his jeans. “It’s one of the ones…Doctor Kuseno would play for me, when I was going through my initial transformation and was in too much pain to sleep. Sometimes he would hum it if he couldn’t reach a computer…or if he needed to help me through a flashback…” He tucked his head away. “They came much more frequently then. He said it was proven that musical therapy was effective for trauma survivors, particularly if they had a connection to the music being used…”

      A lot of technical jargon came after that and Saitama was pretty sure his student was talking just to talk. His voice came to a patter when his teacher put a hand on his knee. He rubbed his thumb across it, aiming for the small seam between the plates. He thought he remembered Genos saying it was easier to feel things there…

     Yellow light spilled out from under the hood when the kid looked up at his hand.

      They were silent for a while, listening to the cyborg’s phone, Saitama having no idea how to say all the things he knew he should be saying. Eventually this sad song came on, its bass heavier than the rest. It had a 70s vibe and there was a piano in the background…

     Saitama saw his student shuffle next to him. “What about this one? Who’s this?”

     “…Daft Punk, Saitama-sensei.”

     Huh… That was a weird name. Then again most band names were weird…

     About a minute into the song a robot voice started up.

     It might not be the right time. I might not be the right one. But there’s something about us I want to say, ‘cause there’s something between us anyway.

     The man’s grip tightened on Genos’ knee. He definitely knew enough English to understand this.

     I might not be the right one. It might not be the right time. But there’s something about us I’ve got to do—some kind of secret I will share with you. 

     He glanced over to find the boy watching him. He held it for as long as he could.

     I need you more than anything in my life. I want you more than anything in my life. I’ll miss you more than anyone in my life. I’ll love you more than anyone in my life.

     Saitama pulled his arm back, sinking into the wall. The beat had taken over the lyrics. “Is…that all? For the song?”

     The blonde nodded.

     “Oh… What…is it?”

     “The title is ‘Something About Us.’”

     The man shivered at the feel of the concrete against his neck. “Huh. ...I…” The water stains from his cactus had become infinitely more interesting. “…I like it…”

     He could see the light from Genos’ eyes on him. After a few moments he motioned for Saitama’s earbud and took it back, standing. “Sensei is cold. We should go inside.”

      The man climbed in after his student, locking the door once he was inside. Genos was already flipping to a blank page in one of his notebooks. He stood as he wrote, laying both the pen and journal on the manga tower when he was done.

     They watched TV in near silence, and got ready for bed the same way.

     Saitama never thought he would mind some peace and quiet…but he couldn’t handle it this way. He kept sneaking peeks at the cyborg as they unrolled their futons, trying to see if the frown had lifted.

     It hadn’t.

     Genos tromped over to the switch by the divide and turned it off. It left nothing for light but the moon, and his eyes, and the dim haze from his core.

     The floorboards creaked as he settled down, the blue vanishing under his covers.

     Saitama spun over to him under his heart-filled comforter. He was going to say “Goodnight,” he really was…but something stuck in the bottom of his throat and all he did was stare instead.

     Genos stared back. There was enough pale blue light coming from the curtains that Saitama could make out his expression, and…it hurt. The blonde was so sad, and tired too… It was the same one he had after he tried…kissing him…

     And it hit him then what that look was—where it seemed he was listening so hard he could’ve heard his teacher’s heartbeat. Saitama never told him how he felt about him when he had asked, not the last time, or the time before that…or before that

     …Genos was still waiting for his answer.

    Saitama’s chest seized up the way it did when he ran into that crab monster years ago, and his arms were getting shaky. He had to do it at some point. He couldn’t swallow all this stuff down and never mention it…and now was as good a time as any, wasn’t it? To tell the kid…well, that he liked rushing to sales with him in the mornings, and cooking hot pots at night… That he liked having him around and he hoped he would…stay… Those were easy enough to blurt out…

     …Weren’t they?

     Saitama fumbled for words, tongue curling around a lot of sentences that didn’t feel right. It was so much to explain… It shouldn’t be this hard…

     He saw a tiny smirk in Genos’ eyes and the cyborg put out his hand for the second time that day. Saitama considered it, feeling small, feeling like he was an embarrassment to heroes everywhere.

     He took it and clamped his mouth shut.

     Genos didn’t ask what was wrong. He was giving his sensei time to sort through the mess that was his head, and Saitama was thankful for it. He started to turn the cyborg’s hand around in his own, searching for all the little pieces while he thought, feeling for the grooves between each joint.

     He heard that tiny “vhrr” and glanced at a moderately flustered Genos. “Really, kid?” he mused, going back to his hand. The blonde nodded and kept on watching. “So…you can feel all this?”

     “Yes, Sensei. The hands on these arms are more sensitive than most, since I use them for housework… I need to be able to detect minor differences in texture for cooking and cleaning.”

     The man ran his thumb across Genos’ palm, edging along the rim of the vent in the middle. “And this too? You can feel that?”

    The blonde paused before shaking his head. “…No, not as much. There are only heat sensors there.”

     Saitama fiddled a little longer, stretching out his free hand. Genos pushed his palm against it and Saitama looked between both of them, fanning his fingers against the cyborg’s, bending and stretching them to watch how they curled. Genos’ hands were about the same size as his, maybe a little bigger. They seemed so much stronger though…

     He heard a ticking noise from his student and found a timer along the edge of his iris. “Are you recording?” His cheeks started to burn. “Come on, don’t do that…”

      The blonde’s eyebrows scrunched up. “…Please…let me, Saitama-sensei.”

     Saitama’s head flopped on the pillow. “But you’re always doing it…” His student stiffened and he smiled. “It’s kind of hard not to notice when you watch me without blinking for ten minutes…”

     The fans droned on. “I…I apologize, Saitama-sensei. Recording…is important, for me. To remember what’s happened during the day.”

      “Huh? Don’t you…y’know, write it all down?”

     Genos focused on their hands. “Yes, Sensei, which helps as well. Back…during the attack on my hometown…I suffered head trauma that affected my short-term memory. The loss was slight and has almost completely healed since then, but I still have trouble occasionally.”

     Saitama tightened his grip. Why was he being so open tonight? His teacher was glad, but… “Wh…what?” he laughed. “Genos, you remember everything. You remember things I mentioned that I didn’t know I was talking about…”

    “I…am aware that I overcompensate, Sensei. Initially I couldn’t recall large portions of the day…” The cyborg’s eyes pulsed. “It was…terrifying. I found that if I concentrated wholly on what was going on around me, and repeated it to myself or wrote it down, I could remember it better later on. I’ve long since stopped needing to focus so intently in order to do so, but…” His fingers curled around his teacher’s. “I am still afraid, occasionally. That I’ll forget.”

      Something thick and heavy squeezed around Saitama’s lungs. He thought of the stack of journals behind him, and the hundreds he knew were hiding away at the doctor’s lab… “So all your notes…”

     The eyes turned back on him. “I don’t want to forget anything about Saitama-sensei.”

     Aaand there was the blush again. “B-but…this, though? Why do you have to record this? I’m not…fighting, or training, or stuff like that…”

     "I record all noteworthy behavior from you…and this is not something you would have done a year ago.” His hair curled into his cheeks when he laid his head down. “...This isn't something you would have done a month ago."

     Saitama fiddled on with the smooth hands in his hold, knowing for once what the kid meant, knowing why he was watching and listening…and waiting. The air was cold against his lips when he inhaled, and he started to tell him—something, anything, just a word to get him going…

      …and mashed his face into Genos’ hands instead. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t say it. He couldn’t even bring himself to look at his student.

      He was pathetic.

     “I’m sorry,” he breathed, speaking against those soft palms. “I’m…so bad at this…”

     The ticking continued as Genos cupped his hand around his teachers face. It was warm, somehow, and it kind of felt like the grip on his PS controller, but it was a lot smoother and nicer…and the way Genos rubbed his neck was making his stomach flip-flop…

     Saitama let out a shuddery sigh, feeling as the heat bounced back, listening to it whistle on the padding. He focused on how it pressed against his cheek, his chin, his nose… It was so soft. It didn’t seem like it should fit on the blonde, not with all his blasters and rockets…

     Saitama pouted. Nah, that was wrong. It didn’t fit for a cyborg, sure…but it was perfect for Genos.

     The material had more give than he thought…Saitama was impressed with how plush it was. He pushed out his mouth, wondering at how much he could feel. And then something deep down inside him realized how nice it would be to kiss it, if only to see would be like.

     He pressed Genos’ hand up against his mouth, and let his lips open… He could taste it even—it was kind of like rubber, but not as bitter…

     …and then he saw the counter going off in the kid’s eyes.

     Saitama’s ears blazed and he about-faced, keeping the hand pressed against his cheek. “I—I,” Saitama stammered, holding hard onto his student, “I’m…I…”

     Genos squeezed back. “It’s…alright, Saitama-sensei.”

     The man wanted to bust out the front door and sprint away. Why was he so awful at this? Why couldn’t he say something, or do something, or friggin’ make a God-damned move? His disciple was great at it, and he was six years younger than him! …Aw crap he never thought of it that way, but there was a whole new issue to toss in the “Reasons Why Saitama Was the Shittiest Person Alive” bin, not that he could deal with the idea of cradle-robbing now…

     Genos edged closer to him. He could still hear the marker tocking away.

     Words. They were just words. People said them all the time. Everyone else could do it no problem… It was a few lousy syllables…

     The man stopped, thinking about the porch. What were those lyrics again…? “G-Genos,” he pushed, voice almost too low to make out. “That…song…from earlier. With the robot.”

     “…’Something About Us,’ Sensei?”

     The man stuffed his face into the pillow. “Yeah.”

     “…What about it?”

     “I…” Say it. Say it, Saitama. Just fuckin’ say it. “I…uh…it’s…” He slumped. “…a good song.”

     Fucking shit.

     There was a pause from behind him. “Why do you like it, Sensei?”

     Saitama trailed the path of the moonlight slipping in from the balcony, feeling the heat from Genos’ chest.

     …Maybe there were different ways of saying it, though. Saitama pulled the cyborg closer, straining to make sure the ticking was still going. Once he knew it was, he took a long, unsteady breath, and tried to ignore how much his shoulders were shaking.

     “…It reminds me,” he answered, “…of you.”

     At first he was nervous he whispered too quietly—he’d had a hard time hearing it himself.  But then the boy behind him buried his head into his back, and his sides burned from the steam pouring on them, and a husky voice told him, “I’m glad…”

    Saitama was absolutely the most terrible speaker he knew… He was lucky Genos always understood what he meant.

Chapter Text

     If this had been some monster trying to blow up the world, Saitama could’ve handled it. Monsters were easy--they popped up, made a mess, got punched, and you went about your business. Nice and simple. Nothing complicated about it.

     This…was way worse than a monster.

     Saitama stood in the brightest-colored aisle of Save-n-Stash, eyeing up a wall of chocolate kits like they were gonna crawl down and attack him. He was totally lost. He knew there were different kinds of chocolate, but what was all this about cocoa beans or powder? And he probably needed one that came with a mold… They had the right size pots for cooking it at home, right?

     He picked up a pastel pink box, stomach seizing at the flowery writing on the front. “SASAKI HOMEADE CHOCOLATE—Confess with the best!” He turned it around, struggling to understand the abbreviated instructions listed on the back. Mixing, sitting, not-quite boiling…this was all so intricate. It seemed like a whole lot of work for something so small... And it’s not like he needed to plan a big reveal of his feelings. After all, he’d already…kind of…

     Saitama shoved the box back in place, remembering that one morning last week. Genos was pressed up against him, arms squeezing around his chest…and his teacher was…holding them there…

     Other than the pops and whirrs coming from Genos, it was quiet…which was weird. Usually Saitama got up a little after sunrise and the cyborg was preparing tea or scribbling in his notebooks. Today the sun was glowing through the curtains, though, and the kid didn’t show signs of booting up. It took him a long time to do it too…

     The man smiled, resettling his head on the pillow. The way Genos would totter in his seat when his systems were starting, and the confused stare he’d give everything… Well, it was…cute…

     His fists tightened around his student’s arms.

     That…that was okay for him to think, wasn’t it? That Genos…was cute?

     Even though his insides were bouncing around like he was a hero-shaped pinball machine, Saitama kept himself still. He’d told—well, alright, he’d tried really hard to tell how he felt the night before, and he thought…Genos got it...so that meant he could, y’know…think all these things about him, right? That he didn’t have to feel guilty pouting as the cyborg left on another mission, or having his belly bunch up when he touched his shoulders…or when he pretended to focus on reading so he could listen to the boy singing in the kitchen…

     There was a click and a long hum from Genos, and he snuggled (oh God, they were snuggling) a bit closer. His hair tickled when he nestled into his sensei’s neck, sighing.

     His breath was hot across Saitama’s collarbone.

     A long pause came after that, and his teacher couldn’t figure out if Genos had actually woken up or decided to make the man as red as possible before either of them got out of bed. Then he heard, way too soft and right in his ear—

     “Sensei…”

     It wasn’t a question or a greeting or anything. It was a…confirmation?

     Sensei vainly tried not to get redder. “H-hey…Genos.”

     The cyborg’s fingers curled, pulling his teacher in, and Saitama could feel his belly plates shift as Genos stretched. There was another pause before he continued. “…It is late.”

     “In…the morning? Not really…”

     “You should have woken me,” he said, nuzzling closer.

      Saitama wondered at what point a heartbeat went from fast to dangerous. “I just woke up…too…”

      “Oh,” was the only answer at first, his voice fading away to the small blips of his body starting up. “…Is Sensei hungry?” was the second.

     “No, I’m…I’m fine…”

     “…There…are no sales today…yes?”

     Not since that dumb book monster smashed the C-Save... “Nah… How come?”

     He was quiet for a long while this time, core buzzing against Saitama’s back. “…Can we…stay like this, Sensei? For a bit…if there’s nothing to do…”

    The man turned to look at his student and he found himself buried in a face-full of bedhead. Genos’ eyes were suspiciously hard to see through it.

     “Or...at least until my systems are fully online…”

     Saitama told himself that his chest wouldn’t explode from the banging inside his ribs. “Uh…s-sure...if…that’s what you want…”

     Genos pressed in closer. “Yes, Saitama-sensei. It’s…exactly what I want…”

      Alright, maybe now it might.

     They sat there for a while, Saitama staring at the stack of journals by his manga towers and attempting to calm himself down. This was nerve-wracking, sure, but…it was nice. And he was pretty sure he wanted to…keep it going…

     Saitama gripped the boy’s hands tighter. If he did, though…he’d need to deal with the fact that Genos was his disciple. …And super-famous. …And barely out of his teens. Shit, he didn’t even know if the kid had been with anyone before. After all he was only fifteen when he went all Robocop...and he’d never gotten a straight answer when he asked Genos about his dating life.

     His throat closed up on itself. If that was true...did that mean Saitama would be his first everything? Boyfriend, kissing, making out, and—and…at some point… Aw frick, that was so much pressure, what if Saitama wanted too much too fast, how could he know if Genos was ready for anything he would agree to whatever Sa—

      “Well I don’t know why I came here tonight…I got the feeling that something ain’t right…”

     They both looked over to the small black phone buzzing at the corner of the futon. Genos grunted and dug his head into Saitama’s shoulders.

     “Kid…isn’t that the HA?” It wasn’t the emergency ringtone, but Genos always sprung at calls.

      “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…”

     Genos made no effort to move. “Hm…What a shame, Sensei. It looks like my phone got damaged in a fight, and I can’t answer it…”

     Saitama glanced at the pristine cell singing on. “You little sneak…” he laughed, nervous.

    “When the situation is right...”

     The B-class snapped back into the here and now, wondering if such a massive selection of chocolate kits was necessary. He picked up the pink one again and walked over to the registers. The heat of Genos’ vents floated into his head as he handed the box over, and he tried to remember the rambling conversation they had as he booted…

      “Anything else, sir?”

     Saitama hid his face, wondering if his cheeks were going to cool down or if this whole blushing thing would be his new look. “Nah…I have a 30% off coupon, though.” He fished it out of his pocket and passed it over.

     It was getting too warm for the coat but he couldn’t bring himself to hang it up.

      “Great! That’s ¥1323.”

      He felt the girl’s eyes on him as he plucked the money out of his purse.

     “Are you…Caped Baldy?”

     This wouldn’t end well… “Yeah. Why?”

     She…giggled? “So…is this for Demon Cyborg?”

      Apparently the answer was yes, his cheeks were going to be permanently pink, occasionally pushing into bright frickin’ red. “That’s—it’s none of your business!” The coins in his fist started to bend, and he made himself relax. “Here—that should be ¥1323 exactly.”

     He dropped the change in her hand and she gaped at the curled up pieces. “Uh—y-yeah,” she fumbled, counting it. “You got it. Um…do you need your receipt?”

     Saitama huffed out a “Yes.”

     He felt pretty bad as he watched her open the register with shaky hands. It wasn’t her business though. She shouldn’t go asking customers why they bought stuff, even if, y’know…she was right…

     She bagged the box and handed it over. “I think he’ll like it.”

     That was it. He opened his mouth to give her a serious talking to about privacy and respect…until he saw the bashful smile she gave when she passed his receipt to him. He forced himself to stutter “Th-thanks…” before grabbing it and speeding through the front doors.

     Saitama refused to look up while he rushed through the streets, taking all the back roads and side routes. Was this gonna be what happened now? That he got recognized because of Genos? He knew those pictures from Christmas had gotten around, but he didn’t think they’d been this popular. Not that he…well, minded being seen with the cyborg, but having so many people watching them…

     The bag bounced against his side as he slowed to a crawl. Crap…if people were associating Saitama with Genos, then…they were they gonna start associating Genos with Saitama too…

     The man’s latest pile of hate mail flashed through his head, and he remembered thinking how much larger it had gotten in the past month. Had Genos’ pile seemed bigger lately too?

      He wove his way up the stairs, avoiding the ruined ones. The door creaked loudly as he walked through it and he listened to make sure the S-class hadn’t come back from his meeting.

     It was quiet.

     His intestines tied themselves into a knotted mess while he took off his shoes. Saitama hadn’t thought about what being with him could do to Genos’ reputation. He’d been so caught up in trying to figure out how he felt about the blonde… Were people handling it well? Was he getting made fun of at work? The kid was strong, Saitama knew that, but he was a lot more emotional than his teacher…

     The bag rustled on the counter when he laid it down and was soon joined by a sauce pot. Saitama’d need one for the water, plus a few bowls for mixing…

     He enjoyed being with Genos, he really did. There was just…so much to process…and he hadn’t been with anyone for so long, he’d forgotten how to make it work…

      He picked up the box and glanced at the back, tearing it open when he found it didn’t actually describe much. A few white bags plopped out before a printed page fluttered down. He snagged it from the air and read, shrinking away when he saw that there were more than four steps. This…was a lot more involved than he thought it would be…

      There was a chink as he piled all the measuring cups and mixers he would need next to the torn-up box. In a few minutes he got the water boiling and dumped the package of chocolate into a mixing bowl.

     The man frowned as the powder splattered on the wall. He’d have to clean up the mess before Genos got back.

      “’Mix in butter’,” he read, irritated. Did they have enough? Saitama dug the little pat from the fridge, trying to see how far off he was from what the recipe called for. It said he needed 50 grams, but there was only about 30… “It’ll be fine,” he grumbled, pressing it against the pot to help it soften before emptying it into a bowl. The cocoa powder puffed up in a chalky cloud when he poured it over the butter, and for the umpteenth time that day he reconsidered his course of action. He wasn’t sure if Genos would like this kind of chocolate… And how was he supposed to give it to the kid? Would they go out somewhere, or exchange at home…

     Would Genos be expecting a gift in the first place? It’s not like they were…official...right?

     …Were they?

     Saitama jumped when he saw the water boiling and quickly shut it off. He wasn’t supposed to let it get that hot.

     He kept on stirring until the lumps vanished, unceremoniously shoveling it into the pot and giving it another go with the mixing spoon. Once he was (mostly) sure the consistency was right, he turned the heat down so he could watch it cook better. As he waited he pulled a strainer from under the counter and started sifting the powdered sugar.

     If Genos was here, Saitama had a feeling he’d do this a lot more elegantly. The man was spraying so much sugar on the oven he was worried he wouldn’t have enough for the mix…

     The chocolate started to boil in his peripherals and Saitama snapped the burner off, cursing as a few more bubbles burst through the goopy mess in the pot. Was it was supposed to look like that…? He toppled the sugar into the pot, considering how bad it would be if he bought something premade…

      Then he remembered the hundreds of cookies the kid had left out for him over the past few months and started mixing again.

      He went down the rest of the instructions, following them to the letter. …Or the word. …Alright, well, maybe he sped-read them and did what he thought he was supposed to do. Anyway he managed to get the sloppy mix spread out across a baking pan and popped it in the freezer. All he had to do now was let it harden…

     The hours dragged on as he waited for the chocolate to set and for his student to come home.

     Both ended up being incredibly bitter.

      After dinner Saitama snuck away into the kitchen, listening as Genos complained about Sweet Face’s latest publicity stunt. He could smell the fridge’s cooling unit when he opened the freezer and pulled a corner off the chocolate. It was kinda soft…maybe he hadn’t let it sit long enough? It shouldn’t affect the taste, though…

     The boy raged on in the other room as his teacher tossed the piece in his mouth…and promptly wished he hadn’t. Saitama forced himself through a few more chews before shuffling over to the garbage to spit it out.

     When he looked up he found Genos clomping into the kitchen, hands cutting through the air as he explained all the reasons why Amars Musk was a miserable leader. The blonde had a habit of trailing his teacher around the apartment when he got revved up (Saitama’s lost count of how many times he’d found the kid talking outside the bathroom after he’d gone in there to take a piss).

     Genos broke out of his rant when his teacher wiped his mouth. “Sensei…what are you eating?”

     The man focused on the chipped floor. “It…was…nothing...” Honestly “nothing” was a bit of a complement.

     The cyborg cocked his head to the side and scanned the kitchen, settling on the freezer and opening it. “Saitama-sensei…what’s this?”

     The man pulled his head up and lunged to slam the door. “It's nothing! I told you…”

      Saitama wished he could snatch that dumb grin off Genos’ pretty face... “You made chocolate, Sensei?”

     His teacher scoffed. “Apparently not…”

     “It was not…successful?”

     “No.” Stupid complicated recipe with all its stupid steps…

     “…Does Sensei want to try again?”

     “I mean, I gotta, don’t I?” Saitama could feel his face go pink, and Genos looked genuinely confused.

     “…Why?”

     “W-well…’cause Valentine’s Day is, y’know…soon…”

     The fans picked up, outshining the fridge humming on. “You…are making chocolates for Valentine’s Day.”

     Wow…they needed to get some of these tiles replaced, they were super-cracked. “…I wanted to, yeah…”

     “I…I will teach you, Saitama-sensei.”

     The man glared. “Isn’t that against the rules or something? Because they’d be for…”

     Genos’ eyes burned as he stared, and the man clammed up on spot.

     That “vhrr” increased a few decibals. “I will teach you.”

     Saitama begrudgingly accepted.

     When Genos walked through the door with his arms strung up with bags the next afternoon, though, he instantly regretted it. “What is that? That’s not…all for the chocolate, is it?”

     The cyborg nodded and Saitama’s heart stopped. How much did he spend…?! “These are the ingredients we did not already have here, Saitama-sensei.”

     The man tossed his manga aside and sat up. He never trusted Genos to go shopping on his own, when he did he always brought back the high-end stuff… “You shouldn’t have! That’s…way too much…”

     His student disappeared behind the divide. “No,” he called, “It’s enough to allow for practice batches.”

      ‘Practice’? As in…multiple sets…? But one took so long! “Oh man Genos, it’s alright. I’ll…I’ll be able to find something else, I think…”

     “Do you want to start, Sensei?”

     Saitama sized up the kitchen. “…I guess so…”

     Genos was already piling bowls on the counter when his teacher schlumped into the room. “If I’m not mistaken, Sensei, you may have cooked the chocolate for too long, and it couldn’t temper correctly…”

     What the frick did that mean? “What? And…wait, did you taste it?”

     His shoulders buzzed. “…Yes. In order to determine which technique we should use, I needed to know your skill level…”

     Rock bottom was his level. “There are different ways to make it?”

     “Yes,” he answered, standing. “Many. We will use the cocoa powder method because it is simplest, and also cheapest.”

     The counter was overflowing with ingredients and mixers and spoons. How long was all of this going to take…? “Do you have work tod—“

     When the man turned he found his student tugging his sweatshirt off and trading it for the apron against the wall. Shirtless Genos was a part of Saitama’s daily routine at this point, but after years of him covering up it was still a bit of a shock…

     The blonde slipped the shoulder strap around his neck and froze. Saitama swore he heard a click come from his head before he put on that smug little smile. “Could you tie this for me?” he asked, holding the straps at his waist and turning his back towards his hero.

     Was he joking?  “Y—you can do it yourself! You don’t need my help for that…”

     Genos jut his hip out. “Yes…but since I am doing something kind for Sensei, perhaps he could do something kind for me in exchange…”

     He’d been pulling shit like this a lot more since…that one night. Not that Saitama was mad about it (if he was being truthful he kind of liked seeing the kid have some backbone), he just wasn’t…used to it, yet.

      He let his eyes trail down the arch in the plated spine and wondered if he’d ever get used to it. “Fine,” he grumbled, fumbling to tie the apron. He jerked it tighter than he normally would as the tiniest ‘screw you,’ but Genos gave out this tiny grunt and Saitama was more flustered than before.

      His armor was surprisingly warm when the man patted the bow in place. “So…um…what…”

      When he glanced up for directions, he found Genos wearing the most self-satisfied grin a cyborg could have. “Would you stop that?!”

     The blonde looked back. “Stop what, Saitama-sensei?”

     “The—thing with the—“ Saitama gestured vaguely at his face, and then at his chest (aw shit he’d made it way too tight, he could see everything), and back at his face. “Quit being a brat!”

      “Do brats help you make chocolate?” Genos mused, stepping over to the sink to measure out water.

      It splashed as he poured it into the two pots on the burners. “Y-you—“ Saitama stuttered, “Fine! Fine. What do we do next?”

      Genos guided him through the steps and Saitama discovered how much he did wrong the first time around. Apparently having the right portions of all the ingredients was way more important than he thought, and you couldn’t lump it together like you did for cakes. There was also something about getting it to the right temperature and letting it sit…?

      The boy pulled a thermometer out of a bag and slipped it into the mix.

      “How…much was that, Genos?” Saitama had spent enough years bargain hunting to know when something was flat-out expensive.

      “It was essential, Saitama-sensei.”

      “Seriously. What did it cost?”

       The blonde didn’t look up. “A smile, if you are so concerned. That’s the only thing I’ll take from you if you want to pay me back.”

      What the hell! “Genos!”

      He grinned, fans spinning. “Sensei.”

      Saitama cheeks were about as bright as the Genos’ apron. “You jerk!”

     “I never claimed to be kind, Saitama-sensei.” He stirred the pot. “…Usually, you are the only one who says such things to me.”

      Saitama tugged the confectioner sugar towards him and sifted it into a bowl. The powder flew all over the place. “Blondie…I know this is Valentine’s stuff, but…you don’t have to be this sappy.”

      “I am only honest,” answered Genos, turning off the burner. “If it comes off as ‘sappy,’ Saitama-sensei…well, there is not much I can do about it.” He eased the bowl from his teacher’s hands. “Now we need to pour this in, making sure there are no clumps… Can you stir as I pour?” he asked, gently pulling his hero in at the waist.

      Saitama had to double-check that the heat was off. “S-sure, kid,” he muttered, picking up one of the metal spoons. “Where the spatula? Wouldn’t that be better?”

      From this close the man could hear the vents humming in his student’s chest. “It’s better shaped, yes, but wooden utensils hold flavor, and it would affect the taste of the chocolate.”

      Ah. So that was another mistake Saitama’d made. “Huh…” He eyed water boiling in the corner, a tiny bagged bottle floating in it. “What’s that?” he asked, pointing at it with his chin.

     The fans picked up. “A-ah…it’s strawberry flavoring, Sensei. I…thought it would be…a nice addition…”

     He had such a sweet tooth… “Why are you cooking it like that?”

     There was a “blop” as Genos plucked the bag from the water and opened it, squeezing the bottle lightly before putting it down. “It needs to be roughly the same temperature as the chocolate. It should be alright when we are ready for it.”

     All the clumps had disappeared into the mix. “When’s that?”

     “It will be the last step before we freeze it, Saitama-sensei. We need to ensure that the chocolate has the proper consistency before putting anything into it.”

      The man saw the wrapped set of plastic sheets propped up against the corner. The molds were in the shape of giraffes... “Where did you find that, Genos?”

     The cyborg’s voice dropped. “I…made a stop at a baking specialty store. Sensei.”

      Genos refused to meet his teacher’s stare…and Saitama couldn’t help busting out into a laugh. “You take everything way too seriously.”

     “Helping Sensei is serious…”

     The man tried to get his student to look over, but it was hopeless. He hip-checked him and reached for the pre-measured milk. “This is next, right?” The kid nodded and he put it in, stirring until the mixture was as smooth as it had been before. “You know…this is taking a while, but it’s kinda soothing. Watching it all come together…”

      “Yes, Sensei. It’s why I enjoy baking as much as I do.”

      Huh…maybe Saitama should try making a batch of cookies one day… “Are we gonna add the flavor now?”

      The blonde head bobbed again. “We don’t need very much…” He pulled the bottle from the counter and carefully tipped two drops into the mix.

      Saitama waited. “Is that all?”

     The fans hitched. “…Yes…” His disciple screwed the lid in place and popped the flavoring in a cupboard. “It was the smallest they had…”

      Saitama stirred on.

      “…I…really like strawberry…”

      The man laughed again. “It’s alright, kid. You’re putting this much work into it, you should…well…”

      Saitama froze, realizing that he’d never actually said the chocolates were for Genos. He didn’t have to, they both knew that they were, because…y’know, the chocolates were for him because…because Saitama…

       “You wanna taste it?” the man shot, needing something to distract from the thump-thump-thump behind his lungs. It was making it hard to breathe… “You should, right?”

      “Surely, Sensei,” he answered, picking up a spoon.

      Saitama waved him off. “Just use this one,” he urged, lifting up the one he’d been mixing with. “I think I’m done with it…”

      The cyborg tried to grab the spoon, but at the last second Saitama jerked it out from his reach. Genos had spent the last hour churning out as many corny pick-up lines he could think of—his teacher earned the right to make him at least a little embarrassed. “Nuh-uh,” he told him, “Open up.”

      It was very rewarding when the vents went off. “Sensei…”

      Saitama kept the spoon at his shoulder. “Say ‘ah.’”

      Genos scowled at him, leaning forward. Saitama brought the spoon closer, waiting until he was barely close enough to bite it before pulling it back again.

      Those yellow eyes burned. “Sensei!”

      Saitama gloated. “Genos.

      It dawned on the kid that this was a game, and he couldn’t himself from smiling. He lasted maybe four tries until he snagged his hero’s hand from the air and held it in place.

      There was a little pulse in Saitama’s spine as he watched him lick the spoon clean. “That’s…cheating…”

      “Sometimes cheating is the best tactic, Sensei…” His tongue lapped up the chocolate at the corners of his mouth. “This is very good…”

      Saitama got the biggest urge to start cleaning up at that exact moment.

      While he was soaping up the sponge he heard a click behind him, and (after a few moments of silence) the chink of metal against plastic. “Saitama-sensei…would you also like to taste?”

      The man turned away from the sink. Genos was…awfully tense for such a simple question. Saitama shrugged, trying to fight off the pink in his cheeks. “Yeah, lemme—“ He put his hand out take the spoon and his student…tugged it back…

     The little prick.

     “Hey! Pass it over,” Saitama cried, reaching out.

     Genos refused to give in, shaking his head and telling him to “Say ‘ah.’”

     Saitama glared. “Absolutely not.”

     The blonde’s chest growled like a sports car. “If it’s alright for you to do it to me, Sensei…”

     Saitama’s back got so stiff he felt it would crack if he twisted the wrong way. “You suck sometimes,” he resigned, opening his mouth and leaning in. “Ah.”

     It was hard to ignore the way the kid was staring at his lips.

     Saitama shoved it out of his mind and pushed forward, getting increasingly more frustrated as his disciple continued the keep-away. “Come on! Give it—“ he tried to lunge and bite, but Genos was too fast. He was pulling it further and further back, which happened to be closer and closer to…

     …his head…

     Saitama stopped, glancing between the spoon and the cyborg. Genos’ torso sounded like a bomb getting ready to go off and his smile had vanished. Instead he looked…scared…and his hands were shaking…

     The man’s chest felt about two sizes too small. He hovered for another second, steeling himself.

     …He had wanted to make the kid uncomfortable.

     Saitama exhaled and moved in, still trying to bite the frickin’ spoon. It got to the point where he had to step closer to reach it, and then again, Genos inching it away until the handle was at his cheek.

     The cyborg had to be able to hear Saitama’s heartbeat with how loud it was in his ears. He eased forward, watching the (mostly hardened) goop tap against Genos’ chin. They stared at each other, unmoving, barely even breathing.

     This was the most intense game of chicken Saitama had ever played.

     He pushed closer, straining to keep his chest off the Genos’ whining plates. He almost got it…until the boy pressed the spoon over his mouth…

     Saitama looked up into his eyes. He could actually read the number in the marker that ticked away as he recorded. The air from his fans was hot too…

     He glanced down and let his lip drop. “You’re gonna get it all over yourself,” he mumbled, pushing Genos’ hand out of the way.

      When he did he found that his was shaking too.

      Saitama didn’t pull back and he didn’t let go. He listened to Genos’ vents scream on, feeling him trembling, feeling himself trembling, failing to ignore the that smoky circuit smell ghosting out of his student.

     Genos didn’t move either.

     Saitama swallowed.

     “L-look,” he whispered, “You…did get it all over you…” And he dipped his head closer, close enough that he could feel Genos’ inhale shudder against his mouth.

     Saitama glanced one last time at the boy’s eyes. He couldn’t tell if what he saw in them was fear, or happiness, or anger…

     …but he forgot how to worry about it when he got his taste.

     Genos’ lips were as soft as he’d imagined, sweet with the chocolate sliding between them. Saitama knew the kid was steaming, but he couldn’t tell if the heat was from his own cheeks or his disciple’s shoulders or the oven behind them…

      It only got worse when Genos let the spoon topple from his hand so he could clutch at his teacher’s back. He was wrapping himself around Saitama, tugging him closer, closer, pulling his neck in as much as he could, mouth pushing and sucking and coaxing and prodding and fuck he so eager he wasn’t stopping he—he—

     Saitama floundered for the counter, struggling to keep himself up. He called a few muffled cries into his blonde’s (very enthusiastic) kiss before he managed to separate.

      Genos stood above him, clinging like Saitama was lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. His sensei could almost hear the strain of his wires as he tried not to pounce right back onto the man.

      “Frick, Genos…” Saitama straightened himself and pushed the cyborg away, just a little. He swooped in as soon as his teacher’s palms were off him, though, and Saitama had to put them right back.

     He took a deep breath to steady the thudding in his ribs. “We’re gonna do that again,” Saitama murmured, “B-but…a little calmer this time, okay?” And he leaned in carefully, shivering as Genos practically melted into him. Goddamn his lips were so soft and warm…

      Saitama slid his hands around Genos’ neck and pulled him down, going as slow as he could, trying to enjoy the sensation. Something terrifying and exciting and incredibly relieving had opened up inside of him, and each time he felt Genos push back it got a little wider, a little brighter...

      Genos’ core hummed against his teacher’s chest, and Saitama’s lips vibrated on the small whine that came with it…

      His stomach blazed at the sound.

      He went on and Genos moaned again, quieter this time but that much more desperate.

      Saitama slipped back. His disciple’s stare was so full of need the man blushed for him. “Kid…”

     Genos didn’t look away and his hero had to hide in the crook of his shoulder. The tubes on his neck were practically on fire…

      Saitama wanted to say something. He felt like he should, like it was right. Something comforting, or smart, or…nice…

      …but all he managed was, “You’re really warm.”

      Genos squeezed back, tucking his head beside his teacher’s. “Yes,” he answered, softly.

     They held each other in silence for a while, waiting until the boy’s body had stopped smoking and his sensei’s heart came down to a near-normal speed. It was a few minutes before the man saw the chocolate splattered across the floor, and the fridge, and the walls…

     Oh crap. The chocolate.

     Saitama looked up. “Don’t we need to freeze that stuff now?”

     “…I suppose…” The blonde didn’t budge.

      “...Won’t it go bad if we don’t?”

     Genos’ eyes were so bright his sensei had to squint to see them. “S…Saitama,” he started, fingers digging into the man’s back, “If we finish it…can we do this after?”

      Had his hands always burned like that? “I—um…y-yeah. I…I think so…”

     Reluctantly Genos let go, peeling the molds from the wrapping and cleaning them lightly. With a tiny voice he asked Saitama to restir the chocolate, standing as close as he could. His vents were whistling on, and the steam made it a little hard to see, but…

     …but it was okay…

      Saitama glanced at his student, taking in his features. He’d done it dozens of times in stolen snippets, but never all at once or without trying to hide it. He was gorgeous, what with the fluttery lashes and wavy hair and pretty…lips…

     His own buzzed at the thought. He’d kissed him. He’d actually done it. The man finally…did it… The idea alone was enough to get his cheeks going again, and Saitama internally screamed at himself for being worse than a frickin’ schoolgirl. It was only a kiss, it was one of the most innocent thing he could’ve done.

     Genos’ moan played through his head, though, and he remembered the last time he heard it…how the boy was spread out across their floor…

     Saitama focused on getting the chocolate level in each mold. One step at a time. He needed to get used to the kissing thing first. That was…stimulating, enough…on its own…

     Without saying a word Genos bent down and mouthed his neck, working at it for a good long while before drifting his lips across his teacher’s forehead and returning to the sheets.

     Saitama’s face blazed. He noticed he was spilling all over the edge of the counter and shot the bowl back in place.

     This…was going to be a lot harder than he thought.

     After a very tense half hour they had the molds in the freezer, the floor wiped, and the dishes cleaned. Saitama would be lying if he said his belly didn’t feel like it was trying to escape. He’d promised Genos they could continue what it was they’d been doing, which was…what? Holding each other, or…did he mean the kissing…thing…?

    Genos pulled off the apron and lay it on the counter, taking Saitama’s hand and backpedaling through the door.

     The man let himself be guided, trying hard not to let his nerves show on his face. Poor blondie didn’t have a choice when it came to that, though—his shoulders were already puffing like a train and his core was brimming through the smoke. If it was dark out it probably would’ve looked cool, what with the blue light in the cloud…

     Genos knelt beside the table, still gripping onto his teacher. He had this look that made Saitama want to simultaneously spring out the back door and hug him until his armor started to crunch.

      Saitama sat down in front of him.

     “We,” Genos began, not meeting the man’s eyes, “We...kissed. Saitama-sensei.”

      His teacher guffawed despite how hot his ears were. “…Yeah…we did.”

      The cyborg shuffled. “I liked it…very much…”

     For a few moments the only sound was Genos’ vents droning on. Eventually Saitama spoke up. “Are you…asking for another one?”

     “Y-yes. Se—Sai…Saitama…”

     Could your heart try to eat itself? Because Saitama’s sure seemed to be doing that now. “Al…right, kid.” He licked his lips, nervous that they might have dried out. They felt it… “But take it easy, okay? It’s just a kiss.”

     Genos deflated. “I…will try.”

     Saitama put his hands to the floor, hoping that if he didn’t have them around the blonde it would calm him down a bit. He let out a sigh…and stopped.

      The crease came back into Genos’ forehead. “Are you alright?”

      Saitama nodded, then shook no. “It…it’s been a long time…since I did this…”

      The boy kept his eyes on the man. “…How long?”

      Was he mad? Or was that fear in his voice? “Well…geeze, I guess since the last time I got an—“ Saitama caught himself. “Since I slept with anyone…so about three years?”

      Genos shrunk back. “Ah…so… Sensei is…” His vents let out a little gust. “…Experienced.”

     Why did his teacher feel so guilty about it? “Is…is that okay? I mean, I should be, I’m a lot older than you…”

     The kid sunk further down and Saitama wished one of his special skills wasn’t “make your cyborg feel as terrible as possible in twenty words or less.” What was he supposed to say though? He wasn’t going to lie, and his disciple had asked him… What was so bad about it? Unless…

     Aw shit, that’s right. “Genos, have you ever…”

     The vents started screaming and the blonde curled his head into his chest, shaking it.

     That explained…a lot… Saitama touched his student’s hand. “Have you done…anything before?”

      His fingertips were clammy from the sink as he rubbed them across his hero’s. “No, Sensei… I never wanted to, when I was human… And once I became a cyborg, there wasn’t…much of a point…”

     So he would be Genos’ first.

     The man’s shoulder dipped when his student laid against it, wordless. Saitama let him sit for a few more moments before nudging Genos’ head up with his own, ignoring the smoke that pooled around them.

     Those yellow eyes blazed.

     “…Ready?” Saitama asked, not sure if he could answer it himself.

     The boy nodded and his teacher inhaled one more time. He could smell the circuits burning…

     In half a second their lips were together again, the touch gentler and more patient than before. They tested one another, seeing how their mouths best fit into each other, shifting their necks and shoulders and backs in a thousand tiny ways until they were as close as they could be. It was really slow, and sweet…and warm…

     “Mnnh…”

     The groan hit the base of Saitama’s spine and sent chills rocketing through it. He pulled away, flustered. “Genos,” he started, wiping his lips. “What is that?”

     Genos drooped. “I…I am sorry, Sensei. It’s…this is just so much…” He tucked himself into his teacher’s chest, hand trickling up a cross-legged shin and straining forearm.

     It made the chills twice as bad…

     “And I want you…so much,” he went on, massaging his thumb gently into the man’s skin. He would not look up.

      Saitama froze, clueless as to how he was supposed to answer that.

     “It’s difficult, being so close…and not being closer…” The blonde shifted his head until his lips were pressed up against Saitama’s Adam’s apple. He let them sit there, all soft and tickly and still a little wet…

     His hero let out a slow breath and pulled back. Genos lifted to see him. “You, um,” he started, “I’m hungry, you—you want…anything…?”

     The blonde’s stare bore into him. “Yes.”

      Saitama lasted about a second before his hands shot out to cover the kid’s face. “I mean to eat!”

     He saw an eyebrow quirk under his fingers and felt the frickin’ smirk on his palm. “Well…”

     “Oh my God,” Saitama shouted, springing up. The smog followed him. “I’m getting noodles. Do you want to come with me or stay here?”

     Genos clambered up and clanked into the kitchen, reappearing in the hallway with his oppai hoodie half-on.

     “You’re sure?” Saitama asked. “It seems like you could use a cooldown…”

      There was the smile again. “If Sensei was not around, I can assure you that quite the opposite would happen.”

     Saitama stomped to his keys and ripped on the jacket. “I am going to take back that kiss if you keep this up!”

     Genos’ lips were at his ear in a heartbeat. “You could try,” he offered, laying the smallest of pecks at the crook of his teacher’s jawline.

     They turned out the lights and made their way out the door, Saitama excited at how cold it was. Hopefully it’d help him with the fire pit that was his face right now.


 

     So maybe Genos had become a little…distracted…in his studies.

     It wasn’t as if he’d abandoned them altogether, certainly not. He maintained his logs, reviewing them for incorrect hypothesis and writing in notes where applicable. It was simply that he’d added a new…facet to them. Another field of study.

     A much better field of study.

     Holy shit Genos hadn’t been this excited about studying in his entire life.

     He took Sensei’s emotional allowances when they came—a smile here, a compliment there. Occasionally a brush of the hair or a touch that lingered too long. So when his hero told him, clutching onto his hand like it would detach, that “Something About Us” reminded him of the his disciple…Genos was ecstatic. Impatient to hear the three most important words in that song straight from Sensei’s mouth, of course, but thrilled nonetheless.

     It led, somehow, to an equally tense and comfortable existence until eight days (eleven hours, forty-six minutes, and fifte--sixteen seconds) ago. Up to that moment he’d pushed the limits further than he dared before. He would purposely take Sensei’s arm when they were out, if only for a few minutes, or put his hand to his hip as they checked an HA blast on Genos’ cell. Some days he would ask teasing questions that ventured into much more intimate places than he’d risked entering before…

     Not expecting much to come of them, mind you. Genos said them merely so that he could experience the strange comfort of knowing he could ask them.

     The reactions were interesting too—while his teacher would rarely offer something back, he never once refused Genos’ advances. In fact, Sensei seemed to get a particular satisfaction in them. As he scribbled newly approved come-ons in his journals, Genos thought he could not be any happier…

     …And then he needed to help his teacher make chocolate.

     “Needed to help” wasn’t a convenient turn-of-phrase. Genos was…kind…when he reassured his teacher that his first batch wasn’t so bad. Kind, and very forgiving. Sensei was wonderful at savory and satisfying dishes, but sweets were not his forte. They required a delicate touch that the Caped Baldy did not have. If Saitama-sensei wanted to make chocolates, he would need Genos to show him how…at least for the initial batch.

     Things went far better than he’d expected. Sensei was surprisingly perceptive and the chocolates came out well. Genos was admittedly heavy-handed with his flirting for the day, but given the activity…he felt it appropriate. It was endearing to see his hero so flustered, if nothing else.

     Taste-testing had been his teacher’s idea.

     When Sensei first held out the spoon, asking him to “Say ‘ah’,” the cyborg was irritated. He was not a child, or an animal—he was highly capable of feeding himself. Such a gesture was insulting…

     But then he saw the grin on Sensei’s face. The man was being playful, and it was as cute as it was irritating. As he spun towards the sink rinse off said spoon Genos noted the hitch in his teacher’s heartrate…

     And saw a second spoon lying on the counter…

     In hindsight, the blonde was incredibly pleased he acted without thinking. At that moment, though, he thought he was going to to self-destruct from anxiety.

     Three minutes and twenty-six seconds after he thought he was going to self-destruct out of pure joy.

     To say that Saitama’s lips were perfect—that they were as firm as they should’ve been, as plush, that they made so many small movements that Genos intended on memorizing and mapping and returning, that he wanted nothing more than to guide those lips everywhere they could go—would not do it justice.

     He got to feel them again thirty-six minutes and twenty-two seconds later, in a softer way that was no less tantalizing.

     And six hours, twenty-one minutes, and fifty-five seconds later, they shared their first goodnight kiss. Genos could not fall asleep and his systems shut down during lunch the next day, but it was worth it. He spent the late hours replaying video and photos, trying to remember the feel of those moments, the heat, the small noises that passed between them as the exchange became more passionate…

      Sensei was particularly responsive to such intimacy. Genos was sure he did not know it, because he probably would not be so…open…to his student’s advances otherwise, but…when Genos pressed himself against the man, or if he hummed into his kiss, or bit gently down on his lip, he would give these throaty sighs that made Genos understand why any media company would hire him to create explicit audio tracks. When he caved and let out a groan himself, it was in response to his teacher…

     …not that his teacher seemed to like it…

     As ecstatic as Genos was, he would be lying if he said Sensei’s reaction to more heated moves didn’t bother him. After all, he’d done a good job of holding himself back (he thought), and figured it was time to experiment further.

     “Genos,” his teacher started, struggling to pull away during last night’s session. “You’ve been…kinda… Um…”

     The cyborg could tell he was red despite how dark it was. He busied himself with his teacher’s neck as he found the right words. “What, Sensei?”

     “K-kind…Kind-aaah…Shit, you gotta—“ He pushed Genos off and up. “Lemme finish before you start that, alright?”

     Genos stared down, impatient. He could feel the need bunching in his spine, as it had been for the past several days. With the Association constantly calling him away to work on a new hero ranking system and the distinct lack of monsters, he hadn’t been alone for longer than an hour since their first kiss…and seeing how his teacher was reluctant to bring their relatively innocent play to the next level…

     “You’ve been really…willing? Lately…” The man studied their blanket. “It’s not that I don’t like it, but…you seem like you want to do…everything, all at once…and that’s not how this works.”

     He scratched his chest and Genos wondered how he could undo the first few buttons without his teacher noticing…

      “Kid. Kid,” he called, waiting for his disciple to look up at him. He sighed. “This is all new for you, and…I don’t want you diving straight into it without thinking. I don’t know if you’re ready fo—“

     “I am ready, Sensei,” Genos shot, trying not to plunge onto the man.

     “Maybe I’m not,” he urged back, surprising both of them. His sleeve rustled as he draped his forearm across his eyes. “This is new…for both of us. You haven’t been with anyone before, and I…I haven’t…felt like this…with anyone…”

     The motors in Genos’ vents kicked into a higher RPM.

     His hero pushed himself off the futon at sat up, forcing Genos to kneel over his lap.

     The S-class had to calm down. The most important person in his life was telling him he needed to, telling him he needed space, that he needed time…even more time than Genos had already given him…but God he smelled so good right now, and his lips were all pink from overuse, and the arch in his crotch was pressing up...

     “I don’t want you doing something you regret,” Sensei mumbled.

     That was nonsense. There was nothing he could’ve done with Sensei that he would regret. Every moment of his life had been bettered by the man that was currently blushing beneath him, everything he did that he was proud of was somehow because of him, he would give him everything—everything—if only that was what he wanted and never once reconsi—

      “Genos,” he marveled, pulling the boy down. Sensei’s laugh vibrated into his chestplate. “I can almost see the steam coming outta your ears. It’s alright, blondie… It’s okay…”

     His voice was so soft…

     “It isn’t,” Genos pushed, caving and folding into Sensei’s hold. “I—I’m…Saitama-sen—Saitama, I want you, I want you to…” His teacher’s arms were firm against his back, and the blonde could feel him rising against his thighs… “Sa—Sensei, I want…to…”

     His core lit up the pair of big brown eyes watching him. He could see all the guilt pooling there, and the desire right behind it. “Kid,” he trailed, “There’s time… I’m not going anywhere…” And he planted a small peck on his student’s jaw.

     Genos shot down and devoured it before it was finished, painfully aware of how much he was disappointing his hero.

     Sensei pulled back. “We should go to sleep, okay?”

     An embarrassing whine gurgled from Genos’ throat before he could stop it. His teacher pouted on.

     “Y-yes…Sensei…”

     Needless to say the past couple of weeks had been…intense. True, Saitama had allowed his hands to roam more frequently, and he’d become more adventurous with his kisses (the dip at Sensei’s back seemed to be incredibly sensitive)…but it wasn’t enough. Genos consoled himself with as many private moments as he could manage (blessings to the fan that sent those CDs), and the knowledge that he could now sneak the occasional show of affection while he was out with his teacher.

     It wouldn’t be anything big—grazing his hand, or leaning against him on the train… He did once risk a quick grab of his behind while they were at a time sale, though. The yelp was worth the silent treatment on the way home. Genos would’ve begun to worry if his teacher hadn’t been more fervent in their kisses that night…

     (When Sensei wasn’t looking, he opened a notebook to the list of his hero’s various turn-ons and added “Ass-play?” in a large circle above the top.)

     Meetings were certainly better. Now that he had hours of far more interesting subject material to review he could stand listening to that blue-haired prick drone on and on about the importance of heroes. Sometimes his fans would begin buzzing in the middle of the speech, but luckily most of the other S-class wrote it off as a function of his mechanical body. They joked about it, of course—“What’s up loverboy, looking up pictures of Baldy?” asked Tatsumaki one afternoon—but he merely quirked his eyebrows at them and smiled.

     It was satisfying to watch them blush and about-face. It was more satisfying to watch the same kind of smile spread across his teacher’s lips when Genos recounted the story to him later.

      It was most satisfying when Genos felt it lingering there as he kissed him afterward.

     …So much so, in fact, it was how the cyborg spent any waking moment he wasn’t working or studying, when he should have been preparing his own Valentine’s gift for Sensei.

     He could make the chocolate of course, that wasn’t the problem. The shape he wanted to mold them into though…that was a bigger challenge. Three-dimensional casts were fickle to begin with, and for one that was so filled with gaps and arcs…

     It wasn’t something he could work on at home either. He intended on it being a complete surprise, and as such had tried to spend some mornings in Kuseno’s lab (“The Association,” when Saitama-sensei asked), borrowing a kitchen for confectionary work. He had come close to what he wanted, but whenever he lifted the chocolate from the freezer some section of it would crumble under his touch. It was quite frustrating.

     “Why are you working so hard on this?” asked Kuseno, watching over his shoulder when he visited two weeks ago. Immediately he added, “Nevermind. This is for Saitama.”

     Genos nodded, standing at the counter in nothing but an apron. While he enjoyed the comfort of being home, he preferred cooking in the doctor’s facility—it was the one place he was free to wander without clothes on and it made moving around far more comfortable. Anyway the beakers allowed for better accuracy than regular measuring cups.

     The cyborg was unusually nervous to share with Kuseno what had happened the day before. He rambled on about fluid consistency and temperature instead, hoping that his teacher’s (almost) confession would come tumbling out.

     It did not.

     “And has he given you a reason to think he’ll be returning the favor this year?”

     The chocolate settled as Genos paused to look over. His guardian was so perceptive… “Actually, doctor…”

     The wrinkles creased in Kuseno’s eyes as he beamed. “Oh? Is this something genuine now? No assumptions or guesses?”

     Genos’ vents hummed. “…No, it isn’t,” he pushed, still a little flattered at the thought. The bowl clinked as he put it down. “A few nights ago… Saitama-sensei told me a certain song…reminded me of him…”

     He knew there would be a slump in the man’s shoulders before he saw it. “Genos.”

     The blonde shook his head. “It does not sound as…serious, as it was. Sensei had been incredibly quiet, as I told you…”

     For the next fifteen minutes Genos described the night, watching as Kuseno’s grin got wider and wider. He could not help but smile bashfully in response.

     “…So for Sensei to have told me that the song made him think of me…” He fidgeted with the vent on his forearm. “I know what he meant, doctor.”

     There was a solid “thwuck” as the man clapped him on the back, laughing. “What did I say? No ‘friend’ would act the way he does towards you. Now you don’t have to share, I understand if you would like to keep this part of your life private for now, but…” His eyes glittered. “Have you kissed him yet?”

     The fans steamed on. “N-not yet, doctor. Saitama is…very conservative, with his affections. But he has not tried to stop me when I go to hold his hand, and we’ve begun…sleeping beside one another…”

     Kuseno’s hearty chuckle filled the room. “He’ll come around, my boy, don’t worry. Will you be doing something special for Valentine’s Day then?”

     “I had intended on it, yes…” He went back to the chocolate, testing the temperature to see how cool it had gotten. “Nothing big. I only wanted to take him to our noodle restaurant. I am sure,” he continued, melting down more chocolate so that he could heat up the batch by him, “That Sensei would prefer something small for our first night out.”

     ‘Our first night out’. Genos’ fans buzzed at the phrase, and his jaw shook as he thought about all it meant.

     Kuseno resettled his jacket around himself. “Yes, he seems to be that kind of guy. Soon you will bring him here with you, I am very interested to meet him—especially now.”

     Genos hesitated, glancing through the open door at the latest version of his torso on a work station. “Y-yes…Kuseno.”

     “And if you ever get to the point when you want to consider…well, body alterations,” offered Kuseno, scratching his chin, “We can discuss what’s possible for you.”

     Body alterations? What d—

     The meaning hit him and Genos almost toppled the bowl. “Doctor!”

     The man waved his hand. “Later, Genos, that’s for later. I just wanted you to know that I’m ready to talk if you would like to. I’ll leave you to it, then,” he sighed, pulling out a smudged checklist from his pocket and wandering off into the hydraulics facility.

     That batch was probably one of the worst Genos had made, seeing as his focus was…elsewhere...

     It was the opposite case with the chocolates he and Sensei had made. They sampled them before they were bagged for the freezer (“I have no idea if I can do this on my own,” he told him, turning pink, “So these might be it…”), and they were impressive. Genos smiled every time he opened the door and found them hiding in the far corner. He wondered how his teacher would package it, but he didn’t put it past him to lay the chocolates on a plate and set it on the table. The cyborg would still love them, as much as he did the man handing them over…

     God he loved him so much…

     Genos studied that day’s shopping list, ignoring the fan mail sitting beside the backdoor. He was waiting to go through it until after he’d returned. It would take a while, but he had time since Sensei would be stuck at his yearly evaluation for most of the day. Luckily he’d figured out how to tell which letters intended only on slandering him and his hero, so carving through the pile was much less taxing than before…

     It was strangely validating, he realized, receiving hate for being with his teacher. He was proud to be paired with the man regardless of what came with it…and it gave him no small amount of relief knowing he was shouldering some of the burden. Besides all that, his teacher had started getting a jump in fan mail himself.

     He shimmied into his hoodie and glanced at the letters. A few heart-covered boxes were peeking out from the mess… He was surprised his fans were sending them given the circumstances.

     Genos shoved the list in his pocket, trying to figure out what to do with the extra chocolate.

Chapter Text

     Saitama let out a long, slow breath, slumping over the microphone. His hands were shaking… “Did you catch that alright?” he asked the woman on the other end of the mic.

     Emiko gave her usual thumbs-up. “It came through great, Sai,” she called, pushing herself up and disappearing through the sound booth’s door. In a second she was walking through the one in the studio. “You have such a nice voice…I’ve asked before, but I’ll ask again--have you considered talking with a record label? I could have Mr. Ueda pull up the few that he’s worked with…”

     “Nah, I’m okay. Thanks though…” Saitama tugged one of the disinfectant wipes from the container they always left on the desk and gave the mic a quick once-over. It was more out of habit than anything (there was a lot less spit involved with this visit) but he needed something to distract him from the woman staring at him. “I’m good leaving it at the date CDs.”

     She lifted the garbage can from the corner of the room so he could toss the wipe. It gave a little “fwup” as it landed. “…We could keep on using your air name, if that would help.”

     “Honest,” Saitama pushed, standing up. “I’m fine. I only wanted…this one song…” He scratched the back of his head as he scanned the table. “It’s weird not having the props to clean up afterwards.”

      She laughed. “A lot faster, right? This is what it’s like for the guys that stick to the light stuff. Lucky, huh?”

     Saitama shrugged. “I…guess? That sounds kinda boring though. What, is it just talking?”

     Emiko nodded. “And some making out, but that’s it. So…you wanted this at the end of the CD, right? Last track?”

      He hoped she couldn’t tell how hot his cheeks were getting… “Y-yeah… Are you sure it’ll be ready by Valentine’s Day?”

     She gave him some serious side-eye at that. Saitama thought she must’ve been a teacher when she was younger, because that look always made him feel like he needed to go to the principal. “Normally, not a chance. The release date isn’t for another month, and it takes a while to process and format these—“ She glared again—“Certainly longer than four days…but you do good work for us, and you make some of our best-selling stuff. Plus...we’re all pretty excited that you finally found someone.” She motioned to the hallway and followed a very red Saitama out. “We can make an exception this time.”

     Geeze…had he seemed that lonely before? “Thanks…I think… I really appreciate this, Emiko. I’d be screwed without it.”

     “Huh…If we’ve done our jobs right,” she started, walking with him to the elevator, “You’ll be screwed with it too, eh?” Saitama’s burning ears answered for him, and she laughed. “After all the stuff you’ve acted out that makes you flustered?”

     The elevator’s floor jerked as they made their way down to the lobby. “It’s different,” the man answered, “It’s not just words on a page. This is…for real…” He couldn’t bring himself to look up.

     “I know, Saitama. I know. It’s funny is all.”

     The doors pinged open and he nearly sprinted away, but then he remembered—“When should I pick it up?”

     Emiko came out a lot more calmly. “Saturday is absolutely the earliest we can have it done, but it’s going to be after hours…Could you come Monday morning?”

     Aw geeze, on Valentine’s Day? Genos wasn’t gonna be happy about that…but they were already doing him a huge favor… “Alright, yeah. Can I get it as soon as you’re open?”

      “Sure. I’ll be in at seven, so I can give it to you then.”

     Maybe he could convince the kid to sleep in later than normal…? “Thanks…really. I’ll see you later?”

     She waved. “See you later.

     The doors banged as he left the building. He knew this was mega-inconvenient for them, what with Valentine’s being the day they promoted all their new date audios, but he needed it. He’d gone to check on the chocolates before he boxed them up, and the freezer must’ve gone through a defrost cycle because they were all stuck together…

     He’d tried remaking them, but…well…maybe sweets weren’t his thing. …Aw crap, he’d have to come up with some excuse to explain why one of their pots was crushed into a tiny ball and sitting at the bottom of their garbage can… Genos would probably know what happened anyway, though. He could always see straight through his teacher.

     A flutter shot through his belly, the same one that’d been popping up whenever he’d thought about his disciple lately. It was nothing big—just this squeeze that made him freeze up for a bit—but still. That it was there…

     This was for real.

     The streets became more run-down as he made his way back home from City D. He took an easy path over the rubble, used to weaving through it. He was sorta frustrated about it, though…if the place was a mess he could’ve used that to distract himself from the jitters in his ribs. It was the whole...being with Genos thing…

     …When had he become so sure of it?

     A few months ago he didn’t know if he could even think of a dude that way, let alone make Valentine’s gifts for one, and now…

     He remembered rubbing the blonde’s hair as he fell asleep last night, pushed as close to him as he could possibly be, and Genos’ soft whines as he kissed down his chest before that…

     Saitama’s body lurched forward as he tripped over an overturned door that definitely hadn’t been there a second ago. His ears blazed on. Well, he had no problem touching dudes, that was for damned sure. At least…not this one dude…

     An old shopping list fluttered from his hoodie pocket and he plucked it from the ground, fiddling with it as he walked forward. It must’ve been from the last time sale…heh…the cyborg nearly gave that poor old man a heart attack when he tried to take the apples from him.

    Saitama’s smile wobbled. He couldn’t help feeling the teensiest bit smug when Genos trotted up next to him in line that day. He was pressing against his side as they waited, bubbling on about the mangoes he snagged before the timer ran out, and some of the girls in the store started to whisper…

     …so Saitama made it a point to loop his arm around his waist to push him towards the register…

     He frowned. The swell of pride that surged up at their scowls was a lot bigger than he thought it would be. And the way his belly tightened up hearing the kid’s fans go off inside his sweater...

     Saitama wasn’t used to this.

     Their complex appeared around the corner and in moments he was climbing the stairs. He fished out his keys to open the front door, and smelled…rice cooking? “Genos?”

     “Sensei!” The blonde’s voice burst out from the kitchen before he did, eyes brighter than normal. “My meeting finished early and I was able to come home to prepare lunch. You do not mind onigiri…?”

     There was that flutter again. “Nah, that sounds great.” He shuffled out of his shoes, hesitating when he realized he’d need to explain where he was.

     “Did you find a new sale, Saitama-sensei?”

     How did he do that? It was like he could read his frickin’ mind… “U-uh…nah, I needed…to…check in on my evaluation at the headquarters.” Shit, wait, but he didn’t have anything—

     Genos’ eyebrow raised. “The results are ready? It generally takes up to a month for the Association to compile them…”

     “Uh…yeah. It does. I got the dates mixed up.”

     The boy stared for another second, and he gave the tiniest of smiles before disappearing back into the kitchen. “They’ll be ready soon, if you’d like to set the table.”

     His teacher followed, sneaking a glance as he molded the rice balls in his palms. Genos worked so hard on everything he did…and it was always so…cute…

     Saitama pulled the plates from the cupboard, hesitating.

     “Sensei?” asked the kid, “Are you alright?”

     The man breathed deep and nodded. “Yeah.”

     He pulled down a couple of cups too and carried them to the cracked tabletop, trying to ignore how his insides were curling around like fried squid. He’d need to replace the table eventually…maybe he could go out with Genos after lunch for it? There must’ve been something in City D, what with all the department stores.

     The rug wrinkled under his knees when he sat, listening as Genos finished up in the kitchen. The plate across from him shone in the dim sunlight.

     Saitama had never gone furniture shopping with anyone before. He’d always lived on his own, so it’s not like he had to worry about what someone else would like…

      Genos tromped to the table, laying the steaming dish on it and a pitcher of water next to it. “They’re all the same, Sensei—spicy tuna. There’s a lot left over from the last bulk sale, and this was something I’ve been wanting to make for us, though we haven’t been home together for lunch in quite some time…”

     The boy talked on and on and on, and Saitama wished he could’ve said he was paying attention…but he wasn’t. He was too focused watching how big his eyes got when he mentioned a new kind of sardine, and the little pout that came as he explained the cost…the way he tossed his hair to the side while he chewed, and how he pushed his food into one chubby cheek so he could keep on rambling…

      “Genos?” he asked, cutting the kid off.

     He stopped immediately and looked up. God his eyes were gorgeous…

     “Could we…go get a new table? After lunch…”

     A smile spread across his face. “Certainly, Sensei! I’ve been noting furniture retailers as I return from missions, and one in City B was offering…“

      Aaand he was off again. The man grinned, picking up a rice ball and taking a bite. He wasn’t all that hungry, though—he couldn’t keep the jitters out of his belly, and they were filling him up…

     The blonde kept on going and Saitama let him, watching the dozens of tiny things he did that made him…him.

      Saitama forced a few more bites before he had to stop. He felt so full. Like nothing else would fit…like he’d burst any second…

      “Sensei…? What’s wrong?”

      Saitama stared at his student. The dork got rice on his chin…

     Saitama crawled over to wipe it off, and without knowing why, gathered the cyborg up in a hug. He squeezed hard and curled over him, waiting for the tightness in his chest to go down.

     “Sen…sei?”

      “…Yeah?”

      “Has…something happened?”

     The B-class shook his head at first, and then nodded, tucking into Genos’ shoulder. “I…I think so.”

      “…Do you…know…?”

     The man hugged tighter. He could feel the boy’s body buzzing through his sweater.

     “You’ll help me pick out a nice table…right, Genos…?”

     “…Of course, Sensei. Of course…”

     Saitama hadn’t felt this full in a long time.


 

      It was dark out when Saitama’s buzzing phone woke him up. He’d opted for that instead of the alarm clock ‘cause he wanted Genos to sleep for as long as possible, and he knew there was no way he’d snooze through the ring.

     Saitama untangled himself from his metal arms as gently as he could. If he got up slow enough, he might be able to sneak out without his student noticing. Genos sure had one heck of a grip though…

     He got so far as pulling the blanket back over the kid before the blips and whirs started. “Sen…sei?” he whispered, pawing for the hero that wasn’t there.

     Shit… “I’ll be back soon. I gotta go pick something up.”

     The blonde frowned. “Today…is the 14th…”

     “Yeah, that’s why I have to go.” Aw no, he couldn’t look at him with those giant frickin’ eyes, it was like he was gonna cry…

     “I…wanted…” Genos pulled the blanket close, grabbing at his teacher’s fingers through the cotton. “I…”

     Saitama knelt down. “Just go back to sleep, okay? I promise I won’t be long.” He checked the screen—it was 6:50. If he sprinted he could be home again in twenty minutes. “It’s a really short trip.”

     “But…” His disciple hid his face, core buzzing. “I wanted…to wake up together…”

     So that’s what a punch to the gut felt like. “It…it’ll be worth it…I-I…I mean I hope so…”

     Gold light spilled out from under his bangs. “…How long?”

     “Fifteen minutes.” Probably… Shit, how could he help him…Oh! “Here!” Saitama started, pulling off his sleep shirt and passing it over. Genos took it with a confused frown. “Why don’t you wear that till I come back? Er…” Damnit, it wouldn’t fit over his shoulders! “That is…”

     Genos looked down to the top and hugged it close, sighing. “It smells like Sensei…”

     Guess it wouldn’t be a holiday if the cyborg didn’t make Saitama turn bright red as soon as he got up… “Y-yeah…so hold on to that until I come back. It’ll be really soon…” He stood and rummaged through the closet, trying to find one of his sweaters so he could slip it on. He was almost in the hallway when he heard a tiny “Sensei” from the futon.

     He padded back. “What’s up?”

     The boy tugged the hem of his teacher’s hoodie until he knelt down and Genos planted a small peck on his lips. “Fifteen minutes,” he slurred, flopping back onto Saitama’s pillow.

     The man’s chest might as well have been inside a compacter. “K-Kay. Yeah. Right.” And he left, breaking into a run the moment his feet were on concrete.

     Emiko was surprised to see him waiting when she parked her car in front of the studio at 6:57. “Geeze,” she teased, climbing out of the two-door. “I wish you were this punctual for recordings…”

     Saitama was practically hopping in place. “Can I get it now?”

     She laughed. “Yeah, they left it on my desk last night. Come on,” she said, unlocking the door and pushing against it.

     He was inside before it was open and back by the time she stepped in after, holding a CD with a smiling brunette on the front cover. NOT FOR SALE was stamped across the front. “This is it, right? This is the one?”

      She laughed. “God Saitama, yes. What’s wrong with you?”

     He pocketed it, pressing it close to his side. “He’s waiting,” he muttered. Then he heard the worry in his voice and tugged the hood up so Emiko couldn’t see how red he got. “Thanks—thank you so much. Thank you.”

     “Su—“ she started to answer, but he was already gone.

     Saitama was a few seconds slower coming back, worried that the rubble flying from his feet would hit the case. When he saw the apartment he didn’t bother with the stairs, leaping up instead and stumbling against the door.

     Genos must’ve heard the tha-thump. “Sensei?” came the quiet voice as he walked in.

      Saitama gingerly pulled the case from his hoodie. It was safe. “I’m back, kid. Told you it would be fast.” A chill settled on his skin when he pulled the sweater off, pushing the CD into the pocket and wrapping it. Would it fit into the box he bought for the chocolates…? “Could you move over?” he asked, tiptoeing to the futon.

     “Thirteen minutes and fifty-two seconds.”

     Saitama froze mid-kneel. “…What?”

     Genos shuffled back on the mat, making room. “It took Sensei thirteen minutes and fifty-two seconds…”

     He was unbelievable. “Genos,” he laughed, shoving him lightly and settling next to him. “Seriously?”

     “Yes…you were faster than predicted.” The blonde moved close. “Saitama-sensei is incredible…like always…”

     It was barely two minutes since he walked through the door and Genos was already at it. “Crap, man, give me a break…” The core was warm on his back. “Think I could have my shirt back?”

     There was a sniffle and a shake of yellow fluff. “…No…”

     “Huh? But I’m home now…”

    “Yes,” breathed the boy, planting a kiss on the top of his spine.

     “Hey…come on,” Saitama mumbled, shivering.

     Small hips ground against him. “If…Sensei would let me…”

     Holy shit he never stopped. “Genos! Go back to sleep.”

    “I’m not…tired…” came the answer. A pair of padded fingers ghosted across Saitama’s chest as his mouth trailed up to his jaw. The kid was barely conscious, and his kisses were a little sloppy…

     “…What happened to waking up together?”

     His hand pushed down, and Saitama stiffened. “Wouldn’t this wake us up?”

    “G-Genos…” He’d certainly gotten…better, at this, since they started a couple of weeks ago. A lot better. A whole lot better…but…

     The tips of his fingers pressed against Saitama’s belly. They were smooth, and soft…and gentle…b-but…still, he…he wasn’t…

     “Sensei is so warm…”

     Saitama’s stomach twisted all wrong. This felt so good—his lips were plush and wet and the way the kid was nibbling at his ear was going to make his heart stop but he wasn’t—he didn’t want—he was nervous, he—

    “Sensei is so…” Genos slipped his fingertips under the waistband and wriggled them down. “…Hot…”

     Saitama felt a rush of heat at his student’s touch…

     “Stop!”

     The blonde froze, startled when Saitama grabbed his hand. “S…Sensei?”

     “Don’t…keep on going, okay? Not…um…” His insides soured and all of a sudden he was twelve again, fooling around with the older girls because he’d been dared to. “Uh…”

     Genos crumpled behind him. “Did I…say something…”

     “No! No, Genos, you didn’t do anything, I’m just not…ready…” Saitama held his disciple’s hand close to his chest, the same way he had so many times before. “Not yet…”

     The plated fist gripped back and Genos buried himself into his hero’s shoulder. His hips rolled softly into Saitama, lingering long enough for his teacher to feel the heat there before he jerked them away. Genos’ hair stuck to the back of his neck when he ducked down. “I’m sorry…”

     …Guess it wouldn’t be a holiday if Saitama didn’t manage to make the kid feel like shit either. Fucking damnit… “Genos, no,” he urged, rolling around to face him. “It’s nothing you did. I’m…I’m not used to this, it’s been…a while…”

     The cyborg wouldn’t look up.

     Right…if it’d been a while for him, it was eons for Genos. He’d never been with anyone before, so all this kissing and touching…it must’ve been driving him crazy. This wasn’t fair…

     Saitama ran his hand through that yellow bedhead. “I…like it, though…Everything you do. It feels great…”

     Genos was silent at first. “Then,” he started, fans giving a tired spin, “…Why don’t you want it?”

     Saitama’s gut flooded with guilt. He…didn’t know why. It’s not like he wasn’t horny as all hell, or that he hadn’t imagined what it would feel like about a million times. He wanted his hands on him, around him…in him…he wanted to make Genos feel as good as he deserved… But as soon as things got serious, the man would get this awful sinking feeling in his belly and he couldn’t push it anymore…

    He stared back at the boy. Maybe…if he could get past it…

    Saitama kissed Genos’ forehead and pulled his hand down to the tip of his waistband, hiding behind a pillow.

    “S..aitama?”

    He shook his head and pressed into his student’s hand—and—oh God it was so warm…

    “Saitama…”

    The futon rustled as his sensei shuffled closer. “Please…”

    He could hear Genos’ fans turn in the dark. There was a pause, then—shit, he was being so careful, he was hardly touching him at all…

     This…was alright…

     The man let out a whine and Genos got bolder, rubbing harder, being more deliberate. He curled his arm around Saitama’s neck and cradled him, and his teacher knew he was watching him…

     It felt…so good…so much better than when he did it himself…

    Genos slipped his thumb beneath both layers of fabric and let it drift across the fuzz there. He kept on rubbing…

     Crap. Saitama pushed in closer, fighting the sourness in his belly. This was okay…this was Genos…it was alright…

    The touch turned into a grip, and the ridges in the padded thumb dug as they wrapped around him…

    It should feel good. It should feel amazing. Saitama dreamt about this so many times. He wanted it so bad!

     The cyborg’s fist started to pump, making slow drags up, and down…and up…

     …and down…

     …then it was gone.

    Saitama reeled. “Why did you stop?” he shouted, glaring. He was dealing! He was handling it!

    The blonde hugged him close. “You looked like you were in pain, Sensei…”

    “I was fine! Keep on going!”

    Genos gave out another slow breath and shook his head. “No.”

    “Come on! Please…”

    There was a long pause. “I don’t want to do anything that makes you look like that…”

    Saitama tried to come up with something to trump that…and failed. “I…I’m sorry, Genos. I…don’t know…”

     Genos kissed him then, the soft touch not at all matching the blazing Saitama felt from his crotch. Could those circuits melt…? “You’ve done nothing wrong, Sensei. Don’t apologize. I…I don’t want this, if you don’t. We can wait…”

     Saitama grunted. “Shit, kid…” The metal chestplate was hot against his collarbone. “You’re gonna get sick of me…”

     “That’s impossible, Saitama-sensei.” A tiny chuckle followed. “After all…”

     The man glowered up at him. “Yeah?”

     Genos smiled. “…I cannot ‘get sick.’”

    The Caped Baldy gave a short laugh and lightly shoved his student, rocking them both. “You’re a dweeb, you know that? Go to sleep.”

     The blonde admired the hero curled in his arms. “Yes, Sensei,” he answered, resting his chin on his teacher’s crown.

     The next few hours didn’t provide the most…restful sleep for Genos. He could shut down power to most of his body without a problem, but his brain was fully organic and there was no protocol to make it hush…

     …No matter how guilty he felt about the thoughts running through it. He knew Sensei didn’t want his touch, he was well aware how uncomfortable certain kinds of intimacy made him…but the memory of his mouth humming against his neck, and of him growing firm in his grip…

     When Genos did finally nod off, breathing the scent of the shirt bundled up his chest, he dreamt only of the man who had been wearing it—of his skin and lips and tongue, of his hands, and his fingers—of the curve of his ass and the curve he could put into his back, of his voice, his breath…of him calling Genos’ name again, and again, and again

     He woke up a few hours later with one very flustered Sensei laying beside him.

     “G’morning…kid…”

      The cyborg nuzzled in close, landing a sleepy kiss on his ear. “Good morning…Valentine…” Genos peered through still-tired eyes to catch his reaction, and saw that he was already wide-awake. …Had he slept at all? “Were you…able to go back to bed?”

     Pink pulsed into Sensei’s cheeks as he ventured a cautious, “Y-Yeah…for a bit…”

     That wasn’t promising. “Oh…Did my phone wake you again? I apologize, Sensei, I thought I—“

     “Nah, nah, that wasn’t it… Um…” His hand fiddled with the sheet above them. “Genos…”

     “Yes?” Why was he so nervous? Had…had he been too forward earlier that morning? Genos tried to stop himself as soon as Saitama showed discomfort, but he could have been mistaken, he was always going too f—

     “You...um…your junk’s got that password thing…right?”

     “Sen…sei?!” Of all the questions he’d expected to hear…that was the last. Genos shuffled under the unfiltered warmth that bloomed from his generators—his ventilation system had not yet booted to help disperse it…

     “I think…maybe it broke or something…”

      What? What could he know about the status of his body? His scanners were running the morning diagnostic and there was nothing unusual….

     “’Cause…I’m pretty sure you had a wet dream…”

     The boy gaped, and had his fist had clenched the way it did over anyone else’s arm their bone would have snapped. “H-how—“

     Sensei’s face was redder than the apples they got on clearance a few days ago. “Well…when you start grinding up against me and…moaning…it’s kind of hard not to notice…”

     If Genos could simultaneously shrivel and burst, now would be an opportune time to do it. “S-Saitama-sensei! I—I apologize, I…I didn’t know—that—I didn’t meant to make you—“

     A strong forearm pressed against his mouth. “Don’t worry about it. I mean…at least you came, so…I’m glad…”

     Yes. Right. Shriveling and bursting. “Sensei!”

    His hero pulled him in (oh God he needed his fans to boot faster, he was nearing a short), and kissed his temple before getting up. “Do you want eggs?”

     Genos plummeted to the comforter, pulling it over his head. He nodded when he realized his voice was failing on initiation. Sensei probably couldn’t see him agree, but he was too ashamed to remove the blanket…

     After several excruciating minutes there was a tap on his shoulder and the comforter was lifted. A pair of deep brown eyes peeked in through the gap. “They’re ready. You hungry?”

     Genos nodded again and shyly crawled out, fans finally online…and spinning furiously. Genos did not talk as he ate. He assumed he must’ve said enough as he slept…

     His silent spell broke at a familiar laugh. “Blondie…you’re okay. Don’t worry about it.”

     “The thought is mortifying, Sensei…” Why hadn’t his teacher tried to wake him?

     “Well, it doesn’t have to be. Anyway, seeing you like that was…” His cheeks flared and he focused on his rice. “…kinda…cute…” He ducked down as close to the new wooden table as he could. “And maybe…a little…hot…”

     That was not helping. “Sensei,” cried the cyborg, slapping his palm against the tabletop.

     “What?” cried back his teacher. “I’m being honest!”

      Genos’s fans were screaming as he fumbled for words. ‘Hot’? He was ‘hot’? Why couldn’t he say those things when they were in bed?! “I—I would prefer…not to talk of it, now! Sensei...”

     The man drooped. “Okay…alright. Sorry…” He kept his eyes down as he scraped the bottom of his bowl, wearing a strange half-smile that only meant trouble.

     Genos did his best to ignore it. Instead he glanced at his phone, checking for notifications. They were told to be on high alarm come the fourteenth—monsters were plentiful during this holiday, and while most of them were easily destroyed, some required more firepower. When he opened his texts, however, there was only one unread message glowing at the top. It was from Kuseno and all it said was:

     “Did you give it to him yet?”

     Genos heard one of his smaller chest fans give out as the rest kicked into high gear. He didn’t intend on making any repairs today….

     When he glanced to Sensei he was giving a worried frown. “Is everything okay? If—if this isn’t about…you know…”

     “No,” Genos huffed, vents steaming, “It is not. It’s…about…” His voice trickled away as he felt doubt for the first time. Would it seem silly, what he was going to give? Would it taste alright? It had been strange when he tried it before, but not unpleasant… Genos wasn’t sure how the flavors of so many different chocolates would blend once they had chilled, but it was the only way he could get the form to stick… “…My gift to you.”

     Panic flashed across Saitama-sensei’s face. “Oh. Oh. Uh…when…do you want to do that?”

     Had he forgotten…? “Whenever you would like to…” He thought about the chocolate boxed in the fridge and the fragile structure of it. “Although…I would prefer sooner, rather than later…”

     Egg crusted at the corner of his teacher’s mouth when he bit his bottom lip. “R-right. Yeah.”

     That…was hardly an answer. “Sensei? You do want to exchange?”

     His ears glowed. “Yes! Yeah, I do, I just…forgot…” His hand fell to the floor. “…To wrap it…”

     A short laugh burst from his student. So Genos’ prediction came true… “That does not bother me, and besides…I believe I know what I’m getting…”

     Saitama-sensei shot him a hopeful glance. “Actually…I don’t think you do, kid.”

     What? “Is…it not…the chocolates we made?”

     The man wobbled from side to side, voice giving several false starts before he stood and walked into the kitchen. “It was supposed to be, but…I might’ve left the defrost cycle on…”

     A pink bag sat in his outstretched hand. “They’re edible, I think.” And he knelt down beside the boy, hesitating before handing them over. “Um…here’s half the gift…”

    Genos couldn’t fathom how anything could melt in a freezer…but he was still terrified for the one currently cooling there. When he unwound the bow from the crinkling plastic, he found the treats piled inside, small giraffe eyes gazing back. They seemed fine… He reached into pluck one up, wondering what Sensei was talking ab—

     He stopped and grinned when the entire mass of chocolate moved with it…ah. So they had frozen together. Genos snapped off the body of one of the pieces and bit into it, pleased to find that the taste wasn’t affected.

     He swallowed and grabbed his teacher’s hand. “They are delicious. Thank you, Saitama-se—…Saitama.” Old habits were so hard to break…

     “Don’t say that, you basically made those…” Sen…Saitama rubbed at his neck with his free hand, hard to hear as he murmured, “Do you wanna get yours? And then, I’ll…I’ll give you…mine…”

     The floor creaked when the cyborg stood, tracing Saitama’s footsteps and opening the fridge. He pulled the white box from the shelf, gingerly opening it and easing out its contents. After close inspection he felt a brush of relief—nothing had cracked. There must have been an ingredient in some of the chocolates that helped them bind better…

     “Are you coming back?”

     Genos turned and clomped over. “Saitama…sensei…Here,” he offered, holding the large chocolate out in his hands.

     His teacher’s jaw dropped. “Holy shit Genos.”

     The boy was holding a near-perfect replica of his core, complete with writing, windows, and all. Carving the word ‘CORE’ so many times had been taxing, but at least the screws didn’t give him too much trouble…and the blue glass was surprisingly simple to paint on…

     Sensei was speechless and worry pooled in Genos’ throat. “I…tried to make mine, since the available molds were all heart-shaped, and…” His fans began to whirr. “This is the shape of my heart, and I want Saitama-sensei…to have it…” He passed it to the man, watching his cheeks light up as he added, “Although…it’s been yours for quite some time now…”

     His teacher wouldn’t look at him. “Damn kid, this—“ He turned the sphere around in his hands, taking in each detail. “This is…Genos, I didn’t know you were this good!”

     The blonde’s chest steamed at the praise. “I’m glad you like it.”

     “I…I love it,” he mumbled, wilting. “What I got you doesn’t even come close to this…How long did it take you to make it?”

     ‘A month’ probably was not the best way to answer that question, even though it was the most honest. “A couple of hours total, Sensei.”

     Those big brown eyes blew up. “You’re amazing, you know that?”

    This was quickly becoming too much to handle. “Could you taste it?”

     His teacher’s expression twisted. “I—I don’t think I can break this! It’s awesome—you even have a plug over here…” He rolled it around once more, stopping to smile at a particular screw. “Hah…this heart is cute…”

     The fans sang on. “Please try it!”

     “Man…alright…” He tapped around on the top, finally pushing his thumb through one of the windows.

     “It may have turned out a bit bitter, this was the first time I used this technique, so—“

     Saitama-sensei waved him off as he pulled off a piece and chewed. “It’s great,” he reassured him, speaking over the core. Then he examined it more closely. “Oh my God is that filling?”

     “…Yes. I had chocolate left over, so I turned it into a ganache…”

     His hero paused before carefully laying the gift on the table, propping it up between a cup and a plate. Then there was a blur and Genos was getting wrapped up in his arms, hugged far harder than he had been in a long time. “Thank you,” he told him, the two small words humming against his ear. Genos could hear the sincerity in them, and something like sadness…

     “It’s…nothing…Sensei deserves it,” he answered, squeezing back. “Happy Valentine’s Day…”

     They sat like that until his teacher pulled away, being careful to hide his eyes. “I’m kinda embarrassed to give you mine now…”

     The boy was incredibly curious, especially considering the last gift he’d been surprised with. If it was anything like that… “Please, Saitama-sensei. Please go get it.”

     There was a quiet moment where he turned to the closet, and Genos could see fear in the way he sized it up. Then he shuffled over and fished out the sweater he’d worn earlier that morning.

     “This is what I had to leave to get…uh…Maybe this is a weird thing to give on Valentine’s Day…but…” Even the tips of his ears blazed as he pulled…what was that, a CD from the pocket? He was so sweet, all embarrassed like this, but…what could have him so flustered…? “But I know you like these, so…”

     The boy’s hands’ clinked against the plastic case, and when he saw the front cover his fans went right back into screeching. It was a date audio—a new one—with the words “NOT FOR SALE” covering the front, and its star actor was…his teacher…

     “S…Sensei…”

     “I asked them if I could get an advanced copy of it. This isn’t really--um…”

     Genos watched the man cart the laptop over to…the table…

     “S-Saitama-sensei! What—“

     His teacher shook his head, fishing the headphones from the desk and fitting them over Genos’ (practically steaming) ears. “I asked them to put…something…on here, for you…” He peeled the plastic from the case and popped it open, slipping the CD into the laptop as he spoke. “From me. It’s…well… I recorded it…”

     Genos watched as he selected “Play CD” on the prompt that flew onto the screen, core pulsing as he caught snippets of cries and moans while the man clicked through the track list. When the ‘Next’ button stop pulling up a new audio, he stopped clicking. “Okay…they said it was the last one…”

     He heard a familiar chain of piano keys strum through, and then a heavy baseline behind it. “Saitama-sensei…Is this…?”

     His teacher shook his head once more and pointed to the computer, turning to face the wall.

     It was—“Something About Us.” Genos listened in confusion, waiting on the cue for the lyrics to start. It hummed through, but instead of two robots he heard…

     It might not be the right time…

     Saitama…

     I might not be the right one. But there’s something about us I want to say, ‘cause there’s something between us anyway.

    Sensei glanced at him and stumbled up.

     I might not be the right one. It might not be the right time...

     Genos watched as he went into the bathroom and gazed back to the computer.

     But there’s something about us I’ve got to do. Some kind of secret I will share with you.

     His voice was soft…and earnest…

     I need you more than anything in my life.

     His teacher sat back down.

     I want you more than anything in my life.

     He sounded so close…

     I’ll miss you more than anyone in my life.

     Saitama shyly took his hand.

     I’ll love you more than anyone in my life.

     Genos’ core was spinning fast enough that he could feel his chestplate burning, and the tears were hitting his legs before he realized he was crying.

     Saitama extended a towel, and Genos could see him mouth “Here,” but he couldn’t hear it…the song was still playing, and his jaw was quivering, and all he could do was reach out for the man at his side.

     His teacher gathered him up, sure to put the rag against his face. The hand on Genos’ back traced down his spine in slow, soothing paths...

     The blonde left the headphones on as the beat faded. I hope you like this, came his teacher’s voice, surprising him. I mean it. All of it.

     Saitama-sensei must have been able to hear it too…he held him tighter, hand curling on his shoulder.

     Happy Valentine’s Day, Genos.

     The boy buried himself into his hero’s chest, embarrassed, ecstatic, trying to hold back the hiccups but hearing them break through as he grinned. Echoes of his voice filtered through Genos’ mind as they sat.

     The headphones were eased from his ears and laid to the side. He could feel Sensei’s worry—the heart pounding in his chest, the heat drifting from his skin—and it was overwhelming and perfect and Genos was incredibly happy—

     “I guess…it was okay, then?”

     His disciple nodded furiously, trying to come up with words to show his gratitude and only spilling out, “Th-Thank you, Sensei, thank you, thank you…I…I love you too, thank you, I love you…Thank you…

     It was so small. It was nine short words in a single lyric in a dance song that was almost a decade old.

     He listened as he was told to stop, to the beat thudding faster…

     I’ll love you more than anyone in my life.

     So small…and it meant so much to him.

     Genos silently sobbed on for another good long while, his sensei giving him the space to do it. Saitama didn’t like seeing him cry like this (you think he’d be used to it by now…), but…it was relieving. He was nervous when he got the idea for the recording, and even more nervous when he was making it. Saying mushy stuff like that…no matter how bad he wanted to…it wasn’t his thing. Reciting it, though…that he could do. It was like reading a script, only—well…

     This one was a lot more important.

     He glanced over to the laptop and saw a few tear-shaped splotches next to it. Damn…At least they were happy tears. He was lucky he caught that shine in blondie’s eye before he got going or the whole table would be stained.

    “I ap-poligize…S-Sensei,” Genos stammered, snuffling and wiping his cheeks against the towel. “I do not…have the best reactions to presents…”

     “You’re fine,” Saitama answered, rubbing his head. “Don’t worry. You’re just…passionate, is all. You wouldn’t be you without it.”

     Another wave of sobs broke out at that, and Saitama wondered how long he could go on for before he needed to refill his tears. He dragged the towel from under his cyborg and wiped the smears from his face. “H-hey…Um…wanna see if one of those bad TV specials are on?”

     Genos nodded and Saitama strained to get the remote, keeping one arm around his steaming shoulders. They settled on a cartoon channel and watched in comfortable quiet, making fun of corny dialogue with the man’s (awesome) puns.

     “Oh, come on,” he pushed, pointing to the thunder-powered villain on screen. “He’d be a great Valentine. His dates would be totally…shocked.

     “Sensei,” chuckled the kid, “That’s…terrible.”

     “Although he wouldn’t be too good in bed.”

     “Sensei.”

     “I bet he’d come…lightning fast!”

     Genos pushed into his side, one last sniffle sneaking out as he laughed. “While your knack for wordplay is as exceptional as the rest of you, it doesn’t mean you need to exercise it.”

     Saitama smiled. “Yeah? But how else am I supposed to stay fit?

     “No.”

     “…Corny stuff is part of a healthy diet.”

     Blondie pushed onto his knees, searching for something. “I don’t dare ask why.”

     “Because vegetables are good for you!”

     Genos slumped as he crawled on the rug. “Saitama-sensei, is this a new kind of attack?”

     What was he looking for? Not that he minded seeing his butt wiggle around like that… “...Sure. It’s my Serious Pun move.”

     His disciple stopped and turned back, eyes bright. “Would you then be…One Pun Man?”

     “Haha! Yeah! One Pun Man…that’s good, Gen…os…” Saitama watched as he lowered himself to reach the phone under the table. His legs were spread wide and his pants were straining against the curve of his asscheeks…

     He shot back to the TV. “Wh-what’s wrong?”

     Genos knelt up and tapped through the lock screen. “I need to keep an eye out for HA blasts today, to see if any threats req—“

     Saitama watched as his whole body tensed, all the way from his curling toes to the furrow in his forehead. “Genos?”

     “I have to go,” he muttered, shooting over to the closet.

     “What? Kid, what happened?”

     He already had the cell to his ear, free hand rummaging on the floor. “Hello?” he asked, tugging out a sweater and cargos. “This is Demon Cyborg. Please put me through to the distress line.”

     Saitama watched, chest sinking. Was he really going to answer a call today…? “Is everything alright?”

     “Hello?” he asked again, struggling to get into his pants. He stumbled and Saitama sprang up to catch him. “Yes, this is De—“

    His sensei heard someone scream on the other line, and he could feel the blonde’s vents hum.

     “I understand, I apol-“

     More screaming cut him off. Saitama watched his face fall and wondered how fast he’d have to sprint to personally shut the prick up before the call was over.

     “Where is it?”

     He helped Genos into the sweater, holding it open over his arms and pushing his head through so he could keep listening.

     Saitama didn’t like the way he was frowning.

     “Thank you,” he barked, slamming the “END” button and shoving the phone into his pocket.

     He was halfway to the door before his teacher could ask, “What’s going on?”

    Genos called out from the foyer—Saitama could hear him stomping into his boots. “There is a Demon-level threat in City E that destroyed several neighborhoods. The HA tried to contact me nearly an hour ago so I could take care of it, but…my phone…”

     So that’s what the face was all about… Saitama pulled open the closet and took down his suit, tearing off his pants as quickly as he could.

     “I left it on vibrate to avoid waking you tod—“

     The man looked up to see his student frozen mid-step.

     “Sen..sei?”

     “I’m coming with you,” he mumbled, shimmying into the legs and slipping on his sleeves. “I don’t feel like wasting time with monsters, you know?” …which was only half-true. The last time he’d gotten a call like this, he ended up armless and out of commission for a week…

     The start of what was sure to be a long-winded argument burst out of the kid…before he promptly shut up, about-facing and coming back with his teacher’s shoes. “They will be displeased,” he mused, pulling the cape from its hanger and snapping it into place.

     “Thanks…and screw them,” he answered, jerking his gloves on, “They rely on you too much anyways. There’s plenty of other heroes around. Ready?”

     Genos wouldn’t look at him… “Yes…Sensei…”

     Saitama grabbed his keys from the computer desk and lead the way out, locking the door behind them and slipping them into his glove cuff. “Uh…so where is it?”

     The boy jut his chin to their right and they were off, Saitama trying to stay one step behind so he could follow better. The buildings were a gray blur against to the bright red and yellow streak that was Genos, but they turned into a smoky mess as they went further along.

    The man started to worry that they were too late when they skidded out into the charred rubble of an apartment complex. There was this giant wolf-headed pig…thing in the corner, snapping away at some heroes under it. He could see the zombie guy, the bat guy, that one psychic chick that wouldn’t leave him alone…

     He turned to comment that there weren’t a lot of people here, but Genos was already barreling into battle. He roared as he aimed a massive blast into the monster…only managing to make it more pissed off than it was before.

    The ground rumbled under his feet as the giant charged, and Saitama struggled to not spring out and punch it right then and there. Genos had been doing so much better lately—he didn’t lose more than a few fingers over the last month—and he wanted his student to have the chance to fight. But still…

    A massive hoof smashed down above Genos’ head and Saitama panicked, shooting forward before he heard the whine from the blasters. In half a second the monster was toppling to the ground, and in another Genos was at its head, cannons charging for a final blow.

     Saitama held himself back to watch, hoping that the cyborg saw the wolf open its jaws…

     …and rocketing into its stomach when it started to slam them shut.

     The rest of the heroes watched the rain of gore as it came down, mouths open until they realized how much blood was splattering everywhere.

     Saitama flicked the guts off his glove and turned to the blonde. “You’ve got to be more careful, Genos! It almost bit your legs off!”

     Genos glanced down to the tooth stuck in the concrete dangerously close to his foot. He went to answer but the batter dude cut him off, shouting, “Is it dead?”

     Was he serious? “What kind of question is that?” Saitama shouted back, waving to the gaping hole where its intestines used to be. “ Look at it!”

     “You gotta be sure!” he hollered, stomping on the debris around him. “You never know with these things!”

     The black-haired woman clacked over to them. How did she manage to keep her heels on…? “What took you, Demon Cyborg? We needed you.”

     “I—“

     “He was enjoying a day off, for once,” Saitama pushed, stopping the kid. “It was a pretty nice one too! Where’s everyone else?”

     “Enjoying their days off. And we could’ve done the same if Cyborg had showed up earlier.” She pointed a painted fingernail at the mess behind them. “This was no problem for him—he was able to defeat it immediately. Dozens of homes were destroyed while we fought.”

     Wait, who beat it? Didn’t they see—

     “Sensei was the one to defeat the monster,” Genos corrected, “I would have been crushed if he hadn’t been here.”

     “Oh…?” she wondered, scowling at Saitama. “Regardless. It could’ve been over much sooner had you not taken so long.”

     Saitama grit his teeth. What was her problem?

     “Usually you’re here right away,” mumbled Dead Guy, holding a seriously chewed-up arm. “What happened?”

     A hum joined in with the hiss of Genos’ blasters. “I…I did not hear the call…”

     Geeze, what was all of their problems?! “He made a mistake! Leave him alone!”

     The woman pulled out a phone and started texting. “S-class mistakes can be lethal, Caped Baldy. The HA should not have to summon someone from the B-class because their top heroes are being lazy.”

     That was it—“Listen you little snot, we—“

     Genos grabbed his hand. “Sensei…”

     “Genos, she’s being a total ass! It’s none of her business—“

     “It turns into my business when I have to take care of it,” she shot. “At least this might help out the group a bit...” She put the phone to her ear and flat-out ignored Saitama as he tried to argue.

     “Sensei…” Genos tried, pulling his teacher back mid-rant. “Please…”

    He was so calm! “They’re insulting you! You work your ass off for them, and they’re treating you like shit! You're allowed a day to yourself!”

    The girl pocketed her cell. “The next time you decide to take one, warn us so we can prepare.”

     How dare—

     “Huh…that’d be nice,” tossed in Iron Bat as he sauntered over. “I had to leave my sister’s recital for this.”

     Wha—

     “I would’ve liked to have this hand for tonight… It takes so long for the nerves to come back…”

     FU—

     Saitama.”

     Caped Baldy turned to his disciple, using all the willpower he could muster to keep from punching them all. What?!”

     “Let’s go home,” Genos urged, gripping his hand tighter. “Have you spoken with the Association, Blizzard?”

     The girl nodded. “Yes, I handled it…again. We can leave the site.”

     Saitama was about ready to combust when a plated fist tugged him back. The other two heroes began walking away, and he was going to ask Genos how the hell he could stand being by them when a shout cut him off—

     “Ey Cyborg,” cried Bat Boy, “You better wreck his ass tonight! I don’t wanna be late pickin’ up my sis for nothin’!”

     A high-pitched squeal burst from Genos’ shoulders and Saitama spun. “That’s none of your business!”

     The walk home was tense, Saitama breaking out into curses every few minutes while the blonde was weirdly…quiet. He hadn’t said more than a few words since they left, and it was making his teacher even more worked up than he already was.

     “Kid, what’s wrong?” He asked, “Why aren’t you saying anything?”

     Genos glanced up at him. “Because…they were right, Saitama-sensei.”

     “What?! How could you say that? You always respond to missions when they call you! Even if they don’t need you!” Saitama’s fist cut through the air as he talked. “You work long hours, you file the paperwork, you help with events…You do more than anyone! You’re allowed to miss a mission!”

     His student kept his eyes down. “But…’who’s gonna fight if all the heroes run away?’”

     Saitama blanched and let his arm fall. “…I…said that, didn’t I?”

     Genos nodded. “You did. It was one of the first things you taught me, Sensei…”

     His thumb rubbed across the top of Saitama’s knuckles, and the man looked down. They were holding hands…? Shit, had they been like this the whole way back?

     “Would you like to get dinner?”

     If he wasn’t already steaming in rage, Saitama was sure he would’ve felt his ears burn. “Um…yeah, sure. What do you want?”

     The boy smiled. “The noodle house?”

     Oh damn. That actually sounded great… “Yeah…yeah, definitely. You wanna get changed, and…?”

     “M-hm,” hummed the cyborg, pulling his glove up closer to inspect it. There were flecks of monster bile and shattered spackle all over it… They would need to be rinsed several times with how fine the dust was. Genos could do it tomorrow, but he should begin tonight so that they didn’t stain…

     The blonde sighed, shoulders bending under the guilt he couldn’t suppress as he remembered Blizzard’s words. ‘We needed you’…’Dozens of homes were destroyed’…

     …’S-class mistakes can be lethal’…

     …Had his negligence gotten someone killed?

     “Kid?”

     He looked up to see Sensei guiding him to their front door.

     “You in there? We’re home.”

     Genos blinked and tromped in, kneeling to untie his boots before they could scuff up his floors. Not that they weren’t already stained from years of patrols…and monsters…

     And blood…

      “I think I want the curry udon today,” started Saitama-sensei, “Or something spicy…”

     Genos watched his hero remove his shoes and tug at a glove, hesitating on the other. His fingers flittered over the material and his fist clenched…but it was over in a moment and he was walking into the living room, pulling it off.

     His disciple followed quietly (well…as quietly as his metal feet would allow) and admired him as he peeled off his suit. Sensei’s back swelled with definition while he shrugged out of the top, the dip of his spine fading up into the curve of his neck, his jaw, into the gentle hump of his cheeks and the tip of lips that silently mouthed one frustration or another…

     Genos could not help but smile. His sensei was so beautiful…and so serene. If he felt the weight of guilt, or sadness, or inadequacy…it didn’t show. He seemed incapable of it—he was impervious, impeccable, immovable…irreplaceable…

     Those deceptively thin shoulders tensed and the man peered over at him. “Are you just gonna watch me, or…should I change in the bathroom…”

     Genos leaned back against the divide and closed his eyes. “I will not look, Sensei.”

     “Kay…”

     As he stood there, though, the cyborg remembered the quick flash of thigh he saw as Saitama was getting dressed before they left, and how tightly his underwear clung to him… “Of course,” he continued, “If Sensei finds he wants me to…”

     “Genos!”

     “…I would happily comply…”

     There was a ka-thump and a tiny curse before Saitama-sensei reappeared in front of him. “You need to change too—you’re a mess,” he urged, pushing Genos’ hoodie and a pair of pants into his hands.  Sensei’s fingers flitted up to comb through his waves. “I guess you’re okay up here…nothing but some dust…”

   He turned to step into the living room, but Genos clung to his shirt. “Sensei,” he asked, unsure and bold, “…May look. If he wants to.”

     The only answer was a flustered, “Genos?!”

     The blonde couldn’t meet Saitama’s eyes…but he wanted Saitama’s eyes on him…

     Gentle hands rubbed the edge of his wrist plate. “Hey…what’s wrong?”

     He wanted Saitama to want all of him…

     “Sensei...” Genos curled into his neck, hiding himself in his shirt, in his scent. “…May look…”

     Saitama was quiet, listening. The boy hadn’t said much, the words wouldn’t come…but his teacher had heard. His hands were on his back and rubbing through his hair, and he was telling Genos that he was alright, that he didn’t need to feel bad. That he was a good hero—that he did well—

     That Sensei was proud of him.

     Genos nodded against his skin, breathing deep and rising out of his arms.

     “Do you still want to go out?” he asked, expression dark. “We can stay home…I can make something for us…”

     “No, I want to go. Please.”

     Sensei hung for a moment longer before handing off his clothes. “Alright…we don’t have to, though.”

     Genos shook his head and changed on spot, feeling the stare as he stepped out of one pair of pants and into another. When he pulled his head through the sweater he saw the man blushing by the table.

     “Are y-you…ready?”

     “Yes…Sensei…”

     They quickly cleaned up, tossing old clothes into their hampers and refrigerating their slightly-melted chocolates before leaving. Halfway there Saitama-sensei quietly reached out to grab his hand, squeezing as they walked through the front doors of the noodle house. The hostess gave a screech upon seeing them, though, and he immediately dropped it.

     Genos plucked it back up to kiss it, smiling as his hero fumbled to greet the familiar waiters and waitresses. They had all been (not so subtly) rooting for them to get together since Genos’ first visit, so there was a great deal of excitement to be had at this one. What few diners were there turned to see what the commotion was about.

     “Your usual?” asked the blue-haired waiter, pulling out the seats by the center table.

     “Uh…could I do the curry udon tonight?”

     They ate in relative peace, Saitama trying his best to ignore the giggling staff and Genos laughing with them. During appetizers Genos put out his hand and Saitama-sensei laced his fingers around it. He left it there during most of the meal, and Genos’ core felt like it would melt through his armor.

     They were home by sunset, Saitama suggesting they try to find some more of those terrible specials after Genos checked his (thankfully quiet) phone. The blonde agreed, of course—he loved to hear the man joke at the awful plot twists, the character development that was about as smooth as the destroyed roads of City Z, the miserable costumes—but he wanted to make the evening special somehow…

     He considered his options for a few moments, relenting to the fact that they had nothing particularly exciting in the apartment. Then he remembered the bottles stored away in the front closet.

     In less than a minute he was standing at the edge of living room, sake in hand. “Saitama-sensei…would you want a drink?”

     Genos was fairly certain his teacher’s head broke the sound barrier with how quickly it whipped towards him. “No. You can’t handle it.”

     He could stand some… “Only a little. I want to celebrate…”

     Saitama-sensei frowned, kneeling up from his spot on the floor so he could pull the bottle from him. “I mean…this isn’t the strongest, I guess…”

     “So…yes?”

     He held the bottle like it was a frightened child. “I’m making them, blondie. I don’t want you passing out again.” And he walked to rummage in the kitchen.

     Genos’ fans kicked into gear as he remembered the last time they drank, and the humiliating things he had done. He also remembered his teacher’s easy touch and carefree smiles…

     Sensei returned with two glasses in one hand and a pitcher of water in the other. There was tea in one of the cups…

     “I assume that will be mine,” Genos asked, pointing to the half-full glass.

     The wood squeaked under his hero as he sat. “Yup. It’s lemon tea, and I think this brand of sake is pretty sweet, so it should be good.”

     Something leapt up in Genos’ throat as Sensei poured the drinks. “Are…there any promising programs on?”

     Saitama-sensei took the remote and scanned, ooh-ing once he found a particularly awful-sounding episode on. “Squid-san in Love? That’s gotta be good.” There was a small “click” and they were watching a cartoon of an unusually buff squid court a starfish.

     “This is cute,” chuckled the man, picking up his glass. “Cheers?”

     Genos felt like his chest plate was stuck on too tight. “Cheers,” he answered, taking his own and sipping from it. It was exceptionally sweet…and very, very good…

     The blonde watched Sensei’s throat as he swallowed. He quietly raised a finger to the glass and tipped it a bit higher, laughing when he gurgled and swatted him away.

     “Shit,” he coughed, “You wanna make me choke?”

     The sake dripped down the corner of his smiling mouth, trickling along his jaw…

     “No…”

     “Jerk,” was all he said in reply.

     They drank as they watched the special, and then another, Genos trying to hide how quickly he was feeling the effects. He was discovered when he began chortling uncontrollably at a foot joke (it was a peddler who worked in Kyo-toe, it was quite funny).

     His teacher lifted the mostly-empty glass from his hand to put it on the table. “I think you’re done for now…”

     “Kyo-toe, Sensei!”

     “Yeah, kid…”

     “Because he works on shoes!”

     “Holy crap…and you get on my case about puns?”

     Genos tossed himself into his shoulder. He was so warm…and solid… “Yes Sensei. Because you tell them so frequently, and they are so frequently bad.”

     “Shit,” he grumbled, taking another swig. He was almost done with his second cup… “Tell me what you really think…”

     “Gladly,” chirped the cyborg, playing with the hem of the man’s T-shirt. “You are amazing, and wonderful…and handsome…and you smell good, and have a great ass, and your lips are softer than si—“

     Saitama put his hands to his mouth, cheeks red from more than the alcohol. “Nope.”

     Genos talked under his palm. “—than silk, and your eyes are most beautiful I’ve seen, and your voice does things to me I never thought poss—“

      He was quieted under a kiss, the alcohol on Sensei’s breath sweetening it even as it made it sting. His lips worked around his disciple’s and Genos relished in it, pushing back in ways that he’d long-since perfected since their first one so many weeks ago.

     Saitama-sensei withdrew, expression clouded. “You gonna stop now?”

     The boy paused to think. He considered it, he really did. He could give his hero the break that he had undeniably deserved.

     He could. “…And when I think about the dip of your hips, I—“

     Saitama was back on him instantly, working more ardently this time. The drink sloshed when it was abandoned on the floor and he cupped Genos’ hips instead, gripping hard through the fabric of the sweater. His other hand was snaking its way up his back plates, and Genos found it difficult to focus on what his own were doing…

     So when he noticed they were burrowed inside Sensei’s shirt, he couldn’t feel too bad about it…

     The small groans humming against his mouth certainly didn’t discourage him. He trailed his thumb down the center of his pecs, his abs…easing his way to the top of his pants, behind the button there…

     “You tease,” the man breathed, and Genos felt like his incinerators had backfired.

     Sensei’s hands were wrapping around his waist, then, lifting him—and in a moment he was being pinned under the push of eager lips, and a pounding chest, and oh God the slow grind of those hips…

     Saitama had never been this forward before, this hungry… The cyborg could not handle it. It was a minute before Genos acknowledged the “HIGH TEMPERATURE” warning across his internal display, and another two before he heard himself steaming. He could feel desire biting like a vice against the base of his spine and he pressed into his teacher, needing him, his heat, his hands…

     “Sensei,” he whispered into his jaw, “Touch me…”

     His hero stared down, fear clearing the haze in his eyes. “W…What?”

     Genos took his palm and pushed it along his belly. “I want you…to touch me.”

     Saitama froze. “I…don’t…isn’t there…I don’t know…”

     The vents coughed out a puff of smoke and the blonde giggled. “Yes…I forgot…” He thought for a moment, only now realizing what he was about to do.

      It took a few moments to build the courage to ask. “…I could show you…how…”

     Saitama watched him, equal portions of longing and terror fighting in that look. Then he answered, “...Please…”

     Genos took an anxious breath, propping himself upon his arms so he could tug off the sweater. He felt the sleeves pull as Sensei finished removing it for him, and they shared a shy glance as the boy unbuttoned his jeans. His teacher slipped those off too, moving carefully, the fabric ringing quietly against his thighs.

     Saitama-sensei put his clothes to the side, coming back to hover above him…and gawking helplessly.

     The cyborg pushed an unsteady hand into his chest and made him kneel at his feet, laying back down on the floor before him. Feeling exposed, feeling afraid, and feeling indescribably safe…he spread his legs and put his fingers to himself.

     “It’s a pattern,” he started, ghosting the shape in the air. “Like an ampersand, Sensei…or a dollar sign…two curves and a line down…”

     Genos was fairly certain it was a physical impossibility for those cheeks to become any redder. He was proven wrong when he took Sensei’s hand and pressed his index finger against his plate. “L-like…this,” he told him, going slow. “Two curves and a line d—aahn!”

    The smoke drifted from his shoulders as he bucked hard into his teacher’s palm. He forgot the initial surge upon activation…and it was stronger given the…situation…

     It took several moments before he was calm enough to continue…but even then he was embarrassed at how close he was. “I-it…it feels best…when y-you rub…nngh--!”

    He tried to offer guidance or direction, but it was hopeless. He was lucky to make out a word let alone a sentence, and before he knew it he was working himself on his hero’s hand, twisting around it, panting, and trembling—

     Saitama jerked away, entirely too overwhelmed to continue.

     “S-Sensei…?” he called, painfully desperate.

     The man focused on the floor panels, whole body shaking. It was real. It was so real. He wasn’t even sure what about that scared him, but there was his student sprawled out in front of him, naked as a bird, and he’d been fucking himsel—

     Saitama dug his face into his arms. “I—I can’t, kid, I can’t do it…”

     Genos gave out the most pitiful sound he’d ever heard and fumbled for Saitama’s hips. “Th…Then let me…”

     Guilt flooded his belly as he pushed the boy away. “I…can’t…”

    Genos made that noise again before clacking onto the floor.

     “I’m sorry…”

     The vents hissed on in the silence between them before he tried again. “Then…talk to me, Sensei.”

     Saitama gaped. “…What?”

    Genos tilted up to take his shoulders, pulling them until they were square with his own. “Just talk to me Sensei…please…Let me hear you…while…” He stared up at him, gold eyes shining like frickin’ spotlights…

     Just…talk to him? What…what would he say? “Like…the CD stuff? Or…”

     He nodded, pressing his forehead into his teacher’s neck. “Anything, Sensei, please…”

     Saitama swallowed, listening as his core huffed out way more heat than could be safe. He geared himself up, trying to go back over old scripts before leaning down to Genos’ ear… “Your…Your body is so honest…It’s so responsive…”

    Saitama could feel him rolling under his hips, fans straining to keep up…

     “It…it feels hot…as hell…inside you…”

     His mouth opened in a silent gasp and Saitama watched his lip quiver…

     “I…want…to…”

      His knuckles were kneading into him…

     “I want to…put…” …And he gave up, collapsing on student.

     Genos practically snarled this time around.

     “I can’t…” he whispered, hugging him tight. “Those aren’t…that’s not…I can’t do it. I want to, I want to be close to you, like this…I want to feel you…I want to make you feel good, the way you do me…I want to hold you and kiss you and touch you…”

     The boy’s body heated up under his palms, and he arced into his belly...and it felt different, somehow…

      Saitama forced himself to keep talking. “I’ve…I’ve dreamed about it so many times, Genos….about how you would sound under me…and around me…”

     Genos ground into his legs, rubbing hard, his face twisted in pleasure…

     “How you’d look riding me, taking me, all of me…how you’d look when I filled you…”

     His neck tossed back as a deep moan broke from his mouth, and Saitama heard the finish in it—“D—don’t…stop…Sensei…”

     Saitama paused, watching as the blonde bit his lip, hands still going…. “I…I want to know how you would feel as you squeezed around me…how you would sound as you called for me…”

     Genos bucked and shuddered and whined as his hero went on, finishing again and again…the man getting harder at each one…

     He…he couldn’t stop. Saitama couldn’t keep the words from pouring out as he told him how badly he wanted him, all of him…how he wanted to hear him every night and every morning, how he wanted his arms around him, his legs—how he had to know he was needed, and wanted, and loved, and how it had to be from Genos, only Genos—and—fuck, he was so hot, he was so hot, he was perfect, he was gorgeous, and Saitama needed him too, so bad, so fucking bad

     “Say my name this time,” he pleaded, listening as Genos’ pants came faster, “Say it—“

     “S-Sai—ai-tam…”

     He pushed himself close to his disciple. “No, say my name—only you call me that, please, I need to hear it…please…”

     “Sensei…”

     Saitama’s hand trailed down his stomach. “Again…”

     “S-Sen—sei!”

     He pushed past the denim and gripped himself, chills shooting through his spine. “Again! Genos, say it, say my name…”

     “Sen—Sensei! Sensei…Saitama-sensei…”

     Oh…Oh God…he was so fucking beautiful…and he was his…and he was there, under him, crying for him, over and over and over, calling—fu-fuck, calling out for—for him

    “Sai—aiii—tamaa…Sen-nseii!”

     “Genos—shit—!”

     Saitama buckled under the weight of his finish, of his student’s scream, understanding the force behind it as sobbed out into the room…and the whimpers that followed after, the hands frantically clinging to his legs…the core buzzing into his hectic heartbeat… They made his chest ache…

     …almost as much as when he heard, soft and breathless in his ear, “Saitama…sensei…”

     The man wrapped himself around the blonde, holding him tight, wondering when he went from merely getting used to hearing that voice each day to craving it more than he had anything before.

     He tried to ignore the burn in his eyes. “You’re…Genos, you’re…I…”

     A weak hand dragged up to clutch at his back, and Saitama had to take a deep breath to steady himself…

     …Then he coughed on the smoke, not knowing how he didn’t see it before. “Kid…are you okay?” he asked, blinking through it.

     “Y…yes, Sensei…I will be fine…” Genos’ body hummed as he sighed. “The door…”

     “R-right,” Saitama mumbled, prying himself away to open the door to the balcony. When he glanced down though, he saw…

     …the mess…

     “Shit,” he cursed, whipping off his t-shirt and cleaning Genos up. How was he supposed to get inside the grooves…?

     His cyborg chuckled. “Sensei, it’s alright. I’ll wash it off in the bath.”

     “No! I’ll get it, I--I…made…it…” Oh God…

     Genos took the shirt from him and pulled his head close. “You did,” he muttered, leaning in for a kiss.

     Could Saitama get one of those ventilation systems installed? He might need one soon. “Y-yeah…um…hold on,” he stuttered, fumbling up to open the door. When he turned around Genos was lazily brushing his hands across his stomach. “Um…could you…give me the shirt?”

     The blonde grabbed it and sat up, passing it over. It was one of Saitama’s Oppai ones, he liked it a lot…he’d needed to soak it so it didn’t stain…

     He unfurled it to see how bad it was, and even though his cheeks were about to combust into flames, he couldn’t help but laugh. Somehow he managed to only get the doodle of the boobs dirty… “Hey Genos,” he called, turning it around so he could see. “We got the money shot.”

     Confusion filled his student’s face before he got it, and he fwumped back down to the ground. “Sensei...”

     Saitama kept on laughing to himself as he went to the bathroom, laying the shirt in the sink and turning on the faucet. “Does this mean you gave me a tit job, or vice versa?” he called, grinning on.

     “Seeing that I do not have mammary glands, Sensei, I suppose it would have to be the former.”

     Of course he’d answer that way… “Huh…you did a good job of it.”

     The fans were still going when he came back.

     “Are you…hungry, or anything?” It’s not like they’d actually…y’know…but maybe the kid was munchy…

     Genos considered it before trying to stand. When his legs wobbled out from under him, though, he bounced down to the floor.

     …Saitama would be lying if he said he wasn’t a little proud of that. “Let me get it,” he pushed, “What do you want?”

    “I…would like to have more of the chocolates we made…”

     “Kay,” he mumbled, walking over to the fridge and returning with one bag and one box. Genos curled up next to him, shimmying back into his hoodie and checking his phone before digging into his bag. His vents were locked in this constant hum, and his hair was all over the place

     He was really frickin’ cute…

     Saitama felt the flutter in his chest as he turned back to his chocolate, panning over at the cartoons quietly playing on the TV. It was sorta weird to have had those on whole time, but…it was a nice kind of weird…and it wasn’t like they noticed it...

     He cocked his head as he considered the corner for a little longer. Did it seem a lot more…open? ”Hey, Genos…”

     “Hm?”

     That’s what it was! “Didn’t you have…a lot of Valentine’s Day chocolates? From your fans?” The pile was as high as the manga tower... “Where are they?”

     “Oh…” The vents hummed louder. “You’re…eating them right now? I had no intentions of consuming them on my own, so I…recycled them…”

     Saitama panned down to the half-empty core in his sticky hands.

     “’Do not waste food,’ right…Sensei?”

     He peeked at the oblivious cyborg at his side as he munched on his own treats. “O-oh…yeah, of course.” He wasn’t gonna say it, he shouldn’t…but… “Genos, isn’t that…kinda…”

     The boy glanced up.

     “…I’m not gonna get you in trouble with your clubs, right?”

     Genos blinked, and stared, and shrugged, nestling closer. “They gave me gifts and I used them. I have made it very clear on several different occasions that I’m disinterested in a romantic relationship with my fans, so if they are upset about the way in which I used them…it is their fault.”

     Saitama thought about all the money and time that those girls must’ve gone through for the chocolates, painstakingly cooking and molding and cooling and boxing…and how they were now a melted pool going into his belly. He was so gonna cursed or something for this…

     He nudged the metal shoulders shoved up against him. “You can be a little jerk, you know that?”

     Genos smirked. “Perhaps, Saitama-sensei.”

     He bit into another half of a giraffe, shooting forward so the crumbs did not land on his sweatshirt. Saitama smiled.

     If this was what a curse was like, though...he would totally take it.

Chapter Text

     Genos was different.

     Saitama didn’t mean in the cute, flustered way he’d been the week after they…took things to the next level. That was great, he liked that. This kind of different…it worried him.

     He looked down to the cyborg clutching at his arms, listening to his cooling chest as it hummed against his own. He’d fallen asleep right after they’d finished up that night’s…activities…but he didn’t look calm at all. His face was twisted like he’d bitten into bad konbu, and if he pushed himself any further into his teacher, Saitama swore he was gonna wake up covered in vent indents the next morning.

     It wasn’t just when he was snoozing, though. He’d gotten a lot touchier lately—he might as well have been attached to Saitama for how often he grabbed his hand or tugged on his sweatshirt.

     He tried to ask what was up a few days ago when they were at a sale. They’d been walking around for a good half-hour, Genos refusing to let go of his sleeve the whole time. It was sweet and all, but he only did stuff like that when they were sitting around at home, and people were starting to stare…

     “Everything okay, kid?” he pushed, glancing at the cyborg’s hand.

     For a split second Genos looked like he was gonna jerk it away…but he didn’t. “I…just want to be near you, Sensei.”

     “You know I won’t lose you in the crowd.”

     “Yes,” was all he said, before pulling his sleeve closer.

     Whatever was eating at him was taking some massive bites, and Saitama couldn’t get him to talk about it…which was a problem. Genos always wanted to talk, and he never refused Saitama anything—

     The memory of Genos’ lips wrapped around his thumb hit him like a bullet train and he burrowed into the futon. They’d practically just finished going at it—the kid was still a mess, for shit’s sake. Couldn’t he keep his head out the gutter for ten minutes?

     He kept on staring at his student, wondering how he could look so sweet now when a little bit ago he’d been…

     …Damnit. The gutter wasn’t the worst place, he guessed. They’d been getting better with actual physical contact lately, so…

     …Well, okay, Saitama was getting a lot better with it, and though he still had trouble in the heat of the moment (Genos was so gorgeous...did he honestly have no idea how out of Saitama’s league he was?), it was good he couldn’t stop thinking about it. That had to be some kind of progress, right? They’d been trying out different stuff to keep it moving along, but tonight…

     Man, his teacher had not been prepared for this one.

     Saitama asked if he could watch Genos for what must have been the third time that week. He felt bad for doing it—this was selfish (wasn’t it?), and at least a little skeevy, but…he really loved seeing him like that. It was the faces he made, and the sounds, or how his coils stretched as he arched back, the plates along his spine tightening with them…

     Saitama’d gotten plenty an eyeful of nearly-naked Genos during missions, but it wasn’t the same. Then he was flying into battle, dropkicking monsters or getting ready to blast them.  Everything he did was huge and flashy and explosive—which was a turn-on in its own right—but when he was splayed out against the divide in front of his sensei, hand between his legs and feet curling…

     Saitama never knew his body could move like that.

     “Sensei,” he mumbled, hips stopping after a few minutes. “Could I…ask you…”

     His teacher panicked, one-hundred percent ready to hear how much of a creep he was being. “Do you want to stop? We can do something else, it’s really—“

     He quieted when Genos shook his head. “I…I don’t mind this, Sensei, but could you…tell me…” His fans picked up. “…What to do?”

     That was a (massively pleasant) surprise… “Like…where to touch, and…stuff?”

     The blonde nodded and Saitama thought he might pass out from the blood rush.

     “Uhh…” Crap. What…what was he supposed to say? What did he want him to do? …Would Genos want it too? “Kid, I don’t know…how…”

     His student pulled him in and leaned back against the wall, putting himself even more on display than before. His chest rose as he took a deep breath. “Just tell me…where to put my hands, Sensei, or how to move my fingers…or where to touch you…” He looked up. “I like hearing your voice…”

     Saitama shrunk. So what, use him as a doll? That…that felt…that wasn’t right…and that was so much pressure…

     Blue light pulsed in the Genos’ chest when he muttered, “Please...”

     The word hit Saitama like punch to the throat and that was that. He swallowed, pushing through a sudden case of cottonmouth. “O-okay, Genos. Um…” He could do this. He could do this. ”Could you…” Shit, what did he like the most? Just…the masturbating part? No, that wasn’t it…it was the way his hips twisted, and seeing his thighs move… “Could you…run your hands along your body?”

     He felt stupid for it as soon as it left his mouth, and the cyborg quirking an eyebrow at him didn’t make it any better. It was weird, it was super weird, it wasn’t the kind of thing he was supposed to ask for…

     …but then Genos was leaning forward, putting his palms to the tips of his feet and pulling them up. The metal plating rang gently under his fingers as they dragged on his calves, his knees…down the crease in his inner thigh, bumping along the ridges in the coil there…he brushed them against his touch plate and pressed into them, just a little, before spreading them over belly, curling them over the tubes on his hips, over his chest, sliding them up his neck and into his hair…

     The boy watched for his reaction. “Sen…sei?”

     Sensei needed a moment.

     Genos faltered, chewing on his top lip as he waited, and it was slipping against the botto—

     “Suck on your fingers, Genos.”

     They were both surprised at how forceful he was. Saitama added a small “please” to make up for it, but Genos only smiled and did what he asked. He started off slow, opening that tiny mouth into a tiny ‘O’ and slipping his middle and ring in to the first knuckle. A smirk sparked in his eyes when his teacher reached into his sweats, and Saitama didn’t want to admit that made it better.

     The smirk got bigger when Genos sunk them further, dragging them in and out an excruciating pace. The brat was enjoying this, and God, so was Saitama, way more than he thought he would have, especially with the way those puffy lips were pressing against his joints and the little wet sounds coming from them and how he was playing with the ridge of his shoulder…

     Saitama reached out with his free hand and gripped his student’s, sliding it down his torso with a quiet, “Touch yourself.”

      There was a hitch in the vents, and after a barely-there tremble Genos’ hand start to rub circles under his own.

     The man drew back, taking in his hero’s body, his face, voice, taking in all of him…and loving it. He loved how he moved and shook and bent and twisted, he loved the click of his joints as he ground his hips, the curve of his waist, the glow at his chest and how it reflected from his cheeks—

     Saitama didn’t realize how close he was until he looked Genos in the eye. He was bearing down on his teacher, watching like he’d just done the most astounding magic trick. He kept on staring as he slipped his fingers from his mouth, dragging them against his neck…

     “Sensei…likes this…” His voice was almost too soft to hear. The trail from his hand shone in the moonlight as he pulled it further down. “Sensei…wants this…”

     The boy was taking his sweet time feeling along his front, and shit if it wasn’t the hottest fucking thing Saitama had ever seen…

     “I think of nothing…but Sensei…when I touch myself,” he continued, one hand resting just beneath the other. His middle finger started to rub between his ass-cheeks when he added, “Like this.”

     Saitama didn’t groan at that. Of course he didn’t. He had more self-control.

     “…Does Sensei want to touch me too?”

     Okay well now he groaned, how the hell was he not supposed to, not when the kid was talking to him like some world-famous porn star and looking the frickin’ part, what with that hair and those legs and good God how were his lips legal—

     His disciple moaned back when Saitama crushed him under a kiss, pumping fast at himself, pressing up against him. He needed to feel that mouth all over him, everywhere, anywhere, but he was so close and he couldn’t stop he—he—

     Desperate he pulled away and starting kissing along the cable in his neck, pushing his thumb against the blonde’s pout. “Open,” he mumbled, and he could feel Genos’ tongue wrapping around him before he knew what he’d asked for, and shit it was hot he was hot he was so fucking—

     “Hot,” he whispered, weakly, hating the way his voice cracked. “Genos…God…”

     The boy whined over his hand. Saitama felt a padded grip on his wrist, but it took a few moments to register that it was pulling down and one more to let it happen.

     He could still feel the slick on Genos’ plates as he was guided along them. It burned when he pressed himself fully into his teacher’s hand. “Please,” he begged, legs hooking around Saitama’s. “Please…”

     The man hesitated, still nervous, still unsure. Yes he’d done it a few times before, and no nothing had happened, but…Saitama was scared. He was terrified that he might hurt him…

     “Touch me…”

     …But he couldn’t refuse that. He leaned in, moving his fingers against the scorching metal, chills tearing through his spine when the blonde whimpered under him, gut tensing at the shake in it. He—he was right there—and Genos was too, Saitama knew, he’d heard him enough to know what that warble meant, but there was something else—something in the way his student was pushing so close Saitama’s fist was grinding against his belly, or the thighs clenched so tight he could feel the coils pinching his skin—something about the hand clawing at his back or the one clenching over his own as he worked him—and the way Genos cried out his name, it was heavy, it was wrong, something was wrong—

     But he was finishing before he could stop himself, guilt flooding his chest when he felt his skin slipping on the cyborg’s stomach. He tried to pull back to see his face through the steam, but the kid refused to let him go.

     “Ge...Genos?”

     The boy shook his head and dug it further into his shoulder.

     Oh…Oh God, had he hurt him? “Are you okay? Did I push too hard, or…”

     The messy fluff shook again. “No…”

     Saitama couldn’t move much, not if he wasn’t going to risk straining Genos’ joints. He managed to crane back to check out his chest, though, and…it was completely covered. God damnit. He meant to catch it in his pants this time, but he made a mess again… “Come on. Let me clean you up…”

     “Don’t go,” Genos muttered, words muffled against his teacher’s neck.

      “…Kid…? What’s wrong?”

     The fans buzzed on as waves of blue light seeped from Genos’ core. They lit up the lines of white trickling down the seams of his armor and Saitama turned a couple shades darker. He wished he’d let him get a towel or something…

     Instead the cyborg gulped down an unsteady sigh. After a way-too tense pause he breathed out, “Thank…you…”

     “For…for what?” Saitama eased into a more comfortable position, lifting his disciple’s arms up until he could gather him into a hug.

     Genos might as well have been made of jelly for the way he flopped into his teacher. “Thank you,” he repeated, “Thank you…Sensei, thank you…”

      “Kid, for what?” the man huffed, brushing the hair from his eyes so he could get some bearing on what was going on in that thick skull of his. “You’re freaking me out…”

     There was another sigh and a jumble of words Saitama couldn’t quite make out, but he thought he heard something like “synthetic” and “love” in there. When he leaned in to get a better look Blondie was already half-asleep. He really needed to get washed up, but it was so rare that he passed out like this…

     Saitama silently stood, using the wall for balance before plodding over to the futon. After some nifty footwork he managed to unroll a mattress and lay them both on top of it.

     A pair of tired yellow eyes blinked up at the comforter as it was pulled over them. It took Genos a second to realize where they were, and in two seconds he was burying himself as deep into his sensei’s arms as he could.

      Saitama had been watching the cyborg sleep for a while, trying to figure out what was bothering him so bad. This wasn’t normal stressing out—Genos cleaned or organized or baked when he was worried. The last time he’d seen him like this, though…geeze, it must’ve been during summer when he shot that hole through the roof. Then…it was ‘cause of nightmares, wasn’t it? Were they happening again? But Saitama would’ve heard him make some kind of noise if he was dreaming…

     The man squeezed him closer, pulling the blanket up higher. He wanted to make his disciple feel better. He wanted him to feel safe. But if he had no idea what Genos was scared of…

     Saitama nodded off after an hour or so, the drone of those fans winning him over the same way they always did.

     When he woke up later, it was to a dark room and Genos-less bed. “…Kid?”

     A glow turned from the table to face him. “Saitama-sensei…I did not mean to wake you…”

     “What are you doing?” The futon slid as Saitama crawled over. “It’s way too early…”

     Genos looked back down to his notebook. The page was filled with dates, and…different rock types? “I am studying notes, Sensei.”

     “Now? Come on, come back to bed,” he whispered, pulling at his arm.

     Genos pulled back. “I…cannot, Sensei. The 21st…is very near…”

     W…what?” “What’s that got to do with anything? Kid, please, come and sleep, you need it…”

     “It’s Shunbun no Hi.”

     “…Yeah?” What was he getting at?

     “…And I will be visiting my family soon.”

     Oh. …Oh. “Ah…are you…going with Kuseno again?”

     The glow turned away from him. “I…”

     Genos twisted the corners of the notebook until Saitama put out a hand. He hesitated before taking it. “I was hoping, Sensei…that you could come…” The floor lit up as head dipped further down. “If you are not busy. Or…or if you would like to, or…”

      The man made a sleepy shuffle to sit behind his cyborg. Hugging him, he mumbled, “Of course I want to, kid. I’d…be honored…” And he was, really. Genos always slipped away for visits without telling him beforehand, but he’d been wanting to pay his respects. His yawn must’ve made that last part less-than convincing though...

     He fought to stay awake as he looked at the notebook. “What’s with the rocks?”

     Yellow light drifted across it. “…They are gifts, Sensei.”

     “Gifts? For who?”

     “For…my sister.” He rubbed the pad of his thumb across the edge of the page. “I bring her one every time I go to see her, and I’m trying…to figure out which one…”

     His words trailed away, and with the way his eyebrows were bunching up they probably weren’t coming back soon. Saitama tapped the top of the list. “Are these all the ones you already got her?”

     The blonde nodded.

     “Huh…is there any reason for it?”

     His fingers stopped moving. “She…I think I remember her collecting them. When I try to recall what she looked like, I can only ever see her sitting on her bed, reading, and on her shelves were dozens of stones…”

     Saitama held tighter. “She liked them?”

     “I…think she must have…” His shoulders were squaring off under his teacher’s chin. “I remember so little, now. I really hoped…after a while, they’d come back. Their faces…their voices…”

     Genos had mentioned a few times that he had trouble remembering his life before, but Saitama never pried. What he knew was from conversations like these—moments where he caught the cyborg staring at a toy at a convenience store, or when he’d hear a jingle in a commercial and excuse himself to the balcony. It didn’t happen a lot, and before he couldn’t exactly…comfort him, the way he could now. “…What was she like?”

     Heat spilled out from the kid’s back. “She was younger than me, by four years…and I remember her being quiet. We would sit together in her room or mine, but…I don’t know what it was that we did. I have a feeling we read or watched movies or did homework…”

     He picked up the pencil and doodled in the margin of the page—it was a thin girl with a ponytail, lying down with a book in front of her. He spoke over the scribbling. “Her hair…it was darker than mine, but not by a lot. We were the same height. She always had a book, or a journal…” He hesitated over her cheeks. “I…don’t remember what color her eyes were.” He moved to shade in her clothes. “She liked green, though…”

     A splotch of black splattered onto the page, and Saitama peeked to see the telltale streak down Genos’ nose. He automatically reached over to wipe it off. The kid leaned into his touch, but he didn’t stop drawing. Now he was filling in the mattress around her, and the shelves above.

     “She was smart. I know I was jealous of how smart she was. She never needed to study, and she still earned the best marks in class…” He started to draw in the rocks. “I was scared for her, too. She was so pretty. Boys were always talking to her…I fought off the ones I could, but…I was too weak most of the time…”

     The scratching noise stopped. Saitama felt the boy tense up in his arms, and he could hear him choking on what he was about to say. “I was always…too weak, Sensei…”

     Oh crap… “No, nonono kid,” Saitama soothed, pulling him in tightly.

     It was too late. “I couldn’t…do anything, Sensei. Not then, not…not that d-day…” His back curled as he tried to fend off the tears. “I c-can’t…even…find th-the monster now…”

     The man shh-ed him as he held him close, not sure what else he could do. Genos didn’t believe him when he said he had gotten stronger, and when it came to family…well, Saitama hadn’t heard from his in almost a decade, so he wasn’t exactly the right person to talk to in that department. “You’re okay, Genos. It’s okay…”

     Metal fingers dug hard into his wrists. “It is-sn’t okay, Sen-nsei…I’ve let them d-down, I…I promised…I…”

     “Genos…you’re okay.” Saitama took both of the boy’s hands and folded them into his chest. “You said a few times that the cyborg was too strong for you, right? You’ve been training to get stronger, and really, you have…” He plucked Genos up and sat him down more comfortably in front of him, mouth right at his ear. He wasn’t the best at advice, but…

     “I don’t think you let them down. I think…I think you would’ve made them really proud. Look at you,” he started, nudging Genos’ head with his chin. “Only twenty-one and you’re one of the highest ranking heroes out there, not to mention the one that busts his ass more than anyone else. You’re really smart, you’re sweet, you’re way too good-looking to be with someone like me…”

     The S-class started to fight him before Saitama shushed him with his own hand. “You’ve saved a bunch of people, Genos, and…I…well,” he pushed, not believing he was blushing at this, “I think you’re pretty amazing, so…I know your family would be proud to see how you’ve grown up.”

     Genos gave a tiny nod at first, and then a more energetic one, and coughed out a sob before turning around in his teacher’s arms to hug him. “Thank you, Saitama…” was all he said for the next long while.

     His sensei waited for his core to even out before guiding him over to the futon and tucking them both in. Saitama traced the edges in Genos’ armor as he fell back asleep, hoping he knew how honest he’d been. He sat like that for he didn’t know how long, wondering, worrying, watching while the kid’s chest rose, and fell…and rose…and fell…

     If the tears trickling from the corner of his eyes was any indication, though, what Saitama’d said hadn’t been enough.


 

     The next week was tense, to say the least. Genos spent it cleaning, tidying, shopping…

     That last one was unexpected. He’d come back after a mission talking about the stores he’d visited, as if him being a fashionista (fashionisto?) was the most normal thing in the world. He’d already gotten a new hoodie and a pair of jeans, but he was on the hunt for sneakers…

     He brought home a pair of gloves one day, and that surprised his teacher more than anything.

     “Gloves?” he asked, picking them up from the plastic bag by the door. They were the kind without fingers and made out of leather. “Isn’t it dangerous for you to wear stuff like this? With your blasters and all…”

     His student glanced over from the kitchen doorway. Did he look…angry? “I will need them, Sensei.”

     Saitama didn’t mean to make him mad… “Oh…okay. Um…they’re real nice?”

     Genos stared for a moment longer and continued pulling out ingredients for dinner.

     He cried again in his sleep that night. His teacher couldn’t help feeling like it was his fault.

     White Day came and went. Saitama would’ve been lying if he said he wasn’t a little disappointed. He’d taken a longer route coming home from a sale in City C a few days before, and he found this one store along the walk… He wasn’t really a lingerie guy (the prices were ridiculous and you’d only have it on for what, ten minutes?), but there was a see-through robe with real big kimono sleeves in the window...

     He spent the next three blocks thinking about how Genos would look in it before turning around and going inside.

     To say he felt out of place was a huge understatement. The whole storefront was filled with lacey white stuff—white stockings, white heels, white bras…white thongs…

     …Woah, wait, ‘crotchless’? That was a thing?

     A cute clerk in all black walked up to him and he wanted to bolt through the spotless window. “Are you looking for anything in particular?”

     “U-uh…” Did he seem like a perv? He probably did, he was wearing the torn-up jeans today ‘cause everything else was still drying, and he had all bunch of bags on his arms, and his shoes were a mess…

     “…Did you see something you liked passing by?”

      At least she seemed used to guys having zero idea what they were doing. “That…kimono one you have. Are there a lot like it?”

     She tipped her head from side to side and started walking to a jam-packed corner. “Do you mean sheer robes, or long dresses?”

     Saitama tried to answer right away, but then he was imagining Genos in the damned thing and his tongue wouldn’t work right. “Um—muh…robes?” Maybe…then again, a dress would be better, wouldn’t it? So it could fit over his arms…

     …Crap, he didn’t even know if Genos would put it on. This was stupid, he should leave, it’d be better if he’d asked how the kid felt about wearing stuff like this, it wasn’t like Saitama ever wanted to put any of it on so he couldn’t assume that Geno—

     “Was this the one, sir?” offered the attendant, pulling down a hanger from a wall of multicolored floof and holding it out for him.

     Saitama brushed over the mesh fabric, a little mesmerized at how it billowed. There was lace down the edges and a sash around the center… The sleeves looked smaller off the mannequin, though. “Can I slip it on?” he asked.

    Her face screwed up for a moment before she nodded.

     “Thanks,” he muttered, putting his groceries on the floor and easing the robe off the padded wire. He shrugged it on unceremoniously, realizing how silly he must’ve looked a second too late. He let the blush pass as he rotated his arms. There wasn’t much space over his hoodie, which wasn’t a good sign…

      “Is…everything okay, sir?”

     “I don’t know if it’ll fit,” he mumbled, reaching in all directions. “He’s got these—shoulders,” he muttered, waving his hands in front of him as he tried to visualize how wide they were. They’d need space to allow for the vent—oh. “Actually, he might burn through this…”

     That got him another weird look, but this time it was the girl’s turn to get pink. “Um…if the shoulders will give…him…problems, maybe a halter would be better?”

     Huh. Saitama hadn’t thought about that… “You have one?”

     She giggled nervously. “Of course—it’s one of our most popular styles. Right here,” she started, guiding him to another rack against the wall, “Are all our different halters. I can leave you to browse, if you’d like…?”

     That would be nice—the way she was staring was making him increasingly more self-conscious. “Yeah! That’s great. Thanks…”

     She stood awkwardly, waiting until he gave a tiny, “Oh!” and slipped out of the robe. Once she had it she sped off.

     It took him a good few minutes before he realized it probably wasn’t how dingy he looked that was freaking her out. It was only after Saitama’s said “he” that she got fidgety…

     The man stopped, holding a hot-pink skirt he was seriously considering. This was the first time he’d said out loud he was dating a guy…

     The hangers chinked as he kept on ruffling through them. It was weird. It wasn’t that he didn’t see Genos as another dude, it was just that he saw him as…Genos. That was it. And her reaction…it really bothered him. If she knew who Saitama meant, there was a good chance she would’ve gone all fangirl and want to help out even more. But just because he’d said he was looking for a guy…

     Out of the corner of his eye he saw a person sorting through the rack next to him. He stepped aside, glancing up with a “Sor—“

     The person glanced back and Saitama was sure he was going to get a handful of shuriken to the face.

    “Saitama?” Sonic cried, badly hiding a blush. “What are you doing here?”

    “I’m—I—“ Wait, he couldn’t say he was shopping for Genos, that’d—be—“What’s it to you? And what are you doing here?”

     Saitama didn’t know the ninja could get that red… “I…am…” He frantically scanned the store. “Saitama! I’m shopping for White Day!

     Geeze, why was he being so loud? “Oh…Okay,” Saitama screamed back, not entirely sure why. A “ding” came from the door and they both gave a half-hearted look at it before glowering at each other.

     “Getting something for the sexbot?” the prick asked, voice normal.

     “It’s none of your business,” Saitama shot, covering the wildly inappropriate dress he’d been checking out. “And don’t talk about him like that. …What about you? I thought you were single… What poor girl got you chocolates?”

     The ninja gave him the kind of look that would’ve put a freezer to shame. “You’re lucky I want some of these bodysuits, Baldy, or else I’d have cut through you ten times by now.”

     “Quit it with the bald thing,” Saitama growled, nearly tearing the dress in his fist. He huffed and turned to the rack. “So does that mean you’re shopping for yourself? That’s kinda…weird…but I guess, if you’re into that…”

     The tiny assassin shoved a robe back into place and looked at the tag on another. “You have no place talking about weird, what with your walking vibrator of a boyfriend.”

     Saitama gave a warning glare. “You say one more thing about him and I will punch you.”

     The guy put on a tough face, but his shaky lip gave him away. “A-as if you could land a hit,” he said, shrinking into the rack. “So…you two really are a thing?”

     The B-class tried to see if Sonic was joking. He didn’t seem any more snarky than usual, though… “…Yeah. We are.”

     The ninja gave this odd frown before murmuring, “Knew it.” He pulled out a clingy black leotard, held it over his waist, and quietly put it back. “There are pictures of you everywhere.”

     As if he needed a reminder... “I know…it’s stupid. It’s like they think being outside means, ‘take photos of us, it’s fine!’ They don’t even listen to Genos when he tells them not to…”

     “You’re going with that one?” the assassin sneered, and Saitama realized he was staring at the set in his hands.

     “…Why? What’s wrong with it?” It was this flowy little dress…thing. It was cute!

     There was a ‘harrumph’ as Sonic stalked over, rifling through the hangers too fast for anyone to keep up but the hero next to him. “Genos is curvy, and he has long legs. That’s too loose to show off his figure and it’ll make his torso look even shorter than it already is. Here,” he pushed, shoving a lacy red top and…oh geeze, panties? into Saitama’s hands. “It’s the same style but it’s cut to hug the waist. Plus the color suits him more.”

     Saitama considered the set for a second, holding it out in front of him. It was lined with black lace and had ruffles down the center, which was split open…

     …just like the matching underwear…

     …so that’s what ‘crotchless’ meant.

     He caught the stupid ninja grinning at him through the sheer fabric. “You know I’m right,” he bragged, watching as the man fumbled for the tag. “I even found one that was on sale for you, you cheap bastard.”

     Saitama forced a tense, “Thank you” before looking Sonic straight in the face. “Why do you know so much about clothes anyway?”

     He shrugged. “It’s easier to negotiate a price when your clients want to fuck you. It’s even better when they don’t know why.”

     “…Is that why you’re so dressed up today? Are you going to meet one?”

     Red creeped under the slash marks on his cheeks. Saitama always wondered if those were makeup, or tattoos… “N-no,” he mumbled, brushing off the tight sweater and pulling the top of his boots back up to his thigh. “It’s just nice…to look good…” He gave Saitama a once-over. “Not that you would understand.”

     “Would you shove it, pipsqueak?” muttered Saitama, trying to nonchalantly tuck the lingerie over his arm…and having no idea how he was supposed to hold it. “I’m gonna go buy this.”

     He watched as Sonic slipped something under his shirt and tugged it right back out. “Stop stealing stuff! You have money, use it.”

     One of the workers must’ve heard because she made a beeline over to them. The villain gave a death glare as Saitama gathered up all his bags and moved over to the girl at the counter. It was the one who’d helped him before…

     “All ready?” she chirped. If she was still weirded out she wasn’t showing it.

     “Yeah. Can I get this?”

     She turned the set around in her hands…maybe looking for holes? “Good choice, sir. Just so you know, all sales are final on clearance items. Do you want to add on a matching pair of stockings for another ¥800?”

     Stockings…? Aw man, the idea of Genos in thigh highs was…crap though, his plates would probably ruin them… “Nah, just this.”

     “Alright then. The total will be—” She punched a few keys on the register— “¥1696. Will that be cash or card?”

     Saitama really hoped he’d wear this… “Cash,” he started, fishing out a few bills and some coins from his pouch. “That…should be it, right?”

     She counted it out, nodded, and neatly folded the set before placing it in a bag. “Here you g—“

     A shout of “I know what I’m doing!” cut her off and they both glanced over to see a very irritated ninja leering at a very frightened attendant.

     Saitama told her “thanks” before slipping out.

    The walk home was a lot shorter this time around, what with him wondering how Genos would handle getting lingerie. He almost ran into a telephone pole that was around the corner from the store (he swore that was Mumen’s bike chained up to it, but the guy never left it unattended like that), and he walked into a few people. He caught himself before he shouldered them full-force but he was nervous they’d end up with bruises anyway.

     It took him most of the trek back to realize he’d need to hide the gift. Panicking he took the whole thing out of its wrapping and shoved it into his sweatshirt, tossing the rest on a nearby wreck heap. He could probably throw it in the closet without Genos noticing…

     When he plodded into the apartment and saw the kid’s face, though, he realized White Day was the last thing on his mind. He was sitting at the table with a notebook in front of him, and Saitama had a feeling he knew which page he was looking at.

     “Still can’t decide?” he asked, not expecting much of an answer.

     Genos’ head shook from side-to-side. “No…”

     Saitama put the groceries down in the kitchen—none of it was frozen so it could sit for a second—and sat next to the cyborg. “Any ideas?”

     Genos trailed his hands down the list, careful not to smudge the sketch in the corner. “I believe…agate, or some kind of obsidian, but which kind…”

     His teacher had no idea what those were. “Is there somewhere you can go to buy them?”

     “In City F, there’s a small store that sells stones.”

     Aw man…that was almost an hour away… “Well…if you want, once I put everything away, we could stop by there.”

     Genos wouldn’t look at him. The whole ‘keeping his head down’ thing was driving Saitama crazy… “It would be too much of an imposition, Sensei. You do not need to come.”

     “I want to, though.”

     There were those giant eyes. “Sensei…”

     “Wanna help me out?” called the man, hoisting up and over to the groceries.

     His student clomped after him and they made quick work of it. Saitama stuffed the used bags into their spot by the garbage before asking, “Wanna get going?”

     The yellow curls bobbed. “We will either need to run there, though, or take the train. I believe it closes at four.”

      Running would be cheapest, but you couldn’t really have an S-class and a B-class sprinting around—someone would call the HA on them. “The train?”

     The ride over was quiet, just like the walk there. It was a funky little place once they finally got in, statues and candles and tie-dyed blankets all over the place, even up on the ceiling.

     “Genos, look at this,” Saitama called, picking up a figurine of a skeleton playing guitar. He was immediately distracted by one of a cat in a skeleton costume. “This too! These are really cute…”

     He caught the tail end of a smile as the kid turned to a massive display of stones. There must have been hundreds of them…

     Genos was already digging through a bowl of rocks by the time Saitama came over. “What are those?” he asked, creeping in next to him.

     “This is agate, Sensei,” he said, handing one over. It was red, mostly, but it had all these lines of white and pink and different reds in it…

     “This is cool!” He reached over and pulled out another one, only it was blue. “They’re so bright…they remind me of neon signs.”

     Genos nodded and clunked over to the other side of the display, kneeling so he could reach the bottom level.

     “Can I help you?” offered a woman who came out of nowhere. Saitama nearly crushed the rocks in hand.

      “No,” he answered, putting them down before he could do any damage. “I’m good. I’m here for him,” he finished, pointing through the case.

     She leaned around it and smiled. “Ah! Back again. How are you?”

     The top of Genos’ hair popped over the display before sinking straight back down. “Hello, Lisette,” he mumbled.

     ‘Lisette’? He knew her name? Saitama turned, sneakily trying to check out the attendant. She was at least his age, maybe a bit older, and she had a whole lot of pretty black hair…

     “Do you need help this time?”

     You couldn’t make out what the cyborg said but Saitama knew he was turning her down. She walked over anyway.

     Of course the man followed.

     “Looking at the obsidian today? That’s good for communication, you know. Also sorting through emotions. You could give it to that teacher of yours with rose quartz to get something going.”

     …And he ducked right back out, regretting coming in the first place.

     “I don’t believe in any of this,” answered Genos, looking through the displays, “And if I did, they would not work on me due to the distinct lack of organic matter for the stones to interact with. I am only here for my sister…as always.”

     “Hm. You’re a good big brother, that’s for sure. Are you searching for any kind in particular?”

     Saitama edged closer to keep an eye on his student.

     Genos paused. “…I have already gotten her the snowflake variety, and I think she would have been bored with the basic type.”

     The woman swept her hands through a few different bowls before picking one up. “Something with a pattern… Mahogany?” She plopped a small piece in Genos’ palm. It had blood red streaks through it.

     “No,” was the immediate answer. She grunted and went on. “…Green?”

     He considered that one for a while longer. “…I have gotten her something similar. I would prefer if it were something different.”

     She mulled over the display, and Genos, and then the bald man half-hiding behind the rest of the shelves. “Do you want to pick one out?”

     “Oh, uh…nah, I don’t know anything about these. I won’t be much help.”

     “That doesn’t matter,” she urged, waving him over. “It’s not about knowing what they are, you just have to feel like it’s right.”

     He stepped around and crouched next to his cyborg, trying to figure out what she meant. “What...um. Do you want me to just choose one?”

     She nodded. “Go with your gut,” she explained…as if that was much of an explanation.

     “The crystals are rumored to release various vibrations that interact with those in the human body,” burst Genos, “and placement of the stones on certain parts of the body is meant to negate ‘out of synch’ vibrations which interfere with your physiological operation. The studies are shaky at best and have never yielded better results than those provided by modern medicine. However, it is common practice to pick out stones based on which ones you feel most ‘in tune’ with.”

      Saitama stared, open-mouthed, until Genos gave him a confused scowl back. Then he caught himself.

     “I apologize, Sensei. These stones are meant to heal your body and mind, and the right ones ‘call out’ to you.”

     The attendant perked up. “’Sensei’? So this is the man you always talk about?”

     Ah, right. Saitama hadn’t turned beet red in two hours, he must’ve been overdue. “Kid! Do you talk about me wherever you go?”

     An armored hand rubbed at his knee. “Everyone should know who you are, Sensei.”

     “Oh,” she mused, watching them. “It happened then?”

     They both looked up at her. “What?” pushed Saitama.

     “I’m glad for it, it was overdue. I’ll leave you two to decide,” she breathed, standing up and walking away to…wherever it was she came from in the first place. Darned store was spooky…

     “What was that about?” Saitama asked, picking up a blue stone.

     “Lisette has been trying to convince me to confess how I felt about you since I met you.” His disciple was turning the same kind over in his hands.

     “That’s real pushy…” Saitama blanked out, studying all the nametags on the rocks before it registered. “Hold on. Didn’t you say you didn’t…fall for me…until a year in?”

     Genos cocked his head to the side, shoulders shining as he reached for another bowl. “I didn’t recognize it until then. Apparently it was obvious to everyone else.”

     Yeah, everyone but his teacher… “Oh…she’s still pushy.” He reached into a dish filled with what seemed to be totally black stones. When he pulled it out, though, he saw a bunch of silvery colors inside it. “What about this?” He read the tag. “’Rainbow obsidian.’ This one’s cool.”

     Genos took it from him, examining it from every angle. He went to drop it before lifting it up to his eyes again. “Yes, Sensei…you’re right.” He bumped his teacher’s hip with his own so he could move in closer, sorting through the bowl of rocks. At one point he was holding four of them, inspecting each one.

     “I thought you didn’t believe all that ‘in synch’ stuff,” Saitama teased, waiting for the glare.

      He got it. “I do not. I’m trying to see which has the least amount of imperfections.”

     Saitama grabbed another one. “But wasn’t that what she was saying? That you pick one out based on which feels right? It doesn’t sound like cuts or scratches are that big of a deal.”

     Genos put his hand down. “Sensei. Even if I did believe in such a ludicrous practice, it wouldn’t apply to me. I am not made of organic matter.” And he went back to studying the stones, scowling away.

     “But...” It wasn’t like he could say it didn’t matter since it wasn’t for Genos. If the blonde was already down, then… “…You can still feel, though. I mean you get happy and worried and stuff, so you have to know when something’s wrong or right. Choose based on that.”

     The boy stopped, looking at Saitama like he’d just given him the award for Best Disciple Ever. It took him a few moments before he picked up the whole bowl of obsidian. His metal hands chinked against the stones as he sifted through them.

     He ended up with three. “Sensei…This is utter nonsense,” he grumbled, palm out. “…Please pick from these.”

     Saitama considered each, settling on one with this giant blue stripe through it. It wasn’t the smoothest or the prettiest shaped, but… “Here. I think it should be this one.”

     Genos let the other two tumble back into the bowl and stood.

     The lady was waiting at the counter and talked as she rang them up. “So you settled on rainbow obsidian? That’s…quite a choice. Do you know what it does?”

     His disciple tugged the change purse from his hoodie. “I cannot recall. I’ve read many descriptions and it seems to do the same thing several other stones do.”

     She grinned. “You should do some more research on it, then” She took the coins from Genos and popped them in the register when it opened, wrapping up the stone in old newspaper before giving it to him. “Out of curiosity…which of you picked that one?”

     Saitama cocked his head. “I found it, but—” He pointed his thumb at his student. “He wanted it.”

     She nodded. “I thought so.” The receipt crinkled as she handed it over. “I hope you have a good visit. I’ll light a stick for them tonight.”

     The boy looked away. “…Thank you, Lisette. I…appreciate it.”

     She waved them off and they left.

     As cool as the store was Saitama was glad to be out of there. That woman kept on looking at them like they were a pair of puppy dogs… “What’s it supposed to do?” he asked, jutting his chin at the cyborg’s hoodie.

     Genos jerked his head up. “What, Sensei?”

     Saitama pointed at the kid’s pockets through his own, not wanting to take them from their cozy pouch. “The obsidian. You said you read about what it does?”

     Rustling came from Genos’ top. “Oh…Something about emotional cleansing, Sensei. They all mostly do the same, it is pointless to remember each one.”

     He was so irritated…

     They walked on for another few minutes without saying much. Halfway to the station Saitama wove his hand into the cyborg’s.

     Genos looked at it and pulled him closer.

 


 

     The kid always went for a check-up before visiting his folks. I am already at Kuseno’s, Genos told him the night before, it would be foolish not to. Saitama knew he didn’t like them—it had to do with how long they took, and how much time he spent booting up—and he knew he got down when he went to see his family, but…

     Saitama had a feeling there was something else going on. Especially since they were leaving the next day, and Genos hadn’t said more than “Yes, Sensei” or “No, Sensei” for the past two hours. It was nagging at him real bad…

     …and it was why, when the blonde slipped away to start a bath, Saitama followed.

     Genos definitely saw him in the doorway—he hadn’t been sneaky about it—but he barely acknowledged him. He was undressing real slow too, and not in the fun way. He was…tired. It was like he could feel every kilogram of metal on him.

     “Are you alright?”

     The frown hit his teacher full force. “…Yes, Sensei.”

     Bullshit. “…Really?”

     Genos shimmied out of his pants and kicked them off. “Yes, Sensei.”

     Saitama couldn’t hold back a smile. Even when he was upset, he was cute as all hell. The man knelt by the bath and felt the water. “Do you need towels?”

      “Yes. …A few of them.” He caught the blonde watching his reflection, eyes darting across his chest. Before Saitama could get up he clunked out of the room, making his noisy way to the closet and coming back with a stack of fluff in hand. His teacher would’ve gotten them…

     “I guess…I’ll leave you to it,” Saitama trailed, making himself get up. He stopped when he saw the way Genos was fiddling with the towels. “Unless…you don’t want me to?”

     There was a ruffle as the blonde lowered the stack in front of himself. Did he forget he was naked? “Sen…sei… Actually…”

     Why did he look so ashamed? “What’s up, blondie?”

     “I…would be grateful…for your help, Sensei.” He tiptoed over to the tub to lay the towels down. “I need to thoroughly clean my armor to ensure my check-up is completed as efficiently as possible, but it usually takes me two to three hours on my own due to how many plates I have and where they are located…”

     “…So you need me to wash your back?”

     His eyes burned. “…It’s a little more than that, Saitama-sensei. But essentially, yes.”

     “That’s no problem,” Saitama started, pulling off his T-shirt. He heard a familiar ‘vhhr’ and grinned. Almost automatically he started flexing. “After all, seeing these muscles are sure to make any bath better, right?” He turned around to see his student’s reaction…

     …And Genos gave him the saddest grin he thought he’d ever seen. “I suppose, Sensei. Yes,” was all he said as he climbed in, either not noticing the way Saitama was watching him or not caring. Water sloshed over the edges of the tub as he bent forward to grab both his teacher’s sponge and the steel-wool brush they’d made specifically for him. “Could you use this to clean my spine?”

     Saitama took the brush…and was suddenly nervous. It wasn’t like he hadn’t seen the kid both in baths and butt naked before. There was no reason for his stomach to be doing the jumping jacks it was, except for...Well…

     Genos was just so quiet

     He went at it, being careful not to scratch too hard. “How do you want me to get into the grooves?”

     There was a click and the squeak of metal on metal. Then Genos was handing over…his ring finger…which was also a toothbrush? “That’s quite effective,” he commented, turning around to keep on working at his front.

     Saitama scrubbed for a good minute before he understood why it made him uncomfortable. “Kid…you don’t use this on your teeth, do you?”

     The fans went off under his hands. “I…have, Sensei. But I always disinfect it after using it for this purpose.”

     It took everything in Saitama to not spin around and check out the toothbrushes on the sink. This was the only one he used that way…right? As he went on clearing out all the bumps and ridges along his shoulders, though, he had to admit it did a good job…and that he never thought so much grime could collect in his student’s seams. When was the last time he was cleaned like this…? “Does Kuseno shine up your armor when you go to him?”

     “Always, Saitama-sensei.” Genos froze. “…Why? Is it very dirty?”

     “Well…”

     The vents whined. “I thought that may happen. I’ve avoided severe damage over the past few months, so Kuseno has had no reason to take me apart…”

     Saitama dipped beneath the water to give his waist a squeeze. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll get it, it’s no big deal.”

     “…Thank you, Sensei.”

     He made a couple of full passes over the kid’s back, and at his request double-checked the tubes along his hips (judging by that little smirk, though, Saitama had an inkling it wasn’t necessary). When he asked what else they had to cover, his chest gave a water-logged puff.

     “A great deal, Sensei.” Genos took a deep inhale and put his (four-fingered) hand to the seam under his shoulder. There was a hiss, a “pop!”, and then it was open, wires and gears shining over the tub.

     Saitama gawked, 100% taken aback. He never got to see his arms like this. Genos basically clipped one pair off and put another one on, and the only other time he got to see the inside of them was when they were…well, outside, scattered around after a fight (and then how awesome they looked was the last thing on his mind).

     The blonde peeked at his bicep, brushing his fingers over the circuits like they would shatter. Were they really that fragile?

     “How do you clean those?”

     Genos’ eyes got dark. “Patiently, Sensei. I usually pour water over them until it runs clear.”

     So they did. It took a long while, but they went through, limb by limb, Saitama oo-ing every time Genos opened another portion of his armor. It was really neat—his arms were like the inside of some high-tech factory, and there were so many tubes and screws and pumps you couldn’t keep track of them.

     “Can I touch them?” asked his teacher, not really thinking about it. They were just so detailed

     “…Yes, Sensei. But…please, do it gently. Repairing the innermost parts is frustrating.”

      Genos held out his forearm, water dripping from his hands. Saitama would’ve been bothered by his disciple’s lack of trust if he wasn’t already a little awestruck. He ran his fingers over the pistons and bars, trying to see if there was one piece that went all the way up to his shoulder.

     He pulled away when the blonde shivered. “You can feel this?”

     Genos bobbed his head.

     “Do…do you want me to stop? If it’s weird…”

     “No,” he pushed, moving a closer to the edge of the tub. “It’s…nice, Sensei. It’s soothing. Please.”

     Saitama went back to his arm, trailing down the same way he’d gone up. When Genos shivered a second time he dipped his rag in the water. “Do you need help with your legs?” he asked, wringing it out over the gears.

     “No, Sensei. They soak as I sit and do not need as much tending.”

     Those were totally different from his arms—when he popped open the casing on them everything inside looked like muscle and tendons, but when you got up close you could see they were mesh and wire.

     “You’re amazing, Genos,” mumbled Saitama, smiling as he checked one of the coils in his inner thigh.

     The fans kicked into a higher gear. “Thank you, Sen—“ A full-on screech cut him off as he studied the seam between his hips and leg. “…Ah...”

     Why was he so flustered? It was just a complement… “Is something stuck?”

     The cyborg bit back a smile as he wiped it down. “…You could say that, Sensei. It’s…remnants of our more…intimate activities?”

     O—oh. “Ha—ah...Is that…so?”

     “It’s simple enough to clean,“ he started, scrubbing a little harder. After a few minutes he slowed and raised his head. “…Shit.”

     Saitama laughed. It wasn’t like Genos never cursed, but it was funny every time—he pronounced each letter so clearly. “What’s wrong?”

     His disciple tossed him a pleading look and pointed to his chest. “Sensei…my vents…”

     “Yeah? They look alright to me…”

     “It’s not…the outside…” The kid took a deep breath, held it, and the next second…

     Saitama’s heart stopped.

     “Close that,” he cried, lunging towards his open chest. “Your core—it’s fragile, isn’t it? You can’t…just…”

     Then Genos pushed aside one of the panels, and Saitama understood why he was so concerned about his vents.

     “Oh.” That was it, really. That was all he could say. That, and maybe an apology for never aiming anywhere else.

     His student’s shoulders slumped as he felt for the stains next to the core. “I can’t leave it like this.”

     Saitama dipped the rag back into the water, holding it out. The blonde shook his head at it, though, and reached inside himself. “This needs to come out first,” he mumbled, and with nothing but a small grunt he just—

     “Put that back in,” Saitama boomed, automatically cupping the now-removed core in his palms, realizing only a second later that there was a giant cord connecting it to his student.

      Genos laughed for the first time in days, and over his near panic-attack Saitama was relieved. “It’s okay, Sensei. It was designed so that it could be taken from my body should either become damaged.” He kept it over his teacher’s hands, and the man could tell there was a question buzzing in that wet head of his. “You have not…seen it, like this,” he wondered.

     Saitama knelt back down, ready to catch the core in case it fell. Not that Genos would drop it, but… “Nah, never out of you… Does it hurt, to take it out like that?”

     “It’s…uncomfortable, but not painful.” He looked at it from all sides, smiling at a window. “Could you get me a tissue, Sensei?”

     The man pulled one out and gave it to him. Genos softly rubbed at a spot his teacher couldn’t see. It was a few moments before Saitama noticed he was holding his breath as he watched him do it.

     When it was Genos-certified clean, the cyborg tossed the tissue in the trash. He ran his thumb along the edge of one wall before speaking up again. “Sensei…could you hold it for me? While I take care of the rest.”

     His hero considered the glowing ball. “…Is that okay? I don’t want to hurt it…”

     A smile started at the corner of the blonde’s mouth. “It’s more durable than you think, Sensei.” And he passed it over to his teacher.

     It pulsed when it touched his skin and for a second it was too bright to look at. The core was heavier than Saitama thought it would be, and a lot warmer too. When it finally calmed down he could see small explosions inside that trailed off into itty-bitty jets of blue.

     It reminded him of something but he couldn’t place what…

     “It’s a reactor, Sensei.”

     “Huh?” He was still trying to figure out what it looked like.

     “It’s a subcritical reactor, powered by thorium and built out of Inconel. It generates enough energy to power a small city and Kuseno has installed several coolant systems to ens—“

     “A sun,” Saitama announced.

     “…What?”

     His teacher cupped it a little tighter. “It looks like a sun, Genos. You’ve got a tiny blue sun in your chest.”

      He heard the chink of metal as Genos paused. “…I never thought of it in that way, Saitama-sensei.”

     “Yeah,” continued the man, “It totally is.” Then he grinned. “Guess that explains why you’re so hot, eh?”

     His fans hummed and the core followed, glassy windows shielding the bursts inside it. “Haha…that’s cute. I can see when you’re flustered.” Another wave of light pulsed from it. “It’s like your blushing in my hands…”

     Genos busied himself with cleaning out his plates, leaving Saitama to laugh at the way the core burned in front of him.

     “Could you,” whispered his student, pulling his hands towards his chest, “…there. I need the light, Sensei.” He guided the core with one hand and scrubbed away with the other, and Saitama couldn’t stop staring. It was something about the blue that was shining off his hair, and his skin, and his eyes…and how he was barely holding on to his teacher…and the way his eyebrows were bunching up…

     Saitama bent his head forward and placed a kiss on Genos’ knuckles. A wave of light nearly blinded him.

     “What…what was that for, Sensei?”

     The man looked at his student and placed another kiss, even softer, on the top of the core. It went off like a fireworks finale… “No reason, I guess. Just wanted to.”

    Genos was done in moments, easing the ball from his palms and popping it back in place. It was still bright when the chest plates closed over it, and his vents were whirring on. He ran clean water and put hit head under it, raking his hands through his curls.

     Something warm and puffy pushed into Saitama’s belly as he did it. “All finished?”

     The blonde turned off the faucet and shook his head one last time. A torrent poured out of him when he stood, giving Saitama a shower of his own, and he leapt back. “I apologize, Sensei! I forgot—“

     “It’s fine,” reassured his teacher, wiping some drops from his eyebrow. “It’s just water, it’ll dry.”

     Genos stared down at him as he let his body drain, displeased. Saitama watched the droplets splatter into the bath. “You really needed this, huh?”

     His disciple looked to his feet. They were hidden in a murky layer of brown. “Oh… I suppose I did, Sensei.”

     “You can ask me to do this more often, if you want.” Saitama played with the ripples. “I don’t mind.”

     Genos shuffled against the bathroom wall. “That’s…alright, Sensei. I’d rather not.”

     Why not? It would be better for his gears and stuff if they could stay clean… “You don’t have to feel bad asking, y’know.”

     Man, they were right back to the ‘keeping his head down’ shtick... “I do know, Sensei. It’s not that.” He reached for his finger and clicked it back into place before stepping out, grabbing a towel. He was spraying water everywhere with how fast he was trying to dry his hair…

    Saitama opened up the drain. “Is it because it takes a while? It really doesn’t matter to me—I think it’s pretty cool to see the inside of you like that.”

     “Saitama-sensei…” He sighed real softly and slumped. “’Pretty cool’…isn’t exactly how I’d like for you to see my body.” He didn’t face him as he padded the rest of himself down. “Although I appreciate the complement…”

     His teacher fwumped over the edge of the bath. At some point he’d be able to hold a conversation with Genos and not accidentally make him feel like shit. “Aw…kid, I didn’t…”

     Genos wrapped the towel around his waist. “I know you didn’t, Sensei.” And he walked out.

     Saitama looked at his wet footprints, and the mostly-empty bath, and the dirty rag in his hand. He tried to listen to what the kid was doing, but the clanks had stopped in the living room. The washcloth made a wet “splop” when the man dropped it in so he could see what his hero was doing.

     He was sitting by the manga tower, leaning against his notebooks. Saitama joined him.

     “Do you want me to clear off the table so you can write?”

     Genos’ eyes shot over to it, but that was as much of an answer he got.

     “Do you want to go to bed?”

     Nothing.

     Saitama huddled closer and put his hand to the back of the Genos’ neck, massaging in small circles. He’d talk eventually…right?

     Genos caved under the touch, head bobbing between his shoulders. While he sat he scanned over his belly, his feet, and without saying a word he started brushing his hand over his thigh, real slow, listening to the “swish” it made. Then he curled his finger, positioned it over his leg, and tapped it.

     It rang quietly through the room.

    He waited for the sound to stop before doing it again, and again, not moving except for that single flick. The twang was small but deep, and it seemed to fill up the whole apartment.

     Saitama took his hand after what must’ve been a dozen hits. The kid didn’t stop him, but he didn’t try to hold it either.

     His teacher gathered him up in his arms. “Will you talk to me?”

     Genos melted into him. The start of something bubbled up at his mouth...and faded away into a shake of his head.

     Saitama pulled him in. “Let’s go to bed.”

     “…I’ll soak the mattress.”

     His sensei laid them down. “Then we’ll sleep on the floor.”

     “That isn’t comfortable.”

     “It doesn’t matter,” grumbled Saitama, pillowing Genos’ head in the crook of his elbow. “It’ll be fine.”

     The cyborg stared at him, yellow shining under his dripping bangs, and all Saitama could do was kiss him. His lips were shaking…

     “…You have an alarm set?”

     The boy nodded and shut his eyes. There was a moment where he hung there, heavy and motionless, and that stillness scared Saitama in a way he didn’t know he could be scared. Then he was throwing himself forward, hugging the man so hard the he could feel the vibration from each fan as it went off.

     He fell asleep a while after, never once easing his grip, holding onto Saitama all night long…

     …the same way his hero held him.

Chapter Text

     The morning passed by quietly, neither saying much. Genos made breakfast as his teacher pretended to read, fully aware that the man was watching him the entire time. Genos felt guilty for it. He did not want to be the source of so much stress for Saitama-sensei, but he also…could do nothing to relieve his fears.

     Genos could not tell why the visit was affecting him this way. Seeing his family always made him upset—memories and nightmares hounded him the week before and after—but this one was no different from the many that came before it. He had no reason for it to make him this anxious, no reason for the dread that pooled in his belly when he pulled up the turtleneck to hide his own, or the baggy sweatshirt to cover his arms. He couldn’t figure out why, when he slipped the gloves into its pocket and the obsidian beside it, he felt his plating clench as if preparing for an attack…

     Genos looked to the man gaping at the closet. He was wearing nothing but boxers and a bewildered expression. “Sensei?”

     “…I have no idea how to dress for this.”

     The cyborg smiled. “Anything you’d like, Sensei.”

      His teacher groaned and slouched. “That’s not true… It has to be a little nice. Most everything I own has stains on it, or says ‘hair’ or ‘tits’ or stuff like that…” He tugged out a pair of black slacks. “Are these too fancy?”

     Genos considered them before shaking his head. “No, but…they are too solemn. Perhaps,” he started, reaching over to the yellow suit pants, “These?”

     His hero blanched. “I can’t wear those to a graveyard. Isn’t that…y’know, disrespectful?”

     “No, Sensei,” answered the blonde, tugging at his light blue hoodie. “My mother liked bright colors, and she would appreciate that shade of yellow.” After wrestling them free from another hanger, Genos passed the pants to the man. “I believe she would have liked your hero suit as well.”

     Sensei blushed, stepping into each leg and fumbling around for a white dress shirt. “And…Kuseno…”

     Genos waited. “…Yes, Sensei?”

     “He won’t think it’s weird?” He tucked the tails into his waistband, meeting his student’s eyes just long enough for him to see fear there. Why would he…

     …Ah. Right. Kuseno.

    This would be the first time Sensei was meeting him.

     “The doctor will not mind,” started Genos, core strumming on in his torso, “After all, I’ve spoken so highly of you I cannot believe he would think poorly of you.”

     The eyebrow quirk Sensei threw him obviously meant he believed otherwise. “If you say so…”

     He did, and the doctor wouldn’t. …At least, Genos hoped.

     Their train came on time but their escort was late. The way Sensei’s eyes widened at seeing the sleek white car pull up was unbearably sweet, though, and it eased the frustration that had built up in Genos as he waited.

     “This is really fancy,” he cried, crawling into the leather backseat.

     His student smiled, as did the driver in the front seat. They did not exchange unnecessary pleasantries before riding off. Genos watched Saitama-sensei while they drove, tracking the tiny changes in expression as he saw a sign he thought was funny or animal he wanted to pet (…or cook, it was often hard to tell the difference). Once he faced him, though, all that excitement melted into worry.

     “How are you doing?”

     That was quite a question…and Genos didn’t know how to answer honestly. “I…will be okay, Sensei.”

     The man reached to take his hand. The gray armor stood out against his tan skin. “You don’t look like it,” came his teacher’s soft voice.

     Quiet drifted between them for what seemed like miles, Genos doing his best to piece together an explanation that was logical, understandable, simple…

     “Nothing will sound weird to me,” pushed Saitama, hand tightening. “I want to hear.”

      It was hard to voice his fears when he didn’t know why he had them in the first place. “I…I have been…” He became harshly aware of the driver in the front seat. After a shared glance in the rear-view mirror a divide closed between the two compartments.

     Sensei seemed as if he wanted to comment on it, but he kept silent so Genos could talk.

     “This visit has left me…more upset than I have been, in a long time, Sensei.”

     “…Is that why you’ve been crying in your sleep?”

      Genos remembered some of his dreams—small fragments of his childhood, of lying in wet grass, or bundling against the cold…of how strong his mother’s arms felt around him… “I believe so, Sensei.”

     “And why…you haven’t been talking to me?”

     The hurt in that was obvious and deep, and if Genos had a heart it would be clenching up. “…Yes, Sensei. At least…partially…”

     More than anything he was confused by the fog of self-loathing that had been growing inside him for the past month. Initially it was little more than what he usually felt, and easy to ignore. Saitama would run his fingers through his hair or slyly cup his backside and it dispersed instantly. As the days went on, though, and they became more…affectionate, with each other…and this visit approached faster…

     He remembered laying with Sensei after they’d finished that night’s session, listening to his even breathing. He’d done his best to clean the cyborg’s grates but he’d missed some by his side. Genos found himself lingering over it as he tried to wipe it off.

     He knew, from when he was human, that it should feel slick under his fingers. He knew it should be warm when it first hit him and it should stick to him after…but it wasn’t, and hadn’t. The warmth was a data read that part of his body only registered, and the seed edged off his heated chest like grease along a still-hot pan. He could tell it was slipping between the casing of his hand and casing of his chest, but he felt it numbly, dull, the way he did everything—as if through a pair of thin gloves he was perpetually wearing, ones that could never, ever take off.

     He checked for the gloves in his sweatshirt and squeezed his hero’s hand. “I am sorry…that I have been quiet.”

     Sensei looked back to the countryside as they passed it. “Is it something I did?”

     Dozens of memories flashed into his mind—of Sensei’s smile, of his lips, of his fingers…of hot words that hummed against his neck, and touches he knew should hurt, but that couldn’t. “You’ve only ever loved me, Sensei.”

     His teacher shuffled in his seat and his cheeks burned. “It sounds so sappy when you say it like that…”

     Genos brought Saitama’s hand to his mouth. It was the most perceptive of physical stimuli, and the most realistic part of his build. It was nice to feel it catch on the ridges of his hero’s knuckles. “It’s true,” he whispered, kissing them once, before bringing his fist back down.

     They did not talk for the next hour. Sensei hardly moved, in fact, until they passed a factory in the distance, and he became quite…fidgety. His fingers started tapping, his leg bobbed…after a while he chewed at the inside of his cheek…

     “Are you alright, Sensei?”

     The man gave him a frightened glance. “Yeah…sorta.”

     Genos took a moment to study his vitals, and found his heart beating a faster than normal.

     “…So…what’s the doctor like?”

     Sensei was anxious—that was understandable. “Kuseno is intelligent, and compassionate. You don’t need to worry about meeting him.”

     The knee bobbed higher. “Does he say anything about me, when you’re there?”

     Genos thought. There were small comments here and there, but nothing significant. “Nearly everything has been positive, Sensei. It is mostly that he wants to meet you.”

     Scared eyes settled on him. “’Nearly’? What do you mean ‘nearly’?”

     The cyborg thought. “He was…frustrated, I believe, that you did not realize how I felt earlier.” There was also the doctor’s scowl when he came in after his fight with the Sea King, and the angry grumbling he didn’t know Genos had heard… “…He also might have been upset when I got damaged during the beginning of our relationship.”

     Sensei took a shaky breath and drooped against the door. “So…he thinks I’m dumb and irresponsible.”

     “No,” answered Genos, although to be truthful…he couldn’t be sure. Kuseno kept many of his opinions to himself. “He simply thinks you are slow to act. Which is not necessarily bad, Saitama-sensei.” After another one of his teacher’s pitiful stares he added, “He is excited to meet you.”

     Sensei scratched at his neck. “I’m not good at meeting people, kid. It doesn’t usually go well…”

     They passed into a tunnel, which meant they were close. In fifteen minutes they would be at the bay. The yellow lights shone on the man’s head as they went through and it took a great deal of effort for Genos not to smile.

     “It will go well, Sensei.”

     “…Maybe…”

    When the divide pulled back and they slowed into the familiar garage, Sensei peeked his head over the driver’s seat. “Are we…here?”

     “Almost, Saitama-sensei. We need to take the elevator up and we’ll have arrived.”

     Genos opened his door at the same time the driver did, and Sensei followed out. All three of them walked over to the armored lift.

     “So we’re underground right now?” asked Sensei, marveling at the various cars, motorcycles, and caravans.

     The cyborg pushed the ‘open’ button. “Yes, Sensei. Very far underground, in fact.” They stepped in when it opened and Saitama’s mouth dropped.

      “It’s huge!

     The elevator was, in fact, quite large—and powerful as well. “We use this to transport all the equipment the lab needs, Sensei…me included. It needs to be able to hold and support thousands of pounds of machinery.”

     Saitama-sensei cocked his head.

     “I am heavy, Sensei.”

     “No you’re not…”

     Genos stared. “I way over 300 kilograms.”

     “…Oh..? It never felt like that much.”

     Their driver cleared her throat and pushed the cap over her eyes.

     “…Once we reach the lab, I’ll show you where you’ll sleep for the night.”

     Sensei readjusted his belt. “Are you sure your check-up is gonna take that long?”

     A smile pushed at Genos’ cheeks. “Yes, Saitama-sensei.”

     It got bigger when he saw his hero’s pout. “I can’t sleep when you’re not around…”

     The driver shrunk further into the wall.

     “It’s one night, Sensei.”

     “I guess,” groaned the man. As they climbed further up his frown deepened.

     Genos gently nudged his teacher’s shoulder and, in return, got an anxious whine. “Saitama-sensei…I did not think you would be this nervous.”

     The doors opened and Sensei jumped like was about to punch it. “Neither did I…”

     They exited into the front room of the laboratory, which doubled as the doctor’s kitchen. An empty table with an abandoned coffee cup greeted them. When Genos walked forward he smelled noodles and a telltale chemical burn. “Doctor,” he called, turning first to the hydraulics facility on the right and then to the electronics station at the left. “Doctor?”

     A faint shout came from deep in electronics.

     “He’s coming,” he mumbled, automatically checking the sink to see how full it had become. He was deeply disappointed. Kuseno too…he couldn’t understand why the men in his life insisted on letting dishes pile up.

     He took off the sweater he had on, slipped on a pair of (neglected) gloves by the dish soap, and started washing. “Sensei,” he called, glancing over his shoulder, “You may sit at the table for now. Do you want me to start tea for you? Or…” The coffee pot shone on the counter. That’s right—Kuseno didn’t particularly like tea... “…Coffee, rather?”

     He heard the hero step cautiously into the room. “Uh…nah, I think I’m okay…”

     “Miss?” cried the cyborg, trying to get the attention of the driver. He would have called her by name, but he had only met her once a few months before and did not ask it then. “Would you like coffee?”

     “No thank you, Genos,” came the cry back, and he heard the elevator close behind her.

     “She knows you?” Sensei asked, who—instead of sitting comfortably at the table—was standing beside him. “She called you ‘Genos.’”

     “Everyone here does, Sensei,” answered the blonde, scrubbing at an irritatingly stubborn cheese stain. How long had this dish been here? “I’m Kuseno’s most successful project. Sensei please, sit down. I’ll be done—“ He kept on scrubbing— “Shortly…”

     “I don’t want to.” He leaned against the counter, considering the coffee maker like it was a piece of modern art. “Did you drink coffee whe—“

     “Ah! Hello,” came the doctor’s voice, and both men looked over to see him. He was taking off a smoot-covered coat and rubbing his equally smoot-covered hands on it. “It’s good to see you again, my boy… And to finally see you, Mr. Saitama!”

     Genos let the smallest smirk slip when he saw hairline cracks spread from his teacher’s fist on the countertop. He stood straight and stuttered, “H-hey, doc.” A quick blush, and then, “I mean, doctor! I mean, Mr. Kus—Doctor, that is. Dr. Kuseno. Um…”

     Kuseno let out a hearty chuckle. “All of those are fine, Saitama,” he laughed, coming to the sink and pushing the faucet over his hands. The blonde stepped to the side. “How many times have I told you to let these go, Genos?”

     As many times as he let them sit there. “They are dirty, Doctor. They need to be cleaned.”

     “Yes, which I will do,” he chastised, washing his hands with the soap he’d formulated specifically for lab use. Then he swiveled the faucet back over the dishes and dried his hands with a washcloth. “I’ve been very eager to meet you,” he started, facing Saitama-sensei, “Especially after hearing this one talk about you so much.”

     Genos didn’t need to see Sensei’s face to know how red he’d become…but he leaned back to see it anyway.

     “O-oh…really…”

     “Indeed.” Kuseno held his hand out and they shook. “I’m sure you already know how highly he thinks of you.”

     “Yeah…I don’t get why, though…”

     Genos stopped washing. “Because you are amazing, Sensei. You are powerful, and kind, and humble. You appreciate what others do no—“

     “Stop, stop,” urged the man, waving his hands in defense. If he was red before, he was ultraviolet now. “Not…here, kid…”

     Kuseno laughed again. “He’s said a great deal more about you than that, Saitama. …And about more than just your personality.”

     It was the cyborg’s turn to panic. “Doctor!”

     “Haha…” He pat Genos’ whirring shoulder, hard. “What kind of guardian would I be if I didn’t embarrass you when I met your boyfriend? Saitama, would you like some coffee?”

     “N-no…thanks…”

     Genos scrubbed furiously, making quick work of what few pans were left. When he was done he pulled the sweater back on, realized his fans were still going full-speed, and pulled it back off. Then he stalked to the table to join his teacher and doctor.

     “Genos,” started Kuseno, “Saitama tells me you’re the main cook in the house. Is that true?”

     “…Yes. I make our meals most days, unless Sensei decides he wants to try something.”

     Kuseno grinned. “What a change.” He leaned towards Saitama-sensei. “The first time I asked him to boil water, he melted the pot because he thought it was a test for his incinerators.”

     So this would be how the discussion would go... “That was six years ago, Doctor.”

     “Yes, which doesn’t change the fact that it happened. By the way, when do you want me to start your check-up?”

     Genos looked to his sensei and back to Kuseno. “After I’ve shown him our room?”

     He heard the smallest “Our?” from Sensei as Kuseno told him, “Of course, of course. I’ll make sure everything is prepared then.” He took a sip from a cup that had been sitting there for who-knows-how-long (could he not take care of himself when Genos was away?) and walked back into electronics.

     Once the door closed behind him, Saitama-sensei collapsed onto the table. “That was awful,” came the muffled moan.

     Genos wanted to reassure him, but…no, Kuseno had made it incredibly uncomfortable. “…He seems to like you.”

     Dark eyes locked onto him over two very rosy cheeks. “When he said you told him stuff about me...what exactly was it that you said?”

     “It…was…that you are an amazing hero, Sensei. And…person…and…”

     Sensei waited.

     “And teacher…”

     “What about that bit where he said it was more than my personality?”

     Genos’ vents clicked open and he was glad he kept the sweater off. “…I perhaps have told him how…” Hot, toned, tight, buff—Handsome, you are. Sensei.” Guilt nibbled away at the corners of his mind. “…And maybe a bit more. Anesthetics leave me in close to an intoxicated state, and the doctor and I sometimes drink together. You have seen me when I am like that, so…you can assume…” Not that he could remember those occasions, but chances were excellent he had said at least one or two vastly inappropriate things about the man’s ass during them.

     Sensei’s forehead rolled back onto the table. “So he could probably draw a picture of me naked, is what you’re saying.”

     …He didn’t really have to, not with the many, many, many notebooks Genos had stored here with just such sketches inside them. He’d have to be sure Saitama-sensei didn’t wander into that room by mistake…

     “…Why did you get so quiet?”

     “I—I’m figuring out how best to show you the facility, Sensei,” shot the cyborg, standing at once.

     Sensei was suspicious. “Alright…”

     He didn’t push the issue as they walked through the laboratory, automatic lights flickering on when they passed by. What few assistants Kuseno had lurked in their own departments, giving a short “Hello, Genos” before returning to their work. Sensei asked questions here and there. They were about insignificant things for the most part, but they were never forced, and that was as flattering as it was frightening.

      “Woah!” Sensei took his arm, stopping them in their tracks. “What are those, Genos?”

     The blonde looked at what had gotten his attention. When he saw the open door of a storage unit, he felt the full weight of the ‘frightening’ part. “Those are replacement bodies.”

     “For you? They look like yours.”

     His belly tightened. “…Yes, Sensei.”

     “That’s so co—“ And he caught himself, releasing the cyborg’s arm immediately. “I mean…uhm. Where’s our room?”

     They walked on a while longer, Sensei’s voice quieter and questions fewer. “Here,” Genos told him, opening the door and switching on the light.

     His teacher’s face twisted in concern. “The walls are padded.”

     “Yes,” muttered the blonde, reaching out to brush his palm against them. “They are also fireproof and reinforced by several layers of steel. This used to be where I slept.”

     Sensei was incredulous. “In here? This was your room?”

     “No, Saitama-sensei, only where I slept. My room is down the hall.”

     The man considered the empty walls, empty ceiling, empty floor…and sat down on it, unsure. “This…isn’t a room. This is a cell.”

     “I did have a more traditional sleeping set-up before this was constructed, Sensei. It did not work.” Genos sat beside him, the plush floor familiar and somehow…cold. “I told you I had nightmares frequently. They were…violent, and so was I, when I woke up from them.” He laid down. “It did not help that I was still learning to control my artillery and acceleration systems at that point.”

     Sensei followed suit and something like awe fill up his eyes. “…These floors are really fluffy.”

     “Yes.” Genos rolled into his chest. “Kuseno insisted the room have a foundation of high-quality mattresses to ensure I was as comfortable as possible.”

     He watched his hero give a lazy blink before yawning. “He made a good choice. This isn’t so bad…”

    Genos sat up and gestured to the door. “The bathroom is directly across the hall,” Genos began, sitting up, “And the kitchen is in the direction where we came. The shower is open to you as well.”

     Sensei stared at the ceiling for a moment more. “I’m not gonna actually sleep tonight if you aren’t here with me.”

     The fans hummed inside Genos’ sweater. “You’ve already said that…”

     “It’s impossible. Are you sure I can’t, y’know…” He put his hands up as if trying to form the words out of thin air. “…Sleep wherever you’re being worked on?”

     Genos was moved by his request, and how earnestly his teacher asked it, but…the idea of him watching as he was opened up, and spilled apart, and hooked into a hundred different monitoring programs… “I apologize Sensei, but no.”

     A long sigh leaked from the man. “Fine, I guess. I’d like to see, though, one day.”

     It would not be this one. “Alright Sensei. …I should go and begin my diagnostic.”

     Saitama’s big eyes shot over to him. “Already? Isn’t there…more you have to show me, or something?”

     The cyborg laughed. “Only if you would like to see the innermost workings of generators, Sensei. Besides, the sooner I begin, the sooner I will be done.” And he stood.

     Sensei scrambled to stand next to him. “Can I come with you there?”

     Genos would rather not… “…Yes, Sensei, but I would prefer that you did not stay.”

     The man fumbled with his sleeve cuffs. “Sure, kid.”

     Kuseno was surprised to see both of them at the door. “Are you ready Genos? We can start as soon as you’d like, but…if you want to show Saitama around more, we can wait.”

     “No, Doctor, I can begin. Sensei...wanted to see the diagnostics room.” The cyborg turned to his hero. “This is where I am repaired, Sensei, and where the doctor runs routine maintenance checks on me.”

     Wonder filled his hero’s face as he scanned the room…and there was, admittedly, a lot to wonder at. Wires hung from the ceiling where they weren’t blocked by duct vents and several of his spare parts were stored against the walls, some in a permanent state of disrepair and others ready to use. Assistant bots—robotic booms armed with solders and screws and vices—surrounded the table where Genos would be stretched and examined, along with industrial-strength chargers and various pumps. The computer that controlled them displayed his vital signs and stats on three massive monitors, all surrounding the doctor who, in comparison to everything else, seemed very small indeed.

     “This is awesome, kid,” breathed Saitama-sensei.

     A little encouraged, Genos walked to the table. “This is where I lay, Sensei. My head goes here,” he explained, putting his hands to the guarded headrest at the top.

     Sensei walked over, carefully stepping over the mass of tubes Genos would soon be connected to. “Oh…” He ran his hands along the table’s edge, taking in all of it. “Does it hurt?”

     Genos glanced at the doctor, who gave a disgruntled frown. “Very rarely, Sensei. It is generally to test that my pain receptors are working. Anything else is done while they’re offline.”

    His hero looked at him. “So you don’t remember it hurting?”

    What a strange question… “…No, not unless I was fully conscious.”

     “Okay,” he mumbled, nodding. “What happens next? Do you get hooked up to all this...” He gestured to the pile of mechanics on the ground. “…Stuff?”

     “Yes, which—Doctor, can we begin?”

     Sensei pulled his hands away and stuffed them into his pockets, staring at the table.

     “Of course, Genos, of course. Lay down, then.”

     Genos looked at his teacher. “Would you mind, Saitama-sensei…”

     “Yeah, I know. You need me to go.” The man rubbed at his neck, a light pink covering his cheeks as he leaned in and planted a tiny kiss on his disciple’s lips. “I hope it goes well.” And he walked out, eyeing up the walls along his way.

     Genos waited until the door shut to start undressing.

     “He loves you deeply,” Kuseno told him, testing bots while the blonde prepared.

     His fans hummed in response. “I…um. As do I him, Doctor.”

     “I’m glad to see it.”

     The cyborg climbed onto the platform and gave the command for his chest to unhinge. In moments his core was being eased out and cradled by mechanical hands, a whole-body surge letting him know both he and his core had been linked to a secondary power source. Another softer surge hit him, and his body was being controlled by the doctor, pain sensors weakened so it could be unfurled with minor discomfort. Genos watched the ceiling as his chest expanded and opened, as his stomach was undone and pulled out, as his arms and legs and back were lifted and split.

     The doctor typed away. “Have you noticed anything locking up lately?”

     “Yes,” he started, answering without thinking. “My calves, in particular, and my thighs. Occasionally my wris—er…” Why. Why. He could’ve said it was normal wear-and-tear. Why couldn’t he keep his mouth shut?

     “Oh? Have you sustained damage in battle? It’s been a while since I last saw you, but your system didn’t let out distress signals, so I assumed you were fine.”

     ‘Battle’ was not the word Genos would use. “Um…No, Doctor, it was not from a fight. It’s…” What did he say, what did he say, what did he say?! “It’s…” Training? A new sleeping arrangement? A poorly-planned landing?

     “Ah,” was all Kuseno offered, and the blonde turned to see his tiny smile. He heard the robotic arms move, and—oh God, they were checking his pelvis… “You’ll need replacement fans, then.”

     If Genos could’ve curled up into a little ball, he would have. But he couldn’t. Because he had no control over his body…

     …Which hardly looked like a body at this point anyway. “Yes. I would appreciate that.”

     Kuseno was quiet for a while, clicking through different menus. The blonde wished more and more that they could dive straight into tune-up so he could receive the anesthetic already.

     “Does he treat you well?”

     Genos gaped at him. “Doctor…of course he does. Sensei takes care of me.”

     He studied the screens a little more. “…Forgive me if this is too forward, Genos, but he isn’t too rough on you?”

     Good God when was he going to be put under. “No.” Which wasn’t a lie. If anything he wished his teacher would be a little more forceful when they were intimate…

     “Alright, alright. I needed to ask.” He clicked away for another few seconds before starting again. “Going forward…we’ll have to be able to have these discussions, my boy.”

     “I know, Doctor…”

     “I have to watch out for you, after all.”

     The cyborg glanced down at the mess that was his torso. “Yes…you do.”

     His abdomen jerked as a pump connected and old oil was drained from his body. “I can strengthen a few of the springs in your calves to make sure they do not get strained as often, and it’s simple enough to install backup fans in your chest. That means we’ll need to siphon some of the power reserved for your cannons, though, and you’ll lose some of the elasticity in your legs…”

     The new oil was making its first circulation through his system. Genos closed his eyes. “Please, doctor. Modifications are unnecessary. The wear is negligible.”

     “…Alright.” His coolant was refilled as his plating’s response time to touch was recalibrated. “Everything looks good. This should be a quick one if nothing major comes up. You’re doing well at keeping yourself safe.”

     The cyborg smiled. “That…is because of Saitama-sensei.”

     “Oh? And how so?”

     One of the booms sparked against a frayed wire. “He has reprimanded me so often for coming home in pieces that I’m beginning to remember not to.” Genos laughed, but he wasn’t sure at what. “He cares when I lose a foot or an arm, when I do not. Even though I’ve assured him it does not hurt he doesn’t seem to believe me. I don’t want to worry him more than I already do…”

     Kuseno was quiet for a long time then, checking, directing, tapping. Then he said, “You’re right, Genos—Saitama is an excellent teacher.”

     The blonde grinned. “Yes, Doctor. He is.”

     “I’m going to start the tune-up now, so lay your head down.”

     Genos did, and in seconds he felt his vision waver, his thoughts slow…the lights getting darker, and darker, as they always did…

     So you don’t remember it hurting?

     Never, he never did…he couldn’t feel anything at all…


 

     Hearing was the first process that came back online, and all around him were the comfortable ticks and whirrs of Kuseno’s lab. The next was feeling—of the cold table under him, of his body fit together as it should be—and then control over his toes, his fingers, his limbs. After there was the vaguely metallic taste left from the pumps that tested his lungs and voice box, and finally the light, bright and harsh, of huge lamps overhead.

     He sat up slowly. Kuseno was sleeping beside him in a chair, the same way he did after all his check-ups. They could last from six to twelve hours, sometimes longer if the damage was extensive, and the doctor had to be alert during all of it. This one was short—when Genos checked the time on his initiating interface, it had only been seven and a half—but still, he needed rest.

     …So did the cyborg, truthfully. He had not completely booted and it took roughly three hours for his systems to run at full capacity after being offline for an extended period of time. Normally he would sleep in the diagnostics room, but…

     Quietly Genos slid off the platform and went through a basic motion test, jumping and stretching. Once he was sure nothing was out of place, he gathered up his clothes and shoes from their neat pile on the floor.

     He left as silently as his heavy steps would allow. When he tried to walk out, though, he tripped on the outstretched leg of…

     …Saitama-sensei?

     Sensei was curled up beside the door, wearing a mismatched set of Genos’ old sweats. He jerked awake at the sudden hit to his body and the following downpour of clothes. “Genos,” he yawned, rubbing his eyes. “…All done?”

     The blonde’s jaw dropped. “S…Sensei… How long have you been there?”

     The man shrugged. “I’unno… What time is it?”

     “It’s 2:46 AM.” Genos knelt down to him.

     “Oh…a while, then, I guess.” He yawned, blinking at his student before his forehead bunched up. “…why are you naked?”

     Genos’ fans started (much to his surprise—Kuseno must have increased their priority so they came online sooner). “I…I do not usually wear clothes when I’m at the lab, Saitama-sensei. It’s unessential.”

     The wrinkles in his forehead deepened. “So…everyone here gets to see you naked?”

     There was another burst of air. “Sensei…they do not see me that way…”

     He glowered. “Yeah, okay. With an ass like that…”

     Was he…jealous? “Saitama-sensei, I’m another machine to them.”

     “Did you see the way that one chick by the—the…” He pushed himself up the wall, yawning again. “The glass tube…sparky thing looked at you? I did. And it pissed me off.” He glanced down Genos’ body, pink dusting his cheeks. “You’re definitely not some machine to them.”

     Glass tube sparky…did he mean Ms. Koyoma in explosives? She’d…been admiring him? She’d been there for years though, he would have noticed that at some point… “Sensei, you were mistaken…and it is unimportant. You didn’t need to wait for me here…”

     The man pouted. “I told you, kid, I can’t sleep when you’re not around. And I had nothing else to do…” His shirt (Genos’ shirt?) was far too large on him, and he pulled up the collar as it slipped over his shoulder.

     Genos stood with him, gathering his belongings from the concrete. “Where did you find those, Saitama-sensei?”

     The man stared. “Huh?”

     “Those clothes, Sensei. Where did you get them?”

     “Oh…” He gazed down as if they’d begin speaking to him. “I couldn’t find the pajamas you said were around, so I walked until I got to…I guess it had to’ve been your room, right? It had a bunch of your stuff in it.”

     Genos froze, fans buzzing into a higher pitch. “You found…my room, Sensei?”

     “Yeah. Some of your clothes were in one of the drawers, so I took a pair.” The blonde must have seemed panicked because Sensei added, guilty, “Uh…sorry, if that wasn’t alright. I didn’t think you’d mind…”

     “No, Sensei, it’s okay.” Which it was, truly, the man could wear anything of his if he wanted (especially when he looked as small and cute in them as he did now), but…his room was also where he stored…other things…

     “You sure have a lot of journals, kid. How’d you get to so many?” Sensei started walking down the hall. “I knew you took a lot of notes, but there must have been…hundreds of books…” He yawned again. “Do you not use the backs of pages or something?”

     Genos followed him. “…I do, Sensei. I just…enjoy the process of writing…” Which also was true. What he was not going to tell him was that half of those notebooks were musings…or drawings… “And it helps me recall that day’s activities.”

     Some of the fog lifted from Sensei’s eyes. “Oh…yeah. Right.” He shuffled awkwardly until he continued with, “Did the check-up go well?”

     Lights flickered on as they passed and his teacher squinted angrily at each one. “Yes, Sensei. Everything seems to be in order.”

     He glanced at his disciple. “Your armor is shiny.”

     “During check-ups it is buffed and polished to prevent scrapes from becoming cracks.”

     Sensei leaned behind his student for a moment, hesitating before swinging back with a small “Mm.”

     Genos waited for him to continue. “Sensei?”

     “He did your butt too.”

     It was an excellent thing Kuseno adjusted his fans. “It is part of my body, Sensei.”

     The man reached back and gripped Genos’ backside, giving it a firm squeeze. “Yup.”

     It was also an excellent thing that all the other workers had gone home for the night, because the way those fans were whistling would’ve drawn attention. His hero was quite…open with his affections, right now. Normally he got shy when they so much as held hands in public. “Sensei…should I wake you up in the middle of the night more often?”

     The man pulled him in (refusing to release his left cheek) and leaned his head on his shoulder. “How come?”

     “You’re not often this forward…”

     He laughed and gave another soft squeeze. “I mean…there’s some ways I wouldn’t mind…”

     That would have been an intense turn-on if he wasn’t falling asleep as he said it. Luckily they were a few steps away from their room. “And what ways are those, Sensei?”

     Genos opened the door and flipped on the light. It was off in an instant, the only explanation the blur of his Sensei’s arm and his irritated groan of “’s bright.” In a moment he was flopping to the ground.

     His disciple scanned the room, checking for his blankets, or pillows, or pajamas…and realizing they were nowhere to be seen. Irritated he put down his clothes and started to leave to retrieve their bed settings.

     A hand shot out to his ankle. “Don’t go,” moaned the man, patting the spot next to him. “Come sleep…”

     “But we need blankets, Sensei…”

     Another hard pat. “Sleep.”

     Genos succumbed, padding back and laying down. “Won’t you be cold?”

     Saitama pulled him close to his side at first, and then turned to wrap his arms around him, and when that did not satisfy he dropped his head to put an ear against Genos’ chest. After a moment he sighed, curling around his student’s body. He slurred something into Genos’ plates that the cyborg could not make out.

     “What was that, Sensei?” he whispered, holding him back.

     “’Nothin’,” he answered, squeezing hard, and in moments he was asleep.

     Genos stared at the top of his head, running his thumb over his temple and his fingers along the back of his neck, trying to figure it out. He’d heard “sound” and something like “miss,” but that was as far as they boy got before he noticed how plush the floor was, and warm his sensei…or how tired he’d become…

     It felt like the dark came up to hug him, and he fell deep into it.

     Even in sleep he was aware of lumps in the floor, small and soft and somehow, after two years gone, familiar. He knew that bump by his back, and the one against his leg. He’d managed to lay across the one spring that started to break through the bedding and it poked him behind his knee. It was hard, very hard…

     Sharp, even…

     And it was digging—no, it was cutting into the soft seems of his knee—it hurt. It hurt so bad. He should move, he should—he should turn—

     But the pain, it was so much, it burned him, everywhere, everywhere, anywhere he looked there was burning—in his clothes, in his room, smoking up his eyes. He needed to get up, he needed to run. The fire, there was more of it coming, he could hear it, he could smell it—

     It smelled like metal. It was metal, and burnt hair, and something leathery and rotten and wrong…

     His mother. She’d been here. She’d been next to him, sorting through the mail. What—what did she look like—what color were her eyes—were they brown? Blue? Were they red? There was so much red here, above him and below him and on him, all in his hands and fingernails and—

     It was there. The fire, the metal, it was next to him. It was turning, it was looking. For him. For Kaa-chan. What did she look like? Did it know? Did it see?

     Oh God did it see him?

     He needed to run, to go—but the pain, his legs, they were all wrong, he moved them and they were all wrong, it was wrong, wrong, red, rotten, everything, everything, where was Kaa-chan, she’d been right next to him, right there, she’d—

     She’d…

     She…

     She still was.

     She…was, but…her head, it…the red, it was all of it—the metal, the shape of its foot, you could see it—outlined in the red, consumed in it, fire where her hair had been, her eyes—

     Her eyes, what color were her eyes? Had it looked? Did it know? Did it see what it had done? It had to know, it didn’t care, it wasn’t stopping, it was so close, it was coming closer, why, why was there so much red inside him, outside, why couldn’t he remember, Kaa-chan, Kaa-chan, please, he needed to know—

     “…nos...Genos…”

     What color…were her eyes…

     “Genos.”

     He felt himself sobbing before he heard it, breath harsh and ragged against his throat, tears sticky on his cheeks. Sensei’s arms were around him and his chest was underneath him, and he could feel his heart pounding there, heavy and steady and so, so strong.

     “Genos…are you alright?”

     Visions of his town in flames, of the cyborg’s legs…his mother…beside him…they floated like afterimages of a bonfire…

      His sobs came harder.

     “Shh…shh, Genos,” cooed Sensei, hands rubbing along his back and cradling his head. “Genos it’s okay. You’re awake. You’re safe.”

     Safe…safe…

     “I’m here, it’s okay.”

     Genos was safe…

     “Sensei,” he coughed out, working to keep the tears back. “Sensei, they died…all of them—“

     His teacher hugged him closer. He was so warm… “It’s okay. You’re okay.”

     “Sensei, it killed them…”

     “I…I know, Genos.”

     “It almost…killed me…”

     Sensei let him go on, whispering words that he hardly heard over his own cries. They were soft, and real…they were real, like Sensei, like the floor, like the oil staining both their skins, like his wails filling up the too-big room.

     Like Genos.

     That’s right… It had only been a nightmare. The pain, and the fire…all of it…it had been a nightmare, the same he’d had so many times before. Genos was safe...

     …only Genos…

     It took a very long time before his choked gasps calmed to shuddering sighs, and then to breath interrupted by stubborn hiccups. Saitama held him through all of it, rubbing his hair, or his arms…talking to him quietly, sweetly…

     “…You…okay?”

     Genos looked up into his hero’s worried face, blinking away the oil so he could see it better. “I…I am alright, now. It’s—s over.”

     Sensei was unconvinced. “I’ve never heard you cry that hard before.”

     Genos tucked his head down. “That is because you’ve never been with me before a visit, Sensei.” The room was so quiet…

     The man hesitated before bringing him closer. “…Do you want to talk about it?”

     His student shook his head. “I would rather not…imagine it, now…”

     “…’Kay,” was all he said, brushing his hands gently against the cyborg’s back.

     It felt amazing. “Sensei,” Genos mumbled.

     “Yeah?”

     “Sensei,” he repeated, not knowing why he’d said it in the first place.

     The man stared at him. “…Yeah?”

     Brown. Deep, deep, deep brown, so dark they were almost black. That’s what color his eyes were. “You…are gorgeous, Saitama-sensei.”

     He blushed. “O-oh?”

     Genos  would never let himself forget that. “Yes…”

     He closed his eyes, feeling for the jump in his teacher’s pulse, waiting for his core to stop whirring. He forced himself up when a blinking number in his iris told him it was later than he’d wanted it to be. “Sensei,” he started, “It is almost eleven. We should go.”

     Saitama watched him get up and reach for his clothes. “You…sure? You don’t need more time? We could sit here for a while longer, if you want…”

     The cyborg was already half-way into his pants. “There is no need, Sensei. I told you. It is over.”

     The man stood beside him. “…You were really upset…”

     “That is normal. It’s a reoccurring nightmare, Saitama-sensei.” He tugged on the turtleneck, and then the sweater over it. “I am used to it. Where did you leave your clothes?”

     Sensei rubbed his arms. “…I think they’re in your room…”

     “Let’s get them, then.”

     They were quiet as they walked down the steel-plated walls. “They’re in here?” Genos asked, opening the door in front of him.

     “Mm,” was the only answer Sensei gave, nodding and disappearing behind one of the (many) stacks of journals kept here.

     Hum…when they were stored in one place like this, the amount did seem a bit…excessive…

     “When are we going…” Genos saw a flash of Sensei’s back as he changed. “…To see your family?”

     There was something about that patch of skin in his crowded room… “As soon as you and Kuseno have eaten, Sensei.” It seemed…brighter, somehow…and Genos couldn’t stop staring…

    “Me and Kuseno? What about you?” He walked back out, straightening his tie while carrying his student’s stained shirts, and Genos’ core gushed out a burst of heat.

     “It’s…it’s difficult for me to eat before visiting them, Sensei.” The way his top clung to his waist…and the easy gait in his walk…

     “…Well…you should give it a shot, at least.”

     He was so beautiful…

     His sensei turned to the dressers behind them. “I tried not to dig through the drawers too much, but I’m sure I messed them up. Where should I put these?” he asked, lifting up the shirt and pants.

     …The room seemed bigger for having him in it. “That basket in the corner is for dirty laundry, Sensei.” He watched the man place the sweats in the basket and opened the door.

     “Thanks” came the mumbled response as Genos followed him out.

     Kuseno greeted them in the kitchen, pulling a carton from the fridge when he saw them. “You will be alright with eggs over rice?”

     Saitama nodded eagerly. His enthusiasm over meals was sweet…which he had missed due to the diagnostic yesterday.

     Speaking of which… “Sensei, what did you eat last night?”

     The man had trouble meeting his gaze. “Uh…well, I ate a lot at before we left yesterday, so…”

     “Sensei, you should have asked—“ And it hit him, then, why his teacher had resorted to wearing his clothes and sleeping outside the door.

     Genos was an absolute fucking idiot.

     “…I…Saitama-sensei, I apologize. I didn’t…” Neither he nor Kuseno ate during check-ups, so he’d forgotten… “I did not tell you where anything was, other than our room…nor did I introduce you to anyone who could have helped you…”

     The doctor turned to his hero, and back to Genos. “You didn’t tell him he could use the kitchen?”    

     Saitama-sensei blushed deeply. “No—no, it’s fine. Really. It’s not that big of a deal…”

     “It isn’t fine, Sensei,” pushed Genos. How could he be that neglectful? He knew the man was reserved, he knew he wouldn’t have gone rifling through their refrigerator without explicit permission, nor would he have asked the other techs to share their dinner even if they were still in the facility at that time…

     Kuseno shoveled a great deal of rice out of a rice maker and into a bowl, cracking three eggs over it. “Here, Saitama,” he offered, handing it over with a pair of chopsticks. “It’s my fault as well. I forgot to leave food out for my guest.”

     Sensei took it, redder than ever. “Seriously guys, I’m not that important.”

     Genos’ vents burst. “You are that important, Sensei!” He stared back and Genos realized his fists were tight. “I…I am sorry that I did not properly prepare for you…” Genos just left him alone…it was no wonder he didn’t want leave the blonde’s side last night… “I didn’t care for you as I should have…”

      A cluster of rice popped into his vision. “Open up, kid,” Sensei told him, and Genos looked up with confusion. The man waved the chopsticks closer. “Come on,” he pushed again, and his student complied.

     It was delicious…

    “I told you I was fine,” he pushed, taking a mouthful of his own. “And I’m not mad. You’ve had a lot on your mind. It’s okay. …Man,” he trailed, nodding at Kuseno, “This is great. Thanks.”

     Kuseno smiled. “I’m glad Saitama. Genos, do you want any?” He’d asked the same thing for years, and the cyborg had always refused him.

     …but that bite was very good… “…Yes, Doctor. But…not much, please.”

     Kuseno smiled wider. “Go sit, then.”

     He and his teacher plodded over to the magazine-covered table, Saitama-sensei happily occupied by his mound of rice. Kuseno joined them with two more bowls in hand, and all three were eating in moments.

     Genos was done long before his dish was empty. He couldn’t stop thinking about the day—wondering if it would be crowded, how dirty the graves may have become…if his family would be upset that he did not come more often, or upset that he came too much…

     “Do we have the flowers, Doctor?” he asked, getting a nod from Kuseno.

     “They will be in the car.”

     “The ones I asked for?”

     “Yes, the same.”

     Genos rummaged through the pocket in his sweatshirt, feeling for the stone and gloves there. “And Karun—“

     “He knows to pick us up, Genos. He’s ready.”

     The blonde stared blankly at a medical paper in front of him. “I hope the marble hasn’t been too badly water-stained. Last time it was difficult to get it clean…”

     “It will be okay.”

     Sensei was looking between Genos and the doctor, obviously worried but staying silent. He remained that way throughout the rest of the meal and while they left for the garage. As promised their car was waiting for them—a black one this time, driven by the same man who’d taken him to the graveyard for the past six years. “Hello Karun.”

      The middle-aged driver nodded his hello and, like always, opened the door for him. “It’s a beautiful day today.”

     “Yes, it is,” answered the doctor as he walked to the front and sidled into the passenger’s seat. “Good weather for a visit, I think.”

     Genos didn’t answer, being cautious not to break the incense in his hand as he entered the car. The smell of old leather mixed with that of the flowers waiting on the seat. “Sensei,” he called, and he watched the man struggle to get into the low car. The door shut beside him and he jumped.

     With a “thunk” and a rumble, Karun was driving towards the cemetery.

     It was a beautiful day out. It was nearly cloudless, and the sky was the same bold blue as his sweatshirt. It was the kind of color his mother would have loved, could she see it. Though his memories were vague that was one thing that always stayed the same—spots of color, or entire wallfulls, bright and clean and there only for the sake of the woman who loved them. He had a notion that his father was not fond of them, but he recalled how incredibly fond he was of his mother. He had probably let them stay to make her happy.

     He worried often what his father would think of him now. He’d been brilliant, and kind, and lively, he knew that much. He remembered large hands rubbing his head as he fell asleep, or holding a pen above a notebook…for some reason he always had a pen. And the peace Genos felt when he thought of him, the calm…made him think he must have told his son to be that way, or preached it as a whole. If he saw what Genos had become—

     A touch on his leg startled him. “Kid…you doing okay?” asked his teacher, eyes dark and sad.

     “…Yes, Sensei.” And he was, he really was. There had been visits when he was not—when he cried softly in the backseat on the way over, terrified of the answers his parents could never give him, or miserable at the idea of all his sister had not seen. Today, though, he was alright. Perhaps his nightmare had eased the tension…

     Saitama massaged his neck, gently, and the blonde could not help but lean into his palm. It was strong, and warm, and solid, and something loosened in Genos’ chest at the thought that it could never, ever be destroyed.

     It was not long before they reached their destination. Karun parked in the beat-down lot, finding a space amongst the cars there. Genos pulled up his hood and tugged on the gloves before opening the door and sliding out. Sensei followed, plunging back in to grab the flowers. Their driver stayed in the car.

     Genos saw familiar faces there—old men and woman who visited those who passed, knowing they would soon join them, and the young children who played around them. It was no one from his village. The small handful of survivors belonged to a different temple, after all. This one, though a considerable distance from their home, was his father’s favorite, so this was the one they frequented. It was only right to keep his family here once the time came for their burial.

     “Where…are they?” asked his teacher, nervous.

     The blonde walked to the wall of tubs and scrubs, pulling out a bin and positioning it beneath one of the pumps. “Far to the back, Saitama-sensei. I will show you.” He let the water run until it was almost overflowing, earning him a stare or two from the young couple beside him. “Could you carry the ladle and brush?”

      Sensei walked to the large rack of old supplies, pulling out a bronze pan and well-used scrubber. There were none that weren’t tattered.

     The cyborg heaved up the pail and began to walk.

     He wove around the pillars and people, listening to the sound of splashing water and scrubbing and soft prayers. In the distance he heard a single sob. In his peripherals he noted old flowers, or incense stains, or beautiful bouquets that had recently been placed in their graves. He focused on getting to the back of the cemetery.

    “It’s nice to see all the visitors,” said Kuseno, hands in his light coat. He did not speak as if expecting an answer and he didn’t get one.

     His family’s plot was nestled between two others that he didn’t know in life, but that he came to know in death. Offerings, and visitors, and one type of lily that was always left in the vase left hints as to who they’d been when they were alive.

     He was not sure if anyone could tell the same from the scant tokens he knew to leave for his family.

     …Their names were clear, at least. Genos read them as he took the scoop from Sensei and poured water into the well-worn bath, checking for dirt. He did his best to keep the grime from them. “Doctor?” he asked, putting a gloved hand out behind him. Kuseno placed a rag and brush in his hands. He wet the cloth and, doing his best to ignore the water running into his sleeve, wiped it across the stone.

    “Hertz?” Sensei asked, leaning in to better study it. “That’s your last name?”

    The blonde paused, core pulsing, before beginning to scrub the character. “It was my family name.”

    Saitama-sensei shuffled. “…And your dad’s name—Eloy. Is that…”

     “It is German, Sensei.” He took his time, making sure every corner of each letter, every line was spotless. “My father was a professor. He moved here as part of an exchange program…” He moved to his sister’s name. “Then he met my mother and decided he wouldn’t be returning.”

     His teacher pulled up the scrub, hanging it over the well. “Is it alright…?”

     Genos looked at it, and the man holding it, and the stone. Then he nodded.

     “Thanks,” Sensei said, and he began wiping at the edges.

     The blonde waited for the guilt to creep in…and was surprised when it did not. He never accepted help with this—the grave was his to clean, his to care for, and to have another do it seemed shameful in a way he couldn’t explain. But as Saitama scrubbed, all he felt was…

     …peaceful…

     “Your mom and sister’s names—they’re pretty.” He stretched to read them out loud. “Hiromi…Kikku…”

     Another throb came from the cyborg’s chest. It had been so long since he’d heard anyone else say them. “Y…yes, Saitama-sensei. …They are.”

     “Kikku… Is that why there’s chrysanthemums in the flowers you brought?”

     Genos moved on to his mother’s name. “Yes…”

     There was a splash as Sensei started on back. “You’ve kept this really well, kid.”

     Pride surged inside Genos. “Thank you…Sensei…”

     “You can tell you love them.”

     Pride, and something else, something hot and sweet and dark. “Y-yes, Sensei. Thank…you…”

     Kuseno hung behind, quiet.

     “Do you need the brush, Genos?” A wet sponge poked out from beside the headstone and Genos shook his head. “’kay…Doc? Er,” he corrected, “Dr. Kuseno? Do you need it?”

     Genos’ fans hummed in his hoodie as he heard his guardian clear his throat. “No, that’s alright Saitama. I pay my respects afterwards.”

     “Oh…” The confusion was clear in Sensei’s reply. “Al…right…” The brush snaked beneath Genos’ arms to dip into the bucket and vanish behind the pillar.

     The grave was cleaner than expected, which was a welcome surprise. There had been days after a storm where Genos spent hours at the grave, scrubbing and rinsing and shining. It was not long before he was unwrapping the lavish bundles of flowers and settling them into place, taking the incense from Kuseno right after.

     Its familiar smell filled the air around him as he lit it. He knew it should burn as the smoke clouded his eyes…but his only reaction was a small blip of “VISION OBSTRUCTED” across his interface.

    He sat, watching the tendrils swirl across their names.

    Saitama-sensei came and sat with him. “Do you talk to them?” he asked, placing the brush into the pan.

     Genos did not look away from the fog. “Yes.”

     “…What about?”

     The blonde ran his thumb across the base of the pillar, knowing his family was right beneath. “Important things, Sensei. How close I’ve come to finding the Mad Cyborg, or the people I have saved… Difficult missions, or…you…” The stone was cold against his fingertip. Both were still wet, and shone the same way. “I’ve told them much about you, Sensei.”

     “O-oh?” He asked, red creeping into his cheeks…and Genos had to laugh. “What? What’s funny about that?”

     The glove caught on a ridge in his incinerator and he plucked it out. “That you would be flattered by that, Sensei. It is…endearing.”

     He took a moment to digest the complement, and then, “Why don’t you take those off? They can’t be comfortable.”

     Genos looked his teacher straight in those deep brown eyes, once, and back to the grave. “I…will not, Sensei.”

     “How come? Isn’t it dangerous, with your incinerators right there?”

     Genos lifted his hand away. “That…is precisely why I wear them, Sensei. I don’t want my canons to touch them.” He watched the tips of the incense burn. The smoke was thick around them. “It would be disrespectful,” he murmured.

     “Oh…” Saitama shifted uncomfortably, fiddling with a fallen leaf. Genos worried marginally if dirt from the pavement would stain his pants, and a great deal more about the way he was staring at the pillar. There was one spot in particular he was focusing on. His gaze darted between his sister’s name and the gap on the other side for a full minute before he asked, “Did you mean to put something else here? A… message, or something? Or is that a German thing?”

     Genos gave him credit for catching it. “What do you mean, Sensei?”

     His teacher pointed. “There’s a big empty space r—“ He froze, eyes widening. “Right…right there, next to Kikku’s…name…” His hand dropped at his side and he looked at the flowers, the incense, the tiny tomb that fit a family his disciple didn’t talk about unless it was about avenging their loss. “Genos,” he started, not meeting his stare, “What was supposed to go in that space?”

     The cyborg tugged at the neck of his sweatshirt. “I…did not expect to live for very long after my transformation.”

     Saitama turned his head away.

     “I was tracking down a dangerous enemy, Sensei. One much stronger than I.”

     His hand tightened around the leaf.

     “And my self-destruct feature has always been my most powerful weapon…Saitama-sensei.”

     A hand creeped over to Genos’ own, not holding it but curling around his pinky, his ring finger. “You’re…not gonna use it now…right?”

     Silence hung for a heavy second.

     “I mean…you have me, so you don’t…” His grip tightened. “You don’t…need that space anymore…right?”

     Genos wanted to say, ‘Right.’ He wanted to say, ‘Yes, absolutely, you don’t need to be afraid Sensei, I will never leave you Sensei’…

     …but he also knew he was rash in battle, and careless, and for years he’d wanted nothing but the monster’s blood on his hands.

     Genos could not lie to him. “…I love you, Saitama.”

     The man’s shoulders bent. “Yeah, I…” There was a small sound—not a grunt, but not a whimper either—and suddenly Genos was being picked up and pulled over as if he didn’t weigh more than the marble pillars surrounding them. “I…Fuck,” Sensei breathed. Genos could feel how tight his arms were through the sweater and it made his core spin. “Come on, kid… You…you won’t use it, right? …Please?”

     Saitama’s cheek was hot when it pushed against his. “…Don’t make me visit you here…”

     Warmth burst from Genos’ chest. He turned to look at Kuseno—because he was shy, or nervous, or maybe because there was a small part of him that was afraid, though he didn’t know why—and found the doctor already staring at them. He was resigned, like he’d seen this many times before, and Genos couldn’t tell if he was more sorry for the cyborg or the man.

     Kuseno tapped Saitama on the shoulder and he jerked up. Sensei must have forgotten he was there, because he unlocked his grip and pulled off, stuttering “O-oh, um. I…”

     “Could I say hello?” asked Kuseno, and both heroes moved out of the way.

     They waited while he prayed. Sensei would not let go of Genos’ hand.

     “Alright,” Kuseno started, bowing to the grave. “Saitama? Would you like to tell them anything?”

     Sensei nodded and moved closer, fingers wound up in his student’s for as long as possible. Genos watched him put is head down, and back up, and down, and shuffle, before touching the blank spot on the pillar and mumbling firm words. He sighed, deeply, and with his hand on the stone he turned to the blonde. “Go ahead, kid.”

     He didn’t budge when Genos came forward. “Sensei…I would prefer to be alone for this.”

     Saitama only watched him at first, and Genos realized this must have been how it felt to be recorded. Then he was leaning towards Genos’ shoulder, kissing it so softly the blonde wouldn’t have known he did it if he hadn’t seen it.

     He hovered for a long moment before muttering, “’kay” and stepping away.

     Genos stared at the pillar. He took a silent breath before whispering, “Hello Papa, Kaa-chan…Kikku.”

     The reflection of his eyes stared back.

     He played with the petals of the chrysanthemum as he composed his thoughts. “So much has changed since I last came to see you…” One of them tore under the rubber pads and he let his hand fall. “The man who was just here. That…that was Saitama-sensei. We…”

     He was embarrassed then, utterly and all at once, and it felt like he was making a confession. “We…are together, now. Not merely as student and teacher, but...but as companions, and friends… As lovers…” He leaned in, resting his head against his mother’s name. “I’ve had my first kiss, Kaa-chan, and first date...” Genos chuckled. “Well…the first that Sensei was aware of. I believe I did well. We went to our noodle restaurant, and came home to watch television shows…” His fans went off. “We got drunk, and…almost made love… He is so gentle, and careful. He is sweet and strong…and he takes care of me, as much as I try to take care of him.”

     His voice dropped and he rolled his forehead against the pillar, feeling the characters in her name cut into it. “He…he said he loves me, Kaa-chan…in his way. He loves me…” The stone was cold on his skin. “I wish you could have met him. I think…you would have liked him... Perhaps not you, Papa,” he said, brushing a hand against his father’s engraving, “Because…well, Saitama-sensei is not as…passionate about things as you had been, at least not outwardly. But he is as kind as you were. And he’s taught me many things about…many things. He is a good teacher. You would have appreciated him for that.” His eyes fell. “I…hope, you would have… I do…”

     Then he dropped into a crouch and pulled the wrapped stone from his sweatshirt. “This one, Kikku, is called rainbow obsidian.” He unfurled it, holding it to the sunlight so he could see its opalescent shimmer. “It’s very pretty, like you. It’s jet black but there are rainbows inside of it.” His armor clicked against the pavement as he pulled up a loose brick, exposing a hand-dug hole in front of the grave. Dozens of other stones shone inside it. “Obsidian is lava that cools almost instantly. The rainbow comes from very small air bubbles that are trapped in the lava. They refract light and make the obsidian shine different colors. …It’s the same as what happens when the sun catches in a mist of water.”

     He placed it in, hearing the gentle ‘chink’ as it hit years’ worth of gifts. “…Did we see that, when we played together? I…I don’t remember any ponds, or lakes, but I know how to swim, even though I cannot…now… Kikku,” he started, slowly replacing the makeshift cover over her makeshift chest, ignoring the way his core was pulsing, “Did you know how to swim? I’m sure…you would have done it beautifully. I would have taught you, if you didn’t know.”

     The brick looked no different from the others now that it had been placed back down. Genos rubbed his palm across it and returned to the grave. The reflections of his eyes still shone at him. “I’m sure you would have learned quickly…as you did…everything else. Your big brother isn’t as smart as you. He is…very stubborn, sometimes, even though he knows he shouldn’t be. Sensei tells me often to relax…” Genos sighed, and as he exhaled he felt something crushing down on him. “Would you have liked him? I…would love to know. I want to know, so bad. I wish you could tell me…”

     His neck bent under the pressure. “I wish…you could talk to me. To let me know how you are…or how you think I’m doing.” He felt it at the corners of his eyes, down his back… “Would you…like me, as I am? Today? Would I scare you? I often scare children… I look like…a monster, to them.” Two black spots splattered across the ground. “Would you think I was a monster? I fight them. I do, I pr-romise…though I get destroyed so often… I’m still so w-weak…”

     The splatters came faster. “I was always-s too weak. And now…I can’t go back. I can’t undo this. I can only be as strong as this b-body permits, and it’s limited. I am limited…there is s-s-so much I can’t do, for you…for Papa, Kaa-chan… F-for…Saitama-s-sensei…”

     He wept, gritting his teeth against the tears. He was so tired of hearing himself cry… “I am tr-rying, but…” He was so tired… “I can’t—I can’t f-find it, and I c-can’t—I can’t leave him, if I di-id, I can’t g-go ba—ah—a—“

     A pair of arms wrapped around him, a chest pushed against his spine, legs surrounded his trembling body, and Genos seethed, hating himself for being so rash, hating himself for falling into happiness, hating the fact that he could never let his teacher feel his heartbeat the same way he could feel Sensei’s right now, hard and heavy and stronger than anything. Genos would never be that strong. He never had been—only ever not strong enough. Not enough to protect his sister, not enough to save his family, not enough to find the cyborg, not enough to help his teacher—

     “Sensei!” he sobbed, and the man held tighter.

     “It’s okay, Genos. You’re okay.”

     “I’m not, I’m—“

     “Yes, you are. You’re okay. I’m here.”

     “Sen-nsei, I’m not strong—“

     Saitama’s knee pushed into his side. “Cut it with that crap. You’re strong. You’re really strong. You’re one of the strongest heroes out there.”

     “I need to b-be…as strong…as y-y—“

     “I’m a freak, kid. Nobody can be as strong as me. Not that I’ve seen… You’re doing great, Genos. I promise.”

     A fresh wave hit the boy, and he buckled. “Sen—Sensei…”

     “I’m here, Genos. I’m not going anywhere. I’m here…”

     The ground was black…

      “I’ll always be here.”

     The oil was reflecting his eyes.

     “I’ve got you.”

     The yellow was so, so bright.


 

     The rest of the visit had been quiet. Kuseno made them dinner and afterwards they left. They could have stayed for the night—Genos usually did—but he was anxious to be home, surrounded by the smells of their apartment and cushioned on their stained futon, away from the lab’s metal walls and sparking machines and harsh, bright lights.

     Genos knew he should pull out his journal as soon as he got home. Time with his family, however it came, was precious. He needed to remember it. When he walked through the front door he slipped off his now-scuffed sneakers, stared at the stack of notebooks…and sunk at the wave of loathing in his gut.

     He didn’t want to think about it. He didn’t want to replay those moments in his head and scribble them down in detail. He didn’t want to describe how clean their grave was, how the smoke smelled, how long it burned—how the ash dirtied his armor, or how his tears dyed the ground…how beautiful the sky was, his teacher as he helped wash…

     Genos tugged off his sweatshirt and started to do the same to his turtleneck…until his fingers hit the cables underneath. Leaving it alone, he reached through the kitchen doorway to get his apron.

     “You’re gonna cook now?” prodded Sensei, coming to stand behind him. “I can do that, if you want.”

     “No, Sensei. I’m going to clean.” It was only when he tried to take a rag from the counter that he noticed the gloves. He’d forgotten about them… Wordlessly Genos slipped them off and held them over the sink, making sure they were squarely above his incinerators.

     “Kid? What are you…”

     With a whine and a burst the pair was in flames. Saitama-sensei yelped, jumping to put out the fire…before he saw that the gloves were already safely below the faucet, glowing edges shriveling as they burned. Genos would have been concerned for the smoke detectors had they not been deactivated long ago. His body heat was often enough to set them off.

     “…Why did you do that?”    

     Genos watched as the leather turned yellow, then red, and back to charred, dirty black. “I always do, Sensei. It…doesn’t feel right to keep them.” He waited until the fire burnt itself out and rinsed the ashes, tossing what pieces remained. His hands felt naked as he grabbed the rag and clomped into the living room, kneeling down so he could shine the patio door.

     “…We weren’t gone for that long. You don’t have to do that…”

     “I want to, Sensei.” He concentrated on wiping the glass, on the way it gleamed in the rag’s wake…

     His teacher stood in the hallway. “We could…watch a movie, or play a game, if you wanted to relax…”

     “This is relaxing, Sensei.” He moved onto the handle.

     The man gave a small “okay” as he padded over to the closet. Genos heard him open the doors and ruffle through it, old clothes giving a ‘fwump’ as he changed. Then he was sitting behind the cyborg, pulling out a manga and flipping through the pages.

     Genos cleaned undisturbed for a few minutes until there was a tug on his back. He turned, finding his bed-ready teacher holding onto a pink strap. “You’re leaving your shirt on?”

     He looked at the black peeking out from under the apron. Then he continued cleaning. “…Yes, Sensei.”

     The strap fell to the floor. “Oh…” was all Sensei said. Genos turned to him, and if the disappointment hadn’t been clear enough in his voice, the frown on his face made it so.

     “Does that bother you?”

     Sensei shot up. “What? No, you just…always take off your shirt when we’re home, so…so I didn’t know if you forgot…”

     The cyborg slowly polished the door, scraping off the dust in the railings, the tar in the grooves… He cleaned through the quiet, through the thoughts he wanted to avoid, through the tightness in his belly that had been growing for the past week…

     “You’re really beautiful, Genos.”

     It was not said loudly, but still Genos froze. He let the rag slide to the floor. “Sai…tama?”

     His teacher was watching him, truly watching him, eyes steadfast and unwavering and Genos could not look away. “You’re…beautiful.” His cheeks flushed and he focused on the manga. “…I wanted you to know…”

     “Thank you…Saitama-sensei…” The blonde tried returning to the glass, but his arms would not cooperate. They felt heavy, clunky, dysfunctional…

     And he was so tired…

    Genos gave one last half-hearted attempt before abandoning the task completely. Saitama-sensei seemed surprised when he crawled over to him, curling up against his side to rest on his bare shoulder. “…Thank you…”

     Saitama brought his hand up to Genos’ hair, rubbing softly as he read. The blonde knew it was his way of telling him not to mention it. After a few pages he bent down to kiss his forehead, and Genos enjoyed the feeling as his lips lingered, of his neck against his cheeks. He brought up his own to return the gesture and, as gentle as it was, it shot through him like a flash flood.

     The boy kissed him again, letting the flutters fill him…and he kissed him again, feeling his breath hot against him. He kissed him again, and again, and again, knowing his hero’s heart was pounding but putting his palm against it anyway, marveling as the pulse picked up, marveling as he was picked up and hugged and cradled between arms that had saved the world countless times…just as many times as they had saved him…arms that held tight as their hands shyly roamed his body like it was something sacred, precious…something wanted…

     Beautiful

     Fingers crept beneath his shirt and Genos let them. They prodded and pressed, ghosting across his cables as if they weren’t metal but yielding, and soft, and desirable…and for that moment Genos could pretend it was true. Their owner swallowed as the shirt was pulled from Genos’ arms and, for that moment, he could believe he was not molded from steel. Then he was made of heat, and longing, and he was being loved by the man he loved, his lips touching everything they could reach—a neck that wasn’t black, a chest that wasn’t a case, a stomach that wasn’t a wall of plugs and ports and panels…

     He took his hero’s head and brought those lips to his own. “…Watch me?” he whispered, loving the flush he felt from those cheeks, loving the way his sensei stared and nodded and brushed his fingers along his hips before helping slip off his jeans, loving everything about him…

     Genos let his hands fall and the man did the same. The familiar surge of need drove through his spine as he traced against himself and Sensei’s jaw shook, dark eyes trailing from the boy’s open mouth to his arcing belly down to his straining toes. Without a word Sensei started brushing his hand against his disciple’s thigh, slowly, slowly, slow enough that Genos imagined he could feel the grooves of his skin as it swept along. Sensei was still so shy, so cautious… Even as he inched his hand up, like he was afraid, even as Genos took it and dragged it the rest of the way, shaking when he felt it hot against him, the touch was so gentle…

     He rubbed, softly, and Genos’ moan echoed through the quiet room.

     He rubbed harder then, working at himself as the boy pressed down, and his groans were small but they hit deep. Each one filled his student steadily, heavily, and as that weight grew Genos pushed further into him, shivering when the man did not draw back but let himself be pulled closer…and closer…

     “Sen—sei,” he gasped, as he had so many dozens of times before, as he would for as long as he could, as he did when his teacher gathered him up in his arms, calling back, calling for him, looking up at him like—

     “Gen-nos…”

     Like he was beautiful—

     “Genos, I—“

     And needed…

     “Shit! I—!”

     …and loved

     “G-Genooos” he whined, legs locked around his disciple, and he was shuddering—trembling… breathing hard, words bubbling at his mouth before fading away…

     The boy panted with him, winding his fingers around his and slumping against his knees.

     They sat together for a long while, steam drifting slowly from Genos’ shoulders and swirling with their sighs. Sensei stared at him before pausing, briefly, and muttering, “…I did it again.”

     …What? Genos dragged his head up, following Sensei’s gaze…

     And finding his stomach a mess. He smiled. “S…Sensei…it’s alright…”

     The man grunted angrily before grumbling “hold on” and pawing around the floor, searching for anything that would suffice as a rag. He did not seem to want to use Genos’ clothes as he had his own, or the grime-smeared rag by the door. He got increasingly more frustrated until the boy draped over him, earning him a small grunt.

     When he tried to get up he was aggressively nuzzled into the floor. “Ge…Genos?” he laughed, straining to see his student.

     Said student strained back.

     “Hey…come on, lemme get up. You got cleaned and everything, I don’t want to ruin it…”

     Genos smiled again, softer this time. “You can’t, Sensei. Please…stay here, for a bit.”

     “…Kid?”

     He heard the confusion in his voice, and it was understandable. He was slick, hot, probably uncomfortable, and his disciple was a mess…

     “What’s wrong?”

    But the warmth spilling from his body, the sweat on his skin…the steam gathering on Genos’ neck and trickling onto Saitama’s shoulders, and the way his core was pulsing along with a steady ‘thwump, thwump, thwump’…

     “Nothing, Sensei. Nothing.” Which was true. Just then, just as they were, he felt there was nothing wrong with him. He knew it wasn’t permanent—the dull ache would come back. He knew, when he heard the floor creak under his weight or their comforter catch on his knees, he would remember all that he was. He knew that.

     But for this moment…“Thank you,” he mumbled, pressing close into his sensei’s chest, feeling exhaustion bite at the corners of his eyes.

     “…For what? What is that? You’ve gotta stop… That’s not gonna be a thing, right? Thanking me every time we mess around?”

     Genos could believe.

Chapter Text

     Saitama was well aware of how clingy he was being. It smacked him in the face every time he bear-hugged Genos as he cooked, or when the kid rolled off their futon and his teacher rolled him right back in. Genos gave him these confused smiles as he did it, but he never questioned why…and Saitama was glad for it. He couldn’t explain it—he was just as confused as his student was.

     It had to do with their visit last month, he was sure of that. For the entire trip all Saitama wanted to do was hold him. At first he figured it was out of worry and that it would ease up once they were home, but that didn’t happen. He went from hovering around the cyborg to make sure he was alright, to trailing him from room to room without noticing it, to insisting they lay together for a little longer in the mornings…

      If Saitama was being honest, though…he didn’t know if he wanted to stop. It was so satisfying. Listening to all the noises his body made as he sat in his lap, feeling the pads of his fingers press into his skin…watching him nap against his neck… It filled something deep, deep down in Saitama he didn’t know he needed filling, and when he wasn’t with Genos it got…sorta cold…

     He watched the blonde over breakfast, using his foot to play with his cargos under the table. Genos angrily tapped at his phone as he chewed through a cheekful of toast.

     “Is it the HA again?” Saitama asked, cutting his omelet.

     His disciple nodded. “They’re trying to take care of as much paperwork as possible before Golden Week, which wouldn’t be a problem…” His thumb jabbed away. “…If they knew what they were doing…”

     The Association had dumped a bunch of their bookkeeping on Genos lately, and it pissed Saitama off to no end. He wrecked himself countless times taking out monsters for them—didn’t that save him from all this office crap? “Isn’t there a guide they could use? You had to learn, right?”

     “I have the advantage of an instantly accessible database, Sensei,” Genos mumbled, not looking up. “It makes it simpler to memorize how to complete each procedure. It takes others far longer to do the same.”

      Geeze, how much information was packed into that skull of his? Genos was super-smart already, and then to have a computer in his brain… It was no wonder he was so good at remembering their shopping lists.

     Saitama hung over his plate, replaying the cyborg’s words in his head. “That’s right… Golden Week is soon. Do you want to go on a trip this year?”

     That pulled his student away from the screen. “I…I assumed Sensei would like to stay home again. Is that not the case?”

     The man fiddled with the cheese on his chopsticks. “That would be alright, I guess, but… I was thinking about it, and you haven’t been on a vacation in a real long time, and I—well I’ve been on my own for years, so…we could…”

     Saitama was fibbing a bit with those excuses—he didn’t care one way or another if they went anywhere. Genos still hadn’t shaken the fog from seeing his family, though, and he hoped…if he could get him to take it easy for a while…

     “Could what, Sensei? Did you have something in mind?”

     Saitama twirled his toe against the boy’s leg as he struggled to think up a destination. Genos reached down to rub at his calf, and it felt amazing. “Nah... I just thought it would be nice, y’know? The two of us doing…whatever it is you do on a vacation. We could stay at a resort…?” He waited to see if that earned him a reaction. “Or…we could go to the beach? It’s early for that though…”

     Genos kept on rubbing, phone abandoned next to his half-eaten toast. “Is there a particular city you would want to visit?”

     …No, not really. All the stuff Saitama liked was local—small festivals and weird shops, or even those noodle houses you found shoved in the corners of old districts. “None that I can think of. Maybe it’s not a good idea, we can stay here.”

     The metal fingers came to a stop. Genos brainstormed, miniature words and pictures flickering over his eyes. “Sensei…are you familiar with ‘staycations’?”

     Saitama tilted his head, and Genos smiled.

     “They are vacations comprised of several small day trips,” started the cyborg, “Rather than a single extended trip. Sleeping at home saves the cost of a hotel and being able to travel to different locations offers greater freedom when it comes to planning.”

     “So…we head out one day, go somewhere, and then come back?”

     “Yes, Sensei, if you would like.”

     Huh… Saitama had no idea that was a thing, but it sounded cool. There were a bunch of parks on the coast he wanted to walk through, and it was always fun to go window shopping in the malls in City D. Not to mention the whole “way cheaper than a vacation” thing… “Yeah…yeah kid, that sounds good! Is there anywhere you want to go?”

     Genos squeezed the man’s knee. “So long as I am with you, Sensei, I’ll be happy.”

     Way to make him beet red… “You sap.”

     The blonde glanced down to his teacher’s foot as it continued kneading against him. “If we’re discussing being sweet, Sensei…”

     Saitama started to jerk away…until he realized that meant Genos couldn’t rub his leg. He settled instead for a disgruntled, “Brat.”

     Said brat only smirked.

     They talked as they ate, wondering about visiting this aquarium, or checking out that antique shop, or debating how much a hot spring would charge for a one-night stay.

     “Are we gonna take the train from place to place?” Saitama asked, picking up their dishes so he could rinse them off in the sink. Genos followed in after.

     “I assume so, yes.” A grin flashed across his disciple’s cheeks and Saitama stopped. That was the first time he smiled like that in weeks…

     “What was that?”  

    Genos slipped into his apron, keeping his face hidden as he tied the bow. “It…was nothing, Sensei.”

     Saitama waited.

     “It’s silly.”

     “No it isn’t. Come on, what was that?”

    The rubber gloves snapped when Genos pulled them on. “I’m…excited, Sensei. Discussing transportation, and spa rates…” He washed slowly. “And knowing I’m going to be with you for all that time…”

     So he was excited…and God, he was so frickin’ cute about it Saitama wrapped his arms around his teeny waist, hugging hard, relieved to know one of his ideas might work out for once. “Me too…” He planted a kiss behind the blonde’s ear, taking a moment to appreciate his strangely soft smell. Saitama could make out the metal of his plating in it, the silicone, even the oil between his joints, but they blended with his shampoo and then there was this…warmth under it all, that left it feeling so natural

     The fans vibrated into his chest. “I—I’m glad, Sensei.”

     The man laughed. “You still get embarrassed by this?” he mumbled, giving him another peck. “How long has it been now, a few months?”

     The plates chinked as Genos put them in the drying rack. “It can never be long enough.”

     Oh…uh… “Shit, kid,” he said, hiding a blush in the cyborg’s shoulders. “You’re worse than a romcom…”

     Genos’ curls tickled as he leaned back on Saitama. “I only say what I feel, Sensei. Do you not like it?”

     “I—I didn’t say…that…”

     He rinsed the last pair of chopsticks and tugged off his gloves. “So…you do like it?” His hands drifted over the ones at his stomach.

     “…You’re a little jerk, you know that?”

     The boy turned to face him, and Saitama didn’t want to admit that being this close made his stomach flutter. And he was giving Genos a hard time…

     “Perhaps, Saitama-sensei…” He fiddled with the holes in his teacher’s hoodie pocket as he asked, “What would you like to do now? It will be several hours before the HR department has their reports ready for review.”

     Saitama rested his forehead against his disciple’s, enjoying the flutters. “I’unno…” The pink apron stood out against his black neck, its ruffles waving like his hair… “Huh,” he started, running his fingers down the strap, “...You’d look hot wearing just this…”

     The fans exploded. “Sensei!”

    “’s true,” he muttered, pressing his lips against his jawline for the second time that day. For a couple weeks Genos hadn’t been too into anything like this, and that was alright, Saitama let him have his space. Recently though it was like the kid was making up for lost time, and they were getting intense. They both discovered how sensitive the man’s…uh…chest was last night, and Genos had been awful bold with his hands… It was leaving Saitama hornier than ever.

    Genos dropped his head back, stretching out those pretty cables... “I’m guessing you have suggestions? …Sensei?”

     Apparently it was doing the same to the cyborg.

    “Mm,” was about all Saitama managed as he dragged his mouth along his student’s skin, knowing he’d be leaving hickeys if Genos could bruise. The noises he was making didn’t help much.

     “We…should sta-nnm… Start…planning…”

     “After,” he grumbled, pulling out the apron’s bow. The blonde seemed more than happy with that answer.

     ~~~

     Saitama was an idiot—an idiot! A total, complete, utter, huge, massive, 100%--

     “I…did not think red was Sensei’s color.”

     Genos sat in the middle of the laundry they’d started for their vacation, holding the lingerie his teacher got him for White Day…and that he’d promptly forgotten about.

     “Of course…should Sensei put it on, I’m sure he would look wonderful.”

     “That’s not--!” Saitama blanched, snatching the guilty hoodie out of his student’s lap and digging through the pocket where the gift had been hiding. He had to make sure nothing else waiting in there to bite him in the ass. “I didn’t get—it’s…I…”

     Genos lowered the set, taking it in as his sensei bumbled through yet another explanation. His mouth dropped when one of his fingers slipped through the non-existent crotch of the underwear.

     Saitama swore, if he didn’t wipe that dumb smirk of his face—! “It’s not for me!”

     The boy paused, playing with a satin bow. He was right at the edge of laughing until his eyes blew up and his vents screeched into overdrive. “Th-then,” he stuttered, holding the top like a live bomb, “This is…for…”

     “You don’t have to wear it!” Saitama shouted “I..I didn’t ask you, if you’d want it, before I got it… I just… There was a shop with a bunch of outfits in the window, and when I saw them I thought of…you…” Saitama sunk a further into his shoulders. “…And…how good you’d look in them…”

     A puff of steam was his answer.

     “But you don’t gotta put it on! If you don’t like it or—or whatever. I don’t even know if it’ll fit, I mean Sonic said it—“

     The steam abruptly cut off. “Sonic?”

     Aw…shit. “Yeah, he…uh…”

     The top was gonna tear if Genos clenched it any harder. “Why was that pervert giving his input on our personal life?”

     “It wasn’t like that!” There was no way to put this that didn’t end in Genos sprinting out to kill the ninja. “When I went in, he was already there getting stuff for himself. He guessed what I was doing, and he…helped…”

     “So…he knows I have this, and that I may be using it.” The cyborg sized up the lingerie the same way he did monsters in battle.

     “I saw him picking dresses out, so it’s not like we don’t have dirt on him too!”

     There were a couple seconds of heated silence before the blonde stood. “I believe I need to have a discussion with him.”

    Saitama sprung to catch his wrist. “No! No, nono, you’re not gonna go hunt him down. He gave me good advice and he wasn’t that much of a prick while he did it.”

     Genos’ glare blazed and Saitama could feel him literally burning in anger. He needed to research calming exercises for his disciple, he was gonna short-out one of these days…

     “I will not hurt him unless he attempts to do so to me.”

     Saitama pulled his already-whining hand closer. “Bullshit. You two can’t even say ‘hello’ to each other without trying to throw a punch. No fighting.”

     A grunt came from the boy before he turned to the frilly pile sitting at his feet. His fans hummed on.

     His sensei bent down to pick it up, making sure it wasn’t ripped. “Why do you hate him so much? You were ready to murder him the first time you met him.”

     “Because he’s egotistical, and petty, and underhanded, and he’s made himself a major inconvenience to society and to yo—“

    He went quiet when Saitama looked at him. “Why do you really hate him?”

     The boy couldn’t hold the stare for long. “…He’s invaded your privacy on more than one occasion, Sensei, following you to your home and watching you…”

     “Genos. You…did the same thing.” That was a conversation, back when Saitama found out about it. He never expected he’d have to explain why stalking was wrong... “Technically you still do, but…things are kinda different now.”

     The fans got louder. “I—I…yes, Sensei, and I apologize again for my…behavior…early in our relationship. Nonetheless Sonic doing so is unacceptable and he must be stopped.”

      “Eh?”

     Genos kept his head down. “I do not like to think of someone forcing themselves…so close to you…”

     Then it clicked, and Saitama couldn’t bite back the grin. “Oh my God, you’re jealous.”

     His student’s fists clinked as he balled them up. “I am not, I have nothing to be jealous about. He does not know you the way I do, he cannot call himself your friend, he’s hardly that much of an enemy, he’s far less powerful than you or I, he—“

     The man lightly elbowed Genos’ side. “Ha…it’s alright, I get jealous too.” Saitama strung his fingers through the top’s straps and held it out, cheeks buzzing as he thought of it slipping over Genos’ body… “Honestly I’d get nervous if you didn’t.”

     The boy reached for its hem. “You…do, Sensei?”

     Saitama glanced up at him, worried at how pink he must be by this point. “Of course I do. All these cute, busty reporters and fangirls follow you everywhere, and they’re a lot better-looking than me… They’re probably way more interesting than me too, and nicer, and no one would give you a hard time if you were seen out with them…”

     He hadn’t realized he let the lingerie sink down until Genos took it from his hands, replacing it with his own. “I could never want anyone as much as I want you, Sensei.”

     Well that was a nice little vice on his heart. “Genos…”

     “It’s true. It’s more true than I can possibly tell you. Nobody could distract me from you, no one even comes close to you, to how stunning you are, and kind, and powerful, or how deeply you’ve chan—“

     Saitama put his fingers over the kid’s mouth and kept his eyes glued to the ground. If that went on his ribs would’ve cracked from the pressure…

     Genos held his hand and kissed it, because of course he did. “I love you, Saitama. I will never leave you…never.”

     Eh, who needed ribs anyway. “I—I…” His’ cheeks were so soft… “You too…Genos... I…” He looked up to appreciate the skin he was touching and there his hero was, all big eyes and pouty lips and fluffy hair and damnit it should be against the law to be so fucking gorgeous 24/7…

     Saitama leaned in to return the kiss. Even the sounds he made were too sweet to be legal…

     “Do you…do you want me to try this on, Sensei?”

     The vents screeching were a good representation of how Saitama felt. “Yeah…if you want…”

     The boy gave him a smaller peck and started for the bathroom. He hesitated before tapping back to get his phone, mumbling about “needing guidance.”

     It was a tense wait. Saitama couldn’t believe he bought lingerie (he still wasn’t sure what made him do it), and that it was for Genos (“I will never leave you,” he said…), and that he actually agreed to put it on.

     He studied the messy room as he fidgeted, deciding to shove all the laundry back into the basket. He would reorganize it for Genos later, and they had a week left to finish it. Having a clean floor right now was…a bit more important...

     It was hard to ignore how fast his heart was beating as he unrolled the futon. This was stupid, he’d seen Genos in way more…blush-worthy…positions, some frilly fabric shouldn’t be getting him so worked up.

     He heard the telltale clomp-clomp behind him and was almost too embarrassed to turn around. He didn’t want his disciple to know he was this flustered o…ver…

     “It…was much simpler to put on then expected…” He was half-hidden behind the wall, but Saitama could see enough to know he wanted to see more. The whistle echoing off the plaster and into the hall was way louder than the voice of the cyborg peeking at him. He took a shy step out. “It closes at the front, so it wasn’t difficult to figure out…” The lace rustled between his hands as he felt it on his hips, lifting it up to…show off… “Although determining where to let the underwear lie was harder due to the seams of my joints…” He went quiet, then, trying to keep his eyes on Saitama, waiting for him to speak up…

     …but he couldn’t. He was thinking lots of things—how curvy his waist was, how great he looked in red, the different angles Saitama wanted to see that outfit from…

     “Does Sensei…like it?”

     A nod, that was all he got out. That and a few gulps because man was his mouth dry. Saitama turned around to get a better look, and then he walked over to get a better look, and then he took his hips to…get a better…look…

     “I like it a lot…” Saitama was gonna start bruising from the inside out if his chest didn’t stop pounding so hard. He stared into Genos’ bright yellow eyes and asked, “Do you? If you don’t like it…”

     His fingers slipped around Saitama’s arms. “I…I don’t know, Sensei. All clothes are decoration to me, but…I’m unaccustomed to ones that are this decorative…”

     The boy’s neck was hot when Saitama pressed his forehead to it, laughing. “That’s not what I mean, kid… How do they feel?”

     “…Soft, Sensei? Fragile? Lightweight…”

     “No,” Saitama pushed, nudging him. “How do they make you feel?”

     Genos took a slow breath. “Perhaps…a bit foolish, Sensei. But with how you’re looking at me…also…maybe…”

     “…Sexy?” Saitama mumbled into his jaw.

     “Y-yes…”

     “You are…”

     “Sensei…has been forward lately…”

     The man gathered him up, leaning them both against the wall. His core was going a mile a minute… “I know. I…I’m just really happy you’re here…with me…”

     There went the smoke. Genos’ was going to burn down the place one day…

     Huh…going to…

     …Oh crap! “Genos, is it—“ He shot back, scanning the lace to see if it was singed at all. He knew fabric like this was delicate, it probably couldn’t stand much heat…but it was holding up.

     “Is everything alright?” the boy asked, surprised.

     “Yeah, I—uh…” Would that bother him? If Saitama mentioned it burning? Genos toasted through lots of shirts and he always felt bad about it… “I was making sure it was…”

     Genos looked down, a slump settling in his shoulders. “You were checking that I did not destroy it.”

     Again. He’d hurt his feelings again. Saitama was a piece of shit… “Well—not ‘destroy,’ that’s not the right word…”

     “I can take it off, Sensei, to preve—“

     “No,” he urged, pulling those hips closer. “No, that would be dumb. I’d rather get to see you wear it once than never at all.”

     “…Alright,” Genos answered, putting his hand to the back of Saitama’s neck. “Is there…some way to go about this? Or…”

     His sensei chuckled over the whirlwind that was starting up in his belly. He was so sweet…he deserved so much better than him…

     “Not really,” Saitama whispered, pressing his lips to his student’s as if they’d shatter. There was something about how nervous Genos was, how quiet he was being…he wanted him to feel safe, to save him…to love him…

     To have him know how much he loved him…

     He backed towards the futon, dragging Saitama along with kisses he wouldn’t give up for the world. Genos sat and looked at his teacher, patient. Having him on his bed like that, in their apartment, dressed up for him, the sunlight shining all soft across his body…

     Saitama covered his face for a few speedy heartbeats, trying to calm down. When had he gotten this sentimental?

     A tug at his hand snapped him back and he knelt, lips at work before he was on the ground, thumbs running along the edges of vents and cables and seams through the barely-there material. Genos made these tiny sounds, little sighs and gasps, and every one hit him harder than the last. To have the taste of him in his mouth, his legs around him…his body rolling up into his…

     …Saitama was the luckiest man alive…

     The blonde gave a low moan when he trailed down his stomach, his hips, and skipped over the waistband to the slit cut through the lace…

     His sensei pulled back to get a good view, wanting to find out where the hole was. He never saw anyone wear these before—he didn’t even know crotchless underwear existed—and he needed to make sure he hit the spots Genos liked best…

     …but he did not expect it to be as hot as it was. It’s not as if he hadn’t touched him like this plenty of times, he wasn’t afraid to since he found a good balance of rough and gentle (…even if the kid argued he was too careful). Seeing the metal through the flowery fabric, though, and watching the outline of his fingers as he reached inside it… It was…dirtier this way, and that made it…better…

     He buckled when Genos dragged a lazy palm up the arch at his sweats. “Sensei likes this…a great deal…”

     Saitama nodded hard, not bothering to cover up how red his face was. Shit, he was sure most of him was bright red at this point, he probably looked like a human-sized plum. He let his fingertips trace the pattern he’d long-since memorized, two slow swirls and a—

     “Oh, there ain’t no rest for the wicked, money don’t grow on trees…”

     No. No way. Not now…

      Genos gave one long groan before slamming his fist into the floor. The wood splintering under it was as nerve-wracking as the “God damnit!” that came with it. He couldn’t ignore the call--that was the emergency ringtone. Muttering a chain of curses his disciple scrambled up and into the bathroom.

     Despite his frustration, Saitama had to admit the top was pretty flowing behind him…

     “What is it?” the boy barked, loud enough that Saitama could clearly hear him. “Yes, of course this is Demon Cyborg, why are you calling?... Where is it?... Fine.” There was a clatter and a rustle, and another grunt before Genos shouted, “Sensei!”

     Sensei came running. “What’s wrong?”

     The blonde glared at him, pointing to his chest. “I’m tearing this as I try to remove it and I don’t want to shred it.”

     Saitama held back a smile and undid the bow, stretching the shoulder straps so Genos could ease his arms through it. He hung it on the door handle above the neat pile of his student’s clothes.

     Genos started to shimmy out of the underwear before he noticed how hard his teacher was staring. “I…I can handle this, Sensei…”

      “O-oh! Right,” Saitama fumbled, not knowing he’d been doing it in the first place, “I’ll…let you, then.” He slunk out of bathroom and into the living room, which felt sorta…sad, now, with the bed crooked and empty…

     A fully-dressed Genos stomped out after him. Saitama would offer to go with him, but he’d been chewed out by the higher-ups for tagging along on so many S-class missions. “What is it this time?”

     “A fire engine monster is attempting to flood the lower levels of City M. They want me to help burn away excess water after the fight…”

     The man’s belly plummeted. “So…you won’t be back until tonight.”

     Genos sighed. “No, Sensei. Probably not.”

     They stared at each other, frowns saying everything they didn’t want to. The boy swept in for a kiss, one much longer than their normal goodbye-kisses.

     Saitama didn’t mind. “Stay in one piece, okay?” he warned, pulling away.

     His student bobbed his head and picked up his keys from the computer desk. The beat-up giraffe charm gleamed as he put it in his pocket.

     In a few loud steps he was gone, leaving the apartment painfully quiet.

     Saitama sighed. This sucked. It only happened while they were out to dinner, or in the middle of a movie, or when they’d fallen asleep. His phone would start with that stupid song and the cyborg would be gone for God knew how long, hopefully coming back with just a few scratches. He’d been more reckless lately, but nothing too bad—the worst was a lobbed-off foot and that was easy enough for him to replace. It didn’t mean Saitama didn’t worry, though.

     …He worried about Genos whenever he left for missions…

     He turned on the TV and cycled through the channels, scanning for City M’s news station. If he could watch his fights it made waiting better. Not by a lot, but…anything helped.

     He flopped down on the old futon and tipped the laundry over, sorting it back into piles. He was still hard as all hell but he couldn’t bring himself to finish the job. He felt guilty about it during the kid’s missions, like he was ignoring Genos—like it was selfish. Plus, all he could think about when he jacked off was the blonde and that left him wondering how he was doing…

     He glanced up at the screen. There was a fuzzy video of a bright red truck spraying jets of water, but no spurts of flame. His disciple wasn’t there yet…

     He’d been happier lately, at least. Genos was always bummed after he saw his parents but this time it was real bad. Saitama had a feeling it was his fault, that he’d done something to make him upset…not that he could figure out what that thing was. All he could do was be there for him, cook his favorite dinners and bring him out to cool places, stuff like that. He thought it was working...

     As he gathered up their whites to bring them to the bathroom, Saitama imagined the gravestone for what had to be the hundredth time. That thing haunted him for weeks. He actually dreamed about it a few times. Knowing what that giant space was for—knowing, even when Saitama begged him, that Genos couldn’t promise…that he couldn’t promise he wouldn’t…

    Saitama nervously glanced at the screen again, finally seeing a whirl of fire. The monster was going down easy enough. He tore himself away from the TV to throw the clothes in the bath and trot back, trying to forget the outfit hanging on the doorknob.

     Guess he wouldn’t get much done until the fight was over.

     He tracked his student’s path, looking for where he was aiming his blasters and what he was using as vantage points. He had a habit of launching off too hard, and it messed with his range. He’d been getting better with that, though, so most of his hits were landing. Saitama couldn’t find sparks or body parts flying all over the place…

     He wasn’t sure when this happened—when he’d gotten so defensive of his disciple. Protect Genos, keep him safe…make him laugh...that was all the man wanted to do and it was driving him crazy he couldn’t do it right now.

     The monster started to stumble and Saitama’s shoulders loosened as he thought. He’d always been upset at how often the kid got hurt, but wasn’t that a normal reaction? And it would make sense to say it was because they were a thing, but that wasn’t it either. There was a point between now and when they met where how he felt…shifted into something stronger, something a lot harder to place…and when they started going out, it opened a door where that feeling ripped out and tore through him and made it hard to focus on much else. It was scary, kind of.

     Saitama watched as Genos landed the finishing blow and smiled. “Nice fight,” he said, proud that his student managed to keep himself and the buildings around him from getting torn up.

     Then the smile dropped.

    He thought about that a lot, too. How scared it made him. He’d never tell Genos, not until he could sort it out in his head, but…how devoted Saitama was, and how far gone… Anything, he would do absolutely anything, if it meant he could make Genos happy.

    It wasn’t just that, either. It was…the all of it. How happy the boy made him, and how sad he got when he was gone. How badly he needed to hear his voice, to see his face…to hold him when they slept. To know he was safe because nothing would ever get through Saitama to him.

     To hear him say, in all the different ways he did, “I love you”…

     Clouds of steam started to fill up the screen and Saitama figured his student was burning away the floods. It didn’t seem like there was too much water—maybe a foot of it at the most—but City M was big, and it could take a while to clear. Then there were all the forms to fill out, and Genos would undoubtedly do extra work so he was ready for the fresh load of papers he’d have to check through in the morning…

    The man drooped, searching for a pixelated Demon Cyborg on the screen. He stared until the broadcast cut out, and then he stared at the reporter’s faces as they talked, not listening past “no casualties” and “clean battle.” There was a great chance his hero wouldn’t make it home for dinner, and Saitama would spend another night tossing and turning, listening to the giant fan that never helped in the first place. He didn’t know why he bothered turning it on…

     He remembered that freaky room at the lab. At least it wouldn’t be that bad. It was terrifying in there—no windows, no sound, nobody around… It was no wonder the kid had nightmares when he slept in it.

     His lungs squeezed at the memory of Genos’ wheezing sobs, and how he clung to him. He was screaming, full-on screaming, in his sleep. It took a while to get him up… Calming him down was an affair too…

     A familiar piano chord started to play on his phone and Saitama snagged it off the table. “Hello?”

     “Hello, Sensei,” came the voice over a roaring hiss in the background. Genos sounded winded...

    “How are you?” his teacher asked, immediately adding, “Did you lose anything?”

     A pause, then, “No, Sensei. I am in one piece, as you advised.”

    Did he insult him again? Damnit… “…I saw the fight! You did a good job, Genos… You were judging your jumps really well.”

    Saitama could hear a second hiss but he knew what that one was. “Thank…you, Sensei. I was trying.”

    The man leaned back. “Yeah, it showed. So…what’s it like now?”

    “There is water everywhere, Saitama-sensei. I don’t know how it was able to produce so much…its hoses weren’t connected to a spring or well, so far as I could tell. It could have been teleportation mecha—“

     Aand he was off. “Kid.”

    “—Ah…yes. There’s a great deal of water to get rid of and marginal debris. Then of course there are the insurance claims to fill out, and the wavers…”

     “…Do you know when you’ll be back home?”

     “…I’m going to attempt to return by midnight, Saitama-sensei.”

     Shit. “Is there…anything I can do to help?”

     “Unfortunately not. They’ve already warned me twice about involving you in my missions, Sensei, and I fear they’ll resort to disciplinary action if you help today.”

     “…I’ll make sure the bed is warm for you. And I’ll set up tea, if you’d like.”

     “I…I would appreciate that.”

     “I’ll see you later?”

     “Yes, Sensei. I love you.”

     “…You too, blondie.” The call hung in silence, neither hitting ‘END’ right away. Saitama eventually clicked it and put the phone on his stomach.

     Guess he could do all the laundry, then.


    Midnight ended up being a lofty goal. It was nearly one by the time the front door opened and it took another half-hour for his cyborg to fwump into bed next to him, core spinning from overuse and hair smelling like dust.

     “D’you…wanna shower,” Saitama grumbled, pushing past the haze of being half-asleep for two hours. “Or…food…did you…food…”

     “No, Sensei, and yes...” The boy turned and pushed his back to his teacher, wrapping himself in his arms. Saitama felt his chest for dents, or scratches, or missing chunks… When he didn’t find any he forced his eyes open and looked over the kid’s body, checking what he could see and touching what he couldn’t.

     “I am safe, Sensei.”

     He said the same thing when he came home missing a calf or half of his face. Their definitions of that word were…different. All he found were a few scrapes though… “You did so good, Genos…”

    “…Thank you,” he breathed, fans humming (but one of them was jamming, the sound was weird in his left shoulder).

     “I’m glad you’re home…”

     “Me too.”

     And they slept. It was a blurry sort of sleep, but a good one, the type where the whole world was heavy and fluid, and heat came from everywhere. Saitama was vaguely aware that it should seem too hot, but it didn’t. It was just…nice…like a wall cutting him off from whatever wasn’t the dark, or the bed, or Genos… He could hear Genos’ body hum through it too, those low clicks and tiny whirrs…and he felt him, felt him breathing, shuffling, felt him pressing up against him, his warmth and soft curves and the sweet smell that was his alone…

     Saitama wanted it all around him…he wanted all of him…

     His lips were ghosting across the boy’s neck before he knew what he was doing. Genos was bending towards them, voice coming out in small moans and confused mumbles, and when his teacher stretched to kiss him it rushed out in a throaty sigh. The grumble that was in it…the whine…Saitama was the only one who'd heard it like that, and he wanted it to stay that way, always. He wanted Genos next to him always, curling into him, reaching back and twisting into his touch and good God he was beautiful, so beautiful, so beautiful and perfect and Saitama wanted to give him everything, he wanted to make Genos as happy as he'd made him, he wanted him to know how much he loved him because he did… So much more than he thought he could love anyone… He wanted to fill himself with him, he wanted his hands all over him, his body against his own, those thighs wrapping around him and pulling in…

     And when Saitama traced sloppy curves against his plate, when Genos arched into him, he couldn’t stop himself from moving with him, from hugging close, from trailing his mouth down that gorgeous throat and shoulder and back, pushing harder, faster, pressing into the ass pressing back, grinding hard, listening to the cries Genos gave him, shit he gave him so much, he was everything, everything, he loved him, he loved

    “…you,” he gasped, “lov…ahn—I—I lo—!”

    His finish hit deep but it wasn’t sudden, no—it was hot, and soft, and coursed through him in waves, and when he heard Genos call out his own he held him tight, feeling the shudder in his whole body, the warmth as it pulsed from his glowing chest…the steam drifting from his shoulders to twirl around the two in the blue light…

     He panted into his hero's hair, golden curls brushing against his cheeks. Sleep was already tugging at his eyelids… “I…love you,” he said, sighing it out while he could, “I really…fucking love you…”

     The boy stiffened in his arms and his still-slowing breath hitched. The plated fingers wound through Saitama’s gripped harder. “I…I love you too…”

     Saitama dug his forehead into the crook of Genos’ neck. “Thank you,” he managed as he drifted to the dark, chest heavy in a more wonderful way than he could have ever imagined.

     Scared…he was scared of this, he was. It was so new. It was so much. But the fullness of it…the safety… How he felt like he could puff up and burst and explode when he heard Genos say things like that, to him…

     And mean it…

     Good God, it was so incredibly worth it.


   Genos lay in the early morning dark, listening to his teacher’s heartbeat.

     He tracked it, of course, but to hear it was something intimate, secret, something he could only do during their quietest moments: put his ear to his chest and follow the sound—kathump, kathump, kathump, kathump

     It was so strong. It continued, always, constant and steady, whether it was slow in rest or speeding along after they had made love.

     Love…

     “I…love you. I really…fucking love you…”

    The blonde looked up at Saitama as he slept, not sure if he remembered what he’d said a few hours before. Genos did. Genos would not let himself forget it, not for anything. It was the first time he said it directly.

     “I…love you.”

     Sensei had been affectionate lately, and Genos had his suspicions as to why, though he could not tell if the man had figured it out himself. The number of hugs they shared over the past weeks had grown exponentially and the average distance between them had considerably shortened. He was elated at how much Sensei initiated contact now, and though it was frustrating to have him be so protective (the cyborg could handle himself, he had for years and would continue to do so)…it was flattering as well. To think he considered Genos precious and in need of protection was heart-warming, even if Genos himself did not agree. He was still mostly metal, and metal could be destroyed, burnt, twisted, replaced… Not like Sensei, who was so human, so steady, so strong, not like the warm pulse beneath Genos’ hand…

    His fans whined into his teacher’s stained shirt. It was warming in…other ways, too. There was an element to Sensei’s protectiveness—to his possessiveness, really—that Genos had to admit was…

     …Stimulating…

     Sensei grumbled as his disciple buried his head into him. Genos could not help it. The thought that Saitama wanted him for his own, that he was desired that much by the man he desired more than he could express, despite all that he was…

     It was an ego boost, that was certain.

     And it was, perhaps, the reason why Genos had been more enthusiastic during their sessions at night, and morning...and…mid-morning…

     …It wasn’t only him! Sensei had been just as eager, which came as a surprise for the blonde. He was so timid during the beginning of their relationship that Genos assumed he was shy with such things. As the months went on, though, he noticed his sensei was actually quite…direct, with his wants. Forceful even.

     And that Genos would gladly admit turned him the hell on.

     It was a subject header he delighted in writing in his notebook, the one he’d set aside for their sex life (it deserved studying too, after all). It made him feel far less guilty about how forward he was with his own requests. He was happy at how open they’d started to become with one another too…

     He ran his fingers down his teacher’s side, relishing in the tiny sigh he got as thanks. Genos did not know… He had never been this way, with anyone, and he had not realized…what it would do to him. What it would do to who he was with. How it was freeing Saitama-sensei’s thoughts, his actions…his emotions…

     ”I really…fucking love you.”

     He pressed himself closer to Sensei’s body, seeking out the bare patch by his collarbone to keep on listening to that deep thud. He did not think it was the physical aspect that did it, though it was part of it. Sensei had been sexually active before he met Genos and he never seemed committed to his partners. There was…something…larger, under it, something massive and supportive and right, and each time they touched each other, or whispered their names, it…grew…

     It was constant…steady…strong… It made Genos feel so safe. He felt powerful in a way he couldn’t understand, because it did not leave him invulnerable, no, if anything it he was more vulnerable than he had been in a long time…

     But…for the first time in a long time, that did not scare him, because…

     “Ge…nos?” came a sleepy mumble, and then a hand on his own, and the worried eyes of his teacher. “You’re…hugging real hard…”

     Because…

     “…You okay…?”

     “Yes, Sensei,” Genos answered, and he meant it, because…he could be vulnerable. He had that opportunity, that space. He could be blown apart, torn to pieces, beaten, he could fail, over and over and over…

     “Why’re you…awake…”

     …Because his hero would always be there, to gather him up, calm him down…

     “I’m…listening, Sensei. To your heart.”

     Sensei held tighter. “Why?”

     “It makes me…” Kathump, kathump, kathump… “…Happy.”

     Kathump. “O-oh…go ahead, then…”

     The beat quickened and peaked before settling back again, so constant, steady...

     “…If it…makes you happy…”

     …Strong.

Chapter Text

     Genos took care of everything, like he always did. It wasn’t like Saitama didn’t try to help out—he called around, checking bath houses to see if they were all booked or restaurants to make reservations, but it got them nowhere. He learned fast that people were more willing to help out Demon Cyborg than they were Caped Baldy.

     If the HA was any example, though…they were more willing to use him too. He was getting stuck there later and later each night, and when he finally walked through the front door on Thursday he wobbled like his legs were powering down. Saitama had to say hi twice to get him to look up. Even then, though, the man could make out lines of data scrolling over his eyes.

     “Long day?” he asked, not expecting much of an answer.

     He didn’t get it. A half-hearted “mph” came from Genos’ tight frown.

     “You hungry?”

      His hero’s eyebrows wavered, and he gave one of those pouty looks that made Saitama’s chest swell. “Yes…Sensei… I did not have time for lunch…”

    Hunter x Hunter fwopped as Saitama tossed it under the table. “Good, I have dinner ready.” He padded into the kitchen, stopping for a quick kiss from a very surprised cyborg.

     “Already?”

     The stew steamed as he lifted the lid. It had been sitting for too long—the veggies were breaking apart some—but the chicken was fine and the noodles were in one piece. “I figured you’d be late finishing everything before the weekend, and I didn’t want you to have to wait to eat.” The broth was a bit thick, but that wouldn’t affect the taste much…

     Metal toes clinked against the floor as their owner plodded up behind him. “Thank you,” Genos sighed, butting his head against his sensei’s neck. He hung there for a few seconds, fans idling. Poor kid…he must’ve been exhausted…

      “Wanna go sit at the table?” Saitama asked, stirring the pot. “I’ll bring everything over.”

     “Of course Sensei,” came the answer…but Genos didn’t move. His yellow fluff hung heavy in the corner of Saitama’s vision.

      “Was today that bad?”

     The fluff bobbed. “It was…taxing, Saitama-sensei. The head of the C-class Quick Response department collapsed during her shift, and we could not locate some of the emergency numbers she had on hand. Every other department was struggling to complete their reevaluations. They are so late this year…”

     Saitama brought his hand up to the small of his student’s neck, rubbing softly. He got the sweetest sigh he’d ever heard for it. “Go sit. No bringing plates or anything, I got this.”

      Genos didn’t try to argue as he pulled himself up and scuffled out. His teacher watched over the divide as he took down the dishes, anger bubbling in his belly when the boy slumped at the table. It wasn’t right, what they did to him there. He wasn’t their secretary. Saitama couldn’t help either, ‘cause every time he tagged along with Genos they’d glare him down at the front desk and say “This is an S-Class task only.” Frickin’ jackasses…

     Genos jumped when his teacher set the bowls in place. Had he…? “…Did you fall asleep?”

     Genos stared at the cups as they clinked against the wood tabletop, vents revving. “I…I think I did…Sensei…”

     Saitama walked back to get the stew and plopped it on the towel he’d brought over. He served them both, turning on the TV before settling down. “You’re gonna let me take care of the dishes tonight, alright? You need sleep.”

     “Hmph,” was the answer, and the man knew it would be a fight to get him to sit. He wished he’d take it easy more often…

     …speaking of which! “So…you’re done now!”

     A tired smile spread across the kid’s face. “Yes, Sensei. I am.”

     “And they won’t call you, right? They know you’ll be out?”

      The smile turned into a smirk (that shouldn’t still wring Saitama’s lungs the way it did) and he put his spoon down. “Actually, Sensei,” he started, reaching into one of his many pockets to pull out…two new phones?! “I got these today to ensure that they could not contact me.” He put them on the table, and yup, they looked just as new and expensive as they had a second ago. “Tornado of Terror offered to take care of any significant threats, in order to ensure that ‘lazy upper class heroes’ didn’t inconvenience her little sister during her vacation. The implications of her phrasing were clear, but I do not mind so long as she holds to her word.”

     “Genos…those look really pricey…”

    The blonde plucked one up and fiddled with the screen. “They weren’t, Sensei. The phones themselves were free.” He moved his hand to show the eagle symbol on the back. “These are old models the HA has been phasing out, so they did not mind me taking two. At least,” he explained, “If they did, they did not try to stop me, despite the fact that I made it quite clear I was doing so. I was able to buy a prepaid plan that allows us to use data and minutes for each so that we may take advantage of their navigation systems and web browsers.” He tapped the front and showed it to his teacher, who leaned over his bowl. The contacts list was on screen, showing—“Only Dr. Kuseno, King, and Mumen know our numbers. I have told them to call us for dire emergencies and nothing else.” He turned the phone back around and lifted it to his face. “There is also…“ Click! “…A camera on both so we may take photos of our trip.”

      Saitama flicked the corner of the second phone so it was facing him, checking it out. It was pretty standard, honestly, but way fancier than he was used to… “Hey, can you show me—“

      He looked up to find Genos munching away at his soup, setting an awful picture of his teacher as the background.

      “Kid.”

     There was that smirk again. “Yes?”

      Saitama glowered. “Seriously? Could you at least use one where I don’t have carrot on my face?”

       “But I like it, Sensei,” he answered, admiring his handiwork. Geeze, Saitama’s cheeks were all puffy too… “You look very cute, like this.”

      “Genos!”

     Bright eyes zeroed in on him. “If Sensei does not like looking cute, there are...other types of photos I could take of him, and use…”

     Saitama must’ve put sriracha in the pot at some point, because there was no way the room was that hot. “Genos, no. That would be…” He imagined a crazy fan getting a hold of the phone somehow, and the look on their face when... “…Absolutely not.”

     The boy shrugged. “Then this is the best option, Sensei.”

     Huffing Saitama picked up his phone and struggled to find the camera icon. He clicked what he thought was the button on the side for it, but the phone locked instead. “Genos,” he grumbled, “How do I use this thing?” So much for being smooth…

     His student slid over, taking the gadget and pointing out the lock button, the volume control, telling him where the camera and GPS and internet was.

      “What about all the rest of these?” Saitama asked, swiping over to a screen filled with icons. “Are these important?”

     Genos grimaced. “No, Sensei. Those applications are unnecessary, but they’re preloaded on the phone and cannot be removed. It’s such a waste of space…”

     Saitama didn’t know what any of that meant, but he could take a picture now. He clicked the camera and held the phone to his disciple’s face. “Smile!”

      He got an eyebrow quirk.

     “Aw, come on! Do something cute.”

     The eyebrow went higher. “I’m not particularly good at ‘cute,’ Sensei.”

    Saitama peaked over the edge of the phone. “Bullshit. You’re cute 24/7.”

     His great big eyes blew up and his fans kicked in—click. “Got it!“ The preview showed up, and frick, he was cute. “Oh my God kid… Your clubs would flip if they saw this…”

     Genos looked over his shoulder and grunted. “I look like a child.”

     His teacher stared on. “You look sweet. How do I set this as my background?”

     Saitama could feel the frustration as Genos showed him how to do it, clearly displeased when he saw his face blown up behind the screen’s clock. “The cactus would be more scenic, Sensei…”

      The phone clacked as Saitama put it next to his bowl. “Maybe, but it’s not you.” He waved his spoon at Genos’ abandoned dish to get him to shuffle back to it. “You said that lady collapsed. Was she sick or something?”

     As Genos answered Saitama watched him pull his real phone out of his pocket and turn it off. With a smile he leaned to the computer desk to lay it down. The smile stayed there for the rest of dinner and lingered when he was forced to watch TV as his teacher cleaned up afterwards.

     When the man came back he found Genos asleep on the floor, face-down in the carpet. He worked way too hard…

     Saitama got their futons ready and pulled out a pair of pajama pants (just in case), stripping down to his boxers. It was getting warmer, and with how hot Genos got sometimes even his underwear were too much. He didn’t end up keeping those on most nights anywho…

     Not tonight, though. He walked over to the kid and rolled him over, easing him into his arms. “Come on,” he mumbled, cradling him as he stepped over to the mattress. A confused whine came from the cyborg when he was set down and he held tight to Saitama. “I’m just gonna run to the bathroom, okay?” Another, smaller whine, and the hands let go.

     He was totally out when Saitama got back. His teacher snuck in beside him, making sure there was space next to his arm for when Genos cuddled up in his sleep (it happened every night)…and sighed.

     Saitama’s whole body felt like it was buzzing, thinking about all their plans… He didn’t realize he’d be this excited for a vacation…

     “Night, blondie,” he whispered, getting a breathy “Sensei” as his answer.

     They decided the first couple of days would be relaxation days. No going out to dinner, no sight-seeing, no trains—just them, and the apartment, and a whole 48 hours where they could do whatever they want. Friday morning they got a buncha snacks, and then they ran to a Blockbuster (it took forever to find one…) to rent games and movies. Saitama managed to sneak in some softcore when the blonde wasn’t looking, too. Genos had no idea what it was—the front cover was this boring old house—but Saitama recognized it as one of the sillier ones from when he used them more often, and thought it would be fun to watch it together.

     On the way home Genos was insistent they stop at a liquor store. His teacher didn’t want to, they still had about four bottles of the stuff left at home, but Genos wouldn’t let it go. He just kept going on about how drinking “aided in relaxation” and “eased the tension of daily life” and “made its users more talkative, which was cohesive to having long conversations and creating memorable experiences.”

     Saitama thought it would’ve been a lot easier for him to say that they both got ultra-horny when they were drunk and he wanted to get laid, but he didn’t bring it up. He caved, though, when Genos pointed out that his sensei could finish off almost two bottles in a night.

     “I can’t help it if I’m a freak,” Saitama grumbled, picking out a no-name plum saké.

     Genos took it from his hands, put it back, and pulled down a nicer—and way pricier—bottle from a shelf. “You aren’t a freak, Sensei. You’re amazing. And many would be envious of your fortitude when it comes to alcohol. We should get this one, if you would like a plum variant.”

     Saitama fished out the original bottle. “It’s gonna last all of a few hours. We’re getting the cheaper one.”

     “And if I say I’d prefer to have this brand? Since I’d like to taste it as well?”

     The little brat. “Aren’t we doing this…it’s called a staycation, right? Aren’t we doing this because it’s cheaper?”

     Genos put the bottle in his basket and meandered over to the vodkas, eyes honed in on a label decorated with strawberries. “No matter what we do, Sensei, it will still be significantly less expensive than staying in a hotel for a week.” He slipped the smallest size of it alongside the saké. “Is there anything else you would like to try? We will be home for most of the weekend, and we only have five bottles for you.”

     Saitama saw a woman give a horrified look at them. He played with the back of his neck. “Nah, kid, that should be enough…”

     “Would you like to try a blueberry vodka? It sounds…interesting…”

     Saitama’s stomach clenched when he saw the price. “I—no, I mean… Get it if you want, I guess, but… I’m alright…”

     There came the tick-tick of Genos’ scanners as he frowned and studied the racks, clomping to the whiskey section. “Do you like these, Sensei?”

     The woman tried to hide it as she stared at the two of them. She wasn’t doing the best job of it.

     “I like them enough… Genos, it’s alright.”

     His student gave him a frustrated glance and walked back to the sake, picking up three different kinds and heading over to the mixers.

     Saitama rushed over when he saw the way the basket handle was bending. “It’s gonna break,” he explained, taking a couple bottles out.

     Genos watched his hands and faced the refrigerator next to him. “What should I get for myself, Sensei? I…I don’t know very much about mixing drinks.”

     Neither did Saitama… “Uh…” He shifted the sake to one arm so he could open the display. “I think… fruit juice is pretty standard, and…um… We have iced tea at home, and then some soda…” Saitama grabbed a carton of juice and let the door slam. “Wanna go pay?”

     Genos eyed the sake warily, pulling a bottle from his elbow and nodding. “Yes, Sensei.”

     A grin drifted across the cashier’s face as they piled everything on the counter. “Having a party to celebrate?” he asked, pointing to the bags of movies and snacks they’d left by the counter when they walked in.

     Saitama was ready to say ‘yeah,’ just for the sake of avoiding an awkward conversation, until Genos chirped, “No, we will be alone this weekend.”

     The guy whistled. “Man…you two sure know how to go at it.”

     Saitama went to speak, but again— “This is mostly for Sensei.”

     The attendant’s eyes went wide… “For…” …And landed on the bald man blushing behind the beaming cyborg. “Oh… Uh…”

      Saitama started pulling out his wallet. “I have a really high tolerance,” he rushed, taking out all the cash he had. It definitely wasn’t enough.

     When he turned to Genos to ask for the second purse, he was handing over his card. Sneaky little bastard…

    The clerk glanced at the HA logo on top of it and the S-class symbol in the corner. Any concern he had over Saitama melted as soon as he figured out who he was ringing up. “No way! I thought it might be you, but I wasn’t sure. Could’a been a fan, you know? So you’re off this week too?”

      A scowl trickled in at the edge of Genos’ mouth. “Yes.”

     “Uh…that’s pretty great. You work hard, I see you on the news all the time.”

     The scowl didn’t lift. “It’s only because they think I’m good-looking. It should be Saitama-sensei that’s on the news.”

      Oh good God not now.

     “Who’s—is this guy Sensei? You keep on calling him that.” The worker gave Saitama a closer look before he could flip his hood up. He didn’t want to get into this… “You’re a hero too? I don’t recognize you.”

     Genos took the card from the cashier, but he was gonna crush it if he kept on balling up his fist like that… “You should. He’s saved the planet countless times, though he’s received little recognition for it.”

     “Genos, stop. Come on. Let’s get home and start up the Playstation.”

     He might as well’ve said nothing at all. “Seriously?” pushed the clerk, leaning over the register. “How…” He squinted as he bagged everything…and then Saitama saw that awful spark in his eyes. “O—oh. You’re Caped Baldy.”

     Yup. There it was. He almost avoided it too…

     “You used to be A-class, right? You were pretty high up there.” Here came the frown, right on schedule… “What happened?”

     “Some bullshit. Genos, let—“

     Orange glowed from the blonde’s vents as he loomed over the register. “He was wrongly demoted for defending me, that’s what happened. And I don’t appreciate your tone.”

     Saitama strung their haul around his arms and tugged Genos towards the door. He didn’t look to see the terror on the clerk’s face, but he knew it was there. “It’s fine, let’s go home.”

     “Sensei, this boy is demeaning yo—“

     He tugged harder. “My reputation is crap already, it can’t get worse. Come on.” And he dragged them into the sun. Genos was still glaring through the windows when they got out. “You’ve got to calm down, kid.”

     “How dare he try to undermine your achieve—“

     “Genos, stop,” Saitama urged, walking towards the abandoned district. “You’re the only one who thinks I’m all that great.” A twang of guilt hit him in the gut. “Well…you and Mumen…and King, I suppose, but that’s it. It’s okay, I’m used to it.” The twang faded into something...heavier… “I don’t mind.”

     His student’s stare burned. “I do, Sensei. A great deal.”

     He shouldn’t care that much… “Let’s go back, okay? I wanna to face you in Soul Calibur.

     Genos plodded on after him. He was quiet for a while (literally steaming for some of it), but after a few fun questions—what aquarium was it that they would visit, what movie did he want to watch later, how big was the bath house—he cheered up some. By the time they got to the apartment he was at a standard Genos-level of pissed, which was a lot more than he could say after some of their other trips.

    “I’ll get the snacks while you start up the PS2?” Saitama offered, toeing off his shoes in the foyer. Genos nodded as he untied the laces on his boots. He was still too quiet for comfort…he couldn’t start off their vacation in this bad of a mood…

     Saitama slipped into the kitchen, gingerly placing the bags on the floor before taking down their biggest bowls.

     He saw the strawberry vodka spilling out from one of the bags. “Think I should pour some drinks for us?”

     The fans burst in the hallway. “Y…Yes, Sensei!”

     There we go. That was a lot better. Saitama smiled as the cyborg sped past the kitchen doorway, trotting towards the TV. It was nice to see him excited again…

     “I’m making you something with the strawberry stuff, okay?”

     And to see that grin… “That would be excellent, Sensei.”

    The man felt his cheeks going and focused on the empty cups in front of him. Good God, when had he become such a sap?


   They got plastered, as expected. Soul Calibur turned less into actual fighting and more into “who can pull off the longest combo” (it was Saitama), and then Genos insisted they play janken to decide who got to choose the movie (it was the kid). He picked that one with the soundtrack made by that robot band he liked…but neither of them paid much attention to it. By that point one of the bottles of sake was gone and Saitama was alternating between laying in Genos’ lap so he could watch his face light up at the screen, to mashing his lips against his disciple’s pretty, puffy, pouty ones.

     …He had really good lips. Really, really good ones. They felt especially good when they were running down his neck, or sneaking up his belly and over his pecs, or trying their best to leave hickeys all over him…

     Saitama opened his eyes, foggy-headed and confused. The sun was creeping above the horizon, which wasn’t normally that big of a deal, except that they left the blinds wide open and passed out in front of them. And the whole blinds-wide-open thing wouldn’t be so bad if they, y’know…had any clothes on…

     Saitama looked down to find his student on his belly, hands curled over his chest. He was so peaceful like that… The only times he ever saw the blonde this relaxed were when he was snoozing and when he was, um… When he was…

     Hazy visions of last night came swimming in, of Genos’ steaming above him, of those thick legs locking him in place. He couldn’t remember all of it yet, but he was sure it would come back eventually. If anything, his chest wouldn’t let him forget.

     Saitama lifted a heavy hand to rub at his pecs, being careful as he massaged over his nipples. How long had it been since he was this sore…anywhere? What the hell did the kid do to him yesterday?

     He cautiously stood up, trying to ignore Genos’ groan. He badly needed to pee… He glanced at the two empty bottles of sake lying on the floor on his way up, glad they were put to good use.

     He didn’t turn on the light, but not because he had that bad of a headache—it was just too early and he wanted to go back to sleep. He was surprised he didn’t feel worse, honestly. It made him nervous that he might still be drunk, but when that happened the room would feel like it was floating. Not now. All he had was a light thudding at the back of his head and that weird hollow hunger you get when you stay up drinking. Aw frick, that probably meant he was gonna shit his brains out later…

     Saitama smiled as he wiped, flushed, and washed his hands. Heh…what a pain the butt…

     He was still grinning at his pun when he crawled back next to the cyborg. As he knelt, though, the embarrassingly vivid memory of Genos slapping his ass cheeks as hard as he could came crashing back. It was enough that he had to stop for a second so he could try to stop the flush he felt exploding from everywhere. It wouldn’t have been that bad, except that Saitama could clearly remember how it felt, and that it was…pretty…well…

     He crouched back to sit on his calves. It had been so long since he’d felt any sort of pain, and when it did finally hit him, it was…real…and overwhelming…and kinda…

     …Good...

     He rubbed at his chest one more time, grunting at how worn-out it felt. He was starting to get an idea of what went on last night.

      Genos sighed when he shuffled back under him, trying his best to get him laying how he was before. His metal arms tightened around his waist when his teacher kept adjusting, though, so he must’ve been irritated by the motion. Saitama stared on while he thought, fighting off sleepiness to dig up details about last night. The slapping was…a thing…that had gone on for a while, he was pretty sure of that…and then…he remembered Genos holding him down? Or…no, he was just holding hard…

      His cheeks went from a light pink to clearance-sign red. Yeah, he’d…definitely jacked him off…

     Saitama took Genos’ face in, trying to match it up with the stuff he was piecing together. He remembered it, but he was having a hard time believing his little cyborg could be…that brutal…

      His eyelids started to close on their own and he didn’t have it in him to fight it anymore. He’d find some way to ask about it when they woke up, Genos’d probably been recording it anyway. Saitama had a feeling he recorded everything they did together, and something like that…well, he couldn’t blame him if he did…

     He yawned, enjoying the hum of his student’s chest against his skin. Shouldn’t that make him feel uncomfortable, being recorded? He was sure it should, but…it didn’t… It was hard for Genos to make him that uncomfortable, nowadays…

     He always felt comfortable around him…

     Genos always…made him…

     Feel…

     …

     “…en…”

    Comfortable…

     “…sei…”

     So comfortable…

     “Good…”

     So warm…

     “…morning…”

     Kisses…on his side, his arm… A hand, at his hip… His hero…

      “Sensei…”

      Over him, smiling, sweet. Awake, he was up… Was he hungry? Saitama should…he should get up…

      “Do you…feel well…”

      Saitama blinked in the sun, squinting at the light. Shit…it had to be late, for it to be that bright…

     He ran his hand through the poofy locks on his stomach. “Yeah…yeah, I’m fine. You?” He watched Genos’ eyes drift closed, his lips curl. “You wanna sleep more?”

     The blonde shuffled up, settling close to his teacher’s neck… “Not…particularly…” …But his hand didn’t follow… “I’d rather help you…wake up…”

     His fingers slid along Saitama, and the man hissed.

     “Sensei,” he whispered, low and close, and how did anyone stand a chance against that?

      “Lemme…lemme make you…breakfast, or…”

      His hand moved a faster. “I only want you, now…”

      Saitama must’ve tipped off some god because there was no way he could end up this lucky on his own... He kissed his student, softly, and when he tightened his hold the man gave a moan that was way more desperate than he’d ever admit to…

      …and that made the cyborg stop dead-still? “Genos?”

      Genos gaped for a full second before his fans bust straight into a screech. “S-sen—Sen—I—“ With a clumsy clatter and a whirl of steam he was sitting seiza, fists hard at his thighs and looking like he’d cry. “I—I’m sorry—I apologize, I—“

      …What the hell? “Genos…? What?”

      The fans screamed louder—they could do that? Did Kuseno upgrade them? “I—The way I acted, last night—was…! I—I don’t recall it all, but—Sensei, it was unforgivable, it was disrespectful, I was far too inebriated and I shouldn’t have—“ Was his lip trembling?! “I—I was--!”

     Saitama sat for a heartbeat, dealing with the emotional whiplash of having his cyborg go from sex kitten to pleading mess in all of two seconds. Then he laughed, gathering him up in his arms. “What are you talking about? I was so far gone yesterday, I don’t reme—” Oh.

     Oh. Last night.

     Right… “Uh…that is, um… I…”

     Genos’ core was spinning so fast it was shaking his chest plate. “I got carried away, that was unacceptable, Saitama-sensei, Sensei, I’m sorry, I—I’m—forgive me, I—“

     “Kid,” Saitama cut, pulling him closer. “Kid, it’s…alright…” It’s a good thing he was still buck-naked because man was he hot. “I, um…I don’t remember all of it, but…I… It’s alright.”

      The blonde looked up to him, and Saitama could see him tearing up. “But—but I—I took advantage, of—“ Oh nono, he couldn’t start—! “I took advantage—“

      Saitama held his shoulders hard, staring straight at his student. “Genos. You’re fine. It was…“ He had to say it… “It was…ah…” His stomach could stop playing hopscotch whenever it wanted to. “I…liked…it…so it’s alright…”

      Apparently that wasn’t enough. “But…but Sensei! I-I hit you, I hit you…hard… And…” There went the oil. “You were screaming, I…I’m…”

      Keeping eye contact was practically impossible right now. “Yeah. I know. I liked it.” Ugh… He never thought “masochist” was something he’d have to put down on his mental list of “Reasons Why Saitama Is a Creep”… It would look great next to “cradle robber” and “deadbeat.”

     He might as well have been talking backwards for how confused Genos was. “You liked me…hitting you…?”

     The floorboards sure were interesting... “…Please don’t make me say it again…”

     There were a few moments of (wonderful) silence as the boy thought, and a few more as he settled back down against his teacher. “I suppose…it was only your behind…”

     “Genos…”

     “And…the term ‘spanking’ would be more accurate than ‘hitting,’ but I never thought…Sensei…”

      “Genos, please,” Saitama begged, leaning his neck back to stare at the ceiling lights. “Let’s…let’s just eat breakfast, alright?” He glanced at the clock, and—damn, it was already 11:30? “Er…lunch, that is…”

      The blonde didn’t move. “…It’s surprising that you can feel it strong enough to—“

      “Nope!” Saitama shouted, bursting up. “I’m cooking! You’re hungry, right?”

      Genos looked at his hips and Saitama shot a hand down to cover himself.

     “For food. What do you want for food, Genos.”

      His disciple took a shaky breath and considered it. “…The leftover stew would be good, Sensei.”

     “Alright,” Saitama grumbled, starting for the kitchen before making an awkward reach for the jeans lying on the floor. There were pell-mell heaps of clothes scattered all over the room… They were in a pretty big rush yesterday…

     “I will clean up,” Genos declared, bending over to his T-shirt. Saitama saw him checking out a suspicious-looking stain across the front as he shuffled into his jeans. “…And…soak our laundry, if necessary…” A soft vhrr filled the room as Saitama turned back to the kitchen.

      He heated the stew up and brought it over so they could eat, both groggy from last night. They left the TV on low in the background, not watching it much. It was some cartoon about two guys wearing mechas plastered in brand names, Saitama couldn’t follow it…

     …He was too distracted with the way Genos was staring at him. “What?”

    Genos’ eyes darted away. “I…am thinking, Sensei.”

    Oh no. “About…?”

     “About…last night…”

     “…Yeah?”

     The fans buzzed on. “And how I could…use the information I’ve gathered to…to help…”

     Saitama stopped mid-bite to argue, but…well, no matter how much it mortified him…he was kinda interested in what Genos thought up. “…Y…Yeah?”

     Genos seemed just as flustered. “I…well, Sensei quite enjoys when I play with his chest, particularly his nipples, and the—“

     “Okay,” he cried, palms out to block the next string of humiliating facts Genos would blurt out. “Okay… I trust you, do what you think is good.”

     His student’s forehead crumpled up. “Sensei…I would like to discuss this with you, so as to avoid overstepping boundaries…”

     The man took a deep breath, collecting himself. He didn’t want to do it, but…his hero was right. They had to be able to talk over stuff like this. Otherwise he could leave Genos feeling bad for something he did, or do something Genos didn’t like and not know about it…

     …It didn’t matter that he felt a like curling into a ball and hiding under the table.

      Saitama shuffled on his knees. If they were gonna get into it, though, shouldn’t they start with trying to figure out what exactly they did yesterday? “Uh…Genos…did you record…”

     The fans bumped up an octave. “I—I…yes. I did.”

     Saitama had to smile. “Can you pull it up? ‘Cause the last thing I remember was us making out.”

      Figures and numbers flashed over Genos’ eyes. It was cute to see all the different expressions flicker across his face—he went from grinning and almost laughing to staring with apple-big eyes and steam whistling from his shoulders.

      It was not what Genos had been expecting, surely. Then again, he hadn’t been expecting any of this. He was still ashamed of his behavior (hitting Sensei…outside of a spar!) and he only became more ashamed as he listened to himself get drunker, and drunker. After the movie and an intense bought of groping, his teacher decided he wanted to have another go at Soul Calibur. Genos couldn’t understand his logic, but the two mostly empty bottles of sake by the table meant that there probably wasn’t much logic involved anyway.

     They started up the PS2 and Sensei won several rounds, as he usually did. Genos goaded him on, to which the man responded that he would “beat his ass from here to next Sunday,” and that Genos refused, insisting no, it would him doing the beating. His Sensei wiggled his (very cute) rear and dared him to, and Genos did…

      Lightly…

     “I couldn’t even feel that, you can do better. Or are you as bad at this as you are at blocking?”

      Genos would never admit defeat so easily. With a grunt, he watched himself give a significantly harder strike to his teacher’s rump. It earned him…a very different response…

      Sensei’s eyes clouded and he spread his legs, just a little. “You…you can do better…”

      And he did. Much, much better. And the whine he got for it almost made it worth the utter embarrassment he felt letting his Sensei witness as he played the recording, having zero idea why his student was reacting the way he was…

      “Kid,” he asked, leaning down for a spoonful. “What’s going on?”

      Genos tried to speak, but he was watching his teacher lean back on his knees and ask for it again, face redder than the label on the sake he’d finished…

      The blush started to creep into his hero’s cheeks in real time. “Is it…is it that bad?”

      Genos tracked the way his mouth fell open when he smacked his ass cheeks over, and over…and listened to his cries as he did it, and the curses as he told him to do it more, harder, do it fucking harder…

      “I’m…I’m gonna open the doors, okay? To, uh…let out some of the steam…”

     He heard his own voice start, then, low and foreign and asking him, “Do you like this, Sensei? Do you like how it feels?” And then, as he tugged his pants away, “I do. I like those sounds, Sensei—“ Smack. ”I like hearing you cry out for me…” Smack! “I like seeing you…” Smack. “Like this…” Smack! “Bent over…” Smack! “For me…”

     Genos covered his mouth, as if that would stop his past-self from saying such…things. He would have gladly muted the video if it wasn’t for the litany of moans his teacher was giving him. It was…bizarre, to see the man so...open... Bizarre, and…immensely hot…

     “Can I…know what’s going on?”

     The cyborg simply shook his head, unable to so much as summarize the things they were doing, what they were saying to each other. He watched himself tear through his Sensei’s clothes, and the screen went dark as Sensei did the same to him, as he leaned in for a (very noisy) set of kisses before laying back on the floor, and Genos pounced him, ravaging his chest—

     He had to pause the video. He stood completely still, expression blank, feeling his fans skipping from overuse.

     Sensei looked at him, waiting for some kind of explanation. Pink dusted his entire face and a bit of his torso. Genos focused once more on the image of his hero entirely naked under him, face twisted in pleasure, pinned—

      Genos could not meet his teacher’s gaze.

     “What…what did we do?”

      The noodles in his stew shone in the bright apartment light. “We…We…” I demolished you, would be the most accurate description of what happened, but… “S-Saitama-sensei.”

      The man waited.

     “Do you know how we become…very direct, when we are in the moment?”

     The man burned.

      “Well…when we are as drunk as we were last night, we apparently…are more direct…”

     The man shrunk.

      “And, I…” How did he say this? “I…am very…enthusiastic, about…fulfilling your—your demands…”

      “’Demands’? That’s pretty…rough, isn’t it? Don’t you mean ‘requests’ or whatever?”

      Genos slowly shook his head. “No, Sensei, they were demands. And we were…” He played with his napkin. “I, was…I was incredibly rough…”

      His teacher hung over the table for a second. Then Genos saw that look come into his eye, the same that he’d just watched a few minutes ago… “What…did you do?”

      The boy’s lips jammed shut and he focused on the ground, resolving to finish the video so he could at least give an accurate description of what had occurred, when he could muster the courage to…say it out loud…

      He watched his teacher writhe beneath him as he viciously toyed with his chest, clamping and twisting until he screamed, and when he started asking for more Genos put a hand to his sex and pumped hard, ruthless, going harder when Sensei bucked and arched and sobbed under his thighs, telling him it felt great, it felt good, it felt so fucking good Genos so fucking good—

      He’d seen his vision dim the way it did during an orgasm at least once during the video, and there was a second one as his teacher cried out to him, finishing loud, covering his belly and pecs in white…

      Genos would be lying if he said he wasn’t close to finishing now, after watching all that. He let the video go on as they both panted, waiting until Sensei tugged him down to his shoulder and the recording went dark.

     He took a very, very deep breath, and another after. Then he looked his teacher straight on. “Saitama-sensei, I believe we’ll have to research BDSM.”

     Saitama-sensei choked on his tea.


   Genos found it difficult to look his teacher in the eye after that. Every time he stared for too long, or listened too close, he found bits of last night’s…activities…hiding in his features, whether it was the part of his lips, or the pitch in his voice, or the way his back dipped as he kneeled forward to reach the remote…

     He lasted all of thirteen minutes after watching the video, pouncing him as soon as they’d finished washing dishes. Sensei, apparently, had been more intrigued by their discussion than he let on, and was equally eager.

     They did not make it off the kitchen floor.

     Genos was proud to have held himself back for another couple of hours. He broke as he rewatched Tron, attempting to take in everything he missed the first time…and failing miserably. He could not stop imagining Saitama, his Saitama, bare and bent over and begging... The mixed drink Sensei had prepared for him (was it stronger than normal?) did not help.

     The man curled back into him as he let his fingers drift along his waistband. He’d never fully dressed, and Genos’ core thrummed when he felt the line of hair as he unbuttoned his teacher’s jeans.

     “Already?” Sensei mumbled, putting down his sake so he could bury his hands in Genos’ curls. “This is a lot, even for you…”

     The gentle hum of his vents hitched. “I…keep remembering…Sensei…”

     “…I wish I could too…”

     The hem cut into Sensei’s skin as Genos slipped his hand beneath it, reveling in the quiet moans he gave him. “I…I could show you…again…”

     “…Yeah?”

      It was such a simple word, but the breath in it, and the pure need it carried, and the fists gripping at his hair… “Y-yes…Sensei…”

     “…Yeah,” Sensei sighed, grinding into his disciple’s hand, his hips, pulling his free hand under his shirt. “Show me…”

     A high screech followed the cyborg as he guided his sensei to his knees, pushing him to his elbows. He ran his hands down his back and along his ass, feeling the flesh there, the muscle…the bounce…

      …and tore them away to cover his face moments after.

      “Genos?”

     The blonde shook his head, unable to speak, to move. He was still far too sober for this.

     He heard a chuckle before a pair of arms pulled him in. “Later, then,” came the whisper, and it was closed with kisses to his forehead, his jawline, all along his neck…

     They would, at some point, watch the movie in its entirety.

     The preview was still looping when they awoke once again to a mess of discarded clothes and a sun that was all too bright. The morning hadn’t gotten away from them as it had yesterday, which was good. They’d intended on visiting the Gekkou Aquarium in City M and it was an hour-long ride over. They would need to board the train relatively soon—his internal display told him it was 9:37, and if they wanted to make it to the mermaid performance advertised on their site they would need to be there in two hours…

     “Mornin’…blondie…” Sensei’s eyes shone in the sunlight as they fluttered open. When they caught his student’s they smiled, just before his lips followed. He let a fingertip brush across Genos’ cheek.

      “Good morning…” The touch was so soft…

      Warm silence hung for a few moments. “Hungry?”

      “Mm,” was all Genos managed, sleep threatening to pull him back as his teacher ran his hand over his skin, playing with the edges of his cables, or the tip of his earlobe. The boy turned into his thumb, planting a peck across the knuckle as it slid over his mouth.

     The grip passed to the back of his neck and he was being guided into a kiss. “I’ll cook?” offered his hero.

     He was so beautiful… “Sensei…cooked yesterday, let me…”

     “I want to. You need to wake up, still,” he pushed, sitting up and stretching his waist. He lingered for another moment, staring and smiling, before getting up and walking to the kitchen. Genos watched as he clanged a pan onto the stove, bleary-eyed and half-asleep.

      Genos ran a quick scan as he waited. The prompts scrolled over his interface, half of it filled with loading messages:

CORE…FUNCTIONING. THERMOREGULATION…FUNCTIONING. CRANIAL PRESSURE…NORMAL. POWER…96% AVAILABLE. MEMORY…86% AVAILABLE.

RUNLEVEL 5…IN PROCESS.

AUDITORY…ONLINE. SENSORY…ONLINE. OPTICS…ONLINE. FANS…ONLINE.

BIOPROCESSORS…BOOTING……

     He tried to focus on his teacher as he stirred rice in a pot, but a warning flashed across his vision--

HYDRATION LEVELS LOW.

MODERATE LEVELS OF ACETALDEHYDE DETECTED.

SYSTEM FLUSH RECOMMENDED.

     He groaned, not wanting to move from his cozy spot in front of the patio door. His armor was warming comfortably under the sunlight, and Sensei’s scent filled the clothes they’d fallen asleep on… He could wait a while…

      It was a surprise when his teacher nudged him awake.

     “Food time. We’ve gotta eat and get going, right?”

      Which they did…preceding a harried rush to get dressed and to the train. They barely made it as the doors closed (though Genos was certain that, had they not looked as threatening as they did speeding towards the platform, the passengers wouldn’t have parted to make room for them).

     The usual swarm of excited whispers and pointed phones greeted him as soon as his boots hit the floor. Luckily Sensei was eager to point out landmarks, which made it simpler to ignore the cloud of curiosity as it pressed in against them.

     When they finally got there, the visit ended up being…nice. There were no other words for it. Genos had never been to an aquarium, and Sensei told him it had almost been two decades since his last trip. They managed to catch the mermaid show, but it may have been a mistake…considering that every actress flirted with the S-class when they swam passed (“I’m right here,” Sensei grumbled, glaring as a brunette twirled away).

     It was his first time seeing many of the creatures—the jellyfish in particular were stunning—and his teacher was incredibly sweet for the duration of the trip. He clapped with the seals when he thought his student wasn’t watching, and spoke to the manta rays as they slipped under his hands in the petting zoo (Genos did not want to risk shocking or burning the fish, so he refrained from that activity). At one point he stood scowling deeply at a wall of crabs and the boy had to ask why.

     “I’m making the face,” he answered, pointing to a crab clawing at the glass in front of him. The bumps and dips in the shell did indeed look like a face, and Sensei…was doing a wonderful job of imitating it. “You gotta do it,” he urged, pulling Genos closer. “You gotta…ah…”

     Genos waited, confused.

     “Well,” trailed the man, putting up a hand to squish his cyborg’s cheeks. Genos didn’t mind, but…it was embarrassing for him to do such a thing in public… “…Ha… I forgot that you’re always sorta…” He stood straighter and pouted.

      …Genos had no idea what he was doing. “…No, I do not know, Sensei.”

     Saitama tottered his hand through the air. “Uh…what did the little green girl call it? Your…sleeping…bitch frown?”

     Genos snorted despite himself. “That’s ‘resting bitch face,’ Sensei, and yes…I suppose that would make me look a bit…” He glanced at the crab scuttling away. “Like that shell.”

      Saitama watched it go. “Yours makes you look hot, though.”

     A high pitched hum filled the air. “O-oh?”

      “Yeah. Wanna get dinner?”

     They meandered through a few more exhibits after their meal and left, wandering the pier where the aquarium was located until well after sundown. They didn’t do anything in particular—they had no destination in mind—and it was fantastic. They had never been able to explore like that, without the threat of the HA calling, or needing to make it home so they could sleep before a sale, or any number of things that crept into their lives. It was only Saitama, with only Genos.

     They talked for the sake of hearing each other speak, or else they held hands in silence, watching the shore from the dock. There would be very small crabs, Sensei told him, that would start hunting once it got dark, and they needed to look out for them. Soon enough they emerged, filling the sand with darts of silver.

      Sensei kicked his legs idly over the edge. “This is nice.”

      “Yes, Sensei…” Heat rose up and curled around Genos’ core. “It is…”

      “I’m happy we’re doing this…” There was a strange weight to his voice…

      The boy looked over to his teacher to find him smiling…and his eyes filled with a darkness Genos couldn’t place.

      Sensei watched his feet bob. “I’m…happy…”

     “Me…me too, Sensei,” answered his disciple, squeezing the hand woven through his.

     It squeezed back. “We should head home, right? Before the trains start running at weird times?”

     “If you would like, Sensei.”

     He stared, hard. “Well…I don’t wanna get stuck waiting around. Let’s go back,” he tossed, standing and pulling the blonde with him. Genos heard the planks creak under his own body as he shuffled up.

      The man was quiet for most of their return trip. He did not explain and Genos did not pry, his actions telling the cyborg most of what he needed to know. He pressed his student to the crook of his neck on the train, and gripped his hand for the entire walk home. As soon as they removed their shoes at the front door he clung to his waist, and later that night Sensei cradled him between his arms, covering him with kisses and complements and soft touches before laying Genos beneath him.

     Saitama wasn’t very verbal with his emotions. When he wanted to show them, though, he could express them better than any words could manage…and Genos had never been held so tightly by his hero as he had that night, nor had he felt love so clearly than in that warm, shared darkness.


     This vacation was for Genos. Saitama suggested it to get him smiling, and went through with it because he seemed excited to go. He didn’t expect…

     It’s not like they weren’t always around each other. They did everything together—shopping, eating, beating up monsters, cleaning the apartment… He didn’t understand why waking up with him each morning this week, and falling asleep under him—why watching his eyes light up at a movie scene or listening to his shoulders hum while they sat on the train…

     …He didn’t know why it was leaving him like this…

     He remembered how touchy-feely he’d gotten yesterday and felt his cheeks burn pink. Luckily his disciple couldn’t see him, he was at the closet tugging out…

     …the tight jeans?

     He got pinker when he saw one of his nicer shirts was laying on the divide. “Why are you getting so dressed up? We’re just going to the mall.”

     “I suppose…” Hangers clinked as Genos stopped. “…I want to look good for you, Sensei…today…”

     “…Oh…” He was gonna rot out his teacher’s teeth if he kept on feeding him lines that were that sweet.

     The boy glanced at the computer. “Could you check to see if there are any events taking place in City D? If so, we may need to readjust our plans.”

     The carpet curled under Saitama’s hand when he hefted up, sidling into the desk chair and opening Google. Maybe if he looked for “City D events”...

     He fumbled with search terms for a while, getting more and more frustrated until he found the city’s municipal site. There was a calendar posted on the front page. “It looks like there’s a game show recording tonight, but nothing else. We shouldn’t run into lots of crowds.”

     When he turned he saw his hero half-dressed, pants clinging to his ass way closer than any pair of pants had the right to be. He was partway into his shirt, too, arms up and back flexed… “Good, Sensei, thank you.” His plates looked so nice like that, with the light shining along the ridges… “Ah…Would Sensei…” A tiny hum started under his sleeves.

     Saitama spun around in his chair. “What? You need help?”

    “No, Sensei, I…” He tugged the shirt the rest of the way down and tucked it in as he talked. “…If Sensei would not mind, could he…wear his dress pants…for our outing…”

     “The black or the yellow?” Did he have something planned for later…? “…How come?”

     The boy pulled down the dark slacks and a button-up. “Black, Sensei. And because…I would like to see you in them.”

     O…oh… “Ah…yeah, of course. I mean, I asked you to—“ There was that blush again. Were his cheeks just gonna stick this way at some point? “I asked you to…put on lingerie, so…”

     “In…deed, Sensei.”

     …That wasn’t the kind of answer he expected. When Saitama tried to look at his student, though, he hid his face. Saitama didn’t prod, but…crap, he hoped Genos wasn’t weirded out by his teacher’s gift. It was pretty weird…

     They left after Saitama got dressed (he forgot that these pants were on the small side, he never got a new pair after he bulked up from training) and started walking to the neighboring city. Long sleeves were a good choice. It was still cool outside and he’d need them once the sun went down. He was sure he looked odd, dressed up like a businessman when everyone else was so casual, but Genos seemed to like it, so…it was alright…

      His disciple was the one that got stared at, though. Saitama felt bad for him… He didn’t think City D would be that busy since everyone was away on trips, but he ended up being majorly wrong. The mall was stuffed with people doing…well, exactly what he and blondie were doing—window shopping, eating out, toying around with the gadgets they sold at the kiosks—and most of those people could recognize Genos as the famous A-class hero. Someone tried to stop them every few minutes.

     He watched Genos get more irritated with every fan that came up to him.

      “Oh, shit! It’s the Cyborg! Can I have your picture?”

      “Will you pose with me and my friends?”

      “Demon Cyborg, I love you! Please, can you sign my bag?”

      “Let’s go,” Saitama mumbled, taking his plated hand and pulling him away from a new pack of fanboys. He led them into some high-end suit store with “sale” prices so high they made the man want to throw up. It was mostly empty, though, so he didn’t care.

     When they walked in the metal detectors went off, like always. One of the clerks tried to talk to them after it happened, about-facing as soon as he saw Genos.

     “You good?” Saitama could hear the whine of his incinerators, but other than that the blonde was totally quiet.

     “…I will be, Sensei…”

     His teacher didn’t push it. When Genos got to this point, he just needed a cool-down. They ambled around the store, Saitama keeping up a steady stream of small talk to distract his disciple. Eventually he started chipping in comments, and soon they were right back to their normal back-and-forth, commenting on weird styles as they passed them.

     “And that shirt, Sensei?”

     He was talking about a skin-tight dress shirt on a mannequin, black and short-sleeved. “What…about it? It doesn’t look all that odd, other than being too tight.”

     The fans buzzed. “I…I know, Sensei. …Would you be willing to try it on?”

     Nuh-uh. That thing probably cost a week’s worth of noodles and then some. “We’re not buying anything here. Everything is way overpriced.”

      Genos stared, gluing Saitama in place with those giant, sad eyes…

     “Kid…come on…”

     He kept on staring…

     “…Ugh, fine! Fine. But only if you get something too, you can’t get stuff just for me!”

     The boy considered the store, scanner ticking away. “I cannot test any of these for fit, Sensei. My plates would tear the fabric.”

     …What a brat. When would he stop throwing his money away on stupid shit…?

     They dug around for a few sizes that might fit (they seemed awful small for what was listed on the tag), and headed to the back of the store. Right by the registers Saitama saw this navy blue shirt with a super-low V-neck and big collar…

    “Genos, grab that.”

     The boy turned to where he gestured. “…I didn’t think that was Sensei’s style.”

     Saitama stepped over to it. “Not for me…” He searched for the biggest size they had. It didn’t seem like it was large enough, but at least it was stretchy…

     The vents hummed louder. “Sensei, I told you, I canno—“

     “Sh,” the man pushed, waving his hand. “I’ll help you into it.”

     That seemed to be all the convincing Genos needed.

     The attendant greeted them at the dressing rooms immediately. Saitama was surprised he came back after seeing Genos nearly bust out into battle mode... “How many items?”

     Saitama leafed through the hangers. “Uhh…four?”

     The guy nodded and walked in, unlocking one of the doors. It would be a cramped squeeze for one person, let alone two…

     “Could we do one of the bigger rooms?”

     He got only silence and a very confused frown as his answer.

     Saitama started to elaborate… “We’re going in tog—“ …Until he understood the implications... “Uh…I mean, he needs help, um…getting into...I’ve gotta help with…”

     The clerk smiled and opened up one of the family sized rooms. “Enjoy,” he offered, walking away. “Let me know if you need another size.”

    “Y…yeah,” trailed the man, holding the door for his student. “We aren’t doing anything,” he grumbled, closing it behind him and hanging the clothes on a peg.

      …Of course…for not doing anything, he was getting pretty antsy. The space seemed so much smaller with Genos inside it, like it was pushing them together, and with how dim it was in there...

    His stomach curled in on itself and he felt like an idiot. There was no way he was getting embarrassed. They lived together, they bathed together, they’d been screwing every night for the past week. Being in a dressing room together shouldn’t get him flustered…

     “Would you like to go first, Sensei?”

     …But it sure as hell was.

     “I…yeah…” Saitama started to unbutton his top, glancing nervously at his student. “Sorry,” he offered, failing to undo the same button for the third time. He was about two seconds away from tearing it off…

     “Here,” Genos offered, crouching to finish the job for him. Saitama caught a look at himself in the badly lit mirror, and…yup, he was beet red. It didn’t help when the kid brushed his fingers over his happy trail, standing with that dumb frickin’ smirk he used when he knew he was being sneaky. “Does Sensei need help putting the top on as well?”

      Sensei just shook his head, not trusting his mouth if he opened it. He was fine, he was fine. He had this under control. Even though it was super-hot in the room. And he could smell Genos’ circuits mixing with his shampoo. And he remembered that it was illegal to have cameras in dressing rooms…

     He pulled the top on, horrified at how tight it was.

     “No,” he shot, ripping it off as quickly as he could and going for the largest size he had. He shuffled it into place, tugging it down or pinching it across, and...it was pretty much just as tight as the other one had been. You could tell it was too big, though, because of how much space was in the armpits.

     “I believe the top is designed to be form-fitting, Sensei.”

      “This isn’t ‘form-fitting,’” he complained, going back for the first shirt he tried on. “My suit is ‘form-fitting.’ This might as well be spandex.”

      Genos kept an eye on him as he slipped the collar over his head, reaching for the bad fit and fishing out its tag. “It is, Sensei. Ten percent of it is elastane, a spandex subset.”

     Well. That would explain why it made him look like he’d just slathered paint on his chest and glued a few buttons at the top… Saitama sighed, staring at himself in the mirror. This one was definitely the best fit, though…

      He heard the fans hum and pointed. “Don’t you start, brat. No weird ideas.”

     “Would that make Sensei a ‘brat’…” Genos glanced at his crotch. “…If he already seems to have had a few?”

     Saitama checked out his junk, and—damnit! Stupid too-tight pants, stupid buttons, stupid tiny room and Genos stupid gorgeous frickin’—

    “You look amazing, Sensei.”

     He was going to have a heart attack. “Just—try on yours!”

     The boy untucked his top and began easing it off.

     Man, it was…really hot in here…

    “Could you grab my shirt, Sensei?” he asked, carefully bunching the sleeves at his elbows so he could slip them off, first from one…and then the other…

     “Yeah…” Saitama ignored the thud-thud in his ears as he prepared the top. Genos wasn’t kidding, it was almost an endurance test to get it over his plates without the seams catching or having the stiches pop on his shoulders. The shirt was a lot stretchier than he thought though, so they were able to make it fit.

     Saitama folded his sleeves as Genos popped the collar, and they both took a look at his reflection at the same time.

     …It was well-worth the frustration.

     Even his student was surprised, turning to the side and back so he could see it from every angle. He gave a cock of his head, thought for a second, and faced his teacher. “What do you think of it, Sensei?”

     …A lot. His sensei thought a lot. He knew it would be a bit tight, but…it clung to all of him, showing off his cables as they curled up from his hips, sticking to his sides, straining over his chest where it wasn’t flat-out exposed, framing his pretty neck…

     Genos waited.

      “It’s…good.” Saitama was mentally punching himself. He was not a ten-year-old on the school playground. He was almost thirty and the strongest man on the planet. He could handle seeing his boyfriend in nice clothes. He was a grown-ass adult, damnit!

     The boy nodded. “I will purchase it, then. Can you help…?” He started, facing Saitama and raising his arms.

     …A grown-ass adult. “Y…yea…h…” He lifted the shirt, thinking it must have been a cruel joke that he couldn’t do it fast, because if he did he would’ve just caught it on one of Genos’ screws. No, he had to inch it up, slipping his fingers under it and shrugging it off his body wherever it snagged, listening to the core spin faster, and faster…

     Genos leaned over and put his mouth right to his teacher’s ear. “Sensei is cute when he is this aroused…”

     It took a lot of self-control not to rip the thing in half. “Shut it.”

     There was no way to back up as he tried to pull it off Gens’ arms. Instead he had to get closer, standing on tip-toe and chest-to-chest so he could shimmy it to his elbows. He wasn’t that much taller than him, this shouldn’t be that hard…

     The man made the mistake of glancing at the blonde while he struggled with the top. Genos’ eyes burned, flickering down his teacher before returning the look. Then he did…that eyebrow thing…

     Saitama about-faced, not needing the mirror to know he looked like a stop light.

     “Sensei, ple—”

     His palm whipped up. “No.”

     “Sensei, I…” There was the soft sound of fabric rubbing against metal. “I…can’t do this on my own. I truly need your help…”

     Crap

     Saitama took a deep breath and turned back around. “Then enough with the frickin’ eyes, okay?” He swore, if his student did anything, anything, he was gonna jump him right then and there, and needing to explain to the store manager why their walls were busted would be awful…

     Thank God it didn’t take much longer to get the thing off. Saitama handed Genos his shirt and tore out of the one he was wearing, resolving not to look at the kid while he changed because shit he had to calm down somehow there was no hiding a boner in these pants…

     He heard metal fingers on jean buttons and realized…he had pretty weak resolve.

     Genos hesitated for a second, side-eying his teacher before turning away. He was…hiding, it looked like, as he undid the zipper, but wha—

      Oh. …Oh.

     Oh.

     Saitama tugged him in by his waistband, checking that—yes, yes that was definitely red lace, he was totally— “You’re wearing them.”

     The fans whistled on. Had they been going for a while? He hadn’t noticed… “…I am, Sensei.”

     “You’ve been wearing them this whole time.” Saitama kept his grip on the denim.

     “…Yes.” A pause, and then, “…That is how underwear work, after all…”

     Saitama bore down on his disciple, gold eyes shining back, not looking away for few very loud heartbeats.

     “I wanted to surprise you…Sensei…”

     He stared down at the red lace, remembering how his fingers looked sliding under it, remembering everything he wanted to do with them once they had some time together… “We’re going home.”

     “Sensei?”

    Then he was thinking of him in that little dress, of him without the dress, oh God him wearing the V-neck and the underwear and nothing—

     Saitama rushed through closing his shirt, hardly tucking it in. “Come on.”

     He charged out of the dressing room, doing everything in his power to hide how (painfully) turned on he was.

     Genos grabbed a red belt on their way to the register. Saitama didn’t have it in him to ask the price.

      “Find everything you need?” the clerk asked.

     “Yes,” Genos told him, pulling out his card. His voice was steady but his vents were practically screaming.

     “Are you…alright, sir?”

     The cyborg took their bag. “Yes,” he repeated, and they left. 

     Saitama glanced at Victoria’s Secret as they sped towards the front door, a wave of guilt hitting him full force. “Genos…you should get more of those underwear, if you like them.”

     The boy slowed for a second. “Oh?”

     “Yeah.” Walking back would be excruciating… Could he just carry Genos and run…?

     “…Why is that, Sensei?”

      The sun was blinding... “I’m probably not gonna be able to keep them in one piece when we get home.”

     He was blasted with a puff of steam. After a moment of wondering how long the back routes would take, he heard next to him, thick and determined, “...Race me, Sensei?”

     He was so fucking lucky to have him. “You’re on.”

Chapter Text

    Saitama had predicted right—the underwear did not last long. Neither did the jeans, which he was kicking himself over. He didn’t mean to split them, he just…got over-excited with the zipper.

    …And to be honest, he wasn’t too concerned with keeping them in one piece at the time. He was focused on how amazing his student looked clutching at the wall…

    …or twisting against the floor…

    …or grinding on top of him in their futon…

    …It was a very long, very good night.

    Saitama woke up once during it, finding his exhausted cyborg curled into his side, fans still humming. His hair was a mess, his plates were a mess… He had little black tear smudges around his eyes too. He cried some on his fifth and sixth round, but when Saitama asked him if he wanted to stop, he tugged him into another make-out session...

    His sensei had no idea how he had that kind of stamina. Saitama finished three times and he was so spent he felt like he was gonna black out.

    …Then again, that’s kind of what Genos did, so…

    Saitama ran his hands across the kid’s head, trying to smooth the bangs from his eyes. He wanted to wipe the oil away, but that would wake him up and he needed the sleep…

    His fingers drifted up and lingered in the blonde’s curls. Moonlight shone across his back and his core was pulsing in waves, lighting up his hair with a blue glow…and when sighed out his bottom lip would give this little tremble…

    For the umpteenth time that week Saitama was overwhelmed by how perfect he was. He was…He was everything, he was smart and gorgeous and sweet, he was strong and sexy and…and he washis, he was Saitama’s, and…he wanted Saitama too…

    “You’re rubbing off on me,” he mumbled, planting light pecks in that yellow fluff. “I’m getting so mushy…”

    The boy gave a tiny whine and shuffled.

    “Am I too loud?”

    That got him another hug from those metal arms.

    “You’re a sap even in your sleep, you know that?”

    …Nothing but even breathing, then.

    “…I don’t get why you stick with me…”

    Genos’ eyebrows scrunched like he was about to argue, and Saitama had to laugh. “It’s true. You deserve way better than me…” He settled back into the futon, pulling his hero closer to his chest. He was so warm…“I’m not worth…you…” And that vhrrr of his fans, the sparks of his body… “All I do…”

    They were so soothing… “…is love you…”

    …And steady… “…I just…”

    …And soft… “…love…”

    …So soft… “…you…”


     It was nearly lunch by the time either of them blinked awake.

     When they finally got out of bed and washed up (they needed it bad) they spent the rest of the day packing for the bath house. A couple outfits and some snacks would’ve been plenty, but Genos wasinsistent on bringing a third bag filled with…well, he wouldn’t tell Saitama what, but it was something good because he wasn’t allowed to open it. It took a lot of self-control not to peek as the kid checked inside it.

    That afternoon they cleaned up after the past few days, and for dinner they went to their noodle house. They passed out in front of the TV as soon as they got back.

    At some point during the night they managed to make it over to the futon and both of them got a little handsy, but…they passed out during that too.

    Genos decided to make this massive breakfast before they left for City Q the next day, filling up their table with eggs and rice and miso and nato and veggies… He spent over an hour cooking it all. An hour and fourteen minutes, to be exact. Saitama knew because he broke off their morning cuddle to announce it was 9:40 and, if they wanted time to relax afterwards, he would need to begin.

    His teacher had no idea what that meant. He waited for Genos to go on, but instead he stood up and stretched, butt-naked, before tapping over to the kitchen so he could turn on the light…butt-naked…

    …And proceed to cook butt-naked with nothing covering him but that damned apron.

    When Saitama crept over the divide to try and undo the bow, his student swiveled out of his reach, telling him “That will be for relaxing afterwards.” The man waited anxiously, checking the clock without meaning to and doing anything he could stop himself from focusing on the cyborg singing from the kitchen. 

     It was 10:54 when he finally brought the food over.

    …But he didn’t leave the apron behind.

    Saitama ogled. “You’re going to eat in that?”

    “I intended on it, yes,” Genos answered, calmly. At the man’s continued stare he added, a little less calmly, “…Does Sensei not approve?”

   The pink looked so cute on him…and he tied it way tighter than normal, so Saitama could see his plates move every time he shifted in his seat…

    The fans buzzed, then, and Genos’ eyes shone. “I—If I misjudged, Sensei, I could remove…” He mumbled, keeping his head down as he pulled at the strings—

    “No!“ Saitama urged, catching the metal fist. “No, Genos—I like it. …Don’t take it off.”

    Genos swallowed, nodding before filling his plate.  

    “Really,” Saitama pushed, knowing his disciple was still doubting it and hating himself for making him. “I promise…”

    They ate in quiet for a little while longer, Saitama watching the wrinkles drift over the apron’s front as the boy shuffled from knee to knee. Genos still didn’t believe him… “Can you,” he started, at least a bit nervous, “…Keep it on? As we…’relax’…”

    His vents screeched. “A-ah,” was all Genos managed at first, but then that tiny smirk creeped back. “Only…if Sensei promises to keep it clean…”

     …Eventually Saitama would get better at this. “I’ll do my best, kid.”

    They ate quite a bit faster after that so they could begin…”relaxing” right away. The man managed to keep his promise (and he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t proud).

    Last minute they packed some extra shoes and left for the two-hour train ride. It wouldn’t have been so bad—Saitama didn’t mind long commutes—but the entire time he had some old dude glaring at him and his student, mumbling real damned loud about celebrities and decency to the woman next to him. She didn’t seem to want to talk, but that sure didn’t discourage the prick from going on about how men needed wives and some things should be private and blah blah blah.

    At one point Saitama got sick of it and pulled Genos down for the kind of kiss they saved for when they were at home…and occasionally on side-streets after missions. The dude got so mad he sputtered out and refused to look back.

    Saitama was pretty pleased with himself (and Genos was too, even if he was a little surprised). Then he saw the bright red schoolgirl with her phone out, pointing towards them.

    They made eye contact for a split second before he sunk against wall. Guess that meant there would be another thread filled with pictures of them on the hero forums…

    The town was bustling when they got there. Genos shrugged past the passengers and onto the beat-up platform, fixing his hood before trying to talk. “Check-in is at three, Saitama-sensei,” he told him, walking down a crowded city center. The place was old, with weeds and flowers pushing up between the cobblestones. The whole square was filled with all sorts of cute shops and restaurants and stands…and an old-style tea house? That was cool, they’d have to visit…

    “We have a little under half-and-hour to get there. Would you like to see our room and go for a bath?”

     Half the visitors were already in their yukata, and there were a bunch of little ones running around with carnival prizes… Where did they get the—

    “Sensei?”

    The man snapped back, not noticing how big his grin got. “Oh—sure! That sounds great.”

    His disciple smiled. “Sensei is happy.”

    “Well…yeah, this is awesome. Did you see over there, that cool-lookin’ tea place? I want to bring you there, we could check out a tea ceremony. There’s a lot of other stands too…and everyone is so relaxed…”

    Genos squeezed his waist. “I am glad, Sensei.”

    The man’s cheeks hummed and he tried to hide it…as…

    …Wait, why did he say it that way? Like Saitama was the one who’d been sad lately? He wasn’t… He was here for Genos, this trip was to put him in a better mood, it wasn’t…for…

    He thought about it as they walked over, trying to figure out if he seemed down. Yeah, he’d been clingy, but that was…he wanted to be close to the kid, because…

    Because…

    He snuck a peak at his cyborg, the bright yellow sweatshirt reflecting off his hair and making it seem even brighter than normal. He was completely focused, like always…’til he caught his sensei staring, and then his fans started turning, and he tried not to show how self-conscious it was making him…

    Saitama glared at the floor. He wanted to be with him, that was that. There was nothing sad about it. Maybe he wanted it a little more than normal, sure, but they’d been doing different stuff lately, and it was making Saitama realize how much he wanted—well, needed, honestly—needed to be with Genos, and how much he liked spending time with him…

    Or how thankful he was that he chose to stay with a loser like Saitama, when he could’ve done way better…when he should’ve done way better…

    His disciple’s hand was warm when he took it. He just…he just wanted Genos to know how happy he was that they could spend time with together, like this…

    That he spent time with him at all…

    “…Sensei?”

    Saitama’s neck felt like it might snap for how hard it was face him. “Are we close?”

   “Yes…” Genos pointed with his free hand at a tiny black building all the way down the street. “It’s there, Sensei. I spent a great deal of time trying to find it… It was difficult, all but the largest and most expensive bath houses were fully booked. The blog of an avid bather mentioned the privacy and quality of this one, though, and when I called the owners they were accepting reservations…”

    The man listened to him go on about mineral content and discreet servants for the next few minutes, loving the way he rattled off the details in a way only Genos could. Geeze, the Saitama of three years ago never would’ve believed him if he told him that. “Twenty words,” was the limit he gave him. Ha…like that was even possible…

     His smile faded as the thought. Saitama of three years ago wouldn’t believe most of this—that he’d be standing there, holding the hand of the irritating robot boy who followed him home like a lost puppy dog, getting ready to check into their room where they’d almost definitely ravage each other, and pass out on the floor…and wake up the next day exhausted, and happy, and too warm…feeling full in a way he couldn’t explain but that was so good it…it almost hurt

    God… Saitama of three years ago would’ve felt so lonely, after hearing that.

   “Sensei, be careful,” he heard, and Genos was pulling him up an ancient set of stairs. The light from the door was framing his body, and he looked…like he was glowing…

     Genos stopped on the patio. You could practically feel the worry radiating off–oh, no, he was actually radiating. Was his core going that fast? His shoulders weren’t steaming… “Saitama-sensei…is everything alright? We can go home, if you don’t want to do this.”

    He had no idea how right everything was. “I’m…I’m great, kid. And I really want to do this. Do we need tickets or anything?”

   Genos kept his eyes on his teacher’s for a moment longer before glancing behind him. “No, Sensei, it is saved under my name. All I need to claim our reservation is show my ID and credit card.”

   Saitama went for the door and opened it for him. “Let’s go, then. I’m ready for a bath.”

    As soon as his student stepped over the threshold, a woman was waving them in from the lobby. “Mr. Genos, sir! It is excellent to see you!”

   They toed their shoes off and followed her to a wooden counter filled with an old computer and some forms. The cyborg towered over all of it as he leaned in. “It is only Genos, and thank you. I am glad to be here. May we check in?”

    She tapped away at the old desktop, asking for his ID and card. A younger guy—he must’ve been in high school—slipped them both a fresh cup of tea and a rice ball as the woman tore off one of the forms for Genos to fill. He took the pen with a “thank you” and filled it quietly.

    Saitama admired the place as he did it, munching on the rice ball. It had been through some things, you could tell by all the chips in the molding, but it was well taken care of. The plants filling every corner were healthy looking too.

    His disciple’s pen tapped as he laid it down and Saitama downed his last bite. “Yours is the room on the left,” she told them, checking that the paper was filled out. “Haru is going to take you there and help you get acquainted with your room.”

    The high schooler waited for them to follow before leading them up a narrow staircase on the far side of the lobby. There were a few kathunks as Genos’ shoulders bounced against the walls, and Saitama tried not to laugh.

    “What would you two like to drink for dinner?” The younger kid asked, not seeming particularly excited about it. Saitama wanted the strongest drink they had; Genos swallowed a last bite of rice ball and said something with blueberry.

    If their attendant heard, he didn’t respond. “This is where you’ll be staying,” he mumbled, pointing to the closest of the two doors before unlocking it and swinging it open. “There’s an entrance to the baths from your room.”

   When Saitama saw what was inside, he was…impressed. It was bigger than he thought it’d be.

   The staffer plodded in and over to a stand against the wall. “Your socks, obi, and yukata are here.” Then he went to a fan by the open window directly opposite them. “We do not have air-conditioning, but you can use this fan as much as you would like.” He waved them over to a far corner and leaned behind a panel once they came, flicking on a light. “This is your bathroom and shower. Soap, shampoo and conditioner, shaving cream, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and towels are provided. If you need extra please ask.” He rattled it all off like he’d memorized it… He must’ve been working here for a while.

    After walking to the opposite corner of the room he pointed behind a decorated panel. The heroes peeked around it to find a huge, fluffy, comfy-lookin’ bed. “This is your bed. More sheets can be given if asked.” Finally he stopped at the already set table—there was an electric kettle, some loose tea, and a couple of cups on it. He laid their key down next to the kettle. “Dinner will be in three hours. I hope you enjoy your stay. I’m available if you have any questions.”

    Genos pulled a small envelope out of his hoodie pocket and handed it to him. “Thank you, Haru. I will.”

    The guy—Haru, Genos said?—took it and left.

   Saitama didn’t want to ask, he really didn’t, but he knew how Genos was, and… “So…how much did you tip him?”

    His student walked over to the dresser. “Enough to guarantee we will not be bothered while we are here.”

    That sounded like…a lot… “Does that mean you don’t wanna tell me how much?”

   “Sensei does not need to worry.”

    The man gave out an aggravated sigh. “Kid…you should save your money more…” He joined him by the drawers, curious to see the patterns on their robes. “Oh! That one has gears on it! What are the chances, huh?”

    The cyborg smiled as he unfurled his top. “They remind me of the one you found for me, Sensei.”

   Saitama was still proud of that, even though it had been years ago. The thing was buried on the bottom of a discount bin with a red “DEFECTIVE” tag on it, saying that the sleeves were too big—which was the opposite of a problem for his disciple. Too bad he ended up destroying it when he attacked the fireworks display… “Do you think we can keep these?”

   Genos considered it. “I’m sure I can ask. They will probably want payment, but I can’t expect that they would be very expensive.”

    “I hope not,” his teacher mumbled, taking out his own. It was a boat motif that went with the deep, watery blue fabric. “You wanna get showered up and go to the baths?” He pointed to the bathroom over in the corner. It was weird to see a stall like that in a room, but Saitama had to admit it was convenient too.

    The kid started pulling off his hoodie right away. From under it came his muffled voice. “If that means we are showering together, then…”

    Saitama gave the cyborg’s side a light flick. “Cool it, horndog. I can’t go out there all…worked up. There’s no way to hide it.”

    “Then,” Genos sighed as he tugged his head out, “We will have to make sure you’re taken care of before we leave.”

    Saitama was trying to get undressed, but holy crap his student had to stop looking at him that way… “I…I mean, let’s do a bath first? You know how…into it, we get. I don’t want to sleep through dinner.”

    Genos’ eyes burst for a second and his chest gave a little puff. “After…dinner. Yes.” The fans kept on going as he undid his belt and asked, “Could Sensei rinse my back?”

    “Yeah, sure…” That look was awful familiar… Kinda shy, and…nervous… “…Genos, are you planning something?”

    “…No…”

    The fans went up at least a few pitches, so yes, he was. “Oh?” the man pushed, balancing on a leg as he tugged off his pants. “All that steam is just ‘cause?”

    The blonde smiled over his fans whining. “Well…Sensei is quite attractive, and he is mostly naked in front of me.”

   What a brat! Saitama was about to slip his briefs down… “I—I—“ His voice failed him as he whipped them off as quickly as he could, trying to hide himself...and falling flat on his ass.

    If Genos’ giggle wasn’t so frickin’ cute, Saitama swore, he would’ve…

   “Does Sensei…need help?”

   He would’ve…

   “I will carry you to the shower, if you find your legs are weak.”

    …Aw hell, who was he kidding? Saitama wouldn’t do anything. “I’m fine, I can get there on my own.” As soon as he saw that dopey smile on Genos’ face… “Do you wan—na—oi!“

    A pair of huge arms scooped him up into a very loud chest, and in a second he was being carted over to the shower. “Hey! I said I was fine!” Saitama’s underwear were still on his feet, for shit’s sake! Couldn’t he have given some warning?

    “That was quite a sudden fall, Sensei. Should you be hurt, I do not want you to aggravate the injury.”

    What a bastard! “You just wanna cop a feel! Anyway, I can’t get hurt.”

    A burst of air burned against his skin. “Well…the first is true, but…as we both recently discovered…”

    Saitama opened his mouth to give some smart comeback to the brat’s comment. All that came out was a mortified groan. He wanted to shrink away, but seeing how he would’ve been hiding in the cyborg he was hiding from

    Genos put him back down by the stall, hands dangerously low on his back. He was flat-out gawking at his ass, he wasn’t even trying to hide it… And it was getting to his sensei way more than he wanted to admit…

    …For fuck’s sake, Saitama needed to cool down. “Shower, Genos. Shower. You first.” He couldn’t deal with the thought of Genos…watching him…

    The boy turned to step around the corner, letting his hands brush down his teacher’s backside. That little sneak… “You will help me, Sensei?”

    The light shone off his plates when he flicked it on… “Y…yeah…”

    He could totally wait until after dinner. Absolutely.

    …He could.

    “The water is quite warm, Saitama-sensei,” Genos warned, hand out to steady his hero. It always took a while to get the kid clean, but once they made their way to the bath he was determined to get in first, ‘to ensure he could assist Sensei in entering after his harrowing fall.’ Saitama suspected it was really so he could shake that cute bubbly butt in front of him as he stepped in.

    He was not making it easy to hold off.

    The man took advantage of having his student there to help him climb in, though. The rocks were slippery and the steps they’d carved in the side were all worn down, so it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. Eventually he plopped down with a splash.

    “Damn,” he mumbled, “It is hot… S’nice though, it’s getting chilly out.” He folded his towel and tossed it on the edge of the water, relaxing against the stone behind them.

    Genos was right when he said this place was good for privacy—there was a covered walkway from your room to the bath, and that was walled in with huge boulders and a ring of trees. Some leaves were floating in the water, but not nearly as many as there should’ve been… The staff had to’ve been working on it constantly to keep it so clean. It wasn’t like you could stand from the edge and do it either–the bath twisted around and you needed to get in it to reach some parts of it at all…

    “Do you enjoy it, Sensei?”

    Saitama blinked and looked over. He’d been quiet for a good couple of minutes. “Yeah! It’s cool how bendy it is.” He glanced up at the stones around them. “All the rocks make it feel like fort… What about you?”

    The boy nodded. “Yes, Sensei. It’s soothing…” He flexed his legs and fingers before going on. “My body will become stiff shortly, but the water can warm parts of it that are generally inaccessible…which feels wonderful…”

    Saitama nodded along…until he realized he had no clue what that meant. “…Huh?”

    “The more delicate parts of my build—“ Genos put his hand on his thigh— “The wires in my legs, the pumps, my joints—they all contain metal, which expands as it’s heated. While the difference is marginal it makes moving slightly more difficult. It feels good, though, to have heat applied to those parts. They are buried so deep within me they usually cannot get such treatment.”

    Saitama remembered washing through Genos’ arms, and the bundles of mesh inside his legs… “So…you have feeling in all of them, right?”

    “Yes. It helps to identify when something is out-of-place.”

    But…didn’t that mean… “Then…when you’re fighting…”

    Genos dropped his head against the rock, eyes closed. They were dim when he turned to look at the man. “I have told you, Saitama-sensei…many times. I dull my pain sensors during battle.”

    A few leaves drifted in front of them, and Saitama tracked their path. “Well…well yeah, but…doesn’t it hurt still? When something comes off?”

    Genos stared at him for a moment. “Sensei,” he started, straightening himself, “Before your training, when you would get a splinter or a paper-cut, the small amount of pain that remained after the surprise of receiving it would not phase you, correct? It was an inconvenience that reminded you to clean and bandage it later.”

    Saitama nodded.

    “That is how it feels for me, Sensei. Most injuries are nothing more than a frustration.” He settled down, lids drooping as he dipped chin-deep into the water. “It is only in the most severe cases that I truly feel pain, and for those I seek immediate care.”

    His sensei stared, unconvinced. That was all fine and dandy, but…it didn’t account for when he wasdone with the battle and trying to get along at home, limping because his blasters backfired, or trying to cook with one arm because the other was gnawed off…

    Or drinking everything through a straw because acid melted half his face…

    …Or geeze, any of the dozens of times where Saitama had to carry him to bed after his body gave out. What about then, when the fight was over? Did it hurt? When he refused to be helped and all Saitama could do was hover around him, waiting for him to collapse?

    …Or when he was getting repaired, and his teacher couldn’t even…do that…

    The boy slipped further down the wall, opening his eyes to watch as the bubbles came up from his mouth. Good God, he was…so…

    Saitama pulled the confused cyborg into his chest and just…held him there. It was awkward, Saitama was pretty much hugging his head to his side, but neither tried to change it.

    “Sen…sei?”

    He’d been better with injuries, he really had. He really had. There were a few slip-ups in the past few weeks, but…nothing serious… It was just…

    “Sensei…?” A hand reached up to take his own, and then another. When he got no response they gripped tighter. “…Sensei…”

    The man slumped. If it was serious, though…and Genos got hurt, and he couldn’t help him, couldn’t hold him, like this…

   “What’s wrong?”

    If he couldn’t protect him…

    “…Saitama?”

    “…Take care of yourself,” he mumbled, squeezing his student closer. “I don’t want you hurt, ever. In any way.”

    There was a soft chuckle in the crook of Saitama’s elbow, and the boy’s hair tickled when he nuzzled into his ribs. “Sensei… That’s a little impossible. A hero can’t avoid getting hurt…”

    Saitama sighed, knowing…well, knowing he was right—it was impossible. He couldn’t stop Genos from throwing himself into battle, from giving it his all…

    But…

   “I…I just want to know…” He pulled back, hands falling to the blonde’s hips and thumbing at their cables. “…That you’ll always come home…to me…”

    He was sure of the response. There was no other way Genos could answer. Still, though, he had to hear it…

    “Sensei…”

    He had to…

    A pair of soft lips pressed against his temple. “I told you I would follow you anywhere. I was not lying.”

    Saitama leaned into them, letting out a long exhale. That weird spot in the pit of his belly didn’t disappear—it was still there, all cold and hollow… But feeling those lips against him, the warm coils under his hands…their legs slipping against each other in the water, on the floor… The sound of the waves echoing off the rocks…

    Of the deep hum pulsing from Genos’ body…

   “You better not be,” Saitama mumbled, returning the kiss. “I need you around…”

    The hum hitched into a fast burble as Genos’ fans picked up, and he buried his head into his hero’s shoulder. “Sensei is…very sweet…”

    Saitama ran his hand through Genos’ damp hair. “Sensei is honest, ‘sweet’ has nothing to do with it…”

    They sat like that for a while, enjoying the heat, the quiet, steam drifting around them…

    “Genos,” Saitama mumbled, remembering something. “There’s two rooms.”

    “Mm,” was the answer. Was he falling asleep…?

    “Is there another couple in the other one?”

    “Mm…ah…yes,” breathed the cyborg, “Who should be here. They are late…” He snuggled in more comfortably before he went on. Frick was he cute… “I asked the owners to make it clear that pictures of us would be prohibited, should the other guests wish to take them, and they assured me they would let them know. One of them is a hero, so they will hopefully understand.”

    “Huh…I wonder if we know them…”

    “It does not matter,” Genos muttered, closing his eyes. “So long as they leave us be…”

    He was falling asleep. “Hey,” Saitama warned, shaking his shoulder. “You can’t doze off, that’s dangerous.”

    “My body,” he yawned, “Will take care…of it…”

    His teacher lifted him up until he was sitting flat against the rock (and got quite a glare for it too). “That’s what everyone says, kid, until they fall into the water. You wanna nap before dinner?”

    The blonde stared for a second. “We’ve just gotten in…”

    “And you’re already clocking out,” Saitama laughed. “We would’ve needed to get out soon anyway. We can come back later, let’s get you rested up.” He stood, reaching for his towel. He stopped when a hand caught his.

    Genos’ eyes were glowing as he gave him…that pout… “Can we please stay, Sensei? For a while longer? I’m enjoying this…”

    The man settled back down… “Didn’t you say you’re body was gonna get all stiff though?”

    …And his student settled back into him. “Yes…but it will not take long for it to loosen again…”

    It was hard to tell him “no” normally. When he asked like this… “…Alright. Just a few more minutes. I don’t want you overheating.”

    “Ha,” he chuckled, pulling Saitama’s arm back around him. “Then Sensei…will have to stop being so hot…”

    The man’s cheeks burned…but he could blame that on the water, right? “You are such a flirt, you know that?”

    “Only with you, Sensei… Only…with Sensei…”

    Saitama’s chest felt about three sizes too small.


    Dinner came and, came, and…came… It was huge, but all of it was fantastic. The tempura was perfectly cooked and Saitama loved the tuna sushi. Genos was big on the pickled veggies, surprisingly.

    They heard the other couple getting their tour just before that high schooler came to drop off their drinks (Saitama forgot how small those things were—it was barely enough to get his disciple buzzed). About an hour later, when the last few courses were being brought in, they heard them…’relaxing.’

    Genos glared at the wall as the moans went up a couple pitches. “They are inconsiderate…and ostentatious.” He took a drink of water when a very clear “FUCK” came through the other side.

    “Think there’s some way we can tell them to calm it down?” Saitama grumbled, fidgeting his soup.

    “Of course, Sensei.” The boy took a spoonful. “We will need to be louder.”

    Saitama choked. “Geeze, Genos,” he groaned, feeling his face flame up. “It’s not a competition…”

    “…No, Sensei, but…” He swallowed his bite. “I like making Sensei scream.”

    The spoon shattered in Saitama’s fist. “Genos!”

    “Sensei,” he mumbled. There was that smile…

    He couldn’t let that go. “You won’t get a chance, if I can make you first.”

    The boy’s sleeves billowed as his vents burst, but he didn’t lose the smile. Instead he looked his teacher straight-on and said, “Challenge accepted.”

    Man…had they swapped their rice for dessert? ‘Cause Saitama’s belly felt a whole lot like jelly right now…

    It stayed like that all through their meal, lingering when Genos asked what he wanted to do after.You, was what Saitama wanted to say, but…they were full from all that food… “Wanna see what’s going on outside? We passed by a buncha cool things earlier.”

    “Surely Sensei,” Genos answered, brushing his hair back from his face. He looked so hot that way… “Would you like to leave now? If possible, I would like to fit in…a quick bath, later on…”

   His core was so bright it hurt to look at it. “Kid, what are you planning?”

    “Nothing…extraordinary, Sensei.” He toyed with the screw on his collarbone. “It is simply...something that I’ve wanted to try for a very, very, very long time.”

    It’s a good thing yukata were as loose as they were. “You can’t give me even a little hint?”

    The blonde was quiet for a bit…but then he shook his head. “If I did, Sensei, that would blow my cover, and the surprise would be ruined.”

   “Ugh… Alright, alright, fine. Wanna go?”

    “Yes.”

    They retied their robes and went out, impressed by how many people there were. A few of them tried to stop Genos, but the place was lit by dim street lamps and a good third of the visitors were foreign, so no one could tell who they were to bother them. It was too late for much to be open, though, except for the tea and dessert stands…and neither of them were up for that.

    Instead they wandered up and down side-streets, peeking at the other bath houses (Saitama liked theirs, it was quirky) and trying to see what was in some of the closed shops. He made the mistake of pointing out a cat statue that was carved out of sapphire. It took him ten minutes to convince Genos that he didn’t want it.

    They found a park tucked away behind an old temple, and in it were a bunch of wisteria trees. There wasn’t much light there—all the lamps had broken—and they snuck in a few kisses (along with a grope or two) as they walked through it, keeping close so they didn’t lose each other. As they left Saitama plucked a branch of the little dangling flowers and tucked it behind Genos’ ear. They were blue, and in the dark he could see the same color spilling from his student’s chest…

    Genos didn’t try to take them off, and Saitama was happy for it.

    They found the fair where all those rug rats got their toys way down a main street but they decided to visit later. Both were more than anxious to get back to their room.

    “Would you like…to take a bath? …Sensei?”

    Saitama watched his cyborg steaming as he put the key and bundle of flowers down on their dresser. Why was he so nervous? “Not…really…” He muttered. He shook the doorknob to make sure it was locked before walking up behind the kid, his body humming as he wrapped his arms around him. “I want to know what the surprise is…”

    The fans hitched few octaves. “Sensei…Sensei should take a bath.” He fiddled with his belt as he stood, trying his best not to show how flustered he was. “I would like for Sensei to be…relaxed, for…tonight…”

    What the frick did that mean? ”Kid…you’re not…” Why would he have to be relaxed? That was—that sounded a lot like… “You don’t have any, uh…toys, or anything…right?”

    Genos spun in his arms. “No! Sensei, no, I would never do something so bold without discussing it first, and there would be considerable preparation before we could even attempt at the insertion of something so large, I would need to spend weeks fingeri—“

     “Got it!” Saitama cried, focusing as hard as he could on the carpeted floor. Genos had zero tact when it came to talking about stuff like this… His cheeks felt like they were on fire…

    Metal hands crept around his hips and he thought they might actually ignite. “Will Sensei bathe?”

    “Ah…” He held the hands in his own, not able to face his disciple. “Won’t…you?”

   “No, Sensei. I want my body as limber as it can be.”

    Forget igniting—they might flat-out explode. “…You’re gonna give me a heart attack.”

    The fingers curled around his hands. “Well…the challenge was to make the other scream first.”

    “I…I’m going. I’m tathin—er, taking a bath!” The man tottered away, needing a break from his eternally horny boyfriend, mostly because he was leaving Saitama eternally horny too and that couldn’t possibly be healthy. He rinsed fast and grabbed his towel, giving a weak “see you” before sneaking away.

    Genos nodded in response.

    When he walked out he saw two towels on the edge, but no one was around. That other couple must’ve been further in the bath. He wanted to check out what the rest of it was like tomorrow, when he could see it in the daylight. For now, though, he sat where he and Genos had been before and…well…

    Sat.

    …And sat.

    …And…sat…

    Satiama groaned, trying to ignore that he’d been half-hard since they agreed to come back. He wanted to know. What they’d be doing involved the little bag Genos packed, but if there weren’t toys in there… Was it clothes? Oh—oh damn, did he get new lingerie? On his…own…

     Saitama let himself enjoy the thought for all of three seconds before forcing his mind blank. Imagining his student trying on half a dozen pairs of panties wasn’t helping the situation.

    Relax. Saitama had to relax. He’d be all worked up when he went in there if he didn’t, and whatever the surprise was wouldn’t last all that long. A hint would “blow his cover,” Genos said… Shit, Saitama would do a lot worse if he couldn’t find out soon…

    He heard giggles from deep in the pool and some splashes, and as frustrated as Saitama was he couldn’t help but smile. It was nice to see another couple like that, even if they were kinda rude about it. It made him feel less bad for how all over his student he was.

    He stopped, listening to the splashes in the background. Another couple…right… He and Genos were a couple now. They were…a couple…

    Old flutters came back up through his belly, filling his lungs and pressing against his chest. They were together. Genos was…Genos was his, and Genos wanted him too, he was…proud when he got to go out with his teacher, and have people ask if they were…a couple…

    A small part of Saitama wasn’t totally used to it yet. Not necessarily the kisses, or the being close…but…just the idea that he was with someone, like this. He had someone who would give him kisses and take his back…and hug him, and hold him…and not do it because they were being dared to or because they were drunk or they thought he was “so precious” (stupid sorority girl…). Genos…Genos wanted to, he really, really wanted to, and…Saitama wanted him too, just as much... 

    The man stood, too antsy to keep on sitting there. It wasn’t even about the surprise at this point, or the half-chub he had going on for what seemed like forever. He just wanted to be with him, to be…his…

   He saw the bathroom door jerk shut when he walked back in. “…Kid?”

   “S-Sensei! You have not been gone for very long.”

    The man scratched the back of his neck. “Yeah, I got…I wanted to come back.”

    The low-grade buzz that had been coming from the bathroom bumped up to a soft screech. “Oh…I…I will need a few more minutes.”

    What was he doing? “Alright…uh…” Saitama spied his yukata by the door (folded, of course, because Genos couldn’t do anything half-assed). “Is it safe to take my clothes?”

   “Yes, Sensei, only…don’t look, please.”

    The man grabbed the pile, carefully avoiding the crack in the door. He unfurled it all to slip it back on, but… “Genos…are my underwear in there? They’re not in the pile.”

    “Ah…”

    The man hovered. “…Genos?”

   “I…I put your briefs back in your pack. You…won’t be needing them…”

    He was quiet as he said it, but it was more than loud enough to cut straight through his teacher. He stumbled into the robe, fuddled with the obi, and…crap, how many times was he gonna have to tie the knot before he got it right? “How, uh… How much longer do you need?”

    “A few minutes, Sensei.” He heard…what was that, a snap? It was like a rubber band… “Do you…” The fans rumbled into a whistle and the cyborg sighed. “…Please forgive me, Sensei. I am nervous… Do you prefer the bed, or the floor?”

    With the way this was going, Saitama didn’t trust himself anywhere but the floor. There was a lot less he could break there if he got over-excited (…again). “Floor…?”

    Another snap. “Then please, sit. …It would be best if Sensei was leaning against a wall.”

    The man did as he was told, getting equal parts turned on and pissed as shit when he plopped down next to the door to their bed. “What are you planning?” he called, staring blankly at the table as he waited for an answer.

    Nothing came but a high pitched whine.

    He bobbed his knee, hand bouncing on it with each hop. It was making him crazy, getting all these weird rules but not knowing why. Genos wanted him relaxed and bare-assed, sitting propped up against…

    His knee slowed as his eyes focused on the empty space between his legs.

    …Propped up against a wall…

   “Sensei.” Genos popped his head out over the bathroom door. He was wearing the flowers… “Are you ready?”

     Suddenly he was a lot less pissed and a helluva lot more turned on. “Y-yeah…”

    There was a soft rumble as his disciple opened the door, and he…

    …He…

    …He was stunning

    He stepped out in this white, flowy robe, and a sheer white belt that clung to his waist, with straps that went over…lacy underwear…and held up a pair…of… 

    …Black, leather…stockings…

   …Neither spoke at first. Saitama was taking him in, and Genos…well, the fabric was billowing from how much steam he was letting out…

   The man stared hard, appreciating, memorizing…wanting…

   It was two heavy heartbeats before staring wasn’t enough anymore. “Could…could you come here?”

    His student padded over, the light catching in his gold hair, his silver body, the jet black tights outlining every bump and seam in his legs…

   Saitama went to stand until he was pushed back down. When he opened his arms the boy eased into them, robe falling off his shoulders. The blue from the slits on his chest, and the small flowers framing his face, it was giving the white this little tint… And those bright yellow eyes, his pink lips…

    Saitama leaned in for a small kiss, but not a short one. “You look…amazing,” he marveled, pushing in for a second peck. “What brought this on?”

    Clouds puffed from the blonde’s body. “You enjoyed the lingerie so much, Sensei…I thought I should get more…”

    Saitama pulled away, running his hands down the covered thighs on either side of him. “I like these…”

    “I’m glad… I thought perhaps you might, based on the—“ The kid froze, eyes blowing up to the size of radishes.

    The man grinned, continuing to play with the stockings. “…You found my porn, I guess?”

   “Y…Yes, Sensei.” Genos put his hand on his hero’s chest, thumb drifting across the skin. “…It was a mistake…I thought, perhaps, the blank folder was something I downloaded for the HA, and…”

   Saitama hugged him closer. “You’re so fricking cute,” he mumbled, voice lost against his neck. “It’s okay, I’m not mad…” When he leaned back Genos had his head down. “So was this the surprise? I like it…a lot…”

   There was a stutter in the whine and—yup, there went one of his fans. He didn’t seem phased by it. “No…Sensei… That is, not—not all of it.” He lifted up, Saitama’s hands gripping onto his hips, and knelt back down between his legs. “It was a small part, truthfully.” He slipped the flowers from his hair and put them to the side, fidgeting with his teacher’s belt. “I wanted…I wanted, to…For Sensei, I—I…”

    Saitama was stuck between throwing Genos on his back right then and there, or squeezing him as hard as he could because no one had the right to be that sweet. He was still mumbling…

    The man took his shaky hand in his own. “Is it something sexy?”

    Genos swallowed and nodded.

   “Do you want to try a new position?”

    He shook his head, and halfway through nodded again, and licked his lips before brushing the yukata aside. “Sensei,” he whispered, hands snaking up his sides, “I would…I would like to try…” He looked up. “I want to use my mouth, Sensei.”

    He must’ve seen how big Saitama’s eyes got, because he added quietly, “So long…as Sensei is alright with it. We have become closer, but…but I know this is more…intense, than what we have done so far, and I don’t want you to be uncomfortable, or…feel as if you need to…”

    Saitama tried very hard to come up with anything other than please, please, please

   “But if…Sensei would like it…” Genos’ gaze flickered across his face. He took a shuddery breath and sat a further back, fingers dragging down to the knot at his hips. “I would like…very much…to begin…” Saitama could feel his touch trembling as he leaned forward. “I’ve been…thinking about this, for so long…”

    “…Go ahead,” Saitama squeaked out. At least he managed that much.

    The boy gave a small noise of confirmation against his jaw, lips fluttering along it, over his collarbone, across his chest… They pressed harder, kissed deeper, as they fell down one line of abs, then another… And another…

    “W-Wait,” he fumbled, Genos jumping at his voice. His core was spinning so fast it was whistling… Saitama put a hand to his hips and squeezed. “Don’t—shouldn’t we…Don’t you want something? First, I mean. This isn’t…fair…”

    There went another fan. “I…am already ready, Sensei. …I was imagining what this would be like, as I got dressed, and…”

    Oh. Oh damn. “Do you want…I can help, if…”

    Genos’ eyes dropped to the man’s hips and knelt back down. “You are already helping,” he murmured, picking up the trail right where he left off.

    Saitama was gonna finish in about twenty seconds if Genos kept his up.

    The obi slipped from his hips and Genos pulled the robe aside, leaving nothing between them… He could feel his Adam’s apple brushing against him as he went further and furth—

    Saitama craned his head back, trying to calm himself down. His heart was pounding, he was hard as all hell, and they hadn’t even started yet. At this rate—

    “Sensei?”

    He looked back down, and shit, Genos was right there, and he looked so gorgeous, and—

    “…Is this okay?”

    His teacher nodded, putting a hand to that beautiful neck. “Please,” he begged, too eager to care. He could be embarrassed later. Right now h—

    Saitama took a sharp breath. Warm hands were gripping him, rubbing soft, up, and down, and his student’s lips were falling against his hipbones, running over his happy trail, pres— “Ahh-h!”

    Pressing light…kissing soft and small, all the way up and fuck, oh fuck, giving his tip little flicks with his tongue…slicking it, testing it…tasting it…

    He…he had to look, he…had to see…and shit, those gold eyes were looking too, staring, recording, of course he’d record this…

    God, that…that made it so much…better

    …and he kept on staring as he—he suckled, and t-teased—as he slipped his pout over—

    “G-Genooh…“

    He watched, he watched that impossibly small mouth open, stretch, to fit—frick, he was so hot, and he was still lapping at him in—he was wrapping—his hands—

    “So—ohmmgh… ”

     Wet, wet, inside, he was so wet, and he—he was—suc—

    “Gen—ooh—s!”

     In, deeper, he was sucking him down, he was pulling him deeper, he was bobbing, twist—ting—shit! His tongue, his mouth, it was so fucking wet, and hot, hot, he was so hot, so pretty so perfect so deep he was so deep in—inside—he was in—!

    He dug his fingers in his curls, pressing, pleading, bucking, oh God he was so tight, still sucking, still licking, holy crap how did he learn this fucking—fucking—moaning, h-he was moaning, he—he—

    “Fuu—aahaah!”

    Tight—around—taking him, taking all of him, drinking—him—oh God he could feel his throa—

    “Ghffg—kha—“

    Closing—spasming—

    “Hk-kff—“

    …Shitshitshit! “S-Sorry!” cried Saitama, jerking his hands from the sputtering blonde. Frick he…he screwed up…!

    …Damnit! “I’m sorry! I didn’t—“

    Genos pushed off his arm, sitting back. “No,” he urged, hiccupping and…and gulping… “I’m…okay…”

    Saitama shouldn’t have done that, he shouldn’t have held him, he was such an asshole, he hurt him… “I’m sorry, I—this was your first time, I messed it—“

    A bright yellow glare cut him off. “Stop. You didn’t.”

    He shut up. It wasn’t often Genos got that tone with him.

    The blonde waited until the coughing stopped, fist running up through his hair. Saitama could see the bulge of his tongue through his wet lips as he ran it over his teeth…. His eyes were drifting shut, and he was sighing, and he looked…so satisfied…

     He glanced up and Saitama felt like been hit by a stun gun. “Did Sensei…enjoy it?”

     The man’s heart hardly had a chance to calm down, he couldn’t have it speeding back up already. “Y…Yeah…”

    Genos beamed. “Good,” he breathed, falling against his hero. “I…thoroughly enjoyed Sensei…”

    “I-I’m real…glad…” The red flooded back into Saitama’s cheeks as he felt his chest seize. CouldSaitama go into cardiac arrest? Was that possible?

    They sat like that for a while, the cyborg curling into his teacher’s hand as it rubbed through his hair, and his teacher struggling to get his breathing even…without all that much success. He was riding out the high, and he kept on thinking about how soft his lips were, and how he moved his hands…and that…thing he was doing, with his tongue…

    “That…that was your first time, right?” the man asked, already knowing the answer. Genos told him he hadn’t been with anyone before, he wouldn’t lie about that, but…Saitama’d never gotten a blowjob like that before…

    “Yes…” The fans whistled on.

    “You’re…real good…”

    There went the owl eyes. “Th—Thank…” Saitama saw a jet of smoke bounce off his thighs as the boy sunk into his lap, arm coming up to cover his face. “Thank you…”

   “How did you learn all that?”

    Fog was twirling from Genos’ shoulders. “…A massive amount of, ah…research, Saitama-sensei. Over a long period of time.”

    Saitama watched the clouds gather behind the fabric covering his vents, and he moved it away, slowly. He wondered if all that smoke would stain the ceiling… That was getting to be a problem, back home… “You keep on saying that—‘a long time.’ How long were you planning this?”

    Genos watched his sensei’s hands pull at the robe. “…I purchased the negligée last week, but I did not gather the courage to consider…this…until yesterday…” Saitama’s palm started to slip off his belly, but he took it back, holding it against him.

   “That’s not a very long time…”

   He played with his hero’s knuckles. “I…I’ve thought about this…” He shifted, managing to hide half his face under Saitama’s elbow. “This is…” A single gold eye shot up. “For a year and a half, Sensei. Almost daily. Occasion—…frequently, many times a day…” Then he buried his head as far into the man’s side as he could. Saitama had to strain to hear the blonde add, “…In detail.”

    A year and a half… “You mean…back when I didn’t know…”

    His student nodded.

   Saitama leaned against the wall, thinking. So all those times the boy turned around when Saitama walked across the apartment naked…or when he barged in as Genos was washing up and the bathroom was way too steamy… “You must’ve loved our trips to the public baths.”

    “…Yes …I am also a particular fan of the old sweatpants you have.”

    Old…? “Which ones? The pants for my tracksuit, or the big baggy ones?”

    “The baggy ones, Sensei.” Genos gave a shy look up. “Age has worn them almost threadbare, and…you have a habit of not wearing anything underneath them.”

    Oh.

    “I…could always tell what kind of manga you were reading, even if you tried to hide it.”

    …Oh. “You couldn’t let me know?” Geeze, he thought he was being sneaky with the porn books…

    “Sensei, there is no simple way to warn someone they have an erection.”

    Saitama dragged his hand down his face. “Why do you always talk about sex stuff that way? It sounds gross…”

    “What else would you have me say?” he asked, laughing. “‘Sensei, your cock is hard’?”

    …Oh. “Ah-haha…ha…” He wasn’t sure what he was expecting to hear but…it certainly wasn’t that.

    The cyborg sat up in his lap, giving him that look that made Saitama feel like he was on an operation table. “Sensei?”

    Hearing Genos talk like that…was…

   “…Would you?”

    Saitama had given up on losing his blush at this point…which was good, ‘cause as he sat there gaping like a fish, his student decided it was the best time to lean over and—

    “Sensei,” he said, voice hot on the man’s ear, “Your cock is so hard…”

    Yeah well now it was holy shit how did the he do that how could he say tha—

    Genos pulled back to study first his face, and then his waist. In half a second the vents that had finally calmed down revved up again. “I believe I won the challenge, Sensei,” he said, using Saitama’s shoulders to balance himself as he twisted around… “Can I have a reward?”

    He straddled him again, the same way they had been, but…now those black thigh highs were rubbing against Saitama’s skin, and Genos’ lace-covered hips were achingly close to his own…

    It was distracting enough that Saitama didn’t care he lost… “Whatever you want, kid…”

    He pressed himself against his hero. Saitama could feel how hot he’d gotten…

    With fingers digging into his neck and eyes bright as little suns, he told him, quiet but firm, “I want you to make me scream, Sensei. Louder…much louder…than I did you.”

    …Who the hell cared about winning anyway?

 

Chapter Text

     “Sensei! Sai-it—ah…S-sen—! Sense-e—ahI--!“

     Louder, he had to be louder, he said he wanted to be loud…

    “Sen-nn-sei! SaiaiiIiii

    Saitama rubbed faster, sucked harder, he felt his whole body seize and he cried out so loud the echo hurt, but still his teacher didn’t stop, he kept on going, listening as the headboard hit the wall with every grind, every push, a heavy, steady, thunk, thunk, thunk…thunk…

     “..rs!”

    …Thunk, thunk…

    “…Sirs...”

     …Thunk. “Sirs, your breakfast is ready.” Thunk, thunk, thunk. “Sirs?”

     Saitama forced his eyes open, confused…and at least a bit frustrated at the distinct lack of moaning cyborg underneath him. He blinked through wonderful afterimages, trying to understand why he was in such a tiny room, how his futon got so big…why the lamps were on…

    Thunk, thunk, thunk. “Sirs? Please open the door, breakfast is ready. We waited as long as we can. We’ll have to throw it out if you don’t open the door.”

     …Oh yeah. “Genos,” he mumbled, rubbing the arm of his sleeping hero. “Genos, breakfast.”

    The blonde huffed and buried his head into the pillow. “No…”

      Thunk, thunk, thunk. “Sirs.”

     Saitama peeked around the sliding door. “I don’t think we have a choice…” He eased himself off the cozy bed, walking on unsteady feet into the main room. Robe, robe, where was… “There you are,” he murmured, quickly tugging it shut around himself and rushing to the door.

     It was that same high schooler from yesterday (Hora? Was that his name?), holding two arms full of colorful dishes. How did he knock…? “Breakfast is ready.” He shuffled right in, arranging everything on the table in a practiced way. If he noticed the clothes against the wall, or…geeze, the shredded underwear in the middle of the floor…he didn’t say anything…

     Genos came clomping out of bed when he was dropping off the last dish and he froze, bowing immediately. “Good morning Mr. Genos.”

     Mr. Genos glared back, which would have been terrifying…had he not still been wearing the flowery belt and stockings.

     …Actually, maybe that made it more terrifying. “Please leave,” he ordered.

    The high schooler high-tailed it without so much as a goodbye.

     Genos tottered about for a few moments, eventually making a stumbly way to the bathroom. He came out dragging his yukata behind him and trying his best to get it on. After the fourth failed shot at getting his arm through the sleeve, Saitama padded over to help him.

     “You still asleep?” he teased, watching Genos’ eyes slide shut.

     Bedhead nuzzling into the crook of his shoulder was his answer.

     “You wanna lay back down? I’m sure they’ll extend the check-out time for you if you want.” The man glanced at the clock hanging by the dresser. “It’s only eight, I don’t think we have to be outta here for another three hours. You can sleep for a while longer.” He let the silence stretch on for about ten seconds before he lifted Genos’ shoulders to ask him what he thought about that, and...

      Wow. He really was asleep.

      “You’re worse than me,” Saitama marveled, gathering him up in his arms and carrying him over to the bed. He considered trying to take off the stuff from last night, but decided against it as soon as he got him tucked in. He seemed so comfy nestled into the sheets like that.... Maybe they should get a Western-style bed at home…

     Saitama stuck to the rice and eggs, knowing he’d either want to sit down to munch with Genos when he got up or they’d be getting food as they explored the town later. While he chewed he listened to the soft hum of his student’s body, the rustle of the trees outside…the gentle “pat pat” of bare feet on the walkway to the bath…

     Saitama turned to their window, realizing that they’d never shut it last night. Then he remembered his dream, and the marathon session that inspired it…the “surprise” that inspired that…

     …And he shrunk. He knew he’d been a little loud while Genos…worked on him…and the blonde said he wanted his sensei to make him scream, so…Saitama made sure he did…

     …A lot

     …Guess the whole neighborhood heard it too.

     He put his food down and crawled over to the window, hopeful that the couple next door wouldn’t fault them too much for it. When his cheeks stopped glowing he’d get himself out there and apolo—

     Saitama peered over the windowsill and stared. Then he blinked, and stared again. Then he squinted, side-eyed through his peripherals, and continued staring.

     Nope, what he was seeing was definitely, totally, 100% there.

     It was Mumen, which wouldn’t be weird if he took vacations more often….or if it was May he was walking with. But it wasn’t.

     It was Mumen…

     “…t isn’t that, and you know it. I don’t want to have this conversation with him yet…”

     And…

     “Why not? They were pretty talkative yesterday, I’m sure they’ll keep it up today.”

     …Sonic. “Heh… If the Toy Soldier has a voice left, that is. It’s good to know he’s as much of a loudmouth in bed as he is when he’s fighting.”

      Saitama ate back a retort, forcing himself to look away as they stepped in. It’s not like he hadn’t been to the public baths with Mumen, but it felt seedy to watch him like this. Well, to watch both of them.

     …Damn. Sonic? Of all people? And Mumen…cheating…wait, did he and May break up? They’d been engaged forever…

     “Ease up on him,” came Mumen’s voice. Saitama could barely make it out... “He’s, y’know…passionate.”

     There was a splash and a grunt. “Yeah, ‘passionate’ is the right word. ‘Sensei, Sensei!’”

     The prick laughed, and Saitama couldn’t stop himself from glaring over the ledge. The bastard better stop right there…

     He was in Mumen’s lap wearing that big stupid grin. “I didn’t think Baldy would let him call him that during sex. Fucker’s kinkier than I expected.”

     Saitama turned bright red, but he could tell his knuckles were going white.

     The cyclist was quiet for a second. “…Yeah, I have to admit, I didn’t think Saitama would…”

     “...be into anything, at all?” Sonic popped his hand under the water and Mumen—oh…Mumen jumped…

     Maybe Saitama shouldn’t be watching this…

     “Sounds like someone else I know…” The assassin gave another laugh, and then, “I knew the tin can would be weird like that, though. He’s a walking bucket o—“

     “Would you shut up?” Saitama screamed, bolting up so fast he broke the window awning inside the room. He tried to duck back down immediately, but there was no point—they both already saw him, and the brunette was struggling to keep Sonic in his lap.

     “You two certainly didn’t last night! Lemme,” he started, trying to squirm out of Mumen’s arms. “Let—Aw, hell. Hey Saitama,” he called, grin even bigger, “How’s your laptop running? Is it fried yet?”

     “Shut up!

     There was a tumble and a very expensive-sounding crash inside the room. Saitama turned to find a bleary-eyed blondie scrambling off the floor, slipping on paper and wood shards. “Sen-Sensei? What—“

     “Geno—“

     “Can you turn it on? Did you try plugging it and unplugging it?”

    Saitama whipped his head over. “Shut your mouth or I’ll—“

     “Is that—“

     …And whipped it right back, panic settling in as he saw his disciple’s body glow. “No, nono—it’s okay, we can’t afford—“

      Genos marched forward, palm whistling. “How dare that pervert follow u—“

      “No, we’re not gon—“

     “Try giving its fans a good blow if it’s getting too hot!”

      “Sonic!” Saitama screamed, lunging to stop Genos from busting through the wall, trying to stop himself from busting through the wall, worrying about the brok—

      “Oh! Is that Robocop? Hey shit stain! I have a question for you too!” He managed to get his hands free, and in a second he was at their window, face shoved through—“Is the second head as hairle—“

      He glanced down, stopped, and that creepy-ass smile got even bigger. Of course both heroes checked to see what—

     “I didn’t think they sold stockings big enough for a tank.”

     Saitama froze, staring at the slinky black socks and white belt Genos was still wearing.

     He heard the smoke hissing before he saw it. When he started with the battle cry, Saitama grabbed both his wrists and pushed them flush to his chest.

     “Sen—!“

     “We’re not burning the place down,” he urged, tearing open his yukata and wrapping it around the blonde as he tried to jerk his wrists free. Saitama pushed him closer.

     “Damn, Baldy, cover up your ass. No one wants to see that.”

     Saitama panned back, feeling like his vision might white out any second. “I swear, if you don’t close that trap of yours right now I’m gonna pun—“

     “Sonic! You’re instigating! You promised…” Mumen trotted up behind him, using both their towels to keep himself decent. He had that guilty dog look as he tried to tug the assassin away. “Hey Saitama…” Then he met Genos’ bewildered stare and hung his head. “…Genos…”

     “Mumen! Be care…ful…” He must’ve noticed the grip the cyclist had on Sonic’s arm because he went silent, looking between them for a good ten seconds between trying again. “Is this disgrace…harassing you? Are you returning him to prison, or...have you become a parole officer…?”

     Man, Saitama felt himself blushing for Mumen.

     Sonic’s smug smile got smugger as he nudged the brunette’s ribs. “When I want him to be, he is…”

     He gave the bright red cyclist a peck on the cheek, and Saitama felt the blasters flare up. “Do not touch him,” the cyborg warned. “Mumen, leave and we’ll—“

     “No, Genos, it’s okay.”

     “But you don’t have to stand for such disrespectful—“

      “No, Genos.” He pulled the ninja close, continuing with, “It’s really okay.”

     The sparks stopped flickering into the B-class’ skin, but now those shoulders were humming again. “I…don’t… Are you being coerced, Mumen? If so, I can call the Association and begin an investigation…”

     Saitama loved the kid, and he knew he was a genius and all, but frick was he slow on the uptake.

      “He’s with me, bolts-for-brains,” chided Sonic, “What aren’t you getting?”

     Genos’ eyes dimmed as he studied both of them. It took him another few seconds before he spoke up. “Mumen? …Is this true?” He sounded so…disappointed

     “…Yeah… It’s… It’s been true for a long while now...” He stared at the ground. “I was gonna tell you two when, um… When I figured out a good way to…”

     Saitama let Genos’ hands go and they dropped, knocking the robe away long enough for the cyclist to see. There was another puff of steam as they both fumbled to put it back.

      “Oh yeah. So they’re into cross-dressing too,” tossed Sonic, waving at the flustered heroes inside. “I told you Inspector Gadget was kinky.”

      Both teacher and student nearly snarled when Mumen’s voice cut them off. “Hon’, to be fair…” Was Sonic…blushing? “You can’t call them out on that when yo—“

      “Well I have the ass for it,” the ninja fumed, whipping the towel out of the rider’s hand and covering himself. “Not like metal cheeks over here!”

      How dare—

     “At least I can shop in the adult section, you prepubescent creep!”

     …That was pretty good, actually.

     “Yeah?! Well at least my boyfriend can lift me up as he fucks me, two-ton shitlord!”

     Woah. Go Mum—

     “So can mine!”

      All four of them froze, none of them able to look each other in the eye for longer than half a second.

     “So…so we’ll leave you alone now,” mumbled Mumen, pulling Sonic from the window. “I’ll…Yeah. I’ll, uh…” He gave a short wave as he pushed Sonic forward. When the criminal cried out ‘Astroboy’ and put up a middle finger, Mumen slapped it away.

     Saitama grabbed Genos’ arms before he could return it. “Waste-of-space trash heap!” Guess he couldn’t stop him from answering, though…

      Faintly, Mumen called, “Don’t talk to him like that!” And fainter, “…Happy Golden Week…”

      “Go fuck yourself, toas—”

     Saitama shot his hand to the window, shutting it. For a moment he let it sit there, leaking a long, slow breath, before checking out his disciple.

     Genos was just as stunned as he was (but way more irritated). “I do not believe…”

     The wood creaked as Saitama leaned off it, taking in the shattered awning around him with a growing sense of dread. “Yeah, that was…something.” He followed the trail of shards left by the cyborg when he barreled through the room, and…damn…

     At least it was just the panel he took out, and nothing on the walls…

     “I expected more from Mumen…”

     “Do you know if he broke up with May?” Saitama crouched to gather the mess by his feet. His disciple knelt to help. “Kid, I got this, stop.”

      “I may help if I want,” he growled, pinching a few scraps of paper and tossing them on the pile. He picked up a screw that landed in the carpet, lining the head up with a screw in his elbow…and hung his head. “…I apologize, Sensei. That cockroach infuriates me.”

     Saitama shrugged. “It’s alright, he pisses me off too—you just gotta learn to…y’know, not break down doors to attack him…”

     Genos studied the floor behind them. “Yes…I suppose I should. Although one broken door is hardly a loss if it means I can exterminate that vermin.”

     The man looked at him. “You really hate him, don’t you?”

     “I…” Genos wouldn’t look back, choosing instead to stare more and more intensely at the floor. “He’s invaded our privacy for the sole purpose of insulting both me and you, Sensei, and escaped without proper punishment…”

     Saitama waited. He knew that frown, there was more coming.

    “And…once again he jut his beak in our intimate affairs…”

     That wasn’t all…

     “…and…” Genos slumped, hiding behind his yet-to-be-brushed hair. “…I don’t believe he’s seen me…like this…”

      Saitama stopped cleaning. “You mean the stockings?”

     The boy nodded, playing with the band on his waist. A small vhrr started as he fiddled with the edges, and it wasn’t long before he shoved his face into his other palm. “It is mortifying.”

    “Don’t sweat it,” his teacher mumbled, putting his hand against the metal one still tracing the flowery pattern. “You heard Mumen, he wears this kinda stuff too. And I saw some of the things he was picking out—they were a lot raunchier than what you chose. Don’t be embarrassed.”

     “That is incredibly difficult…” Armored fingers drifted down to the thigh-highs, carrying Saitama’s hand with it. “Sensei…can you help me remove these? I had trouble gripping the clasps last night…”

     “Oh…sure…”

     Genos hefted up and pointed to the little hearts on top of the stockings. “Behind the heart is a rubber stopper and a loop. If you push the stopper up through the wide end of the loop, it should release the fabric.”

     Saitama knelt at his disciple’s side, gripping his inner thigh to steady himself while he fumbled for the stopper. He found it easy enough, but…then he couldn’t ignore how warm Genos’ body was under the leather, or the way light was running over it…or how soft the material was… “I like these…a lot,” he murmured, letting his fingertips trickle down to trace the ridges of his calves.

     He was suddenly very aware of the fact that he wasn’t wearing anything under the yukata.

     “I’m…glad, Sensei.”

     “You’ll, um…” Saitama leaned his head against the kid’s knee, staring up. He felt so stupid… “You’ll…wear these again, right? Maybe…maybe when we…get home…”

     A soft hum came from Genos’ chest. “…Yes…of course, Sensei…if you would like.” Gently he tapped the heart, saying, “Could you remove them…?”

     Saitama jerked up. “Right! Right…uh…” He fiddled with the clasp—it was hidden behind the white bow—and managed to get the first free with a snap (so that’s what that noise was yesterday). As he searched for the one on the back of his thigh he felt the cyborg watching him, and watching hard…which almost definitely meant he was recording. Saitama craned his head back to see if he could find the ticker along the edge of his iris, but instead…

     He wasn’t. He was standing there, eyes half-closed, combing through the back of his hair with these slow, lazy strokes. When he saw his teacher watching he stopped immediately.

     “S-Sensei.”

     “…Yeah?”

     His eyes burst yellow. “Did you…did you enjoy last night?”

     “Hell yeah.” Saitama grinned, returning to the stockings. “Is that even a question?”

     Tiny tendrils of steam started curling from his vents. “All of it…Sensei?”

     “Absolutely...” Why was he asking? Did he do something weird when they were going at it?

     “I did too…a great deal…”

     His toes were flexing through the stockings…but he didn’t go on, so Saitama undid the second strap and moved to the other leg.

     “May I give you oral again soon?”

     Saitama had to stop himself from crushing the clip in his hand. “Genos.”

     “Preferably…before we check out today…but only if you would like to! Sensei! I…I do not want to…pressure you, or…push you…”

     The man sped through the second set of clips, pretty sure he snapped the metal band on one of them. “…There aren’t many situations where I wouldn’t want…um…” He pushed himself from the floor and wrapped his yukata shut. He needed to find the obi, he couldn’t strut around the room full mast…Who out and out asks like that…

     When he started to search for it, though, Genos took his hand and turned, placing it against a line of hooks down his belt. “Could you help me remove the garter as well? I tore it attempting to put it on last night…”

     Saitama hadn’t noticed—oh, there it was. The edges around the hooks were frayed. “Do I just…pop them?”

     Genos reached back to undo a set. It was mesmerizing, watching his plated fingers slide under the lace and slip against each other as he missed the hook. When he got the first pair Saitama was a little sad, but…just a little. His ass looked great from this angle…

     “You know,” he grumbled, working down the seam, “You gotta lighten up on the technical talk when it comes to sex stuff. I don’t mind it usually, but…” Three more hooks to go... “Saying you want to ‘give me oral’…I don’t know, it’s like you’re checking my teeth or something.” The belt snapped as he undid the last pair. “You can be more casual with it.”

     Genos took the garter in his hand, turning back around. It was obvious he was thinking over what he’d said, but judging by the way his lips were tugging up at a corner, Saitama was probably gonna regret it. “I…see, Sensei. So it would be better if I asked…” He breathed like he was about to keep going…but the only sounds that came out of him were the buzz from his vents. “…Nevermind, Sensei. I will keep that in mind.”

     …Well now Saitama was wanted to know! “Wait, what—“

     The boy fiddled with the belt, eyes darting all over it. Heat started gathering in Saitama’s cheeks and he realized he must have seemed as just bashful.

     “What, ah…were you gonna say?”

     Genos focused hard on folding the garter into perfect rectangles on his arm. “Would it be better, to ask…” He fought to keep eye contact. “May I have Sensei’s cock in my mouth?”

      …Where was Saitama’s obi. “Y-yeah, that’s—uh…” Okay, so maybe the doctor talk wasn’t half-bad. “That’s…better… Um. Right. We have to eat and get going, if…uh… You wanna take an eat—I mean! Take a bath, and…”

     The massive drone of fans didn’t match that smile the kid was sporting. “I do want to eat, Sensei, but…you didn’t answer the question…”

     The snarky little—

     Genos faced him head on, carefully placing the garter belt on the floor and taking both his hips in his hands. “May I have Sensei’s cock in my mouth?” he repeated, softly, easing the robe out of Saitama’s grip to let it drift aside. “…He certainly seems like he wants it there.”

     For shit’s sake… The man gave his student a quick, rough kiss and hid himself behind his cheek. “You’re going to kill me one of these days, I swear. My heart’s just gonna stop.”

     “…It can’t, Sensei. I need you.”

     Oh good God. “…But it’s the only way I won’t get embarrassed all the stuff you say…” He came back for a second, softer kiss, wondering if he’d ever get desensitized to this mushy crap… Oh! Oh, that’s a good one, he had to— “Heh…Hey Genos.“

     The blonde gave him a suspicious scowl. “…Yes, Sensei?”

     “If I died, I’d be...de-Sensei-tized.”

     Genos barked out a laugh. “Saitama-sensei, you are lucky I love you as much as I do. I don’t know that I’d stand for your puns otherwise.”

     Lucky… “Yeah,” Saitama mumbled, running his hands along his disciple’s back. “Yeah. I am…” He stole another kiss before adding, “And come on, that was gold!”

      “…It was pyrite, Sensei.”

      “…What?”

     “Pyrite is ‘fool’s gold,’ a stone that looks similar to gold but is worth very little.”

     “…Did you just explain your own joke?”

     “Sensei did not understand.”

     “Aw come on, mine was way better…”

     Saitama watched his hero defend his terrible pun, fans humming against his body, arms strong under his own, tracking the smile that refused to leave his lips, and he felt...well, lucky.

     …Yeah.

     He was really, really lucky.


     They barely made it to check-out in time (there was no way Saitama would let them leave before Genos got a second soak in, and Genos refused to go until he got a second…ah…yeah). He was relieved to find out Genos paid a deposit to cover any damages. The kid wouldn’t tell him how much of a deposit, which worried him to no end, but they needed it so he wasn’t gonna complain that much.

     The town was bustling when they finally got around to wandering through it, so much so that they were stopped every dozen or so steps by a Demon Cyborg fan. At the sixth request for an autograph, Genos got fed up and dug his “TITS” hoodie out of his bag. It couldn’t cover his hands, but at least when he had the long sleeves and hood he was tougher to identify.

     Saitama was upset he couldn’t wear the cute tank top he’d brought along (it was the one that said ”HOT HEAD,” he loved it). Still, he was kinda proud to see him in his old sweatshirt. “There haven’t been any holes that popped up in it, right?” he asked, stooping to get into the tea house he’d been wanting to visit. “It’s pretty worn-down.”

     “Nothing that wasn’t simple to fix, Saitama-sensei.”

     It was a guilty pleasure to see him in it, too—when he wore a sweater that actually fit him, he looked huge, and the way his eyes glowed from under the hood…

     Saitama snapped out of it long enough to catch that he was walking straight into the sitting area. “O-Oi, Genos, you gotta take your shoes off.”

     The boy stared at him, head cocked, and then at the women in kimonos waiting inside the small room. “Sensei? Is this not a café?”

     “No, it’s a tea house, there’s a whole—well, start by taking your shoes off and I’ll explain it as we go.”

     After the first cup was made Genos got impatient, but once he understood that the tea ceremony was less about the tea and more about the ceremony, he seemed to get into it. Although…Saitama was ninety-percent sure he started watching videos partway through, so maybe it was just that. Judging by the way his fans were going, he had a feeling he knew which ones they were too.

     He was real handsy once they left.

     They visited some of the antique shops they’d seen the night before and stopped for lunch at a takoyaki stand in that carnival. Saitama should’ve taken them to a restaurant, though—to say Genos ate a lot was a bit of an understatement. He was a threat at all-you-can-eat-buffets, and even though the poor vendor had four full trays of food when they came along, he left them with less than a quarter.

     Despite that, Genos insisted they get ice cream on the way out. And dango. And crepes.

     “Can you get cavities?” his teacher asked, watching him chomp down on a candy apple.

     Genos shook his head as he licked caramel from his bottom lip. “My teeth are molded from a cobalt-steel alloy that is resistant to cracking, fading, and general wear.”

     “Huh…that’s good, you’d be outta luck otherwise. Guess the doctor knew you had a sweet tooth.”

     The fans hummed in his sweatshirt. “I…do not like sweets more than the average person, Sensei.”

     Saitama grinned. “Yeah? Where’s the bag of cotton candy we got three blocks ago?”

     “…It is…gone…”

     “And the chocolate banana that fan gave you?”

     “…It…is also gone...” He swallowed hard and glared at a fishing game. “…Perhaps I enjoy sweets slightly…more, than the average person. Occasionally.”

     Saitama didn’t know you could pout and inhale an apple at the same time, but Genos was always showing him new things.

     …Like the club they walked past as they headed for the train station. “Is this typical for a gym, Saitama-sensei?”

     Saitama looked over at a building that was clearly not a gym, what with the neon lights and the full-length black windows surrounding the door. What would make him think…

     Oh, there it was—the name of it was Muscle, and the logo had a barbell in it. “Nah, kid, this is a club.”

     The boy glanced between his teacher and the window front. “…As in a nightclub, Sensei?”

     “Yeah…” He watched Genos study it for a few more minutes. “Y’know, with dancing?” Saitama gave a wiggle of his hips.

      His student tilted his head and nodded. “…I see. The name is very misleading.”

     He kept on staring as they walked past, craning his head to keep it in his sight for a bit longer. He was so interested… “Genos,” Saitama stared, readjusting his backpack, “Have you ever been to one?”

     “A gym, Sensei? No, strength-training would not be beneficial to me, and it would be quite hazardo—“

     “Nah,” laughed the man, “A club. Or…wait, you probably haven’t, right? You were 19 when I met you…” Guilt pressed at his stomach as he remembered once again how much younger his disciple was than him. Six years

     “No, Sensei. It seemed a waste of time, when I had so many more important things to focus on.” There was that sappy smile—

     Saitama rubbed his neck to hide how dark his cheeks were getting. “…You should go to one, now that you can. It’s fun.”

     “You have, Sensei?”

     They were just about at the doors to the station. “Yeah! It’s what you did when you wanted to pick up chic—“ He caught himself, eating back the word. “Uh…when you wanted…”

     “…Saitama-sensei, you may talk about your past openly.” Genos grabbed the door before Saitama could reach it. “I know about your sexual history.”

     Yeah, but that hurt look he got whenever it came up said otherwise. “Well…I’ve been a few times, and it’s fun. All the people, and the music, and the lights… It’s cool.” Genos followed him inside to the ticket machine. “You wanted to go to a museum today, right? Did you decide which one?”

     Genos clunked up behind him, reading the peeling map posted next to the machine. “…The one in City L, I believe. It’s currently hosting an exhibition on big cats.”

     Saitama wanted to see that, but— “No, you gotta choose one for yourself. What do you want to see?”

     With an irritated frown, those yellow eyes darted over the map. They softened as they settled on a spot. “…Could we visit the Hiroko Music Museum in City S?”

     Huh…a music museum… “Yeah, that sounds neat. Uh…I’m just gonna get one-way tickets, okay? Since we’re gonna head back home afterwards.” He punched in their order and fed money to the machine, struggling to get it to accept one of the five yen bills. After some ticks and whirs, their change and two tickets spat out at the bottom.

     It was bright and warm on the platform, what with the sun beating down on them. There was this light breeze too… “It’s so nice out,” Saitama mumbled, closing his eyes so he could focus on the feel of the wind on his skin. The next train would be here in a few minutes, so he had to enjoy it while he could. “Oh… Why a music museum?”

     He started to ask more, but when he did he saw Genos jerking his phone down… “…Hey! Did you just take a picture of me?”

      The cyborg smiled, turning so Saitama couldn’t see his face past the edge of his hood.

     “Come on! Did you?” Saitama leaned over his shoulder. “At least show it to me…”

     His student’s fans burst as one bright eye peeked out at him. After a moment of hesitation he held it up, opening up the gallery to—“

     “Are those all me?” Saitama took the phone out of his hand, swiping to find— “Is that my—Genos!” There was not one zoomed-in picture of his butt, but two, three, fourfivesix—

     The jerk slipped it out of his hands, finding the most recent pic. “Here, Saitama-sensei. This one.”

     It…well, it wasn’t half-bad, actually, but that wasn’t the point! “Have you been taking pictures of me all week? You could’ve asked me!”

     Genos tucked it into his pocket, still smiling. “Yes, Sensei…and if I had, you would’ve hid your face, or turned away, or done any of the dozens of things you always do when someone tries to photograph you out of your hero suit.” They both listened as the speaker system announced that the train for City L, M, V, and W would be arriving in one minute. “You are quite handsome, Saitama-sensei. The only way for me to get photos of you as such is by taking them…candidly.”

     “You mean sneakily…”

     The train rumbled at the far end of the tracks. “Am I incorrect, Sensei? You do hide from most cameras.”

     Saitama winced as the trained screeched to a stop in front of them. “Well…maybe…”

     The doors opened and a sea of people flooded out. Genos shoved his hands in his pockets and ducked his head, letting his teacher guide him as they boarded so he wouldn’t have to make eye contact with anyone. They found corner near one of the doors and Saitama settled into it, letting the S-class keep his back to the passengers.

     “It’s…y’know,” Saitama continued, “I look so dopey all the time. I’m not good at photos.” The train jerked and Genos’ body revved as it locked him in place. “I don’t like them.”

     Light reflected off Genos’ eyes as he stared out the window. “You only assume you photograph poorly, Saitama-sensei. You don’t comprehend how attractive you are…”

     What a dope. The man grinned, giving his cyborg a light flick to his nose. “That’s just you who thinks that, kid.”

     Genos…didn’t smile back... “It isn’t…”

     He waited for the blonde to explain, the same way he always did, but all he did was give him this…look, and go back to staring out the window.

     …What did Saitama do this time…?

     They went like that for a good few minutes, Saitama’s belly tensing up more and more with each one. “Uh…is there something in particular you want to find at the museum?”

     “…I would like to see whatever pianos they have on display, and any bass.”

     “’Bass’? What’s that?”

     “A very large string instrument, Sensei.” Saitama must’ve seemed confused because he added, “It looks like a giant violin.”

     “Oh…that’s cool. Why those two?”

     His body revved again as they came to a stop at the next station. “I used to play them…before.”

     “Woah, really?” He should’ve expected that from Genos, honestly. He was awesome at everything, it figured that he could play instruments too. And he did always have his earbuds in when he was cleaning, or else he was singing… “That’s great! Can I hear you play when we get there? If there’s a display you can use.”

     Genos ducked as another set of passengers came and went. “I…I have not touched a piano, or a bass, in a long time Sensei. I’m unsure if I could.”

     “Why not give it a shot?” He tried to think if he’d seen old keyboards or violins in the thrift stores they went to. “We could find something for you to practice on, if you wanted. I’m sure there’re music stores where you could get them cheap.”

     The train pushed forward. “I would rather not, Sensei.”

     “…Why? That’s such a cool skill.”

     “It reminds me too much of when I was human.”

     …Oh. Saitama clammed up, peeking shyly at his disciple’s face. If he was upset he wasn’t letting it show that much, but…

     “I practiced a great deal when I was in school,” he continued, surprising his teacher. “The piano came first, and the bass later, when I could hold it.” He smiled. “I was small for my age, so it was still gargantuan compared to me, but…I enjoyed it regardless. It felt…impressive. It felt safe, somehow.” He stared down at his sneakers as he shuffled them in place. “It had to do with the vibrations of the wood as it hummed, and the tension of the strings... I only continued with the piano because it was easy, for me.”

     It was so rare he told Saitama stuff like this… “So your whole perfect pitch thing… Did you always have that?”

     Genos nodded. “Yes, Sensei. I suppose I would have gotten it after…the attack…but it came naturally. I believe I was the reason my school ordered a new piano. They had high expectations for me…”

     His voice cut out and he watched the floor as they ground to another stop. The light was dimming in his hood…

     “I…I tried to continue with it, after my transition, in order to increase my hand-eye coordination. It was one of the few parts of my old life I could remember clearly, at the time. But…I couldn’t. It hurt too much…” It was almost totally dark under his bangs… “It was so different… The wood, and the porcelain, they didn’t feel the same.” His fists flexed in his pockets. “It reminded me…of what I lost. Of what I wasn’t, anymore…”

     He trailed off and Saitama hung there, trying to think of…anything to say, to that. His student’s shoulders revved again as they started moving, and he let his sensei fish his hand from the sweater pocket. “Genos…you’re still human.”

     The boy gave a sad smile. “That’s only you that thinks that, Sensei.”

     Saitama tightened his grip. “Bullshit. Kuseno thinks of you as human, and so does Mumen. King too...and pretty much everyone who knows you. Just ‘cause your body is different from other people doesn’t mean you’re less of a person.” The man saw the girl next to them shoot them a worried look, so he talked a little quieter. “You’re more of one, honestly. With how hard you try…how strong you feel about things…” He rubbed his thumb across Genos’ smooth knuckles. “You’re more human than a lot of people out there.”

     “…Sensei…”

     “I mean it,” he pushed, cutting the kid off before he could come up with more excuses. Saitama told him this all the time, how much longer would it be until he believed him?

     Genos gripped his hand back. “…Thank you…Saitama-sensei…”

     They were quiet for the next couple stops, both thinking. Saitama wished he could get him to see it—how his face lit up when he found his favorite pocky on sale, or the way he puffed up his chest when he got irritated…the expressions he made when he sang, or how happy he seemed when he was dancing in the kitchen…

     …Maybe…!

     “Hey,” he started, “Why don’t we go to that club tonight? You should see what it’s like.”

     He might as well have told him to start stripping. “Sensei?”

     “I think you’d like it. They play the kind of music you always listen to…” The blur by the windows calmed down, and Saitama could see their station rolling by outside them. “We can stop at home to clean up and change.”

     “…Change? …Is what we are currently wearing not acceptable?”

     Saitama eyed up his old track pants and Genos’ bright yellow hoodie. “Nah…I don’t think they’ll let someone come in with a shirt that has boobs printed on it.”

     The doors opened. “Saitama-sensei…I’m unsure…”

     As Saitama led them out he tried to come up with a way he could persuade him to go. He really thought, if Genos would try it…and get caught up in it…

    …Hum. This was dirty, but…it might work... “If you come with me, I’ll wear that black shirt we got the other day.”

    The fans started up.

     “And the dress pants.”

     They got louder.

     “…The tight ones.”

     Genos pulled down his hood and looked at his teacher. “…Would Sensei…also try it on with the leather belt? …And his black boots?”

     Saitama beamed from ear to ear. “I’ll wear whatever you want me to, if you give the club a shot.”

     “I…” The cyborg stared out along the street, scanning it. After a full pan he turned back to the man, vents nearly whistling. “I will need help in choosing what to wear.”

     Saitama’s grin got bigger. He could not wait to get him through those doors.


     Their tour was peaceful, surprisingly. It was mostly empty and they could wander on their own, so they spent as long as they wanted to at each display. Saitama couldn’t resist stopping in the rock exhibition (he asked Genos to take a few shots of him air-guitarring next to the wax dolls, ‘cause when else could he jam out with Aerosmith?). There was a classical section too, and when they went through it Genos lingered over all the different instruments, explaining what they were and how to hold them and what kinds of parts they were supposed to play.

     “Wow…you weren’t kidding when you said ‘giant.’ That thing is huge.”

    They found the “Double Bass” (there was a sign on the glass case) and Genos stood in front of it, quiet. It was the only instrument in the display that was touching the floor and it was taller than both of them.

     “They polished this one too much,” he said, finally, pointing to a spot by one of the swirly holes at the center. “The varnish is faded.” More softly he added, “The scroll is detailed beautifully, though. …I couldn’t see mine very well, when I played.” He put his hands back in his hoodie pocket. “I was too short at the time. I needed to lay it down to clean it.”

     “You must’ve been cute, holding it when you were tiny like that.”

     Genos never answered. Instead he turned and walked away, and they kept on exploring.

     Right before they left, they found a piano left out for visitors to use. Saitama asked if his student wanted to test it and Genos stopped, putting one hand to the keys. He brushed across them before pressing down, making all these soft notes…and it was pretty, to watch the way his fingers jumped and curled. It was sad too, though, because Saitama could see disappointment swelling in his eyes as he did it.

     When they walked out the doors all he could think to say was, “You seem like you’re really good at it.”

     The blonde mumbled a thank you. A couple seconds later he took his sensei’s hand in the one he used to play.

     Genos hung over him for most of the train ride home, head buried into his hero’s neck. A few jerks gave them weird looks until Saitama glared them off. They were left alone, though, even when they started walking away from the City Z station, and the kid got a little more talkative the closer they got to their complex.

     It was almost nine by the time they walked through the door.

     “Wanna get dressed and eat dinner somewhere? Clubs don’t get busy until after midnight.”

     His disciple hovered at the table for a heartbeat. “Sensei…the trains stop running at midnight.”

     “Yea—Oh. Yeah, you usually stay out until four or five when they start back up, or you leave earlier so you can fuc—“ No, no, he couldn’t say that. “So you can…find a place to hang out.”

     A low buzz filled the room. Damnit…Saitama needed to be less of a dickwad when it came to talking about his sex life…

     “So…you want me to wear the black one, right?”

     The boy nodded, mouth shut tight. It stayed that way as he searched through the closet for a shirt.

     Eventually he hesitated and let slip a small, “Sensei?”

     The way he said it made his teacher’s insides feel like they’d been filled with cement. “Yeah?” Saitama pulled his pants from their hanger, waiting.

     Genos hid behind his arm. “How… How many sexual partners have you had?”

     …Shit. “Not that much… Uh…” He tried to do a tally in his head, but… Damn, Saitama really was a dickwad. He couldn’t even guess at what half the chicks looked like, let alone how many of them there were… “Maybe…five, about? That I…slept with…”

     Genos kept on hiding. “And…they were all…women?”

     Saitama put his outfit on the kitchen divide and gently pulled down his disciple’s arm. “…You wanna talk? You’ve been down since the train home…” Asking if they were all women… What was he worried about…? “Was it the museum, or…did I do…something?”

     He still wouldn’t face him… “Not…No, Sensei, not…” His fingers found Saitama’s waistband and clutched it like it was a life jacket. “I…I am not soft, Sensei...or smooth…or delicate…”

     His voice might as well have been a jackhammer for how hard it hit. “Genos…”

     “And I can’t do…many things, a woman—a normal person—could do…for you…”

     “Genos,” Saitama started, laughing softly. “I can’t keep my hands off you. We fucked until we passed out twice this week. And then we fucked more.” That earned him a little smile, at least…

     …which made the man’s cheeks flare up, right on cue. They were both a mess...

     Genos pulled harder, face sinking again. “It’s…just…Sensei…” His free hand drifted up to bury itself in his teacher’s shirt. “…You have had a great deal of experience…and I have not, and I…cannot give you, what you’ve had…”

     …Saitama never thought he’d regret scoring so much… He held the boy tighter, voice low against his forehead. “Genos…I’m not going anywhere, I promise. I’ve never felt like this, about…anyone… I haven’t had anyone come close. I can’t even remember the faces of the girls I’d been with before.” He squeezed his hero’s hips, nudging his head up. “But you…I could give you a play by play of the first time you cuddled up next to me. Hell, I remember how you looked when you first stomped up to my front door.” He had to stop, he was gonna upchuck if he kept on saying such sickeningly sweet stuff…

     But…

     Genos’ frown broke into a chuckle as he talked, and he realized he’d go on forever if that’s what it took to keep that smile there.

     “I…I-i…” He took both fidgety metal hands and held them, gently. “…I’m crazy about you…okay? So…you gotta believe me, on this…”

     Genos breathed deep and bobbed his head. “…I love you too…”

     Holy crap there wasn’t enough resistance training in the world for this kind of heart strain. Saitama stared at the blonde for a few seconds, doing his best to calm down.

     …He was so beautiful… “Do you still wanna go? We can stay in, if you want.”

     Genos gave a hard shake. “No, Saitama-sensei. I do want to go…badly. I…I want to dance with you, and I am interested in the music you’ve mentioned, but…”

     “…Are you nervous?” When the blonde nodded Saitama continued, “Why? You can dance, which is more than I can say.”

     “That isn’t my concern, although…I had not considered what I look like when I dance...” He let out a long sigh, words bursting out like they’d been blasted from his incinerators. “I do not want such a large number of beautiful women near you, Sensei, and dressed the way it seems you must be dressed to be allowed inside, and moving in—in the provocative ways the media makes it seem they do…” He lost a bit of steam as he mumbled, “And…to a lesser degree, I worry that…when I am surrounded by normal…attractive people, I will…seem unusual…”

     Saitama lasted about a quarter of a second before he was throwing himself at his hero, practically smothering him against a kiss. When he broke away he couldn’t keep the grin from his face. “Genos, I can guarantee you will be about a hundred times hotter than all of the girls there, and all the guys, for that matter. And you look great when you dance.”

     He reached over to one of the hooded tanks Genos seemed to stockpile. “Don’t worry about standing out—that’s all anyone tries to do at a club. If it makes you anxious, though” he said, handing the shirt towards the cyborg, “Wear this one. It’s so dark and everyone is so drunk they don’t know what’s going on, and they might not recognize you with the hood up. Or at least it’ll cut down on the ones that do.” He hesitated, watching his student’s face go from confused, to angry, to a teensy bit scared. “But only if you want to go. We really don’t have to.” Saitama pointed towards the TV. “A movie marathon would be just as good.”

     Genos stood there, staring at the top the same way he did their boxes of mail. His fans started again when he finally looked up. “Sensei…would dance, with me? If we went?”

     “Of course, kid.”

     “And…should I not like it…we could leave immediately?”

     “Absolutely.” Saitama snuck a couple fingers under the hoodie’s hem. “There’d be no point if you weren’t having fun.”

     Genos took another breath as he fidgeted with the top. “And Sensei,” he started, glancing up, “….Will show me the proper way to dance? I know there are…certain stigma, about how you are meant to conduct yourself in such places, but…”

     “Ha…You already know, Genos, I don’t gotta show you.”

     There went the vhhr… “I…do, Sensei? How…”

     “It’s that…thing, you do,” Saitama started, stepping back so he could do the move…or at least give it a shot. He managed to push his hips out in an awkward circle, trying to imitate that…curvy bit he did, where he tilted forward—or…to the side…?

     “This, Sensei?” blondie asked, swiveling his hips in an arc… “It’s…hardly dancing, I’m not doing much,” he continued, going in the other direction. As he did it, Saitama could see the coils on his stomach flex, his plates tighten…

     “It’s…it’s plenty, trust me.”

     He felt those yellow eyes baring down, and Genos slowed down the swing, made it wider…brought it in softer, and held the pull in his belly…longer… “…Sensei…do you always watch me dance?”

     Saitama gawked for all of three seconds before his cheeks started burning, and that was enough of that. He reached for his shirt to change, zeroing in on the plastered-up hole in the wall to try and level out. They had a whole night of…this…ahead of them, he needed to reel himself in. Otherwise they’d be in there for maybe an hour before he was tugging them to a corner…

     It was gonna be an interesting night.

     By the time they ate and got to the place it was after one. They decided to go back to the one in City Q—after a bit of serious research (they had the name wrong—it was Musicle, not Muscle, the barbell was supposed to be an ‘I’) they found a bunch of great reviews. The line was massive once they reached it, though, and the longer Saitama stood in there…

    …the more he realized how old he was. It popped up sometimes when he was out with Genos, in small ways—if they found a dessert Saitama loved growing up that the blonde didn’t recognize, or trips where Genos was hounded by a group of college students, and Saitama remembered that…Genos could be a college student…

     He didn’t see Genos as young. He was younger, sure, but there was this power in how he carried himself made him seem…competent, in a way Saitama didn’t think he’d ever grow into. But now, surrounded by a crowd of baby-faces that probably just got their legal IDs in the mail…it hit him real hard that he was almost 30.  

     When he glanced over to his disciple he found him frozen in place, hood down and arms crossed. If “uncomfortable” could have a physical form, he’d be it. “You okay?”

     He jerked his head over like he’d been shouted at. His eyes pulsed as he mumbled a “Yes, Sensei”…and resumed the position.

     Saitama had to smile. “Nervous?”

     A smaller turn this time, with a dimmer glance…and a tiny nod to cap it off.

     His teacher couldn’t remember the last time he’d been this jittery… “You don’t gotta be, it’s all just for fun! You get in there, you dance, and you leave when you’re done. I mean, I guess we can drink, if you want, but everything is way over-priced at clubs…”

     Another glance over and a worried stare ahead. Why was he being…so quiet…?

   Saitama looked around, trying to—oh. That…was a pretty good reason. The girls behind them kept comparing Genos’ arms to their phones. He made eye contact with one of them and they tugged them down. They must’ve been trying to figure out if it was him or not…

     When he faced forward again he heard whispers of “Baldy” and “boyfriend” and a question that sounded a hell of a lot like, “Did you see those pictures?”

     He couldn’t help glowering back one more time. The girls hushed up and giggled.

     “Have you been to any kind of dance?” he asked, wrapping his arm around his hero’s waist as they stepped forward.

     The fans buzzed on. “…No, Sensei. Nothing more than what we’ve found at festivals.”

     From this angle Saitama could see straight down the V-neck he was wearing, and…damn, he’d memorized every part of him by this point, but there was something about that little dip between his plates, and how the material was straining to fit his chest… “…Do you know what grinding is?”

     The kid looked at him like he’d said Amai Mist wasn’t that bad of a guy. “What?”

     “Grinding. It’s how you usually dance at bars and clubs and stuff…”

     “…I have no idea what that is, Sensei.”

     “Really?” He spent so long online, Saitama was sure he’d have heard of it. “You, like…” He went to show him before he remembered the girls behind them, and the sea of smart phones all around them. “It’s pretty much dry humping.”

     His vents hopped into high gear. “W-What?!”

     They took a few more steps forward—it wouldn’t be too long, now. “It’s not like you’re going at it right there, or…well, you’re not supposed to, but some people get kinda carried away… Anyway, it’s slow and nice, and…” He gave a shy glance to the bright-eyed blondie staring at him. “I’ll show you when we get in.”

      “S…Sensei, that cannot be…acceptable, can it? To do such a thing…in public…”

     The man tried to listen as Genos kept on going, but up ahead he saw two of the bouncers pointing their way and…talking into their headsets? Aw damnit, had they spotted Saitama? A few places got shifty when he was around, not everyone trusted him…

     His student was still mumbling when one of the more jacked guys came over to them. He could give that tank top guy a run for his money… “Demon Cyborg?” he asked.

     Genos gave a small scan of the area before striking his big bear pose and looking back. “Yes. Is something the matter? Has a monster appeared nearby?”

     “No, not at all. Follow me.” When Genos did the opposite of that, he added, “If you please…” He was so irritated…

     “What is the matter?” Genos pressed, incinerators starting. “If someone is in danger, I dema—“

     It clicked, and Saitama put a hand to his shoulder. “No, Genos, it’s okay. Follow him.”

     “Sensei…?”

     He gave his hero a small push forward. “We’re being let in early. I think one of them recognized you.”

     Genos glanced back before shooting the poor guy one of the dirtiest scowls Saitama’d ever seen and walking after him. More than a few phones were pulled out as they made their way to the door, and they both heard the whispers of, “Is that Demon Cyborg?”

     Once they were at the front getting their IDs checked, Genos spoke up again. “Is this standard practice?” he gruffed out, taking back his card from the bouncer.

     The guy studied Saitama’s a little harder than he had his. “You’re a celebrity. Having you in here helps us out. So…yeah. …Sir, can you come closer?” He asked, holding the card out.

     “I know, I’m a lot different now,” grumbled Saitama. He watched the dude look back and forth between him and his photo three or four times. “I lost all my hair a while ago.”

     “It happens. At least you pull it off,” he said, so matter-of-fact Saitama didn’t understand it was a complement at first. “Go in. They’ll show you the VIP area.”

     There was a burst of yellow from the kid’s eyes. “VI…P? What is that? And I am not a celebrity, I’m a hero.”

     He waved them in impatiently. “People know who you are, same thing. Come on, I gotta get the next group in.”

     The boy inhaled to argue before Saitama tugged him in. “Thanks!”

     The sound was what hit them first, like always—that massive THWUM, THWUM, THWUM that was so loud you could feel it for hours after you left. Then there were the lasers, and finally the heat that came with hundreds of people crammed into one spot desperately trying to get action.

     A girl in a dress that was threatening to become a shirt mouthed…something at them from a podium, Saitama couldn’t make it out, and motioned for them to follow. His student stood glued in place with his scowl just as stuck on before Saitama took his hand. “It’s okay,” he shouted, struggling to be heard. “I promise! Lemme—“

     He leaned towards the girl and cried, “Do we have to pay for the VIP?”

     With a confused shake she smiled, cupping her ear and bending closer.

     “Do we have to pay for the VIP? We don’t want it, if we do!” He was practically screaming into her skull, there was no way that was comfortable…

     She laughed like he asked her if he could change into his hero suit. “No,” she shouted back, “Of course not!” She turned and started walking again.

     Surprised as he was, Saitama wasn’t one to turn down free anything. “They’re giving it to us,” he told his disciple, nodding over towards the covered area up a set of stairs.

     Genos glared, still suspicious and confused. Of course he was lost, he’d never been to a club before… Saitama would explain, he just needed to get them over to the quiet so they could actually talk. It was weird, not being able to hear him clomping after him…

     Saitama tightened his grip and walked forward. When they made it up to the lounge they saw a few other people—they had to be famous, based on how they were dressed—but he couldn’t figure out who they were.

     “What would you like to drink?” The girl asked (at least he could hear her now...). “Our club favorites are Van Gogh, Patron, El Dora—“

     “Wait,” Saitama cut, stopping her before she could go on, “We don’t have to pay for it, right? I said before, we don’t want it if we do.”

     He could see a little waver in her smile. He had to give her credit for staying chipper, though. “No, sir, the first bottle is on us.”

    First…bottle?! “I—that’s…that’s a lot…but we don’t have to get drinks after that?” He glanced behind at Genos as he checked out the place. “I know how these things can get, we’re fine spending the night on the floor. We kinda…wanted to, actually…”

     Her eyes flashed with…what was that, panic? “Of course not, sir. We only want to make you and Demon Cyborg comfortable.”

     “What is this?” the blonde demanded, facing her for the first time. “This seems like a meeting area, and I did not intend on sitting for the duration of my stay. Sensei,” he started, voice dropping, “I thought we were going to dance…?”

     Saitama made a noise to answer…until he realized he didn’t know how. “Yeah, actually…” When he turned back to the hostess she recoiled, just a little, and glanced between him and his student. Genos must’ve been giving her one of his looks. “We weren’t planning on doing much other than dancing. Can we get back up here? If we leave.”

     She pulled two bracelets from her pocket. “Can I see your wrist? I’ll pop these on.”

     Saitama did it instantly, playing with the gold strip once he pulled away so that it wasn’t right on the bone. Genos took a second longer and glared the whole time she snapped it around his wrist. “I still do not understand why we are here, or why we would need to return,” he told her. “I would like an explanation.”

     “It’s—we want to make you…more comfortable, Demon Cyborg, sir, so…”

     Saitama elbowed him lightly. “It’s a deal, kinda,” he mumbled. “It’s a publicity thing, but we…ah…I’ll tell you in a second. Thank you,” he said, pulling his sleeve back in place. “Genos, wanna get down there?”

     The hostess put her hand out to stop them. “Your…drinks? Did you decide…”

     “Oh!” Saitama gave Genos’ arm a tiny squeeze. “Do you have a preference, kid?”

     “No, Sensei. I would like to be fully coherent tonight.”

     The man nodded. “’kay. Uh...” If Genos wasn’t gonna drink, there was no reason for him to get tipsy, so… “Could we get sake? It doesn’t matter what kind.”

     “Surely,” she chirped, and then she was out of there faster than he’d ever seen anyone go on platform heels.

     The thud thud of the music was way too tempting… “You ready?” he pushed, thumbing towards the stairs. “I want you to see what it’s like.”

     His disciple gave him a deadpan stare. “Saitama-sensei. Please explain what is happening.”

     “Oh—oh! Sorry, I forgot…” Saitama turned away from the glowstick-filled dancefloor to point at the couches and tables. “The VIP is where they shove celebrities and famous people and all that. It’s publicity for the club, I think—everyone sees us up here and goes, ‘Look at those cool people, they come here, so this place must be cool too.’ Problem is they overcharge for everything, so that’s why I wouldn’t let them do it unless it was totally free.” He eyed up the single empty couch. “Though…it is nice to have a place to sit…”

     Genos glared down at the dancers below, and then at the few people drinking by them. “So they are using us.”

     His teacher laughed. “I guess, a little? But…I think stuff like this is usually super-pricey. One of my buddies went off on his own once and accidentally got a VIP, and it was…” Man, how much had that fiasco cost? That was ten years ago, now… “Uh…over ¥50,000?”

     The kid’s jaw dropped. “What? That’s…outrageous!”

     “It’s a lot more than that.”

     The guy who said it—some pretty boy with a chick on his arm—was watching them from the couch. “This is your first time out?”

     “Yeah,” Saitama grumbled, smelling trouble. “But we’re not sticking around. Anyway, that’s why it’s great we got it for free. Wann—oh, hey.”

     He took his hand from Genos’ hip as a waitress came, dropping off a bottle in a bucket of ice and a couple glasses before slipping out. Saitama leaned to see what it was, and… “Cool, Isojiman! You sure you don’t want some?” he asked, holding the dripping bottle to his student.

     When he shook his head his sensei unscrewed the top and poured himself half a cup.

     “Shouldn’t you take it easy? If this is your first time…”

     Saitama stared at the glass, confused, before turning to the guy who asked. It was a different one, an older dude. “I…am…?” He took a swig and went back to the ledge where his cyborg was staring at the floor.

     “Saitama-sensei…where do we fit?”

     “Wherever we can. Usually people push into the center, but…” He nudged his shoulder, jutting his chin at the pillars by the front windows. “The crowd thins out in the back, so we can stick over there if you don’t want to be squished. There’s always corners to hide in too.” Saitama tried to get a good look at his face over the hood, but all he could make out was a frown… “Genos.”

     He glanced over, and…yup. There was that furrow in his forehead.

     “We can still get going. I don’t mind walking back—I’ll carry you, even, if you don’t want to make the trek.”

      For the first time since they got in line, he finally cracked a smile.  “While I would enjoy being in Sensei’s arms for so long…no.” It fell as soon as took in the floor again. A few people were pointing at them, phones up so they could take what would probably be an awful picture, but most of them didn’t seem to care. “I want to dance with you.”

     The drink burned as Saitama took a bigger gulp than he’d meant to. He had to have some of it, he couldn’t waste free alcohol, but he was anxious to get Genos down there and…teach him… “Me too,” he mumbled, imagining the feel of his hips pushing against his, all slow and hard and…

     He was gonna turn redder than the belt Genos wanted him to wear, wasn’t he?

     After a chug and a tiny burp he put the cup down. “You guys can have the rest,” he offered, pushing the bucket towards…whoever it was that they were grouped with, and winding his fingers through his student’s. “C’mon, let’s find a spot.”

     It was hard to believe how much louder it was when you were on the ground floor—that one level was all it took to go from a comfortable speaking volume to being lucky if you could hear someone call out your name…which actually worked in their favor. As they searched a few people tried to get Genos’ attention, but it was easy enough to act like they never noticed.

     The two wandered for a bit, Saitama practically clutching the blonde to his side as he worked through the ruckus towards the back. It took a lot of elbowing (he hoped he didn’t hurt anyone, he tried not to…), but eventually they got to an empty corner near one of the support beams. Saitama pulled them in, sizing it up—the lights didn’t reach there so it was dark, and what few couples were nearby were taking a break or plain-old making out. No one would bother them, while they were here.

     “How about this?” he asked, mouth against the boy’s ear. It was the only way he’d hear him, sure, but…it was nice too, to be so close…

     If the air rushing from Genos’ shoulders was any sign, he thought so too. “Y…Yes, Sensei.”

     They puffed out even more when Saitama pulled his disciple against him, putting his hands to his hips, and…dealing with a wave of awkwardness so intense neither of them moved for a good five seconds. Being so close was nice, yeah, but…it was almost too nice, and they’d never been this way in public… Not where everyone could see…

     Genos struggled with what to do with his arms, first pulling them back and then weirdly lifting them at his sides, until Saitama laid them across his neck. Shit, this…this was the first time they’d danced together, even… They probably should’ve practiced, or…something…

    The kid started swaying against him, but Saitama wasn’t sure if he knew he was doing it. He fiddled with the back of his shirt, fingers playing with his collar…and his core was going a mile a minute… Oh God, he was cute, he was really cute, there was no way he could get cute—

     Genos shoved his head into the man’s shoulder and he learned that yes, there was at least one way he could get cuter. Holy crap…

     “Sensei…looks very good tonight,” he mumbled. Saitama felt his voice as much as he heard it…and it buzzed through him hotter than that time he’d fought that static monster. “I like this shirt…”

     Saitama swayed too, trying to match the heavy rhythm of the song. “Same to you…” He wanted to start grinding, he wanted to let Genos get into it, but he didn’t think…he’d be this nervous… What was he, twelve?

     They stared at each other for half-a-second before laughing at how flustered they were.

     “We’re hopeless,” Saitama mumbled into his student’s neck, wrapping his arms around his waist. His chest was boiling…

     “Indeed, Sensei.” He gave Saitama’s shoulders a small squeeze. “Could you…show me, now?”

     Ho boy. “Ye…Yeah, so,” he started, pulling the kid in at his belt hoops and realizing yet again how tight these dress pants were. If touching Genos was turning him on this much, there was no way he’d last the night… “Uh…you come close, like this—“ Saitama pressed himself against him, trying very hard to fight the blush—“A-and…then we just…” He rolled his hips forward, holding Genos against him (shit, he was like a furnace), and softly drew them back in. He did it again, gently, and again, letting his hero get used to the motion—the forward, and back…forward, and back…

     “S-sensei… This…This is…”

     Saitama rocked slow, enjoying it…enjoying his coils curling against his stomach, his legs between his…his chest on his… “…Yeah…?”

     “This is…what we do when…”

     He was so cute… “Yeah…”

    “…This is okay?”

     Saitama looked up at those bright yellow eyes. “Are you okay with it? There’s other ways, for this…or we don’t have to touch, if you’re…if it makes you uncomfortable…”

     Metal fingers dug deeper into his shoulders. “No, I…I like this, Sensei… A great deal…” The blonde’s plates inflated as took a deep breath, and when he exhaled something loosened in his back. He pushed his hips harder then, and frick was Saitama glad it was dark in here…

     Soon enough he caught the beat, moving his whole body how he did when he thought he wasn’t being watched—bending his back and curling his belly, and grinding, really grinding his hips into his teacher’s, the same as those nights he wanted to tease him by going slow, by drawing it out…the way he could never keep up for long before they were leaning in, and grabbing hard, and working at each other’s mouths like they didn’t need air—

     Saitama tugged off first, taking a second to process that they’d shoved themselves into the wall. Genos stared in shock before glancing over at the other couples…

     …Shit. Other couples. They’d been…in front of… “…Sorry,” Saitama mumbled, cheeks steaming as he tightened his grip on the cyborg. He could smell the electric burn… “That… That’s never…”

     Genos smiled, chest whining. “It is alright…Sensei…”

     The man lifted up and twisted his disciple until he was facing away. “M-maybe…this way,” he whispered, pulling him in. “It’s the same thing, just the other direction…so, um…”

     “Yes, Sensei…”

     They settled into the rhythm of the song, ignoring the claps, the crashes, the sirens, and focusing on the twhum, thwum, thwum of the bass…feeling it, feeling each other, as they ground deeper... Genos was swinging his hips now, and it was driving the man crazing, having his ass rubbing against him like that…

     “You can put your arms up…”

     Having his fingertips dragging across his neck…

     “Is this…right…?”

     And the curve of his waist, flexing under his palms…

     “You’re so good…”

     Arching into him…

     “Sensei…I can feel you…”

      Pressing

     “…Lean back, Genos...”

     …And his lips, soft and open, his throat stretching for his sensei…his chest, his plates, his coils, straining under his shirt and disappearing under his jeans…the heat beneath the denim, that pulse, as he drew his hips into his touch, again and again, and again…and again…

     “Sen…sei…”

     Saitama blinked his eyes open and stopped, jerking his hands up. Oh, oh fuck, he’d—he’d been— “Genos! I’m—I’m sorry—I didn’t—“

     He got through a dozen stuttered apologies before Genos chuckled and gave a slow grind back. “We are so close to the wall, Sensei…No one could have seen…”

     Saitama’s cheeks were approaching nuclear levels with how hot they’d gotten. He shoved his face inside the boy’s neck, groaning… He was the biggest jackass on the face of the earth... “…I’m sorry…”

    The fans (they were so loud they could’ve been part of the song) screeched on. Mouth against his teacher’s ear, he mumbled, “I…I did not say I didn’t…like it…Saitama-sensei…”

     Saitama pulled up, afraid his eyes might pop out of his head for how wide they were.

     His disciple glanced away, shoulders fogging, before taking a breath to continue. It tickled against his earlobe... “Sensei is never this…affectionate, when we are out…” Another breath, and then… “It’s…flattering, and a little…exciting…”

     Nuclear. Right. As in exploding, which if he didn’t get his hot as fuck boyfriend off him immediately—

     He took a step back. “We…We should get in there,” he started, jutting his elbow at the crowd.

     Genos stared, surprised, eyes bright under his bangs. His hood had fallen when…when they…

     Focus, Saitama. “I came here for you,” he pushed, “I want you to see what it’s like! It’s only been an hour—if that. We’re not leaving just to screw!”

     A strobe light caught the smoke that seeped from the cyborg’s arms and he was swallowed up in blue. “Sensei, I cannot imagine it would be much different from dancing at home—“

     A squeeze of hands stopped him. “That’s why you gotta try it! It is!” Saitama shuffled towards the floor, and then, “Let’s go?”

     Genos looked over his shoulder like he was scanning for monsters, and after some serious thought…he turned back to nod. Saitama’s jaw might crack for how wide he smiled. “Come on,” he pushed, taking the boy’s hand and working his way into the crowd. It was even hotter in there, and the closer they got to the stage the more the floor shook under them, but…

     Saitama spun back around and saw his hero’s face light up as he studied the stage, foot already bobbing. “Sensei,” he cried, “I know this song!”

     …It was worth it. “Come on!” Saitama answered, lifting his arms to get him into it. He wasn’t much help, all Saitama knew was bouncing in place and shaking his butt a little (even that was uncoordinated), but Genos… Shit, Genos could move, when he got into it.

     He was stiff at first, like he was scared to be touching anyone around them, and he just tottered from side-to-side. The song picked up, though, and he relaxed into it, his feet slid further apart as he sunk lower, hips going the whole time. When got used to bumping into people, he swung them wider, and shook them more—first one way, then the other, always in synch—and by the end of the next song he was so low he’d managed to get a head shorter than his teacher, dropping his hips with each beat or swooping into it, turning his whole body in time…

     Saitama gripped his hands tighter. “You’re amazing!”

     Genos didn’t seem like he’d heard. Saitama could see him singing along, even if he couldn’t make out the words, and he was smiling…so much…he was so happy, he was so…young-looking, in the way he never let himself—

     The beat stopped and Saitama was being tugged close, his hero centimeters away from his face—

     “Look how they shine for you!

     And then Genos was pulling him in, singing at the top of his lungs, stepping with him from side to side… Eyes burning, his shoulders even, they were buzzing with the smallest glow—

      “Look how they shine for you!

     He was so fucking happy—he was gorgeous—

     Look how they sh—“

     Saitama buried his fingers in his hair and kissed him hard, not ‘cause of how hot or cute or stunning he was, no—he was just so excited, to see Genos this way, to see him feeling the way he deserved to feel, to see him--

     “Woaaah! Yeah!”

    Cheers and hoots shot off around them and his student grinned into his lips, even as they were still mashed together, and he loved it, he loved it, he loved him so much…

     The cheers rose as the beat deepened, the thud thud thud of the bass getting impossibly stronger, the tempo barely slowing, and Genos felt his hero laugh against him, his hands strong on his sides, the lights glancing off the slope of his neck, his shoulders…

     He was gorgeous—and he was so happy, dancing there, with him—good God what was Genos doing, he had no idea how he was supposed to dance with another person, he barely knew what he was supposed to do as is, but—the music, it was amazing, and overwhelming, and louder than Genos had ever heard it—ever felt it—it was above, underneath, around, inside, the steady pound filling him so completely he couldn’t feel the humming from his core, the buzz from his hydraulics, or the clicks from motors and memory and miles of wiring—no, it was only the beat, the drum, the cymbals and solos and sopranos holding notes long enough he—he was getting breathless for them, he was singing out with them, he was so full, and so close, to everyone, to—to—

     “Sensei!”

     His hero, God, he was so beautiful, he was so fucking hot, and he was there, grinning back, eyes brighter than they’d been in too long—

     “Yeah!”                                                        

     He was solid in his arms, and firm, swaying with him and against him and they were moving together, to the beat, to the sound, he could smell him, everywhere, he could feel him, he could feel everything—

     “Sensei!”

     The joy that was there, the heat in his hands, the strength, the need—

     “Yeah!

     He understood, he felt it too—he knew—without explanation, without a word, lucky, Genos was so lucky, he was so happy…

     Happy—happy—really, honestly, truly…

     Genos kissed him again—had he warned him? Did he call his name? And they rocked, and they ground, and he showed him how to widen his feet, to hold the rhythm—he pulled his hips against his and pushed him from side to side, or up, or forward, and then Sensei’s fingers dug into his back and his lips were on his and they danced, they danced, for song after song after song…

     And when the kisses got too deep, too long, Genos pulled them to the side—a wall—to anything, wherever he could press himself against his hero—he could see the shirt cling to the sweat on his pecs, his stomach, and he wanted to feel the skin there…to trace it, taste it—fuck, he wanted him so much—

     Sensei was tugging them off the floor then, and speeding out the door—ignoring the staff when they shouted after them, and the bouncer when he screamed about an exit… They clung to each other, still laughing, still breathless, until they found a side street where it was unlit and empty and the sounds they made fo