Fubuki screeched to a halt in front of the immense poster advertising the Hero Association’s yearly Dance-a-Thon fundraiser. She pointedly ignored the larger-than-life image of Amai Mask emblazoned on its glossy surface, sparkling down on the common area near the upper floor meeting rooms. Instead, she quickly scanned for the vitals. Her sharp, green eyes flicked across the words, pinpointing the date and rules (same as last year). Most importantly, she located the grand prize for the team with the last person standing: a week long coastal cruise for up to six.
She chewed her thumbnail, deep in contemplation. Of course the Blizzard Bunch would participate, that went without saying. However, with less than a month until the fundraiser, Fubuki had serious doubts about her group’s ability to be truly competitive. Hmm. Her people tried, bless them, but last year they all wiped out before the second half. They could train of course, but how far could she realistically push their stamina with this short time frame?
The inconvenience of this last-minute meeting with management could prove their saving grace; it may not be too late to give the Dance-a-Thon a solid effort. The publicity from these events was often beneficial, but their chances of winning were remote at best. They needed an edge, but what—
“Haaaah? You’re wasting your time with this garbage again?!” Fubuki prickled at the sound of her sister behind her, neck hair immediately standing on end. She whirled around to face Tatsumaki, pulling her white fur jacket closer around her shoulders indignantly.
“You’re just sour because you were disqualified for not staying on the ground.” Fubuki huffed, a smirk spreading over her painted lips. She casually preened the pale fibers of her coat with black, manicured talons.
“MY LEGS AND FEET WERE MOVING, THAT COUNTS AS DANCING!!” Tatsumaki screeched, tendrils of hair and the ends of her dress bristling with green energy. Fubuki reflexively touched her own power, outwardly holding the façade of calm at her older sister’s continued gnashing. “That Idiot Mask could clearly tell I was doing the Charleston!” She mimed the motion to emphasize her point.
A slow trickle of the most powerful and influential of heroes passed behind Tatsumaki, towards the elevators. Ahhh. So that explained her sister's sudden appearance: an S-Class meeting must’ve just concluded.
Tatsumaki persisted in spewing venom at the injustice of last year’s humiliation. She easily worked herself into a fuming frenzy with absolutely no input from her little sister, erupting plumes of psychic energy in her furor.
Fubuki remained silent, watching her sibling viciously malign the most popular hero in the Association with cautious amusement. King quickly scuttled past them, thundering like a locomotive, barreling full blast towards the elevator. He expertly shoveled himself into the last available space in the car, relieved to avoid the brewing storm in the lobby.
Luckily, today it seemed Terrible Tornado spun herself out just as quickly as she’d twisted up, lacking further fuel for her fires. “Whatever!! Go make a fool of yourself at the stupid dance, see if I care!” She concluded, crossing her arms over her chest with a dramatic harrumph. Without another word, Tatsumaki rocketed across the room, a cyclone of telekinetic energy. She burst open a window in advance of her tempestuous exit, leaving her sister to bear witness to the chaos of her wake.
The flyers and magazines once displayed on end tables dropped to the ground after their impromptu flight. Calm descended. Fubuki turned her gaze back to the Dance-A-Thon poster, and the problem at hand.
She heard his heavy footfalls long before Demon Cyborg strode out of the hall towards the elevators, fine features chiseled into his usual scowl. He swept by her without a pinch of acknowledgement, despite the fact she’d spent more than a few afternoons in his company at Saitama’s tiny apartment. They’d stopped a train and saved a bunch of people together, for crying out loud! That level of interaction deserved a greeting at least, didn’t it?
Fubuki narrowed her eyes at his retreating figure, particularly infuriated by the way his white shirt clung to the powerful planes of his back, accentuating the edges of his gunmetal plates. The object of her ire (and current ogling) practically punched the down button in his impatience.
Ugh. Why were all the good-looking men cursed to be such pricks?
Inspiration struck just as the elevator doors dinged opened. Of course! The edge she needed!! Why didn’t she think of those impossibly strong knuckleheads sooner?
“Demon Cyborg!” Fubuki hollered, before she could overthink her conclusion. Genos spun in the lift, leveling an impudent glower in the direction of the call. “I need to talk to you a moment!” Fubuki pressed on undaunted, speed-walking towards the open doors.
Face fixed in displeasure, Genos rapidly tapped the door close button. He did not have time for this.
Fubuki’s resolve only calcified as the doors began to slide closed, boosting her speed with a burst of cold air, scattering anew the debris initially dislodged by her sister. She blasted across the lobby in a torrent of force, scarcely sliding past the center opening just before the cab shut tight.
She discreetly tugged the hem of her dress out from between the door seam.
It’s only then she noticed which button his finger pressed over. What an ass!! The deliberate slight simmered indignation just under the surface of her olive skin, but there was no sense in unleashing her outrage upon him now, not when she needed his cooperation. She curled her midnight lips into a practiced, honeyed smile.
Sensing his captivity, Demon Cyborg dropped his hand from the indicator panel. He sighed between his teeth, turning his irritated golden glare in Fubuki’s direction. “What do you want, Hellish Blizzard?”
Fubuki fought to keep her face in Perfectly Pleasant mode; only her clenched fist and the slight twitch of her lip betrayed her growing frustration. Breathe, girl. “Please, call me Fubuki. Miss Blizzard if you need the formality.” She’d observed Genos long enough to get a feel for his quirks and interests, how they could be redirected as the means to a more favorable end.
Genos said nothing. His posture shifted almost imperceivably, losing just enough of the cut in his glare to know he expected her to continue. She needed to convince him quickly. She had a feeling the damned cyborg would take off the moment they reached the first floor.
“I’d like you to join my team for the Dance-A-Thon fundraiser in three weeks.” There. Concise and to the point. That should start the ball rolling to negotiation phase.
Fubuki knew he got it all wrong the moment his eyes flared. “I have told you many times, I will not join your organization.” Demon Cyborg hissed, now more eager than ever to be free of conversation.
Fubuki’s façade faded with an exasperated roll of her eyes. She knew very well the boy’s position on joining the team. She attempted a more earnest approach. “I’m not asking you to join Blizzard Bunch. I want you to come to the dance with me!”
Those words, phrased in that particular way, shattered Genos’s guard. Truth be told, he’d missed many of the usual teenage milestones on account of his brutal transformation into a high-tech war machine. Having focused all his energy on vengeance, Genos had not experienced things such as dating or organized dances, like prom. He had not considered that lack a loss… until recently. Until after he moved in with Saitama and discovered the depths of his feelings for that incredible man.
His next words were measured, careful. Genos had watched enough popular movies with his mentor to know what that verbiage indicated. “Are you… asking me out on a date?” Or at least he thought he did.
For a moment, Fubuki could only blink as her brain began reworking approaches with a speed even the boy’s advanced processors would envy. Damn! Asking Demon Cyborg out on a date wasn’t a tactic that even occurred to her. She’d been relatively certain he only had eyes for his teacher, but…
He’d opened the door, and all things considered, a date didn’t seem that bad. Sure, he could be a dick, but she’d also seen the change in his demeanor around that baldy. If she could get him to cut loose a little bit, perhaps even shut him up by sitting on his face, it may prove a rewarding experience.
Ah, screw it. She threw her planned deflections to the wind. May as well roll with it! Fubuki oozed every ounce of flirt she could muster to smolder at the handsome cyborg before her.
“Yes.” She purred, drawing out the word, taking in his impressive physique from under a curtain of dark lashes. “If that’s what you want – it could be.” Fubuki slipped the hand resting on her hip languidly down the front of her thigh.
Genos tracked the movement of her fingers with mild interest. He rapidly analyzed his accumulated data regarding their previous interactions and anything Saitama may have said about this woman. The information bloomed in blips and bloops over his yellow irises.
Beads of sweat formed beneath Fubuki’s bangs, awaiting his response. Her eyes flicked to the decreasing numbers above the door.
Genos held no particular romantic interest in Hellish Blizzard, and he had initially found her unremarkable in almost every aspect. Although his impression of her had improved over time, he remained ambivalent. That may not be the case with his mentor, however, given his positive past remarks on her. Saitama had even gone so far as to use cute and cool, much to his chagrin and despite his selfish wishes it were not so.
Sensei did not use those lightly.
Fubuki, meanwhile, wanted to hurl herself into the elevator shaft. If Demon Cyborg silently stared at her any longer, she may just spontaneously combust.
The elevator eased to a stop at the ground floor. Genos could not risk a date with this woman if his master had any interest in her, nor risk being unavailable should Saitama miraculously notice and accept that his admiration was more than platonic.
“No.” He responded tersely, finally breaking his critical gaze. The elevator doors chimed open. Demon Cyborg provided no further explanation, marching out of the cab towards the exit without delay.
Hellish Blizzard deflated at the resounding rejection. The brutality of his shut down left her momentarily dazed, though she quickly recovered composure. Her pride was already annihilated; she could not let this defeat stand unchallenged!
She charged out of the lift after him, heeled boots thundering dangerously on the granite. She caught up to the brat just past the massive revolving doors.
“Wait! Forget about all that.” Fubuki implored when she trotted close to his armored shoulder. “There has to be something else I can offer you that’ll convince you to help me win this thing!”
“No.” Genos deflected, striding through the gargantuan archway cutting open the fortress exterior. “You have nothing I desire, and I have no interest in attending any such dance without Saitama-sensei.” If there was any vision of Genos at a prom-like event, it was with his master on his arm and a smile on both their faces. It was certainly not with Hellish Blizzard.
The tempting mention of his teacher did not go unnoticed. Fubuki swooped in on it like a peregrine falcon, talons extended. “Who said you couldn’t bring him? Please, do!” She smiled charmingly, though her claws sunk into the gaps in his plating. “Don’t think I haven’t seen how you behave around that Master of yours. You’d like to get closer to him, wouldn’t you?”
“What I want does not matter.” Genos responded, descending the stairs to the launching zone as rapidly as he could manage without physically running from the woman, and his teenage fantasy of a slow-dance with his crush under glowing strings of light. “Sensei is ‘not into dudes,’ so do not try to sway me with false promises.”
They’d reached the direct city-to-city runways, Genos stopping before the path back towards his teacher’s home. The boy began to glow, his engines rumbling, vents in his arms opening to pour more air though his intakes.
Fubuki floundered, frantically steering them back into safer territory, tenaciously hanging onto this fleeting opportunity. If there was one thing she could rely on, it was Saitama's love of food. “There’s a five star buffet to keep the participants fed during the event. They’ll have specialty cuisine from every district, as well as a chocolate and fondue fountain. Last year there was even a crab station! Little mallets and everything!”
Genos hesitated, the memory of his failure at acquiring crabs on sale resurfacing to haunt him. “The crabs…” He muttered to himself, the disappointed look on his beloved mentor’s face permanently branded into his mind.
Emboldened, Fubuki went in for the kill. “It’s a formal event too, you know. If you convince him to participate, you’ll probably get to dance with him while he’s wearing a suit. You know what good tailoring does a man, don’t you?”
Demon Cyborg’s eyes erupted, expression growing gravely serious. Of course Genos knew what custom tailoring did to a physique; he had fantasized about exactly such clothes decorating his teacher’s body countless times. He was intensely aware that Saitama’s frugality combined with his... unique fashion sense left much to be desired in his choice of attire.
The rosy vision of his hero twirling him under a canopy of twinkling lights returned, his crush looking every inch the Adonis Genos knew existed under the bored façade. The thought of being held so close, hip to hip with Saitama gazing up at him wearing a perfectly tailored suit, was just too intoxicating. It made his core stutter and swirl with the intensity of his longing.
Genos’s fists trembled, steam rising from the holes in his spaulders. “We could have matching boutonnières…” He whispered, staring at the ground so intently Fubuki swore he could have ignited the pavement.
She had him.
Fubuki grinned, slinking her way in front of him, a failsafe to prevent him from taking off prematurely. “That would be nice, wouldn’t it? Come on, consider it! Bring Saitama to the fundraiser.” She crooned, lacing her arms across her chest. “You get closer to Saitama looking oh-so-fine, he gets all the delectable cuisine he can handle, and we all look good on television raising boatloads of money for the Association. Everybody wins!”
Genos narrowed his eyes suspiciously, drifting his gaze up to lock eyes with Fubuki. “Publicity cannot be all you are after. Why else are you doing this? You are hiding something.”
Fubuki would feel more wounded at the accusation if it wasn’t entirely true. Withholding further would only hurt her chances of success, so she relented. “The prize for the team that stays up the longest is a week-long coastal cruise. I want that.” She responded with a small shrug and a half-smile, tossing the rest of her cards on the table.
Demon Cyborg only processed that information for a split second before asking, “How many tickets are distributed to the winning team?”
“Up to six.”
Genos re-primed his engines, blowing air through his systems, flooding energy into his synthetic limbs. “If our team wins, I claim two tickets for Saitama and I. This is non-negotiable.”
Fubuki could not agree fast enough. “DEAL!!!” Two tickets was a small price to pay to secure both men for her dance floor conquest.
He nodded curtly, dropping his impressive frame into a runner’s stance, one hand braced upon the ground. The heat spewing from his vents warped the air around his finely crafted frame.
“I will convince him.” Genos rumbled, blue waves of electricity sparking over his sculpted form, accumulating in his chest and the glowing boosters on his broad shoulders. “Now step aside, I cannot be late to the timed sale.”
Fubuki got out of his way immediately.
No sooner had she cleared the path than Genos blasted off at an incredible speed. The wind of his wake whipped her hair into her face and dress up dangerously high. She gripped the hems of her garments reflexively.
By the time she pushed the strands out of her face, Demon Cyborg was just a glowing blur in the distance, followed by a plume of dust from the desolate lands around headquarters. Her face split into a grin, which devolved into a fit of triumphant laugher. She’d done it! Despite all the frustrations along the way, she’d succeeded in acquiring the edge the Blizzard Bunch desperately needed.
How good the pair proved to be on the dance floor remained to be seen, but for tonight, Fubuki would celebrate this small victory.