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B City

“That would be five hundred yen,” the store cashier said with a pleasant and practiced smile before handing you your small bag. “Miss, are you alright?”

“Hmm?” you called, blinking in slight surprise as you shook away from your reverie. “Oh, yes, the bill. Give me one second; I’m sorry, I was... in thought.”

Fishing out a few coins from your purse, you paid the lady and waited for her to print your receipt. She handed you the thin slip of paper with practiced movements before waving over the next customer in line.

“Have a nice...” the clerk looked bewildered upon meeting your inquisitive gaze for the first time. “Miss, your eyes... they’re...”

“Yes,” you said, unsure of how to respond to the statement. “My eyes are... unsettling, to say the least.”

“I’m sorry,” she gasped, visibly flustered, “that must’ve been incredibly rude.” She coughed a few times in order to cover up her slip-up and fill the awkward atmosphere. “Have a nice day.”

“You too,” you paused at the turn of events, before adding, “and please take care.”

Confused, she gave you a slightly puzzled expression. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“Just precaution. A lot of villains roam about; I just have a bad feeling.”

And you were right. Villains and heroes have only multiplied the past few years, and your constant headache worsened with every new obstacle you had to now be on the watch for. The whole business was nothing but trouble, and you were perfectly content with the life you had before everything changed.

You noticed a slight flickering outside from the corner of your eye before your attention darted back to the wary woman in front of you. You offer her a small, apologetic smile before tucking the receipt in your bag.

“I’m sorry for taking up your time. Please have a nice day.” An unsaid stay safe lingered with your words, and the cashier simply gave you a strained smile and a nod before returning to her work.

Red still dusted her cheeks in what you self-dubbed as mortification. Your blunt words coupled with her rather uncomfortable question left a lot of things unsaid, but you weren’t unused to the sudden shift in mood. With your bag secured, you quickly made your way outside.

You managed to catch a fraction of a glimpse of your reflection in the sliding glass door before the glare of the Sun momentarily blinded you. Your hauntingly silver eyes met your steely gaze, and you found it hard to look away. The irises appeared almost opaque, yet not quite; the colors flickered between shades of silvers, greys, and whites. You cast your gaze downwards before your eyes flickered to the sea of people before you.

Japan’s cities were always crowded, whether by people or by vehicles.

Cars sped by the streets, always in a rush to get somewhere at sometime. People gathered in crowds and walked together in masses like schools of fish. You could find yourself easily lost in the smallest of crowds if you were to lose your sense of direction for the briefest moment. A white sedan sped by, just narrowly missing you as it ran over the curb slightly. A few people around your proximity screamed in fright until the car straightened itself out and continued speeding along the busy streets, eventually disappearing in the busy traffic.

“It ran a red light,” you commented, staring at the place the car used to be.

You’ll let it slide for today as long as it didn’t affect you later on. It probably wouldn’t, but you couldn’t be too sure nowadays. If anything, these kinds of minor incidents were taken care of by the lesser heroes; you were actually pretty sure just about anyone would pop up right this instant. Sure enough to your predictions, Mumen Rider sped by on his bicycle after the offender of public health and safety.

Now that the issue at hand was taken care of, you can rest a little easier. Turning around, you began walking in the opposite direction. Going against the crowd meant one of two things. Number one was that you often got pushed around by busybodies that were on the go. Number two was that people tended to avoid you like the plague.

While option two was the most desirable of the two, you didn’t have that luxury of free space. Instead, you walked uncomfortably cramped against people as elbows awkwardly jabbed into your sides.

A small park soon came into view, and you were just glad that you found a place to rest. The silence was both alarming yet oddly calm. This is normally the time when a villain would show up, shortly followed by some heroes and the press. Such things were an everyday occurrence now. It was a shame that the quiet society you grew up in turned out to be in total disarray after a few people decided to show off their superpowers and make superheroes a big thing.

Arguably, you would say you were being a bit too harsh on the new hero-based world, given that you were also a part of the reason why people were so dependent on heroes. You lent a hand whenever you could. Turning a blind eye to someone clearly in danger just wasn’t part of your personality, and you would hate it if some random villain wrecked your city.

You were in B City now; something was bound to happen. Unless you were wrong again, and you still had a bit more to wait. You sat on the bench for a few minutes longer until you were positive nothing else was going to happen. Sighing in disappointment, you reluctantly pulled yourself upright.

“Seems like he isn’t showing himself today either,” you huffed. “What a shame. I was so excited to finally meet him too.”

A scream nearby tore you from your rather depressing haze of thoughts. You were really hoping to meet the main man of this story, the man who defeats everything with one punch, but you supposed that had to wait just a little bit longer.

For now, you were the only one around; and so, you rushed towards the direction of the scream.

The obnoxiously loud noise came from a young woman collapsed on the ground. Above her towered a massive ugly creature that oddly reminded you of the sludge monster from Watashi no Hero Academia*.

“I’m the Slime Overlord!” it cackled as it swung its gooey body around. “I was born out of Mother Nature’s vengeance towards all the garbage you humans throw in the sewers! I will cleanse the world of your filth; prepare to die!”

Was he related to Vaccine Man or something? What’s with that horribly cliche line at the end?

“You could use a breath mint,” was what you chose to say instead.

“Eh?” it turned away from the woman, giving her a chance to scramble away as it glared at you. “Who are you?”

“I’m a,” you paused in deep thought. You couldn’t steal the line that you were a hero for fun, you’ll get arrested for copyright infringement; you needed to make something else up. And so, you said, “I’m one of Earth’s warriors sent out to fight evil-doers such as yourself all for the sake of entertainment as I have no other purpose and nothing better to do with my free time.”

That should do the trick.

“What’s with that shitty intro?!” the monster shouted indignantly, as if it was downright offended you decided to show your face. “Whatever, you’ll be the first to die!”

It swung out a sludge-covered arm in an attempt to grab you and pull you in. Luckily, you were faster and managed to duck out of the way just in time. The attacks were relentless, so you kept dodging as you tried to come up with a logical plan.

“If I can adjust my lasers at half power, it should be enough to just subdue it,” you muttered as you fiddled with the settings in your arm. “Alright, loading... ready, set, fire!”

On cue, a super hot blast of pure energy shot out from the palm of your hand, instantly incinerating the sludge into a pile of ash.

“Aw, man,” you observed, completely downcast, “and I thought the fight was just getting good. At least I can go home now.”

“T-Thank you so much,” the woman from before tearfully said, “you saved my life.”

“It’s alright, lady,” you smiled, “as long as you’re safe, all’s well.”

“I won’t forget your kindness,” she said one final time before leaving the vicinity.

You sure hope she did; if the press were all over you now, your career as a hero might as well be over. Not to mention, a certain someone was already trying to get your attention and that was the last thing you needed to disturb this peaceful style of living you have grown accustomed to. The press and you were like oil and water, they did not mix well.

You gathered up your belongings you had set on the floor before the fight when a voice you didn’t recognize but somehow knew rang in the air.

“I was told there was a villain here, but I see it has been exterminated. I did not realize there was another cyborg in the area; I have some questions for you.”

Ah, this cyborg was Genos. The reason you knew this information? You actually have no idea, but you somehow managed to place a face to a name the moment you saw him. Cold gold eyes, a permanent scowl, blonde hair; this was the real deal. Then, that could only mean one thing.

Completely caught off guard, you shouted, “How the hell are you here? It isn’t even Episode 1!”

Chapter Text

Previously...

“I was told there was a villain here, but I see it has been exterminated. I did not realize there was another cyborg in the area; I have some questions for you.”

Ah, this cyborg was Genos. The reason you knew this information? You actually have no idea, but you somehow managed to place a face to a name the moment you saw him. Cold gold eyes, a permanent scowl, blonde hair; this was the real deal. Then, that could only mean one thing.

Completely caught off guard, you shouted, “How the hell are you here? It isn’t even Episode 1!”

 

Now...

Genos looks surprised at your outburst, but he quickly regains composure faster than you can blink. He returns your confused stare with a heated one. “I have questions for you.” Wow, he was really uptight.

“I know, I know,” you sigh; you might as well try to play along, if you know too much it’ll kill all the fun, “I heard you the first time. What do you want to know?”

He’s genuinely astonished about how willing you’re being in regards to giving him answers, but you really don’t feel in the mood to duel it out if you’re going to end up telling him anyways. Genos’s eyes seem to bore into your soul as you fidgeted in place. Man, was he intimidating. His golden stare was relentless.

“Who created you?” he asks.

You frown at the statement, but you decide to be humorous. “My parents.”

He does not look amused. At least this was one person you could count on to not laugh at your horrid jokes. With a heavy sigh, you relent, “No one ‘created’ me. Most of my physical augmentations I designed and tested myself.”

“What were you doing four years ago?”

“Four years ago,” you countered, “I was working as an engineer at a lab with my father and some colleagues. I was normal then,” for elaboration, you add, “y’know, human.”

Genos flinches, and you think it’s the most normal action you’ve seen him make during this entire conversation. He’s also frustrated, which is an understandable reaction considering the one lead he has turned out to be a false one. Even you’re not sure how long he’s spent his days searching for that one cyborg that destroyed his hometown.

It’s getting late and honestly you just wanted to go home, but you felt kind of bad leaving Genos alone. Did he even have a place to stay? Well, not counting wherever Dr. Kuseno lives. All this thinking was going to give you a headache.

You were a simple go with the flow type of gal. Monsters in the area? You were there. Mysterious beings causing a rampage again? You were at the scene. It was getting boring how predictable ordinary life has gotten. But you were patient. For now, you were just going to wait until the man of the hour makes his professional debut.

Right as you’re pondering about the proper timing, Genos’s voice cuts through your thoughts.

“I have another question.”

“Alright, ask away.”

“I detected signs of an injury. You were bleeding, but there’s no wound. How?”

You were... bleeding? Your eyes quickly glance down and your pants leg is torn with dried blood flaking off the fabric. Crap, you didn’t even notice. You were too busy dodging the monster to notice if you had gotten any injuries during the fight; of course you were being too arrogant to think you had gotten away scot-free.

Two choices loomed before you. One, you could tell the truth. This could lead to Genos either trusting you or distrusting you. It’s not everyday a person suddenly has freaky self-regen powers. Two, you could make up a story. Then again, Genos is smart and would probably see through your bullshit; you weren’t a very good liar to begin with.

You think you can afford to give him an explanation without the full story. You just needed to take it nice and easy. That’s right nice and—

“I have superpowers.”

—of course you had to go fuck it up. Good job. Gold star for effort.

He gaze pierces through you, and you knew right then and there that you had obviously screwed up. You laugh, nervously. Was it you, or was it getting hotter? No? Just you? Okay.

It did not help the fact that Genos was naturally really attractive, so you swallowed down your anxiousness and reminded yourself of the fact that he was really good looking and that, under his intense glare, he actually was nice. That’s after his glorified character arc anyways, but that’s really besides the point.

“I,” you falter briefly before sighing, “heal faster than normal.” He seems not entirely convinced, so you continue on. “There’s a certain rate that blood clots for people, but mine work at a faster rate so things like cuts that normally take a few minutes to heal can seal in seconds for me. It’s not that impressive, really.”

That was the half-truth. Besides, there was no way of fully explaining to him how your regen works, because you weren’t willing to tell him the entire depth of your tragic backstory; he needed to unlock at least level five friendship for that, and as it stands, the two of you were still at level zero. You just hoped he wasn’t expecting a demonstration or anything of the like.

Thankfully, Genos seems to just process the information before turning to you with an indecipherable glint in his eye. You know, the look that screams ‘hot but terrifying, but still mysteriously sexy’—yeah, that look. Or it might just be because you’re tired that you’re unnaturally attentive and hyperaware of every little detail.

Genos moves his mouth to say something to you, but his words are completely lost as you just stare at his mouth. He had pretty lips, considering they weren’t even real and they were just synthetic—man, Dr. Kuseno did this boy good. Then, it occurs to you that Genos is still talking, but were you paying attention? Nope. You probably should though.

He continues his monologue, that you’re not paying attention to, but the last few words you do get, and you do understand.

“—your name?”

“Huh?” you replied, intelligently, like you had actually been paying attention the last five minutes.

“What’s your name?” he repeats, annoyed.

“Oh, it’s (Y/n).” You’re a little bit wary about why he needed your name, but right as you’re about to ask, your phone rings. “Hold on, I need to take this call.”

It’s from an unknown number, and though your better judgement screams at you that you should just ignore the call, you press accept. “Hello?”

“Am I speaking to (Y/n)?”

You had a bad feeling about this all, but you ignore it for now. “Yes. Who is this?”

“Really,” the voice chuckles, “after everything, you’re still playing coy.”

Now you really wished you hadn’t picked up the call. Seriously, this guy was starting to get on your nerves.

It just was one unfortunate incident and now this guy was calling you in hopes that you would join their corrupted hero association, where heroes cared more about their image and the popularity that comes with their ranks to take their job seriously.

“Does it not satisfy you that I’m constantly harassed by your calls every week? I already explained to you why I wasn’t going to join the association and become a ‘hero’. Bothering me is not a good way to spend your time, Amai Mask, please get a better hobby.”

“You have an invitation to continue spreading justice around, but you won’t take it.”

“That’s because I can continue hero work without need of titles or registration. I think it’s all a waste of time to sign up. Besides,” you purse your lips, “I don’t care too much about public image.”

He pauses, and you think your words have finally sunk into his thick skull, but he sighs as if he’s the one who’s tired of this conversation, and he says, “I’ll call again later.”

“Hey, wait. Don’t call anymore, I’m serious.”

The line beeps solemnly and you cursed, you can’t believe he hung up on you first.

You’re tired and you’re petty, so you immediately block his number knowing well that he’ll just call you with a different phone the moment he realizes his calls aren’t getting through. Maybe you should be the one changing your number? Then again, he has enough wealth that he can physically track you down. For such a respectable hero, Amai Mask was a real pain in the ass.

When you’re done debating what steps you should take next, you turn around to find that Genos had already left. At least you avoided awkward confrontation part two because you weren’t looking forward to explaining the entire phone call to Genos.

With a sigh, you pick up your discarded groceries from the bench and began your walk home. Then your gaze trials to the torn leg of your pants, and you sigh. You should buy some new pants while you’re at it.

Chapter Text

Previously...

When you’re done debating what steps you should take next, you turn around to find that Genos had already left. At least you avoided awkward confrontation part two because you weren’t looking forward to explaining the entire phone call to Genos.

With a sigh, you pick up your discarded groceries from the bench and began your walk home. Then your gaze trials to the torn leg of your pants, and you sigh. You should buy some new pants while you’re at it.

 

Now...

City J

As you hopped off the bus, the strong breeze that carried the scent of the ocean brushed your face. The streets were relatively quiet with the exception of a few pedestrians loitering around small shops.

A few people gave you concerned glances for your ripped and bloody pants, but you guessed that it’s not the most unusual thing people see these days. With a sigh, you think about your steadily depleting wallet after you had purchased yourself a new pair of sweatpants.

“Ah, that’s enough excitement for one day,” you murmured to yourself, staring up at the orange sky, “as always, nothing notable happened.”

Another day had gone by with nothing really eventful, and you were beginning to wonder if waiting for the main protagonist to show up was all you should be doing with your time. Then again, it’s not like you had a job or responsibilities. College was finished for you and the funds you saved were enough to let you live comfortably without working for a few more years.

You really had all the time in the world.

Well, whatever. It’s not like you to sweat the small stuff. What happens, happens; you’ll just get prepared in the meantime.

The breeze ruffled your hair as you stared at the setting sun with a new game plan in mind. Perhaps you were being too lax when it came to your search. If Saitama’s fights won’t come to you, you were going to go out searching for them.

As the street lights flickered on, you continued your walk home as busybodies came and went through the steady flow of traffic. After work hours were always such a pain, and you reminded yourself this was one of the last times you were going out to buy things in the evening.

A bookstore not too far away from your apartment complex caught your eye. On one of the display shelves rested a heroes guide book. Your interest thoroughly peaked, you stepped inside the small store listening to the chime of the bell above you.

Nobody bothered glancing your way in the small store, and you internally relaxed. It seems that the media hadn’t quite caught up with you yet, or else you’ll be floundering in the masses like the other mainstream heroes these days.

You picked up a copy of the book from the shelf and flipped through the pages when a familiar name showed up. “Zombieman, huh? He’s more similar than I would’ve thought.”

The guide listed some techniques and powers that other heroes utilized, and you scoffed. What an easy jackpot of information that anyone can get their hands on, villains and civilians alike.

“Well,” you said pointedly, snapping the book shut with a clap, “if they really are heroes, a few leaked techniques can’t do much harm.” You know you would come to regret your own words later on, but that was really a story for another time.

You carried the book to get it checked out at the counter, where the clerk looked right about ready to fall asleep. She startled herself awake, eyes wide and full of panic as she scanned the book and stammered out the final price. You drop the right about of yen into her open palm without thinking twice and walked out of the store with your new book in hand.

You didn’t really need it, but it would be helpful to jot down notes like a personal journal if you encountered any of these heroes yourself.

When you finally returned to your apartment, you entered and immediately collapsed on the sofa. Just like that, another day had ended.

You grabbed the remote hanging on the ledge of the coffee table before flicking to the news channel. The static combined with the announcers’ voices rang throughout your rather empty apartment as you headed to the kitchen to make dinner.

While you’re busy tearing open the packaging of some off-brand instant noodles, the TV says something that catches your attention instantly.

“—in one of City B’s parks, the charred remains of a monster are to be found. Could this be the work of the Civilian Hero? We have an eyewitness report straight from the scene.”

“I was so scared—” the voice started, and you frowned. This was the woman’s voice who you had saved earlier today, “—I surely thought I was going to die. But then, she showed up. My hero, she showed up to save the day.”

“Can you recall what exactly had transpired at the scene today, ma’am?”

“It was all a blur, they both moved so fast. But then there was this bright light and everything was over in a flash. If it weren’t for her,” there’s a choked sob that followed, “I probably would’ve lost my life today.”

“Any other details you can recall from the incident?”

“Well... it may be bold of me to assume this, but I think she was a cyborg.”

The packaged noodles were crushed within your steely grip. So much for remaining mostly anonymous.

“A cyborg?” the newscaster hummed, flipping through a couple papers in his hand. “Anyways, that’s all the time we have for today, so thank you for coming and providing testimony.”

The screen was cut to another live broadcaster somewhere in City S, detailing another monster attack that was stopped by a few B-Class heroes, but you were too absorbed in staring at the pulverized remains of your dinner on the kitchen counter. It wasn’t like you were hungry anymore, you lost your appetite after the news. With regret, you swept the noodle remains into the trash and headed back to the couch.

As you lay on the couch with your hands folded across your stomach, you tried to think of ways you could defeat monsters in incognito mode. Having the media and Amai Mask constantly on your case was going to be more of a pain than you had initially thought.

Should you start wearing a disguise? Then again, a disguise can backfire more often than not, and you might end up drawing more attention to yourself.

Damn, all this thinking was getting to you. You needed to go outside and clear your head.

Slipping your phone and keys into your pocket, you quickly exited your apartment and let out a sigh of relief as the cool evening air swept over you. Your phone instantly began to ring, but you ignored the noise and switched your phone to silent mode. At least Amai Mask would be the least of your worries for the rest of the night.

The city was unusually quiet, and you were hoping some monsters would show up so you could blow off some steam. Turns out your plans were thwarted yet again.

“Fuck,” you cursed. “This is so boring.”

However, right as you said that, a particularly sharp breeze passed through, ruffling your clothes and tussling your hair into knots. Your so-called average night might turn out to be full of surprises after all.

“Finally found you,” the voice called, and you could practically feel the smile crawl on his face with his words, “(Y/n).”