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It was the dead of night when you found him in an alley, he was beaten, bloody and unconscious, for a moment you had thought he was dead, but you had picked up on the lazy pulse in his neck and a shallow breathing.

 Having a gaming night at Saitama’s had become something of a ritual for you and King and from time to time even Fubuki came by just to tease at how much you and the blonde nerded out when a new game had just been released. Those nights were precious to you, they kept you sane, something the world around you had been so determinately trying to take away from you what with all the monster attacks. You couldn’t sleep for more than three damn hours before a monster decided to pop up and ruin your night. It was annoying and it was slicing away at your usually calm demeanor.

 King knew you well and you knew him just as well, so when something was wrong with you he was the first one to notice. However, you being cranky all the time because of your lack of sleep was evident to everyone considered a friend, even Saitama was aware, even though he was usually the most clueless one out of your small group. The baldy had even offered you his futon to nap on while you were over at his place, but you had politely declined and continued bashing your fingers against your controller.

 It had been early in the morning when you and King had finally decided to call it a night and leave and you, being the good friend you were and seeing as King was a scardy cat, had decided to walk him home before returning to your little apartment to hit the whey. It hadn’t been long after waving the blonde goodbye and going your own way, doing your best to enjoy the coolness of the night, the smell of summer and the serene silence that had taken over the city, when something white stuck out to you from a dark alleyway you were just about to pass by.

 You weren’t a hero by any means, just a curious onlooker who had very few things to fear considering your abilities, which was something you kept private, with only King knowing. It was fair, you knew about his career being a scam so you had shared your own secret with him and so far he had kept it to himself, for which you were very grateful. You didn’t want to boast about it, heck you didn’t even want to use your abilities or have them at all. You wanted to be…normal, you enjoyed the mundane everyday life of a casual civilian.

 You entered the alleyway, ears on high alert in case of…something. A man was slumped over a pile of garbage bags and from what you could see he was critically injured and hardly breathing, so you sighed to yourself, looking over his sharp features which were dusted with pain and soaked in blood, his own you presumed.

 You didn’t need to be a hero to help someone in need, at least, that’s what you told yourself while you gently lifted him off the garbage bags and slumped him over your back. You couldn’t just leave him there, if he died and you had had the opportunity to do something about it, his death would technically be on your hands.

 You brought him home, which took a while, but you managed.

You left him lying on your living room carpet before rushing for a kitchen towel and rolling it up, nestling it under his head, gulping heavily when you saw the blood on your palm after repositioning the back of his head. Your first aid kit couldn’t take care of such an injury, his fucking skull was cracked open.

 You gripped onto your hoodie, twisting the fabric in the center of your chest, stuck on what to do now that the revelation of just how bad this guy's condition was hit you. You couldn’t call an ambulance, you didn’t know who he was and after a quick pat over his body you realized he had nothing on him, nothing to identify him and he was surely not a hero or he would be listed in the hero manual and you swore you had never seen his face in the book.

 “Maybe I can…heal him…” you thought, a feint glow starting to emit from the tips of your fingers “…just a little.”

 Your sprawled out hand reached for his chest, but you pulled back, as if stung by something that couldn’t be seen. You frowned, gripping your glowing hand, letting the glow fade, then exhaled shakily and closed your eyes for just a brief moment of self-indulgence.

  “No…”

 You couldn’t, you promise yourself you wouldn’t.

 You stood up hurriedly, rushing to the bathroom for your kit. If your bandages can’t save him then he wasn't meant to be saved by your hand and you would call an ambulance. You clutched the to your side, the familiar red cross bringing back too many memories to ignore, but you couldn’t focus on them, not now. You set the box next to him, sitting down on your knees and rolling the sleeves of your hoodie up before tying your hair back with the hairband that always stayed secured around your wrist.

 You struggled to undress him, not because of his weight, but the fear that your actions might cause further injury complications, but after a while his top and pants were off, leaving him exposed to you as you went to work. Stitching flesh, disinfecting, cleaning dried up blood, wrappings…so many wrappings, and after around an hour the man seemed stable enough, well, he looked like a mummy, but that was good, it meant no wound was left untended. You exhaled, exhausted, and rubbed away the sweat from your forehead while leaning back into your couch, smiling gently to yourself at a job well done.

 You replaced the towel under his head with one of the cushions on your couch, draped a light sheet over him and left him there, letting the floor cool off his fever and give his body solid support while he recovered. An aspirin would have done wonders, but he was unconscious and you weren't about to stuff a pill down his throat.

You left the first aid kit next to him and went to wash up, feeling yourself a bit too bloody to sleep in such a state. After you made sure every last smudge of blood was gone you turned on your stove and after filling a small silver kettle halfway with water, left it to boil.

 Your hands were shaking, despite successfully patching up the unknown man. You needed to calm down and the first source of relaxation that came to your mind was a nice hot cup of tea. You place the tea box next to the stove, the only type of tea you had, which reminded you that you really needed to go grocery shopping soon, and then proceeded back to the sink where you splashed your face with cool water, washing away your sweat before patting away the excess moisture with a paper towel. Hopefully this would keep you awake long enough for the man to regain consciousness.

 The feint groan that came behind you had you rushing past your counter and scrambling next to the man on the floor. You had almost tripped over the edge of your carpet and fell over him in your hurry, but thankfully you had regained your composure and avoided breaking what little bones he had still intact. Your heart picked up speed and your breaths became rigged with anticipation as you watched the man’s eyebrows scrunch together and his face twist as he came to. His eyes cracked open, barely, but enough for you to see the hazy yellow irises hiding beneath heavy eyelids and white lashes. They locked onto yours, but there was no readable emotion stored in them, he just stared blankly and understandably so, he was still out of it, he had even less of an idea what was going on than you did.

 You were stunned. How was he even conscious with such injuries? Maybe it was the fever that had forced him awake, he was probably severely dehydrated. 

 His eyes closed as abruptly as they had opened and his head tipped to one side, facial muscles relaxing as he was taken back into sleep’s embrace, leaving to once again watch over him while his body attempted recovery. With a shaky exhale and a hand to your heart, pressed firmly to calm its frantic beating, you stood up and headed for the whistling kettle.

 You turned off the stove and after retrieving the first mug that was within hands-reach, filled it with hot water and settled a tea bag inside before setting a small plate over the cup. You picked it up shortly before setting it on the small coffee table you had nudged aside to make room for your patient and huddled up on the couch, much too lazy to change into more comfortable clothes. You rested on arm under a cushion while your free hand held a lose grip onto the man’s wrist, keeping you in check with his pulse.

 You really wished he’d survive. He already regained consciousness once so the chances were bigger than they were when you had started treating him.

 Your eyelids were so heavy…

 The moment you nestled on the couch you realized just how sleepy you actually were, but the fear kept you awake, the fear of him not surviving.

 Maybe you should have called an ambulance.

 When you opened your eyes again, the sun was high in the sky, birds were chirping, the streets were bustling and…he was gone?

 You jumped, winding up in a tangled mess on the floor where the man had been lying.

 “What the hell?!” you cursed loudly, much too cranky and disoriented for your own good. You looked over yourself, stilling, the sheet you had draped over him to keep him from getting too cold was now neatly tucked around you.

 Your eyes wandered to the lonely mug sitting on your coffee table – the plate was off with the tea bag on it. The mug was empty.

 That bitch had drank your tea and left…

Chapter Text

After the sudden disappearance of your patient your life had gone back to normal – uneventful, downright boring, with the occasional visit from King for a snack and a round of Mortal Combat. Your days were filled with mostly work at the botanical store that was literally right next to your apartment complex, tending to flowers, making a couple sales a day and mostly being bored and flipping through magazines on the counter.

You couldn’t complain, though, life was easy for you, something that most people dreamed of having. However, one always wanted what they didn’t have and what you personally wanted was some spice to your daily routine. You had built up your life cycle to be quiet and peaceful for your own sake, but that didn’t mean you couldn’t regret your decision.

Your boss, a middle-aged woman that was sweet as honey, had kindly asked if you could pick up a few plants from the store that had started withering away for some reason. She had wanted you to try and bring them back to their full glory, saying that it didn’t matter how long it took or if they died in the end, but she did want you to give them one last try before throwing them away. You had agreed, not really being able to say no because of the great amount of kindness she had shown you and the skills she had patiently taught you about flower tending over the years. Neither of you were actually sure what exactly had happened to this particular set of flowers, but you decided to try and help them heal, hoping that they would.

So here you were now, replanting them on your balcony. A few bags of soil were scattered around you, some empty, some half full, there was soil everywhere and you really needed to sweep it away after you were done. You pressed your gloved fingers against the newly added soil to the last plant, which needed tending, before watering it and pushing it in the corner of your balcony with the rest. You stood up and stretched before removing your gloves and giving the back of your neck a brief massage, hoping to ease the dull ache that had gripped onto it.

You touched the screen on your phone, making it light up so you could see the time. Damn, a couple of hours had flown by while you had been occupied with being a flower hero. With a sigh, you mentally noted that you would sweet away the mess you had made tomorrow and pulled the door to your living room open before stepping in, but not before giving the plants one last look, making sure you hadn’t missed any.

After circling the counter, you laid the dirty gloves on the side of the sink and washed your hands, eyes becoming hazy as your mind drifted away.

That guy….you really hoped he was alright. You wondered what had happened to him after your unfortunate encounter, hoped that his injuries were doing better and that you had actually been able to help him.

“Doesn’t matter.” you scolded yourself while drying off your hands. Wherever he was, whatever he was doing, that wasn’t any of your business. You had done what you could, your interaction with him was done. End of story.

You reached for your freezer, pulling out a box of half eaten ice cream and proceeded to stuff a coffee mug to the brim with the cold treat before heading to the couch. It relaxed you to have a late night snack before bed, something light but flavorful, tonight that snack would be ice cream since you had wolfed down a bag of chips yesterday and then had had a handful of very strange dreams. Not that you cared much for the dreams, they didn’t stop you from having a good night’s rest, but they had occupied your mind all day today and that, you found a bit frustrating.

You took a spoonful, slurping it away and enjoying the coolness of it while contemplating if you should reach for the remote and turn the TV on. That’s when you heard the door to the balcony slide open and the hairs on the back of your neck immediately stood in alarm. You glanced back sharply, squeezing the handle of the mug so tightly that your knuckles turned a ghostly white.

“Oh my fucking – “ you gasped and jumped up, discarding your ice cream on the coffee table. You clumsily stepped towards the bleeding man leaning on the side of the opened door, reaching for him to help him, but he pushed you away with a growl and proceeded to limp to your couch, a hand holding the side of his ribs tightly.

“Heal me…” he exhaled, pain written all over his face, making his features sharpen dangerously. He sprawled himself on the couch with a grunt and looked at you in expectation.

“I can’t…I can’t help your ribs. I – I don’t have the tools, I – “ you stammered, frozen in place by the iciness of his gaze.

“ – Quit talking and bandage me.”

You rushed to your bathroom, knocking over a bunch of products while in your hurry to get to the first aid kit. You sighed in relief when you got your hands on it and practically ran back to the living room where the man waited, now shirtless in a silent statement for you to begin patching him up.

You sat next to him, first aid kit opened and ready, waiting on the coffee table. You gave his upper body a quick skim, lying a hand on his shoulder and gently pulling him forward to check his back before deciding to focus on the bleeding hole on his upper left shoulder.

“It will string, bear with me please.” you said, your voice – a soothing whisper, and after dampening a cotton ball with disinfectant, pressed it firmly against the wound.

He didn’t even flinch, which surprised you, but in some way you were glad. Him fussing would make your job harder and it was difficult enough with your shaking hands, caused by his unexpected visit.

“Your previous injuries are healing, I’m glad.” you mumbled while wiping away patches of dried blood. It was an attempt to make small talk, but his absence of a reply told you that he really didn’t feel like conversing.

Every single cut and bruise you treated to the best of your abilities until the only thing left were his ribs. You could tell that was what mainly caused his suffering, his breaths were shallow and uneven and you were stressing over the thought of there being internal bleeding.

“Try to take deep breaths.” you stated and stood up, heading for your fridge. You pulled a bag of ice and poured a glass of water before returning to the couch and pressing the ice to his side, he hissed but complied, placing his hand over the bag “Keep it there, it will help. And take this.” you popped a small pill in his free hand “It’s for the pain.”

He chucked the pill in his mouth and reached for the glass of water, but flinched and leaned back against the couch.

“Right…uhm.” you grabbed the water, pressing the tip to his mouth and leaned it up while he swallowed down a couple of sips with visible difficulty. You wiped away the few stray droplets from his chin and turned your attention to the first aid kit “If you keep popping up like this I’ll need to buy more supplies.” you snickered to yourself while gathering bloodied cotton and unused bandages, leaving only the blister of painkillers on the table. It was a poor attempt at trying to ease the tension and of course it didn’t work, but you had to try.

With a shaky exhale you reached for your ice cream, frowning when you saw it had mostly melted by now, nevertheless, it was a nice treat so you were going to eat it, but turned on the TV first.

You didn’t really know what to do now, the guy wasn’t leaving, he couldn’t even stand from the couch and you couldn’t kick him out. He wasn’t making the awkwardness any easier with refusing to talk with you either so you needed something to relax your stressed state. The TV was your only hope at this point. You sat there in silence, you, slowly eating your melted ice cream while the guy had his face in his palm, a bored expression on his face while he stared blankly at the screen.

It was strange how quickly events could unfold like they had tonight. One minute, you were sleepily lounging in your home and the next, a half-dead stranger barges in like he was simply a drunk roommate in need of some assistance.

You saw him glance at your mug for a second, long enough for you to notice. You didn’t say anything, just scooped up whichever part wasn’t completely melted and silently offered it to him, spoon hovering a few inches away from his mouth. He looked at you with mistrust in his wolf-like irises and you gave him the best smile you could muster in return.

“It’s not poison.” you assured him “You saw me eat it.”

He sighed at your words and inched his head closer, taking the spoon in his mouth before swallowing and a starved glint shone in his eyes. You took a spoon for yourself, then offered him another and this time he accepted it immediately, but didn’t look at you. You understood that, he was probably embarrassed having being fed, from his body you could tell he was strong, a fighter, and it was probably below his pride level to accept such baby treatment, but he didn’t have a choice. And it was mostly his fault, he caused his injuries, you didn’t know how, but breaking ribs didn’t really happen by slipping on a bathroom floor, nor did the cuts on him which required stitches. He most likely searched for trouble.

“You’re hungry…aren’t you?” you questioned softly, speaking more to yourself than him, but the look he gave you told you what you needed to know “I have some leftover curry and rice. Would you eat that?”

The blank expression that formed on his face almost made you giggle. He was starved, but he hadn’t told you to preserve some sort of self-respect. It probably hurt him enough that he had come back to you for treatment and asking for food would have probably made him jump off a building.

“Bah! Men…” you scoffed mentally, the wrapped up bowls of rice and curry already in your hands as you bumped the door the fridge closed with your shoulder. You filled a plate with the food as much as you could without it spilling and popped it in the microwave for a minute, retrieving a clean spoon while it heated up.

The microwave dinged and you pulled out the now steaming meal, stuck the spoon in it and took a waft of the rich aroma of spices you had used for the curry before returning to the couch. You mashed up a small portion of the rice with the stew before offering a spoonful to the man, who bit down on it with an animalistic force. Hunger had taken over him, from what you could tell, you wanted to ask him questions, but decided against it at least until half of the plate was empty. He barely chewed, gulping down hastily, even if the food was a bit too hot. You contemplated blowing on it first, but thought it would be a bit overboard and refrained from doing so. Maybe next time.

When his desperation visibly eased and he slowed down, starting to actually appreciate the flavor of the dish, you saw your chance come up.

“What’s your name?” you asked while gathering another spoonful, avoiding his eyes as you felt a bit pushy, but you did have the right to know at least his name. He had barged in your home uninvited and had requested, nay, ordered you to heal him and was now wolfing down the food you had been thinking of leaving for lunch for tomorrow.

“Garou.” he answered simply after swallowing the rice he had been chewing on.

“Good.” you exhaled slowly, smiling “Now I know what to write on your tomb stone when I find you dead in a ditch one day.”

Your comment made him snort and for some reason you blushed, all too excited by his sudden openness. He was trusting you, slowly considering the things you were doing for him, but it was happening and you cared about that, a bit too much. His chuckle made you giggle weakly and this time, you were the one avoiding eye contact.

The awkwardness was slowly fading away, thanks to his compliance to actually throw a few words your way. At least now you felt more comfortable and hopefully you’d retain this feeling the next time he appeared out of nowhere and requested babysitting.

“Yours?”

You gave him a dumbfounded look. Had he said something while you were daydreaming?

“Your name.” he stated with an annoyed look.

“Oh! Uhm, I’m (Y/N).” you laughed nervously, offering him the last bit of rice left on the plate before leaving it on the coffee table next to the first aid kit. You turned to him, locking your gazes “I know you’ll probably leave again and I can’t stop you, but please, at least take it easy for the next few days. Broken ribs are difficult to heal and if you damage them more the injury might become too serious for me to treat.”

He listened to you, but offered no reply and turned his attention back to the buzzing TV. You didn’t know if that was a no or yes, but you hoped for the latter.

Your eyes drifted to the clock hanging above your TV, realizing the lateness of the hour and then remembering you were a working woman.

“I have to go to bed, I need to go to work tomorrow.” you stated after a few minutes of silence and stood up, ready to head to your bedroom and giving Garou enough blind trust to leave him alone in your living room, hoping he didn’t steal anything.

You squealed when he gripped onto your wrist harshly and pulled you back on the couch.

“You sleep here.”

“What? Why?!” you practically huffed, ripping your wrist away from him, irritation sparking in your chest at his audacity “This is my home!”

“You sleep where I can see you.” he hissed, successfully intimidating you even in his beaten up state “I don’t trust you.”

You stared at him, annoyance evident in your eyes, but with a grunt, made yourself as comfortable as possible on your side of the couch.

“Fine.”

With a handful of small whines, you huddled up into the softness of the couch, arms crossed, and focused your gaze on the series playing on your TV. You didn’t even know what show this was, but it mattered little, you were stuck watching it, like it or not. Neither of you spoke after that, each left to their own thoughts as the time ticked by. You couldn’t really focus on anything, not the show nor any of the random thoughts that popped up in your mind. You were just grumpy and there was no fixing that. And to think you had actually started liking this guy…

Exhaustion overpowered irritation and soon enough your head was falling to one side, your half-lidded eyes that had been staring hatefully at the TV were now shut. You had tried your best to stay in a sitting position, but started sliding to one side as soon as consciousness began slipping away from you. Your head landed softly on Garou’s hip and he sneered at you, ready to kick you away with a curse, but stopped himself when he realized you had already fallen asleep. The hand holding the ice pack to his ribs twitched with the instinct to push you off of him. The contact was foreign to him, most human interactions were, especially the ones involving friendliness.

It confused him how you could just doze off with a complete stranger sitting next to you, maybe you were just an idiot. An idiot that had saved his ass twice now so he wasn’t one to speak. He was an idiot too, he had become one the moment he had entered your living room seeking help and now look at him – patched up again and fed like he was some street dog, with a girl sleeping on his lap.

You were both idiots. Great…

He shuddered every time you shifted or mumbled in your sleep. This was how he was, always alarmed, always listening and tonight was the first time this proved to be a negative trait of his because you wouldn’t fucking stop moving.

He switched the hand he was using to hold the bag of ice and his free one he laid on top of your head firmly, praying that you would calm down or else he’d actually kick you off the couch, regardless if it was yours. Surprisingly, you did, your twitches and incoherent jumble of words stopped.

Thank fucking God!   

Chapter Text

You had become too comfortable with him and had actually developed a sort of attachment. Naturally, since you saw yourself as his provider, your more snarky side started to show and Garou wasn’t one to tolerate such behavior even if it was coming from the person that had saved his life a couple of times now. A blunt comment had snapped something within him and his usually stable and calm ways whenever he was within your presence had diminished before a darker side of his had shone through.

And to think how well the night had started out…

It had been a very hot and humid day, two things that you hated to deal with, but you couldn’t change the weather, so instead you adapted, or tried to. The AC had done a good job at keeping you cool in the flower shop, but the moment you had returned home your irritation with the heat had escalated drastically. You had Air Conditioning, but in your bedroom, which left your living room and kitchen to soak in the disgusting summer warmth with no way of reversing the effects, certainly not since you needed to cook yourself dinner. You could always turn on the AC and leave the doors in your apartment open for the chilliness to spread, but with your stove turned on you wouldn’t feel much of a change in temperature.

Instead, you just opened up your kitchen window and hoped that by some miracle the heat would disperse while you hovered over the stove, keeping an eye on your udon as it boiled within a scratched iron pot, almost ready for consumption. A hand was sporadically waving at your face in a poor attempt of cooling you off at least a little bit, then it rouse up to wipe the sweat from your forehead while the other stirred your dinner.

“I know, King, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to come tomorrow.” you said in an apologetic tone, shifting your shoulder to press the dark blue cellphone closer to your ear and regretted it instantly when you head a long whine come from the other end of the line “I still need to tend to Boss-woman’s flowers. I can’t let her down, she’s done so much for me.”

“You won’t be a flower lady all day, (Y/N). Come oooon, you can’t tell me you’ll actually miss out on Tama breaking another controller. Fubuki even betted he’d break two!”

You snorted at the memory of Saitama accidentally digging his thumbs hallway into one of the PlayStation controllers after another loss to King. How he was so strong and yet so bad at video games was beyond you, but it did make for a good laugh.

A deaf emission of buzzing came from your phone before a third voice piped in the conversation and you almost splashed yourself with the boiling udon at the sudden intrusion.

“Master, does not appreciate talking behind his back.”

“Genos?” you questioned, dumbfounded, which was followed by a muffled curse from King “How? How am I speaking to you right now? No, don’t mind that. Why are you eaves dropping on my phone calls?”

“Can you please tell Saitama to stop exploiting your abilities? It’s getting ridiculous at this point. First it was the Wi-Fi, then he started using you as a heater and now this.” King sighed, after which you heard him start munching on something rather crunchy. Crisps perhaps? It made you cringe at how loud he was chewing, but you refrained from taking action against it.

“Well apparently I have good reasons to eaves drop considering you guys are making fun of me!” the distant yell from Saitama had you cracking up. With a grin on your face you listened to him complain like a child and by the lack of response from King, you were pretty sure he was too.

“Look, I’ll see what I can do, but no promises, alright King?” you said through a giggle “I’ll have to hang up, though, I’m gonna mess up my dinner with you lot babbling in my ear.”

You hung up before anyone could protest and set your phone down with a deep exhale, giving it a final, content glance before your focus readjusted elsewhere.

It wasn’t like you wanted to skip gaming night, but the thought of Garou showing up exactly when you were out gave you a small panic attack. You couldn’t have him suffer from an infected wound just because you went to nerd away an uneventful night, the next time he showed up he could be in a critical condition and from what you were able to learn from him, he didn’t really have anybody else to go to in such a state. In a way, you felt responsible for him and you couldn’t just walk away from that now that you had invested a fair amount of your time, groceries and bandages.

That’s when he appeared again. He crawled sluggishly through your kitchen window and after throwing him a quick glance and seeing only a few new scratches on him, you turned your eyes back to the stove.

You were happy to see him in a way and had expected him, that was why you were making such a large meal. The guy had stopped by a couple of times just to dine with you, but you did check him over for any potential dangerous injuries. He had protested, but hadn’t struggled much when you had started to persistently tug on his shirt. He did have a choice, he always had, but the fact that he chose to let you do whatever it is you pleased gave you a sense of security in your newly established relations. You even made sure to cook a different dish every day, finding it to be a much more enjoyable task now that you had somebody looking forward to the outcome, despite you not being the best cook. A newly found mother instinct had overwhelmed you recently and it always seemed to evolve whenever Garou was around.

“I have a front door, hard to miss, easy to use. You should try it out sometime.” you passed a sassy statement his way, expecting him to either snort or wave you off with a grunt, but his unusual silence made you look back at him, uncertain as to why it was so, and you felt a chill run up your spine at what you saw “Oh my God, what did you do?!?”

“I need…more ice.” he grumbled in a raspy voice, most likely because of dehydration, and retracted his hand from his ribs carefully while leaning himself on the counter with a choked exhale. You could practically see the bones protruding beneath his skin, threatening to burst through.

You shakily ushered him to your couch, trembling hands gripping onto the cloth belt on his trousers because you were terrified of touching his upper body, then you delved into your freezer for an ice bag, finding one just at the bottom, underneath a few frozen seafood products and your ice cream box.

“Thank God!” you mentally cried out in happiness. There was ice left, this was good!

You pressed the frozen bag to his ribs all too roughly, mostly because of your shaken up state, causing him to slap you away and tend to his ribs himself while he tried to get comfortable enough to breathe properly.

A hand was gripping tightly onto the short tank top covering your chest as you fidgeted in place, twitching every time Garou grunted in pain while readjusting the ice. A part of you wanted to reach out to him, take his shift in holding the ice while he lied down and tried to rest for the few hours he would most likely stay, but you weren’t sure how he’d react and another part of you refused to offer any help because of the idiocy and the carelessness he showed for his well-being.

“I told you not to strain your ribs.” you mumbled, voice rising with every word in sync with your frustration “Look at you now! I can’t treat this! You need professional help, Garou…”

You cloud almost feel the pain in his side by just looking at how the ice bag was curved where his ribs were poking out. You flinched when another grunt rumbled in his strained throat, your fingers twitching from the need to do something, anything to help.

The painkillers you had given him the second time you had encountered him were still present on the coffee table, but by his lack of acknowledgement for them, you understood he wasn’t going to take any tonight.

“I’ll be fine.” he replied simply, not even sparing a look your way “What’s for dinner?”

“Nothing.” you replied harshly, near tears “I’m not feeding you until you go see a doctor.”

It was a brash statement on your part, but it slipped past your tongue before you could swallow it down along with handful of emotions that were plaguing your mind. All the work you had dedicated in healing him was slowly going down the drain and he was to blame. It wasn’t very difficult to lay low and stray from trouble for a week or so, but he hadn’t and you were almost certain that it was just him ignoring your advice and nothing more.

Dreadful silence followed after your miniscule outburst while Garou soaked in your words. You felt your courage slowly start to slip away from you and your bluntness soon turned into nervousness, despite you being right and your harshness coming from a good place. That didn’t matter to him, though, what he cared about was what you said and the tone you had used.

“Is that a threat…?”

The way he looked at you, the way the shadows around the room seemed to crawl to his face and mask him into something demonic of nature and the contrast of warning that made his irises glow dangerously all made you want to bite back your nagging and run out of the apartment. Your breaths picked up speed and your heart drummed madly against your chest while you stared at him silently with a fresh coat of sweat forming over your entire body.

“Choose your next phrase very wisely, girl.”

You contemplated whether to speak your mind or stay quiet, by the way Garou was practically melting your soul into the ground with his glare it was quite the difficult choice. However, you reminded yourself that you had the upper hand, a fact that somewhat soothed your panicked state.

“I’m not feeding you until you see a doctor.” you repeated weakly, trying your best to stand your ground “It’s not a threat, it’s an ultimatum. You come here, I feed you, treat your wounds and let you stay safe from whatever the hell you do that gets you so beaten up. This is my home, you are in my home and I ask for nothing in return.” you tried to swallow, finding it hard with your mouth completely dry. It was draining to speak, you had never realized how difficult it was to converse with him, let alone argue.

“If you had listened to me and stayed away from trouble for a while you wouldn’t be in this state. Are you masochistic or something? Is that it?”

The last two sentences that rushed past your lips you regretted instantly. Scolding him for his childishness was one thing, but poking fun at him and straight out insulting him had crossed a line that you, considering your morals, did not want to cross frequently. However, emotion afflicted faster than logic, a fact proven by your behavior.

You didn’t even understand why you were so upset with him. Sure, he was being a baby, but he had the right to. It was you who had taken responsibility for him willingly, which had involved patching him up whenever he got hurt. Him being stupid was never out of the question, he didn’t need to listen to you, he had the freedom not to. And it wasn’t merely because he had ignored your warning, if it was that simple you would have dropped the argument ages ago, but you didn’t and that opened your eyes to a problem you had with him, which didn’t involve just deaf ears.

His ribs weren’t what bothered you, he was.

Garou was over you within a blink, his face only a couple of inches away from your, his free hand was on your shoulder, squeezing painfully hard and securing you beneath him. His expression…terrified you. He looked almost inhuman, like a predator looking over his wounded prey just before delivering the final blow.

“I didn’t come here to be lectured.” he hissed in your ear, delicately, dreadfully, causing a wave of goosebumps to wash over you and the intimidation burning in his eyes made you look down instinctively “If you threaten me again – ”

That was it for you, he had cut the last string of pity you had.

He came to your home, ate your food, used you for a medic, practically exploiting you in every way he could and had the nerve to threaten you, in your fucking home. You were a kind person, very patient and understanding, but this you couldn’t understand, you didn’t want to. You didn’t care what misfortunes he went through, no longer gave a damn about the immense amount of pain he had suffered, you were no saint and you weren’t going to let this slide past you. Especially not after what you had done for him. You were practically risking your own safety for his by letting him stay at your home. You had put him before yourself and that was a mistake you were just realizing. It was a mistake you regretted.

You never found him to be intimidating, just a general pain for time to time. He had never scared you before so you had built up the illusion that he would never harm you, but that changed tonight.

Cold droplets of water dripped onto your exposed belly from the melting ice pack he still held on his ribs, snapping you back to your current situation and your first batch of words came out in a blur, they were a representation of every single thought that was racing through your mind.

“ – Get out. You aren’t welcome here anymore.”

You looked back up at him, staring at him with the same amount of intensity he was forcing down on you, despite still feeling frightened and beyond vulnerable.

You didn’t want to be anybody’s rag to toss around, you weren’t weak, and you were not a coward. Those words repeated in your head like a broken record, racing each other with the drumming of your heart playing in the background.

You were not a coward…

Adrenaline seeped through your blood like poison, filling you with strength that flourished in your core and you were ready to try and push him off of you.

He, however, beat you to it. He moved away from you, stood up, deaf to his screaming ribs, his pride fueling him to go forth, and headed for the window. You didn’t turn to look at him, only listened to his shuffling before your apartment fell silent.

He was gone, just like that.

You wanted to know what had gone through his head, from start to finish, and see if you were the one wrong in his eyes. You wondered where he would go now, if he would find what to eat, if he would find someone else to treat him without acting like a suffocating parent.

It stung you to think of him replacing you, it stung more than it should have.

It took you a few moments before you were able to stand off the couch, a blank expression plastered on your face as true realization still hadn’t hit you. You turned off the stove, lidded the pot filled with now ruined udon and headed straight to bed.   

Fuck this.

Chapter Text

You didn’t know how exactly you had ended up like this – clogged, yet runny nose, a never-ending headache, occasional coughs and a constant need for warmth. It might be because you had been running around all day grocery shopping while there was a storm raging over your city or that you hadn’t eaten much as of late, nor slept. In any case, you were stuck with a nasty cold now. Your throat felt as if it was being burned from the inside and the pounding pressure inside your skull made keeping your eyes open near impossible.

You sniffed again, followed by a series of dry coughs that racked through your body so roughly that you instinctively clutched at your chest. Your head laid back against Genos’s chest, absorbing the heat he was emitting and lulling you into a half-sleep state, that is until Saitama shrieked again. Another match lost, you guessed. You cracked an eye open, the blurry image of a K.O. written on the screen in the other end of the room with a bored looking King and a furious Saitama sat in front of it.

You chuckled to yourself weakly, a mere sickness not being strong enough to take your naturally developed mockery.

A hand was laid on the side of your head, enveloping your cheek gently and you felt the metal covered with a thin blanket beneath you start rattling.

“Your symptoms are worsening.” Genos mumbled softly, as not to alarm you in your disoriented state “Would you like me to turn up my heat emission?”

“No, Genos, thank you.” you answered, the rust in your throat causing you to sit up just enough to reach out for the cup of lukewarm tea you had set down next to the nursery nest Genos had turned Saitama’s couch into, and take a small sip before sluggishly retreating back under your cozy blanket “I’m fine like this.”

“Are you certain?”

You nodded lazily against the chest of your cyborg heater, a sigh of contentment escaping you when he wrapped his arms around your frame and pulled you as close as possible. He was such a sweetheart.

Despite your sickness you had still decided to attend gaming night and had made sure to warn both King and Saitama of your condition before your arrival in case they were worried of getting infected. However, neither of them had minded, which surprised you considering King had mysophobia, the little germ freak. You didn’t retaliate, though.

After Garou had disappeared that night you found yourself unable to sleep properly and had lost all trace of your appetite, resulting in a slight weight loss, but it was nothing serious. That was what you had been repeating to yourself.

And now you were sick…Great.

Genos had been informed of your fragile situation and had taken it upon himself to make your stay at Saitama’s as enjoyable as possible, even going as far as neglecting his Master for the night. He had prepared multiple blankets and pillows for your comfort and had calculated exactly when you would arrive so as to have a cup of fresh, hot tea in his hand when he answered the door. Unfortunately, your fever had worsened to the point where simple blankets just didn’t provide you with the heat you needed and you had ended up a trembling ball on the edge of the sofa. Hence why Genos was lying beneath you, acting as your warmth provider while you coughed and sniffled on him, shifting once in a while with the occasional snarky comment on the loser of a gamer Saitama was.

“That’s not how you do the combo!” you squeaked, losing your voice halfway through your sentence and practically whispering the last part out.

The look of death Saitama turned to pin on you had you riling back in the blanket and covering your cheeky smirk with the edge. It was always fun to tease him because he always fell for it and the fits he would through were too entertaining for you to stop picking on him.

“Oi, Genos, why so overprotective?” the baldy asked with a blank expression, noting the way the cyborg’s arms tightened around you “I wouldn’t hurt, (Y/N). Never.”

“Baldy’s just teasing, it’s okay.” you forced out while trying your best to unwind the death trap that was Genos’s hug. The unmovable metal arms around you relaxed and you took in a deep inhale that you had been in desperate need of.

“Stop calling me that!” the bald hero bit the straw in his soda harshly and sucked with menace, pretending that it was your soul he was drinking.

“I think it’s quite adorable.” Fubuki giggled from her spot a few feet away from you. She crossed her legs and leaned further into the yellow bean bag she had proclaimed as her spot for the night and closed the manga she had randomly picked out of Saitama’s collection, keeping one of her long slim fingers tucked inside as an indicator to where she had left off reading “You seem rather comfortable, (Y/N), I suppose Genos is quite the good cuddle buddy.”

“It’s not like that!” you cried out, a flush of embarrassment creeping up your cheeks “He’s just warm and I have a fever – Stop shipping me with him!” you huffed at the three pairs of eyes focused on you and sunk back in your nest with a curse “Assholes.”

You felt a mechanical palm press against your back before it started drawing calming circles and you smiled shyly through a not-so-lady-like sniff.

Genos had always been extra gentle with you, from the moment King had introduced you to him and Saitama, the cyborg had chosen you as the person he would care for a tad more than the rest. He would always make sure you were well and comfortable when visiting him and his master and would never pass the chance to ask if you wanted an escort home. You explained that with the fact that you were a girl until Fubuki joined your little loser group and proved you wrong. He was polite to her just as he was to everyone else, but there was no softness to his actions when it came to her and that left you wondering. Maybe you had just clicked from the start and now he saw you as a little sister that he felt compelled to protect.

“You are making (Y/N) uncomfortable.” Genos stated bluntly, earning himself a hearty laugh from Fubuki who had turned on her side to face the two of you.

“You don’t say.” she snickered, hiding herself behind the manga when you sent her a glare.

“And we are not on a ship.”

“No, Genos.” King paused his game and shifted to look back at the cyborg, a smart ass look on his face while he prepared to explain the slang saying “To ship two people means to think of them going well together.”

“Yeah…” Saitama nodded while continuously sticking his index finger in the circle he had made with his other hand, staring at both of you with an unreadable expression.

“Shipping isn’t only romantic!” King yelled in his ear while covering the baldy’s motioning hands hastily, failing and then ending up trying to smush him with a pillow.

You watched them fight through irritated orbs, questioning your decision of coming over. Now the thought of you resting alone in your apartment with a bowl of noodles and a nice movie didn’t seem as boring as it had a couple of hours ago. If anything, you had only worsened your state by going out again in the rain, but a part of you had kept pushing you to do so, a part that had hoped to spot a tuft of silver hair amidst the night crowd while you were on your way to Saitama’s.

“God damn hope.” you thought bitterly as a frown unintentionally formed on your chapped lips.

The thought of him hadn’t left you in peace. Every waking hour you would think of the lone wolf that was Garou, picturing him as a limping mess, starved and tired, searching for shelter from the rain and cold and still gripping onto his side. The toxic flavor of guilt was constantly on the tip of your tongue and your chest never failed to clench in anticipation whenever you heard a bump during the night or rustling from outside your bedroom window.

You missed him, plain and simple and no matter if you were with friends or alone, the images of golden eyes and white hair would not cease to torment you.

That was when Genos dropped the bomb and the room went deadly silent.

“But I have not performed intercourse with (Y/N). Should I have?”

Fubuki fell out of her bean bag, laughing her ass off, her hands clutching her stomach, while King covered his face with his hands and exhaled desperately.

You cursed under your breath, face – a deep rose red, and tried to hide completely under the blanket, but Genos tugged on your chin and made you look up at him before you could.

“(Y/N)…”

“No, Genos. You do not have to have sex with me.” you blurted out before he could even ask and faced Saitama with a scowl “He’s your student. Deal with him!”

The cyborg’s innocent stupidity when it came to such topics was extremely cute and you often found yourself giggling whenever he failed to understand a phrase common to most people. You had taken it upon yourself to help him expand his knowledge in socialization and modern slang. Tonight, however, things had escalated too quickly for your poor hazy brain to comprehend and thus failing to rehears things in a more dry and informative language for Genos.

“No.” the baldy refused through a mouthful of popcorn, causing a bunch of chewed up corn to fly out of his mouth, the bag that had been previously set on the table with the rest of the snacks now in his lap and almost empty “I haven’t had this much fun in years!”

Arguing comments were thrown back and forth between you two while Genos held you back and King did the same with Saitama and if it weren’t for them you would have been at each other’s throats by now. From a distance it was probably an entertaining sight.

Saitama and yourself had established a sort of grumpy old married couple relationship not too long ago and ever since your first small argument you had never missed an opportunity. It was somewhat of a stress relief for the both of you, even if neither of you would admit it, despite it being evident as daylight. You never got mad at each other, nor hurt one another in any way, just ranted until both your mouths were dry and you were satisfied with the amount of snarky lines you had thrown your opponent’s way.

Genos had been surprised by the amount of crap Saitama had taken from you and done nothing but toss you a drink after you were done and slouch next to you with a peaceful sigh, more relaxed than he had ever been.

“Why don’t we play a story based game?” King offered, hoping to divert the subject of the discussion before you lost your patience and left “I’ll play, you can watch.”

The bickering was stopped by his suggestion, but Saitama hadn’t failed to slip in one last bite before it was too late, to which you would have replied if Genos hadn’t laid a hand on top of your head, shushing you for your own good.

“Anything to end this conversation.” you whined from your hiding spot before sitting up, upper body leaning onto the cyborg for support while your legs hung from the edge of the sofa. You pulled the blanket around your shoulders and picked up your now cold tea, shushing the worried, walking, talking, conscious heater when he offered to reheat it.

“Fubuki, can you turn off the lights?” Satama glanced back at her briefly before getting comfortable on his futon and pulling a packet of poki with him.

The ceiling lamp went off with a click and a flick from Fubuki’s hand as King set up the game and sat back, console ready in his hands.

You mindlessly nuzzled into Genos, absorbing the waves of head that tingled over your sickly pale skin and with a soft hum, eyes relaxing from the absence of light to irritate them and body going limp from the comfort you were provided with.

Supposedly, it wasn’t that bad of an idea to come over, after all.

~O~

When you came to be, your gaze darted around the small apartment, noting the turned off TV, Saitama’s obnoxious snoring and the absence of King and Fubuki. You shifted stiffly, moaning from the pain that was clutching to your back from the unsuitable position you had drifted off in, but a gentle arm kept you secured in your place when you tried to stand up.

You looked up, meeting cybernetic yellow eyes glowing softly in the darkness. They sent your brain in a rush.

“G-Genos?” you whispered meekly, slapping yourself internally from failing to recognize him at first and almost spilling out the wrong name. The blanket fell off your shoulders when you straightened up to meet his gaze, falling in waves over the arm he kept on your waist “Why didn’t you wake me up?”

Your legs rested on either side of his lap and your hands were stationed on his shoulders as leverage to your wobbly balance. His body was still emitting heat and when the warm gentle breeze wafted over your face you felt yourself close to collapsing again.

“You needed sleep to regain your strength.” he answered, unmoving, concerned that any sort of action might have you pull away from him “If you had gone out in the cold while warmed up, your sickness would have gotten worse. Master agreed and permitted your stay as long as we didn’t disturb his sleeping cycles.”

“I should…head home…” you forced out, head already heavy and bobbing as you tried to fight of the urge to go back to sleep. Your delicate palms slipped away from him and landed on your thighs and you swore you could see disappointment creep onto his features by the way his eyebrows rouse and scrunched together.

“Stay.”

You inhaled sharply at that single word that held so much significance as it was tossed at you in an attempt to shake your made up mind.  It was a plea. You were free to go whenever you wished and the cyborg wouldn’t stop you, but he wanted you to stay, just for a little while longer.

“I will watch over you. You’re safe with me.”

You nodded once, but it was more than enough for him and he began to move the both of you until you were laid on top of him, head planted in the nape of his neck and arms wrapped around him, needy for his warmth and the comfort of his body as your sleep-drugged mind drifted.

You fooled yourself to the point where your fingertips felt pressed against tight ripples of lean, scarred muscle and your heaving chest was lying atop a bandaged, breathing one, where a pulse thumped within. You could almost hear his heartbeat and soothing breaths, the memory of his aroma so clear in your mind that you could smell it.

Images of his rough, heavy hands resting on your back instead of the robotic ones almost forced a whimper out of you and you could only hope Genos couldn’t pick up your shaky inhales.

You hugged him tighter, to the point where you were clutching onto him. The picture of him holding you like this was so clear in your head, it made you smile a small, pitiful smile as you thought of how Genos would feel if he knew that you were exploiting him to sooth a loneliness that had been eating away at you for too long now.

“I guess I’m not that good of a person after all.” you nearly laughed at that.

Genos was so sweet to you, did everything you asked of him and more and you repaid him by thinking of another man while he held you and kept you warm through a cold rainy night. It was unfair of you, selfish and cruel, but you couldn’t stop yourself from the white haired plague that had breached your mind and ended your peaceful way of life.

Genos was an angel, but he wasn’t Garou.

“Are you alright?”

The question had you pulling back from your desperate daydreaming and you nodded, glad that your face was hidden away from the worried yellow eyes watching over you.

“My fever’s just acting up.”

You felt the radiating heat intensify, causing every muscle in your body to relax instantly.

“Thank you, Genos.”

The coiled arms around you tightened and the head rested atop yours nuzzled your messy hair, a sharp nose delved within your soft strands, inhaling your scent. You closed your eyes and your imagination went back to work, plunging you into a comforting illusion of your silver haired tormentor lying under you, asleep while holding you close. It was bittersweet and you were willing to accept it as long as you could keep your artificial safety bubble.

You were afraid to fall asleep. Garou haunted your dreams as much as he did your thoughts. What if you unintentionally mumbled out his name while unconscious? What were you supposed to tell Genos? I found a half-dead guy in an alley one night and now I’m attached to him without a solid reason, but I don’t know if he’s alive anymore.

Out of the question. You would figure out how to stay awake even if it killed you.

Thunder shook the windows of the cramped apartment and you wheezed back at the sudden boom, fingers digging into smooth metal plates, which make the cyborg to shudder.

“Sorry.” you mumbled, apology coming out muffled from under his chin.

“Don’t be afraid.” he soothed, metallic digits pressing into your skin, leaving behind them a trail of warm spots.

You contemplated whether to spill out the question that was circling in your head, unsure if Genos was the right person to ask about such things, but he was human once so he knew basic human emotions and interactions. Right?

Your head lifted all too slowly, giving you plenty of time to retaliate, but now you were genuinely curious what his answer would be. Your lips parted and you took in a breath, gazes locked together in a comfortable stare, and you decided to ask before your courage faded away. Arms retracted and your elbows planted themselves against his chest, hoisting you up and relieving your aching neck from having to hold your head up alone.

“Genos, have you ever been in love?”

Chapter Text

The warm yellow wall lamps did an excellent job at making your living room look like a cozy and peaceful safe heaven, completely opposite to the unfriendly storm that was beating against your kitchen window. You could hear the wind outside, wailing horrifically, more so than any monster roar you had ever heard. Lightning flashed and shortly after the rattling of thunder reached your ears, but it was so deaf compared to the high volume of your TV as a familiar blonde surfed the channels with a bored look, splattered on your couch.

“God damn this weather.” King huffed while readjusting the towel on his head and pressing down onto it to soak in what water it could from his wet hair “All this rain is making me depressed.”

You giggled at his remark, grinning at the fresh patch of groceries you had organized inside your previously nearly empty fridge. There was only one more bag to go before you would be free to join your nerdy friend on the sofa.

King had been sweet enough to stop by and leave you the shopping list you had sent him over the phone with a pleading message beneath it. The poor guy would rarely ever decline your requests, but that went both ways so you couldn’t say that he had drawn the short straw when it came to your friendship. Considering his kind gest and the state he had come over to deliver your groceries in had you taking pity on him and letting him stay to dry up and wait out a few hours, at least until the storm died down a little. You wouldn’t have been able to let him go whilst knowing he was going to ride his bike home.

“Oh, well I don’t know about that.” you smiled back at the grumpy blonde, waving off his sour look “I kinda like this weather, although it did get me sick…” the last part came out a bit less confident, acting as more of a reminder what all this rain and chill had done to you whenever your tried to look at things positively.

“See? Exactly!” King exclaimed at the back of your head as you were too focused on playing Tetris in your fridge. He slumped back into his cushion and with a grumble “This rain brings only soggy feet and destruction. I’m serious!” he voiced after hearing the choked back laugh that came behind the kitchen counter.

“I know, sour worm.” you snickered and carefully laid the plastic egg carton on your refrigerator door “But we can’t really do anything about it. And whining sure isn’t helping.”

You glanced back at the unsatisfied pout on his face and placed a hand on your hip, grinning cheekily.

“Awww, don’t be like that.” you pulled out a half-full bag of ground coffee and shook it tantalizingly in his direction “Would the Bitter King like some sugared coffee to sweeten away his worries?”

He snorted loudly, shaking his head at your damn lovable childishness.

“Sure.”

An unexpected sneezed racked through you and you clutched the coffee bag harder in case you were to drop it.

“Damn it!” you sniffed, gently massaging your nose, preventing another sneeze from coming up “I’m sick of being sick.”

“No doubt.” the blonde nodded while throwing the now wet towel you had given him on the backrest of the couch “Did you see a doctor?”

“Ah, no.” you gave him a soothing smile while turning on the coffee machine and slipped two spoons of the dark brown powder in “It’s just a cold, I didn’t see a reason for going through such a hassle. With all these monsters going ballistic I doubt the hospital has much time for lil’ ol’ me.”

“You should if you don’t start getting better soon.”

“Aye.” you nodded while tucking away the last bits of your groceries in the fridge, feeling proud that you had accomplished something today “But I already feel healthier. I mean, now I can walk around without feeling like I’m going to die.”

You giggled to yourself at the hearty laugh you received and picked up the two coffee mugs, laying them out on a makeshift tray along with a jar of sugar and two spoons before heading to the couch. The smell of the freshly made, steaming drink had you humming in enjoyment as you took in a long inhale, picking up the distinct aroma despite your runny nose. You chucked a spoonful of sugar inside, watching it get devoured by the black liquid and took a sip, savoring the familiar and delightful taste.

Leaning back into the couch, you readjusted the panda hood on your head, pulling it back just a bit so you could see your welcoming environment, which had King chuckling to himself.

“You really like that panda onesie, don’t you?”

“I’m so obsessed…” you sighed, fake embarrassment causing you both to grin “Best gift ever. Thank you, King.”

“When I saw it, the first thought that popped up in my head was you wearing it with a bag of nachos in your lap. I couldn’t resist.” the blonde admitted while tugging on one of the ears stitched to your hood “I’m glad you liked it as much as I did.”

“Definitely!” you offered him a grateful smile, then turned away to face the TV “Say, I was meaning to talk with you about, well…Something’s been bothering me lately and I kinda need advice.”

You saw him straighten up in the corner of your eye and set his mug down, offering an ear to listen and hopefully the words you needed to solve you discomfort.

“I’m attached to someone.” you began, restricting the drained yawn that was crawling up your throat “And I don’t get why? I mean, I’ve met the guy only a couple of times and he’s not the friendliest, but…I don’t know. Somehow I’m attached now and I don’t know why that is considering he’s an asshole.” with eyes glued to the still coffee in your hands, you let your memories consume you, taking in a haggard breath as the image of Garou’s last visit surfaced in your mind “We fought, well, kinda. And then I told him to fuck off for good. But now I miss him?” your statement came out as a question, evidence of just how dumbfounded you were from the whole situation “What do I do?”

“Uff, well.” the blonde ran a hand through his hair before settling it on his chin, thoughtful of your story “Who are we talking about?”

“I can’t tell you that.” you shook your head with a small smile and took another sip of your drink, relishing in how nicely it warmed your throat.

“Well, you like him, I can tell that much.” he nodded subtly, than turned to you “Why not try talking with him? Knowing you, you probably fought for a stupid reason. Also knowing you and your insatiability to be on good terms with everyone you know, you won’t live this down until you resolve the situation.” he noted the weak, but desperate whine that escaped you and laid a hand on your shoulder “Talk with him, maybe tell him how you feel. I’m sure at least a part of him will understand where you’re coming from. Asshole or not, he still sacrificed time out of his day to spend with you, he’s probably not that bad.”

“Pshhhh, I guess…” you snorted and patted the hand that was still lying on your shoulder “Thanks. I don’t know what I’d do without you sometimes.”

“I know.” King grinned proudly and took in a deep breath, puffing his chest out “I’m such a keeper.”

You couldn’t help the throaty laugh that burst out of your lungs, followed by a fit of coughs and a coffee mug hastily placed on the table as not to be spilled while you continued to suffer through your fit.

“You sassy lug!”

“I learned from the best.” he snickered while patting your back in an attempt to sooth your coughs.

~O~

Shortly after King had left and the storm had decayed to just weak rain and the occasional soft thunder you had decided to call it a night.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.

You were curled up in bed, still in your sinfully comfortable panda onesie, comforter wrapped around you like a cocoon as you had your face smushed in your pillow, facing the window. A box of tissues was sitting loyally on your nightstand, ready to aid you when you woke up in the middle of the night with an overly stuffed nose. You had stopped yourself from turning on the AC, seeing no point to it when your onesie and comforter could keep you warm enough for your fever to not bother you. If anything, you would have just woken up in the morning drenched in sweat and would have to wash your bed sheets and your pajamas, which you were too lazy to do.

You heard a faint buzzing come from the phone that was charging on the corner of your bed, but decided not to check, unwilling to stir from your relaxed position. It was late, you’d check it in the morning.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

The rain repeatedly patted against your tightly shut window and you moaned softly at the calming sound and snuggled farther into your pillow. It was nights like these that brought so much enjoyment to you, from the weather to the cozy environment of your bedroom, the dim street lamps which illuminated the night city and distant chattering of people hurriedly walking to dry safety, the occasional car passing by and every so often the barking of a disturbed street dog.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

The rain was starting to pick up speed again. You tugged the hood lower, enough to cover your forehead and cast a shadow over your face, hoping it would be enough to prevent the sudden flash of lightning from waking you up. You started dozing off, lips parted as air was sucked in because your nose was sadly too stuffed to breathe through.

Tap. Tap. TAP. TAP. TAP.

You grumbled through your dozing off state, face scrunching in an annoyed grimace at the repetitive sound.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. TAP. SLAM.

You winced at the sudden harsh noise and cracked a bleary eye open, searching for the culprit with the expectation of not seeing anything and the thought of stuffing your earbuds in, to deafen out the annoying outside ambiance, in the back of your head.

You froze.

Eyes now wide open, staring out the window in disbelief, and you thanked the Gods that your hood hid away your face and the evidence that you were now wide awake. You laid, unmoving in your bed, hands clutching the inside of your comforter as you swallowed back a squeak when Garou’s narrowed gaze focused on your hidden away frame. The clock on your nightstand seemed to stop, the world freezing as you engulfed the sigh of soggy white hair and tired yellow orbs.

You were afraid to breathe, or do anything else that would indicate that you were conscious.

You hadn’t expected to see him again, despite your blind hope that he would show up eventually. You had banished him, why was he back? Hazy mind raced as you stared back at him clinging to your window frame for support, his fist still planted on the wet window glass where he had hit to try and wake you up. He was drenched, facial features haggard, and by the way his breaths came out in a steaming haze you could tell that it was freezing outside.

It was the middle of July, what the heck was this?!

King’s advising words came back to you in a flash, worsening the already present feeling of being torn between what to do. You wanted to let him in, shelter him from the storm and have him doze off on your couch again because he had trusted you enough to sleep with you there next to him. But the way he had lunged at you, the painful grip on your shoulder, which had left a negative mark on your opinion of him, haunted you. You didn’t want to go through that again, see him in that shape again, even less so when it was targeted at you.

But you missed him…The way his eyes glinted whenever you offered him food and the calmness radiating off of him whenever you patched him up, as if urging you to go on and not hesitate, telling he wouldn’t hurt you…not you. Never. The mocking chuckle he would emit whenever your clumsiness resulted in a spilled drink or you choking on your dinner while laughing at a random show you had found on TV. The way he had petted you on the head while you were half-asleep on his thigh…

You watched his gaze lower, eyebrows locked together, and he shook his head, as if dismissing an irritating thought, before he threw himself back and jumped, cutting off your view of him.

Sitting up and giving your eyes a good rub, not trusting them enough to certify that the he had left, you looked back at the window with a few blinks.

He wasn’t there anymore.

He. Wasn’t. There.

“Fuck me…Fuck me, fuck my life, fuck my decisions, fuck Garou! Especially Garou.”

You bolted up, doing your best to ignore the wave of dizziness that washed over you and caused the world around you to spin spontaneously. Bare feet padded against the wood of your corridor as you rushed in the dark, blind, desperate, nearing tears as your heart pounded, shrieking at you to run as fast as your sick form can.

You prayed, pleaded that you would catch him before he disappeared forever and left you behind, forgetting you, letting you drift off as a distant memory of a kind soul that had aided him in the past. You didn’t want to let him go, you were too stubborn, too selfish to give him the freedom to discard you and go his own way. Struggling breaths rippled through your throat, making you cough from dryness and worsening the tears that threatened to spill.

You wouldn’t let him leave, you wouldn’t let him think he was alone.

After slamming your palm against the living room light switch, your frantic sigh darted to your shoe stand and you slipped on a pair of sneakers, thinking that they would be the fastest to slide into, you couldn’t waste time, not now.

With an umbrella secured under your armpit you sped out of your home, uncaring that you left the door unlocked, bouncing on one leg as you tried to fit your foot in your untied shoe. Erratic tapping echoed through the silent building as you rushed down the stairs, hoping your free shoe laces wouldn’t gang up on you with your clumsiness and have you miss your last chance.

You couldn’t miss this, not this!

Opening the heavy metal front gates with a grunt, adding so much force that you were nearly going to topple over, you gasped shakily, leaning against the door handles for just a second to gather a little bit of strength that had been absent ever since you had gotten sick.

Your ankles were already wet when you found yourself on the street, sneakers dotted with droplets of rain, and the umbrella that you had held onto now opened and shielding you as best as it could.

The world spun opposite of the direction that your eyes went in, you couldn’t breathe, all the sounds were blurred together. Hysteric sobs shook you in place, trembling hands clinging onto the umbrella for moral support as you skimmed over the crowd of people, refusing to give up and let hopelessness overrun your system. Then you saw it, that unmistakable tuft of silver hair poking amidst the sea of people and you bolted forward, apologies spilling out of you whenever you accidentally bumped into someone.

“Garou!” you yelled desperately, voice cracking as tears fell on your shoes, mixing with the rain.

“Please…”

He stopped at the sound of his name being hollered and turned back, spotting you – standing there, shaking, almost vanishing within the over-sized panda onesie, strands of hair clinging to your face, glued in place by the salty droplets falling out of your eyes. He took a step forward, head tilted to one side, as if to make sure it was really you under all that white fluff. That was all you needed to burst into a sprint while sloppily wiping at your face with the sleeve of your pajamas.

Lungs burning, legs wobbling, feeling like they would give out from beneath you any moment, heartbeat raised up, pounding in your throat. You didn’t care, you couldn’t, you had to reach him first…

“Oi, Oi!” he protested as you flung yourself at him, wrapping your arms around his waist and squeezing as much as you could, afraid that he would slip away. After his surprise subsided he laid a hand on top of your head as you clung to him, your loud wails muffled in his blouse. You failed to see the small smile cracking the corners of his mouth as his harsh features softened “Long time, no see.”

You laughed, a chopped, pathetic noise that poured out every single drop of emotion that had built up in his absence. Grinning into the fabric of his top as waterfalls flowed out of your tightly closed eyes, you hiccuped. You were shuddering, sniffing, crying so heavily, a complete mess, but he didn’t push you away, only took the umbrella from your hand and raised it above the both of you. Fingernails tugged at the flesh on his back, so direly, he could almost taste you crumbled down state in the air.

He didn’t mind, he really didn’t.

You pulled away after what felt like an eternity of time frozen in place and looked up at him with the saddest, most adorable pleading face he had ever seen.

“Don’t go.” you managed to force out through your overemotional state and reached for his hand, grabbing onto his long fingers and barely intertwining the tips with your own “I have popcorn.”

He threw his head back with a genuine laugh and you giggled at your own stupid bribing technique, eyes lowering while you suppressed the urge to stuff your face in his chest again.

“Who says no to free food?” he grinned and walked past you, tugging you along by your connected hands, silently accepting your pleas with no hesitation whatsoever. He pulled you to his side and readjusted the umbrella, keeping you away from the rain as you walked back to your apartment building, ignorant to the couple of stares your fiasco had attracted.

His arm was wrapped around you, fingers grazing over the softness of your onesie, as he kept you in sync with his pace.

That glowing smile never left your face. You pressed yourself harder against his side, hand laid over his, gentle fingers curled over his battle scarred, calloused ones.

“I missed you.” you whispered, earning yourself a squeeze on the shoulder “You dumb rebel.”

He chuckled at your honesty, noting your smile, and making sure to remember what a marshmallow you actually were beneath the layers of snarkiness and sarcasm and that you showed it only when your emotions clouded your usual thought process. Now was a good time to abuse that newly discovered knowledge.

“If I say I missed you too, will you cry again?”

“Yeah…most likely.” you sniffed, flicking your tongue in displeasure at your own unintentional show of vulnerability.

“Good.” he sneered, dark grin showing off his pearly whites before he stopped and turned you to face him. He slid a finger under your dampened chin, making you meet his eyes. You watched as the raid fell around you, as people walked past you and the feeling of safety the man before you seeped out and directed towards you, the way his frame hid from the world, how he didn’t mind you frantically holding onto him.

 “I missed you too.”

“Nooo!” you whined meekly, dissatisfied with how uneven your voice had sounded, and covered your eyes as a fresh batch of tears warmed your cheeks “Why? You asshole!”

Honestly? Because he did miss you, every aspect of you. The amount of care and delicateness you poured into stitching his wounds and bandaging his beaten down body. The love you willingly invested in every meal you made for him whenever he came over, starving and dehydrated, seeking food like an abandoned pup. When you made sure he was covered up and comfortable while he slept and the now countless hours you had spent with him over having a good night’s rest. How you never wanted anything in return besides seeing him again, hopefully less bruised. You were his little spark of warmth in the world he had made his enemy and despite him refusing to admit it, without you, he was lost.

He missed you, he really really missed you. More than you had missed him. So much more…              

Chapter Text

Two pairs of feet could be heard tapping around in the silent apartment building halls, creating a soft lullaby of echoes that sounded as if it went forever up the floors. Droplets fell around you as you climbed up the steps to your little home, still clinging onto a black turtleneck and the body occupying it. His arm never left you, only lowered to your waist and pushed you up, supporting you as the man next to you realized you were struggling to keep walking. Despite the euphoria you were coming down from, the fatigue from your sickness had hit you hard and it was difficult to breathe, as if you couldn’t fill your lungs with air properly.

But you were happy, regardless if you felt like a sack of dirt or not. You had him with you, you were content, that’s all that mattered right now and that explained how you still had a minuscule smile warming your paled and haggard face. You felt so safe with him near and appreciative of his patient with your slow pace, supporting your weak body to go forward instead of moaning about it.

Your eyes shifted to the windows plastered on each floor in front of the staircase, sighing when you saw that the rain kept going, looking like it wouldn’t be stopping anytime soon, not until sunrise at least. It was such a delightful sight to enjoy, it made the glare of the neon signs and commercial boards outside pop out even more, it was the perfect contrast.

You felt yourself lucky to have taken an umbrella with you because you were almost completely dry, aside from your sneakers and ankles, but it was nothing a pair of fuzzy towel socks couldn’t fix. With your mind away and occupied with thoughts, you failed to calculate how much to lift your foot for the next step and ended up tripping.

The arm around you clutched you harshly, propping you midair as you heard a dissatisfied grunt from your supporter and you couldn’t help but giggle after the wave of panic started settling down.

“Whoops.”

“Screw this…” Garou grumbled and after leaning the umbrella against the wall, he dove his free arm under your knees and lifted you up, to which you squeaked and sunk your fingers in his shoulder as your heartbeat increased. He smirked at your widened eyes and thinned lips and leaned you down to pick up the umbrella “Relax, fluffy, I won’t drop you.”

You flicked your tongue, but decided not to bite back at his snarky remark or the teasing new nickname. If you said anything, whatever it was that had even a tinge of sarcasm he would drop you, he would definitely drop you and he would laugh his ass off. Plus, it wasn’t your fault that your panda onesie was give the comfort of an angel’s wing, you couldn’t not wear it, it was like being enveloped in love.

It was quite obvious at that point that Garou was becoming impatient by the slow pace you were moving with, but you couldn’t speed up, you already felt like you were going to die any moment. You hadn’t expected him to literally speed through the last two floors, leaping over multiple steps at a time and ending up in front of your door in just a few seconds. He had held you tightly secured in his arms, rooting out any doubts of him getting you hurt. You were grateful for his gesture, because there was a cup of hot tea and a warm blanket waiting just for you to return and prepare them and melt into their welcoming embrace.

“Thanks.” you smiled in appreciation when he set you down in front of your door “You mind leaving the umbrella to dry on the balcony? I’ll go get you a towel.” you said while tugging your shoes off and turning the keys on your lock, sealing your apartment for the night.

The carpet felt unpleasant under your soggy feet and you reminded yourself to pick up those towel socks when you opened the closet next to your bathroom door, skimming its contents for a large towel. You picked up your objective items, tugging the towel over your lower arm and gripping the socks in the other before turning to the living room. You pushed at the panda hood with the back of your wrist until it feel off your head, letting your steamed scalp breathe for a change. The hood had done an excellent job at protecting you from the rain, but now that you were indoors it just felt stuffy.

“Do you want to – Why are you naked?” you blurted out after rounding the corner and seeing your personal carrier simply clad in a pair of boxers, sitting back on your couch and tugging your previously neatly folded blanket over his legs. The kind thought of offering him a hot shower to warm up after being drenched in icy cold raid flew out of your head and instead was replaced with confusion as to why exactly you had let him in again.

He stopped to turn back to you and winked with a cocky smirk, to which you just exhaled tiredly and pinched the bridge of your nose.

“My clothes are wet. You wouldn’t want me to get sick now, would you? Oi!” he rebelled at the towel that was harshly tossed over his head, the seductive act he had tried putting on now pushed aside as irritation settled in. He raised his hands to pull fuzzy cloth off, but you slapped them away.

Yup, you should have definitely stayed in bed and just ignored him.

“Shush.” you cut off his attempt to pull away, bringing him back by his shoulders and planted your hands over his scalp, rubbing away the wetness from his hair. He settled down after you pushed away his flailing arms again, ending another hopeless try at screwing you off, smiling down at his still form like a loving mom hovering over her bratty little son after he had been playing in the rain all day.

 “You big baby.” you snickered and massaged his head until the fabric under your fingers dampened and then pulled it back, letting it slide over his shoulders and ignoring the childish growl you received when you freed your victim of your helpful torture.

In your eyes he really was a kid, always needing help, starving or just being plain out salty and in need of an ear, which would listen to him complain until he cooled off. You, a newly self-proclaimed mother, were stuck dealing with those aspects of him and to this day you still didn’t know how events had twisted so specifically to have you end up in this position.

You filled a tea kettle halfway before setting it on the stove and flipping it on, turning your head ever so lightly for your ear to face that TV and confirm that it was turned on before you heard the silver haired moron start shuffling on your couch, most likely tugging the blanket closer.

Once you filled a plate with curry and a few balls of rice, you left it to heat up in the microwave and leaned against the counter before lifting yourself up with a bit too much difficulty and sitting down, proceeding to pull on your socks.

“Much better.” you though while flexing your toes, relishing in how fast the blood was coming back to them while the stiffness was fading away.

“I made the curry spicy this time, I hope you don’t mind.” you twisted around, upper body facing your guest, expecting a reply.

“Doesn’t matter.” Garou answered simply, cracking open an eye in your direction before nuzzling back into the arms he had rested behind his head “I’ll eat anything.”

You slid off the counter when a distinct ding emitted from the microwave and retrieved the now steaming plate before laying a pair of chopsticks over the food. The man sat up instantly when the aromatic water vapor reached his sharp nose and dug into his dinner with inhuman ferocity as soon as you set the plate in front of him.  You giggled at the way he devoured his meal in a near crazed state, waving off the dog-like gurgling noise that came off him at your innocent observing.

Somehow, Garou always kept calm while you either heated up food or cooked, hiding his hunger so well that sometimes you wondered if he even wanted to eat and wasn’t turning you down because it was a free dish. However, those doubts were discarded as soon as food came into hands reach of him and suddenly he evolved into a near death animal that hadn’t seen a meal in ages. In some way, it brought you joy to see someone enjoying your cooking so much, the reason as to why you had actually started preparing more filling and complex meals were based on that fact. Usually, you would whip up something fast to sate your growling stomach and be done with it, but lately you found yourself taking your time with your food. A part of you was proud by the change, remembering how your mother would praise you for the small things you did in the kitchen as a little girl, telling you that you could become a chef one day if you wished. Of course, it had been the natural motherly thing to do, but her words had stuck with you as you aged and that childish fantasy was starting to come back to life. You didn’t want to become a chef, but seeing someone visibly express delight towards your meals was heartwarming.

 The whistling of the kettle brought you back to reality and you turned off the stove before pouring the hot water in a plain black mug and lidding it with a small tea cup plate, but not before dunking a tea bag inside. After filling a glass of water, you picked up your tea and settled down on the couch, leaving the drinks on the table and pulling the discarded end of the blanket over your legs.

A powerful sneeze had you leaning forward and covering your lower face with your arm before sniffing a few times and tugging a tissue out of the box that was sitting next to the remote. With a throaty sigh you wiped away the reddened tip of your nose and fell back into the sofa, tissue left on the armrest, close by in case you were to sneeze again.

“How long have you been like this?” Garou asked and pushed away the now empty plate, then slid the blanket off him and started wrapping it around you neatly.

“Hey, no! Don’t. I’m good like this.” you protested, trying to pull away and return his side of the warm covers. Your hands grazed over his elbows, giving them a light jerk to get him to look up at you “I’m fine like this. I already warmed up.”

He stared you down, giving you a chance to reconsider, but when he saw you had already made up your mind he leaned away and let you toss the covers over him while you tried to ignore the fact that he was practically naked. Knowing your stubborn character, he didn’t really feel like fighting tonight. It had been a long week for him, he wanted his peace, and now that he had you welcoming him back again, it compelled him to enjoy the comfort of your home and company. He’d find a reason to fight, maybe as soon as tomorrow morning, the moment you woke up, but not now.

“Anyway, I’ve been sick for around a week now. It’s rather annoying, but I’m getting better, so no worries! I’ll be back in shape in no time.” you finally answered his question, having forgotten about it for a moment, and offered him a reassuring smile as your eyes tried to stay focused on his face and not drift off to the mass of muscles that were his arms and shoulders.

Garou had a naturally good body, the man had scored the grand prize from the genetic roulette, so you didn’t find it odd how comfortable he was showing himself to you. You had already seen him like this when you had first found him that fateful night and had had to undress him to tend to his wounds, but you had never been oblivious to his well-built form. Nowadays, with all the heroes and humanoid monsters running around and making the lives of civilians hell, it was common to spot good bodies all around so the whole hype over it had died down long ago. Still, being this close and able to touch your silver haired man-child’s toned stomach was definitely more pleasant than having to treat someone like Pig God.

You shuddered at the thought. He probably wouldn’t even fit through your front door…or your living room. The guy was massive!

The mug of tea was nurtured into your chest as you sunk in your spot a bit. Abrupt self-consciousness overwhelming you the more you compared your soft, average body to that of Garou. Maybe you would start jogging after you recovered completely.

You took a long sip of your drink, trying to wash away the negativity that was clouding your mind.

“How are your ribs?” you asked, your breath causing the evenness in which the steam was rising from your mug to suddenly disperse and change course.

“Fine.” he stated, lazy, lidded yellow orbs sliding horizontally until they landed on your cooped up form, blowing at your drink with the feeling of utter contentment radiating from you. For a moment, he felt himself wanting to reach out for you and steal away a little bit of the welcoming, friendly aura that always seemed to be circling around you “I recover faster than most people.”

“I wish, someday, you would tell me why that is.” you voiced your thought, knowing that he preferred to keep most of the information about his life a secret from you, either for your protection or his, you weren’t quite sure. However, you were fine with the way things were, you didn’t want to push him. As long as he made sure to not overstep your boundaries and stopped by to keep you company, you were more than happy to offer him your aid.

“W-wha…”

A shaky breath escaped you when he reached out for you and pulled your curled up form towards him until you were pressed against his side and his arm rested above your head, laid out on the backrest of the sofa. One of his legs was bent, his ankle resting over his other hip, causing his thigh to become a sort of fence, keeping the knees you had pulled into your chest there. You giggled at his awkward attempt at offering affection, ending up laughing when you heard him grumble at your mocking reaction.

“You’re quite patient tonight.” you noted, ducking under the blanket when he tried to cut you with a glare.

“My tolerance is high for now.” he hummed before a sickening grin darkened his features “Don’t worry, fluffy, I’ll catch up tomorrow.”

Attempt at intimidation – failed.

“Fine by me.” you shrugged and after dragging your panda hood over your head, you leaned against his collarbone, tea still secured between your fingers, sleepy eyes staring at the TV as the ticking of the clock sounded in the background, mixed with the storm and lively streets of the night the city.

~O~

When he awoke, the first thing Garou noted was the sweet smell of baked goods that hit him like a truck, then came the distant sizzling of something in the making and after he propped himself on his elbows, he spotted you behind the kitchen counter, a cup of coffee in your hands and still in the ridiculous panda costume as you watched the morning weather broadcast with visible interest.

“Morning, sleeping beauty.” you greeted with a wide grin, raising your cup at him.

How hadn’t he woken up sooner? He eyed the wall clock, distinguishing the numbers it showed through blurry eyes that he proceeded to rub and wipe away the sleep. It was still early morning, however, he wasn’t used to waking up after you, that had never happened before and it made him uncomfortable to think that you had been buzzing around, tending to chores and trying to fight off exhaustion while he was dead asleep on your couch. His hearing was usually sharpened while he rested, ready to alarm him of any sound that was close enough to indicate danger and he knew you were one loud little demon. So how had you not woken him up? How had he slept so deeply and for so long?

He felt lazy.

He tossed the blanket off him and stood up, flexing his shoulders, then cracked his neck loudly, lifted his arms up and stretched, causing a few satisfying pops to sound from his back.

“Hey, that’s mine!” you whined, but let him take the coffee from your hands and take a big swig after leaning back against the counter, still groggy and dizzy. You grumbled under your breath and turned to the steaming waffle maker to take out the now fully baked treat.

“Would you like me to leave again? Am I not welcome here anymore?”

You twitched in your spot when the questions reached your ears, then laid the waffle with the rest on the big plate, decorated with a bright floral theme, and faced the grumpy man that made sure to stand just right for you to have a full view of his body. You ignored his attempt at making you uncomfortable and instead dug your finger in his chest, greatly dissatisfied that he didn’t even flinch.

“You’re going to use that against me whenever I refuse to do your bidding, won’t you?”

The smug smirk and curt nod made you cross your arms and huff, which brought even more sadistic satisfaction to Garou. You were just too easy to tease.

“It’s like we’re already married.” you groaned, but made sure to quickly cover your mouth when you saw him choke on the coffee he had been casually sipping. You laughed loudly, clutching your sides while watching him wipe away the stray streams of black liquid seeping out of his mouth, all the while trying to calm down his coughing fit.

“Serves you right.” you offered him your own sadistic smirk as he struggled to breathe, after which you picked up a cooled off waffle and ripped it in half before dipping one tip in the opened jar of chocolate spread “By the way, your clothes are dry. You might want to put them back on.”

“Why?” he whispered in his best husky voice and leaned into you, so closely that you could feel his coffee-scented breath on your face “Am I making you uncomfortable?”

“No.” you answered plainly and pushed him away before biting into your sweet breakfast “I’m just sick of you spreading your man hormones everywhere. My place smells like I have a caged bull in heat hidden away somewhere. I know you’re a man and constantly horny, but, my guy, you need to lower your testosterone levels.”

“Are you telling me I stink?” he asked, the genuine surprise on his face catching you off guard. Was he serious? Of course he smelled, he was constantly somewhere, doing something, sweating his ass off and probably rarely had the opportunity of showering presented to him. He only needed to sweat once and he would start smelling like he had pulled an all-nighter at the club, fucking some cheap prostitute. Most of the time, though, he was dressed, so his musk wasn’t as sharp and it didn’t bother you as much as it was currently.

“Yes.” you nodded “Go shower.”

He sat the coffee down on the counter and threw his head back with a huff, hands on his hips, making him look even more ridiculously bratty.

“Pshhhh, fine. Whatever you say, mom.”

“Well, apparently I have to be your mom because you can’t take care of yourself!” you hissed at his back while he lazily strode to the bathroom, trying to melt his organs with your glare.

“Nag, nag, nag, nag, nag.” he mocked, arm raised as he imitated your babbling while snapping his thumb and the rest of his four fingers together.

“Oh that ungrateful twat…”

An amused laugh erupted from him after he caught the stray apple you had thrown at him.

He hadn’t even turned, just somehow knew where it would collide and grabbed it. It was rather impressive, you had to admit it to yourself, but never to him or you wouldn’t hear the end of it.

You watched him disappear inside your bathroom and shortly after the sound of the shower erupted from within. With a sigh, you rested your elbows on the counter and laid a hand on your neck, rubbing away the soreness that had occurred rather recently, but with your man-child needing attention, you had been forced to ignore it.

Making waffles, or any other sweet goodness that required baking always had you pouring in extra care into making it. You never were quite the good baker, somehow you ended up burning most of your ingredients, which resulted in you genuinely staying away from anything dough related.  However, you had woken up in a rather good mood this morning so you had decided to give yourself another chance and, surprisingly, everything had gone by the book. Grateful is what you were, because you hadn’t had waffles in a long time and you had been wondering what to combine your newly purchased chocolate spread with, aside from store-bought cookies and bread.

The day was forming out to be a pleasant one and you couldn’t help the small smile that graced your face as you had the rim of the coffee mug pressed against your bottom lip. The first sign was that you just felt a lot better health-wise than you did last night. The second sign was the odd predicament you had realized you were in when you had woken up, it had you cracking up just revisiting the memories.

Your face had been stuffed in the cushion you had apparently shared with Garou, which was soaked with saliva and after you had wiped your mouth it had dawned on you that you had been drooling during your sleep. One of your legs had been caged between his while the other you had wrapped around his lower stomach. Your right arm had been tucked in between your breasts and the other hung loosely off of the edge of the couch, completely numb. Garou had an arm plastered diagonally over your head, messy strand of hair sprawled all over his armpit and shoulder as his bicep had molded a hole in your cheek. His other arm laid at his side, hand gripping onto your knee, subconsciously preventing you from crushing his balls if your hip were to slip further down.

It had definitely been an interesting sight and if you hadn’t cared enough for him to let him sleep in, you would have burst into a fit of snorts the more you soaked in the ridiculousness of your sleeping position. To top it all off he had nuzzled into the hood of your onesie, sniffing it in his sleep and then gently starting to budge it with his nose.

Discarding the entertaining thoughts, you took the plate of waffles and the chocolate spread jar and left them on the coffee table, deciding now was a good time to set up breakfast because Gods knew that as soon as Garou finished eating, he would be out the window and off to do whatever the hell he did. Picking up the crumbled up blanket, you started folding it, then laid it on the backrest of the sofa before fluffing up the pancaked cushions.

Today was going to be a good day.

Chapter Text

You giggled at the haggard, annoyed look that had been thrown your way and continued to slurp away at the ice cold soft drink tucked safely in your hands.

“Oh come now, Bad. I’m sure school isn’t that tough. You’re just being a lazy runt.”

Zenko hid her wide smirk behind the cheeseburger she had chosen as her lunch, snorting and nearly choking on her food when her big brother slumped back in his chair with a desperate groan.

It was your day off so naturally you had planned to spend it home, tidy up a bit since Garou had the habit of leaving a mess behind him, cook up a nice fresh meal and maybe stop by the botanic shop to check if your boss needed help, even though she had repeatedly stated that she would be fine on her own. She still worried that you were recovering, but you had been feeling better than ever for the past few days. Your cold had finally subsided, letting the energy you had stored up during your days of doing nothing to break through and fuel you like a shot of adrenaline to the vein.

Your plans, however, had not gone exactly as you had expected because you had gotten a call pretty early in the morning while finishing your daily dose of caffeine and a high pitched, downright adorable voice had spoken up from the other end of the line.

Apparently, the great Metal Bat was failing miserable at multiple subjects in school and he needed to attend extra lessons without the right to refuse and it was on the same day he had promised to take Zenko to the mall, which had foiled her plans yet again. That was where you had stepped in, the kid had gone through her brother’s phone, scrolling down the list of numbers he had, looking for the nice friend King was always seen with whenever he wasn’t away battling monsters and when she had found your name she had instantly called. It had been so cute to listen to her whine and plead for you to come along and pick her up because her brother was a douche and then Metal Bat’s voice sounding somewhere in the distance before a fight broke loose between them and the phone was repeatedly snatched from one pair of hands and then back while you were still on the line. What had been a sleepy expression on your face had evolved into a closed eyed, grinning joker face while you had listened in on the ruckus happening over the phone, occasionally placing your hand over the speaker to let out a rusty laugh.

You had cut off Bad’s attempt at an apology, agreeing to babysit his little sister while he was away. It wasn’t your first time and Zenko was easy to care for, being rather mature for her age, so you saw no problem in lending a helping hand especially since your day had been destined to be a rather boring and uneventful one. With that, you had bid your goodbyes, informing both of them that you would be over in around an hour or two and after chugging down what little coffee was left at the bottom of your mug, you had stood up to get dressed.

It had been a sunny, crisp morning. The smell of freshly cut grass and vehicle fuel had you buzzing in spot once you had left the confinements of your apartment building and headed straight for the metro.

Upon arrival, you had almost laughed after spotting the pair standing outside their home, Bad nervously tugging at his tight red blouse while Zenko had been swinging back and forth on the soles of her shoes. She had waved at you as soon her big black eyes had found you amongst the skittish morning crowd and you had returned her gest with a kind smile. She had let go of her brother’s hand before readjusting her backpack and had stepped closer to you, overexcited that her emergency plan had worked. You had given her head a gentle pat, making sure not to ruin all the work she had put into straightening it and had greeted Bad with a friendly good morning before relieving him of his sibling.

A particular recollection had you beaming, forgetting all about the current environment you were in and the other two occupied seats on your table.

“There you go.” you had grinned after straightening Bad’s disheveled jacket, suppressing a laugh at the embarrassed blush that had crept up on his face and the mumbled out appreciation, and had given him a forceful pat on the back, nudging him forward “Now go study, you slacker.”

The morning had gone by in a blink after that, running around the mall with Zenko tightly holding onto your fingers with her small hand, pulling out inhuman strength from somewhere as she practically dragged you after her. One store had turned to ten and the soreness in your feet had become unbearable after basically sprinting up and down the floors, following after your little black eyed responsibility. A couple of bags hung from your arms when you had finally decided to settle down for lunch at a small burger booth. You had nearly collapsed in your seat, taking in a couple of deep breaths as your heart raced and giving yourself a pat on the shoulders for being able to keep up with the energetic girl sitting next to you, her nose stuffed in the menu. She had waved a waitress over and had given her order and when it had been your turn you had spat out the first thing that came to mind. You had needed a fucking drink after that marathon.

Bad had found you shortly after you had occupied your current residence and had practically tossed his book bag over the shopping ones, cursing out a brief summary of how tedious his morning had went and then flicking his tongue, unimpressed at the reply you had given him.

“ ‘S not like I’m lazy.” the teen sighed while removing his jacket and flinging it over his chair before wiping away the beads of sweat that had formed on his forehead “I got stuff to do. Monsters ain’t gonna kill themselves, ya know.”

“I know that, Bad.” you offered him pitiful look and a comforting smile “But your teachers don’t. To them your education is important. I’m sure they mean well, try not to be so harsh on them.”

“Pfft!”

You shook your head with a giggle at his stubbornness.

“You’re a good guy and you’re not stupid, I know you aren’t.” you shrugged while twirling your drink around, chin rested in your palm “Just try to put in a little more effort.”

You casually glanced at Zenko after your little speech, having been staring in a random direction previously, raising a brow at how she was looking at her brother before she was possessed by a fit of snorts, which quickly evolved into shameless laughter as she pointed at him. You followed her near tears gaze and almost spat out the mouthful of soda you had been enjoying, covering your face and clearing your throat.

“You goof, you’re blushing!”

You took in a sharp breath through your nose and swallowed your drink, pretending you hadn’t heard the little girl’s remark, waving a hand before your face and then squeezing it into a fist to hide your smile. You made sure to look away when Bad’s ferocious eyes landed on you, but at that point it was obvious you had noticed it too.

Poor Bad didn’t know how to take an honest compliment from a girl. That was…surprising.

“Am not!” he protested and leaned forward to face his sister, palms planted sternly on the table, keeping your presence away from what was to become a full out brother-sister quarrel “It’s just hot!”

“Yes, you are!” she exclaimed and poked one of his reddened cheekbones, oblivious to the torture she was submitting him to “You like my babysitter! Stop lying!”

“No!” Bad yelled and pulled away from her as if stung, wide-eyed and breathing unevenly as his hands began to twitch with the near impossible to suppress urge to grab his bat and smash something “(Y/N), no. I-I don’t!” he turned to you stammering, watching you toppled over in your seat, practically choking from pushed back laughter as tears shone in the corners of your eyes “I mean, no! Wait! Yer cool, but I don’t – I like ya, but not that – Zenko!”

“Just admit it!”

“I can’t…I can’t!” you gasped out, face planted on the table while your hands clung to the back of your head, fingers tangled and nails dug into your scalp in an attempt to keep you as quiet as possible “I can’t!” you shook in your spot, jerking with every hiccuped snort that rushed past your teeth.

The accusations and defending explanations quieted down when the siblings noticed a couple of people turning to your table with either curious or disturbed eyes. Bad sat back in his chair with defiant huff and Zenko tended to your near collapsing form with all the innocent, childish care she could offer.

“Are you okay, (Y/N)?” a small hand landed on your shaking side, patting you compassionately, but you could hear the little girl’s wide grin through her question.

“Yeah.” you rouse up with a much needed inhale, then breathed out slowly and wiped away your tears “I’m okay – “ your reply was cut short when you soaked in the S-Class hero in front of you – red-faced, eyes everywhere but on you, hiding behind the wrists supporting his sweat covered forehead and murmuring venomously to himself.

And there you were again, laughing with your face intimately close with the surface of the table.

“O! What’s so funny?”

“Demon Cyborg!”

Your recognition of the familiar voice behind you was affirmed correct once Zenko exclaimed the famous nickname. You wordlessly waved for Saitama and Genos to sit down while you were still face planted in the table, a hand to your stomach as painful giggles still jutted out of you. You heard the chairs screech against the tiled floor and finally lifted your head, teary eyes and all.

“Glad you made it.” you coughed out and took a sip of your drink, doing your best to stay calm at least until you sated your thirst.

During one of your waits next to Zenko’s changing booth, you had decided to ring up Genos and ask if his master wanted to have lunch at the mall. With a bit of reluctance, Saitama had agreed and given roughly the time they would arrive before hanging up. Typical baldy didn’t want to spend money, but he needed his weekly dose of socialization and you were just the person to help with that.

You hadn’t expected that Bad and your dorky duo would cross paths, thinking that he would have already picked up his sister by now. He had shown up for her, but he had decided to relax a bit before taking her home. You hoped it wasn’t much of a problem for him that you had invited company, well, you had hoped until the blushing incident happened. Now you were sure that he would have loved to avoid more people joining in on the fun.

“So why were you laughing so hard?” the baldy asked after greeting your companions and proceeding to boredly flip through the menu.

“My brother has a crush on her.” Zenko sneered while biting down on her burger, not even blinking in case she missed the color shade of his face intensify.

“Ah! Really?” Saitama tilted his head to the side and locked his thin brows together while eyeing the stressed out teen across from him “Hey, aren’t you Metal Bat?”

“Zenko…” Bad sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose in annoyance, contemplating whether to knock himself out with the bat resting against the side of his chair, or not “Ye’, I am.”

He had prayed that the little she-devil had already sated her hunger for his embarrassment and would let go of the topic. Well, apparently not.

He didn’t have a crush on you. He didn’t! You were older than him, for starters, and you weren’t even his type, not to mention that he barely ever saw you to even think about you in such a spotlight. He didn’t have time for relationships, there were too many skulls that needed bashing and school was kicking his ass. Plus, Zenko took up most of his free time! He received countless love letters daily and took no interest so why would he do so in someone he knew only formally?!

You were a friend that was willing to help him when the circumstances required it, not some cute girl that he hung out with because of personal interests.

However, it did make him feel fuzzy whenever you slicked back hair playfully or fixed up his clothes or whenever he failed to make it back home in time and found you sitting with your phone in hand, waiting for a call from either him or a random hospital that had taken him in for injuries. It also made him feel fuzzy whenever he came home to you and Zenko snoring on his couch with the TV turned on to a kid’s channel.

“For fuck’s sake, you dickhead!”

He was about ready to punch himself the more his thoughts started aiding what he was trying to root out of his head.

No! No crushes. No time for crushes, especially on someone that was completely out of his sphere of people for daily interactions. You were cute though…

“That’s it!”

“Come’on.” Bad stood from his chair abruptly and tugged at his sister’s shoulder “We gotta go.”

He picked up her shopping bags and flung them over his shoulder along with his bat and jacket.

“But I haven’t finished my food yet!” Zenko whined in her seat while lifting her burger for her brother to see.

“Take it with you, I paid already.” you winked at the puffing girl who’s expression instantly lightened up and she gave you a quick hug before hopping off her chair, burger in hand. She clasped her fingers around her big brother’s wrist and he looked at you briefly, giving you an awkward smile that just spoke to you about how much he wanted to get away.

“Thanks again for watchen’ over ‘er.”

“Any time, Bad.” you returned his smile, biting the inside of your cheek when he turned away sharply, refusing to demonstrate another blush intensification. You watched the guy practically drag his sister away, ignoring her continuous teasing about you as steam practically gushed out of his red ears. With a small smile and your head rested in your palm, you followed them until they completely vanished from your sight.

The age gap between you was tiny, but still Metal Bat seemed way too young compared to you, that was why he trusted you with Zenko. However, skimming over the circumstances now, you were stuck with a job and an unfinished college degree, having decided to start living on your own once you had finished high school and even moved cities. You didn’t have much of a choice when it came to mental maturity, you had to change giving the tougher living condition you would be facing. Still, you never missed a chance to let go of your more childish side, especially with the siblings, they were just too much fun.

Bad was a kind soul behind a layers of bad attitude and anger issues, which was why he had his sister to keep him in check whenever he went too far. She might be taking a lot of time off his hands, but in your eyes, he needed her more than she needed him, so you could only hope that they stayed tight knitted after both grew up. They were practically a younger brother and sister to you, it’s how you felt so you never missed a chance to gawk at their cuteness.

But truth be told, you really wished Zenko would find him a girlfriend before he completely lost it.

“What was that all about?”

You faced Saitama with a confused shrug and scratched the side of your face with a nervous laugh.

“I guess, he couldn’t handle the embarrassment. His sister packs quite a punch with her words.”

“Does he really like you, though?” the baldy asked, peeking behind the menu suspiciously like the detective he was not.

“Uhm, I don’t know.” you were honest, but when you took a few seconds to think back to the angry teen, you answered your own peaked curiosity “I don’t think so. Nah, he doesn’t, I’m too old.”

Now that you actually had the time to take a breather, you started soaking in your surroundings and you couldn’t help the peaceful feeling that was overcoming you.

Sun beamed inside the mall through the glass roof and the multiple windows scattered around, practically scorching the floor, but the cooling system of the building did a good job at keeping the temperatures bearable. Aside from the countless chattering people, there were multiple types of music sounding from inside the stores, along with the pleasant aroma of street food being prepared all around you. You were on the food floor, typical, but somehow it all contributed to paint this lively picture of humanity, making you think that your species wasn’t so bad after all. Sometimes. Rarely.

You tightened the knot on the messy bun hanging from the back of your head, a makeshift hairstyle you had chosen once the summer heat had become too much to handle, then punctured your lips open with the straw of your drink and sipped at its now less cold contents.

It was a pleasant day, you had to admit, even if Zenko had practically made you run a marathon while shopping.

“Oi, Genos! You’re burning up!”

You cocked and eyebrow at the cyborg that had stayed silent this entire time, watching Saitama try to pry the menu out of his hands as to not light it up.

“Are you okay?” you set your drink down and reached to touch him, pulling back sharply when your finger came in contact with his heated metal digits “Wow! Dude! Seriously, are you alright?”

You stuck your burnt finger in your mouth, a grimace of discomfort upon you as you licked the burnt area carefully.

“Yes.” the cyborg nodded while Saitama waved to him with his menu in a distressed manner, trying to cool him off “My apologies.” his eyes seemed to slightly widen upon realizing that you had burnt your finger upon touching him. He wrapped his now just below scalding hot hand around your wrist, tugging the digit out of your mouth and pressing his thumb over the reddened area. His fingers were already cold and you let out a relieved sigh at the cooling sensation.

“Thank you.” you flashed him a grateful smile “How did you cool off so quickly, though?”

“Yeah! And why were you melting hot in the first place? I swear if you blow up this mall – “

“ – I increased the performance of my cooling system.” Genos stared down at your covered finger “I’ve detected a possible malfunction in my baster systems. I will have them fixed as soon as possible, master.”

“I hope so. Can’t have you starting a fire at home.” Saitama gave him one last look of reassurance before re-opening the menu and leaning back.

 The cyborg till gave you an answer, but his mind seemed to be elsewhere, so you decided to leave it at that. Maybe he just didn’t feel like talking today.

He hadn’t meant to hurt you, not intentionally. His defenses had blown up when he had spotted you with Metal Bat and what appeared to be his younger sibling, sensing the hormonal misbalance surrounding your table and recognizing it as a threat. However, he did nothing further than stay on guard, his master looked oblivious and you seemed comfortable and enjoying your conversation with the two.

His body had been buzzing from the lack of action, causing an internal meltdown, but with his optics refusing to leave Metal Bat in case of any action considered threatening to you, so instead of acting upon the flashing red warnings popping up before him he had just stood silently, observing. However, no threat appeared, the teen was more than friendly towards you and his sister was pleased with your presence, bringing him to the conclusion that Genos could have simply suffered a technical error. Nothing of the sort had happened before, Doctor Kuseno was a master at his work and always tended with extra care when it came to his adopted cyborg. It wasn’t for a miscalculation able to cause so much disbalance in his system to have slipped by the old scientist.

Genos…didn’t understand.

He definitely needed a check-up after this. There had to be something Doctor Kuseno could do.

The poor cyborg would use every logical reason he could think of as the explanation for his uncharacteristic behavior, refusing to acknowledge the simplicity of the situation that was practically going to poke his eyes out.

The Demon Cyborg was jealous.

It would reduce him back to a plain, out of control teenager that thought something was his if he liked it, he refused to do that, he was no brat, he was no ordinary person. The emotions steering inside the human heart, beating under metal plates, were hard to deal with while denied. If he so much as accepted them it would be impossible to control them and suppress them. Jealousy for another man he didn’t know over a dear friend of him and his master was not permitted.

He was not jealous!

“Say (Y/N), have you heard of the rumors going around?” Saitama closed his menu upon the waitress’ arrival, giving his order, then turned back to you while scratching his nose “There’s a hero hunter running around beating up heroes.”

“What? Really?” you straightened up in your seat, eyebrows raised in surprise and prepared to listen in on the gossip “A hero hunter? Never heard of that one before.”

Great, now not only did you have to deal with the everyday pest that were monster, but the few people actually capable enough to beat them back into the holes they crawled out of had a hunter on their asses.

“He’s hospitalized multiple heroes of various ranks.” Genos informed, breaking the heavy thoughts had been occupying him “We’re yet to receive a definitive description considering all the heroes he defeated are currently unconscious.”

“I wonder what he looks like…” the baldy voiced his thought with a hand on his chin.

“Huh…Guess this planet really is going to hell.” you hadn’t meant for your words to sound so sinister, but by the responding expression you got, it seemed that’s how it had come across. You laughed awkwardly, waving off the sudden gloom that had slammed onto your table “Sorry. That was a bit dull, but things have been spiraling down lately. Whenever I turn on the news it’s the same thing every time. Monsters this and monsters that…It’s getting repetitive.”

“Why don’t you become a hero then? I’m sure you’ll be able to kick some ass.” Satama’s question made you smile sadly to yourself.

“I know I will, but if I do I’ll become like you.” you murmured, reminding yourself why you had chosen a boring life over that of an aspiring hero, ready to take on the world “I like having emotions.”

The silence that followed had you feeling giddy in your chair, but you didn’t want to lie, not about this. This was the sole reason why you were in your current situation, a normal civilian, having a job, tending to a home you had earned by yourself and just tackling everyday problems. It’s not that you couldn’t become a hero, you just didn’t want to, not after realizing what it had done to Saitama and his state of being.

He was a shell, a ghost of what he once used to be. At least that’s what he kept telling you. He had paid the ultimate price – becoming a hero for fun, his life goal, but feeling no satisfaction from it.

You didn’t want to be like him…

You clung to every bit of emotion that you had ever felt, from painful to sensational and they all meant something to you, they all brought memories and you couldn’t let go of those.

You were no hero and you would never become one.

“Eh?! Why are the prices here so high! I thought I triple-checked! Waitress!”

Well, he hadn’t lost all of his emotions. Just a big part of them.

Chapter Text

The news, of course the news were on TV again, you couldn’t enjoy a single show without it being interrupted by the “breaking news”, but you could only scoff at the predicament and continue folding the dried laundry you had scattered around your couch. Monster reports were so common, but you hadn’t heard anything about the hero hunter Saitama had mentioned, which had you wondering why. If he had hospitalized multiple heroes why wasn’t anybody talking about it? You almost laughed at the idea that popped in your head, but the more it lingered the more solid it became.

Maybe the Hero Association was keeping the guy a secret as to not cause even more panic among the people and Saitama had most likely gotten his information from King or Genos since they were S-Class heroes and had access to data restricted to most. It made sense. Or it was all just a bunch of crap, a rumor among heroes. In any case, until the hero hunter’s alleged victims woke up there was no solemn proof that he even existed.

Why were you even stressing over this so much?

Your eyes lifted to the glass balcony door when the sky flashed in an apocalyptic white color, skimming over the rows of flowers you had stationed there. You weren’t about to risk the rain drowning them after the work you had put in to restore them.

They were tucked away from the edge of your balcony and the unforgiving storm couldn’t reach them, letting them continue their slow recovery process. A few new leaves were poking out here and there along the stems, indicating their health and giving you a feeling of accomplishment that you had been able to nurture them back to life. You were sure your boss would be just as pleased with the outcome of your work as you were. More plants more profit and you needed that to keep the store running.

If there wasn’t a lightning storm outside, the sun would instead be scorching everything within its reach, and if not that, the humidity would be unbearably dense. This summer was turning out to be complete hell.

You slumped on the now free sofa with a prolonged sigh of relief and pushed away the basket filled with folded laundry to the edge of the table. You’d take them back to the bedroom, but first, there was a glass of ice tea on the coffee table which required your attention.

You combed a hand through the messy hair you had tied back to keep out of your face and then gave your right eye a good rub. It came as a surprise that you were able to clean up and do the laundry before sundown, picking up on chores that you had been avoiding and instead procrastinating. The apartment almost twinkled with the amount of cleaning product you had used up and the full vacuum that needed a cleanup before its next use.

“Job well done.” you smiled to yourself while sipping away at your tea, legs stretched beneath the table and slippers discarded next to them to let your tired out feet breathe. You were sure that if you let yourself go completely you would slide off the sofa and gather in a puddle on the floor.

“Oh for the love of – “ you instinctively faced the door when you heard a hurried knock come from outside, followed by shushed arguing and then a much more solemn slam that had you scrunching your eyebrows together in concern. You slid on your slippers and set your tea down before standing up and heading for the door to peek through the peephole, a downright displeased look upon you as soon as you saw who had disturbed your resting time.

“I have a doorbell. Next time you can use it instead of trying to bust down my door.” you stated blatantly after unlocking and opening the door only to face a drenched silver haired dork trying to squeeze the rain from the edge of his turtleneck “Who’s this?” you ask, leaning into the hallway to spot a little boy, clutching onto a hero guide and practically trembling in place. Your eyes softened at the sight of him, a small smile lifting the corners of your mouth when the boy glanced at you, unintentionally meeting your gaze, and hurriedly looked down after flinching like a terrified rabbit.

“It’s pouring outside.” Garou grumbled and spared the boy a pissed glare, who retaliated back and then curled up further into himself, if that was even possible “I had to bring the brat with me.”

“What about his parents?” you leaned against your door frame, still keeping your guests outside. It’s not that you didn’t want to let them in, but welcoming a random child in your home without the knowledge of his parents didn’t sit right with you. If his folks found out he was cooped up in some stranger’s apartment you might have your ass handed back to you after your home got an unexpected visit from the authorities. You weren’t about to get tagged as a child kidnapper or pedophile just because Garou had decided to become a good person and pick up a kid from the street.

“I…uhm – My mom and dad went out for dinner and – “ the kid spoke up, grabbing your attention. He hugged the hero guide harder, his nails digging into the covers as a way of keeping his stance while he explained “ – I forgot my keys at home and now I can’t go home. And I have to wait for them to get home first. Can I please stay until it stops raining? My book is gonna fall apart…”

With a nod to yourself and a plain defeated exhale you stepped away from the door and motioned for them to come in. Garou stormed in with a grumble and the boy hurried soon after, picking up speed just as he was passing you.

“Finally.”

You waved off the man-child’s statement and headed for the closet to retrieve towels for your guests while letting your hair loose and ruffling it.

“Brat, where’re you going?”

You glanced back and snickered at the awkward boy that had started following you as soon as you had moved, confused as what to do now that he was in a stranger’s home. He stepped back when you turned to face him and looked down with a nervous whimper, to which you had to bite the tip of your thumb not to laugh.

“You don’t need to follow me around.” you said softly while kneeling down “Make yourself comfortable in the living room and I’ll get you a towel to dry off, okay?”

He nodded reluctantly and scurried off to where Garou was already stretching out and enjoying your ice tea, making sure to catch your eyes while he did so. You stuck out your tongue at him, earning yourself a knowing smirk and a daring wink. You refrained from planting your middle finger in his face, preferring to keep the kid out of your little quarrel, so instead you ignored the teasing and went to get towels.

You grabbed a pair of old shorts and a hoodie, as well, unable to suppress the worry that had crept up on you from the thought of the boy getting sick because of his soggy attire. It sounded weird in your head to lend clothes to a random child, but it was Garou that had brought him over and you somewhat trusted his judgement. Righteousness won over paranoia and the clothes were secured under your armpit before you could even process your actions.

“Oi!” your white haired child barked at the towel thrown at his head while you laid the clothes on the coffee table, in front of the boy who had sat himself on a small stool and was blowing at his hero guide while flipping through the pages. The book was drenched, but hopefully it wouldn’t be completely ruined when it dried.

“What’s your name?” you asked while sitting yourself next to an irritated Garou, who wiped away at his hair with unneeded force. With a sigh, you slapped his hands away and gently started to soak out the water from his wild locks as he leaned back, more than happy to let you do the hard work while he relaxed.

“I’m Tareo.” the boy gave you a shy smile while tugging at the towel from beneath the clothes and laying it over his head, imitating the movement of your hands in an attempt to dry his own hair “It’s nice to meet you Miss.”

“Oh so she’s a Miss and I’m an old man.” you heard a hissy complaint come from under the towel, followed by a groan “Talk about discrimination.”

“Shush!” you scolded and forcedly raked your nails over Garou’s scalp, making him flinch before he silently settled down. You continued soaking the water from his hair, attention averted back to Tareo until a scarred hand was blindly laid over yours, rough fingers tracing your own before reaching your nails and trying to sink them back into the towel. You turned your head to the side, face stuffed in your shoulder to muffle the rupture of giggles tingling in your throat before you coughed to push them back “That’s a nice name. I’m (Y/N), nice to meet you too, Tareo.” you game him a friendly smile while scratching away at Garou’s scalp, noting how he had visibly slumped back and had actually stayed quiet. He almost appeared dazed when you finally pulled the towel off his head and flung it over your shoulder.

“Uhm, what are these for?”

“For you.” you answered after the boy had pointed towards the clothes “They might be a little big for you, but they’ll keep you warm until yours dry. I can’t have you going home sick and worrying your parents.” you nudged your head at the corridor leading to your bedroom before tossing the wet towel on the dryer you were yet to fold and put away “Bathroom is that way.”

“Thanks!” Tareo exclaimed and hopped off his stool, clothes in his arms as he trotted to where you had instructed.

You laid a hand on Garou’s shoulder after making sure the boy was out of the room and smiled cheekily.

“You okay, big guy? You seem out of it.”

He nodded softly, seemingly pulled back into reality by your words before flinging an arm over the backrest of your sofa and leaning his head back, eyes slowly closing shut as he let exhausting finally run its course through him. You rested the back of your head against his lower arm, fingers intertwined around your knee after you pulled it against your chest, a small but significant smile gracing your face.

“So you’re not getting naked to show off your abs this time.” you grinned after feeling the arm behind you shift “I mean…so that you don’t get sick.”

You cracked an eye open to examine him after your remark and jumped away when you saw his face a couple inches from your, golden eyes staring right into your soul.

“I will in your bedroom tonight…” he whispered, a dark grin forming on his face and giving his features a grim twist, his irises widening in delight from the embarrassed hue of pink that had plastered itself on your cheeks. You were about ready to slap him off the couch, but he pulled away and crossed his legs with a victorious laugh “I gotta stay decent for the brat. For now.”

“So he’s a friend of yours.” it warmed your chest to know that Garou actually had someone else aside from you, even if it was a child. Kids had a way with people, they spoke their mind and weren’t afraid to open up to others, making them a perfect example of how adults should act. Tareo probably did more good to your man-child than you did, emotionally at least “I’m happy you made a friend.”

“He’s not a friend.” he spat back, as if insulted by your conclusion “Just a pain in my ass that I can’t get rid of.”

“Guess, that’s another way to put it.” you giggled and stood from the couch, deciding to at least make a drink for Tareo since he was going to be staying a while and another for Garou because he would whine your ears off if you so much as thought of neglecting him.

You picked up the now empty glass of what used to be your ice tea, the ice cubes inside clinking, and made sure to focus as much venom as you could into the glare you threw at the other occupant of the couch.

After adding a few more cubes, you opened the fridge, taking out a carton of milk, chocolate and your beloved tea, just as you heard the door to your bathroom open and Tareo walk out. You set the ingredients on the counter and pulled out a small pot from the drawers under the sink before filling it with milk and setting it on the stove. You unwrapped the chocolate bar after breaking it into pieces and popped one in your mouth with a beaming look, savoring its sweetness.

“What the hell did you give him to wear?”

Your eyes rouse from aimlessly looking at the varieties of spices and goods you had laid out on your counter to Garou’s dumbfounded expression and then to Tareo, who stood there with no idea where that question had come from.

“I think he looks adorable.” you snickered before hiding your wide smile with the back of your hand.

“He looks like an eggplant.” Garou corrected you and turned away while biting his bottom lip when the boy looked at him in question, the hand he had on the backrest of your couch clenched in a fist.

The lime green and dark purple hoodie you had offered Tareo reached just above his knees and the sleeves were so long they were practically flapping around him and you couldn’t help but laugh under your breath at how adorable he looked. Not to mention how he would subconsciously tug the hem of the shorts to prevent them from falling. You waved your hand at the boy with a lighthearted grin, dismissing the lazy ass on your couch that was doing a bad job as keeping his mocking laugh to himself.

“Don’t mind him, Tareo.”

“Is it okay if I leave my clothes here?” he asked while spreading his T-shirt out on the dryer and deciding to take your advice, ignoring the white haired man.

“Yeah, that’s good.” you nodded and picked up the chocolate before tossing it inside the pan, making sure to save a couple of pieces for later “Would you like some hot chocolate to warm you up faster?”

“Yeah!” his eyes glinted at your proposition and he nearly ran to you when you beckoned for him to come closer.

You tucked a piece of chocolate in his hand and shewed him away before retrieving a large soup spoon and slowly starting to steer the steaming milk after turning off the stove.

It came to you as a shock how trusting and open Tareo was with you considering you had just met, the boy had practically accepted you as a friend already, leaning strongly on Garou’s level of trust in you. His shyness was obvious, but that was heavily based on his character seeing as by his looks, he probably wasn’t the most popular kid around, which forced him to close off to many kids his age. That probably played an impact on his interactions with people in general and was the main cause why he stuttered from time to time and why he avoided looking you in the eyes. It was sad to meet a kid like him, it reminded you of yourself when you were little and how much your shyness had made you suffer. A monster had been hiding behind every person you spoke to as a kid, restricting your vocabulary and making you seem like a complete weirdo that had a hard time making friends.

As you glanced behind you to watch the two fight over the remote the truth caught up to you. They probably needed each other more than they realized and the realization why Garou had befriended Tareo specifically dawned on you. He saw himself in that boy.

Tareo’s face was smushed against one of Garou’s wide open palms while he held the remote above his head, a grimace on his face at how stubborn the boy was – arms outstretched and flinging around, blindly looking for the remote as he had practically leaned the entirety of his body weight on the hand that was supporting him.

Speaking of befriending kids, it wasn’t enough that you had to deal with one on an almost daily basis, but now you had two of them fighting in your living room. You silently cried to yourself, two fingers pressed against either side of the bridge of your nose while you tried to figure out why your apartment was becoming a daycare center for children.

Your lips clamped around the edge of a piece of chocolate before you filled a large mug with the freshly made creamy drink and carefully made your way to the sofa, making sure you didn’t let even a drop spill on the carpet you had been cleaning all morning. You set the mug in front of Tareo’s seat, immediately redirecting his attention away from the remote and ending the fight before they started pulling at each other’s hair.

“Just let ‘em have the damn remote, you big baby.” you pleaded softly after tilting Garou’s head back and letting him bite down on the chocolate piece before pulling it out of your mouth. It took him a moment to realize what you had done, chocolate hanging out of his mouth as he gazed up at you with wide eyes.

You hadn’t given it much thought, just did it because it felt like something natural, but by the awestruck expression you were getting, the reassurance in your head quickly dispersed.

You felt long coarse fingers land on where your palms where pressed against the center of a warm chest and you nearly flinched away from the contact. His hand tugged you down ever so slowly, as if not to break the hypnotic moment that had engulfed both of you and you followed with no resistance. When the tip of the chocolate pressed against your lips, however, you blinked, breaking the influence of the glowing yellow orbs and pulled away, silently sharing the weight of regret that was written in the shaky exhale Garou had let pass by his parted mouth.

“So what are we watching, Tareo?” you gave yourself a mental slap to the face, in reality only shaking your head, hoping that you would shake off the feelings that had made your pulse skyrocket. While the whole slow motion movie-worthy moment had been happening, Tareo had been enjoying his drink, completely oblivious to the tension that had thickened the air in the room. You were so grateful for that, you didn’t want to have to explain anything to the kid considering you had no idea what the fuck had just happened.

You forced your wobbly legs to return you to the kitchen and with a shaky hand refilled your glass of ice with refreshing green tea, thinking that it might help calm you down before your heart popped out of your ribcage.

“It’s like…a history show for heroes.” the boy explained with visible excitement while hastily flipping through the channels, searching for what was to be your entertainment for the night “Every week they tell the story of how a hero become a hero and this week it’s Lightning Genji’s turn! He’s my favorite hero! Hey that’s mine!”

You looked to the sofa, seeing a suddenly very upset Tareo watching his precious drink being devoured by an unfazed Garou who had his eyes glued to the TV screen, refusing to move them anywhere else in case your gazes met accidentally.

“Doesn’t the hero guide already explain their past?” you asked while pouring what was left of the hot chocolate in another mug and wrapping trembling fingers around the handle, reminding yourself to take your tea as well once you were done. You took the pin off the bag of marshmallows you had stored away in a fruit basket that was used for anything but actual fruit and dunked a few in the still steaming drink.

“Yeah, but it’s a lot more fun to watch it animated instead of just reading it.” Tareo grinned, instantly grabbing the second mug of chocolate you placed in front of him before picking up one of the soft treats littered on top and stuffing it in his mouth.

Yellow eyes connected to the new drink, more specifically the marshmallows it had before turning back to the TV, irritation practically seeping out of them like poisonous waterfalls.

“That’s what you get for stealing his drink.” you nagged while sitting down as far away from Garou as possible and taking a much needed sip from your tea “Do you want to sit on the couch with us, Tareo? I’m guessing that stools aren’t very comfortable. Even I don’t sit on them, to be honest.”

“It’s okay.” the boy answered while setting down the remote and turning to you with what looked like a smidge of embarrassment “I don’t want to come between you guys.”

“What?!” you yelped and repeatedly hit your chest, trying to cough out the tea that had somehow gotten stuck in your throat and snorting when you noticed Garou twitch at the boy’s words.

“Aren’t you the old man’s girlfriend?” Tareo tilted his head to the side, his innocence making you grin despite nearly choking to death “Couples are supposed to sit together, right?”

“We’re not a couple, brat.” Garou practically snarled and you slapped him on the shoulder in warning, but nodded along with his statement.

“I’m just a good friend of his.”

“But – “ his eyes darted between you two, unibrow raised in utter confusion “ – But you act just like my parents!”

You wiped a thumb over the droplets that were formed on the outside of your glass, gaze low and focused on the liquid contents within. What were you supposed to tell him now?

“Just sit down and watch your stupid show.” Garou grumbled, thankfully breaking the unsettling silence and shifted closer to you to make room for the boy who nestled down next to him with his mug.

“Tareo, do your parents know where you are?” you questioned out of the blue and glanced at him over Garou’s chest.

“Yeah, I told them I was staying at a friend when the old man said we could stay here until the rain stopped.” the boy nodded and wiped the chocolate off his upper lip “They said it’s okay and that they’d call after they got home, but they haven’t yet.”

“Don’t worry then.” you offered him a friendly smile “I’ll call a taxi for you when they do so you’ll be home in no time.”

“You’re so cool, (Y/N)…”

You giggled at the sudden complement and leaned back as the show started, the only noise aside from the TV being Tareo sipping on his drink from time to time and the rain beating against the windows.

When you felt something press against your shoulder you stiffened and jerked your head to check, your brain going into panic mode at the thought of a bug crawling up your arm. To your relief, you faced a pale hand wrapping around your exposed skin before you were silently pulled against a hard body. You dared to look up, watching Garou tear his eyes off the kids show and gaze down at you, lowered eyelids indicating his contentment.

He didn’t say anything, he didn’t need to, it would have ruined the moment.

You nuzzled into the side of his chest, hesitant at first, until he brought you closer and closed his arm around your back and shoulders. You inhaled slowly, taking in his scent as your eyes blinked shut, letting you relax as a dull heartbeat thumped under your ear.

Chapter Text

It was past midnight when the doors to the cinema reopened and a crowd of people emerged from within, you and King being a part of it. It always made you snort whenever someone recognized him and asked for a picture or an autograph and you were left to stand there, feeding off of your friend’s discomfort. He was too polite to say no even though he was still shy about his fans, despite them being an almost daily occurrence for years now.

King had intentionally pulled his hood over his head, trying to sustain his identity when you were out of the dark safety of the cinema and into the spotlight of the mall. Your arms were locked together, each hand in its owner’s respective pocket as you made your way to the escalator. Despite the late hour, the floors was still bustling with people and you could feel the blonde next to you tense at the realization.

“Chill, my man.” you said in a hushed tone while leaning your head against his upper arm “We’ll be fine.”

It astonished you how the seemingly mature man turned into a completely different person when he was around people. The jokes and teases he would toss your way were nowhere to be found and the genuinely happy smile he bore was hidden behind a stoic expression, letting civilians continue to believe in his made up hero persona. No wonder people were always confused and came to you asking how you and the tall blonde were such good friends, practically inseparable, when he was such a silent and brooding type while you were the exact opposite. They just didn’t know him. Even Saitama had a long way to walk before his presence would become comfortable enough for King to let go and be himself.

It was even more of a fuss when there was a monster attack somewhere near you two whenever you went out. King would instantly cover himself up and make an opposite turn before proceeding to literally drag you back with him, avoiding conflict as soon as it appeared. You could only laugh at his instant reaction and follow along, keeping a low profile until you were safe and a good distance away from the attack. King was no hero, but people didn’t know that, only you had, before Saitama had found out as well, and that made you the burden bearer of it all.

You had had to calm down the blonde on multiple occasions after a monster had struck, patting him on the back and soothing his rampant heartbeat with kind words. It wasn’t his fault he ended up lucky, stealing the spotlight from other heroes, he hadn’t wanted the position he had gotten, but he had went along with it and it honestly wasn’t your place to tell him it was wrong. Mostly any other person in his position would have done the same thing, it might not have been the best decision to make, but things had just happened that way and until King was ready to admit his faulty and leave the Hero Association you weren’t going to pester him about it.

Once you had reached the base floor of the mall, the tall blonde’s step had increased and considering your height difference, you found it a bit difficult to keep up, but managed. Multiple stores were closing for the night, you noticed while slurping away at your soda and subconsciously starting to chew on the end of the straw in your mouth. You had had the idea of grabbing something quick to eat, something filling as the popcorn from the cinema hadn’t done you justice and you had decided to skip dinner and instead spend a bit more time with King. Bad idea, all the food booths were closed.

Your stomach growled, whether it was from the large amount of junk food and fizzy drink you had consumed during the movie or simply because of hunger, either way you sunk back in your hood in embarrassment.

“You hungry?”

You looked up at the blonde who was peeking at you from under his hood, powerless against the wide smile that lit up your face whenever your eyes met.

“Yeah, kinda.” you shook your head with a light laugh “But I’ll wait till I get home and whip up something fast. Don’t worry about it.”

“We can stop by somewhere, I don’t mind.” King suggested with a nonchalant shrug.

“Naah, I’m good. I think I spent enough money for one night.” you scoffed while passing through the sliding doors and exiting the mall.

The gush of chilly summer night breeze hit you as soon as you stepped onto the streets of D-city and you couldn’t help but take in a deep breath and close your eyes for a moment or two. It always brought you a sense of ease seeing the hordes of people buzzing around even at such a late hour, it made you feel safe in a way, and the countless flashing signs and commercial boards only contributed. There was something astonishing about the night life of the cities, the booming of club music, the night shift food stands and pavilions open mostly to drunk customers and the occasional husband fetching a snack for his pregnant wife. It was magical in a way.

“Alright.” King smirked knowingly at you and rubbed a large hand over your hooded head, ruffling your hair until a couple of strand fell over your eyes “I know you’ve been waiting for this moment. Let me have it.”

“Oh my God!” you groaned in desperation, then threw your empty soda cup in a random garbage bin you passed with visible annoyance “That movie was so baaad! Like, hello, give me my money back?”

The blonde chuckled and sloppily wrapped an around your neck, pulling you against him as you fumed, your eyes almost glowing with the fire you were letting run out of your mouth.

“I mean, every single movie either there’s a damsel in distress that somehow magically falls in love with the main character, or she’s just a stuck up bitch that still fucking falls in love with the main character. No!” you exclaimed, rampant hand gestures only solidifying your point and greatly entertaining your silent big-brother of a friend, who was already wiping away tears from his eyes “Love doesn’t work that way! Stop laughing at me!” you moaned and stomped your foot playfully, causing him to slap his knees before he bent forward, gasping for air.

“I’m sorry.” King choked out “I just – “ he suffered through a few dry coughs before straightening up and sniffing with a sigh “ – I love how passionate you get when it comes to criticizing movies.”

“Personal movie critic at your service.” you adjusted the hem of your leather jacket before giving your hood a good tug, then laughed at your own dorkiness. You might not be the brightest star out there, but you could at least make people laugh from time to time, that always made you feel better about yourself.

“To be fair, the movie was a bit overkill.” King stated and you dramatically gestured to him, earning yourself another chuckle.

“See? Exactly! Even you didn’t like it and you like everything.”

“Calm down, little drama queen.” the blonde’s arm tightened around you, trying to shush you despite knowing your feisty nature “I didn’t say it was terrible.”

You scoffed at the man trying to cover up his truthful opinion and nudged his ribs childishly with a murmur of complaints, but decided to let it go. Not like you could argue with him even if you wanted to, King was much wiser than you and he was just too damn sweet to have to suffer through your wrath.

“Speaking of love…” King began and spared you a glance, but was unable to get a good look at your face as the shadows of the night and the contrasting night lights did an excellent job at hiding it “What happened to that guy you told me about? The one you were attached to? You haven’t mentioned him in a while.”

“Oh, him…” you exhaled a small, meek breath, hoping that the blonde wouldn’t pick up the sudden softness that smoothed out the rasp in your voice. Your mind flew off, going to work as soon at the silver haired twat was mentioned “I’m not sure. I guess things are going good?” you shrugged, a bit confused of the whole Garou situation, but you did find solace in his presence so you assumed your relation was developing “I saw him again a couple days ago. He’s acting nicer, I guess. I mean, it might just be me, but I do enjoy his company more.”

“Glad to hear.” the blonde gave you a heavy pat on the back “Hopefully something comes out of all this and you get a boyfriend for a change.”

“You’re one to talk.” you hissed, but the wide grin on your face sabotaged the menacing act you were trying to put on “And I wasn’t even looking for someone. I’m good on my own. He just popped out of nowhere and wouldn’t leave me alone.”

“Denial is the first sign of love in the making.” King quoted what you would guess was one of the advising sentences on his favorite game’s loading screen, seeming proud that he was actually able to implement that specific line somewhere. Fucking lovable dork.

“Stop with those philosophy quotes already. Playing hero doesn’t work with me remember?” you snorted and readjusted the strap of your small backpack before flexing your shoulder “I know you too well, big man, you can’t hide that adorable shy character from me.”

The blonde could only flick his tongue at you in defeat, making you stifle a laugh as you held a fist before your mouth to hide your exposed pearly whites.

“We’ll see where this whole fiasco goes.” you mumbled, for once looking forward to the future events that were to unfold, and winked cheekily at the blonde “I’ll keep you updated.”  

The lazy pace you had been moving with came to a halt at a significant crossroad, this was where you split up and after you felt the arm around your shoulders slip away you stepped back.

“You want me to walk you home or will you be okay on your own?” you asked, hands stuffed in the pockets of your light, spring jacket, and shifted your weight from one foot to the other.

“I’ll be fine.” King offered you a reassuring smile “Don’t worry about it.”

A part of you knew that he was risking his own safety because he was aware you were starving and since you had declined his offer to grab something along the way, he wanted you to get home quicker and eat. It wasn’t a big deal, but you basked in the feeling of being babied, it was refreshing considering you played the mom role a lot more in recent times than you had ever before. King was practically the only one that hadn’t required your care and you found it funny how heroes that could take down monster ten times their size needed your assistance for mundane obstacles, but the ordinary man who couldn’t even tackle a thief did just fine on his own.

“Well. Good night then tall, dark and handsome.” you joked while waving your hand, back already turned to him as you slowly made your way home.

“G’night!” was hollered back at you and soon after King’s relaxed footsteps faded.

You blindly dug into the side pocket of your backpack, feeling around for the cable of your earbuds while waiting for the traffic light to blink red and the cars to stop. Smooth silicon connected with your fingers and you curled them around, hooking the item before fishing it out with a delighted breath.

“Bingo!”

You took out your cellphone from the back pocket of your jeans and plugged the headset in before untangling the earbuds and stuffing them in your ears. Stepping on the walkway shortly after it shone red, you unlocked your phone and started scrolling through the vast amount of songs you had collected over time. The playlist was memorized in your head so you only needed a quick skim over the names of the tunes while searching. You halted your thumb the moment your eyes linked with a particular title and you pressed play on the favored playlist before tucking your phone back in your pocket.

You looked around as the melody filled your ears, now seeing the world through a different lens, mind taken away by the music. It really was beautiful at night, the city resembled a superficial heaven, created by humans for humans. The grotesque beauty of it all felt like it was seeping through your skin and overwhelming your soul the more your eyes feasted upon bright colors and lingering shadows.

It was still cold at night, despite it being the middle of summer, you had actually thought it would rain tonight, hence why you had taken a jacket with you. However, the night sky was crystal clear and the stars twinkled brightly, as if trying to lure you to go to them once you had noticed their presence. Your chest felt light as your fingers twitched, about ready to reach out for the sky before your brain could process what was happening and stop them.

A cliché idea was suddenly born and you quickly got to work at picturing how it would unfold if you ever decided to excel it.

One of these nights you should take Garou to the roof of your building, maybe grab a couple drinks and a blanket and have him enjoy tranquility for a change. You doubted he ever stopped to look at the world surrounding him and actually open up to the glory of it all. He was a man on a mission, dedicated to a cause he was yet to share with you, but you were sure he didn’t have the time to walk around sightseeing during the day. You wanted to change that, or try to let him see things from your perspective and hopefully find something good in the mundane daily cycles.

The guy had a soft side, he had slipped up plenty of time for you to see it and when he had brought Tareo with him your suspicions were confirmed. He just needed a starry sky like tonight’s, a cold drink, a rooftop, a comfy blanket and a pair of headphones and you were almost certain he would at least find it relaxing for the body, even if he didn’t enjoy it much.

You made a mental sticky note in your head, saving the idea for the next time the grumpy white haired man-child stopped by.

It was when you stepped on an uneven part of the pavement and slipped, stumbling forward in an attempt to refrain from falling, that you were jerked back into reality. You hastily regained your footing with a relieved sigh, glad you hadn’t planted your face in the ground, and straightened your jacket to get back a piece of your composure.

After giving yourself a quick scold for not paying attention you readjusted the earbuds that had flung out of your ears, only pull them out a second later when you thought you picked up something over the music.

The alleyway you had picked to shorten your walk home was empty and silent, aside from the occasional buzz from a street lamp that needed a light bulb change. Your head tilted forward, eyebrows lowered in concentration, and you tucked your hair behind your ears and took your hood off, exposing them to the chill of the night as you listened for any sign of danger. Your eyes narrowed at the faint noise of something dribbling, like water trickling out of a punctured pipe, your head tilted to one side as you tried to distinguish where the sound was coming from and if it was accompanied by anything else that signaled for an upcoming threat.

The boom that followed had you jump out of your skin and instinctively cover your ears as you felt the earth beneath you vibrate from the shockwave. Your head averted to the source of the commotion, just around the corner of the alleyway and after you stuffed your headphones in your back pocket you bolted, holding onto the handle of your backpack as not to lose it. You stopped just at the edge of the corner, back pressed against the brick wall as you steadied your uneven breaths with a hand to your chest.

You dared to peak over the corner, expecting to see some low tier monster causing a scene out of boredom, although a part of you knew it had to be something a bit more dangerous than that. The shockwave you had felt came at a cost of power and not many monster held the strength as to cause such harm. You were on your toes, ready to burst into a sprint if the danger was lethal.

Your heart froze.

Your face twisted in horror at the bloody sight; you took in everything through wide eyes – heroes, scattered around like dead flies, still and gravely wounded. You couldn’t point out any of them, they were beaten to an unrecognizable state, each soaked in a pool of their own blood, you couldn’t even tell if they were breathing or not. The concrete was cracked, scattered around like puzzle pieces and water gushed out of multiple holes in the ground, mixing with the crimson red blood that was leaking out of the unmoving bodies. The deaf silence of the street terrorized your consciousness as you fought off the fear of being heard. The street lamps were bent and broken, leaving the illumination to the stars, which made sure to tint everything in nightmarish pallets. You bit down on your tongue hard enough to rupture it open, doing anything in your power to keep quiet, but as your heart went on a rampage and started thundering inside your chest you were positive he would be able to pick it up.

He, who stood in the middle of everything, like a grim reaper ready to take the souls of those fallen. Him, who was the only one on his feet, seeming to bask in the stomach-churning masterpiece he had created. Him, who loomed over his victims like a victorious predator after a successful hunt. Him, the hero hunter. Him!

Garou…

You hid back behind the corner, a hand lifting up to clamp over your mouth as the other held onto your stomach while you struggled to push back the bile in your throat. Eyesight blurred from freshly formed tears that silently slid down your ghostly white cheeks, running out of unblinking wide eyes, which stared ahead blankly. Comprehension failed, logic failed, your fucking brain failed, refusing to acknowledge what you had witnessed, labeling it an illusion, some sort of sick joke someone was trying to pull on you. Some other explanation had to be valid, any other explanation, just not this…

Now…it all made sense. He never told you why he was constantly injured, why he had no home nor family nor friends. He only came either late in the evening or in the dead of night, using the darkness as his cloak to hide from detection. He never told you where he went off to, never spoke a word about what caused his wounds and why he couldn’t stay for more than a night. He was on the run. He never carried anything with him aside from his attire, no ID card, wallet, keys, nothing that could even slightly deter towards identification.

All this time, you had been helping the hero hunter heal and get stronger. All those people that were probably beaten beyond recovery. Their state was your fault.

“You’re afraid…”

The sound of that voice made you flinch as an icy chill dashed up your spine and for a second you felt every bone in your body turn to jelly. A whimpered out exhale was the only sound that your throat was able to produce as you stared right through that familiar black turtleneck that was now ripped in multiple places. Your mind raced so fast it made you feel dizzy and you pressed yourself firmer against the wall for support, afraid that if you leaned away your knees would buckle.

“(Y/N)…”

You physically couldn’t say anything, your throat felt tight and it was already so damn difficult to breathe, it felt like you were going to pass out any moment if your heart didn’t burst till then.

“Do you fear me…”

You wheezed in a breath, instead of acknowledging his question focusing on the metallic taste in your mouth as blood seeped out of your bitten tongue, staining your palm and bottom lip whenever you timidly breathed out. Your backpack had slid off your back and was now slumped on the ground, but you really didn’t give a fuck about that right now.

“Are you deaf?” a bloodied hand gripped your chin and you couldn’t restrain the whimper that rattled your entire being. You failed to see the shock in his eyes at your actions and the way the menacing look shattered, giving way to one of concern and deep down, somewhere there, was hidden the feeling of hurt. Self-loath sparked in the pit of his stomach at the miserable sight he had caused you to become.

The fingers under your chin rouse, lifting your vision until it connected with dull yellow orbs, the flames that had been raging within them now dead.

“Are you afraid of me?”

It didn’t make any sense. He never hurt you, not once had he raised a hand at you without provocation and even when threatened, he hadn’t done anything to cause you pain. That night you had fought he had just left. He had never ever hurt you, never forced himself on you, never stepped over your boundaries or caused any harm to your home. He had become soft even, deciding to give you a chance after some time passed.

He would pull you closer to him when you sat together, trusted you enough to fall asleep with you next to him, had even curled around you to keep you warm because you had been sick back then. He never checked his food after that first night he had come back, just wolfed it down whenever he was served. He blindly and stupidly trusted you and you did the same and now where the fuck had that led?

You were fucking cornered in an alley like a rabbit and he was looking over you and you felt betrayal more than terror and that honestly bothered you to no end. How the hell was this even happening?

Why did he always have to be fucking gentle with you? Why couldn’t he have just left you alone after you had patched him up? Why did he have to come back? Why did you let yourself develop feelings for him…? Why did he have to feed you illusive safety and care? Why couldn’t he just let you go when you found him surrounded by nearly dead bodies? Why couldn’t he just go away? He did he have to care too?

Why…?

You feel your face with stiff fingers, wiping away tears that you hadn’t realized where there and then rubbed the salty wetness against your thumb to assure you that you had been in fact crying. You wanted to answer him and you tried, but nothing came out of your mouth, so instead you ruggedly shook your head, eyes still locked together.

“You lie!” he snarled, upset with himself more than with you, but you couldn’t know that so he understood why your breath hitched at his outburst.

He wanted to leave you there and run, hoping you would somehow think of all this as a dream and stop looking at him like that – with terror and pain.

This was his purpose, his reason to keep fighting and bashing down all the cocky bastards that called themselves heroes. This is what he did and you weren’t a part of it, he made sure you weren’t. He made sure to never be followed when he came to see you, made sure you were safe when he left and kept his battles as far away from you as possible. You weren’t supposed to see him like this, you weren’t supposed to be here…

Fate had a twisted sense of humor.

“I’m not…afraid.” you managed to rasp out, astonished at the sound of your own voice. You sniffed, trembling hand wrapping around his wrist to let go of your chin and let you look at him on your own “I’m not afraid…”

You were afraid, you were scared out of your mind and it was killing you on the inside because you didn’t want to be. You didn’t want to fear him, you had no reason to. He wouldn’t hurt you…

“I’m not afraid…” you repeated mentally, desperate to calm yourself down. He didn’t deserve to see you like this.

You hesitantly tugged on the base of his top, praying that your intentions weren’t as stupid as they sounded in your head. He wordlessly leaned down, following the weak pull after deciding that he would let you do whatever it is you wanted if it meant wiping that disgusting look of horror off your face.

“I’m not afraid.”

You rouse on your toes, a hand grasping onto his shoulder to partially relieve your trembling legs and keep you balanced. You could feel your breaths bounce off his forehead and crash back into you as your nose brushed against his cool skin.

“I’m not afraid!”

Tears dripped off your chin as your lips connect with his sweaty forehead and for the first time since you met Garou you felt him freeze completely. Yellow eyes stared at the way your chest expanded and retracted with each breath you took and he felt something within him burst. His strength completely vanished and was replaced with a jumble of sensations that made his heart clench painfully tight. The regret he felt was burnt to ashes and jolts of electricity were born from the remains, spreading through his body like a disease and making him feel strangely fuzzy.

You weren’t afraid of him. Not of him…

You pulled away slowly and regrettably and released the grip you had on his turtleneck, planting the soles of your feet back against the pavement. He, however, didn’t move away from you.

He looked at you with lidded eyes that were hazed and confused and strangely content and as he inched closer he tilted his head and after releasing a hushed breath he planted his mouth against yours, connecting you completely. Rough arms wrapped around you with unnatural gentleness before you were pressed against a hard chest and lifted off the ground. Lips moved hesitantly, afraid that pushing forward would somehow shatter everything and you would be ripped away from each other, unable to touch ever again.

Your hands cupped either side of his face and your ankles twisted together in delight that you never knew you had craved so direly. Mouths became hungry, pressing harder against each other, unable to sate the desire for more contact, more feeling, more skin, more touches. You could feel his heart against your chest, beating rampantly, making you smile into the kiss and giving his tongue a chance to slip past your lips and desperately press against yours. His lips were so soft, they molded perfectly against yours no matter how you repositioned your head to give yourself more access to him. It all felt so right, it felt heavenly how your bodies reacted so gently yet passionately towards one another. You savored every part of him you could reach and every single movement of his mouth as he kissed you like a drowning man in need of air.

You needed him, you needed him so fucking much. Now you had him, holding you, clinging onto you like you were the only thing keeping his heart from failing, kissing you like you were the first and only woman he had and would, giving you all that he was and could offer and hoping it would be what you had been hoping for. It was, he was enough and more and you wanted to tell him that and you would someday, but tonight you would let yourself be consumed by something that would be found upon.

His fingers dug into your back when your arms wrapped around his neck and you began to swirl your tongue along with his, relishing his taste, suckling on him and causing his knees to weaken. You heard a rumble come from the base of his chest, felt it vibrate against your skin and couldn’t help but moan happily before pulling away and resting your forehead against his.

You were bound, belonging to each other, each silently accepting their fate without a drop of hesitation plaguing them.

“I’m not afraid of you.” you sighed, blinking lazily, completely comfortable when he hoisted you up and locked his hands under your ass while you wrapped your legs around his waist and let yourself breathe in the moment. You didn’t care that there was blood staining your clothes or for the trail of saliva that had broken when you had pulled apart and was now stuck to your chin. You didn’t even care that your first kiss was in an alley in the middle of the night. As long as you had him with you, you were going to be alright.

“Well, looks like I won this fight, hero hunter.” you giggled softly, watching as a cocky grin stretched the corners of his mouth and he shook his head in denial.

“Dream on, princess.”

He lowered you just enough and leaned in, ready to press his lips to your again, already missing the softness of your touch.

Your phone buzzed in your jeans, making him pull back in confusion while you laughed at the amazing timing and took it out of your pocket.

“Hello?” you chirped, plastering on your best façade before King’s voice rang from the other end of the line. You had to stifle back a laugh as he nervously questioned if you were alright, having heard the explosion from the battle that was long over “Yeah, I’m okay, don’t worry.” you looked to Garou who was silently watching you, making sure to connect your eyes as you spoke out the last sentence before hanging up “I’m safe.”

Chapter Text

You weren’t the biggest fan of coke, but it did serve as a good chilling drink during the humid summer nights so you enjoyed every single sip of it. Two more bottles sat next to you on the round wooden table, their glass surface covered in droplets of water which occasionally slid down and formed small circular pools at the bottoms. The intensity of the bubbles was so much that you had to refrain from cringing every time your throat fizzed up.

It was a clear night with a starry sky much like yesterday’s, but without the gut-wrenching encounter you had stumbled upon. The soda seemed to get stuck on your tongue whenever you thought back of the gruesome seen you had witnessed, all those heroes, the blood, the chaos, it made you sick in a way and you discarded the memory as soon as it popped up. Now wasn’t the time. It was your moment to sit back and relax as much as you could before your pleasant night came to an end.

With a content sigh, you leaned back into your chair and left your eyes to roam around, taking in the peace of the aesthetic atmosphere and soaking it in to its fullest before your company arrived.

Garou had been solemn when he had promised you to come see you tonight and at least give some of the information he had been keen on keeping a secret. It was the first promise he had ever made, at least to you, and you were curious if he would keep it or not, if he cared enough to live up to his words. So here you were, expecting him on your balcony with a cold drink and a box of pocky and there was your trusty first aid kit tucked under your chair in case he came back after a less successful hunt.

You had barely slept last night, tossing around in bed while your whole body tingled, especially the places where he had touched you. The tips of yours fingers would brush against your lips every so often while you tried to remember the feeling of the kiss you had shared in as much detail as possible. Whenever you closed your eyes and were somehow able to lose consciousness images of him would start passing by like a slideshow and you would jolt awake, ready to pounce back on him only to find yourself alone. Your brain was a fucking troll, you had learned that much from last night.

Even your boss had noticed a sudden change in you, aside from looking like you had pulled an all-nighter in front of your laptop, there was something else as well. She hadn’t been able to determine it, but she had had a pretty good idea that you were having love problems and she hadn’t been far from the truth. You had tossed her questioning out the window, refusing to admit, but the old lady had seen plenty throughout her life and her suspicions became more and more evident the more you continued to avoid or discard her teasing remarks. Thankfully, the torture hadn’t been for nothing as the woman had let you go earlier, saying you needed to sleep in and that you could work through the skipped hours in the next couple of days. It had put you off how easily she had figured you out despite you refusing to solidify her theory.

You had nearly jumped at her statement and were out the door before she knew what was happening and before she could ask more questions.

A long relaxing bath had been the first thought that had surfaced when you had entered your humble little home and after practically throwing off your clothes you had let your tub fill with stinging hot water. A small brown bath bomb followed after you had turned off the tab and you had descended into a warm, chocolate smelling heaven, a towel behind your head for more comfort.

And then you had fallen asleep.

You had stayed in the water for so long that the sweet scent had molded into your skin and now people could probably smell you from a mile away. You didn’t mind, though, it brought a nice touch to the whole atmosphere you had prepped. You had even brought out and set up the neon lights that you had hanging around your bedroom and now there were countless little yellow dots scattered around your feet. It almost felt romantic.

You crossed your legs, fluffy slipper hanging from your toes as you nonchalantly bobbed your foot and took another sip from your drink. The distant sound of beeping cars and chattering synced together and formed a nice, soothing melody, which deafened out the silence you dreaded. A knowing smirk cracked your neutral lips when you heard a haggard grunt come from under your balcony and a tuft of white hair poked out from behind the railing.

“Someone prepared.” Garou snickered once the initial shock had subsided and he effortlessly climbed into the safety of your home “Thought I had the wrong floor for a second.”

“I know.” you snorted, straw still pinched between your teeth, and let yourself look around, rather proud of your small yet hearty work “I went all out tonight.” 

The man crashed into the vacant seat on the other side of the table with an exhausted huff and there was a haze of softness in his eyes as he skimmed over the decorations silently, then tugged on the cord of the lights with the tip of his foot, inspecting it with honest curiosity. He took one of the coke bottles and you were about to push the bottle opener his way, but he casually took off the metal lid before you could, leaving you stunned.

“What?” he glanced at you after gulfing down half of the bottle and you shook your head with a laugh.

“Nah, nothing. I’m still getting used to the fact that you’re stronger than you look.”

He smirked, bottom lip pressed against the throat of the bottle before licking away a stray droplet of coke and setting the drink back down on the table. He shuffled his shoes off and rested his elbow on the frame of the window behind him and it was then that his whole demeanor changed. The menacing aura around him subsided and if you tried hard enough you could almost make yourself believe that he was just an ordinary man who had come home from work.

“You make me weak.”

You blinked at the sudden statement and turned to Garou who was looking up at the sky, his expression was unreadable, but by the heavy exhale he let go off, you guessed he was bothered.

“You’re my only weakness.” he glanced at you, regret dripping from every word that came out of his mouth. He outstretched his arm, palm opened for you to take and despite not being sure of what he wanted from you, you laid your smaller hand in his and let him guide you around the table and pull you down on him “It was easy before you came along. My eyes were set on my goal.” he gestured, index finger connecting with the space between his eyes briefly before turning to point forward “I survived somehow and every day was a chance to get closer to that goal.” you felt him sink beneath you and his gaze lowered “And then you appeared, ruining everything.”

“I’m sorry?” you pulled away from him with a high pitched and offended voice and stuck a finger in his chest as he held onto your lower back to support you through your upcoming debate “If I hadn’t found you that night you’d be dead and you’re the one who keeps coming back! It’s not like I go out looking for you. The least you can do is be a little grateful.”

“I am! Can you – “ he threw his head back with a loud groan “For once pipe it down and let me talk, you little runt!”

“I’m not a runt! You’re the man-child that’s always acting edgy and takes everything for granted. And then I find you in the middle of a massacre with blood on your hands!” you hissed back and in your nagging outburst you had been flinging around your coke bottle, making it fizz up and after a last solemn jerk a good amount of your drink ended up slashing onto Garou’s face. You quieted down and stared at him as his eyes narrowed and despite feeling more than apologetic, you couldn’t help the laugh that was bubbling inside your chest. You practically laughed in his face “Fuck…I’m so sorry.” you croaked, a hand clamped over your mouth, poorly masking your giggling fits “Fuck! Oh my God, I’m so fucking sorry”

At this point you didn’t know if you were laughing your ass off at the fact that you drenched him in coke or that you were laughing for doing so.

He didn’t say anything, just glared at you silently until a mischievous twinkle lit up his brooding state and he unwrapped his arm from you before sliding his hands under your tank top and pulling the fabric towards him before wiping his face in it.

“What the hell!” you squeaked and harshly leaned away, losing your balance in the process. In a fit of desperation you wrapped an arm around his neck to prevent you from falling and ended up tipping the bottle and dunking the rest of your drink on his lap and legs. You felt him jerk as the cold liquid soaked in his pants and what little balance he had while his face was in your top slipped away. And so did the both of you.

A surprised grunt came from him when the two of you toppled over on the tiles of your balcony in a pool of soda. Your eyes squinted when you heard his elbow harshly hit the floor, his palm pressed against the back of your head, taking the hit for you and preventing a possible concussion. You’d have to thank him for the save later, when you could actually talk again. Tears streamed down your cheeks as you resumed laughing, much too amused to let the coke dripping from Garou’s pants onto your bare thighs bother you.

Your hair was sprawled around you, framing your face almost too perfectly, and your eyes glinted, the lights around you reflecting into them while basking you in a soft yellow glow. Your small hands were gripping onto his back, nails dug in his flesh as you bounced gently, continuing to laugh like a fucking idiot. You were soaked, a complete and utter mess and he had never seen you happier. The wide grin on your face shone so brightly that it could probably melt an ice cube in a blink, you were beaming, warm and opened and vulnerable beneath him and you could care less because you trusted him. The realization hit him like a speeding truck and he found it hard to swallow while taking in just how beautiful you are.

“You fucking klutz.”

You had expected him to be at least pissed, but instead he laughed to himself and hid his face in the junction between your neck and shoulder and you could feel his teeth against your skin because of his wide grin. You tugged him on top of you, giggles subsiding, and took a big whiff of his scent and closed your eyes, eyebrows scrunched together in concentration as you did your best to embed the moment in your memory. You wanted to remember this, remember him like this – at peace and somewhat happy, and hopefully forget the image of the monster he became whenever he was away from you.

You didn’t want to remember that and you prayed for that side of him to never corrupt the treasure you currently held in your arms.

“I’m so soo sorry…” you breathed out, that cheeky smile still plastered on your face while Garou slowly pulled you up along with him “I’ll wash your clothes, I promise. I really didn’t mean to.” you couldn’t help but crumble down in a fit of giggles again before clearing your throat.

He untied the knot of his cloth belt before tugging his soaked pants off and tossing them over the railing of your balcony and his top followed shortly after. He sat back down now only in his boxers, legs spread and relaxed and he nonchalantly patted his right hip, an all too cocky smirk sharpening his features at the blush that was forming on your face.

“Excuse me, last time I checked I wasn’t a dog.” you spat, arms crossed as you leaned against the railing “I’m not gonna run to you every time you flick your wrist.”

“You know…” he hooked his fingers around the hem of your shorts and pulled you forward before nestling you back on his lap and retrieving his drink, making sure to keep it as far away from your hands as possible “You’d be a lot cuter if you kept that pretty mouth of yours shut.”

“Shut me up then, big shot.” you mumbled, your breath tingling against his face, and daringly brushed your lips against his.

He tilted his head and pressed his hands against the back of your neck, refraining you from pulling away and leaned in to kiss you again, finding your teasing peck unacceptable. He could feel you smile against his mouth and it made his chest feel light and a fire burst in his stomach, flames traveling through his blood and reaching every part of him, leaving behind a heated sensation he hadn’t experienced before. Your delicate fingers traced his jawline before proceeding to draw lazy circles around his cheeks and he was sure he was flustered at that point – intoxicated by the heavenly feeling you drowned him in.

You pulled away too quickly, leaving him wanting and dazed and you could see that in his eyes and the way his lips parted, ready to voice out protests if you hadn’t ran your thumbs over them.

“You know – “ you began with a whisper of a tone, looking him over with care he wasn’t used to receiving “ – People say that the magic goes away after the first kiss. That’s why a lot of crushes subside after a peck and many couples split up.” you laid your forehead on his and sighed, eyelids low and lashes hiding away your eyes “I’m so happy I don’t feel that way. Not with you.”

“Try again.” your silver haired heartthrob answered in an almost demanding manner, grinning childishly at you “It might after the second kiss.”

You laughed, the purest most melodic laugh he had ever heard, and leaned into him so willingly, no hesitation nor fear. You kissed him, bodies pressed flush together after you wrapped your legs around him, fingers entangling in his frisky hair and gently massaging his scalp, pulling off a satisfied grunt from him. His sharp canine teeth grazed over your bottom lip and you plunged your tongue in his mouth before he could and felt the rough fingers glued to your flesh sink deeper and quake. Everywhere your skin was connected you felt fire, he was radiating such intense heat that it made you feel lightheaded the more his hands roamed your curves, memorizing what was to become his.

Your tongues rolled together, rubbing against each other, tangled in a heated embrace as dire need spiked the air around you and the once gentle touches become more firm and desperate. Fingernails painted red lines over light skin, drawing needy patterns that would subside overnight, but the feeling of them would stay, the knowledge of those emotions that had birthed them would live for as long as your hearts kept beating. You sucked in a shaky breath and jerked into him when his fingers traced over a particular spot and he let loose an almost animalistic groan.

When he broke away his eyes were predatory and he dug his nose in your neck and inhaled before gasping.

“You smell nice.” the husky remark sounded almost taunting and he relished in the small gasp that escaped your reddened lips before his tongue slid out and was pressed against your skin. He dragged it along the entirety of your neck, leaving behind a wet trail, which instantly covered your flesh with goosebumps. You tasted of soda and that combined with the chocolaty scent delighted him to no end, he wanted to lick every inch of you clean.

“Garou…Oh!” you moaned out timidly.

His entire being shook and he bit down on the crook of your neck, fighting back his need, restraining himself as not to push too far too quickly. He didn’t want his hare to run away, but the fluidity in which his name had rolled off your tongue had him on the edge of sanity. He could feel every hair on his body stand and the countless muscles in his legs go limp.

God fucking damn it what did you do to him…

He trailed sloppy kisses down to the beginning of your tank-top and then halted, rested his burning forehead against your cool skin and exhaled.

“I need to wash your clothes.” you breathed out, only now realizing how few and far in between breaths you had been able to take in “That was…I’m gonna faint.”

He chuckled at your near collapsing state and adjusted himself when you leaned against him, resting your head on his shoulder and keeping your arms pressed against his bare chest, feeling the soothing thumps of his heart. You let your eyes shut for a moment and yawned, nuzzling in your living breathing cushion while he chugged down the rest of his coke. Supposedly, getting riled up and intimate left a person dry.

He gasped for air after setting the empty bottle down with a bit too much force and slumped back, hands pressed against your rear to keep your jellied form from slipping away.

There was so much tension that it practically made the air on your balcony spark up, but it was comfortable in a way. Primal instincts were raging within you, wanting more, but you shushed them. It wasn’t about just flesh, you wouldn’t let it devolve into that. This was something more, completely different from the plain cute and simplistic relationships you had experienced during your life. You wanted this to be more, you wanted it to be special because it already was and you’d be damned if you let yourself slip up and ruin everything.

It was enough for you that you were wrapped in the safety of his arms, it brought you so much pleasure to feel his heartbeat because it reminded you that he trusted you enough to let you be this close. He was completely exposed, entirely relaxed and the way his body was curled around your, protectively yet giving you enough freedom to pull away if you wished, it lit up your soul. It felt like you could dip your fingers in his chest and connect to him on a level you didn’t understand yourself, you just knew that you could and would as long as he kept you beside him.

This, all of it, felt so inhumanly natural. Like you were meant to be together, not as a couple, not as friends or siblings from different mothers, not as two young people who found something they liked too much in each other, not as adults who saw a future with each other. It was more than that, a lot more complex, yet so simple.

Just…together. You and him.

“If you fall asleep on me I’m leaving you on the balcony.” he murmured against the side of your face, his fingers lazily tapping against your butt.

You gave out a breathy giggle and pecked the edge of his jaw before hiding back in his neck and letting your heavy eyelids fall.

“You wouldn’t. I’m too precious.”

He mumbled something under his breath and then gently nudged your head with his nose, making you look at him after you stretched your back while using his shoulders as leverage. You blinked at him, extending your silence as a signal for him to speak out his mind, but the longer he said nothing the less you liked what was to come out of his mouth.

“I came here to give you an explanation. I like how things worked out, but – “

“ – Are you hungry?” you asked randomly, hazy mind trying to think of anything so long as it prolonged the dreaded conversation.

A big part of you didn’t want to know who he really was because it would shatter what little logic you had found in his demeanor so far. So many things he did made no sense, he was ruthless, maybe even sadistic, he never let anyone question him and was more than ready to assert dominance if someone dared to oppose him. However, around you he acted so differently, he was another person entirely and although you basked in his choice to show that side to you it still confused you to no end.

You weren’t sure if you wanted to know the monster he kept away from you because for him to do so meant he didn’t know if you were ready either. It was a blind step into an unknown territory and neither of you had any idea what might happen. Neither wanted to take the risk and under previous circumstances it wouldn’t have been a problem, but the bastard had softened up and slipped and now there was no going back without regret.

The Garou you were accustomed to was a tiny part of him that was locked away for the rest of the world and to this day you wondered how you had gotten your hands on the key and unlocked it. You had, though, and when you had had the chance to run and abandon him you had stayed and accepted him and the chaos he had caused in that lonely empty street. It was only fair to let him explain, you had to listen to him, give him a chance because you had already taken your place as a supporter and burden bearer. You were already neck deep in the raging ocean that was his mind and you couldn’t step away now, you wouldn’t let yourself, you weren’t that cruel.

“Stop changing the subject!” he hollered while childishly rocking you back and forth and you giggled, a sad and defeated noise that made his eyes lower because he understood. You would listen even if you weren’t ready.

“I’m sorry.” you whispered, then caught his sight and even if he already knew what you’d say from the concern glossing over your eyes, he leaned back and accepted his turn to hear you out “I don’t think I want to know. I don’t know if I’m ready to watch the image I built in my head shatter, but…It can’t always be beauty and fairy tales. Life is cruel and I wish it didn’t have to be so complicated. I wish we met sooner…Sometimes I wish we never met…Just to save us all this trouble, ya know?” you smiled sadly when you felt a scarred thumb wipe away the small tear that escaped your bottom lashes “But I don’t regret anything. I don’t regret helping you and I don’t regret kissing you back.” you hadn’t noticed when your gaze had lowered, most likely to try and hide your tears, but you looked back up, letting him see you in this state of utter openness and susceptibility “I don’t think you realize how much I care about you, hero hunter.”

“Stop weeping, you crybaby.” he mumbled so softly that his statement came out more as a plea than a command and you laughed through salty chokes while wiping away your tears “I don’t want you crying. Ever. No matter what.”

“I’ll try.” you nodded, grinning despite the waterfalls streaming down your face. It never occurred to you that him seeing you like this would pinch a nerve in him, but it made sense in a way. You supposed it hurt him seeing you cracking up and knowing him, he hadn’t dealt with such a scenario before, hence why he felt powerless, unable to provide you with anything that would ease you. Him feeling useless was a stab to the chest and despite your inability to cease crying you still smiled in reassurance, just so that he doesn’t feel responsible for your emotional instability.

“I’ll listen. Whatever you’re willing to share, you will.” you wiggled out of his embrace and pulled the edges of your shorts down, readjusting them, before picking up the coke bottles “But I really need to make a coffee first, I’m falling asleep.”

“Understandable.” Garou responded and you could almost smell the smirk on his face “It’s past your bedtime.”

You decided not to bite back, instead watching him pick his clothes up from the railing and follow you inside the living room and just as you stepped inside your foot somehow, definitely not on purpose, slipped and sent the glass door flying back. You bit your bottom lip when you heard a distinct thud and quickly scurried to your counter, feeling much safer away from the golden eyes that glared daggers your way.

“Whoops.” you shrugged, not daring to look back at Garou after you caught him holding his nose with a speedy glance.

Then he charged and your first reaction was to turn the sink tab his way and fire.

Chapter Text

Despite your on and off conversation with Fubuki you still kept a close eye on the TV screen, grinning over a mouthful of cookies when Saitama got close to defeating King. You were rooting for him, mainly because you were hoping he’d stop breaking controllers and getting tantrums whenever he lost yet another match.

“This tea is amazing…” the woman sitting next to you trailed off, the mentioned tea cup cradled in her hands, adjusted just under her nose as she inhaled the pleasant, yet not too overwhelming aroma of mint.

“I know!” you nodded excitedly, waiting for your own warm drink to arrive “Genos makes the best tea, I bet. He’d make such a good house wife!” your eyes twinkled at the thought of having your very own cyborg butler, doing your home chores while you sat back and just enjoyed your free time. Sadly, your kind nature would never allow you to let Genos slave around, even though he wouldn’t mind, you were taught better than that, regardless if it would require just a teary plea to achieve. Bless that adorable cyborg and his willingness to help out a friend in need.

You stretched your tired legs, rising them in the air with a strained grunt before positioning them back under the small dining table and slumping back against your cushion. Your hoodie was pulled back by your actions, bunching up around your upper torso and leaving a small part of your lower belly exposed. However, you weren’t budging, it was just too comfortable to move.

A hazardous day at work with a wave of customers had had you completely drained by sunset and you had debated over participating for the notorious gaming night or just skipping and going home to rest. Oh course, King being the little antisocial munchkin he was, refused to go without you, unintentionally putting an ultimatum on you, so you had decided to not ruin everyone’s night and had agreed.

For the love of God, you really needed to learn how to say no.

Thankfully, when you had arrived at King’s apartment complex to pick him up, he had taken his bike with him so you had been able to hitch a ride, resting against his chest while he rode and letting your tired out feet take a breather. The blonde had been more than happy to let you practically nap against him while he took you to Saitama’s and during the ride you had dozed off multiple times, only to be jostled awake by your fear of falling off. You had looked like an oversized bobble head, which had you appreciate the late time of day in which you had travelled because you really didn’t need people seeing the humorous scene. King, the strongest man on Earth, riding a bike with a head-bobbing sack of potatoes leaned against him, mumbling incoherently while struggling to stay conscious.

The small cactus you had stashed away for Saitama once a new shipment of flora had arrived at your shop hadn’t really made things any easier. By the time you had arrived at your destination you were positive that your hip was covered in tiny holes since you had decided to keep the cacti in your bag instead of just holding it. You really had not trusted yourself possessing such a weapon while influenced by clumsiness that came along with drowsiness. However, the bald man deserved something for always sacrificing his home when the weekly night to gather up came along. That’s why you had decided upon the little spiky present, it wasn’t much, but you were sure he would appreciate it and he had.

You spared the cactus a look, smiling to yourself at remembering how carefully Saitama had stationed it on his living room’s window frame, alongside a few other tiny plants he nurtured. As blank and shallow as he was, the baldy’s eyes would always light up whenever it came to his little green children. You found it adorable.

“Thank you, Genos!” you beamed when the cyborg placed a steaming cup of tea in front of you before nestling between you and Fubuki on the couch and dusting off his pink apron. You sat down the almost empty package of cookies on the table and snatched your drink greedily before taking a long sip “So good…” you sighed contently, grinning uncontrollably at the well-known yet uniquely flavored drink.

How Genos was so good at cooking and in overall mundane tasks was beyond you, but it felt so refreshing to have someone else prepare a meal or drink for you instead of the other way around. You could never prepare food the same tasty way he did and had actually tried a couple of times, which only contributed to your astonishment with young cyborg. Maybe in another life he could have actually become a master chef.

“Always a pleasure, (Y/N).” he partly turned his head to you, offering a small smile as you gulped down the hot drink with notable enjoyment. His optics scanned over your face, a small spark of adoration glinting behind a neutral expression, and pressed his cool digits against the side of your cheek to brush away the cookie crumbs that had stuck to your skin.

“Ah, thanks.” you giggled awkwardly, an uncomfortable hue of pink coloring your delicate cheekbones. You could always blame the blush on the steam rising from your drink and would because Fubuki would rather be burned alive before missing an opportunity to tease you and Genos.

“And you want me to stop ogling over you two after acting like this?”

And there it was.

“You’re such an adorable couple, (Y/N). Why haven’t you gone on a date already?” the woman in the other end of the couch stared at you so intensely that you felt yourself start to sweat. A teasing smirk was hidden behind her tea cup, but the tone of her voice told you enough and you fought off her mockery with a menacing glare, despite your flustered state.

“I swear I will tear your stockings again if you don’t quit it, spoon bender!” you hissed, quickly shifting in your spot so that you were leaning over a rather confused cyborg who was curiously watching your little cat fight unfold. You bared your nails at her, hands curled to resemble predatory claws and the foot you had on the floor was strained and ready to propel you forward.

Despite your attempt to intimidate the woman into ceasing her teasing, Fubuki didn’t falter. She was not one to let be bossed around and by her more than calm composure she made it evident that tonight wasn’t going to be any different. She elegantly crossed her legs and tapped away at her cup, hastily planning her next comeback, her breathtaking emerald orbs pushing at your limits daringly.

“Demon Cyborg?” the woman suddenly turned to Genos instead, who had been doing a fantastic job acting as a barrier between you two. She pulled off her sweetest, most sincere smile and dared to shrug “Why don’t you take (Y/N) for a walk to cool off? You never know, she might give you a kiss as a reward.”

And then she winked implicitly and that was when you lost it.

“Thaaat’s it!” you flung yourself forward with gritted teeth, crashing into Fubuki and ferociously clawing down on her lacy black stockings. She tried to push you away, hands protectively sandwiched between you two as she wiggled desperately, long slender legs twitching abruptly under the roughness of your tearing. Your face was inches away from her, letting her see the flames within your glowing irises, letting her know that this time she wasn’t just going to slip by. She endured the bitter taste of revenge with every loud ripping sound that zipped past her ears and made her cringe.

Not once during her torture did she think of using her abilities. Why should she? You were completely harmless even in your flared up condition, you’d never hurt her nor anybody else. And if she had to be completely honest with herself, she deserved every drop of wrath you were pouring down on her.

“(Y/N)! No – Ha, knock it – Get! (Y/N)!!” her squeals carved a molten hot grin on your face, frustration subsiding the more you watched her frantically try to get away. The wide smile and feminine giggle she attempted to push back were unstoppable and she ended up a laughing mess while you continued to tickle her, feeling victorious and mentally saving her uncharacteristically loose behavior “Damn it, (Y/N)!” she glanced at her leggings over your fidgeting shoulder and would have flicked her tongue in annoyance at their torn up state if you weren’t continuing to torture her like the hidden demon you were.

“Genos!” she yelped in desperation, rarely calling the cyborg by his name, but the moment was dire and she was far too deep in her own mess for her brain to think up his hero nickname in time.

When metal arms coiled around your waist and tugged you away effortlessly she slumped back and sighed, her body twitching from having been overstimulated, but she was finally free and relief washed over her. You, however, were far from calming down. Your arms had started to violently flail once you had felt yourself being detached from your victim, helplessly trying to snatch away one last blow before she was completely out of your reach. Your attempt had failed, but it had been the cause for another, much more disheartening position.

Genos had twisted his hips to the side when he had been called to stop the small battle, had pressed his pelvis against your hip and torn you two apart and had locked his arms around you to fling you back as soon as your waist had come close enough for a good grip. It had gone well and it would have ended just as well if you hadn’t tried to escape, compelling the cyborg to force you down and as your back hit the softness of the couch Genos’s hands had ended up on either side of your head, catching himself before he fell on top of you and crushed you.

So now here you were, wide eyed, breathing deeply from your victorious child fight, legs bent and with your feet in the air, with a cyborg between them who was erratically heating up, causing a thin layer of sweat to ghost over your skin. He blinked down at you, lips parted slightly, as if just now realizing the shamelessly intimate position he had thrusted both of you in. His fingers sunk in the sofa when you let out a meek whine in the hopes that it would be enough to snap him out of his thoughts and pull away from you before you had to. It wasn’t that you didn’t want to, but you literally couldn’t, he had you completely pinned.

Funny how you ended up in the same position with two different men, yet the flow of emotions was the complete opposite from what you had felt the last time. It was embarrassing and uneasy and just not right and the more you were stuck like this the more you wanted to get away.

“Genos…” you mumbled, tilting you head slightly to the side, thinking that maybe his name would be enough to snatch him out of his daze. Fubuki’s pleased expression poked out from behind the cyborg, so pleased and taunting, and you pointed a shaky finger at her, nostrils flaring “Don’t you dare.”

She waved at you dismissively, a grin twitching on her lips as she tried to sustain a giggle, and retreated back to her little safety spot. Fucking hell, she won again despite your efforts.

“God damn it, Fubuki!”

A forceful bang had all three of you turning your attention to the two men who had been smashing away at buttons while rivaling in a match, completely ignoring the war that had been raging on the couch behind them. Saitama had his head pressed against the floor, controller thrown to the side, and was grumbling something under his breath as his body convulsed in mixture of rage and frustration. King, on the other hand, was completely calm, watching his rival twitch pitifully as the big K.O. sign flashed on the TV screen with a little girl wearing mouse ears jumping around cheerfully next to a dead ogre.

The fluttering of curtains was the only sound that kept away the awkward silence as the cool summer breeze lazily blew inside the small apartment through the wide open window. You shifted in your spot under Genos, head hanging from the side of the couch to get a better look at the defeated baldy and you couldn’t help but grin. Another night, another twenty wins for King. It astonished you how Saitama hadn’t improved even a little bit considering you were meeting up weekly for a couple of months now and every time him and King were able to stack up a number of matches before calling it a night.

“Are you alright, Master?” Genos’s voice sounded from above you before the screws in his head finally started moving again and he leaned away from you, his movements harsh and rigid and you swore you saw the pallet on his cheeks darken.

“No!” the bald man growled and banged his fist against the carpet, making King wince and scoot away from him. A few wheezes emitted from him before he sat back up with a big inhale and then let himself fall, his back hitting the floor with a soft thud, arms sprawled and face as blank as ever while he stared at the ceiling. He wiped his wrist over his forehead “Eh, why did it get so hot all of a sudden?”

“I apologize, Master.” Genos bowed sternly, hands in his lap and back straight as a string “My internal processor has raised in temperature. I will turn my cooling system on at once.”

While tucking a cookie past your lips, you looked back to Saitama, curious as to what his reply would be. As soon as the cyborg had set you free you had returned to stuffing yourself with your sweet snack, trying to eat away the discomfort you had been coerced to endure. The more sweetness that passed by your tongue the faster you eased up and soon the red shade you had acquired while lying under Genos started to subside.

“Instead of doing that every time, why don’t you just stay away from (Y/N)?” the baldy suggested nonchalantly after haphazardly pointing to you “I don’t want you burning my apartment because you can’t control yourself.”

It was supposed to be a joke, but the monotone baritone Saitama had used made it sound like a scold instead and the cookie you had been meaning to eat was thrown at his head before you could realize what you were doing. He looked to the treat that had collided with the center of his forehead before picking it up and munching it away like he hadn’t just insulted his disciple.

“Tama…” you exhaled before gently patting away at Genos’s arm and scowling as soon as your eyes averted to the baldy, a defensive note to your voice “You don’t have to be so harsh on him. It’s not like he’s doing it on purpose.”

“He’s already doing enough being your slave.” Fubuki piped in, arms crossed in front of her chest while she stared at Saitama with a disappointed frown.

The bald man’s gaze traveled from you to Fubuki before he exhaled in a haggard manner, wondering why he had even said anything in the first place when he knew full well there were two frisky women in the room just waiting to sass at someone as soon as they opened their mouth. He debated whether to risk saying anything else, but the second he saw you nodding at each other and looking back at him with some newly discovered inside info he twitched. There was no way he was surviving both of you at the same time, his ears wouldn’t take it and even if he found it cute how both of you jumped in Genos’s defense he was not about to endure that hit. He had to stop this.

“Hey, don’t gang up on me!” he exclaimed while waving his arms protectively “I’m the one paying the repairs here!”

“Ladies.” Genos spoke up suddenly, covering up for the baldy, who had no clue he was digging his own grave “Master Saitama meant no harm with his statement. He’s only worried for the safety of his home and my own.”

At that you stopped your snickering with the older woman and laughed softly, head leaning to one side as you gave the cyborg a cheeky smile.

“Nice save.”

“Can we please lighten the mood?” King asked weakly, frowning at the whole drama fiasco that had scared away the comfortable and pleasant atmosphere that was usually the reason why he came over in the first place.

He’d grown fond of the small group of friends he had been able to acquire and aside from shopping, he didn’t really get out for any other reason. He’d be a lot more comfortable with just you lounging on his couch while he played Doki Doki without having to worry about being judged in any way. However, having a couple of people around gave him a spoonful of confidence, which he needed to get through some days and seeing all of you in complete chaos with each other sparked up his social awkwardness because he wasn’t sure how to help without causing more harm. He trusted you and Saitama, but Genos, despite him being polite and meaning no harm, and Fubuki he hadn’t gotten so close to yet so he had no idea how to proceed with them.

He had a point, you admitted that much.

“Move over, baldy.” you grinned at King cheekily before standing up “Let me show you how it’s done.” you sat next to Saitama who lifted his upper body sharply, his eyes widening when you cracked your fingers and rolled your shoulders.

“Ah, no way!” he gasped when you grabbed the controller and flexed your neck before starting a new game “I’ve actually never seen you play against King before.”

“That’s because you always hog the PlayStation you twat.” you snorted, ducking with a laugh when he tried to slap the back of your head.

The blonde was already stationed and ready, eyes concentrated on the screen as the game loaded. It was on! Fingers started tapping away immediately and as King’s eyebrows furrowed you sucked in your bottom lip, chewing on it gently, a bit nervous while having Saitama’s gaze on you through the gameplay. Knowing him, he was simply trying to memorize your moves, but it still kept you under pressure in case you slipped up and lost and then there would be two people lying on the floor while sulking in defeat.

You liked video games, they were a fun way to pass the time, but you never spent too much effort when it came to perfecting your gamer skills. Still, this was mainly what you did whenever you went to visit King so he had taught you a few things while it was just the two of you and there was no Saitama to tease every time he smashed a random piece of equipment in rage. It had taken you a while to get the gist of things, but in time you had learned a handful of techniques and strategies under the blonde’s guidance and now you could say that you had a good chance at beating him. However, King was a master at video games and he never went easy on anybody, no matter if it was a friend or an opponent during a competition. It was fair in your opinion, even if a bit frustrating on fresh gamers.

You didn’t notice the excited smile, which graced your features while pressing away at your controller.

It had been so long since the two of you played together that you had actually forgotten the hype of being matched against the blonde. The thought of actually winning making your heart drum wildly and your fingers start to shake from hardly containing your hype. You were rusty, though, making beginner mistakes that you silently cussed over and hoped that they weren’t enough to end the game as an easy win for King. However, there was the fact that you hadn’t picked up a controller specifically, nor this sort of game, in a while and the abilities were a bit of a mess in your head even if you watched them being replayed every week for a couple of hours.

The living room was dead silent aside from the soundtrack of the game and the occasional grunts coming from the avatars you had chosen and after that realization had hit you, your teeth had clamped down on the inside of your cheek, trying to stay concentrated on the match.

K.O.!

King smiled. You grinned.

“How?!”

“I’ve taught you well, young one.” the blonde looked at you while setting his controller aside and stretched.

“I was so bad though.” you giggled, pushing away as much of your excitement as you could, but the euphoria of actually winning was evident.

King patted your shoulder encouragingly before leaning back on his hands, a proud look upon him as your little avatar energetically danced on the screen, basking in a well-earned victory.

“I – Ok. Enough. I’m done.” Saitama looked away, trying to keep a part of his pride intact and refusing to accept the sad reality that were his gaming skills and stood up “I need a drink.”

“Come now, Tama.” you followed his defeated form with a cocky smirk until it disappeared in the kitchen “I can try to teach you if you’d like.”

“Can I try?”

You glanced back at Genos who had perked up in his spot, his optics shifting from you to King, like a pleading puppy patiently awaiting a treat. The apron he had around his torso wasn’t helping you make up your mind and even though you wanted to continue playing, having been gifted with the rare opportunity to do so, you were ready to give it up the more those honey colored orbs bore into your own. Before you could agree, however, King nodded and stood up, shaking awake stiff limbs and giving his eyes a good rub as he nudged his head towards his seat.

“Go ahead. I need a break.”

You thanked him mentally as he made his way to the couch and picked up a juice box from the mountain of junk food on the table before pulling out his phone. He knew you weren’t ready to tear yourself away from the screen just yet and the joy he had seen during your match had him smiling to himself in contentment even after he had lost.

With your work and tending to your home keeping you busier than normal lately, he couldn’t recall the last time you had had the chance to sleep over at his place and inevitably end up nerding away the night. Even during your free days you always had something to do or someone to help out, meaning sacrificing even the time you were supposed to dedicate to yourself. So when Genos had shown interest in playing the blonde hadn’t minded freeing his spot if it meant you’d have a little bit more time bearing that serenely happy vibe you currently had around you.

The cyborg was beside you in an instant, the joystick already in his metal hands as he gazed at you for guidance and the lost look on his face had you smiling like a goof. You scooted closer to him with the intent of showing him how to start and he followed, mimicking you, and you ended up pressed closely together, elbows colliding uncomfortably whenever one of you made a move. You scoffed before snaking your arm around his, sparing him a glance to make sure he was comfortable with the position before leaning you console towards his so he could see which buttons you pressed.

“This one first.” you showed him the control, but when he failed to react fast enough, you nudged his thumb with your pinky finger until it was hovering over the correct button. The character selection menu popped up and the cyborg scanned his choices before pointing to a female robot in question.

“Can I pick that one?”

“Sure, but she’s a bit difficult to play.” you laughed with a nob, expecting him to know what to do to at least select his choice, but he stayed still, waiting for your next patch of guide lines “Oh, right! Ok, uhm, let’s do this.” you slid your hands under his and nudged him to press his metal digits over yours “Will it be easier for you this way?”

He nodded at you, but refused to meet your gaze, instead focusing on the controller as sensitive metal brushed over soft skin and the core inside his chest flared up. This time he acknowledged it in time and blasted up his cooling system before a rise in heat could be detected, preferring to keep his unstable state to himself and prevent anymore arguments or discomfort for you.

He didn’t want to be the center of worry, but he had tried and failed to control his processor on multiple occasions, feeling that after every overdrive he took one step back from you and what precious relations you had established. It had been hard enough to befriend you after his transformation and living in solitude for such a long time, with Dr Kuseno being his only company. Thankfully, you had turned out to be a very kind and open-minded woman, shewing away the countless times he had unintentionally insulted you while you were still getting to know each other.

It didn’t really help that the Doctor hadn’t detected any malfunctions in his body when he had finally decided to stop running away from the nagging problem and instead face it head on.  He had thought that it would be finally dealt with and over, unlucky for him, it had turned out to be a lot more complex than just a simple miscalculation on Kuseno’s part and now he was even more on edge whenever you were nearby. Since a long time he actually felt nervous and it was annoying him to no end, but without a solid solution he could do nothing, but endure and try to extract the best out of it.

He wanted to be closer to you…for some unexplainable reason, but every time he tried somehow his ideas backfired, even the ones his master had given him when he had come seeking advice. He was left to blindly walk into the vague grounds of emotions he wasn’t used to dealing with and every step he took cautiously and still somehow he ended up slipping and pushing you away.

“Genos?”

His dull optics lit back to life and his head perked up before he looked to you blankly, missing the reason as to why you started giggling at him all of a sudden.

“You alright?”

“Yes.” he nodded starkly.

“Good.” you fidgeted with his thumbs playfully before setting you fingers back on the controls “Though I lost you for a sec there.”

“My apologies.” he said through an exhale, sight lowering to his lap, watching his digits gently brush over your fingers “I was distracted.”

He liked the feeling of your skin against him, liked the lulling heat your body radiated and the sweetness of your aroma, making him wonder if you enjoyed caring for your skin or if you just naturally smelled so pleasantly. He could picture you happily scrubbing away at your body with some highly scented wash, making sure you covered everything before rinsing off and proceeding to hydrating your skin with lotion, keeping it as soft as silk and damning him to oblivion whenever your bodies connected, intentionally or not. To him, touching you was like touching a cloud, so fragile and soft that at times he worried that he might damage you while relishing in the heaven that was your being. You were so delicate, otherworldly, he doubted his imagination could do you justice, despite the countless sleepless night he had spent soaking in the thought up images of you and him touch, exploring each other, being together, as one.

“Genos, you’re heating up again.” you nudged him, trying to snap him back to reality for a second time, then you heard something within him start to buzz and the heat he emitted began to disperse along with the small coat of sweat that had appeared on your fingers.

He was supposed to turn his attention to you for a brief moment and apologize, but his eyes landed on something you couldn’t see and the metal palms around your hands shuddered.

“What?” you asked hesitantly, watching him lean closer to the base of your neck curiously before he carefully pressed a finger to a specific spot and it was your time to freeze up.

“Fuck!”

“What is that?” he asked, but you knew he was already well aware of what the bruised flesh he was touching was.

The same flesh Garou had sunken his teeth in the previous night and left a mark. For the love of God how old was he anyway?! For a moment you felt like a teenager caught in the act by your parents, unbearable embarrassment overwhelming you like a toxin and making your breathing unbelievably difficult. Your hands started to tremble as a wave of panic washed over you and you roughly slapped away the cyborg’s finger before covering the spot with your T-shirt and clearing your throat.

“It’s – “

“ – Genos?”

He turned to face King at the call of his name and shuffled away before the blonde kneeled in front of you and tugged the cloth away from your neck, despite your slurred protests and frantic fidgeting. You saw him nearly choke on his juice when the dark purple hickey was revealed to him before he raised an eyebrow at you. Then he felt the terror practically seeping out of you, noted your wide pleading eyes and the way your lips seemed to twitch as you fought back the feeling of just bolting for the door. Then he looked to where your orbs would shift and found Genos with a solemn expression, but something just seemed off about it, like it was a shell of some sort. There was a shift hidden behind the robotically cold features and if he looked close enough, he could see something raging inside the cyborg’s eyes, something sharp, that tore through anyone unfortunate enough to end up in its grasp.

Jealousy.

“Oh, this.” the blonde finally spoke and dismissed you like it was nothing at all, then sighed, doing his best to look as if he was recalling memories “I guess that’s my fault.” he turned to Genos, standing before you protectively as you mentally sunk behind him, near tears with the feeling of being completely hopeless and not knowing what to say eating away at your chest “We went to watch a movie a few days ago and some creep tried to mug us.” he shook his head before readjusting your top, juice box still hanging from his mouth “Guess he pulled on your backpack a bit too hard, huh? Thankfully he got caught before he could run off. Sorry to remind you, (Y/N).”

Your jaw dropped.

King….was a fucking lifesaver.

“Who was he?” the cyborg asked sternly, already standing up as jolts of electricity pooled put of the centers of his palms “I will take care of him at once!”

“Whoaw, there!” you gasped and gripped onto his jeans, trying to pull him back down before he went off searching for an imaginary thief “It’s alright, Genos. They caught him. I’m okay.”

“True that.” the blonde nodded “They caught him already.”

You didn’t know how he had been able to think of another explanation this fast, but you honestly wanted to hug the life out of him. He had literally saved you ass, both yours and Garou’s, without even knowing. If someone learned that you were aiding the hero hunter, let alone were intimately close with him, you’d be relentlessly questioned and to do that you would have to be brought to the Hero Association and you weren’t setting a foot there willingly. Not again…

King didn’t know who you were with, just had the information that you were currently seeing someone and he was also aware that Genos had an interest in you, even though the intentions behind it were a bit vague to everyone. He had unknowingly saved you from more trouble than he knew and you internally cried in happiness at his big brother act. Regardless of his dislike for confrontation, ill anxiety and straight out distaste for tense conversations such as this one, he pushed his limits and stood in front of you like a shield, protecting you as best as he could. He willingly stepped out of his comfort zone just so he could cover up your clumsy mistake and at the moment you viewed him as a saint, which only amplified the guilt you felt for keeping such a secret from him.

However, he couldn’t know. They couldn’t know, none of them or you risked losing Garou for good and you’d rather be sent to hell than betray the development you had accomplished for your relations with the silver haired hero hunter. You weren’t risking it, no fucking way, not after everything. You wouldn’t let them take him away from you, stemming over the decision to keep your interactions secretive for the sake of you both. You were already neck deep in shit because you had chosen not to push him away when you had learned of his identity, now there was no going back without consequences. You would face them, just not tonight, not by Genos.

Your golden haired guardian leaned into your ear after pulling the juice box out of his mouth and grunted.

“So much for keeping me updated.”

Chapter Text

After what felt like an eternity of trying to teach Saitama basic video game strategies and techniques, inevitably resulting in a massive headache on your part, you had decided that calling it a night and going home would be best.

Unfortunately, Genos had refused to let you go on your own after hearing King’s last minute improvised story and even after you had given him a handful of logical reasons as not to worry, he had been dead set on his goal to escort you home. So after gathering up your belonging and waiting for King and Fubuki to get ready, the four of you had left, though the esper had already prepped herself a car, which had been waiting outside of Saitama’s apartment complex when you had exited it. Usually, King would have just sat you on his bike and rode off, but now that you two had a personal bodyguard, it wouldn’t seem fair to use the bike and have Genos run after you. Instead, you had settled on walking the tall blonde home, holding light conversations along the way, which even the cyborg had participated in every so often.

After reaching King’s home and bidding your goodbyes, Genos had secured you in his arms and literally flown you to your apartment and you couldn’t have been more grateful seeing as you were sleepwalking at that point. You’d had a moderately good time, but exhaustion had been heavy on your body the entire time and after suffering from a few anxiety blows to the heart, which led to depleting what little energy you had had, you were completely drained. The imagery of the comforts of your bed had you melting in delight during your flight and thankfully kept away the panic that you would have endured if you were sober enough to realize how far off you were from the ground.

Once you had landed and you had stretched away the shakiness in your legs, you had waved nonchalantly at the cyborg while fishing out your keys. But it was when you heard nothing back, not even the blast of his engines before takeoff, did you turn back around and flinched when you saw him standing roughly a foot away from you.

“Genos – “ a yawn cut you off and you lifted a hand to cover your mouth before attempting to shake off the drowsiness, at least until you got to your bedroom “ – You can go now. I’m safe here.”

“No.” the cyborg shook his head, holding his ground despite how desperate you were to get rid of him “I will escort you to your front door. I will not risk your safety after your recent assault.”

It’s not that you didn’t enjoy his company, nor that you were ungrateful for his concern and protection, Genos was a sweetheart and you thrived in the care he showered you with. However, you had made a point to inform Garou that you would leave your balcony door unlocked if he were to stop by and you weren’t home at the time. If he had indeed decided to come over for the night even in your current position you were already risking exposing the two men to each other. Genos still knew little about the newly proclaimed hero hunter, but Garou knew all the S-Class heroes and you doubted he would actually use his brain and keep a low profile if he saw the Demon Cyborg casually standing a few floors below him. If Garou jumped at the opportunity both of you were screwed.

After realizing that the cyborg wouldn’t budge, you sighed in defeat and motioned for him to follow after unlocking the front gates and slipping inside the complex.

Every step you took, every centimeter that brought you closer to your apartment was a moment of contemplation and anxiety. You prayed that Garou didn’t pick up the second pair of footsteps, which accompanied you and also you silently hoped that he wouldn’t be there at all. You craved his company, every moment spent with the silver haired hero hunter was complete bliss to you, however, in situations like these you couldn’t help but wish that he wouldn’t grace you with his presence.

You already had enough panic attacks for one night, you definitely didn’t need to suffer through more so you were set on doing whatever you could to keep the identities of both men a secret from each other at least until Genos was far enough for Garou to dismiss the thought of perusing him. You didn’t want the people you cared for turning on each other before your very eyes and with the knowledge of not actually being able to stop the encounter. You feared that in the end, one of them would be severely injured and the thought that you could have actually prevented everything would haunt you endlessly.

You weren’t risking it. The moment you reached your front door you would barge in and lock it.

“Thanks for taking me home.” you turned on your heal to face the cyborg and offered a small smile, keys harshly jingling at your abrupt movement.

“Anything for your safety, (Y/N).” Genos nodded, then gave your front door a good skim, as if listening for any disturbance coming from inside your home, making sure you wouldn’t be in danger as soon as he turned his back to you.

“Have a good night.” you laughed nervously and as soon as you found the right key and shortly fumbled with the lock, you slipped inside your home and slammed the door shut. Your ear pressed against the polished wood as you listened to the fading footsteps and as soon and as they dispersed you sighed heavily and closed your eyes, fingers pinching the bridge of your nose, trying to calm strained and overworked nerves.

A pang of guilt nibbled at your sanity and you frowned. You hadn’t even given Genos the chance to say good night before you had hidden inside the safety of your apartment, refusing to take any more pressure despite the cyborg deserving a respectful departure. Your reasons were understandable though, and that gave you some sort of comfort.

Genos probably didn’t even see it as a big deal considering he knew you were tired and desperate to get to your bed and just rest, he wouldn’t even remember this night in a few days, unlike you, who would probably suffer from a panic attack as soon as the memory of what could have gone wrong poisoned your mind. You were overthinking it, you knew that much, but as much as you tried, the what ifs in your head continued to rampage and even after the cyborg had probably left the confines of your complex, you still felt on edge.

“Who was that?”

The voice made you jump and you turned your attention to your couch, a hand gripping at the fabric covering your chest as your heart tried to steady itself after being brought near bursting. You puffed out a breath, ignoring the curious look Garou was giving you, and shook your head, giggling to yourself the more you realized just how much of a frightened critter you must have resembled.

“For fuck’s sake, you scared me.” you gasped through a laugh and straitened from you bent over position “A friend walked me home.” you answered his question and it was then that you noticed how utterly destroyed he looked.

Your first aid kit was wide open on the coffee table and almost empty, the contents of it scattered around it as well as on the couch, but most of them were gracing Garou’s mangled body. Bandages were littered on the floor, most of them torn up and bloody, apparently old as the hero hunter was nearly finished covering himself up with a new batch, the last wound he tended being a deep gash on his palm. Despite the wrapped injuries, some of them still seeped out blood, coloring the fresh scrim with a crimson pallet while they soaked in the liquid and thankfully prevented it from staining your couch.

“What happened to you?” you nearly sobbed before setting your bag next to the table and after moving aside used cotton balls and Garou’s torn up turtleneck, sat next to him.

“Rough fight.” he chuckled, wincing at the sharp pain that struck his side as soon as he put even the slightest of strain on his body. He left you to tug his hand in your lap before re-wrapping the bandage around it, fixing up the sloppy job he had done. He noticed the frown that dimmed your face and curled his coarse fingers around your soft, little ones as they worked magic over his wound “But I won!”

It was a poor attempt at making you feel better, but he honestly didn’t know how exactly to comfort you. This was what he did and he was accustomed to constantly being injured and in a process of recovery and after you had spent so much time in direct contact with him, he had thought that you were too. Apparently not, because your eyes wallowed up with sorrow and for a moment he was speechless, unable to think of a proper way to react. He felt the edges of his mouth dip downwards, the look of concentration he had while patching himself up now replaced with one similar to your own.

“I’m fine, (Y/N).” he mumbled and leaned towards you while you watched him, mouth parting in a soft gasp when he connected his dry lips with your forehead in a small, but successful gest of reassurance “Stop fussing over me.”

Your eyelids slid over wide pupils and you smiled softly, soaking in the moment of peace and the heartwarming feeling of your usually frisky man-child’s softening up due to your presence. Your thumbs rolled over his injured palm gently, relishing in how calm he was even though you were fumbling with the open gash, believing that you would do nothing to cause him further pain.

“Just be more careful next time.” you did your best to smile his beaten up state away and tugged at his earlobe like a concerned mother “I don’t have an endless supply of bandages.”

 “Yeah, yeah.” he waved you off after pulling back and stood up, grabbing onto the armrest of the couch for support and holding his side as he did so “Now who was this guy friend of yours?”

The question was targeted more towards himself, hence why he had mumbled out the last part as he stepped towards the window and peered out, golden eyes searching for a figure walking away from the apartment complex. He spotted a man, his features hidden by the darkness of the night and he flicked his tongue in displeasure from not being able to get a good look. However, when the man’s body lit up like a light and the distinct pair of jets attached to his back flared to life shortly before he took off, Garou got a good idea of who your escort had been as the cyborg flew off, completely oblivious to the narrowed eyes following him.

“The Demon Cyborg?”

When he turned back to you it was readable by the way you fidgeted while gathering up the old bandages from the floor that his guess was correct and he couldn’t help but smile in amusement.

“The Demon Cyborg is your friend?”

You stiffened at the question, but continued cleaning up, eyes focused on ridding your floor of the dirty bandages and refusing to meet Garou’s.

Why did he have to be so curious? Now you were the one who owned an explanation and were more than reluctant to offer it considering you couldn’t predict what his reaction would be to you knowing a bunch of S-Class heroes and being on friendly terms with them. You had been hoping from day one that this conversation would never have to occur and if it did, it would in the distant future, not now when you were still getting settled down with the intimacy of your newly established relationship. You wanted to focus on what you had and just him in general whilst keeping the social side of your life distanced to prevent situations such as this, however, when the time came for you two to go actually go outside and face the world together you were bound to cross with a familiar face. Despite not wanting to indulge in the matter, it would be wise to speak now and have Garou ready for any future encounter, rather than have to explain it to him after he’s faced against someone you consider a friend and he – an enemy.

“Yeah.” you nodded and dismissed your childish nervousness before facing the man that had walked to your kneeling and was now towering over you “Genos is a close friend of mine. I also know a couple of the other S-Class heroes and a bunch of lower ranked one, but I guess you’re not that interested in them, huh?”

“You know that eventually I’ll beat the shit out of them right?’ Garou slumped back into the comforts of the couch with a heavy exhale and stretched his legs on the now tidied up floor, sparing you a look as you made your way to the trash bin in your kitchen “Who else do you know?”

You pulled out the now nearly depleted stash of ice tea from your fridge and after deciding that you would spare a glass and drink directly from the bottle, you unscrewed the cap and took a big swig. A refreshing drink and sugar was definitely needed for this conversation and you just couldn’t resist your newly developed addiction to the delicious liquid treat.

“I know Metal Bat, Tatsumaki, although I wouldn’t really consider her a friend.” you giggled as the memory of your first encounter with the petite green haired woman, who had been very confused as to why someone like King would hang around a completely useless civilian. Despite her rude attitude, you found her entertaining, especially when someone questioned her age, though you didn’t really spend much time together, just bumped noses whenever she had to meet King to discuss a monster attack “King is a…really close friend of mine. He was actually the first friend I made when I moved here.” your eyebrows furrowed as you tried to recollect anyone else from the high ranked heroes that you might have missed “Ah! And I know Tank-Top Master!” you perked up, the finger that had been resting on your chin now waving in the air at the sudden memory “Although I haven’t spoken to him in a while.”

You couldn’t help but smirk at the utterly blank expression that was plastered over Garou’s usually cocky look and stuck your nose in the air proudly once you settled down on the couch, next to him.

“I’ve got some connections.”

“If you aren’t a hero, how do you know all these people?” the suspicion in his voice was deserved and you didn’t mind having to explain yourself to him since he had trusted you to keep his identity private and considering he hadn’t been ambushed by the Hero Association during one of his countless visits, you had kept your loyalty to him. You did your best to show him that he was safe with you and that betrayal was never an intention and tonight you’d prove those facts further.

“Ah, well, when I first moved in I decided to explore for a bit.” you smiled and offered the tea bottle to him, laughing softly when he snatched it and began to greedily drink away “I bumped into King in a store I had decided to stop at and I asked for his autograph and before you give me a death glare hear me out.”

He smirked at your prediction and set the now empty bottle on the coffee table before averting all of his attention to you in interest and crossing his arms, willing to listen to your story as much as it might irritate him.

He disliked the way your eyes twinkled when you mentioned King, but he kept his annoyance hidden, hoping that the emotions displayed on your face were based on platonic love and nothing else. The strongest man was a dream come true to a lot of girls, but he decided to believe in your words, basing your smile on the fact that you and King were simply close friends and he didn’t have to compete with a hero for your affection. Not that he would mind the competition, but he had already become comfortable knowing that there was no other rival he had to crush to submission before claiming you as his woman. He wasn’t ready to wage two wars when you were his only safe heaven, the single person who brought him relaxation and a peaceful mind. His battles were already heavy enough on his shoulders and to suddenly have to face off even more opponents for the attention of a woman he had already marked and declared possession over was not his cup of tea.

He was not competing for you, you were already his.

“So I asked for an autograph.” you cringed at your embarrassing words, for a moment feeling like a mindless fangirl, but you knew your reasons and you repeated them in your head profusely just to remind yourself of the truth “And you have no idea how much money those go for if you’re selling an actual original autograph. As stupid as it sounds, I was planning on selling it if he was willing to sign my t-shirt. I was new, I needed money so…that was a plan, I guess.” you snorted at the stupidity of your past self and dismissed the mocking chuckle you received “I don’t know why, but he signed it. Maybe he was in a good mood that day, no idea. Then I saw the stuff he was holding and I started asking him questions about it. We were in a video game store, mind you. I guess that’s when I actually got his attention. We were still talking when we left the store and he gave me his online pseudonym and soon enough we started chatting.”

“The great King, strongest man on Earth, a nerd.” Garou grinned, a hand on his face in disbelief “I would’ve never guessed.”

“Hey! I’m a nerd too!” you hollered in protest and gave his upper arm a teasing slap.

He snickered before catching your hand and tugging you towards him until you were sat in his lap, chests pressed together while he stared down at you with smirk. You slipped your arms behind his back, enveloping him in a loving embrace and resting your head in the crook of his neck, biting your bottom lip to contain the shivers of pure happiness that were threatening to rack through your body. A heavy arm was rested on your back, bringing you as close as possible as the hero hunter soaked in the warmth and softness of your body. A palm was pressed against the back of your head, long fingers diving in now messy strand of hair and brushing away any worry you might have had during the day with unbelievable gentleness.

“So a nerd, eh?” the baritone of his lowered voice vibrated against your cheek and you instinctively connected your lips with the side of his neck, sating your craving for more contact as you peppered kisses over every inch of skin you could reach “Never thought I’d fall for a loser like you.”

He laughed heartily when he heard you flick your tongue, ceasing the more than welcome actions against his neck before gently head-butting his jaw.

“Never thought I’d fall for a twat, but here we are.”

He pressed you into his collarbone, shushing your snarky comebacks before they had the chance to evolve and brushing his nose against your hair.

“It’s story time, princess.” he reminded you while shifting the cushion behind his back before returning his hand back within the thickness of your hair, now much more comfortable “Focus!”

“Right, right.” you nodded against him and after sucking in a long inhale and humming while recalling where you had left off, you continued “So we continued to chat for a while, a couple of months I think, and in the beginning I kinda had a small crush on him, mainly because he turned out to be so much nicer than I thought. But then we started meeting up and, you know, the more time I spent with him, I started looking at him like an older brother. He just somehow fit into that role so well!”

“So that’s one guy wrapped around your finger.” Garou snickered at the fist that was repeatedly slammed against his chest “What about the rest?”

It was so easy to tick you off, he just couldn’t resist no matter how hard he tried to keep his snake tongue at bay. Not only that, but your reactions whenever you were embarrassed were pure gold and he prioritized memorizing each one, wondering when you would finally run out of options and start repeating them.

“Well, a lot of heroes hang around King so when we eventually became inseparable I met all of them. I didn’t befriend many of them, but I did score a few good friends. Demon Cyborg is one of them!” you lifted your head enough to meet his eyes and swallowed heavily “And about you beating them up, well…I kinda signed up for that when I found out you were the hero hunter. I mean, I’m not looking forward to it. I don’t want anyone getting hurt, but…Whatever has to happen, will happen, I guess. There’s no escaping it.” your eyes lowered the more you thought of the future bloodshed, your voice losing its initial decibel until it was reduced to a raspy whisper “I just hope everyone comes out alive…”

“I don’t kill people, (Y/N).” Garou brushed his nose against yours before pushing your head forward until your foreheads were pressed together “I told you that when I came to explain the massacre you saw. None of those scumbags were dead.”

“Yeah…” you mumbled out with a hesitant nod.

You didn’t know if he kissed you because of how miserable you looked after imagining the people you cared for drawing blood from each other, or because he didn’t want to offer you any comforting lies that would help temporarily subside your worry, but the moment he pressed his lips against yours you lost yourself in the moment. Regardless of your constantly heavy with scenarios head, you let yourself be swept away by his action and melted against him, fingers clutching onto bandaged muscles as you leaned in closer to him, shuffling blindly until you were straddling his lap. Palms ghosted over bruised skin, earning a throaty grunt from your silver haired heartthrob who broke away and proceeded to kiss along your jaw until he reached your ear.

“So…” he whispered, causing you to burst into a fit of shudders before hiding your face in your hands like a schoolgirl “Why did your dear friend, Demon Cyborg, escort you home tonight?”

You giggled at the menace Garou used mentioning Genos, the clear as day jealousy bringing out a loving smile from you as you cupped his face and poked his cheeks with your thumbs.

“That’s one messy long story you’re asking for. Which – “ you squished his face, making his lips pop out shortly before he slapped your hands away with a gurgling bark of a complaint “ – was your fault, by the way. Your stupid ass left a giant hickey on my neck and my friends noticed it and I was stuck trying to figure out what to tell them.”

“Since your friends turned out to be S-Class heroes I think it was necessary to mark you down before one of them dared to.” Garou smirked at you slyly and you scoffed, hands planted on your waist after you straitened up “I don’t give away what’s mine.”

“First of all, Mr Alpha male, I’m not some super model who men can’t keep their hands off of.” you scolded and poked a finger into his chest, trying your best to ignore the pleased expression plastered on his face and the subtle shift of his eyes whenever he glanced at the covered up hickey “And second! Do you know how much trouble we would have gotten ourselves into if I hadn’t been able to get out of that situation?”

“Then tell them you’re seeing someone.” Garou shrugged, failing to understand what you were fussing over so much “What’s the big deal?”

“If I do, they’ll start asking questions and want to meet you.” you answered, voicing out your concerns as you fiddled with a stray bandage that was poking out of the neat row covering his lower stomach “I haven’t really had the time to devise a plan for that yet.”

“Ugh.” Garou laid his head back against the backrest of the couch and grumbled “Being a boyfriend is such a pain.”

“Boyfriend?” you blurted out, the shock from his statement creeping up on you faster than you could process, and you tilted your head to one side, eyebrows locked together, not quite understanding where he was coming from.

Despite your closeness, you had never actually officially established a relationship, just went with the flow and enjoyed each other’s affection whenever you met up. With the dangers that lurked around every corner and suspense of heroes learning that Garou was a frequent visitor to your home, you never thought of sitting down and discussing where the two of you were going with your relations. Talking about dating was simply out of the question because you couldn’t actually date, you never went out in public together nor even thought about going on a date with the high risk of someone recognizing Garou and unintentionally dragging you into the whole hero hunter fiasco. You simply spent time together and offered each other comfort and care, acting as chargers for the other until the next day came around.

You never felt the need to push him into asking you out, things had somehow fallen into place perfectly and you were more than content with you current situation. However, now that he mentioned it, you started to wonder what his view on your interactions was because it definitely differed from yours.

“Yes? We’re a couple now, aren’t we? Even though it’s just a major hassle.” his head rouse to look at your dumbfounded expression and he raised an eyebrow “If you expected me to take you out on a romantic date to ask you out, too bad. I am not doing that.”

“Nah.” you giggled at his inquiry, cracking out of your surprise “I’m not too keen on romantic dates myself. They make me feel on edge. Like something’s expected of me constantly. It’s too troublesome.”

He lean into you then, wrapping his arms around you and squishing you against him, looking up at you calmly as you laid your palms on either side of his face.

“You’re mine and I’m yours. The only thing I expect from you is loyalty.” he mumbled, feeding your desperate heart with his drug and connecting yet another metaphorical chain between you two, but then he grinned wickedly and you knew he was about to ruin the moment “And blowjobs, I expect blowjobs, but we haven’t gotten to those yet.”

You sighed, your features losing their loving glow and being replaced by raw annoyance, and you ripped yourself from him with a scoff as he laughed his petty ass off at your reaction.

“The only blowjob you’re getting is from my hairdryer, you fucking prick.”

Despite your more than evident displeasure with him, he placed his hand on the back of your head and pushed you forward, landing a sloppy kiss on your lips and when you turned your face to the side, refusing to be broken, he began to trail soothing pecks down your throat, grinning like an idiot the whole time. Eventually, your unmoving stature shattered and a fit of giggles erupted from your throat as you tried to get away, having succumbed to the ticklish way Garou moved his nose against your skin. Your shaky fingers pressed down on his chest to halter him and he pulled back, beaming victoriously at how easily he could redeem himself when it came to teasing you.

“Sleep with me tonight.” you spoke out before your brain gave you enough reasons why not to “You always sleep on my couch, I want to sleep with you tonight, in my bed, where we don’t have to be lying on top of each other to fit.”

“I’ll ruin your bed sheets, princess.” Garou objected “My wounds are fresh, I might bleed.”

In all honestly, he was completely content with sleeping on your couch, with or without you. It was already enough that you were willing to let him stay the nights and offer him food and treatment, he didn’t need you going out of your way to offer him more comfort. He never really did give anything in return so he was more than happy with what he was given and was grateful for your generosity.

“Please? I’ll clean up the bed in the morning.” you gave him your best pouting face, which might not have turned out as you wanted to considering your haggard condition, but by the continued softening of his eyes, you could say it did its job “I really want to…”

“Fine.”

You squealed and gripped onto him when he suddenly stood up, an arm wrapping under your bum to support you from slipping off like the puddle of jelly that you were. How he was this beaten up and still effortlessly lifted you was beyond you, but you dismissed the thought as soon as he spoke up again.

“Now stop making that stupid face.”

You clung to him as he walked, eyes closed and face pressed against his neck, arms wrapped around his shoulders and fingers holding onto moving muscles, legs secured around his waist and feet dangling lifelessly. The way you nuzzled into him, your hair ticking his jaw and chin, and the light smile he felt pressed against his skin had him swallow back a lump in his throat, which got caught in his chest and weighed on him the more affection you poured onto him.

It bothered him in a way, more so the thought of you doing this with someone else, someone that wasn’t him. What would you be like if he was another? Would you be the same? If he had never showed up you would have eventually found someone, but would you have taken down your barriers as quickly as you had with him? Did you even have barriers to begin with? Nah…

You were always so open with him and he was glad for that, but a part of him kept nagging that you were like this with others as well, just too kind and friendly for your own good. It stung him to visualize you clinging onto King or the Demon Cyborg like this as they carried you somewhere or comforted you in a time of need.

Right then he mentally smacked himself over the head and scoffed.

What the hell did all that matter? You were his and as long as he saw that glimmer in your eyes shine whenever you looked at him, there was no man who would be able to take you away from him.

   

 

 

Chapter Text

The first sound he registered was the high pitched lullaby of birds chirping energetically just outside the bedroom window. An orchestra of the damned things was gathered on the tree branches that peeked from the bottom of the window frame and through blurry eyes he could see them flying in and out of the sea of deep green leaves.

A hand was hoisted on his forehead, casting a shadow over his vision until he adjusted to the warm brightness that was the morning sun rays flooding the room and annoyingly enough – waking him up. The usual fire which made his golden irises shine in the darkest of shadows was extinguished and now his molten gaze was one of simple drowsiness and contentment. His hair, a usual mess of snowy white locks, was somehow even more of a hazard now, spreading far and wide over the dark blue pillow he had practically face planted in the previous night. Muscles twitched to consciousness just enough for him to be able to turn on his side and wrap around the little monstrosity sleeping next to him. You grumbled in disapproval of being moved, but did not wake and Garou had to bite his lip and prevent a chuckle at the fact that even in your sleep you were still a thick headed pain in the ass.

He skimmed over what he could of the room without shifting and receiving another handful of incoherent curses from you, finding the peacefulness of it all a bit unappealing. He was too relaxed, a major minus for his line of work, but the sad truth was that he felt too weak to pull away and leave from the welcoming bed and the softness of your entirety pressed against him and sleeping soundly, an indicator of how safe you felt. He couldn’t let go of that, at least not for the time being.

Clothes were scattered all around, some yours, some his, some on the creaked open door of your closet or your desk and chair, but most were on the floor alongside a fair amount of bandages he had deemed unnecessary and taken off last night before diving in your bed. There was a fucking sock on your computer monitor and he had no idea why that was so. More importantly, he had no idea you even had a computer, you never seemed to use it, or at least when he was around, but considering how much of your attention he took when he was over, the answer birthed itself.

Yellow eyes, now awake, but still half-lidded in a calm and peaceful manner, turned to you after you began to shuffle, lifting a leg to wrap around his hips and snaking an arm over his upper stomach, palm pressed against his back in a sorry attempt to pull him closer. Thank God for air conditioning because if the temperature was as high as he suspected it to be outside, he would have kicked you off him along with the thin sheets the both of you were tangled in and he would have moved to sleep on the floor.

Long coarse fingers slipped under the strand of hair cascading over your eyes before he lazily tucked them away, unintentionally tickling your forehead. Your face scrunched and with an irritated slap to his hand, you pushed him away and rolled in bed, leaving him to face your back, that was until the blinding sunrays crashed against your thin eyelids and you flinched before tossing yourself back around and stuffing your face in something hard, but warm. You mumbled something, expression still drowned in annoyance, he could tell even after you had hidden away most of it in his chest, then you flung the blanket over your head and nuzzled into him before stilling. He couldn’t help himself that time, you were just too entertaining.

He chuckled – a rusty and scratchy noise, which had you crack open your eyes, gaining awareness for just enough time to scold him, but then you registered a distinguishable force pressing again a specifically intimate part of your lower body, which had you raise an eyebrow and completely forget slapping the noise out of him before going back to sleep.

“Please relocate your morning wood away from my asshole.” you murmured, blurry eyes rising until they met Garou’s unimpressed ones briefly before you snuggled back into the safety that was his skin. He grunted at your request and you felt one of his hands slip between your bodies shortly before the pressure against your bum was removed “Much appreciated.”

In your still hazy and uncoordinated state, you placed a longing kiss on the collarbone that had been pressed against your forehead, putting little to no thought in your actions, but once your lips connected with heated flesh and you heard a sleepy hum of satisfaction come from somewhere above you, you decided to continue. Mildly numb, puckered lips brushed against scarred skin and everywhere they touched you felt the muscles beneath convulse and tighten, relaxing once the lingering sensation subsided.

Delicate fingers mindlessly traced over deep scars, feeling them even with a layer of bandages over them and as an act of reciprocation, you felt a hand slip under your top before a trail of nails was dragged gently over the entirety of your spine. Pleasant shivers shook your upper body, causing your next inhale to sound shaky, followed up by a soundly exhale and you pressed your mouth against Garou’s skin firmer this time, silencing the moan, which requested release.

You were enveloped in a secure hug before being rolled over, ending up splattered on top of Garou like a slab of meat and as you straightened up into a sitting position, each leg on either side of his hips, you just had to smirk at the sight beneath you.
He was sprawled out like door mat, his hands holding onto your thighs with an almost feathery grip and his chest slowly rouse and fell, completely comfortable with the inspection you were giving him. His bandages were becoming loose, parts of them lying around him along with a few dried up bloody stains, which you had to remember to wash up later. Surprisingly many of his cuts seemed to have started developing a protective crust and you were more than happy with the knowledge that he had already started recovering. None of his wounds had bled in hours, there were no fresh stains neither on the sheets nor the wrappings covering him.

Garou forced an eye open, taking in your analytical look before he grumbled, distressed with the sudden loss of contact, and pulled you down against him, closing his larger hands around your before guiding them to his hair.

“Never thought you’d be such a cuddle bug in the morning.” you snorted and began to gently rub the cushions of your fingertips against his scalp, being mindful not to tangle them in his hair and have him wincing away and starting a fit. When he laid a palm over your mouth you simply giggled, but went along with his request for silence and focused on your wake-up massage. Once in a while, he would inhale deeply, disrupting his even breathing, and then he would emit an almost purr like sound, leaving you ecstatic and bathing in his bed-head demeanor, which was so damn satisfying compared to the usual cocky and downright obnoxious attitude he possessed when fully awake.

You definitely needed to sleep with him more often.

“What time is it?”

You blinked away your thoughts and focused back on him briefly before reaching for the phone you had left on your night stand.

“Seven AM. Why?” you answered after pressing your thumb against the bottom central button and frowned just barely, dreading your own questions “Do you need to leave already?”

“Not yet.” he murmured after noting your saddened look and pulled himself upright, tugging you with him, wrapping his arms around your waist once his back was pressed against the headboard of the bed “In two hours I should, though. If I stay any longer the chances of someone spotting me are big and I don’t feel like risking it.” he slid a finger under your chin and tilted it up for a perfect view of his mischievous grin “Don’t worry, princess, I’ll come back for you. Can’t leave my fangirl hanging now, can I?”

I relished in the way your eyes had lit up at his words and a shy smile had made its way present on your delicate face, only to come crashing down by the time he had finished speaking, all the softness and warmth being replaced by a deadpan look and then a wave of irritation. Oh how beautiful it all was…

With a cranky grumble, you tossed the sheets off you, exposing your skin to the sun-rays soaking in your bed, a pair of undergarments and a thin t-shirt being your only coverage, and stood up. You gave your body the time it needed to adjust to the sudden actions, gaining balance and dissolving the weakness in your legs as a rush of blood flooded them. Ignoring the pleased smirk glued to your back was the best decision to make while you stretched because If you did acknowledge it you would be sitting on Garou’s chest and trying to suffocate him with a pillow.

He just had to ruin every damn moment.

The painful wails spilling past gritted teeth were like melody to your ears as he struggled to leave the comforts of the bed sheets. If pain was the only way to wipe off that look of satisfaction on his face then by all means you would accept the circumstances and refuse to lend him a hand, not that he would have accepted the help even if you offered it. You were already stomping over his man pride with everything you did for him that he couldn’t provide for himself, you were sure he didn’t need you becoming even more of a charity fund.

You tied the chaos that was your hair back in something, which resembled a messy bun and wiggled your toes inside your slippers before turning off the air conditioner and heading for the kitchen, followed by bare feet padding against the tiled floor.

“I really need to fix you up before you go.” you rasped through a dry throat after hoisting yourself up on the counter and turning on the coffee machine. You hooked a finger around the handle of a random mug stationed within the collection you had gathered over time and sat it under the coffee dispenser.

“As in?” the quirked eyebrow Garou gave you had you scowling.

A few pops came from him as he flexed his shoulders and you couldn’t help but cringe at the noise. The sound came closer to him dislocating his shoulders rather than just relieving them, but by his mellow shuffling around your kitchen, you guessed he had indeed just stretched.

“As in re-bandage you and stitch up your top if I have enough time.” you motioned your head towards the couch where said black turtleneck was discarded “If you haven’t noticed, the thing is practically shredded. I don’t know if you fought a hero or a bear, but you can’t go out in that, it’s ruined.”

“If you insist.” Garou shrugged and after what looked like a painful back warm-up, he opened the fridge shortly before occupying his hands with the pot of beef stew you had prepared the day before. The sip you were taking out of your coffee was cut short and you made a noise, grabbing his attention fast enough to stop him before he poured himself a bowl.

“Don’t eat that. I’ll make breakfast.”

You had noticed the small pile of dirty dishes in your sink stained with the brown broth of the stew. They hadn’t been there when you had left for work yesterday so you assumed they were from Garou. You had most likely caught him last night after he had already eaten and had moved on to patching himself up.

“I don’t care, it’s food.” he shook his head, his words roughly translating to you not needing to prepare him fresh food all the time. He didn’t really want to put you through the trouble, he was fine with any food, however, it was enjoyable to watch you scurrying around in a heap, cooking while he rested on your couch, watching you silently while you weren’t looking. It was an alien feeling to have someone tending to him, let alone nursing feelings for him, but he admitted it was nice. It gave him a sense of belonging he had been deprived of since his early childhood and even after stepping under Bang’s wing he had still felt like a stranger.

“I’ll be making breakfast regardless. So, might as well make some for both of us.” you spoke as your eyes glazed over the counter, thinking of the options you had for a morning meal and discarding them one by one until stopping on a menu appealing enough. Eggs and toast? It was simple enough for your lazy morning self to prepare without too much mental complaining and the meal would be light and not weigh on your stomach for too long.

After depleting your dose of coffee halfway, you slid off the counter, pulling the packaged bread along with you and unwrapping it before pulling out two slices. You plugged in the old toaster sitting by the stove and left it to do its magic after popping in the slices.

“How many slices do you want?” you questioned and tugged the salt within hands reach, ready for usage once you buttered the first batch of toast.

“Four…five.”

You gave him a look, but said nothing. In all honesty, when it came to toast, you could probably stuff down a good amount of slices before having to stop yourself for the same of your health. You didn’t know what it was about overbaked bread and butter, but you could eat a ton and still have room for one more piece.

The butter was set in front of you before you could delve in your fridge looking for it and you leaned back, colliding with a hot, bandaged chest with a serene smile before wrapping your arms around the larger, muscular one that had instinctively circled your bare lower stomach. Fingers knitted together and a thumb absentmindedly began to brush against the side of your hand, bringing you a sense of peacefulness.

A loud slurping noise cut the serene silence short and you looked up with a knowing expression, finding your coffee mug a prisoner inside a battle-worn palm as its contents were being casually devoured.

Of course he was drinking your coffee, he’ll drink anything you took a sip from. Next time you made tea, you were going to taste test it and pour half a kilo of salt inside, maybe then he would learn.

The toaster dinged. You retrieved a butter knife, all the while moving around with your man-child still holding onto you, and hastily pulled out the bread, careful as not to burn yourself. You spread a think sheet of butter over both slices, watching in satisfaction as it instantly melted away and raising one to your shoulder where you felt a chin resting in expectation. Garou bit down on the toast as soon as it came close enough and pulled back, setting you free as he leaned back against the counter, leaving your now empty coffee mug in the sink to wash up later.

The second slice of toast was stolen away as soon as you averted your attention to the fridge to look for eggs.

“How are you so hungry? You just woke up.” you laughed while setting the carton next to the stove and kneeling down to rummage through the drawers, searching for a pan.

“I’m used to not eating for a long time.” Garou shrugged while ravenously biting down on the bread “So when I get the chance, I eat as much as I can. I could use the energy.”

“Where do you even eat when you’re not over?” you turned to him shortly after positioning the pan and leaving it to heat up. The thoughtful look you got as an answer had your eyebrows furrowing in concern and you crossed your arms, oil bottle hanging from one of your hands.

“I steal?” he spoke up before dusting the bread crumbs of his hands and chest “I eat whatever I can find. That’s why I’m not picky.”

“Oh…” that was the only sound you could muster. Eyes averted to the now heated pan, you poured a small amount of oil before cracking a few eggs and proceeding to watch over them with a spatula in hand “Do you…want me to pack you food for the day?”

“No.” he shook off your offer almost instantly “I’ll be fine.”

As childish as it sounded, you were always on edge when frying anything that could result in burning hot oil sizzling hard enough for a few droplets to end up on your skin. It wouldn’t kill you, yet you still strayed away whenever the pan became too lively and on many occasions you would end up with either raw or overcooked food. Being somewhat anxious by nature tended to do that to a person, overthinking of how normal situations could end up a painful disaster. However, now your mind was set focusing on other worries and you just mechanically tended to your breakfast, unafraid of the dangerous droplets that were flying around whenever you flipped over an egg and pressed it down to cook faster. You didn’t even notice when Garou shifted to watch over your shoulder, practically drooling over his soon to be meal and to beat the time the eggs required, he decided to help and popped in two more slices of bread in the toaster.

You should have suspected as much, Garou had no job, no family, not even a home, there was literally nowhere he could get food from. He wore the same clothes every time you saw him and after basically forcing him to take a bath one day, he had started a routine to shower every time he came by and didn’t have to leave in a couple of hours. It made sense that he would wolf down any food you offered him, you were his only source, unless he ended up snagging something small from a store or a booth on the street during the night. He was literally homeless and jobless and you wanted to slap yourself for realizing just now how bad his situation was. No wonder he kept coming back after you had found him that night, anyone in his living conditions would have jumped at the opportunity.

You cared for him, that part was evident to both of you, so it was natural to stress over him, right? He was a big boy, he was strong enough to go into battle against skilled heroes and come out alive and walking and he had survived fine before meeting you. He could take care of himself, tend to his wounds and find enough food to sate his hunger at least a little until the next time his body needed replenishment, but you still worried and you would most certainly continue to do so. You couldn’t say he was your lover, not yet at least, the image didn’t fit right with how little time you had spent together after he had lip-locked you that night after going to the movies with King, yet you felt him close to your being and that led to your mom instincts kicking in, especially after discovering what a child he was at times…most of the time.

The clank of a plate against marble had you jumping in your spot.

“Oi! Oi! You’ll burn the eggs!” Garou harshly took the pan away from you and briskly slid the eggs in the plate he had set next to the stove before turning the heat off. He cupped the side of your face and forced you to look at him, you doubted he had meant to glare at you while he skimmed over your startled expression, but after such grim contemplation, it only made you shrink away from him. The harshness of his look softened as his arm fell to his side and his shoulders relaxed, hoping that the intimidated look you were nurturing would subside “You…alright?”

Scaring you hadn’t even crossed his mind. He had actually expected you to slap him away and bark at him for grabbing you in such a rough way so the dear-in-headlights façade you had put on stunned him.

“Yeah.” you nodded rigidly, taking the toast and eggs in your hands before they were pulled away from your grasp, practically forcing you to look at the culprit as you secured your answer and took back the plates, dissatisfied with the lack of faith in you handling dishes with food “I’m fine. Just…thinking of bullshit.”

You almost felt bad for acting so scared, it had been impulsive, your body had reacted before you could take the time to think it through and you ended up looking like a child caught in the wrongdoing. So much for proving him that you weren’t scared and trusted him…

“I think I might still be a bit stressed after last night.” you mumbled after setting the plates on the coffee table and slumping back in the couch, nodding gratefully at the glass of water that was sat in front of you along with a fork “It’s a bit stressful to hide you from everyone sometimes. I suppose, it’ll become even more of a hassle in the future. Overthinking things doesn’t help much either.”

The weight next to you caused the cushions of the couch to sink and you found it comforting. While leaning to take your water, you watched Garou lay an egg over his toast before taking a bite.

“I’m doing my part to not draw attention to this place.” he mumbled over chewing and washed down the food with water before continuing “You’re doing just as well. Overthinking what could have happened won’t help you in any way.”

“I know that.” you implied with a saddened smile “But can you blame me? It’s like I’m sheltering a criminal.”

It stung you somewhere when you uttered those words, but if you pushed all feelings aside, it was reality. The sad truth was that Garou was a bad guy by social standards and you were helping him, which deemed you just as guilty as he was. Despite the softness he showed you and Tareo, he demolished heroes daily and they were the good guys, which mean that your silver haired twat was the bad guy and what humanity he showed you was a side of him that nobody else saw. People didn’t know him, hell, they didn’t know heroes either, they just assumed they were good since they fought monsters. You know, however. You knew that heroes were nothing more than mercenaries and sometimes it sickened you how much normal citizens praised them.

This was why you stepped away from the Hero Association and stood as far as possible. You were not a killer for hire.

“That’s why I gave you a choice, (Y/N).” Garou’s voice had you freeze mid-bite into the piece of toast you had taken in your lap “You had the option of stopping me, you didn’t take it. I can’t turn away from this anymore, I’m sorry.”

“I don’t regret, if that’s what you’re implying.” you bit into your food so harshly your teeth clanked together, as if this was your way to scare away the sudden flow of uncertainty and paranoia that had taken a hold of you “I’ll never regret. It was my choice and I’ll take responsibility for it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t worry.”

Funny how the morning had started off so bright and light and had now sunk into debts that you doubted you could recover from by the time Garou had to leave. Serious talk was a rare occurrence, one of you always seemed to successfully fuck up the mood before your conversation escalated, but today that hadn’t happened, leaving you suffering under the heavy air and stern atmosphere. Sadly, talks like these were needed if your relationship was to survive and as much as you disliked the idea, you had to face the terror that was Garou during such interactions for the sake of keeping his lazy ass around.

“Hey…”

Your chin was tugged to the side as you faced a fierce glow contained within golden irises, thick white eyebrows casting dangerous shadows over them.

“As long as I stand, no one will harm you.”

For a moment you were left dumbfounded, lacking the vocabulary to reply despite your rich dictionary, but realization was quick to return and you pushed away his hand with a scolding look.

“That’s not what I’m worried about, you moron.” you scoffed, waving off his edgy look with the flick of your wrist “I’m worried about you! You’re the one going around fighting people.”

The baritone of a laugh that was thrown your way had you nearly slapping your toast in the center of Garou’s chest, but you refrained, deciding not to waste your breakfast. You were pulled into a rough kiss before you could protest, the greasy flavor of fried eggs and buttered toast coating your taste buds as Garou swirled his tongue around yours, enjoying the sweet taste of sugared coffee, which still lingered in your mouth.

“Don’t worry, princess. I can take care of myself.” he grinned once he pulled away and winked at you cheekily, to which you scoffed.

“Sure.”