Laying on his side in front of the television, Saitama sighed with exasperation as he clicked from channel to channel, his hopes of finding something good to watch dwindling with each push of his thumb. His stomach growled, causing him to repeat his sigh. He turned his head to look out of the sliding doors to the deck, evening sun pouring in. "Ugh, where's Genos? I'm hungry. I don't even know why I send him to the market. He always gets caught up with something else," he muttered to himself, not noticing he had stopped pressing the button. "The ramen would've been fine without the eggs… but eggs. Why do we never have eggs? Maybe I should get a pet chicken. Then we'd have eggs… eh, too much work." Shrugging to himself, the cutesy, romantic music coming from the television finally caught his attention, and his eyes returned to the screen. It was the climax of some romantic drama where a clean cut, handsome man was about to kiss a nervous, innocent looking woman. He watched the kiss play out, a completely blank expression on his face. "Hmm, it'd be nice to have something like that. Even just the way they look at each other. I'm a hero, I don't really have the time," he thought to himself as the credits rolled and outro began to play.
"Sensei, what are you watching?" Genos asked, standing in the doorway, a plastic bag in hand.
"Oh, Genos, when did you get here? I don't know. It was just on." Genos nodded his head before setting down the sack, grabbing his composition book and pen which he had left on the table to scribble down a few notes.
"Come on, I'm hungry," Saitama said, easily hopping to his feet and heading to the kitchen, sack in hand.
"Sensei, why don't you have a partner?" Genos asked as they sat down after preparing their food, a steaming bowl of ramen in each of their hands.
"A sidekick?" Saitama asked before shoveling some noodles into his mouth with his chopsticks. "We're sort of a team already."
"No, a romantic partner."
"Huh? Why are you asking?"
"Because of what you were watching earlier. Are you longing for a relationship? Is that why you were watching it?"
Saitama shoveled some more of the ramen into his mouth before answering. "No… no…. it was… on," he said in between slurps." Genos began writing down some more notes. Saitama had almost grown completely used to this tendency, knowing that he wrote down all the half-hearted and made up lessons he gave the cyborg, but more often than not recently, he was writing down just about anything. Their discussion was no lesson, and much of his writing didn't seem to involve lessons at all at this point. Saitama wondered how something like this could possibly relate to his learning. It was of no use. It got him to thinking that when Genos was around, he was observing nearly his every move, examining his every word. He shrugged it off and went back to eating. The two grew silent. Silence normally didn't bother Saitama, but this silence was awkward, even more so whenever he noticed the glowing yellow gaze of his robotic eyes. "Uh… anything interesting happen to you today?" he asked at one point in hopes of getting those eyes off of him for just a moment.
"Nothing I couldn't handle or out of the ordinary," Genos said, his eyes still locked onto his oval face. "Well… I'll go wash the dishes," he muttered awkwardly as he jumped to his feet and grabbed both of their bowls.
"Sensei, I wasn't even fin-"
"Yeah, yeah, should've been faster then." Genos nodded his head as if he'd just learned an incredible lesson, and then of course went to writing it down.
"I can do the dishes," he said after a burst of quick strokes with his pen.
"No, I got them."
"Hmm, Sensei is acting very strangely," Genos thought to himself, watching Saitama wash the dishes. "He's been acting this way since I returned. I wonder what's gotten into him?"
"Hmm... why does he keep looking at me like that?" Saitama thought, paying little attention to how clean he was actually getting the bowls, cups, and pots he was washing. "He's looking at me like… like that girl was looking at that guy on whatever that was. It's weirding me out… is he… does he… he has the hots for me. He wants me. No wonder why this guy's been hanging around me so much. That's why he wanted to move in, and now he lives here. Well, no point in leading him on. I better tell him I'm not interested. That shouldn't be hard."
"Maybe it was the show he was watching earlier. Saitama-san must be lonely. I don't even think he has any friends besides me, let alone anything close to the romance he seems to want. I may not be the best when it comes to females, but maybe I could help Sensei out." Genos thought, sitting silently a moment before speaking. "Sensei, do you have any love interests?" Saitama stiffened, easily crumpling the metal pot in his hand as his muscles tensed.
"Just tell him," Saitama thought and gulped. It had been a long time sense he'd felt nervous, and he would've relished in the sensation if it was the nervousness of wondering whether or not he could defeat a foe, but this was not pleasant. "It's only going to get worse if you don't." Saitama also rarely ever hesitated or had doubts. Yet, he had grown to enjoy Genos' company, not in that way, he assured himself, and he at least wanted to spare his feelings.
"Genos, there's something I nee-"
"I just received a message for a threat level demon. Are you coming?"
"Er… uh… no, go ahead," Saitama sputtered out, scratching at his bald head, shining from the fluorescent light above it. "You'll be fine. You can handle demon levels by yourself. Uh, call it a test. Let me know how things turn out."
"Yes, Sensei. I'll return victorious," Genos said dutifully before rushing out of the door.
"Whew, now I'll have some time to plan this out," Saitama sighed with relief, locking the door and returning to the floor with a groan. "I should've just told him before he left. Now then, what's the best way to go about doing this?"
"Wahhh!" Saitama shouted as the door opened, chopping his hands through the air. His thoughts had put him to sleep for some time, and the sudden noise had startled him.
"Sensei, it's only me. It's Genos," the cyborg said softly.
"Wahh!" he shouted again. "I… I need to go. I… uh, thought I heard something."
"I was just outside, there's-"
"No, there's something," he interrupted quickly. He was about to strip off his clothes so that he could slip into his jumpsuit and cape, but then paused, looking at Genos suspiciously. He grabbed his suit and rushed to the bathroom, locking it behind him. Only moments later he burst back out.
"Not now, Genos, I have some monsters or villains or something to punch."
"I just wanted to inform you that the fight with the demon class went well. Some other heroes showed up though. So I didn't have the chance to do it on my own."
"Ah, yes," Saitama muttered, having forgotten entirely about his 'test.' He turned away from the door he just opened and back to Genos, putting on a serious face. "You did well, Genos. It doesn't seem like you even have a scratch on you."
"Only a few," he said, lifting one of his metal arms to his face to examine it for any damage.
"I already knew you could handle yourself, but it's always good practice. I do wish you could've taken this demon level on your own though."
"Me too, Sensei. I'm sure I could've defeated him just as easily."
"I am too." Saitama's powerful expression vanished and returned to his normal blank gaze. "Anyways, I better go. I'll be back later. I mean, I won't. Just… don't worry if I'm out all night."
"I know you'll be able to easily handle any situation that comes about. I'm not worried, just curious as to why defeating whatever you believe is out there would take that long."
"No, it's not just that one. You know how these things go, one after another, like a chain."
"This normally doesn't happen to me, Sensei. It may on a rare occurrence, but-" Saitama walked outside and slammed the door shut without a word, disappearing into the night and leaving Genos confused. Staring at the door blankly as he processed the situation with his artificially enhanced mind, the cyborg came to a quick conclusion. "Saitama-san must have been watching that video to prepare himself for a romantic date, accidentally fell asleep, and is now rushing to get to his meeting place on time… Hmm, but why would he be leaving now? It's too late, and why is he wearing his jumpsuit? She must be a night owl, and the suit to impress her? Sensei certainly has a strange idea of a romantic evening. If he wouldn't have been so embarrassed, I could've scanned some databases and provided him with a few tips. I should stop him before he begins his date." Genos went in as much of hurry as Saitama making sure to grab his key and lock the door as he left.
After looking back to assure himself that Genos was not following, Saitama slowed his pace to a walk. It was a warm night, and his suit clung to his skin, slightly damp with perspiration, or perhaps it was his situation with Genos that had heated him up, not in that way of course, he assured himself. At first glance, the night was peaceful, a few cars passing by on the street, some windows in the buildings which surrounded him still illuminated by the light within, and a glowing moon in the star filled sky above, blocked by the occasional cloud. "Well, now I have some time to think at least," he muttered to himself, adjusting his cape and continuing ahead. "But now the real issue is how I'm going to get back into the apartment later without any awkward moments. Maybe he'll be asleep? Actually, does Genos even sleep? Ehhh… I'll just stay out all night."
A soft but urgent yell caught Saitama's attention, distracting him from his thoughts. It was not the average yell, not a yell for help, but one for attention. It wasn't really a yell at all, but the loud nya of a cat. "Oh, cat," he said, looking at the slick, elegant creature resting on the sidewalk. He walked forward, hunched over slightly and extended an arm to greet it with a pet. He smiled, its black fur glistening in the moonlight. Then, it rose to its paws and scurried away down an alley before he could. "Cat, I was just going to pet you," he called, following it down the alley. At a turn down to another short alley, he lost track of it, and paused, examining the area. Hidden in the shadows by two dumpsters, he noticed movement, but it was something much larger than a cat. "Huh?" he muttered.
"Ah hah! You have fallen for my trap, fool!" announced a man, stepping out from the shadows. His large, muscular, and hairy body was naked besides a short frilly pink skirt, and a matching maid's apron. Upon his head was a pair of adorable white, fluffy neko ears, paired of course with a tail hanging between his legs. "It is I, the Purring Purrpetrator!"
Saitama nodded, his body hunched and sagging with boredom. "Uh huh."
"Grr! Are you not afraid, bald man? I may not look very menacing, but my claws are sharpurr than you think," he said with a maniacal laugh as he raised his hands. Covering them was a pair of rather oversized, plush paws, modified with some thin but sharp looking metal claws. "And what's with that cape? Some kind of hero, are you?"
Saitama sighed in response. "I did become a part of the Hero's Association, if that's what you mean."
"Oh, a true hero then? No wonder you're not afraid. I don't just have claws though."
"Uh, I don't have time for this right now. Can I just go or…?"
"You'll be no match for me and my army of cat minions, heheheh!" he said in his best evil voice, a small army of cats coming out from behind the dumpster and surrounding the Purrpetrator's feet, including the one Saitama had been so eager to pet.
"Fine," Saitama muttered, sulkily walking forward.
"Hey, wait, what do you think you're doing, I-" With a quick tap to the forehead, the now unconscious Purrpetrator toppled over like a rag doll, a few cats skittering out of the way of his fall.
"Now you don't have to deal with him anymore," Saitama said, giving a few of the more affectionate cats a pat on the head. "Hm, so how was he controlling you?" he asked them and then looked down to the unconscious body beside him, noticing a few pouches attached to the strap for the Purrpetrator's tail. "Ah, catnip," he said as he opened it. "Here you go." He emptied each bag on the ground and watched as the cats began rolling around in it before taking his leave.
"Ah, Sensei," he heard as he turned out of the alley.
"Oh, hey Genos," he greeted instinctually. His voice was as expressionless as usual, and he barely gave the effort to look over his shoulder at the cyborg following him.
"I understand that you might not want to hear this but-"
"Genos…. Genos… Genos!" he mumbled loudly to himself as slowly but surely realized the situation. "I… uh… need to go," he said before sprinting off into the distance.
Sensei, wait!" Genos called before stumbling forward. About to begin his chase, the cyborg paused, realizing not only that he had lost sight of Saitama, but also that he was already too far ahead for him to catch up. "I know I'm no expert on the subject of love and romance, but I'm sure a few of these databases have some good tips. I just wish Saitama-San would accept my help. I still have a chance at least. He's in a hurry so I'm assuming he hasn't made it to his date's location yet. He's taking an odd route though. Why he was in an alley? I better focus on my objective instead of figuring that one. Considering its Saitama-san, there's probably no answer, at least not a sensible one." Genos' eyes glowed an even brighter yellow as he scanned for Saitama's tracks.
Saitama looked behind himself, still running, his white cape flapping widely about in the wake of the airstream he created. "Great, he's following me now. I guess I should give him credit for being so persistent, but damn, this is starting to creep me out. I enjoy his company for the most part, but now I kind of want to punch him too. I should at least try talking him out of it first, but I don't know where to even start. Genos, I don't like you… uh, like that, I mean. Genos, you're not attractive or loveable, and you're a guy. No. Genos, you need to move out before things get too awkward or stop… creeping me out? Yeah, those would all bust his mechanical heart." A series of screams, the slight shaking of the ground beneath him, and the lingering cloud of dust from a crumbled building just barely caught Saitama's attention. "Oh," he said softly, noticing a strange reptilian monster in the distance. Or did it have some hair, a few tufts here and there? Maybe it was a giant, nearly hairless dog that was able to stand on two feet. It kind of looked like that to him. But Saitama wasn't willing to waste his energy pondering whether or not this creature was some kind of mutated dog. He still needed to focus his concentration on what he was going to say to Genos, and if it ended up not working, how he was going to handle the situation.
"Momma, it's a hero!" a young boy hollered as the blur of the bald headed man in a costume zoomed by them, the boy's and his mother's hair fluttering wildly in his wake. Saitama, still inside his head, didn't even catch the boy's statement or the series of cheers and cries that followed. The strange, naked, dog monster barely had the chance to turn after noticing Saitama in its peripherals as he lunged forward, fist out, and easily passed through its abdomen, pulling out a bit of intestine, some organs, which of course were topped off with some blood, sinew and bones, along with teared chunks of the creature's patchy skin. Saitama stuck his landing and continued ahead. The ground shook for a moment beneath his booted feet as the creature fell to the ground, dead, it's insides spilling from its body. Saitama scoffed in disgust as he attempted to wipe away the chunks and blood that covered his costume.
"Sensei always manages to impress me," Genos muttered to himself, using the palms of his cyborg hands to jet himself over the large hollowed corpse and continue his pursuit. His determination was refreshed as he saw a distinct, cloaked figure and bald head in the distance. "This will give me a chance to impress Sensei," Genos fiercely announced. He smiled before rocketing himself into the air and then launching himself forward with a strong, continuous thrust from the powerful jets in his palms.
Hearing this, Saitama glanced over his shoulder to see Genos gaining quickly, his messy blond hair whipping about over his forehead. Of course this was an easy fix for Saitama, not even running close to the speed of his full potential. With a burst, Saitama sped forward, leaving a cloud of filthy street dust for the cyborg to pass through. Genos' smile grew as he increased the power of his jets. The metal on his hands and forearms beginning to glow a reddish orange from the heat. Creating a small hole in the cloud of dust as he passed through it, Genos was glad to see he was once again gaining on Saitama, who looked back at him with that serious face of his. Ahead of both of them stood another familiar figure.
A slender ninja with long black hair tied into a topknot stood frozen in middle of the street. Behind the strands of hair covering them, his large grey eyes widened at the two fast approaching figures. His feminine face contorted slightly, wondering what he had done this time to get on the two heroes' nerves, and if he could take on both of them, especially Saitama. If it was a fight they wanted, then that's what they'd get, he decided, pulling his katana out from the sheath on his back.
Still looking behind him to make sure than Genos was not gaining anymore distance, Saitama never had the chance to notice Speed-o'-Sound Sonic standing in the road, in a battle stance and eager to fight. Halfway through raising his katana, the ninja was toppled over, sending it flipping through the air before clattering against the pavement. Saitama stumbled a moment in an attempt to catch himself, but fell forward. His hands reached the pavement just before his face, and he quickly pushed himself up as Genos landed beside him. Saitama huffed and brushed off his hands. Even though he knew he could easily escape, he was fed up with the ridiculousness of the situation, and ready for it to end. Although, his way of ending it was not the best solution. "Stop following me," he said calmly, raising his fist and staring Genos down.
"…S-sensei, I'm only trying to help."
"Look Genos, I don't want your help, I don't want your love. I'm not that desperate… uh… but I don't mean that in a bad way. You're just not my type and… a guy. Don't try anything, and either stop with all of this, or I'll hurt you."
"What exactly are you talking about?" Genos muttered, lifting his hands.
"That's why you've been chasing me all night."
"No, no, it's nothing like that at all, Sensei, not even close. Although it does have to deal with dating, but not us. I was just going to give you some advice."
"Some advice?" Saitama questioned, his glare beginning to weaken.
"Yes, I've scanned plenty of databases and picked out some information I thought would be most helpful for your date."
"Date? What date?"
"I thought that was why you left in such a hurry, and you were watching that show before in hopes of gaining some knowledge on what to do."
"No, no, I was running from you because I thought you were into me," Saitama said, his expression dissolving into its usual lack thereof.
"What gave you that idea?"
"Uh… long story," he said, his body slumping slightly as his muscles relaxed. "I'm just glad you're not."
"So you're not going to punch me then?"
"No, we're good. Come on, let's go home. I'm exhausted," he said, turning to leave.
"What should we do with Speed-o'-Sound Sonic?" Genos asked, nodding his head down at the groaning man on the ground who occasionally rolled from side to side.
"Oh, I don't think he was trying to fight me. I just ran into him. Going to be alright?" he asked, leaning forward, hands on his knees as he looked down at him.
"You… defeated me… again," he groaned painfully.
"Mhm," Saitama mumbled as he stood back up. "I don't think he's hurt too bad."
"Well, except for his pride," Genos said with a smile. Saitama didn't even catch the humor, set on beginning the long journey home. With Genos beside him, this time he decided to walk. "I'm sorry for ruining your evening, but I guess it's not all bad. You did save the city from a monster that I'm sure was a Demon Level or higher, and you defeated Speed-o'-Sound Sonic again as well."
"Yeah, I guess. I also got some other guy… uh… what was his name? Cat Criminal or something like that."
"Sensei, are you lonely?"
"What? Eh, I don't think about it that much. I don't really have time to."
"I am sometimes, but being the way I am, I'm sure it would be difficult to find someone."
"Uh… you have a good personality, and I'm sure some people are into that kind of thing."
"You're right, Sensei."
"Good things will come to those who are patient."
"I'll have to write that one down when we get home."
"Oh, I didn't say that. They said it in that show." A rumble somewhere in the distant, colorful glow of the inner city caught the attention of both of them, ending what was to them was a surprisingly deep conversation. Genos looked at Saitama eagerly, as if awaiting orders.
"Another hero will get it. I'm ready to go home."
"Sensei," Genos said sternly.
"Okay, okay, but this is the last one for tonight. Come on, let's go." The sensei and his student raced off towards the ruckus and whatever creature or villain was creating it, once again a team, if they could even be called that to begin with. Although Saitama whined about another fight, it was good for him, a way to forget about the rather awkward night he had just experienced. As for Genos, it was another opportunity to not only learn from his Sensei, but prove his worth as he always wished to. They both hoped that this team effort and a night of good sleep afterwards would bring normality back to their lives. Well, at least that it would take their not so normal lives back to where they had been before the incident of the misunderstood gaze. Perhaps in a way, it had even strengthened their bond, their bond of friendship, that is.