"Master," Genos sounded vaguely concerned. Admittedly, vague and concerned were probably the only two tones he had been programmed to display.
"Yeah – what is it?" Saitama was digging through the fridge, determined to find the snacks that he knew he bought the day before. Kaze was over and he did not want a repeat of last time, where a midnight snack run turned into a full two-hour meal at a shady diner and heated argument over anime protagonists. Of course, it was starting to look like that was the direction where things were headed – considering he had officially reached the back of his refrigerator with no especially interesting snacks in sight.
Not to mention his head was getting cold.
"She…" Genos had a hard time saying Kaze's name. It was always 'the young girl' or 'her' but it was never just 'Kaze'. He always seemed slightly put-off by her – as if he was not quite sure what he should think. Saitama was always his focus, and there did not seem to be much room for anything else.
"She…?" Saitama bumped his head on the top of the fridge as he pulled back. He swore, and the light flickered off for just a second until he slammed the door shut – bottles rattling.
"She will not stop jumping on the couch." Genos kept his unblinking gaze level, staring Saitama down as if bracing himself for a myriad of possible reactions.
Saitama paused, if processing the information, and then he huffed, his shoulders slumping. He dashed into the living room, expecting that he would have to catch the small, bouncing child mid-air. When he got there, she was already seated on the couch again – her legs crossed primly and curled up underneath her as she flipped through channels on the TV. Saitama cut a look at Genos over his shoulder and stepped forward, poking her in the shoulder.
"Hey," he said. "Are you doing all right in here?"
"Yes, Saitama-sama," she said innocently. "I was just waiting for you."
"Uh huh." Saitama looked up at ceiling, blinking a few times as if to make certain he wasn't just imagining the spiderweb of cracks that was quickly spreading over the plaster. "You are going to put a hole in the roof that way."
"It would give Genos-san something to work on." She said with a wicked grin full of all the mischief that an eight-year-old can muster.
Saitama snorted a laugh, plopping down onto the couch next to her.
"Well..." Kaze slid off the couch, turning on her heel to face Saitama and folding her arms. "Are you going to help me with my math now?"
"I can," Saitama said. "But I couldn't find snacks."
"We can go eat later." Kaze vanished briefly, reappearing with a bright grasshopper green backpack. She slung it down from her thin shoulder, setting it on the floor and opening up the flap, pulling out a math textbook as thick as her waist.
Saitama put on his best poker face, hoping that by the time she found the page she was looking for he would have figured out what type of math he was supposed to be doing. The front cover was no help. It just said MATH. His baseline pride prevented him from dragging Genos over and making him do all of the hard work.
"This," Kaze tapped her pencil on the page where she had seen fit to stop. "I am having trouble with this part."
"Oh, I see." Saitama nodded sagely when in truth he had no idea what the hell he was looking at. The numbers all ran together into one long equation. He looked up at Kaze, pursing his lips. "Which part is the most confusing?"
"All of it!" She gestured dramatically. "I can't understand this question."
"I can't even find the question." Saitama picked up the textbook, flipping through several thick sections. Maybe there was an answer key in the back? Of course, there wasn't. That would have been too easy.
"I don't know," Saitama confessed, slamming the book shut. "Maybe you should get your mom to help you."
"Maybe," Kaze sighed. "I don't really understand it. But I want to learn, you know…I want to learn everything."
"Yeah, I know that," Saitama said. "You are good at learning and you will get it eventually. But it's all right to just – you know. Give up and watch TV now and again."
"I was watching a show." Kaze glanced behind her, looking thoughtfully at the TV. "I was watching this one anime about a woman who studies combat with foreign police so she can combine her fighting skills with her magic and take down the antagonist."
Briefly, he wondered where she had learned all these big words before hand waving it mentally, realizing the answer. Her mother.
"Who was the antagonist?" Saitama inquired mildly.
"I don't know," Kaze shrugged. "I didn't get to that part yet. She was an OK hero – she was sort of what I want to be, you know? She didn't just rely on one skill or the other. She combined a lot of different skills and used them all to defeat the enemy. She wanted to be the most powerful. I want to learn to use everything like that one day. I don't want to just use my esper abilities, I want to fight too!"
"I'm sure you will. But you can't just rely on fighting and stuff. You have to be a well-rounded person too. Was she a good character, and not just a machine?"
He wondered, vaguely, if Genos would take that personally.
Probably not. He never took offense to anything Saitama said.
"She didn't have as many emotions," Kaze remarked.
"Do you think that is good or bad?" Saitama found himself genuinely curious in what Kaze thought about all things super hero related.
"Hmm…" she thought about it for a moment, chewing on the corner of her lip as she sat back down on the couch next to Saitama, curling her legs up back under her. "I think it is good sometimes…and bad other times. You need to be emotional and compassionate I think. But you also need to be able to put all of that aside – and do things for the greater good."
Smart kid. "Uh...Yeah. I agree." Saitama leaned back, throwing his arm over the back of the couch. There were a few sheets of notebook paper spread lazily across the coffee table in front of him. Evidently, they had been in the back of her math book and had spilled out when he was messing with it. He reached over lazily and picked them up, leaning back to flip through the pages. There were dozens of names written down – none of which made any sense. It was like she had gone through a random word generator and written down everything that sounded like it could be slapped on the cover of a metal band.
"What are these?" Saitama asked.
"Oh, those are my superhero names." Kaze said. "I can't really decide what I like best."
Saitama was feeling absolutely none of these. Then a thought struck him. Grinning widely, "Asparagus Kid." He said, reaching over to ruffle her light green hair. It was curly like her mother's, but it was so fine that the wisps stuck out in all directions. She crinkled her nose.
"No," she said firmly with a slight whine. "I don't like that at all. My favorite right now is Blood Mantis."
"Well, that's dark," Saitama deadpanned. "I like Asparagus Kid better."
"But no one is going to be afraid of Asparagus Kid!" Kaze protested, shifting in her seat.
"Well, how about a compromise?" Saitama looked at Genos and grinned – roping the cyborg into siding with him. "Asparagus Mantis."
Kaze grinned but shook her head, looking away to try and hide the fact that she was blushing from so much attention – despite how stupid she thought Asparagus Mantis sounded as a superhero name. "I should get home soon." She said. "My mother is going to worry about me if I'm not back soon."
"Yeah," Saitama agreed at the same time as Genos said "Yes".
Kaze slid off the couch again, crouching down to reach underneath and snap up her shoes. She pinched them between two fingers while grabbing her backpack and cramming her school supplies back in, picking it up and hurling it over her shoulder with impressive strength for such a tiny kid. That math book alone weighed almost as much as she did.
"See you soon, Saitama-sama! Bye, Genos-san!" She waved at them both, pausing to give Saitama a hug before walking out of their apartment.
"Master," As soon as the door shut Genos turned to him and asked, "You are fond of her?"
"Yeah," Saitama answered simply, having been through this conversation a few times before.
"Then, would it be wrong for one to assume that you experience the desire to be in the presence of your offspring more than three times a month?"
"You're not wrong," Saitama admitted. "But I don't worry about her too much. She's in good hands for now." He muttered. "Good, tiny hands that can pack a hell of a punch."
Author Note: I wanted to write a story with a kid. I ship him with Tatsumaki to some degree but I never see it being a happy, cutesy relationship. Maybe one built on (eventual) mutual respect and camaraderie, but can I ever see them being together-together, as in 'YAS MUH OTP!'? Nope! Hence Kaze possibly not knowing Saitama is her father. Not a happy arrangement if you think about it but I might write more to correct this sour situation. Who knows? Reviews are always appreciated.