“There’s been a…slight problem,” Dr. Kuseno’s voice crackled through the phone.
Saitama frowned, biting the inside of his cheek as he continued down the sidewalk. “What? Is Genos okay?”
“Yes and no,” The doctor replied solemnly. “I’ll explain more when you arrive.”
With that, the call ended, leaving Saitama incredibly worried. The doctor needed to work on his bedside manners.
He sighed, pocketing his phone and rubbing the back of his neck. He tilted his head up, eyes fluttering closed as the afternoon sun soaked his skin. This was all his fault.
Genos had been called in to combat a dragon-level threat, someone that Saitama couldn’t recall anymore. Of course, Cape Baldy went with him. He couldn’t just let the cyborg run off and get damaged beyond compare. The battle had gone as normally as any other, Genos flying beautiful through the air as flames and explosions spilled from his fingers. Then, there had been a shift, the threat gaining power from some unknown source. The monster attacked, ripping Genos in half and sending him careening towards a building. It fell on top of him just as Saitama delivered the final blow.
It had taken Saitama several minutes to find where Genos had fallen to and he had to destroy the building to dig through the rubble that had encased him. The cyborg had been out cold, not dead but something similar, some chilling, frozen unconsciousness that made him look lifeless. The older hero didn’t waste time as he took him to Dr. Kuseno’s lab, reaching the building in record time. He only calmed down once the doctor assured him that Genos was still alive, backing away just enough to watch the older man work.
An entire week went by before he received Dr. Kuseno’s call, each and every day passing with a dry, bland emptiness, a touch of fear or anxiety coloring each hour.
Perhaps if Saitama had been faster or if he had kept Genos from rushing in, maybe, just maybe none of this would have happened. He should have learned his lesson from the Sea King.
He licked his lips, swallowing thickly as he knocked on Dr. Kuseno’s door. There was silence for a time, the air, birds and Saitama’s rushing thoughts becoming more apparent as the seconds ticked by. Finally, there was a muffled voice and the shuffling of feet, the door swinging open soon after.
“Ah, Saitama!” Dr. Kuseno smiled warmly. “Welcome back. How are you?”
“Fine,” He replied absently as he was ushered inside. “Lay it on me, doc. How’s Genos?”
The doctor hesitated after closing the door, furrowing his brow before leading him further into the building.
“As you know, Genos was severely injured during your battle with the dragon level threat…one specific injury having escaped my noticed until he woke up.” Dr. Kuseno stopped at the door to the back room, turning around to fix the hero with a rather serious expression. “While running diagnostics, I casually mentioned your name and Genos had no recollection of who you were.”
“…What are you saying?”
The doctor stuffed his hands into his pockets. “I was thoroughly confused, of course, given how close the two of you are. I asked him several other questions and I found that he knew who I was but up to a certain point. It appears our dear boy is suffering from retrograde amnesia. He cannot recall the past year.”
“Oh,” Saitama breathed, blinking at him emotionlessly. “Is he going to be okay?”
“Only time will tell. He may recover all of his memories or he may never. They can come back all at once or slowly. I have no definitive answers. I’m sorry.”
Saitama looked away, biting his lip as he forced himself to remain calm, steady and completely together. “So, what do we do now?”
“He goes home with you.”
“Me? Shouldn’t he stay somewhere he knows?”
“Yes and that is with you. The best way to help Genos is by jogging his memory. You’re the closest person to him and—Stop with that face. It’s true. It would be better if he left with you.”
Saitama hummed, rubbing his hands together. “Is there anything I should watch out for?”
“Genos is completely normal save for his memory loss. If he happens to forget anything else, call me. Other than that, no. Oh, and don’t force him to remember. His memories will come on their own. Just…help him along.”
“Okay,” He said softly. “Okay.”
“You’ll do fine,” Dr. Kuseno smiled at him kindly, pushing the door open and stepping into the lab.
Saitama took in a deep breath and followed him in.
Genos was seated sideways on an examination table, attention trained on his feet as he aimlessly swung his legs. He looked up at the sound of their approach, vibrant eyes fixing instantly on the stranger in the room. He furrowed his brows, gaze travelling over Saitama with a slow, analytical steadiness.
Saitama couldn’t fight the smile that came to his lips, a breath of relief rushing from him before he could stop it. Genos was alright.
The cyborg narrowed his eyes, hopping off the table and crossing his arms. As much as the teen tried to appear standoffish, he couldn’t fool Saitama. There was a touch of curiosity in his eyes, a slight spark of wonder that would easily be unnoticed had Saitama been any other person. Genos always presented himself this way in front of strangers. It was a kind of defense mechanism, a way to study another person without giving away anything about himself. Saitama had to admit that he felt a sharp pang of disappointment when he saw the way the cyborg was standing, a wall establishing itself between them, a wall that shouldn’t exist.
“Genos, this is Saitama. He came to pick you up.” Dr. Kuseno said warmly, gesturing to the man beside him.
“Hey,” Saitama offered lamely. “Glad you’re all together again.”
“Not all of me, according to the doctor,” The cyborg looked him up and down again before continuing, “You’re…my teacher?”
“And your roommate and your…” He trailed off, eyes shooting sideways. “…best friend.”
Dr. Kuseno hummed in disapproval.
“Yep. The doc’s given you the A-Okay. We can leave whenever you’re ready.”
Genos looked as if he wanted to say something else, shifting his shoulders, dropping his arms, but he ultimately nodded and looked at Dr. Kuseno.
“Please be careful, Genos. No fighting for the time being.” The older gentleman said as the two walked past him.
“I understand, doctor.”
The walk back to their apartment was drenched in silence, an ambient urban melody following after them with each quiet step. The sky was burnt a bright red. Oranges and yellows were recklessly painted across its façade. The sun was just barely above the horizon, sinking lower and lower the longer this silence continued. Saitama didn’t know how long he could take it. It felt awkward, like the lengthiest elevator ride known to man. From the corner of his eye, he could make out Genos glancing at him every so often, primed and ready to say something at the drop of a hat.
He just didn’t know why the kid wasn’t saying anything. Their resident Demon Cyborg rarely held his tongue especially when he didn’t like something. So, what gives?
“I, uh,” Saitama cleared his throat. “This is probably all really confusing to you, right Genos? You can ask me anything you want. If it helps.”
The silence returned with the wind, gliding over his shoulders before disappearing behind Genos’ words.
“What do you and I do?”
“We’re heroes registered with the Hero Association. You’re S-Class rank 14 and I’m B-Class rank 7.” He said, happy to finally converse with his disciple.
“If you’re lower than me, why are you my teacher?” There was genuine confusion in the cyborg’s voice, no hints of malice nor ill will present at all.
“I’m really strong. I can kinda…defeat all my enemies with one punch.” He replied, glancing at his companion. “I slapped this bug chick the first time we met and you were really impressed so you asked to be my student.”
“You were…naked.” Genos said slowly.
“Yeah,” Saitama sighed in amusement. But he suddenly turned his head, looking at the cyborg, a flutter of hope in his heart. “Wait, you remember that?”
“Yes but…” Genos paused, rubbing his eye with his hand. “Not entirely. It’s fuzzy.”
“Do you remember anything else?” He asked hurriedly, nearly bouncing out of his shoes.
“No. Yes. No. I don’t know.”
Saitama swallowed down his excitement. “Oh. Well, it’s good that you remember something. Maybe that means that you’ll be able to remember everything one day.”
“What should I remember?”
“Hmm. That you live in Z-City with me. That you know Fubuki, Mumen, and King. That you really like sardines. Oh, wait. You probably remember that. That you are very enthusiastic about shopping sales thanks to yours truly. That you stopped liking pop music because you think it all sounds the same nowadays. That one time you bumped into a fish tank in a restaurant and nearly broke it. That time Mumen fell into you and he almost broke his nose. And the fact that you and I are—” He stopped himself and glanced at the cyborg briefly, shrinking under the pure attention and focus the younger man was giving him. “Best friends.”
Genos blinked several times before he frowned. “I don’t remember any of that.”
“You will,” He said softly, a smile coming to his face. Genos narrowed his eyes at him, lips parting before he looked away suddenly. “Just give it time. You wanna get some udon on the way back?”
The cyborg perked up at that. “There is an udon place near here?”
He nodded. “Yeah. It’s got those spicy noodles you really like. Just think about it! You get to eat one of your favorite foods for the first time again. Not a lot of people can say that.”
Genos chuckled faintly and Saitama’s heart buzzed pleasantly at the sound regardless of how brief it was. “I suppose so. Hopefully I’ll like them this time too.”
Saitama grinned as the silence filled itself with talk of food and flavors, spices and herbs. He stuffed his hands into his pockets to fight the urge to hold the cyborg’s hand and led the way to the noodle shop.
It was dark out by the time they returned home, the moon having found its way high into the sky. Saitama watched Genos cautiously step into the apartment, flicking the lights on as the cyborg looked around. Genos stopped in the living room, turning his head and walking around aimlessly as he surveyed his surroundings.
Despite the teen’s obvious unfamiliarity, it was nice to see him in the apartment again. Without him, the place felt lifeless and cold, vacant and solitary. They had only been home for a few minutes and Saitama could already feel the change in the air, the warmth, the energy, the vitality.
“Your stuff and my stuff are kinda mixed in the apartment so you can just ask if something’s yours or not. I guess.” He said, leaning against the wall.
“You and I live here?” There was an odd tone to the cyborg’s voice, one that couldn’t be deciphered.
“There’s only one futon.”
“There’s only one futon.”
“Oh, yeah,” He shrugged but he quickly jolted upward. “Oh. Right. Yours is in the closet. You put it in there…to save space.”
That was a half-truth, in a way. Genos had actually put the futon in the closet because the duo didn’t need another one. Early into their relationship, Saitama often found Genos snuggling up to him in his own and the older hero never complained, easily getting used to having the cyborg in his arms every night. Though, maybe Genos also put it in there with the intention— however obscure—to save space. Maybe.
There was a tiny frown between Genos’ brows as he said, “Okay.”
“Your journals are over there. Maybe they’ll help you remember something.” He said, nodding towards the bookshelf.
Genos stepped over, picking up two of them before dropping down to the table, posture just as impeccable as it always was.
Saitama chewed on his bottom lip absently, clicking on the TV and joining his disciple at the table.
Several minutes went by without either of them talking. Though, this silence was different than before, more comfortable and natural, peaceful and mundane. Saitama could let himself pretend that Genos remembered everything, that nothing bad had happened, that this was normal. But that fantasy dissolved the moment his fingers itched to touch, palms aching for smooth, warm metal, hands begging to glide through honey gold hair, lips craving realistic skin.
Saitama sighed, dropping his gaze to his lap.
In all honesty, he didn’t know why was keeping their relationship from the cyborg. Perhaps it was because that particular revelation might come as a shock to Genos, delaying or disrupting his slow recovery. Or perhaps Saitama was just scared. Genos could react negatively to the information, showing his distain towards the older hero, refusing to believe that he could ever be in a relationship with someone as bland and as boring as him.
But Saitama knew. This was all because of his insecurity. It was still so hard to believe that someone as beautiful and as passionate as Genos could be in love with him. The cyborg deserved someone a thousand times better. And maybe one day Genos would realize that. And leave.
He pursed his lips and rolled his eyes at himself. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. He knew that wasn’t true. Genos wouldn’t leave him. The cyborg even told him multiple times that Saitama was all he ever needed and that these doubts would never come true.
But what if—
He flattened his palm against the table and closed his eyes, inhaling and exhaling slowly. He shook his head and once his mind was clear, he opened his eyes. He was just in time to see Genos lean forward all of a sudden, bringing his head closer to notebook. Despite his frown, there was blatant confusion stretched across his face, his lips parting as his eyes narrowed, head tilting slightly.
Saitama chanced a glance down at the notebook and nothing odd popped out at him, only Genos’ immaculate handwriting filling the paper.
The cyborg’s gaze flickered up, meeting his eyes before quickly dropping back down. He hesitantly turned the page and Saitama caught a glimpse of a heart drawn over the lines of the notebook.
Perhaps it was best for Genos to discover their relationship on his own.
And one dangerous, traitorous part of Saitama’s mind brought forth the thought that it would be easier for the cyborg to decide whether he wanted to stay with him or not.
But he made sure not to entertain the thought too fully, pressing his palm to the table and taking in a deep breath.
Saitama turned in his futon, sighing as he struggled to sleep. After his 20th turn, he sat up, blinking as his eyes adjusted to the dark. The steady whir of Genos’ core kept him calm, the smooth, rhythmic sound caressing the air as a peaceful sonata. He had tried to focus on the noise, time his breaths with each hum but his body wouldn’t relax, wouldn’t unwind, wouldn’t give in. He was still tense with awareness, his entire being reeling from a blatant absence at his side.
And said absence was lying too far away from him.
Saitama had never realized how much he was so used to having Genos against him as he slept. The lack of the cyborg’s steady warmth felt entirely unappealing, like an odd taste in his mouth. He missed having Genos’ face pressed into his neck, the cyborg’s arms circled comfortably around him, the soft breaths of air that brushed against his chest, their legs tangled together beneath the blanket. The whir of Genos core would be so close to him, a tiny vibration thrumming pleasantly against his skin.
He sighed dreamily, turning his head to watch the cyborg sleep.
He very much hoped that Genos would remember him, remember everything they had been through, remember that he loved him. What if he never did? What if he never falls in love with him again? What if everything they had was lost to him forever?
“Stop that,” He murmured softly.
He hummed as he tapped his finger against his thigh, shaking his head of his silly little thoughts. He stood up, stepping past Genos to aimlessly wander the room. He rubbed his hands together, willing away the urge to press a thumb to the cyborg’s jaw.
“Why aren’t you asleep?”
He froze, turning around to find Genos sitting up in bed, his galactic eyes boring deep into his soul. “I should be asking you the same thing.”
“I can’t sleep.”
There was silence before Genos asked, “Is it because of me?”
“No, uh, yeah. More or less. I’m just,” He coughed, “Worried about you.” The cyborg’s eyes flickered away for a moment. A moment that stretched on for so long that it prompted him to ask, “What does it feel like? The memory loss, I mean.”
“It feels like…” Genos paused as Saitama sat down in front of him. “…like a gap in the road or a break in the sidewalk. As much as you want to just drive over it or step on it, you can’t. You want to fix it but you can’t. You have to go around it.”
Saitama nearly smiled at the cyborg’s imagination, that personality trait being one that he particularly enjoyed.
“And I look at you and I see someone I should know. I’m told I should know you but I don’t. I try to make myself remember you but I can’t.”
“Just give it time,” He said with difficulty, his hand curling into a fist against his pajama pants. “You’ll remember me. You’ll remember everything.”
“I’m sorry, Saitama.”
The lack of honorific felt too raw, too real, like a slap to the face, a hammer to his ribs, a knife to his neck. It constricted his heart, tightening around the organ with a sadistic vigor, squeezing and squeezing and squeezing, forcing him to acknowledge this stark, painful reality.
Genos didn’t know who he was.
“You don’t need to apologize for anything. None of this is your fault.” He said softly, nearly bringing his hand up to his disciple’s face. He perked up suddenly. “How about this? Every day I’ll tell you something that had happened before the accident. Maybe it’ll help jog your memory.”
“Okay,” The cyborg replied with a nod. “Can you tell me something now?”
“Hmm,” He looked up, crossing his arms as he cycled through everything in his head. “Well, there was this one time you had seen a weird kind of cake on the internet one day. I don’t remember what it was called but you really wanted to try to make it. You were in the kitchen for hours. I left to go get you some icing or whatever and when I came back, you were taking the cake out of the oven. I looked over your shoulder to watch you work and I said something. I don’t even remember what but you freaked out like crazy. You jumped and dropped the cake and it fell flat on its face on the floor. I couldn’t stop laughing. Like, I was really sorry but damn that was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Your face too. You started laughing after a bit. Man. I ate the cake anyway. Best cake I ever had.”
Saitama grinned as the memory played itself back to him. He turned to look at the cyborg and blinked in surprise. Genos was gazing at him in wonder, stellar eyes wide with curiosity and intrigue. His lips were parted slightly, his torso leaning towards him. It was cute and had everything been normal, Saitama would have told him so but instead he smiled again.
“Why did you still eat the cake? It fell on the floor.” The cyborg asked.
“Because—” I love you. “—You went through all of the effort to make it and I kinda felt bad for making you drop it.”
“That was very nice of you.”
“Yeah, well, I’d do anything for you so it was no biggie.” He shrugged casually.
Genos didn’t reply, gaze dropping down to his lap. He took in a deep breath, exhaling through his mouth as his lips fell open. He looked back up, inhaling this time, poised to speak, the words ready to be given life. Then, he deflated, sighing and turning his head away.
“I gotta say,” Saitama started, trying his best to defuse whatever the hell that was. “You’ve been pretty…friendly given the circumstances. I’m technically a stranger to you and you don’t like strangers.”
“It’s difficult to explain but Dr. Kuseno says I can trust you and I’m doing my best to.” Genos answered quietly, fiddling with the top of his blanket.
A tiny twinge of pain flickered in Saitama’s heart but he chose not to dwell on it. “Thanks, I guess. So, do you wanna watch a movie or something? If neither of us is going to sleep, we might as well do something to pass the time.”
The cyborg nodded, shifting so that he was lying on his stomach. “What should we watch?”
The older hero shrugged, dropping back down onto his own futon. He snuck a glance at his companion one more time before turning the TV on.
Saitama had to admit that the first few days since Genos’ return had been…odd. The cyborg was still adjusting to his “new” surroundings, paying specific attention to the belongings that he didn’t recognize. He still cleaned and tidied up and from the stories Saitama had heard from Dr. Kuseno, Genos had been doing chores his whole life. Though, he didn’t clean as often as he normally did, washing the dishes or vacuuming only when he was particularly frustrated.
And his frustrations were usually a result of his failure to remember something. He’d focus as much as he could but ultimately fall flat. Genos was naturally very driven and passionate so he often pushed himself too hard when it came to his memory. Saitama could only do so much to soothe his worries and calm his anger and sometimes that wouldn’t be enough. Sometimes Genos would storm off to the balcony or vigorously clean the toilet.
At one point, Fubuki and King had come over to see how he was doing and, as predicted, the cyborg didn’t recognize either of them. Though, there were tidbits of information he remembered like the fact that King liked to play video games or that Fubuki had a sister.
And that wasn’t the first time that had ever happened. Sometimes Genos would say something absently as if he didn’t realize he had said anything at all. Once, he had been watching Saitama cook, the B-Class hero talking about a TV show he just watched. Then, out of nowhere, “I bought you a tie once. It’s blue.”
Genos still had yet to remember the fact that he and Saitama were and technically still were in a relationship. Though, Saitama didn’t push, he didn’t crowd the cyborg. He’d remember eventually and if he never did, well, the thought of that possibility didn’t often surface.
Hopefully, since Genos was getting to know him a second time, the cyborg wouldn’t notice how incredibly boring Saitama was. Granted, Saitama liked a good chunk of himself. Maybe 85%. But he wasn’t the most intriguing individual on the planet. Not even on this street. So far, Genos was eager to learn new things about him, always being attentive and focused whenever he detailed something about himself. Perhaps that was just the kid pitying him or maybe he really did find him interesting.
Saitama sighed, glancing up at the balcony door from the kitchen. Genos had gone out there earlier to answer a call from Dr. Kuseno, the old man probably making sure the teen was alright. But that had been quite some time ago, maybe thirty or so minutes. Though, it might have just been a really long phone call, a medical conversation that needed a while to finish.
Curiosity topping his other emotions, Saitama stepped toward the balcony, the door having been left open a crack to let in the cool air. He could hear a voice drifting in from the space, its familiarity reaching him instantly.
“That’s Fubuki. B-Class. An…esper.”
Saitama peered around the curtain to find Genos leaning against the concrete half-wall, his back was to him but he could see the phone held up in front of the cyborg, an image of Fubuki and King taking up the screen.
“She has a sister named Tat…Tatsumaki? Tatsumaki. That’s King. S-Class. He holds the King Engine. I don’t have a picture of Mumen but he’s at the top of C-Class. He rides a bicycle.”
Genos sighed, dropping his head briefly before clicking to another picture, this time one of Saitama. He was sitting in the living room reading a book. It was an image of his profile and Saitama could tell how old it was given the fact that they had since moved the bookcase from its position in the picture.
“Saitama. Saitamaaa. Saiiiitama. Caped Baldy? B-Class. Teacher. Roommate. Best…friend.” There was an odd pause between the last two words, a touch of uncertainty or puzzlement. “Saitama. Please remember him. Why can’t you remember him?” Genos let out a frustrated groan, pocketing his phone and dropping his head into his hands.
Saitama slid the door open, leaning against the wall as he said, “Don’t force it. You’ll get there.”
“But I—” The cyborg turned around. “I am supposed to know who you are. I need to know who you are. By the way it seems, you are very important to me but if you really are, why can’t I remember you?”
“You’re not going to remember just because you want yourself to. Dr. K probably told you the same thing. Go at a slow pace. Just let it happen, dude.”
Genos pressed his lips together, folding his arms over his chest and looking away. “Tell me another memory.”
Saitama smiled, pushing up from the wall and moving to stand beside his disciple. “Let me think. Ah! There was this one time you, me, Fubuki and King went to the zoo. We got really hungry after going all the way across the park just so King could see some elephants. So, we found this pizza place across from the gorilla exhibit. King wanted to have a look at the gorillas but he couldn’t see them from where we were sitting. Me and Fubuki kept eating while you and King went over to the railing. I don’t know what actually happened but next thing I know, I hear a manly cry and you’re holding onto King like he almost floated away. Turns out, King bumped into you and he lost his balance because, you know, you’re an immovable fortress and he nearly fell right over the railing. If you hadn’t of grabbed him, he’d have been swimming with the gorillas. For the rest of the trip, King kept by Fubuki’s side so that if he ever did fall into another exhibit, she could just pull him out with her powers.”
“It sounds like it was fun,” The cyborg said softly.
“Yeah and afterwards there were fireworks. It was for some anniversary like the defeat of a monster or something. You and I went off to find a good spot to watch them and we found this hill. There was no one else there and we…we, uh…” He trailed off, voice catching in his throat as his mind replayed the memory, his face shifting, morphing, reflecting his nostalgia and longing.
He could remember the press of his lips to Genos’ temple, a warm, metallic hand drifting down his spine, tender kisses peppering a dark neck, a beautiful whisper of his name just barely above the roar of the sky, a radiant, mesmerizing smile meant only for his eyes.
“Shouldn’t we be watching the fireworks?” Genos asked, voice stuttering as Saitama’s fingers slipped beneath his shirt.
“Then, watch them.” He murmured, kissing a path along the cyborg’s jaw and settling just at his ear.
An explosion of red colored the air, overshadowing a dark blue before quickly fading into the night. It was followed by another blast, green, like the grass after a storm.
Genos hummed, turning his head to press his lips to Saitama’s temple, his hands rising up his back, drifting over the bones in his spine.
Saitama moved forward suddenly, gently pushing the cyborg to the ground in the process. Genos fell back in surprise, blinking up at him as he settled between his legs. The S-Class hero’s eyes were wide, childlike and stunning, golden irises beyond any way to be described. His position made his hair fall away from his forehead and his lips were parted slightly. The shifting colors in the sky painted Genos’ pale face with angelic whites and rich blues, stunning purples and fiery reds.
“Gorgeous,” Saitama whispered, leaning down and kissing him as an explosion erupted behind them.
“We watched the fireworks the whole night.”
Saitama sighed, returning to the present. He squeezed his eyes closed, rubbing his hands together as reality found its way back to him, settling around his shoulders with an icy grip. The midmorning air was too cold against his skin, the clouds in the sky blocking out every inch of the sun. It was way too quiet, an unsettling serenity passing over the balcony.
He didn’t dare look at Genos. His heart wouldn’t be able to take it.
So, instead, he said, “Let’s go back inside. Looks like it’s gonna rain.”
And he left.
He could hear metal rubbing against metal, the sound akin to an old bridge, its screws barely being able to hold its swing. It wasn’t a loud sound, one that fought against the volume of the TV. But Saitama couldn’t mistake it for anything else. It wasn’t a door creaking or the apartment settling. No, this was something else entirely. And when he glanced over, he knew exactly what it was.
Genos was rubbing his hands together.
To the average person, the action didn’t raise any red flags. But the average person didn’t know Genos. And, granted, the cyborg rubbing his hands together wasn’t always something to watch out for. Sometimes he did it just as absently as any fully human individual would. A cause for alarm would be if he followed up the action with his eyes drawing downward. Then, and only then, would Saitama be concerned.
And so far, Genos only rubbed his hands once, his attention on the TV never wavering.
Though, only moments later, the sound found its way back into the air, reaching Saitama’s ears and making him turn his head. The cyborg’s gaze had fallen to his lap, a vicious frown invading that dazzling face.
Before he could stop himself, Saitama reached over, taking one of Genos’ hands and pressing a kiss to the back of it.
They both froze, the older hero reeling back as if he had just been burned. He stood up, laughing nervously as he scratched his head. Genos was the most confused he had ever seen, brows furrowed, eyes darting around the room as his mind caught up with what just happened. He finally stood, fixing Saitama with a cautious gaze.
“Why did you do that?” He asked, narrowing his eyes.
“I, uh, well. You don’t like your hands sometimes even though you should because they’re amazing and I do that to remind you that I like them and that you should too.” He rushed out, his words stringing together messily and clumsily.
Genos appeared taken aback by what he said, blinking in surprise. “A-And you do that as my…friend?”
Saitama opened his mouth to speak, ready to affirm the cyborg’s belief but he stopped himself, taking in a deep breath before saying, “No. You and I are…together. Like together together.”
The younger hero’s shoulders relaxed a bit. “That makes sense.”
“I have way too many pictures of you on my phone.”
“Oh, yeah. You like to take a lot of pictures.”
There was a short silence before Genos asked quietly, “Do we love each other?”
“Yeah, like a lot. You tell me you love me all the time and I don’t say it back as much as I should but I’m working on that. I love you, by the way. And we’ve been together for the past few months now.”
Genos’ expression flickered to fondness for a fraction of a second before returning to curious attentiveness. “Did you—who said it first? Was it me?”
Saitama chuckled. “It was actually me, believe it or not. We were eating dinner. It was some sushi we got at a restaurant Mumen took us to one time. And you and I had been dancing around each other for months. You thought I didn’t notice but I did. I just didn’t know what to do with the fact that you had a crush on me, Commander Boring. Anyway, we were talking about something. I don’t even remember what it was and I looked at you and I just…It’s hard to explain. I thought, right in that moment, that I really wanted to hold your hand. And I did and I told you I loved you. You freaked out, of course. You even did that whole tea kettle thing you do sometimes. It’s cute. But then, you calmed down and said you loved me back. And here we are. More or less.”
Genos looked away suddenly, tapping his finger against his thigh. He sighed dejectedly, pressing his lips together and crossing his arms. “I don’t remember any of that.”
“I’m sorry.” The cyborg whispered, dropping his gaze. “My amnesia is affecting you more than me. You’re the one suffering because I can’t remember. It’s not fair.”
Saitama smiled faintly, stepping closer and running his fingers through the teen’s hair. It felt like he hadn’t done that in years. Genos had tensed up, confusion blossoming briefly before he leaned into the touch, his brows furrowing into his trademark look. The cyborg appeared simultaneously bewildered and content, the mixture of emotion twisting his face up.
“It’s okay,” The older hero said, running his hand through the teen’s hair one more time before dragging it down his face, thumb brushing his cheek, fingertips gliding over his skin.
Though, suddenly, Genos’ expression contorted into something akin to pain and he flinched away, his entire face telling the story of the conflict in his mind.
“I—” He paused, gathering himself before he continued. “I don’t understand what is happening. I still don’t know you. I still don’t remember you but I like your hands. I like your touch. It’s…confusing.”
“Do you want me to stop?”
Genos shook his head. “I don’t know. This is frustrating. I feel weak. It’s as though I’m not all here.”
Saitama brought his hand up but thought against it, dropping it and settling for a smile. His disciple watched his arm fall, frowning with a terrible intensity. He moved closer, bringing his own hand up and letting it hover a few inches above the man’s chest. He hesitated, his frown deepening, his fingers curling into his palm.
A tense moment passed, one that stilled the air, silenced the TV and crept up one’s spine.
Then, Saitama took Genos’ wrist, pressing another kiss to his hand before lowering it and backing away.
“Just give it time,” He said quietly.
“How much time?”
The question hung in the air between them, no answer worthy or true enough to be spoken.
They ate breakfast after that, a solemn silence following their every move. It was unnerving, unnatural, like Saitama was sitting with a stranger. He didn’t like that thought because, technically speaking, it was true. It didn’t matter if Genos remembered only little things about him. He was still a stranger in his eyes, something put upon a pedestal that was meant to be understood. The cyborg was told that he knew this person, that he looked up to him, that he spent all his time with him. But what did that really mean? Perhaps Saitama would never know. Perhaps Genos would never know him again.
He didn’t entertain that particular chain of thoughts, instead picking up their dishes and dropping them into the sink. As he reached for the faucet, Genos cleared his throat behind him, startling him faintly. He hadn’t heard the cyborg’s approach.
“I want to do that.”
Saitama turned around and was nearly taken aback by the serious expression that greeted him.
Genos smiled briefly before squeezing past him and turning the sink on. He didn’t put on his apron and Saitama distantly wondered if the kid even knew that that was his. Regardless, the older hero felt a pang of nostalgia as Genos started washing the dishes, a fleeting brush of normalcy coming over him only to quickly fade back into the depths of his mind. It was still a nice feeling nonetheless, soothing the ache in his heart just enough to let him sigh dreamily.
The sound of plates clinking against metal was Saitama’s only companion as he meandered in the living room, drifting from reading to surfing the web on Genos’ laptop. He turned the TV on once Genos finished up, pushing the teen’s laptop back to him before moving to sit against the wall.
Saitama hummed quietly as he flipped through channels on the TV. He was slouched, one leg crossed over the other, bouncing gently. His head was tilted slightly, his jaw slack as he mindlessly sifted through the shows. He paused at some gameshow but its purpose flew right over his head. He rolled his eyes at it and just as he was about to change the channel, Genos’ voice fluttered into the air.
“You said you loved me.”
Saitama glanced over, puzzled. “Yeah and it’s the truth.”
He sat up, placing the remote down as he thought his answer over carefully. “I, uh, well…You’re an amazing person. You’re everything I’m not. You’re persistent, passionate, caring, a little reckless at times but it’s cute, and you don’t let things get in your way. You don’t give up easily. You have a soft spot for all the little people and you treat everyone equally regardless of who they are except for me, I guess. And I just…I really love the fact that you pay attention to a lot of things. You even notice the things people don’t even think need to be noticed. Like the fact that I always like my drinks on the left next to my plate o-or that I like holding your hand when we go for a walk or that I like having the curtain open a little when we go to bed.” Saitama sighed happily, a smile coming to his face. “Man, I just really love you. You’re also smoking hot too, by the way.”
Genos blinked at him, stunned, a light waft of steam radiating from his arms. He swallowed thickly, looking away as he dropped his hands into his lap. He opened and closed his mouth repeatedly, his lips shifting and moving to form words that couldn’t be voiced.
“Did I say something wrong? I said something wrong, didn’t I? Yeah, I probably did. I’m sorry.” Saitama rushed out.
Genos shook his head, meeting his gaze shyly. “…I didn’t expect that.”
“Oh. Well, what did you?”
“I don’t know,” He admitted, exhaling before saying, “I’ve never been in love before.”
That statement hurt a little more than it should have especially since Saitama had already known that particular fact and that that particular fact was now no longer true.
“No one has ever thought so highly of me like that before. No one has ever…cared that much,” Genos paused, his face contorting instantly into anger. “And I don’t remember any of this, any of you. It’s not fair. This feels like an amazing part of my life and I can’t remember any of it. I just...It…”
Saitama sighed, rubbing his chin absently. “What’s going on in that head of yours?”
“I don’t know,” The cyborg replied, closing his eyes briefly. “I don’t know. But what I do know is that I want to get to know you. As much as I can.”
“Well, shoot. Ask whatever questions you want.”
“Yeah, go ahead. You already technically know all about me anyway.” He replied.
“Okay,” His disciple said softly, his lips curling upward ever so slightly. “Where are you from?”
Saitama smiled and told him.
Another week passed without Genos’ memory returning completely. Though, he began to remember certain things, little things in comparison to everything else but they were things nonetheless. He remembered what Mumen looked like and that Saitama liked a lot of meat in his hotpot. And these memories often came at the oddest times, sometimes right before bed or during dinner or even once when they were out shopping.
He started wearing his apron again, doing more and more chores as the days went on. He also relaxed more around Saitama, all that lingering tension since their reunion drifting away into nothingness.
Sometimes it felt like the old Genos was back, that all was right with the world. But then, the cyborg would ask him a question he should have known the answer to or fall so deeply into his thoughts that it would take quite the effort to snap him out of it.
Genos tried to remember. He really did. Sometimes he forced himself too much or tried too hard. He’d be in a sour mood for a few hours after a failed attempt. He tried to remember Saitama the most, putting most of his attention on things that could help remind him of who he was. But there was still no luck, the cyborg still knowing very little about him.
Saitama did his best to answer the teen’s questions and calm his nerves but Genos was a powerhouse of determination. That was one of the reasons he loved him. And he’d continue to love him even if the kid never remembered him.
He kept telling himself that that inevitability was okay, that he’d be able to handle it. But some days he couldn’t convince himself of it, staring at the cyborg for hours as if he was trying to pull the memories from him himself. He wanted his Genos back.
“Your favorite color is yellow.”
The cyborg’s voice startled him out of his thoughts and he looked up from his book to find two owl eyes staring right at him.
“Yeah, it is. You got me a rubber ducky once. It’s in the bathroom.”
Genos smiled triumphantly, scribbling something into his notebook. “You prefer chicken over fish.”
There was more scribbling. “Your favorite video game is Warriors of Sunlight.”
Another scribble. “You don’t like to vacuum.”
“Right again, mister. You’re on a roll. What are you writing down?”
“I am documenting everything I remember about you so that if this ever happens again it will be easier to recall things.” He replied, writing without missing a beat.
“About me? What about you?”
“I know enough about myself.”
“Well, you don’t like kimchi anymore.” Saitama said with a shrug.
“Oh,” Genos paused. “I don’t?”
“Yeah. You said you got tired of the taste and you stopped eating it.”
The cyborg looked away, tapping his pen against his chin. “What I meant was that I’d rather learn about you. I haven’t forgotten myself. I want to know more about you.”
Saitama took in a deep breath, flexing his fingers as he stood up to put his book away. “And I appreciate that, Genos, but don’t just focus on me. There are a lot of other things you should remember too.”
His disciple frowned. “Are you saying I shouldn’t remember you?”
“That’s not—No, I mean maybe you should stop focusing so hard on one thing. It might be better to try to think about something else.”
“But I want to remember you.”
“And I want you to remember me too but…I don’t know.”
Genos looked up at him defiantly, a fire in his eyes. “You like to wear baggy clothes.”
“I do. Genos, what are you—”
“You don’t like sweet pickles. You hate melodramatic films. You think exercising is boring but necessary. You don’t like chocolate. You—”
“That last one’s not right,” He interrupted quietly, squeezing his eyes closed. “I do like chocolate. On Valentine’s day you got me a giant white chocolate heart.”
Genos remained silent and when Saitama opened his eyes again, he saw the cyborg close his notebook.
“I hate this. I know all of these little things about you but I don’t know you. I don’t remember us together or any of the things you and I have been through. I don’t remember ever holding your hand or hugging you. I don’t remember events. I don’t remember the things you and I’ve done. But I can remember the fact that you like your eggs scrambled? This doesn’t make any sense. I want to remember you now! All of you.”
“Please don’t tell me to be patient!” The cyborg shouted, throwing his pen to the table. “I really like you. I want to be in love with you again.”
Saitama’s façade broke minutely and he turned around, letting the emotions slide over his face and contort his expression. He threw his gaze out the balcony door, somewhere that wasn’t here in this room, somewhere else, somewhere he wasn’t. His body felt heavy, sluggish, tired. Like he had spent hours walking through mud, the sun beating down on his shoulders, pushing and pushing and pushing him deeper and deeper into the ground.
He cleared his throat and breathed deeply. A pregnant pause and he turned back around and gave Genos a soft smile. “Who knows? If we’re lucky, maybe you’ll just fall in love with me again anyway.”
The cyborg closed his eyes, rolling his shoulders and straightening his posture. There was a tense moment before he said, “Maybe.”
Saitama shifted on his feet awkwardly, tapping his finger against his lip, a hum rumbling deep in his throat. His gaze flickered to Genos for a quiet second. “There was this one time you and I were walking home after getting groceries. A dog came up to us and you were afraid it wasn’t going to like you. You didn’t want to hurt it so you froze up like a popsicle when it rubbed against your leg. I bent down to pet it and I took one of your hands and made you pet it too. You were freaking out like crazy but once its nose touched your hand you were lost. It took like 15 minutes for me to convince you to leave.”
The cyborg pressed his lips together but ultimately met his eyes. “It was white with brown spots. I thought…I thought I was going to break it.”
“But you didn’t,” He whispered.
“I know I should be patient. I shouldn’t rush myself or force myself to remember anything. I shouldn’t have yelled. I’m sorry, Sensei.”
Genos had dropped his head when he finished, missing the fact that Saitama flinched suddenly, surprise widening his eyes.
He nearly laughed hysterically, a disbelieving smile coming to his face. He felt dizzy, an airiness and a heaviness rolling through him in waves. A nostalgic sadness and an incredible joy fell over one another, tugging at his heart and taking his breath away.
“It’s fine, Genos.” He rushed out, the words unsteady at his lips.
“It doesn’t feel alright, Sensei.”
“It’s f-fine,” His voice stuttered and he turned away just as the cyborg looked up.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m good,” He nodded frantically, blinking rapidly. “I’m good.” Saitama took in a deep breath and looked at him. “What do you wanna eat for dinner? Do you want to go out for some food?”
Genos frowned at him, narrowing his eyes suspiciously before nodding. “Sure,”
Saitama slept very little that night. His insomnia wasn’t getting any better and ever since Genos had his accident, his nights have never been well. He would either have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep depending on the day and sometimes he sat out on the balcony looking up at the stars or listening to all the nocturnal creatures bustling about outside the apartment.
He didn’t tell Genos about his problem and he wasn’t planning to. The kid had enough things to deal with and worrying about him was not something he wanted to add to his plate. Besides, Saitama knew exactly why he had difficulty sleeping. It was because he was concerned about his dear cyborg companion. The teen regularly took years off of his lifespan. Damn brat.
Saitama felt useless. Genos’ amnesia wasn’t anything he could fix or even touch. And it bothered him. He was practically sitting around twiddling his thumbs as he waiting for Genos to remember him, if he ever did. One day he’d crack and that hopeful smile he always gave the cyborg would fade.
These thoughts continued to plague him, even as the moon gave way to the sun, morning light spilling into the room.
Of course, He thought as he sat up. Of course this would happen now.
He stared at the wall vacantly, his bones refusing to move, his breathing slowing to a mere robotic necessity. Every fiber of his being carried a heaviness, a crippling pressure that pushed against his shoulders, his veins, his mind, begging him to lay back down, to move no muscle.
It had been a while since he had a depressive episode, his last being months ago. He had fooled himself into thinking that he had finally gotten over that sad little hump in his life, that he was completely fine now. Being with Genos made him feel a thousand times better but right now, in this moment, he felt the world at his doorstep.
And of course it would happen now when Genos needed him the most, when he was the one who needed to be mentally together and okay.
Whenever he had days like this, Genos would be right there next to him, holding his hand, wrapping his arms around him, kissing his forehead, comforting him like the perfect angel he was. He’d make noodle soup for dinner but not just any type. It was spicy udon with mushrooms, beef and soy sauce, Saitama’s favorite dish. And that gesture, all of that effort would make the day bearable. It would make everything he felt trivial in comparison to the love and care that was given to him. It made everything okay.
But that Genos wasn’t here right now. That Genos was crippled by something that Saitama could have stopped, that Saitama could have prevented, that Saitama failed to—
Breathe. One. Two. Up.
He ambled into the kitchen and poured himself a glass of water.
He just needed to get through this. He was fine. Genos didn’t need to know that there was something wrong. It would be fine.
And as the cyborg finally awakened, Saitama straightened his back and started making breakfast.
The rest of the day went as smoothly as it could. Saitama did his best to keep a smiling face but it would falter and crack whenever Genos asked him a question or frowned at something he didn’t remember was his. And once, he was sure Genos was going to ask him if something was wrong, the question blatant across his face. But he had stayed his tongue, choosing to write something down in his notebook instead.
Saitama knew that he could only keep everything hidden for so long. Genos was a master at piecing things together. Someone could give him a broken off corner of cardboard and he could figure out which box it belonged to. And Saitama could see that perceptiveness every time he responded too slowly to something, moved too sluggishly, smiled too weakly, Genos’ eyes following him like a predator in tall grass.
Saitama almost slipped near lunch. He had been sitting against the wall watching TV while Genos typed on his laptop at the table. They were waiting for their pizza to be done in the oven, 20 or so minutes remaining on the timer. At some point, Saitama’s eyes had wandered, drifted, ran away from him, finding their way out the balcony door, through the blinding late morning light and out into the expanse of the bustling world.
His mind was both empty and crowded. Thoughts of his uselessness, Genos’ memory, and the possibility of it never returning pulsed with varying degrees of intensity. He wasn’t in the apartment anymore, his mind carrying him away to somewhere he didn’t know, to somewhere with no other people.
He vaguely noticed the distinct absence of fingers to keys, the sound of typing halting abruptly.
He managed to turn his head and he met Genos’ unreadable galactic eyes, eyes that saw right through him, directly into his soul. He wondered what the cyborg saw, whether he liked what he found, if he wanted to see more. If he was disgusted with the man he was meant to know.
Saitama nearly let his façade crumble, let Genos see exactly who he was supposed to remember. But, instead, he took in two careful breathes and smiled. He looked away and fixed his eyes on the television, knowing that Genos was still watching him and would continue to watch him until he figured out what was wrong.
There was at least one bright side to only losing a year of memory. Genos, at his core, was still Genos. Just an older version.
Before dinner, Saitama decided to go out and look for monsters to fight, not to distract himself but more to clear his head. There was something fulfilling in defeating an enemy even if he knew right from the beginning that he was going to win. So, he changed and said goodbye to Genos. The cyborg had declined his offer to join him, instead choosing to make dinner for the first time since his return to the apartment.
Saitama hadn’t been disappointed by the answer. Another reason he wanted to leave was so that he could get some space. The outing would give him some time to think about things.
He fought four monsters on his walk, each of them going down in one hit just as all the others did. He passed Mumen on his way through one of the cities, waving to his friend before declining to go get some drinks. (“No, Genos doesn’t remember us yet.”)
Saitama really didn’t know how he would react if he found out concretely that Genos would never remember him. Perhaps he’d take it optimistically. All this simply meant that he and the cyborg would make new memories together. Or, maybe, he’d take it pessimistically, citing the fact that he and his disciple would never be able to go back to the way they were. Or cynically, the world having found need to take away the one good thing in his life.
But regardless of the amnesia, he still had Genos. The cyborg wasn’t dead. His mind had just…rewound itself. And Genos had expressed the fact that he wanted to be in love with him again. So, there was some hope somewhere.
He should just be happy that Genos was still alive and with him. Maybe he needed to stop being so selfish.
On his way back to the apartment, he fought three other monsters, all of them posing very little challenge. He walked up the stairs and took a moment to compose himself, taking in a deep breath and forcing a smile to his face. He opened the door and froze, the smell of mushrooms and beef reaching him instantly. He didn’t want to believe it, not yet, not until he saw it with his own eyes.
He stepped forward hesitantly, letting the door slide closed behind him.
“Welcome back, Sensei.” He heard Genos say from the kitchen.
He felt those three words deep in his veins, his heart thundering erratically in his chest. It couldn’t be.
He dared himself to look into the kitchen and he nearly came undone at what he saw. Genos was standing there stirring something in a pot, his pink apron draped beautiful over his front. Saitama couldn’t pretend to mistake the smells any longer, hope blossoming within himself.
“What are you making?” He asked as steadily as he could, wringing his fingers together nervously.
“Spicy udon,” Genos replied without looking up.
Saitama almost fell to his knees. It couldn’t be. Could it? Did he remember? Did he remember him?
At his silence, the cyborg turned toward him, a confused look coloring his face. “What’s wrong, Sensei? Do you not like udon?”
He shouldn’t have fooled himself.
Saitama cleared his throat and smiled. “Of course I do! I’m gonna go take a shower while you finish that up.”
He turned his back to him and let his face fall to the ground, that flicker of hope expelling itself from him violently. He went into the bathroom and took a shower, his mind purging itself of all the optimism he felt. Though, perhaps not all of it. This was the first time Genos had made dinner, he remembered how to make spicy udon, and he was wearing his apron. So, he did remember certain things. Not the things Saitama was hoping for but he’d take as much progress as he could.
He dried off and changed, shifting his expression to that of neutrality as he stepped back into the living room. In the meantime, Genos had plated their meals and dispensed their dishes onto the table. The cyborg was currently taking his apron off in the kitchen, humming a quiet tune to himself.
Saitama looked away and sat down at the table, his fingers instantly fiddling with his chopsticks as he waited for Genos to join him. Once he did, he hesitated as he stared down at his food, the beef and the mushrooms blatant between the vibrant colors of the noodles. He took a bite, his mouth exploding with spices and flavors, nostalgia and love. He couldn’t help but smile.
“You made this for me?” He asked, gazing down at his bowl in disbelief.
Genos nodded meekly, his hands dropping into his lap. “It’s your favorite.”
“Yeah but…why did you make this in the first place?”
“Today Sensei didn’t seem himself. You looked sad so I made something that would make you happy,” The cyborg replied. “Do you not like it?”
“No, I, uh,” His voice caught in his throat and he looked away, swallowing down a deep breath before continuing, “Thanks, Genos. I really…I really appreciate it.”
“You do?” His disciple perked up, leaning forward and fixing him with those wide, radiant eyes of his.
“Yeah,” He smiled.
Genos smiled back and the entire room went as bright as the sun.
Saitama sighed. He hadn’t known then but that moment had marked the day he had started to fall in love with the cyborg.
He glanced at his companion. “Why did you make this today?”
Genos stared at him, his eyes blank. There was a tilt to his head, just to the left, and his lips were drawn into a straight line. “I felt like it.”
“You felt like it?” He repeated slower.
His disciple nodded, gaze drawing skyward as he said, “I just wanted to do it. So, I did.”
“Hm,” Saitama licked his lips. “It’s good. Like really good.”
Genos smiled brightly. “Thank you, Sensei.”
The name made his heart flutter and he smiled too. He resisted the urge to kiss his disciple and instead placed his hand over his on the table.
He loves me.
Genos paused as he washed the dishes, eyes travelling through the kitchen window and finding Saitama napping in the living room. He sighed and leaned against the counter, rubbing his hands together absently.
I’m supposed to love him too.
He reminded himself of these facts daily and they were the primary reasons that motivated him to remember everything he had lost. He wanted to remember the relationship he had with this man, the things they shared, the affection. He wanted to know this beautiful thing he had forgotten, the memories that Saitama held so dearly to his heart. He wanted to understand the softness in the man’s eyes whenever he looked at him, the sweetness of his voice when he spoke of something they had done together, the gentleness in his touch as he brushed his fingers over Genos’ cheek.
He wanted to know what he had lost. It seemed like something so unique, so rare, so beautiful, something Genos should have missed. And he did. He felt it whenever Saitama would get that faraway look in his eyes, whenever he found something he didn’t know belonged to him, and whenever he read through his old notebooks. He missed all of it, all of the things he had once experienced, that had given him joy, that had given him Saitama.
He tried so hard to remember but nothing he did ever worked. It was like reaching into a box that was a few inches longer than your arm. You reach and reach, barely touching what lies inside but ultimately being unable to pull it out. Genos wondered if he’d ever be able to remember everything and if that moment would be today, tomorrow or ten years too late.
Genos dried his hands and took his apron off. He left the kitchen and hesitated, eyes darting between his usual spot and the sleeping form of his roommate. A quiet moment passed before he dropped down beside Saitama, just to the left of his torso. The man was lying on his back, one of his hands curled over his chest and the other stretched out beside him. He was snoring quietly, a peaceful expression at his face.
Genos didn’t dare wake him up. He knew that Saitama had been having difficulty sleeping ever since the cyborg had come back, lying awake almost every night. And he also knew that it was because of him. He was worried about Genos’ condition.
And Genos wished that he could soothe his worries, tell him that everything was going to be alright but he couldn’t. He couldn’t because he needed to believe those things himself before he could tell anyone else. He didn’t know if his amnesia would ever go away or if everything would go back to the way it was. And it was scary to think that Saitama would go on living with memories Genos would never have again.
The cyborg let out a deep breath, bringing up a cautious hand and placing it lightly over Saitama’s stomach. After a glance up to his Sensei’s sleeping face, he pressed his palm to the thin fabric of his shirt. He dragged his hand up, fingers rising and falling over defined abs and firm skin.
He was supposed to know these muscles, these bones, these limbs, this man.
He loves me.
Genos gently went around Saitama’s hand and paused at his neck, shifting his fingers so that they brushed over his collarbone and went up his jaw.
I’m supposed to love him too.
“Genoooos, that tickles,” Saitama mumbled, eyes still closed.
The cyborg froze as the man grumbled. He didn’t wake up. Instead, he shrugged his shoulders and leaned into the touch, a faint smile coming to his lips.
Genos wanted to be in love with this person again.
At that thought, he frowned and looked away.
It wasn’t fair. The older hero had done nothing wrong. He didn’t deserve to be punished.
“Genos?” Saitama murmured sleepily, shifting as his body awakened. He sat up, making Genos’ hand slide down his chest and onto his thigh. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s nothing, Sensei,” He replied softly.
He felt fingers at his chin and his head was turned gently until he was looking into Saitama’s knowing eyes.
“It doesn’t seem like nothing.”
“I’m fine,” He said firmly, running his hand over the man’s leg. “Really.”
Saitama sighed and tilted his head away. “What time is it?”
“Just around 3 pm,”
“Nice! That means we can catch that sale at the grocery store.” He said excitedly, moving to stand up.
“You go ahead, Sensei. I’ll wait here.”
Saitama stopped and sat back down, a familiar softness at his eyes. “Genos, don’t beat yourself up over not remembering me yet. Your big, beautiful brain will figure itself out eventually.”
He flicked him on the forehead, surprising him with the gesture. The older hero got up and went to the door, bidding his disciple farewell before leaving the apartment.
Saitama used to hit him on the forehead like that all the time.
A lightning bolt rocketed through Genos, ricocheting violently within him. He squeezed his eyes closed as images and voices and sensations all flooded into his mind. He felt like he was falling, tumbling off a cliff’s edge, the air rushing past him, through him, around him, the world spinning viciously beneath him. Everything was too much, the floor, the ceiling, the walls closing in on him quickly and mercilessly.
He remembered the first time he met Saitama, the older hero as naked as the day he was born, and the moment the man saved him and changed his life in an instant.
Then, everything else came in like a jumbled mess, the Hero Association, moving in together, the Sea King, the moon, all of it up until now. He remembered all of the restaurants he and Saitama had eaten at, Fubuki, King or Mumen joining them every once in a while. Genos had nearly bumped into a fish tank at one of them, almost sending dozens of lobsters crashing to the ground. Saitama had laughed about it for an hour, bringing up the event to their friends more times that he could count.
Their walks, all the movies they watched, all the food he’s cooked, every time he had made Saitama laugh, all of it returned, every emotion, every sensation, every thought.
In vivid color, he recalled the moment he had fallen in love with Saitama.
“Surprise!” Saitama said excitedly, pushing a plate towards him on the counter.
He was covered in flour. Some of it peppered his nose and the legs of his pants. There was a bright smile on his face and he was acting as if he hadn’t of just made a mess of the kitchen behind him. On the plate were half a dozen yellow cupcakes topped with white icing, the frosting forming lopsided swirls.
“They’re lemon.” He said proudly, wiggling his eyebrows. “Your favorite.”
Genos was speechless, either because of the messy sight of his Sensei or the man’s incredible gesture. He honestly didn’t know.
“But…you said you couldn’t bake.”
“And I still can’t but when my disciple says he wants lemon cupcakes I give him lemon cupcakes.”
That was when Genos felt it, that slight dizziness in his head, a fuzziness at his core. And he was lost. He had fallen that easily. He wouldn’t have stopped it even if he could.
Genos laughed, his head dropping back as memories continued to find their way back to him.
He remembered the day Saitama had first kissed him, gently and hesitantly. They had been walking home from the Hero Association, the rain starting to fall halfway to the apartment. Thunder rumbled in the distance and Saitama worried over the possibly of Genos getting struck by lightning. Despite the cyborg’s dismissal of his concerns, he was pulled to a nearby building and they hid beneath an awning as they waited for the storm to pass.
“I wouldn’t like it if you died,” Saitama had said quietly and he kissed him.
Then, there was the first time they had sex and how nervous Genos had been. But there had been no pressure, no rush, no heaviness in the air. They had gone at their own pace and it had been one of the sweetest experiences of his life. And he had learned early in their relationship that sex with Saitama was a very pleasant experience. He couldn’t believe he had forgotten that.
And, for some reason, a lazy Saturday came to mind, one where both Saitama and Genos didn’t feel like doing anything at all. They had spent the entire day in bed, watching movies and ordering take out, leaving their futon only when it was necessary. Even the sex had been lazy, a slow, languid movement of their bodies against each other.
He remembered everything after that, flashes of touches and kisses, laughter and smiles, loving whispers, and outings with friends. Everything bombarded him, overwhelmed him, crashed through him, mending the broken parts, filling cracks, fixing holes.
And then, nothing.
It was over.
Genos blinked and looked around, the silence becoming more apparent as the seconds ticked by. He was…different. He felt whole, grounded. He was more himself, his mind stronger and more resilient, his emotions more centered. He didn’t know what to call this. Was he happy? Yes, he was thrilled he regained his memories but there was something else to it, something he couldn’t pin down.
His thoughts were interrupted by the door being opened.
“Oi, Genos. I’m back.”
The cyborg was up in an instant, rushing to the door and pulling the older hero into a bone crushing hug. Saitama dropped their groceries in bewilderment, a noise of surprise muffling itself against Genos’ shoulder. Genos tightened his grip, burying his face in the curve of his neck and whispering his name again.
“What’s up? Did you finish a crossword puzzle or something?” The older hero asked as he slid his fingers up his disciple’s back.
Genos pulled away and brought his hands up to cradle Saitama’s face. He took in a deep breath, a wide grin finding its way to his lips. “I remember you.”
Saitama’s expression morphed from amused confusion to disbelief, his eyes widening in total shock. But then it shifted to uncertainty, a hesitance at his brow. In a tiny voice he asked, “Really?”
Genos nodded frantically, nearly bouncing out of his clothes.
“Really?” Saitama asked again, the word wavering, his hands tightening against the cyborg’s shirt.
“I love you, Sensei.”
The older hero finally smiled, a shaky laugh falling from his lips. He pulled Genos back into a hug, his arms tightening desperately around his middle. The cyborg pressed a tender kiss to his temple, whispering his name sweetly into his ear.
“I’m sorry, Sensei. I—”
“Shut up. Shut up,” Saitama interrupted excitedly, shaking his head. “Just let me be happy right now.”
“Okay,” He replied breathlessly. “Okay.”
He couldn’t believe he had forgotten this man, the feel of his arms around him, the hypnotic sound of his voice, his gorgeous smile, his enchanting laugh, his dangerous hands. Genos was thoroughly spoiled by his Sensei and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
A sniffle drew his attention and he glanced down to find Saitama shifting his head against his shoulder. “Sensei, are you—”
“No, I’m not! Shut up,” The older hero hissed, voice breaking ever so slightly.
“Sensei…” Genos sighed.
He tried to pull away but Saitama instantly tightened his grip, locking him in place.
“No, don’t look at me.” Saitama mumbled, sniffling again.
“I’m sorry, Sensei. For everything,” He murmured.
“Stop that. None of this was your fault,” The older hero said softly, pressing a kiss to the cyborg’s neck.
Genos smiled fondly as he gently rubbed his cheek against his companion’s head. A silent moment passed between them and Genos let himself simply enjoy his newly returned memories, chuckling when a particular one passed through his mind.
“What?” Saitama asked quietly.
“Do you remember that time we were at that noodle shop with King and—”
“—And King tripped!” Saitama finished with a laugh, grinning against the cyborg’s neck. “Oh, man. The big guy almost broke a table. That was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.”
His Sensei finally pulled away, a smile tugging at his lips. There was a touch of color at his cheeks, a slight red tinting his big, beautiful brown eyes and the faint shimmer of old tears dragging down his face. He looked absolutely captivating nonetheless, a masterful image that Genos wanted to never forget.
The cyborg brought his hands up to cup Saitama’s face, thumbs drying away long lost tears. He took in a deep breath and whispered, “I love you, Sensei.”
“Yeah, I know. You said that already.” Saitama’s eyes flickered away in embarrassment before coming up to meet Genos’ again. “I love you too, dummy.”
Then, he leaned forward and kissed him. Saitama tasted like salty tears and cherry candy and Genos savored every last bit of it, impatient hands roaming a muscular back, touch-starved lips pushing for more. Soon, the older hero was pressed against the front door with metallic fingers sliding beneath the waistband of his pants.
“Eager, are we?” Saitama teased breathlessly, hurriedly tugging his disciple’s shirt over his head.
“We have to make up for lost time.” Genos replied roughly.
And soon enough, Saitama was hauled over the cyborg’s shoulder, laughing as he was carried into the living room.