Yaoyorozu awakens to the sound of the door slamming.
It’s not particularly jarring, especially since Midoriya always seems to be rushing out of the apartment in a hurried panic, but her eyes still snap open out of instinct. Silence fills her room for a few moments as her breaths, heavy and deep from slumber, even out. Slowly, she raises herself to her elbows, dark, tangled hair spilling over her shoulders and onto her silk sheets. She rubs her eyes and stifles a yawn as she turns towards the clock.
“He’s late again, isn’t he?” She asks when she hears familiar light footsteps pass her open door.
The shadow of her roommate hovers momentarily before he’s peering in, mismatched hair falling into his eyes as he greets her with a lazy wave. There are deep eyebags sinking into his pale skin, and the skin of his neck is lined with the beginnings of small, mouthlike bruises. “It’s a radio interview this time – with Present Mic,” Todoroki explains, voice still husky from sleep as he leans against her doorway.
Yaoyorozu hums to herself as she drags her body up to lean against her headboard, cocking her head thoughtfully. “Right, I remember now. He has breakfast at 9 with Yagi-san and then patrol at 4, but he’s coming in at 12.”
“You forgot your own schedule, Momo? That’s unlike you,” he responds dryly, lips quirked up in a teasing smile. He narrowly misses the pillow that soars through the air, chuckling as it lands by his feet in a pitiful heap.
“I believe I’m still a bit groggy,” she explains sheepishly, yawning once more as if for proof. “We’re supposed to relieve Itsuka and Yosetsu at 8, then?” When he nods, she’s swinging over the side of her bed, feet touching the cold hardwood floor tentatively.
“Go shower. Breakfast will be done by the time your hair’s up.”
She mumbles her thanks as he disappears from sight before she’s (begrudgingly) resolving herself to moving from the warmth of her bedsheets towards the bathroom. The shower starts with a quick turn of the nozzle, the steam from the water instantly breathing a thick cloud onto the mirror in front of her. Yaoyorozu makes quick work of her nightgown, folding it and placing it neatly on the counter before she’s eagerly jumping into the water.
Her muscles ache with pleasure once the warmth hits her. Her hair falls flat against her back when the water pours over her head, a steady stream of droplets dripping down the slope of her nose and across her skin, and for a few moments, she basks in the feeling of it all.
Mornings have always been Yaoyorozu’s domain. Though there were many other early risers amongst her classmates at UA, she was the one who reveled in the serenity of the early morning air, was the one who enjoyed the feeling of hot tea slipping down her throat as it warmed the lengths of her body, was the one who loved the silence of the building before the others were fully awoken – so usually, she’s able to rise from her bed without a problem.
Reuniting with the entirety of 3-A the night before, however, makes today an exception.
They had spent the night at a bar with their former classmates and their soulmates alike, and it was only after Todoroki was beginning to slur his words did Yaoyorozu realize that they were crossing the threshold into complete intoxication. With Midoriya’s naturally weak tolerance to alcohol and Mina eagerly sliding drinks across the table towards her throughout the night, the journey home for the 3 roommates was a trialing one. Still, after a 30 minute train ride and a 10 minute walk, they made it to the front steps of their apartment without too many casualties – though Yaoyorozu’s pretty sure that half of the bruises that lined the skin of her shin had all come from the night before and that the clamminess of Todoroki’s skin that she’d seen earlier was the work of a vicious hangover.
Dealing with the strife of the morning after was worth it, though. Her classmates are more family than anything else now, especially after all the trauma they suffered together, so she treasures every moment they’re able to spend together. It’s not entirely hard for them all to meet throughout the year, but it’s not the same as it was before. They’re older now, and as much as she loves living with Midoriya and Todoroki, she misses being with them all desperately.
Yaoyorozu showers quickly despite the way her body longs to stay under the water. Within 20 minutes, her hair is blow-dried and pulled up into her signature ponytail. The bed doesn’t look as tempting as it had before, but she still has to drag herself from her room. The smell of something savory hits her nose the moment she walks through her door, and automatically, her stomach growls in reaction to it.
“I heard that,” Todoroki calls over his shoulder as he finishes plating his work, lips turned up in a grin.
Yaoyorozu pointedly ignores the jest in favor of taking a seat in front of the steaming food. “Have I ever told you how grateful I am that you learned how to cook for us? Because I am,” she says very seriously, cutting into a piece of her omelet and smiling when it hits her tongue.
“We would have starved if I didn’t,” he replies neutrally, taking a few bites of his own meal as he briefly skims the front pages of the newspaper. “You were helpless in the kitchen, and Izuku sets everything on fire, so the duty was left up to me.” His eyes are fond as he says it, a smile growing as he mentions the man.
From her position at the table, she can see the black ink that curls around the inside of his left wrist, spelling out the name of their 3rd roommate in his messy handwriting. It’s usually covered by the length of his costume, but here, he leaves it visible, wearing it as a quiet, cherished token.
Out of the three couples that found each other in 1-A, Todoroki and Midoriya were the last to acknowledge the bond, which was mostly due to Endeavor’s A+ parenting and Midoriya’s own insecurities. Now, however, they’re the first to be wed within the entirety of the class, just narrowly beating Kirishima and Bakugou’s wedding by 3 months next spring.
They were now 4 years into their hero careers, so it was obvious as to why her roommates and the rest of her class were eager to be married. They were all young and powerful, and their soul bonds with other heroes attracted raves of attention throughout Japan. There was nothing holding them back from spending the rest of their lives with the person they were meant to. Yaoyorozu couldn’t fault any of them for wanting to progress their relationships – even if there was something in her, something dark and ugly, that twisted with envy every time she was reminded just how lonely she was.
The name, black and small against the skin of her ribs, was beautiful – a reminder of what she so dearly wants to protect in this world. The curves and stroke of the letters are dainty and perfect, as opposed to the wide and precise lettering of her own name that she’s sure is drawn across another body within the world, and even after years of staring at the mark in the mirror, it looks as fresh as the day it was carved into her skin.
Sometimes, though, it’s difficult for her to bear the sight of it.
She’s known from the moment that she’d first seen the soul mark that she was already in love with this person. It was just a name, just a bond, and no matter how natural the feeling was in their world, every rational part of Yaoyorozu constantly reminded her of how silly she was for being so enthralled with it, but she couldn’t help how her heart felt. She was in love with the thought of this woman – was in love with all of the different scenarios and versions of her soulmate that existed in her head. Imagining the different ways the name could materialize in her life placated her restlessness throughout the years, though the itch that burned beneath her skin to learn the true mystery behind that black scripture was becoming more and more insatiable. Yaoyorozu was a patient woman, but even she had a limit.
Despite her longing, she can’t seem to bring herself to look up her up. She wants their meeting to be by chance because Yaoyorozu has always been a romantic. She wants to see her soulmate and just know. She’s waited so long that she feels as if it would be cheapening her experience if she were to break and search her soulmate’s name up on the designated soulmate data base.
Now, though, after Mina finally found the 1st third of her soulmate trio in a rundown bar in Mustafa, Yaoyorozu has to actually fight the urge not to type in the letters of her soulmate’s name every time she’s on the computer. She’s the only one without the other half of her heart now, and sometimes, she drowns in her loneliness.
As her friends age with their lovers, she ages alone. There are milestones that they’ve missed together. There are years she’ll never get to spend with her, and Yaoyorozu knows – God she knows that it’s ridiculous to be so heartbroken by the absence of someone she’s never met, but there’s hardly anything rational about soulmates and the bond that tethers them anyways.
Co-running an agency with her two closest friends easily distracts her from the woes of her heart, but she still often spends her time on patrol searching through faces, longing for any of them to morph into the one of her soulmate’s. None of them are – she knows she would be able to tell – but she still does it anyways.
Perhaps, one day, it’ll pay off. One day, maybe her heart will stop feeling so heavy. One day, maybe they’ll find each other. These thoughts are the only things that keeps her from becoming discouraged as the years progress.
The sound of Todoroki folding his newspaper breaks her out of her thoughts, and slowly, she blinks back into reality. With a small smile, she places her utensils neatly on her plate. “This was lovely, thank you. I’ll wash the dishes while you shower, and then we can go,” she says as she rises from the table, both plates in hand as she glides over towards the sink.
The coffee mug is tilted at his lips as he stands, throat bobbing with every gulp until he’s finished the entirety of its contents. Then, he places the dish near her with an appreciative nod, stopping only when he sees a wicked smile growing across her lips.
“Is there something wrong?” He asks with a quirk of his brow.
“No, no. It’s just that – the interns would have a field day if they saw the state of your neck right now,” she remarks with a knowing wink. Todoroki’s face pales, his hand subconsciously reaching for the skin of his throat, before he’s practically sprinting down the hall towards his room. She can see the faint blush of his neck underneath the falling hair of his bun, and she chuckles delightedly as she looks down at her work.
Yaoyorozu hums as she washes the dishes, wistfully swaying to the thoughts that channel back through her mind once she knows that Todoroki is showering. For a few minutes, she imagines what it’s like to live with the love of her life. She imagines waking up to their face every morning, imagines smiling softly across the table at them, imagines leaning over to kiss them whenever she’d like.
Her own frame of reference for couples is centered mostly around Todoroki and Midoriya’s domestic life. She’s seen plenty of the love they share through the years she’s lived with them, and despite the desolate longing that’s ever present in her chest, her heart flutters hopefully at the thought that she could share the same experiences with her own soulmate when the time came.
After a few minutes, she heads back into her room and slips on her summer hero costume with only mild irritation as the latex slaps against her skin. Her costume, now more athletic and breathable, is all straps and openings, so she no longer worries about the drawbacks of her quirk in public. It was the proper step to take in order to become a hero geared towards all audiences. Plus, it was infinitely more comfortable than the leotard that plagued her all throughout high school.
After she’s done hooking the straps of her boots along the length of her leg, she spends the rest of the time applying makeup to her bare face. Before long, Todoroki’s knocking on her door, clad in his own dark blue jumpsuit. He tinkers with the bracers on his wrists as they leave the apartment, which serves as a reminder for her to double check the length of her own costume against the curve of her ribs.
The drive to their agency only takes 20 minutes. Yaoyorozu is the frequent driver amongst the trio of roommates because, after spending 19 years with her trusty chauffeur, she enjoys the freedom and control that comes with being behind the wheel. Todoroki leans his head against the window as she drives, eyes closed. She thinks that he might be more hungover than she’d previously thought, but she doesn’t comment on it, instead allowing him the short time to rest before work takes over.
Kendou and Awase are waiting for them when they reach the parking garage. They’re smiling mischievously at them from the doors when she pulls up, still dressed in their hero costumes. The smile on Kendou’s face is sweet and unsuspecting, but the grin that Awase sports spells nothing but trouble. Yaoyorozu glances at Todoroki as she turns off the car, but he’s already opening the door and exiting the vehicle before she can say anything.
“Is there something wrong?” She asks slowly, darting her eyes between the two as she steps around the back of her car.
Kendou shakes her head and bounds up to her, stopping when they’re directly in front of one another. Then, she places a hand on her hip and smiles breezily, despite Yaoyorozu’s keen stare. “How was last night?”
“It was wonderful seeing them all. I believe Tsuyu-san and Ochaka-san are the next to be betrothed, so it will surely be an exciting time,” Yaoyorozu replies with her own grin, though her eyes are now watching as Todoroki and Awase speak quietly by the front doors.
“The next few years are gonna be filled with weddings, I bet. It’s crazy to think about how we all just started out as little kids, but now most of our graduating class has already found their soulmates!” Kendou smiles wide and happy, and Yaoyorozu can’t help but nod excitedly back despite the twist in her gut. What Kendou truly means is that the entirety of their graduating class, sans her, has found their soulmate.
“On the topic of weddings,” Yaoyorozu starts playfully, quickly diverting her own train of thought. “When are you going to ask Ibara-san for her hand? It’s been 8 years, right?” Kendou’s skin turns a delightful pink at the question as she tugs awkwardly at the collar of her costume. Yaoyorozu simply laughs and shakes her head, tossing a wave over her shoulder as she joins Todoroki by the door. “No pressure, Itsuka-san! I just think Ibara-san would look beautiful in a wedding dress, don’t you?”
Awase slaps her on the shoulder in agreement as she passes him by, laughing along with her while Kendou covers her face in embarrassment. “That’s what I’ve been fucking saying for months! Maybe you’ll get through to her, Momo,” he exclaims, barely dodging the swat that’s thrown at him.
“You’re both so annoying!”
Yaoyorozu shakes a finger at her in disappointment. “That’s not nice, Itsuka. Yosetsu-san won’t be able to attend the wedding if you keep abusing him as you do,” is her teasing reply, which cues Awase’s dramatized limping as he feigns injury towards the opening of the garage. “You know we’re right!”
As Todoroki and Yaoyorozu turn towards the door of the building, they can hear Kendou grumbling, “Just because you’re right doesn’t mean you should say it,” out from underneath her breath, which even causes Todoroki to crack a rare grin.
The doors shut behind them, and Todoroki clicks his tongue at her. “You’re meddling again,” he says with a pointed glance, though there’s humor lurking beneath it.
Upon entering the building, they’re already swarmed by sidekicks and assistants alike. Papers are thrusted into their faces while indiscriminate chatter surrounds them, effectively stopping them in their tracks before they can make their way across the room. Yaoyorozu takes it all in stride, smiling and nodding helpfully as their youngest intern stutters and blushes when she turns her attention to him. Todoroki, on the other hand, becomes stiff and uncomfortable under the attention.
She’s signing a few forms when she turns back to Todoroki with a knowing smile. “What was it that you all called me in high school? Iida was our father and I was the mother, correct? Doesn’t that mean that I get a free pass in meddling in the lives of our friends?”
Todoroki simply responds by rolling his eyes and disappearing into the briefing room where the rest of their agency is waiting diligently. Yaoyorozu nods her head towards the surrounding people and they all shuffle in after her, taking their seats around the respective table while she takes the front with her roommate.
“What’s the report, Tenzo?” She asks when the doors shut and the voices in the room silence themselves.
The boy in question snaps to attention and shuffles through the stack of papers in front of him hurriedly. “Sectors 4, 5, and 6 were relatively quiet last night, but Battle Fist ran into some trouble by the urban areas. It was nothing serious, but she made two arrests. The paperwork is on your desk, ma’am,” he lists off dutifully, taking a breath when she nods appreciatively at him.
After 20 minutes of Yaoyorozu’s usual spiel, Todoroki steps forward. Yaoyorozu notes that the color is coming back to his face, though he still seems to wince every time he hears the simultaneous outburst from the interns within the room.
“Since Deku is away this morning, the interns will be with me on patrol. We’ll follow up on the neighborhoods and then change route towards Sectors 5 and 6. The sidekicks are on their own today, so follow the schedule to your designated positions. Genesis will also be patrolling, but she’ll be going solo until Deku returns from his personal business. Any questions?” Todoroki hums his approval when there are none. “Dismissed.”
The room quickly disperses, but Yaoyorozu lingers with a small frown. “You’re awfully short today. Are you sure you don’t want me taking the interns?”
Todoroki grimaces but shakes his head. “Nausea seems to be my worst enemy right now, but I’ll be fine. Izuku left the interns with me today purposely, so I’ll honor that request.” He passes her with a small, reassuring smile and squeezes her shoulder.
It’s a little too convenient for her, especially when she knows how much he loathes the way the interns chatter so much. There’s something suspicious about the way he so willingly took them, and with a hangover no less, but she’s helpless to challenge it. There’s nothing she could do that would make him tell her about his strange behavior. Still, she purses her lips and pouts silently, vowing to figure out his strange behavior by the end of the day.
Patrolling during the daytime, especially in the mornings, is always less exciting than any other time of the day. Villains are less likely to make an appearance when the sun is out, especially in the parts of the cities where the Symbol of Peace’s agency is located, but Yaoyorozu is content with just strolling around the streets for the first few hours. It’ll be kinder to the headache that pulses mildly at her temples, anyways.
There are waves of crowds that surround her every hour or so, but she’s gotten used to the popularity, so she greets them all with pleasant smiles. Her years under the tutelage of Uwabami have prepared her for the life of a female hero – the life of a beautiful female hero. At first, she was dismayed by the raves of people who became obsessed with her image, especially when what she truly wanted was to be recognized for her talent as a hero, but as the years progressed and her hero ranking soared higher and higher on the chart, she realized that this was just a small cost compared to the work she’s able to do.
It’s not really so bad, either. There are interviews and commercials and spokesman responsibilities that make her seem entirely too shallow for her tastes, but she doesn’t mind it as much as she used to because, now, there are people who actually see her as a competent hero. There are some that still objectify her, who see her as nothing more than a pretty face, but she’s reassured by the fact that there are other genuine people who adore her and her work. There are children who have her posters hanging on their walls because she inspired them in one way or another.
To Yaoyorozu, it’s a breath of fresh air. The positivity and warmth she receives is something she’ll always treasure.
“Genesis, you’re my number 1!” A fan cries out when he shoves himself to the front of the crowd, throwing a magazine at her for her to sign at the first stroke of the 11th hour.
“Thank you for your support,” she says with a sweet grin, ruffling the boy’s hair softly as he blushes underneath his freckles. She signs the last few things before she’s waving over her shoulder with a delighted chuckle. “See you guys later!”
The morning has been almost completely silent for her. By 11:30, she’s almost completely sure that she’s going to have a villain-less shift, which, while helpful for her recovery, is entirely too boring for her normal day. She had thought that there would be at least one disturbance for her to investigate, especially since more people were beginning to roam the streets at this time of day, but she resigns herself to the fact that her day will remain unfulfilled as the clock winds down.
Right as she’s about to swivel around back down her patrol route towards her agency, however, her earpiece alerts her of nearby activity.
“Genesis, there’s report of a burglary near your position. There are no injuries, but the villain fled the scene. His quirk is an emitter type for fire, but we’re unable to tell you how he wields it. He was last seen at the convenience store in Sector 2. Good luck, hero.”
Yaoyorozu thinks, very briefly, that perhaps someone was listening and answering her thoughts.
Without a moment’s hesitation, she reroutes herself towards the destination, feet slamming against the ground as she sprints through the lunch crowds. After spending so many years patrolling the same streets, her body moves on instinct, already leading her towards the designated area without a second thought. The streets aren’t entirely tricky to maneuver through and the store is only a few blocks from her, but she knows that there are many alleyways between the buildings in this section of the city that the villain could take advantage of. It only serves to make her run faster.
When she finally arrives at the scene, she can see broken glass and the remnants of embers crackling against the pavement. A crowd hovers by the doors, and in the distance, Yaoyorozu can hear the faint wailing of the police’s sirens.
The store owner rushes out of the doors the moment he sees her, smiling in relief. “Thank God you’re here, Genesis! The guy has a fire quirk, so watch out for his mouth!” He calls out as he points in the direction to where he left.
“Thanks!” She shouts back, already changing the direction of her sprint through the alleyway just left of the store. There are footsteps that echo against the cement in front of her, and for a moment, she sucks in a breath of relief that the villain hasn’t made much headway in his escape. Tracking him down in the network of pathways is not something she’d enjoy, especially for the last 20 minutes of her patrol. As she’s turning the corner, she narrowly dodges the fallen trashcans and crates pulled down to deter her. When she looks back up from where she’s watching her step, she zeroes in on her target.
In the distance, she can see his eyes widen at the sight of her, and for a moment, she allows herself to grin. The man is burly and wide as he barrels down the alley. Yaoyorozu quickly realizes that the villain must have to compensate with his lack in stamina for the surge of power from his quirk. It’s an arrogant decision on his part to believe he could escape with just power alone, especially since he seems to struggle to pull ahead of her.
Yaoyorozu takes advantage of her physical fitness, bolting forward with the telltale sparks forming at the crease of her elbow in the hopes that she’ll be able to out-maneuver him. When she’s within range, she hurls the net towards him. The man, seemingly already prepared for the attack, turns his head and releases a bellow of flames. It consumes the entirety of the alleyway, and Yaoyorozu just nearly dodges, cursing when she feels the flames lick at her skin.
It was a lucky shot, but it irritates her all the same.
The net was supposed to test the capabilities of the man’s quirk, and while she expected him to have a strong grasp on his technique, she was surprised at the amount of force behind it. Now, though, she knows what she can do. The alleyway is condensed, which serves as an advantage for him because he’s able to breathe his fire within the entirety of the space. Because he needs to breathe for his quirk to work, however, she’ll have the briefest amount of time to act before he exerts his flames again. Yaoyorozu just needs to be faster than him.
The villain’s breathing is heavier now, and the sounds of his pants are loud and wheezy when they reach her ears. It seems like that original burst had taken a lot out of him, which only means that she’ll be allotted just the slightest more amount of time to close the distance.
Quickly, she darts out from behind the dumpster. The villain curses loudly, and right when she thinks he’s about to rear back for another attack, he swivels around on his heel and takes off down the alleyway. The sight is surprising, if not the slightest bit pathetic, but Yaoyorozu gives chase again anyways.
She purses her lips as the familiar colorful sparks arise from the palms of her hands. Her arm whips back in preparation to launch her newest creations, when suddenly, the man is tumbling over himself.
The villain trips over something down the alley and he hits the ground hard, rolling and skidding along the pavement in a way that makes even Yaoyorozu cringe. Without hesitating, however, she takes the matryoshka dolls from her palms and throws them at his stilled body. Once they skid to a stop around him, ropes burst through the tops and encapsulate him, anchoring his body to the ground.
“That was anticlimactic,” she breathes out as she slows to a stop beside him. Yaoyorozu leans down and quickly produces a flame-resistant mask from her thigh, attaching it firmly to the front of his face while he lays dazed on the concrete floor. When it’s done, she frowns and cocks out a hip, wiping the sweat off her brow in almost mute disappointment.
Suddenly, though, something catches her eye in her peripheral. “Didn’t think you needed the help, but he was coming my way, so I thought – hey, why not,” says a voice from the shadows.
Immediately, Yaoyorozu’s leaping back. A staff emerges from the flesh of her stomach without a second of hesitation. She lifts it and points it towards the voice as a warning, eyes narrowed and lips tugged into a frown. The figure holds their hands up nonchalantly, leaning against the corner with a small smirk.
“Are you another villain?” She questions roughly, taking a brief moment to glance at the motionless man on the floor before bringing her eyes back up to the newcomer.
“Your name is Genesis, though you originally debuted under the moniker Creati. You graduated at the top of your infamous class at UA High School and spent only one year as a sidekick for Uwabami. Now, you co-own the agency started by the Symbol of Peace himself and his fiancé, Number 4,” the voice recites dutifully, arms crossed over their chest as they take a minute to ponder their next words. “Your quirk is creation, which means you can make whatever you want from your skin as long as you know the molecular formula for it, right? I had already known you were brilliant, but creating support items from your matryoshka dolls is pretty punk rock.”
“You’ve done your research,” Yaoyorozu says through clenched teeth. “Who are you, and why do you know so much about me?”
Slowly, the figure emerges from the darkness. The light that shines through the alleyway breaks across her face, and Yaoyorozu feels herself go breathless. “You’re a hero,” she somehow manages to murmur through the strange knot that forms in the base in her throat.
The girl nods and fiddles with the long wires that hang from her earlobes, cocking her head as she surveys Yaoyorozu. “This villain was just a wanna-be, so I thought I’d cut your little pursuit short. You have a bigger fish to fry than this asshole anyways,” she shrugs indifferently, glancing down to the groaning man. “You can take the credit. I don’t really care.”
Yaoyorozu’s not sure that she can formulate a response to that. Instead, all she can see, all she can do is take in the sight of the woman in front of her.
The moment their eyes met, she was somehow cast under a spell. Beneath her ribcage, her hummingbird heart thrashes against its confinements, and she can hear the beating so clearly like drums in her ears. The deep violet of her irises, the spark that shines in her eyes – it melts the entirety of the world around them into nothingness, and suddenly, Yaoyorozu feels more than knows who this person is.
“Your name? What is your name?” She asks hoarsely, willing herself to break free from the force that attracts her towards the other woman.
The figure raises an eyebrow before she’s turning her head away, hand tapping her chin thoughtfully. Yaoyorozu sucks in a breath when she no longer feels rooted to the spot by the hero’s eyes. Now, she takes the time to scan the other woman for any distinguishable features.
Her hero costume is almost entirely black, though there are accents of silver that trail the outline of a porous material imbedded into the outfit. Her pants hang low across her hips, and a single silver chain hangs from the beltloops of her waist. The jacket is seemingly leather, even with the inconsistencies of the strange material that lines it, and beneath it, she’s wearing a dark mesh that clings to her skin. Yaoyorozu’s eyes linger a little too long on the curve of her collarbone and the dark choker that lines her neck before she’s trailing them back up to a pair of eyes that stare at her knowingly.
“Are you looking for something?” She says teasingly, hand on her hip, after a few seconds of prolonged eye contact.
Heat rushes to Yaoyorozu’s neck instantly, so she averts her gaze back towards the villain. She presses a button on her belt, signaling the police to their location, as she turns back to the accompanying hero with an uncertain frown. “Are you new? I’ve never seen you around before,” she questions hesitantly, attempting to reign in her curiosity by feigning indifference.
Her smile widens, like she knows something Yaoyorozu doesn’t, and it makes her fidget. “Why’d you change your name?”
“Excuse me?” Yaoyorozu asks, taken back by the sudden question.
“Genesis seems more fitting for you, I think, but I’m curious as to why you changed it,” the woman explains. When Yaoyorozu takes a bit too long to respond, she reaches behind her and rubs the back of her neck. “Okay, how about this – I tell you my name if you tell me why you changed yours. It’s only fair, right?”
Eagerness tugs at Yaoyorozu’s stomach (apprehension, hope, doubt – too), but she pretends to ponder the opportunity. “Information for information?” The woman nods her head, expression returning to what seems like her usual state of indifference. Yaoyorozu can’t read her in the slightest, but she relents, the parts of her that beg to confirm the thoughts channeling inside her head winning out. “Creati was a name I chose when I was very young, and it reflected that. A friend helped me with creating Genesis, and like you said – it fits me better.”
The woman nods her head, seemingly taking in the information. Her eyes are bright with interest, like there’s more she’s eager to know, but instead of asking, she answers Yaoyorozu’s original question. “The name’s Earphone Jack. I stayed a little longer as a sidekick ‘cause I didn’t feel ready, so yeah, I’m new.” It’s cryptic and not exactly what Yaoyorozu wants, but she takes the answer without a fight.
The woman’s hair is choppy at her shoulders, colored a deep purple that seems almost black in the lighting. Her skin is pale and flawless, though Yaoyorozu can detect the slightest flush on her chest, and a thrill courses through her body. It seems like the feelings that Yaoyorozu is currently undergoing is mutual.
“Earphone Jack,” she tries in her mouth slowly. “You know quite a bit about me. Is there any particular reason why?” She has an inkling of a feeling, but she needs to hear it. She needs it to be said out loud.
The other hero stays silent for several, pregnant seconds. Finally, she looks up through her bangs and walks. Her footsteps are light and calculated, but Yaoyorozu clings to the sound, hoping they’ll steady her stuttering heart. As the woman approaches, something snaps inside of her, and suddenly, her feet are moving of their own accord.
An invisible force tugs her towards the other girl, and Yaoyorozu doesn’t stop walking until they’re face to face.
She can see the bobble of the hero’s throat up close, can feel her delicate breath on her neck. Her gaze bores into her, and there’s hesitation, conflict, excitement lurking behind those beautiful, expressive eyes. “Yaoyorozu Momo,” the hero breathes out, voice so low and raspy that the sound elicits a wave of shivers across her skin. “Everybody knows who you are, but I guess you can say that I’m just a nobody that likes to do research,” she continues neutrally, twirling her fingers around the flesh of her earlobe once again. The statement is guarded and cryptic, eyes suddenly devoid of emotion, and it’s almost enough to make Yaoyorozu frown.
She swallows thickly, trying desperately to come up with something to say. It’s not often that she’s at a loss, but right now, trapped in the alleyway with this enigma of a woman, her mind goes blank. “What’s your real name?” She manages, and it’s odd the way her voice sounds like a stranger’s.
The other woman raises an eyebrow, and now, she’s smirking in delight. “You can call me Jackie, if you’d like,” is all she offers. Yaoyorozu bites her lip in annoyance, shaking her head. That wasn’t what she wanted to know.
“What’s your agency?”
This time, Jackie doesn’t answer at all. Yaoyorozu’s not sure she even heard her because the woman doesn’t acknowledge her in anyway. Instead, her hand reaches up from her side, and, almost hesitantly, she ghosts her fingers across the line of her jaw. Yaoyorozu lets her, fluttering her eyelids at the way her skin jumps at the touch. Yaoyorozu sucks in a breath while the other woman bites her lip, and it seems as if they’re both surprised by Jackie’s action.
The hand is gone almost as fast as it came. Jackie cocks her head towards something down the alley before her gaze is torn back to Yaoyorozu. Her lips twist in a peculiar frown, and it looks like there’s something else she wants to say, but she simply sighs and steps back reluctantly.
A small, parting smile spreads across her face. “It was lovely meeting you, Genesis. As you can tell, I’m a huge fan.” Her hand is raised in a two-finger salute as she swivels around. Yaoyorozu can’t muster up the words to tell her to stop – to beg her to say her name. All she can do is stare forlornly at her back.
Something seems to stop her, however. Jackie hesitates and turns to look over her shoulder. This time, her smile is soft and encouraging. “Congrats on Number 20, by the way. I knew you could do it,” and then she disappears without another word.
As soon as she’s gone, air surges back into her lungs and the world rematerializes around her. Yaoyorozu reaches a hand up to her chest, clutching the organ that threatens to beat out of her.
Within seconds, there are footsteps and voices joining her in the backstreet, and she blearily looks up to greet them, still flushed and dazed.
“Hey, you got him, Genesis! He looks like he took a nasty fall,” an officer remarks beside her, kneeling down and dragging the immobilized villain up from his stupor.
“We’ll take it from here, hero. The documents will be forwarded to your precinct,” says another.
“Thank you, officer,” she somehow manages, turning her head to smile weakly at them. “My patrol is just about done, so the paperwork will be done promptly.”
Then, she turns and drifts back down the alley, consumed with the thoughts of that woman’s violet eyes and the way her mark burns against her skin.