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And They Were Roommates

Chapter Text

This is the least helpful site I’ve found yet , Leo thought, hunching over his touchscreen tablet. The café he’d sat himself at, Lucky Cat, currently had a perfectly balanced amount of background bustle for him to do something productive—but he wasn’t finding anything useful, and the further he searched, the less useful things got.

Nobody in the whole of San Fransokyo, it seemed, needed a roommate. At least, no one who was reasonable . Leo needed a place he could continue his livestreaming career uninterrupted, and that seemed like an impossibility, based on his findings.

He was just about ready to give up, trudge back to his parent’s house, and tell them they were right all along.

The bell above the door jingled, and Leo glanced up out of instinct. Into the café walked a group of six. Each greeted the owner of the establishment casually, and it was obvious they were regulars, by the way she greeted them back. They sat at a table (all but one of them, a giant marshmallow of a robot with a stupidly cute face).

And Leo stared , because one of them looked way too familiar.

He squinted over the reading glasses perched on his nose and then looked back at his tablet. It was probably best to say nothing. If this was the person he was thinking of, he would have no idea who Leo was. Different name. Different gender. Different everything. Not only that, but Leo was fairly sure this guy hated him back when they knew each other.

(To be perfectly fair with himself, everyone hated everyone in ninth grade. But this hate seemed almost justified).

He tried to continue on his roommate search, but suddenly found himself distracted. He swapped to a blogging app and scrolled through his dashboard for a gratuitous amount of time before realizing he was getting nowhere , and the tiny bit left of his hot chocolate was no longer hot, and he really should get back to his current apartment, even if he risked facing his terrible landlord.

He packed up his tablet, slung his bag over his shoulder, and placed the hot chocolate mug in the bin for used dishes, but before he could get halfway to the café’s front door, he noticed that now the familiar someone was staring at him .

Copper brown eyes met blue-gray ones, and the contact lasted a little too long to ignore, some kind of silent acknowledgement that the familiarity was not something their minds had fabricated.

And the body attached to the copper brown eyes, way taller and way more built than he’d been back then, leaned towards his friends, said a few words, and then stood.

Leo watched him approach.

“Hey, sorry,” he said, sheepish. “Do I know you? I feel like I do, but I can't figure out where from, and it's driving me crazy. Sorry, maybe I don't and I'm being weird, but…”

“Ninth grade.” Leo shifted his weight, fidgeted with the strap of his bag, wriggled his toes inside his sneakers.

“You...really? Ninth grade?” He ran a hand through his dreadlocks.

“Really,” Leo said. He recited his deadname, physically cringing as it passed his lips. “But not anymore. I go by Leo now.”

“Leo,” he repeated, a kind of understanding in his tone. Leo felt a wave of relief pass over him. “Everyone calls me Wasabi. It’s just a nickname, though.”

Leo snorted a laugh. “Cute.”

Wasabi’s hand rested on the back of his neck, eyes a little bit wide. “C...cute...yeah, uh, are you busy right now? If you are it’s no pressure, just thought it might be fun to catch up, y’know?”

“Really? Fun? I thought you hated me,” Leo said, lighthearted.

Hated you? Nah. Strongly annoyed at you ninety percent of the time, maybe. Don’t think I could’ve actually hated you, though.”

“Your friends won’t mind if you ditch them for a bit?”

“They’re cool, don’t worry!”

Leo hunched his shoulders slightly. “Alright. I’ve got time. Let’s catch up.”

 

“SFIT, huh?” Leo said.

“Yeah,” Wasabi confirmed. “I’ve got some friends and a pretty nice apartment and things are going well for me, I think. For the most part. What’d you do after switching schools?”

“Well, I spent the next few years at a different high school,” Leo began. “Graduated. Parents pressured me into college. Went to SFAI for a total of three weeks before dropping out—I still do art, but art school just wasn’t for me.”

“And now?”

“It feels kind of silly,” Leo said, “especially since I’m kind of...failing at it, right now, but I’m a gaming livestreamer. And I kind of do freelance digital art sometimes. I got an apartment just to be away from my parents but it’s shitty and the landlord sucks and the walls are disturbingly thin. I’ve been looking for someone to room with, but no luck so far.”

“I’ve got an extra room,” Wasabi said, a little too quickly. “I, uh, I mean…”

“You could barely stand us being locker neighbors,” Leo said, smirking. “How would you stand living with me? I might be an adult now, but I’m still a mess.”

Wasabi laughed. “I’m sure we could work something out. Could I have your number? To contact you later about this?”

“Yeah, sure!” Leo recited his phone number, and Wasabi input it into his phone. A second later, Leo’s phone buzzed in his pocket.

Unknown Number

> Hey there!

Leo added him to his contacts.

“Well, I don’t wanna keep you from your friends,” Leo said, standing and stretching his arms. “This was...nice. I’ll talk to you again soon? About the spare room?”

“Definitely,” Wasabi said, standing as well.

Leo grabbed his bag and waved goodbye, eyeing the way one of Wasabi’s friends punched his shoulder playfully as he returned to their table.

Maybe finding a roommate was not an impossibility after all.

Chapter Text

It was really hard to get used to living with someone.

Wasabi had been living solidly on his own for the past year. He didn’t need the rent money from Leo—but Leo obviously needed it, and he wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity to help a friend.

A kinda-friend.

An acquaintance.

Someone he used to know who now seemed like a completely different person.

The extra room now had a purpose beyond sitting there collecting dust for nonexistent guests, but it was just...odd. Unusual. Something he was unaccustomed to. And Leo had been right about the locker neighbors statement—this was definitely worse than being locker neighbors had been.

Leo had left his keys on the kitchen table , as if that was a totally okay place to leave them.

And Wasabi had moved them, to the shelf beside the door, where they were supposed to go. Where Wasabi had told him they were supposed to go.

And Leo was angry about it.

“Why did you move my keys?!” Leo exclaimed, power-walking out of the kitchen and plucking his keys from the shelf by the door with a certain vigor.

“Because they were on the table!” Wasabi answered. “Why your keys were on the table is the better question here.”

“Because when I came home earlier,” Leo began, bristling, “I forgot they were in my hand, and I went to the kitchen to grab some food, and put them down on the table so I could use two hands to get my food. And then I forgot to move them to the shelf. But I knew where they were, and I would’ve put them back eventually!”

“You forgot they were in your hand.”

“Uh-huh, I sure did. Sometimes I forget things. It’s fine .”

“It’s not fine!” Wasabi threw his hands in the air. “You can’t put them on the table. That’s not where they belong.”

“I don’t understand why you care so much.”

“I don’t understand how you can forget about something you were literally holding in your hand .”

“Look, I have to go,” Leo said, opening the front door halfway. “I have dance class and my ride’ll be here any second. But I feel like we should talk about this later.”

Without another word, Leo left, shutting the door behind him.

 

Leo arrived home.

He unlocked the door, entered the apartment, and made a certain show of putting his keys in their correct spot on the shelf.

It felt insulting.

“You…” Wasabi stood, pacing towards his roommate. “Just. Stop . Please.”

“I put them in their place.”

“We can’t do this. This is ridiculous.”

“I agree.”

“Alright. Let’s talk. Where should we start?”

Leo looked up at the ceiling, obviously thinking about it. “I...I dunno. Just...tell me why it matters so much. Where I put my keys and how I put away the silverware when I do dishes and making sure the freakin’ blu-rays are in alphabetical order.”

“It’s just...it’s just important ,” Wasabi stammered. “I don’t know how to explain it to you without sounding like a total freak.”

“Well, it’s obviously something I need to know at this point,” Leo said. “So...try me.”

“I get panicky if things aren’t where they belong. I can kind of deal with it at school, but I’m used to living here alone, with no one else to mess with the order of things, and it’s hard .”

“Oh.” Leo looked at his feet.

“You’ve got meds for your OCD. That never really worked for me. So I just kinda deal with it.”

Oh .” Leo slowly looked back up at him. “You...okay. That makes sense. Why didn’t you tell me before?”

“I didn’t really feel like I needed to,” Wasabi explained. “You told me about yours and that’s fine, if you want to be open about it you’re free to do so. But...I dunno. I feel like I can’t be open about mine, sometimes.”

“Well, you can be open with me,” Leo reassured. “I’ll try to remember. I don’t want you to get panicky ‘cuz of me.”

“Thank you,” Wasabi said, smiling slightly. “Your forgetfulness—it’s ADHD, right? I don’t understand what it’s like to have that. Is there any way to remind you of things? Or would it be okay if I moved stuff when you put it in the wrong place?”

“I dunno about the reminding. I’ve never really needed it,” Leo said, shuffling his feet. “I remember what’s important for the most part, and when I lived on my own it wasn’t quite so dire that things be organized. I think it would be okay if you moved things, though, so long as you let me know when you do. I don’t like when people move my stuff without telling me.”

“Okay, so I’ll tell you when I move your stuff.”

“And I won’t take it personally. And I’ll try to remember to put things where they belong in the first place.”

“Deal.”

Chapter Text

“There’s a reason you’re banned from Sunshine City!” Leo exclaimed into his tabletop microphone, hardly focused on their game of Mario Kart but hugging every turn with grace anyway.

“It’s not a good reason!” May0 chirped through his headphones.

“You’re an arsonist,” Chief deadpanned.

The livestream’s chat was suddenly filled with fire emoticons.

“Then why isn’t Bon banned?!” May0 protested.

“HEY! I actually contributed to the world, for your information,” Bon defended herself. Before anyone could respond, she screamed into her mic, nearly killing everyone with the shockwave. “WHO FUCKING THREW THAT BLUE SHELL I KNOW IT WAS ONE OF YOU!”

“It was me! I’m so sorry,” Dolphin piped up softly. “Please don’t yell like that again, holy shit.”

He was laughing through his words, indicating the issue wasn’t actually too serious.

“You deserve it for blue shelling me.”

Leo’s chat started spamming one of his custom emotes, ‘lemurTea’.

“No amount of begging will get you unbanned from the Minecraft world, May0,” Leo said, disregarding the blue shell conflict.

“What if I buy another account and get Dolphin to sneak me the server’s IP address?”

“It’s a whitelisted server,” Chief pointed out.

“I’ll hack the server and whitelist the new account!” May0 sounded overly determined.

“You are absolutely not smart enough to figure out how to do that,” Bon said. “Full offence.”

May0Milkshake, ChiefApple, BonnieTest and Plush_Dolphin were a group of gamers Leo often livestreamed with. May0 was an entity of chaos from South Korea, Chief was a stupidly good Genji main from Canada, Bon was a borderline sadist from the United Kingdom, and Dolphin was a softie sweetheart from New Zealand.

The race ended with Dolphin in first, Bon in second, Leo in fifth, Chief in ninth, and May0 in twelfth (due to nothing other than his own actions).

“I AM GOING TO REACH THROUGH THIS SCREEN AND KILL YOU,” Bon yelled.

“Sorry!” Dolphin squeaked. “I really am! I don’t know how I won, it just kind of happened!”

“YOU BLUE SHELLED ME!”

“Yeah, I guess I did, didn’t I? I’m really sorry.”

From where it rested face-up on the desk, Leo’s phone buzzed. “Hang on, y’all. Gotta text.”

He placed his headphones around his neck, muted his mic, and picked up his phone.

Wasabi

> Hey, are you still streaming?

You

> i will be for like another hr i think

> why?

Wasabi

> I’m gonna pick up some Noodle Burgers on my way home. Do you want any? Would I be interrupting?

You

> hell yeah i want some

> just txt me when u get back i’ll do a brb

Wasabi

> I’m not sure what that means, but okay.

Leo put his headphones back over his ears and unmuted his mic. “Sorry ‘bout that. We good. Another round or are we movin’ on?”

“We’re moving on,” Chief said flatly.

“I don’t think Bon can handle another round,” May0 said.

“We muted her for a minute,” Dolphin said. “To let her cool down.”

Leo laughed. “Okay, cool. What next?”

“Overwatch?” May0 suggested.

“I feel like that’ll make things with Bon worse,” Dolphin said quietly.

“It’ll be funny!” May0 said.

“No,” Chief said. “I have a winning streak right now and I’d rather not lose it because of you clowns.”

Harsh ,” Leo said.

“We don’t have to play comp,” Dolphin pointed out.

“I’m not playing FFA or QP. It’s boring,” Chief said.

“That’s just because you’re so good,” Dolphin replied.

“How about something simple? A browser game, CAH or Draw My Thing or something,” Leo suggested.

“I can get on board with that,” Dolphin said. “I’ll unmute Bon, then she can tell us what she thinks.”

A small boop-boop noise sounded, and Bon had returned.

“Draw My Thing!” She immediately exclaimed.

“Everyone?” Leo asked.

A small chorus of affirmations sounded. The chat seemed to be in agreement as well. Draw My Thing it was.

 

Half an hour later, Wasabi texted that he was back with the food.

Leo waited until the round ended. “Alright guys, let’s do a BRB, my food’s here,” he said. “See y’all in a few.”

He swapped the screen to his ‘be right back’ artwork, muting his mic for the stream chat but not his friends.

You

> could u bring it in? im not live right now dw

Wasabi

> Can’t you just come get it, then?

You

> i was hoping to introduce you to some friends! my streamer buddies i was telling you about!

Wasabi

> I’m tired, though. Been at school all day doing school things.

> So many school things.

> Lots of science.

> You know.

You

> itll just be a few minutes i promise!! pretty please?

Thirty seconds later, Wasabi entered Leo’s room with a Noodle Burger bag and a drawn-out sigh. “Can they hear me right now?”

“They sure can, hang on,” Leo said. He unplugged his headphones. “Say hi to my roommate, guys.”

They all greeted him. Dolphin spoke up. “Did he bring you Noodle Burger? Can you send some to my P.O. box? We don’t have those in New Zealand.”

“Yes, he brought me Noodle Burger,” Leo said, “no, I will not send some to your P.O. box. Their preservatives aren’t that great.”

Leo turned to Wasabi, taking the bag from him. “What do I owe you for the food?”

“Nothing, I’ve got it.”

“What? Really?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Did I hear that correctly?” May0 asked. “Your roommate is paying for your food? I can’t even get my parents to pay for my food.”

“There’s a reason for that,” Chief said without elaborating.

“...Anyway,” Leo said. “This is my roommate, Wasabi, and I’m going to let him leave before he kicks me out of the apartment because of how annoying I am.”

Wasabi laughed, turning to leave.

“I wouldn’t do that, you know!” He exclaimed from down the hallway after he’d exited.

“Hurry up and eat,” Bon said, “I’m gonna absolutely crush you guys in this next round.”

“Yeah, like you did the first seven,” Chief said sarcastically.

“QUIET! I WAS JUST WARMING UP!”

“Mm-hm.”

Chapter Text

“You’ve been rooming with her for one day. It can’t be that bad,” Wasabi said. “If I can deal with having Leo as a roommate, you can deal with Honey Lemon, I’m sure.”

“Stickers. Everywhere ,” GoGo growled. “And butterflies. Live butterflies ! And she snores like a motherfucker.”

“I mean, you’re probably gonna have to get used to that if you’re gonna keep dating her.”

“I’ll wear construction headphones to bed.”

Wasabi laughed. “Just don’t break up ‘cuz of this, I think it’ll cause problems for Big Hero Six if you do.”

“Relax. I’m not gonna break up with her,” GoGo said, smiling slightly.

The apartment door opened. Leo was home.

“Uh, hi?” Leo said awkwardly as he stepped inside.

“Hello,” GoGo greeted, flashing a peace sign. Wasabi suddenly became aware of how they must look to someone who didn’t know them as well as the rest of Big Hero Six did—GoGo leaning against him as he sat on the couch, speaking to each other without reserve. He didn’t blame Leo for his reaction.

However, the both of them were far too gay to see it like that, so it took a presumptuous reaction to bring it to their attention.

Leo kicked off his shoes and shrugged off his jacket, putting each in their correct spots by the door. His keys went on the shelf. He started heading towards his room, but Wasabi stopped him.

“Hey. I met some of your friends, how ‘bout you meet one of mine?”

Leo cast a suspicious glance their direction. “Alright…?”

“I’m not his girlfriend, dipshit,” GoGo deadpanned, not even bothering to look at Leo. “I’m complaining to him about my roommate, who also happens to be my girlfriend. My girlfriend, who I am gay for. Because I am a lesbian. And not into men.”

“Oh!” Wasabi could tell Leo was trying to hold back laughter. “Sorry for assuming! You just...the way you’re sitting...nevermind. I’m Leo, and you…?”

“GoGo,” GoGo answered. She blew a bubble with her gum. “I guess I can’t really blame you for assuming. But still.”

Leo migrated to a chair near the TV stand, facing the couch. “So…”

“So…” Wasabi mimicked.

“Don’t take this as offensive,” GoGo began, pointing a finger towards Leo. “But what do you like... do ?”

“Not sure what you mean,” Leo said.

“Like, do you have a job or what?”

“Livestreamer. Freelance artist,” Leo answered.

“Oh, so you’re broke. Got it.”

GoGo !” Wasabi cast a disapproving glance her way. “He pays his rent just fine.”

“Whatever. I—“ GoGo paused, her phone buzzing. She fished it from her pocket, and upon looking at it, pushed herself to an upright position. “Hey. Uh. We gotta go.”

“What?” Leo asked.

Wasabi looked over her shoulder at her phone, and a lie immediately flew from his mouth. “There’s something going on at the lab we have to take care of,” he said. “No big deal!”

“Yep,” GoGo said, blowing a gum bubble. She popped it with her teeth. “The lab.”

“Should I be concerned?” Leo asked.

“No, it's cool,” Wasabi said unconvincingly.

“Alright, well, have fun? I guess?”

 

Wasabi didn’t return to the apartment until it was dark outside and most of his neighbors were asleep.

He shut the door quietly behind him, just in case Leo had gone to bed as well.

Quickly, he realized that he hadn’t, as he walked out of the kitchen with his hand buried in a bag of chips. “You’re back late.”

Very big problem at the lab,” Wasabi lied.

“Is everything okay? Wh...hang on, is there something in your hair?”

“What?”

“There’s definitely something in your hair,” Leo said, setting the bag of chips down on the coffee table and brushing the crumbs off his hands.

“What is it?!” An unnecessary question. He knew what it was. He was kind of anxious about the fact that he hadn’t noticed it earlier.

He froze as Leo came up to him, rose to the tips of his toes, and fumbled with his dreadlocks for a second.

“Gross, is that purple Jello? How did frickin’ Jello get in your hair?” Leo mumbled. He pulled the substance from Wasabi’s hair and trotted to the kitchen to throw it out. “Did y’all get into a food fight at the lab or something?”

“I have no idea how that got there,” Wasabi lied once more. “I’m heading to bed. G’night.”

He felt a little light headed, if he was being honest with himself.

It’s just because of the superhero stuff , he told himself. And the slime in my hair. And the chip crumbs on the floor.

He tried very hard not to think about the crumbs. If he thought too hard, he’d have to get back up and clean them.

And he tried even harder not to think about Leo, tall on his toes, picking purple goop out of his hair.

It was ridiculous. It was just the prospect of him, somehow, finding out from that glob of purple alone that he was part of Big Hero 6. Nothing else. He wasn’t dwelling on it for any other reasons .

And he was just touching that side of his head again because he was worried Leo didn’t get all the goop out.

There were no other reasons he was still thinking about what had happened back there. No other reasons he felt light headed.

Absolutely no other reasons.

Chapter Text

12lemurs

> i am NOT gay for my roommate!!!!!

> thats not what this is about!!!! AT ALL!!!!

ChiefApple

> that kinda sounds like something someone who was in denial would say

> like, im not an expert or anything, but. dude.

BonnieTest

> can i be the flower girl at the wedding OwO

12lemurs

> IM BANNING ALL OF YOU FROM THIS GROUP CHAT

May0Milkshake

> arent u kinda old to be a flower girl

BonnieTest

> im a child at heart may0

> age is just a number.

Plush_Dolphin

> Am I getting banned, too?

12lemurs

> no!!! u didnt say anything

> i will ban everyone except you and it will just be us talking about cute animals and beanie babies and it will be a utopia

ChiefApple

> you cant ban the truth.

12lemurs

> youre right, i cant, but its nOT THE TRUTH, SO IT DOESNT MATTER

ChiefApple

> sure, jan

BonnieTest

> ok ok ok seriously guys

> he came to us for advice, right? i have some advice.

> my advice is that youre gay

May0Milkshake

> GOTEM

12lemurs

>  (¬_¬)

> my finger is hovering over the ban button, bon.

BonnieTest

> do it

> i fucking dare you

Plush_Dolphin

> Hang on, guys, can we like, talk for a second? He DID come to us for advice

12lemurs

> you all suck

BonnieTest

> hey!! im still here!!

> i half expected you to actually ban me.

ChiefApple

> give us a rundown of the situation again the message got buried by all the bullshit

12lemurs

> aight

> so basically

> my roommate. wasabi. is trying. to organize my life. i think.

> and my desk has never looked so clean. and i havent eaten a diet this balanced since my parents were spoonfeeding me. and my chat loves me because i have a solid, regular streaming schedule now

> and its great!

> i think.

> but.

> i dunno. i dunno what i need advice on here. idk how i even really feel about it

Plush_Dolphin

> It’s good, right? Like, all of those things sound like good things to me.

12lemurs

> doesnt feel like...like ME tho

ChiefApple

> “you” is “getting up at 2am to make questionable nachos” and i think if youre not doing that then maybe its just character development

May0Milkshake

> you never elaborated on why the nachos were questionable and im still waiting to find out to this day

BonnieTest

> i still think youre gay.

12lemurs

> well that was never a question

> its just a question of WHO im gay for and the answer is NOT MY ROOMMATE

BonnieTest

> when was the last time you got laid? maybe thats why youre so moody

12lemurs

> FINGER. HOVERING. OVER. BLOCK BUTTON.

ChiefApple

> *sips tea*

May0Milkshake

> god i wish i knew how to make popcorn without setting it on fire cuz this is quality entertainment

Plush_Dolphin

> I think I have to agree with Leo, here, you all suck.

> Sorry. That was kind of mean. But it’s true.

ChiefApple

> listen i dont see a problem here, i dunno what you want us to say

12lemurs

> im sitting in the armchair right now on my tablet

> and im squinting at the door because i just heard wasabi talking to a neighbor which means hes home and im internally debating if i should retreat to my room or not

> bc i dunno what to say to him right now

ChiefApple

> thank him for fixing your life

BonnieTest

> MARRIAGE PROPOSAL TIME

May0Milkshake

> do the idubbbz im gay thing and film his reaction

12lemurs

> why do i even bother tbh

Plush_Dolphin

> Whatever happens, I’m sure things will work out for you!

> And if not, New Zealand is a pretty cool place to live, I’m sure I could help you find a place

12lemurs

> skjhfsaogojdfjh

> thanks dolphin.

Chapter Text

You

> Hey, I have a problem.

GoGo

> dude wtf. we’re literally in the same room

You

> Just listen for a second, please.

> Again, I have a problem.

GoGo

> is something about to blow up over on your side of the lab. should i duck and cover

You

> What? No.

> Why would I text you if...nevermind.

> It’s not a problem like that. This is a PERSONAL problem!

GoGo

> and youre texting ME about it because…?

You

> Because I’ll trust Fred with my secrets when pigs fly, and you won’t lie to me. Honey would, I think.

> Just to make me feel better.

> And that’s not what I want. So the only option left was you.

GoGo

> k, fair enough

> whats up

You

> You remember my roommate?

GoGo

> leo. the gamer

You

> That would be him, yes.

GoGo

> is he causing ur problem? do i need to punch him

You

> No!

> I mean, yes, he's causing the problem.

> But it's NOT a problem you can solve by punching him. Please don’t.

GoGo

> explain

You

> I'm not sure how to phrase this.

GoGo

> i dont have all day so just say words plz

You

> I. Uh. Leo.

> He makes me really...nervous?

GoGo

> nervous.

> cuz he makes a mess of ur apartment?

You

> I mean, yeah, but…

GoGo

> but?

You

> That's not the only reason! And I'm freaking out a little!

GoGo

> what else is wrong with him

You

> Nothing! Everything! I dunno! I haven't figured it out.

> You'll keep this conversation entirely confidential, right? I don't want the next thing I’m gonna say to be seen by any other eyes.

GoGo

> yeah sure

> i wont mention it to anyone and i wont show it to anyone. if it really means that much to you.

> promise.

You

> Thank you.

GoGo

> ill be honest, youre kinda worrying me a little bit here

You

> I’m worrying MYSELF so join the club.

GoGo

> well i already promised i wouldnt tell anyone, so continue

> u kno id bury a body for u if necessary

> (you didnt kill him right)

> (no body burying tonight?)

You

> I DID NOT KILL HIM.

GoGo

> well spit it out already!!!! im losing valuable work time here

You

> This is gonna sound really bad, I think.

> But I really wish I could just hate Leo. That would make everything so much easier.

> If I could just hate his guts I wouldn’t have to worry so much about it! I would at least KNOW how I felt about him.

> But as much as I want to, and as much as I’ve TRIED,

> I CANNOT bring myself to hate him. He leaves the cereal open and on the table in the morning, and when I get home later and notice, my first reaction is to get mad at him!

> And then I turn around. And he looks all apologetic. And he says sorry a million times, and then puts it away, and I just have to smile at him and tell him it’s all okay because I can’t stand to see him upset and I can’t actually get mad at him!

GoGo

> look

> i know i told you to say words

> but that was a lot of words.

You

> I have a lot of thoughts.

GoGo

> so, lemme get this straight,

> your problem

> is that you DONT hate your roommate

You

> Yeah.

> ...It sounds really dumb when you simplify it like that.

GoGo

> thats because it IS dumb!! just accept that you dont hate ur roommate and roll with it. idk why it has to be so complicated.

> look i cant keep texting u right now i have things to do. we can talk more another time if u really need.

You

> Thanks for listening to me.

> Weirdly enough, that helped.

Chapter Text

With his blanket, Leo felt too hot. But without it, he felt too cold.

And his earbuds kept falling out of his ears because he was rolling over so much, and his pillow just felt...flat.

And after ten minutes of struggle, he realized he probably just wasn’t tired enough to fall asleep in the first place. And he looked at his phone clock, and it was 3 A.M., and if he took his sleeping medication now he would sleep until the afternoon.

He threw off his blanket, clumsily unplugged his phone from its charger, and got out of bed.

San Fransokyo never slept. Even now, at 3 A.M., there were pedestrians in the crosswalks, cars driving through the intersection. He turned the living room lights on, blinking as he adjusted to the brightness.

He wasn’t quite sure what to do now that he was up.

He stared out the window for a solid few minutes, soaking in the feeling. He’d always felt out of place early in the morning like this, but in a good way. Like he had walked into a whole world he was a foreigner to. It was interesting; interesting to see how many people lived in that world. How many people had lives he never saw under ordinary circumstances.

He shook himself from his thoughts and went to the kitchen to grab a snack.

They didn’t have much in the vein of midnight snack food, but he found a can of soup that sounded oddly delicious. It was in the back of the cupboard, though, behind several other boxes and cans—just enough to be inconvenient.

Despite his best attempts, several of the boxes and cans fell out of the cupboard and onto the floor with a clatter far too loud to have gone unnoticed.

“Shit,” Leo swore under his breath. He knelt on the ground to pick them up, guilt washing over him as he heard a door open and close.

“Are you okay?” Wasabi’s groggy voice floated across the apartment.

And then, suddenly, the guilt was fistfighting with a swarm of butterflies in his stomach. And he really just wanted to pretend he didn’t exist.

He tried to drown out all his thoughts with a chorus of I AM NOT GAY FOR MY ROOMMATE , but sometimes, especially at 3 A.M. when juvenile crushes are concerned, thoughts can be hard to drown out.

“I’m fine, sorry for waking you,” Leo said, kind of strained.

“I was awake anyway, it’s okay.” Leo had to pause and process the statement as Wasabi entered the kitchen and immediately knelt next to him to help him clean up.

“You don’t have to help, it was my fault, it’s okay,” Leo said.

“I don’t have anything better to do right now,” Wasabi retaliated.

“I would say sleep. That’s something better.”

“I could say the same thing to you.”

“I can’t sleep right now,” Leo said simply.

“Well, neither can I.” The two of them finished picking up the boxes and cans, placing them back in the cupboard. Leo still didn’t have his soup, but he didn’t care. He wasn’t that hungry anyway, just bored.

He leaned against the counter and stared at the far wall, not sure what to say.

Wasabi took a similar position next to him, arms crossed over his chest.

“You can go back to your room. I promise I’ll try not to destroy the kitchen,” Leo said lightly.

“There’s no point, I’m not gonna sleep anyway.”

“Fair enough. What’s got you awake?” Leo asked. He sunk to the floor, leaning his back against the counters, and Wasabi followed, and Leo really didn’t know how to feel, and he kind of shoved his feelings aside while he listened to his question be answered.

“Just life things, y’know?” Wasabi said. “What about you?”

“A terrible brain,” Leo said.

And now the question had been answered, and things went quiet, and his feelings bounced back at him.

I’m not gonna lie to myself, he looks really cute right now , Leo thought. And this time he didn’t try to drown it out, there was no use.

He tried to look at Wasabi out of the corner of his eye so he wouldn’t be caught staring.

The dimmed light of the kitchen, the 3 A.M. atmosphere, and the fact that they were sitting next to each other on the floor in their pajamas was making this whole situation feel really intimate. And kind of tense. And Leo wasn’t sure if Wasabi felt it too, but in his mind, it was hanging in the air, and it was thick, and waiting to be addressed.

“You know,” Wasabi broke the silence, and Leo’s gaze, his full gaze, snapped to his face, and damn , he looked even cuter when Leo wasn't just staring from the corner of his eye. Wasabi paused. “Actually, never mind. Forget it.”

Leo opened his mouth to speak, but thought better of it. He leaned his head against the counters, exhaling deeply, looking up at the corner where the wall met the ceiling.

“I dunno…” Leo started, and he hesitated, but autopilot took over and he continued to speak. “I dunno if I'm gonna regret telling you this or what, but after I switched highschools, I kind of...didn’t have a great time. And I ended up in treatment for a lot of mental health stuff, and it took a really long time for any doctor to figure out that what I was struggling with was OCD. And I guess I didn't realize that's what it was sooner because I always thought of OCD as being like...like you.”

Leo shifted nervously. “And I'm not like that. I'm not clean, or meticulous, or worried about germs and getting sick, or organized. And for a while I thought my OCD was just really different from other people’s. But living with you has made me realize it's really, really not! I have the same symptoms, they're just not focused on the same subjects. And I guess that's kind of comforting. Because I have someone to relate to, someone who gets it, and I never thought I'd have that luxury.”

“Why would you regret telling me that?” Wasabi asked softly. Leo squirmed under his clement gaze.

“I dunno! It just feels really personal, I guess. I don't want to overshare. And I know I already do, a lot, but I don't mean to, and I…”

“I'm really glad,” Wasabi said, “that I've helped you in that way. And I…”

He trailed off.

“I don't know how to tell you this without being weird, but I don't hate you.”

Leo laughed. “Okay, you're going to have to explain that one.”

“I keep thinking that I'm supposed to hate you because of how different we are, but I just can't hate you. You're a really great person to room with, even if you get on my nerves sometimes. You make things interesting around here—more interesting than things already were.”

“What interesting things were going on before I got here?” Leo asked with a playful smirk.

“You would be surprised at what SFIT students get into sometimes.”

Leo elbowed him gently. He chucked lowly, looking at the floor, tangling a hand in his dreadlocks.

And all Leo could think was dammit, I'm in too deep.

Chapter Text

Wasabi was slammed with a sense of vertigo as he woke, quickly realizing that he wasn't in his bed, but instead sitting on the floor of the kitchen, leaning against the counters. He felt a weight pressing on his left shoulder. He turned to look.

Leo had fallen asleep next to him, leaning his head against Wasabi’s shoulder.

He sucked in a breath, trying to focus on anything except how flushed he felt at the moment. He could hear his alarm clock beeping from across the apartment, and he already knew he was screwed; waking up stiff on the floor wasn’t quite how the day’s schedule was meant to start, and it was going to throw him completely off, he knew. He strained his neck to look at the microwave clock.

9:27 AM.

“Crap!” He exclaimed, surprised. He turned to the sleeping gamer on his shoulder. “Leo! Leo, wake up!”

Leo shifted, making a vague mumbling noise. “What...why are we on the floor…”

“Because we're idiots,” Wasabi said, shoving Leo off his shoulder. “It's nine thirty.”

“Jesus Christ!” Leo exclaimed. “Don't you have a class that starts now?”

“Yes! I do!” Wasabi scrambled to his feet. “I can't believe we fell asleep like that, I'm so sorry.”

“No, no, it's my fault,” Leo ran a hand through his bedhead, and he looked really guilty, and Wasabi’s heart skipped a few beats at the sight. “I knocked all the things over and then fell asleep on your shoulder and I-I’m really sorry, I’m sorry you’re missing class because of this, I…”

“Shh,” Wasabi shushed. “It's fine. Don't worry about it, please. Maybe I needed a day off, anyway.”

“Seriously?” Leo had the tone and expression of a skeptic being spoken to by the world’s craziest conspiracy theorist.

“What? I can be flexible sometimes,” Wasabi said with a small smile.

“Apparently so.” Leo took his phone out of his pocket and began to scroll through his missed notifications. “So, you’re staying here today? No school at all?”

“Well, I won’t be here all day,” Wasabi answered. “I’ve been meaning to see if I can get myself a long-term rental car. I had a car, but it, was, uh...totaled.”

“Jeez, how’d that happen?”

“A crash.”

You were in a crash that totaled your car? When was this?”

“Not too long after Tadashi died,” Wasabi said, feeling a pang in his chest at the thought. “The crash wasn’t my fault though, I swear. I was in the car, but GoGo was driving. I’m sure you can assume what happened.”

It wasn’t the full truth. But it wasn’t a lie, either. He supposed sitting waterlogged at the bottom of the bay could count as ‘totaled’.

“Well,” Leo said, standing and stretching his arms. His shirt was just the right size that a line of skin at his waist was exposed when he raised his arms over his head. Wasabi pursed his lips, diverting his attention to a very, very interesting magnet on the fridge. “Good luck finding a car. I’m going out biking for a bit and then I have dance class later, so you probably won’t see much of me.”

“Thanks,” Wasabi said, snorting a laugh. “Have fun on your bike.”

 

At a quarter to four in the afternoon, Leo entered the living room frantically.

“I’m so sorry to ask this of you,” Leo said, one hand gripping his phone, the other tangled in his hair. Wasabi set down the book he’d been reading. “I usually carpool to dance class, but she can’t make it last minute, and you just started your car rental today so I thought I’d ask if you would be willing to take me. You don’t have to, of course.”

“I’ll drive you,” Wasabi agreed.

“Are you sure? You’ll have to pick me up, too.”

“I’m sure,” Wasabi confirmed. “I don’t have much else to do since my schedule was kind of thrown out of whack today.”

“You’re a lifesaver, thanks so much!”

 

He overestimated his commute time and arrived to pick Leo up from his dance class ten minutes early (the map said there was traffic! But when he’d gotten to that part of town, there was absolutely no traffic. Stupid map app).

Several windows of the building allowed a clear view into the studio. Wasabi wasn’t quite sure why, but when he’d heard Leo took dance classes, he’d been envisioning something more along the lines of hip-hop; so he was surprised to see a class full of cleanly-dressed ballet dancers, all lined up at the corner, waiting for their turn to do jumps across the floor.

And next in line was Leo, just as cleanly dressed as the rest of them, albeit with messier hair. After some fancy footwork to gain momentum, he jumped up in a split leap, then stepped and leaped again. He didn’t leap a third time, but he had also run out of room and would’ve slammed into the wall if he had.

Wasabi had to admit he was impressed.

He didn’t know a whole lot about ballet, but he did know it required lots of skill, strength, and precision. Those were all things Leo hadn’t really given off the impression of caring too much about. Obviously Wasabi had judged him too soon, though.

The class finished up fairly quickly, and Leo met Wasabi outside, still huffing his breaths from the strenuous activity. He ruffled his hair and rubbed some sweat from his face. “You were watching.”

“I, um…” Wasabi stammered, avoiding eye contact. “I was. Was I, uh, not supposed to be?”

“No, no, you totally can, it’s fine!” Leo reassured, hopping in the passenger’s side of the rental car. “We actually have curtains we close if we don’t want people watching for whatever reason. People stop to watch all the time.”

Wasabi climbed in the driver’s side and started the car. “You’re really good. I mean, I don’t really know what qualifies as good , I’m not a ballet dancer. But you looked good. I MEAN—“

Leo laughed. “Thank you.” He took a long drink from his water bottle.

“How long have you been dancing?” Wasabi asked. “I don’t remember you mentioning it back in ninth grade.”

“I’ve been doing ballet since I was three,” Leo answered. “I cut back a lot that year, so it wasn’t as much of a focus for me at that point. It’s still just a hobby, but I have more time to pay attention to it now that I’m not worrying about school.”

“I suppose you would need to train for a long time to get your legs to go like that. Not sure I’ve ever met someone who could do the splits.”

“It’s not that hard…” Leo said, smiling sheepishly. It was getting a bit difficult for Wasabi to keep his eyes on the road. “I mean, I’m biased. I’ve been doing this since I was three, after all.”

Leo laughed. Wasabi laughed. “Point is, you’re good at it.”

“Thanks,” Leo said. “Again. And thanks for driving me, too. It means a lot.”

Chapter Text

“Welcome,” Wasabi said, gesturing grandly towards the room, “to the nerd lab.”

Leo looked around the place, and the first thing of note he saw was Wasabi’s friend, GoGo, messing with some kind of bike. “Hey!” She called across the room. “You stole my line!”

She pulled a wheel off the bike, and tossed it at Wasabi like a frisbee. He caught it stiffly. Leo followed as he walked towards her.

“Cool place,” Leo said, looking around more as they approached GoGo’s project. The lab was filled with stations where students worked and lots of things Leo didn’t know the purpose of. Tools, containers, materials, machinery—Leo was out of his element, but it felt a bit like being a child, curious about somewhere new. A museum or a cool store or a parent’s workplace.

“Yeah, I'd have to agree with you there,” Wasabi said, smiling. “Cool place, cool stuff, cool people.”

Real cool, Leo thought. The nerdy kind of cool. But still.

“What are you working on here?” Leo asked.

GoGo took the bike wheel back from Wasabi. “A bike.” She blew a gum bubble.

“I mean, yeah, but—”

Wasabi cut him off, seeming to sense how awkward he felt. “Electromagnetic suspension. Makes it go faster.”

“Sweet,” Leo said. He wasn’t sure how electromagnetic suspension worked, or how it made the bike go faster, but he didn’t need to understand. This wasn’t his area of expertise, and he felt some freedom in not having to think too hard about it.

“Thanks,” GoGo responded.

“Hey,” Wasabi said, smiling at Leo. His heart fluttered inside his chest, and he had to bite his lip to keep himself from reacting too much at the simple gesture. “I got some other friends for you to meet. C’mere.”

Leo followed him further into the lab. “Honey Lemon!” He called towards a tall woman in a lab coat. “What's happening?”

Honey Lemon walked around her station to meet the two of them. Leo noticed her high-heels, a creamy lemon yellow color that matched her clothing. “Wasabi! Who's this?”

“My roommate, Leo,” Wasabi introduced him. He turned slightly towards Leo. “This is GoGo’s girlfriend.”

“Hi! Nice to meet you,” Leo said, extending a hand for her to shake. She peeled off the protective gloves she'd been wearing before doing so.

“Nice to meet you too! I like your shirt.”

Leo, having briefly forgotten what he'd picked out to wear that day, looked down at his shirt. It was printed with the pink bunny logo of D.Va from Overwatch. “Thanks!”

“So, what're you up to today?” Wasabi asked, leaning casually against the table she was working at, but carefully avoiding any glass containers filled with...stuff.

“I'm just trying to improve my un-sticky solution,” she responded. “There's not really a whole lot I can do to it at this point, I don't think. But it can't hurt to try, and I'd like some more data on it, anyway.”

“Un-sticky?” Leo asked.

“Yeah!” Honey Lemon affirmed. “It makes sticky things not sticky anymore. You'd be surprised by all the uses it has.”

Suddenly, a guy with greasy hair rolled towards them in a desk chair. He spoke with his mouth full of cheese crackers. “So, you're Leo, huh? The infamous roommate?”

Leo snorted a laugh, casting a glance at Wasabi. “Infamous?”

“He complains about you a lot,” GoGo said as she passed by.

“I do not !” Wasabi argued.

“You kind of do,” Honey Lemon rebuted.

“It's three against one,” the greasy hair guy said, “and if Hiro and Baymax weighed in I'm sure they'd agree. So you're kind of totally outnumbered.”

“I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react to this,” Leo said.

“Don’t worry about it,” Wasabi said. “They’re exaggerating, I swear. I don’t complain about you that much.”

“Mm-hm.” The greasy hair guy narrowed his eyes.

“Anyway, that’s Fred,” Wasabi said. “Not a student, still a friend.”

“I’m a student in spirit!” Fred exclaimed, pumping his fist in the air. Honey Lemon giggled.

“Whatever.” Wasabi rolled his eyes.“C’mon, let’s get moving before Fred gets any more cheese crumbs on the floor.”

Leo laughed. “Okay.”

He followed Wasabi across the lab to a corner with a desk and a pristinely organized set of tools. Leo knew immediately this must’ve been Wasabi’s workspace.

“This is kind of an old project,” Wasabi began, stepping towards a device placed behind a yellow and black line of caution on the floor. “But it seems like something you’d like.”

Leo was warned curtly to remain behind the line.  He watched as Wasabi switched on the device, or so he assumed, because it didn’t look like anything had changed.

Wasabi procured an apple from somewhere behind his desk, and tossed it a few times between his hands as he stepped near the device.

“Here! Catch!” He exclaimed. He threw the apple underhand towards Leo, and he stiffened, preparing to catch it; but as it passed the device, it was cut into a confetti shower of slices thinner than tissue paper.

“Whoa.” Leo plucked one out of the air as it fell like a dry leaf in the fall. “What is that? Lasers?”

Wasabi flicked a switch, and suddenly the space between the device lit up green, and Leo’s question had been answered. “Plasma. It was state-of-the-art when I made it, but since then I’ve made better, and so have other people. This is just something I can demonstrate easily.”

“So, do you, just like, keep a stash of apples for when you wanna show off?” Leo laughed.

“Not important,” Wasabi said, sheepish. “But...yeah.”

“It’s really cool,” Leo said. “This whole place is. It must be awesome to come here for school.”

“It has its perks,” Wasabi said. He switched off the device. “Alright, one more thing to show you.  Follow me.”

 

Leo followed him out of the main lab and into a hallway of individual ones. He knocked on the edge of the open door to one of them. “Hello! Anybody home?”

“Yeah, yeah,” a voice, a young voice, called from inside. “Just a second.”

Wasabi turned to Leo. “This is Hiro Hamada, Tadashi’s younger brother. He’s the youngest person ever accepted into SFIT.”

Leo nodded, eyes wide, and stared into the room.

It looked like a combination of a junkyard and an office. Definitely not like a lab, especially not like the lab Leo had just visited.

“Hey! What’s up?” Hiro wheeled towards them on his desk chair. “Who’s this?”

“This is my roommate, Leo,” Wasabi introduced. “He asked if I could show him around the lab, so here we are.”

“Hiro,” Hiro said, sticking out his hand. Leo shook it. Hiro pulled his hand away kind of quickly, and wheeled back into the room.

“Mind if I show him Baymax?” Wasabi asked.

“Go ahead,” Hiro said, gesturing vaguely.

Wasabi stepped into the room, Leo close behind him. Wasabi stopped, placing his hands casually in his pockets, and spoke. “Ow.”

“Wh—“ Leo started, but was interrupted by a monotonous, robotic voice.

Standing in front of them was that same marshmallow of a robot he’d seen at Lucky Cat Café the day they met. “I was alerted to the need for medical attention when you said ‘ow’.”

“Holy sh...shoot,” Leo censored himself upon remembering Hiro was within earshot, unsure if he’d get scolded for swearing around him. “That’s frickin’ cool.”

“Hi Baymax,” Wasabi said. “No medical attention required, just wanted to introduce Leo to you.”

“Hello,” Baymax said. He raised one hand in greeting. “I am Baymax, your personal healthcare companion.”

Hesitantly, Leo stuck out a finger and poked Baymax. He was evidently inflatable.

“Did Hiro make this?” Leo asked.

Wasabi said “yes”, and at the exact same time, Hiro said “no”.

“No!” Hiro repeated. “I did a lot, yes, but I didn’t make him. He’s entirely based on my brother’s work.”

“Face it, Hiro, you’ve improved Baymax enough that you can take most of the credit.”

“Fine, whatever, but I won’t take credit for his creation.”

“He’s really cool,” Leo chimed in, feeling like he didn’t belong in this conversation and trying to dispel it. “I’m glad you showed everything to me, this place is awesome. Even if it’s not my thing.”

“I’m glad you like it!” Wasabi smiled. “And now that you’ve met my friends, maybe you can hang with us, sometime.”

If Hiro wasn’t there and if Leo wasn’t a coward, he would’ve hugged Wasabi, he thought.

He felt flushed at the mere concept.

Baymax spoke, and Leo jumped slightly, surprised. “Your heart rate has increased,” he said, “this can be a sign of anxiety. Are you alright?”

Leo laughed nervously, and now that he was aware of it, he felt his heart beat even faster. He didn’t expect to be called out like that. “Fine! I’m fine.”

Wasabi held out a hand towards Baymax. “You can go, now. I am satisfied with my care.”

He spoke kind of quickly, kind of defensively. The air around them felt thick, suddenly, and Leo had to focus on his breath to avoid choking on the clime.

“You guys done, here?” Hiro asked, sounding impatient.

“Yeah, we’ll quit bugging you, sorry!” Wasabi laughed, and Leo followed him out like a lost sheep, wondering silently if he’d ever be able to build up enough courage to go for that hug.

Chapter Text

“Getting a lot of work done, I see.”

“Oh, definitely ,” Wasabi, somehow, managed to one-up GoGo’s sarcasm. “ So much work. Tons of work getting done here, it’s not like I’m just staring at this blank white wall doing absolutely nothing or anything like that.”

“Anxiety’s a bitch,” GoGo said, wheeling her desk chair towards him. She leaned over on his desk. “You’re thinking about him , aren’t you?”

“No! No. N-no. I’m. Definitely not.” GoGo only stared at him, blowing a bubble with her gum. He wanted to crawl in a hole and hibernate for the season. “Okay, maybe I am! But I don’t want to be. I’m fixating and I’m suffering and…”

He laid his face down on his desk, one eye peeking out towards GoGo. “...Help me.”

“The hell you want me to do about it?”

“Do I look like a man who knows what he wants?”

“You look like a man who wants his roommate.”

Please, GoGo.

“Okay,” GoGo began, leaning lower towards him. “There’s gotta be some way to help you out, here. I can’t handle getting any more panicky two A.M. texts from you.”

“I’ll start sending you panicky three A.M. texts instead.”

“Ha ha,” GoGo deadpanned. “Listen. I have to go with Fred to some rich person thing in a little bit, but right now, we’re the only two people in the lab. C’mon. Talk to me. We can work this out.”

Wasabi pushed himself up off the desk, dragging his hands down his face. “You’re not a therapist, GoGo.”

“Yeah but I’m your friend !” GoGo gestured wildly with her arms, apparently exasperated. “And I can’t fucking stand your brooding any longer so spill the tea!”

Wasabi cast a sideways glance at her.

He took a short breath in.

He exhaled dramatically.

“You and Honey started dating long before you moved in together,” he began. “I don’t think you understand exactly how weird my life is right now.”

“Maybe I don’t. Explain it to me.”

“You wake up in the morning and see Honey Lemon in her pajamas with bedhead and it’s totally not weird because she’s your girlfriend, and if you think she’s attractive with tired eyes and bedhead and messy clothes it’s totally not weird , but it’s, just, really weird that I think my roommate who I am not dating is very cute when he wakes up with tired eyes and bedhead and messy clothes and I want to melt into the floor right now.”

“Wasabi, I th—“

“And that’s not even all, though!” He threw his hands in the air and then let them fall limp at his sides, leaning back in his chair. His heart hammered against his ribcage. “No one else gets to see him like that! With bedhead in the morning, or when he’s concentrating really hard on an art piece and he’s just kinda curled up on the couch with his tablet on his knees, or when he lip syncs and dances to music I can’t hear because he has earbuds in, but he puts his soul into it anyway. And I am tired , GoGo. I am tired of feeling like a creep over a stupid crush!”

“Whoa, hang on. A creep?” GoGo slides her chair closer to him. “Wasabi, you are many things, but a creep is not one of them.”

He was hyperventilating.

GoGo stared at him for a fraction of a moment, trying to decipher everything she’d just heard. Wasabi couldn’t control his breath. He was drowning in his stupid anxiety, his stupid social ineptness.

“Hey, breathe .” She set a hand on his shoulder. He leaned forward on the desk again, elbows holding him up. “This ain’t an issue worth asphyxiating over. Just...breathe, okay?”

She watched him as he calmed, hand reassuringly squeezing his shoulder, waiting until his breath slowed to a reasonable pace before speaking again. He’d broken the surface, but he wasn’t out of the water, yet.

And the water was cold , and he was shaking .

“Are you good? Do you think you can keep talking or do you just want me to leave you alone?”

“Can I…” he took a few more breaths, “can I just disappear off the face of the planet?”

“C’mon, tough guy,” GoGo said. “You can get through this.”

“Entirely hypothetical situation, would it be reasonable for someone to kick their roommate out because they had a crush on said roommate and didn’t know how to handle it?”

GoGo sighed. “You are losing your goddamn mind over this.”

“Gee, I hadn’t noticed,” Wasabi said sarcastically.

“Alright, listen for a second. Don’t interrupt , no matter what I say, just listen .” She squinted her eyes at him until he nodded affirmingly. “I know that you’re not always the best with social stuff, and you’re worried that you’re a weirdo and you’re worried about being creepy and getting rejected and all that. I don’t know Leo. I don’t know what he thinks about you and I don’t know how he’d react if you were to ask him out. But—“

“I cannot ask him out.”

“No interrupting!” GoGo snapped. “ But , in my opinion, the only solutions to this problem are to get the fuck over him and deal with feeling weird until you do, or to just tell him and see what happens. Your choice. And stop texting me at two A.M., for the love of god.”

“Those are both terrible solutions!”

“I don’t see you coming up with anything better.”

Wasabi swiveled his chair to face GoGo directly. “Be honest,” he began, “if you were Leo, if you weren’t a lesbian and were a man and were my roommate and we got on each other’s nerves a lot and—“

“Hard to imagine a lot of that. Not hard to imagine getting on each other’s nerves a lot,” GoGo said. “Sorry. Continue.”

“If you were Leo,” Wasabi continued, “and I told you that I kind of maybe had a crush on you, how would you react?”

“I have literally no idea.”

“Wow, thanks!” His sarcasm was palpable.

“You’ve gotta stop being afraid of the great unknown. You’ll never know until you know. Hypotheticals will get you nowhere.”

“The great unknown is very scary and I feel like it’s perfectly reasonable for me to be afraid.”

“Wasabi, you can get through this. You’re the strongest guy I know—in both senses of the word,” GoGo said. “I’ve gotta leave and go to Fred’s rich person thing now, alright? Will you be okay?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” Wasabi said, and he knew GoGo wasn’t convinced by the way she raised her eyebrows. “Look, either you leave now, or you get stuck here listening to me wallow.”

“Honestly, I’d prefer the wallowing to the snotty rich people,” GoGo said, “but I’m not letting Fred and Hiro go somewhere fancy unsupervised. I’ll see you later, okay?”

“Okay.”

Chapter Text

Leo was on the ground.

What the fuck happened? Was all he could think. He’d been biking down a fairly busy street at night, the cool, clean San Fransokyo air filling his senses. Now all that filled his senses was pain, discomfort, and asphalt.

Had he been hit by a car? He remembered a loud noise.

He remembered falling.

He didn’t quite remember hitting the ground.

He paused, took a deep breath. People had started to gather around him, and he could hear talking—asking if he was okay, asking what had happened. He ignored all of that for a moment. He couldn’t move his left arm. It ached dully, but didn’t feel too terrible, beyond the fact that he couldn’t move it. He propped himself up with his right elbow.

A voice within the group of people surrounding him stood out. “Hey! Hey! Excuse me! Coming through! Move, please!”

Was that…

“Wasabi?” Leo mouthed. But no, it couldn’t’ve been. He caught the gaze of the face the voice belonged to. It was one of the members of Big Hero 6, San Fransokyo’s resident superhero team.

Leo had never seen them up close, and had certainly never been stuck in a situation involving them.

He wasn’t Wasabi. Absolutely not. His voice was the same, the eyes behind his green-tinted visor were the same, his nose and lips and facial hair were the same. But this wasn’t him. His roommate wasn’t a superhero. His crush wasn’t a superhero.

That would just be unfair.

“H-hi,” Leo stuttered, unable to keep his eyes from going wide when the superhero knelt in front of him, still waving off the group of people. Most of them moved, going on with their lives. A few stragglers stayed behind. Leo didn’t pay attention to them. He paid attention to the fact that the superhero smelled oddly similar to how the apartment smelled. Like green tea and fresh-scented cleaning solution and the lingering traces of lilac incense that was burned whenever the weather permitted open windows and the landlord definitely wouldn’t stop by to chew them out.

“Hey,” the superhero said gently. “I know this is weird, but—“

“Holy shit.”

All at once, it registered in Leo’s brain, hitting him harder than whatever had knocked him off his bike had.

And he thought, I AM VERY GAY FOR MY ROOMMATE , and he started laughing , and he must’ve looked like a complete weirdo.

“Yeah, yeah, we can talk later,” Wasabi said, and he carefully reached out towards Leo’s left hand, the one he couldn’t move. “Everyone else has the situation under control. I’m gonna drive you to the emergency room, okay?”

He barely touched Leo’s fingers, but suddenly it hurt like hellfire, and he breathed in sharply, and all he could think about was how this was his dominant hand and he wasn’t gonna be able to draw for a while.

Dammit. He was almost done with that commission.

“Do you think you can walk?” Wasabi asked, removing his hand from Leo’s, and he looked so concerned , and god, there was just so much going on in Leo’s brain he couldn’t think clearly. Could he walk? Maybe. Probably. Only one way to find out.

Keeping his left arm as still as he could, he pushed himself up with his right arm. He heard plastic scrape against the road, and as soon as he was standing, felt the top of his head. His bike helmet had cracked, and a good chunk of it was missing entirely.

“I’m good,” Leo said. He felt a little wobbly on his feet, but he could push through it. “My bike. Where’s my bike?”

Wasabi stood up straight and pointed a few feet down the road to Leo’s bike, intact but lying uselessly on the pavement. “Over there. I’ll take care of it, don’t worry.”

He pressed a finger to his ear, speaking into some kind of communication device. His voice was hushed, and Leo didn’t hear everything he’d said, but the name “GoGo” was clearly spoken.

And then everything else clicked. His group of nerd friends were Big Hero 6.

“C’mon,” Wasabi said, gesturing for Leo to follow. “The car isn’t very far away. You can sit in the back and lie down, if you need to. Just don’t get blood on the seats, I dunno what the rental agency would think of that if I couldn’t get the stain out.”

Blood? Leo looked at his arm.

Yeah, there was blood. Not a lot, just surface-level scrapes from the asphalt, but blood nonetheless.

“What happened?” Leo asked, stumbling slightly behind him as they walked.

“I’ll tell you later,” Wasabi answered. “Let’s focus on the present, right now.”

 

The ride to the emergency room was excruciating. Leo laid in the back seat, trying to get comfortable without agitating his arm (or getting blood on any of the rental car’s surfaces). Wasabi didn’t say much, except occasionally asking how he was doing, trying to keep his voice calm; but Leo heard how it shook underneath the façade.

By the time he’d been treated at the hospital, it was very late, and Leo was beyond tired. Wasabi must’ve been, too, based on his demeanor and slightly drooping eyes. He tried to stifle every yawn that came to his lips, but a lot of the time he’d yawn anyway.

He’d changed out of his superhero gear at some point, but Leo didn’t quite know when.

Finally, at 5 A.M., they left the hospital, Leo’s arm in a sling, his brain fogged up with pain medication.

Leo sat in the passenger’s seat, head lolled back. It all felt like a dream. He still didn’t know what had happened. But that was a conversation for later, when he could think clearly and had slept at least two hours and Wasabi wasn’t white knuckling the steering wheel in the corner of his vision.

“I’m so sorry.” Wasabi spoke, and Leo didn’t turn to look at him, but made a small, questioning noise. He continued. “You weren’t supposed to get wrapped up in any of this, and now you’ve got a broken wrist, and I...I dunno! I dunno what I could’ve done to prevent it, but I feel really guilty.”

“Well, stop it,” Leo said, his words slightly slurred. “Stop feeling guilty, ‘cuz you’re really sweet and I’m glad you’re my roommate and I’m glad you’re a superhero so I didn’t have to deal with some stranger taking me to the hospital.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Wasabi said lowly. “I just…”

“Shh!” Leo shushed, and he didn’t really know what he was saying as the words flew out of his mouth, didn’t really know the intent behind them. “You’re really great, dude. Like, the best. I couldn’t’ve found a better roommate, I don’t think. You’re like, the nicest person ever, and you put up with all my shit, and you helped me get my life together, and to top it all off, you’re a fucking superhero . You’re just like, the best person alive, I think. I could just...I could just kiss you.”

He paused, looking at Wasabi. He was dumbfounded.

“Those are, uh,” Wasabi began, “some strong pain meds they gave you, huh?”

Leo snorted a laugh. “I guess so. I’m just saying words, y’know?”

“I know.”

“It’s like molasses.”

Wasabi smiled slightly. “Sure.”

“Or like…maple syrup. Or paint. But not watercolor paint, ‘cuz that’s not the right texture. Like...like oil paint, maybe. Or...Jello.”

Leo laughed at his own thought as it popped into his brain. “ Purple Jello.”

“Mm-hm.”

Chapter Text

“And he calls them what now ?”

“Buddy guards.”

“Oddly friendly name for something responsible for this,” Leo pointed to his left arm, held to his chest by a sling. “God. What a fucking idiot. Didn’t Krei learn his lesson the first time?”

“Apparently not,” Wasabi sighed, leaning back against the couch cushions. Dealing with Krei was tiring, to say the least.

Wasabi had gotten a solid hour and a half of sleep. He hadn’t been planning to leave the house anyway; he wasn't keen on leaving Leo alone while the last traces of that painkiller left his system. It was really hard to return to normalcy after an event like that, especially when your roommate, who was spending the night on the couch, kept giggling at weird shadows on the walls.

Not to mention the whole I could just kiss you thing. But he was trying not to take that to heart. Leo had been quite high when he’d said it, and it probably didn’t mean anything.

(But still, there was a little feeling of something in his chest, something he tried, and failed, to push away. And it took everything he had to not blurt out all his feelings right then).

“Listen,” Leo said out of nowhere. Wasabi turned to look at him—he was staring at nothing, avoiding eye contact, looking guilty. “Last night—or, uh, this morning, I guess—I said a lotta weird shit cuz of those pain meds, and I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t being too weird, and if I was, I’m sorry. I definitely remember saying I could kiss you. That was definitely weird, if nothing else.”

Wasabi’s heart skipped a beat. “Yeah. Weird. It was really weird, right, of course,” he stammered, anxiety flowing through his veins in an overwhelming quantity. “You don’t have to apologize, though. I get it. Brains do weird things when they’re drugged. Sooooo weird. I mean, c’mon. Kiss me? Craaazzzzy .”

“Are you sure it’s okay? You seem kind of nervous,” Leo asked, genuinely concerned.

“Do you really think it’s weird?” Wasabi blurted. Quickly, he tried to correct himself. “I mean. Nothing! Never mind. I didn’t say anything!”

“Hey, what? Repeat that.”

“I um, I just…” Wasabi began, pointedly avoiding eye contact. He could hear his heartbeat. Could Leo hear it? He sure hoped not. “Brain fog. Not enough sleep last night, y’know? I don’t know what I’m saying right now! It’s the brain fog!”

Leo glared at him. “Wasabi.”

He exhaled deeply, his shoulders slumping. He spoke his next words so fast Leo couldn’t comprehend them. “Idon’tthinkit’sweird?”

“What?”

Wasabi closed his eyes and spoke again through clenched teeth, slowly enough that Leo heard every word. “I. Don’t. Think. It’s. Weird.”

Leo looked at him quizzically. “Uh! I mean!” Wasabi quickly defended, “unless you think it’s weird! I don’t wanna, uh...I’ll shut up now.”

“What are you even talking about?” Leo asked. “The kissing thing? Is that what this is about?”

“What else could it even be about?!”

Leo exhaled, rubbing his eyes with his uninjured hand. “I…I don't really think it's weird either.”

Wasabi looked at him, dumbfounded. “You. You what.”

He must’ve been dreaming right now. That was the only explanation.

“I just said it was weird because I thought you'd think it was weird! But clearly neither of us think it's weird, so what are we waiting for?”

Wasabi was speechless.

He felt light headed.

“Wasabi.” Leo looked straight into his eyes, and Wasabi studied the way the LED lights in the room reflected off his irises.

“Leo…?” Wasabi didn't sound too sure of himself.

Leo bit his lip nervously. “Neither of us think it’s weird, so…”

Wasabi clenched his teeth, feeling very red.

“You’re going to make me say it, aren’t you?” Leo said, voice wavering just a bit. A deep breath. “Can I kiss you?”

The world stopped.

“Um. Y-yeah.”

He wasn’t dreaming. Definitely not.

Leo’s lips against his felt way too real.

He felt cold when Leo pulled away, like how it feels to tear yourself away from your warm blanket in the morning. And he had to pause, gather his thoughts.

He was stupidly giddy.

Leo tasted like home.

“Can, uh…” Wasabi began, shaky. “Can we, um, do that again? I mean, only if you’re okay with it! We d-don’t have to, if, if—MMF.”

Leo grabbed the back of his neck with his good hand and kissed him again, cutting him off. And it was so real , so stupidly real. Leo’s warmth, the texture of his lips, how it felt to kiss him back. Leo’s mouth curling into a smile against his, Leo’s fingers raking against the side of his face, resting on his cheekbone.

He pulled away, holding Leo’s hand against his cheek with his own. He was smiling. Leo was smiling. He was close enough to count every freckle on the bridge of Leo’s nose. And when he spoke, even though he felt like he was bursting with energy, his voice was calm and unwavering.

“I think I get the message,” he said.

He texted GoGo later that evening. The Leo situation has been resolved , his message said. He didn’t elaborate when GoGo asked him how. He wasn’t keen on her, or anyone, knowing right away.

But he was happy, and Leo was happy, and that was all that mattered.

Chapter Text

It’d been two days since Leo broke his arm, two days since he learned the true identities of resident superhero team Big Hero 6, and one day since he kissed his roommate.

He wasn’t entirely sure he wasn’t dreaming.

He felt pretty awake—the smell of stir fry wafted through their kitchen, accompanied by the sizzling sound of vegetables in the pan, and he had a clear view of the cook at work from where he sat at the table. No solid indication that he was dreaming other than the absurdity of the past two days.

He scrolled through his social media feed on his tablet, pressing the like button on as many get-well wishes as he saw. This was going to severely disrupt his livestreaming schedule, he knew, and he was definitely going to have to come up with a solution for that.

“You’re unusually quiet,” Wasabi remarked. He switched off the burner, carefully distributing the stir fry onto two plates with a pile of white rice next to each.

“How am I even gonna eat this? I’m left handed.” Leo shut off his tablet and put it to the side as a plate was set in front of him.

“I’m not gonna spoon-feed you, if that’s what you’re getting at.”

“No, no,” Leo laughed, shaking his head. “I’m just whining. I’ll manage.”

He fumbled with a fork in his right hand for a moment before clumsily bringing a bite to his mouth.

“That can’t be the only thing on your mind,” Wasabi coaxed.

Leo finished his bite of food before replying. “It just doesn’t feel real.”

“You’re gonna have to be far more specific.”

“Yesterday and the day before,” Leo began. “I broke my arm and subsequently found out the true identities of Big Hero Six. And then I kissed you. In our living room. Twice. And I woke up this morning and it was real cuz you remembered it. And it feels like it shouldn’t be.”

“What, would you rather it wasn’t real?” Wasabi raised an eyebrow knowingly.

Leo snorted. “You know what I mean.”

They ate in silence for a few moments.

“You’re a superhero,” Leo blurted.

“Yep.” Wasabi didn’t look up at him right away.

“You have laser knives.”

“Not as cool as graphene knives, in my opinion. But they get the job done.”

“Fred can breathe fire and Baymax can fly.”

“And GoGo has awesome magnet skates, and Honey Lemon can throw chemicals at people, and Hiro designed it all.”

Leo stared at him for a while, looking at his face, his eyes, his nose, his lips, his slight frown.

“What?” Wasabi asked, tilting his head.

“I kissed a superhero.” Leo’s face felt hot.

Wasabi sputtered a few incomprehensible syllables before spitting out a coherent sentence. “You’re...you’re welcome, to, uh, do it again, if you want.”

Leo shoveled a forkful of stir fry into his mouth, pointedly staring at the table in front of him.

“Um, I mean, no pressure,” Wasabi added quickly, “I don’t really know where we’re gonna go with this, I just thought I’d...let you know...that it’s okay...if we continue.”

“You know what I think?” Leo said, not quite sure where this sudden burst of confidence had come from.

“Hm?” Wasabi hummed through a mouthful of food.

“I think we should make it official. I think you should go out with me and I think we should be partners. If you want.”

Wasabi coughed, looking like he was about to choke on his stir fry. “You...you...I…” he took a second to swallow his food and breathe. “Yeah. Okay. Sure.”

“Then...that settles it. We’re dating.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Can this count as our first date?”

“What, eating dinner in our own apartment?”

Leo giggled. “It’s a nice dinner.”

“Sure. Okay. It’s a date.” Wasabi smiled.

Wasabi finished his stir fry much quicker than Leo. He stood and brought his plate to the sink.

“You know,” Leo spoke, struggling to spear a piece of broccoli. “I really like that minty lip balm of yours. Might have to steal some.”

“You do, huh?” Wasabi teased. He pulled the tube of lip balm from his pocket, and Leo eyed him as he applied it.

“Mm-hm.”

He stepped real close and leaned down. Leo could smell the mint.

“You can steal some right now,” he said flirtatiously, “if you want to.”

“Didn’t know you knew how to flirt,” Leo joked, pressing a quick kiss to his lips, savoring the flavor of his lip balm.

“I am just full of surprises,” Wasabi said, standing back up straight. “First I’m a superhero, and now I know how to flirt ? What could possibly be next?”

He sat back down. Leo laughed. “I’ve got some theories.”

“Yeah? Like what?”

“I bet you’re really nice to hug!” Leo exclaimed.

“We can test that theory.”

“And really good to cuddle, too.”

“Also something that can be tested.”

“If we write it down can you use the data for class?” Leo joked.

Wasabi rolled his eyes, smiling.

“When you’re done eating,” he began, “how d’you want to continue this date?”

“I dunno,” Leo said through a mouthful of food. “Conducting those tests sounds nice.”

“Fancy a movie while we cuddle?”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Chapter Text

 

“Thank god you’re home,” Leo groaned as soon as Wasabi entered the apartment. He didn’t seem to have noticed the extra two bodies that followed. “It’s really boring around here, not a whole lot to do wh...hi?”

And he’d noticed.

“Hi!” Honey Lemon waved. GoGo flashed a peace sign.

“Sorry,” Wasabi said, sheepish. “I would’ve warned you, but Honey wanted it to be a surprise, and I couldn’t let her down.”

“There’s. People.” Leo, who had been sprawled out dramatically on the couch, adjusted his position to be more...socially acceptable.

“We’re certainly people,” GoGo deadpanned.

“Hi,” Leo said again.

“Is this okay?” Wasabi asked lowly. “They don’t have to stay if you don’t want, just thought it might be fun to have some visitors.”

“Yeah, no, don’t worry!” Leo exclaimed. “It’s totally cool. Just unexpected.”

“I brought a game!” Honey Lemon exclaimed. “It involves writing but it’s a team game so someone else can write for you, if you need. It’s really fun!”

“Oh, what game?” Leo asked.

“Scattergories,” GoGo responded.

Hell yes!” Leo said, sounding excited. Wasabi would’ve teasingly poked his cheek and made a remark about how cute he was had they been alone, but they weren’t, and the both of them still had reserves about their relationship being public knowledge. “I love that game. It’s great.”

“Well, let’s play, then!” Wasabi said.

 

It was team short versus team tall—GoGo and Leo versus Honey and Wasabi. List 18, letter S. The timer was up, and now it was judging time.

“Titles people can have? We had senior.” Wasabi read from their paper.

“Stupid,” Leo said. “GoGo’s idea.”

“That’s not very nice,” Honey said. “I don’t think they get a point for that.”

GoGo blew a gum bubble and popped it with her teeth. “Is it or is it not a title someone could have?”

“I think it depends on what context the word ‘title’ is being used,” Wasabi argued. “I have to agree with Honey on this one, not a valid answer, so no points for you!”

“Buzzkill,” Leo mumbled. But he smiled lightheartedly anyway.

“Things that have buttons?” Wasabi asked.

“Switch. Like the Nintendo Switch?” Leo said.

“We didn’t come up with an answer for that one,” Honey said. “Good job.”

“Things that have wheels.”

“Spaceship,” Leo said.

“Oh, nice one!” Honey clapped her hands together. “We had streetcar.”

“Reasons to call nine-one-one?” Wasabi braced himself mentally for whatever team short had written.

“Spontaneous human combustion.” GoGo crossed her arms over her chest somewhat triumphantly.

“Yeah, okay, sure,” Wasabi said. “We just said stabbing. How about things that make you smile?”

“STICKERS!” Honey shouted.

“Significant other,” GoGo said. “I wish I could take credit for that, but Leo came up with it.”

She smiled at Honey. Honey smiled back. Leo exchanged a small, discreet glance with Wasabi, and Wasabi felt warm.

“Okay, uh, ways to kill time?”

“We said stabbing,” Leo said.

“I’m not so sure how I feel about that answer,” Honey said, concerned.

“Are you stabbing a person or time itself?” Wasabi asked.

“Either,” GoGo said.

“What was your answer?” Leo said.

“I was gonna say sticker parties,” Honey began, “but then I erased it ‘cuz I thought it was too close to stickers, and then we didn’t have time to come up with another one. So no points.”

“Alright, hobbies?”

“Swimming,” GoGo said.

“Wow, a normal answer!” Honey sounded fake surprised. “Ours was stamp collecting.”

“Last one,” Wasabi said. “Holiday activities. Ours was singing songs, which nets us two points for the alliteration.”

He high-fived Honey Lemon.

“Dammit,” Leo swore, “we put down surprise party, but then GoGo said she had a better answer, so she erased it and literally just wrote ‘st’ before the time ran out and I have no idea what she was gonna write.”

“Stuffing your face,” GoGo answered.

“Doesn’t matter, they’re ahead.” Leo frowned.

“We win this round!” Honey jumped up from her chair. She poked at GoGo’s face, doing a mock baby voice as she spoke. “Sorry Grumpy Cat! Maybe you’ll do better next round!”

“I’m still not over the time stabbing thing,” Wasabi said, “can we discuss that?”

“No.” GoGo blew a gum bubble.

“I’m still not over significant other!” Honey exclaimed. “That’s so cute, Leo! How’d you come up with it? Are you dating someone?”

Her smile stretched across half her face. Wasabi locked eyes with Leo, who looked mildly panicked for a split second before regaining his composure.

“N-no,” Leo stuttered. “I’m not, I just...thought of it? I dunno.”

“Well it’s really cute!” Honey said, not suspicious whatsoever, thankfully.

They hadn’t even been together for a week yet, but after explaining his reasoning for keeping it secret from his friends, Leo had agreed it was for the best. Not only would Fred and Honey make it into a thing—teasing them and making ship names for them or whatever—if word got out, especially since Leo knew about him being part of Big Hero 6, things could get dangerous.

Things had already gotten dangerous, even before they’d started dating, with Krei’s Buddy Guards. And now Leo was recovering miserably from that injury. He had told Wasabi not to feel guilty about it, but it wasn’t really something his brain allowed him to control, and the guilt persisted anyway.

To be perfectly honest, if he was any less rational, he’d lock Leo in the apartment and never let him outside again. But that was entirely ridiculous.

As much as he loved Honey and GoGo’s company, they couldn’t leave fast enough.

Their game of Scattergories ended in a presumed draw— presumed only because someone (GoGo) had accidentally (purposefully) screwed up the score sheet (ripped it to shreds) after it was determined that ‘ugly people’ was not an acceptable answer for ‘things found in New York’ (“I’m not wrong!” GoGo had said. “You can’t use adjectives like that, it doesn’t count,” Honey rebuted).

In the nanosecond following the click of the door shutting behind GoGo and Honey as they left, Wasabi wrapped his arm around Leo’s shoulders, pulling him close, carefully avoiding his injured arm.

“Never realized it’d be so hard to not kiss you,” Leo said, laughing in a bit of a bittersweet way. “I thought kissing you in the first place would be the hard part.”

“I mean, it was pretty hard,” Wasabi remarked. “Took a broken wrist and some strong pain meds to get us there.”

“Totally worth.”

“Thought you were a gamer. That sounded like something an Instagram comedian would say.”

“Can’t wait to get this sling off so I can dab periodically just to make you angry.”

Wasabi rolled his eyes, pulling away from Leo just enough to kiss his forehead. “Dinner?”

“Only if it’s easier to eat than stir fry.”

Wasabi wasn’t completely sure how he felt about this, yet.

He liked Leo, a lot. That he knew. He liked the kissing and all the other physical contact, and the flirting, and being able to express how cute he thought Leo was without feeling totally weird about it. But he hadn’t ever had something like this before. It felt too domestic to be a relationship only a few days old. It felt kind of odd that they were already living together, even when taking the circumstances into account.

His experience with dating was fairly limited—there weren’t too many people out there willing to take the time to understand him and all his quirks, and even less who were interested in him romantically, and even fewer still who were men.

He’d dated two girls back in high school before realizing his problems didn’t lie in his difficulty with social skills, but rather his complete lack of attraction to women.

Needless to say, he was going to hold onto Leo as tightly as he could. Even if he was unsure about some things, he wanted this to last.

Chapter Text

“I didn't put away those dishes to make room for you, y’know.”

“Aw, why not?” Leo asked. He'd sat himself placidly down on the counter beside the sink, his feet dangling childishly in the air. “Don't you love me more than the dishes?”

Wasabi rolled his eyes, but couldn't hold back his amusement. He smiled slightly, speaking with a playful lilt. “‘Love’ is a strong word for one week of being together, don't you think?”

“I think that if the building was burning down and I had to pick between saving you or my computer, I'd pick you, and if that isn't true love then I don't know what is.”

“How'd you even get up there with your arm?” Wasabi looked only slightly concerned.

“Details,” Leo said, making a dismissive motion with his right, uninjured hand. He was now sling-free, but  much of his forearm was covered by a plaster cast that still limited his movement enough to be annoying. It wasn’t fun.

He sat for a long, laden moment, swinging his legs and bumping his heels against the counter, watching Wasabi clean the sink until it was pristine and showed no traces of leftover food scraps or soap bubbles from the dishes he'd just washed.

“Did you want something?” Wasabi broke the silence.

“You,” Leo said. He blushed, and spoke his next words quickly. “I'm bored. There's not a whole lot you can do to entertain yourself when your dominant hand is encased in plaster and all the stuff on TV is terrible. Give me attention!”

“You're too needy. I want a divorce,” Wasabi joked.

“‘Divorce’ is a strong word for one week of being together, don't you think?” Leo smirked.

“Maybe we should go on some more dates, to pass the time until we’ve been together long enough to get divorced.”

“Name a restaurant other than Lucky Cat or a movie other than Revenge of Khan and then we'll talk.”

“Okay, first of all, it's Wrath of Khan, not Revenge of Khan,” Wasabi stated, a completely rigid expression accompanying his words. “Second of all, I have plenty of other date ideas, for your information!”

“Yeah? Like what?”

Wasabi paused, a guilty look in his eyes. “I'll get back to you in three to five business days.”

Leo lifted his left arm to jab at Wasabi’s shoulder, but thought better of it. He rolled his eyes instead. “I’ll be eagerly anticipating your follow-up.”

Wasabi shifted away from the sink, his full attention turned to Leo. “So you’re bored, huh?”

“Yes, oh my god ,” Leo groaned, throwing his head backwards. “I can’t game, I can’t draw, I can barely hold a goddamn fork. Send help.”

“What exactly can I do to help here?” Wasabi asked.

“Literally if you just do the hand-hold-thumb-rub thing for three hours I’ll be more entertained than I am right now.”

“How about I raise it to, say, approximately four hours and five minutes, and we can cuddle on the couch instead?”

“Approximately? That’s pretty specific to be approximate.”

“Four hours and five minutes is exactly the length of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan combined. I say approximately to allot time for snack breaks and switching the DVD between movies.”

“Oh my god, you fucking nerd!” Leo laughed heartily, and Wasabi couldn’t help but chuckle a little as well. A moment later, when they had quieted, Leo stared at him with halcyon eyes, and he stared back, unable to hide his anxiety.

“Can I kiss you?” Leo asked gently. In the short week they’d been together, he’d learned that asking directly was the solution to everything. Wasabi was clearly no stranger to flirting, but he was very conscious of consent, and often seemed worried about doing something that would make Leo uncomfortable. He hadn’t done anything of the sort, but it was endearing how much he cared about Leo’s comfort.

“Yeah, of course,” Wasabi said, his shoulders relaxing slightly.

He relaxed even further when their lips were pressed together, when Leo’s hand rested on his bicep.

And it was too early to say so vocally, but Leo thought that maybe he was in love, truly. In love with the stolen moments when no one else was around—none of his friends and none of Leo’s. In love with the way Wasabi’s skin contrasted against his own. In love with the way their lips fit together. In love with the way Wasabi said his name, and spoke to him; sometimes like a poet with carefully crafted rhythms, sometimes like he'd forgotten how to talk at the sight of Leo’s face.

And he was finding new things to love every day. There was still so much he didn't know about this man. But he was eager to learn, far more eager than any subject he'd taken in school, and this was only the beginning.

Chapter Text

“Tell me,” Leo said, leaning forward on the table, careful to lean more on his right arm than his left. “Something personal about you that I don’t know. I feel like I’m an open book. Like you know way more about me than I do about you.”

Wasabi diverted his gaze to a spot slightly behind Leo’s shoulder, taking a moment to think.

He felt the same. Leo tended to speak about anything and everything that came to his mind, personal stuff included. Most of the time it wasn’t a bad thing. It was just different from how Wasabi operated, tending to keep those details to himself.

Everyone knew about his methods of organization and his tendency to cleanliness, but only a few select friends knew why . And anyone with any observation skills would know about his difficulties in social situations, but again, the ‘why’ was not a piece of information he handed out easily.

He supposed that was something he could tell Leo. Leo knew about his OCD already, but autism was not a subject that had ever come up.

“I’m autistic,” he blurted. “Sorry. I dunno if that was what you meant by personal.”

“That works!” Leo exclaimed.

“I don’t tell people a lot,” he continued, “it’s not something I feel like I can be open about with everyone. And when I do tell people, they’re like ‘oh, but you don’t seem autistic!’ or talk about how high functioning I must be. I’m really not, though. Dunno if you’ve noticed.”

He punctuated his last sentence with deliberate, cynical sarcasm.

“Neurotypicals suck,” Leo agreed. “I mean, I’m not autistic, but I hear similar shit about my ADHD all the time.”

“I mean, I’m functional ,” Wasabi said, “just not in the same ways other people are. And if someone tries to compliment me by saying I’m high-functioning that just shows how much they don’t know me at all.”

“I’ve never said anything like that, have I?”

“No, no no, definitely not!” Wasabi reassured. “Even though you weren’t aware until just now, you’ve been really accommodating. Actually, that’s why I ask about everything. For the most part, I’m pretty sure about things, but I never wanna make you uncomfortable, so I always ask, just in case I’m not reading your nonverbal cues correctly.”

“Oh, that makes sense!” Leo said. “I’m really happy you care that much. That you care that much about me . And I—“

The both of them abruptly went quiet when they noticed Cass Hamada approaching their table.

“Just the two of you today?” Cass asked, leaning casually on another nearby table.

“Yeah,” Wasabi said. “Be quiet about it, though.”

“What, are you avoiding the rest of them or something?” Cass remarked, smiling. “I’ll keep it hush-hush, no worries. What’ll you have?”

“Hot chocolate,” Leo said, “marshmallows instead of whipped cream today.”

“Changing it up, I like it!” Cass said. “Wasabi?”

“Green tea, as usual,” Wasabi said. “Thanks, Cass.”

“Be back in a few with those!” Cass exclaimed. She turned to go fill their orders. Leo bit his lip.

They tended to avoid Lucky Cat Café when it came to going on dates. Too much risk. But today they’d decided Cass Hamada’s amazing culinary skills and enthusiastic customer service were worth the risk. Plus, they’d be supporting her and her business.

Wasabi leaned over the table, whispering. “Should we tell her?”

“You tell me,” Leo replied, matching Wasabi’s volume. “I don’t know her that well.”

Recently, Leo had been stopping in to hang out with the rest of Big Hero 6 at Lucky Cat. Cass was happy to get to know him, but his visits weren’t frequent enough for them to know each other well . Wasabi thought she’d probably be able to keep their relationship a secret—well, secret aside from knowing winks and offhand remarks. Hopefully no one would notice.

“I think we should tell her,” Wasabi said. “She’s not dangerous. Well, not very dangerous.”

Leo raised his eyebrows and laughed slightly, amused.

A few moments later, Cass returned, setting their drinks on the table.

“Enjoy!” She exclaimed. She turned to leave, but Wasabi stopped her.

“Hey, Cass?” He said, holding out his hand slightly. She whipped back towards them.

“What’s up?”

“We, um…” he trailed off, suddenly nervous. “You can’t tell the others, it’s a secret for now. But we’re, uh…”

Leo popped in, finishing his sentence for him. “We’re on a date. This is a date. Like...a romantic...date.”

Oh !” Cass exclaimed quietly. “That’s—that’s great! I’ll keep your secret, no worries. If you don’t mind me asking, how long? Oh, gosh, don’t let me pry too much—I’ll just leave so I don’t butt in on your date—”

“No, it’s fine!” Wasabi said. “Two weeks. We just don’t wanna jump the gun and tell them too soon, y’know?”

“Or be forced to endure Honey Lemon and Fred shipping us,” Leo added.

“Oh, totally,” Cass agreed. “Understandable. I guess if you can trust me with your secret I can trust you with mine— especially don’t tell Hiro, but after that failed date with Krei I signed up for a dating app! Who knows, maybe I’ll find someone more my speed. And less rich.”

“That’s awesome, Cass!” Leo said. “I wish you luck.”

“We’ll keep quiet about it.” Wasabi smiled.

“Thanks, both of you!” Cass said. “Now, don’t let me interrupt you. Have fun on your date!”

She hurried away.

Chapter Text

“Karmi’s story is so genius, she is clearly building towards an epic saga here.”

Leo leaned against a wall in Fred’s room, listening to Big Hero 6 babble about fanfiction over a video call.

“It is pretty cool to have fanfiction about us,” Wasabi commented, pausing in his attempt to organize a shelf of action figures. “The name alone implies we have fans.”

“Who’s Karmi?” Leo popped in, raising his eyebrows.

“Hiro’s rival,” Fred answered immediately.

“What?!” Hiro yelled through the speakers of Wasabi’s phone.

“I feel like a celebrity!” Honey Lemon said, obviously trying to dispel the sudden negative energy. “But I’m not that tall.” A moment of silence. “Okay, that’s fair.”

The conversation lasted for a beat too long—Fred even debated with himself about what ‘Captain Cutie’ (Hiro) and Karmi’s ship name would be. It was utterly ridiculous, Leo thought, but at least Wasabi wasn’t the one being romanced.

A news alert went off on Fred’s computer. Leo cocked his head to look.

“I don’t believe it!” Fred exclaimed. “They’re demolishing Krei’s old lab on Akuma Island!”

“What? No,” GoGo said through Wasabi’s phone. “Momakase busted out of prison.”

“Oooh,” Fred said. “I must have different news alerts set up than you guys do. I’m very attached to Akuma Island.”

“You mean the place we first got our butts kicked?” Wasabi said, unamused.

“Hang on, I don’t know about this one,” Leo inquired. “Akuma Island? Isn’t that place, like, irradiated or something?”

“No, not irradiated,” Wasabi said. “Just quarantined, and it’s probably safe now. I mean, it’s still an abandoned building on a private island owned by Alister Krei, so not that safe, but—“

“Can we get back to the crazy knife lady ?” Hiro bit, frustrated. “Baymax, can you find her?”

“Scanning for Momakase,” Baymax said. A few beeps later, he spoke again. “Momakase is currently heading south of Night Market Square.”

“Go get her, Captain Cutie ,” Wasabi teased. Leo stifled a laugh.

Wasabi and Fred kept in touch as Hiro went after Momakase, but they remained mostly uninvolved.

“Okay, Akuma Island,” Leo said. He sat next to Wasabi on the crescent-shaped couch, finding it took all his willpower to refrain from physical contact—Fred had already demonstrated that he wasn’t above fanfiction and ship names, so he was a risk. “Not irradiated. Got your butts kicked there. Explain.”

“How much do you know about the Callaghan thing?” Wasabi asked.

“An SFIT professor went crazy with a revenge plot, y’all stopped him.”

“Don’t forget the motive!” Fred chimed in. “It was because Krei ran an experiment gone wrong and Callaghan’s daughter got sucked into another dimension! But Callaghan thought she died. We saved her, though.”

“Hiro and Baymax saved her,” Wasabi corrected.

“We helped.”

“Sure. Fine. Anyway, Akuma Island is where that failed experiment took place,” Wasabi explained. “We went there to investigate after Hiro made us the suits. Callaghan was there, and—“

“We thought he was Krei! It was insane ,” Fred interrupted. Wasabi shot him a look, but let him talk. “We’re fighting him, and then the mask gets knocked off and we find out it’s Callaghan. And then Hiro told Baymax to destroy him. And almost killed him. Almost killed us , actually.”

“That is insane,” Leo said cautiously. “Now you’ve gotta tell me who Momakase is, because even though crazy knife lady is a detailed descriptor, I’d like more info.”

“Sushi chef. Thief. Graphene blades, thinner than paper. She is most definitely a crazy knife lady,” Wasabi stated. “Her knives are really cool, but she’s also kinda scary.”

Kinda scary?” Fred said, wide-eyed.

Leo raised his eyebrows. “Really cool knives, huh? Your birthday’s coming up, right? I’m making a mental note.”

“Nooo,” Wasabi whined, dragging his hands down his face. “Don’t get me knives for my birthday!”

“And why not, Chop Chop?” Leo said, smiling slyly, using the name Karmi had given him in her fanfiction.

“I am under no obligation to explain anything to you.”

Leo stared at him, feeling defeated. There were definitely more persuasion tactics he would utilize if Fred wasn’t there. Unfortunately, Fred was , and dramatically lying on Wasabi’s shoulder with an accompanied jaw kiss was not an option.

They exchanged a glance, and from the look in his eyes alone, Leo could tell that factor was exactly what Wasabi was feeling smug about.

Leo pouted.

“Leo, don’t get him knives for his birthday,” Fred said, “the lab is hazardous enough as it is. I don’t need him actually threatening to stab me if I spill my chips on the floor, like...that’s a scary thought.”

“At least fifty percent of those hazards are a direct result of your presence,” Wasabi rebuted. “And I would not threaten to stab you! If I was going to stab you, you wouldn’t get a warning.”

“SCARY THOUGHT!” Fred exclaimed. “See, this is why you shouldn’t get him knives. Glad we’re on the same page here. Please do not stab me.”

“I won’t stab you, Fred,” Wasabi said, smiling slightly. 

Leo snorted a laugh. “Roger that. No birthday knives. In that case, what do you want?”

“I…” Wasabi trailed off for a moment. “I...don’t...know.”

“What about some kind of Star Trek Blu-Ray?”

“You are perfectly aware that I own more of those than necessary.”

“What about a video game?”

“That’s your thing.”

“What about,” Fred popped in, “Limited edition Captain Fancy merch?”

Wasabi sighed. “No, Fred. I don’t want limited edition Captain Fancy merch. I appreciate the thought, though.”

“Dude,” Leo said, looking him straight in the eye, “I can’t just get you nothing for your birthday. And I can’t just guess . Not with you.”

“You know what?” Wasabi said, returning the look. “I know what you can get me. I’ll have to tell you later.”

“What about me?!” Fred exclaimed.

“You’ll figure something out! You always do,” Wasabi laughed. “No knives and no Captain Fancy merch, those are my parameters.”

“Got it. I’ll write it down in this super secret notebook with no actual purpose but you can’t look at it because it’s super secret. I promise it has no real purpose, though. Nothing specific. Not related to your birthday. Not at all.”

Wasabi laughed. “Whatever.”

 

Chapter Text

When Wasabi arrived home, it was unspeakably late—or early, if you asked the right person.

He tried to sneak in, knowing Leo would be asleep in his room by now. He was still in his armor. He was pretty sure he had a scrape on his face. But a mumble from the couch alerted him to Leo, drowning in one of Wasabi’s sweaters, barely awake.

One of his arms hung off the side, fingers resting near the glowing light of his phone. The other, still in a cast, was draped over his stomach. Wasabi bent down to pick up the phone—it was about to run out of battery.

It was open to the last few texts they’d sent each other.

Home soon , Wasabi had written. Be safe! <3 Leo had replied. I will! <3 <3 Wasabi wrote, and that was the last text he’d sent. At slightly past 6 P.M., over 10 hours ago.

He grabbed the phone and shut it off, plugging it in nearby. He returned to the couch, putting a gentle hand on Leo’s arm.

“Hey,” he said, hoarse, tired, quiet. “You should get to bed.”

“Mm,” Leo hummed, eyes still closed. “You’re home.”

“I’m sorry it’s so late,” Wasabi apologized. “I wasn’t expecting...a lot of what happened. And Akuma Island doesn’t really have phone service.”

Leo opened his eyes a smidge, a lopsided smile coming to his lips. “I’m glad you’re back safe.”

“Really, though. Go to bed. You’re gonna complain about being sore in the morning.”

“Noooo,” Leo whined. “Too tired to get up.”

“In that case, would you object to an escort?”

“Wh...what are you talking about…”

In one smooth motion, Wasabi scooped Leo up, careful to avoid his still injured arm. He carried him towards the second bedroom, and Leo let out a few halfhearted protests, blindly batting at his chest armor.

He pointedly ignored how the shelves in Leo’s room were organized incorrectly as he entered, setting Leo down on his bed.

He turned to leave, but Leo grabbed his hand with strength far stronger than was to be expected of someone half asleep.

“Staaay,” he slurred.

Wasabi felt heat rush to his face. “Um.”

“I haven’t seen you in like a billion years. I miss you.”

“It’s been less than twenty-four hours.”

“That’s too long.”

Wasabi chuckled breathily. “Alright. But give me a few minutes to change out of my armor. You don’t want to sleep next to it, I promise.”

“Fiiiine,” Leo said sleepily, rolling over in his bed.

Wasabi left the room and entered the bathroom, where he changed into a plain t-shirt and pajama pants.

He looked in the bathroom mirror at his face, now visor-free. There was, indeed, a scrape—not bleeding, but the skin was broken. Who knew how many germs could've entered through that by now! He cleaned it as best as he could with his fumbling, tired hands. The adrenaline from the night’s events was finally wearing off, and he was ready to sleep. 

He didn’t have the energy to worry too much about germs.

His mind kept wandering to the image of Leo, sleeping on the couch in his sweater, waiting for him to return home.

He hated that it happened. He wished he could’ve been home sooner, or been able to communicate with Leo better. But at the same time, it was really cute. Leo had obviously tried to stay up until he got back. Put on the sweater at one point. Left his phone on, probably waiting for another text.

Leo cared , a lot .

And Wasabi liked Leo, a lot .

Hey, no, Wasabi shut a stray thought down before it could even cross his mind. Too early for that. Both the time of day and the relationship.

He brushed his teeth. Washed his hands. Washed the scrape again for good measure. Washed his hands once more, also for good measure.

A few more than a few minutes later, he crawled into bed beside his partner, who had already fallen asleep.

After that night’s events, he was especially glad their relationship was secret. It wasn’t that he preferred Karmi be in such a situation, but he definitely wouldn’t want Leo to ever be in that position.

He couldn’t help but think as he listened to Leo’s slow breathing just how easy to break he was.

No armor. No experience. He’d be taken down in a fight easy .

Wasabi had to keep him safe.

This...this dumb gamer, with his dumb face and dumb hair and...

And that dumb stray thought rose to his mind again, but he was so tired, too tired to put forth any effort to shut it down this time. 

It was too early. Far too early.

But…

I think I’m in love with him.