He was content with life. He was perfectly content with living life his life as his Sensei’s disciple, doing chores, shopping for groceries and doing the occasional patrol. Why? Why did he have to get greedy? Why did he let his selfish desires fester to the point where it affected his cognitive functions?
Why in God’s name did he have to crush this badly on Saitama-Sensei?
When King rang him up about an emergency, he didn’t think much of it, knowing that the older man was practically a monster magnet. He should’ve realised from the lack of any shaking in his voice that there was nothing dangerous at all, but hindsight is 20/20.
When he arrived, he found himself in the building that contained the Hero Association’s decommissioned battle simulator. There he found King holding onto some sort of contraption that looked like a helmet with a shit-eating grin. Putting two and two together, he kicked his core into overdrive and turned to bolt, only to be halted by the unmistakable power of telekinesis.
“Somehow I knew you’d do that.” Tatsumaki-no, that annoying brat- smirked as she descended, stopping when their eyes were level. Genos noted her emerald orbs glinted with amusement, possibly even satisfaction.
“Let go of me this instant.” he hissed, eyebrows furrowed as he glared at the esper.
“I refuse to play this accursed game of yours!”
“You don’t have a choice, toaster. I’ve watched you and baldy dance long enough, now it’s time for the encore.”
“Ahem.” King’s gruff voice echoed across the enclosed space, “Love, please let go of Genos. You're not exactly helping."
"Oh please, I'm giving him the push he needs. Go on then toaster, it's just a simulation. What are you, chicken?"
As much as he hated to admit it, her 'push' was working. Just a little bit. He had learnt over time that spite was a powerful motivation, and for her to use that method on him the same way he did-
"Are you still mad at how I hooked you and King up?"
"No shit, Sherlock. Either suck it up and date the baldy so we're even, or I'll pester you until that brain of yours rots."
"Tatsu... maybe chill a bit, yeah?" King pats her shoulder gently, to which the esper humphed before letting go of Genos in an uncouth manner.
"Look, Genos, we're trying to help you as friends and yes, even Tatsu, though she's going about it in the wrong way." said esper rolled her eyes. "It's not healthy for you to bottle up your feelings for Saitama. This simulation can help you, sort of like a stress ball, y'know?"
"But I'd be doing this behind Sensei's back. I cannot, in good conscience, soil Sensei's-"
"Oh my god, he's just going to keep making excuses." Tatsumaki sighed. "One week. For one week, you have a simulation each day. All you have to do is confess and see how it goes. At least that way you can get over your feelings, deal?"
He glared in response.
"... And you claim I'm childish."
"Genos, please. One week. Just give it a shot. At the very least it should help you deal with your crush, and after that you can go about your day normally. After a week, we won't do anything else. Sound good?"
Well... he could enter the simulation and not participate. Just one week of wasting some time every day, in exchange for them no longer bothering him about confessing to Sensei? It sounded good. Maybe then they could come up with some real methods of dealing with his stupid crush.
"Fine. Your terms are agreeable."
"Sweet! Now c'mon, put this on."
The thing in King's hand looked like an army helmet with two short vertical antennas jutting out the top. He felt like he was going to war. Hesitantly, he placed the thing on his head, scowling for good measure. He saw nothing but black, and a blue start button.
"Alright just a few things to note, the whole system is run in your head. You can pause, unpause, all that stuff. You can also communicate with us in your head. Cool right?"
"Me and Tatsu will be over at that control panel watching, so just think 'start' whenever you're ready. Good luck Genos."
He was already starting to regret this. With a deep breath, Genos started the system, and immediately found himself planted in the familiar apartment. Manga was scattered on the table, and the television was showing the news. It was the same messy yet orderly apartment he had grown so fond of, and were it not for the small 'pause' at the top left corner, he would've thought the entire meeting with King was a dream.
That voice. Sensei's voice. It sounded like an exact replica. When he turned around, he noted it also looked like an exact replica, for standing before him wiht a tray of tea in hand, was Saitama-Sensei.
"You okay dude? You look a bit out of it."
Systems had begun to overheat due to the very idea of what he had to do next.
"Uh, Genos? You alright buddy?"
"Jeez, whatever it is you wanna talk to me about is that bad huh? C'mon, sit down before you faint or something. Should I get ice for ya?"
"That won't be necessary S-Sensei."
He slowly sat down at the table to join Sensei, who was already drinking his cup of tea.
"So what's this thing ya wanna tell me dude?"
No turning back.
Get it over with.
"I like you Saitama-Sensei. I'm sorry."