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The Fight

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He had hugged her.

Well, to be more precise, he had restrained her by hugging her tightly against himself, but it rattled her enough to break her concentration and stop her destructive psychic wave in an instant.

She was not a hugger. Or at least, she hadn't had someone hug her for such a long time. Not since when the very first signs of her power popped up. For some reason, this was enough to push her adoptive parents away and keep them at a distance. She hadn't said anything, she hadn't understood, but she had noticed. And in her childlike mentality, she had protected herself from the biting pain it caused by burying it deep within her mind, in the farthest, darkest corner.

She didn't need their hugs or affection. She didn't want them.

She still had Fubuki and her little hugs, anyway.

Until she didn't.

Still unsure about how to respond, she moved her face upwards and looked at Fubiki's acquaintance's face. What was he doing? What was he thinking? Tatsumaki wasn't unaware of the reputation she had. She reveled in the fact that the other S-Class heroes feared her enough to not encroach in her space, to keep their distance. For all the tough talk Metal Bat spouted and all the aloofness Flashy Flash projected, they knew not to make her angry.

Blast was the only one who didn't fear her-

Tatsumaki's eyes widened.

Did…did this baldy not fear her?

She felt him move as he crouched and suddenly jumped, breaking through several floors while yelling, "Do it outside!"

Tatsumaki was surprised at the unexpected strength of his jump. She felt the strong pressure of several G's as they climbed higher.

He was definitely no small fry.

After several seconds she finally felt them falling.

And it became too much.

The contact was too much. Being restrained and unable to move was too much.

It reminded her of those machines-

Her mind went on overdrive. She needed to stop this. She wanted to pull away, but couldn't. She wanted to yell, but she didn't want to come across as weak, especially in front of this goddamned baldy.

They crashed on the ground once, twice, and—

Her wits finally came about her; she couldn't take it anymore.

"How long are you gonna keep grabbing me?! PERVERT!" she yelled.

"Huh?"

She stopped their trajectory, and started to twirl them at an incredibly fast rate. She was finally free from that hug, but the bastard hadn't let go of her wrist. She slammed him to the ground, the impact creating a huge crater. But still he held on to her.

He is too strong.

No.

This was ridiculous. With debris still falling from the impact, she yelled again, the need to free herself threatening to make her snap, "Why won't you let go of my hand? Do you like me or something?!"

She had hoped this would embarrass him enough to let go, but he replied unfazed, " 'Cause if I let you go, you'll run away from me and go back to Fubuki."

What?!

He is too strong.

Anger.

A rattle from the farthest, darkest corner of her mind.

Too many unknown feelings were fighting in her mind. It was too much. She snapped.

"…Run?! …Is that some kind of sick joke?!" she screamed maniacally. "Why would I run away from someone weaker than me?!"

She was losing it.

He eyed her stoically.

And he finally let go.

"There."

She immediately felt herself calm down. The fighting inside her mind quieted down. It was overtaken by the one feeling she was familiar with.

Oh, he was going to pay for that.

She would show him.

 

Chapter Text

How the hell did I end up like this? Tatsumaki thought, as she knelt on the ground with blood liberally flowing from her head down to her face. The dizziness didn't stop either; she knew if she exerted herself any more, she would faint. Or cough up more blood.

Or die.

Tch! This is that monster's entire fault! Tatsumaki chided herself for allowing Fubuki to distract her from her original intent: killing Psykos. Had she learned nothing from the Monster's Association battle?

Well, at least Fubuki ditched her stupid group. She'll grow stronger, faster, now.

She felt her sister's stare on her, studying her, putting two and two together. It was obvious that Saitama had been tougher than she had anticipated. She had never wanted Fubuki to see her like this, all tired and bloodied and weak.

Weak.

A rattle from the farthest, darkest corner of her mind.

She knew Fubuki's hanger-ons wouldn't attack; they reeked of fear and indecisiveness. Her collapsing had certainly thrown a wrench into their revenge fantasy and their faux determination had dissipated. The monster was weak.

Fuck!

She replayed the fight with Saitama quickly in her mind.

The boulders, the psychic blasts, throwing him into buildings, blasting him through a monster's skull—better make sure the Association pays her for that one—dragging his scalp against the ground at incredibly high speeds, going all out, trying to lift him into space…she got nothing. Nothing but her wounds reopening and that wretched egghead putting a stop to their fight until she was healed.

Resilient bastard. What was that guy? Why would he not DIE?!

Well, she did get something in the end. She had felt Fubuki flying towards them and—in an effort to save face in front of her sister—she had wiped the blood from her face and buried her shame deep into the earth.

In the farthest, darkest corner.

Enough. Tatsumaki had to get up. She couldn't let these idiots get away with threatening her. She had a reputation to take care of.

("Don't expect someone to come save you")

Get up. She gritted her teeth. Fubuki looked up to her; she couldn't let her down like—

The earth rumbled. A rising column of dust was spotted at a distance. The bugs surrounding her lost their cool quite quickly. How Fubuki tolerated these imbeciles was beyond her.

Fubuki's eyes left her sister and focused on the commotion behind her.

Tatsumaki internally groaned, then turned her head sideways, so she could glance back at where she had buried him.

So he didn't die. Marvelous. It didn't take him too long to unbury himself, either.

Her eyesight was poor since blood had dripped into her eyes, but she felt his glare on her immediately. She mustered some leftover strength to hold his dead set gaze.

"Now you've done it."

He was pissed.

Adrenaline started pumping into Tatsumaki's system as soon as he started to make his way violently towards her, still buried beneath the ground. She turned back around, focusing on her breath, feeling the dizziness wash away, and gathering her strength.

She was going to need it.

His trajectory pushed the members of the Fubuki group and Fubuki herself away from Tatsumaki. He unnecessarily circled around her, isolating her from the rest before he shot up from the ground, standing in front of her with a fist curled and his other hand seemingly massaging a crick in his neck.

Tatsumaki didn't react; she kept her eyesight straightforward.

"I almost forgot my original objective. That's right, " he stared down at her, "I came to talk to the culprit that destroyed my home."

His gaze somehow got darker. "Settle things with me first…"

Oh,  now  he wanted to fight?

Tatsumaki almost laughed. But she reigned in her organic reaction and low-key maliciously replied, "Huh? I don't care. I have nothing to say to you."

She felt a little better now. She used her arms to push herself up. Her legs finally obeyed her, and she stood up. She was dead tired, but she was not weak. She would fight.

"But I guess you won't take that excuse," she added, meeting his horrible glare with her cold one.

She could probably do one more psychic blast before fai—

"Wait!"

Tatsumaki hadn't expected Fubuki to intervene by letting everyone know she still hadn't recovered from her injuries from her last battle and that fighting any more could kill her.

Tatsumaki could only stare. She wanted to feel angry, she wanted to lash out, but she was tired…and Fubuki picked up on that. Fubuki intervened because she knew Tatsumaki was weak. And she knew Saitama had weakened her.

Dammit!

That asshole was goading them to attack her, knowing full well that Tatsumaki was not in any shape to fight back without serious consequences to herself. What was he playing at? First he stopped their fight precisely because of her wounds, and now he was doing this?

("Don't expect someone to come save you")

But of course. Didn't she know this already? It always plays out like this. Man, she was starting to get dizzy again.

"Even if we won like this, we wouldn't get any stronger."

What? Tatsumaki watched as one of Fubuki's idiots replied to Saitama.

"We'll be weak for the rest of our lives, exactly like Miss Tatsumaki said…don't you think so, everyone?" Eyelashes said.

One by one, all of the members of Fubuki's group answered or nodded in agreement.

Weak.

Eyelashes went on with his speech, but Tatsumaki wasn't listening. She kept her eyes in front of her, not really focusing on Saitama either. She felt ill. She figured it was because of the blood loss, but also because these bugs were showing her mercy.

MercyBecause she was weak.

She couldn't understand why she ended up in this situation. She couldn't think straight. She didn't have energy to react. She needed whatever was left of it to leave. She just had to leave.

She felt egghead's eyes on her, but she ignored him. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction of looking at him, because she had an inkling this went exactly as Saitama had wanted it to play out.

Asshole.

She heard Fubuki tell her group to get stronger, otherwise she would leave them behind. It wasn't exactly what Tatsumaki had wanted (cut off all ties), but for now, it was good enough.

She needed to leave, before she ended up fainting in front of all of them. She had embarrassed herself enough. So she huffed, turning away from Saitama and Fubuki and, using the last of her strength, she flew away. She felt herself start off a bit wobbly, a bit unsure, but she quickly pushed through and sped up and away from all of them.

Flew away from all of it.

Even as she felt blood flowing freely down her face and nose again, even when her eyes lost focus and blood seeped into them, even as her brain threatened to shut down unless she landed, right now, she flew.

But in the end, she had to land.

Because in the end, she couldn't really fly away from it all, could she?

All she could do was push everything, and everyone, away.

Into the farthest, darkest corner of her mind.