Sonic ran with more purpose than he'd had for a week. It was past midnight, with the moon hanging brightly in the sky and the city asleep save for a few drunken people wobbling along. He paid them no mind, as he had a destination to reach.
During this recent job he had accepted (a bodyguard job for one of those richer criminals) total discretion had been needed, and he had not seen or talked to Mumen Rider during that time.
As it should be, of course. Mumen was strong in his mind, but physically he was merely a fragile flower among thorns. The less his employers (and their enemies) knew about his relation to the popular hero, the better. It was safer that way.
But now he was free again - and with money to spare. And nothing could stop him from returning home and cradle Mumen in his arms like the flower he so was. Never mind the late hour - Mumen had given him a key.
A sound. Sonic stopped abruptly, turning around. Garbled monster noises were nothing new, especially in the night, but there was something else there to. He heard the swing of a sword and the rush of steps.
He saw shapes moving, and grinned in glee when he recognized the hero combating the monster. It was the same one that had been there that day.
Nothing would stop him from returning to Mumen, but Mumen wouldn't know if he took a little detour.
Atomic Samurai turned away from the dead monster in one smooth movement. The civilians were out of harm finally - and with him around there had been minimal damage done to nearby buildings. Unlike other heroes (especially in s-class) he was less interested in fighting than keeping the world safe. As much as a good challenge would be fun from time to time, he was mature enough to prioritize the safety of the people.
"Another job well done. I am looking forward to spending the rest of the night home, in peace and quiet", he said to himself.
"Oh, are you?" A dark voice said from behind. Atomic Samurai stopped in his tracks, not threatened in the slightest. After all, he recognized that voice.
"Lightspeed Flash, why are you out at this hour- oh," he turned around to a grinning man perfectly blocking the moonlight. Lightspeed Flash did not grin. "My apologies, I mistook you for someone else."
"You don't say", the man said, less sinister now. Samurai remembered now. This was the villainous ninja that had been in his way during a fight a few weeks ago. He was surprisingly fast at escaping prison, even more impressive than Puri Puri Prisoner. "You did a something unforgivable a while back and I'm here to return the favor. Brace yourself, Atomic Samurai!"
Sonic - Samurai recalled his name was - lunged forward, katana raised and aimed to kill. He was fast, but Samurai was prepared, and easily dodged. Sonic hit nothing but moonlight.
"Heh, what makes you think you can win now, when you didn't last time?" he asked, buying time to unsheathe his own sword.
"We barely fought last time, you unhonorable excuse of a hero!" Sonic attacked again, and this time Atomic Samurai blocked it - but barely. There was little time to think, so he let instinct and muscle memory do the work. Their weapons glinted and clinged in the night, the stars their only audience as the fight dragged along the empty streets.
"You're too old to have a chance against me!" Sonic laughed, with that sinister grin on his face again.
"I'm not old, I'm 37", he panted back. Damn, he was already a little worn from fighting that monster; Sonic certainly picked a bad time to fight.
"Old", Sonic moved faster than Samurai could see, and suddenly there was no katana in his hand anymore. He reached for his other one, but a hand on his throat and a blade to his wrist stopped him.
"Normally, I would kill you off by now, Atomic Samurai", Sonic said, spitting at his name," but circumstances has it that someone would be pretty upset with me if I did."
Movement again - less than a blur honestly - and the tip of the katana was aimed at his biceps. Despite his efforts to breathe, Samurai was not worried. Sonic did not seem to have a killing intent, even though his malice was genuine. Samurai could live through injuries; he wasn't an S-class hero if he couldn’t handle pain. Maybe just letting this ninja have his way for now would be good.
"I couldn't run for two weeks after your cowardly attack. As I take great pride in my speed, you can see why that was quite rude of you", Sonic paused there," You're a samurai, huh. Guess you can't be one if your arms don't work." Then a blade cut straight through his arm, blood splattering across the wall and pavement. Samurai wouldn't scream. He slammed his teeth together and closed his eyes - his was nothing.
"I assume you’re just right-handed, but I'll incapacitate your other arm as well. Just in case", Sonic said, slowly pulling out his sword before thrusting it into his left arm as well. Again, Samurai just bit through the pain, thinking about how letting this ninja have his way was less of an inconvenience than fighting all night.
"Hope that taught you a lesson", the ninja muttered, but he was not smiling anymore. In fact he looked irritated, and perhaps bored.
"That’s twice as many wounds as I inflicted on you. I wouldn't say we're even", Samurai said. He could have smiled, grinned at the ninja in sheer mockery, but he didn't. Now he really did have the lower hand.¨
"I don't care what you think, dishonorable hero", Sonic said, and was gone, only the memory of a sneer remaining.
"Huh, he reminds me of someone", a picture of a blond hero with glittery pins in his hair popped up ... maybe, but maybe not.
Atomic Samurai picked up his katana, sheathing it once again. There was more blood around now, but the civilians were still safe, and the buildings still standing. A good night, all things considered.
He would have to take a vacation, though.
Sonic kicked a rock off the roof - that had been a total waste of time!
Atomic Samurai had not even flinched, even after being choked and stabbed (twice!). Nothing could threaten a man as powerful as that, except death. And Sonic could not kill. Had promised to only kill someone if it was absolutely necessary. Damn that Mumen.
He sighed. Even so, Atomic Samurai would be incapacitated for weeks, unable to perform his hero duty and hopefully falling in rating. That would have to do.
He started running again, jumping from roof to roof while the moon followed. No one was awake to look, and even if they were, he was invisible, part of the night itself and part of the stars. Nothing could stop him! The wind sang in his ears and played with his hair, in a way it only did when he was moving.
Then he slowed down. Mumen's apartment building was smaller than the others - only two stories high and simply structured. It was one of those buildings that had somehow not been destroyed by a monster and rebuilt in a stronger, sturdier fashion yet.
He left the roof - Mumen did not appreciate it when he entered through the window - and entered through the door. Mumen was the youngest one living here - among old ladies and one grumpy old man - and so there were never any late night parties or loud music interrupting his footsteps.
Sonic unlocked the door with Mumen's spare key (Sonic had given it a tiny skull keyring) and slipped out of his boots, not bothering to turn on the lamp.
"Sonic? Are you home?"
"Oh, you're awake?" Sonic frowned slightly. He had hoped to surprise him in the morning.
Mumen entered the hallway from his bedroom, in his pajamas and slippers. He was only a silhouette, but Sonic saw his glasses glint in the moon like nightly diamonds.
"Where have you been?? I've barely heard from you all week", He asked, moving closer.
"Someone hired me, don't worry", Sonic leaned in and kissed his cheek, smelling strawberry toothpaste and soap.
"You said that in your text - four days ago! Please, why didn't you call at least?" Mumen said, voice thick and worried.
"Mumen Rider, sweetheart, babe, it's better if you didn't get involved", Sonic said. Stroking his cheek, feeling the familiar tiny stubble and that one scar from falling with his bikes when Mumen was just a kid.
"You make it sound like you did something terrible", Mumen whispered, touching Sonic's own cheek.
Not while I was under contract, no, Sonic thought.
"No, No. It was just a bodyguard job. Nothing happened or anything, so don't worry", Sonic said, trying to look into Mumen's eyes but the darkness and his glasses were too thick.
"Oh. I'm sorry I'm such a worrywart", Mumen said.
"There's nothing to apologize for. Let's go to bed - it's been a busy week", Sonic said and dumped his gloves in the basket on the shoe rack.
"Yeah, of course. You want tea? Or a midnight snack? You wanna watch a movie or play a game?" Mumen asked and would have asked more thing if Sonic hadn't hushed him.
"I want a good cuddle time, lots and lots of kisses, and to sleep beside you, Mumen. We can do all those other things tomorrow."
"Oh. I guess", Mumen mumbled. Even in the dark, Sonic imagined how he rubbed his neck sheepishly. "I'm just happy to see you again. I missed you a lot, Sonic."
Warm winds danced inside Sonic and the smile was simply an outlet for these soft emotions.
"I missed you too."
One lone lamp glowed in the bedroom, above the bed like a sun above an ocean of navy sheets. Among the blankets lay a book opened in the middle.
"Oh, so you were up reading again", Sonic said. He wriggled out of his suit, happy that bloodstains were not visible against the dark fabric. (He would go to his house and clean it tomorrow.)
"Mmm", Mumen said, already back in bed, placing a bookmark between the pages. It was the one Sonic had bought for him, with a picture of a bunny riding a bike, wobbling forward with its training wheels still there. Sonic had seen it through the window to a book store, and thought that it might as well have Mumen's own name written on it. "It's been hard to fall asleep without you, actually." Mumen said as he put away his book.
In the glow from the reading lamp, Sonic finally saw Mumen's tired eyes and slopping shoulders.
"I'm here now", Sonic said, hurrying to pull out one of Mumen's t-shirts to sleep in. He jumped into bed, the sheets familiar and soft, and Mumen warm by his side.
"Yes, I'm glad", Mumen smiled, cuddling close, hands searching for his waist and back beneath the covers. Sonic gingerly pulled off his glasses and put them aside, before letting Mumen bury his face against his chest.
With the hero in his arms, he relaxed for the first time in a week, content that they were safe and unharmed, and that the earth was still spinning.
"I love you", Mumen mumbled into his own shirt - worn by Sonic without the need for permission. His breath was warm against Sonic's chest.
"Love you too." Sonic kissed his head, almost sneezing when strands of hair tickled his nose.
He turned off the reading lamp - it had fulfilled its purpose - and relaxed deeper into the sheets, inhaling their familiarity greedily.
It was the best night's sleep he'd had in a long while.
Something smelled like pancakes, and Sonic thought it was a dream because wasn't he still under contract? But then he remembered that he was done protecting that criminal and that he was back at Mumen's place and that Mumen made pancakes sometimes.
He rolled about and stretched, moaning slowly as his sleepy muscles tensed and moved nicely. A small sliver of sun shone through the curtain and painted on yellow line across the navy sheets. He got up.
"Mumen, why weren't you on my arms when I woke up", he whined, only half joking.
"Oh, you're up already?" Mumen smiled brightly and placed a feather-light kiss on his forehead. "Good morning, Sonic. I hope you slept well."
"I did until you left, sweetheart. Now what is this wonderful thing I smell?"
"I wanted to do something nice to welcome you back", Mumen said, removing a pancake from the stove before turning back to Sonic, pulling him into a hug, close and warm. Sonic hugged back, and his chest hurts with just how much he missed hugging Mumen.
"You didn't have to", Sonic whispered, not because he meant to, but because he might ease some of that tightness that way.
"I know, but I want to." They let each other go, and Mumen was still smiling but his eyes were more serious. "Listen. I know you can't tell me everything you do at your jobs ... and you tell me it's for my own safety, and I trust you on that."
"That's right. Bad people might - will - come after you if you knew", Sonic said, wary.
"Mm. Are you scared I might break up with you if I knew what you've been doing?"
Sonic tensed. Their hands connected into a loose knot of fingers, but he barely noticed.
Mumen was strong in his mind. He was clever, honest and caring - and he read Sonic like a damn open book.
"I'll always love you, Sonic", Mumen lifted their hands to his lips and kissed, leaving the tingle of a breath as he pulled away," I know that you have to kill people sometimes, but I still think you're a good person. You're too sweet and lovable to be evil, you know."
"... Heh are you trying to convince yourself, Mumen Rider?" Sonic said, even though his words were doing thing to his stomach and his tears channels.
"No. I never needed convincing", he smiled, placing his free hand on Sonic's cheek gently and stroking his thumb against the skin there.
Sonic didn't want to be convinced to something that simply wasn't true. What life would he live if he was trapped in a lie such as that? And it wasn't about him being a good person (he was! - He was well-mannered and liked to help old ladies across the street!) but it was about 'you have to kill people sometimes'.
He had never been forced to kill a person, not even in his youth, thrown into the modern world after a life in the ninja village, when he had to work hard to prove himself worthy of his title. Opportunities to assassinate someone for money arose often enough, but he only needed to do them if he chose to accept them. And he did, and he enjoyed them.
Sometimes he killed when a good scare would be enough - it was just so easy and filled him with a sense of fulfillment. It was the best way to make sure that particular person would never bother him or his clients again.
Sonic leaned into Mumen's touch, eyes closed as the rough hand stroked his crescent moon tattoos. The image of Atomic Samurai in his grip, struggling to breathe but at the same time impatient, unfazed by Sonic's feeble revenge.
"Mumen Rider", he started, side-eyeing the pancakes and imagining Mumen getting up to make them. Pulling out the ingredients, mixing flour and eggs and milk in a bowl while trying to keep quiet. "I'm not scared of you leaving me." He said. It was not all he wanted to say. He left out the 'I have already accepted that you will, one day' that rested on the tip of his tongue, for example. And he didn't mention that 'it would be for the better to simply break up right now, our relationship is impossible.'
"Ah. Good", Mumen smiled, looking too relieved and smiling too broadly for Sonic to fake a smile back. Instead he focused on the pancakes.
"So about those pancakes you made for me..." he leaned over, breathing in deeply, the smell dancing in his nostrils pleasantly.
"I was gonna surprise you in bed, but you got up..." Mumen looked down.
"You can surprise me in the sofa", Sonic said, bringing their mouths together once, twice, before leaving Mumen to finish his cooking. He considered getting dressed, briefly, but remembered that his only set of clothes were dirty with blood and sweat, and Mumen's pants were the wrong size... He shrugged and went to use the bathroom before going to sit in the sofa, turning on the TV.
The living room windows were slightly open, filling the room with fresh air and the sound of birds singing. The TV did not offer any news despite how Sonic had barely had time to keep up with the news while under contract. He almost dozed off again without a conversation to focus on, but then Mumen entered, humming and holding a tray filled with pancakes and syrup and cream.
"Here", he said softly, putting down the tray on the table, where a first aid kit had once been standing, witnessing as Sonic bled all over the sofa gracelessly. "Pancakes just for you and me!"
"Thank you, Mumen", Sonic said, all dark thoughts gone when Mumen loaded a plate with pancakes and gave it to him, cutting it up for him before Sonic could be bothered to move.
"Say ahh, Sonic", Mumen - a grown man, with a steady income and a job that contributed to society said - grinning dorkily.
"Oh my fucking god", Sonic said. But he opened his mouth, accepting the piece of food greedily. Bless Mumen Rider for his cooking, Sonic thought.
They talked between the bites, Sonic asking about these past few days and Mumen telling him all about his hero work. He had saved a kitten stuck in a tree yesterday, and the owner - an old lady with a crazy haircut - had treated him a whole raspberry pie as thanks. Half of it was still in the refrigerator. There had been a wolf-level monster attack on a pre-school two days ago. Mumen and some low-class hero named Bunbunman had teamed up and defeated it, while keeping all the kids safe. Mumen had only acquired a nose-bleed and some bruised elbows (that Sonic immediately bent forward to kiss).
Three days ago there had been nothing for Mumen on his patrolling, but he helped one of his old neighbors to clean her apartment, getting a basket of snacks in return.
"I'm glad you're here to help me eat all of it!" Mumen said.
"What did you do four days ago?" Sonic asked. There was a silence as Mumen tried to recall, looking up at his white ceiling in thought.
"I think I had dinner with Saitama that day", he said, slowly, as his mind tried to put his memories in order," Or was it the day before that?" Sonic almost choked.
"Saitama the hero?" he asked in a cough, half-hidden.
"Yeah. We're pretty good friends", Mumen nodded, finishing his breakfast. Sonic said nothing, but once again the difference in their life styles came apparent. Of course, both Saitama and Mumen were pretty average ranked heroes, so they probably had lots in common... Except that Saitama was an asshole and a dickpuncher while Mumen was the greatest, sweetest, most beautiful human on earth.
Mumen must have noticed something about his face because he cleared his throat and leaned on Sonic's shoulder silently.
"Do you know about him?" He asked, while he scooted as close as possible.
"Oh. Yeah. I do", Sonic said. Outside, the birds kept on singing. "Listen, I-"
"Do you wanna come with me to visit him tomorrow?"
Mumen Rider smiled, "We're having hot pot and movie night. Fubuki and King will be there too!"
"I am not invited, Mumen", Sonic said. In fact, if he showed up there was a 99% chance the movie night would be ruined. He could refrain from fighting Saitama (too much), but a certain clingy shithead resided there too. The Demon Cyborg could not stop himself from attacking, even when Sonic hadn't done anything yet.
"If I tell Saitama you'll join, he'll let you", Mumen said and oh gods, he looked so eager!
If he didn't join them, he would be lonely all night, eating leftovers and waiting for Mumen to come home. If he did join, he could either have a fun night mocking Saitama and being with Mumen, or he could wreck the Demon Cyborg, destroy the movie night, and then go home and spend the night with Mumen. He hummed.
"I really can't say no to you", he mumbled," but don't blame me if something bad happens."