Finding Life: Level Two

OoO

Has anyone ever felt attraction for their relative? He sure did. Since they rode her car back home, he'd sometimes think Kaoruko was pressing a little too close, constantly bumping her body with his, and opened his side of the door when they got out, pressing her breasts against his thighs as she did so.

It was a slow, painful process.

Saitama didn't know what to think about himself, and about the possibility that he was getting feelings for his admittedly attractive, hot auntie who was seated on the chair in the library of her house.

"When did you grow up?" Saitama joked, trying to obtain some form of levity in the situation. He didn't know what changed since they left school, but he didn't like it. He knew in advance, due to enhanced extra-sensory perception he's obtained since he trained for his newfound abilities, that tensions were about to get higher than lower in this house.

"Sit down." Kaoruko said, crossing her legs and enhancing the view on her beautiful thighs as she did so. Wearing a short pencil skirt tend to do that.

Saitama sat on the chair facing hers, with a small table between them. He looked at the bookshelves behind her and around them, forming walls of papers sewn with knowledge. He didn't want to read all that, but maybe a distraction from this atmosphere is needed.

One book caught his eye, and he read it out loud.

"The tale of Genji," Saitama said, finding it curious. It was a distant memory, like child running outside his house playing in the meadow under the sunny sky. There was someone else there too, an older girl, playing with the child until a light breeze touches passes by, cooling their body.

He didn't know why that came up either. There was no meadow in his house, only houses and walls expanding exponentially until it reached the city or the outskirts.

Saitama shook his head. Oddly enough, Kaoruko was silent as she stared at him. It was slightly uncomfortable.

"Um, is there something in my face?" He asked.

Kaoruko slightly tilted her head. "Do you still have a hatred of women?"

Saitama blinked. "No?"

"Back then, at the school, you didn't seem to care that you missed out on the orientation. You didn't care that you knocked one of your drunk seniors unconscious. And you didn't care when your teacher, aunt, and the person whose house you'll live in went and lectured you. That was disrespectful by the way."

Kaoruko said nothing after that. She merely kept her eyes on him, legs crossed and arms on her lap.

"I…" Saitama didn't know how to tell her that he didn't hate women, that he didn't get angry at enemies, that he didn't care if he failed or not.

He didn't feel anything.

Well, he still felt attraction, but he was pretty sure that was more of a biological imperative than something coming out of his heart.

Kaoruko ran her pointer finger up her thigh, slightly pulling her pencil skirt higher.

Saitama gulped and looked away.

"Yes?" Kaoruko said, after one minute of silence.

"I… I don't feel much, anymore." Saitama's hands met, his fingers interlaced, and his posture slouching slightly as he looked at the clean floor. "I don't hate because I can't. It's been so long since I've felt anything anymore. I think, I might be going through an existential crisis."

"Like dysthymia," Kaoruko said, referring to the depressive mood disorder characterized by chronic and persistent mild depression.

"Like that." Saitama sighed, feeling his heart sink at the thought that he needed to take medicines so early in his life.

"If, if I were to disappear from the world today, I don't think it would affect anyone. But that doesn't really matter to me." Saitama chuckled. "I think it's more of the fact that no matter what I'll do, I'll never find satisfaction in anything. Pretty selfish, huh?"

Kaoruko kept quiet, merely processing the scene before her. He must've looked pathetic, he thought. Couldn't even last a week without asking for help. Not like it mattered.

"It's not selfish," She said.

"Huh?" Saitama switched his gaze upward, from the floor to the woman facing him.

Kaoruko smiled. It made Saitama's heart beat in ways that made him uncomfortable.

"There's nothing wrong with looking out for yourself, or finding meaning in your own life." Kaoruko reached her arm over the table until she found his hand, squeezing it lightly with her smaller, softer one. She gently pulled Saitama's until both hands were at the center of the table.

"Which characters from The Tale of Genji do you like?"

"Um…"

She ignored him and closed her eyes, imagining something from far away as she continued. "My favorite is Lady Murakasi. The idea of raising an abandoned child into the type of mate you'd like. Isn't that wonderful?"

Her eyes opened, glinting with excitement. "It would be pretty boring if I'd just have you live here, so become part of my research."

Her other arm reached for his face, gently pressing her fingers against his skin and slowly cupping his cheek.

"I'll make sure to help you feel again."

Her smile was like the light of a rising sun.

OoO

It was hours later while Saitama was taking a stroll in the city under the night sky that he thought back to the events that transpired earlier.

He still couldn't believe it.

The commercial district of K City was just as active in the night as it was during the day. Traffic was ongoing, students and people in suits populated the streets. Saitama ignored each and every single one of them as he tried thinking of what he should do next.

He still had that money from the guy he saved earlier today, but he didn't actually feel like using it. It was just deposited to his account, saved for a rainy day in case of emergencies.

Now? Now he needed to sort out his thoughts before he did something stupid.

Movement from the alleyway caught his attention.

Saitama entered the dark alley, ignoring the cockroach that passed by him. A cat jumped from a trashcan, landing on a fire escape and ran up. There was a mumbling homeless man from the dumpster to his left as he continued surveying the alleyway.

At the end of the alleyway, at the foot of the brick wall, were human skeletons with bits of flesh and blood sticking to the ground and wall.

The homeless man got up, green eyes glowing in stark contrast to the dark alley.

"I'm surprised someone would wander around this place, but wanderlust does that to people, I've come to understand. In the end, humans will always be pathetic."

An unsettling grin revealed large teeth, larger than what humans could fit in their mouth. And there was a little flesh too, of the humans he's eaten.

"Are you ready to die like the human you are?" The monster asked, giggling.

"You asked me if I was going to die." Saitama said, keeping his eyes on the bones. Slowly, ever so slowly, he faced the monster. "Are you?"

The monster laughed, froth leaking from his mouth and mixing with the trash of the dumpster he called his bed.

"Squirm human filth!" The monster screamed, blasting off the dumpster and shattering steel as he reached the upper parts of the alley-wall. For any other human he must've made an ominous sight, looming over them as he hanged between the walls.

Within the blink of an eye the monster leapt, head-first towards Saitama. Claws formed from where hands should be, dripping with the blood of his victims and ready to draw more. He passed Saitama, the sound of flesh accompanying his landing as he kneeled before the skeletons of his victims like a worshipper before their shrine.

The monster gasped in pain, holding the lump where his right arm was. "M-my arm!?"

Saitama lazily held the arm at his side as he kept his eyes on the monster.

"Oh." Saitama looked at the arm he held like it was a piece of trash. He threw it with such strength that it tore a hole through the wall. "You dropped something."

"How!? You're just a lowly human!" The monster hissed in disbelief that a mere human could tear its limp from its shoulder.

"People always say don't play with your food." Saitama said, tilting his head. "I'm done playing."

The monster hissed, raising its other claw. It actually wanted to fight Saitama with a missing arm. The situation would've been hilarious if it wasn't so pathetic.

Saitama raised an arm and punched. One blow was all it took to stain the broken wall with inhuman flesh and blood. The monster fell to its knees, missing two arms, looking up to Saitama like a man looked up to god.

"Okay! I surrender! Don't kill me!" The monster pleaded, begging for its life.

Silence met its gasps and cries.

The monster had expected another victim, and no resistance. It probably assumed that this was merely another food and not much else. It would use its strength as a monster and play with the defenseless humans for a while before it tore them bit by bit.

Instead the reverse happened. It was now the one kneeling, crying and begging for its life, with one arm shattered and the other coloring the wall.

"Well?" It screamed. "I give up! You got me! Now call the Heroes Association to lock me up! I'm sorry!"

Saitama blinked, sighed, and scratched his ear.

"How boring."

He threw a punch.

OoO

"It seems there was a fight between monsters in the alleyway earlier. A territorial battle, by the looks of it. The corpse of the dead monster was splattered against the ground and wall. Oddly enough one pair of its eye is missing, while the other one intact seems to have glowing emerald minerals I place of its pupils and sclera-"

Kaoruko turned off the television as an object swung in front of her. She looked up from the couch, overlooking the backrest and finding Saitama looking back at her with a gift.

"What's this?" Kaoruko asked, amusement in her voice as she stood up and poked the glowing green eye.

"I, um, wanted you to have it." Saitama said, scratching his neck. "I know it's not much, but I sort of consider that a lucky charm."

Kaoruko held the black lace, played with the eye briefly, and with barely withheld laughter returned her gaze at Saitama. "You know I'm not wearing this in public, right?"

"Um, you don't have to wear it at all. Here, give me that." He said, intending to throw it away. It was a stupid idea anyway. Maybe he should peel off the flesh and just tie the lace around the emerald instead?

Kaoruko slapped his hand away.

"Nope," She turned her backside to him. "I am keeping this, if only to remind you to get me better gifts."

"Ouch." Saitama chuckled.

"Come here," kaoruko said, "Help me put it on."

Saitama gulped. Kaoruko removed her frilly turtleneck and was now wearing a black camisole that contrasted against her white skin.

He held the lace and shivered as his fingers pressed against her skin. Kaoruko closed her eyes and went still as Saitama tied the lace behind her neck.

"Done." Saitama said, feeling too much time was done in what appeared to be a few seconds.

Kaoruko looked behind her over to Saitama, in his hoodie and jeans, as she cupped the glowing necklace.

Smiling ever so slightly as she closed her eyes, she said, "Thank you Saitama. I appreciate it."

He looked away again, a recurring habit between the two. She smiles, and then he turns away, over and over again. "I just wanted to say thanks for letting me stay here."

Straightening up, he asked, "By the way, mind telling me what that research was all about?"

She nodded, pressing her thumb on her cheek. Finally, she said, "Close your eyes."

He did so.

The next moment he felt something soft against his lips, and an even softer and warm body pressing against his own. With a gasp, Saitama opened his eyes just as Kaoruko parted her lips from his.

She was smiling, and he was shocked, as they kept their eyes on each other for quite some time.

OoO

Authors notes; Just stations of canon.