(A/N Down Below)
"Hey, Genos. Do you ever feel like not a lot happens around here?" Saitama asked while looking from his television.
In what was a rare occurrence for Saitama, only Genos had come over to hang out with him on a surprisingly peaceful day. What the rest of his friends and fellow heroes were up to, he had no idea, but hey, he didn't mind only having one person in his apartment for once.
"I'm sorry. I don't know if I fully understand the question." He confessed.
"Nothing has been going on in the city lately. Or any city for that matter. No monster attacks. No weird situations with the people we know or us. It's almost like a pause button was pressed on our lives." Saitama explained.
"Hm, perhaps it was a spacetime anomaly. Those do have a probability of happening at any point in time. And unless we've experienced one beforehand, we may not know what it feels like." He replied.
"Pfft, come on, man. That stuff only happens in late-night B-movies." Saitama scoffed.
"How can you be so sure?" He asked, "Think about it. Everyone we know and everything in the world could be in a sentient stasis. We may be trapped forever in a single moment within our universe due to forces beyond our comprehension and control deciding we have gone far enough and must be stopped. But not in the sense that we need to be killed or that we must be erased. Until we discover the reason for why we have been given this sentence, we will remain as we are forever." He suggested.
A silence then came between Saitama and Genos as the bald caped crusader contemplated what his cyborg companion put forth.
"...Forgive me." Genos said after a full minute passed, "I didn't mean to sound so insane just now. I was merely trying to explain my earlier suggestion." He clarified.
"...Genos...you might be onto something..." Saitama replied, catching the cyborg by surprise.
"I...am?" He questioned as this conversation took a sudden turn that he wasn't expecting.
"Think about it...I could've sworn the last thing we were doing was that we were at a tournament...I was disguised as that guy from the old man's dojo...we were all inside a locker room...and there was a reason WHY we were there...but I can't remember it right now..." Saitama muttered to himself.
"Hmm...that does sound familiar..." He hummed, being pulled into the crackpot theory he came up with.
"And yet, here we are. Relaxing in my apartment as if it were any other day. Genos, I think something's happened." Saitama concluded, his eyes now wide with panic.
"Possibly. But we need to be sure." He advised before getting to his feet, "If you'll humor me, Saitama. We need to go and see what everyone we know is doing right now. If we can find any discrepancy in their behavior or their surroundings, then it'll add weight to our assumptions." He told him.
"Yeah! Let's do it!" Saitama exclaimed, also standing up, "We'll have to be stealthy, though. If anyone sees me, then we'll be swarmed." He mentioned.
"Right. We'll need disguises. Something that no one would ever expect us to be in." Genos agreed as he put a hand to his chin.
A Short While Later...
A public park, one of the most traditional and timeless locations to have a pleasant experience. Couples sitting on picnic blankets, children flying kites or playing on swings and slides, people gathered around a fountain with vendors or to feed bread crumbs to the birds; it was such a serene place to be. And in the midst of it all were two men, one who wore a yellow hoodie with "OPPAI" written on it with a rather suspicious drawing, while the other was a straight-up cyborg. HOWEVER, they drew no attention to themselves, almost as if they were invisible; how could these two eye-catching individuals blend into the background so flawlessly?!
Glasses. Pure and straightforward pieces of eyewear on their faces. Somehow, this managed to work despite every ounce of logic and reason arguing against it.
"Huh, it only takes glasses for people not to recognize you. Damn. Wish I knew that a LONG time ago." Saitama said before looking to his companion, "So, who's first on the list?" He asked.
"Fubuki. Despite being in class A due to her assistance with the meteor some time ago. She can relax comfortably in this park as those who are a part of her group act as security." Genos answered.
"If that's true, then how're we going to get close to her? Won't the Blizzard Bunch or whatever they're called stop us because we're in disguise?" He questioned.
"No. There is a gazebo in this park that Fubuki uses whenever she comes here. And as stated, her subordinates keep everyone else at bay for her privacy. So all we need to do is go to them, take off our glasses to show our true identities, then we can begin the test to see if anything is strange with her." Genos explained.
"Huh, that's good. Well then, lead the way, Genos." He responded.
Nodding his head in return to show he understood, Genos guided Satiama to a section of the park where fewer people were present. Eventually, only members of the Blizzard Group could be seen in the area.
"Hey." Mountain Ape called out as he approached them, causing them to stop, "What're you guys doing here? No one's allowed to be here right now." He informed.
"It's alright, man. It's us." Saitama said as he and Genos removed their glasses.
"SHH!" Saitama hushed, moving so fast he closed the distance between them and placed his hand over the large man's mouth, "Do you want EVERYONE in a five-mile radius to rush in here?" He asked.
"R-Right. Sorry." Mountain Ape apologized when Saitama pulled his hand away.
"It's fine. We were in disguise after all." He reminded while holding up his accessory.
"Yeah, I can't believe how different you looked just because you were wearing those." Mountain Ape admitted.
"Right? It sounds so stupid, like idiotic at first. But results don't lie." He replied.
"I'm guessing you're here to speak with miss Blizzard, right?" Mountain Ape inquired.
"If she wouldn't mind us intruding on her quiet time," Genos said for him.
"Of course not! You two are close friends!" He exclaimed, "One of you a bit more than the other..." He muttered.
"Did you say something?" Saitama asked, causing him to tense up.
"What?! No! You must be hearing things, sir!" He quickly denied, "Anyway, keep going the way you were. Miss Blizzard's just up ahead." He informed.
"Thanks, man. Take care." Saitama told him before he and Genos departed.
True to the big man's word, Fubuki and the pavilion were only a short distance away, about another minute of walking. She was sitting in the center in a chair positioned next to a table, both a pen and notebook held in her hands as she seemed to be writing.
"Hmm...no...that wouldn't work..." She muttered to herself while lightly chewing on her pen, "We'd need to be somewhere more intimate...his apartment perhaps...I could cook him something maybe?..." She suggested.
"Hey, whatcha writing?" Saitama asked, both he and Genos having snuck up to her unintentionally. Since she'd been so lost in her thoughts that she didn't hear them coming.
Letting out what may have been the cutest noise she'd ever made in her entire life, Fubuki fumbled about trying to hide her notebook before either of them could see anything.
"S-SAITAMA!" She shouted, her face a vibrant pink, "WHAT...HOW...WHY...WHEN?!" She asked in a panicked mess.
"We walked here. Snuck into the park using disguises. We needed to come to see you. And just now." He answered.
"You...needed to see me?" She questioned, finding that odd.
"Yeah, Genos can explain it better than me. Can we sit?" He responded while pointing to the other chairs available.
"By all means." She welcomed with a smile.
One Brief Explanation Later...
"...Wow...that...is a lot to take in." She told them, not sure what to think of this theory.
"I know it sounds crazy, but think about it. Is there anything you could've sworn you were doing not long ago, but now you suddenly find yourself doing something else?" Saitama asked.
"And try to comb over every memory you have. Don't overlook any detail no matter how minor." Genos added.
"Well...I...think I remember...spending time with you, Saitama..." She hummed as she closed her eyes to focus, "We were...in this park together actually...I think we might've been spending the entire day together..." She continued.
"Were the others there?" Saitama inquired.
"No...it was only the two of us...and I think we went to other places too..." She replied.
"That sounds like a date." Genos pointed out.
"W-WHAT?! NO!" She shouted in defiance, that shade of pink flooding her face again, "B-Besides...I might be...remembering things wrong is all...like from a dream or something..." She suggested.
"Do you dream about spending alone time with Saitama then?" He questioned.
"N-NO! I...I MEAN...I..." She stammered. Her mind currently on fire.
"Yo, Genos. Easy there." Saitama intervened on her behalf, "I think we're getting off track." He said.
"Th...Thank you, Saitama..." She told him, grateful for his assistance, "Ahem. Moving past that...entirely fictional and non-plausible scenario between myself and Saitama. I can't say for sure if I've experienced what you two have; I'm sorry." She apologized.
"Don't be. This is a pretty crazy thing we're throwing at you." He assured her before rising from his seat, "Whelp. Let's check on King now." He decided.
"Oh! If you want to find him, you'll need to go to the House of Evolution." She informed.
"Why there of all places?" Genos asked.
"Doctor Genus wanted to do some more tests on him. You know, after his battle with the giant robot?" She answered.
"Wait...did...we ever mention that to you?" Saitama questioned.
"No. Tatsumaki did when we met for one of our-" She stopped halfway as she nearly revealed the fan club to him, "...Sisterly...lunches..." She lied.
"Oh, alright. See you, then." He bid farewell before he and Genos left her alone.
Waiting until they were out of sight before she let her guard down, Fubuki breathed out a massive sigh while she slumped in her chair.
"God...they were so close to finding out so much..." She said before she got back to what she was doing previously, "Now, where was I on planning the perfect date?..." She muttered. Resuming her notebook staring and pen-chewing.
A Short While Later At The House Of Evolution...
"Oh, One Punch Man. A surprise, but a pleasant one nonetheless." One of Dr. Genus's clones greeted as the world's strongest hero, and Genos appeared at the House of Evolution's doorstep.
Once both men were far enough from any city, they were able to do away with their glasses and run at full speed to get to their destination in a few minutes.
"Hey...doc. Clone? How do I speak to you guys without insulting you?" Saitama asked.
"Referring to us as if we were the original or as clones works. It doesn't matter to us." He answered, "I assume you're here to see King, correct? Or perhaps Mutusko?" He guessed.
"Both. With them in the same place saves us a trip." Saitama said.
"Very good. This way then." He instructed as he led them inside.
"Excuse me." Genos spoke, wanting to continue the conversation as they followed, "But perhaps you could help us with what we've come to talk to them about. Have you, the other clones, or doctor Genus himself noticed anything strange recently?" He asked.
"Strange how?" The Clone responded, needing to know more.
"Large scale weirdness. Like, reality-bending type stuff." Saitama clarified.
"Hm, no. I can't say we have. And we do have systems in place to notify us if anything like that should happen." He answered.
"Huh, another blow to our theory, unfortunately," Saitama whispered to Genos.
"Have Mustsuko or the other members noticed any oddities?" Genos asked, persisting with this line of questioning.
"Afraid not. Even when out on patrols recently, nothing has stuck out to them to the point they felt the need to report it." He answered.
"I see," Genos said, accepting that there was nothing out of the ordinary.
Moving through the building from that point on in silence, soon the clone would lead them to a space regarded as a rec room of sorts.
"Wait, Fubuki told us that King was here taking tests," Saitama said as they came to a stop.
"He was. But those finished a decent while ago. Now he's occupied with a different activity." The Clone informed before he opened the door to reveal what was happening inside.
"HURRY! BLOCK! BLOCK! COUNTER!" Bunji excitedly shouted, adding more energy to the already hyper-active atmosphere.
"I'M TRYING!" Mutsuko shouted back, mashing away at her controller as best she could.
"HOW IS HE SO GOOD AT THIS?! IS HE EVEN HUMAN?! ARE WE SURE HIS SUPERPOWER ISN'T GOD-LIKE FINGER DEXTERITY?!" Genjiro suggested.
"COME ON! YOU'RE SO CLOSE! DON'T LET HIM WIN NOW!" Fujiro cheered on.
"WOULD YOU LIKE TO TAKE THE CONTROLLER?! BE MY GUEST!" She invited.
"HERE IT COMES! HERE IT COMES! HERE IT COMES!" Chikara chanted before a fullscreen K.O. appeared on the massive television they were using, "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH! THERE IT IS! COMBO BREAKER!" He announced.
"GOD #&^!$? DAMN IT!" She shouted in rage before turning toward her opponent, "HOW, KING?! HOW?!" She asked.
"Skills." He answered with a shrug, "And I don't say that to be an ass. I just play and practice a lot is all." He explained.
"Could you teach us how to be that awesome? It gets pretty boring around here sometimes..." Kamakyuri requested.
"Sure. We can start right now. Who's next?" He asked.
"That'd be me," Atomu answered while raising his hand.
"...Yep. We're done here." Saitama said from the doorway as he and Genos turned around, doing their best to go unnoticed by the others.
"Wait, what just happened?" The Clone questioned.
"We got the answer we were looking for. We'll see you later." He replied before they walked out of his sight.
A Short While Later, Near Tatsumaki's Apartment...
"Are you sure this is alright, Saitama?" Genos asked as he was currently using his robotic eyes to zoom into the esper's windows.
With their findings so far proving that this whole space-time anomaly business wasn't real, Saitama didn't feel the need to bother another of their companions with their nonsense. So, both he and Genos were standing on a rooftop near her residence, for to him, it was far easier to have Genos check in on her from a distance rather than they make a big deal about it.
"Hey, if she's in her room or you think she's not home or in the bathroom. Then we walk away and find someone else. We're only doing this to see if there's anything strange happening, not to invade her privacy." He answered.
"True. It would be awkward if we knocked on Tatsumaki's door and began assaulting her with questions." Genos agreed, "Oh, there she is." He said, having spotted her.
"What's she up to?" Saitama asked.
"She's...playing a board game." He answered while zooming in, "She's sitting at her table, with Kaemon there as well, and she seems to be teaching them how to play chess." He informed.
"Huh. I guess we should've checked to see if Kaemon was home before we left the apartment..." Saitama realized, remembering his Seafolk friend was his neighbor.
"Wait...I...think I've found proof that our theory is correct!" He exclaimed.
"Really? What is it?" Saitama asked with widened eyes, not expecting him to see anything of interest.
"It's...It's...an octopus! A blue yellow-eyed octo-"
Without warning, Saitama slapped the cyborg on the head, sending him face-first into the roof.
"Nope. That's your imagination. Nothing else." He told him, as Geryuganshoop was still a secret, "Yup...looking at them myself...only see Kaemon and Tatsumaki...no octopi in sight..." He lied.
"Hmm...perhaps my sensors need to be adjusted." Genos suggested as he pulled himself up from the roof, for he had no reason to doubt what his friend was telling him.
"Yeah. So we should hurry and leave before Tatsumaki notices us. She'll be super pissed if we don't." He instructed before leaping to another rooftop.
Following him, the two men would use this method of movement to make their way back to Saitama's apartment.
"Genos." He spoke a few minutes into their jumping, "Have we just spent a fair amount of the day going around assuming everyone's had one big fever dream?" He asked.
"It seems so. Nothing is out of the ordinary." Genos answered.
"So why does it feel like it's been so long since something's happened? Like I said before, it's almost as if everything that I feel was happening stopped." He inquired, referring to earlier.
"If not a change in the universe or reality as we perceive it. Then it could be that we're not used to having so much time to relax." Genos suggested.
"What do you mean?" He asked.
"Think about it. We've been fighting monsters, hanging out with our friends, doing so many things for so long, perhaps we needed a break from it all. And in doing so, we've forgotten what it's like not to have a constant stream of excitement happening in our day-to-day routines." Genos answered.
"Huh, that...makes a lot of sense." He replied as he looked to the sky, "I guess everyone needs a break sometimes. Even if it seems like it lasts forever." He reasoned.
"Indeed." Genos agreed.
(A/N: Hey. So, 1. Why is THIS the first new chapter in a long time? Simple, I wanted to tell everyone who has this story favorited/followed or who read as guests that IT. ISN'T. DEAD. Please. Try and understand this from my point of view. I've taken such a long break because from 2017 to 2019, this and my other story for OPM was ALL I worked on. In addition to that, when I took the break, the content provided by the manga was running out. I could've legitimately caught us up to where the manga was in a few good long chapters. And YES, I KNOW the webcomic is still going on, and there is more material there. But I prefer the manga because there is so much more detail, information, and expansion of the webcomic. So many things that we've seen in the manga were NEVER there originally. So apart from being creatively drained from working on these two stories alone for almost three years, I also wanted to have more canonical material to work with. 2. Am I still updating the previous chapters? YES. Some may wonder why not just replace the text with a new document rather than deleting existing chapters? Simple, most of this story's bulk comes from when I wasn't confident in writing long chapters with much detail. Something that has dramatically changed over time. This explains why I am also deleting chapters because I can essentially fuse them into one chapter, trim up the narrative, and improve the experience. 3. The last one, I promise. WHEN will new chapters start getting posted? SOON. It won't be immediately. But once I am done working on the story, that has my full attention ATM. It will be back to grinding out chapters for this one, getting the whole thing updated, and working on my other OPM story. So it may not be until July or August when you get regular updates again, but they ARE coming. Also, sorry for this huge ass author's note; FF doesn't have a better way of informing your readers of news regarding your stories and other such things, which sucks. Anyway, though, I think this covers everything. See all of you very soon and until next time, peace)