Disclaimer: Everything belongs to the creators, and I am not one of them.
Spoilers: ENORMOUS SPOILERS through "Six Months Ago," plus implied spoilers for everything through "Parasite."
Rating: G, or PG if you live in a nunnery.
Summary: Hiro can bend the space-time continuum. Hiro/Charlie. 850 words.
Notes: A gift for oyceter.
He had thought it would take a while to convince her that he was not Hiro-from-this-time-right-now, but he hadn’t counted on Charlie’s eidetic memory. She was on to him almost before he’d finished knocking on her door.
“Your hair’s longer than it was yesterday,” she said from the doorway. “Maybe a quarter of an inch on the bangs, half an inch at the back. And you’ve lost weight— I’d say eight pounds, maybe more. And— is that a real sword?!“
He hadn’t forgotten a thing. The color of her hair, the light in her eyes, the way she said some words slow and others fast— he’d been right about all of it. Nothing had been forgotten or misremembered. She’d lived in his mind as bright and true as if she’d been imprinted into a memory matrix, like the one in Chris Claremont-era “X-Men” that captured the essence of the dead (and resurrected, and cloned, and impersonated ad infinitum, but at that point, dead) Jean Grey’s personality. But not even the most sophisticated matrix could replace a real person. Here she was, his own lost Charlie, standing in front of him, close enough to touch.
“Hey, hey,” she said. Her hands were on his shoulders, comforting him before he even realized he needed it. “What’s the matter?”
Hiro scrubbed at his eyes and straightened his spine. “I am future Hiro,” he explained. “From one year in the future.”
Charlie started to smile. Then stopped. “One year…” She drew her finger down his cheek, catching a tear he’d missed. “Am I… Wait, do you know…?”
“I know,” said Hiro. “You tell present Hiro, in near future. You are very brave. A hero.”
“It’s OK,” she said. “I knew it wouldn’t be long. And the last six months have been wonderful.” Her eyes shone brighter, but she blinked until they lost that glittery sheen. “And hey, I’ve still got the trip to Japan!”
He hesitated. It was hard to explain these things in English, even now. He switched languages. “I didn’t have good control of my power then… now… Present Hiro teleported to Tokyo by accident, and then he… I… couldn’t get back.”
“We never said good-bye. We never…” His cheeks began to heat up. “I would never have left you on purpose.”
“I know,” said Charlie, also in Japanese. She frowned. “I… have knew? In future, I knowed?”
“’I would have known,’” said Hiro. She liked him to correct her Japanese. After all, he only had to do it once per mistake.
“I would have known.” There was no doubt whatsoever in her voice. “But… why are you here? You always say, two Hiro is time…” She switched to English. “Meeting yourself is a temporal paradox.”
“’Temporal paradox,’” he repeated in Japanese, so she could learn it. It was such a handy phrase! “Today your aunt suddenly got sick, and you had to go away for a week to take care of her. You called in to the diner and left a message. Present Hiro missed you, but when you came back you seemed very happy, and you said she was much better.”
“I do not have aunts,” Charlie said doubtfully. “I have three uncles… Oh. Oh! I see! We did go—we go! We go now!”
“Don’t tell present Hiro,” he warned her as she picked up the phone. “Just say it’s your aunt. I’ll find out later that you never had any, and then I’ll know to come.”
“I read this morning that the weather in Kyoto was 22 degrees Celsius, 73 degrees Fahrenheit,” she said in English, hanging up the phone. “A few passing clouds, otherwise clear. Winds light and variable. The cherry blossoms are at their peak. Can we take the train from Tokyo?”
“We don’t need a train.” He offered his hand. “I bend the space-time continuum.”
She took it. “Ikimashou, anata.” “Let’s go, you.”
“That’s a little bit wrong,” Hiro said. “When you say ‘let’s go,’ you don’t need to also say ‘you.’ The ‘you’ is implied.”
“It’s not wrong at all,” said Charlie. “Different anata. Hiro… ikimashou, anata.” “Let’s go, my darling.”
Hiro closed his eyes. When he opened them, pink petals fluttered in the light and variable winds. Charlie stood under a gnarled old sakura tree, spinning this way and that as her wide eyes took in the startled picnickers under the tree next door, the elegant angles of the temple roof, the tray of sakura mochi and the guy selling it, and the skyline split by the wonderful rocket ship of the Kyoto Tower.
“Kyoto, konnichi-wa!” she shouted.
Then she turned to kiss him, so quickly that he didn’t have time to be afraid that he would vanish away. Her lips were as warm and soft as he had imagined, but the boldness of her tongue was a wonderful surprise. He could feel her heartbeat against his chest, ticking away the moments, and then his own merged with hers, and he didn’t even know when it was that he lost his bearings. They might have been kissing for seconds, or hours, or an eternity. He might have stopped time.
I bend the space-time continuum, thought Hiro. I can make one moment last forever. But, Charlie— so can you.