CHAPTER 7: ADORABLE
"How long can you hold your electrified form? Is that why you made the challenge fifteen minutes long? Can you really stay like that without it hurting you?!" Midoriya began rapidly bombarding you with questions before you even had a chance to catch your breath. He was panting as well, trying not to let the sweat from the workout drip onto his notebook. He seemed to have countless curiosities at the ready, and fired them the instant he was given the chance.
"Actually, I can't hold it that long." You sprawled on your back in the grass. "I usually tap out around the three minute mark." You paused, letting him scribble down some hasty notes. "It doesn't really hurt since my body got used to the electricity a while back. But before I had control of the special move, my hair used to get really static-y, and I used to shock Tamaki a lot by accident." He giggled a little at that.
"Could you electrify objects?"
"What do you call your special move?"
"Uh..." You made a face. 'Do people name their special moves? I thought only All Might had names for his different smashes...' "How about you come up with a name and I'll go with it."
"Wow! You mean it?!" He lit up with excitement. "I'll try not to disappoint you, senpai!" You sat up and smiled at him, noticing something you hadn't before.
"You know, I didn't think it was possible... but your hair got even bushier from the workout." He started patting it down frantically without hesitation. But the great speeds you two endured left his hair windblown and chaotic. "It's no good, Midoriya. I think it's stuck that way." He let out an embarrassed groan, trying his best to hide his unruly head from your eyes. "Aw. Don't do that." You pulled his arms away gently and ran your fingers through it. "It's totally cute." He blinked and suddenly became flustered.
"You think my messy hair is... cute?" He felt a sort of warmth spread through his tummy, climbing all the way up to his cheeks. "S-senpai..."
"It was really nice of you to go out of your way to help me train like this... You really didn't have to."
"It was no problem. Honest."
"Uhm... but... why did you?"
"What do you mean?"
"You could have chosen somebody like Kacchan... He's way stronger than me... He was the one who was brave enough to challenge you in the first place..."
"...Kacchan... Oh. Is that your little nickname for mister atom-bomb I fought earlier?"
"I don't think you give yourself enough credit. You were the one that got my flag in the end, not him." This elicited a soft smile from your training partner before he flopped on his back next to you. It was silent for a while, only the sound of his calm breathing filling the air. The orange hues in the sky began to meld with a pool of blue, alerting him to how late it was.
"Oh!" He exclaimed, sitting up abruptly. "I forgot to text my mom that I was training with you! She must be worried sick!" He began to gather his things hastily. "I'm so sorry to be rude, senpai, but I should probably...."
"It's fine. I don't want your mom to worry." He bit his lip, regretful that his valuable time with you had come to an end so soon. But you quickly reignited his hopes when you spoke again. "See you tomorrow? Same time?"
You had missed the chance to talk to Tamaki and Mirio after school yesterday because of your spontaneous kohai training module, so you figured it would be nice to walk one of them home today. Of the two, Mirio was much more forgiving about being temporarily forgotten and wouldn't take it too personally. Therefore, you were now on your way to Fatgum's office. 'They have better food than Sir Nighteye anyway.'
Though it was an on-site day, Shouto had insisted to his father that you take the day off to recover from your former injuries (not to mention the newfound ones from the demonstration). He resolved that, if you needed any catching up on the week's activities, you were coming to dinner the following day anyways. Endeavor agreed, and you weren't surprised in the slightest. He was probably more than happy to have you out of the way. It gave him more time to spend training his son.
"Oh!" You were surprised to see both Tamaki and Mirio in the first floor cafeteria, as well as a familiar face next to them.
"Senpai, it's you!" The pointy redhead exclaimed.
"We haven't formally met. I'm Eijirou Kirishima. I'm doing my internship with Fatgum!"
"He forgot about me..." Tamaki mumbled quietly, but you heard it and smiled.
"And Amajiki-senpai!" He corrected himself.
"F/N L/N." You held out a hand to shake. "Nice to meet you."
"And you as well!"
"By the way, Mirio, what are you doing here?"
"I decided to stop by for some food. Looks like you had the same idea."
"Great minds think alike!" You said and suddenly felt the bubbly teen tap your shoulder.
"I forgot to tell you how freaking awesome you were in the exercise yesterday!"
"You too!" You also lit up with energy, suddenly recognizing him. "You were the only one that was able to withstand my electricity so easily! You must be really strong!"
"I try to be!" He clenched his fist, showing his quirk up close. "But a strong zap like that still hurt like the dickens!"
"You took it like a champ!" You weren't sure why, but you suddenly noticed you were yelling too. You had matched this sunny young man's energy level without knowing it, as if his vivacious spirit was infectious. Mirio seemed to be thoroughly entertained, smiling from ear to ear; but Tamaki looked mildly disturbed by this development.
"Thanks." He flashed a toothy grin and offered you a seat. "Have some pistachio mochi. That's your favorite isn't it?"
"Wow, yeah! And wait... how did you know that?" Your excitement morphed to confusion.
"Amajiki-senpai's told me all about you!" You saw Tamaki flinch in embarrassment, veiling his face with midnight locks of hair.
"All bad things, I'm sure." You jested with a laugh. The young hero joined in.
"N-no! Of course not!"
"So what brings you here?" He inquired, ignoring the ravenette's panicked outcry.
"Nothing special. Just thought I'd come visit since Endeavor gave me the day off."
"Isn't that nice, Amajiki-senpai? She came all this way just to see you!" Tamaki couldn't help but blush.
"I... hope I was worth the trouble..." His eyes that were glued to the table suddenly snapped up when he felt your hand rest atop his.
Embarrassed as he was, he couldn't fight it. No matter how much you joked with him, it was never long before you were able to coax a genuine smile from his lips. He sort of wondered if you possessed some invisible button that could enkindle the warmth inside his heart.
"Oh gee! I gotta run!" Kirishima said, suddenly breaking Tamaki from his inner thoughts.
"Already? Stick around and have some food with us first."
"I wish I could." He frowned longingly at the appetizing buffet before you. "But sensei has me doing patrols with another hero office." He shifted restlessly. "Man, its so boring. I want some real action! Like a cool heist or something!"
"I like your spirit!" Mirio guffawed.
"Fighting villains is dangerous." Tamaki replied solemnly. "Why would you want to put yourself at risk if you don't have to?"
"...I guess when you say it like that..." He scratched the back of his head, feeling like a total rookie.
"Don't worry, Kirishima. You'll get your chance to shine." You gave him an encouraging pat on the back.
"Thanks, senpai!" His jolly smile returned. "I'll do my best until then!" And with that, he disappeared from the room. A few moments of silence passed before Mirio weighed in.
"We're really going to miss you this weekend, F/N." He said with a wistful smile.
"Same. But this is such an exciting opportunity. I'm happy for you both."
Your friends, who were already becoming widely known as 'the big three' now, were selected to attend a weekend retreat with some of the faculty members, surely to hone their talents for greatness. However, it put a damper in your usual plans with them.
"I wish you could go with us." Amajiki's shoulders sank. "You deserve it more than I do..."
"As if! You beat me fair and square, Tamaki. I've always admired your perseverance and hard work."
"Couldn't have said it better myself!" Mirio gave him a jovial slap on the back and Tamaki gifted you a soft smile. "So what do you think of the new-hire?"
"Kohai is adorable!" You almost squealed at his eagerness and pure demeanor. Both Mirio and Tamaki felt a small torpedo strike to the gut. They wanted you to call them adorable too. "...What's wrong?" You asked, seeing their wrinkled downtrodden faces.
"Nothing!" Mirio piped up, a little too loudly. "Adorable is the word I would choose too!" You chuckled.
"You don't have to yell so much..." Tamaki mumbled upon noticing other people start to look in your direction. "So... F/N..." He looked up at you with lovely dark eyes. "Do you really think that I said bad things about you to Kirishima?"
"Oh, Tamaki!" You laughed, hardly able to believe that offhanded comment was still lingering in his mind. "Of course not!"
"B-because I erm- think very highly of you..." He blushed slightly. "And I h-hope you know I would never do that."
"Aw. Tamaki. You're even sweeter than the mochi you made." His eyes widened in panic.
"H-how'd you know I made it?!"
"Because it tastes amazing!"
CHAPTER 8: A DATE... OR THREE?
Midoriya couldn't help but wiggle in his seat in anticipation, awaiting the school bell to ring and end the day. He had something special tucked away for you in his All Might lunchbox, hoping it hadn't gotten too cold over the course of the day. After being so generous as to offer him your guidance, he couldn't help but want to repay you in some fashion.
Bakugou was having the opposite problem. After seeing you train Deku, he felt like he was owed something. He had been the one who challenged you one-on-one, and therefore should have earned your respect with his tenacity. At the very least, he deserved an explanation, and he was going to get it. Or one better, he would steal the metaphorical carpet of recognition right out from under that worthless nerd. There you were, standing at your locker. All he had to do was stroll up to you and-
"Senpai!" A familiar shrill sound made his lips curl in annoyance.
'The little shit ran right past me!'
"Hi there, Midoriya." You greeted.
"Did you have a nice day?" He asked, then suddenly realized he was awfully bad at small talk.
"Can't complain." You shrugged. "How was your day?"
"Oh. It was-"
"Hey!" A low lethal voice interrupted. You turned to see the same blonde from the exercise staring you down.
"Beat it, nerd. I wasn't talking to you." He rudely inserted himself into the small space between you and the green-eyed teen. "You." He almost growled. You opened your mouth to ask what he wanted but were immediately cut off. "I want a rematch!"
"You heard me! Just you and me! I'll beat you into the ground this time!"
A moment of silent eye contact passed as he impatiently awaited your response. Though his tone was threatening, you still couldn't help but notice the mischievous glint in his eye, just like the one before. It was almost as if he was more excited than enraged.
"I'll be more than happy to fight you again." You crossed your arms defiantly. "But are you sure you wouldn't rather train a little bit first? I only kicked your ass a few days ago." A sudden reverberation of metal echoed the hall as his hands slammed the locker on either side of your face, cornering you between his strong arms.
"Don't underestimate me." He brought his face close to yours, smirk playing at his features. And with that, he took his leave.
"Are you okay, senpai?!" Midoriya examined you delicately.
"Mhm." You narrowed your eyes, watching as the fiery boy walked away. 'What's his deal...'
"I'm so sorry about him. He's always been like that, ever since we were little kids."
"Don't apologize. It's not your fault he has a stick up his bum." Izuku giggled.
"So about our training today..." He began, and you winced. You actually had dinner plans with Shouto in a few hours and didn't want to look too gross or sweaty.
"I uh... forgot to tell you-"
"I brought you something."
"...Oh?" You watched as he fished through his oversized yellow book-bag.
"It's kind of a thanks for agreeing to help me train." He held up a tin, presumably filled with food. "I um... was h-hoping we could h-have a picnic? ...since it's really nice out today and it's a weekend and we haven't talked very much outside of training and stuff and..." You blinked at him and he started to panic, sweating from nervousness. "Or not! I mean... if you don't want-"
"Sure." Despite the upcoming meal with Shouto, you couldn't deny the doe-eyed sweet boy in front of you.
"R-really?! You want to?"
"I have an hour or so to kill. Let's go." He walked by your side out to the courtyard filled with an arrangement of various colored tulips. You found a perfect spot between the old stone bench and giant willow, a quite picturesque view, before opening Izuku's lunch tin. "Mmm... Smells good."
"I hope you like it." He wrung his hands in anticipation. "Oh. And there's some pistachio mochi in there too for dessert."
"Wow... Word gets around about what kind of sweets I like, huh..." You uttered quietly to yourself.
"Huh?" He tilted his head. "I'm not sure what you mean..."
"Not a thing." You waved a hand in a blasé fashion. "So you said you wanted to get to know me better, yes?"
"Oh, uh- yeah. If that isn't too much to ask. I wouldn't want to violate your privacy or anything like that..."
"No, I agree. I don't know much about you either. What do you say we play a game to break the ice?"
"Yep." You held up five fingers. "It's called: never have I ever."
"Oooh. I think I played this once in middle school. I was the only one with all my fingers left at the end of it." You smirked at his answer. You had figured as much.
"Okay. I'll start then. Hm... never have I ever... snuck out of my house."
"Me neither." He replied, leaving all five fingers up. "Okay. Uh... Never have I ever... missed an assignment."
"You got me there." You lowered a finger, pausing only to take another bite of Midoriya's delicious food. "Believe it or not, never have I ever had a pet named after a professional hero." You watched as he lowered his pinky finger. "Oh yeah? What was its name?"
"Uh... when I was a kid, I named my dog Small Might..."
Before you had a chance to stop yourself, you laughed aloud.
"I was FIVE!" He shrieked in embarrassment, which only made you cackle harder.
"Don't feel bad. I think that's super clever. Wish I'd thought of it." The crease in his brow eased and he smiled. "It's official. Midoriya, let's go get me a hamster so I can name it Small Might the Second." His musical giggle filled your ears once more.
"Uh... never have I ever been in a talent show."
"Really?" your jaw dropped. "With those drawings of yours I figured you had done some kind of art show at least." He blushed from the compliment. "Okay..." You decided to kick it up a notch and get personal. "Never have I ever... gone all the way." Midoriya blinked at you and were certain you'd just taken a big step too far.
"...all the way to where, senpai?"
"..." You realized that there were few people in this world who could rival the purity of the boy sitting in front of you, whose mouth was now pressed into a confused line. "Uhm... Africa?" You made up a random place, hoping to preserve his innocence a bit longer.
"What would make you think I had ever been to Africa, senpai?"
"Oh... uhm... no reason I guess..." You chewed your bottom lip apprehensively before hearing the courtyard bell tolling. "Oh!" You jumped up abruptly. "I'm sorry to run out on you like this, but I did have plans..."
"No, it's fine. I hope you enjoyed the food."
"It was great! See you Monday to train!" You hollered as you sprinted around the corner into the twilight. You hoped against hope that you wouldn't be late for your dinner with Shouto. He would be gracious, of course, but his father on the other hand... Lets just say he has very little tolerance for rudeness. This mere thought made you quicken your pace. After finally arriving, you had to stop and marvel at the gargantuan mansion before traipsing up the cobblestone entryway. A lush garden of bonsai trees greeted you, veiling a small trail to a steamy little pool of water. 'Holy crap, he has his own hot spring?!' Your mouth fell open. On the other side nested a quaint little garden filled with various butterflies. You couldn't help but instantly be reminded of Tamaki. Your eyes widened when a familiar one glided by, lavender pigment shining off its wings. It was Tamaki's favorite... recently. (He had many different ones strike his fancy over the years and he made sure to always tell you when he'd found a new one.) You simply had to get a picture and send it to him.
You sighed in frustration as you clambered through the garden, careful not to step on any delicate flowers. But every time you got close, it would startle and flutter away. So this time you decided to sneak up, creeping slowly through the bush.
"Lampides boeticus... I got you now..."
"What are you doing?" The undeniable low gruffness of Endeavor's voice struck the tranquility right out of you.
"Uh-uhm..." You chuckled nervously, realizing how awkward this must have appeared. Here you were, late to dinner, pretty much sandwiched between two fluffy hedges in your host's garden. "I uh... saw a butterfly and wanted to take a picture." He raised a judgemental fiery eyebrow at you. "It's for Suneater. I thought he might like it..."
"Ah. For one of the top hero students, eh?" His lips curled in a disgusted scowl. "He's the one you lost to. Why would you befriend a rival when you should be striving to surpass him?!"
"That's enough, dad." You sighed in relief when Shouto appeared, clearly an angel come to your rescue. You pocketed your phone, and the split-haired boy pulled you by the hand from the underbrush. "You have a little..."
"Oh!" You frantically raked your fingers through your hair, watching little flecks of debris and leaves fall to the ground. "I'm really sorry. I got distracted earlier and I probably look really messy."
I think a few leaves adds some character." He said smoothly, leading you inside. The layout was very traditional, yet had a glowing grandeur lingering beneath its dark wood floors and bamboo doors.
"Wow..." You couldn't help but ogle the tremendous spread of food on the dining room table.
"I wasn't sure what to have made for you." Shouto admitted quietly. "So pick what you like."
"This is all too generous of you..." Your already-full stomach churned with dread. It all looked so delicious, yet after all of Midoriya's food, you couldn't fathom eating another bite. You took a very small plate, filling it with light foods only, careful to avoid the hearty meat and rice dishes. When he tilted his head at you, you replied with, "I'll come back for seconds..."
"Whatever you wish." He gestured you out another door onto the quiet secluded patio." The steam from the hot spring warmed your face as a gentle breeze blew.
"You have a beautiful home."
"House." He corrected. "It's not much of a home. But thank you." He pulled out your chair, allowing you to dine with just him and not the rest of his family as you had anticipated.
"Well it's gotta be hard to get lonely with your siblings around, and a father that's so... so uh..."
"...I was going to say 'gung-ho.'" You chuckled, worried he might be in earshot of this conversation. A smile clambered up Shouto's handsome features. It would have been much easier to enjoy his company had you not been mentally struggling to find a way to not eat the food in front of you. Then an idea came. "It's so pretty out here." You gushed once more. "I feel like I'm in a scene from a movie."
"I'm glad you find it so inviting."
"I just feel like I should be feeding you grapes or something." He looked a bit taken aback by that statement and you felt that reaction was justified. That was quite a leap in logic even by your ridiculous standards. "Say aah." You held up some fruit on your plate and he let hesitantly it slip past his lips. Luckily he had fallen for it, this clever scheme to pawn off your food.
"Ah..." Suddenly you felt his hand delicately caress your skin.
"Oh, that?" You noticed his tender examination of your arm before you shrugged it off. "Don't worry about that."
"That's where I burned you in the exercise, isn't it..."
"I mean... well..."
"I'm an idiot. If I had better control of my quirk, I would never have injured you."
"Injured is a strong word-"
"It extends all the way down to your hand..."
"Hand-crusher!" You grinned in jest. Midoriya had told you about Todoroki's ongoing joke of injuring people's hands and you thought it was terribly humorous to be in on it. His eyes suddenly grew wider than you'd ever seen them.
"It's a curse..."
"I'm kidding, Shouto."
"Oh... Mmf-" You shoved another piece of food into his mouth, grinning slyly until he finally chuckled.
"Man..." You sighed, overlooking the serene hot spring. "That looks so refreshing after a long day. If I had brought my bathing suit I would have asked you to let me take a dip."
"You don't need a bathing suit." He said simply and you turned bright red.
"Shouto! You cant just say things like that! It's extremely suggestive!"
"...What's suggestive about a bath?" He asked, heterochromic eyes untainted by any trace of mischief.
"..." You fell speechless. It seemed that, just like Midoriya, any subtle nuances were lost on him. You even dared to think you'd have better luck with Bakugou in that regard. "Er... nothing I guess..." You finally managed to squeak out.
"May I?" He swirled a strawberry in a creamy vanilla anglaise before holding it up to you. You opened your mouth to welcome the sweet treat, accidentally licking his fingertip to get the last taste of warm sugar.
"Would you... like another?" His cheeks dusted a light shade of pink.
"Actually... I'm kind of full..." You admitted.
"Already? ...You really do eat like a lady."
'Boy, is he in for an unpleasant surprise later...'