It was a Wednesday, it was cloudy, and rain was falling over Musutafu while she waited for the bus. She wished she’d thought to wear a coat or bring an umbrella, but the rain had started just as she arrived at the bus stop. It was soaking into her sweater and chilling her down to her bones. She tucked her hands into her armpits, ducking her head and shifting impatiently from foot to foot.
Suddenly, the rain drumming against the back of her skull ceased. She looked up to see that the man standing next to her had extended his umbrella over her head.
“Oh! Thank you, sir!” she said, straightening up and looking him over, paying attention to him for the first time since she didn’t have to blink raindrops out of her eyes anymore.
It was the blood that caught Himiko’s attention. The man standing next to her was holding the umbrella over her head with one hand and a handkerchief painted red with splattered blood in the other. He was rake-thin and pale, with sunken eyes and a ratty, windblown nest of yellow hair.
“No problem,” the man was saying as she looked up at him. “I just-“
Because she was focused on the bloody handkerchief, she didn’t see the moment that the man’s bright blue gaze fell on her face, his eyes widening in recognition. She did, however, see the full-body start of surprise that jolted his frame, and the subsequent coughing fit that nearly bent him double.
“Are you okay, mister?” Himiko asked, surprised, tilting her head back to better see the man. He was really tall.
“I’m fi-“ the man started, before immediately contradicting himself with another wracking cough.
“You don’t sound fine.”
“I am, really,” the man said, still sounding decidedly Not Fine. His breath was wheezing hoarsely in his throat. “It’s this weather, I swear.”
“Are you sick?” Himiko pressed, wide-eyed and intrigued. He sure looked sick.
“Ah, not- not really,” the man said, grimacing. “I just have a… medical condition. I’m sorry, young lady, you look familiar to me. What’s your name?”
“I’m Himiko!” Himiko chirped happily. “I don’t think we’ve met! I think I’d remember somebody who looked like you.”
For some reason, that made the man smile a little. It was a bemused expression. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. I… must’ve been thinking about someone else. I’m Toshinori Yagi, by the way. So, are you… uh, where are you headed to, Himiko?”
“Just to go have fun with some friends!” she said. Technically, it wasn’t even a lie! Sure, her friends didn’t know she was going to spend time with them, and really they weren’t actually her friends, and really, she was going to be having a lot more fun than they were, but! It still counted! “What about you, Mr. Yagi?”
“Hm? Oh- I’m going to work.”
“Where do you work?” Himiko asked, wondering where he could be spending his time that wasn’t the hospital. He really did look unhealthy.
“Uh. I’m a secretary. At- um, at Sir Nighteye’s hero agency,” Mr. Yagi said, rubbing the back of his skeletal neck with one hand and looking down at the wet pavement.
“Oh.” Himiko’s voice went flat with disappointment before she made a forced effort to inject cheer and enthusiasm back into it. Boo. She liked Mr. Yagi. “So, you… must like heroes, then. What’s your quirk?”
Mr. Yagi inhaled slowly. Himiko wasn’t sure, but she thought he sounded almost embarrassed. “Actually… I’m quirkless.”
And just like that, interest entered Himiko’s voice once again.
“You are? But… then why do you work at a hero agency? Isn’t that, you know… dangerous?”
He shrugged, a movement that looked dramatic on his clotheshanger frame. “I just like helping people, and since I can’t… be a hero, I try to do that however I can.”
Toga nodded, chewing on a corner of her lip for a moment, mulling the words over before smiling up at her new friend. “Well, I think you’d be a great hero, Mr. Yagi!”
That startled a laugh out of him, which quickly turned into another cough, but when he wiped the blood away from his mouth, he was still smiling down at her. “...thanks, kid.”
They lapsed into a vaguely comfortable silence for a few minutes, broken only by Mr. Yagi’s coughs and the splattering of the rain against the sidewalk and their shared umbrella. There was still no sign of the bus and Toga was starting to suspect that the weather had ruined her fun day out anyways. Nobody was going to go to the outdoor mall when it was raining like this.
Mr. Yagi checked his phone and muttered something low and angry in English.
“What? What is it?” Himiko asked, straining as she tried to read the screen.
He shook his head. “They’re saying all the buses are gonna be at least a half hour delayed now, since the streets are so bad.”
“Oh,” Himiko said, frowning. It wasn’t terrible news for her, just confirmation that she wouldn’t be able to go through with her original plans, like she’d already started to expect. She’d just have to go back to the bar and try another day, which wasn’t so bad. It was within walking distance. But…
But she felt bad at the idea of leaving Mr. Yagi standing alone in the rain for another half hour. Really bad. Even if he wasn’t sick, he definitely wasn’t well. And hadn’t he said that the weather was making it worse?
“My day out is probably ruined,” Toga decided out loud. “I’m just gonna go back to my friend’s place. Do you wanna come, Mr. Yagi?”
Mr. Yagi coughed another surprised mouthful of blood into his handkerchief. “What?”
“My friends have a place not far from here! If you want, you could wait for the bus there? You were so nice to let me use your umbrella! I feel bad about just leaving you in the rain.”
Mr. Yagi visibly wavered for a moment, then seemed to come to a decision, nodding to himself. “You know what? That would be great, kid.”
“Yay!” Himiko cheered. “Come on! This way!”
So her day out had been a bust. But at least she’d made a new friend! As she walked down the sidewalk with Mr. Yagi holding the umbrella over their heads, chatting away about her friends in response to his curious inquiries, jumping in puddles as he watched with what she was pretty sure was fondness, she couldn’t bring herself to regret the trade.
You could have heard a pin drop when Toga pranced back into the hideout with Mr. Yagi trailing sheepishly behind her, ducking to get through the low doorway. Every pair of eyes in the room turned toward them while he struggled to close the sodden umbrella.
Luckily, Muscular wasn’t there. Toga didn’t like him much. Neither was Moonfish, but since he spent most of his time out ‘hunting’, that wasn’t surprising. She didn’t see Magne, Mustard, or Twice either. But Kurogiri was polishing glasses behind the bar while Shigaraki perched on one of the stools. Beside him, Compress was practicing card tricks on the lacquered wood. Dabi was leaning against one of the back walls and Spinner was sharpening one of his many swords. He fumbled it when they entered, nicking his thumb and swearing.
“I made a new friend!” Himiko exclaimed. Wilfully ignoring the sudden tension that had filled the air, she flapped her hands excitedly. “This is Mr. Yagi. He’s really nice!”
Toshinori was rubbing the back of his neck again. “Er. Hello. I’m sorry, am I… intruding?”
“Yes,” Shigaraki hissed.
Toga pouted. “Don’t be rude, Shiggy!” she whined.
At the same time, Kurogiri said, “Shigaraki Tomura, we have a guest.”
Shigaraki folded his arms sulkily and fell, grumbling, into silence, his chapped mouth twisting unpleasantly beneath the disembodied hand he wore on his face. Dabi’s disinterested gaze dropped back to his phone. Spinner pulled his bloody thumb out of his mouth and went back to sharpening his sword.
And then the entire room snapped back to high alert with Mr. Yagi’s next words.
“If you’re worried I’ll report you to the authorities, I won’t,” he said, his voice admirably even despite every gaze that had begun to drift away from him abruptly swinging back, wary and threatening.
Kurogiri was the one who took charge of the situation, his voice deceptively calm. “Why would we be worried about that?”
Mr. Yagi shrugged, leaning back against the wall a little. “I mean. You’re villains, right?” He didn’t look concerned. Himiko’s head was swiveling back and forth, following the thread of the conversation. Or was it a confrontation?
Kurogiri preemptively laid a restraining hand on Shigaraki’s shoulder, who looked like he was two seconds away from either lunging at him or lapsing into a shitfit. “We are,” he confirmed. “May I ask what brought you to that conclusion, and why you say you are willing to conceal us?”
Mr. Yagi shrugged again. “I watch the news. And… well, it’s like I told Himiko over there earlier,” he said, hooking a thumb towards Himiko, who perked up at being mentioned. “I like to help people. No matter what they do.”
“Yeah!” Himiko chimed in, trying to be helpful. “Mr. Yagi is really nice! He gave me his umbrella when we got caught in the rain.”
Kurogiri looked at Mr. Yagi through cautiously narrowed yellow eyes for what felt like a long time before he nodded once, inclining his misty head respectfully. “Very well.”
With that declaration, it was like a string was cut, allowing the tense silence to flee the room like air from a balloon. Toga could have sighed with relief. So she did. She might not have been a member of the League for long, but she knew that if Kurogiri said that Mr. Yagi was okay, then he had to be, and that was good because she really liked Mr. Yagi! And now they wouldn’t need to kill him!
Mr. Yagi checked his watch and jolted back to his feet. “Oh, my bus should be here soon. But… here.” He grabbed a napkin off the nearest table and scribbled a number onto it in sharp, messy handwriting. “If any of you ever need… medical care, or anything. Call me.”