The smell of herbal incense and warm salt water permeated the air as the group checked into the onsen. Jiro looked around the traditional inn with some reverence, glad to be here for the next few days. Ashido called her over back to the corner where she, Koda, and Todoroki were standing. The hostess soon led the four to their adjoined rooms and common area suite, then directed them to where the baths were before leaving them to their own devices.
Ashido dropped her bag haphazardly into a corner and pulled out her bathing supplies almost immediately. “Let's hurry up! I wanna hop in the salt baths here!”
Koda let out a huff of a laugh as Todoroki told her to “wait a minute” while they all got their things situated. Jiro smiled and placed her bag in the closet and pulled out her bathing supplies as well. The two men went into the adjoining room to put their things away while Ashido impatiently waited in the suite's common area.
Once everyone had their things, the pink hero led the way to the baths. The four split up by gender to the showering area, promising to meet up in the co-ed baths. Jiro took her time showering, while Ashido hurriedly scrubbed herself raw she was so eager to see the baths. The earphone jack hero just laughed as Ashido’s impatience led to consistent slips and drops of her various bathing supplies. Once clean, the two went to the open-air bathing section where Todoroki and Koda were already soaking in one of the salt baths.
Not even bothering with wrapping herself in a towel, Ashido rushed to lower herself into the bath. A loud and satisfied groan left the pink woman as the heat of the bath wrapped around her. Almost the antithesis to Ashido's antics, Jiro slowly lowered herself into the bath while being mindful of the towel she wrapped around herself to preserve her modesty.
The four friends sat in silence for a time just enjoying the tranquility of the moment.
It was about 10 minutes later when Jiro spoke up. “We definitely need to thank your dad for this trip when we get back, Todoroki-kun.” The hot-cold user just snorted in response, not wanting to break the trance he had fell into by speaking. “I'm serious! If he hadn't offered this to us, I'd probably be back at the office pushing reports with a stiff neck.”
“Agreed!” Ashido sighed, “I don't know about you, but the longer I don't have to report in on that mission the better. We fought hard and deserve this.” Koda nodded from his spot next to Todoroki, not even bothering to lift his hands from the water to sign out a reply.
“Thank him all you want,” Todoroki huffed, “He's just trying to--”
“Oh my god, then let him suck up, Sho-chan,” Ashido groaned. “Reap the benefits! I know I am!” She sank further under the water as if to prove her point, now only her neck and head visible in the heavily herbaceous water.
“Mina--” Koda tapped on Todoroki's shoulder to get his attention before signing to just ‘let it go.’ With a sigh, Todoroki dipped his head under the water for a moment as if to dismiss the conversation. Koda just shook his head at his friend's irritation before looking up past the inn border and letting out a small hum.
Ashido pulled herself upright as several small black and white birds flew into the area to interact with their shy hero friend. A few settled on a nearby tree as a couple decided to join the group in the bath and one perched itself on Koda's shoulder. The Anima hero's humming continued, the birds slowly joining in with their own chirps keeping in tune with him.
The other three heroes smiled softly as the melody carried throughout the bathing area, entertaining several other patrons nearby as well. Unable to help herself, Jiro slowly joined Koda in tune the two easily falling into harmony with one another. The entire bath seemed to fall under the melodic spell, the area deadly quiet so as to savor the music.
Jiro lost herself to the tune, barely noticing when Koda slowly slipped from the melody to enjoy her voice in harmony with their new fowl friends. Ashido scooted closer to Jiro and rested her head on her friend's shoulder, letting the feeling of her song lull her. Todoroki and Koda seemed content to just listen as well as Jiro sang her fill.
As the melody came to a soft close, Jiro couldn't stop the smile that formed as she finished. The birds seemed to ignite to life and flew around the group, chirping happily at the chance to share their song with them. Koda whispered to them a thanks as they flew off, before several other bath patrons erupted in a small applause.
Catching the quartet off guard, they all jumped in shock from the immediate attention. Jiro and Koda’s blushes set off a fit of laughs from Ashido as she stood to offer the two of them a curtain call. Jiro tugged the pink woman back into the water, her face in flames. “Stop it, Mina-chan!”
Ashido just laughed it off, “oh come on , Kyoka-chan! You two don't get to pull the Disney Princess™ routine and not get to address your adoring public!”
Koda just sank further into the water, avoiding all the extra attention. He had just wanted his friends to relax! Todoroki patted him on the shoulder before thanking the people around them and effectively dismissing them. Koda gratefully signed him a ‘thank you.’
Ashido pouted before settling back into the water and resting her head back on Jiro's shoulder. “Party poopers.”
“Rabble rouser.” Jiro shot back unapologetically, causing the two of them to fall into giggles.
“Shall we head back?” Todoroki piqued up, “I don't like to prune and could use some food.” With three forms of affirmation, the group rose and headed to their respective sides to dry off and meet back at their suite.
Ashido fell onto her back, stomach happily sated and more than a couple shots of sake in her system. Todoroki leaned back against the wall,hiking his knee up and resting an arm upon it careful not to flash the women in front of him. “It's been so long since I've had a meal that good!” Ashido squealed, turning on her side to hug Jiro as she was finishing off her food.
Koda nodded in agreement, pouring Jiro and himself another shot of sake. “Same,” Todoroki chimed in, “I was even a bit jealous of Koda-san's entree. What was it called again?”
‘Eggplant teriyaki,’ Koda happily signed. ‘I am surprised Ashido-san didn't sneak food from me like usual.’
At Todoroki's chuckle, Ashido raised her head from Jiro's lap to look at Koda over their plates. “What did you say, you little punk?”
Koda and Todoroki laughed as Koda signed, ‘nothing, Ashido-san. You are forever a delight.’
“Damn right I am!” Ashido huffed before nuzzling herself back against Jiro. Jiro glanced down at the pink woman in her lap, shocked at all the skinship she had been initiating.
“You're awfully clingy today, Mina-chan.”
Ashido just snickered and hugged Jiro tighter around her waist, “of course I am! We never hang out enough! I'm stocking up on my Kyoka reserves!” She glared in Todoroki's direction, hearing a snort come from him. “Don't be jealous, Sho-chan! You're next!”
“I'll pass,” Todoroki said as he received another shot of sake from Koda. “I'm still getting questionable looks from Endeavor’s associates the last time you clung to me at the office.”
Ashido waved him off, “oh please! All those guys know we're as compatible as oil and water.”
“And yet, my father still likes you,” He cringed, “can't understand why, though.”
“Because I'm a ray of fucking sunshine!” She grinned up at him. The four of them laughed at Ashido's confidence.
Jiro downed the last bit of her sake, free hand unconsciously moving to stroke Ashido's hair. “Ah, the joys of fathers in denial. You would think he'd give up on you being with a woman by now.”
“Especially since you've been eyeing another piece of ass for nearly seven years,” Ashido snickered earning a rather icy look from Todoroki. “Oh come off it, Sho-chan. You really need to either confess or move on.”
Todoroki threw back another shot before mumbling, “think I haven't tried…?” The other three just groaned. “What?”
“You haven't tried at all!” Ashido hissed, “You've been pining for his stupid ass since our first year!” Todoroki nearly choked on his own spit.
“I have not!” Ashido snorted. “I haven't! I didn't even realize I liked him until--”
“He asked Uraraka out in our second year.” Jiro interrupted, shooting him a look over her shot glass. “And with your brilliant revelation, you've been miserable ever since.”
Todoroki's responding glare was as cold as his quirk. “I don't need to hear that from you, Jiro-san.” Jiro's eyebrows shot up into her bangs.
Ashido huffed and readjusted herself so she was practically laying in Jiro's lap. “Don't tell me you've been falling for that stupid shit that's been buzzing around? You know Kyoka-chan better than that.”
Jiro looked at Ashido mortified, “so it's true…? Everyone really thinks that…” Ashido patted her head, cutting off that train of thought.
“Don't let it worry you. We all know Kaminari is a tool, but you gotta be blind not see that he's your biggest supporter.” Ashido glared at Todoroki before continuing. “Besides, the people who care know you two better than that.”
The hot-cold user had the decency to look apologetic. His eyes cast down as he sighed, “she's right. Sorry.”
“Jiro has better taste than that anyway,” Ashido snickered. Jiro agreed, causing the two men to laugh in response. A comfortable silence fell over the group as the sake settled, a collective warmth spread through the room.
After a few minutes, Koda stood up and bid the others a goodnight. Ashido gave a lazy protest but otherwise let her friend retire in peace. Todoroki was still leaning against the wall, his eyes closed contentedly. Jiro lay fully on her back, Ashido still in her lap. The pink woman smiled down at her reverently, a slight blush on her cheeks due to the sake.
Jiro's eyebrow rose inquisitively, knowing Ashido always had some remark or another whenever that look crossed her face. “What?”
Ashido shook her head, the smile still plastered on her face. “Nothing. I'm just glad you were able to join us. You've been out if sorts lately.”
“For fuck’s sake, Mina,” Todoroki groaned as he stood slowly careful not to flash them while wearing his yukata. “You're gonna make me sick with your hypocrisy.” Jiro blinked in confusion, especially when Ashido bolted out of her lap in anger.
“Hey, you promised to keep your trap shut!” Ashido sneered.
“That was before I had to put up with you clinging to her all day, practically begging her to--”
“Fine,” Todoroki stormed out of the room without so much as a good night. That left the two woman alone with a very tense air around them that Jiro was sure she didn't want to navigate.
After a beat, Ashido sighed and sat back down next to Jiro. “Sorry. I didn't mean to ruin the mood.” Still a bit confused by the whirlwind of emotions that just passed, Jiro just shook her head. It wasn't her business to pry. “I just...I heard from Kirishima about how stressed you've been lately. I didn't mean…”
“It's ok,” Jiro smiled at her, “I'm glad you care. That stupid rumor only started because me and Denki have no boundaries--”
“That shouldn't matter.” Ashido gave her a serious look, one Jiro only really saw when the woman was hyper focused. “We have been in each other's lives for years. We're not teenagers anymore, ya know? No one cared when Bakugo and Kirishima hooked up, or even Uraraka and--”
“But none of them were viewed as the side chick,” Jiro laughed. It was a hollow sound that really set Ashido on edge. The earphone jack hero was many things, but self-deprecating wasn't one of them. To see her suffering, albeit subtly, made Ashido's skin boil.
“Anyone who thinks you'd be fine with being someone's number two, obviously doesn't know you,” Ashido huffed. “You're a badass bitch and everyone fucking knows it.” Jiro laughed at the certainty behind the words.
“Thanks? I know my worth, Mina-chan. I'm just going through some stupid revelation because of this rumor.” Jiro frowned, more pissed at the situation than herself. “Did you know Mashirao-san was insecure because of my friendship with Denki? I mean, I know I'm dense but I thought he understood how me and Denki's friendship worked. It's been like this since high school.”
Ashido snickered, “yeah, you two are about as tight as Midoriya and Iida. Best buds for life and all that shit.”
“Exactly! Kind of like how you and Todoroki-kun are now--”
“Whoa,” Ashido interjected, “I'm more like Sho-chan’s life coach. His gateway to all things gay!” Jiro snorted. “I'm serious! He's hopeless! He has no idea how to get a date!”
“And you do?” Jiro's eyebrow rose in judgement.
Leaning back on her hands to cross her legs and puffing her chest out, Ashido gave Jiro a sultry look. The posture accentuating every curve hidden by her yukata, Jiro could only assume the pink woman had perfected the pose to lure in whatever woman she set her eyes on. “Kyoka-chan, I have literally mastered the art of seduction. Women have stood in line to get a chance with me.”
Ashido’s stare was so intense, Jiro felt her mouth go dry. Swallowing to try and hide it, she averted her eyes slightly to stare at something over Ashido's shoulder. Taking pity on the woman, Ashido straightened her posture into a more conservative one and her smile returned to its previously innocent undertone. “I use discretion, of course. I haven't really been one for quick hookups these past couple months. Especially since I have to be a good role model for Sho-chan. Gotta walk the walk, you know?”
Jiro blinked, taken aback by the sudden change in atmosphere. She forgot how easily Ashido could steer a conversation in any direction she chose. It was no wonder she was one of the top interrogators in the country at 23 years old. “Then why did Todoroki-kun call you a hypocrite if you ‘walk the walk’?”
The smile fell from Ashido's face so fast, Jiro wondered if she had crossed a line. The pink woman just leaned back on her hands again and sighed. “Because I am, I guess?” Jiro hadn't expected the admission of guilt. “I give him shit for being so hung up on his crush, but I guess I'm no better? I tend to hop from crush to crush so quickly that I forget how transparent I am to him. Comes with the best friend territory, I guess.”
“I totally get that,” Jiro smiled, “Denki has been my wingman so much, I outta start paying him officially as my matchmaker. I just feel bad his efforts go to waste majority of the time.”
“Maybe you should date someone he hasn't set you up with, then?”
Jiro shrugged, “not a bad idea, I guess, but with my schedule it's hard to meet people.”
Ashido turned to Jiro fully, her eyes set on the woman in front of her. “Why not give someone you know a shot, then?” Jiro looked at her, then. “There are a ton of people around you who would love to date you, Kyoka-chan.” Jiro snorted in response. “Seriously! You're a catch!”
“Tell that to the line of people who have dumped me in the last five years,” Jiro sneered.
“They were idiots. Ojiro, too.”
“Then who, pray tell, would you consider worthy enough to date--”
Jiro stopped mid-sentence, her mouth agape. Did Ashido just…?
Ashido shot up and pushed Jiro into an open sitting position before straddling the shocked woman, practically rendering her mute at the action. “Date me. Fuck me. Court me. Or whatever stupid lame trendy shit people are calling it right now.” Jiro's eyes were locked on hers, but the surge of red covering Ashido's face didn't escape her notice.
The acid user was being serious. She was asking Jiro out. It was crass and way too forward, but it was exactly how Jiro pictured Ashido asking someone out. She just never expected it to be directed at her. This strong, self-reliant, loud, clingy, energetic woman was interested in starting a relationship with her…and Jiro was just sitting there like a statue while said woman was in her lap waiting for a response.
The smile that lit up Ashido's face was one that took Jiro's breath away. She never even knew Ashido could look so happy. Before her brain could reboot from seeing that smile, Ashido slipped her hands up Jiro's neck and pulled her in. Slow and hesitant lips met Jiro's, as if waiting for permission. At the contact, though, Jiro's brain seemed to spring back to life.
Resting her hands on Ashido's waist, Jiro took control of the kiss almost effortlessly. Ashido happily went along for the ride, afraid to push for more. Jiro was shocked with herself, to say the least. One minute she was talking about her woes, the next she was tugging on Ashido's lips savoring the residual taste of sake that lingered between them.
Ashido moaned as Jiro pulled away, her hands still resting on the pink woman's hips. A smile on each of their faces as they caught their breath. “Ok, that was definitely better than anything my lame imagination has been thinking up for the last couple months.” Jiro snorted, a fit of laughter easily pulled from her at the comment. Ashido pulled her in so they could rest their foreheads against one another. “Sorry I sprung that on you.”
Jiro shook her head, the smile still plastered on her face. “No I...I'm glad you did. I'm just shocked? You never seemed interested…”
Ashido huffed out a small laugh, her thumbs brushing softly against Jiro's ear jacks. “You're as dense as Kaminari, you know? I've been dropping hints for months. I just didn't want to jump your pants right after you and Ojiro broke up. Kind of a dick move if I did.”
“Just a little.” Jiro leaned in for another quick kiss. “Thanks for showing some restraint.”
“The most restraint!” Ashido whined. Moving her hands from Jiro's neck to her shoulders, Ashido smiled at her. “Thanks...for that. For giving me a shot, you know?”
Jiro smirked, “as long as you're a bit patient with me.”
Todoroki walked into the common room of the suite with a loud yawn, Koda following behind. The hot-cold hero dropped himself down by the back wall on one of the seating cushions as Koda signed to him that he would request breakfast be sent up.
Waving his friend off, Todoroki sighed and looked around the room. It had been cleaned up sometime during the night, all the dinner trays gone and any evidence of the groups inebriated state was erased from the room. Satisfied with the cleanliness of the room, Todoroki leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes in relaxation.
Not long after he had gotten comfortable, though, did Ashido walk into the room her hair and yukata disheveled. She yawned loudly, running her hand through her hair as she took a seat on one of the cushions near Todoroki. “Good morning…”
Opening his eyes to look at his friend, Todoroki reciprocated the greeting while taking in Ashido’s half awake state. The woman honestly didn’t care about her appearance as she sat cross-legged on the cushion, flashing all sorts of leg, and the top of her yukata was barely covering the necessary areas. Just how did this woman function without him, he’ll never know.
As he rose from his seat, Jiro entered the room as well--looking a lot more put together, much to Todoroki’s gratitude. “Mina, your yuka--”
“Mina-chan,” Jiro huffed as she plopped down next to the pink woman, accidentally cutting Todoroki off. “You didn’t fix your yukata. What if Koda-kun saw?” Methodically, Jiro fixed the top of Ashido’s yukata and patted her on the thigh until she straightened her sitting posture so Jiro could adjust the bottom as well.
Still half asleep, Ashido leaned against Jiro’s shoulder as she fixed her up. “He’s not here. You should be happy I put it back on at all, Kyoka-chan.” Todoroki’s eyebrows shot up in shock as Jiro’s face blew up in flames.
“M-Mina-chan!” Jiro hissed, “for fuck’s sake!”
Regaining his composure, Todoroki coughed to get their attention. “So...uh, I take it Mina talked to you last night after I left.”
“You bet your ass I did!” Ashido hollered, causing Jiro to hush her in warning. “Can you believe she said yes? I got myself a girlfriend last night, Sho-chan, what did you do?”
Jiro hid her face in Ashido’s shoulder, her face entirely red. “Shut up, Mina-chan! You act like we did something--”
“Your tongue down my throat doesn’t count as--”
“NO, it doesn’t!” Jiro clamped her hand over the pink woman’s mouth to stop any other vulgar misunderstandings. “Mina-chan confessed, and we stayed up talking. That’s all . Goddammit, Ashido!”
Todoroki’s laughter caught the two women off guard. He was still standing in front of them, ready to help Ashido, bent over in half laughing uncontrollably. Ashido hadn’t heard him laugh like that in months. She pulled Jiro’s hand away from her mouth, giving her wrist a quick peck, before standing up and waiting for Todoroki’s laughter to die down.
“If you’re done laughing my expense, Sho-chan, we have to find breakfast.” Todoroki straightened himself and rested a hand on Ashido’s shoulder.
“Koda’s on it, but wow.” A smile was so ingrained on his face, you’d think it was his natural state. “I get it. You’ve shown me up. I’ll tell him.” Ashido’s face lit up in relief. “I’m glad Jiro-san reciprocated your feelings. Now keep any and all sexcapades between you two?”
Ashido snorted, waving off his request, “As if. I will need to brag about Kyoka-chan’s prowess.”
“How about you don’t?”
Jiro and Todoroki snickered at their simultaneous responses, leaving Ashido feeling affronted. Jiro kissed her cheek before standing up and straightening her yukata.
“I'll see where Koda has gone and we can eat before doing some sightseeing?” She smirked, “it'll give Mina-chan some time to get her dirty mind out of the gutter.”
Todoroki snorted, settling back into his previous seat against the wall. “Impossible for her, but food sounds amazing.”
Ashido huffed at the mocking, but smiled at Jiro in appreciation. No matter how much teasing was tossed her way today, nothing could get her off cloud nine. Seeing Jiro return the smile only made her think that the raven haired woman felt the same.