Midoriya practically skips to his usual table. Aside from getting his favorite meal, katsudon, he recently figured out a way to make recipro burst less painful to Iida and is excited to share his findings. That diagram Iida gave him really helped. He wonders if the only fuel Iida can use is orange juice, how does he know? Do all members of the Ingenium family use orange juice? Have they tried-
Oh. The table’s full.
Uraraka is talking animatedly with the other girls and everyone seems enraptured with her story. If the way she is stage whispering and practically jumping out of her seat is any indication, it’s an interesting one.
It would be rude to interrupt.
It would be awkward to sit on a full booth.
Its lunchtime at Aldera Junior High. He has to get his lunch ticket. He woke up too late to eat breakfast and he won’t have the energy to listen to any lectures if he skips two meals. He has to.
He waits in line and he hopes his plain face will help hide him. He is standing behind someone two years younger than him. They won’t know how pathetic he is. Just wait for it. The line is slow but it is moving.
He slips 500 yen in and gets a katsudon ticket. It isn’t as good as his mom’s but it’s still katsudon. He’s safe, no one has noticed him.
He goes up to the counter and hands the cook the ticket. He gives a small smile. He hopes it doesn’t look as shaky as it feels.
Soon, he gets his bowl. Oh no.
No no no.
He looks around. Most other tables are full. The only ones that aren’t are with kids he doesn’t know or Kacchan’s group.
For some reason he feels tears prickle behind his eyes. This feels familiar. He feels like everyone is looking at the weird green haired kid just standing in the middle of the cafeteria.
“Hey Deku, let me help you with that.” The boy walking up to him sneers.
“Oh, uh, that’s, I mean, that’s okay,” He stutters. “No need.”
Not that he expects anything else, but the boy doesn’t listen. He forcefully grabs his tray and dumps it out onto the floor, handing back the empty dishware.
“Oh, what a shame, better clean that up Deku.” He says with a monotone voice. The boy then walks away to join Kacchan.
He hopes he has more yen with him.
A teacher comes up, shouting. “Hey! Mop that mess. It’s not good to waste food, ya know.”
But he didn’t do anything.
“Can you hear me? Clean that up.”
“It, uh, it wasn’t my fault, sir.”
“Blaming others now, huh? There’s a mop by the kitchen door.” The teacher grabs him by the shoulder as he guides him to the place. He may be quirkless but he knows how to walk. The touch feels like shame.
He quickly eats as big a bite as he can and puts the rest of his meal on the rack. He feels sorry to Lunch Rush, the katsudon really was good.
He goes out of the cafeteria and into the wide halls. He hasn’t done this in a while, it’s a rule to eat lunch where the teachers can supervise, but he has practice.
The trick is to look like you are going somewhere. Tighten your fist so it looks like you are holding a pass. Smile, don’t try to hide.
Most of lunch has passed by the time he cleaned up all the spill. It would have taken less time if kids hadn’t pushed him as he was cleaning.
He puts away the mop and goes to the ticket dispenser. There’s no line this time. He only has 200 yen left, so he buys some spiced ramen.
When he has his bowl, there are only a few empty seats left. All are next to people in his homeroom class. He summons all the bravery he has left and goes to sit next to some boy who never made fun of him too much.
The boy looks at him and looks away, putting his backpack where the spot he was going to sit was. Well, at least he kinda tried to be subtle.
It’s hard to sneak out of the cafeteria with a tray, but he manages.
Lunch should be almost over by now. He should start heading back now. With a little help from One for All he made it back to the dorms in record time.
Why is he still crying.
It wasn’t a big deal. They sit with him almost every day. He’s just being needy. How come one bad experience pushes him over the edge like this?
Class starts soon.
He sits by the side of the school. Alone. Like always. The ramen tastes fine. It reminds him of the food Kacchan used to love. He wonders if Kacchan still puts pepper on everything in his lunch.
Class starts soon.