The first thing Denki noticed when he joined U.A. was just how attractive all his classmates were. To some extent it was to be expected: they were the top .3% of applicants, at the best hero school in the country, so obviously most of them were fit, but there was nothing to blame on how attractive most of them were besides Denki’s own tastes.
The first person in 1A that Denki developed a crush on was Jirou. Flirting with Jirou was easy, especially with her sharp wit and laidback attitude. Plus, she was a girl; while Denki could now accept to himself that he was bi, he still felt awkward admitting it to others, irrationally scared they’d say he wasn’t really bi because of how many girls he’d been interested in. The punk look and musical talents were a plus, too. He never made any moves beyond light flirting, though, mainly because some of her insults cut deep, and he was a bit apprehensive about putting himself out any further and getting teased.
Kirishima was the first boy to catch Denki’s attention. He was in crazy good shape, incredibly hot, and inhumanly nice. He took all of Denki’s jokes and flirtations in stride, and the two became fast friends. Kirishima’s obvious crush on Bakugou put that to a halt, though, and Denki tried his best to move on and push his bro in the right direction.
Really, Denki flirted with (almost) everyone, regardless of if he found them attractive (although he likely did). It was almost second nature to him by high school, probably influenced by his multiple switches in schools and even countries as a kid. He instinctively latched on to other people, reading their personalities and making connections so he never felt out of place in a new environment. By the end of first semester, Denki felt comfortable enough with every person in his class that he could drift from friend group to friend group without seeming out of place, making sure to switch lunch tables or start new conversations whenever he feared people were getting sick of him.
Tokoyami was probably his favorite person to go to when he feared other people were mad at him. He usually either sat alone or with Shoji, and tended to talk less than most others in their class, but he never seemed annoyed when Denki would ramble about whatever he was fixated on at the moment like Jirou and Bakugou tended to do.
Tokoyami was into a variety of goth-esque aesthetics: Edgar Allen Poe, all-black outfits, chokers, and dramatic quotes were all staples of his personality. Denki assumed that his head was probably a raven’s, and that he got his style based on that; his other theory was that Tokoyami was so morbid because he looked like an ancient Egyptian Canopic jar. When he blurted that out to Tokoyami, Shoji gave him a stern look, and Denki immediately winced. Tokoyami had seemed almost amused, though, smirking (maybe, it was hard to tell with the bird head) and commenting that he had tried to work Egyptian symbols into his super move names, but that Midnight had rejected them for being too long. After that Denki sat at his table at least once a week, constantly asking Tokoyami about mythology or poetry or whatever he saw that day that reminded Denki of him.
Tokoyami had also went out of his way to compliment Denki after the Sports Festival, saying that his quirk, despite being used to attack all the competitors, almost singlehandedly knocked out Dark Shadow. He didn’t mention Denki’s horrific showing against Shiozaki once, unlike everyone else in their class. Denki grinned like an idiot and thanked him, complimenting him in kind before jumping back to his desk. Tokoyami is actually really nice, he thought. Not to mention strong, and hardworking, and-
Calm down, Denki. You can’t just fall in love with every person who says nice things to you. This crush will go away in a few days. Just act normal.
The crush did not go away in a few days, much to his chagrin. Seven months later, Denki found himself alone with Tokoyami (in Denki’s room!), practicing guitar for their band. Denki picked up melodies moderately quickly but got sidetracked easily, switching to playing songs he recognized whenever he played a similar step or chord. Tokoyami, on the other hand, needed to read the music constantly to remember what he was supposed to play, but he stayed focused without issue and already had some guitar experience, so he took charge in their practice lessons without Jirou. The guitar seemed so fitting in Tokoyami’s hands, like he’d been born to play it. Denki’s hands didn’t fit well at all, and were covered in indents from pushing the strings down. After a particularly prolonged whine, Tokoyami finally spoke up.
“Should we cease practicing for a moment?” Tokoyami looked truly concerned.
“Nah, I can still go for a while longer...” Denki rambled on about Jirou and music and happiness, but Tokoyami didn’t stop him. Instead, he just nodded solemnly and picked his guitar back up, repositioning his fingers.
“Alright then, would you like to start again at measure ten? I noticed your rhythm there seemed off.”
Denki grinned. “Sounds good to me, dude!”
They practiced for another three hours, Tokoyami calling out chords and measures while Denki tapped his toes to the rhythm, biting the inside of his cheek to stay focused.
The relentless practicing had definitely been worth it, seeing Jirou light up on stage like that as the crowd cheered. Denki had never seen her so... luminescent, and for a moment he feared his attraction to her was coming back, before he made eye contact with Tokoyami as he played the last chord. Their eyes locked, and for once Denki could clearly see the grin on the other boy’s face. The warm feeling he felt doubled, and his face began to hurt from smiling so much. He’d have to thank Tokoyami for putting up with him during practices, he thought. For now, he soaked in the moment, trying to remember Jirou’s glow and the look in Tokoyami’s eyes.
...Soldiers willing to sacrifice themselves for their cause we must apprehend them all fight on defend our society they are trained-
“I learned something from watching you play guitar.”
Denki was ripped out of his thoughts. The pro heroes were charging around him, the only thing keeping him from being trampled was Midnight’s guiding hand on his shoulder. Tokoyami stood in front of him, inches from his face. Denki shook his head to clear it, before responding. “Uh, what?”
Denki’s face instantly became a hundred degrees warmer, and looking back he couldn’t remember anything else concrete from the conversation, although that may have been due to the concussion he gained later more than anything else. Tokoyami continued to speak to him, even as the ringing in his ears tripled and his brain became to feel fuzzy. The electricity in his body always worsened his reactions to stress, and he could start to see lightning flashes whenever he blinked, as Edgeshot’s shouts and Midnight’s motivation and Jirou’s worry echoed on repeat.
From the bottom of your heart, you care deeply about your friends.
The rest of his class was on the back lines, waiting for their return. Jirou was behind him, worrying for his safety. Tokoyami stood next to him, motivating him even as the enemies came nearer and nearer. Suddenly, the static became so loud, everything around Denki seemed to blank out except for the soldier ahead of him, charging up his attack.
You’re not hurting a single person I care about!
It was over in an instant. Denki’s brain reconnected to its body while Fatgum carried him back to 1A, the adrenaline and electricity running through his system leaving him weirdly giddy even as the fight raged on around him. He only snapped out of it when Tokoyami suddenly bolted, with Fatgum screaming after him. Denki’s brain came to a stuttering halt, and he almost tried to jump out as well, unsure of why he was leaving; Fatgum immediately tightened his grip on the remaining kids and doubled his pace to the back lines.
The rest of the fight was a blur. Denki vaguely remembers reconnecting with the class, Jirou’s relieved smile at seeing him unharmed. He also remembers a dull pain in his skull, and the half-conscious thought of oh fuck, I have a concussion before his memory blanked out completely.
The hospital was boring. Despite losing his memory of the latter half of the raid, Denki had remained mostly conscious, and only had a concussion, which wasn’t something that needed or even could be helped by immediate intervention, so he sat in a half-filled hospital room by himself for about three hours until a doctor finally was able to see him. After the use of a minor healing quirk and some routine exams, his room was empty again and Denki immediately passed out.
When he woke up, Jirou was sitting in the chair next to his cot, one earphone jack plugged into her phone. At the sound of his yawn she looked up, and immediately enveloped him in a hug.
Weird, Jirou doesn’t normally like hugs.
“Hey, what’s up?”
She took in a stuttered breath, before releasing it in a half-laugh. “You idiot. I’m glad you’re okay.”
He grinned. “You’re not getting rid of me that easily.”
Luckily enough, Jirou had already compiled a list of everything he missed, including the states of everyone in 1A and all the heroes they knew. The news wasn’t great, but after seeing the PLF at full force, Denki felt oddly relieved at the casualties they had suffered. Then he immediately felt bad, because people were dead and he was happy that his friends were fine, no regard for anyone else.
Jirou seemed to sense his worry. “You did a good job, okay?” Wow, he must really be a mess if Jirou just gave him a direct complement. At his lack of an answer, she continued. “Tokoyami said you really pulled through and saved a lot of people, despite being freaked out. You’re a real hero.”
Denki involuntarily reacted to Tokoyami’s name, straightening his posture and widening his eyes, long before he reacted to the complement. “Uh, thank you. I should have helped quicker, though. I almost wasn’t enough.”
“You did what they needed you to do, more than should have been expected of you. You did more than fine.” Jirou’s words were firm, but she kept a half smile on her face. “Now, what’s this with you and Tokoyami?”
Denki chose to ignore the sudden and incredibly unsubtle topic change, instead moaning and over-dramatically flinging himself backwards on the cot. “Jirouuuu,”
“Denkiiii,” she gave a slight giggle, smirking. “I can’t believe you’ve been hiding your guys’ thing from me? How long has it been going on? Since the concert?”
Denki looked back up at her, perplexed. “What thing?”
“Your little dancing around each other.” She sighed. “Don’t even try to deny it, you two are always making weird eye contact and complimenting each other. Plus, you should have heard what he said about you when our class met up yesterday!”
Denki furrowed his eyebrows. “Wait, what did he say?”
Jirou grinned again. “It’s not my place to say. Why don’t you ask him? And then maybe ask him out?”
Denki blushed. “He definitely doesn’t like me like that! He’s so good at fighting, and kind, and patient, and I probably drive him crazy! He just puts up with me because he’s nice.”
“If he’s so nice, there’s no harm in asking him. He definitely wouldn’t be mean to you over it.”
“I’d just make him uncomfortable!” Denki groaned and shoved his head into his pillow. “And then he’d stop being friends with me and we’d never get to do anything together anymore! Is he even into guys, anyway? Is he even into people, or does he only like people with bird mutations? Jirou,” Denki gasped, coming to an instant realization, “he’s got a bird head! I’ll never get to kiss him, ever!”
Jirou’s smirk turned to a worried grimace. “I think you might still be concussed, Denks. And is that all you want out of a relationship? Kissing?”
Denki took a deep breath in. “Well, no, I-“
“Then what’s the big deal? Just ask him out, you idiot! You and I both know he’s too nice to ever hurt your feelings over a crush, and I know for a fact that he’s crushing on you just as hard. I’ll drag you there myself if I have to.” Jirou stood firm beside him, arms crossed over her chest, staring him down.
“It would be better to just let the crush go away in its own. Like I did with you! Imagine if we’d started dating and then a week later I just wasn’t into you anymore! That would be an awful thing to do to Tokoyami.”
Jirou sighed. “I don’t think you were madly in love with me one week then suddenly had no feelings the next, Denks. Just admit that your feelings for him are serious, okay?” Denki shrugged. Jirou gave him a once-over before continuing. “How about this: if you still have a crush on him in a month, you ask him out. Sound fair?”
He fiddled with the end of his hospital gown. “I guess so. Thanks, Jirou.”
She grinned. “No problem.” She ruffled his hair, causing him to shriek, and the two laughed before moving on to more casual conversation.
“Kaminari. I’m glad to see that you’ve made a full recovery.” Tokoyami was smiling, probably, as Denki sat down at 1A’s coffee table. Only about 8 kids were currently in the dorms; some were still in the hospital, some helping with recovery efforts, and some staying with family during U.A.’s last-minute break. Tokoyami was the only one still having breakfast, as he was one of the latest risers in the class.
It had been three weeks since he’d spoken to Jirou about his crush, spending a week in the hospital followed by two with his family while he recovered. His heart still fluttered awkwardly when Tokoyami expressed basic social niceties, and he struggled to stay calm. “Aw, thank you dude! My injuries weren’t really that bad, though, in the grand scope of things, so no need to worry about me!”
Tokoyami frowned, maybe. “It doesn’t matter how severe your injuries were compared to others, I was worried because you were injured at all. You don’t need to diminish your own struggles because of others’.” He then looked down, and fidgeted with the coffee mug in his hands. “Sorry. Hawks gave me similar advice in regards to mental health after the training camp, and it stuck with me. I didn’t need to be so overzealous.”
“No, dude, it’s totally fine!” Denki made an awkward laugh-esque noise and blushed. “It’s really nice to hear, actually, so thank you. I’m glad Hawks was able to give you such good advice.” Denki hoped that was the right thing to say. Hawks’ situation and reputation were...messy at the moment, to say the least, but it was clear that Tokoyami was still very worried for him.
Tokoyami seemed to smile in response to that, a bit tight around the eyes but it felt genuine. He nodded and took a small sip of his coffee.
Denki quickly became uncomfortable in the silence he created, and butted in. “And, if you ever need to talk, about what happened or whatever, y’know, I’m here! I know I’m probably not the best person for that kind of thing, but yeah...”
Tokoyami gave a big smile in response to that. “Thank you, Kaminari, I might take you up on that sometime in the future. Also,” he continued, “I believe you would be a great person to confide in. You’re a good friend and empathetic person.”
Denki blushed much harder. “I don’t think I can really compare, dude, when you can just say those kinds of things! You really know how to make a guy feel special, huh?” He gave a small laugh, making sure to keep his eye contact with Tokoyami to try and show how sincere he was, even if his words came off a little light.
He could have sworn Tokoyami blushed in response. “It’s no problem at all. Would you like some coffee? Yaoyorozu got a new shipment this morning.”
Denki grinned. “Sounds great, dude.”
Four and a half weeks after his conversation with Jirou, Denki was finally attempting to suck it up and ask out Tokoyami. Classes had begun again, although many students still weren’t cleared for full combat yet (including Denki, who wasn’t allowed to do his internship for another week for fears of a second concussion), so most of 1A’s free time was devoted to catching up on schoolwork.
Tokoyami and Denki were both not the best students, although Tokoyami was significantly more studious. But, luckily enough, Denki was good at English, being a fluent speaker, and Tokoyami was currently focused on becoming comfortable enough in the language to read The Raven untranslated (Tokoyami would take on little projects like that every once in awhile, which Denki found inexplicably adorable; last semester he had become devoted to learning how to cook, so he could help with dinner in the dorms, even putting up with Bakugou to get better). Denki had offered his assistance, and the two had met up after dinner for the past few nights, usually around nine, and they would read their personal books, Tokoyami occasionally asking for a definition or translation of a word.
Tokoyami had improved a lot in the last couple days, leaving lots of notes in the margins of the poem for himself at Denki’s recommendation. They’d spent the first day just reading the poem directly, just practicing pronunciation and getting the general gist of the story. The second day, Tokoyami had went through, stanza by stanza, defining words and asking questions about what he didn’t understand. Today, he was rereading the poem in its entirety, getting a comprehensive experience of the poem now that he understood most of it. Denki, on the other hand, was reading one of The Dresden Files novels, something much easier to understand but incredibly fun, not to mention much longer than The Raven.
As Tokoyami finished the poem, he sat backwards on the couch with a satisfied look on his face. Denki grinned at his clear happiness, not wanting to ruin the other boy’s mood by talking.
“Thank you again for helping me.” Tokoyami smiled.
“It was no problem, dude! And it helped motivate me to read for fun again, so it helped me too!” Denki smiled, trying to keep his face from glowing. “Oh, yeah, also I wanted to give you something!”
Tokoyami looked up, perplexed. “You wanted to give me something?”
“Yeah! Shoji mentioned that you like apples, and I saw these the other day, so...” Denki grabbed the two caramel apples he had left on the kitchen counter, awkwardly grinning as he passed one to Tokoyami.
Tokoyami smiled in return. “This is incredibly thoughtful of you. Thank you for this.”
“It’s no big deal!” The two are their apples in silence for a few minutes, before Denki talked again. “Also, I wanted to ask you something.”
“I’m all ears.”
Denki smiled, fidgeting with his hands. “I was just hoping that—“
Suddenly, the overhead lights to the common room flicked off, making Denki shriek in surprise. Right, the overheads turn off at 9:30 now, I forgot. It was a new measure to remind students to go to bed on time; it was still bright enough to get a snack or walk around, but too dark for hanging out or schoolwork.
“Kaminari, are you alright?” In the half-lighting, Denki could just barely make out Tokoyami’s concerned face.
“Yeah, I’m fine dude, no worries!” Denki laughed. “Just caught off guard!”
“I’m glad to hear it. Was there something you wanted to ask me?”
Denki began to shake, just slightly, all his earlier confidence gone. “Actually, it wasn’t a big deal. I’ll ask you some other time, ok? We should probably get to bed.”
“Alright. Thank you again for the reading help, and the candy apple. It was really kind of you, and I enjoyed it a lot.” Tokoyami smiled as he stood up, stretching his legs and cracking his neck.
“Of course dude, any time!”
The Hero Course’s final exam this year was weirder than normal, consisting of four mini-tests: one academic exam, one individual improvement showcase, one strategy-based independent fight, and one traditional-style pair fight. This was great for Denki, in all honesty, because it meant that his lackluster academics had a lesser effect overall. Plus, he’d done really well in the independent fight, so his inability to find derivatives (or whatever they were learning in math) might not make an effect on his grade at all.
The pair fight was the final exam, taking place right around sundown. It had been over six weeks since the end of the raid (Denki had still not asked out Tokoyami, to Jirou’s annoyance), and his classmates were all completely cleared to take the finals. The pair fight’s rules were simple: a pre-determined duo from 1B would be chosen to be the “villains” for the exam, and would set up in their specified location. Once they were ready, all of 1A was informed of their members and setting. The first pair of people from 1A to choose to fight the “villains” got to fight them, no questions asked. They had a 15-minute time limit, and either 1A or 1B had to win within this time, no draws allowed (the teachers were standing by to debate on tiebreakers).
The exam was supposedly “balanced” by 1B’s advantage of pre-planning and picking fighters to match the setting and 1A’s advantage of knowing who they were about to face and picking the best counters for the information they were given. It was clear that this exam was focusing on teamwork and selecting the right skill sets for the right job. Just like how Denki had been pulled to the front lines because none of the heroes had the right quirk to deal with high-amp electricity.
Three teams had already gone; 1A had won one and 1B had won two, one through a tiebreaker. The next lineup appeared on the TV screen.
Tokage Setsuna & Fukidashi Manga, Urban (Ground Gamma)
“That’s a pretty powerful lineup,” Sero remarked, “I’m not sure what their strategy for this one is, though.”
Yaoyorozu pondered for a minute. “I believe they could be trying to create a dual-pronged strategy, using Tokage’s quirk for surveillance and Fukidashi’s to entrap our team within rubble.”
“Oh, so kinda like Nezu versus me and Kaminari last semester?” Ashido questioned.
“I believe so, although I don’t think they actually saw that fight, so it’s likely a coincidence.”
Tsuyu spoke up next. “Tokage’s quirk’s probably the biggest issue we have to deal with. If she can figure out where we are at all times, it’ll be incredibly difficult for us to get near them at all, since she’ll just get Fukidashi to attack us whenever we try.”
Denki stared at the TV screen, feeling himself blank out as he tried to think of a strategy. He’d never been the best at preemptive planning like this, but he had become better at strategizing mid-battle and adapting plans on-the-fly.
“We need to have a pair that can render Tokage’s quirk useless, then, or at least make it less effective.” Tokoyami added. “Bakugou’s may work, since he can create smoke to block her vision, but the explosions are loud, so I’m not sure.” He ignored Bakugou’s obligatory half-hearted protests to doubting his skills, staring deeply at the screen.
Suddenly, Denki came to a realization. “Wait, dude, I’ve got it!” He grinned. “Tokoyami, wanna team up with me?”
Yaoyorozu looked at Denki for a few moments before seeming to comprehend his plan. “It’s very risky, but it might work. If it doesn’t, hopefully you two can brute force your way through the fight.”
Tokoyami stared directly at Denki. “If you’ve got a plan, I’ll follow your lead.”
Denki grinned. “Thanks, dude! I’ll explain everything on the way!”
“...So, you’re going to black out Ground Gamma, stopping Tokage from being able to spy on us?”
“Yep! And, Dark Shadow’s stronger in the dark, right? We’ll be even stronger and more discreet!”
Tokoyami nodded his head, deep in thought. “I believe this is a good plan. But I must remind you that Dark Shadow can get...unruly as he gains power.”
“I trust your skills, dude!” Denki hoped that came off as motivating and not anxiety-inducing. “And anyways, I’m here! I got your back if things go south, ok?”
Tokoyami smiled. “I never doubted you for a second.”
Denki’s face grew hot. “Thanks, man. And we’re here, let’s go!” He ran in quickly, immediately running to the first power line he saw, and sending a high-amp charge through the fake city’s entire electrical grid, blacking out the room in seconds.
The fight was difficult, mainly because Denki and Tokoyami didn’t know where the other team was either. Denki tried to use the electrical signals from their opponents’ phones as homing signals, but he’d never used electronics specifically for that purpose, and he could only get them to a general area before the headache became too much. When they hit the seven-minute mark in the battle, they finally found Fukidashi, whose voice pitched a bit loud as he shouted to Tokage, who seemed to be nearby and still trying to scout the terrain. Dark Shadow at near-full power took down Fukidashi within a minute, but the loudness of Fukidashi’s quirk led to Tokage immediately floating down and attacking Denki in turn. Letting off small electrical blasts around him kept her far enough from him to play defense until Tokoyami was free; once he joined the fight, the two made quick work of defeating Tokage, relying mainly on sneak attacks and sudden hits, throwing Tokage off her carefully-planned rhythm.
Dark Shadow stayed behaved until Tokage was defeated and handcuffed. He quickly became worked up, and Denki had to lightly use his quirk to calm him back down. The four (five, if you count Dark Shadow) made their way back to Gamma’s entrance, where the TV screen displayed their final score.
Tokoyami Fumikage and Kaminari Denki, Challengers: 85/100 (Victory)
Points deducted for blackout (potential for city damage and incitement of fear in civilians) and minor loss of quirk control (Dark Shadow)
Denki grinned. “We did it, dude!”
“Yes, our success was swift and resounding. Your excellent plan was to thank for our incredible victory.”
Denki blushed once again. “Nah, you did all the heavy lifting! You defeated both of our competitors easy, it was awesome!”
“Still, I would have not gotten the opportunity to do so without your strategizing, so allow me to thank you for your efforts. How about I treat you to coffee tomorrow morning?”
“You don’t have to thank me, dude—wait, what?”
Tokage giggled at his confusion before Fukidashi elbowed her in the ribs, finally un-handcuffed.
“I believe I misread our interactions, I apologize.” Tokoyami seemed disappointed, but gave Denki a solemn nod before continuing ahead. “Please do not feel obligated to agree to go with me—“
“Did you mean like a date?” Denki blurted without thinking.
“That was my intention, but since it appears that I’ve made you uncomfortable, I won’t—“
“No, dude, I’d love to go on a date with you!” Denki starting grinning ear to ear, grabbing onto Tokoyami’s elbow. “I just didn’t think you liked me that way! Tomorrow sounds great!”
“I don’t see how I couldn’t like you ‘that way.’” Tokoyami smiled in return. “Is it alright if I hold your hand?”
Denki grabbed for his hand first, interlacing their fingers. Tokoyami’s hand was very warm, but that was alright; Denki’s hand was very shaky, so they balanced each other out. “You can hold my hand whenever you want, ok?” Denki gave an overexaggerated wink. Tokoyami grinned and seemed to blush once more.
Behind them, Tokage resumed her cackling, and Fukidashi began to berate her.
Denki barely even noticed the conversation happening behind him, his eyes locked deeply into Tokoyami’s, his heart beating painfully in all of his limbs. Finally, the other boy responded.
“If I held your hand whenever I wanted to, I believe we’d never get any schoolwork done again.” His voice was serious, but his eyes sparkled with laughter.
Denki grinned. “That’s more than fine with me.”