There’s a short break after the tumultuous second test, to give the examinees time to hydrate, catch their breath, and maybe celebrate a little and touch bases with their friends. Izuku spots Todoroki’s distinctive red and white hair some distance away, and works his way through the excited, chattering crowd. There’s still cement stuck to Todoroki’s costume, but he’s standing, at least – he must have recovered from Gang Orca’s sonic attack.
Closer to Izuku, not quite blocking his view of Todoroki, is the hulking form of that first-year from Shiketsu – what was his name? Yoarashi, that was it. As Izuku watches, Todoroki casts a wary glance toward Yoarashi and steps toward him. Izuku sticks his elbows out and works harder to catch up – he’s not sure what their argument was about, but if he needs to play mediator then he absolutely will.
He breaks free of the thicker crowd and is just stepping up to Yoarashi when Kirishima arrives as well, nearly tackling Todoroki in excitement.
“Dude!” At Kirishima’s shout, Todoroki flinches a little in surprise. “Dude, that was totally sick! I thought you were a goner for sure but then you pulled an Endeavor and roasted that guy! So awesome!”
Kirishima’s too excited to notice the sudden tension in Todoroki’s spine, nor does he notice Izuku frantically pantomiming at him to stop talking.
“Seriously though, did your dad teach you that move? ‘Cause it was really cool and-”
“It wasn’t – really a move,” Todoroki cuts him off. His shoulders are drawn up, and he looks more uncomfortable than anything else. “It was more spur-of-the-moment–” He glances up at Yoarashi again, briefly, and points to him. “And it wasn’t just me, he was using wind to make the flames unstable. That’s what – what made it work.” Izuku shoots a glance up at Yoarashi’s face. He looks surprised.
“You guys tag-teamed Gang Orca and it was awesome,” Kirishima gushes. Izuku is ready to breathe a sigh of relief now that the subject is successfully shifted, but then Kaminari jumps into the conversation.
“Man though, can you imagine actually learning stuff from Endeavor?”
Izuku frantically swipes his hand back and forth in front of his throat, the universal sign for stop, shut up, but Kaminari and Kirishima feed off each other like a positive feedback loop of oblivious excitement.
“I know, right? If he was a teacher at Yuuei – man that would be so rad.” Kirishima’s face practically glows, and Todoroki very subtly shifts further away from him. “I mean, not that we don’t have loads of awesome heroes teaching us. But like, Present Mic’s just our English teacher, and we don’t learn that much hero stuff from him, usually. But imagine what we could learn from a hero like Endeavor.”
There’s a patch of ice spreading very slowly on the ground from Todoroki’s right foot. He takes out his water bottle, possibly as an excuse to avoid joining in on the conversation, and has to switch hands when the bottle starts to freeze over as well. Izuku feels an odd breeze whip around him and looks up to see Yoarashi’s face turn cold. This is going to get ugly fast if he doesn’t do something.
“I dunno, Kirishima,” Izuku calls out before he can stop himself. “Between Present Mic and Endeavor there’s not much of a contest. I mean, one of them makes my ears bleed with obnoxious noises whenever he opens his mouth-”
Kirishima winces. “Sheesh, Midoriya.”
“-and the other’s Present Mic.”
There’s a snort, followed by a wet splutter, and half of the drink Todoroki just took ends up on the ground. Kaminari pats him on the back as he coughs out the water he just inhaled, while Kirishima gapes at Izuku like he just grew a second head.
“Holy crap, Midoriya.”
Izuku tries to look as wide-eyed and innocent as he can. “What?”
“Dude, I just – I’ve never seen you throw shade like that before.” Kirishima turns to Kaminari, nudging him. “Have you?”
Kaminari’s grinning from ear to ear. “Nope. Man, Midoriya, what’d Endeavor ever do to you?”
“Oh, well… you know… I met him.”
The snort from Yoarashi takes Izuku by surprise, and Todoroki makes a strange wheezing noise from behind his sleeve.
“I don’t – hey Todoroki, are you okay with that?” Kirishima asks. “I mean that’s your dad he’s talking about.”
“Yeah, no, it’s – it’s fine.” Todoroki’s voice shakes, and he’s looking a little red in the face. With a jolt of relief, Izuku realizes that his friend is trying not to laugh.
“Yes. I mean… I’ve met him too. In case you forgot.”
“Oh.” Kirishima looks hopelessly lost.
Izuku meets Todoroki’s eyes, and tries to convey Was that okay? through facial expressions alone.
Todoroki’s mouth curves upward in a small, grateful smile as he mouths a silent Thank you.