Actions

Work Header

Uravitational Force

Work Text:

Uravitational Force

“Whaaa?” Ochako exclaimed, staring at the stacks of weights in the corner of the gym. She swore half of the school’s weights were there, piled higher than she stood. Together they probably weighed several tonnes.

Hero Studies class had just started and Mr Aizawa, who was filling in for All Might, assigned each student an exercise tailored to their Quirk.

“I want you to use your Quirk on all of these weights,” Mr Aizawa droned in his monotonous voice. “This is approximately five hundred kilograms past your current weight limit. I want you to float all of them for as long as you can. If you have to put them down, you can have a minute’s rest but that’s all. Keep pushing yourself.”

Ochako stared at the weights in horror. This much weight would be murder on her stomach after just a few minutes, how could she keep at it for the two hours their Hero Studies class was scheduled for? She could already feel the nausea building in anticipation. She turned to Mr Aizawa to explain but he’d already turned away to speak to Deku.

“Midoriya,” he said, gesturing to a stack of rectangular boards, all made from different materials with different thicknesses. “All of these boards are too tough break with an ordinary person’s strength, but using your Quirk you wouldn’t have any trouble at all. So I want you to crack these boards without breaking them. This way you’ll be practicing fine control over your Quirk.

“They’re all different so that you won’t be able to rely on the same amount of power to crack them all,” Mr Aizawa finished before turning around and walking over to where Iida was waiting for instruction.

Ochako looked over the boards with Deku. About half of them were made of wood, but there were some stone and metal in there as well. One of the wooden boards was already set up between two clamps on a metal stand, ready to be broken.

“You’re so lucky, Deku,” Ochako sighed. Her friend raised a quizzical eyebrow, and she hastened to explain. “Your Quirk allows for some variety in your training,” she lamented. “My Quirk is either on or off, there’s no fine control.” She gestured at the weights with a frown. “I’m stuck with constant heavy lifting.”

“What would fine control with your Quirk even be like?” Deku asked. He brought his hand to his chin, looking down in thought. It was such a familiar sight, Ochako knew exactly what was coming. “Maybe you could slow down your release so whatever your Quirk is affecting doesn’t crash down to the ground the moment you release it?” he mumbled. Ochako smiled. What had once been a confusing and slightly disturbing habit had become another endearing part of Deku, like his selfless nature, unending support for his friends and his cute freckles –

No, she told herself. She wasn’t going down that road.

“ – or maybe it’s like how I was when I first starting learning how to use my Quirk, either at zero percent or a hundred, I had to really focus on the image of the egg to make sure I could use it safely,” Deku continued, seemingly lost in his own world. Ochako contemplated his words. What if she had been using her Quirk at either a hundred percent or not at all? What sort of image could she use to force a sort of in-between state?

When Ochako had discovered her Quirk as a child she’d been drawn to the hero Thirteen, who also had a gravity based Quirk. From there her interest in space had developed, so of course she’d watched the old videos from when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. She knew that the moon’s gravity was about a sixth the strength of Earth’s. She focussed on that as hard as she could. The image of men in spacesuits walking in a lower gravity environment.

Reaching out, Ochako touched Deku on the arm, beneath where the sleeve of his PE uniform ended, and activated her Quirk. Deku jumped at the touch and stopped rambling. He came about a foot off the gym floor before gently coming down again.

“It worked,” Ochako breathed. She made eye contact with Deku, whose eyes were as wide as her own. She laughed. “It worked!”

“This is amazing,” said Deku said. He bounced experimentally, laughing with her.

“Why aren’t you two working,” said Mr Aizawa, who had snuck up behind them without them noticing. “This isn’t play time.”

“Oh, Mr Aizawa, sir,” said Ochako with a wide smile, too excited to be properly contrite. “I figured out a new way of using my Quirk! Show him, Deku!” Deku nodded and jumped again, clearly using very little effort. He got a full metre off the floor this time before slowly coming down. “Instead of completely removing the effect of gravity like I normally do, I managed to reduce it instead! If I practice this could be really useful when saving people trapped in high places. Or I could provide other heroes with increased mobility without making it hard for them to move on their own!”

Mr Aizawa raised an eyebrow, which Ochako knew was about as close as the man ever came to looking impressed. “Midoriya, you have your own work to do,” he said, getting a quick “yessir” in reply from her friend as he rushed to his assigned boards. “Get practicing, Uraraka,” he continued. “There should be a scales in the supply closet. Get it and try reducing the gravity of some weights consistently.”

“Yes sir!” she answered with a grin before she turned towards the closet.

“And Uraraka.”

“Yes, sir?”

“I still want you to push your weight limit during the second hour.”

“Yes sir!”

 

When Ochako crawled into bed that night, it was with a giddy sense of accomplishment. It felt like a world of possibilities had opened up for her. She’d spent the full hour practicing with her new abilities. It reminded her of when she’d first arrived at UA, when she was suddenly forced to use muscles she hadn’t before, only this time the muscle was in her brain. Ochako had pushed it hard, and by the end of that hour she’d learned so much.

Her first attempts had removed most of the object’s gravity, reducing its weight to about a sixth of what it had originally weighed, but as she practiced and refined the image of what she wanted in her head she was able to take away half of the object’s gravity before her hour was up. It was like Deku had said, her Quirk worked between zero and one hundred percent, and she was working backwards from one hundred.

And she hadn’t even gotten nauseous until she’d switched to her regular weight limit training. She’d just felt a little light headed. Unfortunately, the moment Ochako went back to completely removing the gravity from the weights the nausea had hit her full force, as if she had spent that first hour pushing her weight limit.

Still, it was exciting, thinking of what she could do. Ochako was positive that this new development would be useful in the future. And hey, now she could let people experience what it would be like to walk on the moon, or Mars, or…

Ochako sat up suddenly, her brow furrowed as a thought hit her. Would it even be possible? Yesterday she would have said no, but today she’d learned that she didn’t know her Quirk as well as she thought she did. For all she knew it could very well be feasible.

Ochako slipped from her bed, tiptoeing over to her drawers, flicking on her desk lamp as she did. With a quick rummage through the bottom drawer she found a small weighing scales she’d used to carefully weigh food portions to save money, back when she lived off-campus. She was so glad she was in the dorms now, where a food allowance was supplied by the school. She didn’t have to go hungry as much.

Grabbing her pocket Japanese to English dictionary from her school bag, Ochako placed it on the scales. She took a deep breath, focused, and activated her Quirk. The dictionary’s weight became half of what it had been. She focused harder, pushing that mental muscle she’d found earlier, and did it again. There was a slight increase in the dictionary’s weight, to maybe fifty two percent of its original weight.

Ochako clenched her fist in determination before repeating the process. She lost track of time as she sat at her desk, practicing with the kind of single-minded focus that she always admired in Deku. She would master this new power, she swore, pushing on even as a splitting headache began to form. She would!

It was only when a sharp stabbing pain in her head made her vision blur that she stopped. Ochako rubbed at her temples, trying to will the pain away.

That’s enough for tonight, she thought. She grabbed her phone to check the time. Four AM?! How long have I been at this?

With a quiet breath thanking whatever gods there might be that it was the weekend, Ochako stood up. She brought her hands together, ready to release her Quirk for the final time that night when she caught sight of the weight shown on the scales. She blinked a couple of times before she understood what she was looking at.

“It worked,” she whispered, eyes wide. She threw her hands into the air with a yell. “It worked!” Immediately she covered her mouth with her hands, hoping nobody had heard her. Thankfully, Mina was the only other girl on Ochako’s floor and there were empty rooms between the two.

Smiling wide, Ochako released her Quirk and turned off the light. Sniffing at a tickle in her nose she collapsed on top of her bed, asleep as soon as she hit the pillow.

 

“Ochako? Ochako are you in there?”

Ochako awoke slowly, the warmth of her bed holding her captive. She struggled out of it, stretching with a yawn, and trudged over to answer the insistent knocking at her door. Mina stood on the other side, wearing a t-shirt and a pair of jeans.

“There you are! I was beginning to think you were never going to get up. It’s after eleven!” she said with a wide smile. “We’re going to the mall today with the rest of the girls, remember?”

“Ah, right,” said Ochako, through another yawn. She couldn’t believe she’d forgotten about their plans. Mina had insisted that they use Saturdays to do something fun together and though Ochako didn’t have enough money to buy anything herself she was looking forward to spending time with her friends.

“You okay?” Mina asked, one finger pointed at her face. “You look kind of out of it.”

“I’m all right, just tired from practicing my Quirk so much yesterday,” she answered truthfully. Mina didn’t need to know that she was up until the small hours of the morning working on it though. “Just give me a few minutes to get dressed and grab some breakfast, and then we can go.”

“Okay!” Mina replied with a wave, heading for the stairs. “We’ll meet you in the kitchen!”

Ochako got dressed quickly, throwing on a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and a zip-up hoodie. With her phone and purse in her pockets she raced from her room. When she reached the stairs she tapped her fingers together and activated her Quirk. She threw herself down the stairs, catching the railing as she reached the turn halfway between the fourth and third floor. Using her momentum Ochako pulled herself around the end of the banister to continue her descent without crashing into the wall like she had the first few times she’d tried this.

She hit the ground floor running, dashing to towards the kitchen before she spotted the rest of the girls around the dining table. Momo, who was the only one still eating, waved her over.

“Uraraka!” she called, covering her mouth out of politeness. She swallowed her mouthful and held up a plate of omurice. “I saved you some food.”

“Thanks Momo!” Ochako replied with her brightest smile. Momo was so sweet. Before coming to UA Ochako would never have believed a rich-girl could be so nice. She slid into the seat beside the other girl, deliberately bumping their shoulders together. “You know you can call me Ochako, right? All the other girls do.”

“I know,” said Momo, smiling slightly. “The others have told me the same thing. But my parents raised me to be polite at all times, so it’s a hard habit to break. I’ll get there, I promise.”

Ochako gave her a wide smile before digging into her omurice. The egg and rice seemed to melt in her mouth, the sauce adding a tang on her tongue, and she moaned in appreciation. It was the simple things in life.

“Ok so we’ll head back to the Kiyashi Ward shopping mall,” said Mina, leaning on the table. “I know the last time didn’t work out so well but we won’t have the two trouble magnets with us and there’s this really cute dress I want to get.”

“And besides, we have our provisional licences now,” added Kyoka. “We can act if something happens.”

Ochako and Momo nodded as they finished their breakfast. Ochako clenched her fist at the thought of their last trip to the mall. She’d felt so helpless, so scared, seeing Shigaraki’s hand clenched around Deku’s neck. The fear had almost paralysed her, and she vowed that it would not happen again. She would always act to save people in need.

“Did I hear correctly?” came a small voice from the seating area. Mineta was standing beside a couch where Kaminari and Sero were playing a video game. Mineta looked like he was about to start chewing on his fingernails. “I bet they’re going to try on clothes at the mall. This would be the perfect opportunity-“

Without even looking away from the game, Sero shot a length of tape out from his elbow, wrapping it around the diminutive student’s face and covering his mouth. He took a moment to tear the strip from his arm and stick it to the couch, effectively trapping Mineta there.

“Thanks Sero!” Toru yelled, waving her arm at the boys.

“No problem Hagakure!” Sero shouted back, still not looking away from the screen. Mineta visibly pouted behind the tape obscuring his face. “You girls have a good time, we’ll keep Grape-head here!”

“We should leave now so we don’t miss the train,” Tsuyu croaked, checking her phone. The other girls agreed and Ochako quickly put her and Momo’s dishes in the dishwasher before rushing out the door after them, a skip in her step.

 

The Kiyashi Ward shopping mall was as busy as ever, with people of all shapes and sizes bustling about. The girls made their way to the fountain at the centre, Ochako taking up the rear. A gnawing feeling took hold of her heart as she looked at shops selling pretty clothes, the latest gadgets and plush toys. She wished she had enough money to treat herself, just this once. She sighed. Even with the pay from her internship at Ryukyu’s agency she couldn’t really justify buying something she didn’t need.

“Okay!” Mina exclaimed, turning to face the rest of the group with a grin. “The shop I want to go to is at the north end of the mall. The dress I saw online is on sale so I want to grab it quick before someone else does. Anyone want to come with?”

“I’ll go with you Mina, kero,” said Tsuyu, smiling gently. “My parents’ twentieth anniversary is on during the winter break and I want to get a nice dress for the occasion.”

“Eh? Your parents got married in the winter, Tsu?” Ochako asked, leaning towards her friend. “I thought your whole family got slow during the cold because of your Quirks?”

“We do,” Tsuyu confirmed with a nod. “But before I was born my parents travelled a lot, so they had a destination wedding in Taiwan, where it’s much warmer. My dad always rents out a private, heated room in a restaurant for the evening, so it’s always one of the few times in winter we really feel like ourselves. I’m really looking forward to it, kero!”

Ochako smiled sadly. It sounded like Tsuyu would have a fantastic time but it made her miss her own parents even more. She hadn’t seen them since they’d come to visit right after the sports festival.

“All right!” yelled Mina, slinging her arm around Tsuyu’s shoulders with a wide grin. “I’m sure we can find something for you in the same store! I’ll even help you pick it out! You’ll look amazing!”

“I’d like to visit the bookstore on the second floor,” said Momo, finger on her chin. “What about you, Jir- Kyoka?”

Kyoka glanced away, twirling one of her earphone jacks around her finger, but Ochako didn’t miss the slight upturn at the corner of her mouth. “I don’t have anything specific I’m looking for, so I guess I’ll go with you,” she said. “I might find something interesting to read.”

“Well I want to go to a jewellery store to buy a necklace for my Mom’s birthday,” said Toru, waving her arm at the top floor of the mall. “Want to come with me, Ochako? You can help me decide on the best one!”

Ochako didn’t think she’d be the best person to help, given that she’d never owned jewellery that cost more than two thousand yen, but she nodded enthusiastically. It sounded like fun!

“Then we’ll split up for now,” said Momo decisively. “Let everyone else know when you’re done on the group chat and we’ll meet up at the food court.” She smiled at the girls. “Lunch is on me.”

“Momo you don’t have to do that,” Tsuyu croaked. Ochako stayed quiet, never one to turn down free food.

“I know, Tsu,” Momo replied. “I want to. Good luck everyone!” She turned away, heading towards the escalator, Kyoka by her side. Mina grabbed Tsuyu by the hand, eagerly pulling her away. Ochako felt an arm around her shoulders, the invisible hand of Toru guiding her to the elevator.

“Come on, Ochako!” she said. “Let’s go find something sparkly for my Mom!” Ochako let herself be swept up in her friend’s enthusiasm. Toru explained that her mother’s Quirk was a less powerful version of her own. She was able to bend light like her daughter but it did not make her invisible like Toru’s Quirk. Instead, the most Hagakure Akari could do was make small light shows, and she always loved how jewels affected the light made by her Quirk. Toru’s earliest childhood memories involved her mother using her Quirk to keep her entertained. Toru admitted that her Warp Refraction technique was inspired by her mother.

Ochako found the whole thing cute, and responded with her own stories of how her parents helped her when her own Quirk manifested and how she’d wanted to use it to help out with their construction business. All the girls knew about her goal to give her parents the easy life but she’d never really revealed how young she’d been when that desire had taken hold.

“You’re so selfless, Ochako!” Toru exclaimed, much to the girl’s embarrassment. Ochako vehemently denied this, waving her hands in front of her suddenly red face. “I’m serious!” insisted Toru. “If all you wanted was to get money you could have applied to a less prestigious school, gotten your hero licence and helped your parents with their company,” she explained. “Instead you got into the most competitive hero course in the country, you risk your life to help people even while you’re still in school, and you always give it your all! You’re going to be a great hero!”

“Ah! You’re going to make me float!” cried Ochako, pressing her hands to her cheeks. The elevator doors opened and she spotted the small jewellery store, the two front windows either side of the door. “That’s the store right?” she asked, grabbing Toru’s hand. “Come on, let’s go!”

Toru giggled behind her as she led the way. Reaching the shop door she pushed it open, triggering an old fashioned bell. The sole occupant, a woman wearing a blazer and buttoned up shirt, rose from her seat behind the glass counter. She had large golden eyes and long feathered ears that tapered into points above her black hair.

“Hello there. My name is Rumi,” she said with a voice that trilled gently. “How can I help you?”

“Hi, I’m here to buy a necklace for my Mom,” said Toru. “Preferably something with a colourful gemstone.”

Rumi nodded, gesturing to a cabinet at the back of the store. “We have a lovely collection over here,” she said, leading them past a pair of armchairs and a small coffee table. Ochako followed a step behind Toru, taking all the jewellery on display. There was a lot of gold and silver in the cabinets, busts showcasing pearl necklaces, engagement rings and even a tiara encrusted with diamonds. She felt a little out of place.

“Ah, they’re so pretty!” said Toru, bending down to view the pieces Rumi was showing her. Ochako peeked over her shoulder to get a better look. There were several silver necklaces, many of them with one or more gemstones as centrepieces. There were greens and blues and reds that sparkled in the light, but Ochako cringed when she saw the price. She was sure it was reasonable, especially for such gorgeous jewellery, but it was definitely not something she could afford.

Maybe once I’m a pro, she thought wistfully.

“I love that pink one!” said Toru, snapping Ochako out of her reverie. There was a beautiful light pink jewel attached to mid-length chain, the perfect length so that it wouldn’t hang too low. Ochako wondered what sort of light shows Toru’s mother could make with it.

“Oh yes, that’s a very popular item,” said Rumi. “It’s a – “ she was interrupted by the bell as the door swung inward. The three of them turned to look. A thick-set man walked into the store, wearing a hoodie and shorts. He had no hair, instead his head was covered in small protrusions with holes at the top. His legs were covered in the same growths. Rumi looked back at the girls. “Please excuse me for a moment, let me know when you make a decision,” she said with a smile before heading towards the man. “Hello sir, how can I help you?”

“Ochako, what do you think?” asked Toru. Ochako tapped her chin with her finger, looking over the jewellery.

“What’s her favourite colour?” she asked.

“She doesn’t really have one,” Toru sighed. “She just likes colours.”

Well that doesn’t help, Ochako thought. “What colour gems does she already have?” she said. “Maybe you can pick a colour she doesn’t have?”

“That’s a good idea,” said Toru, pulling out her phone. “I’ll ask my dad to send me a picture of her collection. Maybe –“

She was interrupted by a loud shriek from Rumi. Ochako spun around and gasped in horror. The man who’d walked in held a knife to the woman’s throat and was telling her to put money and jewellery in his bag. He glanced at Ochako and she saw how hard his eyes were. This man was prepared to hurt someone.

“Put your hands up, girl!” he shouted at her. “If you make any sudden movement’s I’ll cut this woman’s throat, do you want that?”

Ochako swallowed and followed his instructions, her mind racing. If she made a move, even if she managed to de-weigh herself, she’d never get to him before he injured or possibly killed Rumi. She didn’t have any options.

A hand tapped her shoulder three times and Ochako felt something brush past her. She forced herself not to look behind her, where she knew she’d see Toru’s clothes on the floor. She tensed, waiting for her opportunity.

Her heart beat like a drum and she felt her mouth dry up. Ochako swore that time stretched on in that moment. What could have only been a few seconds anticipating Toru’s move seemed to last an eternity.

The villain’s bag was half filled when his knife hand was pulled away from Rumi’s neck. She screamed and dove behind the counter. As Ochako rushed forward the man swung his knife faster than she expected. Toru cried out and a splash of red hit the floor.

“Toru!” Ochako shouted, leaping into the fray. Her mind flashed to her lessons with Gunhead. The disarming technique he’d taught her was a defensive move but with Toru injured and Rumi hiding behind the counter she couldn’t afford to be passive. Thankfully she’d built on his training since then and was confident she could take the villain.

The man leapt back as she reached for his arm and Ochako heard a sound like a pneumatic pump. He got away from her before she could grab him but she managed to brush all five of her fingers against his knife hand, just enough to activate her Quirk. The criminal floated away towards the door. Ochako smiled.

“You wanna play hero, girl?” the villain snarled, as he shook off his hoodie. Beneath it he wore a tank top and second knife in a shoulder holster. As he drew the blade Ochako noticed that his arms were covered in the same strange growths as his legs and head. Ochako took a step backwards, holding her arms up in a defensive stance. She heard the same hissing noise she had before and watched in horror as the man manoeuvred in the air. “I couldn’t fly before,” he taunted. “You really messed up this time!”

The man charged at her, the air he expelled from the holes in his growths propelling him forward. Ochako reached behind her, de-weighing one of the arm chairs and hurled it at him. The villain ducked under it, a manic grin on his face, but Ochako had expected that. She tapped her fingers together.

“Release.”

Both the man and the chair fell. The villain yelled in anger as the chair struck his leg, but he still came at her. Ochako swallowed. De-weighing him hadn’t worked and he was too fast to disarm, which left her with one option. Something new.

She focussed as hard as she could. There was no room in her head for fear or doubt. Just the image she wanted. She kept it in her mind as she tried to intercept the hand stabbing one of his knives at her.

The image of what would happen to the human body if it was suddenly subject to several times the gravity of Earth.

Searing pain hit her as she activated her Quirk. It caused her vision to white out and she nearly fell to her knees. When her eyes cleared she saw the villain on the ground, unable to move.

“What… did you… do to me?” he wheezed. Ochako didn’t answer. She raised her fist, yelling as she brought it down on the back of his head with all of her strength, knocking him out. It brought her to her knees and she struggled to raise her hands together.

 “Re-release” she whimpered, deactivating her Quirk. She felt tears of relief slide from her eyes as her headache lessened slightly but she still had trouble stringing her thoughts together. She fell back on her behind, more pain coming from her side.

“Ochako!” a voice screamed. She felt a hand on her shoulder, but couldn’t see anything.

“Toru?” she breathed, figuring it out a little too late. “Are… are you okay?”

“Don’t worry about me!” her friend shouted. “You’re bleeding! And you’ve been stabbed!”

Ochako looked down at herself. Sure enough, her shirt was covered in blood. She figured using her Quirk so drastically had caused it. Then she saw the knife. It was stuck in her side. As if seeing it made it real, the pain spiked.

“Toru,” she gasped. Her vision was turning black. “I can’t…”

“Ochako!” Toru cried from somewhere far away.

And then Ochako succumbed to the darkness.

 

A soft, incessant beeping roused Ochako into consciousness. She blinked her eyes open, finding herself lying on a bed in a white room. The infirmary?

“Ochako!” said an empty set of clothes beside her, a bandage seemingly wrapped around empty air floating above them. “You’re awake!”

“Toru,” Ochako said with a weak voice. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Toru insisted, her voice somewhere between a laugh and a sob. She laid a hand gently on her shoulder. “I was so worried!”

“Ochako!” several voices shouted and suddenly she was surrounded by the rest of the girls.

“We were so scared!” croaked Tsuyu, tears in her eyes. She wasn’t alone, all the others were crying too.

“What happened?” Ochako asked.

“Toru sent an SOS in the group chat,” Momo, explained holding Ochako’s hand. “When we got to the jewellery store it was already over.” The girl swallowed. “You were lying unconscious beside the villain, Ochako. You were covered in blood.”

“I thought you were dead!” sniffed Mina, tears flowing freely down her face.

“Your heartbeat was really weak,” Kyoka added, wiping her eyes. “I’m so glad you’re okay.”

“Move aside, move aside,” a woman ordered. Recovery Girl stepped up to the bed as the girls made room. The nurse shined a small penlight into Ochako’s eyes, making her wince. The hero muttered to herself before addressing the girl. “You’re lucky the girls convinced the paramedics to bring you here instead of the hospital. You’d burst a lot of blood vessels in your nose and you lost a lot of blood. And that knife nicked a kidney.” She sighed. “I’ve mostly healed you now, but you’re going to be sore for a few days. And I’d like to keep you overnight just to be sure.”

“Thank you,” said Ochako with a nod that made her remaining headache flare, causing her to wince.

“You’re welcome, girl,” said Recovery Girl.

“I’m sorry I worried you all,” Ochako told the girls. They each shook their heads.

The door to the infirmary burst open as Deku and Iida ran in wearing their PE uniforms. “Uraraka!” they shouted.

“Keep it down!” Recovery girl admonished but they ignored her, rushing to Ochako’s side as the girls stepped back. Both boys placed a hand on an arm each, as if to reassure themselves that she was there.

“Are you all right?” asked Deku, worry filling his face.

“A bit sore, but I’ll be okay,” she said with a small smile.

“Hagakure text us and told us what happened,” Iida informed her, gesticulating with one hand. “I must commend you on taking down that villain! But please don’t let yourself be injured like this in the future!”

“I’ll try, Iida,” she answered. “Thank you.”

“Please don’t scare me like that again, Uraraka,” said Deku softly, squeezing her arm with a tenderness at odds with the incredible strength she knew he possessed. Ochako felt herself blush, but for once she didn’t push her feelings down. She didn’t have the energy to.

“Bit rich coming from you,” she snorted, ignoring the pain in her nose. But she smiled. “I was just doing what you do.”

“I may not be the best role model,” said Deku, scratching the back of his head with his free hand. Ochako almost laughed when she heard Recovery Girl grumble “You’ve got that right,” behind him.

“This is what I signed up for,” she reminded him. “Plus Ultra, right?”

Deku smiled at her, filling her with warmth. She ignored the knowing grins from the girls behind him, including Mina who looked like she was trying not to squeal.

“Yeah. Plus Ultra.”