After the debacle that was his first go at the provisional license exam, Inasa devoted a half hour of each day to self-reflection. True! that Todoroki Shouto was as narrow in his vision as Endeavour. But this could be called a singular focus, and thus admirable! True, too, that Inasa had acted out of poor and petty spirit.
A fine hero, the sort of hero that blazed hotter than any other hero, would cast aside such un-heroic feelings and strive to make amends.
Perhaps some smallest scrap of pettiness also said to Inasa that he could by offering a hand first prove to Todoroki that he, Yoarashi Inasa, had the superior and most generous mindset. Inasa did not dwell long on such thoughts, for he was a hero.
So, he set a task for improvement of the self to follow upon his reflection. Each morning, he would think one (1) charitable thought about Todoroki Shouto. He approached this task as he did all unpleasant chores: square shoulders! feet set wide! hands crossed at his back! at the top of his lungs!
"Who's this Todoroki Shouto?" asked his mother with interest over breakfast. "You must really like them."
Inasa laughed and sprayed white rice into his soup. The laughing set off the twins, two years old and strong of lung.
"No, he's a--" Inasa caught himself making a righteous fist. 'A selfish, snot-mouthed dog' sat on his tongue. He said, "A rival, from another school."
"Ahh," said Mom. "I had a rival like that once. Then I married her." And she, too, laughed.
Inasa's second mother wandered in from the bathroom and said, "Look at all the rice on this table. Swallow before you tell jokes!"
"Inasa started it!" Mom protested to Mama.
He didn't defend his honor. He was too distracted by the thought of marrying Todoroki Shouto of the cool, lidded eyes and sharp mouth. What could be more horrible than waking up to that every morning?
Inasa bolted the rest of his miso and his rice, then the fried egg, and said, "I'm going!"
"What about your natto?"
"Don't forget your lunch!"
"A hero can burn with confidence even on an empty stomach!" he shouted as he slammed through the front door.
Natto! He supposed at least one thing was worse than Todoroki Shouto. Inasa resolved to remind himself of this the next morning.
"Todoroki!" he shouted across the USJ's central hub. The U.A. students, whose campus abutted the USJ, were always present first.
Todoroki, stood apart from the rest, as he ever stood, looked to Inasa on the stairs above the other students. The calm, remote look of him remained unchanging.
Inasa waved furiously. "Pair up with me today!"
The explosively styled, explosively tempered U.A. student nearest said something to Todoroki and then stalked away. Jogging down the steps to Todoroki, Inasa watched the boy leave. The corners of Todoroki's mouth had tightened.
"What'd he say?" Bakugou, that was the guy's name. He'd won the U.A. sports festival. Inasa thought Todoroki ought have won, and he frowned at Bakugou's hunching back. "Anything I oughtta get heated up over?"
Inasa smacked a fist to his palm and glanced at Todoroki. Todoroki blinked. He did this languidly, as if he were sleepy, or more likely as if he were judging Inasa in some way. The droop of his eyelashes, half light and half dark, made the skin at the back of Inasa's neck clench.
"Your mouth's doing..."
Inasa twirled a finger around his own mouth, and a vague look of surprise flitted across Todoroki's finely made features. He touched his lips.
"You look constipated!" declared Inasa. "Did you skip eating natto this morning? You know, we future heroes must always eat a nutritionally fulfilling breakfast!"
Todoroki nodded. "Well, I like natto. And it has a lot of health benefits. So I try to eat it most mornings."
Despicable! Inasa grieved that he had ever thought he would understand Todoroki's mind!
Some of his emotion must have showed on his face. Mama always said Inasa couldn't disguise a thing.
Todoroki blinked again then his eyes dropped and he sighed.
"Don't be bothered by it," he told Inasa.
"Of course I'm bothered by it! Who wouldn't be!" Damned natto lovers!
The red strands of Todoroki's hair brushed across his blue eye, his scar, as he tipped his head very slightly.
"That's very ... considerate of you," he said. "But that's just the way Bakugou is."
Huh? thought Inasa.
"Huh?" said Inasa.
Todoroki's mismatched eyebrows furled together. "He has a backwards facing personality."
"That's not what I--" Inasa broke off. "He's your own classmate. You should stand beside him! The bonds of your burning high school experience should persevere!"
"But you asked to pair up."
"I was mistaken!"
"Ah," said Todoroki.
The day's supervising teacher, Hands Up of Shiketsu, approached. "Have ya picked your partners yet?"
"No," said Todoroki.
"Yes!" said Inasa. "Me and Todoroki!"
"All right," said Hands Up. "Try'n not kill each other, kids."
Inasa huffed noisily. The wind stirred up at his feet. "What?" he demanded of Todoroki, who was staring in that weird, half-lidded way he had of staring.
"You're unnecessarily confusing," said Todoroki.
"Me!" said Inasa, in outrage. "You're the one who confuses people!"
That was how it went most days.