Work Header

Universal Constants

Chapter Text

There are many universal constants in life; Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation, the Ideal Gas Constant, and Fundamental Physical Constants, to name a few.

Zoo food is overpriced, to name one more.

Zoo food is overpriced and no one looks, really looks, strangely at a class rep with a giant backpack when said class rep is leading his class toward the entrance of the zoo.

Which was exactly what Tenya Iida was doing on this particular Monday morning. He cleared his throat, took a few rapid steps to put himself further in front of his class, then whirled around on his heel to face them, holding both of his arms out at right angles from his body, vaguely resembling the Christ the Redeemer statue.

"I must ask you to halt!" He bellowed. He'd been working on his hero voice. It was coming along quite well, and he would have felt very in control if his heavy backpack hadn't chosen that moment to slip one notch lower on the adjustable shoulder straps, pulling him off balance for a moment before he windmilled his arms and caught himself. There was a smattering of laughter from his classmates, but they regained composure a second later. By and large. Mineta and Kaminari seemed distracted, pointing at something beyond the gate and snickering. Sero took care of them by slapping a piece of tape over each of their mouths before flashing Iida a grin and a subtle thumbs up. Iida nodded appreciatively and went on.

"As class representative it is my great honor and privilege to divide us into tour groups for today's field trip. The most fair way, of course, would be through a random lottery. So if you would please-"

"What is this, elementary school?" Came a low yet easily picked up protest from the back of the group, "We'll pick our own damn groups. With our friends and shit." The class parted not unlike the Red Sea, leaving an aisle of sorts between Iida and Bakugo, whose slouched posture was diametrically different from Iida's rigid, strict spine stance. The class held its collective breath, ready for a showdown worthy of the U.A. sports festival stage. Iida stiffened, if he could do so more.

"It's fair if we-"

"Don't make a stink about it and pick our friends, stay out of trouble, and don't feed the animals." Bakugou finished, challenging the class rep with a steady gaze. The way he was acting was unsettling. Not because he was being rude but because he was being rude quietly. Not even one explosion. Iida wondered why for a brief second, then opened his mouth to form a counter argument. He was cut short by a hand tapping his shoulder. He looked around to see Uraraka standing to his side and slightly behind him, biting her lip and looking up at him hopefully.

"I think...It might be fun if we can stay with our friends," She said, "Plus it would...Bolster our responsibility and decision making skills, right?"

Iida thought it over, but if he was perfectly honest she'd had him at 'bolster'. He nodded once at her, then looked to the class at large. "You may pick your own groups, but remember to conduct yourselves only in a way befitting of U.A.'s image. There will be two meet up times; at eleven by the central fountain for lunch and at two by this gate for departure." Iida sidestepped, assuming the exit sign pose he'd grown well known for, pointing in through the zoo's gate. "Enjoy your day."

As the class filed past, all excited shouts and scuffing toes and eager faces, Midoriya made his way over to join Iida and Uraraka, laughing a little.

"You sounded kinda like a flight attendant just then." He said, smiling broadly and pulling his notebook out of his backpack, fingers tapping eagerly on the cover, as if he couldn't wait to jot down notes on the animals. A curious expression crossed his face, and he pointed at the backpack Iida had on. "What's in the bag?"

"Food, I'd guess." Came a voice from behind Midoriya, seeming to startle the poor boy out of his skin. Todoroki stood behind him, arms crossed over his chest and looking critically at the bag in question. He was trying to hide it but Iida could tell he was uncomfortable at the prospect of asking to join a group. Iida put a mental tally mark under the list of reasons random assignment would have been better, but then nodded.

"How did you know?"

"Zoo food is overpriced and you're having us meet by the fountain, not the food court, for lunch," Todoroki explained nonchalantly. As the other three gasped quietly at his deduction skills, a wry smile crossed his face. "I also happened to see you mass producing sandwiches in the dorm kitchen last night. It was pretty ambitious going with three different kinds. And in containers not bags."

"Naturally," Iida said, turning to walk into the zoo, admittedly proud of himself and happy that someone had noticed his hard work, "Students have dietary restrictions and preferences, and containers are easier to pack, will help the sandwiches maintain their structural integrity, and are an environmentally responsible alternative to sandwich bags." He ticked off his reasons on his fingers, then pointed with both flat palmed hands toward the path leading to the avian exhibits. "If we are all satisfied with this group of four I would like to request a stop at the cassowary enclosure."

"What's a cassowary?" Uraraka asked, eyebrows lifted as she walked quickly to avoid getting left behind. The other three were struggling to keep up with Iida's long, fast strides. He made a conscious effort to slow down.

"A bird capable of jumping up to a meter in the air. They're known for their vicious attacks and-"

A detailed explanation of the cassowary and several hours later, class 1-A was able to experience the alternative to the universal constant in the form of homemade, slightly smushed sandwiches.