Izuku tapped at his desk idly, waiting. He should’ve been taking notes, which he knew well, but he was waiting for something important. His gaze was impatiently fixed on the blonde head of the classmate in front of him. Aoyama Yuuga, the mysterious maybe-French fashion student. Despite Izuku’s meticulous observations of all his classmates, Aoyama remained a mystery to him. Especially Aoyama’s…habit. Which was exactly what Izuku was waiting for.
As minute after minute passed, Izuku’s tapping slowly died down. Maybe today it wouldn’t happen. Maybe this was the day that Izuku would know peace. Maybe Lady Luck had chosen to free him from the mystery that plagued him day and night ever since he’d begun sitting behind Aoyama in his biology lectures.
The hopeful thoughts swimming through Izuku’s brain almost made him miss the traitorous motion in front of him that he had grown to recognize over the past months. Any hope of brushing off the blond boy’s strange ritual as a series of repeated hallucinations went down the drain as Aoyama pulled his bag onto his lap. Izuku cringed, unable to look away even though he knew exactly what would come next. He tried to concentrate on his notes and the teacher’s droning instead of paying attention to Aoyama, but there was no fooling himself.
Aoyama reached into his bag.
Aoyama pulled the innocuous fruit from his bag.
Izuku winced as Aoyama considered the fruit in his hand, dreading what would come next.
Izuku couldn’t pretend to take notes as the final step of the dreaded process arrived. Like watching a fiery car crash, Izuku could only silently scream as Aoyama took one last look at the unpeeled lemon in his hand, lifted it to his face, and took a large bite.
As always, Izuku looked around to see if someone, anyone else had noticed this terrifying phenomenon, but like the last time, and every time before it, Izuku seemed to be alone in his horror. He was reaching his breaking point. Was this an elaborate dream? A prank? Was he trapped in the Twilight Zone?
In a moment of fear-fueled bravery, Izuku swallowed his unease and lurched across his desk to tap Aoyama on the shoulder. His French classmate turned around, half-eaten lemon in hand and a curious look on his face. “Oh?”
“I’m, um, hey, I’m Midoriya Izuku, your classmate? I was just- I couldn’t help but wonder about your, uh, lemon…eating…? I’ve seen you doing it for a while and it’s been bothering me…”
Aoyama’s face brightened. “Ah, why didn’t you say so earlier!” As he dug through his bag, Izuku couldn’t help but feel a sense of relief. Finally, he would learn the answer to the question that had plagued him for so long. Why hadn’t he just asked before?
Aoyama finally found what he was looking for and placed an uneaten lemon on Izuku’s desk. Izuku looked up for an explanation, but all he received in return was, “If you wanted a lemon of your own, monsieur, all you had to do was ask! I always have some to spare.”
Not only was Izuku still left in the dark, but now he also had Aoyama staring expectantly at him to accept the gift. Izuku took the lemon with as much of a smile as he could muster, but that didn’t seem to be enough for his Aoyama. He’d have to eat the lemon.
Keeping the forced grin on his face, Izuku slowly peeled at the lemon, hoping Aoyama would turn back to the front of the classroom. No such luck. Once Izuku had exposed enough of the lemon, he nervously took a bite, keeping an eye of Aoyama’s expression. Satisfied, his classmate turned away, leaving Izuku to grimace at the sour flavor assaulting his tongue. He spit the chunk into his hand and found a tissue to wrap it in, reminding himself to throw it out as he left class. Right after he pinched himself to make sure he wasn’t dream. This was just too bizarre to be true.
A good week after that incident, after Izuku switched seats to the front of the classroom so he wouldn’t have to sit through another lemon eating session, his slowly emptying cupboards were drained. No more desperate inventiveness would keep Izuku from starving; it was time to go shopping.
Izuku didn’t know why he always put off grocery shopping until the last minute. It certainly wasn’t the hardest part of his college experience, but something about it put him off. Maybe it was the indecisiveness that came between lying to his mom (“No, Mom, I swear I haven’t been living off of packaged ramen for the past week, yes, I’ve eaten fruit–“) and bleeding his wallet with healthy goods. Maybe it was just having to face his pitiful budget that made shopping unappealing.
Either way, dying of starvation wasn’t anywhere near Izuku’s top ten list of ways to die in college, so here he was at the Grand Torino supermarket. A quick look at his wallet revealed that it was going to be another ramen week. Sigh. Once Midoriya graduated, he swore he’d never as much as look as an instant ramen packet ever again.
After a mortifying experience at the checkout (really, Izuku might as well have worn a sign that flashed “I’M A BROKE-ASS COLLEGE STUDENT” in neon lights and it would’ve sent the same message), he was ready to leave as soon as possible. In his rush to exit the building, he almost didn’t hear the cry of, “Midoriya!” over his shoulder.
Izuku’s head whipped around and he moved to hide his incriminating bag of cheap noodle products behind his back, but it was too late. As Aoyama trotted up to him, slightly puffing, Izuku couldn’t miss the way his nose wrinkled while looking at Izuku’s purchases. The look was quickly replaced by his signature smile as he looked up to face Izuku. “Finally, you heard me, Monsieur Midoriya! I thought every soul in the supermarket would hear me before you did.”
A warm blush filled Izuku’s cheeks. “Yeah, I guess I was just lost in thought, hah…anyway, I should head home, I’m getting pretty hungry.”
That seemed to get Aoyama’s attention. “Ah, but a student like you can’t live off of such meager meals!” He motioned towards Izuku’s poorly hidden bag. “I can’t imagine you’d survive very long eating like that, mon amie.”
Izuku felt like he was shrinking under Aoyama’s scrutinizing gaze. He shrugged and nervously scratched the back of his neck. “I appreciate the concern, but I’ve been doing fine up until now. Besides, I’ve used up my weekly budget anyway, and I wouldn’t want to spend too much…,”
“I cannot simply stand by when a classmate of mine is torturing himself like this, Monsieur Midoriya,” said Aoyama with a click of his tongue and flick of his hair. Before Izuku could interject and assure Aoyama that he wasn’t starving, really, he found his bag 5 lemons heavier. “There, that should keep you supplied until you can get yourself something better!”
As Aoyama winked and sauntered away, Izuku stole a glance at his shopping basket and found that it was full to the brim with lemons. There seemed to be other purchases hidden under the fruits, but they seemed to take up a pitiable amount of space compared to the load of citruses piled up in the basket. Izuku blinked a few times, rubbed at his eyes, and promptly left the store. The more he found out about Aoyama, the less he seemed to know.