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“Pinky! To your left!”

The afterimage of an arm hurtled towards her in a large arc, smashing into the concrete ground as the pink hero shifted her feet to change her body’s direction. The acid under her feet fluctuated, increasing her speed to dodge just as her opponent’s arm freed itself and made another mad grab for her from the front.

“Ashido!” came another, closer, shout. “Duck!”

Mina skidded her acid skating to a halt and made to cover her head as she crouched down into a defensive position. She hissed through grit teeth, fearful she made the wrong split-second decision; but when she didn’t immediately feel pain, she wheezed out in relief.

A screech rang out above her, and her head whipped up to see what stopped the onslaught. Red filled her vision as her chest swelled, breath sticking in her lungs.

“Kirishima!”

Her fellow classmate’s quirk was activated and clashing fiercely with the villain’s heavy limbs, Kirishima’s face twisted in both concentration and determination.

“Get out of my way,” the villain seethed in a low, menacing growl. He had a good foot or two in height on the teens, and the way he bore down on them striked an intimidating figure.

The large man aimed his scowl past the boy in front of him and drove straight into Ashido, spiking her adrenaline enough to scramble to her feet once more.

“Thanks, Kiri!” she huffed, putting a hand on his hardened back for a second as a sign of gratitude before throwing herself back into it. She slipped under the villains oversized and obviously powerful limbs while he was locked in a stalemate with Red Riot, though both students knew it wouldn’t last long.

“Is the civilian safe?!” Kirishima yelled, his voice giving away his struggle to keep the guy in place.

She quickly checked to make sure the woman she had saved not two minutes before from the man’s rampage was a safe distance away, then turned towards the man’s back.

“Safe and sound!” she responded loudly. The villain let out an angry roar at that, growing increasingly rabid in his attempt to make the spiky redhead let go of his fists. Kirishima winced when his thrashing bent his own arm in a painful way. The jerking movement was enough for the villain to take advantage of the boy's momentary pain and wrench free.

“Don’t you know it’s rude to be violent towards a-”

Ashido pounced onto the brute’s back, causing a yowl of rage to escape his throat as the acid on her boots bit into him. “-Lady!”

Massive flailing arms rounded on Ashido as they tried to snag her, like someone desperately trying to bat an insect off their back. She clung on to him through his twisting and turning, making sure to distract him.

He spun around in an almost comical fashion, giving her a chance to yell to her classmate.

“Kirishima!” she hollered, desperately needing his attention to make this work. She needn’t worry, though, for her friend’s entire attention was on her, albeit very panicked.

“MINA!”

A muscley hand wrapped painfully around her ankle then, immediately making her blood run cold. “Drive him back! Do it!” she managed to get out before she was suddenly upside down in midair.

Seeing their foe drag Ashido from his back to dangle in front of him, the image of another similar situation bubbled unbidden into Eijirou’s mind. A time where the same girl in front of him now was in terrible danger, yet back then his legs had refused to cooperate to save her. He had failed.

This time, he forced his skin to harden to its maximum form, Unbreakable, and charged forward. He would not be a coward again. He wouldn’t fail. Wouldn’t fail her.

With a loud warcry, he connected with the man’s middle, catching him off guard with no time to retaliate. He pressed forward, driving the man’s form back, though only by a few feet.

Those few feet were all they needed.

Ashido’s acid had melted away at the ground behind him, giving him no traction under his giant, uneven body. The giant lost his footing and in a last ditch effort to retain balance, let the pink girl go.

“Oh, sh-!”

She had no time to right herself in midair and braced for a face full of asphalt, until a pair of sturdy and clothed arms caught her just before hitting the ground.

A crumbling sound caught her ear as she looked to see what happened with steroids-gone-wrong.

They waited as the dust settled with held breaths, but the outcome of the short yet intense battle was in their favor. It seemed his weight had worked against him alongside Ashido’s acid, and he ended half submerged in the rubble his landing caused. His roars of anger no longer shook the air, replaced by police sirens getting louder and louder. Mina heaved a sigh of relief.

The chest below her did as well. She blinked and turned her head away from the fight scene and came nose to nose with her fellow crime fighter, Kirishima. His arms held her in a secure grip, almost clutching her bridal style to his chest.

Noticing they were practically sharing the same breath, he leaned back very slightly to put some semblance of distance between them. He didn’t make any move to put her down, though.

“Are you alright? You pulled some pretty gutsy moves out there!” he both questioned and complimented. She grinned and moved one of her hands from around his neck to show him the victory sign.

“I’m fine, I’m fine! That was pretty awesome though, huh? I wasn’t sure how it was gonna work out, but luckily I had you there!” Ashido put her hand back around his neck, neither really putting a lot of thought into their proximity at the moment. She giddily bounced a bit in his arms. “That form was super cool! It’s the first time I’ve seen it in action!”

The young male hero’s cheeks warmed up at the compliments and showed off his sharp teeth in a grin of his own.

“But that was really manly of you, Ashido! You saved that lady from being trampled by that guy; you were so fast I almost couldn’t keep up!” he gushed. Ashido giggled at his praise.

Police had filtered onto the scene by this point, subduing the criminal in cuffs and chains built to keep his strength and mass at bay. They quickly led him into a police truck, taking him away with little effort. An officer walked up to the two standing off to the side, pulling his notebook out after letting an emergency vehicle pass him. He quickly got their statements, checked their provisional hero licenses, and congratulated them on doing a great job.

“Oh, and if your partner is injured, you can take her to the ambulance right over there,” the officer pointed in the direction of said vehicle.

“Injured?” the two asked at the same time.

The officer looked at them a bit perplexed. Only then did Kirishima realize that he was still holding - no, cradling - Ashido in his arms.

“OH, uh, yeah, I’ll just-”

His cheeks burned as he quickly moved to put her down.

A hiss of pain slipped out of her as she put weight on her ankle, reminding her of the meat claw that guy called a hand snatching it roughly during the fight. She leaned back into Kirishima for support, who had wrapped an arm around her shoulder in worry.

“It might be good to get that looked at. I can help you over if-”

Before the policeman could continue, Ashido was once again scooped up into Kirishima’s arms, this time being held protectively tight against himself.

“I will take care of her, sir! Thank you for your hard work!” the spiky boy said, then gave a respectful head nod before quickly taking off. The officer could only scratch his head at the overzealousness the kid oozed, but quickly chalked it up to youth and went on to the next civilian to get a statement from.

Kirishima delicately placed Ashido on the edge of the open ambulance cab. As he straightened, he noticed her face seemed a bit more pink than her usual skin tone, but didn’t linger long enough to be sure.

After looking around and asking for an EMT to look at her, he sat beside her patiently as the swollen ankle was bandaged up. They sat in amicable silence, letting the emergency responder have their attention for now. Once they gave her the go ahead and moved on to another person, Kirishima jumped up beside her and stretched before crouching down.

“Climb on! I’ll be careful not to jostle you,” he said, looking back and giving her a good-natured smile. Mina’s face lit up, and she happily leaned onto his back and wrapped her arms loosely around his neck once more. The thought ‘I could get used to this’ flickered through her mind before he righted himself and adjusted his hands under her thighs. She dispelled the thought as she felt her cheeks warm a little.

They chatted idly while they made their way back to their dorms. After about 20 minutes of walking, give or take short breaks when civilians recognized their hero outfits, they were able to reach U.A.’s Class 1-A dorms. Ashido sent a text to Ochako and Tooru to meet them in the common room so her and Kirishima could head back to their separate rooms after they walked through the entrance, not wanting to make him carry her for longer than necessary. 

She shifted on his back to put her phone away as they stood in the common room. Ashido wouldn't admit to anyone, let alone herself, the feeling of wanting to be carried just a little while longer, though.

“So…” the girl started, leaning back and playfully swinging her legs. Kirishima craned his neck to look at her, not sure if he liked the teasing tone in her voice. She met his eyes and smiled coyly. “Did I hear you say my first name earlier?”

Choking on his spit, the startled boy turned his red face in a desperate attempt to salvage his composure. That had caught him off guard, her suddenly asking that. It wasn’t that weird, was it? It was in the heat of battle, right? He’s not sure why he yelled her first name, it just rolled off his tongue in that moment. That was it.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

He cleared his dry throat before answering her. “We-well, I.. that dude was totally gonna, um, I just wanted to warn you! And, I just, yeah.. I mean! Since we went to middle school together, I just thought, uh. Was it- was it that weird?”

He stumbled over his words, not able to pick a definite answer to stick to. The feel of her thighs under his palms suddenly scorching him through her hero costume was not helping, either.

Footsteps coming down the stairs could be heard, drawing his attention away for a second. His muscles tensed, trying his best to ignore the feeling of her pressed up against his back again.

A sigh of relief left him quietly as Ashido slid off carefully. Then, she circled to his front and peered into his face. He blinked, unsure what she was thinking of him at that moment. Maybe she really didn’t like him calling her so familiarly?

“I liked it,” she said smiling, almost as if reading his mind. “You should call me that more often!”

Then he felt softness and warmth as she kissed his cheek.

He looked at her dumbly, cheeks cooling a bit from earlier, as she turned to her two friends just coming from the stairs. They both fussed over her, asking what happened and taking each of her arms to help her towards her floor.

Before disappearing around the corner, Mina leaned around Ochako’s brown hair and gave Kirishima a dazzling smile and wave.

“Thanks for saving me earlier, Eiji!”

He stood there for an entire minute after they left, rooted to the spot as if his feet were glued there.

Midoriya walked in from the entrance with a shopping bag and spotted his red haired classmate frozen in the middle of the room, scuffs and dirt on his hero costume. “Kirishima?!” he worriedly called, rushing to his side to check on him.

As if snapping him out of his daze, the young man fell to a crouched position and held his flushed face in one of his hands. His ears now matched his hair color.

In the background, his freckled classmate could be heard making a fuss and asking if he had a fever or something.

“Or something” was right, Kirishima thought. He groaned into his palm, grinning.