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Their First Rodeo

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The afternoon seemed calm, or as calm as it could in a world without All-Might. There was a retrospective being shown on the former Symbol of Peace's career and Izuku wanted to catch it from the beginning. Sure, he knew most of the information, probably even more than would be revealed. However, he couldn't pass up the chance to see something like this. The current holder of One-for-All probably could have put together a far more comprehensive story if he wanted to, as could Gran Torino and All Might himself. Some secrets, however, were best left buried, even if the whole world now knew that All Might was powerless and retired.

A knock at the door grabbed Izuku's attention. The green-haired boy got up and walked across the lounge, towards the entrance and opened up to see who it was. Sure enough, a short girl with big eyes and blonde hair was standing with her hands behind her back and a wide grin.

"Howdy, pardner!" she beamed, speaking in her native tongue. Izuku would learn she put this on as a bit of a show, as she was from Arizona and not Texas, though she was born around the Dallas-Fort Worth area before her parents relocated to Phoenix.

"Oh, Tsunotori. Welcome. I…I'm not great at English yet, but it's nice to see you. Come on in."

"Thanks, Midoriya" the short girl beamed, doing her best not to botch the pronunciation of her friend's name. She failed, stressing the I. It's not that she was totally ignorant of Japanese. She got into a top Japanese hero school. She loved Japanese culture. But she was a teenage Otaku from Phoenix, Arizona. No amount of promise was going to make her less of a fish out of water. She had learned a bit from her classmate Monoma, though most of it involved lewd words and phrases. Poni had caught on after a while and had sought out 1a's vice president for Japanese lessons. Yaoyorozu was probably the most fluent in her class when it came to other languages, so the blonde girl was grateful. She was even more grateful for the small horses Momo would make for her new friend as gifts.

"Oh! You watching the new All Might show too?" The blonde tried to say, though her speech was more awkward, despite the enthusiasm in her inflection.

"Of course. How could I not?" The green-haired boy relaxed a bit, brushing the back of his hair bashfully. He knew she was into this stuff too. He was very happy about that. Monoma, who was her friend, was rather intimidating and obnoxious, but Poni was far different. She was friendly and kind and excited to be here, even if she was out of her depth a bit. Dare he say it, Izuku found her to be very cute, with her cartoonish features and her charming demeanor. He could certainly see a kindred spirit in this girl, which is why he started talking to her more.

The horned horse girl smiled and stomped her left hoof with glee as she looked at the freckle-faced boy she had become friends with. Her buddy Monoma wasn't fond of 1A, but Poni had no reason to dislike them. They were actually rather nice, especially Izuku. He was sweet, bashful, and a major nerd. She was happy to be going to such a major hero school but finding people there with similar interests to her was a bonus. She talked to her classmates about anime and children's cartoons, shared anime with Tooru Hagakure from 1A.

And then there was Izuku Midoriya. He was a huge All Might fan. He loved heroes in general, and that was a major statement considering how many people at the school wanted to be heroes. Still, this boy had an All Might collection worth of praise and admiration, perhaps even envy. Poni couldn't help but see it for herself ever since she saw photos of it on Izuku's phone.

Snapping back to reality, the horse girl took a seat next to her friend and scooted close, leaving enough of a space cushion for snacks and for the two of them to not get embarrassed. She had plenty of friends back in the United States. It wasn't a large group, but she had a few that she kept in contact with. However, she was equally happy to make some at UA, especially the bashful boy who was as much of a geek as she was. It was always fun to find people with similar interests, especially where she was from.

Granted, Poni had messed up Izuku's name at first. She even called him Moodoriya once in a slip of the tongue, which was embarrassing for both. It eventually did lead to her gifting him a green cow plushy that she had from a county fair back home. She figured he would appreciate the verdant bovine. Izuku's heart had squeezed in his chest and he had kept it in his room, on his desk. It also had a small All-Might costume that Poni had custom made.

Izuku had to admit the girl was cute. Grated, that much was evident from her innocent demeanor, her large eyes, and cheerful demeanor. However, there was something about her that made the formerly-quirkless boy's heart flutter. He had slowly getting more used to girls, but he had a way to go still. And then this girl with a bit of a language barrier and a love of anime and cartoons came along, one he had barely spoken to for a while. She was probably the closest to him in terms of being an All Might fan, her and Bakugou. Every once in a while, Izuku would take out his notebook and write in it.

"Whatcha doin', Midoriya?"

"O-oh. Um, just writing down things I didn't know and things that the documentary left out. Maybe they will add stuff in for the home release."

Izuku was a bit bashful. No matter how excited about heroes his classmates were and how they had come to accept his eccentricities, the boy still didn't want to come off as too much of a fanboy. Unfortunately, he couldn't hide his stripes.

"Oh! That's really cool! You're really dedicated!" she smiled. "I love All Might, but I don't think I am anywhere close to you. It's great! You're da best!"

Izuku blushed and brushed the back of his head, trying to keep his attention on his friend and on the program, though he did know a lot of this stuff anyway, so he didn't mind talking to Poni during it.

"Thanks, Tsunotori. I appreciate it. I just…always admired him, you know? He was the greatest hero of all time, and the way he faced danger and protected people with a smile on his face…I always admired that. I kind of needed that growing up, so having him as a teacher…it's one of the greatest things in the world now."

The green-haired boy felt a shiver run up his spine. He was concerned at how open he was being, but he supposed that was due to his personal growth as a person, as well as how much he was coming to enjoy this girl's company. More than some of his classmates, she felt like a kindred spirit. He had been called "nerd" and "Otaku" for so long, and that was still the case. Nowadays, it was more of a term of endearment, but it was the opposite for years. Now that he had met someone from America, the inspiration for a lot of All Might's attacks and aesthetic, it was relieving in a way. What's more, she was an otaku herself, so it felt like he had someone to share his interests with.

"Hey Midoriya." The horse girl pondered for a moment. She knew her friend could speak some English. She knew it might fluster him a bit, but she was rather nervous herself. Innocent as she could be, Poni was still a teenage girl, not an 8-year-old. This boy made her feel happy and she wanted to do something with that realization. Opting for her native language, the girl asked.

"Do you want to go shopping tomorrow? There's an All Might exhibit at the hero museum and they have some rare memorabilia at the gift shop."

Izuku paused. His mind was going haywire. On one hand, a girl was asking him on a date. Poni of all people. He admitted to not thinking she would be the sort, possibly because of how childlike she could seem. On the other hand, he was actually wanting to go to that All Might exhibit himself, and now that he had a friend who was as ecstatic about it as he was, the boy was rather eager to say yes. And on another auxiliary limb, the boy had to respect that this girl felt comfortable enough to speak her native tongue to him, that even if he wasn't the most fluent in English, she trusted his abilities enough to try and make things easier for the both of them.

"Um…Tsunotori?"

"you can call me Poni."

"I…Are you sure?"

"Yep yep. We're friends, right?"

"Right." Izuku was still not used to this. He still had trouble calling his female friends by their first name (and some of his male friends as well. It was just the way he was). "Sorry. Poni?"

"Yeah?"

"Is…is this like…a date? I'm sorry. Sorry. Not trying to." The formerly quirkless student could feel his throat go dry. Reaching for his nearby thermos, he took a sip of water to alleviate the situation.

"Oh….um…Did you want it to be?" Poni cocked her head to the side slightly. Based on what she had gathered of the boy, he didn't seem like the kind to ask people out on dates. Not without a panic attack in the middle. TO be honest with herself, while she had harbored crushes on characters in her shows, she hadn't really dated or done much in the way of romance, so she wasn't sure how to handle this.

The girl wasn't exactly blunt, but she didn't beat around the bush as much as her friend did either. There was a slight redness to her cheeks now. Izuku had not seen Poni blush before. He had to admit, it was adorable. Not out loud, of course. He wasn't that far along.

"I…um…well…. I'm not really used to it to be honest. It doesn't have to be if you don't want to. I did always want to date a girl but was always too afraid to ask. Plus, I sort of resigned myself to never being asked. Mostly I have been focused on heroics."

The boy had begun muttering, a trademark of his. It was a testament to his intelligence and his social awkwardness.

"Whoa there. Slow down. No need to overthink it. It doesn't have to be if you don't want it to." Poni fiddled nervously with her hands, smiling that same smile of hers. It might have seemed vacant on the surface, but on closer examination, her eyes darted slightly as she searched for the words to respond with. Should she try Japanese again? Yaomomo did help her with some common responses recently. Not for stuff like this though. Plus, while the blonde girl did bring the idea up, having it addressed as a date out in the open was making her feel a bit funny.

"I mean. I sort of brought it up…I…Yeah. Let's do it. Let's go…o-on a d-date."

"Yeah! I would like that! It um…If it helps, this will be my first. Date I mean."

"Mine too. Guess it's…u…our first rodeo, huh?" The green haired boy tried his best to lighten the mood with a pun, further relating to his friend with American colloquialisms. He had a book on some of them since childhood. He thought it would help him be more like All Might somehow. He still didn't understand what "Holy stinking super crap meant though."

Poni blushed as her grin widened. She wasn't sure how intentional his joke was but hearing American phrases like that certainly helped calm any unease she felt. She knew now, without a doubt, that this would be fun. First date or not, she had a feeling she was in good hands.

"That's my hero name. I see what you did there, Midoriya."

"I…um…you can call me Izuku…if you want. It's…. only fair, right?" The 1a student's voice got higher pitched and squeakier as he spoke, nerves setting in.

"Okie doke. Izuku. How about we mosey then. I can't wait to see that exhibit and add to our collections!"

Izuku's heart squeezed in his chest. Not only was this girl incomprehensibly cute, he could recognize his own enthusiasm and it felt nice to be able to share that with someone else. He wasn't sure what the future held, but he was not dreading this as much as he thought he would.

"Yee haw!" He spouted, pumping a fist in the air. He was met with silence and a blank smile from his friend. Slowly lowering his fist, Izuku slumped in his seat.

Poni started to giggle and clap, clearly enjoying the boy's enthusiasm. He was certainly not used to this, but she wasn't one to judge.

"That's the spirit, Izuku!" the girl gently poked the boy's cheek. "Shall we?"

"Sure…but…after this program."

Poni frowned a bit, eager to go out on her first date with one of the nicest boys she had met. However, she had wanted to watch the end of the show too, so she could stand wo wait a bit longer.

"Deal."

"Great. Thanks…um…for holding your horse-OOF!"

Izuku was caught off guard by a swift hug from the small American. Her face was burning up. This was too much for her. She was never as forward about crushes as other girls at home, let alone here. Heck, many boys she had met were more forward, though she supposed that was the nature of things. Most of her time was dedicated to her hobbies and her dreams of being a hero, like the ones on the news or in her comics and cartoons. However, this boy, who had showcased the drive and power of a true hero, was the cutest thing she had laid eyes on and it was making her feel weird, albeit a welcome sort of weird.

"Sorry. I just really liked that pun." She smiled sweetly.

Izuku paused. He was unable to continue in English as he had reached his limits in regard to the language. That and being hugged by a Poni had short-circuited him a bit. Nevertheless, his hand slowly wrapped around her and returned the favor. If this was what dating a girl would be like, he wasn't sure how ready he was. However, he sure was welcoming of it.

"I'm glad you liked it. I…canter-gue with that?" The pun was so bad and so clumsy that Izuku felt himself cringe.

He hardly had time to do so as Poni hugged him tighter. The hug loosened as she realized what she was doing and both her and Izuku puled away slightly, looking to their sides as the show wrapped up. Unfortunately, the current exchange had distracted them from the program, but if they were honest with themselves, it wasn't a bad thing. As the show finished, the two otaku teens went to Izuku's room, so he could grab his things, before they headed to Poni's in the 1B dorms. After that, the two walked off towards the horizon, ready to take in the museum and whatever else came their way.