Chapter 2: Misfire Number One
The Next Day
“... so, sensei , I know you’re still angry with him about the fight, but what do you think? Is it okay?”
“GRR... Bakugou… you want to… ARGH…”
“Just meet with him, that’s right.”
“Up… RRRRRGH… up on… RRRAARGH...”
“... The roof?”
“ROOF!” shouted Ryo Inui, also known as Hound Dog, U.A.’s guidance counselor. Froth flew from the edges of his muzzle. “ROOF ROOF ROOF ROOF ROOF ROOF…”
“I’ll, uh…” Ochako swallowed and took a few steps backward. “I’ll just come back another time.”
“BARK,” Inui-sensei added. And furthermore, expanding on that statement: “BARK! GRR RARRGH BARK BARK BOW WOW WOW WOW BARK!” He continued much in that manner even as he tore apart his desk drawer, eventually producing a sheet of paper and a well-chewed pencil. Frantically he waved at Ochako to wait a moment.
“Inui-sensei? Is there something else?”
“SNARL. BARK BARK—BOW WOW WOW—WOOF WOOF, WOOF.” As he spoke, he scribbled something—not without considerable difficulty—then pushed it in Ochako’s direction. “BARK.”
“For me?” Ochako took it. Deciphering the scrawl across the page took a moment, but it said:
perMIsioNN graaaantED for
aruuuu uRUu urararara OCHAKO to gO DOrm rooFFFTop w/ baKUGOu durng howse ARRest!!!
At least, she was reasonably sure that was what it said. Ochako’s face lit up like the sun. “Th-thank you, Inui-sensei! Thank you! I’ll be sure Bakugou-kun doesn’t get into any more trouble, I promise!”
“GRR,” said Inui-sensei. He sounded doubtful… somehow.
“Thanks again, sensei! Excuse me!” Ochako bowed and hurried out of the office, clutching the permission slip to her test. Now to hope that Aizawa-sensei was just as agreeable…
Later That Day
“Goddammit, I told you not to be late! ”
Ochako cringed as she threw open the door to the dorm’s rooftop. She was slightly out of breath. “Sorry, sorry! I got caught up helping the girls deal with Mineta-kun...”
Bakugou raised an eyebrow.
“He, uh…” Ochako fidgeted under his gaze. “He tried to get away with another pair of Yao-momo’s underwear from the laundry. Yao-momo and Jiro-chan stuffed him in a trash can and I levitated it into a tree. A-anyway, s-sorry again. Sorry,” she stammered, bowing a few more times for good measure.
“Knock it off!” A few pops came from Bakugou’s fist as he clenched it. “If I want your goddamn apologies, I’ll ask for ‘em!”
“Sorr—er, okay!” As she rose back up, she presented the cellophane-wrapped package to him… rather more roughly than she intended, so it came out as more of a shove. Her lip trembled as she waited for his reaction…
“What,” said Bakugou, stomping over for a closer look, “... the hell… are these?”
“C-cupcakes… from the convenience store on Orudo Street...” Ochako broke out in a sweat. It was possible—likely, even—that she had made a grave miscalculation here. Boys, as a rule, disliked being seen eating sweets… Rikido Sato being a logical exception, since his Quirk depended on it. To a boy who was obsessed with appearing tough and manly at all times—like Bakugou, for example—being given cupcakes was probably a grave insult to his masculinity. Maybe if she was lucky, they’d find her body sooner rather than later, before it started to smell. “I, uh,” she stammered, “I j-just thought I should th-thank you for—”
The package vanished from her hands in a rush of air. “These better not have shredded coconut on ‘em. I hate that shit,” said Bakugou over the sound of cellophane being torn to shreds.
“Uh…” Ochako was fairly certain that her jaw was hanging open to somewhere around her knees. She closed it in a hurry.
They ate. Bakugou attacked the cupcakes as if he had a personal vengeance against them, stuffing them whole into his mouth in between tearing off strips of fried pork cutlet with his teeth. “So. Deku,” he said while he gnawed on a piece.
Ochako nodded as she inhaled a few more noodles from her instant ramen.
That was a good question, really. Ochako set her chopsticks down and pondered. “I, uh… I guess it started after the entrance exams…”
“Of fucking course,” Bakugou growled. “The robot. Damn Deku, I shoulda known...”
“Look, Bakugou-kun if you’d rather not do this—”
“Shut up.” Bakugou’s finger shot out at her like a missile and hovered a few millimeters from the tip of her nose. “If I say I’m gonna do something, I damn well do it. I can’t leave you two morons alone now that I know, Deku’s shit at talking to girls.”
“And I suppose you’re better at it?” The sentence popped out of her mouth before she could stop herself. Her stomach dropped like a block of concrete, and she clapped her hands over her mouth in horror. Forget finding her body, Ochako thought, they’d be lucky to find any pieces of her bigger than a grain of rice.
Silence between them. The wind blew. Somewhere in the distance, a dog howled.
Bakugou surprised her for the second time that night: he roared with laughter, spraying the rooftop with cupcake crumbs and morsels of pork cutlet.
Slowly, slowly, Ochako’s insides unwound themselves. Maybe, just maybe, she would survive this after all.
“That’s good!” said Bakugou once he finally regained control of himself, grinning like the devil. “That’s damned good! Didn’t think ya had it in ya, Uraraka! You got balls! For a girl, I mean.”
Apparently, that was a compliment. “Uh, thanks?” she said, flushing hot.
“Most girls are fucking annoying.” Bakugou went back to his cutlets, having exhausted the supply of cupcakes. “Following me around, giggling behind my back like they think I can’t hear ‘em. Most of ‘em don’t even have the balls to even talk to me, and the ones that do…” He put on a screeching falsetto. “ ‘Yes, Bakugou-kun!’ ‘Of course, Bakugou-kun!’ ‘Anything you say, Bakugou-kun!’ Makes me wanna puke.”
“... But… but I thought you loved that kind of attention!”
Bakugou turned his head and spit in disgust. “That kind ain’t real. They’re not into me , they just want to kiss my ass to try to get into my pants. They think if they can get me alone, I’ll go all soft and sensitive and share my fucking feelings like I’m the kind of pansy-ass jack-off they write their fucking doujinshi about.”
Over those last few sentences, Ochako’s cheeks darkened from rose to crimson to beet. “D-doujinshi?”
Bakugou scowled and crushed the paper wrapper from his most recent cutlet in the palm of his hand. It went up in flames. “Ever since the sports festival. My old lady thinks it’s hilarious to send ‘em to me in the mail. They ain’t worth burning or blowing up, so I just shove ‘em under Mineta’s door.”
“Ah.” That explained the howls of terror that periodically filtered up from the dorms’ second floor.
“But you’re different.” There was the pointing finger again; she nearly went cross-eyed from looking at it. “You’re not like them, you proved that. You’ve got balls—”
“I really don’t—”
“You know what I mean. If Deku didn’t notice you after we fought at the sports festival…” Bakugou snorted. “He’s a bigger idiot than I thought. If you’re ever gonna get through to him, you need to talk his language. Got me?”
“Talk his language. Right.” Ochako nodded as if her head were on a spring. “What’s that mean?”
“It means All Might ,” said Bakugou, all agrin. He looked like a blonde, spiky-haired shark about to move in for the kill. “You know what a nerd he is about pro heroes, especially All Might. You want in with him? Look for an opening, then impress the hell out of him with what you know about All Might. Surprise him, dammit! Catch him off guard and ride him hard ‘til he gives up!”
Eep. “I really wish you’d phrase that a different way…”
“That’s what you gotta do!” He stood, sparks flying from his fingertips as he roared to the heavens. “Go all out! NO MERCY! ”
Ochako wondered if she had sustained a head injury, for Bakugou was making a frightening amount of sense…
The Next Next Day
There he was, all green curls and freckles, sweet and thoughtful and nerdy and determined… and still totally oblivious. But today would change that. Hopefully. “Oh, Uraraka-san! How did it go today?” Deku said as he looked up from the couch, where he had had his nose buried in his notebook. He had been working hard, she could tell by his scent, the lingering, sickly-sweet aroma of pine freshener mixed with the more musky odor of sweat. She could tell by the shine on his skin and the blood in his cheeks...
They were in the freshly-cleaned Heights Alliance common room, scoured top to bottom by Deku and Bakugou as part of their punishment. And they were alone… Bakugou was making sure of that, providing a much-needed distraction to the rest of the class out on the lawn. He and Kirishima were doing… something involving a couple dozen cans of barley tea, something very noisy that rose cheers from all of their classmates roughly every thirty seconds. Well, almost all of their classmates. Todoroki watched in stoic silence, uncaring and unimpressed, and dimly she could hear Iida hollering in vain over the frequent explosions about “disturbing the peace”, “littering laws”, and, for some reason, “proper calisthenics”.
Deep breaths. Deep breaths. This was her moment. No reason to be nervous. “I-it was fine. Class was nothing special.”
“I can’t wait to get back and make up for what I missed!” Deku’s gaze went somewhere far away as he clenched his fists. “I’m sure Aizawa-sensei won’t hold back just because of my house arrest. He’s going to work me harder than ever…”
“D-Deku-kun,” Ochako stammered. Her face was hot… really hot. Better make this quick, before Deku got lost in thought and started that muttering business again. “I… I got these from the convenience store down the street! Take a look!” And with that, she thrust the cheap foil package at him, forcing her lips into a smile.
“Are these…” Deku’s eyes widened. He took the package with great reverence, as if receiving a holy artifact. “Are these official All Might Smash Crackers? The ones with trading cards?”
Fireworks went off in Ochako’s head, but somehow, she kept her cool on the outside. “Uh-huh!” she nodded. “I… I know they’re not much, but I know how you look up to All Might, s-so I th-thought m-m-maybe…”
“Oh, wow! Thank you, Uraraka-san!” Deku shone with the smile she adored so much. “I’ll go put these in my room with all the others!”
And just like that, the fireworks fizzled out, and cold reality came crashing back down on her. “All… all the others…?”
Deku was already rising from the couch, his eyes and attention on the package of cards, a million miles away from her. “I’ve been collecting them ever since I was little, I’ve got almost five hundred packages of these, all unopened and in mint condition! I’m hoping that I’ll be a pro hero by the time I collect a thousand.”
Through a supreme effort, Ochako forced herself to remain on her feet. “I’m… I’m sure that you’ll make it, Deku-kun, but I thought… I thought we could—”
Deku wasn’t listening. He was already on the way to the stairs. “I’m gonna go seal these up right away so they won’t spoil! Thanks again, Uraraka-san!” There he went.
Ochako sagged and sank into the couch cushions, her burning face in her hands.
Several seconds of eternity later, the remaining eighteen members of Class 1-A came bustling in through the front doors, many grumbling about “ruining a perfectly good show”. Iida followed, his arms a blur of stiff, robotic motion: “—had best hope that Aizawa-sensei doesn’t find out that you were behaving in such a disgraceful manner, Kirishima and Bakugou! You put gallons of perfectly good tea to waste, and you both know perfectly well that those dumbells are on the confiscated items list! Don’t make that face at me, Kirishima! Uraraka-kun?” Iida noticed her before she could slip away. He bolted to her side. At least there was a nice breeze coming from his arm movements. “Your face is very red! Are you unwell? Should I take you to the nurse?”
“No, no, Iida-kun, I’m fine,” she lied, forcing another smile. “I’m fine, I just need to lie down for a while. Thank you.”
END OF CHAPTER 2