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the one who can't cope

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Shouko slowly awoke, sunlight shining in her eyes. She heard a bark, as something began to lick her feet. She groaned.

“...Taromaru, stop barking….” she groaned, as she slowly sat up. “You’ll wake every….” she trailed off, as she looked around the room. The three other sleeping bags that usually occupied it neatly folded up. “Wait a minute...what time is it?” she said, before she checked the alarm clock on the floor. Oh no, it was that late already? She sighed, as she got up, setting Toramaru down next to her. Reaching around in the closet they all shared, she quickly found her uniform, slipping it on, before grabbing her backpack and walking out the door.

The school hallways were already bustling, a testament to how late she had slept. She gave a polite wave to those she recognized, as she made her way to the club room for breakfast. Slowly opening the door, she found Midoriya and Ochako already sitting at the table, while Tenya was cooking something in the corner.

“Good morning everyone.” she said simply. Everyone turned to look at her. Iida broke into a smile.

“Good morning, Shouko!” he said brightly, as he stirred whatever he was cooking.

“Good morning, Shouko!” Ochako chimed in, as she polished a large shovel she was holding.

“...There you go with that shovel again. Why do you even have that with you Ochako?”

Ochako huffed. “That’s not fair! A shovel is a valid weapon, Shouko!” Shouko continued to stare.

“But you don’t need a weapon. This is a high school.” She said simply. Midoriya gave Ochako a look that Shouko couldn’t quite place, but the green haired girl quickly shook her head, and spoke.

“Uh-good morning Todoroki!” she stuttered. Shouko frowned.

“I told you to call me Shouko, Midoriya. Otherwise it gets too confusing between Fuyumi and I.” the girl yelped.

“Uh- right! Sorry, uh, Shouko.” she stuttered out again. As if on cue, Fuyumi opened the door.

“Good morning kids!” she said brightly. Shouko looked over at her.

“Hello Fuyumi.” she said. Iida quickly bowed in Fuyumi’s direction.

“Hello Fuyumi sensei!” he said. Fuyumi chuckled.

“Good morning Iida.” she said lightheartedly. Midoriya spoke.

“So, what’s for breakfast?” the green haired girl asked brightly.

Shouko raised an eyebrow.

“Aren’t you going to say hello to Fuyumi?” she asked. The green haired girl never missed the opportunity to be polite. Midoriya jumped.

“Oh! That’s right! I’m so sorry, I didn’t, uh, notice you there Fuyumi sensei!” Fuyumi pouted.

“I’m not that easy to miss am I?”

Shouko sighed.“Of course you’re not, Fuyumi, Midoriya just didn’t notice you since it’s so early in the morning.”

“Yeah, we’re all still sleepy, aren’t we Midoriya?” Ochako piped up, nudging Midoriya.

“Ah-yes! Yes of course, I apologize...Fuyumi sensei!” the green haired girl quickly said. “G-good morning!”

Fuyumi bowed. “And good morning to you too, Midoriya.” Fuyumi replied, before taking a seat at the table. “So what’s for breakfast, Iida?” Iida didn’t respond, probably absorbed in cooking.

“Tenya.” Shouko said, echoing Fuyumi, but speaking louder so Iida could hear. “What’s for breakfast?” the blue haired boy finally turned around.

“Spaghetti with meat sauce!” he says proudly, as he brings four plates over. Shouko gives him a look.

“Shouldn’t we feed Taromaru first?” she asks. Midoriya speaks up.

“Oh, I can feed him!” she says, giving a smile to the dog, who quickly turns away. Her smile falters. “Or...maybe not…”

“I’ll feed him.” Shouko says, getting up and grabbing the dog food and bowl, carefully pouring the food into the bowl, before setting it in front of Toromaru. The dog happily began to eat, and Shouko nodded, satisfied, as she walked back to the table, and her own breakfast. Sitting down, she picked up her fork and immediately began to eat. “Tenya, this is very good.” she said once she had swallowed her first bite. Tenya beamed.

“Thank you Shouko!” he said brightly, eating from his own plate. “We had some pasta lying around, and so I figured we should use it, right?” Shouko nodded. She was about halfway through her meal when she felt Fuyumi tap on her arm. She looked up.

“What is it Fuyumi?” Fuyumi looked at her worriedly.

“Shouko, it’s getting pretty late, won’t classes be starting soon?” Shouko’s eyes widened, as she caught a glimpse of the clock. She immediately put her fork down.

“Classes are starting soon, I should get going.” She says, rising from the table and grabbing her backpack.

“Wait, Shouko!” Tenya protested. “Don’t you want to finish your breakfast?” She looked over to Fuyumi.

“You probably have enough time to finish-”

“You should eat.” Midoriya interrupted Fuyumi mid sentence, causing the white haired teacher to pout. She turned to Midoriya.

“Thank you for the sentiment, but there was no need to interrupt Fuyumi.” she said, as she began trying to finish her spaghetti.

“O-oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to!” Shouko sighs.

“It’s alright Midoriya. I know you didn’t mean any harm.” finally finishing her plate, she sets it down on the table, swinging her backpack on over her shoulder. “I’ll be going then.” she says, as she goes to open the door.

“Have a good day!” Tenya, Ochako, Midoriya, and Fuyumi all call out to her, as she closes the door behind her and makes her way to class.

The bell rang just as she slid into her seat. She heard a stifled laugh next to her. She turned, and found Jirou looking at her amusedly. She raised an eyebrow.

“Is there something funny?” she asked, confused. The choker clad girl stifled another laugh.

“Oh, nothing really. It’s just kinda funny how you’re late when you literally live at school, don’t you think?” Shouko sighed.

“I overslept.” she said bluntly. Jirou looked like she about to say something else, but Aizawa sensei suddenly spoke up.

“Alright, take your seats everyone.” he said tiredly. “Todoroki, you’re on duty today, start us off.” Shouko nodded, rising from her seat, walking to the front of the class.

“Stand.” she said cooly. “Bow.” everyone bowed. “And sit.” she said, before returning to her seat.

“Thank you Todoroki.” Aizawa said. “Alright, then. Starting with today’s lesson-”

“Todoroki!” before Aizawa could even start the lesson, the door was burst open, and a worried looking Midoriya came rushing in, frantically looking around. “Todoroki?” Shouko looked away, embarrassed, trying to hide her face in her book. Aizawa looked like he was about to snap the piece of chalk he was holding up to the board in half in frustration. “Todoroki!” Shouko shot a look at Midoriya.

“Midoriya! We are in the middle of class.” she hissed quietly through her teeth, trying not to draw any more attention to herself. Midoriya blinked, looking around as she seemed to suddenly realize the situation she had created for herself, as the entire class stared at the intruder.

“Oh! I’m...I’m sorry…” she said, bowing, before she left, closing the door behind her. Jirou chuckled.

“She’s a feisty one, isn’t she?” Shouko didn’t respond. Whatever Midoriya needed, it was important enough for her to burst right into Shouko’s classroom, so what was it? She quietly raised her hand.

“Yes, Todoroki?”

“May I please go to the nurse’s office? I’m not feeling well.” she asked. Aizawa sighed.

“Alright, just hurry back, ok?” he said grumpily. Shouko nodded, and walked out of the classroom into the hallway, where she found Midoriya leaning against a wall, waiting for her.

“..Todoroki?” Midoriya asked quietly. Shouko sighed.

“I asked to go to the nurse’s office, don’t worry.” Midoriya gave her a funny look.

“All right then…” she said quietly, as the pair began to walk down the hall.

“So what did you need me for? It must be important if you needed to find me in the middle of class.” The green haired girl instantly stood up straighter.

“Oh! Yeah, we’ve got a...situation…” she said, uncertain. Shouko raised an eyebrow, silently asking her to continue. “...Taromaru’s gone missing…” she finally says. Shouko’s eyes widen.

“I see.” she says. Izumi nods sadly.

“I keep on calling him, but he just won’t answer.” Shouko blinked.

“Well, he doesn’t like you very much.” she said bluntly. The green girl froze. Oh, that had been rude, hadn’t it? “I...I mean, it’s just something I’ve noticed, he doesn’t seem to like being around you. Not that has anything to do with you, at least I don’t think.” the green haired girl continued to be quiet. “...you know, you might remind him of a puppy, so he might perceive you as competition for affection rather than a giver of affection.” she said, as if it was the most sensible thing in the world. Midoriya finally spoke up.

“That...that might be it…” she said quietly, though she didn’t sound very confident in her answer. Shouko decided not to push it, though. Right now they needed to focus on finding the dog. A sudden bark rang out from somewhere down the hallway. Shouko began to follow the noise.

“This way.”

Izumi nodded, and followed her. They searched around, trying to find the source of the barking. Until finally, they came across a classroom. A loud bark from inside confirmed Shouko’s suspicions.

“...I think he’s in there.” she said, pointing to the closed door. Slowly, she made her way over to the door, carefully opening it to peek inside, hoping that it wasn’t an occupied classroom. When she caught a glimpse of what was happening, she audibly gasped. Taroumaru was running across the tables, interrupting what seemed to be a science class, as he knocked beakers and tubes onto the floor where they shattered. She slowly closed the door again.

“Why did you close it?” Izumi asked. Shouko looked at her worriedly.

“The class...he’s running all over the tables…” she said quietly. Izumi pushed past her, throwing the door open.

“Taroumaru!” she yelled out, and everyone turned from the dog to the door, staring at the two girls. Shouko blanched.

“Midoriya! You can’t just….they’re still in the middle of class!” Midoriya sighed, before she bowed to the teacher.

“I’m sorry for the inconvenience. We’re from the School Living Club, and we’ve come to return our dog.” the short girl said, as Shouko nodded along with her. The teacher sighed.

“Well, then go get him…” she said, annoyed. Shouko bowed with Midoriya.

“We apologize for the intrusion.” she said cooly. She stood up straight, and walked in to collect the dog, but she realized he wasn’t there anymore.

“He’s getting away!” Midoriya screeched, pointing outside the hallway, where the dog was trotting away. “Todoroki, come on!” the green haired girl said, as she ran after him. Shouko bowed to the teacher again.

“Apologies again.” she said, before quickly standing up and running after Midoriya.

The two chased Taroumaru throughout the school, Shouko having to give countless apologies to the classes they kept on having to interrupt. Running all over the fourth floor where they spent their time (it was was where Shouko’s classroom was, after all, along with the club room), they eventually chased the dog all the way to the stairs to the rooftop. Midoriya huffed and puffed as the two caught their breath, seeing the ever energetic Taroumaru bound up the stairs.

“...how….can such little legs….move so fast?” Midoriya said between breaths, winded. Shouko continued on, running up there stairs. “Shouko!” Midoriya called after her, before she caught her breath enough to run after her. Shouko smirked at the dead end at the top of the stairs, the only exit was the closed door to the roof.

“Now you’re trapped.” she said cooly, and was just about to grab the dog, when the rooftop door swung open, revealing a surprised Ochako, holding her trusty shovel above her head.

“What...are you doing Shouko?” Ochako asked, confused. Midoriya finally got to the top of the stairs and began explaining between gasps for air.

“We...were looking for Taroumaru...he ran up the stairs and-” she quickly cut off when she caught a glimpse behind Ochako. “He got past Uraraka!” she yelped. Shouko nodded, determined, as she ran past Ochako in the doorway onto the rooftop garden. Midoriya soon followed, as well as Ochako, who seemed curious of the situation. Shouko scanned the growing produce, trying to spot fluffy fur. She finally did, among the cabbages.

“There!” she pointed. Ochako held her shovel up in a defensive stance. Shouko paused, looking at her. “...what are you going to do with a shovel?” Ochako grinned.

“Oh don’t worry...I won’t hit him with the sharp part!” she exclaimed, as she began charging after the puppy. Shouko nodded.

“Oh, alright then.” she said. Next to her, Midoriya screeched.

“That is not alright!” she yelled worriedly. If Ochako heard her, she made no indication of it, as she continued to charge. Shouko gave a quick concerned glance to Midoriya, before she began chasing with Ochako. The pair quickly chased the dog around the rooftop perimeter, until Taroumaru was barreling towards the rooftop entrance again, Ochako and Shouko right on his heels. Taroumaru barked as he began running straight for Midoriya, who smiled. “Here boy!” she called out, opening up her arms for him to jump into. The dog barked again, jumping up-

-And then immediately made a hard right turn, leaving Midoriya’s arms still open, as she sighed sadly. Ochako continued her chase, while Shouko stopped next to Midoriya, putting a hand on her shoulder in an attempt to comfort her.

“It’s alright.” she said stoically. “He just sees you as another puppy, remember?” the girl nodded sadly, putting her arms down. Suddenly, they heard a bark from the crops, and looked over, to find Tenya standing over the dog, who was hiding in between the cabbages. Shouko paused, she hadn’t even realized that Tenya was there. Ochako ran over, with Shouko and Midoriya following. The boy smiled down, but his eyes were icy as he stared the dog down.

“Taroumaru.” he said firmly. The tone of his voice was enough to make even Shouko shiver. “No stepping on the crops.” the dog whimpered.

“Nice, Tenya!” Ochako called out, before she stopped short and the trio of girls also whimpered at his intimidating smile. He could really be icy when he wanted to be. He sighed, as he pointed the digging trowel he was holding to the sky, before lowering it and pointing at the girls.

“Recite the School Living Club Charter!” he said, determined. Midoriya spoke up.

“Oh! School Living Club members not only attend classes, but live their whole lives as to…” she trailed off. “...as to….” the green haired girl trailed off again, trying to remember. Shouko spoke up, trying to help. Midoriya was still new, after all.

“So as to grow closer to the school’s many departments, and with them…” she supplied.

“Foster self governance and independence, setting an example for all to follow!” Ochako chimed in. Tenya smiled, warmly this time.

“Yes. Very good.” he said, looking pointedly at them. Oh, he was probably scolding them on how they had been behaving, running around and screaming.

“I’m very sorry Tenya.” she said quietly. The boy chuckled.

“That’s alright, Shouko, but you did startle the members of the Gardening Club quite a bit!” Shouko looked over, to see five or six students, all wearing gardening gloves, staring at them. She bowed.

“I’m sorry for disturbing your gardening.” she said.

“Yes, we’re very sorry!” Ochako said, as she bowed with Shouko.

“Y-yes! So sorry!” Midoriya followed, also bowing. One of the gardening club members laughed lightheartedly.

“It’s alright.” he said. “Just try not to let it happen again, alright?” Shouko nodded.

“I understand.” she said. Suddenly, Midoriya looked around again.

“Where..where did Taroumaru go?” she asked, before she looked behind Shouko and gasped. “There!” she said, pointing to the still open rooftop door, the dog’s face peeking out from behind it, before he barreled back down the stairs. Shouko bowed to the gardening club again.

“Sorry again, please have a good day.” she said, before she quickly ran after the dog, Midoriya following close behind her.

The two girls chased the dog for what seemed like hours, but eventually, he was finally cornered, and Shouko eyed him.

“Midoriya, make sure he doesn’t escape.” she said simply, and the green haired girl nodded nervously. Shouko turned back to Taroumaru, and in one swift motion, lunged for him, managing to scoop him up just before he escaped. “Got you.” she said plainly, as Taroumaru whined. Midoriya sighed in relief.

“We should take him back to the club room.” Midoriya said. Shouko nodded, and began walking there, dog still in her arms.

It was about an hour later when Tenya and Ochako walked in, right as the final bell rang. Shouko was going to have to ask Jirou for her notes tomorrow to catch up. Ochako smiled.

“So, did you rescue our little runaway?” she asked. Shouko nodded, and gestured to the chair next to her, where Taroumaru was tied up in the leash Midoriya had put on him as soon as they had arrived back at the club room. Tenya and Ochako both sat down, the former giving a sigh.

“I suppose we should start keeping him a leash more now. I didn’t know that he could slip through doors so easily.” he said, with the three girls nodding in agreement. There was the sound of the door opening, and Fuyumi stepped in, looking frazzled.

“A dog running around the school...this is definitely going to come up at the next staff meeting.” the teacher said with a sigh. Shouko gave her a sympathetic look.

“I’m sorry, Yumi.” she said, using the nickname for her sister that she usually only called her in private, but it could sometimes slip out.

“I’m just glad there wasn’t any real trouble.” Ochako said to Tenya, causing Fuyumi to huff.

“Except there was! I’m going to have to write an explanation for what you pulled today!” Fuyumi said in a slightly defeated tone. Shouko gave her another sympathetic look. Her sister was still new to teaching, and the club certainly hadn’t made her job any easier.

“I’m really sorry Fuyumi.” she repeated. “We can help you explain to the principal, ok?” Fuyumi sighed.

“No, it’s fine, it is my job. I can get you out of class this once, just make sure to do your homework, okay Shouko?” she said. Shouko nodded.

“Of course, I can start right….” she trailed off. Where was her backpack? She looked back on her day. She had definitely brought it to class...oh, she must have left it there when she asked to go to nurse’s office. She sighed. “I think I left my bag in my classroom, I’ll be right back.” she explained to everyone, and rushed out the door before any of them could respond.

When she got to the classroom, she found the door to already be open, due to it being after school hours. There were still a few lingering students in the room, chatting with friends or doing cleanup duty. Shouko quickly spotted her bag, and walked over, grabbing it.

“Hey, are you feeling better?” Shouko looked up at the voice. It was Jirou, who seemed to be working on homework.

“Excuse me?” she asked. Now it was Jirou’s turn to look confused.

“Didn’t you ask to go to the nurse’s office?” she asked. “Or were you skipping class?” she said in a joking tone.

“I wasn’t skipping class. We just had to go find Taroumaru.”

“...what’s a Taroumaru?” Jirou asked.

“Or is it a he?” the pinked haired girl who sat in front of Jirou piped up, wiggling her eyebrows. Shouko was pretty sure her name was Ashido. Shouko blinked.

“Well, he’s not a she.” she said bluntly. Ashido squealed.

“Ooh, really? What’s he like?” she said. Shouko thought for a moment.

“Hmmm...well, he wears a collar a bit like yours.” she says, pointing to Jirou’s choker. The black haired girl laughs.

“Oh, a choker guy, huh? Well, now I know you have good taste, Todoroki!” Shouko didn’t answer, as she continued to think.

“And this morning when I overslept, he was licking my feet to try and get my attention.” she said. Jirou blinked.

“...What?”

“And sometimes he’ll jump up and try and pull my skirt off. Or he’ll sit on the table to try and eat my food.” Jirou looked at Ashido, as both girls looked lost.

“What the hell? Just who is this guy?” Jirou asked. Shouko blinked.

“Taroumaru is the dog that the School Living Club is taking care of.” she said simply. The two girls were silent for a moment, before they both snorted.

“Well, shouldn’t that have been the place to start?” Ashido asked, amused.

“Man, is there anything the School Living Club can’t do? Why do you get to have a dog?” Jirou asked. Shouko cleared her throat, as she thought she heard some rustling behind her, but ignored it.

“Well, the main purpose of the School Living Club is to foster maturity, indepence, and life skills. We’re taking care of Taroumaru to try and learn the skills of taking responsibility over taking care of something. We don’t just get to have the dog.”

Jirou gave her a look. “Alright, but you guys still get to have a dog at school.”

“Well, where else would we have a dog? We’re the School Living Club.”

Jirou sighed. “That’s not what I meant.”

Shouko cleared her throat again. “We are allowed some special permissions, due to the nature of our club.” Jirou opened her mouth to speak again, but suddenly, a voice came from behind them.

“...Todoroki?” Shouko turned, to see Midoriya standing in the doorway, a worried look on her face.

“Oh, hello Midoriya. Is something the matter?” she said.

“Oh isn’t that the girl that burst in this morning?” Ashido asked. Shouko turned back to her.

“Yes. That’s Midoriya, she’s a member of the School Living Club too.” Ashido nodded.

“Oh, okay then. Is she a new member then?” Ashido said. Shouko nodded.

“Yes, she only joined a few weeks ago, but she’s already starting to fit in with everyone wonderfully. She’s become an integral member of the club.” Jirou raised an eyebrow.

“So why did she burst in here earlier this morning?”

“We had to find Taroumaru. I told you that. She was the one who helped me look.”

“Todoroki?” Midoriya called out worriedly. Shouko turned to face the green haired girl again, seeing her still standing there anxiously. Shouko grabbed her bag, addressing Ashido and Jirou one last time.

“I’m sorry, I have to get going back to the club room now.”

“That’s alright, we’ll see you tomorrow Todoroki!” Ashido said cheerfully. Shouko nodded.

“Yes, see you tomorrow.” she said, before turning around and meeting Midoriya in the doorway. “Hello Midoriya, I’m sorry, did I take too long?” the green haired girl shook her head.

“Oh, no! Iida get sent me to go get you, because dinner will be ready soon, and he doesn’t want it to get cold!”

Shouko nodded. “I see. Well, thank you for coming to get me. I wonder what we’re having for dinner.”

Izumi smiled. “Me too! I think Iida said something about beans, so we’ll have to see.” she said. Shouko was about to say something else, when a gust of wind suddenly blew her hair into her face. She turned, to see an open window.

“Oh, someone left this window open.” She said, walking over to it. She slid it shut, so the wind wouldn’t blow through the hallway anymore. She smiled softly. That was better. She turned back to Midoriya.

“Alright, then. Let’s go.”