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Of fathers, pillows and nail polish

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“Well, that test was a bust. What even are integrals?!” Kaminari moaned, banging his forehead against the cool surface of his desk. Kirishima laughed at his friend’s overdramatic antics, while Bakugou let out an annoyed huff.

“Stop whining! If you’re too fucking stupid to understand that shit on your own, you should’ve come to the study group!”

The electric blonde raised his head to stare at him, all wobbly lips and wide teary eyes. “Bakubrooooo, you’re so mean! Can you at least tutor me for the next one?”

“HELL NO YOU DUNCE, I’D LOSE BRAIN CELLS TRYING TO EXPLAIN ANYTHING TO YOU!”

Mob silently watched as Katsuki raged on in the corner. As rude and volatile as the explosive teen was, he did make a pretty good study partner. His rough and loud demeanor hid it well, but Bakugou truly was academically gifted; his grades often rivaled Yaorozoru’s, even if his own teaching methods were… more intense than the girl’s to say the least. Also, she provided pretty good tea, so there was that.

“Mob-kun!”

Shigeo jolted; Uraraka was waving at him, flanked as usual by Iida and Midoriya, who gave him a stern nod and a warm smile, respectively. The pink-cheeked girl invitingly pointed to the classroom door. “Wanna join us for lunch? I think Lunch-Rush-sensei made takoyaki today!”

Mob hummed, tilting his head; sounded nice. He opened his mouth to answer but stopped dead in his tracks, his gaze focusing just a bit to the left.

 

Aoyama sat alone at his desk, his unopened bento box in front of him. That wasn’t a particularly strange sight in itself, as the mixed-race student often preferred to eat on his own -even though some recent prodding from Midoriya and Mob had curbed that habit somewhat. But the blonde looked unusually tense and stiff, his usual loose and confident flair nowhere to be seen. His purple eyes were dull, his gaze forlorn, the sparkling aura that always seemed to follow him eerily absent.

Shigeo closed his mouth and politely smiled at his friends, coming to a decision. “Thank you, Uraraka-san, but I think I’ll stay here today. I brought my own food.”

That was true, partly; Ritsu always managed to sneak granola bars and juice in his backpack when he wasn’t looking, a habit he’d picked up after Mob forgot to have breakfast one day and passed out during morning training.

He felt his core warm up at the thought; he was lucky to have such a caring little brother.

“Alright, if you’re sure!” Ochako nodded. She stepped out of the classroom, her two closest friends following shortly after. Mob waved them goodbye be turned towards the lone student; he still hadn’t moved an inch. Mob pressed his lips together tightly, his blank features shifting and tensing slightly. Concern.

Aoyama was a tough person to figure out; always hiding behind an arrogant, bright and overdramatic persona. And Shigeo was notoriously bad at reading people’s intentions and emotions, for obvious reasons.

But he had seen that mask crack, once. He remembered it very clearly.

 

A trickle of blood blooming at the corner of a strained smile. Lavender eyes clouded by pain and grim determination. Beads of cold sweat rolling down his clammy skin as he giggled and lied , insisting he was alright, labored breathing growing shallower by the second.

 

Mob shook himself out of his reverie; ah, well hopefully Aoyama-kun wouldn’t push himself like that again. Not if he had anything to say about it.

Aoyama didn't look up when Mob walked up to him. He did, however, when the plain-looking boy pushed a nearby desk against his own and sat down. “Ah, Mob-kun…?”

“I thought I'd eat lunch with you today.” Shigeo said, making sure to emphasize the “with you” part. He absentmindedly rummaged through his bag, before pulling out several cereal bars and a carton of apple juice with a happy sound; it wasn’t the best-balanced meal -or even the most filling- but it would do. Mob straightened up, improvised lunch in hand, and was greeted by Aoyama’s deep violet irises peering straight at him.

He blinked, confused by his classmate’s sudden interest. “Do I have something on my face....?” he thought, lifting a hand to his cheek self-consciously. The blonde didn’t respond for a few seconds, his gaze piercing Shigeo through and through.

Mob was starting to break into a nervous sweat when Aoyama blinked and straightened up, breaking eye contact as he shook off whatever was in his mind. “Désolé, but I couldn’t help but notice… your hair is getting rather long, isn’t it.”

Mob peered at a strand floating lazily in front of his eyes. It did seem longer than what he was used to. “Mmh. Maybe I need a haircut.”

Aoyama rested his head on the back of his hand, letting out a dainty little laugh. The two of them truly made a strange pair; the twinkling dramatic blonde and the plain expressionless raven. Satisfied, he opened his bento, but only picked at his food, pushing it around instead of picking it up. He, of course, had brought his eternal plate of cheese, but his friends -mostly Iida and Mob- had been encouraging him to diversify his diet.

“Are you okay?”

 

The other boy looked up from his untouched meal; Mob was munching on one of his granola bars, his striking, reddish-brown eyes gazing calmly at him. Aoyama's smile widened - too wide Yuuga, too wide, Mob would notice - “Of course! The fabulous moi is always okay.”

Mob hummed, studying Aoyama’s tired eyes, clearly shaded with foundation. “Are you sure?”

A beat. Aoyama sighed. “...non. But I believe I will be alright, eventually.” Aoyama’s eyes glided over to the window without focus. It was bright outside, but not sunny. Good weather for sitting outside, as many students happened to be doing during lunch break.

They both sat in silence for a bit, Mob not returning to his food until he saw Aoyama put something in his mouth.

 

When lunch was almost over, the blonde seemed to gain the courage to speak, his eyes sliding hesitantly over to Mob but keeping his face towards the window. “It’s…” he paused. Breathed in. “It’s Father's Day.”

Mob blinked, then nodded. He knew that held some sort of significance. Of course it did, with what he knew about Aoyama -not enough, apparently. Still, he waited for him to continue. Which he did, after a hesitant hum. “And... I don't have a father. Anymore.”

His eyes widened slightly. Oh. Oh.

 

He tried to think of something comforting to say. Something other than empty platitudes that wouldn’t help -but that Aoyama would appreciate nonetheless, he knew that. He gulped down his awkwardness, hands hovering closer to the blonde’s. “Aoyama-kun, I-”

The loud clang of the classroom door being roughly opened cut him off, his attempt at coherent speech thwarted by the startled “eep” that escaped his throat instead.

“HEYYYY, Yuuga! Oh, hi Mob!” Mina cheered, happily prancing up to them. “Sooo, you still down for tonight? Kiri can’t make it, he wanted to spend time with his moms, but everyone else will be there!”

Mob tilted his head. “Tonight?” He turned back towards Aoyama, mouth opening on a question, but he stopped; Aoyama’s face had changed in a flash, all trace of his previous vulnerability gone, back under the guise of fancy hand movements and dazzling smiles. The raven-haired pursed his lips disapprovingly; in some ways, Aoyama reminded him of his master.

Speaking of Aoyama, he struck a peculiar pose, waving dismissively at the pink girl. “Bien sûr Mina ! I wouldn't miss it for anything!”

Huh. So the two were on a first-name basis? Then again, Aoyama tended to do that due to his european upbringing, and Mina was… Mina, meaning she didn’t care for traditional reserve and honorifics. The girl had turned to face him, her brow furrowing the same way it did whenever she looked at a math problem. After a few seconds her eyes widened, like she’d just figure out something particularly important. “Oh, Mob! You should totally come too!” she gasped, clapping her hands together enthusiastically.

The plain boy blinked. “Come… where?”

“Why, to our weekly sleepover of course!” Aoyama chimed in, setting his elbows on his pristine desk to rest his chin on his hands with a flourish. When did he put his bento away? He’d barely touched it...

“Um…” he murmured hesitantly, “Would that really be okay? I wouldn’t want to intrude…”

Mina scoffed. “You can’t intrude if you’re invited, silly! I mean, if you really don’t feel like it that’s totally okay, no pressure. But we’d really love to have you!” she insisted, a sunny smile lighting her face up. Mob’s cheeks heated up and he scratched the back of his head, looking over at Aoyama for… confirmation? Support? He wasn’t quite sure himself. His friend only smiled a bit wider and nodded reassuringly.

 

Shigeo felt his nervousness recede and offered Mina a small smile, to her utter delight; and from the faded yellow sleeping bag laid behind the teacher’s desk, Aizawa let out an amused huff.

He’d been wanting to have a talk with young Aoyama for a while about his troublesome self-destructive tendencies. But now, he found that his mixed-race student might do just fine without him. Watching the blonde talk with a blushing Kageyama and a giggling Ashido, the sleep-deprived teacher smirked. The boy was in good hands.

 

Which meant he could crawl back to sleep. Nice.