Iida watched as Sakamoto not so stealthily slipped past the conversation in the common room with an unmarked shopping bag full of what Iida could only imagine. He had managed to avoid notice from most of the group; a small impromptu study session brought about by Yaoyoyorzu and currently attended by Midoriya, Sero, Asui, Tokoyami and Ashido. Iida of course had joined in when he heard of his friends diligently studying, working hard and tirelessly to become the best that UA had to offer. As the representative of Class 1-A, he had a duty to uphold and make sure they were studying as best they could.
Sakamoto had left the dormitory some hours before for undisclosed reasons, but Iida found it strange that he wouldn’t attempt to join in on the conversation. Even when Iida had called out a greeting, Sakamoto had barely responded. He seemed deep in thought about something. As Iida thought on this he realised that Sakamoto had been acting a little peculiar for a week or so. Since the night Midoriya and Bakugo had broken curfew to have their fight.
Iida frowned and rested his chin on his fist, deep in thought. If there was something bothering his classmate then surely as class representative it was his job to ensure that Sakamoto wasn’t in any serious trouble. Making up his mind, Iida set down his pen and began to get up, excusing himself momentarily from the study group and following Sakamoto upstairs to the boys dorm.
As Iida reached the boys' dormitory, he thought that Sakamoto would head into his room, but was surprised to see him walk straight past the door and head to the upper floors. His confusion and concern growing ever so slightly, Iida quickened his pace a little. Sakamoto stopped on the stairs for a moment, his head cocked and Iida had the sudden inclination that he didn’t want to be followed. Thought it pained him to force a charade, Iida approached the door to his own room and made a show of heading inside. This seemed to satisfy Sakamoto and he began heading upstairs again.
Iida sighed and closed the door, offering silent apologies to Sakamoto for fooling him in such a cunning manner and began to once again follow, though at more of a distance and with more stealth. He wasn’t sure how stealthy he could be with regards to Sakamoto. His classmate’s quirk, Enhance Ability, could be in effect right now, enhancing Sakamoto’s hearing to ensure that he wasn’t being followed. Iida had to admit the versatility and adaptability of Sakamoto’s quirk was probably its greatest asset.
Sakamoto did not stop at any of his fellow classmates’ rooms as he climbed the dormitory. Indeed he didn’t stop until he reached the top floor and slipped his way through the door for roof access. Iida frowned as he saw this. The door to the roof was completely off limits. What was Sakamoto doing taking unknown items up to the rooftop? For a moment Iida feared that Sakamoto had been influenced by Mineta, and was attempting to spy on the girls, but he quashed these fears. Sakamoto had been very critical of Mineta’s lewd and perverse attempts to peak on the girls. While not above some ‘guy talk’ now and then, Sakamoto was in Iida’s opinion the height of chivalry.
So the question was, what was he doing on the roof?
Deciding that as Class Representative it was his duty to confront this behavior and curb any serious rule breaking, Iida walked with confidence to the door allowing access to the roof and began to climb the stairs. Approaching the exterior door, Iida took a deep breath and pushed the door open and walked out onto the roof.
Iida wasn’t sure what he was expecting. Perhaps weights so that Sakamoto could exercise in peace in the open air? Contraband hidden from the eyes of himself and Mr Aizawa? It certainly wasn’t what he found.
It was as if Sakamoto had created a new common area on the roof. A patchwork of rugs and carpets lined a rough square area of the roof. Around a slightly battered and mug stained coffee table he had arranged various lawn chairs and cushions. A mattress lay against the low wall around the edge of the roof and by that was a small solar battery that was hooked up to an electric heater. A drinks’ cooler lay on the floor by the coffee table and it was almost buried under snack foods.
Sakamoto was at the moment nailing a sheet of tarpaulin up as a sort of cover as Iida emerged from downstairs. He didn’t seem surprised as Iida looked at his handiwork in shock. Beside where Sakamoto was working was a chalkboard where he had already scrawled out a message: ‘THE CLINIC IS CURRENTLY CLOSED’.
“Evening Class Rep,” Sakamoto muttered as he finished nailing the third corner of the tarp in place. “How’s the study session going?”
Iida shook himself out of his shock and put on his best stern admonishing face.
“Never mind good evening Sakamoto!” he cried. “What is the meaning of this?” He gestured to everything on the rooftop.
Sakamoto took a step back, looked around, pointed at the tarpaulin and said: “In case it starts raining.”
“You know full well that that is not what I meant Sakamoto!” Iida cried, immediately irate with Sakammoto’s typically laid back attitude. He flinched as Iida yelled again, and for a moment he believed his temper might be too high. He was mistaken.
“Keep it down Iida geez. You want Aizawa to find both of us up here?” he sighed and gestured to one of the chairs. “Look give me a minute to finish setting this up and I’ll explain everything alright? There’s soda in the cooler and I think there’s some beef jerky in that pile of crap somewhere.”
Iida opened his mouth to comment but closed it again. Sakamoto had clearly given this entire scenario a lot of thought and effort. Iida wormed his mouth into a skeptical scowl and reached into the snack food pile and grabbed a packet of beef jerky and sat in one of the less rickety lawn chairs as Sakamoto finished nailing up the last corner of the tarpaulin. He lifted up a square that had been lying on the floor covering a tool box and dropped the hammer he had been using inside and turned to face Iida.
“Let me guess,” Sakamoto said walking to the cooler and grabbing a root beer. “You thought I was up to something? Guess I was acting kinda shady downstairs.”
“Not only today,” Iida commented. “You’ve been acting peculiar ever since Midoriya and Bakugo were put under house arrest.”
Sakamoto nodded and walked over to the roof edge, cracking opening the root beer and taking a sip. He looked out over the surrounding scenario as he drank, pondering.
“You hear about what the fight was about?” he said at last. “Between Midoriya and Bakugo?”
“There have been certain rumours,” Iida confessed. “But none I can confirm or deny.”
“Me either,” Sakamoto sighed. “But something is eating those two alive on the inside… has been for a while.” He rubbed the back of his head, a troubled expression on his face. Iida didn’t press him. Whatever Sakamoto was getting at it would be related to what he had been up to on the roof.
“So when I heard about the fight I looked back on it. On them. And they’ve been acting super sketchy for a while. There’s something bugging them. And once I started noticing that I started looking at our other classmates. And I started noticing that some of them look like something’s just… just not… right with them y’know?” He turned to Iida here, with an emphatic expression on his face. “Like, everyone’s got issues and, hey who can blame us? The amount of crap we’ve been through this year it’s… it’s bound to be getting to some of us.”
Iida leaned back in his chair, looking upwards, trying to look through the tarpaulin to the sky above. Sakamoto was correct he knew. Their classmates had been through a lot of turmoil since they had first enrolled in UA. A lot more than was expected of first year UA students. But they had come through unscathed. Hadn’t they? He frowned as the unsettling thought crept upon him that perhaps his classmates were more adept at hiding mental scars than he had perceived. The idea that his classmates were in some form of distress and bottling up their emotions disturbed Iida as he turned to look back at Sakamoto.
“You may be correct. Our classmates might be in some form of distress even as we speak.” Sakamoto nodded. “I fail to see how this topic of conversation relates to this… nest you’ve created however.”
Sakamoto laughed and took another sip. “Cheep cheep, I’m a birdie,” he chuckled. He sat down in a chair opposite from Iida and set the can of root beer on the coffee table. “Okay so. I was thinking, our classmates have the collective self-preservation of a lemming, yeah? And none, and I mean none , of them probably understand the term self-care. You agree with me so far?” Sakamoto barrelled on before Iida could comment. “So none of them are going to recognise they’ve got issues they need working out with a counselor before they blow up out of nowhere. So… I came up with this.” He gestured at the ‘nest’ as Iida had called it. “Somewhere more private from the common room so not everyone can hear you spill your heart out but less cramped and secluded than the rooms.” He shrugged. “A safe space… I call it The Clinic.”
Iida looked at Sakamoto thoughtfully and the other boy sighed, rubbed the back of his neck as he usually did and ran his hand through his black and golden hair. “Look if you think it’s a dumb idea Iida that’s fair enough. I just think that maybe we should give it a shot before we just pack it up y’know? I know that this whole thing goes against a whole bunch of rules so all I’m asking is that you don’t tell Mr. A. Like if he asks fair enough I’m not asking you to lie to-”
“It’s a good idea,” Iida said suddenly, cutting off Sakamoto’s rambling tirade. “A student run group therapy. Privacy guaranteed by seclusion and secrecy. Honestly an inspired solution.”
“We’re not advertising it as group therapy,” Sakamoto said, picking up his can. “Although I’m glad you agree the whole thing was a good idea. But the minute you offer the idea of self-care to any of our classmates, I’m pretty sure it’s gonna go like pouring water on a cat.”
“You want to trick our classmates?”
“No I want to lure them into a situation where they can talk about what’s bothering them… with promises of soda and snacks and maybe some really bad party games?”
Iida frowned. “This is sounding less noble and more like you wanted to create an illegal hang-out.”
“Okay yeah, fair enough but,” Sakamoto started, picking up his root beer, “Have you considered the reaction you’d get from our classmates if you outright told them ‘Oh hey come up to the roof to discuss our traumas?’ Just run through the list in your head, Todoroki won’t open up without anything short of a crowbar, Midoriya’s too positive to even think he needs therapy, Bakugo’ll tell you to fuck off, Kiris-”
“Alright you’ve made your point,” Iida murmured raising his hand to silence Sakamoto. “Our classmates are going to scoff at the idea. I’m just not entirely comfortable with the idea of tricking them. It’s certainly villainous behaviour.”
“It’s not about tricking them,” Sakamoto replied. “We’ll still be hanging out here, like they think we will, but the conversation will just move to whatever the fuck’s bothering them. I mean, give it enough time and someone’s sure to bring up something that’s bothering them y’know?”
“You’re leaving an awful lot to chance here.”
“You telling me our classmates aren’t worth the risk?”
Iida looked at Sakamoto with a severe look, his blue eyes locked with Sakamoto’s dull green. Iida looked into his eyes for a moment before taking a firm bite of beef jerky. It was no substitute for beef stew but it would suffice, as Sakamoto took advantage of his silence and reached under the coffee table for another chalkboard.
“To put you at ease Class Rep, I did… come up with a few rules.” He flipped the chalkboard around so that Iida could read. “Rule Number 1: No dicks on the roof.”
Iida coughed and spluttered on his beef jerky and pounded his chest. “Is that language necessary?”
“Well… yeah?” Sakamoto said, shrugging. “I mean the rule itself is funny because of how it’s worded but at the same time, it means exactly what it means, no indecent exposure and it also means, just… don’t be an asshole?”
Iida grumbled something to the effect of ‘unnecessary cursing’ being unbecoming of a UA Class Representative. Sakamoto chuckled.
“Don’t worry, that’s the only rule that’s phrased like that… yet.”
Sakamoto shrugged and leaned back in the chair. “No point in saying all the rules have been written out yet. Being able to add and alter rules about this space as and when will be necessary to cultivating a sense of trust.” He held up a finger here. “But these rules have to be general and mostly unrestrictive. The less this place feels like a classroom the better.”
“I don’t understand how anyone might be able to mistake this area for a classroom,” Iida muttered. “But I understand what you’re trying to say. In order for this place to have the intended effect, we must let this place feel as relaxed and informal as possible.” Iida smiled a little here. “I suppose that’s why you worded the first rule the way you did. To set the tone for the rest?”
Sakamoto smiled. “Now you’re getting it Class Rep.”
I've had this idea for a while now and I've just been sitting on it. The idea of a roof aesthetic though is entirely inspired by the inFAMOUS franchise btw. So this is my first posting on AO3. Go me :)
All feedback is greatly appreciated even if all it does it stroke my ego :)
Chapter 2: Ante Up
Kaminari has no poker face.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Akira Sakamoto had meant what he had said about setting up The Clinic on the roof of dorms. He had seen that his classmates were starting to harbour some of the obvious signs of psychological trauma even if no one was willing to admit it. Bakugo and Midoriya’s recent fight was the perfect example of that. No one could be sure of when the next blow up would be. So Sakamoto had created his so called Clinic to help his classmates cope.
And the best way to get them to open up about their goddamn problems, Sakamoto had decided, was by inviting a handful of his classmates up there after dinner for poker. He figured cards would be a good way to get his classmates relaxed and honestly it would be just a fun bonding experience that wouldn’t rely on classwork or powers. Just a chance to be normal guys hangin’ out for the night.
A small group would be best to start with. To see if he was able to truly divulge the inner demons of his classmates. To that end he had invited Kaminari, Kirishima, Sero and Midoriya to play poker for a few hours. The sun was beginning to set bathing the rooftop in a nice golden glow that was a little too bright but, none of the guys really seemed to mind. They were simply all excited about the new common area that had suddenly been revealed to them.
“You did all this yourself Sakamoto?” Kaminari said as Kirishima handed out drinks.
“I have a little too much free time,” he admitted chuckling. He nodded to the chalkboard where Iida had hung the first rules yesterday. “Also rule number two Denki, first names on the roof. Roof talk is chill.”
“Isn’t the whole point of having somewhere away from the teacher’s to get away from the rules?” Kirishima asked chuckling as he settled next to Midoriya, handing the green haired mess a Coke. Sakamoto chuckled as opened up the poker set.
“Yeah we can get away from Aizawa, but Class Rep? Trust me. Only way I could convince him to let this fly was to have some order.” He began counting out chips. “‘Sides, if we just abused the shit out of this place we lose it and we all get in trouble.”
“I mean so long as no one tells Mineta about this we should be golden,” Sero chuckled cracking his knuckles. “By the way are we playing for a stake Saka- I mean, Akira?”
Sakamoto thought about this for a second and shrugged. “If no one’s opposed. Say, ¥500 a round?”
“Seems like a safe stake,” Kirishima agreed smiling.
Sakamoto smiled back and divided all the chips into five equal sets of 60 and handed them to the others, setting the dealer chip in front himself to start. “I don’t feel like going into multiple chip values so this time every chip just has a value of one. Each round we play until we have two players left in and they count their chips. Whoever has the least gets their stake back and the winner gets the whole pot, any objections?” There were none. Sakamoto smiled and put his phone on the table to show the others the rankings of winning hands. “Just so we’re clear we’re not playing with jokers so no five of a kind here okay?”
“Wait you can get five of a kind in poker if you have the joker?” Kirishima asked, scratching his jaw.
“He said we’re not playing with it so you don’t have to worry about it,” Kaminari told him, reaching into his pocket and setting down ¥500 into a pot in the centre of the coffee table. Sero and Kirishima followed suite. Sakamoto looked at Midoriya.
“You alright Izuku?” he asked.
“Oh, um sure,” he jumped a little as he replied and laughed nervously. “To be honest I don’t know how to play poker.”
“Honestly I doubt that’ll hold you back for long Izuku,” Sero told him reassuringly. “I mean if there’s one thing you’re good at it’s being a quick study when it comes to strategy.”
“Thanks Hanta,” Midoriya said setting in his stake. Sakamoto felt the positivity flowing already. His plan might be easier than he thought. He put his ¥500 into the pot and looked around the table. To his immediate left and right was Sero and Kaminari. On Sero’s left was Kirishima and on Kaminari’s right was Midoriya.
“Alright so we know Izuku doesn’t know how to play so how about we have a free hand to start things off?” he asked. When the others nodded, Sakamoto started handing out cards around the table clockwise starting from Sero and ending with himself until everyone had two cards each.
He set the deck down and looked at his hand. He frowned. Jack of clubs and five of diamonds. Not ideal, but there was certainly potential, and this hand was free anyway.
He set his cards down again and looked at the others to make sure they had a good look at their hands. He looked up at Midoriya. “Normally here is where we’d say if we were in or out of this hand depending on our first draw. If you reckon you could have a chance of winning you’d match the big blind which would be two chips, or if you reckon your hand is crap you could fold without betting anything for that hand. But since this is free there’s no point.” Midoriya nodded showing he understood. Sakamoto took the top card from the deck, set it aside and turned the next three cards over in a line for them to see.
“Jack of hearts,” he said aloud, trying not to let any indication of excitement inflect his tone. “Two of hearts… and nine of spades.” He looked at Midoriya even as he heard the not so subtle hum from Sero. “Again this is where betting would take place. But since that isn’t happening…” He took the top card from the deck again, set it aside, and turned over the next one. “King of Hearts.” Another hum, this time from Kaminari. Sakamoto didn’t make a sound. This hand didn’t matter. It didn’t matter if all he had was a pair of Jacks. Another card from the top and the final card was revealed. “King of Diamonds.” He sat back in his chair and looked over at Sero. “What you got Hanta?”
Sero sighed dropped his cards face up on the table: Queen and seven of clubs. “Pair of kings that’s it.”
“Looking for a flush eh Hanta?” Kirishima chuckled bitterly, also revealing his hand. Ten of clubs and three of spades. Sakamoto looked at Midoriya.
“Now that is a pretty crap hand. That’s a hand any sane player would fold on in a real game.” Midoriya nodded and revealed. Sakamoto blinked. Nine and queen of hearts.
“Whoah, did Izuku get a flush?” Kamiari whistled. “Pity this was a practice hand. Or maybe not.” He smiled and set his hand down: King and nine of clubs. “Izuku wins right?”
Sakamoto laughed and revealed his two pair hand to the table. “No Denki you win. You got a full house, kings full of nines.” Kaminari blinked and Sakamoto laughed again. “The rankings are right here Denki.” He shook his head and gestured for the group to hand him back the cards.
“Think you get it Izuku?” Sakamoto asked as he shuffled the cards.
“I think so,” he nodded with some small confidence. Sero and Kirishima pushed forward one and two chips respectively as the blind for the round and Sakamoto dealt again. When he finally came to look at his hand he watched the others closely for any tells. Analysing Midoriya would be next to useless as he would be too busy overthinking everything. Kaminari wouldn’t be much better, he had already proved he wasn’t too bright. Or was that a ploy? Sakamoto looked at his hand. Queen and three of spades. Not bad, not bad. It wasn’t the greatest hand but it was a start. He looked up at Midoriya.
“Izuku you in on this hand?” he asked. Midoriya gave a small start, looked around at everyone else and nodded. He put in two chips.
“So does Class Rep know that we’re gambling up here?” Kaminari asked as he tossed in two chips. Sakamoto laughed and put his own bet in.
“You honestly think I’d tell Iida we were playing cards, let alone for actual money?” he chuckled.
“You lied to the Class Rep?” Sero asked with mock horror as he added one chip to his pile and Sakamoto laughed as he collected everyone’s bets, set the top card of the deck to the side and revealed the top three cards.
“What Iida doesn’t know, doesn’t get back to Mr. A,” he chuckled. “Jack of hearts… five of hearts… ten of hearts.” Sakamoto leaned back in his chair and looked at his hand again. The best he could hope for was a straight but he’d just flipped over three hearts. Given Kaminari’s subtle smirk he at least had to have one heart. His eyes narrowed. Did Kaminari get a flush off the flop? Sero sighed, rubbed the back of his neck and tapped the table.
“Check,” he muttered. Midoriya looked confused.
“Check means he wants to be in the round but not bet anything yet,” Sakamoto explained and Midoriya nodded as Kirishima tapped his chin with one finger.
“Alright,” he said at last and pushed forward four chips. A confident bet Sakamoto thought, but a little too confident for the flop. Midoriya looked at Kirishima and, surprisingly, put four chips in too.
“Call,” he said confidently.
“Call,” Kaminari echoed without missing a beat. Sakamoto sighed and dropped his hand in the discard pile. Even if Kirishima had been bluffing, he wasn’t wasting chips on this round.
“Fold,” he sighed dejected.
“Me too,” Sero sighed passing his cards to Sakamoto.
“Ooooh We got a couple of chick-chick chickens over here,” Kaminari chuckled as Sakamoto dropped the next card from the top of the deck.
“You gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em,” Sakamoto smirked as he revealed the next card. “Ace of spades.” Maybe it had been premature to fold? If the next card was king he would be livid. He saw Kaminari lick his lips. Okay, so maybe folding was a good idea? Kirishima meanwhile looked strained.
“Four…” he said with painful slowness.
“Raise,” Midoriya said, setting in six.
“Ballsy move Izuku,” Sero said impressed.
“Very ballsy,” Kaminari agreed putting in six. “But doesn’t mean much since this is his first time playing.”
“You never know with Izuku,” Kiroshmia sighed, clearly regretting his earlier boldness. “Call.”
“Pot now sits at forty chips,” Sakamoto reminded everyone as he grabbed everyone’s bets and dealt the final card of the hand. “Nine of hearts.”
There was no way Kaminari didn’t have a flush with the way his eyes lit up int glee. Sakamoto snorted a little and looked at Sero. His classmate looked confused until Sakamoto jerked his head at Kaminari. Sero snorted too and Kirishima looked at them both.
“What’re you two sniggering at?” he asked frustrated and pushing in six chips.
“Probably something I did,” Midoriya mumbled. “Call.”
“Nah pretty sure it’s an inside joke,” Kaminari muttered. “Call.”
“Neither,” Sakamoto chuckled, gathering the last bets. “Just trying to imagine Denki in an actual casino.” he sighed and leaned back. “Alright gentlemen what have you got?”
“Pair of fives,” Kirishima sighed dropping his hand on the table. King and five of diamonds. Kaminari crowed and slammed his hand on the table.
“Hah! I win!” he laughed, showing that Sakamoto had been right. He had a flush with an ace of clubs and that all important three of hearts. He reached forward for the pot. “Come to daddy!”
Midoriya reach forward and put his hand on Kaminari’s shoulder, looking at Sakamoto a little confused. “Wait does he win?” he asked, putting his own hand on the table. Five of clubs and… Sakamoto laughed and pushed Kaminari back in his chair.
“And that’s why you go clockwise Denki,” he chuckled. “So you don’t make an ass of yourself!”
“Whaddya mean?” He looked at Midoriya’s hand. His eyes widened. The five of clubs didn’t matter but the Ace of hearts certainly did.
“Ace is high, Izuku has the highest card for the flush,” Sakamoto said smiling. “He wins.”
Midoiya beamed as he pulled his winnings over to his stack of chips and Kaminari watched in abject horror.
“Also Denki,” Sero chuckled, “You have a crap poker face.”
“Not as bad as Eijirou’s,” Sakamoto laughed. “You stayed in with a pair of fives ?”
“It’s not manly to back down,” he mumbled, though he did look thoroughly disheartened. Sakamoto shook his head, shuffled the cards and pushed the dealer chip in front of Sero.
“Your deal Hanta.”
“Alright, I’m calling it, that’s it, last game,” Kaminari sighed, head in hands as Midoriya took his winnings.
“Are you salty Denki?” Sakamoto chuckled, reclaiming his stake. Kaminari growled a bit but leaned back in his chair.
“Bit of an anticlimactic hand to end it on,” Kirishima muttered. “I mean, Izuku won with two pair. You never see great poker games end with that.”
“Since when was this a great poker game?” Sero laughed.
“I dunno, I had fun,” Sakamoto sighed collecting the cards and the chips and closing up the poker set. “Izuku, you enjoy yourself?”
“Yeah I had a lot of fun,” Midoriya said smiling. “Thanks for bringing me up here for this.”
“Of course Izuku had fun,” Kaminari sighed. “We played four games and he only lost one. He’s ¥2500 up.”
“Don’t be upset Denki,” Kirishima sighed crunching his can of coke against his forehead. “This was better than studying at least though right?”
“Can’t say fairer than that,” Sero agreed. “But can you imagine if Bakugo were playing with us?”
“Oh my god that would be chaos,” Sakamoto agreed tossing Kirishima another can. “You reckon Bakugo has a poker face or would he just scream at his cards until they were better?”
“Yeah Bakugo’s not exactly good at keeping his cool,” Kirishima chuckled rubbing the back of his neck. “But I mean, has anyone noticed he’s started cooling off just a bit lately? Y’wouldn’t think house arrest would put the freeze on him.”
“Oh come on we all know it wasn’t the house arrest that cooled Bakugo off,” Kaminari shook his head, turning to Midoriya. “So who won? You or Bakugo?”
“Oh um,” Midoriya shrank back a little from the question. “Kachan kind of pulled it off at the end. Thought I might have had it but, Kachan surprised me, like he always does.”
“Sounds like it was closer than your first fight though,” Sero commented, leaning back. “I mean, you’re getting better at using your quirk so you don’t end up breaking everything when you use it.”
“Thanks Hanta,” Midoriya mumbled, rubbing his left arm with his scarred right hand.
“I don’t get the whole kicking thing though,” Kaminari said. “Like what happened to the punches?”
“Oh, well you guys know how I really look up to All Might?”
“We’ve seen your bedroom so yes,” Sakamoto chuckled and Mirodiya blushed in embarrassment.
“Right so, when I was using my quirk before I guess I was kind of trying to be a lot like him. I guess he noticed and told me I should find something that worked for me.” He dipped his head a little. “And… well after training camp it seemed to make sense to use my arms less.”
“Whaddya mean?” Kirishima asked, confused. Midoriya sighed and gripped his elbow.
“When I fought that muscly guy to save Khota…. I pushed myself too far. And, well, the damage to my arms is starting to accumulate.” He looked at his right hand. “Just like my hand they’re not going to be the same. If I sustain the kind of damage I’ve been putting them though just two or three more times… the doctors say my arms will be paralysed.”
Silence greeted Midoriya’s words. Sakamoto stared at his friend in shock. He knew that Midoriya had added bracers to his costume to support his arms but this? He swallowed heavily.
“Holy cow Izuku,” Kaminari breathed. “I… Shit I had no clue.”
“That’s some heavy shit Izuku not gonna lie,” Sero muttered rubbing the back of his neck and grabbing a pack of crisps from the snack pile. Midoriya blinked and started waving his hands frantically laughing nervously.
“Oh hey guys listen don’t worry about it! I didn’t mean to sour the mood or anything y’know?”
“How can we not worry about it Izuku?” Kirishima asked. “I mean… fuck man you could lose the ability to use your arms. You could-” Kirishima’s eyes suddenly widened a little. “After training camp? You mean… you knew this and you still went along with me to rescue Bakugo?”
“I couldn’t not go to try and help Kachan! If I’d held it together better at training camp we could’ve-”
“You shouldn’t have let me talk you into that shit Izuku!” Kirishima snapped, looking anguished. “You literally found out about your arms that day and you went with me to find him?”
“I had to save him!”
“And what lose your hands!?” Kirishima’s hands were balled into fists on his knees. “I wanted Bakugo back sure but if I’d known what you were risking just by going…” He bowed his head. “I… I shouldn’t have asked you. I shouldn’t have put you there.”
“I would have gone if you’d asked me or not Eijirou!” Midoriya cried. “And I’d still be in the same risk regardless. That’s just a consequence of being reckless that I’m going to have to live with and that’s no one’s fault but mine!”
Kirishima looked up slowly, and Sakamoto thought he could see the faint traces of a tear welling up in his eye. He sniffer and brushed his thumb against his nose.
“You’re selfless to a fault Izuku,” Kirishima muttered. “My dumb plan to rescure Bakugo wasn’t worth you risking loosing a limb or two.” He sighed and rubbed his face with his hands. “How are you even okay with this? This whole thing about your arms? You haven’t said a goddamn thing about it and you’re what fine? What’s the matter with you?”
Midoriya bit his lip and looked at his hands.
“It’s not that I’m fine with this,” he said at last, cradling his left hand in his right, eyes hidden behind the fringe of his hair. “To tell you the truth it’s… it’s kind of been eating away at me a little bit. My shoot style and the bracers in my gloves are just work arounds until I get better at controlling my quirk and handling all its power.” His head dipped lower. “Truth is Eijirou I’m scared. I don’t like thinking about it but I know that there’s probably going to be some villain or disaster that’ll appear before I have full mastery of my quirk. And if I’m put into a spot like I was at training camp, I’m gonna have to chose… be a hero or save my arms…” He chuckled bitterly. “Be a hero in the moment and retire before I even get started, or let someone else suffer because I wasn’t strong enough then.”
Again the rooftop was coated in silence and Sakamoto bit his lip nervously. He had wanted his classmates to talk about their traumas and share them in an environment of trust and safety but this? He rubbed the back of his. Maybe it would be better to just send his classmates to a therapist?
“Come on Izuku you really think those are your only choices?” Kaminari sighed handing him a drink. “I mean if I’ve learned one thing about you its that you always come up with a plan.” Kaminari shrugged. “Sure your quirk is crazy powerful and all but you know what makes you awesome in a crisis?” Kaminari tapped his head. “Your brain Izuku. I know I couldn’t come up with any of the things you think of in the time you do.” He smiled and put his hand on Mirodiya’s shoulder. “If you’re not strong enough to handle your quirk when the next villain drops in, then you’ll think of a way to be a hero in that moment and keep on being a hero. One lousy villain’s not gonna stop Deku from being a top ranked pro hero.”
“Yeah!” Sero said clapping his hands together beaming. “Sure what the doctor’s say is pretty bad but you’re nothing if not a problem solver Izuku. I mean you came first in the race for the UA sports festival against Bakugo and Todoroki and you didn’t use your quirk once! Denki’s right, your quirk isn’t the be all end all of your skill level.” He smiled looking over to Kirishima. “Look at how you went with Eijirou’s crazy plan to rescue Bakugo! You’re the one who came up with a plan to get away from right under the nose of that creepy villain whackjob All Might pummeled, and you all came away without a scratch.”
Sakamoto blinked, looking at his classmates. Midoriya slowly raised his head and Sakamoto offered a reassuring smile. Perhaps he shouldn’t have written off his classmates so soon? Not only were they all actively doing their best to reassure Midoriya of what was frankly a serious and utterly terrifying prospect, but they were doing so without any prodding from him. This whole group therapy thing might actually work.
“Guys…” Midoriya looked as if he were about to start crying. Sakamoto nodded to the drink in Midoriya’s hand.
“Have a drink Izuku,” he said softly, then his smile turned playful. “You need to stay hydrated. I get the feeling you’re about to cry us a river… again.”
“Shit did we close the door or is the stairwell about to get flooded?” Kaminari asked with the same playful tone in his voice and Midoriya snorted out a choked sound; halfway between a sob and a laugh.
“You guys are dicks,” he chuckled, rubbing his eyes, breath hitching.
“Oh shit you heard him fellas,” Sakamoto said, slapping his knees and getting to his feet. “Rule one, no dicks on the roof, everybody downstairs.”
“We should probably be getting downstairs anyway, we got an early class in the morning anyhow,” Sero sighed, getting to his feet as well. “Call it a night eh guys?”
“Yeah that sounds good,” Kaminari agreed getting up. “Coming Eijirou?”
Kirishima paused and looked out over the UA campus before he replied, “Think I’m gonna stay up here for a little bit longer. I’ll catch you in the morning Denki.”
“Alright. Night fellas.”
“Night Denki, Hanta,” Sakamoto called as the two boys walked downstairs. Midoriya mumbled his own goodnights and rubbed his eyes again. “You feeling alright Izuku?”
He nodded and took a sip of his drink. “Yeah. Think I’ll be good after a good night’s sleep.” He sighed. “Sorry I ruined poker night.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Kirishima told him putting his hand on Midoriya’s arm and squeezing it. “That sounded like it was bothering you. Like you can’t bottle that shit up man.” He smiled a toothy grin and flashed him a thumbs up. “Sometimes the most manly thing you can do is say you’ve got a problem.”
Midoriya nodded and smiled weakly. “Sorry I shouted at you.” Kirishima shook his head.
“Nah man it’s cool. I said some dumb shit too.” He sighed and got to his feet. “I think we just need to sleep it off yeah?”
“Sounds good,” Sakamoto agreed. “You guys head on down I’ll be right behind.”
Midoriya and Kirishima made their way over to the door and Sakamoto grabbed the chalkboard that hung by the corner of his little ‘nest’ as he remembered Iida calling it. The board currently said ‘THE CLINIC IS OPEN, STAY A WHILE.’ He smiled and flipped it around, signalling the Clinic had closed and he flipped off the switches powering the small light’s he had set up for the night, plunging the roof into moonlight.
“This is working better than I thought,” he smiled to himself.
Ahhhhh Denki. You would be thrown out of a real casino my dude. And Eijirou... Ejirou we'll get to you soon enough.
All feedback is greatly appreciated even if all it does it stroke my ego :)
Chapter 3: Your Gaydar is Clearly Broken
Tsu reveals that she's probably got the most terrible sense of humour out of Class 1-A.
“I can’t believe you managed to make something like this without Mr Aizawa finding out,” Asui said as Sakamoto handed out snacks to everyone around the coffee table. “You must be sneakier than Hagakure to pull that off.”
“More impressive that he did it without Iida finding out!” Ashido corrected.
“Oh trust me, Iida knows,” Sakamoto said as he grabbed a few drinks as well. “That’s the whole reason this place has rules instead of it being outlaw country.”
It had been a few days since the poker night Sakamoto had hosted. While he had wanted to continue his impromptu therapy sessions with his classmates, he hadn’t exactly found the opportunity to do so without it coming across as forced. Still, it had provided him the chance to see the aftereffects of such a session with regard to Midoriya revealing the doctor’s analysis of his arms. Whilst Midoriya was a generally positive person, the experience had clearly lifted a weight off of his shoulders. Not only that but Sero, Kaminari and Kiroshima seemed to have developed a closer bond with him. Which was good. A support circle like those guys was exactly what Midoriya needed at times.
Tonight’s session was a little sudden and unexpected however. Apparently it seemed that Kaminari was unable to keep his mouth shut. Ashido had walked up to him before class and asked if he was holding another poker game soon. That had led to a conversation about how he didn’t want to bankrupt Kaminari and Kiroshima which the two of them had overhead apparently. Kiroshima had considered Sakamoto’s comments on his poker skills a challenge to his manliness and said he could win at any game they could care to mention, which Asui had overhead and offered a game she had been given as a present for the previous Christmas.
So that was how he had ended up on the Rooftop that evening after dinner with Ashido, Asui, Kaminari and Kiroshima.
“So, Tsu,” Kiroshima siad, cracking open a lemonade. “What’s this game you got for us tonight?”
“You didn’t ask before you agreed to play?” Ashido sighed shaking her head. “It could be really complex for all you know.”
“Not really,” Asui said, putting on a long plain black box onto the table. “It’s pretty straight forward.”
Sakamoto leaned forward to read what was written on the box. In plain white font was written the words: ‘Cards Against Humanity.’ The subheading read ‘An Awful Game for Awful People.’
“Oh no,” Sakamoto chuckled under his breath, shaking his head. “Oh no this can only end in tears.”
“You’ve heard of it Akira?” Asui asked. Sakamoto nodded smirking.
“A friend of mine in middle school had an older brother who had a copy. We played it a few times and it is just all kinds of awful.” He saw Ashido and Kaminari eyeing the box with slight trepidation and he backpedalled a bit. “Okay well not awful but it’s like, you need a really dark sense of humour to really get it. Like you can’t be easily offended or you’re not gonna have fun.”
“I’ve got pretty thick skin!” Kisoshima smirked, activating his quirk for a moment with a smile. “I’ll win for sure.”
“Well, you say that Eijirou,” Asui said as she opened the box. “But we’ll see.”
“How many points you wanna go to Tsu?” Sakamoto asked. “Five?”
“I think five sounds like a good number,” Asui agreed.
“So like how do you play?” Kaminari asked.
“You start each round by drawing until you have ten white cards in your hand,” Sakamoto explained. “Each round there will be someone who draws a black card, you know like there’s a dealer in poker? Anyway they don’t play a card that round but they decide the winner. The black card will be a question or a fill in the blank. Whoever wins keeps hold of the black card to keep track of points and the judge moves on clockwise every round.” He looked at the blank faces.
“They’ll get it when we play a few rounds Akira,” Asui reassured him. “You wanna be the first judge?”
Sakamoto nodded and drew ten white cards for himself, prompting the others into action and drawing their own cards. From Sakamoto’s left it was Krioshima, Ashido, Kaminari and finally Asui.
“Oh geez,” Kaminari muttered through a half stifled chuckle.
Ashido stared at the cards in her hand and her face twisted in a way that was unreadable and Kiroshima gave a nervous laugh. Only Asui seemed to be unfazed. Sakamoto set his hand down face down and picked out the first black card from the deck.
“Alrighty so our first prompt is,” Sakamoto said under his breath. “‘Future historians will agree that blank marked the beginning of the world’s decline.’” He chuckled a little as he set his hand down and leaned back, eyes closed. “Oh this is gonna be a fun game I can already tell.” He remained with his hands folded behind his head for a few minutes, listening to the sound of laminated card being pushed against itself, the small moans of disappointment and groans that screamed ‘am I really doing this?’ causing a smile to start tugging at the corners of his lips as he waited for his classmates to play.
“Alright Akira that’s everyone,” Asui said and Sakamoto leaned forward again to go through the submitted cards.
“Okay. Let’s see who’s the biggest monster?” Sakamoto muttered as he read through the prompt again. “‘Future historians will agree that-’” Sakamoto looked over the responses and snorted at the first one he saw, “Jesus that’s fucked.” He cleared his throat. “‘Future historians will agree that America marked the beginning of the world’s delince.’” He paused to recompose himself and begin reading the next card, only to laugh again. “And another one, not pulling any punches are you guys? ‘ Men , marked the beginning of the world’s decline.’” He paused here squinting at the next card. “What the… well alright, ‘ The Stig marked the beginning of the world’s decline.’ And ‘ The Honey Monster marked the beginning of the world’s decline.’”
He leaned back scratching the back of his head. “Well started off strong, bit of a weak finish though.”
“If this round is any indication of what this game is going to be like I feel like I’m going to have fun,” Kiroshima chuckled nervously.
“I feel like that first card is way too real for a dumb party game,” Ashido said, trying hard not to show her smile out of a sense of decency.
“True but that’s what makes it fucking funny,” Sakamoto said smirking. He picked up the last two cards and set them aside. “I mean in any other round these two might have had a chance but they had a tough act to follow.”
“Yeah that’s fair,” Kaminari sighed. “I wanted to play it safe this round see how everyone was feeling for tone y’know?”
“Bad call Denki,” Asui told him. “Never play it safe in this game.”
“Yeah I mean that first one is… I mean that’s a yikes outta ten,” Sakamoto laughed. “But I mean the second one is just straight up facts so I think I’m going for men.”
“That means I win the point right Akira?” Ashido asked. Sakamoto nodded and she gave a small cheer of excitement and pulled the black card towards her.
“Question who played America?” Sakamoto asked. Kiroshima had the decency to look sheepish as he raised his hand.
“You’re a bad person Eijirou and you’re going to hell,” Asui said matter-of-factly.
“Yeah, I know,” he sighed as they all drew one more white card. “Is it my turn to read the prompt?”
“I guess so,” Kaminari shrugged. Kiroshima nodded and drew a black card and read.
“‘Instead of coal, Santa now gives now gives the bad children blank for Chrtistmas,’” he said. “Well alright then. Who’s joining me in hell?”
“You mean for playing this game or just in general? Because if we’re talking just in general out of all our classmates, pretty sure it’s Mineta,” Sakamoto chuckled, before shaking his head and slapping his card onto the table. “Or maybe it’ll be me who knows?”
“Pretty sure I’m damned for this one,” Asui said adding hers to the table.
“God I have such a crap hand for this game!” Kaminari cried exasperated, pushing his card dejectedly.
“Oh god this card makes me feel so gross!” Ashido groaned kicking her knees in disgust and handing her card over to Kiroshima.
“I have mixed feelings about this round,” Kiroshima chuckled nervously. Turning over a card at random and reading, “‘Instead of coal, Santa now gives the bad children-’” he paused to let out a horrified rasp of laughter. “Oh my god oh my god this is so fucking wrong .” He cleared his throat, tried again for a second go around but couldn’t quite manage it. He took a deep breath in and coughed. “‘Santa now gives the bad children… chunks of dead prostitute for Christmas.’”
“Oh my fucking god Tsu you are so going to hell for that!” Sakamoto cried howling with laughter. “Holy fuck that’s so messed up.”
“How do you know it’s Tsu?” Kiroshima asked between his horrified laughs, his question almost drowned out by the shocked laughter of Ahsido and Kaminari.
“Oh like Denki and Mina are pulling out the dead hooker for their first game of Cards Against Humanity!” Sakamoto said, wheezing with laughter.
“He’s not wrong,” Tsu said, smiling to herself. “Keep going Eijirou.”
“I mean does he have to?” Kaminari asked, looking worried but also clearly wanting more. “I mean, I think we have our winner.”
“Well, we’ll see,” Kiroshima said slowly, gently lifting the next card. “‘Santa gives the bad children a bleached asshole for Christmas’... Alright not so bad after the last card. Let’s see. Santa gives the bad children a salty surprise for Christmas?” Kiroshima leaned back after reading that card and shuddered. “Gross.”
“Right?!” Ashido said throwing her hands in the air. “I’m glad it wasn’t just me who thought that was weird.”
“Well, let’s see how we end,” Kiroshima muttered turning over the last card. “‘Santa now gives the bad children my collection of high-tech sex toys for Christmas.’”
“And we’ve hit peak weird,” Sakamoto chuckled. “Kiroshima just pick it we all know who the winner is.”
“Yeah can’t argue with you there,” Kiroshima sighed. “Take your point Tsu you terrible human.”
“Thanks,” Asui croaked as she took the black card. As everyone drew their hands back up to ten, Asui began again, “So when you guys finished playing poker the other night what happened?”
Sakamoto, Kiroshima and Kaminari looked at each other confused.
“Whaddya mean Tsu?” Kaminari asked.
“Well Ochako said something about seeing Midoriya in the kitchen,” Asui said. “About the time you guys were playing poker.”
“What’d she say?” Kiroshima asked.
“Said he looked like he had been crying.”
“Oh that !” Sakamoto exclaimed in realisation. He shared a look with Kiroshima and Kaminari. “Can we talk about that? I mean you think Midoriya would be okay with us talking about it?”
“I think he’d want Tsu to know we didn’t just drag him up here and fleece him for all his money,” Kaminari reasoned.
“Maybe don’t go into what he said and if he wants Tsu to know he can tell her?” Kiroshima suggested. Sakamoto nodded.
“Well Tsu when we wrapped up poker that night we ended up talking about some stuff,” Sakamoto explained. “And… well to put it simply Midoriya opened up about some heavy shit. Which is when Denki here, started a chain of filling him up with good ol’ positive thinking and-”
“Midoirya got emotional?” Ashido asked as she grabbed the next black card. Sakamoto nodded.
“As he is want to do.”
“I think that adds cute factor to him,” Ashido said smiling. Sakamoto shrugged.
“Midoriya has cute factor in spades Mina he doesn’t need anymore,” Sakamoto said, then added under his breath, “Greedy bitch needs to share that shit with some of the rest of us.”
“Thirsty Sakamoto?” chuckled Asui.
“The guy has cute factor in spades as I’ve already said and then he’s also a fucking adonis with his shirt off!” Sakamoto cried out in exasperation. “Come on how is that fair?”
“Careful Akira, people might start thinking you’re into Midoriya,” Kaminari smirked. Sakamoto rolled his eyes.
“Please. I keep my goals attainable and your gardar is clearly broken if you think Midoriya swings that way.”
Silence greeted his words as his classmates digested this.
“I don’t think my gardar works at all,” Ashido said at last, a little awkwardly. “I didn’t know you swung that way.”
“Mina I am a bisexual disaster and I don’t make any secret of that fact. I don’t shout it from the rooftops sure but if it comes up in conversation I ain’t backing down from it.”
“Please just tell me you don’t check us all out when we’re changing,” Kiroshima muttered, though he did smile about it. Sakamoto rolled his eyes.
“Yeah I perv on my male classmates whilst we’re getting changed because practicals are the perfect time to get a fucking hard on.”
“You spied on Midoriya though?”
“I just didn’t expect him to be that ripped alright?”
“Did you rub one out to Midoriya’s abs Akira?” Ashido chuckled.
“You tell me you’re the one who started this,” Sakamoto clapped back. Ashido neglected to answer, clearing her throat and going to read the black card. Asui shook her head.
“That was a really weird topic,” she murmured. She looked at Kaminari. “Is that why guy talk is normally like Denki?”
“Well we don’t talk about a guy so much but sure,” Kaminari shrugged.
“Then who do you guys talk about?” Ashido asked, suddenly very interested. Kaminari coughed into his fist but Sakamoto’s eyes gleamed with evil intent.
“Oh Denki sure does like to talk about Yaoyorozu a lot,” Sakamoto chuckled. “But that’s when someone else starts the topic. Denki never brings up girls unless it’s someone other than his obvious and blatant crush.”
“Akira you better shut the fuck up right now,” Kaminari said looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
“Oh who’s Denki crushing on?” Ashido squealed.
“What have I started?” Asui muttered shaking her head. Kirsohima smirked.
“The best conversation I’ve ever head ever ,” he said.
“Akira I swear to god you say a goddamn thing I’ll tell the locker room what you said about Midoriya!”
“Bitch you think that’s a threat? That boy needs some confidence stat ,” Sakamoto laughed. “Also the cons of you telling everyone that I think Midoriya is hot are far outweighed by the pros of Mina disseminating the information that you’ve started learning how to play the guitar just to impress Jirou.”
Kaminari’s face turned scarlet as Ashido squealed.
“I can’t believe you said that in front of Mina of all people,” Kaminari sighed, rubbing his face with both hands.
Ashido put her hand on Kaminari’s shoulder, smiling wickedly. “Don’t worry Denki, I’ll keep you secret for you.” Sakamoto laughed at the expression of pure fear on Kaminari’s face.
“Alright fair’s fair Mina, who’re you crushing on?” Sakamoto smirked. “I’ve embarrassed Denki now it’s your turn.”
“Nu-uh!” She cried sticking her tongue out.
“Come on I promise I won’t laugh.”
“Can’t walk won’t talk.”
“He already admitted his why won’t you Mina?” Asui asked. Sakamoto held up a finger in objection.
“I said I found Midoriya A: cute and B: hot,” he clarified. “I also added I specifically was not crushing on him. Attainable goals ladies.”
“Well who are you crushing on then Akira?” Ashido sang, eyes looking at Kaminari expecting retaliation. Sakamoto smirked.
“Quid pro quo, I tell you mine you tell me yours.”
She stuck her tongue out here and turned her attention back to the almost forgotten game of Cards Against Humanity: “‘ Blank : Kid tested, mother approved.’”
“And we just move on from my humiliation and forget it happened,” Kaminari sighed.
“Oh we’re not forgetting Denki,” Ashdio smiled toothily.
“Especially if you keep bringing it up,” Kiroshima told him as he looked at his hand.
“Akira what have you done, you’ve ruined me!” Kaminari groaned in despair.
“Chat shit get hit,” Sakamoto muttered as he slapped down his card onto the table. “Seriously though I think you and Jirou would make an adorable couple but you would be wrapped around her little finger.”
“Um… thanks I guess?”
“You’re welcome you poor poor bastard.”
“Not a very manly position if you ask me,” Kiroshima chimed in as he put his card on top of Sakamoto’s.
“Can’t help but notice that you normally clam up pretty damn tight when this topic usually comes around Eijirou,” Sakamoto muttered. “Care to comment?”
Sakamoto watched as Kiroshima laughed and rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “Well I mean, it’s not really manly to talk about the girls like that y’know?” There was something… forced about the casual nervousness and Sakamoto’s eyes narrowed a fraction.
“Probe Kiroshima for his crush later,” Kaminari muttered slapping his card on the table. “I’ve got a game to lose.”
“Yeah you really do,” Asui agreed putting her card on the table and Ashido leaned forward to scoop up the four cards.
“Well let’s see how badly Denki’s lost this round,” she muttered. “‘ Swag . Kid tested, mother approved.” She frowned as she set it down. “That was less impressive than the last round.”
“Well I doubt we’re gonna have as good an opening card as fucking hooker meat,” Sakamoto sighed. “So thanks for ruining the game Tsu .”
“Let’s hope we get some better cards,” Ashido sighed turning over the next one. She snorted in surprised laughter.
“Oh yeah we got a better card,” Kiroshima smirked.
“Hell yeah we do,” Ashido wheezed. “‘ Going an entire day without masturbating -’” The entire rooftop exploded in laughter drowning Ashido out as she finished reading the card. As they all calmed down Ashido continued. “‘ Drinking from the toilet and eating garbage . Kid tested, mother approved.’”
“Now that’s just bad parenting,” Sakamoto chuckled. “Shame it followed up that other one, might have been a winning card otherwise.”
“Yeah just pour salt on the wound why don’t ya?” Kaminari growled.
“And finally,” Ashido called. “‘ Grave robbing. Kid tested, mother approved.”
“Kinda like that one too,” Sakamoto nodded. “These are some good cards.”
“‘Cept the first one that was kind of shit,” Ashido admitted.
“Yeah that’s fair enough,” Sakamoto admitted. “So, Mina, what’re you going for?”
“Can’t lie to you Akira, gotta go for numero dos,” she said tapping the second card. Asui pumped her fist and picked up her second point.
“Jesus how many good cards did you get you lucky bitch?” Sakamoto asked shaking his head and looking back to Kiroshima. “So Eijirou.”
“Oh god you’re not letting this go are you?” Kiroshima sighed drawing his card.
“I just think you’re a little too wrapped up in ‘what ifs’ is all,” Sakamoto said. He put his hand on Kiroshima’s shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze. Kiroshima looked up at him and Sakamoto gave him a warm, encouraging and most definitely knowing smile. “I promise you, saying it won’t change a damn thing. And you’ll feel better.”
Kaminari yawned as he drew his hand back up to ten and picked a black card. “Just spit it out Eijirou so we can get on with this. Akira’s not gonna let it drop.” He gave Sakamoto a slightly annoyed scowl. “And I’m not letting myself be the only person who spills a secret on this roof tonight.”
“Didn’t have much of a choice Denki but whatever,” Sakamoto smirked, rubbing Kiroshima’s shoulder encouragingly.
Ashido looked at Kiroshima and Sakamoto and the look the two of them were sharing. She looked across at Asui, confused. Asui put a finger on her lips in a shushing motion and indicated to watch as Kiroshima sighed and averted his eyes in an embarrassed fashion. He mumbled something under his breath before he shook himself and sat up a little straighter.
“No, I’m gonna say it,” he muttered. “A real man says it with confidence and certainty.” He closed his eyes and let out a deep breath. “It’s… it’s Bakugo.”
Kaminari paused and looked at Kiroshima.
“You have a crush on Bakugo?” Kiroshima nodded. “Fuck man no acounting for taste I suppose.”
“You’re… not surprised?” Kiroshima asked. Kaminari shrugged.
“I might be surprised on some level but honestly after how Akira get going on about Midoriya’s abs I think the impact was lessened.”
“Sorry Eijirou, guess I ruined the impact,” Sakamoto sighed, still smiling though. Kiroshima looked back at him, ignoring how Ashido’s eyes were wide and sparkling with excited fascination. He sniffed and rubbed the heel of his palm into his eye for a second before coughing and leaning back.
“So you knew huh?”
Sakamoto shrugged. “Kinda had a bit of a hunch. Finely tuned gaydar remember?”
“Wish I had one,” Kiroshima laughed, a little bitterly. “Would be able to figure him out better.”
“If it helps I’m pretty sure he’s just deep in the closet,” Sakamoto offered. “So you’re like me in that regard. Attainable goals Eijirou.”
It seemed Ashdio could no longer contain herself and threw herself at Kiroshima, wrapped her arms around his shoulders and squealing happily.
“Ohmygod that was soooo precious!” she cried. “You looked so nervous! I had no idea Eijirou! You shouldn’t keep stuff like that bottled up!” She pouted. “Am I not good enough of a friend to confide in Eijirou?” This annoyance dissipated instantly as her eyes began sparkling again. “Oh, we can talk about who the hottest boy is and stuff!”
“Hottest boy is Midoriya.”
“Wasn’t asking you Akira.”
Asui smiled and looked at Sakamoto, who was also beaming at the positive energy radiating off of Kiroshima. “You reckon Bakugo’s gay too?”
“Oh absolutely ,” Sakamoto snorted. “You think he obsesses over Midoriya because of his quirk? Man has an absolutely disgusting hate boner for Deku.”
“He has a crush on Midoriya?” Kirosima asked, suddenly looking slightly worried from between Ashido’s horns. Sakamoto shook his head and waved off his concerns.
“Hate boner, entirely different,” Sakamoto corrected. “I reckon he’s been so wrapped up in hero stuff that he’s never considered like the whole like ‘who am I, who do I like’ thing. I mean let’s be honest romance is one hundred percent Bakugo’s nemesis. So, he’s wound up tighter than Iida before a test and he’s frustrated in one way but since he doesn’t really think about sex ‘n’ shit he has no idea why so he projects that sexual frustration onto someone he knows his issues with. Which would be-”
“Midoriya,” Asui finished for him.
“Right,” Sakamoto nodded. “Like I’m positive their fight the other night could have ended with Bakugo trying to aggressively make out with Mirodiya. The sooner someone helps drag Bakugo out the closet, the sooner he can hit the dating scene with a certain red haired dashing rogue who recently started celebrating his own manly gayness.” He slapped Kiroshima on the shoulder proudly. Then fixed him with a serious look. “But in all seriousness you will probably need to drag him out of the closet I think he’s in Narnia he’s that deep.”
Kiroshima laughed at this and gave Sakamoto the thumbs up. Kaminari sighed and rubbed the back of his head.
“Alright we all ready to keep playing this game I’m losing?”
“Yeah, sorry we let Eijirou’s incredibly emotional and overdue coming out get in the way of you sucking at Cards Against Humanity Denki,” Sakamoto sighed still smiling.
“Yeah sorry about that Denki,” Kiroshima laughed. Kaminari flipped them both off.
“Alright. ‘Money can’t buy me love, but it can buy me blank .’”
“A better fucking hand so maybe you can earn a point?” Sakamoto muttered.
Kaminari flipped him off again.
Chapter 4: Night Terrors
When we try to deal with other people's problems, we tend to neglect our own...
Todoroki jolted awake, right hand flashing up, ice frosting at his fingertips as he moved to defend himself from some attack at his vulnerable back. His eyes were wild and his breath was quick in his chest. His eyes flickered around the room, looking for the towering silhouette of Endeavour looming over him as he was about to launch a surprise attack at his sleeping ‘masterpiece’. After a few moments of waiting for the punch, kick, whatever Endeavour thought would be good training for him, Todoroki let his arm fall down.
He took a few shuddering breaths, the frost at his fingertips melting slowly.
Another nightmare. Another moment of waking to the terrible fear of that man coming to attack him. Another night of listening to his mother crying for Endeavour to stop.
He swung his legs out of bed and rubbed his arms. He noticed how cold the room had gotten. For a brief moment he thought about drawing on the power of his left side to warm the room. The image of Endeavour’s face flashed in his mind, the fire of his mask burning harsh and painful in Todoroki’s memory. Any notions of using his father’s… his left side was quashed.
Todoroki shuddered and got to his feet. He wasn’t sure how late it was. The light of the campus were off which meant it was the next day. Deciding that staying in his room whilst it was still so cold probably wouldn’t help him sleep, Todoroki opened his bedroom door and began to make his way downstairs. Maybe some tea or small bit of reheated soba would set him at ease?
He wasn’t quite sure about how to best prepare tea. Todoroki made a mental note to ask Yaoyorozu about the best methods to enjoy a tea for when you wanted to get back to sleep.
As he was walking down the corridor he noticed that the door leading up to the roof was ajar. He frowned. Most of 1-A knew about ‘The Clinic’ as Sakamoto called it; that not-so-secret place he had created to hang out without being observed by the teachers. But the door was always closed whenever no one was up there.
Todoroki frowned and pushed the door open slightly and began padding barefoot up the stairwell onto the roof.
There was only a single light on up here. A bright light that burned Todoroki’s freshly awakened eyes slightly. It looked like a desk lamp or something. Todoroki wasn’t sure. This had been the first time he had been up to the Clinic. He cast his eyes over the rooftop and saw two chalkboards hanging up at eye-level. One telling him the rules of this space and the other telling him that the Clinic was currently closed.
Todoroki’s eyes were drawn to a mattress that had been pulled out from under the cover of the tarpaulin. A mattress that Sakamoto was lying on, looking up into the starry night’s sky.
Sakamoto made no move as Todoroki approached. The half and half student wished he had brought his slippers before he left his room as he gingerly walked over the graveled roof over to the carpeted section where Sakamoto had laid out the chairs. Todoroki wondered if Sakamoto knew he was there for a moment before quashing that idea. Of course Sakamoto knew he was there. His hearing wasn’t anything compared to Jirou’s or Shoji’s but it was better than any of their other classmates. Even without using his quirk to enhance the sense organs Sakamoto could have probably heard Todoroki open his bedroom door from where he lay. And it wasn’t like there were any other sounds that could have distracted him.
“Trouble sleeping?” Sakamoto mumbled, as if to prove the fact Todoroki had just reminded himself of. Todoroki gave a tiny dry smile as he sat down by the coffee table.
“Guess you could say that,” Todoroki replied.
“Yeah figured,” Sakamoto sighed, sitting upwards to look at Todoroki. “Not like you to wander around for no reason Shoto.” Todoroki raised an eyebrow at this and Sakamoto nodded to the chalkboard. Todoroki followed Sakamoto’s gaze and saw the second rule: ‘First names only d-bags.’
“You’re damp by the way.”
Sakamoto’s voice drew Todoroki’s attention away from the chalkboard and back to him. And drew his attention to the chill sinking into the right side of his body that had nothing to do with his quirk. He looked down and saw that the frost he’d summoned when he’d woken up had melted completely, coating his right side in cool water that was now showing through his shirt.
“Didn’t realise,” Todoroki muttered, running a hand through his hair. Sakamoto didn’t say anything just nodded slowly.
“You wanna talk about it?” Sakamoto asked at last. Todoroki looked at him, his expression as passive as he could make it.
“Talk about what?”
“I’m assuming you had a nightmare? The only reason I could think you’d use your right side in the middle of the night. Unless your room is just that hot.” Sakamoto leaned forwards and grabbed his ankles, pulling himself into a half lotus. “That and you have a certain… look in your eyes Shoto.”
“Oh?” Todoroki said. “And what might that look be... Akira?”
Sakamoto paused and bit his lip, wondering how to phrase his next statement.
“The kind of look you have whenever someone brings up… Endeavour,” he said at last. There had been a flash across Sakamoto’s face Todoroki noted. A flash that had displayed how reluctant he was to even say the man’s hero name. Perhaps he had considered referring to him as Todoroki’s father and that had been the cause of the expression?
Todoroki decided to ignore it and looked out over the dark campus. He reached into the pile of snack foods there. As he did so, he noted that the pile had begun to diminish. Sakamoto or someone else would need to go get more soon. He would have to address Sakamoto’s inquiry as to whether he wanted to talk he knew. He gave a small, imperceptible frown and made a pointed effort to continue staring into the darkness.
“You can call him my father Akira,” he said at last. “There’s not much I can do to change the situation.” He paused. “After all don’t you refer to Ryugi as your father instead of your dad?”
“That’s different,” Sakamoto mumbled. “It’s just facts that Ryuji Kitagawa is my biological father. I refer to him as such because I never got to know him as my dad.” He cleared his throat and straightened up a little. “Endeavour doesn’t have the excuse of being dead.” Todoroki chuckled a little at this. “Am I wrong though?”
“I suppose not,” Todoroki replied. He breathed in through his nose and sighed. “Quid pro quo Akira. What are you doing on the roof at night?”
“Stargazing, what did it look like?” he quipped a little too fast for Todoroki.
“That’s not what I meant.”
Sakamoto rolled his eyes and sighed. “You wanna know why I can’t sleep?”
Sakamoto sighed again and rubbed his face with his hands. “Alright so, you ever heard of sleep paralysis?”
“I’m not familiar with it,” Todoroki said simply and Sakamoto gave a slightly embarrassed chuckle.
“So there’s like a bunch of different causes for it but it all boils down to some weird defect in waking up,” Sakamoto explained. “So, you’re conscious and aware but your body is still in sleep mode so nothing moves.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad.”
“Well it’s not. But that depends on whether or not you get the fun kind of sleep paralysis where you hallucinate about demons sneaking into your bedroom through the goddamn window!”
Todoroki blinked. “What?”
“Basically your brain is still in dream mode or some shit so which, combined with the fact that your body can’t move, triggers a hyper aware hallucinatory episode where one perceives an intruder in the room,” Sakamoto elaborated. He yawned. “Fun fact, I get that kind of sleep paralysis like… once a month?”
“That regular huh?”
“Uh-huh,” Sakamoto nodded. “It sucks.” He rubbed his arms slightly. “Can’t always guarantee what it’s gonna be.” He sighed. “Tonight’s home invader? That Shigaraki guy.”
“From the league of villains?”
“Yeah.” Sakamoto rubbed his shoulder gently and massaged it a little.
Todoroki remembered the USJ Incident at that point. Remembered how Sakamoto had tried helping Mr Aizawa get away from the Nomu and Tomura Shigaraki. Shigaraki had snuck up on Sakamoto whilst he was evading the Nomu and used his quirk on Sakamoto’s right shoulder. He shuddered at the memory of seeing the red wet muscle of Sakamoto’s shoulder exposed to the air. Apparently Sakamoto hadn’t forgotten either. This sleep paralysis episode had clearly awoken some sort of phantom pain from the injury, despite the fact that it had healed months ago now.
“Are you afraid of him Sakamoto?” Todoroki asked. Sakamoto sighed and shook his head.
“Honestly? No. No I’m not afraid of him. There aren’t many people who I am afraid of. Someone like Shigarki creeping into my room at night through the fucking window is just a terrifying visual.”
“But that’s not why you couldn’t sleep.”
Sakamoto rolled his eyes and smiled. “Sound pretty sure of yourself there Shoto,” he said.
“You just looked like you were remembering something that’s all,” Todoroki shrugged. Sakamoto sighed and rubbed his hands together. He slapped his hands to his knees and rose from where he sat on the mattress. He turned out to the night over the campus and rested on the low wall.
“Weren’t we talking about you and your shitty father?” Sakamoto said at last, his voice quiet. Todoroki remained quiet. Sakamoto chewed his bottom lip before he went on. “How many times did he beat you to wake you up for reactions like that Shoto? Couldn’t have been every night otherwise you wouldn’t go to sleep.”
Todoroki’s silence was like a nuclear winter. He saw Sakamoto’s hands had turned to fists on the wall and the knuckles were white. Todoroki felt ice starting to crawl up the fingers of his right hand.
“Enough,” Todoroki said with finality. Sakamoto nodded stiffly. “I only ever remember telling Midoriya about what my father did to me. And he doesn’t strike me as the type to reveal that kind of information to someone else.” He narrowed his eyes a fraction. “So the question is how do you know.”
“Because I’m clever,” Sakamoto replied simply. “Sometimes too clever.” He stayed quiet, before he ran a hand through his hair, playing with some of the golden blonde strands, stark against the mass of black that was the majority. “It hurts sometimes. The way I take things in. Some parts of my quirk I just can’t quite… turn off I guess. The sensory input can get… overwhelming. My imagination too vivid at times. So when I see the pieces of a puzzle I put them together. Just to keep my mind busy.” Todoroki let him talk. “So I see you, thawing out, looking rattled and I abduct. I reason out why you can’t sleep, why you left your room, why you didn’t simply use your left side to warm yourself up a bit and go back to bed.”
“Do you do this about everything that mildly interests you Akira?” Todoroki asked.
“I’ll admit I usually have more tact about it,” Sakamoto admitted bashfully. He sighed and rubbed his eyes. “I… I’m sorry Shoto. It’s not my place to pry. You’re… you’re a hard person to read and getting you to open up it’s… I dunno I though being direct would be the best way to get you to talk about things.”
Todoroki looked at him for a long time.
“I… I appreciate your concern Akira. Really.” He looked up at the tarpaulin. “Honestly this is the first time I’ve woken like this since we moved into dorms.”
“Getting away from Endeavour really helped eh?”
Todoroki shook his head. “It’s less to do with the fact that he’s not around and more to do with the fact that here… here there’s all of you.” Sakamoto blinked.
“That’s… surprisingly sentimental from you Shoto.”
Todoroki smiled at this. “We never got to talking about why you’re up here Akira.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Sakamoto replied, looking away again.
“I think it does. Especially considering how you talked about the way your brain is working at the minute.” Todoroki leaned forward in his chair. “I think I get it now.” Sakamoto didn’t look as Todoroki got to his feet. “You’re distracting yourself. Hyper focusing on other things to avoid whatever it was that’s stopping you from going back to sleep.” Sakamoto was silent. “Let me guess. Before I came up you were probably counting stars or something?” More silence. “What woke you Akira? I’ll buy the whole story about sleep paralysis, but you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t in a similar boat to me.”
“I… really don’t want to talk about this Shoto,” Sakamoto muttered, barely audible. He took a shuddering breath in through his nose, eyes cast in shadows.
“Akira.” Todoroki’s voice brokered no argument and Sakamoto knew this. He swallowed wetly, and licked his lips.
“I was at the hospital,” he said at last.
“In my dream Shoto I didn’t actually go anywhere,” Sakamoto chuckled bitterly. “Yanagida Onsen to be specific.”
“How do you know that’s where it was?”
Sakamoto’s eyes were glassy. They had a far away, haunted look to them.
“Because they were there…” he muttered. “They’re always there . Always waiting for me…”
“Who?” Todoroki asked, stepping up to Sakamoto’s side. Sakamoto’s eyes saw visions Todoroki couldn’t.
“My parents,” he muttered. “They’re waiting for me… That’s what they keep telling me. Keep telling me to come home. That we can be a family again.” His knuckles were white as his hands curled into even tighter fists, trickles of blood leaking from between his fingers.
“I… I’m not sure I understand,” Todoroki almost whispered. Sakamoto’s eyes screwed up in pain almost.
“You know how I barely remember my mother and father?”
“Yes?” Todoroki said, uncertain of where Sakamoto was going with this train of thought.
“The clearest memory I have of either of them is of Yanagida,” he said, his eyes closed, as if trying to block out some vision. “I was three. I didn’t know what was happening at the time… Everyone was so worried.”
Todoroki’s eyes widened as he realised that Sakamoto’s clearest memory of his birth parents had been of the day they died.
“Did… did you see them?” Todoroki asked, unsure of what to do or how to help. Sakamoto remained quiet for a few moments.
“I saw my mother,” he finally said in a small voice. “On the operating table… I didn’t even recognise her Shoto…” He took a shuddering breath in through his nose. “And that’s the version of her I see in my fucking nightmares. I see a fucking nightmare shitshow of her with tubes and pipes sticking out of her and half her goddamn skin fucking missing!”
He dropped to his knees here, clasping his hands around the back of his head, drawing in deep shuddering breaths. Todoroki couldn’t see his face but he could imagine that he was crying.
“That’s the version of her I remember Shoto,” he sobbed. “The version that wants me to join them . The version that wants me dead too.” He shuddered. “And I hate that. I hate that that is what I remember. That that is what it wants.”
Todoroki didn’t say anything. He wanted to ask if Sakamoto saw his father in the nightmares. He had mentioned that he knew that both of his parents were present in the hospital of his imagination. At the same time however simply talking about this nightmare was distressing Sakamoto. Pressing him for further information might just break him.
It was then that Todoroki remembered the training camp. Remembered how, when Sakamoto had awoken after the attack, he’d had a visceral reaction of pure panic in the hospital bed. Todoroki guessed that now he knew why Sakamoto had reacted that way. He’d probably thought he was in another one of these nightmares. Given the horrific visions Sakamoto was describing, Todoroki couldn’t blame him
Sakamoto shuddered and continued.
“I never see my father,” he muttered. “He died at the scene of the crash… they’d taken him to the mortuary by the time I saw my mother.” He gulped. “ She tries to take me with her. Says we have to go see him. Show him how their boy looks now.” He shuddered and gripped his shoulders, hugging himself. “And then it’s always the fucking mirror. The fucking mirror every fucking time.”
“Mirror?” Todoroki asked, confused.
“She shoves me in front of a goddamn mirror to look at myself,” Sakamoto snarled. “And the… the… the thing … that looks back at me…. It’s.. it’s wearing my hero costume. It’s me but…” He gripped his arm and looked at his hands. The white lines of scar tissue on his arm stood out like blazing lines of fire against Sakamoto’s skin. “Nothing’s healed…” he managed to croak at last. “Everything… everything’s broken. There’s… so much blood…” He pressed his forehead against the wall. “It’s every wound I’ve gotten since I wanted to become a hero… and every time I have this fucking dream, that thing that looks back at me in the mirror looks worse and worse.” A pause. “Sometimes I wonder if that thing is what I’d look like if I’d been in the car with them the day they died.”
He stayed like that for a while. His breathing unsteady, tears dripping onto the wall in front of him. Todoroki chewed his lip, uncomfortable. This sort of emotional discharge was beyond him. He scowled at his own emotional isolation, another result of his father’s upbringing. With uncertainty and no small amount of stiffness, Todoroki lowered himself to his knees and pulled Sakamoto into an awkward side embrace.
Sakamoto stiffened for a moment before he relaxed into the side hug and allowed Todoroki to hold him. Even as he relaxed, Todoroki could feel Sakamoto calming down, his breathing normalising. Todoroki gently rubbed Sakamoto’s shoulders and pulled away slightly. There was a conflicting sensation in Todoroki as he pulled away from Sakamoto. The closeness he’d felt to the other young man had been nice, despite how utterly crushed Sakamoto seemed to be right now.
After a few moments Sakamoto sniffed and ground the heels of his palms into his eyes. He shook himself and cleared his throat.
“That… Alright yeah that’s…” he shook himself, clapped his hands and pushed himself to his feet. “Okay so… that…” he clicked his tongue and sniffed again. “Sorry about that Shoto.”
“I asked,” Todoroki replied simply. He paused, then added, “I appreciate the fact that you told me all that.”
“Fucking stupid though right?” he muttered. “It’s… I know my mother wouldn’t want me dead just to join them. My mum and dad were always telling me how much my parents loved me when they were alive. So… why ?”
Todoroki slowly got to his own feet and rubbed his hand through the hair of his left side. He paused for a moment as he felt his fingers brushing against the burnt skin around his left eye. He looked back to Sakamoto and slowly lowered his hand.
“My mother… she had a psychotic break after the years of my father’s abuse,” Todoroki started, his voice a little strained. He hadn’t opened up to anyone about this other than Midoriya. But he had a feeling that this might help Sakamoto in the long run. Sakamoto was looking at Todoroki over his shoulder, a little confused. Todoroki continued, “One night, she was making tea. I couldn’t sleep and went to find her. She was calling her mother, telling her about how she found my left side abhorrent.” He paused, touching his fingers to his burns. “She saw me. And she poured scalding water from the kettle over my eye.”
Sakamoto’s eyes widened a little at this. He opened his mouth for a second, but no words came out. He swallowed wetly.
“Shoto…” he managed to croak but Todoroki held up his hand.
“For years I hated my left side because of what happened that night,” he continued. “Years I let that last memory of the woman my father had turned my mother into, dominate my perception of her. For years that memory of her was the most defining memory I had of her. I hated my father for what he did to her. But I could never bring myself to visit her in the hospital.” He smiled gently. “Until after the sports festival. And after all those years, I finally got my mother back. I got closure. I know now that she’d never meant to hurt me the way she had done.” He sighed and looked Sakamoto in the eyes.
“Don’t you see Akira? It’s the same. We know that neither set of your parents would ever want to bring any harm to you.”
Sakamoto blinked at this and looked away. He gripped his elbow with one hand before muttering, “I can’t get that closure you can Shoto… Ryuji and Sora are dead.” Todoroki frowned at this before an idea sprung into his head.
“Heave you… did you ever visit where they were buried?” The way Sakamoto flinched was all the answer Todoroki needed. “You should visit. Maybe that might give you the closure you need?” Sakamoto nodded slowly. He still looked so very lost Todoroki thought. And as he did he decided something. “I’ll go with you if you like?”
Sakamoto looked at him, eyebrow raised but a thankful, grateful sheen in his eyes.
“When the hell did you get so good at this emotional crap Shoto?” he asked, voice cracking a little at the end. Todoroki shrugged.
“I’m hanging around people that care I guess.”
“You really are,” Sakamoto chuckled. He leaned back against the wall and rubbed his eyes, yawning. “Fuck me. Y’know you wouldn’t think unloading emotional trauma like that would be so fucking draining and yet here we are.” He looked at Todoroki. “You think your rooms warm enough for you to get some sleep again?”
“You’re concerned that I’ll be able to sleep?” Todoroki muttered sarcastically. He shook his head, a small smile tugging at the corners of his lips. “I’ll be fine Sakamoto. You reckon you’ll be okay?”
Sakamoto smirked. “I’ll be fine I reckon. You head on down I’ll turn all this shit off.”
Todoroki nodded and began heading back downstairs. As he reached the door however, Sakamoto called out to him again and he paused.
“Thanks for offering to go with me Shoto,” he said. He was crouched by the power supply for the lamp, face lost in it’s brilliant glow. “I… I think I could really use the support.”
Todoroki smiled and nodded once, before heading back downstairs.