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Just One Day

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5:36 AM

"Time!!" Izuku calls out from above as he looks at his watch with a beaming smile.  Icy air fills and stings his lungs, spilling out of his mouth in wispy puffs which dissipate into the twilight overhead. He shivers, and figures he probably should've worn a thicker jacket if he was going to go up into the air first.

Dust kicks up from Ochako's running, the soft crunch of her trail-runners on gravel piercing the all-encompassing silence of the mountainside as the first hints of the sun hiding below the other mountains in the distance paints the horizon a deep violet and lilac ombré.

"Roger, switchin’!"  Ochako calls from below, pressing her pads to her palm, "Release!"  she shouts, and Izuku can feel gravity come right back to him, the bright red climbing cord keeping them anchored together going slack as he falls back to the earth.  Izuku lands gracefully, jogging up to her and kissing her cheek as he passes.

“That's a new record by five and a half seconds, Ochako!!" he says excitedly, taking another look at his watch, "And we might just make it if I go at 50%."

"Don't push yaself too hard, Izuku!!  We've got all day!" she chimes from behind, their cord going taut as he feels her weight trail from above him.  Izuku takes it as his cue to activate Full Cowling and speed up, a giggle of glee sounding off from behind him as the wind begins to rush by his face, his smile holding firm.

5 years, 5 months, 3 days, 10 hours, 5 minutes, and 20 seconds- and counting, he muses.   

*

It was as about as unflattering a start that he ever could've imagined it being.

Just before graduation, she'd texted him details about a hang-out they could all go to afterwards, a celebration between all of their classmates one last time before they'd go on to forge their own paths towards Pro Hero work.  Deku, of course, said yes.

He'd already finished his training for the week.  He didn't have any internship work to do.  They were graduating, so definitely no homework.  By all accounts, he was free to do whatever he wanted that day- if he's honest, he thinks he would've made an exception for her anyway.  And he'd done so before.

He texted her an enthusiastic reply, and put down his phone to continue packing his things. Only, she texted back.

Much more quickly than usual.

No big deal, he thought, he was excited to hang out with everyone as well.

But to this day, the resulting conversation is something he will always hold dear to his heart.

"I'm gonna tell Deku I love him, Tsu-chan."

He remembers his first response being disbelief.  Terror, even.

His best friend, the one that he'd had a massive crush on on-and-off throughout high school—mostly on—sent that text.  Deku double checked the number, triple-checking even, to make sure that it was her.  The same number, the same contact photo, the same conversation thread.  Everything checked out, it was definitely Uraraka that sent that text.

So, his second response was to start going through the reasons as to why she sent that to him.

A joke, perhaps.  She always was teasing him, and it'd become their repertoire of sorts over the final year they were in school together.  Deku eventually acclimated, and even got good enough to throw few decent jabs of his own, but, the wording, the timing, wasn't quite right this time.  It was too jarring, too sudden, not Uraraka's style at all.   She was much more smooth, diabolical, and calculated with her "flirting".

In retrospect, he might have Ashido to blame for that one.

So then, another individual named "Deku", or perhaps a codename.  There was little chance of there being another person in Japan with his childhood nickname, he rationalized.  That could track, but Deku figured it was weird that'd she'd use her best friend as a codeword for another person she liked.  The thought was flattering, but, that theory quickly fell apart.

Maybe more quickly than Deku would care to admit.

Him, jealous?  When it came to her...maybe a little.

He's almost onto the third theory, a psychic quirk's effect, before he saw that Uraraka had started to type.  Packing could wait, he needed answers.  It only went on for about 3 minutes, but for him, sitting on the edge of his bed staring at his phone, it felt like eternity.

Multiple, agonizing, multiverse spanning eternities.

What if she was serious?

What if it really wasn't a joke?

What would happen?

Would they have time?

How would their schedules look?

Would she be bothered that he'd be working 6 or 7 days a week on average?

All-too-familiar questions yet again rolled across Deku’s mind like waves in a maelstrom, cresting and crashing and breaking and smashing against the miles-high levees of his heart.  He'd steeled himself over after some time when it came to her.  He'd accepted that they were friends, and that boys and girls could stay good friends, AMAZING friends, without being romantically involved.

Even as Ashido badgered and teased him about her, even if Kaminari and Mineta poked and prodded, even if Kacchan himself made snide comments about them, he was resolute.

She was his friend.

She was his best friend.

There was no need to complicate that, and the passing thoughts in his mind were just that.  Passing thoughts.  Even if they came to haunt him day in and day out, Deku was sure that he'd outlast them.  For her sake, for the sake of their friendship, for his sake, he would've held out for as long as he needed to. He stood his ground against all odds, waiting, waiting, waiting, and waiting ever still, for things to die down in his heart as the days, months, and years rolled by.

Only, the waves got bigger each day, each month, and each year.  And now, the very tops of them were licking, lapping, splashing at the top of the levees, with but one, uniform question: What if she was joking?

It was a simple question, with damning revelations.

He didn't want to impose.

He didn't want to meddle.

He didn't want to potentially fudge the numbers, muddle the waters, even by a little.

But...the question rings out in his head again.

What if she was joking?

He hates this part, personally. He cut her off before she can finish that text she'd now spent 6 minutes on.  It was out of pure frustration- flustered, flabberghasted, flagrant frustration, built up and pent up for years now.  It's no excuse, and he still regrets the initial wording, which he hopes he's made up for by now.

She insists time and time again that he didn't have to apologize for that, but, old habits die hard.

Every so often, he rehearsed how, hypothetically, he'd confess his feelings to her.  He had drafts upon drafts upon drafts of hastily typed up and subsequently trashed texts and binder paper.  Paragraph upon paragraph, anecdote after anecdote, quotes from romance novels, movies, books, and TV shows, they all went straight to the wastebin, digital and analog.

Nothing felt right.

And it all boiled back down to how he felt about their friendship.  He wanted things to remain the same, to remain as they were, even if it meant feeling a little heartbreak for awhile.  He'd endured all manner of injuries, from shattered bones, torn muscles, caved skulls, and concussions, to cuts, stabs, and burns, all apart of the myriad of occupational hazards of being a hero, among many more he didn't much care to remember.

But this?  This joke?  Or at least, the thought of it being one?

It hurt.

Truly, the thought of her laughing at him, at his expense, for something like that?  For something so insensitive, so cruel?  It cut him deep.  It was one thing to tease, it was another to just throw something out there like that all willy nilly.   

He certainly knew her better than that, she'd never laugh without making sure he ended up laughing along, she'd never do that for anyone.  In his haste, though, this knowledge fell to the wayside.  He lashed out.

"Ha.  Ha. I've liked you a lot, you know. :/..." he texted curtly. 

Immediately, her typing stopped.  And as soon as that happens, he already regretted it.  If the pause while she was typing out an addendum to that text was abysmally long before, this pause was longer than anything he had the heart for.

In short, he panicked.

He panicked, his mind tearing itself to pieces as he paced furiously around his room, muttering to himself, his grip very nearly crushing his phone outright.  It was stupid.  He was stupid.  He couldn't just respond like that to a text, much less cut her off like that. 

And that emoji?  Passive aggressive much?  He was awful.  And if this didn't turn out to be what he thought it was, he just blew his shot at ever being a normal friend to her, period.  That's what he wanted, wasn't it?  More than anything?  He had to apologize.  He had to say something else, anything else.  He owed her that much...

But he couldn't find the words.

Of all the thousands, hundreds of thousands of words to say, and the million-billion ways to combine and say them, he couldn't find the words.

However, his phone went off one more time, just before it became a jumbled mass of silicone and glass putty in his palm.

"Past tense or present tense? (・・ ;;) ... "      

 

**

 

There are a lot of ways that could've played out that day, reminiscences Ochako, as she's pulled along at easily over 100 kilometers per hour up the mountainside.  Heck, there was a bunch of things that could've played out differently for the entirety of their three years of high school.   She very vividly remembers having a meltdown to Tsuyu soon after she'd sent that text in err, typing and deleting and retyping her explanation over and over again.

She could only imagine his reaction soon after, furrowed brow and all, probably pacing around fast enough to power her whole hometown thrice over.

It took them hours, actual hours, for the both of them to say what they'd been meaning to say throughout their school life.  Mostly, it was the both of them bawling like a couple babies, apologizing to each other profusely, refusing to speak out of turn and fighting to give the other a chance to speak first. 

She poured her heart out to him, starting from day one, when he'd socked a building sized robot for her, all the way to the end the line, the very last day before they were to graduate.

And, he tried to do the same.  Emphasis on "tried", but, bless his heart, he did.

Izuku just...had his unique way with words.  Which is to say, more frankly, he careens through words, sometimes faster than his mouth could process, the end product being almost indiscernible from any actual spoken language- and she spoke five of them.  It didn't help that he clearly didn't have his mouth all the way to the phone, and it wasn't until she'd suggested that they just meet in her room did things become a little more clear.

All those months and months and months of holding herself back, all for the moment that, to this day, still makes her heart go into calisthenics.

He looked right at her with his brilliant, shimmering green eyes, still bloodshot from flustered sobbing, with the widest smile on his face that she'd ever seen him make.  And then he spoke.

"I've never had a girlfriend before, but, I guess this is probably how it should be!"

It was a momentary lapse of his typically hyper-sensitive, timid nature, and he immediately backtracks, going on a massive string of apologies for being presumptuous, about how he didn't want to choose for her, and this, and that, and whatever other nonsense that poor overworked brain had drummed up which his brain-mouth filter failed to keep at bay.

So, she leaned over to him.

And she knows he probably whimpered her name, formality and all, but she's used to being called "Uraraka-san", by now.

She didn't really think to respond, and she could've sworn that she was going to.

It was just, there's a pause as they close the gap to mere millimeters, and she looked back up at him, searching his eyes for any sign of telling her to back away, even the smallest twitch would do.  She had a nasty habit, after all.  She was so used to running away from this sort of idea, that, even right here at the end of it all, she scoured his eyes for just one reason to keep this childish dance going, just one more day.  They'd already made so much ground up, they could pick it back up tomorrow, couldn't they?

But, nothing happened.   

He didn't stir, not one iota.

So, neither did she.

 

**

 

5:40 AM

"Babe?"  pants Izuku from below her, snapping her right back to the present. Ochako is beyond glad that the wind buffeting her face is keeping her cool, because she's probably beet red right now.  Not that it was any issue, he'd seen her flustered before.  It was just his new, learned attitude towards it.  It's mostly her fault, too.  She boosted his ego quite a bit over the years, and while she loves how much more confident he is, he really was a little shit about it sometimes.

As the saying goes, 'Be careful what you wish for.'  And oh how it came right back to bite her sometimes.  

"Ah, y-yeah, I'm fine!!" she squeaks, looking up at the sky defiantly.  Dawn is starting to bleed into the dark even further, the tones of black and dark blue fading rapidly into shades of vivid pink and periwinkle.  They really might've made it before sunrise, but she hopes he wasn't pushing himself too hard.  It's just a light morning workout, after all, they still had all day together!  

"You sure, Ochako?  You stuttered." he asks with a hint of worry in his voice, but mostly teasing.  She doesn't grace him with a response, opting to to give him a determined huff instead, turning up her nose at him dramatically.  "Hmmm...in that case..." He lets out a devious laugh, and before Ochako can have a chance to regret the decision, she feels the climbing cord around her waist lose all its slack at once, and she is now without a doubt being dragged through the air versus tugged.  The kite now named Ochako soars through the air at breakneck speed, her shrieks melding into ecstatic laughter, the crackling electricity of Izuku's One For All illuminating the dark path ahead.

She has NO idea how fast they're going.  She doesn't even know how close they are to the top of this mountain.  She just knows in her heart that she'd remember this day for some time to come.

"I-Izukuuuu, it's COLD-!!" she manages to stammer out between giggles, the roaring of the wind against her face making it hard to even see ahead of her.  She's flailing around so much it's hard to even pull her phone out to check the time, and she's just about ready to put on a serious voice when she feels them start to slow down.

Just ahead, she can see the peak of the mountain, the trail before them disappearing behind it, and Ochako hangs on, just a little longer, as Izuku closes the last 100 or so meters to the top in a single bound, making her cackle in delight one more time as he skids to a halt with his back to her.

He's about 20 meters in front of her when she decides that she's gonna get him back for the dastardly kiss that he snuck in.

“Release!" Ochako screeches, gravity kicking back in for her body as she carries the momentum from when they were still in motion straight towards Izuku, who only has time to wheel around and see her with her arms and legs outstretched to him.

The look on his face is priceless; he always was awful at remembering the laws of physics.

Whatever is in motion, stays in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force.  Basic stuff.  That now makes Izuku the "outside force" as she creams him square in the chest, wrapping herself around him like a koala as he skids backwards a good 50 meters from the impact, kicking up dirt and gravel in both of their faces.

“That's fer catchin' me off-guard." she says with a scowl as they finally come to a halt, pecking at his nose with a pout.  Deku only smiles, holding up two fingers.

"Twice."  he retorts with a shit-eating grin, leaning in and kissing the side of her mouth, Ochako entirely unenthused as she locks her arms and legs around him tighter.

“Least do it right..." she mumbles, her face softening. Deku relents, closing the distance between them and making her heart swell...only for his damned phone alarm to go off.  She has half a mind to lean in and do it herself, but the amount of fidgeting he's doing is too adorable to not let him make his case.  This was the Izuku she knew.  The Deku she knew.

“...Right after, I promise, but you have to see this, Ochako."  Ochako mulls it over in her mind for a moment, but she humors him, untangling herself from Izuku; without skipping a beat, he takes her hand and leads her right to the mountain's edge, the top of the sun just barely peeking over the mountain range parallel to the one they were on in the distance.  It's already a gorgeous sight, with the sight of the sprawling, slumbering cityscape below juxtaposed to the snowcapped mountains in the distance.  Not to mention just how stunning the mountain they were on was, trees and foliage spilling over craggy rocks crusted in viridescent moss.

Then, she sees it.

Dead ahead, as the sun finally crests over the mountaintops, there's a blast of dazzling, peachy-orange light that beams from the towers of the city below, very nearly blinding her.  It's brighter than even Aoyama could manage, and the white of the ice on the mountains only intensifies the glare as more and more light creeps across the city below, the shadow of night simply folding up and disappearing acre by acre.   The last, stubborn tendrils of night fade as dawn takes the reigns, and continues to spread its colors through the sky.

And Ochako remembers to breathe.

"So...what do you think...?"  Deku asks, his trademark anxiousness plain as day in his voice.  Ochako has to physically pry her eyes away from the sight, exhaling sharply as she turns to face her skittish looking boyfriend.

"It's perfect, Izuku...."  she says softly, stepping to him and taking his hands into hers, gazing up at him.  The light of the dawn is on his face, too, lighting up every single freckle, scar, and imperfect blemish he's got.  Not that he wasn't handsome still, he was one hell of a beefcake, and she'd gotten more pangs of jealousy because of it than she'd ever flat out admit.  It’s those little imperfections, though, the freckles, the scars, the rambling, the inopportune geeking, the terrible-but-improving people skills, the wild hair, all of that and more, that make up Midoriya Izuku.

Her nerd.

Her lover.

Her partner.

Her best friend.

Her all of the above.

"Happy 5th anniversary, my love." he says tenderly, brushing a thumb across her cheek, leaning down to her properly this time.

"5 months and 3 days late..." she whispers with a wry grin, her eyes slowly flitting shut as she goes onto her tip-toes. Part of her wonders if they're really going to be able to get as much done today as they hope.  After all, they did still have to bike back to their apartment.  And then shower.  And then eat.  She supposes that's all valid, anyway.

They have all day to do ALL of that, together.

And she was going to revel in every...

Single.

Last.

Second.   

 

***

 

6:24 AM

"What’d’ya mean my accent is noticeable?!" Ochako says with a huff as the door to their apartment closes behind them, Deku waltzing right past her.

"Now, I didn't say that." he starts, walking into the bathroom and wiping his face down.  He was a mess, but at least he certainly didn't have any obligations today.  He takes one look in the mirror, and he can see Ochako, plain as day, with her arms folded square across her chest and a menacing beat being tapped out by her foot.  He clears his throat, doing his best to compose himself, "M'jus' sayin', darlin', ya let it get a lil' carried away sometimes n' it shows." 

He watches Ochako carefully in the mirror, and he's got her.

She's red faced, but he can see her cheeks puffing, barely stemming the tide of laughter that's yet to come. 

"N' I mean, ain't no shame in havin' a charmin' accent, y'know."  He turns back to her, doing his best impression of a stereotypical punk's strut, his hands on his hips as if he were holding his track pants up, Ochako's eyes going wide as she tries to suppress another cackle.

"I-I'm actually gonna break up with you-you fuckin'-"

She's on her last legs, and all it'd take is one more push, and he has her.

"N' besides, wuz better than lettin' loose erry so often, eh?"  Ochako actually falls silent now, her laughter slowly subsiding into ominous, foreboding silence, making Izuku freeze up.

Crap.  Too far.  Too far.  He's just about to unhook from his pants and kill his bit before she clears her throat, puffing out her chest and putting her hands to her sides.

"I-I am so sorry for the, um, transgression, Midoriya-san."  Izuku recoils, his eyes going wide from the sudden shift in dialects...and politeness, "I um, I-I do hope you will be able to look past this, moving forward..."  She gives him a bow, almost a full 90 degrees, Deku needing to take a step back to avoid being headbutted,

"Please forgive me!!" she bellows, not making a single attempt at eye contact.

Then, it hits him.

"Are you...are you imitating-"  She shoots back up, a wild look of mischief in her eyes before she jumps right back in character.

"I-I-Imitating, I don't know what you're talking about, I mean, maybe its similar, but this is how I talk, I swear, and you don't have to worry about a th-" she takes a deep breath as Izuku stands there agape, Ochako getting right back into her stride, "W-worry about a thing, sorry.  The humidity is off by 8.22% here and it's messing with my head a little bit but I'm okay, I swear!"

"O-Ochako, you're being ridiculous-" Izuku sputters, Ochako stepping right to him, barely hiding how giddy she was.  She was beating him at his own game, and, if hero work didn't work out, she could most definitely be an improv comedian, a pro impressionist, or perhaps both.

"By the way, do you know how powerful All Might is?!" Ochako says with a smile so bright it could rival the sunrise they'd seen this morning, and Izuku can't even roll his eyes before she continues on, "One time, he smashed so many villains so hard, they just disappeared, poof, gone.  Do you know how powerful he'd need to be to make that happen?  How much force he'd need in his punch?   By the way, did you know he's-" she takes another deep breath, and it's all the break Deku needs to burst out laughing.  Ochako, too, abandons her charade and starts cackling.

"You...you real—you really have that stutter downpat, oh my god-" Deku squeaks, Ochako leaning on him and wiping at her face.

"And you call that a Kansai accent, you fuckin' dork I-I-"  The two of them are inconsolable for a couple of minutes, slowly but slowly regaining their composure as Izuku flops onto their couch, Ochako flopping over on top of him, her head on his thighs. Deku wiping the last tears from his eyes.

"I hope...um...I hope you know that I don't mind it  At all." Izuku says as he stares off to the ceiling, "It's cute, and I wish you didn't feel like you need to hide it."  Ochako huffs a sigh of defeat, and he can practically hear the pout on her face.

"Well, I know you don't mind.  'Course I do."  she says confidently, Izuku feeling a soft hand gently cup his jaw and direct his gaze downward, Ochako's long brown hair splayed out across his lap as she stares up at him, "I don't mind lettin' it out around you, it's other folks I'm worried about."  Izuku scoffs, reciprocating her touch and running his thumb up and down her cheek with his palm resting on her jawline, Ochako leaning into his touch out of habit with  a sigh of contentment, her eyes contemplative, "It's...just me, I guess."      

"Well, sure!" Deku says like he's got her this time, "You're right.  It's you.  And you're a wonderful person, and you shouldn't need to hide your roots."  Deku chimes with a smile, "Those roots are what made you, you.  And you can put on a mask all you want, but...those roots aren't going away anytime soon, y'know?  Roots don't do that."  Deku looks off to the still rising sun outside, the sounds of the city beginning to come alive all around them, "You're kind, you're compassionate, you're a hard-worker and a force of nature...that's just how you were raised.  And that's not a bad way to come out of childhood."

Ochako rolls her eyes, looking off towards their TV instead, which, doesn't have anything playing on it.

This isn't the first time they've had this conversation.  It was only recently that she'd gotten comfortable with him to let herself slip into it at all, and he suspects her parents may have had a hand in that.   Even still, it was a sore point for her.

And Deku feels all the more regretful of how he came across earlier.

"I'm sorry for making fun of your accent, Ochako." he says earnestly, his face stern, Ochako finally buckling and looking back at him.  She wasn't mad at him, he doesn't think.  They were having fun, he's sure, and that was genuine laughter from her.  But sometimes, bad memories manage to bubble up anyway.  He knew that all too well.  "I genuinely do not think it's something to make light of whatsoever, and I won't do it again.  It makes you, you, and it's one of the many things I-" 

He's cut off by Ochako running her hand behind his neck and using it to pull herself upwards to his cheek, kissing it gently.

Deku blinks at her a couple times before she pulls away with a smirk, a small giggle escaping her lips as she lays back down on his lap.

"Apology accepted, dork.  Even if you didn't need to apologize."  Deku lets out a bemused huff through his nose, shrugging his shoulders.

"...I guess that's what makes me, me."  Ochako nods once,  batting her eyelashes at him dreadfully slowly, her radiant brown eyes beaming up at him.  And Deku freezes.

"And it's one of the many things I love about ya."  she whispers with an unbearably soft smile, a slight head tilt for maximum damage.

Deku feels his heart jump right into his mouth, and it's not fair.  Ochako senses this, and she goes right in for the kill, grabbing him by his collar and hoisting herself up with it, putting her lips just nanometers from his; cherry blossoms, he thinks.

They smell just like cherry blossoms.

She knows for certain his eyes are wandering to them.  So, she lets hers wander right back, before they flick back up at him, waiting, watching, with her eyes half lidded, her breath crashing against him.  Even now, after all this time, she could STILL melt him into an amorphous pile of goo, if she so chose.  And this was just one method.

"I-I...um...hm." Deku can't find the words again, and it's moments like these where the only recourse is a hard reboot.  Fortunately, he's saved by the bell, a loud, rolling grumble burbling up from his stomach.   Ochako snickers, rolling away from him and getting up onto her feet.

"Ya must be starvin'!"  she says brightly, glancing to their kitchen, "Ya wanna get the shower runnin' nice and hot, and I'll get somethin' started for us?"  Deku can only nod meekly as she smiles at him and takes off, Deku still recovering as best he can from her death beam.

He'd get her back, for sure.  But for now, he needed a shower.  Preferably, alone, but he knew as soon as she got the oven set up and the veggies prepped, she'd hop right in with him.

There really was no escape.

 

****

 

8:32 AM

It was almost a disaster.  They'd stayed in the shower for far too long, and time simply got away from them.

Izuku wasn't exactly struggling for money.   He jumped through the ranks of sidekicks in Endeavor's office fairly quickly and even became a full fledged Pro not soon after, which wasn’t chump change in terms of pay.  Perhaps even rich by some standards.

He wasn't "Put Another Deposit Down On A New Apartment Because You Burned Your First One Down" types of rich, though.  Which is very nearly how that went down. 


It's partially her fault, she'd turned their oven up a touch too high, and maybe left a sticker on one of the tomatoes she was roasting.  She was used to their old oven, and while it's no excuse, it was a valuable lesson learned. However, he can take partial blame for things as well, and she'd be sure to pay him back in full tonight. Her mischievous mood quickly subsides, though, as tension hangs heavy over the kitchen.

After they'd wished the responding heroes goodbye, and Izuku had become sufficiently mourned-out over their burnt up oven, they simply decided to sit over a bowl of cereal and milk, versus ordering food.

They'd need the money for a new oven.

"So." she starts softly, munching on her honey roasted oat flakes solemnly, "We might hafta do something different about dinner..."

"Skipping right over lunch, huh?"  Deku says with a half smile, rolling his spoon around in his bowl with a dejected look in his eyes.  Ochako shifts around in her seat uncomfortably, her lips pursed in a thin line.  They really did lose track of time, and while she's not making Number One Hero money quite yet, she still is set on helping him out here.

It takes two to tango, after all...

"No, we can order somethin' for lunch.  Dinner, though, might be a bad idea."  She ponders, running through the area in her head playing back all the prices in all the establishments.  If anything, they could probably get something from the convenience store and be done with it, Ochako taking out her phone and opening her checking account.  It'd be a big ask, but she could manage to bounce back in a couple weeks, if she really worked herself.

Izuku seems to notice this and perks up, clearing his throat and looking straight at her. She knows that look.

It's the look before he goes and does something stupid, like take on a responsibility that can be shared on his own.

"Ochako, it's not your fault.  I was being-"

"You stop that.  You were wonderful, and I love ya to bits, Midoriya."  she says sternly, before looking away with a grumble, "...Besides, I started it."  Deku laughs, his smile warming up again, to her relief.

"So you are fallible after all." he says with a grin, leaning over the table with his hands clasped together.  Ochako scoffs, looking him up and down incredulously.  He simply raises a single eyebrow, goading her silently.

" Really?  Coppin' that sorta attitude so soon?"  Ochako challenges, leaning over the table to take on his gaze.  The pair stare each other down, shooting daggers at each other as neither of them want to back down.  She certainly doesn't.  She could stand to take him down a couple pegs lately, the cocky bastard.  While she loved it, and it was an entirely different side to him and one of the things that made Izuku so interesting , she's very much aware of too much of a good thing being a bad thing.  "Let's settle this the good ol' fashioned way, then."  He smirks a knowing smirk, stepping in closer to her.  It also didn't help that she was always competitive, and he played right into that.

"Bring it on, then."

It works almost every time.

 

*****

 

10:27 AM

"Unbelievable...good fight, my love." Izuku says through gritted teeth, flopping back down on their bed, his handheld console flopping right down next to him.  She beat him again . She'd always been a quick learner, but for someone with no gaming experience whatsoever, she could consistently wipe the floor with him.

He figures that she had to be a pro gamer in another life, and it's something Izuku still can't wrap his head around.  It's not that he minds losing, though.  It's just that, sometimes, he can swear the the RNG is against him, and that...

Deku takes one look at her roster, and he's immediately proven wrong.  All of her party members compliment each other with overlapping, stacking buffs, and skills for comboing.  Not like his didn't, but she seemed to have an innate sense of how to counter his units on any given occasion, like she knew how he'd think and act.

Deku sighs, shaking his head.  He almost fell in that trap again, that ego trap that's so easy to fall prey to, and he leans his head on her shoulder, her hair tickling his cheek.  The better gamer won today, and would win any day.

"Maybe ya shouldn't have showed me how to play." she teases, jabbing his flank with her elbow.  He rolls his eyes and falls onto the bed next to her, and she joins him, turning over and looking at him with an innocent look in her eyes.  She's almost like a puppy, and it's not like he can't say ‘No.’ He has.  And she's backed off.

But...to that face?  In this proximity?

"One more time, pleeeeease?"  Ochako whines, getting up close to Izuku now for maximum impact.  Izuku does his best to resist, this time.  He doesn't look at her.  He looks at anything but her, even as she chases his gaze around the room.  It's a chaotic game of cat and mouse, with Ochako trying to lock eyes with him, and Izuku doing his absolute damnedest to keep that from happening.

They're practically tearing the bed apart flinging pillows, comforters, blankets, stuffed animals, and even one of the handheld consoles on accidents in their madness.

"Stay...still!!!"  Ochako seethes, her hair a mess from all the sudden movements she's had to make to try and keep up with Izuku, the chase now spilling off the bed and around the room at large.

"Nope!  You'll have to catch me!!" Deku says with his eyes now welded shut, an ingenious improvisation.  If he couldn't see her, then she simply could not, and would not, seduce him again.  He just listens for her footsteps and dodges out of the way, using his memory of the room's layout to aid in his movement.  "We can play something else!  How about that?!"

"Salty that I crit ya 5 times in a row?”  This hits a nerve, and Deku backpedals as Ochako closes the distance on him slowly, the sounds of her shuffling about on the floor signalling to him that she might try for a grab or a tackle.

"Do you know the chances of that happening, with your build and party!?" Izuku laments, the patter of her footsteps now rushing towards him prompting him to roll out of the way, the sound of her skidding to a halt behind him to avoid running into the wall making him snicker briefly, only to grimace at the fact at hand, "It's less than 0.087% of a chance it'd ever happen, babe!!"

"Sounds like youuuuuu're..." she charges again, but he sidesteps.  Only, to his horror, the sound of her feet on the hardwood stop short, and he tries to backpedal further, but he miscalculated.

He now finds himself with his back to the bed, and facing an opponent training in maneuvering herself through the air.

The familiar whoosh of her clothing through the air fills his ears instead as she tackles him, making him lose his footing and fall back onto their initial arena, restraining him effortlessly with a leglock.

"Salty!!"

He holds out for a little while, but, she pulls his arm flush to her body and twists, sending a flux of pain to his shoulder.  

"Tapping out, tapping out!!"  Izuku yelps, slapping the side of the headboard furiously as he feels pressure release from his arm socket, the young hero rolling his shoulder around gingerly as Ochako lays back down beside him, looking like a satisfied cat.  Her hair is a mess, her normally well kept locks all stringy and ruffled, and her eyes are gleaming with devious intent; Deku, in a last ditch show of defiance, and maybe a little bit of spite, turns his back on her.

A mistake he should already know not to make, but, maybe he's not really thinking pragmatically right now.  She really is so, so beautiful, too beautiful, more so than he could ever hope to properly do justice with just his words, and he didn't really want her to see her effects on him, yet again.  He wouldn't let her have that satisfaction for the umpteenth time today, not if he could help it.

But...the moment he feels her breath and her teeth on the back of his neck?   Her delicate fingerpads slowly raking their way down his chest as her arms coil around him?

It's truly game over.

 

******

 

10:35 AM

Child's play, Ochako muses, as Deku stares at his console in defeat, yet again.  It didn't take her long to really get the hang of this game, really; all it is was a fancy way of playing Rock-Paper-Scissors, and she was always kinda handy at that.  It also didn't help that because Deku knew her so well, knew how she'd think and react so well, she could simply plan two, three, even four steps ahead, with back up plans on the wings for whatever contingency he'd throw at her.

Maybe a little something she's picked up from him during their time knowing each other.

He got much closer this time though, probably with what he was expecting to happen afterwards.  Sensing his agony, she crawls over to his side of the bed and curls up next to him, Deku yet again stubbornly refusing to meet her gaze.

Ochako snickers under her breath, wrapping her arms around him tight in spite of this.  Maybe she had been a little mean.  After all, she wouldn't have the time to tease him like this for awhile.  The little time they had together was precious, and she couldn't waste it being roundabout and coy all the time.  But a whole day?  That was unprecedented.

That's high school levels of free time.  So why WOULDN'T she go just a little hog wild?

"Ya know, ya really almost had me, baby." she reassured softly in an attempt to restore his ego, probably lying in pieces all over the floor, Izuku grumbling in response, "I'm serious!  That last STR potion stacked attack almost killed my tank, and if ya did..."

“It would've been free game..." Izuku murmurs, his voice dripping with regret, "I should've gone after your healer." Ochako shrugs, nuzzling her head against his thigh and smirking.

“Ya know better than anyone that she was bait~"  Izuku shakes his head in disbelief, flopping onto the bed and finally getting on her level.  Ochako wastes no time in scooting her way up to his shoulder, leaning her head in the crook of his neck as she sighs in relief, staring at at his chest.

He's wearing an old t-shirt, with a literal label calling it so.  She can't believe he still fits it, even with as much he's filled out.  Though, granted, it looked much too tight on him now, the label being stretched and strained against the now fully built and developed chest muscles he touted.

She'd always got on him for not buying new things for himself, and he'd always retorted that his old shirts were still usable, still viable as at least sleepwear.  He had a point, if they weren't worn and ragged, why not use them as PJs?  But still, he really did look ridiculous in them, with the sleeves much too high up his arms and...no room in the chest. Or abs.  Or back.   

Ochako stares at it a little longer, and she's just about ready to look up at him and pout her way through that shirt before she realizes his breathing is much slower, much more relaxed.  With one glance, she sees that he's conked right out, just shy of his pillow.  She lets out a loud tsk, touching him with all five of her pads and floating him up, properly positioning his head before she gently releases her quirk's hold on him.

He grumbles, mumbling something under his breath that she can’t discern, this time, so she lets it go.  Ochako gets up and grabs their blanket from off the floor, dusting it off and draping it over like a cape before she takes a couple of steps back, beaming at the unconscious log that is her man.

With a running leap, she divebombs onto the bed right next to him, making Izuku bounce up and groan in distaste.

“....S’naptime...” he murmurs, pulling himself closer to her.  She giggles, wrapping one arm around him in response, reaching up the other to the headboard for a pair of black, thumbnail sized rubber caps.  She slips them on one after the other onto her pinkies, and finally, curls both arms around him, burrowing her head into his shoulder.

“I know, m’love.  Nap time.” she coos, letting the warmth of his body and their blanket lull her into slumber.

With how early they’d woken up, on top of working out and eating—despite the food admittedly not what she would’ve wanted—sleep comes easily.

 

*******

 

??:??

Ochako starts awake to the sound of emergency sirens not far outside their house, the sun setting outside of their window over the city outside.  She looks over to her side, and, color her surprised, Izuku isn’t there.  She chastises herself for being so sloppy; how could she have slept through both of their emergency alarms?

She didn’t know what was happening, but it sounded close, so she flings herself out of bed, her feet hitting the wet floor of their apartment and—

...wet?

She glances down in confusion, finding the floor covered in an unknown liquid which laps around her bare feet.  It’s all over the walls of their bedroom, splattering and coating most every surface she can see.  It’s dark, and she can’t quite make it out, but it...

It smells strongly of iron.

Ochako’s first instinct is to try and think. Think about what this is.

An illusory quirk, perhaps?  A significantly powerful one, at that, if it was affecting her smell.  Her second instinct is to look to their closet, which housed their hero uniforms. She swings her body towards the closet, her arms leading the charge...but nothing happens.

Try as she might, she can’t move.  Her legs are glued to the floor, and no amount of input that her brain imparts on them, to any muscle within them, budges them a millimeter.

It’s okay, she thinks, staving off the panic that lurks in her mind.

This is fine, she asserts.  She is okay.

She could still use her arms, so, maybe, she could make a sling out of their covers and open up the closet and getting her uniform over to her.  That’s step one, so step two, actually moving, figuring out what was wrong with her body and how this quirk worked is the next step.

She quickly leans over and starts going to work on making a lasso out of their bedspread and light blankets, before she hears the door to their room swing open.

Her first thought is that maybe help has arrived.  After all, their location was highly classified, as high up as they were in the Pro world. She’s almost about to let them know she’s here, when she realizes that they weren’t heroes or police.

Or paramedics.

Or firefighters.

Or SAT or SDF.

Or, alternatively, even paparazzi or super fans.  Even those would be preferable right now.

Instead, she sees, filing into their bedroom one by one, dozen by dozen, shadows.

Countless, faceless, incorporeal shadows. 

Some in office worker’s garbs, some retail workers, some in school uniforms, police officers, emergency workers, garbagemen, fellow heroes...and even smaller shadows.

They crowd around her, flooding into the room like a torrent of water, and while she can’t make out their faces, she knows they’re all looking right at her.  Even those that can’t humanly move their necks and bodies in her direction with how crowded the room is now, contort and snap and crack to forcibly face her.

They surround her completely now, stifling her as she feels her heartbeat start to spiral out of control..

She’s okay.  This is okay.  She’s okay.  This isn’t real, it’s a quirk, it’s a trick.  She’s okay.  She’s okay. She’s okay.

She’s...

They only get closer and closer to her, without touching her, and she soon realizes that she can’t even see the door anymore, not the windows, nothing.

But she knows they’re coming.

They’re still coming.

They’re still coming.

They’re.

Still.

Coming.

The liquid in the room is rising now, and it’s only then that she realizes that the shadows on their faces are dissipating, melting and dripping away and adding to the liquid as it further stains their clothes.

...no.

No.

No—

Stop, she pleads in her mind, her eyes darting around the room looking for something, ANYTHING else to look at.

But they’re all around her.  She can’t even find the modicum of control she’d need to just shut her eyes.  She has no recourse.  She was frozen.

She doesn’t need to see, she pleads.

She knows.

She knows already.

She wouldn’t ever forget their faces, not ever, so there’s no need for a recap.

There was no need for this, she’s sorry.  She’s sorry, she’s so, so sorry, she really did try her best every time so, please...

Please.

Please, please, PLEASE, she begs wordlessly, her legs trembling, her arms now refusing to move.  She’s devolving further and further, her breaths shallow and frenetic, tears streaming down her face as the icy white complexions beneath the inky veils begins to peel away from every single shadow in the room.

And, closest to her, coming up from the liquid of the floor is a figure with wild, scraggly hair, a good 20 centimeters taller than her with a tangle of scars ascending up both arms, dressed in a dark green and white hero uniform, battle damaged and caked in dirt and grime.

Her eyes go wide as she starts to wail a familiar name in horror, and as the veils finally begin to fully peel back—

 

********

 

16:48 PM

Ochako screams.

She screams and screams and screams, waking up in a start as Izuku shoots up right up after her, the sleep in his eyes quickly fading as tears stream down Ochako’s face, her breaths shallow and frantic, her fingers locked deep in her hair.  She’s inconsolable, her entire body shivering as her sobs turn into a mush of hiccups and shaky breaths

“O-Ochako?!” He squeaks, as she sobs into her knees, Izuku quickly wrapping the blanket around her, and then slowly, gently, himself around her.  “Ochako, Ochako, darling, it’s okay, it’s okay.” He says as softly as he can into her ear, rocking back and forth with her.  “It’s over, I’m here, it was just a dream.  I’m here, I promise I’m gonna be right here.”

“I...I-I....” she stammers between gulps of air, briefly choking as she looks towards the door of their bedroom, “I-I can’t.  I can’t, Izuku, I...it’s just...I....”  Deku, too, looks towards the door of their bedroom, his brow furrowing, and if he knew anything about her by now, he thinks he knows what nightmare she’d had.

It was the shadows again.  Had to be.  He turns back to her, and she’s still a mess.  And every time she got like this, it hurt him to see her like this.

She‘s such a strong person.  She’s one of the strongest people he knows, and he admires her courage and passion. Anything she got into, she put her absolute all in, honed herself to a fine point in.

Hero work, school work, internships, cooking, researching, even video games.

She was an unstoppable force of nature when she sought something that needed to be done, and some days, he can’t keep up with her, even if he were to use 100%  of One For All.

But, even All Might in his prime had his limits.

Every loss she took, she took seriously.  Certainly, taking it in stride with a smile, but she took them all seriously.  They were all learning experiences, building blocks for her to get better, to do better.

This has never changed about her, and it’s one of the things that made him fall so deathly in love with her.

But...some things you simply couldn’t change with hard work.

The irony though, is that he’s the poster child for that mindset.  He went from quirkless, to being able to end most fights in a single punch or kick.  So, maybe there were exceptions to that rule.

But that’s different.  They were heroes.  They weren’t always in danger, but, when they were, there was always risk.  To them, chiefly, but that includes everyone else in the crossfire.

Civilians.  Public servants.  Soldiers.  Innocent standers.  Even other heroes and sidekicks.  There was always going to be a distinct risk.

A risk to lose them in the process.

And those losses were the ones they took the hardest, her in particular.

The notion that there was always going to be some scenario that they simply could not out-fight or out-think their way through without casualties ran in direct contrast with her ethos of always improving, always getting better.

Of moving towards a future where there wouldn’t be anymore casualties.

But as it stood, that was very highly improbable.

It was a future with a snowball’s chance in hell, and Izuku grapples with it daily.  As she was doing right now.

“Ochako, you did your best, every time.” Izuku reassures, tightening his grip around her body, “They wouldn’t want you to feel like you’re to blame.”

“Then...then how would they want me to feel, Izuku?” she snaps back, her hair strewn across her face in a heap, tears dribbling down her chin and staining her t-shirt.  Izuku says nothing, because he doesn’t know.

He does, however, know she’s feeling all types of emotion right now.

Anger.

Frustration.

Despair.

Helplessness.

...Guilt.

Deep-seated, soul-crushing guilt, right at the center of it all.

“Izuku...I...it’s not fair.  No matter how fast we get there, n-no matter how quickly we end things...” she stammers, talking into her blanket, as her breathing starts to begin to regulate itself a little more, “there’s always someone we can’t get to.  Someone we can’t find.  Someone that’s horribly injured.  Someone we can’t...can’t...... recover.

“I know.”

“It’s not fair, Izuku, it’s not.  It’s not, it’s not, it’s not...every day we try so hard and even with all the support gear in the world I...” he can hear her start to break again, further sobs coming out of her lips as Izuku just holds on as tight as he can. 

“Let it out, my darling.  It’s okay, I’m still listening, I promise.”

Ochako doesn’t say anything, her breathing still shaky as she leans back into him, seeking him out now.

He reciprocates, leaning his head on her shoulder and rubbing his nose against her cheek, his hand diving beneath the covers and seeking hers out.  The instant his fingers come in contact, she nabs them and squeezes with a death grip, Izuku squeezing right back.

“Am I...am I really, really good enough for this, Izuku?”  she asks with a vacant expression in her eyes now, Izuku quickly nodding his head.

“One of the best, Ochako.  Maybe even the among the greatest.”

“So why doesn’t it feel that way...?”

“Because you’re being hard on yourself; because we have to be.”  Ochako sniffles, wiping her eyes on the blanket as Izuku helps her too, gently swiping at her eyes with his thumb.  “The moment we stop being hard on ourselves, the moment we stop caring, stop feeling, Ochako...” Izuku starts softly, Ochako’s face softening.

“...the moment we stop being true heroes.” Ochako finishes, Deku nodding.

“Good heroes SHOULD be compassionate, to a fault, even.  Selfless and daring, strong beyond measure, are great traits to have, sure.  But...we serve people, too.  We have to have empathy. And it’s normal to feel this way.”

“But the nightmares...” Deku slinks another arm beneath the covers and brings her body close to his, Ochako still trembling, “I know I can remember their faces.  I know I can.  I do.  I’d never forget...”

“And you haven’t.  I know you haven’t.  That’s not how the human brain works, remember?”  Ochako is silent, and Deku cracks a half smile, tilting his head to try and get a look at her face, “Recovery Girl is gonna get you for that.”  Ochako scoffs, and he can swear she’s just rolled her eyes at him.

“Oh, don’t remind me.  Recovery Girl really did make a big stink about that.”  Deku laughs, and he can hear a small laugh escape from her as well.

“‘The human brain is a remarkable thing, able to remember every single face it sees, so every face you see on the street is saved for later, usually for dreams.’” Ochako recites in an elderly voice.

“‘So how on earth have you forgotten what your NURSE looks like?’” Deku finishes in his best mock up of Recovery Girl, the both of them laughing as the memory of a freshman snubbing Recovery Girl as he entered her office.  She chewed that kid out like he’d never heard her do, even for him.

Ochako laughs again, and Izuku can feel the weight begin to leave his shoulders, the tremors in her body dramatically lessening.  She leans into him, Izuku laying her back down in their bed and slotting himself back underneath the covers with her, Ochako turning to face him now.

Her makeup is, surprisingly, still holding up rather well.  He has Mina to thank for that; he would’ve just gone in and gotten her whatever his mom suggested for Christmas last year.

Her eyes, though, would tell anyone that she’d been in tears, with how puffy and red they were as she sniffles loudly, wiping at her nose.

“M’sorry...” she says meekly, hiding her face into the mattress, “That was gross...” Deku chuckles, chasing her down and moving the strands of hair out of her face, Ochako still looking away from him.

“You’re still gorgeous, y’know.” He says without skipping a beat, Ochako’s eyes darting up to stare at him suspiciously.

“Ya always say that.” She gripes, tapping her fingers against his, “Yer just biased.” Deku shrugs, not taking his eyes off her for even a millisecond.

“Guilty, I guess.” He retorts, making Ochako sputter.

“Earnest, as always, Midoriya.” He laughs, kissing the top of her forehead, Ochako giggling as she presses her head against his chest, Deku running his hand against the back of her neck up and down, massaging her softly.

“Is there anything else on your mind, Uraraka?” He feels her shake her head no, a small scoff of disbelief crashing against his shirt, “You sure?  You’re feeling a little better?”  She doesn’t say anything, wrapping her legs around his in response, shaking her head no again.  “...’No, you’re not feeling better’, or ‘no, you’re good’?”  Her head darts up to face him, the strongest pout he’s seen on her lips all day.

“Har har, real funny.”

“I mean...it kinda was.” Unamused, Ochako leans over the side of the bed and smacks him square in the face with a pillow.

“Go get me some water, nerd.”  she says with an eye roll, Deku getting up out of bed with an affirmative grunt.  He’d follow up on this as soon as he got back, but, she sounded like she was in a better place than where she woke up.

He’s about to leave the side of the bed when he feels her hands grasp his wrist, tugging him back.

“Thank you, Izuku.”  she says softly, scooting herself to the edge of the bed.  She’s not making eye contact with him, her face contemplative as she looks to the floor, fidgeting on top of the sheets.  “For everything.”

“I’ve told you before, and I’ll never stop telling you, Ochako.” Izuku says softly, sitting back down beside her, Ochako immediately cuddling up to him again, “You’ll never have to thank me for doing really basic stuff like listening.”  Ochako nods, and, while he knows that she’ll probably do it again anyway, he means it.

He’ll keep saying it until it sticks.

“You know that’s not what I mean...but...” He feels Ochako kiss his cheek Izuku turning to face her, her lips close to his again, but he’s just focused on her words.  ”I’m really happy that I met you, Deku.”

His heart flutters, his childhood nickname coming from her after she’d so long ago switched to his birth name feeling like a sledgehammer to his chest.

“Me too, Uraraka.” She scoffs, shaking her head, making Izuku raise an eyebrow.

“S’really not the same when YOU do it, ya know.”

“I thought we were just doing it for nostalgia’s sake!!” Ochako busts out laughing, clutching at his chest as Izuku tries to rationalize why SHE got to call him a name she’d used throughout high school but HE didn’t, but, screw it.

He laughs with her, too.

And as the laughter begins to subside, she looks back at him, kissing her nose to his, looking him dead in the eye.

“Kiss me, and then get me some water, Midoriya.” she commands, pecking his lips with a half smile,  “Please, and thank you.”

Deku snickers, wrapping his arms around her and pressing her back down to the bed, a small gasp of approval sounding off from below him.

“Yes ma’am.”

 

*********

 

20:15 PM

There wasn’t anything grand about today.  No fancy restaurant, she’s much too frugal for that.  She’d rather just cook something, but, seeing as their oven was essentially a husk, food delivery would have to suffice.

No date, that was even more out of the question than going to some expensive food joint.  Paparazzi would probably harass them at every turn and every opportunity, so there was really no going someplace and enjoying each other’s company for a prolonged period of time.

At least, not in any city, anyway.

But, going out somewhere far was also out of the question.  Neither of them could simply just take off work for long, and even if they could, the chances of them having more than a lunch break in common was minimal at best, most days. 

Different offices.

Different jurisdictions.

Different, but all too similar, workloads.   

So here then, in their home, was their sanctuary.  Their place.  No prying eyes, no obligations outside of, well, being called off for some dire emergency.

That didn’t happen often, this city was quiet, quaint, and close to nature so she could stargaze, and Ochako liked that.  Deku, too, found solace in the size of it.  There was always something to do, even if it was a quiet city, crime-wise.

Forums, hero fan meet ups, conventions, they all came through either close by or within this city, and Izuku had a field day with that.  The only downside was that visiting either of their parents was a pain in the ass, but, Ochako reminds him to call his mom whenever she gets the chance.

Of course, as perfect as this place was, sometimes, they wouldn’t come home to each other.  He’d get stuck on a case for one reason or another, or a clean-up or rescue job would simply be much bigger than she’d anticipated.

It didn’t happen too often, but, when it did, she found ways to keep herself occupied.  Whether it was trying out new recipes, working out, going on a hike, finding new games to play, or just catching up on some sleep, she could always find something to do if she was off and he wasn’t.

But, today, she managed to do that all with him.

Maybe the new recipe bit blew up in her face a little, and the nap was...not something she’d like to repeat.  But it didn’t matter.

As long as she was with him, he could honestly make anything fun.

“You know, we should do this more often.” He quips, his feet over the side of the roof of their building.  Ochako punches his arm playfully, shaking her head.

“Sure, maybe after you ask Endeavor to hand over the agency to you.  Ah, no signal.” Ochako points out below them, Izuku confirming her call.  With a tsk, he marks up yet another tally on her score.

“Shouto and I are pretty close...” Izuku says with a stroke of his chin, his eyes being drawn to another incident down below.  “Merging at the last minute.”  Ochako takes a look, and just barely manages to see a black SUV cut off a semi-truck.

“Fine, take it.” She grumbles, marking another tally for him.  She reaches back behind her and finishes off her plate of rice and beef, and setting it next to his empty plate.  Honestly, she probably should’ve ordered more this time.  That little plate was noting compared to the feast she had planned for today.

It’s just that things were so expensive to deliver, and it was always an ordeal to try and pick it up.  Izuku eventually worked out that they could use the address of one of their neighbors on another floor, and that was genius...people got wise and started nicking bits of food.

Nothing major, maybe a piece of chicken or two missing from a 16-piece, but still, the nerve of it all!   She still suspects it’s their neighbor on the 2nd floor, a new up and coming sidekick for Thirteen’s agency.  Certainly was sneaky enough with their sound suppression quirk, but she’s still never caught her in the act.

Her eyes catch something though, and she immediately points it out.

“Bike runnin’ a stop sign!” she hollers, Izuku checking for himself.

“Ugh, really?  I totally saw that one too...” He laments, marking one more tally, “Well, we’re tied again now, so...” Ochako doesn’t answer him, only scanning the street for her game point.

Even something as stupid as this is fun.

He’s just fun.

”You know, I’m going to Hokkaido tomorrow.” Ochako turns to him, and he looks glum.

“Yeah, I know.  That one creepy wind control villain, right?”  He nods, still scanning the streets below, but she can tell his heart’s not in it this time.  “That’s fine!!  You can jus’ clap him away with a 50% smash, or try out that new move you’ve been workin’ on, that San Francisco Smash!”  She says with her fists to her sides, pumping them in the air, “You’ll be back home before ya know it, babe!!!”

“I know, I know.  It’s just...” Ochako tilts her head him, scooting over closer to him.  “I really am gonna miss today, Ochako.  It was amazing.”

She smiles sweetly, taking his hand in hers, rolling her thumb over his callouses and scars, his emerald eyes shimmering in the light of city around them

”I wouldn’t‘ve spent it any other way, Izuku.” They stare at each other for a little while, before they both go right back to their silly game, Ochako kicking her feet back and forth as a police siren cuts through the hustle and bustle of the rush hour below.

“Oh, failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.  I think that’s game point?”  She checks, and scowls.  

Damn.

 

*********

 

5:45 AM

Deku locks up their apartment and double checks it with with a solid pull, the deadbolt clicking into the frame.  Satisfied, he turns to Uravity, nodding.

“Which station are you going to?”

“Oh, I gotta make it to the one by the expressway...I can bike though, s’okay!”  Deku scratches the back of his head, powering up Full Cowling as she rolls her eyes.  “Ya really are a go-getter, ain’tcha?”

“Since I gotta get to Hokkaido, I wasn’t gonna be able to workout this morning, so...”

Uravity tromps up to him, her visor nearly clipping his chin as she looks up at him with a scowl.

“Ya sayin’ something’ rude there, Deku?”  It takes him a second, but Deku immediately backtracks as soon as he realizes how that may have sounded, waving his hands in front of him frantically.

“No, NO, that’s not what I’m saying, I was just—“ Even of her visor now had a slight tint to it, Deku can see her body quivering as she tries to suppress a cackle, Deku rolling his eyes.  “This early?”

“Ya made it that easy, Deku.”

“How very professional of you...” Uravity shrugs, wrapping her hands behind her back and looking over her shoulder with her tongue stuck out as she starts to walk away.  Deku, still on a high from beating her at Spot the Violation last night, isn’t having any of it.

He charges up 75% power and bursts towards her in the blink of an eye, Uravity shrieking with joy when scoops her up in a bridal-style carry, the pair bounding across their city at breakneck speed.

She’s not in just a track suit and wind breaker today, so Deku goes all out.  He’s like a grasshopper across the rooftops, Deku effortlessly bounding hundreds of meters through the air as Uravity cackles like a hyperactive child into the early morning’s wake.

It doesn’t take him long, as compact as this city is.  He’s right by the train station in under a couple minutes, Uravity like a newborn calf when he finally puts her back down to earth, the sheer amount of adrenaline pumping through her veins disabling her ability to stand still.

“Need a ride to the platform too, Uravity-san?” He teases, Uravity quickly regaining her composure to the affront.

“No, thank you very much.” She says with a huff, walking up to him menacingly, putting a single finger on his chest, “Just get back safe, okay?” She raises her visor, and Deku can see just the slightest hints of tears building up, in spite of her wobbly smile and...

Great.

Now his are going too.

“Ye-yeah, I know...” he manages to choke out, Ochako giggle-crying as she wipes her face with her sleeve, reaching up and wiping his, too.

This was always the hardest part.

He knew he had to go, and he was happy to, but...

He never could turn her down.

And if she so chose, he’d partner up with her today in a heartbeat.  Every day, even.

She doesn’t make that choice though, and he’s sure she never will.  She steps back, putting her visor back down, and holds out a single fist, standing as tall as she can.

“I love you, Deku.  Do your best up there, okay?”

He extends his own fist out and taps it against hers, doing his best to not start crying again, and have her have to wipe his tears again.

“I love you too, Uravity.  Stay safe out here, and text me when you get home.”

Her fist wavers, and she hesitates in taking it away, but...she does.  She walks backwards, not taking her eyes off him, as if he’d disappear forever if she looked away, but, Deku waves her off.

“Go on.  You have a train to catch.”  There’s a pause, and, without another word, she nods, taking off towards the platform and disappearing into the ever growing crowds of morning commuters.

He waits a little while.

Well, more than a little while.

He waits for her train to come, and they only had minutes to spare; how she could just say she was gonna bike and make it was beyond him, he wonders, watching as the crowds board and fill the train to bursting.

Deku waits for it to depart, watching it streak across the yawning light of day, the sun just about over the mountaintops now shining over the station.  He scans every car, every window he can, and, for his trouble, he spots her.

She’s facing him, keeping a stiff upper lip for the sake of everyone in that train car, and he hopes she’s smiling, at least.

He waves, and for just a moment before the train disappears into a tunnel, he sees her wave back.

He drops his hand to his side as the last train car disappears into the tunnel out of sight, daylight creeping up his foot and spilling onto the rest of the pavement behind him.

“Maybe I should test out San Francisco Smash...” he mutters, turning back towards the station he’s supposed to be at, Full Cowling powering up again, “I mean, it might be too powerful for a villain like that, but, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’s not like I couldn’t just tone it down to 85% power too...”

He keeps muttering as he starts to sprint towards the nearest building, taking a giant leap and sailing over it, hitting the deck running as he dashes through the early morning light.

He had to think of more efficient ways to get this done, but, the ride to Hokkaido was long enough. He’d figure it out.  And then?

He’d go home.