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Denki's a Little Different

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"Kaminari, have you always had problems with school?" The woman with short dark pink hair asked sounding muffled from the blood rushing to his head and ears.

Kaminari Denki sat silently with his hands folded on his lap.

"Kaminari?" The muffled female voice asked again.

'Have you always been this stupid?'

"No, no! I'm not stupid." He quietly mumbled, answering a question that wasn't asked.

The woman sitting across from him sat back in her desk chair while Kaminari Denki sat in a somewhat comfortable lounge chair.
"No one is calling you stupid, Kaminari." She stated.

She kept using his name like that, he hated it. The grip he had on his own hands tightened and his knuckles turned white.
"Then what the hell are you saying?" Denki started feeling angry and tears started to well up in his eyes.

"You're failing more than half of your classes." The woman, who was a guidance counselor, said to him.

'You'll flunk out and be back before next school year!'

'How did you even get in?'

'You can't be a hero Denki, you're too fucking stupid!'

"Kaminari?" The woman's voice muffled through a memory.

"Yeah..? Yes, I'm sorry?" He sat up straight and collected himself.

"You need to improve your grades. What are we going to plan for you to do that?" The woman asked.

     Denki knew the song and dance, this is how he always coasted through every year since basically forever. He's the kid who slips through the cracks, because they felt bad for him. Sometimes, it was just easier to let them all feel bad for him than to try so hard and still never be good enough. He pretended to think about his answer, even though he had a list memorized.

     "I could ask my teachers for help. Maybe, ask if there's extra credit or assignments I can make up for? Find a tutor?" He said, he cringed at the last one. Bakugou was his tutor but he was still failing. He didn't want to tell Bakugou either, because he would be mad at him and disappointed in him and probably call him stupid like he always does. It had to be someone else...

"Those all sound really good. You'll need to stay motivated to study too." Translation, 'You're actually a lazy piece of shit, just do the work!'

"Are we done?" Denki stood up and clapped his hands then rocked on his toes to heals.

"Follow up with me in a few weeks." She said. He was already half way out of her office.

"Alright!" He shouted back to her.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck..." Denki muttered to himself and walked down the crowded hall with his hands in his hair, twisting and pulling with his fingers.

"Hey dude! where you been?" Kirishima asked and then quickly ran up to him when he noticed his friend was pulling his own hair. He grabbed Denki's hands to untangle his fingers from his hair.

"What's going on?" He had a look of concern. Kiri was used to seeing Denki freaked out and overwhelmed. Denki was good at hiding it but Kiri was better at seeing it. He lead Denki into an empty, dimly lit, classroom.

Denki fell into a seat and folded his arms and his head fell to the surface of the desk. His shoulders shook with soft sobs.

"Denki? What happened?" Kiri asked in a quiet voice as he sat down in the empty desk next to him. Kiri was easy to talk to for some reason. When the anxiety, depression or his brain just won't stop, Kiri has always been able to help bring him back to a reality his brain wanted so badly to accept but couldn't.

"I'm flunking out." He said crying into the desk, muffling his voice slightly.
It was silent for a moment.

"Shit..." Kiri finally let out.

Denki lifted his head. "It's fine, ya know, if I can't get my grades up, I don't know, I don't have other options if I'm being honest, if I get expelled for grades I can't show my face at home..." Denki laughed wiping his face of tears and probably a mix of snot. "Maybe I'll just, throw myself into a bathtub at 1.3 mil and see what happens?" He laughed again, his eyes were still wet, but he was joking through the pain.

"Hey man, don't say that. The squad will get you straight okay? Bakugou will set up more study sessions and you can do extra credit, I know the teachers will help you. I'll study with you too, we can quiz each other. I could use a boost with grades too." Kiri admitted.

"No...Bakugou has fucking bent over backwards for me and helped me when he shouldn't have and I can't ask him for more. I'm clearly not getting it. I'm too stupid! I don't deserve it. It's fine, I'll find someone else. Maybe a tutor who is used to the extremely dumb." Denki got up suddenly and ran out of the room, without saying anything.

   The overwhelming urge to run came from needing to running away from the true reality and weight of his situation. Running, was what Denki did best. He decided to go back to the dorms, since class was still in session, no one would be there. Fuck school, he wasn't able to focus anyway. He ran all the way there.

    He burst through the buildings doors and raced for the stairs. He ran up to the third floor too. He needed more than anything, to get this excess energy out. He reached his room and opened his door. He quickly took all his clothes off and changed into sweatpants and a T-Shirt with Pikachu on it. His friends had bought it for him for Christmas. He lied down on his bed and unlocked his phone.

2New Texts

He tapped on his phone and it pulled up Jirou Kyoka's contact.

Earbudz:
Where are you?

Earth to Dumbass, you're skipping class? Again?

She made it hard to give up.

Denki:
Dumbass to Earth, was I supposed to countdown before I blasted off? 🚀💨🍃

Denki laughed and he pulled out his dab pen, and inhaled. He just bought the pods from people on campus who sell. Believe it or not more UA students smoke weed than you would think.

Earbudz:
Don't blast off without me 🥺😤

Denki:
Look babe, I left early because I had a panic attack. I'm smoking but I'm alone so...

He hit send not even realizing he called her babe.
"Fuck!" He said out loud and started pacing the width of his room. His phone buzzed as he exhaled smoke, she had ignored the 'babe' part. Denki sighed in relief

Earbudz:
You had a panic attack? You're alone?? What's going on?

   Kyoka wasn't fully aware of his "issues" and he didn't intend on her fully finding out, ever. She was too good for him anyway, way out of his league. She was much smarter than he was. She's ranked 7/20 in class, Denki is ranked 20/20. She's also was just way too gorgeous, Denki felt he never stood a chance with the purple haired girl and settled with being friends because he did like her, they had a lot in common, they had fun together.

'Just not good enough.'

Denki:
Just something stupid. It's not a big deal. Text me when you get back we can 💨.

Denki sighed and tossed his phone on his bed. Here he was again, alone, in this big empty building. Fuck.

Denki stood up and went to his dresser. Fuck.

He opened the stupid little box with the stupid razors in it. Fuck. Fuck!

Without even thinking about it he opened his skin on his left forearm.
"Fuck." He said out loud this time, as he winced.

"Another one." He muttered to himself.
He did a quicker one, making it deeper. He sat down on his floor and made one more and final even deeper gash before lying down on the floor. He took in quick, deep breaths, he knows he's not supposed to do that, he started to fade out from the breathing technique, and came right back. He looked over at his left arm.
"Oh... right." He laughed. He stood up and went to his bathroom sink to clean up his arm. The bleeding wouldn't stop, his cuts had been getting deeper lately, and harder to stop the bleeding. He wrapped it in gauzes for now, then he cleaned the floor, there was a little bit blood on the hardwood. He picked up the razor from the floor and placed it back in it's hiding spot.

It's like it never happened. Until he looked down and noticed the blood already coming through the gauze.

"Fuck!" Denki said. He took the gauze off and put his arm under cold water to help with the bleeding. He took more gauze and pressed on the cuts and sat down on the toilet lid.
"What the fuck is wrong with me?" He looked down to his feet as he asked himself.

"Good question, what the hell is going on?" Kyoka said with her brow furrowed. She was standing in his bathroom doorway and her arms were crossed over her chest.

"Ahhhshit" Denki closed the bathroom door in Kyoka's face without even thinking.

"Yeah 'cause that just erases my memory of what I was just witnessing?" She sounded scared but like she was trying to hide it.

    Denki wanted to fall in a hole and die. No one knew about this part of him, besides his...family. Now Kyoka, of all people though? She probably thinks he's pathetic. Maybe she doesn't know. Denki could only hope.

"I'll be out in a minute, you were supposed to text me!" Denki said trying to shift blame.

"I did, shithead." She sounded mad now.

    Fuck, of course she's mad, why wouldn't she be mad? When you do stupid shit people are going to get mad. She definitely knows.
He figured If he placed extra folded gauzes on the cuts under the wrap it shouldn't come through now, the bleeding seemed to have slowed enough. He found a oversized black Thrasher hoodie hanging on the bathroom door, where a towel should probably be.
"Ahh... perfect!" He slipped it on and walked out of the bathroom and into his room.
"Sorry Kyoka, we're good to go now." Denki said.

She sat on his bed looking at the floor.
"Look, I'm not the person who's going to pretend with you." Kyoka said sternly still staring at the floor in front of her.

"That's fine." He shrugged, Denki brain was drowning in endorphins from the multiple cuts and felt a lot more calm now. His head kind of whirling in the euphoria of right after cutting. His capacity to care about much else has taken a back seat until the extra endorphins wear off.

"I didn't know you were a cutter." She said it without hesitation and it made Denki cringe.

She was ruining his high.

"It's no big deal. It's not that often." He lied, lately it's been every day.

Kyoka sighed.
Denki sat down next to her on his bed. He put his undamaged arm around Kyoka and squeezed her shoulder.

"Come on...let's get the squad together and smoke some reeeeferrrrr." Denki said and pulled out his phone to open the group chat he titled "THE Squad"

Denki:
Oi! Meet up in room 420 😂

Scotchtape:
Already on my way!

Pinky:
be there in 15

Pet Rock:
Shouldn't you be doing homework?

Denki:
Ok DAD.

Pet Rock:
Be there in a sec.

Mr. Explody:
I'm good. Hmu after.

"Okay everyone but Bakugou is gonna meet us up there." Denki announced.

"I'm in the group chat Denki." Kyoka said dryly.

"Sorry...I'm dumb. Let's head there..." They walked to the empty dorm room and waited for everyone else to show up.
Sero was first.
"Well Alright! Even if no one else shows up we already have a party! Welcome back Jirou, you must have enjoyed yourself last time you were in the '420 Dorm'" Sero laughed and sat down on the floor with the two awkward teenagers.

"I did, it's nice having friends." Kyoka admitted.

"Dude, you've had me this whole time, plus Momo. Don't get too down on yourself." Denki patted her back. He had no idea how to comfort people. It was so foreign for him. He just hoped to say the right thing and most of the time he was wrong.

"I just mean...sorry. I've never had a group of people that just hung out all the time. I'm stuck to Momo's side because...she's a good friend. I don't exactly have much in common with the rest of her friends though." She pointed out. Denki nodded like he knew exactly what she meant.

"I didn't really have any friends in middle school either. Everyone was either scared of my quirk because I couldn't control it well...still can't control it very good or they thought I was too stupid to be friends with...still am. So I can understand being lonely. If it weren't for Kiri, I wouldn't be friends with anyone, shit...I don't know if I would have gotten through as much as I have in school either since he introduced me to Bakugou." Denki smiled, remembering he had really good friends.

"You're right, I shouldn't be sad about middle school, I have friends now and that's what's important." Kyoka smiled back at Denki looking him in the eyes. Denki had a soft smile as he gazed back.

"Okay, sappy shits! I got prerolled joints, or I have loose flower we can smoke in the bowl or bong." Sero announced after pulling everything from his bag.

"I brought my dab pen too." Denki said with an awkward smile.

Kiri came in next.
"Hey SQUAD! Where's Mina? I thought she would beat me here for sure." Kiri asked.

Denki shrugged he didn't care if he was being honest. He was more focused on the THC he wanted to inhale.

Mina came in right after, "Oh, there you are!" Kiri laughed as he closed the door behind them.

Sero decided to light one of the prerolled joints when no one answered his question.

Denki was next and he took a huge inhale and held it in while he passed the joint to Kyoka.

Kyoka had only smoked a few times before. When Denki invited her to the squads unofficial (empty) dorm room hangout, she wasn't going to say no. It was her second time being invited up. She took a small hit, no one said anything when she passed it along to Mina.

"Isn't it a little warm for a sweatshirt Kami?" Sero asked, Kyoka shot a glace at Denki before he answered.

"My room was sort of cold, if I get too warm I'll take it off." He shrugged. Lie after lie slipped through his vocal chords.

Kirishima looked at the blonde boy in the over sized sweatshirt. "You sure? You already look like you might be warm?" Kiri insisted with his eyes narrowed. What did he know?

"Leave me the hell alone." Denki snapped back. Denki stood up, he did that a lot. He paced mostly, but he would sometimes sway or stretch. Today, like most days, was a pacing day.
Kiri left the sweatshirt subject alone for now while they smoked.

Denki continued to inhale as much as he could with every hit, coughing with each exhale. Denki passed the joint to Mina and then cracked his knuckles and then his elbows.

Mina laughed at the last cough, "Denki slow down." Coughing herself. "And also, did you just crack your elbow?!" She fell over laughing.

"Yeah, what the fuck? You don't?!" Denki started laughing too.
"You're telling me no one here cracks their elbows?" Denki said flabbergasted, he stood with his hand on his hip and head tilted to the side.

"I wonder what would happen if I tried to crack my elbows?" Sero said holding out his arms pretending to inspect them.

"Don't do it, I'm scared." Denki slid on the hardwood floor on his knees to sit in front of him.

They both started laughing and Denki realized they were all laughing. He felt something he would describe as maybe 'home' or the closest he'd ever come to home.

They all settled in after the joint had finished burning. Denki laid back on the floor and sighed. He felt he could relax for a moment. He was able to drift into a space between sleep and being alert. Forgetting even if just a little while that he was too stupid for UA, that Kyoka would never like him the same way, that Kiri and Bakugou were disappointed in him and don't want to be friends with a loser like him, that he would have to leave the dorms and move back in with his mom and step dad if he gets kicked out of school. None of it mattered in that moment though.
He was allowed to just exist in this moment and nothing else. He was able to pretend the expectations didn't exist. The heavy embarrassment of failing over and over again lifted.
Nothing mattered in the particular moment.
For now at least.

For now.