Uraraka couldn't wait to get back to her room. Pushing her quirk in training had given some benefits: she had mostly reduced the amount of nausea that she got in response to making herself float. This was a huge hurdle for her, mostly because really, who doesn't want to fly?
Today, though, she wasn't so lucky. Flumping into her bed face-down, she couldn't help but feel horrible at the gurgling feeling in her stomach.
"Ugh," she thought. "This sucks."
She flipped open her phone and scrolled through the contacts. Normally she would power through, but today felt a little too overwhelming.
"M... M... Mina?"
She thought for a second. She was one of two people on her floor of the 1-A dorms, with Ashido Mina on the far side from her. She tapped out a quick, pleading message.
[OU: Hey, sorry to be a bother, but do you have some ginger ale or something in your room? My stomach's killing me and I just ran out.]
A few seconds passed, and the double checkmark of "sent and read" gave Uraraka some hope. She didn't want to inconvenience anyone too much, and messaging Deku or Iida would mean a huge amount of unnecessary spoiling, hand-wringing and worry. Mina could be discrete. Mina and her were cool.
[AM: Yeah, sure! I have some ginger tea if that would work?]
Ochako kept her room dark as she lay face-down against her comfortable bed. In side-effect moments like this all she could really think of was how much it sucked to move in any way, shape or form.
Despite her sloth, she could hear footsteps along the dorm's hardwood floor hallway as she knew she would have to get up to go open the door. UA's dorms had doors that locked automatically for privacy, and in this case she wouldn't be able to let Mina in. There were knocks, and she dragged herself up.
"Hey! Sorry this isn't much," Mina said, sticking her hand through the door with a couple teabags. "Man... you kind of look like crap."
Ochako wasn't sure whether to feel insulted or laugh at the straightforward nature of the comment. She knew Mina didn't mean anything bad by it, but at this moment there were other feelings to take care of. Like not feeling like death.
"Thanks. I think I'm going to make a pot of this and just chill for the rest of the day."
She turned to resume her hibernation, but the door didn't slam predictably shut.
"Mind if I join you?"
Uraraka winced. She turned around with a sheepish grin.
"Sure, if you don't mind me dying slowly."
Mina entered into Ochako's room, which she'd seen before. Contrasting with her vast collection of animal print... everything, Ochako was a bit more reserved and spartan. The latter stepped inside her bathroom to fill a small kettle, and plugged it into an outlet by her desk to let it boil. A small teapot sat beside it, and Uraraka fished out a second white cup to set beside the one she'd planned out.
Again, another flump into the bedsheets.
Mina grinned a small smile and walked over to rub her friend's back with one hand.
"You went a little too hard today, didn't you?"
All she got in response was an assortment of grumbles.
Mina sat down on the floor, leaning her back against the bed as Ochako propped herself up.
"Ugh. This sucks."
"I figured. My quirk doesn't really have that kind of drawback, unless I'm accidentally burning myself, or my clothes melt off," Mina said, with a grin.
Both girls sat in silence, listening to the water boiling in the kettle until it clicked itself off. Mina stood up and poured some tea into a pot, letting the bag hang out until it was ready. Kneeling beside Ochako's table, which she had brought beside the bed, she poured two cups and smiled at her classmate on the bed.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to invite myself in. Just felt a little stir crazy after that practice and needed to calm down a bit."
Ochako smiled as she took the first sip of her tea, feeling small amounts of her nausea go away.
"It's totally fine! I think I just am still feeling a bit jumbled up from the exam and... other things."
Mina thought to herself for a second what those "other things" could be, until a light bulb pinged on in her head.
"Ah yes! Don't think I'd forgotten - your heart mumbo-jumbo," she said with a grin. Mina loved gossip as much as the next teenage girl, and seeing one of her friends going through the stages of feelings was like a drug to her. She had to know more.
Ochako, on the other hand, considered a second floating episode to get away from the subject. But that would mean more nausea, and at this point, maybe having to clean up some vomit from her sheets.
"Ugh. Too tired for this shit." she thought, defeated.
"Alright. You got me."
Mina's hands clapped together excitedly with a big grin on her face. However, looking at Uraraka again, she felt those claps slow down and eventually fade.
Ochako grumbled further.
"What, you're not going to grill me on who it is?"
Mina sipped her tea, her black eyes drifting to the walls of the room until they settled back on her classmate.
"To be honest, you seem in a shitty mood, so I kind of figured it would be best to let it go."
Hearing that, Ochako stopped herself, then buried her face in her pillow again, this time out of frustration.
"Sorry. I don't mean to be bitchy today."
Mina looked concerned.
Uraraka sighed, flipping over on her back to look at the ceiling.
"Have you ever had a crush on someone so bad that you felt that it was messing with your ability to like... function?," she began. "Right know there's so much stuff going on with us, with villains, with... life? That I can't tell whether this is just getting in the way, or I have enough time to even care about this."
Mina slammed her hand on the table flat. Not in a way that would break the table, but more to emphasize.
"There's always time for love!" she said, with a completely straight face.
Uraraka jumped a little at the noise, then couldn't help but be riveted by her classmate's bold declaration. As the small shock faded, she couldn't help but crack up slightly. Holding her stomach, Ochako's laughs caused Mina to jump on the defensive.
"What? Come on, I'm serious! If you can't allow yourself a little bit of fun with boys every once and while, life just isn't the same!"
Finishing the rest of her laughs through her nose, Ochako took a deep breath to recenter. The nausea was going away, slowly but surely.
"I just don't know how you... do it?"
Mina knew that Ochako didn't mean anything nasty with her laughing, but this was a bit confusing.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Mina said
Ochako swung her legs over the edge of the bed and faced Ashido. She put her elbows on her knees, propping her head up with her hands.
"Nothing bad, just... I wish I was more confident about that kind of stuff. You seem so... comfortable with yourself. I can't... flirt?"
As Uraraka tried to form her next sentence, she realized how this might sound.
"N-not that I'm trying to say you're slutty or anything! Trust me! Just... ugh, how to say it."
Mina was entertained by Ochako's babbling, but was a bit confused at where this was all going. She decided that being direct was probably the best idea.
"'Chako, have you ever kissed a boy before?"
Ochako's face turned scarlet instantly. More stammering followed.
"Mina, I mean... yeah, there was this one boy in middle school." she said, waving her arms as if to dismiss it. "Everyone kind of has those crushes that never go anywhere, you know?"
"No, that's not what I meant. I'm asking have you ever kissed a boy before?"
Despite blushing harder, Ochako pondered it.
"I guess not?"
Mina stood up, pouring herself another cup of tea and sitting in Uraraka's desk chair. She grinned.
"Sometimes you learn a lot about yourself by how you make other people feel," she started. "I've had a couple people call me some bad things because they think I'm too 'friendly,'" she said, using airquotes.
"But in reality, they tend to not know me at all. They think I'll do that with anyone."
"It's... kind of about finding balance?"
Mina shuffled her feet and tried to articulate herself better.
"Like... by now I think I've figured out what I'm comfortable with, and what I like about other people. I know what I want, and like... who's got time to try to hide that?" she said with a smile.
"It's fun messing with the guys because they're pretty easy to fluster, and who knows? One of them might be something more some day. But for now... why not be the one who decides whether it happens or not?"
Ochako felt her blush fading as she suddenly understood Mina a little more. On the surface, it was easy to see her flirty nature as somewhat... dangerous? Teasing?
"But maybe I kind of just want a little bit of that myself," Ochako thought.
"I think... I think I'm just not very confident in this kind of thing," she began, letting herself fall back onto the bed. "Sometimes I look at this guy and want to..." her voice lowered, as if there was something to hide in the private room "...tear him apart. And then I catch myself and think, 'who would want to be with someone that out of control?'"
It was Mina's turn to laugh.
"Look, have you seen the guys in this class? All of them are either pyschos or wayyyy too nervous around girls in tight costumes. It wouldn't be the worst to give them a nudge in the right direction, because I'd imagine they're likely too scared to make a move."
"But like, what about what people would think?"
"FFFUCK what they think!" shouted Mina, with emphasis. This startled Ochako a bit. A pair of black eyes met hers, and a confident smile crossed her face.
"All us girls have your back," she continued, grinning. "We're all going to be hella awkward anyways for the rest of our time here, so instead of stammering around it, having some fun seems like a better idea, right?"
Ochako nodded, almost reflexively. She had a point.
Mina stood up, took both of the now-empty teacups and put them on the desk. As she took some steps to the door, she turned.
"I'm... sorry I pried about this guy a little bit too much before. I didn't mean to."
Ochako grinned in her direction. "No worries."
"I think I just wanted to make sure you were happy, you know? I think that might end up being my job around here," she said, pumping her fist. "Everyone's too doom-and-gloom sometimes."
The smile got wider. "I think you're doing a pretty good job of it."
"If you want to talk more, let me know. I'm gonna go get started on some homework," Mina said, opening the door.
"Mina... thanks," Ochako began. "I'm going to focus on getting better."
The door shut. Ochako exhaled. Another day, another secret kept.
A few moments passed, and then it started. Frantic pounding on the door, muffled yells of "Raka! Raka! Raka!"
Ochako figured Mina had forgotten something, but she didn't bring anything but the tea. Cautiously, she stood and turned the handle. As soon as she did, the door flew open and Mina pushed her way inside, closing it behind her. She put a hand over Ochako's mouth just as she was about to object. Her voice was dead serious.
"Raka. Izuku's locked outside his room and he doesn't have pants on."
Ochako's eyes widened just about as far as they could go. Taking Mina's hand by the wrist and lowering it, she calmly uttered one word.
Mina grabbed Ochako by the wrist and lead her outside, being careful not to slam the door too hard to alert him to their presence. The 1-A dorms were arranged in a way that the boys and girls' floors were split down the middle, with a courtyard in the gap of the "U" shape. Ochako and Mina were on the fourth floor. Mina pointed across the gap of the courtyard, down two floors.
As soon as he had heard his door click behind him, Deku knew he was screwed.
No key meant no getting back in. He couldn't bust down the door, and going down to the common area to use the phone was out of the question. It was only going to be a quick trip out: too fast for anyone to see he'd shrugged off his pants as soon as he'd gotten into the room. He pulled down his t-shirt to hide his boxer briefs, but there wasn't as much fabric as he needed.
At least he wasn't wearing his All Might pair.
Across the courtyard and up two floors, both girls couldn't help but stare until Mina's dam burst. This was too much. Too funny. Too much laughter to hold in.
"Oh god. What's he going to do?" she said, in between snorts.
Ochako, still silent, was torn between immediately helping her friend and the embarrassment it would probably cause him. Maybe she should text Iida? Maybe he would get Tokoyami to have Dark Shadow pick the lock. Maybe he would...
"Oh Christ, he's taking off his shirt." she thought, as all plans of actions and help flew out the window.
Izuku had figured that it was better to be shirtless outside than pantsless, and stripped his shirt off to tie around his waist. This would do, for now.
Across the courtyard and up two floors, both girls stood, silenced. Mina couldn't believe that he'd made such a good decision so quickly. Uraraka eventually leaned forward against the balcony railing. Today had been a day.
She exhaled, shifted her weight to her elbow as she turned to Mina, and shook her head. She was past the point of caring.
"What the hell is it with every guy in our class being built to hell and back?"
Mina's grin exploded from her face as she found herself cracking up again.
"I know, right!?" she said, waving both her hands in exasperation. She was surprisingly satisfied with her friend's sudden admission. "It ain't fair!"
She noted another thought, privately.
"We'll get you there one day, Raka."
Both girls turned, resuming their watch. It looked like Izuku was about to get out of his predicament, but as he knocked on Tokoyami's door, his shirt slipped and fell. A frantic scramble ensued as he tried to get himself decent before his knock was answered.
Another pause, then another silence broken.
"Shoulders, am I right?" Ashido said, extending a fist for a fist bump.
Uraraka felt resigned. She pondered to herself for a second.
"Ah, screw it."
"I'm more a fan of the butts, myself," she said, answering the bump.
Thankfully there was a decent distance and multiple windows in between Midoriya's struggle and the two voyeurs, as the latter's squealing and laughter would probably have more than given them away. Izuku's shame and embarrassment would remain between him and Fumikage.
At least as far as he knew.