Midoriya was a timid kind of guy, and everybody was pretty aware. He didn't like to feel like he was speaking out of turn, had some rather apparent insecurities, and was pretty easily spooked by conflicts with other students. When the chips were down, though, he could pull off a Hail Mary like the best of them; nobody in Class 1-A could deny that, not even Bakugou, as much as he might like to. Midoriya was kind of a paradox, with super strength comparable to All Might's and the compassion to be a really admirable hero, but a meek disposition and more apparent pride in his mental faculties than his physical aptitude.

This was why Kyouka found herself staring at him in deep thought while they packed away gym equipment. Aizawa-sensei had been planning to have a day of general physical training, but almost as soon as the class all made it out to the field, a freak snowstorm blew in over Yuuei. It absolutely pelted down snow and sleet, and the cold snap made everyone try, and fail, to huddle a little closer to Todoroki's left side. Asui looked like she was going to fall over any minute, and Bakugou started throwing a fit over how the cold made his quirk almost unusable, rubbing his arms frantically. To his credit, Iida was trying to control the situation, although his wild gestures and booming shouts weren't doing much. As for Yaoyorozu, she had stepped back to try and assess the situation. Leaning her face on her palm, she went between looking at the snow rapidly covering the ground, and at the class mostly engaged in a chain reaction of chaos.

Aizawa-sensei had a look of abject exasperation on his face as he'd turned to Midoriya and Kyouka. "Since you two have graciously not started to lose your minds over a little sudden snowstorm," he sighed, "I'd appreciate you putting up the gym equipment while the Class President and Vice-President help me shepherd the class inside." With that, he shuffled off to round up the class. The first order of business was to have Todoroki warm up Asui, who had sat down on the ground with exhaustion as the snow piled up around her. This had left Kyouka with Midoriya to handle the gym equipment by themselves, as the snowfall began to slowly drop off. It wasn't very far to the storage room, so Kyouka just handled the lighter objects like the baseballs Aizawa used to measure raw physical aptitude, and Midoriya used his 'Full Cowl' (so he called it, making Kyouka quietly snort as he uttered the name) to move the track hurdles and the like.

By the time they'd packed up all the gym equipment, though, the snow was starting to fall again. And it really returned with a vengeance, too — by the time they'd gotten everything in its proper place, the snow was a foot high at the doorway! Midoriya wondered under his breath, "I wonder what's causing all of this snow? This is way too much for this time of year…Could it have to do with some kind of weather control quirk?" He took out his little notebook of hero-related information, muttering loudly as he flipped from page to page in search of some kind of answer. It was a little bit disconcerting, but it was still kind of fascinating for Kyouka to watch. Sitting on the stack of mats up against the wall, she slouched forward with one elbow propped up on her knee, that way she could rest her chin on her hand and just observe Midoriya as he pored over his notes. It was as if he'd completely forgotten she was there, and his behavior made her give another little snort of amusement.

Once she'd given Midoriya a few minutes, though, Kyouka decided to get down to brass tacks. "Hey Deku," she addressed him with the insult-turned-hero name. Midoriya slammed his notebook shut, having remembered Kyouka was there only after she spoke up. Holding the notebook at his side, he looked over to her to try and respond. He failed miserably, only managing a garbled kind of grunt. "Yeah, cool," Kyouka snarked. "Deku, why are you so timid?" He blinked as though he'd just been asked to give the meaning of life, mouth opening and closing dumbly like a fish out of water. Kyouka fiddled with her bangs, giving Midoriya a sideways look. "You sure have a lot of power to your quirk," Kyouka beat around the bush with compliments, "and you're so ready to throw yourself at something you can't beat, to save someone else. But you're kind of a nerd, y'know? Even though that quirk of yours would probably make you a star athlete. And you kinda just take it when Mr. Explosive Disorder starts up with the insults and threats, without standing up for yourself. What gives?" Handling things in her usual blunt manner of speaking, Kyouka didn't really expect any meaningful answers. She was really just making small talk.

Understandably, she was kind of surprised to see Midoriya seriously mulling over how he'd answer. Kyouka almost told him not to answer if he didn't feel like it, but was cut off by Midoriya starting to answer. "I-I guess it's a combination of b-being a late-bloomer," Midoriya stuttered just a little as he replied, "and, well…I guess I just really don't like to stick out, you know? Before I started attending Yuuei, I wasn't used to really needing to stand out. And it's still kind of, well…It's kind of uncomfortable, needing to make a strong first impression that people will remember." Leaning her chin heavily on her hand again, Kyouka just took in Midoriya's little speech. "But I always wanted to be a hero," he continued, "even before I, um…Got a handle on my quirk. Way before that, heh." Kyouka smiled a little despite herself, remembering how often Midoriya had hurt himself using his quirk.

"It's just that," Midoriya had to take a breath to steel himself. "It's just that…Being a hero is all I've ever wanted to be. To be able to use my quirk to save people, and give them peace of mind…Even if I doubt myself, and even if I let myself be cowed, I just want to be a hero. There's nothing in this world I could stand to do for the rest of my life." Eyes screwed shut, Midoriya took another breath to steel himself. He really had not expected to be pouring his heart out in a place like tihs, to Kyouka of all people. "As for Bakugou, well," Midoriya made haste to try and change the subject, "we've been friends ever since we were kids. Not very close friends, but I've always kind of admired him. He's so determined, and he's so resolved in his own way…I guess it's always kind of awed me." Kyouka nodded silently. Bakugou could definitely inspire an overwhelming amount of fear when he got in one of his moods.

After the awkward silence had settled in, Kyouka took that time to contemplate what Midoriya had said. He really is kind of weird, she thought to herself. He's so obsessed with heroes, and he has that heroic instinct, too. He still considers Bakugou a friend and talks so well about him, even though Bakugou treats him like shit. Is this kid for real? While she thought over this to herself, Midoriya took a deep breath and stuffed his hands in his pockets. Their shaking had less to do with the cold, and more to do with the unfamiliar territory that talking to a girl still was. Kyouka was kind of intimidating, to be honest. Her brusque way of speaking always made her seem a little derisive, even when she was complimenting someone. It baffled Midoriya that she'd ask him such personal questions, that she'd take any kind of interest in him. Girls taking an interest in him was extremely unusual, but not necessarily unwelcome.

As his knees started to quake, Midoriya very pointedly glanced away from Kyouka. Since the snow had hit before Aizawa had even dove into an explanation of the assignment, there hadn't even been enough time to change into their gym uniforms. Dressed in her standard uniform, the way Kyouka was sitting on the stack of mats really showed off her slender, toned legs. Midoriya almost started to look back, but was startled by Kyouka suddenly uncrossing and recrossing her legs. He turned away towards the door, confusing Kyouka as she got comfortable on the stack of mats again. He was shaking like a leaf on a tree, and it was impossible to hide. "Hey, you cold?" Midoriya shook his head. "If you say so," she sighed, idly picking at her fingernails as they waited for the snow to clear up.

Midoriya was stunned and shaking even after the snow had cleared up, and they managed to pick their way back to the building. Even after Aizawa-sensei tiredly greeted them and handed out the homework assignment, and even after they all set out to make the trip home in the snow, Midoriya was shaking in his boots until he got home. His mother asked him if he was alright, and essentially twisted his arm into letting her make him a bowl of soup to warm him up.

It wasn't the cold that was making Midoriya shiver, though. It was the shock, and the guilt, and the excitement too. Because when Kyouka had been moving her legs, Midoriya had seen something he was not meant to see.

"Glittery purple," he muttered under his breath, unable to even touch his soup until it was time to go to bed.

— — —

The next day, Midoriya could not even look at Kyouka.

Even though he was thankfully not quite so dumbstruck, it was impossible to look at her. His face would burn a weird red color if he even glanced at the back of her head, so he had to shove his head down into his assignments, hiding his blush as well as averting his eyes. Bakugou gave him an aggravated look, but he always seemed to have an aggravated look. Mineta looked genuinely concerned, but knowing him, just talking to him would clue him in to the nature of the issue.

It was almost impossible for Midoriya to function, with that image running through his head. He'd had the worst perfect timing to catch that split-second glimpse up Kyouka's skirt, and it seemed like she really had not noticed that he'd seen her glittery purple underwear. That didn't assuage Midoriya's distress in any way, though. Honestly speaking, it made him feel ten times as horrible as it would have if she'd slapped him or stomped on his foot. It meant she didn't know, and that made him feel sick to his stomach with guilt.

Nervously running his hand through his tufty green hair, Midoriya sweated bullets as the end of the school day drew near. Did he want to confess his horrible misstep to Kyouka, and sacrifice any semblance of camaraderie with her, in favor of peace of mind? Or did he just sit on this shameful secret of his, and try to muddle through interacting with her for the duration of their time at Yuuei? As everyone started to gather their belongings, a terrifying thought occurred to Midoriya. We might have to collaborate in our careers as pro heroes, his thoughts tumbled through his mind like a dam breaking! How can I handle a professional relationship like that? What if it ruins my performance as a hero? What if it ruins hers? What ifs continued to resound in Midoriya's mind as Kyouka got up.

He found his mind struck blank, however, as Kyouka began to walk towards him. Oh God this was it. She knew, and she was going to absolutely destroy him. She was going to yell at him, call him a pervert, call him the biggest scumbag in all of Yuuei. She was going to slap him, or stomp his foot, or use her quirk on him like she had on Mineta. As her steps seemed to go on for hours at a time, Midoriya quaked in his seat. He could hear all the things she was going to call him, a filthy hero-otaku or a sexually depraved lunatic. The worst thing of all, though, was that Midoriya could not keep an errant and very much unwanted thought from crossing his mind: I wonder what kind she's wearing today? Gripping his desk so hard his knuckles turned white, Midoriya sucked in his breath and waited for the inevitable hurricane of hatred that Kyouka would deliver, and wipe out every scrap of self-respect he had at an insult-speed of Mach 10.

So ready for that hate-storm was Midoriya that he almost missed what Kyouka said. "Hey," she waved a hand in front of his face, "hey, Deku. Midoriya. Nerd. You in there?" Midoriya dumbly nodded, amazed that Kyouka had promoted him from Deku to his actual name, then all the way down to just 'nerd' so quickly. "Yeah, I wanted to talk to you," Kyouka told him, shouldering a guitar case that she brought to class only once a week. "Meet me at the wall behind the P.E. grounds. Just give me about half-an-hour, first. I need to hand in an essay to Cementoss-sensei and talk to Present Mic-sensei about something." With that, Kyouka turned on her heel and walked out. Midoriya was left at his seat, lips pursed tightly and his brow slick with sweat.

After about ten minutes, Midoriya left the classroom (and a very bemused instructor) to rush to the bathroom. He stood at the sink for another five minutes, splashing cold water on his face and staring dumbly at his reflection in the mirror. After he sat on the bench outside the restroom to scratch his head for another minute or two, he walked off to take a jog around campus, and try desperately to clear his mind. By the time his half-hour to prepare his mind and body was just about up, Midoriya's lap of the campus had brought him right to where he needed to be. As he sidled into the space between the equipment storage building and the wall around the campus, one thought resonated in Midoriya's mind: Kyouka's going to kill me, and hide my body. A mental picture of Kyouka knocking him out with her guitar case or her quirk made Midoriya shake violently, anticipating her arrival.

Midoriya jumped about a foot off the pile of plywood panels he was sitting on when he heard Kyouka's voice. "Yo," she greeted him, sliding her guitar case and her book bag off of her shoulders. "Thanks for meeting me back here. Present Mic had to bail on some one-on-one tutoring with my quirk, so I wanted to touch base with him to make sure we'd have time to talk." As comical as it was, Midoriya's mind fixated upon how prudent it was of Kyouka to seek some pointers on a sound-based quirk from a pro with a similar, but more potent quirk. He sat with his legs firmly pressed together, head spinning a bit as Kyouka sat on a crate almost directly across from him. He stared intently at his hands as they gripped his knees with white-knuckle terror, trying as best he could to calm his nausea and nerves, as well as making sure to not look at Kyouka. He'd caught himself imaging her in glittery blue or red panties, and it left him feeling sick with shame once again.

When he heard a couple of quiet metallic sounds, it jarred Midoriya into instinctively raising his head. Kyouka had taken out a bass guitar, slinging the strap across her shoulders and leaving the case by her feet. Apparently her book bag had been holding a portable speaker, too, and Kyouka was sitting back up from plugging in her bass. Looking down at her guitar and away from Midoriya, Kyouka patiently tuned the strings, her earphone jack earlobes hovering over the neck while she experimentally plucked and strummed at them. Fascinated by her practiced movements and by the deep, throaty sound that crackled out of the speaker, Midoriya felt his mind grow a little more at ease. Although his fears were quelled by Kyouka's relaxed practice with her bass, seeing and hearing her play made Midoriya's heart beat much, much faster. Was he really getting enamored over her playing the guitar?

Kyouka once again broke Midoriya out of his fixated thoughts by patting a crate next to her. "C'mon," she insisted. "Sit here." Despite his apprehension, Midoriya really did not want to say 'no' to the girl he felt like he'd wronged in a very personal way. He left his book bag behind as he shakily stood up, and forced his leaden legs to walk over to the crate next to Kyouka. Sitting down, he noticed that the crate he'd been told to sit on was a little bit more narrow than the one Kyouka was sitting on. It also had a bit more space between where it was placed and where the wall towered overhead, meaning that Midoriya had to lean forward a bit to not risk falling backwards. As a consequence, Midoriya was able to get a good look at Kyouka's bass guitar while she idly strummed on it, which he appreciated being able to see better. He didn't quite appreciate the vantage point over her long, lithe legs, though. His heart was beating faster, and he was embarrassed to think Kyouka might hear.

If she heard his heart thudding away in his chest, she certainly didn't show it. She nodded with satisfaction that she'd gotten her bass guitar tuned just right, and then, she began to play a short little riff. It was a quick one, not just for how short it was, but how quickly the notes were rattled off. She'd strum a rapid set of notes once, then twice, then end the third set with a drawn-out note that reverberated more loudly. She did this only three times, then let the strings vibrate to a stop. "That's the opening riff to Carnival, a song by the pillows," Kyouka explained. "They're kind of the band that got me into the bass guitar. Them and an anime called FLCL." Midoriya was frozen in place, not ready for Kyouka to share this much information about herself. "There was a character in FLCL who used a Rickenbacker 4001, like this one," Kyouka explained, patting the bass guitar's glossy red finish. "Hers was navy blue, but, well…Navy blue was a bit too popular to get for my birthday, that year. I've had this bass since I was about ten." She gave a little smile as she strummed on the strings some more, still not looking at Midoriya.

Then, Kyouka slid the strap off of her shoulders, and stood up. Midoriya had only seen brief clips of FLCL when a friend recommended it, and he had only seen enough to know that robots got hit with guitars in multiple scenes. He seriously feared that Kyouka would give him the same treatment, especially when she sidled up behind him and to the side. Much to his surprise, though, Midoriya found her slipping the strap down so it rested on his shoulder. "K-Kyo-Kyouka," Midoriya stammered, blushing as she grabbed his wrist and tugged his other arm through the strap, "a-a-are you s-sure it's okay for me to play your guitar like this?" He'd almost forgotten how desperately he needed to confess his sins, but only because Kyouka's behavior was taking him completely off-guard. Stepping back to look at how the guitar rested on Midoriya, Kyouka nodded with satisfaction.

"So long as you don't use your quirk when you're playing it or anything, it's cool," Kyouka joked. "Just let it rest on you. Get used to the weight." Taking a loud gulp, Midoriya did as he was told. Awkwardly sitting on the wooden crate, he precariously tried to balance not leaning on the guitar so as to avoid damaging it, and not leaning too far back so he didn't fall or something. It felt very strange to let the guitar rest on him, but not exactly uncomfortable. Kyouka seemed to be happy with how he was sitting, so she stepped just a bit closer. "Now, try to hold it like I do," she tersely instructed him. Midoriya rose his shaking hands, laying one over the strings and curling the other around the neck. "Close," Kyouka commended him, "but not quite right." Midoriya was stunned like a deer in the headlights to find Kyouka circling around behind him, her body brushing against his.

Much to Midoriya's ever-increasing shock, Kyouka began to lean on him a bit. Her petite chest pressed against the back of his head, and he could feel her slender, toned thighs brushing against his back. He could smell the faintest whiff of her ocean spray shampoo, and he almost lost it as Kyouka began to slide her hands down his arms. "Let me show you how to do it," Kyouka quietly said to Midoriya, laying her hands over his. "You've got to hold the headstock more loosely. Just bend your fingers over it, rest your fingertips on the strings. Same with the body, don't just plant your hand there. You've got to keep your grip loose, so you can pick out the strings." Her thumbs pressed against the palms of Midoriya's hands, and her fingers caressed his own to get them into place. "No, no," Kyouka chided him, leaning on him a little bit more. "That's not it. You're way too stiff, Midoriya." That was just too much!

Sliding out of the bass guitar's strap, Midoriya landed ass-first on the pavement. Scrambling away, he turned to look at Kyouka, his chest heaving and panting. She was holding her Rickenbacker where Midoriya had gotten away from her, tilting her head to the side to give him a curious look. "K-K-K-K-Kyouka," Midoriya gibbered in awe of her, "wh-why are you doing this? Why are you t-touching my hands and, and, and…" He gulped, shaking as he sat there on the dusty pavement. He had a feeling like he knew why Kyouka was doing this, and it made him feel very confused, plus a little uncomfortable. Kyouka calmly stepped over the wooden crates, sitting down to unplug her bass guitar and stow it back in its case. After redoing the metal clasps on the guitar case, she tucked her little speaker into a pouch on her book bag. Then she just sat there, looking anywhere but Midoriya for five long minutes.

When Kyouka finally spoke, it was to ask a question. "Deku," she defaulted back to that nickname, "do you have any idea how much of an impact you've had on the whole class?" Midoriya blinked like he'd just been blinded with a flashlight. "There isn't a single person in class who doesn't have something to say about you," Kyouka continued, kicking her foot back and forth. "The way you were ready to flunk the entrance exam just to save Uraraka, even though the examiners would've probably stepped in before she got hurt. The way you gave up the seat for Class Prez to Iida, even though Iida voted for you, not for himself. The way you called out Todoroki at the Sports Festival, and got him to use his left side…You've managed to just blunder your way into everyone's minds, you know?" She bit her tongue just in time to avoid adding, And even into some of our hearts.

Finally, Kyouka decided to not tap dance around that one issue. "I know you saw my, y'know," Kyouka admitted, crossing her legs. Midoriya looked straight at the pavement, ready to just start issuing apologies like a fountain. "Don't freak out over it," Kyouka hurried to stop him, holding her hands up. "Geez, I'm not good with the 'dogged nice guy' type…I knew you saw, right when you saw. I was a little embarrassed, but I'm not that shy. I figured you were, though, so I didn't wanna say anything and embarrass you more." Kyouka blushed a little, rubbing the back of her neck anxiously. "I didn't think you'd still be freaking out today," she told Midoriya. "I'm sorry I didn't say anything. And I guess I'm…Sorry about, I dunno. Forcing myself onto you?" Pursing her lips a little bit, Kyouka blushed. Now it was her turn to shyly avoid Midoriya's gaze.

She was really trying to not come out and say it, but Midoriya really had no idea how far he'd been from offending her. Although she was proud to not be defined by her sex appeal, and even though she considered it something she'd gone a long way towards outgrowing, when it came to her body, it still bugged Kyouka sometimes when she felt like she had to match up to other girls in a group. Especially when that group included Uraraka, or Ashido, or — heaven forbid — Yaoyorozu. It was infuriating to know that there would always be people who would judge her not on her merit, or her diligence, but on the way her body developed with or without her being able to affect it. Hearing that lumpy little lecher Mineta go on and on about Asui, or even about Hagakure of all people, but not even mention her…He was a gross little pervert, but it was frustrating for him to be more excited over the invisible girl's body than hers.

Even though it had been true that Kyouka hadn't wanted to embarrass Midoriya any more than he'd been, that wasn't the full story, either. While she didn't consider herself an exhibitionist, Kyouka found it kind of…Exciting, knowing that a boy had seen her panties. And to be honest, she didn't mind if it was Midoriya. He was a nerd of the highest order, but even though he was so timid compared to most of the other guys, he was still so earnest about being a hero. It was kind of inspiring, knowing he came to Yuuei with nothing but the desire to be a hero. Not to make money, not to validate himself to someone, but to be able to use his quirk to save people in danger. Some people (including Kyouka, at times) might find it silly, but it was endearing all the same.

That was why when Midoriya had poured his heart out to her yesterday, it had made Kyouka's heart skip a beat. For just a minute, his words had touched her a little bit. Seeing him rubbing the back of his neck, looking at the ground next to him, that freckly face of his looked awfully embarrassed. Kyouka intended to reassure him that they were cool, and then just kind of part ways. But then, Midoriya started talking. "I don't know if you w-want to bother with it after everything else, and I understand completely if not," Midoriya found the words tumbling right out of him, "b-but, umm…Kyouka, could you…Teach me how to play the bass?" Did he really ask? He was giving that lopsided smile of his up at her, his big green eyes hopeful she'd say yes.

"W-well," Kyouka stuttered for a second. "Well, since I had to take a rain check with Present Mic-sensei, and since I had made time in my schedule for it beforehand, I have a few hours to kill." She surprised Midoriya by yanking him to his feet, and excitedly hugging him. "Sorry," she jumped back, sheepishly brushing her fingers on his shirt. "Yeah, I have a few hours to kill, so uh," Kyouka twiddled her thumbs a little. "So…You wanna go hang out? I know this one cafe that's pretty cool." Both of them were awed to realize that Kyouka was basically asking Midoriya out on a date. She blinked rapidly, stunned by her own request and hopeful Midoriya wouldn't freak out.

Instead, he grabbed his bag and slung it over his shoulder. "I-I'd love to," he answered gleefully, returning her hug. Kyouka hurried to collect her own book bag and guitar case, ready to show Midoriya the way to the cafe. Moving her guitar case to hold it at her other side, Kyouka reached down and interwove her fingers with Midoriya's. She stopped him long enough to lean over and whisper in his ear, making Midoriya turn beet red:

"In case you were wondering," she grinned mischievously, "they're red."