'I'm so sorry I have to write this down. I'm not brave enough to tell you any of this out loud. Which is ridiculous considering the hell of a year it's been at Yuuei, I know, but I just can't do it.
We only met once before Yuuei… But the amount that you changed my life with that one meeting is just… Incredible. I don't think I could ever say how much you changed the course of my life. Before I found out I was a late bloomer, I thought that I was Quirkless, and that meant that I wasn't ever going to be a Hero. I truly did believe that it was out of my reach. The day you met me was the day I'd finally given up on following my dream. The world isn't kind enough to throw someone like me a bone or a lifeline to float on…
But… You threw one for me. By talking to me, even though you'd never even met me before, and had no real reason to think that you would ever again. You were the first person ever since I was Quirkless to try to encourage me, support me, and tell me that I could be a Hero, even when I didn't have a Quirk. It was exactly what I needed to hear. More than anything.
You Can Be A Hero
I still have that note. Framed on my wall, above my computer. Because it's the only memory I had of you for years. And… It made me remember that you did exist. And that you somehow could believe in me. That you could put so much stock into a stranger. And then, when I walked in and saw you in my homeroom…
I was thrilled. I was so happy to see you. I wanted to approach you right out of the gate, but things just kept getting in the way. And it became so hard to just go over and talk to you the longer I waited. The longer it took, the more afraid I ended up… It's only been a few months, but now, I can't even remember what it was like before we spoke. Everything has just… Been so much better.
But it's why I need to tell you this. And I've been terrified of telling you this for the entire year… But it's gotten hard to look at you, and not think about it. And I can't say it because I'm too much of a coward not to.
But I like you. I've been infatuated with you since we were kids.'
Izuku read over the full page in his fifteenth notebook with a very loud, audible groan. What the hell had he been thinking?! Reading over everything was cringeworthy, and it was physically painful to do. He couldn't have chosen worse words if he had made the effort to. Who on earth confessed to a crush by using the word 'Infatuated'?! He thought writing this down would make things easier, but somehow it was just as painful. The actual act of writing hadn't been so bad, but reading what he'd actually written?
It was all so painful to look at. He flipped the page back one, so he simply wouldn't have to see it for a second longer.
And of course, he was on the most recent page – That page being of Mina's appearance and her Quirk in detail. He'd written about her and her Quirk far more times than he was ever willing to admit. In the case of this page, he hadn't even been aware he had done it. He'd just been sat at his desk the previous night, and the next thing he knew, two and a half hours had passed, and his notebook had another entry.
The notes for that were just as bad.
'Black eyes and gold irises, like stars in the night sky. Soft and warm skin, smooth thanks to her amazing Quirk. Fluffy, messy hair that – '
He closed the book outright, and felt his face burning up. This had to be on the border between being a sweet crush, and being downright creepy, didn't it? At least to someone who didn't know him for what he really was – A nerd with a crush who made notes on people out of a habitual thirst for knowledge on Heroes.
Their second year at Yuuei was right around the corner, now that they were in March, and everyone was starting to return to the dorms to get ready for the new academic year. Only a few people weren't present, though they had a couple of weeks to show up before their classes started up again. And Izuku wanted to confess.
He wanted to admit to Mina that he liked her. He'd wanted to admit that for most of the year, but he felt compelled to do so before their new year started. Doing it after, and distracting her… It just didn't feel right at all. No one really knew what to expect from their second year at Yuuei…
If he just confessed to her before the second year started, then at least even if he got rejected, neither of them would be distracted by feelings?... Or at least he wouldn't. Was that selfish of him?
He sighed. Honestly, he wasn't sure if there was any real way to go about this. He was in totally unfamiliar - And horrifying – Territory. A part of him was telling him that he needed, more than anything, to go through with this; if not for his own sake, than for Mina's. She deserved to know, didn't she?
Had he ever told her that she was the reason he was even here now? That it was because of her that he hadn't given up? That because of her encouragement and words that day, he'd kept on marching through Hell, and finally wound up here? Had he told her that? He didn't honestly think that he had. And that was the main reason that he'd even wanted to talk to her again – To say thank you. To let her know just how much she had impacted him. How much she meant to him because of that…
…And yet somehow, he'd forgotten to even tell her that. He'd gotten so caught up in getting to talk to her, actually building up a friendship with her and just, well, her in general, he'd forgotten to even say anything about it. Forgotten to say the main damn thing he'd been wanting to say in the first place. How had he even managed to do that? And here he was now, trying to figure out how he was supposed to write a love letter to her.
Suddenly, confessing felt dirty, and he suddenly felt horrible, like he'd realized just how ungrateful that he'd been this entire time. It hadn't been his intention… But intention didn't excuse him. He was sure that in their minds, many Villains had good intentions. That didn't excuse them for the terrible things that they did. He'd be selfish, even though it wouldn't be his intention. But that didn't matter. He'd be selfish anyway.
Did he really have the right to confess to her after all of that?
Internal debate went through his head, the rational part of his brain telling him that he was overreacting and that there wasn't anything to worry about, while the other part of his brain was continuing to freak out and reject that idea in favour of a more panicked and irrational point of reference.
Forcing himself to calm down, he thought up the simplest solution.
Just thank her now. Just approach her and say thank you. Just tell her how much she had inspired him throughout his life, and thank her for it. And then admit his feelings for her.
Flipping the book open, he added another line in his letter, between 'You Can Be A Hero' and the paragraph that followed it.
'Thank you. I have never said it to you before, even though I should have. So thank you. Thank you for giving me the strength I needed to keep going.'
And then he looked at the letter again – It was cringeworthy still, but if there was one word he could use to describe it that wasn't self-depreciating, it would be honest.
These were his honest feelings. No lies. No trickery. No secret message or anything like that. They were his blunt, honest feelings, and he couldn't make them any clearer than this.
Part of him hesitated to hand it over, though. Hesitated to even slide it under her door and just let Mina take the next steps, whatever they would be. It was his nerves again, the same ones that stopped him from talking to her in the first place, now raising concerns about losing that ability at all.
The part of him that was horrified about the idea of driving her away. Mina wouldn't do that though, would she? After getting to know her, he knew that she while she had a very enthusiastic approach to romance, she was also relaxed and comfortable about the topic too. He didn't know if she had ever had relationships before, though it wouldn't surprise him if she had. He didn't know how she would react though. Assuming it went badly, and she didn't share these feelings, what would her reaction be?
A rational part of him said she wouldn't do anything. She'd let him down gently and insist on remaining friends. But if there was one thing Izuku seemed to suck at when it came to Mina, it was letting sense reign supreme in his head.
Thousands of possible negatives swarmed in his mind. Ways that it could backfire and blow up in his face. Mina outright laughing at him. Some half-hearted promise to remain friends, but slowly drifting away from him. Straight up slapping him in the face and running off. What if she didn't want a romantic relationship? What if she wasn't interested? What if she just wanted a solid friendship and Izuku was throwing that possibility out the window for the both of them?
Sometimes, he really did hate having an analytical mind that went over every single possibility in the world.
He forced himself to calm down by closing his book yet again, tilting his head to face the ceiling, and staring into nothingness. Who was he really benefiting by confessing to Mina? Was he going to be doing her any favours at all by being honest, or was this a truly selfish thing to do? Did he really have the right to? Kirishima and Tsuyu, Yaoyorozu and Jirou, Hagakure and Ojiro, even Kacchan and Uraraka had all gotten together in various ways. Was that a result of selfishness, or was it selflessness? If both people were happy, was it selfless? Was willing to give someone a chance being selfless? Or did that end up being pity?
Asking them could be an option. Outside opinions could be helpful… But he dismissed it. If he was going to tell her how he felt, it was like Jirou had said - Because he had made the choice, had gotten himself ready, and it should be on his terms and he should figure them out on his own – Jirou probably hadn't meant it like that, but it made sense to Izuku nonetheless.
Sense, but in a way that made no sense at all. Which in turn, made it make sense?
Izuku just sighed. What was he even thinking anymore?
His life would have been simpler if he'd never had a crush on Mina, he thought sometimes. If there was an Izuku in some parallel reality that didn't even know Mina before Yuuei, he slightly envied them, not needing to worry about crushes and that sort of thing. But this certainly wasn't that reality – and the more he considered it, the more terrifying and so much worse off a reality where he never met Mina seemed.
Should he even give her the note?...
He didn't know.
Having their normal classmates return from home had been fun and refreshing. While they'd all kept in contact with one another over the internet and phones and whatever other means they had at their disposal, it was great to finally get to see friends face to face again. Life quickly was going to return to normal as the next few days passed, as people returned to the dorms, handed in their assignments, and moved their new belongings into the rooms they had spent the last year in, and would spend the next one in.
It made for a livelier dorm house, which was nice. For the last few months, the building had been mostly empty, with the few exceptions of the people that had willingly stayed behind. Now it was less of an empty building, and more of a, for lack of a better word, home away from home.
Reunions were aplenty, and Izuku and Mina both had friends they were happy to see again after their absences. Several days were dedicated to just catching up with everyone, hearing whatever stories they had to tell, and recounting the uneventful days at the dorms.
Once the evening fell though, things usually went back to being quiet and more relaxed, when people retreated to their rooms, doing whatever activities they did to kill time.
For Mina, that had generally become a time to hang out with Izuku.
"What d'ya mean there aren't any more of these out?!" Usually hanging out with Izuku meant that the pair of them had a system. Mina would show something that she liked one night, while Izuku showed off something he enjoyed the next, and they alternated on that basis. It kept things from getting boring, and was also a passive way of catching up on the time they had missed.
Turned out, even after months of talking again, they still had mountains of stuff to show each other. They were just lucky they were as nerdy as one another about this kind of thing.
"The author died, so there isn't really anything that could be done about it." Izuku grimly smiled. He had been showing her one of his old favourite comics, which sadly got discontinued due to a tsunami about a decade ago. Some people blamed a Villain's Quirk. Other just said it was a force of nature.
Didn't change the fact it was over now.
"Midoriiiii!" Mina whined, holding up the unintended final instalment of the comic in both her hands. "Fix iiiiit!"
"Wh-What am I supposed to do?!"
"Fix iiiiit!" Behind the coloured pages and panels, Mina's smirk was in plenty of abundance.
Once the pair of them had managed to get over the awkwardness that was just speaking to one another, the two were just the best of friends. There wasn't really any question about that. They just were. And Mina was happy. Happy that she'd gotten to meet Izuku again. Happy that she'd met him when they were kids.
Her teasing continued for a couple minutes longer before she finally relented, allowing herself to sit back against her bedframe and let out a happy sigh. Many times, she had feared that she'd missed out on this chance. A part of her had honestly thought that Izuku had forgotten about her since they met that day in the park. Admittedly, she hadn't thought about him constantly over the years. Things had happened. She'd met people. But there had been a bit of wonder in her.
Wanting to know how that Quirkless boy had done. If she had helped him in any way. If he really could go on to be a Hero. It had always been something she'd find herself coming back to. He was fascinating in that respect.
Over time, she had forgotten the boy's face, but not his name. It was as plain as his face, and easier to remember. So when she saw him again, she didn't recognize him. When she saw his name though, it didn't take her long to put the dots together.
After nearly a full year of awkwardly jumping around one another, circumstance – By which she meant Kirishima and Uraraka concocting some scheme, because they were as subtle as a landmine, in a sea of other landmines in landmine land – had pushed them together and here they were.
And she couldn't be happier about that fact. She and Izuku got along like a house on fire, and it made her upset that she'd never spoken to him sooner, that she'd never just bitten the bullet and approached him first. That she'd never just gotten over that weird, awkward barrier that just randomly existed with Izuku, and reached out to him. It was too late to think too much about the past though. Right now, she was just enjoying the moment, and everything that came with it.
Which included jokingly being bratty towards the green haired dork.
He seemed to have gotten used to her particular brand of humour, and went along with the jokes that she pulled on him whenever she did, happy to engage and respond to them, even if he was the same flustered dope that he'd always been. She'd learned to deal with his quirks as he had done hers, and their dynamic was a fun one that Mina enjoyed being part of.
"Seriously though, that sucks." She groaned, looking at the front cover of the comic with a longing stare. "This was awesome…"
"Lots of things can just…. Make good stories just stop happening." The freckled boy sighed, with a small, crooked smile. He'd made his peace with the loss of the comic a while ago. "There isn't a lot to be done about it, I guess. I don't know if I'd want another author to carry it on."
"Games have a one up in that respect then." Mina smirked. "I mean, if the developers know what they're doing, it's easier to pick off a game halfway through."
"I guess so." Izuku nodded. He looked over towards the clock that Mina kept on her desk, and felt his blood freeze for a moment. It was past midnight, and had gone far past the point that marked the next day on the calendar. "I should probably get going. It's much later than I thought it was."
Mina's eyes bounced towards the clock as well. "Oh, yikes. Lucky we're still on break."
Quickly, she helped him scoop up all of the comics that the two of them had spent the last few hours flipping through and reading, before helping him transfer everything back into his room. She'd grown familiar with the room, and how everything was laid out, so she knew exactly where to put the comics. He kept them tucked under his bed, in plastic containers that could house who knew how many books at once. Once they were all away, the two of them bid their goodbyes for the night, and she returned to her own room.
She let out a small sigh as she leaned against her now closed door once she was on the inside.
Really, she wasn't fooling anyone, was she?
Since she'd learned that the same Quirkless boy she had met was attending Yuuei, he had her curiosity, and it didn't even take him one full day to have her attention once he's shown off what a powerful Quirk he was working with. Where it had come from, Mina couldn't even begin to suspect. On their first day, she thought that maybe it wasn't him. Maybe she'd made a mistake.
Then, one day, she had seen him scribbling in a notebook. A quick glance into the contents, so he couldn't tell that she was looking, and it more or less confirmed his identity. There wasn't even a shadow of a doubt anymore. He was the same guy that she'd met all that time ago. So many questions, but she never approached him, for multiple reasons. The two of them were close now though. She couldn't complain. She had nothing to complain about. Everything about this situation was awesome, completely and utterly.
As she'd watched him though, something had begun stirring for her. It didn't take her too long to figure out what it was that was bubbling up inside her. It was something she had experienced only a couple of times since she'd seen him, and nothing had ever come of either, but she knew what it was. She was certain of it. She'd started to crush on Izuku.
And honestly, could anyone blame her? Just looking at everything that he'd done over the last year alone would be enough to make anyone's head spin. How many people he had saved, the number of Villains he'd fought in so many dangerous circumstances, how many times he'd been willing to risk everything, how many times he'd literally broken himself just to protect people. The sheer number of things that he had done was incredible. Who hadn't fallen for him? (The rest of her class, apparently, though in that case, what the hell was wrong with them?!)
It was hard to even gauge how such a guy would react to being told that they were liked by a girl like Mina. She would be the first to confess to being a little… Over the top at times. Bluntly put, she somewhat doubted that she was even his type. Someday, she wanted to tell him. Someday.
The pink girl scanned her room and let out another small sigh. It always seemed too empty when Izuku left, and quiet along with it. Empty and Quiet, two things Mina generally wasn't a fan of, or even really used to. She'd always been used to things being a bit more bombastic. Her home life was probably to blame for that.
Promptly, she changed out of her clothes and swapped into her night gear. Oddly though, she wasn't even remotely tired. Usually after a day like today, she'd be tuckered out, but she just didn't feel even the mildest tugs of drowsiness calling her. She debated turning on her games console and just blasting away a few pixels before she passed out.
That was when she saw it though.
It was slightly underneath her desk, and one of her chair legs had narrowly avoided skewering the thing. It had been out of the line of sight, and sort of blended in with the colour of the floor, so it would have been easy to miss. She blinked a couple of times, half convinced that her eyes were playing tricks on her. It seemed unlikely that he'd ever forget his notebook… Unless he'd thought that he'd scooped it up along with his comics.
The Acid Quirk user picked it up, and looked over the cover. Notebook number fifteen. She'd seen the contents of many of the others, so she had an idea of what was probably inside. For a moment, Mina just stared at it, debating if she should take it to him. She decided against it though. He would probably already be fast asleep.
She'd return it in the morning.
Without really thinking, she laid down on her bed and absently flipped through some of the pages. Again, Izuku had allowed her to look though the previous ones before, so she couldn't see him getting too upset at her looking through this one. To tell the truth, she admired Izuku a lot for his academic prowess and how much he was willing to put into this sort of thing. He really went all out in his desire to become a Hero, and these notebooks were just incredible. The level of detail, the theorizing and the knowledge that he had absorbed into his brain by writing all of this down was something to be admired. It felt impossible not to admire it.
This particular volume seemed to have a lot of notes about Hero Teams in the front, but lots and lots of Quirks in the middle. The more recent volumes of his notebooks had been focusing a lot on society and the changes, and the various advantages and disadvantages to such new unions. People, and how their various powers could interact and aid one another. A bit like he was putting together a jigsaw puzzle, in a sense. He'd been slacking slightly when it came to noting down straight forward Quirks. Reading those was always a lot of fun.
Atomic Enhancement. Lightning Clap. Adaptability. Gyroscopic Shielding. Wave. Star.
She couldn't help but chuckle at the detail every sketch and Quirk went into. "What a nerd." She fondly muttered, before turning the pages and reading what was next.
Bolt. Hammer. Blind Blink. Prime Wire. Barricade. Acid.
Mina had to blink a couple times and do a double check when she saw her own Quirk listed among the list, along with a fairly impressive sketch of her in that trademarked Izuku way that somehow, she just knew he'd spent a bit too long on – He had a surprisingly artistic side to him, apparently. What confused her was the fact she was in this book. She knew for a fact he'd seen her Quirk in multiple other volumes.
And this was the most recently drawn on page by the looks of things. The pages looked sort of clean, and there wasn't anything past them. No new inputs, anyway.
Curiosity made her read.
And what she read made her cheeks burn up, her mind spiral, and her heart race. Every word that she saw just increased those effects more and more and more. Every sentence.
Every apparent observation that Izuku had made. Every sentence he would use to describe her. That entire…. Page of recollection…
He could feel his feet ache, but it didn't matter – With One For All still flowing through his whole body, Izuku launched another attack, slamming his foot through the slightest opening in Kirishima's guard, striking him straight in the chest. It felt like kicking a boulder, even with his power enhancing Quirk. The energy that surged through Izuku aided in his attack, giving him momentum that he needed to hit his sparring opponent off of his rooted position.
The look on Kirishima's face was clearly one of surprise – Izuku had hit him in a spot that he had suspected was guarded, and that had thrown off his balance. Kinetic force did the rest of the work, and Izuku's strike was able to launch the Hardening Quirk user slightly off the ground. Not by much, but enough that his feet were off the ground as he was sent back about twenty meters. He skidded along the ground on his feet, though it wasn't a clean landing in any sense.
Hoping to get the next strike in before his opponent got his guard back up, Izuku launched another assault, leaping forward and launching a feint with his right fist, making it look like he was aiming to strike Kirishima's exposed head. In response, the red-haired student slammed his arms together to create a double forearm guard to block the strike.
Shoot Style came into play the second Izuku saw his feint worked. He flung his hand over the top of Kirishima's spiky hair, and launched a roundhouse kick into his side. The Hardening around that area was lesser, as the guard there hadn't been as important. The kick was solid, and Kirishima clearly felt it.
"Aak!" His guard fell, exposing him.
Moving quickly, Izuku then pushed into his chest as hard as he could with his hands, aiming to throw him off balance. It worked perfectly, and he then shoved.
Knocking his opponent right out of bounds.
"That's it - Kirishima's out!" Hagakure called out from her elevated seat, like she was refereeing a tennis match. The wristbands on her wrists flung up and down, indicating the invisible girl's arms were flailing as she shouted out the winner. "Midoriya wins!"
"Gah…. Damn it." Kirishima groaned, looking down for the first time and noticing that he was in fact, out of bounds.
Physical training and combat exercises were by no means compulsory during the break during the summer. It was supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation after all. Yet, no rules were in place against it either, and the USJ did remain open for the students who wished to make use of the facility. Several of the students did make use of it. Classes started up again in just a weeks' time, and they all wanted to be in tip-top shape. They needed to be. Who knew what Aizawa was going to throw at them first thing when they walked through that door and were welcomed to their second year. No one had any doubts that they were going to be in for twice as much hard work s their first year. Twice the pain.
Several of them were rusty. Many of them hadn't gotten the chance to have a proper spar against anyone else in a while. So this had been an excellent opportunity.
"You okay, Kirishima?" Izuku offered a hand to help up his friend, which Kirishima took immediately.
"Yeah, I'm fine. You just hurt my pride. And my ribs." The slightly taller boy joked, though he did have a hand over where Izuku's foot had struck him. "I keep forgetting that you changed over to a foot-focused style. You're getting good with it."
"I'm still getting used to it. I keep wanting to use my hands."
"Well fought either way, dude." As he spoke, Kirishima held his hands up, looking at his open palms. "I've still got a lot of training to do. My defence isn't nearly as solid as I thought it was. I'm not really much of a wall if I can be knocked back like that."
He couldn't carry on talking before he was suddenly, and rather abruptly pulled down towards a suddenly appearing short Frog Form Quirk users shoulder height, where his head was suddenly rested. Tsuyu was nearly a foot shorter than her boyfriend, and the sight of her appearing from nowhere to pull him into what Izuku could only really describe as a hug of reassurance, in which one of her large hands was wrapped around and patting the back of his neck, while the other patted the top of his head, was… Nothing short of entertaining, to say the very least.
"Don't beat yourself up too much, Eiji." Tsuyu said comfortingly. She was no doubt aware of the self-confidence issues that her boyfriend faced, and knew he may let even a small loss like this bug him if he let it.
"Don't pat the hair. You'll ruin the spikes." Kirishima muttered, though he didn't make any effort to leave the Frog Girls embrace.
Izuku could only laugh gently at the pair of them. He turned his head around, and looked at the various people training around the place. Kacchan and Uraraka were sparring, the Explosion Quirk user shouting off vulgar obscenities which, if he was screaming them at anyone other than Uraraka, would probably indicate his murderous intent. Instead, it only seemed to fire the pair of them up more than ever before. He saw the blonde set off a vicious explosion. If he were fighting anyone else, Izuku would be worried. Uraraka though? She'd handle it.
Most of their classmates were there. It had been an outing that the majority of them had planned out and agreed on. Ojiro was facing off against Sero, trying to better his combat skills against ranged attackers. Aoyama was shooting his laser while Todoroki defended, utilizing his ice to increase his reaction time. He could see Kaminari trading jabs with Fumikage, the latter attempting to gain better defensive control over his Dark Shadow. And on the outskirts, Iida was going against Jirou and Yaoyorozu both, the two girlfriends attempting to find a way to combine their Quirks against an opponent who simply out-sped them and their normal combinations. Everyone was there, doing their best to improve.
Everyone except Mina.
Well, that wasn't entirely accurate. Mineta and Sato weren't here either, but in their cases, it was because they weren't back at the dorms yet. She was the only one not here out of sheer choice. A choice which had Izuku confused. More confusing was the fact that he hadn't seen her all day, at all. Kaminari had mentioned going to grab her, but he said she just responded that she wasn't coming. Apparently, she hadn't even opened the door, and that was all that she had given him in terms of any answer. There hadn't been any time for Izuku to check on her before the group had to leave.
"Hey, uh, Asui?"
"It's still Tsuyu, Midoriya. What's up?"
"You uh, you haven't seen Mina today, have you?"
Tsuyu had been awake before Izuku, on account of his late night stay up with the pink girl, so Izuku thought it might be possible that she had seen Mina while he was still asleep.
That idea was shot down quickly though. "No, I haven't seen her all day. Kaminari said she was holed up in her room, didn't he?"
"I haven't seen her either." Kirishima added on. From his position, he did the closest thing possible that could charitably be called shrugging his shoulders. "Seems weird for her."
"Yeah… That's why I'm worried." Izuku admitted, folding his arms, and biting on his thumb. He had a couple of guesses that he could roll out. She had fallen ill, or she'd received a call or something along those lines from her family that was nothing but bad news and had soured her mood. Both would be valid reasons not to come along, but neither of them warranted her just shooing away Kaminari like he claimed she had.
Maybe something had gotten her in a bad mood? But if that was the case, what had so thoroughly irritated her?
Outside those three assumptions, Izuku didn't really have a clue what was wrong with her. In hindsight, he regretted not going and checking up on her himself, but in the heat of the moment, with the Electrification Quirk user just telling him not to bother, he'd decided against it.
Now though, curiosity and worry had made their voices heard, and Izuku was wishing he'd listened to them earlier. It wasn't like Mina to pass up on something like this, and the more he thought about how out of character it was for her, the more worried he ended up making himself. And the more he cursed himself for not doing anything about it.
That was going to have to change once he got back to the dorms. Somehow, he felt that he was going to be one of the only people that was going to be able to do anything for her. He didn't know why, but he just had that feeling in his gut.
Maybe right now, she needed a friend.
Izuku found himself outside Mina's door at about four in the afternoon. The trip to the USJ had been an all-day thing, and the students had remained there for as long as they were able to get away with, before they had to be forced out of the building by the caretakers and teachers, wanting to start setting things up for the new year. That entire time, Mina had been on Izuku's mind, the green-haired boy trying to figure out what he was going to say to the horned girl. How he was going to figure out what was bothering her, and what he was going to do to offer his help.
All the theories in the world didn't make sense of her actions. No matter what he thought, no matter how he tried to see things from her perspective, no matter how hard he tried… He just couldn't make sense of it.
He'd beelined straight for her room, wanting to try to figure out exactly what was wrong.
Though he stopped once he got there. And gulped.
Somehow, the door seemed bigger than he remembered it being. It felt like it was towering over him, looking down on he who dared to even approach it, and those who dwelled on the other side. It suddenly seemed enormous, like it was somehow looking down on him, like he was inferior to what was just wood with white paint on it. He literally shook those thoughts out of his head. It was just in his brain. That was all.
Still, he hesitated to knock. He didn't really know why. A part of him maybe thought that this was his fault, that he had somehow done something that had made her end up reclusive. Had he somehow offended her? Nothing he thought of he could see honestly upsetting her. If he had, he would apologize for it, without question or hesitation. He would try to understand how and why this had been why she had reacted, and he would do anything within his power to try to atone for it. If he hadn't upset her, he'd still do everything in his power to try to help her with whatever the problem was.
Taking a deep breath, he outreached his hand, and then knocked on the door, four times.
To no reply.
Several seconds passed, and there was absolutely no response from the other side. He couldn't hear any shuffling, no voice telling him to wait, no clattering, or even any footsteps. Just pure silence. And a lot of the tension was suddenly just gone.
Was she even in the room?
He knocked again, and still, there was no response. "M… Mina?"
Izuku suddenly pressed his ear against her door, and once again, he heard absolutely nothing whatsoever. Nothing to indicate that anyone was even in the room. Maybe she wasn't even in the room anymore. The mystery surrounding this girl today just seemed to be getting more and more complicated. Maybe she had gone out while the rest of the dorm had been at the USJ? That seemed like the easiest conclusion to come up with.
So naturally, there was no way that it could possibly be that.
Was she actually just in there, silently ignoring Izuku's voice and what he was saying? Was she just blanking him? Had she even moved from the place she'd been at when Kaminari had come to check on her hours ago? Three options existed right now. Either Mina was outside of the Yuuei schoolgrounds entirely, she had left and was wandering around the campus, or she was locked up in her room still.
Those were good odds.
"I…. Mina? I, uh… A-Are you alright?" Like he expected, he didn't get a reply. "R… Right… Um… Listen, if you're, you know… In there, and something's bothering you… You can talk to me, you know? We… We're friends, right?"
Again, there wasn't a response. It only just now struck Izuku as a possibility that he was talking to an empty room
"Right… Uh… Well, I… If you are in there, I… Guess you want to be left alone? This is a… Weird way to talk to someone." He paused, suddenly feeling awkward, and hoping that no one could actually see him. "I… I'll be in my room if you need me for anything. Or you can text me, or… Just…. You know, let me know that you're okay, okay?" He wasn't able to disguise the worry that was in his voice. He was worried, but there wasn't anything that he could do.
With a heavy heart, he left Mina's door alone, and returned to his own room.
The only thing that Izuku could think to do was send Mina a text, to repeat what he had said outside her room, to let her know that if she needed it, she could approach him and let him know what was bothering her. But like at her door, Izuku had gotten no response, and no reply.
Every time he checked his phone, he was greeted with that black screen, that informed him that he had no new messages. That Mina hadn't responded. Every time he saw it, the only thing that he could do was let out a disappointed sigh.
Worry was at the forefront of his mind, and there wasn't really much else he could do. Short of kicking down her front door – Which he seriously doubted she would appreciate, even if she was in mortal danger – He couldn't think to do anything else. He could go outside and leap onto her veranda, he supposed, but if she really didn't want to see him at all, then that would only service to anger her further.
It was why she was angry that the mystery truly was. And the answer, he just did not have at all.
He took a swig of bottled water that he kept at his desk, and punched in a few keys on his keyboard. The monitor lit up, and he scrolled over some of the news and Villain sightings that had shown up in the last twenty-four hours. Someone with a Gigantification Quirk, a known Villain whom possessed some sort of Telepathic Quirk, and a Fire based Quirk. Nothing he hadn't already put into his notebook, or worth committing to memory. If he were being honest, even if there was something worth committing to memory, his mind was so full of other, more important things, he couldn't really bring himself to care too much to note down any Quirks. He didn't have the focus. He couldn't really focus on it.
All he was doing was trying to kill time. To the hopeful hour that Mina would eventually send him some kind of message. Or at least just let him know that she was okay.
A whole year it had taken him to be able to get onto good terms with Mina. One whole year of doing the absolute best that he could in classes and in the world of Heroism surrounding him, and only a few months ago had the pair of them even been able to start talking again. He was so acutely aware of this fact. So aware.
All he could think of now was how aware he was that it felt like he was going to lose that.
The more rational part of his head was telling him to calm down. She hadn't spoken to him for one whole day – That wasn't cause for concern. Looking back, he could almost call himself clingy. There could be any number of reasons for her lack of response. There wasn't any need for all of this doom and gloom outlook on things. Was it just him being clingy?
Perhaps it was all just down to paranoia… Then again, after how lucky he was to even have met her again at all? How lucky he was to meet her at Yuuei, and get the opportunity to be in her class in the first place? With how precarious it all was, he felt somewhat justified in his paranoia. He felt if someone understood just how much that Mina meant to him, they would be able to see that he was so very concerned about their friendship, about her as a person, about her health and safety. That from that, they could understand his worries and borderline paranoia.
Or they'd just see him as complete insane. One of the other.
At this point, he questioned which one he saw himself as.
The very moment that thought got into his head, Izuku was brought out of this train of thought by the sound of three taps on his door echoing throughout his room. For a moment, he sat there, looking at his door, half expecting Mina to just barge right in as she normally would do if it was her. But nothing happened. He could feel disappointment hit him in the gut as the seconds passed.
"Hold up." He called out, unable to hide the let-down in his tone. He quickly turned off the monitor of his computer, and got onto his feet, and made his way towards the door. He didn't have the first idea who it was or what they would want from him.
He didn't think twice as he opened the door wide to address whoever had come calling.
Standing there was Mina.
Izuku actually needed to take a couple of seconds to register who it was that was stood in front of him. By the time he realized that it was Mina, he then needed a few seconds more to register what she was wearing. He recognized that she had thrown on her favourite shirt, a dark purple one with the word Acid in pink, written across the chest. Over that, she had decided to put on a black hoodie, though the zip was undone. Across her right shoulder was a bag-purse, that landed around her waistline. A blue skirt that to the untrained eye could somewhat resemble the Yuuei standard uniform's, though it was longer, and a lighter shade.
Alongside this, she also wore thin, knee-high socks, that looked like tights until someone saw the crop off. Mina hadn't ever been the sort of person to wear high heels, and this wasn't any sort of exception. Instead, what she wore were more like loafers than they were anything even remotely feminine, and they had that purple and blue camo-pattern that she was so fond of. This didn't even account for the various accessories that Mina likes to throw on – She'd coloured her nails black with what he assumed to be removable nail vanish, wristbands, and even one that she had wrapped around her left horn.
She looked ready for a night on the town.
"M-Mina?" Izuku blinked a few times when he fully registered that it was his friend stood right in front of him, looking up at him, without much expression on her face. She was nearly never this unreadable. Her face was far too animated, and herself too expressive for that.
It was slightly unsettling. Still, he had been hoping that she would actually show up, and he wasn't going to let his surprise stop him from actually asking the questions that had been on his mind.
"What – Where have you – What's with – "He wanted to ask where she had been all day, and why she was wearing what she was, and almost tried to combine the two. Instead of asking either, he wound up saying nothing, before he bit his lower lip and forced himself to speak in proper sentences. "I… Where have you b-been all day? I've been worried about you…"
The pink girl didn't respond. Instead, her eyebrows just seemed to bury deeper into her eyes. It hovered on the line, somewhere between a glare, and an apprehensive look. She didn't say a word. She just looked at the slightly taller boy.
He felt himself gulp. "Uh… what… What's with your… Clothes? A-Are you going somewhere?"
He could see it. The first showing of any sort of emotion from her. When it came to Mina, a lot of her emotion came from her body language, but she was nearly as still as a statue, so the next best thing were her black eyes. Somehow, despite their unusual colouring, they were able to convey emotions even more than someone who had sclera of the traditional pallet. She quickly shifted her eyes away from his, and looked over to the side;
Anticipation. Suddenly, the cold feeling she was giving off instantly evaporated when he saw the curls of a small smile at the edge of her lips. But there was still something odd about it. Like it was wavering between the highest high, and the lowest low. Describing the look on her face was difficult.
He then saw her arms move outwards, and before he knew it, he could see the object she had held behind her back, now held at arm's length for him to take.
Neither of them moved for a solid fifteen seconds, as Izuku's eyes slowly opened up wider and wider as his brain quickly put all of the pieces together. He recognized the notebook. It wasn't just one of the many he kept for reference. It was his current one, but what it contained actually took him a few seconds longer to remember, almost like his entire mind was lagging behind the rest of him.
He looked at Mina, and then back at the notebook.
He then looked at Mina again. Her cheeks were a tint of lilac against the pink that the rest of her skin was. He could tell that she wanted to look away. She didn't though. She forced herself to keep looking at him. Not to look away.
And then he went dark scarlet red. The implications were crystal clear.
She had read the entries about her. She had read the love letter.
She had seen his confession.
She knew. Everything.
Every observation he had been making about her. Everything that he'd compared to her. Every single thought that he'd written down about her. Everything in that book… She knew. She'd seen. Every single word.
Suddenly, her absences all day made sense. And he suddenly wanted to just lock himself up and just hide until he ends of time.
For her part, Mina looked at him with a soft smile, and managed to actually speak. "…Midori, I… I had…" The words seemed to struggle to come out, but she managed to force them. "… I had no idea…"
Izuku had no idea how to respond to that. He didn't know what to say. He could feel himself on thin ice here, and whatever he said next could completely change everything. All it would take was one word for that ice to crack.
Frankly, he was too nervous to speak. The words just turned into nothingness in his throat.
"…I …I read everything." She confirmed, fighting that desire to turn away with everything that she had. With her hands, she flipped open the notepad to the pages she was referring to, and looked over them again. Izuku could see her blush increase as she read everything. "Everything that you… Said about me. It… Meant a lot. If I'd known that that was how you felt…" She looked up to him. "…Why didn't you say something?"
"I-I'm sorry." It was the only thing Izuku could fore out. "I-I didn't… I – "
"Izuku." The use of his first name silenced him instantly. Mina lowered the book to her side, and asked, "If I wanted to an apology, do you think I would have spent all day picking out an outfit and working up the nerve to even come here?"
The pink girl shifted weight onto her left leg, and finally averted her eyes to the side, but she didn't turn away. Izuku was able to see that the lilac on her cheeks was brighter, but there also seemed to be less of it. Her right hand left had side, and grabbed hold of her left forearm. Shyness wasn't really something that Mina ever displayed.
In truth, a lot of oddities right now showed that she was just as anxious about this as he was. One could have guessed that she would have utilized the opportunity to tease Izuku, to make him feel flustered and embarrassed before she eventually dragged him out and admitted she liked him too. Lots of people in their class honestly had suspected Mina would be the one to make the first move, and would have been incredibly matter-of-fact about it, saying it and admitting it like it wasn't that big of a deal. No one ever really suspected Mina of even really being capable of shyness.
But it served to highlight the honest truth about her. That even though she knew that really, she had nothing to worry about, confessing to a person that she liked was still a nerve wrecking experience for her. That even when there was no reason to be afraid, she still felt her nerves take over.
She was just like Izuku. Even when she had no reason to worry, anxiety and fluster had their grips on her, just as they did any other person. She wasn't a carefree machine. She did care. Cared a huge amount, evidentially.
Once all the pieces were put together, Izuku felt his heart flutter, as opposed to pumping faster. Mina didn't even need to explicitly state it. He knew what this was.
"…I..." He bit his lip and let out a small sigh. "…This isn't… How I wanted you to find out…"
Not from his book. Not on accident. That hadn't been how Izuku wanted this to happen. He'd been formulating, and trying to figure out the best way that fully encapsulated how he felt about Mina. She deserved to know the full extent of his affections, and he had wanted it to be the perfect display. He wanted her to know exactly how much he cared about her, and he had wanted it to be on his terms.
Not from a notebook that made him look like a stalker obsessive. He had every being in existence to thank for the act that Mina knew him well enough to know that he wasn't like that.
"…Then go ahead." She returned her gaze onto him, the same small smile still on her lips.
He looked at her. "H-Huh?"
"You said this wasn't the way that you wanted me to find out… So, how did you want me to find out? If you had some sort of… Plan or something… Then, now's a good time for it."
His face went redder than ever. "I… I didn't really… Have a plan to be honest. I-I was trying to figure something out…"
"…It wasn't when we were kids I started liking you, you know." Mina told him. "I… I mean, I barely even recognized you when I first saw you. I just remembered your name and that you didn't have a Quirk."
Izuku couldn't stop himself from letting out a small chuckle. That seemed to be what most people remembered about him. He couldn't blame her.
"It wasn't your Quirk either. It wasn't your looks either. It wasn't…" She paused. "… You're just this… Really incredible person at the end of the day. You put so much passion into everything, and you work so freaking hard. You didn't even let your own bones breaking stop you. And… When I think back to meeting you for the first time, and how you just looked so… Broken, and then I compare you to how you are now… How am I not supposed to admire that?"
"How can't I just think 'Wow, what a guy.'? I can't, that's how. I wanted to reach out to you… But t the same time, you worked so hard, and I didn't want to distract you. You deserved to be able to finally focus on achieving your dream. You wanted to be a Hero… And I didn't want to get in the way of that. So, when Kirishima and Uraraka pulled that trick they did… I was actually really happy. Because I had a chance to just talk to you… I finally got to tell you that I hadn't forgotten… And by that point I already..."
A moment of silence.
"…Had fallen for you."
For a moment, Izuku and Mina just stood there, looking at one another, without saying anything else. His heart didn't hurt anymore, and a lot of his anxiety… It was just gone. Mina had just opened her heart up to him…
Suddenly, an idea came into his head.
"Just… Wait here for a second." He told her, before turning around and re-entering his own room.
That certainly hadn't been the response Mina had been expecting. She stood there, sort of awkwardly leaning so that she could see into Izuku's room, to see if she could spy at whatever it was that he was doing. She saw him rummaging at something in his desk, which caused her to raise her eyebrows.
It only took him about fifteen seconds before he returned to her. In his hands, a framed image. She recognized what it was immediately.
The note she had written him. Six years ago, in a hurry as her parents called her to leave the place, never to return there again.
Five words that Izuku claimed to have changed his entire life. 'You Can Be a Hero.'
"…You… You don't know how much what you said meant to me back then." He said, simply, and honestly. "…My… My Quirk isn't… Really conventional, I-I know that. With my Quirk, being a Hero is… Going to be difficult. It could even end up being impossible… But… No one ever told me that I could even try when I was growing up."
A short pause.
"…My own mother couldn't even tell me that I could be a Hero." It was a sore memory for him, but he understood why she hadn't been able to tell him, even when it had been what he'd wanted to hear. What he'd needed to hear. His mother wouldn't lie to him…
He could see the look that Mina gave him. Sympathy, more than anything.
"…I know I've told you this before, and you… You read it in my notebook… But the day you met me was the day I had finally given up. How could someone Quirkless ever be a Hero?... How could someone like me become someone like the Heroes I admired? No one around me even gave me a second thought…. You were the first person to tell me that I could be a Hero.
You can be a Hero… Mina… You…. I could stand here all day telling you, but… I'd never be able to fully express how much you saved me just from saying that…. And I never even got to thank you for it… So… Thank you. You… You're the reason I kept trying. So, thank you…"
"…I've liked you since I met you." He finally admitted to her, his confession tumbling out along with the rest of the words. "I…I've always wanted to be able to tell you that, but I never approached you because I was worried that you wouldn't remember me… And it just… I couldn't bare that thought. I didn't want to hear it. As long as I didn't hear it, I could just… Pretend that there was still this opportunity… But you did remember me.
You… You're incredible. Your Quirk and how you want to help people… You really try hard when you need to. You... You stand up for people… You help people… You helped me…"
"…You saved me." He smiled. "…Five words was all it took."
Mina just looked at him. And then promptly burst into a sudden and unexpected fit of giggles.
"I-I'm sorry, you just – Pffft!" Mina suddenly lost any sense of anxiety or tension, and clutched at her side, keeling over and laughing without any control whatsoever. "D-Do you know how freaking cheesy that all was?!"
"I-I was just being honest!"
"That makes it so much better!" She erupted in laughter again, though she did try her hardest to stop herself. It made her laugh even harder though, and for a moment, she really thought that her sides were about to split open. "Pfft! Y-You freakin' dork!"
Her laughter had a habit of being infectious. Awkwardness was just gone from Izuku, and suddenly he found himself chuckling, which suddenly became full blown laughter too. "Y-You're the one who showed up here like this! You started it!"
"Yeah, cause the worlds biggest sap had to write all his feelings down like a diary – You're the biggest dope I think I know!"
The pair of them found themselves laughing for at least a solid minute, quickly evolving into snorts and chuckles that overtook their ability to speak. Any and all tension or anxiety had been shot straight out of a cannon without a wave goodbye as they both lost their minds with relief and laughter.
When Mina finally forced herself to calm down, she took a couple of deep breaths, and held Izuku's notebook, and framed note, out for him to take. "Come on, grab a jacket. We're headed out."
"Do you think I put on this outfit for a joke, dude?" Mina smirked. "Date night, you and me, right now! C'mon!"
Though the green-haired boy blushed, he nodded, and returned into his room. He placed the note and the frame on his desk, and picked up a dark green jacket that he kept in his wardrobe, re-joined Mina, and suddenly found his hand within hers, and was dragged down the corridor to the exit.
If someone had asked him when he was younger if he thought that five words could so drastically change someone's life, he would have said that he thought that idea was absurd. That was before he met Mina though. Before All Might gave him his power. And he had both of them to thank, but to him, Mina was the main reason.
Without her, he may not have even kept up his efforts, and that might have meant he never even met All Might.
Small gestures like that were all it took.
Five words were all it took to change everything for him.
And that is this monster done – This was originally supposed to just be a short thing, but it sure as hell took a lot longer to finish than I thought it would. Feels good to have a completed Minadeku story out there, after everything.
Five words was really just designed to be fluffy as a bit of an outlet for all the darks tuff I write, and I'm happy with how it turned out. I think it was a nice little take on the Childhood friends tope, and I think I learned a lot from it. I don't necessarily think it's the best thing I've ever written, but I think it's absolutely something that I can be proud of.
Thank you to everyone for being so patient with me on this story – It took far longer than expected and I appreciate all the patience you've all had with me.
If you enjoyed this story, you should check out the other stuff that I've done – Awkward Energy, which is my main story, First Generation, a look at the world if the characters were the first people in the world to have Quirks, Immortal Hero, an Ajin crossover where Izuku is immortal, And of course, you can also check out the Izumina week oneshots.
If you like the stuff I write, you can follow me on Tumblr, QuirkQuartz, as well as the MinaDeku blog, where I post more stuff like fics and artwork regarding these two fluffy dorks. If you enjoy what I do, then please consider supporting me on Pat Reon, for as little or as much as you want to. This story wouldn't have been able to be made without support from everyone on there, so I thank everyone who donates – But by no means should you feel compelled to.
Thank you all for following Five Words – And I'll see you in whatever I make next – See you guys!