Ochako Uraraka was always a driven individual, striving to work as hard as she possibly could in order to give her parents an easier life. Yet, for the life of her, as she faced her homeroom teacher, Shouta Aizawa, her eyes would always wander toward the left side of the classroom. There, she would see a classmate of hers, a boy her age named Izuku Midoriya.
She didn't even know why she did this. As she drummed her fingers on her desk, she pondered, Maybe I'm still thinking about what Mina said back when we moved into our dorms, but why? It's not like I lo- She stopped to shake her head in denial before continuing her reasoning. I don't like him like that… Right? Ugh, why are teenage emotions so complicated?! Unable to sort her feelings, she pressed her head against the desk. Unfortunately, Shouta noticed immediately.
"Hey, Uraraka. Get your head up. If I can't rest, neither will you."
Her head snapped back to its original position, and she became aware of twenty pairs of eyes staring at her. Instinctually, she glanced towards the left side of the classroom.
For a moment, her eyes met Izuku's, and she found herself unable to look away, as if his hair was comprised of snakes and his very appearance would turn her into stone. For what felt like an eternity, her mind were lost in his features. His wild, unkempt locks of hair, his wide eyes that revealed his mild surprise, and his numerous freckles all captured her attention and refused to let go without a struggle.
Desperate to not look flustered, she jerked her head towards Shouta and quickly apologized. Izuku couldn't help but assess what had just happened. Why was she looking towards me? She seemed uneasy, but about what? "Could it be that there's something wrong with my appearance today? If so, what? I don't recall doing anything different, but maybe the wind shifted my hair, or-"
Behind him, Momo Yaoyorozu tapped his shoulder, breaking him out of his trance, and apologetically stated, "Midoriya, you're starting to mumbling again."
"Wait, I was?"
After that mishap of a Monday morning, Ochako couldn't wait for lunch. Though, were it not for Tenya's presence, she wouldn't have sat at the same table as Izuku due to embarrassment. Even then, she tried to avoid direct eye contact with the latter. With the lunch period nearly over, she thought that the rest of the day could be normal, but then a pink arm slung around her.
Mina Ashido exclaimed, "Hi there, Uraraka! Mind if I sit with you guys for a bit?" Tenya and Izuku nodded their heads in approval.
"Ah, sure, but why? Lunch's about to end."
"Well, I was wondering if I could ask you something?" Her smile seemed innocuous enough that Ochako felt that there'd be no harm to answering it.
"What's it about?"
"Well, I was hoping that you'd tell me why you were staring at Midoriya earlier this morning. Do you have a thing for him?" Despite Mina keeping the same smile as before, Ochako now saw the wicked intent lying behind it, now too late to retract her agreement.
Both Ochako and Izuku felt their faces flush furiously as their minds raced kilometers a second, thinking of anything they could do, anything they could say, to escape this predicament they were in.
Tenya rose from his seat and addressed the pink-skinned girl. "That's enough! There's no need for you to spur turmoil between fellow classmates!"
"I just want to know what's going on between them, Iida! Don't be a spoilsport. They're your friends, too. Wouldn't you want to know?"
Izuku was the first of the two put on the spotlight to speak a semi-coherent answer.
"U-uraraka?! With me?!"
Ochako followed quickly with her own argument. "N-no! It's not like that, Mina!"
"Really? Cuz it seems like that to me. If it's not, mind telling me what it is?" She pouted and rested her hands on her hips, unconvinced.
Ochako was rendered speechless. She could've been given a minute, an hour, even a day, but she still couldn't find a way to answer her question.
Izuku could barely think of an answer as well. Instead, he thought back to how she saved him from falling to his death the day they first met, how she changed his nickname, Deku, from an insult to a name dear enough to him that he would be willing to be known by it, and how selfless she was in risking her life working as a hero to ensure that her parents would live easily once she became a pro. She was already a hero to him. He felt satisfied simply being around her, and he thought that even attempting to be anything more would jeopardize their relationship. Friends, he thought, an answer forming in his mind.
Unfitting of his meek appearance, Izuku slammed his hand on the table to get their attention. Determined, he faced Mina and declared, "Uraraka… she's the first true friend I ever had!"
Flabbergasted, the horned student could only mutter, "What?"
"She's been there for me since even before I got into U.A. High. She's always encouraging me to work harder, to be a better hero than I am now, even if she isn't aware of it, and I'd trust her with my life."
Ochako felt her eyes start to water, and she cried out, "Deku… you really think that highly of me? B-but you're so strong and selfless! You'd let yourself get hurt over and over again just to help one person! If anything, you're my inspiration."
It was Izuku's turn to start tearing up, and he stated, "Really?! Well, I guess you're my best friend. I never really had one before, but… I hope we'll always keep each other company."
Ochako wiped her tears away as she added, "I guess that makes you my best friend as well. May nothing ever stop us from being friends." Their right hands clasped together and shook as if they made a legal agreement. Although tears still streamed from their eyes, they were genuinely happy.
Mina couldn't believe what she was hearing. She wanted them to confess, but what she wanted was for them to declare their love for each other, not cement their companionship! In frustration, she paced back to discuss this new development with her horn-buddy, Eijirou Kirishima, who couldn't help but ask her why she was so angry.
"So, uh, what happened back there that's got you mad?"
Mina's eyes stared down at the table. "Kirishima, I tried to get them to admit their feelings, and all they've admitted is that each other's best friends!"
He tilted his head in confusion. "Uh, isn't that a good thing? After all, that means that they're very close to each other."
Suddenly, her head jerked up to face Eijirou. "That's the problem, Kirishima! If they see each other as best friends, neither one will try to make the first move because they're afraid of losing each other! Do you not know how love between friends works?!"
He shook his head. "No, not really. I've never been one to watch romance."
She sighed and facepalmed. "Well, it seems that if they're not going to get together on their own terms, we might have to play matchmaker."
"Count me in, Mina! I'd do anything to get those two together. They're practically made for loving each other!" His toothy grin comforted her, and she returned in kind.
The school bell rang, signaling the end of the lunch period. As the two walked out of the cafeteria, Eijirou mumbled, "Still... I'm bothered by what he said."
Mina craned her head to face him. "Who?"
"All Might. He said that we'd be working in pairs in a few days, but for what?"
"Who cares? Though it'd be perfect if Midoriya and Uraraka were paired up."
That day was the first day Izuku and Ochako admitted that they were best friends. It certainly wouldn't be the last, given the teasing of their peers, but the day even one of them would see themselves as something more had yet to come.
A/N: Hello, fellows! I know it's been a long time since I last posted, and I apologize to the people waiting for the next chapter of "All for Her". I just lost the drive, the motivation, even the love of writing to write back then. I had ideas spanning out to the point where the manga was, but I didn't know how to get there. While comments earnestly asking for more made me smile, I loathed myself for not actively writing. Izuocha week changed that. Writing these prompts, I found the drive to write in spite of the limited time I have. What more, I found the passion for writing that I thought I lost. Again, I'm sorry for those who waited 6 long months for AfH, but I'm back now and ready to keep weaving a tale I had long stopped working on. First, just let me write seven chapters for a ship that has always left me smiling, is that okay?