“Hey Kami. How exactly does your fried state work?”
Kaminari froze, head snapping up, looking away from the math homework he was trying to work through, and seeing a probably very well meaning Mina standing next to an equally caring and curious Ochako. A quick glance around the classroom revealed that everyone had heard the question and were now listening and looking at him with varying levels of interest.
Forcing his gaze back to the two girls eyes Kaminari fidgeted for a bit, already restless enough from trying to remain focused on completing his homework. This was a topic that he just about hated with a passion. He hated the side effects of his quirk, he hated how utterly useless he was, he despised his quirk at times, despised how weak he was, how he desperately wanted to be able to get through one -just one- heroics lesson without being reduced to a drooling mess that forced his friends to take care of him after he fucked up, the confusion the few seconds after he came to in a new place before realizing how much he had fucked up again.
He didn't want them to know. Not when he knew how much some people would react to knowing how bad his Electrically Fried state got.
Looking at his friends curious and genuinely caring faces made him want to tell them everything, to just tell them how much he hated it, how much it hurt him, but telling them meant explaining everything and putting to words just how terrible it all was for him, meant admitting that he couldn’t even handle his own quirk, much less his own life .
He must have been silent for too long because Mina and Ochako exchanged a quick, panicked, glance that basically screamed, ‘help I don’t know what I did wrong but I’m sorry’ ‘fix it,’ . Before they frantically stumbled over each others words as well as their own, trying to explain why they would ask that type of question.
“We were just-”
“We were trying to figure-”
They froze, Asui sighed tiredly, and Mina shut her mouth with a wince and another apology while Ochako hid her burning face in her hands, mumbling apologies under her breath. With a blank face Asui hit both of them lightly over the head to get them to calm down before gesturing to Kaminari who was still blankly staring at them.
“He can’t- kerro -understand what you’re saying so he can’t answer, kerro ”
After a few more false starts most of the rest of the class paid less attention to them so that they could get through it without completely crumbling under the attention, while the two seemed to finally decide how to best explain.
“We were just discussing drawbacks or side effects of quirks and how they affect everyone, and you were one of the ones whose side-effect was kind of unknown other than the fact that it-kind-of-makes-you-stupid-and-like-completely-derpy-and-oh-my-god-that’s-so-mean-but-that’s-all-i-can-describe-it-as-and-I’m-sorry” Ochako slowly descended into mashed together words and obvious mortification at some of the
(facts because fuck knows he is stupid and that it gets worse when everything is blurry and hurts hurts hurts and every movement burns his muscles with the overuse of the electricity that flows through him) words she had used to describe Denki.
Kirishima quickly made his way over to Ochako and began to calm her down while simultaneously asking her not to call Kaminari stupid again. Sero helping as much as he could while also trying to subtly check to make sure Denki was ok.
Jirou and a few of the others didn’t quite understand why Kirishima was so upset about someone calling Kaminari stupid and derpy, it wasn’t that big of a deal, he got called at least one of them good-naturedly everyday.
Kirishima and Sero did though.
They were the only people who had witnessed how hard he pushed himself to do well, how much he struggled because he could never just fucking focus on the work in front of him, how he had worked himself up to panic attacks about it all, how he went for days without sleep trying so hard to finish his work, to understand it . How it was just a continuous cycle of trying his best and failing, Kirishima was the one who had held him as his quirk went haywire and he couldn’t stop it, but just wanted to be held and loved and to have someone there grounding him, and Kirishima was the only one who could, thanks to his quirk, Sero and Kiri were both there when he couldn't stop dropping things when his hands went numb or when moving hurt . They helped him take care of his burns and did research with him to help him understand so many things.
They let him cry and they saw him at his worst and they stayed and they were there for him.
They reassured him when he had gone too long and too hard training and had short-circuited himself so much that he had forgotten what the year was, or how old he was and he freaked out because, what if one day I short-circuit so badly I forget everyone? What if I forget who I am? . They helped pick up the pieces when all he heard of Jirou’s sarcasm and teasing were the negative things and his fucked up head took it seriously. They helped him remember the small things that slipped his mind, and helped him to concentrate whenever they could, but they also knew when concentrating on one thing was too much for him, when his brain was going to explode from too much non-activity, when he hyper-focused on his games or music and forgot to take care of himself.
So they understood why he might be upset. They also knew how much Denki really didn’t want to answer this question. At least not honestly.
Kaminari Denki plastered on a smile that felt like it was cut into his face and laughed it all off, a laugh that wasn’t reflected by his eyes, dead and sad that they were. (but that was ok, it wasn’t a big deal, he would get through it eventually) He waved away Ochako's mortification and apologies and Mina’s slightly worried look, and just responded with his usual all out theatrics.
He flopped onto Mina’s lap and cried out, flailing his arms before throwing them dramatically over his eyes, “Alas you’ve discovered my secret. I become handsomer with every use of my quirk. You know how I get this gorgeous now, whatever shall I do?” He groaned in faked exasperation. He would wait to tell the rest of the class.
As he met Midoriya’s eyes across the room, watching him carefully and with barely concealed worry Kaminari figured that he would need to do it soon, after all, Midoriya no doubt knew, with how smart he was, just how electricity works. As he threw his laughing
(frightened) gaze across the classroom he caught Momo giving him a similar look. Of course they would figure it out, and with how Iida had his brow furrowed, he likely had suspicions as well.
After all, no one was completely immune to their quirks.
And Electricity Lightning was every bit as dangerous to him as it was to those caught in it’s crossfire.
The scars that ran up his body in the shape of lightning bolts proved that.
His addled mind proved that.
But like hell that was going to stop him from protecting his friends, from being a hero.
As his bad mood started to lift, not gone completely, it never was, but enough that Denki was no longer drowning. He watched his classmates, watched as the conversation was left behind and allowed some of his classmates antics draw a real laugh from him. He closed his eyes simply and figured that ‘yeah, I’ll tell them one day, but not now.’
In the meantime, he would continue giving it his all.
He would continue helping others when he could, he would keep training, he would keep learning, he would keep trying to improving himself.
He would continue being the funny one, because when others had dark days, the least he could do was try and give them a few laughs. He wasn’t completely stupid, he knew he couldn’t help as well as others, he knew he couldn’t make everyone laugh, but that was what he strove to do.
He was The Stun-gun Hero: Chargebolt, capable of putting a smile on most everyone’s face.
He had his own type of shock appeal. Because dammit all if he was going to let the chance to use his quirk to help. Sure, he might not always be the happiest. But he still genuinely loved his friends and helping others, he still loved making jokes, he might have bad days, but that wasn’t all he was, he was still Kaminari Denki, and he could tame his own quirk, no he hadn’t figured it out yet and his friends did deserve that explanation, but he wasn’t going to burden them with that right now. No, everthing would be fine.