Chapter 1: First Meeting
"So, she's here already?"
"Is she coming in?"
"Somebody from America! I'm super psyched!"
Nezu swung about in his chair at the sound of the voices clamoring behind him. He steepled his fingers and grinned at the grouping of teachers clustered in front of his desk. "She arrived... ah, here we are," he murmured, taking his phone up to glance briefly at it. "In our district early this morning. She just texted me to let me know she'll be here after classes. To formally introduce herself to the staff, and in case anyone wants to get to know her better before she greets the students."
They thanked the principal and started to leave. As they walked out the door, the woman standing on the far left stopped, letting it close behind her. She pursed her lips, rolling a strand of dark hair between her fingers in thought. "We can go out to that karaoke bar around the corner!" She burst out suddenly, eyes lighting up.
"Ugh," the tired-looking scruffy man standing as far away from her grunted. "Not that, Midnight. Anything but that."
Midnight pouted. "But Aizawa -"
"Yeahhhh!" His buddy beside him clapped him on the back almost as hard as he suddenly yelled. Aizawa stumbled and swore under his breath. "C'mon, 'Shou, karaoke! You don't have to sing. This new teacher likes music, right right?"
"Damn it, Mic, you're an idiot." He rolled his bloodshot eyes, seeing where he was going with this. He strode out of the main offices and down the hall.
"Well, then we have to be polite." The other man lengthened his stride and caught up quickly. He ran a hand along his huge, slicked-back mass of blond hair jutting out the back of his head, preening slightly.
"You have to."
"He's right, Eraser," the bondage-dressed woman stuck her tongue out at him, for once not seductively and only in jest. "Hizashi might be an idiot, but if we want to get to know her better this is a great way!"
"Hey!" The blond man narrowed his eyes at the teasing. "Cut it out."
"Oooh, it's gonna be forever before she shows up," Midnight whined, staring at the clock in the hallway they were heading down.
Of course, time wound down like it normally did and before they knew it, they were standing in the teacher's lounge watching the doorway in anticipation. The students had left to go back to the dorms and most of the teachers had ended up gathering together to at least meet the arrival, if not party with her afterward. They all had gotten enough time to go home and change into civilian clothing and were comfortable and ready.
"Principal Nezu went to meet her with one of the staff cars," Midnight gossipped gleefully. "She must be important."
"She's a Pro Hero from another country," Aizawa said quietly. "It's probably not so much her as the status of our nation. We're playing nice as we always do."
"C'mon c'mon." Hizashi was impatiently snapping his fingers. "I can't wait to get out there and -"
He was cut off as voices were heard approaching. Everyone perked up as the door opened and Nezu walked in with his hand held up, smiling in welcome. "Here we are," he said. "This is most of the staff here at UA."
"Welcome," they said almost in unison as the woman stepped nervously in.
She immediately bowed upon hearing their greeting. "Thank you for having me." When she straightened up again, Aizawa glanced sharply at his friend. He had gasped loudly, the sound unheard by most in the room. Hizashi's cheeks had taken on the brightest red color he'd ever seen and his eyes had a dopey gleam that he knew could only mean one thing. He'd only seen it once before in school, but he knew what it meant. His hand came up before his eyes and he sighed deeply.
"Crap," he husked under his breath.
The woman was going about shaking hands and answering various questions. He watched from a distance as she moved about her unfamiliar surroundings. Hesitant, yet that was normal as she probably had jet lag and this was a different country than she was used to. Her Japanese was excellent, and she seemed to shake off what remnants of anxiety she had upon the friendly reception they had prepared for her.
"This is Shouta Aizawa," Midnight was introducing them. He inclined his head briefly as she added, "Eraserhead," mentioning his hero name as she had done for all of them.
The woman smiled and nodded back at him, unperturbed at his lack of enthusiasm. "My name is Elly Sketchit. Hero name, Cheshire."
"Cheshire?" Aizawa's eyebrow raised. That made sense. She had cat ears sticking up out of her purple, short-cropped hair and a striped, double-tipped tail. Her outfit was simple, obviously as casual as theirs were. She wore a pair of jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt under a shorter one with the name of what he only assumed was some band on it. Minimal jewelry; one ring and a black leather choker with an eye cabochon on it that looked like a cat's pupil.
Her striking, dark purple eyes fell upon his friend and for a startling moment, the usually garrulous man was tongue-tied. "I'm - ah," he struggled to clear his mind while stammering.
Aizawa smirked the tiniest bit. "He's Hizashi Yamada," he supplied helpfully.
The eyes widened. "Present Mic?"
Hizashi blinked, staring at her in a new light. "Are you a listener?" He asked incredulously. "I didn't think anyone knew about my station in America."
"Or cared. Ouch." As soon as Aizawa spoke Hizashi elbowed him, hard.
"I - um, didn't know what your civilian look was." Her ears twitched in amusement at his reaction. "Although I should've realized. I tune in every Friday."
The statement brought new life to Hizashi. He threw his hands in the air and yelled, "She's got good taste! Awwwwww-right! Let's go party!"
"Where are we going?" She was grinning broadly by this time as a small group ushered her out of the school. Only Aizawa, Nemuri and Hizashi were going out with her, although she'd been introduced to everyone. The others had claimed they had other business, though some, after having seen the odd behavior Mic had been displaying, had declined for other reasons. Three was enough; Hizashi clearly had only eyes for one.
"Karaoke!" He chirped happily, pointing swift finger-guns around the corner of the street. "There's a place not far from here."
"Savvy business tactics," Aizawa approved. "They saw the need for a place for us to unwind, students and staff. Civilians go there, too, but it's often us."
"They have private booths and stuff, and you can order food. I heard it's different in America." Nemuri looked questioningly at her and she nodded.
"Yeah, we don't have private rooms for that kind of thing. It'll be fun."
When they got there they ordered a larger room than usual and sat down to order food and drinks. Elly appeared to love their culture's food and was thrilled to get the chance to taste a lot of things she normally wouldn't back home. Midnight immediately leaped up to choose something to sing. When she would have included Elly, Hizashi waved her off with a slashing "no" gesture. Midnight giggled evilly and spun about, grabbing the mic from a corner.
"So, uh..." Hizashi adjusted his square-rim glasses and stared blankly at the menu. "Get whatever for me, Shou, okay?" He turned back to Elly with a broad smile. "That's awesome that you're one of my listeners. Really."
She nodded. "I sing a little, and folks back home said I have a decent voice. So I started getting into radio, doing a little frequency myself and broadcasting some songs here and there. When I first got interested, one of the stations I found was yours. I guess I just love this culture and you're always so upbeat, I love your show." Her ears flicked to the sides and she blushed. "I feel silly saying that. I'm not like, ah, a fangirl or anything. I mean, you know."
"Your jacket has his logo on it," Aizawa pointed out unhelpfully. The look Elly gave him had daggers in it, and he chuckled.
"Whaaaatttt?!!" Mic screeched in shock. He reached out and pulled it from where they had stored them and sure enough, "Put Your Hands in the Air Radio" - right on the back. "Holy shit!"
Thankfully at this point their drinks arrived and she hid under guise of taking a long swig of beer. When she came up for air Midnight's song had ended and she was in the process of trying to drag Aizawa up to sing with her. It was not going well, but she'd managed to get him away from the table momentarily.
"Hey." Mic had propped one of his feet up on her booth and was staring down, his long leg cocked.
"Nya?" In her confusion she uttered a cat sound. He had gotten up to stand closer!
"Mind if I sit here instead of Nemuri?" The girls had automatically sat together but he evidently wanted to switch. She nodded and scooted over, and he sat with a big grin on his face. The cat miaow - adorable -- his heart was racing. "Your voice has great tone," he said softly. "You gonna sing tonight?"
"Maybe." She eyed him sideways, toying with the rim of her bottle. "I mean. it's my first night and I should be really scared and stuff, but I feel..." She paused, groping for the right word, and he laid his hand on her shoulder briefly.
"Like you belong?"
When she looked up what she knew was going to happen did. Those eyes - she had seen photos before, of course, he was a famous teacher here. But the color and the concentric circles were a gorgeous combination, dizzying in intensity. And his hand on her shoulder was more than warm. She felt the fabled "electricity" her friends and all those movies and books had always told her happened in real life. She opened her mouth to say something, she didn't know what - but suddenly Hizashi was no longer there.
"Yerk!" He fell backwards as Midnight yanked him out of the booth.
"Get outta here," she slurred. "It's her turn to sing!" She pointed her glass at Elly.
"I guess so!"
When she'd gotten up, Hizashi lunged at Nemuri but Aizawa held him back. "Relax, Mic."
"That drunk wench just -"
"I'm not drunk," Nemuri said in a perfectly level voice. She pointed at the flushed and sweating man before her. "You. Sit. Now." Hizashi did as he was told, his friend plopping down beside him again. "Don't rush things," she told him seriously. "The woman likes you, sure. But we've got some time. Give it that."
"Arrgh!" He flopped forward onto the table, deflated for the moment.
"Listen." Aizawa poked him. Elly had begun to sing. Her voice wasn't spectacular enough to be a professional's, but it was better than your average amateur. Mic's glasses fell down his nose as he melted onto the table.
"Oh. My. God," he croaked. "That's so freaking excellent." Then, as was his wont, he perked up, pointing one finger at the ceiling. "I'll sing one with her next! Yoo-hoo, Cheshire baby!" He pushed himself up and leaped over them all to scamper over to her side.
Aizawa's hand met his face again. "God damn it, Mic," he sighed for the second time that day.
"This is going to be fun," Midnight laughed.
Chapter 2: Capture the Flag
Something embarrassing happens during a mock fight between the visiting teacher and Aizawa.
Mic quickly glanced at the door for about the fiftieth time that morning.
"Anxious, are we?" Cementoss murmured quietly.
"Relax," Aizawa muttered at his friend in annoyance. "She'll be here. She's not late, Midnight is still explaining things to the students."
"Yeah, yeah." The young people were maybe just as excited as the blond teacher was, eyes wide and raising hands left and right. Midnight had everything to do to calm them down and answer as many questions as possible.
Finally she had had enough. "Quiet, already! She's going to be here, and you don't want to make a bad first impression." She slapped her cat-o-nine-tails to the side in a brisk motion, cutting through the babble. To her right in the classroom seating, Mineta had fallen over and was quite literally foaming at the mouth at the prospect of another female teacher entering the room. She sighed and rolled her eyes, turning just as Tsyu slapped him into sensibility with her tongue.
The door opened during the momentary pause and everyone's eyes fell on Elly in her hero outfit. She wore a soft cloth bodysuit, striped just like her tail in varying purple tones. The belly was white and there were white tufts along her wrists, ankles and about the modest dip in cleavage down the front of the suit. Her feet and hands looked just like cat paws, with soft, rubbery pads on each finger tip and along the toes and heels of her feet. She also sported what appeared to be a respirator type mask to cover her mouth and nose, the bottom half shaped disturbingly like the cheshire cat's curving grin.
Mic's shades dropped down low on his nose as she walked past him to stand by Midnight at the desk. "So cuuuute!" he whined, just loud enough for some of the kids to glance at him in surprise. Aizawa groaned and elbowed him.
Elly's ear flicked, but she said nothing. She just smiled at the students and waited for her introduction. She chuckled when the green-haired kid in the second row blurted out her name, though, seeing at least someone knew who she was. Midnight formally introduced her, and she went about the task of stating why she was there - mainly to help broaden their view on their own abilities, and how the different countries viewed heroes and their quirks. She pursed her lips and looked back at the teachers behind her. "I'd spoken to the principal about this, but wasn't sure if you'd heard - before we get into my abilities, I wanted to show them first."
"You want to have a flag match with one of the staff." Midnight and the others already knew. Nezu had told them, but they hadn't chose who would fight.
A tall young man in the back raised his hand. "Excuse me - what's a flag match?"
"Each person fighting wears something like a bandanna..." Midnight reached into her sleeve and produced two medium-sized pieces of cloth, one red and one blue. "The goal is to take the other's cloth. It's an easy way to spar without a lot of injuries."
"We used it a lot during mock battles in the States," Elly confessed. "Before we got into serious ones. And sometimes just for fun." She shrugged, causing Mic to turn redder than Mineta's face at the gentle sway in her tail and chest.
Midnight saw this, and her eyes narrowed slyly. "I think Yamada should fight her," she suggested.
Elly raised a single eyebrow. "Mic?" She asked quietly.
"Ah!" He had started to sweat, and it wasn't just all the leather he wore. He pulled nervously at his long collar. It wasn't that he wanted to look weak, but he didn't want to use his power on her. Those cat's ears - they were more sensitive than a human's, and he made human ears bleed with his voice.
"I'll do it," Aizawa stepped in. He loosened some of the scarves about his neck, his face determined.
Mic blew a sigh of relief, grinning shamefacedly at the cat woman. "Heh." He shrugged and she smiled, shrugging as well.
They started to head into the recently renovated battle arena, the students milling about behind them as they filed out. Mic pulled Aizawa aside before they got there, just as Elly and Midnight walked into the huge doors. "Don't hurt her," he pleaded.
"Who says I would." He grunted, brushed sleep from his eyes and yawned. "Besides, she can handle it. She's a pro hero, remember?"
Mic bit his lip worriedly. "Mmmn." He swerved to the left to watch, moving away as the two squared off.
Elly seemed relaxed, although her tail was swishing lightly behind her. Aizawa liked cats, and he knew this meant she was agitated. He waited until everyone was settled, and held his arm out for the cloth to be tied on it, just as she did. The other teachers stepped away again, and Mic belatedly realized he was the one that always played announcer. He jumped to his feet and stood on the sidelines, his outfit hiding his troubled expression.
"Alright!" He called out, losing some anxiety in the familiar role. "First person to take the other's cloth wins!" He paused, then took a deep breath. "Are you ready?" He squealed, his voice rising as it always did on the last word. "Go!"
Elly didn't even move. Aizawa's hair rose as it did when he used his power. She couldn't see his eyes since he'd donned the glasses he wore, but she knew they would be glowing red. Yet all she said was, "So, Eraser... are you afraid of anything?"
"No," he said shortly, aiming at - nothing. There was nothing there. He stopped short. That had been fast! He spun, surveying the area as his wrappings came about, dropping now that he had no target.
"It's funny," a disembodied voice whispered eerily out of thin air to his left. "So many people tell me that, you know." He aimed at the voice and tried to at least snap what he couldn't see with his scarves. No luck. He listened, straining to pick up any sound that might clue him in on her location. "Surprise," she murmured, suddenly right beside him. One paw came up, and there was a glimmer of metal. It was a small scratch, hardly noticeable, and very, very fast. She was gone before he had time to react, melted into nothingness again and lost somewhere within the huge arena.
This went on for awhile, Mic uncharacteristically quiet as announcer. The only sounds were Aizawa's breathing, which was getting rougher, and faint whooshing sounds as he desperately tried to catch her.
"There." He jumped backwards and this time caught something when his wrappings spun out. Elly appeared within a loop of scarf, her mask making her appear more fierce than the tone of her voice.
"Cheshire is caught!" Mic yelped, pointing rather unnecessarily and then flailing about in a display of mixed emotions. "Is this it? Will Eraserhead win?!"
"I thought you knew, Eraser," she purred dangerously as he yanked her close enough to grab the winning cloth. "Cats like to play with string."
"What - wait, what's going on?" Mic was as confused as the rest of the students and staff. Instead of ensuring his victory, Aizawa reached up and pulled his glasses up onto his head. "He hasn't nulled her quirk once, it looks like, and now he's showing his eyes? What's happening here?"
"You don't know her fighting style, do you," Midnight stated smugly.
"But..." He stared closely at the scene unfolding in front of everyone. Aizawa's scarves reared up, in a strange display no one had seen before. The wrappings covered the top halves of their bodies. "Is he going for the win?"
The shockingly loud cat scream that echoed throughout the arena seemed to back this theory. But Elly disappeared and just as fast reappeared close to the staff, clutching Eraser's cloth for the win and noticeably upset. Her ears were flat on her head and she was still hissing. Aizawa, however, appeared eerily calm. He had that creepy grin on his face that he sometimes sported when he thought he'd outwitted someone. And he was bleeding.
"What happened?" Midnight gasped.
"He kissed me!"
Mic paused, his head cocked as he listened to this bit of information. He saw his friend wipe at his bleeding lips and his shocked brain slowly caught up with what had been said. He took a step towards Aizawa, frowning. He looked back at Elly, who was blushing across her pretty cheeks and touching her mouth with one hand.
"Whaaaaat?!" He yelled almost at full power. His quirk usually didn't manifest unless he triggered it, but when he got upset he sometimes lost control. Everyone clapped their ears to their heads, but the sound had been mainly directed by the speakers about Mic's neck at the person responsible for his anger and disbelief. Aizawa's eyes rolled back in his head and he passed out, a little trickle of blood running from both ears.
"Damn it, Mic," Midnight sighed. "Now we have to rush him to Healing Girl."
Chapter 3: Awkward Apologies
SOMEbody has to apologize now, doesn't he?
"Is Mr. Aizawa okay?"
"Hey, she won - but what the hell happened?!"
The students crowding the sidelines were chattering away. Midnight prodded Aizawa's inert form and sighed again. She wasn't about to ask the blond-haired fool to bring his friend to the nurse. At the moment, the idiot looked like he didn't know which foot to stand on.
"I'll take him," Snipe said quietly. She jumped; she hadn't even noticed him there. But she nodded gratefully as the big man lumped Eraser over his shoulder and strode off. Mic stared after them for a moment and then also left, rounding the opposite corner as he stomped angrily off.
Elly groaned dismally. "What a mess."
"Well, time for damage control." Midnight chuckled. "It's not so bad. Although, I must admit I'm surprised. I didn't know the scruffy guy had that in him!"
"Ugh." Elly's ears drooped even further. She could still feel his lips pressing so urgently to hers - and they had certainly not been the ones she had dreamed of the other night.
Cementoss motioned to them secretly and they sidled over. "I hate to tell you, but Jiro heard." He paused, since Elly didn't know their names yet. "The one with the ear jacks. Pale girl, red teardrop makeup."
"Oh, shit." She clapped a hand over her face. "She heard me say..?"
"Quickly, then." Midnight snapped her fingers and raised her voice. "All right, everyone! We're gonna have another general assembly for 1-A and 1-B. Now."
Elly controlled her emotions and walked as fast as she could back to the room they had spoken to the students in before. She was in front of the kids before all of them had piled in and saw every one of 1-A's shocked faces - Aizawa was their homeroom teacher, after all. It was difficult to wait until the entire group was settled, but when Snipe arrived with the news that their teacher was fine and would be with them shortly they calmed down a bit.
The cat woman cleared her throat. "Okay, then. Let's start off simple. My quirk is invisibility - " she smiled faintly when the invisible girl she'd noticed before cheered and got loudly shushed by her friends. "And although it's rare, mine is different than most invisible quirks. I control what I want to be invisible. Myself, my clothes, other items or people."
The door slammed open and she jumped, her tail shooting straight up behind her and her ears flicking wildly. The other staff made room for the English teacher as Present Mic made his way to one side, his face like a thundercloud. Elly bit her lip, her pale features seeming to turn whiter as her cheeks burned. Yet she pulled her chin up with an effort and continued on. "It's not enough to turn invisible if you want to catch villains, though. I have a degree in psychology, enough to suggest certain things while engaging people."
She held up a hand, flexing the paw pads on her glove. "These have claws, just like a real cat." Several sharp, thin metal pieces slid out. "They're coated in a hallucinogenic drug. Nothing poisonous, just enough to keep someone tractable. Also easily suggestible to anything I may have said earlier."
One of the students raised their hand and she nodded. "But you asked Mr. Aizawa if he was afraid of anything."
She glanced aside at Mic, but couldn't tell if he was watching with the reflective shades he wore. "Yes." Knowing her audience and their ages, she knew what they would be focused on, so she continued before the inevitable follow-up question was asked. "Some people are afraid of losing control of their emotions. Others..." She paused, then risked a very open look at the fuming Hizashi. "...might not want to hurt their friends with those feelings."
He started back a little, obviously taken aback. "Hallucinogen?"
"He was drugged, and did something he isn't entirely responsible for."
"It's not her fault, either," Midnight added, staring at the shaken Mic.
There was a weary sigh then, and the click of a door shutting. Aizawa was back, looking more tired than usual. Mineta hooted raucously and he snapped his head to the side, hair rising and eyes glaring red. The small young man whimpered and sank down in his chair.
"I think," Aizawa said in his usual deadpan voice, "I need to say a few things." He walked over to Elly and exhaled once more, rubbing at his eyes. "I acted in a very irrational manner. I apologize for the liberties I took."
"Liberties?" His friend choked on the plural of the word.
"Relax, Mic," Midnight hissed.
Elly accepted his apology rather formally, and he spoke to some length to the classes gathered - with quite a lot of threats when they started teasing him again. It seemed such a long time, but eventually the kids and teachers went their separate ways as the final bell rang. Elly thanked every religious icon she could under her breath that the assembly had been the last event of the day. She slunk sadly into the lounge to get her things and froze when she saw Aizawa waiting for her.
He held up a hand. "Wait - I am sorry. I promise you I will never do anything like that again."
"I know." She grabbed her bag from a locker nearby. "It's just..."
"Mic has been my friend since high school."
Her ears perked. "Wh - what?"
"He likes you," Aizawa said firmly. "I've never seen him so besotted with anyone." He grimaced. "I'm ... attracted to you."
"I know. You know, you intrigue me, if I have to be honest."
He laughed dryly. "You two will be better together. He comes in to get his things almost like clockwork, a few minutes from now. Be here for that."
"But - but he's so angry and I - what do I say?"
"You'll know." He shrugged and walked out.
"Well, crap." She sat heavily in one of those plastic chairs they had pulled up to the table in the middle of the room. Her striped tail swished madly about, slapping the floor in a restless beat.
Aizawa ran into his friend as he was striding down the hall. Hizashi pulled up and would have ducked into a nearby room but he stopped him. "Knock it off, Mic," he grunted. "I said I was sorry. You know I was drugged."
"Damn it, Sho!" He ripped his arm out of his friend's grip. "I know that. I didn't know you liked her, though."
"She's a cat," he said as if that explained everything.
"Yeah ... but you've seen cat anthros before. What the hell, man? I - I really like her, too." He glanced off to the side, face burning at the admission.
"We can all see how much you like her."
"You're not good at hiding your emotions, remember? No, shut up for once." He dug around in his clothing and found his wallet. "Here -" Mic's hand was suddenly full of money. "Take her out someplace. On me. Just don't mention me. Don't let this ruin ...that." He pointed back, over his shoulder at the lounge where she waited.
"You're gonna have to ask her out." Aizawa turned on his heel and walked off as fast as he could.
"Shota, wait!" Mic's voice was filled with panic. "What if she says no?"
"Not going to happen," he muttered under his breath as he slipped out of view.
Hizashi's eyes were huge behind the orange shades he wore during classes. He fidgeted with his long leather collar, staring ahead at the door to the lounge. "Nothing to it," he swallowed hard, gulping past the anxiety he felt, "but to do it, I guess." He put his hand out and pushed the door open.
Elly was sitting on one of those thin plastic chairs in there, staring out the windows on the far side. She nearly fell when he came into the room, and Mic stumbled trying to support her so she wouldn't fall. He caught her arm by the elbow, stabilizing her for a brief moment, but then she swayed again when she realized who had touched her.
"Yeek! Sorry, oh god, sorry." She placed a hand over her mouth, breathing hard.
"No uh, I - I'm sorry." He pulled another chair out, spun it the wrong way and sat facing her. "I sort of got jealous today." He looked away, blushing. "Shota's my friend, and I - I really like you. It messed me up more than I thought."
She nodded. "I wish I hadn't scratched him."
He chuckled a little. "You won, though. Not a lot of people can take Eraserhead down like that."
"I just caught his flag. Not like I won a battle or anything."
"Yeah, but it was still impressive."
"Maybe," she hedged. "I still wish it hadn't happened. Because I ... like you, too." She reached out and then stopped, hand wavering in midair.
Hizashi raised his eyebrows. "S'okay..?"
Elly took a deep breath and lightly touched the side of his face. When she did, however, she forgot everything she wanted to say. He had dropped his head on his arms, and his glasses had slipped a notch, revealing those glorious spiralled pupils that she had gotten lost in the other night.
"Hey," he said softly.
"Oh!" She gasped and snatched her hand back.
"It's okay." A big grin slowly spread across his features, banishing the nerves he'd been displayed recently. "Really. I mean, it will be if you'll go out with me tonight."
"They have dates in America, right?"
Her ears flicked straight up. "Yes!" She giggled faintly, then nodded. "To both. Wait -" She grabbed her things and rummaged around in her bag. "Here's my number," she said shyly, waiting while he all but snatched his phone out of his pocket. "I'm at the local hotel right around the corner. Room 15b."
Mic's grin grew even broader. "Better than that! Yeah! It's awesome!" He leaped to his feet and pointed at the clock with a flourish. "Dinner and a movie?"
"It's a date," she agreed.
Chapter 4: First Date, First Kiss
Like the chapter title suggests - first date and a first kiss.
Hizashi was early to pick Elly up for their date. He slouched against the hotel outside, sending a quick text message before heading in.
I'm here early! That ok?
He had barely waited for a few seconds before it chimed.
Great! I'm ready early, too lol
He slid his phone back into his pocket and, after a brief introduction at the counter, was walking down the first floor hall to 15b. He took a deep breath and then knocked. Elly opened it at once. He got the impression she had been standing close by and grinned.
"You look great," he chirped happily, taking in her outfit at a glance so as not to stare too long. She wore jeans and a t-shirt again, nothing too formal. He pointed at the design on the shirt. "That's one of my favorite shows!"
"Mine, too!" Her ears flicked towards him as she closed the door. "Remember when they had the party for his sister and Jimmy had chicken pox -"
"But he went downstairs anyway and got em all sick and the kids thought they were turning into chickens!" Hizashi burst into laughter, pounding on the wall next to them until someone yelled angrily. "Whoops."
"It's okay," she chuckled. "We'd better leave before we upset any more people here, though." She grinned. "I'm feeling very vocal today."
"Yeah, baby!" He waited this time until they had stepped out into the cool afternoon air. He swished his fist around, missing her head only because she was so much shorter than him.
"You're super tall," she noted as they began to walk.
"Huh?" He blinked. "I guess?" He didn't pause his stride, but made a measuring gesture in the air against her. "I'd say that you're a pretty little thing, myself."
"Is it flattering to be told you're short?" He laughed when she mock-swiped at him. "Hey - that's the cafe I told you about last night when I texted ya." He quickly leaped forward and held the door open for her.
She smiled and walked inside, inhaling deeply with some pleasure. "It's a bakery!"
"Sort of, yeah!" He motioned to the counter. "It's got coffee and baked stuffs..." He suddenly squealed and she had to press her hand to her mouth to stifle a huge attack of the giggles as he plastered himself to the display case. "They've got those strawberry things! I love those!"
"Good god, you're cute," she said softly in english as he was ordering.
Hizashi turned to look back over his shoulder at her. "This cute guy is also getting you whatever you want." He winked at her when she blushed and pointed at a corner of the pile of freshly baked goodness. "I recommend that one, though."
They got their food and some coffee and sat in a seat by the window.
"I thought we could go see a movie," Hizashi said through a mouthful of pastry. He'd taken two bites before they had even sat down.
"Ooh, what's playing?"
"Ahhh..." He swallowed mightily and tapped on his phone. "Crap. I got some goop on it." She handed him a napkin and he grinned his thanks. "Here we go! There's a comedy adventure, some kind of romance movie, and..." He paused. "Uh, another romance? Geez." He scratched the side of his head, looking puzzled. "That's a lot of romance movies."
"How about the action one?" She sipped her coffee. "I love comedies, too."
"Sweet! I'll order the tickets online."
"So..." Elly peered at him over the rim of her cup. "Uh, here's something I wanted to ask you."
"Mmmn?" He had strawberry filling on his mustache. She struggled to hold back the hand that wanted to wipe it off.
"Um, you've got..."
"Oh yeah. The crumb catchers. Among other things." He swiped a hand at the Errol Flynn points, wriggling his upper lip comically. "Gone?"
"Yep." She was biting her lip to stop the even worse attack of the giggles that wanted to break free and finally just blurted out her question. "Um, what - what should I call you?"
"Ohhhh. 'Cause it's different in America."
"Yeah. We use first names, but I know here it's considered very informal to do that, or, um." She flicked her ears coquettishly. "Very friendly."
"I like friendly." He boldly reached across the table and touched her hand. "I think I'd like to hear you say my name. If you don't mind me calling you Elly." His pronunciation of the L-sound in her name made her smile.
"I don't mind at all, Hizashi."
He made such a face that she couldn't hold it in this time and bent over the table laughing. "Oh, oh my god..."
"B - but that was so cuuuutee!" He drew the last word out so comically and with such a high pitch a few other people glanced their way. Elly laughed even harder. "Aww." He pouted, his lower lip jutting out.
"No, no, seriously. You're killing me." She reached out and tweaked his nose. "Beep."
His green eyes widened. "D'you just beep me?!"
"Yes! I thought it might distract you for a minute, there. Reprogram the nerves."
"Oh." He thought for a minute. "I guess it did." He checked his phone as it started to play what had been a popular 70's song as a ringtone. "Good thing too! Almost movie time!"
They cleaned up their mostly empty plates and cups. "Is it nearby?"
"Oh, yeah." He pointed down the street. "It's one of the reasons I suggested it. They put a lot of stuff close by in this district. The kids don't have access to cars usually, and a lot of us just don't use them."
"Like New York," she murmured.
They arrived at the movie theater and they got comfortably seated, settled in and chatting before the movie started. Once it began, he was thrilled to be in close quarters, in the dark, with her. The chairs were comfortable and he was acutely aware she was close by him. Hizashi peered at her through the darkness. She was relaxed and smiling, her ears twitching from the louder-than-usual noises the theater produced. He reached carefully out and curled his arm about her shoulders. She glanced at him, surprised. Just as he was about to apologize, however, she flashed him the biggest smile she had yet and curled cozily into the warm curve of his body. His face flushed with success, he squeezed her enthusiastically and felt more than heard her purring response.
They stayed that way the rest of the movie, through all the final credits until they were the last ones left in the now-lit theater. Hizashi sighed and removed his arm with much reluctance. "That was good."
"It was." The twinkle in her eyes suggested that she meant far more than the movie. He led the way out, standing close to her when a huge group of teenagers started staring at them. He hadn't thought they stood out that much, but there weren't too many Americans here, really. She was a bit of a novelty at the moment and they were looking a little too long for his liking. He wrapped an arm around her once more and she didn't hesitate this time, just reached up and touched his hand. He immediately forgot the kids and they left to begin the walk back. They talked some length about the movie and it was clear they both had really loved it, although they disagreed about which were the best parts and some other trivial things. He found that he really enjoyed being with her and the time flew even faster than it had before, so it seemed only a few minutes before they were back at the hotel. He fidgeted nervously as they got closer to her room, realizing this was the end of the date and he had a big choice to make.
"I hope you had a good uh, t- time," he stuttered anxiously. He was suddenly sweating.
"I had a great time," she said firmly, and he could see she really meant it. Her tail swished to one side, and slowly back.
He had the sense that she was stalling, and that gave him courage. He placed an arm on the doorframe and leaned over, creating a little curl of privacy between them. When he was within an inch or less of her face he stopped, however. "No biting?"
"Not you," she breathed. "Unless, of course, it's a request." Her lips quirked in a smile.
Hizashi dropped his gaze to stare deeply into her eyes. "Naughty," he chided, wiggling a finger. "Just a smooch." He did just that, kissing her softly full on the mouth but not pressing further.
They parted, both whispering "Wow," at approximately the same time.
"G'night, baby," he managed to choke out through his excitement.
"Good night," she echoed dreamily back. He noticed her eyes were glazed over, almost starry. Had he caused that? Hizashi stood there for a moment even after the door had shut. A huge grin slowly crept across his features and he spun about, whipping an arm back in a fervent "yes!" gesture.
Chapter 5: Embarrassment and Cuddles
The kids tease Mic at school; they share a fluffy moment together.
Her job that day was to help Hizashi - Present Mic, she reminded herself, call him by his hero name in school -- with his classes. It made sense; she was from America and the students wanted to hear what it was like there now. Yagi had worked there in his youth but that had been years ago. He was quite interested in having a talk with her, she had heard, but for now she focused on the morning class. The first was Aizawa's homeroom, and she had some feelings about that. They filed in and immediately began talking. Elly noticed that Toru Hagakure, the invisible girl, seemed to be on her best behavior. This was perhaps because she had begun mentoring her a little, on the side. The rest were, as Mic pointed out, "rowdier than usual". Mic tried several different kinds of reprimands before he slapped a hand across his face.
"Dang it," he muttered under his breath. Quick as it was, she saw the emotion and smiled. He shook the mood off immediately, however, spun around and jabbed finger guns at the sky, trying an even louder approach. "Yo, yo! Everybody pay attention! C'mon!"
"They're just excited, Mic." She noticed the one with the ear jacks was staring at her speculatively and she inwardly cringed. She had heard what had happened during the flag capture. And if she had heard that, she might have heard what Aizawa had said as he had kissed her. She calmly met her gaze, however, and the girl dropped her eyes before she did. "I thought you guys might have some questions about life in America."
Amazingly, she didn't even raise her voice but it worked. They stopped and turned to face them, some with apologetic faces. She placed a hand on the book on the desk, smiling.
"Good, okay! Today we're go - ah..." Mic reached for the course book at that moment, and their fingers brushed lightly together. The kids watched in disbelief as his voice trailed off into silence. "Ha." He waved his hand erratically in the air, trying to pull himself together. "Questions, right!" He coughed and spun about. "You go ahead, Ches."
A single glove raised for a question. It was her young friend, waving her arm madly about in an effort to be noticed. "Oh! What do you do on dates?"
Elly's ears flicked in amusement. "Anything we want, really. It's not much different from here, you know. I mean, there are some things you can do in both places you can't in the other, but the first date is usually some food, maybe a movie." She looked askance at the blond man, a twinkle in her eye.
Mic choked a little.
The class noticed.
Several more hands flew up in the air.
"I heard they call each other by first name a lot!"
"We normally do, yeah." She nodded at the green-haired boy. "Midoriya?" He nodded. "If we were classmates I wouldn't be calling you that. It'd be your first name, or, if we were friends, a nickname."
"Deku," someone snorted gutturally from the back.
"Did you give each other nicknames yet?" One of the girls was blushing and kept staring back and forth at both teachers.
Mic tilted his head towards her. "What's that?"
"Um, Mr. Aizawa said that you two went out on a date," she explained nervously. "I just wondered..."
Elly didn't even try to control her laughter as Mic collapsed into the chair by her side. "He whaaaat?!" He hit his temple with the heel of his hand. "Betrayed by my best friend and Uraraka," he whined, sinking lower, his face beet red.
"Mic," Elly tapped his arm, "It's not like this is a bad thing."
"They're all in it together!"
"I'm sorry!" The poor girl was blushing even harder, but most of the class was intrigued. This was a welcome addition to the class he normally taught. "I - I didn't mean..."
"You're fine, it's a good question," Elly said in a soothing tone. "I had to ask him the other day myself. We used our first names."
Mic had pulled himself up by now. "All right, all right." He placed both hands on the desk and stared out at the small crowd of faces defiantly. "We're dating. Oh, wait, and I called you 'baby', didn't I?" He added in a startled voice as it struck him. "Was that bad?"
Elly's palm hit her face this time as the class exploded into the sounds of laughter, hooting, whistles, and jaws hitting desks. "Mic," she sighed with a faint smile.
"Okay, okay! Everybody settle down." He flailed about while she ducked any hands that passed low enough her way.
"You've got to learn not to say everything that pops into your head," she told him fondly.
"You didn't answer," he pointed out in a whisper that could clearly still be heard in the room.
"It was fine, Mic. You're fine. Everyone's fine," she laughed. "We're all still learning about each other. Right?" The bell sounded, and the class filed out, talking animatedly amongst themselves. Elly noticed that the kid with the purple balls for hair was now the one giving her the eye. She slowly laid her ears back at the creepy intensity in his gaze, making it a point to learn more of their names for the future.
The rest of the classes went about as well as the first. By the time 1-A had filed out, they had gossipped enough that every single student knew about them and they used it to torture Mic extensively throughout the day, asking about dating, marriage, and everything in between. He was a limp wreck when the day was finished.
"Poor thing," Elly sympathized with the hint of a smile. She patted him on one of his studded shoulders.
"I'm gonna choke him with his own scarves," he pouted, crossing his arms.
"Eraser? Really?" She raised her eyebrows. "You know he was just trying to diffuse the incident from the other day. That one girl, uh, Jirou, I mean she heard everything." She winced; she didn't want to get into this again. Sometimes things needed to be kept secret for a reason.
"Oh." Mic blinked a few times as he thought this over. "Still! The bastard likes to tease me." He laughed, slapping his knee as he thought of the stoic Aizawa gossiping like an old woman. "Yeah, he wouldn't do anything without a 'logical purpose' to it." He got up and stretched, pulling his hands up over his head. "You wanna do anything later? I've got pro work in a few and, uh," He pulled at the leather on his outfit. "This doesn't really hold up to doing anything nice. I'm either sweating or freezing. I wanna shower and change before we go someplace."
"Well, if you're not busy after, I thought maybe we could visit the beach nearby."
"Great!" He held the door open for her and they walked out towards the lounge to pick up their things. "I've got a few hours of free time after I finish my patrols. I'll call ya when I'm ready!"
Hizashi picked her up again but this time they got on a bus to ride to their destination. As they stepped off and the bus zoomed away in a puff of exhaust, Elly shivered. The light breeze from the ocean wasn't something she had considered and she wore only one long sleeved shirt under a short one. He noticed and immediately opened his jacket, pulling her beside his warmth and covering her with one half. She sighed gratefully.
"I hadn't realized it would be so cool."
"Yeah, the wind from the water makes it cold here sometimes." He led her to the little gazebo that was set up overlooking the playful wavelets. "Here. They built this mostly for the couples who come here." He grinned. "So we could cuddle and stuff."
"And 'stuff'?" She asked archly.
"Hm?" He placed a hand under her chin and raised her face to his. "Oh, yeah. Stuff." He demonstrated by stealing several small, carefully chaste kisses on her lips and cheeks. They still seemed to sizzle on her skin, and the little points on his mustache tickled.
Elly shivered again, not from the cold this time. "Hizashi," she purred.
"That's my name," he said cheerfully, touching his nose to hers. He noticed for the first time that underneath her very human-looking nose was a speckling of lavender, and the different split that defined a cat's nostrils. It wasn't apparent when you first saw her, but he now knew she was sensitive to scents. He filed this away for future reference as he stared into her eyes. "Warm enough now?"
"Yes. You're way better than a jacket," she giggled.
"Ha! I want that to be my crowning achievement in life," he gushed. "He was 'better than a jacket'! That said, I'm kind of hot right now even with my civvies on." He shook his head mournfully. "Not all the time, though. You make me sweat, baby."
"I think that's cute," she said somewhat dubiously, and he laughed. They sat for a time staring out at the water gently lapping the sand in front of them over and over again. It was such a long while that it became a comfortable silence, one where she forgot herself and grew sleepy.
It became difficult to hold himself back. His arm was around her and she was snuggled into his side again, but closer than when they had been to the movies. Not only that, but she was purring softly, and the best part was when she would rub her cheek lightly against his chest now and then. He'd been to Shota's apartment before, and he had once asked why the cats rubbed their faces on things. His friend had told them they marked things they liked that way. He wasn't sure if she was doing that to him, really, but he liked to think that she was. He would have stayed that way for much longer, but the sun was setting and it was so gorgeous he gently stroked some of her hair away from her face. "Hey, baby. Look."
"Mm." She raised her head and her eyes grew wide. "Ohhh, that's beautiful!"
Hizashi licked his lips. He knew people thought his quirk was just screaming things deafeningly, but he could pitch his voice in various tones, some that were safe to use in public. Some of those voices were the ones animals liked - and he had one he knew cats favored. He used this low vibration deliberately, aiming it at one of those purple-furred ears of hers. "That's not as beautiful as you are."
Elly stiffened in his arms, and just as suddenly seemed to melt into a warm purring bundle. "Zashi?" she gasped. Her tail quivered on the decking behind them, whisking bits of sand away.
He somehow held his excitement in at hearing her shorten his name. "Hey," he added in a more normal voice, deliberately breaking the spell she seemed under.
Elly shook herself. "Mya?"
"Tomorrow's friday - you wanna cohost my show?"
Her ears shot up. "You serious?!"
"Heck, yeah! It's a lot of music, but there's some talking so I figure we would have some fun -" He cut off, a huge, dorky grin spreading across his features as she hugged him enthusiastically.
"That's be awesome! I've missed that a little, and, well, yeah!"
"Awesome," he echoed happily.
Chapter 6: A Little Serious
Zashi and Els go out for a meal with some other teachers. Aizawa drinks his way through a small crisis.
Elly opened her hotel door at the series of staccato raps. Her heart beat fast with anticipation, knowing who it was and longing to see him again. They were going to go out and relax with some of their fellow teachers tonight before they had to be at the station for the broadcast. She was just happy to increase the amount of time spent with the boisterous man she had gotten so attached to.
The panel swung open and there he was, the blond man with the goofy grin and ridiculous, adorable mustache that had so stolen her heart. He wore his usual when he wasn't working - a light, soft jacket over a maroon shirt and khakis. One silver and one gold necklace glinted in the artificial light in the hallway. She knew he would have at least one beaded bracelet, but the jacket sleeves covered them right now. She loved his style, loved his everything, really, but most importantly...
"I love your hair," she told him shyly as she joined him. "I wanted to tell you for awhile now."
"Wha - really?" He blinked. "I grew it out so it has to get tied up all the time. It's a pain to wax it every morning, but it's part of my image now, so I stick with it. It's like my trademark, yo!" He made a gesture out behind his head where the hair would be sticking up. He was casual tonight of course, which meant he simply wrapped it several times, neat in the middle yet messy at the bottom. "D'ya bring a - oh, you did. Good." He grinned when he saw her jacket was the one with his radio show logo on the back. They nodded at the front desk clerk, then strolled leisurely out into the cool night.
"It's so you." She reached out but stopped herself before she touched the bun on his head. She settled for brushing at the golden spill against his neck as they walked. He blushed, but she didn't notice since she was focused on the silky strands. "And I love it this way, too."
"For real?" He couldn't hide his confusion this time and she watched, enthralled, as he rubbed nervously at the back of his neck, his cheeks stained light pink at the compliment. "I mean, uh, it's just that people recognize it, but no one's told me they liked it before." They stopped at a crosswalk and he absently guided her across with one hand lightly held on her upper back.
"No one? But - but it's so..." She flicked her ears, aware she was about to start gushing. "Erhm. Nevermind."
"Oh?" He wiggled his eyebrows at her, stopping for a moment to pull her closer and stare into her eyes. "You can't just start a sentence and then stop, baby! I wanna know. 'It's so' - what?"
"Oh, hell." She chuckled awkwardly. "Sexy. Okay? I think you are - ah, your hair! Is... ah..." She choked and then trailed off, absolutely drowning in bashfulness this time. Her face felt ten times hotter than it had ever been. Hizashi had, of course, caught the slip-up for maximum embarrassment potential.
"Oh, shit." His glorious green eyes grew distant for a moment as his mouth dropped open. "That's better'n okay, sweetie. I mean - whew!" He hugged her tightly, grinning like the lovesick fool he was. "Right on," he gasped, his brain unable to formulate anything else.
Elly giggled. "Unfair," she said. "You can't act too cute after hearing that. I'll explode, or something."
"Oh, no!" He clutched her even tighter, loudly and poorly acting the scene of the distraught lover, lamenting her demise. She laughed even louder, snorting a bit, and pushed at his chest.
"Zashi! People are staring!"
"Don't care," he said happily. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and led her gently on. "'Sides, we're almost there. We can duck into the bar and hide our lovey-dovey grossness." Elly pressed her face into his side, stifling more laughter. He finally pulled up at the small bar that they'd agreed to meet at. "Annnnd here we go! We come here every week if we can."
"So you guys do this often? Hang out together and stuff?"
"Well, yeah. I guess." He held the door open for her.
"It wasn't like this where I was. A lot of people kept to themselves."
"I hope you like it!"
"Oh, I do." She grinned and stepped inside the dimly lit area.
Hizashi was close behind her, squinting about until he saw the tall, thin form of Toshinori poking up from a booth in the back. "Hey hey heyyyy," he called out, waving madly.
"Crap," Aizawa sighed. He was slumped comfortably against the padded seat nursing a mug of beer.
"You knew they were coming," Yagi reminded him. He waved back, and the blond man slid into the booth after a quick glance. He held an arm invitingly out and Elly followed.
Aizawa frowned. Not willing to let her sit next to me, are you, old friend?
"Hi," Elly grinned.
"Just a booth? I thought more peeps were comin'." Hizashi reached for a menu to pass to Elly, who let out a soft miaow of delight.
"It's just us." Yagi took a closer look at the cat woman. He had been introduced, of course, but regrettably hadn't been there for the now-infamous mock fight she'd had with Eraser. She was pale, but he noted Yamada caused pretty spots of color to bloom in her cheeks almost every time he spoke to her. The cat ears and tail weren't her only feline features, when she laughed he spotted the fangs that had nicked Aizawa so badly during their test fight. He caught the voice hero staring at him and realized he'd been scrutinizing her. He coughed loudly, whipping a hand up so as not to bleed on the table.
"Gross, Yagi," Hizashi chuckled, relaxing.
"Sorry," he apologized. "Ah... so, you two really hit it off, huh?"
"Yeah!" Hizashi glanced over and saw their fingers touching lightly on the table. Biting his lower lip as he grinned, he reached a little further and curled his hand around hers. Elly smiled back, positively glowing.
"They're going to make me vomit," Aizawa groaned.
"I think they're cute together."
"Ngh." Aizawa grunted and flagged their waiter down, thrusting his empty beer in front of him and holding up two fingers. He banged the empty mug down and waited impatiently.
"Yep." Elly smiled. "So weird, you know? I never thought I was going to date anyone here."
"I never thought she was gonna be so pretty," Hizashi squealed.
"You're lazy," Aizawa grunted bluntly. His tired eyes focused on his friend. "I looked up her files when Nezu informed us she would be coming."
"Aizawa," Elly interjected gently, "if you had, wouldn't you have known how I fight?"
The scruffy man froze. How was he supposed to admit that when he'd seen her picture he had come nearly undone? He hadn't read her file, just stared at her. Those ears... all he could think about was rubbing them. Would they be as velvety as they looked? Would she purr? And don't even think about her tail when it's there in front of you, he scolded himself. Don't. Thankfully, his beers came and he busied himself with drinking as much as he could. The others tactfully ignored his remarks and kept on with their conversation.
"How long are you staying?" Yagi asked quietly.
Hizashi completely froze. His green eyes appeared puzzled, then worried. "Elly?"
"I have a partial work visa," she admitted nervously. "90 days."
"Baby, no," he whispered.
"Oh, I didn't mean..." Yagi sighed deeply. "I'm sorry."
"S'okay. I knew, I was just trying not to think about it." Elly dabbed at her eyes with a napkin, struggling to hold back the tears that wanted to burst forth. Hizashi's wounded expression only made her want to cry more. She couldn't leave him - she just couldn't. It would cause her physical pain for so many different reasons. "I could apply for an extension," she suggested faintly.
Yagi was panicking just as much as the couple was. Unbeknownst to many, Toshinori was a secret romanticist. If his coworkers were as smitten as they looked, he couldn't bear to see them ripped apart. He whipped his phone out and searched hurriedly online, flinching at Yamada's pathetic whimpers.
"Quit crying." Aizawa slapped the center of the table forcefully, startling all of them. "There's a logical solution to this, like everything. We just have to find it."
"Shota," Hizashi murmured gratefully.
"Well? You seem to have an idea." The dark haired man glanced over Yagi's shoulder.
"What would it take for the longest extension she could get?" Hizashi chimed in.
Elly pursed her lips. "Well, obviously..."
"Work." Yagi completed her sentence for her. He looked up from where he had been scrolling busily through his phone and held it out for them all to see. "Like when I was in America. Look - if we can take her on as an employee at UA, she can stay between three months to... hey. Five years. It depends."
Aizawa grinned his manic grin and clapped the frail-looking man on his back. "Good job," he told him, ignoring his surprised cough.
"Nezu has to approve it," Hizashi fussed, scrolling frantically through the website.
"He might be persuaded if we band together."
"What about when that time is up, though?" She fretted.
Hizashi had found something very interesting on the page. He reached out and took her hand in his again, squeezing it gently. "I think I might be able to fix things ...later," he said, his voice deepening. Aizawa jerked his head about at the different tone. Hizashi Yamada's serious voice was something he rarely heard. He was immediately on guard, his grey eyes narrowing as his mind raced through several possible scenarios. It wasn't long before they snapped open, the whites accented by shot lines of bleary red. It was partially the extremely shy blush on his friend's face that gave it away, but logically the only solution to her staying as long as she wanted could only be ... that.
He stared incredulously at him and the blond man dropped his gaze, completely embarrassed at seeing Shota had guessed.
Elly was smiling again, pushing away any bad thoughts with the hope that her new friends gave her. She clapped her hands once and bowed an awkward little half-bow. "Thank you so much for doing this."
Yagi smiled. "No problem," he told her in fluid english, popping into the strong form of All Might for a second and giving her a thumbs-up. He was genuinely fond of this little lady.
Aizawa, however, scoffed, whipping his head to the side in an effort to hide his face. "Tch."
"That's his way of saying 'you're welcome'," Hizashi told her with a snicker.
No one else showed up that night and the four of them ate, drank and joked comfortably after that. After four beers even Aizawa seemed to shake off his melancholy, meaning he'd retreated to a corner of the booth and had been snoring lightly, oblivious to what was going on around him. Hizashi excused them after a couple of hours, saying that they had to rest up before the broadcast they were scheduled to do that night.
"Ugh," he complained lightly when they were standing in front of her room again. "Time goes too fast when I'm with you!" He made a face and Elly nodded.
"I know the feeling. I'll see you soon, though." She looked up expectantly.
"Mmm, I know." Hizashi leaned in for a goodnight kiss. This time he lingered longer than he normally did, relishing the feel of her mouth on his own and more confident that she felt strongly about him. As he did, he felt her arms sliding caressingly up his chest and around his shoulders, drawing him closer. Elly's hands slid up the back of his neck to hold him as if she never wanted to let go. He shivered with pleasure, relishing the feeling when she dragged over his necklaces and they caught a bit of the hair on his neck. The ticklish touch mixed with the little bite of pain made everything seem more real. That was good - very good, in fact, because he was having a problem distinguishing from reality and a dream right now. Her body simply felt so soft and willing against his, so perfect. He slowly wrapped his long arms around her waist and flicked his tongue out, licking lightly but not pressing. She met his gentle probing with some of her own, and they were soon locked in a deep, passionate kiss. After a few solid minutes that didn't feel like any time at all to both of them, they parted with a moist sound.
Hizashi sighed shakily. "I'll text before I come get you for the broadcast," he murmured into her neck. "Keep your phone close." She was clinging to him now, and he felt he could simply step inside the little hotel room and just as easily slip into her bed. The thought warmed him inside, but he wasn't quite sure and he didn't want to ruin what they had by moving faster than they already were. He did know that he was glad he was in his casual clothing and not the tight leather pants. He might have to think of some way to cope with that later, but for now he held his hips back so she couldn't feel how amazingly hard she had made him.
"Okay," she whispered, hugging him once more before letting him go.
"Get some sleep before then, okay baby?" He smiled at her. "You know the time, and it's early-early-early." He accented each "early" with a gentle poke to the tip of her nose.
She smiled. "Beep."
Chapter 7: Radio Show
The radio show and a bit of foolishness afterwards...
The phone lit up, vibrating madly next to her on the bed. Elly clumsily reached out and grabbed it, squinting sleepily at the text.
She smiled, then scrolled down to see a picture he had attached of him making the silliest kissing face she had ever seen. She almost dropped the phone she snorted so hard, especially when it started to vibrate again.
I'll be over in a half an hour with coffee ~~
"Mmm, coffee," she purred. She would look forward to that, for sure, since it was the early morning hours and they both had to be working with high energy. Elly showered and leisurely dressed in her hero outfit, stretching with some pleasure as she smoothed the suit out over her body. They were their personas when they recorded, and both of them dressed the part even if no one would see them but a handful of studio workers and some insomniacs.
Mic was already vibrating restlessly, so excited to have her with him that he texted her three more times as he walked to her hotel. She met him outside with a huge grin on her face, tail lashing about her legs eagerly when she saw he did indeed have the proffered caffeinated beverage.
"Thank you," she sighed as she took a sip. "God, this is good." Mic reached out and took the cup from her after she had drank a little. "Hey!"
"No kiss?" He pouted, lower lip jutting out.
Elly laughed. "Sorry. Coffee always comes first, or I can't even think straight."
"You had some," he pointed out with a devilish twinkle in his eyes.
She noticed that with the orange glasses on he wore for his costume, his green eyes looked almost red. It was an odd effect but she still got lost in them one more time as he lightly brushed her lips, a typical 'good morning' type of kiss. "Mmmn. Okay, now coffee again."
He cracked up, his own cup sloshing a little as he gave hers back. "You're so freaking cute." They stood close together in the little bus stop area.
"Pfft. Says the man wearing his hero costume. You know, the one that's all leather."
"Ohhh, I forgot you think I'm sexy." He struck a pose with his arm held out and a cheesy grin on his face.
"No fair! Quit bringing that up." She poked him in the chest.
"I can't help it, baby. I'm too psyched!" He danced around a little.
"Mic," she snickered, "you look like you have to pee."
"Ah, well." He stared down at the coffee. "Maybe a little. This is my second one of these already." The bus pulled up and they got on laughing together.
They got off close by and walked until they reached their destination. Both of them were out of coffee by this time, but as he held open the door he assured her they had "the best" coffee in the machines and offered to buy her a can.
The set was wrapped up for the other host and they had switched over. Elly watched fondly as Mic swapped his headphones out for the station ones. He checked the computer screens, toggles and boards, then looked up.
"Was there something you wanted before we start, Ches?"
Elly winked. "Other than to kiss you, nope."
Hizashi's face lit up. He leaned over, grinning. "Then kiss me, baby." When she did, smiling in anticipation, she received a shock. Instead of his usual soft, light kiss he surprised her by pressing much harder. She gasped as his mouth dominated hers, pleasantly firm with just enough roughness that it took her breath away. The desire was so evident in his actions that she could barely respond. Elly was swooning by the time he was finished, grasping at his chair to try and stabilize herself.
He broke the kiss leisurely and adjusted his headphones. "Hmmm," he hummed lightly, glancing at the blinking light on his panels. "Hey everybody! It's time for Put Your Hands Up Radio - comin' at you from 1 am to 5 am right here, with me, Present Mic!" He paused, then added, "Aaaaand for those listeners with a sharp ear, you just heard the Japanese debut of my girlfriend Cheshire, from MADD radio in the west!" He handed her the other headset.
Elly put the extra headphones on. "Looks like have a real hot mic," she chuckled, referencing both the blond in front of her as well as the kissing sounds that should not have been broadcast.
"Especially since I'm supposed to be in the other booth, you dork!"
He pulled her onto his knee and shook his head. "Nope. Not gonna be that apart from ya, baby. Everybody say hey! She's gonna stick around. I'm making sure of that."
"Aww, cute. Now get that set on, banana man, or you'll start losing those precious listeners of yours." She squeezed his leather-clad thigh and he spit the fresh mouthful of coffee he had just taken into the air.
The rest of the show went pretty much like that. Four hours seemed to fly by and they were faced with the prospect of not knowing exactly what to do. 5 in the morning was not a time many people were awake.
"I usually just chill out at home," he confessed as they waited for the bus again. "I don't wanna, though," he whined. "M'gonna be so bored home alone."
"Well, why don't we go back there, have some tea and try to relax?"
He raised his eyebrows at her, one eye squinting and the other huge in that strange way he had. She found it absolutely adorable but knew the other teachers thought he looked creepy when he did it. "You wanna hang out at my place? This late?"
Elly was at a loss for words. His smile had turned rather diabolical. That, paired with his rather disconcerting gaze, froze her in place. "Um," was all she could manage to squeak out.
"That's a great idea!" He picked her up and spun her around in the air to emphasize his joy.
"Zashi! Christ, I'm gonna barf. Cut it out!"
"Hee hee hee!" He stopped spinning but refused to put her down when she squirmed. "Nope. Mine."
"You're a crazy man," she said fondly, resting her head on his shoulder.
He carried her on the bus.
He wouldn't let her go when they got off, either. Hizashi held her in his arms the whole walk to his apartment, humming happily under his breath and pausing to kiss her cheek every once in awhile. He kept this part up because the first time he had did it she'd burst into an absolute fit of giggles, telling him it tickled because of the vibrations in his hum.
"Oof. This is where I can walk again?"
"Yeah," he said apologetically, fishing around in his pockets. "Otherwise I can't get the key out of my pocket. Leather's too tight." She meowed suggestively and he felt his stomach tighten at the thought they were going to be alone together - really alone -- for the first time. "Here." He swung his arm about grandly, inviting her in as the door opened.
"Oh my god," she held up a hand before her mouth as she entered, automatically slipping her paw boots off. Hizashi stumbled about nervously, wondering what he should do next, but she was too amazed at her surroundings to move. He lived in a golden, warm space with dark wood, thick carpeting and comfortable-looking mod furniture. Elly's ears flicked in amusement as she thought that she'd stepped back in time to the 1970's. Records lined neat shelving that ran almost the length of an entire wall, and it looked like he had a very expensive speaker system in his entertainment cabinet.
He appeared beside her and gave her a little pat towards the couch. "Relax, baby. I'll make some tea."
He looked up from the kitchen alcove. He'd taken off his neck gear and set it aside on the counter. "Yeah?"
"It's perfect. It's so you."
"Heh." He filled the tea pot and placed it over the burner. "I think you're the first person to not make fun of it," he told her as he fished a little tin of tea out of a cupboard.
"What?" She folded her ears back. "But I love it!" She took a leopard-print throw pillow from the couch and hugged it close, purring when she smelled his scent on it. "It's perfect, and cozy, and I bet when this place is filled with music it's so nice."
He reappeared and set a tray down on the coffee table in front of her. "You," he said slowly, shaking his head in amazement, "You're just..." He couldn't finish and mutely handed her a hot cup of tea.
"Welcome." He took the other cup and sat next to her, running his fingers through his hair with a faint grimace. He normally showered right away but he would have to endure the sticky, tight feeling for a bit longer. He glanced aside at her and thought he could endure whatever it took with her sitting so close to him on his couch. He propped a leg up on the table and sighed.
"Oh, nothing! It's nothing. I..." ...really want to touch you, he thought, finishing the sentence in his mind. He shook himself, feeling a slow burn spread across his face.
She waved her hand dismissively about. "No way, Present Mic. You've got something on your mind, and I wanna know what it is."
The poor man could only endure so much. He wilted for a moment when he heard her say his hero name in such a tone. "All right, then," he said bashfully. "Would you do somethin' for me?" He reached out and took her almost-empty cup, placing it carefully back on the tray with his.
"No take-backsies!" He suddenly squealed in english. "Now you have to, babygirl." He grabbed her and pulled her onto his lap so she was facing outwards.
"Uh... Zashi?" She started to sweat. "What did you want?"
"Mmmm," he hummed comfortably, nuzzling her hair and snuffling. "You smell like you."
"Hizashi!" She giggled. "I don't use scented things. I can't."
"Yeah, that means your scent is all you. I like it."
"What did you want?"
"I want to touch your tail," he chuckled. "I, err, heard it's a sensitive spot and stuff but it looks so fluffy!"
Elly choked. The blush that had been burning in her cheeks spread down her neck. "H - Hizashi..."
"Pleasssse?" He spun her around and made puppy dog eyes at her, his lower lip jutting out cutely. "I wanna pet it." He ran his hands down her back, his expression slipping from adorable to sly. "And you promised..." He stopped just before he reached the base and touched his nose to hers.
"But I'm - I'm really sensitive there," she gulped, repeating what he had already said in a small voice.
"I know, baby." He pressed his mouth to hers and thrust his tongue inside, pushing harder than he ever had in his eagerness. "Mnn, pretty please," he panted hotly, kissing her again and again. "Zashi wants to pet the pretty kitty's tail."
"Ah!" Her neck rolled back as he closed his hands around the base and squeezed gently.
"Good girl," he gasped, trembling. "Oh my good, beautiful, sexy babygirl!" He ran his hands down the stripey length, admiring the softness. "Wow, it really is silky."
"Nya!" A tiny whimper caught his attention and he pulled back to see her eyes shiny with unshed tears. He drew in a sharp breath.
"Elly?" He spoke her name very quietly. "Baby, you're way too cute like that." He wiped a tear that dripped down her cheek. "Did I do something wrong? Too fast?"
"No... no, Zashi. It's okay, I -" She smiled weakly.
"I'm sorry," he blurted. "I just couldn't hold back, I - I've been trying so damned hard to go slow, and..!"
"Hi-za-shi." She enunciated his name slowly. "Let me finish what I was going to say, okay?" He nodded, biting his lip in that way he had. "I was gonna say it's okay because I like your hands on me."
"But," she added, "I - I think that's all for tonight. Okay?"
He cleared his throat and held his hands up. "Okay," he said in english with a wide grin.
Chapter 8: The Confession
Elly has a problem, and she's scared to tell Hizashi.
After MCing an event the next day, he picked her up and they went out to eat.
"I wanna know more about you." He set his glass down and reached over to hold her hand. "I mean, we've talked so much but I know there's always more and I don't even know where to start, like maybe what you were like growing up and-"
"Take a breath, Zashi." She smiled when he inhaled deeply. "Well... I don't want to spoil the good time we're having." He watched, concern growing as her ears slowly folded back. "I didn't have a great childhood."
"You can tell me whatever you want, whenever. Don't worry, you can't ruin anything!"
"Since you asked and I care a lot about you, I guess you should know." She frowned and he reached across with his other hand to lightly stroke her wrist. "I got hurt a lot," she said, trying to keep things as simple as possible. "Everywhere I went. And.." Hizashi's green eyes were wider than wide as he listened. She found that looking into them helped and rushed on before she lost her nerve. "I'm bipolar."
"Are you apologizing?" He sounded genuinely confused. "That's nothing to be sorry about, baby."
"Did I - I don't know. Was I?"
"Sounded like it." He squeezed her hand. "You shouldn't. It's a part of you, and I like you."
She bit her lip. "So many others said I was too much hassle, even my family," she choked, her true fear surfacing. "I can have bad depressive episodes, and..."
"I'm not going to leave you." He got up from his chair and walked over to hers, causing some diners to glance quickly at them. Ignoring everyone else, he bent and hugged her. "I will not. Leave you."
She held back her tears and nodded dumbly. He kissed the top of her head affectionately and gave her a final squeeze before sitting back down. "Are you okay to eat?" A sad shake to her head. "You wanna get take out and go back to my place?" Elly sighed and nodded gratefully this time. She really didn't want to be alone right now, but it was too public here.
Hizashi got the food and his girl safely back to his apartment, though he was worried the entire time. She was so quiet, and he could feel the worry radiating off her although he had tried his best to lighten the mood by making small talk in a low, soothing tone. Elly sighed and immediately sat down on his couch, pulling the leopard-print pillow on the far side against her to hug like a small child.
He blinked. "Are you still hungry?"
"No. Maybe later?"
"That's fine. Let me put this..." He grunted and shelved the small containers away in his fridge. "Away, there. Okay. Let's talk, then."
"Yeah." She smiled wearily at him. "I've had psychology training, and I know it will be good to let you know about my past, but... my mind does what it does." She shrugged. "Even if I understand what's happening, it still happens."
"That's okay." He sat beside her and motioned for her to cuddle close. She did that, and was silent for such a long time that he was about to speak when she finally began.
"I'll try and keep this as short as possible, for now. There's so much more, but, eh. You know. So..." She took a deep breath while he stroked her hair as she rested against his side. "I got sick when I was young. Tired, fainting, a bunch of other stuff. Went to all these doctors, hospitals and series after series of testing done for all sorts of diseases."
"Mmm, let me guess." He kissed the top of her head when she looked up at him. "They didn't find anything?"
"Right." She sighed. "So they said it was mental, not physical. My - my family did not like that. At all. When a psychologist confirmed it, they sent me to a psychiatrist, too..."
"I'm gonna feel dumb here, but, uh, what's the difference? Between those two, I mean?"
"A psychologist works on therapy. The psychiatrist can prescribe medication as well."
"Uh oh," he muttered.
"Yeah." She shivered, and he held her tighter. "I was barely a teenager. They forced me to take all these pills - and let's face it, antidepressants are mind-altering drugs. They made me take so many my brain didn't develop right. Now they say you should never give kids higher doses, be - because," she gulped air and he rubbed gently behind one of her ears. He wasn't sure, but Shota said cats liked it and he wanted to calm her. He was pleased to see it worked a little. Elly took a shuddering breath and snuggled closer, pressing her face in his side. "My memory isn't good," she said, voice muffled by his shirt. "I can't remember like most people can. I only remember a bunch of bad things from growing up, and my short term gets wonky now and then, too."
"Yeah, I'm a mess." She let out a shrill, hysterical giggle and then sniffled. "I've been treated badly by a lot of people because of the way I get. Like this," she indicated the state she was in with a wave of her hand. "I'm told it gets... that I get, difficult to handle. Impossible, even." She ended up speaking so quietly that he could barely hear her.
Hizashi was aghast that someone he felt so strongly for could have been treated so badly. "My poor baby," he choked. "That's not right. I would do anything for you, and if that means sitting here while you feel crappy and cry it all out, go for it."
"I guess... I mean, I don't just have bad moments, Zashi. I can be like this for days sometimes. You've actually been seeing the manic side of me - which, by the way, seems to thrive around you." She smiled at his confusion. "It's all right. You're not going to understand everything right away. But if you want me, and st - stay with me..." Her eyes filled with sudden tears, the smile crumpling.
"Who hurt you?" He asked so intently that she was shocked out of her self-pity.
"Anyone that mattered." She shrugged. "Especially the men in my life. So, you can see why I was scared when I told you."
"I'd like to find them and beat the shit out of them." His eyes swirled with rage. He was staring angrily out into the distance, and she felt his entire body tense.
"Hizashi!" Elly was shocked.
"No one should have hurt you like that." He lost control of his quirk momentarily, the low growl causing smaller objects in the home to jerk about like a small, very localised earthquake. The sound of the window frame rattling snapped him back to his senses, however. "Oops! Err, sorry. I didn't mean to offend you. I just really feel that way."
"I think it's about the nicest thing any guy has said to me."
"Aw." He blushed a little, and used a finger to push his glasses back on his nose. "But how can I help? Did I do okay today?"
"You were perfect. I just need support, and for you to nudge me, ask what I need if you don't know."
"I can do that," he said, then added, "So... uh, speaking of that, can I make you feel better now? Anything?"
"You can," she murmured. "Sometimes nothing makes me feel better, Zashi, you need to know it's not your fault. But tonight... I want to know you're still attracted to me."
"Mmm? You want proof, is that it?"
"Yeah." She wriggled around until she was facing him. "You sound weird. Is that bad?"
"I can tell you, but that won't be enough," he said softly. "I can make love to you, but if we go too far, you'll wonder if it was just sex." He rolled her slowly back until she was laying down and knelt carefully on top. "I don't want you to ever think that."
Her face burned. "Hi - Hizashi?"
"You'll have to settle for something a little in-between," he whispered in her ear, his hand cupping the back of her neck. "Is that okay? Baby?" He paused, then kissed her on the forehead when she didn't answer.
"I'm not going to do anything until you tell me it's okay."
"Wh - what do you want to do?"
"If you want me to," he stressed, "I'm going to make us both feel good. Without," he added, kissing her on the lips this time, "taking our clothes off."
"Wanna see?" He raised his eyebrows at her.
Elly toyed playfully with his necklaces. "Hmm...yes. It sounds fun."
"I hope so." Hizashi's chest heaved with a slow, deep breath. He reached for her, reminding himself to go slow.
"Zashi," she purred enthusiastically when his hands gently rubbed her breasts. He kissed her more seriously, squeezing the soft flesh in his hands and rubbing the hardened nipples. She tossed her head on the fuzzy couch pillow she was resting on, grasping his shoulders tightly.
"Yes." He lowered his raised hips to hers, allowing her to feel the firmness of his body through the soft khakis he wore. "Wh - what are you..."
"W - want me to stop?" Hizashi bit his lip. He didn't want to stop and he was barely holding back now, but if she said ...
"Don't stop," she husked, pulling him eagerly towards her.
That was all he needed to hear. With a soft cry he canted his hips, rubbing against her as he kissed her deeply. He felt a wild thrill when she began moaning, bucking into his movements.
"God, baby, it's like we're teenagers," he gasped. "This feels so amazing!" Hizashi slowed as he spoke, then gasped hoarsely. She saw his hand flex on the couch beside her, digging deep into the fabric. He was breathing in soft, hurried pants that were driving her wild.
"Zashi, are you close?"
"So close," he whimpered, eyes squeezed shut. His habit of biting at his lip enthralled her and when he did it once more she pulled him back and sucked on it with a catlike growl.
"Mfft!" His eyes flew open, the spirals in his pupils thinning as they dilated briefly. He opened his mouth and kissed her lingeringly as his pace slowed, then stopped.
He would have kept kissing her but she writhed underneath him and he realized she hadn't been satisfied yet. "Ah, hold on. I think I'd better clean up or I'm going to make you even more of a mess. Just a sec!"
He leaped off the couch and rushed into another room off the small hall. She assumed one was a bedroom, the other a bathroom and nodded when she heard the sink running. Although she was all tensed up in her lower belly and really hoping he would hurry, she couldn't help smiling when she heard him muttering under his breath.
"Where the hell did I put those - ah, shit! Wait, no, these'll do."
Hizashi strode out of the back with an apologetic grin. He was wearing just about the cutest sweatpants she had ever seen - black and white, with the keys of a piano down the sides of both legs.
"Oh my god," she breathed. "Those are so cute."
"Heh." He dipped his head down, shyly avoiding her gaze for a moment. "It was all I had left. I didn't do the laundry yet." He climbed back on the couch, grinning widely. "You ready?" She said nothing, but he felt her jerk wildly towards his hand when he rubbed the front of her jeans. "I'd say that's a big old 'yes'," he murmured approvingly.
He used his hand as best he could, kissing her softly and listening to her moan and fuss under his body. He thought he knew the problem, but was not going to mention it unless she brought it up.
Moments later, she did, whimpering with tears standing in her eyes. "I want - I need, Zashi, help, I c - cuh - can't..!"
"Difficult with the heavy jeans, huh?" He kissed her cheek, stroking her side locks out of the way. "How about this, then?" He unbuttoned the top of the slacks, then grasped the zipper. "Hmm? Should be easier for you through your panties. Still not taking anything off, okay?"
"Yes, please!" She gasped as he reached inside with a finger and dragged it across the black swatch of silk he found inside.
"Woooow. You're really wet." He deftly plucked at the folds slicked against her underwear, then rubbed. "Ahhh, better?" He smiled and dropped his head to her neck when she began moaning his name. "Let me know... slower? Faster?"
"Perfect," she groaned.
"Oh, you like that? Like this?"
"I'll never hurt you," he husked in her ear as she started to tremble, her nails digging lightly into his back. "I want to make you feel good..."
"So good!" She cried out and he slowed his finger, drawing the last bits of pleasure gently down until her body relaxed in his arms.
"Mission accomplished." He smiled at her blushing face and kissed her sweetly on the nose.
Chapter 9: Student and Teacher Support
Another day at school, and she had been once again assigned to Mic's classes. It seemed obvious why. She was, after all, a native English speaker. But she couldn't help but think it was odd how the universe seemed to be pushing them closer and closer together. Elly shrugged the feeling off, smiling at the idea that this was somehow romantic fate. Maybe it was, but right now they had to discuss the idea that could keep them together.
"You really think this will work?"
"All Might is backing you." Mic shrugged. "I mean, you can't get more clout than that, right? And if I can convince the others... and I think I can, then the principal might take our petition more seriously. And the school board, too."
"I hope so." She sighed. "It's a big deal and more expense hiring a new teacher on."
"I'm gonna go talk to a few people right now. You can take my class until I get back - I won't be long." He kissed her on the cheek.
"No problem." She smiled as he gave her an enthusiastic thumbs up before walking out the door. He passed the throngs of students milling about in the halls with an ease borne of practice as he strode purposefully forward. His own class walked by with curious frowns on their faces.
"Where's Mr. Mic going?" One teenager asked in confusion.
"He's not in class," another commented, sticking her head in. The rest filed in neatly, surprised to see it was only Elly seated at the desk. When the final bell rang she grinned at them and waved a hand for them to put their books away.
"I thought we could answer questions again." She paused meaningfully. "Present Mic isn't here, so you can't tease him like you did last time." There was some snickering. Elly laughed. "Okay, I know. He's fun to get a rise out of. Now, then - is there anything you want to ask me?"
One hand shot up. "Didn't you have a boyfriend back in the states?"
"We're starting out the same way, huh," she murmured. "No, I didn't. Not for a long time." She sighed when more hands rose in the air. "I know you're curious. Ten minutes," she told them firmly. "Then you have to ask English related questions, okay?" She chose one girl who had several horns coming out of her forehead. "Yes?"
"Why do you like Mr. Mic?"
"That's your question?" Elly pursed her lips, tapping a finger thoughtfully on the desk. "Well, he's really upbeat. I like that. It makes me feel better if I'm low. And we both like a lot of the same things so we have fun together."
"Yes, but what about... you know," the girl continued, blushing. The class laughed together as she fidgeted with her pencil, twiddling it nervously. "I mean, what do you see in him? You come from America. I thought they had tons of cute guys there."
Elly chuckled. "I thought someone would mention that. You know, everyone has different taste. All the ladies my age swooned madly after All Might." She stood and walked in front of them, shaking her head. "I never saw what they did in him. He was a great hero when he fought and is a good man, but they thought he was soooo attractive."
"Nope." She grinned widely, flashing her fangs at the students. "Now, Present Mic, on the other hand, makes my knees weak." The girls sighed almost collectively, dreamy-eyed at the teacher's depiction of her feelings.
"No way," one guy in the back snorted. "That guy's a dork."
Elly's ears swiveled in that direction. "To you, maybe. But his eyes are gorgeous, and his hair is so long and so gold..." Her eyes deepened from lavender to a dark purple as she spoke, her mind far away.
Hizashi was bopping along the corridor that instant, so happy he was snapping his fingers to a popular tune as he went. The other teachers he had talked to were all on their side, or at least they could see the positives in having her transfer. They would probably pull this off. And when they did, his girl would be with him indefinitely! He paused before opening the door to his class. Elly was talking and he heard her mention his name.
Mic cocked his head, his eyes growing wide as the biggest, dopiest grin spread slowly across his face. Unfortunately he was too intent on listening, twisted awkwardly with his ear pressed to the door, to notice anything else around him.
Aizawa strode down the hall with his sleeping bag over his shoulder. He wanted a quick nap before lunch but stopped when he saw the voice hero scrunched down comically in front of the classroom door. An equally huge, although creepier, grin flashed across his features.
Elly was finishing up her statement about Mic. "...and his hair is so gold." She sighed. "Trust me, I find him irresistible."
There was a sudden, shocking bang as the door crashed open. Mic yelped, his eyes huge as he pinwheeled his arms, trying to avoid hitting the floor. It was no use, and all six feet of him smacked solidly into the wood panels. "Bastard!" He yelped. "Who shoves somebody like that, anyway?!"
Eraserhead stood in the hallway grinning maniacally. He turned and shuffled off, his work here done.
"Mic?" Elly was kneeling beside him, trying very hard to stifle her laughter. "Are you okay?"
He slowly raised his head. There was a small trickle of blood running from one of his nostrils, and his cheeks were bright red. "I wasn't listening. Honest." He groaned and collapsed back onto the floor in embarrassment.
Elly sighed and helped him sit up. "I heard that," she chuckled over her shoulder as the class erupted into unruly laughter. "No more 'Mic drop' jokes. And get, class is over. It's lunchtime."
Aizawa chuckled to himself as he walked toward the teacher's lounge. Shoving his friend into the classroom had been enjoyable. The nosy idiot should have realized he had left himself open as he listened, so maybe next time he would be more careful. He briefly wondered what had happened, but put it out of his mind in favor of grabbing a drink from the vending machine they had installed. He was a few minutes deciding what to get and then using the bathroom, but he eventually made it to the lounge. He moved to open the door and froze, his hand halfway to the wood panels.
"That's good." It was Mic's voice, but the tone was what stopped him in his tracks. "That - yeahhhhh."
"It's okay?" Cheshire? What were they doing?
"Mmn, right there." Shuffling sounds. A soft snort, then he giggled. "Now it tickles, baby!"
Aizawa's face started to burn. No way. There was no way they could be stupid enough to do such a thing, especially in the teacher's lounge! But their voices carried and he heard his friend gasp next.
"That's it, babygirl - that's the spot! Deeper, harder..."
"You're so tight. Relax, Mikey, otherwise I won't be able to get in there."
He leaned against the door, face pale with hectic spots of color in his cheeks. A small trickle of blood was running down out of both of his nostrils. He placed his back to the door, vowing to guard it for both his friend and the woman he was dating. But it was lunch, and he knew some of the other teachers would be arriving. He knew that - they should know it, too! To his utter horror, Yagi was walking towards him from down the hall, obviously intent on getting into the break room. He tried to warn the man off, but he just stared at him blankly and walked past, shoving the door open with one bony shoulder.
Aizawa panicked and threw himself inside, hoping to block the scenario he thought was occurring before the man could see. It wouldn't do for him to cough up his only lung, after all. He flinched, not wanting to, but he did look.
Elly was standing over a chair Hizashi was seated in, her hands on his shoulders. They stared blankly back at him, not quite understanding the reason for his violent entrance.
Elly snickered. "I told you, you were too loud!"
Mic rolled his eyes dramatically. "She gives the best massages." Aizawa retreated to a dark corner of the room, muttering to himself. "Serves him right," the blond man snickered. "I think he was the bastard that pushed me."
Chapter 10: Not Like Those Other Guys
"Hey, Mic? I've been meaning to ask why Midnight said you've been on your best behavior in public around me." The two of them were walking back to his apartment after getting a bite to eat.
"Erk." He bit the straw in the soda he carried and slowly moved just his eyes to stare at her.
"Well... yesterday and everything got me thinking. I want to know more about you, too. This seemed kinda like a start."
He pulled a sour face. "I was wondering when it would come up."
"Well?" She hooked her arm through his and smiled up at him.
"I uh, kind of like to drink," he admitted. He paused, chewed on the straw in his cup nervously for a bit and then sighed. "Okay! A lot. It's - it's hard not bein' appreciated like the other heroes."
"Who doesn't appreciate you?" He heard the anger in her voice and was oddly touched.
"Lotta folks. 'The guy who yells, big deal'. I don't go on patrols often, and they think it's because I'm useless."
Elly scoffed. "It's because you're badass," she said firmly. "Your quirk is devastating. You can't just go around using it like the common guys can." She pulled up short, the arm that was entwined with his way behind. He had stopped completely in the middle of the sidewalk, mouth open. "Um... Mic?"
"You get it," he said. "You - of course you do." A big, slow smile lit up his features and he looked ten years younger. "Anyway, like when I met you. What you didn't see after you left karaoke was me getting shitfaced drunk and Shota having to drag my ass home."
"Aww." She leaned consolingly into him.
"I was stupid," he shrugged and wrapped his arm around her. "Midnight told me I was gonna scare you off, and I thought I did." They reached a garbage can and he tossed the remainder of the fizzy drink away. He suddenly didn't want any more. "You know, babe, all the people I've met think I'm turned up to eleven, all the time, everywhere."
"They hear you on the radio, see you like that in your work clothes. It's the same for other people in the public eye. They think television and radio personalities, movie stars, heroes and everyone like that are always the same as what they portray. And sometimes we are, a bit - just not all the time."
"Exactly," he sighed. "I don't feel like being perky every single day. In fact, I kinda feel lazy. Have been all day."
"You held up well in school," she complimented him.
"Yeah. If I don't act insane the kids think I'm dying or something."
She giggled. "I'll bet. What do you want to do today?"
"Be lazy," he told her happily, burping into his hand. "Urk. Uh, you wanna just relax and listen to some music? I wanted to show you my collection."
"Ooh. Sounds snuggly."
"Oh, yes." He grinned.
He really did have an excellent sound system. They sat close together on the couch while they chatted, listening to pieces and discussing their favorite artists. Hizashi noticed she seemed a little down after a while and took her hand.
"Hey. What's up?"
"Oh." She grinned weakly at him. "I had some bad thoughts and they're starting to overwhelm me. Then I uh, panicked about laying too much on you again."
He kissed her on the nose. "It's okay. You can tell me anything. But this sounds like you could use some coffee. I'll make us some." He got up and moved to the kitchen. "Still listening!"
She sighed. "Well, all this talk about our favorite songs... I had a song I really loved as a kid. It was classical sounding, nice big band, you know - a duet. It had something to do with a prince and him loving this woman so much. I forget exactly. I haven't thought about it in a long time for several reasons."
There was a buzzing sound as the coffee maker brewed a cup. "Aw... that's sad. Especially since it was a childhood favorite. What happened? It's not a good memory, is it?"
"You're right," she groaned. "It's not. Remember I told you I had a shitty childhood?"
He nodded, then saw she wasn't looking at him. She was staring morosely at her hands in her lap. "Yes."
"The song became a lie for me. I started to hate it because it promised unconditional love, but I didn't get that from any man. My real dad, nope. Stepdad? Ha! Even my grandfather once told me I was a stupid, ugly bitch. But it's always about the fathers for little girls, right? In my heart my stepfather was my real dad, the one I grew up with."
She swallowed back her tears as best she could as she grew more emotional. "I wanted him to be my father. I wanted him to be proud of me."
Hizashi sighed sadly, his brows drawing together as he watched her work through her pain. He set the coffee down on the table with trembling hands. In his mind there were a million things that could have happened to her that were horribly scarring.
"He would tell people I wasn't his, you know? Like, they'd say, 'oh, your daughter this' or 'your daughter that' and he would - he'd instantly..." She hid her face in her hands, knowing she was babbling, sensing the tears wouldn't stay away. The couch dipped down and she knew he had joined her so she scrunched her legs up to make room. "He was ashamed of me!"
"You're okay, baby," he told her in a low, soothing voice. Elly hiccupped, shaking her head and struggling to pull herself together. "Yes, you are." She was suddenly overwhelmed by his sweet bubblegum scent. He nudged her legs and then he was kneeling carefully on top of her, his long fingers wrapping around hers to pull her hands away.
She sniffled and gasped at the cool air on her sweaty, tear-streaked skin. "I'm sorry," she gulped. "I'm -"
"Don't be." Hizashi wiped at the corners of her eyes with his thumbs. "The men in your life..." He paused. "I don't wanna make you angry, but I'm pissed." He wrapped his arms around her, sinking down so his warm body lay just against her like a comforting blanket. "Every little girl deserves to be told they're special. To be someone's princess." His voice broke, and with utter and absolute shock, she felt hot tears fall upon her neck.
Hizashi was crying.
"I'll fix it. They robbed you, baby. Fucking robbed you. That's not right. So from now on, you're my princess," he finished vehemently. She shivered, her ears flicking as he spoke lowly, his voice seeming to throb throughout her body. "Listen." He raised one hand and his phone was in it; his finger tapped and music filled the room. Amazingly, he had found her song. It played from the music app he had bought it on through the ornate speaker system, filling the apartment with fairy tale music.
"Oh, Zashi," she wept. "You... you..."
"Shhh." He sat up on his knees and she thought he was about to get up, but his hand moved behind his neck. She watched, immersed in the music and completely confused until she saw him sweep his hand around, pulling the massive bun free. Her dark eyes huge, she clapped a hand to her mouth as Hizashi Yamada transformed himself into her dream from long ago and her savior now with one simple move. His hair was long; she knew that. But it was far, far longer when it was loose than she had believed and it tumbled down his shoulders and softly down his back like a cloud of gold. His green, spiraling pupils held her captive, her sadness forgotten as he once again lowered himself and took her in his arms.
His kisses started with her lips, soft and brushing gently, then fluttered over her eyelids when she closed her eyes. Her hands gripped him tightly, clutching the red cloth of his shirt and scrunching it when he started talking again.
"I'll do anything for you," he husked in that special humming voice that left her completely bereft of her senses. "I'm proud to be with you. I will spend every minute, every second, that I can fixing how much you hurt inside!" He pressed his lips on her throat, feeling the erratic pulse, and cried out, "I want the whole world to know how much I love my beautiful princess!"
Oh shit. His face drained of color. He hadn't meant to declare his feelings so strongly, or so fast. Midnight kept telling him he was going to scare her away, and for a few minutes he was completely terrified. He sat back up and covered his face with his hands. Shaking, he dared a quick peek after a minute and saw she was staring at him with what could only be utter adoration in those glorious purple eyes. Relieved, his lips curled up just a bit in a twitchy grin. "I uh, I mean it," he said, taking her hand in his. "I love you."
Elly reached out and brushed the fall of hair on his right side away, caressing his cheek. "I think you really do," she breathed in amazement.
"Yep." The grin widened.
"It scares me," she said truthfully. "It scares me that I love you so much." He opened his mouth and she placed a finger on his lips. "Every time I've loved a man I wasn't loved back, or I was thrown away."
"You're killin' me," he sighed, reaching out for a hug. "I want you to feel safe, not scared. No, don't feel bad," he went on when she tensed in his arms. "You can't help that, you were treated badly by those that should've protected you. I'm just going to have to show you that I'm not like those other guys."
Chapter 11: Bad Timing
Elly was panicking. She had spent a wonderful, emotional evening with Mic last night. She couldn't get the man out of her mind! Even when she fell asleep in the lumpy hotel bed, she dreamt of his touch, the way his lips had felt pressed onto her neck...
She woke in a feverish sweat.
Her pulse was erratic, her face flushed and she was aching in a very familiar way. Not unpleasant in itself, but the combined symptoms could mean only one thing. She checked her birth control pills, counting carefully, and was confused to see she hadn't missed a single one. Frowning, she turned to her calendar. No, it wasn't that time of the month, either. Now she knew something was wrong. Elly rushed into school earlier than usual to talk with the nurse on campus.
"I don't know what's wrong," she told her nervously. "I can't concentrate, I'm hot, and I ... oh god. Oh no."
The older woman smiled at her. "Figured it out, then? This is induced heat. Not like your natural cycles, no. This one is caused by a reaction to a partner you find suitable."
"Oh, no no no no. It can't be! Mic just passed the petitions and things on to Principal Nezu, and the kids, they even had one of their own. If this gets out..." She gasped for air. "I've never had one before, this can't be that, can it?"
"Oh, girl," she chuckled softly, taking the worried woman's hand. "It's okay. It's a natural part of life. A lot of anthros don't get their first until they're older. Some don't at all." She sat up, very businesslike all of a sudden, and held up three fingers.
"You've got three options. One, stay away from his scent until your heat passes. You know you can't do that, so..." she shrugged and dropped one finger. "Two: do what your heat is demanding you do. You'll have to keep that up until your heat passes naturally in a few days, or until you get pregnant." Seeing Elly's blushing face, she nodded and held the last finger up in front of her face. "Yeah. Your best option is to let him mark you."
"That's it? Can't you do something?"
"I can't halt nature," she shook her head dismissively. "I can only heal what needs to be fixed and there's nothing wrong with you." She paused, then mischievously added, "well, except maybe your taste in men. Mic? Really? That boy had it in him to move you like this?"
She laughed uproariously at Elly's shocked expression. "Go, go. I don't mean anything by it. Bring him here for a bit of privacy -" she motioned to the curtains that could be drawn around the cots in the room, "and I'll bind you up so no one sees it at school when you're done."
"Can you call him on the PA? Won't it be faster?"
"Nah. Last time he wandered in after his class was over. You need this now."
"Th - thank you." Elly took a deep breath to try and calm her wildly racing heart and mind. It didn't work. Swearing under her breath, sweating, she power walked as fast as possible to Mic's classroom and cracked open the door. "Mic? Can you uh, come here a minute?"
He grinned when he saw her and he strode over. "Whatcha need, princess?" He leaned close and she shuddered so violently he grasped her by the shoulders, alarmed. "Hey, hey... you all right? You look weird."
"Come with me to the nurse," she managed to gasp. Mic, of course, completely misunderstood and just as naturally overreacted.
"You gotta be kidding me!" He yelped as he snatched her up in his arms.
"Is Ms. Cheshire okay?"
"I'll take care of her. Keep working!" He snapped back to the kids over his shoulder as he ran out into the hall. "Ches, hey, what's wrong? What happened?"
"Tell you ... there."
He whimpered. "You better be okay."
"...be fine." Her head lolled to the side and he cradled it to his chest. He started to run and it didn't take him long to reach the nurse.
"Whoa!" The older woman put her hands up as he barged in the door. "Relax, son. You almost gave me a heart attack!"
Hizashi held his limp girlfriend out with a soft keening sound. "She keeps passing out!"
"She's okay, things will be okay. Set her down on that cot - and take that speaker off, by the way."
Mic gently set Elly down. "Uh, why?"
"It'll get in the way."
"Oooh - kayy..." He unfastened the heavy neck piece and set it aside. "Now what the shit is going on?!"
"Close the curtains." Elly had recovered slightly. She raised a shaky hand towards him. "Quick." Recovery Girl did what she asked, then left the room smiling quietly to herself.
"I'm in heat," she admitted with an even darker flush spreading across her cheeks. "I need you to mark me."
He scrunched his brows together, thinking back to the health initiatives they gave the students once a year. "Uh. I don't ... know what that means? Sorry?"
"You have to bite me," she told him uneasily. "On the neck."
"We're not talking a nibble, are we." He blinked.
"No. Hard. Like, really hard. You have to leave a very visible mark. And you're going to have to keep doing it for maybe like a week." She rubbed the side of her face. It was better now than before, when she had been in his arms. When he held her and she could both feel and smell him the desire grew so strong it had been pain.
"Wait, so I ..." Mic glanced around though with the curtains drawn he couldn't see if anyone was there. He lowered his voice and continued, "What you're saying is I need to - to hurt you?" He frowned, head tilting to one side with his golden mass of hair shifting behind him.
"No! I mean, I don't think it's supposed to feel like a bad pain. I've never..." She grimaced, ears folding back. "It - it's supposed to feel good."
He took a step closer. "But no one's ever done this to you before. So how do you know? I don't want to hurt you, babe."
"It's necessary!" she slapped the tiny bed in anger, furious at herself for not explaining things properly. The hormonal imbalance had gotten far too strong for her to think rationally. "I can't think, Mikey! I need, I want..." His warm hand palming her neck shut her up mid-sentence.
"Hey! Don't get all riled up," he chided. "I'll do anything for you." He stroked lightly and she had to muffle herself in his shoulder when he found her pulse. "I just wanted to be sure. So... here, then."
"It has to be hard? Breaking and bruising the skin?"
"Tell me if I go too far." He rubbed his tongue over his teeth experimentally, gauging just how rough he would have to be and feeling more than a little nervous about it.
"Yes, please, Mic... Zashi. Your scent - so close -- I can hardly bear it..."
Feeling like an ass, he bared his teeth on her, rubbing them on the unblemished skin before nibbling. He shivered at the sounds she was making, muffled into the leather jacket he wore, and opened his mouth wide. He was not prepared for her reaction to his teeth closing on that swatch of skin. His eyes popped comically open as she writhed under him, panting and moaning, desperately trying to stifle herself and unable to completely do so. He bit down harder and groaned when her hands slid roughly down his leather pants to grasp his rear. She squeezed as he bit. He stopped when he tasted a coppery tang and pulled away quickly with a small cry of regret. Elly, however, was having none of that and wrapped her legs around his waist, panting.
"More, love. More. Make it pretty, so everyone knows I'm yours."
His mouth dropped open. "Holy shit," he choked. "Yeah. Yeah, anything for you!" His mouth hungrily settled on the small ring of bloody dots, this time sucking and licking. When he pulled back a second time, tongue lolling sensuously out from between his swollen lips, she was purring.
"Thank you," she whispered, relief flooding through her as the agony of her need diminished. She could get through the day, at least, and that's what mattered.
Chapter 12: Discovered
Two days into her heat, and they were coping much better. They had learned approximately when and how she needed him, and worked it out so they met in the nurse's office each morning and in the middle of the day.
Present Mic and Cheshire were somewhat of an old topic now. The students knew they were dating and had even banded together to sign a petition to keep her in Japan. They still talked about them from time to time, mostly after seeing Mic sneak a kiss, but they were becoming used to the idea. It wasn't unusual when they started hooking up before classes, or so most kids thought.
Hizashi had taken off his neck speaker for better access that morning. Recovery Girl was stocking supplies from a distant room
so they assumed they were alone. He wrapped his arms around her from behind, dropping his head to her neck. Elly let out a soft mew and he chuckled, his breath ghosting over the gruesome-looking mark. He slowly licked it, humming, while she arched her back luxuriously into him, tail curling around his legs. He didn't have to bite this time but sank his teeth in while sucking the way he had learned she liked.
Neither one noticed the small scuffle of movement from a dark corner that disappeared long before they were done. Mic carefully cleaned and re-wrapped the bandage on her neck and they walked out to class, one of his arms slung casually about her waist. He pulled out his notes halfway through and checked a few things as they navigated the crowded halls. Students were milling about, chatting and laughing before they had to rush to class. They had almost reached the room when they heard a cough.
"Hmm?" She turned to face the student. It was a stocky little fellow she didn't know.
"Can I ask what happened to your neck? It's been bandaged for days now."
Mic jerked his head up from the course book he had been browsing, frowning. Both teachers paused in the hallway, aware other kids were paying attention.
"Did you get hurt on patrol? Can't Recovery Girl fix it?"
Elly shook her head. "It's nothing to worry about. It'll be gone in another week or so." She smiled reassuringly, her voice firm so as not to encourage further questions.
Mic pulled her closer. "D'ya think that's gonna be a problem?"
She flicked her ears. "We'll just have to wait and see." He huffed in surprise, stopping in the middle of reaching out to push open his classroom door.
"Won't have to wait too long," he sighed. "Listen."
The whispered talk was all about them.
They taught class same as always, ignoring the accusing stares, the knowing looks. Most of the ire seemed to be directed at the blond man, and Elly knew why. Present Mic wore leather, with metal accents like his speaker and studs on his shoulder pads. He was loud, had a very overwhelming personality, and towered over her height wise. Add those crazy, menacing stares he affected with one spiralled eye huge, one squinted, and he appeared the perfect candidate for what was being suggested. Which was insane, honestly, because those glares turned her on faster than anything. He was so devilishly cute when he did that! To show how bad it had gotten, she even heard his mustache cited in some strange reasoning behind her bruise, as if mustachioed men couldn't be trusted. After class was dismissed she placed a hand on his shoulder.
"We need to talk to the staff. Now."
He cringed sadly. "Aw, babe. This is gonna suck."
"It'll be fine, Mikey. What won't be is if we let this fester."
"I know." Mic drew in a long, slow breath. "Let's go while we have some time."
Elly was calm when she spoke with the principal, suggesting a small meeting during lunch. He nodded, and soon the staff were seated around the long table they used for discussions.
"What's this about, anyway?" Snipe was one of the few that appeared confused. Most of the teachers had heard the rumors from either one of them or secondhand from a student in their class or the halls.
"I went into heat a couple of days ago. Someone saw Mic mark me, and now the students think he is abusing me." Elly spoke clearly, though her ears were twitching. "It does look bad if you've never seen a marking before." She slowly unwrapped the bandage from her neck and let the wrappings fall. Once the evil-looking wound was displayed, she waited a few moments.
Aizawa seemed the hardest hit by the sight. He was looking directly at the individual tooth marks, his face drawn and paler than usual. He had always thought his friend had a huge mouth, joked about it, even. But to think of it was one thing, to see the gruesome injury that had been done to her was too much. He finally had to tear his gaze away by pretending he needed his eye drops. He did, but he did not even feel the soothing liquid this time as it dripped out.
"She really had to convince me," the Voice Hero told them all meekly. He was sliding down in his chair like a boy about to be scolded. Yet though he had been expecting it, no one said anything - even Midnight. She did, however, raise her hand to her mouth to hide a sly smile.
"I called this meeting to ask if we could be allowed to address the students - both of us." She indicated herself and then placed a hand on Mic's. "They need to know that this is a completely consensual, perfectly normal, and important part of our relationship. Not a sadistic power trip like the rumors suggest."
Nezu turned his inscrutable gaze on the blond man, who was sweating as he fidgeted nervously. Mic choked a little, scrunching his neck down in his speaker. Aizawa raised an eyebrow at him, glaring in an effort to will his friend to sit still.
"Yes!" His voice cracked and he cleared his throat. "Uh, I mean, they had their health initiatives and all that already, but we can't let this go on the way it is. And I love Ches." He blushed, adorably pressing his two pointer fingers together while staring down shyly. "I would never hurt her. It's not good for all of us if the kids think I'm some kinda monster. How will they trust any of us?"
"I agree," the principal said, all smiles once more. "We'll gather the first years in the auditorium and let you speak with them first."
Elly smiled at him back, relieved. "Thank you."
Chapter 13: The Assembly
"I can't help it, I'm so nervous," he choked. "I'm not good at talking about stuff like this in public, Ches." He thought about it and then shook his head ruefully, massive hair rustling behind him. "Unless I've had a few drinks, anyway."
"It's going to be fine." Elly laid a hand on his.
"Well, did you have to leave it uncovered?" He grimaced at the faces of the students filing in. They all looked shocked to some degree as they caught sight of the marking.
"I did. I'm not going to hide it for the assembly. Hiding it implies shame, that something is wrong. It would have been great if we could've kept it personal, but..." She shrugged, sighed.
"I wish it was over already." She nodded. There was nothing to do but wait until the kids were seated before they could start. Elly and Mic were standing behind a podium so she could address everyone via microphone, ensuring they all understood their message. She tapped it once to check, then grinned up at Mic when he did the same with the one embedded into his neck gear. There was some laughter, very muted, but she felt better hearing it.
"All right." She spoke quietly, calmly. "Present Mic and I have something we need to talk to you all about." Mic nodded, stepping closer to her and wrapping a supportive arm about her shoulders. "Someone saw this - " she pointed at her neck, "and assumed the worst. It's not a bad thing."
Mic scrambled on the podium, opening a pamphlet with one hand. It didn't occur to him to unwrap the other from around her, and this caused some amusement in the crowd as well. He found what he was looking for and cleared his throat nervously. "You all got pamphlets during your health training at the beginning of the year. Does anyone remember reading anything involving anthros or mixes?"
A few of the animal mixed students looked anxious but no one raised their hands. Elly smiled. "It's embarrassing to talk about sex, I know. Trust me." She laid her ears back and spoke in a sardonic drawl. "This is so much fun for us." Her tail lashed out once.
This time there was open laughter.
"But listen. Mic and I are in a committed relationship. We shared our feelings one night, and it started my mating heat." She took a tremulous breath. "Ew, I know, sorry. But that's what this mark is all about. It helps me function until the hormones pass through my system. If he hadn't done this I would have suffered badly."
"She looked awful," he supplied helpfully.
More laughter, and this time a few hands raised. Elly picked the first, which, to Mic's chagrin, turned out to be Ochaco Uraraka. He turned beet red as she stood up.
"Isn't there a shot or something you can take instead of... th - that?"
"Unfortunately, no. I take birth control to control it in general, but this is a different kind. It was caused by him, and he's the only way I can manage it." Mic bit his lip as the girl gave him an odd look. She thanked Elly and sat back down.
Another hand, this time a teenager she didn't know. "What is it? That bruise, I mean?"
"It's a bite mark. Basically, there are special hormones in that area that react to his."
"A ... bite mark?!" The boy blinked in amazement. "But - but it looks..."
"I know, I know," Mic stepped in, groaning. "She had to convince me! I didn't want to do it if it was gonna hurt her. But she's my girl, and I trust her when she tells me things. Plus I'm not gonna let her suffer, ya know."
Elly held up a hand to still the murmuring crowd. "We can't teach you everything you need to know about sex and relationships, because with quirks, there are too many variations." She paused. "But we can teach respect and tolerance. Not being afraid to talk and listening to your partner are more important than anything."
Talking to the rest of the school went as smoothly as could be expected. Mic was embarrassed, but less so as they addressed each grade. The important factor was that such a delicate topic had been handled in an effective, calm manner, taking into consideration the students as well as the staff. Nezu wagged his tail slightly as he held the stack of petitions that had been gathered for her in his paws at the end of the day.
Hiring a qualified counselor at their school could be a definite bonus.
Chapter 14: The Hum
"Why did you want to meet up here?"
"We both did good dealing with that messy situation." He shrugged, handing her an ice cream cone from the street vendor outside campus grounds. "I figured we deserve a treat after all that."
"Oooh. I love strawberry."
He grinned. "Me too." Hizashi stretched, looking around. They had changed and were in casual clothes but were close by the school. This time Elly had met him near his apartment, which she now knew was the teacher's complex. It made sense, since it was inside the grounds. What had further confused her was that he had such a bigger place than what they normally gave teachers, and seemed to not have any colleagues as neighbors. This was also easily explained as his apartment had been soundproofed and the staff deliberately left an open spot on one end to make certain the very vocal Voice Hero wouldn't keep them up at night. He had shamefacedly admitted to Elly he had sneezed once and destroyed the windows in the next apartment over.
They sat on a warm bench outside overlooking the neatly manicured lawns eating their ice cream. They had almost finished when she noticed he had, as always, gotten some on him.
"You've got some on your ..." Elly giggled faintly, leaning over. "Here." He blinked, surprised, as she lapped one fuzzy point of his mustache, nuzzling and kissing his lips afterward.
"Uh, ah, P - Princess, baby, oh holy shit..." He stammered and choked, barely able to speak. She grinned and did the other side. Hizashi was panting and fidgeting on the bench at this point. He lifted her onto his lap and boldly cupped a breast through her t-shirt while she petted his thigh, rubbing close to the bulge in his slacks.
"Oh, baby," he wheezed. "Oh my precious babygirl, we better stop or I'm not gonna make it back to campus."
They disengaged and went back to his apartment. He unlocked the door with shaking hands and flung the keys on the floor as soon as they entered, grabbing her and sliding a hand up her thigh.
"Yeek!" She squirmed, laughing. "No fair tickling!"
"Everything's fair after you doing that," he wheezed. "Damn girl, I almost lost it in public." He tickled her belly and she growled playfully and tackled him to the floor.
"Oh? Then prepare yourself. I'm'a make you lose it here!"
"W - wait, babe! I'm gonna laugh too loud!" He flung himself sideways on the floor and started to wheeze. "Quit it quit it quit it!"
"No way! This is too much fun!" She dug her fingertips in his armpit and tickled more, until he was kicking aimlessly in the air in an effort to stop screaming with laughter.
"You asked for this!" He used the tented shirt to catch her head and she hooted with laughter and licked one of his nipples. It had only been as a distraction and while it worked, it hit Hizashi hard on top of all the tickling. He yanked the shirt back, pulled it up over his head and tossed it beside them. It was the first time he'd been this exposed in front of her, and it felt right.
She sighed and cuddled closer, her hands splaying across his ribcage. "I love your scent." She traced his muscles around his upper chest, fiddling lovingly with the small mat of golden chest hair he sported in the very middle.
"Ah..." Hizashi cleared his throat, biting his lower lip adorably. "Mmm, baby, if you keep messing with me like this I'm gonna lose it."
"Oh, yeah?" She traced low on his belly, and he groaned. "I like the way you sound. I keep finding all these good spots," she noted, nibbling on his collarbone. "I bet I can find better ones." Her fingertips rubbed dangerously close to the intense ball of fire that was his groin.
"Uh." He blushed extremely hard all of a sudden. "W - wait, don't ..." For a moment there, he had been terrified he was going to come in his pants like a kid.
"Do you want me to, Zashi?" She raised one eyebrow at him, staring into his eyes.
"Touch me there? Babygirl, I want you to touch me everywhere. But ... wait, wait!"
"Hush, handsome. And relax," she purred into the shell of his ear. He gasped as he felt her fingertips tracing the dusting of blond hair that trailed downwards and dipping into his navel despite his warning. His abdomen jerked wildly at her touch.
"Your hands -" he choked.
"Mmm," she sighed. "You're so hot."
"Your hands!" His neck strained backwards as she touched the bulge in his slacks and softly rubbed. "So ...good!" Oh, god, he thought, if this is through two layers of cloth, what's it gonna feel like without?
"Oh, Zashi." The whisper of his zipper seemed very loud in the room. He shoved his underwear and pants out of the way impatiently and she smiled, seeing his body was more than ready. She stroked once along the length of his stiff member, admiring him. His erection jutted out from a bristling patch of gold, curving up towards his belly in his excitement. A small trickle of fluid glistened along the tip and she carefully rubbed it with a fingertip. Hizashi threw an arm across his mouth at the naked touch but she reached up and pulled it gently away.
"Babe, I'm gonna be too loud," he protested weakly.
"It's okay," she murmured, leaning closer as her hand moved in a leisurely fashion, unimpeded by the clothes puddled around his knees. "You can do it."
"Mffft!" He squeezed his eyes tightly shut, the muffled cries of pleasure growing more urgent. She experimented with strokes and touches, now ticklish, sometimes a little rougher. Hizashi was in a state of constant upheaval. Elly cupped and gently squeezed the head of his member, causing him to flinch wildly with a hoarse gasp.
"Yes yes yes don't stop," he croaked. "Again! Do that again!" She kissed his cheek and gripped a little tighter. Hizashi's face crumpled and he wailed, pressing his head to her shoulder. "Ah god, baby, what you do to me!" More fluids bubbled up from the tip and she used them to lubricate her strokes, moving faster. He shivered, pushing his hot face against her and muffling his cries with her body. Far sooner than he would have liked he was moaning in short, hard little puffs, losing himself for a few wild moments as his pleasure built to an excruciating pitch. His eyes began to tear as his hips thrust in several hard, jerking motions. "Mmm, ahhh!"
So good... so damned good.
Hizashi blinked a few times, coming to and realizing although his pants were okay, her hands, his stomach and part of the floor wasn't. He choked a little and reached blindly out to grab a box of tissues from an end table. "Sorry," he gasped.
"What for?" She took a bunch and wiped her hands.
"I, err... well. Just give me a minute or two, okay?" His chest was heaving and he tossed his batch of wadded up tissues carelessly onto the floor beside them with a soft groan.
"Sure, but for what?"
Her confusion seemed to concern him. He tucked himself back in and up, zipping his pants with a grunt. "Baby, I know you're just as turned on - or more -- than I was. I'm not gonna leave you hangin'." He paused. "Unless you don't want me to, I really wanna make you feel as good - or better -- as you did me." He took his glasses off and placed them next to the box of tissues.
"Oh, serious," she murmured.
"Very," he breathed. "Now let's see about these pants." He wriggled his finger inside after he unzipped them.
"You're going to have to pull them off, Zashi..."
"Mm hmm. I see that." He paused. "So that's okay?"
"Yes." She smiled happily at him. "More than okay."
"Oh boy." Once undressed from the waist down, she was blushing but ready for his touch. Hizashi went straight for the batch of purple hair and stroked. "Uh oh," he murmured in a low voice. His finger slipped easily inside her while she moaned. "I am a naughty boy, aren't I? I made you this wet."
"So playful," Elly shivered approvingly with a smile. "I knew it. Well?"
"Well what?" He continued to swirl his finger around, teasing more and more pleasure from her. He had experience from their previous tryst and he tried new things, learning her sweetest spots quickly and teasing just around the edges.
"What are you going to do about it?"
"I'm gonna make you sing, baby," he whispered, his green eyes staring deeply into her own with more intensity now that he'd taken his glasses off. He knew just how deep a spell he could place on her with his eyes and speech. Now he could add more in his relentless attack on her senses, and he was going to enjoy every last second of it as much as she was. He entered her with another finger, thrusting in rhythm with her softly rising hips.
"Oh god," she husked, arching her back as her hands and feet curled tightly. "Hizashi."
"You want more, baby?" He kept the teasing motion going, cautiously adding another finger for a total of three. Her muscles tightened around them greedily, sucking them in and begging for more, more.
"I don't know, baby," he teased, "You don't look like my fingers are enough. But it's good, right? Nice and easy, and slo-o-o-oow." He sang the last in a gentle voice, laying his lips on her throat so she could hear the curious vibration he was making in the back of his throat. He gently kissed the wrapped mark on her neck.
"So sweet," she whimpered.
"I can be sweeter," he whispered. "I can give you more. Like this." He bent and kissed the trembling skin of her thigh. "And this..." He trailed kisses towards his working hand, still humming and hoping she didn't quite understand what this all meant. His hand moved gentler now, slower, and she whined in desperation.
Her reaction would be far better if it were a surprise.
She was his everything, like no one had been, this silly, fluffy cat lady that he enjoyed spending so much of his time with. He wanted to give her something special, to show her a technique he'd always wanted to try but never quite had the courage to pull off. He kissed even closer to his fingers, then used those slippery digits to carefully uncover her plump, ultra-sensitive clitoris. Smiling, he stretched his tongue out and slid it the entire length of her hot slit while staying away from that exposed upper top.
Elly squeaked. Her throat almost completely closed up and her thighs gave a shivering jerk at this wonderful, unexpected sensation. She looked incredulously down to see her boyfriend's blond head bobbing between her legs as he hungrily dipped his tongue in, out and around her sex. He was moaning, too, as if he were enjoying himself as much as she was! It was too much. She fell back onto the floor, eyes closed, face burning and mouth open, gasping huge lungfuls of air. On each exhale she would moan, getting progressively louder as he fluttered close around the edges of her pleasure center. Her legs raised themselves and straddled his middle, raising herself so he could have even better access.
"God, baby," he ground out, "You're freaking delicious."
"Zashi!" She bit her lip.
"I mean it. Mmnn, god, you make a honey I can't get enough of." He noisily slurped and she swallowed hard, her desire outweighing what might have become embarrassment at the bold statement. "All right, though," he sighed wistfully. "Time for my baby to come."
Her ears laid crazily on either sides of her head, she choked out a quivering breath and gave vent to the most amazing, inarticulate cry when Hizashi displayed the reason for his humming earlier. He wrapped his soft lips around her clit, creating a seal, and oh-so-carefully thrummed his vocal cords in a way he knew only he could.
It was worth it. It had definitely been worth it. She had never been suspecting something like this, and who would? Hizashi was better than the world's best vibrator and better yet, he could alter his speed as he saw fit. She shrieked, losing herself so completely that she didn't care who heard. She couldn't speak and he understood, just listened to the intensity of her cries to know how far to push. When she began sobbing, her hands threading through his hair and shamelessly pulling him towards her, he had pity and sped things up. He was rewarded by her legs squeezing him tightly as she shook through what he hoped was a very good orgasm. He closed his eyes and kissed her there, lapping easily until she stopped riding his waist and fell all the way back, completely limp.
He untangled himself from their twisted mass of arms, legs and tail and stood happily staring at her. One hand came up to wipe his lips and he grinned when she cracked an eyelid open and smiled at him.
"Be right back," he grinned, putting the glasses he had scooped up back on. "D'ya need anything right now?"
"Nnn." She shook her head dazedly.
Hizashi headed into the bathroom to wash up and toss the soiled wads of tissue, whistling cheerfully. He had another raging erection, but by damn he was going to ignore it. The look on her face had been priceless, and he wanted to end this date on the highest of high notes possible.
Chapter 15: Acceptance
Hizashi checked the mirror one final time. Hair done, glasses on - he was transformed into Present Mic for the school day once again. He shook himself all over and grabbed his bag from the counter as he rushed out the door.
"Took you long enough."
"Yeek!" He jumped guiltily, key dropping from his gloved hand. "Damn it, Sho, why are you creeping around out here this mornin'?" He retrieved his key and shoved it in his pocket.
"I'm your neighbor, remember?" He pointed up with one finger.
"Yeah, yeah... whaddaya want?" Mic mentally switched over to hero names as they walked closer to the main building. "Look, Eraser, you know sometimes I snore, I can't control my quirk if I'm asleep -"
Aizawa grunted sourly. "You were not sleeping when Cheshire visited you yesterday." Hizashi choked a little and the dark haired man nodded. "Yes. You seem to remember now. Could you two please try and be quieter when you engage in sexual activities?"
Mic's strangled reply was incoherent. He pointed at his throat and shook his head, indicating that he was, for once, completely at a loss for words. He finally placed one hand up before his burning face, hiding in plain sight in his embarrassment.
His friend sighed and clapped him once on a studded shoulder pad. "You heard my complaint, that's enough."
Mic nodded furiously.
The couple weren't working together that day. Mic taught his classes while Elly trained Toru Hagakure exclusively in one of the smaller gyms.
It was soon lunchtime, and she waved to the cheerful student as they parted to get food at the cafeteria. Elly grabbed a few things, not really paying attention until the dessert section came up. She reached out for a small bowl of custard sitting by itself among all the cake and pies. Someone else did at the same time and their hands touched.
She blinked in surprise, looking up into Aizawa's dead eyes. "Oh, hey. Is this the last one?"
"Yes." He handed it to her.
"No, you can have it. You look like you need it, Eraser." She slid the bowl onto his tray. Aizawa's face did seem more drawn than usual, the half moon patches under his bloodshot eyes darker. He sighed as he stared at her for a moment, then nodded his thanks and walked off.
"Something's been really bothering him," Midnight said from beside her.
"He was angrier than usual all day yesterday, and now this. I think it has to do with you and Yamada." She grabbed a piece of cake and they walked off.
"Nahhhh. He got that out of his system a long time ago. I doubt he's the type to hold long, unrequited crushes."
"He won't do anything improper again," Midnight told her seriously, "but be careful how you interact with him. Crush or not, I think he might be having some trouble dealing with his feelings. Something happened yesterday that really rattled him."
Elly made a face. "Oh, god. I didn't remember his place was above Mic's. We were - ah -- a little loud the other day."
Midnight's eyes lit up and she covered her mouth with one hand. "Ooh, naughty."
The cat woman blushed. "Nemuri!"
"Oh, please. I'm happy to see Mic get some loving. It might calm him down." She paused as the noisy blond man entered the cafeteria and started hollering in the background. It was burger day and he was excited. "Or... maybe not. But it's still nice to see you two so in love."
"Ches Ches Ches!" Mic bounced over to her, grinning like a star struck boy. He pointed.
"I know. It's burger day." She grinned, tail swishing around behind her. "Grab some and come sit." He kissed her on the cheek with a resounding smacking sound that made some students cringe, then spun around to get in line. The ladies filed out to the teacher's lounge while he filled his tray.
"Hey, there's a letter here with my name on it." Elly picked it up and broke the gummed seal. "That's weird. No one really uses paper anymore, except for -" Her mouth fell open as she read the first few lines. Teachers popped out of every corner and some from under the table, cheering loudly. Mic himself had snuck up behind her while she opened it, and he caught her up in the biggest hug.
"Is this real? This..."
Nezu himself poked his head up from Aizawa's shoulder. The grumpy homeroom teacher said nothing but walked forward at his urging. "It is official! The way you handled yourself the other day," he hopped off and landed on the table so he could address her eye to eye, "it was superb. We need a teacher - specifically, a counselor -- to work here at UA. You're more than qualified and with us backing you it was rather simple."
"I - I don't know what to say!"
Mic grinned widely at the principal from behind her. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
He squealed happily and lifted her high in the air, spinning her about so she faced him and he could give her a kiss.
Chapter 16: Living Arrangements
The couple met up after they cleaned and changed into their casual clothes for the night. They wandered from her hotel through the shops and down the main street that led to the campus, holding hands.
"Have you thought about where you'll be living?" Hizashi gave her hand a little squeeze.
"Doesn't every teacher live in that complex?"
Hizashi rubbed the back of his neck nervously, his necklaces tangling together. "Yeah! Yeah, we do."
"Well, there you go. Do you pick any empty one, or get them assigned? Oh, hey, you've got an empty one right next to -"
"Hush, princess." He pressed a finger to her lips, cutting her off mid sentence. "I wanted to ask if you'd like to move in with me."
She stopped dead in her tracks. "Hizashi Yamada, are you out of your mind? Sharing an apartment? We haven't even been... well, you know. We haven't been that intimate yet." Her voice dropped low as she spoke this last, one hand raising to tuck a lock of purple hair away from her cheek.
He grinned, leaning over to whisper in her ear. "That's a problem easily remedied."
"Baby, I love you." He took both her hands in his and pulled them to his chest, green eyes beseeching. "I wanna wake up every mornin' and see your face and - and I wanna make love to you all the time. Not just that kind," he said as he pressed his cheek on hers. "The always kind, ya dig?" She was left speechless, trembling against him. He held her close, ignoring the people milling around on the street, and kissed her passionately. "Come back to my place and let's make it ours."
Elly had never thought the action was something real people did, but here she was, swooning in his arms. He picked her up and whimpered happily, a cute little sound that just about melted her heart.
He carried her into the bedroom. It was the first time she had seen it, and she wasn't surprised at all. Hizashi had a large, western style bed with a headboard. The wooden floor was covered under the bed in a circular rug that looked like a record. He slept on gold and black satin sheets with tons of fluffy, fuzzy pillows heaped in a pile. She giggled when she saw he had a large velvet poster of a tiger on one wall.
"Please tell me that you have a black light."
He smiled shyly and snapped the second light switch near the door. Elly squealed in delight, kicking her feet in the air as a galaxy of glowing stars were revealed on the ceiling. The tiger was colorful as well, the bright eyes and stripes shining in the darkened room.
"You're amazing," he whispered, his throat working as he struggled not to cry.
"What? Zashi, what's wrong?"
He walked over and set her on the slippery sheets. "I told you I get laughed at a lot, right? That no one takes me seriously. This -" he indicated his bedroom with a sweeping motion of one hand, "this was a deal breaker for quite a few women." He coughed abruptly, realizing this may have made her jealous.
"Idiots," she scoffed. Her lower lip was thrust out in a pout, though, and her brow was furrowed. She didn't like to think of him with anyone else.
"You get it, though, princess. You get me. They didn't." He joined her on the bed, stroking her hair back to kiss the fading bruise on her neck. She shivered voluptuously. "And I mean that literally. You get me, and they didn't." He growled low in his throat, his hands beginning to wander.
"Oh my god," she breathed. "Hizashi."
Chapter 17: First Time
They kissed so many times that she lost count. Time didn't matter in the warm, dark, bedroom anyway, and they forgot about everything but each other as they hurriedly removed each other's clothing.
"So gorgeous," he gasped, running his hands down her side. "You're my everything, babygirl."
"Zashi, you're too much." She stroked his abdomen, smiling as she felt his muscles jump wildly at her touch. "Handsome man," she murmured, kissing him full on the lips.
"Want you ready for me," he groaned. "Let's see how wet you are." She tossed her head to the side, purring, as he slid a finger inside her body. He slipped in and out, rubbing her clitorus with his thumb.
"Please, please now, Zashi! I want you!"
"Oh good god, yes. Here, wait just a second." He ducked across her to grab something off the nightstand. He yelped as he fumbled the box for a moment, but caught it before it hit the floor. "Uh... ah, here."
She giggled. "You bought so many."
He grinned sheepishly. "Yeah. I didn't know what you might need, or like or anything. They have so many types now!"
"I'm okay with anything, really." She poked through the pile that had tumbled out of the box. "Here, try this."
"'Kay." He tore the packet open carefully and took the prophylactic out with trembling hands.
"Zashi, you're nervous."
"Hell, yeah!" He rolled the tube on himself, frowning in concentration. "I'm about to make love to the most important woman in my life for the first time." He paused, then bit his lip. "I want to make it good, baby."
She laid a hand on his. "Sweetie, you don't have to worry. No matter what, I can promise you this will be the best sex I ever had in my life."
"B - but... how?"
"Because it's with you," she said softly, looking down with a gentle smile on her lips. He knelt in front of her, his eyes wide and his body ready for sex with his penis bobbing about covered in the brightly colored latex sleeve.
Hizashi started to cry. He wailed softly, his head thrown back and his adam's apple moving as he choked a little.
"Oh no, sweetie, don't!" Elly gathered him in her arms. "What's wrong? Was it what I said?"
He sniffled back further tears, wiping his naked eyes roughly with the back of one hand. His glasses had been removed long ago and lay folded nearby. "Sorry... sorry!"
"No, it's okay. Do you not want to do this?"
"No no no no," he gasped, pressing his body on top of hers, rolling her on her back on the bed. "I want this very much. You. I want you. I guess I was so afraid of messing up, and then you tell me the perfect thing." He laughed weakly. "Sex makes me very emotional. Look, I still want you." He rubbed the tip of his member on her body.
Elly hissed sharply. "Oh, yes."
"Yeahhh," he whispered. Then, with a twitch of his lips, he nuzzled close to her ear. "Hey, lover. Are you readyyyy?" She laughed in sheer joy at this, and it gave him courage, his heart filling with the love he had for her. "Wrap your legs around me," he whispered dreamily. "And hold tight."
"Yes," she sighed. He ran a hand along her leg as she raised them, moaning in rapture. Then, after savoring the moment for just a little longer, he thrust inside of her.
He had already teased her body nearly all the way but the pause while they got ready had diminished the heat in her loins the slightest bit. As he moved forward, however, his angle rubbed deliciously on the little bundle of nerves that gave her the greatest pleasure. She clung to him, breathing hard, striving to move her hips in time with his as he loved her. She knew he was a loud man, knew he loved to make her scream, too. What she didn't realize was how talkative he was during the actual act of sex. He praised her body, her beauty, her warmth and more until she was driven nearly insane. It helped that he was a tender lover, taking the time to work up to speed slowly, while listening to her cries to gauge when and how to move inside her. He hadn't taken his necklaces off, and they bounced, jingling lightly as he bucked faster.
"Ahhh, feels so good deep inside you!"
"So sweet!" She cried out. "Hizashi, your love is so sweet!"
"Yeahhhh," he moaned thickly. "Sing my name! Sing it - I'm close!"
"H - Hizashi!"
"Come now and we come together!" He rested his forehead on hers, eyes squeezed tight with tears streaming down his flushed cheeks. "Oh, my princess, yes, my love. I feel you shaking, I'm - I'm gonna..!"
Elly cried out fiercely, her toes curling as her orgasm burst forth in a shudder of electricity that took her breath away. His cry came next, an inarticulate keening that rattled the windows in the apartment. When she came to Hizashi was whimpering, kissing her and jerking tightly forward in little spasmic thrusts.
"Ah, ah god, ahhhhh!" He was beautiful in his orgasm, his back arching, sweat rolling down his golden skin. His hair had come undone, and the blond tresses flowed down his shoulders and back. He filled the room with his softer cries as he wound down, and then shook himself all over suddenly and fell on one arm.
"Yeah..." He took hold of the base of the condom and carefully pulled out of her body. Panting, he tied the end in a knot and tossed it into a wastebasket nearby.
"That was wonderful," she gasped when he joined her again. "You're amazing."
"Ah ah, sweetie," he contradicted her gently, touching a finger to the tip of her nose. "I've never felt anything like that before, either." He paused, shuddering. "You're right about one thing, though. That. Was. Amazing!"
Elly giggled faintly. "I love you, you big dork."
Hizashi flopped beside her, reaching out to pull her closer. "Mmnn, I can't possibly love you more, I think. Y'wanna snooze before we go out to eat? We gotta talk about a lot of stuff."
"Yeah. Just a quick nap."
They fussed about until they found their natural sleeping position: Hizashi spooned behind Elly, with his chin resting on the top of her head and the back of her head snuggled against his upper chest. His one arm was snug under the pillow and one rested around her, while she slept with hers drawn up against her.
Chapter 18: Shopping
She gleefully cancelled her stay at the hotel and they carried her woefully small amount of luggage to his place.
"D'ya want more clothes now? I mean, you only had the basic amount packed, here." He poked around and held up a lacy pair of panties, pursing his lips and rolling his eyes. "Heyyyy, are these new?"
"Zashi!" She burst out laughing when she saw he was wearing them on his head. "Take those off, you dork." She pulled them down and he wrapped an arm around her waist, humming happily.
"You could send for your things overseas."
"Oh, no," she dismissed that idea with a wave of her hand. "This is everything. I donated or dumped the whole lot before I came."
He sat on the edge of the bed. "Wait - really?"
"Yeah." She shrugged. "I was renting a place with furniture already, and I never had a lot of clothing." Elly blushed as she pulled out one frivolous item - a well-loved stuffed animal of dubious species wearing a shirt with his radio program's logo on it.
"Aw, cute," he whispered, coming up behind her. "But kinda sad. Why'd you do that?"
"It was a just bunch of things that were hurting me from my past. This trip was supposed to be about me starting over."
"Let's get you new things, then. I wanna buy you stuff, babe." He nibbled her neck, grinning when she squealed. "Let's go to the mall. We're gonna need a buncha things anyway, now you're staying."
"Mmm, I know. At least your bed is big enough."
He snickered, tickling her with his mustache. "You know it."
The mall was crowded as always. They held hands and when they had to be apart, he made sure to stay close to her. She kept protesting that she didn't need much but he made sure she bought extra clothing and enough toiletries. They ate lunch in one of the food courts and were on their way back to the campus when he suddenly stopped short, a huge grin on his face.
"Uh oh. I know that look."
He laughed. "Okay, okay. Just one more store? Please?"
"We've been to a million already!"
He shuffled the bags he was carrying and pointed with his free hand. "That one."
Elly blinked, her tail swishing cautiously around. "A jewelry store?"
He gave her his most angelic smile. "Yep. C'mon."
Chapter 19: A Promise
He knew right where he wanted to go, she saw with amusement. Hizashi pulled her over to a large display near the open window that looked out into the mall. A salesman immediately zeroed in on them, smiling when he spotted her in recognition.
"Hi!" Her boyfriend pointed at the case. "I wanted to see if you had some of these that would fit us."
"We're so proud of this line. We can do any Pro Hero color combination and engraving." The man opened the case and whisked out a ring with a proud flourish. "Like so!"
Elly gasped, her ears perking upright. "That's beautiful!"
Hizashi grinned and took the ring from the salesman. It was a striped band of amethyst and alexandrite, with what might just have been diamonds leading up to an engraved white gold top. The cheshire cat's grin was delicately carved into the metal. He turned it over to show her the inside of the band. It had a cursive script of her hero name on that, as well.
"It's perfect," he said, and slipped it onto the ring finger of his left hand. "Nice."
"Zashi?" She blinked up at him. "Wait, isn't that..?"
"It's a promise ring, princess." He took her left hand and kissed the finger she would wear her ring on. "It goes there to show everyone we're committed to each other."
The jeweler smiled at them indulgently. "It's called either that or a 'friendship' ring. Couples sometimes choose to wear them before an engagement ring to show they're in a serious, monogamous relationship."
"Oh, Hizashi." She hugged him tight for a moment.
"This is the best one. And look, it fits!" He wiggled his fingers at her.
"Your partner has chosen well, of course," the salesman chuckled. It was obvious who she was as she couldn't really hide her tail. "Is there one you would like that represents him?"
The tiniest of smirks twitched her lips. "Do you have a Present Mic one? Um, size 9 maybe?"
He raised an eyebrow, but reached into a drawer and took one out. "I suppose the colors match very nicely," he murmured as she exclaimed in delight. This one had onyx and yellow sapphire with a diamond setting and an engraving of - what else -- a microphone. "You don't have to choose based on colors, however. Anything that makes you think of him would do. We have, however, run out of All Might and Endeavor bands at the moment..."
"Nope, this is perfect." She flashed a wide smile, her fangs showing.
"Don't be shy," he said. "This one might be on sale, but you can pick whichever you want. I'm sure your partner wouldn't mind."
Hizashi gave the man a flat look of dislike which he completely ignored. Elly tried her hardest to cover a naughty giggle. "No, really. I want this one."
"Wonderful! And, the engraving..?"
"It says 'Present Mic' on it, right?"
She purred happily. "Then we're set."
"Yeah-h-h-h," the blond man strung out the word drily. "It's totes perfect."
The salesman finally put all the pieces together. He blinked rapidly in polite confusion, realizing he may have screwed up a sale. "Oh, dear. I'm sorry. You - you look quite different in casual clothing."
"I know." He sighed weakly. "I'm not yelling."
"I honestly didn't know. Two pro heroes in at the same time, and a couple besides! This is marvelous!"
Hizashi flipped the man his credit card. "Here ya go," he told him. "Put em on this."
"Would you like insurance? That comes with yearly checking of the stones..." They chatted for a while and signed some paperwork, after which the apologetic man scuttled into the back to finish everything up.
"Poor baby." Elly kissed him when they had a moment alone. "Anonymity is good, though."
"I'm on clearance?" He groaned. "That's lame, yo. Even you have to admit that."
She sniffed. "So what. If no one else realizes how awesome you are, I get to have you all to myself."
Chapter 20: First Night
Elly emerged from the bathroom wearing a t-shirt from a radio station he sometimes worked for as a nightgown. He had given her a handful of his older ones because she had told him she liked wearing them. Hizashi couldn't contain himself any longer. He had been anxiously awaiting the entire time she bathed, excited to give her yet another surprise.
"Look, babe." He hugged her happily, pointing into the bedroom that was not just his anymore. A large Alice in Wonderland poster was framed beside the tiger. It was, of course, of the cheshire cat.
"Did you get that today?! Did you just put it up?"
"While you showered. You don't have a lot here, y'know, to make it feel like home. That'll change, and this is the start."
"Aw, Zashi." She held him tighter. "It's great! The eyes and smile glow, right?"
"The stripes might, too. I haven't tested it yet." He grinned enthusiastically at her.
"Yay!" She tore off to the light switch while he burst out laughing. Two flicks and the poster was glowing just like the stars above on his ceiling and the tiger. "It's so cool!"
"Shit, princess, I've never been this happy." He picked her up and swung her carefully around, putting her down on the bed.
"Me too," she admitted with a huge grin. "I can't believe I'm here and wearing your ring."
"Mmmn." He buried his face in her neck. "Let's make love with nothin' but them on."
"Hizashi Yamada, how do you come up with all these wonderful ideas." They kissed, falling over together and laughing, Elly kicking her legs a little as they hung over the edge.
"Mmm. Mmm, damn. I'm so excited! Our first night together!"
"And then first morning, don't forget." She kissed him and sighed.
"Aw, it'll be okay. I told ya how long I take to do my hair."
"I like to do stretches in the morning to music and get the coffee ready first. So, say, you shower first..."
"'Kay. I shower, you do yer stuff, then I get out, get dressed and start transforming this," he fluffed his long, blond hair out, "into Present Mic's signature style."
"And I'll shower then... yeah. Yeah, that sounds right."
"We have all the time in the world to get it right, princess. Tomorrow's just the first time we try."
"You set the alarm for earlier, too? I don't want to be late my first official day."
"I did, yes. Please stop worrying." He kissed the tip of her nose with a smooching sound. "Look, I've got all these kisses for you! You want a distraction, babygirl? A nice, slow, sweet, yummy distraction?" He growled sexily, rolling his r's in exaggeration.
"Zashi..." She chuckled under her breath. "I love you."
"Look out," he crooned, descending upon her. "Here comes the kiss train!"
"Oh my god you're the goofiest - ohhh, Hizashi."
"Choo choo," he whispered softly.
Chapter 21: First Day
Elly woke to a series of soft, warm kisses on her neck. Giggling, she snuggled backwards into her boyfriend's warmth and he squeezed her in a gentle hug.
"Mornin' baby," he murmured. "The alarm hasn't gone off yet but it's close."
"Aww," she groaned. "I wanna stay here forever. You're so comfortable, Zashi."
He giggled faintly. "So cute. No babe, it's wakey wakey time." His fingers tickled her belly and she shrieked sudden laughter.
"Don't hurt me!" Laughing as well, he rolled out of bed as the alarm turned on and music filled their bedroom. He darted into the bathroom and locked the door.
"No fair! Open up."
"Nope. Pooping." His somewhat strained voice caused her to lose it and she crossed her legs, laughing so hard she was afraid she'd anger Aizawa downstairs.
"Not yet." He creaked the door open.
"Oh thank god. I have to pee."
Hizashi snorted and toddled back into the bedroom to get his glasses. "Unnnff. I didn't wanna get up, either. But I'm so excited... I can't wait until everyone sees we've got rings!"
"Yes! Thank goodness we can wear them. That shop really has a great policy for heroes so we don't worry. I always thought if I got engaged or married I'd have to get a ring tattoo. Like some athletes."
"M'not sure they have the same policy for the pricier stuff, but I hope they do."
Despite her fear that they would be late, their plan worked almost flawlessly. There were a few hiccups, like when Hizashi spit toothpaste on her by accident as they were taking turns brushing. And they ran into a few glitches with breakfast as she realized he damn near ate straight sugar in cereal form and she planned a balanced meal. But they would mesh together eventually.
Mic slung an arm about her waist, grinning hugely as they walked into the teacher's lounge.
"Hey, hey, everybody! We get to start off the news today." They glanced up and he spun around, shooting finger guns at Elly, who was shaking her head in amusement. "This little lady moved in with me. We won't be needing an extra apartment for her after all."
Aizawa's head jerked up from where he had been staring blandly at his computer screen. "What?"
Several people had wandered up to both Hizashi and Elly, talking animatedly about the big step. He chuckled and whipped his Present Mic glove off to reveal the ring he wore, which caused even more of a stir. Elly sighed and removed her padded cat's paw as well, and the yellow and black gems glittered under the florescent lights.
"Holy shit," Yagi said, clapping Mic on the back. "You're committed now, huh?"
"Yeah, well, I was before. But this hopefully shows I really, really mean it!"
"I'll say. That's a right purdy ring, little missy." Snipe was bent over, staring at it as she self consciously held her hand out to be admired. "Thos're diamonds too there, pardner. Whoo."
"They are?!" Midnight did a double take, her eyes widening under her glasses.
"Yeah. I tried to tell him he didn't have to spend so much. But you know Mic. Once he gets an idea in his head there's no stopping him."
"Hey, baby, this was a good idea." He hugged her. "And you're more than worth it!"
"Amazing," Aizawa's dry voice cut through the excited babble. "One relationship progressing forward in a normal fashion is all it takes for an entire group of pro heroes to drop their duties."
"Aw..!" Mic looked hurt. "I thought you'd be happy for us, Shota."
"Hooray," he said flatly. "Now can we get back to work?"
Chapter 22: The Dilemma
"Why're you so mad at me, huh?" Mic whined at his best friend as they stood in line for lunch. His eyebrows were so tightly drawn up in his stress that they were nearly invisible. Aizawa didn't even grunt in reply. He grabbed a bowl of applesauce and moved on towards the teacher's lounge.
Hizashi really didn't understand why the other man had been ignoring him all day. He was so proud of his new home life that he wanted to share this happiness with him. They had been friends for so long, an oddly matched pair if there ever was but one that worked.
At least until now.
He grinned weakly at Lunchbreak when a burger was neatly served onto his tray. "Hey, thanks."
"Yeek!" He jumped, so lost in his thoughts that he hadn't heard Midnight step beside him.
"You might want to leave him alone for awhile."
"He's dealing with some issues right now that he doesn't want to concern you with."
"No buts, Yamada," she told him firmly. "And don't worry Cheshire about this, either." She turned with a huge smile. "Hey, here she is!"
Mic's face lit up immediately. He kissed her softly, quickly but on the mouth, and then scowled at a few teenagers that pretended to throw up at the tables close by.
Elly laughed quietly to herself. "If two adults canoodling is the worst thing they see all day, they're lucky."
"Hey, babygirl. Let's go eat somewhere quiet."
"Sounds good to me."
Sitting on the grounds outside on a bench, they ate quietly for a time. Then, Mic burst out with the problem that had been worrying him all day.
"I don't know why he's so upset. And Midnight told me not to talk to you about it." He frowned. "Why are my friends acting so messed up?"
"She told you that?" Her eyebrows rose.
"Yeah, but you're my girl. If it's something important, you need to know. And she's kinda..." He waved his hand back and forth. "I don't know what she's thinking half the time."
"She thinks he's upset because he has feelings for me, Mic."
"What." A lump of unchewed burger fell onto his lap.
"Remember when he kissed me in the battle sim?"
"Capture the flag," he repeated dully.
"Yes. She thinks he's, ah, in love with me. Or a crush. I don't know. It's just her personal opinion, Mikey - don't be upset!" She stroked his knee gently.
His one eyebrow drew up in a high arch as he regarded her oddly. "Do you think..?"
Elly shrugged. "It's anyone's guess. I suppose it's possible, especially as we've gotten to know each other better. Best to let him have some space and work things out. You don't really know, he might just feel sick today."
He nodded. "True. Occam's Razor and all that, right?"
She nodded. "Exactly."
Hizashi sighed, scratching his forehead and then shrugging. "Yep. I guess I'll do that, then. Probably just something simple." He grinned, leaned over and kissed her cheek. "Love you, babe."
"I love you too, Mic." She turned and gave him a small thrill when she brushed her lips on his. "So much."
True to his word, he left Aizawa alone the rest of the day. It felt strange, but he trusted his friend so he left the brooding man to his seemingly gloomy thoughts.
It was late in the evening and Hizashi was getting ready to head out for one of his extra jobs.
"I'll wait up for you tonight, sweetie. Just let me know if your gig is going to run late." He bent down slightly as he was fixing his hair and she kissed him on the cheek.
"'kay. It shouldn't, though. This place is usually good at keeping strict closing times." Hizashi frowned, tapping his tub of hair wax on the counter.
He nodded in frustration. "Damn thing. I ran hot water over it before."
"Well, if it's dried up I bought you another yesterday - it's behind the other stuff in the cabinet."
"Oh, word?" He dug around for a moment and popped up, beaming, with the fresh tub in hand. "You're awesome, babe!"
Elly chuckled and watched from the door, still fascinated at the way he could turn his soft, long hair into a gigantic cockatoo plume with a single handful of goop and some spray.
"Okay! Gonna get some water in my bottle, and my other gear, and then I'm set..." He pulled his boots on and grabbed the handle of the huge bag that held some of his equipment. The bigger items were stored locally and moved ahead of time to where the venue was. He grabbed an umbrella as well, since it was storming outside.
"Oh! Almost forgot the most important thing." He leaned over and hugged her tight, kissing her noisily on the cheek and making her giggle. "Now I'm ready."
"Hydrate, Mikey," she told him, reverting naturally to his other name since he was in costume. "Remember this time!"
He waved his water bottle at her with a grin as he left.
She settled down for a quiet evening of book reading. Over the course of several hours, the storm outside grew worse. She started to worry about Hizashi getting safely home when a huge crack of thunder split through the air. Elly's ears snapped up as she heard a loud crackle and a low, whining sound. "Uh oh," she murmured.
The lights went out all over the campus.
Sighing, she walked over to the closet and grabbed a raincoat. She knew she was one of the only heroes in the vicinity that could partially see in the dark, and she would be needed.
Of course the school had backup generators, but they could only be set up in one of the largest gyms. She gathered up students and teachers alike that hadn't managed to make it there yet. After around a quarter of an hour, she noticed someone was missing.
Shota Aizawa had a secret that only one close person to him knew.
He was afraid of the dark.
It was easy to hide because there was always some sort of light available - street lights, candles, even the faint glow of the moon. But the storm had caused complete darkness to settle all around him, and he was horrified.
He hated the paralysing, irrational terror the absence of all light caused in him and he always had a contingency plan for emergencies. Unfortunately, he had been busy with work and hadn't checked the batteries in his flashlights for some time. He also had the suspicion that Eri might have worn down a few while playing, but that didn't matter now. What mattered was he was stuck, in the dark, and completely unable to move.
When there was a light tapping on his front door he nearly jumped out of his skin. "Who is it?" He managed to keep his voice even with a mighty effort.
"Elly." She paused. "It's Ches, Shota. I've got the skeleton key and I'm coming in."
He panicked further, but there was no time to cover up for his condition before she shone a light in the corner of the bedroom, exposing him curled into a ball in his fear.
"Oh, Shota. I'm sorry -"
"No. Don't come closer and do not attempt to comfort me." He must have realized his voice was shaking even in his determination and added in a softer tone, "Please."
Elly focused on him and saw the raw fear in his eyes. "I tried to get them to send someone else. I can see better in the dark, plus we're neighbors. They picked me."
"You didn't want to ..." He flinched as the storm brought another large branch down and there was a crackle of electricity from the fallen lines. "Of course you know. You have a degree in psychology." Aizawa hung his head between his knees, his hands clasping the back of his neck. This was now officially one of the worst days he had experienced in a while. "I tried to hide my feelings for you. I apologize."
"There's nothing to apologize for. It happens; there's a reason there are so many books, movies and songs devoted to such a scenario." She rummaged in a bag she was carrying and handed him another flashlight and some extra batteries.
"Ugh," he grunted at her response and then nodded. "Thank you."
"Do you want me to leave you alone?"
"No." The obvious pain the next statement caused him made her cringe slightly. "But you should."
"I understand. You want to put distance between us? And Hizashi, too, for awhile?"
His bitter sigh floated up out of the darkness. "It's necessary."
"All right." Elly nodded. "I'll go back and let everyone know that you're okay, just busy." She held back, knowing any gesture might be seen as encouragement. It was frustrating because she really did care for the man. He was her second best friend here, her boyfriend's best pal for ages that had always been his rock. His voice cracked as she got up and it was very difficult to not comfort him with a touch.
"Thank you." It didn't help that she could see the yearning in his weary face as he looked in her direction. Knowing he would be separating himself from his friends clearly pained him even more. Others thought him antisocial; yet even the most dedicated loner craved some human contact.
"You're welcome, Shota." She touched his shoulder briefly, unable to leave the frightened man without a token act of human kindness.
He drew in his breath sharply and caught her hand in his. It was clammy and cold, the tremors running through his body causing it to shake as well.
A loud knocking at the front door cut off whatever he was about to say.
Hizashi stumbled clumsily in, fumbling around in the dark. He held several glow sticks in one gloved hand which didn't really illuminate much farther than the tips of his fingers. "Hey hey, I heard you talkin' and it's so dark out! I know someone has an issue with that. S'everything okay?"
Aizawa jerked himself away from the cat woman, slamming himself into the wall in his haste. He hissed with pain and swore.
"Hey, there you are." He stepped into the bedroom and handed his friend the party sticks. "No reason you can't have some festive light too, hey?"
Elly smiled at him and wrapped an arm about his waist, causing him to exclaim with delight. "I was just telling Shota I'm going back to the main hall to tell everyone he's all right. He wants to stay here."
"Oh. Too many people. Okay, then - if you're sure!"
"I'm fine. Go."
They walked back out into the wind and the rain, shutting the door tightly closed behind them.
Hizashi looked back over his shoulder once. "Hey, babe, I don't think he was fine."
"I know. But it's what he wanted."
Elly stretched and looked up at the clock on her wall. It was still early, and she decided she needed an extra coffee to get the rest of her filing done. She ambled off down the hall, heading to the teacher's lounge. Classes weren't quite started yet, so teachers were milling about and it wasn't really a surprise when she came upon the scruffy homeroom teacher in the room. She paused only slightly and then nodded to him.
Aizawa acknowledged her with a look, his bloodshot gray eyes enigmatic as always though she could see a slightly bitter twist to his lips. He sat in a chair as far away as possible while she fumbled for change in the hidden pouch in the fur on her bodysuit.
The door swung open and Hizashi bounced in, zippers on his leather jacket jingling as he moved. He waved cheerfully at the sleepy homeroom teacher and turned, only to find himself staring into his girlfriend's face. A blush burned his cheeks and his fingers that had been reaching for a lone can sitting on the counter beside the vending machine twitched.
She grinned and took a step forward.
"Uh. Hey." He smiled at her and nodded, not going for the hug she had stepped into. "Forgot my coffee," he blurted nervously, grabbing the can before he spun on his heel and left the room.
Elly stood speechless, her expression baffled. A flicker of pain showed in her purple eyes but she quickly composed herself and turned to get her own coffee.
Aizawa frowned briefly at the back of his friend as he left, hurriedly slamming the door behind him. He huffed under his breath and left to get to class like the others.
Present Mic was nearing the end of first period when his phone buzzed in his pocket.
Cheshire: You ok? Not angry at me or anything?
Cheshire: I thought maybe this morning you were avoiding me...
Mic: Oh shit no! No no no no sorry. Oh shit. Shota was there so I thought I'd play it safe and not jump all over you???
Cheshire: Oh! Ok, that's ok. Phew! We can talk later at break, love you
Mic: Sorry baby ♡ you
Both of them were relieved yet still nervous until lunch.
"Mmmn." Mic sighed, his eyes closed with a large, blissful smile stretching his lips. They were resting in her office, him seated in a chair and her behind him, her arms draped around his shoulders. Both had taken their speakers off for the duration of the break.
"I hafta apologize for the way I acted this morning."
"Okay." She kissed his neck and he shivered pleasantly.
"Nmm! No fair cheating." But he didn't move, letting her pamper him outrageously with kisses and soft petting. "M'really, really, sorry though. I thought it was the best idea, since Sho is hurting an' all."
"Not being affectionate around him won't help, sweetie. First, he'll know why you're doing it - you're not one to hide your emotions and neither am I. And second, it feels condescending, pitying. He's not the type of man that will accept pity, even in his best interest."
"Yeah," he admitted quietly. "I fucked up. I knew that by the time you texted me to ask what was wrong. I didn't think you'd think I was mad at you." He reached up with his long arms and pulled her closer against him. "Mikey sowwy."
"C'mon, seriously." She bit her lip to stop the flow of giggles.
"I'm totally serious!" His brow was scrunched tight with worry. "It's so hard watchin' him look at you like that, and then ... and, uh, then." He trailed off, his sunglasses slipping to reveal his wide green eyes underneath. "Er..."
"Is this more if a problem than I thought?"
"No." He sighed and closed his eyes, slapping himself on the forehead. "No babe, really it isn't. I'm sorry for him an' kinda jealous, too, but I'm a big boy. I can handle it 'cause I love you an' trust you and him both."
"Okay." She hugged him once more before he got up to get back to class.
Hizashi never thought he would be having the same conversation twice, but his best friend was waiting for him in his classroom when he returned.
"Uh... something you needed?" He blinked in confusion at the scruffy man, who shook his head and pointed at him.
"Don't you dare hurt her to spare my feelings," he said in the flattest tone of voice possible. "My irrational emotions should not mean more to you than her love, friend or not."
Mic opened and then closed his mouth when he saw how serious Aizawa was.
"Good." He shoved his hands in his pockets and shuffled tiredly out. The voice hero watched him leave with a faint smile, inwardly promising that he'd never misjudge the man again.
Things went back to normal after a while between the three of them, mainly due to Aizawa's firm stoicism. Everyday life was normal, or as much as it could be training the newest batch of heroes. Hizashi and Elly settled into a kind of blissful domesticity, having breakfast in the morning and snuggling in bed before they slept.
One evening, however, he woke in the middle of the night to find the spot beside him cold and empty. The bedding was not only cool, it wasn't dented in the way the memory foam mattress would react if his girl just got up to pee. It had inflated all the way back up.
Hizashi jerked upright, reaching out to fumble on the nightstand for his glasses. Once he had them on he quickly scanned the room and doorway. There was no light coming in from anywhere and the apartment seemed silent except for the ticking of the Alice in Wonderland themed wall clock in the bedroom. Now he was really worried, and he cleared his throat nervously.
"Babe? You here?"
Silence ... or maybe, just maybe, a soft noise in the corner near the closet. He could just make out a heavy sort of breathing and he snapped on the light, tensing in readiness for anything.
Purple eyes flashed up at him, wide and blank and absolutely filled with tears. Elly sat curled up, pressed into the wall as tightly as possible with her knees drawn up into her chest and her arms and tail wrapped around them. She flinched at the light and moaned softly, hiding her face.
Hizashi leaped up and almost fell when his legs tangled in the bedsheets. He grabbed the bed for stability and pushed himself back up, stumbling forward to fall on his knees in front of her in concern. His long blond hair fell over his shoulders but he ignored it as he took hold of hers, gently squeezing.
"Baby? Princess? What's wrong?"
She could only shake her head, still hiding, her body trembling all over.
"Okay," he said in a soothing tone. "All right. Whatever it is, I'm here." He stroked her hair and furry ears. "Zashi's here. I'll protect you."
She squeaked faintly and clutched him tight, burying her head in his bare chest and wetting it with her tears.
"Ah, shit, now'm sad, too." Nevertheless, he directed all his energy at the sobbing woman in his arms. A soft, special hum was what finally caused her to relax, her wracking sobs tapering off to a gentle weeping. "There," he murmured. "That's better, though remember it's okay to let it all out. You're okay."
"Z - Zashi," she sniffled tearfully. "I gotta teh - teh - ext..."
He held her close. In the middle of the night? Shit, that's never good...
"M - my best, my friend is really hurt," she wailed. "Villain fight. He might not make it."
Hizashi's heart fell. Not only did he know, firsthand, what losing a friend this way was like, he understood she had a hard time as a child and very few people she could rely on. "Shit," he said quietly. "Hatter?"
She nodded. "Uh huh!"
"I'm sorry, baby." He sighed morosely, his expressive brows drawing up in sympathy. "Is he that bad? You gonna try an' see him?"
"I have to!" She started crying really hard then, the kind where it's not pretty. He absently wished he had grabbed the box of tissues before coming over.
"Oh, baby," he hummed softly in her ear. "Oh, baby, he's not gone yet, though. It's... maybe he'll pull through."
"He was so huh - happy I found you! He kept saying he was going to show up the day of our wedding - he said he knew you were the one for me -- and give you a huge hug."
"Heh." He smiled.
"And I'd tell him his boyfriend would kill him if he did 'cause he was jealous, and he'd just laugh. Poor Wesley, he's probably out of his mind right now."
He kissed her cheek, cuddling his face against hers. "Then you gotta go. You can take off a few days, Nezu'll let you."
"He's in America," she whined. "It's so far, and, and ughhh. My eyes hurt."
"Oh no," he said sadly. "Look, we're both up now. Let's go into the living room an' I'll make some tea. You want a cool washcloth for your face?"
She sighed as he supported her when she trembled as she stood. "Yes. Thank you, honey."
"Not a problem. You let it out, 'cause yer gonna hafta be strong to make it out there and help your friends."