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“So you got everything you wanted, right? I'm happy for ya, man.”

 

Mineta's eyes shot open as the sound of a spring coming from his phone filled the stagnant air. His breathing was heavy as his eyes began to focus on his own shell shocked face, staring back at him in the mirrored ceiling. His defined jaw was clenched tight, and he was clammy as hell. Suffocating. The heat from the duvet and the two bodies lying next to him caused him to feel claustrophobic and trapped, making him push himself upright with no thought to the other people in the bed with him.

“Hey! What's with the rude awakening!”

Mineta swallowed, and glanced to his left to meet the intense, obviously annoyed gaze of Harumi-chan. He'd been dating Harumi for about five months now. They had met at a nightclub where he was asked to be a guest DJ, and they had hit it off pretty well. She was cute as all hell, with big blue eyes and a butt that could be declared a national landmark. She was quirkless, although Mineta often insisted her quirk was her banging bod - an insistence that became endearing in its odd little way and lead to her still being here, in his bed. Her normally well-kept ash blonde hair was frizzy, and her natural smile withheld for an unimpressed look.

“Sorry, babe…” Mineta tried to give a confident smirk, but he couldn't keep the hesitation out of his voice, something Harumi picked up on. Her face softened, her look of annoyance changing to one of concern.

“Grapey...is everything okay?” She asked softly, placing a hand on his chest. She smelled like cinnamon and heather, like Christmas in February. Mineta inhaled, trying to use that to bring himself back to reality. He was fine. He was good. Everything was good.

Wasn’t it? If so, why did he hesitate to answer?

“...I’m fine. Just a nightmare. Don’t worry about me.”

Mineta said the words before he really comprehended what he was saying. He put his arm around Harumi, rubbing the small of her back with his forefinger unconsciously causing his hand on the opposite side to do the same, and in doing so causing the other sleeping girl to stir.

“Mmmeow...g’morning, Orumin…” The girl smiled up at him sleepily, as she rubbed her eyes with a fur covered hand. The girl's name was Asami, and she and Mineta had only been dating a month. Her quirk was half-cat. When Mineta had heard that there was a catgirl stuck in a burning building, he single-handedly scaled the fifteen stories using his sticky balls and upper body strength, using his feet to grasp the fire extinguisher and climbed down with her on his back as the building fell down around them. Admittedly her quirk was not what he was expecting. Though she did mostly resemble a human and did have a tail, her entire body was covered in fur (the coat was tabby) and her eyes and nose were entirely cat-like. Mineta dug that though, and when she asked if there was anything she could do to repay him, Mineta asked for a date.  Her and Harumi got on great, which was fantastic. Mineta would often come home to find the two of them laughing or joking about something, and it felt nice to relax his guard around them. Mineta didn’t like saying that he had main squeezes - after all, Grape Juice prided himself on belonging to all the girl s -but these two were probably the ones who had been spending the most time recently. Harumi looked over to Asami and pouted, her finger now making circles around Mineta’s chest.

“Asa-chan, Grapey had a nightmare!”

“Oh noooo !” Asami lamented, pouting in turn. “Poor Orumin…”

Asami craned her neck forward to kiss Mineta softly, to which he then turned and kissed Harumi. He really could feel the love, and he could feel his heart pumping. It was the girls. It was just the girls. Right?

“Y-Yeah...It was a real bad nightmare...I think I need some comforting…” Mineta smirked, but…

when did dreams about Denki become classed as nightmares?

Mineta took a deep breath in and closed his eyes, trying to let all the sounds drift away and refocus. What could he hear? His breathing. Asami’s breathing. Harumi’s breathing. The sound of a running shower, and the sound of a plane outside. What could he feel? He could feel three heartbeats - his own, Harumi’s, and Asami’s. He could feel Asami’s fur as he stroked her back, and the smoothness of Harumi’s skin. He could feel the cashmere sheets on his bed. What could he smell? He could smell Harumi and Asami, who smelled like pet shampoo. He could smell the incense that he kept burning. Taste? The taste of lips, and the stale taste of alcohol from last night.

Mineta breathed out and opened his eyes again. He’d been having to do this a lot lately, and he would worry someone would notice. But no one had seemed to, yet.

“Well, I bet we could make you forget all about that mean nasty nightmare, riiiiiiight Harushi?” Asami cooed, a coy look spreading across her face as she placed her hand on the back of Harumi’s, their fingers interlocking. Harumi smirked back, guiding Asami’s hand to Mineta’s toned stomach.

“Mmm...I bet we could Asa-chan...and the doctor always said to eat one of your five a day for breakfast…” As the two girls pressed up against him, Mineta’s heart felt like it was going to burst out of his chest. Why? This was how mornings normally were, hell this was tame considering how many people he’d sometimes woken up with and what he’d woken up to, so why today, why now did he feel like he was going to have a heart attack? This was fun, this was amazing, so - but before the girls could start, the bathroom door opened.

“Sorry ladies, I’m afraid the fun will have to wait till later.” Mt. Lady declared, her hair still damp from the shower as she began picking up the parts of her costume strewn around the floor - not that it was in that many parts. Mineta ogled the body that had once only been a fantasy to him, but there was still this odd sense of...something. Normally he would have begged for just five minutes, but for some reason after that night's sleep, he was more than ready to get out of bed. He clambered over a giggling Harumi, his foot getting caught in the duvet as he landed on the floor with a thunk. He got to his feet and immediately felt dizzy - in the dream, he wasn’t as tall as he was these days. It was so realistic...the old gang, back together.

“We got a job in?” Mineta asked, gathering up the bits of his costume and joining Mt. Lady in the mad scramble to get dressed.

“Yep. The monorail’s been hijacked, and the crook has a quirk that can stop something from slowing down.” Mt. Lady explained, throwing Mineta’s tights at him. As Mineta put them on, he found himself looking at himself in the ceiling mirror once again. He looked so different these days...How many of them would even recognize him? He barely recognized himself, ever since Maya-

But those thoughts wouldn’t help his beating heart.

“Sounds like a job for my sticky balls, huh, babes?” Mineta chuckled, glancing over to his bed to see that both girls were happily preoccupied with each other.

“So are weeeeeeeeeeee!” Harumi called back, but she was obviously distracted. Mt. Lady began tapping her foot, anxious to get a move on. Mineta pulled on the last of his outfit and stood up, nodding to Mt. Lady giving her the go-ahead to set off. Mt. Lady nodded back.

“Harumi-san. Asami-San. It’s been a pleasure as always.” Mt. Lady smiled at the two as she left the bedroom, Mineta close behind.

“Don’t you beauties have too much fun without me!” Mineta grinned with the smile, wink and thumbs up that got him onto the front cover of PlayGirl.

“We wooooooooooon’t, love yoooooooooou!” They both called back.

“Yeah!”


*

 

“So Asami-san seems nice.” Mt. Lady sighed as she stretched out her arms. The Grapemobile’s bubble windshield left for a lot of wiggle room as Mineta turned the corner.

“Oh yeah, she’s a real cutie, isn't she? I’d let her groom me all day if you know what I mean.” Mineta grinned, glancing over to Mt. Lady.

“Mm.” Although she didn’t say much, the smallest bit of contempt managed to worm its way into it. Mineta knew exactly what was coming. Once upon a time he enjoyed this, felt empowered by it even, but at this point, it was becoming stale. Her lips were pursed tightly and she crossed her arms

.“How old is she?”

“Twenty-two.”

“Hmm, twenty-two. Young, pretty thing.”

“She’s cute but comparing her to you Mt. Lady-”

Ahem.

“C-comparing her to you, Yu-san-”

Ahem.”

“Yu-chan, that’s like, that’s like, comparing a super sexy anime girl to the Venus de Milo! Like your sexiness is off the charts, and I could suffocate to death in your big beautiful bosoms and I wouldn’t care, ‘cause I’d already been in heaven!” Mineta gushed, watching for Mt. Lady’s reaction in the rearview mirror.

Mt. Lady and he weren’t official by any means, but she tended to get jealous of anyone younger than her, even if she’d never outright admitted it. It had been fourteen years since her debut, and she was very, very aware of this. There were a few seconds of silence before the tension melted and she clapped her hands together, laughing.

“Oh Mineta-kun, you flatter me too much!”

“No such thing! I mean, people back in the day would worship goddesses for months at a time in just their undies, I’m not praising you enough!

“Oh stop, you’ll make me blush!”

“No, I’m serious! You’re artwork, you’re like a fine wine-”

“Stop!”

“I mean it, if you said stop the Grapemobile and ravage me in the backseat, iId jam on the breaks so hard-”

“Stop the Grapemobile!”

Mineta spun the steering wheel and jammed his foot on the breaks, managing to perfectly spin into a parallel parking space with a screech. Sure it got tedious sometimes stroking Mt. Lady’s ego, but every time he got a chance to fulfil his childhood fantasies he would be a fool to turn it down. He pressed the button on the dashboard that caused the seats to go back and turn into a bed, the windows to tint, mood lighting and the funky sound of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Heard it on the Grapevine’ to fill the air.

Mt. Lady put a hand on his chest and Mineta responded in kind - only to them noticed the look of urgency on her face
.
“I meant because we’re at the station, Grape Juice.”

Mineta blinked.

“I knew that.”

He pressed the button again, causing the Grapemobile to return to normal. Mt. Lady jumped out of the car and began running towards the stairs going up to the track. She looked back at him in the car, puzzled. Mineta hadn’t moved. “Are you coming?”

“Yeah, just gimme a second.” He pulled one of the balls from his head and looked at it remorsefully, holding it up to the light taking in the purple-blue hue. But this wasn’t the time to be thinking about his purple-blueish balls. He slapped himself in the face a couple of times and jumped out himself.

Hope whoever hijacked the monorail is thirsty! Mineta thought to himself. Cause it’s Grape Juice time.

Chapter Text

By the time Mineta had rushed up the stairs (and stopped for a picture and to get the number of a very cute fan who he quite literally bumped into turning into the station), Mt. Lady was already giant sized. It didn’t seem like a state of emergency - in fact, the station was full of people trying to get through their daily grind. Did they not know about the runaway monorail? If not, that was really a screw up on the polices part. Or maybe it meant that they trusted Mineta and Mt. Lady enough to handle the situation themselves?

“Everyone, remain calm-!”

That was a mistake. It was a force of habit to say that when arriving at a job, but these people were calm already, at least before-

“GRAAAAAAAAAAPE JUUUUUUUUUUUICE!” A high pitched squeal belonging to a schoolgirl ripped through the crowd as everyone turned to look at him.

Mineta was what the business called a ‘celebrity’ hero. After the incident where class 3-A managed to take on and defeat the biggest villain the world had seen in centuries, All for One, every single one of them was thrust into the spotlight. Mineta spent a lot of his time in interviews and talk shows and became the unofficial voice of the event, and no one ever really told him to stop. He even landed a role in the movie they made about it, playing Midoriya. Come to think of it, that was the last time the two of them had really hung out, when he was doing research for his role…

“GRAPE JUICE, LOOK ALIVE!”

Mt. Lady’s call snapped Mineta back to reality just in time to see the monorail speed through the station, causing him and everyone else to fall down. He looked up at Mt. Lady, who looked at him with an expression that screamed ‘come on’.

“Oops, my bad!” Mineta called up, pulling himself to his feet and running out the station to cheers of admiration and support. The public loved him, that was for sure. And it was nice, when it didn’t feel suffocating. Mineta jumped in the Grapemobile and patched through Mt. Lady, kicking the car into gear.

“Where are they headed?” Mineta asked, spinning the steering wheel and skidding as he shot around the corner.

“...It’s a monorail, Grape Juice.”

“Right right, I knew that, sorry!” Mineta cussed, flicking some switches on the dashboard and engaging the Grapemobile’s Grapevine mode. Normally Mineta would have to take a long way around and head off the monorail at the next station, but considering how many turns that would be it would slow him down exponentially. Luckily, this wasn’t Mineta’s first chase, and after losing people this way before, he was more than prepared. Up ahead was an office block, and that office block happened to be taller than the monorail track. A slot opened up beside the steering wheel, and Mineta increased the throttle as he headed straight towards it. He began pulling the balls off his head, and shoving them into the slot. There was a shudder as he braced for impact as the Grapemobile transitioned from horizontal to vertical. The Grapemobile was designed so that Mineta could feed his sticky balls into the car itself and onto the wheels, creating a track that could climb any surface. The G-force mixed with the pain from using so many balls never failed to make him feel sick, however. He glanced at the car window mirror, and could see the monorail was approaching fast. He didn’t have much time.

“Come on, come on, come on, come on…” He muttered to himself as the car finally reached the top of the building. This was a terrible idea. But if there was one thing UA had taught him, it was sometimes the terrible ideas make you the most attractive. He knew he could make it. The monorail track was just on the other side of that rapidly approaching drop. It was definitely there. But as the drop approached, it sure didn’t look like it was there. Mineta took a deep breath and said the words he’d been using before doing anything stupid for at least 10 years now.

“For the Harem.”

Mineta hit the Grapevine button, disengaging the sticky ball deployment and shot off the roof of the office block. Time moved in slow motion as he glanced down at the monorail track rapidly approaching his windshield. And then he felt the sense of dread when he realized he was going to overshoot it.

“SHIT!”

“Humpf!”

Mineta didn’t see her approach, but a giant hand suddenly enveloped the Grabemobile. Mt. Lady must have come from the other side, and jumped in order to catch him. Or throw him, apparently. It seemed she dived to catch him but to avoid the monorail getting away, pushed the car back into the air like a goalie saving a killer shot. The Grapemobile did a 360 spin in the air, and Mineta was suddenly extremely grateful he didn’t have time for breakfast this morning.

Thankfully he landed on the tracks safe and sound, and breathed a sigh of relief.

That relief lasted all of 3 seconds before he remembered that the Monorail was about 10 seconds away from hitting him.

“BALLS!” He cried out, jamming the Grapemobile in reverse and jamming his foot down.

It wasn’t fun watching a monorail inches away from crushing you, and yet it was in times like this Mineta felt...he didn’t know what it was. Nostalgic? Who the hell could be nostalgic about being this close to death? He engaged Grapevine mode again and began flinging his balls down the tube, hoping the balls would build up and slow the train down. It was a sound theory and would have possibly worked if it wasn’t for the fact that this trains speed was kept in check using a quirk, as opposed to naturally. The balls were sticking to the train, but only succeeded to make a sticky snow plow like battering ram as they continued to build up. Mineta was in trouble, and he knew it. For every inch he gained, the train gained two.

What would the others do? Could he blow up the tracks? No, of course not. Could he come up with a plan for him and Mt. Lady to work as a team? It was too late for that, now. Back up? Not enough time. Short circuit the track? Make something? Every idea he could come up with was useless to him. But then he noticed the upcoming tunnel. This was his chance, and it was now or never.

“For the Ha…” Ugh, no! It of course made sense for Mineta’s heart to be beating out of his chest right now, but once again it was like his head was in the clouds. What was this? He’d dismissed it at first, but now it was really getting on his nerves. But it wasn’t the time to worry about that right now.

“GO BEYOND!”

Mineta thrust the handbrake down, spinning the Grapemobile and pulling back as it faced towards the tunnel entrance. As soon as he was in he span the wheel and drove towards the tunnel wall, driving up it until he was on the ceiling. He took his hands off the wheel and gripped it by his teeth, pulling more balls of his head to both keep the car sticking and keep everything in place to keep going. He opened the car door, and looked at the train speeding along beneath him.

“PLUS ULTRA!”

Mineta jumped from the car, slamming onto the train’s roof. He began to tumble and almost fell, but used the balls in his hands to affix himself to the side of the carriage just as they left the tunnel and the sun broke through the clouds.

I DID IT!

Mineta beamed with pride as he looked around...but no one was there. He’d survived. He pulled it off. So what was with this feeling of defeat? Mineta reached into his grape pants, and pulled out a sticky bomb, affixing it to the carriage window. He climbed back up the the roof, and-

BANG!

He watched as the shards of glass tinkled to the rapidly moving ground beneath them. The train suddenly suffered a massive shudder, and Mineta knew it was now or never.

“Please be big enough, please be big enough, please be big enough-”

Mineta slid off the roof, using one hand and one ball to swing himself through the hole he made and into the carriage. He got a cut along his leg, but apart from that he was relatively unscathed. He looked at his hands, and a wide grin grew across his face as he looked up at the people in the carriage who were looking at him with a mix of relief, joy, and admiration.

“Don’t worry ladies, Grape Juice is here to save the day!”

This was it. This was why Mineta had become a hero.

“Oh my god, it’s really you!” A woman who looked to be in her late 20’s glanced between him and the magazine in her hand. It was one of those gossip rags full of news about scandals and celebrities talking about other celebrities. And Mineta was on the front cover. He reached into his pants and pulled out his business card, handing it to the woman was a wink.

“Gimme a call when I’ve beat this perp up, okay?”

The woman nodded and blushed, completely tongue-tied. Mineta seemed to have this effect on most women, ever since...well, it had been a couple of years, but he still wasn’t used to getting blushes from women who didn’t know him. It was a nice feeling though...definitely.

An old man with a CRTV for a head shakily stood up, and pointed towards the front of the train.

“He’s at the front!”

Mineta nodded and rushed through the train, not stopping despite all the calls he was getting from fans who wanted a picture or autograph or a kiss, finally bursting through the door to find-

“B...Bakugo?!”

Where Mineta had been expecting to find just the perp at the front of the train, instead he found, well, no front of the train. In what was left of the drivers carriage with his his back against the wall was the perp, being held at explosion poin  by an an extremely pissed off looking Bakug. Someone Mineta hadn’t seen in at least 5 years.

Well, he’d seen him. It was impossible not to see him, or most of the people from his class. Ever since Midoriya, Bakugo and Todoroki had formed the number one hero team One For All, it was impossible to go five minutes without hearing someone talking about that group's exploits. The only singular hero to rival One for All’s popularity was, well…Grape Juice.

“THAT’S KING EXPLOSION MURDER TO LOSERS!” Bakugo screamed, turning his attention to whoever it was who dared use his real name. When he saw who it was, the rage his face was contorted in turned to one of angry confusion. “WHO THE HELL ARE YOU!?”

But then much like anyone who had a hard time recognising the new and improved Mineta, he noticed his balls.

“WHAT THE - PERVY GRAPE!? WHAT THE HELL?!”

Mineta’s heart began thumbing harder than it had all day. Not even almost getting hit by the train had made him feel this way. His vision went blurry, and he could feel himself losing balance-

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING ASSHOLE!”

Mineta felt a hand tugging on the back of his neck as he was now watching the train race by beneath him. He was two seconds away from falling off the ledge and becoming grape smoothie, if it wasn’t for…

“You saved me?” Mineta muttered, still unsure why he needed saving in the first place. Mineta was pulled backwards as Bakugo let go and pointed his hand at the empty carriage the perp was trying to escape to.

“THAT’S WHAT HEROES DO, ASSHOLE!”  he yelled as he let fire with his wrist blaster. The perp let out a yelp and Mineta acted quickly, grabbing two balls from his head and sticking them to the floor. With the force of the blast, the small bit of carriage the three of them were in rocketed skyward. Mineta acted instinctively, throwing a ball to Bakugo which he caught and stuck to the side of the carriage. It had been so long since they’d worked together, but some bonds don’t just go away, it seemed...last time they’d worked together like this, the fate of the world was at stake. Bakugo huffed, ignoring what just happened and focusing on the perp.

“NOW YOU BETTER DEACTIVATE YOUR DAMN QUIRK, UNLESS YOU WANNA VISIT THE GOD DAMN MOON!”

“Yo-you’re insane!” The perp cried, clinging on for dear life.

“I’M A HERO!”

“Other heroes don’t do, do stuff like this!”

“THERE ARE NO OTHER HEROES LIKE ME!”

Mineta glanced down as the ground beneath them got smaller and smaller. If he didn’t stop the quirk now, they could really be in serious trouble. Luckily, the perp knew this also. What was left of the train car stopped glowing, and as it did so the speed noticeably began to drop, until it was nothing…

...and then began picking up again as it hurtled towards the ground.

“WE’RE GONNA DIE!” Mineta sobbed, his fingers hurting from how hard they were holding onto the balls.

“LIKE HELL WE ARE! I DON’T PLAN ON DYING WITH THE BIGGEST EXTRA FROM HIGHSCHOOL!” Bakugo screamed back, but despite what he was saying Mineta didn’t know how they were going to survive this. Not for the first time, his entire life flashed before his eyes.

His childhood, his school life, his school friends...discovering the traitor, fighting All For One, the death of….and the fame, the celebrity...meeting Maya...and how things ended with her...Denki…

Mineta had regrets. As the asphalt rapidly approached, Mineta finally realized what dying here would actually mean.

He didn’t want to die here.

He didn’t want to die.

I’m sorry, Denki…

Mineta closed his eyes and braced for oblivion.

But oblivion never came.

“I’VE GOT YOU!”

Suddenly Mineta was weightless. Or rather, to the person who had grabbed him he was. The voice shot through Mineta like an electric shock, and his eyes shot open. He recognized those boots, the kind voice, and that power…

The two of them landed with a thud as Mineta was dropped, and he looked in awe at the smiling face of the second founder of the Pro Hero Group One for All, and someone who used to call him a friend. Izuku Midoriya, the pro-hero Deku. Mineta just stared. What should he say? What could he say? What do you say? But by the time he thought of the words, his chance was gone-Deku had jumped back to the still falling train car, with people still to save.

Bathump.

Chapter Text

A crowd had gathered around where the remains of the front carriage had landed. Well, landed wasn't exactly the right term, but rather, where it was caught. Mineta couldn't even see Bakugo or Deku for the crowd, and in a way...he was relieved. Meeting again like this, with all those eyes on him, analysing and judging him. That just didn't sound like a good time to reunite with old friends. Mt. Lady ran over to him, now small again. She had a look of concern on her face.

“Grape Juice, you okay?”

“Yeah, I'm fine.”

“I saw what happened. King Explosion Murder really does deserve his reputation, huh?” Mt. Lady smiled softly. She had been working with Mineta for at least 6 years now, and at the very least she did genuinely consider him both a peer and a friend. “..Want to talk about it?”

Mineta hesitated, looking at the swarming crowd of fans that had gathered around just to catch a glimpse the no. 1 pro heroes...but was fans the right word? Mineta, he had fans. But what those guys had, it was on a whole other level. They didn't just love those guys, they admired them.

Mineta understood that completely.

“Lets go get a drink, okay? The job was still done. The day was still saved,” Mt. Lady continued, putting a hand on Mineta's arm and causing him to snap out of the daze he didn't even notice he'd fallen into. He nodded firmly at Mt. Lady, the thudding in his chest beginning to calm down.

“Yeah, exactly.” Mineta agreed, the tension rolling of his shoulders as he gave one last look to the congregation. Did Midoriya even recognize him? Why didn't he say anything? He smiled at him, but...Midoriya smiled at everyone. A small part of Mineta was pulled towards that magnetic personality. the he had tried so hard to imitate in the movie. He wanted to see if the guy who saw past a stupid teenagers raging hormones would maybe still have time for an old friend, to go and maybe grab some cocktails -

“Grape Juice! Sayuri Tachibana from Channel 7 News. Am I right in saying this was your first time working with members of One for All since the formation of the group?”

Mineta was caught off guard by the pint sized reporter who was suddenly in front of him. In a way, she reminded him of himself only...more moley. Not in that she had a lot of moles, but in the fact that her quick was literally ‘mole’, in the same manner his old classmate’s Tsuyu Asui’s quirk was ‘frog’. He didn’t even see her approach, but that was less because of her stature, and more because he was so lost in thought.

“Uhh, no, I’ve worked alongside them a couple of times since the…” Suddenly it was back. That pounding in his head, in his chest, his throat closing up. Dammit! He was over this! He was fine now, his therapist said so! It had been 4 years since anything like this had happened, so why now? Why today? He coughed to try and clear the passageway, and save face. “Since the UA attack 7 years ago.”

Miss Tachibana looked surprised.

“Oh? It’s never been reported as such, and it’s not like you to take a background role.” 

“Hey, don’t get me wrong, I know I’m hot stuff, but compared to those guys I’m in the kiddy pool.” Mineta chuckled, looking away from her and scratching his cheek with his finger.

“Oh isn’t he so modest! See, that’s what we need in our heroes, am I right? Grape Juice: The Modesty Hero! Not as great a ring to it as Celebrity or Sexbomb - remember Sexbomb? Man, those were a good couple of weeks. They played that song everywhere you went. 1999. Tom Jones and Missty? Moousey? Something like that, I don’t know. He was Welsh though, I think. What the hell even is Wales, it’s like, hey you lost! Get over it! Stop trying to have your own language!” That voice began to one of the few people in the world Mineta could still truly call a friend he had no attraction to whatsoever, and his publicity agent - Burton Outlier.

Burton was the son of a multimillion dollar businessman from America and was an extremely colourful person. He moved to Japan and set up his own multifaceted company ranging from perfume to animal care, to modelling, to cars and of course, celebrity and hero representation. Which Burton had told Mineta several times was due to many, many accounts of tax fraud by his father. Despite his somewhat dubious nature, he was a hell of a spin doctor, for better or for worse. He reached out a spindly arm, his slicked-back blue hair and short and scrappy beard’s natural grease shining in the sunlight. He wasn’t well dressed by any means, but he was the kind of man who could make scrappy look like a style.

“Burton Outlier - yes, that one, hold your applause - at your service. See Grape Juice here, this isn’t the first time he’d be shoved outta the spotlight for those One for All guys. I mean not that Grape Juice needs it, I mean, he’s Grape Juice! I bet the real reason you’re here interviewing him right now instead of King Explosion Murder - okay, actually, side bar, can we just repeat that name again and lets just, sound it out with me here, all together- King Explosion Murder . Like Christ, that’s the guy you want saving you, huh? ‘Help, help, a terrorist just blew up a school that my little baby Sora was in!’ ‘It’s okay Ma’am, King Explosion Murder is on the Scene’ ‘No officer that’s literally the problem’-Sorry, I was going off topic.”

An everyman would be forgiven for assuming Burton’s quirk was his unstoppable motormouth, something which Mineta was constantly in awe of. It was like a one man pantomime for an audience of crack addicts. And that was Burton’s words, not his.

“My point is, let’s be honest, you probably just want a bit of Grape Juices Juice Box, right? That one was awful, I’m sorry. Not like, actually sorry, but it wasn’t good and I wanted to acknowledge it. Anyway, you probably have a crush on him, right? I bet you have a big poster on your wall of him shirtless, and your search history is full of Grape Juice/Reader fan fiction. Stop me if I’m not on the mark here.”

Mineta pulled a face as an uncomfortable pit formed in his stomach and he placed a firm hand on Burton’s shoulder, his brow furrowed in disapprovement. Burton simply raised his eyebrows with a lackadaisy smirk, and nodded his head in the direction of the reporter. Sure enough, much to Mineta’s equal parts impressed and unimpressed, a small blush had formed on her cheeks and she began to rub the pen nervously between her fingers. It was true, Mineta wasn’t anywhere near the site where Midoriya and Bakugo was, and he didn’t take the most direct route down from the rooftop, either. Burton danced around behind the reporter, like a devil on a mission. He leaned in, talking directly into her ear.

“Well hey, you’re in luck! See as you’d probably expect from my client, he is very vocal about what he likes in a woman and great news, you check all the boxes! Yaaaay, wooo! Good for you! Now if I could just…”

Burton plucked the pen from her hand, and jotted down the address of a secret bar that Burton actually owned, that catered to only the stars. And their groupies, of course.

“If you want a much better interview with my client with music and dancing and where he’s not suffering from G-force concussion-” He glanced up at Mineta. “I’m just assuming.” He glanced back down. “Then you should come here at about 9pm. It’s not to busy then, and I’ll put you on the VIP list! Just be aware if you do report the location, I will have you killed. Haha, I’m joking! Probably. Maybe. Who knows! Nah, I won’t. But something bad might happen to your cat, because that’s just like, a fine I think? I don’t know if you have a cat, but i mean hell, there are cat’s everywhere. If you leak the location, a cat will die and it will be your fault. Anyway!” Burton pulled away with his hands behind his back, spinning on his heel until he was standing beside Mineta. “ He likes purple.

Mineta and Mt. Lady just stared at Burton. He had this ability to say the worst and most offensive things, and yet never seemed to have any repercussions for it. Hell if anything, it worked out for him 9/10. Their gaze drifted over to the reporter, who’s eyes were boring a hole into the notebook she was carrying with her. The air was completely still, unmoving. And then she snapped the notebook shut.

She looked up at Mineta, a nervous smile that Mineta recognized from when Mt. Lady first came onto him. Mineta felt...off. Burton definitely picked up on it, which was probably why he got involved in the first place. Mineta was usually all for shallow physical appreciation, but after last night’s dream, and running into Midoriya and Bakugou, this just felt...empty. The one person here for him wanted his body. He shouldn’t be surprised, but...man. He wondered what was going on over there? What those looks felt like, instead?

“I...I will be there!” Sayuri proclaimed, tucking a stray hair behind here ear and pushing her glasses up her nose. “I was going to ask you to sign something but-uh - I guess I will later! See...See you then!”

Sayuri put her notebook to her chest and turned to walk away, failing to hide her blush. She was pretty, in a moley sort of way. But even still…

“You’re the worst.” Mineta muttered under his breath as soon as she was out of sight.

“You missaid ‘the best’, but you did used to have a lisp so I forgive you.” Burton grinned a toothy grin and patted Mineta on the chest with two hands, before stretching out his arms and cracking his fingers.

“No Outlier-kun, you really are the worst.” Mt. Lady grimaced, shaking her head.

“Hey I was right, wasn’t I? When am I ever not right! They’re always grapey’s!” Burton cackled, trying to smoosh Mt. Lady’s face only to be coldly sidestepped.

“Just call them groupies, Outlier-kun.” Mineta muttered. Burton’s words normally filled him with a sense of sleazy pride, but today they almost stung. Burton arched his eyebrow.

“Okaaaay….Why? Grapey’s a classic piece of wordplay. Is it because it sounds like ‘rapey’ , because if so yeah I realized that as soon as I came up with it but didn’t say anything but it is just rapey with a G on the end so really that’s your own fault-  ”

“No, it’s not that. It’s just Harumi-chan calls me that now, so it’s just...weird, I guess?”

“Huh. Gross, but okay.” Burton shrugged, and began resting against the wall. The air was still once again. The trio of Burton, Mt. Lady and Mineta was not one that usually formed, for good reason. Burton finally broke the silence again.

“....So you two still occasionally banging?”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Mineta-Kun.” Mt. Lady said sharply, completely ignoring Burton. As she walked passed Mineta, her expression softened slightly. “You sure you’re doing alright?” she whispered. Mineta nodded, and Mt. Lady continued walking.

It wasn’t a lie-or at least, it shouldn’t be. So what if that was the first time in years he’d ran into those guys? So what if Deku didn’t even acknowledge him. He still saved him. He still would have saved him if he had realized it was him. He just...he just didn’t. Mineta swallowed, and only then realized Burton’s face was inches away from his own.

“ARGH!” Mineta cried out, and Burton frowned.

“So seriously, what’s got your balls in a vice? Jesus, you’re lucky I got there when I did! ‘I’m just a small ripple’ or whatever the fuck that was you said, like seriously? Seriously? If you’re gonna suck their dick, at least make it a 69.” Burton sighed, and Mineta looked down. He just wasn’t in the mood for Burton’s griefing right now. “Look, I don’t know what’s up with you. You just seem...bummed out, man. I hate seeing you like this. What, did you fail to make one of your girls cum? Did one of your girls bust out a Deku mask and force you to put it on whilst she was riding cowgirl? King Explosion Murder? Nezu?”

Mineta didn’t know what came over him, but suddenly he grabbed Burton by the collar of his shirt and slammed him against the wall.

“Too far, Burton. Too far.”

“Hey hey hey easy, easy! I mean it comes to no surprise you’ve got balls, but calm down!” Burton raised up his hands in surrender. “Wow someone’s really got your grapes in a bunch today, huh? Wow. You’re so intense. What happened to all the free love and good times!”

Mineta let Burton go and stepped back, looking at his hand like it was a foreign object.

“I...I don’t know. I had a bad dream last night, and it just...really messed me up.”

Burton pouted, a perfectly crafted mask of sympathy as he stepped towards Mineta and placed his hands on his cheeks. Mineta was so out of it, he didn’t even stop him.

“Well hey, that’s what ol’ Burtey’s here for, isn’t it?”

Mineta didn’t even register what had happened until it was too late. A warmth began to spread throughout Mineta as his pupils widened, all the tension and bad feelings melting away. Burton’s quirk was called ‘Artificial High’, and one that could be dangerous if it was in the hands of someone who cared about power.  As long as he has sampled it’s effects at least once, Burton could synthesize a chemical reaction in the mind of another, without any of the drawbacks of the actual substance, ranging from caffeine to cocaine. Due to its nature it was technically not illegal, but it was definitely an extremely gray area. Mineta’s eyes softened, as the worry he had melted away.

“Thanks Burty…” Mineta smiled, smooshing Burton’s own cheeks between his hands and going in for a kiss. Burton allowed a peck, but then quickly ducked out of his grip.

“Hey, that’s what I’m here for! Now that should wear off in about 12 hours, so don’t go driving the Grapemobile, alright champ?”

Mineta checked his phone, and his mouth dropped open.

“But I have the date with the reporter in 3 hours!”

“Everyone loves MDMinetA! Man that’s a tongue twister, huh? MDMinetA, MDMineta, MDMINETA. Eh I’m just amusing myself at this point, but you’ll be fine! You’re killing it buddy! Keep being you! Motivational input!” Burton simply laughed harder, giving a dismissive wave as he walked away.

This wasn’t the first time Burton had pulled something like this, and he would definitely be annoyed at him later. But right now, Mineta felt amazing. Like the world loved him, and he loved it back. He was sure his friends still cared, and Maya was probably happy off somewhere, with someone. So Jiro took the night off last night despite getting the Guest DJ gig as an excuse to catch up with her, she had a reason, he was sure of it! And sure, him and Denki hadn’t spoken more than five sentences to each other since the threesome, but it wasn’t like he was putting in effort, if he did he would! And if he saw a hand trying to grab him at this moment, Mineta was sure he wouldn’t have a panic attack.

He had many fangirls, and lovers, and he was even going on a date tonight! Everything was absolutely perfect. Everything was amazing. No matter what Mineta had felt, no matter what Mineta was going though, no matter what Mineta had dreamed last night...He was doing just fine.

When he was high.

 

When he was high.