Kyouka knew exactly who she wanted to intern under. She just wasn’t expecting a response from the hero so quickly. She was on her way to lunch with Yaomomo, when she heard a distinct voice call her over.
“Hey, hey! I wanna talk to you, listener!” Present Mic said from a nearby hall.
“I’ll meet back up with you,” Kyouka told her friend before she met up with their teacher.
“What’s up?” she said.
“I wanted to tell you personally I’d love to have you as an intern,” he said, leaning down a bit to be at eye-level with the teen. “Just warning you — it’s gonna be a fully packed schedule!”
“Sounds good to me, Mic,” she said. She tried to keep her voice even, but she couldn’t help being more cheerful than usual. It wasn’t everyday a favorite hero took her on like this.
“Great, I’ll see you next week then!” he said, waving her off.
Kyouka’s day started in the morning, meeting in Present Mic’s office at his agency. He was already there, chatting up with his various coworkers. Once she was in his sight, he grew a devilish grin she hadn’t seen since the exams.
“Earphone Jack, good to see you!” he said, waving her over. “We’re starting today with some all important exercises.”
She simply nodded, and he led the way to a sprawling space with sound blocking padding as far as the eye could see. She had a feeling what he had in mind, and suddenly the grin he sported made a lot more sense. She swallowed down her nervousness as best she could.
“During those exams,” he explained while making his way across the room from her. “There were a couple times you almost canceled out my Quirk. Let’s try doing that on purpose.”
“You’re on,” she said.
She started moving her earphone jacks to her hand speakers, while she saw him taking a deep breath. She braced herself for the deafening scream, and she let out her own heartbeat pulse as he yelled out a “YEEEAAAAAAH!” She managed to cancel his Quirk for a second.
“Not bad, let’s go again,” he smiled.
They ended up doing five rounds; the longest she managed to cancel his Quirk was five seconds. Her ears were still ringing but not bleeding this time. She wanted to pray to high heavens for the headphones her costume sported. The two heroes were sitting outside the training room, eating some lunch.
“You’ll wanna give your ears a break,” Present Mic said, passing her a water bottle. She noticed his headphones were off. Were those…?
“Right,” she nodded, taking her headphones off and slipping them around her neck. “Hey Mic?”
“Are those hearing aids?”
“Nice eye, listener!” he said, pointing at them as dramatically as he could. “Consequence of my Quirk! I’m not completely deaf yet, but it just might happen.”
“I couldn’t imagine being deaf,” she said. “I love music way too much.”
“I don’t think it’d happen to you,” he said, pointing to one of her earphones. “One aspect of your Quirk is your sensitive hearing. It’d take a lot for you to lose it.”
“That’s a relief,” she heaved out a sigh.
“Glad to give it to you, listener!” he grinned. “Anyway, it’s time to move onto patrols!”
She gave a nod and they were out of the agency in minutes.
Patrol so far wasn’t nearly as hectic as she expected. Well, at least when it came to disasters and villains. Every few blocks, a passerby would recognize Mic and ask for an autograph. He happily gave it each time. Kyouka looked on each time, taking mental notes on how to best entertain a fan.
“How do you manage it all?” she asked after another fan walked away wearing a signed, official Present Mic t-shirt.
“Manage what, listener?” he replied, looking over his shoulder towards her.
“You have three jobs and tons of fans,” she explained. “How do you not like…explode from the stress?”
“Good question, dear listener!” he said.
He paused their walk for a moment and he dug out his phone, showing off an app of a detailed schedule. He then showed the same schedule, this time on a printed agenda book.
“Scheduling!” he said. “Detailed, detailed scheduling! I keep track of everything I do, and whenever something unexpected comes up, I edit my schedule and tell anyone else important any changes.”
“How far in advance is this?” she asked, taking the agenda book. She found pages dedicated for the next five years.
“All of my agendas are done three years in advance,” he explained, taking the book back from his intern. “Every few months, I recheck them to see if there needs to be any changes.”
“I don’t know if I could manage that,” Kyouka said.
“It’s not for everyone,” he said, finally moving again. “Take Eraserhead for example. He scoffs every time he sees me edit my agendas, ha!”
“Why does Eraserhead see you edit your agendas?” Kyouka asked, quirking up a brow.
“I often do them during breaks at school,” he replied cooly.
Patrol went smoothly, and the two found themselves heading back to the agency. Present Mic led her to the locker room she used in the morning. She got the message, quickly changing into the civilian clothes she packed in there. She wore a beat up red flannel, an old band t-shirt, and a pair of jeans.
Once she was out of the locker room, she saw a man she didn’t recognize at first. Then it hit her. Present Mic somehow transformed from a showboating, rocker cockatoo into some kind of punk hipster. His hair was in a loose half bun, and his shades were traded in for a pair of clear glasses.
“Present Mic?” she didn’t mean for it to be a question, but it turned into one.
“The one and only!” he said cheerfully, striking a ridiculous pose with his hands raised and one leg out. Yup, it was him alright.
“Huh,” she said. “Suddenly your boring lectures make sense.”
“Hey!” he said with just a smidgen of his Quirk. “My lectures are not boring!”
“Ehhh,” she shrugged.
“Well, let’s mosey out on out of here and get some grub,” he said.
They ended up at a decent diner, Kyouka slurping up as much soba as she could stuff in her mouth. Mic was chowing down on some curry, when he paused eating. Kyouka noticed, and she left her noodles alone for a moment.
“I almost forgot to mention,” he said. “When I’m not in costume, refer to me as Yamada.”
“Of course,” she said before chowing down again.
The diner turned out to be strategically chosen, as just a block away was the radio station Yamada worked at. The workers immediately noticed Kyouka and she found herself recognized as the new intern.
“I don’t have interns very often,” he said.
She didn’t have a reply ready, and she followed him to the booth. Outside the recording booth were four crew members. One was a young woman named Satsuki who enthusiastically explained she was the one in charge of the schedule. Two of them, Mei and Ikuto, were responsible for checking any call-ins to make sure they were appropriate. The two also looked through any playlist, checking to see if the station had the rights to play the songs and for Yamada’s approval. The last of the four, Rin, helped Yamada with manning the booth from the outside.
“Kyouka,” Mei said. “Do you have a playlist you wanna use?”
“I can do that?” Kyouka asked, only to receive nods from all around. “I have tons on my phone.”
It took the girl about ten minutes of debate, but she eventually settled on a half hour one consisting of hard rock, punk, and a few pop songs. Yamada, Mei, and Ikuto looked through the playlist and gave a thumbs up.
“Oh and I was hoping you’d help being a guest host,” Yamada added as he and Satsuki went over the schedule.
“Y—yeah!” she said, trying her hardest to stay her cool self. She had a reputation to uphold.
“Great!” he said, sitting her down in a nearby chair. “So here’s the plan: we play the thirty minute playlist, play some ads, then we do a Q&A with you answering most of the questions. It’d be a great first splash if you want to be an entertainer type hero.”
“You guys will filter out all the weirdos, right?” she got a firm nod from the crew. “Sure. Sounds fun.”
The two hosts walked into the booth. He pulled out a spare chair for her to sit in. They spent the next hour prepping her to host — learning the buttons, what was and wasn’t appropriate, everything he could jabber on. She only paused when he talked too fast or when she needed to test a button out first.
“You’re ready to go,” he said.
A crew member gave a thumbs up. The two hosts put on their headsets, made sure they weren’t too close to the mic, and the red “ON AIR” light turned on.
“Hey, hey everybody! It’s Present Mic with Put Your Hands Up! Radio!” he said. “Tonight is a special one, because today we have a guest! Why don’t you introduce yourself?”
“I’m Earphone Jack, I’m a provisional hero currently studying at UA High School,” she said. “I’m interning with Present Mic, and so far I’ve learned a lot.”
“I gotta say, it’s been fun having you around, too,” he chuckled. “She set up a playlist so get ready for some rocking jams! After those thirty minutes, we’ll take some questions from you guys for her! Just remember, only villains ask a minor gross questions. So don’t be a villain or you’ll be permanently blocked from this show and station!”
“And if I ever find you, you’ll find a pair of headphone jacks in your ears,” she added with a sardonic laugh.
“Enough of our chatter, let’s get to the songs,” he said. In the booth, she started to hear the songs play. The half hour went by much faster than she anticipated.
“I hope you guys are ready for the star of the hour!” he said, clear smile in his voice.
“I hope I’m ready for these questions,” she said.
“Only one way to find out,” he said. “We’re open and ready to answer!”
A beep sounded, one Kyouka had been trained to hear during her hour of prepping. She heaved out a sigh and pressed the button.
“This is Earphone Jack, what’s your question?” she asked.
“Hi! I remember you from your last internship, with Death Arms,” the caller said, clearly a teen like Kyouka. “Thanks for saving us from those villains. That’s all I had to say.”
“Thank you for calling, and I’ll always be there to hear out for villains,” she replied.
Another call immediately beeped, and Kyouka found herself in a zone similar to one she felt when playing music.
“Earphone Jack, ready to listen.”
“Miss Jack,” the caller asked. “What made you want to be a hero?”
“Great question,” she answered. “Long story short, I thought I was going to be a musician like my father. Then one day, I was backstage at a concert of his. I heard something suspicious even my mother — who I inherited my Quirk from — didn’t hear. I told my parents and a group of heroes found the villains. I realized I could listen for things no one else could, things other than just villains.”
“Wow,” the caller responded. “I’m sure you’ll be a great hero!”
“Thanks for your support, listener!”
Beep beep went the button.
“What’s your question, listener?” she asked.
“Do you have any close friends at UA, any you consider closer than friends?” the caller asked.
“I do have a few close friends,” she said, trying to fight the embarrassment flooding her brain. “My closest friend is another provisional hero, Creati. She helps me a lot with studying, I swear her brain is just one giant dictionary.”
“Awww, no boyfriend yet?” the caller teased.
“I..don’t think that’s a very appropriate question, as heroes we have to keep our private lives very private, especially romantic partners,” she answered, trying to keep her cool.
“Sorry the last one asked such a rude question, Jack!” the caller asked. “Are you pumped for the next Sports Festival?”
“Don’t worry about it, listener! Us heroes have to deal with the public,” she said. “I’m determined to do better than last year!”
The Q&A went smoothly until Yamada cut in.
“Alright folks, that’s enough questions for now!” he said. “Now it’s time for some more music.”
The “ON-AIR” light went off, and Kyouka let out a sigh. She slipped her headphones down to her neck. She was just going to enjoy the music playing, only to see her teacher pat her on the shoulder.
“Sorry you had to deal with such a presumptuous question, Kyouka,” he said. “I get asked about romantic involvements all the time, no matter how many times I say it’s inappropriate.”
“It’s fine,” she shrugged. “I’m not really wanting something ‘closer than friends’ right now.”
“Wanna wait until you’re out of school?” he smirked. “I did the same, never asked him out until graduation. I almost regret it. Almost.”
“Wait…did you say…?” she had a hard time getting the word out of her mouth. “Him…?”
“Yep!” he said, leaning her feet unto the booth in front of him. “We’ve been together ever since. Of course, I can’t tell you who he is.”
“Of course,” she swallowed hard. Her teacher, her current pro hero she was interning under has been with another man for a long period of time.
“You alright there, listener?” he asked, looking over his shoulder.
“I…” she struggled to find the words. “I didn’t think there was a hero…”
“Like me?” he added. She nodded furiously. “I felt the same way. If I could scream out his name to the heavens I would, but he likes his privacy.”
“So are you….gay…bi?” she asked, now turned to look fully at him.
“Pan,” he said with a wink. “You, if you don’t mind me asking.”
“Very gay,” she said. “A classic lesbian disaster.”
“Wellllll,” he said, elongating the ‘L’ for all his worth. “You are wearing flannel and have a very short hairstyle. You definitely look the part, but I don’t wanna call a student of mine a disaster.”
Of course her English teacher would say ‘disaster’ in perfect English.
“Like how do I even flirt with her?” she put her head in her hand, the other going to an earphone. “‘Hey wanna study alone?’ we already do that!”
“Oh so it’s Yaoyorozu,” he nodded. “Trust me listener, it’s best if you just ask her straight up. Well. As straight as you can.”
“Did it work for you?” she asked.
“Sure did!” he waved his left hand in front of her face, showing off a silver ring.
“I’ll do it,” she said, removing the hand from her face. “I’ll ask her out after this internship.”
“That’s the spirit!” he said. “Oh we’re about to be on air again!”
Kyouka put her headphones back on, ready to do anything. After all, she had a hero like her right next to her.