I didn't know what to think. Ibara and I were just friends! But then she kissed me and now treated me like her boyfriend! I didn't like it too much. Tsu was still my friend, too. I just wanted to clear the air with them. Fire of Soul was out, chuffing and purring. I wanted to choose my girl. Of course, I had a complication. The fact that they seemed to have a rivalry was going to be a challenge to get past.
So I turned to the one person who I trusted beyond all else. My mom. *Ring... Ring* the phone rang.
"Renaru? What's wrong, baby? Do you need me to come down there? Did your brother blow something up?" she asked.
"No, it's just... I don't want my friends fightin' over me... Ibara's already treatin' me like her boyfriend and it's breakin' Tsu's heart, I jus' wanna... I dunno," I mumbled.
"Aw... my little Renny-pie is havin' girl trouble..." she crooned.
"Yeah... and I wanna let her down easy..." I sighed, petting Soul gently, he let out a huff. My dorm was way too organized, but I liked it that way. I couldn't bring myself to break Ibara's heart or Tsu's. I was saddened by the prospect of losing their friendship.
"Ren, I'mma give ya the same advice my mama gave to me, 'Love is a battlefield, love ain't a paradise. It can be if y' find the right one.' You're young, baby, okay? I know you're quite the romantic type, but be careful," She said.
"Thanks, Mom... I'll talk to ya later after the battle," I sighed.
"Go get 'er, soldier!" she commanded, hanging up. Soul let out a whine.
"I know you like Ibara, buddy, but... I like Tsu too..." I sighed, he went inside me and I tightened my arm braces and leg braces, my hands sparking. I took a deep breath. Stepping out into the day.
Tsuyu Asui was never one for romance, but something about how gentle and kind Renaru was set a fire in her heart, something she couldn't shake no matter how hard she tried. She and he orbited each other in kindergarten, with her watching him dejectedly wander around clutching his plush endeavor like a rosary. Every bully she faced would call attention to her frog-like features.
Renaru would too, but he would smile and say how cute she was with those features. Then Ibara Shiozaki showed up and whisked her best friend away from her. The word of their sleeping together tore the young frog's heart to pieces. She cried so much when she found out, but then it turned to vindictive rage. If she wanted Renaru, fine.
Over her dead body!
Tsuyu watched Renaru come into class, his mannerisms stilted and clipped as he had somewhere to be. Ibara breezed in behind him, and he sat down in his seat, right between the two girls. Tsuyu smiled at him and he smirked shakily back.
'Ibara Shiozaki... what do you have that I don't?' Tsuyu thought, analyzing her rival. Her perfect dark green eyes, her long vines for hair, her cutely rounded face. Her dainty hands and her rather supple body made Tsuyu's blood boil.
Ibara Shiozaki never wanted to fall in love. She wanted to decide on her own who she'd fall in love with. When she first saw Renaru in middle school, eating lunch alone, she felt it as her mission to become friends, as unconventional her methods were. Now it began a burgeoning relationship, whirlwind and haphazard. He seemed withdrawn, barely speaking to her in more than one word.
She felt those wide, black eyes on her and repressed the urge to punch the desk. Tsuyu Asui, Renaru's childhood friend, who abandoned him in middle school. What does she have? She's a frog! Ibara tried to repress the vindictive rage she felt. Renaru was HERS. Not Tsuyu's. She had her shot. She reached over and grabbed Renaru's hand.
'He's mine, Tsuyu, mine, and mine alone,' she thought triumphantly. She glared at the hunched, dopey eyed girl with quiet fury. Then, in a sudden turn, his hand jerked away from her's.
I let go of Ibara's hand and looked at them both with hurt in my eyes, I hated seeing them fight. I hated feeling stuck. All I wanted was to handle this without those two throttling each other. I had a feeling that it was easier said than done. I didn't want a blemish on my school record, and I didn't wanna hurt them. I cleared my throat.
"S-so... uhm... Uh... well..." I faltered, not knowing that my saving grace was my brother. Katsuki stomped in and stood near me.
"Listen here, you two. My brother cares about you both, but he's not lookin' for a relationship! He's naive, and sometimes a total pushover, but he's my bro. An' if y' wanna split hairs, split 'em with me!" he challenged.
"Ehhh?! Ka-ka... Katsu! That's not what I wanted to say at all!" I gasped.
"Aw c'mon bro! Sit with me today, leave these girls to their pinin', they gotta pass the 'Katsuki Bakugo's 'My Brother is a Total Badass' Test!' So c'mon!" he said, grabbing my arm and depositing me in the desk next to his. He smiled.
"Uh..." I mumbled again.
"Listen, Ren, you're my little bro, and I gotta keep an eye on ya... Dad made me promise," he admitted, looking ashamed.
"I worry a lot about ya... yer still that little kid that saved Endeavor, y' know? I'm worried that... that if I'm not strong enough, you're gonna get hurt... I mean, Y'got Soul, but even then you can't summon him on demand..." he sighed gently.
"Katsu... I understand. I'll be stronger from now on! Today is a new day for Renaru Baku-" I was cut off by Mr. Aizawa clearing his throat.
"Renaru, the support class teacher wants to see you... something about your Palsy?" he asked.
"O-oh! Sure! I requested that they accommodate it... I'll be back!" I chirped, running down the hallway. I was so excited! I loved seeing the inner workings of the hero profession! Just like Izuku! I wanna be the second most powerful hero! Like Endeavor! I wanna take care of my mom one day! I wanna repay her for all the crap this stupid palsy forced her to do!
But most of all... the reason why I wanna be a hero, tantamount to all else... is because I want my family to be safe! That's my credo! That's my code! I am Renaru Bakugou, up and coming hero! NOTHING WILL STO- I went flying, crashing hard into a wall, a door slamming into me as well.
"Oh god! Someone was on the other side!" A voice gasped.
"Hang on! I got this!" A cheery, female voice said, I felt the door move off me, and I shot up to my feet.
"HUP! RENARU BAKUGOU, MEMBER OF CLASS 1-A REPORTING FOR COSTUME CREATION!" I yelled, saluting like a soldier. That's when I saw her. Y'know that phrase, 'They get along like a house on fire?' Well... that was me when I saw Mei Hatsume for the first time. She was standing close to me. She had salmon pink hair, done in thick dreadlocks, with golden eyes that looked like crosshairs on a scope.
"Ooh... you're really solid for a guy with the palsy..." she cooed, rubbing my chest and back, pressing down a bit to make sure nothing was broken. Soul was asleep, and I felt the heat rise in my cheeks. 'Oh god, I'm already in love! She's really cute! No wait, focus!' I thought as Mei backed up. She was wearing cargo pants, a sweatshirt was tied lazily around her waist, and steampunkish goggles were on her soot-streaked forehead.
"Hmm... those braces are bulky..." she mumbled, taking my hand and leading me inside the still smoking room. What was it with me and surrounding myself with people that could blow me up? Mei was grinning.
"Okay! Take off one of each brace! I'mma hafta do some kinda... alterations," she said.
"Al-alterations?! How long are those gonna take?!" I gasped, I couldn't possibly go on without my braces... people would start staring... and...
"You okay, Ren?" she asked.
"No... not at all..." I sighed. Mei sat across from me, her expression serious.
"I know what's going on, even if we just met, I got a sorta intuition about people just by starin' at 'em... you're extremely self-conscious and shy, and you hate your palsy because you know people stare..." she sighed, at this point, I took off one arm brace and a leg brace.
- Taptaptaptaptaptap* My leg and foot started to tap on the floor, and my hand started to shake. I saw her scan them.
"Yep, these are crap, take off the other ones," she said. I did so and she chucked them into a low pit. *Fwish!* a small jet of fire consumed my old braces.
"AHHHHHH! Tho- those... those were... that was... EXPENSIVE!" I thundered, my hands sparking, Soul was still asleep, but that didn't mean I couldn't use my arsenal. Mei started to laugh.
"Hehe... Hahaha... Listen, Renaru, you're one of the reasons I wanted to go into support in the first place... I see all kindsa people like you with crazy awesome quirks just dyin' for a chance to become a hero fall flat because of this stupid condition! I wanna help ya get there, I'll have the alterations done by lunchtime, so come down then," I got up, 'is this... gonna be my first date?!' I thought, walking back towards Class 1-A.
When I got there, Katsuki was waiting for me, alongside Kirishima, Sero, Kaminari, and Ashido.
"Hey Ren, how was it?" he asked.
"The support girl is cute! Super cute!" I chirped, and Kaminari started to laugh.
"Ooh! Really?!" Ashido gasped, her eyes shining. She was kind of a gossipmonger, and a scatterbrained person, but you couldn't ask for a better person to confide in. Katsuki sighed, already gearing up for the 'Katsuki Bakugo's 'My Brother is a Total Badass' Test.'
"Yeah... I gotta go back down there to get my altered braces..." I explained, my voice was naturally quiet. Kaminari looped his arm around my shoulders.
"Look, man, it's clear you like that Hatsume chick... but ya gotta slow down!" he advised.
"I know, it might just be a fleeting thing... but... if it does end up a relationship... I hope it'll be a happy one!" I mumbled.
I went down to the support lab with Katsuki, not by his choice, but his insistence. I hoped he would like her. I went up to the door carefully, totally expecting to be flattened again. I opened it like normal. A high-speed, high-velocity, and salmon pink blur slammed into me, sending me toppling to the floor. It was Mei, who probably got a running start.
"It's done! C'mon! Lemme show ya!" she squealed, hopping up and grabbing my shaking hands and yanking me into the lab after her. Katsuki was just observing, barely making a sound.
"See? They're not those trashy plastic monstrosities!" she chirped, handing me four small black sleeves, like thigh-highs for my arms, and two sleeves for my legs. She smiled.
"Alright, go put those on, okay?" she asked. I nodded, going somewhere else to put them on.
(While Renaru's putting on his new bands...)
"What's yer game, Hatsume?" I snarled, looming over her. If she's gonna use my brother as a guinea pig, then she's got a right hook with her name on it.
"Huh? Oh! You're that Katsuki guy! I just wanna help your brother out, is that so bad?" she asked.
I crossed my arms and growled, "Listen, Renaru likes you, like a lot. So... you better step lightly,"
"Aw... c'mon, is he that fragile? The kid blew up a bot that was meant to take on the Big Three all at once... with ONE BLAST! Don'tcha think you're being a little too defensive?" she asked.
"Look! He's... he's naive and... I don't want him getting hurt, okay?" I conceded, still defensive.
"Don't worry! I like him, too! He's pretty much the only guy who's okay with all my peppiness, and I've only known him for about... an hour or two? I 'unno..." she sighed.
I smirked, "He's got that effect on people... but normally when girls are chompin' at the bit to have him, like Eden and Frogger, I scare 'em off," I said.
Hatsume nodded, and I sighed.
"I just... I'm scared, okay? If Renaru wasn't my twin I wouldn't care, but... you gotta promise me two things first!" I snapped.
Hatsume grinned, then became wary, gaining an oddly deep voice, "Name them,"
I rolled my eyes at her Aku impression, "One: Renaru is extremely self-conscious, so, please... try not to stare at his shakiness too much,"
"Got it," she agreed.
"Two: He's a total dork when it comes to social things... so..." I mumbled, remembering the time when he tripped over a guy in the train station and yelled 'Are you sorry!' at him.
"Oh, and the next two are important: he gives it his all, so... don't be surprised if he gives ya a super expensive gift, and the last one... he... he gets hurt often, and I guess you're used to that, so..." I faltered off, leaving before Renaru came back. I needed to trust my bro.
(Back with Renaru...)
Wow! These are... so comfy! It's like they're not even... not even... I don't shake anymore. I don't shake anymore! I ran out of the back towards Hatsume.
"MEI! THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU! I could kiss you!" I screamed in glee, swinging her around and smiling and laughing. She slowed me down.
She pecked me on the forehead, "There's more where that came from, Renaru!" she chirped.
"Ah!" I gasped, my cheeks heating up.
"Uh, don'tcha think this is goin' too fast?! I mean, I let Ibara down easy... but..." I mumbled.
"There's one thing you gotta know about me, Ren, I'm spontaneous," she said, pulling a pair of black fingerless gloves onto my hands and squeezing them. I still was blushing and my hands started to spark. Mei was so close, I could smell the tang of her sweat and the motor oil she used for the boots she was working on. She smiled.
"There we go, now your wrists are steady, which is the origin of the shaking. Your gloves are blast-proof and fire-resistant, if you need any adjustments... you know exactly where to find me," she said, pecking me on the cheek, too.
"Uh, Gottagobye!" I forced out, dashing out with my face afire. I never met a girl that matched my zeal and determination in the same way Mei did. Tsu and Ibara saw me running with a crazy blush on my face.
"Hold it, Renaru!" Tsu called.
"Gah! T-tsu! I-ibara!" I stammered my face beet red.
"Why're you blushing? Ribbit?" she asked.
"Uhm... I like Mei Hatsume! Sorry! Gottagobye!" I dashed off to my dorm, where I could be safe. Mom would wanna know. So after class ended, I went back to the dorms.
"Mom, I'm serious!" I chided.
"No way! Awesome! My little Renny-pie found someone..."
"Ugh... Mom... Mei just kissed me on the cheek and forehead... I'm not sure if we're together..." I sighed.
"Seems like a case of love at first sight,"
"Hm..." I mumbled. I think Mom was right, it was love at first sight. Hatsume was feisty and overzealous, while I was cool-headed for the most part. I still felt off about the whole thing. I wore my sleeves, though. She didn't have to help me, but she did anyway. I liked that. She was cute, hyper, a genius... everything that I wasn't. I was dorky, naive, more of a shut-in because of my condition.
Mei didn't see that, though, she never saw my condition as a detriment. To me, love isn't something planned for, it's an explosion, it's messy, hot, and throws you backward. Yet if you survive it, you get something great in return.
"Renaru... earth to Renaru... come in, Captain Bakugou!"
"I'm here, Mom, I'm here! I just... spaced out for a minute..." I sighed. Mom laughed, and I just adjusted my glasses. I looked around my dorm, seeing all the Idoles, the gaming console, the art I drew on the walls, and I felt more at ease. My world was here, safe and inside... where no one could stare at my hands and the way I walk without getting a few snickers. I could be a hero with Katsu and Mei's help. They wanted to help, so I'll take 'em up on it.
"Well, I'm proud of you, sweetie... have a good rest of your day,"
"Yeah, I love you, Mom..." I sighed. That's when I heard a knock on my door. I went up to it and opened it. On the other side was Mei, covered in soot and other gunk, smiling like always. I found myself scrambling for words.
"Heya!" she greeted.
"Hi?" I said.
"Can I stay here?" she asked.
"Why?" I wondered.
"Oh, I blew up my dorm and half the support dorms," she said, waving her hand.
"WHAT?!" I gasped.
She laughed at my rubbery expression, "Haha! Your face!" she tittered. I blushed.
"Fine! Just... did you bring your clothes?" I asked.
"Not any except the ones on my back!" she cried.
"Hahhh... Okay, you can borrow some of mine... I'll get laundry started. The bathroom's down the hall, to the right, the linen closet is inside, you can use my body wash and shampoo considering you're a walking Pompeii figure..." I sighed, going into my small main room and sitting on the bed. I had my TV on and I was watching a movie.
'There's a girl. In my dorm. There's a GIRL. IN. MY. DORM. No need to panic... no need to panic... just another, a normal human being in your space, you can handle this.' I thought, hearing the shower turn on. 'I can't. I can't handle this! She's in my space, in my shower, currently washing the soot off her body from BLOWING UP A WHOLE HALF OF THE SUPPORT DORMS! What the hell is happening?!' I continued, wrapping myself in my blankets. Soul came out with a small hoot.
I looked at the small danger noodle and he was wrapped around my neck, nuzzling me.
"Hey, buddy... it's okay, I'm just... a little scared is all," I sighed.
Mei came out of the shower and was wearing one of my favorite shirts, a yellow shirt with the school motto on it in white. My dad made it for me, and since he was so busy, he couldn't be here. Soul immediately hissed at her.
"Ooo... that's not autoerotica, right?" she asked.
"Soul isn't a robot, he's the embodiment of my fighting spirit," I answered, she got on my bed to take a closer look and I started to blush. She nodded and reached out to pet him. *Hiss...* he hissed in warning, before being pet by her. He clambered onto her and wrapped around her neck gently.
"Hehe! He likes me!" Mei said. She cooed and pet him. He purred and nuzzled her. I wasn't too surprised, Soul liked any girl I did at the time. So Mei and I just sat and watched the movie, it was about a guy that built a metal suit after almost dying in a blast from his weapon. Mei watched so closely.
"Man, what wouldn't I give to have a suit like that... I have a long way to go," she sighed, hugging her knees to her chest, her golden eyes sparkling. I awkwardly wound my arm around her shoulders.
"I-I... I can help... I gotta return the favor somehow..." I mumbled.
"Really?! No way! Oh my God, thanks, Renaru!" she squealed, tackling me in a hug.
"Oof! Mei! C-c-c-c-c-can't breathe! I can't... breathe!" I gasped. She separated from me.
"Oops! Sorry..." she sighed.
"No, it's... it's nice," I admitted, my mumbling always getting in my way of what I always wanted to say. I wanted to tell her that I'd always be around to help. She didn't have any of her 'babies' to work on, so she just got under my covers.
"Goodnight, Renaru!" she chirped.
"Yeah, goodnight, Mei," I sighed, getting under beside her. Again, love is like an explosion.