for the prompt: "You are a pyrokinetic who tends to accidentally set things on fire when stressed. And today, you're having a very bad day."
"Damn it," Saguru mutters under his breath, when the edge of his paper catches fire for the third time today.
Acrid tendrils of smoke curl out from where his fingers meet the paper, and he forces himself to take several deep breaths (in why was this happening, out he ought've mastered it completely by now, in just stop already) until the heat flickers and dies out again – which is when the lunch bell rings, and Saguru would've called it divine intervention if he'd been inclined to be religious in the least.
He's just about to stand and leave (to anywhere, really, Saguru doesn't usually have a problem with confined spaces but the classroom feels excruciatingly stifling today) when a voice calls out from behind him.
"Oi, Hakuba," says Kuroba, and Saguru watches somewhat warily as his classmate walks over to his desk. Quite contrary to any of Saguru's expectations though, Kuroba only looks at him for a moment, before nodding towards the desk. "You want to talk about it?"
Or – not quite the desk, Saguru realises, looking down at the slightly reddened patches on his hands. His pyrokinesis doesn't hurt himself, usually, but today had been a bad day on all fronts, to put it mildly. Saguru can't help but grimace. "That obvious, huh?"
"Unless you're blind. Or deaf. And lack a sense of smell, I guess," Kuroba adds after a moment's consideration. "So, like I said – wanna talk?"
Saguru's first instinct is to decline politely, but he forces himself to consider it seriously. He hasn't had a power lapse this bad in a long time (three years, eight months, and four days, to put it precisely), after all. But...
"Thank you for the offer, but I think I'll pass," Saguru says eventually. "I don't think talking will help in this situation, honestly speaking."
Kuroba shrugs, his expression nonchalant. "Okay, whatever you say. Offer's still open, though."
Then he walks off, and Saguru is certain that's the end of it, when –
A small jar lands on his desk with a metallic clink, and Saguru looks from it to Kuroba's oddly unexpressive face, suddenly feeling like there was a whole part to the conversation that he'd missed. "I'm sorry, what – ?"
"Burn cream," Kuroba says, interrupting the question – not that Saguru quite knew what he'd been intending to ask, anyway. "Or at least my version of it, but it should help with your hands."
"I – " Saguru blinks in surprise, and almost wonders if he heard that wrong. "That sounds useful. Thank you, Kuroba-kun."
"Don't mention it," comes the answer, almost flippantly, and Saguru belatedly realises that Kuroba is already halfway to the classroom door. "Literally."
He's still seated at his desk a few minutes later – all thoughts of leaving the classroom gone from his mind – when Aoko walks over and notices the jar on his desk. "Oh, is that from Kaito? It's really effective, I know he uses it during his own practice."
"Yes, Kuroba-kun gave it to me." And speaking of whom – Saguru turns to his other classmate, and wonders if he looks half as mystified as he feels. "Why would he do that?"
He almost expects her not to answer, but instead Aoko leans over to turn the chair in front of his around and sit down, looking pensive.
It's a few moments before she speaks, and in that time Saguru has already applied a thin layer of the cream on the base of his fingers, where the outline of the paper from earlier is still smarting ever so slightly – and Aoko is right, it does work wonders.
"Kaito had quite a lot of trouble controlling his powers when he was younger, you see. Especially after his dad..." Aoko's voice trails off – her words are soft enough that it doesn't carry, though the classroom is almost empty anyway. "Anyway, it wasn't until the middle school that he really got a handle on it. So he knows what it feels like, I guess."
Saguru listens with a growing sense of disbelief, because he's seen Kuroba in ability training, and he – or, to borrow a turn of phrase, anyone with a functional set of senses who happens to be in the elemental manipulation section of the class – can see that Kuroba's control of air is basically perfect. And Saguru has been to some of the finest ability training institutions both back home and in Japan, so he knows what he's talking about.
Then Aoko adds, "So, do you want to talk about it, Hakuba-kun?"
And apparently Saguru is more tired than he thought, because the retort slips out before he can stop it. "Are you and Kuroba-kun ganging up on me?"
Aoko giggles. "Not at all, Hakuba-kun, you would definitely have noticed if Kaito and Aoko were working together on something like that!"
Which is... true, if not quite an answer he was expecting, and Saguru is suddenly and forcibly reminded of what he'd heard and dismissed as a myth back when he'd first transferred into Ekoda High – that a previous math teacher for this class had resigned in a fit of terror after she claimed that she was being haunted at school by some particularly persistent ghosts.
He looks again at Aoko, who still has the slightest glint of mischief in her eyes, and decides that (a) he really doesn't want to know, and (b) Aoko would've gotten involved only if the teacher had been legitimately terrible in her own right. Probably.
School, Saguru thinks with a sigh, had never been quite this complicated in London. "It's really not something pleasant to talk about, Aoko-kun. I was just assigned to help Division One with their caseload this week, and... well, it's been a while since I've encountered any murder cases, I suppose."
That isn't the whole story, of course – Saguru hasn't really worked on many homicides since coming to Japan, that much was true, but he'd handled them quite regularly before, enough so that he knows a murder alone isn't enough to trigger something like this. But one of the cases had been worse than the others, and –
A slight crackle catches his attention, but before the flame can escape beyond Saguru's clenched fingers Aoko conjures a little disc of water that extinguishes it with a faint sizzle before vanishing without a trace.
"Thank you, Aoko-kun," Saguru says, then adds, "Your control is very impressive as well, you know."
"Eh? Aoko's control?" She laughs, shaking her head. "Not really, Aoko is just lucky to have an easier element than Kaito or Hakuba-kun! Water has a much more physical form than fire or air, after all."
Saguru recalls several of the more disastrous hydrokinesis attempts that he'd seen with a wince. "I beg to differ, Aoko-kun. A former classmate of mine once nearly brought down a tsunami upon our heads. He had been trying to create a whirlpool, I believe."
"That sounds like he lost control of the direction vectors," she replies. "But as long as you're careful with those, water can be quite predictable. Aoko doesn't even need to worry about factors like viscosity and composition all that much, unlike Kaito."
Before Saguru can argue the point any further, though, Aoko stands up and extends a hand to him. "Oh, do you want to go to the rooftop and watch Kaito practice, Hakuba-kun?"
He raises an eyebrow skeptically. "Practice? On what?"
"On himself, of course!" Aoko says, before elaborating at Saguru's presumably confused expression. "He mentioned something about working out the buoyancy and lift forces on himself, but Kaito's never liked sharing his ideas before he's figured out how to make them work."
Saguru puts two and two together, and comes up with a short-circuited brain and the otherwise unlikely hypothesis that Kuroba is apparently trying to make himself fly, which is –
He's halfway to his feet before he realises the obvious contradiction. "Hang on, doesn't that mean he won't want us there watching?"
"That's why we're going to be spying on him instead!" Aoko answers cheerfully, fishing out her handphone from her school satchel. "Besides, Aoko already promised to send Chikage-san a video if Kaito actually makes it work, so we definitely have a reason to be there – "
As Saguru lets himself be tugged along in the wake of Aoko's excitement, he thinks about how school had never been quite this interesting in London, either – and really, he wouldn't trade it for the world.
...no, I don't know how this happened either? honest. the brain saw that prompt and went, hey, that sounds like a certain Osaka loudmouth – oh no wait! why not let's make our own lives difficult and pick the one character who's the exact opposite! it'll be fun!
...so yeah, that happened. powers assigned at semi-random, Kaito gets air because that would be pretty neat as Kid (what with all the acrobatics and gliders and whatnot), Aoko gets water because why not (it's a lot harder than she makes it sound obvs). not sure where Akako would be in this universe? also someone really needs to have Layla's power from Sky High that scene was really awesome okay hush now