A KNIGHT IN CARDIGAN ARMOR

a My Hero Academia story / © 2018

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"Hey everyone! It SNOWED last night!"

The call had come from the common room, up the stairwells and across both floors of the student dorm. Doors banged open, and amid the thunder of feet coming down through the floors above, it was clear that Class 1-A had gotten the message. Several of the students - still in their sleeping wear - looked out with delight at the scene before them.

The entire "quad" was covered in a fresh blanket of new powder. Save for the sidewalk, which was being cleared by Bakugo (currently on clean-up duty for the week) and swept clean behind by Denki with a wide-headed broom. They'd both managed to clear the pathway from the front entrance steps to the sidewalk in good time. Yet, the trees, shrubs and ledges were all coated with wintry-white; reflecting the early morning sunlight, lending to a rather serene atmosphere to be viewed.

"Wow!" Momo said softy. "I knew they said a storm would come up last night, but-."

"I know," Rikido seconded. "Reminds me of my lemon cakes! All covered with sugar."

"It's incredible, to be sure," Tenya said. "Still, we cannot sit around all morning just staring." He glanced at his wristwatch, frowning, "First classes start in one hour. We need to get prepared, Everyone!"

At that, a few dejected groans answered the Class Rep, but everyone who had come down to see the snow turned and headed back to their floors to get ready.

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~= Thirty Minutes Later . . . . =~

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Stepping outside, Uraraka paused to stomp her left snow-boot more firmly in place. Clad in a puffy winter coat, scarf and earmuffs, she settled her boot and rose to adjust the strap of her satchel. Mina and Oyoka were already on the pathway and following a few more of their dorm mates, when the pink-haired girl turned and called out, "Hurry up, Ochako! We're gonna be late unless we get a move on!"

"Coming!" Uraraka said cheerily. "I'm just waiting on Deku!"

"Well, tell the Ichi-ban fan of All-Might to hurry up, too!" Oyoka called back, just as Mina grabbed her by the arm and pulled her along with her.

"We'll see you in class, shortly!" Uraraka said with a tolerant smile. Just then, she heard the front door open, allowing two more figures to join her on the steps; Izuku Midorya and Totoroki Shoto. "Well, glad to see you guys are finally ready," she said.

Totoroki nodded, zipping up the long, black greatcoat he favored, before pulling on a pair of finger less wool gloves. "Surprised to see you're still here, Ochako. I thought you'd be well on your way to the campus."

"Well, I was just . . . waiting for Deku. Can't use the cold weather as an excuse to be late, right?"

At that, Izuku nodded with a soft grin. Reaching up to secure his long white scarf into the collar of his jacket, he glanced around briefly. "Speaking of which, has anyone seen Tsu-chan?"

At that, both Uraraka and Totoroki blinked and checked the area around themselves together. "Tsu-chan? Come to think of it . . . She didn't come down when everyone when to look at the snow this morning."

"She certainly didn't make an appearance when a lot of us were getting ready to leave this morning either," Totoroki said firmly.

Izuku nodded, tapping his chin in thought for a moment. He then turned around and reached out to open the door behind them.

"Deku?" Uraraka asked.

"You two get moving. I'm going to check on Tsu-chan." He looked at them both with a firm countenance. "No sense in the three of us getting docked for being late."

Totoroki nodded once. "You sure, Midorya?"

"Sure, I'm sure. No matter what, I'll be along shortly. Now get going, you two!"

"Well, all right," Uraraka said, before looking to the taller boy. "Let's go, Totoroki!" As they descended the short steps, she called back to Izuku. "We'll see you in class! Hopefully before the first bell!"

"See you soon!" Izuku waved them off with a smile, before turning around to head back inside the dormitory . . . .

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~= Outside of Tsuya Asui's Room, 5-F; Moments Later . . . . =~

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Standing outside of Tsuya Asui's door, Izuku reached up to rap firmly on the door frame. "Tsu? Are you awake?" he called out, not quite able to control the nervous buzz in his voice. Even though he and Tsuya were classmates and - at oft times seen as friends by their schoolmates - Izuku still felt a little intimidated by the girl at times. Knocking again, Izuku said, "Tsu, It's nearly time to report for first-class. Are you ready to go?"

No answer.

Running a hand through his unruly mop of green hair, Izuku muttered briefly, "Wonder what's wrong? Is she sick, or . . . indisposed, or . . . hmmm. She's never been one to ever skip classes or such. Unless she was sick or-?"

At that moment, a soft voice drifted through the door, muffled by the thick wood; "Midorya?"

"Yes, it's me! Tsu! Is everything okay?" Izuku couldn't keep the relief from his tone, as it didn't sound like she was sick.

At that moment, the handle turned and the door cracked open just a tad. From inside, a single wide eye fixed Izuku with its gaze. "Kero . . . well, it is and, it isn't, Midorya."

Izuku blinked. "Wait, what does that mean? Is something wrong?"

"You . . . might said that," Tsuyu said, sighing deeply. At that, she pushed the door open further, standing there in her usual short pajama set. "I'm sorry to make you worry. Kero."

At that moment, Izuku could feel a wave of heat spilling out from the doorway. "Wow, wait . . . do you have your heating unit turned up? I mean, I understand why, what with the winter weather setting in."

"That's the problem," Tsuyu said, clasping both hands over her forearms. "My quirk makes me a lot for frog-like than most people realize. A couple of our classmates got a chance to see that, during the Provisional Licensing Exam; when another student from a rival school used a cold quirk to drop the temperature in a room we were in. It caused me to go into a hibernation state."

At that, Izuku gasped softly as the realization hit him. "Wait, so even the cold weather can trigger this part of your Frog Quirk?"

"At times, it used to be a minor annoyance. My parents always made sure I had good winter-proof clothes to see me through going to school in the winter time," Tsuyu said. "But, because of all the stuff that's been happening . . . I haven't had the chance to get new gear. Kero." She croaked sadly. "So, now, I don't dare go outside. Even though the campus building is just five minutes away, I . . . I'm afraid I'll . . . fall in to hibernation before I can reach it."

With a frown, Izuku nodded in understanding. "And it's too early to ether go back to your parents home, or even go to a clothing store."

Tsuyu nodded. "Kero." She looked up at him and said, "In any case, you need to get to class, Midorya. There's no reason for you to be late, too. I'll speak to Mister Aizowa . . . that is, if you'll tell him why I'm stuck here?"

Izuku nodded, but cupped his chin as he stood there. Tsuyu watched him for a moment - his lips clearly moving as he "muttered through thinking; something he always did when a problem presented itself.

"Kero?" Tsuya tiled her head, lifting one hand to touch a single finger to her chin. "Midorya?"

At that moment, Izuku dropped his hand and snapped his fingers. "Yes! That's the best solution!"

Blinking at his change in demeanor, Tsuya asked, "Wait, what-?"

"Tsu, get your uniform on and get ready," Izuku said with a smile. "Pick the warmest items you have. I'll be right back." He turned and started down the hallway, headed towards the stairs.

"Wait, Midorya!" Tsuya called out after him. "I told you, I can't go out in the cold! What are you-!?"

Izuku stopped and looked back over his shoulder at her. "Trust me,Tsu. I've got a temporary solution in mind. Just go get ready! You'll see!"

Watching as he bolted back down the hallway, Tsuya shook her head and muttered, "Temporary solution? Just what sort of idea has he got?" She sighed and turned to retreat back into her room. "Whatever it is, I just hope he doesn't get us both in trouble for it. Kero."

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~= xXx =~

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A short time later, Tsuyu was nearly finished getting dressed. She'd found her warmest uniform items - a heavier-than-normal cotton blouse under her school jacket, a knee-length skirt meant for winter wear, and she was in the process of tugging on a pair of the thickest wool socks she had. She'd barely finished, when a knock at her door announced the return of Izuku.

"Ready to go, Tsu?" he asked through the partially-open door. "I've got everything ready for you."

Sighing, Tsuyu replied, "Well, as ready as I can be." She stood from her bed and crossed to the doorway, opening the door fully . . . and it was the sight of Izuku and what he was wearing, and holding, that made her pause. "Kero? Midorya, what are you wearing?"

Izuku glanced at himself, a wry smile on his lips as he replied, "Oh, it's a coat."

"That, I can see." Tipping her head, Tsuyu asked, "It's a . . . little large for you, don't you think?"

"Well, it's something All-Might let me borrow," Izuku muttered, his cheeks turning red briefly. "It's a bit larger, but for what I'm about to suggest . . . it should work." Before Tsuyu could say anything in reply, he held out a folded object to her. "Here, you should put this on."

Tsuyu asked, "What is this?" She took it and shook it out, making a small noise of surprise at seeing it was a heavy-knitted sweater. "Kero?"

"Well, I figured you could use an extra layer of protection," Izuku explained. "Go ahead. Put it on. My mother got it for me last year, and she figured to make it a few sizes bigger, so I'd grow into it. It should help to keep you warm."

Nodding, Tsuyu shrugged and raised the sweater to slip it on. As she got it over her head, she asked, "But, I still can't walk outside in this, even with this on, Midoriya."

"Well . . . ," Izuku said softly, embarrassment coloring both that word and his cheeks. "You . . . ah, well, you won't be walking, Tsu."

"I won't?" Tsuyu stared at him while shoving her arms into the sweater's sleeves.

At that, Izuku reached up to open his oversized coat, swallowing nervously. "Well, what I had in mind . . . was, if you don't mind, Tsu . . . ?"

At that, Tsuyu blinked her wide eyes and croaked softly, "Kero?"

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~= Outside of Classroom 1-A, U.A. High School; Before Last Bell . . . . =~

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Standing at the entrance, Uraraka stared down the length of the main hallway; her body tense with worry. Behind her were the usual noises of her classmates - Tenya calling for order, Denki and the usual round of "suspects" carrying on. Nearly all of Class 1-A had made it inside, and were seated to await their first class of the day.

Everyone except Midorya and Asui.

"Oh, where are you, Deku?" Uraraka muttered to herself. "I hope nothing's gone wrong with Tsu!"

"What could be wrong, Miss Ochaco?"

Jumping a bit in fright, Uraraka turned quickly, coming face to face with Mr. Aizowa. "Ummmm, Nothing! Nothing at all . . . I hope?"

Mr. Aizowa peered steadfast at the young hero-in-training, before he glanced into the classroom's open doorway. "Mm, seems we're short a couple of students." He faced Uraraka and asked, "Did something happen back at the dorms, Miss Ochaco?"

"Well, Sir . . . you see, I don't exactly know," she explained. "I mean, Tsu-chan wasn't up with the rest of us this morning, and, Deku - Midorya-san, that is - stayed behind to find out what was wrong." She held up her hands and said quickly, "He did say that he'd be right along with us-!"

"But, that was some time ago, am I correct?" Mr. Aizowa sighed. "Well, unless he gets here in a moment, both he, and Miss Asui are going to be marked 'late' . . . and, we'll have to have a serious discussion about-."

Just then a call echoed down the hallway, "WAIT! We're here! WE NOT TARDY!"

Turning towards the call, both Mr. Aizowa and Uraraka spied the running form of Izuku . . . rather, it was Izuka attempting to run!

Both fellow student and teacher stared agog at the young man; clearly laboring to put one foot in from of the other. Still clad in his winter scarf and gloves, it was the rest of him that was surprising; he wore what was clearly an oversized, long coat. The ends he had gathered up, and tucked underneath something very ungainly underneath, holding it close to his body.

"Deku?" Uraraka asked in disbelief. "What . . . wh-what are you-?"

"Mister Midorya," Aizowa said firmly, "I would appreciate an explanation for . . . whatever this is?!"

Coming to a stop, Izuku panted and tried to catch his breath. "I'm . . . sorry, Mister Aizowa . . . but, I have a very reasonable explanation for this."

Mr. Aizowa crossed his arms, hunching his shoulders as he stared at him. "Very well . . . I'm listening."

"Well, it's actually better just to show you." With that, Izuku reached up and began fumbling with the fastenings on his coat. As the two halves came apart, to the surprise of both Uraraka and Aizowa, the blinking figure of Tsuyu stepped down and away from where she'd been clinging to Izuku's body. She were he uniform skirt, thick socks and indoor slippers, as well the collar of her school blazer and blouse stuck out from the neck of a thick, heavy-knit sweater she wore as well.

"Tsu!?" Uraraka asked with a gasp.

"Miss Asui?"

"Please, Mister AIzowa," Tsuyu said with her usual forth-rightfulness. "Don't be mad at Midorya. I told him that the cold weather affects me more because of my Quirk, but he knew it was important that I - and he - didn't miss class."

"Because of the cold, Tsu couldn't be out in this weather for any length of time," Izuku explained. "But, I figured, if I bundled her up well, and moved as quick as I could, I could get her to class without her falling into hibernation." He went on to say, "Tsu hasn't had time to get the proper cold-weather clothes she needs . . .and, well, this was the best solution I could come up with."

Mr. Aizowa tipped his head, then nodded. "Well, I can see that you thought it through, Midorya," he said, looking down at Izuku's now-open coat and the sweater Tsuya wore. "And, since you were willing to do this for a fellow classmate . . . I won't punish either of you, for being late." As the trio of students broke into a smile, Aizowa added, "Provided . . . that after classes, someone take Miss Asui to acquire some proper winter gear. After today, I expect no excuses for being late. No matter the weather outside. Understood?"

"Yessir!"

"Now, get yourselves straightened out. I'll hold the class until you two are ready to take your seats." He fixed Uraraka with a stare. "Miss Ochaco."

"Oh, um, Right! Yessir!" Uraraka quickly back-pedaled into the room, giving both of her friends an embarrassed grin before disappearing inside, with Mr. Aizowa right behind her.

Left alone in the hallway, Izuku looked at Tsuyu, who was tugging at the collar of the sweater. "Um, if you're okay now, I'll go take my coat and sweater to put them in the changing area," he said gently. "After all, we'll need them later when we leave to get you some new winter clothes." He made a slightly embarrassed laugh. "After all, when we tell the others, I'm sure everyone will want to pitch in to help." He started to take the coat off, when he felt a hand on his arm.

"Um, if . . .if you don't mind," Tsuya said. "I'd like to wear it . . . for a while longer. Kero?"

Izuku glanced down at her touch, then back up at her in mild surprise. "You . . . y-you want to keep wearing it? Tsu, it's warm enough in the classroom as it is."

"Yeah, but . . . I like it." She smiled and tugged at the hem of the sweater in a surprisingly girlish motion - one Izuku had never seen from her before - as she added, "And, even though I know you and the others are going to help me get some proper winter gear later, I'd like to hold on to this." She stepped a bit closer, and before Izuku could even get more embarrassed or shocked, Tsuyu rose up on her toes and placed a soft kiss on his cheek. "You've always been so kind, Izu-kun. Think of it as my way of saying "thank you", for helping me out." With that, she smiled and moved to enter the classroom, pausing at the doorway to say, "Better get in here. Class can't start without you. Kero!"

Flabbergasted down to his toes. Izuku stood there - half out of his oversized coat - trying to wrap his brain around what just happened!

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Fin (for now!)