"There you are!" Yu exclaimed, arms wide as she trotted up, hugging Peter with his suitcase at his side. "I didn't know you were coming straight to the house! I could've picked ya up." She said happily.
"I thought you were on shift today." Peter explained as he hugged her back, before he pulled his suitcase into the apartment. Looking around he saw that it was… mostly clean.
Save for the occasional bathrobe on the couch, socks strewn about, and takeout boxes on the kitchen counter.
"Got the day off. Things have been getting slow around Musutafu." Yu shrugged.
"So you've been here all day? I fear for what's happened to your bedroom." Peter remarked wryly to the taller blonde woman.
Yu stuck her tongue out at him "Shut up you!" She laughed. "Anyway, you look tired."
Peter shrugged. "I was able to sleep some. Tiger kept waking us up at the worst times though.."
"One of the Wild Wild Pussycats. He and the other heroes taught us."
"Ohhhh, I remember those guys!" Yu exclaimed. "Their names were on the Hero Billboard Chart last year." She stepped aside to let Peter into his room as she followed. He stretched his arms after he walked in.
"Gonna take a nap?"
"Yeah… futon wasn't bad but…" Peter walked over and plopped down on the bed. "Can't beat a nicely-made bed…" He turned over, looking at her, voice muffled by pillows. "Tomorrow, we're doing a full flat cleaning, okay? It's that time of the month."
Yu pouted, rolling her eyes. "Alriiiight." She smirked. "You just take it easy for now. I bet you're hungry for some good food after three weeks out there."
"You're not wrong…" Peter looked back at her. "Teppan?"
"You got it." Yu winked before she proceeded to close the door.
The woman took a few steps before her phone chimed with a blue light on the dining table.
"Want me to send a vacation day request to your firm Yu?" Karen said from her phone. Yu nearly jumped, leaning over to see the A-App activated before shaking her head.
"Give a girl some warning there… but yeah, sounds good. Think I've got some days stored up." Yu sighed. "But to use it on house cleaning… what a way to waste them."
"There are worse ways. Like doing nothing, eating ice cream, and watching soap operas." Karen replied.
Yu frowned. "Is that an American thing?"
"For older, mildly depressed women, yes."
"So, how was time at home?" Yagi asked as he drove out of his neighborhood, Melissa sitting beside him. She was surprised to see him come back after his almost two week-long trip.
"Alright for the most part. Classes start up for me next week with the fall semester. But, I can get started on my engineering courses and get to work on creating gadgets to pass for I-Academy."
"Then you'll be able to graduate this year." Yagi mused as he drove along the roads, the rain light as it came down around the suburb. He could make out Tokyo in the far distance as he got onto the major road that led towards U.A. proper. "In December or the following spring?"
"Spring. I'll graduate in May." Melissa smiled back at the skeletal man. "Thanks for taking me by the way."
"Don't worry about it. Do you have your bus pass?"
"Good, I don't mind driving you but our schedules might not always coincide." Yagi said. She nodded. "Let's play it by ear, Uncle Might. Honestly I'm not entirely sure what my schedule is gonna look like just yet."
Yagi offered a good-natured smile. "Of course."
Before long, Melissa arrived at U.A.. Uncle Might said that he was going to talk some things over with the school principal on something before walking away with some guy in black with unkempt black hair.
"Okay," She turned around, seeing the map of U.A. before her on the wall as she took a photo with her phone for reference. "Cafeteria is there… restrooms are here… there it is!" She tapped on the Support Department Studio and smiled, walking along with a disposition that seemed opposite to the cloudy and dreary day outside.
She got to the Studio, not hard to find given the bold letters atop the metal door as she knocked on the door several times.
"Hmm… wonder if anyone is in." Melissa mused. There weren't many people at the prestigious school, given how it was still summer break. She pushed on the door lightly, wondering if it was unlocked.
To her surprise, it was.
"Hello?" She spoke out in Japanese. "I'm coming in!"
Opening the door Melissa saw the numerous 3D printers, lathes, mills, and blueprints the deeper she walked into the studio and turned the corner. That was when she saw her.
"Oh, hey Hatsume-san! Good afternoon!" Melissa waved, but as she approached, she noticed that Mei wasn't focused on her.
She seemed to be muttering to herself, leaning over on a drawing desk as she was busy drawing up some kind of blueprint. The blonde noticed a whiteboard beside her, with a list of things jotted down in bullet points.
'Injury Prevention' was circled at the top.
Instant Medical Application.
"No good… no good at all…" Mei muttered, taking the sheet of paper and tossing it into a bin. One that was clearly overflowing with crumpled up ideas and designs.
"Ummm, Mei?" Melissa walked up, and upon placing a hand on Mei's shoulder, the girl started and turned about to blink those target eyes at her.
"O-Oh! Ummm," her eyes seemed to focus and zoom out before she smiled. There were dark circles under her eyes, like she hadn't slept very much. "Sorry, don't remember your name."
Mei blinked for a moment before perking up. "Ohhhhh right, it's you!" She had a light smile on her face as she turned in her chair towards her. "What are you doing here in the Studio?"
"Just came to get a lay of the land. All Might's become my guardian after what… happened with I-Island and all." Melissa had her hand rub her opposing arm a bit as she looked away bashfully. "So I'm taking my final year of classes online, but for my Engineering Class, I'm going to need a lab so…"
"Oh, so you'll be around here more often?" Mei asked.
"More or less." Melissa nodded. "You seem to be pretty busy coming up with a blueprint of some kind…" She even looked over, noticing some kind of module in a box on a table close to the drawing desk. In english, she saw a sticky note attached as she checked it out. It read 'Peter's other costume'.
"Oh, well, I guess I can give ya a tour." Mei said as she stood back up, forcing a smile as she beamed at Melissa. "Come on, time I show ya around. Power Loader's out for lunch. I'll introduce you two when he gets back!"
"An interloper at the camp?" Nezu inquired, looking at the small box before Aizawa. Toshinori stood with him in the Principal's office, the rain still coming down outside.
"Yeah. From what I can gather from the scene, they killed the bear." Aizawa handed the ratbear his phone for the small white furred creature to inspect the photo gallery. "Was able to cleanly cut off its arm, and may have had a vantage point to look at the Lodge where the Pussycats were stationed."
"It was pretty stormy that night, Aizawa. The storm hadn't fully come through the mainland yet." Toshinori replied.
"That night, but what about the ones before?" The shaggy-haired man muttered. "We don't know how long this unknown was there. The fact remains that he or she was there, and they had some kind of healing device or quirk."
Nezu kept inspecting the photos, his black beady eyes unblinking as he handed the phone back to Aizawa. "I trust the Pussycats are in the know on this? What of the students?"
"We didn't mention a word. Mandalay's nephew was shaken up that night, so the students decided it was best to give the boy space…" Toshinori spoke.
"Alright. Best we keep this quiet. We can't rule out the possibility of another party as well. The actions of this masked man doesn't fit the modus operandi of the League…" Nezu turned towards Aizawa. "I trust you'll contact your sources for help?"
"I have some skin and hair samples from the boy's hair and scalp. I know people who can trace the chemical compounds used from the spray. Whatever it is, we can trace it given time."
"A strength and a healing compound Quirk… or it could be a support item?" Nezu mused.
"For now, focus on the investigation on the side. Along with your duties as teachers."
"Is there anything I can do to help?" Toshinori asked.
"It's taken care of, All Might." Aizawa turned towards his colleague. "I'll be meeting my people tonight on this."
Momo sighed in pure relief, exiting the bathroom in her bathrobe with her hair wrapped up in a towel. She had gotten home an hour ago courtesy of Matou picking her up as usual, and she had decided that a nice warm shower was the first thing on her mind. She didn't mind the hot springs or the stalls that the Lodge had, but she'd admit nothing could beat the marble tile and the top of the line showerheads along with her vast array of shampoos from overseas.
"Enjoy the shower?" came a voice as Momo left her bathroom, seeing Maiya walking up the stairs in her typical business dress.
"I did." Maiya nodded. "Your father is bartering with some stock traders downstairs, so best to leave him be for now."
"Don't you usually talk to them?" Momo asked.
"These are greenhorn Ivy League brats in New York," Maiya had a face of stone. "I can't fight all of his battles for him. Anything else happen?"
"At… the camp?"
"My speed's improved." Momo answered.
"Well done." Her mother said simply before she turned around, ready to walk into the master bedroom and to her bathroom.
"I practiced shooting." Momo said suddenly, bringing her mother's eyes back to her. "I… improved that as well." She looked down, avoiding her mother's gaze. "Perhaps we can practice later."
Maiya stopped, turning around as her eyes seemed to move about slightly, the gears in her head turning. "If I find the time."
"Okay, well… I'll tend to my studies then." Momo sighed and began to walk past the slightly taller woman. She took a few steps, not noticing Maiya look at the ground for a moment.
Maiya turned around, arms crossed as she leaned against the doorway before giving Momo her full attention. "Momo."
She turned, eye cocked. "Yes Mother?"
"Do you have any engagements with your friends tonight?"
"Not really… everyone is tired for the most part due to the camp. Why?" Maiya looked to the side for a brief moment, taking a deep breath.
"Well… would you like to go out with us? Me and your father that is." Momo tilted her head.
"To eat. For dinner. Your father and I were planning on going to that new steakhouse in Korosanto, but… we can go wherever you would like to go." She looked back at her daughter. "Consider it a celebratory dinner for finishing your summer camp."
Momo blinked. Rare was the day when her mother asked her for where she would like to eat. Most of the time it was at home with their in-house chefs, or when on vacation, at wherever they were talking business while she just sat there and listened in to her mother's business dealings.
"Maybe…" Momo scratched her neck lightly. "Sushi? "
"I know of a Sushi and Steak House in Korosanto." Maiya reached into her pocket for her phone.
Momo smiled lightly. "Thanks mother." The stone-faced woman closed her eyes, giving the barest of nods.
"Of course." Maiya walked into her bedroom, and Momo heard her begin to talk with the restaurant for a reservation.
"Alright!" Peter said, opening the door to the support studio, beaming as he walked in. "Back in action!"
Maybe it was the way he slept this morning. After three weeks on a futon, it felt AMAZING to be back in a fluffy bed.
He looked around, hearing the sounds of the machines whirring, the 3D Printers in motion in the other room as he peeked in, seeing some students in the Support Course at work on their gadgets. Must be some last minute summer homework or something.
"Power Loader is busy tending to the U.A. security system, Peter." Karen said in his ear. "I'm currently in his ear as well."
"Ah, he working on something? You helping?"
"I lent my services when Power Loader was making schematics on how to improve the U.A. barrier system in light of the USJ Incident. And we have come up with some… unique designs." Peter quirked an eyebrow as he leaned against a lathe.
"Did you come up with it yourself, or did you scope out I-Island…"
He walked over, noticing that Mei's own private station was missing a certain pink-haired mad genius. The whiteboard beside the desk seemed clear, erased for the moment. On her workbench, he spotted that same ole box as he looked inside it, reaching in to hold up the little module.
He could see the cracked center, eyes gazing at the Iron Spider Module as he set it down gently inside.
Nothing here at U.A. had the machinery or surgical tools needed to go in and repair the module… "I apologize, Peter. I wish I could do more to fix it."
"Don't worry about it." Peter smiled lightly. "We're here for a suit that can be worked on." He shouldered his backpack before going to a spare workbench, pulling out the Stark Suit as he set it down.
As he began to look it over, he could see… a little bit of wear and tear across the fabric.
"Maybe cutting out the soles on the bottom may be a bad idea…" He mused, looking at the shoe-ends of the red-blue suit. "Or having some kind of opening."
"If you have the top-end kind of mesh that astronauts have to wear, then we could implement it… would only cost several hundred thousand dollars for a square foot of material." Karen mused.
Peter winced. "Yeah… let's make some tuneups and repairs…" He turned, tapping on the holoprojector to display a blueprint. "'Bout time we start from scratch then." He clapped his hands together as the holo-screen appeared before him. "Something to help me enhance my Spider Sense like at the camp…."
"I have amassed an inventory and spreadsheet of all available materials in the studio," Karen said in his ear. "Alongside-"
Before she could finish, Peter was nearly knocked off his feet, a sudden impact nearly sending him tumbling over as his feet tried to catch him before he fell over like an overgrown tree.
His arms windmilled before he grabbed onto the thing that hit him before looking down to see that said thing had a mop of pink hair and a black tank top.
"Hey Mei…" He said, happy to see her but somewhat bewildered by the affectionate 'Hello'.
Mei squeezed tight around his ribs, tight enough that he could actually register the pressure before she pulled away. She beamed up at him with her eyes whirring in their pupils, zooming in and out.
"You're back!" She declared happily.
Peter chuckled, smiling. "So I am."
Mei's grin was wide before looking him up and down. "And no bullet holes!"
Peter blinked, staring at the girl.
Then, he felt the beginnings of a very real sense of unease blooming in his mind.
From anyone else… he may have taken it as a joke, in poor taste yeah, but still a joke.
Mei was happy. Mei could be funny. But not because she went out of her way to tell jokes.
She was the most literal person he'd ever met.
If she said that… it was because she'd been thinking about it…
His mouth opened, and closed, then opened again, suddenly very aware that he hadn't… talked about it with her… what happened on I-Island.
"No bullet holes-" He choked out for lack of anything better to say in the face of Mei's joy and his sudden wellspring of guilt.
Had she been sitting here, worried about him and thinking about that for three weeks!? Nearly four?
She beamed, her megawatt bright smile so all-encompassing that he almost didn't notice the circles under her eyes, or the pallor of her skin. It was pale, paler than normal.
"Mei." He ventured… "When was the last time you got outta the studio?"
She blinked. "I dunno. Tuesday?"
He blanched. "Mei. It's Monday."
"Oh." She blinked. Then her smile returned and she giggled. "Really?"
Gingerly he reached for his jacket. Work could wait. Work could really, really wait. "Come on. Let's go get you something to eat, and get you back home to your parents. Where you're gonna sleep a full eight hours."
"But I'm busy!" She complained as he grasped her shoulders and began leading her out. "I have a really important baby I'm trying to make for you."
Peter felt a lead weight settle in his gut as he asked his next question, dreading the answer. "Yeah, what's it do?"
"Fixes bullet holes!" She declared proudly. "Or stops 'em. One of the two."
Peter did his level best not to cringe, the guilt curdling inside his throat as he led Mei back into the sunlight.
So tiresome. His job was just so… draining.
But, no one else wanted to do it. To say nothing of the pension and salary he was making too… It was so lucrative.
But in many ways, Mera Yokumiru found sympathy for the dirty-but-well-paid workers. Plumbers. Sewer maintenance cleaners. They charged their own rates and hours for the former, and had an outstanding union, salary, and benefits for the latter. And morticians too. Dealing with dead bodies? No one wanted to do that… yet the money made ya do it.
What Yokumiru wouldn't give for a nap...
"And so ladies and gentlemen, we now move onto the next subject of business." The older beige-haired man groaned, rising from his desk and sitting up straight as he looked into the computer screen, seeing the windows of the tele-conference. Same biannual hat for the Hero Public Safety Committee, meeting at the beginning of every September and March.
Except it was late August. That nagging Abe Hanako wanted to move it up for the sake of the upcoming Provisional Hero License Exam.
He could have had the best stay-cation possible… maybe even drive out to Fuji for a hot spring resort, or fly to Okinawa for some sun.
But no, Yokumiru was here earlier than anticipated because he was the best man available for coming up with the Provisional Exam.
"Mera-san." Abe said, the older woman staring at him through the screen as Yokumiru scratched his eyes. God it was getting late…
"President Abe," Yokumiru said respectfully. "I am ready to line out the details for the exam. We have the services of the Fujitome Stadium District for the exam." He pulled out the spreadsheet that he had compiled himself, sharing his screen with his fellow HPSC officials. "Seven Stadiums, with a field that can be utilized for any measure of challenges. My best approximate capacity is around…. three to four hundred applicants, tops."
"Fujitome Stadium District… That is where the Olympics used to be held right? The stadiums were all clustered together to look like the Olympic logo." One official mentioned. Yamato, his name was. Yokumiru couldn't care enough to remember his first name.
"Yes, centered near Nantu Ward." Abe coldly commented. "By that metric, it fits our prediction of around twenty-five hundred applicants for the upcoming Exam. It's a perfect place to cut the chaff."
"Where would the main exam be held then, assuming we cut the twenty-five hundred examinees?" One official inquired. Ohgi, if Yokumiru recalled. Had a very boring yet easy-to-sleep-to voice.
"If you scroll down, you can see that we plan to use six of the seven stadiums for the preliminary exam. The final one is where the exam will be held." Yokumiru looked at Abe. "And the stadium officials and property owners have completed the renovations as well. We will be able to use them for our exam, and they can use said features for any events going forward. If all tests go well." Yokumiru rubbed his eyes lightly. "Then we can use this site as our testing facility for the future."
"Well done Mera-san." Abe nodded. "Now then, it is time we flesh out the details of the exam, basing it off of incidents that have happened throughout the year."
"Yes yes," Yokumiru replied as he looked at his spreadsheet, taking note of some criminal and disaster incidents. "In truth my friends, it has been a relatively quiet year but… several events attract my eye that can serve as a perfect way to test and show us who in the next generation has what it takes to serve hero society." The tired-looking man drawled, pausing to let out a yawn. "Every Provisional Exam is based on the events that have transpired between exams, and I have taken up three events in particular to use as references for how to build the exam, if it meets your approval. Scroll down, and you'll see them."
"Hmmm... " One official spoke up, looking like a gorilla man of sorts. "It seems you're basing this on two domestic events and one international one?"
"Of course." The man yawned as he sipped some of his water. "After all, the USJ crisis, the Hosu massacre, and the I-Island terrorist attack are a fine basis on how we can test those youngsters. Now, here is what I have in mind for the curriculum…"
Better keep it short and sweet. Sooner this gets done, the sooner this meeting could be adjourned and he'd finally get some sleep on that couch in his office.
Thank god for investing in a comfy couch.
Shouta walked through the halls of U.A. as sunbeams poured in from the windows to the side, everyone else making their way to class. As most students greeted each other with hellos and good mornings, he was occupied with the email in his phone. One not connected to his U.A. phone.
'We've investigated some of those skin and hair samples you gave us the other day. Here are some test results. So far, they're some kind of trace amounts of polymer and chemical with unique elements involved. Doesn't match any civilian support gear ointment. Very high quality. Definitely something we have not seen before. Know a girl in Interpol, will send it her way if you want.
Kirihara was one of his oldest confidants in the domestic department in the Shinjuku police department. If those labs didn't have any chemical matches of any civilian high tech pharmaceuticals with Bogey's magical healing spray, then it must either be related to a quirk or some new brand of healing gel.
The most logical and practical explanation was 'Quirk'. But the bear wound… multiple quirks? But only the Noumu had those, and again, this didn't match the description or the M.O. of the League of Villains…
'Send it to her if she can keep this on the down-low. Not sure if this is still a quirk or not. Stay in touch'. Send.
He looked up, seeing the big Class 1A sign as he got to the door and opened it.
"Good morning cla-" He was cut off.
Everyone was in their seats, looking at him expectantly. Save for Bakugo who was looking out the window in typical fashion.
"Good." He said with a nod, walking in as he brushed some of his long black hair behind his shoulder as he got to his podium. "First day of the new term, off to a good start.
"Now then, let's get down to business." Shouta put his hands in his pockets. "As you know, the Provisional License Exams will begin in four weeks, around the middle of September. Which means our time will be short. Most schools don't do summer camps like the one we did. As you can imagine, it was to ensure that you would get a significant leap in progress to becoming heroes." He narrowed his eyes. "Because you will be facing a majority of second and third year students in this exam. First years rarely compete, but me submitting this class says more about you than you'd expect."
"Heh, guess we're pretty good ain't we Sensei?" Sero mused.
"Wait, I thought we were going up against other kids in our grade?" Ashido said.
"Most hero academies in the country don't want to send their new crop in so soon. But, I figured given the progress you all have had, along with your experiences in your internships and outside of them." His eyes panned over towards the right of the class, seeing Parker, Midoriya, Yaoyorozu and Todoroki. All in one row. "That you all deserve a shot to advance in your career ASAP."
The problem child row, when you include Bakugo in the mix…
"Besides, you want as many bites at this apple as you can." Shouta tapped on his podium's keypad, bringing up his holo-screen as he began to tap the proper logos and icons.
"Here is our course load from now until the exams," Shouta gestured his thumb to the holographic whiteboard behind him detailing his schedule. "Homeroom at the beginning of the day will be reserved for the start of the day and study hall for your other classes. Your normal general education will go on as normal too. Hero Class after lunch, from here until the exams, will be devoted to quirk refinement, practice on your own, and various small exercises. The camp helped push your limits, now back in a familiar setting, we'll test how you do with the new heights you've reached." He stood up straight.
"In addition, if any of you feel the need to improve upon your support gear, do so. The exams will allow usage of them. So take this time to prepare accordingly and get in contact with the Support Department and the companies who've done your gear." He saw a hand being raised. "Parker?"
"Yeah, I was wondering, what if we, umm, fail. Can we retake the exam at a later date?" Parker inquired. "You mentioned how second and third year students would be competing. Would they be repeat test takers who have failed prior exams, in a sense?"
"Correct. The exam is biannual, held in March and September." Shouta explained. "Of course, not getting your license now means you'll fall behind when you go back to your internships and you won't be able take on more responsibility at whatever hero firm you'll work with. In a word, a License will give you the experience and the means to become a true Pro Hero, albeit in a provisional fashion and as a temp sidekick in a Hero Firm." The black haired man turned back to the class. "Hence why I mentioned, you need as many bites at this apple as you can. You have four weeks to prepare." He yawned, grabbing his sleeping bag under the desk and placing his legs inside. "That'll be all."
Lying down, Shouta dozed off to a morning nap as he heard his class getting to study hall and catching up.
Welcome to new betas Buried In Ash and WildJoker000 , and once more, thanks to Vandenbz , IKN, and LD1449.
So yeah, this was another short Chapter of sorts. decompression and build up to the License Exam. And some good character moments scattered about too, and the advancement of two subplots. Aizawa's new investigation, and Peter recognizing Mei's newly found trauma.
Sorry that this one was a pain to write. But next one we are getting into the action and the Exam, so that will be fun to write. Especially a License Exam that still has All Might present and running about.
Finished Breath of the Wild, Lostbelt 6: Avalon le Fae too. And Now starting Fire Emblem Three Houses. So far, been loving it and I have a unique plot bunny I wouldn't mind ironing out and talking with if anyone is knowledgable on 3H and Awakening(only FE games I've played).
Anywho, hoped you all enjoyed. Next chapter should be more exciting than this one! Will see you there.