Chapter 5: Can't Forget the Time Shared

"...So a Skeleton walks into a bar, and he says, 'Gimmie a beer!'"

...silence…

"AND A MOP!"

"Mmmm… I'm going to let that one slide. 4/10." Aizawa bumped his forehead on the booth.

"MMkay, mmkay - Oh wait, how about this next one?" Present Mic stuck out his tongue and flicked through his phone a few times. "So a punchline walked out the door… Wait, I've done this one before."

"Live in 15…" Aizawa tapped the other side of the glass as he looked at the clock on the monitor. There was a snap, crackle, pop, as Mic craned his neck and stretched like a cat.

"Aiight.. Ahh, ahh. AHHHH EHYOTOKUUUU~~. Ooooh eeeh- Oh. Oh, where's the news pape- Ahhmk there we gooo~" Mic coughed twice, pounded his chest, then hoisted his legs on the desk.

"Live in 3, 2…" Aizawa pressed a few buttons, then stuck out his thumb. Mic grinned, then opened his mouth.

"GOOOD MOOOOOOORNING LISTENERS~! A very special salutations and guh-guh-gRRRRRr-reetings to all ya'll on this 3rd day of Golden week."

Present began tapping away at a few buttons as a muffled cash register sound 'ka-chinged' through the speakers. "Wakey wakey to a sweaty, sticky 28 degrees Celsius as that summer thunderstorm has finally graced the Musutafu province with some summer soooooon~. I hope all you little listeners are staying hydrated and motivated as our local lucky city starts the real festivities! Know ye, that the rays are out, the birds are singing, and the Cloud Flower Parade is about to kick off exactly at noon. This is Greenery Day, and the good earth has seen fit to finally show some grace and NOT rain us out like last year. Better make the most of it!"

Present Mic flicked a few more switches as he put on the Youth Choir of Vapaad Elementary's five minute jingle. Bobbing his head, he took off his headphones and clicked a pen.

"Anywa-pppfhk." Mic spit into a trash can.

"Anywayy~, I don't see a problem with it. If All Might wants to teach - more power to Mr. Sunny-Side-Up. I mean, he's done hero seminars and done around a bajillion presentations before. It's not like we're making him grade stuff."

"I am making him grade stuff," Aizawa deadpanned.

"Yeah, and how's that coming along? How many papers have you had to re-do?" Mic underlined something on the front page, then stuck the end of the pen under his glasses.

"Only two. He used a pink gel pen, but that was about it." Aizawa leaned back in his chair and looked out the window. Present Mic's radio booth at U.A. had a clear view of the city skyline. He could see the USJ from here.

"Yo, I would have left that one in." Mic chuckled. "Whose paper was it?"

"Tamaki Amajiki. Class 2-A, one of the Big 3 that Cementoss keeps talking about."

"Never heard of 'em."

Aizawa smirked, then scratched his nose. "Remember the giant clam frisbee last Sports Festival?"

"Oh, you mean the kid who went Clam, then proceeded to stay in his shell for the rest of the festival? Mario Kart'd his way through two knockout rounds until he got sick in the shell?" Mic flipped a page. "Yeah, I would have still left the gel on."

"He also has crippling social anxiety. If I'd given him full marks in pink gel pen, I think that would have been just as bad as a fail."

"You could just have said it was from All Might and left it." Mic eyed Aizawa over the paper. "It would have ….well…" He folded his arms and squinted his eyes. "MM.. No, that would probably be worse."

"It would be so much worse. Thank you for the mental image."

"Clammy to help!" Mic finger-gunned him through the window, then sniffed. "Though, if that will put him out - I don't know how he's survived with Midnight. It can't be that bad if he's in 2-A."

"She's getting there." Aizawa folded his arms behind his head. "It's her week with All Might. You still in the betting pool?"

"Oh, my deeeear friend." Mic's voice dripped with honey. "I am the betting pool. I give him four days before she cracks him."

The corners of Aizawa's mouth stretched. "Hound Dog gives him two nights and Friday's Karaoke night."

There was a pause as the both of them chuckled at that. Aizawa saw the first few kites begin to peak over the treeline.

"Oh, and about that Karaoke night."

Mic's eyebrows rose over his glasses. His teeth gleamed.

Aizawa leaned forward over the desk. "I was thinking, K/DA."

"...Do it in drag, and Hound Dog wins." Mic folded his hands. "As…*snrrk*.. *cough*.. As amusing as that would be, I am gravely afraid I must forbid it."

"That's a shame." Aizawa looked at the clock again, and signaled with four fingers. "Joke said she'd do it."

"YOU INVITED JOKE?!"

"Inside voice, Mic! Not in the booth!"


"And how does that make you feel?" Hound Dog knelt down, breathed, then swung.

7 pins. Spare. The smug pug settled down on the seat as if he just hadn't casually bowled a solid 200 point frame.

"I think it will benefit the upper years. I am not too certain about the firsties." A small hiss came from Thirteen's suit as they stared down the lane. "He will need a good secretary to manage his bulk form."

Thirteen eyed the lane, strode forward, and sent the ball straight into the gutter. Another suit hiss. 0 points.

Aizawa stood and patted the dejected hero as they hung their helmet back towards their seat. He picked up his ball, then turned back to Hound Dog.

"He's making progress. Just as much as I did when I started. Given his schedule…," Aizawa sent the ball into the front end of the pin triangle. 8 pins.

He turned back, rubbing his thumb. "Given his hours, I am impressed so far."

"Mmmm." Hound Dog sipped his drink. He took his time inspecting the bowling ball, rubbing something on the surface. "Time will tell, time will tell."

Strike. Lucky shot.

"That reminds me. How are your sleep schedules coming along?" Hound Dog turned back to the group on the bench. "Are you still waking up early, Aizawa?"

"It comes and goes." Aizawa replied. He looked up at the disco reds and yellows on the ceiling. "I have been managing six hours."

"Continuous?" Hound Dog sniffed.

"No, but the tea blend helps, thank you for the suggestion."

Thirteen's helmet bobs in a nod, then bowls. 5 pins. They put their hands on their suit, then turned around. "Sounds better than my first year on sabbatical. I was still trying to recover from 5 hours well into three months."

Aizawa nodded.

"If you don't mind me asking, what tends to keep you up?" Hound Dog reached over the back of the seat and took a potato chip.

Eraserhead closed his eyes. Visions of misty night alleys twisted themselves with Nezu's head on top of Midnight's body asking about the class B budget. Two former co-workers showed up to teach a class. They had died years ago, but they looked so alive. He inhaled through his nose, and reached down to swing.

4 pins, right side. Missed the center pin entirely.

"Fever dreams, without the fever. Illogical inconsistencies and stranger happenings." Aizawa pursed his lips. He yawned. "I find myself thinking about the security from time to time. The move hasn't quite set in yet. The sheets are too clean."

"Do you think about moving to the couch on occasion?" Thirteen asks this time. Aizawa mulls over the question as the Dog strikes out again. It has to be the eyes.

"Not anymore. Also if I move too much, then the dog decides it is time to go outside and then he never calms down." It's about time that Bork moves back in with Mic. He knows why Mic asked him to look after his dog. Something about 'Man's best friend being the goodest of boys during his ordeal'.

Aizawa thinks he does not deserve Present Mic. Again. But he is grateful for the support.

The Hound of Bowling-ville comes back and leans back in the seat. "Sounds like business as usual. Nothing much has changed since last week, save the dreams. Those may or may not fade with time. You keep up with the pre-sleep meditation?"

Aizawa nods. Another vision passes through his mind. He sits in a wheelchair at U.A. graduation, watching a line of unrecognizable new heroes pass through the front. They are all smiling. The smiles are all forced and fake.

A puppetmaster makes the audience clap as former villains drunkenly cheer from the back rows.

He closes his eyes.

"Did you have such morbid visions when you retired?" Thirteen's suit hisses as they turn away from Aizawa.

"No. I can't say I've had night terrors or bad dreams in general. It is different for all of us."

Eraserhead hums, and folds his hands.

He hopes the visions will go away before the next semester. The next thing he needs are more illogical fears.


"~And when the day comes, when you can't walk 'no more

We'll have two seats on my front porch

I'll still call you "Young girl"

So Young girl

Rock with meee~"

A sniff. Joke openly blows into tissue as the Ectoplasm clones meld back with the original. Claps and cheers echo around the table as the hero bows. He'd cheated, obviously, but when you can summon an instant baritone quartet, then you are the .

At least Aizawa thinks he is. He's not entirely sure that's how you use the term, but he's trying to learn. He'll ask the business intern back at U.A. if that was how they called it.

It almost seems surreal. He gazes around the faces, joy and mirth reflected in their smiles. They are all here. All Might had been coerced by Midnight to hang out with the faculty for the karaoke night. He was now "Smol Might" as she coined him. Aizawa gazed over to the skeleton who was poking at his fries.

He wonders how much Yagi has eaten today. Maybe the food is a bit much?

Ectoplasm hands Ms. Joke the tablet as chatter continues. Vlad King makes a request and a debate ensues about the best Daft Punk song that's survived the centuries. Power Loader hands Snipe another slider as Joke shows Midnight something on her phone. They both laugh as Mic downs his pint in one long gulp. There's some conversation - Aizawa doesn't catch the words.

Hound Dog comes back from the restroom as Joke and Midnight are both squealing over a song. They make a few taps, wipe their hands on the napkins, and take up the microphones. Aizawa leans back in his seat with his head against the wall. It's the first time that they've all managed to sync their schedules. It's the second time ever that Aizawa has come to this specific establishment.

Vaguely, he muses on the many times he'd turned them down. There were nights where he'd work and not give one notice towards the merriment of his colleagues. The following days were spent covering hangovers and listening to continuing arguments in the work room.

Aizawa closes his eyes. ABBA sinks into his skin as he feels the 1900's drumset vibrate through his neck.

"~Friday night and the lights are low

Looking out for a place to go

Where they play the right music

Getting in the swing

You come to look for a king~"

Nezu asked him to take on a class this semester. First years. He hasn't had a class like that in awhile. The last time… What did happen the last time?

Oh, yeah. He'd taken one look at the class and expelled the lot back to gen ed. That was the last time he'd ever been given control of a class. He doesn't remember the entire drama that happened. Did Nezu talk to him the week after, or the night afterwards? He surely remembers the triple-overtime shifts he took that month to avoid the screeching parents and school board questions. He remembers avoiding eye contact with Present Mic for days after the event.

The class themselves were reinstated under a new teacher. They'd fed them some corporate excuse about it "being a test of character".

Oh, but what did it matter? The two jokers that had set him off that day had already left the program. Of course they were rich kids from this government family or another. Of course they thought they would become heroes, get rich quick, then retire early.

Better by far that such children never become the sort of people you had to rely on in a crisis.

...What was he thinking about? Oh, the class. Would he take another one? Nezu veiled the request as something he could reject. He'd been surprised that they'd asked him to take one on. Apparently there was some interesting recommended candidates. He might sit in on the exam, he might not.

"Oh, typical." Joke's voice pokes into his nightdream haze. He opens one eye. She pops a finger gun at him with her other hand on her chin. "Mr. Blue Sky invites a girl for a good time and he's the one who passes out first. Tsk, tsk. We can't have that, Shoutaaa~."

"...Sorry." Aizawa shifts in his seat. "I was still listening."

"With your eyes closed yeah - don't pull that with me. I get that from the kids too much to believe it." Joke folds her arms and sets him with a look that would look more intimidating if she was wearing glasses.

"You can listen to music with your eyes closed." He says weakly. Mic is already flipping through the tablet with his tongue stuck out between his teeth. "It allows one to capture the essence of the prose better. Don't the music schools have blind auditions?"

"If they're stupid, yeah they still do." Power Loader scoffs. "Anyway, you're up next after Mic. Time to put your 'mastery of prose' to work. And no, K/DA does not count."

"It counts." Aizawa shoots back. "It's music."

Several interjections come up at this point. Aizawa doesn't understand. It has a beat, people like it, it's from a popular game. Is it not the hip and cool thing that kids like?

Or is he having another senior moment. He sighs.

"Oh hey you know this one." Mic pokes him in the arm. Aizawa looks over at the selection.

Oh hell no.

"Not on your life." Vlad boos him from across the table. "I am not letting you butcher that masterpiece with your good graces." Small Might chokes on a fry while Ectoplasm looks over at him in concern.

"Whaadyaa meeaann?" Mic moves towards the microphone. "I learned English from this song - how could I not rock this shanty?"

"You learned poorly. I learned how not to speak english from your sad attempts." Aizawa presses another button and a microphone comes out.

Midnight is chanting 'Fight, fight' from the bottom of her glass. Aizawa sits up in his seat.

He remembers the year where he learned to hate the irish. And no. It was not because they make bad music, no. Neither was it from his Irish English teacher with an incredibly heavy accent, although that did not help him, Mic, or Oboro, who were all trying to learn the language.

No, he hated the Irish because of Yamada. He would never forgive him. He still didn't.

It appears he would need a reminder.

"Ohoho? Doth tho issueth a challenge?" Mic ginned, then took his half-shades off, handing them to Snipe. "I will have you know that I outclass you in every musical aspect."

Aizawa cracked his neck. He picked up his pint, threw it down the hatch, then picked the microphone.

"Show me."

There was silence in the booth for a few moments as the karaoke machine queued the song. Three different phones were out and recording. One was live.

Present Mic, opened his mouth and his ever famous baritone came to life "~Come me boys and heave with me-

"Let's get off this cursed sea-" In came Aizawa, now staring down Mic as if through a rifle scope.

"~Let's be home to lovers and wives

And leave behind these four hour lives~"

"~Four hours

Workin' on the swell

Four hours

Sloggin' in the rain

Four hours

Workin' to the bell

Then four hours

'Til it starts again~"

With a clap and a gasp, Mic and Aizawa slammed their hands on the table and stood straight up from their seats.

"~Come me boys and heave with me

The wind's my friend and my enemy

It carries me home, but it must be tamed

Everything lost or everything gained~"

Aizawa remembers a kid in goggles dying of hysterics. He remembers the one time he broke out of his shell, pranking his teacher with a flash mob.

"~Four hours

Workin' on the swell

Four hours

Sloggin' in the rain

Four hours

Workin' to the bell

Then four hours

'Til it starts again~"

Yamada is nearly standing on the table. He's swaying to the machine as everyone else is pounding their fist with the beat. Aizawa pushes his hair back with his hand as sways at the same time. Memories of elder days fly through the back of his mind.

He catches bits and snippets from the crowd. Snipe comments, "Yo, this ain't irish." as Small Might is swaying right alongside Midnight. Ectoplasm has made another clone as they stomp in time right along with Vlad, their eyes alight with the shanty mood. Joke is holding two phones now. She's staring with an odd look at the whole room with an expression Aizawa can't place. Power Loader is holding another phone, looking at the screen.

"~Come me boys and heave with me

Got scabrous hands and bloody knees

But when the bell tolls, I'll go below

My hands will callous, and my strength will grow~"

"~Four hours

Workin' on the swell

Four hours

Sloggin' in the rain

Four hours

Workin' to the bell

Then four hours

'Til it starts again~"

An alarm sounds on one of the phones. Aizawa barely notices it, although something about it sounds familiar.

"~Come me boys and heave away

Soaked and heavy heaving under the spray

Will I ever-"

"Emergency All Call." It's Power Loader.

Everyone stops. Heads turn. The song continues unnoticed in the background.

"Where?" Aizawa puts the microphone down. The mood shifts - no one is smiling.

"Two blocks south, Arson with confirmed villains. Yellow Code 616." There are clicks and snaps as Eraserhead sees support gear come out from nowhere. Hisses echo as Vlad's blood starts to churn in his bracers. He sees Yagi Toshinori out of the corner of his eye grab his tie and rip it off as he starts to grow in size. Midnight is out of the room, with Joke tying her bandana right behind her.

Snipe moves to grab the tablet. Aizawa gets there first.

"Go. I have this." The Pro Hero tips his hat, then swiftly follows the clanks of Power Loader's suit out the room. Aizawa vaguely hears gasps and cheers in the hallway.

A few seconds pass. Eraserhead takes a deep breath, then leans back into the seat cushion. He is the only one in the room. Glasses are all over the table, some tipped in the recent rush. Empty plates mingle with half-finished sushi and All Might's french fries.

Eraserhead closes his eyes and grabs his hands together, stifling the sudden adrenaline. He stifles the urge to join them out in the cause, out in the streets where he belongs.

He takes four deep breaths, closes his eyes, and listens to the machine finish the song. He registers the last lyrics, but does not read them.

"~Four hours

Haulin' on the sheets

Four hours

Keepin' our feet

Four hours

Wrap me in the shroud

And four hours

Lay me in the ground~"


(AN - I live. Next Chapter, we start to polish the canon. The UA Entrance Exam awaits)