Title: melody in my head
A/N: For the BnHA Sun and Moon zine! I wanted to do something soft after the festival arc.
Summary: Kaminari had been exhausted after the festival, but the second he sat next to Jirou, he was wide awake. Her soft strumming filled the night air and he wondered if there were any other sides of her he'd never seen.
Sprawled on the ground, Kaminari woke up to a pounding in his head and a stiff back. He lay still, staring at the cloudy night sky, feeling an unfamiliar weight across his waist. His sides were warm. This was not his bed. Actually, this was not a bed at all, this was the sandy beach and it was a big mistake to sleep like this. Looking to his left, he groaned as he saw Izuku's feet next to him. That would mean…Kaminari looked down and groaned again. Kirishima's arm was hanging limply over his waist, his friend lying spread out as though to cover the most space. Maybe it was a manly thing in his eyes but it was a disappointment in Kaminari's.
Slowly, he slowly examined his surroundings. Lying prone around him were the rest of his classmates: some on the chairs, some on the ground like him. A handful had managed to make it back to tents the teachers had set up. Around them were streamers, plastic cups, and cake crumbs, the remnants of their afterparty. After having the world's best culture fair, with the most rocking band, they'd all celebrated. And maybe over-celebrated—Kaminari had never seen Iida loosen up and dance like he had and he wasn't sure if he ever wanted to see it again.
He wasn't sure how they managed to convince the teachers to let them have a beach party. Maybe it was because it was November and no one was there anyways. Or maybe they needed a break too; they'd been cooped up inside of their school for so long. Either way, he was glad to finally take a break from it all: the villains, the fights, the homework. Kaminari closed his eyes, listening to the waves as they gently lapped the shore.
Now that he was thinking about it, he was thirsty. And hot. Definitely hot, his friends were like heaters next to him. Carefully, he picked up Kirishima's hand and tossed it off. Fortunately, the big lug was as dense in his sleep as he was awake and just mumbled something unintelligible as he rolled over. Kaminari sighed with relief. So far so good. Slowly, he pulled himself to his feet. Now he just had to make it through the obstacle course of his friends and he could find something in the cooler. Hell, he could even sleep in his sleeping bag after this; the sky above didn't look like it was going to be day anytime soon.
As he lowered his eyes, he noticed a figure further down the beach, by the pier: Jirou's. Forgetting all about his thirst, he quietly wandered toward her, carefully dodging his classmates and the trash they'd left behind. Despite it being November, the air was still warm. A breeze ruffled through his hair, carrying with it the quiet notes of Jirou's guitar. Now that he was closer, he could see her holding her instrument, strumming it every now and then as she cleaned it and tightened the strings. Padding over, he asked, "You really love that, huh?"
"Wha—?" Immediately, Jirou's earjacks tangled around his feet and he tripped. He cried as he hit the wooden pier and she looked at him in surprise. "Oh, it's you—don't surprise me like that!"
"I wasn't trying to," he groaned, rubbing his chin as he sat up. Hopefully, nothing was bleeding. "You should have been paying more attention."
"And you should have reacted quicker," Jirou snapped back, her ears red. No doubt it was embarrassment for what had just happened. She'd never been one for apologizing, a trait she shared with Bakugou. "What're you doing here?"
"I saw you." Kaminari sat down near her, looking curiously at her guitar. It was a different one than the one they'd used for the band, a big wooden one that didn't look anything at all like that electric monster. Faintly, he remembered her bringing it down for the party. "Why aren't you sleeping?"
"I dunno, just felt like playing something. And I wanted to clean it up from all the soda you kept splashing on it." Jirou patted the guitar, smiling.
"You had to do that all the way here?" he asked, raising a brow. The only thing the pier had going for it was the lamp posts behind him, bathing them both in a pool of light. While there wasn't much sand here, there was a little. If there was one guarantee about sand, it was this: it got everywhere. "What about your tent?"
"…right. I could have done it there." Jirou slapped her forehead. She started to stand up. "I'll go, don't want to wake anyone else up."
Immediately, he latched onto her wrist, preventing her from getting up. When she looked at him, perplexed, he shook his head, letting go of her arm. "You didn't wake me. And it's nice here. So, stay?"
It was the least eloquent he'd felt his whole life but she stayed put anyways. "It is nice out," she agreed. That was Jirou-nese for 'I want to stay'. He was starting to get a read on her, get a hang of the strange ways she acted.
"You were great today." Crossed his arms behind his head, leaning back into it. "I can't believe you can play so many instruments and sing—you should be in a band or something."
"Or something," she echoed, going back to adjusting her guitar. Her eyes remained strained on the knobs even as she answered. "My parents are musicians, actually."
"Really?" Then again, considering her bedroom, he could believe it. Either that or she was a music nut. Or both. Definitely both.
"Yeah, but I want to do something more…heroic. Help more people." Jirou strummed her guitar again, her lithe fingers dancing on the chords. "I can always sing after."
If he had that much talent and a chance at a cushy life, would he have made the same decision? Probably not. Half of the reason he came here was because he didn't really have any other plans. "That's amazing."
Looking embarrassed, Jirou shook her head. "Not really."
She always did that. Putting herself down, acting like her talents were nothing—it was one thing to be humble, it was another to pretend she had no skills whatsoever. Kaminari frowned. "Don't."
"Don't?" She blinked, staring at him blankly.
"You always make it sound like it's no big deal, but it is." He moved, ignoring her surprised intake of air as he sat next to her. Leaning close, he glared. "Take credit for what you do. It's amazing. You're amazing. Stop pretending otherwise."
"I…" She swallowed, scooching back a smidge. "I guess you're right." Tucking her hair behind her ear, she grinned. "I am good at music."
"Yeah, you are!" He agreed, smiling broadly back. "You're amazing, good at music, heroic—"
"Alright, alright, I get it!" She laughed, embarrassed.
"And cute," he added with a wink.
Jirou glared at him, flushing. "Ok, enough with the teasing."
He wasn't. The blush on her cheeks only made her cuter, but Kaminari had enough wits about him to know better than to say that. She'd probably punch him and he didn't want to ruin the mood. Glancing at her guitar, he changed the topic. "So you don't only play rock?"
Eyeing him suspiciously, she nodded. "Yeah. I like rock the best but my parents taught me different styles and how to mix them."
"So you're like a DJ?" he guessed.
Her withering glare told him otherwise. "No, that's a different skill entirely." When he fell silent with a sheepish look, she sighed. "It's more like…uh, how's this."
Jirou started strumming her guitar, a familiar sound he recognized as Born to be Wild. Only…only different. Maybe it was the guitar itself, the strings softening the sound. Occasionally the notes didn't sound quite right, like Jirou had tweaked them, plucking them from the song and rearranging them. It became a song he knew and didn't know. After playing half the song, she stopped and looked at him, her eyes shining. "See?"
If she had been cute before, she was downright beautiful now. Kaminari swallowed, barely able to nod. His neck felt hot, his palms sweaty, and just like the song, he felt different. Like she'd plucked his emotions and rearranged them. Now he was the one who couldn't look at her. "Do you know any others?" he asked.
"Yeah." Her eyes drifted off him and he breathed in relief as she focused on her guitar. Still excited, she jumped from song to song, rearranging melodies as easy as counting to three. "What about this one?"
Kaminari looked up at the stars, listening. His eyes started to slide shut. It was strange, despite them being rock songs, they felt like a lullaby. Head heavy, he started to lean to the side. Falling on Jirou's shoulder, he felt her stiffen before sighing. Exasperated, he was sure, but hopefully there was some fondness in it too.
She said something unintelligible and he was asleep before she switched songs.