Fandom: Boku No Hero Academia

  • Shinsou Hitoshi/Mei Hatsume
  • First Dates
  • Fluff
  • Bad Pickup Lines
  • Minor Background Angst
  • Improper Handling of a Soldering Iron

Length: 4.5k, Oneshot

Date Posted: 2020-10-31

Collections: Shipoween 2020

Workshop Date


He frowned. (Well, more than usual.) "Your true goal?"

"Yes!" She bounced one more time, straight up and down, and huffed out a quick breath as she stopped. Even standing in place, her energy didn't leave her, though she reduced it to a jittery shift from foot to foot. Hitoshi idly wondered if this was the stillest this girl could stand. She didn't seem like the type to ever stop moving.

Hatsume jabbed a pointer finger centimeters from his face, and declared, with all the confidence of a bungee cord jumper, "You! Are very, very attractive!"

Wait, what?

"And," she continued, "I am inviting you on a date!"

Hatsume and Shinsou go on a date. That's... that's the fic.


Written for C-chan (1001paperboxes).

this was supposed to be haunted house fic but mei was sleep deprived as fuck and just,, would not stay in the haunted house


"Oh, good, it's you!"

Hitoshi continued to dangle by the waist from the ceiling trapdoor, as he had for every other visitor to the festival's Haunted Mansion: upside down, greasy-haired, and marked with more fake blood than he personally found necessary for intimidation, all things considered. A pair of twitchy eyes returned his gaze at just the right height to stare evenly back, ringed twice around: once by eye bags nearly as deep as his own, and again by red circles that matched the pushed-up goggles above them.

"We met in the sports festival, sort of? Indirectly!" The girl at eye level grinned, gesturing outside his field of vision. "You're one that almost beat Deku! I was with him in early rounds, you know!"

Ah, yes. That.

"And what of it?" Trying to cross his arms over his chest took more core strength upside-down, but Hitoshi did his best to act like it didn't, working to project an air of sullen nonchalance. The girl smiled wider, so either she was eating it up, or completely ignoring it.

"I've had my eye on you since I first watched that match!" she told him, bouncing dizzyingly in place as she spoke. "I'd be delighted to try working with you on support gear, actually! Your quirk is impressive, but it looked like you could use some backup options. Not every opponent is gonna fall for it right away -- especially if they're warned about it! Always pays to be prepared, you know?"

Hitoshi blinked, and took a moment to try and remember if he had any idea who this girl was. She wasn't a classmate, obviously, and he didn't remember seeing her anywhere in 1-A or 1-B's lineup--

Wait. The support course girl who tag-teamed with Deku during the tournament. The one with the giant robot boots and the shameless self-promotions.

"... Hatsume Mei?" He tried not to sound too enthusiastic in recognizing her. If his guess was right, this was about to turn into either a sales pitch or a scheme for more customer testimonials.

"Oh! You remember me? Seems my advertising must have paid off!" Hatsume, now named, clasped her hands together in delight, rocking side to side. "Absolutely perfect! This'll make my true goal in talking to you so much easier!"

He frowned. (Well, more than usual.) "Your true goal?"

"Yes!" She bounced one more time, straight up and down, and huffed out a quick breath as she stopped. Even standing in place, her energy didn't leave her, though she reduced it to a jittery shift from foot to foot. Hitoshi idly wondered if this was the stillest this girl could stand. She didn't seem like the type to ever stop moving.

Hatsume jabbed a pointer finger centimeters from his face, and declared, with all the confidence of a bungee cord jumper, "You! Are very, very attractive!"

Wait, what?

"And," she continued, "I am inviting you on a date!"

Was... was he supposed to take that as an offer? Right here and now?

(He had never been asked on a date before, except for that girl in year two in middle school who did it on a dare and she threw her lunch at him when he came to meet her in the courtyard, he didn't know how to date someone, what was he supposed to--)

(She was really very pretty, and the crosshair pinpoints of her eyes were very distracting if he let his own just follow them along--)

(What if it was just a trick? What if she was just going to lead him into a stupid ambush with her classmates and they would make fun of him and it would be middle school, year two, all over again? What if she got him to approach her and then told a teacher he was harassing her and he got suspended or expelled because it had actually been a mistake to let him in at all, a mistake to admit the kid with the villain quirk into--)

Something tapped at the center of his forehead.

"Did I break you or something?" Hatsume's expression had twisted into something like confusion, amid the constant energy, and she tilted her head to the side. "You were supposed to say yes or no. It's a pretty simple question!"

"I." Say something. Why couldn't he think of what to say? "... What kind of date?"

"At the workshop at school!" Hatsume shrugged and waved her hands in the air. "I'm going to go crash and sleep for like, fourteen hours first, but I've already cleared out most of my Sunday, so I'll be free then whenever you're ready. Except after four because I was going to work on my newest baby then, so, you know, sooner's definitely good. Unless you have plans?"

Given the moment to recover, Hitoshi cleared his head enough to speak a little more coherently, and began to put two and two together. "Is this just a plan to get someone to promote your gear?"

"Yes, and no!" She didn't seem offended by the implication, at least. "I've been looking for a new client, and I also actually wanted to ask you out. So it's a two-for-one!"

Oh, god, she was serious, wasn't she? A prank or a tacky sales pitch, he could ignore, but she actually wanted to go out with him, and that was almost worse, even if some part of him thought that sounded absolutely amazing. (That part of him was also very distracted, because she was roughly ten centimeters from his face, and he was having a hard time looking away.)

"I'm free around noon," Hitoshi said, not entirely registering the words out of his mouth until he had said them.

Hatsume grinned even wider than before, and she squealed. "Great! I'll see you then!"

With that, she ducked underneath him and dashed down the corridor, metal gear and cute ridiculous boots clanking all the way.

"Congratulations, dude."

Hitoshi jumped enough to nearly slide out of the harness, and remembered, with no small amount of dawning horror, that he was not alone. Watanabe Haikei, his General Studies classmate currently manning the trapdoor controls, waved at him from her cramped position crouching in the rafters.

"... why are you congratulating me?" he said, trying to be subtle as he pulled at the harness straps to wriggle back into a more comfortable position.

She grabbed one of the ropes and helped him out. "You're one of ours. It'd be rude not to wish you good luck, y'know?"

"I--" Try as he might, Hitoshi couldn't find any good flaws in that logic to poke at. Haikei seemed to find being classmates reason enough, and for all his standoffish loner habits and general disinterest in being a team player, Hitoshi was technically a member of the class.

He sighed, and decided it was better not to argue. If this was real, he could use all the luck he could get.


The class 1-H workshop was dark at the windows when he arrived, but not quiet. A clatter of metal and the whirring racket of machinery filled the air inside, muffled by the thick front door, which Hitoshi noted had been propped open with a short bar of scrap metal as a doorstop.

Though the building was already open, Hatsume hadn't actually told him which workshop to meet her in, so he had gone door to door through the support department looking until he ran into Power Loader, who had taken some pity on him and pointed him the right way. Apparently off-day projects were a common occurrence with the support classes -- or at least, they were for some students in particular. He'd gotten some curious questions as to why a general education student had showed up to the support department on a Sunday, but Power Loader had mostly dropped the subject once Hitoshi said he was meeting with Hatsume to discuss support gear.

(If the man had a little chuckle behind his back, Hitoshi wasn't saying anything about it. He could only guess at how often meetings like this happened, under the guise of diligent studying.)

"Hello?" he called. When nobody answered (if Hatsume was in there, he couldn't blame her for not hearing him over the noise), he pushed the door open with one foot, and took a step inside.

Indoors was louder and hotter than outdoors, immediately. Hitoshi wasn't sure if the workshop had a heating system, or if it even ran at this time of year, but the brisk autumn air gave way almost instantly to the stale heat of a room that saw busy engines and overworked ventilation a solid six days of the week. A sour taste like exhaust fumes worked its way into the back of his mouth, and he resisted the urge to make a face.

A sheet of drafting paper taped to the wall beside him read, "Meet me in machining!", followed by a hastily scribbled heart in red pen. He felt his cheeks grow a little flushed as he stared at it, taking several seconds to tear his eyes away from that little symbol.

(If she was playing a trick on him after all, it was a dedicated one.)

He had no idea where "machining" was, he realized, so he decided to follow the sound instead. Passing a keypad vault and a row of computers, he slowly ventured into the workshop, trying to track down the source of it, and with any luck, Hatsume.

One dead end around a corner lead to a walk-in pantry of wall-to-ceiling shelves with more sizes of screws, nuts, and bolts than he had ever imagined existed, while another lead into a closet piled with stacks of sheet metal and bars and pipes, the longest three or four times his height (how did they carry them out?) With some trial and error, the machine noise (now an intermittent throaty grinding noise, like a garbage disposal trying to chew glass) grew louder, until he reached an alley of machines, set along the walls like arcade cabinets.

Hatsume (he tried not to visibly sigh in relief upon finding her) stood at one machine with a spinning sawblade the size of her head, slowly pulling down a lever with one thickly gloved hand. Her goggles gleamed in the sunlight from the window above, catching golden sparks amid the reflections of metal and glass.

He waited a moment, until the sawblade came to a stop and the noise abated. "Hey, I'm here."

She spun around so quickly she nearly dropped the rough-cut tube of metal in her hands. Another piece hit the floor behind her with an echoing clang and rattle.

"Oh, good, you made it! You saw the note, right?"

"Y-yeah. I saw it." Hitoshi scratched at the back of his head, clawing hands through his hair. A nervous gesture he couldn't quite quit.

Hatsume turned the tube over and over in her hands, and he wondered if she was as nervous as he was underneath it all. She didn't look it. "Great! So, to start with, I've had some ideas, after what I saw of your quirk in the sports festival--"

Hitoshi didn't entirely follow the monologue that came next (Hatsume had a serious set of lungs on her, how was she still talking, had she even taken a breath?!), but he got the gist of it. Yes, he could use some support gear, and yes, probably her brand of support gear. He mumbled reluctant agreements and acknowledgments in the gaps where she finally stopped the breathe between thoughts.

It was embarrassing to acknowledge just how badly he had lost, once the ace up his sleeve stopped working. There was plenty he could do with the element of surprise, but in a straight fight, no amount of muscle training alone was going to save him from somebody who could punch a tank in half.

The next time something like that happened, whether against an informed opponent ready to counter, or even just inconvenient background noise (or, hell, fighting a sufficiently strong and silent type might do it), he would need to be prepared for more direct combat. Without any other combat applications for his quirk, if he wanted to fight crime face-to-face, that meant support gear. He had considered it before, but never quite decided on a specific item or weapon he'd bring. (Before somehow making the cut for UA, he'd half expected to end up carrying a gun or a crowbar, fighting as some kind of vigilante at best. High-tech support hadn't exactly been on the table.)

If he was being entirely honest, a part of him had never quite moved past that scarf he had worn through elementary school whenever he was out of uniform, so he could pretend it was Eraserhead's capture weapon. In his defense: he was literally at UA now. He could probably ask for that. He had heard it took years to learn how to use, but that was a learning curve he was willing to risk. Nobody said he had to only use one weapon, anyway.

But, in the meantime...

As she talked, Hatsume worked at another machine with clamps and a crank that smoothed the rough cut ends of the tube and littered the ground below with curly metal shavings, before she wandered off to lead him from the machining alley to another space with several broad worktables, in front of a wall of cabinets and still more tools.

Most tables had just a few littered scraps across them, from projects that hadn't been entirely put away, but on the nearest one, Hatsume had laid out a series of metal pipes of varying sizes beside a plastic box full of wires and circuitry. She plunked the newest piece down beside the clutter, and busily began aligning the pipes, end to end, fussing over them with a pair of calipers.

"So what's this?" Hitoshi asked, feeling ever so slightly like he was walking into a trap.

Hatsume looked up from her work to grin with many, many teeth. "The beginnings of a new baby!" she announced, yanking out a blueprint sheet from the box and unfolding it to show him. "I've been playing around with the idea of this one for a while, but it was on the back burner for other projects for class and my festival babies and all. Basically it's a multi-function staff!"

"Oh?" He tried not to feel a little disappointed, learning the project predated whatever interest Hatsume had taken in him. (And did it really matter what it was originally for, if she had repurposed it as a gift? That she had thought of him at all was more flattering than he had expected, to say nothing of the little shock it gave him every time he remembered he was, allegedly, on an actual, real date.)

She picked up a long, narrow circuit board trailing hair-thin wires in a dozen bright colors. "Yeah! It has a built in stun-baton functionality and a grappling hook, and it'll be more than solid enough for basic combat utility -- I got to try out a new special alloy for it, too, though it's a little fiddly to cut the thicker pieces -- and it's built to telescope for storage, so it can be worn on a belt like a baton when not in use. And that's not all!"

She grabbed another item out of the box -- a short, solid tube the size of a pen flashlight, with an opening like an exhaust pipe at one end, and more thin wires trailing from the other. Hitoshi raised an eyebrow and waited, patiently, for her to explain.

"This baby," she said proudly, "is a miniature rocket booster! It's sized to fit into the end of the staff, so it can be used for whatever you can think of putting a little extra oomph behind. I was thinking it would work well for offense and mobility, but I'm still working on stabilizing it for the second one."

"That's pretty cool," Hitoshi admitted. After a moment of thinking, he added, "What does it use for fuel?"

"Kinetic energy!" Hatsume wiggled a little in place like a cat readying to pounce, and held up another part to the light-- something round like a coin, and marked with fine-print writing on the side. "This is a kinetic battery -- it charges itself by being moved around, so as long as the staff sees regular use, you won't have to worry about fuel or recharging at all. If it ever gets low, you just shake it around a little, and it'll renew itself in no time. Each functionality of the staff runs on its own separate battery, too, so if one fails, the others should be completely unaffected."

He nodded, a bit vaguely. Was there an appropriate response here? Something more than just "wow, that's cool" again?

"Anyway, it's still a work in progress, but it's not the only reason we're meeting here! I also wanted to talk to you about your quirk!"

"Ah." And here was where it normally would have gone wrong -- or at least, that was what the warier part of him believed, most of the time. He'd learned as much from experience. His quirk came up, and it was all downhill from there.

But UA was different. Hatsume was different. She already knew what his quirk did -- she'd seen it at the sports festival, and she had specifically approached him after that. Logically, there was nothing here to be afraid of. If anything, his greater concern should have been for her enthusiasm.

Anxiety hummed high and irrational in his head all the same.

"I was going to ask how much you know about the limitations, so I could have an idea of where to start for working with it! Which is a lot of things to potentially test, but I didn't want to get too into making support gear for a fiddly quirk I don't actually know the rules of yet, you know? That way lies scrapped ideas and inventor's block." Her eyes gleamed. "Though, scrapped ideas can form the foundations of greatness! Or at least the scaffolding."

"What would you want to test?" He tried not to fidget again, but without much success, stopping short of scratching at his shirt collar to only drum his fingers on the worktable instead.

Hatsume unfolded another piece of drafting paper, this one scribbled over heavily in black ballpoint pen. "I've got a list!"


An hour and a half. He'd been there an hour and a half. It didn't occur to him until he glanced up at the clock set high on the far wall, and he had barely registered most of it amid the whirlwind of Hurricane Mei.

Was this how a date was supposed to work? He hadn't exactly done anything except participate in simple tests of his quirk, answer questions to guide Hatsume with her brainstorming ideas, and help to assemble the staff. The only exception was a few minutes where she'd made a brief stab at teaching him to solder, before they both agreed it was simpler and saner not to bother. (And the part where her hands touched his as she tried to guide him, and he blushed, but she didn't see it, and he didn't say anything more.)

Now, she had set him to the more reasonable task of twisting wires together and plugging them tiny numbered sockets, matched in colored pairs -- red and black, green and yellow, blue and orange -- to finish up some of the inner workings for the stun baton feature. Hatsume herself had resumed some delicate piece of work with a circuit board and tools so fine-tipped he had no doubt her quirk was involved.

"Was there anything else you planned to do this afternoon?" he asked, double-checking the simplified diagram she'd drawn out for him.

"I have other projects for later today," she said, not looking up. "What, do you want to work on something else?"

"I..." Yes? No? Was there supposed to be anything else to do on a first date? Why was this such a mess? "Was there anything else you wanted to do, for our date, is what I was getting at," he explained, after a moment.

He had to try not to trip over the words 'our date'. They still didn't quite seem like they belonged on his tongue. He wanted them to, though, and he was more sure of that than he'd been even an hour ago.

She stopped working and sat there for a moment, with the circuit board still in her hands, absentmindedly setting the soldering iron on the table. "Well, this is fun, isn't it?" Hatsume paused, as if doubtful for the first time since they'd met. "Right?"

He didn't answer quickly enough, and she plowed straight ahead instead.

"... you're bored, aren't you."

Hitoshi winced. He supposed he hadn't been entirely planning to just sit here doing workshop stuff, but he didn't know how to make the first move, and Hatsume had just sort of lead him along into questions and busywork with her usual businesslike attitude and energy. It would be rude to say he was unsatisfied, but she wasn't... entirely wrong?

"Okay, so I have a confession to make."

A pit twisted into his stomach like a vortex, a sudden churning worry. "What?"

She grimaced a little, fiddling with aimlessly with her hands. "I..."

(He should have known. He should have seen this coming. She literally admitted she just wanted him to help with her gear, why had he been so stupid as to believe--?)

"I have no idea what to do here."

Hatsume's cheeks were flushed with emotions he couldn't yet disentangle, but she wrung her hands a moment before they gripped the table like she needed it to stay upright, flexing and curling.

"I just-- I don't actually know how to do this! Complicated people stuff, I mean. It's not so much of a problem most of the time, but this requires so much precision and delicate social stuff, and no matter how much I try to learn the rules I still don't have it!" She released one hand from the table to make a flailing, frustrated gesture. "I really want to do this! I really want to go on a date with you!" She looked around for a moment, as if searching for a tool or an excuse, and then sighed. "I-- This is going badly. Can we just pretend that didn't happen and try again? Date version two-point-zero, or something?"

Hitoshi sat in silence for a moment, then coughed, quietly. "For what it's worth, I don't know what to do on a date either?"


"I've never been on one before," he elaborated. "I kind of wanted to kiss, but the only kind of flirting I actually know is bad pick-up lines for getting a rise out of people."

She laughed. "Well, that would explain a lot about why neither of us were getting anywhere. The blind leading the blind, huh?"

"You could say that."

"Hah." Hatsume leaned forward onto the worktable, oddly subdued after her rant. "Hey, if you don't have any expectations, maybe it's not as bad as I assumed." She glanced sideways at him, and winked. "Wanna try some out some of those one-liners?"

"Uh," he said. "Well, sure, but there seems to be something wrong with my eyes."

"... they look normal to me?" She tilted her head.

He put on his best smirk. "Because I can't take them off of you."

Hitoshi watched her freeze for a half-second, like a buffering video, before she wheezed and bent over, laughing. "Oh my god--Do you really use those? In fights?"

"Not currently?" He felt his face grow hot. "I mean, I could, though. The harder part would be making sure it got a reaction I could use. And also being okay with embarrassing myself with bad pickup lines, I guess."

Hatsume recovered enough to breathe again. "Laughter counts for a response, right? Did we test that yet?"

"I don't think so."

"Welp, time to do that, then!" She spun in place for a moment before jotting something down on her testing notes sheet, which currently had a list of previous tests and their results. "Alright, lay another one on me!"

(Hatsume offering herself up as a test subject had thrown him utterly for a loop, for the first time, and also every time after that. It had taken nearly five solid minutes to work up the nerve to actually do it at first, so unused to use his quirk on someone willing and unresisting. It wasn't any harder or easier than normal, but that didn't make it any less weird.

The shock of the whole thing had propelled him along as much as anything else. He was still getting used to it.)

Hitoshi summoned up a serious face, looked her dead in the goggles, and said, "Do you happen to have an extra heart around here? Because you've just stolen mine."

Her laugh was less a giggle and more an undignified snort, but regardless, he could reach and feel the tug of something underneath, a little hook he could grab at and pull, and suddenly, as it had a dozen equally gut-wrenching times before, her face went slack and blank, hands dangling at her sides below an aimless gaze.

He waited a moment, then let go, and Hatsume shook herself a little like she had just woken from a nap, blinking.

"Well, that works, then!" she reported, and scribbled down a note on the paper. A moment later, she sent him a sly smile. "But if you don't mind... could I hear just a few more? For science?"

"Well..." He found himself smiling back. "If I-- wait, do you smell smoke?"

It was then that drafting paper on the table caught fire.


Hitoshi sat sprawled on the sofa, heavy textbook splayed open over his chest. He couldn't quite focus, not with the afternoon still replaying in his mind. The next set of English verbs didn't quite have the appeal of Mei's laugh (he could call her Mei, now, couldn't he? Was that too soon?), or the flurry of hopes inside him, all those stomach butterflies trying to take flight.

All considered, it wasn't bad for a first date. Better than anything he'd ever considered he'd actually have a chance of.

He forced himself to prop up the book so he could actually read it, eyes skimming over the pages, row by tedious row. Concentrating with a head full of thoughts was nothing new. He'd gotten plenty of practice in the spring, still reeling from the realization that he had made it into UA. It was that same heady euphoria now, edging in on his concentration with the excitement he worked so hard most times to restrain.

(His first kiss had smelled like machine oil, solder, and smoke. In the moment, he had found he didn't mind at all.)