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Why Robots Hunt Bears?
(It was the only logical explanation, right?)
The question seemed like a perfectly innocent one to have asked. It wasn’t until after the question was actually asked that he began worrying over it.
What had he expected for his first day of kindergarten? A lecture on what he already knows about animals? A lesson on how to properly use the internet? An introduction to the concept of time in general? He hadn’t been thinking at all when he asked that, and it was probably just as well that he hadn’t. The answer didn’t really matter anyway, because as soon as the school year started, he’d be gone anyway.
And yet, he still couldn’t help but feel uneasy as he sat waiting in line. There were so many kids around him who were excited, laughing and screaming out loud about being finally in their first class in elementary school, and they filled every nook and cranny of the classroom with their exuberant energy. Some were even wearing their school uniforms, looking more or less ready to go home from school. All of them were going off to have wonderful new experiences in a brand new environment; some of them were having the best years of their lives while others would remain completely unmemorable. The thought left him feeling lonely and homesick, despite never seeing them before.
He could’ve done without this whole mess, though.
After a few hours of sitting quietly waiting, another teacher arrived, a young woman by the name of Mrs. Taffler. He recognized her immediately – she worked at the local animal shelter where he used to volunteer. Her presence brought a smile to his face. He felt much safer knowing someone was watching over him, just in case anything went wrong. After introducing herself to everyone else in the room, she told the kids something along the lines of ‘Welcome to school!’ And then began assigning them to groups. Everyone seemed to listen attentively to her instructions, taking a seat and listening carefully.
As soon as everyone had settled into place, the teacher spoke again:
“Well,” she said, glancing around and smiling. “I’m sure you’re all excited to see what’s coming next!” She paused for dramatic effect, raising her hands as if in the air.
“Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…” She gave a slight wink, causing every one of the children in the room to laugh. “…I think it’s important to take care of your fellow classmates. So I hope you’re not too shy to say hello to them.” She gestured towards the group in front of him, which contained a boy and a girl who looked like twins.
They both smiled at each other as soon as Mrs. Taffler addressed them. The blond one nodded politely and the other boy grinned widely.
“Hello!” they chimed in unison, sounding almost exactly the same. They looked almost alike, save for one thing; whereas the blonde boy had a slight bump to his head that stuck up just slightly above the rest of his hair, the other boy had a bald spot on the top of his head. The fact that they looked nothing alike made them stand out from the crowd.
The two girls beside them also waved enthusiastically. They seemed very energetic and friendly, which relieved him somewhat.
“Hi there!” Mrs. Taffler replied, returning the gesture. “How are you all today?”
“Good!” they chorused together once more.
Mrs. Taffler smiled again.
“All right! Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourselves?” She clapped her hands and pointed at them, waiting for their reactions. “What would you like to share?”
At the sound of her voice, everyone around the class immediately became quiet. Even the boy with the bald spot raised his hand.
“Umm… do you want to start first?” he inquired, directing his question at the teacher. The rest of his sentence got caught in his throat – apparently he hadn’t been quite clear enough.
Mrs. Taffler glanced between the two boys, then turned back to the class.
She cleared her throat.
“So,” she said, “since we’ve been getting a lot of questions today, let’s get started. What’s your full names?” When no one answered immediately, she frowned and added, “You don’t have to tell us yours if you don’t feel comfortable with it, but I thought everyone should know these things…”
“My name is Shinsou Hitoshi,” the bald boy said. He leaned forward a little and continued speaking, his voice low. “This is my younger brother, Midoriya Izuku.”
Izuku lifted a hand timidly, trying to make eye contact with the rest of the class. He smiled shyly, and everyone returned it.
Shinsou nodded curtly.
Mrs. Taffler took a step back, letting the kids introduce themselves.
Izuku tried his hardest to meet everyone’s eyes, but he found himself unable to keep their gazes for long. It was difficult enough for him, with so many pairs of curious eyes fixed on him, watching his every move and waiting for his answer. At least with Shinsou he knew what was coming next. That boy could stare at him all he wanted, but he wouldn’t have to worry about meeting anyone’s gaze. He could simply focus on his lap, staring down and playing with his fingers absentmindedly. His mind wandered aimlessly, as usual.
A small voice tugged at his attention, making him lift his head. One of the twins, the smaller one, was looking directly at him.
“Um… hi,” he said nervously. “I’m Kaminari Denki.”
The boy with the scar across his brow tilted his head, studying Izuku curiously.
“Are you deaf?” he questioned bluntly.
Izuku flushed. “No, I’m not!” he snapped defensively. In his defense, it wasn’t like he could stop them from talking, even if he really wanted to.
Kaminari stared at him for a moment longer, and then shrugged and returned to staring at his notebook.
Shinsou chuckled softly. “Don’t bother apologizing,” he whispered, giving him an amused look. Izuku could only blush harder.
Kaminari opened his mouth to speak again, only to find himself interrupted by the door slamming open. Immediately everyone froze, their conversation ceasing instantly.
Everyone in the room slowly turned in the direction of the source of the noise. It wasn’t hard to pick up on who had entered.
A large man with black hair swept back stood in the doorway. His arms were folded over his chest, his eyes narrowed and focused on something beyond the children seated in front of him.
“…is everything okay here?” He sounded bored, as if he were just asking out of courtesy rather than concern. “Someone tell me what the problem is-” His words died off in his throat when he finally noticed the children standing in front of him. “Hatsume…” he mumbled, sounding both surprised and annoyed.
“Hello, sir,” Hatsume chirped, smiling innocently. “Would you like some candy? I’m sure you can use some sugar after sitting through so many boring meetings like this.”
The man glared at her for several seconds before turning away from her without saying anything. His eyes scanned the room, landing on Shinsou.
Shinsou, for his part, looked like he was trying not to panic. He shrunk in on himself slightly, but didn’t move, clearly frozen in place. His expression looked terrified, as if he knew exactly what was going to happen next. Izuku wished he could reach out to him, give him a reassuring hug, or even just pat his shoulder to show him that everything would be fine. But he didn’t dare move.
For whatever reason, the man looked even angrier after that, although it might’ve just been because Shinsou’s father’s attention wasn’t fully on him anymore.