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25 Years

Chapter Text

Why?

This thought is your first memory, a thought that hit you as you watched your father head out the door to yet another work day. You watched as your mother finished her meal and then proceeded to tidy up.

Itchy.

This is your second memory, taking place not long after mother is up to her wrists in dishwater. Your scalp itches, and though it only starts out as mildly annoying, it quickly becomes a terrible tickling that hurts. Your head suddenly feels very heavy and you can feel something resting against your back where before you hadn’t noticed anything.

“OH! (Name)! Your hair!”

This is the first memory you retain of your mother’s voice. For years to come, you will be able to recall the look on her face, that beaming smile as she stared at you from the kitchen sink. She wipes off her hands and approaches you, reaching out…

Then there is a sudden flood of information you don’t know how to process. Coldwetdampwrinkledgrossickycarressgentle--

You don’t remember much of the weeks after that, of the nightmare that was your Quirk blooming from the top of your head in strands of pink, blue, white, and green.

***

Quirk counseling starts early for you. Habashira-sensei earns your fear and anger because she helps you understand your Quirk. It is probably ungrateful of you, but you resent every session you spent with her. With her, you were forced to learn what the colors of your hair meant.

Pink strands are for sensing heat.

Blue strands are for sensing a lack of heat, or ‘cold’.

Green strands are sensing pressure.

And white strands… are for sensing pain.

When working in tandem, you could ‘taste’ things, hence your revulsion that first day when your mother touched your hair with dishwater hands (soapmoistchillygross).

Habashira-sensei lead you through numerous tests to discover these facts. The worst test, though, shall always be the time she put a strand of your hair through a weight test. You were still only three that day.

It started simple enough. You could move your hair at will and make it touch things, so she wanted to find the limit one strand could lift and from there use math to approximate the maximum weight you could theoretically lift with your ‘amazing hair’. She directed you to use only a single strand to pick up a five pound weight. You lifted it easily. She directed you to heavier and heavier weights until you could barely lift a two-hundred pound weight and keep it aloft.

“Your strand hasn’t broken yet, (Name)-chan. Please try lifting the ten-pound weight as well.”

You did try. You managed it for a few seconds before the tension became too much and your strand snapped, sending two-hundred-and-ten pounds crashing to the floor.

You don’t know what Habashira-sensei said or did after that. The moment your strand snapped, pain flared instantly through your head, a pulsing, massive cluster of agony that made you scream and shriek and writhe on the ground because a part of you had been ripped away.

That was the last time your parents sent you to Habashira-sensei and the first time you recognized that your Quirk was truly a part of you.

***

Mother was tearfully apologetic as she held your small hand and told you that you weren’t going back to Habashira-sensei. Father was gruff, upset with your former Quirk counselor, but also recognizing that she did do her job in helping you identify what your Quirk could do and in finding some of the weaknesses that came with it.

Cutting your hair was off the list forever, because if you were in that much pain for a single broken strand, what would even two snapped at the same time do?

You didn’t learn until years later that they were greatly afraid for you. Your doctor told them that it was possible for a person to die from pain and shock, and your Quirk put you squarely within that possibility for the rest of your life.

***

The first day of preschool found you at the centre of attention. Your classmates were curious about your hair and wanted to touch it. Your protests fell on deaf ears as small, grubby hands pawed your multi-colored strands, tugging and pulling (but thankfully not snapping).

“Stop it,” you whined, trying to push them away with your hands.

“This pink is so pretty! If only all your hair was pink!”

“Blue is better!”

“It’s so long! It’s almost as long as her!”

“STOP IT!” Your hair flared out as you shouted, fists clenching your uniform.

Startled cries filled the classroom as your classmates were pushing back, most of them landing on their butts while a few crashed to the ground full-body. Your eyes which had clenched shut, flew open at their distressed yells and now were wide in horror as you registered what you just did.

The first day of preschool found you at the school’s Quirk counselor’s office.

***

The fourth day of preschool was the day you met a boy who became not just another face in the crowd.

You were sitting away from the others during play time outside when a fat cat walked up to you and took over your lap. Its sudden appearance startled you, but you couldn’t help smiling when it started purring before you could even touch it. Hesitantly, you laid your hand on it and became encouraged when the purring became louder.

A shadow fell over you and a surprised glance revealed that it was the blue-haired boy from your class. He knelt down in front of you and also began petting the fat cat on your lap.

Too shy to talk, you just kept petting the happy cat too.

When the teachers finally rang the bell to go back inside, you gently set aside the fat cat and said goodbye. “‘Bye, Cat-san.”

The fat cat yawned and stretched and the teachers called for the stragglers to hurry in. This included you and the strange boy so you both reluctantly turned from the cat and headed back.

Half-way to the building, he spoke. “Hitoshi Shinso.”

Startled again, it took you a few moments to realize he was introducing himself. Smiling at this realization, you replied, “(Name) (Last Name).”

He turned his head as he headed through the door, “Foreign?”

You nodded and followed him, “Dad’s dad.”

Thus was the foundation for a friendship laid by a fat cat nicknamed Cat-san.

We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.

~Unknown

Chapter Text

“Sensei, isn’t it recess?”

“It’s too cold for you kids to go ou-”

Let us play outside.

When sensei gestures for everyone to go, your classmates are too busy cheering and rushing outside to notice her strange behaviour. Even Shinso has left, no doubt in search of Cat-san who has reappeared many times since several weeks ago. You don’t like the blank look of your teacher’s eyes or her slack jaw, so you hurry out after Shinso, one of the only three friends you’ve made so far.

Cat-san is already purring loudly on Shinso’s lap when you arrive. You don’t know how to ask Shinso if he did something to sensei, so you refrain from saying anything as you tentatively pet Cat-san’s head.

It is only when the full recess period passes that the other adults in the school realized something is not right. Your class is summoned back inside, but there’s a substitute instead. Shinso is called from the classroom and you don’t see him again until the next day.

He has to start going to see the Quirk counselor too, as well as apologize to sensei. When he returns, the class is told what his Quirk is.

Brainwashing.

Sensei essentially plants the seeds of doubt and suspicion in the rest of your classmates. The other kids are wary of talking to Shinso when his Quirk means that he could get them into trouble by doing bad things. They run away from him with their hands clamped over their mouths, and even sensei cuts back on how much she talks to Shinso.

Shinso already said he’s sorry, so you have no idea why everyone is being so mean to him. The two of you still play with Cat-san and you still talk to him.

He doesn’t use his Quirk on you and neither of you talk about it.

***

You don’t remember much of the rest of preschool, except for how when forced to choose between Shinso and your other two friends (or any other potential friends), you choose Shinso. He likes cats and sitting with Cat-san and him is preferable to running around and playing with the other loud children, those same kids who still make grabs at your colorful hair (stickygrubbydirtsoftchubby).

It’s long after you’ve both started at the same primary school that Shinso finally brings it up.

“Do you trust me, (Last Name)?”

You’re on your way home after school and before Shinso spoke you had been wondering what mom was going to give you for your after-school snack. Your friend’s question makes you turn your head to look at him.

Shinso lives in the same direction so you often walk together like this. Right now, he’s staring ahead while waiting for your answer.

You don’t even think about it.

“Of course!”

He looks at you, startled more by the conviction in your voice than by your answer. “What?”

You beamed at him, speaking your mind. “You’re not evil, Shinso. I know you’re not.”

Because that’s the thing. Ever since his Quirk activated, people treat him as though he’s going to use it to cause mischief, as though he’s going to get others into trouble just for a lark.

As though he’s already on his way to being a villain, if not there already.

He’s only seven!

Remembering that fact, you scowled and folded your arms. “The others are just being dumb!”

Shinso stares at you like he’s never seen you before. Your indignation on his behalf only serves to make you look like you’re pouting, but that expression is on his behalf. You honestly think everyone else who reacts badly to him is reacting dumbly. All of a sudden, you’re more than just the girl he went to preschool with.

Neither of you speak up again, and your irritation bleeds away until you’re happily skipping alongside him. It’s at the split where you part ways that he speaks again.

“You can call me Hitoshi.”

You gap at him. Your friend has always insisted you call him Shinso. This… This is big!

You smile widely at him. “And you can call me (Name)!”

He stared at you for a moment before nodding. “…Okay, (Name).” He raised a hand to wave goodbye. “See you tomorrow.”

You waved back energetically, waving your arm higher than was strictly necessary. “Bye-bye, Hitoshi!”

***

A couple months later, Hitoshi is finally comfortable enough with you to ask you about your Quirk. He gestures to your hair as you both sit on swings at the playground. “What can your hair do?”

You move your feet to swing just slightly. “Weeeelll…” You waved a clump of each color in turn as you answered. “Pink is for sensing heat. Blue is for sensing cold. Green is for sensing pressure.” You grimaced. “And white is for sensing pain.” You let your hair drop without touching the ground. “A single strand can lift two-hundred pounds, and when they work together I can ‘taste’ things.”

He repeated, “Taste?”

You nodded, “Yeah. Like, right now, I can taste the chains of these swings, and it’s metal-y and cold and hard, and there’s sticky parts where other kids have held on. The sand is gritty and dry, and there’s some clay that tastes soft and damp. I don’t taste things long, only to decide if I like it or not.” You scrunched up your nose. “I hate it when people cough or sneeze because that’s just gross.”

Hitoshi wrinkled his nose at the thought of tasting someone’s cough or sneeze. “Ew.”

You wriggled your hair. “Anyway, yeah, my hair can taste things and lift things.”

Hitoshi was jealous of your hair. There was such potential in it, but you didn’t seem interested in finding out more. Why, why were you blessed with such an awesome Quirk when he

Hitoshi closed his eyes. No, he wasn’t going to take it out on you. You were his friend, and you didn’t ask for your Quirk anymore than he did.

Before anything bitter could force its way out, he asked instead, “What’s the heaviest thing you’ve lifted?”

You looked at him. “Uh…” you thought about it. Usually you just used your hair to move around your stuff. Mom and Dad hadn’t asked you to move anything around, so… You shuddered. “Two-hundred-and-ten pounds, with a single hair.”

Hitoshi frowned in concern as you paled and stared at him. “What?”

You didn’t really see him as you answered. “Two-hundred is my limit for a single strand, Hitoshi.” You shook your head slowly, “Otherwise… it snaps.” You clutched a clump of white hair. “Breaking or cutting my hair hurts a lot. I’ve only ever broken one, but… I don’t ever want to break another.”

The sheer dread in your voice made Hitoshi nod in agreement. You both sat there in silence as other children ran and played.

You both eyed the Quirks being used and silently wished that you’d been born with a different one.

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.

~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Chapter Text

The days and weeks passed by, and life blurred together into a mostly indistinguishable mosaic of vague memories. Seasons passed, and by the time you were nearly through primary school, you only had four friends, one of whom was Hitoshi. The blue-haired boy is your favorite companion to walk to and from school with, despite his increasingly dour and stoic personality.

The two of you hadn’t seen Cat-san since preschool, but a bevy of other cats kept you from missing him too much. Granted, most of these cats were unknowns, some with collars, and some without, but you and Hitoshi petted every single one that consented to it. Yours might have been a friendship built around an appreciation of cats, but there were worse reasons for being friends. Besides, it worked, and that’s what counted.

At school and around the neighborhood, Hitoshi was regarded with suspicion merely because of his Quirk. There were times when other kids tried to blame their misdeeds on him, but Hitoshi and his parents always cleared his name. None of this helped prevent your friend from becoming increasingly serious, though. Still, he hadn’t done any wrong to you, so you were content to continue being friends.

Being friends and living in the same general area, you often met up at the playground, which is where you were this fine, sunny day. You had progressed from the teeter-totters to the jungle gym, although Hitoshi decided he was going to be all serious and was standing on the ground as you climbed the painted iron bar structure.

“(Name), have you ever thought about what you’re going to be?”

“I don’t really care,” you told him, hanging off the jungle gym by your legs (okay, and with liberal assistance from your hair). Your arms hung on either side of your head as your hair wriggled about.

Hitoshi frowned. “But your Quirk has such potential! You could be a hero!”

You stared at the Hitoshi who was hanging off the earth like a bat. “I don’t want to be a hero.”

The bat huffed, crossing his arms. “Well, what do you want to be when you grow up, then?”

When you grow up.

You continued staring at him. “Why grow up? So I can find a husband, get married, have kids, and cook and clean a house every day? Grow old and sick while my kids grow up and have kids of their own? Deal with a husband and children and grandchildren who will probably have Quirks of their own?”

You met his eyes and asked.

“Why?”

Hitoshi just stared at you. Why? Because that was life! But… he frowned at you as you righted yourself with your Quirk, floating upright at last. You… didn’t… want to grow up? His eyes narrowed.

…No, he was probably wrong. Shrugging, he answered, “Because we’re going to grow up anyway, and we might as well aim for something to be. If you don’t want to be a housewife, then you don’t have to be.”

You floated down to the ground and leaned back into the fluffy cloud that was your hair. “Well, I don’t know what I want to be, Hitoshi.” You tilted your head. “What about you? What are you going to be?”

Hitoshi met your eyes again.

A hero.

You nodded slowly. “Alright.”

The two of you moved over to the swings and you kicked off, swinging back and forth as your hair curled up into a bun. Hitoshi sat on his swing and watched you play.

Your earlier question rang in Hitoshi’s mind. ‘Why?

Such a simple question to plant such dread in his stomach. He scowled and kicked off too, trying to forget the unease your simple question gave him.

A sudden bout of laughter filled the air. “Look, Hitoshi!”

He turned and looked and saw that you were both swinging in tandem. He gazed at your smiling face as you swung side by side, swooping high and low repeatedly. The sunlight of the afternoon caught and glinted in your hair and lit up your face as you continued laughing.

People could take their lives.

A chill ran down his spine and his fists clenched harder around the chains in his hands.

Hitoshi turned his gaze back towards the sky and tried to forget.

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

~Marie Curie

Chapter Text

One morning, you take time to just stare at your reflection. Once you’ve taken in your facial features, your gaze drifts over to your most prominent feature: your multi-colored hair.

A pink tendril of hair falls down the middle of your face, while green and blue tendrils frame either side. The rest of your head is covered in a mix of colors, and these colors fall all the way down past your knees when you stand if you didn’t hold it up. To hear your mother talk about your Quirk, your hair is rather beautiful. However, as the person who has to haul it around every day and deal with the various and oftentimes disgusting things you end up ‘tasting’, you only begrudgingly call your hair pretty.

You huff and move your hair into a French braid before leaving your bedroom. You skip breakfast and head out the door with a careless farewell to your mom. There’s no school today, so you’re going to the park. You’re getting ‘too big’ to go the playground, so you were going to milk it for all it was worth before you started middle school next year.

After playing on the swings and getting dizzy on the merry go round, you climb up into the branches of a tree and stare up at the leaves and the bits of sky peeking through. You think of the homework you haven’t done and wrinkle your nose before shoving the thought away. A cool breeze rustles the leaves and if not for the noise of the other kids at the park, this would be really nice.

“What are you doing?”

You look down and smile at the sound of that voice. “Hitoshi!”

Using your hair, you jump off the tree and float down to stand beside your best friend. This is the boy who told others to back off and stop touching your hair, the one who walked with you to and from school, the boy who met you at the park to talk and play or sit in silence. This is the friend you met over a cat and the one who’s known you the longest besides your parents.

None of that is consciously acknowledged, you only know that you are happy to see him.

“Good morning!” you cheer, clapping your hands together.

“Afternoon,” he corrected drily. “Have you been here for a long while?”

You shrugged, brushing aside a tendril of hair with your hand. “I guess so, if it’s past lunch.”

Hitoshi stared, deadpan. “Stop missing meals. This is the third time this month you’ve missed lunch. You’re getting skinny.”

You pouted. “I didn’t mean to. And I’m not skinny!”

He eyed you skeptically. “Right.”

You put your hands on your hips. “I didn’t! And I’m not!”

“Fine, you didn’t do it on purpose. You’re still skinny, though.” Hitoshi reached into his pants and pulled out some change. He solemnly counted and after a moment he put the coins back into his pocket and jabbed his thumb over his shoulder. “Let’s go get something from the vending machines.”

You internally debated refusing, but refusing free snacks? Madness! You hopped after him. “Okay!”

Hitoshi led the way and made you look both ways before crossing the street. The two of you discussed All Might’s latest fight. Hitoshi’s eyes shone with admiration, as did yours. All Might wasn’t your favorite hero, but there was no denying he was the greatest one.

Arriving at the vending machines, Hitoshi gestured to two in particular, saying, “Pick something.”

You bounced up and down on your toes as your eyes roved the options available. A moment later you pointed, “That!”

Hitoshi pulled out the coins and pushed the required amount in before pressing the button to select your choice. As Hitoshi put in more money to get his own snack, you fetched yours and opened the packet to get at its contents. Soon after Hitoshi got his snack, the two of you migrated to a nearby bench to eat.

Crunching reigned as the noise supreme, but as it was just the two of you, you didn’t mind.

“Did you do your homework?”

You made a face.

“I’ll take that as a ‘no’.” Hitoshi chewed on a piece of his snack and swallowed before continuing. “Don’t leave it all to the last minute.”

You rolled your eyes in exasperation. “Yes, mom.”

He frowned and nudged you with his elbow. “I mean it. I’m coming to your house today and you’re going to do it.”

You leaned your head back and groaned. “I don’t wanna do my homework!”

“Tough,” he muttered mercilessly.

Desperately, you groped for a subject to get his mind off your undone homework. “Ah, um… you’re gonna be a hero, right? What school are you going to attend?” ’Wait. No! I wasn’t supposed to mention school!’

Hitoshi perked up slightly. “I want to go to U.A.” He glanced at you. “What about you?”

You shrugged. “I don’t care where. Wherever I go, it won’t be in a hero-training course, though.” You ate the last of your snack and used your Quirk to fold the empty packet into a small square for disposal later.

“I still think it’s a waste,” Hitoshi grumbled, folding his own empty packet and shoving it into his pocket. He openly eyed your hair, gesturing towards it. “A single strand can lift two hundred pounds, or just over ninety kilograms. A single strand. Multiply that by however many hairs you have and you could lift tons! You’ve told me that you have a range, and that range has increased noticeably since you first realized it was there.”

You tried to interject, “An increase of a couple feet isn’t really—“

He cut you off, “It could keep growing! Your range could get bigger and you would be able to touch anything that came within that sphere. You’ve told me that your hair can ‘taste’ things too, and I’m sure you’d be able to find a way to apply that somehow.” He sighed in frustration and ran a hand through his hair.

“You could be amazing.”

You scrunched your face in distaste. “That sounds like it would take so much effort. Why bother?”

Hitoshi stood up and faced you. “Give me control.”

Silence followed his voice. You stared up at him in surprise. He wanted to use his Quirk on you? For what?

“Why?”

He folded his arms. “My Quirk is the ability to brainwash people. When people are brainwashed by me, they will do whatever I say, so long as they’re actually capable of it. I could tell a person to fly, and they would jump in an attempt to get off the ground, but unless they possess a Quirk that gives them flight, they won’t be able to complete my order.

“I can use my Quirk to find the limitations of yours. Since it’s obviously too much work for you, I’ll make you do it. I’ll make you find out what other things your hair can do, and you won’t even register the effort you’re expending until it’s said and done. So, (Name), give me control.”

You stared at him for a moment before giggling. “Hitoshi.”

He frowned. “What?”

You smiled warmly up at him. “I’ve already answered you twice and you still haven’t used your Quirk on me. More than anything else, that tells me I’m right about you.”

A faint pink blush crossed his face and he averted his eyes. “I won’t use my Quirk on you without your permission. You know that.”

You nodded. “I do.”

If your parents knew what you were about to do, they would have called you reckless and foolish. As it was, you had no qualms about what you were going to do. You trusted Hitoshi, so you smiled at him again, meeting his gaze.

“Okay. Do i—“

Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication.
It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships.

~Stephen Covey

Chapter Text

Maybe he should have thought about this a bit more rather than just impulsively using his Quirk on her the moment she gave him permission.

Hitoshi frowned slightly at his blank-eyed childhood friend and noted that once under his control, she had stopped using your Quirk. Her hair, which had been wrapped around you head in a braid, had unraveled and fallen flat with the bottom few inches of her hair were now touching the ground. He dearly hoped she wouldn’t remember tasting the dirty concrete.

Use your Quirk to keep your hair from touching the ground.

Her hair fluffed up with body, lifting up off the sidewalk. Yes, better; this was how she normally looked. He turned and started walking back to the park, “Follow me.

It was eerie, having (Name) follow him silently, but that was his Quirk. He couldn’t change it. He would just have to use it responsibly (and he would; he wasn’t evil; he wasn’t a villain).

Returning to the playground, he moved to a more secluded part to begin the tests he had long since thought up in the time he and (Name) had been friends.

Activate your zone.

Her hair flared out slightly, giving it more body, but other than that, there was no visible sign that her maximum range had been optimized. Still, he picked up a small stone and tossed it up and down as he spoke. “Catch this pebble with your Quirk and hold it right where you grab it.

Hitoshi tossed the pebble at her, but more in an arc than a straight throw, and she easily caught it, leaving the pebble in the air for a moment as though she had psychic powers instead of versatile hair. Wanting to confirm something, Hitoshi walked right up to the floating pebble and eyed it closely from several angles. The pebble wobbled slightly, no doubt because she had to move her hair around him while he circled it, but try as he might, Hitoshi couldn’t actually see a single strand of her hair actually holding it up.

Stepping back, he made a mental note to inform her of his suspicions later.

He debated having her throw the pebble as hard as she could but decided against it for both practical and safety reasons. Practical, because if she threw it, he was unlikely to pick it out of any other pebbles it would land amongst, and safety because he was unaware of the strength she might exert and wanted to avoid potential injury to bystanders.

He held out his hand. “Drop the pebble in my palm.

The pebble floated over and dropped into his palm. Taking a few steps away, he prepared to launch it straight at her face and really hoped it wouldn’t hit. “Deflect this projectile.

Pitching it as hard as he could, Hitoshi watched as the pebble curved around her and struck a nearby tree instead. Deciding to test that again, he picked up several other small stones and repeated his command before throwing all of them at her with all the strength he could muster. Again, all the projectiles curved around you and struck elsewhere.

He grinned slightly. “I’m not sure what you’ll call that when you come to your senses again, but I’ll tell you now: that’s damn useful.”

Hitoshi’s tests proceeded through the afternoon and in that time he learned that she could easily lift him and climb trees at the same time, deflect not only pebbles, but also dust and water; her Quirk could also catch small wildlife, and by extension, she had the potential to catch humans as well. Hitoshi had moved on to having her use her Quirk to concentrate her hair into a single bunch to punch things when before his very eyes her hair unfurled and submitted to gravity as she pitched forward onto her hands and knees.

“(Name!)” Shocked, he instantly let go of his Quirk and cursed himself as she swayed even more. He ran over to her side and caught her before you fell face first onto the ground.

With hands on her shoulders, he watched as she laboriously lifted your head to look at him. His stomach clenched at the sight of her sweating, pale face. He noted that her eyes were unfocused and that her arms were shaking with the effort of holding herself up even with his assistance.

“(Name), are you okay? What’s wrong?”

Tears filled her eyes and for a moment, he thought she would tell him that she didn’t want him to use his Quirk on her anymore, or at least tell him what was wrong. Instead, he got something even more horrifying.

“Hitoshi, I can’t see you…!” Tears fell down her face. “I can’t hear you!”

Guilt filled his chest and his stomach clenched. What had he done? What should he do?

She sobbed and Hitoshi pulled her forward to rest her head against his chest. One arm wrapped around her while his other hand covered her eyes for a moment in a silent order for her to close them before his hand shifted to cover the ear not pressed against him. She trembled and continued to sob into his arms, clutching weakly at his t-shirt.

Remorse scrunched his face as he held her shaking body.

‘I’ll never use my Quirk on her again.

I made decisions that I regret, and I took them as learning experiences... I'm human, not perfect, like anybody else.

~Queen Latifah

Chapter Text

You don’t know what’s wrong with your body. It shakes and feels weak, and your hair is unbearably heavy. You want your mom or dad or an adult to help you, but you don’t want to let Hitoshi go so he can go get them. Clutching onto his t-shirt, you press yourself closer to your friend, finding a smidgeon of comfort in his continued presence.

Time passes, though how much is something you can’t guess. When you risk opening your eyes again, you are terrified for a split second because everything is still blurry before you realize that’s because of the tears still in your eyes. You sniffle and reach up with your hand to wipe at your eyes while the other still clings to Hitoshi’s back.

His bare arm is wrapped around you, touching your hair, and you can taste him. Hitoshi has never tasted weird to you; the familiarity helps calm the unease in your gut, regardless of the fact that you still feel wrong. Still resting your head against him, you ask, “W-what happened?”

Hitoshi flinches and you feel it in his body. He speaks slowly, guilt heavy in his words. “I… made you use your Quirk for a long while. During one of my… tests… your Quirk… quit. You fell to your knees…” He clutched your shoulder. “I’m… I’m sorry.”

Fatigue clung to your limbs and hair. “…I wanna go home…” ‘I want my mom.’

Hitoshi was silent for a minute. He shifted and you thought he was looking down at the top of your head, but you couldn’t lift your head to look. He asked quietly, “Can you walk?”

You didn’t want to, so you shook your head.

“Think you can manage a piggyback ride?”

And that’s how you came to be on Hitoshi’s back as he slowly staggered his way to your apartment building. A few people stared at the boy lugging around a multi-colored tangle of hair with limbs, but no one actually called out to him. Not to the blue-haired boy with the brainwash Quirk.

Feeling guilty for making Hitoshi carry both you and your hair (the stupid massive clump weighed more than your total body weight), you discretely used four strands to help him manage. He still noticed and scolded you.

“Stop that. I can tell the difference, you know.”

“’m too heavy,” you mumbled next to his head, thin arms wrapped around his neck and resting on his shoulders. “Feel bad.”

“Then stop doing it,” he muttered, misunderstanding your guilt for physical discomfort. He hefted you up. “We’re almost there, anyway.”

Blinking your eyes open, you saw that he was right. Still, you refused to stop helping him and stubbornly kept those four strands to help him carry your total weight and keep his balance. It was while waiting for the elevator that you remembered something critically important.

“Don’t tell anyone what happened.”

His fingers twitched against your legs. “What do you mean?”

You whined softly. “Mom already thinks you’re bad, and she doesn’t like it that I still hang out with you. If we tell her you used your Quirk on me and then I got sick, she won’t let me see you again.” You clutched your arms a little tighter. “I’d still see you, ‘course, but mom would get mad and stuff…”

The elevator arrived and Hitoshi boarded without a word. He leaned forward so you could press the button to your floor and straightened again before speaking.

“Then what are we going to tell people?”

You smiled slightly in relief. For a moment you’d been afraid he’d insist on telling the truth.

“Just tell people I used my Quirk too much. It’s mostly the truth. We just won’t tell people you were using yours.” Your chest tightened and your smile fell as you nuzzled your head next to his. “I don’t want you to get in trouble, ‘Toshi.”

“…I should. It was my fault. I—“

“So next time don’t use it for so long. Next time, use it for a shorter time.”

“…Next time?”

The elevator stopped and the doors opened. Hitoshi stepped out and you hummed. “Yeah. Next time. You did learn some things, yeah?”

He made his way to your door, still assisted by those four strands. He murmured, “Yeah. I did. I… I’ll tell you later.”

He knocked on the door.

When mom appeared and saw you on his back, she screeched in concern and nearly wrenched him off his feet when she dragged him inside. She removed your shoes as Hitoshi kicked off his, and soon he had carefully deposited you onto the couch under your mom’s supervision.

She fretted, placing her hand against your forehead. “What happened? What’s wrong?”

“I was using my Quirk in the park,” you explained in a wavering voice. For all you often didn’t like the taste of your mom’s hands, you were just so glad to be back with her. “I was using it for a long while and then all of a sudden I felt all weak.” Tears filled your eyes again and you shut them as you remembered. “I couldn’t see, and I couldn’t hear. Just blurs and ringing.”

“A side effect,” she concluded. She pulled her hand back to sit beside you and pull you to her side. “Tomorrow, I’m going to get you an appointment with a doctor to look into it.” She cradled your wrist and sighed, “I thought you were getting too thin as well. Even your father noticed, and heaven knows that man is as thick as a brick and oblivious to boot.”

You whimpered into her shoulder.

“Um…”

You kept your eyes shut as she spoke to Hitoshi.

“Thank you for bringing her home, Shinso-kun. It was very brave of you to not panic and leave her alone.”

“She’s my friend. Of course I’d never abandon her.”

“Y-yes… Well, I’m going to make sure she gets some rest, so…”

“Right. See you later, (Name).”

You mumbled, “’Bye, ‘Toshi…”

Hitoshi left and your mom tried to get you to go to your room to lie down and rest. You shook your head. “I’m hungry.”

You clenched the fabric of your t-shirt. “I’m really, really hungry.” You paused, thinking. “…But I don’t really want to eat, either…”

Mom fretted and decided she was going to feed you a light meal anyway. Right after she got you into bed.

Bowing to the inevitable, you let her assist you to your room and to your bed. Once you were settled in, she left, headed straight for the kitchen. Lying in your dark bedroom, you listened to the sounds of life coming from the kitchen, categorizing it as a ‘Mom’s sound’.

Still feeling off from earlier, you let your eyes drift closed and firmly shoved the thought of a doctor’s appointment to the back of your head. You fell asleep soon after, and dreamed of a different scenario where you’d been abandoned instead. No matter how much you cried his name, Hitoshi didn’t come back.

Needless to say, mom was worried by your tears when she woke you, and could hardly wait for the next day to come.


A half-truth is even more dangerous than a lie. A lie, you can detect at some stage, but half a truth is sure to mislead you for long.

~Anurag Shourie, Half A Shadow

Chapter Text

The doctor’s appointment results in new information about your Quirk. Apparently, continuous use requires a lot of energy, energy received from the food and liquids you consume. Your lack of sufficient food intake resulted in your noticeable loss of weight and the fainting episode in the park. Yes, the previous day’s mystery sickness was diagnosed as a fainting episode. You decided that your Quirk was more of a troublesome pain the neck than you originally thought it was.

Mom tattled to the doctor about your lack of appetite and he pointed her in the direction of high-calorie compacted ‘bars’ and ‘juice’ that was specially made for Quirks that required high calorie consumption. They were apparently regarded as ‘hit-or-miss’ with those who had to consume them and unfortunately for you they were a big, fat, ‘why-are-you-doing-this-to-me-mom’-miss. Thankfully, they weren’t all you had to eat, but you definitely had to eat them every day. As the bars were cheaper, dad bought them in large quantities, and mom made you eat a bar after every meal and gave you two between each meal to eat before the next for a grand-total of seven bars a day.

Hitoshi, the traitor, made sure you ate the four you were supposed to between meals (“If you didn’t want me to bug you about it then you shouldn’t have told me about them. Now eat.”). Although thankfully Hitoshi, the godsend, used his Quirk to make it less torturous. Mind, it took you six days and two temper tantrums to get him to use his Quirk on you again and you don’t know why he was so difficult about it. You would regain your senses with the bar consumed and only the after taste to deal with, usually with liberal guzzling of a juice box. Over the course of three months and under your mom’s watchful eyes, you regained a healthy weight and maintained it.

Still, during those three months, aside from helping you eat those nasty energy bars, Hitoshi didn’t use his Quirk on you again. He’d throw things at you when you asked, but he refused to use his Quirk to force you into finding out what else you could do. You didn’t care about that part, but you did keep insisting because he had been so insistent about it before. You remembered the way his eyes lit up with excitement at the thought of finding out what your Quirk was capable of, and now… now he just looked like lost puppy and kept insisting that he didn’t care anymore.

“Liar,” you frowned, folding your arms.

Hitoshi sighed and leaned against a tree, “Never mind that, (Name). School starts in two days. Are you ready for our first day at Nabu Middle School?”

You sighed and leaned back against the cloud that was your colorful Quirk. “Yeah, I guess. I have my uniform ready and everything.” You grimaced. “Mom is probably going to take my picture again.” You used your Quirk to tug on his shirt, “If she does, have a picture taken with me. I hate it, but if I’m going to have one of my first day at middle school then I want us in one together.”

Hitoshi frowned slightly. He didn’t like having his picture taken any more than you did, but fine. “Sure. My mom’s probably going to insist on a picture of me in front of the school as well. She did for preschool.”

“What’s with moms and taking pictures?” you asked, mostly to yourself.

For memories, Hitoshi mentally answered. He stared at you as you continued complaining about all the photos your mother took of you when you would have preferred to have none at all.

He felt your Quirk around his waist and glanced down. There was an indent in his shirt yet nothing that he could see. Your hair was flared out and you were sitting on it, but none of your strands visibly stretched out to him. He’d already told you about his suspicions and you had taken his word for it, but he wanted to see for himself. He wanted to see if he could confirm the existence of your true feelers, the invisible threads responsible for your lifting and tasting abilities.

A normal person should probably be more concerned about her wayward Quirk, Hitoshi mused drily. After all, he doubted that his waist was the only place your Quirk was wandering. Still, it wasn’t like you were hurting him.

You noticed your friend staring down at his stomach and you blushed, realizing that your Quirk had gone and grabbed onto him while your mind wandered. Embarrassed, you blurted, “Hitoshi, throw water at me again!”

He grumbled, but pushed off from his tree even as he did so. “I feel silly walking around with that bright orange bucket…”

The moment he left your sight, you pulled in your Quirk and wrapped your hair around your entire body as you quietly freaked out. Why did you keep grabbing Hitoshi?! His taste was so familiar that the only person whose taste you knew better was mom! For crying out loud, dad was the third best known taste to you. THIRD.

You rolled around just above the ground, hands over your burning face.

A colorful, floating, rolling sausage was the scene Hitoshi came back to with a plastic bucket full of water. He snorted quietly and muffled his snickers behind his hand.

He wished he had a camera.

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Chapter Text

The first day of middle school did indeed result in pictures. After enduring the photo mom wanted with a smile, you begged for a photo of you and your best friend. Two moms stood next to each other and snapped a picture of their child with their best friend.

By the next evening, you were a proud owner of a framed picture of you standing next to Hitoshi in your uniforms. In a complete disregard for propriety, you had hooked your arm with his as you smiled brightly at the camera. Hitoshi looked for all the world as though he was just enduring the moment, and maybe he was, but you were glad that he’d consented to the photo. The picture would hold a place of pride on your desk where you could always see it.

But that was the next evening. Currently you were celebrating the fact that you had landed in the same class as your childhood friend.

“This is great,” you enthused, swinging your legs back and forth from your window seat. You grinned at the boy next to you. “We’re in the same class!”

“Yes, I read the same poster you did,” Hitoshi replied wryly. “Notice how I am in the same vicinity after getting confirmation of our class listing?”

You let his sarcasm roll off you as you peered around the room. Most of the other students had gathered in small groups to chat, though there were a few loners. If you had been in a separate class, no doubt you would have been one of the loners. Hitoshi too, come to think of it.

“Good morning,” one of your new classmates greeted. He was accompanied by another boy and a girl. “I’m Josuke Himura and these are my friends Gomaru Yamada and Keiko Yamato.”

“Hitoshi Shinso,” your friend replied warily. He gestured to you, “(Name) (L. Name).”

You nodded at the group. The girl smiled, “Oh, is that your Quirk? It’s so pretty! What is it called?”

“Antennae,” you answered.

Gomaru barked, “Like in bugs?

Hitoshi frowned at the boy’s laughter. Josuke smacked his friend’s shoulder, “Don’t mind this guy. He’s just jealous of other people’s Quirks since his sucks.”

“It does not!”

The girl cut in, asking Hitoshi, “What about you?”

You both tensed. Hitoshi answered hesitantly, “My Quirk is called Brainwash.”

What followed was the typical reaction of ‘don’t use it on us’ and sudden wariness of the other party. You scowled as Hitoshi reluctantly laughed, his eyes glued to his desk. The group quickly shuffled off to whisper to others near the back and the tenseness in both your shoulders and his didn’t go away.

“Just ignore them,” you advised under your breath. “If they can’t see past your Quirk then they’re not worth the effort.”

Hitoshi didn’t say anything.

Class fell into session, but at no point during the day did any of the teachers call on Hitoshi. The physical education teacher didn’t even yell at him during gym class. Literally, when it came Hitoshi’s turn to perform any of the tasks set, the gym teacher would just gesture for Hitoshi to go. The actions of the teachers only added fuel to the flame that was the gossip of Hitoshi’s Brainwash.

A few girls tried to make your acquaintance, but you were prickly over the general treatment of your best friend and your frosty reception towards anyone put your classmates off. People were quick to note the closeness you shared with Hitoshi and decided that you ‘must be’ under his thrall because why else would a girl with the potential to be popular hang out with a tired-looking weirdo? By the end of the first day both you and Hitoshi were alienated from most of your classmates.

“Well, so much for middle school,” you muttered on the way home.

“You could still make friends,” Hitoshi replied. “It’s me they’re wary of. If you’ll just be a little nicer—“

“We’re a package,” you declared, cutting him off. You grabbed his hand, first with your hair and then with your hand. You squeezed it and lifted your joined hands up in declaration. “Whosoever wants my friendship must accept your friendship as well!”

He snorted, “At this rate I’ll be your only friend.” He lowered his hand, taking yours with it. “Me and a bunch of cats, (Name). Truly, your social skills astound me.”

You gave a short laugh and jumped up onto a fence to balance as you continued heading home. Hitoshi turned his head to look up at you and speak before he suddenly snapped his head in the other direction.

Damn it, he was going to have to hammer it home to you that skirts and high places do not mix.

If someone lacked decency or respect, I didn't allow that person to stay in my world.

~Gabrielle Union

Chapter Text

The first year of middle school dragged on and you decided that you hated gym class with a passion that rivaled the sun. This was because you were explicitly not allowed to use your Quirk and none of your marks would count if your hair wasn’t flat as hell (the surest sign you weren’t using it). As the mass known as your hair still outweighed your total body weight, you were less than pleased at every single class. Your marks were, naturally, atrocious.

The school sports festival was at least interesting. Practicing dance moves with the other girls did help you in making two other friends, much to Hitoshi’s strange and muted delight.

The outdoor camping trip help solidify your friendship with Junko and Fujiko who introduced you to Hana and Ryosuke. Sadly, only Fujiko would actually speak to Hitoshi, but at Hitoshi’s insistence you kept up your tentative friendships with the others. Seriously, what was up with him?

May passed into June, and the clubs were busy with tournaments. As Hitoshi hadn’t joined a club (at least one member of every club ‘tripped’ and more would continue to trip throughout the school year), you hadn’t either. Swimming was right out, because that pool water was nasty. You hated the swimming classes after the first one enough to pretend to be sick for each one. Not your cleverest plan, but it worked for the most part.

The school’s art competition was mandatory and the theme for the first years was their favorite spot in school. You chose the front gate because that’s where you took a picture with Hitoshi and also because it was your favorite site at the end of the day. Hearing your second reason caused Hitoshi to laugh and join you in drawing it. Neither of you won in the competition but you did manage to drag a promise out of Hitoshi for him to give you his sketchbook when he was done with it.

Hitoshi’s mom bought him a smartphone and you begged your parents for one, getting it easily. The first phone number that wasn’t ‘home’ was, of course, Hitoshi’s.

Summer came, and with it festivals and fireworks. Mom dressed you in a yukata for each one before you ran off excitedly to join Hitoshi, the stick in the mud who wore jeans and t-shirts to every single one. This year Hitoshi took one look at your approaching form, pulled out his smartphone and took your picture before you could squawk at him not to.

“Delete it!”

You were summarily ignored.

“Hey! Hitoshi!” You huffed and followed after the receding back of your friend. You lit up, however, when he stopped at the ring toss. “It is on!”

Over the years the two of you had grown a small collection of trophies won by the other. It had started as a simple act of kindness on Hitoshi’s part, giving you his yo-yo prize when you failed to win anything that first festival you attended together. After that, no words beyond thanks were spoken as prizes were given to the other. For the first year in middle school, you added a music-note keychain and an All Might plush to his, and he added a pink teddy bear, another yo-yo, and two phone keychains to yours.

***

After summer, the months rolled by and the weather grew colder and snow fell. Still wearing the mandatory skirt, you liberally thanked your Quirk for being able to hold your body heat, usually loudly in Hitoshi’s presence to and from school.

One day he finally pointed out, “I hardly feel the cold when I meet up with you, and I really feel it when we split up.” He grinned at you, an expression not hidden well enough behind his scarf. “I guess you really wrap me up in your Quirk, huh?”

You proceeded to flail your arms and vehemently deny any such thing. “What? No! Of course not! Why would I—? I don’t! At all! Sh-Shut up! STOP SMIRKING!”

Alas, he did not stop smirking. He did, however, shiver when you consciously pulled your Quirk back to you. He ducked his lower face behind his scarf and complained, “Hey, hey. Don’t leave me to the mercy of the elements now…”

You huffed, glaring off to the side and deliberately not wrapping your Quirk around him. “You’re just going to keep making fun of me.”

He snickered softly. “Well, yeah, that’s like a quarter of our friendship right there. Besides, I don’t mind that you use your Quirk around me. It’s not like people can see.”

And it was true. Back in the first week of school Hitoshi dragged you into the science lab and made you put one of your hairs under a microscope. There, under the most powerful setting, you both saw that each strand of your hair had several extremely fine strings attached, each much thinner than your hair itself. Those fine, invisible-to-the-naked-eye strings were the true form of your Quirk.

You huffed again but conceded, letting your Quirk envelop your friend again. Your feelers ran over his skin, noting the change in temperature in the short time he’d been fully exposed to the cold weather. As you both walked, talking about yesterday’s homework, you noted the gradual warming of his skin. Blushing, you hid behind a makeshift scarf of your hair.

“I’m not looking forward to the cross-country run,” Hitoshi mumbled into his scarf.

You groaned and palmed your face. “Why’d you remind me? I can’t use my Quirk for it so I’m going to be just as cold and miserable as you. Worse even, because I have to carry my hair the whole way!”

“Braid it,” he replied, eyes on the road. “I’ll help you carry it.” He sighed, a breath cloud drifting away from him. “How is it that your hair weighs so much? It’s hair.”

You shrugged. “Yeah, but it’s got those weirdly strong things attached to it, remember? Maybe those things are heavier than they look. A single one can lift two hundred pounds, after all.”

“Gather it up and let me carry it,” he ordered.

You gathered it into a bunch and, since you were already walking fairly close to him, handed it over to his waiting arms. You let go of your Quirk and he grunted, holding up the colorful length in his arms. “Not as heavy as I remember it, but then again, you’re not on my back. Still, you wouldn’t want this dangling behind you.”

“My poor neck,” you grimaced. You shivered and reactivated your Quirk to envelop the two of you again. The school gates came into view and you walked quicker. “Come on, we might be late at this rate.”

Hitoshi followed, grumbling under his breath.

***

The cross country run did take place and Hitoshi did help you carry your hair, though to outsiders it merely looked as though your braid was only strangely placed over his shoulder nearest to you. The act of running together and having your hair ‘tie’ you together did not help you crush the budding rumors that you were dating each other.

“We’re not,” you insisted flatly to Junko, Fujiko, and Hana in the girls’ bathroom later that week.

“But you seem so close,” Fujiko pouted.

“Really close,” Hana muttered suspiciously.

You ignored Hana and rolled your eyes at Fujiko’s reflection. “We’re childhood friends, of course we’re close.”

She grinned, “Did you two take baths together as kids?”

You spluttered, “Okay, we’re not that close. We met in preschool over a fat cat in the playground.”

“Too bad,” Fujiko sighed. She giggled, “It would have been fun to tease you both about it.”

“Small mercies,” you sighed thankfully.

“So does the rug match the curtains?”

You stared blankly at Junko. “Huh?”

The three girls stared back at you. Slowly, one by one, their eyes widened. What followed was a series of questions that made no sense whatsoever.

“Do you know what a blowjob is?”

“Morning wood?”

“Do you know what boys really want from a girl?”

“What’s long, hard, and full of seamen?”

“What is sixty-nine?”

“What has a head and a tail but no body?”

You held up your hands, “Stop! What was all that? And sixty-nine is a number, right?”

They stared at you in awe.

Junko asked, “Do you not watch TV or something? I mean, surely you read girls magazines, right?”

You frowned. “I don’t watch TV unless I happen to catch hero video clips on the news, and I read a few manga series, but not everything from cover to cover. Girls’ magazines don’t interest me much, so no on that.” You shifted uncomfortably as they kept staring. “What?”

“You pure, innocent creature,” Fujiko breathed, only half-joking.

Junko grinned, “You should ask Shinso what a blowjob is.”

You watched as Fujiko slapped Junko over the head. Hana rolled her eyes. “Real mature, Junko. As funny as it would be to see Shinso squirm, if they’re not like that then we shouldn’t butt in.”

Junko ran a hand through her short hair. “Tsk, you two are boring.” She folded her arms. “As for what I meant earlier, is your head the only place where your hair is weirdly colored?”

“Not weird,” you muttered. You shrugged and pointed at your eyebrows. “My eyebrows are what my natural hair color would have been if my Quirk wasn’t hair-related. And yeah, my head is the only place with the colors.”

Conversation shifted and you all left the girls’ toilets to return to class before the next bell.

After school you walked home with Hitoshi as per usual. Snow was falling, but you used your Quirk to part the snow as easily as you parted rain. Hitoshi was in the middle of discussing your upcoming joint report when you suddenly cut him off.

“What’s a blowjob?”

Your friend choked on his spit and ended up doubled over coughing. You leant down and placed your hand on his back in concern. “Hitoshi?”

Finally he looked up, eyes widened with shock as he asked, “Where did you hear that?

“The girls,” you replied, confused by his reaction.

He sighed and ran a hand over his face. “Shoulda known…”

He glanced up and down the street and was eternally grateful that no one was around to hear your faux pas. The absolute last thing he needed was for the neighbors to start gossiping about what he could do with his Quirk and a girl.

He looked back at you and he saw your minute reaction to what was surely a very serious expression on his face. “(Name), promise me that you’ll never ask me things like that in public.” He ran a hand through his hair and glanced up and down the street again, his ears heating up with embarrassment. “Look, a blowjob is a sexual thing, so don’t ask about it to other people, all right?”

You paled. Oh, thank god your parents weren’t in earshot of that screw up. Also, trip Junko.

You bluntly changed the topic, looking away from his face. “So, nice weather, huh?”

The wind howled down the street, barely touching you both as you were wrapped up in your Quirk. Hitoshi snorted, the red receding slightly from his face.

“Yeah, beautiful.”

***

New Year’s Day passed in a lethargic blur full of food and the next day you were at Hitoshi’s vegging out on his bedroom floor. The sounds of a fictional world came from the television as Hitoshi explored a new Hyrule.

The next time Hitoshi glanced at you he saw that you were asleep. Not unusual, though an increasingly rare experience as both his mom and your mom grew ever more paranoid by the day. Honestly, as though he laid a hand on you if you didn’t want him to. He gritted his teeth and mashed the A button a little harder than necessary.

He would never use his Quirk to hurt you.

The memory of that long ago day hit him and he paused the game to rub his face as he amended.

Not on purpose, anyway.

Time will pass and seasons will come and go.

~Roy Bean

Chapter Text

You find it difficult to care about homework and tests, so it’s only due to Hitoshi’s diligence and constant nagging that you’re passing at all. He’s frequently annoyed at your blasé attitude towards your academics, but you don’t see why he has to get bent out of shape about it.

You drawled across the kotatsu at your displeased best friend, “Are you worried we’ll be going to different high schools or something?”

“I’m fairly certain we’ll be going to different high schools,” he replies grimly, using sticky tabs to mark the questions you had to erase and re-do. There are a lot. “I’m aiming for U.A., remember? I’m just trying to hammer a decent study ethic into you before you’re off on your own somewhere.”

You groan melodramatically and throw your arms across the top of the kotatsu. “I knew you had a diabolical reason for all this studying.”

He tapped your worksheet against your head. “Yes, yes. I am evil incarnate. I know.”

Later, as you see him out the door, you tug on his jacket to make him look at you. Shuffling your feet nervously, you ask timidly, “You know I was joking, right?” You wrapped pink and green strands around his hand. “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings earlier.”

His stoic expression softens slightly at the nervous worry on your face. “I know.” He gently squeezed your hair and gave you a small smile. “You didn’t hurt my feelings at all. Don’t worry about it.”

But you do, and despite his assurances, you still spend most of the night sleepless with guilt.

***

Valentine’s Day rolls around and your traditional gift of chocolates to Hitoshi gets blown way out of proportion. The girls, for once, are not the culprits who start the rumor mill, but, oddly, the guys in the classroom who spot Hitoshi’s fancy box given to him by you earlier on the way to school. As you and the girls have vacated the classroom, you are not there to back him up when he claims that they’re only giri-choko and not honmei-choko.

“Get real, no girl would put this much effort into giri-choko,” Josuke asserted loudly, gesturing to the box Hitoshi had, in retrospect, foolishly pulled out in full view of others.

The box in question is larger than what would suggest giri-choko, and you’ve gone all out decorating it (personally, he thinks the gold spirals are a bit much, but he’s not going to rain on your parade). As he had already opened it, the top was sitting off to the side, leaving the actual chocolates in full view. Each is individually separated by small colorful liners, much like cupcake papers.

“Are those handmade?” Gomaru sounds jealous.

Hitoshi is entirely uncomfortable with the boys surrounding his desk and dearly wishes he’d thought about his actions a little more. Stiffly, he answers, “Yes. She’s given me handmade chocolates for four years now.”

He made absolutely no mention how the first ones tasted like burnt somethings mixed together in an awful combination. He’d take that secret to his grave, thank you.

“She’s gotta be into you,” someone else comments, eating one of his own giri-choko. “Are you two dating?”

‘Why do people keep asking that?’ Hitoshi sighs and picks out a single chocolate before replacing the lid. “No, we’re not.”

“So why all the effort?” The suspicion is back in all of them and Hitoshi subtly tenses at the accusations he can almost hear.

“We’re friends,” he grits out, hiding the box back in his desk. He picks up the lone chocolate he chose and peels it from its liner before popping it into his mouth.

The drift off, but the damage has been done. Because of who he is—because of what his Quirk is—some of his classmates gossip that he must’ve used his Quirk on you to get such amazing chocolates. By the time you return with your other friends, you’ve been repainted as a victim of his Quirk. He sees the confusion on your face at being consoled by a few of the other girls and the sour feeling returns to his stomach.

Why do people assume you’re his friend only because he made you?

***

By the time you’ve finally convinced Junko, Fujiko, and Hana that you and Hitoshi are only friends, White Day rolls around. When Hitoshi walks up to the intersection where you’re waiting, he wordlessly hands you a bakery bag.

Grinning widely, you take it using your actual hands and excitedly peer in. Yes! Your favorite cookies and a slice of cake! You throw an arm around him. “Thank you, Hitoshi!”

“Hmm,” he replies, looking half-dead from a lack of sleep but you know better.

When you arrive at class, Junko’s and Fujiko’s eyes immediately lock onto the bakery bag in your hand. You find yourself dragged off just as soon as you’ve hung your book bag on its hook. Hitoshi witnesses your abduction and does nothing.

Junko releases you near a window just down the hall. “What did you get for White Day?”

Fujiko grins at you in a way that reminds you of a shark. “Is it from Hitoshi?”

Hana has just arrived in time to join in on your interrogation. She smirks knowingly, “Just friends, huh?”

You roll your eyes, “Yes. We are just friends.”

Junko repeats, “What did you get?”

You open the bag to offer them a look. “Cake and cookies, like every other year I’ve given him something. Granted, I only crumbled before social pressure three or four years ago, but—“

“Wait,” Fujiko interrupts, holding a hand before your face. “You gave him chocolate?”

You blink, “Yeah. He’s my best friend, so of course I’m going to give him chocolate. I think I screwed up the first time I made him chocolate, but he didn’t say anything so it must have turned out okay.”

“You gave him handmade chocolate?”

Hana’s words make you wary and you eye them with new caution. “Yes?”

“But I saw you giving out giri-choko like the rest of us,” Fujiko muses. “You bought those, didn’t you?”

You shrug, “Well, yeah. I wasn’t going to hand make chocolates for the guys in class when I hardly know them. And since I hand make chocolates for Hitoshi, I decorate a store-bought box each year, too.”

Junko snorts. “And you say you’re just friends.” She shook her head. “Well, you finally do give out honmei-choko, you’ll have had a lot of practice.”

You return to class trying to reassure them that you’re only friends with Hitoshi, but the tones of their replies make their skepticism quite clear to you.

“Can you believe it?” you complain to Hitoshi on the way home. “It’s like it’s impossible for them to believe that a guy and a girl can just be friends.”

“I know the feeling,” he huffs, still annoyed at the memory of the others insisting that your chocolates were honmei.

“Hmph,” you pout. You shake your head, “Well, never mind that.” You sighed and stared up at the sky. “Second year will be here soon.”

“And after that, third,” Hitoshi said, adding to the conversation.

“Then high school,” you muttered darkly.

Hitoshi glanced at you from the corner of his eyes before suggesting, “Want to go to Neko’s Corner this weekend?”

You brighten at the thought of seeing the cats again. “Yeah!”

He smiles. “All right. I’ll text you.”

That the two of you have been attending cat cafés together, even going to movies and biking together, is in no way strange or new to either of you. As far as you are concerned, you’re just doing what you usually do.

Had your classmates known, however, the two of you would have been viewed as the longest lasting couple in the entire school.

Falling in love and having a relationship are two different things.

~Keanu Reeves

Chapter Text

It’s spring and the winter snows are gone. It’s a beautiful day with a cool breeze and the cherry blossoms are in bloom. It should be a lazy day because of the nice weather and the fact that there’s no school.

So why does he feel like something is terribly, horribly wrong?

It started a couple weeks ago, as nothing more than a niggling thought at the back of his head. He had noticed that she was complaining less and smiling more. He had listened to her as she jabbered on about hanging out with Junko, Fujiko, and Hana. She had also gone biking and to the movies with him, as well as spending an extra-long time at Neko’s Corner just a couple days ago. On the way to school she smiled and told him about the time she had spent with her mom and dad the previous evening, and of the afternoon outing she’d gone on with them the weekend before.

She didn’t get into trouble. She did her classwork and cleaning duties without complaint. She was even civil towards the others in the class when before her words and interactions had often been frosty. And yesterday, unlike every other day when she had given him some variation of ‘see you later’…

“’Bye, Hitoshi!”

And today when he called her smartphone, she did something she had never done before: she didn’t answer.

When it wasn’t night, the longest she had ever gone without answering a text or call from him was nearly two hours, and that was because she was caught up in watching a movie. Maybe she was still sleeping, but it was past the usual hour she got up, even when she did sleep in.

He called her apartment and her mom told him that she wasn’t home, having gone out earlier this morning. He checked, but she wasn’t at the park or Neko’s Corner. A text to Fujiko and a reply back told him that she wasn’t with her, Junko, or Hana. She wasn’t at school and she wasn’t in the woods near the park. His text messages went unanswered all day and his calls to her apartment were making her mom more worried whenever he did (because he sounded a little more frantic each time).

“Why?”

Her ever frequent question echoed in his mind as he scoured each place, trying to reassure himself that he’d find her. He even doubled back to check the places he had already been to, hoping to see her familiar colorful head of hair.

“Why grow up?”

The sun has traveled across the sky and now the sunset is bleeding orange. He’s been looking for her all day but he can’t find her. He still hadn’t found her when he sent her yet another text.

To: (Name)
Please call me. Please text back.

He sits on a bench with aching legs and stares at his smartphone, willing it to buzz with a new message. Five minutes slowly crawl by before he sends her another one, making a gamble and forcing back his suffocating paranoia by sheer force of will.

To: (Name)
Please please please don’t kill yourself

He thinks of the hours that have passed since he started his search, and he buries his face in his hands, wracked with the horrible feeling that he was too late.

‘Please let her be okay. Please, god, let me be wrong. Let her have just lost her phone. Let it have just run out of power. Let me be a control freak, that stalker she’d be better off without, just please, please let her be okay.

Hitoshi can’t bear watching the minutes drag by so he doesn’t look at the time on his phone again. He sits and waits and pleas and bargains in strained silence as unaware and uncaring strangers walk by. He’s just contemplating calling her apartment again (risking the now worried mother’s anger) when a familiar ringtone plays. Heart leaping in his chest, he fumbles his smartphone and nearly drops it, but he finally manages to press ‘Talk’ and bring it up to his ear.

“(Name)?!”

Silence.

Heart pounding, he tries again. “(Name), please talk to me. Please say something. Where are you? Do you need help?”

The silence drags on and he’s seconds from sheer panic when, faintly—

“…’Toshi…”

His grip tightens. She hasn’t called him that since the first time he used his Quirk on her and the disastrous consequence that followed.

She laughs shortly, though there’s no happiness in it. “Can’t hide anything from you, can I, ‘Toshi?”

He breathes deep, trying to steady his voice. “Where are you?”

She tells him and he quietly sucks in his breath. She’s more than three prefectures away.

“I’m coming to you. Wait there.”

“I’ll be on the nearest beach,” she said quietly. Before he can say anything else, she hung up.

He runs the whole way to the nearest train station, firmly ignoring the voice in his head that berated him for not using his Quirk on her, even though he knows his Quirk doesn’t work like that.

***

Hurrying off the train and running towards the ocean he can see between the houses, Hitoshi glances at his phone when it rings, but seeing that it’s not her, he shoves it back into his pocket and ignores it. Reaching the beach, Hitoshi swings his head left to right, panting, searching for her colorful hair. Spying it in the distance to his left, he rushes off in that direction, stumbling slightly from a combination of fatigue and the uneven footing of the sand. She spots him in his approach, he can visibly see her startle. As he closes the distance he can see her seemingly debating with herself whether he should stay or go, but before she came to a decision he’s closed the final gap.

Hitoshi doesn’t like public displays of affection, but he lets her get away with it each time because on some level he’s always been afraid; afraid of her flippant comments, afraid of the thought that crossed his mind when he was younger and seared itself into his subconscious, always lurking beneath the surface of his thoughts and actions when he’s with her (‘People could take their lives’). He doesn’t like people staring, judging him for PDA when he was already judged for his Quirk, but he lets her get away with it anyway.

Seeing her alive after spending the entire day worried that he was too late shatters his sense of modesty.

She gasps and tenses when he grabs her wrist and pulls her into a tight embrace. She’s warm, as she always is. Her hair smells like apples and an ocean breeze, no doubt from the time she spent on the beach (was this where she was all day, or is this just the place she decided to wait for him?).

He knows that she could push him off with ease and the fact that she didn’t immediately do so is an invitation for him to hold on a little tighter. It’s probably not a good hug. With the slight sounds she’s making, he’s pretty sure it’s an uncomfortable hug. A small part of him wishes it was a better hug.

But most of him is busy being too damn relieved that she was still here, still alive.

“’Toshi…” Her voice is small and her hands are clinging to the back of his shirt. “Someone might see…”

He really doesn’t care about other people right now. “I’m so glad you’re okay.”

The waves lapping the beach fills the silence that falls between you two. She hasn’t pushed him away. He’s not quite ready to let go yet.

Right now, neither of you has to acknowledge it. She doesn’t have to address why she’s on a strange beach at night so far from home, why she’s maintained radio silence all day with everyone she knows. He doesn’t want to ask why because he’s afraid of the answer. He doesn’t want to tell her about his frantic day of running around trying to find her, or about his growing panic when he couldn’t.

You’ll both have to, soon.

 

But not right now.


Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.

~Neil Gaiman, The Kindly Ones

Chapter Text

After ending the call with Hitoshi, you let go of your phone, leaving your hair to catch it and put it away in your pocket. You’re not sure why you did that. Today was supposed to be the day. You were supposed to be gone now. No more repetitive motions of the daily grind, no more fending off people who assume they’re helping you when they try to get you to renounce Hitoshi. There would be nothing, and it would be glorious. So why did you pick up that call?

(it’s Hitoshi, whom you saw last just yesterday, whom you’ve already said goodbye

whom you still want to see)

He’s hours away but he’s on his way here, rushing to come find you. You’re not lost, you know exactly where you are, but he’s coming here anyway. You… you should be here when he arrives.

With that decided, you sit down on the sand of the random beach you’ve chosen, not bothering to use your hair to hover just above the countless grains. Originally you were going to go to the Sea of Trees, but at the last moment you decided you wanted to see the ocean instead. It’s… it’s so big, and if makes you feel so small. It stretches out to meet the horizon and there’s nothing between the shore and where the ocean and sky appear to meet.

You don’t know how long you’ve spent staring at the ocean, but the sky has turned from dusk’s multicolored mix to the deepening purple-black of night. Sighing, you pull out your phone to look at all the calls and texts you’ve ignored all day (you repeatedly asked yourself why you kept it on you at all but you haven’t been able to answer yourself).

You had sixteen missed calls, one from Fujiko, two from mom, and the fourteen from Hitoshi, most of them clumped in a short span just before you finally picked up.

Dismissing the missed calls, you turn your attention to the twenty-plus new text messages.

The first message is from Hitoshi, asking if you’re still sleeping. You usually send him a text first thing in the morning, so the fact that you didn’t must’ve made him think you were still sleeping. You hadn’t wanted to talk to anyone, even by text, so though you had woken up before his message was sent, you hadn’t sent him greetings. No, you had gotten up like any other day, eaten breakfast with your parents, and cheerfully told them goodbye before walking out the door (with the intention of never coming home again, never seeing them again).

The next three messages were from Hitoshi, asking for your plans for the day, asking if you were still sleeping, and asking if you wanted to meet up. The fourth message was from Fujiko, a short message decorated with emojis asking you to meet up with her and the others at a mall if you could. The fifth to ninth messages were from Hitoshi, each in increasingly worried tones about your location. The tenth message was from Fujiko, telling you that Hitoshi was looking for you. The eleventh message was from Hana, a kissy face emoji with ‘ooh la la’. The twelfth message was from Junko, asking if Hitoshi always asked about your location and bluntly asked if he was one of those control freak boyfriends.

Messages thirteen to fifteen were also Hitoshi, again asking where you were, although one was an apology for asking so many questions, he was just worried. Message sixteen was from mom, asking where you were. She said Hitoshi was looking for you and she was worried. Messages seventeen to twenty were from Hitoshi, alternatively asking you to reply and asking your whereabouts. Message twenty-one…

Please please please don’t kill yourself

Just seeing all those missed calls and all these texts, you put together a mental picture of Hitoshi, your best friend, frantically searching for you because of course, out of everyone, he would be the one to realize that something was wrong.

(you didn’t cry then, but your heart cracked all the same

he could always see right through you)

The deep purplish-blue of the sky gave way to black sprinkled with stars. It was full-on night now. The stars above were partially blotted out by the lights of the town behind you, but the stars over the ocean twinkled brightly. The moon was waxing and glowed on the water’s surface, looking like a path leading… somewhere.

You wanted to follow that moonlit path. Hitoshi had tested if you could walk on water, and you could, but you never followed your desire to chase the moon because it was ‘against the law’. Stupid laws…

The sound of the waves lapping against the sand filled the long silence. When Hitoshi finally arrived (what was the name for that look on his face?), out of breath and disheveled, he pulled you into a fierce, tight hug. From there, slowly, the two of you had slid down to your knees, and it was only a little while ago that Hitoshi let go enough for the two of you to sit close together on the sand facing the ocean.

His hand was holding yours, though, and of course your Quirk had encircled you both (sweat, both old and fresh, salty, dusty—he tastes so different today). The chilly spring evening can’t touch either of you, cocooned as you are in your invisible feelers.

Both of your phones ring and buzz a few times, but all calls and texts go ignored. Neither of you even bother to reach for your phones and instead stare out at the ocean, putting off the coming conversation for as long as possible.

(but you put off doing it all day already, and you picked up his call for a reason you can’t really name, so—)

You squeeze his hand. “’Toshi.”

His fingers twitch against your hand. You’ve given him the go-ahead to speak, but he’s not sure how to say it. He’s not sure how to phrase his feelings into words, not sure how to talk to you about this.

All he knows is that he doesn’t want you to die (he doesn’t want you to kill yourself).

You stare up at the evening sky full of stars and decide to just lay it out.

“I don’t want to live.”

Hitoshi clenched his hands, one tightening around one of yours while the other becomes a fistful of cold sand. His voice is both distraught and angry. “Why?

You gave a humorless laugh. “Isn’t that my question?” You leaned back against your hair and closed your eyes. “Why anything? What’s the point? It doesn’t mean anything. My time would be insignificant and irrelevant. Why should I go through the motions when I don’t see the value or worth in it?”

(How could she say that? Her time is significant. She did have value!)

He could get mad. He could shout and yell, demand to know why you were trying to cut out now if you had already felt this way for years; demand to know why you felt life wasn’t worth living when so many people would gladly trade their place with you; demand to know why you would inflict such suffering on your mother who loved you so much and on your father who cared for you deeply.

(demand to know why you made yourself his friend if you were only ever planning to leave)

But if he raised his voice he was going to lose you. He knew that. He knew that if he yelled at you then you would shut down on him. He would place you beyond his reach if he shouted, if he gave vent to the frustration and desperation that was demanding to be let out, calling for him to use his Quirk on you and deliver you to your parents and the professional help you needed. In all the time you’d known each other, he has never raised his voice in anger at you, nor has he ever used his Quirk on you without your permission.

(maybe he’s spoiled you, maybe he indulges you too often, but he’d rather do that than rock the boat that has sailed so far)

You trusted him, but raising his voice or using his Quirk on you right now would irrevocably break that. He’d still do it, if he thought it would help you, if he thought he could get through to you that way.

The fact that he knew he would fail was the only thing keeping him from doing it. If he raised his voice or used his Quirk, he would lose you, one way or the other. In the worst case scenario, he would lose your friendship and you would take your life anyway, dying while estranged from him.

He could live with you dying. He could. It would be hard, and he would resent you as much as he would miss you, but he could do it. (He didn’t want to.)

He could also live with you breaking off your friendship with him, if it meant you would keep living. It would hurt like hell, but it would be worth it a thousand times over if you lived a long life you could be happy with. (He didn’t want to.)

Hell, he could even live with the double blow of your estrangement and your following suicide, painful (agonizing, heartbreaking, soul-wrenching) as though it would be. He would resent you, maybe even hate you, but he could live with that pain and move on. (He didn’t want to!)

But right now none of those situations were applicable. Right now he didn’t have regrets to live with. Right now you were alive and sitting beside him, still breathing, still in possession of a beating heart.

Right now you were still within his grasp and there was at least a small chance he could keep you there.

“If you don’t want your life then give it to me.”

(don’t throw it away)

His words registered in your mind and you slowly turned your gaze to meet his. On a strange beach close to midnight was the last place and time you ever expected to have this kind of conversation. Hell, you never thought you’d have this kind of conversation at all. You had had it all planned out. You were going to leave mementoes with everyone and laugh with them so they’d have one last happy memory of you.

But Hitoshi saw right through you and called you out, so here you were.

(you already said goodbye to him in your own way, but you still wanted to see him again, and you fought with yourself all day, putting off your final departure because he kept trying to contact you, was calling for you)

Just the thought of living your life from now to its natural end was exhausting, and you broke your gaze from the ocean to bury your face in your hands, letting go of his as you let your hair fall in a curtain between you two.

Day after day after repetitive motions, eating, drinking, voiding, and sleeping, for years and years? Dealing with people and their feelings and judgement and irrationality? Seeing the downcast faces and hearing the sad or angry voices of those closest to you as you lay in bed unable to face the reality outside your bedroom? Dragging your hair everywhere, tasting every cough and sneeze in your vicinity? Risking near debilitating pain through snapped and broken strands? Dealing with the days when all you could do was lie in bed and breathe and fake energy through texts? Worse, being forced outside and having to interact with people on your bad days? Seeing Hitoshi worry and fret? Risking that he’ll finally use his Quirk on you without your permission?

(seeing him give up on you and walk away)

Your voice cracked. “What would you even do with it? Why do you want it?”

Hitoshi’s hands twitched at the fragile cracks in your voice. He turned his gaze to the sand between you two as he slowly repeated your question, “What would I do with it? Well… if you give it to me, then I would do a lot of things with it. Ask for therapy… go to school… become a hero… maybe… even be my wife and the mother of my children. Or, if you fell in love with someone else entirely, let you experience that love wherever it leads you…”

The sounds of the waves of the shore filled his pause.

“As for why…” Hitoshi clenched his hands again. He thought of having to go to your funeral. Of having to go to school and seeing a vase of white flowers on your desk. Of the days and months and years and decades (a lifetime) stretching out before him wherein none of those days would he ever see you again, or hear your voice, or feel your Quirk getting a little too enthusiastic in holding on to him.

His vision blurred and a lump formed in his throat. He rasped.

“I don’t… want you to go.”

The waver in his voice was the final straw that broke the dam.

‘Selfish,’ you thought viciously as your palms quickly grew wet. ‘He’s so goddamn selfish.’

Expose your thoughts to some stranger? Keep going to school where memorization means more than anything else? Train to become a hero, one among many, to face villains and the sometimes vicious and ungrateful masses? Be his wife? Have his kids? Or be someone else’s plaything, or baby maker and house keeper? For the rest of your life, for all the years stretching out without an end you can see?

Stay, because he’d miss you?

What about you? What about your pain, your exhaustion? Feeling this hopelessness and going through the motions, on and on when you could just make it all go away?

sniff

And now he’s crying! It’s not fair! No one was supposed to know. No one was supposed to try and make you stay!

(but didn’t a part of you want to stay?)

Suddenly, he pulled you closer, both arms thrown around you as he gets a face full of hair.

“Thirty,” he croaked nonsensically, confusing you. You can taste the salt in his tears and sweat (desperation). His grip tightened, but you could still feel the shaking of his hands and the trembling of his body. He was so scared. “Please, just lend it to me until you’re thirty! If you still want to go by then, I won’t stop you. I’ll spend the week before with you doing whatever you want, even if it’s nothing. Just stay until you’re thirty, please!

(there it was, the end you could see.

but oh, how wretched it feels, knowing that you forced your best friend into creating that finish line for you)

You couldn’t hold back the sobs anymore, and soon the sound of two heartbroken children mixed with the lapping of the waves.

Maybe you had to come close to losing something before you could remember its value.”

~Jodi Picoult, The Tenth Circle

Chapter Text

Thirty years was still too long.

“Twenty-five,” you sniffled, eyes shut and face still wet.

Hitoshi stuttered through his quiet sobs. “W-what?”

You clenched your hand around his and you mimicked the action with your hair around his torso. You tried to keep your hiccups and stuttering to a minimum. “I’ll l-lend you my life u-until I’m twenty-f-five.”

Hitoshi felt your clench release and his hand clenched yours in return. “That’s o-only twelve years.” It’s not long enough.

You shook your head slightly. “T-that’s twelve years m-more than I would otherwise s-stay.”

Hitoshi’s arm reached around you yet again and pulled you close. “Okay! O-okay… But you have to p-promise you won’t leave before then. Swear.

You buried your face against his shoulder. “Hitoshi… I promise to l-lend you my life until I turn t-twenty-five. I swear.”

(mere words would never be enough

only time would tell if you would keep your word, and you both knew that)

The two of you continued sitting in the sand, trying to stop the hiccups and shudders that followed the long crying session of just a while ago. A small part of you is amazed that either of you was coherent for the exchange just now. The wet streaks down your face and the snot in your nose is disgusting. After a few moments, Hitoshi nods and sits up straight, pulling away from you. Looking up reluctantly, you try to hide your face, but Hitoshi reaches out and brushes your hair away.

Before you can react, Hitoshi brings up both his hands to wipe the tears away. Then, with his bare hand, he clears away the snot from your face. You hiccup dumbly, staring at him in shock, because what boy would do that for a girl? He wipes his hand on his shorts before wiping his own tears away with his arm. He then clears the snot off his own face and the two of you are now slightly more presentable, slightly more prepared to face the world.

“It’s too late to catch the last train. We need to find somewhere to stay.”

He stands and offers you his hand, though not the one he used to clean your respective noses. Blinking your tired eyes, you take it, using your Quirk to lift most of your weight. Then, holding your hand, he leads you into town.

***

Hitoshi finally lucks out and the proprietor of the third inn he tries is willing to let them stay, providing that she can talk to ‘their parents’. He doesn’t know why she’d assume he and (Name) are related when they look nothing alike, but then it probably has to do with social sensibilities than anything else. So he calls his mom and explains that he and (Name) are stranded and need her to talk to the inn owner before she’ll let them stay. Thankfully, his mom is a sensible person and, after passing his phone to the inn owner, convinces the proprietor to permit him and (Name) to stay.

Hitoshi is grateful he has most of his saved up allowance with him, and soon he and (Name) are shown to a room. Eyeing her exhausted figure, he quickly set out her futon, and not a moment too soon. She floated down onto the bare futon and closed her reddened eyes, falling asleep almost instantly. He pulled the comforter over her body and set out his own futon.

Ah, but before going to sleep…

Hitoshi flicked off the light and stepped out into the inn’s yard as he called her apartment.

‘Hello? (Name), sweetie, is that you?’

“No, Mrs. (Last Name). This is Hitoshi Shinso.”

‘Oh, Shinso! Did you find (Name)? She hasn’t come home and I’m so worried!’

“She’s with me. We missed the last train so I won’t be able to bring her home tonight.”

‘What do you mean she’s with you? Why did you miss the last train? Where is she?!’

“She’s sleeping, Mrs. (Last Name). She’s… tired. Look, I’ll bring her home tomorrow, I promise. I have to go. I don’t want to disturb anyone’s rest.”

‘Wait, Shinso—‘

Ending the call, Hitoshi pockets his phone, glancing up at the sky before heading back inside.

He couldn’t see the moon from there.

***

He can’t sleep.

Twelve years.

She was only going to stay for twelve years.

“Why?”

He turned over, gritting his teeth. Hell, she might not even stay that long. Sure she’d given her word, but it would be just as easy to break it.

Thirty.

What had he been thinking, giving her a deadline like that? What was he doing, giving her permission to give up when that age came?

Twenty-five.

And she refused! She whittled it down to a mere age of twenty-five. That was less than thirteen years away. Most of that would be spent in school!

Hitoshi sighed and opened his eyes to stare at (Name) just across from him, eyes closed as she slept.

He wanted her to live.

That much, at least, he was certain of.

Clenching his hand, he resolved to do whatever he could to keep her alive. He’ll carry her if he has to. He’ll carry her as far as he can, and farther if possible. She can cry and refuse to walk, and that’s fine.

He’ll carry her.

If he can’t carry her out of the darkness haunting her then he’ll carry her through it, blind and stumbling, even if there’s no end to it.

If she’ll live even a single day more, then anything will be worth it.

(maybe it’s not realistic or logical or rational, but he’s going to hold on to that, to her

she’s his best friend and there was little he wouldn’t do for her)

Suddenly, he remembers her on the playground, so long ago, with a fat cat trotting up to her small body.

A small moment, a small decision…and here they are, years later, uncertain and facing pain. Hitoshi stared at her through the dark room before closing his eyes and trying to sleep.

Life… is strange.

(if he hadn’t gone up to her that day, would someone else be here to convince her to stay?)


Sometimes it's the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.

~Keri Russell

Chapter Text

It’s been four months since That Day.

Four long months of counseling with no end in sight, but strangely, you feel better talking to someone you don’t know in your everyday life. It’s… cathartic. Your new medication, on the other hand, is a chore to remember to take every day, though between mom and Hitoshi, you haven’t forgotten to take it yet.

The day after your ‘absence’, Hitoshi took you home to your parents. He held your hand through your halting explanation of what you had planned to do, stayed through your hiccupped confession of not wanting to live, and didn’t bother hiding his own watery eyes as you basically told the two people who gave you your life that you didn’t want it.

You’ve never felt more like a terrible daughter than you did the moment you brought not only your mother, but also your father, to tears.

Hitoshi only left after your confession, and he was thanked for bringing you home again. Your best friend, who had been greeted with suspicion from your parents since his Quirk was made known, was hugged and thanked by your weepy parents. He left with a promise that he was only a phone call away.

Your parents got you counseling and medication, and somehow, thankfully, your half-hearted attempt to leave life did not get discovered by the gossipy masses of your middle school or even your neighborhood. You were spared what would have been hurtful, negative gossip.

Things between you and Hitoshi were a little weird, even now, but that was slowly disappearing with every day you got up to meet him, whether it was for school or just hanging out wherever. There were a few days when you didn’t get out of bed, but those were rare, and even then he would come visit you. Sitting in the dark was probably boring, but he didn’t complain. Sometimes he’d talk about whatever, usually cats, but he’d never force you to participate in conversation.

Life has gone on, and there were moments that just made you so glad you picked up that call.

***

Dad was often gone before you woke up for breakfast, his job requiring him to catch an early train, but dinner was always a family affair wherein the three of you would sit at the same table and discuss your days. Both mom and dad paid more attention to your contributions, to your answers to their questions.

Mom tearfully confessed that she couldn’t recall anything you said the dinner before That Day, something that she told you haunted her. She hugged you more often.

When you were both watching TV, dad would make you sit next to him, and the two of you would watch television in companionable silence.

Your favorite foods made it to the table more often than they used to.

The three of you went on a small family vacation.

They insisted on new family photos.

New photos of yourself, some even with Hitoshi, found their way into the house and, though you didn’t know it, your father’s work desk too.

Such love, how could you have not really noticed before?

***

Hitoshi sat across the small round table from you, clearly enamored with the cat on his lap. Giggling silently, your attention was diverted by a sleek white and brown cat suddenly winding itself around your legs. Peering down at it, the cat meowed at you before leaping onto your lap. It proceeded to knead your thigh, causing you to clap a hand over your mouth at the ticklish sensation.

With your attention on the soon purring cat on your lap, you didn’t notice Hitoshi smiling at you.

***

Fujiko, Junko, and Hana dragged you to a horror movie, citing that without boyfriends, a group of girlfriends was the next best substitute. You spent much of the movie hiding behind your hair and pressed against Junko, and the screams of you four would occasionally mix with other screamers in the theatre.

Afterwards, the four of you laughed over ice cream at twilight and promised to do it again.

***

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses.

It’s never all sunshine and roses, but you can deal with that. You can deal with anything.

The finish line is clear cut and defined, and every day brings you closer, and it is that thought which gives you the strength to meet each day because it won’t go on forever. There’s an end and you can see it.

Twenty-five.

You only have to live until you’re twenty-five.

Your birthday comes and you are fourteen.

Only eleven years left.

You smile over the well-wishes of the girls and don’t notice the frown on Hitoshi’s face.

He’s counting down too.


We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there.

~Charles F. Kettering

Chapter Text

Between the ages of fourteen and fifteen, your friends become completely convinced that Hitoshi is your boyfriend and nothing you say can convince them otherwise. They try to point out all the reasons why

“He walks you to school and from school nearly every single day!”

“You give him special chocolates on Valentine’s Day!”

“I’ve seen you two hanging out after school hours and on weekends. You two totally go out on frequent dates!”

“He texts and even calls you!”

“He totally ran to your defense that time those jerks were pulling on your hair!”

…but all those were things he’s always done ever since he allowed you to call him by his given name. To you, those things were just Hitoshi being Hitoshi, and Hitoshi was your friend. Sure, you knew his taste now better than anyone’s, even your own family’s tastes, but that didn’t mean anything.

He was your best friend, but apparently those same qualities made him your ‘boyfriend’ in their minds.

You gave up trying to convince them of the truth and just waved them off whenever the subject came up.

Still, at least their teasing wasn’t as harmful as the rumors floating around. Frowning at your test, your hair braided itself in response to your agitation.

***

“Hey, do you know about that guy in class 2-B, the one with the Brainwash Quirk?”

“What about him?”

“I heard he uses his Quirk on that chick with multicolored hair.”

“The one with hair that acts like tentacles? Kinky.”

“I know, right?!”

***

“Did you hear about (Last Name) and Shinso?”

“Look, Maiko, I know that you have this obsessive-compulsive need to gossip, but does it have to be about those two again? I swear I’ve heard more about those two than I care to know.”

“So you did hear?”

“Totally!”

***

“Ugh, she makes me sick. She’s such a damn damsel in distress. ‘Save me, Hitoshi~!’”

“I’ve never heard her say that ever.”

“You know what I mean! He’s always rushing to her rescue, like she can’t help herself or stand up for herself.”

“True, she is kind of a wuss.”

“And if it’s not Hitoshi running to her rescue it’s those friends of hers!”

“Hey, hey, don’t say it so loud. You want freaking Junko in our faces?”

“She’s such a goddamn princess!”

“And now you’re just bitching.”

***

“He probably used his Quirk on her too much and that’s why she’s so docile around him.”

“She does pretty much everything he tells her to do. Imagine what they’re like when they’re alone!”

“I bet they’ve already done it.”

“Several times.”

“In all positions.”

“Ha ha ha ha!”

***

Hitoshi could have happily lived without all the lewd comments and innuendos people threw in his face about (Name). Yes, you were a girl, yes, you hung out a lot, and yes, his Quirk was Brainwash, but at no point did he ever use it to make you do things like that. Scowling, Hitoshi stalked out of his classroom to pick you up from the next classroom over.

The door was already open so he stepped right in, eyes immediately latching on to that colorful head of hair. His scowl faded as he saw you laugh at something yours friends were saying.

(thank god he texted her and that she called)

Hopefully they would be able to get away from rumors at U.A.

Calling your name made you turn your head to look and you brightened just a little more. Standing up, you waved goodbye to your friends and hurried over to him. Your book bag floated in the air for a moment before you caught it in your hands, coming to a stop right next to him.

“Hi, Hitoshi,” you chirped.

“Hmm,” he greeted in return. He tilted his head at the door. “Let’s go.”

***

About six months ago Hitoshi started getting serious about you finding out what the limits of your Quirk were and just what you could actually do with it. As it turns out, you did have numerous limits and you could do quite a lot. Of course, you found out most of this second-hand as Hitoshi’s Quirk made remembering things while under his thrall very difficult, a feat you had yet to overcome.

He also came down hard on you about studying because he was determined that both of you would go to U.A. and become heroes. Now, as you lent your life to him for the duration, you went along with his plans. It wasn’t as though you had anything you really wanted to do anyway, and following Hitoshi was easier than forging ahead on your own.

“I don’t get this,” you complained, glaring down at the mock exam booklet as though it was personally responsible for killing your cat. If you had ever had a cat of your own, anyway.

Hitoshi leaned over from his side of the small table in your bedroom to look at the problem giving you a hard time. He proceeded to explain it in a way that made more sense than the train wreck that was your previous attempt at understanding. “Ooh, okay…”

About two hours after that, Hitoshi finally developed mercy and declared the study session at an end. You fell back on a cloud of your hair and groaned, stretching your arms. “Finally!”

“The exam is next week,” Hitoshi muttered, resting his chin on his palm.

You grimaced and stared up at the ceiling. “Two parts, right?”

“Yeah, written and practical,” he confirmed.

Mom knocked at the door and delivered snacks. She left and you rolled your eyes, floating the snacks over. Mom may feel gratitude towards Hitoshi a lot more since That Day but she was still suspicious of him, mostly because he was a teenage boy and you were a teenage girl. Heck, you and Hitoshi got the same treatment from his mom when you were over at his place, so at least it was balanced.

Munching on one of the donuts that was this evening’s snack, you used your Quirk to stop Hitoshi from picking up his study book again. You pouted around the donut in your mouth and he raised his free hand in surrender. “Alright, alright…”

Your pink and green hair tendrils slipped off his wrist and he picked up a donut instead.

I think the hardest part about being a teenager is dealing with other teenagers - the criticism and the ridicule, the gossip and rumors.

~Beverley Mitchell

Chapter Text

You had a hard time sleeping last night, and it showed in the way you woke up groggy. After shutting off your alarm, you stretched out as your braid undid itself, multi-colored locks spreading out from the bottom-up. Falling back on your bed, you sleepily blinked and considered sleeping for a few more minutes. Unfortunately for you, mom knocked at the door and called for you to get up. You grumbled a reply and sat up in bed as she walked away from the door. Yawning again, you made your hair fully untangle itself. After a moment, you let your hair fall down as the realization of what day it was settled into your brain.

Today was the day of the U.A. entrance exam.

Grimacing, you stood up and proceeded to get ready for the day. Once the majority of your daily morning routine was taken care of, you sat in front of your dresser and stared at your reflection. You were wearing your middle school uniform, and your Quirk was entirely visible as a mass of multi-colored hair of pink, blue, green, and white. You were fifteen years old, and today you were going to try for the same high school as your best friend.

(if you had stopped at fourteen he would still be fifteen and then sixteen and then seventeen and you would always be fourteen and someday you would have been only a faded memory with regret tied to it)

A knock came at the door. Mom’s voice called, “Honey, breakfast is ready.”

“Okay,” you called back, getting up from your chair to join her at the table.

As you helped yourself to the abundant breakfast in front of you, mom spoke. “Your father wishes you good luck today, dear.”

You nodded. “I know.”

She sighed and paused between bites of rice. She gave you a tentative smile. “Be careful today, okay?”

You knew she was worried about your hair. Just snapping one was bad, and she was afraid you’d suffer more than just one breaking in the test today. Well, that might just be you projecting, since you were afraid that might happen.

“I will,” you promised. You would definitely be extra careful around all the Quirks you would not doubt be facing off against.

Full of nervous energy, you forced yourself to eat all the food mom put in front of you before heading out of the apartment complex to wait at the crossroad for Hitoshi. He wasn’t there when you arrived, so you turned on your phone and read up on the latest news while waiting. To keep yourself from being surprised or ambushed, you set up your feelers just short of your current maximum range. Using your Quirk in public was illegal, but your true feelers were invisible to the average naked eye, so you felt confident enough to keep violating that particular law. Hitoshi never called you on it either, so you didn’t care much. Several people passed by within range but because they didn’t taste familiar you didn’t bother to look up from your phone until a certain someone neared.

“Morning, Hitoshi,” you greeted, putting your phone away as the blue-haired boy approached.

Hitoshi was also wearing his middle school uniform, though he also had an addition in the form of a scarf. He raised a hand in return, “Morning.” His eyes narrowed slightly. “Did you eat breakfast?”

“Everything mom put in front of me,” you nodded. “She even gave me extra because of the exam.”

His eyes resumed their normal shape, “Good. You have your energy bars?” He smirked faintly at the scowl on your face as you nodded. He tilted his head towards the station. “Let’s go.”

As you walked, you got several texts from the girls, all of them wishing you luck. You sent quick replies before returning to the news. After you stumbled at one point—your Quirk was wrapped around Hitoshi and kept you from falling—he told you to put away your phone and pay attention to the road.

“Today is not the day to have an accident.”

You rolled your eyes. “You realize you’re just tempting fate saying things like that, right?”

“Hey.”

You glanced over at him. He stared at the road for a moment before turning his eyes to meet yours.

“Be careful today.”

A warm feeling washed over you and you smiled faintly in response. “Of course.”

As you neared the station, Hitoshi spoke again. “I’m not cold…” He turned his head to you, mild disapproval in his tone. “Stop using your Quirk. You’ll need all the energy you have for the exam.”

He… had a point.

Blinking, you withdrew your feelers back to the braid along your back. “Okay.”

Feeling the cold February air as the warmth previously held in by your Quirk flew away, you shivered and quickly stepped up next to Hitoshi, grabbing his arm in a futile bid for warmth. He grumbled something under his breath but didn’t pull away or tell you to get a hold of yourself. Instead, he let you cling, though when you boarded the train, he shook you off to just holding hands.

When you got off at your stop, though, you didn’t go back to clinging to him.

If either of you were disappointed by that, neither of you mentioned it.


Being smart was key; being careful was critical.

Being lucky didn’t hurt.

~Kate Brady, One Scream Away

Chapter Text

In your combined eagerness—beneath Hitoshi’s default dead-tired expression and your nervously, subtly waving hair, anyway—you had both arrived to the exam early, and yet you were far from the first people there. Even as you approached U.A., numerous hopeful students were also making the fateful trek. Both of you came to a stop and stared up at the stylized building beyond the looming gate and the massive building beyond. Glancing at some of the passing exam takers, you wondered how you could ever hope to match with these seemingly confident and impressive-looking people.

“Hey.”

Hearing Hitoshi speak, you turn to look at him. His hands were stuffed into his pockets and part of his lower face was hidden behind his scarf. When your attention was fully on him, he nodded.

“Let’s do our best.”

You managed to grin back. “Yes.”

Hitoshi continued walking and you kept pace with him.

Your Quirk was once again firmly wrapped around him, even if he couldn’t feel it and you didn’t notice.

***

Hitoshi resisted the impulse to tap his pen against the desk as he tried to figure out the answer to one of the more difficult questions on the written exam. (Name) was right across the aisle from him and he glanced over at her. She was pressing the back end of her pen against her bottom lip as she frowned at the paper in front of her. Looking back at his own exam, Hitoshi passed over the question knowing that if he had time then he would come back to it.

He hoped she remembered that particular tactic and didn’t waste too much time on a single question.

***

With the written portion over, you briefly leaned against Hitoshi’s shoulder as you met up on your way out of the auditorium to go change for the practical half of the exam. As the rush of the hallway traffic didn’t lend time to talking, you just smiled at him before parting to follow the girls to their changing area.

Hitoshi nodded back just before you both broke eye contact.

***

You and Hitoshi had different testing grounds!

This was bad!

This was bad!

Not even a third wild look around your group revealed Hitoshi headed towards you (because he always did, he was rarely far when you were not at home or with the girls). After getting several concerned and spiteful looks, you stop searching for your best friend and gently slap your cheeks to make yourself focus. Okay, he wasn’t here, but that was no excuse to slack off. He thought a scenario like this might occur, so he’d told you to just do your best.

[“And… begin!”]

Blinking, you looked in the direction of where Present Mic’s voice was coming from. His voice came again, speaking to all the different exam groups.

[“What’s wrong? The test’s started! Run! Run!! The die is cast!!”]

You were running by the second ‘run’ out of sheer habit of following instructions, and you weren’t the only one. Soon the rest of the group was running, and a few of the late starters even caught up or passed by completely.

If you screamed the first time a one-pointer robot crashed through a building into your path, well, that was your secret.

***

Hitoshi gritted his teeth in sheer frustration. His Quirk wasn’t made for situations like this! Even if he took control of someone and had them smash a few pointer robots, they’d probably get the points instead of him. How was this test set-up fair to people with Quirks like his?

(damn it, damn it, damn it!)

As someone demolished a two-pointer that had been looming over him, Hitoshi glared at the test city and hoped that at least (Name) was doing okay. She had a versatile Quirk and just had to keep her head cool and remember what he’d taught her about her it. After repeatedly using his Quirk on her and compiling the data, he had made the following uses for her Quirk:

Hair Leash – divert projectiles, no matter how fine, densely packed or heavy.

Hair Lock – temporarily bind a person or thing; chance of target tearing free depends on its strength and/or the number of feelers she devotes to any particular subject or object.

Hair Quarter – tear an offending object into quarters (not to be used against the living except in the most of extreme circumstances).

Hair Punch – use all her hair to punch something (surprisingly devastating when all her hair is used).

Hair Net – catch a falling object like a safety net-slash-trampoline.

Hair Walk – walk on water, float off the ground or walk at ninety-degree angles up any surface.

Rebound – rebound any projectile at equal force it was thrown at her. (All right, yes, it’s ‘Hair Rebound’ but they both agreed to shorten it to ‘Rebound’.)

Granted, she still had trouble with stamina, and they’d never tested a situation like this where there was an extended fight, purely because she’d never had a proper target or sparring partner…

Hitoshi gritted his teeth.

Even if she didn’t get enough points for the hero course, she just had to get enough points to pass. Her zone had reached fourteen meters in circumference around her, and anything in that zone was at her mercy.

She just had to remember that.

***

At first, you had trouble throwing yourself into the thick of the mock battle, wary of the robots and flying projectiles, and you were already trying to figure out how to phrase your cowardice to Hitoshi when the test was over, but then you had a thought: wouldn’t it just be easier to put Hitoshi’s work to use rather than try lying to the face of the one person who always saw right through you?

At least then you wouldn’t be sweating bullets under a disappointed deadpan stare.

Licking your lips nervously, you flared out your hair, activating your maximum zone to sense incoming projectiles, robot targets and identifying passing exam takers.

Just pretend that Hitoshi is here telling you what to do!

A robot passed at the edge of your zone. Leaping towards it, you caught it and used Hair Quarter to tear it to pieces. You stumbled slightly, surprised by the amount of effort that took. Grimly, you steeled yourself and threw yourself into the thick of things.

For Hitoshi!

***

“Look at Rapunzel.”

Several of the judges heeded the voice and turned to the screen where a girl with long, multi-colored hair was floating horizontal to the street as a three-pointer apparently tore itself to pieces in front of her.

“Telekinesis, perhaps?”

“No, look, her hair is moving and she’s staying close to the building.”

As they watched, a laser beam that would have stolen her points instead veered off, and then a crumbled building part that fell from above also curved around her. Nothing was touching the girl with multi-colored hair.

“Interesting, to be sure. Oh, look at that boy with the electric-type Quirk!”

The judges continued watching and pointing out whatever they thought was interesting.

***

Your vision suddenly blurred and your hair fell limp, making your head uncomfortably heavy. Instantly you knew that you had pushed yourself too far today.

“Ohh, nooo…” Your steps faltered and slowly fell to your knees. One hand went to brace yourself, but your other hand came up to your no-doubt pale face. That awful ringing was back in your ears, and as your vision had blurred, you closed your eyes. Tears welled up behind your eyelids as you trembled on the spot, anchored by your own hair.

Just when you thought your day had reached the worst it could get, the ground started shaking and you felt more than heard the other examinees running past you. Doubly terrified now because you couldn’t run from whatever was making the others run—probably the ‘gimmick’ mentioned earlier in the presentation—you let out a whimper you couldn’t hear.

Then someone grabbed your wrist, pulling your hand from your face and startling you into opening your eyes. Your vision was still blurred and you couldn’t hear the person speaking even though you vaguely saw his mouth moving. You shook your head, “I can’t hear you…!”

The stranger then proceeded to haul you up and off your feet. You felt him—it was probably a he, given the width of the shoulders—stumble as the weight of your hair caught him off-guard.

The ground shook again and you blurrily saw falling rubble. Closing your eyes, you winced as pain laced through your head in response to you using four feelers despite your exhaustion; two to distribute your body weight and two to lift and distribute the weight of your hair, and all four to, basically, make carrying you easier on the helpful person saving your ass.

Eventually the person carrying you stopped running and you were lowered to the ground. Gratefully, you let the four feelers go, letting your body and hair fully submit to gravity. The arm around your shoulder hadn’t let go though, so it strained slightly against the sudden normal weight. The other hand quickly snapped over to catch and lift the back of your head as your neck had just been straining against the full weight of your hair.

Finally, the person seemed to realize the obvious and gently lowered you to the ground. Thankfully, with your Quick deactivated like this, you couldn’t taste the filthy ground. It was a shame you needed it to lift your hair constantly during the day as keeping your Quirk deactivated would have saved you a lot of grief from unintentionally tasting the world around you.

A hand rested on yours and you dimly heard a voice, though the words escaped you.

Slowly, the ringing stopped and you opened your eyes again.

A boy with black hair was sitting beside you and he was currently staring off at something. He glanced down and saw you staring. “Hey! Are you okay now? Recovery Girl is still making her way through the other test cities, and since you’re not bleeding, I guess you’re not on the high priority list. Um, do you need Recovery Girl right away? Because I can probably ask pass the message along if you do.”

You shook your head. “No, I’ll be fine. It’s just… exhaustion, I think. Anyway, it’s happened before. I just pushed myself a little too far and need some rest.”

He smiled in relief, and you noticed that he had a scar above one of his eyes. “You gave your all, huh? That’s manly! I mean, uh, the spirit of it!” He scratched the side of his face awkwardly. “Um, I’m Kirishima, by the way.” He noticed his other hand was still on yours and he removed it. “Heh, sorry. I just thought that you shouldn’t be left alone.” He stared down at you in concern. “You… were really pale. You’re still kind pale, actually. Are you sure you’re okay?”

Slowly digesting all that, you slowly replied. “I’m (Last Name). Thank you for not leaving me alone. You’re right, that would have been scary. As for how I am… I’ll be fine. I just need food and rest.”

After a moment of staring up at him, you gave him a slight smile.

“Thank you for saving me.”

He beamed. “No problem!”

***

Hitoshi was scowling as he waited for (Name) to show up, but not in annoyance at her for taking her time.

He was thinking of his performance in the exam and his gut was telling him he didn’t do well enough for the Hero Course. He glared at the ground in frustration, thinking of how unfair it was that Quirks like his weren’t given an opportunity to show what they were really capable of.

He sighed and glanced up in time to see her approaching.

She groaned, her hair cascading down her back but with the bottom half held in her arms to keep it from trailing on the icky ground and straining her neck. She clearly didn’t have the energy to manipulate it anymore, probably having used most of her energy reserves during the exam.

Hitoshi noted all of this as he crossed the distance to offer her his arm. “Exhausted?”

She nodded and leaned against his shoulder, passing her hair to him. He accepted the burden and decided it would be best if he walked her home, even if it was further than his place from the station. He gently nudged her along, “Let’s go home.”

She snuggled against his shoulder. “Mmhmm…”

“Don’t fall asleep now.”

“Mmhmm…”

“I’m serious. I can’t carry both you and your hair after a day like today.”

“‘M not falling ‘sleep…”

Mercifully, with the help of the energy bars she hated so much, she actually managed to stay awake long enough to make it home to her bed, but no further.

Hitoshi sighed and ran a hand through his hair.

Well, all that was left was to wait and see…


Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.

~Winston Churchill

Chapter Text

The day after the exam found you still in bed, though this was because you just laid back down after breakfast, changing clothes and fixing your bed. You were contemplating exerting the effort of using your Quirk to turn the light off or not and just hiding under your pillow. A knock came at the door and when you didn’t shout for them to wait for a minute, the door creaked open. Turning your head, you saw one of Hitoshi’s eyes peering in at you.

“…Your mother just left. She’ll be gone for at least an hour, she said.”

You stared right back at him. “You know, Hitoshi, if this was a horror movie, this is the part where I’d be murdered. Probably by you.”

“…Good thing this isn’t a horror movie.”

He kept standing outside the door and staring in. After a few moments you finally asked, “Are you just going to stand at my door like a creeper, or are you going to come inside?”

Opening the door further, Hitoshi stepped inside.

You asked, “Do you need the light?”

He flicked it off in lieu of answering. You heard rustling and then the sound of a handheld game system starting up. More soft rustling and then a muted thump informed you that Hitoshi was now sitting on the floor near your bed.

“I’m waking you up in thirty minutes.”

“So cruel…”

You turned around to sleep on your stomach under the comforting weight of some of your hair and folded your arms under your pillow. Experience told you that he was going to wake you up in thirty minutes whether you fell asleep right now or twenty minutes from now, so the sooner you drifted off, the better.

***

She’s fifteen.

Fifteen, so there’s only ten years left.

Ten years, and three of those would be spent in high school, so they’ll be eighteen by then with only seven years left before she’s twenty-five. Unless she wanted to go, he didn’t have plans on sending her to university or the like. Hopefully he wouldn’t have to spend too much time as a sidekick before he could start earning a hero’s salary. A family costs money, so he’ll have to start saving.

In five years they’ll both be twenty, so he can marry her then if she didn’t have someone else or was didn’t mind being his wife. At least one kid, and that was nine months alone so they’d have to do that as soon as possible. He didn’t particularly care about the gender of the child, as long as it was made from both him and her. Although if she married someone else… well, then it’ll be up to her and her husband to decide if they’ll be having a kid at that age.

…He hopes she does. It’ll be a piece of her she can leave behind.

Sighing, Hitoshi paused his game and angled the bright screen away from his face.

Ten years isn’t long enough.

…Yet would he have appreciated her as much as he does if he didn’t know that she planned to leave so soon?

Resting his head against her bed, he turns his eyes in her direction. Her face is barely illuminated by the light from his screen, but he knows that she’s sleeping. Listening to her breathe, he has to admit, if to no one but himself, that yes…

He would have taken her for granted.

***

“Time to wake up.”

You cracked open your eyes… only to flinch, yelp, and slither your hair over your face as the light suddenly flicked on. “My eyes!”

Hitoshi crossed the room and sat on your bed. Your hair slid out of his way so he didn’t sit on it. After a moment, you gathered the will to part your hair to look at him. He was staring at the closet opposite of him. Shifting your hair away from your face, you turned over on your side to keep staring at him as your body slowly got used to the idea of being awake again.

Specifically, you were staring at his hair.

…Was it always that color?

“Hitoshi?”

He glanced over at you. “Hm?”

You slowly blinked your eyes. “Was your hair always that color?”

He turned his head to stare at you with both eyes. “…I have no idea why it turned purple. Mom says she could understand my eyes changing color, it’s a thing with babies apparently, but not the hair. I’ve decided to just chalk it up to my Quirk and not let it bother me.”

“…Your hair is purple.”

“You’ve only just realized, haven’t you?” A wry grin crossed his face. “I hate to tell you this… but it’s been purple for years.”

Slowly, dramatically, you covered your eyes with your arm. “Truly, I am as oblivious as Junko says I am.”

He chuckled softly. “No, not as bad as that. I’ve overheard some of her exaggerations. I’m fairly certain you’d notice if you were on fire.” He stared at you for a moment before pointedly looking away and repeating, “Fairly certain, anyway.”

You pouted.

He turned back to looking at the closet. “Speaking of Junko Shimizu…” He poked your thigh, making you squeal and slap his hand away. “You should make an effort to keep in touch with the girls. It takes time to grow old friends, you know.”

“No one will be an older friend than you,” you huffed, sitting up and moving to rest your back against the wall. You yawned and stretched your arms over your head.

“I want you to have other friends than just me,” Hitoshi said, leaning back on his arms. “You might not have realized it, but you being friends with Shimizu, Oshiro and Morimoto made things… a little easier for me. People couldn’t say I was being controlling of you, because you had friends other than me, you see?”

Frowning, you leaned forward and rested your hands on your knees. “Yeah, I guess…” You grinned slightly. “Although the girls had no plans on just drifting apart without a fight. Only Fujiko and Hana are aiming for the same school, but Junko still wants us to try to stay in touch.” You reached out your leg and tapped his back. “Don’t worry on that account.”

“Hm.”

Hitoshi promised you a day totally free of studying, and this was that promised day, so you hummed as you thought about what to reap as your reward for going through with the U.A. entrance exam. Glancing over at your TV, you spotted just the thing. You turned on the TV and floated two game controllers over with your Quirk and grinned at Hitoshi.

“I’m going to slaughter you in Mario Kart.”

He scoffed. “You wish.”

***

Later, after the return of your mother and an almost unnecessarily large lunch, you consented to follow Hitoshi outside to go visit the cats at Neko’s corner. Your Quirk may protect you from the cold, but mother insisted you wear a jacket, as did Hitoshi, though his reasons leaned more towards ‘look normal while you abuse your Quirk in public’. Stepping out into the late February day, you squinted your eyes against the sunlight.

“This sunlight is assaulting me…”

Hitoshi, ignoring your grumbling, lead the way to the elevator where you both soon boarded for a slow trip to the ground floor. You were careful to keep your hair close to your body. Leaving the safety of your room with your Quirk active inevitably led to you tasting something gross, so it had become habit to keep your hair close to cut down on such instances. Of course, it did little to stop you from tasting unexpected coughs and sneezes…

Your feelers were wrapped around Hitoshi, and while they sensed warmth and the taste of his face, you blinked as you realized that you didn’t taste the rest of him, like his clothes. Tilting your head to the side as the elevator neared the ground floor, you wondered why.

…Ohh… maybe because you’re only using all four feelers on his face to taste, but not all four on the rest of him? And when people cough or sneeze on you, the germs are hitting all four feelers whether you want them to or not, so you end up tasting it.

You sighed deeply as the elevator doors opened and you exited before Hitoshi. Your purple haired friend glanced at you. You shrugged. “I think I realized why I taste the world around me when I don’t want to. It’s force on me, see. Like, right now…” You both glanced around to make sure no one was near. Seeing you were alone for the moment, you continued. “Right now, I can taste your face but not your hair or clothes. I’m using all four feelers on your face, but not the rest of you.”

He opened the apartment building door for you. “Hm, and when germs are flying unexpectedly, it hits all four, huh? Must suck,” he sympathized, taking up step beside you.

You wrinkled your nose behind a makeshift scarf of your hair. “You have no idea. Imagine having your mouth open—“

“Stop.” Hitoshi put a hand over his eyes. “I don’t want to imagine whatever it is you’re going to say. Uggh, too late, I can guess what you were going to say and I can already picture it…!”

You giggled as he shivered in revulsion.

Removing the hand over his eyes, he frowned as he completely changed the subject.

“Let’s get cake later.”

You smiled as you both kept walking down the sidewalk. “Yeah! I’d like that.”

***

Going to Neko’s Corner was one of your favorite things to do. Not only were many of the cats cute and friendly, it was the best place to see Hitoshi smile without restraint.

Like right now, with the calico Cho on his lap playfully swiping at his hovering hand, Hitoshi wasn’t guarded. Here in this moment, he wasn’t shuttered away behind a blasé expression. He wasn’t feeling defensive or ostracized because of his Quirk. The cats didn’t care about his Quirk in the slightest, or judge him because of it, so he could feel relaxed.

He felt safe, and it showed on his face as his eyes lit up and he smiled at or because of the cats.

Noticing your stare, Hitoshi glanced over at you where you were absentmindedly petting a purring cat on your lap. He was still smiling when he looked, and your smile widened in response, but you shook your head to tell him nothing was wrong nor did you need to speak to him. Satisfied he’d acknowledged you, his eyes went back to Cho.

Petting the content Saki on your lap, you realized something that you’d never really noticed before.

Hitoshi… was actually kind of cute.

***

Oh my god.

The squeaky whisper from his best friend made Hitoshi look back at her. She’d stopped petting Saki in favor of hiding her face behind her hands. Her hair was writhing in agitation, but thankfully not flaring out. Glancing at the floor behind her, he grinned as he saw several of the other cats batting at the ends of her suddenly interesting hair. She must have felt their paws, as her back abruptly arched, nearly startling Saki off her lap.

“Naughty cats,” she muttered, drawing up her hair in a braid which she wrapped once around her head. She stroked Saki apologetically. “Sorry, Saki.”

The cats meowed in protest, but she didn’t let down her hair again.

Snickering softly, Hitoshi returned to entertaining Cho.

Their hour was up not long after, and they left to go eat cake.

***

It was late afternoon when you ambled into Hitoshi’s apartment. Said boy closed the door behind him and called out greetings to alert his mother he was home.

Heading straight for his bedroom, you made yourself comfortable on his bed and decided that you weren’t going to move for anything.

“She’s gone out,” Hitoshi announced, returning with drinks and a bag of chips to snack on, plus the dreaded energy bars you had purposely left in your jacket out in the hallway closet. All of that was carried on a tray, which he carefully set down on the floor.

Deciding that you could definitely move for snacks, you sat up as he settled down on the floor. He handed you the energy bars even as you wrinkled your nose in distaste.

“Ready?”

No. “As I’ll ever—“

When you came to again, it was with the bitter-sour aftertaste of the bars in your mouth. Hitoshi wordlessly handed you a glass of juice which you gratefully washed down. You drowned the glass in a few desperate gulps.

Hitoshi opened his mouth to say something, inexplicably turned red, and shut his mouth again in favor of opening the chip bag. He hastily stuffed a couple chips into his mouth and proceeded to turn on his bedroom TV and searched for the news.

Bemused but unwilling to ask why he did that, you used your Quirk to snag a few chips and munched on those, carefully catching the crumbs so they didn’t fall onto his bed. Aside from the crunching of chips and the voices of the news reporters, the room was quiet.

It remained quiet for the better part of an hour before you yawned into your hand.

Yesterday was still affecting you, and you were sleepy.

You tugged at Hitoshi who was now lying on his side on the floor as he half-listened to the news while reading a manga volume. He hummed in response to your tugging, lazily asking what you wanted.

“Sleep with me,” you pleaded.

Your feelers felt his face grow strangely warm as the rest of him stilled. “I’m going to assume you mean nap.”

You sighed and poked the back of his head with your finger. “Well, yeah.”

Sighing, he closed his manga volume and sat up to peer at you from the edge of the bed. “Move over.”

Shifting aside, you grinned as he climbed in to lie down beside you. Snuggling close, you hummed softly in satisfaction and settled down for a nap.

“Thirty minutes,” he said mercilessly, not bothering to close the light or TV.

“Mmhmm,” you replied happily, reveling in the warmth of him next to you.

You didn’t even notice the moment you slipped off into sleep.

***

Hitoshi could not sleep.

No, he kept thinking of the damning thing he nearly said earlier.

When she finished draining her first glass of juice, he’d almost said, “You’re a champion swallower.”

ARGH! Just thinking of it made his face burn in mortification! Those damned jerks! It’s THEIR fault that such a thought even crossed his mind, he’s sure of it!

Rubbing a hand against his face, Hitoshi resisted the urge to leap away from his sleeping best friend.

He is, at least, eternally grateful that those words didn’t leave his mouth. There was no predicting what kind of reaction she’d give to such a suggestive comment coming from him, of all people, and frankly he doesn’t want to find out what her reaction would be, thank you.

Deciding to wipe the offending memory from his mind, Hitoshi started counting backwards from one-hundred in order to calm himself down.

By the time he got to one, he was more irritated at the numbers than anything, and decided to count up from now on instead.

Counting up proved a better tactic, and he was feeling much more mellow by the time the alarm on his smartphone went off.

***

The alarm from Hitoshi’s phone was a familiar, loud ring that never failed to wake you up, usually in an annoyed or irritated mood.

Today however, you just reached over and turned it off before flopping back down on Hitoshi’s chest. He let out a small grunt in protest but remained where he was, one arm on the small of your back and the other thrown over his face.

The warmth of sleep still hung over you both and you reluctant to get up: the eternal struggle. You sighed softly and let your eyes drift closed.

“…Don’t you dare fall back asleep.”

You pouted into his shirt. “Spoilsport.”


The biggest ingredient in a best friend is someone whose actions you respect and who you can truly be yourself around.

~Renee Olstead

Chapter Text

It was about a week before the results of the exam came in, and by then, despite all the energy you had put into it both at the exam itself and the worrying you’d done beforehand, you’d mostly forgotten all about it because it wasn’t important to you. At most, it was a niggling thought at the back of your head, and since Hitoshi hadn’t brought it up either, you didn’t put too much energy into worrying about it. Thus, it came as a complete surprise when your mother knocked at your bedroom door and soon entered, looking nervous as she held out an envelope to you. She seemed a little concerned that she had to remind you that you had finally received the long-awaited results of your entrance exam.

“Oh, right,” you blinked, letting your Quirk lift the letter from her hands. “I’ll just… open this?”

Disregarding the fact that your mother was still in the room, you slit open the envelope and used your Quirk to pull out the contents. Inside were a letter and a disc. Setting the disc down on your desk so you could read the letter first, you jumped slightly in surprise as a hologram started playing. A woman dressed in an R-rated costume appeared and you nearly averted your eyes even as she beamed.

”Congratulations, (Full Name)! You’ve been accepted into U.A.!” You watched and listened as the heroine Midnight broke down your score and exam results. Finally, she smiled right at the camera, at you, the successful participant, and cheered. “Welcome to your hero academia!”

Having served its function, the hologram disappeared.

“How wonderful!” Mom threw her arms around you, beaming with pride and joy. “My baby got into U.A.! Oh, this calls for celebration! I’ll cook your favorites!” She kissed you on the cheek and left the room giggling. “Wait until I tell your father!”

Letting her leave and also letting her have the dubious pleasure of informing your father of your acceptance into the most prestigious hero school in Japan, you sat down on your bed and stared at nothing as you processed what just happened.

You’d been accepted into the hero course at U.A.

…Huh.

Grabbing your smartphone from where it lay, you shot off a text to Hitoshi.

[14:31] To Cat Friend

Got my results. Class 1-A.

You waited for a couple minutes before realizing he probably wasn’t going to be replying for a while. Shrugging, you set aside your phone and picked up the actual letter that came in the envelope.

Reading it, you were informed of the registration process, and informed that your school uniform would be delivered shortly before the start of the new school year. Seeing a special medication notice among the papers, you took it and left your room while calling your mother.

You hoped that U.A. wouldn’t hold your antidepressants against you.

***

Hitoshi glared up at his bedroom ceiling.

He was in the General Studies track while (Name), who didn’t even want to go to U.A. in the first place, got into the Hero Course.

It wasn’t fair.

He wanted to be a hero while she was, well, not content, but at least willing to coast along life until her twenty-fifth year, so why

Pressing the heels of his palms against his eyes, Hitoshi mentally berated himself. It’s like he’s always told himself: neither he nor she ever asked for their respective Quirks. It wasn’t her fault that the exam was biased against Quirks like his.

It wasn’t her fault she was handed his dream on a silver platter and didn’t want it.

He rolled over, pulling his pillow over his head.

He couldn’t—wouldn’t—talk to her while he was in this state. If he said the wrong thing or spoke in the wrong tone, then he’d only be pushing her away and that’s the absolute last thing he wants.

(he doesn’t want to visit a gravestone or her shrine with a regret like that)

Come tomorrow, he would man up and congratulate her. She deserves this chance. She deserves the chance to shine, to have more people remember her than just him and her family. She’s going to be a brilliant hero and people will know her name.

People will know her name.

***

He meets her on the way to school the next day, bags under his eyes as usual. She looks uncertain in her approach, and he mentally kicks himself for being the reason why.

“Hey.”

“Hello…”

He grinned at her. “Congratulations. I’m in the General Track, but… I’m not going to leave you alone in the hero course forever.”

She smiled right back, looking relieved (she’s alive, he doesn’t have to talk to a photo or a gravestone, remember that). “Okay! I’ll be waiting.”

He hopes he doesn’t keep her waiting too long.


Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.

~Langston Hughes

Chapter Text

The first day of the new school term saw you waiting for Hitoshi at the crossroads where you met and parted each school day. High school wouldn’t alter this routine as the station the two of you had to go to was in the same general direction of your old middle school. Nervously, your feelers ran over your new uniform to smooth out any wrinkles. To think, in just a few moments, you were going to see Hitoshi wearing a high school uniform!

Unconsciously, your hair started writhing, displaying your emotions for the world to see.

“Easy,” drawled a familiar voice, making you stiffen in surprise. It continued, “It’s not the first day of school that we’ve gone through.”

Turning quickly, you brightened at the sight of your best friend. “Hitoshi! Good morning!”

The purple-haired boy looked as sleep-deprived as ever. His uniform was as crisp as yours was, though no doubt you’d both make them more comfortable as time passed. He raised a hand.

“Morning.”

Giggling for no reason other than feeling giddy, you fell in step next to him as you both headed for the station. Due to the extra travel time it would take to get to U.A., the two of you had planned your travel time while taking both that and your usual ritual of walking to school together into account. This meant both of you leaving home much earlier than usual to both meet up and catch the appropriate train.

Nearing the station, you braided your hair and hung it over your shoulder so that it partially draped down your back before switching over to your front. Then, once that was done, you deactivated your Quirk in order to, hopefully, avoid tasting unpleasant things.

The morning train was full of morning commuters, but not unbearably packed. Still, both you and Hitoshi had to stand. You weren’t short, but you had no desire to stand by yourself, so after Hitoshi took one of the few free hanging handles, you reached up and held on to his bicep.

Feeling your hand clamp onto his arm, Hitoshi stared dead ahead for a brief moment before slowly turning his head to stare at you. Grinning back, you remained where you were, hand and all. He let out a quiet sigh but didn’t say anything.


The both of you came to a stop at the gate and stared up at your new hero academia. It was just as impressive as exam day, but surely you would grow accustomed to walking through those gates and up to that massive glass building.

Upon entering the school, still with plenty of time before first period, you realized that you and Hitoshi would be splitting up. It wasn’t new since you’d had at least a couple years spent in different classrooms, but somehow this was different.

“Well, it looks like the shoe lockers are divided by departments, so I’m—“Hitoshi flinched as he noticed the tears beginning to form in your eyes. He glanced wildly around, hoping none of the scattered students would notice you crying. He whispered urgently, “Hey, hey. No crying. We’re just in different classes, that’s all. We’re still in the same school, at least. Come on, (Name)…”

You closed your eyes and quietly sniffled, forcing the tears back. When you felt like the crisis had passed, you opened your eyes and nodded back at him. “Okay. I’m fine.”

He looked pained at your words, but nodded once. “Okay…” He glanced over to the side. “The 1-A shoe lockers are right here. Find yours and get to class. If you can pick your own seat, pick one you can handle sitting in for the next year.”

“Gotcha,” you replied. You took a step towards the shoe lockers. “See you at lunch?”

“If we share the same lunch hour,” he promised. When you two were in different classes, lunchtime was often the only time you two got together during the school day, so it was important to you.

He waved and headed off to find the General Education Department section. You watched his back for a moment before resigning yourself to your fate.

You found your shoe locker and was just putting on your indoor shoes when someone suddenly spoke.

“Hey!”

Jumping slightly, you turned your head and saw a boy with red spiky hair and a girl with pink skin and horns. The boy was grinning at you with sharp teeth, but there was no aggression in his expression. In fact, he looked rather happily surprised.

“I remember you!”

You stared at him. “Uh… I don’t think I can say the same?”

The girl laughed as the boy slumped. She whacked his shoulder. “So she saw you before the Great Transformation, huh?”

The boy blushed. “C-cut it out, Ashido!” He looked back at you and pointed at himself. “I’m the boy who helped you at the practical exam, remember? I, uh…” He mumbled. “I had black hair then…”

Your eyes lit up in recognition. “Kirishima!”

His grin widened. “Yes! That’s me!”

You grinned back at him. “Thanks again for your help back then.”

He rubbed his nose. “No problem! It wouldn’t have been manly to just leave you there after you almost fainted.”

Ashido, who was putting on her last indoor shoe, snapped her head up as her eyes gleamed in interest. “Ooh! What’s this? A daring rescue between examinees? Kirishima, you’ve been holding out on me!”

Kirishima pulled out his indoor shoes and replaced them with his outdoor shoes. “No I haven’t. Besides, it turns out I got rescue points for helping her and a few others.”

“Those rescue points came in handy,” you commented, waiting for your new classmates while hoping you weren’t being rude in intruding on them.

Ashido looked glum as she sighed. “Ahh, I had no clue about the rescue points. I just ran around like crazy fighting robots…”

He finished putting on his shoes and the three of you headed off. He glanced over at you. “By the way, I’m Eijiro Kirishima.”

She leaned over from his other side and enthusiastically waved her hand. “And I’m Mina Ashido! We went to the same middle school.”

You introduced yourself. “My friend is in the General Education Department and we went to the same middle school too. The same primary school and preschool, too.”

Ashido lit up again. “Oh, oh! Are you two childhood friends?”

You nodded. “Yep!”

She grinned widely and sounded much too interested. “Are you two more than friends?”

You spluttered at her question before wildly turning your attention on Kirishima. “So! Kirishima! What’s, uh, no, who’s your favorite hero?”

The plan worked as Kirishima latched onto the subject and started extolling Crimson Riot, an old-school hero who inspired him to take the path on becoming a hero.

Ashido, knowing she’d been foiled, pouted on his other side.


A lot of the seats were already filled when the three of you arrived, but at least you could still choose. Ashido grabbed one near the front and started talking to a girl with big eyes and long green hair. Kirishima immediately introduced himself to some of the boys already there. Envious of the two extroverts, you stood there unsure of where to sit.

After about a minute or two, Kirishima noticed your dilemma and waved you over. “Hey, (Last Name), come here!”

Feeling relieved you were no longer standing in one place like an idiot but also feeling apprehensive because he was inviting you to mingle with people you didn’t know, you went over to him. The sharp-toothed boy grinned as he introduced the two others he’d been talking to.

“This is Kaminari and Sero.”

The blond-haired person with a black lightning bolt in his hair was Kaminari while the boy with black hair was Sero. You introduced yourself back and received friendly greetings in return. The boys chatted amiably while you nodded and listened.

Not long before the start of class two boys started arguing over one putting his feet up on the desk. Their argument was cut short when the classroom door opened and a boy with green hair stuck his head into the room. One of the two boys who had been arguing broke off to introduce himself. Your small group watched in favor of potential drama—or at least, you did—and before long a girl with brown hair showed up.

Then the teacher showed up in a yellow sleeping bag and things got a little more… interesting.

Why would your homeroom teacher want you all out on the grounds first thing on the first day?


When it comes to making friends, it is never about how many that you have, but about the kind of energy that they bring. Please choose wisely.

~Edmond Mbiaka

Chapter Text

A Quirk Apprehension Test.

That’s why Aizawa wanted everyone outside on the first day, even at the expense of the entrance ceremony and guidance sessions. A loud blond served as a demonstration, using his Quirk to throw a ball over seven-hundred meters.

And the one who scores the lowest will be expelled.

Whatever you thought the first day at U.A. would be… this was definitely not it. Your hair slowly writhed in agitation as Aizawa dismissed the class’s complaints about unfairness by rebutting it with various scenarios and how heroes were the ones to correct that unfairness. He told the class that for the next three years, U.A. would put them through the wringer.

The first event was a fifty-meter dash. You used your hair to lift yourself up and rapidly run forward. You covered the distance in just under six seconds.

For the second event, a grip strength test, you used your hair instead of your hand, yet you didn’t use all the feelers available to you. With a scant two hundred feelers constricting all at once, you managed a score of six-hundred-and-forty-eight kilograms. The realization that you probably should have used all your feelers didn’t hit you until after Aizawa had marked down your score and you were too timid to either ask for a re-do or explain why, so you let it go.

When it came time to measure your standing long jump, you decided to learn from the last event, so you launched yourself up and forward with every feeler available to you. Making a show of it, your hair gathered behind you, and at Aizawa’s command, just as the other student leapt forward, you bent at the knees, let your hair touch the ground, and then you launched yourself into the air. Unfortunately, while you had practiced jumping with Hitoshi, never had you done it with all of your feelers.

“KYYYAAAA!!”

An undignified shriek left your mouth as your arms pinwheeled, your body flying far beyond the end of the end of the jump track and still high in the air. Your scream ended before you could even finish the arc of your flight, so you stifled any further noises and concentrated on landing safely. Flaring out your hair, they touched the ground first and they curved to slow your momentum down so that you didn’t hurt yourself. Deliberately, you set heels on the ground exactly where the feelers first made contact. Panting from the sudden adrenaline of your jump, you looked back to see your classmates and teachers a long distance away. Sheepishly, you jogged back over to them and didn’t even ask what the length was.

Ashido beamed at you. “That was awesome!”

Kirishima grinned widely. “It was! You’ve got this event in the bag!”

Blushing, you just nodded and pretended to turn your attention back to the last of the jumpers.

The next event was side-stepping, and a short boy with purple hair and balls on his head was king of that event, but you took second place by splitting duty between four feelers, two on each side, and using them to push you back and forth as you moved your feet.

The last event was the pitch and the brown-haired girl got the best score with ‘infinity’. When it was your turn, you learned from both the grip-strength test and the standing jump, and decided that moderation wasn’t a bad thing. Thus, instead of using all of your feelers, you only used two hundred of them to pitch the ball. It landed less than three-hundred meters away.

“Did you do your best?”

Startled by Aizawa’s sudden question, you turned to him apprehensively. “T-teacher?”

He met your eyes with his own bloodshot ones. “When performing the standing jump, you used every strand of your hair. Even your tri-colored bangs swept back away from your face. For this test, you used less than a fourth. (Last Name), did you perform this test to the best of your ability?”

Shamed, you ducked your head. “N-no, teacher.”

You quailed under his gaze. “Half-measures will not get you far in this industry. Do you intend to coast along doing the bare minimum? I’ll tell you right now that will not fly in my class.” He sighed as you frantically shook your head in response to his question. “Do it again.”

Face burning with humiliation, you grabbed another ball with your Quirk and brought it over to you. Taking a deep breath, you closed your eyes and focused your feelers on the ball resting on the tips of your hair. Then, in a flash, you opened your eyes, made a partial turn, and then pitched the ball into the hair with the force of all your feelers behind it.

You stared in the distance, losing sight of it in just a few seconds. There was no way you were going to beat Infinity Girl, but…

“Nine-hundred-and-eighty-seven meters…?”

You couldn’t believe your score. Surely there was something wrong with it?

“Next.”

The red tinge didn’t fade from you face, but you were grateful when Aizawa let you leave the circle without comment. You joined Kirishima and Ashido, both of whom grinned widely at you, though he went as far as to pat your shoulder.

You watched as the rest of the class made their attempt, and the green-haired boy, Midoriya, was the only other one to get called out by Aizawa. After his first attempt that only went about forty meters, Midoriya got to try again, this time launching it about as far as the loud blond, Bakugo, did.

Frowning as said blond tried to launch himself at Midoriya only to get caught by Aizawa’s white scarf, you wondered if Midoriya’s name really was ‘Deku’. That seemed like a pretty cruel name to give to a child…


Finally, all the events were done, and everyone waited with bated breath, anxious and nervous to find out who was going to be expelled.

It felt like a cheap hit when Aizawa explained it was a ‘rational deception’ to bring out the best in everyone. As you slumped against Ashido, you wondered if Aizawa was going to keep pulling ‘rational deceptions’ on everyone and if you could handle any more than one. Thankfully, at least no one was expelled on the first day.

Ashido moved, carefully nudging you as she grinned. “Good job, (Last Name)!”

Confused, you stared at her until she pointed over at the floating score board. Surprised, you stood straight and barely managed to resist rubbing your eyes.

You placed third!

Honestly, you were surprised to place in the first half of the class, much less the first quarter. Stunned, you thought back to the tests and wondered how you had done it.

As the class drifted back to the locker rooms, Kirishima grinned over at you. “Had to be your standing jump and pitch scores!”

Ashido nodded. “Not to mention your side-step score. And you did good on the grip-strength!” She eyed you with curiosity. “What is your Quirk anyway?”

“’Antenna’,” you replied, wriggling several strands between you two.

“Cool,” Ashido said, catching the door just behind earphone-jack girl.

Tiredly, you grinned and followed her into the girl’s locker room.


You headed to the school gate, hair tied in a braid and hanging over your shoulder again as you anxiously looked around for Hitoshi, wondering if he might have already left or if he was still in class. At last, spying his familiar head of hair just beyond the school gate, you waved at him and felt yourself smile when he spotted you and waved back. A slight spring came into your step as you hurried over to him.

“Hey,” he greeted.

“Hi,” you replied brightly, moving to walk next to him as he turned and headed for the train station.

“Your class wasn’t at the entrance ceremony,” he observed.

You proceeded to tell him about everything. Caught up in your excited chatter, you didn’t notice the slight furrow of his brows or the fact that his hands were clenched at his side.

When you glanced over at him, he noticed, and gave you a slight grin.

“Sounds like an exciting start.”

“Too exciting, really,” you pouted.

There was silence as you both neared the station.

He looked over at you. “Wanna get taiyaki on the way home?”

You beamed. “Yes, please!”

“Did you eat your calorie bars?”

Your mood plummeted. “Aw, Hitoshi~!”

He smirked. “Don’t ‘aw, Hitoshi’ me.”

You grumbled, taking a seat on a free bench to consume the bars of disgust. “Help m—“


He sat next to her as she placidly ate the calorie bars she hated so much. Remaining as casual as possible, he looked through his phone, looking for all the world as though he just hadn’t used his Quirk both in public and on a person.

Considering that they were now in U.A., perhaps they should stop this habit of theirs…


Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.

~Winston S. Churchill

Chapter Text

The next day, while walking from the station to U.A., it finally hits you that there wasn’t a lunch period on the first day. Granted, it was only the entrance ceremony, or, in your class’s case, a Quirk Apprehension Test, but the fact that you didn’t remember it until just now made you blink.

“Huh. We didn’t have a lunch period yesterday.”

Hitoshi, walking next to you, thought about it. “Huh. How about that.”

You glanced over at him. “Are we still on to meet up?”

He nodded. “Of course.”

You grinned. “Okay!”

Waving goodbye at the shoe lockers, you put on your indoor shoes and headed over to your classroom. Most of your classmates were there and those that weren’t showed up at least a minute before the bell rang, after which Aizawa showed up like clockwork. Taking refuge in Kirishima, you took the seat behind him, earning a happy grin from him.

Morning classes were surprisingly mundane despite being taught by pro-heroes. Present Mic taught English and you tried very hard not to be called on as it wasn’t your best subject. Just from the first morning, you knew you were going to have to study more often in order to keep up with the curriculum. Hopefully Hitoshi would be willing to help you study. He was always better at that than you, thought that might be because you were pessimistic about putting in effort when… Bad thoughts! Focusing Present Mic!

The morning went by paradoxically slow and yet almost whiplash-worthy fast. You actually let out a quiet sigh of relief as the lunch bell rang. Taking a moment to recharge, you waited as most everyone else got up and left the room. Stretching your arms, you finally stood up and also headed to the cafeteria, perking up as you remembered that Hitoshi would probably be there waiting for you.

Arriving at the lunchroom, you were gladdened to see Hitoshi waiting for you near the entrance. He spotted you and soon your feelers were wrapped around his neck and head again.

As you closed the last distance, Hitoshi deadpanned quietly, “You’re tasting me.”

You flushed. It wasn’t even a question. He was stating a fact. He really did know your habits, didn’t he? You huffed and folded your arms. “Well, I’ve gone a whole morning by myself in a strange and somewhat stressful place. Excuse me for seeking some familiarity.”

Hitoshi shook his head, a slight grin on his face. “Come on. Let’s get lunch.”

Face still warm, you followed him into the busy cafeteria. After ordering lunch and letting him choose a table, you dug into your food. Since the prices were surprisingly cheap, you managed to get more than usual for your lunch money. Hitoshi, not needing nearly as many calories as you did, had simply chosen what he wanted to eat and no more. Thankfully in this day and age of Quirks, some of which need special diet considerations, most people were usually courteous enough not to comment, and you weren’t harassed for the amount you were eating.

“How’s class so far?”

You chewed your food as you thought about it. Swallowing, you shrugged. “Fairly normal and difficult. Nothing very heroic about it so far, but this afternoon we have Hero Basic Training.”

He was silent for a few seconds. “…Sounds… interesting.”

You grinned excitedly, picking up more food with your chopsticks. “Yeah! All Might is going to be teaching it, and I can hardly wait to see him in person.”

He hummed in response.

“How are your classes so far?”

He shrugged. “Normal. We’ve got more normal classes this afternoon. Nothing exciting like you in the hero course.”

You paused, hearing something in his voice that you couldn’t quite identify, but when you looked at him he seemed the same as ever as he continued eating lunch.

Somehow, your mood has fallen, and you’re not quite sure why. You let the silence continue, but when Hitoshi finishes eating, he doesn’t leave until you’re finished too, and your mood starts lifting again.

It was probably nothing earlier and you shouldn’t let it bother you.


Hitoshi waved goodbye at a certain hallway and headed back to the General Education Department while you went back to class 1-A. Arriving, you saw that some of the others had already returned, including Midoriya and the other two who were with him. They seemed like friends already, and you had to admit to some jealousy. You hadn’t made friends that fast since Hitoshi and that was way back.

The rest of your classmates returned before long, with ample time before the start of the afternoon’s class. No one wanted to miss that or be late, it seems. You couldn’t blame them, as you yourself were barely managing to refrain from fidgeting in your seat as your excitement built up. Hero Basic Training was going to be taught by All Might, so that meant you were (probably) going to see the famed hero in the flesh! ‘Must not be a weirdo and taste him, must not be a weirdo and taste him, no tasting the Number One hero, no, not going to be a weirdo.’ Keeping up a mantra in the desperate hope that you wouldn’t forget yourself, you let back an exited squeal when the hero burst through the door.

I HAVE… come through the door, like normal!!

You highly doubted that pose was normal, but whatever. All Might! In the flesh! In real time!

The Number One hero announced that today’s class would be Battle Training. Before that, though, there was a surge of excitement throughout the class as he revealed that everyone’s costumes were ready. You couldn’t help the wide smile on your face as you took your own case and hugged it.

In truth, when it came to costume designs, neither you nor Hitoshi had been able to come up with much of anything due to how versatile your Quirk could be. A preliminary costume was a cheongsam and leggings, but that seemed much too plain. Finally, he just told you to choose something you’d be comfortable in and add on protective elements, but, since you wouldn’t be paying for it yourself, you saw it as a chance to get something you had always wanted.

In the girls’ locker room, you used your Quirk to hang it in mid-air.

The girl with black hair in a ponytail was the first to comment. “A kimono?”

Her surprised tone made the other girls look over at you. Sure enough, hanging in the air was a kimono in various shades of pink and flower patterns.

“Pretty,” Ashido commented, in the middle of taking off her school uniform. “But will you be okay in it?”

You nodded as you got undressed as well, the rest of the girls following suit. “Don’t worry about me. My Quirk won’t let this encumber me.”

As long as you didn’t wear yourself out, anyway.

There was special underwear you had to put on in lieu of wrapping towels around your waist, and then you had a little trouble remembering how to actually put it on, but with your Quirk acting as extra hands you managed okay. Sweeping your hair up, you put on the ornamental hair pin and overlaid your hands on top of each other as you carefully walked out of the locker room and out of the building.

Stepping into the sunlight, you decided that if this kimono costume was too troublesome then you’d switch over to the cheongsam from Hitoshi’s draft. You still had his sketches, so if you changed your mind about your current costume then you’d submit his sketch to the support department. Still, you really hoped you could keep your current costume.

There was something slightly surreal about wearing a kimono as your hero costume, and you kind of hoped it would momentarily throw your opponents as well.

Grinning, you joined your classmates near All Might. You weren’t the first there, but you weren’t the last either. Seeing your classmates in their costumes, you couldn’t help but feel excited. Someday your classmates might be actual heroes, and here you were learning with them! If Hitoshi was here, everything would be perfect.

Wrapped up in your buoyant and wistful feelings, you listened as All Might outlined the class exercise. As he spoke, your mood slowly dipped. A teamwork exercise? As in, you had to team up and work with someone? Agh… Well, maybe you’ll get lucky and have a girl as a partner.

“And Team D will be… Bakugo and (Last Name)!”

Hiding your face in your hands in a surge of despair, you didn’t notice the dismissive glance your new partner gave you.

This… Whether your team was the hero team or the villain team, this was probably going to suck.


Men in general judge more from appearances than from reality. All men have eyes, but few have the gift of penetration.

~Niccolo Machiavelli

Chapter Text

As you and Bakugo neared the entrance of the building, All Might gave you two some last minute advice, saying that key to victory would be to assume the mindset of villains and embody evil. That sounded a little too close to what Hitoshi had to deal with on an almost daily basis, so you treated the Number One hero to a skeptical look before you followed Stomp-Stalking-Ticking-Time-Bomb-Doesn’t-Seem-Like-A-Team-Player Bakugo into the building where the exercise would be taking place.

“Move it, tentacle hair,” he barked, stalking up the stairs two at a time to reach the floor with the faux weapon.

Floating after him in order to keep up—and not blister your feet with the geta that was part of your costume—you withheld a sigh. Surely almost anyone in class would have been a better partner. Okay, so there weren’t many girls in class and the chances of you actually getting a female partner were slim, but still, why did it have to be this guy? Loud seemed to be his default setting, and you hated it when guys yelled. It made you anxious and you could feel your stomach starting to ache…

Arriving in the room with the fake nuclear weapon, you stopped floating and carefully made your way over to it. As you passed Bakugo, he turned his back on it and stood silently fuming. Letting your feelers run over the weapon and hefting it up to test its weight—it was relatively light—you asked, “What’s the plan?”

Bakugo growled. “I’m gonna go beat the shit out of Deku and you’re going to stay here and protect the goddamn weapon.”

“Bare bones,” you commented, carefully setting the weapon down.

“I don’t give a shit,” he snarled. You looked at his back and noted he seemed preoccupied with his hands. He startled you when he suddenly spoke. “What do you know about Deku’s Quirk?”

You shrugged, passively-aggressively defending Midoriya. “I don’t know who ‘Deku’ is, and even if I did, I haven’t known my classmates long enough to form an opinion.”

Well, that wasn’t strictly true. You had already formed an opinion of Bakugo and it wasn’t very flattering. Still, no need to say that particular bit aloud.

“Deku is the fucking nerd with green hair,” Bakugo spat out.

Oh, he seemed ready to burst waiting for the exercise to start. You did not envy that green-haired kid.

“Oh, Midoriya… I have no information on our opposing team,” you repeated.

“Fucking useless,” he growled.

Ouch. “That hurt.”

“I don’t fucking care.”

“It would serve you right if I failed this exercise on purpose.”

He spun on you, making you flinch. He stomped over to you, making you back up into the weapon. Leaning into your personal space, he snarled. “Don’t you fucking dare! I better not lose this competition because of you!”

Putting your invisible feeler between him and you, you tried to ignore the tears welling in your eyes as you tried to stand up to him. “If we lose it’s going to be because of your lack of cooperation! Nothing’s going to get this weapon from me!”

[“AND START!!”]

The exercise began, cutting into what could have been—literally—an explosive argument.

Bakugo pulled away, still glaring at you. “I’m going to go find that piece of shit and give him the beating he deserves. You’re going to stay here and make sure round face doesn’t get the weapon. You better not fucking screw up, tentacle hair!”

And with that he turned and ran out of the room.

Shaking you slid down to your knees and let your hair fall flat. Your hair ornament fell down and landed on the floor with a ‘clink’ sound. Momentarily ignoring everything else, you sniffled and dabbed at your watery eyes. That was scary. An angry boy in your face, forcing himself into your space, and seemingly ready to use violence on you… terrifying.

(you wish Hitoshi was here)

Still. It’s not like villains were a polite bunch, and even some heroes were probably like that. If you weren’t facing against scary men, then you’d probably be teamed up with some, so you should definitely develop a thicker skin. Yeah. You just had to… man up, or something.

Do villains cry? Aahh, wait, All Might and your classmates could probably see you right now, right? Sitting here in a mess isn’t a good impression. Come on, stand up!

Using your feelers to lift yourself up, you got on your feet and blinked rapidly to make the remaining tears go away. Lifting your hair ornament from the floor, you styled your hair again and put it in place. Now, with yourself composed once more, you inhaled deeply and slowly let it out.

What to do next?

Looking around the room, you registered that there was a lot of debris. The scattered trash could, conceivably, be used against you, so perhaps you should clear it out. Plus, it would give you something to do rather than just stand in one place and blush from embarrassment. Yes, clean out the area.


“That wasn’t manly at all,” Kirishima muttered, watching (Last Name) fall to her knees. Whatever Bakugo said, it clearly made his partner cry. (Last Name) was a cool dude-girl who gave her all at the entrance exam and was really polite. She didn’t deserve to pushed to tears. Plus, it wasn’t manly to pick on people to the point of making them cry. That was just… unmanly.

“What a jerk,” Ashido agreed quietly. “I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but what kind of hero makes a girl cry like that?”

(with nary an expression on his face, Todoroki flexed his hands twice, slightly uneasy at the echo of his childhood on the screen)

“Bakugo is great at playing the villain,” one of their classmates commented, a girl with long hair and a frog-like demeanor.

“He didn’t have to go that far,” Ashido pouted, arms folded. As far as she was concerned, (Last Name) was already a friend. Girls had to stick together! Plus, she had to get the juicy gossip out of her about her ‘friend’ from the General Education Department!

A few minutes later, they all watched as Bakugo found the hero team of Midoriya and Uraraka and proceeded to chase what seemed to be a personal grudge. As far as impressions went, Bakugo wasn’t making a very good one for himself, especially after the explosion that destroyed a part of the building.

While the two boys were fighting and playing cat and mouse, Uraraka had taken the opportunity to run off in search of (Last Name) and the weapon. The gravity girl found both on an upper floor and had successfully snuck into the room.


The trembling from earlier wasn’t happening again, so your nerves started to settle down again. While you were somewhat sure you could safely escape a collapsing building—emphasis on somewhat—you didn’t really want to be testing that out anytime soon.

Your back was unwisely turned towards the door as you stared up at the weapon that you and Bakugo, as villains, had ‘stolen’. You had a bunch of questions, most of them probably irrelevant, and you let your thoughts wander until you let out a train of thought via your voice.

“If I purposely set this thing off, does that count as losing? I mean, if it’s a deliberate, pre-emptive action by the villains, or villain, in this case, me, then does that mean the villain team loses?”

[“Don’t you fucking dare.”]

[“Mutually assured destruction does not constitute as a win, young (Last Name).”]

Ignoring both the angry voice and the heroic voice from your earpiece, you went on, addressing your teammate. “We stole a nuclear weapon. I can’t imagine we did for the money. You are an angry young man, Demolition. I am a lost soul seeking an end. Methinks we never intended to come out of this thing alive.”

Gazing up at the weapon, its form outlined by the light from the floor-to-ceiling windows, you let your hair fall down from its bun and flare out. You slowly and dramatically raised and spread your arms as though welcoming someone home, and you smiled softly.

“I commit thee to the afterlife, heroes, villains, and citizens all!”

NO!!” [“BITCH!!”]] [“Young (Last Name)!”]

Midoriya’s teammate leapt forward from her hiding place, hands stretched out as she raced towards you in an attempt to stop your drastic action. The instant her body entered your range, your feelers snapped tight around her, forcing the air from her lungs in a rush. Turning to her, you lowered your arms as a different sort of smile crossed your face.

“Heroes just can’t help themselves, can they?” Pulling her arms out, your feelers wrapped the capture tape around her wrists. With one hero captured, you addressed your still cussing partner. “Demolition, my plan to draw out the other hero has worked. I have her restrained and captured.”

[“Fucking hell, you crazy hag,”] your volatile partner spewed, followed by a muffled explosion. [“You fucking made me work with Deku to try and stop you!”]

“Well, if you had actually communicated with me on developing a more thorough plan I wouldn’t have had to make something up on my own.” Not wanting to hear what else he might spew at you, you turned off your earpiece to face your captured hero. “Ah, sorry you had to see that. My teammate and I, we haven’t been getting along since this little partnership began.”

Slowly, you turned her upside down. “Now, young hero, what is your partner capable of? Can they take on the explosive Demolition?”

She puffed her cheeks before answering. “You bet! Deku is an awesome hero, and he’s going to beat Baku—Demolition! Demolition doesn’t know what he’s in for!”

You huffed a laugh. “It would be nice to see that prideful prat taken down a notch…” You tilted your head slightly. “Tell me, young hero. Did you and your partner even have a plan? No plan survives contact with the enemy, as the saying goes, but you heroes are usually good at adapting on the fly. If you were still free, do you think that you and your partner could still win in this little confrontation of ours?”

She wriggled in your grasp. “You know it! Deku is amazing! He’d come up with a brilliant plan for sure!”

You roughly spun her right side up. “Tell you what. This was too easy. You rushed in and fell right into my trap. That means there’s only one hero left, and Demolition is hogging them. That’s no fun. So here’s the deal: I’m going to let you go, and you’re going to show me just what you and this ‘Deku’ can do.”

She glared. “You’re on.


Uraraka contacted Deku and quickly told him everything that just happened while keeping an eye on her opponent. Her stomach tightened with shame at how easily she was caught, but maybe this villain’s pride would be their downfall. Her partner came up with a plan and Uraraka smiled grimly.

Some of (Last Name)’s hair writhed in the air behind her, yet never actually up in the air. Truthfully, she had an awesome Quirk. Uraraka had run straight into it and had been captured so easily… Shaking her head, Uraraka pulled herself together just as Deku’s voice came over her earpiece.

[“NOW, URARAKA!”]

She latched on to the nearest pillar. “Okay!!”

The floor shook and exploded with debris flying everywhere. She grinned widely as her Quirk let her hold on to a suddenly light and easily moveable pillar. “(Last Name)! Sorry! Gotta improvise!” She swung the pillar with all her might.

COMET HOME RUN!

(Last Name) looked… annoyed.

Even as Uraraka used her Quirk on herself and leapt over the sudden hole in the floor, she felt a sinking feeling in her gut. It was then that she noticed that all the debris she hit towards (Last Name) and the weapon were being deflected, easily curving around both villain and weapon.

“No…”

Uraraka came to a stop in the air, held over the chasm that stretched down several floors.

“This was all you had?”

She felt her nausea rise as she floated in midair, suspended and caught in her opponent’s Quirk yet again. (Last Name) sounded so… disappointed. She met the other girl’s eyes.

“Pathetic,” the villain said coldly, ruthlessly denouncing all their effort as worthless.

Uraraka threw up.


GROSS!!

You could taste her puke! You could TASTE IT!

None too gently, you shoved her over to the other side of the giant hole in the floor and dropped her. Your hair writhed around in agitation as you bent over and dry-heaved. The sound of her continuing to puke did nothing to improve your situation, and that, combined with the lingering taste of her stomach contents, pushed you over the edge.

You vomited as All Might declared the villain team victorious.

In the end, you were right. This class exercise really did suck, from beginning to end.


We live what we create. We create what we live.

~Mommy Moo Moo

Chapter Text

“I hate life,” you groaned, using your feelers to hold your hair back as you finished upchucking. Tiredly, you glanced over the chasm over at your opponent and saw her still on all fours. At least she didn’t seem to be puking anymore… Floating over the large hole, you landed beside her and asked, “Are you okay? Sorry for just dropping you like that…”

She huffed and sat back, wiping at her mouth. She looked pale. “It’s fine. I’m okay.” She sighed as you both got a message over the earpieces to return to the main floor. “Well, I guess we should go…”

She didn’t sound enthusiastic about moving and you didn’t blame her. Vomiting was not fun. Tiredly, you both made your way to the bottom floor where All Might was waiting with Bakugo. The other girl asked where Deku was and was informed that he had been taken to see Recovery Girl. Considering his opponent was explosion boy, you hoped Midoriya wasn’t too badly hurt.

Your teammate glares at you. “You didn’t fuck up.”

Holding a hand against your mouth, you glare half-heartedly at Bakugo’s back as you all follow All Might out of the building. However, you don’t have the energy to argue with him about his choice of words, so you let it go in favor of trying to forget that taste. That’s probably as close to ‘good work’ as he gets, if that was even his intention at all. Somehow, you doubt it. Ugh, maybe you should have let the hero team win. You weren’t exactly one-hundred-percent just acting or joking when you told float-girl that you’d like to see him get taken down a peg.

Arriving at the monitor room where the rest of your classmates were, All Might lined the three of you up in front of them. He then declared that you were the V.I.P. of the battle, surprising you, and asked your classmates why that might be. Ponytail girl, Yaoyo-something, answered. She said you were most able to adapt while Bakugo and Midoriya acted on what seemed to be personal grudges, and Uraraka’s final attack was too haphazard and dangerous, considering that the weapon is supposed to be nuclear.

“(Last Name), despite an altercation with her teammate, formed and executed a trap, capturing Uraraka. However, even though (Last Name) released Uraraka in what seemed to be a prideful boast, she still managed to counter Uraraka and Midoriya’s teamwork. She managed to protect the weapon from both projectiles and human effort. All in all, she managed to fill the role of a villain quite convincingly.”

She didn’t mean it in any cruel sort of way, and that was basically the goal of the exercise, but her last sentence still hurt your feelings and made tears well up in your eyes.

“Fuck’s sake,” Bakugo muttered, pissed that he wasn’t the V.I.P. and was now standing next to a weepy girl. “What is it now, tentacle hair?”

Ponytail saw you crying and immediately became flustered. “I-I don’t mean that in an insulting manner, (Last Name)! I was only commenting that you did a good job!”

You raised a hand and waved away the concern suddenly directed at you. “I’m fine. Don’t worry.”

Looking unsure, she nonetheless turned her attention back to All Might as he spoke, saying it was time for the next match. Moving away from where you were, you went over to the back of the group so you were somewhat out of sight. Your luck didn’t last very long as Ashido was quick to sidle up next to you in concern.

“Are you really okay?”

“I’m fine,” you repeated quietly, not looking her in the eye.

Your situation was nowhere near as bad as Hitoshi’s was. All because his Quirk was what it was, people labeled him as a future villain. He had to deal with that every day, even now that you were both in high school because the neighbors didn’t just forget about him. As his best and only friend, suspicion was also cast upon you, though nowhere near the degree your best friend had to deal with. Sometime you got accused of being bad simply because you were willingly in his vicinity.

It wasn’t true. Neither of you villains, especially not him.

“I’m fine,” you repeated almost silently, lifting your eyes to the screens showing the next matchup. “Just fine…”


Afterwards, when everyone had had a turn, All Might led everyone outside and congratulated them. He gave the class instructions and ran off to give Midoriya his evaluation. Everyone moved towards the changing rooms to get back into uniform and back to class.

“Hey. Tentacle hair.”

Looking nervously over your shoulder at that familiar voice, you met Bakugo’s gaze. He glared at you, gritting his teeth. Kirishima, coming up behind him, paused in concern and you had no words for how grateful you were for the sentiment.

“You didn’t fuck up,” Bakugo repeated, looking like a deranged villain to your eyes. He stalked past you and muttered, “Deku didn’t win and that’s all that matters.”

Frowning after him, you wondered if it really wouldn’t have been better if your team had lost. You didn’t like losing, but inflating Bakugo’s ego even more just seemed like a bad idea.

“Did he thank you for being a good teammate?”

You turned dead eyes on Kirishima. His grin dimmed. “Ah, no, huh?” He huffed slightly. “Well, that didn’t look like he was hating you, so maybe that’s an improvement?”

“He made me cry and didn’t apologize,” you said bluntly, moving again. “That’s not cool, no matter how you try to spin it.”

Left alone, Kirishima scratched his head. Those two… well, they had three years to learn how to get along, right?


Meeting up in the classroom, almost everyone began discussing the battle training. You anxiously endured the attention of several of your classmates as they asked about your hair. When the school day finally ended, you got up and apologized for leaving, but said you had to meet with someone. Ashido, who had been chatting with Kirishima near you, lit up.

“Ooh! Are you going to go meet your General Education boyfriend?!”

You sputtered and dropped your book bag with a loud ‘thunk’. “H-He is not my boyfriend!”

She grinned, completely abandoning the battle training talk to tease you. “The way you reacted just now says you want him to be~.”

Your face heated up as you lifted your book bag from the floor. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean. See you all tomorrow.”

“Hey, wait!”

“Later, (Last Name)!” Kirishima, so cheerful.

Sighing in relief, you made your way out of the building just ahead of class 1-B, the door to which had opened just a few seconds after you left. Arriving at your shoe box, you traded your indoor shoes for your outdoor shoes and headed out to wait for Hitoshi at the spot he pointed out earlier that morning. He wasn’t there, so you stood and waited, looking through the crowd for your friend.

Ashido’s words echoed in your mind just as he came into view and you felt your face warm up. You were also suddenly reminded that you actually thought he was kind of cute, and oh my god, why did your brain do that to you??

“Are you okay?”

Peeking out at Hitoshi from between your fingers, you nodded at his question. He stared at you skeptically. “…Right. Well, come on. Let’s go catch our train.”

As you walked beside him, you suddenly wondered if you could catch a train.


Hitoshi manages to pry her day’s events from her and (wrongly) assumes that she was upset earlier over this Bakugo character. He hasn’t met the guy, but Hitoshi can already tell they’re not going to get along. Making (Name) cry is the fastest way onto his shit list and as the most recent guy on it, Bakugo is right at the top. If he can, Hitoshi is going to extract some form of revenge.

She’s his best friend. No one makes her cry and just gets off scot free.

(they’re adding burdens on her back and making her heavier and it’s already hard to carry her, he doesn’t need people adding more)

Holding back his dark mutterings, Hitoshi watched as she finished off her calorie bars. Snapping her out of the trance, he held out an open drink to her and stared as she eagerly drank from it.

Maybe… maybe he shouldn’t have drunk from it first. What if someone saw?

Guiltily, his eyes darted around the station. No one seemed to be paying any attention to them, but that was no guarantee. Sighing, he stood as she did, and they hurried as their train pulled in.


We all have a crush on someone.

~Anthony T. Hincks

Chapter Text

Going back to school the next day, you and Hitoshi paused at the sight of a crowd of reporters at the front gate. You sidled closer to Hitoshi when you noticed that said reporters were trying to interview students.

Hitoshi let out a sigh at the spectacle. Feeling some of your hair wriggle between his thumb, he gently stroked the strands between his thumb and index finger. “Don’t talk to them. Just keep your eyes forward and ignore them.”

Relaxing slightly at the comforting gesture, you nodded silently and the two of you began your approach. Hitoshi, seeing a student—Iida—talking while waving his arms about, grabbed your hand and quickly hurried you past the majority of distracted reporters and cameramen. A couple spotted you two and tried to ask a question, but Hitoshi quickly hustled you through the gate. Once on campus grounds, you breathed a sigh of relief and gave his hand a grateful squeeze before letting go.

Shoving his hands into his pockets, Hitoshi calmly ignored the hubbub behind him. Your hair, which had puffed up slightly in your agitation despite being braided, settled down as your nerves calmed.

Parting ways with your friend at the shoe lockers, you donned your indoor shoes and headed for class. There were a few minutes yet before homeroom started and most everyone was present. Taking your seat behind Kirishima, you smiled in return to his greetings before Ashido was suddenly upon you.

“So what’s his name?”

Flinching back from her sudden face in your space, you asked, “W-what?”

She grinned and nudged you with her elbow. “You know! Your boyfriend’s name!”

Kirishima and Kaminari, who had been talking at the sharp-toothed boy’s desk, paused before turning their attention over at you. Kirishima grinned, “You have a boyfriend, (Last Name)? What’s he like?”

Kaminari groaned. “Aw~. (Last Name) is already off the market? I didn’t even get a chance to ask her out.”

Blushing at Kaminari’s words, you nonetheless tried to correct Ashido. “I keep telling you he’s not my boyfriend.”

Ashido’s grin didn’t falter. “Come on! There must be something juicy going on between you and this mystery boyfriend of yours.”

You sighed, “Ashido, that’s like saying you and Kirishima are dating.”

The two recoiled. ““We’re not!””

Resisting the urge to tease them about the same thing that was slowly getting under your skin, you just nodded instead. “See? Just because I have a guy friend doesn’t mean there’s anything going on between us.”

“She’s right, ribbit.” You all turned to Asui. The frog-Quirk girl was staring with the same static expression as ever. “A male and female can just be friends without romantic overtones.”

Kaminari muttered something under his breath that you didn’t quite catch, but apparently Asui deemed it slap-worthy as her tongue suddenly lashed out and smacked the blond across the face. He yelped and Kirishima cleared his throat, his face slightly red for some reason.

Before the conversation could continue, Aizawa walked through the door and suddenly everyone was at their seats and facing forward quietly, including yourself. The teacher told everyone good work on yesterday’s battle training and said he had reviewed everyone’s grades and evaluations.

“Bakugo. Grow up already. Stop wasting your talents.”

“…Got it.”

“(Last Name).”

You flinched.

“Villains will not be kind. Grow a thicker skin.”

You clenched your hands beneath your seat. “Yes, sir.”

Aizawa them proceeded to chew out Midoriya for breaking his arm again, and after that you had to pick a class president. Iida, as opinionated as ever and not afraid to let it show, suggested a voting process. Aizawa allowed it, and since it was a reasonable idea to allow for democracy to elect the class president, you voted for Iida since he seemed suited to the job.

After you handed in your ballot, you suddenly wondered if maybe you should have voted for someone else. Thinking about it, though, you didn’t really know anyone well enough to vote for them based on what little you knew. You sure as hell weren’t going to vote for Bakugo, nor were you going to vote for Uraraka who threw up on your (albeit) invisible feelers. Yes, Iida, as the one to put forward a sensible and reasonable suggestion, would have your vote based on that alone.

For some inexplicable reason, Midoriya, breaks-his-bones-Midoriya, got three votes and was elected as class president. Yaoyorozu got two and was elected vice-president. Personally, you thought there should be a separate election for vice-president, but you just wanted it over with and you weren’t exactly brave enough to stand up and say so, so you let it go without comment. As you watched Midoriya shaking in his shoes in front of the class, you wondered if he would be up to the task.


Lunchtime came, and as soon as you could get away, you were out the door and headed to meet up with Hitoshi. Spotting your friend in the same spot he waited previously, you smiled as you joined his side, both of you heading into the lunchroom together.

After getting food, Hitoshi glanced around the crowded cafeteria and headed for the least-crowded spot he could see. You ended up far away from your classmates but didn’t mind as this was the only time during school hours when you could meet up with your childhood friend. Lunch was quiet for the most part as your feelers ran over him, but partway through your meal, a sudden siren made you flinch and swallow something the wrong way.

[”Security Level 3 has been broken. All students. Please evacuate in an orderly fashion.”]

Quickly, you grabbed the juice from your lunch and drank some, washing down the offending food piece. By that time, Hitoshi had come around the table to stand by your side as he glanced around the cafeteria.

“Evacuate where,” he asked under his breath, hand on your shoulder.

You heard someone ask what security level three was, and another student said it meant someone had infiltrated the building. Hearing this, Hitoshi grabbed your upper arm and tugged. “Come on.”

Standing, you followed after him just as everyone started to make a rush for the exit. Getting swept up in the crowd and not liking the press of bodies that was panicking students, you let your Quirk flare out to part the sea of bodies around you and Hitoshi. Heaving a sigh of relief, your friend came to a stop so you did as well. Students continued to rush past, and you both watched as the exit clogged with bodies.

The yelling and shouting of your fellow students made you stand closer to Hitoshi and cling to his arm.

“Pathetic,” he muttered under his breath, watching the panicking students with disdain. “I guess this means U.A. doesn’t conduct security level threat evacuation practices like middle and grade school made fire practice evacuations.”

The continuing siren and the mix of loud voices made you tremble. Feeling this, Hitoshi put an arm around your shoulder even as he kept his eyes peeled for the danger that had supposedly invaded the school. Closing your eyes, you abandoned all pretense of maintaining calm and hugged Hitoshi, pressing your face against his chest.

Seconds later, a familiar voice called out above the din.

Everyone… Everything’s fine!!

Snapping your eyes open, you looked in the direction of the voice to see Iida splattered on the wall above the exit sign. For a brief moment, you wondered how he got there.

It’s just the press! There’s nothing to panic about. We’re fine!! This is U.A.!! Behave in a way befitting this great institution!!

“Arrogant bastard, isn’t he?”

Hitoshi muttered under his breath as the crowd settled, and for the first time in a while you found yourself disagreeing with your friend, though you didn’t say anything. With the crowd calmed down, you registered that you were still clinging onto him, so you immediately let go and took a step back as you reeled in your Quirk.

Hitoshi slid his hands back into his pockets as everyone began a more orderly exit from the cafeteria. Face growing hot as you relived the past few minutes, you quickly strode off into the crowd after a hasty goodbye to your friend.

Out in the hall, you brought your hands to your face and felt how warm it was.

Geez, why were you feeling like that? It was just Hitoshi!


your hand
touching mine.
this is how
galaxies
collide.

~Sanober Khan

Chapter Text

Immediately following the incident in the lunchroom, Midoriya said there would be a selection to choose the other student council members, but before that, he handed the class presidency over to Iida because of how well he had handled the situation in that crisis. There was general agreement and the motion passed with Iida becoming class president. The other student council members were chosen quickly and classes resumed their normal schedule.

After classes that day, you went up to him. “Congratulations on your presidency, Iida. And I think Midoriya was right. You really are the right person for the job.”

The glasses-wearing teenager couldn’t help smiling. “Why, thank you, (Last Name)! I shall do my best to live up to the expectations placed upon me.”

You nodded and bid him goodbye.

Out in the hall, you paused when someone called your name. “Wait up!”

You couldn’t help your shoulder slumping a bit as you recognized Ashido’s voice. It wasn’t that you didn’t like her, exactly, as she was hard to dislike, but her constant teasing was wearing you down. Plus, this just seemed like a ploy to finally see your so-called ‘mystery friend’.

“Hey,” you said as she caught up. You started walking and she kept pace.

“Hey,” she echoed back, wide grin on her face.

You both walked in silence amid other students. At the shoe lockers, you tried to part ways. “Later.”

“Wait up!”

She just wouldn’t go away. Unless you got mean, you were gonna end up leading her straight to Hitoshi.

Trying not to scowl, you huffed. “You’ve never walked out with me before.”

“Well, you won’t give me a straight answer,” she replied. “I figure this is the only way I’ll know.”

You sighed and wondered what you had done to deserve this.

Hitoshi eyed you warily as you approached with, to him, a new girl.

“Hitoshi, Ashido, Ashido, Hitoshi Shinso,” you said blandly, introducing them.

They both stared at each other, but Ashido eyed him up and down, making him frown as she wasn’t very subtle about it. She grinned. “Nice to meet you, no-longer-a-mystery-man.”

His eye twitched. “Charmed.” He turned his gaze on you. “Let’s go.”

Nodding eagerly, you said goodbye to Ashido and fell in step next to Hitoshi.

You thought you were scot free but then—

“It was really cute the way you two stuck together in the cafeteria earlier!”

You felt your face flush and you determinedly did not look over at Hitoshi as you kept your Quirk coiled close to your body.

Since you didn’t look at him, you didn’t notice him blushing as well.


As you laid on your bed that night, having just finished a text conversation with Hitoshi about the coming weekend and your plans to go biking, you sighed and dropped your head down onto the pillow.

Did you like Hitoshi? And not just like, but like-like?

Feeling your face grow hot, you buried it into the coolness of the pillow as your hair writhed. You don’t know when, but at some point, Hitoshi became good-looking. Like, he wasn’t just the boy you knew, but an actual cute guy. Different from the way Kirishima was cute, but definitely still something you liked.

And today! Today wasn’t exactly unusual as you have touched and even hugged Hitoshi before. For heaven’s sake, you know his taste better than anyone else’s at school and even almost more than your mom’s. What did that say about you, to have your feelers on him so often like that?

“Waah…!” Reaching over, your pulled on one side of your comforter, rolled over, and carefully landed on the floor, now wrapped up like a weird sausage. You came to a stop on the floor and sighed in the confines of your comforter.

Why did your brain have to go and have weird thought about Hitoshi? He’s been your friend since forever! Your friend. You don’t want to jeopardize that, not when you’ve seen how Junko’s relationships worked out, that is to say, they didn’t. You didn’t want to lose your best friend on an ill-advised relationship. What would you do without him?

(the boy who came running to find you on a beach, the boy who called you back from the edge)

Rolling over again to free yourself, you stared up at the ceiling.

No.

You weren’t going to make things weird between you two. You were going to be friends, now and tomorrow, and for all the time you had left.

(twenty-five years)

Your phone dinged, interrupting your thoughts. Grabbing it with your Quirk, you brought it up to your face and saw it was the day’s last text from Hitoshi.

[goodnight]

Smiling, you echoed the sentiment back to him and got up from the floor. Tossing the comforter back onto the bed, you set your phone to charge before turning off the light and crawling back into bed. Snuggling down, you closed your eyes and reassured yourself.

‘We’re just friends, and we’ll always be friends.’


Hitoshi laid awake in the late hours of the night. ‘Or the early hours of the morning,’ he supposed, thinking of the other side of the coin.

Turning over to lay on his back, he stared up at the dark ceiling, his eyes long adjusted to the dark.

The pink-skinned girl’s word echoed in his head and his brow furrowed despite the slight warmth on his cheeks. Dumb girl. Why would she even say something like that? Hell, how did she even notice or see them in all that panic? Although, the crowd parting around them wasn’t exactly subtle…

Sitting up, Hitoshi gave up on sleep and went over to his desk to turn on his computer. He spent the hours from then until it was time to get ready and leave for school prowling on some forums.

When he met (Name) at the crossroad, he deliberately did not think about yesterday’s incident or about how easy they tended to come together in stressful situations.

Nope, definitely not thinking that (Name) has grown a lot since the last time he looked.

Definitely not remembering the warmth and softness of her—goddamn it, brain!

Lost in internal turmoil, he didn’t notice (Name) was also avoiding his eyes like he was hers.


At lunchtime, Ashido tried to get you to join her and Hagakure, but you politely declined.

“Sorry,” you said, giving her an awkward grin. “But I’ve already promised to meet up with Hitoshi. It’s the only time during school hours when we can meet up, you know?”

“I get it,” Ashido said amiably. “But still, you should consider eating lunch with us sometime. We’d really like to get to know you better.”

“I’ll ask him about it,” you placated, standing up from your desk.

She grinned back. “I’ll hold you to that!”

When you brought up the issue with Hitoshi, he mumbled something around his chopsticks. Unable to hear him properly, you asked, “Huh?”

Swallowing his food, he repeated, “That’s fine. How about you eat with someone else Tuesdays and Thursdays?”

That still left the majority of the week to sit with him, so you were happy with that. “Okay. I’ll let them know.”

He chewed and swallowed another portion of his lunch. “I meant it when I said you should make other friends. Remember what I said?”

You nodded. “My having other friends makes it easier on you because it’s proof that you’re not being controlling of me.”

“Basically,” he agreed.

“I’ll let her know, then,” you said, already wondering what things could go wrong eating lunch with someone else.

A few moments passed before he spoke up again, making you choke on your juice.

“Have you tasted them all yet?”

As you tried not to hack up a lung, your feelers felt him shift forward slightly, probably in concern. You held up a hand and waved it, silently communicating that you didn’t need help. After a few seconds, you got your breathing under control and gave him a scandalized glare.

That quickly morphed into a sheepish grin. “Not yet?”

A slight smirk crossed his face. “Is that a question or an answer?”

You straightened in your seat, locking your gaze firmly on your lunch tray. “I haven’t tasted them all yet, no.” Your nose wrinkled slightly as you admitted, “Ashido tastes kind of acidic.”

His smirk melted before his concern. “Are you okay?”

You nodded. “What little acid is on her skin isn’t dangerous, per say, but I won’t be tempting fate too much when it comes to her.” Tilting your head slightly, you added, “Same with Bakugo and that one short dude with dark purple hair.”

“Why?”

“Bakugo’s sweat tastes more chemical-y than I like, and I don’t want to risk my feelers getting stuck on Mineta’s Quirk, plus, from what little I’ve seen of him, he’s a creepy pervert and I don’t want to fuel his gross perversion by giving him that kind of ammunition.” You paused. “Although, granted, I’m still giving it because I keep tasting the others.”

The entire conversation was said in low tones because the two of you knew that tasting people without their knowledge was considered indecent, rude, and maybe even grounds for a legal case. It was a habit you couldn’t seem to break yourself of, not when it came to everyday people in your life, though you were more than happy not to taste random strangers out on the street or on the train.

Tasting was always a dangerous gamble. You never knew if someone was going to taste especially bad for whatever reason, but you kept doing it anyway. It was a habit grown from tasting your parents and Hitoshi so frequently in your youth, and one you had yet to completely break. You doubted you would ever break that habit when it came to your parents and Hitoshi, and sometimes even they tasted gross, but they were acquired tastes in your life and your days felt incomplete if you went without them.

“Stuck,” Hitoshi repeated quietly. “You never were good with sticky things, were you?”

You grimaced. No, you never were good with sticky things. Your feelers, for all they let you part water and even dust, were helpless in the face of sticky substances and tended to even get stuck together if they touched any gluey substance. It wasn’t pleasant and didn’t hurt on its own, but was inconvenient and annoying.

“You should work on that while you’re in the hero course.”

Nodding at his advice, you made a mental note to keep that in mind.


The days passed, a new week started, and, on Tuesday, Ashido excitedly came over to your desk.

“Are you still joining us for lunch today?”

Remembering it was Tuesday, you replied, “Yep.”

She gave an excited squeal and grabbed your hand. “Then let’s go!”

“Wait for me!”

A floating uniform joined the two of you and Ashido said, “Hagakure, (Last Name), (Last Name), Hagakure.”

“Nice to meet you,” you said politely, letting Ashido drag you out the door. Thankfully, she let go and the three of you walked together.

“You too,” Hagakure enthused. “We haven’t really had a chance to talk, right? You were great at that indoor battle simulation! The way you deflected that debris and stopped Uraraka in her tracks was awesome!”

“Thanks,” you said shyly. “Um, are your feet okay from that ice that boy used?”

“Todoroki? Yeah, I’m fine,” Hagakure replied blithely.

The first half of lunch was spent gossiping about the boys in class, much to your combined embarrassment and amusement. Hagakure and Ashido gave their rankings of their top three cutest guys in class and asked who your top three were. Blushing, you changed the subject and asked them how they did on that surprise pop quiz yesterday in English. Ashido laughed and said her mark was terrible while Hagakure said the same. You got a passing mark, but just barely.

At one point, Ashido remembered something from class elections and asked who you gave your vote to since you didn’t get one yourself. Surprised by the question, you didn’t see a reason to lie.

“I thought Iida would be good for the job.”

Ashido lit up. “So wait. You voted for Iida before Midoriya handed over the presidency to him?”

Sensing some kind of trap but unable to predict what kind, you slowly nodded.

Her grin widened a bit. “So you like serious, capable guys?”

You groaned and proceeded to ignore her. Hagakure asked what that was about and you frowned as Ashido filled her in on her short meeting with Hitoshi.

This girl was Hana, Junko and Fujiko, squared.

It was completely unfair how hard she was to actually dislike.


When it comes to making friends, it is never about how many that you have, but about the kind of energy that they bring. Please choose wisely.

~Edmond Mbiaka

Chapter Text

Wednesday afternoon was announced by Aizawa to be Rescue Training. When he mentioned that some costumes were ill-suited to the work, you wanted to sink down into your seat because yeah, a kimono was… well, unsuitable. However, stubborn as you were, you decided to wear your costume anyway. If it was going to be your official hero costume then you had to wear it even in disaster areas, so this was ultimately practice for that time.

Heading out to the bus, you glanced at your classmates and saw that only Midoriya was wearing his gym clothes, but you overheard Uraraka and him talking, so it wasn’t that he made the choice not to wear his costume, but rather that it hadn’t made it through the battle training—you glanced over at Bakugo—so he was wearing his gym clothes for the time being.

Iida tried to get everyone on the bus in an orderly manner but his efforts were wasted by the bus’s seats and everyone ended up wherever they wanted to be, much to his disappointment. You ended up sitting closer to the back and elected to only half-listen to your classmates’ chatter as the bus moved along. There was some yelling, mostly from Bakugo, and it wasn’t too long before you finally arrived at the destination.

Just like the majority of your classmates, you found yourself impressed with the building you entered. It was a disaster simulation site and Space Hero, Thirteen was there to help out. Aizawa asked where All Might was as he was supposed to be there, but it turned out he wouldn’t be coming for whatever reason. Aizawa decided to continue on without him and Thirteen gave an explanation of their Quirk. They also solemnly explained that their power could easily kill and pointed out that no doubt there would be some like that among the class.

Today’s class was to show a new perspective, for you all to learn how to utilize your Quirks to save lives. Thirteen hoped that you would all leave there with the understanding that you were meant to help people. Immediately thinking of Bakugo, you… rather doubted that.

Lost in your thoughts as Thirteen’s speech ended, you were thus startled when Aizawa suddenly bellowed, “Huddle up and don’t move. Thirteen!! Protect the students.”

Something was happening down in the plaza. Black mist was spewing out humanoid figures. Kirishima peered down and asked if those were more battle robots. Aizawa donned yellow goggles and raised his voice.

Don’t move. Those are… villains!!

You felt your legs shake beneath your kimono. That… that was a joke, right? This was another of his rational deceptions, right?

There was an immediate uproar of voices from your classmates and you took a step closer towards Kirishima, not noticing that you did so. Todoroki calmly observed the villains below and analyzed the situation, surmising that if the intruder alarms weren’t working and the villains picked a time when there were fewer people present, then they must have an objective as this was a well-coordinated sneak attack. You envied his calm.

Aizawa called for Thirteen to begin evacuation. He instructed Kaminari to try to use his Quirk to call for help. Midoriya tried to tell Aizawa he couldn’t fight alone, but your teacher, hair flaring instead of in its usual hanging position, calmly stated something he unintentionally burned into your memory.

“No good hero is a one-trick pony.”

(you, with your hair, Hitoshi, with his brainwashing)

Aizawa was then gone, leaping down the stairs towards the horde of villains. You watched in awe as your teacher started bringing them down left and right. Iida yelled, perhaps at both you and Midoriya, that now was not the time for staring. “Hurry up and evacuate!!”

Pulled from your thoughts, you immediately turned and started walking quickly in your geta to catch up with everyone else.

Suddenly, black mist appeared in front of the group, causing everyone to stop in their tracks. In the mist, glowing eyes could be seen, and a voice spoke, saying they could not allow that. They—a man, perhaps, as they sounded male—introduced his group as the ‘League of Villains’, and followed up by declaring their intention to end the life of All Might, the Symbol of Peace.

You doubted you were the only one who felt their stomach drop.

The mist swelled, but then, foolishly, Bakugo and Kirishima were there, striking out at the villain. The villain wasn’t down and Thirteen shouted for them to get back.

When the mist exploded over everyone, you didn’t even think before your Quirk flared out, grabbing everyone before more of your feelers launched you backwards, all of this a split second before the black mist formed a dome where everyone had just been standing. As you jumped back, your feelers yanked everyone off their feet and you nearly threw them behind you, teacher and fellow students all. Your limbs were shaking, but your hair was steady.

You landed near in front of the stairs, everyone floating just behind you. A small part of you registered the fact that some of them had already been moving when you interfered, but that thought was quickly lost as the black mist condensed back into the vague form of a man.

“Fucking tentacle hair! Fucking let me go!

Bakugo’s pissed shouting brought you back to your senses and you quickly set everyone back on their feet. Shoot. Did you just make things worse?

You didn’t pull your Quick back and instead let the invisible feelers writhe amidst the group, agitated and tasting everyone in brief flicks. They did flinch away from the short bursts in Bakugo’s hands, though.

“Good job, (Last Name!)” That was Iida, and you didn’t feel like you had just done a good job.

A few people stepped up to stand beside you on either side, removing themselves from the uneven footing of the descending stairs. Thirteen told Iida it was his job to run back to the school and report what was happening. Given everything going on and how they couldn’t find the villain who was interfering with the alarm system, Iida’s Quirk was the best option they had of getting the news out, of getting help to come. He tried to protest, but several people talked sense into him.

The mist villain, no doubt tired of just waiting around, menacingly tried to approach, reprimanding Thirteen for discussing strategy in front of the enemy. Thirteen, having stepped forward by this time, unleashed their Quirk, scaring you into yanking your Quirk far away from them.

And you felt your heart stop when a portal opened in front of them and another opened behind them, redirecting and using their Quirk against them.

TEACHER!!

You were not the only one to cry out in horror as the back of Thirteen’s costume was sucked away, disintegrated by the powerful force of a black hole.

With a blast and a roar, Bakugo was off again, launching himself at the mist villain, and worse, several other of your classmates were right with him. Iida and several others were shouting, yelling, and the ripping of Thirteen stopped as the portals dropped in response to their ceasing of their Quirk. The black mist flared again in a dome, swallowing Bakugo and the others with him, and you felt your feelers brushing against the others as they moved away. Shaken, you left most of the others to their own devices and instead carefully but quickly lifted Thirteen from where they fell, grabbed two others, and you leapt far to the side, just barely avoiding getting caught up in the black dome.

Landing and balancing Thirteen as best you could to avoid aggravating their injuries, you watched the dome disperse and felt your stomach drop as you realized Bakugo and the others had disappeared. A blind taste at the other two you carried told you that you had Uraraka and Ashido. Heart jackhammering, you glancing around and saw that at least you were not alone. Several of the boys had managed to avoid getting caught up in the mist, including Iida and that big guy with multiple limbs. Seeing the presence of able males helped settle at least a little of your fear, and you set the girls down near Thirteen.

“Th-thank you, (Last Name),” Uraraka stammered. She and Ashido knelt next to the down teacher.

“This is bad,” Ashido muttered. “Teacher needs medial aid as soon as possible.”

Keeping mist man in your sight, you quietly asked, “Who got sent away?”

Uraraka and Ashido looked around before listing off more than half the class, including breaks-his-bones-Midoriya. You remembered Aizawa’s words at how Midoriya was useless after saving one person and you dearly hoped that today was not going to be one of those days. Although if it came to a classmate’s life and one of his limbs, you guessed he was going to choose a life over a reparable limb.

Letting out a shaky breath, you watched as Iida, multiple-limbs, tape-guy, and generic muscle-guy faced off against the mist. You couldn’t hear what was being said, but after less than a minute, Uraraka got up and grimly announced that she had to go help. Clenching your fists, you wanted to argue, but that mist villain was standing between Iida and his getting help for this mess.

“I’m going with you,” you ground out. “Ashido, can you stay here with teacher?”

The girl gave a shaky nod. “Y-yeah. You can count on me!”

If Thirteen had been awake, they probably would have tried to stop you two from leaving, from foolishly rushing to join the boys against a real-life villain. You wonder if you would have listened.

Quaking with terror, you followed after Uraraka.


Scared is what you're feeling. Brave is what you're doing.

~Emma Donoghue, Room

Chapter Text

You meant to follow Uraraka to help the boys, but in that moment you glanced down the stairs towards the plaza—and immediately froze, transfixed by the sight of your teacher fighting and defeating multiple opponents. He moved fluidly between villains, his white capture tape flying around, and the villains kept falling. He wasn’t All Might, but in this moment you realized he was still a pro.

“No good hero is a one trick pony.”

His Quirk allowed him to erase other Quirks, but he was dealing even with mutant types, moving with agility and flexibility, dodging between the villains’ attacks. Aizawa had physical conditioning, a thing both you and Hitoshi sorely lacked, and you saw now what he had meant by his earlier comment. He wasn’t just standing in one place while using his Quirk—he was moving, using strategy and fighting skills no doubt honed over his entire career.

“Amazing,” you whispered, unaware the word had slipped out.

You don’t know how long you stood there, but eventually Mina’s voice pierced the haze in your mind. “(Last Name)?”

“Oh!” Her voice pulled you back to the present and it hit you then that you had stalled in the middle of an emergency. You had allowed yourself to become distracted! Flushing in chagrin at yourself, you waved your hand at the pink-skinned girl and moved to head towards the others.

Just as you looked, though, Iida was disappearing between the doors, and your assistance in that area was no longer required. Face still warm at your lapse of concentration, you ceased movement towards them as protecting Thirteen was now the priority since Iida had successfully escaped to get help.

As your line of vision slid from one side to the other, you froze when you caught sight of the plaza again. In the few seconds you had looked away, the command of the battlefield had changed. Aizawa was no longer running circles around the villains. He was beneath a hulking mass, mutant of some sort, and—

snap

A distant pained yell followed a snapping sound that made you feel sick. That thing—it was hurting him!!

(a terrible mantra repeated in your head, screaming that he was going to die, that he was going to be murdered right in front of your eyes, and then you were moving—)

HEY!

The creature didn’t react until the villain with the hand over his face yelled at it as you flew through the air, having stupidly launched yourself at the villains.

“Kill her!”

The monster suddenly turned as the distance between you and it continued to shorten, and suddenly it let go of Aizawa, as it leapt towards you, abandoning your teacher as you had faintly hoped for. It moved faster than you could see, but it could not avoid your feelers which snaked around its arms, redirecting it slightly downwards even as they moved over the monster, pulling you forward over its head. Once you had its back, your feelers coiled and launched you off its back, slightly overbalancing it forward as the force pushed you forward, covering the last of the distance between you and your downed teacher. Landing softly near him, you turned back to face the monster, deeming it more dangerous than hand-face. Your feelers swarmed around him immediately, ready to protect him.

(dirty hair, scruffy beard, dry skin, sweat, dirt, blood, fresh and drying, his elbow, broken skin, weird damage to his muscles, strange angles on his arms, his arms are broken, his elbow is damaged, someone’s Quirk?)

Aizawa was behind you, but you heard the anger (like Hitoshi when he finds out you’ve skipped your energy bars, like mom and dad when you come home later than usual and haven’t answered your phone, the worry) in his voice as he growled at you from the ground. “(Last Name), what are you doing? You’re supposed to evacuate!”

“Sorry, sensei,” you apologized, now standing between the monster and your teacher. Your legs were shaking and, for some reason, a wavering smile crossed your face. You explained,

“My body just moved on its own.”

Your words seemed to incense the villain at your back. His voice was cold as he repeated, “Kill her.

Aizawa made a sound, and you flinched as the beast leapt towards you once again. Again, it was moving too fast for you with your average reflexes to keep sight of him, but your feelers didn’t need sight to work. As the massive fists of the so-called Nomou descended, your feelers redirected them, forcing the monster to hit the plaza ground instead of your fragile form. As long as your feelers were active, its speed and power meant nothing.

However, that knowledge did nothing to stop you from sweating or shaking. Coupled with the fact that you knew you could not sustain this forever, at least two feelers were dedicated to holding you up, to keep you from falling to your knees. You couldn’t show weakness like that here, not in front of these villains.

(’please no fire or sticky stuff, please no fire or sticky stuff, please no fire or—‘)

Your hands clenched beneath the sleeves of your kimono, curling tightly as pain began making itself known as the relentless attacks continued. There was massive force behind each punch, strength of the likes of which you had never had to deal with before. Coupled with its speed, this monster was beginning to strain your Quirk, building a headache in your head that promised dreadful pain. Still, better a headache than broken bones or a dead teacher.

(cold comfort)

Concentrating as you were on your feelers, you did not take the time to look behind you when the hand villain started talking to someone else. A shift in the air told you that it was probably the mist villain, though.

(Shigaraki was angry at Kurogiri for failing, and he knew it was time to leave before the pro heroes could arrive, but he wanted that girl dead first, he wanted her broken in front of her teacher, in front of her annoying classmates, she had to die—)

As the assault continued, your feelers writhed in constant motion, protecting both yourself and the prone Aizawa. The taste of the Nomou as it tried to pulverize you was unpleasant but not the most disgusting thing you had ever tasted. You did, however, try avoid tasting the exposed brain part like the plague, not wanting to find out what it tasted like.

The monster shifted around in his attack, and now you were able to see the hand-villain and mist villain in your peripheral vision. Dust and bits of rubble flew, all directed aside and especially away from your injured teacher. You could see the hand-face villain getting more agitated, or at least that’s what his body language was saying as you couldn’t see his face. The thin man was scratching at his neck, almost clawing himself.

The villain snarled. “Cheater! You’re cheating!

You almost snorted. “You’re a villain, and you expect fairness?”

‘Oh, god, brain, now is not the time to be sassy!’

“You’re the one I’m going to kill,” he said darkly, alarming you, and, from the sound Aizawa made, alarming your teacher as well.

And then the villain was in your range (dry, flaking, disgusting, those hands feel real, the hands are rubbery, metal, dry hair, this guy is so dry), exhibiting speed you hadn’t expected. He was in the middle of a sentence, “To wound the pride of—!?

“Shigaraki!”

Your feelers had yanked him off his feet, dangling him upside down by one leg, and you were sorely tempted to flail and bash him repeatedly on the ground, but you feared you might accidentally murder him if you did. You flinched and dropped him as he suddenly lunged upwards, trying to grab your hair. He landed awkwardly but rolled away, one visible eye glaring at you and promising a painful death. He moved—

CRASH

Everyone stopped moving, eyes immediately locked towards the gate where dust billowed. A shadow moved within, stepping forward and revealing themselves. A wave of emotion seemed to roll over everyone as the figure stepped into clear view, tall, broad and blond.

Tears filled your eyes as you smiled again, relief flooding every fiber of your being. You, and some of the others, cried out.

All Might!!


One part brave, three parts fool!

~Christopher Paolini

Chapter Text

Your vision was blurred with tears of relief. You barely saw All Might suddenly move from the entrance and the next thing you knew was that your feelers brushed something big and fast off its path towards you and Aizawa. In less than a second, your feelers had forced something to go around you two.

(it passes by in less than a second, but your feelers taste things before you are even aware of them, and they register starched clothing, a big body, hard muscles beneath the cloth, calloused hands, and warm skin—)

“Hm?!”

Looking over your shoulder and half-turning, you saw that you had just brushed aside All Might. Horror made your stomach clench and you found yourself speechless. This was the kind of screw up that could cost lives!

All Might turned his attention to the villain and monster in front of him. “Young (Last Name), I will hold these villains back. Evacuate the area and take Aizawa with you!”

The prone man near you agreed darkly. “Which is what you should have done in the first place.”

“Yes, All Might. And, s-sorry, sensei.”

Your legs trembled as the villain with the hands all over his body started talking to All Might. You foiled All Might’s rescue of both yourself and your teacher! This was exactly the kind of situation that made using one’s Quirk without a license illegal.

But there’s no time to dwell on your failures, not with orders from two of your teachers.

(he might be mad at you, he might even punish you later, but he isn’t as badly hurt as he would have been if you hadn’t done anything, and while that’s not much comfort, at least you know that he’s going to live)

Despite the pounding headache from overusing your Quirk, your feelers pick up your injured teacher just as carefully as you carried Thirteen a mere few minutes ago. As you fled the area, Midoriya and Asui emerged from the foliage and adjusted their course to intersect with yours. However, Midoriya’s attention was divided and most of it was directed at the fight now taking place in the area you just left.

“Do you need help, (Last Name)?” Asui croaked after asking her question.

Sweat dripped down your face, which was probably the reason she asked. You gritted your teeth. “He’s hurt. I don’t want to injure him by—“

“Stop using your Quirk, (Last Name),” Aizawa ordered.

You wanted to, but he was injured. That thing had broken his bones You’ve heard about how you shouldn’t move an injured person, nor when it meant risking hurting them even more, and right now you’re keeping him in a stable position. It hurts, and you want to put him down, but not here, not so close to where you just left.

“(Last Name)—“

Asui took one look at your face and gestured to the stairs. “Go.”

Nodding, you ignored your teacher as your feelers swiftly carried you forward. Asui ran after you, but Midoriya stumbled to a halt. You shouldn’t leave them, but you need to put Aizawa down. Soon, both she and Midoriya were beyond your feelers and you couldn’t taste them anymore. Aizawa is talking, but you can’t properly focus on his words.

As soon as you ascended the stairs, you gently set him down before collapsing ungracefully on your front, uncaring that the kimono you wanted to keep clean is going to get dirty. Your hair was spread wildly over the back of your body as you panted into the concrete, and you think Aizawa is talking to you. Your head pulsated with pain and you stifled a whimper. Crying would only make you hurt worse…!

The others who were nearby kept shouting as All Might fought on the level below, and you wished they would all just shut up. Their voices grated on you, adding to your suffering, and the loud noises coming from the fight itself did nothing to help. The very roots of your hair felt afire with agony.

Was this the suffering you would have to endure in order to use your Quirk again like you did today? Would you have to suffer even worse in order to get more out of your abilities?

If so, you really don’t think you’re going to be able to become a hero.


Aizawa, now that he wasn’t being held down by his student’s Quirk, forced himself to sit up. The first thing he did was look at her and he didn’t like what he saw. She was sweating and groaning, face down, and had clearly overextended her Quirk. Guiding his students into expanding the utility of their Quirks was one thing, but this wasn’t a safe environment. She should not have pushed herself so far or put herself in danger because of him. He was the teacher. He was supposed to protect her. When all of this was over and she wasn’t in pain, he was going to give her a stern lecture.

(she’s alive, but reckless, too willing to put herself in danger, and he knows about her medication, knows what the pills are for, and he won’t standby and let her kill herself like this, even if it ultimately means expelling her)

However, that is later. Right now, his students are not all accounted for.

Looking back where Asui and Midoriya should be close behind them, Aizawa gritted his teeth when he saw that only Asui had followed them. Typical of a problem child, Midoriya was interfering in a fight he had no right to intervene in. And, as if two troublesome children weren’t enough, three more in the forms of Bakugo, Todoroki, and Kirishima were down there.

“Hey! You four!” Three of them looked in his direction. “Get over here!”

One put their hand on Midoriya’s shoulder to lead him away, and Aizawa felt his strained nerves ease slightly as all four of them started his way.

Then Midoriya looked back at All Might’s fight and Aizawa knew what was coming next.

“Midoriya!”

Too late.

The problem child launched himself back towards the fight where All Might was just standing across from two villains, a face-off that somehow pushed Midoriya into action. Aizawa winced as he noticed that Midoriya’s legs were broken again. He struggled to move, to get up and get down there even though he knew he would never make it in time. A hand reached out from a swirl of mist, ready to disintegrate one of his students—

The crack of a gun signaled the arrival of the Calvary.

He watched as Sniper forced the villains into retreating, disappearing in a swirl of darkness, and only when they were gone did he turn his head to look at his colleagues.

Hizashi smiled widely at him.

“A bit too much for a practical lesson, don’tcha think?”

He sighed and let himself fall backwards, closing his eyes and trusting them to handle things from here.

From close to him, the harsh panting from (Last Name) filled his ears.

He opened his eyes and turned his head.

Her hair nearly hid her from view, a colorful covering that was no doubt contributing to her current pain. Her head was turned his way, and from what little he could see, she was sweating and grimacing, one hand clutching a fistful of thick, multi-colored hair.

This foolish girl was only in this pain because she risked her own life to save him.

He’s not going to reward that kind of behavior.

But… well, she’d just get a warning this time.

After all, he could always teach her better.


What we instill in our children will be the foundation upon which they build their future.

~Steve Maraboli

Chapter Text

When the medics come to collect him, Aizawa brushes them off to take care of (Last Name) first. The girl, hearing the paramedics trying to insist that he is the one most in need of immediate medical attention, pushes herself up. She can’t even finish trying to lie that her pain ‘isn’t too bad’, nor can she muster a half-sincere smile. Instead, she continues clutching at her head before finally admitting defeat and that her head hurts.

Staring at her bent frame, Aizawa recalls that her file says her ‘hair’ weighs close to over eighty kilograms on its own. Her Quirk is her hair, or rather her feelers, but her Quirk is likely responsible for a strong skeletal frame, in addition to her increased metabolism, although that is only speculation until a more thorough medical checkup was done. However, from what he’s seen of her so far, she is under the belief that the entirety of her Quirk is only the feelers aspect. Her Quirk is almost certainly more than what she thinks it is, but he doubts she’d be receptive of him telling her that right now.

Pushing aside the idle thought of her actually thinking that an average neck would be able to handle the weight of her inert feelers, Aizawa glares the medics into taking care of his student before him. They put her on a gurney and she is whisked away to Recovery Girl.

Wincing as he blinked his eyes, Aizawa grimly noted to himself that though (Last Name) likely saved him from greater injury, he wasn’t feeling particularly grateful at the moment, not when he recalls the state her efforts left her in. She was a foolish child, putting herself in danger like that for his sake. As bad as Midoriya who had jumped in to save All Might, really. Aizawa sighed as another set of medics arrived for him.

He had at least one problem child in Midoriya and a potential problem child in (Last Name), didn’t he?

Though, of course, they were troublesome for completely different reasons.


It was a bit of a surprise that another student had to be put in the infirmary with himself and young Midoriya, but Recovery Girl assured him that the girl would be fine. Easily recognizing her as the brave student who had protected Aizawa, Toshinori felt both proud of her but also worried. He wanted to tell her not to put herself in danger like that, but if he actually said that, he had a feeling that Recovery Girl would scold him and probably call him a hypocrite due to how he treated young Midoriya. He probably shouldn’t compare students like that in the first place though.

Still, he couldn’t help but feel grateful for young Midoriya’s interference today. The boy had surely saved his life.

’Toshi…

He startled slightly at the pained whimper from the girl. Recovery Girl had the girl put on a sleeping mask to block the light, but then the nurse dimmed the lights in the infirmary anyway. She glared accusingly over at him but he shook his head frantically, silently telling her that he didn’t have the slightly idea as to why she was calling his name. About a minute or so later, the girl—(Last Name), he reminded himself—whimpered his name again.

He blinked wildly over at Recovery Girl who just huffed quietly and shook her head. He guessed the nurse didn’t know why the girl was calling his name either.

Naomasa soon arrived in his capacity as a detective and member of the police force, but neither of them alluded to his identity as All Might, not with a stranger out of the loop in the room, that person being (Last Name). Still, he couldn’t help but praise class 1-A as a whole for their bravery and actions. The villains had chosen the wrong fight this time, and the students of this class were going to be mighty heroes.

He would make sure of that.


Hitoshi’s average school day had become less average than he would have liked when a lockdown was suddenly initiated. Their mathematics teacher had sprinted off after giving orders to stay in the room, and, surprisingly, they had followed that directive with no trouble. Time had passed without any apparent need to worry, and finally, before the end of the school day, the P.A. system clicked on and the principal’s voice filled the air.

The current lockdown was now officially lifted and students were free to go home after the announcement. Then, as cold dread slowly settled over him with every word from the principal’s mouth, Hitoshi listened as the whole school was informed that the lockdown had been due to a villain presence on school grounds. The villains had targeted the first years in the hero course—(Name)—but everyone was safe and accounted for, and the villains had been driven off. In light of the villain attack, students were to be careful on their way home.

The classroom door rattled open as the principal signed off and their homeroom teacher entered the room. The classroom erupted in noise, mostly questions about what happened, but their homeroom teacher didn’t seem to be bothered, just waving at them to settle down.

Hitoshi clenched his hands as his teacher avoided giving them hard answers and would only admit that no one had died. Only one student had been injured enough to need Recovery Girl’s healing and was going to be fine, and one student had overextended their-self enough to be confined to bedrest, but other than that, they had no need to be concerned for the well-being of their fellow students.

The general course students grumbled about not being worried for the hero course students—Hitoshi could hear the jealousy in their voices—but Hitoshi was, or at least, he was worried for one student in particular. He remembers the time he first used his Quirk on (Name), the way she had fainted when he pushed her too far, so he bit his lip, being at least eighty-five percent certain that she was the one who had ‘overextended their-self’. The other fifteen percent of him was fervently hoping he was wrong and that (Name) had done the sane thing and not involved herself in the middle of whatever had happened today.

Gritting his teeth as his homeroom teacher droned on about being safe on their way home, Hitoshi wished they could leave already. He needed to find (Name) and confirm her status with his own eyes.

She was only in the hero course because of him. If she got hurt, wasn’t it his fault for putting her in harm’s way? But wasn’t there always the danger of getting hurt in the course of a hero’s training and professional life?

…What had he been thinking all this time, having her aim for the hero course?

Would it have been so bad to ask her to become a teacher instead? A nurse? Something, anything other than a hero, somewhere where she wouldn’t get hurt and he didn’t have to worry like this.

As soon as the others started standing up, Hitoshi stuffed his things into his schoolbag and was one of the first few out the door.

He headed straight for the hero course section of the school and stalked right up to class 1-A. The massive door was nothing new; all the doors in this place were almost excessively large for whatever reason, so he wasn’t daunted in the slightest. The door was closed, though, so he knocked swiftly and loudly.

After a moment, the door was opened by a tall boy with glasses. Ah, this was that arrogant bastard from the false alarm a few days ago, wasn’t it?

“Yes? What is it?”

Hitoshi glared. “Where is (Last Name)?”

The teenager winced slightly. “Ah. She’s unharmed, but I’m afraid she is with Recovery Girl—“

He abandoned the conversation, not caring that he was rude, and ignored the boy calling after him in agitation. Like a man on a mission, Hitoshi ignored everything and went straight to the school infirmary.

However, for all he was worried about (Name), he still paused when he saw a sign on the door that asked visitors to knock first. Scowling, Hitoshi obeyed the sign and, instead of turning the doorknob he’d been holding, raised his hand to knock.

Waiting anxiously, he fidgeted in place. After what seemed like forever, the door creaked open and he looked down at the aged hero peering out at him. He quickly asked about (Last Name) and if he could see her.

Recovery Girl frowned. “I’m afraid a visitor would interfere with her rest. She overextended her Quirk, giving herself a powerful migraine. I’ve even had to shush my other patients for chatting too much.”

He leaned forward. “Please. I need to see her. I need to see that she’s okay.”

“Are you family? Her mother has been contacted to come fetch her.”

He grimaced. “No, I’m not family, but I’ve known her since we were kids. I’m Hitoshi Shinso.”

She perked up. “Ah. So you’re the ‘Toshi’ she’s been calling for.”

His heart missed a beat, but not in a joyful manner. The only times she’s ever called him “’Toshi” were at her lowest moments or when she was in pain.

Leaning in ever closer, he pleaded. “Please, Recovery Girl. Let me see her.”

The nurse considered him for a long moment before nodding as she opened the door, stepping aside. “Please be quiet about it. Light and noise are her worst enemies at the moment.”

He nodded and he stepped inside. The place was dimly lit and he saw that there were currently three occupants. Having no interest in the other two, he immediately went over to the one with the familiar long hair. Stepping up next to her bed, he saw that she was wearing a sleeping mask against to help protect her eyes against the light could currently cause her more pain. He slid his hand into hers and whispered.

“(Name)?”

She immediately gripped his hand but her Quirk didn’t flare out to reach for him as it usually did. “’Toshi?”

His stomach twists at the pain straining her voice and the desperate hope underlying it.

“Do I have permission?”

Yes.

He has her, and her grip weakens as she falls under a trance.

Swallowing mutely, not caring about the three other occupants that weren’t either him or (Name), he leaned forward and whispered his command, the only mercy he could grant her right now.

Sleep.

Her hand falls completely limp beneath his, and soon he’s staring at her as her chest gently rises and falls with breaths of slumber.

“Young man.” Recovery Girl’s voice is quiet, half-stern and half-soft, a peculiar tone that was both scolding and tender. “You should know very well that you aren’t allowed to use your Quirk outside of supervised training and life-threatening situations.”

She paused and he heard her sigh, though his eyes still locked on his best friend’s sleeping form.

“I suppose it’s your good fortune that I seem to be having a hearing problem at the moment. Don’t make a habit of it, though.”

Hitoshi almost wanted to laugh. After all, with them, it’s much too late for something like that.

He and she like their habits just fine.

(too much, probably)


Listen, I do care about you.

If that time ever comes, when I say, "I don't care", trust me, in that moment, I will be lying.

~Hafsa Shah

Chapter Text

When you wake up you find yourself staring at the familiar ceiling of your bedroom. The lights are off but there’s daylight behind the window blinds so the room isn’t completely dark. Your hair feels heavy but you no longer feel like something’s trying to escape your head by pounding through several different areas from the inside of your skull, so that’s a major plus. You lay there for several minutes before the call of nature is too much to ignore.

Mom is in the living room watching television when your door creaks open, and she’s quick to get up when she hears that sound. You meet her on your way to the bathroom and reassure her that you feel much better now. Your stomach growls, causing you to blush, but mom laughs and says she’ll cook you something right away.

After taking care of business, mom says it’s going to be a while before your meal is ready, so you decide to take a bath as well. It feels good to scrub off the grime from your skin and to wash your hair with your favorite natural shampoo. Your shampoo is somewhat expensive and you use so much of it, but you won’t wash with anything but that particular brand. After your Quirk manifested, finding a shampoo that didn’t make you scream had been quite a challenge for mom, but she had succeeded in the end. That thought makes you pause, hands sunk deep into your hair and a later of bubbles.

Are you a troublesome child?

(after your Quirk came in, sometimes you would scream when someone coughed or sneezed in your direction, other times you would cry in frustration because your hair was so heavy and you hated it, and you threw tantrums when mom tried to shampoo your hair because the shampoos were disgusting, then later your Quirk made you faint and you had special high-calorie needs, and then when you were thirteen—)

The feeling of some shampoo dribbling down towards your eyes snaps you out of your thoughts. Closing your eyes, you finish washing and rinsing your hair, focusing hard on the task at hand so that your thoughts wouldn’t wander into dark places.

Later, when you take a seat in front of the food mom has made for you—even though the hated calorie bars are there too—you thank your mom. She asks for what, and you tell her for everything. Something about the way you say it makes her look worried and she asks you if anything is wrong. You tell her that you’re fine. You just wanted to thank her for everything she’s done for you, because you feel as though you don’t say it often enough.

You end up regretted opening your mouth though, because mom ends up rushing around the table to grab you up in a tight hug. With dismay, you realize that you’ve scared her. You remember reading one of the pamphlets they brought home and still had around, how a suicidal person will sometimes say goodbye without using the word ‘goodbye’. Even after all this time, your parents are on watch for abnormal behaviors, terrified that you’ll slip away from them.

(they don’t know about the significance of your twenty-fifth birthday)

It takes a while, but you eventually manage to convince mom that you don’t mean it that way. You just wanted to thank her for taking care of you, because while washing your hair with the special shampoo she stocks just for you, you realized that you must have caused her trouble. Mom reassures you that it isn’t trouble. It was hard before when you were young, small and terrified of baths because you hated shampoos, but searching for a solution was what mothers did. She told you to think of it as like having an allergy—she definitely wouldn’t feed you food you were allergic to, so why would she not look for a shampoo that you could use? She certainly couldn’t keep submitting you to that sort of torture.

(you never hurt her with your Quirk, not even when you were flailing around, and you always eventually submitted to the shampooing, but it broke her heart to watch you curl up and cry into your hands or knees as though each session was physically hurting you)

You take your medication, eat your calorie bars, eat your meal, and then you return to your room where you finally send off a text to Hitoshi. Mom told you that classes were cancelled for today, so that’s why you were still sleeping even though it was late morning. Hitoshi was quick to send a text back, so perhaps all classes were cancelled, not just the hero course classes. Hitoshi confirms this after making sure that you’re feeling okay.

When Hitoshi asks about what happened, you decide that you can’t just tell him over text. You stick your head out your bedroom door to ask your mom if you can go outside. She’s still too worried to let you out of her sight or the apartment, so you end up asking Hitoshi to come over. He arrives with two cans of juice in hand and after saying hello to your mom, he ends up in your room with the door partially open, as per the rules since before the start of high school.

You end up with one of the cans of juice, unopened, as you sit on your bed and Hitoshi in the desk chair across from you. You end up telling him everything you can remember about the villain attack and he finds out the reason why you ended up in Recovery Girl’s office. As you conclude with his arrival at the nurse’s office, Hitoshi sighed and ran a hand through his hair.

“So you ended up like that because you protected your teacher…” He aimed a stern look at you. “Do you regret it?”

“The pain I could without,” you said truthfully. “If Aizawa-sensei is okay then… no, I don’t regret it.”

Hitoshi was silent for almost five minutes straight, leaving you to fiddle nervously with your now half-finished can of juice. Hearing him clear his throat, you slowly lifted your gaze up to look at him. He was glancing off to the side.

“(Name)…”

The way his eyes were slow to meet yours, you thought that whatever it is he wanted to say, it was difficult for him to even get the words out.

“Do you want to stay in the hero course? I know you only tried for U.A. because I asked you to, but seeing you on that bed in the nurse’s office…” He shook his head, keeping his gaze on your face. “I don’t think I can handle that again. I mean, I practically put you in that position myself.” His eyes shut tight as he clenched his free hand into a fist. “It’s my fault—“

He startled as your hair gently clapped over his mouth. His eyes opened to look at you.

Yeah, Hitoshi told you to try for U.A. You got caught up in a villain attack. You suffered a backlash from overextending your Quirk. You suffered pain and it wasn’t pleasant.

But, whatever happens, you don’t want Hitoshi to feel bad.

(you don’t want him to be burdened, to be lost, to be hopeless, to be hateful towards himself—)

“It hurt, yeah. It’ll probably hurt more in the future too. But…”

You thought of your new classmates and your teachers. You thought of how you walked to and from the same school as Hitoshi.

(you thought of the villain attack, and of how alive you had felt, how you hadn’t had time to think of anything else except the present moment)

You shook your head. “Don’t think like that, Hitoshi. Don’t blame yourself. You didn’t make those villains attack our class. It’s not your fault.” You grinned slightly at him. “I mean, I know I can be oblivious, but I’d like to think I’d notice if you actually went villain.”

He scowled and tugged your hair away from his mouth. “You wouldn’t notice if I confessed to your face.”

You protested. “I would! It’s hard not to notice if you’re saying something to my face.”

He raised a hand. “Fine, fine. Doesn’t change the fact that you’d only notice if I told you.”

You opened your mouth to protest, paused for a couple seconds as you tried to think of a defence, then closed your mouth as you realized you didn’t have one. He was right—you’d only notice he had gone evil if he ever confessed to villainy.

“Well, no one appreciates how much moral fiber you have not to submit to people’s negative bias against your Quirk!”

He blinked. “Uh… thanks?”

You both stared at each other before glancing away awkwardly. He leaned back in your desk chair.

“…(Name).”

You looked over at him but he was staring up at the ceiling.

“You don’t have to stay in the hero course if you don’t want to. I mean, if you want to be a teacher, or a baker, or something else, I don’t mind.” His head shifted slightly, and you thought he was glancing at the open bedroom door as he lowered his voice. “You’ve lent it to me, but it’s still your life, you know?”

“Mm,” you replied, standing up. Walking the few steps over to him, you looked down at his face. “I don’t mind it there. Until Aizawa kicks me out—if he ever does, and I kinda think he eventually will, but then again, I’m a pessimistic sort—I’m gonna stick it out.”

“Hmm,” he hummed quietly. A moment later, he a wry grin slowly crossed his face.

“You do realize it looks like you’re about a second away from strangling me?”

You looked down at his neck where your hair was loosely wrapped around it. You whined at him as you pulled your hair back.

“Why does my Quirk keep doing that? I look like a creep when it does that!”

He chuckled as you went over to plop face down on your bed. Sure, he thinks it’s a joke, but it isn’t a laughing matter. If you ever did that around Ashido, the girl was going to tease you for sure! Agh, and what if you did it in front of your other classmates too?! Mineta is the worst sort!

(for all you two are close, there are things you can’t say, because sometimes you just don’t know how)


The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

~George Bernard Shaw

Chapter Text

When classes started up again, you were relieved to see Aizawa show up for homeroom. His arm was in a sling and there were some bandages on his face, but surely this was better than if you hadn’t interfered. A couple of your classmates said they were glad he was okay and you shared the sentiment, but you couldn’t help wincing when he said his welfare wasn’t important. Then again, he was a grown up and a teacher, so maybe he had a point? After all, if you were a teacher, wouldn’t the safety of your students be more important than your own wellbeing? Food for thought, anyway.

And then Aizawa dropped a bomb on your head, one christened ‘The U.A. Sports Festival’.

Thinking about it, it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise to you that this was coming. After all, Hitoshi did like watching it every year and at least half the time he cajoled you into watching it with him. This year, though, you would be one of the many being broadcasted across the country, if not the world. It was… an anxiety-inducing thought, to say the least.

Despite the villain attack, U.A. had decided to proceed with the event. Security would be increased, of course, so that was a little reassuring.

The class chattered around you, filling your ears with facts and expectations. Your mind boiled it down to it being your chance to grab the attention of pro heroes. Aizawa said that it happened once a year, meaning you all had three chances. This was an event you couldn’t miss!

A part of you wondered how much being hit by a car would hurt, before you squashed that part and told it to be quiet.


Come lunch, you all but ran out of the classroom, striding quickly to your destination. You walked so quickly, you arrived almost two minutes before Hitoshi arrived. He wasn’t surprised and just raised a hand in greeting before continuing on as you fell in step beside him. After getting lunch and sitting down, you ending up poking at your meal rather than actually eating.

Hitoshi paused in eating his gyudon to look over at you. “I take it that you were told about the upcoming Sports Festival?”

You glumly nodded your head, eyes on your food.

“You know what your Quirk can do. Just avoid the you-know-what-things and you’ll be fine.”

The ‘you-know-what-things’ being the things your Quirk was weak against, those mainly being sticky substances and fire. Not that either of you have tested the fire theory so far, as neither of you wanted you to get hurt from it. Glue, though… glue was a pain in the neck. You’d have to bring that up with one of your teachers some time, and hopefully they would have a solution, or at least help you find one.

Inexplicably, you suddenly remembered the accidental streaker from last year’s festival and made a face.

(he had a nice bu—no! Brain, no! Bad brain!)

Quietly clearing your throat, you addressed his comment. “I guess. But it’s a competition, and I can already think of at least three classmates I don’t want to go against.”

He sounded mildly interested. “Yeah? Who?”

You lifted your bowed head and counted them on your fingers. “Bakugo, Ashido, and Mineta.”

“Explosions, acid, and… sticky… spheres.”

You coughed at the way he paused and avoided the word ‘balls’. Yeah, ‘sticky balls’ wasn’t a phrase you wanted to use in reference of touching things you could taste. Like, ew. Just, ew.

“Yeah, basically,” you finally said. You jolted slightly. “Oh, and half-and-half!”

Hitoshi paused eating again and lowered his chopsticks to ask, “Half-and-half?”

You pointed at your hair. “A boy with half red and half white hair. Got in by recommendation, I think?”

Hitoshi’s face darkened. “Oh. Todoroki.”

“That’s the guy.” You blinked as you remembered something. “Although, I don’t think I’ve really seen him use his hot side?”

“(Name).”

You looked over at him because of his tired tone. You saw that his eyes were closed.

“Just say ‘fire side’.”

You reviewed your words and stifled a snort. “Heh. Okay. His fire side.”

Hitoshi opened his eyes and took another mouthful of food. He chewed and swallowed before talking.

“What are your plans until the festival?”

“Classes and training, I guess. I mean, I know it won’t make much of a difference since the festival is so close, but at least I can get started.”

He sounded confused. “Get started on what?”

You grinned over at him. “Remember what I told you about the USJ? About what Aizawa-sensei said before leaping at all those villains?”

He gave you a blank stare so you reminded him.

“’No good hero is a one trick pony.’”

You clenched your free hand and stared ahead. “I’m going to train my physical attributes! Like, I want to be able to run and lift things without using my Quirk. I know I won’t be all that fast or strong, but it would be better than just relying on my Quirk all the time, right?”

Hitoshi was quiet for a long moment as you ate. Then, just when you thought the conversation was over, he spoke.

“That sounds… like a good idea. I think I’ll try it out, too.”


During the time coming up to the Sports Festival, you came to realize just how often you used your Quirk for even daily things. It wasn’t unusual for you to pick things up with your Quirk and just leave them hanging for a moment or two, the main culprit here being a tube of toothpaste. You would use your Quirk to grab things, such as your clothes, or something that was out of reach. Of course, there was also the fact that at least one to two feelers were frequently active in holding your hair so that it wasn’t dragging on the ground. It was no wonder you used up so many calories, really.

When you had asked him for advice about starting a training regimen for someone who hasn’t really exercised before, Aizawa later gave you a printout for a beginner’s workout. Sadly, he also told that that was just the beginning and that over time you would be getting new printouts with increased exercise sets and longer distances for running. You had wanted to drop the printout and runaway, but that would have only been delaying the inevitable, not to mention rude to someone who had made the time to help you out.

For some reason, though, Hitoshi had been joining you on your journey to fitness. He said you were right, that it wouldn’t make much of a difference for the Sports Festival, but there was next year’s festival, and besides, there wasn’t any way he was letting you get in better shape than him. You just shrugged and let him tag along because misery loves company.

You don’t like the taste of copious amounts of sweat, you found.

Then, in what seemed like no time at all, the Sports Festival was looming over you, ready to crush and humiliate you. Curling up under your comforter, you wondered what the chances were of a disaster striking Musutafu either tonight or tomorrow. You hoped for an earthquake that would demolish the stadium, but really, you’d settle for tide of villains wreaking havoc across the city. Then again, earthquakes were rare in Musutafu, not to mention villains were selfish bastards. They’d probably watch the festival instead of make use of the distraction it provided to commit crimes!

(you fall asleep muttering curses at faceless villains led by hand man and mist guy)


It is a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.

~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Chapter Text

Honestly speaking, Hitoshi had seriously considering going up to Class 1-A at some point to declare war on them, but she might take that the wrong way so he had been on the fence about it. After the villain attack, though, he completely disregarded the idea. He had still gone to check on her and had found a crowd outside her classroom, and that was when he had gotten his first real look at Bakugo, the bastard who had made her cry at least one time.

Bakugo was rude and shoved his way through the crowd after brushing off that one guy’s comment from Class 1-B. Calling the whole crowd ‘cannon fodder’ rubbed Hitoshi the wrong way. Bakugo had ignored his own classmates, basically saying that no one else mattered because he was aiming for the top. Clearly the guy had no sense of teamwork, and he felt sorry that she had to put up with the loudmouth on a daily basis.

For some reason, his presence to pick her up had caused a slight ruckus among her classmates still inside the classroom, and she had been quick to take his hand and flee the scene. In the time leading up to the Sports Festival, she complained about Ashido and Hagakure’s teasing. He didn’t tell her, but he himself had to endure glares from his own classmates about knowing a student in Class 1-A.

(he definitely doesn’t mention the whispers about his Quirk and her supposed ‘friendship’)

Training for the Sports Festival was really too little, too late, but they only had gains to accumulate if they kept it up even after the event. After all, increasing one’s stamina and body strength can only be a good thing, right? Mind, he’d definitely be increasing his own training because it could only help him in getting closer to his goal.

The night before the festival, they texted back and forth. Apparently her friends from their middle school had wished her good luck. He didn’t have friends other than her, but when she sent her own ‘good luck’ message to him, that was all he needed.

(she was alive)


When he meets up with her the next morning, she almost looks the same as usual. However, her crooked school scarf and the slightly drooping long sock on her left calf give away her nerves. She startles when he points them out, her feelers yanking up the wayward sock and catching her schoolbag as she drops it to use her hands to straighten her scarf. When she finishes, she takes her schoolbag back into her hands and they head for the station.

“It’ll be fine,” he murmurs on the crowded train, knowing she’s probably even more anxious than he was. They’re both standing close to each other and she’s holding his arm again instead of one of the handles overhead. He tries to reassure her. “You know your Quirk and you have an idea about your limits. Don’t panic and you’ll be okay.”

She nods tightly, and he’s almost certain that his words are going in one ear and right out the other. He can’t blame her, not when they both know that the hero course students tend to get the most media coverage. Even if she’s sharing the limelight with nineteen others, the spotlight is on her today.

She’s faced villains, but the media is another monster altogether that she’s always been wary of, well aware of its potential to lead a vicious campaign against a person.

As the school comes into view, her steps falter beside him. The festival is still some time away and yet there is already a crowd at the front gate. Hitoshi heard that the security for this year’s festival was tighter than ever before, mostly in light of the villain attack on Class 1-A. From what he can see, U.A. students are bypassing the security check and being waved through by a pair of teachers. Taking her hand, Hitoshi gently pulled her forward and let her move at her own pace beside him.

As they neared the spectacle that was the front gate, she inhaled deeply and lifted her chin. Good, it seems as though she’s prepared herself for at least this part. He can’t stay with her after they near the front entrance of the school itself though, since the departments are all in separate areas. Waving goodbye, he can only hope that she’ll be okay.

Clenching his fist, Hitoshi reminded himself: this was his big chance.

(maybe his only chance to prove he was worthy of switching departments)


Waiting in the prep room with your classmates, you stood near Ashido and Hagakure. The acid Quirk girl was grinning as she chattered away, saying she was nervous but totally looking forward to what was coming. Hagakure shared her sentiment, but when they asked you how you were feeling, you brought a hand up to your mouth.

“If you’re gonna hurl, probably best to do it now rather than on live television.” Ashido cocked her head slightly. “But for real, are you going to be okay?”

Taking a deep breath, you lowered your hand. “I’ll be fine.”

Hopefully. It’s not like you can skip any meal, not with mom there to cook them and make sure you eat, but Ashido was right. You really hoped that if you puked that it didn’t happen while on camera. God, that would be humiliating, depending on the circumstances in which you throw up. It’s one thing if someone punches your gut and you hurl, but out of sheer nerves? Who would trust a hero like that?

…It’s different from Uraraka’s puking since hers is tied to her Quick usage.

Anyway, the attention shifts over to Midoriya and Todoroki when the latter declares war on the former. That’s surprising since Todoroki doesn’t usually initiate conversation or interactions on his own, and doubly surprising since you had thought that Midoriya wasn’t all that impressive, but if the best in class was calling him out…

“I’m going for it too. With everything I’ve got!”

Midoriya’s words make you take a second look at him. This boy has been breaking his bones at what seems like left, right and center (probably an exaggeration, but not by much), but he’s endured all those injuries from his Quirk and is standing here with the rest of you. To you, it looks like he’s ready to go out there and shout to the world, ‘I am here!’.

You find yourself a little envious of that determination.

It wasn’t long after that when your class was told to assemble and head out. Swallowing nervously and clenching your hands, you strode with the rest of your classmates and tried very hard not to stare down at your feet. You can hear Present Mic loud and clear and he’s calling out your class.

As you emerged into the light of day to find thousands of faces staring down at you with the knowledge that millions more were watching, your legs trembled beneath the weight of reality.

You—you—were going to participate in the famed U.A. Sports Festival!

Tightening your fists at your side, you could only hope that you wouldn’t choke.

Still, despite your nerves, you nearly cringe at Present Mic’s announcements. After the hearty introduction he gave to the first years in the hero course, the way he introduces the rest of the first years from the other departments is almost lackadaisical. Sure, he’s still shouting energetically, but he literally says, “Following Class B, it’s classes C, D and E of General Studies!”

‘Following Class B’, which is the other half of the hero course, but that’s all they get since apparently not facing villains is reason enough to stand in 1-A’s shadow.

Glancing over at the General Studies students, you spot Hitoshi because… whoa, has he always been that tall? You hardly noticed because he’s been by your side since you were little, but even though you’ve ‘known’ that he was taller than you, seeing his head of familiar hair standing out because of his height really hammers the fact home.

Hitoshi is tall.

Holding back a sigh at your obliviousness, you add that to the Hitoshi Facts along with ‘his hair is purple’.

Midnight is the referee for the first-years, and you once again wonder how an R-Rated hero managed to get hired by a school. Also, why couldn’t she design a costume that didn’t have her boobs hanging out like that? Her whole hero persona puts you off, but so far you’ve managed not to make faces in her presence during class, and hopefully you’ll be able to keep that up and not let her catch on to the fact that she kind of makes you uncomfortable.

When Bakugo goes up to give the Athlete’s Oath, you’re not surprised when he uses the opportunity to declare that he’s going to take first place. In just two sentences, he manages to alienate your whole class despite the fact that you are all not Bakugo. Annoyed but unwilling to even glance at him, you keep your eyes up on the stage, though not necessarily on Midnight.

A screen pops up and words flash on it as Midnight announces the qualifier. Having watched several other festivals, you know the gist of what’s coming, though the question is, what will be the first hurdle?

Words flash onto the screen and stay there, and with that you have your answer.

First up, an obstacle course.


If you're waiting until you feel talented enough to make it, you'll never make it.

~Criss Jami, Healology