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The Maze

Chapter Text

He awoke with a start, panting and puking as he sit himself up inside a large metal cage that acted as an elevator. The red lights flashing by and a loud annoying alarm-like noise made his head feel as if it would explode at any second as he continued to vomit beside several wooden creates in front of him containing items he couldn’t care less about at this moment in time. His head was pulsing with a single image. A person? But as soon as he’d seen it it was gone. And he couldn’t remember what he’d just saw. What the hell was going on?

Before he could answer his own question, he was thrust upwards and into an opening of light in the ceiling, the clouds in the sky catching his attention as the metal cage suddenly stoped and several people were leaning across the entrance to look right at him. The faces; curious as one with red and white hair jumped down and into the cage with him, obviously not frightened if the cage broke out from under him.

“Day one, rise and shine” The other tells him, holding out his hand for the confused boy to take, which he did; reluctantly. Proving to regret his actions as the man tossed him up and out of the cage, his stomach screaming in pain but he dismissed it as he felt the many other judgemental eyes on him once again.

“Wow, we have another boy!” A rather small but muscular brown haired girl comments, talking to a girl with pink hair beside her, both of them dressed in cloth and leather, along with the rest of them. But only certain ones wore the leather. He himself, was dressed in cloth.

“It would seem so” The other lady replies quietly, moving slightly out of the way to let the boy from earlier back through to speak to the man still laying on the ground.

“What’s your name?”

The blonde on the ground didn’t have answer the others question as he turned to look at their surroundings, walls that stretched almost as tall as the clouds surrounding the large grassy area in which held them all. The walls were made of what seemed to be aged stone, covered with moss in some areas and roots from the ground slowly climbing up as if they wish to escape. And to his right was an exit. A slim exit going straight down the walls. It looked ominous, but…it was still an exit.

“Try letting me talk to him. Alone” Says a red spiky haired boy as he moves from the crowd and towards the new person. The crowd dissipating as they went about their day.

“Hi, my name is Eijiro. Uh…do you know anything about yourself? Maybe where you came from? Some form of identification?”

The boy felt more comfortable around the new person than the guy who practically threw him out of the cage earlier.

“I…don’t remember anything…” he replied, beginning to freak, feeling angry that he was beginning to panic “Why don’t I remember anything?”

“Hey relax, it’s okay. Don’t worry about it. It’s normal here. Your name will come back to you soon. It’s the one thing they let us remember.”

The blonde looked around to see people laughing and cooking as they conversed around a few logs in which they sat upon.

“Where am I?”

The red helped the other to stand, looking at the sky as evening drew upon them, making sure the man stayed behind him as he walked them around the small village “We call this place U.A. It uh…it’s our home. We grow our own food and we eat here. We build our own houses and we sleep here. We live here. Whatever we need, the cage provides us with. They send it up here once a month. Along with a new member. This month, that just so happens to be you.”

“You said that the cage is sent up, right? Who the hell put us here?” The blonde tried to remember, only feeling the selfless emotion known as anger well up within his stomach once again when he couldn’t even think about the past.

“We have no idea” Eijiro gave him a sad smile, waving as they came up to the group once more.

“Hey Eijiro, hello new guy. My name is Ochako, nice to meet you” The brown haired girl from earlier waved, settling a wooden bowl full of what looked to be soup in her lap.

“Oh. Um, Hi.”

“Okay yeah introductions is a good idea,” Eijiro grinned, sitting down on the log as the other joined him “This guy next to me is Shouto. He’s the one that runs things around here. If you ever have a problem, he’s the guy you talk to. The one next to him, his name is Rikido. He’s the one that harvests and cooks all the food around here. So give your compliments to the chef and all that. The one next to Ochako is Mei. She’s a medic as well as a runner along with Ochako herself.”

“A runner?”

Eijiro shakes his head slightly, looking as if he was considering telling him something for a moment before finally speaking “Besides being civil we do have a few rules here. You see that gap in the wall over there?…Never go through it.”

The blonde drew his eyebrows together as he looked at the rest of the group, all of them going back to eating, their eyes downcast.

Why would they not want him to go through the only exit to this place? Why were they all staying here when they could go through there? The thoughts swarmed his mind. He was curious, but he didn’t ask any further questions.

“The runners are the only ones who can. They know more about the maze than anyone. The ones who wear leather” Eijiro pulled on the leather harness around his own chest “are runners. We search for an exit to this place. So you can trust us when we say we’re all a team here. You hurt one of us, one of us hurts you back. If you respect us, we’ll respect you back. We only really have one thing here and it’s trust. Do you understand?”

The other nodded his head, suppressing his emotions and locking them away. Anger. Confusion. Humiliation. Awe. Depression. Need he continue?

Eijiro then shoved a smile back on his face. “Good, lets continue shall we. The tall guy with blue hair and glasses next to Mei is the keeper of the runners. Tenya. He’s the one that make sure everyone comes back alive every night. If a runner doesn’t make it back before noon they’ll be trapped in the maze…and no one has ever survived a night in the maze.”

The blonde went to ask what he meant by all this, when he was cut off by a loud cranking sound coming from the wall opposite them. The wall which held the opening. The others didn’t seem very alarmed by this but as the sides of the wall began to close together where the gap once stood, he couldn’t help a shiver that ran down his spine.

“It closes?”

“Every night.”

“Oh…”

The red haired boy then continued as if nothing had happened, naming the rest of the people sat on the logs Mezo, Tetsutetsu, Fumikage, Shinso, Denki and Minoru. The first four of which were runners. There were more people in U.A but they weren’t sat upon the logs. According to Eijiro there were around forty residents in U.A altogether, all of which had small houses, along with an assigned job. Everyone kept this place running and on its feet. Without everyone’s cooperation, U.A would’ve probably never been this productive.

“He wants to become a runner, I can tell” Shouto huffed as he stood up, walking away along with the others, the girl by the name of Ochako though, stayed. As the others went to ignite a large campfire to make up for the now darkened sky, the woman passed the blonde his own soup with a small smile, taking a seat next to him as he hesitantly began to eat. Wondering if they’d poisoned it somehow, but as he took his first bite, he was surprised at how good it tasted. Well, as surprised as you can be for where they were and what situation they were in.

“So…how’s day one treating you?”

The rather dismissive boy huffed, not really wanting to talk to anyone right now “Hasn’t exactly been the best.”

“I’d say today was rather successful,” Ochako giggled, crossing her feet, one over the other as they watched the fire begin to roar “no one died…us runners are still running…”

The man just hummed as he continued to eat, the woman beside him noticing. Of course she noticed.

“You like the soup? That was actually Shouto’s recipe.”

He paused in his tracks for a moment and then sighed, continuing to eat “I hate him…”

Ochako laughed “He’s not as bad as he seems. I promise. Shouto has always been a cold kind of guy but…he doesn’t hesitate to look after everyone here. Without him we would probably be running riot not knowing what to do next, or what to even do with ourselves. Whatever’s left of our sanity, he makes use of…giving people jobs gives them something to focus on besides being trapped here. And to be honest, I couldn’t ask for a better leader.”

The blonde considered eating another wooden spoonful for a moment before setting the bowl down in his lap “How long have you guys been here?”

“Me? I’ve been here about three years…” Ochako scratched at the back of her head nervously.

The blonde’s anger took over and he couldn’t control what next came out of his mouth “Three years?! And you still haven’t found an exit?!”

The woman scowled at him from where she was perched, jumping up to her feet only to look down at him “I don’t think you understand! The maze is complex, okay?! You hear those sounds?” she paused for a moment, both of them hearing the loud but distant sounds of rumbling and shifting “That’s the maze changing! It changes every night! And it just makes our jobs as runners that much more complicated! If you think being a runner is so easy then try it for yourself! Good luck getting yourself killed!”

His face remained stoic as she stormed away, placing his bowl on the ground as he processed her words. Being a runner…is that something he wanted? No. What he wanted was to get out of here. Find an exit. He wanted to know who he was, and why he was here. If the only way of doing that is becoming a runner then…

Katsuki.

He jumped up from the log, his eyes widening in surprise. His name. He remembers his name! How could he have ever forgotten such an important part of himself?

“Ochako” he called out before the other could wonder too far off to join the rest of U.A in the party now going on around the campfire. The party that was probably lifting the spirits of those here. A party that must’ve been as carefree as they wish they were. Everyone here was just like him. No matter how much he wants to rage at people he hates. In the end, they were just like him. He understands that now. As much as he hates it, he understands. The only ones worth hating right now were the people that put them here. And when he finds an exit…he will make his rage known.

“My name is Katsuki” He told her, watching as the aggressive look on her features softened, along with her tensed shoulders as she turned around to give him a soft smile.

“Welcome to U.A, Katsuki.”

Chapter Text

After the party, which Katsuki stayed as far away from as possible, Shouto showed him to his hammock inside a small den along with three other people. The loud and obnoxious Tetsutetsu, the annoyingly obsessive Mei, and the suspiciously quiet Shinso. None of which, were very delightful to sleep in a room with. Or so he’d learned. Tetsutetsu snored too loud. Mei was an insomniac, and Shinso was just /too/ quiet. It was an uncomfortable silence, like he was constantly thinking of ways to murder you while you’re sleeping. Turns out, the blonde didn’t get any sleep that night. Watching the bamboo walls seemed much more interesting than listening to the sounds of Mei clattering around on a small wooden desk and the just unnecessarily loud noises from Tetsutetsu. He ended up thinking…wondering about what kind of life he had before all this happened. Did he manage to do what he wanted? Did he have any dreams? Or anyone special? What about family? Before he knew it he was silently crying to himself. He was confused. Why was he crying? He wasn’t sad…was he?

-

As the sun began to rise, Katsuki rubbed his eyes from the dried tears and lack of sleep, jumping off of his hammock, ignoring the others as he went outside and stretched. Not expecting so many others to be up at this time Katsuki tutted to himself, watching as the wall opened to the so called ‘maze’ and a few runners waiting nearby. Waiting for it to fully open before they started running inside.

“So Shouto was right huh? You /do/ want to be a runner” the pink haired girl named Mei noticed as she stepped out of their shared den and placed her elbow on Katsuki’s shoulder, leaning on him in a way that he found undeniably annoying.

“Why would you even say that? Aren’t you supposed to be going in with them?” Katsuki growled as he shoved her arm off of him.

“It’s not my shift yet. And I mean you seem pretty interested…” Mei smirked, crossing her arms over her own chest as she leaned back against the bamboo, watching as Katsuki continued to watch the runners morning routine.

“Interested isn’t the word i’d use…” he huffed, pulling his eyes away from the runners and walking away to where people were gathering for breakfast.

The runners probably ate earlier than everyone else if they were expected to wake up this early. The more he thinks about it, the more unfair he thinks that only certain people get privileges like the runners. Especially that Shouto prick.

“Finally decided to join us?” Speak of the devil.

“What’s it got to do with you?” Katsuki seethed as he sat himself a few paces away from Shouto on the gathering of logs as he took his breakfast from Rikido who was cooking in the centre, many others surrounding them, focused on their own conversations.

“A lot, actually. You were supposed to be up an hour ago like the rest of us.”

“Well no one really filled me in on the fucking rules around here what do you expect of me?!” Katsuki shouted, causing a few heads to turn, but seeing who it was they turned back to their conversations.

“Well for one, we don’t tolerate that kind of attitude. Two, make yourself useful. Three, dont disrupt the rhythm. You’re not going to become a runner, so start thinking about a different occupation.”

Katsuki clenched his hands around the small wooden plate almost breaking it and causing the contents to scatter along the floor.

“WHAT MAKES YOU WORTHY ENOUGH TO BE THE BOSS OF ME?!” Katsuki shouted as he stood up, several people trying to calm him down, but he wasn’t listening.

Shouto just continued glaring at Katsuki, not in the least surprised that he was angry. Huh. Why was that?

“I KNOW MY OWN RIGHTS. AND GETTING BOSSED AROUND BY A FUCKING IDIOT LIKE YOU ISN’T ONE OF THEM!” Katsuki raged, a twitch in the back of his mind was telling him that these words were familiar. He’d said them before…? He ignored it.

“You seriously want to be a runner that badly?!” Shouto, slammed his half eaten plate of food beside him as he stood up in front of Katsuki, who looked like he was barely holding back punches.

The blonde said nothing as he continued to glare at the man before him.

“Being a runner is not a good thing, Katsuki. Why don’t you understand that you’d be risking your life out there?!”

“THEN WHY ARE THEY ALLOWED TO GO?!”

“BECAUSE THEY CARE ABOUT THEIR LIFES! THEY AREN’T SELFLESS LIKE YOU! THEY HAVE STRATEGIES AND TACTICS THAT YOUR RAGING ASS WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO FOLLOW! If you’re denying me as you’re leader you’ll never be a runner. The keeper would never want someone who can’t even follow rules on the team” The red and white boy finished, walking past Katsuki and being sure to bump into his shoulder harshly on the way, causing the other to look down at the ground in anger. But he didn’t say anything. Because he knew Shouto was right. Being selfless wasn’t going to help his situation. And no matter how much he hated to admit it, he had to change his attitude. Being angry all the time wasn’t going to help anything. And it certainly wasn’t going to get him any answers.

“Hey, you okay? I’m sure he didn’t mean any of that…” Eijiro asked nervously, worried if the other was ready to blow a fuse of some sort. Katsuki guessed that Eijiro’s shift wasn’t yet either…

“I’m fine” Katsuki replied, as he turned and walked away. He was lucky he didn’t blow up the entire camp with this anger. Where had it all come from in the first place? Surly no normal person was always this angry…

“You want a medal for biggest jackass?! What the hell was that?” Mei scolded, punching his arm as he walked away from the crowd, the pink haired girl now walking alongside him.

“I have a right to my own opinion” He muttered, rolling his eyes at the annoying existence of the other.

Mei shook her head rapidly, almost shaking her hair out of a ponytail she’d put in with a cloth like material “You should’ve just done what you were told. You’re too curious. It’s gonna kill you one day.”

“Not before I smash that fuckers skull in” Katsuki grinned, thinking about Shouto’s head on a stick.

Mei stopped in her tracks “You should watch your tongue. Or it might actually happen. Deaths aren’t an uncommon thing around here. So try not to wish for the inevitable to come faster.”

Katsuki rolled his eyes slightly but said nothing, it felt like he was being lectured by his mother. Wait. What.

“It’s also why you should try and be nice to everyone here. You never know what could happen…” Mei rubbed the back of her head and held out a sharp rock toward Katsuki who stared at it in confusion, watching as Mei turned to point at the wall beside them which was covered in names, around half them crossed off “You’re part of U.A too Katsuki. Make sure you take attendance.”

Katsuki gulped as he looked at the crossed out names. Would that happen to his one day? If he…

He shook his head, angling the rock as he engraved his name into the side of the wall.

“Beautiful” Mei teases as she look at his large name, the letters of his name seeming as angry as the boy they were written by.

“Shut up” He tutted, passing the rock back to her “If anyone has to cross me off…I don’t want it to be Shouto.”

Mei nodded with a pity smile as she clenched the sharp rock gently in her fist being careful not to cut herself “Sure. You’d better find someone you actually like then” she laughed a little as she watched Katsuki glare.

-

“What are you talking about?” Ochako rushed over to Shinso who found part of the Maze which was usually shut off “What the hell…? Why is that open?”

Shinso eyed the passageway, wind blowing leaves back and forth throughout it, holding his arm out to stop Ochako who was about to enter.

“What, you’re telling me you don’t want to explore?” Ochako asked in confusion.

“It’s not that…” Shinso sighed “It just doesn’t feel right. We should tell the others first.”

“Shinso. No way. I’m sorry but it could be a one time thing! It could be a way out and we won’t know unless we take a chance.”

“It could also be a trap…I don’t trust it” Shinso stayed, eyeing the passage to see if anything came around the corner from the other side.

Ochako sighed as she shrugged off her patched up old backpack and passed it to Shinso “Fine, i’ll just go by myself.”

“Are you crazy?” Shinso hissed, as he held her back by the arm, causing her to send a glare over at his way and snatch her own arm back.

“Well if you’re too scared I understand. Which is why i’ll take the bullet for you” She smiled, not leaving Shinso chance to think before she was running down the passage.

“You better be back here before nightfall!” Shinso shouted after her, sighing as she threw him a thumbs up and kept running.

-

Ochako slowed to a stop at the other side of the passage, looking behind her to see Shinso against the wall in the distance waiting for her to return.

“Alright” She prepped herself, slapping her cheeks and shaking her head in order to focus on her main task.

Seeing there was a path both left and right Ochako deciding to stick to the right first. It could do no harm, because if this was a way out, she’d find it soon. She hoped. But as she kept walking to the right the passageways became thinner to the point she literally had to suck in her stomach in order to get past.

“Jeez, it isn’t gonna be easy getting back now” she sighed to herself as she looked down the extremely thin passage that made her ribs hurt and her clothes tear a little. Moving forward, she found no more passageways but in replacement, was an extremely large open area surrounded by the same walls as U.A, but the floor wasn’t grass and there were no trees, instead, in there place were stone and machines. One large machine in particular in the centre of the area. Rapid text flickering on a large circular screen. But it just looked like binary. This was new. Certainly something they hadn’t discovered in the maze before.

Ochako brought herself closer to the large machine, her eyes trailed on the flickers of 1’s and 0’s and slowly descending to find three small buttons. One was coloured yellow. Another was coloured blue. And the last one was coloured red. They were each engraved with the number ‘1’, apart from the middle blue one which was a ‘0’. The brown haired girl, slowly brought her fingers toward the buttons, wondering what would happen if she were to press one of them, but then thought better about it and withdrew. She should tell the others.

Looking up to the sky she saw that the sky was getting darker and sooner she wouldn’t have much time before she was locked in here for the night. That couldn’t happen. She wouldn’t allow it.

-

“Come on…come on…” Shinso paces back and forth in front of the passage Ochako has disappeared behind a few hours ago now. They needed to get back soon. Really soon.

-

Katsuki tapped his arm as he folded them over his chest, looking around him to see everyone gathered around the entrance to the maze. All of them waiting for the others to come back. Including him.

“What happens if they don’t make it in time?” He asked, somewhat nervously.

“Take a wild guess” Shouto muttered.

The blonde didn’t respond as he glared at Shouto and then looked toward Mei, who had an awfully troubled look upon her face.

“You okay Mei?” Eijiro asked, noticing the same thing as Katsuki.

She looked over at her friends concerned eyes and then back to the ground, scratching idly at her arm “Yeah. I’m good.”

Eijiro didn’t looked convinced as he brought her into his side in a friendly hug “Don’t worry. They’ll make it back.”

As much as Katsuki wanted to say otherwise. He’d be devastated to see someone who he ‘knew’ die. Even if he didn’t think very highly of them…Maybe he should give Shouto a second chance…If he wanted to convince the keeper of the runners that he was worthy enough to become one himself, that’s what he would do. No more trying. This isn’t a choice. He doesn’t have one. He never has.

As Katsuki heard the doors begin to close there was only one emotion he felt within his chest. Panic. He doesn’t know why. He barely knows the people. He hears Mei let out what seems to be a small sob as she hugged Eijiro, who hugged her back. Shouto hanging his head to the ground. Tetsutetsu in shock as he also started crying beside Eijiro, who pat his shoulder comfortingly with the hand he wasn’t hugging Mei with. Everyone looked depressed. That was the only way to describe it.

And as the walls fully closed, there was no doubt about it. Shinso and Ochako were trapped in the maze.

Chapter Text

Ochako cried loudly as she slumped herself against the wall, her fists bashing the ground below her in anger, not taking notice of Shinso who sat opposite her and leant his head back against the wall in defeat.

“I can’t believe I was too late…” Ochako panted, out of breath from running, panicking and sobbing all at the same time.

“Yeah…” Shinso huffed, not so happy about the situation himself. He looked up the the sky, the darkness surrounding them quicker and quicker. It was too fast. This wasn’t how they wanted to die.

“I-I can’t die here!” Ochako sobbed, gripping at the leather around her chest in an attempt to relief the overwhelming emotions that were building inside her.

“Neither can I,” Shinso replied as he dragged himself to his feet, holding out a hand for Ochako to grab “that’s why we’re going to get out of here.”

“W-what are you talking about? There’s no way out…”

Shinso sighed, pulling Ochako to her feet when she allowed him “Well, there’s that new place right? Maybe if we can get there before the maze starts changing, then-”

His words were cut off by a terrifying scream from something that wasn’t human.

“Nomus…” Ochako pulled at her hair in fear “Shinso, we’re actually going to see a Nomu…”

The said boy sighed heavily before telling her to follow him, taking off running down the nearest passageway and towards the new opening they’d found earlier that day.

“I told you that it’s dangerous in there!” Ochako exclaimed, running beside Shinso as the screams got closer and closer each second “We don’t know what it’s for, or what it can even do! For all we know it could be a bomb!”

“Then we’ll just have to take that chance!”

-

Katsuki lay awake in his hammock. His left foot on the ground as he began to slowly swing himself, his arm covering his eyes in hopes of a sleep that wouldn’t come. When he realised this, he sighed loudly to himself, trying not to listen to the way it rang throughout the silence that surrounded the den that night.

Only God knows what hell the missing two must be going through.

“You can’t sleep either?” A voice rang out from across the room.

Removing his arm from his eyes, Katsuki saw Mei rubbing at her red raw ones and Tetsutetsu trying not to fall asleep in his own hammock.

“I guess you could put it that way…”

“Shouto will cross off their names tomorrow, dawn…when the maze reopens…”

Katsuki looked back up to the ceiling of the den, a bunch of leaves from the trees that surrounded them, their only source of a roof, his throat began to feel clogged “Yeah…”

“Second day and you’ve already been welcomed to hell” Mei chuckled sadly.

Katsuki could only imagine it was going to get worse. What would happen if he actually attached himself to these people? He can’t imagine his emotions would be in stable place…

“It may sound strange to a newbie, but everyone here will quickly grow on you. They’ll become your new family. I guarantee that. And who knows, maybe even next months newbie will be an angry ass just like you” Mei tried to lighten the mood.

“Right…” Katsuki glared at her, thinking about what to say in reply, when a sudden loud blearing screech knocked them all out of their hammocks and onto the floor, holding their ears to stop them from bleeding.

-

“What did you press?!” Ochako shouted as she held her ears, Shinso currently fiddling around with the machine in front of them.

“I don’t know!” He shouted back, as he pressed the same button once more to stop the screeching.

“Shinso I don’t think that was a very good idea…” Ochako fretted as she heard the cries of Nomus trying to get down the thin passages, but were unable to due to their huge body type. But that didn’t stop their huge claws from scratching up the surrounding walls, even taking off chucks in parts.

“You have a better one?” Shinso asked, as he focused on the flashing binary.

“Not really bu-“

“But nothing. Anyone else in our situation would do the same and you know it. You told me you didn’t want to die, didn’t you? Then please put your faith in me a little longer” Shinso told her, pushing yet another button.

-

“WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!” Katsuki shouted as he walked out of their den along with Mei and Tetsutetsu who were rubbing their ears in distress, seeing everyone else running out of their dens as well.

“Everyone please calm down” Shouto sighed, as everyone began to gather around the logs once more. In all honesty, it looked like a meeting was being held. But it wasn’t. More like a riot. Against what? Katsuki hadn’t decided yet…

“Calm down?! How are we supposed to do that when this hasn’t happened before!” Denki fretted.

“Yeah! You’re totally right! I think I need the toilet!” Minoru agreed.

“Maybe it’s Ochako and Shinso” Eijiro commented “Who knows what could be happening out there? They’re strong enough to-“

“Enough!” Mei cried “Will people stop talking about them like they’re still alive!”

“Mei!” Shouto warned.

“No Shouto. No one survives a night in the Maze, right? We all know that! Why is this even being questioned, it’s probably just the Nomus!”

“The Nomus?” Katsuki asked, but shut his mouth when Eijiro shook his head at him, as if telling him not to ask right now.

“Mei, you don’t know that. Something’s different” Eijiro tried to calm her down.

“Why is everything suddenly different now that he’s here?” Mei pointed toward Katsuki.

Eijiro looked confused “What do you mean? You can’t blame this all on him, he’s only just got here…”

“Yeah, what the fuck?” Katsuki added, pissed off with her accusations.

“Shinso told me when you came here that he felt as if he’d seen you before,” She turned toward Katsuki “and it wasn’t just him, was it?” She focused on Shouto, who shifted on his feet a little but said nothing.

“If we all knew each other before coming here, then what the hell happened that made us forget?” Katsuki asked.

“You tell us, you’re the one on everyone’s minds…” Mei added, crossing her arms.

“Not like I asked to be” He growled in reply.

“Quit making a scene!” Shouto ordered “We’ll all wait here until dawn and if they don’t come back then we’ll cross off their names and put the source of the noise down to the Nomus, understood?”

Everyone reluctantly nodded in agreement.

-

“Did that button even do anything?”

...

“Why don’t you try that one again?”

...

“Did you press it in time with the flashing numbers? Maybe you should try that?”

...

“What if there’s a colour order?”

...

“Do you think it could be a way out?”

...

“What if-“

“Ochako. I know that you’re scared but can you /please/ just let me figure this out?” Shinso sighed, having listened to Ochako’s blabbering for around an hour now.

“But what if there’s another room like this to the left. I never did look down there. I hadn’t had time too.”

Shinso stopped at Ochako’s words and pondered them for a moment.

“You know what that means right? There are Nomus right outside those passages waiting to tear you from the inside out.”

“Shinso, it could be our only chance, the Nomus will never leave us alone and we can’t survive tapped in this place.”

“…Fine, shout as loud as you can what you see in there, okay?”

“Got it.”

-

“I don’t get why people have to be so salty at me for existing” Katsuki huffed as Eijiro sat beside him and pat him on the shoulder gently. Everyone else in the same general area but in their own conversations.

“That’s not it. Everyone is just really upset. Ochako and Shinso are long time residents here. We don’t know what could be holding them up. That on top of the ringing noise and people feeling familiarity around you. They’re just scared. Because things are different.”

“I guess” Katsuki sighed heavily.

“Well, hopefully that’s a good thing! I’ll be make sure everyone knows you’re the guy who got us out of here when we’re on the other side, yeah?” Eijiro grinned, causing Katsuki to laugh slightly at his stupidness.

“Sure…”

“You guys having fun over here?” Mei asked, sitting beside Katsuki who tried to ignore her as much as possible by turning the other way “Wow…rejected. Look, Katsuki, I’m sorry if I came across as mean earlier. It was with good intention…”

“Good intention my ass…” Katsuki growled under his breath, but Mei heard it.

“Well…I guess I’m not welcome here then” Mei sighed, picking herself up off of the floor and dusting off her ass which had been sat in the dirt.

“Not your not” Katsuki replied, not noticing the worried look Eijiro gave at the two of them fighting.

“Yeah…” Mei sighed awkwardly, walking over to somewhere other than there.

“Dude, she was just scared…” Eijiro tried to explain, the air around them now more awkward than it had been when it was just the two of them.

Before Katsuki could reply there was another loud screeching, this one however was different from the other ones, it was one that was familiar to all but Katsuki. The cage was coming up.

A month early? Hadn’t it already been up this month?

All of the residents gathered around the cage which was now above the ground. A boy with curly green hair and freckles lay beaten and unconscious inside.

Chapter Text

“Is he dead?” Eijiro asked Shouto, as the blue and grey eyed boy jumped down into the cage, checking the unconscious boy’s pulse.

“He’s alive…”

“What the hell is he doing here? The cage just came up two days ago?! And it’s night time! Did he even come with any supplies?”

Shouto shook his head dismissively as he pulled the boy into his arms with caution, passing him to Eijiro while he climbed out.

“Why does he look so run down…?” Eijiro asked as he took in the boy’s features, the heavy bags under his eyes and the dark bruising along his arms and neck.

“Come on, lets get him to a safe place” Shouto commented, as the two went to set down the boy in the den used for medical attention, shouting Mei to come and help.

Katsuki and a large amount of others gathered outside the tent, and obviously, being who he was, he marched on inside with no fucks.

“Just what the hell is going on?” He asked as he watched Mei taking off the boy’s shirt, an abnormal amount of scars littering his chest.

“You shouldn’t be in here” Shouto hissed, as he and Eijiro helped Mei set up what she needed.

“Then will someone tell me what’s going on?”

“You think we know?! Why don’t you stop asking so many questions and just help us?” The stressed woman asked as she shoved a needle into the boy’s bruised arm, causing his freckled face to scrunch up and whimper in pain.

Katsuki looked away from the sight and towards Eijiro who gestured for the blonde to hold the boy down. Which he did, trying not to watch as the large needle delved deeper, just keeping his hand clenched lightly on his other arm, trying not to cause any pain. But it went in vein as the boy suddenly started sobbing, yelling and kicking his legs wildly, his arms tensing as Mei released a blue liquid into him.

“What the hell are you doing to him?” Katsuki asked as he watched how much the boy was suffering, his veins literally glowing up one side of his face.

“We found two blue injections in his pocket…we’re hoping it’ll help him and not kill him” Shouto commented, as he tried to calm the boy down by stroking the hair out of his face and wiping his tears.

“WHAT?!”

“Kacchan…” the boy whimpered as he cried harder.

Shouto’s movements stuttered as he took in the nickname that he figured to be Katsuki’s but didn’t question it as he looked over at the shocked face of the blonde.

“I-Is he talking about me?”

“It would make sense since you’re all anyone thinks about these days” Mei clicked her tongue sarcastically as she finally pulled the needle out, causing the boy to let out another yelp of pain before he suddenly stopped moving altogether.

“Is he okay?” The blonde asked, not addressing Mei as he looked toward Shouto who was still comforting the boy with a soft look on his face, almost as if he recognised him. Katsuki couldn’t even deny the fact that he found the boy familiar too.

“Yeah…he’s still breathing” Shouto replied.

He let out a sigh of relief at the confirmation, letting go of the boy’s arm as he slumped backwards, thankfully being caught by a wooden chair.

Kacchan…huh?

Was he really talking about him?

“Um, we also found this in his pocket. Thought you’d have better use for it then us” Mei sighed, calming down and handing a sheet of paper over to Katsuki that looked as if it’d been folded into a very small piece.

“Um, thanks…I guess” Katsuki huffed and looked down at the small torn paper which had traces of blood on it, smudging the ink of some of the words slightly.

/Kacchan,

I cant bear it. I’m so sorry…I hope you’ll one day come to understand my decision. Even if you don’t remember me…I’m so sorry I broke our promise. Please let me remember. Please don’t forget my name Katsuki.

-Izuku/

-

“Fuck. Just what the hell are you doing Ochako?” Shinso asked himself as he watched the binary on the screen stop moving for five seconds, then continue at a rapid speed for another ten. It had repeated this pattern after a good amount of time since Ochako left. So her being behind this was most logical reason. Who the hell is he kidding. It could be anything at this point. If Ochako had shouted to him, he certainly hadn’t heard her.

Which was worse really. What if all this time he was waiting for a signal or something or the sort, she was already being eaten by Nomus.

Shit.

He couldn’t risk the possibility.

If she didn’t arrive by dawn, he’d have to go look for her, hopefully they can just last until the gates reopen.

Who knows what else has changed from them pressing these stupid buttons. It wouldn’t really be such a surprise if they ended up shutting of the maze off from the rest of the village entirely.

The purple haired boy stopped staring at the screen and looked towards the wall to his left. He’d noticed it earlier but he never gave it much thought.

Wrapped in a case of solid glass in the wall, there was one single vile of light blue liquid.

Knocking on the glass to test it’s thickness Shinso huffed, he couldn’t break this thing with a ten foot hammer. Just how the hell were they expected to get it. It must hold some significance…right? So who the hell put it here and how did they expect them to even use this?

/Shinso./

“Not now” The purple haired boy told the voice in his head, not prepared to deal with it right now.

/You never listen to me anymore Shinso…that’s no fun…/

Ignoring the voice, he tried punching the glass, only to pull back his hand when the glass didn’t so much as move. Damn that hurt too…

/Why don’t we go play with a Nomu? We never have fun anymore. Such fun you used to be./

Shinso ignored it, as he went back to the machine, searching the sides for any hidden buttons or compartments.

/I want to play like we did as slaves. Such fun./

“Shut up” Shinso gritted his teeth.

/Back before we entered The Maze. Such fun Shinso. Such fun./

“I said shut up!” Shinso screamed, holding his head in his hands as he slowly sunk down to the floor.

/Such fun we used to have. Such fun. If only you could’ve saved your loved ones Shinso. Such fun. Very fun./

“SHUT UP!”

/Izuku has joined The Maze, Shinso. Aren’t you happy? So exciting. Such fun. He’s such fun./

Shinso started to cry as the voice in his head kept whispering him secrets.

-

“You wanted to talk?” Shouto asked as Katsuki had told the other two to fuck off for a bit. Not minding the unconscious boy being there. It’s not like he could listen in anyway.

“Did you read it?” The blonde asked as he kept staring down at the paper, trying to figure out what it all meant.

“Oh…I had a glance.”

“Shouto this is proof. This fucking proof that we all knew each other. Surly there has to be other things we’re not picking up on about this place. If we open our mind just-“

“Katsuki. I appreciate your effort but I would think it’s best to stop digging for now” Shouto sighed as he messed with Izuku’s hair gently.

“What?! Why?!”

“For one, we have two runners trapped in the maze. Two we have an injured guy who needs serious medical attention. Three, it’s going to stress everybody out. We just need a day or two. To get everyone back on their feet. Too much has happened in such a short amount of time and it’s not going to help us prepare for whatever is out there mentally or physically. If we keep digging we may find answers we don’t like.”

“I don’t care if I fucking like them or not. I just want to know!”

“And that’s what’s going to end up happening anyway. First the sound and now the cage…It’s all too much for the villagers right now. If we even want a slight chance at getting past those Nomu’s to find an exit then we need to rejuvenate.”

“Does that mean you’ll make me a runner?”

Shouto looked toward Katsuki and then back towards the man on the laying on the table.

“It means i’ll consider it. I’m not sending you out there alone though. You may one day become a runner, but no runner of Tenya’s goes inside alone. It’s too dangerous. Find someone who’s willing to put up with your shit, get Tenya’s permission, and then, only then…i’ll let you join.”

Katsuki nodded and stood up, walking toward the edge of the den, looking back to see Shouto in the same position as he’d been for the past god knows how long and sighing before stepping outside into the cold night.
Damn. He was really tired. How long had they been awake dealing with all this shit? He doesn’t know. The only way to tell time here was the sun and moon. Even then, he was totally lost.

“Hope you didn’t give each other a rough time” A familiar red hair pops up next to him as they go for a slow walk back to the dens.

“Rough isn’t even the word” Katsuki frowned.

“Well, I’m sure you guys will make friends soon enough.” Eijiro laughed as he only received a sleepy hum “Come on, you look exhausted. Go get some rest, okay?”

“Right” Katsuki muttered as the two parted ways.

-

Shouto hummed a familiar tune softly. One that he’d remembered as soon as Izuku had arrived. He doesn’t know exactly when he’d noticed the tune. But humming it around the boy seemed comforting and familiar.

“You must’ve been through some shit huh Izuku?” Shouto asked softly as he examined Izuku’s arms in closer detail, grabbing some bandages from nearby as he began to gently roll them over the bruises.

“Oh Shouto, doing my work already I see…Jeez can’t leave a guy and a corpse alone for two minutes” Mei joked as she walked back into the den and taking the seat which Katsuki had been sat in previously.

Shouto gave her a quirky confused smile at the joke but didn’t question it any further.

“The cage isn’t going back down…people are getting worried that it’s up here for good now. Izuku’s probably the last person.”

“Shit” Shouto huffed at the news.

“If we don’t make a move soon, and the cage doesn’t go back down. We’ll eventually run out of supplies, and then we’ll all end up either starving to death or being bitten. Or worse, probably eaten to death because all the villagers will want to become runners and find a god damn way out of here.”

Shouto grabbed a small piece of medical tape and placed it at the end of Izuku’s bandages so that they wouldn’t come off easily.

“If you have any ideas, i’m pretty open to any opinions right about now” the red and white hair boy sighed, now paying full attention to the girl across form him.

“Actually...I think…I think I might have a few…”

Chapter Text

Katsuki awoke to screeching and crying a few hours later, rubbing the sleep from his eyes to see Ochako and Shinso rush into their den, the two hugging Mei and Tetsutesu without a second thought.

“I can’t believe you guys are still alive!” Mei cried as Ochako did her best to smile at the taller woman, even though she had tears running down her cheeks too.

“We can’t really believe it either!” She giggled, happy to be alive.

Shinso looked over toward Katsuki and nodded a little in greeting, the blonde hesitating a bit but returning the gesture awkwardly and hopping off of his hammock.

“Katsuki! How have you been?” Ochako grinned as she wiped away her tears.

“As good as I can be,” He replied “You look like shit though.”

The brunette laughed “At least i’m alive.”

Katsuki smirked before nodding. Not that he’d admit it out loud, but he was glad they came back alive too. He wasn’t ready to witness someone he ‘knew’ die yet. Damn…would he ever be ready for something like that?

“You guys, i’m so happy” Tetsutetsu cried tears of joy as he scooped up Shinso and Ochako in a rib breaking hug.

“Can’t…breathe…” Shinso managed to get out as he freed his arms, trying to push the other off.

“I thought you guys were goners! I knew you’d come back, I knew it!”

“Thank…you” Ochako grinned despite being hugged to death.

“Alright, give them a break” Mei smiled, placing a hand on Tetsutetsu’s shoulder, allowing his hold on them to cease, before he finally pulled away, the two sighing with relief.

“Sorry, I got a little over excited” the sliver haired man scratched his neck nervously.

“No, no, it’s totally okay” Ochako reassured with a smile.

As well as the reunion went, they soon walked outside to greet the rest of the village who were stood right outside their den with big smiles on their faces.

Looks like they were the last people to know...

“Welcome home, Shinso, Ochako” Shouto smiled softly as he gestured for the two to follow him.

“Thank you” The brunette chirped, as she held her hands behind her back, walking alongside Shinso until they came at a stop before the medical tent.

“Mei will get you guys cleaned up, okay? And uh…try not to ask too many questions” Shouto advised causing the two to look at each other in wonder for a moment before they nodded, allowing Shouto to open the den, the unconscious boy on the table immediately catching the two pairs of eyes.

“Who…” Ocahko’s question died in her throat as she remembered what Shouto had told them.

“Take a seat” Shouto muttered as he went to collect Mei’s supplies as the said girl also came inside the den with a smile.

“Anywhere hurt more than usual?” Mei asked as she started to analyse the cuts on Shinso face.

“Not exactly” He replied as Mei started to dab at his face with disinfectant.

“Any dizziness or loss of breath?” Mei asked as she took the stethoscope from the tray that Shouto had placed beside her and shoved it under the leather around his chest to hear his heart beat.

“Not really.”

“So is that an ‘I experienced some’ of an ‘I experienced none’?”

“Well I don’t know, I was running” Shinso informed her.

“Right, my bad” Mei sighed, staying quiet for a moment as she listened to his heart beat while Ochako watched as Shouto settled down in a chair beside the unconscious boy.

“Is he okay?” Ochako asked as she walked over to them.

“Hm? Oh, yeah. Just waiting for him to wake up…he’s been asleep for a little while now…”

“Did he arrive last night?”

“Yeah…speaking off, we’re going to need you to explain what happened in there” This made Mei perk up a little as she put down the stethoscope and began to focus on Shinso’s other injuries.

“Well…we found a pathway, in the maze that wasn’t there before. Shinso stayed behind while I went to investigate. There were two paths that lead off, there was to the right and the other was to the left. I decided to stick to the right until I eventually came across a room around the size of U.A. It held a bunch of machines but they were a large one that they were all hooked up to. It was a large screen with flashing binary code and just below it were three buttons. I then decided to go and tell Shinso who insisted that we check it out together tomorrow. We tried to return but the maze had already closed for the night. So then we went back…and pressed the buttons. One didn’t seem to do anything, the other slowed down the binary code for a certain amount of time and the last one rang out a loud screech that attracted the Nomus toward us. Once we’d tried the other two multiple times we decided to send someone to scope the left area. In this case, that was me. Strangely, there were no Nomus when I left so I rushed to the left side. It was nothing but a dead end, but on the wall there was a huge circle panel that blended into the wall. It looked as if it could open and close, I tired everything to get it even ajar but it wouldn’t budge. There was also a small leaver but i’m not to sure what it did, though I did hear a small rumble as I pulled it. After that I remember joining back up with Shinso and around dawn we made it back to the opening and waited for it to open again. There were no Nomus there either…”

“Hmm, that’s actually really interesting. Thank you for the information.”

“It’s no problem, take from it what you will. I hope we could be of help…”

-

Katsuki picked at the grass from where he sat on the floor, watching the people wondering in and out of their dens and going about their day, finding it strangely relaxing as the sun blared down at them from above.

Not really having time to himself these past few days he found an odd serenity just sitting there. Yes, everything life was pretty shitty right now, but here in this moment, he thought ‘could it really be so bad?’ Yes. Yes it could. Because it was. It felt like he was counting the days till his death, which thankfully, hasn’t come so soon.

“You seem distracted,” Tenya sat next to him, giving him a reassuring smile “I won’t pry about the details.”

Katsuki just looked away from the other and toward the village once more “Thanks.”

“In all honesty, I like to just sit down and think too. Especially since two of my runners just came home…it’s really a miracle, don’t you think?”

Katsuki scoffed “If we’re still here, then no. I wouldn’t call it a miracle. I don’t believe in miracles.”

Tenya gave him a confused glance “You don’t believe in miracles?”

“Do you have a reason for me to?” Katsuki asked, pretty pissed off about this crazy guy nudging his nose into his business.

“I guess not. But everyone one else here does…it’s what gets us through the day sometimes. Everyone here has had some sort of experience with a miracle. I can only hope you’ll find your’s soon” Tenya smiled.

“My miracle…right…” Katsuki sighed, perking up a little when he saw Shouto shouting Mei back inside the medical den and quickly got to his feet rushing toward them along with Tenya, who was confused at his actions.

“Shit” Shouto growled allowed as he began to preform CPR on the clearly still unconscious boy.

“What’s happening?” Katsuki asked as he and Tenya entered the den, watching Shouto and then Mei who were rushing about filling another needle with a different liquid from before.

“He’s gone into cardiac arrest,” Mei informs “what he really needs is a defibrillator. But we don’t exactly have one.”

“Well then what are you going to do?” Katsuki fretted, he didn’t even know this guy so even didn’t understand the urgency in his voice in that moment.

“Trying to get his heart working again. Maybe the blue liquid didn’t help…” Mei muttered to herself, as she walked around and waited on Shouto who was trying his best.

“Mei it’s not working, why is it not working?!” Shouto fretted as he kept pushing into Izuku’s chest.

“Just keep trying” Mei advised, holding the stethoscope toward Izuku’s neck while also measuring his breathing, which currently, he wasn’t.

“Maybe we should’ve leave…” Tenya told Katsuki, who ignored him completely in favour of watching the two try and save the boy’s life.

“Katsu-“

“SHUT UP! I’M NOT LEAVING!-“ He shouted at Tenya, the two of them in shock as they watched the green haired boy splutter and take a large gulp of breath, choking on it as Mei and Shouto helped sit him up, rubbing his back as he continued taking large breaths.

“It’s okay, you’re safe…calm down, breathe with me. In…and out…In…and out” Mei told Izuku, who followed her instructions, the others watching him with intrigue as he calmed down and finally opened his eyes. Which were a deep green, like his hair.

“…Where am I?” He asked with frightened eyes as he looked at everyone in the room, his gaze stuttering a little as he looked at Katsuki, and then toward Mei, who addressed him first.

“Hello, my name is Mei. The guy next to you is Shouto, the blonde one over there is Katsuki and the other one is Tenya…That might seem like a lot to remember right now actually…Do you remember anything other than what I just told you?”

Izuku shook his head rapidly as he began to tear up “I…don’t remember anything. Is there something wrong with me? Why can’t I remember anything?”

“Shhhh. It’s okay. Do you remember your name? Or anyone else’s perhaps?”

Izuku shook his head as he looked down at his arms, holding them out in front of him, staring at the bandages “What happened to me?”

“That’s what we’re trying to figure out too. I’m no expert myself, but those” Shouto pointed to the bruises on his neck “look like strangle marks. Whatever happened, someone must’ve been out to get you…”

“Huh…” Izuku frowned as his fingers skimmed over his neck, pressing the bruises slightly only to withdraw quickly in pain.

“Better not to touch them right now” Shouto advised as he grabbed Izuku’s hand and lowered it gently.

“Where are we?” Izuku asked as he took a look at his surroundings, only to see the bamboo walls of the den.

“Safe. Now get some rest, okay? You need it…” Mei told him.

“Do…” Katsuki spoke up, walking a few steps to the table “Do you remember me?”

Izuku looked up at the blonde shocked but eventually gave him a sad smile and shook his head “I’m sorry.”

Mei gestured for Shouto and Tenya to leave and give the two a minute alone, which they did reluctantly.

“We’re you my friend?” Izuku asked as Katsuki took Mei’s seat beside him.

“I…don’t know. I was sort of hoping you would…”

“I’m really sorry, I can’t even seem to remember my name” The boy frowned.

“It’ll come back to you soon” Katsuki sighed, he never thought he’d be telling someone else that. Then again, everything has happened in these past few days that he would’ve never expected “I’m going to be honest with you. If you promise not to panic, no one needs to deal with your unconscious ass again.”

Izuku chuckled a little nervously before nodding and agreeing.

“Well, we’re not exactly…in an ideal place right now…you know what…this would just be easier to explain when you’re feeling better. If someone doesn’t let you know first, then come find me” Katsuki stood up, finding it hard to explain this situation to Izuku.

“Wait! Are you just going to leave me here?” Izuku asked with worried eyes.

Katsuki looked away and toward the ground as he made his way to the exit “No. Shouto and Mei will come in right after me. They’ll look after you” He promised as he walked out the door, nodding to the three people waiting outside and two of them rushing in while Tenya stayed outside.

“Shouto told me you we’re thinking about becoming a runner” He mentioned as they began to walk away.

“He told you that?” Katsuki asked as he glared at the other with slight interest.

“Yes. I don’t think he exactly slept last night for known reasons…but he did let me know.”

“So? Can I?”

“I have to agree with his decision on finding a partner before you become a runner yourself. Shinso and Ochako are perfect examples of why I’m hesitant to let people wonder into the maze alone. Tomorrow…i’ll send you inside with one of the runners. Just to be sure it’s what you want. If so…then find someone who’s as willing to protect you as you will them. Teams are made from complete trust. Find someone like that, and then you may become a runner.”

Katsuki nodded slightly “Thought you might say that…”

Tenya smiled “Sorry, I don’t want anymore deaths on my hands…”

“I get it” Katsuki sighed.

“So be sure to have dinner and a good night rest, your partner will be waiting for you in front of the maze at dawn. Try not to oversleep.”

“Got it” Katsuki waved him off as he headed toward Rikido who was currently making dinner and sitting on a log all by himself. Damn, was he the only one who was starving?

“Long day?” The only cook asked.

“Tell me about it” Katsuki rolled his eyes sarcastically.

Chapter Text

// “Kacchan, are you serious?”

“Will you shut up? They’ll hear us if we’re too loud,” Katsuki sighed as he covered Izuku’s mouth with his palm. The two hidden from anyone who might happen to pass by behind several large active server racks “just…listen to me…i’m going to put my name on the list.”

Izuku tried to protest behind the hand that muffled his speech, tears already welling up in his green eyes, wishing that they weren’t having this conversation right now. Even though he’d seen it coming…he’d seen it coming and yet…

“I can’t handle seeing them like this anymore, Izuku…” pain flickered over Katsuki’s face as he leant his forehead against the others “I have to do something.”

The smaller shook his head rapidly and pulled the hand off of his mouth “Kacchan…I’m not letting you do that. You won’t remember anything…not even me…”

The blonde nodded slowly as he pulled the other into a hug “I’m going to get them all out of there, if I remember or not…Just promise me one thing…”

The younger pulled back slightly to look the other in the eyes, listening to his request.

“Don’t follow me.” //

-

Izuku woke with a start, feeling his heart rapidly beating in his chest as he sat up and tried taking deep breathes to calm himself down.

“Hey, are you okay?” A familiar voice asked, looking up to see the red and white haired boy who’d been looking after him since he got here.

Giving his a shaky smile and a nod in response, the other chuckled.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think Mei has anything to cure nightmares. So i’m sorry about that. I hope it wasn’t too painful.”

Izuku shook his head, grateful when Shouto placed a wooden bowl of food upon his lap.

“It wasn’t so much a nightmare…just…felt more like a memory.”

“Huh?” The other seemed suddenly a lot more interested as he watched Izuku’s every move intensely.

“I-I’m sure it was nothing” Izuku tried to reassure, fearing he’d crossed some sort of line.

The other simply nodded, his gaze still as sceptical when Tenya and Eijiro entered the medical den.

“Hey! You’re awake! I’m Eijiro, sorry I haven’t said hi earlier, you weren’t exactly conscious” The spiky red head laughed nervously, as he rubbed the back of his neck.

“Ah, that’s alright, hello” Izuku responded with a smile, passing his food back to Shouto with a sorry expression, although the other didn’t seem phased by the request as he patiently held the others warm food within his hands.

“How are you doing? You certainly look a little more alive then you did when you arrived” The red head asked as Tenya nodded in agreement.

“You certainly didn’t look too fresh then, Izuku” Tenya gave him a soft smile.

“…Izuku…Is that my name?” The green haired boy asks, the others in shock that he’d only just figured it out. But the his own mind was elsewhere, thinking back to the dream he had last night.

“Yes. We probably should have let that come back to you naturally though…” Shouto stated, looking over at Tenya who gave the leader an apologetic look.

“Wait…how come you guys knew my name before I did?” Izuku asked, his confusion spreading through his insides like wild fire.

Shouto looked down at the bowl of food, then placed it back in Izuku’s hands, clearly looking for a reason to change the subject “You should eat before the food gets cold.”

Tenya gestured for Eijiro to leave them be as they both left the den, giving a small goodbye and a wave on their way out.

“…Why didn’t anyone answer my question?” Izuku asked with a frown as he began to play with his food, poking and prodding the contents with a small wooden spoon.

Shouto sighed heavily “It’s…complicated. We didn’t want to put so much pressure on you on your first few days here but…you didn’t exactly come up here empty handed.”

Izuku’s confusion only grew further “come up here?…where exactly am I?”

Shouto didn’t answer as he stood and took Izuku’s bowl, placing it on an empty cabinet nearby, then holding out a hand for the other to take “Be careful getting up.”

The other nodded in reply, hesitantly taking the others hand, surprising himself at how little energy he had once too his feet. Cursing himself quietly as his hands grabbing onto Shouto’s arm for balance, the other slowly leading him out of the den.

Izuku’s face grew pale as he took in their full surroundings. The high walls trapping them like pigs inside a pen, limiting their freedom and restricting them from whatever was on the outside.

“…What’s going on?” Izuku asked as he gently let go of Shouto’s arm to take a few staggering steps forward, almost falling a few times but thankfully Shouto stayed by his side during those moments.

“Izuku, please don’t walk too far” Shouto advised, more concerned about the boy’s safety then clearing up his confusion. He doubted the boy was willing to listen to him in this state.

Just as he suspected, Izuku didn’t listen to Shouto as he spied the rather large opening down one side of the wall and started heading towards it with determination set in his eyes. He saw two other people who were waiting around by the gap but paid them no mind.

“I don’t that’s such a good idea, Izuku, i’ll explain everything if you just slow down” Shouto tried to convince him, seeing where the freckled boy was heading.

Izuku ignored him yet again as he grew closer to the gap, watching as the blonde from yesterday and a guy with purple hair who he hadn’t seen before watched him in shock.

“Izuku. You can’t go through there” Shouto finally walked in front of him, putting his hands on his shoulders as he looked down into the fierce green eyes.

“Why not?”

“Oi, what the hell is going on?” Katsuki asked, walking to join them with Shinso by his side.

The two ignored them though as Shouto hardened his eyes a little, not wanting to scare the boy but also wanting him to not do anything stupid, especially in this frame of mind.

“You’ll get yourself killed.”

“You think i’m going to stay here while you guys butter me up with food and medicine? I don’t exactly trust any of you. What if you’re only making me worse? Is Izuku even my real name? What if you’re all just lying to me? What if bad things happen if I stay within these…these stupid walls?” Izuku stepped back with defeated tears spilling down his cheeks, Katsuki and Shinso sharing a quick look before they turned back to the weeping boy who’s legs had given out beneath him, coving his face with his hands to hide his shame.

The blonde was about to step forward and say something but Shouto beat him to it as he knelt in front of Izuku and patted his green curls gently.

“You arrived in that cage over there in a beat up state, you were unconscious so Eijiro and I carried you to the medical den where you were treated by Mei. During this time, we found two small blue injections within your pockets along with a note which stated your name. Mei then injected you with one of the blue injections, which had an unknown affect on your body. You said a nickname during a small tantrum episode you had that we believed belonged to Katsuki. Not so long after that you went into cardiac arrest and I preformed CPR, a few moments later you woke up. We haven’t hid anything from you Izuku. There is no way out of here. And for that reason, I was simply trying to make you feel safe even if for only a moment longer. I’m sorry if my decision has caused you pain of any kind. I hope you can forgive me, and just trust that I would never lie to you. I’ll…try harder from now on.”

Katsuki stared at Shouto in shock who was still kneeling in front of Izuku, his words laced with so much honesty that the aggressive boy almost cringed. But it seemed to work for Izuku, because he lifted his head and peeked through his fingers, watching as Shouto face shifted to a gentle smile, coaxing the green haired boy to look at him probably.

“I…” Izuku began, taking his hands away from his face and biting his lip in thought as he looked down at Shouto’s shoes instead of his face. The caring smile was far too blinding to look at right now “I’m sorry.”

“I can’t say I exactly blame you. So it’s alright. There’s no need for an apology.”

Katsuki frowned as he watched the two interact further. Why the hell was Shouto treating this guy so nice when he was treated like shit when he arrived? And just how the hell did Shouto manage to rip such passionate expressions out of Izuku? Wasn’t he the one that was supposed to be close with the newbie before the maze? Would things be different right now if he had spoken to Izuku instead of the other? He wondered if it was for the better or for the worse that he didn’t.

“We have business to take care of, will you two be okay?” Shinso asked, already knowing the answer, but Shouto nodded in his direction anyway, helping Izuku slowly to his feet once more.

The angry blonde didn’t exactly want to leave the two alone together for reasons unbeknownst to even himself, but he did, following Shinso as they both entered the maze, plucking at the unfamiliar leather around his chest that Tenya had given his earlier this morning.

“Uncomfortable? You’ll get used to it” Shinso comments, making Katsuki tut and roll his eyes. Whatever respect he had for this guy surviving in the maze was gone as fast as it had came. Just because he’s not dead doesn’t mean he’s any less of an asshole. Then again…he couldn’t really talk since he was one himself.

Turning the first corner of the maze, Katsuki was immediately overwhelmed with the sense of dead, looking forward at the many different pathways that branched from the main walkway.

He can certainly imagine running down them at full speed and feeling as though he weren’t getting anywhere. The sense the fear of those who must have died in here lingered within the depths of Katsuki subconscious…it wasn’t such a pleasant feeling. He pushed it aside.

“You should stop thinking so much. It won’t get you anywhere. We’re named runners for a reason…”

“What exactly happens?…At night I mean” Katsuki asked, genuinely confused as to why people fear it so tremendously. Sure they would be locked in here for the night, but how did death tie into all this?

“Beasts. We call them Nomus. They uh…have an unhealthy appetite for human flesh. I’m not really the person to ask about all the details on them. You’d have to ask Tetsutetsu if you want to know more but that’s basically it. If you trigger a certain stone in the ground in some areas they can release Nomus before night time. Then you’d really have to run. But sometimes you’ll just find a Nomu wondering around in the middle of the day. This place is full of things like that, small traps like that. So you have to watch your step, especially when you reach section A.”

“Section A?”

Shinso sighed heavily, he should’ve known taking Katsuki on a maze tour would be a pain.

“Each of us runners are required to monitor a certain section each day. There’s section zero, which me and Ochako monitor, section one which Mei and Eijiro monitor, section two which is Tokoyami and Tetsutetsu, then Mezo and Tenya which monitor section A.”

“Can I ask why it’s called section A and not section three?” Katsuki asked, looking around at the tops of the walls as they made their way deeper into the maze, large vines springing down from the tips but they didn’t reach nearly far enough downwards for anyone to climb.

“We actually didn’t name them. We just went by what was written on the walls.”

“Huh…what exactly is it that you guys have to monitor?”

Shinso huffed, looking each way as they went to turn another corner, a small silence between them before deeming it safe for them to walk down “Openings. They’re always closed when we’re near them, but our guesses are that whatever these Nomus are, are coming from there. A possible way out, but seems unlikely. Section A is a little different though, there’s no room for an opening and there are traps everywhere, Tenya and Mezo obviously know where they are off by heart but when you get past all the traps there’s a tank. We don’t know what it’s full of or what it does, all we do know is that it releases a gas into the air if the tank is below a certain point. We tried putting water in the tank and it seems to keep it at bay. I’m not even too sure what the gas is, but Tenya insists that it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

“Huh…”

“Satisfied yet?” Shinso asks, awaiting more questions from the curious blonde.

“Not exactly…” Katsuki muttered as he thought back to Izuku and Shouto getting all buddy buddy with each other. He didn’t even get why he was so salty about it, lingering on the thought won’t help him get past it at all. But he certainly wasn’t going to deny the fact that he didn’t like leaving the two together.

Shinso snickered slightly, noticing the jealousy that was engorging the others face, he’d seen it before they entered they entered the maze, when Katsuki was staring at the two.

“Which one? The cute one or the hot one?” he asked, causing Katsuki to look at him with a mix of disgust and confusion.

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m asking which one you have your head in the clouds over.”

Katsuki finally caught on to what Shinso was saying and he set his jaw in a tight lock, looking away as he did so “None of them.”

“Well, whoever it is. You need to forget about them. Well, not exactly them, but whatever you’re feeling. Scrap it. I never took you for the guy to be in a situation like this but we can’t afford to think about things like that. It’ll only cause more pain in the long run. Especially to us runners. The only thing on our minds should be our main goal. The end game: find an exit.”

Katsuki scoffed, was this guy seriously trying to comfort him? If so, he sucked. “Look. I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I don’t feel anything for anyone. I hate all of you and when I get out of here i’m ditching all your asses and going home,” he didn’t mention that he had no idea where exactly ‘home’ was “especially you. I don’t want to your face any more than I already have to.”

Shinso chucked “You’re such an ass.”

“Better than being like you.”

-

Izuku tapped his feet together nervously as he sat next to Tokoyami, someone who Shouto briefly introduced him to before telling him to stay right here, that he’d be right back. Izuku didn’t exactly have anything to tell the time with but it felt like hours the two just sat there in an awkward silence around the logs near Rikido’s little cooking station, the birds sounding an awful lot more chirpy in the defending silence the surrounded them. That was until one of them decided to finally break the painfully obvious awkward tension.

“Your name is Izuku right?” Tokoyami asked as the two sat there watching a small fire rumble in the centre of the logs, even though it was light outside Shouto insisted that he didn’t want Izuku to get cold. Being outside with so little energy in the cold would certainly make him feel woozy. That’s why Shouto had left him with someone he could trust to look after him whilst he and Denki were discussing building another den since some over them were slightly too overpopulated. Since Denki was the builder here and Shouto was the leader, Izuku could see why they needed to discuss such matters together.

“Um-yes! And you’re Tokoyami, right?” Izuku responded, taken off haired by the sudden question.

“Yes. Fumikage Tokoyami.”

Izuku stared at the other in awe “You remember your full name?”

“It seems so” The other gave him an awkward smile, not used to having someone look at him for so long, and still be interested in a conversation.

“Wow! That’s amazing! You’re really lucky! I know I certainly don’t feel like others who’ve been here much longer than me, but I would really like to know my full name too, you know?” Izuku giggled slightly, Tokoyami just watching how pure this sweet boy was, he was literally managing to lighten the mood whilst talking about something so depressing. How did this guy manage to create that effect?

“I understand. I am certainly lucky indeed.”

“I’m glad you agree,” Izuku smiled, before running a hand through his curls, feeling rather dirty and not knowing when the last time he bathed might have been made him feel rather self conscious “This might sound strange, but is there anywhere around here I can wash?”

Tokoyami looked shocked at the sudden question but quickly regained his posture, nodding as pointed in the general direction “There’s a small lake near the trees, there’s walls surrounding it though so you should have privacy.”

“Thank you so much” Izuku stood, flashing one more grateful smile before he scurried off toward the direction Tokoyami pointed him in. He was a nice guy. Certainly someone who he can see why Shouto would trust to keep watch over him. Even if he was quite awkward to try and have a conversation with.

Coming up to the small ‘building’ that he presumed was the lake he saw a small little token hanging on the wall stating ‘unoccupied’, which he quickly turned around as he walked inside, taking off his dirty clothes and hoping in the bath like lake. The high temperature was actually rather surprising, though the more he thought about it, the more it made sense, the bathing area had no roof so that the sun could warm the water. He can imagine it to get cold at nighttime though, making him rather happy he inquired about bathing sooner rather than later.

As he fully seated himself into the hot water he let out a content sigh, the liquid feeling soothing on his strained muscles. Shoot. He forgot to take off his bandages. Mentally slapping himself as he started to detangle them from his limbs, slowing down his actions as the bruises become an awful lot clearer. He hadn’t exactly seen them in full detail without his bandages on yet, and with the heat of the water forcing his skin to turn slightly redder, the bruises looked all the more vivid. A hue of purples, reds and blues littering his arm. Small patches of yellow surrounding some smaller ones, although he couldn’t exactly tell where the bruises ended and where they started.

What had happened?

That was the question running throughout Izuku’s mind as he carefully studied his arms. Seeing small punctures from what he was guessing were injection holes and a nasty looking bite mark on the side of his wrist. Shit…That really didn’t look good at all.

Hearing a small knock on the wood made Izuku jump, flinching as he accidentally hit his back against the stones alining the lake.

“Izuku, you okay in there?” He heard Shouto ask, sighing with relief that it was someone he knew. He’d probably been so lost in his thoughts that Shouto had to come looking for him. At least he was finished with his meeting now though.

“Y-yeah, sorry, i’ll get out now!” he fretted, something in his instincts telling him to cover the bite, maybe they hadn’t seen it with how hard it was to spot amongst his bruises, the idea wasn’t totally impossible.

“Do you need any help?”

Izuku knew Shouto only meant good by the words but that didn’t stop a blush overtaking his face at the thought “It’s alright. I got it.”

“Are you sure? You can barely stand” The concerned man asked, listening to Izuku get dressed, waiting for any sign that he was struggling.

“…Shouto I-“ Izuku stopped in his tracks and forced his mouth closed as he stared back down at the bite. He wanted so badly to tell someone about it. But he’d look stupid if they already knew. And if they didn’t, it’d only make them all the more concerned about his health, which was something he didn’t need right now. He was getting better. These things just take time. Of course he appreciated Shouto’s help but it also made him feel quite useless when he was used to feeling independent. He doesn’t even know where he got the feeling that he used to be independent from but he guesses that it must’ve been before the maze.

“Did you say something?” The red and white haired boy asks as Izuku made his way outside, fully dressed.

“Nope! Nothing at all, you must just be going a little crazy Shouto, it’s understandable considering our situation” Izuku chuckled, suppressing the feeling of guilt.

“Alright…Let’s go get Mei to put your bandages ba-“

“No!” Both of them seemed shocked at the random outburst “I-I would just…rather you do it” Izuku lied. He trusted Shouto. But the fact of the matter, was that he didn’t want anyone to see the bite. But he didn’t tell him that. If he saw it, then he saw it. Why was he beating himself up over such a stupid thing?

“…Alright” Shouto nodded, studying Izuku after his outburst for a while to see if he was alright, but eventually turned his head to face forwards once again as they made there way back to the medical den.

-

“Meeeeiiiii” Ochako cried as she watched the other checkmate her at chess once again.

“That’s two to one, I win” Mei grinned, laughing softly at the sad look on Ochako’s face. She doesn’t exactly know how it started but ever since Ochako had returned from the maze alive, she’d started to spend a lot more time with her than she had before. Don’t get her wrong, they still hung out a rather decent amount before. But never to this extent. Whenever they weren’t on running duty they’d spend time together. Mei was actually rather afraid to admit that she was milking the most out of spending time with the brunette. Almost as if she was afraid of losing her. It had been a close call before, but Mei wouldn’t let it happen again. She was determined not to. Even though she knew she had no right, and that Ochako was perfectly capable of looking after herself, she couldn’t fight the urge. So she was embracing it.

“No fair! Another match!” Ochako demanded.

“Not a chance. I win, you lose” Mei sighed as the shorter girl looked up to her from where she was sitting opposite her on the grass with those large brown eyes, her eyelashes fluttering in a pleasant way as she pouted softly, barley a second into the ongoing puppy dog look and Mei had changed her mind “Alright. Fine. One more game.”

“Yay! I’ll definitely win this time! Just you watch!” Ochako grinned as determination seeped through her bones.

Mei just shook her head and smiled softly as she watched Ochako think about her first move, watching how delicately she studied the board in closer detail, her eyes flickering from title to tile upon the hand crafted chess board. Her confidence never deteriorating in the slightest despite knowing how unlikely it was of her to win. That was one thing about Ochako that Mei truly and deeply admired. She knew that Ochako puts on a brave face for others as well as herself, when in reality, she was self conscious about her actions. But her determination to stick through to the end made her more self aware than anything else. If Mei had to give one reason why Ochako made it out of the maze alive, it would be exactly that.

“Hmmmm” Ochako groaned as she studied the board further, thinking about future steps that Mei would take, trying to figure a style in which she moved in, in order to find a way around it.

“There’s nothing too special about it,” Mei chuckled as if reading Ochako’s mind “If you think about it logically, i’m sure you’ll find a way. But if it’s taking you that long, you might be looking in the wrong place. Try looking somewhere else.”

The brunette took Mei’s advice with a grateful nod, even though they were technically against each other in this game, Mei didn’t like to see the other suffer, even if it’s over something so simple as a chess game. If she had any advice on how to help Ochako overcome the obstacles that prevented her from moving forward, she’d give it to her in a heartbeat. Even if clearing those obstacles caused consequences.

“Alright,” Ochako grinned as she finally lay out her first move “your turn Mei.”

The pink haired woman nodded in confirmation as she eyed the move that Ochako took and stuck to her instincts.

Chapter Text

“Not as eventful as you thought, huh?” Shinso asked as he and Katsuki exited the maze, the glowing oranges and pinks in the sky telling them it was sundown. Since the walls covered the sunrises and sunsets, Katsuki had already become accustom to telling the time using the sky. Not that anyone taught him, but it came almost naturally.

“I thought we’d at least run…” Katsuki muttered under his breath, glaring at Shinso when he snickered at the statement.

“Sorry to disappoint, you’re not exactly a fully fledged runner as of yet, so I couldn’t risk your ass in the dangerous parts” Shinso replied as they began to walk to Tenya’s den, knowing that he was waiting on them to return with a progress report.

“Yeah, my ass is pretty valuable” Katsuki stated, looking over to his right to see Denki building what looked to be another structure, Minoru passing him tools that he needed from the side. Huh…does he actually do anything of useful?

“Ah, good to see you’ve returned!” Tenya cheered as they entered his den, watching as Ochako stood up from the chair opposite his desk.

“I should get going, but thank you for listening to me” She smiled softly, giving Katsuki and Shinso a small wave before exiting the den altogether.

“She alright?” Shinso asked with a confused face as they both took a seat where she’d been sat, facing Tenya who sat opposite them.

“Of course. Now, how did you guys get on? Alright?”

“I took him on a small tour around the first district so there would be little to no trouble on his first day. But I believe he’s entitled enough to enquire about taking up the job. He’s observant of his surroundings and self aware of his opinions. He may be a little reckless when it come to those decisions but he also relies on quick reflexes which give him less time to be reckless and more time to think logically. He may question authority in U.A, but I don’t believe he’d do so on the battlefield.”

“You believe he can follow orders?” Tenya asked.

“I believe he doesn’t have a choice” Shinso smirked, watching Katsuki roll his eyes.

“And you’re aware of the risks?” Tenya aimed his question toward Katsuki.

“More than aware” Katsuki huffed, pretty sick of everyone telling him the same thing over and over and not getting anywhere.

“Right. I’m sorry about all this, we just have to be sure that this is what you really want. That you’re not acting based on your personal hatred…or feelings. It’s happened before and they dropped like a flies. That’s why we introduced this routine check, to test your resolve.”

“To test my resolve?! I want what everyone else here wants…a way out. Personal feelings don’t mean shit when you’re faced with a situation like this. I want to go home, and if that isn’t enough to be a runner then I don’t give a fuck anymore. I’ll find a way out myself” Katsuki raged, standing up from his chair as he stormed out. He doesn’t even know why he’d gotten so angry at Tenya for making that rule. He gets it, but at the same time. It just fucking sucks.

In an attempt to calm down, Katsuki sat on the same patch of grass he’d been perched upon a day or so prior. It had become ‘his’ little spot. There were a few flowers around it, and if you leant your back against the wall, you could see U.A entirely. In the multiple hours he’d spent here, he’d learned that watching people go about their day was surprisingly comforting to him. He couldn’t see people laughing as they eat their dinner, or people sneaking around and pinching other peoples blankets (which Katsuki believed they were in very short supply of.) It kept him grounded, and feel as though the world was finally starting to spin once more. That his life was finally playing, when it had been on pause for what felt like such a long time. He’d only been here around a week now, but what Mei said to him on his second night here still resinated throughout this mind.

/‘It may sound strange to a newbie, but everyone here will quickly grow on you. They’ll become your new family. I guarantee that.’/

“A family, huh?” Katsuki asked himself, watching as Izuku began to finally carve his name into the wall, with the assistance of Shouto and Mei by his side, encouraging him along the way. He could tell from the way Izuku’s smile faltered that he was uncomfortable doing this, but it was the gleam in his eyes that made Katsuki believe otherwise. Maybe he wasn’t pushing himself. Maybe he really did want to do all this. He was already fitting in so well…

An unknown emotion began to curl up in his chest as he quickly looked away from the scene. Who’s he kidding? No one would willingly call someone like him family.

-

“You tired?” Mei asked Tetsutetsu, both of them laying in their hammocks, Mei reading a book while the other kept drifting in and out of consciousness. They’d been like this for the past hour or so now. Lounging around. Since Mei was an insomniac, she’d usually slept during the day whenever she could. The bags under her eyes were a sign of this. So as the darkness rolled upon them, signifying the end of yet another day, her’s was just beginning.

“Yeah…runners meeting tomorrow. Shouto wants us all to meet at dawn.”

“Hmm. Wonder what that’s about…” Mei muttered as she began to delve into her thoughts, stopping suddenly when a familiar purple hair entered their den “Hey Shinso, you doing alright?”

“Yeah…” he shot her a quick smile, before his eyes fell on the man half asleep and laying the wrong way across the hammock, his head touching the dirty ground “Did I come in at a bad time?”

“No. We have a runners meeting tomorrow and he’s exhausted but doesn’t want to miss anything if he sleeps early. I already told him that there’s nothing to miss but he won’t listen to me.”

Shinso hummed to himself softly as he made his way to his own hammock “You spoken to Ochako today?”

“Yeah why?” Mei asked, intrigued about the sudden question.

“She seemed upset about something when we walked into Tenya’s office earlier. Thought you’d know.”

“She seemed okay earlier…” Mei frowned as she thought back to the two of them playing chess. There hadn’t been any sign that she wasn’t feeling the best.

Shinso yawned as he flopped back onto his hammock “Maybe she is.”

Mei hesitatingly shut her book, looking over at Tetsutetsu and Shinso who were both more or less asleep. Considering her options for a moment before she hopped out of her hammock and ventured into the darkness that surrounded them, the night sky and the subtle flicker of flames, her only source of light.

She’d planned on visiting Ochako. Planning on asking her if she was alright, but something else immediately caught her attention. A figure. Waiting at the entrance of the maze. She couldn’t make out who they were through the darkness. What where they doing? Don’t they know it closes soon? Ochako suddenly left her mind. The only thing right now was seeing who that person was and what they were doing.

“What are you doing?! Get the hell away from there!” She shouted, the figure seemingly looking back at her, thinking for a moment before running into the maze.

“STOP!” Mei shouted, drawing the attention of people from the other dens as she ran to the opening as fast as she could.

“What’s going on?” She heard Shouto call out to her as he and Izuku came up to the entrance, watching as the dark figure turned back to look at them from within the maze.

“Are you fucking suicidal?! What do you think you’re doing?!” Mei shouted from outside of the maze, hearing others come and join them.

“I told you all…” Katsuki shouted back from inside the maze, the figure suddenly having a name and a face “I’m going to find a way out! I can’t deal with your fucking happy day to day slice of life bullshit anymore! I want to get out of here. And that’s not going to happen if you’re all unwilling to take risks!”

“He’s right…” Izuku muttered under his breath.

“Going by yourself is just asking to be spotted by a Nomu, Katsuki! You’d be dead by dawn! We aren’t ready for that kind of thing! It would cause a panic amongst us all, just like you’re doing right now!” Shouto tried to reason.

“SHUT UP! I can’t deal with your shitty leadership anymore! I was right when I got here! You don’t deserve authority over me! I just want to leave! There’s nothing wrong with that! So just leave me the fuck alone! Let me do my own thing and we won’t have a problem!”

Shouto gritted his teeth in anger.

“I agree with you!” Izuku shouted unexpectedly, causing everyone in the general area to turn their heads, even Katsuki “I-I just don’t believe it’s very fair to single people out when we should all be working together…Not that I hate you guys or anything!-“

“We get it Izuku” Shouto muttered, as he looked toward the ground, his mind in a sudden foggy haze.

The sound of the maze closing caught them all off guard. Their eyes confused and panicked, where they actually going to let this happen? This is like telling a friend that it’s okay to kill themselves when they’re on the edge of self destruction.

“I’m sorry Shouto” Izuku spoke quickly, not leaving the other time to react as he quickly ran through the closing entrance, hearing his name being called out like a prayer from the people behind him, but he didn’t listen as he kept running. His lungs already feeling heavy and exhausted. Well…he should’ve known this would happen. He still isn’t better yet.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Izuku heard Katsuki ask in shock, but he didn’t acknowledge him, instead he was looking back to the ever closing entrance, watching the shocked look on Shouto’s face turn into one of sadness. A look which he can say he returned with a full heart, almost tempted to run back and bring Shouto with him. But he knew he couldn’t…they both shared different views. He could try and change it though…He could-

The loud thumping noise significantly the maze had closed, knocked him out of his thoughts. Suddenly aware of the tears running down his face as he dropped to the floor. The sadness suddenly too much to bare for the knees that kept him stable. The guy that helped him recover…his first friend…the only person he trusted…

“Regretting siding with me already?” Katsuki asked as he help out a hand to help Izuku to get back to his feet “I’m touched.”

“I’m sorry…you’re probably so confused…” Izuku sniffled, accepting the hand as he slowly rose to his feet, wiping his tears with the heels of his palms.

“Not exactly. I got the jist” He sighed heavily, looking around them at the dark walls before finally back to Izuku.

“Are you alright running in your condition?”

“U-um-“

“Forget I asked that…”Katsuki huffed, this was going to be a fucking nightmare. This is why he does everything by himself. People only slow him down “You’re going to have to keep up with me if you want to make it out of here alive, you got that?”

“Yes” Izuku smiled through his watery eyes.

Katsuki’s heart thumped a little harder.

“Then let’s get going” He turned toward to the opposite direction Shinso had showed him earlier, knowing that there was nothing of use down there.

Izuku nodded, trying to distract himself from thinking about Shouto as he thought back to his dream. The one with Katsuki in it. Or should he say…Kacchan…

Izuku shook his head and slapped his cheeks, ignoring the shocked ‘what the fuck’ glance from the boy in front of him.

“If your distracted by that fucking half and half idiot then you shouldn’t be here” Katsuki told Izuku, who looked at Katsuki from where he was still holding his cheeks, trailing behind him.

“Half and half…?” Izuku asked softly, wondering if it was a regular thing for Katsuki to nickname people.

“The guy who follows you around like a fucking child.”

“…Um-”

“Forget it” He hissed, feeling anger swirling in the pits of his stomach. He was wrong about this person. So wrong. They could’ve never been friends before the maze. They were too…annoying. Just their presence felt annoying. He couldn’t ever imagine letting someone like this into his life.

“You asked me when we met…if I remember you…” Katsuki stopped walking at the unexpected words, hearing Izuku also come to a halt behind him “I didn’t…and I don’t. But I had a vision of some sort. It was sort of like a dream. But more like a memory. A-and you were there but you were less…aggressive.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Katsuki asked, wondering if this was supposed to be some sort of stupid joke, but from the sound of honesty practically leaking from the others voice, it seemed unlikely.

“I thought you’d want to…Shouto said something earlier about me calling you a nickname in my sleep. It was Kacchan…wasn’t it?”

“How do you know all this?” Katsuki asked, turning around in his place to face the other.

“I told you. I dreamt it. But it wasn’t…an actual dream. It was strange, but it was definitely real. I know it was.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“You told me you were going to put you’re name on some sort of list. I seemed really upset…you told me you couldn’t see them like this anymore. That you wanted to get them out!”

“Why would I want to help people like them?!”

“I don’t know! I’m just telling you want I saw!”

“Well you’re seeing a bunch of bullshit!”

A loud screech cuts them off in the middle of their agreement, Katsuki looking down the pathway in front of him to see an extremely large muscular bird-like creature turning the corner and look towards them.

“Oh fuck” He breathed, causing Izuku to look backwards, curious as to what he was looking at. Only to cover his mouth to not let out any shocked noises. Both of them slowly taking a few steps backwards, trying not to trigger the beast with their movement. He should’ve really talked to Tetsutetsu about Nomu’s before coming here. It was a last minute decision though. If Mei wouldn’t have found him then…would he have even done this?

“Did you come in here with a plan?” Izuku whispered, lowly lowing his hand, watching as the Nomu stared straight at them silently. It’s pulsating brain on full display on the top of its head. It’s small black eyes; wide and alert.

“My plan was to fucking run…but you’re not exactly gonna hold up for long.”

“Would you stop blaming me? I’m stuck in here with you so either think of a plan or i’m ditching you.”

“Your ditching me? I’ll be the one ditching you, smart ass” Katsuki muttered, watching as the Nomu took a few steps forward as if finally noticing they were there.

“We don’t have time to think right now, just run!” Izuku shouted, watching as the Nomu began to stride behind them, running after the two who were now running for their lifes.

Katsuki thought Izuku’s words sounded familiar. He was sure Shinso had said something like that before. About not having time to think in here. They had to run. And keep running in order to survive. It was a test of endurance. Stamina.

If Katsuki could pinpoint a moment in time where he began to regret his actions…it would be at this realisation.

Chapter Text

What the hell just happened.

If Shouto could say that he thought something like this would happen ten minutes ago, he’d be lying to himself. Horribly.

“Shouto…we should go back inside, it’s getting late” Mei frowned, observing the man who was still stood in front of the closed maze in shock. His mouth slightly parted and his eyes wide with disbelief. Did Izuku just ditch him? After everything he’s done for him since he got here? No…the look on Izuku’s face was proof that he appreciated everything. That he wanted to come back. That he regretted his decision to run in there but at the same time…didn’t. That he wanted Shouto to understand…that was more like the expression he was trying to portray.

“He’s going to die in there if we don’t do something” Shouto whispered, mostly to himself but he knew Mei had heard too. Some others had already gone back to their dens for the night. All of them exhausted and emotionally unstable. They couldn’t keep up with this. It was all too much. It was happening too fast. Their life’s would be over before they knew it. Shouto was the leader because he understood how they felt. He was the first one to come into the maze and for that first month he’d been completely lost with what to do with himself. Being the only one here in a place like this…

Shouto unconsciously brought his hand up to the scar surrounding his left eye and sighed heavily as he thought back to that time. Where he’d tried to go in the maze by himself. He swore that he would never do so again. He didn’t want to become a runner. It wasn’t so much that he was afraid of entering the maze again. More so that he knew he’d panic if responsible for another life. Just thinking about Nomu’s made Shouto shiver to his very core. It was something about them. As if he’d seen them before. When he first encountered one, it was almost like he was seeing an old friend for the first time in ten years. But that was impossible. Because Nomu’s were creatures…horrible, blood thirsty creatures. But despite how horrible they were, Shouto hated to admit that they were actually pretty smart. Like really smart. Too smart for a creature with no purpose other then to eat people. He wouldn’t be surprised if the creature was actually a machine rather than a monster.

“I’ll send in all the runners after them at dawn if you so wish it” Came Tenya’s voice from the side of him. Had he been there this entire time? He didn’t know, his surroundings were blurry and two people were melding into one.

“No. I’ll be going in by myself” Shouto stated, trying not to notice the shocked faces of the others as he spun around on his heel and began to walk back to the medical den where Izuku had been resting. The few people that stayed behind, concerned for him, followed.

“You can’t be serious. By yourself? We can’t take that risk. You’re our leader. Send us instead, we’ve been trained” Mei pleaded as she rushed to keep up with Shouto’s pace.

“Don’t try and stop me” Shouto gritted his teeth, feeling Mei stop in her tracks at his tone, forced to watch as his back retreated into the den. He couldn’t go in by himself. Was he going to just follow Katsuki’s delinquent example? What about the rules they created to keep things running in U.A?

“Mei,” Tenya places a reassuring hand onto her shoulder “don’t worry. Shouto knows what he’s doing.”

“But!-“

“Questioning his actions is something inevitable. But it’s the safety of everyone with us now, that was also decided within those decisions. Please understand that Shouto does his best to protect us all…even if that includes self sacrifice…”

“You’re saying you’re okay with this?!” Mei shouted, shoving Tenya’s hand off of her shoulder and moving backwards, a crowd begging to form around them, faces full of panic.

“I’m saying you’re still alive because of him! Of course i’m not okay with it but you’re seeming ungrateful!”

“Ungrateful?! How dare you!” Mei seethed, getting ready to punch the living daylights out of the man in front of him, when Eijiro suddenly interfered, running out from the crowd to get in between the two who were arguing.

“Everyone just calm down! We’re all on the same side here! What’s happening to our trust? Isn’t that what makes a team?” He asked gently, looking between the two with a worried gaze.

“I would never stoop as low as to be on a team with him” Mei hissed.

“You’re overreacting!” Tenya shouted back.

“Mei…” Ochako called out, walking up them, watching as the pink girl’s tense shoulders become soft as she looked toward her “please don’t fight…”

“Ochako…you-…” Mei fell silent as she felt the anger vanish from her vision, taking a deep breath before nodding slowly and turning to walk away, a sunken expression shadowed onto her face. She clearly wanted to be alone right now.

“I’m sorry if we caused a panic…” Tenya admitted, rubbing the back of his neck as Eijiro and Ochako turned their attention toward him.

“Don’t be…we understand that things are changing. But we can’t let it get to us, okay?” Eijiro gave him a smile, before turning back to the crowd to reassure that the situation had been resolved.

“I don’t like change…” Tenya muttered to himself as he began to walk back toward his office, not noticing that Ochako had began to follow him.

-

“You’re fucking insane!” Katsuki panted, as they took a breather, having managed to confuse the Nomu on their whereabouts. However, they could still hear the heavy footsteps and the loud squeals telling them that it wasn’t so far behind.

“We need to take advantage of the fact that there’s two of us” Izuku whispered with a hush, reminding Katsuki to be quiet, not knowing if the Nomu’s hearing was any superior to theirs or not. Without knowing of what the Nomu’s are capable of, it’s hard to come up with a solid plan.

“What do you suggest? Standing either end and see with one it eats first?”

“Are you always this sarcastic?” Izuku rolled his eyes, watching around the corner to see if the Nomu was there yet; “What I was actually thinking, is that if we can somehow manage to trap it. The maze moves at night right? If we can get to an area that is about to close, it shouldn’t be able to follow us. But that then brings about the fact that there might be more than just one. And the maze moving would just put us at a disadvantage. Is there an open area anywhere in the maze?”

“I know Shinso mentioned something about sections. I think they’re the closest thing to an open area, why?”

Izuku hummed for a moment, still listening out for the Nomu while also trying to come up with a plan for the both of them “Do you know where they are?”

“No, I haven’t been around this part of the maze before. Even though it pretty much all looks the same anyway. Seriously, how the hell do they navigate through this thing?”

“You mean you haven’t noticed?” Izuku asked in confusion, a similar face looking back at him.

“Noticed what?”

“The walls, they-“ A loud squeal cut off the rest of Izuku’s explanation, the two of them peeping around the corner to see the Nomu at the far side, looking at the twists and turns of the maze and pondering which one they could’ve gone through. Izuku’s attention was immediately caught onto one of the sides above them, stone dust falling from the top.

“We’re about to be shut off…” He mumbled, his eyes widening in realisation.

“What?!”

“This is a dead end, we need to get out of here.”

“I was right you are fucking insane. Do you not see that big fella down there? He’ll have us for fucking breakfast!”

“We don’t have time!” Izuku shouted, before taking off running leaving a raging blonde in his dust.

“Oi! Wait up, stupid Deku!” Katsuki stuttered in his movements to run after Izuku, confused at the nickname that shot through his head like an electric shock. The name almost rolling off his tongue like his second identity.

“Hurry up!” Izuku shouted, not having noticed the name as he stood at a turn in the middle of the large pathway, watching as the Nomu turned around to notice the two yapping away.

Katsuki didn’t know what he should do at that moment. He felt a strong urge to stay behind the walls that were slowly closing in around him. Maybe draw the Nomu away and crush it within these ever closing walls. But he knew Izuku’s pleading face would be the last sight he saw if he didn’t make a decision soon. He didn’t want that. He wanted to live. To get out of this awful place. So he ran forward toward the rampaging Nomu and to where Izuku was waiting for him, practically sliding around the corner as the two of them and took off running, the Nomu right behind them.

“I have a plan!” Katsuki shouted over to the other, as they rounded her another corner, the Nomu smashing into the side of the wall at its fast pace, before getting back on its feet and continuing its chase.

“Yeah?!”

“Just get us to the sections!” Katsuki shouted back, not daring to look behind him for even a moment, his full focus on the path in front of him.

-

“…Are you okay?” Ochako asked gently as she entered Tenya’s office, watching as the man went from his slumped down position in his chair to one with perfect posture, a clearly fake smile plastered onto his face.

“Ochako. Yes…I’m truly sorry if I caused you concern.”

“You know you can always talk to me, I come to you with my problems enough…” Ochako frowned as she walked to the chair opposite him and pulled it out, sitting onto the rattan structure with the delicacy of a mother.

“I…” Tenya started, his smile dropping slowly as his eyes slowly filled with tears “I’m scared too…”

“Tenya…” She frowned, not used to seeing the cheery smart guy break in front of her so suddenly.

“I don’t…want to leave the home we’ve all built here…what if the outside isn’t all it’s made out to be! I’m not going to sit around and watch as everyone’s dreams are destroyed” He sniffled, teaching over his desk to grab a knife and hold it up to his neck.

“Tenya!” Ochako shouted, quickly reaching knocking the knife out of his hands, her chair falling back in the process “Don’t you dare give up on your family! On us! What the hell are you thinking?! You haven’t come all this way just to quit like this! I’m not letting you take the easy way out! If you go out, go out like a hero! Your life isn’t your’s to take! So pull yourself together!”

“I can’t handle it anymore…” Tenya cried, his tearful eyes making Ochako’s heart weep as her face twisted up in emotional pain. Tenya had immediately become one of her best friends when she entered the maze. Being the first girl there wasn’t easy…but Tenya made her laugh and smile. It made the pain easier to handle. They had fun together. To see this side of him was painful to her in away that no one could understand.

“I k-know! But you’ve just got to keep holding on Tenya! We need someone to guide us runners! We’re all suffering here, but I swear the outside will be worth it, I just know it! Once we’re there, you’ll turn to me with the biggest smile and say ‘we made it’. Because we will! So…so please live for that goal! Please…just…” Ochako trailed off, tears already rushing down her face rapidly, her throat becoming too clogged full of emotions to continue.

“…I’m sorry…I don’t know what I was thinking” Tenya looked down to the knife on the ground and glared at it with hatred and sadness “Ever since Izuku showed up i’ve been having weird…headaches. But they’re not painful…more like something is trying to take control of my body…I don’t know what to do. It won’t go away.”

“Izuku is the new boy, right? I haven’t spoke to him yet…or maybe never will considering where he is right now. But I think we all have a few questions for him…”

Tenya looked up from the floor in confusion for a moment, looking toward Ochako who wiped her tears and made her way to the knife to the floor and keeping her grip tight on the handle.

“I’m gonna keep a hold of this for now, okay?” She smiled gently, watching Tenya give a small nod of understanding before making her way out of the den.

-

“Please Shouto,” Mei begged as she watched Shouto put on a leather chest plate, the ones only worn by runners “at least let us come with you!”

“Mei…” Eijiro warned, as he, Tokoyami, Tetsutetsu, Shinso and Mezo stood by her side. The need to have the rest of the runners there (Ochako and Tenya) was obviously making them feel less confident about facing up to Shouto’s rash decisions. But they tried to make do with what they had in the moment.

“It’s not just the runners, you will be effecting all of us a community!”

“Tenya is to take my place should anything happen to me” Shouto sighed, as he slung a worn out backpack over his shoulder which he’d stuffed with the essentials: weaponry, water and food.

“I don’t want Tenya to be the leader of U.A,” Mei frowned “and i’m sure as hell that i’m not the only one who wants to go and find those two idiots just as much as you do! That’s why the runners who stand before me right now are going with you.”

“That won’t be necessary. My job is to limit civilian casualties.”

“We risk our life’s everyday Shouto,” Mei laughed, trying to lighten the situation with the truth “your job is to make sure the gears in U.A keep on turning. This is our gear! So please let us help!”

The sound of an earth rippling explosion cut off the rest off their conversation as they all rushed outside in panic, watching as a large cloud of smoke began to rise from within the maze.

-

“Do you have any idea where we’re going?” Katsuki asked frantically, both of them running out of breath, their lungs making it painful for them to breath in and out. The Nomu was about three corners behind them, the two only having an advantage to due to it keep running into walls on every corner they turned.

“Please stop talking” Izuku gasped out, coughing as he slowed down, feeling a pressure on his strained heart from running so much.

“Oi! Don’t you dare go out of commotion on me right now! There’s no where to hide!” Katsuki panted, as they both slowed down to a stop around the next corner, the raging Nomu still on their trial and gaining on them every second.

Izuku tried to talk but couldn’t manage to catch his breath, his throat and lungs burning as he felt tears fall down his cheeks, feeling all energy drain out of him as he slumped onto the ground, his back against the wall as Katsuki quickly cursed and crouched down in front of him, trying to drag him back to his feet by his arms.

“Get up! We can’t afford to waste time!” Katsuki puller harder, tears of frustration building up in his vision as he watched the slumped over Izuku struggle to breath on the floor “Why won’t you listen to me?! Just stand up already! Oi, stop fucking around!”

He pulled harder on Izuku’s arms and hissing when he heard one of them click gently, going for a different method as he tried to tug him up by his waist. He wasn’t one to lie, Izuku was heavier than he looked, and he almost dropped him several times.

Using the strength his adrenaline rush gave him, Katsuki slumped Izuku’s arm around his shoulder and wrapped one around his waist to keep him upright. He knew it was pointless. This was all just…pointless effort. He should just leave the damn nerd there and continue running. But for some reason he didn’t want to continue alone anymore. They’d started the maze together, they might as well continue to the end.

Katsuki could hear the roars of the Nomu behind him as he stoping walking in his tracks, a smile creeping onto his face. His didn’t know where it came from. It felt almost as if something was controlling him, is how he’d describe the strange feeling if he could. They were about to get eaten by a creature ten times the size of the both of them. But his smile lingered, watching unconsciously as he began to laugh at the situation, letting Izuku slump to the ground next to him as he turned around on his heels and faced the Nomu. His smile instantly turning into a large grin as he saw the creature at the other end of the passage, the conscious side of his mind was screaming at him to turn around, to run. But he found himself taking confident strides toward the beast instead. If there was one thing Katsuki could say he didn’t expect that day was for an explosion the size of Texas to come out of the palm of his hand, he’d be right. Yep. Definitely right.

The explosion was so large, it drew Katsuki out of his unconscious state as he slumped to the ground and onto his ass, looking at his palms in absolute horror. The Nomu having apparently retreated in either fear or frustration. But he couldn’t focus on that. The only thing he could hear was the loud ringing of blood pumping around his head, his breathing heavy as he began to tremble and hold his hands as far away from him as possible. His vision began to fade and the tingling of blood flowing to his fingertips overwhelmed his thoughts. Panic, causing him to stutter his intake of air.

“Katsuki. Please calm down!” He heard a voice, but he couldn’t focus on it, too shocked by the sudden occurrence to even think. As his breathing became short and his head grew light, the only thing in his vision was a pair of concerned green eyes before he finally slumped onto the floor. Except there were no green eyes to greet him this time, only darkness.

Chapter Text

“Everyone, stay inside!” Shouto shouted, growing all the more frustrated that no one was listening to him. He was their leader, wasn’t he? Why weren’t they listening? Why did they keep persisting? They were stubborn, he’d give them that. He supposed that being stubborn had its perks, especially in these types of situations. But that was no reason to use it against him. He was trying to help! Couldn’t they see that?

“I’m sorry, but the runners are right this time. I don’t know what the rest of the village thinks, but we’re with you once the dusk reaches dawn Shouto” Tetsutetsu confirmed. Tokoyami, Shinso, Mezo, Eijiro and Mei all nodded in agreement as they stood in a line, facing Shouto who was stood a few feet in front of them, his face tilted toward the ground as he practically shook with anger and frustration. Waves of unadulterated confusion clouded the vision of the his boots, which were firmly planted within the moist grass below.

It wasn’t a common occurrence that it rained in the maze, but when it did, the remains stuck around like a sore thumb. As if the grass beneath their feet didn’t let the water travel downwards, it kept it at its surface for around a week or so. They only way this was possible, was if the dirt contained very high clay contents, or in Shouto’s mind, there was something beneath it. It was almost as if it was just a sheet of grass that’d been placed upon something. Shouto quickly dismissed the idea though once he’d dug a few holes around U.A, proving there was no such thing. Then again, he wouldn’t be so surprised to hear if it was true these days. He always thought it was strange, but in this moment, with his mind clouded with anger, he didn’t think his usual thoughts. If fact, he found that he couldn’t care at all.

“I will personally excuse you from your jobs for today. Tenya-“

“Tenya is not in the right state of mind!” Ochako shouted as she came running over, she’d seen all of the runners had been missing from the village (excluding Tenya) and quickly realised that the noise of an explosion was completely out of the ordinary, which brought her here “He can’t handle taking your place in his condition! So you have no other choice Shouto, just please let the runners help already.”

Mei looked past the other runners to get a good look at Ochako who was on the opposite end of the line from her, she was still concerned about her from earlier and she hadn’t had the chance to talk to her privately yet due to Katsuki being an absolute idiot. She looked a little pale, and her her eyes a little red as if she’d just been crying. The pink haired girl frowned at the thought but kept her mouth shut for the moment, deciding to keep a close eye on her until they would have the chance to talk alone.

“…” Shouto gritted his teeth as his fists stung with the awakening pressure of his short fingernails digging into his palm. Shit. All this rage, he was really beginning to feel like Katsuki…

-

Izuku huffed heavily as he slowed to a stop, an unconscious Katsuki on his back making walking all the more difficult. But he was determined to not give up hope of finding the sections. Not yet. Not ever. The heavy weight of the taller boy he was struggling to carry was proof of that. Katsuki had been willing to not leave Izuku behind, he couldn’t see why he shouldn’t return the favour.

In those few moments of clarity, after the Katsuki had passed out from panic, Izuku had time to think all this over. And with the Nomu no where in sight, he continued forward, just like the older had tried to.

Thinking back to it, Izuku had a lot of questions. Did Katsuki make that explosion? Was it his mind playing tricks on him due to lack of breath? Hallucinations, was one thing Izuku could say he’d been scared of having since he entered U.A. Seeing things that aren’t real, he felt as though he was surrounded by them. The only moments of sanity he would receive, would be when he was conversing with Shouto. But even now, he couldn’t do that. Because he left.

He still found it absolutely heart stopping when he thought back to where he was right now. Currently walking through the creepiest thing in existence, with an unconscious boy on his back and a strain in his muscles, he felt as though the situation couldn’t get worse. What if there was a Nomu waiting around the next corner? That was something Izuku had been very cautious of when he came around to it. And very soon, he found himself in a clearing, the wall to the right showed a large ‘zero’ printed in peeling red paint, a single pathway at the other side. But he decided that it was best to stay here for now.

His lungs filling with a sense of relief, Izuku gently placed Katsuki down against the wall with shaky legs, trying his hardest not to cause the other any pain on his decent, while still keeping his knees from buckling underneath the pressure of his own weight.

Hopefully, the Nomus wouldn’t come around this area. Not that he knew anything about them or their patterns of movement, but it was probably the closest thing they had to safety right now. Being within that tight space between the walls, didn’t help when you were trying to run away from something. Here, they had a much larger surface to cover. More space to come up with a plan. If Katsuki woke up soon that is…

Izuku sat down in a cross cross position in front of the said person, scanning him for any injuries, noticing his palms were blistered, cracked and bleeding. Probably from whatever that explosion earlier was…

Unfortunately, Izuku didn’t know any first aid, but from his short time around Mei and Shouto he had learned a few things and willingly took off the bandages around his own damaged arms to wrap up the others hands gently.

He found himself looking up at Katsuki’s face every few seconds as he slowly wrapped up his palms, making sure he wasn’t in any pain. But Katsuki’s face remained the same. Peaceful. It was interesting to say the least. Izuku has never seen him looking so careless before. The whole time he’s been here, he’d been so…aggressive. But in this moment, he seemed relaxed. Give or take that he was literally unconscious, Izuku would take it.

Smiling sleepily to himself, he tucked the end of the bandage under the rest, making sure it wouldn’t fall out since the tape Shouto used on his bandages had lost their stick and would prove useless if he tried to use them for a second time.

Speaking of his bandages, since they were now gone, his severely bruised arms were on full show. Thankfully, the swelling and the colours of them weren’t as bad as they were when he’d first arrived. But they still looked awful. Abnormal. Whatever had caused them, must’ve been something out of the ordinary.

Izuku’s hand hovered over the bite near his wrist, gently pressing onto the teeth marks, feeling his rapid heartbeat practically pulsating out of his own skin. Oh yeah, he was still exerted from running. In his thoughts, he’d almost forgotten he was running for his life no less than five minutes ago. In his panic to find a section, he had only been focusing on the sound of his own erratic breathing ringing in his ears, ricocheting from the walls and encasing itself deep within his mind, slowly tingling his senses alive. Reminding him to keep moving forward. Just another step. Another. Another.

He was sure at that point the scent of his exhaustion could be smelt for miles around. But he couldn’t give up, that wasn’t an option. His source of his motivation was unknown and he found himself ever the more curious about where he came from. Where they all came from…

One thing he’d remembered hearing, was that someone had sent them up here. He was hearing more and more rumours about ‘they’ and ‘them’. Whoever they were, Izuku was sure that whatever they were doing was inhumane. But at the same time…what was this about the list he’d heard about in his ‘dream’? What if they all chose to come here? Put their names down and hoped to come in here? No…Izuku couldn’t think of a single reason why anyone would volunteer to enter the maze. His emotions couldn’t be anymore twisted, and he’d only been here around a week now. He couldn’t imagine what others must be feeling like…

-

Shinso paced back and forth on the grass, Shouto and the others were sat before the maze, all of them waiting for the wall to open once more. Like it did everyday at dawn. The silence that surrounded them was almost hypnotic. No one had said a word since their argument, and Shouto had accepted that they’d be coming along for the ride, no matter how much he disliked the idea. You could easily tell by the resting scowl on his face that he wasn’t extremely happy about risking the life’s of others, but working in a big group like this may be more of a benefit than a disadvantage. Then again, he could also see why a group this big would be a bad idea. People would end up getting in the way, or left behind-

“Is that really so bad, Shinso?”

The tall boy stopped his pacing and shook his head at the voice in his mind, his fists shaking in anger of the question. How could it say that? Why the hell did it have to intrude on his thoughts like that?

“Ding dong! The toll of a bell ringing within the tower tempts you!”

Shinso smacked his forehead in an attempt to make the voice leave. He heated when it didn’t make sense. When it spewed nonsense he didn’t understand…

“Beep Beep! The lines jagged movements prove that you’re still breathing!”

Shinso looked over at Ochako who was watching him wearily, keeping quiet to match with the atmosphere around them, but concern clearly leaking through her expression. He couldn’t fault her, she was his partner after all. When they’d go to monitor their section, he wouldn’t be surprised if he started unconsciously hitting himself on the head like he usually did. Attempting to knock out the voice. She’d asked him about it a few times, but he’d been too wrapped up in his thoughts to answer, so he never had the chance to tell her. When he applied to be the third ever runner, he wish he’d told Tenya about the voice he’d woken up with. It’s first words rang throughout his mind to this day:

‘Thank you for entering the maze. Project 1 of 4. Candidate 12. Hitoshi Shinso. Let’s have fun, shall we?~’

The words were pretty self explanatory, but Shinso still found himself questioning the true intentions behind those words. Their true meaning…if there was one that is.

“Shinso, would you like to play sticks and stones?” Ochako asked cheerfully, watching the atmosphere lighten slightly at the suggestion to play her version of ‘noughts and crosses’. The tense shoulders of the runners softened slightly along with their serious expressions. She’d managed to lighten the heavy atmosphere…thank goodness. Shinso felt as if he was going to drown in it if it continued much longer.

“Thank you for the offer, Ochako, but i’m alright” he flashed her a quick smile before walking to sit down next to her, Mei and Mezo.

“Okay then. Mei?” Ochako asked once again, not willing to let the happyness she’d created die down anytime soon. They’re only going to be stressed out of their minds once they enter, so they might as well make the most of their time now.

“Alright” The pink haired girl smiled softly, turning around so that they were facing each other, their fingers delicately collecting sticks and stones that were laying scattered upon the ground around them.

Ochako was always one for games. Whether as a pass time, or as a sport, the cheerful girl found it incredibly useful for creating strategies on the spot. It reduced the time she had to think about considering each and every move carefully. Over time, she’d found patterns; created them. These days, she’d found herself taking notes on other peoples patterns. She doesn’t know why she did it. But something told her it was useful. It had almost been as though someone had inspired her. But she had no idea who.

When she’d lost her first ever game of chess to Mei, she’d found herself more focused and in touch with her brain. She didn’t want to lose. She wanted to win. And if all that took was practice, then she’d do just that.

It wasn’t like it was a big deal. Games are supposed to be played for fun. Learning the rules of chess won’t help her in finding an exit. But sometimes she feels as though they related to the small pieces. As though they all did. Each person in U.A having a function, yet, the other side never having made a move. Shouto, the king, always stayed at the back, watching as his men moved forward. The queen, second in command, Tenya. His rooks, the powerhouses, Shinso and Mei. Herself and Eijiro, the bishops. The knights, Katsuki and Izuku. Though she supposed that was just how her brain saw it. Hell, she knew that some people in this village, like Tetsutetsu and Tokoyami are much stronger than her and would work better as the bishop. And for all she knows, Izuku and Katsuki could be dead in there. For the love of god, she hadn’t even met Izuku when he was conscious yet. But…It was almost as if there was a wall through the centre of the board, one preventing them from seeing their opponents, yet they still keeping moving. Running into the wall with all their might, and she couldn’t be positive, but instincts told her it was close to cracking.

-

As Katsuki regained consciousness, the first thing he felt was pain. Searing throughout his arms like nothing he’s ever known before. His veins tingling with the sensation of an unknown high. He could already hear himself grunting loudly as he held his shaky arms delicately to his chest.

“Shh, it’s alright,” He heard a familiar voice tell him as he opened his eyes, Wincing at the light emitting from a fire close to them, yet sighing softly at the warmth it provided. A pair of concerned green eyes appearing in front of him, the vibrant colours of the flames of the reflecting from his dark pupils.

‘Deku.’

 

“What the fuck?” Katsuki asked himself as he clenched his eyes shut with a heavy sigh, slamming his head back into the wall behind him with a gulp.

“What did you do that for?” Izuku asked, confused as to why Katsuki would cause himself more pain in this state “You’re already injured enough as it is, you really should take it easy. Do you know what will happen if-“

“Yeah yeah. I get it. Stop being so fucking annoying” Katsuki drew his palms up to his face, the bandages confusing him as he looked toward Izuku, expecting an explanation. Both of them were still on the floor and it was too dark to see around them, apart from the light the fire created of course. Katsuki presumed that Izuku had found someway to light it when he’d been unconscious. Granted that there likely wasn’t many material around here, he became slightly curious to know the answer.

“Your hands were in a really bad shape. I thought it’d be less painful for you if they were covered so they don’t catch on anything…” Izuku tried to give Katsuki the answer he was looking for, trying to provide him any type of comfort in the form of words. Not that anything would comfort Katsuki anyway. Shooting an explosion from the palm of your hands has to have its effects mentally too. It’s not something normal. It was new. The explosion was huge and yet, the walls were barely even scratched.

“…Did you kno-“

“No” Katsuki answered his question immediately, knowing what he was going to ask. He’d been waiting for it since he remembered why he’d blacked out in the first place. Izuku must’ve found somewhere safe and carried him out. How fucking embarrassing. Yet…he couldn’t deny the sense of amazement that the boy had actually been able to carry his limp body out of there, especially in the condition he was in. Not that he’d ever tell him this. Obviously.

“Sorry…I shouldn’t have asked, and even though I was scared…I couldn’t leave you back there,” Izuku sighed as he took a seat next to him instead, resting his arms over his knees as he drew them up towards his chest, Katsuki’s eyes scanning where the bandages had once been “you sacrificed so much to bring me with you and I…really appreciate it. I don’t know why you didn’t leave me back there, but for whatever reason you did, that’s why I didn’t leave you either. I always thought you were just angry, but to know you actually have a lot more going on inside is actually really reassuring” He giggled, Katsuki silently gritting his jaw in anger, he wasn’t willing to prove this guy right!

“I feel like I owe you so much…You’re not as bad as everyone makes you out to be. And I might sound really silly saying this, but I don’t regret running into the maze with you anymore!” Izuku smiled, Katsuki observing him with a frown etched onto his face.

“You regretted it?” He asked, watching as the others bright smile fall slightly, before it vanished completely.

“Well…yeah…I risked so much because I agreed with your opinion. Your courage inspired me to stand up for what I believe in. I would’ve never even dreamed of doing something like this if you hadn’t have been there. I didn’t really think about what I had done until I finished running toward you. At first…I just missed the group. Shouto was my first friend, and I felt really lost without him. But I’m kind of glad that we’re spending this much time together. You don’t baby me like he does. And I know he’s just concerned but he just doesn’t see my need for independence. I-I’m not saying I hate him or anything! Because I really don’t!…I’m just hoping I can prove to him that i’m alright being by myself. If he stays around me, i’ll never have the room I need to grow. Being with you really helps with that because you don’t like to work with people in the first place…Do you, get what I mean?-I’m rambling, aren’t I?”

Katsuki nodded, watching as Izuku flushed with embarrassment, a smirk growing on the blondes face as he found the need to tease him “Nerd.”

“I’m not a nerd! I just don’t realise I do it!” Izuku defended himself, clearly still getting over the fact that he was caught, but Katsuki wasn’t the type of person to forget about things, they both knew this. Even if he’d forgotten everything before he came here, what he learnt within these walls, stayed in his head and he learned from the experience.

“…I don’t know if you heard it. But I said something without thinking earlier…It wasn’t like I thought about what I was even saying until after. But…I believe we really did know each other,” Katsuki concluded “there’s too much evidence to deny the fact. I just…wish I could remember who I was…”

Izuku’s mouth was agape, not expecting to ever have such a passionate talk with Katsuki like this. Somehow, it was refreshing. He felt as though he was seeing things beneath the surface for once. And the thought made him smile gently “I agree. I would like to know who I am too…If we regain our memories when we get out of here, we better not lose touch, okay Kacchan?”

Katsuki’s eyes widened at the use of the nickname uttered in the boy’s sleep, watching now as Izuku smiled brightly at him, seemingly not waiting for a response. He doesn’t see how he can do it. In a situation like this…smiling this brightly. Katsuki had no choice but to look away, in fear of damaging his retinas if he gazed too long.

“Yeah…”

-

“Well done Ochako, you had me at the end there,” Mei laughed lightly, picking up the sticks and stones from their game to play another round “you really are getting better at games.”

“Thank you!” Ochako grinned, watching as Shinso gave her a pat on the back, watching their game from the side as well as Mezo, when they started to see peaks of daylight coming from over the wall.

“Everyone,” They heard Shouto speak as he stood up, stretching his limbs and moving to walk in front of the group of runners “I’m sorry for my judgement earlier. I failed to see your side of the argument and I deeply apologise. It’s not like we’re leaving U.A forever. We have only one mission today. To retrieve Izuku and Katsuki and bring them back unharmed. Finding an exit isn’t our priority right now. Safety is. I will be giving you orders in the place of Tenya. I hope you will accept and follow me.”

Mei laughed at the speech, Shouto looking at her as if she’d offended his entire existence “Sorry, it’s just that we already follow you, Shouto. You don’t need to ask for our cooperation, we were willing to give it from the very beginning.”

“Mei is right,” Eijiro smiled as he gestured to them all “we’re all sitting here with you for a reason. You gotta learn to trust us man.”

“I’m aware. How can expect people to trust me when I don’t trust them myself?” Shouto asked as he thought back got the conversation he had with Izuku not that long ago. He did trust Izuku, don’t get him wrong. But seeing the way he left him yesterday made him angry. Not at him, but at Katsuki. It was almost as if everything the guy did created a huge backlash on the others. Acting so recklessly was definitely something no one in U.A was used to. It was hard to get used to. Someone wrecking the way they’d been living like it was nothing? Shouto wasn’t fond of it. At all. He wonders if Izuku hadn’t joined him, would anyone actually go looking for him? He knows this crowd behind him isn’t just for Izuku, but if he hadn’t been so persistent, would they have left it alone and crossed out his name? Silently waiting for the day he returned? It almost made Shouto feel bad for him, but the more the thought about it, the more he hated him.

Chapter Text

Denki sighed heavily and leant against the frame he’d just built as he watched the runners stretch in front of the maze, clearly all of them waiting for dawn to arrive, which was soon by the looks of the sky.

“Denki, is this part an eight by four or ten by six?! Your measurements are so confusing! How am I supposed to work with this?!” Minoru complained as he attempted to read Denki’s blueprints, which were not on blue paper surprisingly enough. The only reason they had such supplies like paper and ink was because they were sent along in the supplies that they received each month. But they were going to be at a lack of them soon, due to the cage not going back underground like it should.

With a heavy sigh the blond looked away from the runners and toward the smaller man on the ground who was looking at the prints in confusion, deciding it might be for the best not to remind him that all he did was hand him the tools.

“Sorry. I tend to just jot them down anywhere” He chuckled, grabbing the ink and prints from Minoru’s hands and writing notes around the measurements he’d taken to make sure it made sense to the idiot next to him.

“You know, nothing’s ever gonna come out of you just watching them from a distance like some pervert” Minoru commented, leaning his palms back onto the grass behind him as he watched Denki’s face light up like a christmas tree at the fact that he was caught staring, red handed.

“S-shut up! As if you’re one to talk!”

“Is everything alright over here? I hope you two have time for some breakfast” Rikido walks up to them with a smile, two bowls of something delicious in each of his hands.

“Hell yeah we do!” Minoru cheered, each of them graving their bowls with a grateful smile.

“You guys always work so hard” Rikido commented as he admired the structure ‘they’ were currently building. Although it was only half finished, Rikido had always been one for compliments. Not that Denki can say it was a bad thing to have his hard work appreciated. But Rikido was too kind too give a negative opinion on anything, so it wasn’t as though he could tell if it was genuine or not.

“I try my best” Minoru grinned, Denki’s face twitching from his ‘hidden’ anger toward the grape who had literally been sat on his ass all day! God, he didn’t deserve any of the credit at all! Why does he get complimented so much?!

Denki broke out of his thoughts at the familiar sound of rumbling they heard twice every day, turning his head to watch as the runners began to walk inside. They too far away to accurately guess what kind of emotionless mask they were wearing, but if Denki could guess, it’d be one of determination. The thought alone made him shiver and turn back to his plans. He could practically smell their overwhelming bloodlust from where he was sat. He could never be a runner like them.

-

“Ochako, are you ready?” Mei asked as they all stood in front of the maze, watching the walls move from each other; dust falling from the tops and causing little ‘tics’ to run through their ears as smalls rocks of concrete hit the ground. The pink hair girl was still concerned about the brunette from earlier. If she had really been crying, was she in the right state of mind to enter? What about Tenya? What had even happened to him after their argument?

“Yes” She replied, her expression dark and serious, like someone had flipped a switch on the happy expression she wore less than a few minutes ago. It was scary how she could go from one extreme to the other like that; without warning.

“Alright everyone, remember to preserve your stamina until it’s needed” Shouto reminded as they all began to walk into the maze in files of no more than three. Tetsutetsu, Shouto and Shinso walking in the front line.

“I can’t believe we’re actually doing this” Tetsutetsu sighed as he straightened his posture; becoming more alert to his surroundings.

“Me either” Eijiro replied from behind him, standing next to Tokoyami and Mezo, who nodded in silent agreement.

“Planning on dropping out on us already?” Mei asked from behind Mezo, she was standing next to Ochako, having no one else to fill the third gap due to there being an even number of people.

“That certainly is troublesome” Shouto replied, letting Shinso look around the first corner and deeming it safe. They continued.

“What?! No!” Tetsutetsu defended, turning around to face Mei’s direction “Are you stupid enough to actually think i’d give up?”

“I’ll get back to you on that one” Mei grinned, finding pleasure in watching how ticked off the silver haired man was getting.

“Will you two please stop acting so immature?” Tokoyami sighed in frustration as he tried to listen out for any abnormalities.

“Tokoyami is right,” Mezo agreed “we don’t have time to be wasting around, no matter how much we want to.”

Tetsutetsu just huffed and faced forward again once more, mumbling words incoherently under his breath.

“Do we even have any idea which way they went? Eijiro asked, looking toward the back of Shouto’s head for an answer. It was a useless question. One that could only provide one answer. But he asked it to make him feel a little less…insecure about the actions they were currently taking.

“Of course not. But we will find them either way, whether it be bloody remains or the full package. Even if we have to stay in here through the night…”

“WOAH! WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?!” Mei shouted on instinct, stopping in her tracks, causing the rest of them to do the same. Shouto turning his head slightly to the side in order to glare at her.

“I’m saying that we won’t rest until they’ve been found. If you didn’t understand that before, then you’re free to leave now. But weren’t you the one who fought for the right to come in here with me? If you didn’t understand the terms and conditions, you could’ve easily have left it alone.”

“O-of course I-that’s not what I meant!” Mei argued back, slightly flustered about being thought of as a quitter, when the faces around her showed so much determination.

“Oh? Is it not? My apologies, let’s continue then, shall we?…” Shouto began to walk again, followed by the runners, Mei slightly lagging behind as she kept her eyes glued to the ground in embarrassment.

It was stupid. She knew it was, but no matter how much she knew, she couldn’t help her outburst at the possibility of staying overnight. The mere thought of it became blasphemy to her, and she couldn’t help rushing to deny any such words. She doesn’t know if it was due to almost losing her two closest friends, or the fact she was just simply terrified. Maybe even both. But she couldn’t handle the thought of losing any more residents from U.A. She couldn’t go through that pain again. And as much as she wanted to stop, she knew she had to continue forward. Because if she could do anything to save someone’s life, she would.

-

“You think they’ll be looking for us?” Izuku asked they started walking over the section they’d took some rest in, the remains of the stomped out fire still smoking still upon the ground. They ended up talking most of the night away, deciding that sleep was something they simply had no time for. If something attacked them from the shadows, it would be game over. And they wouldn’t get a restart. By the time dawn had arrived, the two decided it was too late to quit looking for an exit now. They’d made it this far already. Turning back now, would seem like a wasted opportunity.

“Probably not for me. But since you’re here, you might have one or two…” Katsuki informed, having to slip into single file in order to pass through the passageway at the opposite side that they’d entered.

“Hmm…” Izuku replied hesitantly, knowing himself that what the other was saying was most likely true. Many people didn’t seem to like him “But you never know.”

“Well I mean I’m pretty fucking sure.” Katsuki huffed, noticing that the walls were getting slightly tighter together before they opened back up, facing them with a decision that they’d been answering on repeat since they entered this damn place “Right or left?”

Izuku looked either way, trying to determine which one was best. Deciding that nothing can go wrong when you stick to the right, he answered with just that “Right.”

“I’ll be sure to blame you if something goes wrong then” Katsuki stated, almost like a second thought as they began to walk to the right, hearing Izuku giggle tiredly at the statement.

“Alright, i’ll take full responsibility” Izuku responded, watching Katsuki stutter in his steps for a moment before stopping altogether, the green haired boy wondering if he should speak or not at the sudden change in atmosphere “…Is everything okay?”

“Why do you do that?” Katsuki asked, his throat clogged full of unspoken emotions, causing his voice to become weaker towards the end. Izuku wasn’t sure what to make of the question, but it was clearly something that was bothering the other.

“What do you-“

“How can you take responsibility like that?! Like it’s nothing!” Katsuki asked once more, this time, Izuku understanding more or less where this conversation was going…And although he understood, he didn’t answer. Purely based on the fact that he didn’t know how to.

“…I mean, it would be my fault since I chose to come this way, we could go left if you prefer…” Izuku explained, hoping this would satisfy as the answer the blonde was looking for. But by the shaking rage in his tense shoulders, he knew he’d said something wrong.

Katsuki turned around to face the man behind him, his face doing a miserable job of hiding is vexed expression. If he was even trying to hide it at all…

“You seriously keep fucking annoying me. Why the hell do you keep doing shit like this?! Why the fuck would you take the blame on your own?! Are you stupid?! Do you not think about consequences?!-“

Izuku interrupted his spinning turmoil of questions, that he were sure were going to continue for a while if he didn’t stop them now “None of that matters if it’s actually my fault! I don’t mind taking the blame for something I did, if you get hurt because I chose to go right instead of left, of course i’m going to shoulder the responsibility of that wound. Who wouldn’t?”

Katsuki opened his mouth, but quickly shut it. Both of them knowing what he was going to say. It was obvious that Katsuki had different options than Izuku on a lot of things. Spending so much time together recently, had only made them all the more obvious. They were opposites. Izuku had sympathy, compassion and was insecure about his actions. But when it counted, he didn’t let people step over what he believed. He had the bravery to voice his opinions in those moments. Where as Katsuki, he was angry and stubborn but put his confidence in everything he did. And it showed. He was prideful about it. In tough situations, he tended to doubt himself, but his overwhelming confidence could fool anyone around him. Not that he’d had many situations like that since they’d entered the maze, but he can only guess he felt this way before he lost his memories. His emotions were too strong to not have.

“If I get hurt, it’s my own responsibility. And it’s the same with you. If you’re strong, you’ll last. Being weak is a choice. And it pisses me off seeing you make the wrong one, so fucking stop it. I’m not even going to attempt to help you like I did last night, so don’t expect it” Katsuki resorted, turning around to continue walking.

Izuku gulped before he followed Katsuki, walking slightly slower than him in fear he’d stop again and the freckled boy would walk into his back accidentally while he was lost in his own thoughts. Katsuki’s emotions tended to be very bipolar at times. Forever going from one extreme to another. And Izuku truly believed he could never understand him. That they could never understand each other.

-

“Tenya, Shouto told me to let you know when the frames were finished” Denki explained, trailing off his speech as he entered the den. Seeing Tenya no where in sight. Strange. Did he leave with the runners? He can’t remember hearing anything about Tenya leaving too.

With a face of confusion, Denki walks back outside of Tenya’s office, coming face to face with someone he’d never really talked to before.

“Sorry, are you looking for Tenya too? He’s not in his den so…do you have any idea where he could’ve gone?” Denki asked the boy with greasy blonde hair, he believed his name was Monoma? He doesn’t know. But he heard the guy was bad news and tended to just stay away from him. Until moments like this obviously, where they were forced to interact.

“Oh” ‘Probably Monoma’ spoke with a heavy sigh, before walking away, leaving Denki standing there looking like a twat with a forced smile plastered on his face. Jesus, he could have at least regarded him as an actual human being.

Seeing the others rude actions made Denki annoyed, but he dismissed it for the favour of finding out if anyone knew where Tenya had gotten off to. Walking a little away from the office, he decided to ask the only person who seemed to know all the gossip around U.A. Although, he shouldn’t be all surprised about that fact. Who knows what people talk about when they’re sat eating a delicious meal? Denki could say with certainty, that many conversations tend to happen that he wishes didn’t. Yes, he was talking about those with Minoru. They always seemed to stray down the same path. Why did the two of them hang out again?

Coming up to Rikido’s cooking station, he became worried once he saw that it appeared to be deserted too. If he thought the disappearance of Tenya from office was strange, this would be stranger. There wasn’t a single time that Denki could remember that Rikido wasn’t cooking. Now that he thinks about it, there wasn’t anyone here. As he began to frantically look around U.A, he realised that no one was here. Not even Monoma, the person he’d saw no less than a moment ago. Was he dreaming? Where had they all gone?

Before he could unconditionally ask anymore questions, his vision turned to red, and flames where encasing the buildings he’d worked so hard on. What was going on? He was dreaming right? He had to be dreaming. There’s no way fire can spread in the blink of an eye from an unknown source. As soon as it’d come, it got ten times worse, Seeing the flames turn off like a switch, and a Nomu appear suddenly behind the buildings, standing over him like a titan. Was he going mad? He couldn’t tell what was real anymore.

As if broken from a trance, he snapped his eyes open and looked up to see Rikido leaning down to his level with an expression of shock and concern. It was then, Denki had noticed his hands covering his own ears and his knees upon the wet dirt, tears steaming down his face.

“Denki, are you alright?” He asked, attempting to reach out, but Denki flinched away from his touch and ran away from the other, unsure if this was reality as he began continued to run into the trees in the corner of U.A, around where the bathing area was located. Deciding it might help to wash his face a little, he stepped into the bathing area, his jaw agape as he stood in shock at the sight of dark red water surrounding Tenya’s body.

He quickly rushed back out, pulling at his hair anxiously. It wasn’t real. None of this was. How couldn’t his own mind be so cruel? It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real…was it?

Denki began to cry as he lifted his hands to wipe his tears, but stopped halfway, his vision filling with the sight of bloody palms, thick red wrapping around his fingers and dripping onto the grass below him. What was going on?

=

Momo sighed heavily as she brushed her hair back into a ponytail. Loose strands of long, thick, black hair that failed to fit around the small rubber band, framed across her face. She supposed the look wasn’t professional, but she was in a hurry. If she had more time, she would’ve styled it like she used to. But nevertheless, she had overslept once more. This time however, she was determined to actually attend on time. She wouldn’t let anything get in her way today. Saying she was lucky to score an interview for a job like this…would be a major understatement. She couldn’t let her family down. Not this time. Signs of her fatigue were clear in the bags under her eyes but she couldn’t rest. Not again.

So she slipped on a black blazer over her formal white dress shirt and tie and looked herself over in the cracked mirror, hanging by a rusty nail and a thin piece of thread. She always wondered how it managed to stay up. But never gave a care to question it enough.

“Are you going to be long?” A depressed eight year old asked from where he was perched upon the bed.

“I’ll be back before you know it, Hinata. Take take of your sister okay?” Momo smiled tiredly, rushing over to ruffle the boys dark curls. His grey eyes looking up at her with disappointment. She doesn’t think there is a look more able to break through her soul than this one.

“But she smells! Why do I have to look after her?! She cries way too much!” Hinata pouted, clearly displeased with the thought of taking care of his little sister.

“Himari is only little, Hinata. She can’t look after herself like we can. I promise I’ll be back as soon as I can, Kyoka will be here at twelve to look after you two, so it won’t be for long…I just…really need this job so I can keep looking after you two…okay? I’m sorry for spending so much time away…You might have to wait a little longer to get the toy you like…” Momo trailed off, seeing tears forming in the corners of Hinata’s eyes and deciding to look away to save her from further heartbreak.

“…Is there anything in particular you want for dinner?”

“Not really…” The child sniffled, kicking his legs back and forth over the edge of the thick mattress which lay dirty and broken upon the floor. Momo watched with a frown on her face, before she leant down and placed a soft kiss on his forehead, sighing to herself when she drew back.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon.”

Chapter Text

Nothing could’ve prepared Rikido for the sight he was faced with following Denki to the bathing area. To say he was worried about the boy, would be a major understatement. Watching him sit upon the ground staring at hands covered in blood…would be something else. Fear? Concern? Panic?

Things had been so…normal. So why? Why the hell did Denki have blood everywhere? Was he bleeding? He didn’t appear to have any external wounds…

“Denki? What’s going on?” He asked slowly, afraid for his life if he stepped too close.

The way he was acting earlier should’ve been a sign. He should’ve stopped him from running off on his own.

“I-I don’t know!” The boy cried, his cheeks, where he had held his head in his hands, tainted with crimson smudges. Damn it…he was really losing his mind, wasn’t he?

Following Denki’s terrified line of sight, he became more aware of the blood leading from the washing area. With hesitant slow steps, he was sure not to turn his back on Denki even for a moment. His mind turning blank as he followed the trial to the body of his former friend.

Tenya sat in the small blood-stained lake, a stone by the side, painted red along with a wound upon his head. Someone had really smashed his head in with a rock? Practically half of his face was caved in! No. He knew he had done it. It had to be. Denki was the only suspect. The blood on his hands, the crazy blackouts where he wouldn’t respond and started screaming like a mad man. There was nothing left to say about the matter. Denki simply wasn’t safe to be around anymore. Shouto and the runners needed to return as quickly as possible. Before he becomes too far gone…if he isn’t already.

-

“This…this is bad” Ochako stated, kicking over the remains of the stomped out fire, her gaze on the open passage way opposite them.

“This is the entrance that opened up recently right?” Shouto asked as they all continued on. Izuku’s and Katsuki obviously having come this way.

“Yeah,” Shinso responded “Both of them lead to dead ends though. If nothing has changed, they should still be in there.”

“I wouldn’t be so surprised if they found an exit at this point” Tetsutetsu sighed in defeat, wondering if he should’ve gone with the two.

“Well it’s obviously open for a reason now. Don’t dwell on it,” Shouto advised, ignoring Tetsutetsu’s comment “If it helps us to move forward then there’s no point questioning it. Considering where we are, nothing is definitively impossible.”

“Shouto is correct,” Tokoyami nodded, all of them finally reaching the other side of the open area “saying that there isn’t an exit these days may certainly be possible. But logically, we had to be transported here somehow. And that was by an underground elevator-like object. Whoever put us here is clearly working beneath our feet.”

“That’s obvious,” Mei frowned at their conversation, each of them moving into single file in order to fit down the passage “but it’s not like we can dig down there, or catch a lift back, the cage doesn’t even move when someone’s in it.”

“All were saying is that if things start or stop changing, we shouldn’t act so surprised” Shouto informed.

“You sure make it sound easy” Eijiro rubbed the back of his neck with nervous laughter.

“You mean it isn’t?” Shouto asked in confusion.

“What Eijiro means, is that not everyone is as good at handling tough situations like you are” Ochako explained, returning Eijiro’s smile of appreciation.

“Oh” Was all the red and white haired man could respond with. Not that he could blame them. He didn’t expect everyone to think in the exact same way he did. Granted, the world would be ten times easier to handle, but he knew it was just hopeful thinking.

“Dun dun dun!…Right or left?” Mei played out dramatically as they reached the corner, proud of the small snicker of laughter it earned from Ochako.

“We don’t have time for your games” Shouto muttered as he walked towards the right.

“Nothing like keeping a girl on her toes ay Shouto” Mei smirked, knowing full-well that her personality could piss off even the best of people.

“I thought it was funny!” Ochako commented, skipping to walk beside her when the walls grew outward, the beaming smile on her face easily sending Mei into a blushing, stuttering idiot.

“R-r-really? I-was just mess-messing around!”

Ochako raises her eyebrow at the reaction, but didn’t question it, instead favouring to laugh at how idiotic her friend could really be.

Mei was knocked out of her temporarily embarrassed state as she listened to Ochako laugh, watching as small beads of tears welled up in the brunettes eyes as her rosy cheeks strained with the stretch of her lips. It was beautiful really. Mei would’ve never thought someone’s laugh could be so endearing. Enticing. So what if she would be found watching Ochako with a dopy grin on her face, if she can watch her physically light up like this she wouldn’t mind being called a cheesy idiot.

Eijiro watched the pair in front of them, with a proud smile on his face, walking alongside Shinso who was busy making puking noises. It was obvious to most of them at this point, that the only girls in U.A were absolutely smitten with each other. Whether it would only end in tragedy and heartbreak, they had yet to see the result of. But even if the two could be happy for even a little while longer, who were they to deny them of that happiness. They should get the most of that happiness while they can before they even have a chance to lose it. Well…that’s how Eijiro felt.

Shinso on the other hand, thought they were wasting their time. ‘Absolute pisstake’ was a way he described the relationship blossoming between the two girls. No matter how much he liked the two as friends; a relationship? He found it unnecessary. As much as he’d like to believe in that ‘love can conquer all evil’ bullshit, he just couldn’t. It was just that, bullshit. If the two had any inkling that they’d come out of the maze happy, in love and alive, they were having a giggle. Not a chance. That’s how Shinso felt.

“What’s down here?” Shouto asked, waiting on Ochako or Shinso to answer, since they were the only two that monitored this area.

“Binary,” Shinso answered immediately “to put it in simple terms that is…”

“Binary?” Mezo asked in confusion, stealing the words right out of Shouto’s mouth.

“It’s easier just to show you” Shinso explained.

-

“Katsuki…are you sure we should go down there?” Izuku fretted as he looked down at the dark staircase that descended into the ground “What if this is where the Noums come from?”

“Impossible,” Katsuki gesturing to the right opening of the passage at the other side of the large circular machinery “the gap is too small, there’s no way they could pass through.”

Izuku’s nerves were a little tamed by the thought, but that didn’t make the dark descending stairway any less…dark and descending!

The moss poking out from the walls surround were obvious that it would be overgrown down there. But it couldn’t be an exit…right? It was too easy! It was in plain sight for god sake! Did the others know what was down here too?

“How are we going to see down there? It’s too dark…” Izuku noted, watching as Katsuki took a deep breath before slowly beginning to walk down.

“Did you hear what I just said?” Izuku frowned, quickly rushing toward Katsuki, not wanting to be alone in a crazy place like this. Even if the man he’s with was probably crazier.

“Your eyes will just have to adjust or something” Katsuki told him, being carefully not to slip on the damp grass beneath his boots.

After a while of walking and not seeming to get anywhere, Izuku grew fearsome. The only thing reassuring him that Katsuki was still there was the heavy presence he felt beside him, his loud obnoxious footsteps and the heat of his arm he’d feel brushing past his from time to time. Granted that there was more room than he made out to be on that stairway, but Izuku didn’t want them to fall through the floor unexpectedly without the other knowing or something.

The boy’s thoughts were quickly reassured as they reached the end of the stairway, lights clicking on above them one by one, down a long endless path that stretched out before them.

“See? Told you your eyes would adjust” Katsuki coughed a little, not wanting to admit that he was feeling the same way as Izuku in that moment in time. But it looks like the bright white lights only made the boy next to him even more nervous.

“Electricity? M-maybe we should go back…” Izuku fretted, not remembering the last time he’d seen lights like this before. They used fire, and the rays from the sun as light at U.A. This type of technology wasn’t something he was used to to say the least.

“Not a chance,” Katsuki growled, turning around to face Izuku from where he was standing a few paces in front “you think i’m gonna go back to them ruling my life again? Spank my ass like a kid and tell me what I did wrong? Say I can’t search for an exit when I’m pretty sure I can do whatever the fuck I want? If you want that treatment fine by me, don’t come crying when I don’t follow you.”

“Please don’t talk like that…” Izuku muttered, watching as Katsuki began to move forward, not waiting for him to catch up.

Why was he being so reluctant to just shut up and follow? He knew that someone probably knew they were down here, the fact that their every move was being watched…that someone had expected them to come down here. A long empty hallway without purpose or reason? It wasn’t possible…pointless even…unless…

“Kacchan wait!” Izuku shouted loudly, proving to be too late as a tile of stone under Katsuki’s foot glowed neon green and the stairway behind them up began to close “We need to leave!” He shouted desperately, going to run back around but stopped when Katsuki didn’t move at all.

“You need to listen to me! This place is full of traps like this, it’s not made for us to pass through-!”

Izuku watched tragically as he was too late, his description cutting off the remaining time they had to escape before they ran out of time. Now they were trapped within this hell ridden hallway for all of eternity. No food. No water. What the hell were they going to do? They both hadn’t ate since yesterday back at camp, and were growing hungrier by the second.

“Well then you’ll just have to use that brain of yours and get us to the other fucking side, since that’s literally our only choice now” He gestured to the wall where the stairs once sat, it was slowly moving in on them, it was going to force them through the puzzles.

“I can’t handle this! This is all your fault! Why didn’t you just listen to me in the first place?!” Izuku cried, a waterworks of tears begging to erupt from his eyes, causing Katsuki to lightly roll his at the display, before looking at the path in front of him, scanning each area thoroughly while Izuku continued to blabber behind him.

“You do this every single time! You don’t listen to me and then you go off and you-ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?!”

Katsuki seethed, desperately trying to keep his anger under control in an attempt to assess their situation calmly “Yes! I’m fucking listening. But I would appreciate if you would just fucking suck it up and help me with this instead of complaining. You can do that shit as much as you want when we get the hell out of here. But first, that wall is getting closer each second, and i’m not one for letting walls do my walking for me.”

Izuku couldn’t deny that Katsuki was correct. He was, but he was just so angry and emotionally distressed right now. If he hadn’t have left, none of this would’ve happened!

It took him a moment to realise he’d said those words out loud.

“So you do regret it…” Katsuki murmured to himself as he began moving forward, stepping over a camouflaged piece of sting that was no doubt attached to something that would probably blow his brains out.

Izuku gulped as he watched Katsuki continue being sure to watch where he stepped as he dried his eyes and followed.

Because it’s not like he had a choice anyway.

He said those words to himself over and over, but no matter how much he said them, he couldn’t look back at all the time he’d spent with Katsuki beforehand and say he didn’t have a choice. He wanted to follow him. He just…couldn’t find himself to believe that he did.

=

Hinata places his hands on his hips with a thoughtful pout as he walked over to his crying little sister sat on the ground. Her dirty long blonde curls contrasting greatly to the black short hair of her brothers, her fringe swaying back and forth as the four year old who owned them, threw her already damaged dolly onto the ground.

“Himari! You can’t throw things like that! You know Aunt Momo would be cross with us if we were ungrateful.”

“Hina…” She sniffled, her bright green eyes sparkling with sadness.

Hinata sighed softly and picked up her dolly, walking to sit on the dirty, rotting, wooden floor in front of her and hand it her back. Watching his little sister pick at the dirty tattered dress that her toy wore wasn’t exactly the best of sights.

“Aunt Momo said that she’s going to get a job, so she can buy us lots of new things then, okay? I’m sure she’ll buy you a new dress for your dolly too!” Hinata explained, watching as Himari nodded slowly, the pout on her face still present as she dried her own eyes. Hugging the toy to her chest, she butted her head on Hinata’s torso and climbed onto her brothers lap, turning around to find a comfortable position, not minding the look of misery Hinata was wearing, holding in a protest at the thought of being so close to his -in serious need of a bath- little sister.

“Aunt Momo promised a long long time ago…” Himari sniffled, snuggling into her brothers chest, and listening to him sigh above her.

“She promised for sure this time. I just know it! She’s going to get us lots of new things real soon Himari! And then we’ll be like Kota, yeah?! He has a lot of cool toys!”

“Kota!” Himari cheered in agreement.

“So just wait a little longer okay Himari? We’ll get everything we’ve ever wanted soon! I just know it!” Hinata smiled and wrapped his arms around his little sister, picking her up and carrying her toward the area they considered the kitchen. Feeding Himari would always be the worst. She was such a fussy eater!

Chapter Text

“Stop! That’s the wrong one…try the other one!” Katsuki tsk’d in annoyance at Izuku’s nagging from behind him, stopping himself from pulling a protruding neon green lever and pulling a bright yellow one instead, hearing a small ‘ding’ in acceptance, they slowly continued forward. They must’ve been at it for around ten minutes. Walking, jumping and running through the seemingly never-ending corridor. The puzzles and traps seemed to be of an endless supply. Sometimes repeating themselves, but never getting any easier.

Most of the puzzles were the ‘step on the certain tiles and die’ kind of deal. Some were more logical, and required them to think. But obviously not knowing much about their life’s before the maze, there was a limit to what they could answer. Thankfully, the questions didn’t touch upon the life outside, most of them required common sense.

It’s not like they even had a choice of whether or not they could just skip the question as holes opened up before their feet within the ground. If they didn’t answer the question, they’d obviously be pushed into it by the intimidating wall moving in their direction.

Ten minutes. That’s how long they’d been at this? Katsuki began to question himself if there would ever be an end. If they would just keep the corridor going until they were starving, tired and unable to maintain balance. Surly no corridor can stretch forever. But in these ten minutes, it’s all Katsuki could debate anymore. Would a wall just magically open from the side and everyone from U.A would jump out and say “Surprise!”? Would this all turn out to be some big joke? Scream at him for being stupid, but he was starting to regret his decision to stay here…

Whether it was Izuku’s teary heartbroken face at the fact they were no longer able to return, or just the fear from dying in an untimely manner, he was regretting. A lot. And he was sure the boy with him had started to notice…

“Katsuki…it’s really fine you know. I had the choice to follow you…so please don’t blame yourself” Izuku reassured in a small voice. Obviously, blaming himself as well for the actions taking place.

Huh.

They fight and shout at each other all the time all the time…but the only person they can only ever seem to put the blame on was themselves.

“No. I made the choice to stay, so suck it up and just take it out on me already” Katsuki sighed, Izuku walking close behind him as they carefully made their way across more wonky tiles.

Izuku shook his head with a sad smile that he made sure the other couldn’t see “I’m sorry for shouting at you earlier. You do listen to me. You just don’t show it sometimes…and I knew that. Which is why i’m sorry for taking out my distress on you…If we’re both going to die…we might as well be friends while we do it.”

“Huh? That’s the stupidest thing i’ve ever heard. We’re not going to die you idiot. So save the speech of gratitude.”

Despite his semi harsh words, Izuku couldn’t help but chuckle to himself, a wide smile spreading across his face unknowingly. Why it was there, he had no idea. Despite being in this situation was smiling? Wow…he really must be crazy.

“Do you think we’ll reach an exit soon?” Izuku asked, his eyes wondering off in front of them. The lights didn’t stretch too far before encasing the upcoming corridor in darkness, leaving them blind to what they were to encounter moving forward.

“…Maybe” Was all that Katsuki managed to reply with. Not knowing how to express his ideas to the person who was so determined on getting out. What if Izuku was right in the beginning? And this corridor wasn’t made to be passed through. If that was the case…they’d be doing this until the point of overexertion…

He was overthinking. He knew that…but what if he was right? Katsuki has his suspicions upon seeing the staircase behind the large binary machine, but seeing his doubts become reality was more painful to realise.

However, their fears came to a rather anticlimactic close as a single light turned on a little ways in front of them, illuminating a simple grey door etched into the brick.

“What the fuck?” Katsuki jumped a little, the sound of the light flickering on being more alarming then they would’ve imagined.

They stood there in silence. They couldn’t move. Was this a trap…? No it couldn’t be, it was the end of the corridor right? It had to be an exit. What else could it be?…

…Does this mean they’ll leave everyone behind? No, they’d find a way to get them out once they got out of here right? Was this an exit? This small, unappealing, rusting door? What about everything else inside the maze? Was that just there to distract them? Surly not…

“…Should we look inside?” Izuku asked, acutely aware that the moving wall behind them had stopped.

“I don’t think we have much of a choice” Katsuki muttered, looking over to the nervous Izuku and gesturing with his head to stick close. It was almost annoying how fast Izuku came to stand close to him, holding onto the hem of the Katsuki’s dirty cloth shirt as a form of comfort. With a deep breath they began to take fifteen agonisingly slow footsteps toward the door, feeling their breathing stutter as they stood there for a moment.

It almost seemed that the two were aware of both their thoughts in that moment. One thing lingering on their minds. Who was going to reach for the handle?

Knowing the tension of waiting any longer was going to kill them faster than starvation, Katsuki quickly reached for the handle and threw open the door revealing what was inside.

Darkness. It was so dark. Pitch black in fact. As if there was nothing for them to see.

Peeking his head in a little further, Katsuki was shocked when he was quickly pulled back by the fretting Izuku, who was clearly afraid of something bad happening in the darkness.

“Katsuki, what if it’s a trap? This whole place is full of them, we’d be walking to our own deaths!” Izuku started to tear up, the events becoming all too real to him. He doesn’t want to die. He wasn’t ready to die. But he wanted to leave. Was this how they did that?

Sensing his spiralling thoughts, Katsuki breathed out heavily and brought his hand up to place upon Izuku’s head with a soft bump, making sure that he had his attention before speaking. Looking straight into the glossy green eyes on the shorter man and making sure he didn’t avert his gaze.

“Stop thinking. There’s no other way out…and even if there was, we don’t have the time to be wasting looking around when we have an open space right in front of us. Not going in there would seem stupid right? We came down here for a reason. And I doubt the people who are behind this would create this entire place just to kill us. They’re smarter then that…and I don’t think death is their end goal. They probably want something else…I just don’t know what. So…there’s no need to be an idiot or anything, okay?”

Izuku’s fears faded a little at Katsuki’s attempt of reassurance, a soft smile taking the place of which once held a shaky frown. Katsuki was a tough egg with a gooey inside that often leaked out at times. And Izuku was actually really grateful that he could witness it in person. Despite his bad attitude and his scary aura, Izuku felt his heart melt a little. This person went out of their way to make him feel better by erasing his doubts. No matter what scary things people had said about Katsuki, he couldn’t help but be proud of him. It must’ve took a lot to think about this situation in a different perspective.

He takes takes it all back. All his doubts about the other. This was the person he wanted to follow. And this time, he wouldn’t doubt himself. This was the right choice. He knew it was.

Feeling that his heart would burst with emotions he found strangely familiar if he kept gazing up at Katsuki, Izuku turned his face toward the ground, feeling himself blush as he laughed at their situation.

“…Why are you laughing?” Katsuki asked as he hesitantly removed his hand from Izuku’s curls, wondering if he should be worried or relieved.

Izuku shook his head as he gave Katsuki a bright smile, still laughing as he punched the other gently on the his arm “It’s nothing…shall we go in now?”

Katsuki was confused as hell, but didn’t mention Izuku’s strange behaviour. He realised then, that this had to have been the first time he saw Izuku laugh. And throughout his unconscious waiting…he can’t find it in himself to say he was disappointed at the result.

Quickly looking away from the cheery boy and straightening his posture, Katsuki decided it was about time they entered the waiting dark abyss.

“Stay close” Katsuki told Izuku, watching as he quickly nodded his head and latched into the his arm with a grip of steal, making Katsuki hiss in pain for a moment before remembering only pussies admit to defeat. So he endured it. He told him to stay close after all.

Walking into the incredibly dark room Izuku jumped in fear as the door behind them slammed closed. Leaving them in complete darkness for about three seconds, before a large screen was projected in front of them, lighting the small room around them.

Suddenly, they weren’t so interested in what was in the room anymore, more about what was playing on the screen.

/“Um, I’m not sure how to start this but…Hello…I-I just wanted to record you this message in the hopes that you’d find it somehow…/

It was Izuku. Clearly bruised and bleeding as the bright red light of an alarm keept shining in the background, what looked to be rows of server racks behind him, however most of them were clearly broken and beaten, as if they’d been smashed to pieces with a hammer.

Feeling Izuku’s grip on his arm loosen, Katsuki looked towards the boy next to him, who was clearly in shock that he couldn’t remember doing this.

/“Kacchan…It’s all gone wrong! I don’t know what to do anymore!”/

The Izuku on the large screen started to sob, his speech turning into squeaky whines of pain as he desperately tried to wipe his tears and continue.

/“Everyone has either left or…or died! And I can’t continue to live like this! I don’t want to remember…but I don’t want to forget! Please tell me what to do! Please! I need your help! Why did you leave me here alone?!/

Izuku unconsciously started to feel tears roll down his face as he watched himself sob his own heart out, feeling himself stepping a little closer to the screen in sympathy.

/“I’m sorry I fought with you before you left…I understand now. I just can’t watch you suffer, Katsuki. Just like you couldn’t watch them. Which is why i’m joining too…I…don’t know who’ll help me get there but I swear i’ll find a way. I don’t want to live knowing that everything we’ve worked so hard for is……I’m sorry. Even though you told me not to follow you…I probably did. I hope i’m with you right now…and if I am, please don’t be too mad at me, okay? I…I did my best, and i’m so sorry that it wasn’t enough. I don’t know what will happen while i’m not here, but I don’t think I want to know. You must be so confused, but I can’t tell you anything. I wish I could. But you told me that you didn’t want to remember…”/

Hearing loud rapid gunshots and shouts in the background, the Izuku on the screen looked to his right in fear, before quickly turning back to the camera.

/“Katsuki. I have something I need to tell you. And you probably wont remember, but I don’t think I can live with myself If I don’t say it. Please don’t let us forget about this, okay? Last night, I sent Himari to live with Momo. I’m really sorry! I didn’t know what else to do!…I know you’d hate me for doing that, but I didn’t want her involved in this. I never wanted that for her. And I know you don’t either…So…if i’m not there to say it to you, just know that I love you…so much. Please forgive me.”/

Those were the last words the Izuku on the screen spoke before the message was cut. And a bright empty screen of white left the two boys to realise what they’d just stumbled across.

No less than a few seconds of static silence later, the screen lifted, as if it was timed, to reveal another door. Except this one wasn’t small and rusted like the one locked shut behind them. This one was wooden and glossed, a nice circular gold handle waiting for them to open it.

 

-

 

“What the hell is going on here?” Shinso asks through gritted teeth as he rushed up to the machine, seeing the binary having stopped and the buttons now gone, covered with a coat of steal.

“It wasn’t like this before” Ochako noted, searching the area around and behind the machine, to find nothing else out of the ordinary.

“Someone has to have figured it out” Shinso explained, the blank screen staring at him.

“Is there anywhere else they could’ve gone?” Shouto asks as he tries not to get angry. The people around him seeming not focusing on what was most important!

“No, at least I don’t think so” Shinso responded, desperately looking for anything that would’ve changed in the area. Anything at all.

Stop it. You’re getting angry again. Why do you keep doing that? Get yourself under control!

Shouto knew they were worried about Katsuki and Izuku; wanting to find them as much as he did…probably.

He couldn’t help it. He just had so much…anger. It was boiling through his veins and he doesn’t know it’s origin. It seemed to never leave lately. It was to the point he could barely even think over the sound of his own rage.

At first it was just complete overwhelming sadness. But the more he felt sad, the angrier he got. And the angrier he got, the more likely he was to do something he didn’t want to. Make bad decisions.

He supposed this was why he didn’t want to bring the others.

For he’d only cause them inevitable pain.

 

=

 

“Ah, here she is. Everyone this is Momo Yaoyorozu. She’ll be joining the team as the head pharmaceutical scientist. Please be sure to give her a warm welcoming.”

Momo looked around at the sea of strangers smiling at her with empty gazes, as if their souls were detached from their physical bodies.

“Momo, would you mind informing everyone about what you’ll be contributing to the team?” The person who had shown her around asked. His was a rather bulky fellow. Flames leaking out from parts of his body. She assumed that his quirk had something to do with fire. But she could never be too sure.

Taking a nervous gulp, Momo walked to the front of the large, white, oval table, around ten or so people watching her intensely, the loud clicking of her heels ringing throughout the room as she felt the collar of the shirt around her neck tighten a little; palms unconsciously gathering sweat.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you all. I’m truly grateful to be here. Um…My job requires managing the testing and manufacturing of new drugs. In this case however, we will be focusing on improving the one we already have” Momo informed, pulling a vial of light blue liquid out of her blazer pocket.

“As i’m sure many of you are aware. Axelavier Byphodine, or AB for short, is an injection used to cure quirk disease. Also known as Q-12. Q-12 is widely seen as an autoimmune disease due to the attack the quirk has against your own body tissues. In an attempt to restart the immune system and repair the rapidly damaged cells, AB, is shot straight into the arteries and travels directly to the brain. However, the side effects are extremely dangerous. Causing up to 700 deaths and counting across patients tested alone. But it’s also been proven to have miracle-like side effects. Saving around 20 people, while improving their quirks by around 30 to 35 percent. Some people have even reported that they grew an extra limb. So why is a drug made for the use of a cure causing so many deaths and how can we improve the result as well as reduce the negative side effects? This will be my contribution to the team.”

The more Momo spoke, she felt more confident, the once dull lifeless eyes of the team before her, turning into gazes of hope and excitement.

Now don’t get her wrong. She’d worked in a lab for a small amount of time beforehand. But she wasn’t exactly a ‘scientist’ per say. It was a job and she needed money. Her words were bullshit…How on earth could someone like her create a drug to cure people? It just wasn’t realistic.

Yet, however much she thought that, the eyes around her explained a different story. They clearly believed her words…but she couldn’t find it in herself to care if she was lying. Of course Q-12 was a huge issue as of late, and was forcing quirks to turn on their vessels. She’d witnessed this. She wanted to be responsible and praised as the one who saved many many people. But with how rough society has been as of late…her priority was providing for the kids. They would come before anything else.

Chapter Text

-One year earlier-

 

It was around midnight when Katsuki returned home. He was working late again. Christmas crisis. Izuku understood that. December was the busiest time of the year for any company. But in all honestly…Izuku had enough recently. He was worried. He was angry. And most of all, he was concerned. Katsuki was not looking after himself, and Izuku felt so overwhelmed that he didn’t know what to do anymore. With the stockpile of work he had himself as a hero, it was too much to handle. He felt as though he never saw his family anymore…he never saw his friends anymore. He was too busy. They both were.

The two hadn’t spoke to each other for around two weeks now. It wasn’t exactly a sudden change, but Izuku felt that his heart could’ve had a warning before it was being trampled upon. Even though he felt the distance slowly crawling it’s way between the two of them, what could he do about it? They were both living their childhood dreams…yet…why did it feel so unfulfilling? It wasn’t even just that…with everything going on recently…they both had so much to talk about. Yet they couldn’t find the time in their busy schedules to even spare each other a glance.

Izuku wanted to break this new routine they’d strangely started adapting to.

He decided to wait up on the night of the 23rd.

“Working late again?” He asked as Katsuki walked into the living room, a single lamp illuminating the room in a dim glow as Izuku sat waiting on the sofa, obviously waiting for the other to return.

“Yeah…” Katsuki sighed, clearly not expecting Izuku to have waited up for him. He shifted nervously from foot to foot, looking at anything other than the man in front of him. He should’ve known this would happen sooner or later.

Izuku nodded in silent acknowledgement, standing up to walk past Katsuki and into the kitchen, turning the microwave to warm up the food he’d prepared for when Katsuki was supposed to be home.

Izuku wondered when the last time he had a decent meal was.

“Where’s Himari?” Katsuki mumbled as he sat down at the table, leaning his face against his palm tiredly as he watched Izuku make his way around the kitchen, listening to the soft hum of the microwave in the background.

“Staying with Momo. They’re having a girls night, or so they called it” Izuku chuckled softly, thinking about how excited the joyful little three year old was to stay with her. How excited she was for Christmas…

“Oh…” Katsuki frowned, knowing he didn’t need to say anymore to express his disappointment. Everyone knew how protective he was over the little girl. And being able to come home to the cute angel made his day so much better. Well…when she was awake of course.

“She fell asleep about two hours ago…she was so excited to show you what Momo did to her hair too…of course if you were home, you would’ve known that…”

“Izuku. Don’t start” Katsuki stressed, moving his palm from his cheek to rub at his temple, feeling a throbbing headache beginning to start. Thankfully, the other decided to leave it and continued cooking food for him.

With a large yawn, Izuku opened up the microwave before the beep, plating up the food and placing it in front of Katsuki, pressing a small kiss to his forehead as he took the seat beside him “I hope you like it…I’m sorry for being so persistent.”

Despite his tiredness, Katsuki could feel a smile threatening to take over “I get it, I’m sorry for being a dick. You probably think the worst of me…”

“That’s stupid Kacchan…I could never think that way about you” Izuku frowned, yawning once more as his hands reached up to rub at his sleepy ducts.

Katsuki watched the tired boy with warm eyes, his hand unconsciously reaching up to stroke Izuku’s hair, causing the other to hum in contentment.

“I’m sorry I’m away so much…I know it must be hard taking care of Himari without me. I feel like i’m letting you both down…”

Izuku shook his head underneath his Katsuki’s hand, an expression of guilty sadness laying across his features “Katsuki, you’ve never let me down. I understand that your busy…I-If anything I feel like i’m the one letting you down.”

“Izuku-“

“No. It’s true…Please don’t deny it…we both know it’s true…”

Katsuki frowned, removing his hand with a sigh, turning to his food instead. Unspoken words passing between them as Katsuki took his time eating.

They didn’t speak again that evening.

 

 

The 25th was Katsuki’s day off.

“Wake up, wake up! It’s Christmas!” Katsuki awoke to hear, groaning as he covered his overly tired eyes, feeling a small body crawl onto where he and Izuku lay on their bed.

“Himari, come on…let’s go open some presents, okay? It’s better to let daddy sleep right now” Katsuki heard Izuku whisper, mentally thanking him as he turned around, falling back asleep in an instant.

Little did he know, that he’d come to regret not waking up with Himari and Izuku that morning.

 

He should’ve been awake.

 

= Present Day =

 

“Welcome Momo! My name is Mina! I mainly work in the support department but…you seem pretty cool so let’s be friends, okay?” Mina cheered, her bubbly aura completely overwhelming the serious Momo. After her introduction, she was pleasantly surprised to find that someone actually wanted to talk to her here. Maybe the team wasn’t as tired and depressing as they had all had looked previously. Maybe they actually worked really hard too.

“Y-yes. Of course. It’s a pleasure…” Momo blushed, was she allowed to speak so casually with her colleagues?

“Awe! Aren’t you a big softie~ Don’t worry so much, it’s not like there’s many people like me on the team. You don’t have to worry about people getting in the way of your work. We all have our own things to do so meetings are the only times we really speak to each other.”

“Right…” Momo smiled gently, taking a peak at the rest of the team through the glass room on their right, they were already being dismissed, returning to work.

“Sorry, it looks like the two of you are having fun but…I’m afraid I haven’t finished touring around our new college just yet” The man with flames coming out of sections of his body strolled over to the two of them, clearly wanting Mina to leave if the small glare he sent her way was anything to go by.

“O-oh…right. W-well i’ll see you later Momo…” Mina waved anxiously, her happy aura turning into one of nerves as she quickly walked away.

“Shall we?” The man asked, Momo looking at him curiously for a moment before nodding her head. She didn’t trust this man. She’d been told she was a good judge of character, so she tended to follow her instincts on these things. Especially in places she’d never been before, such as jobs. They say you never really know what the people who surround you everyday could be up to in their spare time. It was strange to think about. It really was. But she couldn’t help but ponder about this man’s true intentions.

Walking through movement activated doors, Momo couldn’t help but be amazed at the technology that surrounded them. She’d never been in labs like these before…It all seemed so expensive. She had no idea the company was this…well funded.

“So, Momo Yaoyorozu. Are you okay with the new terms stated under section B-8?” The man asked as he gestured to the clipboard she held tightly to her chest. Fearing the worst if she even tried to let go of the makeshift shield she’d made to protect her vitals in case of a sudden attack…I mean, you never know, right?

“I believe I am, sir.”

“Good. That’s good…You also understand that what you do within these walls…stays within these walls. We can’t afford people trying to interfere. Do you understand?”

“I understand.”

The man lead her to into an different room, this one darker than the bright labs they’d previously been exploring, it was clear they were moving into another section of the building. Except Momo couldn’t exactly place her finger on what, if the interior design was anything to go by she would guess it to be an office, but it also held house-like objects.

“Q-12 has become our number one priority within the past year or so. Hero’s left, right and centre coming down with the damn thing and putting them out of commotion. It has a personality of its own, and forces us to become something we’re not, while killing us from the inside out. Imagine that, your own quirk having its own personality…”

Momo watched the man with great skepticism as he lead them into yet another room, this one holding a large heavy metal door. Many large locks scattered along the outside along with several lasers, timers and activation codes. The door was extremely out of place with the rest of the building, and she couldn’t help but find herself intrigued to explore what was hidden behind there.

“It’s my job to make everyone understand. I will make everyone understand…”

Sliding the keycard around his neck into the scanner at the side, the large door began to open, Momo’s fingers tightening around the clipboard. It was easier to open than she’d predicted…Just a single keycard can unlock all of this?

“You should understand too…you used to be a hero, right? Creati?”

“Please don’t call me that, sir” Momo interrupted with gritted teeth, her anger trying to get the best of her, but she tried not to focus on it. Pushing to keep her feelings here strictly professional. She didn’t have time to mess around. She had children to get back to.

But the man just laughed.

He…laughed…

“It’s not your fault you had your quirk taken away, Creati. That’s why we’re here fighting against it…”

The door finally finished opening. Momo hesitantly following the man in what she hoped was silent anger and confusion. Her expression immediately changing as she processed just what exactly was in the heavily guarded room, her clipboard dropping to the ground as she raised her hand to her mouth in shock.

 

-

 

Izuku wipes his remaining tears with the heels of his palms, feeling Katsuki’s eyes on him as he slowly moved toward the wooden door, sending a small smile over his shoulder “Well, are you coming?”

Katsuki just stared at him for a moment, Izuku wondered what was going through his head right now. But he couldn’t find it in himself to wonder too far, their thoughts were probably just as jumbled as each other’s. Not that he can blame either of them…well maybe himself. Literally, himself. Well technically his past self. But it was the same thing really.

“Yeah…” He heard Katsuki reply, watching as the blonde moved past him and walked ahead, neither of them saying a word as they took off through another dark hallway. This one was smaller than the last, only large enough for them to walk down it single file. So they ended up walking in silence. And no matter how much Izuku told himself it wasn’t, the silence was…comforting. He didn’t exactly know why. He couldn’t explain it. Visions of himself sobbing flashing throughout his mind. His own words ringing throughout his brain. Maybe they were just still processing what had just happened…He was so wrapped up in his thoughts, he didn’t notice Katsuki had stopped walking until he bumped into the back of him.

“S-sorry!-“

“Shut up” Katsuki hissed softly. Izuku realising only then why he’d told him to do so.

They’d reached a section?…But it looked newer…-The stone looked fresher and the ground looked yet to be trampled upon. The sky was clouded as though it was about to rain, and ripples of thunder could be heard roaring throughout the sky.

“We’re back in the maze…” Izuku muttered both of their thoughts out loud “But how…? We walked so far underground…but the walls don’t look any higher than before…”

Feeling a warm palm cover his mouth, he turned towards Katsuki in confusion, who quickly gestured to the right of them. Tightening his hold to make sure Izuku didn’t freak out when he realised there were several Nomus in the roaming around the area.

Several…was an understatement.

There were too many to count.

What the hell was this place? How were they going to get out of here? Was there an exit? Maybe so but even then it would be hard to pass through undetected…unless they somehow use the Nomu’s hearing and the weather to their advantage. But even they would-

“Look,” Katsuki whispered slowly, interrupting Izuku’s thought trail while also making sure the Nomus didn’t hear them “I don’t expect you to follow me, or for anything between us to change because of that message, got it? If you do, that’s your choice. But like I said before, I won’t take responsibility for you getting hurt. So, choose. Are you going to trust me in me? Or trust in yourself to make it out of here?”

Izuku noticed the surprisingly calm look in Katsuki’s eyes as he removed his hand, waiting for an answer. It was almost as if he was always prepared for anything. He could stand so calm in the face of danger, then talk about it later like it was no big deal. Izuku could admit that he didn’t want to rely on someone else else to get him out of a tough situation, he wanted to contribute in anyway that could potentially help. But that’s when the doubts came flooding in.

They’d already come so far yet…why does it seem like they’re going around in circles? With no food, water or sleep, Katsuki was still able to face a situation head on and decipher the best way to approach it…Izuku wished to be like that too…He trusted Katsuki. But he wanted to trust in himself too…Was that an option?

As if reading his thoughts, Katsuki pulled him a little further back into the corridor, out of the sight of the Nomus, asking a simple question that made Izuku’s world seem just that little bit brighter “Plan?”

He stood in shock for a moment before he smiled brightly.

He realised then that he didn’t have to choose between trusting in himself or Katsuki. Because he got the opportunity to do both. This is what he’d wanted from the beginning. He just hoped he could teach Katsuki that it’s okay to trust in him too.

 

-

 

“I’m returning to U.A,” Stated Mei as the rest of the team turned around to look at her in shock “We haven’t found them yet. The only clue we had; in ashes. Dusk is approaching, and I don’t want to be trapped in here.”

Shouto seethed, absolutely about to lose his shit with this woman.

“Yeah…Mei’s right,” Tetsutetsu’s added, walking to stand by Mei’s side “U.A is waiting for us to return…”

“Disgusting” Shouto hissed. He couldn’t stop himself. He was seeing red. He couldn’t control it. It was taking over him. He wanted it to stop; desperately. It was starting to hurt. But he couldn’t. It felt as though someone had ripped the wheel out of his control and threw him aside. It was almost like a simulation. His mind felt clouded and clogged, and he was watching his own body in horror, desperately trying to tell it to stop. But alas, his attempts to calm himself down came to no prevail.

“I-I don’t care. I’m sorry, Shouto. But we can’t just abandon the rest of U.A for two people who are more than likely dead!” Mei shouted, growing frustrated that she wasn’t getting anywhere with her way of convincing him to stop looking for them too.

“Never ask anything of me again,” Shouto hissed as he turned away from his group. The group that had fought to follow him. The group that Tenya had decided were the worthy enough to become runners. The group that taught him it was okay to let people help sometimes… “your opinions are irrelevant.”

Ochako frowned, walking over to stand by Mei and Tetsutetsu “Now that’s not fair Shouto. You’re supposed to be our leader. You’re supposed to listen-!”

“SHUT UP! I CANT STAND YOUR NOISE ANYMORE!” Shouto shouted, everyone turning silent to watch the man draw a large knife from his backpack, pointing it in their direction “JUST LEAVE! YOU’RE ALL IDIOTS! YOU DONT UNDERSTAND! SO JUST FUCK OFF!”

Ochako felt tears burning in her eyes as she watched Shouto storm off by himself. The man she’d looked up too since since could remember…he was breaking. Just like Tenya…Why? Why were they breaking? Weren’t they supposed to be the people everyone could rely on?

This was a common coincidence lately.

Maybe to common to be called a coincidence.

“He’s going to get himself killed…” Ochako sniffed, forcing herself to suck back tears. Her thoughts comparing the similarities in behaviour between Shouto and Tenya.

“Let him” Mei scoffed, turning to walk away. Eijiro, Tetsutetsu, Mezo and Tokoyami following in silent despair. Ochako knew they all felt the same way as her…even the ones that didn’t show their true emotions often. She didn’t need words to know how they felt about this. Because it was already clear.

The man that kept them stable for so long…was breaking. And there was nothing they could do about it. He didn’t want to be helped…

At this realisation, Ochako let her tears fall silently. Praying to whoever put them here to watch over him. She knew that the news of Shouto going off by himself would effect U.A tremendously, but she can only watch by and count as people start to lose their minds with a cold refreshing cup of reality.

 

=

 

“Himari!” Hinata gasped loudly “Stop using your quirk! I don’t like it! Makes me feel all weird…”

Himari giggled, cuddling her dolly to close her chest “Sorry Hina…”

“You’re lucky i’m the only one who felt that. Aunt Momo would be mad if she knew you didn’t tell her about developing your quirk. You have to get it removed.”

“What?! B-but I don’t want my quirk taken away!” Himari pouted, large tears filling her eyes at just the thought.

Hinata sighed, bringing over Himari’s small wheelchair so that she could move around by her own now that he’d fed her “No one does…but it’s better that then you getting sick.”

Himari shook her head violently, feeling those tears she’d been holding back beginning to stream down her face, her fridge getting slightly damp in the process “I don’t want to! I’m sorry! I won’t use it again so please…please don’t tell Aunt Momo…”

The black haired boy nodded softly, a small smile making its way onto his face as he lifted her off of the rickety sticky icky counter and plopped her into her chair “It’s okay Himari…I just don’t want you to get sick, okay? I’m sorry for bringing it up…Are you comfortable?”

Himari sniffled, but shook her head slightly “Can you bring my blankie please?”

Hinata sighed softly for what felt like the hundredth time that day “On it.”

While he was searching their room, he heard the creek of the front door, feeling himself growl slightly under his breath. Kyoka was here. Late, as usual.

“Hey Himari! How are you?” He heard her cheery voice ask. He hated it. Stop talking to her.

Grabbing Himari’s blankie which he’d found abandoned on the floor, he quickly made his way back to her, afraid of being away for too long.

Even though he may not seem it in the way he acted sometimes, Hinata was a tad too overprotective over Himari. He knew everything about her. Hell, as soon as she’d moved here, the two had been joint at the hip. He guessed its because he could relate to her in a lot of ways. He wasn’t going to lie, it felt strange to have so much in common with a four year old since he was eight. But he can’t exactly bring himself to say it was the worst thing ever. Hinata only had two friends. Kota and Himari. Kota was the same age as him but somehow, they always found themselves letting Himari play along with them too. They were like family. They were they only people he had who really cared. Well, as much as kids could care for each other.

“Hi Hinata” Kyoka smiled when she saw the other come in, slipping off her expensive leather jacket, and placing down her car keys.

He was jealous.

Why can she have such nice things while they were living in a dump with little to nothing?

He ignored her.

“Here Himari” He smiled gently, patting the girls long blond curls as she holds the dirty pink blanket close to her.

“No hi?” Kyoka frowned.

How annoying.

He ignored her again, moving to roll Himari into a different area, where they spent most of their time; a small living area. A broken fireplace that they couldn’t use, otherwise the entire ‘house’ would go up in flames, stood by the centre, a sofa which had sunk to the floor laying opposite, the springs noticeable and rips in the cheap fabric made themselves known by the the yellow spongy insides spilling out in obnoxious places.

“What would you like to play?” Hinata asked her as he took her out of her chair, placing her on the mouse bitten floor once more.

“Hmmmm…Play with dolly?” She suggested excitedly.

“That sounds like a good idea. Who should I be?”

“You’re the mummy silly! I’m going to be the daddy!” Himari giggled, reaching over to grab her small plastic tea cups out of a broken box of toys.

Hinata scoffed, whining in protest “Why do I have to be the girl?! That’s no fair!”

Himari grinned “Too late! I already decided!”

Hinata felt Kyoka sit beside him.

He quickly shuffled to sit beside Himari.

“Hinata…” Kyoka sighed, watching with red, weed ridden eyes, the interactions between her and Momo’s son and Katsuki’s and Izuku’s daughter.

It depressed her greatly.

“Would you like some tea, Hina?” Himari did her best impression of a fancy person, causing Hinata to laugh at her, both of them seeming to ignore Kyoka completely in favour of spending time in the land of make-believe.

“Why of course I would!”

“What a gentlewoman! Here, this is my dolly! She’s going to join us for tea today!”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Melissa!”

“No! Hina…I haven’t told you her name yet!” Himari cries out, breaking their role play.

“Well I didn’t know!” Hinata frowned.

“Silly Hina! It’s okay Melissa, i’ll make sure he plays along!” Himari smiled, moving her dolly’s head back and forth in agreement.

Kyoka quickly excused herself, earning a quick glare from Hinata and nothing from Himari. She rushed to get her jacket and keys, feeling her throat burning along with her eyes. She didn’t know if her vision was blurred with tears, or the fact she felt like she was passing out. But right now, as she stood outside, a joint in her hand, she couldn’t find herself caring anymore. She Allowed the high to take over, and her stress to fade away with every drag she took.

If she could turn back time to stop all of this from happening, she would…but she knew there was nothing she could do about it now. None of them could. This was life…and no matter how shitty it got, she didn’t have the choice to leave it.

Chapter Text

“Stop complaining” Mei rolled her eyes at the team she was with. Each of them lowering their heads in defeat. Honestly, it was any wonder how they had any fight left in them at this point. Shouto leaving was just the cherry on the cake. And no matter if it was their decision or not, they regret not staying to convince him otherwise. Convincing him to stay with them. To carry on lighting the torch for them to follow, attracting them like moths to a flame.

They could tell that something was not right, that something had changed in Shouto. But they couldn’t quite place a finger on what had caused it.

Then again, it could be anything these days. But by his attitude and the clues that had been provided, they could only really come to one conclusion. That Izuku was someone special. Inside or outside of the maze; didn’t matter. The fact would remain the same. And no matter how hard they tired to deny it, they felt a small flame of anger and frustration inside them too.

“Sorry” Eijiro rubbed the back of his neck, his cheeks burning with embarrassment; speaking up about how he was feeling in that moment.

“Hey look! We’re almost back at camp!” Ochako decided to shout as enthusiastically as she could, trying to brighten the moods of her fellow teammates around her.

“R-right!” Tetsutetsu grinned, deciding it was best to cheer themselves up a little.

They don’t think there has ever been a time where they were more grateful to walk back into in U.A. Even Ochako and Shinso who were trapped in there for the entire night. They physically felt the relief spreading through their bodies, the small flame of anger that had been there earlier, dying down for the mean time.

“Where is everyone?” Eijiro asked in concern, all of them looking around to find U.A seeming empty. No one at their work stations, a camp fire left unattended and the frame of a den left unfinished.

“Over there” Shinso pointed out, all of them turning their heads to watch as the citizens of U.A all stood in a crowded circle, something in the centre obviously capturing their interest.

They decided to take a closer look, their curiosity getting the better of them as they found everyone completely silent, nobody saying a word as they push through the crowd, their questions going answered when they discovered what lay there.

Tenya.

He was…He’s…

“Tenya!” Ochako screamed in shock, rushing to his side, resting her warm hands on his cold face; sadness suddenly overwhelming her entire being. Why was this happing? Why couldn’t they just be happy? Why today? She couldn’t hold it in anymore, sobs beginning to choke her from the inside.

“What happened?!” Eijiro demanded, looking around at the sunken faces of his village mates.

None of them had an answer.

“Tenya! T-Tenya wake up! Please!” Ochako sobbed, inspecting his wounds, a large cave in on the side of his head, her palm covered in blood as she brushed her hand against it “Mei! Go get the kit!”

“Ochako…” The pink haired girl tried to speak. But couldn’t find the right words. That he wasn’t going to come back. That something had obviously happened. But all this came out as nothing more than a breath.

“Mei! What are you doing?! Hurry!”

“Ochako…it’s no use…” Mei explained gently, walking to kneel by her side. Holding in her own emotions for the sake of everyone else’s. Knowing that she needed to be strong right now. Tenya was as much of a leader to them as Shouto. A fellow runner. And now with both of them gone…

No. She didn’t want to think about what would come next right now.

“W-what do you mean it’s no use?” Ochako cried gently, her voice a few pitches higher than she remembered, turning to look into the concerned eyes of her best friend.

Mei shook her head to herself gently, figuring it would be easier to show her instead of saying it out loud. Her voice would just find a way to betray her anyway.

Grabbing her trembling hand, Mei slowly guided it to Tenya’s neck, the pressure point which should’ve held a pulse; missing. It was the only way that would convince her that he was already gone.

“No…” Ochako weeped as she felt Mei drop her hand, bringing her into a comforting hug instead, turning her head away from the corpse laying on the ground.

Tenya was gone. Tenya was gone. Tenya was gone.

No matter how many times Ochako repeated it to herself it seemed like a dream.

It didn’t feel real. The same person who she’d convinced out of suicide earlier that day, was…gone.

It didn’t make sense.

She gave him a reason to live.

…Didn’t she?

Turning to look back at Tenya’s wounds from within Mei’s hold, she could feel the fog of sadness within her brain lifting, replacing itself with rational thoughts. Those wounds…they weren’t self inflicted…someone had down this. Someone actually took the time out of their day to kill someone.

Someone in U.A.

She wouldn’t doubt for a second that someone here wouldn’t be capable of it. That wasn’t it at all. But one of their own? Who was it? Was it a friend? Someone who she’d spent time actually getting to know? If they were…would she forgive them?…No. This was unforgivable.

Tenya wanted to live.

Ochako believed that.

So whoever had done this obviously weren’t asked to.

This was unforgettable.

She wanted justice.

 

=

 

The sound of the gun recoiling rang throughout Kyoka’s ears, deafening the thump of the body which now lay broken and empty on the ground in front of her. Her senses slowly tingling back to her as she inhaled a deep breath and opened her dull lifeless eyes. Lifting up the gun in her position to drop the empty ammunition on the ground beside her. The high of her earlier drugs beginning to wear off. Reality trying to claw its way back inside of her.

She wasn’t going to let it.

Turning away from the mess she made, she reloaded the gun with the spare ammo in the pocket of her hooded jacket and picked up her phone where it lay broken and battered on the ground. Luckily, it was still working.

With shaky fingers from her withdrawal symptoms, Kyoka punched in a series of numbers, holding the brick like object against her ear as she listen to the dial of an outgoing phone call, flinching to herself when someone decided to finally picked up.

“It’s Jirou. I’m proposing an offer that you might have some interest in” She smirked, twisting the gun around in her hands. Rolling the heavy metal around like it was a feather. That this object wasn’t capable of taking away a life.

“If you find yourself intrigued, find me in the alley’s of Hosu city” And without waiting for a reply, she hung up the phone and let it drop to the ground once more.

Ah…she really needed a smoke.

 

=

 

Momo started shaking, watching on a large screen as two very familiar faces bickered back and forth to one another, littler screens surrounding it showing different people. But ultimately all in the same place. A place that was all to familiar to her. A place in which she never thought she’d see again.

“The maze?!” Momo asked to herself, watching as a freckled man who she had known since school sneak past some very ugly bird-like creatures. Momo felt her heart clench painfully. Memories which she thought had been forgotten rushing back to her so suddenly.

“Ah, I thought you might know of it.”

Momo clenched her jaw, her shock turning into anger “What are you doing with the possession of running the maze?!”

“It was a real shame when Izuku’s project came to such a grinding halt four years ago. Funding issues. Lack of positive public response. He signed a contract to hand it over to us Todoroki’s if he become unable to continue with his work. But you already knew all this…didn’t you?”

“I am no longer in association with the chamber of commerce. I have received no further information since I was…transferred.”

“Transferred? Is that what people call being fired these days?” The man smirked in amusement, furthering Momo’s aggression “Then again, I’m not so surprised that this information didn’t get out. Since Q-12 has wiped out most of this filthy planet anyway, there’s no one left to tell anymore. What a depressing time for us all.”

“Our dystopian society has nothing to do with your intentions with the people inside of the maze. Please do not stray from the subject at hand.”

“I assure you that my intentions hold value” The man, a todoroki, glared at her dangerously, as if she’d just insulted his entire existence.

Hearing a loud screech from one of the speakers, Momo quickly turned her head to see once of the creatures she’d observed earlier chasing after Katsuki and Izuku, who were literally running for their life’s.

“What are those things? Get them out of there! This is dangerous!” Momo declared. “Why are you just letting them suffer?! Surly you know of the consequences involved with this. Just look what it’s doing to them!”

“Giving up now would be a waste of three years worth of research. If they saw the outside world, they’d only realise that the maze is a luxury compared to what this place has become.”

Momo couldn’t deny his last statement, but she would defend her friends with her life, including the people who she didn’t know “It’s disgusting. I know about Izuku coming to work for you, but I never would’ve imagined something like this would happen. He has a child. He has a family! Many of them do! Why are you erasing that knowledge?!”

“It would only interfere with our progress. We can’t afford to have people remember for the sake of humanity. They could be our only chance of creating a brighter further.”

Momo seethed, but shut her mouth. Her eyes flickering to a screen on the side, watching along pitifully as she saw Ochako weeping over Tenya’s corpse. Both of them people she’d grew up with. Become stronger with. Grew together with. It was awful. It was extremely hard to watch. She couldn’t help herself when she looked away.

“Answer me this. Through all this searching, suffering and pain…Will they ever find an exit?”

The man beside her sighed heavily before frowning, watching as his son rocked back and forth in a corner of the maze, alone, with head in his hands as he mumbled inaudibly to himself. The red and white of his hair mixing with the harsh tugs he gave himself every few seconds.

Enji frowned to himself.

“Only if we want them to.”

 

-

 

“GREAT PLAN!” Katsuki yelled as they ran for their life’s, a Nomu on their trail, practically leaking bloodlust.

“I-IM SORRY! I MUST’VE TIMED IT WRONG!” Izuku fretted, fear beginning to catch up to him as he realised just how tired he was. Would this day ever end? Feeling himself growing weaker he began to slow down.

“OI! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!” Katsuki yelled, stopping a few pacing in front of him, his red eyes constantly flickering back and forth between the Nomu and Izuku.

Izuku felt like his answer was portrayed with the way he was practically trying not to puke with overexertion. His head feeling light and fuzzy as he could barely see two feet in front of him. His eyes behind g to cross as he felt his grip of reality slip away further and further.

He heard a loud curse before he felt himself get shoved to the side.

“Don’t you fucking ask for anything ever again” He heard Katsuki shout to him, hearing him taunt the Nomu with aggressive insults before feeling the screech move past him, the loud thudding of the Nomu’s footsteps moving further and further away, but…he couldn’t move. He knew it was okay to move but…he was too tired. He felt his stomach growl and his dry throat clench around nothing but bile.

Did Katsuki leave him? He’d come back right? He couldn’t leave him like this could he?

Yet the deadly silence around him told him his answer, as he felt the evening shift to night, he knew his answer. Yet he couldn’t move. His body wouldn’t allow him.

How long had he been lying here?

Was it dark?

He couldn’t tell.

Was he dying?

Maybe.

Despite his exhaustion, Izuku couldn’t drift to sleep, hunger pains and lack of water keeping him awake. Why couldn’t he move? Please move. He didn’t want to die. Not yet. He still had so much he wanted to do; to learn. He couldn’t die without knowing who he really was.

Is this how Katsuki felt?

 

=

 

Momo watched with tears in her eyes as Izuku lay motionless on the ground, her eyes flickering over to Katsuki who had managed to lose the Nomu, but didn’t look in any better shape either, walking like a zombie to retrace his way back to where he came from.

“You should help them” She adviced.

“Help them? Do you-“

“Yes. I know. But killing them won’t do you any good either,” Momo told him with a glare of her own “If my job is to prevent deaths from AB, then I think you should take to my requests seriously. Because I’m not so sure you’ll find another scientist willing to do so.”

The man growled angrily, before turning to a mic on a nearby desk, pressing a red button on the side for it to activate “Send in food and water for Candidates 48 and 49, section E. And be quick about it!”

Momo smiles to herself gently, thinking about little Himari. If she would’ve known her parents were here…she would be devastated. She wouldn’t tell her yet. No. She’d get them out first. All of them. Alive and well. No matter the cost.

She faced the screens once again, praying to whatever god was out there

 

-

 

Katsuki grumbled to himself as he felt his legs give out underneath him.

No. He couldn’t stop yet. What was he doing? He needed to get back. Izuku wouldn’t survive the night. Not in his current condition. So why wouldn’t his legs move? Why?

Feeling himself losing touch with his other emotions, Katsuki hit his thighs over and over and over again. In an attempt to make them do something. Anything. But his numbness provided only a pillow for his first. A dull pain spreading from where the two connected continuously, the only proof that his actions were actually doing anything.

“FUCKING MOVE!” He shouted in frustration, grabbing under his thighs, bringing them forward individually. Feeling the heavy weight of his muscle spamming, straining for him to stop. His legs were practically screaming at him in pain but he ignored them.

He couldn’t give up.

He would never forgive himself.

He would never.

He heard small jingles from within his head. Not literally, of course. But a song. A memory. He didn’t like it. The song made his heart ache painfully. He doesn’t know why. Why was this happening? Make it stop. Please. Please make it stop.

“MOVE!” He shouted once again, his voice breaking with the volume, feeling tears well up in his eyes.

He was too exhausted to wipe them away.

The song only got louder.

He felt overwhelmed.

“Move…” He whispered, letting the soft sweet sound of singing melt his heart in more ways than he’d ever experienced before. His mind felt blurred with memories threatening it break through. But they wouldn’t. It hurt.

He felt sick.

Stop it.

Just stop it already.

What the hell did it want from him?!

 

=

 

Momo watched in silence, feeling the hot gaze of Todoroki Enji melting through her skull. It was obvious he was trying to see what she was thinking. But honestly, she wasn’t really thinking of anything. She’d told him all that he needed to know. She just hoped there was enough goodness in his heart to see what his actions were doing.

“I’m not the only one who works here,” Enji commented as if this realisation would change anything. She wasn’t stupid. Of course other people worked here “This was decided by a council of people, not just myself.”

Momo took one last glance at the screens and sighed to herself, walking off towards the large door where they had entered from.

“Where are you going?!” Enji asked curiously, finding it oddly strange that she hasn’t said anything in a while.

“If you’ll excuse me. I believe my shift is over. I have children to get back home to. Have a good day sir.”

He stared after her retreating form in confusion at the sudden exit, but he would soon found out that her silence was the least of his worries.

 

-

 

Izuku felt someone shift around him, his vision too hazy to respond as he felt them kneel in front of him, stroking his hair back gently. A girl’s voice breaking the silence he’d been listening to for god knows how long.

“Aren’t you having fun Izuku? The maze is fun right? You’re enjoying it, right?”

Izuku could only whimper painfully in response.

“Mmm. It’s okay. I’m here now. Looks like our Nomus really did a number on you, huh?” He heard a girly giggle follow. A moment of silence passing before he heard the voice sigh angrily before they spoke once more.

“I would love to stay and chat. But I have a job to do. Play with the Nomus a little longer for me? They get so lonely. I brought some things to help tie you over in the meantime. I’ll be back before you know it, alright?~”

The voice left after that. But then again Izuku couldn’t tell, it had been enough to distract him from his pain to fall into a restless sleep.

 

=

 

“Hinata?” Momo called out for her son as she entered the worn down building, knowing that she’d been gone longer than for just an interview.

“You took your time” She heard the boy answer back, from where he was playing with Himari’s hair as she slept upon blankets which were placed on the ground.

“I’m so sorry” Momo whispered gently, a warm smile spreading across her face at how cute the two of them were. Even though she only knew they were like this because of how they were being raised.

“Here. I brought you something.”

Hinata seemed to perk up a little at this, but tried not to show it in favour of looking disinterested “For Himari too?”

Momo chuckled gently, moving to sit next to him and hand him a small box “Of course.”

Hinata nodded as he enthusiastically opened the box, his face lighting up as he saw a small action figure he’d been wanting along with a new dress for Himari’s dolly.

“Do…do you like it?” Momo asked nervously, not planning on telling the child that she’d used up everything she had left on them. But she knew she’d be getting paid soon enough. So she thought of it as more of a celebration.

“I love it,” Hinata grinned, trying to keep his voice down since the little girl in front of them was still sleeping “I’m sure Himari will really like her dress for Melissa too.”

Momo’s eyes sparkled as she mentally complimented herself “I’m so glad. I told you i’d get a job didn’t I?”

Hinata giggled as he felt his mother hug him tightly “Does this mean we can move to Central?”

At the mention of the place Momo stiffened, her eyes darkening at the thought, making Hinata’s giggles cease “…No Hinata. We could never live there.”

Hinata might have been a child, but he was also mentally above his age. He understood what people thought he couldn’t. It had become more of an advantage than not “I understand…”

Momo frowned at the sadness in his tone “Hey…we don’t need to live there to have a good life, okay? That place isn’t for people like us. Imagine how busy it would be, we wouldn’t be able to push Himari in her chair with the crowds.”

“I guess your right. I’m sorry for bringing it up. It won’t happen again” Hinata gave her a small smile, which made the other relax her tense shoulders.

“Why don’t you head off to sleep? I’ll bring Himari in in a moment” Momo suggested, taking off her blazer which clung to her from the rain outside. The leaky roofs, not even attempting to shelter them, multiple pans and pots laying on the ground to catch the overflow.

“Alright…And Momo?”

“Yes Hinata?”

“Please don’t bring Kyoka over here again.”

Chapter Text

When Izuku woke up, he felt…distant. Disconnected from reality. Almost as if he was in a trance, a shapeshifter of the realm he called consciousness.

He was still laying on the ground, the rough concrete beneath him was a strong reminder of that, and he was sure there would be some nasty bruises from where Katsuki had pushed him.

Speaking of…

Izuku pushed himself into a sitting position with every bit of strength he had within him. Panting in pain as he felt his stomach cramp and growl angrily. It was then he noticed it. A small basket by the side of him with a few slices of bread, a tiny jar of jam, a small wooden spoon and a flask filled with what he presumed was water. It had deliberately been left for him. There was no doubt about that.

The tired man focused him eyes on a small note that was neatly folded and sticking out from between the contents held within.

With shaky fingers he quickly grabbed the note and opened it, frowning as he began to read words which made little sense to him.

‘Freedom is a lie,
Redemption is worth fighting for,
Only time shall tell of the worthy,
Nothing judged shall go unpunished,
The league will expose everything.’

Izuku examined the note over and over again, beginning to understand a few parts of the sinister message that had been left specifically for him.

He was too hungry to care if the food was poisoned.

He was too tired to ask questions.

He was too thirty to sigh.

He was too careless to understand the intentions of people he’d never even met.

=

“Hina? Where are we going?” Himari asked from her chair which he was wheeling, clutching her backpack of toys she had in her lap. This was different, there were never allowed to leave the house without Miss Momo’s permission, she even left Melissa on her small makeshift bed in case they didn’t return in time. Although she hoped her dolly wouldn’t get lonely. Without her dolly she couldn’t use her quirk. Hinata told her it was bad to use it in public and around others, so she didn’t really have a choice.

“We’re going out for a little while Himari. Don’t worry about it, alright? I’ll make sure we have lots of fun!”

He sounded sadder than usual.

Himari could tell that they weren’t allowed to be doing this, but she trusted Hinata. She trusted that she’d be safe with him.

“Here, Himari. You have to wear this before you go outside” Hinata told her as he slipped a gas mask onto her face, helping her adjust the settings.

“Hina, I don’t like it. It feels weird” Himari told him, feeling extremely claustrophobic, her voice ringing throughout the mask in a way that made her lightheaded.

Hinata frowned, watching as she began to struggle to take it off “Himari, you have to wear this. Especially because you have a quirk.”

“I want it off!” Himari struggled, desperately clawing at the mask.

“Okay! Okay! Calm down, i’ll be take it off” Hinata sighed, watching as Himari struggled to stop hyperventilating when the mask had come off.

“You’ll have to wear these then. It’ll make you feel a little better than the mask…” He told her as he pulled out a pair of black ski goggles and a scary looking plastic motorcycle mouth mask which had looked to be modified to purify the oxygen before intake. It wasn’t cute at all!

“Hina…do I really have to wear those? Why can’t we stay at aunt Momo’s?”

“Because nothing will ever get any better if we stay here! We need to leave, Himari! I-…I’m not strong enough to carry you around all day…so if we get into trouble you’re going to have to wheel yourself okay?”

“Hina…it hurts my hands, I can’t do it right…” Himari frowned at herself. Almost five and couldn’t even use what little strength she had in her arms.

“I know. That’s why I got you these,” Hinata pulled out a small pair of black gloves “they used to be mine…but you can have them since they don’t fit me anymore.”

Hianri nodded and held out her hands for Hinata to put them on “Where are we going?”

“You asked me that already…” Hinata sighed, sipping up his coat and slipping on the gas mask Himari refused to wear before stepping out of Momos’s residence “But if you must know. We’re going to central.”

-

Shouto groaned loudly to the walls around him as he wondered aimlessly, holding his head as it pulsated in pain.

It was clawing at his mind. As if his flesh was literally tearing into pieces as it nagged away at him. He wanted to bash his head against the wall. Make it stop. Why won’t it end? Was this going to be permanent?

He needed medical attention. He knew that. But the pain prevented him from opening his eyes enough to even see where he was going. He would just have to hope that it didn’t get him killed.

No matter what he was going to resist the pain. He wouldn’t let it consume him, even if he had already started to change.

-

Katsuki wipes himself down as he stood up, all the dust from being on the floor all night sliding off him. Whatever food someone had left for him had really helped. He had no doubt it was from the people behind this whole thing. They probably felt sorry for them.

He clenched his jaw. He didn’t want their pity. Not at all.

But despite his protests, he’d be grateful if they’d saved Izuku.

He knew he owed them one.

And that was a position he wasn’t sure if he should be afraid to be in.

On shaky legs, he begins to trail back through where he’d came from to the best of his extent. He wasn’t going to let exhaustion slow him down.

Looking around a corner to his left he immediately laid eyes on part of the maze that wasn’t there earlier. It had moved while he’d been sleeping. Shit.

He’ll have to find another way around.

Unless…

He looked towards his hands and cursed himself for even thinking such a thing.

But…he had to be sure.

Lifting his right hand toward the wall in his way he concentrated on the way he felt when he’d first set off an explosion. Trapped. Scared. Angry.

Frowning, he tried not to focus on the fact his body was clearly not in his own hands back then, that he was just watching from the sidelines. It was one of the first times Katsuki had experienced such strong emotions since being here. He didn’t even know he was capable of feeling those things. Whatever had happened, he’d have to learn to control it…whatever ‘it’ may be. He couldn’t let it happen again. It risked the life’s of others and even his own. He couldn’t afford to be so selfless anymore.

With a deep breath, Katsuki shut his eyes, focusing on the way his arms felt, how heavy they felt, how the blood flowed through to his fingertips and a small explosion appeared with a pop.

Sure it was small, but it was a start. And know he knew how it felt to use it, he’d try and try again, until he got through this damn wall.

=

Momo observed the way Enji was watching Katsuki’s behaviour with anticipation to see what he’d go about the man training his quirk again. For even learning about his quirk again.

“Maybe the effect wears off after time…That could cause to be a problem. If Katsuki has learnt his about his quirk does that mean some of the others have too? If he starts running his mouth he could cause suspicion…” Enji Todoroki, ran a hand through his hair as he desperately jotted down the behaviour of each of the rest subjects as Momo worked tried her best to focus on studying different chemicals and formulas she could try for her first attempt at a cure, which honestly…wasn’t the easiest thing when you had to work in the same area as a man who talked none stop. She couldn’t wait till she finally got in the lab to get away from his incessant yapping.

But then again, she also didn’t mind staying in this room, because she would know what’s happening.

Enji had decided it easier for her to study the symptoms as well as she could, to determine the best approach.

“That’s it. Bring Candidate 48 back to the labs” Momo heard Enji tell his assistant at the other end of that small red button causing her eyes to widen.

“You’re bringing him back?!”

“Unconscious. He won’t even know he was gone. We can’t take the risk of one person ruining the progress of everyone else.”

Momo took a moment to consider. This was her chance to actually get samples from real bodies. Cells that were still okay. Not touched by the outbreak.

“If it’s no trouble…may we keep him here for further study? Not for too long, but a couple of days should give me everything I need for now.”

Enji raises his eyebrows at her slightly but nodded his head “I guess that’s not a problem. You need anyone else too?”

“I also think it’s best to remove Iida from their memories…for now.

“You too? Alright, we’ll bring them all back in.”

Momo nodded, gripping her highlighter slightly tighter as Enji left the room, but she willed herself not to interfere with the machines and continue her study. AB was the most important thing on her mind right now. The quicker she could fix the cure, the quicker everyone can go home.

She just hoped they’d still have a home to get back too.

=

Mina was pacing. She knew it wouldn’t do any good. But as she watched as everyone in the maze dropped unconscious from gas they’d released, she couldn’t help but feel nervous and responsible. She’d done that. They’d never done this type of thing before. Bringing all of them back to the labs that is. She was scared of the possibility of it going wrong. Even though she didn’t really have a right to be.

She watched as people in heavy radiation protection clothing opened up walls within the maze and immediately go after all remaining candidates.

Watching as they were each picked up and dragged off of the site.

“Alright. Good job, let’s separate genders and put them in different rooms since there a still quite a few left. And sort them into age groups. It’ll be easier for us this way” Enji intercoms to the people who were collecting the unconscious, by Momo’s request, who was standing beside him. Even though there were only two girls in the maze. She couldn’t take any risks.

Mina just turned her head away, trying not to say anything as she watched the candidates return, immediately being hooked up to wires and beginning to erase certain memories.

Momo and Enji walked over to assist, her eyes widening as she saw what they all looked like in person…it had been so long.

“Right. Which one would you like to start with?” Enji asked as they entered the boys lab, looking over the men who were tied down to an upward bed which was slightly tilted, a look of pure pain in their faces causing her to panic as they started kicking and screaming in their binds. But they still remained unconscious.

“What’s wrong with them?”

“Nothings wring with them. In fact, right now they still think they’re in the maze. They’ll only see what we want then to see. And they’ll only remember what we want them to remember. In order to move forward, we must tear away anything holding them back. Understand? This is an important part of the healing process.”

Momo turned her head away, she couldn’t listen to that.

She just hoped all of this would be worth it. If not…she’d have to live with the fact that she was betrayed so many people who were suffering.

“I guess i’ll start with Katsuki.”

-

Katsuki didn’t know where he was. Everything had turned dark. Until it hadn’t. And he was in a room. A small grey room with concrete walls and no exit. A single light dangling from the ceiling. Where was he? Wasn’t he supposed to be-…where was he supposed to be? He couldn’t remember. He couldn’t remember anything.

It was cold in the room. Below freezing.

He looked down to see his palms burned and blistered and his clothes were torn and tattered. How had that happened? He was certainly looking rough. He had no doubt about that.

A sudden blare of a loud siren rang throughout causing him to desperately cover his ears in an attempt to drown it out. But it only made him fall to his knees. What was that?

=

“I want any quirk related memories gone along with whatever relations he had with Izuku Midoriya.”

Momo clenched her jaw as she studied the two men who were strapped next to each other “Why?”

“Because were not putting Izuku back into the maze.”

“What?!”

Enji rubbed his forehead in frustration “He was never supposed to be there in the first place. He did it of his own violation. And misused the code of conduct we follow and started deciding things for himself. He may not know that we’re running things now, but that’s how it’s going to be. You can use Izuku for whatever little tests you’d like.”

Momo looked down to the sterilised needle in her hand as she wrapped a rubber strip tightly around Katsuki’s upper arm, popping up a vein in his inner elbow in order to draw blood.

“If Izuku is out, don’t you think it’s best for him to get him memories back?”

Enji watched as the crimson blood flowed through the plastic tube and into small glass tubes “It’s better if we don’t. He may try to do the same thing again. Even if we are here this time. Like you said. They have family. And if your girlfriend was in there i’m sure you’d be trying to save her in some way or another.”

She wouldn’t tell him that she thought the opposite. Hinata’s words from last night ringing throughout her mind. Did he not like Kyoka? He couldn’t really blame him…even she didn’t know what she got up to in her spare time.

“I’m going to put these blood samples into the fridge. I’ll collect more tomorrow. May I go on lunch? I would like to speak to my children.”

“Yeah I guess. Knock yourself out” Enji told her as she walked out of the room and toward another lab and placed the blood into a fridge with a small sticker that read ‘Candidate 48’.

Taking off her medical gloves and throwing them in a nearby bin, she walked down many flights of stairs and out of the building, immediately heading for home. Wondering if the two were alright. She didn’t like leaving them alone more than she had to. Especially since one of them wasn’t hers. Her face scrunched as she remembered when Izuku came to her crying with Himari in his arms as she hugged him to try and make him feel better. She remembered when Izuku had told her that he couldn’t do it anymore. That he had to make things right. Momo didn’t know much about Izuku and Katsuki’s work. But she did know they were assistant managers of what was now called Endeavour Co.—Leaving them a huge role to play in the whole scheme of things. But what she did know is that they loved their daughter, along with each other. They were such a beautiful little family. And it breaks her apart inside to remember things like the day they got engaged, or the days they’d bring Himari over for dinner, or the day that Himari became permanently disabled. She may not have been their surrogate. But that didn’t mean she felt any less of a mother toward her. Himari was truly like her second child. And she couldn’t be happier knowing that Hinata cared for her as much as she did. It made her smile when she thought about the way Hinata comforted her that dreadful Christmas. She had no doubt that the tragedy had brought them all closer together. But with how moody Hinata always was, she didn’t ever think he’d care for something so much. Even if they fight a lot. Himari was Hinata’s friend. They were siblings. Despite DNA and appearance and personality. Nothing was more beautiful than the innocence of a child.

So when she returned home to an empty shack, she pulled all the stops. Shouting their names at the top of her voice as she searched the house through and through, finding Melissa, Himari’s dolly, placed on her bed. She never even left home without it…

She clutched the doll tighter to her chest as she began to weep. Sob. Scream.

They weren’t allowed to leave the house. For their own safety of course. But she had no doubt that Hinata had made the decision for the both of them. Where would they even go? She couldn’t even look at Katsuki or Izuku again until she found what they’d left in her hands.

=

“Ne, do you think we might see daddy and papa?” Himari asked, her voice a little muffled by the mask but otherwise bearable.

Hinata ruffled her hair a little from where he was pushing her “I don’t know. Is that what you want?”

“Yes! It’s been a really long time. They said they’d be back soon…”

After this the two remained silent, wondering through deserted streets as Hinata tried to navigate his way toward large glass buildings in the distance. No doubt it would take them along time to get there by foot and wheel.

“Well, we might see some cool things.”

“Like what?”

“Well, I heard they have baths and showers. How good does that sound?”

Himari gasped in excitement, her green eyes twinkling behind the black see-through ski mask as she looked back at him “Does that mean we can have one? Can we?!”

Hinata grinned down at her “I’ll make sure you have one. Don’t worry.”

“Are you sure aunt Momo is okay with this?”

“She’ll be fine. It not like we’ll be gone more than a few days. Besides, she’s working so much now that we don’t even know when she’ll be home.”

“I guess…”

“What did I say about worrying? Leave all that to me, okay? I’m the older one here” Hinata told her, putting up a brave front and hoping she’d drop it. If he was honest with himself, he’d be trembling and crying. But Himari was here. He couldn’t do that. She’d be even more scared that way. He couldn’t break that trust between them. Right now, it’s the only thing he was relying on.

=

Momo solemnly trekked her way back to work. Hoping her voice worked and her eyes were clear.

“Ah, you’re back. Took your time. Everything well?” Enji asked as she walked back into the labs.

“Yeah,” she coughed to removed the wobble form her voice “yeah, everything’s good.”

Enji eyed her suspiciously for a moment before pointing toward Katsuki who still wore the same face of pain.

“He’s remembering everything. I’m beginning to wonder if he’s become immune…”

Momo nodded slightly as she walked over to observe Enji’s notes from the past hour or so.

“No sign of reacting? Reacting to what?”

“AB.”

“You gave him AB?!”

“Izuku Midoriya rushed into the maze with two viles of it. One was used on himself and the other still remains. What do you think of it?”

Momo frowned in confusion “Maybe he thought that it’d cure him and Katsuki.”

“Izuku and Katsuki were never officially diagnosed,” Enji tells her as he slides over their files “only worked here. They must’ve known something. That’s why i’ve decided to continue letting him remember, for now. He knows more than us. We only took over when the other managers were killed. We only know things from a limited source. We need their knowledge. Why would Izuku bring AB into the maze if he knew it was a failure?”

“Maybe he was relying on the 3% chance that it would work.”

“I don’t think so. There’s got to be something we don’t know. Too many blanks.”

Momo nodded and looked towards Katsuki “I’m going to get started testing and comparing blood samples.”

“You do that” Enji told her, watching as she left the room with a sigh before turning to look at his son who was strapped down from head to toe, eyeing the scar on his face with great distaste.

Not long now Shouto. We’re going to get you a cure.

Chapter Text

Hinata ran the dark streets with quick feet, the bread he’d stolen from a small bakery nearby; wet and dirty from where he’d dropped it in a puddle of his panic. The loud shouts of the unhealthy chef behind him made him only run faster. Rain gripping to his clothes as he ran down the abandoned streets and back into an alley where he’d left Himari alone and asleep. Not that he wanted to. But he knew they’d get hungry. And they didn’t have a choice. It wasn’t fair to let Himari steal so Hinata took it upon himself. Since they’d be travelling for a few more days at least, they would need the energy. They hadn’t covered much ground as he hoped they would. And the train was a choice that they couldn’t afford to get caught by. But he knew it would be worth it once they were in Central.

“Oi Himari! I got us some food!” He smiled as he saw her rub the sleep from her eyes, sitting up slightly in her wet chair. The rain apparently not have woken her before now. She must’ve been tired…

“Food?”

“Yeah, see?” He showed the small loaf of bread, splitting it in half and passing the larger slice to her, not letting any crumbs go to waste “It’s not a lot. But it’s the best we have for now.”

Himari sniffled, the cold humid air making her feel sick, cold and neglected. But she accepted the food. Her stomach complaining when she made a face of disgust at the soggy bread, sighing heavily as she watched Hinata take a seat on the concrete beside her, the dimly lit streets silent apart from the constant dripping of water.

“We should have never left…” Himari mumbled, looking toward her semi-eaten bread half with hopes it would turn into a large succulent piece of meat. Something she’d only ever ate once. But the luxury of that meal would forever engrave itself into her memory. She’d never forget the way it tasted.

Hinata remained silent, savouring his food like they were on rations. Which they technically were. But Himari didn’t ask if he heard her. Because she already knew that he did.

“Get some sleep, we’ll be up early tomorrow. We’ve got a lot to do.” Hinata sighed softly, leaning against her wheelchair, using it as a makeshift pillow, which couldn’t have been comfortable. But he made no complaint.

Himari, however, made a noise of protest, not doubt she’d have ran back home by now if she could use her legs. She didn’t want to go on an adventure anymore. She wanted to go back home. She was soaked to the bone, hungry, and missing aunt Momo’s warm hugs. And although it seemed like so long ago, she missed her parents hugs. She missed them in general. At the thought of them, she started to cry, desperately trying to control her childlike sobs but it proved to be useless. She just couldn’t seem to contain herself whenever she thought about them.

“Oi, Himari. What’s wrong?” Hinata was in front of her immediately bringing her into a hug and trying to calm her down so that they wouldn’t get caught. Ignoring his own tiredness in order to maintain a peace between them once more.

“I miss daddy and papa!” She bawled, desperately trying to keep her breath that she was stuttering in and out.

Hinata sighed, shushing her as he looked toward the entrance of the alley to make sure no one was listening in on them. But Himari was just so damn loud.

“We’ll see them soon, Himari. You just have to trust me, okay? A few more days. And if you don’t see them you can hit me as much as you want.”

Himari drew back and rubbed her raw eyes, thinking about the last time they made a bet like this and she got to hit him in the arm. She’d felt better after that, even going as far as to apologise but Hinata insisted that it didn’t hurt, but she still didn’t believe him “You promise?”

“Yeah.”

A few heavy footsteps made the two quickly turn around, the entrance that had been empty before, now held a figure of a tall skinny man, his face shaded by the lack of light.

Hinata’s eyes widened at the thought that the chef from the baker had called someone to follow him. How would he get out of this? How would he get Himari out of this? They were trapped. They had to be. Was he going to get punished for this?

“W-what do you want?!” He asked as he took a few steps forward, trying to remember how confident uncle Katsuki used to be. Even if he didn’t feel it on the inside. Even if he was scared. He’d be strong. For his family.

The silhouette raised both his hands in surrender as he took small steps forward so that his yellow hair was slightly visible, his voice deep and weary “I mean no harm, I just heard her cries.”

Hinata continued glaring at him, his mouth itching it’s way into a scowl, not prepared to put his trust into anyone “No body asked you to come here. Just leave. She’s fine.”

The man looked toward the young crying girl who was watching him nervously “I’m afraid I cannot just leave you out here in the rain. Allow me to take responsibility and give you a place to stay for the night.”

Hinata was about to snap out another ‘smart’ response but he held back. Trying to decide what was best for them at this moment in time. Looking back at Himari’s shaking form, going with this man seemed like the better option. But on the other hand, could they trust him? He could take advantage of them. Force them to work for him. Kill them. Sell them. There were too many risks.

“I see you are conflicted, my boy. I can’t blame you. I wouldn’t trust a stranger either. Which is why I’ll let you leave whenever you like. You have my word. But right now, I think you need to get somewhere warm and have a nice meal. Does that sound okay?”

“You have food?!” Himari perked up, looking at the man with amazement in her eyes. She was so easily persuaded…

“That and more. What is your name?”

“Him-“

“Don’t tell him!” Hinata hissed at her, before continuing to glare at the man. If they told him their names that would only make this situation more real. Their identities are the only thing they had to offer. And Hinata wasn’t about to give it up so quickly.

“I’ll only say this once, old man. If you try anything funny I’ll kill you. I have a knife.”

The man smiled sheepishly “I have no doubts about that. Living in rough conditions forces you to mature a lot faster than others.”

Hinata sighed heavily, anything to stop this guy from monologuing “Fine. But only for one night.”

 

=

 

Momo jotted down more notes on the blood samples she’d taken: types, thickness and volume, all differentiating between the candidates. Closing the books she’d dedicated to each candidate, she walked out of the screen room which held her and Enji’s desk and walked to the ‘morgue’. She’d been called to come here earlier when the body had come back. But she was extremely reluctant, which caused her to delay a little. The morgue was proving to be a little empty right now due to lack of bodies. But it did hold one. And she wasn’t sure if she was prepared for it.

Taking a deep breath, Momo entered the room, immediately covering her nose and mouth as the smell of rotting corpse filling her lungs, Iida Tenya on a metal table in the middle ready for an autopsy.

“Ah, you’re here. Sorry, Enji told me to get started without you” Mina Ashido apologised as she looked over to Momo, her medical gloves covered in blood as she could see that they’d split open Iida’s skull to take out chucks of his brain, most likely to run a biopsy.

Momo coughed a little, putting on a tough face. She wouldn’t let this get to her. She had to do her job.

“Found anything?” She asked as she slipped on some gloves and a face mask, examining the brain samples on the large metal tray.

“Cause of death was a blow to the head. Estimated time, around a day or so ago. I would likely say it was a rather sharp object. The wound is quite messy though so it’s hard to determine whether or not it was an accident. Since there are rocks around the bathing area I would say that they were mostly likely the cause. But upon examination they all appeared to be blunt. They probably smoothed them down so that this wouldn’t happen.”

“So the object wasn’t a rock?”

“It still could be. All I’m saying is that no rocks around the pool are sharp. It could have easily been a sharper rock from around the area.”

“So it wasn’t an accident…?”

Mina shook her head with a sad smile that you could nearly see around her medical mask “I doubt it.”

Momo took a shaky breath, closing her eyes for a moment to calm herself down “Okay. So say he was murdered. What would that mean for us?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“Look…there’s nothing we can do about it. Enji calls all the shots around here. Honestly, I’m surprised he even brought the candidates out of the maze. If there was a murderer among them, which I’m not saying there is but…-well, you know. There’s nothing we can do about that. Enji would have to be the one to do something. If you’ll excuse me, I have some brain cells to examine” Mina excused herself as she took some samples off the tray and left, clearly in a rush to finish the conversation. Not that Momo could blame her. The whole situation was pretty horrific.

Averting her eyes, she quickly covered Iida with a sheet, taking off her gloves and mask, throwing them into a bin on the way out. Sighing to herself when she saw Enji on his way down the hallway. Obviously looking for her.

“Can I-“

“He’s awake.”

“…What?”

“Katsuki. He’s awake.”

=

Momo coughed awkwardly as she shifted in her plastic squeaky chair. Katsuki on the other side of the metal table glaring at her with those crimson eyes, handcuffed to the table in front of him. Their surroundings were exactly like those of an interrogation room. The one way mirror, blank walls, basic lighting. Not a place that she wanted to be in. And she was sure she could speak for the both of them on that.

“Do you remember you name?” Momo asked hesitantly as she tapped her pen on her pad, waiting for the silent man to respond. But he didn’t. Only continued to glare.

“Do you know where you are?”

No answer.

“Could you tell me what you last remember?”

No answer.

Momo sighed heavily and leaned back in her seat, putting her pen down and crossing her arms, knowing and not caring that Enji was on the other side of that mirror.

“So you don’t want to talk? I’ll do the talking for you then. Your name is Katsuki Bakugou. You’re 32 years of age. You have a fiancé by the name of Izuku Midoriya and a child by the name of Himari Bakugou. Who is currently under my household” -I lost her- “and my protection.” -I’m sorry- “You and you’re fiancé are childhood friends and you’re daughter is paralysed from the waist down. You overwork and you’re underpaid. You worked with your fiancé at this company as a matter of fact. You were working on finding a cure for Q-12. Because you didn’t want to lose your quirk you decided that it was best for you to sign up for a small project that was created by Izuku Midoriya himself and funded by the company I now work for. The project however got taken out of his hands when the company took over. Leaving you two powerless in the whole scheme of things. You still didn’t want to lose your quirk however, so you decided to let all your memories get wiped for the sake of science and research. Leaving your fiancé and child by themselves. Izuku Midoriya then followed you into said project several days later with two small viles of Axelavier Byphodine which has killed almost 600 million and still counting. Not including the suicide rate or the people killed after they turned into monsters from letting Q-12 affect them. Having our quirks removed seems affective for now. But were all on a timer. In the end, it’s going to kill us all. The apocalypse is here and you still keep your mouth shut?…I never knew you were that selfish.”

Katsuki looked away from her and toward the mirror, the bags under his eyes clearly prominent from the side. He flicked his eyes between her and the mirror expectingly. Momo immediately grasping onto what he wanted.

“Enji. You can leave. He’s not going to talk with you standing there like that.”

After around a moment silence, Enji popped his head through the door to let the two know he was off. Which Momo was grateful for.

“You’re going to talk now that there’s no one listening?”

Katsuki still kept his glare, his voice deep and raspy, clearly dehydrated, she couldn’t say she was surprised by what he’d been through “How am I supposed to trust you?”

But Momo stood her ground and glared back, she’d learnt to deal with Katsuki a long time ago “Did you forget the fact that I’m taking care of your child?”

Katsuki’s eyes visibly softened at this, his shoulders relaxing a little as he tried to blink away any emotion that threatened to become a vulnerability “…Where is she?”

“Safe.”

 

She could be dead for all I know.

 

Katsuki nodded, taking in his surroundings and what he was wearing, going to pick at dirt on them only to huff when the handcuffs prevented him from doing so.

“So you remember everything?”

He gave another nod.

“Including everything in the maze?”

He nodded again, his eyes widening as he thought back to where he had last been, how dire the situation was “Wheres Izuku?!”

“He’s alright. We put him on a feeding tube and we’re giving him Intravenous therapy. He’ll be fine in a few days.”

The blonde nodded for the nth time, slumping back in his seat like someone had just kicked his dog.

“You understand why we had to pull you out, right?”

“I was too curious” Katsuki explained to which Momo hummed.

“Your quirk is a very powerful thing. Removing the quirk will only give you a limited time since the bad cells will already have spread. In reality, it all depends on how much you’ve used you’re quirk in your lifetime. Testing whether or not forgetting about our quirks is a way forward is another step in the right direction. Although you have all seemed to have either have gone insane or depressed from behind shut off from our dystopia. But I’ve slowly come to realise something. Izuku is…a virus that doesn’t spread, I would say. The company handpicked certain people from a list of volunteers and placed them inside. As I’m sure you’re aware. Izuku Midoriya wasn’t one of them, and he is quirkless-“

“I don’t like wherever the fuck you’re going with this.” The blonde scowled “But if you going to suggest using him for your shitty little experiments I will fucking torture you. Whether you have my child or not doesn’t mean shit to me if you mess with him.”

Momo sighed, not in the least way feeling threatened “Look. I’ve had this theory for a while, okay? Izuku cannot get infected. It’s practically impossible unless he’s injected with the bad cells…but here’s the thing. Axelavier Byphodine contained dead quirk cells, which were the ones attacking our general body cells. Izuku was then injected with AB by Mei Hatsume when he first arrived into the maze. And he’s still alive?…I wanted to be the first one to tell you before it happened. But we’re not putting Izuku back in the maze. He’s valuable to us. He could save us all Katsuki. Just give it time and I can show you this.”

Katsuki sneered at the pleading woman in front of him “I’d rather die.”

“You’d rather die than save the human race?”

“I’d rather die if it means Izuku doesn’t have to turn into a fucking lab rat! It’s no way to fucking live!”

“So you’ll sacrifice the progress of the rest of the remaining population for one person?!”

“Yes.”

Momo shook her head angrily as she stood up and pulled Himari’s doll out her pocket, throwing it on the table where he could reach it and walking to the door “You two are just as selfish as each other. Never say that I didn’t warn you.”

And with that she walked out. Leaving Katsuki in the room by himself.

=

Enji sighed heavily, adjusting the wires on Shouto’s arm as he took his vitals, his blood pressure and heart rate displayed on the screen beside him as he clipped his finger to test his blood sugar. It was low. But Enji couldn’t do anything about that. Eating like a caveman will do that to you.

He just wished it could have been different. When he first heard about the project he signed Shouto up, knowing he’d fallen ill to the disease. He was the first volunteer, so of course they sent him in.

He wasn’t with the company then, but Enji was allowed to come visit, to see how his son was doing. And he could immediately tell he was looking better. It was like he wasn’t even sick at all.

It was truly a miracle.

Over time, he recommended it to more and more people, people bringing their friends and family for a chance to enter the maze…until the mass shooting happened.

Terrorists taking out the leaders while the rest all escaped wounded or emotionally damaged.

‘Death to the government.’

‘Set them free.’

They’d say as they open fired.

Enji wasn’t there at the time. But it wasn’t that long ago. Around a month.

However, Enji Todoroki had gotten friendly with the leaders before the incident and signed papers to say that if anything should ever happen, the company would rest within his hands.

Those people entrusted this responsibility into him. And he would gladly accept it. Consequences be damned. Shouto was the only family he had left. And vise versa. They may not get along. And they may hate each other from how rebellious Shouto used to be and how angry he himself was all the time. But losing your loved ones really does open your eyes. In more ways than a few.

He’d already lost all meaning in life.

He’d already signed himself up for death.

He just hoped it would come sooner than later.

So that this endless nightmare would finally cease.

Wow. He really was selfish.

Who knew that tragedy could do that to a person.

=

Hinata followed behind the skinny tall man closely, pushing Himari on squeaky wheels as they walked for what seemed like a good ten minutes before coming to a stop outside an old warehouse. It was still intact though. No roof cave-ins or rock slides down one side. It was more or less in tact, unlike a good majority of the other buildings here.

However, his face didn’t show his respect for the place, not like Himari’s did.

She was practically bouncing where she sat, shivering in excitement.

The man chuckled at her reaction before opening the double doors which lead inside, watching as both of their faces turned into shock at how beautiful the inside was.

Fairy lights strung all around and candles lit where they couldn’t reach. Sofas and rugs that were well kept and clean. A small kitchen area waving the scent of something nice to the new guests. A gathering of around four or five people surrounding a table playing a game of cards. The sound of singing littering the air as they drunkenly swayed from one side to another and a fire cackling at them from not so far away. It looked more of a tavern than a warehouse, wood surrounding the walls and floors, no doubt to keep in the heat, probably surrounded with scavenged fibreglass on the ceilings. It was…cosy.

Himari squealed in excitement, her hands balling into little fists as she fidgeted “This place is amazing!!!”

Hinata picked her up out of her wet chair and quickly brought her to the fire, spying a blanket along the back of the sofa and moving to retrieve it, wrapping it around her as he then sat at her side. Not wanting to get involved with the group in the corner.

“Hina, look! They have a fire!” Himari pointed out the obvious, a bright smile on her face as she took in their surroundings.

Hinata simply kept his gaze to her, not wanting to get his hopes up about this place. But if Himari was happy here, he wouldn’t destroy that. Even if it didn’t last long.

“Toshinori, you brought kids home? What did you do that for?” An obnoxiously loud and drunk guy with long long hair asked as another man with scruffy dark hair and bags under his eyes shoot them a look but said nothing.

“Awwww~ they’re little cuties can we keep them?” A dark haired woman asked, her clothing a little too revealing than what Hinata or Himari we’re prepared for, causing them to blush and look away.

“Now now, we have to actually see what they’re doing here first” A long blonde haired woman told her, a man made of wood (from his quirk) nodding beside her.

Himari took this as an opportunity to speak up “UM- we needed to sleep. But it’s raining and cold…” She spat out nervously, trailing off toward the end when she realised she was speaking in front of strangers.

“Oh dear! Are you alright?” The blonde woman asked as she moved out of her chair and knelt down to their level.

Hinata and Himari both nodded. This woman seemed nice. She seemed trustworthy.

“Well being in those wet clothes won’t do you any good. You’ll get a cold. I doubt we have any children’s clothes lying around, but you may wrap yourselfs in blankets until your clothes dry by the fire” She suggested.

“Thank you miss!” Himari beamed, giggling she the lady picked her up and took her too the section of the warehouse which held many beds, Hinata following them like a lost sheep.

“Now would you like to borrow my fluffy pink blanket…? What’s your name?” The lady asked, only just realising that she hadn’t caught it earlier.

“Himari!” The young girl exclaimed before Hinata had a chance to tell her not to.

“That’s a beautiful name! My name is Yu Takeyama. But you may call me Yu. And what’s your name?” Yu gestured to the young boy with black hair, Himari piping up to answer the question once again.

“That’s Hina!”

“Hina?

“It’s Hinata!” He growled out, glaring at Himari who just laughed at him and stuck out her tongue.

“Well it’s a pleasure to meet you both. Would you like a fluffy pink blanket too?”

“No thanks” He protested, pouting as he impatiently tapped his foot on the wooden flooring below him.

“You can use this grey one then” Yu smiled, handing him the blanket and wrapping the pink one around Himari as she shuffled out of her clothes, Yu helping her with the rest as she noticed that the young girl couldn’t move her legs.

Hinata took it upon himself to get undressed else where and walked to a dark corner where he’d be shaded before wrapping the blanket around himself and heading back, lying his clothes down by the fire as Himari’s loud laughs caught his attention once more. Looking toward the table where Yu had sat her upon, she was singing as well as she could with the rest of the drunken party. Her voice easily the loudest as she screeched out broken japanese lyrics. All of them cheering for her once they’d finished only making her smile brighter.

At least she was having fun.

“She your sister?” The tall skinny man from earlier who was addressed as ‘Toshinori’ asked, making Hinata flinch, not realising he was beside him.

“What’s it to you?” He defended.

“Nothing at all…It’s just sweet to see you care for her so much. She may not realise it since she’s so young, but everything you’ve been doing since I met you has been for her. Am I wrong?”

Hinata flinched a little at the accusation, knowing it was the truth yet he hadn’t even realised it himself if he was being honest “Well, she’s my sister. I can’t not look out for her.”

Toshinori chuckled as they looked at the laughing little girl “She’s a lovely young lady. She’s lucky to have such a protective brother like you. The world is cruel to those who don’t abide by it. I suppose that’s why it’s so refreshing to see children in their own world. Stealing, however, is not something children should be getting into the habit of.”

Hinata turned his head and scowled at the fire. So this man did see what he did.

“But I understand your reasonings. And I’m not you’re parent, so I cannot scold you. But maybe I can give you some advice. Being alone is never a good idea. Trying to keep everything to yourself isn’t going to make you stronger, you have to rely on others. Because they’re the ones that will build you up. And I know it’s not much to you, but this home is always available. I don’t want to see you stealing or sleeping on the streets anymore, alright?”

“…Yes, sir.”

Toshinori smiled “Good. Make sure you don’t get to sleep too late. Take all the time you need. There is a bathroom and a shower straight through the door on the right.”

Hinata nearly choked on air as he quickly looked toward the skinny man with wide eyes “Did you just say a shower?”

=

Kyoka, shoved her hands in her pockets as she chewed on rubber, a short blonde haired girl with two buns in her hair looking at her with a cold expression. The alleys of Hosu eerily silent as the deal she’d been waiting for was finally taking place.

“I was beginning to think you weren’t interested. You didn’t come yesterday after all.”

“Something came up” The blonde excused with a quirk of her eyebrows and a cocky smile, two small fangs making themselves known within that expression. But Kyoka knew better than to ask what the girl was talking about.

So she ended up only nodding “You got the money?”

The blonde grinned a little before flexing the stash of money she brought in her backpack, and offering it to her “All yours~.”

Kyoka took the backpack and took out a few hundreds to test if they were genuine; they were “Thanks. When do you want me to start?”

=

Izuku scrunched his face up as he felt a dull pain of things being removed from him. Alarms were going off, he was sure of it. But he couldn’t bring himself to open his eyes. Why was he so tired? Someone else was there. Why were they touching him? Leave him alone, he just wanted to sleep. As if he was being carried over someone’s shoulder…Izuku felt like lead, his arms swaying as the person took quick steps.

Finding the energy from somewhere to slightly open his eyes he could see the floor, legs and feet. But it was all blurry. His throat felt raw. His stomach hurt. His arm hurt. He felt sick and dizzy and numb and powerless. Why did everything hurt?

=

Katsuki knew he shouldn’t be doing this. The doll in his pocket making him feel stronger as he adjusted Izuku on his shoulder, inside the building flashing red and sirens ringing, obviously knowing what he was doing. That he was getting the hell out of here.

Katsuki only grinned. Thinking about how pissed off Momo would be once she finds out he took her prized possession. Like hell he was going to let her actually go through with that stupid plan. They were all going to die and that was that. Katsuki wasn’t trying to prevent that anymore. He just wanted to live whatever time he got to the fullest.

He wasn’t going to let them catch up to him.

Never.

He was a runner after all.

He felt as though he’d trained for this moment.

Chapter Text

Katsuki looked to the doll in his hand with a newfound determination. Momo’s words ringing through his mind. He couldn’t let them get a hold of Izuku. And he’d take back his child. She wouldn’t have to look after her anymore. They’d be a family again.

Feeling a sharp prick on his finger, he looked down to the doll in confusion, a small needle sticking out of the side which made him grin. He’d have to thank Himari later. Even though he doubted she even knew about him being here. He had no doubt in his mind that she’d put up the biggest protest ever. One of the many things she got from him. Just the thought of seeing her again filled him with the warmth he felt as though he’d been missing.

Picking the lock of his handcuffs with no particular plan in mind, apart from his end objective. It was practically confirmed he was going to die at this point. Just like everyone was. Who would actually survive? Would Izuku actually be able to prevent all of that?

With a scowl at his thought trail, Katsuki stood up, creaking the metal door open and checking the hallways; no one.

Even if Izuku could cure them all. Katsuki wouldn’t want that. Call him selfish but he’d rather die than cling onto false hope. So he decided he wouldn’t let him know about this. Izuku would only want to help everyone, no matter what. And Katsuki just couldn’t let that happen. He wouldn’t. It’s not like he’s doing all this for himself. He’s doing it for the sake of his family. He’d rather their last moments be together than separated. He didn’t get this opportunity when his parents passed, his own flesh and blood. He should’ve learn from the past. But alas, he was just as idiotic as he’s always been. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t seem to change that fact.

Deciding to stick to the right, Katsuki came across several signs pointing to different labs. None of which made any sense to him. He may have worked here, but he never worked in the labs. They were forbidden.

He’d just have to hope he was going the right way. For the sake of his own sanity.

After about four hallways, he’d peeked through a window to the side, finally coming across the ones holding people hostage. Dismissing everyone else as he only had one person on his mind.

The labs were a lot cleaner than he remembered them being when he’d snuck into them once. Izuku loyally following him not wanting him to get in trouble. But he could see covered up bullet holes in some walls and cracks in some windows. He could only guess what happened here after he left.

“Kacchan!” Izuku whisper shouted as he desperately looked around them, spying to see if anyone had seen them go into the restricted area, tugging onto Katsuki’s sleeve as if that would change his mind “We shouldn’t be here. What if we get caught?”

“So what?” He scowled, continuing forward with confidence in his stride “We deserve answers.”

“I’m not saying that we don’t. But this isn’t really the right way to go about it. If we want answers we can find them elsewhere.”

Katsuki just shrugged, peeking into an office within the white hallways to find no one inside. He ushered Izuku in and closed the door behind them flicking on the switch and walking around the desk, opening draws and bringing out folders.

“Kacchan…” Izuku frowned, sighing heavily when he knew that Katsuki wasn’t going to listen to reason right now.

“Here. Production of Nomus” Katsuki fumed, sliding the folder over the desk to Izuku who was immediately interested. Getting caught seemingly not mattering to him anymore. It seemed that one way or another, Katsuki would always manage to distract him.

“But…why would they do that?” He asked, flicking through the papers inside with wide eyes. So it was true. They filled his project with these things? He knew it wasn’t ‘his’ project anymore. But he was still responsible, right? These things were dangerous. They physically harmed Shouto Todoroki. And they’d continue harming people as the new candidates arrived.

His teary eyes flicked over design sheets. Reading as much as his blurry eyes would let him.

These things were people. They were just gone wrong test subjects. They didn’t even have free will or consciousness anymore. They were practically vegetables.

It wasn’t until another folder was thrown his way did he realise he was crying. His ideas. His creation. It was turning into something that was hurting people. It was supposed to be doing the opposite!

This folder was labelled ‘Physiology.’ It contained progress reports on Shouto Todoroki from the past three weeks he’d been here. The first and only person in the maze at this moment in time.

It contained panic attacks in detail, mutters beneath the breath, his sleep progress and the progress of Q-12 which he’d previously been diagnosed with.

“This is all my fault…” Izuku weeped, his vision all the more blurry as he desperately tried to wipe away tears that just kept falling “I should never have done this. I’m putting people into a dangerous environment. I should’ve never have let them buy my ideas.”

“Oi,” Katsuki huffed, walking over to stand in front of the green haired man “I’ve already told you. This shit isn’t your fault. This thing is way out of our hands. You think you’re responsible? Don’t make me laugh. They’re testing how Shouto responds to dangerous situations. If he uses his quirk unconsciously or not. But since Shouto can’t remember he has a quirk, he is like a baby without legs. But they obviously can’t see that.”

“Kacchan, that’s not funny.”

“I wasn’t trying to make you laugh, idiot. I was just making a comparison. But that’s not my point. The point is that when shit hits the fan, which it will when people find out about what’s happening here, you’re not going to get the blame. They don’t credit you, Deku. Don’t expect that you’re worth anything to them.”

Izuku nodded his head sadly, resting his forehead against Katsuki’s shoulder in defeat, relishing in the way Katsuki slowly petted his curly locks to comfort him.

“How long do you think this will last in the shadows?”

Izuku felt Katsuki shake is head “I don’t know. All you can do is stay quiet. There’s nothing more you can do.”

Katsuki frowned at the memory. He should’ve been more empathetic at the time. Then again, they both hadn’t been preparing for the worst to happen. They didn’t know that they’d both be in the maze three or so years down the line. But they were. And this is the way things turned out.

For the worst.

With a heavy sigh, Katsuki made his way over to the man haunting his mind, trying not to think too much about it when he removed the needles from Izuku’s arms and one large one in his neck, removing the leather straps as fast as he could. He didn’t know what he was expecting when suddenly there were alarms blaring throughout the place. He should’ve known the straps had alarms on them. How fucking predictable.

It was pathetic.

But he had no time to waste, lifting Izuku over his shoulder as gently as he could, he rushed out of the lab, the exit; the next phase of this plan.

=

Himari yawned loudly as she shifted the small single bed, fur covers warming her bones as she felt fingers running through her messy hair, making her slip further into unconsciousness.

Toshinori smiled softly. As soon as he’d seen those bright green eyes he knew whose family they belonged to. Someone he hadn’t seen in a very long time. He wasn’t so sure about Hinata, since they didn’t look related. But if they were on the streets stealing to survive, something terrible must have happened. He could only hope that it wasn’t the worst case scenario.

Just the thought of something happening to the quirkless green haired man made his smile turn into a frown, his wrinkles more noticeable this way.

He was getting old, he didn’t have the energy nor the strength to keep these children safe anymore. But he’ll be damned if he ever let anything happen to them while in his care. Young Midoriya would never forgive him.

“You can leave her alone now” He heard the voice of the young boy standing next to him, looking impatient as he folded his arms and tapped his foot on the wooden flooring.

“Sorry, I was just anxious she’d have trouble drifting off. But it seems that I had no reason to worry” He told the child, looking over to where Himari was already drooling all over her pillow, stretched out like a starfish. When was the last time she’d slept in a normal bed?

“Yeah, well, she’s a heavy sleeper so I wouldn’t disturb her if I was you. She has a mighty punch.”

Toshinori chuckled just thinking about it, sounding more and more like her dad the more he learned about her.

He turned to Hinata, wanting to learn more about this stubborn boy “So. Do you have any family to go home to?”

Hinata scoffed, looking away from the two of them “Family? I doubt they can even be called that.”

“Why is that?”

“I don’t have to tell you anything, old man. Just stay out of our business. We’ll be out of here in the morning.”

The blonde man just nodded his head in response, standing up from where he’d perched himself on the edge of the bed “My apologies. I’ve been insensitive. It won’t happen again.”

Hinata just watched with wide eyes as Toshinori walked away. He apologised? He didn’t persist to know anything more even though he was obviously curious?…Why?

He frowned to himself as he thought about it. Why was he disappointed that the old man didn’t ask for more? Did he want to tell him everything? No. It wasn’t his business. He’ll never see these people again after today.

So with a sigh he tucked himself into the small bed next to Himari’s, allowing his body to sink into the springy mattress below him and the covers to surround his being. He doesn’t think he’d ever experienced comfort like this before. Not even once in his lifetime. He tutted to himself as he thought about his upcoming birthday. He was almost nine. And Himari’s birthday followed three days after that; almost five. He wanted to make their birthdays special. Make it into something he’d only ever read about. He wanted the world for them. Hell, they deserved it.

But looking around at this beautiful warehouse, his hair wet and the feeling of being clean making him feel oh so calm. He felt a stab of guilt. Did they really deserve this? Was he just being selfish? Momo probably missed him so much. He hated the thought of his mother crying for him. But surely she’d know that they’d be back, right? She had to know. Hinata wouldn’t leave her alone like that. Even if she left them alone to work. It was for their sakes.

He didn’t even realise he was crying until his eyes stared to sting. He silently cursed himself for being so weak. He should be stronger than this. This was for the best. The capital was a fresh start for all.

=

Enji sighed to himself as he looked over his notes that he’d gathered from rewatching old tapes that’d been recorded from the maze, Momo standing beside him expectingly “Denki Kaminari, mental psychosis. Iida Tenya, suicidal—deceased. Shinso Hitoshi, schizophrenia. Ochako Urakaka, PTSD. Shouto Todoroki, PTSD and aggressive behaviour. Hatsume Mei, suspected sociopathic tendencies and agression, not confirmed. Eijiro Kirishima, anxiety and high functioning depression. Rikido Sato, OCD. Mineta Minoru, unknown. Tokoyami Fumikage, unknown. Mezo Shoji, unknown. Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu, unknown. Am I missing anything?”

Momo shook her head hesitantly, taking in the mental states of their candidates “What happened to the other candidates?”

“They’re…responding badly to the gas. These seem to be the only ones we could keep well” Enji frowned, more bodies on their hands than they’d like to admit. How were they going to tell the families that relied on them? We’re their families even still alive. He doubted it.

With a shaky sigh, Momo nodded, about to respond before a loud siren was ringing throughout the labs. The two looking at each other with wide eyes before quickly rushing out of the room, seeing people with lab coats all rushing around the area. Spying a familiar pink hair Momo made her way over, watching Mina grab her coat off the rack.

“What’s going on?”

“Izuku Midoriya has been removed from the labs” Mina informed before quickly rushing off, leaving Enji and Momo stood there in shock. Izuku? Wasn’t he supposed to be asleep? So how could he……Katsuki.

Momo cursed herself, he left Katsuki in the interrogation room unattended. She should’ve known he’d find a way out. This was her fault. Her responsibility.

“Call the police, I’ll try and catch up to them” She told Enji as she grabbed her jacket as running down the hallways. Trying to put herself in their shoes to think of which way they’d have taken.

=

Ochako groaned softly as a loud ringing vibrated throughout her ear drums. Why was it so loud? She couldn’t move. Why couldn’t she move? Her head was pounding, all her nerves were standing on edge and she couldn’t seem to open her eyes.

She could hear distant voices and the dull sounds of rapid footsteps.

As soon as she managed to tear her eyes open she had to squeeze them shut again, the light too blinding for her to even see, but slowly they adjusted, forcing her to look at her surroundings.

The walls were white, the floor was white, only the lighting from the screen seemed to hold any colour, and the straps holding her down bearing a brown leather, similar to the one she was wearing around her chest. Feeling more energy coming back to her as she let herself awaken, she turned her head to the side, her eyes brows scrunching in confusion as she saw Mei in an unconscious state, strapped down just like her. It was only then Ochako realised she’d been pricked with needles. But she felt too numb to even feel them. But she persisted, shuffling around within the binds to try and get herself free. But it was no use.

With a huff, she leaned back, looking around for something that could aid in her escape. Spying a tray of scalpels and fresh needles ready to be prepared beside her, she grinned to herself, thanking the heavens that whoever left this here was stupid enough to think she wouldn’t see it.

She didn’t even ask herself why she was here.

She knew she wouldn’t get a response. She couldn’t remember anything apart from being in the maze. But it felt like there was something missing. Something which caused her great pain. But she pushed it all aside. She could ask herself these questions when she got out of here.

Skilfully using her hand which was not tied down, she tapped her way to the tray and winced when she caught her needle of the binds, but she kept going, until she had the scalpel was in hand.

It took a little while but soon she was freed, and the needles in her arm where ripped out, she started hobbling her way over to Mei who still looked as though she was sleeping peacefully. She couldn’t carry her out of here. Not like this. She wasn’t strong enough for that. Not right now.

“I promise I’ll be back for you” Ochako managed to make herself say, before slowly making her way into the the abandoned hallway, following the signs in which would lead her to her escape. Rushing down the many stairs, skips a few each time and ignoring the ache in her legs. She then eyed a green light above a metal door at the end of the stair way.

Fire exit?

She’ll take it.

Pushing the handle Ochako was immediately greeted by rain pouring onto her, the dark night and colourful city lights that surrounded her making her gasp in amazement.

It was beautiful.

Was this real?

She had to pinch herself to confirm it.

Was this what was behind those walls?

All this time they’d dreamed—longed to know just what was hiding out there. It made her tear up. Just the thought that while they’d been suffering, people were out here living with such luxury.

With wet eyes, she made her way down large stone steps and into the busy streets, the sound of horns could be heard from moving metal objects from all around and the sound of the metal squeaking from large ones that rode above; adding to the atmosphere.

Why was this place so…familiar to her?

She’d never seen this place before. But why did she feel as though she had?

Hearing a shout from behind her, she turned in panic thinking that someone had saw her, but instead she saw someone in a lab coat running toward into the crowd, someone with dirty blonde hair ahead of her.

Out of pure curiosity, Ochako followed them. Hoping that it was someone she knew.

On the way, they’d managed to lose the person in a lab coat, the dark haired woman seemingly in an intense conversation with an object she held to her ear.

Ochako just slipped by it, continuing to follow, sighing in relief when she figured out who it was.

“Katsuki!” She called, watching as he finally turned around with wide eyes, halting his steps, the man over his shoulders whimpering in pain.

“…Ochako?! What the hell are you doing here?!”

“I-I don’t know! One minute I was in the maze and now I’m here! I’m just as confused as you are!”

Katsuki didn’t have the heart to her her that he wasn’t confused. That he remembered everything. Because by the desperate look on her face. She didn’t.

“Ochako, Kacchan and I are going to have a baby!” Izuku beamed as he looked toward the brunette who seemed shocked and confused.

“A-a baby? But you’re so young! Are you sure you want to do that?”

“27 isn’t that young” Izuku chuckled nervously “But that isn’t what we came her to tell you really…See, we can’t have a baby by ourselves so we need help…a-and I know this is really sudden, but we’ve been talking about it for a while now…and it always seemed to come up in conversations but…w-would you mind being our surrogate?”

Ochako gasped as she heard their request, her wide eyes looking toward Katsuki who’d been strangely silent through all of this.

“Y-you’re surrogate? You mean you want me to have your children?”

The green haired man smiled and nodded “Me and Kacchan discussed it and you’re the person we’d love to have our baby. We know we joke about it a lot and everything…I-If you wouldn’t mind of course! Please don’t let us pressure you into anything!”

Ochako’s eyes started to feel a little wetter than before, feeling tears fall from her eyes before she even had a chance to stop them. But no matter how much she tried to deny it, they were happy tears. Her friends trusted her enough to let her have a baby for them. She swore her heart had never felt warmer.

So with a large smile Ochako brought the two men down from a hug, giggling cheerfully as she thought about providing for two of her best friends “I’d love to.”

Katsuki huffed out a breath, refusing to let himself feel guilt that she couldn’t remember anything “Fine. You can come with us. But only if you stay silent.”

Despite not trusting Katsuki, she could find it in herself to respect him. Not as though she had a choice. She’d have to if she was going to trust him to not get her killed. So she decided:

“I’ll join you.”

And another chess piece moves forward.

Chapter Text

Kyoka kept her hands in her pockets as she strolled along side the blonde haired girl who wore two buns in her hair. They’d been walking for about twenty minutes in pure silence. Nothing but the the sound of boots and heels clacking against the cobblestone paths. The moonlight aiding them through town by town.

She hadn’t noticed how much destruction had really happened to the rest of the world until now. Walking the streets which people turned on their friends and family slaughtering people they loved in the most creative ways possible. However, most of the cases had been cannibalism. Then there were the terrorist attacks. Since the outbreak, there had been plenty. The government tried and failed to contain it. So they gave up. The outbreak was now everywhere. Random people with Q-12 lingering inside them; brainless beings with no sense of humanity. Even as they walked the streets, the girl beside her would have to stop to grab a knife which was dangling by her side and plunge it into their skulls in self defence. The greedy bastards trying to take what they couldn’t have.

She should’ve known what she was getting herself into.

Smearing the blood on her cheek, the blonde grins at her, offering her a spare knife. But Kyoka shook her head. She wasn’t really a knife person. But she knew that noise and smells attracted the ‘beings’. So she knew it was best leaving the combat to the person beside her rather than pulling out a gun.

“I have to say. I’m surprised you rang us with an offer. I wasn’t expecting a response so soon” The nameless girl told her, adjusting the tie she wore and tutting at the fact that she got blood splatters all over her white business shirt.

“Had enough time to think” Kyoka shrugged as if it was no big deal.

“Hmm. Are you sure? I don’t think you realise that we don’t offer a position to just anyone. You’ll have to get rid of people you’re familiar with. Can you handle that?”

Kyoka nodded hesitantly, but it seemed to be enough for the girl who broke out of her serious stance and smiled brightly at her; cheeks red as she giggled “Yay! This is going to be so much fun! Right Kyoka?! Right?! We’ll have such a great time!~”

The addressed girl just stood there blankly after the girls sudden change in personality, watching as she started skipping her way down the street in heels happily humming a tune.

She should’ve known what she was getting herself into.

 

=

 

Ochako thought that this place was insanely beautiful. She desperately know more about it. But Katsuki had told her to zip it so she was following a few steps behind him, not wanting to get in his way. She did however, stop every few minutes when she saw something intriguing. Which just pissed Katsuki off so he’d decided to just put up with it. She couldn’t seem to stop the blabberstorm of questions.

“What are those lights called?”

“Traffic lights” Katsuki grumbled for the sixtieth time.

“What do they do? How do they work? Can we buy one?-“

The blonde haired man just ignored her after this, instead focusing on the deadweight in his arms that refused to awaken, despite having been out of the labs for about half an hour now.

He tried not to worry about it too much. Izuku was just tired. They all were. There was absolutely nothing to worry about.

“Hey…Katsuki, how do you know all of these things?” Ochako asked after a few minutes of precious silence.

He didn’t feel the need to answer her. Instead he carried on walking until he found a place he knew he could trust.

“Hello and welcome to-KATSUKI?!” screeched a familiar voice, Camie. Probably surprised to see him after so long. The again, she’d probably heard the news. It does travel fast around here.

Coming out from behind the bar, Camie rushed to the three, her eyes immediately on the unconscious man on his shoulder.

Katsuki may have been strong. But god if he wasn’t going to have dead arm after this.

“We just need a place to stay for the night” Katsuki informed her, watching as she lead them through the back of the bar and to one of the guest rooms they rent out sometimes. Lucky the bar wasn’t all that busy, a few old men smoking in the corner playing poker and darts, they looked comfortable enough to be regulars.

“You shouldn’t stay in capital for too long” Camie informed them as Ochako awkwardly walked past her and into the room they were going to be sleeping in tonight. Wow…to sleep inside? Crazy.

“We’re leaving tomorrow. Just need a few supplies” Katsuki told her, laying Izuku down on the bed and rolling his shoulder back with a sigh of relief. He was right. It fucking hurt. But he wasn’t a pussy, so he wasn’t going to complain about it. Out loud anyway.

“Okay” Camie then turned to Ochako who was standing there in the corner of the room not knowing what to do. She grew even more confused when she saw the unfamiliar woman smirk at her.

“You wanna grab a pint while these lads get themselves sorted?” Camie asked her, watching as Ochako scrunched her eyebrows together at the language she used. But she didn’t say anything, even though she was desperately wondering. What was a pint?

“…S-sure” She smiled politely, hoping that she hadn’t just accepted something she shouldn’t have.

“Alright, she’ll be back later Katsuki, peace.”

And with that the silence returned.

He never realised how much he hated the silence until now.

The only thing stopping him from losing his mind isn’t hat very moment was the ins and outs of his fiancés breath. Watching on as Izuku continued to rest peacefully.

He was glad he was okay. He’d passed out before he had chance to get to where Izuku had been held up. He just hoped he wasn’t hurt too bad. As soon as he wakes up he can eat and hydrate himself. But that’s…when he wakes up.

He’s overreacting. He knows that. But you can’t blame him for being concerned.

He keeps telling himself this.

Laying down beside Izuku, Katsuki found his peace of mind just observing the way his love slept. There was no doubt in his mind that he’d not be getting any sleep tonight. Not when he could forget again. He never wanted to forget again. He couldn’t bear all of this being a dream and he’d wake up back in that metal cage again. But there was one thing lingering on his mind. One thing he didn’t want to acknowledge.

Izuku wouldn’t remember anything before the maze.

When he’d wake up, he wouldn’t remember who Katsuki was to him. Or the streets around them. Or even their child.

He frowned at the thought, placing his palm on Izuku’s cheek and stroking his freckles gently with his thumb as he brought himself close enough to lean their foreheads together.

To think he might never get this intimacy with Izuku again made his heart ache and his throat feel clogged. He just wished they would’ve been more understanding and spent more time together before. But that’s just the thing. Children were extremely hard to take care of. Nobody but the two of them knew about how stressful and rocky their relationship had become after Himari had arrived. Several times they’d both threatened to leave each other out of frustration. But Katsuki knew it wouldn’t happen. When each fight they’d end up comforting each other until they fell asleep. But seeing the apocalypse on the horizon really put everything into perspective. And he wanted to protect the two beings he shouldn’t have taken for granted before.

With much self debate, Katsuki found it in himself to place a gentle lingering kiss on his forehead. It would have to do for now.

He decided in this moment that he wouldn’t tell Izuku about life before the maze. If he regained his own memories, he could find a way to get Izuku’s back too, right? But there was no chance that they were going back to the labs right now. Not a chance in hell.

For now, this was okay.

This moment, this would do.

=

“So , you said your name was Ochako, right?” Camie asked as she got out several diffrent bottles behind the counter while the brunette sat on a stool watching her.

“Um, yes.”

Camie chuckled and slid over a pint glass in her direction, grabbing her own as she went to sit beside Ochako. The cheers and chatter of several old men from the corner making the other sigh as she pulled out a packet of cigarettes.

“I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what’s in this?” The brunette held up her glass in question.

“Good shit. Trust me” Was all she told her before pulling out a lighter and bringing it to the death stick in her mouth.

Ochako decided not to comment on the smell.

“Do you…own this place?”

“Huh? Oh yeah. I guess you could say that. No one really runs things around here though. We’d be lucky to say we actually own anything.”

“So who owns it?”

Seeing Ochako’s confusion Camie stopped into her self destructive tracks for a moment, before huffing and reaching over the bar to grab a menu and place it in front of them. Pointing to some small print at the bottom which read the watermark ‘All For One’ in a fancy signature.

“All For-?“

“Nobody knows who they are. All we know is that they’re in charge around here. They control everything. Hell, I’d be surprised if this conversation wasn’t being monitored right now. You’re lucky I’m even busting my ass telling you this stuff. I’d say take my advice, smile and pay taxes but…obviously that’s not in your best interest for where you’re going.”

Ochako felt like she was left behind on the conversation, two steps from where she should be “Where am I-?”

“It’s best not to talk in public,” Camie cut her off, standing up and snuffing her cigarette bud in a small glass tray which had been dirtied and worn over time “now you should get some rest.”

The brunette nodded thanking Camie for her ‘pint’ which she’d hardly sipped and trotted her way back to the room. Opening the door as quietly as she could, her face bleeding into a soft smile at the two figures curled up in the double bed. She found herself thinking back to Camie’s words as she took her own single bed to the side. Could this be the chess pieces she was missing? But found herself unable to think about it any further in such comfort. So she allowed herself to drift, and sooner than ever, she fell asleep.

 

=

 

“What do you mean you lost them?”

Shigaraki clawed at his neck as he prepared himself for the harsh words to spill out of his masters mouth. Waiting for the horror that await him.

But alas, none came.

“Shigaraki. If you decide they are worth it. You’ll find them. Keep searching.”

The pale haired man was immediately snapping his head up to look at master, not believing how forgiving he truly was. He didn’t deserve this.

He didn’t deserve any of this.

“I won’t let you down master.”

 

=

 

Izuku woke the next morning feeling the warmest he’d been in a long time, it was nice. The weather has been extremely cold recently so the heat was deeply appreciated.

Snuggling closer to the source of the heat he sighed happily…until it started moving. He immediately drew back and looked toward the source of the movement, Katsuki laying next to him with a nonchalant expression on his face, bags riding under his deep red eyes.

It sent Izuku’s brain into overdrive, trying to sit up only to hissing slightly and grab his head. He’d obviously hit it when he fell. Eating that food…that was the last thing he remembered. What if they did poison him? Would they really do that? Then why the hell is he here? Where even is here?

“Oi. Don’t have time for your dumb muttering. Get a move on” Katsuki told him as he jumped up out of bed as though nothing had happened, grabbing a backpack form on the floor and slinging it on his shoulder as he threw Izuku a…plastic wrapper?

“Open it and eat. Not having you slack behind. Not taking questions right now either so just stay quiet and stay hidden.”

Izuku had no choice but to follow Katsuki out of the room, a brunette girl talking to another lady as one handed a large rucksack to the other.

Izuku knew better than to ask questions at this point.

“Get out now,” Camie told them as he and katsuki went to joint the others “there’s a alley down the back, there should be a sewer passage that you should be able to get through unseen. It should take you just outside the Capital.”

“Thank you” Katsuki told her genuinely, hearing the bell that signalled that somebody had walked through the door.

With a final look Camie was walking back to the front of the store, leaving the three of them to watch her leave.

“Let’s go” Katsuki grumbled, beginning to walk away but stopped once he realised that no one had followed him, still watching after the girl.

“Oi-“

“Shut up” Ochako hissed at the spiky blonde walking a little way forward so she could hear the conversation that Camie was currently having.

=

“A little birdy told us they might be here,” Toga grinned, looking at the woman who wore a mask of no expression “you wouldn’t happen to know anything would you?”

Camie smirked and shrugged “A lot of people pass through here, how am I supposed to remember what they all look like? I don’t serve criminals.”

Toga’s eye twitched but she remained level headed, Kyoka beside her shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot “Unfortunately honey, they’re not criminals. Missing family members is all. Want to return them home. Their children are awfully worried.”

Camie crossed her arms “Oh yeah? Feel sorry for them. Unfortunately seeing to brats is not my kind of business.”

Finally losing her patience Toga clicked her fingers, Kyoka pulling out a gun and aiming straight toward the ill-mannered bar keeper.

“Alright. Listen up. You’re going to tell me where Izuku Midoriya is or my little friend here is going to bust your face in” Toga threatened but Camie remained unchanged. Smiling to herself as Kyoka clocked the gun.

“Go to hell.”

“Shoot her” Toga ordered.

It wasn’t seen, more heard as the blood slowly trickled from Camie forehead, her limp body falling to the ground.

=

Izuku couldn’t believe his ears. Why was someone looking for him? Why did the woman he didn’t even know risk her life to protect him?

It wasn’t until he felt a warm hand in his did he realise he’d been letting out silent tears. Letting Katsuki lead him through the back door of the tavern, Ochako right behind them.

Why did it feel like everything had just reset? And his life was completely different now?

“Ochako, keep an eye out for cameras” Katsuki murmured as the brunette nodded, looking over in concern to Izuku who was only just about holding himself together. She understood. This must be so much mentally. It would be draining. She smiled to herself when she realised that this is the first time they’d really met each other. All the times she’d heard about him didn’t really compare to walking by his side and starting up small talk with him as they made their way to the sewer entrance trying not not think about what had just took place. She could think about it and mourn later.

But they were all on edge after Camie’s death. Not just her. Knowing that people were looking for them, they had to be more careful. More alert. They couldn’t afford a single mistake.

 

=

 

Hinata wheeled Himari back outside of the warehouse they’d stayed the previous night, her now clean blonde hair in a french braid and the goggles and mask reapplied to both of them.

Toshinori followed them out, walking them to the end of the small turn in.

“Are you sure you wouldn’t like to stay?”

Hinata shook his head “We really need to go. But…thanks I guess, for looking after my sister and everything.”

The blonde old man only smiled, his mask-less face making Hinata want to rip off his own. But he knew better than to disobey his mother.

…Well, sort of.

“That’s no trouble. We’ll be right here if you ever decide to come back alright? No matter what, you’re always welcome here.”

“Thank you mister!” Himari beamed, relishing in the feeling of being clean and fresh.

Toshinori patted her head softly to not mess up her braid and then ruffled Hinata’s “You take care of each other now. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

Hinata bowed his head, managing to turn his head and face the other way, back onto the path they were facing. With the deadline of his birthday was closing in. Tomorrow. He really needed to get a move on. They couldn’t keep stopping at any distraction that blocks their path.

 

=

 

Enji sighed to himself as he saw Momo’s state at work the next morning. Her greasy black hair tied up with parts she’d missed hanging down, deep bags under her eyes and and frown stitched onto her face. Did the escape effect her that badly? Surly there was another reason.

“Momo. If you can’t work efficiently I’m going to ask you take the day off and come back when you’re in order.”

She seemed offended at this, the lack of sleep undoubtedly doing little to help her anger.

“What?! No. You can’t do that. I have a responsibility to uphold and I am not going to let people down. The human race is in my hands and you’re telling me to take the day off?”

Enji narrowed his eyes at her behaviour “You’re work-oriented, I’ll give you that. But determination won’t get you anywhere when you looked as though you just climbed out of hell itself.”

“I promise you that this will not effect my progress here. My personal matters are being attended to in due time. Now if you’ll excuse me I have some blood samples to run.”

With a heavy heart Momo marched her way out of the room, her boot heels clacking as she made her way to where she’d stored blood for analysis. On the way to the lab, her ears perked up as screaming came from a passing room, her eyes widening as she watched through the window as Shouto Todoroki thrashed about in restrains. Tied to the metal table as he continued to kick and scream, attempting to bite anyone who got close. Large blue vein like lines where prominent from his skin and his eyes were bloodshot and raw.

This was Q-12.

This wasn’t a person anymore.

…She had to remind herself.

Watching Mina inject him with a familiar cyan blue liquid which had been darkened from testing, his kicking and screaming seized as he started to relax, but the damage still remained. The current cure wasn’t permanent. It was only a matter of time before things got out of hand.

Putting the candidates back in the maze had been held off for further testing. And since the break out the other day security has been put up to the maximum. With them now working with the police force in order to find the missing three.

Continuing past the horrid scene, Momo finally found herself in the lab she’d been looking for, opening a large metal fridge, her eyes landing on the last vile she’d yet to try out. ‘Izuku Midoriya’.

Grabbing her notepad out of her desk and a separate vile of AB, she took a clean vile and mixed some of the AB and blood together. A microscope laid out in front of her in order to see the effect it would have on the live and dead Q-12 cells. And with a pipette in hand, she began her work.

Her eyebrows scrunched in confusion as she took in the odd reaction that was taking place. They hadn’t seen anything like this before. This was new. A new reaction. This was…what they needed. She was sure of it.

Her eyes focused in determination as she now looked toward the empty vile which had held the last drop they had gathered Izuku’s blood. There was no doubt about it now. No matter what. They needed to find them.

 

=

 

“Ugh. This is disgusting. Guess the hygienic route wasn’t an option” Ochako commented as they climbed down the ladder and into the dark depths of the sewer, Katsuki the last one down and being the one to close the metal grate up top. Fishing around in his bag of supplies when he reached the bottom and handing his two companions a torch each.

“Stay close. Don’t start wondering off like kids. I’m not dragging your asses out of here when you’re covered in shit” Katsuki told them as he set off first, slipping a full loaded gun into the hem of his trousers just in case.

Izkuku took his place at the back of the group, using his torch to really take in his surroundings. Red paint aligning the walls as they moved further in. Insults and slurs toward the government along with graphic drawings. His stomach felt very uneasy seeing those as he tried not the think about the crazy events that just occurred.

He didn’t expect them to suddenly stop, walking into the back of Ochako and immediately blurting our an apology, only to be shushed by Katsuki which made him pull a face.

“I don’t think we’re alone down here” the blonde informed the two behind him, shining his torch on a large room of water, small tents and a long since burnt out fire surrounded by soggy newspapers. Homeless people? It wouldn’t surprise him. But then again, he doubt they would’ve left this place, which made him on edge due to the cold logs.

“Keep an eye out” Katsuki told them as he moved further into the room, the water now up to around his hips, and higher for Izuku and Ochako who were smaller than him.

“How about I keep two eyes out?” Ochako muttered hastily, getting pretty sick of being ordered around by the apparent ‘leader’ of the group.

Izuku trialed behind a little, unsure of where he really belonged right now. He was only following the crowd, being silent as to not cause any more trouble. So he didn’t exactly know what they were doing here.

“What exactly are we looking for again?” He asked gently, closing in on himself slightly when he heard his voice echo throughout the room.

“Shut the fuck up fuck face,” Katsuki hissed, turning his torch to shine in Izuku’s face causing him to squeeze his eyes shut “we’re looking for a way outta here. So if you’d stop standing around and letting shit partials cling to you and get a fucking move on we’d actually be getting somewhere.”

“Touchy” Ochako snickered behind a fake cough, smiling innocently when the light turned to shine on her.

“You got anything to say round face? I’ll kick your ass.”

“Oh yeah? I doubt it. I happened to survive a night in the maze you know.”

“Try surviving a week bitch.”

Izuku rolled his eyes at their bickering focusing on finding an exit. Turning his flashlight down to the right where a passage curved toward the way they were supposed to go. Might as well see what’s down there.

“A week? It was hardly a week if you ask me. Is your brain so warped it can’t tell how many days it’s been?”

Katsuki just smirked “Not as warped as yours must be if you can actually stand here saying that.”

“See?! Now you’re just making excuses! Lame ones at that!”

“You’re the one making excuses bitch! How would you like it if you choke on a piece of shit?!”

“Better than being threatened by one!”

Izuku turned the corner and shone his light into what looked it be a room for electrics. But it was gone under and abandoned. None of the machines were still active and the water here was only up to his knees.

“You take that back before I leave you down here!”

“You’re so egotistical! I don’t need you to find a way out of here on my own!”

Walking further into the room, Izuku realised that he wasn’t alone in here. His torch running over a large group of hunched figures in the corner. He felt his heart drop to his stomach. He didn’t dare to even breathe.

“I fucking doubt that! You even had to have that purple haired guy show you the way out of the maze!”

“I’m not stupid! I knew the maze like the back of my hand! Unlike you who acts on his emotions alone because you only care about yourself!”

When he finally found it in himself to take another breathe it was shaky and ragged, slowly moving backwards and hoping to whatever god was out there that they wouldn’t going turn around. He could’ve cried from the stressful predicament he found himself in. There must’ve been around thirty or forty of them. All stood with the same posture and sometimes twitching because of the loud argument in the next room over. He tried to test his voice to call fro help but found it stuck in his throat. He had no weapon to defend himself. And he was clearly outnumbered. He needed to get out of here.

“Better than caring about some lowlifes who don’t even deserve my fuckin’ presence!”

“You wish, you sociopath! Maybe you don’t deserve my presence! I’m clearly more capable that you are!”

“OH FOR FUCK SAKE!” Katsuki raged.

Izuku’s eyes widened as he saw the bodies twitch into action, the now screaming match of an argument causing them to all make disembodied voices. All the green haired man could could was click off his light and cover his mouth, holding all his movement as he saw them turn around. A particularly large one with swollen warts over their body screaming louder than the two could ever.

It was only then that Katsuki and Ochako were knocked out of their argument and realised what had just happened. The blonde was immediately on a frantic search for Izuku, his heart racing out of his chest when he realised he wasn’t with them.

Deciding he must be where the noise had come from he immediately rushed over to the right side of the room and found the passageway, Ochako directly behind him as they both slowed down to find Izuku just standing ahead of them with with a look of horror in his face. His eyes never moving from where they were fixated in front of him.

“What the fuck…” Katsuki whispered as they both quickly clicked off their lights and looked at the horde of mindless people who didn’t even look human anymore. One particularly large one of them walking around the man they’d been looking for with a curious growl. But Izuku remained still and silent. Chasing off a sob as the ‘thing’ slobbered a thick green slime on his shoulder.

The group leader was immediately pulling out his gun but was stopped by Ochako who shook her head with wide eyes. Silently asking him if he’d gone crazy by just the look in her eyes.

This thing was definitely alien to what they’d ever seen before. Katsuki remembers people being affected by Q-12 before the maze and looking like this but he’d never actually seen it in person. Not ones this bad. They’d clearly been gone for quite some time.

His mind racing through his options he eyed a broken glass bottle on the floor by his feet, picking it up gently while keeping his eyes trained on Izuku, the thing around him deciding it was a good idea to lick the left side of his face. His body now visibly shaking, knowing there was no way out of this situation. They were going to die for sure.

Just as the thing went to bite into his face, Katsuki lost his temper and threw the glass bottle all the way to the other side of the room where they all immediately scurried over.

Through all the noise that those things made Katsuki made his way over to Izuku and caught him just as his knees were about to give way, hugging the living daylights out of him as he felt Izuku realise his built up tears.

Keeping an eye on the horde where they were now ganging up on a weaker one of themselves, tearing into the flesh and ripping off limbs, the turning the water into a deep maroon.

“Come on” Katsuki muttered, keeping an arm around Izuku as they walked out of the room, trying not to puke as they headed back into where they had been before. If they keep their voices low. They should be fine in here.

“Are you alright? They didn’t hurt you did they?” The blonde fretted, looking over Izuku for any external injuries but found nothing but a few scrapes, wiping off the smoky gunk on his shoulder.

“I-I-I’m okay…”

Ochako willed her heart to stop beating so hard as she fanned her face to keep down the sweat. It was too close. Way to close. They couldn’t mess around, it almost got someone killed!

“I apologise Katsuki. Our conversation got out of hand. And I apologise to you also Izuku. If we had explored together this wouldn’t have happened.”

Katsuki hated that he agreed with her.

“Sticking to you like fucking glue now. Can’t trust anything in here” He muttered as he wiped off more green saliva on Izuku’s face.

The man gave a watery smile and nodded.

“Alright, I think I saw a door further ahead, it seems to be a way forward” Ochako explained as she watched the two of them interact. Her words about Katsuki only caring about himself making her feel very guilty. She’d have to apologise again later.