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Explosive Touch [Bakugo Katsuki x OC] – Book 1

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Chapters 1 and 2 – Preview :

 

“Bakugo-kun, right?”

His crimson eyes darted towards her. With a shy smile, she continued.

“I just wanted to say – thank you! A lot! For saving me when you tried to stop the villain, and for warning me! I guess I owe you my life, don’t I?”

He was just looking at her through his furrowed brows and after turning his head to the side, he responded.

“I just told you to move out of the way. That’s all.”

 

***

 

Atsuhi walked closer to the giant gate, separating her from the site of the exam, ready to hear Present Mic’s starting announcement, and began doing some simple exercises to warm up one last time before the beginning.

And… start! What’s wrong? The exam has begun!! Run! Run!!”

Everyone stood still for a few seconds in shock, until they realized what they had just heard and suddenly rushed in panic to the giant entrance which was now open. Atsuhi wasn’t falling behind either.

Oh my God… We’ve already begun!? That’s bad, that’s bad, the ten minutes are running out! Aaaah, c’mon, get yourself together, Atsuhi, you can do it!

 

***

 

Atsuhi was sitting nervously in front of her desk, staring at the small white envelope placed on it. There was a wax stamp in the center and the lower right corner had UA High School written on it. The female had been sitting like this for ten minutes now, not daring to look at the results from the entrance exam. On one hand, her father was constantly trying to reassure her that she had done a great job and will definitely be accepted. But on the other, she was dealing with Japan’s best students here – what if she really couldn’t measure up to them?

 

***

 

Thank you for deciding to read this story – it really means a lot to me! This is a Bakugo Katsuki x OC fanfiction, but you can easily read it as an X Reader if that’s what you prefer – just replace the name Atsuhi with whatever you want.

 

Please excuse any spelling, grammar, and especially punctuation mistakes. English isn’t my first language so some sentences might not be entirely correct. If you notice any mistakes, please let me know and I’ll do my best to fix them.

 

I will be posting a new chapter of this story every Tuesday (I will tell you in advance if I have to post on a different day or won’t be able to get anything up at all). I have a lot of chapters written already though, so unless something comes up in my life, updates will be regular.

 

I will be using the [Last Name] [First Name] structure i.e. Bakugo Katsuki, Midoriya Izuku, etc. This means that Atsuhi is my OC’s first name and the one I will often refer to her by.

 

“Explosive Touch” will be separated into multiple books, each one covering the events of one season of the anime. This means that this book will be about Season 1. Also, I’m caught up with the manga, so I don’t mind spoilers (however, other people looking through the comments might).

 

Oh, and by the way, this story is also on Wattpad and Quotev.

 

Well, that’s all! Hope you enjoy what you’re about to read and, once again, thank you!

Chapter Text

"This is so not fair!"

"What are you talking about, Tomo-chan...?"

"You got a perfect score on the chemistry exam. Again."

"Um... sorry? Look, it's the one subject I'm good at – please just let me enjoy it a little!"

"You always that, Atsu-chan... Shouldn't there be a subject I'm good at too!?"

"You'll find one soon enough... I hope..."

"What was that!?"

"Nothing, nothing. Nevermind, Tomo-chan!"

"Hmph. It's still not fair."

"Hey, look, you can sulk all you want, but we gotta part ways now. See you tomorrow!"

"Sure. Bye, Atsu-chan!"

Those were the words which put an end to Saeki Atsuhi's time with her friend since the start of Middle School – Tomomi, for the day, and marked the start of the lonely walk back to her small apartment. As she clutched the straps of her bright red backpack, the girl walked along the familiar sidewalk and gazed at all the same buildings and displays, much like she did every day after school.

Passing by a particular entrance, however, Atsuhi paused to take in the view. A light blue sunshade, magazines advertised in front of the door, some recent books displayed at the front, and, most notably, the bookshop's few posters of All Might, hung up on its single small window.

It was next to impossible to find even a young child who didn't know who All Might was. Though he carried many awe-inspiring titles, the hero always smiled fearlessly in the face of his enemies, bringing hope and comfort to those he had sworn to protect. This nature of his inspired thousands of students to choose the path of professional heroes every year, becoming something thought of only as a made-up job merely a few decades prior.

Atsuhi was no exception. While not the only reason for the choice that she had made, All Might was always there to remind her of her dreams. Both figuratively, and literally, as she had once long ago bought those two posters from this very bookshop and hung them up in her own room.

Ten months. It will happen in just ten months!!

As Atsuhi thought of the single exam that was likely going to decide her whole future, she shook her head before her nerves successfully got the better of her.

No point thinking about it so early! I'm doing my best to prepare so I'll surely pass...

With one final look at those posters, the girl bid goodbye to the small bookshop internally, and continued on her way.

It was only after the air around her unexpectedly became too hot to even bear that she was forced to stop and make out what was happening, but-

BOOOOOM!!

W-was that... an explosion!? What... Wait, why did everything go black!?

Before she could panic any further, Atsuhi realized her sight had been obscured by her own arm, which she had lifted up to shield her eyes instinctively at the sound of the nearby blast. And despite the burning heat from the air and the smoke rising up from the ground, she hesitantly peeked through her eyelids.

What she saw, however, caused a cold shiver to run down her body.

In the place where the blast had originated from and where smoke continued to reside, there now stood a creature which was all but humanoid. It looked like a big pile of mud or sludge in a dark green color, much like moss. The only thing that set it apart from the aforementioned comparisons were its unsettling eyes, yellow and large just like its grinning mouth.

Villain...

And even as sure as she might've been that what she was now facing must've been a rampant villain, Atsuhi made no attempt to run away, too lost between her sudden shock and fear to even consider the option.

It was only thanks to someone else that it dawned on her.

"GET THE HELL AWAY FROM HERE!!"

A cry much too strained and desperate to be taken lightly. And although it took her a couple of seconds, Atsuhi soon realized it had originated from the very villain she had to get away from.

Or so she thought, until she saw him. A middle schooler, if his barely visible school uniform was anything to judge by, with spiky ash blond hair, and eyes that, if you perhaps looked at with enough attention, you might think showed some fear.

What followed the cry, was the movement of the villain's monstrous eyes, shifting a little only to lock themselves onto the girl's frame.

Atsuhi stepped back once. Then twice. And then, she spun around and dashed away, running for dear life.

Or so she tried to do. But the muddy grip on her wrist begged to differ.

The cold shiver returned as Atsuhi didn't dare turn around and see the monstrous grin coming for her. After quickly learning that trying to tear her hand away was of no use, she scrambled for anything else to get her out of there.

It was the suddenly increased struggling of the villain's hostage that gave her a few seconds to think. And that was all she had needed. A single idea. But even that was enough.

Just as the pair of yellow eyes landed on her again, Atsuhi reached back with her free hand to open the zipper of the backpack she still carried on her shoulders. And as she took out the now empty metal lunchbox from inside, it was time to activate her Quirk.

Just a second later, she threw the lunchbox at the villain, the object never hitting him, but getting absorbed inside of his liquid-like body instead. He laughed.

"I didn't think you were that desperate. Surely you had already figured out something like this wouldn't-" He paused. Then groaned. Atsuhi, on the other hand, was smirking, albeit a little prematurely.

As the grip around her wrist loosened, she ran away, this time for real, never once turning back to look at the villain that had almost captured her. When a pair of arms wrapped around her waist and she was swiftly lifted up in the air, although squirming in shock at first, Atsuhi quickly relaxed upon the realization that she had been carried away by a familiar hero in the face of Kamui Woods.

"You're safe. The heroes will take care of the villain now," he said, carrying Atsuhi off to one of the nearby streets and taking off again soon, without even leaving the girl enough time to thank him for rescuing her.

But even as she stood there, she could still see the villain, the pain from the burning hot lunchbox she had thrown inside of his liquefied body now long forgotten.


 

She may not have been standing there for long. But every second she was forced to bear witness to the futile attempts the heroes made to fight the rampant villain felt like an eternity. That half an hour that had passed might as well have been a couple weeks in the girl's worried mind.

Atsuhi wasn't by herself anymore as for the first few minutes heroes had been taking turns bringing unharmed and injured civilians alike in the clearing near the many destroyed streets courtesy of the sludge creature. Soon enough however, the operation had shifted from rescuing those involuntarily caught up in this mess, to subduing the destruction caused by the villain.

And amidst it all, it felt like they'd forgotten an important detail.

He's still inside... He's still being kept hostage...

Atsuhi longed to shout those words, to cry for help in the poor boy's stead. And yet, here she stood, not doing anything. But worse than that – so were the heroes.

Most were making no attempts to even close the distance between them and the villain, settling for extinguishing the flames engulfing the streets and keeping curious civilians at bay instead.

All in all, the boy's situation was anything but admirable. However, Atsuhi would've been lying had she said she didn't feel some admiration for the boy himself. Sure, he may have been in a tough position and struggling more than one should ever have to in their life. But despite it all he was... strong.

A word perhaps too simple to describe it. Yet Atsuhi couldn't find a better one.

He was doing his damn best to fight off the villain's attempt to take control of him. His Quirk was nothing short of amazing as he could produce powerful explosions from his hands. Or so it looked, although the girl couldn't be quite sure of the specifics of it quite yet.

But even strong people had their limits. And Atsuhi feared the blond boy's very own limit might've been close.

"We'll just have to wait until someone with a more suitable Quirk appears!" And though Kamui Woods continued shouting some instructions at his fellow heroes, Atsuhi heard no more, his first words causing the cold sweat to run down her face in an agonizingly slow manner.

They're... just going to stand there? Do nothing, leave him to suffer...?

No, no, no!! This... isn't right!! That's not what... heroes do...?

Her heart began beating faster and faster, yet for the girl everything moved as if a slow-motion filter had been applied to reality without her noticing. Her eyes gazed upon the terrors in front of her, yet her mind wandered off to the terrors in her own head. To that memory where she stood frozen still as well. Where she couldn't do anything. Where she was helpless.

And she knew how that memory ended. She'd seen it many a times in her nightmares.

No – this can't end the same!!

So she thought. But did she really have it in her to change this?

It was a blur of green moving swiftly in her peripheral vision that finally gave her an answer.

Because as a small curly-haired boy, with the same middle school uniform as the one captured by the villain, dashed by Atsuhi with eyes focused on the monster up ahead, she knew she had to move as well.

She also knew heroes were known for moving before they could think. And that is what she did. She scoffed even at the thought of freezing still, wondering if she should help or not.

After all, the answer should've been clear to her all along.

Next step was a plan. It was going to be shaky. But she'd managed with a shakier plan once already. Sp her next task was to distract the villain long enough. And if all went well, not only would the green-haired boy escape unscathed, but he would surely have enough time to free the unfortunate hostage too. With that, she ran.

Sneaking past the heroes guarding the civilians (though she was noticed rather easily), Atsuhi ran towards the villain, stopping just close enough to execute her not-really-complex plan. In this moment, she was thankful for the blond boy's destructive powers, for the rubble his explosions had scattered all across the ground was a key feature of her plan.

She bent down, picked up a handful of small rocks, and repeated an action she was already familiar with. After all, she had done much the same thing just half an hour prior, when the villain had made an attempt to attack her as well.

She used her Quirk again, then tossed the heated up pebbles towards the villain whose body soon absorbed them, effectively capturing his attention. In the end, they were bound to be less effective than the metal box from earlier. And yet, it was alright, as this time the goal was simply to create a distraction, to buy some time.

When the big yellow eyes landed on her frame again, Atsuhi became a little more hesitant, almost retreating back in fear. Though she found it in herself to push through, gritting her teeth and tossing a few more rocks while she did her best to force a confident expression on her face.

And as she let her eyes wander further, this confidence almost became genuine as she noticed the green-haired boy already trying to free what was more than likely his classmate from within the villain's clutches.

That's right. Just keep looking at me, you ugly monster. Soon things will fall into place...

And yet, in a manner she'd learn was just a staple of her life in the next couple of years, things never went quite right.

The eyes turned away. The explosions stopped. And Atsuhi could only watch with wide eyes as a muddy hand quickly neared the two boys. The deafening cries of the heroes filled the air. But then-

"DETROIT SMASH!!!"

The air moved too fast for Atsuhi, who soon lost her already shaky balance. Whether because she stood just a few meters away from the newly-appeared hero, or because her legs finally gave out in relief, she'd never know.

With a single punch, the sludge went flying in all directions.

A-All Might...

Neither her mouth, nor her thoughts could form anything more coherent. It was all relief.

And so, the raindrops fell down the girl's exhausted smile.


 

"There was absolutely no need for you two to put yourselves in danger like that!"

It seemed that even heroic acts deserved a scolding these days. As that was exactly what Atsuhi and the green-haired boy from earlier had been forced to endure for the last fifteen minutes or so. (All the while, the other boy had been sitting nearby, listening to praise from popular and virtually unknown heroes alike.)

It was only once Death Arms decided that the number of times he'd paraphrased that same sentence was enough for the two middle-schoolers to finally drill it into their heads, that he left them alone. Atsuhi hesitated for a bit, casting an awkward glance in the boy's direction.

"So, um, Midoriya-kun, if I remember correctly?" She paused, giving the boy enough time to nod in confirmation. "Well... I just wanted to say... I know the heroes are saying that what you did was kinda irresponsible but I have to thank you. Watching how helpless everyone was... It was agonizing. In fact, if it weren't for you I'm sure I would've probably just continued standing and watching from the sidelines too. In the end, I think you acted really brave!!" By the time she finished, Atsuhi was smiling wide, hoping she didn't make him feel too awkward with what were without a doubt an extremely cheesy couple of sentences. She had no idea someone was going to bring the very same boy to tears a few minutes later saying something quite similar.

"Th-thank you, though I... wouldn't call this being brave... It-it's just – Kacchan and I have been friends since we were children so when I saw his face I just... ran. Maybe... maybe it was something like an impulse."

"Well, you know, it sounds a whole lot like the impulse of a hero to me!"

"I-is that so..." Even Atsuhi could tell the boy was quite shy (whether in general or because he was speaking to a girl, she wasn't sure quite yet). In turn, she decided she didn't need to bother him any further. More so, there was one more thing she wanted to do before she inevitably had to return home.

"So, it was a pleasure meeting you, Midoriya-kun, but I'm afraid I really need to go home now – Dad's probably worried sick by this point... Ah, maybe you should tell your parents you're alright as well? Anyway – hope to see you again some time! Bye!!"

"Oh, of course! Goodbye, Saeki-san!"

"Just Atsuhi's fine!!" The girl called as she walked away, waving one final time before she looked ahead, eyes darting back and forth, looking for a certain someone. And fortunately for her, the heroes had already left him alone as well. She walked up to him, making sure he saw her before speaking up.

"Your name was Bakugo-kun, right?" Although his crimson eyes darted towards her, he made no other sign of acknowledging her presence. However, she smiled, albeit still a little shy, and continued.

"Well, I just wanted to say – thank you!! Really, like, a lot! For warning me, and then for saving me!! It sounds really cheesy but I guess it's kinda like I owe you my life now...?" This time he did look at her, furrowing his brows and turning his head to the side, breaking eye contact.

"Just told you to move out of the way. That's all."

Aha, now we're talking!

"Okay, regardless of what you say, in my mind, I still owe you! Now this might be a whole lotta guessing here but you're strong. And you look like you wanna go pro. So it's no stretch for me to assume that you're aiming for UA, no?" At this, he looked up, perhaps a bit intrigued.

Ha, so I was right!!

As she continued, Atsuhi's smile was even wider than before.

"Well then, see you at UA, Bakugo-kun!"

"Tch... As if you're gonna make it there."

"You'll be surprised!"

It was kind of like a promise. One she intended to keep. And one she didn't realize would change her life.

But with that, Atsuhi was finally ready to return home.


 

"Um, hello, Da-"

"Atsuhi, oh thank God! I'm so, so, so glad you're okay! You- wait, you are okay, right!?"

"It's fine, Dad, I'm fine. Just scraped my hands a bit – that's all.

"Phew, that's a relief. You have no idea how worried I was. I swear, if the others at the agency weren't there to calm me down I might just have caught the first train back to see you right this instant..."

"Yeah, so, about that. Um, I'm really sorry... and, uh, I guess you also heard how..."

"How you apparently ran towards the villain, putting your own life in danger? Yes, yes, that was mentioned too. I swear, if you keep this up my hair will be all white in like a year or something... And-"

"Yeah, yeah, I get it, it was very irresponsible, I shouldn't have done it. Just so you know, I'm pretty sure I hear that at least 20 times today already."

"Well, yeah, that too."

"What?"

"You see, that wasn't what I was actually going to say. Sure, a part of me wishes to scold you real bad. But also, I can't help it. This is pretty much exactly the act of a hero. I know I shouldn't be, but I'm proud of you. Just please don't do it again. I beg you."

"Oh, um... in that case, thanks, I guess? I am learning from the best, after all!"

"Ah, such flattery!! Anyway, I'm sure it must’ve been an exhausting day, what with all this mayhem happening in such a short time. Plus, you've got school tomorrow so I think you should be going to bed."

"Yeah, guess you're right. Good night then, Dad! Talk to you again in the morning, bye!

"Bye, Atsuhi. Sweet dreams!"

The girl brought the phone down from her ear, ending the call, before she reached out her hand to set it on the night stand beside her bed. As she pulled up her fluffy blanket and shuffled one of her hands underneath the pillow, finding just the right cold spot, Atsuhi closed her eyes, succumbing to some blissful and much-needed sleep, a smile still present on her face.

After all, she had been reminded of the very reason she wanted to be a hero in the first place – to save people with a smile, much like All Might had done today. To bring them relief when they needed it. To be their hope when they had lost theirs.

And more than that, though she didn't know it yet, today might just have been one of the most important days in her life. Today had been the day when she had met him. The day they'd spoken for the first time. The day they'd seen each other for the first time. The day their lives had intertwined for the first time.

And neither knew how they were destined to change each other's fate.

Chapter Text

 

"Good luck, sweetie! I'm pretty sure you can do it. But still – just make sure you stay focused and be careful. The whole agency's cheering you on!"

"Well, tell them I said 'thank you' then! It's just that... I can't help but worry, you know? It's a pretty big event for me. And... I mean, what if I don't get in...?"

"Hey, look, UA isn't the only hero school in Japan."

"But it's the one you and Mom went to... I have to get in."

"I knew you were gonna say that. It's fine. I'd say you've got it in the bag."

"I really hope you're right. So... I'm about to go into the school, so it's bye for now. Cross your fingers! I'll call you when it's over."

"Sure thing, Atsuhi! Bye and good luck!"

Following the short conversation with her father leading up to the fated entrance exam for UA Academy, Atsuhi, alongside the hundreds of other participants she'd have to complete against in her struggle to the top, had to listen to Present Mic's overly-dramatic explanation of the relatively simple rules.

At present the girl stood in front of the examination grounds, gaping in awe at the sheer size of the city replica where the fighting of giant robots for points was going to take place.

And to think UA has seven of these... Hearing about it is really different from seeing it in person...

But not long after the amazement, came some more unpleasant thoughts. Mainly, the expected anxiety that proceeded any event you actually cared about. As much as Atsuhi tried to rationalize it, it was simply too important for her not to worry.

She was resting her entire life's worth of dreams and hopes on this one day. She wanted to follow in the footsteps of her parents, she wanted to go to UA and become a hero just like they had. No matter how many times her dad had tried to remind her she could probably do just fine with any other hero school as well, there was something different about UA. And she wanted to experience it first-hand.

As the only participant from her middle school, Atsuhi was certainly lonely. And being alone before a big event was never easy on the mind. She did, however, find a little comfort in the fact that everyone seemed to be lost in their own world, just as worried as she was, if not more so.

While she looked around, perhaps believing that this might be enough to ease her worries, she gasped in surprise upon the sight of a familiar green-haired boy, nervously snapping his head from side to side, looking pretty intimidated by some of the serious expressions surrounding him.

Isn't that... um, let's see... Midoriya-kun, yeah? From that day with the sludge villain incident. I hope he wouldn't mind...

With that, the girl walked up to him, hoping that she might help both of them by sparking up some small talk.

"Hey, Midoriya-kun, long time no see!" As the boy's eyes scanned her appearance, he stood confused for a little before his face lit up with recognition and he responded, a little more relaxed.

"Ah, Saeki-san? H-hello, never thought I'd see you here... But... You know, that actually makes a lot of sense. I mean, you also ran out to help Kacchan that day so it isn't much of stretch to think you were planning on enlisting in a hero school as well. Huh, how did I not think of this sooner, mhm..." Only a few words in and Midoriya did something quite peculiar, suddenly losing himself in a long string of rambling, talking to no one in particular, with a hand gripping his chin in a thoughtful pose.

That's... a curious habit...

While Atsuhi watched him with an awkward smile and zero chance of even following along with his ever-leaping logic, Midoriya continued losing himself further and further inside his own spoken-out-loud thoughts, soon even forgetting he wasn't alone in the first place.

Okay, that's nice and all but I think I'm gonna interrupt him right about now.

"So, interesting coincidence, isn't it?" She cleared her throat to get the boy's attention and he instantly stopped, jumping a little in place before reverting back to his timid stance. "Seven different exam sites and we just so happen to run into each other at the same one. Some sort of fateful encounter perhaps?"

"M-maybe. I guess it is pretty random..."

"That's right!! Fingers crossed it means something good. Well anyway, for now, if you'd excuse me, I'm gonna go gather my thoughts one last time before we start. Good luck, Midoriya-kun! Hopefully we'll be classmates starting April!"

"G-Good luck to you too, Saeki-san!"

If we end up becoming actual classmates, I'll see to it he stops calling me by my last name.

Atsuhi giggled at the thought, stringing on yet another promise to herself to make it.

We should be starting in a couple of minutes... It's cool, Atsuhi – once it starts, it will be over before you know it.

...

Wait, if I have to collect points isn't that, like, a bad thing!? Gah, I can't even make up my mind about this stuff... Stupid nerves-

"And... start!"

Everyone paused mid-movement, a whole bunch of confused expressions looking up to find the source of the voice.

"What's wrong? The exam has begun!! Run! Run!!"

And then, in the blink of an eye, a wave of panicking students rushed at the now open entrance.

Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no!! We've already begun!? That's bad, that's bad, that's very, very bad! Those ten minutes are already running out! Aaaah, c'mon, get yourself together, Atsuhi, you can do it!!

So, it was time to start.


 

Whenever you had to collect a given amount of points, objects, etc. within the span of a certain number of minutes, time never seemed to be moving at the correct speed. Namely, it typically felt as if those minutes were going by in the blink of an eye. And before you knew it, you were left standing there with a dumbfounded expression while your mind still struggled to grasp the fact that you had definitely not succeeded in collecting all you needed to.

Atsuhi knew such a danger existed way before the exam had even begun. And as such, she planned to avoid a similar outcome at all costs. Nonetheless, no efforts proved to help in making the seconds tick by any slower. Before she knew it, Present Mic had announced the four-minute mark.

We're nearing the end then. Crap.

As a robot with a big number three printed on its arm clumsily passed by, Atsuhi took the chance and ran up to it from the rooftop she had been standing on during her lookout, jumping down on top of a slightly shorter building, until she was in front of the faux villain, waiting for it to pass by her. When it did, she reached out her hands, placing them on top of its head, causing the machine to turn and try to attack her. Before it could even move its arm however, it ceased all movement as sparks flew off of it and soon after, it collapsed onto the ground, while the girl just added an extra three points to her growing score.

As Atsuhi made her way back down onto the streets, this time via the staircase of the building, though taking the steps two at a time in a terrifying experience, she tallied up her current points.

If my math's any good, I should have 39. I mean, it's not bad. But is it enough? I don't know so I guess all I can really do is just look for more...

She had barely made it to the street, when the ground beneath her feet shook. Soon enough, debris and rocks were flying about everywhere and the sudden quake became a lot more rhythmic, as if there were a pattern to it. Many scared faces looked around, frantically wondering about the source of this disturbance. And then their answer appeared.

W-what... is this!?

Looming over the minuscule in comparison to it buildings, another robot appeared. One which looked quite unfamiliar and, well, massive. As its hand slammed into the building beside it, its upper floors were easily crushed, sending even more debris into the air, all falling alarmingly close to the students, who all seemed to have been gathered close together, and stared in fear at the new foe.

As if on cue though, Atsuhi's mind picked the perfect time to recall a certain piece of information she'd been given a few minutes ago.

We've seen the one-, two-, and three-pointers so far. And if I'm right then this thing should be...

"The gimmick..." she mumbled to herself, one leg already moving backwards, ready to run any moment now.

Soon she, and mostly everyone else, as apparently the entire group had had the same realization simultaneously dawn on them, were running in the opposite direction. Atsuhi looked back, something inside her urging her to take one final look at the gimmick which she hoped she'd never have to face in her life ever again.

That was when she realized not everyone had run away at once. For in front of the zero-pointer, stood a frozen Midoriya, shaking at the sight of the faux villain looming over him. Atsuhi would've asked herself what he was doing there. Perhaps she was going to reach the conclusion that he was simply too scared to run too. But before she could, he made a move that left the girl even more surprised than before.

Much unlike any sane person's actions, Midoriya jumped towards the robot.

At this very moment, Atsuhi wished to shout that it was useless, to stop him somehow. But, while looking around for anything to help her accomplish such a feat, she spotted something that might or might not have been the very reason for the boy's ridiculous actions.

A few meters away, she found a girl with short brown hair and very red cheeks, trapped underneath a pile of rubble, and desperately trying to escape, although her attempts all remained futile. Doing something just as ridiculous as the green-haired boy before her, Atsuhi ran towards the girl.

"Hey, hey, you okay!? I'm going to help you now, it's okay!" She mumbled reassurances as she helped the other girl by lifting up some of the rubble she was caught underneath and lending her a hand to pull her out. "Are you hurt? Everything's fine, right?" As the dark-haired girl dusted off her clothes, she looked up at Atsuhi.

"Yes, yes, I'm okay! Thank you so much!"

"I'm not the one you should be thanking. Come on, let's get out of-"

"SMAASH!"

Before Atsuhi could pull the girl beside her along and run to a safer place with her, the two looked up at the sky, where Midoriya had taken down the giant robot with just a single punch.

W-wha- that was incredible! Huh...? But what's with his legs...? And his arm too? Wait, he's falling?

...

Falling?! I have to-

Fortunately for Midoriya, the girl Atsuhi had helped rescue seemed to act quicker, already moving to jump onto a nearby fallen piece of metal, which soon floated up into the air. Though she spent a brief second wondering what the girl's Quirk might be, in the end, Atsuhi was left as no more than a simple bystander, as she watched the two land softly on the ground, both seeming to be safe.

Nonetheless, shocked by the greenhead's injuries, the blonde ran up to him, thinking she might still be of help somehow, the need to win more points long forgotten by now.

Or at least until Midoriya lifted up his head and crawled on the ground with his only good arm, groaning and repeating something.

"Just... one point...!!"

One... No, don't tell me… After everything he did!?

And yet, time waits for nobody.

"It's all... over!!"


 

"Broken, you say?"

"Yeah, both his legs and the arm he punched the gimmick with. Just like that – broken!"

"And then?"

"Well, the exam had already ended anyway, so I tried to help him. You know, make the broken parts a little colder at least to reduce the swelling or something. Though it's not like I could do much more than that. Thankfully, Recovery Girl appeared and she healed him in no time!! Her Quirk is seriously amazing! Ah, she also gave me some candy."

"I swear that woman hasn't changed since I was a student there. Anyway, what do you think about the exam? How'd it go?"

"I didn't do bad. At least, I don't think so. I mean, I'd say I passed the written exam. About the practical though... I don't know, I had quite a few points, but now it all depends on everyone else's scores."

"Heads up, Atsuhi – I'm sure you've done a splendid job. We're just waiting for the final rankings by this point. Call me as soon as you hear anything, m'kay?"

"Sure thing. Bye, Dad!"

"Bye-bye!"


 

Atsuhi had been sitting nervously in front of her desk, staring at the small white envelope placed upon it while the beads of cold sweat had been rolling down the side of her forehead. The words UA High School written on the envelope had been making her heart beat faster than she'd ever thought it could at the sight of a simple letter. It had taken her ten minutes of staring at it to overcome her anxieties and reach out a shaky hand to break the seal open.

However, now, another ten minutes later, she didn't remember a single one of those worrying thoughts that had tormented her for so long.

"An excellent score on the written portion, 39 points from defeated robots from the practical, and 17 rescue points. Young Saeki, with a total of 58 points, you're in. This will now be Your Hero Academia!"

Those were All Might's words, albeit coming from but a projection of the hero. Atsuhi was still struggling to really grasp their meaning. To really let herself breathe out a big sigh of relief, one she'd been waiting to release ever since the end of the exam.

Her dream wasn't a dream anymore. It was, slowly but surely, becoming her reality.

The girl felt a little stupid. After all, was there really any need for her to be crying now?

No, it was fine. She didn't mind. It was fine to cry every once in a while, wasn't it?

She was still far from everything she'd imagined for her distant future. But with this, she had finally taken it. The first step towards this new life.

And with her now dried tears on her cheeks, she picked up her phone with hands trembling in excitement, all too eager to share the good news.

"Hello, Atsuhi...? Isn't it a bit late for-"

"I did it, Dad! I got into UA!!"

 

Chapter Text

"You're sure you'll find it by yourself? There's some real confusing streets in the area..."

"Dad. You're the one who used to get lost all the time. Believe it or not, I actually have some sense of direction."

"Oh, so now you're going to remind me about it all the time, just like your mother used to. You two are too cruel. Hey? Hey, I can hear you laughing, Atsuhi! Stop it! A future hero shouldn't be laughing at others' misfortune like that!"

"C'mon, you're just acting like a child."

"Well, you're all grown up now. Just taking your place."

"I'm going to cut you off right here. This conversation's taking a weird turn."

"Sure, sure."

"Oh, by the way, I have to be up in like, two minutes, so..."

"Of course, first impressions are important, no? Have a nice first day of school, Atsuhi!"

"Thanks! Good luck with work today too! 'Til tonight."

Atsuhi rubbed her sleepy eyes and yawned, reaching out to her bedside table where she set down her phone. Then she tossed aside her blanket and stood up, heading to the bathroom.

After so many years, here it was. Her first day as a student at UA. She couldn't possibly describe how excited she felt but it was certainly enough to get her out of bed earlier than usual. Moreover, throughout the whole process of getting ready for the day, she moved about with a hop to her step and glee radiating off her face.

Once she was all ready to go, the girl walked up to the door, a hand already on the handle, ready to open it and begin the day for real. Before she did though, she glanced at the big full-length mirror beside it, taking in her appearance one final time. Her blonde hair tied into two identical braids, resting on either of her shoulders, her long bangs framing her cheerful face, her uniform reminding her of her life-long dream.

Everything was perfect.

Thus, with a big smile to boot, Atsuhi was ready to head out.


 

Dad said the streets might be confusing... But he never mentioned anything about the school itself!!

Then again, for such a large building, perhaps it was her own fault she hadn't foreseen something like this happening. In the end, it had taken the girl a good few minutes of aimless wandering around the halls to spot a tall door with a big 1A written on it. She had to resist the urge to facepalm at just the thought of how many times she must've passed right by it.

Well, at least I found it now. Wow, it's... huge...

All confidence she might've had in the morning was already lost. Atsuhi now stood before the literal and figurative door separating her from her new future on the path of becoming a hero. It was an intimidating feeling alright.

Well, it's not like I can turn back now.

It's not like I want to turn back now.

She tried psyching herself up but as she soon realized, the best thing she could do now was just open the door. So, with quivering fingers, she slid it open, the cogs in her mind turning rapidly before she'd even laid eyes upon the people inside.

Let's see now... I'd feel a whole lot better if I just so happen to find someone I know in here.

Midoriya-kun had a really high score on the entrance exam, didn't he? So maybe he's here- nope, don't see him around. Moving on, hm... What about Uraraka? She was third so she's definitely in, right...? Well, I don't see her either.

Let's think for a second here. Who else did I recognize from the rankings? Think, think- ah, Bakugo-kun!!

Sure enough, a face she hadn't seen in quite a while was the first one she recognized amidst the half-empty classroom. The blond sat in the far off corner of the room, busying himself with his phone, while also conveniently ignoring everything that was happening around him. Atsuhi's entrance included.

Now here's hoping he doesn't mind too much!

She approached Bakugo with caution, mindful not to attract too much attention to herself quite yet, settling herself down on the desk to his right, dropping her backpack on the ground as she looked at the boy beside her.

"Told you I'd see you at UA," Atsuhi announced with a proud grin, making the boy look up as soon as he realized the nearby voice had been directed at him. He took a second as he finally registered the fact that she'd already entered the classroom a while ago, but then looked away.

"Sure. Didn't expect it but whatever." The indifferent expression he wore contrasted with his words which, as long as you squinted at them enough, could've been interpreted as actual surprise. Or so Atsuhi decided to believe.

"Proud to have subverted your expectations then!" Bakugo looked at the girl again, as if he hadn't thought she would continue speaking to him. "Anyway though, I had no idea you were this good! I mean, first place in the entrance exam – that's incredible!" She meant every word she said, deciding that perhaps a little bit of flattery might've helped her start up a more proper conversation with the boy.

"Get used to it. I'm not settling for any less than that."

Did I... just feed into his ego without realizing it was already too big...? Well... my bad then.

"Um, I'm not about to doubt your abilities or something but, you know," Atsuhi began, a little unsure how to respond to his straight-forward confidence. "That's quite ambitious, huh..."

I'm making things worse...

"Not ambitious. It's downright impossible. But only if you aren't strong enough."

"And you believe you are?" Atsuhi's question was met with an expression she could only describe as the visual interpretation of the words 'take a wild guess'. Realizing the girl had nothing to retort back, Bakugo leaned back in his chair and put his legs up on his desk.

And no more than a second later, a boy with a square face and dark blue hair, which swung along with his exaggerated movements and occasionally fell in front of his also square glasses, materialized beside them out of thin air.

Woah, does this guy have a teleporting Quirk or something!? God, he scared me.

"Take your legs off this desk right this instant! Such an act is disrespectful to those who have come to UA before us, as well as the craftsmen who have created this desk!" The unnecessary seriousness on his face, the strange hand gestures he was making, the mature words he was using. It was all simply too funny. In fact, Atsuhi had to mask her uprising giggles by pretending to cough a little to the side. Even then, she was quite sure anyone could tell what she was doing, so long as they were actually looking at her. Bakugo, on the other hand, didn't laugh. Instead, he snared back.

"As if I care! What middle school are you from, extra?"

Extra? That's... a creative insult...

"I come from Somei Private Academy. My name is Ida Tenya.”

"Somei, huh?! So you're-"

That was when Atsuhi decided that she'd much rather avoid disaster.

"Um, hey, Ida-san, please forgive him! I'm pretty sure Bakugo-kun wouldn't mind sitting down properly." She shot a meaningful glance at the blond's direction, yet he didn't seem to catch what she was trying to convey. Or rather, he knew. But oh, did he refuse to listen.

"Hah!? Who gave you permission to tell me what to do?"

Does he really want to get into trouble that badly? Wonder if he's always like this...

With Bakugo's attention now directed back at her, Atsuhi noticed Ida had already left, now appearing beside the doorway where he had begun tormenting someone else. A green-haired boy with weirdly symmetrical freckles adorning his cheeks, to be more precise.

"Deku..." Hearing Bakugo growl the unfamiliar name, the girl turned in confusion, only to find him glaring at the very same green-haired boy which, as far she knew, was in fact not named Deku.

"Are you... talking about Midoriya-kun?"

"The dumbass thinks he can compare with me." Atsuhi took the omission of an answer as an affirmative. "I'll crush him to pieces." Though she was without a doubt caught a little off-guard by Bakugo's sudden hostility.

I thought Midoriya-kun said the two were childhood friends... I never realized they were actually on bad terms.

And so, things proceeded just the same. Bakugo complained about Midoriya. Midoriya was flushed a bright red as he spoke to Ida. Then beside Ida, without a warning, appeared Uraraka. Cue Midoriya becoming even redder. Might've been a bit of a concerning shade actually. What broke the 'peaceful' atmosphere was the deep, low voice that resounded throughout the room.

"If you've come here to socialize, get out. This is the hero course." Those words were all it took for the room to suddenly turn completely silent, students sitting down in their desks in a matter of seconds. And soon, they found the source of the disturbance – a man with bushy black hair and concerning bags under his eyes, as if he hadn't slept in a week. Once all eyes were finally on him, he crawled out from inside of a yellow sleeping bag on the floor.

I... He... What?

"It took you 8 seconds to shut up. Not very rational, are you?" He looked at everyone, then sighed, sounding a tad disappointed. Thought it might've been the exhaustion. Atsuhi was concerned about something else though.

He's... standing behind the teacher's desk... But he surely can't be...

"I'm your homeroom teacher, Aizawa Shota. Nice to meet you. Now go change into your gym uniforms. I'll be waiting for you outside."

Nuh-uh. No way.

Here I was, thinking all of UA's teachers were amazing. But then what's up with this guy!?

Forced to listen to him, however, Atsuhi had to follow after everyone else to the changing rooms. Though she did spare one more glance at her teacher.

He looks strangely familiar though... Have I... seen him somewhere before?


 

A few short minutes later, all of class 1A was standing nervously, looking at their mysterious new teacher and exchanging some whispers of concern between each other. People tended to fear that which they couldn't understand.

And right now, this new teacher of theirs and what he had planned for them, might as well have been the greatest enigma they'd faced in a while.

"Today, we're going to have a test of your Quirks," were his simple words. Yet even such simple words were capable of calling forth a range of emotions as wide as the number of students present, whose faces all confronted in result of their conflicting thoughts.

I don't like tests. I don't like bad surprises.

And oh boy, do I hate surprise tests.

My Quirk isn't all that impressive either. So the chances of me 'failing' whatever this is are... ouch.

"What about the opening ceremony? The guidance counselor?" Uraraka looked concerned for a very random reason, but the fact didn't change that she too was worried. Her hopes, alongside those of just about anyone else present, were swiftly crushed.

"There's no time to waste on things like that. As long as you want to become heroes, that is."

I-is that so...

"Softball throw, standing long jump, 50-meter sprint, endurance running, grip strength, side stepping, sit-ups, flexibility. You did all these in middle school, right? Your standard no-Quirks-allowed PE tests. But that's just not rational."

And while the man spoke, Atsuhi unintentionally let a bunch of worst-case scenarios slip by and play one after another in her head.

I... don't really wanna make a fool of myself on my first day here. Why's this all happening!?

"Bakugo. How far could you throw in middle school?" Atsuhi turned in surprise to look at the boy beside her, who promptly answered the question directed at him.

"Sixty-seven meters."

"Great. Now try it with you Quirk. Do whatever you want to, just stay within the lines. Give it your all." Aizawa guided the boy to where he was supposed to stand. Meanwhile, Atsuhi was still stuck mentally gaping at Bakugo's crazy physical abilities.

Is it just because my physical strength’s not all that good, or is that score actually as impossible as it sounds...?

Shaking her head though, Atsuhi let her worried thoughts about how she could possibly use her Quirk in this so-called test to begin with, sink to the back of her mind, as she focused on Bakugo. He stretched a little, got a comfortable grip on the ball, then proceeded to throw it. With a lot of force.

"DIE!!"

Um...

The ridiculous word that had slipped out when he had thrown the ball, however, was soon left forgotten, as the ball quickly disappeared from sight, going farther than Atsuhi even thought someone was willing to look for it.

"Knowing your limits is the first step towards understanding the kind of heroes you'll be." Aizawa mumbled (or rather, simply spoke, as all his words seemed to come out a tad too quiet), and showed the device he had been holding to the rest of the class too. And on it, a number was displayed.

705.2 meters.

W-wow... He- Wow.

It was quite the incredible score. Everyone else looked to be in agreement about that at least too. 'Amazing', 'crazy', 'awesome' were just some of the words that were thrown around.

"Awesome? Is that so? Fine then." And in the blink of an eye, Aizawa's face turned dark and ominous. "The one with the lowest score across all tests will be deemed hopeless... and will be expelled."

"W-what?" Atsuhi couldn't help the meek exclamation that had slipped her lips. She wasn't going to place last. No way. But then again... what if... somehow...

No, no, no!! Come on, Atsuhi, get a hold of yourself. This is ridiculous. Can you even get expelled on the first day to begin with!?

Having regained some of their composure, a handful of people found it in them to oppose the teacher on behalf of everyone else too. But he payed them no mind, cutting them off with an explanation that quickly shut them up instead.

"Natural disasters, chain accidents – danger's always waiting right around the corner. I'd say the world's full of unfair things." She wanted to prove him wrong so badly. She really did. But... no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn't find anything to do so with. After all, albeit harsh, his words had reminded her of what had happened that one day when she'd gone out with her mother. Not just that either – images of news reports of villain attacks, numerous tragedies, and even the sludge villain incident with the two boys who were now her classmates had all resurfaced in her mind.

"Heroes are the ones who have to fix all this unfairness. Let me tell you something – these next three years here will serve you only one hardship after another." Weirdly enough, the teacher's words didn't scare Atsuhi anymore. Actually, she found them to be motivating in a mysterious way. If anything, she felt a little stupid – after all, this was something she should've realized from the start.

"Demonstration's over. Now, the real thing begins." Those words served as something akin to a starting signal.

Take a deep breath, Atsuhi. Now's not the time to panic. I can do this! If I got all the way here, then I can definitely do it.

Finding motivation in the most unexpected of places, Atsuhi was now ready. Ready to face up to this new challenge with her head held high.

 

 

Chapter Text

Here's the thing about Quirks. They were... different. Chances are, you wouldn't be able to find two unrelated people who possessed the exact same ability. Sure, it might've looked the same, but the fundamentals of two Quirks which might at first appear to be identical, will likely have nothing in common.

As such, Quirks had a wide range of applications, possibilities, varieties. As endless as the different snowflakes falling from the sky whenever snow poured down in the chilly winter months.

But as such, not all Quirks are equally fit for all areas of use.

Now, what does that have to do with everything, you may wonder?

A test of Quirks. That's what Aizawa had called it. Unlike most tests though, this wasn't one you could just study up for and pretend that it's fair and even for everyone (looking past the fact that this test in particular came as a bit of a surprise, of course). Because this depended on Quirks.

Sure, there was technique and resourcefulness. But at the bottom of it all was still everone's individual ability.

Or so Atsuhi kept telling herself.

She was pretty worried. Was her Quirk weak? Not really, no. But it had a pretty specific use. And that did not include activities such as standing long jump, sprinting, endurance running, and so on. Unfortunately, Atsuhi could do very little to improve those scores.

It's moment like these I'm glad I'm actually fast.

Her greater than average speed of movement, coupled with some very minor things she hoped would help her here and there (like, for example, heating up the ball to make it travel just a smidge further), were pretty much all that set her scores apart from those of a Quirkless person.

The only exception was what she could only describe as a bit of an exploit during the grip test. She'd thought she should try and overheat the little device used for measuring this particular discipline's score. Naturally, said device stopped functioning correctly and displayed a non-sensical score as a result. It was only at that moment she realized this might have been against the rules. One look at Aizawa though seemed to suggest otherwise – the man just wrote something down and called for the next person (Atsuhi might've been imagining things but she could almost swear he now held a small grudge against her as he had to go and fetch a new device).

And so on, and so on. Technically, all the different tests were unique and exciting, presenting numerous different applications to numerous different Quirks. Yet, after a while, it stopped being quite as interesting. By this point, everything was just passing by in a blur. Atsuhi spaced in and out, vaguely taking note of who'd already taken their turn and remembering a couple of the more impressive scores.

Midoriya's turn at the softball throw was the first thing Atsuhi tuned into after a couple minutes of staring at nothing in particular. Coincidentally, she had also taken note at his attempts at the remaining disciplines, curious about the over-powered Quirk with unfortunate consequences she'd witnessed at the Entrance Exam. And she'd noticed something quite surprising.

Midoriya-kun... hasn't used his Quirk yet... It surely would've helped him with just about every test we've done so far... He's doing quite poorly without it too. So then why...?

Is it possible that what happened at the Entrance Exam is going to repeat again? Which is why he's avoiding using it? That makes sense... and yet... it sounds even more confusing...

Even after 15 years of using his Quirk, he still isn't used to it...?

All while getting lost further and further down the rabbit hole that were her racing thoughts, Atsuhi was looking at the boy, who prepared for his moment. Just as she'd expected, his arm began glowing a faint green, then he whipped it forward and threw the ball, which flew off and fell-

Wait... that throw... I thought he used his Quirk?

Weirdly enough though, the greenhead looked just as surprised as Atsuhi was. Which meant that whatever had happened had not been his intention.

"I erased your Quirk." Those were the sudden words of Aizawa, who'd been standing aside and watching Midoriya the entire time. Something was different though – his hair was now hovering in the air, instead of falling in messy locks all over his tired face. The cloth around his neck, whose purpose or origin were unknown to the girl, was also floating up much like the man's hair, in a manner which might or might not have been defying the laws of physics.

Wait a second... ‘erased’? He can't be...

Atsuhi's thoughts went unheard. Naturally. Instead, Aizawa continued talking to the green-haired boy, leaving her to quietly shock herself with her new realization.

No, there's no way around it. He is Eraser Head, isn't he...?

I've heard about him from Dad. What was it again, he was still a first-year when Dad was graduating or something? They did meet somehow though. I think they're still friends actually.

Well, seeing how he is... perhaps 'friends' doesn't fit all that much, huh. Seriously, the Eraser Head I've heard about sounds nothing like this guy!

Not to mention that a guy like that shouldn't be able to get along with my dad in the first place. Those two are polar opposites.

By the time Atsuhi finally returned back to earth and started paying attention again, Aizawa had already finished his scolding and told Midoriya to try one more time.

"It looks like he received some sort of special instructions," spoke a voice to the left of Atsuhi, as she turned around to see Ida with a thoughtful look on his face and a hand resting on his chin.

"Yeah. Instructions to leave the school," came a snarky response to the girl's right, this time from a frowning Bakugo who was glaring daggers at the poor greenhead.

"You sure? I feel like if he were to use his Quirk, he can do really well. Probably not quite up to par with Uraraka's infinity but who knows – he might get pretty close to your score, Bakugo-kun?" Atsuhi couldn't help but question him. After all, no matter how bad things were between the two supposed 'childhood friends', not even Bakugo should've been able to deny Midoriya's strength. Right?

"Hah? His Quirk? For fuck's sake, Deku's a Quirkless loser! It's a miracle he didn't die during the Entrance Exam." Facts. That's what the blond looked to be laying out right now. Yet, his words clearly contradicted what Atsuhi had witnessed with her own two eyes.

W-why is he saying this!?

"I'm not sure what you're talking about, Bakugo-kun," Atsuhi began, unsure if it was a joke that just so happened to fly over her head, or if the boy was being serious. Though she already had suspicions it might just be the latter. "But I'm fairly certain Midoriya-kun has a Quirk. I don't know what it is. But I do know that he used it precisely during the Entrance Exam. Not only that – he used it to take down that giant gimmick with just a single punch!"

"You crazy or what?" Bakugo, however, looked quite doubtful. "I know Deku's Quirkless. It's been like that since kindergarten."

"She is right," chimed in Ida, who'd only been listening to the exchange ever since he'd spoken up initially. "I was there and I saw him too. Midoriya-kun's Quirk really was incredible." And so, there were now two people talking about the green-haired boy's power. Yet Bakugo remained skeptical.

Atsuhi had half a mind to ask how it was possible for him to know the boy for so long yet still be unaware of his impressive Quirk. But said boy's next try, which was about to begin any moment now, saved her from the inevitable disaster those words would've brought about.

He looks kinda lost. I don't know what Aizawa-sensei told him but... it's a matter of fact that he needs to do well at one of these if he wants to avoid that last position.

...

Which reminds me... That last position...

Doesn't that mean that... one of us definitely won't be here tomorrow...? We don't even know each other yet...

Shaking those dreaded thoughts away though, Atsuhi turned her attention back to the scene unfolding in front of her. Midoriya moved in a manner similar to his first try. He brought back his arm, bent down a little, then proceeded to toss the ball. But something was definitely different this time – the weak glow which had engulfed his arm the first time around, did not appear again.

Or rather, it did, albeit very briefly, at the last second before Midoriya lost contact with the ball, and this time surrounded only his single finger. And whatever his strategy may have been, it worked, as the ball disappeared from sight much too quickly to be tracked with just a simple pair of eyes.

So he did use his Quirk! Does that mean-

Curious, Atsuhi turned to look at the boy and, sure enough, the finger which had been enveloped by that weak glow earlier (a sign Atsuhi assumed meant Midoriya had used his Quirk) was now hanging limp and bruised, likely broken. Nonetheless, even Aizawa appeared shocked, as he held the small device with the impressive 705.3 written on it.

That's... kinda close to Bakugo-kun's score, isn't it though?

She turned to see the blond beside her, finding him staring ahead with wide eyes and an open mouth. To be fair, if she'd suddenly been shown that someone she had thought was Quirkless for 15 years did indeed possess a Quirk, she too would've reacted in a similar manner.

Which begs the question – why didn't he know Midoriya-kun had a Quirk...?

Now, if it were Atsuhi dealing with a situation like this, she would've tried to calmly approach the individual in question, and, although shocked and perhaps a little hurt, inquire as to why things were the way they were.

It was not Atsuhi dealing with a situation like this. Nope – it was Bakugo Katsuki we were talking about here, after all.

"What the hell?! Explain, Deku!! You- nghh!!"

And so, Atsuhi was left to watch as the blond struggled tirelessly against his teacher's binds.


 

Compared to something like the oh-so eventful softball throw or the dreaded first standing long jump, the remaining tests felt as if they'd just flown right by. No other major revelations, no more incidents, no jarring events.

Midoriya had been forced to push on through despite the pain from his earlier injury as, even though she'd proposed to help him reduce the swelling (much like she'd done after the Entrance Exam), Atsuhi's attempt at acting upon her good intentions had been stopped by Aizawa, who claimed the boy had to learn to bear the consequences of his own actions.

Then, of course, had come the time dreaded by most. Results. The moment that was going to decide who was going to be sent home crying, while everyone else breathed out a sigh of relief. Except...

"It was a rational deception."

That's what Aizawa had said. It had left some standing there in shock. It had left others muttering that it had been obvious from the start. It had left Atsuhi feeling a weird mix of relief and betrayal.

And only when the teacher walked away, did she allow herself to take a glimpse at the scores, heart thumping in anticipation.

Fourteenth, huh? That's... not all that good now, is it...? I can blame it on the nature of the tests all I want but the fact is, I'm just not all that strong yet. And that means that I have a long way to go before I can begin calling myself a hero.

"Atsuhi-chan! You comin'?" Uraraka called out, waving at the girl so they could all go back to the changing rooms together.

"Yeah, coming!" the blonde called back, though before she could follow after the rest of her classmates, she was interrupted when someone placed a hand on her shoulder. Turning to look at said person, Atsuhi met Bakugo's crimson eyes.

"Oi, we have to talk for a bit," were the boy's simple words. Words which no one liked to hear with no context like that. Even so, the blonde sighed and turned to Uraraka, motioning her to go on without her. Then, she returned all her attention to Bakugo.

"So? What did you wanna talk about? If it's about Midoriya-kun, you saw-"

"No, that's not it," Bakugo interrupted, shaking his head. "I want you to tell me about your Quirk."

"My...Quirk?" The girl tilted her head in surprise. "What's so interesting about that?"

"Doesn't matter, just tell me how it works and shit."

I'm not sure why he's so impatient... Or where this is even coming from. But... sure?

"Okay, well... it's called Heat Touch. Basically it lets me regulate the temperature of anything I touch with the palm of my hand. Well, okay, not everything – I can't affect liquids or gases. But it works on solid object and even people. That's the basic stuff." Atsuhi stopped for a moment, while Bakugo just nodded his head in understanding, signaling her to continue.

"Naturally, it also has its limits. As long as I touch something once, I can activate my Quirk on it whenever I wish, though once I move more than 50 meters away from it, my Quirk loses its effect and then I have to go and touch it again. Actually, things already get a little difficult at about thirty meters but 50 is my definitive cut off. Oh, and I can't control the temperature of my own body. Okay, um... that sounds about right. I think that's everything..." So, the girl looked up, only to find Bakugo smirking. Not a malicious smirk, but rather one caused by satisfaction.

"Sounds great. So you can use it on people too, yeah?"

"Um, yes, that's what I said..."

"Use it on me," Bakugo commanded, leaving the girl surprised. He wasn't asking her to do anything that crazy. But it sure did come out of nowhere.

"Wait, what do you mean?"

"Just do it – I want you to increase my body temperature." Seeing that he wasn't going to leave her alone until she did as he had asked, Atsuhi put her hand on his wrist and complied. It's not like she had anything to lose anyway. When she moved away again, Bakugo turned his hand and looked at his palm, grinning as he sparked off a few small explosions.

"Perfect."

"Um... I'm glad to have been of help, Bakugo-kun, but... would you mind enlightening me? What was it I helped with?"

"My Quirk – because of it, the sweat from my palms is a substance similar to nitroglycerin. And I can detonate it at will, which creates explosions. Which means that the more I sweat, the bigger and stronger my explosions will be." Atsuhi caught on to what he was trying to say.

"And so, when the temperature of your body increases, you sweat more, and your Quirks becomes stronger!" she exclaimed, proud to have figured it out. Bakugo looked at her with a hint of surprise evident on his features.

"Right. Looks like your head ain't as empty as I thought."

"I'll take that as a compliment." Atsuhi grinned.

"It wasn't one. Anyway. Guess if you can help strengthen my Quirk like that, I'll endure your presence when needed." His words didn't sound all that kind, but Atsuhi chose to interpret them as such.

"If that's so, I can't wait to work with you, Bakugo-kun!"

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Now get lost." The girl giggled to herself.

I'd say that's his way of saying "See you later"!

"See you later too, Bakugo-kun!" And with that, she ran to the changing rooms to rejoin with the rest of the girls.


 

Soon enough, it was finally time for everyone to head home. The first day had turned out to be quite the interesting mess – surely no one would've expected a test of Quirks or, even crazier, the threat of expulsion. Good news was, everything had ended well.

Atsuhi had gathered up her things and, swinging her backpack on her shoulders, left the room, walking to the exit of the school and taking advantage of being by herself for once to mull over a couple of things.

All in all, looking back on it, it wasn't all that bad. I just hope it never happens again, hehe...

Though before she could proceed any further with her retrospective thoughts, she noticed a certain ash blond walking by himself a few meters ahead of her.

Sure, why not!

"Hey, Bakugo-kun!" she called out, convincing herself it couldn't have been that bad of an idea. Fortunately, said boy stopped and turned around to see who called out to him, leaving Atsuhi with the perfect opportunity to catch up.

"The hell do you want now?"

"Ah, I don't want anything. Just thought we might live in the same area so perhaps you wouldn't mind the company?"

"I do mind. What makes you think we live in the same area?"

"I just kinda assumed. You know, since that's where that incident happened..."

Oops. Probably could've gone without bringing that up...

"Okay, okay, maybe I'm the one who wanted some company," Atsuhi quickly followed up after her own careless mistake.

"Why don't you walk with Deku then?" Bakugo grumbled, glaring ahead as if the green-haired boy was right in front of him, and perhaps hoping he could kill him with the power of his mind alone. Atsuhi, on the other hand, thought about Midoriya for a second and couldn't help the laugh that escaped her lips.

"Nah, I think he's got enough people with him already. I swear, one more girl and he'd be done for!" She had to pause for a little, forcing the giggles to die down as best she could, before continuing. "But that, of course, doesn't mean you have to be alone! So I thought I could keep you company! What do you say?" The boy was silent for a second.

"Whatever." Atsuhi jumped internally at the confirmation she'd been waiting for. "Walk with me if that's what you want. But I'm warning you – the moment you start annoying me, you're dead!" Though the girl ignored his threatening warning, her face bright, smile wider than ever.

"Thank you, Bakugo-kun!! I swear I will never make you angry, my partner in battle!"

"Aaaand, you're already doing it."

"Oops. Sorry, hehe."

"What did I get myself into..." It was obvious the boy was overreacting. At least to Atsuhi. Actually, she wasn't quite sure about this, but she had a feeling – a feeling that she might just have seen an incredibly small smile on his face.

And, as she let the corners of her own mouth curl up, Atsuhi looked ahead, walking side by side with Bakugo.

Wow, that was something. What a first day.

What a first day indeed...

Chapter Text

"Sorry for not calling you yesterday, sweetie. There was a late night villain attack. I came home pretty late and I assumed you were already asleep."

"It's fine, Dad. I was really tired anyway. Did you catch the villain?"

"Of course. Everything's fine, nobody got hurt – same old job well done."

"That's good."

"So, Aizawa-kun, huh?"

"Right. I didn't even recognize him at first – you always describe him as a fun and lively person but in reality he's just so... so..."

"Okay, okay, maybe my words are a little misleading. But I assure you – you're in good hands. He's actually a pretty good teacher, or so I've heard. If he hasn't expelled anyone yet, then he probably sees potential in all of you. Just give it some time and you'll get used to it eventually."

"I hope so. He has a neat Quirk though. Sucks that he isn't all that well-known."

"He's always been the shy type, not to mention that he doesn't like the media at all."

"Yeah, he looks the part. Well, I'm going into the classroom now so talk to you again tonight!"

"Bye, Atsuhi!"

"Bye!"


 

UA was a school for budding heroes. But what good was a hero whose only strength was their Quirk? Heroes saved people. And as such, they served as role models for thousands.

But role models are supposed to be people you can and should look up to. So what happens when your role model knows no English, no Math, no Science. Aren't poorly educated people always looked upon as examples of where you shouldn't end up in life?

Because of this, no matter how strong one's Quirk was, no matter how heroic one's actions were, how brave one's spirit was, how strong one's will was, education was a must.

Atsuhi had tried to convince herself many times that even a hero always needed those basic subjects. If anything, she knew this better than anyone – she's had to fall back on the basic principles of physics, chemistry, and biology time and time again when using her powers.

Even so, this is basically torture!!

Let's be real – those who actually enjoyed their time spent in class were few and far between. And yet, you always somehow endured it, whether it be because you were waiting for the next break when you'd get to talk to your friends again, or you were simply excited for the day to finally be over.

That's what Atsuhi had been doing for years now. Yet, today this strategy had finally failed her.

And not just her either. A quick look around the classroom told much the same story – many faces were exhausted, some were straight-up asleep, others barely awake, walking the thin line between just closing their eyes for a brief second and sinking deep into dreamland.

But UA's regular classes couldn't have been that bad. After all, they were taught by pro heroes! That had to have been at least a little exciting, no?

Well, it would've been. Had the class not known what was coming afterwards.

Because UA functioned a little differently than normal schools. In the morning, the students were forced to endure (or in some cases, sleep through) the regular classes you'd find in any other school, be it one for budding heroes or not. But it was the afternoon that everyone looked forward to.

The afternoon classes of UA's hero course. The reason they were here in the first place. Or, in other words – their hero classes!

We're going to get used to this eventually, I'm sure. But it's the first (second?) day – it's our first time having one of these so no one can help their excitement.

To put it briefly – those morning classes appeared especially boring and slow today, simply because the students were so excited to begin their real hero training.

Some boring English, Literature, and History later though, here it was. Basic Hero Training!

And oh, did that class start off with a bang! After all, what event wouldn't be made more exciting by All Might appearing through the door (like a normal person, mind you)? Needless to say, a class full of budding heroes was essentially equivalent to a class full of All Might fanboys and fangirls so the hero's reception was more than great.

After a very much unnecessary introduction, he was finally ready to begin with the actual class.

"Today's training is this! Battle Training!!" he announced in that grand way of his that always seemed to accompany his presence. That was already more than enough to send the students into a new wave of excited cheers (though coupled with a few more mixed reactions). But what he said next, might just have sent them in an overdrive. "And for that... you're going to need these!"

The hero pressed a button on the small remote he had been holding. Suddenly one of the classroom's walls moved, opening to reveal 20 shelves, each containing a small briefcase with a corresponding number.

Those are-

"Costumes!!" was everyone's more-than-expected exclamation.

The moment she finally put her hands on her case, Atsuhi couldn't help but smile a wide grin. After all, she'd put a lot of thought and effort into this design. She'd thought about it long and hard – anything from its functionality and practicality to the meaningless details of its appearance. Even a little bit of sentimentality.

As such, it was no surprise she was excited to finally put it on. To finally be able to call herself a hero.


 

And yet, she never imagined she'd have this much difficulty standing tall and proud.

Atsuhi was fourth in line, between the practically unrecognizable in his costume Ida, and the even greener-looking than usual Tsuyu. Everyone looked so different and unique!

But I never expected I'd be this embarrassed! Come on, I've been dreaming of this moment since I was a little kid...

The students had all dispersed and were now talking to each other. Seeing how Uraraka had already went to speak with Midoriya, Atsuhi turned to get a look at Bakugo instead.

Wow... You know, that's... so like him.

"Nice costume, Bakugo-kun!" she complimented, though truth be told, it was a little odd. His mask, coupled with his hair, looked much like an explosion. And then when you added in his grenade-like gauntlets and the already hostile-looking expression on his face, someone might just mistake him for a villain instead.

"I mean, it goes along with your Quirk really well! Thematic, yeah!" she continued, at a bit of a loss for what else to say.

It's not like I can gush about how cute or pretty it is, after all...

The blond cast an uninterested look at Atsuhi, silently listening to her, before he smirked and boasted with the usual arrogant note in his voice.

"Of course my costume's not gonna look like the other extra's."

Great. I literally have no idea how to respond to something like that.

And, while Atsuhi was left to stand there with an awkward smile, unable to retort anything back, Midoriya, who had previously been occupied with his conversation (if you could even call it that) with Uraraka, made his way over to the blonde, poking her shoulder timidly in order to get her attention, before he spoke.

"U-um, Saeki-san, I... I wanted to ask you... Well, I mean, your Quirk and your... your name were what first set me off but I wasn't entirely sure. But now, seeing your costume too, there's no doubt." Atsuhi looked at him, curious as to where he was going with this. Though perhaps she already had a bit of a clue. "You... you're the daughter of Hiyamiku and Lava Floor, right? The Saeki pro heroes with a shared hero agency in Fukua?" Midoriya looked so excited about his discovery. Atsuhi, on the other hand, was rendered speechless.

I never thought someone was going to make the connection... Or that someone would even know who they are to begin with!

But perhaps... I've been hoping this might happen all along!

"H-how...?" Despite her excitement though, this was the only thing Atsuhi's mind was able to conjure up at the moment. Even that however, was enough to make Midoriya's face light up, now that the fear he might've been wrong was long and gone.

"Well, the first thing that stood out to me was your name. I mean, Saeki is a pretty rare name so it immediately made me think of them. And then I saw your Quirk – I realized that it was really similar to Lava Floor's and Hiyamiku's powers. But I still couldn't say for certain, you know – it was all speculation. Your costume though? The combination of the yellow lining and the overall shape of Lava Floor's, and the purple design of Hiyamiku's – there was no other explanation! That had to be it!" All the while, Atsuhi could only listen with a big grin on her face, nodding for every single thing the boy got right.

"Midoriya-kun, I'm... impressed! I'm so excited right now! I can't believe you know who they are! You're quite the hero fanboy, aren't you?" The girl giggled, while Midoriya blushed a little from the sudden compliment.

"W-well, I guess so, yeah! But- you shouldn't be surprised! Those two are amazing heroes! Like, they're fantastic. I remember once when I was in Shizuoka and I saw them during a fight – it was incredible! The way they worked together, how their movements were in sync with each other, how well their Quirks harmonized – they defeated that villain in no time!" Midoriya's smile and eyes kept growing wider and wider with every word coming out of his mouth. His hands were curled up in fists and he was waving them up and down in sync with his exaggerated head movements while he spoke. Atsuhi wasn't all that different either, as she was quickly mirroring the boy's pose, her smile even wider.

"Shizuoka, Shizuoka... Ah, I remember! When they fought that Dead Night guy, right? The three of us were on a holiday together but you know how heroes are – they can never catch a break. A huge group of villains suddenly appeared out of nowhere and they decided to take care of it! I couldn't watch the fight from up close but they later told me everything."

"Mhm, mhm! Ah, I was even gonna ask them for autographs but after the fight the police and media swarmed all around them and I never got around to it... Agh, I still want those autographs..."

"Oh, you do? I can bring you some – I've got a whole bunch of signed photos of them just laying around at home. Like, I don't even know what to do with them anymore!"

"R-really? Thank you so much, Saeki-san!"

"I told you, just Atsuhi's fine!"

"Ah, um, okay, uh... thank you then, Atsuhi-san!"

And so, the two continued chatting together, both gushing about something they were passionate about. From afar, they probably looked a little crazy.

"By the way, since we were talking about costumes earlier, was yours inspired by All Might, hm?” Atsuhi pointed out, leaving the boy a blushing mess.


 

Katsuki stood next to Atsuhi when Deku had spoken up to her so he couldn't help the fact that he could hear their conversation loud and clear. Well, in the end, he had tuned out most of it anyway.

But the first words that had slipped Deku's mouth had been enough to occupy his thoughts for a while to come.

"You... you're the daughter of Hiyamiku and Lava Floor, right? The Saeki pro heroes with a shared hero agency in Fukua?"

Normally, Katsuki didn't give a damn about what the green-haired boy had to say. In fact, he didn't give a damn about anything else he'd said. Yet, those words stood out to him. Those names stood out to him.

And they all made him remember a certain something he had heard a few years ago. Four, to be exact.

Images of newspaper headlines, news reports, and online articles flooded his thoughts. And all of them said the same thing.

'The pro hero Hiyamiku, real name – Saeki Miku – the latest victim of the Hero Killer!'


 

After gushing about her parents with Midoriya for a good few minutes, nothing else seemed quite as exciting to Atsuhi. If anything, she was impatient to begin with the training so she could do something fun.

As such, she had tuned out a lot of what All Might had been saying to her curious classmates, who asked him all sorts of ridiculous questions. The only thing she had payed attention to so far, was the fact that they were going to be doing a so-called 'Indoors Battle Training'.

The hero had then proceeded to explain that they would be separated into teams of heroes and villains and would have to face off against one another in two-on-two battles. (Admittedly, Atsuhi wasn't all that thrilled she might have to play a villain. On the other hand, perhaps she'd make an even better villain if she were to think of herself as the hero. After all, the scariest villains were those who thought what they were doing was right all along.)

After a few more rules, which Atsuhi made sure to memorize, it was finally time for everyone to draw lots to decide their teams. As the girl pulled out a piece of paper with the letter D on it, she looked around for her teammate. Conveniently enough, the first person she'd glanced at was Bakugo, who'd been standing just beside her, and who had been holding an identical piece of paper.

"Well, would you look at that!" Atsuhi smiled. "Seems like we can try out that Quirk combination from yesterday quite soon, hm?" As the boy looked at the letter in her hands to confirm what she was saying, he looked up and said with a face straighter than Atsuhi would've been able to keep, were she ever to say something like this.

"We're gonna kick their asses."

"Sure...?” was the best she could come up with in response.

Soon enough, all students had located their partners and it was time to decide who would be participating in the first round. Surprisingly, Atsuhi's very own team D was one of the two chosen.

And... I have to be the villain... Nothing I can do, I guess.

She then looked around, searching for team A, only for her eyes to land upon an excited Uraraka and a... scared Midoriya?

Why does he look so terrified?

She followed the boy's line of sight, only for her to realize that it was fixed directly behind her.

No way...

Behind her, where Bakugo was standing.

Bakugo-kun.... and Midoriya-kun... After what happened yesterday, is this really a good idea?

...

Not a chance. Somehow I think... this isn't going to end well...

Chapter Text

Midoriya and Bakugo kept looking at each other, green eyes meeting crimson ones. However, the feelings these eyes held were very different. One was almost scared for what was about to come, while the other was like a hunter staring down his prey. This continued for a few seconds, before All Might broke the silence between the two teams to explain the rest of the rules.

“The villains go in first! The timer starts ticking in five minutes and that’s when the heroes are going to sneak into the building. The rest of us will be watching through these CCTV cameras.” Then the hero turned specifically towards the villain team, where Atsuhi was nervously standing behind Bakugo in an attempt to avoid getting in the way of his murderous glare.

“Saeki. Bakugo. You’re going to have to get in the mindset of villains! This is intended to be a practical experience, so go all out – no holding back! Although I will stop you if you go too far...” The blonde female turned to her teammate, concerned that he may very well break some of these rules, judging by his violent behavior when it comes to Midoriya. The expression on his face was indecipherable, which only worried her more.

It’s not that I don’t trust him... But knowing how angry he was when he tried to attack Midoriya-kun yesterday, I wouldn’t be surprised if he does it again today. Which could be bad for both of us, because his carelessness might cost us our win…

When the two were let inside the building they took a look at the blueprints and located the room with the fake weapon they were supposed to guard. While they were going up the stairs to that room, Atsuhi tried to think of a way to warn Bakugo and hopefully make him give up on his pursuit of Midoriya, even if only for a few hours. However, they were quickly nearing their destination and with no more time left to think about it, Atsuhi just spoke up, crossing her fingers.

“Bakugo-kun, don’t forget that this is training. And we’ll be graded based on how we did. I’m not sure what the problem between you and Midoriya-kun is, but now’s not the time for it. What we need to do instead is...” But she soon stopped talking, since it was clear the boy in front of her was currently lost in his own thoughts, not paying any attention to what she was saying. Or perhaps he was simply ignoring her, though Atsuhi hoped that wasn’t the case.

Having finally entered the room, Atsuhi started poking the fake weapon and going around it, trying to get a good look from all sides, just in case there was anything peculiar to note about it. And after a quiet minute or two, the uncomfortable silence was finally broken by Bakugo’s low voice, which echoed around the almost empty room, making it seem louder than it actually was.

“Oi. So Deku does have a Quirk…?” He was looking down at the floor, likely glaring at his own feet, with his back turned to the female, hiding his face from view.

“T-that’s what it looks like, yeah...” Having heard the confirmation he was looking for, Bakugo lifted up his head, revealing the anger his eyes held. Now Atsuhi almost wished she hadn’t seen his face at all. She was quickly starting to panic. Her teammate was clearly not interested in the task he had been given, instead deciding to fight Midoriya for the sake of his own personal interest in his blind rage. And what was Atsuhi doing? Just standing there, silently watching him. In other words – absolutely nothing.

I have to do something… I can’t just let him fight like this! What if he suddenly stops thinking straight and really injures Midoriya-kun…? Okay, here goes nothing.

“I’m going to say it one last time – do not go chasing after Midoriya-kun by yourself! Regardless of how unfortunate this might be for you, we are a team and we have to come up with a strategy together. You can deal with him after we’re done here.” Despite her attempt to sound as firm and determined as possible, Atsuhi seemed not to have even fazed Bakugo with her words, since the boy just made a tch sound and headed for the door, about to leave the room and do exactly what the girl had just warned him not to do. Gritting her teeth in frustration, Atsuhi frantically tried to think of something, anything else she could do to stop him.

That obviously didn’t work… Okay then, let’s try something he actually cares about.

Walking up to Bakugo, the female touched his shoulder with the palm of her hand, activating the effect of her Quirk on his body. Then, in a last desperate attempt to get the boy to change his mind, she spoke up once again.

“My Quirk can’t reach any further than 50 meters. If you run off somewhere and go too far away, I won’t be able to help you anymore. So please, be at lest a little cautious about what you’re doing and where you’re going. I can help, just listen to me.” The blond boy glanced at her through his furrowed brows, holding her gaze for a few short seconds. But the anger and determination in his crimson eyes never once flickered the entire time. He then turned away, shaking her hand off from his shoulder, and right before he walked through the door, he stopped one last time.

“Then I’ll destroy Deku without your fucking help.” He spat in a menacing voice, just before his entire body disappeared behind the door he had slammed shut, leaving Atsuhi alone, which only made her concerned thoughts seem so much louder in the silence, broken only by her soft breathing.

So… in the end, I couldn’t get through to him… Agh…!!

The female clutched the sides of her head in frustration, almost tearing out a few strands of her hair in her nervousness. Instead, she settled on biting her lip, letting the pain of her teeth digging into it distract her from the dozens of thoughts racing through her head.

Okay, calm down, Atsuhi, it’s fine. As long as Midoriya-kun can defend himself against Bakugo-kun, everything will be alright. And with that Quirk of his he should be able to. What worries me is how I’m going to manage by myself… Midoriya-kun will surely be kept busy which means that Uraraka will be the one to come here. She can nullify objects’ gravity, but she has to touch them first. And that means that if there’s nothing for her to touch, she won’t be able to get to the weapon…

The female looked around the almost empty room, eyeing the few pieces of furniture scattered around. Fortunately, they all seemed to be rather small, so moving them shouldn’t prove to be much of a hassle. Then, opening one of the small sections of her costume’s belt, the girl found and took out two tiny, seemingly-hollow plastic balls from the small compartment. After confirming that they were indeed what she had requested, she put them back inside, and started pushing the first piece of furniture.

Time to get to work!


***


In just a few minutes, Atsuhi had cleared the floor of any objects that had previously been on it, leaving only the big fake weapon and herself. This way, Uraraka would have nothing to use her Quirk on, making Atsuhi’s win much more plausible. The female had also used her own Quirk on the floor of the room, assuring that if Uraraka were to enter, she would find out immediately. By controlling an object’s temperature, Atsuhi was also able to sense any changes in it too, meaning that when the brown-haired girl’s feet cause a slight shift in the floor’s temperature, the female’s Quirk would let her know right away. So far, everything was going according to plan. With one exception…

Bakugo-kun’s going quite far…

Her teammate was still within her Quirk’s range, but soon he would probably go past the 50 meter limit. With Bakugo walking further and further away, and her using her power on more than one thing at a time, Atsuhi’s body was being put under a lot of stress. That’s why she desperately needed this fight to start and end soon, otherwise she was risking collapsing on the ground from exhaustion before she could even land a single hit.

She could feel Bakugo still moving further and further away, when suddenly the sound of a powerful explosion resounded throughout the building.

So he found them… Which means that Uraraka should be coming here any moment now. Okay, Atsuhi, get ready! Although…

The female couldn’t help it – she just had to warn her teammate. Perhaps he wasn’t going to listen to her, just like the last time. But still – it was worth a try. Even if he had gone headfirst into a fight, actively ignoring any attempts at working together with Atsuhi, the two were still a team. Bringing a hand up to her left ear, Atsuhi spoke into the communication device All Might had given them earlier.

“Hey, Bakugo-kun!! You find them yet!? What’s happening over there?”

“Shut up and watch the weapon…! I’m gonna kill someone here…!” The boy’s angrier than usual voice sounded from the other side, making Atsuhi cringe at how his loud voice, coupled with all the noise around him, was piercing through her eardrums.

“Don’t get careless! You’re almost out of my Quirk’s range – if you go on like this, I won’t be able to-” The female stopped talking when she realized the device in her ear had suddenly gone silent, leaving only faint ringing in its stead.

Did he… cut me off!? Well, what now…?

It wasn’t like she had a choice. The female was forced to accept that Bakugo wasn’t going to listen to her. All she could do was ignore what he was doing and try to come up with something by herself. He had declared that he could settle this without her help after all, so she should’ve had no reason to worry. Even so...

I’m a bit too forgiving , aren’t I?

With a deep sigh, Atsuhi decided that despite her exhaustion, she was going to keep up her Quirk until the boy left her range completely. She muttered a quiet That’s the last time I’m being this nice under her breath and sat down to use the last of her time before Uraraka appeared to rest a little. Explosions kept going off on the lower floors of the building and Atsuhi started to wonder if they would have still been this loud, had she not used her Quirk on Bakugo. In reality, she was just trying to convince herself that her “help” hadn’t been in vain.

Soon enough though, her break had to come to an end. As she had expected, the female sensed someone’s steps going from near the door to one of the big tall pillars in the room. Clutching one of the small plastic balls she had once again taken out tighter, she stood up, walking straight to where the girl was hiding.

“You’ve finally come! I have been waiting for you, Uraraka.” Atsuhi said with some determination she somehow managed to find when she saw the female. Her playing a villain seemed to have worked, as Uraraka paled when she realized that she had been found so quickly. And the first thing she did was to contact her teammate. Something Atsuhi feared might turn out to be the cause of her loss.

“Deku-kun!! Atsuhi-chan found me! I’m so sorry!” The girl made a short pause, trying to hear what Midoriya had to say on the other line. However, Atsuhi used that chance to attack her instead.

If Midoriya-kun finds out where we are, it’s all over. I can’t hold the two of them off long enough by myself!

In an attempt to prevent the exchange of information between her two opponents, the female threw one of the balls in Uraraka’s direction, letting it roll on the ground next to her feet. Sadly, she wasn’t quick enough.

“The fifth floor. Right at the center! H-ha!? What is this!?” A thick white gas had started spreading from the place where the ball had hit the ground, quickly rising into the air and acting like a curtain which blocked everything more than a few centimeters away from your nose from view. Atsuhi put on her goggles, opening her eyes, after having shielded them with her hands before throwing the special grenade, and faintly made out Uraraka’s outline somewhere in front of her. The dark-haired female was desperately looking around, trying to figure out what had happened.

Not wasting any more time, Atsuhi jumped towards her, reaching for her with her hands but just when her fingers were about to graze the brown-haired girl’s shoulder, she used her Quirk on herself in a last resort to escape, floating away to safety.

By the time the gas had started clearing the blonde female saw Uraraka, who had moved just a few meters away but had managed to escape nonetheless, rendering Atsuhi’s first plan unsuccessful.

That’s no good! This was my chance at a surprise attack! Now I have to think of something else!

“A-a flash grenade!? Really? That was a surprise...” Her opponent was muttering, still trying to recover from the sudden shock. Now the two girls stood facing each other, Atsuhi with her back to the weapon, and Uraraka staring at it in determination. The two were in a fighting stance, standing still, and both waiting for the other to make a move.

Or at least until the ground suddenly started shaking. It was accompanied by the loud sound of an explosion and the two females lost their balance for a moment, but quickly managed to get back on their feet, unconsciously pausing their battle to wonder what was happening with the two boys.

W-what is Bakugo-kun doing!? If he keeps this up I’m worried he might just kill Midoriya-kun… Hold on, Uraraka’s distracted – now’s my chance!!

Atsuhi dashed towards the girl, hoping to catch her by surprise and somehow touch her even just once. But Uraraka quickly realized what the blonde female was planning and once again moved out of the way at the last moment, making Atsuhi fall face first on the ground. The dark-haired girl used this opportunity and turned towards the weapon. However, Atsuhi did not let her carry her plan out. She threw the second grenade she had prepared earlier, and closed her eyes, slipping on the goggles for the second time.

Meanwhile, the sounds of explosions continued echoing throughout the lower floors. None of them were as loud as the one which had shaken up the entire building earlier but they all seemed to indicate that Bakugo was still fighting Midoriya and he wasn’t going easy on him.

Uraraka, who had started quietly saying something into her communication device, and Atsuhi continued trying to stop each other, but to no avail. Every time the brown-haired girl would be about to touch the weapon, Atsuhi would pull her back to distract her and likewise, whenever Atsuhi would be just mere centimeters away from using her Quirk on Uraraka, she always managed to somehow slip away at the last second. They were both at their limit and were extremely exhausted, sweat running down their faces and breathing heavy and frequent. But neither was about to give up. Their fight was just beginning. Uraraka’s whispers finally came to an end and Atsuhi tried to attack her once again.

She was probably talking to Midoriya-kun again… If they have a plan… No, no, no, don’t think about that!! There are just a few minutes left until the end. I have to hold on a little while longer!!

But when the girl in front of her jumped on one of the pillars near the window with a determined expression on her face, Atsuhi already knew it was too late.

The ground shook once more. Another explosion resounded through the building, probably the loudest one so far. But that wasn’t all – following the blast, a giant hole suddenly opened in the middle of the floor between the two girls. The force of whatever had created this hole made Atsuhi lose her footing and fall back. And with the sudden disappearance of the huge chunk of the floor, the pillar Uraraka had hugged earlier was now floating in her arms, the girl holding it like a baseball bat. Atsuhi’s eyes widened.

“Atsuhi-chan! I’m really sorry! I’ll have to improvise here…!” Shouting, the brown-haired female swung the giant pillar, hitting a bunch of debris in the air towards Atsuhi. “Comet Home Run!

The blonde could only move out of the way of the flying debris, which would’ve otherwise hit her head on. She rolled away on the floor, trying to lay as low as possible to shield herself, forgetting about the weapon. That was exactly what the brown-haired girl had been waiting for.

After everything had quieted down, Atsuhi slowly opened her eyes, lifting her head up, only to see Uraraka happily hugging the weapon with a sense of accomplishment on her face. Just a few seconds later, All Might’s voice sounded from the device in her ear.

“The hero… the hero team… WIIINS!!

Ah… we lost…

Not like it mattered anymore. Atsuhi’s head felt heavy and there was an annoying ringing in her ears, which made her heavy breathing almost impossible to hear. Right now she didn’t care who won and who lost. She just wanted a good rest. So the female closed her eyes and lay back down on the floor, letting the pounding in her head slowly fade away.


***


After the fight had ended (and Atsuhi had regained enough of her energy to be able to stand on her feet), All Might had gathered the class, except for Midoriya, who was at Recovery Girl’s office, together in the viewing room, where they had all re-watched the match, letting the three remaining participants see what had happened to their teammates while they were busy fighting their own battles. Though Atsuhi was barely able to stop herself from looking away from the screen at the sight of the boys’ brutal fight.

The class had started discussing the four’s performance, but Atsuhi couldn’t bring herself to listen to what they had to say, instead being way too lost in her thoughts. One of them was how she hadn’t been able to react to Uraraka’s attack quickly enough and that’s why her team had lost in the end.

If only I had been able to stall for a bit longer… we could’ve won… And maybe then…

Turning to glance at Bakugo, who hadn’t said a single word since the end of the battle, the female looked down sadly. Remembering the devastated look on Bakugo’s face after he had seen the aftermath of his last attack, she concluded that the boy probably wanted to be left alone for now. After all, he looked so lost and confused.


***


The rest of the fights were a lot safer and far more coordinated than the first one. The one who shined brightest out of everyone was Todoroki, who used his Quirk to render his opponents immobile and secure the weapon in the span of a minute or two. Everyone was amazed at his strength.

The entire time Atsuhi kept glancing worriedly at her teammate from the first match. He was still uncharacteristically quiet and calm. And as much as she wanted to talk to him, she knew she wouldn’t be of any help.

I don’t even dare look him in the eyes, not when it’s my fault we lost.

At last, the class finished and the students changed back into their school uniforms, returning to the classroom. Right when she got to her desk, Atsuhi was met by an energetic boy with spiky red hair and big excited eyes, who started talking to her enthusiastically.

“I can’t believe how cool you were, even though Bakugo just ran away and left you alone! It was just so manly! Kirishima Eijiro! You?” He outstretched his hand towards Atsuhi, who smiled at his compliment and shook his hand, glad to have found someone to take her mind off of her worries.

“Saeki Atsuhi. And it wasn’t that big of a deal – I just ran with it!”

“I don’t know about that. I’m not sure I would’ve done so well, had I been in your situation. I would’ve probably gotten angry at Bakugo and failed the team!” Kirishima laughed, imagining what a catastrophe that would’ve been. Atsuhi couldn’t help but laugh along with him – he just had this effect on her that made her feel a lot more carefree. Not that she minded. In fact, she welcomed it with open arms.

“We did still lose in the end...” The smile on Atsuhi’s face fell slightly and she started mentally beating herself up for suddenly ruining the mood. The red-haired boy thought about his next words for a bit and answered encouragingly.

“That was just because Midoriya got to work together with his teammate! You were still awesome, just lacked the help you needed!!”

“T-thank you, Kirishima-kun!” Atsuhi responded timidly, feeling her cheeks warming up. Perhaps this Kirishima guy was the kind of friend she really needed right now, one that could make her look at things optimistically. However, those thoughts were quickly forgotten when something in her peripheral vision caught her attention and she turned to see Bakugo walking out of the classroom with his bag on his shoulder. The female was about to go talk to him, but stopped in her place, deciding not to risk annoying him any further. He was clearly not feeling like his usual self and she had just started getting closer to him, so she didn’t want to blow her chances. Plus, it’s not like she knew what to say to him to make him feel better.

It’s better to leave him alone for now… Whatever’s bothering him, I’m sure he wouldn’t want me talking to him right now. He might even blame me for our loss…

The rest of the class kept discussing the fights excitedly, until Midoriya walked in the room a few minutes later. He was still wearing what was left of his hero costume and his hand was in a sling around his shoulder. A few people gathered around him to tell him how impressive he had been during the battle training. However, the freckled boy didn’t look like he was listening and instead started looking around the room hastily, until his eyes fell upon the empty desk next to Atsuhi, prompting him to ask what had been bothering him.

“Where’s Kacchan?”

Atsuhi also turned to look at the blond boy’s empty chair, sighing sadly.

“He left right after we came here. I was going to try and stop him but I doubt I would’ve helped at all. He would’ve probably ignored me either way.” Sensing the green-haired boy’s intentions, Atsuhi added. “If you go immediately, you might catch him before he leaves.” Midoriya’s eyes lit up.

“Y-yes, I’m going!” He dashed through the door and his footsteps echoed down the hallway. The female could only hope that Midoriya’s words would be able to get to Bakugo. If anyone could help him right now, it had to be Midoriya.

Later, while watching the two through the window of the classroom alongside Asui, Ashido and Uraraka, seeing the two talking, how Midoriya was mumbling nervously, how Bakugo was shouting angrily with tears in his eyes, how All Might was trying to console him. Between all of that, Atsuhi thought to herself.

Bakugo-kun… you may not look like a good person… But deep down, I know that there’s something beyond this anger… I really hope I can find it some day. Find it, and bring it out for the world to see!

Smiling, Atsuhi stepped away from the window, leaving the room to finally go back home after such a long day.

Chapter Text

“And that’s how we lost in the end… because of me...”

“Hey, hey, don’t put yourself down like that! Your teammate’s at fault here too.”

“Yeah, you might be right. But still – I couldn’t even do the one thing I was supposed to. I can’t help but feel terrible...”

“Heads up, it happens to the best of us. I don’t always win either. That’s just how life tends to be.”

“Mhm, but next time I’m really going to give it my all so I can definitely w- ah, Bakugo-kun!

“Hm, hey, sweetie, what-”

“Talk to you tonight, Dad! Bye!”

“Um, yeah, okay? Bye to you too, I guess…?”

Atsuhi quickly put her phone away and ran to catch up to the blond boy, who hadn’t even turned around to see who was calling him, instead choosing to ignore any and all sounds in his surroundings. When she reached his slouched as usual form, she slowed down to walk side by side with him, trying to match her pace to his, as he usually walked significantly faster with no regards of anyone trying to keep up with him.

“Good morning, Bakugo-kun! I guess you’re feeling better today?” He just glanced at her once, both taking in her sudden appearance by his side, and glaring at her silently for being so cheerful and loud early in the morning. He then turned to look ahead once more and spoke in a low voice.

“I was completely fine yesterday.” Atsuhi laughed quietly, recalling the mess the boy had been in his inability to properly express his emotions. Fortunately, All Might’s words seemed to have helped as Bakugo was now back to his usual self.

“If you say so.” After Atsuhi said that, the two continued walking in a comfortable silence, focusing on taking in the scenery around them, as opposed to starting forced and tiresome conversations when neither of them really felt like talking. It was just enough to not feel like you were alone, but also be able to get lost in your thoughts if you wanted to. As they entered through the front gate, however, their peace was immediately ruined, as they were surrounded by reporters, shoving cameras and microphones in their faces. They weren’t the only ones either – looking around, Atsuhi noticed that Midoriya, Uraraka and Ida were also in similar positions, although each of them had a very different reaction to the unexpected situation.

The reporters were excitedly asking the kids about their experience having All Might as a teacher, but were all completely ignored by Bakugo who was trying to briskly walk to the entrance of the building, accompanied by the blonde girl, who was very worried that if one of the invaders got a good look at her face, they would immediately recognize her and that would surely prompt some uncomfortable questions.

In the end though, luck didn’t seem to be on their side, because a young woman with a dark blue suit and brown hair tied in a short ponytail put her microphone in Bakugo’s already annoyed face and started trailing him, asking one question after another, hoping for at least one response.

“When All Might is… Huh!? You’re the kid from the Sludge Villain Incident!!” The reporter suddenly exclaimed, a thousand new ideas swarming in her head at the discovery.

O-oh… That’s bad news...

“Let’s go, Bakugo-kun.” Atsuhi practically whispered, as she started lightly pushing the boy, who was gritting his teeth in anger and looked like he was going to blow something up any moment now. He was somehow able to restrain himself though, instead settling for glaring at the door up ahead.

If we don’t get away from here quickly, someone’s bound to get hurt.

But the reporter didn’t give up, probably unaware of the scary aura that seemed to radiate off of the boy, and only continued following the two students. Seeing her lack of success with the blond male, she chose her next victim, shoving her big microphone in Atsuhi’s face, making the girl flinch in the process.

“What about you? Aren’t you Lava Floor’s daughter?” The female gulped anxiously but acted like she hadn’t even heard the question and instead just kept ushering her classmate to walk more quickly, now not because he might get angry, but rather because she didn’t want to hear the woman’s next questions. She had a pretty good idea of what they were going to be and certainly wasn’t planning on answering any of them.

“How does he feel about his daughter’s success? His agency’s popularity has been declining lately, why do you think that is?”

Enough…

“Maybe it has something to do with the huge increase in the number of superheroes lately? Or perhaps there is a more personal reason?”

Enough…!

“Could it be due to the incident with Hiya-”

Enough.” Before Atsuhi herself could even say anything to stop the reporter from saying anything else, Aizawa finally appeared, stepping between the students and the woman. He discreetly glanced at the girl, which went unnoticed by everyone else, and then turned his attention back to the reporters, assuring them that All Might wasn’t there at the moment and trying to make them leave the students alone.

Safe at last, Atsuhi slowed down, finding her place back by Bakugo’s side, and heading with him to the classroom, glancing back worriedly to make sure none of the reporters had followed them inside the school. Not that they could have anyway – UA’s gates should’ve stopped them... She did not, however, notice how the blond male she was with seemed to observe her hasty reaction at the earlier questions, which only served to confirm his suspicions from the previous day.

After the first bell of the day signaled the start of classes, interrupting everyone’s cheerful conversations, the students sat down in their desks, waiting for their homeroom teacher, who walked through the door just a few seconds later.

“Good work at Battle Training yesterday.” Aizawa congratulated and took out a large pile of sheets, leaving it on his desk. “I took a look at your results and grading. Bakugo.” The teacher’s stare shifted to the boy, who stiffened in his spot. “Grow up a bit. Stop wasting your talent.” Bakugo looked down with furrowed eyebrows, responding reluctantly.

“….Got it.” He said through gritted teeth, making the corners of Atsuhi’s mouth lift up.

Seems like he realizes his mistakes from yesterday. I’m glad he worked it out.

Then Aizawa’s eyes moved to the poor Midoriya, who jumped in his seat, anxiously waiting to be scolded.

“And… It seems like Midoriya ended yet another day with a broken arm. Learn to control your Quirk… Just trying isn’t going to cut it. I hate repeating myself. But if we assume you can overcome this, you just might have a lot of potential. Work on it, Midoriya.” The boy’s face lit up, a sense of relied washing over his expression.

“Yes!” He responded with determination, this time smiling widely.

Looks like both of them want to learn from their mistakes after the battle…

“Now, onto more class-related topics… I’m sorry for the sudden announcement but today...” All the students held their breath, waiting in suspension to hear Aizawa’s next words. Atsuhi wasn’t in the mood for any more surprises like the one from the first day of school.

What is it now? Another test of our Quirks? A terrible quiz? Something even worse!?

“You’ll have to choose a class president.”

Such a normal school activity!!” The whole class exclaimed in sync.

After Aizawa what they were supposed to do, the room fell into total chaos. Many raised their hand, loudly announcing why they had to get the position. Amongst them, there were also a few… unexpected candidates.

Bakugo, for example, was practically standing on his desk, raising his right hand up as high as he could. He was shouting very loudly, making his voice clearly audible in the noisy room. Behind him Midoriya was also timidly holding up one of his hands, still wrapped in bandages from the previous day, although he was staying quiet, instead glancing down nervously.

Atsuhi wasn’t backing down either. She also wanted the position. Not really because she necessarily wanted to be the class president, but because she felt this was going to help her understand what it was like to be a hero and bear responsibility for the people you have to protect. That was essentially what the class president had to do, right…?

And as everyone kept shouting over each other, a calm voice suddenly cut through the banters, making the room go completely silent with the exception of its owner’s confident and official speech.

“Quiet, everyone!! Leading people is a big responsibility…! But ambition does not equate to ability!!” Ida looked really serious about the matter at hand. Or perhaps that was just his usual way of speaking? “If this is going to be a democracy, I suggest our leader be chosen through voting!!”

Ida-san, your hand is raised the highest of all of us…

Many people weren’t rally sure this was a good idea though. They started exchanging doubtful glances, silently expressing their disagreement. There were also a few who were brave enough to actually speak up.

“We haven’t known each other long enough to build any sort of trust.”

Asui is kind of right.

“Yeah, everyone’s just going to vote for themselves!”

Kirishima-kun isn’t wrong either...

But Ida already had already prepared an answer, so he declared proudly.

“And that’s exactly why if anyone gets multiple votes, they would be best suited for the position!!”

That… actually makes a lot of sense. Hm, Ida-san has really put some thought into this. Maybe…

Atsuhi thought about her decision, but in the end there was no doubt – Ida deserved it.

 

***

 

When everyone had finished voting, they all turned their heads to the blackboard where everyone’s name was written alongside the number of votes they had received.

“I got three votes?!” Midoriya exclaimed from his seat, his eyes wide open from surprise. Second, right after the green-haired boy, was Yaoyorozu with two votes. Looking further down the list, Atsuhi noticed Ida only had one. The girl frowned, feeling a little disappointed.

Ah, that sucks. And I was sure he would be perfect for the position too… Oh, but that means he also voted for someone else!

“What the…!! Who the hell voted for Deku…?!” Bakugo had stood up in his seat, looking around threateningly, probably feeling angry that he had only received a single vote. Which was undoubtedly his own.

I don’t think anyone else would’ve voluntarily voted for him anyway. Though I would never say it to his face…

Since the class had finished choosing their presidents, Aizawa called Midoriya and Yaoyorozu to the front of the classroom, officially announcing the results.

“Okay. So your president is Midoriya and the vice president is Yaoyorozu.” He said curtly, before going back to catching up on his much-needed sleep (those bags underneath his eyes weren’t getting any smaller). The curly-haired boy was standing very nervously in front of the 18 people whose eyes were staring holes into him.

Hey, I thought you wanted the position, Midoriya-kun…

 

***

 

When the bell rang, marking the end of the morning classes, everyone stood up and prepared to go eat. Some had decided to stay and have lunch in the room, while others ran to the canteen to taste Lunch Rush’s delicious food again. That’s were Atsuhi and the three other people with her were going too. She was walking a little ahead of Bakugo, who never once throughout the entire walk to the canteen stopped complaining how she should’ve voted for him. Behind them Kirishima and Kaminari were also talking to each other.

“Oi, if you didn’t vote for me, who the hell did you waste your vote on? Couldn’t have been for yourself since you had zero.” Bakugo asked, finally deciding to stop criticizing her. Not directly anyway.

“Well, I don’t think it really matters. But if you really want to know, I voted for Ida-san. He proposed this whole idea, I thought he would be the best for the position.”

“Tch. That fucking loser. Best for the position, my ass.”

“Atsuhi-chan’s right – Ida was really cool when he thought up this voting thing. Now I feel bad I voted for myself.” Kirishima said, picking up his pace to walk next to Atsuhi, mimicking Kaminari who headed to Bakugo’s side.

Atsuhi-chan? Kirishima-kun must get comfortable with people quite quickly. Not that I mind.

And so the four (despite Bakugo’s obvious dissatisfaction) made their way to the canteen where, after everyone got their food trays, they sat together on one of the tables and dug into their lunch.

“So, you seem to know everyone else here already, perhaps I should introduce myself too – Kaminari Denki, though you probably already know.” The blond boy held out a hand from his spot on the table across the green-eyed girl.

“Saeki Atsuhi, though you also probably know that already. Nice to meet you!” After the two shook hands, Kirishima spoke up.

“You know, Atsuhi-chan, I almost voted for you!” The red-haired boy announced enthusiastically. Atsuhi stopped eating, curious about his reasons, and lifted up her head to look at him, signaling him to continue.

“I thought that since you tried to deal with Bakugo at the Battle Training, you would be good at leading the class too.” Kirishima looked at the crimson-eyed boy who was practically fuming with anger.

“You know I’m right here, dammit!!” Said boy mumbled through his gritted teeth. This time it was Kaminari who responded.

“Hey, whatever you say, you were quite determined to crush Midoriya. You didn’t care about the actual training at all.” After Kaminari had finished talking, Bakugo just grit his teeth one last time, before going back to his somewhat calm eating, which he interrupted a few seconds later to mutter something under his nose.

“And why the hell are you idiots here anyway...”

Kirishima had just opened his mouth to answer the blonde girl when suddenly a deafening alarm sound rang throughout the giant canteen. Everyone lifted their heads up from their lunches and started hastily looking around to figure out what had caused the sound, when suddenly a voice sounded loudly, confirming their fears.

“Level three security breach. All students. Please evacuate calmly.” The four classmates’ nervous eyes met and their worries only increased when they heard a nearby third-year explaining what a level three security breach was.

“It means someone has invaded the building. Hurry up and go!!” At these words the four jumped up from their seats and tried to make their way through the crowd. However, that was easier said than done, as everyone was pushing over each other and you there was no way you could move on your own. Instead, you had to rely only on the mob of people to push you around, hoping to maybe reach your destination.

Atsuhi could feel herself being swept away to the exit of the school’s canteen by the hundreds of other bodies, pressed up against her own. Absolute panic had ensued and everyone was just trying to save themselves, but that only made everything worse. The blonde girl started looking around hastily, trying to find her three friends, which had disappeared from her sight the moment the giant wave of students had jumped up and started running away. She spotted Kirishima and Kaminari, who had somehow managed to stick together all this time, but the two had ended up too far away from Atsuhi, so she couldn’t get back to them. Even just calling over to them without her voice being completely lost in the sound of the hundreds of panicked cries was impossible.

I don’t see Bakugo-kun around here. He was probably also swept-

She couldn’t even finish her thoughts, before she felt someone grabbing her wrist and pulling her between a few people. Turning to see who had dragged her through the crowd, Atsuhi met Bakugo’s crimson eyes.

Speak of the devil…

“Don’t let the damn crowd sweep you away – if there really is a villain here, I’ll need you to help me crush him.” The boy was shouting loudly to make his voice audible over the noise, thus causing a faint ringing in the blonde female’s ears from having his voice sound practically directly in her ears. His hand was still wrapped around her wrist, so that the two don’t get separated again, his grip surprisingly gentle considering his brash and generally rude nature. The pushing continued on, however, and the two had no hopes they would be able to move around freely anytime soon.

While they were desperately trying to make their way through all the students running to the big door with the bright-green Exit sign above it, something in Atsuhi’s peripheral vision caught her attention. Lifting up her head to see what it had been, she was surprised to find Ida, who was soaring through the air (Is this Uraraka’s Quirk…?), reaching for the wall above the door. The boy stepped on the door frame, looming over everyone else in the hallway, and made a pose which was heavily reminiscent of the person on the emergency exit signs. The dark-haired boy then started speaking loudly, all the while trying to sound as calm as possible.

“Guys… EVERYTHING’S ALRIGHT!!” The boy exclaimed, calming the students down to make sure he would be heard first, before continuing on with his explanation. “It’s just the press! There’s nothing to panic about. We’re fine!! This is UA!! Act in a manner befitting of such a great institution!!”

Huh…? The press? Guess they really wanted these answers about All Might, huh?

Everyone had suddenly stopped crying and screaming, and a feeling of relief washed over the hall, where people had been pushing each other around in panic up until down. The students headed back to their classrooms, this time much more calmly, talking to their classmates carelessly, as if they had already forgotten about everything that had transpired. Atsuhi asked Bakugo to come with her so they could find Kirishima and Kaminari again, and they quickly noticed them down at the end of the long hallway in just a minute or so. After the four had gathered together and laughed off the rather scary situation, they also finally went to their own room, while Bakugo kept complaining.

“It wasn’t even a villain, just the goddamn press!! I thought I was going to get to crush someone today.” He was muttering the entire time, making Atsuhi giggle at his childishness. They reached the classroom just on time because seconds after they had entered, the bell for the end of the lunch break rang. Atsuhi sat back down on her desk, looking around, and discovered that everyone had managed to return successfully from this little adventure, though some looked a little more beat up than others.

At lest no one actually got hurt… Things could’ve gotten really messy back there. Thankfully, Ida-san saved the day!

Glancing out the window, the female saw police cars and officers, who were trying to make the reporters leave the school’s grounds. She let out a sigh, a combination of her exhaustion due to what had just happened, and her relief that the reporters were finally going to leave, this time for sure.

After Aizawa had entered the room, he sat down on the floor, wrapped up in his sleeping bag. Midoriya and Yaoyorozu, now respectively class president and vice president, walked to the front of the classroom to announce their next activity.

“Go ahead, president.” Sighed Yaoyorozu, not very happy that Midoriya got picked, despite his clumsy and nervous act.

“W-we would like to choose the remaining members of the student council!… But before we do that… This is important!” Midoriya’s anxious gaze locked onto one of his fellow classmates, before he continued. “I believe… that Ida Tenya is more suitable to be class representative…!”

Aah, Midoriya-kun, that’s so generous of you!

“You all saw how he led everyone in such a crisis. I think that… he’s the correct choice for this position!” Midoriya ended his speech with a confident smile. The whole class started cheering for the boy with glasses, and when Ida accepted the position, they all shouted cheerfully.

 

***

 

When the classes ended, Atsuhi quickly rushed out of the room and through the school’s gates, where she caught up to Bakugo, who was once again leaving on his own. When she neared him, the boy stopped and looked at her in bewilderment.

“What? You thought that because I left you alone with your thoughts yesterday that I had forgotten about our promise? You can’t get rid of me that easily.” The female answered the boy’s unspoken question happily.

“Tch, I don’t care. And we’ve made no such promise, you just decided to invite yourself.” Bakugo responded and started walking again, not checking to see whether Atsuhi had followed him or not. Though he already knew the answer.

Doesn’t matter! The important thing is that we’re now together.” Atsuhi said and adjusted her speed to match the blond male’s. Throughout their entire walk home, she was trying to start up some trivial conversations, which the boy responded to with one or few words, ending them as soon as they had begun. But that didn’t bother the female. Bakugo wasn’t the kind of person you could get close to easily. She was, however, determined to keep trying and she hoped that someday she might just be able to. For now, she just had to have a little bit of patience.

And as the two were walking together, almost like they were free of all their worries, neither expected that which was going to come upon them just the following day. Not just that, neither of the two had the slightest clue about the many troubles which would happen to them very soon, all of them beginning with the fateful encounter that was soon to come.

Chapter Text

“The press, you say?”

“Yeah, I don’t even know how they managed to set off the alarm in the first place but everyone panicked.”

“Still, everything turned out alright in the end, yeah?”

“Right. Ida-san successfully diffused the situation.”

“Oh, he was Ingenium’s younger brother, wasn’t he?”

“Mhm, I never asked him myself but I’m fairly certain it’s him.”

“Ingenuim really is an amazing hero. I’d even go as far as to say I really admire him!”

“You admire a lot of heroes, Dad.”

“So what? You do too.”

“Touche. Anyway, I’m going into the school, so bye!”

“Bye, dear! Have a nice day!”

 

***

 

Saeki Ryuu hung up on his daughter, who he had been talking to up until now, and put his phone down on the table in front of him, where many piles of documents and notes on recent crimes he had yet to put away lay. They weren’t what he was interested in at the moment though. Because there was one thought that kept running through his head over and over again, slowly driving him crazy. UA had a giant barrier which was supposed to protect the school from intruders. Then… how did a bunch of ordinary reporters get through it…?

And despite the anxious feeling in his gut, Lava Floor was forced to continue his heroic work for the day. He trusted UA and its teachers. He hoped that Atsuhi was in good hands.

 

***

 

It was the next day after a big group of reporters had somehow invaded UA, activating the security alarm and effectively sending all the students in a fit of panic. Everything was actually going surprisingly smoothly, in contrast to the crazy events from the previous day. It was almost like nothing had ever happened. The morning classes were just as boring as ever, the excitement for their heroic ones later being the only thing keeping the students going. Though it didn’t necessarily help with keeping them awake.

And finally, with the sound of the bell, came their first hero class of the day. Their homeroom teacher walked through the door, as tired and sleep-deprived as ever, and started talking in a monotonous and bored voice.

“Now, for today’s Basic Hero Training – this time All Might, I, and one more teacher will be supervising you.”

Ooh, three teachers, interesting. Though I wonder what could require this many people..?

“Um, what exactly are we going to do?” A boy with straight black hair raised his hand and asked curiously. (That’s Sero-san with the tape-from-the-elbows Quirk, right?)

“We’ll prepare you for disaster relief, anything from fires to floods. Rescue Training!!” Aizawa mumbled as energetically as he could, holding up a card which said Rescue for the whole class to see.

Ah, rescue training! That’s one of the most important things for a hero – to be able to save people and help them in difficult situations! I don’t know if my Quirk will be very suitable for rescuing but there is no way to know for certain until I try!

Atsuhi was excited. One of the reasons she was working so hard to become a hero was, after all, because she wanted to be able to help everyone who needed saving. Smiling in her anticipation, she listened to the rest of Aizawa’s explanation.

“Hey. I’m not done yet.” He had to catch everyone’s attention again, since most students had started discussing with each other, probably also impatient to begin the exercise. “You get to decide whether you should wear your costumes or not. Since some of them aren’t exactly fit for such activities.” The teacher pressed the button on the small remote in his hand, making the shelves with everybody’s costumes appear. “The training grounds are a bit remote so we’ll go there by bus. That’s all. Get ready.”

The female immediately jumped up from her seat and took the case with her number on it. She practically skipped towards the changing rooms, already envisioning herself in the middle of saving people, looking just like an actual hero.

That’s perfect! Rescue operations were one of the main things I had on my mind when I was designing my costume, not to mention that I asked my dad for ideas too. So it should be ideal for today!

 

***

 

After everyone had changed into their preferred outfits, the class set off to the place where they were going to board the small bus to get to the training grounds. Atsuhi was walking next to Bakugo, who was strolling silently as if she wasn’t even there. A short distance behind them, Midoriya and Uraraka were conversing together and they just so happened to be speaking loud enough for the blonde girl to clearly hear what they were saying.

“Hmm? You’re wearing your gym uniform, Deku-kun? Where’s your costume?”

“It didn’t quite survive Battle Training the other day...”

Hearing some sort of grumbling from beside her, Atsuhi glanced in Bakugo’s direction, only to find him forcing his gaze right in front of him, walking with pursed lips and furrowed eyebrows. He almost looked more intense than usual.

Ops, I guess he heard that too. It seems like he realizes he wasn’t quite himself the other day.

The female stopped paying attention to the conversation behind her, and instead resumed her quiet walking by the blond boy’s side. Before the students boarded the bus, Ida, taking his role of class president a little more seriously than he was supposed to, began dictating the order they should sit in.

“Line up by numbers and get to your seats in an orderly fashion.” He announced seriously, waving his hands in that typical for him manner.

By numbers, huh? Well, I guess it’s always fun to make new friends!

 

***

 

So, no new friends then?

“Darn it. So it was this kind of bus!!” The boy with glasses exclaimed in disappointment, hanging his head low. It turned out the bus had both double seats in the back but also a big open space with some seats along the windows. That ruined the class president’s plan and everyone sat however they wanted.

Atsuhi was situated in the front seat, right next to the open area of the vehicle. Beside her was Bakugo, who had propped his knee up on the board, separating him from the seats in front of him, as he was supporting his head with one of his fists, his eyes gazing out the window at the moving scenery. He looked surprisingly calm when nothing was there to disturb him. Atsuhi smiled and turned to listen to her classmates, who were sitting and talking to each other in front of her.

“I tend to say what’s on my mind, Midoriya.” Announced Asui, correcting the green-haired boy by telling him to call her Tsuyu instead. Then she continued. “Your Quirk is very reminiscent of All Might’s.” The boy suddenly tensed up, and tried to stutter his answer.

“R-r-r-really!? No waaay. I mean, I’m...”

Hm, Asui is kind of right – Midoriya-kun even uses the same names for his attacks. But their Quirks aren’t completely alike, because…

“You’re not wrong, but All Might doesn’t get hurt. They’re at least different in that regard.” Atsuhi said confidently and all eyes turned to her. Midoriya started nodding in approval, maybe even relief, and Asui thought about it, while Kirishima decided to express his own approval.

“Atsuhi-chan’s right! Even so, this kind of simple power-augmenting Quirk is awesome! You can do a lot of cool things with it! Unlike my Hardening.” The red-haired male put up one of his hands and hardened it, giving it a texture similar to that of a rock. “It’s good in a fight but it’s really boring otherwise.” Atsuhi knew what he was talking about – her own Quirk wasn’t exactly flashy either.

“Hey, I think that looks great! It’s definitely better than mine – you can’t really see temperature with your eyes so it doesn’t seem very impressive.” She tried to explain sadly. Bakugo glanced at her for a split second when he heard her words but then gazed back to the window he had been staring at the entire time. Midoriya, however, tried to encourage Atsuhi and Kirishima.

“I think it’s amazing either way. Your Quirks are more than enough if you want to go pro.”

“Ah, thank you, Midoriya-kun!”

“Pros! But don’t forget that heroes have to think about popularity too!” Kirishima continued with his insecurities, only making Atsuhi worry further too.

“My Navel Laser is both strong, and cool. Perfect for a pro.” Exclaimed Aoyama, sitting to the side with an almost creepy smile on his face, staring right into the red-haired boy’s soul.

“As long as your stomach doesn’t explode!” When Mina said that, Aoyama’s expression changed slightly, looking a little more discouraged or maybe even a little bit embarrassed. He still had that weird smile on his face though.

Hmm, he’s strange…

“Well, if we’re talking about strong and cool, that’s Todoroki and Bakugo.” Hearing his name among Kirishima’s words, the blond male beside Atsuhi glance at the students talking about him from the corner of his eye, but quickly turned to the side once again. Asui, however, interrupted.

“But Bakugo-chan’s so unhinged. He’ll never be popular.” With this, however, he couldn’t stay silent anymore and jumped up in his seat.

“What the hell did you say, frog face?!” He began shouting, unfortunately only confirming Asui’s statement. Atsuhi thought it was useless to try and stop him and instead left him to deal with his classmates on his own, while she just watched from the side.

“We’ve barely started socializing yet you’ve already made it perfectly clear to us that your crappy personality is incredibly unpleasant.” Kaminari, all of a sudden showing a much larger vocabulary than anyone had ever expected from him, decided to infuriate Bakugo even further with his opinion.

“Yeah, well, mister vocabulary. How about I beat you up?!” The blond shouted even louder, if that was even possible, making Atsuhi lean a bit to the side, to decrease the booming of his voice in her ears a little bit.

I’m starting to regret sitting here…

“Yeah but with the right partner he could be a terrific pro. He just needs someone who can deal with his aggressive nature.” Glancing at Atsuhi, Kirishima continued arguing in favor of the loud boy. “Take, for example, the Battle Training from the other day – Atsuhi-chan managed to put up with his stubbornness and the two almost won!” Exclaimed the red-haired boy excitedly.

“Who’re you calling stubborn, hah?” Bakugo seemed to ignore what Kirishima was trying to say but Atsuhi just shrunk in her seat, flattered by his words.

“We’ve arrived. Stopped messing around, now...” Aizawa’s tired voice sounded and everyone impatiently jumped up from their seats, rushing to get out of the bus with big smiles of excitement, their earlier conversations quickly forgotten and left unfinished.

 

***

 

“Wooooooow!!” That was everybody’s first reaction the moment they stepped onto the training grounds they had never seen before. The place was huge and full of all kinds of terrains. “Is that supposed to be Universal Studios Japan?!” Was the question all the students were asking themselves.

“The Flood zone. The Collapse zone. The Fire zone… and so on. Every disaster and incident you can imagine. I built this place myself. I call it… Unforeseen Simulation Joint!!”

“So it really is USJ!!” Exclaimed everyone after listening to the newly-arrived teacher.

This helmet and the astronaut costume, then that must surely be…

“The Space Hero, Thirteen!” Said Midoriya jumping in his place excitedly, sharing the same conclusion Atsuhi had also reached just now. Beside him, Uraraka was ready to float away from happiness, since she seemed to be a big fan.

My father’s worked with him a few times and he has said that Thirteen was a really kind and good person! This means this class is going to be absolutely awesome!!

While the students were lost in their excitement, Atsuhi stole a glance at the teachers, where she noticed that Aizawa had walked closer to Thirteen, probably meaning to ask the other hero something without the rest of the students hearing it too. A little after the two had begun talking, Thirteen slightly raised one hand, showing three fingers.

Hm, what could this be all about…?

But Atsuhi couldn’t focus on this mystery for much longer as the space hero finally turned to the students again.

“Before we start, I have two things to say. Or three… Four...”

Way too many things…

“As I’m sure a lot of you already know, my Quirk is called Black Hole. It can suck in and tear apart anything.”

That’s right, it’s a Quirk that looks dangerous and more fitting of a villain at a first glance, but Thirteen has mastered it and uses it to save people!!

“But my power could easily kill. I have no doubt that there are some amongst you all with similar abilities.” Atsuhi lowered her head for a moment, thinking about the dangers of her own Quirk. It really was a scary thought...

The temperatures I can reach with my Heat Touch are more than enough to make someone die from hypothermia or to heat up their body so much that it stops functioning. In the wrong hands, this power could lead to lots of dangers. And it’s not just me either…

Looking around, the blonde female glanced at her classmates one by one – first at Kirishima, then Uraraka, Midoriya, Bakugo – actually, any person from the class could use their Quirk to kill, as long they were creative with it.

“In our society full of superpowers, the use of Quirks is strictly limited and supervised. It may look like this system is a stable one. But we should never forget that one wrong move with an uncontrollable Quirk is all it takes for a person to be killed.” Thirteen went quiet for a second, letting the heavy silence seep into the students’ minds.

“During Aizawa-san’s physical test, you learned about your own hidden potential. With All Might’s Battle Training you experienced the danger your own Quirks could pose for others. This class… will show you a new perspective! You’re going to learn how to use your Quirks to save lives.” Everybody was smiling and glancing around in excitement.

That’s one of the main duties of a hero!! Thirteen is a specialist in saving civilians – there’s no better teacher for this!

“Your powers aren’t meant to cause damage. I hope you’re going to leave today with the understanding that you’re meant to help people. That’s everything! Thank you for listening.” Thirteen bowed as a sign of gratitude, while the students who had been listening intently, started praising the space hero’s speech.

“Okay. First..” Aizawa began, but cut off his sentence halfway through, turning around to look at the central plaza, where something seemed to catch his attention.

Hm, what’s going on there?

Pointing her own eyes at the fountain and the plaza at the center of USJ, Atsuhi also noticed that something wasn’t quite right. Because in the air, a few meters above the ground, there was some kind of dark mist which had gathered suspiciously.

Dark mist which suddenly started expanding little by little.

And then something came out of it. A hand. Fingers. Fingers came out of the mist. Fingers, which were followed by a face, covered by a disembodied hand, through which an eye with a crazed look was peeking out, glancing around creepily, almost as if scouting for its first victims.

Atsuhi didn’t know what was happening and yet she still felt the chills running through her entire body, as she froze in fear.

But that wasn’t everything. Suddenly, from the misty portal, tens, maybe even hundreds of other people jumped out. And all of them, alongside the one with the hand on his face and a huge, terrifying creature, dashed towards the students, leaving them with no time to think.

And like that, in a cruel, ironic twist, during their rescue training, the students were attacked.

What… is this…!?

Chapter Text

They were all frozen in their places, or perhaps they could still move, they just didn’t want to. Not when they could clearly see what was awaiting them up ahead. Instead, the students of 1A just stood there with wide eyes and hearts, beating so fast they might as well have flown out of their chests already. Thoughts were racing through their heads, but there was one emotion that stood above all else and was clearly present on their faces too.

Fear. It was fear that sent the cold shivers down their spines and made everything move in slow motion. But even so, even if the world around them was moving so slowly that their ragged breaths sounded almost normal, no one could gather up the courage to do something. Anything. The fear was just too much, overtaking any rationality the students might’ve had and instead replacing it with dread.

Atsuhi’s mind was a mess, but perhaps an even bigger one than anyone else’s. Because the fear that made her limbs grow unnaturally cold in a matter of seconds, wasn’t the worst part of it all. She had somehow pushed it away and made enough space in her head for one more emotion. But that didn’t really go as planned, as it wasn’t a positive emotion that made its way there, as Atsuhi had hoped. No, what overtook her mind was instead memories. Terrible, terrible memories. Memories she never wanted to recall ever again and yet somehow, in this crucial moment, they had finally found a small opening, but one that was enough for them to crawl through and make their presence known.

She couldn’t think straight. Her thoughts were jumbled and incoherent to begin with, but with the resurfacing of those images, which forced their way in front of her eyes, she lost her last bit of sanity. She was now completely petrified. It wasn’t that she had no faith in her classmates and teachers but how could she possibly be calm in such a situation. The last time she had been directly faced with a villain was something that clearly haunted her to this day. But it was also something she thought could never happen again. And yet, there it was, once again – the dread and helplessness she hoped she would never have to feel anymore. Guess fate really wanted to prove her wrong, eh? It was almost funny, really. Atsuhi could feel the corners of her mouth barely pulling up. It was so pathetic, it made her want to laugh at herself for her own helplessness.

That’s right. She was just going to stand there, watching from the sidelines as people were getting hurt. Just like last time. Gazing at their pain, as she was just too scared to do anything. Just like last time. Unable to move at the sight of everyone’s suffering. Just like last time.

It had already happened once. Why wouldn’t it happen again? Why wouldn’t someone get hurt because of her again? Why wouldn’t someone get ki-

“What the hell’s this?! More robots, is this like the Entrance Exam?” Those words were like a slap to the face for Atsuhi. Seems like Kirishima’s common sense was still working, unlike her own. All the images suddenly cut off, like a movie paused a bit too sharply, the thoughts stopped racing over each other, leaving only the silence in which they still slightly echoed. The red-haired boy had managed to pull her out of her panic just in time, as had she gone any deeper into it, who knows whether she would’ve been able to face any of what was about to happen.

This wouldn’t have been the first time Aizawa had pulled such an inconsiderate “prank” so it was plausible... right? Right? That’s what it had to be – just a stupid, childish prank, timed a tad too badly. With hopeful eyes Atsuhi turned to her teacher. And that’s when she crashed back down to earth, hitting the ground hard, crushing the rubble underneath, and only hoping that she would be able to get back up. He wasn’t laughing. He wasn’t looking at them quizzingly.

No, Eraser Head was preparing for battle, pulling down his goggles, eyes focused ahead on his targets. There was a sense of urgency to his movements. And that was no good. After all, if their teacher himself was concerned, then there was nothing else it could’ve been. Without a doubt, what stood in front of them now…

“Don’t move. Those are villains!!” He shouted, his voice laced with dread. That was it – the final blow to making the situation really dawn on Atsuhi. Sure, she didn’t want to repeat the events form her memories. But that alone was no reason to be afraid. No, no, that was merely a fuel to the flames. The reality of the situation was that those were actual villains who were actually evil and could actually kill every last one of them. She could’ve said that her heart had started beating faster or that her limbs had suddenly grown colder but really, that was impossible, as if any of those things had happened she would’ve already been dead, since there was no way for her heart to beat any faster than it currently was and her fingers were probably turning blue form how cold they already were.

But something else came along with the realization of the dangers of this situation – she also suddenly understood how stupid she was being. Sure, she was scared. But freezing up and panicking? This wasn’t going to help. If anything that was the worst thing she could have possibly done. When you’re faced with an opponent out to kill you, you have to think rationally. You couldn’t just… not think at all. So what if her memories were scaring her? If all she thought about was how she was bound to repeat them again, of course that’s what was going to happen. Instead, she had to focus on avoiding such an outcome at all costs.

Slowly but surely, she felt her heartbeat go closer and closer to normal, though still a few beats a minute too fast, not to mention how ridiculously loud those heartbeats was echoing in her ears. But even this much was enough. Perhaps she still wasn’t thinking straight but at least she was thinking.

W-what’s a hero that can’t even face a challenge head on? I have to get a grip on myself – there’s no place for any fear here. If I want to get out of this alive- no, get everyone out of this alive, I have to forget about all the memories and focus on the present! I-I have to…

The villains which had appeared out of the black mist had headed into all sorts of directions, each choosing one of USJ’s many disaster zones and settling there. For what reason, the students didn’t know quite yet. Well, actually there was one which didn’t really go anywhere. He just stood where he had appeared and was looking around in an unnaturally scary manner.

That was the villain with the disembodied hand covering his face, giving him a mysterious aura which only made him appear scarier in the students’ eyes. That hand wasn’t even the only one – his entire body was covered in more disembodied hands, easily eliminating any doubts that he might’ve still been sane. Instead of following the others, he remained in front of the fountain in the central plaza, as if waiting for someone. Or something. No way to know.

Atsuhi couldn’t see him very clearly though, as the black mist which had transported all the villains here still hadn’t quite cleared up, coloring the air a semi-transparent shade of black and simultaneously obscuring the class’ view of what was more than likely the leader of the attack. Which, come to think of it, seemed a bit off. After all, it was just some strange mist, why hadn’t it dispersed yet…?

“Thirteen… and Eraser Head, correct…?”

It wasn’t just some strange mist. It was some strange talking mist. Scratch that, it wasn’t mist at all. It was an actual person. A living, breathing human being. A villain just like all those other guys. A villain with an exceptionally rare Quirk.

“According to the schedule I received yesterday… All Might was supposed to be here, as well...” The warp gate, or, umm – villain, spoke up in an unexpectedly polite and reasonable manner. Which was pretty ironic, considering the fact that he could probably kill everyone here in a heartbeat. Without blinking an eye. In cold blood. You get the point.

“Of course… This whole incident is this scum’s doing.” Aizawa wasn’t having any of it. He was ready to charge at the villain, his manners the last thing on the hero’s mind. That’s when someone else joined in on the “conversation”, if you could even call it that.

“Where is he…? We came all this way.” It was the supposed leader of the pack, hand-on-the-face, slow-talking, childish guy who was just standing at the central plaza. His immature attitude just made him scarier. So did the fact that he started scratching his neck furiously and throwing his head around like he was having a tantrum. “We brought so many friends too… And yet… All Might, The Symbol of Piece…. Is he here…?” He stopped moving and lifted up his head, gazing straight at the group of 20 trembling students. “I wonder if some dead kids might bring him here?”

There it was. The heavy breathing, the cold shaking limbs, the racing thoughts. That guy’s words were rather creepy, weren’t they? If anything, they sure were enough to send yet another wave of panic crashing among the kids he was looking at. Something else also stood out as odd. He was terrifying alright, but weren’t his plans just a little bit too… ambitious?

A-All Might…? They… want to kill him?! That can’t be possible. They must be delusional or something. This is All Might we’re talking about, you can’t just kill him. You can’t even overwhelm him with numbers, so what are they trying to do? Do they have… another way? Are they really sure they can…? That’s just impossible, that’s…

Atsuhi looked down, hiding the tears threatening to drop from her eyes any moment now. She couldn’t, or rather didn’t want to, believe that it was actually possible. To kill a hero like All Might, that is. But they were just so confident. It was eerie…

And as she was freaking out, like she had been since she first saw the villains appear, some of her other classmates were slowly starting to realize what was really happening too. They were trying to make it seem like this wasn’t actually real, like it was impossible, but all of them knew too well. Trying to deny it was pointless. It was fact and it was unfolding right in front of their eyes.

She was, however, astonished at the sheer calmness of some of her classmates. There was no way she could’ve talked as sensibly and smartly as Todoroki had explained about the sensors and the thought behind the villains’ plan. What could he have gone through to be so calm at a time like this…? Or maybe she was the one who couldn’t control her emotions.

The slow motion had long ended by this point. If anything, it felt like things were moving more quickly than they were supposed to. Aizawa telling Thirteen to begin the evacuation, Kaminari trying to contact the school, Midoriya getting concerned about his teacher, who in turn just rushed to fight the closest villains – it all flew by in a blur. Before Atsuhi realized it, Eraser Head had already taken down a dozen or so of the intruders. Perhaps they weren’t actually that strong. Or maybe he was much more amazing than she had even thought.

Dad was right – Aizawa-sensei is so skilled, even against villains he can’t use his Quirk on. And he’s doing all this, pushing himself so far… all of it just to protect us…

“Hurry up and evacuate!!” This time it was Ida who broke Atsuhi out of her thoughts, and made her turn around to run away with everyone else. She and Midoriya were the only two lagging behind after all. So it was really going to be that easy, huh? All they had to do was run through that giant door and they were going to be safe, away from the danger. So all that fear really wasn’t worth it since it was all about to end right n-

“I won’t allow this.” The mist spoke again. But… he was all the way behind them just now.

I-it was only a moment ago and yet… he’s already appeared here…

“Greetings. We are the League of Villains. Excuse our boldness but… Today we’ve come here, to UA High School to end the life of All Might, The Symbol of Peace.” So they really wanted to kill him. Which had to mean that they had a way to do so. And if the think they could kill All Might then the students were an impossibly easy target. Well, there comes that panic again. “We were left with the impression that All Might was going to be here today… But it appears that his schedule has been rearranged? Well… it matters not.”

The villain just kept on talking but Thirteen didn’t seem to be listening. Instead, the pro hero was preparing to suck the villain inside of Black Hole. The black mist was spreading further and further, easily surrounding the students. Thirteen was about to attack him any second now. Who was going to act first though?

Just as Atsuhi was about to take a step back, cautious of the warp gate’s upcoming attack, she was stopped by a blur of colors in her peripheral vision. A blur that soon became the distinguishable outlines of two people who had now rushed in front of her. She could see the backs of certain two boys running towards the villain.

What are they-

“Bakugo-kun! Kirishima-kun! Don’t!” Atsuhi’s thoughts were cut off by her own words as she cried out after the two boys, reaching a hand in a useless attempt to grab them and stop them. Well, maybe it wasn’t so useless as without realizing it, she had ran after them and just when she was about to reach them, Thirteen’s distressed “Stop!!” brought her out of her daze and made her… well, stop. The same couldn’t be said for the other two though.

Instead of listening, they actually went ahead and attacked the villain. But the shocking thing was, they actually landed a hit on him. And he felt it. And they were okay. The mist had thinned out momentarily, before recollecting in an uncanny matter, forming the villain’s two glowing eyes yet again.

T-they’re alright… Thank God…

“That was close… Yes… You might still be students but you’re the best of the best.” He sounded like the attack affected him, but he sure didn’t look like it. And suddenly everything became a blur again, events going by so quickly the female didn’t even have time to register them before she was hit with their effects.

Thirteen shouted something, Atsuhi was just about to turn to the hero, when a mere second later the black mist surrounded everyone, covering the girl’s entire field of vision in black. Due to the accompanying gust of wind, she was forced to put her hands up, shielding her face from the force which had almost knocked her off her feet. Closing her eyes, she anticipated some sort of impact, pain, anything that could be the result of an attack. Instead, she felt the ground from underneath her feet vanish. She had no time to think, no time to even try to understand what had just happened, as the very next moment she hit that same ground, which had disappeared, hard, knocking all the air out of her already breathless body.

W-what… happened…?

After a few deep and difficult breaths, choking and coughing as she slowly regained her much-needed oxygen, Atsuhi was finally able to get up, albeit shakily and feeling like her legs were going to give out any second now. She was desperately trying to grit her teeth through the pain from the sudden fall, which was definitely going to leave a few big bruises. A deep sigh from somewhere close-by made the female suddenly shoot her head up and look around hastily. That’s when she really took in her surroundings, only to realize what the villain’s “attack” had been.

The first thing she noticed was a certain pair of boys she had tried to stop earlier, before she had been mysteriously transported somewhere completely different. One was looking around, cautiously taking in the new surroundings and only sparing a glance in the girl’s direction before going back to looking around the small building, deeming it a more important task than the girl. The other boy was also glancing around, though in a more clueless manner, as he had yet to notice the blonde female’s presence.

Now, Bakugo was certainly right in deciding that figuring out where they were was their first priority. It was just a small room, although that seemed to take up the entire floor of the building they had been brought in. The walls were crumbling and the windows were shattered, the broken glass littering the floor. Which was only an accident waiting to happen, as someone could easily cut their foot on it. Though that wasn’t exactly their biggest concern now, was it?

Looks a lot like one of the disaster zones… So we’re still at USJ. Then that warp gate villain must’ve teleported us here?

“Atsuhi-chan!!” Looks like Kirishima finally noticed the girl sitting in the middle of the floor with a focused expression on her face, as he rushed to her side and with a worried glance helped her get back up on her feet. “So all three of us are here, huh… Looks like that villain te-” The red-haired boy was, however, interrupted by the sound of an explosion a bit too close to his ear for comfort. He and Atsuhi jumped at the sudden sound and turned around, only to see Bakugo with sparks still flying off his hands and a villain laying unconscious at his feet.

“No time for chit-chat...” Atsuhi followed the male’s eyes and chills ran down her spine when she saw it too. In the corners of the building she could barely make out a dozen or so silhouettes, all slowly crawling out of the shadows and creeping closer and closer to the three students huddled together.

He’s right. This is no time for small talk. There’ll be plenty of that later, just as long as we manage to get rid of those...

“Villains...” Atsuhi mumbled, stepping closer to the boys and preparing for a fight. “Seems like we’ll have to deal with them first...”

“Heh. They’ll be sorry they ever showed their goddamn faces here.” A sadistic grin grazed the male’s face as he growled those words. Ironically though, the scary expression made Atsuhi feel safer. They were, after all, in a life-or-death situation – no one expected them to be very heroic since all that mattered right now was getting out alive. If Bakugo was putting on this kind of face, it probably meant he was getting serious… right?

And so, it was time for a fight.


***


Though it wasn’t a very long fight. Despite that, it was still plenty exhausting. You couldn’t really relax when you’re being attacked from all sides. Even just for a few seconds. At first, the three were trying to just take down the villains one by one, using their Quirks to do so. And that kind of worked. For the first few.

They might not have been the smartest villains, but it didn’t take a genius to figure out that Atsuhi’s touch was no good for them. In no time all of the attackers were avoiding her hands like the plague. That was very unfortunate, however, as without touching them the female couldn’t defeat them, especially since her long-range attacks were bound to hurt her two classmates fighting alongside her as well. Come to think of it, that meant she had to work on those a bit – you couldn’t be a hero if you can’t use half of your attacks with other people around.

In the end, she was forced to defend and avoid attacks as best as she could, hoping for either an accidental grazing of her hand, so she could at lest activate her Quirk’s effect from a distance, or, at the very least, one of the boys helping her out by distracting the villain long enough for her to find her opening.

When, after what felt like hours though in reality had only been a few minutes, all the villains were down and Atsuhi could finally sit and catch her breath, clearing the rapidly-appearing spots in her vision. Using her Quirk like this really took its toll on her. Yet another thing to add to the ever-growing list of things she needed to work on.

“That’s all of ‘em. Buncha weaklings.” Bakugo’s voice sounded from somewhere in front of the female, but she didn’t bother opening her eyes to confirm his position. Now that she thought about it, didn’t it feel like the air had grown warmer from the constant explosions?

“Great! Now let’s hurry up and help the others! If we’re here then I bet everyone else is still in USJ too! I’m worried about those who have no offensive moves.” Atsuhi felt like Kirishima was almost talking about her. Almost though.

“I agree...” She managed through her rapid breathing which was thankfully quickly returning back to normal. At least something was going right. “If you two hadn’t been here, I’m not sure I would’ve gotten out of this in one piece...”

“Hey, don’t be like that Atsuhi-chan! You would’ve managed somehow. Weren’t you using your Quirk on Bakugo the entire time too? That’s certainly a lot of strain you were putting on yourself because of us!” The red-haired boy tried to comfort her. He did make a valid point but that was merely one of the many reasons she didn’t trust herself to fight alone. “In any case, Thirteen-sensei’s got his hands full because of us two. None of this would’ve happened if we had just let him deal with that villain. As men, we have to take responsibility...” Kirishima looked pretty solemn as he was saying this. It probably weighed on his pride.

“If that’s what you want, go by yourself. I’ll crush this warp gate guy!” Was Bakugo’s unreasonable response. How could he be thinking about such things at a time like this. Perhaps his common sense was finally giving out, after all you could only be rational for so long before you go crazy in an intense situation like this. Atsuhi, who had finally regained enough strength, decided that it was time for her to knock some sense into him.

“Bakugo-kun, you can’t just charge at him like that. You’d only put yourself in danger since there’s no way to know what he’s capable of!” She stood in front of him with hands on her hips and eyebrows scrunched up in worry. Kirishima also agreed, reminding him that normal attacks didn’t work on that guy. But Bakugo looked like he already knew all of this.

“Shut up, both of you!” The blond shouted, effectively silencing the two. It was a rather composed shout though, if that makes any sense, making it seem like he was keeping his cool and was actually thinking about all of this. “These punks move around with him. If we take him down, they’d have nowhere to run!”

“And how are you planning to-” Yet again, an explosion was suddenly heard, this time interrupting Atsuhi, who could only stare in shock as Bakugo had knocked out a villain that had tried to attack him from behind, without as much as moving his head.

W-where did that guy even come from?! Those are some… crazy reflexes…

“Bakugo-kun, a-are you okay…?” She couldn’t help but stutter – how was this even possible? Bakugo was really in a league of his own. And so, working on reflexes has been added to Atsuhi’s things-I-really-should-work-on list. The blond male didn’t seem very fazed by the two classmates gawping at him though, so he just continued.

“I mean… if they sent those idiots against us, the others will be fine.”

“You’re quite collected all of a sudden...” Kirishima muttered surprised.

“I’m always calm, you damn mop-head.”

“Ah, there it is.

“Anyway, I’m getting the hell out of here.”

“Bakugo-kun, I still don’t think that’s a good idea...” Atsuhi tried to stop him, putting a hand on his shoulder with concern lacing her voice.

“Ah, that’s right, you’re coming with me too.”

“Huh? Wait, what?”

“Are you deaf?! I told you – you’re coming with me too. I could deal with this by myself but if the damn villains happen to escape, you can stop them with your Quirk.” He tried to explain, but the female just stared at him dumb-founded.

“And you’re sure this plan is going to succeed… is that so?” Atsuhi was still a bit skeptic. But hey, Bakugo was smart (though he didn’t look like it) – she was willing to trust him. In fact, in the current situation whatever plan he had come up with would most certainly be their best bet.

“Yeah, absolutely.” A few seconds of staring into the male’s red irises quizzingly, Atsuhi sighed, giving in. Or more like, agreeing like she planned to from the beginning. Not that she was going to admit that.

“Okay. I trust you.” She lifted up her head and clenched her fist in determination. “Let’s defeat those villains!”

“Hold on, hold on. You have to believe in your friends, huh…! Be men, or, uh, at least Bakugo! You’ve convinced me! I’m comin’ with you!”

With that, the three headed for the central plaza where a heated battle was unfolding. And where a lot more was about to happen. They just didn’t know it yet. Just as they didn’t know whether they were going to make it out of this alive or not.

All they had now was a plan of action. And all that was left was to execute it flawlessly. Quite the task, huh? Well, they could only hope. Hope, as in this cruel situation a single mistake could cost them their lives.

Chapter Text

“That’s the plan. So when we get there, I attack the warp gate, and you just have to touch him once after I’ve already taken care of him.”

“That… actually sounds plausible. Your idea’s not that bad!”

“Haaah!? My ideas are always perfect! And you, weird hair – you could try attacking some of the other villains – the more we take down, the better.”

“Hey now, my hair’s not that different from yours, Bakugo...”

“Try, I don’t know, the one with the many hands, for example – he looks rather important. Maybe he’s their leader or something? But still, be careful, Kirishima-kun, we don’t really know what his Quirk is...”

“Don’t worry – I’ll be fine. I just hope we can pull it off...”


***


The memories of her conversation from mere minutes ago were mixed in with the sounds of Atsuhi’s ragged breaths as she was sprinting with all her might towards the central plaza, alongside Bakugo and Kirishima. She was trying her best to clear her mind and focus only on the rapid steps her feet were making, however, that clearly wasn’t working out. Facing off against villains was bad enough but the three were currently about to willingly attack a group of them. Perhaps they might’ve been too confident. Actually, that’s not it.

Atsuhi wasn’t confident at all. What Bakugo had said about the warp gate did indeed sound plausible and by extent, his strategy also seemed like it was more than likely going to be a success. But then again, you never know. It all looked to be perfect. A bit too perfect. And that was exactly what worried the female.

These guys are a bunch of villains who claim they can kill All Might. Unless they’re making empty threats, they’re dangerous. And they probably won’t be defeated very easily. So what are we even thinking? We’re just some kids who-

“Hey, Atsuhi-chan! No need to get so worried – everything will be alright!” A big confident smile, albeit one which still couldn’t fully hide the male’s own nervousness behind it, was what the girl saw when she turned her eyes to her classmate running beside her. It seems that her anxiousness was showing on her face rather clearly, as Kirishima felt the need to do something about it. With worried eyes pointed ahead at their destination, the female replied in a quiet voice.

“You’re right, it’s just… No, never mind...”

It’s just that… I don’t want anyone to get hurt… I don’t want that day to repeat again…

But that was something she couldn’t say out loud. Forgetting those memories meant that she also decided not to tell anyone about them. Even if she someday found the courage to do it, there would be a lot of trust required. On top of that, now really wasn’t the best time for sappy tales – not when all they were going to do was make the situation worse. So, Atsuhi was forced to swallow back her words, settling only for a solemn look on her face, which in turn earned her a skeptical glance from Kirishima, but in the end the boy just looked ahead, as he knew there was no way she could feel anything other than fear and worry at the moment.

Okay, I’ve got to get myself together now! No more moping around, instead I have to give it my all! To make sure we do not fail!

The female’s gaze fell upon Bakugo’s back, as the male was making good use of his explosions to propel himself forward and move even faster than he would on foot, forcing the two behind him to struggle to keep up. Something about his behavior was rather unusual though. No, that’s not quite right. Rather, he looked to be showing a side of him that only saw light when he was really getting serious. And that side was mainly evident in how quiet he had been ever since the three had headed for the plaza where the real fight was taking place.

But perhaps he himself is unsure about our success too…

Shaking these thoughts away (after all, if their self-appointed leader was worried, then what did that mean for them?), Atsuhi squinted at her destination, which was slowly starting to become clearer and clearer with every step the female took. That only served to up the suspense as every second of uncertainty added an extra beat to her already thumping heart. When she was finally close enough to at least somewhat distinguish some not-that-blurry figures, the girl saw something which made her halt her steps, freezing in place. From what? More than likely, fear.

This supposed fear hadn’t affected only her either. Kirishima was frozen still just the same. So was Bakugo, a few steps ahead of the two, fists clenched, explosions long gone. The only difference was that his face couldn’t be seen, due to his position, hiding any indication of how the scene unfolding in front of him might’ve made him feel.

“The situation over there’s pretty shitty.” He muttered and if Atsuhi hadn’t been listening intently in an attempt to pick up whatever sounds she could from the plaza up ahead, she might not have heard him. “We’ve got no time – we have to go right now.” Those words were like a starting signal, breaking the silence and making things lively yet again. The explosions started up, this time even bigger and louder than before. Atsuhi forced her legs to move quicker than they had been earlier, which she didn’t even realize was actually possible, and even though she was nearing her limit she was distracted by something else. Particularly, the fight happening in front of her worried eyes.

There, at the central plaza, where she could clearly see All Might’s struggle against the villains. Now that she thought about it, when had the hero even shown up? Had she been to caught up in fighting her own opponents that she hadn’t even noticed him appearing? Furthermore, shouldn’t it have all been fine now then? The number one hero had come, so he should’ve been able to save the day, right?

Wrong. Things seemed to be going very, very wrong. Sure, All Might was fighting the villains but that didn’t mean he was winning. There were two black portals opened on the ground, undoubtedly created by the guy Bakugo was planning to defeat. Out of one of them, the lower half of the body of some villain, no, rather – a strange creature with a terrifying inhuman face, was poking out. The other half of its body was coming out of the second portal, its hands digging into All Might’s sides, mercilessly drawing blood and wounding the hero, who, despite the fact that he was still smiling, looked incapable of escaping on his own as he was making no attempts to free himself from the villain’s grasp.

The plaza was coming closer and even closer. The villains were coming closer. All Might was coming closer. They were almost there. Bakugo was ready to jump at the warp gate, Atsuhi was about to run after him, Kirishima was glaring at his chosen target furiously.

Almost. We’re almost there.

The moment Bakugo jumped up just so happened to coincide with Midoriya’s appearance out of who knows where, as he rushed to All Might with a concerned look on his face. But before the green-haired boy could even hope to get anywhere near the hero, a massive explosion knocked the warp gate villain down to the ground, followed by a rather unheroic action on Bakugo’s part, as he loomed over him threateningly.

He… he actually did it…

Atsuhi let out a slightly premature sigh of relief, as she ran over to the ash blond’s side, crouching down beside him to lay her hand on the villain’s physical body, the existence of which Bakugo had pointed out to her earlier. With that, the final step of his plan was the only one left – wait here, not letting the villains attack, until the police, the teachers, other heroes, anyone really, arrives to save them. It wasn’t a very Bakugo-like plan but it was the best they could do to survive. Staying in character wasn’t a very big concern here.

Now I just have to keep my Quirk activated on him… and if I have to, use it… T-that’s all – nothing hard… It… It’s going to be okay.

This was starting to get redundant but it was all the female could tell herself to ensure she wouldn’t lose her sanity in panic. Plus, if you say something enough times, it might become the truth, you know? As if.

Now, unfortunately Kirishima’s attack hadn’t been a success, but something else had completely made up for it and more. Somehow, out of nowhere, Todoroki had appeared at practically the same time Atsuhi and the boys had rushed into action. The male had frozen the villain who had captured All Might, and, saying that their plan of killing the Symbol of Peace was stupid, he declared that they could never do such a thing. Thankfully, his attack had also made the villain’s grip loosen enough for All Might to slip out of it, getting back up on his feet.

Whatever had happened before we came here must’ve been terrible, but now… Now everything seems to be going right! Let’s just hope it stays that way!

She knew she was probably being ridiculous – after all, if you were too optimistic, that just meant that you’ll be disappointed in the end. Except, in this case disappointed pretty much meant dead. So yeah, she was probably just challenging fate to prove her wrong, showing her that things could go south in just a single moment. And fate delivered. Luring people into a false sense of security, only to crush their hopes to bits underneath its feet. Fate really was a cruel force, wasn’t it?

“You’ve taken our way out… Well... That’s quite the problem now, isn’t it...” While the others were quiet, it was the supposed leader who had spoken, however, his voice had a tone much too composed for someone who had just lost their only means of escape in a place full of enemies. His childish attitude was rather out of place in a life or death battle like this one.

He acts as if this is all some kind of game…

“You screwed up, you bastard! And it’s just as I thought!” Next, it was Bakugo’s voice that broke the thick silence. “The parts you can turn into this misty warp gate are limited! So you use this smoke crap to cover up your real body, am I right? Am I?!” It was hard to tell who was acting more like the villain here but nonetheless Bakugo’s tactic seemed to be working in his favor, as not only did he capture the gate, but he also made him quite intimidated, perhaps even scared. He lifted up his head, so that he was still crouching but not up in the villain’s face anymore, before he continued. “If your whole body was mist and physical attacks really did not work, you wouldn’t have said “That was close” back then!!”

He tried wriggling away from the male’s grip but Bakugo just pressed his hands down harder. If anything, this sudden struggle meant that the boy had been spot-on in his deduction. A relief for sure. If things had just kept falling into place like that, everything might’ve actually turned out alright. Still, it did not.

“Don’t move! If I think you’re doing anything suspicious I’ll blow you to bits!!” The sadistic look was back on Bakugo’s face but as long as it meant he was keeping his word it was fine. Though it still sent some chills down Atsuhi’s spine. With one last warning, he cast a glance in the female’s direction, confirming that she still knew of the task placed upon her, and spoke up once more, this time in a much more composed manner. “And don’t even think about getting your buddies out of here, either – there’s no way you’ll be able to! If you open just a single portal, you’re dead.”

Yeah, as long as I do my part…

“Not only did you clear our level, but you’re all at full health… Today’s children really are something… Our League of Villains should be ashamed…!” There it was again – that childish talk and ridiculous speech. Not only that, this time the guy seemed to have gone even further with his carefree way of comprehending the situation, going out of his way to literally compare it to a video game. It was just all too sick. Especially because his voice was so… indifferent. “Nomu. Get rid of the two brats. We have to get our exit back.”

The words didn’t immediately sink into the minds of the blonde girl and the classmate beside her. So the moment their meaning registered, their heads shot to the right where they could see the weird, only vaguely humanoid villains who had been captured by Todoroki’s ice just seconds ago. Or rather, just a blurry outline of him, as he was already moving closer and closer to them, his outline growing bigger with every passing moment, every next breath counting down the amount they had left before this creature surely kills them.

It’s too late, he’s already here, is this really how it’s going to end? Am I really going to die here? Dad, I’m sorry, I…

Atsuhi closed her eyes. She didn’t open them when she faintly felt someone’s hand stretching in front of her. She didn’t open them when she was hit by a strong gust of wind blowing its way past her. She didn’t even open them when she felt something push her back.

However, it was when the pain never came that she let her curiosity get the better of her and peeked from underneath one of her eyelids. Had she died before the pain could really sink in? Was this now the afterlife, heaven or hell, wherever she had been taken? Would she finally get to see her again? Hey, perhaps dying might’ve not been so bad. Well, she would’ve been able to tell, had she actually died. Instead, when she finally opened her eyes what she saw was, once again, that horrifying creature which should’ve killed her, but instead of being right up in her face, it was… further away than earlier? That made no sense. And then she realized that the fountain had suddenly moved too, so had the two vi- oh.

That’s it. She moved. But how? She was now all the way next to the rest of her classmates who had only been left to watch on in horror earlier, and it was instead All Might that was now facing the villain. Okay, but how did this all happen, not only in the span of literal seconds, but also considering that Atsuhi never once made a conscious effort to move away, let alone skit all the way to the other end of the plaza.

Bakugo was also on the ground beside her and looked almost as confused as she was. His hand was still raised in front of the girl, looking almost like he had planned to shield her from the impact with it. Almost, as he wasn’t the type to do something like that. He wasn’t, right?

“Kacchan?! Atsuhi-san?!” Looks like Midoriya had only now noticed the two new people who had very suddenly appeared beside him. He was probably very surprised. After all, neither of them could just teleport away. Well, actually, the two were starting to consider the possibility as they weren’t very sure what else it could’ve been “You dodged that?! Wow...

“We didn’t. Shut up.” Was Bakugo’s response, as he never once took his eyes off of the scene unfolding in front of him, an unnatural for him amount of shock present on his pale features.

So it couldn’t have been Bakugo-kun either.. Which leaves just him. That means All Might…

“This guy doesn’t really know how to hold back at all...” At the end of two long traces in the ground, no doubt from his feet dragging through it before friction finally made him stop, All Might stood, exchanging words with the light-haired leader of this so called League of Villains. However, Atsuhi was just letting the new information sink in, so as a result she was paying no attention to the actual words spoken between the two.

If All Might hadn’t… We would’ve been dead. Just like that. Killed at the snap of a finger, a simple command and there would’ve been nothing left of us… Our lives are really so… fragile.

At the sound of rustling beside her, the female turned to look at Bakugo, who had already managed to shake off fate’s sadistic twist, and was instead getting back up, trying his best to wipe the shock off his face but Atsuhi was pretty certain she could still see a small hint of it somewhere in his eyes. When he was finally on his feet again, he turned to the female and without uttering a word, eyes constantly glancing back to the plaza, this time much more aware of their surroundings than earlier, he offered her a hand she swiftly took, helping her stand up as well. A silent look was exchanged between the two, an unspoken vow to be more careful from now on being made, and their eyes turned back to All Might and his continuous fight with the villains.

“It’s three on five.” Todoroki’s voice was very composed, almost confident and yet monotonous like always.

“Those guys sure are strong… But if we’re here to help All Might… we can definitely fight them!” Kirishima, on the other hand, wasn’t nearly as shaken up as Atsuhi and was instead speaking in an attempt to cheer everybody up. Except, it only served to scare the girl more. Whether it worked on the rest or not, she had no way to know.

Us, fighting these guys… Did no one notice what just happened…?

Because if that villain could’ve killed two of them with a single hit, what did that say about the whole let’s fight them plan. Not very foul-proof now, was it? Bakugo, who was usually one of the first people to jump in at the sight of such an opportunity was also keeping quiet. Looks like it still affected him, despite his tough persona and strength. After all, he was only human.

“No!! Get out of here.” Naturally, the hero only wanted to save the kids and get them as far away from here as possible. Asking for their help was probably the last thing on his mind right now. Would it have been selfish if Atsuhi had said that she agreed with him? Was she just a coward, or were the others unnaturally brave? Maybe she wasn’t really cut out to be a hero.

“Things wouldn’t have turned out so well if I hadn’t stepped it.” Todoroki chimed in again, speaking in a manner which almost criticized the hero. This guy really had some guts.

“All Might, you’re bleeding… And I think your time is ru- Ah...” Whatever he had wanted to say, Midoriya didn’t let himself finish that sentence, leaving yet another mystery about him up in the air, making this the second time he had let something slip, only to retract his words right before they could do any damage. Whatever it was he was hiding, he wasn’t doing a very good job at hiding its existence. However, mysteries aside, he was also clearly worried about the hero.

“You’re right, young Todoroki!! And I’m thankful for that!! But fear not!! Sit back and watch a pro get serious!!” He was getting ready to attack.

“Nomu. Kurogiri. Take him on. I’ll deal with the kids. Let’s beat this game and go home!” The villain with the many hands on his body started running towards the students, huddled together some distance away from All Might in order to be safer. Atsuhi subconsciously stepped back, as if to hide from the upcoming attack. Where? She did not know. Why? Well, she didn’t really want to admit but it was true.

I shouldn’t be scared… And yet… I…

Everyone got ready to take on the villain’s upcoming attack but in the end all eyes could only wordlessly watch as All Might finally reached this Nomu creature and began punching it repeatedly. The fists he was sending its way were moving so quickly, no one could actually see them clearly, instead just gazing at a big blur of skin moving too fast for a human’s eye to properly make out. Actually, they were moving so fast that they even managed to break through the creature’s shock absorption, dealing real damage – something no other attack had managed to do so far.

“A hero is always ready to find his way through trouble. Tell me, villain. Do you know the meaning of...” And with one last hit- “Plus… ULTRA!!” All Might sent the villain flying straight through USJ’s dome and out into the vast skies, leaving only gaping students staring at the scene, eyes so wide they looked unreal, and a heavy silence resulting from the shock.

No one could believe their eyes. And yet they all did. Because that’s what All Might was really capable of.

Amazing… He just… Kept hitting it until he broke through it. That’s it… That’s the top – the world of the pros!

“Yeah, I’m definitely getting slower.” As the Symbol of Peace spoke with his large smile never leaving his face, clouds of smoke surrounded him, framing his victorious pose too perfectly. “When I was young, five of these punches would’ve been enough. But it now took more than 300.” Even in the face of danger he was still the fearsome smiling hero everyone knew. Really, there should’ve been no reason to worry from the start. With All Might here, they were going to be okay no matter what. Right, after all, there was a reason why he was number one. Well, fate took this as yet another challenge. “Well, villain. What do you say we hurry up and end this?”

The light-haired leader of the villains leaned down and started aggressively scratching his neck again, complaining like a small child who has just been denied something they wanted.

“Weaker? I don’t think so… We’ve been completely overwhelmed. How dare you do this to my Nomu… You cheated…! He’s not weak at all!! He… he lied to me?!”

He…? This plan wasn’t his?! Then who organized all of this…?

“Well? Wanna catch me?!” The blond hero just kept on talking, taking the villains’ attention away from Atsuhi and the rest. “What happened to beating the game…? If you think you can defeat me, go ahead!!” He sounded confident, brave, maybe even more so than usual, but something just wasn’t right.

Even though he talks like this, he looks like he’s going to hit the ground any moment now. On top of that, he’s also hurt… If the villains actually attack him… he couldn’t possibly defend himself!!

A few quiet seconds filled only with the villains secretly discussing something amongst themselves, passed. Then, when they finally decided to make their move, the two dashed towards the hero standing amidst the still clearing smoke.

“That’s… revenge for Nomu.”

Tha-that’s bad, terrible! What if he really can’t- wait, I… I can stop them!!

The pair of crimson eyes which had suddenly turned to her and the hand of their owner, which had tightly gripped her wrist, were saying the same.

He hasn’t gone past the limit… so I should still be able to…

Closing her eyes in order to clear her mind from anything but the task at hand, Atsuhi mobilized all her energy into this one goal.

Higher. More. More. At least a bit more.

And then it happened – one of the villains stopped before he could attack, making the second stop in his tracks too. Their only exit was currently on his knees on the ground, desperately trying to get a hold of himself, however, as Atsuhi just kept increasing his body temperature, way beyond what she had ever dared to try on a human before, he had no hopes of getting up any time soon.

“A-Atsuhi-san?!” Midoriya had quickly figured it out and was now gaping at the female in bewilderment, though she was too focused to notice.

A-Alright! This- this-

“It worked!” Bakugo was grinning in satisfaction as he exclaimed pretty much what the female herself was just thinking. She even let a small smile creep up on her face.

It really did work.

But that smile quickly vanished. A few centimeters away from her face a small black portal appeared. Something then came out of it – a pale hand. Which headed straight for her. She couldn’t allow herself to freeze from fear – not again. But she had no time to think. She stepped back and gripped the wrist of the hand which had suddenly appeared in front of her. Her breathing quickened. Her legs felt weak. Midoriya had told her what his Quirk was. And it was now coming for her. She was literally holding it away with her own hand.

N-not enough…

She had to stop him. Any moment now he was going to find another way to slip away from her grasp. She wouldn’t have been able to stop him a second time. She wouldn’t have been alive long enough to stop him a second time. Gripping harder, she used her Quirk. She felt how the flesh underneath her palms burnt. She heard the villain’s cries. However, her ears weren’t working properly anymore and couldn’t register the terrified shouts of her classmates, screaming her name.

The first thing her ears did catch was two boys – she recognized their voices as Bakugo and Midoriya, seemingly getting closer. Their voices were becoming louder, coming from somewhere nearby. But something else happened in front of her, before they could’ve ever hoped to reach her. A second portal. And a second hand. This time she couldn’t stop it. This time she bit her lips, eyes closed, and waited for the second time. Waited for the end.

Someone beside her tried to push her away. But it was too late. The hand was much too close. Atsuhi could almost feel the fingers on her face.

And then her ears caught something else – a gunshot. The two hands retracted. The villain cried out again. The heroes had arrived at last.

Chapter Text

Everything was a blur – from All Might’s “They’re here!”, which perfectly embodied all of the students’ excitement and relief in a single exclamation, to the sound of a few more precise gunshots, flying out and hitting their respective targets in an almost unnaturally accurate manner, even everyone turning their heads towards USJ’s entrance to see their class representative – Ida, standing there with a determined, yet almost regrettable and sorry expression on his face. Knowing him, he was probably disappointed that he hadn’t made it any sooner.

Now, why were things a blur again? Excitement? Relief? The unexpected cease of this awful sense of dread? Sure, Atsuhi was feeling every single one of those things right now but the explanation was, quite frankly, a bit more literal. As at present there were tears streaming down her face in such a speed they had only maybe ever achieved once or twice before in her life. Her legs had long already given out and she was now on her knees, desperately trying to quiet down her sobs – the heroes were finally here so there was nothing to worry about anymore. Not just that – there was no reason to make other people worry right now either. That’s why she had to be strong, to put on a brave face, at least for now.

We’ve been saved… If the heroes are here now, then that means that… that we’re safe!

“Aaah… if they’re here then it’s game over for us. Guess we’ll have to try again another time, Kurogiri...” The light-haired villain spoke, sending a wave of shivers down Atsuhi’s spine. His voice, alongside the horrifying image of his hand, nearing ever closer, was going to remain etched in her memories for, more than likely, the rest of her life. He then stepped back, slowly being enveloped by the black mist, but not before another few shots, courtesy of one of the heroes – Snipe, hit, or at the very least managed to leave a scratch on him, making him cry out in pain yet again. And despite the fact that Thirteen was heavily injured and lying on the ground, the hero still managed to use the last of his strength to try and suck in the one with the warp gate Quirk.

However, they were a tad too late – just a few seconds before they would’ve finally been captured, the two vanished, the heroes’ Quirks not being effective enough. But not before their leader let one final threat be heard.

“I might’ve failed here, Symbol of Peace… But the next time we meet, you’ll be dead, All Might.”

They were literally escaping right in front of her eyes. Yet Atsuhi couldn’t do a thing to try and stop them again. Her eyes were fixed on them as they were slowly disappearing into thin air, however, her mind didn’t seem to remember that she had a way to stop them anymore, that she had to stop them. Instead, she just watched them. It might’ve been some sort of defense mechanism too – her brain probably concluded that trying such a thing was more than likely going to result in another hopeless situation like the one just now. So it decided to never let her try it again. Who knows.

It was only after the two remaining intruders were gone that the female finally became aware of her rapid breathing and the tears, which hadn’t once ceased their spilling from her eyes, blurring her vision. Her heartbeat wasn’t normal yet either, however, for the first time since she had stepped foot in this place, she felt like she could finally put a hand on her chest and breath out a sigh of relief. This time for real. No more cruel twists and jokes by fate. She was finally truly, genuinely okay.

Slowly but surely, all her senses were coming back to her in full force and she was finally becoming aware of what was happening around her too. Three of her classmates rushed to her side, having finally gotten over their own shock, and filled her ears with their frantic voices, and her sight – with their concerned looks. Soon enough she managed to separate the two voices, trying to make sure she was alright, and to distinguish what each of them was saying.

“Atsuhi-san!! Are you okay?! He didn’t touch you, right?!”

“Oi, oi, Atsuhi-chan, how’re you? Calm down, calm down, everything’s fine.” Kirishima had put his hand on the girl’s back, reminding her that they were all there with her and there was nothing to worry about anymore, as he and Midoriya started exchanging worried glances. She wasn’t planning on moping around though.

“I-I’m alright now… It’s all over, I’m just still a little shaky is all...” Atsuhi lifted up her gaze and smiled reassuringly. It wasn’t the most believable smile or anything but it was miles better than the sobbing mess she could’ve been right now, had she not tried to get a hold of herself.

“That’s great...” Sighed the red-head, helping her get back up on her feet, as her own knees would’ve been to weak to suddenly support her entire weight like this. As she looked around, she caught a glimpse of her other two classmates, who were standing to the side. Todoroki had been looking at her but when he had confirmed that she was alright he cast his gaze somewhere else. Bakugo, on the other hand, hadn’t looked at her even once. In fact, it almost looked like he was trying to look anywhere but at her. Whatever the reason for that might’ve been, Atsuhi supposed she was going to find out soon enough.

With the female back up, Midoriya turned his attention to All Might next, to check up on the pro who had saved everyone’s lives today. Atsuhi, also concerned about him considering the state he had been in before the villains’ final attack, made a few steps to follow the freckled boy but was stopped by a giant cement wall which had appeared in front of her in the blink of an eye, separating her from him.

“We have to make sure all the students are safe so please head to the gate. I’ll deal with the wounded.” Cementoss, one of the many teachers who had come to their rescue, instructed the children with a caring tone.

“The gate? Um, yeah… okay!” Atsuhi turned around to walk out of USJ, together with the other three boys. Once outside, they were met with the sight of a dark-haired man, wearing a long coat, and counting the students already outside with a calming expression on his face.

“16...17...18...19… Okay, with you four, seems like everyone’s here. Excluding the one with the broken arm, it looks like no one’s hurt.” After the man, who, by the looks of it, probably worked with the police, finished talking, the kids started chatting to each other, discussing where everyone had been and who they had fought. Fortunately, it sounded like most of them faced relatively weak villains or at least escaped unscathed. Good for them. Except, Atsuhi kept thinking back to that hand and the sudden sense of dread she had felt at that moment. Shaking her head, she hoped to erase this image from her mind, though she knew from experience that it was only going to prove futile.

“What happened to Aizawa-sensei…?” Asui’s question caused a new wave of silence to fall over the students, all looking expectantly at the policeman, awaiting a response they were a bit too afraid to hear. Atsuhi hadn’t seen his condition for herself but she had briefly glimpsed his unconscious body laying next to Thirteen and even that had been enough for her to conclude that whatever had happened to him, it hadn’t been any prettier that everything she had witnessed herself.

“Both of his hands were fractured to pieces. He has a fracture on his face too. Fortunately, there’s no damage to his brain. But… his eye socket has been pulverized… There’s a chance he might suffer from long-term loss of vision. Or so I heard...”

Our teacher suffered so much… just to save us…? Aizawa-sensei!

“Thirteen’s got bad lacerations on his back and his upper arm but his life isn’t in any danger. All Might’s wounds aren’t life-threatening either. It’s entirely possible that Recovery Girl’s treatment might be enough for him, so he’s going to the nurse’s office.” The man continued explaining about their teachers’ conditions, hoping to ease the children’s worries.

“What about Deku-kun…? Uraraka asked with a concerned expression, wanting to know what had happened to her friend – a completely understandable desire, especially considering that she wasn’t there to personally see him during the fight.

“What’s happening with Midoriya…?!” Ida was behind her, fretting over the same thing, the freckled boy’s well-being the biggest question on his mind.

“Midori… Ah. Seems like he also got to the nurse’s office in time. Speaking of, I’ve got some work there too. Sansa! I’m leaving the rest to you.” A policeman with the head of a cat, whom the dark-haired man had been talking to, saluted in response. With this, the students were once again left on their own accords. As she didn’t want to get lost in those same thoughts once again, Atsuhi decided to focus her attention on something else, seeking out Bakugo’s face among the crowd and heading towards the boy, who had been standing off to the side glaring at his feet, with hurried steps.

“Hey, Bakugo-kun!” With an enthusiastic, although less energetic than usual for quite an understandable reason smile, she greeted the male, who, however, neither responded, nor lifted up his head to look at the blonde in front of him. Despite her awkwardness and ever-growing anxiousness that she had somehow upset him, the female forced herself to break the awkward silence, which had fallen over the two of them.

“So, seems like, whenever you aren’t angry, you’re pretty easy to work with!” This time Bakugo did look up, pointing his red eyes right at Atsuhi’s, as the female swallowed nervously under his very suddenly intense gaze. But hey, at least it wasn’t a glare. Then, however, he turned away again. Suddenly she wished it had been a glare, as long as he hadn’t let his eyes wander off somewhere else again.

“You ain’t bad either, I guess.” He said simply. The girl started worryiing that the conversation was about to hit another dead end, when, to her surprise, Bakugo spoke again. “Not many people could think this quickly in such an intense position.” Atsuhi could suddenly feel a bunch of blood rushing to her cheeks and turned her face away to hide how red it had unexpectedly become.

Was… was that a compliment!? From Bakugo-kun!?

The thought alone filled her with pride. One of her strongest classmates? Telling her she wasn’t so bad to work with?

Wow!

“Oi, the bus.” Glancing at Bakugo, who was standing in front of the bus’ door, she realized that he was waiting for her there, unnerved.

“C-Coming!!”

 

***

 

The way back was a lot more quiet and uneventful. Everyone was sitting in their places, silently, not even a word slipping away from their mouths. Some were tired and had decided to take a nap after the exhausting (both mentally and physically) day. Others were gazing out the window with an empty look on their faces, mindlessly following the passing scenery with their eyes. Atsuhi did want to rest a little, maybe even take a nap, but her racing thoughts didn’t leave her at peace. Not that she had expected anything less, really. All the things that had happened during the attack were replaying one after another in her mind, from beginning to end. And then gain, and again, and – you get the point. The more she was trying not to think about it, the more she couldn’t help but take yet another look at the scenes unfolding repeatedly before her eyes, except this time, only in her thoughts.

Finally, they got to the school and it was time for everyone to go home. Frankly, it was a little anticlimactic – to go through something as thrilling and dangerous as this, yet still just be sent home like at the end of a regular school day, only more scared and gloomy. And with a new experience to boot. Albeit, one which no one should’ve had to experience, let alone at such a young age.

Atsuhi and Bakugo were one of the first to leave, and walking side by side, they headed home. However, unlike what she had been hoping for, neither the train ride, nor the walk home, succeeded in distracting the female from her thoughts, as the entire time she was walking home with the boy, the two were left in complete silence.

It was late in the afternoon, the sun already slowly setting behind the horizon and tinting the sky a crimson hue, making the streets appear darker but in a rather pretty, as opposed to an unsettling way, as the pale hues they were slowly being colored by, brought a sense of calm with them. Despite the setting sun, however, it was too early for most adults to have finished work, and even the schools didn’t let out their students for another half an hour or so. The only sounds around the two were those of the constant traffic in the streets and the occasional passerby’s hurried steps. But both of these were sounds that easily became nothing more than background noise, given a few minutes.

Now, it was usually Atsuhi that started up conversations with Bakugo and although the boy tended to respond with simple sentences, consisting of only one or two words, this was enough for her. Plus, it’s not like they were the I-just-want-to-end-this-conversation-asap type of responses. Despite how frank and short they were, they were still meaningful and showed that the male was indeed enjoying Atsuhi’s company, or so she hoped. Maybe he just grew tired of topics really quickly, you know?

Today though was an exception as she was way too emotionally and physically tired to think of something to talk about. In fact, the simple fact that she was currently both walking and somehow staying awake, was a miracle in and of itself. So in the end, she was, for once, thankful about the male’s non-talkative nature.

Actually, perhaps she dared admit that unlike earlier the silence between them now was a comfortable one. Bit by bit, the female’s thoughts drifted away from USJ and shifted to the smallest and most random things around her. From looking for cars with funny numbers, to trying to avoid the cracks on the sidewalk. Such dumb, childish things, yet they brought this dumb, childish joy with them too, and right now, this was something the female needed desperately. And these things miraculously kept her occupied until the two reached the crossroad where they finally had to part ways. Atsuhi looked up from the ground to say goodbye to Bakugo but noticed that he had already started walking off ahead of her. Towards her house.

“Umm, Bakugo-kun…?” She didn’t even finish her question because she was really mobilizing the little concentration she had left to try and figure out what he was doing. He wasn’t stupid – walking off in the wrong direction was the last thing she expected him to do. So what had suddenly gotten into him? The male heard her, and looked over his shoulder back at her, responding.

“What? Wasn’t your place this way?”

“Um, yeah, but...” The female ran over to his side and the two continued walking down the way she usually took by herself. “I was just wondering why. Didn’t you live the other way…?”

“Tch.” He kept up his pace, eyes looking steadily forward, only occasionally glancing at the female when he thought she couldn’t see him. Except she did. “You’re by yourself, right? Since you’re gonna go home and be all alone anyway, wouldn’t you want someone to distract you a bit until then?”

“Ah… Of course I’d like someone to come with me!!” The female exclaimed, her thoughts so flooded with excitement she couldn’t keep the corners of her mouth from lifting up. Hopefully it didn’t look as creepy as she thought it did.

“Well then!? Stop asking so many questions before I change my mind!” Bakugo furrowed his eyebrows and turned his face away, hiding his expression from Atsuhi’s curious eyes.

“Aww, that’s so nice of you!” She laughed because of the warm feeling in her stomach. Come to think of it, it was a rather weird sensation. She would definitely have to think a little bit about it later.

“You know what, that’s it, you can walk home by your-”

“Noooo, no, Bakugo-kun, please, I’m sorry!!”

The two kept teasing each other playfully. Atsuhi was now smiling, the terrors of the day long forgotten, instead replaced by her giggles and even a few full-blown laughing fits. Unfortunately, this happiness didn’t last very long. In just a few short minutes, the two had reached the building where the female’s small and lonely home resided, those minutes being the last before she was, once again, going to be left to her own thoughts, worries, nightmares. Halting in front of the door, she reached inside her backpack, to take out her key ring and after some searching and reaching around she finally pulled it out. Then she turned to Bakugo and smiled widely, although her expression was laced with her ever-growing exhaustion, especially now when she was faced with the door which was going to effectively separate her from the outside world and the people in it. However, what mattered is that this smile properly portrayed her feelings of gratitude.

“Bakugo-kun, thank you! For the help in USJ. But also for just now. You have no idea how happy I am that you stayed with me, even if only for a few more minutes.”

“Yeah, whatever.” Looking at the male standing there, waiting for her to disappear within the halls of the building, Atsuhi was faced with a sudden dilemma.

Should I…? Well, what could happen… It should be fine, right?

In an unexpected display of boldness, one which she hadn’t shown very many times in her life so far, Atsuhi stepped forward and wrapped a hand around the male in front of her, leaning down to hug him. Almost immediately after her shoulders brushed with his though, she pulled away and with one last Bye! unlocked the door and quickly slipped through it, not leaving the boy any time to say something.

Oops, ahaha! Sorry, Bakugo-kun, hope that didn’t scare you away...

Opening the door to her small apartment, Atsuhi kicked off her shoes and turned around to lock the door, leaving the keys hanging on the doorknob. She pulled out her phone and threw her backpack down on the ground in front of the door, not caring that it might get dirty. Sure, she was also leaving a mess behind but it’s not like she was expecting any visitors so there was no real need to be tidy. Plus, the place was pretty clean, she just didn’t have the motivation to take care of that backpack right now. Not today anyway. Instead, she walked over to the sofa, collapsing onto it with both her own weight and that of her problems weighing her down, not bothering to even change out of her school uniform. She lay a hand over her forehead as if that was going to help her newest issue – the unfortunate migraine making its way to her head and tearing away at the last bits of depleting sanity she still somehow had. What she had to do now was prepare mentally for the task up ahead.

It’s now or never…

With a deep sigh, she hugged her legs and unlocked her phone, dialing the number she’d already learned long ago, despite the fact that it was at the top of her contacts list. The dial tune was heard once, then twice, and almost immediately after, the person on the other end of the line picked up the phone. Which was relatively quick, like the actions of someone who had been expecting such a call. But of course he had been – the worries must’ve been eating away at him this entire time. Atsuhi really felt bad.

“Atsuhi!! What happened? Is everything alright?! You-”

“Dad, calm down, I’m alive. Not even hurt actually.”

“That… that doesn’t make me feel any better really. I was so scared… Oh God, Atsuhi, I don’t even know what I would’ve done had anything happened to you. When I first heard about the attack, I practically headed straight for UA. Everyone else in the agency stopped me and assured me that you can take care of yourself… I’m glad they were right.”

“Yeah, I guess...

“Hm?”

“N-nothing...”

“It’s pretty clear that it’s not nothing. Look, sweetie, if you don’t want me to get concerned, don’t worry – I’ll be more afraid if you don’t tell me everything that happened. Come on, calm down, just try to explain it to me.”

“Well… I… One of the villains could create these portals – that’s… that’s how they had gotten to USJ… And just when they were about to escape, I… used my Quirk on him, to try and stop them. But then the other villain… he… he…

“Breathe, Atsuhi, everything’s fine now.”

“He tried to kill me, Dad. To stop me… A-and he almost did too. Barely… If the heroes had arrived just a second later, I wouldn’t...” She gulped nervously. She was too afraid to even say such words. After all, if she did, then what had almost happened would really become reality. And were this thought to really sink in, she doubted she would’ve been able to hold in those persistent tears she had somehow kept away up until this point. She had to be strong. She couldn’t back down. Not now.

“Hey, you sure everything’s alright? You sound as if you’re about to start crying any moment now...”

The female didn’t dare respond.

“If so, go ahead! It’s not good to keep your emotions bottled in like that. Cry away – I’m here and I’m listening to you.”

These words did it. The final breaking point. Atsuhi felt a tear slowly running down her cheek. And then a second one. And then a third one. And so on, until her cheeks were soaked by her endless tears, eyes red, face puffy, her words constantly interrupted by her loud sobs.

“I… I was so scared, Dad! Terrified… I was so-so terrified!!” A few sobs and an unsuccessful attempt at wiping away her tears, only for them to return, now even stronger than before, she continued. “I felt… I felt helpless! Like I co-couldn’t do a-anything. I could see everyone f-fighting around me, and I was only a burden… It felt… like...” She stopped for a moment, contemplating whether she should even voice her next thoughts. “It felt like I-I was back to a few years ago, whe-when I went out with mom that day, I… I felt th-the same way...”

“I’m sure that no matter what I try to tell you to make you calm down, you probably already know. So I’m going to try something else.”

The female tried her best to stop the sobs for a bit, wanting to listen to her dad, and yet she couldn’t do it, quietly whimpering while her father talked.

“This experience, this nightmare – it might seem terrifying now but, trust me, in a few years, when you recall this, you might even be thankful for everything it has taught you. Because this – this will help shape you into an amazing hero in the future!!”

Did he really mean all this? Maybe. Was he about to start crying now too? Certainly. And yet, while she was listening to her father’s reassuring words, Atsuhi kept spilling out her feelings and worries to him. Despite the tears running down her face though, she was happy. Happy that it was now over.

Chapter Text

The following day classes were canceled – I mean, that was to be expected. In fact, it would’ve been more surprising if they had had to go to school. Instead they were all left to their own thoughts even if only for a day. What they had been through was sure to stay with them for a long time and this short break was the perfect opportunity to reflect on everything that had transpired. Some tried to think how they can prevent such a thing from ever happening again, others were determined to work through the weaknesses they hadn’t even realized they had until their lives were at risk because of them.

Now, Atsuhi also had a long mental list of such things – some she has known about for a long time now, others she had discovered just yesterday. And yet, she was instead trying to forget about USJ. She knew that there was a lot she needed to work on if she wanted to survive such an encounter a second time. But she also knew that no major improvements can be made overnight. So, reassuring herself by promising that starting tomorrow she was going to work harder than ever before, she let herself take a break and ease her worries. Now all that was left was to actually follow through.

After a few hours of rewinding memories and a few unwanted tears here and there, she finally managed to banish those dark thoughts away from her head. That’s when, in their place, something very unexpected came to be. Only five days ago, when she had first set foot into the school, she had been overflowing with excitement at the thought of all the new people she had been about to meet. And, fortunately, all her classmates had turned out to be amazing people who worked towards achieving their dreams of becoming heroes just as hard as Atsuhi did. That made her happy – her whole class was full of people just like her, she truly felt welcomed there.

But she was also left very surprised. Not by her class as a whole, but by one of her classmates in particular. Bakugo Katsuki looked like your typical delinquent and he acted like one too. His aggressive nature and rude way of speaking would probably discourage most people who attempted to get close to him. The keyword here being most.

The female wasn’t very sure why she had even tried to speak to him herself, when she already knew how unpleasantly he tended to act. Well, okay, perhaps she had the slightest idea about what it might’ve been. Not only was he incredibly strong, which she had personally witnessed when he had been fighting against the sludge villain’s control a few months ago, but he had also more or less saved her life. Even if he absolutely denied ever doing such a thing, that’s what it had looked like to her and so she refused to take his word for it. So maybe, by giving him a chance and showing him that she wasn’t scared away by his rude demeanor, she was trying to show him her gratitude.

And along the way, between all the things he had surprised her with and all the assumptions he had broken, she had learned something else. Bakugo wasn’t exactly the way he appeared to be. When people say Don’t judge a book by its cover they’re right. Yeah it’s true that he didn’t act very nice at all and he never put much thought before starting to yell at someone. But on the other hand, he wasn’t just that. He wasn’t just some angry brat. As a start, his abilities were amazing – something which didn’t exactly fit the image of a delinquent. The only other person in class who could rival him was Todoroki and even then Atsuhi wasn’t entirely sure who the stronger one was. Unlike what everyone expected, Bakugo was also considerate, in the sense that he carefully analyzed his situation and came up with the best plan of action, of course.

And maybe… just maybe… he cared for others more than he let on. Sure, he wasn’t anything like Midoriya who not only worried about his friends but also tried to help them any chance he had, but Bakugo wasn’t heartless either, despite what some might think. It is possible that she had only imagined it, but Atsuhi could almost swear that when that Nomu creature had been about to attack them at USJ, she had caught a glimpse of Bakugo rushing in front of her, prepared to take on the attack for both of them.

Okay, it had probably been something else but still – the girl was sure about one thing and that was that Bakugo Katsuki was definitely not a bad person. And she knew, or rather hoped, that as time went on she was going to learn more and more about him.

Maybe I’ll even get him to agree to start calling me his friend!

The female laughed at her own words – what she had imagined was a little too unbelievable. Not that it was impossible of anything, it was just too early for her to hope for such a thing. Friendship needed trust, and trust was something which took a while to build. She wasn’t going to give up though, and perhaps one day this trust she had been steadily building up, was finally going to be enough. No, that’s not right. She was sure such a day was going to come, eventually.

And so, alternating between her deep thoughts and philosophical reflections on friendship (which started getting so cheesy at some point, she couldn’t even believe they were her own) with some short naps and mindless staring at the TV with snacks in hand in-between, Atsuhi didn’t even feel the day pass by. It had gone so quickly, it felt like it had only taken a blink of an eye and poof – suddenly it was already dark outside and children were quickly making their way to their beds, as the moon was rising higher and higher into the dark night sky. And while the upcoming day was going to be filled with all the boring subjects and lessons that came along with attending school, the female was actually looking forward to it, for once. Her home just felt so empty and lonely – it was only when she had to spend a day alone in it that she realized how much she missed the colorful personalities of all her new classmates.

Which was why the following morning she actually rid herself of the sleepy in her eyes quicker than she ever had before, for the first time ever full of energy and excitement from her first moments after having woken up. This new surging energy helped her get ready much more quickly than usual, thus she left her small apartment a lot earlier than she even thought was possible. She started casually strolling along the relatively empty and still rather gloomy streets as the sun had only started peeking over the horizon, its rays barely grazing the surface of the earth, although by the time she arrived at school it was going to be as bright as if it were already midday, just like it always was. Walking with a hop to her step, the girl would’ve even started humming some sort of cheerful tune if it hadn’t been for the occasional moody passerby's.

Her day suddenly became even better, as she caught a glimpse of a head of spiky ash blond hair swaying left and right a bit ahead of her, waiting for the traffic light at a big crossroad. With a wide smile on her face and way too much energy for a person who had to be awake at such an ungodly hour, she greeted the boy cheerfully.

“Bakugo-kun! Good morning!” Her voice was a little more nasal than usual but that was nothing more than a result of her having only woken up less than an hour ago. Usually by the time she arrived at school, the only thing hinting at her unwillingness to have to be a functioning human being this early, showed from the bags underneath her eyes and her slow reactions. The male only cast a glance at her, having already figured out who his new companion was.

“Ugh, why do you have to be so loud so early in the morning?!” Despite the fact that he whined in an upset tone, Bakugo’s face didn’t really portray a look of anger, instead he just winced at the sudden loud voice filling his ears. With her smile now shifting to a more awkward one, the female lowered the volume of her voice to that of any other reasonable person.

“Oops, sorry… Just feeling really cheerful this morning is all!” The traffic light up ahead lit up in a bright shade of green and the two crossed without looking around for any cars, as there were none visible as far as the eye could see. There never were any, people were still sleeping, after all. “It’s a pleasant surprise though, isn’t it? I mean, we’ve never walked to school together before!”

“If you’re this chatty every morning, I promise this is the last time we ever will.” Despite the fact that he was mumbling under his nose, the female could still hear him, giggling at his unintentionally funny response. Ah yes, she really did enjoy talking to him so casually.

“Well, worry not – I usually can’t even keep my eyes open!” Bakugo didn’t laugh but she never expected him to either. Plus, what she was saying was the truth. “Do you always go to school this early though? I’m pretty sure you’ve got another twenty minutes or so before you should start worrying you might be late...”

“Dear Lord, you really don’t know how to stay quiet, do you?! When I leave is my job and it’s got nothing to do with you!”

Wow, someone’s even grumpier in the morning I see. But, is it actually possible… Bakugo-kun just wants to be a diligent student?!

Just the thought alone, alongside the image of what the blond actually looked and acted like, made Atsuhi snort quietly, having to actually put her hands over her face to muffle her incoming laughter. The male turned to her with a look of confusion at first but one which soon turned into that of annoyance, as he started growling at her.

“What’s so funny, huh?!”

“Nothing, nothing…”

“I swear, if you tag along with me one more time in the morning...”

 

***

 

The rest of the way to the school wasn’t much different – it went by pretty quickly amidst the mostly one-sided conversations, threats not taken too seriously, and the occasional silence here and there. Neither of the two brought up anything serious, nor did they mention anything about the events at USJ from the previous day. Bakugo also seemed to act as if that hug hadn’t happened either. And Atsuhi was actually kind of glad. She hadn’t thought this through very well and it was only after she had went back home, leaving the boy surprised at her sudden actions, that she had realized there was a chance he might take it the wrong way, or even worse – stop talking to her altogether. Only now was she realizing how stupid she had been to get worried over such things. Come on, people hugged all the time, even as antisocial as Bakugo was, he was sure to understand.

Okay, well, there was something else too. Speaking of hugs and whatnot, Atsuhi had mulled over the weird tingly feeling from the previous day too. The one right after Bakugo had told her she wasn’t too bad to work with. She still thought that it was probably something along the lines of pride or embarrassment at being essentially complimented by a person like him. But since when did pride and embarrassment feel like that? She tried to think about what else it could’ve been as it just kept returning every time she recalled his words. In the end, she only came up with one other alternative but it was way too ridiculous. The two had only known each other for a few brief days and she wasn’t even sure if he actually considered her a friend yet. So she really couldn’t accept any sort of deeper meaning behind the tingly sensation in her stomach, not when it sounded so impossible. After all, there’s no way she…

Well, no point thinking about it now. She had already reached her conclusion and it was in no way that ridiculous thought. As the two set foot into the classroom, the female looked on in shock at the number of people in there. She had never seen it so empty. Come to think of it, maybe it wasn’t Bakugo who arrived early. Perhaps she just had a habit of running late.

Well, either way, it really is too early…

Bakugo simply walked past her and took his seat, and before dong the same, the female decided to check up on the boy who had gotten injured the other day and had been placed in the nurse’s office so she had never gotten the chance to see how he was doing. Thankfully, he had already arrived and was tiredly looking at something on his phone.

“Hey, Midoriya-kun, everything alright with you now?” He looked at her surprised, apparently not expecting her to come up to him and after flinching slightly and mumbling around until he found his voice, he answered.

“Ah, Atsuhi-san, good morning!! O-Of course I’m fine, Recovery Girl is the best, plus I only had two broken fingers to take care of!” Hearing his words, Atsuhi smiled – there goes one more thing she had worried about for no reason. That seems to be an unfortunate habit. Then again, it was probably better than not worrying at all only to end up getting hit hard by the truth. Guess both extremes had their issues.

“I’m glad then!” But before the female could finally go to her seat, ridding her shoulders of her excruciatingly heavy backpack, the door to the classroom opened and in walked Ochaco and Hagakure, the two girls constantly glancing at each other and giggling. The moment they noticed Atsuhi looking at them in bewilderment from the other side of the room, they rushed over to her, bouncing in excitement.

“Atsuhi-chan!! You’re not going to believe this!” It was Ochaco that started and then she exchanged a knowing look with Hagakure, all the while her smile was spread wide across her entire face so whatever the two had to say, it sure seemed to be special to them. She started jumping up and down energetically and let the other girl continue.

“On my way to school I saw this poster.” The invisible girl started and although her face wasn’t exactly, er… visible, her voice already conveyed more excitement than necessary. “It said that there’s going to be an Ennichi festival tonight!!” Atsuhi’s eyes lit up in a flash.

Ennichi festival?! I used to go to those all the time with my parents when I was little!!” Now the smile on her face matched those of the girl on front of her, perhaps even rivaling them.

“So, wanna come with us?”

“Of course!! I haven’t been to one in years!”

“Yay! Atsuhi-chan’s also going to learn where the spirit of the Ennichi festival lies!!” Ochaco exclaimed, a concerning amount of drool unexpectedly making its way to the corners of her mouth.

“Yeaah, all the food there...” Hagakure’s saliva was also threatening to drop out of her lips and start running down her chin.

Wait, what?

“Yakisoba, takoyaki, imaga guayaki, okonomiyaki oyaki, omusoba, takiyaki!!” The two females loudly listed off all sorts of meals in perfect sync with each other, their minds having already drifted off far away from their classmate, who was only left there to stare at them dumbfounded.

I don’t think that’s the spirit of the festival…

Despite that, she decided on a meetup time and place with the girls, still excited to finally be able to go to one of these after so long. They had such a special place in her heart, it was really a shame she hadn’t been to an Ennichi festival in such a long time. She always connected this festival to the careless and fun day of her childhood. Now she really wanted to feel that sensation again.

The two girls chose their next target, bouncing off in Yaoyorozu’s direction, probably agitating her to come too. As Atsuhi was finally left alone, she sat down, taking off her backpack to relieve her aching back. Her early waking up and cheerfulness in the morning were starting to show their consequences as she yawned widely and felt her eyelids begging to close to let her catch a few more Z’s.

That’s when she remembered something that quickly chased those sleepy thoughts away. Yesterdayq as she had texted Midoriya to quickly ask him something, the two had ended up engrossed in an hour long conversation, and one of the topics that had come up during it suddenly sprung in her mind. The green-haired boy had casually told her that a certain blond classmate with an explosive personality’s birthday was coming up in just a few days. Perhaps this wasn’t going to be the perfect present or anything but it was worth a try. Though he probably wasn’t going to agree. Not even consider it, actually. However, it was her way of showing him that at least she considered him a friend. Regardless of what he thought. So Atsuhi turned around, deciding to test out her luck.

“Bakugo-kun, can I ask you something?”

“No.” He responded, not even lifting his eyes up from the smartphone in his hands.

“Haha, you’ve got a great sense of humor! Anyway, the Ennichi festival is tonight and since I was planning to go, I was wondering if you wanted to come along as well? With me, but I mean, that doesn’t really matter.” Now this made Bakugo stop pressing around on the screen with his fingers and he looked up, eyebrows raised, as if his entire face was saying Really? In a sarcastic manner. “That’s dumb.”

Atsuhi let out a disappointed sigh and turned back around, slouching in her seat with a childish pout on her face.

What was I even expecting…

A few minutes of students chattering among each other later, Ida stood up in front of the blackboard, announcing the beginning of class, as everyone got to their own seats.

Hold on, our first class today is homeroom… But Aizawa-sensei was badly wounded during the battle at USJ. Then who…?

Looking impatiently at the door which was soon going to reveal the substitute until her tired teacher recovered, Atsuhi’s jaw dropped when it finally opened.

“G’morning.” His face was entirely covered in bandages and so was one of his arms, put in a cast and a sling around his shoulder. And yet, despite it all, it was exactly Aizawa who had walked into the classroom, effectively shocking every last student inside. A few seconds of stunned silence and then they all started exclaiming all sorts of things out loud.

“You’re back already, Aizawa-sensei?!!”

“What an undeniable pro!!”

“I’m glad you’re okay, sensei!!”

“If that’s what you call okay...”

He was in critical condition after the fight and yet he’s back almost as soon as it’s over… There is so much we could learn from pros like Aizawa-sensei.

“My well-being isn’t important. Because your fight is far from over.”

“Huh, our fight…?” Atsuhi mumbled quietly, her brows scrunched up in confusion. What was he talking about all of a sudden? If anything, after what had happened they had to take it easy, didn’t they?

UA’s sports festival is nearing close!”

That’s so completely ordinary!” Was the entire class’s simultaneous exclamation.

“Come on! We were just attacked by villains. Are you sure about this?” Someone called out, voicing the female’s concerns and more.

“It’s necessary. So that we demonstrate that UA’s crisis management protocols are intact… or something like that. Compared to previous years there will be five times the presence of the police. Anyway, our sports festival is the biggest opportunity you’re going to get. It’s not something that can be canceled because of some villains.”

“Are you really sure about this though? It’s just a dumb sports festival...” Mineta’s complaint made Midoriya turn to him with a shocked expression on his face.

“Mineta-kun… Are you saying that you’ve never watched UA’s sports festival before?!”

“Of course I have. But that’s not what I meant...” As the boy still didn’t seem very convinced, Atsuhi decided to tune into the conversation.

“UA’s sports festival is one of Japan’s biggest events!!” The female knew so much about it from having listened to all those stories from her parents, alongside her own religious watching of it on TV every single year since she had learned of its existence. “Before, the Olympic Games used to be like the world’s sports festival. The whole country would go crazy over them. But in Japan what has replaced them now is UA’s sports festival!!”

“The nation’s top heroes will be watching, right? They’ll be scouting out students!” Added Yaoyorozu while her eyes were gleaming with excitement at all the opportunities this festival could open up for them.

“Of course you’ll get a ton of valuable experience and popularity if you do get picked by a well-known hero. But your time is limited. Show the pros what you’re made of here and you’ll make a better future for yourselves. This only happens once a year… so you get three chances total. If you’re hoping to become heroes, this is an event you absolutely cannot miss!”

 

***

 

Throughout the next four classes of the day, Atsuhi tried to focus on the sports festival and all the opportunities it was going to bring. She knew how important it was and realized how much training she needed in order to do a good job at it. But then, when Cementoss’ literature class came to and end she gave in, deciding to leave the thoughts about the sports festival for tomorrow. Instead, she let something else consume her entire attention. And that something else was the very soon upcoming Ennichi festival.

When the last bell had finally rung, after what felt like forever, she quickly rushed home (too quickly even for Bakugo who kept complaining the entire time but never once mentioned anything about her earlier invitation) and after picking out her prettiest yukata and brushing the unruly hair she had finally let loose from those two braids she wore all the time, she set off for the Ennichi festival for the first time in many long years, and soon her mind was full of only good memories.

Chapter Text

How we met?”

Yeah, I wanna know!”

Ryuu, she wants to know.”

I can see that.”

So what, you’re too afraid to tell her?”

Stop giggling like that, Miku! Of course I can tell her, I’m not ashamed of anything that happened!”

Aha, if that’s what you say, go ahead – tell Atsu-chan.”

O-Okay, so, um… this happened after I had already graduated from UA and had been working as a pro hero for 4 years already.”

Back then your father was just a sidekick. For 4 whole years.

Miku!! She doesn’t need to know that!”

I don’t think it’s a good idea to lie to our kid though...”

Anyway. It was the night of the Ennichi festival and our agency got a call that some villain had attacked the civilians there. I had been patrolling in the area and was the first to go. And when I got there… Then, um… The villain had-”

He’d been defeated. But not by him. By me!

Wasn’t I the one telling the story!!”

Well, it looked to me like you were too afraid to admit that I was better than you when I was still in school!”

Wooah, so you were still in UA, mom?!”

That’s right. It was my second year there. By the time your father dragged his butt over there, I had already defeated the villain. Just like that, in no time. I wasn’t even wearing my costume!”

Stop bragging, it’s going to rub off on her...”

So mum saved dad, is that so?”

“WHAT?!

AHAHA, that’s right, Atsuhi-chan! Your mother saved your father!!”

Miku, please, for the love of God, stop.”

Okay, okay, got it. Now you know – we met at the Ennichi Festival when I did Lava Floor’s work.”

Miku...”

Ennichi, Ennichi, Ennichi! Then let’s go to it! That Ennichi Festival! So we can celebrate your first meeting!”

 

***

 

It was strange that those memories had only decided to creep back up now. Sure, it was the perfect place and time, but more importantly, why had she left them forgotten for so many years? Why did they fade into the back of her mind for so long? Didn’t she use to treasure them dearly? It really was bizarre, the tricks your mind could play on you, that is.

Those were the kinds of thoughts running through Atsuhi’s head, as she was sitting, elbow on the counter, supporting her head which felt heavier than usual, perhaps due to the stifling smell of so many foods mixed into one, or maybe because of the constant noisy chatter which almost faded away in the background yet still remained sharp enough to feel like it was drilling through your head. The female’s eyes were looking back and forth, taking in the many people in all sorts of colorful yukatas, roaming the boots, talking to each other, munching on something tasty, or simply getting lost in the distance of the central alley. And yet, despite the lively scenes playing out right in front of her, her eyes didn’t seem to really see anything – all the vivid images were just passing through her head, and never once did she stop to dwell on what her eyes were showing her.

Turning her head to the side, where her nose could clearly distinguish the smell of a particular food as opposed to the choking mix of the many all around her, she looked at her two classmates, both of their faces on the same counter she was leaning up against. Ochaco and Hagakure were holding their stomachs and groaning loudly as if that were going to help relieve them of the massive amount of food they had consumed. They really had, true to their word, tried out all the dishes they claimed were the true spirit of the festival. And they were now suffering the consequences.

At the start Atsuhi had also been trying out everything excitedly, though in much smaller quantities than her two friends, but had quickly given up on the task, intimated by the number of meals left on the girls’ ridiculously long list, not to mention that she already felt plenty full for the night. At least she was happy she had managed to avoid their unfortunate fate.

Plus, it’s not like she could’ve kept it up, even if she had wanted to. After an hour or so of nothing but eating, she had suddenly lost all her appetite. Not because the food wasn’t good – quite the opposite actually, the meals there were some of the best she had ever had. No, it was because the familiar festival, right down to the place and boots, started bringing back old memories of the many times she had visited it with her parents.

However, any way you looked at them, those memories were good – there wasn’t a single bad moment in them. Not to mention that the actual festival itself was quite the special place too – after all, it was where the most precious people in her life, her parents, had first met. And yet it was precisely this happiness that made this visit… not so good.

Because they were now gone. No matter how much she walked around the different boots, Atsuhi couldn’t feel the importance of this place to her anymore. No matter where she looked, she couldn’t find the happiness she always associated this festival with. They were just… gone. Gone like her…

It was as if that same reason she couldn’t find any joy in the memories with her parents either anymore, had also taken from her the ability to enjoy this festival like in the good old days.

One last quick glance at Ochaco and Hagakure confirmed that with this much food in their stomachs they probably weren’t going to remember Atsuhi was there too any time soon and that was the last thing she needed to finally decide to leave.

Getting up from her seat, she started walking down the alley. As she unlocked her phone’s screen, she was about to open up her contacts list to call her father and tell him she was going home. She didn’t really want to tell him that she couldn’t enjoy herself at this festival anymore, but on the other hand, he at least deserved to know where she was and that she was safe. Before she even opened it, however, thr girl noticed a small red circle next to the messages icon, indicating that she had received a text. Opening her messages, she first looked to see who it was from and reading the name of the sender, she halted in surprise.

Bakugo-kun…?

The fact that the two had exchanged phone numbers two days ago (due to Atsuhi’s demand and despite Bakugo’s annoyed groans), didn’t mean that she ever expected him to actually contact her. If anything, she was the one planning to talk to him. She had never thought he would willingly use it. Ever. Curiosity getting the better of her, she momentarily forgot about her initial intentions to call her dad, and read the message.

Hey, where the hell are you?”… Huh? Why does he care…

Before typing her answer, Atsuhi checked to see when the message had been sent to make sure Bakugo hadn’t given up on waiting for one yet. Seeing as it was from just 2 minutes ago, so most likely from right when the girl had decided to leave, she concluded that it was still worth a response and typed quickly.

At the Ennichi festival, why?”

No more than a minute had passed and she got her response. Which was just another question.

Dumbass, I know that! Where exactly at the Ennichi Festival?” That doesn’t even answer my question…

The female, however, had quickly learned not to argue with Bakugo so she just responded again, though she was really itching to complain about him hiding his reasoning for this sudden interrogation.

Right in front of the exit. Now are going to tell me why?”

The message was almost immediately marked as read, but an answer never came. At first, the female had decided to wait patiently – after all, Bakugo probably had more important things to do right now. However, he had been so adamant to get a response, it just seemed strange that now that he had received it, he suddenly went quiet. After two minutes of silence on his part, Atsuhi sighed, giving up, and reached to call her dad.

“Oi.” A raspy voice from right in front of her stopped her. One she knew too well. Lifting up her head, only to confirm her suspicion with her own eyes, she gaped at the sight of none other than Bakugo standing right there. Unlike the people passing by, he wasn’t wearing any sort of traditional outfit, having instead opted for a casual T-shirt and some loose jeans. His sudden appearance, albeit surprising, definitely wouldn’t have been as big of a shock had that not been the very same Bakugo who had told her this festival was “stupid” just a few hours ago.

“Helloo, Earth to thermo-girl!” At his annoyed attempt to snap the female out of her shock, Atsuhi shook her head, only now noticing the boy’s furrowed brows and eyes glaring at the loud people laughing obnoxiously all around them.

“B-Bakugo-kun! I, um, I just didn’t… expect you to come here, is all! I thought you declined today...”

“I told you it was dumb. I never said I wasn’t going to come.” He might’ve only muttered this under his nose, voice barely audible, but Atsuhi had heard him, the faint words still enough to put a big smile on her face, like the one she had expected was going to adorn her face the entire evening.

“Weeell, now that you’re here anyway, we might as well use this chance to have a great time, right? You can think of it as an early birthday present or something? I know this place like the back of my hand. Come on, I’m going to show you the coolest things around here! I promise you’ll have a blast!” Too hyper to even wait for a response from her companion, Atsuhi turned her back to the exit and once again made for the inner areas of the festival grounds, trying to decide on the first booth to visit.

 

***

 

Mom, Dad, the fireworks are going to start soon! Why are we going outside the festival grounds? We won’t be able to see them like that...”

Don’t worry, Atsu-chan, trust us – you won’t regret this!”

Listen to your mother, we’re going to show you something amazing!”

Okay, see that hill over there?”

Umm, yeah.”

That’s the Saeki Observatory!

Which is the sophisticated name your father gave to the little place where we first met.”

The one where Mom saved Dad?”

God, she still remembers...”

Ahaha, what did you expect, Ryuu? Yeah, Atsu-chan, that one exactly. But that’s not all! Turns out that this place is also perfect for watching the festival’s fireworks.”

Not many people come here, since it’s technically outside the territory of the actual festival so that makes it ideal!! Here, look, you can already see the first fireworks!”

Wooah!! It’s amazing!”

That’s why Ryuu and I have been coming here every year since then…”

I wanna come with you too!!”

 

***

 

Atsuhi and Bakugo had been circling around the dozens of booths for about an hour now. At some they stopped by to actually buy something, but for the most part they were just walking around, taking in everything the festival had to offer. Bakugo was groaning in what he deemed to be dissatisfaction but not once had he made any sort of attempt to leave. Actually he never even mentioned leaving and that was a good sign if Atsuhi had ever seen one. Plus, the sarcastic remarks he was somehow able to make for every single dish sold that evening never once failed to make her laugh.

She was on cloud nine, really. That, which she had been tragically missing the first hour of the festival, had miraculously come back to her, just when she had been about to give up all hope and declare it lost forever. It was almost as if Bakugo had brought it with him when he had so suddenly appeared out of the blue like that. Almost as if Bakugo was that thing. Not that the girl dwelled on it long. What mattered now was that she was finally having fun, the most she had had in such a long time she couldn’t even remember clearly anymore, and so she decided to not let anything else interfere with that right now.

The choking smell in the air now seemed pleasant because it reminded her of all her previous times here with her parents. The banters and chatters of the many people around her didn’t make her sad anymore now that she wasn’t alone either. Her appetite had returned a long time ago. If only her stomach weren’t full already. She was seeing everything around her, observing it all down to the smallest details, and trying to imprint it clearly into her memory, so she could one day in the future be able to recall this incredible day with all the meaningless details.

It had quickly started getting late and Atsuhi suddenly remembered that the fireworks were about to start quite soon. They were always her favorite part of these festivals and she couldn’t possibly allow herself to miss them today when she had already been having so much fun. So, naturally, she planned to go to her favorite place of her favorite festival to watch her favorite part. Alongside her, however, she had the full intention of dragging Bakugo there too. After all, she really wanted to show him.

“Bakugo-kun, the fireworks are about to start so let me show you, like, the most amazing place you could ever watch them from!” She smiled widely (if that was even possible anymore, considering how big her smile had already been for a while now) and grabbed the boy’s wrist, leading the way. A few minutes of unexpected silence on his part later, he finally called out.

“Why the hell are we exiting the festival? Aren’t the fireworks supposed to be a part of it?!” Atsuhi giggled, remembering her own bewilderment when her parents had first led her there.

“Just give me a minute – we’re almost there!” After the two had climbed up a small hill positioned a little to the side of the festival’s entrance, Atsuhi ran up ahead, twirling once in the center of it, before halting her steps and spreading out her hands, showing Bakugo the place enthusiastically.

“Ta-daa! I present to you, the Saeki Observatory!! The most perfect of places to watch the fireworks, despite the fact that it’s technically outside the festival!” Bakugo looked around curiously, taking in both Atsuhi’s words and the spot itself, and just when he had opened his mouth to speak up, the female decided that she wasn’t going to wait for him any longer, instead coming up to him and taking his hand in her own to drag him up to the top of the hill, where she had been standing.

“Come on, c’mere, I promise you it’s worth it!” She finally stood still and looked up, Bakugo standing beside her. Very soon the sky filled up with bright and colorful lights which danced around it, adorning it with all sorts of pretty shapes and figures. The perfect thing about this little hill was that at its top there were no trees so the sky was clearly visible, nothing covering the magnificent view that were the Ennichi festival’s fireworks on a warm spring night.

The place where Mom and Dad met…

The female’s single thought echoed in her mind. Suddenly she realized there was this warmth around her hand, looking down to see Bakugo’s red hues focused on her in anticipation. That was all it took for Atsuhi to realize that she was still holding his hand, having long forgotten she even took it to begin with, and she immediately let go, stepping off to the side, to put some distance between them and hide the ever-growing red tinting her complexion.

Where… Mom and Dad… Aaah, what was I even thinking?! Why did I have to bring him here…

Turning her eyes back to the fireworks, the girl was consciously forcing herself not to glance to the side, afraid to learn what Bakugo thought about what had just transpired. Hopefully, the night was dark enough to mask her warmly-colored cheeks…

 

***

 

Atsuhi finally turned to look at him and after holding his gaze for a moment, she hastily let go of his hand, leaving it dangling back to his side where it was originally supposed to be. Katsuki had been wondering when she was going to realize it. After she stepped aside to give him some space, he looked to the sky but instead of enjoying the fireworks like the female had been trying to do (which he didn’t really understand as he didn’t find them pretty at all), he finally had some peace and quiet and accidentally got lost in his thoughts.

Mainly, his thoughts about the girl currently standing right beside him, trying to shake off the blush he, unfortunately for her, could clearly see. He still couldn’t believe he had actually let her drag him around this place for an entire hour. Or that he had even come to the dumb festival to begin with. It all confused him so much.

Perhaps he had to start from the very beginning. All the way back when he had first seen her and talked to her after the Sludge Villain incident, Katsuki hadn’t even thought much of her – just another brat trying to look like a hero and, to top it all off, a brat that had helped Deku.

On the first day of school at UA, even though he had told her he had never expected to see her there, that wasn’t entirely true. What she had done had been quite brave, anyway you looked at it. What surprised him, however, was that she had actually decided to come up to him and talk. But perhaps he should’ve expected as much.

The same day, he had also seen her Quirk and that had given him an idea. He was willing to swallow back his rude act, if it meant he would become better, stronger, unbeatable. And Atsuhi’s Heat Touch was the perfect Quirk to support him in battle. That’s why he had decided to try and tolerate her presence – just enough so he could work with her when he had to.

The following day they had put it into practice. Kind of. Since Katsuki had left her all alone and gone off on his own to chase after his own target, completely missing the entire point of the Battle Trial. Which had ultimately led to his loss. To their loss. And he realized his mistake.

The same day he had also learned something else – that her parents were actually heroes he had considered cool his entire life. And that, despite her cheerful nature, her life hadn’t been full of rainbows and unicorns. Actually, it has probably been much more difficult than his own.

Despite all that, however, Atsuhi never stopped talking to him, hanging out with him, constantly trying to become his friend. And he never pushed her away simply because he never saw a reason to – there were people far more annoying than her constantly plaguing his life, after all.

The next day, at USJ, he had found out one more thing about her – that she could hold her own in a real fight. It’s true that had she been alone back then, she wouldn’t have been able to deal with all the villains there, but what he had seen her do was more than enough to prove to him that she was serious in her pursuit of the title of a real hero.

Her quick thinking when that villain had attacked her was the only thing that had saved her life long enough for the pros to arrive. He always wondered if he would’ve been able to react on time had he been in her position that day...

And today, as she had invited him to come to the festival, he hadn’t even thought about it before letting his mouth answer automatically. And he really believed what he had said. But something had made him come after all. It was as if that something kept shouting and ushering him to go to the damn festival. So that’s why Katsuki had given in – just to make that annoying voice in the back of his head stop, or so he said. But somewhere deep inside, he wondered if it might’ve been because of the sometimes annoyingly cheerful girl beside him...

 

***

 

The two teens stood beside each other, each gazing at the fireworks, yet lost in their own thoughts and problems.

Neither knew what was really happening between them. They didn’t know how they really felt about the other. But they also didn’t mind it too much. They were still kids and their emotions were confusing and indecisive. They wouldn’t have been able to find an immediate answer to their questions either way.

So they decided that they were just going to give it some time and see how things played out. What would happen between them, whether something was going to change or not, or whether they were ever going to figure out what pushed them to do the things they did when it come to each other.

So for now, they were going to leave things the way they were. A way that made both of them happy.

Because, regardless, even what they had now was still a beginning.

Chapter Text

Hey, everyone, I just wanted to remind you all that the first chapter of book two is officially up and, as usual, I will be updating it weekly! You can easily find it on my profile (or by typing Explosive Touch Book 2, I guess) so I hope to see you there!