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Clocks and Blades

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It was supposed to be a normal day for Bakugou Katsuki.

He had mapped his entire day out: wake up at 5am, have a silent breakfast in the blissfully empty common room, go outside for a morning workout while enjoying the first rays of sunshine, come back at 6am, ignore the few fucking extras talking about how “early” they woke up and go straight to the shower, go to class, be the damn best, and make it clear by the end of the day that he was going to be the one to outshine everyone in this class - nay, in this school.

Of course, it never went his way. There was always someone willing to somehow do everything in their power to fuck it all up and turn his good mood to ash and dust: half-n-half would try to compete with him and would snatch half of his victories away, all the while looking like it was no fucking big deal for him. Four-Eyes would loudly tell him off about every single fucking detail that displeased this annoying little rich kid, from the way he talked to the way he dressed, to the way he freaking walked. As if any of it was any of his goddamn business.

Kirishima and the rest of his “squad” would stalk him like puppies attached to him through an invisible leash, and although most of the time he genuinely enjoyed their company, other times he just wished there was a way for him to blast all of them into oblivion without actually hurting them. Or Uraraka - that annoying, hyperactive, Deku-loving fuckstick - would decide to meddle in his business and try to have a heart to heart conversation with him about how to behave around Deku - around Deku, that irksome, whinny, not-so-long-ago-quirkless, nerdy little piece of -

No. This day was going to be different. This day would be his.

And it actually started really well. During the morning lessons, Midnight-sensei gave them back the assignment they had to hand in the week before and stopped before giving him his, taking his paper as the example of what type of work she was expecting from them in second year and praising him out loud for the quality of his argumentation, which earned him the best grade in class 2-A AND 2B.

Then, during their afternoon practical field training with Thirteen-sensei and Aizawa-sensei, while everyone rushed head first for the big villain they were supposed to be looking for, Katsuki hesitated. He had spent way too many lessons with these two teachers, listening to their endless lectures after he had taken some rash decision that involved him going for the villains, and fake civilians pretending to be hurt. It took all of his will to begrudgingly turn away from the wide streets of Ground Beta, and wander in the small alleys and near the building entrances. He almost burst out laughing when he found not one, but dozens of black dummies lying all over the place, with a white sign reading “CIVILIAN” hanging around their neck.

He pulled out and piled up 24 of them in the street, when a loud shriek echoed throughout Ground Beta - immediately followed by explosions in the buildings he had just vacated. He wanted to dash to the origin of the noise, knowing that it was coming from the villain they were supposed to be looking for, but then Aizawa-sensei’s disappointed glare at him leaving allegedly hurt civilians came floating in his mind, and he pulled his pile of dummies out of harm’s way, cursing and fuming. His annoyance kept growing when dummies kept on appearing everywhere in the streets and in the buildings, forcing him to take care of them one by one. And just when he thought he was finally done, all the buildings behind him collapsed, raising a massive cloud of dust that almost suffocated him, followed by a loud horn sound - the assignment was over.

Cursing and swearing out loud, he made his way back to their meeting point, his hands in the pockets of his hero costume, thinking he had failed, too busy looking for some stupid fucking dummies while the others had the time of their goddamn lives kicking the ass of some crazy villain -

He was all wrong.

Upon arriving, Aizawa-sensei’s glowing red eyes were murdering everyone around him for being stupid enough to go straight for the villain, instead of securing the area first - had he taught them nothing? Had they not learned a single thing during their provisional license exam, last year? From all the crazy situations they were involved in throughout their first year? Were they worthy of being UA’s second-year students? Were they worthy of even dreaming of becoming heroes?

“The only one who took the time to assess the situation and think twice before rushing in was Bakugou,” he deadpanned. “Alone, he saved more than thirty people from the buildings you made the villain destroy by pushing him into a corner, and had it not been for him, they would all be dead.”

And had his ego been a balloon, Katsuki would have been floating away with pride. His grin kept growing impossibly wide as Thirteen-sensei explained to a crowd of flabbergasted extras why he had been the fucking best at this exercise, how he had matured enough to be worthy of becoming a great pro hero, and how they should feel encouraged to follow his example.

He was in heaven.

For the first time in a very long time, he wasn't even really bothered by Deku’s annoyingly high-pitched voice as they made their way back to the locker room, talking with Four-eyes while they changed about how much they still had to work before becoming pro heroes. When Deku started praising Katsuki however, he felt an irritated itch beginning to crawl up his chest as he remembered how strong that fucking nerd had been the last time they fought during practice. Just like that one time on Ground Beta, Katsuki won - obviously - but it was a close one. No matter what, whenever that stupid fucker said something like “Wow Kacchan, that was amazing!”, he inevitably felt like he was somehow mocking him, lying to him, deceiving him into believing he was weaker when really he was slowly becoming stronger and stronger by the day.

Now they were all heading out, a pack of twenty students, chatting and laughing loudly, walking in the warm sun of May. Katsuki inhaled the air - it smelled of grass freshly cut, flowers and summer. A small smile floated on his lips: today had been a really good fucking day. Looking at his watch, and then at his squad walking next to him - loud and stupid and obnoxious - he thought he could perhaps reschedule his evening workout session and hang out a little bit with them. He told himself that he had to anyway, or else the fuckers would be impossible all night, and would absolutely refuse to leave his side to let him get some work done. But if he was being completely honest with himself - which he wasn't - he didn’t really want this perfect day to be over just yet.

“Oi Kirishima,” he called, interrupting Pikachu in whatever bullshit explanation he was giving, “let's go to the arcades, I wanna kick somebody’s ass. Plus they have a new game, and it doesn't have my name ranked first yet.”

“Are my ears deceiving me?” Soy Sauce was now looking at him with a stupidly big smile plastered on his face. “Is the great, the one, the only, the amaaAAazing Lord Explosion Murder suggesting we have fun with him?”

Katsuki felt his good mood plummet as fast as his brow furrowed.

“First, I asked Kirishima, not you assholes,” he spat harshly, “and second - you know what? Forget it.”

He was about to turn around and head towards the dorm, but he had just lit a fire that, after an entire year, he was yet to learn to control: his friends’ enthusiasm.

“No no no no wait!” Kirishima caught him by the shoulders, laughing, and pulled him back to him, firmly holding Katsuki’s shoulders under his arm. “Let's hit the arcade! It's been forever since we’ve been there together, let's go have fun!”

“Yeah!” Buzz Face was almost sparkling in delight. “You’ve been so busy preparing for the Sports Festival, you’ve totally ditched us man, now you gotta make up for it!”

“If you guys had a little bit of brain left you’d be preparing too, the festival is in three days,” Katsuki growled as he shook hair-for-brains’ arm off of him, another type of frown settling on his face.

For a moment he had forgotten all about UA’s big event, and although he was more than ready, he still felt like there was way too much room for improvement. The happy-go-lucky extras from his class had grown stronger over the past years, but so had the others from class 2-B. Hell, they even managed to all pass their provisional license exam, and none of them had failed, while he and half-n-half - the two top students, the finalists from last year’s Sport Festival - had failed.

He had had more than his fair share of dust-biting over the past twelve months. He was not about to let himself down this time. Not again.

But of course, like every time he felt like bailing on him, Kirishima intervened.

“We are training,” he replied, still smiling, “but unlike you, we know how to also have fun.” He shrugged, falsely defeated. “But well, if you’re afraid Kaminari might beat you again at ‘Zombie Apocalypse 3’, then I guess there's no helping it -”

Somewhere inside Katsuki’s head, something snapped. He was better than Buzz Face at everything - everything - so the idea that, even as a joke, stupid Kirishima might suggest that this shitty little half fried pokemon could surpass him at something - anything - lit his soul on fire.

“What the fuck did you just say?!” he exploded, sweat collecting in his hands. “Take your asses to the arcade, I’ll show you who’s the fuckin’ best. When I’m done with you, y’all little bitches will be crawlin’ on your knees, beggin’ me to end your suffering!”

“Alright, I can feel the fire!” Kirishima cheered, indifferent to Katsuki’s fury.

“Let's get as many tickets as we can!” Tape Face continued, flexing his arms as if he was going to wrestle.

Buzz Face jumped and threw his fit in the air.

“To the arcade!!”

“What? You guys are going to the arcade?”

Katsuki turned around and found Racoon Eyes and Sound Bitch smiling at them, looking interested.

Fucking. No.

“Yeah, Katsuki wants to spend some quality time with us. He missed his friends, locked up in the cave he likes to call his room,” replied Buzz Face, running his fingers through his hair in a supposedly cool pose.

“You little piece of-”

Katsuki threw himself at the blond, somehow convinced that nothing would relieve him more than exploding his face until he became a helpless fried derp. He overheard Kirishima talking to the girls.

“Ashido, Jirou! Do you wanna join us? It would be fun!”

“Eh? I wanna go too, I wanna go!” Katsuki was too busy holding a pleading Buzz Face in a headlock to take a look, but he recognised See-through’s annoying girly voice. “Ojiro-kun, let's go to the arcade!”

“Everyone! We must not forget we have homework to do, and we must prepare for the Sports Festival!” Katsuki barely heard the end of Four-Eyes’ sentence, busy sending explosion in his victim’s face, but he could practically see him move his hands around like a fucking robot. “On top of that, we must absolutely respect the curfew our teachers and UA have agreed upon!”

“It’s fine Iida-kun!” Now it was Uraraka’s turn to throw up rainbows all over the fucking place. “We've all been training and studying really hard, and we still have a couple of hours before curfew. It's been a long time since class 1-A got out all together - ah wait, no, class 2-A!”

“I see … That's right! This might be the only opportunity to bond again before the Sports Festival” Like always whenever Uraraka talked to him, Four-Eyes seemed to have just discovered the ultimate hidden truth to an endless question. “Everyone! Let's go to the arcade and enjoy ourselves to the fullest!”

Just how easily could this chubby little freak manipulate everyone around her?

“You need to chill Iida,” Kirishima commented, playfully slapping his shoulder.

“Wow, class 2-A - time really flew by! It feels like only yesterday when we passed the entrance exam” Deku squeaked - fucking Deku.

“I know right? It feels kinda nostalgic, but in a happy way!” That Uraraka - fuck her round face and her endless optimism.

Now that he was done with Buzz Face, looking as fried as a shrimp left too long in the frying pan, Katsuki turned around to stare furiously at the entire fucking class heading merrily towards the school entrance.

“OI!” he yelled, trailing begrudgingly behind them, feeling like he was following them, rather than them tagging along. “I didn’t invite any of you extras so fuck off already!”

“So vulgar,” Ponytail commented with a contemptuous look, before she turned to her neighbour. “Todoroki-san, have you ever been to an arcade?”

“Ah … no, never. I guess this will be the first time. For you too Yaoyorozu, right?” As ever, Half-n-half was the fucking living embodiment of dull. It was like boredom and despair had met and decided to have a child, and painted him in red and white like a clown to try and make him a little bit less bland.

Ponytail joined her hands, her eyes bright with excitement.

“Yes! I cannot wait to see how ordinary people spend their free time!”

“Hey Yaomomo, that stung. We aren’t that diff- pffffft Kaminari, your face!” Sound Girl exclaimed before laughing out loud at Pikachu's happy derp face, his thumbs sticking out.

“Wheeeeeee-”

“Bakugou, you should stop toasting him like that, he’s gonna get stuck!” Soy Sauce laughed, tears welling up in his eyes as he, the squad and most of the class laughed at the expense of their friends.

Katsuki merely grunted, hands deep in his pockets, but he said nothing. He felt his mood improve slightly and gave up on trying to keep the shitty extras away. Oh well, he could still ignore them once at the arcade.

And on the way to the arcade.

In fact, he could even start now.

With a few quick paces, he caught up with Kirishima, Soy Sauce and Racoon Eyes, listening to them talk about the boys’ last match on that stupid dancing machine, and how Racoon Eyes was going to crush them to dust - and of course, they took on the challenge.

Great. Now that meant he was gonna have to watch them during their dance-off. Fucking. No. He looked around, assessing whose ass he could bust while he waited for them to finish their stupid match.

His eyes fell upon Uraraka, happily chatting with Toad Girl. She always hid behind her round cheeks and played nice with everyone, but Katsuki knew she was a beast in disguise. He had watched on TV how she had tackled and smacked Overhaul to the ground - the one villain no one should approach, because he could fucking disintegrate them. He remembered how eager she had been to launch herself into battle, when himself had threatened to explode her face that one time when she asked him to “play nice with Deku”. And he hadn’t forgotten how she had tried to and almost succeeded in crushing him with a goddamn meteor shower just a year ago.

It was decided then. He would whoop Uraraka’s ass while his shitty friends danced.

And what an ass, he thought as his eyes drifted slightly south, where the wind played mischievously with the border of her skirt, threatening to lift it at any given moment. He winced and turned his head sharply around. He had been doing that a lot lately, staring at girls, noticing their thighs, breasts, hair, shoulders, and how it all somehow organised itself to create a weirdly attracting idea, like an unstoppable and continuous whisper in his ear. And, well, Uraraka seemed to be the one to often catch his eye.

There was a scream. Then two. Then a wind of panic swept over the students gathered at the school entrance, and they all started running in every direction, away from the gates.

And Katsuki was pulled out of his thoughts in the worst possible way. In front of them, a warp gate was slowly opening.

“No way ... it's - The league of villains!” Deku screamed, while everyone around him gasped, horrified.

Katsuki felt his stomach drop and blood leave his face as his nightmares suddenly came rushing before his eyes. They came back for him. They were back, and this time they would not only kill him and turn him into a Nomu, but they would kill everyone in the fucking school in the process.

He clenched his fists and gritted his teeth, cold sweat dripping down his back and fury boiling in his head - nothing compared to the playful anger he had felt earlier - clouding everything around him. They wanted him? They were gonna have to pull his dead ass from the ground then. He was no weakling anymore.

“Bakugou?” Kirishima raised a hand towards him, but before he could touch him, Katsuki launched himself forward.

“BAKUGOU!”

He couldn't tell who had yelled his name - many people. He didn’t care. He was gonna annihilate the motherfuckers. Make them pay for everything they had put him through - chaining him up, treating him like a fucking villain, trying to turn him into a dead brain, leading to All Might’s end - everything. His rage became white-hot, blurring everything around him as his hands became wet with anticipation.

He barely noticed the warp gate was not dark purple but cobalt blue, and when four people were thrown out of it and crashed onto the ground, he didn’t pause to realize they were wearing UA uniforms. He used one explosion to propel himself as high as he could, then, ignoring the screams surrounding him, he let gravity pull him back towards the ground as he spun around himself and let out explosions at the same time, turning into a giant exploding and burning tornado.

“FUCKING BASTARDS!!” he roared, putting all his strength into his explosions “DIIIIIIIIIIIE!!”

And then, for a few brief seconds before he landed, his eyes met the eyes of the one he was going to crush. It was a boy, probably his age, brown hair framing his face. For a second, he looked at Katsuki, obviously confused. Then understanding and realization flickered on his face, immediately replaced by a look of intense horror. His eyes grew impossibly wide, red pupils staring at him in terrified disbelief.

A single raspy scream escaped his lips and echoed across the school entrance as Katsuki let all hell break loose on the boy.

“DAD!”

Chapter Text

The word echoed in Katsuki’s ears louder than his explosion. The force of the blow and the ensuing deflagration propelled the other villains away from him, and for a second, he could see nothing but fire and smoke, hear nothing but the heart-warming roar of the explosion he had created.

Panting and sweating, he assumed his usual fighting stance, ready for one of the villains to jump out of the cloud of dust and smoke surrounding him. Ears ringing, he vaguely heard multiple persons shouting his name.

The fog he had created started to gradually disappear, and he almost attacked the second he recognised a human silhouette - before realising it was class 2-B’s class representative, waving the smoke away with her two ridiculously big hands. A few seconds later, it had all disappeared, and he found himself surrounded by his own classmates as well as some students from class 2-B, all of them obviously scared but ready to jump into action.

He whipped his head around, dilated red pupils searching for the villains, and his heart sank when he realised how close the one he had attacked was.

The boy was unconscious, sprawled on the floor like a doll whose strings had been cut, burnt in several different places, his clothes torn apart and mostly burnt to a crisp - but otherwise oddly unharmed. It made no sense - this explosion should have ripped him apart and erased his existence from the face of the Earth. He then jumped away, heart thumping and palms sweating, when he noticed one of the villains firmly gripping the ground, panting like he had just run a marathon, ice surrounding him and keeping him immobile.

Ice.

Katsuki turned to Icyhot, fury boiling in his head again when he realised the ice must have protected the villain he had attacked, and kept the other one from being propelled away from him. But when his darting eyes finally found the Half-n-half bastard, he was rushing behind the other classmates, too far away from either of them to have been able to use his quirk. He looked back at the other villain, and suddenly understood that the ice was his - not half-n-half’s.

The villain slowly got on his feet and stared right at Katsuki, frost covering his hands. Piercing blue eyes shot through him, holding a burning rage as the boy assumed his own fighting stance. Just like the other one, he couldn't have been any older than him, and although he tried to seem ready to fight, the power of Katsuki’s explosion had obviously drained him. His clothes were torn apart, sweat dripping on his face, white hair dirty with dust and smoke and scratches covering his body. Not a single trace of burnt.

In the few seconds he took to make these observations, the other students had begun to rush towards the two other villains, Soy Sauce, Kirishima, Toad Girl and Deku leading, followed closely by Uraraka, Four-Eyes and Ponytail. The two villains painfully got on their feet, but by the time they looked up, Soy Sauce had snatched the two of them with his tape and launched them in the air, apart from one another. Toad Girl caught one of them with her tongue and threw them on the ground where Deku and Kirishima circled them. The other one landed heavily closer to Katsuki and tried to break free of Soy Sauce’s tape, but before they could try anything, Ponytail started creating a large rope while Four-Eyes pulled on it, running around the black-haired villain in circle. In two seconds, they were tightly bound, face to the ground.

Still facing the white-haired bastard, Katsuki looked at him with a hungry smirk. He wanted to let loose, he wanted to take out all of his frustration on the boy in front of him. He wanted to see the fear in his eyes at the sight of him, he wanted to make him beg for his life. But why wasn't he moving? Why was he waiting for Katsuki to launch his first attack? Just as he was thinking of something to say to provoke the villain, the boy’s eyes darted to the unconscious one on the floor and quickly back at Katsuki, as if he couldn’t help it.

Katsuki’s grin grew wider. Now he got it.

He stepped back and grabbed the blacked-out boy by what remained of his clothes, and blocked him in a headlock, his body limp in front of him, one hand close to his face, palm dripping with sweat.

“What is it fucker?” he asked, basking in ferocious joy as he watched the boy’s eyes widen with dread. “Afraid I’m gonna blast your little friend’s brain away? That’s why you didn’t attack, wasn’t it? Didn’t want to hurt him in the process did ya?”

The white-haired bastard clenched his teeth and his frozen fists, fingers turning purple. He didn’t answer immediately.

“Let him go,” he finally said in a low voice, glaring daggers at Katsuki.

Katsuki snorted and let small explosions crack and pop in the crook of his palm, so close to the boy’s face.

“And why would I do that? When I got you shittin’ your pants in front of me and got that one passed out dead under my control?” Without breaking eye contact, he tilted his head towards the two other villains. “None of your little friends are gonna be helpin’ ya today either. One false move and y’all be dead before you know what hit you. That’s what happens when you bastards try to fuck with UA.”

The boy reluctantly looked behind him and all colour left his face when he saw the black-haired villain tightly restrained on one side, and the red-haired one tackled to the ground by Uraraka, his head under Kirishima’s feet. For one crazy moment, he looked like he was going to blow up. Frost climbed up his arms and reached his neck, covering his cheeks and turning his breath into a hot fog as he panted, this time from panic rather than exhaustion.

But one more look at the unconscious boy, whose face was turning an alarming shade of purple in Katsuki’s grip, seemed to do the trick. He slowly raised his arms above his hand and dropped to his knees, surrendering.

“Let him go,” he growled loudly, fury and fear mixing together in his voice. “You’re choking him, let him go!”

“BAKUGOU!”

Katsuki’s head whipped at the sound of his name screamed with so much terror and alarm. Had another villain appeared? He looked around and felt dumbfounded when he realised the scream came from the black-haired villain - a girl. She jerked around, trying to break free from Ponytail’s rope.

“BAKUGOU! BAKUGOU! ” she shouted staring at Katsuki, hysteria rasping her voice.

“Who the fuck are you?!” Katsuki yelled back, trying to rack his brain to remember if he'd even seen her. She looked vaguely familiar, but not enough to be recognized.

“BA-KU-GOOOOUUUU!!” she shrieked, her voice reaching a pitch so high the students around her took an unconscious step back. It looked like something was burning her alive.

And just when no one was expecting it, she curled up, and huge spikes brutally arose from her back, ripping her clothes and the ropes. In no time, she was on her feet, running towards Katsuki. When the others rushed to her, ready to attack, she grew more spikes from her arms and, with one swift movement, threw them on both sides, making the other students jump, duck and hide to avoid getting hurt. Where the spikes landed, loud hisses were heard, and whatever they had touched begun to melt away, smoking.

Katsuki let go of the brown-haired villain in his arms and lifted his hands before him, ready to fight, forgetting all about the white-haired bastard who was now dashing towards the last villain on the floor. But before anyone could launch any attacks, white ribbons whipped the air and snapped around the black-haired and white-haired villains, restraining them once more, this time for good: Eraserhead was here.

His hair flew around his face and his red eyes glowed madly, cold rage burning as he stared at the two he had caught. The girl yelped and wriggled and kicked the air, but to no avail - she couldn’t even use her quirk anymore. So she resumed her earlier screaming and wailed a seemingly heartbreaking:

“BAKUGOU!!”

Present Mic, Midnight and Ectoplasm arrived at the scene and immediately took charge of things.

“AAAAALRIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT  EVERYBODY BACK TO THE DORMS” Present Mic shouted, so loudly the entire campus must have heard him - which was probably the goal. “THIS IS NOT AN EXERCISE, ALL OF YOU BOYS AND GIRLS GET BACK TO YOUR ROOMS, NO ONE GETS OUT OF THEIR DORM UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. THIS IS NOT AN EXERCISE, GET YO ASSES TO YOUR DORM!”

Ectoplasm’s clones were already surrounding the four villains, waiting for Midnight to reach them. She pulled on the fabric of her costume, revealing her skin and letting out the sweet aroma of her sleeping gas. Katsuki’s eyes narrowed at the remembrance of that time when she used it on him during the Sports Festival. The two boys fell immediately asleep, their bodies going limp, but the girl fought the gas some more before giving in.

“Baku … gou …”

Defeated, her head fell gently on the ground as she joined her three other accomplices. Katsuki slowly lowered his arms, shaking under the adrenaline still rushing in his veins. He won. He won.

Then why was he feeling so frustrated? They had tried to come back at him and failed, and he had kicked their fucking asses dead. But why had it been so easy?

“Eraserhead” one of Ectoplasm’s clones called.

Aizawa let go of the two villains and gathered his binding cloth around his neck before turning to his colleague. Ectoplasm was holding something in his hands - a leather schoolbag?

“What is the meaning of this?” Midnight’s eyes were frowning upon the passed out villains. “Their uniforms are of the hero department, but they are not from any of our students. Did the league of villains try to infiltrate us? They should have known it wouldn’t have been that easy, we know every faces in this school.”

“There are more of these” Ectoplasm said, waving at the schoolbag in his hand and turning to look at his other clones - three of them were holding a duffel bag and two backpacks. “We should inspect their content, but first, let’s get these four into custody until the police arrives.”

Aizawa stayed silent, staring at the black-haired girl, asleep, her face facing the ground.

“Eraserhead?”

“She knew my student” he replied quietly. “She looked like she knew him personally”.

His teacher looked up at Katsuki. The other students had now gathered around the UA teachers and were whispering among them, not daring to interrupt the adults in such a tense moment. Katsuki scowled, feeling his anger rise and threaten to explode.

“I don’t know who is this crazy chick!” he growled at Aizawa, walking towards them. “I have never met her in my entire life!”

“I never said you had” Aizawa looked back at the girl. “Everybody in Japan not living in a cave knows your name - the Sports Festival, your abduction, Kamino Ward … you have been overexposed to the eye of the media over the past year. However, there might be something escaping our judgement, some information we don’t have. For all we know she might be a victim, or she might have been drugged into thinking she knew you, or tricked into thinking she had to kill you.”

“That’s scary” Soy Sauce mumbled, looking at Katsuki with concern in his eyes.

“Ah - there was something thought!” the small Grape Perv said, his face illuminated as he remembered something. “That dude - the one with the brown hair - he called Bakugou “dad”!”

Katsuki turned his glare towards the little runt and stared at him with every intent of making him understand he would kill him given the right moment. To his small satisfaction, the fucker had the common sense to slightly crouch and look away, sweating bullets as he realised he should have kept his fucking trap shut.

“So what?” he barked at them. “He’s probably completely out of his goddamn mind anyways, you’d have to be a fuckin’ moron to try an attack on UA during daylight, a few days before the Sports Festival! Do I have to remind you what type of crazy bastard these guys have been sending us? Girls who love to suck blood, dudes who want to eat human flesh and cut through people with their teeth - they’re all a bat shit crazy bunch, so that guy yelling fucking nonsense doesn’t strike me as shocking.”

“Guess he’s got a point” Sound girl agreed. “But it’s still weird, they seem to always go for you Bakugou.”

“What are you trying to say?” Kirishima’s voice was accusatory. “That he asked for it? He doesn’t have anything to do with it, like he said, they’re crazy! Who knows what the hell is going on in their minds.”

“Eraserhead.” Midnight crouched next to the girl and looked up at him, some silent conversation going on between them. Eventually, he nodded, and Midnight grabbed the girl by the shoulder and rolled her on her back, pushing her long black curls away from her face.

Her skin was a bright pastel pink, despite being covered in dust and smoke, and through her hair, two sharp yellow horns stood. A few gasps emerged from the small crowd of students. Midnight reached the girl’s face and lifted her eyelid: her iris was golden, and the part of her eye that should have been white was pitch black.

Every pair of eyes, including Katsuki’s, turned to Raccoon eyes, who was standing there like an idiot, looking like somebody had just slapped her.

“Ectoplasm, bring the three others,” said Aizawa. “We will take them to the infirmary under custody. As for the rest of you, you will now head to the dorms, where you will stay still under further notice. If anyone gets out, they will be expelled. Am I making myself clear?”

He didn’t even need to make his eyes glow to get them to move. Four-eyes and Ponytail lead the way, and they all followed in silence until they reached the dorms. Katsuki’s blood was still boiling: he hadn’t had enough. His fight had been too short, he wasn’t even half as satisfied as he should have been - as he wanted to be. He wanted the League dead . He wanted to be the one to find them, he wanted to torture them and he wanted to beat them until they begged for his mercy - although the only mercy they would meet would be death.

He wanted to make them regret the day they had thought abducting him was a good idea.

Yeah, but the girl … , he thought, frowning.

The girl was the spitting image of the shitty Raccoon. Which, he realised as they entered their common room and she absentmindedly curled up onto one of the couches, was being uncharacteristically quiet. He wasn’t the only one noticing.

“Ashido,” Kirishima crouched before her, obviously concerned. “Are you okay?”

They looked at each other for a moment in silence, something playing between the two of them.

“You have gone a long way, haven’t you,” she replied quietly, a smile stretching her lips. Then she said louder, “Yeah I’m fine, it’s just … that girl really looked like me, didn’t she?”

It was as if they had all been waiting for her to say that. All the extras suddenly gathered all around the couch, everyone wanting to blab at the same time.

“She did, she did!” Uniform exclaimed, waving her sleeves around. “It was like looking at a mirror!”

“What can you possibly see when you look at a fucking mirror” Katsuki snorted, amused.

“Dude, rude!” Pikachu was frowning at him, slowly coming back to his senses.

“What’s wrong fried face, want me to send ya back to the blacked out zone?” he asked, pulling his hands out of his pockets, ready for some stress-relieving activities. Disappointedly, Buzz face pulled a tired face and turned away from him.

“She had black hair thought”, Monkey pointed out, his chin in his hand. “Do you think they could have … cloned you?”

A short silence followed his statement, followed by Katsuki’s exasperated “Tch”. They all turned to frown at him.

“Clone her?” he repeated, not even bothering to try and hide his scorn. “ Is that the best you got?”

“And what is your brilliant idea?” half-n-half asked, head tilted to the side, looking down on him.

Katsuki gritted his teeth, his amusement turning sour on his tongue.

“She’s not the only fucking alien in this city, look everywhere around you, you’ll see people with horns and a skin that has all the colours of the fucking rainbow” he snarled, pushing his sweaty palms back in his pockets.

“But the boy though” Sound girl said. Katsuki was ready to yell at her to drop it, but she turned to half-n-half instead. “The white-haired boy could create ice. Just like you, Todoroki-kun.”

“And the red-haired one tried to burn us before we neutralized him” added Deku, his face crumpled under the effort it took him to connects the dots in his tiny nerdy little mind.

“Do you think they managed to replicate some of our quirks?” Toad face asked, a finger on her bottom lips, looking as dead as ever.

“But how? Todoroki-kun and Bakugou-kun have been in trouble before, but they never got anywhere near Mina-chan” Uraraka argued, holding Raccoon’s hand on her lap. “ How could they have replicated her quirk?”

“It was not like Ashido-san’s quirk thought” Ponytail pointed out, “when she attacked us she sent spikes, not acid.”

“Uh - excuse me? Have you seen what happened to the rock I was hiding behind when it got hit with her spikes? Her acid could have killed us all!” Grape Perv, that fucking little coward.

Katsuki had heard enough, and he was growing bored of the fuckers’ company. He headed for the stairs when - obvi-fucking-iously - hair-for-brains called him out.

“Hey man where are you going?”

“In my room!” he barked, not bothering to stop or look back. “I’m done with your bullshit, and there’s no point in discussing any of it any longer. We won’t come up with some miraculous answers on our own.”

As he climbed up the stairs, he heard a satisfying silence follow him, before someone whispered:

“But the brown-haired boy called him Dad ! …”

He clenched his teeth and kept climbing until he reached his floor. He couldn’t lie to himself, now that he had cooled down, some elements just didn’t add up. Slamming the door of his room behind him, he was welcomed by a perfectly still silence. He let out a relieved sigh and let himself fall head first on his bed.

How could they have been defeated so easily? They barely put up a fight, if it hadn’t been for that pink porcupine, they wouldn’t even have had to do anything but capture them. He had seen dummies more dangerous than the four bastards that had emerged from the warp gate.

He frowned at himself. The gate. The warp gate. It had opened ever so slowly, and closed in a weird flash. And it was blue. A blue neither dark nor light, but certainly not dark purple like the one they had used to abduct him, or the sticky black thing that had suffocated him and taken him away from All Might that night at Kamino …

He stood up abruptly and shook his head. He did not want to think about this night. He did not want to remember the disgusting feeling the gate had left in his mouth, did not want to think about his panic when he had understood that they were taking him away - again. He did not want to think about everything that had followed after this night, all the things that had happened because of him.

He took out his clothes covered in dust, threw them in a corner and put on his workout outfit on a whim. He couldn’t go outside, but that was no reason for him to slack off. Plus, he thought as he stretched, a good workout had always helped him get his mind off of things. He put on some loud hard rock music, and turned the volume up when he heard footsteps and doors closing on his floor - the other extras were probably tired of gossiping like old grandma’s and had finally decided to go back to their own rooms.

But even after thirty minutes of intense workout, as he started with yet another serie of sit-ups and push-ups, a sickening thought started to crawl its way up his mind: what if Aizawa-sensei was right? What if they were no villains? What if they were the victims? Was it possible? Could they have been manipulated - threatened - tortured into attacking? But had they even been attacking? Katsuki hadn’t left them a single second to do so, he had made sure of it. But were they going to? ... The brown-haired boy’s face came floating in his mind, and he saw again his red pupils widen with fear.

Katsuki stopped in the middle of his push-up, face dripping with sweat. He sat up as another thought, an insane, impossible, bat-shit-crazy thought flickered in his mind.

The boy had red eyes.

And the girl looked like the Gods had somewhat gotten lazy and had taken Raccoon’s face and duplicated it, only changing the colour of her hair to trick themselves into thinking they had done an original job. And her spikes contained acid.

The white-haired bastard, with blue eyes like fucking half-n-half, could control ice, and the other one could control fire - the one with red-hair could fucking control fire.

The boy had called him dad.

He felt blood leave his face. It couldn’t be … there was no way this could be possible. There had to be another explanation. It was crazy. He had spent too much time with Kirishima and the rest of them, and now he was becoming as stupid as they were. How could such a thought … it was crazy.

It was impossible.

Suddenly, somebody started pounding at his door with urgency, making Katsuki jump violently and pulling him brutally out of his thoughts.

“Bakugou! Open up man, hurry up!” said Kirishima, his voice serious.

“WHAT THE FUCK?!” he roared from the top of his lungs, throwing himself at the door and opening it, ready to fucking murder his “friend”. “WHAT THE FUCKING HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”

“UA is holding a press conference, right now, and it is being broadcasted live on TV” Kirishima didn’t even try to look afraid or bothered by Katsuki’s reaction, and he was already knocking on Uraraka’s door. “Let’s go downstairs already! Uraraka, they ...” he started when she opened her door, but she cut him off with a small smile.

“Yeah yeah, I heard you uh … talk with Bakugou-kun. Let me grab a jacket and I’ll be with you.”

Kirishima quickly nodded and moved on to the next door. Katsuki thought for a moment about slamming his door as hard as he could and look himself for the channel on his phone, but then he realised that it meant he would have to look for the channel, then look for a link, then pray the connection would not falter … might as well go downstairs, the TV was probably already on and some of the others might have started watching the interview.

He still slammed his door as hard as he could behind him, glaring at Uraraka when she jumped at the sound.

“What the fuck are you looking at?!” he snarled at her round eyes.

Instead of looking down and away from him, she just relaxed and put on her jacket - an ugly, shapeless, outdated dirty yellow thing - not even mustard, just dirty yellow - with a broken zipper and torn sleeves. He wanted to take it and throw it out of the window - or better yet, explode it into oblivion. That would relieve a little bit of his stress. He then noticed that she was sweating just as much as he was, and that she had her workout clothes on too.

“Were you working out too Bakugou-kun?” she inquired with a smile, a burning challenge in the pit of her brown eyes.

“Mind your own fucking business.”

“I tried my best to do as much as I would have if we had been allowed to go outside” she continued as they both went down the stairs, as if he had not made it clear enough that he wanted to be left alone, “but I guess it just isn’t the same”.

She stayed quiet after that, and didn’t talk to him again, leaving him with his dreadful thoughts, wondering what were the principal and the teacher going to say. Eventually, curiosity got the best of him.

“Why the fuck would they be so stupid as to hold a press conference” he grumbled, “it’s not like they have a groundbreaking revelation to make.”

“They don’t have a choice, some of the students and the passersby who were near the entrance filmed what happened” she answered softly, in her own thoughts. “I bet parents have been calling UA ever since, and the media must have been lashing out. There are already so many articles about it all over the internet - the Entrance Gate incident, they call it.”

Katsuki stayed silent, not wanting to say another thing.

“There has to be a reason for them being there.”

He turned at her round face, and found Uraraka staring at him dead in the eyes, assurance and determination in her frown. She wasn’t smiling anymore.

“What?” he snapped.

“Those guys”, she explained, “they couldn’t have appeared out of nowhere. They knew where they were going, they knew where they were arriving. They knew about UA’s current situation and policy. You cannot decide to just arrive through a warp gate right in front of the most guarded school in Japan without plotting something. I am sure there is something shady about these guys - and we’ll soon find out what.”

She turned around to face in front of her. He remembered how easily she had manipulated Four-eyes into making him radically change his opinion about the arcades. He didn’t want her to talk to him if she was going to fuck with his mind like that.

“Whatever” he scoffed. But as much as he hated to admit it, she had slightly succeeded in lifting his mood a little bit. She was right, you don’t just pop up in front of UA’s gates and think you’ll be just fine.

They arrived in the common room, and Uraraka left his side to curl up on the main couch next to Raccoon and Toad face, eyes fixed on the TV. The interview had started. Katsuki ignored all the fuckers chatting excitedly like this was some kind of TV Drama and went to sit on the couch armrest, next to Uraraka. If he had to listen to anyone blab, he would rather have this person be either her or Kirishima right now. He watched as the Principal answered a question, surrounded by Aizawa-sensei and Vlad-King on his right and Midnight and Ectoplasm on his left.

His hands twitched as it reminded him of that other interview he had been forced to watch when the League of Fuckers had abducted him. He looked away for a second, and his scowl grew even darker when he saw Uraraka staring at him. The fuck was her problem. He didn’t look away, waiting for her to drop her gaze, but she kept staring, her big goofy eyes settled into a determined frown - reassuring? He narrowed his eyes. He didn’t need her pity. Who the hell did she think she was?

They kept glaring at each other until Deku squealed like a monkey whose tail got stuck in the door frame, and they both looked at the TV.

“They are talking about them! The villains! Turn it up!” he asked Bird head, who had the remote in his hand and turned the volume up.

“What more can you tell us about the incident that happened today?” one journalist asked, clearly set on making the teachers break under his questioning. “So far you haven’t done much to reassure the population, and the answers you have given are more than superficial. We are entitled to the truth, and it feels like you are purposely retaining information.”

“We have answered your questions as reasonably as we can in order not to interfere with the investigation led by the police” the Principal answered, his face bland except for the small smile that never seemed to leave his face. “We do not have any more information than you at the moment.”

“What about the four individuals who were apprehended on the school grounds? Where are they being detained at the moment?”

“It was agreed by both the school and the police that they would be kept in the school until they were interrogated. We cannot risk them disappearing like Overhaul before we had had any answers from them.”

“So what you are saying is that you have decided to prioritise your curiosity over the students’ safety?”

Aizawa-sensei glared at the journalist.

“Alright I can feel some Eraserhead rage aura coming in!” Buzz face said, excited.

“Shut your trap” snapped Katsuki, grabbing Uraraka’s slipper right from her feet and throwing it at his face.

“The reason why we choose to keep them into custody within the school was specifically because we had the students’ safety in mind”,Aizawa replied, still glaring daggers. “These children’s safety is what matters the most to us, and never would we have taken a decision that might endanger them in anyway.”

“Mr Aizawa” another journalist started as Uraraka’s slipper made its way, hand to hand, back to Bakugou, “one of your student, Bakugou Katsuki, was identified as the one who initiated the attack on these individuals, before they even attacked. Now this student was also the one at the center of the Kamino Ward incident, and was part of the group attacked at the USJ incident. It cannot be a simple coïncidence. Can you certify that this student is under your control? Can you testify that he is not already on the other side of the line?”

Katsuki froze, slipper still in hand. He stared at the TV in disbelief, astonished, feeling the looks of his classmates on him. That was their conclusion? He had attacked the villains therefore he might be one of them? What the actual fuck?!

“I have already answered a similar question during the USJ incident.” Aizawa’s voice was as cold as ice as he stared at the journalist like he wanted to make his brain imploded from the power of his glare. “My answer will therefore be the same: my students are all aiming to be the best version of themselves, and this specific one even more. He might have rushed into things, but a pro hero never has the time to hesitate when faced with a fight-or-flight situation. Had he waited, who knows what might have happened. In a year, he has grown and matured more than anyone could have possibly expected from him, all the while keeping only one objective in mind: becoming the greatest hero. Hero. Not villain. This is the only answer I will be giving regarding this matter.”

“You GO Aizawa-sensei!” Kirishima cheered, standing up and throwing his fist up in the air.

“UA really is the best!” Ponytail’s eyes were almost glowing as she looked at the TV with both hands joined in front of her like a fucking nun.

Another journalist stood up.

“Principal Nezu, this incident adds up to an already too long list of similar cases, where the students put in your care are being endangered. What measures are you going to put in place when -”

He was cut off by a police officer who crossed hastily the stage towards Principal Nezu, holding papers in his hands. He leaned in to whisper something at his ear for a moment while the principal nodded, again and again, before handing in the papers he was holding and quickly exiting the stage. Something pulled at Katsuki’s hand, and he looked down to see Uraraka trying to get her crumpled slipper back from his grasp. He was going to let go, when the principal started talking again.

“New information have just been communicated to me from the police investigation” the principal declared, much to everyone - including the teachers’ - surprise. “The individuals have woken up and were interrogated separately, and they appear to have no connection with the League of Villain - or any villain organisation known so far. They are not registered in any civil administration in Japan and are all minors, and according to their testimonies they have never had any evil intention towards the school.”

“Whaaaaaaaaat?” Soy Sauce looked at the principal with the same face he did when Katsuki had tried to explain how integrals worked. “What does that mean? That girl attacked us! How can she have had no evil intention?”

“Of course this does not mean that the investigation is closed - far from it. The children will stay within the school’s wall, under the teachers’ and a few police officers’ supervision. According to them, their reason for appearing in front of the school’s gates was because of a villains’ quirk, as they had no intention of troubling the school or the police. However, because of where they say to be coming from, we cannot allow them to wander anywhere outside of campus - nor can we fully trust them.”

“Principal Nezu” the journalist continued, clearly happy to have chosen this moment to ask his questions, “can you please give us more details? How can they be nonexistent from any registration? And if they are innocent, then why not send them back to their families? Do we have names?”

The principal seemed to be debating with himself whether he should disclose these information. He stayed silent for a moment, and everyone hung onto his lips, waiting for his answer, from the eager journalist to Buzz face holding a handful of crisps inches from his open mouth, to himself and Uraraka holding onto the pink slipper.

“This information still needs to be verified, and must therefore be treated with extreme caution, for everything it implies could be reality-shattering material,” he started slowly, as if he was taking great care not to speak too fast. “The four children who arrived through the warp gate this morning, allegedly … come from the future.”

A complete and utter silence followed the principal’s words as Katsuki felt his insides fall into nothingness.

The boy had red eyes.

“Their names are Bakugou Kenta, Ashido Hana, Todoroki Rei and Todoroki Hiro.”

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 3

The interview continued, more journalists asking questions about how any ot it was possible, what were they going to do to decide whether the four children’s tale was true or not, if there ever was a history of such a quirk in Japan before, how could the children be trusted if they came from a future no one but them knew about. Vlad-King replied that so far the four individuals were innocent until proven guilty, but that it did not mean that they were trusted; Midnight assured that such a quirk was unprecedented but not impossible if the right circumstances were gathered; and Ectoplasm talked about testing their DNA, comparing them with their alleged parents and see if there was a match.

Katsuki’s head was buzzing. It couldn’t be possible. There was no way this was happening - any of this.

“Mr Aizawa” Aizawa, who was reading the papers the police officer had given Principal Nezu, turned his head to the journalist, clearly fed up with this press conference. “If I recall, one of the four individuals’ name is-” he quickly looked at his notes “- Bakugou. Bakugou Kenta. This name is undoubtedly your students’ name, Bakugou Katsuki. Many a question will be raised as to the link between these two, and some might even say it is a convenient coïncidence that such a problem students’ alleged child would arrive from the future in front of UA. What would be your answer to these arguments?”

Aizawa’s fist clenched around the police report, effectively crushing the papers.

“I would say the apple never falls too far from the tree” he replied through his teeth. He waved the crumpled report in his hand “The police report mentions that, according to the four children, they are first year students at UA, and were on their way out of school when a villain attacked them and sent them through his warp gate. Next thing they knew, they were in the same place, but at a different time. The report also states that the four of them have claimed to be close friends, and if you recall, two of the individuals’ name were Todoroki - not one, but two of them. If you are so curious, I suggest you go find Endeavour and ask him what his opinion about his alleged twin grandchildren being villains is.”

The journalist paled, mumbled an apology and quickly sat back.

“Grandchildren?” half-n-half repeated quietly. They all turned to him, his face whiter than usual. No one said a word.

“The children’s testimony gave us intel regarding the villain’s quirk” added the principal. “We now know that his quirk can send multiple people through time but not space, and it also seems he cannot choose what time of the day he wishes to send people to, as the children arrived here at the same moment they left their reality.”

“The police is also working on a facial description of the villain, that will be revealed to the country in a few moment” continued Vlad-King, who had already read the papers before Aizawa had reduced them to a crumpled mess. “He is of average height, in his late twenties, has short, light green hair and purple eyes. He has a beard and multiple piercing on his ears, as well as koi tattoos on his forearms. He was described as thin and nervous. If you see him, please do not take any initiative and immediately alert the competent authorities. If you are a hero, please do not take any solo initiative. This man and his quirk are highly dangerous, as we do not know how far in the past he can reach. If he uses it to send anyone in the past, we do not know yet how will we be able to bring them back to us. If he sends the wrong person in the past, it could have a permanent impact on our reality, which is why the children should stay in our custody, where we can keep an eye on them. We cannot risk any villain organisation getting anywhere near them, for they hold precious information about our world’s future.”

“Mr Vlad-King” A short, fat journalist pointed an accusatory finger at the teacher. “Shouldn’t you be interrogating them about this future they know about? If they have intel regarding the League of Villain’s ultimate goal, or how to defeat them, shouldn’t we be doing everything in our power to get these extra information and use them to predict what their next move will be? Or be prepared for the next tsunami, the next financial crisis, the next earthquake? How can UA allow such an opportunity to keep people safe to be ignored?”

“Fucking bastard” Katsuki grumbled. Unexpectedly, no one told him off, and his comment was only meet with grunts of agreement and nods.

“Timeframes are not something that can be toyed with”, scolded Midnight with a dark, evil look. “The course of the world unfolds in mysterious ways, every action being unavoidably met with its equal consequence. If we change a single thing, we alter this course, but we only delay the consequence awaiting us at the end of the line. And we can only imagine how much worse it will be when it hits us. Even if we could predict the League of Villains’ next move, we don’t know how they will respond to it, and they will most likely come up with another plan that we don’t know about. We will still be running in circles. Protecting the knowledge these children hold from villains does not mean we are allowed to take advantage ot it. In this specific case, the less we know the better.”

“And, if they do indeed come from the future, it means students from UA and passersby have witnessed four children being attacked and abducted by a villain. I think we can safely assume that their parents, their UA as well as their police are doing everything they can to find them and bring them back, and we must therefore keep this in mind and get on normally with our lives in order not to trouble their own investigation until we find a way to meet them halfway” concluded Ectoplasm.

“Damn they’re smart” mumbled Soy sauce. “That’s UA alright.”

“In the meantime, the students will stay in our care. That’s all we will say for today” declared the principal. “The police will soon come forward as well to hold their own press conference and give more detail about their investigation. Thank you for your time!”

Katsuki rose quickly to his feet and left the living room before any of his classmates had time to comment on anything. He vaguely heard somebody calling his name, but he didn’t pay attention and climbed the stairs three by three, not stopping until he reached his floor. He rushed into his room where he hadn’t turned the music off and closed the door, locking it this time. He leaned his back against it and held his head in his hands, his heart pounding so hard it threatened to jump out of his rib cage.

“What the fuck …”

How was it possible … How was any of this massive pile of bullshit possible! He started pacing in his room, going to the window, then coming back to the center, lying on his bed and getting up before going back to the window, Uraraka’s slipper still in his hand.

He had no explanation. It had to be a dream. A really, really weird and wild bad dream. Rolling his eyes at himself, he still pinched himself and cursed when he felt the pain. Good to know. It was real.

He really had launched one of his most powerful blast in his own son’s face. Perfect. It could have been any one of the other kid, the porcupine or the two bastards, but no, out of the four he had had to aim for his kid. He let himself fall onto the ground, rage storming in his heart as he remembered the boy’s red eyes, wide with fear. He wanted to scream. He wanted to jump out of the window and let out explosions powerful enough to raise him in the sky and above the clouds, where everything was probably so silent that his own mind would follow and stop besieging him with thousands of unanswered questions. He wanted to let loose and end up so exhausted that he couldn’t feel the maddening anger constricting his chest.

He jumped back on his feet and went to turn the volume even higher up, noticing for the first time the slipper in his hand. He threw it with unnecessary strength on his bed and started stretching again before launching himself in a brutal workout, wishing he had more space than his small bedroom to run and jump around. Multiple times, he heard knocking on his door, but he ignored them. Whether it was Kirishima complaining about the music or any one of the fuckers wanting to gossip, he didn’t know and didn’t care.

He kept working until his body refused to keep up with his bullshit anymore. Checking the hour, he realised he had been into it for two hours and a half. He slowly crept up on his feet, his legs wobbling, grabbed a towel, a pair of boxers, short and his favourite skull t-shirt before turning off his music and heading towards the shower. He stayed under the scalding water much longer than necessary, his mind blissfully empty, wishing he didn’t have to get out. With a sigh, he eventually turned off the water, dried himself and put on his clean clothes, slightly numb. It was only 8pm, but he already wanted nothing more than to go the bed.

When he got out of the shower, his foul mood came back in a flash as he looked up to find Uraraka sitting in front of his room with a book, waiting for him.

“The fuck are you doing here” he growled, his voice a little coarse. He was in no mood for any kind of questioning, and did not want to let his mind start spinning round and round again. If he had to yell at her to get her to leave him the fuck alone, he was more than prepared to do so.

She looked up from her book and closed it with a “pof”, then jumped on her feet, arms crossed.

“Could I have my slipper back?”

Oh. He had forgotten about that.

He grunted and opened his door, tossing his gym clothes and his wet towel on top of his dusty uniform and started looking around. He found the slipper behind his bed, where it had probably bounced when he had thrown it.

“There” he tossed her the pink thing and she caught it lazily with one hand before putting it on her feet. “Now fu- clear off.” He corrected himself last moment, still somewhat reluctant to insult her directly.

She didn’t move. Instead she stayed in his door frame, hesitating, before she started talking.

“They are … talking downstairs.” she said quietly, as if she didn’t want to be heard. “I don’t know if you intend to go grab some dinner or anything but …”

She hesitated some more, irritating him.

“Just spit it out already, I don’t have all day” he barked.

“ I guess what I’m trying to say is - I know you don’t like talking about things and all, but the others are going to have a lot of questions and - well if at some point you want to just … just not talk, and be at peace, well … come to me okay?” He cheeks were quickly picking up a new shade of red, and her entire face was bright pink. “Don’t get the wrong idea, I need someone to train with, and you’ll need a way to get your head off of things so - I just promise you, I won’t talk about … the situation.”

Before he could answer, she headed towards her room.

“Just think about it.” She smiled at him before closing her door.

He clicked his tongue and grabbed his door handle, hesitating. He was starving, but now that he knew that everyone was going to be downstairs …

His stomach let out a loud growl. Cursing, he grabbed a hoodie and decided to head downstairs. He would cook himself something quick, he decided while putting the cloth on, ignore all the fuckers, and take everything to eat in his room. Now that seemed like a good plan.

It was not, he realised when he arrived next to the table near the kitchen, it was absolutely fucking not. He scowled and gritted his teeth, wishing he had stayed in his room as he watched more than half of the extras in his class chat happily, with at the center of them two girls with raccoon’s eyes, talking and laughing as if they had been friends their entire life.

“Ah there you are!” He was going to fucking murder that Buzz face, he realised as the blond obviously-suicidal-boy waved at him behind the table. “Bakugou, come here!”

He scowled and squared his shoulders, palm sweating, as they all stared back at him - along with an extra two pair of eyes. And before he could stop himself, his gaze shifted and he met two very red eyes.

For a second, an image came floating in his mind. A picture his mother had shown him when he was twelve, when he had demanded that she show him pictures of her and his father when they were younger. One of these pictures was a polaroid picture of his dad when he was fourteen. Unlike the scowling teenager in front of him, his dad had been smiling on the picture; but including the red eyes, that was the only difference. He still had the same short spiky brown hair, the same chubby pink cheeks, the shape of his eyes and brows was the same, and his lips were the same thin line as his dad’s.

Katsuki gulped discreetly, anger slowly adding to his stress, but he didn’t avert his gaze. The boy’s scowl darkened even more, his brows meeting in a knot of wrinkles, his red eyes burning.

“I can't believe you tried to blast me away” he finally said. His voice was surprisingly quiet and soft, its pitch higher than he had expected.

Katsuki growled and finally looked away, his heart pumping uneasily, and headed towards the kitchen.

“Next time don’t stand in my fucking way” he growled. He didn’t know what to tell him. He didn’t know that guy, he felt no sort of attachment to him, and at the end of the day he was a total stranger. So he didn’t see why he should make an effort for him. Hell, he didn’t make an effort for his friends and family, he wouldn’t for some random guy.

“Dude that's rude!” Kirishima was seated next to Pikachu and Toad face, a disapproving look on his face. “He’s your … you know - your kid!”

Katsuki’s head whipped around and he glared at the redhead with such fury that their classmates shifted uncomfortably.

The boy shrugged, unimpressed.

“T’s’fine, I don’t care” he mumbled quietly, looking around him as if every single piece of furniture in the room had personally offended him. He was slouching on his chair, arms crossed in front of him, shoulders squared in a defensive stance, as if he was trying to keep anyone from getting anywhere too close to him.

“But I am curious, you haven’t talked at all Bakugou-kun !” said Raccoon eyes, her chin on her hands, elbows on the table.

Katsuki turned and replied “Fuck off E.T.”, just when the boy said “I don’t have much to say”. They both glared at each other while everyone laughed.

“Just call him Kenta-kun!” Porcupine put her arm around the boy’s shoulders and pulled him to her, dangerously close to her breasts, and ruffled his hair energetically. “ It's what I’ve been calling him since we were kids! He’s just really shy is all, just ask him questions.”

Let-go-of-me! ” His voice came out muffled as he tried to escape the black-haired girl’s grasp. When he finally managed, his hair was a mess and his face was flushed with embarrassment.

“What ?” Kirishima had now a wide toothy grin plastered on his face. “Little Bakugou is a shy boy?”

“Wouldn’t have guessed by looking at his old man” teased Soy sauce, waving in Katsuki’s direction.

“Wouldn’t have guessed anyone would want to have a child with him either” continued Buzz face, feeding the laughters.

“Wouldn’t have guessed anyone would wanna put up with him at all!”

“Will you shut the fuck up or do I have to make you?!” Katsuki exploded from the kitchen, holding tightly onto his knife.

“He’s not that bad” mumbled the boy, looking at the table.

“Yeah but to think that he, out of people would get laid” said Grape Perv, shooting a dirty look towards Katsuki. “Oh well, he probably had to force her or threatened her” he added as a joke.

The tone was light, and some fuckers around the table laughed and snickered, but Katsuki was not amused. He started stomping towards the little runt, knife in hand, already thinking of the deliciously terrified face he would make when Katsuki would arrive in his face, but before he said or did anything, the boy asked:

“You are Mineta, right?”

“You heard about me?” The little runt beamed, mischief glowing in his eyes. “Maybe your mommy said something about me?”

“As a matter of fact she did, and so did my dad” the boy replied ever so quietly. He leaned in and stared at Grape Perv, a dark, evil intent in his red eyes. “If you ever speak about my parents again, I’ll murder you” he all but whispered.

The little runt blinked and paled, and the terrified face Katsuki had dreamed of appeared right before his eyes. Maybe that boy wasn’t all that bad, he thought with a faint smirk. He went back to the kitchen, his mood a little brightened.

“Hahahaha! Alright, that's some mini Bakugou rage right here!” laughed Kirishima, clearly amused.

“Don’t joke about these things, stupid”, scolded Porcupine, looking at Grape Perv. “Some tabloïd have actually been spreading that type of rumour about the Bakugous, and it's really not funny.”

Without meaning to, Katsuki started chopping his carrots more slowly. He didn’t wanna hear, he reminded himself, annoyed by his reaction. He didn’t wanna know whatever bullshit was being told about him in the future, but curiosity was already burning like a fire in his chest. He begrudgingly listened more carefully to the conversation, hoping Kirishima would press for more answers.

“Whaaaaaat?” He just never disappointed him that one. “What the hell? Why would they say something like that ?”

Porcupine shrugged.

“When she was pregnant, she didn’t retire or take a break like everybody else, she kept working until she was practically about to give birth - and then six months later she was back in the field. It inspired a lot of people but shocked just as many, and considering his old man’s personality, some thought that maybe he had been the one forcing her.”

“But … why wouldn’t she take a break?” asked Monkey, obviously puzzled. “She could have spent a little bit more time to take care of herself, or spend it with her child, there was no rush for her to go back to work so soon.”

Katsuki angled himself so that he could see the boy from the corner of his eyes. He looked like he was trying to light Monkey on fire by the sheer power of his glare, slouching on his chair.

“My mother is a pro hero, a strong one.” His voice was still quiet and soft, but it was cold as ice. “She chose not to stop when she could still work, because villains don’t stop just because people tell you to take a break. She couldn’t stay still like a basic good girl when so many people still needed saving, not if she could do anything about it.” Now he stood a little bit taller, and his red eyes were burning with passion and pride. “She is no fragile woman. She is strong and stubborn when she needs to be, and there isn’t a single soul on this planet who will tell her what to do - not even Dad.” He blushed slightly, and there was obvious pain and confusion in his face. “I don’t know why anyone would say things like that” he mumbled, looking at the table like it was the one responsible. “Sure, Dad can be rough around the edge, but he would never do anything to hurt Mom - hell, he was even the first one to support her in her decision. He adores her, there’s not a thing he wouldn’t do for the love of his life.”

And just like that, all hell broke loose.

“WHAAAAT?!”

“The love of his life?!”

“This is so adorable!”

“The love of his life!”

“Bakugou, who knew you could be such a cutiepie!”

“The unexpected soft side of class 2-A’s tough guy, finally exposed to the world!”

“The love of his liiiiiiiiife!”

“Bakugou! Bakugou did you hear that?”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP, I’LL KILL YOU ALL!” he roared, feeling his pride wince as his classmates laughed and screamed.

They completely ignored him, like he wasn't holding a fucking knife in one hand and a kitchen lighter in the other.

“Wait I am way too curious, I have to know now: who is your mom?” asked Uniform, jumping and wiggling on her chair like she was ready to bounce out of her seat and launch herself at the boy.

“Yeah, she sounds like a badass” said Sound bitch, like she was the one to fucking decide who on Earth was cool and who wasn’t.

“More like she sounds scary” said Monkey, arms crossed, eyeing the boy as if he was witnessing a severely neglected child.

The boy blushed hard, round cheeks red, and he slouched down on his seat so much that his head and shoulders were the only thing remaining above the table.

“Yadon’tneedtaknow” he mumbled under his breath, looking at his chest to hide his embarrassment.

“Come on!” insistes Kirishima, slapping him on the back. “Tell us! I wanna know who managed to tame the Bakugou Beast!”

“Do we know her?” asked Buzz Face eagerly. “Have we met her? Please please tell me she is in our class.”

“What? In our class?” Soy sauce had an impossible grin plastered on his face. “No girl in our class would be crazy enough to ride the hellish Bakugou train.”

“OI!” This time, Katsuki had had enough. He grabbed the boy’s chair and pulled it back so suddenly the kid almost fell on his face. “If y’all don’t start minding your own fucking business, I’m gonna start breaking faces. And you” he turned to the boy, who glared and raised on brow at him, no afraid in the least “you better keep your trap shut, or I’ll deal with you again.”

“Ooooooh” Uniform was gonna implode with excitement. “Bakugou-kun, it is so adorable that you want to protect your son!”

Katsuki let go of the boy’s chair like it had burnt him.

“Protect him?” She had to be fucking kidding him. “Don’t make me laugh. I don’t give a fuck about that shitty brat. Didn’t you hear what Midnight said about time frames? One small detail, and we could change the future, and these two nerds right there? They would be stuck there with no way of going back to where they come from. So don’t start me with your romantic bullshit, and mind. Your. Own. Fucking. Business.”

He turned around and went back to the kitchen, throwing his chopped carrots, potatoes and onion in the pot of boiling water with unnecessary strength, water splashing everywhere.

“Bakugou-kun, you are such a killjoy … Oh by the way, Hana-chan!” Raccoon’s eyes was quick to find another topic to blab about. “I noticed something, your name is Ashido right? You have my name - how come?”

“I also have my mother’s name” pointed out Sound girl. “It's not that uncommon. Except if the father isn’t ...”

She stopped dead in her tracks and covered her mouth with her hand, afraid she might have said something insensitive. But porcupine just giggled.

“Yeah about that. My parents are not married.”

“What?! Wha-wha-what do you mean? Why is - how? Why?” Katsuki rolled his eyes and growled at Raccoon’s panic, losing interest. He took the chicken breasts he had pulled out of the fridge earlier, seasoned it with salt, pepper and ground chillies, and dipped it in flour and egg.

He turned around when he felt someone silently creep up on him.

“Fuck off Kirishima, I don’t wanna -”

It was the boy. Hands behind his back, he stayed one step behind him, looking at the ingredients neatly arranged on the kitchen table. Katsuki waited until the brat said something, anger building up again in his chest, but when he stayed silent, Katsuki growled and turned back around, refusing to interact in any way with him. Let him play the little creep behind him if that was what he wished for, he decided as he washed the rice before putting it into the rice cooker.

“Well” Porcupine stretched lazily. “You and Dad were dating when you got pregnant with me. Dad immediately proposed, and you got engaged, but then everything went so fast, with your pregnancy and then my birth, your jobs as heroes, all the spendings that you had to deal with, kindergarten, school and now high school, you just never found the time to pick a date and get married, cause there were always more important things to deal with. But now, you two have been seriously talking about getting married after I graduate from UA, and … yeah, I think you’re gonna do it, for real this time. Ah, and regarding my name, when I was born Dad was so dazzled by the strength you showed, he thought it wasn’t right that he would impose his name on me when you did all the hard work. He's stupid like that my Dad” she concluded with a giant cheesy grin.

“Is that so …” squeaked Raccoon’s eyes.

“You don’t add bay leaves?”

Katsuki turned around to scowl at the boy.

“What the fuck did you just say?” he growled in his most menacing tone.

He could have purred for all it did.

“You’re making your special chicken katsu curry, right?” He shrugged. “Usually you add two bay leaves to the sauce before adding the chillies. It gives the whole thing a unique flavor.”

He glared at the boy, hesitating between telling him to fuck off or actually do what he said. He had been trying to improve his recipe lately, because chicken katsu curry was his old man’s favourite dish and his birthday was in two months. He just clicked his tongue and grunted, noting the idea to try another day.

“It didn’t make me any less happy thought” was saying Porcupine behind them. “The two of you always provided for me, I never lacked of anything. Sure, there were always a few kids who would try to make fun of me, or make comments about my parents’ situation - whatever judgement their own parents had passed in the privacy of their home, the kids would repeat in the open school yard. But” her grin grew even wider if that was possible, and she grabbed her arm in a ‘we can do it’ pose “that's why I have a badass quirk to beat up anyone who disrespects my family!”

“What’s your quirk anyway?” asked Grape Perv. “You almost killed us with it earlier!”

Katsuki turned towards the fridge to get the fresh chillies out, but then he found the fucking boy holding out the plate in front of him - and a small sheepish smile to try to hide the fact that he had clearly been eating one or more. Katsuki snatched the plate away from him angrily.

“Stop eating the food you bastard!” he snarled, but he failed to add the aggressivity he needed, because fuck, the kid was swallowing who knows how many chillies and wasn't even fucking blinking. Even his Dad had his limits, and he was the one who had made him love spicy food to begin with.

Porcupine laughed at the table.

“Yeah, sorry about earlier. But I really thought your guy was gonna kill Kenta-kun! His face was purple! I was so scared, I completely panicked. ” She got up and showed her arms, as if to expose her muscles. Too curious to pretend he didn’t care, Katsuki turned to watch, hitting the boy with the kitchen towel when he caught him trying to steal more chillies.

“My quirk is Acid Spikes!” she announced proudly. “Basically I can grow spikes of hardened skin all over my body and also separate them from myself, throw them away and so on. My spikes contain acid, and the longer I wait before letting them loose, the more acid they stock. The problem is, I don’t control them as well as I want to yet, and even though I’ve been trying to centralize their growth, they tend to grow all over my body at once as soon as I stop focusing, so I often end up in uh … embarrassing situations.”

“Naked!” Grape Perv wasn’t even hiding his drool. “Is that what you mean? M-maybe I didn’t understand very well, maybe we need a demonstration y-you know!”

“Quit it!” Raccoon’s eyes hit him on the head with her fist.

“That guy has issues” mumbled the boy, more to himself than to anyone in particular, before snacking on a chilly.

“Where the fuck did you-” Katsuki took the plate from where he had left it and angrily put it back in the fridge, slamming the door hard. The boy pouted, swallowing the rest of the crunchy chilly with his hands in his pockets, sulking.

“Baku- I mean Kenta-kun!” Soy sauce waved at the boy. “What’s your quirk? Can you make stuff explode like Bakugou?”

“Oouuh, a tiny Lord Explosion Murder, I like that!” snickered Kirishima.

“You wish” snarled Katsuki, still glaring at the extras sitting next to the kitchen.

As the boy squared his shoulders again and a deep frown settled back on his face, Katsuki realised that, for the few minutes he had spent next to him, the boy had relaxed a little. He dismissed the thought, annoyed, and crossed his arms on his chest, legs apart, ready to pass judgement.

“So?” He asked the boy directly, and they all fell silent. “What is your quirk?”

He better have a fucking amazing quirk he thought, eyes narrowed, or else Katsuki was set on ignoring him for they rest of his “stay”.

The boy kicked something invisible on the floor, head down to hide his embarrassed blushing face, before he sighed and pulled his hands out of his pockets.

“My hands-” he paused to clear his throat and held his palm open for everyone to see. “My hands sweat hydrogen. Well not exactly only hydrogen, but mostly. It's a highly flammable component, so I have to be constantly careful when around a source of heat.” His face darkened, as if he was recalling some unpleasant memory. He pointed at one of his palms, showing two pink strips of skin, one below the base of his fingers and one above his wrists. They looked like soft calluses, or thin cat pads. “To activate my quirk, I first have to put one hand above and opposite the other, and the upper bit of skin right there has to be in contact with the lower bit on the other hand. Once my quirk is activated, the hydrogen starts a cycle of nuclear fusion - which means its nuclei fuses with another nuclei to gain mass and transform into helium. And from there, two forces start applying from each bit of skin, and-”

Buzz Face yawned loudly and openly, matching almost everybody’s bored expression. The only ones who didn’t look like they regretted asking the question were Katsuki, Toad Face and Porcupine - the first staring intently at the boy and the other one wiggling excitedly with anticipation.

The boy blushed again, hard, looking more embarrassed than ever.

“And … and uh …” his shoulders slumped slightly, and he sighed. “ I guess it would make more sense if I just showed you, right?”

He took a deep breath and brought his hands close to one another.

“Oh oh wait!” Porcupine jumped out of her seat and ran towards the switches on the wall, her curly hair bouncing happily behind her. “Lights off, it’s so much more impressive that way!”

She turned off the lights, and Uniform and Buzz Face squeaked in the sudden darkness. For a second, Katsuki couldn’t see a thing. And then, a point of reddish light emerged from the dark, imprisoned between the boy’s hands, growing brighter by the second. He slowly opened his hands, and the point of light became a small ball of fire and energy, twirling around itself and unleashing tiny waves of matter, painting the most beautiful colours Katsuki had ever seen across the dark room. Time seemed to slow down around the boy as Katsuki watched his clothes float lightly on him, and his short hair were gently ruffled, his eyes redder than ever, mirroring the magnificent show before him. He spread his hands even wider apart, and the orb of energy grew bigger and brighter, slowly turning into a beautiful yellow, sending a soft but warmer wind around all of them.

When had Katsuki started gaping, he didn’t know.

“Wait wait wait! You wanna see something crazy? Look at that!” Porcupine grabbed a box of toothpicks from the kitchen, opened it and threw its content at the boy. But instead of hitting his face and scatter on the floor, the toothpicks slowed down and floated towards the yellow ball of light and energy, before they started peacefully revolving around it, catching fire.

“Ooooooooooh!” None of the fucking extras seemed bored anymore, all of them staring with wide eyes at the boy’s unbelievable display of strength. With his clothes floating and his eyes glowing, arms spread fearlessly in front of the hot ball of wonderful light and power, he looked like a god ready to soar towards the skies.

In a swift movement, he turned his hands so they weren’t facing the orb of wonder anymore and he dropped them to his sides, and just like that they were surrounded by darkness again. Before Porcupine turned the lights back on, everyone started screaming, cheering and talking at once.

“WHAT WAS THAAAAT!”

“That was amazing!”

“How did you do that?!”

“Incredible!”

“It was so beautiful!”

The boy sat back down, panting slightly, and went for his leather school bag on the floor. He quickly looked through it, smiling shyly at the praise he was receiving, and he threw it back on the floor when he found what he was looking for - a pale pink crumpled handkerchief, in which he wiped his sweaty palms.

“That's my quirk” he explained sheepishly, almost like an apology. “I create stars.”

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 4

 

As quirks went, the boy’s was pretty fucking badass, Katsuki had to at least admit that.

He watched the boy’s round cheeks keep their bright pink colour, obviously pleased by the praise he was receiving. Watching all the extras ask five hundred questions with awe in their eyes, a weird feeling of pride crawled its way up Katsuki’s chest.

“It's a very demanding quirk though” the boy was saying, a little breathless. Katsuki headed back to the kitchen absentmindedly, quickly frying the chicken while he took the rice out of the cooker and checked the curry’s texture - it was almost ready. “The hydrogen I sweat turns into gas to transform into helium, and once the star is hot it transforms even faster, so the star grows even bigger. The bigger the star, the hotter it is, and the more important its gravitational pull is. The hotter it gets, the more I sweat and produce hydrogen, but there’s a limit to how much I can produce. And when I can't produce hydrogen anymore, the star becomes crazy hot, way too hot for me to control it anymore, and even if I could it would be monstrously dangerous, the helium would start transforming into carbon and oxygen and-” he stopped when he realised he was giving too many details for the morons around him to understand and continued “-well anyways, it would be burning and exploding everything around it. And if I hold one or many stars for too long, I get sick - hypoglycemia and stuff.”

Katsuki frowned and looked at the boy from the corner of his eyes. His cheeks were pink but it was due to his flush more than anything else. His lips were a little white, and Katsuki didn’t remember the bags under his eyes being so dark. He growled at himself at the thought of what he was about to do.

“So you can create more than one star at a time?” asked Raccoon, her voice a pitch so high soon only dogs would be able to hear her.

“Usually yes. My current maximum is eight at a time, but” the boy wiped his brow, looking exhausted “right now I'm too tired to do that. Recovery Girl’s quirk drained me earlier - because someone thought I was a villain, and that the best way to make sure of it was to blast me with all he had” he added sourly, glaring again this time at Katsuki.

“Shut the fuck up you dipshit” Katsuki snarled as he walked back to the table, a steaming plate of curry in his hand. “Next time you’ll know better than to be so fucking weak that you get easily captured by goddamn villains.” He slammed the plate and cutlery in front of the boy, trying not to spill its content in the process. “Now eat that before I change my mind, and if I catch you eating my chillies again I’ll roast your ass.”

The boy’s eyes brightened at the sight of the food, and without second thoughts he mumbled a quick “thankyaforthefood” before digging in.

“Fanks Dad!” he said, his mouth full.

And there they were fucking going again.

“Ooooooh, Daaaaaad! “

“Thanks Daddy!”

“Daaaaad can I have a plate too?”

“Shut the fuck up! And I don’t give my food to eat to goddamn weaklings like you!”

“Damn Dad, why’re you so cold to us” whined Soy sauce.

“Hey what’s that right there?” asked Monkey with a huge smile, looking at the handkerchief.

Before the boy’s suddenly wide eyes, he grabbed it and spread it before him, revealing its pattern. It was the figure of a female smiling hero on a pink starry background. Her hair were longer and her costume had changed a bit, but her I-will-soon-start-throwing-up-rainbows face was unmistakably the same.

“Hey!” Raccoon shot straight up, snatching the fabric from Monkey’s hands. “ It's Ochako-chan! It's Ochako! Look, look!” She almost put the handkerchief on Toad girl’s face. “It's her!”

“Give it back!” The boy was back to blushing red, trying to grab the fabric from Raccoon’s eyes. “It's Uravity, the great rescue hero!”

He managed to get the handkerchief back, and held it protectively against his chest.

“She is one of the greatest heroes of our time!” he said with defensively, as if someone was going to slam their fist on the table and yell ‘hell no!’. “She is brave and fearless, and saves hundreds of lives everyday with a smile, just like All Might in his days. ‘With Uravity here, there is no need to fear!’ She can lift up entire buildings and has the lowest rate of casualties in her missions out of all the pro heroes, she is amazing, she is-”

He suddenly stopped, eyes wide and blank fixated on the back of the common area, near the stairs.

“-here” he finished in a breath.

Katsuki came back from the kitchen with his own plate of curry and, after a moment of hesitation, he sat down next to Toad Face and followed everyone’s stare towards Uraraka walking down the stairs, followed by Deku - fucking Deku -, Twinkle Boy and Bird Face.

“Ochako! Ochako come here quickly !” Uniform was barely holding into place anymore.

“Hey guys!” she waved at the table with an impossible smile. “What is it? Ah -” she looked at the boy and smiled tentatively “hi there. You are Bakugou-kun, right?”

The boy blushed again, his entire face and neck red, and he barely nodded, still holding the handkerchief close to his heart.

“I’m Uraraka Ochako. Nice to meet you!” she beamed at him and he looked up at her in awe, as if she had just granted him his deepest wish.

“He knows that!” squeaked Raccoon’s eyes. “He knows you Ochako! Look at his handkerchief! Give me the handkerchief Kenta-kun!” she added impatiently.

The boy didn’t reply but he frowned, panicked, and held the fabric out of her reach.

“It doesn't matter” giggled Porcupine with a mischievous smile “he has a ton of her merchandise in his bag.”

Uniform and Kirishima threw themselves at the boy’s bag and immediately emptied its content on the table.

“Hey - don’t just - that's my stuff!” stuttered the boy, looking horrified.

Deku, Bird head and Twinkle boy had gathered behind Uraraka and were curiously looking at the boy’s belonging being exposed to the class. He had three notebooks with Uraraka’s face on them, each a different pose and background, five keychains with her face, her wrist handles or pink lines with the same two black dots Katsuki had on his own costume, a bunch of pen and pencils with her or her costume’s colours and patterns, a figurine of herself in action, rocks flying all around her - and, next to all that, only one keychain with Katsuki’s orange lines on a black background, with two dots standing out.

“Well well well” Soy sauce looked like a thief who had just stumbled upon an amazing treasure “aren’t you a little fan boy?”

The boy stayed mute, staring at his curry in silence, his face so red he looked severely sunburnt.

“That’s me!” Uraraka almost launched herself at the figurine to take a closer look. “Deku-kun, look! It's me! I'm a hero -  a pro hero! And I have my own figurines!”

“It is so well made too! Look at the quality of the material!” Of course, only a fucking nerd like Deku would know about that kind of stuff and be so excited about it. He turned to the blushing boy who had slightly lifted his head, only to scowl at Deku. Good boy . “I only have one figurine of All Might with that level of precision, and it cost me a fortune! You must have paid a lot for that one, right?”

“Dunno, Dad bought it for me a couple of years ago” mumbled the boy, still red. “It was a limited edition to celebrate her 10 years of service in Japan.”

“Ochako, it seems that you are a very important and popular hero” said Toad Face, looking a little bit less dead now. She had been silent since Katsuki had come down - not that she talked much anyway. “For you to have this many merchandise, and to be loved so much - you must be really amazing!”

“Yeah, and Bakugou’s kid is your number one fan!” added Kirishima, half-dying of laughter. “If that isn’t a proof that you’re great, I don’t know what is.”

“Really?” Uraraka seemed so pleased her hair were almost floating. She turned to the boy, eyes sparkling. “Really?”

The boy nodded vigorously, his gaze matching hers.

“You are currently Japan’s number one rescue hero” he said in a shy but admirative voice. “You are Japan’s favourite female hero, and you’re also well known across Europe, where you’re often called to handle delicate missions. You are the hero who earned the public’s trust the fastest, and whenever you appear somewhere everyone’s so happy, because- because - ‘With Uravity here, there is no need to fear!’. It's your moto, what you always say when you arrive on a crime or disaster scene” he explained sheepishly, standing a little bit taller. “You are part of The Strong 12, a group of pro heroes who are the most efficient and popular, regardless of their ranking. As expected of Uravity, I mean, after all-” Now his eyes were fucking twinkling like two disco balls “- you are the number three hero!”

“I am number three?!” shrieked Uraraka, grabbing Deku by the shirt. “Deku! I am number three! Number three!

“Bakugou, that's so lame, your kid has only one lousy keychain with your colours” snickered Buzz Face, holding the black and orange keychain with one finger. “Hey, I wanna know, what rank am I?”

“Mmmh” Porcupine took a moment to think. “I think you’re number 26! Yeah that's right, number 26.”

“Oi oi, what about me?” asked Kirishima with a giant toothy smile.

“You are number 7!” she replied with an equally big smile, not hesitating for one second. “Red Riot, the manly hero who will break through any situations!”

“Alright, that's what I’m talking about!” he roared, full of energy and pride.

“What about me?” asked Soy sauce.

“Wait, me first!” argued Grape Perv.

“I wanna know too!” whined Raccoon’s eyes.

“Oi, old man!” called Katsuki from the other end of the table.

The boy interrupted his contemplation of Uraraka to turn to him, puzzled.

“Old man? That's my line I think” he said, raising one eyebrow.

Katsuki hadn’t thought about it before speaking, and he didn’t want to take the time to explain how much the resemblance between the boy and his father was startling him.

“What's my ranking? “ he asked, narrowing his eyes, giving in to curiosity.

The boy’s smirk was smug when he said proudly:

“You’re the number two hero - right behind Uncle Deku.”

It took Katsuki a second to process all the information.

“I am WHAT?!” he roared, slamming his spoon on the table. “Behind who?! - Uncle WHO?!”

“Kacchan! It's- its fine it doesn't mean you are not going to-” started the fucking nerd, already sweating bullets at the idea that he had done something to upset Katsuki.

“SHUT YOUR FUCKING TRAP DEKU, YOU GODDAMN BASTARD!” he yelled, small explosions cracking in his hands.

The boy completely ignored him and turned back to Uraraka.

“I- uh- it's gonna sound weird, since you uh - you’re not … really … the real Uravity but- “ he stood up, took one of his notebooks and held it before him, bowing “Could you please sign it for me?”

Fuming, Katsuki watched Uraraka accidentally activate her quirk on herself and start floating away in happiness and embarrassment.

“OI!” he barked at the boy as Uraraka got back down and signed the notebook with a shaking hand, laughing and apologising ‘But I don’t know what to write!’. “Don’t fucking ignore me!”

He still did.

“Look!” The boy exposed his hands to the girl in front of him, his round face fucking illuminated in awe and wonder. “I also have sort of pads, just like you! You said in an interview that when you were younger you thought you were going to transform into a cat, until your quirk manifested itself.”

“It's true!” she laughed and jumped on her spot. “An interview! I do interviews! And figurines! And I have a moto!”

“That's amazing Uraraka-san!” Both her and Deku were glowing balls of delight.

“OI YOU LITTLE PIECE OF-”

“Bakugou.” Only that voice could have stopped him from going any further.

Still shaking with fury, Bakugou turned to look at Aizawa-sensei walking towards them. Following him were a very pale Half-n-half, the white and red-haired bastards, and behind them the two class representative, Four-eyes and Ponytail.

“Where were you guys?” asked Porcupine, talking to the two boys.

“They were with us and Endeavour” answered Aizawa, obviously eager for this day to end. “He came to UA as soon as he heard about our situation to ... help us see a little bit clearer.” Judging by the look on Aizawa’s face, he could have most definitely done without the pro hero’s help. “Bakugou and Ashido, tomorrow morning before homeroom, you will go to the infirmary, where your DNA will be taken and tested to confirm whether or not these children are yours. We already ran the tests with Todoroki when Endeavour was here, and they were positive. It is very likely that it will be positive for the two of you too, but we can’t be too sure.”

He took out some papers from under his arm and handed them to both class representatives, Porcupine, the boy and red and white Chip and Dale.

“The four of you will stay in this dorm until the end of your … stay. You will follow the first year’s classes like you would have in your time frame, and you will behave. Rooms have been prepared for you, and uniforms and spare clothes will be lent to you - actually, they are already in your rooms. You have all the information you need on these papers. And remember” he eyed them, red eyes glowing menacingly “You. Will. Behave .” He then turned around and headed out. “You are now allowed to get out of the dorm by the way. Good night.” And he was gone.

As Four-eyes and Ponytail left for the sofas in the centre of the living room, Katsuki looked at Raccoon’s eyes, his apprehension and uncertainty mirroring hers. He looked back at the boy, who was frowning - glaring - scowling , at the paper like it had just insulted his entire family and everything he ever stood for. With a defeated sigh, he looked up and leaned above the table.

“I can't do this” he mumbled, looking through his scattered stuff. He found a black and pink box with a white ‘With Uravity here, there is no need to fear!’ inscription, opened it and pull out a pair of glasses before putting them on to finally be able to read the paper.

Fucking hell. Now he really looked exactly like his old man. The boy went through his papers in silence, and suddenly his face started glowing like a fucking Christmas tree, a wide grin spreading on his face. He showed the paper he was holding to Uraraka - a map of the dorms.

“Look! We're on the same floor!” His cheeks were impossibly round, happiness dripping from his voice.

“Lucky bastard” mumbled Grape Perv.

“So cool! Where exactly are you Bakugou-kun?” asked Uraraka, coming closer to the boy. The boy didn’t seem to mind having her in his space as they both leaned to look at the paper.

“Right there, next to Dad’s room.”

“Stop calling me Dad - I ain’t your fucking father!” spat Katsuki, still furious. He sat back at the table and resumed eating his curry, set on finishing his dish and leaving this goddamn crowded living room.

“Yeah okay old man. You can call me Kenta-kun by the way” he smiled at Uraraka, again ignoring Katsuki.

“I’m next to my Mom too!” Porcupine came closer to them and compared her room plan to the boy’s. “What about you guys?” She turned to the strawberry and vanilla twins, who were discussing the information on their papers amongst them. The white one looked up with a smile.

“Yeah we’re next to Father too. T’was surely made on purpose.”

“He calls him Father” commented Buzz Face while playing with Monkey’s tail.

The red-haired boy looked at him, lazily raising one eyebrow.

“He is our father, therefore it is what we call him” he deadpanned in a low voice, clearly not understanding what was wrong.

“Think we’re s’pposed to call him Dad” replied the white one. “T’s’what everybody does anyway.”

“Everybody calls father Dad?” He frowned.

“No stupid, they call their own father ‘Dad’, whereas we call him Father. Not sure if anyone’s right though” his brother shrugged “at the end of the day, ‘tis just another name.”

“Little Todorokis!” Raccoon’s eyes trotted close to them, eyeing them like two very appealing pieces of chocolate. “I’m Ashido Mina, nice to meet you!”

“Nice to meet you too!” replied the white one with a big smile while his twin sighed “We know who you are.” The white one smacked lightly the back of his brother’s head. “The rude one is Hiro” he said, pointing at his twin with his thumb “and I’m Rei. Sorry ‘bout that, he doesn’t mean anything, he just says whatever comes to his mind - he’s not really good at being human and all.”

Raccoon laughed. “Just like Todoroki-kun! You really are his son Hiro-kun!”

The red-haired boy stared at Raccoon’s eyes in disbelief, clearly shocked that she would use his first name when they barely knew each other.

“Let me guess” Kirishima looked at the twins with a grin, pretending to be thinking. He pointed his finger at Vanilla - “You control ice” - and then Strawberry - “ and you control fire. Correct?”

The red one nodded silently while the white one beamed.

“That’s right! Although there is a little bit more to it” he added with a mischievous smile. “Hiro, light me up!”

And before anyone could react, the red one lifted his hand at his brother’s face and let out a powerful blow of fire.

“No!” yelled half-n-half, already launching himself towards the boys as everybody started gasping and screaming. But when the red psychopath stopped his quirk, his brother was unaffected. The collar of his T-shirt was slightly burnt, and his hair were a little bit ruffled, but he was otherwise unharmed. Vanilla laughed like a maniac.

“You should see your faces!” he wiped a tear of laughter from the corner of his eyes while everyone stared at him in shock. “I am immune to fire. I cannot get burnt, even if you threw me in an exploding volcano, I would still be perfectly fine. And Hiro” he smacked his brother’s back, who seemed to have been going through too many years of his brother’s undying happiness and enthusiasm “Hiro is immune to my ice. He cannot get cold, his body can never freeze. But weirdly enough, my own ice makes me colder, just like his fire burns him.” He threw his arm around his brother’s shoulders. “We complete each other. I guess we’ll just have to stay together forever little bro’.”

“Please stop embarrassing me” replied Strawberry quietly, his grey eyes unimpressed by the little show they just pulled. “And just because you were born a few seconds before me doesn’t make you the oldest. Touya is the only older brother I recognise.”

“That hurts man” whined Vanilla, placing his hand on his heart in a dramatic manner.

“Touya?” Half-n-half looked even paler than a few seconds before. “What do you mean he … what?”

“Yeah, Touya, our older brother” replied Vanilla, oblivious to his father’s distress. “He’s in third year along with Miho-chan.”

“He is dreamy” sighed Porcupine, cupping her cheeks with her hands, her eyes gazing at something exquisite somewhere far away. “What I wouldn’t give to be in Miho-chan’s place.”

“Even prettier than our Todoroki-kun?” peeped Uniform, as if there was no such thing.

“Oh yes, he is waaaaaaay prettier. He is always smiling, and he is so charming, and always so polite and well-mannered - when we go to lunch all the girls try to squeeze past right next to him before they enter Lunch Rush, because they know he’ll hold the door open for them and tell them ‘Hello’ with a smile and -” she trailed off and let out a deep dreamy sigh. Then she rolled her eyes. “Well, all the girls except Miho-chan.”

“A true gentleman” commented Twinkle boy with an approving nod.

“Didn’t Miho-chan threatened to throw a chair at him when he tried to pull it for her out of reflex?” winced Vanilla.

“She also threw him out of Ground Beta’s tallest building when he told her he didn’t want to go all out against a girl” snickered Strawberry, obviously amused by the anecdote.

“Who is Miho?” asked Toad face, looking like she already knew the answer to her question.

The four kids glanced at each other with a grim look on their faces. Porcupine ignored the boy’s alarmed look and turned to Katsuki rather than Toad Face.

“She is the eldest of the Bakugou family” she revealed. “Bakugou Miho, one of UA’s top student.”

Of motherfucking course.

“UA’s scariest student, yeah” cringed Vanilla. “She’s always yelling and running around, I don’t know how she has so many friends.”

“She is so loud whenever I see her” continued Strawberry, shuddering. “Everytime she sees me she roars “TODOROKI’S BABY BROTHER” and then she either tells me to take care of Bakugou-kun, or she tells me he’s gonna kick my ass during next practice. Do you know how many of our senpais call us ‘Todoroki’s baby brothers’ now?”

“She’s not that bad” mumbled the boy, a deep frown settled on his face.

“Didn’t you say the exact same thing about your father earlier?” noted Soy sauce. “Cause I mean, I hate to be the one who breaks it down to you but he is that bad.” Buzz Face and Sound bitch laughed out loud.

“Darkness moves in circle” said Bird Face, leaving everyone puzzled.

“Hold on, is Bakugou’s daughter dating Todoroki’s son?!” shouted Raccoon’s eyes, holding onto a gasping Uniform.

“Ew, gross!” said the boy, looking disgusted. “No, they’re just friends! They’re UA’s top students, so they hang out together a lot. And they’re both charming and social, they just have different ways of showing it.”

“Yeah, and Touya's way is the best” stated Strawberry matter-of-factly.

“They’re different ” insisted the boy defensively. “She wouldn’t be so loved and popular if she wasn’t good-natured. Sure, she’s a bit loud and she easily threatens people that she’s gonna kill them but … she inspires them too! She already has so many offers from hero agencies, and she’s still just a student.” And his eyes were glowing again.

“Alright fanboy, turn the power of brotherly love off, will ya” snickered Vanilla, making the boy blush. “What’s that by the way?” he pointed hungrily at the plate of unfinished curry the boy had left to drool over Uraraka.”How come you were given dinner?”

He sat back down and held his spoon protectively.

“Back off, my Dad made that for me.”

The twins eyes started glowing and, like predators in the savanna, they approached the boy ever so slowly.

“It’s your father’s curry? The chicken katsu curry?” asked Strawberry in a deep, menacing voice.

“Yeah it’s- back off! Ask your own dad to make you something.”

“Our dad couldn’t cook if his life depended on it.” Vanilla was almost licking his lips, eyes kept on the plate.

“Fuck. Off.” Katsuki’s growl came out louder than he had expected, but had the effect he had wished for. The twins lifted their heads towards him and stopped a few feet from the boy.

“Oh hi Bakugou-san!” Vanilla smiled and waved at him. “Please try not to kill your son again, I was really worried earlier today.”

“If he keeps calling me Dad I won’t be able to make any promises” he snapped, glaring at the unimpressed boy. “Eat, you little shit!” he barked at him.

The boy smiled a little and started eating again with appetite.

“Man, I miss your father’s cooking” sighed Vanilla. “I can't wait for him to come back from his mission. How long is it supposed to last again?”

The boy rolled his eyes.

“Jucht go grab a shpoon already” he said, his mouth full.

“Hey bring me one too!” said Porcupine as Vanilla ran towards the kitchen, coming back a second later with three spoons. The four kids bickered and fought over the single plate under Katsuki’s bewildered glare. He knew he was a good cook - he had thought anyone knew how to make themselves any basic good dish, but after he had watched Uraraka light spaghettis on fire, he had started doubting everything - but the four weirdos’ reaction was a little over the top, even to him.

“Man, your fajer’s food ish the besht” groaned Vanilla, his eyes rolling in exaggerated happiness.

“Wait - ishn’t ‘ere shomeshing mishing?” wondered Strawberry, looking at the plate like it had decieved him.

“Bay leav’sh” replied the boy. “Told him to add ‘em, he didn’t lishten.”

“One more word and I swear I’ll throw the plate in the trash” Katsuki threatened.

“Throw it in the trash and we’ll still pull it out and eat it.” Porcupine seemed dead-serious.

“Is it that good?” asked Sound girl curiously.

“It's the besht” replied Vanilla before he swallowed, his eyes wide as if he was shocked she would even ask. “Whenever we plan trips or outings, Bakugou-kun always have some incredible bento. We thought it was made by a Chef, like ours, but then he invited us over to his and his Dad cooked some crazy soba, even Father thought it was good.”

“Hey, by the way you two!” Raccoon narrowed her eyes. “Who’s your mother?”

“Don’t.” Half-n-half took a step closer, still quite pale. “You heard Midnight. We can’t play with information from the future.”

“Todoroki-kun, don’t tell me you’re not curious about who you’re married to!” she complained, as if he was ruining her fun. “I am, and I wanna know who’s my husb- er … well, who’s her father!”

She turned to Porcupine, who was now licking the plate clean.

“I won’t tell you” she said before Raccoon asked her anything, and she added with a smile “but you can still guess.”

“Everyone!” Four-eyes and Ponytail were back, and the first seemed ready to be the pain in Katsuki’s ass that he always was. “The first years from the future should immediately go to their room and go to bed. Tomorrow Yaoyorozu-san and I will be escorting you to your classes. Todoroki Hiro and Ashido Hana will be in class 1-A, and Todoroki Rei and Bakugou Kenta will be in class 1-B.”

Katsuki finished his plate and took everything to the kitchen, where he cleaned the common space and put the things he had used in the dishwasher, still listening reluctantly. How he had let himself get dragged into that discussion, he didn’t know. But the image of the boy, his face illuminated by a fucking star that he had created kept popping in his mind. He bit the inside of his cheeks to keep himself from grinning.

His son could create stars.

“You are not allowed to go from class to class by yourselves for the moment” added Ponytail, her face severe. “You will be introduced to 1-A and 1-B’s class representatives, and you will have to walk down the corridors with them. They will also bring you back to our dorm at the end of the day. During lunch time, you are allowed to go sit wherever you want with whoever you want, just make sure you are with the class rep before going back to class.”

“And like Aizawa-sensei said, don’t cause any trouble” concluded Four-eyes, looking at the boy. Katsuki felt his anger flare up.

“Oi Four-eyes, look somewhere else” he snarled, heading towards the stairs. “Old man!” he called without turning to look back “If you wanna see where you’re gonna sleep you better keep up!”

“What? Oh- yeah just a second Dad, I need to grab my stuff first.”

“Quit calling me fucking Dad!” Katsuki roared from the third step, annoyance building up in his chest.

“Bakugou-san, wait!” called Ponytail. “We are going to take them one by one to their respective room, and explain the dorms’ rules in the process!”

Katsuki let out an audible groan, and he was about to go in his room and leave them all behind, but the boy ran up the stairs, half falling when he missed a step in his hurry to get closer to Katsuki.

“Don’t run in the stairs!” scolded Four-eyes, waving his hands like a weird robot.

“Shut up and die rich boy” replied Katsuki, pushing his hands in his pockets. He was beginning to be really tired now, like his earlier workout was proving to have been a little bit to brutal. The boy chuckled, clearly amused by Katsuki’s insults, and he yawned loudly, his round cheeks taking a pink shade as his eyes gathered tired tears.

“Bakugou-kun don’t yawn!” Vanilla and Porcupine were right behind them, followed by Strawberry and most of the extras who had gathered downstairs to begin with. “It's only 9pm you grandpa, what are you tired for?”

“That's exactly what I always tell Bakugou!” said Buzz Face, laughing.

“Bakugou-san is really scary isn’t he?” commented Porcupine like Katsuki couldn’t fucking hear her. He stopped at the top of the stairs and slowly turned around, feeling a vein pulse against his forehead.

“Say what now?” he growled, reaching his limits. Again, the boy next to him giggled, as if Katsuki’s anger was some goddamn source of fun.

“Says who?” the boy told her, putting his hands in his pockets like Katsuki. “Your father is a freaking monster!”

“My Dad is an adorable mountain of love and fun” she argued with her index in the air. “He only looks scary.”

“Yeah right” snorted the boy quietly “and he was only giving his love to the villain he punched across the city in January.”

“It was different, it was self defense!”

They kept arguing until they reached the fifth floor, where Four-eyes had decided they were going to begin. Why on Earth had Katsuki followed them, he didn’t know, but he was oddly comforted when he saw the boy’s tired face, his scowl deeply settled on his face, clearly hoping it would also be quick.

“Todoroki Hiro and Todoroki Rei, you will both be sleeping here” said Four-eyes, opening the door of the room next to half-n-half’s. “Your uniforms are already folded in the wardrobe, and you have been granted a double bed for the two of you.”

That is the room?” Chip and Dale looked inside the big room in utter disbelief. Four-eyes puffed his chest proudly.

“Yes, this is it. UA is pretty formidable, but we never really appreciate how-”

“Why is it so small?” cut Strawberry, looking at the walls with a horrified look on his face.

“And where are the tatamis?” asked his brother, kicking at the flooring as if he expected it to crack and collapse beneath him.

As they all stared in disbelief and resignation at the boys, Katsuki turned around and started to leave. He had stayed for as long as he could, and listening to poor little rich boys complaining was definitely not in his plans for the night.

“Dad?” The boy called him softly behind him, and Katsuki almost stopped, puzzled. He had heard that voice before - that intonation at least. Where had he heard that?

“I still have some tatamis left from when I moved in” was saying Half-n-half. “I can help you set them up tomorrow if you'd like, but for tonight you’ll have to put up with this second-hand room.”

“I know it isn’t ideal” Ponytail seemed to actually genuinely believe what she was saying “but please bear with it just for tonight. I can also help you and Todoroki-san tomorrow, and create more furniture to better decorate the room.”

“Yeah, that would be nice” agreed Strawberry, sounding relieved. And just as Katsuki reached the stairs, he was rewarded for his endless patience when he heard the red-haired boy slip and add “Thanks Mother.”

He quickly spun around, watching as they all froze in place, wide eyes going from half-n-half to Ponytail to Chip and Dale. Eventually, Vanilla sighed and gazed at his brother with the same unimpressed look he was giving him earlier.

“You really are a moron, aren’t you.”

Four-eyes cleared his throat, ill-at-ease, and turned to a very red and stuttering Ponytail.

“Yaoyorozu-san, why don’t you go get some rest, I’ll take care of the rest. Uraraka-kun and Ashido-kun will help Ashido Hana settle down.”

Katsuki almost laughed out loud as he saw the little rich girl squeak an apology and run past him and to her room. Without another word, half-n-half went in his room as well, and Red and White excused themselves as well before disappearing in their new room. His boy - the boy, he corrected himself - headed towards him and shrugged, seemingly amused by his friend’s mistake.

“Figures” he mumbled when the boy got close enough to him. The kid chuckled again, and despite the exhaustion on his face he seemed as relaxed as he had seen it so far.

“Ashido Hana” started Four-eyes, but Porcupine cut him off.

“Call me Hana-chan! You won’t feel confused anymore.”

“Thank you for taking my struggle into consideration” he bowed slightly, letting out a relieved sigh.

The boy yawned again as Four-eyes started explaining the rules to Porcupine despite her never-ending interruptions. Katsuki headed towards his own room, quickly noticing the boy was following him.

“Is that my room?” he asked shyly when Katsuki opened his door, looking at the one next to it.

“Nah, that's Kirishima’s. Yours has to be that one” he grumbled, waving at the one on his left.

“Do I have to wait for your class rep to come and explain everything to me?” he asked again in a sleepy voice, his tone even softer. Where had he heard that voice?

“Do whatever the fuck you want Old man, I’m not your dad.” He grimaced when he heard himself, but the boy laughed gently. With his face so relaxed, some of his features begun to remind him of someone else than his father, but no matter how much he tried to rake his brain, nothing came up. He was way too exhausted. With one last smile, the boy spun around and whispered quietly:

“Good night Dad.”

“I’m not your fucking- uh, whatever.”

Chapter Text

 

CHAPTER 5

 

When Katsuki woke up for his morning workout the next day, it took him some time to remember all the events that had occured the previous day. He left his room in his gym clothes and glanced at the door next to his, thinking of who was sleeping in there. He clicked his tongue and went down the stairs. He wasn’t used to feeling this annoyed so early in the morning. It was fine, he decided as he gulped down his breakfast, facing the morning sun that was flowing peacefully through the living room’s window - his favourite spot. He didn’t need to think about any of it, at least not until the other extras woke up.

A ruffled sound coming from the couch behind him attracted his attention, and his head whipped around to see … Uraraka, sitting in her gym clothes and her ugly yellow sweater with a cup of something steaming in her hands, staring at him like a fucking deer in the headlights. Great. Fucking great, he thought as he felt his mood plummet and a deep scowl grew between his brows.

“‘morning” she croaked.

He groaned and turned back to finish his breakfast.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you” she continued behind him as he got up to put his bowl in the dishwasher. “Usually you never notice me in the morning.”

He stopped and turned to look at her.

“What?” he snapped, his voice still hoarse from sleep.

She shrugged. “In the morning, you get up and take your breakfast in front of the window” she pointed at his favourite spot “and then you jog around the campus before coming back to do your exercises in front of our dorm. Usually I wait until you’ve left to start my morning routine outside, and when I hear you come back I stop.”

He all but glared at her, not knowing what was the worst: realising Uraraka had been watching him long enough for her to now his entire fucking morning routine, or that he had never noticed her doing so this far. How long had that been going on?

“And here I thought Grapist was the biggest creep” he groaned, narrowing his eyes. There was something off about her. She looked too tired, had no annoying smile glued to her face, and even her eyes seemed oddly blank - almost dark, with deep bags under them. She wasn’t even looking at him anymore, like he hadn’t just said something - the least she could do was fucking acknowledge him when he took the time to talk to her - she was just staring into nothingness, looking a little bit more gloomy with every passing seconds.

He kept glaring at her for a moment, thinking back to what she had told him yesterday. I need someone to train with, and you’ll need a way to get your head off of things. If anyone had been taking a good look at her right now, they would have said she was the one who seemed needing to get her head off of things. He didn’t really care what was wrong with her, and he knew the moment others were going to arrive, she was going to wipe away any trace of sadness or whatever that was off her face. But right now, she was showing him a side of herself that not many people knew about, and … well he didn’t know exactly how he felt about that, but it reminded him too much of that depressed face Kirishima had pulled last year when Aizawa had announced that they had broken his trust and that he should have fired their asses.

I just promise you, I won’t talk about … the situation.

Goddammit. When had he become such a benevolent nun?

“You better not slow me down” he growled, heading for the exit. When she didn’t follow him, he turned around and found her still sitting on the couch, looking at him like he had spoken fucking Spanish. “Come on, let’s go! We don’t have all morning!” he urged, irked by the fact that she wasn’t already jogging outside. But she still didn’t move, and instead just blurted out a dumb: “What?”

He turned away from her stupidity and walked out of the dorms. He really had no patience and no fucking time for any of it this early in the morning.

“Ah- wait! Bakugou-kun!” He heard her put her mug on the table and stumble and run before catching up with him, and then she was next to him, stretching and walking in silence. With no warning, he started running and left her behind him. From now until he finished his circuit, he didn’t care whether she was keeping up with him or not. Afterwards, they could spare together - or rather she could try to attack him and he could smuggly tell her what was wrong with everything she did. He liked the sound of that.

They ran across the empty campus, while Katsuki enjoyed his favourite moment of the day. During these moments, there was not a soul around him. No one to piss him off or to scold him like a toddler, just Nature at its best - grass covered in dew, sun glowing like golden dust, birds chirping softly. He wasn’t a big fanboy of nature in general - he loved big cities. He just loved quiet mornings. A bird chirped louder than the others, triggering something in his mind.

Someone had screamed during the night. It wasn’t the first time either - he had woken up a few times over the past month or so, after he thought he had heard something, and he had also overheard Kirishima and Ponytail talk about it once. No one really knew who it was, so they didn’t dare to talk about it, not wanting to embarrass or frighten anyone. He stopped and let Uraraka run past him, halting in front of Katsuki with her hands on her hips, cheeks red, panting. She had been much closer to him than he thought, he realised.

“We’re not back at the dorms” she pointed out stupidly, so Katsuki chose to ignore her. As if he only ran from and back to the dorms every fucking morning.

“Did you hear someone scream during the night?”

She glared at him, her face expressionless. “What?” she panted, her tone dry.

“Someone fucking screamed during the night” he snapped. He didn’t like to repeat himself, and he most certainly didn’t like the tone she was using to talk to him. “Did you hear them?”

“Is this why we’re stopping?” She almost looked scandalised that he asked her, like he was wasting her fucking time. “Why do you even care?”

“I don’t!” He was already regretting even talking to her. “Just wish I could tell them go see a fucking shrink and sort their shit out so the rest of us could have at least one decent night of sleep, that’s all.”

She blinked, and then she scoffed, eyeing him from head to toe and back to his head, looking positively disgusted by Katsuki. “I thought we were going to practice in silence, not chat around like middle-schoolers.” Her voice was cold as ice. “ If that’s your idea of a good workout then maybe I was wrong to come to you.” And just like that, she spun around and resumed her running, leaving Katsuki stunned behind her, his mouth hanging open.

What the fucking flying fuck was that?!

He started running after her, anger suddenly igniting his mind and clouding his thoughts, palms sweating in anticipation. He had meant to start slowly and let her warm up, but if she wanted to act wild, then two could play that game.

“Oh you want a good workout? I’ll give you a good workout!” he yelled behind her, launching himself forward, one hand in the air.

She looked back at him, and her face went blank with shock before everything in her brown eyes was replaced with unshakeable determination. She swiftly ducked his easily predictable explosion and got closer to him. Don’t let her approach you , he thought, jumping backwards. But the little shit had improved since their fight last year, and before he knew it she was tearing through his cloud of smoke from above , landing behind him from what he assumed had been a strong backflip. He immediately spun and threw a serie of fast kicks in her direction, but she blocked them all, feeding his frustration and anger. She tried to punch his chest, but she was too slow. He blocked her fist with his left hand, threw it on the side to make her lose her balance and added an explosion with his right palm, amplifying her movement and sending her stumbling backwards.

They both paused, and Katsuki glared at her with a ferocious smile, feeling more alive and awake than ever. Finally, after a whole year he was having the fight he had been expecting. At the time, during the Sport Festival, she had collapsed before she had had time to land a finger on him, and the soft sparring sessions their teachers held afterwards had never managed to fully satisfy him; but now she was resolutely standing on her own two feet, her face sweaty and dusty from his explosion, and the flame in her eyes clearly told him that she wanting nothing more than to kick his ass into the stratosphere. Hot .

“Come at me with all you’ve got, Round Face ” he growled at her, unable to stop himself from grinning “and we’ll see if it’s nearly half enough.”

She pursed her lips on her teeth, infuriated by the both the comment and the old nickname.

“That is” he crouched, ready to jump when she attacked - because she was going to attack - “if you don’t pass out first.”

That did it. She all but snarled at him as she activated her quirk on herself and launched herself forward, faster than he had expected. He jumped out of her way by a hair, and used an explosion to immediately fling himself back at her, grabbing her ankle to throw her into a tree. But she bent herself backwards in a zero gravity bridge, already predicting his next move, and when he tried to hurl her away his own strength turned against him, and the full force of his blow crashed onto his jaw in the form of her thick trainer.

He stumbled backwards and lost his balance, almost slumping flat on his ass. He managed to escape the fall by steadying himself with both his hands on the floor, stunned by the trick she had managed to pull on him - which, he realised, was going to be his downfall. She had already deactivated her quirk and was running towards him before she activated it again. He cursed loudly and let out explosions from both hands to jump back on his feet, bringing them both back before him - but she was already in his face. Grabbing him by the wrists, she brutally pulled his arms wide apart, and-she-fucking-headbutted-him . And just when he thought it wasn’t possible for her to inflict him any more damage, he realised she had succeeded in activating her quirk on him.

“FUCK NO!” he roared at her face, summoning all his strength to fling his arms right back before him and he released an explosion in her stomach that knocked her breath away. The blow pulled them apart, himself smacked to the ground and Uraraka towards the sky, forcing her to let go of his wrists. But he grabbed her arm before she was out of his reach, and this time he made sure she couldn’t pull some weird shit on him when he flung her to the ground flat on her stomach while he was sent upwards.

She let out a pained scream, and he heard her moan a breathless “Release”, her hands joined together and forgetting all about Katsuki, before he fell victoriously from the sky and right on top of her. When she realised what she had just done she immediately tried to get up, but he grabbed her right hand and pulled it behind her back, held her left hand above their heads and kept her fiercely pinned to the ground with the rest of his body. He wasn’t taking any chances with that crazy little monkey.

She growled and twisted and kicked furiously, but Katsuki was unmoving. The blood that was flowing down from his nose dripped into her neck, red drops slowly making their way on her skin. When she finally stopped struggling, she was left panting, the strong movements of her chest rising and lowering Katsuki with them. He kept his stare on her disheveled face, her brown eyes wide with fury as she glared back with her right eye, left cheek against the grass.

An indescribable feeling of triumph and power coursed through his veins, a vicious and merciless grin on his face. I won , he thought, breathing loudly and erratically in her neck. He had found and unleashed a sleeping monster, one that had gone unnoticed by everyone - even himself - and he had fucking won. He gripped her wrists a little bit tighter, and she groaned painfully when it pulled her right arm a little higher in her back.

“What’s that?” he panted close to her ear. “Sorry I couldn't hear you over the deafening sound of your crushing defeat.”

She pursed her lips and showed her teeth like a wild beast, and he felt her breath quicken beneath his chest.

“I. Win.” He lifted up his knees so that they were pressing on her thighs, making sure she had no way of escaping his hold. Sprawled on the floor like a tied down lioness, she was entirely at his mercy - and he loved that. “Say it. I win.”

Uraraka pressed her lips together and scoffed. “I win” she repeated cheekily. She whipped her head around and bit his left arm, making him curse out loud and loosen his grip. She tried to kick him off of her, but he grabbed her left wrist again and pulled it next to her leg, securing his inescapable hold on her.

Katsuki leaned in closer, so close he was a few inches away from her face, red eyes staring into one big brown eye.

“Say. My. Name.” His voice came out low and rough. He didn’t even know what he was saying anymore, but it didn’t matter. His head was so full of so many chaotic and powerful emotions, any mean of release was welcome, and this one seemed as good as any other. She looked at him straight in the eyes, madness swirling in her one brown eye.

“In. Your. Dreams.” she articulated, her voice a ragged rumble that resonated in her entire chest, and across his. Electricity shot through his body, and he let out an incredulous laugh. Anyone else would have given in to his order. But obviously not her. He held her gaze for a long time, slowly cooling down and noticing the curvy shape of her body tightly pressed down against his. What was happening . He scoffed and finally got on his feet, not letting her out of his sight for one second as she quickly stood back up, drinking in the wild beast look she shot at him.

This , was not a rematch” she spat as she dusted her clothes off, shaking blades of grass and leaves. He understood she must have been thinking of the Sport Festival as well. Well, she had ended up on the floor unable to move all over again so the comparison was valid, he thought with a mad grin. “I was not done with you- I am not done with you. I’ll be back right here after school, before curfew, so you’d better show up.”

“Oh I’ll be there, don’t you worry Round cheeks” he replied in a low voice, wiping the blood from his nose and chin.

“Is that the best you can do?” she sneered. “Comments on my face?”

He knew at this instant his smile was growing impossibly hungry - and maybe he was, jacked on adrenaline as he was. He resumed his running and waited until he was passing by her to ask “Who said I was talking about your face?”

He laughed out loud evilly as he burnt into his mind the bewildered and furious expression a gaping Uraraka wore as he left her standing behind him.

------

Katsuki went down the stairs in his uniform, his mood the best it had been since the beginning of his second year so far, despite his bruised nose and swollen cheek. He had replayed every moment of their short fight in his mind, studying how her style had improved, preparing for their rematch in the evening. She had been stalking him for who knows how long, so it was only fair that he watched her carefully later on, when they reached the park he was originally heading for and they both started their own serie of exercises. She had shot him dirty looks and had blushed like crazy whenever her eyes had met his, but that had just made him smile in fierce amusement.

The least he could say was that she had made some amazing progress. Was it due to her work placement with pro hero Ryukyu or the result of her own personal training, he had no fucking clue. She could easily move around in the air, do some weird acrobatic shits all the while ending up exactly in the place and position she wanted to follow with zero gravity kicks and punches. It was like watching an odd version of aerodynamic karate. Back on the ground, she had kept her balance in the weirdest positions, from standing upside down on her forearms with her legs dangling above her head to crouching on one leg, the other one stretched in front of her with her arms and head facing the sky. Her face had been crumpled with focus and the muscles on her arms, shoulders and legs were contracted with the effort.

He had watched her with growing astonishment use her quirk to float stones, boulders, tree trunks, anything she could land her hands onto and keep them all at the same distance above the ground, revolving around her floating self, eyes closed in a focused silence.

She had absolute control over her body, and was perfectly at ease in the air - but so was he, albeit in a different way. His skills definitely matched hers, all he had to do was to make sure she didn’t touch him. Or maybe the opposite, he suddenly thought, eyes wide with a crazy idea. He was used to his explosions propelling him in the air at an incredible speed, but she wasn’t. So what if he let her activate her quirk on him and then give her a taste of his in return? All he had to do was get ready for the speed - and that much he could handle.

I’m the fucking best.

Reality caught up with him when he reached the end of the stairs in the form of a spiky brown-haired teenager, slouching on his chair by the kitchen table, breakfast untouched. The boy kept his gaze on the table, unmoving and silent, as the other extras present around him happily chatted and ran around from the kitchen to the living room, loud as ever. The three other kids were also next to him, but Porcupine was talking with Uniform and Bird face, and Chip and Dale were in a passionate discussion with Four-eyes - no signs of Icyhot or Ponytail - , leaving the boy alone with his thoughts. Katsuki sighed and frowned, suddenly reminded he had to go to the infirmary to get his DNA taken and tested, and headed for the exit. He didn’t want to interact with the boy yet, and wasn’t in the mood for another public display of what his future looked like followed by his goddamn classmates’ comments. Maybe if he ignored the kid he would leave him alone.

“Dad?”

But then again when did anything he wanted really fucking mattered. He side-glanced at the boy and saw him standing a little bit more straight on his chair. Obviously, his neighbours looked up too, and while some greeted Katsuki, most were smart enough to know better than to speak to him in the morning. The boy was wearing his UA uniform instead of the grey clothes he had worn the day before, tie so loose he might just as well have ditched it, trousers not as low as Katsuki but definitely not well held. His chubby cheeks were oddly pale, and he looked anxious and relieved at the same time as he gazed up at Katsuki. His expression became shocked when he saw the purple bruises at the corner of his eyes and the large swollen scratch on his cheek.

“What happened?” he asked, panicked. When Katsuki ignored him, he grabbed his leather school bag and ran towards him. “Wait- Dad wait up.”

Katsuki gritted his teeth and glared at him. “What the fuck did I say about you calling me Dad” he growled menacingly. But the boy seemed simply just immune to his anger. He stayed silent and walked beside him as they headed together towards the exit.

“If you’re gonna barf then stay the hell away from me” he warned as he watched the boy a little bit closer. His lips were slightly white, and he did look like he was going to be sick. He could even glimpse a sheen of sweat on his creased forehead, and his scowl was so deeply set on his face that he wouldn’t be surprised if he heard the whole school had felt provoked by his glare. One of his fist was clenched tightly around something, so tightly his knuckles were white.

“Bakugou-kun!” Four-eyes suddenly appeared before them, his glasses shining with resolute purpose. “The fuck do you want?” snapped back Katsuki, not ready to be attacked by his sense of discipline this early in the morning.

“Not you, the silent one” he replied with a stern serious voice, repositioning his glasses on his nose and turning to the boy who was now trying very hard to shrink his head back into his shoulders like a turtle, glaring intensely at the big square of a class rep before him. “You know very well you are not allowed to leave the dorm without the supervision of one or both class representative. If you break the rules Aizawa-sensei has put in place for you and your three comrades, I will have to immediately report you to the teachers and the police, and UA shall take the appropriate measures to deal with you.” What little bit of colour the boy had left on his face disappeared. Katsuki watched in a stunned silence as Four-eyes reached to the boy’s collar and rearranged his tie, tightening it so much he was certain the boy would start choking. “You must absolutely understand the consequences of your actions, and not only for you. UA might decide to apply their verdict to Ashi- Hana-chan, and to the two young Todoroki as well.” He pulled his collar back down, white fabric covering the red tie. “Do you understand?”

The boy stayed silent, obviously mute with fear but still glowering at his sempai towering him. Four-eyes frowned, not understanding the boy’s distress. “Do you understand?” he repeated more clearly, and when the boy still didn’t answer he leaned towards him as if he was observing a very curious specimen. “Bakugou-kun, I think your child might have some cognitive issues. It would be wise for you to take him to a doctor in the future.”

“Tch.” Katsuki rolled his eyes, trying to remember that he didn’t care , and pushed the boy back towards the sofas. “Fuck off Four-eyes” he snarled at the class-rep “he’s not my child, and he wasn’t going anywhere, he ain’t that stupid. And you, stop coming after me like a fucking puppy” he added in a lower voice to the boy as he led him to the center of the living room. He forced him to sit down on the empty couches while the boy tried to loosen up the tie again, clearly out of breath. “What the hell is wrong with you? You afraid of that dipshit or something? Or did you eat all my chillies again?” His eyes grew wide as the thought crossed his mind and his anger flared up. “I swear if I find that plate empty I will fucking murder you faster than any goddamn villain your sorry ass has ever come across !”

The boy winced and shook his head, passing his free hand through his spiky hair with a short, anxious sigh.

“I don’t like first days, is all” he mumbled, his voice hoarse. When he looked up at him, his red eyes were filled with worry. “Can’t I just walk with you to class? I know where I have to go, you don’t need to take me all the way to my classroom.” His voice was barely more audible than a whisper.

“Do I look like a fucking babysitter to you?” Katsuki growled, arms crossed on his chest. “What’s the big deal anyway? You just follow Four-eyes and the white bastard and do what you usually do when you’re in class.” The boy raised one eyebrow at the nicknames, the ghost of a smile on his thin lips. “Get your shit together.”

The boy took a deep breath and buried his face in his hands, slowly massaging his forehead before letting out a long sigh. Without meaning to, he revealed what he was hiding in his hand and that was now dangling around one of his long fingers: a black keychain, with a thick orange X in the middle ornated with two black dots.

A warm and unexpected feeling spread in Katsuki’s chest. Was the boy using the only keychain he had of him as a charm?

“I know. I know.” The boy slowly let his eyes show, staring into nothingness. “It’s just … I’m not good with people - I don’t like people. Crowds and noise and all that - and now I - uh, I have to meet an entire new class and - they’re all gonna be staring at me, and expecting … stuff , and - it’s too much I … sometimes I just wish the whole world would just … disappear.”

Katsuki narrowed his eyes at him, starting to slowly understand the boy he had in front of him. But the kid shook his head. “I know, it’s a weird thing to say.”

“Why the fuck would that be weird.” The boy raised his eyes at him, anxiety and hope mixing together. “Of course it’s normal to want the world to disappear, do you know how many morons are living in it? Do you think I don’t spend most of my time wishing half of these ones- ” he waved at the happy crowd behind him “- would just vanish into nothingness? I mean look how fucking loud they are!” He turned to glare at them. “I can literally count on my fingers the people I would agree to save if there was an apocalypse right now.” He leaned forward and smacked the boy’s forehead with his palm. “Stop caring about what others think of you. Hell, I know if I did I would probably have killed myself by now. The only thing that matters to me is what I think about myself. The extras you’re gonna be packed with today don’t matter - you’re not even gonna stay in this reality! Why do you care what they might think?”

“How can you be sure we won’t be held up here forever?” the boy asked while rubbing his pink forehead, his voice shaking with uncertainty. It was obviously something that he had been thinking about.

Katsuki snorted loudly. “Because-” Fucking hell, he was really gonna make him say it, wasn’t he. He let out an angry sigh. “Because somehow, wherever you come from, I … am your father. And I’m the fucking best at everything I do.” He flicked the hanging keychain, and the boy watched it dangle from his finger with a surprised look, apparently forgetting he had it. “Clearly, I can tell from this that I’m both an amazing pro hero and also a great fucking Dad, so that means that the moment you disappeared, I’ve started searching for you over there. You think the number two hero would just stay still while his boy just gets captured? I’m probably raiding every fucking house in the country and dispatching forces all over the place to look for you. I’ve probably already figured it all out, and I’m on my way to get you back.”

He liked the sound of that - imagining everything he would be able to do as a top pro hero, the power he would have over the country, the fear he would instill in the villains’ heart, the crowds of worker he would have, ready to obey his every order. Yes, he liked that very much.

He grinned at the boy. “So stop fucking asking yourself stupid questions like ‘what are they going to think about me’ or ‘am I going to get stuck here’ or - I don’t know, do you have any other dumb thoughts that you wanna exorcise right now? I’m fired up, probably won’t talk to you for the rest of the day so spit ‘em out right now” he warned. The boy giggled and shook his head, and his cheeks slowly took a nicer pink shade. “Well good. Now listen to me you little shit. You. Create. Fucking. Stars. I looked it up after your little show yesterday, what you did usually takes hundreds of years to take form, and you did it in a few seconds. You have literally overpowered Nature, so don’t you dare - don’t you fucking dare be afraid of anyone in this goddamn school. They’re all extras, and you’re above them.”

The boy chuckled and lowered his head, but not fast enough to hide his bright red eyes filled with tears. Katsuki stood back up, pretending not to notice and crossed his arms on his chest, not satisfied.

“‘Kay” mumbled the boy. Katsuki narrowed his eyes. “Say it” he ordered.

The boy looked up at him again, not understanding. “What?”

“They’re all extras, and you’re above them. Say it.”

He stared at Katsuki, stunned, and blushed hard. “I …” He looked around him to make sure no one was within earshot, took a deep breath and repeated quietly with a shy smile “They’re all extras, and I - I’m above them.”

Katsuki nodded, feeling oddly proud. “Good. Now go to class, crush ‘em all and stay the hell out of trouble.” He turned around and headed for the exit, his good mood back and his competitiveness quenched. “Wait!” Katsuki looked back at the boy without stopping, raising his eyebrows. “Can we have lunch together?” He scowled at the boy, whose expression was again that annoying mix of worry and hope.

“Who the hell were you planning to eat with, Old man?”

Chapter Text

“Who the hell were you planning to eat with, Old man?”

---

 The answer came to Katsuki over lunch.

Uraraka. The boy had planned to eat with Uraraka. Or Uravity, as he seemed to always be calling her.

When the boy had entered the dining area with Vanilla, both holding a tray of food in their hands, his chubby cheeks were red and his head hung low. Everybody whispered on their path, some stood up to take a better look at them, and others downright pointed their finger at them, talking about them out loud without a care in the world. His scowl had grown even worse than it had been in the morning, and his eyes kept jumping from one point to the other, searching while trying to avoid eye contact.

“Bakugou - look.” Kirishima elbowed him and moved his head towards the brown-haired teenager. Katsuki looked up at the kid, wondering whether he should signal his presence to him or not, but the boy beat him to it.

The moment he saw Katsuki savagely eating his potatoes, sitting with Kirishima, Raccoon’s eyes, Soy Sauce and Pikachu, his eyes widen with relief and he hurried towards them, tripping and almost falling on his way - which made him blush even harder. Vanilla followed him to the eight-person wide table and sat next to Raccoon’s eyes, while the boy quickly slumped next to Katsuki, breathing fast.

“Hi there” Vanilla didn’t seem fazed at all by all the unwanted attention.

“Hey man! So, how’s your class? The kids are nice?” asked Buzz Face.

Vanilla shrugged. “They’re okay I guess. Ask a lot of questions though. I don’t mind, but Murder Glare over there -” he pointed at the boy with his thumb “- had a little bit more trouble handlin’ it.”

The boy shook his head. “They kept asking us questions about the future, exactly the kind of question that the police told us not to answer” he groaned, exasperated. “No matter how many times I told them I couldn’t answer, they would just keep asking over and over again.”

“So what did you do?” asked Kirishima, putting a huge slice of steak in his mouth.

Vanilla snickered. “What do you think? He shrunk back into his shell and glowered at them in silence. They probably hate him by now - kept saying something along the lines of ‘as expected of Bakugou’s son’, or something like that” he concluded casually.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” growled Katsuki, a spoonful of potatoes stopping right before his mouth. He turned to the boy who looked mortified, and more depressed than ever. “Hey, Old man! Didn’t I tell you to crush ‘em all and stay out of trouble?”

“You really told him that?” asked Soy sauce, half incredulous half laughing.

“Hell yeah I did!”

“Well if he grew up with that kind of advice then no wonder why he's so socially awkward” he deadpanned with an understanding grin. “Sorry buddy, not everyone gets a decent father.”

“I am decent you annoying little piece of shit!”

“Here, let Uncle Sero give you a solid advice.” He cleared his throat and leaned forward, pretending to be serious but keeping that stupid toothy smile. To Katsuki’s great indignation, the boy actually leaned in, listening. “Everything your father does, do the opposite. That, my dear boy, is the key to friendship and social happiness.”

“A prophet has spoken!” exclaimed Raccoon’s eyes, dramatically throwing her arms above her head, looking at the ceiling while Vanilla and Buzz Face laughed out loud and Kirishima choked on his steak, coughing and laughing with tears in his eyes.

“Truly, the words of a wise, wise man” said Buzz Face, slapping Soy sauce on his back.

“That’s right, you know it” Soy sauce crossed his arms on his chest and winked proudly.

“I hope you die choking on that steak” Katsuki spat at Kirishima, only feeding the banter. Even the boy smiled and giggled, relaxing a little.

“Seriously though.” Now Soy sauce looked slightly more serious. “Is anyone giving you two a hard time? Do you need us to give them some sempai scolding?”

Katsuki clicked his tongue and rolled his eyes. “As if anyone would dare to try and mess with anyone named ‘Bakugou’. They’d have to be suicidal. And that Vanilla dipshit?” he waved his spoon at the white haired bastard. “His Dad is fucking mental.”

“Nah man, Todoroki is chill” Buzz Face replied.

Katsuki stared at him, wondering just how fried his brain actually was to say something as fucking dumb as that. “Chill?” he repeated incredulously. “Chill? That half-n-half bastard is the living opposite of chill.”

“Says Lord Explosion Murder” teased Soy sauce.

“Shut up!” Katsuki snapped, annoyed by the interruption. “Yeah, I’m fucking pissed by the morons who surround me, but Icyhot? He’s constantly five minutes away from popping a vein and wreaking havoc all around him! You should know, you're the one he fucking froze into a massive iceberg that chilled the entire stadium to the fucking bone, because -” he raised his hands and mimed air quotes with his fingers “- ‘he was upset, is all’. And during the practical summer exam last year? When he kept barking at Aizawa-sensei like he was some flashy amateur and not fucking Eraserhead? Say what you want, but I’ve never been so goddamn arrogant as to disrespect our teachers. That dude is just out of fucks to give, so don’t give me that ‘he’s chill’ bullshit.”

Smuggly, he watched the idiots surrounding him gawk at him silently, thinking over what he just said and for once having nothing to retort. Even Vanilla was now holding his chin, deep in thoughts, as if he was adding a new piece to a puzzle and was trying to see where it fit.

He aggressively cut a potato with the side of his spoon. “And don’t tell me he wouldn’t be the first one to fucking murder the guy who would be ballsy enough to try and give shit to Chip and Dale.” He threw the potato in his mouth and barely took the time to properly chew before he swallowed it.

“Are you saying he would beat you to it?” asked Soy sauce, his wide grin back.

Katsuki’s head popped up and he glared at Tape Face. The fuck was he trying to say? That half-n-half was better than him?

“I’m saying he’s a psychopath who doesn’t want to solve his fucking issues and would probably go berserk on anyone who brushes him the wrong way” he snarled.

“What’s the big difference with you?” asked Raccoon’s eyes, raising one eyebrow.

Katsuki pointed his spoon at her, dead serious. “I don’t discriminate, I hate everyone and would kill them all, but I would still at least keep my sanity in the process.” That should have made his point clear enough.

It didn’t. “Wow, oh yeah okay, thank the Gods, that is so much more reassuring, feeeewww, I was worried for a moment.” Sarcasm was dripping from Soy sauce’s voice as he rolled his eyes, the others laughing again.

Vanilla took a quick look at the boy, and shook his head. “We’re fine. If there's anything we’ll let ya know, but there really shouldn’t be any problem.”

Katsuki glared at the boy who was silently picking up bits of rice with his chopsticks. No one would actually try anything funny with him, right? They would have to be insane, knowing that doing so would enclosed the possibility of infuriating Katsuki. His pride wouldn’t let him walk around in peace if he found out someone had been bold enough to try and fuck with his name.

He frowned at himself and returned to his potatoes, annoyed. Would he care if something happened to the boy? Would he genuinely care, or would it be nothing more than anger at the arrogance of some fuckers? He quickly peeked at the kid, whose scowl had relaxed a little, eyes still filled with worry. He was now eating his mixed vegetables, singling out every bit of cabbage he found with a disgusted grimace.

Would he?

“By the way” Vanilla turned to Raccoon’s eyes “Did you go to the infirmary this morning?”

Raccoon’s eyes made a face as Katsuki groaned at the remembrance of their early medical visit. The doctor in charge was a young arrogant little fuck looking like they were all wasting his very precious and very valuable time, who had begun by butchering Raccoon’s eyes with a needle big as hell, only to drop the capsuled blood sample and let it crash on the floor, before blaming her for moving in his peripheral vision and distracting him by doing so.

After he had drilled another hole in her other arm, he had turned to Katsuki and had asked him to lower his gaze, ‘for the way you look at me displeases me greatly’, to which Katsuki had replied that the doctor’s lonely, pathetic and awfully plain fuck face displeased him greatly, and yet here he was, not being able to do anything about it - what a tough world they were living in. He couldn’t tell what had upset the fucker the most: Katsuki’s insult, or Raccoon crying big fat tears as she laughed her head off, holding her stomach with both arms, unable to stop no matter how mad he got. He refused to take Katsuki’s blood sample, and Recovery Girl had to come from her office and intervene to force him to apologise, pressing down on his head with unexpected strength to make him bow down. In the end, the doctor had accepted the apology for Recovery Girl’s sake, but still refused to do his fucking job, and she was the one who had to take his sample.

“Uh, please don’t remind me of that. The doctor was an ass.” The pink girl’s sour face brightened and she laughed before she looked at Katsuki. “You should have seen his face when Bakugou went all out on him. I don’t think I’ve laughed that much in a very long time!”

“That condescending piece of shit deserved it” he barked, unable to keep himself from mirroring her smile. “Look at your arms, if what he wanted was to open them up, a scalpel would have done the trick.”

“Yeah, that hurt so much! I can't believe there are people who are paid to do such a lousy job.” She extended her arms in front of her, looking at the big plasters that covered the crook of her arms.

Kirishima frowned. “What do you mean? What happened?”

“He planted a huge needle in my arm like he wanted to stab me with it, and then he let my blood fall on the floor!” She looked at Kirishima her eyes wide with disbelief, as if she had just noticed the state of the crook of her elbows. “Can you even believe this?”

“Can’t you take the plasters off now?” asked Buzz Face, not noticing the grain of rice glued to the corner of his mouth. “The blood must have dried no?” Why did that guy always have to look like an idiot.

She shrugged and tried to remove the plaster on her right arm, but stopped with an “ouch” followed by a pained wince. She offered her arms to Soy sauce, looking away. “Sero, you do it.”

He put his chopsticks down. “Okay, on the count of three. One-” He didn’t finish and ripped the plasters one after the other. Raccoon’s eyes jumped and hit him on the head. “That hurt you moron! Why would you say on the count of three if you don’t count up to three?” She hit him again. “Why must you hurt me? Why?!”

“Keep hitting him” Katsuki advised “He needs more violence in his life.”

Kirishima stood up slightly from his chair, gazing at Pinky’s arms. “Wow, what the hell Ashido-san!”

She let go of Tape Face and looked at herself, her eyes wide again. On both arms, the skin where the so called doctor had pricked her was swollen and bruised, as if he had punched her with his fist and not stung her with a needle.

“Aw hell no!” she exclaimed, looking furiously at her arms as if they were the ones responsible. “Seriously?”

“Dude, your bruises are green” noticed Buzz Face, head tilted to the side. “That can’t be good, right?”

She clicked her tongue impatiently. “That's what my bruises look like. My skin is pink, my eyes are black and golden, and my bruises are green.”

Kirishima leaned forward and reached for her arms, his fingers hovering over her bruises, barely touching the swollen skin. “I can't believe it! Two days before the Sport Festival!” she whined as she put her chin on the table, arms still extended in front of her. “Why does the world hate me so much Kirishima? Why?!”

Katsuki lost interest when he spotted two weirdos looking at their table, eyes narrowed, leaning towards one another and discussing about something he couldn’t hear from where he was. The fuck did they want? He shrugged imperceptibly and dismissed the thought. Him and his class had attracted attention since their first month of high school; he wasn't about to get troubled by some random dudes.

That was what he thought, until he glanced at the boy and saw him glare at the two guys, worry dangerously close to turning into fear.

Would he care if anything happened to him?

He frowned and glowered at the boy, anger rising, while the others still blabbed about Pinky’s bruises.

“What the fuck are you doing?” he fumed. The boy looked at him, surprised, and quickly looked away, pretending to focus on the last two bits of carrots fighting in duel at the bottom of his bowl. “What do you mean?” His voice was quiet and innocent. What a fucking terrible liar.

“Who are those dudes?” Katsuki asked, gripping his spoon like he would a knife.

The boy let out a deep sigh. “No one” he replied firmly. “I got this, okay?” He added when he saw Katsuki’s narrowed eyes. “They’re just … I don’t know, I don’t understand people. Maybe they’re frustrated because I didn’t answer their questions? Or because I glared at them? That’s what Todoroki said." He pointed at the white haired bastard with his thumb. "I don’t know, I don’t know what they’re thinking and it's bugging me, but- ” he raised his hand when he saw Katsuki’s glare starting to burn with rage “- I didn’t forget what you told me this morning, and I am really - really - trying not to care about them. So … I’ll just ignore them for the time being and - yeah. I got this.” When he looked at Katsuki, his gaze was more confident than before. Enough to let him relax - and to notice that he had tensed in the process.

“And anyway” the boy continued “this afternoon we are going to have a practical class, so that means that I won’t have to be with anyone I don’t wanna- URAVITY!!” he suddenly roared, shooting straight up, flipping his empty bowl and making everyone at the table jump and gasp in shock.

Walking near their table were Uraraka, Toad Face, Four-eyes, Deku and Half-n-half, looking for a space for themselves and followed closely by Porcupine and the red-haired bastard. As shy as he seemed to be, he didn’t look like someone ready to give a single fuck about all the attention he had suddenly drawn upon their table and himself, and he waved excitedly at Uraraka. She looked at him, puzzled at first, then upon realising it was her number one fanboy her lips spread into a wide happy smile.

“Kenta-kun!”

“Come over, there is a space left here!” He pointed at the empty seat next to Soy sauce, vibrating with happiness.

What the hell , Katsuki thought, narrowing his eyes at the brunette. How was that little bastard so cheerful and chatty around her but always whiny and sulking with him?

He looked at her wave at her small group and tell them she’ll meet up with them later on. Porcupine rolled her eyes at the boy almost jumping on his spot with enthusiasm as Uraraka walked towards them, and the two twins looked at each other, a silent conversation passing between the two of them, their eyes going back and forth towards Icyhot.

When Uraraka got close enough, her eyes met Katsuki’s, and for a brief couple of seconds, time slowed down. Her smile froze and her brown eyes grew darker, much darker than Katsuki had ever seen them, and a strong, terrible feeling built up like a black angry cloud inside her irises. He raised one amused eyebrow and smiled cheekily, unimpressed. Where on Earth did all this sudden anger come from? Just yesterday she was just fine, chatting with him and offering to train, and now she seemed ready to throw him into a catch ring and slam a chair on his head.

But she looked away, and warmth took back its rightful place in her eyes as she sat down next to Soy sauce.

“How are you Kenta-kun? How was your first morning?”

The boy’s smile faded a little. “It uh … it was alright. I hope I’ll soon be able to get along with everyone.”

“What?” Katsuki slammed his spoon on the table. “Fuck everyone! I told you to crush ‘em!”

“Bakugou!” She frowned and glared at him, the black cloud lurking in her eyes. “Don’t try to alienate him from his class! It's important to be friends with your classmates.”

“He doesn’t need some ignorant fuckers' approval” Katsuki snapped back. “All he needs to focus on is to be better than them all. That's what I do, and believe it or not but I survived pretty well, Roundface.”

The nickname made her eyes gleam with bottled rage.

“Well thank the Gods, but not everyone is like you , Bakugou” she spat quietly. There was so much disgust and contempt in her voice that the entire table stared at her, startled. The boy’s smile completely faded, and his eyes kept going nervously from Katsuki to Uraraka.

Anger begun to bubble in Katsuki’s chest ; he was not amused anymore. What the fuck was wrong with her? What kind of lunatic had she become over the course of a day? She was clearly taking something out on him, and he was not having it. But before he said anything, she turned sharply to Pinky, a forced smile on her lips.

“So, did you go to the infirmary this morning?”

“Er -” she looked some more at Uraraka before answer in “Yeah, we did. Look at what the doctor did to me!”

While they discussed again the state of Pinky’s arms, Katsuki felt the boy elbow him gently.

“What?” he snapped, eyes glowing dangerously. But when did that ever have any impact on that kid.

“Did something happened between you and … Uravity?” he whispered anxiously.

“None of your goddamn business.”

“Did she do that to you?” he pointed at his bruised cheek and the purple shadows at the corner of his eyes.

He glowered at the kid, feeling like he genuinely had no patience left to deal with anyone. “None. Of your. Goddamn. Business.”

“So when will you have the tests’ results?” was asking Uraraka.

“Well Recovery Girl said we should have them on the morning of the Sports Festival. But since they don’t want to risk having it distract us, we’ll get them the following morning.” One of Pinky’s arms was being held by Kirishima in both his hands, fingers tracing carefully the green bruise.

“Wait, didn’t Todoroki get his result the night you guys appeared?” asked Buzz Face, puzzled. “How come it’s taking so long with you?”

“‘Cause Gran- Endeavour brought a guy with him from a hospital outside of Tokyo” answered Vanilla from the other side of the table. “That guys’ quirk can tell ya if people are related by tastin’ their blood - which by the way was one of the grossest things I ever had to witness.”

Kirishima turned to him. “Oh yeah that's right, you saw Endeavour didn’t you? What was he like?”

Vanilla frowned, perplexed. “He was so weird. Younger, but so weird.”

“Yeah, he's an odd man” mumbled Soy sauce. Odd wasn’t even close to the truth, Katsuki thought. He remembered clearly the discussion he had heard between Deku and Half-n-half the year before, how Endeavour had mistreated both his mother and himself to the point where she had poured boiling water on her little boy’s face. Odd wasn’t the right word to describe the Number One Hero.

“Yeah” continued Vanilla “he was dead serious and wasn’t smilin’ at all. He didn’t make any jokes, he barely talked to Dad, and he completely ignored us. I mean I get it, it's weird to have people arrive from another time, but come on.”

Now that was odd.

“Wait, what?” Kirishima and the rest looked just as shocked as Katsuki.

“How much did we all change in that future, seriously.” Soy sauce closed his eyes and massaged his temples. “The more I hear the less it makes sense. Maybe Midnight was right, maybe the less we know the better.”

“Yeah, I’m kinda worried we are gonna end up learning that one of us is dead or something” winced Buzz Face.

“There's already a lot that has happened” pointed out Soy sauce. “That cat girl lost her quirk, the other one had a severe concussion, you guys got hurt so many times, a lot of people died during the Kamino Ward attack. And pro hero Sir Nighteye died last year too.”

Katsuki tensed at the mention of Kamino. He shovelled his potatoes in his mouth, looking for a distraction from the dangerous train of thought he knew was lurking in his mind.

“Are they going to do something for him? His death anniversary is soon, right?”

“Yeah” replied Kirishima, his voice a little gloomy. “But they’re first going to hold a commemorative ceremony for the victims of Kamino Ward. It's sad when you think about it, we have so many heroes and no one was able to save them.”

Uraraka suddenly stood up straight, tray in hand. “Sorry, I forgot I needed to speak to Tsuyu-chan about something - homework. I’ll see you later.” She spun around and left, ignoring the boy as he half stood up and called after her “Ah- wait!”.

He sat back down and glowered accusingly at Katsuki. “What did you say to her?”

Oh, he was fucking asking for a fight. “ Say what now? ” he growled at the boy, ready to teach him some fucking manners. “Listen to me you little piece of-”

“It's not him Kenta-kun, it's-” Raccoon’s eyes looked behind her, making sure Uraraka was seating with her friends, far from earshot, then she leaned back in. “Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but Ochako-chan’s uncle died right before the beginning of our second year.”

What?! ” shouted Buzz Face, his eyes wide.

“Shhhhhhh!” Raccoon’s eyes hit him on the head with her spoon. “Are you stupid or something? I just told you to keep it down!” she whispered furiously. “I only heard about it because her uncle was a good friend of my mother’s cousin, Ochako doesn’t even know I know about him, so zip it!” She put her spoon down. “He was murdered by a villain while he was shopping at a convenience store near her house. Apparently the villain was threatening the owner to kill him if he didn’t give him the money, and when Uraraka’s uncle tried to intervene and reason with him the villain stabbed him to death.”

They all stared at Pinky, mouth open in horror. How had they not heard about it? Katsuki tried to quickly think about Uraraka’s behaviour since the beginning of the year, but she had been her usual bubbly, rainbows-and-butterflies self - even more than the year before, always offering help to everyone with everything. How had he missed something so big?

“When it happened, Ochako was at the mall with her mother, shopping for her school stuff. There were no heroes around, but since she had her provisional hero license, had she been there maybe she could have saved him - or at least I’m sure that's what she's thinking.”

A terrible silence followed her words.

“I didn’t know …” whispered the boy, looking down at his bowl like he was about to cry.

“That's … horrible” was all Buzz Face was able to say.

“But how can she blame herself? She wasn’t even there! She’s not being fair with herself.” Soy sauce shook his head, stunned by the news.

“Well, there’s nothing anyone can do about any of it, but just - try to avoid talking about people dying with no one to rescue them near her alright?” concluded Raccoon’s eyes. They all nodded.

“Tch.” Was that what it was all about? Her weird mood twists, her sudden aggressivity? What did it have anything to do with him though?

Like it always did, the memory of his kidnapping in Kamino flashed in his mind, unwanted, and bringing with him unpleasant, paranoid thoughts. What say you join us? they had asked. Because ... because they had thought he was villain material. They had taken one look at him, his foul mouth, his demeanor, his violence, and had seen a promising comrade. Could that be the reason why Uraraka had chosen him to be a bitch to? Did he remind her of the asshole who murdered her uncle? But then why did it only begin his morning? Was it because of their fight? He had thought of it as nothing more than a heated sparring session, but had his eagerness and teasing triggered something deeper in her, something darker?

He pushed his empty plate away, eyes narrowed, remembering the evil glares she had shot him throughout the day, when they trained, in class, at break time - if it had amused him before, it didn’t anymore. A mixture of anger, hurt and uncertainty bubbled up and raged in his chest, making him wish he could break something, either to let off some steam or to forget about this nasty thought. To say he considered the ever-happy girl his friend would be too much - he didn’t care that much about her. But respect her, he did. He even admired her in a way, how she was able to always smile and be positive no matter the situation - although it got on his nerve most of the time - and even to the face of death. Hers was the same type of warm energy as Kirishima, like the first rays of sunlight in the morning that he loved to bask in - the same type as All Might, too.

There were few people whom he actually tolerated, and although they didn’t spend so much time around each other she was part of them. To think that maybe, just maybe, she had decided to turn her back on him and see him like most people did outside of UA - a violent and problematic child, a potential emerging villain … that fucking annoyed him. Much more than he thought it would ever have.

He was gonna kick her ass in the evening he concluded, his resolve burning fiercely in his heart. She had asked for a rematch, had she not? He was gonna give her one alright. No matter what his little brat of a son said, he was going to be the Number One Hero one day, not some heartless, disgusting villain - he would make her see that. He wasn’t gonna play nice like this morning, no, he wouldn’t give her one second of rest. She would either have to fight till she dropped or to beg for his mercy, and then she would have to give him a fucking good explanation.

He was so worked up, he didn’t even notice how little did his thoughts sound like a hero’s.

The bell hadn’t even finished to ring, and Four-eyes was already next to the boy, making him jump.

“Bakugou-kun and Todoroki-kun, I must escort you to your next lesson!” he said in an unnecessarily loud voice. Like this morning, he grabbed the boy by the shoulders to pull him towards him and rearranged his tie, tightening it once more like a rope around his neck. “You two must follow me immediately to ensure you do not arrive late. We cannot take the risk to let anyone think you are wandering around the school.” He stood back up, looking at his work with a very satisfied expression on his face. “Come on now!”

The boy sighed deeply, his scowl back. Wiping his sweaty hands in his light pink handkerchief, he seriously looked like he was going to murder someone; only his eyes exposed just how terrified he seemed to be. For fuck sake, how many pep talks was Katsuki gonna have to drill into his head for him to stop acting like such a wimp all the time.

“Oi” he called as the boy stood up and picked up his tray. He looked back at Katsuki with the face of someone who was desperate to hear something - anything - to make them feel better. “Remember what I told you to repeat this morning?”

The boy smiled. “Yeah” he chuckled. Katsuki nodded. “Say it again then.” And there went the smile. The boy looked at the crowd of students standing up and walking around him, panicked. “Now?” Katsuki nodded again.

The boy hesitated, looked right and left, down at his hands, opened and closed his mouth, looked at the ceiling, and eventually took a deep breath. “They are all extras, and I’m above them.”

Soy sauce, Kirishima and Buzz Face laughed out loud, Raccoon’s eyes facepalmed, Vanilla picked up his tray and raised his glass of water with a “That’s my man!”, and Four-eyes gasped loudly in horror, as if he had just witnessed a toddler shout a swear word.

He grabbed the boy by the shoulders again. “Bakugou-kun, please refrain from imitating your father’s behaviour! It has already put him and the rest of our class in very unpleasant situations, situations you will not want to find yourself in. For the sake of your name and the smooth running of your stay here, I must implore you to follow another example!”

Katsuki snickered and grabbed his own tray, heading to the tray disposals. “My name already has a reputation to preserve Four-eyes, one that tells everyone that they better fear and respect it. He ain’t gonna maintain that reputation by being a goody-two-shoes like you or Ponytail.”

“You’re unbelievable dude” snorted Tape face, still laughing.

Katsuki was still grinning when he turned around. Only for his eyes to meet Uraraka’s. Still glaring, her face dark, eyes clouded with somber intents. His smile faded, and this time he didn’t look at her looking puzzled, or irritated.

This time, when he glowered at her, he was determined and promising.

You wanna fight and take all it out on me? Fine. I’ll give you a battle you’ll never forget, and at the end of it, I’ll have you say I’m the greatest hero. I’ll have you say my name.

------

Or so he thought. He wiped the blood from his left eyebrow, fat drops of rain running on his face.

Clouds had started occupying the sky after lunch, and not long after the rain had started to pour, gently at first before turning into a thunderstorm. He had thought it would have disheartened her, seeing the wind draw patterns on the ground with the rain as it blew hard enough to shake tree leaves and branches. Yet when he went for the place where they had stopped in the morning she was there, waiting for him with her ugly yellow sweater, already soaking wet.

He jumped backwards when she threw herself at him once more and he released a serie of explosions to round her and punch her in the back. She was slower now than she was when they had begun, so she couldn’t pare and took the hit in her side, but she still managed to grab his forearm. Shit . As expected, she activated her quirk on him, and he used both the zero gravity and his momentum to rise his knees to his chest and kick her collarbones with both feet. She yelped and let go of him, and he discharged an explosion behind him to fling himself at her while she stumbled backwards, punching her cheek and then her chin hard enough to send her flying and falling flat on her back in the muddy floor. He had to use his explosions again to try and steady himself, not really succeeding.

He had thought navigating in zero-G would be easy - like what he was used to, but faster. It was not. The moment he used the smallest explosion he was flung in one direction with absolutely no way of stopping, all the usual forces applying to him canceled. He had expected the floating part - he had not expected the other forces, the ones he didn’t usually care for because gravity was way stronger than them. Namely in his situation, the wind and the rain. The first time she had touched him and he had tried to use his explosions to catch her, she had avoided him by a hair, but by then he was flying like a bullet would. He had struggled to use more explosions to steady himself, but he had only managed to be sent upwards, where the wind currents had violently played with him like a mad dog with a bone. Eventually, he had made it closer to the ground and was flying four or five feet above the ground when a laughing Uraraka had released her quirk, and he had crashed like a cannonball into the dirt on metres, sliding and rolling, leaving a deep muddy trail behind him.

The rain was definitely not helping either. Now that he was really warmed up, he was sweating enough to create some decent explosions, but it was still ridiculously frustrating to have his strongest explosion diminished by half because the fucking rain wet his hands and extinguished his blasts.

Uraraka, on the other hand, was on fire. For every punch or kick he threw in her direction, she threw double - adding the occasional branches or stones she managed to get her hands on. As if it wasn’t enough that the wind was already blowing like crazy and feeding him leaves and rain. She had managed to kick him in the face hard enough to open his left brow, to punch him in the gut so hard his breath had been knocked out of him for five good seconds, and to launch a well aimed kick behind his knee, making him faceplant in the dirt and limp like an old man.

He hurled himself back towards the ground before the wind started toying with him again, and to his ferocious delight he saw her scramble to her feet again and activate her quirk. She saw him heave in her direction like a bullet and jumped upwards in an attempt to escape him, but too late, and too slow. She must have understood from the beginning that he had been trying to get his hands on her while both of them were in zero-G because she had made sure that her quirk was never activated on the two of them at the same time. Until now.

Katsuki had no idea how long they had been fighting for. It could have been a quarter of an hour, it could have been an entire hour. He felt every muscles in his body hurt, and he knew they would both need to see Recovery Girl when they would be done, because they had both gone overboard. Usually his battles and fights never lasted this long, mostly because he never let his opponents a second rest and knocked them out before they could get dangerous. The only time a battle had lasted was at Kamino Ward, and he had been alone against five grown up villains. How had one single sixteen year old chick managed to hold on against him for so long, he had no fucking clue. But now, the fight was reaching its conclusion.

He launched himself at her like a cannonball and slammed his arm in her stomach, knocking her breath away and making her throw up what little she had left inside of her. She had already thrown up earlier, and if usually that marked the end of her fight, this time she had merely just wiped her mouth and attacked him once more. He glued her back to his torso and grabbed her tightly by the waist with one arm, blocking her right arm under his grasp, her left arm dangling in the air as he kept on releasing his explosions, and up they went, turning and spiraling under the force of his blasts, rising higher and higher and higher and into the black clouds, rain crashing onto their faces and wind pushing them around, temperature growing colder and colder. Uraraka punched and screamed but her words were lost in the howling wind. Their upward movement was so chaotic, he didn’t even notice when she managed to bend her arms behind his back and deactivate her quirk.

It was exhilarating. Better than anything he had ever been able to experiment by himself, better than the craziest roller coaster, better than getting off. It was bliss and thrill as the two of them rose above the clouds, and suddenly they were slowing down and coming to a stop, and there was no rain anymore, no wind, no thunder and the sun was shining again, pink and orange and purple colours painting over the thick grey clouds the most beautiful scenery Katsuki had ever been able to witness in his entire life. It was breathtaking, heartstopping, and for a second he forgot all about their stillness, about Uraraka and their fight, about the boy from the future, about UA and All Might and Deku and Kamino and The League and heroes and villains, he forgot about it all and he just … was. Frozen and in awe.

He failed to notice the cold closing up his pores and his palms drying up. He failed to understand he was breath taken not only by the beauty of his surroundings but also by the lack of oxygen. He failed to perceive the ever slow motion they were initiating that was inevitably going to bring them downwards.

He failed to realise his grip was loosening around Uraraka’s waist as the sun and the clouds were suddenly invaded by black stars, everywhere, and he felt himself fall into nothingness. Far far away, he heard someone yell his name, a whispered cry in the depth of his consciousness.

-------

His eyes fluttered open.

FUCK.

His body was twirling around, free falling from who knows how far up, rain was once more crashing onto his face and grey and black clouds were surrounding him. And Uraraka was gone.

“FUUUUUCK!” he roared, panic kicking in. He tried his best to steady himself and extended his arms in front of him, towards what he assumed was the ground, but how could he be sure? The wind was coming from everywhere at once, hurling him around like a sheer leaf. And to his great horror, when he tried to release an explosion, his palms merely crackled. His hands were frozen and wet, and he didn’t think he had ever felt this cold in his entire life. “FUCK!”

“BAKUGOU!” Over the wind’s howls and the thunder's rumbles, Uraraka’s shriek reached him like both a lifeline and a cry for help. He twisted around into the air, trying to see where her voice had come from.

“WHERE ARE YOU?” he yelled from the top of his lungs, looking around desperately for that sweater, that goddamn fucking ugly shit of a sweater.

“BAKUGOU!”

And he saw her, her arms tightly pressed along her body and her legs bound together, face turned towards him, trying hopelessly to reach him. But he was heavier than her, and was therefore falling faster than her. When did he let go of her? When did he pass out? What the fuck happened?!

He roared when the wind from the fall spun him once more and he lost sight of her. He needed to slow down, he needed to do something - ANYTHING - to let her catch up with him, because as much as it infuriated and terrified him, he was completely useless right now, and only her quirk would spare him a horrible death. Because that was what he was facing right now: death.

The realisation made him shout again and adrenaline rushed even harder to his brain. He put his hands together and rubbed them together as fast and hard as he could, trying to warm them up. He opened them and released an explosion, palms facing one another. The explosion was weak and burnt a little, but it did warm his hands a bit. He repeated the action again and again while the temperature around him gradually rose, until he felt one of his explosion change slightly his trajectory. That had to be enough.

It had to be enough because now, half of his surroundings weren’t clouds anymore. It was the ground. And it was approaching at a speed that was far too great.

Katsuki tried his best to keep his stomach to face the ground and extended his arms before him once more. He could see the trees now, and the cars and the campus, could see Height Alliances and Ground Beta, Ground Gamma and the school. He could see them all too well to be good news.

He roared as loud as he could and, with everything he had left in him, he released a powerful blast and kept the little bit of nitroglycerin he had managed to produce burn and explode in successions. His fall slowed down a little, but not enough, he realised when nothing else happened and his explosions died. The ground was coming at an astonishing speed, and he could see he was going to crash behind the USJ facility. He could see the building, the road in front of it, the trees surrounding, the squares of grass and the flowers that had blossomed earlier that month …

Uraraka’s chest smashed into his back and in a second her hands flew around his neck and slapped his chest before coming together right under his nose, fingers touching one another. And just like that, the monstrous fall stopped, and he was left staring at the grass a few feet below him.

Without the wind screeching and howling, the thunder rumbling menacingly somewhere close to him and the rain crashing in his face, everything seemed ever so silent. The rain wasn’t as hard as it had been when they had been ascending or falling, it had actually calmed down since they had left the ground. He heard his crazy panting, and Uraraka’s gasping in his ear, somehow surprised to be able to hear their voices so clearly. He turned his head and found her face so close to his, cheeks red from the force of the wind and eyes wide with terror, her pupils reduced to a black point. She looked back at him, and he felt her entire body shake like a leave against his. He didn’t know what expression he was wearing but he doubted it was much different than hers.

“Release” she heaved, and they fell again, but this time it was short and seemed like a playful thing compared to what they had just gone through. He slammed onto the ground with a pained grunt, Uraraka on top of him. He was hurting all over his body but he had no strength left to move.

No, it was something else, he realised. He couldn’t move . His thoughts were sluggish and blurry, and although he felt everything, he couldn’t move his body, couldn’t ask Uraraka to move, couldn’t shove her off of him, nothing.

“Uh …” She didn’t even try to move over and simply just leaned on the side and threw up once more. He should have yelled. He should have jumped to his feet and told her how disgusting he thought she was. He should have shouted at her for vomiting right next to his face.

Instead he just watched her gag violently and vomit a thin, yellow and sticky fluid, eructing long and unnaturally loud burps as her entire body shook. After a while she forced herself to stop and rested on her arms, shuddering and breathing loudly, half gasping and half crying. Slowly, she raised one leg and got off of Katsuki’s back, falling on her bum next to him. Just as slowly, he pressed one arm onto the floor, and then the other, realising how much his own body was shaking as he watched them wobble with a strange feeling, as if he was watching somebody else’s arms through their eyes. He pulled himself on his knees and stayed on all four, hands buried in the grass and mud, on the ground - blessed was the ground, solid and reliable.

He turned his head to look at Uraraka. She was pale, so pale, he thought she was going to faint. She held her convulsing hands before her and stared, mouth open, eyes still wide in shock.

Shock. He had gone into shock.

Uraraka looked up at Katsuki, tears welling up in her blank big brown eyes. She blinked. And suddenly, something woke up within her eyes. Before he knew it, she was up on her knees and her hand crashed down on his cheek with so much strength that his arms gave in weakly, and he face planted in the dirt.

“You! - You! -” Her breathing got deeper and quicker, wheezing. “Ya son of a bitch!

He flipped on his back and rose on his elbows. He should have told her to repeat that again if she was woman enough to dare. He should have threatened to kill her if she ever insulted him again. He should have told her to go fuck herself. He just wiped the mud from his face and stared at her, his cheek red.

“Ar’ ya - ar’ ya insane ? Ar’ ya mental ? D’ya wanna die? Was that what ya were aimin’ for? Did’ya wanna smack us down like bugs? Ya could’a killed us both ya asshole! ” He should have yelled back, tried to defend himself or tried to calm her down a bit. But the only thing he could think of was how strong her Kansai accent was coming out when she screamed.

“I was doing fine.” His voice rang in his ears, hoarse and weak, like the voice of somebody else. What was he even saying? “You didn’t have to save me.” Of course she had to, he was going to fucking crash on the ground.

She stared at him in disbelief. “I didn’t - of course I had ta save ya!” she shrieked, her voice a pitch so high Katsuki winced. “Ya think it's a given? Ya think e’rybody gets to just - to just live ? Some people leave their house in the mornin’ and they never come back ! Some people cry and beg for help and help never comes! How dare ya look at me in the eyes and tell me I didn’t have to save ya?”

“Like you saved your uncle?” For a moment, he held his breath. Even in his book, that was a low blow. It was like the few filters he had agreed on keeping over the years had disappeared.

She stared at him open-mouthed, her face suddenly blank, and she sat on her heels, shoulder slumped, eyes wide. “How d’ya …”

“Everyone knows. Your secret isn't one. If anything it made you weaker than you already were in everybody’s eyes.” Now that was quite the big lie. But he still had no control over what came out of his mouth - and no will to stop himself from talking. The only feeling bubbling above the blur of his thoughts was the hurt, the hurt she had inflicted on his pride and his heart when she had let him think that maybe she thought of him as a villain. He wanted to hurt her just as much, if not more. He wanted to twist her feelings inside her heart until she was left crying.

“Ya’re lyin’ … shu’ up” she croaked, horrified.

“What kind of hero lets her own family down” he continued, and somewhere far far away in his mind, an alarm rang. “What kind of hero shuts down and doesn’t even have the guts to tell her friends she fucked up” He knew how rich that sounded coming from him, but the growing anger in her eyes kept him coming. He sat up, hands slipping in the mud and stared at her.

“Shu’ up, shu’-”

“Look at you.” He pointed at her white, bruised and bloodied face and her wet, muddy, ripped clothes.”You wouldn’t be able to lift a finger in your current state. You wanna save people? Don’t make me laugh, when you can't even save yourself.”

“Shu’ up - shu’ up, shu’ up , SHUT UP!!”

She slammed both hands on the ground, and suddenly everything beneath him shuddered, and for two seconds, for two eery, unbelievable seconds, everything touching the ground in a three metre radius around Uraraka floated . Including himself. Peebles and leaves and branches and rain drops - everything rose gently a few inches above the ground, and even his own drenched clothes floated lightly on his skin.

The little bit of colour left on the tip of her cheeks vanished as she touched her fingers together and whispered “Release”. She shook so hard, it was almost like she was convulsing. But just when he thought she was going to collapse, she glared at him with insane, exhausted, livid eyes and got on her feet, legs wobbling.

“What da ya know about defeat?” she pat viciously. “What d’ya know about losin’? Everythin’ ya do always succeeds beyond anyone’s expectations, what d’ya know about strugglin’ an’ tryin’ and despite all yer relentless efforts still failin’?”

“Ya look down on e’ryone an' raise yourself high above the ground, callin’ the ones surroundin’ ya extras and talkin’ about people like we are all nothin’ but insects under yer feet, like we don’t have feelin’s at all - are we even human to ya? Ya just love it don’t ya, usin’ our flaws and fears to bring us down - d’ya think we don’t see them? Are we that stupid to ya? D’ya think I don’t know I don’t have what it takes to be a pro hero yet? Or just a hero? D’ya think I don’t realise how little I know, or how weak I still am?”

Her voice cracked and tears suddenly ran down her already wet cheeks, her face twisted in a pained grimace as she left her deepest insecurities exposed.

“I train an' study an' give it my all e’ry single day, but when it comes to the real thin’ - when it comes to the real thin’ I am helpless, because even my best is not enough! It was not enough! When we went to the yakuza’s hideout -”

She shut her eyes tight and grabbed fistfulls of her hair as she let out an agonising growl.

“Deku-kun and Aizawa-sensei and e’ryone else told me it wasn’t my fault, that I couldn't have done anythin’ - but he was right next to me! Sir Nighteye was right next to me! I was the one in charge of gettin’ him out of trouble, and now he is dead! Dead ! If I had been faster, if I had been stronger, if I had focused on developin’ my quirk more instead of daydreamin’ about Deku-kun then maybe he would be - maybe Sir Nighteye would be -”

She sobbed loudly and bowed her head, hands on her face, trying to wipe tears that just wouldn’t stop pouring. Stop , he thought, stop it for fuck sake . He didn’t want to hear her talk anymore. He didn’t want to give a shit about anything she had to say, not when it resonated so much within him - not when her guilt was the same as the one he had desperately been trying to shake off. Not when her thoughts were mirroring the ones that had driven him over the edge eight months ago.

“And last month - last month - I was - it was - right next to my neighbourhood - I was ten minutes away by foot - I should’a been able to - to come back I should -  I should’a s-stayed home - I was - for pencils and rulers and clothes I was - I should’a been around - I was the only - the only one who could have - could have saved him - I should’a - I should’a - I didn’t - even had time to - to tell him goodbye, to - to talk to him one last - time I - it’s my fault, all my fault, all my fault, all my fault …”

She buried her face in her hands and bent over herself and wailed, her screams echoing heavily against the USJ facility. Katsuki just stared at her, unable to talk anymore, to think, to even process correctly everything she was blurting out. Eventually, her hands dropped to her side, and when she looked at him her face was crumpled with grief and despair, in an expression that he had never thought he would ever see on her, wishing he could turn away or hide her so he didn’t have to look at it anymore.

“You seem to - to know e'rythin’ - about e’ryone” she whimpered weakly “so tell - tell me Bakugou: why - why couldn’t I save o-one single person?”

Katsuki opened his mouth but stayed silent. His mind was blank. He didn’t know what to answer, what to tell her to make her feel better, because he hadn’t known what to tell himself at the time, and he still didn’t. How could he comfort anyone when he couldn’t even help himself.

When he didn’t answer, she lowered her head and sobbed again. And just like that, she turned around and walked away sluggishly, holding her sides and limping.

And he was alone.

Chapter Text

“Look, it’s very simple.” Kaminari sat more comfortably, his legs crossed on Eijirou’s bed and took Kenta’s hands, balling them into fists. “Both you and I begin with one finger held out on each hand. Then the first player taps one of the other player’s hand with his finger, and-”

“Hold on, hold on” interrupted Kenta with a frown. He looks so much like Bakugou it’s ridiculous , thought Eijirou. “How do we decide who plays first?”

“Paper-rock-scissors?” Both Kenta and Kaminari held one fist resting on their other hand in front of each other and smacked them three time quickly as they said together “Paper-rock-scissors.” They both did scissors, so they repeated the action. “Paper-rock-scissors.” Two rocks. Kaminari giggled and Kenta frowned even more. “Paper-rock-scissors.”

Kaminari did rock again, and Kenta did scissors. “HA!” Kaminari threw his hands in the air in a victorious stance. “You suck Bakugou!”

Mina laughed, and the sound made Eijirou’s heart skip a beat. “You’ve been dreaming of saying that haven’t you?” she teased the blond, who shamelessly yelled “Of course I have!”

Kenta glared at the wall beside him and replied with a “Tch” that sent the entire room into fits of laughter.

“You really are Bakugou’s kid” said Sero for the umpteenth time from the floor where he was laying, his legs resting towards the ceiling against Eijirou’s punching bag.

They had at first all gathered in the common area on the ground floor - Mina, Sero, Kaminari and himself -, and when Iida and Yaomomo had brought the four lil’ future kids, his curiosity had gotten the best of him and he had gone to talk to them. Kenta was quiet, but he had too much of his father in him for Eijirou to not understand that it was his way of showing he was feeling enough at ease to not scowl like he wanted to make his brain burst. Hana-chan on the other hand was just like Mina, energetic and bubbly, carefree and warm, and the moment she saw him they immediately started talking. Not matter how much attention the three boys were getting, Eijirou had the strong feeling she was the leader of their band, reaching out to people surrounding them and dragging the trio with her.

The two Todorokis were also quiet at first, Rei-kun being polite and Hiro-kun not giving a damn about their conversation, and after a while the first one eagerly joined the conversation and the latter had begun to pay attention to them.

When Bakugou had bursted into the common area, he had completely ignored them all and had ran to his room, only to come back five minutes later in his gym clothes, cross the living room with so much angry purpose his hands were crackling and his feet were stomping hard on the floor.

“Where do you think you’re going with this storm raging outside?” had asked Eijirou.

“Mind your own goddamn motherfucking business if you don’t want me to light your sorry ass on fire” had been his answer. “I’m off to teach someone some good ol’ fucking manners.”

So Eijirou had just shrugged and let him go.

He hadn’t care; Kenta had. He had glared at his father’s back, open-mouthed, as if he couldn’t believe he would just leave him like that. Eijirou had taken pity on the boy - he obviously had all of Bakugou’s social awkwardness, not half of his confidence and none of his arrogance, so he could only imagine how lost he must have felt, looking at him leave him alone in a foreign environment. So Eijirou had offered that they all hung out in his room - because they were at the end of April, the common room’s heating was off, and now that it was raining it had become the coldest room.

To Eijirou’s delighted surprise, Todoroki had asked if he could join them, and so he had followed them as they climbed the stairs. Floor by floor, people had begun to join them. On the second floor, Midoriya had been chatting with Aoyama in front of their doors and, upon noticing them, they had decided decided to tag along. They had stopped on the third floor because Mina had absolutely wanted to show Hana-chan the little bunny Kouda owned. To their astonishment, Hana had gotten as far away as she could from the little ball of fur and had revealed she was allergic to any animal’s hair, and Hiro had taken the bunny in his arms and played with it, beaming and talking to it.

And so they had made their way to the fourth floor, adding to their party Jirou, Hagakure and Kouda, the latter mainly because although he didn’t say anything, he wasn't too sure why Hiro had decided he could take the bunny upstairs with him. When they had arrived on the fourth floor, Jirou and Sero had stopped everyone, sniffing the air eagerly, and had asked if anyone else was smelling the delicious smell that was coming from the fifth floor. And so, they had all rushed to the upper floor and had banged on Sato’s door, knowing there was only one person who could make anything smell this good.

When he had opened the door for them to peek inside, they had found Tsuyu-chan and Yaomomo, elbow deep in flour and baking with him, apparently making cupcakes. Satou had barely had time to finish his explaining sentence that they had almost all tried to force themselves into the room. When she realised Todoroki was with them, Yaomomo had blushed hard and had tried to focus on her job, only to spill icing all over the chocolate cupcake she was supposed to decorate and on the table.

“Satou-kun, Hana-chan and I have had an idea! Could you lend us your decoration kit so everyone here can make personalised cupcakes? That would be so much fun!” had asked Hagakure, bouncing on her spot.

Like the sweet manly guy he was, Sato had agreed, and they had all ended up sitting around the small coffee table in the centre of the room, and on the bed while Sato, Yaomomo and Tsuyu-chan kept baking and bringing in new cupcakes. ‘Cramped’ was too weak of a word to describe the state of the room but no one complained, laughing and chatting happily.

When Eijirou had asked why were Yaomomo and Tsuyu-chan baking with Satou, the first had replied she had thought about the big boy’s cooking skills and had realised it was something she needed to master as well if she wanted to improve and strengthen her quirk. But, coming from a rich family, she had never needed to cook anything and therefore knew nothing about bakery, which had brought her to ask Sato for help. Tsuyu-chan had seen her knock at his door and had asked if she could tag along until Uraraka came back from her evening training.

They had had a lot of fun. Each of them had decorated at least one cupcake inspired by their hero costumes, and Eijirou had been real proud of his: black and red, with two wobbly ‘R’ intertwined. Of course it had all ended up being a contest, and they had ranked the cakes from best to worst.

Number one was, much to everybody’s surprise, Todoroki. His cupcake was half red half white, circled with golden and silver icing lining, with a beautiful white snowflake on the red side and a yellow and orange flame on the white side. Both patterns were covered with the right amount of glitter, and the small cake was so pretty everyone agreed they weren’t even sure they wanted to eat it anymore.

Number two was Sero, who had drawn a very nice twirl of yellow, orange and black lines, with on top of it two thick white lines reminding of both his costume and his quirk.

Number three ex aqueo were Hagakure and Jirou. Hagakure had covered her cupcake with a white icing and silver glitters, and had drawn a blue glove, while Jirou had chosen a black icing and had drawn one thick and rough looking purple music note.

The last three were the most hilarious. Third before last was Aoyama, who had just put all the icing colours together and had covered his cupcake with so much glitter Kouda had sneezed when he had gotten closer. Second before last was Hana, who had tried to mimic her spikes and acid with chocolate sticks and flashy green icing, making it look like a poisonous halloween cupcake rather than anything else. And last was Midoriya, who made everybody laugh to tears - including himself - when he presented a cupcake with a dripping dirty green icing, mixed with a weird white colour and with two uneven white eyes and a creepy smile drawn on it.

They had kept on decorating cupcakes, and Kaminari and Sero had poked fun at Kenta when all he did was use the colours of Uraraka’s costume for his cakes. Blushing, he had mumbled that he wanted to offer her some of these as a proof of his support for the upcoming Sports Festival, which became the main topic afterwards.

When there were no more cupcakes to decorate or to eat, they had eventually left Sato’s room after helping him clean up the mess, and they had headed for Eijirou’s room. Aoyama, Yaomomo and Kouda (holding his bunny protectively) had left for their own room, the class rep rushing a little too fast.

Once in Eijirou’s room, Mina and Hagakure had played music and danced while Hana had laughed at how “old” the music were, even the ones that had been released only a month ago. Sero and Kaminari were chatting with Rei while Kenta and Hiro talked quietly with Todoroki, the latter not really making eye contact with the red-haired boy. Eijirou, Midoriya and Jirou were still discussing the upcoming festival when Tsuyu had come back to the room, worried. She had gone and knocked on Uraraka’s door, but had gotten no answers. So Eijirou had suggested they left his door open and she stayed with them until Uraraka came back, him and Midoriya reassuring her that it was probably nothing - she might have decided to train longer since the Sports Festival was in two days.

After a while, Iida had come in the room to scold them about the noise they were making, so they had to turn the music down a little. When he left, Jirou and Hagakure left as well, leaving “only” the three Todorokis, the two Ashidos, Sero, Kaminari, Midoriya, Tsuyu, Kenta and Eijirou himself. They had chatted a little bit, and now Kaminari was set on teaching Kenta how to play chopsticks.

“So now that I’m first” continued Kaminari smuggly “put your fists in front of you with one finger held out on each hand.”

Kenta smirked and held out his middle fingers in front of him. “Like that?” The room was filled with laughter again.

“Kenta-kuuuun, you weren’t supposed to be like Bakugou!” complained Mina. “You were supposed to be like your Mom! Who is … who is she again?” she asked tentatively for the sixteenth time.

Kenta shook his head. “Nope. Not gonna tell you.” He held out his index like Kaminari was showing him. “And well you know who my Dad is, I was bound to learn a few things from him wasn’t I?” he added with a sheepish smile.

Mina grunted and laid on her back, her head resting on Sero’s chest and her knees pulled up. Eijirou smiled and looked at her silently, analysing the warm feeling the sight of her wrinkled skirt and her toned thighs was creating in his stomach. He shifted uncomfortably, already feeling a blush creep up on his neck and cheeks.

As much as he loved hanging out with his friends, he kinda hoped they wouldn’t stay too long in his room. He wanted to spend so time alone with the pink girl, and not the kind of time you can enjoy freely when your best mates are watching you. None of them knew about Mina and him anyway, partly because they couldn’t find the right time to talk about it, partly because they didn’t want to make things awkward in their group of friends.

But mainly because they had no idea themselves what “they” were. And to be fair, they didn’t really want to know. They knew they liked each other’s company, they knew what they had was both fun and comfortable. Also they had been hanging out in each other’s bedroom for too long for anyone to ask questions anymore, and they didn’t want to lose the peace they had innocently won. More than once over the past few months, when they were still in first year, Sero and Kaminari had tried to burst into his room when they knew Mina was there, hoping to catch them in an embarrassing situation, but they had always been disappointed when they would find them chatting, listening to music or doing homework, and both he and Mina had always warmly offered them to join.

So they had stopped trying. Coincidentally, a few days after they had given up was the first time Mina had climbed on Eijirou’s lap, playful at first, and had planted a warm, dizzying and very much overwhelming kiss on his dumbfounded lips. He had blushed like crazy and she had laughed when she had felt a hardening that had nothing to do with his quirk, but she hadn’t minded at all. Afterwards, Eijirou had tortured himself, trying to understand what had happened - was Mina in love with him? Did she want to go out? Had she expected him to be more manly, more confident? She hadn’t talked about it at all the next day, did that mean she regretted making a move on him? Was she waiting for him to reciprocate and try something? Should he kiss her out of the blue too? But what if she hadn’t liked it? He had stood motionless and shocked while she had kissed him, stiff like a log, so maybe she had decided he was hopeless? Maybe she had thought he would be experimented? Since it had obviously been his first kiss, maybe she had already given up and had started looking for someone who was more of a man than him? Maybe she had been disgusted because he had been unable to control his body’s reaction at her proximity?

But in the evening, she had come to his room and sat next to him on his bed, whining about Present Mic’s English lesson and playing a new song she had heard on the radio, as if nothing had happened. Eijirou had gathered all his courage and had asked her: why did she kiss him?

“I just felt like it” she had answered with a shrug. She had smiled a wicked smile and had crawled slowly towards him, amused when he had moved back out of reflex, until his back had been against the wall. “Did you not want me to?” she had asked innocently.

He had blushed and panicked and stuttered “N-No - I mean y-yes I - it's - I - what I - well - you - it's -” and all the alarms had gone off when she had risen above him and had sat way too comfortably on his lap, right where to his great distress his body was betraying him once more, her arms around his neck. “What about now?” she had breathed inches from his face, her voice barely audible above the music. “Do you want me to kiss you, Eijirou ?”

She had said his name, and his mind had gone blank. He had just stared at her, shocked and hungry and lost and wanting and insecure and hot , his mind both shouting at him to make a move on her and to run away away fast as he could. She had looked into his eyes, and whatever she had seen had pleased her greatly. Next thing he knew, her lips had been on his once more, and he still had no idea what to do. How do you kiss back? Should he touch her? Where? How? Where were the signs “It's okay to touch here” or “Don’t touch here yet” or “Never touch here”? Could she feel his heart beat? How did he calm his breathing? Should he close his eyes or keep them open? She had closed hers, should he mimic her?

“Relax” she had mumbled on his lips, and his mind had decided to do the exact opposite. She had taken his hands, that he had kept hovering next to her hips, and had pressed them on her thighs, popping yet another vein in Eijirou’s brain. Her thighs were the softest thing he had ever touched, warm and slightly squishy, making him unwillingly think of what there was higher up . She had opened her mouth and Eijirou’s eyes had widen in shock when he felt her tongue slip into their kiss and fetch his.

He had been close to completely losing it that afternoon. But Hagakure had knocked on the door, making them both jump, and had yelled at Mina through the door to run to her room, because the last episode of their drama had just been released. Mina had jumped to her feet, planted one last kiss on his lips and, with a giggle, she had left. She had been a bit breathless and her cheeks were a sweet shade of purple over her pink skin, but Eijirou was wrecked, panting and red and shocked and hard. He barely slept that night, and had googled all the questions that had come to his mind.

They had kissed some more over the following weeks, and when Mina had kept coming back with a wide smile he had grown more and more confident. On her request, he had started calling her Mina in their intimate moments, and had kept on using ‘Ashido-san’ the rest of the time. It was hard keeping it together though; Mina was a ferocious tease. Whenever he thought he had grown fairly used to whatever new thing she had been trying on him to not feel like he was going to lose it, she would pull another trick and leave him gasping for air and struggling to not blow right there and then in his pants. He was good with kissing now, and had that part under control; the touching part still managed to catch him off. He didn’t dare touching her where she hadn’t explicitly told him he could, but at the same time he didn’t want her to think he was boring or wasn’t thinking about other things. So he ended up asking her lots of questions. Could he kiss her shoulders? Could he touch her stomach? Could he bite her neck? And the answer was always yes, yes, yes, always with a playful smile, and sometimes with his name softly whispered in his ear like the sweetest lullaby.

Then, before the end of the school year, she had decided she wanted to make him a parting gift. Like the naive, stupid, simple-minded idiot he was, he had thought she would offer him matching keychains or a plushy or something to eat she would have baked.

She had given him a blow job.

And he had lasted 3 minutes. Her mouth had been hot and wet, and the feeling of her tongue toying with him had driven him absolutely nut. It was like getting life sucked out of him in the most mind blowing way, like dominating her yet having absolutely no control over the situation whatsoever. And just when he had thought there was no part of his sanity she had left for him to contemplate, he had looked at her and met her victorious gaze, only to watch her gulp audibly everything he had released inside her mouth before she licked and smacked her lips with a satisfied grin.

Not the right time to think about it , he reminded himself, shifting some more and looking at Kenta and Kaminari.

When they had come back to school, they had both happily jumped in each other’s arm, and had spent the first few days talking about everything that had happened to them over the holidays. After a week, Mina had been the one to make the first move - like always - and to break the awkward atmosphere that had settled between them. She had also made him a “Welcome back” gift, and he had spent who knows how long with his face and hands against her bare breasts - until he had blown in his boxers as a matter of fact. He really loved her gifts. But then recently, with the Sports Festival coming up and everything that had happened, it had been a while since they had found the time to stay alone together.

He missed her. He missed the feeling of her skin under his hands, missed her giggles when he ran his fingers on her sides and her hungry blush when he took his shirt off, missed the sight of her when she laid lazily on his bed in nothing but her underwear and the shirt of her uniform wide open. He missed her wet kisses and how she breathed his name when his lips trailed on her chest, missed her smell when he buried his nose in her neck. And although he wasn't sure any of them were ready to do anything about it, he missed the damp heat that radiated from between her legs whenever he started touching her, and he missed how blissfully frustrated she could make him be. So he hoped they could catch up on their snuggling time tonight.

“So what next?” asked Kenta, and Eijirou discreetly shook his head in an attempt to clear his mind off of all the sexy images that were beginning to flood his memory.

Kaminari taped Kenta’s left hand with his right index. “When I do that, I add the number of fingers I have on your hand. So now you have two fingers on your left hand. Now it's your turn.” Kenta frowned and taped his two left-hand fingers on Kaminari’s right hand. “Okay so now, since you have two fingers, I have to add two on this hand as well. So now I have three on this hand, and one on the other. But if I do that -” he taped his fists together and passed one finger from one hand to the other “- I can divide the numbers in order to arrange them the way I see fit. I can leave four on one hand and nothing on the other, or have two and two, like right now. And the goal is to make on of us have all five fingers on both hands.”

“But what if you have three fingers on one hand and I hit you with three fingers as well?”

“Well then I am left with one finger. Three plus three make six, six minus five make one. It has to make exactly five to lose a hand. You got it?

“Yeah I think so.” Kenta narrowed his eyes and smile. “Bring it on.”

“Oi Bakugou, give me a cupcake.” Hiro held out his hand in Kenta’s direction, not even looking at him. Kenta didn’t bothered to look back either when he replied “No way, you ate all of yours. They’re not for you or your doppelganger.”

“Are they for Uravity ?” Rei snickered, insisting on Uraraka’s hero name. Kenta turned and glared, his round cheeks taking a darker shade of pink.

“It's so cute that you’re such a big fan of Ochako, Kenta-kun” said Mina.

“Why though?” Midoriya lifted his palm in front of him when Kenta looked at him like he had just insulted his deepest belief. “Don’t get me wrong, I think Uraraka-san is amazing, and I am sure she is an incredible hero - she is number three right? It's just - I don’t know, maybe I am prejudiced - as Kacchan’s son, I guess I would have expected you to be one of his own fan, or to be attracted by a more … flashy hero? Or uh -”

“Louder?” Kenta relaxed a little and smirked. For a moment he said nothing and played with Kaminari, his scowl settling back on his face. “Dad’s a great Hero. He is strong and fearsome, confident, blunt. He is something everybody across the country aims for. He is - I don’t know, the embodiment of victory and success I guess. There was a study at some point that showed that the schools where he went to deliver an encouraging speech before their exams had much better results than any other school of the same level. That tells you what you need to know. But …”

He paused for a moment, his eyes gloomy and his expression growing darker. “Sometimes … sometimes you just fail, you know. Sometimes you can't win. So … what do you do then? What happens when you try, but end up feeling like you have disappointed everyone around you, especially yourself? When even your best isn’t good enough?”

Eijirou glanced at Sero, and both exchanged an awkward look. Both the twins and Hana were also looking away, like they knew something the rest of them didn’t. “As Bakugou Katsuki’s son, people expected me to be eager to fight and fearsome. As … my mother’s son, they expected me to be outgoing and confident. And as Bakugou Miho’s brother, they expected me to be brilliant and loud. But I … I’m just … me, you know. And people always just looked at me like - I don’t know, like I was disappointing them - like I wasn't meeting their expectations. Because they thought I would be yelling and running around, because they expected me to always be ready for a fight like the rest of my family - but I don’t like to fight you know?”

He dropped his fists and looked at Deku with a sad smile. “I’m not like you Uncle Deku, or like Dad, I don’t rush fearlessly and recklessly into battle, thinking that no matter who or what comes my way, my will will be stronger than anything else. I don’t have the unshakeable certitude that if I give it my all I will come out victorious.”

“That's why I love Uravity though.” he continued with a new spark in his eyes “She doesn’t fight because she wants to, but only because and if she has to. She’s the one the authorities will contact first whenever there is a hostage situation, because she has managed multiple times to negotiate successfully with villains. She has the lowest rate of casualties in her missions out of all the pro heroes, I told you that yesterday. She won’t back down if she has to fight, and she will win. But her focus has always been and still is the people’s well being - all the people. Villains included. Because even villains are humans, with a past, a future, hopes and feelings.”

He brought his knees to his chest and held his legs between his arms, looking at everyone around the room with excitement. “There is this story, about Uravity, that propelled her from being the 38th Pro Hero to being ranked 13th. Picture this: she is patrolling in the Shimbashi neighbourhood, and she hears shouts and screams. So she runs and as she gets closer, she realises there's a villain who has just robbed a bank, and now he is using his iron bending quirk to hurt and rob the people in the streets. She rushes in, tries to calm him down, and when he refuses to comply she knocks him out. Turns out, he was responsible for many other robberies, not just in Tokyo but also all over Hokkaido, and he had left a trail of injured people behind him every time.”

Kenta turned to face them, cross-legged, watching their reaction with an expecting smile. “It also turned out that he was a seventeen year old boy, whose parents were junkies and who had grown up surrounded by gangs his entire life. He had dropped out of school when he was twelve and had joined several gangs, before becoming his own villain when he reached fifteen. He was thrown in jail, hated by the media and the public, and was supposed to serve twenty years. But then-”

He paused, and Eijirou and the rest leaned in slightly. “But then what?” shrieked Mina. “Don’t stop like that! What happened?”

Kenta smiled, proud of the effect he had caused. “Uravity demanded that his time be diminished. She argued that he was just a boy, who hadn’t had an easy life, and if they were going to hold him responsible for his actions then they should give him the opportunity to right his wrongs. For six years, she visited him in jail twice every week, and he slowly opened up to her. And bit by bit, he begun to work on himself, who he was and who he could be, who he thought he was meant to be and who he could become. On the seventh year, after many appeals, many hours spent in court and a lot of attention from the media, he was granted an early release provided that he completed the equivalent of two years and a half of community services and that he immediately found a job afterwards. Everyone thought he would give up and return to his old ways, but Uravity stood firmly by him, and he completed his time. When he was done, she hired him, and now he is her personal driver.”

There was a short silence, and Midoriya, Tsuyu, Kaminari, Sero and Mina all started talking and the same time.

“Alright Uraraka!”

“That's our Ochako! Something impossible like that, only she would make it come true!”

“Woah she's incredible! Even in a scary situation like that!”

“Man that's Uraraka to you! A real hero!”

“Amazing! I can't believe she managed to turn a villain into a good guy!”

Eijirou felt his throat tightening. “Damn Uraraka, that's so manly!” he shouted above all the voices, throwing his fist in the air. “I’m so fired up! Kenta-kun, that story is unbelievable!”

Kenta beamed victoriously, his round cheeks rounder than ever and his scowl long gone. And for a moment, he didn’t look quite as much like Bakugou as he used to. For a moment, he reminded Eijirou of someone else, but he couldn’t exactly tell who.

“That's why I love and admire her so much” he concluded proudly. “Because with her, it’s okay to fail. It's okay to fall and make mistakes and not be the best. It's all fine, because she’ll always give you a second chance. You can take your time and try again, and it will take the time it will take. She will never think of you as garbage or as someone useless. With her there is happiness. With her, there is hope.”

“Aawwww man, you’re gonna make me cry!” wailed Mina, wiping real tears from the corner of her eyes.

“You make me wanna buy her merch too!” added Kaminari, suddenly leaning towards Kenta. “Bakugou, sell me one of your keychains !”

Kenta turned back to him and held his fists up again, resuming their game. “Nu-uh. The police told us to keep our stuff close to us and to not let anyone keep them. Also you just lost a hand.” He hit Kaminari’s hand with two fingers, and the blond growled.

“Oh yeah, that reminds me.” Sero frowned and looked at the twins. “What's Todoroki’s ranking? We didn’t have time to ask yesterday and I was curious. Is he like fourth or fifth?”

Hiro raised his eyebrows and Rei giggled. “He’s sixty-seventh.”

“Whaaaaat?” Eijirou looked at the redhead, stunned. “ Sixty-seventh ? How on Earth did that happen?”

Hiro shrugged. “Father decided to be a stay-at-home parent shortly after Touya's birth. He had inherited Grandad’s agency, so he wasn't jobless or anything, but he only ran it partly and most of the time from home. He started to get back in the field when Touya entered UA, so he could support him fully in his studies, and this year since we both made it too he will be running Todoroki Hero Agency on his own. He should be a full time hero again by the time we are in our third year.”

Rei snickered. “He was supposed to be full time again by this year, but we made him change his mind.” He turned to Todoroki, who was frowning at them with a puzzled look, and he smiled wickedly. “You are weak to us.”

“Weak?” Todoroki repeated quietly. He didn’t seem upset or annoyed at all, but there was an edge to his voice that Eijirou couldn’t quite understand. He involuntarily remembered what Bakugou had told them at lunch, how Todoroki would be able to snap at any given moment.

Hiro nodded with a cheeky smile. “You don’t know how to say no to us. You and Mother have gotten into many a fight over that. Well I mean -” he paused and made a movement with his chin towards Kenta “- after seeing his parents fight, I'm more inclined to say you and Mother had quiet discussions that didn’t quite satisfy both ends but still calmed tense situations.” He rolled his eyes. “The Bakugous are wild.”

“No we’re not.” Kenta frowned but didn’t look away from his game.

“You play Parkour Quirk Tag in your garden” commented absentmindedly Hana while going through a book about quirk study she had picked from a shelf nearby. “You are wild.”

“It's the only right way of playing tag” he snapped back.

“So hold on” Eijirou raised his hands as if to stop the flow of information. He held up one finger “Todoroki is a stay-at-home Dad -” he held up a second finger “- he's ranked sixty-seventh -” third finger “- he inherited Endeavour Hero Agency-”

“Todoroki Hero Agency” corrected Rei while looking at his book over Hana’s shoulder. “He renamed it when he became its owner.”

Sero frowned. “There's that too. You talk about Endeavour like he's … fun or something? I mean, no offense Todoroki, but your Dad isn’t the funkiest hero around.”

The three Todorokis replied at the same time “None taken” before looking at each other in confusion. Todoroki pinched his nose bridge, red and white strands of hair falling before his closed eyes, and sighed. “Explain.”

Hiro turned to face him, eyeing him carefully, as if he wanted to assess him by just looking. “There's not much to say. You inherited his agency, renamed it. When Touya was born, you decided you’d rather spend your time with him than at a desk or running after villains. Our birth only strengthened your decision. Of course from time to time, you would be called to deal with a specific situation where your help was very much needed, and when we started going to school, you had more time to focus on your agency’s issues during day time. But you’ve been the one in charge of our education growing up, whether it was organising playdates, getting to develop our quirks, shielding us from the excessive attention we had from the media - all of that.”

Todoroki opened his eyes, and he glared into nothingness, his expression dark and hollow. “So none of it was of any use in the end” he stated softly. “UA, the provisional exam, the time spent with that man trying to become a hero stronger than anyone … it was all pointless.”

“That's not true.” Rei’s voice was colder than it had ever been so far. He stared at Todoroki, blue eyes suddenly piercing. “You were and are a strong and respected hero. Your rank doesn’t reflect your power, it is a mix of many different data - including your activity in the streets and on missions. Your record is excellent, but you don’t intervene enough for it to have a boosting impact on your rank. Plus you and Mother being heroes of influence, you have made many enemies, and were it not for you we might have ended up in dangerous situations. When Touya was abducted it hasn’t been easy for-”

“What?” Todoroki’s head snapped back up, his eyes wide. “Touya? Your older brother? He was abducted?”

Hiro nodded. “We were four and Touya was six. A group of villain joined forces in hopes that they would be able to blackmail you and Mother into compromising both your agency and hers. After all, Todoroki is a big name. They were supposed to take both him and Miho-chan from their school, but she was sick that day and had stayed at her home. The moment you heard, you rushed in and got him back before they could take him any further than the school’s neighbourhood, before the police or any hero had even time to react.”

Hiro snickered and gave Todoroki an evil smile. “And by the time they made it to the place where you had met with them, Touya and you were home, and the villains were all long dead.”

Eijirou’s mouth fell slightly open, and he exchanged an awkward look with Midoriya and Tsuyu. Bakugou’s voice echoed in his mind, repeating what he had blared over lunch. That dude is just out of fucks to give. Don’t tell me he wouldn’t be the first one to fucking murder the guy who would be ballsy enough to try and give shit to Chip and Dale .

“Er - why does the vibe feel completely different than when Baku- Kenta-kun was telling us about Uraraka-san” commented Sero with an uneasy laugh.

Rei giggled and Hana smacked the back of his head. “Don’t laugh at other people’s death you idiots, it's bad luck” she scolded him, before she let out a long angry sigh. “Geez, see it’s because of things like this that you two have no friends. I don’t even want to imagine what your mother would say if she saw you laugh like that.”

The twins looked at each other and winced.

“Wait - so Yaomomo has her own agency?” Mina was sitting up straight now, her eyes glistening with excitement. “Is she not working with Todoroki-kun? Did she inherit too? Is she a famous hero? What’s her rank? And wait - no but please wait- ” she held up her hands in front of her as if she wanted to stop a marching train. “How did she and Todoroki get married? And how did she end up being the working parent? And what kind of parent is she - ooooh I bet she must be that super organised parent, the kind that always has everything her child needs you know?”

“Yeah, like the one that never gets surprised by the rain, or that always has a snack for her kid” continued Sero eagerly.

Eijirou laughed and added “Or the kind that is always perfectly dressed and neat, like perfect hair, perfect dress, perfectly perfect kids.” Mina laughed out loud and laid back down. “I can picture them so well! The annoyingly perfect parents with their annoyingly perfect kids! I bet all the moms at school must have been drooling on Todoroki-kun as well.”

“It must be hard to not be jealous of Yaomomo if she is married to someone so helpful, kiro” chuckled Tsuyu.

“I bet they all had piano and violin lessons too, and that she never missed a single one of their recitals - oh, do you think they are tea addicts like Yaomomo?” Kaminari joined them, staring at Kenta’s hands, his brows furrowed in focus.

“You bet they are” snorted Hana. “They have a different tea set for each tea, and may the Gods have mercy on your soul if you tell them that you drink yours in a mug.”

“You just have no respect for tradition and the right way of things now do you” asked Hiro looking like he just realised she was a lost cause, his brother shaking slowly his head in defeat.

Hana put her book down and threw her hands in the air like she was surrendering. “Well excuse me if I don’t wear a kimono every time I have a tea ceremony - because believe it or not but not everyone actually has weekly tea ceremony practice.”

“A tea ceremony is a traditional and cultural activity that teaches humility, patience and hard-work” recited Hiro as if they had already had this conversation countless time before.

“Shut up Hiro-kun, you don’t even know how to use a hover, so don’t start babbling about hard-work” she snapped back, and Midoriya and Kaminari both tried without much success to repress giggles.

Hiro snorted. “Why would I need to know how to use a hover? That’s what maids and butlers are for, aren’t they?”

“And that , is the second reason why you two have no friends” chuckled Kenta while they all gave in and bursted into laughters. Even Todoroki cracked a smile, his features finally relaxing.

“Stop changing the subject!” yelled Mina over the collective hilarity, jumping to her feet. “I want answers! I wanna have the confirmation that Yaomomo is the best mother ever!”

Rei grinned and cocked his head to the side. “We can’t answer all your questions, we still need to be careful over the information we are giving you. If we tell you something we shouldn’t, we might change the course of time and the future with it, and frankly, as much as I appreciate your company, I’d very much like to go back to my house. The room we were given is way too small, and the floor is killing my feet.”

Hana rolled her eyes exaggeratedly and Mina clapped her hands, looking like she meant business. “Alright, alright.” She narrowed her eyes and thought about it for a second, sat back down and asked with a new sparkle in her eyes. “Okay, here goes: when did Yaomomo and Todoroki-kun started dating?”

Rei chuckled and Hiro deadpanned “Next.” Mina frowned. “But it was an easy one!” The twins shrugged and Hiro repeated “Next.”

They were all listening now. Sero had put his legs down on the floor and was leaning on his elbows, Midoriya and Tsuyu were smiling and paying close attention, Kaminari wasn’t looking at his game anymore and Todoroki was slightly leaning towards, his mismatched eyes going from Mina to the twins. “Fine” groaned Mina begrudgingly. “How about this one then: how did they get married?”

The twins looked at each other, puzzled. “What do you mean how did they get married?” asked Rei.

“When did it happen, how did the families react, who was and wasn’t invited, what went wrong - the gossip Rei-kun, the gossip!” she explained frantically, waving her arms around.

The twins stayed quiet for a couple of second, thinking, then Hiro begun slowly “ Well, we can’t tell you exactly when they got married … but they were fairly young.” He made an annoyed movement with his hand like he was chasing a fly. “Our grandparents on Mother’s side weren’t happy with her and Father dating - not her choice, they were actually delighted when she brought him in, but rather the fact that their relationship was dragging on. They didn’t think it was fit for the heir of the Yaoyorozu family to engage in something that seemed a little bit more uncertain to soon result in a wedding with every passing day. So they uh -” he scratched his ear and glanced at Todoroki, slightly embarrassed. “They kinda uh … let … people understand that uh … that she was open to proposals from other families? Kinda?”

Rei giggled. “Father did not like that. Within the first two weeks, Mother had already had six proposals from very wealthy families that her parents were seriously considering, and he tracked down each and every single suitors. We still don’t know what he did or what he said - even Mother doesn’t know - but they never contacted the Yaoyorozu family afterwards.” He begun to snicker but stopped himself when he saw the warning look Hana shot him.

Hiro leaned back lazily against the wall. “But well, I guess he realised he couldn’t just scare away all the suitors in Asia so-”

“Well he could have” interrupted Rei “but that would have been very time consuming.”

“Exactly. So then he proposed, and they had a traditional wedding. I don’t remember that they were that many people from watching their wedding tape, only a few hundred.”

Eijirou laughed nervously and shook his head. “Only a few hundred he says ...”

“There was an incident -” added Rei, but before he could finish his brother elbowed him and frowned, shutting him up.

“What? What incident? What happened?” asked Mina eagerly.

“Next.” She growled and threw her hands in the air. “ You are impossible! I wanna know!” She pouted and sighed. “Alright then. Is she the owner of her agency?”

The twins suddenly seemed to swell with pride as they both beamed. “Yeah, she founded the Creati Hero Agency shortly after her wedding” confirmed Hiro smuggly. “Of course, as expected of someone like Mother, it immediately had a great success, as she was mainly hiring young promising heroes. Her strength lied in the fact that she always chose her employees not according to where they studied or what their references were, but to the amount of work they were willing to put in in order to become helpful and functioning members of the agency. Her agency was awarded the Best Jeanist price three years in a row for Best Workplace Environment, and it has been elected ‘Most hiring and profitable to the Japanese economy Hero Agency in the country’ for the past four years.”

“Of course the fact that she was the heir to the Yaoyorozu family and the new In-law to the Todoroki family helped a lot getting the support she needed” added Rei with a very self-sufficient look on his face. “And after a while, she looked for a partner to run the agency with her and settled on Grou-” Hiro elbowed him again, hard this time. Rei coughed and continued “- on - on - on someone who could uh - who could balance her very dynamic work at the desk with very dynamic work in the city’s street, and provide her agency with results that were as impressive as hers were administratively.”

“Who did she choose?” asked Mina, but Eijirou already knew what the twins were going to answer. “Next.”

“What is her rank?” Mina, who had opened her mouth to protest, turned to Todoroki when he spoke, her eyes glistening again. “Todoroki-kun, are you interested?”

He looked at her and hesitated before carefully replying “Well, she is a very capable hero and a leader in becoming, she just … lacks the confidence sometimes. It is good to hear that she has managed to overcome these obstacles in the future. Even if she has been avoiding me since yesterday” he added under his breath. He turned to Rei and stayed silent, waiting for an answer.

“She is ranked eighth” the white-haired boy replied with a soft and proud smile. “Creati, the Leader of All Heroes. People come from all over Asia to ask for her advices you know. She’s part of The Strong Twelve too.”

“You mentioned that yesterday” remembered Kaminari. “What’s that, The Strong Twelve?”

“It’s a group of heroes from different ranks who, when put together, can defeat any threat” said Hana. “The group was created not long ago after your generation graduated in order to fill in the hole that All Might had left when he retired. The Japanese Government had decided that relying on one sole individual was too much of a risk in the end, seeing how it all went downwards when he stepped down. Governments from all over the world ask for their services when faced with a national security issue.” She held out her fingers and started counting. “Namely in this group there is Deku, the Bakugous, the Todorokis, my father, Gale Force, Froppy, and uh - argh, I can’t remember the other names!” She threw her hands in the air the way Mina had done it just a few moments ago, making Eijirou giggle. “Kenta-kun, what are the others?”

“Ask the twins” Kenta replied, still very much absorbed by his game.

“I’m asking you, you’re the nerd of our group.”

“Maybe calling someone nerd when you need them isn’t your smartest move you know. HA!” he grinned a very Bakugou-like victorious smile and held his fists above his head. “I win! You suck Kaminari!”

Todoroki ignored the small commotion that happened on the bed as Kaminari contested his defeat and turned to Hiro. “Did she not mind when I left everything in her care to stay at home? Yaoyorozu-san” he precised when the boy cocked his head to the side, questioning.

“Ah. Not that I know of. You and Mother have found an excellent balance when it comes to our education. And as for us …” He turned to look at Rei as both he, Hana and Kenta faced Mina, Sero and Kaminari in a heated argument over who the real winner was. “Well I think we can safely say we had the happiest childhood we could have ever dreamt of. You were always by our side, making sure we weren’t lacking a thing, providing us with all the love and care we could have asked for. We would have been very spoiled if Mother hadn’t been there to rein you in.” Hiro chuckled at some inner joke or some memory.

He turned to look back at Todoroki with gentle grey eyes. “Everything you have ever done, you have done for us. You probably don’t understand what it means yet, and you must be thinking that it is a … questionable choice, to give up on a career as a pro hero after graduating from UA, but … I just can’t imagine how our lives would have been if you had not been with us.”

“That’s hella manly dude” Eijirou grinned at Todoroki, feeling oddly proud. The boy who didn’t care about anyone but himself, who didn’t even want to talk to any of them at the beginning of their first year. What a fine man he would become. Midoriya put a gentle hand on Todoroki’s shoulder.

“You know, I have a father who spent his entire life working and … well, it’s kinda embarrassing to say, but sometimes - sometimes I don’t even remember what his features looks like, or what his voice sounds like. Sometimes it feels like, if he disappeared, it would still be the same. So don’t feel bad for having a future where your children are your top priority, because that is something a lot of people would sacrifice anything for.” He gave his shoulder a soft squeeze and let go with a bittersweet smile.

Todoroki looked at the boy with an oddly tortured expression. “Am I that good of a father?”

“Yes.” Hiro didn’t even hesitate, his voice full of unshakable certainty.

“What about Endeavour?”

“What about him?”

“Is he … is he alive?”

Hiro hesitated. “Yeah he is, he’s just … you know. Retired.” There wasn’t need to explain any further; Eijirou could easily guess what the reason was. After all, as the Number One Hero, he had already been ferociously attacked multiple times and had almost died. Perhaps he had suffered an injury that had forced him to step down, just like All Might.

“Did he change that much?” Eijirou asked, bowing to avoid a pillow Sero had thrown. “Over lunch today, Rei-kun said that he was surprised because when you met him yesterday he wasn’t telling any jokes or laughing and stuff.”

Todoroki raised his eyebrows, incredulous, as Hiro furrowed his. “Yeah, that was odd. He was so stern and serious.”

“Hold on.” Todoroki raised one hand and closed his eyes, as if he was trying to make sense of something intricate. “Are you saying you have been frequently in contact with him? As in … when you were children, for example?”

Hiro shrugged. “Yeah sure.” Todoroki’s eyes flashed open, and all colours left his face. “But er - we would only visit him one day, once every two weeks” continued the redhead, taken aback by the evident shock on his father’s face. “Plus you would always stay with us, no matter where he took us, no matter how many times he would tell you he could take care of us. We always had lots of fun, he’s a cool Grandad.”

Todoroki took a sharp breath, his face back to his usual expressionless mask. “Why? Is there something we should know?” The two Todorokis looked at each other in silence, and, much to Eijirou, Tsuyu and Midoriya’s surprise, Todoroki slowly lifted his hand and gently patted the boy on his head with a hesitant smile. “Nothing. Nothing at all.”

Todoroki then quickly withdrew his hand and looked away, leaving Hiro slightly puzzled. “Er - okay.”

“Hey, where’s Bakugou?” asked Sero, frowning at his watch. “He should have already come back by now, we’ve passed curfew half an hour ago.”

“Maybe he’s in bed?” suggested Tsuyu, a finger on her chin.

“If he was in bed he would have blown up the door to tell us to make less noise” replied Midoriya with a soft laughter.

“Mmh, pretty sure he would have phrased that much more bluntly. But yeah, it's weird.” Eijirou crossed his arms and looked outside the window. The storm had calmed down now, but it was still raining. “Maybe he tried training under the rain? Water and cold are kind of his quirk’s weakness.”

“Didn’t he say he wanted to teach someone a lesson?” Kaminari reminded them absentmindedly, watching Kenta carefully as he held a boxing glove above his head.

Todoroki shrugged. “Maybe he picked a fight with the wrong person.”

Eijirou sighed. Now that sounded like Bakugou alright. Oh well, even if it was really the case, he knew there was nothing he could do to stop him right now. All he hoped was that he wasn't going to do anything reckless and get himself in trouble again. He was a big boy, he could at least do that.

No, Eijirou realised with a grimace, no he couldn’t. Every single time he had taken his eyes off of the explosive boy, he had found a way to put himself in a tricky situation. He toyed with one of his horns with the tip of his finger. Well, there still wasn’t anything he could do. If he had fought with someone, he just hoped he would have been smart enough to hide this time, and prayed Aizawa-sensei wouldn’t find out.

“Who wants to take bets on what he’s up to?” suggested Sero with a grin.

Mina jumped on Eijirou’s bed, her skirt revealing her underwear (bright yellow, Eijirou noted with a happy thump of his heart) and gasped with excitement. “Are we doing the Bakubets? Are we?”

“I think we are” replied Eijirou before he stood up, arms wide opened like the host of a TV show. “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the 48th edition of - drumroll please - The Bakubets!”

Kaminari, Sero and Mina cheered and laughed under the surprised and amused eyes of the other students in the room. “The Bakubets?” Kenta frowned, not looking very amused. “What’s that?”

“Well please, allow me to answer.” Sero loudly cleared his throat, one hand in his back and the other one holding his chin. “ The Bakubets, young man, are a challenge of extreme sensitivity. It is a confrontation of intelligence, logic, a pinch of folly, a dash of imagination, and a great deal of explosions and swear words.”

Tsuyu and Mina laughed, and Midoriya slammed playfully his fist in his palm. “That does sound like Kacchan!”

“It sure does young Midoriya. Now the aim of the game, is to try to guess as accurately as possible what Bakugou is doing, where, when, and what the consequences will be for him. We all get only one guess, and the winner gets to claim the title of Bakugod until the next edition of the Bakubets.”

“Bakugod?” repeated Kenta with a bewildered smile. “Does Dad know you are doing that?”

“All Might save us if he learns about it one day” replied Mina with a grimace before she clapped her hands together. “Alright, who wants to start?”

“Me! Me!” Hana jumped on her feet, beaming excitedly. “Mmmmh … right, I bet … I bet he met someone who needed help and was held behind.”

Eijirou laughed out loud while Kaminari, Mina, Sero and Todoroki all snorted loudly. Midoriya did a weird thing that oscillated between the grimace, the laughter and the shudder.

“Amateur” commented Sero with arrogance.

“It doesn’t sound very much like Bakugou-kun indeed” chuckled Tsuyu. She got up on her feet and thought about it for a moment, her finger on her chin. “I bet … I bet he went to train for the Sports Festival at Gym Gamma, forgot about the time and stayed too long, got into a fight with the janitor when he tried to kick him out and ended up in Aizawa-sensei’s office where he is being scolded, kiro.”

“Ah, interesting! As ever, your reasoning is almost perfect” Kaminari praised her, making the cute froggy girl giggle before she sat down.

“Almost, though” Eijirou pointed out with a grin, showing his sharp teeth. “Bakugou knows the closing hours of Gym Gamma like the back of his hand and always puts an alarm so he has time to go to the showers before he heads back to the dorms.”

“You know him so well Kirishima-kun!” said Mina with a fake, overly impressed tone.

He winked at her, very pleased by the blush covering her cheeks when he did so. “I’m good like that.”

“My turn!” Kaminari stood up, rubbing his hands together with a self-confident smile. “Alright, here goes. I bet, that he found a confession letter in his locker, and that he-” He was interrupted by multiple cries of disgust and laughter, forcing him to raise his voice “-and that he is now with a girl, who is-” The cries became even louder, and Mina and Kenta went as far as blocking their ears with their hands while Midoriya, Rei and Sero were laughing so hard they were either holding their sides or crying “-who is telling him that she has been secretly in love with him since she saw him on the podium of the Sports Festival last year-” Eijirou was laughing so much, he let himself fall on his side and on the ground, and in front of him, Todoroki was shaking with a silent laughter “-AND WHO IS NOW KISSING HIM PASSIONATELY-”

“Oh for the love of all that is sacred and holy, shut up!” Mina threw a pillow at him, and it crashed flat onto his face, sending him tumbling backwards. “Why would you say such disgusting things! Bakugou and a girl - uh!” she shuddered from head to toe and Kenta nodded vigorously. It took them five solid minutes to stop laughing and dry their tears before Rei stood up and cleared his throat, still laughing.

“Alright, I - ahaha - I bet - uh” he wiped one last tear from his eyes and took a deep breath. “Right. I bet that … he is … man I don’t know - I bet he was thinking so hard about crushing everyone and being the best on his way back to the dorm that he got lost in the corridors and now he is wandering alone in the campus.”

“And no one can hear his cries for help, because tonight is a full moon, and it is the night a portal opens towards another dimension where everything he knows and holds dear has been turned to ash and dust, but their wailing ghosts still haunt him wherever he goes” added Hiro with a dark smile.

“Sometimes he can hear a voice in the dark calling ‘Daddy, Daddy save me!’ but whenever he tries to find out who is calling and where does the voice come from, there is nothing but emptiness” continued Rei, looking at his brother with a matching expression.

“And eventually, the Lord of this Realm will come for him and suck his soul out of his body, and he will live the rest of eternity in the limbos, screaming at the next person who will have wandered alone in the corridors on a full moon night” concluded Hiro.

There was a shocked silence for two very long seconds, and they all bursted into laughter at the crazy scenario.

“Wow, I don’t even know what to say” commented Sero, raising his voice above the collective hilarity. “I mean you guys can only be right, Bakugou must have been thrown into another dimension. That sounds like the only logical explanation. Why didn’t I think about it sooner?”

“Even if - if Bakugou had been - if he had been abducted - by aliens and ghosts -” Eijirou tried to speak despite his uncontrollable laughter shaking him “-they wouldn’t - they wouldn’t even want him - he would scare the shit out of them - they would send him back from - wherever he came from!”

“Imagine, the boss of the dimension would be like ‘What the hell is this, who brought this dude? I bet it's the new intern ghost, that stupid Bob!’ and then Bakugou would be like ‘HA? TELL THAT TO MY FUCKING FACE YOU DIPSHIT!’” Kaminari took the same pose Bakugou usually had when he was threatening to start his explosions, and his impression of him was so good Eijirou couldn’t help but roar in laughter again.

“That's him! That's exactly him!”

“WHATCHA LOOKIN’ AT TAPE FACE? I’LL KILL YOU! DIIIIIIIIIIIE! POPOPOPOW CRACK CRICROUCRACK” He held his hands before him and pretended to be making explosions in his palms.

Mina was shrieking in laughter and pressing both her hands between her legs, as if she was trying not to wet herself, and Tsuyu was lying down on her back, trying to calm herself down and catch her breath.

“Alright calm down, we have to finish this before Bakugou comes back!” yelled Sero, and they all made an inhuman effort to chill a little. “Midoriya, you're up.”

Midoriya wiped his tears from the corner of his eyes, still shaking in laughter. “I bet … I bet Kacchan went to train and met with … uh … I don’t know, uh …”

“With Mineta-kun” suggested Mina in a high pitched shaky voice.

“Yeah right, he met with Mineta, and uh … and they started training, and then - uh, I don’t know - then Kacchan started to use his quirk on Mineta, and Mineta couldn’t keep up, so Kacchan took advantage of that and tried to push him into a corner, and when Mineta told him the teachers will find them Kacchan told him they wouldn’t do anything to protect him, and he blasted his explosion in his face and -”

“Midoriya, sit down” said Sero half laughing half concerned.

“Still got some old demons to exorcise haven’t we” said Kaminari while Tsuyu gently patted his back.

“Sorry, I think I got carried away” apologised Midoriya with a sheepish laughter.

“Okay, here I go!” Mina jumped to her feet in a fighting stance. “I Bakubet, that Bakugou Katsuki is, at the moment, stuck in an embarrassing situation - oh I know, he got out of the shower from Gym Gamma and realised he didn’t take his change of clothes! And now he is naked and is too embarrassed to call for help, so he is waiting for someone to arrive in order to steal their clothes and come back to the dorms.”

“Ashido-san why does Bakugou always have to be naked in your bets?” asked Kaminari, shaking his head and pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Because of them abs , Kaminari-kun!” she replied, making them all either laugh, grimace or in Tsuyu and Hana’s case blush.

Eijirou laughed, but still felt his pride wince a little with jealousy. He had to admit it, Bakugou was really well built. He could easily understand how any girl or boy could feel attracted to a body like that, and although Eijirou himself wasn’t half bad either in this department, he still felt slightly annoyed by the fact that Mina would be the one to voice it out loud. Remembering how easily she had gotten him wrapped around her little finger with one kiss and two caresses, he couldn't help but wonder: if she felt like it, would she try the same thing with Bakugou? Touch him the same way she touched Eijirou, kiss him the same, and whisper his name instead of Eijirou’s?

Two fingers snapped in front of him, bringing him back on Earth. He rose quickly to his feet and racked his brain to find something to say.

“Okay, so - er - I bet that Bakugou is -” What would Bakugou do? Why would he be late for his ever so precious bedtime? “I bet that he - he followed someone after his training thinking it was Midoriya to yell at him, and when he saw him the guy got scared and started running away until he reached the other side of the campus. And then Bakugou realised he wasn't Midoriya, so he still insulted him but got caught by a teacher and earned an extensive scolding for following a student and showing aggressive and inappropriate behaviour on school grounds.”

Hana raised an impressed eyebrow. “Not bad, not bad!” she admitted, slow clapping.

“What’s the deal between Dad and Uncle Deku?” asked Kenta, cocking his head to the side.

“That, kiddo, is the one question to which you do not wish to have an answer” assured Sero with a gentle tap on his shoulder. “You’re up Bakugou! Make your Bakubet!”

Kenta rolled his eyes at the name and stood up, slightly slouched, burying his hands in his pockets, cheeks growing a little bit redder by the second.

“Er …” He scratched the back of his head with a small smile. “I don’t really know to be honest … Maybe he uh - maybe he got struck by lightning and is now waiting for the rain to cool him down before he comes back here?” he offered, triggering yet again another fit of laughter.

“What the hell? What on Earth is wrong with you kids?” said Kaminari before pointing an accusatory finger at Kenta, Rei and Hiro. “You three have spent way too much time watching movies and playing video game!”

“Todoroki, your turn! Please don’t give us a weird story like your kids, I implore you” asked Sero, bowing, with his hands clasped together before him.

“Mmh.” Todoroki got up, eyes slightly narrowed, holding his chin as he thought about his theory. “I bet - he has picked up a fight with Uraraka-san and she has beaten him so hard he is too weak to come back to the dorms and is therefore still limping somewhere across the campus.” He raised his head and looked at Eijirou, a thin smile on his lips. “This is fun.”

“It is fun indeed, but you’re all entirely wrong” declared Sero, finally getting up. “He clearly got caught by Midnight while he was French kissing his own reflection in the lockers’ mirrors, and is now having a very much detailed sexual education lesson involving Sensei’s big squishy boobs, a carrot and a harness.”

“Ew, Sero-kun gross!” laughed Mina, throwing another pillow in his face.

“So what now?” asked Midoriya with an excited smile.

“Now we wait until he arrives, and the one who was the closest to the truth gets to be called the Bakugod” replied Kaminari with a confident grin “but it pains me to think of your faces when you’ll realise my confession theory has beaten your pathetic bets.”

“I am a little worried though” said Tsuyu, looking at the wide open door “Now that you have mentioned her Todoroki-kun, Ochako still hasn’t come back.”

“Yeah that's true.” Midoriya followed her gaze, before he pat her back and smiled. “But don’t worry. I am sure she is fine. Ah I know ! She must have stayed in the common area to practice activating her quirk on herself! We could go downstairs and check if you'd like?”

Before Tsuyu had a chance to reply, there was a loud thump against the wall near the door, followed by a loud deep groan - a sound that they all knew too well.

“Speak of the devil” muttered Todoroki.

“Oi Bakugou! Bring your ass in here!” yelled Sero, rubbing his hands together with anticipation.

Bakugou appeared in the gateway for half a second before he crashed brutally onto the door, losing his balance and gripping the handle and the side of the wooden door to keep himself from slumping to the ground. For five long, numbing seconds, they all froze and took in the state he was in.

He was drenched in rain and covered in mud from head to toe, his clothes dripping water and dirt onto Eijirou’s floor, and his usually unruly hair fell and clung to his face. White as a sheet, his right eye was bloodshot and wide open, red pupil reduced to a point, and his left brow had an ugly cut that had bled so much the entire left side of his face was red. His left eye was puffy, red and purple and almost closed, his lips were crackled, bloodied and blue, and his chin was trembling, making his teeth rattle loudly, blood dripping from his bruised nose. If his cheek had been in a bad state in the morning, now it was just alarming - bruised and scratched and swollen, the dark purple shade it had taken was even more visible against his white skin. His arms and hands were swollen, burnt, scratched and blistered, and the blood seemed to have stop running to his fingers.

He stared at them like a wounded wild beast would, panting and wheezing and groaning, shaking like a leaf. He winced and let out a ragged growl as his legs gave in under him and he fell onto the floor, holding his left knee with his right hand, left hand still clutching the door handle.

The guttural sound escaping his throat woke them up.

“Bakugou!” roared Eijirou, jumping to his feet and rushing towards his friend.

“Dad!” Kenta was already by his side, his face as white as his father’s, eyes wide in panic and horror. “Dad, what happened?!”

“Kacchan!” Midoriya grabbed him by the arm, trying to lift him up, but he slipped from his grip and fell back with a pained and loud grunt. More than anything, the fact that he didn’t recoil from Midoriya’s touch and didn’t insult him at all increased Eijirou’s alarm.

“Dude, what's wrong, what happened?” he tried to ask as calmly as he could. He could hear the others gathered around them speak all together, making it impossible to single out their voices. Bakugou just stared at him, a white hot emotion in his opened eye clouding everything else.

“He’s freezing!” exclaimed Midoriya, touching his arm carefully this time rather than holding it. Again, Bakugou’s lack of reaction to Midoriya examining his arm and taking his pulse scared Eijirou more than his wounds.

“I’m gonna go get Aizawa-sensei” said Kaminari, heading for the exit. But before he could pass the door, Bakugou pushed Midoriya out of his way and grabbed Kaminari by the ankle, making him trip and fall on all four. He didn’t talk, he simply just glared at the blond with a mad look.

“We can’t get Aizawa-sensei” realised Midoriya, scrambling to his knees and scanning the expression on Bakugou’s face. “Both I and Kacchan have already been suspended for fighting, if he hears he will expel him.”

“What if he wasn’t fighting?” snapped Kenta in a loud voice. He sounded and looked much more like Bakugou, staring at Midoriya with an angry scowl. “What if he was attacked?”

Eijirou put a hand on Bakugou’s shoulder. “You don’t need to answer, just nod -” he slowly nodded as an example “- or shake your head -” he shook his head as well “- to say yes or no, alright?” Bakugou didn’t react, just kept wheezing painfully and glaring at Eijirou. “Were you attacked? Did someone - a villain - attack you?”

Bakugou stayed still a moment, a violent shudder shaking him from head to toe, before he quickly shook his head - a small, nervous movement. Eijirou nodded. “Did you get into a fight?” Bakugou pursed his lips and showed his gritted teeth, and Eijirou could guess he was annoyed. He nodded. “Can you move?” Bakugou tried to get get on his feet, but he was still on the floor and already struggling so much, Eijirou put his other hand on his shoulder. “It's fine, it's fine just - stay still.”

He turned to his friends, looking for help. He had no idea what was he supposed to do. He needed medical care, but it was too late to go to Recovery Girl’s office, and they couldn’t call Aizawa-sensei.

“Maybe we should get him in bed?” was suggesting Hana.

“He is soaking wet, we can’t just drop him there” Rei pointed out.

“Should I go get Iida then?” said Kaminari, back on his feet. “He is the class rep after all.”

Mina shook her head. “He won’t keep this from Aizawa. He will worry about Bakugou and prioritise his health to his scholarship. Last time he and Midoriya-kun were under house arrest he was pretty harsh with them. He could even tell him he deserved to be expelled.”

“What about Momo-chan?” Tsuyu tried to take a better look at Bakugou. “He needs crutches and a brace for his leg, as well as medical attention. She can create the first, and I am sure she has the rest. She will definitely know what to do, kiro.”

“Yeah, I think we can trust her” agreed Midoriya.

“I’ll go get her” said Todoroki in a quiet voice, passing before Kaminari and disappearing in the hallway.

Eijirou kneeled before his best friend and eyed him carefully, racking his brain to find something more to do for him until Yaomomo arrived.

“Maybe you should slap him” suggested Sero very seriously. “He might snap out of it.”

“If we’re doing that I volunteer to be the administrator of that slap” replied Kaminari, raising his hand with a wide grin.

“Guys, it's serious come on.” She might always be the one up for fun, but right now Mina looked severe and concerned. She opened one of Eijirou’s closet and pulled out a thick winter blanket before she headed towards Bakugou and wrapped him in it. He shot her a deadly glare, but still let go of the door handle and clutched the blanket with both hands.

“Don’t look at me like that, you’re as cold as ice” she scolded him.

“I can try to warm him” said Hiro, a flame already burning around his right hand.

Hana smacked the back of his head. “Turn that off you moron, you’re going to trigger the fire alarm.”

“What do you even plan to do with your flame, burn him?” added his twin.

Hiro shrugged, annoyed. “I offer you solutions and you offer even more problems” he mumbled, sulking.

Todoroki reappeared in the door frame, followed by Yaomomo. Her cheeks were flushed, but the moment she set eyes on Bakugou there was nothing but resolve and alarm in her expression, pink cheeks or not.

“How long has he been like that?” she asked, kneeling between Midoriya and Eijirou. “When did he arrive here? Does anyone know what happened to him?”

“The moment he arrived we sent Todoroki to get you” answered Midoriya while she put her hands on Bakugou’s forehead, his neck, his hands.

“We don’t know what happened, he just appeared like that, out of nowhere!” said Kenta, panic filling his voice.

“Well not out of nowhere, obviously from outside” she noted as she forced him to let go of the blanket to revealed his drenched, muddy clothes.

“He got into a fight, but we don’t really know with whom” added Eijirou as she held Bakugou’s chin and took a closer look at his face.

She stayed silent for a moment, and suddenly she got up and started taking off her clothes, starting with her sweater and now her tank top.

“Wow Y-Ya-Yaomomo what are you doing?!” shrieked Sero before he quickly turned around, turning the twins and Kenta as well.

Eijirou turned sharply his head to the side, blushing, and saw Kaminari still gawking at her with a surprised smile - before the smile turned to an odd, slightly frightened expression when his gaze shifted from where Yaomomo was standing to where the door frame was - and Todoroki as well. Begrudgingly, he turned his head towards Eijirou.

“You’re unbelievable” he muttered to the sulking blond.

“I need to create a couple of things” she replied to Sero’s original question “and I need bare skin to do that.”

Eijirou watched Kaminari’s face illuminate and match the flush he was himself feeling spread on his already warm cheeks. A few seconds later fell on the floor bandages, gauze, plasters, a thick emergency blanket, a brace, two clutches. and two thick, big and fluffy red towels.

“Kirishima-san, do you have some disinfecting spray?” she asked as she grabbed her sweater. Assuming it was safe to look up, he met her eyes and nodded before he got on his feet and went through his pharmacy drawer. He grabbed the thin bottle and came back to her. “Keep it for now, we need to get him under some hot water first.” She turned to the rest of the room with her hands on her hips. “Midoriya-san, please go to the showers, get the water running and fill one of the tubs at mild temperature - not hot. Todoroki-san and Kirishima-san, I am going to need your help to take him down to the showers. The rest of you, please go immediately to your rooms.”

“What?” protested Mina as Midoriya dashed outside of the room. “We can’t just go back like nothing’s happening, he’s our friend too!”

“I know, but right now there is nothing more any of you can do. As a matter of fact, your presence will only make it more difficult for us to move around and it will attract attention, and from what Todoroki-san told me it’s something you wish to avoid, correct?”

Mina opened her mouth then closed it, frustrated. “Please Sero-san, Kaminari-san, take the boys to their rooms. Tsuyu-chan and Mina-chan, take Hana-chan to hers.”

Mina sighed and Tsuyu nodded. “We’ll leave it to you then kiro. Just keep us informed, alright? Bakugou-kun, get well soon kiro.” She took Mina and Hana by the elbow and gently pushed them towards the exit.

Kaminari and Sero hesitated and exchanged a glance, then they followed the two pink girls, nodding awkwardly towards Bakugou. The twins followed as well, emptying the room. But Kenta didn’t move an inch.

“I’m not going anywhere” he growled between his teeth, red eyes glowing.

Eijirou and Todoroki both grabbed Bakugou by an arm and lifted him. He grunted loudly and winced when his left feet touched the floor. Worry flashed on Kenta’s face and he took a quick step forward, arms held up as if he was ready to catch him if he fell.

“Kenta-kun.” Yaomomo put her hand on his shoulder, her eyes gentle but her voice firm. “I understand your worry, truly, I do, but you cannot stay. We need to take care of him, and you need to follow my direct orders. You wish to become a hero, don’t you? Well sometimes being a hero means leaving things to others, because they can take care of them better than you. I ask you to trust me.”

Kenta shook her hand off. “You can’t force me to stay in my room!” he all but snarled, and in that very moment he just looked like a brown-haired version of Bakugou. “I wanna help, I’m his son, I should be the one holding him and-”

Bakugou slid his arm off of Eijirou’s shoulders and, glaring at Kenta, he held his own shaking hand before him and tried to release an explosion. But his hand just let out a weak puff and a little bit of smoke. His entire arm convulsed violently and he found himself bent over it, grumbling loudly in pain.

“Dad!” Kenta rushed to his side, but the moment he was within Bakugou’s reach, he was grabbed by the shoulder and roughly pushed outside of the room. He turned around, staring at Bakugou in confusion, but the latter was glowering at him in a way that made it very clear he did not want him there. As much as Eijirou knew his friend didn’t want to care about the boy, he also knew Bakugou’s pride would definitely not allow him to let Kenta see him in such a weak state. He already knew for sure they were all going to suffer his fury the moment he snapped out of whatever it was he was having.

“Kenta, I think you should go.” Eijirou looked at the angry boy, who seemed like he was about to cry. “I promise you I’ll come back to you as soon as we are done with him, okay?”

Kenta stared at him, mad with worry, shifted his gaze to his wheezing and growling father, and then turned around and left. A couple of second later, they heard a door slam loudly.

“So much for discretion” mumbled Todoroki.

“Come on, let’s get him downstairs” said Yaomomo. Eijirou grabbed once more Bakugou’s arm, flinching at how cold it was, and put it on his shoulders.

“It’s fine buddy, we got you know” he tried to reassure Bakugou, before telling himself he was going to get yelled at for thinking he needed them in the first place. Yet when nothing followed, he felt his heart clench once more with fear for his pal. What the hell happened to him?

“Bakugou, I need to ask you something” said Todoroki when they came out of the elevator and headed for the showers. “Did Uraraka-san do that to you?”

“Dude!” Eijirou stared at Todoroki, not believing his ears. “Really? Right now?”

Todoroki shrugged. “Seems as good as any other moment to me.”

“Wha- well no, it’s not!” he frowned at his classmate in disapproval. Yaomomo took the blanket off of Bakugou, leaving him shaking hard, teeth rattling. They entered the showers and were welcomed by the hot, steamy air of the facility. Eijirou grimaced at the humidity, but Bakugou shuddered again violently before he started gasping, eyes closed, looking ... relieved?

“Midoriya-san?” called Yaomomo, her voice echoing against the walls.

“Here!” Midoriya appeared from behind a tiled wall, where there was some newly installed baths. Before their first year had ended, the girls had gotten from Aizawa that the school added bathtubs in their showers, and the boys had been so revolted at how unfair it was that they had also been provided with eight tubs.

Midoriya guided them towards the shower he had let running. “Shouldn't we take his clothes and shoes off?” he asked, looking at his wet dirty gym clothes. Yaomomo shook her head. “Let him keep them for now. Sit him against the wall and leave him under the water for about-” she took a look at her watch “- ten minutes. It should warm him up. Only then should you take off his clothes and put him in the bathtub. Leave him in the tub for about fifteen minutes, and then-” she showed the big, fluffy towels she was holding “- take him out of the bath. I’ll go get some of his clothes in his room, and I’ll be waiting outside. Bakugou-san-” she turned to him “-do you have the key to your room on yourself?” Now that he was in the warmth, his glare seemed to have soften a little. He looked at the class rep and shook his head weakly.

“Do you know where it is?” Another nervous head shake. “I see.” She held her chin, thinking quickly, then she held her hand up, creating a replica of his key.

“Don’t you need to know what his key was like before creating it?” pointed out Todoroki.

She blushed a little when he spoke to her, and a little bit more when she admitted with embarrassment “Well … Aizawa-sensei let me take a look at every room’s key model, just in case there ever was a problem that required me to force myself into one of our classmates’ room. But he made me promise to only ever use it in case of an emergency, and I would never have used it in any other situation anyway!” she added quickly, as if she was defending herself.

“I see” answered simply Todoroki, taking Bakugou’s arm off of his shoulder. Eijirou mimicked him, and they both gently sat him down against the wall. The hot water splashing from the shower head fell on them and wet them, but it didn’t really matter seeing how Bakugou reacted to the hot water. His gasps became louder and echoed all around them, his chest rising and lowering, and he shook so hard it was almost like he was convulsing. He let his head fall against the tiles, eyes closed, mouth open, breathing heavily. “You should go then.”

Yaomomo nodded, spun around and left Eijirou, Midoriya and Todoroki staring at a now very drenched Bakugou. The mud that had clung to his clothes was now slowly leaking in brown trails, and the blood covering his face gently faded away.

“So?” Midoriya and Eijirou turned to look at Todoroki, who was looking at Bakugou. “Was it Uraraka-san?”

“Todoroki, just- just don’t” muttered Eijirou, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Who could it be though?” whispered Midoriya. “He looks … shaken.”

Eijirou sighed and shook his head. “I have no clue.”

Afterwards they didn’t talk until Eijirou’s watch bipped, signaling the end of the ten minutes. Midoriya turned off the water, leaving the shower oddly silent.

“I’ll take care of it” said Eijirou, answering the unspoken awkward question of who was going to undress Lord Explosion Murder. He leaned in and glanced at his friend. He had gained some colours back and his lips were slightly pink, but his fingers were now flushed red. His eyes were still closed, and for a second Eijirou thought he had fallen asleep. But when he put his hands on him to remove his sweater, Bakugou opened his right eye and stared at him, looking like he had taken some weird drug.

Eijirou ignored the look and took his sweater off before doing the same with the shirt. Once he was bare chest, both him and Midoriya gasped. He had bruises all over his chest, back and shoulders. Some were just swollen, others were as dark as his cheek was. They didn’t comment, and Eijirou continued his work, removing his trainers and, trying not to think about it, took off his joggers, but left him with his boxers. The back of his left knee was in a bad shape too, swollen, red and purple. Eijirou waved at Todoroki to come and help him getting him back on his feet. They headed to the bathtub, carrying a much heavier and drowsier Bakugou, and struggled to get him to sit inside. His arms were wet and slid between their hands, and he couldn’t keep his balance once he was up in it. But when he managed to sit and lay down, he closed his eyes again, looking exhausted but relieved.

“I’ll take his clothes to the laundry room.” said Midoriya quietly after a while.

“I’ll go too.” Todoroki looked at the green-haired boy pick up the wet clothes and squeeze them out of the water they were soaked in. “I don’t think I’ll be of much help for now on.”

Eijirou nodded and sat at the end of the tub as they left the room. His gaze shifted to Bakugou’s bruised body.

What the hell.

How did this happen? Who could have possibly injured him this badly? But more importantly, who could have shocked him enough to leave him in such a state? He had had worse injuries - even during their remedial lessons for the provisional exam with Todoroki, he would always come back battered and bruised, but he still seemed perfectly fine. Hell, he even faced All Might with Midoriya, and even though the Hero broke them both to the point where Bakugou fainted, he hadn’t ended up looking like he just witnessed the most traumatising thing in his entire life.

Fifteen minutes went by and Eijirou was still deep in thought next to an alarmingly quiet Bakugou. When his watch bipped again, Bakugou opened one heavy eyelid, looking as high as he possibly could, and Eijirou headed for the door. He needed Todoroki to help him get him out of the shower.

“Todoroki?” he called out when he arrived in the common area. Much to his surprise, he found the pretty boy of the class sitting with his elbows on his knees next to Yaomomo on one of the couches, both silent. She was holding a cup of tea, knees pulled up, and both were looking into each other’s eye with so much tension between them, Eijirou immediately felt like he was interrupting something. Both their heads snapped in his direction, eyes wide, and Eijirou shifted uncomfortably.

“Erm - I uh - I need you to get Bakugou out of the bathtub.”

Yaomomo blushed hard and jumped to her feet. “Ah- y-yes, yes of course! I - There are towels right here - and - tea! I - I made tea, too!” Her face grew concerned. “I should have looked it up before I told you to put him in the shower, but if he suffered from hypothermia we shouldn’t have put him under hot water. What do his extremities look like? Hands, feet?”

“Red.” She sighed and bit her lip. “That’s what I was worried about.”

Todoroki stood up and put a hand on her shoulder. “You did the best you could and thought of considering the situation. He’ll be fine. And in the morning, we’ll take him to Recovery Girl. He won’t even catch a cold.”

She looked up, still flushed and smiled a little when she met his gentle gaze, putting her hand on his.

This is so awkward , thought Eijirou, looking at the ceiling and hoping there was a way for him to quietly exit. When they didn’t move or react, he cleared his throat loudly. Yaomomo jumped again and let go of Todoroki, who was now glaring and frowning at him. With a sigh, he left the common area and followed Eijirou back to the showers, towels under his arm.

They struggled even more to get him out of the tub than they had to put him in, and wrapped him in the towels, one tucked under his armpits and the other one on his head, making him look like a very red and very fluffy nun. Without a word, they grabbed him by the arms and took him to the common area, sitting him on the couch. Yaomomo looked at his injuries and treated them the best she could, placing the brace around his knee, cleaning his bruises and covering them with bandages and plasters and cleaning and covering the deep cut on his eyebrow. After a moment of reflection, Yaomomo and Todoroki turned around, and Eijirou put one of the towels on Bakugou’s hips to let him pull his boxers down - it was enough that Todoroki out of all people was helping him, he didn’t want his friend to snarl at him for letting him see him naked outside of a hot spring. He managed to pull them to his knees but couldn’t bow down any further, letting Eijirou grab them and toss them to the side before he grabbed the thick sleeping trousers and put them on his feet, pulling them to his knees and letting him pull them all the way up. He then grabbed his favourite skull T-shirt and a thick black sweater and forced his spiky head and bandaged arms in them.

“All done” he told his two classmates with a sigh. “Now what?”

Yaomomo came closer and took a steaming cup in her hands. “Please drink this Bakugou-san. It’s a lime tree, lavender and orange infusion, it will help you sleep.”

Don’t think he needs that right now, Eijirou thought, looking at the dozing boy half laying on the couch. Without a word, Bakugou let her bring the cup closer to his lips, and he drank the whole potion.

Todoroki and Eijirou then had to carry him once more and drag him to his room, his head falling and bouncing on their shoulders, half asleep. Yaomomo opened the door to his room and the moment they laid him down, his eyes closed and he started snoring softly. They covered him with all the blankets they could find, adding the emergency thermal blanket Yaomomo had created.

“There” she concluded as she put the clutches against his desk. “Let’s let him sleep now. Tomorrow morning, we will take him to Recovery Girl before the class starts.” They nodded and left the room, but when she closed the door, she turned to them with a severe look in her eyes. “I will not willingly go to Aizawa-sensei, but if he asks me any questions I will not lie. We have already gotten in trouble, the three of us - four including Midoriya. You were right to think Iida-san would go to Sensei, because it is what I should do too. But … I won’t. Not unless he asks me.”

“I understand” replied Eijirou, and Todoroki nodded. “Let’s get some sleep too. I’ll go tell Kenta Bakugou is okay. Thank you for everything Yaomomo.”

She smiled slightly. “Alright. Good night then.” She turned to Todoroki and blushed a little when she realised they were both going in the same direction. Eijirou let them go to their rooms and knocked on Kenta’s door, but got no answers. He had probably fallen asleep, he decided.

He turned around and jumped violently when he saw Mina, standing silently behind him.

“Mina!” he whispered frantically, clutching his heart. “You scared me! What are you doing here?”

She snickered silently, proud of his reaction. “You better hope no villain is ever going to sneak up on you if that’s how you react.” Her smile softened and she took a step closer. “How is he?” she murmured.

Eijirou sighed. “I’ve never seen him like that. He - he just - he didn’t say a word . Not a single word, not even when Midoriya and Todoroki where helping him move around or get in the tub. And then he became weak and he could barely move and -” He sighed again and put his hand through his hair. “He’s gonna be so mad when he comes back to his senses. Better warn Kaminari and Sero tomorrow morning.”

Mina closed the space between them and gently put her arms around his neck, caressing the back of his head. “He’ll be fine. He’ll be just fine.He’s Lord Explosion Murder after all, or have you forgotten?”

He looked down at her and her inviting pink lips, distracting him from his worried thoughts. He wrapped her in his arms and pulled her into a tight hug, pressing their lips together. Her mouth tasted like mint toothpaste, and her body was warm against his. He was quickly breathless, and his hands went from her waist to her buttcheeks on their own, slipping boldly under her sleeping shorts.

“I wanna stay with you tonight” she whispered on his lips. “It’s been so long since we have been together alone, and I’ve got too much on my mind to rest.”

As if there was any way he could say no. “Be good okay?” he replied after another kiss.

She grinned like the evil little alien she was. “When was I ever not?”

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 8

 

Katsuki spun round and round, his fall frantic. The violent wind toyed with him like a leaf, pushing him around, up and down.

“WHERE ARE YOU?” he tried to shout as loud as he could, but his voice wouldn’t raise higher than a mumble. “WHERE ARE YOU?”

He knew they were following him, knew they had almost caught up with him, knew he had to escape before they got their hands on him. He knew he needed Uraraka to touch him so he could stop his fall, but no matter how many times he yelled or how much he looked around, she was nowhere to be seen.

His quirk. He could use his quirk. He put his hands before him and tried to release and explosion, but nothing happened - nothing but a sharp pain in his palms spreading throughout his arms. He looked at his fingers, horrified, and saw that they were black.

“Oh yeah, don’t you remember?” he turned his head around and saw his mother, casually flying next to him, her blond spikes gently rustled by the wind when it was brutally ruffling his. “You don’t have a quirk anymore. They had it removed after Kamino. Told ya you needed to stop being such a little shit to everyone, and now look where it's gotten you.”

“HELP ME!” His voice came out as a choked and wheezing whisper.

“What do you mean ‘help me’? Just fly, like everyone! We are all safe up here. What the hell are you doing Katsuki?”

And she took off, disappearing in the grey and black clouds. All of a sudden, the ground came closer and closer, and he tried to roar in terror but tried as he did nothing but a whisper passed through his lips.

And he crashed.

He heard his bones crack loudly and a horrible pain that felt all too real shoot through his body, and he tried to move but he was paralyzed, as if something was heavily pressed against him and kept him on the floor, as if he was covered with something that prevented his movements …

 

Katsuki’s right eye snapped open. He was soaked in sweat and panting, his heart drumming loudly in his ears. His first reflex was to try and move around, but the pain from his dream, he realised in panic, was real. His entire body ached like it had never before. The pain in his left knee was so unbearable he couldn’t even move his leg, and when he tried to prop himself on his elbows, it felt like hundreds of needles were sinking deep under his skin. He couldn’t rise very high anyways, he noticed, not with the dozen blankets he was covered with.

He groaned, his voice thick and hoarse, throat aching. What the fuck … He painfully flipped on his side and mustered all the strength he had left in his arms to flip the heavy blankets. A gush of colder air welcomed him, making him shudder, but in a good way. Unlike yesterday night …

He winced as he slowly sat up, holding his sides and carefully stretching his legs in front of him, and he glowered into nothingness.

Fucking hell.

Now the memories were beginning to slowly make their way in his mind, some blurry, some sharp, some inexistent. He closed his right eye and put his hand on his face, trying to focus. He remembered the fall - way too clearly - and the eerie stillness that had ensued when Uraraka had caught him. Then his memories took on a jerky rhythm, taking him from one memory to the other. One moment he was staring at Uraraka, the other she was throwing up, next she had slapped him, and suddenly she was yelling at him with all she had and crying.

You seem to know e’rythin’ - about e’ryone - so tell me Bakugou: why - why couldn’t I save one single person?

He cringed away from the memory of her face twisted with grief and tried to move on. He barely remembered his endless walk back to the dorms - he remembered the few times he had fallen because the pain in his leg and sides were becoming insufferable, he remembered the last few meters before he went in the dorms had been like walking with a blade inside his entire leg, he remembered he had had to stop many times before he reached the elevator. He remembered thinking he needed to go see Kirishima, knowing somehow he would be able to help him without asking too many questions. And he remembered the shocked faces of his few classmates who had decided to show up in his friend’s room, along with the boy and the three other kids.

His fury suddenly rose in his chest and exploded in his brain like lava out of a volcano. Of course, he thought with his teeth gritted hard, humiliation burning the back of his throat like acid. Of motherfucking course, they would all be there. He remembered the boy, the boy , with his face white and his red eyes wide with fear, not looking at him like he was asking for help anymore, but like Katsuki was the one needing help. Madness started to cloud his mind, burning and exploding in a white-hot and overwhelming inferno.

He opened his right eye and let his hand slid off his face, breathing heavily. And out of all the goddamn people on campus and on Earth, it had had to be fucking Deku and Icyhot that had been the ones helping him. He was going to murder Kirishima. He shook his head and stopped immediately, feeling like his brain was banging on his skull like a hammer against a wall. He barely remembered how he had ended up in bed. After they had taken him to the showers, he had been all consumed by the feeling of the hot water burning the living shit out of him, before he had finally grown accustomed to the temperature and had managed to relax and feel his body once more. He vaguely remembered Ponytail patching him up, but as he slipped his hands under his sweater and his shirt, he realised there were a lot of bandages that he simply just had no memory of. He didn’t even remember leaving the couch in the common area.

He looked down at his hands, and it felt like someone had thrown a bucket of ice cold water on his head. His fingers were a deep shade of red, crackled and shedding like he had been severely burnt. He also realised how numb and stiff they were, and when he looked down at his feet, he had the great displeasure of finding that they were in the same sorry state. And when he tried to apply some pressure on them, he couldn’t feel them either.

Looking up, he noticed the two crutches leaning against his desk - another thing he had no memory of. That was fucking perfect - the only person he thought he would always be able to rely on, himself, was now letting him down in the two worst possible ways: physically and mentally. He guessed Ponytail must have been the one creating the crutches, and he hoped she didn’t expect him to thank him or fucking bow down to her. He hadn’t needed her . He hadn’t needed any of them - he had gone to Kirishima, and not even for help! He had only wanted to rest a little in his room, just to have some time to clear his mind - yeah, that was the only reason.

He tried to get up on his feet, but they wobbled and almost gave in under him. He groaned and panted, angry at himself for being so goddamn weak .

Come on you bastard, come on! Get the hell up!

He kept on encouraging himself until he managed to stand on his legs - well on his right leg, his left one hurt way to much. He slowly flexed his horribly strained and heavily bandaged arms, staring at the crutches and thinking fast. There was no way he could take a shower in his state, let alone take off his clothes. Hell, he couldn't even put some socks on. However, what he could do, was put all of his clothes into his gym bag - his uniform, shoes, socks, underwear and his bathing stuff -, put on his slippers, go to Recovery Girl, ask her to heal him and get back to being the most awesome shit that had ever happened to this school. Sounded like a fairly good plan.

He limped heavily to cross the two metres separating his bed from the crutches and half stumbled on his desk when he finally reached them, panting again. He moved around his room with great difficulty, his frustration reaching unrivalled heights and he grabbed his gym bag and his stuff, adding his book and pencils case and stuffing them in the bag without care. He threw the bag on his shoulder with a pained grunt and glanced at the clock on the wall: 5.43. Perfect. That meant no one was up yet. Right. Now all he had to do was to get the hang of the crutches - piece o’ cake - and get the hell out of that dorm before an extra got up and found him like that.

But before he knew it, he found himself with his back to the open elevator doors, staring at Uraraka’s room. Annoyance and something else - concern? The hell - swung in his mind as he thought back at how she made him feel when she had turned around and left him in the mud and the rain, hunched and limping, brown hair stuck to her round face and crying like never before. He stared some more, hesitating. He hadn’t gone easy on her - but then again neither had she. He was set on blasting the next fucker who would tell him she was frail, he thought with a new burst of anger. But still, she was probably in the same state as he was, if not worse. Wouldn’t hurt to tell her to go with him to Recovery Girl. Or would it? She had made it pretty clear in her little speech that she thought very little of him - or maybe too much, but had found a way to twist it all in her mind.

He took a step forward, grunted and spun around, stopped again and turned back, shook his head and pressed the elevator button to re-open the doors, and looked back at the door.

“Ah, fuck it.” He grabbed his crutches and hopped to her door, lifted his fist and froze. Why should he? Why the fuck should he be making the first step - he didn’t have to prove shit, didn’t do anything she hadn’t wanted him to. Even if her injuries were bad, she was a big girl and could take care of her damn self. Where exactly did he feel he needed to intervene?

If I had been faster, if I had been stronger, if I had focused on developin’ my quirk more instead of daydreamin’ about Deku-kun then maybe he would be - maybe Sir Nighteye would be -

Did his face have the same shocked and clueless look as Deku had had when Katsuki had unwillingly told him about the guilt that had been eating at him after Kamino? He wondered.

“Fuck it” he muttered again.

He knocked. Three times, each knock at one second intervals from the next. He waited, nervousness swelling somewhere between his lungs and his stomach, shortening his breath and making his palms sweat - thank fucking god, they were sweating. Who would have thought he would miss the dampness in his palms so much? It didn’t even matter if it sent uneasy prickles up his arms in the process.

He stood in front of the silent door like an idiot for what felt like an eternity. When he didn’t get any answers, his anxiety, like many of his emotions, turned to anger.

“Fuck it.” He turned around and hopped back to the elevator, smashing the button furiously. Fuck her. He tried. He tried to care about her, and had gotten absolutely nothing, also proving there was no goddamn point in trying to help people. She could take her guilt and her uselessness and stuck them up her ass for all he cared for.

Cause he didn’t. Care.

He didn’t care.

Why the fuck would he care? She was the one whose quirk had sent them in fucking orbit to begin with! His quirk didn’t go to such extremes, his quirk destroyed and could make him fly - not bolt away like fucking Apollo 11 like he wanted to go nap on the moon!

Why the fuck would he care?!

By the time he reach the ground floor, Katsuki was fuming. Enough already. He had had his annual shot of humiliation in a single evening, he was certainly not going to give the universe a chance to ruin yet another day. The boy’s horrified face flickered once more in his mind, and he wanted to punch something when his shame fused together with his rage. Well fuck him too. Always running and drooling after Uraraka like she was the fucking sun of his life - he could stick with her and be a goddamn nerd like fucking Deku if that was what he wanted. But Katsuki, for one, was out of fucks to give.

He had let himself be distracted for far too long, and it was about goddamn time he refocused on what really mattered. Like the Sports Festival, that was taking place tomorrow. He cursed out loud, enjoying the fact that there was no one outside at this hour as he crossed the wet but sunny campus. He couldn’t believe he , out of all people, had gotten himself in such a sticky situation. And when there was so much at stake too! So much for his big win this year - he was starting just well now wasn’t he. Incapable of walking without fucking crutches because a crying fuckstick had presented him with a challenge. When will he ever learn? Couldn’t he had just waited for the Sports Festival to crush her along with everyone else?

Time to get real. He was going to follow his schedule today and tomorrow, and he wasn’t gonna let himself be distracted again. For now, he was gonna go see Recovery Girl, get healed, throw away the goddamn crutches and make sure none of the fuckers from yesterday blabbed about what had happened.

He nodded to himself as he entered the infirmary’s building and called the elevator. What could go wrong?

---

Everything, he realised when he arrived in the old woman’s office. Everything could and was already going wrong. Because it seemed it wasn’t enough that his pride was trying to choke him with furious disgrace, the forces of the universe had apparently decided this fire needed some more oil poured on it, the oil in question being, in first place, the huge mirror that faced him the moment he stepped in, freezing him on his spot.

Oh, fuck. Fuck. Fuck .

His left eye wasn't just closed - it was blackened. As in entirely black, puffed along with his eyebrow, his cheek - half of his face really - and his dried and cracked lips. A cold sweat ran in his back when, looking at his mouth, it reminded him of the blue haired asshole that had abducted him months ago. Katsuki could barely recognised himself, and it made him sick to his stomach.

The second thing that made his heart sink until it reached his bladder was the bed that was occupied near the window, where the first rays of sunshine were gently flowing through the way he usually loved so much. On the bedside table, someone had left a big box of tissue, and the furniture was covered in used ones - they had even fallen on the floor and spread next to the bed. There was also a big glass half full of water, and next to it were a small box that looked like the medicines his mother took when she couldn’t sleep, and another one that Katsuki recognised as strong medicines against headaches and muscle pain. At the end of the bed, someone had neatly folded a girl’s uniform and some cleaned training clothes - including an ugly yellow sweater. The person lying down under a thick emergency thermal blanket similar to the one he had found on his bed in the morning had her back to him, but he didn’t need to check to know the brown-haired head that was peacefully resting on the pillow was Uraraka’s.

So that's where she had gone off to. He wanted to kick himself for not thinking of it, instead of going for Hair-for-brains and the other fuckers - it would have spared him the humiliation of being unable to speak, move or think in front of everyone who admired him. He stared at her some more, unwillingly thinking there was something deeply sorrowful about her sleeping figure basking in the soft sun rays, as if both her and the skies had lost their minds yesterday and were now finally at peace for the moment.

The third and last thing that gave him the confirmation that he was not done being the universe’s personal dancing monkey was the angry, tiny old woman sitting by her office a few metres away and glowering at him through squinted eyes.

“I was beginning to wonder if you'd come at all.” Her voice was cold as ice. Katsuki didn’t answer and hopped her way, stopping a little bit farther away from her desk than he would normally have, and waited for her to say something.

“Uraraka-chan told me what happened.” Without realising, he gulped painfully. Being scolded by Aizawa or any other teachers was one thing; having Recovery Girl, the old woman that acted as everyone’s grandma, talk to him like like he had just deeply disappointed her was another one. “I hope you do realise you have put both your life and hers in danger by doing what you did. And telling her all these terrible things - really Bakugou-chan, what were you thinking?”

Katsuki winced at the honorific, but kept his head low and his mouth shut. If he wanted her to heal him, he was gonna have to suck it up real bad this time.

A small sound came from the bed behind them, and they both turned to see Uraraka shift ever so slightly, like she was shuddering.

“Uuuh … uuuh ...” None of them moved. Had she woken up or was she still dreaming?

“... - ji-san … Oji-san … no … please, no … Uuuh …”

Recovery Girl sighed. “Even with what I gave her, she still -” she sighed again and walked to Uraraka, pulling the covers back over her shoulders at tucking her sheets hard before she gently brushed her forehead. Her whimpers slowly faded, and then they stopped.

The realisation hit Katsuki like a charging bull. It was her . She had been the one screaming in her sleep ever since they came back to school - screaming and crying over her uncle, over the losses she had accumulated one after the other, over her feeling of inadequacy and uselessness. It was her.

I just wish I could tell them to go see a fucking shrink and sort their shit out so the rest of us could have at least one decent night of sleep, that’s all.

Fuck. Fuck .

“It took me forever to get her to calm down” she said quietly, her tone both disapproving and pained. “She wouldn’t even let me touch her, and she had such a violent anxiety crisis she could barely talk at all. It took me hours before she finally told me the whole story.” She sat back at her desk and stared again at Katsuki - and to his great embarrassment, he found himself unable to hold her gaze as he dropped his eyes to his slippers.

“Bakugou-chan, considering your own history I would have expected you, out of anyone else, to be the one to give her the proper moral support she needed, not the one to bring her down. What exactly did you think you were going to achieve by crushing her spirits like that?”

She crossed her tiny arms on her chest, frowning. “And what about the Sports Festival? I would have thought you’d be one of the students to be the most eager to aim for first place. Why would you compromise yourself like that? Look at you! You wouldn’t last two seconds if you went into the stadium like that.”

He took the jab in and let it sink, not matter how much it burnt his pride.

“I am waiting for an answer” she said coldly. “What-were-you-thinking?”

Katsuki took a sharp breath through his nose and replied quietly, teeth gritted like he wanted to chew and spit each of his words. “She wanted to spare, and we both took it too far. It's true I fucked up, but I wasn't the only one responsible for … this” He waved at his crutches.

“Watch your mouth Bakugou-chan” she scolded him angrily. “It is that foul language and behaviour that has gotten you to be tied down to the podium like a mad animal last year, the same that got you abducted by the League of Villains and still the one to keep you behind when all of your classmates got their provisional license and not you. Had your behaviour been better, had you been able to control yourself, you would have spared yourself a lot of grief! Why can’t you see it is hindering all your amazing efforts to be the top student of this school? The best hero of Japan?”

He winced again when her words struck right where it hurt, hard . She seemed to have decided to play the savage card today.

“I understand you were two in this, and I am not saying you are the only one to blame. I will have a serious discussion with her when she wakes up, but for now I want us to focus on yourself. Because if someone hears she got into a fight, they will dismiss it as a one time thing, think that maybe she was pushed into a corner, even think of her as the victim. If they hear you got into a fight, no one will be surprised, and no one will feel any sympathy for you. Being a hero means touching people’s heart, and if they become insensitive to you while you are still only in high school, you will never become the great hero we all know you are meant to be.”

He kept his eyes on his feet, torn between his boiling shame and his swelling guilt. That was already too much emotions for a single morning. He kinda hoped she was done, because he didn’t think his pride would let him suffer anymore of this without making him do something stupid. And it was becoming harder and harder to ignore the small lump in his throat when the tiny woman before him was putting his flaws right under his nose all the while painting a brilliant image of who he would become.

“Now” she cocked her head to the side “I believe you have something to tell me, don’t you.”

Katsuki repressed a deep sigh. Right. So now was the moment where he smashed his pride, no matter how much it roared and hissed back in protest. He leaned on the crutches and tried his best to ignore the aching and vivid prickles that shot through his wounds like electricity as he bowed down low, hunched just a little bit lower that a ninety degrees angle. He knew he should have kneeled and put his head on the floor, but he was just unable to fold his left leg, no even a little.

“I apologise for my reckless behaviour. I have caused you and Uraraka-san unnecessary trouble through my actions when I should have known better than to engage in such a dangerous enterprise, and in doing so I have injured myself and Uraraka-san and have disregarded the school’s rules and security policy. I need medical treatment for these injuries before the Sports Festival. Please Recovery Girl, could you heal me?”

Damn that hurt. That was quite a lot of ass-kissing by any of his standards, and he felt like he was going to burst from the angry pression that was building up inside of him. He kept the uncomfortable position in silence until Recovery Girl jumped out of her seat with yet another sigh, grabbing him by the sleeve and sitting him in the chair opposite her desk. When he groaned and grimaced in pain, she shot him a “I hope it hurts cause you deserve it you moron” look, and finally, finally , she rose on the tip of her toes and smacked her lips on his bruised cheek with a loud “SMOOOOOOTCH”.

Relief instantly shot through every part of his body, and for the first time in what seemed like an eternity he felt every fibre of his muscles relax as he slumped on the chair, suddenly exhausted but happy.

“Thank you” he mumbled begrudgingly, flexing his now light pink and smooth fingers. He blinked with both eyes, finally able to see through his left one - how amazing was that, being able to use both eyes. “Can I use the infirmary’s shower?”

Recovery Girl nodded with a weary wave of her hand. “Just don’t take too much time. Did you have breakfast?” He shook his head. “I’ll have someone from Lunch Rush bring you something in a moment. Go take your shower.” She climbed back on her chair and grabbed her office phone. Katsuki took it as his cue to leave.

He stood on his two amazingly stable legs and grabbed his gym bag with his not hurting at all arm, fighting back a comforted grin, and headed towards the bathroom. It had a single small shower, but it was all he needed. He took off the thick sweater and the skull t-shirt, marvelling at how easily he could move now, and he scowl at all the bandages that were enveloping him like a mummy. He fought with them for a while, cursing under his breath, and for a second he thought of using his quirk to get rid of them. Yeah, except that one - Recovery Girl had just given him a brutal, no-lube-no-foreplay kind of earful and he didn’t think she would kindly react to him exploding stuff in her infirmary - two - he still didn’t know whether he could safely use his quirk, and it would be more prudent for him to crash test outside of a building - and three - as much as he fucking hated adding that reason to the list, Uraraka was sleeping in the room next to him, and she probably wouldn’t be happy if she got woken up by the sound of a blast.

Eventually, after a lot of swearing from his part and a lot of resisting from the bandages, he finally managed to free himself out of them and to jump in the shower. He stayed for longer than he usually did under the scalding hot water, reveling in the blissful feeling it was giving him.

He never wanted to be this cold ever again. He realised just how uncomfortable and almost scared the memory of his numbness was making him be. He shuddered when he remembered how cold it had been when they had risen above the clouds, how overwhelmingly beautiful and freezing it had all felt before his consciousness had faded away -

Stop. He shook his head, annoyed that he had let his thoughts wander that way. They were a lot of things he couldn’t allow himself to think about these days, he noticed, annoyed. He got out of the shower, dried himself and put his uniform on before heading out.

Recovery Girl was still sat at her office, filling in papers. In front of her, there was a large tray with a small bowl of rice, some soup, a cheesy and peppers omelette thinly sliced and a big plate with peeled and sliced fruits. His mouth began to water and his stomach grumbled loudly.

“Sit down and eat” ordered the small woman without even looking up. “Homeroom is starting in less than an hour, so you’d better hurry up.”

She didn’t need to tell him twice. The moment his ass was on the chair he started engulfing what he had in front of him, and not even ten minutes later the tray was empty. He repressed a burp and lied against the chair, satisfied and surprised at how much and how fast he had eaten. He was a little bit less tired now but still felt like he could use a good nap.

Now that he was healed and full, he didn’t want to linge any longer in the infirmary - not with Uraraka being right behind him, ready to wake up at any given moment. He stood up and bow down to Recovery Girl, mumbling a quick “thank you” before he left with his bag on his shoulder. He thought about taking the crutches and blasting them into oblivion, but ended up leaving them behind.

He ran down the stairs, his grin wide as he jumped one, two, three steps and landed safely on his feet, his body back to being this strong, well oiled war machine. That's right, Bakugou Katsuki was back. All those bitches better be ready for him, cause he was hungry as hell for an opportunity to let out some steam. Tch - as if anyone would ever be ready for him. The thought barely had time to cross his mind that he already had to push away the image of Uraraka, her eyes mad and her hair clinging to her face, blood on her face and rocks flying around her.

He bursted out of the building and ran for a small while, enjoying tremendously feeling his muscles contract and relax with each of his movement. He came to an abrupt halt, perfectly in control, and took a long, deep breath, eyes closed. The sun rays warmed his face, making it easy to ignore the cold damp breeze, reminded of the previous evening. He opened his eyes and shook his arms. Now was the moment of truth. He rubbed his hands against one another, smiling like an idiot when sweat immediately dripped from his palm down to his arms and, holding them to face the wonderfully clear sky, he tried to release an explosion.

The familiar recoil that hit his shoulder felt like a warm hug, and the blast roared loudly and ignited right before his eyes - orange and yellow and red, and smoke, smoke everywhere. He took in the sweet scent of caramel as a wave of relief washed over him.

It was fine. He was healed and well, his quirk was perfectly working, and his mind had never felt so clear. It was all going to be just fine.

---

Or so he thought, sitting in their empty classroom to do the homework he hadn’t had time to do yesterday because someone had decided to go take a look at the fucking stratosphere - this person being him, but that wasn’t the point.

So he thought. Until Four-eyes bursted into the classroom like a Rupaul diva, immediately followed by the boy, his tie tightened like a leash around his neck.

“Bakugou-kun! There you are! We’ve been worried!”

“Dad!”

Fucking hell.

He glowered at the boy before remembering the kid didn’t give two flying shits about how dangerous Katsuki could look.

“What the fuck do you want dipshit” he blared at him. “Go to your goddamn classroom before I come and blast your nerdy ass in there myself!”

“I can't believe you left without even telling me!” He stood there, holding a small box in his hands, gawking and looking positively scandalised. “You didn’t even wait for me!”

Anger boiled and overflowed in his mind, clouding his thoughts and judgement in an all too familiar frenzy. “Why the fuck would I wait for you! What are you, five?! Can’t you take care of your own damn self?!”

“I was worried about you!” the boy shouted back. “Last time I saw you you were on the verge of collapsing and I wake up and you’re not in your room, and M- the- Uravity is missing too, and they are all running around talking about calling the police and searching the dorm’s surroundings and Shoto-san is insisting that you two got into a fight , and that she was the one who got you into that state, and-and- what the hell! I was worried !”

His usually soft voice became much deeper and disturbingly similar to Katsuki’s as he yelled louder than he had ever heard him so far. That detail only fed his anger, and he rose from his chair, letting it fall on the floor.

Four-eyes looked at Bakugou, his glasses shining dangerously. “What do you mean collapsing - what do you mean a fight?

“Who the fuck told you to worry about me?! Why don’t you worry about your weak ass and keep it to that?! I don't fucking need you and your pity!” he barked at the fuming boy.

“BUT I NEED YOU !” The boy roared so loud, Four-eyes jumped and looked at the door as if he expected someone to come and hand in an official complaint. “Why is it so hard for you to understand that?! I’m in the past - the freaking past ! - and Mom has no idea who I am, Miho isn’t here, and you behave like I’m a giant pain in your ass - and you show up wrecked and bruised and you expect me not to care ?! Are you even serious?!”

And just like that, tears welled up in his eyes and spilled on his cheeks.

“What the - Why are you crying?! Why is everybody I talk to fucking crying?! Stop being a bitch!”

He moved forward and tried to catch him by the collar to loosen up the boy’s tie because just looking at it pissed him off, and the kid was pissing him off, and this whole situation pissed him off. But the moment his hand came close to the boy, he smacked it away and glowered at Katsuki through his tears.

Fuck you.

Four-eyes gasped loudly, and Katsuki froze in place and gawked at the boy as he stormed out of the classroom.

Oh, HELL NO.

“COME BACK HERE YOU LITTLE SHIT!” he roared in the corridor, catching him by the shoulders and turning him brutally around. “Is that how you talk to me?! If I hear you fucking swear one more goddamn motherfucking time I’ll beat the living SHIT out of you, ya hear me you dipshit ?!”

The boy didn’t answer, and instead lowered his head and fucking sobbed . WHAT THE HELL WAS WRONG WITH PEOPLE LATELY. The boy tried to wipe angrily his tears away.

“They didn’t even let me stay with you!” he cried miserably. “They pushed me away like I was a-a stranger, like I didn’t belong th-there-”

Katsuki rolled his eyes and sighed, mad at the kid, at the fuckers, even at himself.

“I am fine , okay?” he snapped, but failed to sound as angry as he wanted to. “I just - pushed myself a little too hard. It happens. Ain’t I supposed to be a pro hero anyway? Don’t you always see me bruised?”

“You never come home bruised!” he whimpered furiously. “You have an entire army of medicals in your agency, and they always patch you up before you come home - except once, and you know why? You know why?! Because you were unconscious in a freaking hospital!

Katsuki rolled his eyes and his head exaggeratedly. “Why are you such a Drama Queen? I just told you I was fine! That was nothing! Why are you still crying? ” he added, frustration getting the best of him yet again.

I don’t know! ” The boy sobbed loudly, burying his head in his elbow, his shoulders shaking. What the hell . Katsuki sighed out loud and looked at him, not knowing what to do or what to say. Apparently telling him to suck it up clearly wasn’t going to help so … He tried to think of his own parents - what would they do when he was upset as a kid? When he was crying? Not that he had cried that often, but there had had to be some moments when he was feeling down, right?

Inspiration hit him. “Do you want cake?” he spat like an insult. The boy looked up, his eyes entirely red. Katsuki froze for a second, and the boy’s face came as a strong déjà-vu - blodshot eyes and pink puffy cheeks - but before he thought about it some more, the kid squeaked “Cake?”

“Did I fucking stutter?” Katsuki barked, already prepared to go back on his word. “I was gonna prepare something tonight anyway, so if you want some you’d better show up in the kitchen you brat.” The boy took a shaky breath and wiped his tears.

“Can you make mochis?” he asked in a small voice through his hands. “The spicy ones - with the green chilies?”

Now he was just insulting him. “Do I look like an amateur? Of course I know how to make mochis - I’ll bake them until you throw up!”

The boy nodded and let his hands fall by his sides, still holding the small box, and looked away. Now he seemed to start feeling embarrassed. Katsuki sighed again and reached for his tie. “You’re gonna fucking choke if you keep letting Four-eyes strangle you like that.”

He giggled weakly at the nickname. “He doesn’t really give me a choice - and he’s scary. Miho and Touya-kun aren’t afraid of him, but -”

“Fuck that” Katsuki snapped. “Next time don’t even put it on and you won’t have that problem. Look at me - no tie, no problem. And what's in that box anyway?”

The boy looked miserably at the box. “It was for Uravity” he mumbled, his voice cracking. “I wanted to give her this morning, but we didn’t find her. She has disappeared and no one knows whe-”

“She’s in the infirmary.” He didn’t look up and felt the boy stare at him.

There was a silence, then - “Did you two really fight?” His voice was just a whisper.

Katsuki exhaled sharply through his nose, let go of the loosened tie and finally looked up. “Homeroom starts in thirty minutes. If you wanna go and give her your little gift you better run.” He turned his head to the side and found Four-eyes standing there, his arms crossed on his chest, puffed with purpose and anger - he could almost feel the scolding arrive.

“Uraraka is in the infirmary, and the kid wanna see her” he told him before he opened his berating hole of a mouth. “You take him.” He passed the class rep and, without turning back, he added “I’ll see you at lunch. Brat.”

---

Thirty minutes later, he was back to feeling like a pressure cooker ready to explode and burn anyone around him. The extras had arrived five minutes earlier in a pack , and obviously all the ones that had been there the night before had rushed to his seat like he was on his dying bed. Deku - fu-cking-De-ku - even offered him to help him carry his bag during the day to make sure he didn’t tire himself, and only when he had tried to launch himself at him and got held back by Kirishima had the little leech crawled back to his seat. He had had to literally jump on his chair and make his palms crackle to make them understand he was serious when he was telling them that if he kept hearing them in the three following seconds he was going to start breaking jaws .

Of course it had had the complete opposite effect as the one he had sought. His moronic friends had beamed and sighed in relief at his outburst, Tape Face repeating “Welcome back dude” and Pinky and Pikachu marvelling at the beauty of his explosion and the sweet smell of nitroglycerin burning. Kirishima just stared at him, smiling like an idiot, and when he had asked him what the fuck he was looking at, he just replied “It's just good to have you back man” with a ridiculous smile.

Aizawa-sensei had entered the room right after that, saving Katsuki from their stupid attention and Kirishima from a terrible fate, and he was now taking register. Katsuki grumbled a “here” at his name, slightly relieved when his teacher didn’t seem to react in any particular way to him - maybe Recovery Girl wasn’t going to say a thing after all.

“Uraraka Ochako.”

Katsuki froze and stared at his pencil case, set on not making a single movement until his teacher moved on.

“Sensei” said Toad face as she got up. Shut up, shut up, shut up, just let it go for fuck sake, she's sleeping like a baby so just let it go . “Since yesterday evening, Ochako-chan is-”

“SENSEI!” Four-eyes smashed the classroom door open, making everybody jump. He was panting like crazy, his trousers lifted up to his knees and the weird motory things on his legs were fuming - Did that stuck up moron use his quirk to rush back here? He bowed down much lower than he should have and shouted “I am deeply sorry for arriving late! I had to take care of one of the children from the future and it took me longer than necessary. It is no excuse though, it was my responsibility and I should have done what I could to avoid wasting precious learning time. PLEASE ACCEPT MY APOLOGY SENSEI!”

“Iida, if that was all you had to say then shut the door and go to your seat.” Aizawa didn’t look affected in any ways by Four-eyes’ loud declaration. He was beginning to turn back to Toad face when the class rep intervened once more.

“Sensei, actually, I was with Recovery Girl. She asked me to give you this.” He held out a folded note that Aizawa took and read in silence. “I see” he finally said. Katsuki felt his stomach twitch painfully, sweat collecting in his palms. “So Uraraka won’t be with us today. Right before the Sports Festival too. What a bother. Well, thank you Iida. Now go to your seat.” He folded the paper again and put it in his pocket. “Ojiro Mashirao.”

Katsuki sighed and relaxed a little, allowing himself to glance behind him - only to meet half-n-half’s dead fish eyes, reminding him of who had helped him the night before. He pursed his lips and almost growled at his burnt face, before turning to face the board again.

That day better be over soon.

---

Lunch arrived, and the boy came to silently sit next to him, his cheeks flushed with what Katsuki guessed was embarrassment. No one mentioned what had happened, probably knowing they’d better stay away from a sleeping lion - especially if that one was also half bear half dragon and hadn’t eaten in days. Which was how Katsuki had always pictured his spirits animal. This time it was the red-haired bastard that was seating with them, so the conversation wasn’t as loud as it had been the day before, which suited Katsuki perfectly.

“Bakugou.”

Katsuki turned around, and in front of him - oh, what a fucking surprise - stood Icyhot, tray in hand. “Fuck off.” He didn’t have shit to tell him - that's right, not even a ‘what’ for that dickhead.

“Did you fight with Uraraka-san?”

Katsuki’s head snapped back around and he glared at the dipshit, wondering just how big an explosion he could make to send him flying across the ceiling before the fucker had time to react.

And when he didn’t say a thing, the strangest thing happened: half-n-half nodded and, glancing with a weird smirk at the rest of the table, he simply just said “You know what to call me.”

That day better be over soon.

---

When the final bell rang, Katsuki threw his books and pencil case in his gym bag, his morning clothes crumpled at the bottom of it, and he dashed out of the classroom before anyone could catch up with him and start babbling. He ran down the stairs, already planning an evening workout to test if Recovery Girl’s quirk had just healed him or if it had somehow had any improving properties on him.

He left the building and jogged lightly all the way down to the dorm, deciding on the route he was going to follow, the exercises he wanted to do, the special moves he had to work on-

He reached the front of the dorm, and he froze. Sitting on the stairs with her chin in her arms and her arms around her knees, was Uraraka. She looked up at him, and this time there was no anger or contempt or hatred - only sadness and … remorse?

She slowly got on her feet, holding her right arm and the box the boy had had in his hand earlier in the day, looking almost ashamed, and walked up to him for what seemed like forever. And she was wearing that ugly yellow sweater again. Somebody just buy her a new one already - it seriously couldn’t cost that much.

“Hey” she breathed, so quietly he barely heard it. Katsuki just glared at her from above in silence, wary of that little devil. He wasn’t gonna take the risk of opening his mouth if it ended up again with her trying to freeze him to death and beat the shit out of him.

When he didn’t answer, she bit her lips, mortified.

“Can we talk?”

That day was far from being over.

Chapter Text

Just say something already.

Katsuki took yet another deep breath, trying his best to stick to what he had decided he would do: stay silent until she spoke. The last few times he had so much as breathed in her direction, Uraraka had roared back and thrown herself at him like a goddamn lioness, claws out and ready to rip his guts out. Nope. He wasn’t gonna talk.

He wasn’t … gonna talk.

He chew on the inside of his lips, a ring of exasperated insults threatening to slip out at any given moment. He had followed her without a word after she had asked if they could talk, and she had taken them a little bit further away from the dorms. He had walked behind her, studying her silhouette and trying to guess what could she potentially want to talk about. She had pretty much emptied her heart last time she had “spoken” to him.

Thinking back, he had wondered angrily how could he have fallen for such a show. The class’ Number One Happy Girl suddenly gone wild? In what world did that happen? How had he not questioned it before? And then his eyes had slipped from Uraraka’s shitty sweater to her generous thighs, remembering how it had all felt when they had fought the first time and he had found himself very much on top of her. He had looked away, annoyed - if his brain could stop bringing everything back to her ass and thighs that would be fucking great.

Eventually, she had stopped next to a bench and, after making sure it wasn’t wet, she had sit on it and had motioned for him to do the same, putting the small box between them. And during the ten minutes that had followed, she hadn’t uttered a single fucking word and had stayed motionless, playing absentmindedly with the torn sleeves of her disgusting sweater.

The wind blew lightly, warmer than yesterday but still chilly. Katsuki shuddered. Fuck the cold. Fuck the cold, the rain, the wind, the snow - all of that freezing shit. He’d rather sweat like a dog rather than ever be cold.

“I owe you an apology.”

Uraraka’s voice was quiet, but still caught him off guard. He didn’t expect her to talk anymore, and certainly not to begin like that. He side-glanced at her, and she was staring at her hands, buried in her sleeves.

“I …”

Katsuki waited for her to continue her sentence, but she was mute again. Just spit it out already . She released a long, loud sigh.

“I don’t know how to start” she admitted, scratching the back of her head. “It’s just all so … so stupid. I feel so embarrassed with myself.” A small, nervous laugh escaped her lips, although she didn’t look amused at all. “Recovery Girl talked to me this morning - told me you came to the infirmary while I was asleep, and that you were in a bad state. I -” she chuckled again nervously. “I don’t know how you managed to spend the entire night without getting healed, I - I was barely able to reach her office yesterday. She uh … she was pretty … blunt with me.” She winced at the memory.

Katsuki kept his gaze in front of him. So far he didn’t really give a shit about what she was saying, and it was beginning to wear his short patience down. Even the part with Recovery Girl was no surprise, so he hoped she would get to the point fast enough, before he just decided it was all pointless and left.

“Ah - sorry, I must be boring you” she laughed again, weakly. “I know you don’t like to talk for nothing. I -” And she paused again.

JUST GET ON WITH IT FOR FUCK’S SAKE.

“I really didn’t mean to hurt you that much. I’m really - really - sorry for everything I’ve done to you.”

Katsuki’s head whipped around. “What?” he snapped. His pride growled and his anger rose like an awakening dragon at the back of his mind. Who hurt who, exactly? When she just admitted she was incapable of walking after he whooped her ass? Going against what he had decided, he opened his mouth, ready to furiously clarify the situation and make sure she remembered exactly who the fuck he was, but she was faster.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you - but I really wanted you to be in pain.” She kept her eyes on her hidden hands, her bangs protecting her face from Katsuki’s glare.

“It’s the same fucking thing” he spat, his voice too loud and aggressive for the mood of the situation. Fuck it, he was gonna talk. “And yeah believe it or not but I kinda guessed that bit - you weren’t exactly trying to hide your murder intents. If you called me here to state the obvious then there’s not point in me staying.” He rose to his feet, annoyed - what a fucking waste of his time. Hadn’t he decided this very morning he was done with all of this bullshit? All of her bullshit? There was only one thing to do, and he knew what it was - leave.

Did you two really fight?

Shit.

Ah, shit.

Shit, shit, shit.

Screw that kid and his puppy eyes.

Frustrated to no ends, Katsuki just stood up like a moron, unable to shake the image of the boy’s frightened face at the idea that he and his idol might have fought. He still wasn’t sure whether he really cared about him or not - after all, they had only been there for two days and a half. No one could get attached to someone so quickly. Even if that person was the spitting image of Katsuki’s father and could shout like his mother. Even if that person hated people, just like him, and loved chillies, just like him. Even if that person’s quirk had the ability to amaze, warm, blind and destroy.

He clicked his tongue and sighed impatiently, refocusing on the situation at hand.

“I didn’t mean to … to lose it like that. I don’t know how it happened - I knew it made no sense, and I knew it wasn’t rational, but it just felt so … so good .” She raised her head and looked at Katsuki, remorse filling her eyes. “Hating you felt so good.”

What. The fuck.

Katsuki crossed his arms on his chest and glared back, and his expression probably didn’t look very reassuring, because Uraraka immediately continued, fidgeting with the sleeves of her fucking sweater.

“I didn’t really, really hated you - it’s more like - I projected onto you I guess? I … When we all came back from holidays, I wanted to train to become stronger, and I wanted to have an opportunity to give it my all and empty my mind once and for all, to just … let loose - and to improve my skills, and prove to myself that I wasn’t as helpless as I always ended up being.  And I tried to train with our classmates, but … I tried to train with Tsuyu-chan, but she kept staring at me and asking me over and over again if I was alright, because - she is my friend, so I guess she just … knew … something was wrong. So I ended up avoiding her, because for some reason I just couldn’t talk to anyone about … about what had happened to …”

She paused and swallowed painfully. She took a deep breath and forced herself to carry on.

“I tried to train with Iida-kun, but the same thing to what happened with Deku-kun happened, and he wouldn’t go all out on me. They both offered to do exercises instead, but as much as I pushed myself, it didn’t feel half as satisfying as I needed it to. So half-way through the month I decided I wanted to try training with you - I just figured you would probably be one of the only ones who wouldn’t hold back and would actually be ready to go to extreme length to win -” She glanced nervously at him before she turned back to her sleeves “- but I could never approach you - Kirishima was taking all of your training time, and whenever I thought I could go and ask you, you just -” she snapped two fingers “- disappeared.”

She sighed and scratched the back of her head, frustrated.

“And then Aizawa-sensei made us pass our Second year Quirk Apprehension Test, and I was so nervous I - I overthought stuff that wouldn’t have required a second of my attention before, and my results were consequently ridiculously poor - and then UA announced when the Sports Festival would be taking place, and that this year the winner would win 100 000 yen - do you have any idea how badly my family needs that money? It’s almost what my father makes on a good month, when he works every working day, and UA is willing to just - just hand in that money to whoever wins and - we don’t have anything left, the burial drained us of our last pennies! If I hadn’t known that my studies were the only way our family could one day emerge from this pit we are in, I would have left school and found a job to support them.”

Katsuki narrowed his eyes but stayed silent. He had no idea things were that bad, didn’t really care either, even as she was telling him all of it. Good thing she wasn’t completely stupid though, anyone would have known that the logical thing to do would be to remain in UA, finish their studies and find a well paid job as a sidekick.

“And before I knew it, I was growing restless.” She was staring into nothingness now, still twiddling with her torn up sleeves. A thought flashed in Katsuki’s mind: now he knew why she was still wearing that ugly shit. She just couldn’t afford a new one, no matter how cheap it was. “I wasn’t hungry anymore, and didn’t eat as much as I should, and I could barely sleep, because the only thing that I had on my mind was ‘I need to win the Sport Festival this year, I need to win the Sports Festival this year’. Even when I managed to fall asleep I -” She paused again, as if something was stuck in her throat. When she continued, her voice was strangled. “I had … dreams. I saw … I saw … I always ended up in situations where I just - I couldn’t help anyone, because - because … and it wasn’t just my uncle, it was Sir Nighteye too - even though I thought I was over it, it all came back rushing, and I would be standing outside the Yakuza hideout, and Ryukyu-sensei would shout orders at me and I - I just stood there, unable to think, to move, to do anything at all while everyone rushed all around me, I was just … useless.”

Katsuki unconsciously squared his shoulders. He wasn’t foreign to the dreaming part. He himself had had to go through a very painful phase of nightmares involving him being engulfed in a black and purple portal, a cold hand closing on the back of his neck, a viscous liquid gurgling outside of his throat - all of it in random situations. And always with the same ending: him watching helplessly as his idol lost all his power trying to protect him and turned to ash and dust before his eyes. He could very well imagine just how bad it must have been for her, because it had been excruciating for him - dreading going to bed every night, wondering exactly what horror had his own brain imagined for him.

Uraraka took a shaky, deep breath.

“According to Recovery Girl, I was never over what happened last October, and instead of facing it head on I just bottled it all up, causing it to come out bursting when I heard about -” She shook her head and looked up at Katsuki, a weak and humorless smile attempting to stretch her lips. “And on the other side, there you stood, high above all of us, with your quirk getting a little bit more powerful with every passing day, praised by all our teachers, collecting perfect grades like you pick flowers in a field, evolving more and faster than any of us would have imagined. More than ever, I wanted to train with you, I - it almost became an obsession. I was even ready to follow to the arcades - like I have any money for that, I would have ended up in front of the gates like an idiot if we had gone. In my mind, you were the only chance I had. I train with you, become stronger, win the Sports Festival and the prize money, offer it to my parents, and everything would miraculously fall into place and finally allow me to be at peace.”

She snorted at herself. “I am so stupid.”

Damn right , Katsuki thought, holding his tongue at the last second.

“And then that portal opened in front of the gates, and once more you were the first one to react, and I was the one standing on the side, flabbergasted. By the time I moved, you were already onto Kenta-kun - even though he wasn’t a villain in the end. And he is -”

Her smile became slightly more honest as she looked up at him again. “You are so harsh and hard on him, but he is so adorable. So shy and precious - all the girls and Aoyama-kun agreed that he gives you a feeling like - like - you just wanna hug him you know?”

She giggled, and Katsuki scowled, irked.

“Tch. Hug him. Now that’s a great deal of bullshit - like he needs it. He needs a good ol’ whooping is what he needs.” He still remembered the ‘Fuck you’ from that morning, and still hadn’t digested it. “Plus the little brat could destroy the entire school if he tried hard enough.”

She shrugged. “So could you. It’s just like Aizawa-sensei said I guess, the apple really doesn’t fall too far from the tree. I didn’t see him demonstrate his quirk, I should ask him if he’d agree to show me again.” A shadow passed in her eyes, and her smile faded. “But then he comes around and shows all the merchandise of me from the future, saying I am the Number Three hero, that I am part of I don’t know what hero group, praising me and - he is a great fan of mine from what I understood but it’s just … how? How could that be? I am so far away from the high-schooler I want to be, so let’s not even talk about how farther away I am from the hero I wish to become. It just all feels so impossible and … out of reach, you know? How on Earth will I ever be able to be everything he claims I am? And I - you have such a perfect child, and he even has an older sister apparently - you are the Number Two hero, and you have a wholesome and happy family, like - it just seems like you’ve managed to get everything any adult would dream of, like it was nothing and - I can’t help but wonder if … I don’t know - it’s too embarrassing and frightening to ask, but - does he know if - if I have a family too? Or did I just get so overwhelmed by the amount of work I needed to put into becoming a great Pro Hero that I didn’t allow myself to have any personal life?”

She looked at a group of students crossing the campus in the distance, chatting and laughing, probably heading to their dorms.

“Anyway - the four kids arrived, and suddenly I had a wonderful opportunity to speak with you. After we watched that interview and you left for your room, I ended up following you, and I knocked a couple of times but you didn’t answer - you probably didn’t hear me, your music was so loud. I decided to wait until you turned it off, and I would go talk to you, but you bolted out of your room to the showers, so I took a book and waited for you, and I finally asked you if you wanted to train with me. I thought it was the perfect excuse, knowing you would feel under pressure. Turns out, the only one who wasn’t able to control herself was me.”

She sighed and rubbed her cheeks with her palms, making them even pinker than they already were. She looked tired as hell.

“I snapped at you, and I was so hurt and angry at what you said. It was embarrassing enough that people heard me scream and cry at night, having you talk about it like - like I was crazy - like I was bothering everyone - it just … it killed me inside. I wanted to dig a hole and hide myself in it until everything around me disappeared. And then you attacked me, and I just … I lost it. I have never felt so mad and out of control in my entire life. It was all just a blur - and the only thing I could think of was how much I wanted you to suffer - I wanted you to be in as much pain as I was, and even more. I wanted you to know what it felt like to hit rock bottom and to feel like everything around you was falling apart.” She sniffled, her brown eyes mortified and filled with tears. “I’m so sorry Bakugou-kun.”

She pressed her sleeves to her eyes, hiding half of her face, and carried on, her voice weak and shaky. “I fought with everything I had, and you still managed to beat me. I’ve never felt so furious about anything else, and everything else lost its importance to me. The only thing that seemed to matter afterwards was to do it again - fight you again, fight you until I dropped, until you dropped, until everything disappeared. Because when I fought you that morning, not once - not once - did I think about my uncle, or my grades, or the Sports Festival, or anything else. It was bliss and I … I was ready to do anything to feel this quiet emptiness again. And we fought again, and again it all disappeared - but you just didn’t seem to be anywhere near done. No matter how hard I came at you, no matter how many tricks I tried, no matter how many blows I landed, you just got back on your feet and dusted yourself off and got back at me twice as hard as I had.”

She shook her head and let her hands fall from her face, holding herself with both arms protectively, her eyes growing wide with terror as a memory played in her mind - and Katsuki balled his fists, knowing exactly what memory it was.

“And then you just proved once and for all how far away from you I was standing, and you did the one thing even I, who had the quirk to make it possible, never dared to do, and you took us high above the ground -” her voice faded, and she added in a whisper “- so high.”

Katsuki gritted his teeth, irritation scorching and irking in his stomach like the scales of a snake twisting itself. She turned to him, and her eyes were full of fear.

“And then you just … I thought you knew what you were doing - no matter how terrified I was, I thought … And you let go of me, and next thing I know you’re … I looked down, and I saw you close your eyes and let yourself fall - and you disappeared in the clouds. I tried to catch up with you, tried to stay still - like they do in movies you know? But I couldn’t - you were falling way too fast, and no matter how much I tried I - I shouted, and shouted, and you didn’t wake up, and - and when you did you were still falling and - and - again, once more, if you hadn’t done anything, there would have been absolutely nothing I would have been able to do for you, and you would have been - you would have - just like my uncle and - you -” She stuttered before she stopped talking and shut her eyes tight, shivering despite the weather being quite warm, breathing hard.

They both stayed silent, Uraraka struggling to keep her emotions in check and Katsuki taking in everything she had just told him.

“So that’s what you thought, huh.” He could barely keep his voice from shaking with anger. She opened her eyes and, for the first time, he saw fear in her eyes as she looked at him - not fear of him, but of what he would say. “You really are a moron. D’you really think it all just comes naturally to me? That I just wake up already owning my grades, and while I sleep my quirk gets stronger? Nice, thanks very much for looking down on me and all the work that I put into that shit.” He couldn’t tell what infuriated him the most: that she had taken him for a fucking punching bag and-or scapegoat, or that she just did what every extras throughout his scholarship had done and assume he was just a genius.

Uraraka opened and closed her mouth, mortified. “That’s not - that’s not what I meant - Bakugou, that’s not what I meant! I -”

“Stop making yourself fucking excuses” he snarled. “You wanna be stronger? Then you know what to do. But don’t fucking come to me with all your issues and blame me for them, especially when I don’t have shit to do with any of it. Dammit - what kind of fucking nonsense is that? Yeah I’m strong, strong as fuck, but I earned it - worked for it! Because I know there are other fuckers who might be strong too - and if I look down on them, if I don’t force myself to do everything I can to make sure they keep their place at the bottom of the gutter, then I risk losing everything I’ve worked for, everything that really matters!”

Katsuki took a step forward and planted himself in front of her, arms still crossed. “You lost to me like a little bitch, but that’s because I’m way better at this shit than you. That doesn’t mean you’re weak, that means there’s a fuckton of things I know and you don’t. So instead of curling into a ball and crying on the floor, try to actually do something about it. And -”

Katsuki paused, unsure of whether he should continue or not. He thought about what Recovery Girl had told him in the morning, how he should have been the one to help her get back on her feet - yeah that was nice and all, but what was he supposed to say? Or rather, what were the things he would have wanted to hear back when he was feeling like a weakling, when he thought the worst thing that could have happened to him and society was entirely his fault?

He took a sharp breath and carried on carefully, looking away. “Your uncle is dead. And so is Sir Nighteye. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. You being close to them when it happened was a coincidence at best, an unfortunate placement at worst. I can’t tell you to stop feeling guilty cause that would be pointless. You just have to … wait. And let time heal you.”

Uraraka stayed silent for a moment. He looked back down at her and saw her wipe her tears. “I know” she croaked. “It’s just … I can’t help but feel like … like there is something I could have done and … I keep torturing myself with it, and whenever I stop thinking about all of it, it just pops back in my mind when I expect it the least and-”

“- and you don’t know what to do about it or how to get rid of these feelings” Katsuki finished. “Yeah. I know.”

She blinked away her last tears and looked up at him. “How? How do you know that?” It was almost like she was begging him to answer. He grunted and buried his hands in his pockets. That was not a topic he wanted to talk about.

“After Kamino, I -” he sighed angrily, annoyed. Why the fuck was he talking about that. “It felt like I had a part of responsibility when All Might - when he fought for the last time.”

Uraraka looked at him with wide eyes. “But - but that’s not right! You had nothing to do with it, you weren’t even involved in-”

“And neither were you you dumbass” he cut her harshly. He wasn’t the center of the topic here. “Don’t you understand? All that guilt and shit - it’s not rational, it’s not justified, it’s just … it’s just here-” he hit his stomach with his fist “- and it won’t go away until you just - until you accept that there wasn’t shit you could have done, no matter what scenario you imagine, no matter how many ‘if’s and ‘but’s you use! It won’t go away in a day, not even in a month, but - bit by bit, it’ll start fading, until one day … one day it doesn’t hurt as much to think about it.”

She stared at him in silence, conflict raging in her eyes. She better not be waiting for him to keep on talking because that was as much as he was willing to say. He wasn’t used to blab that much, especially not about feelings - and certainly not his feelings. But she took and deep, steady breath, wiped her nose with her sleeve and sniffled again.

“Yeah.” She stared into nothingness, looking slightly more determined. She nodded to herself. “Yeah. Okay.”

He narrowed his eyes and scowled at her. “Oi, say thank you.”

He genuinely meant it - he wasn’t running around giving away motivational speeches to every random asshole in the campus, he was doing something pretty exceptional here - and if he was being honest with himself, he was quite damn good at it. But Uraraka threw her head back and roared with laughter, as if he had just cracked the funniest joke ever.

“Hey, I’m serious!” he blared at her. Was that what Aizawa felt whenever he was close to pro Hero Joke? Cause it was actually really pissing him off.

She kept laughing, wiping her eyes one last time. “Sorry, sorry” she giggled, before she took yet another breath and gazed at him, her face brightened up a little. “Thank you.” She smiled at him, and at that moment she looked so sincere with her round pink cheeks and her warm brown eyes, Katsuki felt his heart thump uneasily and had to look away when he felt a hot blush creep up his neck and make its way to his own cheeks.

“Tch. Yeah, whatever.” He pulled his hands out of his pockets and clapped them together. “Okay, get up.”

Uraraka stared at him in surprise, still smiling. “What? Why?”

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “You wanna get stronger, don’t you? Well get up then. We’re gonna spar.”

And there went the smile. “Bakugou-kun, I - I really don’t think that’s a good idea! Recovery Girl will definitely go to Aizawa this time, and she won’t accept to heal us if we -”

“Will you chill the fuck out?” he snapped at her, taking a few steps back and stretching his arms. “I said we were going to spar, not fight. I’m not stupid, I can’t have a single bruise tomorrow morning. We won’t land any blow, just spar.” When she still hesitated, he glowered at her. “I’m not gonna stand here all day waiting for you to make up your mind, and seeing how many times you fucked up yesterday you could benefit from my advices.”

She puffed her cheeks, clearly annoyed, but when she finally got up, she wore a sheepish smile on her lips. “Aw come on, I can’t have been that bad.”

“Bad doesn’t even begin to describe what you were.” Yeah, she was bad alright.

“Even when Recovery Girl told me you had to come to her office with crutches?”

He narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips. “Hey I said we wouldn’t fight, but if that’s what you’re looking for then you keep that up.”

Unimpressed, she giggled and assumed her own fighting stance. “Finally” Katsuki growled. Her eyes weren’t burning like a hellish inferno anymore, but there was still a very hot flame dancing in her brown pupils. “Now come and attack me.”

She didn’t hurl herself at him like she had the previous day but instead took three big steps, closing the distance, and swiftly threw a weak punch with her right hand. It wasn’t meant to hurt, not even to land, simply to be the first punch that would introduce the next ones. Katsuki easily deflected the blow with the palm of his right hand, and just like she had, he didn’t put any strength in the move - just enough to push her fist away. She immediately added her left fist to the battle and took a slight step to the side when Katsuki threw his own fist towards her. Pushing his arm away, she meant to grab his other arm and block him, but he grabbed her wrist and flipped it above her head. Instead of losing her balance like he had expected her to, she used the momentum he had unwillingly provided her with, spun around and threw her feet at him. He stopped it short from his chest and pushed it on the side, making her twirl again as he took a step back.

“Nice” he admitted with a satisfied smile. Fighting or sparing with her was much different from fighting with Kirishima. With the fake redhead, he had to avoid his blows at any costs and do maximum damage. It was brute and blunt force, no tricks - unlike with Uraraka, who wasn’t as brutal as he was, but much sneakier. He would expect her to do one thing and she would distract him into thinking he had the upper hand until she would kick him in the gut and leave him wonder where the fuck did it come from.

Uraraka relaxed and beamed at him. “Really?”

“Don’t get cocky” he warned her.

He came back at her, hitting just a tad harder and faster, pushing her a bit more and getting her to react faster. She easily kept up with him, like he had expected her to, putting him in tricky spots a couple of times, until he pretended to go for her right arm and instead threw his elbow at her face. She saw through him like she would have through glass and grabbed him in the crook of his arm. Logically, she would have used the movement to turn him around and twist and block his arm in his back - but for a reason he couldn’t comprehend, she let go of that unique opportunity and hesitated, allowing him not only to wrench himself free of her grasp, but to push her hard in her stomach with his right hand and smack her forehead with his left palm.

She stumbled backwards and held her forehead with both hands. “Ouch!” she protested exaggeratedly, and Katsuki rolled his eyes at her. So he could hurl her to the ground and knock the breath out of her without so much as a grunt, but the Gods forbid he pinched her too hard.

“What the hell was that” he growled at her. “Why did you hesitated? You had me there and you didn’t even go through with your move.”

She beamed again. “I did?”

“Will you - can’t you focus your three-seconds attention span on what I’m telling you?” he snarled, annoyed.

She giggled and rubbed her forehead. Well at least she seemed to be feeling better - maybe even to have fun. “I thought it was a feint and you were going to let me spin you around so you could elbow me in the gut.”

“You think too much. That’s what you get for hanging too much around that damn nerd Deku ” he spat, adding an extra dose of venom into the little shit’s name. “Even if it had been the case, you never have the luxury of hesitating in battle. Sometimes it might lead to mistakes -” the boy’s terrified face when he had first attacked him before the front gates floated in his mind “- but most of the time it’ll give you the upper hand.”

She nodded fiercely and put her fists up again. She was becoming a bit breathless, and Katsuki was beginning to sweat a little bit too much. He would have to be extra careful not to release an explosion when he least needed to. She approached him again, blocking his jabs and growing a little bit bolder with her every moves, until Katsuki found himself taking step back after step back under her attacks. Frustrated, he gritted his teeth, countered her fist with more strength and went for a right punch in her gut. Before he knew it, she grabbed his wrist, tugged on it towards the ground hard, and she headbutted him - again - on his forehead.

It was his turn to stumble backwards and hold his forehead. “Ouch!” he roared. “What the fuck did we say about landing blows? And you need to stop fucking headbutting me all the time, dammit!”

She laughed, the sound of it making Katsuki’s heart thump uneasily once more. “Sorry, sorry.” She didn’t look sorry at all though. “You’re just so predictable sometimes.”

Katsuki let his hands fall to his sides. “Say what now?” he growled, glaring at her.

Her hands flew before her. “No, wait that’s not what I meant, it’s just - you often use the same moves you know? So after a while it becomes easier to guess what you’re about to do.”

“That’s exactly what predictable means” he snarled. Katsuki let himself fall cross-legged on the grass, chin in his hands and elbow on his knees. “That’s how that goddamn nerd gets me all the time” he grumbled, more to himself than to Uraraka. Think, think, think. Think hard. If even Uraraka thought of him as predictable, then that meant other might think the same, and he had neglected an important flaw. He had to come up with something before tomorrow - he couldn’t allow himself to go anywhere near that stadium if he wasn’t a hundred percent sure he was gonna crush all the extras in it.

“Erm-” Uraraka still stood a few steps away from him, fidgeting uncomfortably with her sleeves, surprised by his sudden slouching and lack of response. “Bakugou-kun? Are you-”

“Shush” he held one finger in her direction, not even looking at her. “I’m thinking.” There was one thing that had always worked with Deku, the few times he had fought against the green-haired asshole - speed. If he was fast enough, even that damn nerd didn’t have a second to think. But Deku relied on his thinking rather than reflexes - because that loser had none - so it was easy to shortcut him as soon as Katsuki managed to be faster that his brain. But what of the others? What of Icyhot, who could attack from two different sides and keep him easily at bay? What of Pinky, who could melt and burn him to a crisp if she managed to get her acid to land on him? Or Ponytail, who went through battle like she played Shoji - always with four, five, six moves already planned in advance?

For now, there wasn’t much he could do. He would have to rely on his speed and to adapt to the situation at hand. He lifted his head and looked at Uraraka’s puzzled face. Speaking of speed …

“Oi Uraraka.” He stood up and held his hand open towards her, palm facing the sky. “Do that floating shit on me again.”

She stared at him, startled. “That floating … you mean my quirk?”

“Yeah, that one. Do it.”

She stared some more, looking properly confused. “Why exactly do you want me to do that?” she asked slowly, as if she was dreading the answer.

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “I wanna try to fly again. You do it every day and you’re just fine, it can’t be that hard.”

She frowned, looking slightly hurt. “I didn’t manage to easily float overnight you know. It took time and practice.”

Katsuki clicked his tongue impatiently. “Just do it, okay?”

She sighed and lifted slowly her hand. “Alright, alright but - just try to float to begin with okay? You can’t learn to run before you can walk.”

“Bullshit, my mother always told me I could run before I knew how to walk. I’m just too much for y’all extras.”

Uraraka stopped her hand in mid-air and laughed out loud. “Maybe you shouldn’t take everything your mother tells you for gospel Bakugou-kun” she giggled.

Katsuki glared at her, scandalised. “Are you implying my mother lied to me?” he snarled.

She didn’t even hesitate. “Oh yes - it actually seems pretty obvious.”

He narrowed his eyes and clicked his tongue, irritated, before he shook his open hand, getting her attention back on his calloused hand. She pressed her four finger tips in his palm and her thumb on his fingers, and for a second he was entirely distracted by the feeling of the small pads against his skin. They were soft yet hard, squishy yet a little coarse. Curiosity devoured him and he grabbed her hand to take a closer look at them. They were round and bright pink, slightly protuberant, not exactly at the same level as her skin. Frowning, he pressed one finger on one of them: it was warm and soft, a little scratchy, and rough on the edges. He repeated the same action on the smaller pad of her pinky, then on the larger one of her thumb. They all felt pretty much the same, maybe slightly softer or harder. He rubbed his palm against one of the pads, but the thick skin there prevented him from really feeling as much as he wanted to, so he rubbed the pad against the back of his hand. It felt nice and scratchy, like a de-stressing gadget. He wondered how it would feel against softer skins, like the inside of his forearm, or his cheek.

“Er- Bakugou-kun?”

“Mmh?” He lifted his head up, noticing two things. First, Uraraka’s face was now a very bright shade of red from the root of her hair to the border of her faded sweater around her neck. Second, he was floating.

Forgetting all about the pads, he let go of her hand and assessed his situation, excited. Right. So now he was floating.

“So what do I do?” he turned to Uraraka, who was staring at her hand, looking very flustered. He frowned, annoyed. “Oi, Uraraka! What do I do to float properly?” Was that even a thing? Floating properly?

She looked at him, still very red, and stuttered “Ah - uh - well um - try - try to uh - to turn around?”

Katsuki glared at her and snorted. Turn around? Was she serious? He almost decided to forget about her walk-then-run theory, but ended up giving it a go. He tried to turn like he usually would when  his two feet were on the ground, but he ended up wiggling furiously in the air like a worm someone would have pulled out of the dirt.

“Ah, fuck it!” he growled, and he released a small explosion from his right hand, expecting to be sent spinning. But instead he was brutally propelled forward like a stone from a sling. He heard Uraraka scream behind him, and suddenly he was dropping on the ground. He spun forward and released another explosion towards the grass, sending him jumping like he just finished a flip, before he landed back safely on both feet, sliding away, slightly crouching and in balance. He grinned when he realised he kinda got the hang of it since their fight from yesterday. Walk before you run, my ass.

“Bakugou!” Uraraka ran towards him, and she did not look happy. “Are you crazy? What do you think you were doing?”

“Do it again” he commanded, ignoring her protests and holding his palm open. “I wanna try to spin with my explosions without moving too much around.”

She crossed her arms on her chest. “Try first to turn without your explosions, and if you manage then use them!” she tried to reason him, but Katsuki was too set on his newfound goal to pays much attention - well, until she added “If you throw yourself away again I won’t use my quirk on you. I can’t - I’ve done enough damage already.”

He gritted his teeth and swallowed a scorching comment. She pressed her hand in his again, and he once more marveled at the feeling of her pads against his palm - it was such a funny feeling - before he was floating again.

“Don’t turn sharply with your entire body” she told him when he tried to twist in the air again. “Begin with your head, like you want to check something above your shoulder, then turn your shoulders too, and let the rest of your body follow.”

He frowned, dubious, but when he tried her method his body almost naturally unrolled and spun gently.

“You - you did it!” She sounded ridiculously surprised.

“Of course I did it, who do you think I am?” he snarled at her, still spinning.

Now that he had that bit under control, he could add some explosions to it. But he had learnt his lesson, and he knew even his least powerful blast could launch him like a catapult. No, he needed his explosion to be a gentle push, he needed to stay stable and remain on the same spot, and he needed to be able to stop himself from spinning when he would decide to.

Right. So. A gentle push.

A gentle. Push.

He let out a small explosion, but the moment it cracked in his hand he knew it would be too much. On the plus side, he had managed to find the right angle to spin on his spot and not be sent flying around. On the down side, he was now spinning so hard it felt like his face was about to be ripped from his skull.

“Put me down, put me down!” She released her quirk and he fell like a doll on the ground, still spinning and stumbling, before he ended up on his stomach, breathing hard. Uraraka snorted, giggled, put her hand on her mouth before she eventually laughed out loud. Katsuki rolled on his back and shot her a deadly glare.

“What the fuck are you laughing about?” he barked at her.

She didn’t reply but kept on laughing like an idiot, hand held out for him to try again.

He kept trying again and again, spinning, falling, having to ignore Uraraka’s moronic laughter, before he finally got the hang of it. He tried with both hands, spinning both ways, and managed to turn and stop without falling or losing control. When Uraraka put him down for the last time, he was awfully close to barfing - all that spinning clearly hadn’t been the best thing for his stomach. He fell on his ass, knees up and elbow on his knees, and he tried to take deep breaths, ignoring the strong nauseating feeling in his throat.

“Are you done?” Uraraka asked gently. He nodded, not too sure if it was wise of him to talk right now. “Okay, good. Because … I’ve been meaning to try something too.” Her voice was quiet and cautious, and it itched his curiosity. He frowned and lifted his head up, only to see her sit on her heels carefully in front of him, her big brown eyes fixated on him, as if she was looking for something in his that would comfort her. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, and for one second, for one crazy second, all the alarms went off in Katsuki’s mind and he wondered what the hell was she doing.

And then she opened her hands wide and slammed them on the ground, making the entire earth beneath them shudder, before everything around her, including themselves, began to float. Katsuki watched in amazement as he saw rocks, dust, bugs, leaves and blades of grass rose gently above the ground, moving around like they were in space. She held it all for exactly seven seconds, then Uraraka’s eyes flashed open, panic and urgency rising in her brown pupils as she joined her finger pads together.

“Release.”

They hadn’t finished falling back on the ground that she had already turned to her side and was throwing up. Which was exactly what Katsuki did not need to see or hear at the moment.

“Fuck” he groaned, feeling the nausea suddenly growing stronger as he flipped onto his own side. “Fuck fuck fuck fu- bluuuurgh-”

When they both finished emptying their guts on the floor, they awkwardly went to sit back on the bench in silence, Katsuki first and then Uraraka. So much for not ending up in a bad state . “That … was a bit embarrassing” she mumbled, fidgeting with her ugly sweater’s sleeves again.

“Just - don’t” Katsuki groaned, his head in his hands. “We don’t need to talk about it.” Fuck they didn’t.

Katsuki glanced at the box between them, remembering the boy had it earlier today and had wanted to give it to her.

“What’s in the box?” he asked her, his voice thick and weak, trying to change the subject at any costs.

She looked at the small package and smiled, taking it into her hands. “It’s cakes. Kenta left it in the infirmary for me this morning - isn’t he adorable?”

Katsuki felt a scowl set itself deeply on his face. “What do you mean cakes?” he asked coldly. Didn’t that little brat asked him for mochis this very morning? If he was happily running around, giving away cakes and flowers and whatever, why would Katsuki still need to do anything for him? He couldn’t even tell why he had offered to bake him anything to begin with - but just that face, that fucking crying face … he was so pissed, he just wanted him to stop crying already.

“Yeah, apparently they made cupcakes with Sato-kun while we were - uh -” she scratched her cheek awkwardly. “Anyway, they decorated them, and he made these for me.”

Uraraka opened the box and revealed four cupcakes, with pink, black and white icing on them. One even had a wobbly ‘Uravity’ written on it.

“Aw come on!” he shouted furiously. That was it, that little piece of shit wasn’t getting any mochi tonight.

“Don’t be jealous Bakugou-kun” she giggled as she brought one with pink, black and white stripes to her nose and sniffed it, and a smile bloomed on her lips. “It smells really good!”

“Choke on them then” he spat, boiling with anger and - well yeah, jealousy.

She laughed again. “Come on, don’t be like that. There, take that one!” She put the cake back and took another one, pink with a white circle, and two big black dots in the middle. “It has two black dots, just like your costume!”

I-don’t-want-it ” he snarled at her, still snatching the cupcake from her hands. He looked at it through narrowed eyes like it was going to turn into a snake anytime. Who the hell was that fucking Sato? He took the cake to his own nose - shit, it smelled really good. “Tch. Fuck that.”

She bit into the first cupcake she had taken with enthusiasm. “You ‘ould try ‘em, ‘ere really good - mmmmmh-” She made a happy face as she ate the whole cupcake in two more bites, and took another cupcake - this one black with a multitude of pink dots - that she mercilessly attacked.

Katsuki glared at the two black dots of his own cake - which wasn’t his, because that little shit didn’t even take the time to make one for him. Yeah cause it was perfectly fine to call him Dad even after he’d tell him half a thousand times not to, to be glued to him in the morning and whine about every little thing going on in his mind, to stalk him at lunch and even to burst into tears before telling him to go fuck himself - but make him one single fucking cake? Heeeeell nooooo, what was he thinking, that was waaaaaayyyyy too much asking!

For a second, Katsuki thought of crushing the cake in his hand - he hated cupcakes anyways. If anything, they were like the junky little brother of cakes, the loser of all pastries. But then again, he had just thrown up, and something to chase the aftertaste of it would be nice. He threw the cupcake in his mouth and chew angrily. Great. It was delicious. And now cupcakes were definitely dead to him.

He rose to his feet and grabbed his gym bag. “Where are you going?” Uraraka asked, eyes wide, looking like he had just announced that he never wanted to see her again. Why the drama.

“I’m going to find that cupcake guy, make mochis for that ungrateful little piece of shit and make them eat until they both either admit that they are best than the garbage that’s in this box or throw up” he barked furiously. No drama for him, thank you very much.

Uraraka’s face lightened up like a Christmas tree. “Mochis? You are going to make mochis?” Katsuki didn’t answer and turned around, not feeling like repeating himself. “Wait! Wait up!”

A weird sense of déjà-vu crossed Katsuki’s mind, when the boy had run after him in the morning after he ignored him. “You know what, you might just as well tag along with them” he snarled at her when she caught up with him, still boiling with anger. “That kid and you seem to have sooooo much in common - following me around and doing your best to make me look like a moron. Plus if you’re not around he’s gonna be a fucking pain in the ass and talk about you all evening, Uravity this, Uravity that - like you’re the center of the goddamn universe.”

Uraraka giggled. “Well if it’s best for me to be there, then I guess there’s no helping it” she agreed happily - a bit too happily. “Will I have mochis too?” There it was.

Katsuki growned. “If there’s enough, if not then tough luck.” He stopped abruptly as something crossed his mind.

Replaying the evening in his mind, he thought about everything she had told him and everything he had answered, along with the stuff he had blurted out last evening, half of which were either a lie or stuff he didn’t even truly think. He looked at her stop as well and give him a puzzled smile.

“Uraraka.” Shit. Ah, shit . How did he continue from there. He looked away, already mad at himself for opening his damn mouth.

“What is it?” Of course her voice would be soft and sweet - she couldn’t just make things easier for him and start yelling again.

Katsuki took a deep breath, clenching and unclenching both his fists and his jaw as if he was preparing for battle while he turned back to glowered intensely at her, and fought his roaring pride back as he spat vehemently “I’m sorry I called you weak.”

She stared at him for a moment, her face blank, then she just bursted in laughter again. Why the fuck was she laughing now? He had just apologized - apologized! - and she was laughing her head off!

“Out of all the things you could have apologised for!” She laughed again and put a hand on her chest, right where her two nicely developed breasts were joining. Usually he could guess their inviting form more accurately, but now that fucking shit of a sweater was - enough with the lurking already . “It’s fine. I’m just glad you allowed me to talk it out with you and … I’m glad you were there.”

He glanced at her from the corner of his eyes as they headed back towards Heights Alliance. There was still a deep darkness and sorrow in her eyes, but it wasn’t occupying all of her brown pupils anymore, and at least now she was laughing and smiling again like she meant it. He knew she was going to put up a show as soon as she’ll arrive in front of their classmates, but if she was even just a little bit alright just now … The face she had made the previous evening came flashing before his eyes - hollow and twisted in grief. Yeah, he thought, it was fine. She could eat as many mochis as she wanted to, as long as she never pulled another face like that again. Not in front of him, not in front of anyone.

Never again.

---

The moment they stepped into the crowded common area, a herd of extras hurled themselves at Uraraka like they hadn’t seen her in years, Deku and Four-Eyes leading the charge. Katsuki stepped to the side right before they hit target and he headed directly to the kitchen, where he found - oh surprise - the boy, sitting at the table with his books neatly opened before him, glasses on his nose, his face settled into a focused scowl. He lifted his head up when he heard the commotion, glancing above his glasses just like his fucking old man always did . When he saw Uraraka, his face brightened up, before he turned to Katsuki, and the scowl came back.

“What?” Katsuki barked at him loudly, unnecessarily aggressive as he threw his gym bag on the floor. “You wanna throw some insult at me again you little shit? Or are you gonna make me waste my time then give her fucking cakes?” he added, pointing at Uraraka above his shoulder.

The boy raised one eyebrow, clearly puzzled. “Wha - cakes? …” Then realisation seemed to hit him and he frowned. “The cupcakes? But you hate cupcakes, you always say that they’re the loser of all pastries.”

“That’s not the fucking point!” he blared at him. He slammed the big jar of glutinous rice flour he had just pulled out of one of the kitchen’s cupboard on the work surface near the sink.

“Did you want some?”

“Like hell I did! They weren’t even half good, I almost threw up because of them!” Almost. Depends on whether the order in which he ate and threw up mattered.

The boy’s frown deepened so much, his nose wrinkled. “How did you - were did you get one?”

“Well - She forced me to have one!” Katsuki pointed an angry finger at the small brunette, still surrounded by all these loud as hell idiots.

The boy looked at Katsuki, then Uraraka, then Katsuki again and his frown relaxed as he smiled shyly. “Did you two make up?”

“None of your goddamn business. Why aren’t you with the other bastards anyway? Porcupine and Chip and Dale” he added when the boy tilted his head to the side, biting on his paper pen.

“Ah - hehehe, Chip and Dale . Well the twins don’t really care about the homework we are being given because they don’t think we are going to stay here for long, and Hana-chan just wanted to stay with her mom and have fun for now. Personally I’d rather do my homework now, later on I might be too tired to focus properly. Plus if UA is giving us homework in the past, that means that our UA knows we are being given proper education still, and if they ask us for these homework -” he tapped on his notebook with his pen “- then I have to be ready to hand in a solid piece of work.” He grimaced. “Also I don’t like working with them - the twins get distracted too easily, and Hana-chan is too loud.”

Katsuki glared at him as the boy looked down at his book and carried on with his work, unphased by all the noise surrounding him. Good boy . He clicked his tongue, and pulled out the other ingredients - sugar, potato starch, red bean paste and the chil-

“Did you eat them again?” Katsuki looked at the suspiciously lighter plate of chilly before he turned to the boy, his red eyes glowing. The boy looked at him with wide eyes, and Katsuki could almost see the machinery turn and steam in the boy’s mind as he decided whether he should lie or not.

“I only had a couple of them” he finally admitted in a quiet voice with a sheepish smile.

“Kacchan!”

Nope.

Nope nope nope. He was so not fucking ready to deal with him.

Katsuki turned to Deku, who was closely followed by Four-Eyes, Toad Girl and Raccoon Eyes - the two of them holding Uraraka in a tight hug -, the three bastard kids, his own group of idiotic friends, and for some reason Icyhot. Katsuki pulled out an unnecessarily long and sharp knife from one of the drawers and glared at Deku, hoping to make him understand how little time he had for him.

“I’m busy. The fuck you want.”

Deku stared at the knife and gulped, un-at-ease, before he stuttered “Well - uh - Uraraka told us you were going to make her and Kenta-kun mochis?”

Katsuki’s head snapped to Uraraka, who was now smiling innocently. “Did she now?” he growled. “Well I guess I changed my mind.”

What? ” The boy looked at him almost in horror, as if Katsuki had just betrayed him.

“No no no no no!” Uraraka pushed the girls’ arms away and ran towards the kitchen’s table, sitting herself next to the boy. “See, I’m already sitting. We’ll be good, we won’t bother you - pinky promise. Right Kenta-kun?”

The boy blushed intensely and his head shrunk slightly between his shoulders before he turned back to Katsuki and nodded vigorously. Katsuki narrowed his eyes at Uraraka’s smile and the boy’s pleading face, his anger trying to claim the best of him.

“Tch.” He turned his back on them and put the knife next to the red bean paste. “Don’t get in my way.”

“But what about us Dad?” asked Tape face with a stupid smile.

“Yeah, come on, don’t leave your buddies out like that!” added Pikachu, throwing his arm on Katsuki’s shoulders. “We all love mochis!”

“Get off!” he snarled at him, shaking him off of himself.

“Oh wait! We could turn it into a contest just like we did with the cupcakes!” Pinky was now jumping on her spot. “Like instead of decorating, we could carve stuff on the mochis!”

“Yeah! We could use Sato’s material, I’m sure he must have something we could use!” added Kirishima, slamming his fist in his palm.

“Sato- Oi Kirishima!” Katsuki called, suddenly remembering with rage about that guy. “Go get Cupcake dude and tell him I’m gonna kill him with my mochis.”

“I won’t tell him that but yeah I’ll bring him with me!” Kirishima replied happily before he dashed for the stairs, followed by Pinky, Buzz Face and Soy Sauce.

“I’ll go change and put on my house clothes” said Uraraka, jumping from her seat. “Be right back Kenta-kun, keep my seat for me!” The boy mumbled something and buried his face back in his books.

“I’ll go with you too.” Toad face followed her with what looked like a smile on her face - but how could he tell. “It feels like we haven’t talked in a long time.”

The two girls left, chatting happily, and Four-Eyes and Icyhot stayed a bit further away, talking with Porcupine and the two bastards. Leaving Katsuki with fucking. Deku. Who was now looking at him with two glowing eyes.

“It’s so nice that you would do something like that for everyone Kacchan! Let’s do our best for the contest!”

How did that nerd always manage to make everything he said so infuriating.

If I had focused on developpin’ my quirk more instead of daydreamin’ about Deku-kun then maybe …

A new kind of anger burnt in the pit of his stomach. He had always taken Uraraka for Deku’s personal cheerleader, but now he realised, as he stared at the nerd’s fucking sparkling face, that there might have been something more to it. And that something might just have gotten in the way of her improving her skills - like it had for Katsuki, too. That fucking greenhead always pretended to be weak, to be stupid, until the real tests arrived and then no one else mattered, and he dashed and left friends and foes alike behind. And it seemed that Uraraka, as strong and badass as she could be, had gotten caught up in his nets too. Katsuki clenched his fists.

“Get the fuck out of here Deku” he hissed through his teeth. “I’m serious, you better be running away in the next three seconds.”

Deku didn’t seem surprised - not even taken aback. Just maybe a little disappointed. “Yeah, I’ll uh -” he scratched the back of his head with an awkward smile “I’ll go check on Uraraka and come back later.”

“She doesn’t need you to check on her dammit!” he roared with exasperation after him.

“What the hell was that?”

Katsuki turned to see the boy’s pink face scowl at him. “Why did you yell at Uncle Deku like that?”

“Uncle- why don’t you start minding your own fucking business for once blush face?” he blared at the boy. “ Uncle Deku - what the fuck seriously! So that guy stole All Might, the title of Number One Hero and my future family too? Next thing I know you’re gonna tell me he fucks your mother every weekend? You know what, it’s actually a good thing you told me about him, cause now I can make sure that fucking nerd doesn’t come anywhere near me - I’ll make sure he isn’t in my life the moment I’m done with UA! Let him be a bother for his own family!”

The boy looked at him, bewildered, and frowned like he was wondering what the hell was wrong with him. “Dad -” he looked around to make sure no one was within earshot before he leaned on the table and said in a quiet voice “Dad. Uncle Deku has no family. No wife, no children - nothing. His mother suddenly died of cancer shortly before I was born, and then All Might died, and-”

“What? All Might is dead?” Katsuki’s mouth fell open and shock washed over him.

The boy bit his lips, as if he had said too much. “Well, he is an old man after all … and … Well Uncle Deku had had this on-and-off thing with the head of the support company Hatsume Creation, but … Just like All Might, he decided he couldn’t take the risk to involve anyone with him - it’s too dangerous. And at first when Miho and I were born he tried to cut ties with us, but you and Mom wouldn’t let him. He’s always there for birthdays, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and stuff, but that’s also because he has nowhere else to go during these times. He barely ever takes a day off, but when he does he spends that time at our place and stays with us, because he doesn’t want to stay alone. And when - when -”

Without seeming to realise, he grabbed his left hand and ran his right thumb inside his palm, tracing a line in it. “When … something … happened, he - he was there for us, and for you too. You called him first, because you needed him to take care of ... it … before mom arrived. And he stayed in Japan for as long as we needed him to, he refused very well paid works just to make sure I - we - were okay.”

He then gave Katsuki a severe look. “We’re all he’s got.”

Katsuki gritted his teeth, torn between his indignation at knowing that that nerd was so mixed up in his future life, and the realisation of what he had been willing to sacrifice to be Number One. Was it something Katsuki had been unable to give up on? Had Deku been stronger than him in those aspects?

“Tch. That damn nerd …” He turned his back to the kid and grabbed a scale and a couple of bowls to weight his ingredients. “So what, we’re like best buddies or something?” He winced at the thought.

“I don’t know - I guess?” replied the boy softly. “Well, not best friends, but friends at least? Good friends. You even bought him a phone with only our numbers in it because you were tired of having to go through his secretary or ending up on his ever-full voicemail every time mom asked you to call him to invite him over.”

“Who the hell is that woman?” Katsuki barked, annoyed. The boy didn’t mention her that much, but the few times he had she had sounded like quite the dull pain in the ass. “No you know what? I don’t wanna know. Don’t want to, don’t need to.” He easily dismissed the thought. He already knew way to much about his future, much more than he had ever wanted to - he didn’t need to know who had managed to tie him down and make him give up on the dream he had had since he was a kid for a family .

“Wasn’t gonna tell you anyway” the boy mumbled, leaning back on his books.

One second they were quietly sitting in a comfortable silence, the boy dutifully doing his homework and Katsuki preparing the mochi dough that he was now pulling out of the steamer, and next thing they knew, they were staring at each other, their annoyment reflected in each other’s eyes as they were suddenly surrounded by a pack of loud and obnoxious extras. Kirishima, Soy sauce, Pikachu and Raccoon had all come back from Cupcake’s room with the latter, who stayed behind to chat with Four-eyes - who knew why it had taken them twenty minutes to bring one dude and cake-carving tools - and were now running around Katsuki, looking at the dough resting in the bowl he was holding and commenting on it in amazement. Facing him, the boy was surrounded by his own idiots, Porcupine begging him to let him copy his homework, Vanilla laughing at him for even doing them and Strawberry disagreeing with every method he had used in them. The boy mouthed ‘Kill me’, and Katsuki bit back a smile.

“I wanna try it!” was shouting Buzz Face “I love mochi dough!”

“Oh yeah me too, even when it’s not cooked!” added Kirishima, excited. “Come on Bakugou let us have some!”

Buzz face tried to reach in the bowl but Katsuki kicked him in the thigh, holding Pinky away by her forehead. “Fuck off, it’s not ready yet! I swear if one of you touches it you won’t even see the shadow of a single mochi!”

“Whaaaat! You’re so cruel Bakugou!”

“Come ooooon, just let me at least copy your maths exercises!” Porcupine’s voice was so loud Katsuki could hear it even above Kirishima’s complains. “You’ve finished them anyways, and you know I suck at maths!”

“I wouldn’t copy them if I were you, half of the formulas he used are either inappropriate, useless or downright wrong” commented Strawberry, eyeing the homework with disdain.

“If you don’t agree with them you don’t need to comment on them” sighed the boy through his teeth, holding his maths exercise book tightly to keep Pinky Junior from snatching it away.

“How are you going to improve if I don’t tell you everything you’re doing wrong?”

“Just let me have a look! Just one small look?”

“Are you going to use red bean paste?”

“Oh you’re gonna add chillies?”

“I don’t know why you’re even bothering with the homework they’re giving us, it’s not like we’re even gonna stay in this reality anyway. You’re such a nerd!”

“But I hate chillies, they make my mouth burn! Can’t you try another to add something else, like apples or peach?”

“Peach is nice.”

“Tell you what, you let me take a look for like five minutes, and then I give you your book back, okay?”

“I’m gonna carve a ladybug on my mochi.”

“Why would you use that formula instead of directly solving the equation? That’s silly.”

“Come on just give us a bit of dough we can chew on!”

I’m gonna murder them all.

Within three seconds, several things happened at once. First, Katsuki let go of Raccoon Eyes’ forehead and put the bowl on the table, causing the idiots surrounding him to throw themselves at it. Second, just as he was making his hands crackle in preparation for the explosions he was getting ready to blast at them, he saw the boy motion for him to cover his eyes, before he put his hands on top of each other, fingers on the other hand’s wrist and pads touching. Katsuki understood just in time and closed his eyes, and third, he saw even through the darkness of his eyelids a powerful flash of light, followed by screams and thuds. When he opened his eyes again, Soy sauce and Kirishima were on the ground, Pinky was holding onto the table with one hand and Buzz Face was blinking fast and wailing. In front of him, Strawberry and Vanilla seemed to have jumped away from the boy and fallen onto the ground were they were now curled up into balls and moaning loudly, and Porcupine had her head on the table, repeating ‘WHYYYY’ over and over again. All of them had their hands glued to their eyes.

Katsuki snickered and gave the boy an evil smile, oddly satisfied when the kid mirrored it with one of his own. “Not half bad, little brat” he told him, extending his fist to the boy, whose cheeks become rounder than ever under his smile when he touched Katsuki’s fist with his.

“What one Earth just happened?” Four-Eyes stood in front of the kitchen’s entrance, hands on his hips and legs wide apart like the keeper of a prison. Behind him, bewildered, stood Uraraka, Deku, Cupcake, Ponytail and Icyhot, the latter staring at the boys on the ground like they were dead.

“Who -” he began quietly, before his eyes rose to Katsuki then to the boy, who shrunk under his glare.

“Bakugou-kun! What is the meaning of this?” asked Four-Eyes, his glasses shining angrily.

“They were fucking with me so I ended them” Katsuki replied with a grin. He saw the boy look at him from the corner of his eyes, and when he turned to grab the bowl of mochi dough, he shot him a glare that said ‘Just go with it and don’t blab’ .

“What do you mean you ended them?” said Cupcake, taking a few steps and crouching next to Soy Sauce.

“Bakugou, you sick bastard” grunted Strawberry in a low voice.

“What did you do to them?” Half-n-half sat on his heels and held a hand out towards Vanilla, letting it hover above his head.

“Just a light trick, they’re all fine” he snapped at him, rolling his eyes. Kirishima let out a long growl and climbed back on a chair, echoing Porcupine’s ‘Whyyyy’.

“Have you lost your mind?” Icyhot looked like a time bomb that had just begun ticking. He grabbed Strawberry under the armpits and helped him sit up, before turning to his twin and doing the same.

“Bakugou-kun, this behaviour is absolutely unforgivable! I am really disappointed in you. Hurting your classmates as well as the younger student, what were you thinking! You should be ashamed of-”

“Everyone!” Ponytail’s voice covered Four-Eyes’ and snapped like a whip. “Bakugou-san has always been known for his brute behaviour, but he has made the effort of going out of his way to make mochis, so we could all enjoy one last evening together before the Sports Festival. Instead of shouting and wreaking havoc, we should try and do our best to help him, and not get in his way. Now, everyone who wishes to participate in the carving contest, please take a seat in an orderly fashion. If there isn’t enough chairs, I’ll bring some more. Bakugou-san, if it is alright with you, I will be preparing some tea to accompany your sweets.”

There was a pause, and Four-Eyes cleared his throat. “Uh -I see. Right - but it still is unacceptable to use your quirk outside of official school trainings. Please refrain from doing so in the future.”

Katsuki narrowed his eyes at Ponytail and watched her cross the kitchen, holding her head high, and kneel before Soy Sauce. “Sero-san, are you alright?”

“Noooooo” he wailed, still laying on the floor. “He blinded me!”

“I see” she replied sweetly - too sweetly. “Maybe it is better if you just go straight to bed without sharing sweets with us then. Are you sure you’ll be able to compete tomorrow?”

“No I’m fine!” he stood back up, blinking fast and hard, hands on the table. “Uh - that was - argh -”

“Good. Please take a seat then Sero-san.”

“Kenta-kun - you were supposed to be different from your father” wheezed Pinky, slowly sitting down next to Kirishima, shielding her eyes from the light on his shoulder.

Everyone sat on a chair, and Ponytail made sure they all had a seat - even Icyhot, who had calmed down after her intervention but still eyed Katsuki like anything could make him snap at any given moment. Uraraka took Porcupine’s place next to the boy, moving her down one seat.

“Kenta-kun, you can’t let your father do stuff like that you know” she giggled. “Try to reason him next time!”

The boy looked at Katsuki, alarmed, and turned back to Uraraka, his face red. “I - uh - yeah but uh - you know, he’s so stubborn, even if I tell him something, he won’t listen to me so -”

Katsuki glared at him angrily. Oh, was that how it was then? He covered up for him and that ungrateful little shit stabbed him in the back? The boy shot him a panicked look, like he was telling him ‘You’re the one who said go with it’ .

Ponytail then came next to him. “So, what are you going to need next? You will probably need more ingredients if you want to bake for everyone, right?” she asked innocently, filling up a kettle and letting it boil up. Katsuki narrowed his eyes even more until they were two slits. “Cut the crap” he snapped quietly so no one could overhear their discussion. “I know you don’t think much of me, and I know you’d never have defended me if you didn’t have something in that head of yours. So spit it out. What is it?”

She frowned at him and leaned forward. “I want to learn to make mochis. So you can either teach me, or I can let you deal with Iida-san and Todoroki-san. What is it going to be Bakugou-san?”

Katsuki stared at her open-mouthed. What the hell was wrong with the girls in this class? Between the one that wanted to fight till death and the one that blackmailed him - next thing he knew Toad Face was going to grope him or something like that.

“Fine” he snarled back, pushing the ingredients her way. “Weight that.”

She created a small paper pen and a notepad and sternly wrote down the quantities Katsuki was giving her. He turned back to where the extras were sitting, pushing Buzz Face to make him scoot so he could put a tray and some parchment paper on the table, sprinkling it with potato starch before he spread the mochi dough on it.

“I see, the potato starch is used so the dough won’t stick” commented Ponytail, deep in thought as she mixed together the sugar, the glutinous rice flour and the water. “How smart.”

Katsuki just rolled his eyes as he pulled the rolling pin out and, after covering it with more flour began to spread the mochi dough evenly.

“Bakugou, you little -” groaned Porcupine. It seemed she called the boy by his last name when she was upset with him - or scared, like she had two and a half days ago. She still had her hands pressed onto her eyes, and when she pulled them out, her black eyes were oddly bloodshot, making her look like a kind of demon. “Couldn’t you just ask us to shut up like any normal human being?”

The boy chuckled smugly. “Tch, if that hurt you then I guess you and your parents are even weaker than I thought.”

She looked up at him and glared, her golden pupils glowing with cold anger. She narrowed her eyes, clearly looking for something hurtful to reply. Eventually, she leaned in and answered in a soft voice.

“Your parents - had sex to conceive you.” The boy’s smile disappeared instantly. “Not once, not twice, but countless times, until they couldn’t go on any longer. You think about that next time you look at your mommy.”

Four-Eyes gasped, Uraraka and Pinky giggled, Kirishima, Cupcake, Soy Sauce and Chip and Dale roared with laughter, and the boy gawked at her, horrified.

“Why would you say something like that?!” he shrieked holding his head in both his hands before he shook it vigorously. “Uuuuh - no no no no no, I don’t want that image.”

“Hey Kenta-kun tell us, who is your mom?” asked Deku with a smile while Katsuki took the tray and put it in the fridge.

“How long do you leave it in here?” Ponytail enquired, notepad and pen in hand.

“Please don’t talk about my mom right now” wailed the boy, burying his head between his arms on the table.

“That’s what you get for being cocky and talking about my parents” Porcupine spat viciously.

“It’s alright Kenta-kun, it’s alright” Uraraka giggled, patting him gently on the head while the boy immediately tensed under her touch.

“Fifteen minutes.” She scratched the number on the paper before she put her bowl in the steamer. “No, no, you have to cover it with a towel, or else it-”

“The condensation will drip onto the dough, of course!” she interrupted him, smack in her fist on her palm. “How smart of you Bakugou-san.”

Katsuki grimaced. “Oi, at least let me finish my sentences.” She closed the steamer and set their little kitchen timer on fifteen minutes.

“How about we try and guess who she is?” suggested Buzz Face, still rubbing his eyes. “It can’t be that hard.”

“Yeah, let’s just gather some intel based on what’s non-Bakugou here” added Kirishima, waving at the boy to show what he meant by ‘here’.

“So - what are we looking at?” Pinky took a deeper voice, like she was the main character of a police crime TV show.

“Mmh - well he’s shorter than Bakugou for one” begun Soy Sauce, squinting his eyes at the boy who kept his head buried in his arms, the tip of his ears bright red. “Brown hair too.”

“Also his nose is cuter!” noted Raccoon Eyes, touching hers.

“What the fuck do you mean by that Pinky?” Katsuki growled, cutting the chillies in small bits on the kitchen work surface but still ready to make his hands crackle at any time to remind them all what they had avoided earlier. He put some red bean paste in a separate bowl and added the bits of chilly, mixing them together with the tip of his fingers.

“It’s Ashido! A-shi-do! Remember the names of your friends, dang it!” she huffed, hands on her hips.

“And the cheeks too” added Toad Face, amused. “He has pink round cheeks - just like Ochako-chan!”

“Oh, what if it’s Uraraka?” said Buzz Face suddenly, clapping his hands together.

They all turned to Uraraka, who still had her hand in the boy’s spiky hair, and looked back in surprise as they all stared in silence.

She blinked. “Eh?”

Laughters suddenly filled the room, making Chip and Dale jump and Katsuki frown.

“Yeah right, as if Uraraka would ever end up with Bakugou!” roared Soy Sauce, holding his sides as if it was the best fucking joke he had ever heard.

“Kaminari-kun don’t say things like that!” Raccoon was half laughing half scolding him. “Poor Ochako-chan, that would be horrible!”

“What the fuck?!” Katsuki yelled, throwing a towel at her. “Anyone would be fucking delighted to have me as their husband you jackass!”

“Well it’s true that Bakugou-kun is really good at cooking” pointed out Toad Face, a finger on her chin. “He must be quite reliable in that sense, ribbit.”

“Damn right I am!”

“No one would ever let Uraraka anywhere near that dude” laughed Kirishima, pointing at Katsuki with his thumb. “I can already see posts all over the internet about how much of an abusive relationship it would be if they were together!”

“Imagine if they actually had kids together!” Soy sauce was crying of laughter with Buzz Face, and Katsuki was reaching the end of his ever so short patience. “Just - just imagine - how weird they would be!”

Vanilla laughed his head off, and Strawberry and Porcupine snickered.

“Yeah Bakugou, imagine ” said the first one, smacking his hand on the boy’s back “imagine just how weird they would be! Wouldn’t that be an awful mix? Huh? What do you think?”

The boy’s red face emerged from between his arms, glowering coldly at the white-haired bastard. “You little -”

“Shut the fuck up before I kill you all!” roared Katsuki. “I could have any goddamn girl if I wanted to, you’ll remember that!”

“Yeah but not Uraraka” assured Pikachu, looking one thousand percent sure of himself. “I’d bet anything on it - you know what? Let everyone here be my witness, and the future kids as well: if Bakugou ever marries Uraraka, I’ll name my first child after him, boy or girl.”

“Why would I want my name to be associated with your shittiness?” Katsuki spat, while all the others around the table laughed and giggled.

All but Porcupine, who was laughing but also gawking at Buzz Face. “Why on Earth would you tempt the universe and bet the name of your first kid on something so silly?”

“Let Uncle Kaminari give you a tip young lady: when betting, only bet when you are sure your guess is the only reasonable solution.”

He winked at her, and she laughed out loud. “Thank you, thank you so much for this advice, I’ll remember it forever.”

“Say, Kenta-kun, I’ve been meaning to ask you” Uraraka begun, laughing nervously. She pulled her hand out of the boy’s hair, and he frowned and pouted when she did so. “You seem to know a lot about me so uh - I wanted to know - do I have … a family too?”

The boy looked at her, his expression unreadable, before he turned to stare at his left palm. “Yeah.”

“Ah” She smiled a little bit more easily. “Do I have children?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s good Ochako-chan! You’re both a cool hero and a Mom!” Pinky beamed at Uraraka, and the latter mirrored her smile.

“Are they nice?”

The boy shrugged. “They’re okay I guess.”

“How many do I have?”

“How many do you want?” He cocked his head to the side, his eyes not leaving his left palm. He brought his right hand and ran his thumb on an invisible line again.

“I - I don’t know” she giggled, blushing. “One I guess? Or maybe two is better, being an only child can be lonely.”

“I see” he mumbled, a small smile briefly appearing on his lips.

“And … am I married? Or is it like Mina-chan?”

“Married.”

“And is he nice?”

Another shrug. “Yeah, I guess he’s pretty cool.” And a small smile. “He drives a motorcycle.”

“Wow, so cool!” marveled Kirishima.

Katsuki clicked his tongue in annoyance and looked at the timer: three minutes and eighteen seconds left. Any random moron could learn to drive a motorcycle, it wasn’t that amazing.

“Motorcycles are dangerous and are responsible for a third of all accidents on the road, please keep that in mind Uraraka-kun!” Surprisingly enough, Katsuki found himself glad to have Four-Eyes on his side for once.

“What’s his name?” asked Pinky enthusiastically.

“Next” intervened Strawberry. Pinky, Soy sauce, Buzz Face and Kirishima groaned a loud “Come oooooon!”, taking Katsuki and Ponytail aback, but not Icyhot. Right at the same time, the kitchen timer went on.

“Take the dough out of the steamer and do what I just did” Katsuki told Ponytail - before he realised she was already onto it. Working with her was much more pleasant that what he had expected, he noticed as they both got on with their own work. She didn’t need him to repeat an instruction or show him again how to do anything, and while she stuck around all the extras stayed still. Once she had put her own tray in the fridge, she carefully watched him cut small circles in the dough Katsuki had prepared and stack them between layers of cling film.

“Do we at least know him?” was insisting Deku, way too eager to know more about Uraraka’s private life.

“Next.”

“You’re no fun Hiro-kun !” complained Raccoon Eyes.

Strawberry winced. “Why do you keep on calling me Hiro-kun” he mumbled, clearly annoyed by the familiarity.

Porcupine glared at him and Pinky snickered. “Would you prefer Todo-chan?” she asked sweetly, and Icyhot made a twitching face.

“You known what, Hiro-kun is just fine.”

“Yeah that’s what I thought. But let’s go back to what’s really important: who is Uraraka married to?”

Before anyone could say anything, the boy lifted his head from under his arms and said “Why do you insist on asking about others? Why doesn’t anyone ask who her father is?” He motioned at Porcupine with his chin, and the girl shot him a deadly glare.

“Oh yeah that’s true, your parents aren’t married right?” asked Soy sauce, tilting his head to the side.

She rolled her eyes. “It doesn’t matter ” she replied dryly “and I’m not giving away who my father is.” She grinned widely and added “I’ll just let you rack your brain I guess.”

Katsuki looked up and glared at her ridiculously sharp canine teeth, her idiotic toothy smile and her overly happy demeanor in general. You’d have to be a complete idiot to not put two and two together. As stupid as her Dad that one .

He still didn’t know whether it just pissed him off or actually hurt him that Kirishima hadn’t told him in person about that thing he and Pinky had going on. They were both idiots, but they would at least have to realise just how thin the walls were and how loud they could be sometimes. Not that he’d ever heard really disturbing things, but Raccoon’s giggles were hardly easy to miss - especially if they were followed by an indication on where she wanted him to put his hands. Why exactly did they think Katsuki had taken the habit of turning the music on as soon as he entered his room - loud?

“Anyway, wanna talk about the Sports Festival?” she added innocently, putting an elbow on the table and her chin on her hand. Well at least she was smarter than them - maybe she had inherited both their unique neurons and had now two of them.

“Uh, don’t talk about that, I’m already beginning to be nervous” shuddered Raccoon Eyed - tch, weak.

“Are you going to be watching from the stands?” asked Icyhot, opening his mouth for the first time since the boy’s flashy trick.

Vanilla pouted and Strawberry groaned. “No, we’re not allowed to be in the stadium for the Sports Festival. We’ll have to stay here in the dorms and watch it on TV like every other loser in the country.”

“What? But - why?” Deku looked scandalised - how fun would that be if he was forced to stay in the dorms to watch live as Katsuki won.

“They’re still worried we might be villains I guess” grumbled the boy, looking at Uraraka’s hand resting on the table. “But they said we’d be able to join once the award ceremony is over. Which is kinda pointless, but well.”

“I can’t believe this is how I’m gonna spend my first Sports Festival” whined Vanilla, pulling his hair backwards.

“That sucks man” sympathized Buzz Face. “I’m curious though, what do you think it will look like this year? The three events?”

From there, Katsuki stopped listening. These extras’ theory held no interest for him, so he focused on finishing the sweets with Ponytail. At some point, whenever he looked away, some of the freshly made mochis would disappear, and he was ready to flip the goddamn table before he realised fucking Uraraka had been sending them floating one after the other to make the boy laugh.

“Here.” Katsuki slammed a plate with two big mochis in front of Cupcake, who was beginning to look like he was really wondering what he was doing here. “Eat this” he all but spat. He watched with squinted eyes as the giant dude hesitated, sweating a little, and took a careful bite under the entire table’s attentive eyes. He stared at the mochi in his hand in disbelief and turned to Katsuki, his eyes wide.

“It’s really good!”

How did three word cause such a commotion, who knows. But next thing he knew, half of the extras had launched themselves at the tray of sweets, making them all disappear - only to end up clutching their throats and coughing, eyes watering as Katsuki roared with laughter.

“You’re all weak ” he snarled at them, grinning. “Weren’t you supposed to have a carving contest or something?”

Only the boy was happily chewing, gently patting on the back of a wheezing Uraraka. They drank tons of water and waited hungrily for Ponytail’s tray to do their carving shit, but Katsuki was already beginning to feel tired, and he wanted to go to bed extra early tonight. Plus there was one thing he needed to do, one thing that had been on his mind since he woke up from that shitty dream this morning. So he cleaned the material he had used, put it all back in its place and left the kitchen.

“Dad, where are you going?”

“Still none of your goddamn business” replied Katsuki without turning around. He had already reached the stairs when he heard rushed footsteps behind him.

“Dad, wait!”

He sighed, hands in his pockets, and turned to the boy, who still had his glasses on. “What now?” he asked, exasperated. “You’ve had your spicy mochis, you’re all buddy-buddy with your precious Uravity and they’re gonna do their shitty contest. What more do you want Old man?”

The boy scowled, obviously hurt, and buried his hands in his pockets, mimicking Katsuki. “I just wanted to wish you good luck for tomorrow, that’s all.”

Katsuki clicked his tongue. “I don’t need luck. I’ve worked hard enough to not need something as random and unreliable as luck - you go give that to others, they’re the ones who are gonna be in need of it.”

He thought the boy would scowl even more, that he would leave without a word - maybe even have tears in his eyes. He didn’t expect him to chuckle and scratch the back of his head.

“Of course you’d say that. Well, whatever.” And he left.

---

Once back in the blissful silence of his room, Katsuki sat on his bed and pulled out his phone, going through his very short contact list. He didn’t have that many numbers, only the ones that mattered - his parents and close family, contacts from UA, a couple of numbers from Best Jeanist’s Hero Agency, his doctor, and some of his classmates’ numbers. Buzz Face and Pinky had taken the liberty to add all nineteen numbers, but Katsuki had deleted more than half of them and only kept the ones that either didn’t bother him or would prove to be too much of a pain in the ass if he deleted them too: Buzz Face, Raccoon Eyes, Soy Sauce and Kirishima were part of the second category of course - they sent him so many texts, he couldn’t believe them when they’d take offense he didn’t read them all. The other ones whose numbers he had kept were Ponytail and Four-Eyes - just in case he needed the class reps one day -, Icyhot and Deku - keep your four only friends close, and the assholes you’re gonna murder even closer -, and Sound Bitch and Uraraka.

He quickly found the number he was looking for, and taped on the green phone sign.

Beeeeep … Beeeeep … Beee-

“Oh, what an honour, Bakugou Katsuki has remembered he has a mother.”

Katsuki rolled his eyes, already annoyed and angry. “Can’t you just say hi like any other mother?” he growled.

“Can’t you call often like any other son?”

“I don’t need to fucking call you every single day of my life Old hag.”

“Oh yeah? Then how about when a little brat from your future pops up in front of your school you jackass?”

Usually he would have snapped back and added to the verbal jabs, but when he opened his mouth, he found no word would come out.

“Katsuki?” He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, eyes closed. “Katsuki!” she suddenly blared angrily, making him jump a little.

“Shit, I’m right here!” he roared back, standing up in his room.

“Well then answer the goddamn phone when your mother is talking to you you little shit!”

“What exactly am I doing right now?!”

“You tell me! What the fuck was that silence? What’s going on? Did something happen?”

“No, nothing happened, just, you know, the weekly arrival from the future!” he said, his voice dripping sarcasm.

“And you can’t deal with something like that? Are you becoming soft or something?”

“Yeah well excuse me if it’s not as easy as I thought it would be to be followed everywhere I go by a kid who keeps calling me Dad all the time and who’s the exact picture of the old man!”

She stayed quiet. “He is?” There was an obvious smile in her voice, and she sounded surprisingly content.

“Yeah, it’s like - he’s just like him! He even has glasses Mom!”

“Send me a picture.”

“Well he’s not here with me right now , obviously.”

“Well then go find him and send a goddamn picture! Why did we buy you a phone if you don’t even use it?”

“You didn’t buy it, Grandpa did!”

“Yeah and guess who asked him to and who could come and claim it from you right in the middle of the Sports Festival?”

Katsuki squared his shoulders. Yeah, she definitely would. “Don’t you fucking dare -”

“Take. A. Fucking. Picture.”

“Fine, I’ll do it! Fuck!”

“And stop fucking swearing you little piece of shit! - Ah - yes, it’s Katsuki - yeah he’s fine, he should be sending us a picture of the boy anytime now - you know, the boy, the one from the future, we watched the press conference last time - the fuck if I know if he’s eating well -”

“Just put him on the fucking line already!”

“I TOLD YOU TO STOP SWEARING FOR FUCK’S SAKE - here love, watch out he’s in a mood, dunno what crawled up his ass this time -”

Katsuki rolled his eyes and bit back a roar, his hands sweating with the need to release an explosion and some anger.

“Katsuki?”

“WHAT?”

“Hi son, how are you?”

He took a few breath to calm down from the previous conversation. “I -” Another deep breath. “I’m - I’m -” Just keep breathing.

“Katsuki?”

“I don’t know, okay?!” he shouted. “I don’t know! I - I -”

“Is it something we can do anything about?” His father’s voice was way too gentle right now. He needed to be angry, he needed to shout and yell until his voice became raspy. He needed - he needed -

“I don’t know Dad - I don’t know and I can’t even fucking think about it because the Sports Festival is tomorrow and I can’t fuck it up again, I can’t!”

“What do you mean Katsuki, you won last year. And we were very proud of you, we -”

“The Half-n-half bastard let me win! And when I tried to get him to wake up and fucking fight me, they put me to sleep and then chained me up on the fucking stage! How is that a win? How?!”

“You are too hard on yourself.”

“No, I’m exactly how I should be! You don’t understand - in real life no villain will ever just refuse to use their quirk on me, or hold back! And I need to be ready for that, and I need to be ready for tomorrow but I - I -”

“You’re thinking too much again. That boy - you’re thinking about him aren’t you? They said you attacked the four kids when they arrived from that warp gate. By any chance, could you have attacked him?”

Katsuki stayed silent, standing up in his room. Like always, his father struck right where it hurt, and the thought that he had carefully pushed away was now bubbling back to the surface.

“I didn’t even take a second to think and - they weren’t fucking villains, they were just kids! If anyone was a villain there, it was me! I was no -”

“Stop.”

He stopped dead in his track, mouth open. His father hadn’t yelled, his tone wasn’t even harsh. It was sweet and warm and loving, and it just killed him a little bit more inside.

“You listen to me Katsuki. You are not, a villain. There is not an ounce of evil in you, because your mother and I made you perfect. There isn’t a single thing you cannot do, because you have the spirit of a true hero, never giving up and always giving your all in everything you do. So they can muzzle you and chain you up, it doesn’t change a thing to who you are, or how proud of you we are.”

Katsuki could almost see him beam at the phone. He sat back down and gritted his teeth. “No need to be so fucking cheesy, shit” he managed to growl through the lump in his throat.

“What the fuck was that? Who told him he wasn’t a hero? Give me that shit back -” His mother’s voice came from being distant to suddenly roaring in his ear. “Oi Katsuki, if anyone gives you shit you tell me and I’ll pay them a little visit - and if you fucking dare listen to what others are saying I swear to you I’ll hang you in our basement’s ceiling from your ass!”

“What kind of fucking threat is that?!” he shouted, jumping back to his feet. Although he would never admit that to her face, he felt relieved to finally be able to scream again.

“Where’s my fucking picture?!”

“You left five minutes ago, how could I -”

“KATSUKI GO TAKE THE MOTHERFUCKING PICTURE BEFORE I COME AND ROAST YOUR DEAD ASS!”

“OKAY I’M GOING FOR FUCK’S SAKE!”

Katsuki almost blew up the door as he left his room and dashed down the stairs, cursing out loud and fuming. He hadn’t even reached the table that the extras were already turning towards him, looking stupidly surprised to see him stomp and swear. They had begun carving the mochis, and from what he could see Ponytail had made some more.

“Old man!” he shouted, and the boy jumped and turned at him, glasses on his nose. Katsuki lifted his phone, took a picture and sent it. He was about to leave when a very loud voice came out of his phone. “Oi Katsuki! Put us on facetime!”

“Is he on speaker?” he heard Ponytail ask.

“Er - I don’t think so no” giggled Kirishima.

“Why the fuck would I do that?!” Katsuki yelled at his phone.

“JUST DO IT OH MY -”

“FINE!”

He tapped a button so hard he could have cracked the glass, then he threw the phone at the boy, who barely caught it, surrounded by a crowd of flabbergasted extras. The boy turned the phone upright and frowned at it - before his face lightened up like a Christmas tree.

“Grandma! Grandpa”!”

“Hello young man.”

“Aaaaanw Masaru look at him, he is beautiful! He looks so much like you - look at his hair - and the glasses - AND LOOK AT THOSE CHEEKS MASARU!”

This was probably the most fucking humiliating thing he had ever had to go through so far. The boy giggled, his face rounder than ever.

“You look so young! Except you Grandma, you are still as pretty as ever.”

“That’s my baby boy! YOU HEAR THAT KATSUKI?!”

“Shut it already Old hag!” he barked back, ignoring the gasps and shocked faces.

“How are you doing Kenta-kun? Do you like the past?

“What kind of fucking question is that?!”

“Shut up Katsuki!”

“How do you know my name? And just - just Kenta for you is - fine -”

“We watched the press conference last time. It’s a very nice name, Kenta.”

“Yeah it’s - it’s written with the kanjis for healthy and big! So um - yeah -”

“What is your quirk?”

“I - I create stars! I sweat hidrogen and - well it’s a bit complicated -”

“Hydrogen? Isn’t that highly flammable?”

“Oh so can you also make explosions like our Katsuki on top of your quirk?”

“If I’m near a source of heat or flames, yeah.”

“That’s amazing Kenta!”

“You are a real Bakugou aren’t you, you handsome devil?”

“Should we try and visit him? After all we don’t know how much longer he might be staying here, and if we don’t that would mean we would have to wait for Katsuki to find his mother.”

The boy was flushed with happiness, and Katsuki was red with embarrassment.

“Give me that!” He snatched the phone back from the boy’s hands, who didn’t protest and just shouted “Bye Grandma, bye Grandpa!”

“Katsuki! KATSUKI GIVE HIM THE FUCKING PHONE BACK!”

“Fuck no! I gotta go anyway so I’m hanging up - don’t try and call me back and don’t you fucking dare show up tomorrow!”

“Bye son, sleep tight.”

“Katsuki you are a dead boy!”

“You got your fucking picture so leave me the fuck alone!”

“You better not get distracted and win tomorrow!”

“Like I was gonna fucking lose!”

“Damn right! Now go to bed, the earlier the better!”

“I KNOW, FUCK!”

“WELL GO THEN!”

“I’M GOING!”

“AND GOOD NIGHT YOU LITTLE SHIT!”

“YEAH WHATEVER, GOOD NIGHT OLD HAG!”

Katsuki hung up and was left panting, glowering at his phone that he was holding so tight he was dangerously close to making it either crack or explode. When he realised he was standing in complete silence, he turned around and found everyone around the table frozen, gawking at him with round eyes - except the boy, who was happily working on his mochi, his legs dangling joyfully.

“I understand so many things right now” simply stated Soy sauce.

“Fuck you!” Katsuki barked.

He spun around and went back to his room, not noticing how much higher his spirits were, not realising how much lighter he felt.

No nightmare troubled him that night.

Chapter Text

“And now for the pledge, representing UA’s Second Years, Bakugou Katsuki!”

Katsuki walked slowly towards the stage. Before him, a crowd of useless whispering fuckers split into two like so many insects before the magnificent dragon he was, all wearing this same disgusting mask of malicious feelings: a mixture of contempt, envy and fear.

“How come he’s still the one doing the pledge?”

“I heard he got the highest overall grade at the end of our first year. Bastard managed to surpass us all.”

“How on Earth did someone like him do that?”

“Why are we being represented by a scum like him?”

“He’s a disgrace for UA, that’s what he is.”

“Hopefully he’ll just get kidnapped once more and we’ll get rid of this nuisance.”

“That garbage is going down this year, mark my words.”

Katsuki kept his head high and, instead of letting their useless insults slip on him like water on a duck’s feathers, he let them pour onto the raging fire that always burnt in the pit of his stomach. He’ll destroy them. He’ll kill them all. And at the end of the day, he’ll be standing up high at the very top, and they’ll just be faces in the crowd, nobodies amongst nobodies, they’ll -

But some faces weren’t hostile. Here and there, there were some encouraging smile, some trusting looks, some admiring eyes. There was Kirishima and Pinky and Buzz Face standing with their thumbs up. There was Ponytail and Four-Eyes and Sound Bitch nodding sternly, as if to tell him ‘We’re behind you no matter what, so don’t fuck this up’. There was Tape Face and Uraraka and Deku with wide smiles and clenched fists, already knowing he was going to fuck it up but still willing to cheer on him at any given time.

He smirked. These idiots. No matter how many times he pushed them away, they just kept coming back again and again, challenging him, dragging him back to them until he was left with no other choices than to stick with them. And until he was left with no other envy than to spend some time with them.

He climbed on the stage, hands in his pockets, and stood before the microphone, looking up at the now almost silent crowd all over the stadium. He felt slightly nervous, but he knew that it was nothing but good fuel for the race to come, and he also was aware of the fear it created in his opponents’ heart to see him seemingly calm and ready. So he’d maintain that facade until the moment his rage to win would shatter it into thousands of pieces. Looking one last time at the extras in front of him, the faces of his classmates stood, shining like soft stars in a pitch black sky.

“I pledge to be the first one amongst Class 2-A to crush you all. They’ll step on you soon enough after me.”

The uproar his words created was to be expected. No loser liked to be told they sucked.

“Don’t be so freaking sure of yourself you asshole!”

“We’ll bring you down!”

“Die you bastard!”

Katsuki raised his head and looked down on them, both literally and figuratively. “You made perfect stepping stones for us last year - keep up the good work.”

“Bakugou-kun! Why must you constantly drag us down with you!” shouted Four-Eyes, waving his hands and arms frantically around as Katsuki got down the stage.

“Oi Bakugou! We talked about it, we said no more trash-talking the other classes!” complained Kirishima, looking around apologetically.

Toad Face took a step towards him after he took his place back. “You said ‘us’.”

He raised one eyebrow at her. “Ha?” he growled.

She did that thing that made him think she was smiling. “You said ‘us’. Not just ‘I’ anymore.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “Don’t read too much into it Toad Face. I’m still gonna crush you all, and this year there won’t be any questioning who won.”

She nodded. “No one here expects any less from you. So don’t expect any less from us, ribbit.”

“Without further ado, let’s discover together the first event of this year’s festival!” declared Snipe-sensei. Unlike last year where Midnight had been the one guiding them through the events, the masked man with a cowboy hat was the one presenting the challenges for second years.

He motioned at the giant screen, and there appeared in bright letters: “LANDSCAPE OBSTACLE RACE”.

“Landscape obstacle race?” someone repeated. “What is that supposed to mean?”

Katsuki ignored the extras still staring at the screen and turned to look around the stadium, palms already sweating in anticipation. UA never wasted time, and today would certainly not be the day they would make an exception. He scanned the doors to determine which one would open when they would give the signal.

“The goal of this race will be double: first, you will have to make it within the first forty contestants if you hope to qualify for the second event. Second, across the six different landscapes corresponding to the six main areas of the USJ facility, small flags have been scattered. Each flag giving fifteen points, you will have to bring with you at least one flag from each six landscape to qualify. Which means it is an acceptable possibility that there might be less than forty-two qualified students. Upon crossing the line, your rank will give you a certain number of points, and will be added to the points you have collected with the flags. You are being given right now a belt to store the flags in.”

Katsuki scowled at the bald member of staff who was handing him the belt. So that meant the order in which they crossed the line didn’t necessarily matter, so long as they brought enough flags. And the opposite was also valid: cross the line first but without enough flags and all the ones he will have left behind will come before him. But if one were to spend too much time in each zones, they might not even make it to the top forty. He clicked the belt around his waist, and clenched and unclenched his fists, sweat already collecting in his palms.

“Each flag is equipped with an electronic device that will let us know at any time how many of them are in the contestants’ possession, allowing us to quickly and accurately keep track of their score. In the belt has been added a small capsule of fireworks - use it if you wish to abandon and exit the race. Of course, as long as you don’t leave the course you are free to do whatever you want, and that includes using your quirk against your opponents to attack them or steal their flags.”

Katsuki gave his belt a look full of contempt and snatched the capsule before throwing it away with force.

I won’t need that” he spat when he saw extras looking at him, flabbergasted.

“Well now - let the race begin!”

It was so sudden, half of the crowd before him stood surprised, looking at each other as if it was the first fucking time they ever did an event with UA. But Katsuki expected it and had already spotted the opening entrance. He dashed towards the entrance, not looking behind him and thinking fast. The six landscapes of USJ - that meant flood, ruins, landslide, downpour, mountains and conflagration. He knew he could take on any of these regions any day of the week, but he also knew that he was at a complete disadvantage amist flood and downpour. Which meant that he’d better arrange his strategy accordingly.

Don’t spend too much time in these two zones, and grab as many flags as you can in the others. Conflagration is definitely your best match, so use it at your advantage.

He reached the entrance in no time, but he could already hear the drums of hundreds of footsteps behind him.

“I won’t stay amidst you losers!” he shouted with a wide grin.

His palms crackled and exploded, propelling him towards the left side of the ceiling. He kept using his explosions in his right hand to keep him steady as he ran on the left wall before he fell back on the ground and started running again, not wasting any time. He then heard the crystal crunching-like sound of ice forming, immediately followed by a cacophony of screams, and without looking back he grimaced furiously, knowing that it meant the half-n-half bastard wasn’t too far behind him.

Don’t let yourself be distracted! You’re first for now - keep it that way! No matter what it takes, keep it that way!

Katsuki stared at what stood in front of him - destroyed buildings, with shattered windows and wrecked streets. Perfect . He looked around, looking for small flags - they had to be close, after all they were a lot, so they had to be quite a few - unless that was also part of the test? Not enough flags for everyone? That would make sense. Or rather on different levels? Or inside the buildings? He wasn’t stupid enough to waste his time going from apartment to apartment, searching every room for fucking flags. They had to be some out there in the open.

Take off!

He used a massive explosion to both launch himself upwards and blast away the creeps that would have managed to stalk him so far and drown them in a cloud of smoke. He flew up and looked frantically around.

There! On that balcony - and that one - and the roof - in that hole!

He grinned again and headed in the direction of the dozens of small grey flags scattered all around. Now, he could also see a few on the ground too, but there were far more above. So it was also a test of abilities - some were at a disadvantage if they couldn’t reach high up, but he guessed there would be more instances where a flying quirk would be useless. But his quirk was the best one, both for attack and defense, up and down - it was, to quote his father, perfect.

He snatched the flags one after the other with one hand, stocking them in his belt with the other, all the while keeping himself jumping from one building to the other. When he collected fifteen flags, he decided it was enough and he should move on. He also really didn’t like all the noise he was beginning to hear all around him - the fuckers had caught up with him.

He hurled himself towards the next zone, trying to ignore the few flags he saw pop here and there -

No, don’t ignore them , he thought with a mad smile. Burn them all.

Laughing, he threw explosions everywhere he saw floating grey fabrics, making buildings collapse in his wake and delighting in the outraged shouts he heard behind him. And he reached the next landscape: the mountains.

If he thought that one would be easy at first, he quickly changed his mind. Although the ground was quite plain, it was ridiculously steep, and he had to ration the use of his explosions if he wanted to still have functioning arms at the end of the race, but at the same time he needed to be faster - because he could hear the crystal-like sound of Icyhot’s ice, the zapping of that fucking nerd’s borrowed power, the weird shouts of Bird Face’s creature - he could hear them all too close.

Flags. Get the fucking flags and burn the others to a crisp!

He gritted his teeth and got his hands on a handful of red flags, planted on the top of a rock like wild flowers. And just as he was about to grab another bouquet, white tape wrapped itself around it and snatched it away. Katsuki turned around with a mad glare - who the fuck -

“Sorry bro! No hard feelings!” shouted Soy Sauce with a mischievous smile before he disappeared from his sight. And Katsuki did the one thing he didn’t want to do: he looked behind. The fuckers were so much closer to him than he had originally thought, and half of his class were on his heels. He cursed out loud and gave himself an extra boost, roaring in fury. He needed more flags, he needed more flags and he needed them fast! He found another bunch of flags and hurled himself at them, grabbing them before a long and sparkling hand tried to have a go at it.

“FUCK OFF!” he roared at the extra - who turned out to be that glitter boy from his class.

He sent an explosion flat in the guy’s face, who let out a “Oh non, not my fabulous smile ☆~!” before he fell backwards and rolled down the mountainside. That made a total of twelve flags.

Keep moving!

He propelled himself to the top of the mountain, making all the other bunches of flag he found explode on his way up, and he arrived on the next zone with a mad laughter: it was the conflagration zone. The heat of the place was ridiculous, but that was nothing but perfect fuel for him. His explosions were bigger and more powerful than ever as he easily jumped from one spot to the other, sometimes going as far as throwing himself through the flames - no matter how stupid he knew that was - and collecting not twelve or fifteen, but forty-nine black flags.

“That place was fucking made for me you idiots!” he yelled at no one in particular, just for the sake of saying it out loud. Again, he destroyed  all the other flags he could find, deliberately letting fat drops of nitroglycerin drip from his palm and dive into the flames, creating other explosions all around him.

When he reached the landslides, his breath was short, he was covered in smoke and dust and he was dripping in sweat - which was never a bad thing for him. He could see a lot of yellow flags out in the open, but this time they were both scattered all over the place and they were either planted in the mud or in spots that were hardly easy to reach. On top of a half buried car, surrounded with slippery mud for example.

Katsuki looked around him, trying to calm his ragged breath. Now was not the time to hesitate. He had gained some crazy advance, but it would be easy to lose it all if he didn’t move his ass. His eyes fell upon a piece of metal similar to the one fucking Deku had used last year to beat him to the same obstacle course, and he grinned. He had spent an entire year watching Deku and Icyhot either stole his moves or come up with crazy ones: time for Katsuki to give them a taste of their own fucking medicine. He snatched the metal chunk and started running towards the muddy hillside, holding it before him. This was either one of the best fucking idea he ever had, or the most stupid one. Oh well, he was about to find out. He clenched the back of the piece of metal with his left hand, and with his right hand he propelled himself forward, and right before he hit the ground he brought the rusted piece of metal on the ground and slammed both feet on it, staying crouched. And he slid downward.

It fucking worked.

He had already had the opportunity to snowboard when he was younger, and to his delight mudboarding - or whatever it was he was doing - was pretty much the same thing. All he had to do was be careful not to let his feet leave the plank, cause he had nothing to hold them onto it. He slid, faster and faster, leaning his weight left and right to seize the yellow flags blooming all around the field.

It worked perfectly - until the chunk of metal hit a massive stone that had escaped his piercing eyes, and Katsuki was sent flying high above the ground.

Yeah, except he was Bakugou motherfucking Katsuki. And he wasn’t damn afraid of flying.

One, two, three explosions, and he landed safely … in a big ol’ pool of mud.

“Fuck!” he growled, getting laboriously to his feet. Again, against his best resolution, he looked behind, and saw at the border of the conflagration and landslide zone, a white and blue coat beginning to form. “Fuck!”

He had to be faster, he had to be faster than that!

He ran, quickly counting the yellow flags: seventeen. Now onto the next zone -

Fuck.

The following zone was the flood. Which meant fucking water everywhere. Which meant he was fucked, because his quirk wasn’t exactly made for water. He gritted his teeth so hard they started hurting. Like hell he was gonna let three drops stop him from winning that shit! He glanced around and saw wrecks of ships scattered above the surface. Good. There had to be at least a couple of flags there. He used his explosions to fly above the water, his arms beginning to twitch painfully.

Suck it up. Fucking suck it up! You’re almost there!

He landed on the first ship, which swayed dangerously under his weight. He looked around frantically, and found two brown flags. Well that was already something. He jumped from ship to ship, collecting in total eight brown flags. Frustrated, he looked around one last time. He was close to a big wall that looked like a dam, with stairs on its side that he wouldn’t have to use, and that he assumed was the separation between this and the next landscape. How did he find so little flags? And his answer came to him when he looked at the dirty water under the ship: the flags were under water.

“Fuck that!” he spat, and he took off once more, his arms throbbing harder and harder as he rose above the dam, to reveal the last landscape.

The Let’s Make Sure Bakugou Katsuki Dies This Time - also known as the downpour zone. How had they managed it, he had no idea - but it was both raining and snowing. And Katsuki was drenched in sweat - which means he felt it all too well when all the pores in his body closed, raising all his hairs and making him fucking shudder.

“Like hell I’d stop!” he roared, launching himself into the -

The snow. He was waist deep in the snow.

He growled out loud, and tried to run despite the cold cold snow hindering his moves. His teeth began to chatter, and he felt the tip of his nose and fingers grow colder by the second.

Come on, you’re almost there. Come on - Come on!

He could see the finish line down below, he could see the crowd encircling the poles and flags down the last hill. All he had to do was grab some more flags and get down there, and then, then he will have won, then he’ll have proven once and for all that he was the fucking best, then all the extras who had been spitting on his name will have to choke on their fury to see him rise so far higher above them -

The cold was beginning to bite deep in his skin and there were absolutely no signs of flags anywhere around, and as much as he tried to fight the memory back, he saw himself amidst the cloud again, frozen and unable to use his quirk, and -

No. No . NO.

“COME ON!”

With a loud roar he put his hands behind him and released an explosion as big as he could. It wasn’t half as powerful as it should have been, but it did the job and propelled him far away, sending him flying down the hill like a fucking ski jumper, before he crashed flat in the snow and rolled on meters. When he stood on all four, he was shaking hard, his palms were merely crackling and his fingers were taking an alarming white shade. The ugly memory warped itself around his mind, slowly closing in and threatening to swallow him whole. He shook his head and lifted it up, trying desperately to focus.

And right in front of him, previously hidden beneath the thick layer of snow, was an ice blue flag.

He snatched it and got up, mustering all that was left of his focus to push his body one more time, fighting the unwanted memories that were beginning to cloud and parasite his mind, and he ran towards the finish line, his explosions weak but still speading him up. It was so close, he could see it so close -

Icyhot slid past him on his ice, followed by Deku, jumping away and soaked from head to toe, a redhead with massive bruised hands, Toad Face and a girl with green hair that looked both like wild weed and barbed wire, and only then did Katsuki cross the finish line.

He stopped, panting, holding his throbbing arms and looking at his white, unsweating hands.

He lost . He was so close to winning, he had put all chances on his side … and he lost.

“Dammit … dammit!” he grunted, his fury so bright it blinded him for a moment. He lifted his head back up, and suddenly it was as if somebody had just turned the volume back on, and the crowd’s roars resonated all around him, along with Present Mic’s voice.

“What a race! What a show! Ladies and Gents, what a turn of fate, at the last minute! Bakugou Katsuki was overrun by Todoroki Shoto, Midoriya Izuku, Kendou Itsuka, Asui Tsuyu and Shiozaki Ibara!”

His entire body felt like it was going to explode. He looked around, noticing the massive wall that had popped up in the middle of the stadium, and his eyes fell upon one of the two giant screens that were by the stands - and it had his face on it. His features were white, twisted in anger and spite, his red eyes were wide open despite his deep scowl, and his mouth was torn into a mad grimace, lips pursed over his teeth.

“And now, let’s have a look at the scores!” The screen suddenly went back, and a table appeared with many names on it, and in fifth position, Katsuki recognised his name, furious and humiliated. “The points distribution system is very simple” exploded Snipe-sensei through his mask. “Number forty receives twenty points. Thirty-nine receives forty points, thirty-eight sixty points, and so on. The only exception is the number one, who gets ten million points.”

It wasn’t as big a surprise as it had been last year, and Katsuki had expected something like that. It still felt like he was being burnt from the inside when a bright ‘10 000 000’ appeared next to the half-n-half bastard’s name, followed by Deku and a ‘780’, and down below his name followed by a ‘700’.

“Well done Midoriya! I can’t believe you pulled another surprise attack this year again!”

Katsuki turned, glaring murderously towards where fucking Deku was standing, next to Kirishima and -

“Deku-kun, you were amazing! That was so - so - Plus Ultra of you!” Uraraka jumped with one fist in the air, her smile full of admiration and dazzling, standing so close to the nerd that he was red from head to toe. Katsuki glowered at them and let a raging growl escape from his chest, infuriated, and wondering seriously just how fast he could launch himself at the fucker before someone intervened. How? How was it that this little piece of shit always got all the attention, all the success, all the glory? How, when Katsuki had been the one to surpass them all throughout the entire race, when he had been the one standing above them to give the pledge, when he had been the one Uraraka had been looking at -

“But this is far from being the final score! Now, let’s add the additional points from the flags the contestants have collected!”

A second column appeared on the left, and a new serie of number was listed. Then a third column called “FINAL SCORE” closed the table, and on this one numbers kept rolling, building up the suspense. Katsuki squinted his eyes at the screen and looked at his added score: ‘1530’. He immediately turned to Deku’s score: ‘450’. What . Icyhot’s was slightly better, but still not half as good as Katsuki’s: ‘810’.

“As future pro heroes, there is one rule that our students at UA must never forget: succeeding in the obvious challenge doesn’t make you the winner. And winning the battle doesn’t mean you have won the war. For now, let’s see the final score board!”

Names switched places, and Katsuki felt a wave of relief wash over him when he saw his name climb up, up and up and above Deku’s, and stop right behind Icyhot, in second place. It still wasn’t first place, but it sure as hell was better than fifth place.

“No time to waste” continued Snipe as the crowd and the extras started chatting loudly “let’s move on to our next event!”

The screen went black again and, a second later appeared in bright letters the name of the following challenge: “TREASURE HUNT”.

“Treasure hunt?”

“What do they mean?”

“Are we gonna have to look for gold?”

“That would actually be pretty cool, my parents haven’t sent me my allowance this month.”

Katsuki rubbed his hands together in an attempt to warm himself up a little and glared at the screen then the teacher, trying to guess what it was all about, before he turned to the massive wall behind him. That had to be part of it - but how?

“UA’s treasure hunt!” begun Snipe “It’s not any random treasure hunt. Let me explain.”

The screen went black again, and the name of the challenge was replaced with the picture of … a maze.

“In this scenario, ten teams of four will have to go through the maze to look for something very specific, or rather someone: a civilian, lost amidst the labyrinth, that you have to rescue and take back to the main stage within twenty minutes. However, only three team members out of four will be roaming through the maze. The fourth one will be the operation leader, and will remain on the main stage, on one of these seat!”

Snipe waved at a thick curtain behind him, and the drapery was lifted to reveal a line of ten impressive chairs. In front of each chair stood four big screens - three on the same line and one slightly bigger on top of the three former.

“The operation leader will be the only team member able to see what is going on on a five meters radius around each team member on the three screens below. On the fourth screen, there will be a radar image indicating with blue dots all three members, and with three red dots the potential locations of the civilian to be rescued. Only one of the location will be the right one though. The belt you have been provided with earlier contains a GPS signal that will be used by some of our robots to follow you around the maze and transmit your position live on the screens. Only when you will have retrieved your civilian will the position of the exit be revealed to the operation leader. If you stumble upon another team’s civilian, you are allowed to rescue them as well, which will then be a big problem for this other team, but bear in mind that only your civilian will matter at the end of the twenty minutes - so I would advise you to hurry and find them as quickly as possible. You will also be provided with a bluetooth headset, because - and this is very important, so listen carefully: the three team members will not be allowed to take any action the operation leader will not have directly ordered first. If the operation leader did not say move, you do not move. If they did not tell you to halt, you keep walking. If they did not tell you to use your quirk, you cannot use your quirk. Anyone who disobeys an order or take any initiative will be instantly disqualified.”

Katsuki’s head was spinning under the speed of his thinking. This event was much more strategic than last year’s, and this time he was at a disadvantage: first, he wasn’t exactly cut for a discrete operation - he was much more into blast-and-win strategies than sneak around. Second, he would rather eat his own hands rather than just sit back while others wandered in his stead in the maze, but at the same time everywhere he looked he just saw morons, idiots ready to fuck everything up the moment they started panicking. And third, the best quirks for that challenge would be the one that were more discrete and sneakier than his, the ones that could pull them out of any unwanted situations quietly, the ones that -

A face suddenly popped up in his mind, and his eyes widened. He needed her .

His head snapped around and he looked frantically for her amongst the remaining extras, until he found her face, staring at the screen with a focused look on the stage, probably already coming up with something in that mind of hers. If he could get her on his team, he’d listen. He knew that she was probably one of the only person in the entire stadium he would trust no questions asked, that if he could get her with him, he’d let her be the operation leader and follow her every orders.

He needed her.

“You now have fifteen minutes to form ten teams of four and to discuss on a strategy. Keep in mind all the information that have been given, and make the smartest choices!”

Katsuki didn’t wait until Snipe was done talking, and he headed hastily towards her. He could already see from the corner of his eyes other students eyeing her with interest, and he needed to get to her first - because he needed her , more than anyone else. He knew she was the only one strong enough to team up with him, and she had to know he was the only one who would clear this event fast enough. They were the only ones able to lead and follow the path that led to victory.

She turned her head, and her eyes met his in surprise when he planted himself in front of her. Arms crossed, legs apart, scowl on.

“Bakugou-san?”

He extended a scuffed hand towards her, and his voice came as a low growl. “Team up with me.”

Chapter Text

“Team up with me -”

Shit, what was her name again?

“... class rep’.” That ought to do.

Ponytail stared at him, startled, before she frowned and crossed her arms. “I’m sorry Bakugou-san, but why would I team up with you?” Next to her, See-Through was standing uncharacteristically still - probably just as surprised.

He gritted his teeth. As much as it pissed him off, he expected this question. He never really tried to get all buddy-buddy with anyone, especially not whenever there was a competition involved.

“I’m the obvious choice” he began, holding the ‘dumbass’ back right in time. “An ideal team of four needs a tank, an assassin, a mage and a spy, and -”

“What?” She cocked his head and stared at him in total incredulity, as if he had just spoken Spanish.

He rolled his eyes. “It’s an image” he explained reluctantly. “That’s what it would be like in a video game. A tank is the team member that can take in all the damage, the assassin would be the one that can both attack and defend, the mage is the one making sure the team doesn’t fall apart and the spy is the sneaky one.”

“And what place would I occupy in your little theory?” she asked, raising one dubious eyebrow.

“Mage, of course. You’d be the Operation Leader.”

She narrowed her eyes. “And you want me to believe you would follow each and every one of my orders without so much as raise your voice? Bakugou-san, I expect you to be disqualified the moment you step into that maze. This event was the worst thing that could happen to someone like you. Why on Earth would I risk my place in finals and join the team of someone who is going to disregard his teammates’ effort for his own personal goals?”

She shook her head and took a step away. “I’m sorry, but my answer is no.”

“Are you gonna go to Icyhot then?” he barked at her when she turned her back on him. She froze and turned to look at him, suspicious. Bingo . “Look around you!”

He motioned at the stands next to the main stage where the pro-heroes where sitting. Her gaze followed his hand and she looked at them, not understanding.

“These pro-heroes were here last year, and they watched the Sports Festival too. They know you teamed up with him, and if I recall you didn’t particularly shine that time, did ya? Not only were you a mere pawn in his strategy, but you also blew up your chance when you made it to the finals. I heard about the internship you did afterwards - you didn’t learn shit, and you ended up spending your time taking pictures with that snake joke of a hero. All because you didn’t take the right opportunity when it presented itself to you. How much longer do you intend on existing in his shadow? How many more failures is it going to take for you to step up your game?”

She gawked at him with wide eyes, not believing what he was telling her. But at least his words struck home. “And why exactly would it be any different with you? Why is -”

“If you think he would put you in charge, you’re dreaming” Katsuki interrupted her. He was beginning to convince her, he knew it. “He trusts you alright, but not enough for that. You’ll be in the maze with the others, placed behind to avoid putting you in too much danger and ready to obey his orders like a good girl.” He extended his open palm again, as if he was presenting her with gold. “I have more to offer to you. You’ll be the one in charge, you’ll be the one taking us to victory - and I’ll follow the path you’ll show. We both have a lot to prove: you have to show how good of a leader you can be, and I want to show I can follow orders. And I will. I’m aiming for the top, nothing but the top, and I’m ready to do anything for that. You should know it by now, there’s nothing I would ever do that would keep me from achieving that goal.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “How could I possibly trust you? I watched you hit Midoriya-san flat in the face when he wanted to talk strategy with you during your end of year exam last year, I heard you say you would rather lose than win with him! At the beginning of our first year I saw you ignore Iida-san because you wanted to track Midoriya-san down - I saw you lose, times and times again, because your pride and your ego were just too big for you to give room to anyone else!”

She came closer to him and leaned in, lowering her voice, her head slightly higher than his. “I was standing with the boys when we wanted to rescue you during the Kamino attack, and we were terrified because we knew if the way we approached you displeased you, you would rather stay amongst villains who wanted you dead rather than follow us. And just the day before yesterday, you showed up battered and bruised from who knows where, and according to Todoroki-san you fought against Ochako-chan - you fought again , despite having already received a punishment from Aizawa-sensei last year. So answer my question: how could I possibly trust you?”

It took all of his willpower for Katsuki not to start roaring a very colourful string of insults at her. He clenched his fists, hard, and took a moment to glower at her and calm down the boiling feeling stuck in his throat.

“Well trust me or not, but I’d like to believe I've changed since our first year” he growled low between his teeth. “Deku and I - we have history together, and bad blood between us. But I know I’ve let this hinder me one too many times, and I’m … working on it to put it all behind me. And - just forget about what I did in the past, I’m talking about what to do right now. Tell me exactly, why the f- why on Earth would I do something that would make me lose? Do you think Icyhot would follow your directions if he was in my stead? Look at me in the eyes and tell me he wouldn’t just tell you what to do and wait for you to just say ‘Yes, do that’.”

“Todoroki-san isn’t like that” she replied quietly, but her eyes weren’t so sure anymore.

“Well, we’re about to find out” he said, crossing his arms again, and jerking his chin to the side. On his left, Half-n-half was heading in their directions, frowning at Katsuki. He knew just how much she needed their collaboration, knew that together they could most definitely win this shit. Surely she could see it too. Or so he thought, but the closer the bastard came to them, the less he was sure about it. After all, these two had always spent all of their sweet time together, and they had received a few days earlier the news straight from the goddamn future that they had fucking kids together, three of them as well. That had to play in her mind too, just like it played in Katsuki’s - after all, even though he tried not to get too close to the boy, he still went as far as to bake him fucking mochis because he was crying, that couldn’t just -

The kids. Of course. The kids. The fucking kids . And the mochis - how did he not think about it earlier? She had priorities as fucked up as Icyhot, that had to work!

He quickly spun towards Ponytail before Icyhot came within earshot and spoke as fast as he could. “If you agree to team up with me, we’ll win. That much I can guarantee you - I don’t do loss. And once we’ll be qualified for the finals and I’ll have won, I’ll teach you how to bake anything you’d like.” Her face went blank and her eyes widened. “I could teach you how to bake the best macarons you’ll have ever eaten. It’s not too hard, provided you got the right teacher. They would go well with that tea that you seem to love, don't you think? Oh, and those two boys of yours, wouldn’t they love to share some bakery with their mother? Every child’s fondest memory is one shared around a mother’s dish or sweet - what is going to be yours?”

She kept staring at him, her mouth slightly open, until the half-n-half asshole arrived.

“Bakugou.” His name was said quietly, but there was no mistaking the threatening tone of his voice. “I need to speak to Yaoyorozu, so I suggest you go find someone else to harass.” He turned to Ponytail. “Was he annoying you?”

Ponytail stared at Katsuki some more, her eyes now torn. “Mmh - no he - no” she mumbled, looking away. She took a deep breath and looked at Icyhot with a weak smile. “What is it Todoroki-san?”

The bastard looked at her, worry creeping up in his eyes. “I am putting up a team for the treasure hunt. I wanted to offer you to join me.”

She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear nervously. “I see … and um -” she quickly glanced at Katsuki, and looked back at the bastard “- what role would you need me for?”

Katsuki had to bite the inside of his cheeks to keep a grin from spreading on his lips when Double-face’s expression became more and more confused. “Could we talk about it a bit further away? I don’t want that guy to hear our strategy.” He didn’t even bother to jerk his chin in his direction.

To his delight, she didn’t move an inch and held her arms around herself, looking away awkwardly. “It’s fine, you don’t need to go into details. Just … what role would I be given?”

Icyhot paused and considered her, clearly puzzled. “I would like you to be a support member for the team. You could provide them with the items they need to go through the maze effortlessly and retrieve the civilian. I’ll be the coordinator, so you won’t have to worry about anything.”

FUCKING YES.

May the Gods bless that condescending, control-freak, overprotective asshole. She could become Japan’s next Prime Minister before the end of the week if she tried hard enough, and he was still coddling her.

Ponytail fiddled with her long bangs in silence, looking right and left as if someone was going to arrive and hand her the answer on a piece of paper. But eventually, she took a deep, steady breath and looked at Icyhot, her hands dropping calmly to her sides.

“I am very grateful for your offer Todoroki-san” she began. “You’ve always been very good to me, and maybe ...maybe I have taken advantage of it for too long. But now I think -” she glanced at Katsuki, still uncertain “- I think it is about time I try to do things on my own.” She looked back at him with a smile, but her eyes were dead serious. “I’m sorry, but I’ll team up with Bakugou-san.”

It was all Katsuki could do not to throw his fists in the air and shout “SUCK IT HARD LOSER” to Icyhot’s dropping face. So instead he clenched his fists and let a wide, wide grin spread on his face. Half-n-half took a step forward and grabbed Katsuki with one hand by his vest under his chin, placing himself between Ponytail and him.

“Did he threaten you?” he asked, glaring at Katsuki. He then turned to her again, worry creasing his forehead. “You don’t have to stay with him you know. And if he causes you trouble I can deal with him.”

She. Fucking. Chuckled.

So when Katsuki shouted he was absolutely vulgar , but when that dickhead came close to throttling him it was a giggling matter? What the fuck?!

“I am not afraid of him, and I can deal with him too, thank you” she said with a light smile. “I just chose his team for today. All I have to hope for is that it wasn’t a mistake” she added much more seriously, glaring at Katsuki.

He winced. “I told you I’d listen, didn’t I?” he barked, smacking Icyhot’s hand away. “We’re winning this event, I can assure you that.”

Half-n-half considered him, looking like an idiot trying to figure out how to put two and two together. “You won’t be Operation Leader?”

“Hell no” he grunted back, crossing his arms on his chest. “I couldn’t stay seated unmoving on a chair while others are having all the fun for all the gold on Earth. And I’m not stupid enough to ignore someone’s ability just because I wanna be in charge” he added with a twisted smile and a scowl.

The bastard glared back at him before he turned once more towards Ponytail. “Would you rather be the Coordinator? I … can let you be in charge if you wished to you know.” Katsuki rolled his eyes and huffed impatiently. Just give it up already.

She shook her head. “I want to prove to myself and to the pro heroes around that I am capable of being a good leader. Besides -” she tilted her head towards Katsuki “- they all know about him, and if by some miracle I manage to tame him into doing what I say, wouldn’t that impress them?”

“Oi, I am right here!” he growled, annoyed.

“I guess so” mumbled Icyhot, ignoring Katsuki. He searched her face for a few more seconds. “Are you sure?” he asked again, his voice soft.

GET ON WITH IT FOR FUCK’S SAKE.

She nodded one last time, and this time she seemed convinced. “Yes. I can do this.” She held out her hand to Icyhot. “Good luck Todoroki-san.”

He looked down at her hand and held it in his before shaking it slowly, nodding once. Then, with one last murderous glare from both his and Katsuki’s sides, he let go of her hand and left. Ponytail sighed quietly and she turned to Katsuki, hands on her hips.

“So? What is your strategy? Who do you wish to have on your team?”

Before he could reply, See-Through appeared out of thin air, the arms of her sports uniform waving frantically.

“Momo! What about me! You said you would consider me didn’t you? You said you would! I can be of help! I am a great asset! I-”

“Chill the fuck down Uniform” Katsuki snapped at her, irritated by her piercing voice “I was coming for you next.”

The clothes stopped moving and talking for a couple of seconds, and then the loudest and most annoying “Eeeeeeeeh?!” came out of them. “Really? Really? You mean it Bakugou-kun? You thought of me ? Does that mean you consider us as friends? Shall I call you Kacchan too?”

Katsuki could almost feel the veins pulse on his forehead. “Don’t you ever fucking call me that!” he snarled at her.

“Alright, alright, no need to be so mean!” she huffed, crossing her arms grumpily on her chest before she uncrossed them and started wiggling again. “Hey hey! What team member am I? Who am I? Am I the assassin or the spy?”

“The spy of course!” he barked. Was she stupid? How could she be an assassin?

“Ooooooh yeeeeaaaaah!” she shouted happily, jumping in the air. “I’ll be the best spy, the very best! You won’t regret it Bakugou-kun!”

“You would definitely be of great use Toru-chan, your quirk was made for such a challenge” Ponytail agreed, smiling confidently. She turned to Katsuki. “What about our last team member? Do you already have an idea of who you would like to join us to be the … uh … the murderer?”

“Assassin” he corrected, annoyed. “They need to be good at attack and defense, close and long range, and they have to be sneaky. We also have to take into account the fact that we’ll be in a maze, so that probably means narrow alleys and closed ceiling. So I thought of Toad Face, and maybe Soy Sauce. That Sound Girl can be brutal too, but she would be a spy rather than an assassin.”

Ponytail considered him coldly. “We are in second year Bakugou-san, it should be about time you learnt your classmates’ names.” She narrowed her eyes at him. “Do you even know my name?”

Tch, easy-peasy, See-through had said it earlier. “‘Course I know your name, it’s Momo.”

See-through squeaked and threw her sleeves near where he imagined was her mouth, and Ponytail gasped and blushed, hard. “Bakugou-san! Y-you can’t just call someone by their first name like that!”

“Wha- That’s your first name? Why didn’t you say it earlier?” he barked back defensively. Shit .

“My name is Yaoyoruzu. Remember it!” she replied sternly, still flustered.

“Yao -” What the fuck kind of mouthful of a name was that? “It doesn’t matter! We don’t have much time left to discuss our strategy and to pick our last team member!”

They looked around, and saw that there were already quite a few groups of people already together. His eyes unwillingly looked for Uraraka, and he saw her engaged in what seemed like an energetic discussion between her and three dudes, one from his class and two from (he guessed) class B - Three Arms, Black Face and Weird Teeth. He narrowed his eyes at them as they all literally looked down at her, towering her. He’d have to look out for that sneaky little monkey.

“Well we can forget about Kyouka-chan” said See-Through, pointing somewhere on their right. “She has already teamed up with Kaminari-kun and Shiozaki-san - oh, they have Monoma in their group too!”

“That’s impressive, I would never have thought he would have teamed up with anyone from class 2-A” noted Yaozyrofzf - whatever. Ponytail worked just fine.

“Well I guess he has found a way to convince himself they needed him more than he did. Tsuyu-chan is already with Midoriya-kun and that small boy from class 2-B. Why does he always look so terrified?”

As Katsuki glared at Deku, his eyes met the small chubby boy’s gaze. He had round cheeks and a humble stature, but Katsuki caught himself thinking he looked nothing like his boy. Fat Face features looked like they were slouching, and his eyes reflected nothing but fear, whereas the boy at least had a scowl to guard him off from others, and looked like he was able to put up a solid fight if he had to. Glowering at Fat Face, Katsuki couldn’t help the hungry grin that spread his lips when the small dude started quivering in terror under the weight of his gaze. Oh he was so coming for him the moment he had the opportunity to.

“What about the students from class 2-B? Bondo-san and Komori-san could definitely be of help, don’t you think?” wondered Ponytail, hand in chin.

Katsuki stared at her, at loss. “Who?”

She sighed and shook her head. “Just - Nevermind. What about Tokoyami-san?”

Ah, that was a name he recognised. “Bird Face.” Sort of. “His quirk is crazy, if we find ourselves in the shadow he’ll go all out on us.”

Ponytail smiled. “But that’s what you’re here for, aren’t you? If he gets out of control, you’ll intervene with your explosions. We could ask Sero-san, but I’m afraid he is too hot headed to listen to orders - he could decide to take initiative out of reflex. He lacks discipline. I guess you two aren’t friends for nothing” she added with a look half-annoyed half-amused.

Katsuki rolled his eyes and looked at Bird Face, standing near the chairs on the stage, talking with a girl with dark green hair and Monkey - or rather listening to them talk, his arms crossed over his chest.

“Alright” he agreed quietly, heading towards the short boy “we’ll take Bird Face.”

Ponytail’s arm appeared right before him, keeping him from advancing any further. “If you don’t mind, I think I should be the one to speak with him. You can be quite … blunt sometimes. Some people might overlook it, some might not.”

Katsuki scowled at her. “I convinced you , didn’t I?” he growled, irritated.

“You did indeed, but by a hair.” She narrowed her eyes. “You’d better not make me regret my decision, and stick to your own part of the deal.” She lowered her arm and walked towards Bird Face. “Leave it to me. Toru-chan, let’s go!”

And they left. Katsuki let out an angry sigh and turned to the chairs, wanting to examine them a bit closer. Well, at least Ponytail was on his team now, and also he wasn’t feeling too cold anymore. He flexed his arms and rubbed his hands together as he walked, the strain in his arms less painful and his fingers slowly warming up. He shouldn’t need his quirk that much, which annoyed him, but then again it was a good opportunity for him to rest his arms a little. On the flip side, that meant he-

A strong hand fell on the back of his neck, cold fingers on his skin. For a second, his brain blocked everything around him - every thought, every sound, every image, and he was left with only one remaining thought: he was going to be caught back in a black and purple warp gate. He shoved violently the hand away and turned around, hands up and suddenly sweating, ready to blast powerful explosion the face of … Kirishima.

Katsuki took a step back, his heart racing and drumming loudly in his ears, his breath short.

“Dude -” began Kirishima, clearly startled by his reaction.

“Don’t do that!” he snarled furiously. “I could’ve fucking killed you!”

Kirishima beamed. “Yeah, yeah, you always wanna kill me. Okay, who are we teaming up with?”

Katsuki raised an eyebrow. “We?” he repeated incredulously. “Don’t tell me you still haven’t found a team?”

Kirishima’s smile fell. “What do you mean? Wait - you haven’t already picked a team, have you?”

“Of course I have!” He looked at his friend’s face drop in horror.

‘What? What? What?! But- but- what happened to the unbreakable horse?”

“I don’t need an unbreakable horse for this event -” he put a hand on Kirishima’s shoulder and gripped it hard “- and neither do you. Don’t stay standing here, and go find a team that needs you.” He looked at Kirishima, who looked like he was about to cry and say something stupid about manliness. “GO!” he roared at him, making him jump.

He didn’t wait to see if he had started looking and headed towards the chairs, rubbing the back of his neck with a scowl. These weird reflexes had better start wearing off real soon, cause it was beginning to piss him off.

He looked up at the stage, frowning in focus. Each chair was separated so that no one could see what was going on on their neighbour’s screens. Next to each right armrest, there was a small command board as well as a headset.

“So this is how it’s going to look like.” Katsuki turned around and found Ponytail standing behind him with See-Through and Bird Face. He couldn’t help the surprise from showing on his face. How on Earth had she convinced him so quickly?

“Bakugou.” Bird Face nodded solemnly in his direction. “I hope we’ll manage to go through this devil’s ruse with Yaoyorozu’s supervision.” What. “Is this what will be used to monitor us?”

“Mmh” Katsuki grunted. “And possibly that -” he showed the command board “- will be used to communicate with us. Look.”

He climbed on the stage and came closer to the chair, followed by Bird Face. He heard See-through wonder out loud “Are we allowed to go up there?”, but soon she and Ponytail had followed him as well.

“I see” muttered Ponytail, narrowing her eyes at the command board. “I guess these four buttons are used to communicate either individually or as a team. And these four joysticks … maybe to zoom in on the images transmitted on the screens?” She looked at the screen silently.

“We should get off the stage before someone tells us off” squeaked See-through, wiggling uneasily.

Ponytail nodded and climbed down. Katsuki let out a loud sigh and rolled his eyes, before he obeyed. “Oi, stay behind me” he growled at Bird Face.

The bald member of staff that had previously given Katsuki his belt walked past them, shouting in a bored voice “Flags, give me your flags! Flags give me your flags!” Katsuki and his team snatched all the flags they had attached everywhere around their waist and threw them in the box the man was holding.

“Right!” Ponytail clapped her hands and faced them all. “Here is what I think: the first minutes will be careful ones. Everyone will want to retrieve their civilian as fast as possible, so they won’t necessarily engage in combat. Then I’d say after … let’s say six minutes, teams will start to grow restless, between those who haven’t retrieved their civilians yet, and those who wish to steal other group’s points. Which means we have to make the most of these first six minutes and march as quickly and carefully as possible.Very - quietly.” She stared at Katsuki for longer than necessary. “Now we will need to be wary of everyone of course, but most importantly we need to avoid direct confrontation with those whose quirk can immobilise you or put us at a strong disadvantage - like Komori-san or Kaminari-san.”

“Buzz Face?” snorted Katsuki with contempt. “I can take him any day of the week, what’s there to look out for.”

“One chock of his electricity and our transmitters are gone” deadpanned Bird Face. “I predict he will be a lot of trouble for whatever team crosses path with him, as they will be unable to communicate. As for Komori … I have myself suffered from up close from her accursed quirk. We should avoid getting anywhere near her in my opinion.”

“Exactly” confirmed Ponytail. “Talking about communication, I’ll keep my orders to the strict minimum of word to make sure you can react as fast as possible, so I think we should come up with a few words that you can immediately recognise. For example, if I say ‘quirk’ that means you should use your quirk. If I say ‘stop’, then don’t use it anymore.”

“What about if we’re walking and you want us to stop?” asked See-Through.

“How about ‘halt’? It will avoid confusion.”

“Make sure you’re specific depending on the situation” groaned Katsuki. “If you want us to escape, to defend or to retreat while defending ourselves, you need to make sure you use the right damn words.”

“Noted” she said, nodding. “Also, the moment you receive the order, act on them without paying attention to what the other two are doing next to you. I might be talking to you specifically and come up with different formations depending on the strategy I will have chosen. So if for example I say “first place, to the right” it means I want you to place yourselves first, close to the wall on your right. Besides, they said they will give us three different locations for the civilian, which means at some point you’ll split up.”

“Are you sure it’s a good idea?” asked Katsuki, before realising she might think he was contesting her directions.

But she simply nodded, confident. “I’ll bring the splitting point as close to the three directions as possible, and once you’ll be heading towards the potential locations you’ll have to be as fast and discreet as you can until you meet up with each other again. It’s the most efficient technique, but also the most dangerous. I doubt anyone will dare try and attack Bakugou-san or Tokoyami-san, but you Toru-chan, you will have to be extra careful.”

“Don’t worry” See-Through replied with a sneaky laughter “I know what I’ll have to do.”

“What about the other team’s civilian?” asked Bird Face. “Will we try to steal one of them?”

“We will see about it once we will have secured ours. I assume there must be a point distribution system more complex than one simply based on bringing back our civilian, which makes me think we should be twice as careful as we already are. My guess is that we will be given points according to how fast we will have retrieved them, if we have brought back more than just our own, if we have endangered them while rescuing them, if they are hurt in any way because of us, if the team has made it back with all three members, if we have taken down other teams and if we have injured their civilian or ours during the confrontation. ”

Katsuki considered her with a wicked grin. He was so glad he had picked her.

Present Mic’s voice resonated in the stadium. “Only five more minutes! If you have any questions, objections or criticisms, now’s the time to voice them out!”

“SENSEI!” Four-Eyes’ voice echoed loudly around them as he came closer to Snipe, standing with his arms crossed behind the stage. “Does talking count as an action we should have authorisation for?”

“No” replied Snipe, shaking his head. “Only the movement of your bodies are subjected to the coordinator’s orders. Talking is still up to you.”

Ponytail stepped towards the stage and raised her hand. “Snipe-sensei, are we allowed as Operation Leaders to use our quirks to help our team out?”

The masked teacher thought about it for a second, before he nodded. “Well, if your quirk can reach in the maze, sure. However you cannot do anything that could destroy or damage in any ways the outer shell of the maze.”

“Thank you very much” she replied, bowing down. When she turned around, she started taking off her sports vest, before she lifted her burgundy tank top, triggering gasps and whistles amongst the public. “I’ve been thinking about it since we began the formation of this team, so I’ve had a little bit of time to prepare it all, in case we were allowed to use our quirks - which we are.”

Her stomach began sparkling brightly, and she pulled out of herself an big orange bag, a smaller black one and a small black pouch, held by a thick black string. “Bakugou-san, the orange bag is yours. You are the most muscular, so you will have to carry more. Tokoyami-san, the black one is yours.”

“Survival of the fittest” muttered Bird Face, taking his bag.

“Toru-chan, give me your belt.” See-through obeyed, and Ponytail examined the belt carefully before she began fiddling with one side of it. She then pulled out of it a small device with a red twinkling light - the GPS tracker. “Your strength lies in the fact that you are invisible, so -”

“Say no more!” See-through said in a determined voice.

And suddenly, clothes were flying everywhere - tank top, socks, shoes, pants, bra . And this time, the crowd’s whistles were accompanied by Present Mic’s comments.

“Wow wow wow, Shouta what are your students doing?”

“Exploiting their quirks to the fullest, that’s what.” Aizawa’s voice echoed in the stadium, bored and low. “Aren’t you too old to care about that?”

“Some fiendish punishment it is, to know but not to see” mumbled Bird Face again, his voice hoarse.

“What the fuck are you babbling about?” snapped Katsuki, reaching the limit of his patience.

Ponytail got on one knee and gave a light tap on her thigh. “Toru-chan, give me your foot. I’ll attach the tracker to your ankle, so I can still see where you are going. I’ve also created spared clothing that I have put in Bakugou-san’s bag, you will just have to take them and put them on when the event will be over.”

A footprint appeared on Ponytail’s thigh, and her hand wandered around it, uncertain, before it closed around fucking nothing. She then strapped the tracker around See-through’s invisible ankle while Katsuki took the orange bag and opened it. He found everything neatly packed: two full face gas masks, three flash bombs, six small hand grenades, gloves similar to the ones he had in his costume, ropes,  two headband with GoPros fixed on them,

“What is this?” asked Bird Face, holding out a small black pouch.

Ponytail looked around them to make sure no one was listening. “Don’t open it. It’s a spare tracker and headset” she said in a low voice “just in case you do meet up with Kaminari-san or someone who somehow manages to damage them.”

Looking inside, Katsuki found two pouches as well. “What if her tracker or headset gets damaged while I’m not around?”

Ponytail got back on her feet. “Then Toru-chan will have to stay exactly where she is until I send you to her last known position.”

“What about the hand grenades? And the gloves?” He pulled out one of the gloves, looking curiously at the small holes in the palms.

“Ah yes - I used the same mechanism as the one in your costume. When I’ll tell you, put the gloves on, attach the tubes that are on the side of your bag to the holes in the gloves and link them to the grenade. That will fill them up with your sweat, and you’ll be able to launch them at any opponents. That should distract them.”

“Only one minute left! Operation Leaders, please head to the seats on the main stage. Teams, head towards your assigned starting point as indicated on the screens!”

Ponytail took a deep breath and looked at them one after the other. “Right. So … here it is” she said, nervousness piercing in her voice. “Don’t forget to listen to my orders before taking any initiative. You cannot even turn around without me telling you to do so. Even at the beginning, don’t head into the maze before I tell you to.”

“Dammit, don’t panic class rep’ ” groaned Katsuki. “I told you before, didn’t I? You’ll lead us to victory. We’re winning this shit, and we’ll crush all the other fuckers in the process.”

“I wouldn’t have phrased it like that, but I sure do agree with Bakugou-kun!” said See-Through, her voice coming from somewhere on Katsuki’s left. “If we’re with you Momo-chan, we’re sure to win!”

Bird Face nodded, and Ponytail blushed happily, clenching her fists again her chest, determined. “Alright! Good luck everyone!”

Katsuki, See-Through and Bird Face parted ways with Ponytail and, after a quick look at the screen and at the position of their starting point, they walked and stopped in front of an entrance the size of a big door. The maze was covered by a thick, high ceiling, and the inside seemed quite dark. Perfect . On their right, the team was composed of Monkey, a girl with dark green hair and a dude that looked more like a beast than a student. On their left, Buzz Face was smiling and waving at them like an idiot, surrounded with Weed Hair and Crazy Fuck.

“Oi Bakugou!” he called him with a huge grin. “Good luck for the event! Although I shouldn’t really be saying that cause I wanna crush you and I’d really like not to have to face you in the finals, but still!”

“Shut your trap Buzz Face!” he snarled at him. “You’d best not cross my way if you know what’s good for you!”

“Yeah, yeah, alright man” Buzz Face laughed, crossing his hands behind his head.

“What? What’s that? The great Bakugou isn’t sitting with the Operation Leaders? Did you want to make things easier for us? Did you want to allow us to us your own classmates to crush you? Maybe you should just go ahead and give up already, maybe you shouldn’t even participate, maybe you should just go back to the locker room and cry under the shower, huuuuuuh waddaya thiiiiiink? Everyone knows you’re incapable of following orders, I pity the idiot who was dumb enough to take you on their team! Who is it huh tell me tell me who is it?” Crazy Fuck seemed to be close to choking on his own tongue - how could one look so happy and so scandalised at the same time.

Katsuki’s entire face twitched under the repressed anger, and he found his palms sweating comfortably again and cracking and popping. “Say what now?” he all but growled at Crazy Fuck, glowering at him so much Weed Hair shifted uncomfortably and Pikachu sighed in defeat. “I’ll have you know that I’m the fucking best at following orders if I want to. Others might have tolerated your nonsensical and endless chattering, but I’ll shut you up once and for all. I’ll find you, Crazy Fuck - ain’t no maze big enough to keep you hidden from me. You keep that in mind.”

Crazy Fuck’s face froze in place, his stupid smile unmoving. Buzz Face crossed his arms and looked at him disapprovingly. “Man, are you serious? You just had to go and pick a fight with the last person we should want to hold a grudge against us, didn’t you.”

“Monoma-kun, why must thou curse us so” lamented Weed Hair, her hands piously joined before her.

“Aaaaaalriiiiiiiiiight!” roared Present Mic’s voice. “Ladies and Gents, we are now facing the second event of this competition, and the least we can say is that there are some very promising and very surprising teaming up! Who will come out victorious of this event? Who will make it to the top sixteen? Take your bets but chose carefully, because in this competition, anything can happen!”

The crowd cheered and shouted and clapped.

“We will now be giving the bluetooth headset to each participant and release the robots in charge of transmitting the live images to the Operation Coordinators” announced Snipe, and a young member of staff came to hand  Katsuki and his team headsets the size of a big hazelnut. Katsuki grabbed his and tucked it in his left ear.

Ponytail’s voice rang as clearly as if she was next to him. “Everyone, do you read me?”

“Loud and clear!” replied See-Through.

“Yeah, don’t fucking shout in my ear.”

“No problem here.”

Katsuki glanced where she was and gave her a thumbs up before turning to look at the other nine seated around her. Of course there was Icyhot and Deku, both getting used to the command board and talking through their headset. There was also Three Arms, the redhead with massive hands, the girl with pink dreadlocks from the support department, Soy Sauce, Pervy, a guy with a white and blue headband and Glitter boy.

Katsuki turned back to the entrance where a red light had been turned on with a wicked grin. They were so going to crush them all. No one stood a fucking chance.

“Contestants, on your marks!” blared Present Mic’s voice.

Katsuki leaned in slightly, palms sweating.

“Remember, do not move until I tell you so!”

“Noted.”

“Yeah!”

“Yeah yeah, we know, fuck.”

“ARE - YOU - REEEAAAADYYYYYYYYYYY?! STAAAAAAAAAAAART!”

It still took a little bit of effort for Katsuki not to move. Immediately, Snipe’s voice echoed around the stadium. “Ojiro Mashirao, disqualified. Shishida Juroda, disqualified. Tokage Setsuna, disqualified. Aoyama Yuga, disqualified. Fukidashi Manga, disqualified. Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu, disqualified. Tsuburaba Kosei, disqualified. Mineta Minoru, disqualified. Ashido Mina, disqualified. Sato Rikido, disqualified.”

“Don’t look around!” warned Ponytail’s voice. “They’ve all stepped in before any order was given. Now run!”

Katsuki didn’t need her to say it twice. He dashed in as Ponytail ordered him “First place” . Behind them, he heard the entrance close with a loud, echoing “THUMP”, and suddenly there were running in complete silence, in a half darkness. High above their heads, on the ceiling, the dim lights weakly lightened the path and reflected poorly on the dark grey walls, giving the entire maze a strange grey-blue mood.

“Left.”

Without question, they all turned left at the intersection in front of them.

“This is so exciting!” whispered See-Through right behind him.

“Shush for fuck’s sake, you’re gonna expose us if you keep chatting!” Katsuki muttered angrily.

“Left, then immediately right.”

Somewhere in the distance, they heard voices and shouts coming from other teams. And shortly after followed the sound of a commotion - some fights had already started.

“Walk.” They slowed their pace down. “Second place.” Katsuki heard the tip-tap of See-Through’s feet walk past him as they approached another intersection. “Halt at the intersection, right wall.” they reached the intersection and stopped, their back against the wall. Another tip-tap, and Katsuki saw See-through’s tracker on her ankle walk past the wall.

“All clear” she whispered.

“Walk and turn right. Stay alert.”

“What is the other team’s situations?” asked Bird Face behind him, his voice barely audible even to Katsuki.

“Two teams have been taken out from the start. Two others have had a member of theirs disqualified. Only eight more teams competing including ours, only six full teams including ours.”

“Roger.”

They kept walking and running, halting and pausing for about three minutes, mostly in silence, only hearing shouts and the sound of distant fights occasionally. Katsuki was growing restless, and although it was killing him that he didn’t get to have his fair share of fighting too, he bit his tongue, knowing Ponytail’s strategy was to focus first on the civilian before taking care of others.

“Halt. Left wall”

They stopped again, their breathings louder than usual. “Gloves on, tubes on.” Katsuki frowned and pulled the gloves and tubes out of his orange backpack. They were in a long corridor, at the end of which he could see a two way intersection, and with another dark alley closer to them cutting through the right wall. “I think you might soon run into a team.”

Finally .

“Who?” Whispered See-Through.

“I don’t know yet, but it would only make sense. We’ve almost reached the splitting point, which means we should be prepared for any eventuality.”

The gloves were tight and hot, and soon Katsuki began sweating.He had barely linked the tubes to the holes in the gloves, Ponytail told him “Link the grenades to the gloves.” He bit back a ‘I know’ and obeyed. “Pull a flash bomb out and give it to Toru-chan.” He held the device out, not knowing where exactly was he supposed to give it, and it was snatched from his hand from nothing. He filled the hand grenades one after the other without anyone speaking. He was completing the last two when they heard footsteps and ushered conversations.

“ … insane, I wouldn’t be able to hold up against something like that.”

“Yaoyorozu, someone’s coming” breathed Bird Face.

Tip-tap-tip-tap-tip-tap . Pause. Tip-tap-tip-tap-tip-tap.

“About twenty meters away” whispered See-Through, answering a question Katsuki hadn’t heard.

“Back down five meters. They won’t be prepared if you don’t appear on their screens. Bakugou, give Toru-chan one of your hand grenades.”

Katsuki and Bird Face went backwards, taking five big steps in the opposite direction as silently as possible. The last two grenades gave a small ‘click’, indicating they were ready for use.

“Grenades, tubes and gloves in bag.” Katsuki did as she said, flexing his damp hands in anticipation - they were ready for use too.

“Well let’s just be glad Todoroki isn’t in the maze with us. He would have frozen us all” said one of the voices.

“The others aren’t that scary when you think of it” continued another one. “Nothing we can’t fight against.”

“I don’t know man, some of the kids in class A are downright crazy when you think of it.”

“Our class isn’t half bad either, if you look at Komori-chan’s quirk for example it’s -”

“On my signal, be ready to run.”

Be ready to what now?

It all happened very quickly. Katsuki heard the ‘cling’ that indicated See-Through had removed the key from the grenade, the sound of something bouncing against the floor followed by a “Wait, there is something on the-”.

A huge detonation shook the walls and rang their ears, and there was a serie of panicked shouts.

“It’s Bakugou! It’s Bakugou! What do we do?!”

“Run!”

Katsuki cursed under his breath, frustrated, and sprang forwards, Bird Face by his side.

“Straight ahead!”

He kept running, but Bird Face turned on the right and disappeared. Katsuki almost came to a stop, before realising: that was it. The splitting point.

“On your left!”

He turned at the next intersection, and this time the sound of See-Through’s footsteps didn’t follow him. They were on their own.

“Run as fast as you can. Second exit on your right.”

Katsuki kept running, following Ponytail’s direction. They had to find that goddamn civilian real quick, or else he will never have an opportunity to get some action. He marched for about three minutes, before arriving at a dead-end.

“Oi, what does that mean?” he asked in a low voice, wiping the sweat from his brow. “There’s nothing here!”

“Then yours was a fake location. Turn back around and run, fourth exit on your right.”

He groaned and complied, getting more and more frustrated. This was not only taking forever, but it was beginning to both annoy and really frustrate him. Just listen to her and do as she says, and you’ll win. As shitty as it is, winning is all that matters right now. Just-

“Toru-chan found the civilian. I’ll direct you in her position.”

Great. She’d better give him an opportunity to let out some steam, he thought as he turned left and right throughout the maze. He was being a real good collaborator, didn’t talk back, not even once, so she’d better find some way to reward him.

“Walk. Something ahead of you, be prepared. On your left.” He squared his shoulders and slowed down his pace, peaking carefully behind the wall. Whoever had been there before hadn’t tried subtlety. The walls of the corridor were smashed down and destroyed, and some of the lights in the ceiling above were off.

“What the hell happened here” he whispered.

“Halt. If I were to guess, I’d say Kirishima-san happened here. Do you see anything suspicious ahead of you?”

Katsuki narrowed his eyes and scanned the dusty area ahead of him. “There’s nothing. Area’s clear. And if there’s anything I-”

“Crouch and hold position” she suddenly interrupted him, her voice urgent.

He immediately did as she said, his senses in alert. He looked around for a threat, an indication that someone was closing in, a sound, a movement, something that shouldn’t be there. But there simply just was nothing. He frowned. Or maybe there was a problem with one of the other two. She had said the civilian was with See-Through - could something have happened? He scanned the area around him once, looking at the huge hole in the wall on his left. This time Kirishima had really gone overboard with it, his team was sure as hell gonna -

His eyes widened and he scowled in shock. Right there, in front of him, crouching the same way he was, Uraraka was staring at him, her face blank.

Shit. Shit. Fuck.

He was going to get up, before remembering he couldn’t do shit without authorisation. Fuck whoever submissive son of a bitch had come up with that event. He waited and waited, each second an eternity, his heart drumming in his ears. What the fuck was Ponytail doing?! He was about to get murdered! Did she have her attention on something else? What the fuck was going on?

He needed to get her to look at the screen and give her direction. He needed her to tell him to attack and defend himself, or else he wasn’t going to last very long. Shit, what was her last name again? Ya - Yau- Yao - something? Damn his brilliant mind and his incapacity to remember insignificant shit.

Fuck it, it’ll get her to look.

“Momo, I need you” he growled between his teeth, his voice cutting through the thick silence. Uraraka’s jaw dropped and she stared at him in disbelief, her lips mouthing ‘Momo?’.

“Bakugou-san!” Ponytail’s voice shrieked in his ear. “I told you not to call me by my first name! Wait for my orders and -” A pause. “Is this … Ochako-chan?”

“Yup” he huffed, still holding Uraraka’s gaze. There was a short silence, then -

“Put your hands above your head, very slowly.”

He blinked. “What?” he snarled back.

“Just do as I say!”

Katsuki pursed his lips, seething, and very slowly, his opened his palms and raised them, until they were on the same level as his hair. “Get on your feet as gently as you can manage, and walk backwards towards your right until she is out of sight. The moment she is, run as fast as you can.”

A low growl escaped his lips as he tried to get up without making any sudden movement that would startle her. Uraraka looked at him take one step backwards, then two, then three, bewildered by the difference between his slow actions and the bloodthirsty expression on his face. As soon as her face disappeared behind the wall, he turned around and dashed away.

“What the fuck was that Ponytail?” he growled, enraged and humiliated. He didn’t even care if he used her nickname or not anymore.

“Bakugou-san, they have our civilian.”

Katsuki’s heart sank. He gritted his teeth and sped up, fury boiling and twitching like the scales of a beast in his stomach. “Who?” he snarled murderously.

“Kaminari-kun, Shiozaki-san and Monoma-san. They haven’t spotted Toru-chan yet, so for now I have instructed her to follow them from a safe distance as discreetly as possible. Turn right, then left. Tokoyami-san is already on his way and should arrive before you do, but still - hurry up. I’m guiding you towards their position.”

“Buzz Face and Crazy Fuck huh.” He let out a raspy and mad laughter. They were so dead. “Well I told them I was coming for them, so that’s just perfect.”

“Halt. You’re almost there. On your left there should be a long corridor, and they’re coming towards the first intersection. Tokoyami-san is arriving from behind them, so we’ll have them circled. Bakugou-san, listen to me. When I’ll tell you to use your quirk, you’ll need to be extremely careful. We could get disqualified if our civilian is in worst shape after we have rescued them.”

“Yeah, yeah, I got it. Rescue the civilian first, kill them afterwards. Let’s get moving already” he mumbled, chewing on his word like he was preparing to spit them out.

“Walk quickly and quietly and turn left. Stop before the intersection and put the bag on the floor before you ambush them. Just in case Kaminari-kun used his quirk, I don’t want him to damage the rest of the equipment. The moment they cross the intersection, attack them. Your focus is to retrieve the civilian.”

Katsuki clenched and unclenched his fists. Oh he was so ready for this. He crept up as silently as he could up the quiet corridor and stopped when he reached the intersection, taking the bag off of his shoulders and putting it gently on the ground. He heard a couple of footsteps approach, and he leaned in, ready to jump at any moment, his muscles tensed.

Something was off. It was … too quiet. He knew that stupid Buzz Face, and knew he couldn’t stay quiet for his life. And Crazy Fuck had to be just as talkative if not more. Something was off.

“There’s something wrong” he whispered as low as he could. “I can feel it.”

For a second, he didn’t receive any answer. And Ponytail’s voice came shouting in his ear.

“Everyone! Quirks to rescue and defend first, then regroup and use the spare headsets! It’s a-”

One finger appeared right before Katsuki’s eyes, and next thing he knew he was hit by a strong flow of electricity. He roared as he felt all his muscles contract painfully and stumbled backwards when it stopped, panting. His head started ringing and aching badly, and his left ear was filled with the crunching sound of the broken bluetooth. Their communication had been broken, along with almost all the lights around them. Somewhere in the distance, he heard See-Through wail in pain and Bird Face’s monster howl.

“Hey Bakugou, what’s up?” Buzz Face had his hands on his hips now, and he looked at him with a victorious smile. “Didn’t expect us to land the first blow now did you?”

“You little piece of -” Katsuki pulled the headset from out of his bloodied ear and threw it away. Stall - you need to think of something . “How the fuck did you know we were there?”

Buzz Face put his hands behind his head, feeling cocky. “Well, you’re not the only one with a smart girl as Operation Leader. Jirou-chan plugged her earphone jacks into every other Coordinator’s chair to see whose civilian we had stumbled upon” he explained with a wink. “She warned us you were heading for us, so we came up with a little strategy of our own. That dude, Monoma - he’s got a loud mouth, but his quirk is actually pretty useful. He managed to replicate my quirk and to take down both Tokoyami and Hagakure-chan.”

Why the fuck was Pikachu revealing their entire strategy, Katsuki had no clue. But he was giving him all the information he needed. “What about the civilian? And Weed Hair?”

“She’s the one who is protecting it” he replied like the stupid fuck he was, coming closer. “Her hair is actually pretty convenient, it makes her completely immune to my electricity. But to think I would have rendered the great Lord Explosion Murder unable to move -” he laughed out loud and put a hand on Katsuki’s shoulder “- that’s even better than finding a spare civilian!”

Katsuki glared at Buzz Face, fighting against the urge to shove his hand off of him. Not yet . “What about your civilian? Shouldn’t you have focused on them?”

“Oh it’s actually real close” Buzz Face answered, throwing his arm around Katsuki’s shoulder. “It should be hidden at the third intersection over there.” He waved at the corridor Katsuki had come from. “We were actually gonna - Huh?” He paused and put a finger on his right ear. “Nah, don’t worry, he can’t do a thing anyway, with their transmitters and their robots gone they can’t move, otherwise they’ll be disqualified” he said - talking to Sound Bitch - before turning with a shit-eating smile to Katsuki. “Ain’t that right?”

Katsuki mirrored his smile with one of his personal, murderous, you-are-so-going-to-regret-having-pissed-me-off mad grin. “That’s right - unless we got granted permission to fight first.”

Buzz Face’s smile hadn’t even had time to fade, and Katsuki had already grabbed the fucking arm that had been resting on his shoulder, pulling hard on it and yanking Pikachu’s body over his head, launching him flat on the ground.

He threw his hands before his face. “No - wait !-”

Katsuki raised his palm and finally released a sweet, sweet explosion on his friend’s face - classic bro stuff. He didn’t wait for the thick cloud of smoke to clear and he ran towards the intersection, turning around the corner - to find Bird Face on his knees, growling loudly as he tried to control the big, threatening monster that was escaping from his chest.

“Come on out you bitch!” roared the black shape, digging into what looked like a fat pile of weed in the center of the corridor. On the side, Crazy Fuck was lying down, knocked out. Apparently, their little strategy had backfired: Bird Face had been weakened by the attack, but his monster grew stronger in the shadows.

“Bakugou-kun!” squeaked a voice near him. Tip-tap-tip-tap-tip-tap-tip-tap . “Tokoyami-kun is-”

“You still have the flash bomb?” he interrupted her, not knowing where he was supposed to be looking.

“Ah - yeah!” The flash bomb flew in front of him.

“Good. Don’t worry about Bird Face, so far he’s in control. But Momo told us to prioritise the rescue, so we have to wait until that thing is done digging. Then-”

“Bakugou-kun! You really shouldn’t be calling her Momo you know!” she cut him off, her tone disapproving.

He blinked. “Wha- is this really the moment to chat about it? ” he snapped, irritated. “Listen to me for fuck’s sake! When he’ll be done digging you’ll throw the flash bomb, it’ll weaken him and Bird Face will be able to call it faster back within him, or wherever the fuck that hellion came from. Then you and him will have to grab the civilian while I take care of Weed Bitch in there.”

Just as he finished his sentence, the pile of weed gave in with a loud ‘RIIIIIIIIIP’, and the black monster laughed evilly, victorious.

“Now See-Through!” he shouted, shielding his eyes. “Oi Bird Face! Protect yourself!”

“My name is -” she pulled the key and threw the flash bomb “- HAGAKURE TORU!”

Even through closed and protected eyelids,a flash of light still managed to reach Katsuki’s eyes. He heard a very loud scream, most likely coming from Weed Bitch. When he opened his eyes again, there was no more dark monster, and Bird Face was still on his knees, his face buried in his arms. Katsuki rushed towards the crater of fallen weed, and before he had time to throw himself in it, Snipe’s voice echoed across the maze.

“Shiozaki Ibara, disqualified.”

“OH COME ON!” he bellowed, annoyed to no end. Will he just never get his fun?

“Bakugou-kun, the civilian!” said See-Through’s voice, her invisible weight pressing down on the weed-hair as she climbed.

Katsuki groaned loudly and followed her begrudgingly, jumping in the crater. Inside, they found Weed Bitch wailing, her hands before her eyes.

“I cannot believe I did such a stupid thing” she sobbed on her knees, turning her face to the ceiling. “Me using my quirk before I was told to - is this our divine punishment for making a fool out of that nasty boy before the event began?” She put her hands on the ground and fumbled around her, eyes puffy and closed.

Katsuki eyed her suspiciously and headed towards the civilian. It was a dummy, quite realistic but a dummy still. He tried to grab it, but it was much heavier than their training dummies, and completely limp as well - like a real unconscious person would be he guessed - so he passed one arm around its shoulders and the other one under his knees and lifted it. Next to him, Weed Bitch had managed to get her hands on two handfuls of her own weed-hair, and was now proceeding to whip her back with them. “I ACCEPT MY PUNISHMENT, FOR I HAVE GRAVELY SINNED!”

Katsuki jumped out of the crater. “I’m out of here.” This school was a fucking nest of weirdos. How could anyone only manage to be shocked by him, that simply just was beyond belief.

“Bird Face” he called, heading towards the panting boy. He had managed to pull himself back on his feet and to go grab the black backpack he had left farther away, and seemed fine enough. “Once we’re back in the light, use your black thing to carry the civilian. We have to get out of here and to restore communication with Momo.”

Bird Face looked up at him, bewildered. “You use the name?”

“Could the two of you focus on the fucking matter at hand?” he snarled out loud, not caring whether someone heard him or not - they had done quite a lot of noise and damage already, what could a little bit more do.

“Are we gonna leave them like that?” asked See-Through as they headed towards where Katsuki had left his own bag.

“Yeah” he replied firmly. “That’ll teach them to try and bite off more than they can chew.” They walked by Buzz Face, who had his thumbs held out, his face round and stupidly happy. “Sorry buddy.”

“Wheeeee~”

He put the dummy on the floor, grabbed his bag and pulled out the two headset, holding one in front of him and waiting for an invisible hand to grab it. They all put the new bluetooth in their ear and turned them on.

“Yaoyorozu, do you copy?” asked Bird Face.

“Everyone!” Ponytail’s voice rang once more in Katsuki’s ear, filled with relief. “You did it!”

“Of course we did, what the fuck did you expect?” Katsuki growled, irritated by the excess of happiness she was showing. “Didn’t I tell you we were gonna win this shit?”

“You did, you did!” she agreed happily.

“Momo-chan, how long do we have left?” asked See-Through.

“Not much. It’s almost been thirteen minutes, so no more than seven minutes to head towards the exit - ah, it just appeared on the radar! Alright no time to lose everyone, the exit is at the complete opposite of your position. In fact it is almost exactly where you started off.”

“Now that’s just mean UA!” protested See-Through angrily, and Katsuki could easily imagine her throwing her fist menacingly towards the ceiling.

“Oi, Momo, there’s -”

“Stop calling me Momo!”

“Alright Ponytail!” he snapped, rolling his eyes.

“Can’t you just call me Yaoyorozu like everyone else?”

“Will you listen to me?” Why did everyone seem to only want to debate about something like that right now? “Buzz Face told me earlier that their civilian was next to our position, a little bit further down the corridor. We could go for it if you let us, we won’t waste much time and we’ll have extra points!”

She didn’t answer immediately. “Toru-chan, Tokoyami-kun, what do you think? Do you feel you could do it?”

“Yeah, I’m fired up!” cheered See-Through.

Bird Face nodded. “Let’s aim for the top.”

“It’s decided then. Bakugou-san, where is the civilian situated?”

Katsuki grinned. “Third intersection down that corridor.”

“Alright. Put on your head cameras so I know where you are going, they have destroyed the robots in charge of transmitting your images. And follow Bakugou-san to the civilian.”

Once they had the cameras on, it was actually really easy to reach the second civilian. Bird face and his monster took care of carrying the two dummies, and they were on their way out.

“Next intersection turn right, then the first one on your-”

“Kuroiro Shihai, Shoji Mezo, Honenuki Juzo and Uraraka Ochako have qualified themselves for the finals” announced Snipe across the maze, and Katsuki’s heart gave an angry squeeze. “Only twelve more place left!”

“We should hurry up” mumbled Bird Face. “Everyone is going to want to rush now that the first participants have been qualified.”

“You’re right” she replied seriously. “Run - I am going to change our formation. Bakugou-san, first place.”

They ran as fast as they could, following her directions throughout the maze. “Bakugou-san, two hand grenades.” He fiddled with the zipper of his backpack and managed to pull out the two round objects. “When I’ll tell you, you’ll throw them.”

He didn’t reply and kept running, panting hard. Behind him, he could hear See-Through and Bird Face’s laborious breathings, and he wondered if one of them was going to need a break.

“No I … I had to … use it … against Shiozaki … and Dark Shadow” panted See-Through, replying to something Ponytail had told her individualy.

“Bakugou-san, flash bomb to Toru-chan.”

“I know” he groaned between his teeth, once more struggling with the border of his bag. “How long do we have left?”

“Four minutes. I’d say the exit is about one minute away though. We are almost there! Turn right.”

He groaned and engaged in a foggy corridor. “Momo!”

“Halt!” She didn’t even bothered to scold him for using her first name. “Pull the gas masks out of the bags and put them on. When it’s done, start running again.”

“What is that thing?” asked See-Through, disgusted. She took the mask from Katsuki’s hand, removed the GoPro, put the mask on and attached the camera on her head once more.

“It has to be Komori-san’s quirk. I doubt any mushrooms will grow on you. This close to the end, she has to have used her strongest skill.”

“Best to quickly get away from it then” replied Bird Face, adjusting his own mask, which fit perfectly the shape of his head.

“Alright - run!”

They started running again, but this time they could distinctly hear the shouts from other teams.

“The others are close to us!” said See-Through’s muffled voice.

“Stay focused! The exit is only - HALT - DUCK!”

Katsuki threw himself on the ground just in time to avoid the massive explosion that destroyed the wall in front of them and sent hundreds of rocks flying. He lifted his head up and, through the thick cloud of smoke, he saw Kirishima groan and get back on his feet, hardened in his unbreakable form, rubbing his head. Out of the hole he had just hammered in the wall came out Toad Girl, holding securely a dummy with her tongue, followed by Fat Face.

It was Deku’s team.

“OI, KIRISHIMA!” he roared, scandalised. That bastard! How could he - how dared he?!

Kirishima looked around, surprised, and the moment his eyes met Katsuki’s, his face became half apologetic half panicked. “Midoriya, code red, that’s Bakugou there - get us out of here!”

Behind them, he heard hurried footsteps and loud shouts.

“Cover your eyes!”

“I’LL FUCKING MURDER YOU KIRISHIMA, YOU JUST WAIT YOU MOTHERFUCKING SON OF A TRAITOR!” he bellowed from the top of his lungs, hiding his face the best he could through the gas mask.

Tip-tap-tip-tap-tip-tap.

“New super move: Blinding White Light!”

He couldn’t tell what exactly had happened next. He had heard the sound of the flash bomb being activated, and right afterwards there was a powerful flash of light, much stronger than the one that they had released earlier, followed by screams of pain.

“Uncover your eyes and get up!”

Katsuki jumped to his feet, lips pursed and deep scowl on, his rage bursting inside his entire body. Kirishima and Toad Face were running far away in front of them - they had escaped See-Through’s attack, leaving Fat Face behind.

“YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE KIRISHIMA! I’M COMING FOR YOUR HEAD YOU ASSHOLE!”

“Bakugou-san, focus! Third place!”

He roared out loud, trying to get at least a little bit of the overwhelming anger and hurt out of his system.

“Run!”

“How much time left?” asked Bird Face, running in front of Katsuki, See-Through’s footsteps resonating before the two of them.

“Two minutes. We don’t have any more time to lose! Remove the masks!”

Katsuki snatched his and threw it away with unnecessary strength.

“Shoda Nirengeki, disqualified.”

“Intersection ahead, turn left them immediately right! Bakugou-san, at the intersection one hand grenade behind you, and before you take the last corridor do it again!”

His answer came as a wild, loud growl. He removed the key to the first grenade and threw it behind him, turned left, threw the second, turned right. A massive double explosion blasted behind him, and the heat and smoke of it engulfed and blackened him. By the time they had entered the corridor, the intersection was nothing but a massive pile of wrecked stones, and Katsuki was drenched in sweat.

“Kirishima Eijirou, Midoriya Izuku and Asui Tsuyu have qualified themselves for the finals! Less than two minutes left - will we have our sixteen contestants?”

“There!” screamed Bird Face, looking in front of him. At the end of the corridor, a light was shining, bright and letting loud noises escape inside the maze: the exit.

Other shouts came from behind them.

“In front of us!”

“That’s Bakugou!”

“They have two civilians, let’s take them down and keep them - more points for us!”

“Bakugou-san! Cover Toru-chan and Tokoyami-san! They have to make it through the gate with the civilians no matter what! Use your quirk - go all out!”

“TODAY’S THE DAY YOU ALL DIE YOU FUCKERS!” he shouted as an answer.

Katsuki spun around, palms in front of him and, channelling all his furor and all his focus on his hands, he let out two explosions so powerful, it threw him backwards and destroyed the walls in his wake. A simple flip, and he was back on his feet, lifting his head up in time to see an extra with big eyes cut through the smoke and try and attack him with a confident smile. What a fucking fool.

He threw himself at Big Eyes, startling him, and in a swift motion grabbed him by the collar and launched him back in the smoke, adding a blast that made him yelp.

“Tokoyami Fumikage and Hagakure Toru have qualified themselves for the finals! One minute left!”

“Bakugou-san, get out of there, hurry!”

“I WON’T FUCKING LOSE!”

He put his hands behind him and released powerful explosions, filling the corridor with smoke and loud ‘BANG!’, the light at the end of the walls becoming bigger and bigger and -

Out in the open, the sudden brightness of his surroundings blinded him for a second.

“Bakugou Katsuki and Yaoyorozu Momo are qualified for the finals!”

The crowd cheered loudly, hundreds of thousands of voices shouting for them. Katsuki slowed down and came to a stop near Bird Face and See-Through, hands on his knees. Besides them, the two dummies had been dropped gently on the ground.

“We did it!” panted the invisible girl. “We did it! I’m in the finals! I’m qualified for the finals!”

“Iida Tenya has qualified himself for the finals!” announced Snipe.

“Only a few seconds left! Who will make it through?” added Present Mic.

“Komori Kinoko and Kodai Yui are qualified for the finals!”

“We are now in the last ten seconds, will anyone else make it? Five - four - three - two - one -”

A loud horn echoed throughout the stadium.

“TIME’S UUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!”

The crowd roared and cheered for UA’s winners.

“As Operation Leaders, Todoroki Shouto and Awase Yosetsu are qualified for the finals, which brings us to a total number of sixteen finalists!”

“Wow, that was some crazy event!” commented Present Mic, making Katsuki wonder if he had commented live everything that had happened in the maze. “I did not see half of it coming, and neither did the public! Let’s have a quick look at the rankings, shall we?”

The black screen near the stage showed them a big table, ranking each team as a group. First was Uraraka’s team, who had been the fastest, had collected an insane amount of points because they had brought back four civilians with them, and had finished the event with all their members; second was his, with two civilians saved and his entire team qualified. Third was fucking Deku, fourth was that headband dude and his team from class 2-B, and last, to his great satisfaction, was Icyhot and Four-eyes.

“Now let’s put this all behind us, and let’s focus on what’s next: the recreational activities, and the third and last event!”

As Present Mic started babbling about the games the extras could play during the break, See-Through came to him, her GoPro on her forehead jumping happily.

“Bakugou-kun! Can I have the backpack please? I need my clothes, it’s getting chilly.”

Katsuki groaned and put the orange bag on the ground, letting her go through the stuff and pick up her clothing. He looked around him, and his eyes found Kirishima, laughing and rubbing his bruised arms.

If he could have had steam coming out of his ears and nose in fury, he would have. “KI-RI-SHI-MAAAAAAAAA!” he growled, heading towards him with his palms wide open, adrenaline still pumping in his veins. That bastard was gonna get it.

Kirishima saw him and took a step back with a shit-eating grin. “Hey you can’t be mad at me bro, you’re the one who didn’t save me a place in your team and told me to go find another one.”

“I said another one!” he roared at him, grabbing him by the collar. “Not fucking Deku’s you goddamn traitor!”

“Come on, what’s so bad about Midoriya?”

“What’s so - ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! YOU OPPORTUNISTIC TEAM WHORE!”

“Bakugou-san!”

Katsuki’s entire face twitched, and he turned towards Ponytail, who was walking in their direction, followed closely by Icyhot. She didn’t look as mad as he thought she would - probably because she had made it to the finals, like he had promised her.

“What?” he snapped, letting go of Kirishima and eyeing Icyhot with mad eyes. If that bastard did a thing - oh please , just a single thing - to piss him off, he was going for him too.

She smiled at him. “You did a really good job out there. I have to admit, I wasn’t too sure about my choice in the beginning. I genuinely did not expect you to be so compliant, and when Snipe-sensei said you were allowed to talk I thought you would take this opportunity to contest all of my decisions. But you didn’t, and I am really grateful for that. I am glad we teamed up!”

Katsuki raised one eyebrow. “Is that what you came to tell me?” he snapped. “Don’t go to someone and tell them ‘I’m glad you didn’t step on my face like a door rug’, grab them by the throat and make sure they never treat you like anything else than what you’re worth! I didn’t pick you randomly, I chose you cause you’re a damn fine thinker, and everybody listens to what you say like a guru or something. So don’t thank me for not being an asshole Momo.”

Ponytail blushed hard, her eyes wide, and Icyhot looked like something had finally snapped in his brain.

“What did you just call her?” he growled, taking a step forward.

“What the fuck’s your problem half-baked face, ya wanna die?” snarled Katsuki with a grin - yes please, let him explode his fucking face.

“Bakugou-san! I told you to call me Yaoyorozu!” she squeaked, flustered.

“Yao- fuck no, that’s way too long!”

“It’s her name you bastard, show some damn respect!” Now half-n-half’s voice was beginning to rise, and some people around them were turning around curiously.

“Well Momo fits” insisted Katsuki, crossing his arms on his chest. He never called anyone by their first name - it was already a miracle when he managed to remember their last name - but for some reason, Momo just sounded right. Short, repetitive enough to not forget it, with a nice sonority. Yeah, it was as good as a nickname. “If it fits it fits. It’s either that or Ponytail.”

Half-n-half’s left side began to smoke lightly, his eyes far from the mask of indifference he usually wore. “How about -” Ponytail put her hand on Icyhot’s left shoulder, and the smoking instantly stopped “- how about you call me Yaomomo? That is what most of our classmates call me.”

Katsuki narrowed his eyes. “That’s still fucking long.”

“You really are the worst bastard ever.”

“And you really are a fucking pain to look at, and yet here we are, unable to do shit about it while you meddle in a discussion where you weren’t even wanted to begin with” Katsuki snapped back at half-n-half, losing all patience. “Tough world.”

“You-”

“And nooooooowww the third event!” shrieked Present Mic, distracting them enough to keep them from throwing themselves at each other’s throat. “Hope everyone had time to cool down from the thrill of the two previous events - those Second Year really have fed us some incredible show! Now Ladies and Gents, hold on to your seats for the presentation of the Second Year Sports Festival’s last challenge! We’ve been waiting for it, and now that we have our sixteen finalists, let’s discover it together!”

The crowd roared in response, their cheer echoing across the stadium. ‘Some incredible show’, in Katsuki’s opinion, didn’t even come close to what he had provided the public with, but well, they must be too shaken to realise it.

Snipe walked onto the stage, arms wide open. “And the last event is -” They all looked at the black screen, and finally, the name of the challenge appeared. "A two-on-two battle!”

“Again?!” Katsuki shouted, exasperated. Will he not once be allowed to just do what he does best - being alone?

“Collaboration is a very important part of being a pro hero” deadpanned Aizawa’s voice through Present Mic’s microphone. “And I sure do hope that everyone understands that.”

Katsuki gritted his teeth, feeling like the message was directed at him - it was definitely directed at him. But what if he was partnered with someone useless? What if he was partnered with Four-Eyes, who constantly pissed him off? What if he was with Icyhot?! Oh fuck, what if he was with Deku.

“Nothing too fancy for this event” explained Snipe. “Teams of two will face each other in a monitored match. The first team to get both team members out of bounds wins and moves on to the next match. Lots have been drawn by Midnight, so before we take a break, let’s all look at the pairings for the first duels!”

The screen went black again, and a table appeared with names neatly arranged. Katsuki leaned closer, looking frantically for his name.

-----

Shoji Mezo                   VS                 Todoroki Shouto

Komori Kinoko                                    Honenuki Juzo

-----

Yaoyorozu Momo          VS            Iida Tenya

Awase Yosetsu                               Kirishima Eijirou

-----

Uraraka Ochako            VS            Tokoyami Fumikage

Bakugou Katsuki                            Kuroiro Shihai

-----

Midoriya Izuku               VS            Asui Tsuyu

Hagakure Toru                                Kodai Yui

-----

Katsuki stared at the screen, his anger rapidly decreasing and cooling down.

Well, he was fucked.

Chapter Text

All around them, partners began heading towards one another.

“Yaoyorozu!” The dude with the blue and with headband walked in their direction, waving at Yaomomo. “We’ve been teamed up together!”

No shit Sherlock . “It’s good to see you again Awase-san!” she replied cheerfully. “Shall we head to the resting area? We could discuss strategy over something to eat!”

“Yeah sure!” He beamed at her and they left, chatting happily. “How has your head been since last year’s summer camp?”

“It healed perfectly, thank you. Although at first it would start hurting out of nowhere, it was very …”

Katsuki found himself alone with Icyhot, glaring at each other. “How ‘bout you take a picture, fucker, it will last longer” he snarled at the asshole facing him.

“Thanks, but I already have one of a baboon - how ‘bout you have a banana?”

Now he was just asking for it. Katsuki was close to just jump at his face, but then a guy with his teeth outside of his face approached them and called “Todoroki!”

Icyhot glared one last time at Katsuki and said in a quiet voice “You know what? Last year, you wanted me so desperately to fight you and to take you seriously. Well here it is. I’m coming for you Bakugou, and I’m gonna crush that damn arrogance of yours in the process.” And he turned around and walked away.

“I’ll wait for you half-n-half, but you ain’t winning shit this year either” he called after him. “You hear me? I’m gonna fucking kill ya!”

Icyhot didn’t reply and went to meet Weird teeth, who was staring at Katsuki with a half-puzzled half-contemptuous look.

Behind him, someone growled “Bakugou.”

“What now?” he snapped, turning around. Only to end up face to face with Uraraka, her face twisted into a deep, deep scowl, lips stretched into an evil smile and a dark aura enveloping her slouching shoulders and clenched fists.

“Bakugou-kun, let’s do our best” she snarled at him, confusing him even more.

“What the fuck is wrong with your face?” he asked, bewildered. The girls in this school were mad .

“I don’t know what you’re talking about” she grumbled, a blood curling laughter escaping her chest. “I’m just really excited about the last event. We should go somewhere and talk strategy, don’t you think?”

“I’m pretty sure this -” he pointed at her “- isn’t what excited is supposed to look like” He started to walk towards the infirmary department, making sure she was following him. “And what strategy is there to think of? I’ll just kill them all, and that’s it.”

“I know that” she replied “but how are you planning to do this?”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “Why do you care? Why would you wanna know my strategy?”

“Er - because we are in the same team?”

Shit, that was true wasn’t it. “Well we still don’t necessarily need to discuss anything, do we?”

She stopped, and after taking two more steps he halted too, turning to her. Her smile had faded, and now she just looked like a round cheeked murderer. “Bakugou-kun, you know how important this is to me. You know what it all means. And - I don’t understand, don’t you wanna win too?”

“What kind of fucking stupid question is that?” he growled at her. Had he not made it very clear since their first year? That he was aiming for nothing but the top?

“You tell me!” Perfect, now she was getting angry. “Do you think it will be as easy this year as it was last year? Do you think no one has evolved? You heard Aizawa-sensei, “collaboration is a very important part of being a pro hero” - do you really think he said that just for the sake of it? You’ve seen the point distribution systems so far, there was never only one way of earning points, and I’ll bet you my piggy bank that it will be the case for this event too. And-”

“Alright, fine, dammit!” he interrupted her, tucking his hands in his pockets. “Let’s go already, I wanna get checked before eating.”

Her face relaxed a little and she trotted behind him when he started walking away once more. “Are you hurt?” she asked casually, as if she was talking about the weather.

“I just said I just wanted to get checked! Who said anything about injuries?”

“That’s good - I didn’t get injured either, we didn’t even meet anyone! That event was a piece of cake!”

She giggled, and Katsuki’s eyebrows twitched. “The fuck do you mean piece of cake? How the fuck did you manage to finish before anyone else with four civilians anyway?”

She beamed at him as they entered the stadium’s facilities beneath the stands. “Well you see, Honenuki was putting up a team together - you know who Honenuki is, right?”

He glared at her. Who exactly did she think he was? “No, Uraraka” he snarled, insisting exaggeratedly on each word “I don’t know who the fuck is Hokenumi.”

“It’s Honenuki” she corrected him, giggling - because obviously it was so much fun to make a damn fool out of him. “The boy with the teeth on his cheeks!” Ah, that guy. “He was accepted in UA on recommandation, just like Todoroki-kun and Momo-chan. Anyway, he was putting up a team, so I convinced him to add me, since I could make them all weightless, including the civilians and all - perfect for the task! With him and with Kuroi-” she met his glare “- er - with the boy with the black face, we basically just went through the walls.”

Katsuki stopped in front of the infirmary door. “What do you mean you just went through the walls” he asked very slowly, glowering furiously at her. He didn’t want to hear the tale of how she easily and happily cleared the event that him and his team had been so close to lose, but at the same time curiosity was now devouring him.

She shrugged. “Honenuki - the boy with the teeth - he can make any surface he touches soft, like mud or quicksand. Kuroiro, the boy with the ink-black face, can fuse with and move through anything that is black - clothes, shadows, anything. So all we had to do was soften the walls towards where the civilians were, make Kuroiro weightless and let him check the three locations through the shadows, then run to him across the walls when he found the right one. That took us … I’d say about two minutes?” She smiled, satisfied. “And besides, Shoji-kun was our coordinator, and -” she paused and frowned when he clicked his tongue “- Shoji-kun! The super tall boy with three arms on each arms! Come on, we are in our second year, you should at least know the names of your classmates!”

“Why does everybody keep on telling me that!” he snapped, annoyed.

“Because you should” she scolded him. “Anyway. Shoji-kun used his quirk to spy on other people’s radars, and that’s how we found the other civilians. We were actually heading towards Kyouka-chan’s team’s civilian when I stumbled upon you. Which reminds me-” she cocked her head to the side, still smiling “- you calling Momo-chan by her first name is … weird, you know.”

Katsuki rolled his eyes and opened the door of the infirmary. “Okay, first I only did so because her last name was so fucking long and I couldn’t be bothered to remember it. Second, it also happened to be shorter than Ponytail, or else I’d have stuck to that. And third, I don’t give enough fucks about her to care about shit like her name or whatever so drop it.”

Uraraka giggled, and he scowled as they entered the infirmary when he remembered why she knew about him calling Yaomomo by her first name. “How ‘bout you tell me why you didn’t attack me when we met earlier in the maze?”

“Oh! That was so scary, I thought I was done for!” she said, putting her hands on her cheeks, her eyes wide.

“You fucking with me or something?” he growled. He still hadn’t forgotten their fights and their little trip up the clouds, and her little maiden act only made him feel like she was mocking him.

“No I swear! Kuroiro had just gone to check a location, and Honenuki had had to solidify the wall I had just crossed because someone was coming on his side. And Shoji-kun was so focused on following them two, he just told me to hide and stay silent, and then you appeared out of nowhere!” she accused him, hands flying above her head.

“Well I didn’t have much of a choice either!” he barked back. “That class rep forced me to back down like a fucking wuss! If it had been up to me I would have blasted you away before you even had had time to-”

He stopped dead in his tracks when he caught sight of the short woman standing in front of him, glaring at him through squinted eyes, hands resting on her cane.

He gulped discreetly, sobering up. “Recovery Girl” he mumbled, bowing his head down.

“Goo-good morning Recovery Girl” squealed Uraraka, bowing down and blushing, visibly embarrassed.

“Well well well, if it isn’t the two trouble children” she replied coldly. “Were you going to start a fight right before the finals?”

Katsuki clenched his teeth and said nothing, while Uraraka replied with an even lower and more high-pitched voice “N-no, nononononono we weren’t - we - I - it’s -”

“We’re here to have ourselves tended to” he grumbled through his teeth, raising his eyes but not his head. “Is it possible?”

She walked away and waved at one of the short beds for them to sit down on it. They followed her and complied silently, watching the old woman as she climbed up her own chair and examined Uraraka first, then Katsuki.

After a short minute of checking them out, she headed for the white shelf near her office and declared “Uraraka-chan, you should be fine without needing anything. I’ll just give you these candies - they are craft candies, made with ginger and lemon, take them after a fight and it should help appease your nausea. Bakugou-chan -” that honorific again “- just apply this gel on your arms to relax your muscles. It should ease the tension on your sweat glands as well.”

Uraraka took the small box of candies Recovery Gril handed her, and Katsuki took the small red tube of gel. He was about to quickly get up on his feet, mumble his thanks and dash out, but he had barely begun moving that the door opened and closed quickly, revealing a very silent and very much threatening Aizawa-sensei.

“Sit. Down.” Katsuki fell back on the bed. Yep, he was fucked. Next to him, Uraraka’s shoulders slumped and she started shifting and fiddling uncomfortably. “Isn’t it absolutely wonderful, having so much energy to spend before the Sports Festival. Youth is so beautiful, thinking no one will ever find out about their huge mistakes.” There was not an ounce of wonder in his voice, just ice cold fury and disappointment. “And still the same one involved, over and over again” he added, shifting his glowing red eyes towards Katsuki. “Should I assume you threw the first punch this time as well?”

“No, Sensei, I … I did” admitted Uraraka, her voice small, staring at her fidgeting hands on her lap. “I … I provoked Bakugou-kun into fighting me for my own selfish reasons, and it got out of hand.”

“One says a fight ‘got out of hand’ when blood starts spilling. How do you describe it when security footage shows two students, battered and bruised, disappear in the clouds and reappear next to USJ, escaping death by a hair?”

They both stayed silent, the air thick with tension. “I, for one, have a word for that” Aizawa continued, still radiating with dark anger “I call that madness. Now can one of you explain to me why should I not expel two students who care more about winning a fight than staying alive?”

No one said a word. They didn’t even so much as moved, as if doing so could get them expelled. “Uraraka.” She jumped a little at her name. “Recovery Girl told me what happened. I was aware of your family situation, but I would have hoped that if you had felt you were spiralling out of control, you would have sought help. And although your circumstances are very saddening, they are no excuse for the disappointing behaviour you have shown. Which is why you will be placed on a five days house arrest after the sports festival. If you get any nominations for the two weeks internship you will have to do in a week, I will let you know so you can get in touch with the pro heroes that would have chosen you. The same goes for you Bakugou -” Katsuki’s eyebrows twitched at the mention of his name “- and don’t expect me to reduce your house arrest time. You might not have started it this time, but it is already the second time you are caught in such a situation. The third will be the last.”

Katsuki gulped, and Aizawa turned around, heading for the exit. “You will both be on cleaning duty during these five days, and also on cooking duty. I will expect a written letter of apology at the end of the five days. Now you’d better focus and not disgrace UA during the final event.” And he slammed the door behind him.

Katsuki exhaled deeply, only just realising he had been holding his breath, and Uraraka slumped on her spot next to him, burying her face in her hands. “I can’t believe I was placed on house arrest” she whined softly, her voice muffled by her hands. “How will I tell my father?”

Katsuki groaned, thinking of how his own parents will react when they’ll learn he had been placed under house arrest, again . Well, his father was just going to tell him that he was a wonderful, gifted boy who should try and channel his energy into something less troublemaking, but his mother - yeah, she was probably going to murder him. A cold sweat ran along his back when he remembered the threat she had formulated the previous night - her coming to UA to beat the shit out of him. Nah she wouldn’t … would she?

Of course she would, that old hag.

He got up from the bed and left the infirmary, not caring about Uraraka calling “Wait!” after him. She followed him, running a little. “Bakugou-kun, wait!”

“What the fuck do you want?” he snapped at her angrily, stopping to face her. “What more could you possibly want from me? I’m on house arrest, again , because you fucking jumped on me, and now one false step and I’ll be kicked out of UA. What more do you want Uraraka?”

She bit her lips, anger and remorse fighting in her eyes. “I already told you I was sorry for that. And - we’re still teamed up together, that’s what we should be focusing on! We didn’t even come up with a strategy yet, and you agreed that we would talk, so don’t you think we should-”

“Well I’m done talking to you” he interrupted her. “Here’s my strategy, I blow my explosions at Bird Face, make him weak, and you throw him out while I take care of the other bastard. No need to spend days thinking about it.” He turned around and walked away.

“Bakugou-kun!” she called out, like she couldn’t believe he was going to leave just like that.

“I’ll see you before our fight” he growled at her without turning around. There was no need to talk for much longer. He had already fought against Bird Face, and he knew his strengths and weaknesses. As for the other guy, Uraraka had said he could melt into darkness - what darkness would there be if he kept on blasting explosions at his face?

He snorted, unamused. Two or five or ten - they could come at him with as many extras as they’d like, they were still all gonna die. And he sure as hell didn’t need Uraraka’s help for that.

---

When Katsuki reached the stands, he noticed with great annoyance that, unlike last year, not only were class 2-A and 2-B mixed up in the stands, but all the competing pairs were also together, chatting non-stop excitedly. He tucked his hands into his pockets, and a small bubble of regret began surfacing in his mind: he should probably have given more time to their strategy planning than what he had. The simple fact that he thought he should have done so irritated him. He had told Yaomomo he would never do anything to jeopardise his pursuit of success, that he was able to work with anyone if it meant he would win. Why was it that he was perfectly able to do it with Yaomomo, but he just let his anger consume him when Uraraka became involved?

He clicked his tongue and looked across the stands for a free seat, possibly without much people around. Of course his eyes first fell upon Uraraka, sitting upright next to an empty spot, as if she was waiting for someone. As if to confirm his previous thought, a burst of anger spread through his chest and he looked away, now looking for a seat as far away from her as possible. He did find one - right behind  Buzz Face, Soy Sauce, Racoon Eyes, Kirishima and Four-eyes.

His eyes narrowed. Kirishima .

He sat behind them, intentionally kicking the fake redhead’s chair in the process. Kirishima turned around, surprised, before he smiled. “Oh it’s just you” he deadpanned with a shit-eating grin. “I thought it was Monoma, he’s the one who’s always messing with us.”

“Shut up dipshit” he just blared.

Kirishima rolled his eyes. “Get over it already.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be with Uraraka-chan?” asked Soy Sauce, looking across the stands with a smile and a sigh. “What I wouldn’t have given to be paired up with her.”

“Yeah right” snorted Buzz Face “say that you’d have liked to have an opportunity to grope her without anyone asking about it.”

“Not everyone is a pervert like you Kaminari” replied Tape Face, grabbing Pikachu by the head and ruffling his hair playfully.

Buzz Face’s voice came out muffled. “Liar! I saw you stare at her the other day, you were almost drooling!”

Soy sauce let go of him and laughed, putting his hands up. “Alright, alright, guilty as charged. She’s cute as hell, you can’t blame me. I don’t know who could stay indifferent to her. Well -” he turned to Katsuki with a wide teasing smile “- except that dude, but he doesn’t really count.”

“Fuck you” Katsuki snarled, kicking the back of his seat.

“Still, that guy makes me curious, he’s an asshole but managed to have a kid, and now I just really wanna know who Kenta’s mother is” said Buzz Face. “I mean, it really can’t be Uraraka right?”

“There’s no way it could ever be her Kaminari, don’t worry” laughed Soy Sauce.

“Fuck you!” repeated Katsuki, rising slightly from his chair. “I could get any fucking girl in this campus if I wanted to, Uraraka included, I just have no time to lose on bullshit like that!”

“Yeah yeah, sure” snickered Buzz Face. “That’s why you’re standing literally as far away from her as you can, right?”

“I stand wherever the fuck I want!” he roared back, pissed off. “You know what? I don’t know why I came here in the first place, I’m out of here.”

He stood up, ready to make a fucking point and to sit next to Uraraka just to prove that he had no problem staying with her. And halfway through the stands, he remembered that he had purposely avoided her - which was, like Buzz Face had said, the reason why he had sat so far away from her in the first place. He groaned and stopped, hesitating. He could either sit right where he was, surrounded by foreign extras, go back to where he was sitting originally and be ready to suffer his friends endless teasing, or keep walking and sit next to Uraraka. Teeth and fists clenched, he decided to settle for the lesser evil, and he slowly made his way next to Uraraka’s seat. When he came close to her, she looked up at him, half-relieved half-angry, but didn’t say a word and turned back to look at the empty stadium.

“Just to make things clear, I’m just here because we’ve been teamed up together” he growled, sitting down begrudgingly. “I’m not here to chat or to be all buddy-buddy, got it?”

She sighed and stayed silent. “Oi! I’m talking to you!” he barked, his irritation growing when she ignored him. “You could at least-”

“I thought we weren’t going to talk” she replied smugly, biting the corners of her mouth to not let it break into a smile.

“Well I -” Fuck . “Screw you.” He crossed his arms on his chest and slumped on his chair, scowling at the stadium. She giggled next to him, annoying him even more. Maybe he should have stayed surrounded by extras.

Present Mic’s voice echoed once more across the stadium, drawing everybody’s attention back to him. “Alright Ladies and Gents, welcome back for the third and last event of UA’s Sports Festival!” The crowd roared and cheered excitedly. “Cementoss has now finished preparing the field for the first match, which means it is time for us to reach the Second Year’s conclusion! In a world where every pro hero wishes to shine brighter than anyone else, who will be able to show the greatest team spirit? What will be able to elevate itself above others and, together, to claim victory over all the other teams? I’d say it is about time for us to find out, so let’s give it up for the first two teams!”

On each four corners of the new cement field, four bright flames rose up and scorched, blazing, while the public’s ovations grew even louder. On the ground, Katsuki noticed four odd black spots forming a long rectangle. “On one side, the quiet giant with six arms enabling him to duplicate his body parts, Shoji Mezo, and the tiny but cunning Komori Kinoko - her quirk could give you the worst infection you’ll have ever witnessed, so don’t be fooled by her cute smile and keep her at arm's length!”

Some extras cheered on their stand, and Uraraka wiggled on her chair. “Facing them, a team of titans, two of the Second Year students to have entered UA on recommandation: Honenuki Juzo, the quiet force who will have you drowning even in the strongest surface, and Todoroki Shouto, wielder of two equally strong and yet oh so different powers! Now, that’s what I call a strong team! How will Shoji and Komori hold up against these two?”

“Aren’t you supposed to be impartial?” asked Aizawa’s voice, oddly quiet next to Present Mic’s.

“Nah, I’m here to comment! And everyone here is wondering the same thing, and with reasons! What would you say are Shoji and Komori’s chances?”

“It’s not about chance or luck or anything like that” stated Aizawa as they all watched the two teams make their way across the field. “What makes a quirk powerful isn’t necessarily how flashy said-quirk can be. It is all about how the quirk wielder uses it, and how much damage they can inflict with it.”

Snipe approached the two teams, still standing on the stage. “The rules are simple” he explained “if you manage to knock both opponent out of the ring, to immobilise them or to get them to say ‘I give up’, then your team wins! Both opponent must be recognised as unable to continue the fight for their team to be disqualified, which means that if there is still one person on the team, the fight is not won yet, and this person can still advance to the next match on their own. Each team member must start the fight facing the opposite team and standing on the black spots situated on the ground, meaning team members will stand at ten meters from each other, while facing their opponent twenty meters away from them. Of course, you are allowed to go all out, but no murders please. Contestants, take your place!”

Katsuki narrowed his eyes and leaned in closer, watching as the four extras scattered across the field. “Reeeeaaaaadyyyyyyyyyy?!” shouted Present Mic. “LET THE MATCH BEGIIIIIIIN!”

Not wasting a second, Icyhot blasted his ice at Three Arms and Weird Teeth crouched on the floor, hands on the ground, making it shudder and wag in his direction, cement moving like soft waves. The giant moved surprisingly fast, as if he had been expecting it, and made a huge leap to the side in the small girl’s direction.

“So they had planned that all along” Katsuki mumbled, moderately impressed.

Uraraka turned to look at him. “What do you mean?”

He didn’t answer and simply jerked his chin in the field’s direction. Three Arms had now fully extended his six arms and  was using them like a flying squirrel to reach the small girl’s extended hands. He caught her firmly against him, landing for barely one second before he jumped back insanely high - just how strong where this guys’ legs? - using once more his arms like wings. Icyhot blasted a powerful flame in their direction, probably hoping to slow them down.

“Moron” snorted Katsuki.

“Hot air rises” realised Uraraka, her eyes wide. “He just helped them get even more altitude instead of hindering their movements. They knew he would use his ice first, and then go for his fire when it didn’t work, didn’t they?”

“Tch. And you call me predictable” he commented smugly. “And all that fire is gonna melt the ice that dipshit scattered all over the place earlier, creating humidity. And guess what else loves the heat and humidity?” He looked at her with a smirk. “Mushrooms.”

She gawked at him and snapped her head back towards the field - just in time to watch the Small Creep up in the air release a thick green cloud above their heads.

“What is this?!” shouted Present Mic. “With an unexpected turn of event, Todoroki and Honenuki are now facing an attack they cannot counter! Honenuki cannot reach them, and neither can Todoroki!”

“Well he could, but that is where their judgement as future heroes comes in” corrected Aizawa. “If he uses his fire to reach them, he will only feed Komori’s quirk, and make things even worse for them. And he can try using his ice, but that means he needs to aim very well. Now there are obviously thousands of other strategies he could be using, so I’m curious to see how they will act.”

On the ground, to Katsuki’s great satisfaction, Icyhot and Weird Teeth were now coughing and clutching their throats, looking up at their opponents slowly making their way back down. With one tap of his foot, Icyhot blasted huge chunks of ice around him and Weird Teeth, making frozen walls of ice rise and curve above them before encapsulating them both inside, ice covering the entire field.

Now it’s really getting interesting.

“Todoroki and Honenuki have completely disappeared from view, while Shoji and Komori are about to land on the ground! What is going on in there?”

Three Arms and the Small Creep came back down on the ground, walking carefully on the slippery ice. “They’re gonna be trapped!” gasped Uraraka. Not even a second after, the Small Creep shrieked as the ice and the ground melted beneath her, steadily engulfing her. Three Arms grabbed her and began pulling her out of the cold quicksand, when the iceberg in which Icyhot had confined himself and Weird Teeth in exploded, sending half-n-half bolting out of it. With one quick swipe of his hand, he launched yet another burst of ice towards the big guy, who barely had time to jump away from the small girl to avoid getting her frozen before he was hit by the blow with full force.

“Shoji Mezo is out of bounds!” announced Snipe, pointing one of his guns towards where Three Arms was now lying down, his breath knocked out of him.

Weird Teeth came out of the iceberg like Elsa out of her fucking ice castle, and both he and Icyhot headed towards where the Small Creep was buried from her toes to her shoulder, both still coughing. She tried to move, but the ground around her was solid again and covered in ice.

Half-n-half’s voice reached them despite his lack of microphone. “We don’t - cough - wish to hurt you” he said calmly, before he put a hand on the ground, creating even more ice all around the girl and making her yelp and whine, her teeth chattering. “But if you force us we will.”

“Come on Komo - cough cough - Komori-chan, just give up” panted Weird Teeth. “All the ice is blocking your mushrooms from proliferating, which - cough - which means you are basically quirkless in here. Just - cough cough - just give up.”

The Small Creep kept moaning and groaning for five more seconds. And her voice rose, shaking. “I-I g-g-g-g-give u-u-up” she uttered, her lips becoming blue. “I-I-I g-g-give u-up !”

“Komori Kinoko has given up!” declared Snipe. “Honenuki Juzo and Todoroki Shouto win the first match!”

The crowd cheered loudly, and the robot medics rushed towards the four students, exiting Small Creep and Three Arms on stretchers and helping Icyhot and Weird Face out of the field, still coughing and clutching their chest.

“That was quick” stated Uraraka, exhaling loudly. “I didn’t expect Todoroki-kun and Honenuki to struggle at all to be honest. What did you think?”

Katsuki grunted, not really wanting to jabber about Icyhot’s match. “They were fucking reckless” he grumbled begrudgingly. “Most likely, they headed for their match thinking they had this, and ended up on a slippery slope because of their arrogance. Tch - morons” he repeated, looking at their silhouettes heading towards the stage.

“And we’re not doing this at all” mumbled Uraraka, scratching the back of her head.

“What the fuck did you say?” he snarled at her, glaring angrily. She better not even fucking dare comparing him to these assholes.

“Nothing!” she peeped, once more bitting back a smile.

“Now for the points distribution!” Snipe motioned at the big black screen, revealing yet another table. “Contestant will be assessed on two different ground. First, their fight will be taking into account, with the winners being given an extra 10 points. Second - and this is where it can all change - they will also be assessed on their collaboration, on how well did they adapt to their teammate’s quirk and how much they relied on each other during their fight.”

“Wait, so that means even if you win the fight, you might just as well lose if you didn’t collaborate enough?” gasped an extra behind them.

Katsuki winced at the thought, annoyed, and glanced at the table.

                                 Fighting           Collaboration              Total

 

Shoji Mezo                    31                          39                       70

Komori Kinoko

 

Todoroki Shouto            42                          35                       77

Honenuki Juzo

 

“That’s what I thought” sighed Uraraka with an anxious crease between her brows while Icyhot and Weird Teeth bowed slightly in the losers’ direction. “Shoji-kun and Komori earned more points than Todoroki-san and Honenuki for their collaboration.” She groaned and ran both her hands through her hair, ruffling them around. “Right! We should head for our prep room, we’re up next after this match. I heard earlier from Midnight-sensei that there were TVs in there, so we should be able to watch the next battle.”

She got on her feet and headed towards the exit, leaving him roaring behind her “Don’t fucking tell me what to do!” before he reluctantly trailed after her, shoulders slumping and hands in his pockets.

“Good luck Uraraka-chan!”

“Break a leg Ochako-chan!”

“You can do this Uraraka!”

Katsuki rolled his eyes and gritted his teeth. Of course, Kirishima had left in the middle of the fight to go to the prep room, so he wasn’t there to cheer on him. Which was, he was sure, the only reason no one cheered on-

“Good luck Kacchan! I’m sure you’ll be amazing!”

Katsuki felt his eye twitch in anger. “Shut the fuck up Deku, I don’t need you to encourage me like a middle-school cheerleader!” he blared at the green-haired little piece of shit looking at him with big happy eyes. “After I win this, I’ll come for you, and this time you’ll have no escaping me, I swear!”

He spun around and left the stands to walk down the corridor, coming face to face with a not very happy Uraraka.

“Do you have to be so mean to Deku all the time?”

“Mind your own fucking business” he snapped back.

“Well if you’re going to be in my team, it’s going to be my business, so -”

“Whaaaaaat?” he growled, stopping to glare at her. “Let’s make one thing clear dipshit, you are in my team, and not the other way around, alright?”

“Says who?” she replied taking one step closer and glowering at him, her eyebrows furrowed in a challenging expression. “The way I see it, I’m the only one who is taking this team seriously, so why should you be in charge of something you don’t care about?”

He stomped closer to her, expecting her to step back, but when she stood her ground, he found himself standing inches away from her, looking down at her face. “If you think I’m not taking this seriously, then you’re dead fucking wrong” he hissed at her, glaring furiously at her round face. “I’m here to win, and nothing else. I’m here because I’m gonna be the best, and in a couple of years from here, I’ll be Number One. No matter what these little shits from the future said, I’ll be the one standing on top.”

“And how do you intend on standing on top of all the pro heroes in Japan if you’re not able to collaborate with one single student?” she replied so low her voice was almost a whisper. She sighed and took a step back, her palms up. “You know what, it doesn’t matter. So long as we win … so long as we win, you can have your way with the matches. I won’t stand in your way, and you won’t stand in mine.”

He narrowed his eyes at her and watched her walk away. “I don’t need anyone to reach the top!” he yelled at her back. “You’ll remember that Uraraka!”

Somewhere in the distance, Present Mic’s voice was shouting once more, and the crowd was cheering again. Kirishima and Yaomomo’s match had begun.

---

Katsuki looked from the shadows under the stands with a scowl on his face as Kirishima was taken out of the field on a stretcher. Yaomomo and Headband dude were, as he suspected, a monstrous duo. Unlike most pairings, they didn’t need to be anywhere near each other for them to work well: so long as Headband could catch whatever it was she was throwing at him, he could melt them together and create some deadass weapon. In their case, they had created and attached to the ground tons of nets to trap Four-eyes in them, immobilizing him, and had thrown dozens of small bombs at Kirishima’s face, unsettling and dizzying him, before they had trapped him as well and showered him with cement that Headband had fused with the ground, blocking him effectively. Eventually, they had dropped a stunning bomb that had gotten both Four-eyes and Kirishima wailing on the floor, and if Four-eyes had ended up giving up, Kirishima had absolutely refused, and had even managed to crack the cement trapping him. Which had led Yaomomo and Headband to create another small bomb, effectively wearing off Kirishima’s hardening and knocking him out for good.

“That’s what I call a clean and crushing victory!” shouted Present Mic across the stadium. “Now with a total of 109 points, Yaoyorozu Momo and Awase Yosetsu move on to the second round! Now that Cementoss is done restoring the field, it is time Ladies and Gents to welcome the next teams!”

As Katsuki exhaled deeply, he heard Uraraka take a deep breath next to him. Together, they began their walk in the lights, the cheers of the crowd coming from everywhere and wrapping them. Both silent, they glared at the pair making their way towards from the opposite side of the building.

“On one side, I give you the children of darkness, Tokoyami Fumikage and Kuroiro Shihai! One has a dark monster living in his chest, and the other will give your children a very good reason to be afraid of shadows! These two were meant to get along!”

Katsuki and Uraraka climbed the four stairs to the field, each step an eternity, their scowl growing deeper as they marched on.

“And on the other side, everyone, is the surprise duo! Of course we all remember them for the heart-breaking, mind-shattering fight they gave us last year, y’all know who I’m talking about: Uraraka Ochako, and Bakugou Katsuki! What an uneven pair, one looks like they will murder your entire family in your sleep, and the other like they stole candy from the grocery store! Will our best girl Uraraka be able to tame the wild, wild Bakugou?”

Katsuki clicked his tongue and blocked the comments away from him. At the mention of her name however, next to him, Uraraka did the most surprising thing: she turned to the crowd, beamed widely and waved at the public, one fist clenched with determination. The public roared with delight at her sight, and soon her name started echoing all across the stadium, loud “URA-RA-KA! URA-RA-KA!” shouted from one side to the other, hands clapping in rhythm.

“Oooh will you look at that! Our Uraraka graced the public with her most beautiful smile, and the crowd is going crazy over her, they love it! Finally one who has learnt to look around her! Everyone, give it up for Uraraka!”

Loud shouts filled the stadium, and everywhere on the stands people were standing up, fists in the air, cheering for her.

“What the fuck are you doing?” hissed Katsuki, pissed off. “Can’t you just focus on our fight?”

She dropped her arm, still smiling and scowling. “Unsettling the opponent” she replied through her teeth. “Look.”

Katsuki’s own scowl deepened, and he turned around to look at the opposite team as they all made their way to their black spot on the ground. The two emos facing them were glaring at the crowd, frowning in dismay.

“Now everyone, let’s cool down a little and watch how our third match plays out! Who will make it the the semi-finals? Let’s all find out! ARE-YOU-REEEAADYYYYY?”

Katsuki crouched a little, hands sweating and heart drumming, his eyes set on Bird Face. Ten meters away from him, Uraraka assumed her own fighting stance, her eyes focused.

“STAAAAAAAAART!”

Before Present Mic even finished his scream, Katsuki propelled himself towards Bird Face, watching him call for his pet monster to block his attacks. He released one big explosion with his right fist, quickly using his left hand to launch himself above the dark boy, showering him with small explosions that made him and his monster groan and yelp. Landing behind him, he finished him with one powerful blast, intending on pushing him towards Uraraka so she could deal with him and throw him out of bounds. Surrounded by a thick fog of dark smoke, he looked around, alert, ready to jump at Black Face the moment he appeared. If only the smoke would clear quickly, he would be able to see much better, and -

The smoke slowly began to twirl around, gently moving towards one point. Like an ever so slow tornado, it all spiraled together, a thick black mass culminating above a panting but smirking Bird Face.

“I did not expect it to be this easy to get you to use your quirk” chuckled the big cloud of smoke, foggy arms and legs slowly forming. “But I have to admit, this is quite pleasant.”

Katsuki looked up, his eyes wide, at the smoke monster that towered above him, making him look like an ant ready to be squished.

“What do you think, Tokoyami? Does this satisfy you and Dark Shadow?”

From under him, protected from the light, Tokoyami snickered, wrapped by his snarling and glaring pet monster, eyes red and sharp teeth out. “This is perfect. Darkness is once more upon us, and it is thirsty. The abyss calls for revenge against you, Bakugou, and it is -”

“You talk to much!” roared Katsuki, pissed off. He threw himself at him, avoiding his monster’s massive fist by a hair, jumped above him and released an explosion where his face should have been. But his monster was too fast, and not only did it protect him, it also managed to kick Katsuki in the sides, sending him towards the smoke beast. Thinking fast, Katsuki let out multiple blasts to change his trajectory, his fingers brushing Black Face’s cloud, before he fell back on his feet. Holding his sides, he watched with anger as the smoke he had created with his explosions gathered once more around the cloud beast, making it even bigger.

“You’re feeding him!” yelled Uraraka from across the field, running in his direction. “Bakugou, don’t use -”

“You won’t get past me you vixen!” shouted Bird’s Face pet monster, throwing a ridiculously quick punch in Uraraka’s direction. She managed to dodge a bit, enough not to get thrown out of the field, but she still got hit, and was sent rolling even farther away from Katsuki.

“Uraraka and Bakugou are completely dominated! They’ve been split up and are struggling to make good use of their quirk, unlike Tokoyami and Kuroiro who are fully in power and empowered! Will the two representatives of Hell manage to claim their victory over Uraraka and Bakugou?”

“Like fuck they will” growled Katsuki, his eyes moving around quickly, trying to analyse their situation. He had touched the cloud beast, and unlike what he had expected his fingers had gone smoothly through the smoke, which meant Black Face was maybe controlling it, but had no impact on its consistency.

He must be there for support and intimidation - he appears menacing, but really his only purpose is to keep Bird Face in the dark so his monster doesn’t weaken.

He needed to get to Black Face and knock him out if he wanted to have a chance of beating the shit out of Bird Face. But how? He couldn’t keep his explosions from producing smoke, and the more they did the bigger the cloud monster was, and the stronger the pet monster became. He gritted his teeth and looked at Uraraka, panting as she fought and held her ground in front of the monster, not allowing it to bully her around.

“Uraraka!” he belowed, throwing himself in her direction. “UP!”

Releasing blast after blast, he cut through the smoke beast, confirming his thought as to its consistency, and shifted his directions as fast as he could to avoid the snarling Pet Monster’s large hands trying to catch him. Too busy dealing with him, neither it nor Bird Face noticed Uraraka running in the opposite direction, towards the border of the field in an attempt to give them more of a moving margin. Still running, she turned around and locked eyes with Katsuki, extending her hand towards him. When she came within his reach, he grabbed her and, using an explosion with his other hand to stop his momentum and give himself more strength, he launched her as high as he could above his head, not paying attention to the crowd’s gasps. He released an explosion to propel himself off the ground, and at the same moment the Pet Monster reached out, his dark clawd hands aiming for Uraraka. Within one second, Katsuki saw her activate her quirk on herself and he all but slammed himself into her, wrapping one arm around her waist and ripping a pained grunt from her chest while her hand came smacking behind his neck, grabbing his hair in the process and activating her quirk on him. Next thing they knew, they were bolting up like a fucking bullet, rising above the stadium.

“Release!” she screamed in his ear, wrapping both arms around his neck and shoulders and her legs around his waist with iron thighs. They stopped their upward movement, and right before they began falling again, she activated her quirk once more, holding them in the air. Down below, they could hear screams and shouts, and Present Mic’s voice yelling something.

“That cloud dude is made of dust, we have to find his body and kick him the fuck out of the field!” he spat, adrenaline turning into hunger for his fight.

“Uh-hu” she huffed in his ear, her voice hoarse.

Katsuki tried to look at her, but she kept her face close to his shoulder and her eyes on the stadium down below. “If you tell me you gonna throw up I fucking swear I-”

“I’m good” she groaned. “Bakugou-kun, remember the whole spinning thing you did yesterday?”

“Yeah.”

“Can you do that but this time turn all around Kuroiro?”

He immediately understood. “Yeah.”

“Okay. If you do that then we’ll create wind and the smoke will -”

“I know!” he blared in her ear making her wince. “Listen, when I’ll tell you, you’ll have to deactivate your quirk, and I’ll throw you in his direction. The moment you grab him, do that trick you did on me - that thing when you use my strength to fuel your own movement - and you’ll correct your trajectory to punch him out of bounds while you go the other way. Got it?”

“Uh-hu.”

He tightened his grip around her waist and, with one medium blast, they were diving back down like a cannonball.

Control your strength and the directions. Don’t overdo it, don’t get carried away. A gentle push. A. Gentle. Push.

The speed was just as exhilarating as he remembered it, thousands of informations coming at the same time, too fast for his brain to process them all - hundreds of images flashing so fast it was impossible to single them out, smells, sounds - all of it happening so quickly he didn’t even have time to think about one of them before the fifty following reached him. He kept his focus on the Cloud Beast and dived right through him, leaving a gaping hole amidst the smoke and quickly releasing an explosion to keep them from smashing into the cement, propelling them upwards again.

“Hold on tight!” he shouted in Uraraka’s ear, and he felt her arms and legs tighten even more around him, bringing her closer than ever. Teeth clenched, he let go of her waist to use both his hands and used mall explosions to help him reach the trajectory he was aiming for, describing a high speed spiraling course all around the Cloud Beast. Just like planned, the smoke distorted itself and spread across the field, trying to gather itself again but still being pushed around by the force of the wind Katsuki had created.

“There!” he heard Uraraka groan, looking on his left.

Without sparing one moment, he ordered “NOW!” and felt her arms loosen up around his shoulders and his weight being returned to him. He pushed her away from him as they fell towards the ground, and knew right underneath him the Pet Monster was growling in frustration and anger, ready to turn him into his snack - yeah, but he was just as angry and hungry, and he was ready for the bastard. He spotted a hole in the cloud of smoke where a human arm had been made visible and, grabbing Uraraka by her collar and the border of her trousers, he twisted in mid-air and threw her with all he had towards the body he knew was hiding with two small explosion and a roaring “GO TO HEEEEEEELL!”

He heard Uraraka shriek under the force of his explosions but didn’t waste time looking at her and kept twisting, facing the ground and the snarling monster with a murderous grin. “BRING IT ON YA ASSHOLE!”

“I’ll kill you, bastard!” howled the Pet Monster, hurling itself at Katsuki, claws out.

Bringing both hands before him, Katsuki released a powerful and bright blast, trying to make the explosion last as long as possible by using in shifts his left and right palm. Eventually, with one last blast he flipped in the air and fell back on his two feet, smoke surrounding him. He half expected it to begin twirling around again, but just as he got back up, alert, he heard Snipe’s voice announce “Kuroiro Shihai is out of bounds!” followed by the crowd’s roar.

Katsuki smirked as the smoke spread and disappeared, clearing the field. “It’s just you and I now!” he snarled at Bird Face, who was panting and sweating, his Pet Monster already a little bit smaller.

“I will not let you bully me around this time Bakugou!” he growled, crouching a little, a grumble ripping through his Pet Monster’s sharp teeth. “My master Hawk has taught me techniques you wouldn’t even want to see in your wildest dreams. Don’t think you can impress us!”

“We’ll see about that when I’ll have kicked your ass back to the nest you hatched from” Katsuki replied, his own voice a deep growl. “Don’t think you’re gonna be able to esc-”

With a war roar, Uraraka appeared from nowhere behind Bird Face and slammed her left shoulder and elbow in his back, sending him stumbling forward and effectively interrupting their epic verbal bout. Before Bird Face could even fully turn around, she had already thrown two fast right punches in his face, a left uppercut in his chin and a powerful right hook, making him stumble more and more backwards, his Pet Monster wincing and whining a few meters from Katsuki, visibly growing smaller and weaker by the second. She grabbed Bird Face by the neck and forced his head downwards to meet her right knee, knocking him flat in the face. The Pet Monster rushed in her direction, but she just dodged it like it was nothing but air, swiftly spun on one foot and crashed her other thick trainer in Bird Face’s chest, right where the Pet Monster was coming from. With one last high-pitched wail, the dark shape retreated back and disappeared while Bird Face was thrown back and fell flat on his back, his breath knocked out of him. Not giving him one second rest, Katsuki watched, bewildered, as Uraraka grabbed him by his jacket and dragged his stunned ass to the nearest border, before finally throwing him out of bounds with a loud roar.

And the crowd went wild .

“INCREDIBLE!” shouted Present Mic, his voice high with excitement “With one fast surprise attack, Uraraka just knocked the living crap out of Tokoyami, and sent him to join Kuroiro behind the field’s border, thus securing her team’s victory!”

“Tokoyami Fumikage is out of bounds” declared Snipe as Uraraka turned around to face the center of the field, scowling and panting, her collar, cheeks and ass black with smoke where Katsuki had released his explosions. She beamed at the public and stood a little bit taller. “Uraraka Ochako and Bakugou Katsuki win the third match!”

She jumped high and threw her right fist in the air, and the crowd’s roar echoed across the stadium like never before. Everywhere Katsuki looked people were standing up and cheering as loud as their voice could, and before long, the stadium was once more filled with loud “URA-RA-KA! URA-RA-KA!”.

“The crowd has been sent into a frenzy!” yelled Present Mic. “They’re loving this, even the pro heroes! Look at them, some even stood up and are cheering! Who is it? Ah, it seems to be the pro heroes Gunhead and Nejire-chan! They are jumping and cheering for Uraraka! And listen to these screams, the public is in love and so are we! URA-RA-KA! URA-R- oof!

There was a small commotion followed by Aizawa’s voice growling “What part do you not understand in ‘impartial’?”

Katsuki gritted his teeth, grumbling incoherently to himself and hunched as he made his way towards the main stage where the big black screen was about to show their score.

What the fuck, seriously.

Had he not been part of this match? She would never have been able to do shit if he hadn’t been there in the first place. Who managed to reunite them? Who came up with a counter strategy? Who gave her the opportunity to kick Black Face out? And yet there he was, seething and groaning, completely ignored while every fucking extra on the stands went crazy for Ura-fucking-raka.

She joined him in front of the screen, still smiling, her eyes glued to the empty table.

“Now for the points distribution” simply said Aizawa’s bored voice, contrasting with Present Mic’s enthusiasm.

Katsuki looked up, narrowing his eyes.

                                 Fighting           Collaboration              Total

 

Uraraka Ochako            56                        15                         71

Bakugou Katsuki

 

Tokoyami Fumikage        31                      39                         70

Kuroiro Shihai

 

Katsuki sucked in a sharp breath, feeling his heart sink deep in his guts.

“As I said earlier, collaboration is key” explained Aizawa, and Katsuki could almost feel him glare at them. “Two heroes unable to work together towards a common goal will never be able to carry out a mission successfully, nor will they be considered good sidekicks.”

“Tch.” Katsuki spun around, flexing his hands to ease a little the strain in his arms, and began to head for the exit. Next to him, Uraraka was frozen on her spot, her mouth slightly open and her stupid smile wiped clean off her face.

“Aaaaaalriiiiiiiiiiiiight!” And Present Mic was back. Katsuki went back to the shadows under the stands, heading for the stairs leading to their prep room. “Uraraka was still amazing and no one can change my mind! And now everyone, it is time for us to welcome the fourth teams and to prepare for the last match! On one side, Hagakure Toru, who will strip from head to toe given the first opportunity, and Midoriya Izuku, who will destroy every single bone in his body before admitting defeat! I suggest you keep away from these two, their spirit seems too strong to be taken lightly! And facing them, the smart and composed duo, Asui Tsuyu and Kodai Yui! One does anything a frog can but way better, and the other can make herself shrink, but most importantly, these two girls are way too coooooool for schoooooool!”

“How is that any relevant to the situation?” was the last thing Katsuki heard Aizawa say before the door of the corridor shut behind him. His mind was boiling with frustration - frustration with his fight that had been cut short by Uraraka, with the crowd who seemed to have eyes only for her, with their ridiculous score. Even fucking Icyhot had had more points than they did. All because of that bullshit collaboration column. Fuck that.

The prep room door opened and slammed hard behind him. He turned around, glaring, and found a fuming Uraraka on the doorstep. “What?” he snapped at her, jumping on the occasion to let out some steam. “You’re not gonna smile and wave at me like you did in the stadium? Next time try to wear that cheerleader uniform from last year, maybe that’ll give us extra points.”

“Bakugou-kun that’s not funny!” she reproached him through her teeth, cheeks puffed.

Katsuki walked towards the table and chairs in front of the large wall plasma TV, where he could see fucking Deku and the three chicks get ready to fight.“Who said I was joking?”

“We were supposed to have the upper hand!” she shrieked, stomping in his direction, looking like an angry chipmunk. “We were supposed to be one step ahead of everyone else, we should have had the best score! I told you we should have talked about it more, I told you so, I-told-you-so ! We could have come up with something amazing if we had worked together, and we could have -”

“I don’t need your fucking help!” he roared, slamming both fists on the table, his palms sweating unwillingly, before he turned to glower at her, lips curled back on his teeth. “I don’t need you to come to my fucking face and tell me you ‘told me so’ because I don’t give a single fucking flying fuck about what you -”

She started groaning out loud midway through his sentence, rolling her entire head exaggeratedly and ruffling her hair hard. Not even a little bit afraid by him, she closed the distance between them and smacked both her hands on his cheeks, her padded fingers pressing on his skin.

“I am not here to help you, you idiot!” she screamed at him, articulating like he was the dumbest fuck the world had ever witnessed since the Big Bang. “I am not your nanny or your mom, I don’t wanna help you! I’m here as an equal, so that together -”

“What the - What the fuck?! Let go you monkey!” he snarled, pushing her forehead away with his left palm and squeezing both her cheeks with his right hand.

“- sho that together we can work and win thish event, becaush we mosht definitely have the capashitiesh to do sho!” she gnarled despite her squished cheeks pressing her mouth into a grotesque pout, pushing her forehead hard against his hand. “And I won’t let your arrogansh get in the way of -”

“Fucking let go!” He retracted his hand from her forehead, making her lose her balance a little and instead placed it full on her face, covering more than half of it - until she stuck her fucking tongue out and licked his palm before gnawing at it. “Ew - ouch! What the fuck is wrong with you?”

“- in the way of our shuccesh, not yoursh, not mine, and I mosht shertainly won’t let you throw away all of our effortsh jusht becaush your pride won’t allow it!” She somehow managed to both pull his head towards her and block him in a headlock, her left hand grabbing tightly his wrist linked to the hand still clutching her cheeks, her voice growling in his ears. “I’ll make you shee that you need to work with me whether you want it or not, our quirksh have an amashing chemishtry and we should be getting the besht collaborashion  grad’sh for all of our matchesh -”

“Are you - will you - URARAKA, FUCK! I FUCKING SWEAR IF YOU DON’T LET ME GO -”

“ - AND I WILL MAKE SHURE THAT WE DO EVEN IF IT’SH THE LASHT THING THAT I HAVE TO DO -”

“- I WILL BLAST YOUR FACE INTO FUCKING SPACE SO FAST YOU WON’T EVEN -”

“- BECAUSH THISH ISH FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! AND EVEN IF I HAVE TO FORSH YOU AND ASHK SHINSHOU TO BRAINWASH YOU INTO OBEYING -”

“- REALISE IT UNTIL YOUR DEAD ASS HITS A SATELLITE YOU -”

“What on Earth is going on here?!”

They both stopped yelling and froze, him in a headlock, grabbing her cheeks with one hand and her elbow with the other, trying to pull his head out out her grasp, and her gripping his wrist to force him to let go of her cheeks while holding his head against her chest, one foot lifted like she was ready to knee him. So all in all, in the worst position and doing the worst thing, especially if the furious tiny person standing in the doorway was Recovery Girl.

There was a short silence where they both stared at her like two deers in the headlights, then -

“He shtarted it.”

“WHAT?!”

“Enough!” shouted Recovery Girl, raising her palms above her head when Katsuki started struggling again. “Both of you, let go of the other and take two steps back!”

Like fuck he was going to let go of anything before she did. However when nothing happened, he realised she probably was thinking the same thing. Recovery Girl huffed loudly, her wrinkled cheeks red with anger, and she stomped in their direction before hitting both of them on the head with her cane, hard.

“Ouch!”

“What the f-”

“Shush!” she ordered furiously, holding her cane like a rifle. “One more word and I’ll hit you hard enough to knock you both out!” Despite them not saying a thing, she still shoved the tip of her cane in both their stomachs. “Now back! Stand back! Two steps back, I said! Now!”

Katsuki obeyed begrudgingly, glaring at Uraraka and curling his lips over his teeth.

“I cannot believe what I am seeing!” she fumed, looking at them in turns. “I just came in to check you two were alright and I find you fighting? Again? When will you two ever stop! What were you even fighting about this time?”

Katsuki stayed silent, scowl on, knowing he’d better keep it shut.

“Well he -” began Uraraka, fiddling with her ruined sports uniform, half angry half embarrassed “- he uh - he didn’t want to collaborate and - we’re gonna lose if he doesn’t! So I was - trying to uh - to convince him - that -”

Her voice grew lower and lower until she stopped talking altogether, her head facing the ground, cheeks flushed.

“Can you even hear yourself?” asked Recovery Girl furiously. “And you!” she added when she caught Katsuki smirking, wiping the smile clean off his face. “Do you think she is wrong? Was that the idea you had of a satisfying match? You might have won this one, but if you don’t get your act together, the next match will be the last!”

She sighed deeply, rubbing her temples with her tiny hands. “Now come here, both of you. You were pushed around a lot, so you have to receive a quick treatment before your next match.”

They approached her in a sulking silence, avoiding each other’s glare, and leaned down to let Recovery Girl kiss them both with a loud ‘SMOOOOTCH’.

“Uraraka-chan, there are some spare uniforms in the locker against the wall over there, you should change, yours is too damaged for you to wear. I am going to go see Kuroiro-chan and Tokoyami-chan now, but if I hear that you two have been in yet another fight, I will personally ask Aizawa to sanction you.” She opened the door and stared at them through squinted old eyes. “I am watching you.”

She left, slamming the door behind her and leaving them in an awkward silence, the air thick with their recent outburst of anger. Uraraka looked around, her cheeks still red with embarrassment, when her gaze fell on the TV, playing Deku’s fight. Her eyes grew wide.

“Oh no, it started!” she gasped, heading for on of the chairs near the table. “I can’t believe it! I’ve missed more than half of it!”

“Well if you hadn’t been busy death-clutching me you’d have been able to watch it” Katsuki spat halfheartedly. Somehow, the old woman’s speech had cooled him down.

Uraraka ignored him and popped one of the ginger and lemon candy Recovery Girl had given her, which reminded him of his own gel tube. He looked for the small bag he had prepared in the morning and had given earlier to the staff for them to place in his prep room. When he found it, he took his phone out as well out of reflex and unlocked it.

9 Missed calls from Old Hag.

34 New messages from Old Hag.

“Fuck” he hissed through his teeth. He quickly locked it again and shoved it back in his bag, ready to pretend he didn’t see anything, before he pulled out the red tube of gel. With a dubious look, he opened it and spread some on his forearms, massaging slowly as he headed back towards the table. A warm feeling gently covered his skin, relaxing his muscles.

On TV, he saw Deku fight against Toad Face, while See-Through was running around like a mad girl. Cocking his head to the side, he tried to understand what was going on when a chick he had a very very vague memory of popped out of nowhere in front of See-Through, trying to kick her in the chin but missing, before she shrunk and escaped his field of vision.

“As you can see, it is very difficult for both Hagakure and Kodai” commented Aizawa “even though Kodai seems to have the upper hand with the speed she gains when she changes size, because of Hagakure’s quirk she cannot land a single hit. If she doesn’t quickly find a way to counter that, she’ll soo, - ah, well there you go.”

As Aizawa was talking, See-Through took one step back, spun around and threw her hand in the air, closing her fist apparently on nothing and throwing something away. But the moment she was about to open her hand and release whatever it was she was holding, the extra chick grew back to her full size, probably expecting to stop herself from being thrown away. But See-Through slammed her other hand on the ankle she was now holding and, still spinning, threw the chick away like a professional hammer thrower. The girl flew away, and landed out of bounds while See-Through ran towards Deku and Toad Face.

“Hagakure is back for reinforcement!” said Present Mic’s voice. “As strong as Asui is, Midoriya has a pretty incredible quirk, why do you think he hasn’t managed to win his one on one against her, Eraserhead?”

“I said it earlier, and I’ll repeat it now, a strong quirk doesn’t mean you can win easily” replied Aizawa. “Midoriya’s quirk is, in this case, more of a burden than a help. He cannot make full use of it, because that would mean risking to hurt or possibly disqualify his partner in the process. On the other side, Asui is in better control of both her quirk and her body, which easily gives her the upper hand. She might not be able to move as fast as he can, but she is fast and strong enough to dodge and counter his attacks with her own.”

“I see, so Midoriya is too stuck up in comparison, is that it? I told you guys, Asui is just too cool for school!”

“Don’t put words in my mouth, and focus on the fight, seriously.”

As he said these words, See-Through dashed in Deku and Toad Face’s direction. Instead of focusing on Deku, Toad Face spun around and headed for See-Through sticking her tongue out in an attempt to catch her and probably throw her out of bounds. In a flash, Deku was in her back, grabbing her by the arm and, ducking the kick she threw in his direction, he turned around and launched her above his head before he jumped high. Once he had them both in the air, it was over. Shouting something that most likely had some stupid thing to do with his will to be the number one hero and the fact that he could not lose, Deku’s body shone with green flashes, and he smashed the air, immediately propelling Toad Face towards the ground like a bullet, creating a huge gust of wind that rose a cloud of dust in her wake.

The wind fell and the dust cleared, revealing Toad Face, unconscious, held in Ectoplasm’s arms. He seemed to have created a clone in order to catch her before she hit the ground too hard, but the force of the blow had still made her crash hard on the floor, and even Ectoplasm’s clone vanished, leaving her alone.

“Asui Tsuyu is out of bounds -  Midoriya Izuku and Hagakure Toru win the fourth match!”

“Tsuyu-chan” breathed Uraraka, her hand on her mouth.

Katsuki frowned. “She knew what she was getting herself into. Don’t stain her performance by worrying unnecessarily.”

She bit her lower lip, watching as Deku and See-Through rushed out of the field towards Toad Face without even looking at the results. “I know, but … still.”

Katsuki clicked his tongue and looked as they showed the results: with a total of 82 points, they ranked second for the first round, and Katsuki officially became last. The fact that the fucking nerd didn’t get a very high score in the collaboration column did little to appease the boiling frustration in the pit of his stomach.

“Midoriya Izuku and Hagakure Toru qualify themselves for the second round!” announced Snipe, and the screen went black again. “Now that we have our four teams, let’s discover without further delay the second round’s two matches!”

A new table appeared on the big screen, and Katsuki felt a mixture of fury and delight burst in him.

-----

Yaoyorozu Momo          VS           Todoroki Shouto

Awase Yosetsu                             Honenuki Juzo

-----

Uraraka Ochako            VS           Midoriya Izuku

Bakugou Katsuki                          Hagakure Toru

-----

“Now that the first round is over, we are going to take a short ten minutes break in order to let the contestant prepare for the second round of matches, and for us to get over our emotions! The teams’ scores will be erased and won’t count for their next fights, so be prepared for anything!”

Katsuki watched Uraraka let out a deep sigh and look at her hands, deep in thoughts.

If I had focused on developin’ my quirk more instead of daydreamin’ about Deku-kun then maybe …

He crossed his arms on his chest and narrowed his eyes at her, annoyed to no end, even more than usual, to the point where it was almost aching, like a persistent itch he couldn’t scratch.

“You better not hold back when we face that nerd” he growled at her, and she finally turned back to look at him, puzzled.

“What?”

“You heard me. I know you’ve got the hots for Deku , and honestly I couldn’t care less, but if you dare let your stupid feelings get in the way -”

The moment she understood what he was talking about, her eyes grew wide and she blushed hard from the root of her hair to the border of her collar.

“Wha-wha-wha- No!” She stood up so fast her chair fell backwards, throwing her palms up and shaking them in front of her like she had just burnt herself. “I don’t - it’s not - it’s not like that! Not at all! You - you’re wrong, all wrong!”

“Like I said, I don’t give a fuck” he snapped back, not quite convinced “and don’t tell me I’m wrong. First, I’m never wrong, second you told me yourself you spent your days thinking about him and sighing like Rapunzel in her fucking tower, I’m not making this up.”

“I didn’t say that!” she shrieked so high soon only dogs would be able to hear her. “I didn’t spend my days - I - what are you saying?! It’s not like that!”

She groaned and ruffled the back of her hair, red as a ripe tomato. “I - I did have feelings for Deku-kun, but … I don’t even know what it really was, I just … it was constantly taking my attention when it shouldn’t and - and then with everything that happened I - I just -”

She dropped her hands to her sides and sighed once more. “I felt so guilty about it - my parents spent so much money to give me the opportunity to go to UA, and I let myself be distracted by these feelings and … So many people made so many sacrifices, gave their time for me so I could receive nothing but the best education in the best circumstances, and I was just - I was just ready to throw it all away, for feelings I didn’t even understand!”

She looked back at him, and although her cheeks were still red, her gaze was unyielding. “So no, I don’t have any more feelings for Deku-kun. Of course, I guess he … he will always have a special place in my heart but - I promised myself, I swore to myself, that I would never, ever , let anyone distract me from my objective ever again. No one. So when we will go on the field, and I’ll be facing Deku-kun, I won’t back down. I’ll give it my all and I’ll live up to the expectations everyone has for me! I’ll keep on working hard, and I’ll become the amazing Number Three Hero Kenta-kun talked about!”

Katsuki looked at her red round cheeks puffed with purpose, and after a while he looked away and clicked his tongue, his irritation calming down a little. “Then I guess we should be preparing a strategy” he grumbled reluctantly.

Her eyes widened once more, and her face brightened up. “Really?”

“I just said it didn’t I?” he barked, annoyed. “Don’t make me repeat myself. Also I don’t want your stupid ass trying to attack me again.”

She giggled and picked up the chair lying on the floor before she sat up on it, smiling but focused. “Right! So how do you think we should approach them?”

Katsuki stayed silent for a moment. After half a year, there it was again. A fight against Deku. An image floated in his mind, of Deku when they were younger, weak and afraid and crying. And yet still running after him like nothing else mattered more. He clenched and unclenched his jaw, and the itch he couldn’t scratch was back in his stomach, seething and rasping. He couldn’t lose. He couldn’t lose to him, not matter how strong he got, not matter how little he cried nowadays. Even if he looked less and less afraid with every passing day he simply just couldn’t let him win, no matter what.

“Bakugou?”

“You start” he growled, shaking his head. “I can’t think straight when it comes to that asshole, so you tell me what you think we should do.”

She scowled. “Don’t call him an asshole, for one.” He glared at her, and she glared back, unflinching. “And I actually think we might have the upper hand here. Of course we have to be cautious, because well - it’s Deku-kun, he has an entire double page with intel on my quirk, and he must have a full book about you, quirk and behaviour included. After all, you’ve always been the second person he looked up the most to after All Might.”

“Yeah okay whatever” he snarled, not wanting to hear about that little shit’s admiration for him. “What’s your fucking point.”

“My point is, he has a lot of information on us, but we are the worst possible duo to face him” she continued with a confident smile. “You are his childhood friend and his number one rival, in a certain way, you know his true self better than anyone else. You have fought against and with him, you know his fighting style and how to anticipate his actions. And I am one of his best friends, I have worked with him countless times and am constantly close to him, I have seen him evolve from up close. Together, we know everything there is to know about him, from his strengths to his weaknesses, his greatest hopes to his worst fears. We are the worst opponents he could have ever stumbled upon.”

Katsuki smirked at her speech. “Alright then. How do you think we should approach him?”

“Actually, I think we should approach Toru-chan.”

He frowned. “See-Through? You worry about See-Through?”

She shook her head. “No I don’t. She’s a strong opponent, but comparer to Deku-kun I don’t think she is the real threat here. Look, how would you use her if she were in your team instead of me?”

“Mph” he groaned, looking around. “I guess I would have asked her to strip so no one could see her at all, and come up with a signal or something to make sure I never hit her with my quirk. Then I would have sent her to ambush the other team and unsettle them, maybe even take them out. Something like that.”

“That’s what I would have thought too” she agreed, noding “but Deku-kun didn’t. Why do you think that is? I also noticed that during their fight, he took on Tsuyu-chan, who was the most dangerous, and let Toru-chan fight Kodai, all the while staying close enough to be able to jump in if she was in trouble. They even got a collaboration grade almost as bad as ours. And when Tsuyu-chan changed her mind and went for Toru-chan, instead of letting her head towards her and think of another strategy he immediately went for the save, almost without thinking.”

“That douchebag always wants to save people” he realised, finally understanding what she meant. “So if we want to get to him -”

“Don’t call him a douchebag - yes, we gotta go for Toru-chan in order to aim for Deku-kun. Which means we have to keep her on the field for as long as we can.”

“We can’t rush head on” Katsuki continued, excited by their plan. “That dickhead knows that I always do, he’ll be expecting it.”

“Stop calling him names! And he’ll be thinking even further ahead and expect you to do the opposite of what he expects, so we need something else.”

Katsuki tapped his fingers on his skin, arms still crossed. “So you’re saying I should still rush in? Sounds like a dumb idea. Besides we have to take into account the fact that he’s not only fast, his thinking is sharp too. We need to be even faster than him. Ironically, speed is the only thing that keeps the wheels in his goddamn head from spinning.”

“No, rather you don’t rush immediately. And after a few seconds, just when he’ll think you’re gonna wait for him to make his move, you go for him. As for the speed, we can be crazy fast too.”

“How about I don’t go for him? How about I grab you, you do your floating shit on me, we pretend we’re going for him but instead we flip around and grab See-Through. Then I toss her across the stadium and I launch you towards him, you kick him in the face, and -”

“What if you toss me in his direction but instead of actually aiming for him you aim for the ground? Then you destroy the stadium a little so that there are rocks all around, and the moment he touches the ground - BOOM!” she clapped her hands together “Moonquake!”

“Moon- what now?” he asked, irked by her interruption.

She beamed at him. “Moonquake! That’s how I called my new move - you know, the one I tested yesterday, when I cancel gravity on everything around me. It’s like an earthquake, but on the moon!”

“I know what a moonquake is” he snapped dryly. He thought about it some more.“Don’t use it during this fight. It’s gonna be tough, but Icyhot is gonna be even tougher. We need to keep our secret moves for as long as we can. Plus Deku already knows you can pull off something like that, he saw you do it last year. He’ll probably even expect it.”

“Or we could make him believe that’s what we’re aiming for!” she gasped, slamming her fist in her palm. “He’ll be wary of me and of the rocks when really we won’t be doing anything with them, but it’ll keep him on his toes, and he’ll have too many things to think of!”

Katsuki smirked. “Destroying just for the sake of it, huh?” he chuckled. “Now that I can do.”

“We’ll keep on distracting him from all sides and we won’t give him a second rest” she continued, her smile mirroring his. “We’ll just feint again and again, and the moment he’ll drop his guard -”

He slammed his hands flat on the table, grinning widely. “We’ll fucking kill him” he growled.

He expected her to frown and to scold him. But she just copied his expression, again looking like an evil chipmunk, and held her hand out for him. “We’ll kill him.”

He snickered and smacked his hand in hers, holding it and immediately getting distracted by her pads. Still grinning, he sat down and grabbed her fingers in both hands before he started playing with the pink little bits of skin.

“Watch out for See-Through though” he added, rubbing his thumbs on two pads, enjoying the soft yet scratchy feeling “she’s crazy enough to come up with something completely unpredictable.

“Er - yeah I - okay” she stuttered, taken aback by his sudden interest and proximity.

“And don’t hesitate to play dirty” he continued, oblivious to her surprise and embarrassment, now running her fingers inside his palms, testing the nice texture on the hard skin of his hands and the deep lines in between. “I know you can be a cunning little bitch when you want to, so don’t be shy or something.”

These pink little shits felt really nice. Maybe he should adopt a cat. “I’m not cunning” she squeaked weakly.

He snickered, rubbing once more his thumbs on each pad. “That’s the part you chose to correct?”

She pulled her hand out of his grasp, making him frown. “I’m not a bitch! I’m not a cunning bitch!” she protested, cheeks puffed - very red cheeks now that he looked at her. Actually, she was just as red as she had been earlier.

“Fine, you’re a boring hamster” he replied, holding his hand open, waiting for her to give him back her hand.

The prep room’s door flung itself open, and Buzz Face, Pinky and Soy Sauce came in, followed by a dizzy but healthy Kirishima.

“Hey man!” Buzz Face greeted him with a wide grin. “We wanted to come and see how you guys were doing!”

“Also we figured you wouldn’t go back up in the stands, so we came to watch the next match with you” giggled Pinky, sitting next to Uraraka and passing an arm around her shoulders.

Katsuki felt the remainder of his smile leave his face and a deep scowl settle in. “If you came to be bothersome little shits then get the fuck out of here” he snarled, still pissed at them for not giving a rat’s ass about him when he was heading for their first fight.

“Nah, we’ll be good, scout's honor!” promised Soy Sauce.

“You were never a scout, and you have no honor” Katsuki spat back.

“My point exactly!” He laughed a little before putting his arm around Katsuki’s shoulder - when the fuck will they finally understand that he hated it when they did that? “I also happened to notice you had quite a nice time up there with Uraraka, didn’t you you lucky bastard?” he snickered in a lower voice to make sure he remained out of earshot from her, Pinky and Kirishima, who were chatting together.

“Yeah, I thought Jirou and Yaomomo were going to have a heart attack when they saw you two cuddle in the air like that” snorted Buzz Face. “That was a bold move, especially for you.”

“The fuck did you just - how the fuck did it look like we were cuddling?” he growled furiously through his teeth, keeping his voice down.

“We just want you to know, it’s cute that you try to prove us wrong when we told you you had no chance with her, but you still have none” added Soy Sauce with a pat on his blond spikes.

Katsuki shoved his arm off of him. “Shut the fuck up already!”

Buzz Face chuckled and Raccoon’s Eyes turned to them. “You guys, it’s gonna be Momo-chan’s turn soon! I’m so nervous, she and Awase are going to be facing Todoroki and Honenuki!”

“She’s able to stand her ground, trust me” groaned Kirishima, wincing and massaging his head. “Man, she sure as hell beat us hard, fair and square.”

Katsuki stared at his best friend, pissed off at the worry that invaded his chest. That asshole had scared him more than he was ready to admit. “That’s because you’re a bitch” was how he managed to express his concern. Well he was still angry at him for team in up with fucking Deku. “You should be working on becoming even stronger, and make your body powerful enough to both allow and withstand any growth of your quirk!”

“Yeah, yeah, well it’s easy to say, you weren’t the one who received enough ammunition on the head to fuel a war” Kirishima retorted, looking slightly depressed. “I feel like I can still hear and feel the bombs explode on my face. Can you even imagine what it’s like?”

Katsuki angrily lifted his palms, shining with a sheen of sweat. “Can you even remember what my quirk is?”

“Shhhhh it’s about to start!” shrieked Pinky, jumping on her chair. They all turned to the TV, where the ads had once more given way to the stadium.

“And we’re back for the second round of UA’s Second Year’s Sports Festival!” shouted Present Mic, followed by the cheers of the crowd. “If you think you have seen it all, then hold your breath and watch, for our first match will be a Battle of Titans! The contestant are entering the stadium, and the least we can say is that they look ready to kick ass! On one side, a duo of power, both recognised for their strength and intelligence since they were in middle school, no need to introduce them anymore: Todoroki Shouto and Honenuki Juzo, two of the eight students to have entered UA via recommandation! And on the other side, walking tall and confident, Awase Yosetsu, who can fuse anything with his quirk, and Yaoyorozu Momo, currently our smartest second year student who also entered via recommandation! These two have proven to be quite the formidable pair, and I know the public is really excited to know who will come out victorious! Logic would say that Todoroki and Honenuki have the upper hand due to their quirk, but if there is one lesson that Eraserhead right here has been trying to drill into our head all day long, it’s that a flashy quirk doesn’t mean it is stronger than a more discreet one! And - what’s that? Yaoyorozu has stopped? Is she not feeling well?”

Katsuki narrowed his eyes at the screen, where Yaomomo had halted, one arm holding her sides. A camera zoomed on her face, and she looked like she was going to puke. Her lips were white and trembled slightly, and a thin layer of sweat covered her forehead. Next to her, Awase patted her gently on the back twice without a word, and they exchanged a determined look. She took a deep breath, and kept walking.

“Well, it’s true I wouldn’t feel too well if I was the one facing these two, but for now I’d say the odds are fifty-fifty, so -”

“Aw man, I told her not to overdo it” grumbled Pinky, shaking her head.

Uraraka turned to her, frowning in worry. “What do you mean? What did she do?”

“She kept on stuffing her face relentlessly” she explained with a sigh. “I told her to stop, that she was going to be sick, but she kept on replying that she knew what she was doing and that she needed it for her fight.”

“Oh shoot, that means she’s going to pull out some crazy trick!” said Buzz Face, excited. “I hope she’s gonna do the cannon thing. I’m ready to bet you anything that she’s gonna do the cannon thing! Come on Yaomomo, don’t disappoint us!”

“All of our contestant are in place!” yelled Present Mic. “This is a fight for a place in the finals, and maybe the title of Winner of the UA Sports Festival! Don’t blink, because that might be the moment you’ll miss something! Are you ready? ARE YOU ALL READY?”

The crowd shouted a massive “YES”, and Present Mic’s voice shrieked “BEGIIIIIIIIIIIN!”

Immediately, Icyhot threw a wall of ice between Yaomomo and Headband. The latter barely had time to crouch and lift his hand up like he was ready to catch something before they were both buried under a thick layer of ice. A cloud of frost rose like glitter and disappeared gently in the air, everything still.

“Er - is it already over?” wondered Present Mic. “Yaomomo and Awase are rendered unable to move! Does it means it is the end? Referee?”

Snipe took a few steps on the stage and looked at the field. For a couple of second, the entire stadium held their breath, waiting for his answer. Eventually, he shook his head. “The match continues.”

Icyhot looked at Weird Teeth and they nodded at each other. Weird Teeth then walked carefully towards where Headband was supposed to be crouching, trying not to slip on the ice. He crouched as well and peeked through the frost. Whatever he saw didn’t seem to fully satisfy him, and he placed on hand over the milky-blue surface, making it soft enough for him to dip his arm in it.

It all happened in a flash. Still imprisonned in ice, Headband grabbed his arm and yanked it hard, shoving Weird Teeth’s arm in the ice up to his shoulder. Next thing they knew, the entire floor was shaking and waving hard, unsettling Half-n-half and making him lose his balance, and just as fast the ground was once more flat - except it was entirely covered with ice. Ten meters away from him, Yaomomo had resurfaced, her clothes torn apart, wrapped in an emergency blanket and surrounded with matryoshka dolls. The second the ice around her flattened, they scattered all around her, and she started running towards the middle of the stadium, leaving the blanket behind, small wooden dolls popping from her arms, her legs, her stomach. Headband was obviously frozen, but he still managed to move fast enough to grab Weird Teeth by the jacket. He tried to pull out of Headband’s grasp and he softened the icy ground beneath him, but the moment he started to dive in it, Yaomomo’s partner grinned and slammed his hand on the ground., before immediately getting up and running right behind Yaomomo, his feet slipping on the ice, leaving Weird Teeth stuck.

“Did you see that?!” roared Present Mic. “Did you all see that?! I told you not to blink, that was exactly what I was talking about! Just a second ago we thought they had lost, and now they have used Todoroki’s quirk against him and trapped Honenuki, and they are now heading for Todoroki!”

“It was a risky but well thought strategy” commented Aizawa. “They knew they would be separated, so they planned accordingly. Now it seems Awase has fused Honenuki’s jacket with the ground that he had previously fused with the ice. It won’t hold him forever, but at least now they can focus their efforts on Todoroki. If I were him, I would be wary of these matryoshka dolls, they are not just toys. I learnt that the hard way.”

Just as he said that, Half-n-half threw a new burst of ice in both Yaomomo and Headband’s direction, the two having managed to meet up. For a second, the stadium was once more covered in frost, but when it cleared it revealed the duo safely hiding behind a massive square of metal that had been fused to the ground. Yaomomo’s clothes were ruined and all that she had left on her chest was a strapless sports bra, but she didn’t seem to care at all and just pulled out objects after objects from all over her body. Next to her, Headband seemed just as unphased by how much skin she was showing as she was, and he just grabbed everything she created and either put them on the ground or on him. He fused spiked soles to both his shoes and hers, wrapped pieces of fabrics that looked like the emergency blanket she had used all over him, and attached around his waist a belt filled with long square things that looked suspiciously like triggers.

The blast of ice had completely blocked Icyhot’s field of vision as well as Weird Teeth, so none of them saw it coming when Headband fused multiple matryoshka dolls together and threw them over their hideout. They all exploded loudly, startling Icyhot and making him throw another blast of ice in the direction of the explosion. Right before he froze it all, Katsuki saw even more smaller matryoshka dolls scattered all around the place. They repeated their operation a few times, until there was so much ice no camera managed to see them anymore. On the other side of the field, Weird Teeth had finally managed to extract himself from his jacket, and was now heading towards the hole their stash was making in the ice.

He climbed on the ice, wary of what was to come next, but before he had time to reach them, there was a painfully noisy sound and a loud rumble, and Yaomomo and Headband jumped out of the ice, riding a fucking drilling machine and sprinkling matryoshka dolls over Icyhot like icing on a cake, and they both landed behind him, jumping out of the odd vehicle, and Headband immediately placed himself before her, holding another square of metal like a shield and planting it on the ground, fusing them together while Yaomomo bent over herself, her stomach glowing brightly.

“WHAT IS GOING OOOOON?!” Present Mic was losing his mind. “Shouta, what on Earth are you teaching your students?!”

“Apparently not much if it was this easy to corner Todoroki and surround him with ammunition.”

“Ammuni- ?”

Headband snatched handfulls of triggers from his belt, and clicked all the twinkling buttons. The prep room shook lightly under the force of the blows that scattered and destroyed the field.

“Wow!” yapped Kirishima, holding onto the table. “What the hell! She’s really going all out that Yaomomo!”

“Come on, the cannon!” prayed Buzz Face through his teeth, standing up. “Do the cannon! The cannon!”

The smoke cleared out, and suddenly they were all almost onto one another. Headband and Weird Teeth ran in Icyhot’s direction from two different sides, Yaomomo still standing behind, creating yet another thing. Half-n-half lifted his head up to look at Headband running with two big matryoshka dolls in his hands, panting and covered with a white and foamy substance that most definitely looked like fire-extinguishing agent.

“Ha” snickered Katsuki. “That’s what you get bitch.”

Icyhot made a mad face that was definitely his father’s, lips curled over his teeth and eyes cold and murderous, and with one swift movement with his right hand and leg, he blasted a massive stack of ice in his direction. Headband was brutally propelled backwards, high in the sky, and midway through his motion, the matryoshka dolls exploded, destroying the ice and showering him with crystal-like chunks, as well as -

“Is that ice-melting salt?” asked Pinky, gawking at the screen.

Headband emerged from the cloud of black smoke the explosion had created, his eyes closed and his clothes torn apart, unconscious. His ascension slowed down, until he came to a stop, before he started to fall.

“He is going to crash!” shrieked Uraraka, making Katsuki wince at the memories it triggered.

A thick and misty cloud rose from the side of the field, and the huge silhouette of Ectoplasm appeared, catching Headband before he fell. He gently laid him on the ground, and disappeared.

“Awase Yosetsu is out of bounds!” announced Snipe loudly, covering the crowd’s hysteric screams.

And while everyone including the boys on the fields where looking away, Yaomomo had sprung once more into action, using the ice as a launching platform to jump over Icyhot’s head. He jolted and looked up, lifted his right hand above him, still looking like a mad dog. And his eyes met hers.

And he hesitated.

Yaomomo put both hands on her stomach, her face twisted in a pained expression and pulled at the huge two-holed round thing that was poking out of her. Something that looked like -

“YEEEEAAAAAAH THE CANNON!” shouted Buzz Face, throwing his fists in the air.

The moment it was fully out of herself, she aimed at the ground under Weird Teeth, still in the air, and blew the ice-cement to pieces using one of the cannon-hole, throwing him backwards. And before he even landed, he fired the second hole, and a net flew out and wrapped him in. She pushed the cannon away and fell on the ground, rolling on the cement and ice, cutting herself open all over her body. She painfully got on her knees, panting, and created a trigger inside her palm that she immediately clicked. The net must have been electrified, because now Weird Teeth was convulsing and screaming on the ground.

“Enough!” shouted Snipe. “Honenuki is declared unable to fight.”

Yaomomo let go of the trigger and stayed on all four for a moment, visibly exhausted, before she slowly got on her feet, her eyes bagged but determined. Icyhot shouted something at her, looking absolutely torn between fury and horror. Whatever it was he told her, she completely ignored him and walked towards him, a new emergency blanket flying from her bare shoulders and wrapping her up. He shouted again, and she started running, her arms shining once more, ready to create something new. Katsuki leaned forward, standing on the edge of his seat and holding his breath as she slowly but surely closed the distance between her and Half-n-half who was still screaming at her, long objects pulling out of her skin -

A huge burst of ice hit her flat and hard, and the crushing sound it made when her body smacked against it resonated in the entire stadium. Yaomomo was shot like a missile out of the field, and she crashed against the outer wall and into the cement. Like it was played in slow motion, her hair fell all around her face and her eyes closed. She dropped on her knees, and her upper body gently fell forward before it slammed roughly on the ground.

It was over.

“Yaoyorozu Momo is out of bounds. Todoroki Shouto qualifies himself for the finals.”

This time, there was no need to shout, because the crowd wasn’t cheering anymore. The stadium was just filled with gasps and angsty discussions.

“That was … ugly” commented Soy Sauce, scratching the back of his head. He turned to Katsuki. “You should probably get going. They’ll need some time to repair the field, so no need to rush.”

“I know” he spat, still looking at the screen. The medics were rushing all around Icyhot, towards the three unconscious bodies surrounding him. Like a man after an apocalypse, he looked at the destroyed field around him, pale and panting, at his shaking hands, and looked back at Yaomomo, distraught. When the medics lifted her up, her hair barely hid the fact that her face was covered in blood. Half-n-half became even paler and took one step forward, obviously tortured and horrified as she was hastily put on a stretcher and hurried away. He stood there like an idiot, staring at the crumpled wall.

“As rough as it might seem, all of the students injuries are going to be well looked after and tended to. No need to worry” stated Aizawa’s voice over the loud chatters. “Also, the stadium needs to be evacuated for restauration.”

Icyhot gazed up to glare madly at the speaker’s room where Aizawa was sitting. After a short moment, he turned around and left the stadium, not even looking at his score.

“Okay, we’re going” declared Raccoon, jumping from her seat, pale and unsmiling. “You guys need to get ready, and I want to wait for Momo-chan to make sure she is alright.”

Uraraka nodded and walked with her to the door, followed by Katsuki and the boys.

“Man, the more I think about it the less stupid it sounded when you told us Todoroki was crazy” sighed Soy Sauce.

“Yeah, I’m glad I’m not up against him” chuckled Buzz Face nervously. “But then again Bakugou is crazy as well, so he’ll be fine for the finals.”

Katsuki blinked and frowned. “I’m not qualified for the finals yet.”

Kirishima shrugged. “Yeah but we know you will” he simply said matter-of-factly, like it wasn’t even a question to any of them. “I’m more worried about Uraraka actually, but I suppose she’ll be okay too.”

“Well none of you said shit for our first match!” he grumbled, resentful.

Buzz Face laughed. “Didn’t know we needed too! I thought Lord Explosion Murder was his own supporter and didn’t need anyone else!” He beamed at Katsuki. “Come on, don’t play dumb with us. We know you’re gonna win this year too. That’s what you do best, right?”

Soy Sauce and Kirishima laughed lightly, and Katsuki rolled his eyes. “Morons” he growled, biting back a smile. “Of course I’m gonna win, who the fuck are you taking me for?”

---

“Bakugou-kun.”

Katsuki raised an eyebrow and looked down at Uraraka, standing beside him in the shadows underneath the stands. The cut she had gotten from their fight against Deku on her cheek had disappeared - courtesy of Recovery Girl, who had been too relieved that they weren’t fighting when she entered their prep room to say anything about how reckless they had been.

Their fight had been quite fast, but so much had happened in so little time it actually seemed like it had taken forever for them to take him out. Their plan to unsettle him in the beginning had worked out, but that fucking bastard had seen them coming from a mile away with their idea to feint going other directions than the one they had planned. More than once, they actually got really scared, like that one time when Katsuki would have been thrown out of bounds if Uraraka hadn’t miraculously caught his hand and launched him back with Zero-G in the other direction. There even was a point where Deku had managed to get his hands on her when she was floating in the air. She had gone overboard with her quirk and had thrown up hard on the field, and instead of staying on the ground, she had gone back up and ready to fight. He would have punched her out if she hadn’t done what Katsuki had told her to do: play dirty. She had looked down and, with a horrified look, she had shrieked “Toru-chan, no!”. Of course, See-Through was safely waiting on the ground that something actually happened with her, but Deku had taken the bait and had looked down. Uraraka had kneed him so hard his eyes had almost popped out of his orbits. Katsuki had then gotten his hands on him, and had literally kicked him out of the stadium. The moment they had landed back on the field, See-Through had sighed and lifted her hands up. “I’m not stupid enough to try my luck any longer than that. I give up.” Even more satisfying than winning against Deku, Katsuki had found out, was winning against Deku with a crushing victory. He had been so careful to avoid See-Through from being involved that their collaboration score had hit a nice 2, in comparison to Uraraka and his blazing 61. They had manage to achieve a total score of 136, ranking them first for the second round, against Icyhot’s 98.

And now, it was time for them to face the bastard.

“What?” he groaned. “Don’t you dare go back on our strategy, you’re the one who decided to come up with that stupid idea!”

“That’s not it” she replied, shaking her head “and that idea will work, you’ll see.”

“What then?”

She jerked her chin at his hands holding hers and playing with her finger pads. “Can you let go of my hand?”

Not even a little bit ashamed, he just clicked his tongue. “Indulge me. It relaxes me.” He pressed the finger pads against his cheek. “I really like the texture.”

“What are you - stop!” she shrieked, blushing hard, and tried to yank her hand away from him. He held onto her hand, annoyed.

“Fine, fine!” he grumbled, irked, back to rubbing her pads inside his palm. “No need to be all bitchy about it.”

“And now, Ladies and Gents, the moment we were all waiting for has finally arrived!” shouted Present Mic. With a sigh, Katsuki let go of her hand. “The final match, opposing the last two teams still in the race for the first place! The first team is only one person, Todoroki Shouto! And facing him, the explosive Bakugou Katsuki and the amazing and wonderful Uraraka!” The crowd cheered loudly at the mention of her name as they stepped once more into the light and entered the stadium. “This time, no collaboration score due to Todoroki’s situation, only pure fighting! Will he be able to hold up against these two? Or will it prove to be to hard a task?”

You bet it will. Katsuki smirked, and he stared at Icyhot who was standing on a black point between him and Uraraka, twenty meters away. He looked like shit, that much was obvious. Well, there was no doubt Uraraka’s idea was gonna work, but he wasn’t too sure about the consequences. They had seen the asshole almost melt Metal Kirishima back when they were in first year, and even though Katsuki knew he was awesome, he didn’t feel confident enough to try and withstand a metal-melting-high temperature. We’ll see.

“We’re all ready for this, we’ve been ready the moment they set foot in the stadium, so without further ado, I say: STAAAAAAAAAART!”

Ice exploded between them, creating a thick wall that separated him from Uraraka. Tch, and she calls me predictable. Katsuki ran towards the wall, spotting the shadow that indicated Uraraka had done the same, and made it explode in bits. Instead of falling on the ground, they flew all over the place, obstructing the field of vision. A weightless body slumped on his back, smacking him on the head.

“Don’t fucking hit me!” he roared at her before he took off, bolting up like a rocket. She put her finger pads together under his chin and mumbled “Release” before she let go of him. The huge chunks of ice fell all around the stadium, and Katsuki came down crashing on the bastard, his explosions speeding him up. Icyhot glared at him, his eyes strangely empty, and he lifted his left hand towards him, blowing a massive flame full in Katsuki’s face. The fire burnt and ached, but it was nothing he wasn’t prepared to withstand. It still managed to put him off course, and he had to use his explosions to help him land safely, sliding backwards. He laughed with a murderous wide grin when he noticed just how much he was sweating now. Above him, Uraraka had reactivated her quirk on herself and was floating above his head, in position.

So I guess it’s now or never. Here goes nothing.

“So you’re finally being serious this year” he shouted at the bastard standing in front of him. “Using your left side - maybe you should have used it on Momo, she would have gotten away with a few burns and no concussion.”

Icyhot’s entire face twitched. “I told you to stop using her damn name!” he growled at him, his left side bursting with red and yellow flames. Another burst of flames flared in his direction, missing him by a hair when he jumped up, using his explosions to direct him away. Too fast for the fucker, he bolted forward and was in his face, grabbing him by the collar and throwing him towards the borders. As expected, it didn’t work, the fucker created an ice wall and slid on it to avoid being disqualified, charging back towards Katsuki with yet another wall of ice. He had to use the full power of his blasts and be as fast as possible to keep the ice from fully burying him. All around them, huge chunks were beginning to gather.

Not enough.

“You should be happy, your old man is gonna be real proud of ya” he continued as he emerged from the ice tomb he had dug. “Using your fire and beating the mother of your children unconscious - you’re really falling into his steps now aren’t ya?”

His eyes widened, bloodshot with fury, and his pupils were reduced to a mere point. He didn’t even bother to reply and just attacked once more with his fire, his flames raging and roaring uncontroled, fire becoming whiter by the second.

Katsuki roared with laughter. “Are you fucking kidding me? Fire? Against me?” He held his right hand up, glistening and dripping with sweat, fat drops of nitroglycerin leaking along his tensed arm. “If you wanna hope to have a fair fight against me then you’d better use your ice, or else you might just wanna go ahead and give up!”

“You’re too damn talkative!” blared Half-n-half, his right side steaming with frost. “You want some ice? I’ll give you some goddamn ice you son of a bitch.”

He leaped forward, two high walls of ice circling the field, jumped high in the air, and with his right arm described a semi-circle, throwing thick and sharp spikes of ice in Katsuki’s directions like bullets. Blast after blast, he exploded, dodged and melted them all, with only one exception when one of the spike brushed his shoulder and cut him deep, ripping his sports uniform.

“Talking about sons, I wonder what yours must be thinking.” Uraraka you fucking asshole if it doesn’t work I swear Imma - “I bet it was probably the worst thing that had ever happened to them, watching you beat the shit out of Momo. I doubt they’ll ever wanna even look at you again afterwards!”

“You really need to SHUT THE FUCK UP!” roared Icyhot, throwing himself at Katsuki, his glare mad.

He threw his right arm around like he wanted to rip it off of his shoulder, and an insane mountain of ice bursted inside the stadium. Katsuki propelled himself as hard and high as he could, aiming for Uraraka, but he felt something burning grab his ankle through his boot and yank him back towards the ground, hard. His back hit violently the cement, knocking his breath away and leaving him gasping for air. Above him, he saw Icyhot use his flames to land on a slope of ice, heading in his direction. Despite the violence of the hit he had just taken, he jumped back on his feet and barely countered a new burst of flame. When they faded, he found Icyhot’s delirious face right in front of him, fist clenched, and next thing he knew he was stumbling backwards after he had punched him. He held both his hands out, intending on blasting the fucker away from him to catch his breath, but then two hands clenched around his wrists, both burning in two very different way.

“You asked for ice, asshole?” snarled Half-n-half, his eyes thirsty. “There’s your ice. Think I don’t remember how you looked when you came back from your fight under the rain with Uraraka? You were shaking and whining like a little bitch. Let’s see how you like it now.”

Frost burnt on his left wrist and crept up his arm, steaming with that horrible cristal-like sound. Katsuki snarled with pain and tried to kick him in the gut, but Icyhot let go and jumped backwards, his left side burning once more. Katsuki curled his lips over his teeth, drops of sweat rolling from his forehead as he held his frozen arm in his right hand. The feeling was even worse than that night in the clouds, and it sank its teeth deep inside his flesh like a thousand burning needles.

“That supposed to impress me?” he barked at him, trying to flex his fingers despite the numbness that was quickly spreading. “You’re forgetting something dickhead!”

“Ah yeah?” Icyhot’s voice was just a low snarl now. “And that is?”

Katsuki smirked, and right on time Uraraka dropped like a rock on his face. She had been silently hovering above them, taking advantage of how into their fight the bastard was to slowly approach him. She got back up on her feet and assumed her fighting stance, already kicking and punching at him. Not taking the time to stand there and just watch her kick his ass, he leapt forward and used his explosions with his right hand to tour the stadium and destroy every remaining wall of ice while Uraraka kept the bastard busy. They had enough ice for the last part of their plan.

He slid behind Uraraka, his left hand slowly beginning to sweat and crackle again, as she punched Half-n-half in the chin. He lost his balance and went staggering backwards, disoriented. She jumped on the opportunity, caught both his arms in her hands, pulled them downward, hard, and she headbutted him flat on the nose with a loud “CRAC”.

“YES, THAT’S HOW IT FUCKING FEELS, DAMMIT!” he shouted, laughing like a maniac as Icyhot stumbled and fell on his back.

His left side suddenly bursted with flames so violently, Uraraka was sent flying back. Katsuki ran and caught her as she slammed against him, making him slid away. They watched through squinted eyes as Icyhot slowly got on his feet, the hot wind escaping from his white flames burning their skin.

“We’re almost there!” she shouted despite the wind. “You go for him and I -”

“Stop talking and just do it !” he yelled back, pushing her back on her feet. He walked past her, hunched through the blazing wind and positioned himself a few meters away from him.

“URARAKA GO!”

“Here goes THE MOONQUAKE!”

The ground beneath them shuddered, and all the blocks of ice shattered like gigantic cubes of ice in a glass, and suddenly him, Uraraka and all the ice the moron had let them accumulate in the stadium began floating, rising high and fast with the power of the hot wind he was creating.

1. 2. 3.

Katsuki’s left hand and arm burnt when it finished defrosting, but at least it was sweating again. He was going to need it.

“HOLD IT!” he belowed at Uraraka. He propelled himself forward, spinning around the ice blocks, creating a wind motion that pulled them at the center of the tornado he was creating.

4. 5. 6.

He watched below them as the stadium shone with the bastard’s flames, the crowd’s reaction barely audible through the howls of his fire. Next to him, Uraraka began to shake and moan painfully.

“HOLD IT!”

7. 8. 9.

“BA - BAKUGOU! I CAN’T!”

NOW!

He didn’t hear her release her burden, but he did hear he gag loudly as they both began their descent. He propelled himself downwards, using his explosion to make him spin round and round, dragging all the ice chunks in his wake.

“HOWITZER SPACE IMPACT, BITCH!” Katsuki roared at Icyhot’s flabbergasted face.

And right before he landed the brutal explosion he had been waiting for since the beginning, a flash of madness passed through Half-n-half’s eyes, and he lifted his left burning hand, bursting his flames in Katsuki’s direction.

His flames met Katsuki’s blast, and the shock wave it created sent them both flying backwards, ice melting and scattering itself all around them, white, orange and yellow colours enveloping them. Behind him, he heard Uraraka let out a long, pained scream, but for a moment he forgot all about it when he fell and rolled on the ground. The flames had been hot, monstrously white hot, and had melted the fibers of his sports jacket. He roared in pain, twisting around and grabbing his jacket and tugging at it, desperately trying to get rid of the damn thing that was burning the living shit out of him. With a loud ‘RIIIIIP’, he finally managed to tear the fabric off of his burning chest, panting loudly, his arms shaking hard. When he looked at his stomach, he found it bright pink, with red marks where the fabric had dug into his skin. He looked around frantically, looking for the bastard through the thick black smoke.

He heard him before he saw him. Hunched and sweating, he was still standing, and glaring at Katsuki like a wild animal that hadn’t eaten in weeks, ready to attack. His flames had been put out a little by the heavy cloud of smoke and the amount of oxygen consumed by both their quirks, but they were still dancing over his arm and shoulder.

Katsuki chuckled weakly. “You still wanna go at it you bastard?” he heaved. “I can do this all day long, so go ahead. Bring it on you -”

“Todoroki Shouto is out of bounds!”

Katsuki blinked. He looked down at Icyhot’s feet and found out one of them was standing behind the line. “Ha … haha …”

He won. He -

No. Something was wrong. He looked up at the speaker’s room where Aizawa and Present Mic were sitting, then at Snipe. What were they waiting for? The asshole was out of bound, wasn’t he? Surely that meant -

“BAKUGOU!”

His name echoed around the stadium, filled with too much terror and panic. And his heart sank. His head whipped around.

Where was Uraraka.

“What did you do?” he breathed weakly, staring at the piles of unmelted ice behind him. He turned back at Icyhot, realisation of what was happening slowly sinking in his eyes as his flames died out. “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO?!”

“BAKUGOU!”

“WHERE ARE YOU?!” he roared, spinning round and limping towards the pile of ice.

No. No, no, no, no, no. This was wrong, this was completely wrong. It shouldn’t have been like that, it shouldn’t have fucking been like that! They should have won and moved on, not reenact one of the most terrifying moments of their lives. And she wasn’t fucking answering, he realised, dread clutching at his throat, she wasn’t fucking answering, just like in that fucking nightmare where no matter how much he turned and looked he couldn’t find her.

He jumped on the ice stacks, looking frantically around. He couldn’t use his explosions, because that meant he might hurt her in the process. He couldn’t even rush, because if she was trapped beneath the ice, then that meant one false movement and the blocks of ice that were burying her might fall and crush her.

“WHERE ARE YOU?!” he shouted again from the top of his lungs. Below the pile of ice he was standing up on, he saw some blocks move, and a pained groan escape. “URARAKA!”

He slid downwards and crossed the distance as fast as he could, stumbling in front of her as she finally managed to push away the huge chunk of ice that was blocking her from him with a grunt, holding something tight into her left hand. Panic and relief washed through Katsuki, and he grabbed her by the wrists and pulled up, getting her back on her feet next to him.

“Are you alright?” he asked urgently.

She looked up at him, covered with black smoke, and tears welling up in her eyes. “Bakugou - he burnt my hair!”

She held out her left hand and opened it, revealing a thick and crispy strand of burnt brown hair. He stared at her hand, then at her face, he hand again, her face once more, his mind blank. And suddenly, all the fear, worry, panic and relief he had felt, all of it mixed up and turned into red hot fucking anger.

“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!” he roared at her as loud as he could, articulating each word neatly. This had to be a joke. She had to be joking, she couldn’t possibly -

Maybe she had gone into shock. Yeah, that would make sense - but then that meant she was injured, didn’t it? He grabbed her arm and lifted it, folding and unfolding it to make sure it was all okay, before he checked her other arm and ended up making her turn around to check her.

Nothing.

“My hair! I can’t believe he burnt my hair!” she wailed, her face crumpled miserably.

It - will - grow - back! ” he shouted at her, his voice filled with mad disbelief. What a fucking joke! She couldn’t possibly be serious, right? She had just literally lifted the weight of the Earth on a three meters radius and thrown up again because of it, and she was crying because of her hair ?

But what if she had a concussion?

He dug his hands through her hair, ruffling them around a bit too roughly, looking for a wound or a bump. On her left side, her hair were crispy and slightly blackened, reduced from their shoulder length size to a ten centimeters length. He slipped his fingers on her scalp everywhere he could think of - behind her ears, on top of her head, above her neck, looking for something, anything at that point, that could justify why the fuck she was whining because of her motherfucking hair.

And yet, still nothing.

“But I wanted to let them grow!” she sobbed weakly, clearly upset.

Despite his best intentions, his hands contracted on each side of her head, and it took everything he had not to start shaking her like a fucking tree. “NNNGHSSHHHH-” seemed to be the only thing able to describe his level of frustration as he growled out loud, tensed from the tip of his fingers to the tendons of his neck. Uraraka just stared at her hair in her hand, obviously devastated, her eyes glistening with big tears.

“Haaaaaaaaaaa” he sighed, eventually relaxing. Propping one elbow on her head, he facepalmed and kept his eyes closed for a brief second, allowing relief to wash over him once more. She was alright. She was fine. She was a little shaken and she was a fucking moron who, just like the rest of his class, had fucked up priorities, but she was alright. “I fucking swear, you’ll be the death of me” he panted, having no strength left to shout anymore.

“Uuuuuuuh” she whinned.

Just then, as if someone had just unplugged his ears, he realised just how loud the stadium was growing. The cheers filled up the stands, excited and overjoyed, and eventually, Snipe held his gun up and declared:

“Uraraka is still standing. I therefore declare Uraraka Ochako and Bakugou Katsuki, winners of the UA Sports Festival!”

And the crowd went wild. Katsuki let his hand slowly slip from his face and looked up at the giant screen, where their image was retransmitted. Realising how he was holding her, he jerked back and let go of her.

“Oi Uraraka - we won!” he told her with his hands held out before him, like he was trying to explain something very simple to someone very dense - well, he kinda was.

She looked around her with wide eyes, trying to blink away the tears. He expected her to smile and jump in the air, but she just kept staring around, like she didn’t understand what it was all about. Maybe she had gone into shock after all.

He grabbed her by the arm and pushed her before him, towards the exit. “Come on” he snapped, resigned “let’s just get you to the medics for now.” She let him push her by the shoulders across the field of ice until they safely reached the ground. Two teams of medics split up, one taking her in charge and leading her away from him, and the other trying to examine him, but he just kept on groaning and pushing their hands away.

“I’m fine, I’m fine, I’ll just walk to Recovery Girl” he snarled at them, despite being burnt, wounded and limping. Looking down, he noticed his boot had melted where the bastard grabbed him by the ankle earlier. In a haze, he headed for the exit and went to Recovery Girl, his mind growing more and more quiet and tired as he walked within the building, the adrenaline wearing off. When he finally reached her, he felt like he could have fallen asleep on his feet. Somehow, she took him by the hand and forced him to lie down on a bed while she prepared herself to heal him. He turned his head to the side, and found Yaomomo sitting up on her own bed, perfectly alright and smiling, next to Headband and Weird Teeth sitting in their own places.

The last thing he recalled was the feeling of two soft wrinkled lips on his forehead and a wave of exhaustion. And his eyes closed.

---

He groaned and turned around, slowly lifting his eyelids. The infirmary was empty, and everything was quiet again. With a sleepy grunt, he rose and sat up on his bed, his body aching a little, like the remainders of some muscle pain.

“Ah you’re awake! I was going to try and wake you up, they are about to start the award ceremony.”

He looked around and found Recovery Girl, standing on the tip of her toe on a stool by the sink, washing a comb and some thin scissors. “How long did I sleep?” he croaked, before he cleared his throat.

“I’d say for about four hours. You missed the entire third year’s competition.”

His eyes went wide. “Four - four hours ?”

She nodded and turned off the water tap. “I have left you a clean uniform on your bedside table, and Yaoyorozu-chan has left you a new pair of boots as a congratulation gift.” She turned and smiled at him. “I am very proud of you Bakugou-chan.”

Bakugou groaned again and ran his hand through his hair, noticing the uniform and the brand new boots. With a sleepy sigh, he got on his feet and changed into his clean clothes before he headed towards the sink to wash his face.

“Uraraka-chan, it’s time for you to go as well” she said, talking to a curtain. Katsuki grabbed a towel and dried his face, before he turned to scowl at the curtain.

“Oi Uraraka” he called out “if you’re here then let’s get moving.” He pulled the curtain open and found her, sitting on a chair, holding a towel tightly around her head like a nun, glaring and pouting at him. All around her, strands of hair were scattered on the floor. “What, you gon’ tell me you’re not going?”

“He burnt my hair.”

“Oh I fucking swear to everything on this goddamn planet” he growled, grabbing his own hair “if I hear you say that one more time Imma shave you in your sleep.”

“Well you wouldn’t have much to shave anyway” she grumbled, looking at her feet.”And don’t play superior with me, how would you react if you went bald?”

“It. Fucking. Grows. Back. Uraraka” he snarled, impatience rising in his chest.

“Yeah right, that’s not what you were saying when Best Jeanist glued your hair down last year” she snorted.

Before he could reply, Recovery Girl called them. “Don’t you two start fighting now! You need to head to the elevators below the main stage now, they are about to start the award ceremony for the first years and soon afterwards it will be your turn. Uraraka-chan, sweetie, you are very pretty, so don’t worry about it, alright? Now leave this towel here and get going, you don’t want to bother anyone now do you.”

Uraraka shook her head and sighed, not meeting Katsuki’s gaze. “Don’t laugh okay? I know it’s weird” she mumbled as he turned around to put his own towel back.

“Uraraka, I genuinely don’t give a rat’s ass about whether your hair are short or long or if you want to look like a skinhead or a mohican, or-” He turned around and stopped dead in his tracks.

She had let go of the towel and stood up, and was now looking at the floor, flushed with embarrassment, holding her arms together in an insecure pose. Her hair had been cut short, and her long bangs weren’t framing her face anymore. Instead, her round face was sprinkled with wild little curls, each strand of short hair turning up towards the sky. Katsuki blinked, and his heart gave a very distinctive ‘thump’.

Fuck she’s cute. Fuck. Fuck.

“I feel cold without my hair on my neck” she complained quietly, running her fingers on her almost shaved neck, clearly unused to the feeling. She looked up at him, cringing and nervous. “Is it really too weird?”

His heart gave a new squeeze and began racing with no fucking reason whatsoever, his breath short and his cheeks and neck slowly but surely heating up.

Fuck. Say something. Say something - anything.

“Who gives a fuck?” he blared without thinking, furious at his reaction. “We won, and we’re late for the ceremony, so let’s get moving!”

He turned around and almost ran out if the infirmary. You need to chill. What the fuck. What the hell is wrong with you? It’s just a fucking haircut, what’s the big deal? It’s still the same annoying person, so drop the weirdo act already!

He heard Uraraka trot behind him. “Bakugou-kun, wait!” she called after him. “Stop running off without me all the time!”

If he could have ran away right now, he would have. What the fuck was wrong with him?

“Hey I was wondering” she said, oblivious to the mental crises he was having, her fingers running in her hair. “What did you tell Todoroki-kun to make him this angry?”

“I talked about his mother” he replied curtly. Don’t look at her don’t look at her don’t look at her don’t look at her don’t -

“You did what ?” she shrieked, looking at him with round eyes as they reached the end of the corridor and went down three flights of stairs.

“You’re the one who told me to do it, don’t act all shocked all of a sudden!” he barked back.

“I told you to provoke him, not to insult his parents! I wanted him to be angry, not to completely lose it!”

“Yeah yeah, whatever, it’s the same anyway. We still won in the end, didn’t we? Stop bitching about it.”

“Yeah, and how many lives did we have to sacrifice to this end I ask you?”

His face twisted with impatience and confusion. “What the fuck are you talking ab-”

My hair! He burnt my hair!” she shrieked, throwing her hands in the air before she ruffled her hair once more, moaning with frustration when they didn’t dance around and feel the way they used to.

“Will you just drop it already?!”

“Do you have any idea how long it will take for them to grow back again?!”

“Uraraka it doesn’t fucking matter!” he shouted, exasperated, and without realising he did the one thing he knew he shouldn’t do: he looked at her.

Fuck she’s so cute.

They stopped before the door leading to the elevators, and she looked at him with mad brown eyes, arms crossed, her pink cheeks puffed. His heart skipped a beat and started drumming like crazy when he realised he wanted to touch them.

What the fuck is wrong with you?

“How does it not matter? How does the very thing that made people think ‘Oh look it’s Ochako! Her hairstyle is so Uraraka’ is gone?”

“Why are you so dramatic?” he growled, rolling his eyes and head exaggeratedly.

“No but please go on, I wanna hear your answer!”

“You’re -” he paused and held his breath, feeling like a pressure cooker about to explode “Well - you’re - you’re -” FUCK what the hell am I supposed to say? “it’s - you -” He took in a sharp breath and just blurted out “You’re not gross okay?! It’s - you’re - that -” he waved frantically at her spiky curls “- is not disgusting, alright?! You’re - you’re fine - okay?! Got it?! You happy now?! FUCK!”

He turned around and banged on the door with his clenched fist, panting, his face and ears so hot it almost made him regret Half-n-half’s blaze. She stayed quiet for a moment. “You think so?” she asked shyly, smiling.

Somewhere between his lungs, gravity canceled itself.

The door was flung open, and Cementoss stood before them, frowning. “Hurry up you two, we are going to run late.”

Uraraka squeaked an apology, running her fingers through her hair self-consciously, and they followed their teacher inside. The room was dark and quiet, just like Katsuki remembered from the previous year, with a lingering smell of synthetic carpet. Inside, they found Midnight and Ectoplasm, chatting in a corner next to the three stepped stage. On the lowest step on the right, Yaomomo and Headband were chatting lightly, obviously very pleased to be there; on the left, Icyhot stood motionless, staring at the former two with a tortured expression. When he noticed Katsuki however, his face grew dark and he glowered at him, before his gaze switched to Uraraka. His eyes widened at the sight of her short pixie cut, and his face wore once more that tortured expression.

Uraraka waved at him, hunched over her crossed arms, looking both embarrassed, shy and remorseful, trying very hard to shrink her head back between her shoulders like a turtle. Half-n-half opened his mouth, but before he could say anything, Midnight clapped her hands together.

“Right! We are all ready to go. In about a few seconds, we will raise the stage and you will be in the stadium again. Be sure to thank the hero in charge of handing you your medal. You will start ascending in five - four -”

“What? Already?” squeaked Uraraka, looking at Katsuki like a deer in the headlights.

“Chill the fuck down” he snapped “and be prepared, cause the sound is deafening -”

“- three - two -”

“- also protect your eyes, it’s much brighter than what you’d expect.”

“- one -” Midnight turned to a technician on the side, snapping her whip “- send them up!”

The stage trembled a little and slowly lifted them up as the ceiling over their heads opened up. Like the stupid moron she was, Uraraka just stared at the dazzling light and yelped, hiding her face against Katsuki’s arm, making him jump and giving his heart an electric shock.

“What the fuck are you doing?” he hissed, pushing her head away. Her hair felt soft and airy between his fingers, almost silky, and his stupid heart took it as its cue to try and fly out of his chest, madly thumping away.

She blinked fast, her small nose wrinkled as she tried to make sense of what was surrounding her, her eyes finally growing wide when she took in the overwhelming sight of the happy crowd facing them, cheering and screaming her name.

“Oh my -!” she peeped, putting both hands on her cheeks. She accidentally activated her quirk on herself and started floating away.

“What the - Uraraka! ” he howled, feeling the veins pop up on his temples. “What the fuck are you doing?!”

He jumped a little and caught her by the ankle, pulling down on her leg to try and bring her back down. He caught her other ankle and just sat her on his shoulders, thinking it would be the best way to just keep her down near the ground without looking like he was holding a fucking balloon.

“For the second year’s, the medals distribution will be done by Endeavour, our Number One Hero!”

Katsuki turned to look at the flame hero walk towards the stage, his face just as expressionless as his kid apart from a scowl. He headed towards Yaomomo and Headband and hung their medals around their neck. “It was quite a good fight” he conceded like he was talking about a dish. “I will ask for you two for the internships in a week. You still have a lot to learn.”

Yaomomo bowed deeply, flustered, and Headband just gawked at him as he lost no time and headed towards his son. He gave him his silver medal without a word, and just when Katsuki thought he wasn’t going to say anything, he said in a low voice “You cannot control the fire if you have too much on your mind. Fire is not like ice, it is versatile and reacts to your smallest emotion. Control your emotions, control your fire. And … don’t let other thoughts distract you, as … overwhelming as they might be.”

Icyhot glared at him, and stayed quiet for a few seconds. “Did you know? It seems you are quite the clown in the future. The two twins - they said that.”

Endeavour looked down at his son, startled, before he sighed. “To think the universe would rip apart what I tried so hard to put together … I guess it’s only fair.”

He turned his back on his kid, and his look hardened once more. He passed the golden and heavy medal around Katsuki’s neck. “You once more managed to win against my son” he grumbled, his voice threatening. “You truly seem to be lucky enough to always fight against him when his spirit is at its weakest. Maybe next year, he’ll be able to show his true potential against you.”

Katsuki glowered at him, biting back a string of insults as he hung the golden medal around Uraraka’s neck. He wasn’t stupid enough to try and provoke Endeavour, even if he was the bastard’s father.

“There are … so many people” Uraraka breathed, her voice high-pitched as Endeavour left the stadium.

Katsuki clicked his tongue. “As many as there were throughout the entire day, I don’t see why you’re flustered by that now.”

She let out a nervous laughter. “Because it’s - different. Earlier I was fighting and giving my all, but now -” She paused and laughed again, this time louder and more sincerely, a genuine beam illuminating her face with wonder. All around them, the public called out her name, louder and louder, repeating it over until the entire stadium was filled with almost nothing but “URA-RA-KA!”.

The confetti exploded on both sides of the stage, thousands of glitters shining brightly while she laughed out loud, and when Katsuki looked up at her, it was like he was seeing her for the first time. The sun shone brightly above her, adorning her hair with golden strands as the rays made her round face lighten up, glittering confetti dancing all around her.

“Bakugou-kun!” she laughed, exhilarated  “This is - this is - extraordinary! It’s like standing on the shoulders of victory! Look at them! They are so happy for us!”

She threw her fist in the air, and the crowd went wild, clapping and shouting and cheering. They wanted her, loved her already. Katsuki felt his scowl deepen. “They’re happy for you ” he corrected between his teeth. “It’s you they are cheering for.”

She stared down at him, and her beam was just to bright for him to just contemplate without feeling like a flock of butterflies had just begun flying all over his stomach. “What are you saying!” she giggled. “Do you think you’re here out of luck? Do you think they haven’t seen you give everything you had to be up here? You won fair and square, you have every reason to stand where you are! And if you let them know about it, they’ll cheer for you just as loud!”

He frowned at her as she stood back and raised both fists in the air. He wasn’t convinced at all, but he wanted to try. He wanted to feel that blissful feeling she seemed to be experiencing, he wanted to believe the extras sitting in the stadium would recognise his strength as well and cheer for him the way they cheered for her. So, slowly, he let go of her right ankle, balled his fist and lifted it above his head.

The reaction was immediate. The crowd roared once more, shouting for him this time. He felt a wide grin spread on his lips. That’s right you losers. You know who I am. And you all know I’ll be standing at the top someday.

He chuckled and waved at the public as they slowly but surely began to shout his name.

You just wait.

---

Katsuki walked next to Kirishima as they all headed towards the students’ exit. The ceremony was over, and they had been asked to head towards their dorm. Kirishima was telling him something about the discussion they were having with Buzz Face and Soy Sauce as they stepped outside, but he wasn’t paying any attention to him, because Uraraka was walking in front of him with Four-eyes and Toad face, commenting on her new hairstyle. Ever since they had gotten off that stage, he just couldn’t take his eyes off of her. Her smile was dazzling, making him blind to everything surrounding him and her, and all the small details that so far didn’t seem to matter in any way suddenly were worth every second of his attention.

The way her eyes sparkled with joy and mischief. The way her cheeks flushed every time someone complimented her on her win. The way her hair puffed whenever she was happy, as if she unconsciously cancelled gravity all around her. The way she raised the pinkies of her hands when she wanted to hold something. The way her pads stood out at the tip of her fingers, innocent pink dots that could lift up the entire world. The way her shoulders hung now that they were free from any hair hiding them. The way they gave way to her not-so-narrow waist. The way the small of her back attracted his look, guiding him towards the round plump cheeks of her ass.

What is happening to me.

He was pulled out of his cloudy thoughts by a familiar voice in front of him.

“DAD!”

Katsuki looked around and found the boy, running in his direction, followed by the three other extras. He tripped and almost fell on the grass but kept running nonetheless, until he smacked himself hard against Katsuki.

“What the f-”

“You were amazing!” he screamed, hugging him tight. “You were so great! I didn't know - I had no idea - you were even better than Miho!” He pulled out of the hug, laughing, his round face bright and his eyes almost tearing up with happiness. “When you destroyed all the flags during the first event - and when you kicked everybody’s ass during the third event - and the maze, the maze was amazing! You didn’t give anyone a second’s rest! You just went ahead and just - you were so - so great!”

He spun around with a mad laughter and looked at the three kids behind him. He pointed at Vanilla “ Your father sucks! -” he turned to Porcupine “- Your mother sucks! -” he turned at Strawberry “- Your mother sucks! -” he pointed at the three of them “- All of your parents suck !”

Strawberry took one step forward, his sleeve rolled up over his burning forearm. “Alright, that’s it, I’m done with his bullshit” he declared calmly.

Porcupine put an arm over his chest. “Just let him have it” she sighed. “We’ll deal with him tomorrow.”

Katsuki snickered, amused and filled with pride over the boy’s excitement.

“You’re the best!” he continued, turning back to Katsuki with a wide, wide beam. “You’re the best Dad ever! No one will ever stand a chance before you!”

He laughed again and raised his hand above his head, palm opened. Katsuki shook his head and chuckled, before he raised his hand as well and allowed the boy to high five him. But instead of just slapping his hand against his, the boy grabbed it hard and pulled Katsuki back into a tight hug, holding him like he had been waiting for it for long. “You stupid little shit” he snorted “did you really think I would lose?”

The boy laughed against his chest and held him even tighter. “No” he replied, his voice muffled “I knew you’d win, you always do!”

“Damn right I do” Katsuki snickered. “Alright now get off of me.”

And just as Katsuki was about to pull out of the boy’s grip, he froze, still holding his hand.

Still holding … his hand.

And the large, soft, scratchy pads inside his palm that were tightly pressed against his.

Katsuki blinked. He had just spent a solid thirty minutes, after they had gotten off the stage, just playing with these pads while they waited for the Principal to give them the prize money. He didn’t give a shit about that, and had refused to take a single yen of some money he had no need for. In exchange, Uraraka had agreed to let him examine and play with her pads for as long as he wished. But it was her pads, on her fingers, so why on Earth was he - why on Earth did he -

The boy pulled out of their hug with another laughter, and he ran towards Uraraka, immediately beginning to fawn over her. And everything Katsuki saw was like a punch in the gut. The wind blew lightly over them, ruffling their hair, and Uraraka’s hair weren’t so curly anymore, and the boy’s spikes weren’t that sharp anymore, and as they stood face to face with one another, Katsuki found himself staring at two brown-hair twins, pink cheeks round with happiness, both hunched with embarrassment, looking at each other with the same expression, the same smile, the same face.

The pads.

The smile.

The hair.

The cheeks. The cheeks. The motherfucking cheeks.

Like a zombie, he followed them without realising he was, one thousand thoughts running wildly through his mind, his brain making connections he had been incapable of doing so far.

The crying faces. The smiling faces. The glares.

That can’t be possible …

The indifference over how angry he could get. The laughter whenever he growled and snarled. The unimpressed looks at his outbursts.

This … it’s just a coincidence - just a big, big coincidence.

The boy’s love for mochis. The boy’s obsession over Uravity.

What the fuck …

The keychains, with his two black dots, and hers.

The quirk. A quirk so powerful it could destroy anything. A quirk that relied on his pads, and on the forces of gravity. A quirk that could make him sick to his stomach if he overdid it.

Katsuki stopped in the middle of the way, breathing hard. How - how would any of that even be possible - how -

There was a loud scream on his left, where the public was being evacuated. Then two. And a wind of panic swept over the crowd, and they all started pushing and running, everyone trying to move away as fast as they possibly could, shouting and pushing and running.

Right in front of the stadium entrance, a huge cobalt blue portal had just opened.

Chapter Text

They all froze on their spot. Between them and the line of civilians running away, the huge cobalt blue warp gate was glowing, slowly spinning towards its center. Katsuki took one step forward and stopped. It was the same gate that had transported the kids, that he had no doubt about it, but … last time he had rushed head on, he had ended up knocking the boy unconscious. What if it happened again?

The warp gate began to shine, and two people came out of it, facing them. The moment he saw them, Katsuki knew that they were no UA students. They were grown adults, wearing costumes that, judging by their state, were most likely not hero costumes. Racking his brain, he tried to remember what the description of the villain who had attacked the kids was. What had Vlad King said during the press conference? Green hair and … blue eyes? No, purple eyes. He looked at the two silhouettes: the one on the left had a black beanie and sunglasses, but he could see bright grey hair slip on his neck. His leather jacket was sleeveless and looked like he had torn them himself, and it exposed to the sun two very long, not healthy looking thin pink arms. The one next to him was shorter, his eyes so pale they looked like they could pierce anything. His blue hair were wild and fell like a mane over his thick and long dark green poncho.

“Everyone, stand back!” ordered Four-Eyes, holding out his arm on the side as if he could shield them all. “You -” he turned to the kids, who were all staring at the two men in fear and confusion “- do you recognise these persons?”

The boys shook their heads and Hana replied “No - no we’ve never - they look nothing like the one who attacked us.”

Four-eyes glared at the two strangers like he was ready to take them on. “Then we shouldn’t come anywhere near them. Pro Heroes must already be on their way, let’s not get involved and go back inside quickly.”

“Wait, but what if they’re here for the kids?” said Kirishima, taking one step towards the two men still walking in front of them. “What if they’re here to bring them back?”

Four-Eyes thought about it for a second, his eyebrows furrowed in focus. He turned to the two strangers and shouted “You are trespassing on the grounds of UA High School. If you do not own a special pass that allows you to step outside of the lanes meant for the public, then you should head immediately for the inquiries office at the gates of the school. If, like I suspect, you are not here for the Sports Festival, then as class 2-A’s class representative, I am going to ask you to declare your identity and give yourself over to the authorities to avoid any confusion as to the nature of your intentions!”

The two men stopped, and exchanged a look. The one with the sunglasses beamed, showing his long, yellow teeth. “You Iida Tenya?” he asked loudly, his voice raspy and his posture relaxed - almost friendly looking.

Four-Eyes’ frown deepened and he stood a little bit taller. “I am indeed. What business do you -”

“WATCH OUT!” shouted Kirishima, immediately hardening and pushing Four-Eyes out of harm's way.

A second later, a massive blade crashed into his chest, shattering into a thousand pieces and sending him stumbling backwards.

“Kirishima!” Katsuki roared. He looked back at the two fuckers, his fury suddenly boiling and consuming him. The one with the poncho had lifted his cloth up and held up his left arm, revealing a massive weapon that looked like an overly complicated thick rifle.

“Everyone, fall back!” yelled Four-Eyes, lying on the ground and getting back on his feet.

“How are we supposed to fall back? We’re under attack!” replied Buzz Face, panicked.

Before they could chat anymore, the one with the sunglasses ran in their direction, his long arms glowing with a bright shade of fuschia.

“Do not engage!” ordered Four-Eyes.

“What the fuck do you want us to do?!” Katsuki roared, glaring at the running dude. “They’re coming for us, we have to defend ourselves!”

He was ready to leap into action, but Kirishima came from behind him and held him before he had a chance to move. “Dude, don’t, we don’t know what their quirks are!”

The guy with the glowing arms jumped and, lifting his arms above his head, he threw bright fuschia balls of energy.

“Dodge!” screamed Buzz Face as they all jumped out of the way, splitting up. Katsuki was pulled out of harm’s way by Kirishima, and he saw the three balls of energy crash onto the ground with a crackling sound, not affecting the cement and grass where they fell.

“Uraraka-kun, Tsuyu-chan - DON’T!”

Katsuki looked around, and his heart sank when he saw Uraraka’s short hair rush in, followed by Toad Face. “OI YOU DIPSHIT, COME BACK!”

“Iida, we need to go get help!” yelled Buzz Face.

“Kaminari, you go with Iida!” said Soy Sauce, pointing at the exit they had just come from. “Both of you go inside the stadium and split to alert the pros and the teachers as fast as you can!”

“STAND BACK!” roared Kirishima as the poncho guy fired his weapon once more towards them and towards the two mad girls. Dozen of small blades flew in their direction, and Kirishima planted his feet on the ground and hit them all back, fast enough to get most of them out of the way. The ones he couldn’t deflect sank in the grass with a sharp metal sound. Kirishima turned back, his face twisted by his quirk and anger. “Iida! Get the kids to safety and GO!”

“We’re not leaving you!” protested Porcupine, assuming a fighting stance. “We can fight as well! Guys!” She turned to the three boys, and although they were paler, they all seemed ready for battle.

Before Kirishima or Four-Eyes could say anything, Katsuki snarled “Fine, let them! Vanilla, make an ice wall! NOW!” he roared when the white-haired boy stared at him, confused. He jumped and, with the same swift motions as his father, spun his arm around, an ice barrier forming between them and the two villains.

“Bakugou, we can’t let kids fight, they have to -” began Soy Sauce.

“They’re the same age we were when we fought villains for the first time, and we made it through” Kirishima interrupted him, his eyes focused on the ice wall. “Let them.”

“Four-Eyes and Buzz Face if you’re going you’re going now !” Katsuki barked, looking around frantically. Where was Uraraka?

Four-Eyes got on his feet and headed towards Buzz Face. “Stay safe! Do not take rash decisions! And try to keep them away!” Without asking, Buzz Face jumped on his back and held his thumb out for him. The sound of Four-Eyes’ engines tingled in their ears, and next thing they knew the two of them had dashed away, lifting a cloud of dust in their wake. Just as they left, there was a loud ‘CRASH’, and Toad Face and Uraraka were both sent smashing against the ice wall and into the ground. They rolled on the floor on metres before they stopped, Toad Face unmoving and Uraraka trying to get back painfully on her feet.

Before anyone could do anything, the villain with the sunglasses had climbed on the wall and jumped high in the air, throwing five balls of energy. They all crashed with a crackling sound on the ground and, just as Uraraka was activating her quirk and smashing her hand on the ground to do a moonquake, two fuschia spheres crashed on her and Toad Face, making her cry out and collapse in pain.

“NO!” roared the boy, his voice raspy with horror and his eyes wide with despair. He leaned in and leapt forward, his hands joined together.

“Come back here! OI OLD MAN, COME BACK HERE YOU LITTLE FUCK !” The boy ignored his shouts and kept on running. What the fuck was wrong with these two? “Fuck! Kirishima, let’s go!”

He ran towards the ice wall, knowing his friend was following him, his palms sweating and ready to ignite. In front of him, the boy held a bright ball of light between his palm and, still running, he threw it with all his strength towards the sunglasses villain who was approaching Uraraka. The star shone brightly, flying like a bird for a moment, before it cracked and burnt and all but collapsed on itself. One second later, it exploded with a strong shock wave and a painfully high pitched sound that made Katsuki and Kirishima groan and hold their ears. The villain was propelled backwards, hitting the ice without breaking it. The boy created another star and threw it again, and this time the villain crashed into the ice, rolling away.

“Tsuyu-chan, Uraraka!” called Kirishima as they came near them. “Are you o-”

“Don’t come closer!” shrieked Uraraka, still on the ground. All around her, everything was floating, including her and Toad Face. She lifted her head up, her eyes wide in terror and her face white as a sheet. “I can’t control it anymore! My quirk - it won’t turn off! I -” she put her hands on her mouth, her eyes tearing up, and as much as she tried she couldn’t repress the nausea that got her throwing up. “I - I - can’t -” she tried to heave between her gags “Tsuyu - take - Tsu -”

“Sero!” belowed Kirishima. “Hurry!”

Katsuki looked around, searching for the boy, and he found him running after the sunglasses villain. Behind the wall, he heard shouts intensify, vibrating with terror.

The civilians.

“Vanilla!” he shouted at the kids behind them, running after Tape Face. “Come with me! Porcupine, make a barrier with your spikes, Strawberry, make a fire wall! Don’t let them get anywhere near you! Kirishima -”

“I know!” he cut him. “Sero, catch Tsuyu-chan and Uraraka!”

As both Porcupine and Strawberry rolled up their sleeves and Katsuki gave the orders, Tape Face came as close as he could to the two girls, who were now beginning to float very high in the sky, without getting caught up by Uraraka’s quirk. Above their heads, Uraraka was now just gagging violently without throwing up anything anymore, and with a horrible twisting feeling in his guts, Katsuki watched as she contracted herself around her stomach, her eyes rolling back before she finally fainted. Soy Sauce threw a large band of tape in Toad Face's direction, pulling her downwards until she was lying back next to them, gravity returned to her.

“Tsuyu-chan? Tsuyu-chan can you hear me?” asked Soy Sauce as he threw another band of tape in Uraraka’s direction.

Katsuki didn’t wait to hear the answer and ran towards the hole in the ice wall. “Kirishima, if that asshole’s quirk is to force ours to keep on going, then -”

“I know!” he repeated, his usually goofy face devoid of anything but focus and anger. “I’ll take the blows, all of them. None of these guys can do anything against me!”

They jumped through the hole and, in front of them, found the boy surrounded by both villain, the one with the gun sitting casually on the ice wall, firing close to the boy to keep him jumping around, clearly toying with him, while the one with the sunglasses fought him head on. The latter was much faster than Katsuki had expected, and the boy was truly beginning to struggle - and it didn’t help that he was whipping a huge knife right before his face.

“STAND THE FUCK BACK BASTARD!” he roared, forgetting about the original plan when he saw the boy step back and trip. He propelled himself forward, changing directions midair and rushed towards the boy and the villain.

But too late. Helpless, he watched as the boy stood back up, hands joined around a small ball of light, and as a glowing fuschia sphere bolted from the villain’s arm, hitting the boy flat in the chest. Katsuki roared in fury and, placing his curled right hand on his opened left palm, he strafed the asshole with dozens of small explosive shots, forcing him to jump backwards.

Behind them, he heard Kirishima yell “Just go! Protect the civilians, I’ll handle him! Keep the villains and the gates separated from them!”

Katsuki landed, sliding on the side, and ran immediately towards the boy, curled up on the ground. “Oi Old Man!” he shouted. “Are you -”

He grabbed him by the shoulder and turned him around, and was blinded for a brief second. He squinted his eyes and realised the boy was holding a star between his hands when he felt a heat wave reach him. The boy kicked him on the shoulder, forcing him to walk back. “Don’t come!” he yelled, his red eyes wide with terror. “I can’t stop it - I can’t do anything - it won’t stop growing!” His face was pale with fear, his forehead damp. “You gotta take him down - the guy with the leather jacket - take him down! Dad, if I can’t stop - if it keeps growing, and I can’t sweat anymore, the helium will begin its cycle of nuclear fusion, and produce carbon and oxygen and - I won’t control it! I won’t be able to - I won’t - you gotta -” He winced, hard, lips curled over his teeth and his hands shook as the star he was holding became as big as basketball. “Dad, GO!”

Katsuki gritted his teeth with a loud “Fuck!” and looked around for the asshole with the leather jacket. Behind him, Kirishima was fighting against the poncho guy, hardened in his Unbreakable form as the villain threw blade after blade in his direction. He had obviously been destroying the ice wall the bastard had been standing on, but the fucker had shoes that made him jump ridiculously high, keeping out of Kirishima’s reach. A few meters away, Vanilla was finishing to erect a massive ice wall that kept all the civilians separated from the fight, and next to the wall, the blue warp gate still shone brightly, slowly swirling around its center.

“Bakugou!” Vanilla slipped on the ice path he formed before his feet and reached Katsuki and the boy. He tried to come close to him, but the heat emanating from the star was becoming painful.

“GO!” repeated the boy, his brown spikes falling on his face with the sweat.

“Vanilla let’s go!” Katsuki ordered, turning away begrudgingly from the panting boy and ran towards the hole in the ice wall, leaving Kirishima to deal with the poncho guy. “Did you see the fucking bastard with the gross arms?”

“Yeah!” he panted “He went back from where we were! I think he - Hiro ?”

Vanilla stopped running, and Katsuki’s eyes widened at the scene awaiting them outside the ice wall. Toad Face laid on the ground, still unconscious. Uraraka floated unanimated in the air, and Soy Sauce was holding onto her thanks to his tape, but it seemed somehow her quirk had reached him, and he was holding onto the ground with his other arm hopelessly taped to a tree. And Strawberry was on fire. Large, roaring, orange and red flames reaching so high up, like they wanted to reach the sky, burning like the blazing sun.

And his screams were blood curling.

“Hiro!” Vanilla dashed towards his twin brother so fast he passed Katsuki, half sliding half running on his ice path. “HIRO!”

“REI!” he howled, his pain and terror twisting his voice into high pitched sounds. “HELP ME! HELP ME !”

“HIRO STOP! STOP IT!” Vanilla ran straight into the fire fearlessly, trying to stop the flames with his ice, and Katsuki stopped running, because fuck he had no idea what the fuck was he supposed to do. “STOP IT HIRO!”

“I CAN’T! REI, I CAN’T! HELP ME! IT BURNS, HELP ME!” he screeched, his flames growing bigger and scorching the air all around him. Vanilla was thrown away by the power of the fire, and he had to cover his arms and legs with deep chunks of ice to plant in the ground for him to be able to advance without being tossed out. He yelled and sobbed and begged, again and again, begged and begged his twin for him to just stop.

Behind the flames, Porcupine was wailing and convulsing on the ground, her clothes torn apart by her own spikes, the hardened skin so full of acid it was swelling and dripping out, reaching even her face and twisting it apart. And just when he thought it couldn’t get worse, a massive shadow suddenly spread on the ground. When he turned around, he found the boy, slowly rising in the air, arms wide open, his body pulled in by the gravity of a star twice his size.

His face paler than ever. The bags under his eyes dark. Blood dripping from his ears, his nose, covering his mouth, dribbling down his chin. His eyes wide open, staring at the scorching red star. His clothes beginning to burn on the borders and catch fire, the air around him simmering with heat. Ever so slowly, he turned his head towards Katsuki, and his face was more than he could bear.

The boy’s eyes filled with tears and he took in a deep breath.

“DAAAAAAAD!”

The cry resonated in his very bones, and Katsuki forgot about the villains and the others and he just ran .

Fuck .

He knew what he had to do. He knew there was no other solutions. He had no choice. He had to do it. He had to.

Fuck .

Releasing explosions after explosions, he dodged the fuschia spheres that seemed to come from all sides and threw himself towards the boy, wincing hard at the blazing heat as he got closer to him, his palms opened towards him.

Fuck.

Drawing the energy from deep inside and taking advantage of the sweat he produced, he let out a massive explosion right in the boy’s stomach, strong enough to send him flying away from the star. The force of the blow propelled Katsuki backwards, and he had to turn into a flip and blast his explosions at full speed to catch the boy before he hit the ground. He slammed his body into his, his heart clenching hard when he noticed it was completely limp, and as hard as he tried to control his landing near the fire and ice battle, he lost balance and let go of the boy’s unanimated body, making them both roll away on the grass. Katsuki shook his head, standing up on his arms and looked around frantically, his eyes finally stumbling upon an unmoving shape, brown hair soaked with sweat.

“Old Man!” he jumped to his feet and ran towards him, lifting him up and holding his shoulders in his arm. The boy’s eyes were closed, and Katsuki couldn’t tell if he had a pulse or not because his hands were shaking and he couldn’t feel anything, and his round cheeks were so white it just looked like he was -

“Old man !” he shouted, shaking him a little, then harder, and harder. “Old Man!” He held him tighter against him and shook him hard, ready to do anything to get a reaction out of him. “Kenta! KENTA!”

“Something wrong?” asked a raspy voice on his left.

Without thinking, Katsuki held out his left hand and fired a huge blast. When the smoke disappeared, the fucking bastard was still standing, having somehow managed to dodge his attack. He smiled at him, showing his yellow teeth.

“Bakugou Katsuki” he said very slowly, as if he wanted to enjoy every second of it. “You have no idea how long I have been dreaming of this moment.”

“Who the fuck are you?!” Katsuki growled at him, his fury so powerful it was almost like it was flaying him from inside.

The asshole laughed out loud, adjusting his sunglasses. “Of course, you have no idea who I am right? What a shame. But you see, I know who you are. I’ve spent hours, days, years studying you, hoping one day I’ll be able finally corner you. And now look at you. Not so tough without your little team of sidekicks, huh? Not so great without Red Riot and Deku and Creati to back you up? Where is your pride gone, now that you’re without your precious Uravity?”

He laughed again, like he had just told the best fucking joke the world had ever heard. “Don’t know if she’ll ever make it out. You see, Blades over there -” he pointed over his shoulder towards the first ice wall where Kirishima’s fight was getting louder and louder “- already took care of her in our reality, but now I’m thinking … just how good would it feel, to just tear her apart right before your very eyes? And if we dealt with her right here right now, she wouldn’t cause us so much trouble later, now would she?”

“You son of a-” Katsuki tried to get up, letting Kenta’s head fall gently on the floor and rising his palms up, but the sunglasses villain reached behind his back and pulled out a gun, black and shining under the setting sun.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you” he chuckled. “I can’t believe even as a kid you were this foul mouthed. Who would have thought.” He took one step towards Katsuki, holding his gun aimed at his head, the corners of his mouth twitching under his insane smile. “I have dreamt of this day” he almost whispered “I would spend hours awake at night, just thinking of how I would kill you, of what I would tell you before you died … and now look at me, just rambling!” He laughed again, overjoyed.

“Is that your idea of a good end speech?” Katsuki spat. Stall - anything will do. “What a fucking waste of my time and your saliva.”

The fucker laughed in disbelief. “Ain’t that a true hero, showing a brave heart even at death’s door. Well as a matter of fact no, it wasn’t what I had planned to tell you. You see, a few years ago, you stormed a house down in the Roppongi neighbourhood, you and your sidekicks. You destroyed everything in the house, every piece of furniture, every cherished object, every memory. You were so focused on finding the owner of the house, you paid little attention to the children looking at you from outside the garden. You found a woman in the basement with a few henchmen, the head of a very powerful drug gang. When she tried to use her quirk, you fought her, seven against three, and a few moments later they were all dead.”

Katsuki narrowed his eyes, not feeling even a little bit sorry. He felt the heat increase slowly, and without looking he knew what was going on, his dread weighing on him: the star that had been floating in the sky was slowly falling towards the ground.

“That woman was my mother” the sunglasses dude continue, oblivious to the immediate danger they were all in. “You murdered her, right before my eyes, because her job wasn’t what society judged acceptable. I’ve wondered, ever since we came up with that plan, what face you would make when you would hear about the type of hero you’ve become. A bastard who doesn’t hesitate to kill innocent people, who tears honest families apart. A hero that -”

“Innocent people?” Katsuki interrupted him, chuckling without humor. “Honest people? Give me a fucking break. If I did storm whatever dumpster you were living in, there must have been a reason. And as for that mother of yours, if she was dealing drugs then she must have been responsible for more death that just three junkies. That bitch got what she deserved.”

Katsuki’s satisfaction at the villain’s smile being wiped clean off his face was immediately erased by his realisation that he had made a huge mistake. The villain’s grip tightened on the gun, his hand trembling a little. “Is that so” he simply answered, his voice tense. “So you were already rotten to the bone even when you were this young.”

He took a deep breath and, behind him, there was a loud crash, and Kirishima was thrown out of the first ice wall, rolling on the ground. He didn’t turn to look and only gave Katsuki a twitching smile. “Well then, let’s get on with it. Any last words?”

Katsuki’s brain turned at full speed, trying to come up with something, something - anything . He opened his mouth, not knowing what the fuck he had to say to avoid being shot in the head, when suddenly all the ice walls exploded and shattered in a million pieces, fire engulfing everything.

Final-fucking-ly, Icyhot had decided to show his fucking face. About damn ti-

No. Something was up. That wasn’t Icyhot’s fire, Katsuki realised as even the villain in front of him turned to stare at the sudden chaos behind him. The flames weren’t raging furiously, they weren’t spreading all over the place. They were dancing, twirling around and gathering together and rising high above the ground, higher and higher up, until they formed a thick body, and clawed paws, and a strong jaw armed with sharp burning teeth.

Towering them even higher than the star, a fire dragon roared out loud, shaking the very ground they were standing on.

The dragon twisted and turned and, his mouth wide opened, it dove right where the poncho villain was standing. Kirishima had barely enough time to stand up, a small girl with round glasses appeared out of nowhere, flying above the ground, and snatched him up before the flames crashed onto the floor and spread all around the place like a forest fire. The poncho villain jumped high above the ground, holding his weapon before him and fired hundreds of blades.

Amidst the flames, there was a loud ‘PANG!’, like a very noisy and dry gunshot, and a strong girl with long blond hair flew out, fierce and fearless, heading for the blades. A second before they made contact with her, she twisted in the hair and, putting both her hands before her, she released a new ‘PANG!’, and suddenly all the blades switched directions and bolted towards the poncho fucker. The villain barely had time to escape his own weapons, the girl had already turned, doing a flip in midair, and with a ridiculous speed she moved around the air with a succession of the ‘PANG!’ her quirk seemed to be making. She launched herself at the villain and, roaring out loud, she put her right hand before her, and with a new gunshot noise, she suddenly sent the villain flying away, far far away from them. She then let herself fall, only to be caught again by the black-haired girl with glasses, who seemed to be flying with something attached to her soles, something like an engine.

“What -” breathed the sunglasses villain, lowering his gun as he watched the scene that played out before him. Katsuki looked up, sweating too much for it to be good news, and saw the star come down on them, slowly but surely. “What is the meaning of this, this is -”

He suddenly turned back to Katsuki, just as he was trying to get back on his feet. “You’re not going anywhere Bakugou Katsuki” he snarled, his mouth twisted. “I’ll end you, right here ri-”

Before he could finish his sentence, a huge ice hammer slammed into him, throwing him on the side and making him crash on the tree Tape Face had been holding to. As he slammed and fell there, Soy Sauce and Uraraka fell back on the ground, and the twins’ fire and ice stopped raging. Katsuki looked back at Kenta, still unconscious on the ground, and pulled him up, grunting as he tried to lift him on his back. They had to get the fuck out of there, fast , if they didn’t want to end up being crashed and burnt by a fucking star.

“Come on Kenta” he growled “Get the fuck up!” He started running as fast as he could with his limp body on his shoulders. “Come on!”

Next to him, the girl with the engineering soles dove in, and when she flew back up, Katsuki realised she was holding the sunglasses villain - whose sunglasses had broken with the impact - and that she was barefoot, and the engines were in her feet. She flew upwards and, without warning, she let go of the man. The villain shrieked as he fell, and in his fall, he was met by a tall, muscular, black-haired boy. The tall boy opened his left arm, and the entire left side of his naked chest shone brightly as ice ripped from his skin, creating a giant ice pillar. The boy grabbed the base of the pillar with both hands, twirled it and tried to smash it into the villain, but somehow he managed to dodge it, letting the huge creation crash down on the ground, creating a small earthquake.

Katsuki looked back in front of him, where Tape Face was kneeling next to Toad Face.

“Bakugou!” he screamed, white and panicked. “Something is wrong with Tsuyu-chan! She’s barely breathing, and one of the blades has stabbed her in the thigh!”

“Take her and go inside the stadium!” he snarled at him. “GO! And bring - “

“Look!” Tape Face pointed at the exit. Pro Heroes and teachers were suddenly pouring out, rushing towards them.

“We have no time for that!” Katsuki roared, his voice raspy as he adjusted Kenta’s weight on his shoulders and headed towards Uraraka. “We have to evacuate! The fucking star is going to obliterate us all!”

He knelt next to Uraraka’s pale figure, slapping her gently on the cheeks. “Uraraka! Uraraka! ” he shouted urgently, pulling on her arm, ready to drag her to safety if he had to. “Come on you two, get THE FUCK UP already!!”

He looked up at the star, and he realised that, as fast as he could ever run, he would never make it anywhere at all: the star was about to crash on them. He could already feel its blazing heat burning his skin, the wind it created with every wave of matter it produced -

A twirl of blond hair flashed before him, and the strong girl stood firmly on the ground, holding out her arms above her head, palms facing the star.

PANG!

The floor cracked under her feet, and a shock wave lifted up a cloud of dust all around them.

PANG!

She grunted out loud and was brutally forced to her knees, the earth giving in under the weight and power of her quirk. Her arms shook as she held them up, her hands twitching. Above their heads, the star slowed down and slowly came to a stop, waves of hot wind blowing hard all around them.

PANG!

Very slowly, the star began to rise back up, inch by inch. The girl growled, panting, and put one feet back on the ground, then the other, her arms bent over her shoulders so that her hands were on the level of her head.

PANG! PANG! PANG! PANG! PANG!

She roared out loud, hot wind howling and twirling all around her as she pushed her arms back up like she was lifting the weight of the world. The star rose faster, higher, and, like a rocket that just started its launching, it exponentially began to bolt away, flying out towards the sky, higher and higher, until it was nothing but a very bright point in the sky. The girl kept her position, her entire body shaking from head to toe, panting hard. Next to them, the twins were in each other’s arm, Strawberry unconscious and covered in sweat and black smoke, Vanilla holding him tight against him, shaking with cold, his body covered in frost as he looked at the tall boy who was running in their direction.

“T-T-T-Tou-Tou-ya!” he stuttered, frozen to the bone. “T-Tou-Tou-Tou-y-ya-a!”

In front of Katsuki, the girl finally abandoned of her pose, bending over to put her hands on her knees, breathing hard. She stood a little bit taller, shoulder slumped, and turned around, showing her face to Katsuki.

Her big brown eyes locked with his, full of rage and disbelief, her entire face twisted into a deep scowl. Her round cheeks were puffed with anger, and her shoulder blades long blond hair were a ruffled mess. She glared at Katsuki, flexing her twitching arms and hands, then looked at Uraraka, unconscious on the floor, her arm in Katsuki’s grasp, then at Kenta, limp on his shoulders.

Behind her, Katsuki saw Aizawa rush in, his white cloth spread out. She opened her mouth right before the binding cloth snapped around her and yanked her back.

“WHAT THE FUCK DAD?!”

Chapter Text

Katsuki sighed once more, so annoyed  he was close to flip the table in front of him. “I’m telling you, I don’t know anything about these guys” he repeated for the thousandth time, waving at the two portraits and the picture placed on the table in front of him and trying as hard as he could to keep his voice down and to not be rude.

The policeman in front of him stared at him blankly, as if he was trying to determine by Katsuki’s deep scowl whether he was lying or not. So Katsuki glared back, irritated to no end by the stupidity of his situation.

A couple of hours ago, pro heroes and teachers had invaded the outside of the stadium, tying down the sunglasses vilain, the angry blond girl, the small engine one and the tall boy. The angry girl had roared and sworn out loud, fighting like a mad lioness against the binding cloth, and the tall boy had tried to fight back too, until Midnight had arrived the way she had last time, and they had all fallen deeply asleep. Before he could even understand what was happening, Kenta and Uraraka had been snatched away from him, and he had been dragged back inside the stadium. He had watched, frustrated and powerless, as the pros had rushed around his unconscious friends and the kids, shouting orders and running around to calm down the crowds of spectators who had scattered, terrified. Once they had been deep inside the stadium, he had been hurried and locked up inside an empty prep room and had been left there alone, panting and brooding, trying to make sense of whatever the fuck had just happened.

None of it made any sense. They had been attacked, again, and this time within the walls of UA - which meant somewhere in the future, they had managed to worm their way up from the gates to the stadium. And this time villains , actual villains had walked through and had almost managed to get to each and everyone of them. Uraraka and Kenta, who had been just a few minutes before laughing and chatting carelessly, still elated by their win, had been both sent way past the limit of their quirks their body allowed. Their tortured expression kept floating in Katsuki’s mind, haunted by their white faces and wide, terrified eyes.

And then there was the Mad Girl. The one that looked like an angry and hungry lioness, her long blond hair almost floating around her. Her brown eyes had been furious and accusatory, as if she had been wondering why the fuck was he not single-handedly managing the entire situation - yeah, cause he had that kind of power when faced with a goddamn star ready to crash itself on them, all the while dragging two unconscious bodies, being surrounded by his passed out friends and having a crowd of civilians running around in total anarchy.

Big brown eyes. Blond floaty hair. Round pink cheeks. Scowling like she was ready to bite and rip the air itself with her teeth. And a quirk so fucking loud, yet powerful enough to have sent Kenta’s star flying away, along with the poncho villain and his blades Kirishima had struggled so much against.

The villains , he had thought, distracting himself from the unwanted thoughts that were bubbling and swelling in his mind. The sunglasses one had talked so much, pissing him off with his pitiful side story, babbling about how his drug-dealing villain of a mom had died apparently trying to kill Katsuki, and somehow he was responsible for that. He had called his partner Blades too, and had said that he had taken care of Uraraka in their reality. Katsuki’s heart had sank in his stomach, trying to make sense of that information. What did it mean? Was she injured? Had she been rendered quirkless, like that dude the past year? Was she dead? He had recoiled from that idea. She couldn’t possibly be dead. Kenta had said she was the Number Three Hero. Surely she couldn’t die so easily. The girl was tough as hell, she was meant to become an even tougher woman. There was simply just no way she would have lost and died if faced with villains as pathetic as these … was there?

Unbidden, the thoughts that had bursted in his mind earlier that day had snaked their way back at the center of his mind, despite his efforts to not contemplate them. Where had he been? If they had taken care of Uraraka, he must have been somewhere around, right? He must have been with her, he wouldn’t have left her to face them on her own, would he? He had thought about it for a second, trying to put himself in situation. Had they been in any fighting situation, he would have trusted her to go her own way and make it back safely. Maybe that was what had happened. Maybe somewhere in the distant future, he had let her wander away from him, and she had never made it back.

He had been stuck for close to an hour with these disturbingly depressing thoughts when the door had opened, revealing Ectoplasm, Midnight, Aizawa and Principal Nezu. The principal had politely asked him to follow them, his face still the same mask of frozen cheerfulness, and they had escorted him in full silence to another room, deeper down in the stadium, somewhere he didn’t even know he could go. They had told him to sit on the single chair in front of a simple table and to wait, and they had left, the lock of the door resonating in the empty and silent white room.

He had waited for ever, trapped with his own chaotic thoughts, until someone had finally arrived - a young detective, seemingly in his late twenties early thirties, that he recognised from being the one who was in charge of the police forces when he had been abducted at Kamino, and the one who had interrogated him back then. He had asked him hundreds of questions, and if some seemed fair most made no sense at all: where was he when the warp gate showed up? Who was he with when he left the stage? Could anyone give the police confirmation that he was where he claimed he was? Could he pinpoint his exact movements from the moment he left the infirmary to the moment the pros arrived on the place of the attack?

He had pulled out three A4 sized pictures: two hand drawn portraits and one photography, and had asked him to look at them very carefully. For close to five minutes he had stayed silent and had let Katsuki glare at them before looking back up at him, then back down, up again, back again. The two hand drawn portrait were of the poncho guy - Blades - and another bearded guy, who looked like he could definitely use a good night rest and a little bit of food. The pictures was of the sunglasses villain. He looked at the camera with cold fury and hatred, his face bruised.

The questions had then resumed: did he recognised these faces? Did any of them ring a bell? Had he ever seen them somewhere at some point in his life? What if they had or didn’t have a beard, or if they had different hairstyle? Did they remind him of anyone he knew?

When he had answered ‘no’ to almost all of these questions, the interrogation had taken a very much sour turn. How were things going at UA? Did he feel like he was being treated unfairly in any way? Did he hold any grudges against anyone? Against Icyhot, or Deku? Did he ever felt like acting upon his frustration regarding their rivalry? Did he sometimes think back to what the League of Villains had told him? Did he happen to think about Stain’s ideology?

Katsuki had thought he was going to burst with anger and indignation. After almost two hours of interrogation, the detective had ended up asking him, for the umptenth time, to look at the pictures and tell him if there was anything at all that he recognised.

And there they were.

The detective sighed and finally collected the pictures. “I am surprised you didn’t ask me anything about your classmates. Does their well-being bear no interest to you?” The question wasn’t asked with any undertones, just simple curiosity, which made Katsuki even angrier.

“Didn’t think I’d be allowed to” he replied quietly between his teeth, his voice a low growl. “I guessed you would tell me that pro heroes and medics were taking care of them, that there was no need for me to worry.”

The police officer didn’t smile, just cocked his head thoughtfully to the side, his hands joined under his chin.

“That’s a very smart reasoning, very mature of you” he commented. “Most people would be very anxious if they were in your place. I’m surprised you are able to think this rationally.”

Katsuki pursed his lips into a thin, hard line. “If I want to be the number one hero someday, I cannot let my emotions cloud my judgement. I was told that one too many time.” A short silence. “So am I allowed to ask?”

The police officer considered him, his expression blank. “Who do you wish to hear about first?”

Katsuki thought about it quickly. Obviously he wanted to know about Uraraka and Kenta, and wanted to make sure Kirishima was okay. But he didn’t want the police officer to deduce anything from his answer, so he simply grumbled “All of them, starting with the ones who were the most badly injured.”

After another short silence, the man started talking. “Asui Tsuyu was our biggest concern. She has been hit by one of this man’ blades -” he showed him the portrait of the poncho villain “- which has put her into a coma. Fortunately, it seems the three young persons who passed the warp gate last have brought with them both an explanation and a solution for her.”

“You’ve interrogated them too?” Katsuki deduced, trying not to cross his arms over his chest. He knew just how important body language was, and he had spent the past hours being very careful not to make anything that could be misinterpreted.

The police nodded. “We have interrogated everyone so far, including Asui as soon as she woke up. You were kept last.”

Katsuki couldn’t keep the corner of his mouth from twitching with anger and frustration. “So Toa- Asui is out of danger. Who was next?”

“Todoroki Hiro and Rei, Bakugou Kenta, Ashido Hana and Uraraka Ochako” he replied without even so much as blinking away for a second. Katsuki felt his inside tighten. “This man’s quirk -” he held up the photography of the angry sunglasses asshole “- has done quite a lot of damage to these young people. I assume you have already guessed what he did to them?”

“He kept them from turning off their quirk, forcing them to use it until they couldn’t take it anymore” Katsuki mumbled, images of Kenta’s bloodied face and of Porcupine’s convulsing and twisted body flashing in his mind.

“Correct” said the officer, nodding again. “As soon as they were touched by his quirk while using theirs, they were trapped. Even after they lost consciousness, their bodies kept on using their quirks. Todoroki Hiro has been quite severely burnt, although he shouldn’t keep any scars for longer than two days. For Todoroki Rei it’s the opposite, he froze himself in an attempt to stop his brother from burning alive. His nerves should also recover in a couple of days, and he will be able to feel his extremities again. Bakugou Kenta -” Katsuki’s heart gave a small clench “- was in the most critical condition out of them five. According to Recovery Girl’s team, he should still hear a ringing sound in his ears and have a light headache for at least twenty four hours. His palms and his face have also been quite damaged because of the heat from the star he created, but his worst wound was the one you inflicted upon him when you tried to push him away from it.”

It felt like someone had just poured a bucket of ice-cold water on his head. “I didn‘t have a choice!” he barked, his voice finally rising as he lost his cool. “He was going to be obliterated if I didn’t push him away from it! Even if I had launched myself at him, I could have gotten caught in the star’s orbit or -”

The police officer raised his eyebrows ever so slightly at his outburst. “I know that very well” he interrupted him. “I was in no way accusing you of anything, just stating the facts. The blast from your explosion has broken two of his ribs and caused an internal bleeding. Now he got out of surgery two hours ago and is mostly fine, but he will still need to keep his bandages for a solid week.”

Katsuki fell back on his chair, his breathing short.

“Ashido Hana” the officer continued, still staring at him “has been healed very quickly as soon as her quirk stopped. She was the only one who didn’t lose consciousness, but it still took its toll on her, as she was very much shaken by this experience. As for Uraraka Ochako, her inner ear canals has been strained, so she will be experiencing nausea and balance trouble for the next few days. Her stomach has also been quite damaged because of all the vomiting she did, but according to Recovery Girl it has healed perfectly.”

He pushed the pictures aside. “Kirishima Eijirou and Sero Hanta are fine too, and after I interrogated them they have been allowed to leave first for their dorms.”

Katsuki stayed silent, glaring at the table, his relief stained by his bitterness and anger. “What about the three others?” he growled quietly, lifting his eyes but not his head. “The ones who have crossed the warp gate last.”

“Ah, yes.” The officer pulled a thin green dark blue folder and begun fumbling with it. “Bakugou Miho, Todoroki Touya and Iida Tenmei. Endeavour has helped us confirm their identity by bringing in the doctor he had contacted the night the first children arrived. We used your and Todoroki Shouto’s blood sample to run the test, and we also called Iida Tenya in for the young girl. Which reminded me -” he pulled out a few stampled papers from the folder and put them in front of him “- the results for Bakugou Kenta’s paternity test have arrived, and they are positive. Which means he truly is your child.”

I know that , he wanted to bark, but it still tied a hard knot in his stomach to have a spoken, written, official confirmation. For a second, he thought of Uraraka, and he wondered whether he should ask them to test her blood with Kenta’s as well, before he dismissed the thought angrily, feeling his neck and face warm up.

“Also” the officer continued, not showing any signs of acknowledgment at Katsuki’s slight blush “according to Iida Tenmei, right before they intervened, Leaks was talking to you.”

“Who?” he asked, raising one eyebrow, irritated and confused.

He held up the photography once more. “Leaks” he repeated. “That is the name under which this man is known as a villain.” He put the photography down and joined his hands on the table. “Was he talking to you?”

“Yeah” Katsuki growled, crossing then quickly uncrossing his arms, mimicking the same posture as the officer, hands joined on the table.

“What did he tell you?

Katsuki sighed. “He knew me from the future. Seemed to be here for some sort of vendetta I guess. Apparently I killed his mother.”

The police officer blinked and narrowed his eyes almost imperceptibly, and Katsuki almost punched himself. “In the course of duty” he quickly added. “He said I was pursuing a drug gang and his mother was the head.”

“Did he perchance tell you the name of this gang?”

Katsuki shook his head. “Only that it was on the Roppongi neighbourhood, and that two henchmen died with his mother. And that it was a powerful gang.”

The officer leaned in and adjusted the recorder, clearly interested. “What more did he tell you?”

“That he had dreamt of killing me?” he continued, trying to remembrement the entire conversation. “That he basically held a grudge against me for what happened to his mother, that I wasn’t so powerful anymore without my sidekicks and ... colleagues.”

“Which colleagues? Did he give you names?”

Thank the gods he knew these names. “Kirishima Eijirou, Midoriya Izuku, Yaoyorozu Momo, and … Uraraka Ochako.” He frowned at the memory. “He said something about this one -” he leaned forward and singled out the drawing of the poncho guy “- something about Uraraka. He said ‘Blades took care of her in our reality’.”

“Did he say if she was dead?”

Katsuki shook his head, trying to push back the image of Uraraka’s white face, her body unmoving. “Only that, that he had ‘taken care of her’ in the future.”

The officer thought about it for a moment. “We do have information about this situation from Bakugou Miho.”

“Is she alright?” The question escaped his lips before he could stop himself, and he slouched a little, annoyed but still glaring at the man in front of him. “Uraraka. Is she alright in the future?”

To his great surprise, the officer cracked a thin smile. “I suggest you ask Bakugou Miho herself about that. She has quite the temper, I reckon you’ll enjoy talking with her.”

Katsuki grunted, remembering the Mad Girl’s shouts before Aizawa had trapped her with his binding cloth. “That’s all the villain told me. He seemed obsessed with me, but they didn’t hesitate to attack the class rep when they recognised him, or Kirishima. Even Uraraka, that guy -” he pointed at the photography “- said if he killed her here and now she wouldn’t be so troublesome in the future.”

“I see.” The police officer stared at him, his face once more a neutral mask focused on Katsuki. Eventually, he gathered all the documents in his folder and stopped the recording. “I feel I must be completely honest with you Bakugou. We had initially decided we were going to take you to the police station and keep you in custody for a while, we had even contacted your parents. All Might interfered on your behalf, and convinced us to change our plans and interrogate you here instead, along with the other students.”

Katsuki clenched his teeth and felt his face settle in a deep scowl. So it was just as he had suspected.

“Eraserhead also let us know that both you and Uraraka Ochako have been put on house arrest, which would allow us to keep an eye on you. We also took into consideration some additional information from the three young people who arrived earlier, and have concluded that we could let you stay at UA for the time being. But you have to realise -” he leaned forward, looking at Katsuki without a trace of accusation or suspicion in his eyes, just sincerity “- you have been at the center of almost all of the last few big events that have shaken Japan. This one is the last of a list that grows longer with every passing day. To the external eye, you are the common point in all these attacks -”

“Which makes me the main suspect” Katsuki finished quietly, balling his fists. He thought back to what Recovery Girl had told him, how his behaviour was twisting how people viewed him, how people would assume the worst from him.

The officer nodded. “According to Todoroki Rei however, it seems you were the one who thought of a quick plan to protect the civilian from being targeted as well.” His small smile came back. “Without your fast thinking, we might have had a much more serious situation than we already had. So no matter what we decide through our investigation, know that you have the gratitude of the police forces, Bakugou Katsuki.”

Katsuki glared some more, torn between his anger and his embarrassment at the unexpected praise. “Tch.” He looked away, his boiling anger slightly soothed. “T’s fine. It’s what All Might would have done. It’s what heroes do.”

The police officer nodded and got up. “Right. Follow me please.”

Biting back a grunt when his legs finally unfolded after so many hours of him not moving, Katsuki got on his feet and walked silently behind the officer’s broad back for a while. When he stopped, he found Four-Eyes standing up, changed into his school uniform and holding a bag, next to Toad Face, sitting in a wheelchair. She looked exhausted and pale, but her lips still stretched into a thin smile when she saw him.

“Bakugou-kun, ribbit” she croaked, her voice hoarse. “I’m glad you -”

“That was fucking stupid of you!” he spat with unnecessary strength, feeling all of his anger, frustration, worry and nervousness mix together and slowly but surely boil back up to the surface. “You could have gotten killed, or worse! What if that bastard had -”

“Bakugou-kun!” Four-Eyes interrupted him angrily. “No need to pour oil on the fire. Tsuyu-chan already feels bad for worrying everyone.” He held up the bag to Katsuki and kept talking before he could add anything else. “Here. Your bag. It was supposed to be brought back to the dorm, but after we were attacked it was left behind.”

Probably because they didn’t expect me to stay.

He snatched his duffle bag with a growl and tossed it over his shoulder, glaring at both Four-Eyes and Toad Face.

“Come on” said the officer. “I’ll escort you to the car that will bring you back to your dorm. All the other students have already been taken back. Tomorrow is your resting day, so you should be able to relax and rest properly.”

Katsuki buried his hands in his pockets and walked behind the officer, letting Four-Eyes push Toad Face’s wheelchair. Somewhere in his bag, he felt his phone vibrate. He looked inside for a bit as they stepped outside, noticing it was already pitch black, and finally pulled out the device. He climbed in the back seat of the car, leaving the front seat for Four-Eyes and letting the police officer take care of getting Toad Face in the car while he unlocked his screen.

9.37pm

24 Missed calls from Old Hag, Old Man.

81 New messages from Old Hag, Old Man.

Of course that would happen. With a deep sigh, he dismissed the missed calls and taped on the messages, opening his father’s first.

[Today, 5.24 pm] I am so proud of you son. I knew you would win.

[Today, 5.26 pm] I called Grandma and Grandpa, they are also very very happy for you.

[Today, 5.26 pm] I sent them pictures.

[Today, 5.26 pm] Katsuki_first_place_second_year.jpg

[Today, 5.26 pm] Katsuki_cute_girl_on_shoulders_1.jpg

[Today, 5.26 pm] Katsuki_medal_endeavour.jpg

[Today, 5.26 pm] Katsuki_cute_girl_on_shoulders_2.jpg

[Today, 5.26 pm] Katsuki_waves_at_crowd.jpg

[Today, 5.27 pm] Call us when you have a moment, maybe tomorrow :-)? I really hope you are proud of yourself, because we are very much.

[Today, 6.49 pm] Katsuki are you alright?

[Today, 6.49 pm] Katsuki please, let us know everything is fine, we are very worried.

[Today, 6.49 pm] I love you.

Katsuki sighed again and typed a quick answer. In front of him, the driver had started the car’s engine, and he had begun driving in the dark, headlights on.

[Today, 9.38] Everything’s fine. Just got out of interrogation, heading for the dorm. Will call you tomorrow. Don’t worry anymore.

[Today, 9.38] Love you too.

He moved on to his mother’s texts, and already felt his irritation swell just staring at the all caps messages. He had told her one thousand times to cool it down with the fucking punctuation marks, he thought angrily as he scrolled back up to reach the first texts.

[Yesterday, 8.02 pm] That boy is adorable!!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.02 pm] Wish you could be like that more often little punk!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.03 pm] How old is he???

[Yesterday, 8.04 pm] They gave him a uniform?? Is he going to school as well???

[Yesterday, 8.05 pm] !!!!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.05 pm] Katsuki who is the girl behind him???!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.05 pm] The one with the brown hair!!!! They look the same!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.05 pm]  KATSUKI!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.06 pm] ANSWER GODDAMMIT!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.06 pm] PICK UP YOUR DAMN PHONE!!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.06 pm] YOU BETTER BE DEAD, DEAF OR DYING KATSUKI!!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.06 pm] KA!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.07 pm] TSU!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.07 pm] KI!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.07 pm] KATSUKI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.09 pm] IF YOU DON’T PICK UP YOUR PHONE I SWEAR I’LL COME TO SCHOOL AND KICK YOUR ASS!!!!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.10 pm] WHO IS THIS GIRL?????!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.11 pm] KATSUKI IF I SOMEHOW LEARN THAT YOU ARE READING THESE TEXTS AND NOT ANSWERING I SWEAR THIS WILL BE YOUR VERY LAST MISTAKE

[Yesterday, 8.11 pm] YOU’LL WISH YOU HAD BEEN KEPT WITH THOSE VILLAINS BACK AT KAMINO!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.11 pm] YEAH THAT’S RIGHT YOU HEARD ME!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.12 pm] Are you asleep????!!

[Yesterday, 8.13 pm] KATSUKI ANSWER FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.14 pm] AHA!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.14 pm] I found her name!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.12 pm] She’s Uraraka Ochako!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.14 pm] You can’t hide shit from me, you’ll remember that Katsuki!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.14 pm] She’s the girl you fought against last year!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.14 pm] Is she your girlfriend?????

“What the fuck?!” Katsuki barked at his phone, his heart drumming furiously as he gripped the device hard. Next to him, Toad Face jumped, surprised by the sudden interjection.

“Bakugou-kun? Is something the matter?” asked Four-Eyes, turning to look at him in alarm.

Katsuki clicked his tongue. “Nothing” he growled, thankful for the darkness hiding his mad blush. He was about to keep scrolling down the Old Hag’s messages, but after a short silence Four-Eyes began talking again.

“I feel like I owe you an apology.”

Katsuki looked back up, slumping on his seat. “Ha?”

Four-Eyes cleared his throat. “I haven’t fully realised what it meant … for you, for Ashido-kun, Todoroki-kun and Yaoyorozu-kun. To have the children here. It must have been much more … preoccupying … than I thought it was. You can’t help but wonder …”

He didn’t finish his sentence, and Katsuki looked at him in the interior mirror stare into nothingness, lost in his own thoughts. “Don’t” he groaned. Four-Eyes came back to reality and looked back in the small mirror. “Don’t wonder. Don’t ask yourself questions. Trust me. You don’t wanna know the answers.”

He felt both his and Toad Face’s gaze on him as he went back to his mother’s angry texts.

[Yesterday, 8.14 pm] You don’t wanna answer??? FINE KATSUKI, FINE!!!! I’LL FIND OUT MYSELF YOU LITTLE SHIT!!!!!!!

[Yesterday, 8.58 pm] Good night, don’t you dare end up chained again when you’ll win.

[Today, 11.24 am] Katsuki you asshole, I can’t believe you destroyed all the flags!!!!!

[Today, 11.24 am] I am laughing so much, wish you could see their faces behind you!!!!!

[Today, 12.07 pm] You should have knocked them all out and taken their civilians. More points for you!!!

[Today, 12.07 pm] Good team though!!! That ponytail girl is good!!!

[Today, 12.19 pm] YOU ARE WITH THE GIRL!!!!!!! THE GIRL WHO LOOKS LIKE KENTA!!!!!!

[Today, 12.19 pm] YOU BETTER NOT FUCK THIS UP KATSUKI!!!!!!

[Today, 12.46 pm] That poor thing!!!! He burnt her hair!!!!! I would have MURDERED HIM!!!!!!! I can’t believe he did such a thing!!!!!! What a JERK!!!!!! And don’t strip like that in front of an entire country you exhibitionist!!!!!!!

[Today, 12.51 pm] GODDAMMIT WILL YOU ANSWER THAT FUCKING PHONE!!!!!!!!

[Today, 5.12 pm] Your father is one confetto away from bursting into tears

[Today, 5.12 pm] He is calling everyfuckingbody in his contact list to tell them you won

[Today, 5.12 pm] Seriously, bothering everyone like that. At least I know who you take after!!!!

[Today, 5.14 pm] What did your girlfriend tell you????

[Today, 5.14 pm] Aaaand your father is crying

[Today, 5.14 pm] Seriously, you won’t believe it, he is on the phone with your grandparents and taking pictures of the TV for them

[Today, 5.14 pm] Wait I’ll just send you a picture

[Today, 5.15 pm] Masaru_no_baka.jpg

[Today, 5.16 pm] Look at you wave at them, enjoy your moment you little shit, you earned it!!!

[Today, 5.16 pm] THAT GIRL IS SO FREAKING ADORABLE!!!!!!!!

[Today, 5.16 pm] Next Cultural Festival I wanna meet her!!!!

[Today, 5.19 pm] AND PICK UP YOUR MOTHERFUCKING PHONE KATSUKI FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!!!!!! I wanna talk to my fucking son when he wins and doesn’t end up roaring at everyone around him!!!!

[Today, 6.41 pm] Katsuki this is not funny anymore, pick up!!!

[Today, 6.41 pm] What’s going on??? They say there has been an attack at UA!! Where are you????

[Today, 6.41 pm] KATSUKI PICK UP THE PHONE I’M NOT JOKING ANYMORE!!!!

[Today, 6.41 pm] KATSUKI

[Today, 6.41 pm] Don’t play heroes and stay safe, you hear me??? You’ve already been in enough trouble!!!

[Today, 6.43 pm] Katsuki call me as soon as you can!!!

[Today, 7.26 pm] KATSUKI WHAT THE FUCK I TELL YOU TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE AND THE POLICE CALLS ME TO TELL US THEY’RE GONNA KEEP YOU IN CUSTODY????!!!!!! ARE YOU EVEN SERIOUS RIGHT NOW????!!!!!!

[Today, 7.26 pm] We’re going to the police station immediately, we’ll meet you there. STAY THE FUCK OUT OF TROUBLE!!!!!

[Today, 7.59 pm] We’ve met with All Might, he said he was going to do what he needed to in order to keep you in school.

[Today, 8.06 pm] SERIOUSLY BOTHERING EVERYONE LIKE THAT, YOU’RE REALLY JUST LIKE YOUR FATHER!!!!!!

[Today, 8.15 pm] Are your friends alright??? And Kenta and your girlfriend???

[Today, 8.18 pm] Oh I swear Katsuki, I FUCKING SWEAR, YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO SEE THAT FUCKING PHONE AGAIN SINCE YOU OBVIOUSLY DON’T NEED TO EVEN TAKE ONE MOTHERFUCKING LOOK AT IT IN TWENTY FOUR GODDAMN HOURS!!!!!!!

[Today, 8.49 pm] We’re going back home, they said they were going to keep you at school.

[Today, 8.51 pm] YOU WERE PUT ON HOUSE ARREST AGAIN?????!!!!!!! KATSUKI ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW????!!!!!! WHAT THE FUCK AM I GOING TO DO WITH YOU?????!!!!!

[Today, 8.53 pm] YOU FOUGHT WITH YOUR GIRLFRIEND?????!!!!!!! WHAT THE FUCK KATSUKI!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[Today, 9.06 pm] We’re leaving the police station. I’ll call you tomorrow AND YOU’D BETTER PICK UP OR ELSE I’LL KILL YOU MYSELF AND SPARE ALL THOSE VILLAINS THE TROUBLE

[Today, 9.07 pm] Seriously, think about your father, I thought he was going to have a heart attack this time. Call us tomorrow Katsuki.

[Today, 9.12 pm] Please be safe.

[Today, 9.29 pm] I love you baby lion.

Katsuki took a deep breath, and let out a long, long sigh. She hadn’t called him by that nickname since Kamino, when he had finally made it back home, and even before, she had stopped calling him that when he was in middle school and had commanded that she stopped. Reluctantly, he tapped on the ‘reply’ icon on his screen.

[Today, 9.46 pm] STOP WRITING IN ALL CAPS AND STOP WITH THE FUCKING PUNCTUATION MARKS. I’m fine, and believe it or not but I wasn’t running around the stadium with my fucking phone in my pocket. They’re all fine, some were injured but they received treatment. Kenta should be fine too, and Uraraka is NOT my fucking girlfriend, stop imagining stuff. And don’t you fucking dare go talk to her during the Cultural Festival! She’s okay. Kirishima’s okay too. Told Dad I’ll call tomorrow so take a fucking chill pill.

He sent the text and stared at his screen for a second, scrolling back up and down the panicked texts she had sent him, looking at the picture she had sent him with a painful heart squeeze and a sad smile. She had taken a selfie of herself on the side of the picture, looking half done with his father’s bullshit, half amused. In the background, his father was kneeling before the TV screen, his mouth opened in a wide smile, caught in the middle of a laugh. He was holding his smartphone in front of him and taking a picture of Katsuki, at the exact moment both he and Uraraka were smiling and rising their fists in the air, and he had obviously been crying. Katsuki sighed again.

[Today, 9.47 pm] I’m alright. Stop worrying.

[Today, 9.47 pm] Love you too.

---

Sitting in the common room surrounded by half of class 2-A, Eijirou slipped slowly his hand under the blanket until he reached Mina’s soft thigh next to him. Without even looking away from Sero, Kaminari and Rei’s passionate discussion around the small table, Mina gently took his hand and gave it a soft squeeze, before she pulled it slightly closer to her sleeping shorts, almost between her thighs. Eijirou fought back a very content smile. He knew he had won his ticket for an intense cuddling session in her room the moment she had bursted into the infirmary earlier this evening, after they had all been rushed away to receive treatment. She hadn’t cried, hadn’t screamed. Actually, she had barely talked. She had remained almost perfectly silent and still, and had only asked him once if he was alright, in a serious and soft voice that he barely recognised as hers. He didn’t have time to reassure her and laugh it off, because Kaminari had entered the room as well, followed by half of the class, all of them shouting incoherently and panicked. Before he knew it, Mina had disappeared, off to see Hana-chan.

Eijirou turned to look at the young girl. She was sitting on the floor right in front of him, her knees pulled towards her chest and held tightly between her arms. She hadn’t spoken a words since she and the three other kids had arrived half an hour ago. She seemed to have been the only one who was hit by the villain’s quirk and didn’t pass out, but when Sero and him had been allowed to leave the infirmary and go back to the dorm, they had walked next to the room she had been taken to, and what they had seen through the open door had sent cringing shivers down their spine.

A team of seven doctors had been working all around her, ripping off her spikes one by one from her body, pilling them up carefully in a large plastic container as she wailed in pain. It seemed that the amount of acid she had been stocking in her spikes had exceeded by far the limit her skin allowed, and had somewhat obstructed the base of said-spikes itself, making it almost impossible to detach them the way they should. The doctors had had to use scalpels and other chirurgical instrument to tear the thick, hardened bits of pink skin from her body, covering her from her cheeks to her toes, and had to handle them with extra care, because her acid seemed to be even stronger now that it had had time to gather and marinate. She had been convulsing and crying out loud, fat tears of agony and distress dripping from her eyes and zigzagging through the spikes that tore her face appart as the doctors explained to her that her skin was too hard and thick for them to try and plant a needle in it to anaesthetise her.

After Sero and him had been driven back to the dorm, they had barely passed the door of the dorm that their friends were already jumping at them, asking a thousands questions. When he had noticed Mina sitting quietly on the couch with a blanket around her waist, he had pretended he was feeling unwell and had gone to sit next to her, hiding his hands under the comforter to run his fingers on her arms, her legs, hold her hand. At some point, he had even found an opportunity to leave a quick peck on her shoulder, and she had finally cracked a smile. All of them - Eijirou, Sero, Kaminari, Mina, Jirou, Hagakure, Yaomomo, Aoyama, Satou, Ojiro and Shoji - had gathered on the couches and around, TV turned on, waiting for a press conference like they had had last time, but after a while they had grown tired of waiting and had all been discussing the events amongst themselves, trying to gather as many informations as they could. Midoriya stood oddly lonely without the presence of Tsuyu-chan, Uraraka, Iida and Todoroki.

After a solid hour, the four kids had arrived in the dorm as well, wearing white t-shirts and grey sweatpants, all bandaged and walking slowly. Kaminari, Midoriya and Aoyama had jumped to help them all take a seat around the small table, Yaomomo had given them each a warm cup of hot chocolate and a blanket and Sato had given them each a bit of cake that he had quickly prepared earlier. The three boys had sat down obediently, wincing and holding their sides, looking dizzy and sleepy, but oddly happy.

“We saw Touya” had explained Hiro with a wide smile, his face glowing with the rich moisturising cream the doctors had spread all over his body after he had gone through surgery. It seemed his body had almost completely recovered, but his skin was still sensitive. His arms and hands, however, were covered with thick bandages. His twin brother on the other side had a white sort of cream on his nose, cheeks and ears, and his fingers were wrapped in white plasters. “Miho-chan came by as well” he had added, looking at Kenta who was sitting between them, beaming. Kenta’s face was glowing like Hiro’s - courtesy of the scorching star he had created and that had turned against him - and although his arms weren’t wrapped up, from his hips to his armpits he was rolled up in a thick black brace that showed under his white t-shirt.

Hana-chan was the only one who wasn’t smiling or even talking. Her skin was devoid of any spikes, once more smooth and clean, maybe even fresher looking. But she was pale, and no treatment could erase the haunted look growing dark bags under her eyes. She had let the boys chat excitedly with everyone about the villains and their fight, laugh incredulously at what had happened to them, and she had sat down right in front of Eijirou, her back to him, knees pulled up in her arms. She hadn’t moved since, hadn’t touched her cake, and her hot chocolate had grown cold.

Eijirou reluctantly peeled his hand off of Mina’s warm and soft skin and leaned forward. “Hana-chan?” he called softly. She looked up at him, black and golden eyes lost somewhere far away from here. “Are you alright?”

She looked at him for a moment, opened her mouth then closed it again, before she shrugged. Eijirou hesitated, then he shifted away from Mina, getting closer to the border of the furniture so that there was enough room between him and Mina for another place. He tapped on the sofa. “Come on, climb up” he told the young girl with a toothy smile.

“I’m going to go check on Todoroki-san” he heard Yaomomo tell Jirou. “Keep my seat for me will you?”

As Yaomomo left and disappeared up the stairs, Hana-chan painfully got on her feet, trying not to make any sudden moves, and she sat down carefully on the couch, crossing her legs like Eijirou had. “Does it still hurt a lot?” he asked her when she slowly flexed her fingers.

She gulped, her eyes dark. “A little” she replied, her voice hoarse from having stayed silent for so long. “They gave me some medicine, but …” She didn’t finish her sentence had passed her fingers on her cheek, as if she wanted to make sure it was smooth again.

Eijirou glanced at Mina, not knowing what to say. “You said we were the same age you were when you fought villains for the first time” said Hana-chan, staring into nothingness and making Eijirou look back at her. “What happened?”

He scratched his ears pensively. “Right before our first Sports Festival” he replied “we were attacked by the League of Villains. You must know about them, right?”

She nodded slowly. “The League of Villains … and you fought them off? Just like that?”

Eijirou chuckled. “Of course not. There were villains everywhere we looked, it was a nightmare. We tried to hold them off as much as we could, but we were still so young, most of us had no idea what we were doing.”

She brought her knees back to her chest and buried her chin in her arms. “I thought I could do that too” she said quietly. “I thought I was strong enough, I … I was ranked second in UA’s entrance exam you know. And ever since school started, I’ve received nothing but praise from our teachers. I’m at the top of our year, and I thought … I thought if I were to encounter a villain, I would know how to fight back. And then it happened, and …” She sighed and rubbed her cheek once more. “I don’t know anymore. I thought I was strong and that I was ready for anything to happen, but when the villain attacked I just … I barely even had time to react, and he had already gotten me.” She closed her eyes and hid her face between her knees. “I feel stupid.”

“Don’t” said Mina, gently rubbing her back. “We didn’t manage to do much ourselves back then you know. If Aizawa-sensei and Thirteen-sensei hadn’t been there, we would have all been killed before All Might even showed up. You did really well, taking into account the fact that you all were on your own.”

Hana looked back up at Mina, her eyes tearing up. “It’s just … it hurt so much, I -” She paused and bit her lip, trying not to let her tears spill out. “For a second I thought, if that’s what it means to be a hero, then -” She wiped the tears from her eyes angrily. “I don’t know. The pain was just so … I wished I could have passed out as well.”

Eijirou patted her on the head between her two yellow horns with a wide smile. “Yeah, but you didn’t, did you? Out of all of us - even Uraraka! You were even stronger than a second year, stronger than two Todorokis, stronger than a Bakugou! There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you want my opinion. You fought it as hard as you could, and no matter how painful or how incapacitating it was, at the end of the day you were still stronger than that guy’s quirk, and he is in jail while you’re here, with us. I hardly think there’s anyone manlier than you right now!”

Hana-chan laughed out loud at his last sentence, her black and golden eyes shining with tears. And just as if the universe had wanted to prove him wrong, there was a loud ‘BANG!’ when the front door was kicked wide open, and three students entered the room.

Leading them was a tall ash blond girl, her big brown eyes glaring at them all and an arrogant smirk playing on her lips. Eijirou hadn’t seen her when she had appeared earlier that day, disoriented and wounded as he was, but there was no mistaking who she was: every little thing in her appearance and her attitude screamed ‘Bakugou’. She had nothing to do with Kenta though. She stood tall, her chin up like she was defying the entire world all the while knowing she would win against anyone, her gaze weighing down on everyone, not avoiding anyone. She wore the same white t-shirt and grey sweatpants as the others, except she wore them slightly down on her hips, in a very Bakugou fashion. Her shoulders were broad and strong, her arms ripped with muscles, and her thighs were thick and robust under her light pants.

Next to her, walking slightly behind her was a much shorter girl, ridiculously cute with her big round glasses and her red eyes, her long black eyelashes fluttering. Her black hair were cut short, styled so that a few bangs framed one side of her face while short strands were nicely tuck behind her ear. Her face was round, but not quite like the intimidating blond before her, and her pouting lips were a bright and very nice shade of pink. Her hands were oddly big and thick and were connected to strong forearms, and her feet also seemed much bigger than they should. She looked around with an amused look, as if what she was witnessing was of great fun.

Last came the boy, standing next to the short girl with glasses. When he came into view, all the girls either gasped or squeaked, and Hana-chan next to him all but melted on her spot, sighing. By all standards and even Eijirou’s, he was one of the most handsome boy he had ever seen. Tall and lean yet muscular, he looked like he had just jumped out of a magazine and made the white t-shirt and grey sweatpants he was wearing look like fashion clothings. His black hair were neatly separated on the side, yet they were ruffled in an almost artistic manner, and his almond shape, dark purple eyes shone like two stones against his fair skin. His chiseled jaw and cheekbones somehow intensified the soft mildly interested smile that stretched his lips, and gave way to a long and gracious neck. Just like the two girls next to him, he stood straight and held his chin up in a self-confident way, in his case almost condescending. But just like there was no mistaking who the blond girl was, no one could confuse him with anyone else. His manners, his posture, his expression, his grace and his features: all of them were Yaomomo’s, without any hesitation.

“Miho!” screamed Kenta when he saw them arrive. Overjoyed, he bolted back up and made a move, only to end up curled up on himself as if someone had punched him in the stomach.

“Sit. Your ass. Down.” the blond girl growled, her brown eyes widening dangerously with warning as she sped up. Her voice wasn’t deep, but it wasn’t high-pitched either, and it sounded like she was very much used to yelling. Without a look at anyone else, she headed for her brother. Upon arriving next to him, she glared at the twins, who all but cowered and shrunk under her gaze.

Move .”

She didn’t even finish her word, the kids were already up and away, almost crawling towards their older brother. She crouched next to a beaming Kenta and held his head in her hands, ruffling his hair around while her eyes roamed his face, searching for an injury that might have been forgotten. Eijirou looked at Sero, and both exchanged a grin when they remembered Bakugou had done the exact same thing with Uraraka at the end of their match.

“I’m fine Miho” he finally said, trying to push her hands away, still smiling.

“Shut it” she snapped back, holding out his arm for examination and flexing it carefully. “I’ll be the one saying if you’re fine or not.”

Kenta chuckled happily, his cheeks pink and puffed, while on the other side Rei and Hiro were practically purring with delight under their brother’s protective and fond smile.

“Have you been good?” he asked softly, his voice deep and melodious. Next to Hana-chan, Mina and Hagakure giggle excitedly, making Eijirou frown a little.

“I burnt myself” declared Hiro with arrogance, his chest puffed as if it was the proudest moment of his life. “Rei had to almost freeze himself to death to try and stop me.”

“I noticed indeed” the tall boy replied, eyeing carefully their face covered in cream.

“Hi there” said Sero with a warm smile, breaking the silence that had followed the three newcomers’ arrival. “Wanna join us? We were discussing the villains’ attack, maybe you guys know more than we do.”

The cute girl took one step closer, her big hands behind her back. “Sure!” she replied with a crooked smile, lips pouting slightly. “Whaddya wanna know?”

Kaminari held his hands up in the air - he had spent too much time with Mina.“First things first, alright: who are you?”

The girl giggled. “Name’s Iida Tenmei. Nice to meet you!” She beamed at them and waved with one hand, revealing five metal circles inside her big palms, the one at the center bigger than the other four. She jerked her chin towards the tall handsome boy. “This dude right there is Todoroki Touya, and crazy over here -” she looked at the blond with an amused smile “- is Bakugou Miho.”

“Fuck you Tenmei-chan” she simply replied, not looking away from Kenta and making the girls gasp in shock.

“Ha! You said a swear word! That’s five hundred yen in the swear jar!” he laughed happily.

Bakugou Miho groaned, annoyed, before her eyes widened and a ferocious smile slowly grew on her lips. “What jar Kenta? What jar? There’s no fucking jar Kenta!” She grabbed her brother by the head and shook it around, laughing. “No goddamn jar!”

Kenta laughed and tried to get out of her grasp. Eijirou’s head snapped around and he stared at Kaminari, his eyes wide. “Guys!” he said, standing up straight on the couch and slamming his fist in his palm, making Hana-chan jump. “That’s it! That’s what we need! We need a swear jar for Bakugou!”

“Dude!” Kaminari jumped on his feet. “You’re right! How have we not thought about this earlier?”

“We’re gonna be richer than Todoroki!” added Mina, clapping her hands together, excited. “No richer than Iida! No, richer than Momo-chan!

“Oi, shitty hair.” Eijirou turned around and found the girl’s brown eyes, glaring at him while holding Kenta in a headlock. He chuckled at the nickname. “Who the hell are you? I’m sure I’ve seen you somewhere.”

Before Eijirou said anything, Kenta pushed himself out of her grasp, laughing, his hair a mess. “Miho, it’s Kirishima!”

The girl looked at her brother and raised her eyebrows, then looked back at Eijirou with an incredulous smile. “That shrimp is Uncle Kiri?” she asked, disbelief and curiosity painted all over her face.

Eijirou couldn’t even take offence at the ‘shrimp’ part, and could only focus on the ‘uncle’ one. “Uncle?” he repeated, excited and hopeful, leaning forward. “I’m your uncle Bakugou-chan?”

The girl got slowly on her feet, looking at Eijirou like a lion would a prey, her smile turning ravenous. “Don’t call me that” she replied, eyeing him slowly from head to toe and flexing her arms almost imperceptibly. “It’s Miho-chan for you. And you’re the closest thing I have to a godfather.”

“I am?!” he asked, delighted. He clenched his fists, shaking with happiness. “Bakugou, you remembered your best buddy!” he grumbled to himself, making Hana-chan laugh again.

Miho clapped her hands together. “Right!” she said, crouching slightly with her hands open towards the ceiling, her face dark and her mouth twisted in an evil smile. “Fight me.”

Eijirou blinked, not sure if he heard her correctly. He turned to Kenta, whose smile was slowly fading as he looked up at his sister, then to the three Todoroki, the eldest having grabbed his brothers and silently pulled them backwards. Next to him, Hana-chan tensed and stared at her, black and golden eyes wide.

“Er - what?” he asked, half laughing incredulously.

“You heard me” she replied without hesitating, feets wide apart, placing her hands on her bent knees to stretch her legs and shoulders. “I’ve been given an amazing opportunity right now. All of the greatest hero are nothing but tiny kids -” her smile grew even wider “- and younger than me! That’s the best I could have hoped for.” She stood a bit taller and her blazing gaze ran through everyone sitting around her, staring in disbelief. “Imma take you all one by one, and I’ll crush you all!”

“Yep yep, she’s definitely Bakugou’s daughter” chuckled Sero, shaking his head.

“That is very, very bad idea Miho-chan” called Touya from where he had retreated with his brothers.

“Shut up Touchan!” she barked at him without even looking back.

“Just let her do her thing fam, you know she doesn’t listen when she got an idea” sighed the Iida girl, rubbing her eyes under her glasses. “All right my dudes, I strongly recommend y’all take a step back for health and safety reasons if you don’t wanna get caught in the fight” she added, motionning to the sides with her big hands.

The girl suddenly crouched even lower, and she glared at Eijirou with the same look and smile he had seen so many times on Bakugou. “Hope you’re ready Uncle Kiri!” she growled.

“Miho, you really shouldn’t” Kenta told her with a sigh, not even trying to convince her.

Eijirou cringed away, startled, as everyone jumped to their feet and cleared the space for them, half stunned half excited by the odd turn of event. She couldn’t possibly be serious, right? She wasn’t going to pick a fight with someone she had barely just met? Bakugou would , a voice pointed out in his mind, already giving up on the idea of trying to talk her out of it. Hana-chan hesitated, looking from Eijirou to Miho and back.

“I really hope for you this isn’t the beginning of a fight, because I have been itching to expel some students lately” said a quiet, cold, angry voice behind them.

Miho froze, and they all turned towards the front door, where  Aizawa and Uraraka were walking towards them. Just like the four kids, Uraraka was taking slow, cautious steps, and to their surprise, she was holding carefully onto Aizawa’s arm. Eijirou let out a relieved sigh - he wasn’t ready to get into a fight with a Bakugou this late in the night, especially after such a day.

“Uraraka!” called Midoriya, looking both relieved and worried as he stood up and headed towards her. “How are you feeling?”

Uraraka scratched the back of her head with a sheepish smile. “I’m much better now, thanks. I just have a little balance problem at them moment” she added, glancing quickly at Aizawa’s arm she was gripping.

“Your hair looks great Uraraka!” Sero told her with a big smile when she ran her fingers through her hair, looking self-conscious. She blushed and giggled nervously, her head shrinking between her shoulders.

“Uravity!” called Kenta, trying to get on his feet, but wincing and holding his sides once more. “So glad you’re fine!” he wheezed, breathless.

“Sit your ass down Kenta!” hissed Miho, stomping back towards him and forcing him to sit back down on the couch, glaring at Uraraka.

Aizawa helped her come closer to the couch and sit down next to Kenta, who was glowing with happiness despite his obvious pain. “Where is Yaoyorozu?” he asked in a stern voice, obviously strained from how the day had ended.

“She went upstairs” replied Jirou. “She said she was going to check on Todoroki-kun.”

Aizawa looked at the staircase. “I see. Jirou, could go tell her to bring everyone downstairs? I’ll have an announcement to make once Iida, Bakugou and Asui are back.” He looked at his watch while Jirou nodded and left to climb up the stairs. “They shouldn’t take too long. I’ll go wait for them outside. In the meantime, everyone stays downstairs until I come back, and no. More. Fighting. ” he added, his eyes glowing red.

He turned around and left, while everyone slowly took their seat back. Aoyama came back from the kitchen he had gone to, holding a steaming cup in his hands. “There Uraraka-chan, have some chocolat chaud ☆~” he told her with an unnecessary wink, holding the cup out for her.

She took the mug with a smile and a quick “Thank you!” before she tried to take a sip and almost immediately held the cup away from her, coughing. “Hot!” she breathed, holding her tongue out. “Uh - I think I burnt myself.”

“Tch.” Miho scowled down at her, her strong arms crossed on her chest, leaning slightly backwards as if she wanted her head to be as far away from her as possible while standing on the same spot. Behind her, the three Todorokis carefully came back closer, the eldest still holding his brothers by the shoulder, just in case.

Eijirou chuckled at Uraraka, and leaned back forward. “Did you get interrogated too?” he asked her.

She stopped blowing on her hot chocolate for a second. “Oh, yeah! They asked me a ton of question, but - I think we’re not supposed to talk about it, are we?” she asked, cocking her head to the side.

“Nah” Eijirou replied, shaking his head “I just wanted to make sure. Everyone here got interrogated, but I just have a feeling they kept Bakugou for the end.” He sighed, worried. How on Earth did that guy always end up in the worst possible situations?

Uraraka frowned, concerned. “Do you think they’re still holding him?”

“I doubt they do” said Sero “Aiwaza-sensei just said they shouldn’t take too long to arrive, so I assume they should be here quickly. Oh hey guys!” he added, smiling and waving at the other students getting down the stairs and meeting them around the couches.

“What’s going on?” asked Mineta, yawning loudly, his eyes half closed. “Why do we have to be there?”

“Waiting for Aizawa-sensei to come back with Iida, Bakugou and Tsuyu-chan” replied Kaminari as the small boy came to sit next to him on the floor. “Why were you already asleep anyway? You always stay up late usually.”

“I always fall quickly asleep after my fourth night fap” Mineta answered with no shame at all, making Eijirou roll his eyes.

“Ah, yeah I feel y- I mean - dude, gross !” Kaminari caught himself, right after Jirou shot him and Mineta a disgusted look. Mineta opened his eyes, surprised by the blond’s reaction, and his big black eyes fell upon two pair of grey slippers. His gaze slowly grew wider and thirstier, climbing up two pair of toned legs, stopping on a well developed chest and a more modest one, before he finally met Iida’s queasy look and Miho’s heated glower.

“Girl, don’t” said Iida, putting one big hand on Miho’s shoulder, pulling her backwards.

“Come on, just that little bitch right there” she growled back, not leaving Mineta from her sight as she walked back. “I’ll finish him quickly, I promise.”

“You can finish me anytime you want” Mineta replied as if he was lost in a dream, making Kaminari guffaw.

“Oh come on, he’s asking for it!” she told Iida, who was shaking her head and still dragging her backwards, until they were standing next to the three Todorokis.

“You seriously need to cool down” Eijirou commented, looking at Mineta with a frown.

“That’s five hundred more yen in the swear jar!” said Kenta, laughing from the couch. “I’m gonna keep track of it Miho! I’ll drain you from your entire allowance!” Next to him, Uraraka giggled.

“When did you become such a vicious little weasel?” she asked him, her genuine smile cancelling anything she said.

Eijirou stared at Miho’s smile, blinked, then frowned.

Hey, just now, that girl … Didn’t she look just like - ?

There was another loud ‘BANG!’ as the front door was once more kicked wide open, and another Bakugou entered the dorm, his hands tucked deep in his pockets, his duffle bag hanging from his shoulder. And by his deep, twisted scowl, Eijirou could guess he was in the foulest mood he had been ever since the beginning of the school year. He didn’t even bother to look towards the sofas, and just headed straight for the stairs.

“Bakugou! Hey Bakugou!” Eijirou called him, jumping from the couch. “Come here!”

“Fuck. You.” he snarled, his red eyes burning with deep anger. Clearly, he didn’t seem to have time for anyone.

But then again, when did Eijirou really care about his mood swings. “Don’t swear like that” he scolded him with a giant grin. “We’re gonna make a swear jar for you, you’ll have to put money in it everytime you say anything crude!”

“What?” Bakugou snapped, his eyebrow twitching with all the repressed fury. Before he said anything else, he came face to face with Todoroki as the latter was going down the stairs. They both froze and just stood in front of each other, tension building, growing, swelling between them, making Eijirou cringe at the idea of what would happen when it would burst.

He headed towards his friend and put his hands on his shoulders, pulling him gently away from Todoroki. “Come on man, let’s go” he told him, trying not to make him snap for good. Behind Todoroki, Yaomomo appeared, looking at him with a confused and hurt expression. “There’s someone you’re gonna want to meet, I promise.”

Bakugou smacked his hands away, lips curled over his teeth, growling like a hungry wolf. “I don’t give a fuck about whatever extra you wanna show me. I’m going to bed.”

Eijirou rolled his eyes. “Yeah well you don’t have a choice, we need to stay here until Aizawa comes back. He said he’s got an announcement to make.”

Bakugou glared at him like he had just insulted him in the worst possible way, before he grumbled some insults under his breath and turned his scowl towards the sofas. Next to them, Eijirou looked in surprise as Yaomomo tried to put her hand on Todoroki’s shoulder, and he just shook it off without even looking at her, before he headed towards their other classmates. Embarrassed, Eijirou saw their class rep hold her arms together and sigh, clearly upset, while Jirou joined her and gently patted her on the arm, leading her towards the couches as well.

“It’s fucking late” growled Bakugou without leaving the couches from his sight. “When is he gonna do his announcement?”

Eijirou shrugged, slowly walking back to the couches, knowing Bakugou was going to follow. “Should be anytime now.” He grinned at Miho, who was now glaring at them through squinted eyes, her arms folded on her chest, muscles standing out. “Look over there!” he told him, pointing at the girl while watching his reaction. “It’s your daughter Bakugou!”

Before he could reply anything, the girl scoffed. “He’s not my father” she said loudly, her voice dripping with scorn and condescendance. “My father never looked so weak .”

And Bakugou snapped.

He dropped his duffle bag on the floor and leaned forward, his palms cracking and popping. “What the FUCK did you just say?!” he roared at her, his eyes wide with rage as everyone grew silent once more.

Unlike anything Eijirou had expected, Miho’s lips stretched once more in an evil smile, and she leaped onto the couch, towering them all. “What’s that? You wanna fight Shitty Dad? Huh?”

“No one is going to fight if you don’t want to spend the rest of your stay in a prison cell down at Tartarus, Bakugou Miho” deadpanned Aiwaza’s icy voice as he went through the door once more, looking like he’d had about enough of this day already. Miho winced and quickly got down the couch, irritated to have been interrupted again. Aiwaza held the door open, letting Iida enter the dorm, pushing a smiling but very tired looking Tsuyu-chan in a wheelchair.

Eijirou gasped and half ran towards her along with most of the class. “Tsuyu-chan!”

“Tsuyu-chan, are you alright?”

“What happened to you?”

“Did you have to go through surgery?”

“Tsuyu-chan!”

“Move away, let them get closer to the elevator” ordered Aizawa, leading the way while Iida pushed Tsuyu-chan after him. Worried, Eijirou followed them as they all gathered around their teacher. Touya kept his brothers protectively close to him, Mina held Hana-chan’s arm, Miho stood close to Kenta, eyeing him carefully as he took cautious steps towards the wall, and Uraraka tried to slowly walk in the same direction, her hands stretched out before her, as if she was getting ready to fall at any given moment.

He headed for the wall next to the elevator doors and carefully pinned three pictures: two hand-drawn portraits and a photography.

“I know these two” realised Eijirou, pointing at the photography and one of the portraits. “They’re the villains who attacked us!”

Aizawa nodded. “They are. Now we need the entire campus to be aware of these villains identity because this one -” he pointed at the drawing of a thin, nervous looking bearded guy “- is the one responsible for this whole situation. He is the one who sent the four first students back in our reality, and who sent the two other villains along with the three other students as well. And this one -” he pointed at the drawing of the guy with the messy hair Eijirou had been fighting against “- is probably the most dangerous. Bakugou” he called, and at first Eijirou turned to Katsuki, before they all realised he was talking to Miho. “Explain what you told the police earlier.”

Miho took a step forward and glared at the drawing with undisclosed hatred. “That guy” she spat “is a villain who’s done a lot of damage in our reality lately. His ideology is quite close to Stain, a villain that you’ve been fighting against recently if I’m not mistaken.” She tore her eyes away from the drawing and looked back at them, her arms folded on her chest. “Except he’s a self-centered psychopath who acts for his own personal goal. His villain’s name is Blades, the one who crossed the warp gate with him is Leaks and that one -” she pointed at the drawing of the nervous man “- is Clocks. According to police reports, Clocks and Blades have been planning their attack for a very long time, but Blades is the real brain of the gang. His quirk is -”

She cleared her throat, and her eyes darted quickly to Kenta and away. “His saliva is a venom that puts his victims into a coma if it reaches their organism. If an antidote based on his saliva isn’t created and given to said victim within seventy-two hours, they will die. His weapons are actually blades of all sizes previously dipped in his saliva, and he uses them to paralyze any opponent and put them to sleep. Which is what happened to you” she added, jerking her chin towards Tsuyu-chan, whose face had lost the little bit of colour it had gained. “Fortunately” she continued “as soon as the antidote is administered, all trace of venom is anihilated, and the victim’s body is pure again and immune to his venom. Which means even if you face him again, his quirk will be useless against you.”

“But how did you manage to create an antidote so fast?” asked Yaomomo, puzzled. “It takes much longer than a couple of hours to prepare, doesn’t it?”

Miho glared at Yaomomo, and once more, her eyes quickly flew to Kenta and back to Yaomomo. “We -” She took in a small breath. “We found ourselves in a position where we had access to antidotes while we were visiting Blades’ latest victim at the hospital. He killed dozens of people already, and they hadn’t found any explanation for these deaths, but this time it was … different. We eavesdropped here and there, and then Touchan heard some doctors talk about the antidotes they had prepared. So he went ahead and stole some” she simply said, motioning at Touya, standing right next to Yaomomo.

Yaomomo looked next to her, lifting her head towards the tall boy. When she understood who he was, she gasped and jumped away, almost falling on the floor and dragging Jirou with her, her face immediately growing red. Touya smiled, amused. “Hello.”

“And no one asked about three UA students visiting a victim and wandering around the hospital?” asked Sato, perplexed.

“No one asks a thing when I’m around” replied Iida-girl with a smug pout of her lips. “Not unless they want to lose their jobs. My parents are very important figures in the hero world” she explained with a giggle. “You legit don’t wanna piss them off.”

“And we knew the victim” added Miho, her voice strained, looking back at the picture with nothing but pure hatred. “So no, no one asked about us walking around, and we were able to bring some antidotes ready to use with us. You’re welcome” she said, glaring down at Tsuyu-chan.

“Ah - yeah uh - thanks, ribbit” she croaked weakly.

“They all managed to sneak past UA’s security line because of that asshole’s quirk -” she pointed at Leaks “- and they had to stop near the stadium because they were being chased down by half the school. No one expected them to launch an attack this soon, safe sources had told the police that Clocks wasn’t able to open a warp gate twenty-four hour after one person crossed it, so with four people sent through, he shouldn’t have been able to use before ninety six hours.”

“How do you know so much?” asked Shoji, narrowing his eyes suspiciously at her.

Miho smirked without humour and jerked her chin towards Touya. “Because he went through both his parents’ entire stacks of files to learn as much as he could on the investigations and attacks, and he’s got an eidetic memory. Then we saw them open the warp gate and followed after them. We tried to pine Clocks to the ground, but we only managed to freak him out, and he was closing the gate, so we just … jumped. And we saved your asses” she added in a louder voice.

“Thanks Bakugou, that’ll be all” said Aiwaza, before he pointed at Blades. “Now you all need to know this: this villain escaped.”

Eijirou’s mouth fell open, and all around him, his classmates wore the same mask of incredulity and fear.

“When he was thrown away, he had time to see us teachers and the pro heroes rush, and he flew. We think he managed to run away by hiding amidst the crowd of civilians that we were evacuating, but there is also an equal probability that he might have hid within UA. The police and teachers are roaming through the entire campus, looking for any trace of him, so if he is here indeed, we’ll have found him before long. But we cannot take any chances, which is why -” he unrolled a long piece of paper and pinned it to the wall “- new rules will be applying in UA from here on out. Iida, can you read them out loud for the class?”

Iida took a step forward, and at the same moment the Iida-girl stepped in too.

“Not you, Iida Tenya” precised Aiwaza, not unsettled in the least.

The girl took a step back. “Better call me Tenmei-chan then, it’ll avoid confusion” she answered, her hands in her back.

Iida stared at her for a moment, before he blinked and somehow was pulled back to reality. He cleared his throat and read out loud:

“ Following the recent Sports Festival incident, UA high school has taken the decision to enforce some new rules within the school’s campus in order to guarantee the safety of all of our students and members of staff. Please take the time to read these new rules carefully.

  1. Do not leave the dorm outside of curfew hours.
  2. Do not walk anywhere around the campus in groups of less than four.
  3. Do not speak with any outsider while still on school grounds unless being authorised to do so by a recognised member of staff.
  4. If you meet with one of the villains your homeroom teacher has described to you, under no circumstances is any student allowed to engage in combat. Immediately take shelter or alert a member of staff.
  5. If you are being attacked, you are allowed to fight back, but only in order to allow you and any classmate standing with you to find an opening to go and alert a member of staff.

Any students who disobeys one or many of these rules will be immediately expelled.”

Aizawa nodded, ignoring the thick silence that followed Iida’s words. “Any questions?” No one said a word. “Good. Then onto the next announcement: for the five following days, Bakugou Katsuki and Uraraka Ochako will be on house arrest for fighting outside of monitored practice and endangering themselves in doing so.”

Eijirou blinked, stunned, and his head turned to them along with everyone else, the entire class wearing the same mask of bewilderment - except Todoroki, who was staring down at Bakugou with an arrogant smirk. Bakugou held his head low, face settled in a deep scowl, his red eyes glowing furiously as he stared at Aizawa, and his expression reminded Eijirou of Kenta so bad it almost made him want to laugh. Uraraka, however, was fidgeting on her spot, her head shrunk between her shoulders and her face, ears and neck were bright red with shame.

“They will be on cleaning duty” Aizawa continued, ignoring his class’s reaction “and will also be on cooking duty. I therefore count on you all to do your best and come up with a menu for them to prepare every morning for breakfast and dinner.”

Bakugou looked like he was ready to start chomping at the wall in anger and frustration, but Eijirou couldn’t help a wide grin from spreading on his lips. “Guys, we’re finally getting Bakugou to cook for us!” he squeaked to Sero, Kaminari and Mina, whose beam were just as wide as his.

“Now the last thing: considering the fact that you will not be allowed to leave the school, we have arranged for your parents to come and visit you tomorrow afternoon. I suggest you talk with them to know exactly at what time will they be visiting, if they can visit at all. I know most of your parents are working hard, and might not be able to join us.”

Gasps and excited squeaks rose from everyone, and Kirishima felt excited at the idea of seeing his Mom and Dad again. It felt like it had been forever since he last saw them.

“For security reasons” added Aizawa, looking at the four kids and the three older students “none of you will be allowed to meet any of these parents. I expect you to stay quietly and soundly in your rooms until the afternoon visits are over. Am I making myself clear?” he asked, glaring at Miho and Touya, his red eyes glowing.

None of the two lowered their gaze, but after a second they both nodded begrudgingly, the others having already agreed.

“Right. That’s it for the announcements then. Don’t forget to specify your breakfast wishes tomorrow morning. If ingredients are missing, I trust Bakugou and Uraraka to make a shopping list for our couriers to take care of. Iida, Yaoyorozu -” he handed out prints similar to the ones he had given the four kids “- I trust you to take care of your new three flatmates, and point them in the direction of their room. Make sure they follow our rules. Well then, everybody should go to bed. Now ” he added menacingly, making it sound much less like a suggestion.

The class scattered, and almost all of them went immediately back upstairs before Aizawa left as well, leaving only around Eijirou Bakugou, the three Todorokis, Yaomomo, the two Bakugous, Tenmei and Hana-chan. Eijirou looked around, searching for short pink hair and yellow horns as Uraraka, Midoriya and Iida circled around Tsuyu-chan.

“Touya, who was the victim?” asked one of the twins, curious.

The tall boy took the handouts Yaomomo was giving him between his long hands with a soft smile, amused by her almost shocked expression as she openly stared at him. “I’m afraid it is not my place to tell” he replied, studying carefully the papers, his eyes darting back and forth towards Yaomomo.

“Come on, tell us!” whined Rei, grabbing one of his arms and shaking it a little while Tenmei giggled next to them.

“Is Dad back from mission?” asked Kenta, trying to scratch himself under the brace without hurting himself. On the side, Eijirou found Bakugou, glaring alternatively at Kenta, Miho, then at Midoriya’s small group.

Miho tensed and crossed her arms on her chest once more. “Yeah, he came back on the day you were abducted” she growled, not meeting her brother’s eyes.

Eijirou frowned at her. Something is wrong . Startling him, two yellow horn appeared next to him, and to his surprise he found Hana-chan standing beside him, looking around quietly. With a fond smile, he patted her head between her small horns, and she looked up at him with a shy grin. A faint hope rose gently in his chest when she chuckled and looked away, but he quickly repressed it and locked it away.

Don’t be stupid. There isn’t a thing more common in Japan than black hair and a hardening quirk.

“He must be angry at me” sighed Kenta, giving up on trying to scratch himself and slumping.

“He’s always angry” Miho replied, rolling her eyes. “But he’s got too many things on his mind to be mad at you right now anyways.”

That made him frown. “What do you mean?” he asked, looking up at his sister. “Oh by the way, who’s the victim? You said we knew them?”

Miho didn’t reply and glared at her handouts instead, her eyes unmoving. Kenta cocked his head to the side and waved his hand before her eyes. “Yeah I heard you” she snapped angrily.

“Were they too far away from Mom for her to save them?” He put his hands behind his head, wincing when it stretched his chest painfully. “They should have called for her first, they know she’s good at dealing with dangerous villains like that. That was reckless of them.”

Miho stayed perfectly still and silent, still staring blankly at her papers, hiding behind the two long blond bangs framing her face, and both Tenmei and Touya stopped reading their handouts and looked up at her in silence. When she still didn’t say a thing, Kenta frowned again. “Hey Miho, what’s going on?”

She let out a deep sigh and rubbed her forehead, looking a little tired. “I guess there’s no easy way of saying this now is there” she mumbled to herself. She turned around to face her brother, hands on her hips, a hard and sad look on her face. “Kenta. Mom is the victim.”

Eijirou gasped softly while Hana-chan’s hands flew to her mouth, her eyes wide. He turned to look at Bakugou, and he saw his friend’s face slowly lose colours.

“WHAT?!” shouted Kenta, horrified. Behind him, Midoriya and his group stopped chatting and turned to look at them, startled by the sudden scream. “Wh- what d- … what do you … what do you mean?!” His hands started shaking, and his pink cheeks became white, red eyes wide with growing despair as his breath grew shorter. “How- how- how did it-”

Miho sighed again. “She stumbled upon Blades while she was patrolling. She … she wasn’t at the best of her capacities. She didn’t sleep once since you were abducted, and neither did Dad” she revealed, her sadness growing as her little brother’s eyes filled with tears of dread. “I’m sure she thought she could knock him out, drag him down at Tartarus and just get him to tell her where he had taken you, but …” She scratched the back of her head, and despite the gravity of the situation, Eijirou couldn’t help but notice the familiar motion. “It’s her intern who brought her back. You know, that kid from UA, the one in second year. We met him last time we popped by her agency to collect our helmets when Dad wanted to take us to the cinema. They were ready to kill her, but the kid dragged her unconscious body through the alleys until they were back on the main streets, and he could alert the authorities. But when the first ambulance arrived, they immediately had to drown her under all their machines, because she was already deep into a coma. She was hit multiple times by the villains’ blades, so … According to Dad, she must have thought she could withstand a couple of wounds, that it was no big deal if it was small weapons like that. And-”

Where was he?! ” Kenta interrupted her, his horror turning into fury and his voice switching into Bakugou’s under the anger, his entire body shaking. “Why wasn’t he near her? He could have done something, he could have -”

“Could have done what exactly?” Miho cut him, frowning. Next to him, Eijirou saw Bakugou cringe a little, as if he had been directly hit in the chest. “Do you think he didn’t already tell her to not take any rash decision? Do you think he didn’t tell her not to engage head first if she found a lead? Since when does she listen to anyone? And since when does Dad have any power on her at all?”

“Where were you ?” he spat accusingly, his eyes glowing with anger.

Miho blinked and took a small step back. “What do you mean where-”

“Why weren’t you around?!” he shouted, fat tears rolling down his cheeks. “You always brag about that internship of yours, so why weren’t -”

Are you fucking kidding me right now?! ” she roared back, and clearly she was much more used to screaming than he was, because her entire being seemed to radiate with a dark aura, her hair puffing slightly with anger. “The fuck do you mean where was I?! I was in fucking school, Kenta, because that’s where I was supposed to be! Are you even - you have no idea what it was like for us! None of you do !” she added furiously, turning towards Hana-chan and the twins. Hana-chan shrunk and took a small step towards Eijirou, as if she could hide in his presence, and the twins literally hid behind their brother.

“Miho-chan -”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP TOUCHAN!” she yelled, obviously needing to let out some steam. “They don’t have a fucking clue what it - you don’t have a fucking clue what it was like!” She turned back to her brother who was now sobbing, his face twisted with pain as he buried his eyes in his hands. “One moment the three of us are walking behind you, and we’re thinking of catching up with you, and next thing we know there’s a goddamn warp gate opening, and that son of a bitch throws you in! And when we run to stop them, one of their henchmen puts up a fucking wall of steel between you and us, and when we finally manage to make it collapse, they’re gone, and so are you! Do you know what it was like for Dad to come back from his ten days mission to learn that his son had just been kidnapped?! For Mom to realise the last time she saw you she didn’t even take the time to hug or kiss you because she was going to be late for work?!

"Or for me?! Do you know what it was like for me?! Hearing Mom and Dad either shout at each other or listen to Mom cry out loud while Dad tried to comfort her because her boy was taken away from her?! Looking at Dad stand in your empty room without moving an inch?! Having to wake up and spend everyday day knowing that I want to be a fucking hero and that I couldn’t even save my own little brother when he was a few metres away from me, and having no fucking idea of where he is?! And then Mom just leaves one morning, no hello, no goodbye, and the same day Dad comes and pick me up from school because she’s in a fucking coma! Do you know what it was like, looking at him hold her hand while she is not even able to fucking breath on her own, not able to hear me, or to speak to me?! Looking at my own mother on her deathbed, wondering if that’s the last time I’ll see her alive even though she’s not even really there anymore, looking at Dad so in shock that he barely even speaks anymore, and Uncle Deku and Uncle Kiri standing next to him, devastated and having no idea what to tell him to make him feel even just a little bit better?!

"You have no fucking clue what it was like, Kenta, NONE AT ALL, SO DON’T YOU FUCKING DARE ACCUSE ME OF SHIT!!”

A thick, shocked silence followed her words, interrupted only by her pantings and Kenta’s loud sobs. His shoulders shook convulsively under his whimpers, face buried in his hands. Miho glared at him, fury and anguish twisting her features, until her anger cooled down and there was nothing but pain left on face. She stepped closer to Kenta and grabbed his head, burying it in her chest. His hands flew around her and he held her tight, clutching desperately at her t-shirt.

“It’s my fault” he wailed, his voice muffled by her shirt “it’s my fault, all my fault, all my fault, all my fault …”

Bakugou sucked in a sharp breath, and when Eijirou looked at him, he saw him just as white as Kenta and as anguished as Miho. Eijirou looked at the two siblings, then at Uraraka, whose eyes were filled with tears at the sight of such a heartbreaking scene, then back at Bakugou. Somehow, he had a strong and growing feeling his friend had been hiding something from him the way he and Mina had been hiding stuff from them.

“It’s not your fault Kenta” Miho sighed, her voice strained.

“It’s all my fault, it’s all my fault -”

“Kenta, she woke up.”

Kenta’s hands twitched against her back, and his sobs calmed down for a second. He peaked up at his sister from between her breasts, his eyes red from tears and his cheeks wet, a fragile hope showing on his crushed face. “Sh-she woke u-u-up?”

She sighed again and ran her fingers through his unruly spiky hair. “Yeah, she woke up this afternoon. The antidote worked. Dad texted me and I snuck away to call him back, and he confirmed she was back up. She needs to go through intense care to recover, but everyone around us has called in the best doctors and healers from across the globe for her - Uncle Deku, Uncle Kiri, Shoto-san and Momo, and her personal friends as well, so she’s in good hands. Dad even said she should be back on her feet and in service within a couple of days.” She smiled softly, and this time there was no mistaking who she reminded Eijirou of. “She’s fine Kenta. She’s gonna be just fine.”

Kenta buried his face back in her chest and started sobbing again, this time in deep relief.

“It’s alright Bakugou” said Rei, emerging from behind Touya, empathetic but still not confident enough to go anywhere near Miho. “She’s fine, it’s all that matters.”

Kenta nodded, not moving away from his sister, still weeping.

Miho chuckled. “Now I think they are going to be pissed at me though” she pointed out, sounding irritated yet amused. “I might have yelled at Amajiki-kun to tell them I was gonna bring you back before we jumped in the warp gate, and Dad might have told me not to take any rash decisions.”

Kenta made a sound between the laughter and the sob. “Mom is gonna k-kill you” he blubbed, sniffling. “Dad isn’t e-even gonna t-take your def-fense this t-ti-time.”

Miho snickered. “Yeah, but then again when are they not mad at me. That’s part of my overwhelming charm, and they know it. Alright, come on” she said, pushing him away from her “let’s get you in bed. Tomorrow we’ll have an entire free day, you’ll tell me everything about the past, okay?”

She put her arms over his shoulders as he nodded weakly, wiping the flowing tears from his cheeks, and she took him to the stairs, climbing up and disappearing from their view.

Eijirou let out a sigh, not realising he had been holding his breath. “Damn” he breathed, looking at Iida. “That was intense.”

“Indeed” he replied, adjusting his sunglasses “but I can’t help but feel sympathy for him. I know it cannot be easy for him to have someone you hold dear in a bad state and in the hospital.” He took in a deep breath. “We should leave him some space, and go to bed as well. Come on everyone.” He grabbed Tsuyu-chan’s wheelchair and pushed her towards the elevator, purposely avoiding Tenmei’s look as they all slowly headed towards the stairs.

“I kinda feel bad though” whispered Midoriya, looking back at Eijirou. “To think we weren’t able to do anything at all for his mother or for Kacchan … that’s not very heroic.”

Eijirou shook his head. “There’s nothing more we could have done if you want my opinion. At least we were there for them.”

Eijirou looked back, searching for Bakugou, who had been uncharacteristically quiet all this time and hadn’t even barked at all when Midoriya had spoken his name. Just as his eyes stilled on the spiky blond, he found him glaring at Uraraka beside him. She looked up, puzzled, and as if someone had pushed her she started falling on the side.

“What the fu-” Bakugou rushed next to her and grabbed her before she hit the floor, pulling her angrily back on her feet. “Stand up straight, dammit! What are you, five?”

“Not my fault, I can’t find my balance” she groaned, holding her head in her hands as she tried to still herself.

Bakugou grumbled something to himself and smashed the elevator button, even though Iida had just pressed it five seconds earlier. “Oi Deku, come here you fucking nerd” he barked at Midoriya. The green-hair jumped a little and cautiously got down the few stairs he had climbed. “You stay with Uraraka and get her to her room, or else she’s just gonna collapse in the stairs.”

Before anyone had said anything, he climbed the stairs two by two and disappeared. Eijirou frowned and ran after him, but the guy was just freaking fast. He reached their floor, panting, and right before Bakugou was about to slam his door behind him, Eijirou held it back, forcing him to open it.

Bakugou looked back at him, his eyes glowing with threat.

“Dude” Eijirou said, his face serious. “We need to talk.”

Chapter Text

Bakugou glared at Eijirou, and for a second he thought he was going to slam the door in his face. But after a long moment, Bakugou just groaned impatiently and let go, walking inside. Eijirou sighed at his friend’s stubbornness and followed him, closing the door behind them.

“What do you want” Bakugou asked, his voice unexpectedly low as he sat down on his bed.

Eijirou tried not to cross his arms on his chest, knowing Bakugou wouldn’t take it kindly if he acted like he was treating him like a child - although he definitely was.

“You fought with Uraraka?” he asked, still not believing it. “That night when you came back … we thought you had been attacked by who knows what monster, but it was Uraraka ?”

Bakugou groaned once more, irritated red eyes flashing angrily. “I’ll have you know that this little shit is tougher than she lets on” he barked back, still keeping his voice low.

“Okay wait - what happened that night?” Eijirou put a hand on his forehead and massaged it gently. It still made no sense at all.

Bakugou sighed, annoyed. “We were supposed to spar, she had a lot on her mind and used me as a punching bag.” A pause. “And we flew above the clouds.”

“You did what ?” exclaimed Eijirou, his mouth falling open.

Shush! ” hissed Bakugou, jumping from his bed. “Keep your voice down, dammit! The fucking boy is right next door, I don’t want to have him knock or to hear us okay?”

“You did what ?” he repeated, whispering.

“She had her fucking quirk activated, and when she does my explosions are multiplied by a thousand” Bakugou growled, spitting each of his words with anger. “Speed was crazy, so it didn’t take long before -”

“Wait, hold on, do you mean to tell me what you did during the Sports Festival wasn't the first time you did it?” Eijirou cut him off. “That time when you bolted above the stadium?”

“Don’t interrupt me” Bakugou snapped. “Yeah it wasn’t the first time.” His fingers twitched and he held his left forearm in his right hand. “It just happened too fast, I didn’t realise until -”

He didn’t finish his sentence and looked away, looking mad at himself. “Until what?” pressed Eijirou.

“Until we reached the top of the storm and I lost consciousness” he spat furiously. “There, happy?”

“You what ?”

“Will you keep your fucking voice down?” he snarled, his voice a rasp.

“You lost consciousness?” Eijirou repeated in a whisper, his eyes wide, not believing his ears. “How - how did you -”

“It was fucking cold, okay? Colder than anything I’d ever felt, I couldn’t breath and when I woke up I couldn’t use my explosions anymore because of that, and then there was the fall and -”

He put both his hands through his hair and huffed an angry sigh. “We took it too far, that’s all. There’s nothing to discuss.”

“What do you mean there’s nothing to discuss?” said Eijirou, taking one step forward. “You could have died! How did you not die? How did you not stop when it got out of hand?”

“Oh fuck you Kirishima!” Bakugou snarled, dropping his hands to his sides and glaring at Eijirou with a furious glow in his eyes. “Stop pretending to be the better person here. D’you think she let me stop? Do you think I could have stopped? Did you fucking see the state I was in when I came back? I had to take her to the edge of the world for her to finally chill the fuck out a little! And even so she was still pissed when we landed!”

Eijirou sighed incredulously, rubbing his hands on his face. “Why was she so mad? What did you do to her?”

“What did I - what did I do to her?” Bakugou repeated, his eyes wide and outraged. “I didn’t do shit! She’s the one who had fucking issues she didn’t want to deal with!” He was trying so hard not to yell his voice sounded like an engine that refused to start.

Eijirou let his hands slip from his face and frowned. “Did it have to do with what Ashido-san told us? About her uncle?”

Bakugou looked away, burying his hands in his pockets, and he groaned. “It’s not my place to talk about these things.”

“I’ll take that as a yes then” he sighed. He had felt bad for Uraraka ever since he had learnt about her uncle, and he had been worried that she might have been bottling up some feelings, seeing how she was still so cheerful and happy all the time - now he had the confirmation that she had. But still, for Bakugou to just go and start fighting her without even thinking twice about it -

“If that’s all you wanted to ask then get the hell out already” he growled, sitting back on his bed.

Despite himself, Eijirou crossed his arms on his chest and narrowed his eyes, trying not to smile or even smirk. “Nah, I’m not done yet.”

Bakugou rolled his eyes. “Of course you’re not” he mumbled.

“So another one came from the future huh” he whispered, ignoring his complaint.

Bakugou’s eyes shot in his direction, glowing dangerously. Eijirou raised one eyebrow, amused. He had struck a chord right there, he knew it.

“She’s awfully loud” he continued, leaning back against the door. “She tried to attack me out of nowhere almost as soon as she arrived. Reminds you of someone?”

Bakugou groaned and looked away. “Very funny dipshit, very spiritual.”

“Well I mean don’t get me wrong, the loud part is most definitely you. But now I’m beginning to think, after our little talk -” despite his attempts to bit it back, a smile broke through his lips “- maybe the attack-out-of-nowhere bit might not be entirely to blame on your poor behaviour.”

Bakugou’s head snapped back to him, eyes wide with warning, but without an ounce of incredulity or surprise or scorn, therefore confirming what Eijirou had only suspected so far.

He giggled excitedly. “Dude” he whispered “is she … is Uraraka ? …”

Bakugou clicked his tongue, and looked away once more, pissed enough that he had to wipe his palms on his trousers, which he only did when he was mad enough that his hands began sweating. “I don’t know.” He got up from his bed, tucking his hands in his pockets, eyeing his desk murderously. “I have no fucking idea.”

“You’re not denying it though” Eijirou pointed out, a laughter threatening to burst out of his chest at anytime. “I know you well enough to know that you would have denied it in one go if you weren’t sure it was the truth.” He took a few slow steps forward. “Is she? You can’t lie to me man, I’m your best friend. Come on.”

Bakugou didn’t answer.

Eijirou giggled once more. “So she is” he breathed, his voice high-pitched.

“I told you I didn’t fucking know” Bakugou snarled, finally looking back.

“Yeah but you suspect it greatly, right? You do, don’t you?” He chuckled, mind-blown. “And we were joking - saying there was no way you and her - and in front of Kenta!”

Eijirou remembered the jokes they made, how they all laughed and how the twins teased him, all so convinced there was absolutely no way that Uraraka and Bakugou -

“I can’t believe it” he giggled, pacing slowly in Bakugou’s room. “I mean it was all right under our nose and we just dismissed it as a mere coincidence, but now looking back - Miho-chan is just a blond ferocious version of her isn’t she? Big brown eyes and all, same morphology - maybe a bit taller. And Kenta does look a little like Uraraka when he doesn’t scowl and starts smiling doesn’t he? Especially now that she has that haircut.”

He expected Bakugou to start losing his cool again, but he just groaned and rubbed his neck. “The cheeks too” he added reluctantly.

Eijirou gasped. “Yeah, the cheeks! The cheeks! I thought of that too! They’ve got the same face as her don’t they? Wait, and Kenta even has pads - he’s got pads on his palms! How did we not see this?”

Bakugou glared at him. “Well I guess you’re just really good at ignoring what’s right in front of you, aren’t you?” he told him with a weird tone, his voice heavy with unspoken implications.

Eijirou ignored his comment and stopped pacing to face him. “Do you like her?” he blurted out excitedly.

Bakugou’s eyes went wide. “WHAT?!” he shouted.

“Shhhh!” Eijirou chuckled, putting a finger on his lips and a hand on his shoulder. “Do you want the entire dorm to hear you?” It was beginning to be really hard not to laugh out loud. “I just asked you if -”

“Yeah I heard you the first time, no need to keep that damn mouth running” he snapped back, slapping his hand away and turning his back on him.

And yet he didn’t answer. “So?” Eijirou insisted, curiosity burning him. “Do you?”

“Fuck that, of course not” he snarled. “I don’t give a shit about her.”

Eijirou rolled his eyes. “Of course you don’t. Which is why you weren’t looking at her at all earlier, didn’t catch her before she fell and didn’t ask Midoriya to take her to her room because maybe, oh I don’t know -” he put his hands behind his back and looked up at the ceiling innocently “- maybe you were worried about her?”

I wasn’t worried! ” he hissed, spinning around to glare at Eijirou.

His eyes went wide, and a giant grin spread on his lips when he caught sight of his friend’s face.

“What?” he barked. “Why are you looking at me with that shit-eating grin?”

“No reason” he replied with a giggle. From the base of his neck to the tip of his ears, Bakugou’s face was a deep shade of pink, making him look like a severely sunburnt angry kid. “So you don’t like her?” he continued, unable to get rid of his smile. “What a shame, I thought she looked so nice with her new haircut.”

Bakugou growled, and his ears became red . “That goddamn motherfucking shit of a haircut” he grumbled through his teeth, as if he was trying to chew his words and spit them out like bullets. He pulled his hands out of his pockets and wiped them on his pants and his shirt, as if he couldn’t stop them from sweating, and he started pacing in his room the way Eijirou had done earlier, checking some papers on his desk, fixing a picture on his chest of drawers, picking up a pair of socks and putting them away, coming back to his desk.

“You don’t like it?”

“Fuck you Kirishima!” he snarled, his voice raspy with bottled anger and frustration. “That fucking haircut - just - just fuck you, okay? Fuck you!

“Dude, come on, just admit it” Eijirou whispered, enjoying teasing his friend way more than he should. “You’ve got a crush on her.”

“Wha- ! I don’t - the fuck are you - I don’t -” He stopped on his spot, his arms shaking under the repressed feelings. For a second, he looked so wild Eijirou thought with amusement that he was going to jump on him.

And then, to his great astonishment, Bakugou growled angrily “I don’t know , okay? I don’t have a fucking clue! I just - I don’t know! She was just that normal annoying little monkey just moments ago and now she gets a fucking haircut and she’s - I -” His palms popped and crackled. “Fuck!” he hissed, his entire face red. “ Fuck! Why the fuck -” He spun and faced Eijirou. “It’s just a haircut!” he seethed furiously, as if he was trying to convince Eijirou and not himself. “It’s still the same fucking person, with a different haircut, no differences, no evolution, so why the fuck - why - NNGGHRRAAAAH-”

He grabbed fistfulls of his hair as he stomped and growled and hissed, before he finally relaxed and sighed deeply, putting his hands on his desk and leaning on it. A thought crossed Eijirou’s mind, distracting him slightly from the tremendously funny entertainment his friend was providing him with.

“Hold on, hold on.” He put his hands in front of him as if he wanted to stop the course of events and frowned. “Is this why you’ve called Midoriya earlier and asked him to take Uraraka to her room instead of you?” He cocked his head to the side, feeling his sympathy slowly replace his desire to tease him. “Did you - is it possible that … you’re thinking you’re not good enough for her?”

Bakugou raised his head and snorted loudly. “Haaa?” he growled, a humorless smirk on his lips as he glared at him. “You think I would have called fucking Deku if that’s what I thought? I would have asked ... I would have asked - you know what? Cross that. If I’m not good enough for her, then no one is.”

His face fell when he realised what he said, and Eijirou’s wide grin came back at full speed.

“That came out wrong” he mumbled.

“Came out the way you were thinking it” corrected Eijirou with a giggle.

“Fuck you.”

“That doesn’t answer the question though” Kirishima whispered, his teasing mood back. Oh man this was the best evening ever. “Why didn’t you take her yourself to her room? That would have been manly.” He snickered. “Didn’t take you for the shy kind.”

“At the risk of repeating myself, fuck you” he growled, looking away as the tip of his ears went back to their full red colour, slowly followed by the rest of his face and neck.

Eijirou waited, trying not to laugh at the growing anger and embarrassment on Bakugou’s face. “So?”

“Why the fuck should I tell you?” he hissed, red eyes glowing.

“Cause if you don’t you’re going to explode” Eijirou shrugged. “Come on, I won’t laugh.” Or at least I’ll try.

Bakugou huffed furiously. “I really have to spell every fucking little thing out for you, don’t I.”

He remained silent, his jaw clenching and unclenching as he tried to find a way to put into words what was on his mind. “Still waiting for the spelling out” teased Eijirou, amused.

“Will you just - It’s because of the fuckers, okay?” he growled, irritated to no end.

“What fuckers?” asked Eijirou, raising one eyebrow. “You’re gonna have to be more precise than that, that’s how you call ninety five percent of the school.”

“The kids Kirishima, the two kids” he explained, fists clenched, his eyes bloodshot under the pressure of his boiling feelings. “The boy and the Mad Bitch!”

Eijirou’s frown deepened. Now he was just confused. “The boy and the … wait, is that how you call Kenta and Miho-chan?” he realised. “That’s just rude man. And - wait I don’t get it, what do they have to do with any of this?”

“Because they’re here Kirishima, for fuck’s sake! They’re here !” he hissed, looking like a pressure cooker about to burst.

“Yeah but Kenta and the others have been here for three days already, what changed in the meantime?” he asked, more and more puzzled as he tried to understand what was his point.

“Everything! Everything changed, and all of that because of that motherfucking haircut!”

What? ” said Eijirou, his face twisted in confusion, totally at a loss.

“Oh for fuck’s - use your single neuron and connect the goddamn dots Kirishima! Connect the fucking -”

“Dude you’re making no sense!” he interrupted him, not really smiling anymore. “How does her haircut and Kenta and Miho-chan have anything to -”

“Because they’re hers! They’re hers! And it’s because of the haircut, ‘cause I couldn’t see it before and now I can, and the Mad Bitch is just as mental as she is, and Kenta’s cheeks are -”

Why does it have anything to do with you not helping her to her room? ” he asked very slowly, as if he was talking to a very dense child.

Because it means I fucked her Kirishima! ” he finally hissed through his teeth, his voice a loud rasp, his impatience taking the best of him. “That means I had sex with Uraraka at least twice - more if what that Porcupine girl told Kenta is true and most likely it is - and everytime I look at these fucking kids I see something that is definitely hers and it pops back in my mind with no way of avoiding it or thinking of anything else! I can’t get into a fucking elevator alone with her, because ever since I’ve seen her with the motherfucking haircut it’s one of the only thing I can think of - I can’t stay near her! I’m already losing my damn mind thinking about it when she’s not around, and you want me to take her to her fucking room? I can’t stay near her - I can’t!

Eijirou stared at his panting, red-faced friend with wide eyes, his mouth slightly open.

Oh. So that’s where he was going.

He closed his mouth and dug his sharp teeth in the inside of his mouth in a desperate attempt to not let a loud laughter escape, but he couldn’t keep in the long snort that followed.

Bakugou’s face closed murderously and he almost ran towards him. “Get the fuck out.”

He grabbed him by the collar and pushed him harshly and mercilessly against his wall, opening the door of his room. “What - no!” laughed Eijirou, slamming his hand on the door as soon as it creaked slightly open, forcing it to close back.

“Let go of the damn door and fuck off!” he hissed.

“No!” he whispered back vehemently, still grinning.

“Oh like fuck you won’t -”

Bakugou let go of the door and grabbed him by the back of his neck, his hand crushing the muscles right where it hurt the most, making Eijirou wince and try to wiggle his way out of his grasp, only making him fall on his knees in front of his mad and red friend. He managed to grab his arm and twist it, forcing him to release him, and as he got back up he elbowed him in the stomach. Bakugou took the hit and stepped back, still glaring madly.

Eijirou didn’t miss a beat and locked the door, before he grabbed the key and threw it in the opened closet.

What the fuck? ” Bakugou seethed.

“Now you don’t have a choice, you’re gonna have to talk to me” declared Eijirou proudly.

Bakugou growled with fury, and Eijirou immediately activated his quirk as he took one step back towards him. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” he snickered “not unless you want to break your knuckles.”

“I won’t need my knuckles to blast you out of the fucking window” he snarled, his voice ripping through his chest and his hands crackling and popping.

“And take the risk to wake up Kenta?” To his great satisfaction, he watched with a victorious smile as Bakugou froze on his spot. “Poor kid had a rough day, maybe you don’t want him to know that his Dad and his Uncle Kiri are fighting. Plus your explosions are definitely going to trigger the fire alarm, and I don’t think Aizawa-sensei is going to brush it off as a mistake if you do that at the beginning of your house arrest and in the middle of a security crisis at UA.”

For a second, Bakugou looked like he was going to burst from the inside, shaking and growling something unintelligible. Then, to Eijirou’s surprise, he relaxed a little and dropped his tense hands to his sides, breathing hard to try and regain control over himself.

He jerked his head towards the closet. “And how exactly do you plan on getting out now that you’ve thrown the key in there?”

Crap.

“I’ll look for it later” he whispered back. “Come on, I’m sorry I laughed. I really am” he insisted when Bakugou shot him a deadly glare, still smiling like an idiot. “But I mean we’re sixteen, you’re seventeen, surely you’ve already thought of these kind of stuff, right?”

“It’s one thing to think of some of these stuff from time to time, and a complete other to have your kids you’ve had with a classmate show up from your damn future” he hissed. “You of all people should know that.”

Despite having just apologised for that, he still chuckled. “I don’t see how but yeah okay.”

Bakugou raised one eyebrow and lifted his head up, literally looking down on him. “Really? You serious right now? You still haven’t noticed?”

“Noticed what?” Eijirou asked, waiting for yet another Bakugou-explanation that was going to make him want to laugh out loud.

Bakugou narrowed his eyes, as if he was trying to guess whether he was joking or not.

“Tell me dipshit, who exactly do you think is Porcupine’s father? Who do you know, that has a hardening quirk, natural black hair, and is always running after Raccoon Eyes trying to get under her skirt every single fucking evening? Who do you think would be hard-headed enough to make someone able to not collapse under today’s villain’s quirk?”

Eijirou felt his smile slip from his face. “What are you …”

He blinked. And then chuckled weakly. “Come on, don’t be silly” he breathed, his laughter not so amused anymore. “There are hundreds of people in Japan who have a hardening quirk. Just look at UA, even in the same year there are two hardening quirk wielder, Tetsutetsu and myself. So imagine at a larger scale, it’s -”

“And her sharp teeth are just, what, yet another mere coincidence as well? That’s a lot of ‘em in one person. Should we list them? Hardening quirk mixed with acid quirk, black hair, sharp teeth, inability to tell when she’s reached her limit, higher resistance than common to outer elements be it quirks or physical items, utter stupidity when it comes to maths and inability to do her homework on time, always trying to tell her friends how to and not to behave whenever they say something she feels they shouldn’t. Want me to continue? I can keep track ya know, she comes up with new stuff every day. Maybe tomorrow she’ll say her breakfast was manly, and you’ll finally open your blocked eyes.”

Eijirou just stared back, stunned.

What did any of it even mean? She couldn’t be - he couldn’t be her -

“Why … wait hold on, if what you said was true, surely she would have said something. She would have hinted at it, or -”

“Or maybe she’s just smarter than you?” he snapped, arms crossed on his chest. “Wouldn’t be that hard.”

“That hurts man.” Eijirou swallowed painfully, not smiling anymore, before he realised something. “Wait, what do you mean trying to get under Ashido-san’s skirt?”

Bakugou made a jaded face. “Really? Do you think I’m fucking stupid? My room is next to yours, Kirishima. Right next to yours. Why exactly do you think I’ve spent the last three months of school putting my music as loud as I could? Just for the thrill of it?”

A slow blush crept on Eijirou’s face as Bakugou’s cheeks slowly lost a bit of their redness, leaving them looking at the walls in silence like two idiots. Eijirou cleared his throat. “Do the others know, or …”

“Don’t know, don’t care.” he groaned “Don’t think they do though, they’re as dense as you two are.”

He didn’t even find it in him to tell him off. “It makes no sense” he chuckled humorlessly. “I … She barely spoke about her father anyway, so … I mean, if I am , her father - does that mean I’m not a good father? What if I’m a loser? What if she doesn’t like me?”

Bakugou glared at him, and his eyes somehow softened, glowing with … was that pity?

“Is that what you’re worried about?” he whispered. He closed the space between them, and for a brief second, Eijirou really thought he was going to reassure him when he put his hand on his shoulder.

“Kirishima. Did you pay any attention to what Porcupine said at all?” he asked, eyes narrowed. “She was born out of legal wedlock. Which means, to the eye of anyone in the Japanese society, she is an illegitimate child, an outsider born in shame. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good father or not. You and Pinky fucked up. Big time.”

It felt as if someone had dipped his insides into ice-cold water. Realisation hit him, hard, as he understood what it meant, and began to imagine exactly what type of life Hana must have been living from her birth to this day.

Bakugou lifted his hand from his shoulder. “To be honest I was surprised when she said that the first night, especially the way she brushed it off like it was nothing” he continued, looking away. “I don’t know how she was accepted into UA - I don’t know how she got in any school at all throughout her scholarship, I would have expected any school to turn her applications down. You apparently still have a job, since she said you were ranked seventh in the hero rankings, but I noticed she said nothing about Raccoon Eyes. I don’t think there’s much hero activity left for her.”

“Mina’s a great student, she’ll be a great hero” Eijirou replied in a breath, trying to convince himself more than Bakugou, to not let his words reach him. “There’s no way she’d find herself unemployed just because of something like that.”

Bakugou shrugged and went to crouch near his closet, looking for the key. “Whatever you wanna tell yourself. Just keep in mind the world outside of UA isn’t a nice a peaceful one. And you know what, if you wanna have a confirmation, why don’t you go ask her? She seems to be pretty chatty when it comes to that topic. I’m sure she’ll tell you whatever you wanna know.”

Unmoving, Eijirou looked at his friend ruffle through his stuff in silence, a tense and guilt-struck feeling growing in the pit of his stomach. Was he really responsible for something so serious?

What have I done?

“There’s nothing you can do about it now” Bakugou mumbled without even looking at him, as if he somehow had sensed his friend’s sudden distress. “All you can do is be careful in the future, but even so, it most likely won’t change a damn thing.”

Hope pierced through his dark feelings like a ray of sun, and he clung onto that feeling with all he had. “What do you mean? There has to be a way of avoiding that, you just said it! We just have to be careful, and -”

“Yeah, and the kids also said they had received special instruction in order to not disturb the course of events leading to their current future” he interrupted him, fiddling with a sock. “Besides remember what Midnight said, playing with time frames can be very dangerous. Maybe you’ll be careful and get married, but then it won’t be Porcupine who will be born, or maybe she will be and then she’ll die.”

“Dude!” said Eijirou, shocked. “Don’t say that! Why would you -”

“I’m giving you examples, dipshit” he snapped back. “I’m trying to explain to you that the slightest change could affect your and her entire future - everyone’s future. People go on and on about how they all wanna leave their goddamn lives as independent beings, but there’s not such thing as fucking independent. Lives are all encased into one another, and the smallest actions of someone at the other side of the planet can and will have an impact on yours, and it doesn’t even matter whether you know that person or not. If your life and hers change in the least, there will be a downpour of repercussions all around you in other people’s life, and especially in yours. Someone close to you might die, or end up in a coma because of a fucker’s quirk.”

He got back up on his feet with an annoyed sigh, holding the silver key in his hand and finally meeting his eyes. “Look. She doesn’t seem unhappy or miserable. She has friends, and she seems strong enough. But just - stop fucking around with Pinky, okay? And if you’re gonna knock her up at some point then be ready to take responsibility.”

Eijirou shook his head, feeling dizzy. “I won’t - there’s no way I’d ever do something like that.” He looked up and clenched his fists and jaw. “If I truly am her father, then I’ll change the future. I’ll bend it until it’s what I want it to be. I won’t make her or Mina suffer.”

Bakugou just shrugged, clearly not in the same mood. “Whatever dude. Get out of the way, I wanna open the door.” Eijirou stepped to the side, picking up on something he had said. “And don’t slip with the ‘Mina this, Mina that’ if you wanna keep that thing you have with her a secret.” The door unlocked with a ‘Click’, and Bakugou glared at him. “And stop making so much fucking noise. If I wanted to know what was going on I’d just sit in your room like a creep.”

Eijirou ignored him and let him open the door and turn away. “About Uraraka -”

Bakugou’s head snapped around, and he glowered at him with rekindled anger and warning. “What?” he snapped.

“It’s fine you know” Eijirou whispered. “Having feelings, and worrying. I’m really worried about her in the future, and I don’t - I mean to me she’s not -” he scratched the back of his head. “You know what I mean. So … I’m just saying, it’s fine if you’re worried about her. Here or there.”

Bakugou didn’t reply. He glared at him some more, and with a “Tch”, he turned back around, heading for his chest of drawers.

“You’d think being the Number 2 Hero would at least secure your family’s security” he whispered sourly. “Turns out, future me’s just a useless fucker who lets his wife get thrown into a coma and almost get killed, is away while his son gets abducted, and has so little control over his daughter that there ain’t shit he can do to keep her from launching herself after some villains and straight into the past. Some hero I became.”

Eijirou frowned. “Hey don’t be too harsh on yourself. You couldn’t be everywhere at the same time, and you couldn’t have predicted these things were going to happen. Don’t beat yourself over it.”

Bakugou pulled his sleeping clothes out of a drawer and just shrugged.

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Go now, I want to sleep. Gotta wake up early tomorrow to make you fuckers some damn breakfast” he groaned, clearly displeased.

Eijirou smiled weakly. “Yeah okay. Good night.”

He didn’t wait for an answer and shut the door, finding himself alone in the corridor. He let out a deep sigh and headed towards his own room, scratching the back of his head. Was there truly such a strong chance that Hana was his? He had thought about it, but to him it was nothing but a silly hope, hope that somehow, what he had with Mina was more than just a teenage game, more than a high school romance. Hope that somehow, she would find in him something worth keeping close to her forever, worth loving unconditionally, worth creating life with.

But if he truly was Hana’s father, then that also most likely meant her birth was an accident. He doubted any of them would have been careless enough to think they could have a child without setting up a responsible environnement for them first. Did that also mean that Mina had had no choice but to stay with him? Was there truly any love left for him in her heart, even after he had put her in such a terrible position?

Then again, Hana had said that they were engaged, hadn’t she? That they were planning on getting married soon, right? Surely that meant something. He wanted to believe she wouldn’t insist on getting married with him so many years after it all happened.

All these thoughts still twirled in his mind as he entered his room, torn between his reluctance to admit Hana was his and his fear over what future he had casted upon the three of them if was indeed her father. From the corner of his eyes, he saw a shadow move near his bed and he jumped backwards, hitting the lights. Under the sudden brightness, Mina appeared, a wide cheeky smile spread on her lips.

“Mina!” he whispered, his heart hammering in his chest as he hurriedly closed the door. “Stop doing that!”

She snickered, and her arms immediately flew around his neck. “You’re just so easy to startle” she purred in his ear. “How are you ever going to learn to react properly when faced with villains if I don’t teach you?”

Her cheeks were slightly purple under her blush, and her smile made his heart skip a beat. She closed her eyes and her lips were on his, warm and soft and welcoming, body pressed against his. Eijirou sighed and all his tensed emotions melted away under her touch as he snaked his arms around her, holding her tight against him and tilting his head to the side, allowing their tongue to meet and their kiss to deepen.

She chuckled softly and gently pulled him towards his bed without breaking their kiss, sitting then laying down on it as he knelt on top of her, kissing her lips, her cheeks, her glorious neck. She sighed and whispered his name, sending tingles down his spine as she tucked his shirt out and slipped her thin hands on his bare chest.

And he froze.

Eijirou pulled out of their embrace and looked down at Mina, her flushed face confused, eyes intoxicating him, black and gold mixing together and taking control of his mind. She extended her toned, inviting arms towards him, frowning, demanding that he returned to her, and he almost obeyed her silent order and dove right back in to lose himself in the crook of her neck.

It took all of his will to sit back down on the bed next to her. Mina rose on her arms, looking at him with concern. “Eijirou?” she whispered. “Are you okay?”

He took in the sight of her, and gods was she beautiful. But the worry that had momentarily disappeared from his mind was now back, ever so vivid now that she stood next to him.

“Yeah - yeah I’m fine” he replied softly, his fingers twitching and aching to caress her cheek. “It’s just … maybe we uh - maybe we should take it slow, you know? Just - we should ... be careful, you know.”

She tilted her head to the side and gently sat on her heels, her face inches from his. “Did something happen?” she murmured, her eyes roaming his face. “You look pale.”

Eijirou cleared his throat and looked down at her hands gripping her knees, unable to hold her gaze. “Nothing, just … I don’t want you to …”

How was he supposed to finish his sentence? ‘I don’t want you to hate me when I accidentally get you pregnant’? Yeah, that would be the perfect way to bring up that topic. He reached for her hands, brushing the soft skin of her knees, and intertwined her delicate fingers with his.

“I don’t want you to have any regrets” he finished in a breath. “I don’t want you to think later that … that you shouldn’t have stayed with me.”

They stayed silent for a moment, him brushing gently her hands with his thumbs, still not meeting her eyes. Then she leaned forward, and her lips meet his once more, pushing him over backwards until he was laying down on his pillow and she was on top of him, his hands pinned on each side of his head. She broke their kiss, her breath cool on his wet lips.

“Is that what you were worried about?” she whispered, her eyes once more bewitching him, smiling sweetly for him, just for him. “Don’t be silly, I wouldn’t be here with you if I thought I would regret it later.”

She let go of his hands and sat back up, sitting a little too comfortably on his groin, and crossed her arms on her chest, pouting a little.

“I am not running around giving this for free to everyone you know” she scolded him playfully. “I didn’t just stumbled upon you and thought ‘Oh well, he’ll do’. I’ve never thought of you as anything but the best for me -” she leaned back forward, taking his hands and placing them gently on her thighs, lips hovering above his “- so don’t think of yourself as anything but the best for me too. Alright?”

Instead of replying, he extended his neck and captured her lips with his, careful not to bite her - with his teeth, he doubted it would just tickle. His fingers twitched on her legs, and almost on their own they followed the path they had learnt by heart, from her thighs and upwards, slipping under her skirt and grabbing handfuls of her round buttcheeks. She sighed and chuckled on his lips.

“I mean I could leave if you reeeaaally wanted me to you know” she teased him.

Eijirou lifted one of his hands and cupped her face, his thumb brushing his cheek. “I’d rather not” he whispered back.

She giggled quietly, and without breaking eye contact, she turned her head to kiss the inside of his palm. He wanted to hold her, he wanted to kiss her, he wanted her to stay in his arms forever, stay right where he would always do everything he could to make her feel warm and safe, where nothing would ever make that dazzling smile of hers disappear. He wanted to tell her she was beautiful, wanted to tell her how much she meant to him, how light-headed and high she made him feel whenever she was near him. He wanted to tell her all of it, and even more, maybe more than she was ready to hear.

So he said nothing and just kissed her tenderly, holding her tight against him, his caress like so many marks of his discreet adoration for her, until the day he would find the courage to put his growing feelings into words.

---

One last check in the mirror. Just one last.

Well, it had been almost fifteen minutes since she had told that to herself, so maybe this time should really be the last.

Momo looked at herself take a deep breath and slowly exhale, staring back with determination. Outside, the morning sun was finally rising high in the sky, bringing with it yet another beautiful day. She had decided to wake up slightly earlier than she would have liked to, so she could go and talk a little with Todoroki.

She had been so proud to have been able to not only stand her ground against him, but also to throw Honenuki out of bounds during the Sports Festival. When she had woken up in the infirmary, the first thing she had wanted to do was go see him and talk about it. She wanted to hear him tell her he had never doubted her, but also tell her what had she done that could have been improved.

She had also wished, inside her heart, that she could use this opportunity to engage in a conversation with the two boys who had turned the past few days upside down. Ever since they had arrived, she had tried to find it in her to go and talk to them. She was curious about her future, about everyone’s future, curious about their lives, about the world they were living in. But everytime their eyes met and they smiled happily at her, she would feel a hot blush claim her face and would panic, resulting in her looking away or avoiding them. She hadn’t even talked to them in three full days, whereas she knew from Mina that the night she, Sato and Tooru had been baking the cupcakes, Todoroki had stayed with them afterwards and had had a long talk with them.

But not one of her wishes had been fulfilled. When she had gone up to Todoroki after she had left the infirmary, and the way he had looked at her … he had never looked so cold and wary -  at least never with her. She liked to think she was one of the few persons he felt the most comfortable with, even took pride in it. But then he had just turned his back to her and had told her in an icy voice that she barely recognised that she should just stay with Kyouka, and away from him.

She had seldom felt so hurt by so few words. She had indeed stayed with Kyouka, not understanding what was going on and looking at him from afar as they made their way towards the exit. And just as they were reaching the corridor that would lead to the outside, Iida and Kaminari had bursted in and shut the door, shouting that villains had appeared in front of the stadium and that Bakugou, Kirishima, Sero, Ochako and Tsuyu were outside, trying to hold on against them. Along with young Bakugou, young Ashido, and the two cheeky boys she had been so keen to talk to.

They had been on lockdown afterwards, forbidden to go anywhere until the teachers and pros came back. They had talked and whispered amongst themselves, panicked and afraid for their classmates, and Midoriya and Tokoyami had even tried to convince others to just go out there against the instructions and help them out. Both her and Iida had had to actually get angry at Midoriya for coming up again with his nonsense.

When they had been allowed to leave, Momo had watched from across the corridor with horror as the twins were moved down on stretchers, unconscious and severely burnt, along with almost all of the students who had been outside.

Hiro and Rei.

Hiro and Rei.

She had spent so much time repeating their names in her mind, burning them in her memory.

Hiro and Rei.

Her grandfather on her father’s side was called Hiro. His picture hung over the main fireplace near the entrance back home, a gigantic portrait from which emanated power, wisdom and serenity. She had often pondered over that, wondering if she had been the one naming the redhead. As for Rei, she didn’t know why would she have named him that, and curiosity raged in her heart like a fire.

And now three more students had arrived from their future, and her distress had reached new unsuspected levels.

Touya, Hiro and Rei.

The twins had been so excited to see him, so delighted. He looked so handsome and sophisticated, holding his chin up and standing nice and tall like her father always did, looking around him with a curious smile. He was a fine man, one that she could easily picture in an expensive suit in the middle of a gala, entertaining other guests with his natural charisma. She could see it all too well. She had so many questions for him, so many, it had kept her awake half the night. Jealousy had sunk its teeth deep in her heart when she had realised how easily everyone but her managed to talk with them all - even Bakugou talked with Kenta! How was she not able to converse with them when even someone like him could?

So when the two young Bakugous had made an unnecessary but still heartbreaking scene, it had been like a wake-up call for her. There were far worse things happening in the world that her emotional struggle. There was death, and loss and fear over loved ones, yet she was being provided with an opportunity to discuss with three healthy, beautiful boys who happily and proudly claimed her as their mother.

She had decided she would talk to them on the morrow.  But before she did, she would talk to Todoroki. She had no idea why was he giving her the cold shoulder, but he was going to explain himself, come hell or high water.

Momo took one final breath and headed out of her room, closing her door gently behind her. It was nine in the morning, so it didn’t surprise her that everyone still slept. After all, she knew few early birds in her class - as a matter of fact it was only her and Bakugou. She walked through the corridors separating the girls’ side from the boys’ side without a noise, and upon arriving in front of Todoroki’s door, she hesitated and toyed with her black bangs for a moment. She hadn’t tied her hair up, and now she was thinking maybe it would have been more proper to do so - she didn’t want to appear disheveled, or to give off the impression that she had just gotten out of bed.

Come on, Momo. You can do this.

She held her hand to the door and knocked, five times. She waited patiently, each second an eternity. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Maybe he was still asleep. Oh no, maybe she was waking him up. Maybe he was going to be in a bad mood because of -

The door opened, and Todoroki stood before her, fully dressed. When he saw her, surprise flickered on his face, before all feelings left his features and he just stared back at her in an unwelcoming expression.

“Yaoyoruzu” he simply greeted her, his voice low and neutral.

“May I come in?” she asked softly but firmly, her arms tightly bound under her breasts.

He looked at her some more, then stepped aside, letting her in.

It wasn’t the first time she went in his room. They often held study sessions together, when Momo wasn’t with the girls. She enjoyed Kyouka, Ochako, Tsuyu, Mina and Hagakure’s company, of course. But  at times, she just felt so out of sync and out of place with them. Their worries and their approach of life were so different than hers, she had been raised with such a different lifestyle, sometimes she just felt lost with them. Of course, they would explain to her the things she didn’t understand, but the simple fact that there were things that were so common to all of them and so foreign to her seemed to elevate an invisible wall between her and the rest of her class.

And then there was Todoroki, who was just as clueless as she was regarding all these things. Todoroki, who knew all about tea ceremonies and traditions, who knew about parties and galas - although he stopped attending them quite young, he had revealed - who knew all about the way the higher spheres of the japanese society evolved. When they had held their first study session, she had been so nervous and self-conscious about being alone in a boy’s room, he had given her his phone and asked her to play whatever music she felt comfortable with. She knew her classmates always made fun of her whenever she chose the music because of her classical tastes, but she hadn’t really thought about it until after the music had began playing.

And the only thing he had said was “Ah. Chopin’s Nocturnes. Interesting choice. I am more of a Beethoven fan, but I enjoy some of his compositions.”

He had introduced her to other artists from around the world, contemporary yet still very much respectable, like Yiruma and Ludovico Einaudi, and the time she spent with him had become nothing but quiet happiness, and peace of mind. Somehow, it felt as if she was back in the safe environnement she knew and loved, and there was no awkwardness, no confusion, no hesitation. There was no need for her to try and become better, because who she was, who she truly was deep down, was more than enough. And she hoped he felt as at ease with her as she was with him.

She took off her slippers in front of the door and walked barefoot up to the middle of the room, the tatamis soft under her feet. She sat on her heels next the low table near the wall, hands joined on her lap as he shut the door behind him. He frowned ever so slightly when he saw her already seated, understanding she was set on staying whether he liked it or not, and he had no way of escaping the conversation they were about to have.

He sighed and came closer to the table, falling in a cross-legged position in front of her.

“What is it?” he asked cooly, his face still expressionless.

Momo tried to not let her uneasiness at his attitude show, and kept her hands tied together to keep them from snaking themselves protectively around her chest.

“How are you doing?”

Maybe a little bit of small talk will help break the ice.

“Fine.”

Or maybe not.

Momo sighed. Fine. If he wanted her to cut to the chase, so be it.

“I must say” she began, unsure of how to word her feelings “I am quite unsettled by the way you have been behaving since yesterday Todoroki-san. Is something the matter?”

Todoroki looked away, his face turned towards the window, red side and burnt scar facing her. “Nothing at all” he said in such a low voice, he was close to whispering.

“Then why have you been avoiding me since yesterday?” she pressed on, frowning. “I thought we could discuss our match and help each other improve by commenting on both our fighting skills, but you -”

She paused, biting her lower lip. “Todoroki-san” she resumed, feeling her emotions already beginning to tighten her throat. “I don’t know what I have done to upset you. I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that I lost when I faced you, or maybe the fact that I took Honenuki out and left you alone to face Bakugou-san and Ochako-chan, or the fact that Awase-san and I have put you through so many hardships by targeting you, or the fact that I chose to team up with Bakugou-san instead of you - I don’t know which one it is. But I cannot bear the thought of you hating me. So please -” she distanced herself a little from the table, and his eyes grew a little wider when he understood what she was doing “- accept my apology.”

She bowed down next to the table, and almost immediately he blurted out “Don’t. Yaoyorozu - just - don’t. Please.”

She rose back up and looked up at him. His mask of neutrality was gone, and in his eyes there was a tortured shadow dancing. “Don’t apologise” he mumbled “not when I’m the one who’s at fault.”

Momo kept her gaze fixated on him, to the point where she felt it was almost rude. He never looked up though, kept his glare on the table, his jaw clenched.

“I cannot force you to talk” she eventually said when he kept quiet “and I will not. It is not my place to push you to discuss something that you do not wish to talk about. But -” she put one hand on her heart “- two days ago, when Bakugou-san needed assistance -” she noticed an angry twitch of his eyebrow when she mentioned that name “- you came to me. I will not lie, not to you: at that time, I had made up my mind once and for all, and I was set on avoiding you like the plague.”

He looked up at her, and she could see a flash of hurt cross his mismatched eyes.

“I was so embarrassed” she continued, looking away as a slow blush crept on her face “I just couldn’t face you anymore. I didn’t want to face you anymore. It was too much for me, I couldn’t bear all the thoughts spinning round and round in my head whenever I saw you. But you still came to me, and you asked me to talk to you. You insisted I told you what was bothering me, and you told me our friendship mattered too much to you for you to just accept that I walked away from you. I managed to overcome all the confusion and panic caused by the arrival of the young students in our world, not thanks to you but because of you, of your intervention and of our talk. Because our friendship also mattered too much for me to walk away.”

Her voice broke, and she looked away from the window and down at her knees, feeling her throat tighten hard and her eyes sting.

“So even though you will not see me insist on you giving me an explanation” she finished, her voice a shaking whisper “I cannot understand why does our friendship suddenly not mean a thing to you anymore. I thought I had an ally in you, and you in me. So why -”

She couldn’t finish her sentence and bit her lower lip, hard, in an attempt not to let her tears overflow.

“Please don’t cry” he breathed, his voice anguished across the table.

She hated the idea of showing weakness to him, or even just doing something so disgraceful and impolite as to cry in front of someone - but she couldn’t help a soft sniffle from escaping.

“It’s not you, I promise” he sighed, obviously mad at himself. “It’s … it’s just so … complicated.”

Momo lifted her eyes to look at him, tears still held in her eyes. Her eyes met his, and his features twisted in anguish.

“Please don’t cry” he repeated. “I’m sorry Yaoyoruzu, I truly am. I never meant to hurt you. I -”

He looked down at the table, a feeling close to anger mixing with his pain. “I never meant to hurt you” he said again through his teeth, slowly this time. “I … I’ve been … overconfident. I thought I could get you and Awase to either give up or push you out of bounds, but I never -” He looked back at her, bewilderment and reverence swiping the pain and guilt from his face for a brief moment “- I never thought you’d put up such a fight. I - I don’t know what exactly did I expect. Maybe I haven’t been as observant as I let myself think I was. But you just … I should have known Awase wouldn’t slow you down, quite the opposite. You found a way to use both his quirk and yours and turn them into something unbreakable, and I … I just … I -”

He took a deep breath, his hands laying on his knees. “Like I said, I was overconfident. I underestimated you and Awase, and didn’t think my strategy with Honenuki as thoroughly as I should have. I took Awase out, you took Honenuki out. I thought if I got you to keep on creating things you’d collapse when you’d reach your limit, I thought you’d be too exhausted to continue. So when I saw you get up and charge towards me, I -”

Todoroki sighed again, deeply, and brought one hand to his eyes to hide them as he massaged his temples. “Why wouldn’t you listen” he asked in a low voice. “I asked you, again and again, not to come near me, not to attack, I asked you to stay back, and still you charged head on …”

Momo wiped the tears from the corner of her eyes while he wasn’t looking. “How could I have stopped? All the pro heroes were watching, judging and weighing the pros and the cons of having us in their agency as interns, and possibly sidekicks. It wasn’t fair of you to ask me such a thing, and you know it.” She dropped her hands back to her lap and frowned, still feeling sadness on her features. “And yet you did. Why is that?”

Todoroki’s hand dropped back on his knee and he kept his head hung low, half of his face hidden by white and red strands of hair. The sun was flowing into his room, bright and high up in the sky, colouring his hair with white gold and rubis hints.

“I never meant to hurt you” he repeated in a whisper.

Momo’s frown deepened in confusion. “But - but it is the Sports Festival, of course some of us would end up hurt” she pointed out, not unkindly. She tilted her head to the side, trying to see what expression he was wearing. “Could it be because I am a girl? Well it would be expected of you, after all you were always the gentleman, but in order for me to become a hero one day -”

“It’s not that, it’s not that!” he interrupted her, still whispering and finally lifting his head up, looking at the window. And all across his face, Momo could see a tortured, desperate expression, as if something was twisting him from the inside. “I don’t … want to … I can’t, ever, I -”

He sucked in a sharp breath and turned towards her, a raging storm held up in his eyes as he tried to make her understand what was inside his mind and heart.

“I don’t want to hurt you” he blurted out, almost urgently. “I can’t, I just - I can’t. It has nothing to do with you being a girl, nothing to do with the school, or the Sports Festival, or any of it all. You said it yourself, you’re my ally, and I am yours. I guess … us always ending up either teamed up or separated made me unprepared for yesterday’s events. I never even thought you wouldn’t choose my team, because so far you always did, and I never imagined what it would be like to fight you one day because - who fights their allies?”

He held both his hands before him and looked at them with fear and disgust.

“I thought I could become a hero, one that would save people and fight off villains, but after yesterday … I didn’t even give you the role you were the best cut for during the second event. It had to be Bakugou -” he all but snarled the name, his voice dripping scorn and anger “- out of everyone who had to come and treat you with the level of respect you were in right to expect.”

He sighed again, putting his right hand back on his knee and bringing his left hand so the scar on his face, almost unconsciously.

“I should have trusted you more, Yaoyorozu. You were the very first person I’ve trusted upon arriving in UA, without even thinking twice about it. It just felt so easy, and natural. You actually were the first person I trusted in a very, very long time. Yet yesterday I was too preoccupied about winning for myself to truly understand what this year’s Sports Festival was about. Collaboration and … trust. I only realised when it was too late, when you were on the brink of winning and I was left with two impossible choices: let you win, or knock you out, hard.”

“I would have been very upset if you had let me win Todoroki-san” Momo said softly, her eyebrows still furrowed. “I would have felt like I didn’t deserve my victory. You were right to -”

“It’s not that, it’s not that” he interrupted her again in a breath, shaking his head. “I - I don’t know how to say it, I don’t know what the right words to explain it are.”

He looked at her, his mismatched eyes roaming anxiously her face.

“I meant it yesterday when I said you should stay with Jirou, and away from me. I’m not … I don’t control this power yet” he muttered, looking at his left hand. “I don’t control it, I don’t even control myself. Have you seen what happened to Uraraka?”

“It was only a strand of hair” Momo countered, leaning slightly forward. “And her and Bakugou’s strategy was quite reckless, they’ve spent the entire third event playing with danger with each of their matches. Something like that was bound to happen, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for that - facing the two of them on your own, obviously you would do everything you can to secure your victory. If anything, they’re the ones who should feel bad, they put themselves in this situation.”

“But it was my power, and my responsibility!” he replied, slightly louder. “If I cannot even control it, then how can I call myself a future hero? I’m nothing but another abuser in disguise! Today it was a strand of hair, but what will happen next time I’ll lose my cool and aim for the chest, or the face? Do you know what Hiro told me, about something that happened in the future? He said villains abducted the eldest, Touya, and that I hunted them down and murdered them all. What type of hero does that?”

“The type that has been pushed into a corner” Momo replied without missing a beat, a faint outrage rising in her chest. “The type who loves his child so much he would be ready to do anything for him, even face punishment, or prison. Todoroki-san, I will not let you belittle yourself in such a way. This power of yours, you have only learnt to use it properly a year ago, you cannot expect from yourself to wield it like Endeavour from the start.”

The moment she said the Number One Hero’s name, Todoroki’s face twisted, and he looked away, towards his chest of drawers on the opposite wall. On the furniture, a picture frame had been added, one that Momo hadn’t noticed before - he must have added it recently, maybe at the beginning of the school year. It showed Todoroki’s brother and sister, standing up and beaming at the camera behind Todoroki, sitting on the bed next to a beautiful albeit tired-looking white-haired woman. The resemblance between the two was quite obvious, and the way they both discreetly leaned towards one another and gently smiled was as touching as any physical display of affection.

“Have I ever told you about my mother?” he asked softly, his voice back to its quiet tone.

Momo looked back at him and shook her head. “No you haven’t. I assume she is not a hero? I haven’t heard of another Todoroki working on field.”

Todoroki kept his eyes on the picture. “No” he replied slowly “she isn’t a hero. She is ... a soft, kind soul. When I was a child, she was … the only one I could turn to whenever I felt overwhelmed. When everything around me ached and … burnt. She was the safe haven I needed and craved for. I inherited my ice quirk from her.”

He paused, and his hand reached back to his scar, making Momo frown in wonder.

“But she was fragile, and couldn’t bear the … pressure … that came with … our name. She had to be taken away. And there went my only chance of ever feeling at peace again. Without her by my side … how could I ever use that fire ever again.”

He put his hand on the table and when he finally looked back at Momo, there was a bittersweet expression in his eyes.

“I got to see her and talk to her again last year, after our first Sports Festival. I thought I had found something else, I thought I could finally be at peace again. And I was. But that … Me losing my temper enough to purposely hurt my classmates, risking to injure them, to scar them permanently … You have no idea how it feels, every time I have to look at Uraraka curl up and fidget, run her fingers through her hair and make that sad and self-conscious face when she realises they are not there anymore. You have no idea … how it felt, to … to look at you being taken away, bleeding and unconscious. Because of me.”

His face took on an expression she had never seen on him yet, so vulnerable, so sad.

“I can’t hurt you, Yaoyorozu” he whispered. “I can’t do something like that … ever again. The only thing I keep on thinking since yesterday is … how I should have just let you win. I should have let you win. I stayed awake all night, thinking about this over and over, about how the two boys might have reacted, watching me do that to you.”

Momo stayed quiet for a moment, at a loss for words. That was much more than he had ever told her, more than she had ever heard him speak.

“Well” she began in a low voice “I cannot promise you it will not happen again. We will most likely be opposed to one another in a tournament, in practice or in an exam in the future. What I can do, is offer you to work on this.” She smiled softly. “I am not going anywhere. Our classmates are not going anywhere. No one will leave you. So -” she put her hand on her heart once more “- please Todoroki-san, place your trust in me once more. We are still allies. We are still friends. And friends stay close to each other.”

His features softened and relaxed a little, and his next sigh wasn’t so anguished anymore.

“As for the two young boys, they are also heroes in training” she continued, her voice firm and confident. “I take it they will understand the lengths to which we have to go to deserve our title as UA students. After all, they would have been the ones standing in that stadium this year, had they not been abducted. I am sure they are familiar with what the Sports Festival requires from us, and I am sure they will understand you bore no ill will towards me when you pushed me out of bounds.”

“‘Pushed me’ are weak words” he mumbled.

“‘Pushed me’ are the right words” she corrected. “We are no longer children, and this world we live in is no longer safe. How will any of us be ready to fight the league of villains if we do not give our all against one another? Villains will not hesitate, and neither should we. And neither should you” she added.

Without really thinking, she reached out and put her hands on his left hand, laying on the table. Startled, he jolted at her touch and slightly jerked his hand, making her jump a little and immediately pull her hands back towards her, tying them into a knot against her chest.

“Sorry” they both said at the same time, Todoroki looking at her with wide eyes and Momo looking away, suddenly very self-conscious. What on Earth was she doing?

Todoroki looked at his hand, taken aback, shifted his gaze back to Momo, then slowly put his hand back on the table. “Sorry” he repeated softly.

“Ah - no no, it’s fine!” replied Momo in a high-pitched voice that wasn’t hers, her cheeks burning with embarrassment and her heart drumming. “I’m the one who should apologise, I shouldn’t have - I’m - yes, that’s right, I’m very sorry! Sorry!”

She jumped back on her feet, trying to keep a very awkward silence from settling between them. “Shall we go downstairs?” she asked, her voice two octaves above its normal volume. “Bakugou-san and Ochako-chan are making breakfast for us this morning - ah!” She smacked her fist against her palm upon remembering. “That’s right! Bakugou-san promised he would teach me to bake anything if we teamed up! I should ask him how to bake macarons, I am positive my parents will be delighted if they decide to visit this afternoon!” She turned back to Todoroki, who was looking at her with a frown, and her uneasiness came back at full speed. “Shall we go?”

He stayed quiet for a moment. “I have a few questions to ask you first, if you don’t mind” he replied quietly, motionning for her to sit back.

Momo hesitated, playing with her long black hair over her shoulder, then sat back down, shifting and keeping her hands tied to her hair. “Yes?”

Todoroki drummed softly his fingers on the border of the table. “Did you allow Bakugou at any moment to use your first name?”

“Wha - no!” Momo gasped, her embarrassment reaching new heights at the memory of what the blond had dared doing during the Sports Festival. “Of course not! He just took it upon himself to call me Momo, and in front of everyone!” She put the tip of her fingers on her forehead. “It was so embarrassing, I thought I would die!”

Todoroki mulled over that answer, narrowing his eyes. “Do you want me to … ensure he doesn’t do it again?”

Momo sighed with relief. “Well a gentle reminder that this is not an appropriate way to address a classmate that has not given their consent over such matter would be kind from you, thank you.”

“Mmh” he nodded, crossing his arms over his chest. “Gentle reminder. Duly noted. Will do.”

The shadow of a smirk played on his lips before he was serious again.

“What about Awase?”

Momo put her hands on her cheeks to cool them down a little and frowned, puzzled. “What about him?” she asked. “He never called me by my first name.”

Todoroki studied her face for a second. “Are you good friends with him?”

Momo thought about it for a moment. “Mmh - well I do get along quite well with him. The fact that we both went through something quite painful and scary last year obviously created a unique bond between us. I wouldn’t go as far as to say we are good friends, but I dare say I am always quite happy to see him.”

She looked back at him with a questioning smile, not too sure why was he asking these types of question. But after all he had just confessed, she didn’t want to interrupt him or make him feel like there were things he couldn’t ask. His expression remained focused, his eyes still considering her carefully.

“On a scale from, let’s say Mineta to Iida” he continued, his voice even “where would you rank him?”

Momo held her chin in her hand and tilted her head, thinking carefully. As always, Todoroki’s question were both interesting and quite in depth, so she should make sure to give him an appropriate and well-pondered upon answer. In a matter of second, she had a list of all the boys in the class ranked in her own order of preference.

“Should I add other boys from class 2-B?” she wondered out loud. “I doubt any boy in the school could somehow make it below Mineta-san. Or so I hope.”

“Forget about Mineta then. Add only the ones who you are friends with.”

“Well I don’t really know any of the boys from class 2-B” she realised, taping the fingers who weren’t holding her chin on the table, deep in thoughts. “Alright” she finally said, clapping her hands quietly together “then I guess if Iida-san is number one and Bakugou-san is number twelve, then I would rank Awase-san in seventh place.”

Torodoki merely nodded, staring at the table as he scratched his ear. “I see. So Iida stays in first place.” He put his hands back on his knees, looking at the floor next to them. “Where am I ranked?”

Momo tilted her head once more. “Was I supposed to included you in the list?” she asked, quickly revising the order in her mind. “Well then, I guess Awase-san would be eighth in this case.”

He looked at her, obviously waiting for her to keep going. She frowned. Wasn’t it evident?

“And you are first, obviously” she finished, surprised that she had to say it aloud. As far as boys were concerned, he was unmistakably her best friend. She thought he knew it.

Todoroki looked at the table for a moment, his feature relaxed and a small smile floating on his lips, then he stood up.

“What do you want for breakfast then?” he asked lightly, holding his hand out for her to grab, the storm in his eyes soothed for now.

She smiled at him, relieved and happy to have him back to the way he used to be. “I guess I’ll have some tea, and - oh, maybe I could ask Bakugou-san and Ochako-chan to do some pancakes? Mmh but it takes time to prepare, I read you must let the batter rest for at least two hours” she added, her smile fading a little as she took his hand and let him pull her back up on her feet.

“Don’t worry” he replied quietly but firmly. “They will make pancakes.”

He kept her hand in his for longer than necessary as he headed towards the door, gently letting go and brushing the inside of her palm in the process, sending happy tingles up her arm.

“So your parents will visit you today?” he inquired as he held the door for her to exit his room, then closed it behind them.

Momo shrugged. “I am not quite sure about it” she answered, walking by his side towards the elevator. “They sent me a message on my phone late yesterday saying they might try to, but I doubt they will. They are very busy after all.”

Todoroki pressed the elevator button. “I see” he simply answered. “Well, if they don’t visit, you can come to my room, and we could work on the Modern History essay Midnight asked us to do for the following week. I already have a structure in mind, but I would like to double check some facts with you. Maybe we could use some of your books?”

“I would love to!” Momo replied happily, joining her hands together. Finally, things were back to the way they used to be. “I have already started on that essay, I would like to have your thoughts about the first part of my argumentation. I think it needs a little bit more work, the direction I’ve chosen doesn’t quite correspond to what I originally had in mind.”

Todoroki smiled lightly. “Of course. We could also discuss the Sports Festival if you’d like. You were a formidable opponent you know, Honenuki was flabbergasted when he woke up later.”

Momo’s heart flew away in her chest. “Really?” she squeaked, her joined hands pressed against her chest. “He was? How amazing! He was quite strong as well, I think he really made a strong -”

The doors of the elevator opened, and Kyouka bursted out of it, panting and her face red.

“Ah - Momo! ” she screeched, her voice shaking and panicked. “Momo!” She almost threw herself at her, grabbing her by the shoulders as she pulled her towards the elevator.

“Kyouka-chan?” Momo said, startled by her sudden appearance. “What’s -”

“You have to - you gotta - downstairs! Now! ” she shrieked, letting go of Momo and turning to Todoroki. “You!” she blared, pointing at him, before spinning to Momo and adding “And you too! You both - you have to - your kids - they - they -”

Todoroki’s smile fell and his face grew anxious again. “What?”

“You have to come downstairs!” she screamed as she headed for the stairs, running. “You have to come, now!”

Chapter Text

The doors of the elevator finally opened with a ‘Ding!’ , and Momo and Todoroki rushed out of it. Right next to them, Kyouka arrived at the same time, panting from her fast descent in the stairs.

“Kyouka-chan -” began Momo urgently while Todoroki already headed for the common areas.

“There!” shrieked Kyouka, pointing a shaking finger at the sofas near the TV.

Momo turned around and scanned the area, her heart clenched in fear. Could something have happened?

Her train of thought stopped instantly when she caught sight of three heads emerging from behind a couch, one black, one white, one red. She frowned when she heard laughters, and both she and Todoroki walked up to the furniture and the boys, worried and confused.

Sitting on the couch were Touya, Hiro and Rei, the twins looking up at their older brother in awe, all three smiling, all three happy, all three relaxed.

All three wearing nothing but their boxers.

“Do something!” squeaked Kyouka from next to the elevator where she hadn’t moved, her face as red as a ripe tomato. “Tell them to at least put some clothes on!”

Momo sighed in relief and Todoroki just stared at them, stunned. The twins spotted her first and beamed at her, waving tentatively. Momo felt a hot blush take hold of her face, and her first instinct was to run away. But instead, she tied her hands together under her breasts and took a deep breath.

“Good morning” she said, her voice high-pitched and shaking.

Touya turned around, surprised, and grinned as well when he saw Momo.

“Hello” he replied, getting up from the couch. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Behind her, Momo heard Kyouka and some other girls let out squeaks and gasps. She quickly looked to the side and saw not even half of class 2-A sitting around the table by the kitchen, still sleepy. In addition to them were Kenta and Tenmei, both fully dressed and well awake unlike most of her classmates, both reading a book with their glasses on, except Tenmei had a light smile on her full lips and Kenta was glowering at the book like it was promoting the mass murder of babies. Momo noticed he was the only one with a bowl of cereals and a glass of orange juice in front of him, even though Bakugou was already in the kitchen with the same scowl on his face, appetizing smells escaping from the small space. None of the two students seemed to take any notice of their friends’ appearance.

Momo turned back to the half-naked boys, and even though she knew she should never admit it in front of other people than her family, she wasn’t really bothered by their lack of clothing. Ever since she was a child, her father had always had an unconditional love for hot springs, and had decided to have a kind of replica built in the east wing of their home. She had always been used to see him happily stroll about naked or only wearing a towel for the sake of not unsettling the female members of staff, and up to a certain age Momo had done the very same thing. On top of that, she shared with her mother the creation quirk, even though hers was stronger that her mother’s, and when she was younger she would often rip her best and favourite clothes when she would involuntarily create something from her leg or her back. Knowing exactly how upsetting that was and in order to make her feel at ease with her quirk, her mother would allow her to play around the house with nothing but plain shorts. As she grew up, she gradually had to put on some more clothes for the sake of modesty, but would still be allowed to wander in her room and their own hot springs half-naked.

However, she had also learnt about decency when it came to others outside of their family circle - although she would forget about it when she was in practice and would need her quirk - and she knew she couldn’t let the boys unsettle her classmates because of this, no matter how liberating she knew it was.

“Please you three” she began, still holding her joined hands close to her chest as she looked at them one after the other. “I am sure you are very well aware you shouldn’t be - what is that? ” she suddenly asked, staring at the oldest boy’s underwear with alarmed eyes.

Touya looked down at his boxer, then back at Momo. “Are you referring to the undergarment or to my general outward aspect?” he asked, puzzled.

“What do you think?” shouted Kyouka from afar.

“Of course I am referring to the underwear!” said Momo anxiously. “Don’t tell me it’s made of synthetic fabric?”

What? Momo! Priorities, priorities!”

“Yes it is” nodded Touya with a resigned sigh, his hands on his hips. “That’s all the staff of UA agreed to give us.”

“But synthetic fabrics are not suitable for the skin, much less as underwear!” insisted Momo, genuinely shocked anyone would ever agree to wear such a thing so close to their skin. “Underwear should always be made of cotton!”

Thank-you! ” said Rei, standing on his knees from the couch, his arms extended towards Momo in a half scandalised half grateful pose. “That’s exactly what I kept telling them, but Bakugou kept on telling me we were spoilt or something.”

“You are spoilt” confirmed Kenta from the table he was seated at without moving his eyes from his book, blindly taking a spoonful of cereals.

“Do you want me to create some suitable underwear for you?” asked Momo, worried. She could almost hear her mother gasp in horror at such a terrible faux-pas.

“Oh that would be amazing thank you” replied Touya with a relieved expression. “Not to sound ungrateful but I just cannot understand how can anyone - duck!

He pressed on both his brothers’ head and dove behind the couch, right before a grey slipper flew above them, hitting the TV behind with force and bouncing on the floor. As Momo turned around, bewildered, Touya reappeared from behind the couch with a wide smile. Near the elevator, next to a flustered and startled Kyouka stood an exhausted and very angry looking Miho. Her blond hair were a mess and circled her puffed face like a wild mane, and her brown eyes were bagged and half-lidded.

“How many fucking times am I gonna have to tell ya” she growled, her voice hoarse. “Put. Some. Goddamn. Clothes on.”

“Good morning sunshine” he replied sweetly and sarcastically. “Will you look at the beautiful flower the sun brought with him today.”

“Fuck you Touchan” she snarled in a low voice, kicking her other slipper and dragging her feet to the table, her shoulders slumped.

Momo frowned at such a vulgar girl - well, as expected of Bakugou’s kid after all - and turned back to the perfect tall boy next to her. “I should probably make some clothes for you three as well” she still admitted.

“Do we have to ” whined Hiro, sprawled on the sofa and blowing air from his mouth towards his red strands of hair, trying to get them to fly above his forehead. “Today’s a resting day isn’t it - aren’t we supposed to chill on a rest day? Can’t we just stay in underwear and watch something on TV together?”

“Yeah you have to” deadpanned Todoroki in a matter-of-factly tone, frowning and staring at him like he was wondering whether he was joking or not.

“As bothersome as it is, I am afraid you’ll have to” replied Momo softly, feeling a small tug at her heart when Hiro sighed, resigned.

She held out her arm in front of her and pulled at the fabric she was creating, the soft tingles caressing her skin a familiar feeling, feeling a little conscious as she felt the three boys’ gaze on her.

She cleared her throat. “Have you slept well?” she inquired, looking at Touya who was still looking at her with amused yet fond eyes. “How are you feeling this morning?”

“I feel -” he cocked his head to the side with an entertained smile “- like Harry Potter.”

Momo blinked. “Like Harry - what?”

He beamed at her. “I finally know what it feels like to sleep in a room the size of a closet.”

The twins guffawed and laughed, and even Todoroki cracked a smile while behind them, a loud and throaty voice growled “Do you want my other slipper in your goddamn face you spoon-fed little brat?”

“On a more serious note, these rooms are ridiculously small” he chuckled, taking the clothes Momo was giving him and passing them on to his brothers. “I would barely be able to fit my bed inside.”

Momo giggled. “Well to be fair, I tried and my room became very cramped” she confessed in a low voice as she gave him his own, larger clothes. “I had to have the bed replaced with another smaller one, but -” she sighed “- now it just feels like I could fall over if I rolled to the side.”

“Why don’t you have a japanese bed instead?” asked Rei, leaning on the couch backrest, his chin resting on his crossed arms and his clothes next to him, untouched. “It’s more practical I think, you can even cross your room without having to jump on the bed to reach the other side.”

“Well - I am used to having an elevated bed, so -” replied Momo, feeling her heartbeats quicken as she realised with excitement that she wasn’t just talking with the boys, she was having a conversation, an actual conversation with them.

“Rei, clothes on” Touya told his younger brother as himself and Hiro were getting dressed. “Come on, don’t be stubborn, you’ll take them off when we’ll be in our rooms this afternoon.”

Hiro pulled the light grey t-shirt on his head and let out a loud gasp when he emerged. “Is that cashmere?” he asked, his eyes wide before he began hugging himself. “I thought I would never feel that softness ever again!”

“Cashmere and cotton blend yes” corrected Momo, nervously brushing her hair between her fingers. “I figured you’d like it.”

“This feels nice” sighed Touya as he pulled up his dark blue sweatpants. “Feels like home.”

“You left yesterday Todoroki-kun” chuckled Tenmei without lifting her eyes from her book. “Don’t pull the lost pup act on us will ya.”

“And it already feels like an eternity” he replied dramatically with a cheeky smile, his hand on his heart. He turned back to Momo, joining his hands behind his back, and leaned slightly forwards, his smile warm. “Shall we have tea?”

Momo opened her mouth, turned to Todoroki who was eyeing the kitchen with narrowed eyes, gazed towards Rei who was begrudgingly putting his clothes on, then she looked back at Touya and smiled shyly.

“I would like that very much, thank you” she agreed. His smile grew wider, and he gestured for her to head towards the table before her. “Do you have any favourite flavor or brand?”

Touya thought about it for a second, his beautiful black hair shining under the sunlight that flowed on the table facing the kitchen. “Well I do love the Lord Bergamot Tea from Steven Smith Tea Maker, but when it gets hotter like they forecasted today I tend to prefer a more floral taste, like maybe their White Petals tea. Definitely one of my favourites” he concluded with a smile.

They reached the large table where Sato, Shoji, Ojirou, Tooru and Tokoyami were happily and quietly chatting about their performances during the Sports Festival while waiting for their breakfast. Kyouka had sat down next to Tooru, still flushed and eyeing the three boys warily, while Miho had taken a seat between Kenta and Tenmei and had put her head between her arms on the table, her wild hair all over the place.

Touya pulled a chair for Momo with a smile, then another one for Hiro, motioning for him to sit down. “Rei, hurry” he called the other twin, his voice quiet and kind.

“I hate clothes” he simply replied, begrudgingly grabbing his sweatpants.

“Uh, please, there are some things no one should have to witness this early in the morning” said a sleepy voice.

Near the stairs, Hana was carefully heading for the kitchen table, a wince never leaving her features as she moved with cautious small steps. Next to her, the elevator’s door opened with a ‘Ding!’ , and Mina and Kirishima walked out, stopping right in front of her.

“What -” Hana frowned, looking like a Nanny about to scold two children. “What are you two doing here?”

Mina cocked her head to the side, puzzled, while Kirishima began shifting nervously. “Well … we’re here for breakfast I guess?” she replied, not sure if this was the answer she was expecting. Without even missing a beat, she hooked Hana’s arm with hers and led her towards the kitchen. “Is Ochako-chan not here yet?”

Kenta’s head popped right back up. “No, not yet. I think her injuries have taken their toll on her” he sighed, taking off his glasses and sliding his right thumb across his left palm.

Without even lifting her head, Miho’s hand flew and she slapped her brother’s right hand on the back. “Stop that” she growled from between her arms. Her head slowly emerged from the table, looking like a bear that had just been woken up from its hibernation by the sound of gunshots. “Tch, her injuries, my ass. More like she slept in and turned off her alarms one by one.”

With a sigh, she slowly stood back up on her chair and started stretching, yawning and grunting, her back arched like a cat and her whole body tense, before she relaxed completely and just closed her eyes, face basking in the sun.

“There” grumbled Rei when he reached the table, fully dressed and obviously annoyed. “Clothes on. Now my skin is on fire. The entire world is nothing but fire. Happy?”

Touya patted him gently on the head. “Just bear with it for now alright?”

Rei sighed and sat on the chair his older brother had pulled for him. Momo turned around, looking for Todoroki. When her eyes locked with his, he was wearing the same guarded expression he had had at the beginning of their talk earlier. She smiled tentatively, blushing a little at the embarrassing situation, and discreetly motioned at the chair next to her. He stayed still for a moment, then slowly closed in, pulling the chair out and sitting by her side, his fingers intertwined on his lap as he stared at the three boys one after the other.

“So!” Mina clapped her hands as she let herself fall on the chair next to Tenmei. “Are we having breakfast yet?”

“Shut up” growled Bakugou’s voice from the kitchen.

“Hey how come Kenta’s the only one to have breakfast?” wondered Kirishima out loud, frowning and smirking at the boy’s cereals.

“‘Cause he arrived first” snapped Bakugou, clearly not in a good mood. “Had you dragged your ass out of bed sooner you’d be eating as well. Now you write your breakfast on the paper next to Big Foot and you wait like everyone else.”

“Big Foot?” Kirishima repeated, puzzled.

“Big Foot” snorted Miho, her eyes still closed.

“That would be me” replied Tenmei without lifting her eyes from her book. She slid a piece of paper towards Kirishima, Mina and Hana. “There’s the list. Make sure to fill it in properly and to write your wishes for next meal or breakfast on the flip side my dudes.”

Sero appeared out of nowhere and snatched the paper from between Kirishima’s hands. “What’s that? Oh Kaminari look, it’s for breakfast!” he realised, looking at the paper with a hungry smile. “Hey Bakugou, did you cook us something good?”

“Shut up extra!” he snarled, finally turning around, his eyes mad. “Just write down something on the damn paper!”

Kaminari half yawned half chuckled, and his eyes fell on Touya, who was looking back at him with interested eyes. “Hey man, you alright?” he asked with a wide smile.

“I am perfectly fine thank you” he replied, his grin mirroring Kaminari’s. “Miho-chan, did you greet the young man behind you?”

Miho opened her eyes and glared at Touya, annoyed, then she turned around. When her eyes fell on Kaminari, she jolted. “What the fuck are y-”

Her head snapped back towards Touya, and Momo saw the boy place himself on the chair as if he was getting ready to jump and run. Even Tenmei looked up from her book to look at them, amused, and Kenta snorted softly.

“Shut up you!” she hissed as she smacked her little brother’s head. She pointed a menacing finger at Touya. “And you - you’re fucking dead.”

Touya snickered and relaxed on his chair, indifferent to Miho’s glare. Momo frowned and cleared her throat.

“Maybe that’s not the appropriate way of talking to a classmate” she said quietly. She didn’t know much about that Miho girl, but so far she really did not have a positive opinion of her. However, as annoyed as she was, she knew she had no authority whatsoever over the wild blond. At least with Bakugou, she knew she could scold him as his class rep, but her - she wouldn’t even be surprised if she yelled back at her.

But Miho just quickly glared at her and sighed. “Sorry” she grumbled, as if the word was aching in her throat.

Momo blinked, surprised. “It’s - it’s fine.” She looked at Kyouka, who was staring at her with wide eyes, just as startled by the unexpected apology as Momo was.

“What’s that?” asked Kaminari, oblivious to Miho’s knee-jerk reaction to him. “What’s wrong Lord Explosion Murder Junior?”

“Lord Explo - what?” she snarled, looking back at Kaminari before her head quickly turned back around, wide and mad eyes glaring at the table.

“Everything’s alright there Miho-chan?” chuckled Tenmei, putting a big hand on her shoulder.

Miho shoved it away the way Momo had seen Bakugou do with his own friends one thousand times. “Shut up underling” she growled, getting back up on her feet and heading towards the kitchen, her hands tucked in the pockets of her sweatpants hanging too low for a girl.

“Aah, the sweet sound of a Bakugou insulting their friend” commented Sero, putting a hand on his heart. “Nothing more pleasant than to hear that first thing in the morning I must say.”

“You know you don’t need to bear with her” observed Todoroki once Miho was out of earshot. Momo quickly glanced at him, glad he said out loud what she was thinking. Touya looked at Todoroki, surprised, before a reassuring smile took place on his features.

“Oh I know” he replied, confident, his tone light. “I am not doing anything I don’t want to here.”

“She’s not so bad usually” nuanced Tenmei, keeping her voice low as she looked at Miho open the drawers and the cupboards under Bakugou’s wary look. “You gotta give her some credit for not blowing up the entire school though, girl’s been going through a lot lately. I mean there was her brother, then her mother, and it’s pretty much chaos right now in society. People are freaking out. And she’s been handling it like a champ - or maybe she hasn’t been handling it well at all?”

“Considering it’s Miho-chan we’re talking about, I’d say the way she dealt with it was pretty disastrous” confirmed Touya, shaking his head with a resigned smile.

“What do you mean?” whispered Kenta, leaning forward and tracing a line in his left hand once more.

“Kenta!” roared Miho’s voice from the kitchen, making him jump. “The fuck did I say about your hand?”

“How did she -” Kenta chuckled halfheartedly and raised his hands towards her in a surrendering pose, the pads on his palms facing her. Momo narrowed her eyes and tilted her head as she looked closer. On his left palm, a large scar crossed his entire hand, running diagonally over both pads, beginning between his index and his middle finger and ending at the limit between his hand and his wrist.

“Uh - oh crap” he choked a little, bringing his arms back down and hugging himself, his breath heavy.

“Stay still goddammit!” barked Bakugou, glaring at him furiously.

“You alright there fam?” inquired Tenmei, putting her hand on his back as he took in deep breaths.

“Yeah yeah, I’m fine” he wheezed. “Just tell me - what happened?”

“Nothing” Touya simply explained. “Absolutely nothing. We thought she was going to spiral out of control so we stayed close to her, but she did nothing. She didn’t do a thing, didn’t say a thing. I mean you know her, she loves to talk. And up until yesterday, she was just … silent. It was deafening.”

“Yeah, got to the point where we were actually trying to get words out of her” Tenmei snorted. “Can you imagine that?”

“But - surely she snapped out of it, wasn’t she the one who organised your rescue mission?” asked Hana, puzzled.

“Oh no, that was me” corrected Touya with a wide grin, his fingers intertwined on his lap - just like Todoroki, Momo noted with a hot blush. “Miho didn’t want to take any initiative at first, didn’t want to go against the police and school’s order to not get involved. I think her mother ending up in the hospital was quite a shock to her. She never expected her to be taken down so easily.”

“She sounds badass” pointed out Sero.

“She is badass” muttered Kenta with a depressed scowl on his face, bringing his thumb back to his hand.

“Kenta!”

“Not touching!” he replied louder, pulling his hands apart and crossing his arms.

“Wait, hold on” said Kirishima, holding his hands up before him as if to pause the conversation. “Let me get this straight. You -” he pointed a finger at Touya, raising one incredulous eyebrow “- stole antidotes from a hospital, went through classified information your parents held, and went against both the school and the police’s policy to organise a rescue mission you were specifically told not to organise?”

“Sounds familiar to you?” snickered Kaminari.

“Well you make it sound quite easy” frowned Touya, crossing his arms on his chest. “I had to create a distraction at the hospital, go through the security and hack their doors to reach the antidotes, and even at home I had to pick the locks of both my parents’ office and crack the code to their safe to reach their files.”

“You did what ?” asked Momo, bewildered, looking at the handsome boy. How could such a perfect boy do all these things and be so proud of them?

Touya smiled and shrugged. “Well I knew the villains were going to reappear soon enough, and I knew we would need to be ready when the moment came. Besides -” he ruffled Rei’s hair, and the boy half groaned half laughed “- I wasn’t going to sit around while my brothers were lost somewhere out of my reach.”

The twins beamed at their older brother, radiating with joy.

“Also it’s part of my training as a hero” he continued, his chin up. “I cannot let myself face a situation where I would be lacking a skill that would be easy for me to learn just because it seems a little cunning. Coming from a great household, no one ever expects me to do play any tricks on them. As a matter of fact, they tend to accuse Miho-chan ninety-five percent of the time, and she covers up for me, even though she wants to beat me up afterwards. My name and composure keep me protected from any suspicions, so why would I not use this to my advantage?” He looked at Momo with a smile full of complicity. “And you are the one always telling me ‘A sharp tongue and good manners are the key to obtaining anything’. Well I have both, and a couple of tricks up my sleeve just in case I would need some personal backup.”

“Poor Miho-chan” chortled Tenmei. “How many times did she end up in detention because of you?”

“Because of me?” he repeated with an incredulous laughter. “I believe you also have been taking advantage of her wild demeanour quite a bit Miss Class Rep.”

Tenmei shrugged. “At least I have an excuse, I can’t get busted by them teachers in my position.”

“Are we in a parallel dimension where Bakugou’s kid is the one getting dragged into trouble by her friends and not the other way around?” wondered Sero out loud.

“No, she most definitely has quite a number of mischiefs under her belt” said Touya firmly. “Let’s just say we might have … inflated that number. By approximately forty-five percent. Or maybe fifty. Fifty-five.”

“All of this to say” continued Tenmei quietly amidst the laughters “she’s not as bad as she looks. She’s actually always been mad helpful for quirk development and stuff. Always down at the gym, lifting weight and sparing, never missing leg day, coming up with them crazy ideas for both her and our quirks.”

“She is the one who suggested the fire dragon” added Touya, his eyes impressed.

“What’s that?” barked Miho, coming back from the kitchen with a mug of coffee and two toasted slices of bread covered in jam.

“Hey! How come you also have breakfast! Bakugou! ” whined Kirishima.

“Shut up!” repeated Bakugou, irritated. “She prepared that herself - did you dipshits even write anything on the goddamn paper?”

“Mama didn’t raise a wimp” growled Miho, glaring down at everyone with her chin raised up, chest and hair puffed with arrogance as she loudly took a sip of her coffee. “So? What were you talking about?”

“Quirks” replied Tenmei. “Talking about Touya’s dragon.”

“Oh yeah I was curious about that!” remembered Kirishima, excited. “You can make fire dragons? Is that your quirk?”

Touya smiled with condescendance. “Not exactly.” He got up from his chair and tucked it back in, taking a step back from the table. “I use both fire and ice. My entire left side can create any inanimate object but in ice. All I have to do -” he extended his left hand towards Momo and Todoroki, and his palm began to shine in a familiar way, exactly like it did when Momo used her quirk, except the soft light emanating from him was a shimmering, iceberg blue “- is to know how to create these objects on a molecular level, even though they will come out in ice.”

A crystal blue matryoshka popped out of his hand, glistening under the sunrays.

Momo jumped. “It’s a - I know these!” she blurted out, holding her own hand out. A colourful matryoshka stood in her palm, and she held it next to his. They were the same size, had the same patterns, and the character looked almost the same. The only difference was that his looked like a perfect ice-carved doll, while hers had the actual material. Momo looked up to the tall boy and smiled at him, his own smile warm and loving.

“Creating inanimate objects isn’t too difficult” he continued, handing the ice-creation over to Momo. She sat back down and held it next to her own matryoshka, a lukewarm and happy feeling softly nesting itself in her stomach. “As Miho-chan said yesterday, I have an eidetic memory, which means I can remember anything I have read or seen with almost perfect accuracy. However, my right side is … trickier.”

He lifted his left arm and looked at it, focused. Flames slowly appeared all over his arm, licking his skin and rising, dancing around as they all curled towards his hand. A shape began to materialise itself, a round body, then two clawed limbs, a small head and a beak. Two large wings of fire sprouted out from its back, and a loud cry escaped from the fire eagle as it crouched down and jumped forward, taking flight and flapping its wing majestically as it flew around the common area.

Momo and the rest of her classmates gasped as they looked at the graceful bird circle the space, and softly disappear with one last cry.

“I create living creatures made of fire ” he concluded, smiling proudly at everyone’s reaction. “It’s much more complicated than inanimate objects, because I have to create every single detail of their anatomy from the root of their DNA itself. Keep in mind the structure of their bones, the way their muscles work, their general behaviour, their cardiovascular and respiratory systems, all of it.”

“Aaaand there goes the shirt” noted Tenmei, her big lips stretched into a smirk.

Momo looked back at Touya, and noticed his shirt had burnt on his entire right side, leaving not much of the fabric.

“Yeah, that happens quite often unfortunately” he conceded, grabbing what was left of the shirt. His fist clenched on the fabric and he tugged on it hard, ripping it off from his chest.

“Oh my -” squeaked Kyouka, hiding her red face between her hands.

“It took me a while before I got comfortable with that part of my quirk” he confessed, unphased by the girls’ reactions as he took the new shirt Momo had immediately began creating with a ‘thank you’. “It was hard to take all the elements into account at every moment, and most of the time, my creatures ended up dying or were abnormally distorted. It was not like the ice creations that I could just toss out in a tub to let them melt away. These ones were in pain, and it just hurt too much to see them die horrible deaths one after the other. At some point I even refused to use my fire at all. Father had to try to talk me out of it for months. And then this happened to me” he added, jerking his chin towards Miho, who glared back with her mouth full of bread.

“I’m ve beft fucking fing vat eve’ happened to you you dipfit” she replied without even bothering to swallow what was in her mouth.

“What did she do?” asked Sero with a wide grin.

“She bullied me” Touya deadpanned.

“I didn’t bully you” Miho huffed, rolling her eyes.

“She bullied me into using my quirk against my will” he added, pulling the new shirt on himself with an amused smile.

“Because you were being a little bitch!” she snarled at him, pointing her mug of coffee towards him accusingly. “Always whining about your poor little animals - they weren’t even real fucking animals!”

“You brought a living mouse to me and squashed it with a rock to prove a point.”

“Well someone had to do something about your ridiculous behaviour” she said, bringing her mug to her lips as if she was closing the topic. “You were sitting on an amazing quirk just because you were sad . Fuck that. Just take an animal, slit it open, look at the guts and then reproduce it in your mind. Period.”

“How exactly were you allowed to stay anywhere near her?” asked Todoroki with an edge to his voice, not even bothering to try and speak out of earshot from Miho.

“Oh I wasn’t for a time” Touya chuckled, and even Miho cracked a smile. “Right after she tried to beat me up because I still wouldn’t use my fire. Didn’t see her for about a whole year.”

“And what happened?” asked Momo, frowning at Miho who was sipping on her coffee like they were chatting about something innocent and not psychological harassment.

“I ended up asking after her” admitted Touya, sitting back on his chair. “I went to a separate middle school from her, and realised I was the best student there because she had pushed me relentlessly. Of course I am still convinced there were better ways to encourage me than the ones she chose -” he gave her a jeered look “- but it was still efficient. And when I tried using my fire quirk again I followed her advice - not actually killing animals, but observing them alive, then learning more about their biological composition. First thing I ever managed to properly create was a mouse.”

“See? You were just being a little bitch” Miho declared, shaking her head and taking a large bite of her second piece of toast, her cheeks puffed as she chew on it. “An unimavinativ’ littl’ bitf.”

“She came up with the whole dragon idea when we were preparing to enter UA” he explained, chuckling. “I had thought the best way for me to improve my fire quirk would be to learn to create more animals, in greater quantities. She thought it would be to be able to create any creature at all, even the ones that did not exist.”

“Existing, not existing, that’s just lazy people’s excuses to not look beyond the scope” she scoffed, holding her chin up superiorly. “Why bother creating lions when you can create tyrannosauruses? Why work on sharks when you can imagine leviathans and krakens? Why try to make eagles fly when you could have a fucking dragon roam the sky?” She took another bite from her toast. “Lemme tell ya, when we took ve examf back in our fchoolf, we fuckin’ afed that bitf. Bof’ got into UA with recommandafions. Didn’ eve’ haf’ to go frough ve entranfe examf like all the o’er looverf.”

She swallowed and kicked Touya’s chair playfully, making him lose his balance for a second. “You’re welcome you little shit.”

“Well I still need to work on the dragon” he added, turning back towards Kirishima. “I can’t really make it last too long.”

“Well you still managed to yesterday, didn’t you?” Kirishima replied with an impressed smile. “I mean that dragon was - wow!”

“Mmh. Yes, well …” Touya looked at his right hand, a shadow covering his eyes and his smile. He closed his hand into a fist. “Let’s just say, I was -”

He relaxed his hand and let it rest on Hiro’s red hair, patting his head gently and protectively.

“- aggravated.”

“Seriously, and afterwards people say I’m the crazy one” groaned Miho, shaking her head. “But you lost your damn mind back there Touchan.”

Touya just shrugged happily. “Your turn” he simply replied. “Show them your quirk.”

“Oh yeah, I wanna know about it!” chirped Mina, lifting her head back from the paper she was writing her breakfast wish on. “I heard you were able to counter both Blades’ attack and to repel Kenta-kun’s star! Is that true?”

Miho didn’t reply immediately and just glared at Mina. Behind her, Bakugou arrived from the kitchen and snatched the list from Mina’s hand. “Hope you assholes all wrote something, or else tough luck” he snarled.

“Wait, we didn’t” said Momo, extending her hand. Bakugou grumbled something under his breath and handed her the list. But instead of retreating back to the kitchen, he leaned against the wall and tucked his hands in his pockets, his eyes  boring holes into the blond girl.

Miho didn’t say a thing and just looked at her last bite of toast before she threw it in her mouth and chew slowly. She took a sip of her coffee and took a slow, deep breath. “Alright” she sighed, smirking.

She walked closer to Mina, put her mug on the table, and put her hands heavily on her shoulders. Mina jumped, and her smile quickly faded as she looked around, a little panicked.

“What are you -”

“Right.” She slipped her hands under her arms, holding them tight. “A gentle push. A gentle push a gentle push a gentle push. A. Gentle. Push.”

She closed her eyes, her eyebrows furrowed in focused as an excited silence fell upon them. A ‘Pang!’ suddenly banged in the room like a dry gunshot or the sound of a toy gun, making everybody jump, and for a second Mina shrank her head between her shoulders and shut her eyes tight, but nothing happened, even as Miho let go of her arms.

It all happened very quickly. One moment, Mina was just sitting on her chair, her teeth bared and clenched like she was expecting someone to hit her on the head, the next she was falling upwards with a yelp, smacking and rolling on the ceiling.

“Oooouuuuch” she whined, slowly getting back up on all four. On the ceiling. Mina looked up, rubbing her back with a wince and glanced around her.

“Uh - guys?” She stared for a second before her, and Momo tried to imagine what it must feel like, suddenly being surrounded by white emptiness.

Mina jumped back on her feet and searched her surroundings, her head whipping around.

“Guys!” Mina called once more, obviously panicked as Kirishima giggled. She snapped her head around. “Eijirou?”

Kirishima immediately stopped laughing, and his eyes went wide.

“Eiji- ... what?” repeated Sero, turning to Kirishima with a puzzled face. They all looked as Kirishima’s face slowly took a deep shade of pink, his eyes not leaving the ceiling. A wide grin slowly crossed Sero’s face. “ What?

“Guys!” called Mina once more, walking on the ceiling and searching around her. “Where are you? It’s not funny!”

“Look up” replied Miho with a smirk, taking back her mug and sipping on her coffee. Mina raised her head and gasped when she saw them all above her.

“Fascinating” breathed Momo, forgetting all about the girl’s past behaviour. She got up and went about the table, staring at Mina and looking at the pink girl gawk back. “It’s like her entire world was turned upside down. Does it apply only to her or to everything around her?”

“Normally it should apply to anything that comes within a hundred and forty four degrees angle scope starting from either one of my hands” replied Miho, taking back her seat next to Kenta, who was looking like he was about to float away with contained pride. “Aiming for that hundred and eighty. The hardest part I found out was not to blast things away harder, or to launch more things, but the opposite. Gently applying my quirk to very specific objects without involving their surroundings. The Old Man had me practicing with a small red ball surrounded with stuff like eggs and needles, and I was supposed to make the ball fly but not the rest, or else it would crash or scatter on the ceiling. And when it didn’t work, he replaced them with stuff my mother cared about” she grunted, shooting a deadly glare at Bakugou. “In the fucking garden, out in the open. Which meant if anything else than the ball flew away, I was going to have to explain to her why had her flower pot disappeared, or where had her grandmother’s crystal swan gone. Asshole” she added with a click of her tongue, making Kenta chuckle.

Bakugou snorted. “At least you learnt some fucking skills fuckmunch” he spat. “I’m sure if you had understood how to use your goddamn quirk faster you wouldn’t have ended up in that situation.”

“Yeah yeah whatever dipshit” she grunted, waving her hand dismissively.

“She actually took quite some time before her quirk manifested now that I think of it” mused Touya, cocking his head to the side. “It didn’t appear until you were, what, five? Six?”

Miho groaned. “Six. And fuck you. My Old Man said I was a late bloomer.”

“Oh, well if Daddy said so” snickered Tenmei.

“I wouldn’t want to sound like I was contradicting the great Lord Bakugou-Dad-Katsuki” Touya teased her with a silly grin. “He-who-cannot-be-taken-down has spoken about His Almighty Daughter, so we shall all bow down before His Great Judgement and not contradict any of His declarations.”

“Shut up Touchan!” she snapped angrily as laughters surrounded her. “Fuck you two! And you know what, yeah you should bow down to my Old Man, he could take any of you or your parents for breakfast any day of the week, so shut the fuck up! Not talking about you” she added, jerking her chin towards Bakugou who was looking at her through squinted eyes. “You’re just a shitty, weird, unfinished, stupid, weak version of him.”

“The fuck did you say?” Bakugou growled, standing back from the wall he was leaning against.

“Uh - guys?” called Mina from above, still on the ceiling. “I don’t really mind you fighting over whether Bakugou's great or not, just - could you put me back down?”

“Just wait a few more minutes, it should wear down soon” replied Miho.

“Are there any type of limits?” asked Momo, looking back up at Mina who decided to lie down on the ceiling.

“Guys this is so weird, you have no idea” giggled the pink girl.

“Mmh. Weight limit. I can’t push away anything that exceeds very roughly eleven tons. If I try, my quirk is going to turn back on me and I’m the one who is going to be propelled in the opposite direction. Distance and time apply too. I can make my quirk hold on for about thirty-six minutes, and on three and a half kilometers. Well, probably more now, since I held it for quite a long time yesterday” she corrected herself, deep in thoughts. “I should check that.”

“So your quirk is … what?” wondered Momo out loud, not really speaking to anyone in particular. “Blasts? It seems extremely similar to Bakugou’s, loud and explosive, but without the chemical part. It’s more about … physics I guess.”

She cocked her head to the side.

“It’s like it relies on the forces that apply to moving bodies within space.”

Miho didn’t reply immediately, and instead toyed with what cold coffee was left inside her mug. “I guess you could say that” she slowly answered, not making eye contact with anyone.

Todoroki snorted softly, and Momo turned to see him look at Miho, raising one eyebrow.

“So basically, you can manipulate a body’s center of gravity.”

Miho glared back, and her round cheeks become slightly pinker. “That’s one way of putting it” she mumbled, clearly annoyed. “I prefered the term ‘blasts’ though.”

“Alright” conceded Todoroki with a smirk. “Your quirk is Gravity Blasts.”

“No it’s not” intervened Kenta, pink from his ears to his neck, scowling, his red eyes shooting panicked sparks.

“Gravity blasts?” repeated Kaminari. “As in - like -”

“Oh, Ochako-chan manipulates gravity too!” realised Mina, pointing a finger towards them. “Are you a big fan of hers as well Miho-chan? Oh - wait, I think your quirk is deactivating” she added, jumping back up.

They all watched as her feet slowly left the ceiling. At first she floated downwards, before her fall became faster, and she finally landed back safely on the ground behind Touya, sighing in relief.

Miho clicked her tongue and looked away, while Kenta’s face grew pinker and pinker. “A big fan, a big fan - depends how you look at it” she groaned.

“Wait” Kaminari blurted out, his eyes growing wide as Momo frowned and looked more carefully at the blond girl and her brother. “Wait wait, hold on. What do you mean Gravity Blasts - like - I mean -” he laughed nervously “- Todoroki, you’re not implying what I think you’re trying to say, right? I mean - that would be just - I mean come on! Just - just look at the dude!” He pointed at Bakugou, who was leaning back against the wall, his scowl deeper than Kenta’s and his head shrunk between his elbows, his face -

Momo blinked and stared at him. She was most likely wrong - the probability of it was really low, but - was Bakugou … blushing?

“Didn’t you bet the name of your first kid on that?” snorted Kyouka, putting her hand over her mouth to keep herself from laughing out loud.

Momo looked back at Miho and Kenta, bringing back together the elements that she had so far not really cared to assemble, forming one logical and yet impossible puzzle. Could it be -?

“Don’t say that!” shrieked Kaminari, panicking. “Come on, guys, let’s be real, I mean - I mean - Come on!

“Cat’s out” snickered Tenmei, putting her big hands behind her head.

“Shut the fuck up” snarled Miho, her big brown eyes growing wide with threat. “Shut the fuck up before I high-five you in the fucking face with a goddamn -”

‘Ding!’

“Good morning everyone! I hope we have made it in time for breakfast!” shouted Iida, pushing Tsuyu on her wheelchair out of the elevator, followed by a merry Midoriya and a very much not awake Ochako.

Her short brown hair were a puffy mess, strands flying all over the place, bed hair making Momo wonder how exactly did she fall asleep to end up with that hairstyle. Her round face was still bloated with sleep and marked with pillow lines, and her half-lidded eyes were deeply bagged.

“ ‘Morning guys” she yawned, tears collecting at the corner of her eyes as she dragged her feet behind her friends, shoulders slumped.

No one replied.

“Oh” Momo simply stated. “Oh, I see it now.”

Chapter Text

Katsuki’s day hadn’t even begun, he was already wishing it was over. As soon as he woke up, he found a message from his mother that read ‘No need to call, we’re visiting this afternoon. See you then little shit.’

Perfect. That was exactly what he wanted.

Not.

Then he remembered the discussion he and Kirishima had had the night before with annoyance, and decided that his night was done anyway, so he might just as well go downstairs and have breakfast before the extras came to tag along. Then, he remembered he was on breakfast duty, which made him groan in frustration. Once out of his room, he reluctantly listened to the silence, noting that no screams were ripping the peace of the dorms.

Well at least he could still have a peaceful breakfast in his favourite spot, close his eyes and face the sun.

Or so he had thought. But then again, when the fuck did he ever get what he wanted.

And so once he reached the ground floor, he found Kenta, wrapped up in a blanket on the couch, looking tired but well awake. His red eyes were staring into nothingness, and he was holding a mug between his hands.

“Are you fucking kidding me” he croaked, his voice hoarse. Because of course, he had to find him in the exact same place and state as he had found Uraraka a few days ago.

He thought that he was going to somehow start babbling about whatever bullshit was on his mind, but when he headed towards the kitchen, Kenta didn’t move an inch. He didn’t even speak to him, not a word. So Katsuki prepared his own breakfast, glad that he didn’t have to take care of him first thing in the morning.

Yes, he was very satisfied.

Not.

No matter how tight he shut his eyes, he could still feel the boy’s aura of goddamn gloom loom in his back, and with an angry sigh he gulped down his breakfast and went back to his room. Only to decide halfway through that he was going to go back down. So when he reached his room, he ended up standing still near his bed, feeling like a moron and cursing when he eventually closed his door and went back downstairs.

He stomped across the common area and planted himself in front of Kenta.

“Okay spit it out” he snarled, annoyed to no end. Why was he even caring. Why the fuck did any of it matter.

Kenta looked up at him, startled. “What?”

“Don't ‘what’ me, what the fuck is wrong with your face?” Katsuki snapped, trying to repress the flustered anger that rose in his chest when he puffed his round and pink cheeks, bringing back the image of another round-cheeked brunette in his mind.

It was the first time he saw him from up close since he had met up with him after his and Uraraka’s win in the Sports Festival, and the only thing that he could think of was ‘ how the fuck did I not notice any of it sooner ’. He might have his eyes and scowl, and his hair might be as spiky as his and his parents’, but everything else - everywhere he looked, he saw Uraraka. From his worried face to his slumped shoulders, from his round cheeks to the softness in his eyes.

Fuck.

He had spent one hell of a short night, one hundred thousand thoughts running madly around, coming from all over his mind and giving him no rest whatsoever. He couldn’t even go take a fucking walk outside to try and clear his head because of the new goddamn rules, so he had tried to distract himself the best he could - work out, take a shower, do his homework, work out again, take another shower, learn by heart everything he had written during their last Modern Literature lesson, and put his earphones and let his music blare in his ears when, despite having clearly explained to Kirishima how little he wanted to know about whatever was going on in that room of his, Raccoon’s voice had risen up, and up, to the point where he couldn’t try to ignore it anymore. And fuck that Pinky little piece of shit, she really wasn’t helping his frantic thoughts with her mews.

He couldn’t tell what had been the worst. Imagining himself staring at Uraraka, lying unconscious on a hospital bed with a mask on her face to help her breath, dozens of tubes to take the rhythm of her slowing heartbeats, her skin purple and withering where the blades had hit her, unresponsive, dying . Or imagining himself on top of Uraraka, her cheeks flushed and her hair a mess, a smile on her lips and a ring on her finger, her body very much awake and her skin smooth, arms extended towards him to pull him close to her, ready to take him inside of her for them to make a fucking baby together .

He had thought he was going to lose his mind. Eventually, he had accepted the fact that he needed to release himself one way or another if he wanted to keep any part of his body and mind’s sanity, but of course right when it mattered the most it had been Uraraka’s face that had appeared in his mind, her smile shy and her eyes clouded with lust. Somehow, at some point, he had managed to fall asleep and to miraculously not have either a wet dream or a nightmare. But then he had woken up, and had had to drag himself under a cold shower to cool himself down, because the wild craving that had awakened in the pit of his stomachs with himself was getting out of control, and he was still too sleepy to have any strength to push it back.

And now he was facing the powerful little fuck that was the living embodiment of what would - and had - happened if any of these crazy thoughts were to come true.

Fuck.

Kenta looked away and breathed out, scowling. “‘T’s nothing” he mumbled.

“Didn’t know I taught you to lie from where you come from” he replied coldly, narrowing his eyes and crossing his arms on his chest. “Look I won’t ask again, so if you have something you wanna say, say it now while the fuckers are still asleep. If not then tough.”

Kenta brought his right thumb to his left palm, slowly running his finger through a line, depressed. “Every time” he eventually began, his voice so low he was almost whispering “every time I’m involved, something bad happens. It’s like … like I can’t help it. Once I forgot my school bag at a café, you said you’d grab it on the way home. You ran into some villains that managed to throw you in the hospital for an entire week. Another time I got in trouble at school and Miho intervened, and you and Mom had to meet with the principal several times. You two got into the worst fight you ever had and didn’t talk to each other for two full weeks. That time at school when Miho left for UA too …” He sighed and shook his head, scratching the inside of his palm with more vigour. His eyes looked so desperate, so guilt-struck and crushed. “And now this. It’s like - like - why is it always - why can’t I do something heroic for once? Why can’t I just - just be more like you, or like Miho, or like Mom? Why am I -” His eyes began to shine softly when fresh tears appeared “- why am I like this? Why can’t I impress people instead of constantly worrying them and creating chaotic situations like this?”

His tears overflowed and rolled down silently on his cheeks. He sniffled and tried to wipe them, but fresh tears immediately came to replace them.

“This time I even dragged the twins and Ashido-chan with me” he continued, his voice miserable, face crumpled with remorse. “Their parents must be going crazy with fear and - they’re my only friends, they’re the first ones I ever made I - I don’t want them to think they shouldn’t hang out with me or something, but seriously, how could I even blame them if they did? Because of me my own mother is in -”

“Okay shut up” Katsuki interrupted him, placing his entire hand flat in Kenta’s face, startling him. “You two should seriously stop with the whole ‘it’s all my fault’ when you don’t have shit to do with any of what happened. Explain to me how are you to blame for the fact that two villains thought of a plot to gather a other villains in order to kill us, and sent you four instead.”

Kenta pushed his hand away from his face and scowled at Katsuki, tears still rolling down on his cheeks.

“You can’t understand” he sighed, wiping his wet cheeks. “You don’t know what it’s like to fail, you j-just wing everything you do.”

“Hey you two should really stop thinking that too” he snarled, irritated. “I know I’m amazing but I’m not a god either, of course I fail and lose sometimes. Look at yesterday, I lost the first and second event.”

Kenta sighed, clearly annoyed. “Dad, you won the Sports Festival.”

Katsuki rolled his eyes - alright, maybe it wasn’t the best example he could have come up with. “Okay fine, how about in your reality, huh? How heroic do you think I’m feeling right now? You: abducted. The Mad Bitch: gone into the past as well. Uraraka: in the hospital and barely escaped death.” He clicked his tongue and looked away. “Nothing heroic ‘bout that.”

Instead of looking a little bit reassured, Kenta’s face grew even more pained. Katsuki sighed, pissed that he was gonna have to talk about this, again - fuck Uraraka’s genes, seriously. Especially the one that made him talk about that sort of things.

“You ever watched the previous Sports Festivals we were in?” he asked, fumbling in his pocket to get his phone out and opening YouTube. “First year.”

Kenta looked up and raised one eyebrow, wiping his tears. When he shook his head, Katsuki quickly typed something in the search bar, taped on the first video and tossed him the phone. Kenta jumped a little and tried to catch the phone, but it slipped from his hands and fell on the couch. He grabbed it and looked at the video that had begun playing, puzzled, his brows furrowed. And bit by bit, his eyes started to widen in surprise, then bewilderment.

“What -” Kenta bit his lower lip, the corners of his mouth threatening to turn up. He quickly glanced at Katsuki, who was staring him down, irritated, already regretting having shown him that video. He looked back at the screen, and a snort escaped him, followed by a full laughter when he saw All Might force a medal on his and ending up attaching it in his mouth like a dog. “What the hell?” he laughed, his cheeks round again and his eyes still filled with tears. “What happened? Why did they chain you like that - why are you so mad?”

“Because that Icyhot bastard didn’t fight me properly” he spat back, snatching the phone from his hands. “He didn’t give a fuck about the competition, focused on his own damn problems instead of giving his all against me, and he fucking let me win - what type of bullshit fucking victory was that supposed to be?”

He thought Kenta would try to talk him out of that idea, but he just roared in laughter, holding his sides painfully. “You are so like Miho!” he chortled, wiping the last tears from the corner of his eyes. “Last year - last year, she won because Touya hesitated to go all out against her because she had just recovered from a serious injury, and he didn’t want to make it become worse. During the entire award ceremony she kept on glaring at him, and when he told her ‘Congratulations on your victory’ she threw herself at him! She was suspended for an entire week and had to write a public letter of apology for having disgraced the school on TV by fighting on the stage of the Sports Festival. She and Touya didn’t speak for almost two months afterwards.”

He chuckled and shook his head, before he rubbed his face with both hands.

“Right, I get it” he sighed, not sounding either very reassured or convinced. “Victory isn’t what it seems and isn’t the most important thing.”

“What?” Obviously Eeyore in front of him hadn’t understood a thing. “No, victory is the most important thing, but it should always be given to those who truly deserved it, not be given to someone because an asshole decided they didn’t want to take a competition seriously.” He quickly typed something on the research bar of his phone. “But that’s not the point I’m trying to make so shut up and listen.”

He tossed the phone once more, and this time Kenta caught it just in time. He peeked at the screen, smiling, before the corners of his mouth turned down and he frowned at the screen in confusion. He looked back up at Katsuki. “You were abducted?” he asked, stunned.

Katsuki groaned and tucked his hands in his pockets. “Remember that video you saw? Well turns out some villains saw it too, and decided that I might just as well become a nice colleague for them if I heard the right arguments.”

Kenta’s eyes went wide and he just stared at him, his mouth falling open in shock. “But … but you’re - you’re a hero!” he said, baffled. “You’re one of the greatest heroes there has ever been, one of the strongest too, how - how - and you’re -” he laughed in disbelief “- you’re not a villain! I mean yeah sure you yell a lot, but I mean come on, there’s a whole world between having a loud mouth and being a villain!”

“Well I guess these fuckers thought the opposite” he growled, looking away. “They attacked the entire class, injured dozens of them. Some of them had to stay in the hospital because their injuries were too serious for them to go anywhere else. They chained me up to a chair with both my hands entrapped in a block of stone for twenty-four hours. And for twenty-four hours, they kept on coming to talk to me one after the other, telling me how society mistreated and ostracized people like me, how the heroes were nothing but hypocrites, how they were all going to turn on me, turning the TV on to show me the press conferences the media held to talk about the potential threat I was. And when the pro heroes and the police came to save me, that guy …”

He sucked in a sharp breath at the remembrance of how terrifying the villain had been. “All Might fought him, and won. But he lost all his power in the process. Two classes attacked, pro heroes taken down and seriously injured, and the Symbol of Justice that was the pillar of society gone forever, leaving a huge gap behind him and leading to the rise in criminal activity. All that because I couldn’t keep my nerves in check for one goddamn minute.”

Katsuki glared at the boy, who was staring at him with wide eyes, shocked and sympathetic. “Dad, it wasn’t your fault, you couldn’t -”

“I know” he interrupted him, annoyed. “I know it’s not my fucking fault. That’s what I told Uraraka too when she freaked out last time and you two should really start drilling that into these thick heads of yours, that you can’t take blame for something someone else did, especially when it comes to these goddamned villains. Got that you little shit?”

Kenta looked down at his left palm, his thumb paused on the line he was always tracing in his hand.

“I didn’t know you too had been … you never told us ...” He kept silent for a minute, still looking down. And suddenly, his head snapped back up, his eyes wide. “Wait hold on wha - what - what do you mean Uraraka in the hospital - I never said - I never said anything about - who talked about Uraraka - I didn’t talk about Uraraka what does - what does she have to do with - like - just - what?” He laughed nervously, his face and neck taking on a pink shade and his ears turning red.

Katsuki raised one eyebrow and glared at him. “Really?” he asked with a jaded voice. “Do you think I’m that stupid?”

Kenta’s smile fell and he gulped audibly, shifting anxiously. “What - when did you -”

“When indeed?” said Katsuki, his voice dripping with sarcasm as he cocked his head to the side, pretending to be thinking hard. “Was it when you kept on exposing the very same pads you have on your palms and she has on her fingertips? Or when you gave us a full expose of how woooonderful Uraraka was to you with all your little merch and shit? Perhaps it was when the Mad Bitch launched herself from the future with a face just like hers, or - no, you know what? Maybe it was yesterday, when she mentioned the fact that apparently you went to her agency to pick up helmets so I could take you to the cinema. Now unless there’s a big coincidence and I happen to ride a motorcycle too, and be married to another woman with pads, brown hair and brown eyes, I think it’s safe to assume who’s your damn mother.”

Kenta just stared at him in silence, his eyes round like two saucers and his face red.

“Please don’t change the future” he whispered quickly, panicked and afraid. “I - I know I’ve been complaining a lot and all but - we - we’re good you know! All four of us, we - we have something really good, really nice and - we all love each other very very much, we have a lot of fun together, and I mean yeah you guys are not that often around, but you - you always try to cook for us, and Mom is always there for Take-out and Movie night and - we were about to get a dog!” he added with pleading eyes, as if that was the best argument he had up his sleeve. “So just - please - please don’t change the future, I’m begging you!”

He put his hands on his knees and abruptly bow down, immediately letting out a long howl of pain as he shot back up, holding his sides.

“Will you chill the fuck out?” Katsuki growled angrily, pushing his shoulders to force him to lie against the couch’s backrest. “Who said I was gonna change shit?”

“Any decision from your side could change it all” Kenta wheezed with a strained voice, his eyes shut tight and his face crumpled with pain. “If you just think ‘there’s no way I’d ever marry her’ then - we’re done for.”

Katsuki pursed his lips and clicked his tongue, his annoyance swelling when his heart started to drum louder and louder. “I’m not thinking that” he grumbled, feeling his face grow warmer.

Kenta opened his eyes and glanced up at him, his breathing short and laborious but his expression desperately hopeful. “You’re not?”

“The fuck did I just say?” Katsuki blared, irritated. “Now get your ass up, I’m gonna start preparing breakfast. I bet these fuckers are going to come up with stupid ideas, and I don’t want them to snitch if I can’t fulfil their stupid wishes.”

Kenta let out a spasmodic sigh of relief. “Yeah - okay” he choked, still holding his sides. “Can you just - help me up - I can’t -”

Katsuki groaned and sighed, but he still held out his hands for the boy to grab. A soft electric shock ran up his arms when he felt the large scratchy pads under his hands, reminding him of the previous day, when he had played with Uraraka’s fingertips, first without a care, then accompanied by the throbbing of his heart.

He wondered if she would let him play with them today as well - well of course she would, she had been overjoyed when he had told her he didn’t give a fuck about the money, she would agree to anything he asked her. Provided he found the guts to take her hand between his without having a heart attack - or much worse, a boner. He’d rather have the most painful heart attack than that, without hesitation. Although today might not be the ideal day, if they were going to be surrounded by all the extras in the world, but tomorrow - tomorrow they were going to be on their own.

On their own.

Fuck.

He slowly pulled Kenta back up on his feet, trying not to put him in more pain than he already was. When he rose, a book and his glasses fell on the floor.

“What’s that?” asked Katsuki, frowning as he leaned to grab them. The book was so thick, it looked like a brick rather than a novel, or whatever it was. He glanced at the cover of the book, and read: All Might, The Making of A Legend . Odd. He had never heard of that book, yet he was sure he had swallowed every book there was on the subject. Puzzled, he turned it to the side to check the name of the author: Midoriya Izuku .

Aw come the fuck on.

“It’s a book you gave me when I was admitted into UA” Kenta replied, trying to catch his breath. “It was in my schoolbag when we were thrown here. Uncle Deku wrote it, so you got a free copy for me. I even got a dedication inside.”

With a dubious wince, Katsuki begrudgingly opened the book and found a serie of character on the first page. Of course, that fucking nerd couldn’t just write one single sentence, he had to write a full paragraph.

 

To Kenta, who managed to overcome all the obstacles life had laid in front of you. Like a true hero, you kept moving forward, kept true to yourself, and kept your heart pure of any resentment.

Congratulations on your acceptance at UA. I didn’t expect anything less from Kacchan’s son, and I couldn’t be prouder even if you were my son.

You will be a marvelous hero one day, the brightest star in the sky, and I hope you will find in this book the same inspiration that drove your parents and I, as well as our entire generation, to become the best heroes we could.

With love,

Uncle Deku.

 

“Cheesy little fuck” grunted Katsuki, slamming the book shut impatiently. “Get your own fucking kids and stop coddling other’s.”

“I like it” protested Kenta, grabbing it from between his hands. “It means a lot to me, I was really insecure about my results from the entrance exam after I went through it. Besides you don’t realise how far people would be ready to go for even just a wave of the hand from Uncle Deku.”

“Well fuck him” insisted Katsuki, his mood growing fouler by the second. He headed for the kitchen, looking at the glasses he still held in his hand. Out of curiosity, he peeked through them, and felt the inside of his eyes hurt and twitch when he tried to look at his surroundings. “What the fuck - how the fuck can you even see with these?” he asked the boy, putting the glasses on the table in front of the kitchen.

Kenta shrugged, limping cautiously in his direction. “How can you see without them?”

Katsuki groaned, and waited until the boy had a hand on the table to head for the kitchen.

“What are you going to do?” Kenta asked as he sat down carefully on the chair, wincing as he moved to find a good position.

“Shush, I’m thinking” he replied, opening the cupboards and the door of the massive fridge.

“Do you really think they are going to come up with crazy stuff?”

“I know they will. These bastards have no shame.”

“You should make a list then” he suggested, putting his glasses back on his nose and opening his book. “I would order cereals and juice personally. I know the twins like to have pancakes but Touya is more of a traditional Japanese breakfast kind of guy, and Ashido-chan usually has a rich breakfast. Miho’s more used to go at their place than I am so she can eat anything, but -” he shuddered in disgust “- I tried their breakfast once, and I threw it all up the following hour. Imagine eating a full plate of scrambled eggs and meat this early in the morning, I mean - how are we the crazy ones.”

Katsuki quickly glanced at him, and he couldn’t help but feel satisfied when he noticed that he wasn’t looking so gloomy anymore. “Yeah, well Pinky’s always been weird, and Kirishima always eat a shitton of stuff in the morning, so no surprises here” he commented as he pulled the first box of cereals he found from a cupboard and a bottle of milk from the fridge.

Kenta chuckled, before he gasped. “What? I didn’t say - what?”

“Stop. Taking me. For a. Moron” Katsuki articulated, glaring at him as he put the cereals and the milk in front of Kenta. He turned back towards the fridge. “I noticed the first day you arrived. That girl’s way too obvious.”

There was a short silence, then -

“You’re actually way smarter than I thought you were you know” declared the little shit that claimed to be his son, making his entire face twitch in irritation.

“The fuck?” he barked at him. “You know what, fuck it, give me those back.”

He tried to reach for the cereals and the milk, but Kenta grabbed them before he did. “ No no no no no no no! I take it back, I take it back, okay? Just leave me the food - please? Please Dad?” he insisted, looking at him with red puppy eyes through his glasses. Just at the same time, his stomach let out a loud growl, and he smiled sheepishly. “I’m really hungry, I didn’t have dinner yesterday night.”

Katsuki narrowed his eyes and slowly stepped back. “Don’t try to play smartass with me you spiky chipmunk. You can get your bowl by yourself.”

He turned around and took back his place between the opened fridge and cupboards, thinking he should quickly close the door if he doesn’t want everything in the fridge to become warm. When he didn’t see or hear Kenta move, he turned around and found him still on the same spot, looking at Katsuki like a cat about to do something stupid. He hesitated for a second, then very, very slowly, began to shift a little on his chair. Immediately, one of his hand flew to his side, and he winced and hissed in pain.

“ The f- fine, don’t move!” he ordered, looking around for a bowl and a spoon. He grabbed the first ones he found, and when he headed back towards Kenta, he wasn’t wincing anymore, and was smiling and waiting like a good boy. Katsuki stopped and narrowed his eyes. “Did you just -”

Kenta’s smile grew wider. “It actually really hurts you know” he said quietly with his fucking shit-eating grin. “I think it’s best if I don’t move.”

“And I think it’s best if you don’t fucking eat” Katsuki spat back. “How ‘bout a little fasting huh? Isn’t it good for cleansing your body and your mind? Doesn’t your goddamned spoilt little fucker’s mind need a bit of cleansing?

“Come on!” he laughed, clasping his hands together in front of him and bowing his head down. “I’m hungry! Just give me the bowl and the spoon and I’ll put the cereals myself.”

“Oh because I was supposed to pour it in your bowl too?” Katsuki asked, tilting half of his body to the side, his voice dripping sarcasm and disbelief. “Does his fucking highness also want me to spoon-feed him?”

“No need to be so dramatic about it” chuckled Kenta, rolling his eyes.

I’m being dramatic? I’m being - Who’s the asshole who tried to compete for the oscar for best actor just a second ago you dipshit?”

“Well you fell for it” he mumbled.

“The fuck was that?” Katsuki growled.

“I said please, pretty pretty please, Number one Dad and Hero and best student UA has ever encountered, please give me the bowl and spoon?” he said louder, resuming his praying pose and glancing above his glasses with a happy smile.

Katsuki glared at him with squinted eyes, before he clicked his tongue and abruptly let go of the bowl and spoon the table, close enough so he didn’t have to stretch and really hurt himself, but far enough so that he learnt his goddamn lesson.

“Tch. Littl’ piece of shit” he grumbled, spinning around.

“Yeah yeah, love you too” Kenta said happily, already pouring his cereals in his bowl with a jingling sound.

Katsuki jolted and snapped his head back towards him, his heart suddenly throbbing. “ What?! ” he barked, feeling his cheeks heat up inexplicably. “When the fuck did I - What?! What?! Don’t just - fucking - like - just - don’t-fucking-say-that!

Kenta looked up, surprised, and his smile became much softer, warmer - loving. And he looked just like goddamn Urara-fucking-ka.

“Yeah, okay” he chuckled, grabbing his book and adjusting his glasses on his nose. “Sorry ‘bout that.”

Katsuki stayed on his spot, shaking with - well he didn’t fucking know what it was. No goddamn clue as to why his words struck so hard, out of nowhere. So he just turned around furiously, grumbling a string of profanities under his breath as he pulled out all the ingredients he could think of out if the fridge and slammed the door hard.

“Can I have some orange juice?”

“Fuck you Kenta! FUCK YOU!” he exploded, unable to contain himself anymore. And yet, as liberating as it was, he immediately regretted his outburst. So he grabbed a glass from one of the cupboard and a bottle of juice from the fridge, stomped towards him and slammed them both on the table, before returning to the kitchen and kicking the fridge door close. And behind, he heard Kenta fucking giggle.

Goddamn little brat I swear you little shit Imma -

For a while they just stayed quiet, Katsuki angrily preparing all the things he could think of - pancake batter, scrambled eggs, boiling water for the tea, warm milk for hot chocolates, a pile of sliced bread to be toasted, butter and jam, rice in the rice cooker ready to be cooked, slices of fish slowly cooking in a fish broth, bacon and boiled slices of meat - anything; Kenta just read his book in silence, a deep scowl settling on his face as he flipped the pages of the enormous volume.

There was a ‘Ding!’ , and someone exited the elevator.

“‘Morning y’all!” a girl shouted with too much energy, and when Katsuki turned around he found the short girl with massive hands and feet happily strolling towards them with a spring to her step. “Hope I didn’t miss breakfast, it smells real good down here!”

Kenta didn’t even lift his eyes from his book, but he turned his head around a little, as if to acknowledge her presence. “‘Morning Iida-chan.”

“Aw come on Kenta-kun, I told you to call me Tenmei-chan” she teased him, ruffling his hair and propping her elbow on his head, turning towards Katsuki with a big smile. “‘Morning Bakugou-san. Is it just the two of you?”

Kenta nodded and Katsuki turned his back on her, a groan the only answer he was willing to give.

“Oh yeah by the way, someone came by to bring back your bags” said Kenta, his voice devoid of any interest. “They’re over there, near the door.”

Without looking, he pointed at the TV, which was nowhere near the door, making the short girl giggle. “Alright, alright, you into your book, I respect that” she accepted as she headed for the dorm’s entrance. She disappeared from Katsuki’s field of vision, but he could still hear her softly hum a tune from where she was. When she came back, she was also holding a book in her massive hands.

“I had no idea where we had tossed them after we crossed the portal” she said happily as she sat next to Kenta. “I thought I had lost all my school books.”

“It doesn’t really matter for you, does it” replied Kenta absent-mindedly. “Iida-sensei wouldn’t give you a detention because of that would he?”

“Now that is an excellent question to which I do not wish to have the answer” she chuckled. “Either he’d immediately buy me a new set, or he’d scold me for losing them so recklessly in the first place.”

Katsuki stopped his movement, two pieces of the puzzle clicking together. “Iida-sensei?” he repeated, turning around to glare at Kenta. “That Four-Eyes nerd is your teacher? Is that why you’re shitting yourself whenever he approaches you?”

Kenta looked up, glowering at Katsuki. “He’s scary” he mumbled in a soft voice that did not match his gaze. “He’s our Modern Literature teacher, and since he knows our families he’s always behind us to make sure we’re doing well.”

Katsuki clicked his tongue and stared at the short girl with her big round glasses. He was sure he had seen that smug pout somewhere, but where exactly he couldn’t tell.

“He’s been very worried about the four of you ya know” she said quietly as she opened her book. “He feels like you were all in his care, and he failed to keep you safe.”

“What?” Kenta frowned, startled. “But - it wasn’t his fault, besides we were outside of the school gates when the portal opened, the responsibility doesn’t lie with the school, does it?”

Big Foot shrugged. “That doesn’t make him feel any better. He was the one to break the news to all of your parents, and well, understandably they are all very worried. Your father and Hana-chan’s mother were especially loud.”

“Aren’t you worried he’ll be mad at you for rushing in the warp gate with Miho and Touya?” sighed Kenta, staring at his left palm.

“Nah, I’m good” she snorted back, tucking a short strand of hair behind her ear and pressing one finger on her glasses to adjust them on her nose. “He knows they are mental, he expects me to look after them. Keep them from dying, or ending up in jail, feel me?”

“Yeah” he chuckled, pushing his glasses back up on the side and resuming his reading.

Big Foot turned towards Katsuki and smiled lightly. “Sorry to ask that of you now chief, but I